Wednesday, November 29, 2023
|Leslie Sommers Rainbow Shot|
Twelve years ago I wrote a blogpost on the dangers of putting euphorbias in public walkways. It is actually still one of the most viewed posts I have ever written, even though some of the links are extinguished.
In any case, we have had a fire stick euphorbia in front of the jewelry shop for several years and I have been begging people to remove it, with no results. If the branches are broken and the sap gets in your eyes you are going to the hospital and it is going to hurt like hell.
Yesterday a lovely woman was tending the plants in the containers on the street with another guy for the Fallbrook Beautification Project and I repeated my now tired soliloquy about removing it. She smiled and I went back inside my shop.
Not twenty minutes later I went outside and the plant was already cut down and bagged, the pot now being replanted with something much more benign.
I didn't catch the lady's name, I know that she is a Fallbrook native with the maiden name of Kerr. She knew my ex. I really appreciate her quick response and thank her so much for being responsive to what I consider a real public safety hazard.
Another thank you to Renee from Carlsbad who bought four of my bird photographs from the library today! Thank you Renee.
Leslie had to go to Rite Aid tonight. Pulling out onto Mission, for some reason she held back rather than entering traffic. It is a good thing, at that moment two cars ran the red light from opposite directions. It has become epidemic around these parts. Yesterday in the morning a car ran the light at Alvarado and t-boned a sheriff's car.
People need to chill and observe some very basic rules of driving and manners.
Her voice has never sounded better, she was holding notes beautifully, singing with a lot of passion, emotion and intensity. Much appreciated.
Dave is, of course, also a supreme musician and guitar player. They played to a packed room and it was good to see. And hear.
Monday, November 27, 2023
I am incredibly tired, no days off for about two months and having completed three shows in quick succession.
So I am honestly wiped out.
A woman called this morning asking me if I remembered that she was coming in Saturday to look at a sculpture and a Toulouse Lautrec print that has unfortunately already sold. This is sort of traumatic as I have about a hundred or so extra paintings on the floor with no place to put them and it normally takes ten days to two weeks to sort it all out.
I attempted to carve some navigable paths this morning, with some small success but then a picker stopped by with a Chinese abstract that might have real value and that I had to buy. Jeesh.
Yesterday I purchased a great maritime painting by New Jersey artist Warren Sheppard (1858-1937). Both yesterday and today's paintings need significant restoration.
I got up at four in the morning and wrote a to do list for myself for the day, almost got everything done but there is nothing left in the tank so I will idle away a few minutes writing.
Tomorrow is another day and hopefully I can make a serious dent and push. Next three days will be very interesting.
Sunsets and sunrises have been very pretty in these parts of late. I haven't touched the camera in a month so the phone will have to do.
Sunday, November 26, 2023
I am going to my first San Diego State Aztec basketball game tomorrow night, against local D3 team Point Loma Nazarene. It should be interesting, hopefully the young bench should get a lot of minutes and experience.
The team is 5 and 1, having almost given a game away yesterday to Cal, the second game in a row like that. Their center had a dominating game yesterday and we were once again beaten on the boards. But the Aztecs finally won in overtime and I guess that is what counts.
Coach Dutcher said he was hoping to be at least 3 and 3 at this stage. If this team continues to improve, it may be really something by March.
The South American Palm Weevil is on its relentless four year march up through San Diego and North County. It has destroyed huge numbers of beautiful Canary Island and Phoenix Reclinata Palms from North Park to Rancho Santa Fe and is now in Cardiff. Soon it will be in Fallbrook if it is not already here.
Saturday, November 25, 2023
I am not much of a believer but try to respect those that rely on faith in their life. It is tough at times because I am a pretty skeptical person by nature but everybody is entitled to the belief system of their choice, that is as long as nobody gets hurt too bad.
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:19
|Philippine crucifixion rite|
You want to get nailed to a cross in Manila, have at it.
I admire your piety, if not your enormous pain tolerance.
And not to say the Jews are any more rational than the rest of them.
Twelve days a month you are forbidden to have any physical contact with your spouse.
As in, even touching them, brushing up against their shoulder.
And let's not forget Deuteronomy 22:11, which promises everlasting hell if we wear linen and wool at the same time, not to mention a hell of an itch. Or Kaparot, where Jews kill live chickens by swinging them around their necks and transferring their sins to them. Weird.
|Joseph Smith communes with the salamander that guards the golden plates|
There is a point to my story in all this. When I was doing my show in San Francisco an old woman I know that is very good friends with two of my clients came into my booth. She went crazy for an Imari punch bowl that I recently purchased, ultimately bought a painting across the way.
