Ghosts of Alden Van Buskirk and Robert Stone rattle chains for Rachel Kushner

I noticed a blurb from Robert Stone on the back cover of the new Rachel Kushner collection of essays, “The Hard Crowd”. I quote, “she’s going to be one we turn to for our serious pleasures and for the insight and wisdom we will be needing in hard times to come”. Here and in the hereafter, I guess he means. Stone died in 2015.

Meanwhile I was just telling one more person that Rachel‘s father went to Dartmouth with the poet Alden Van Buskirk and his mother Pinky met Peter through Alden Van Buskirk when he visited St. Louis where the doomed poet and the future Mrs. Kushner were grad students together.
(People in Pinky’s family like those in the House of Windsor had no last names only colors or Hughes… oh, wait, that’s actually a scene from an early Quentin Tarantino movie).

I literally drove to San Francisco yesterday just to buy this book; mine comes with an autograph; well, the car drove; I drove the car. On the way home I listened to an interview with Kurt Vonnegut which reminded me of the time Ed Burns ’85 and I interviewed Vonnegut at Dartmouth in 1983– Ed may still have the tape.

Rachel excerpted part of this book in The New Yorker, about her experience as a bartender at The Blue Lamp in San Francisco which made me try to contact Ramona Downey co-owner and talent buyer of The Bottom of the Hill. I’m wondering if Ramona overlapped with Rachel or influenced her. I also bought David Rattray’s book for which Rachel wrote a new afterward; a clerk at Books, Incorporated at Town and Country said that he worked at Green Apple Books, and I told a story that the owner Kevin Ryan says I overlapped there with Margaret Cho but I don’t remember her. And lastliy I read somewhere that Jonathan Lethem around that time worked at Pendragon in Berkeley. (“lastily” like hastily…words!)

No comments from Larry McMurtry… this is as bad a place as any to mention that when Curtis McMurtry played my concert series at Cafe Zoe in Menlo Park I called over to Stanford to ask if he and I could pop in on the office of the grad program in creative writing and see for ourselves that Larry’s books were still in the book case there. Curtis was fine without that. I also went to Stanford Shopping Center and bought new sheets so that Curtis could stay at my fairly abandoned Oak Creek Apartment, but he likewise was fine without. I think it was Michael Fracass0 (they shared an agent) who seemed to sleep in the apartment but on not in the bed. 




About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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