But I could help noticing that the woman was bleeding from the bottom of both eyes. She had a bandage underneath both of them.
When her pals came by I asked if their older friend was okay?
"Oh yes, she is great, not to worry," they said. "Nothing wrong." Case closed.
I went to a Christian Science boarding school in Idyllwild for a year, Desert Sun. You had to sign a waiver if you ever wished to get medical care.
They left open wounds on the horses at the school, as if they shared their spiritual belief system.
I remember them asking a fellow student if he wished to get treated and he said, "Hell yes, I bleed."
Faith can be a rather interesting thing to ponder. Hard for me to not think of all the red fluid coming out of that poor woman's eyes.
This reminds me of another story. I was a hippie and had traveled to Highbridge Park in Spokane for one of the first Rainbow festivals. I set my tent up by a creek. There were some back to nature hippies living there, totally gone native.
Anyway I asked them if the water in the nearby creek was okay to drink?
"Oh yes," they proclaimed.
I came down with the case case of giardia dysentery you could ever imagine. After my recovery, which took several days, I tracked these kindred earth spirits down.
"Hey man, you said the water was okay to drink. You never told me that goats were shitting in it upstream."
Their answer floored me. "We don't believe in disease, man." Mary Baker Eddy would have loved these hippies. And you want to know why I am such a skeptic...
Since we are on the topic of religion I might as well broach a subject I have been thinking about. I recently heard that popular culture tattoo artist Kat Von D has renounced witchcraft and become a Baptist. Good for her. Whatever floats your boat. Anne Rice, a fellow goth and novelist who also wrote some pretty intense pornography, had a similar end of life conversion, returning to her childhood Catholicism. George Harrison, a Catholic in his youth, ended becoming an ersatz Hindu as an adult.
What I notice about these choices is that all of the before and afters of these people were filled with heavy ritual. Rather than get off the ritual train, or even becoming agnostics, atheists or non believers, they all found a belief system to substitute in the opposite direction that delivered the message in a very similar way to their previous conditioning. The Hindu saints that George embraced later in life were really not too far removed from the saints of his childhood, just a slightly different color and flavor. People tend to swing extreme to extreme.
Not sure that I am making sense here but it seems like people need a certain intensity level and pageantry in matters of faith and that many obviously crave ritual, not mention a third party to intercede for them in matters of spirituality.
Friday, November 24, 2023
I went up to the Fallbrook Library to make sure everything was ready for my afternoon photography show and to my chagrin, the library is closed for Black Friday. I will have to reschedule.
Nobody told me. That's what I get for assuming...
I have a way of putting my foot in my mouth at the wrong time. I outdid myself last night. We had been invited to a neighborhood thanksgiving meal by our wonderful friends Linda and Peter and there were about ten guests.
We sat around and got to know each other better. And then for some strange reason I decided to talk about ugly automobiles. As in, the ugliest cars I have ever seen manufactured, those being the production of the American Motors Corporation. You remember, the Gremlin, Marlin, Pacer and Javelin? The nadir of the American car aesthetic, at least in my uninformed opinion.
No sooner had the words left my mouth then a deathly pallor hung on the room. What had I said and who had I offended? I tilted my head and surveyed the table...
Oh, my god, what had I done? That could not have just happened, could it? I swear to god, I didn't have a clue. This sort of stuff has been happening more and more lately...
There was not a lot more I could say at that point. I had made my feelings known and the die was cast. I waited a few more minutes, politely thanked my companions and then slunk off into the cold, dark night. What were the odds of my insulting a man for his career choice on a day that we should have all been giving thanks and counting our many blessings?
As I backed my car out of the long driveway I could not miss the license plate festooned on the car in front of me. See for yourself. Looks like old Larry wised up and bought a Dodge. Good move.
I need to learn how to exercise a little restraint.
Thursday, November 23, 2023
I'm doing the Santa Barbara show and there is a dealer in the corner from Louisiana. His boyfriend is wearing extremely skimpy and tight shorts and a tube top, very gay. It is cold and rainy out and it is a little bit weird.
His legs were as white as snow. Because I have a big mouth and like to play with people good naturedly I commented on his pasty white sticks, told him that the glare off his legs was hurting my eyes. He took it well, in the spirit it was offered.
That night when I got into my room at the hotel (Motel 6) the phone immediately rang. I did not recognize the voice but the caller suggested that he wanted me to come over and sample certain portions of his anatomy that I am not really comfortable navigating. He said a few things I can't repeat on a family blog.
"Who the hell is this?" I stammered.
"It's Ed Jackson from Shreveport, you know, the first booth in the show. Why don't you come over to my room and I will drop my panties for you."
I was pissed and actually almost without words. "No thanks," I said and hung up. No one had ever really spoken to me like this.
The experience actually made me angry, the guy was way over the line. I told my friends about it at dinner and they said I should forget about it. The next morning at six I went to the motel night manager and told him that I had been sexually harassed by a guest. I was afraid that I was now being watched.
"Well, guess what buddy, my shift is over in less than an hour, I am going home and I don't give a shit."
Frustrated, I turned around in a huff and went back to my room, with plans on going straight to the show promoter and having the miscreant thrown out of the show for his rude behavior and language.
No sooner had I got to the show when my old friends Rick and John came over. Long time antique dealer couple. Rick was laughing uproariously and confessed to having made the call and impersonating the new guy. He wanted to get to the show early before I went off on the guy from Shreveport and had him tossed from the show.
He thought I would recognize his voice but I didn't. He said our friend Gianna was on his bed listening and laughing hysterically. Rick and I have had a running banter for years and I told him that revenge is a dish best served cold but that payback would be a serious bitch. Which it will.
I am going to start plotting...
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
I lost my great friend John Morris on November 10th. I had texted him that morning, it went unreturned. Maybe unread, I'll never know? I was on the road in San Francisco. You can read John's incredible obit in a number of places. Here is the New York Times. And the Los Angeles Times.
And this from the Objects of Art Shows, his partnership with Kim Martindale:
John H. Morris, Jr., of Santa Fe, NM, and Malibu, CA, the creator and first managing director of the Fillmore East rock & roll theater in New York City, and the production manager of the original Woodstock Festival of Art and Music, died at his Santa Fe, New Mexico home Friday, November 10, 2023, after a long illness.
Born in Gramercy Park, New York City, in 1939, Mr. Morris studied theater at Carnegie Tech. At the age of 25, after a brief career as a lighting designer off-Broadway, on London’s West End, and at Peter Cook’s The Stroller’s Club in New York City, Mr. Morris launched his career as a theatrical producer. He acquired the rights to Peter Cook’s satirical British productions, The Establishment and Cambridge Circus, and toured the shows across the U.S. with casts including John Cleese, Cass Elliot, Peter Bellwood, and Joe Maher.
In July of 1967, during “the summer of love,” Mr. Morris produced his first rock and roll concert, a free show in Toronto, Canada’s City Hall square, featuring Jefferson Airplane, which drew a crowd of more than 50,000, second in size only to The Beatles’ Shea Stadium concert the year before. The show was to promote a weeklong Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead rock & roll residency at Toronto’s O’Keefe Theatre produced by Mr. Morris and fellow Carnegie Tech alum Joshua White, for West Coast rock & roll empresario, Bill Graham.
In Toronto, John Morris and Joshua White introduced elaborate theatrical staging to the world of rock and roll, including the first psychedelic light show projected from behind a giant screen, as a backdrop for the band. Their theatrical innovations in concert production and lighting have evolved into today’s elaborate staging of popular music shows and festivals.
Mr. Morris produced Jefferson Airplane’s first East Coast tour before rejoining Mr. White in December of 1967, to produce a weeklong Festival of Light and Music at the Minneola Theater on Long Island, featuring shows by Frank Zappa, Vanilla Fudge, Tim Buckley, and Ravi Shankar, that formally launched the psychedelic Joshua Light Show.
Mr. Morris then produced rock concerts at the Anderson Theatre on New York’s Second Avenue for Crawdaddy magazine, where, with Janis Joplin’s New York City premier, he convinced Bill Graham to open an East Coast theatrical version of his already legendary San Francisco’s psychedelic rock ballroom, The Fillmore.
Eighteen days after Graham and partners, including Bob Dylan’s agent Albert Grossman, acquired Lowes’ lower east side Village Theatre, Mr. Morris, and a crew including theatre tech students from NYU, led by Professor Chris Langhart, opened The Fillmore East with Janis Joplin, BB King, Tim Buckley, and the Joshua Light Show on the marquee.
After co-producing the first European concert tours for Jefferson Airplane and The Doors, with Doors manager Bill Siddons, Mr. Morris was invited to join the production team for the Woodstock Festival of Art and Music. Mr. Morris booked most of the bands which would appear at Woodstock, assuring that the relatively unknown Santana, Country Joe and the Fish, and Joe Cocker were on the bill. During the iconic, but weather-plagued three-day festival, where a crowd anticipated to be 100,000, grew to an estimated half a million, Morris was the principal Master of Ceremonies and is recognized as “the voice” of Woodstock, having made the now famous announcement, “It’s a free concert from now on.”
After moving to England in 1970 to organize the European Producers Association and promote touring U.S. rock bands, Mr. Morris launched London’s first rock & roll theatre, The Rainbow, in Finsbury Park, with The Who as its opening act, November 4, 1971.
Mr. Morris continued to produce rock and roll events throughout Europe and the United States until 1990, including 19 Grateful Dead concerts; the premier European tour of Paul and Linda McCartney’s post-Beatles band, Wings; and tours with Ike and Tina Turner, Chuck Berry, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and Santana. His production companies, Jumping Jack Productions in the UK and Europe, and Cadogan Productions in the U.S., mounted concerts for artists including Stevie Ray Vaughn, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Rudolf Nureyev, and Frank Zappa. He also acted as manager for Otis Redding, the Danish band Gasolin’, and Japanese jazz musician, Stomu Yamashta, producing Yamashta’s third album, Go Too for Arista Records.
A collector and student of Native American art and artifacts since boyhood, Mr. Morris opened a Native American Antiques store in London in 1973, The Bear Creek Trading Company. In 1995, he joined with Kim R. Martindale to produce antique, fine art, and design shows throughout the U.S. For the next 28 years, their Antiquities Shows, Native American Art Shows, and Objects of Art Shows were produced in Santa Fe, NM; New York City; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Seattle; Denver; Scottsdale; and Napa, CA.
The son of John H. Morris and Louise Morris, John’s Gramercy Park childhood in New York City, was interrupted when his father returned to active duty in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and he attended 6th grade in three states, before the family settled in Pleasantville, NY, following the war.
Morris is survived by his partner of 33 years, Luzann Fernandez of Santa Fe, NM and Malibu, CA; brother, Mark Morris of Sneden’s Landing, NY; nephew Eric Morris of Los Angeles, CA; and nieces, Nicole Merrick and her husband Keil; Marie Fernandez and her husband Guillermo Serrano Terren; Katie Fernandez; grandnephews Oliver and Charlie Merrick; and grandniece Kate Merrick.
John H. Morris, Jr. is also survived by a world of loyal and loving friends drawn to him over a lifetime on concert stages, sailing adventures, photographic safaris, dinner tables, art show floors, and pickup football games.
Plans for a Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date. The Family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Mr. Morris’s memory to Assistance Dogs of the West in Santa Fe, NM.
Very nice indeed, an amazing life. But that was not the John Morris I knew, the incredible music promoter.
The guy I knew was a thirty year friend who was my promoter at antique shows, three a year in Santa Fe, Santa Barbara, Denver, Napa, Westworld, all over the place. The lucrative years. The classiest man you could ever meet, a diamond polisher par excellence as Bill Graham would once say about him. The only man Bill would trust to pick up Grace Slick at the airport. The consummate showman. A guy I went to battle with every chance I got, who loved me and let me stay at his home and break bread and meet his friends which included Senators and famous people and just plain old good people. From Herb Cohen to Bill Richardson. A guy who was pissed off as hell at me for two years when I went over to do shows for the competition, a business decision, and then accepted me with open arms upon my return, all my sins
forgotten forgiven. A man that knew food and wine and people. A literate man who would send me books. He would regale us, after suitable prodding, with priceless stories of his life in the music business. Last time I called him he was in hospice but didn't give a damn about himself, was more worried about me and actually offered to loan me money. Which I refused. The most loyal, classy, humble, mensch of a man you could ever meet. You could never have a better friend.
|hiding the cig...|
We youngsters loved to plie John and his longtime roadies David and Stan for Woodstock and Fillmore stories and they always obliged. It got so we could repeat them from memory but they never got stale.
The day John died Warmboe gave me this book about Woodstock that I had never seen before with this story about the festival written by John. The book was published by Baron Wolman, the famous rock photographer John also introduced me to a few years ago.
I stopped by their home in June, when he first went into hospice. He was still talking about the next show and excited about his plans for the future, purposely oblivious to the rotten hand that we both knew that he had been dealt.
You were either in or you were out with John. I was lucky enough to be in. Along with Don Baughman and Lew Bobrick and Parsons and Rose and Chris and David and Stan and James and Eric and JP and Walt and Tom in England and Monique and so many others that he took care of and befriended. Luzann and John's Espanola parties will never be forgotten!
He will be forever in Leslie and my hearts. We will never stop missing him. What a privilege to know him!
As much as I would love to stay permanently in the latter, it mostly eludes me at this time of my life and I more often find myself gasping for oxygen like a fish flopping around on the sidewalk.
Serious karmic payback for a misspent youth, I'll wager.
I lost several thousand dollars doing San Mateo at a time when I need to nail every technique and stick the dismount at every show, having lost nine or ten annual shows in the last three years to general lack of interest.
But that is impossible in this day and age, this particular show has effectively become a jewelry show and all the We'll be backs for artwork pooped out on me.
So I found myself waking up at three or four every morning, wondering about survival and the location of the nearest bridge, and there are plenty of suitable jumping off points in the Bay Area.
But I can't do that, have to keep grinding, would love to breathe air again and not feel like I am drowning all the time. But it certainly beats the shit out of Kyiv, Gaza, Cleveland, Beirut and a host of other places I could be toiling. And it will all look great in the novel.
I don't like fetishizing my emotional pain on an open blog, for one thing certain people enjoy it too much. Not a healthy habit to get into. So I did the other thing and just cut off everybody and the world in general and waited for the wind to turn.
Which it thankfully did very quickly, me buying a great collection of native american material the very next day after the show that I can make some real money on.
Then after holing up for a day near an old apple grove in Sebastopol I made my way to Santa Barbara, where I also had a pretty darn good show as well and also bought more beautiful material.
So here I am, dead tired from over two weeks on the road and emotionally spent for the fickle swings of fate's fetid finger.
Mostly for my wife, who stands by me and believes in me through thick and thin. Poor girl. For my sister Barbara, Michael and Millard, who kept me solvent this year when I was completely tapped. For my friends and clients, my blast blogosphere, my coffee buddies, all the people who make life livable. Renee, Dave and Lena, who I talk to every day. For my late father, who I have been dreaming about a lot of late, including last night. Thank you to those of you who have written but I just could not respond. The last two weeks have been so trying.
Thank you. More later.
This Friday afternoon I am going to hole up in the Fallbrook Library from three to five in the presence of my photographs that are hanging. Anyone want to join me, I will stow away a bottle of Jamisons in the car. But you have to be willing to take a swig from the bottle.
Not expecting company but we shall see. I will bring a book. And some matted bird prints in case anybody wants to buy one.
Tuesday, November 7, 2023
Last week Stutz told me that he thought he saw a juvenile bald eagle down by the river by the Sandia Creek crossing. I have not seen one down there but we had a couple fourth year bald eagles by Olive Hill a few years ago so it is very possible.
By the way, decades ago we had a golden eagle nest past Morgan Springs further down the river towards Temecula. Haven't seen them in years.
I queried Michael on feathers and appearance, explained kites and ospreys and it definitely sounded like a second year bald eagle male with its variegated crown.
This morning Ed Burchem told me that he saw what sounds like the same bird off of Riverview. I had not mentioned Michael's sighting. Ed grew up here and knows his stuff.
I think we have a young eagle on the river. Cool.
And it should be pointed out that these have not been bi-coastal ballot propositions, they include red states Kansas, Montana and Kentucky.
Americans of all political stripes and regions don't think the government has any business in your bedroom and that motherhood should be the choice of mothers and in some cases their doctors. Not theocrats and elected officials.
Of course, right wing politicians all over the country are shuddering at the thought of more and more of these propositions coming down the pike. The Attorney General of Florida, Ashley Moody, just wrote a fifty page brief to keep a similar proposition off the ballot, with the same sort of semantics gamesmanship Frank LaRose tried in Ohio.
Save it Ashley, you are on the wrong side of history.
What I find truly pernicious is the sleight of hand opponents have tried to play on this issue. Ohio had a bill on the books limiting abortion after five weeks, with no exceptions for rape and incest. It is awaiting a judge's ruling. Ohio, if you remember, the state where the raped ten year old girl had to travel to Indiana to get her abortion.
Of course, his gerrymandered overly right wing legislature is far from certain to have played along. Now the issue is moot.
Governor Youngkin in Virginia is trying a similar play. He wants to install a sensible 15 week "limit," he won't use the ban word.
But lets face it, why should pro choicers compromise when the country seems to be in favor of getting out of the business of regulating personal reproductive choice? Just wait for the ballot proposition.
I hate when people insist you accept a take it or leave it offer regarding the compromise of their choosing and you aren't allowed a say.
Good for Ohio.
When Alito, Kavanaugh, Roberts, Thomas and Barrett overturned Roe with the Dobbs decision and threw the issue back to the states, do you think they ever envisioned this sort of reception?