Don’t Miss:

Intersection’s 2007 Auction Fundraiser

Intersection for the Arts

March 14-28, 2007
Gallery Hours: Tues by appt, Wed – Sat, 12 – 5pm, FREE

Address:
Intersection for the Arts
446 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
www.theintersection.org

Click here for a map and directions >>

Office: 415-626-2787

Auction: Wednesday March 28, 2007 @ 7pm
(Live Auction Begins @ 8:30pm)
$5-$20/sliding scale admission

Artists Listed Below

Intersection’s biggest and most exciting Annual Fundraising Event, this exhibition/auction features the work of over 50 of the Bay Area’s most celebrated artists. Every work of art is affordably available to take home via silent auction during the exhibition run and a live auction event on Wednesday March 28, with proceeds benefiting Intersection in our 42nd year.

Intersection “is populated with artists from the community whose priorities are not to converse exclusively with other artists or the art world, but with people who want to use the culture of art as a catalyst to communicate with the community around them. This has been the basis of Intersection for over forty years.” – Sarah Lidgus, Afterimage

Participating artists include:
Kim Abeles
Brad K. Alder
Brett Amory
Kathy Aoki
Mike Arcega
April Banks
Sandow Birk
Victor Cartagena
Thomas Chang
Chris Cobb
Brett Cook
Carolyn Ryder Cooley
Jaime Cortez
Matthew Cusick
Binh Danh
Lauren Davies
Lewis deSoto
Lauren DiCioccio
Ala Ebtekar
Nome Edonna
Tia Factor
Chris Finley
Agustin Pozo Galvez
Iranshid Ghadimi
Matt Gonzalez
Robert Gutierrez
Mayumi Hamanaka
Taro Hattori
Taraneh Hemami
Dana Hemenway
Jonn Herschend
Andy Diaz Hope
Xylor Jane
Packard Jennings
Chris Johanson
Marcia Kure
Samantha Lautman
Candice Lin
Leslie Linnebur
Frederick Loomis
Ginny Mangrum
Kara Maria
Chris McCaw
Sean McFarland
Julio Morales
Aaron Noble
Abner Nolan
Scott Oliver
Patrick Piazza
Michael Rauner
Ricardo Richey
Favianna Rodriguez
Brion Nuda Rosch
Andrew Schoultz
Tracey Snelling
Heather Sparks
Deth P. Sun
Megan Wilson
Jenifer K. Wofford
Christine Wong Yap

Here’s a preview of what I’ll be showing:

Memories

Hi Dad – this for you — some great (and maybe not so great) memories from over the years :)
I’ll continue to add as scan the photographs… starting with early on …
I love you!!


Do you remember this geezer? He came to us on his 9th life. Who would have ever guessed he’d be with us for another 22 years! — run over by a truck, sight in only one eye, a pin in his jaw, couldn’t breathe without his tongue sticking out … and yet he went on to catch at least 3 birds a day (I can remember at one point counting 21 dead birds in our yard), snakes, bats, muskrats etc. I must say, I think Morris should be your role model.


It’s me!!!


that looks like a pretty awesome toy!


first Christmas — note the handmade slippers from Grandma Templeton
(as well as the stocking she knit me)


Christmas


The new baby with stick straight black hair


A rare affectionate moment between Brad and I


I’m probably looking at Brad being a brat here.


Yet another rare fun moment with Brad and I

For Gordon!


David, Gordon and me at the Guardian holiday party 2001

[I love you dad!!]

I received this email recently:

seeing this guy dave get so much blogspace on your site makes me think it’s
time for another series after you finish your current one:

“my ex boyfriends.”

Gordon, this is for you!

Gordon and I went out for 6 months in 2000-2001. The first time we met was in the fall of 1999, he stopped by ATA, where I was working with TILT. Lise Swenson and I were having a meeting and Gordon stopped by to drop something off with Lise. After he left, I asked if he was gay. Nope, not gay.

We met again during the summer of Art Strike’s Back. Gordon put in a proposal for a performance and then ended up spending a lot of time working with Lise and I on the whole series — Gordon was the lead camera for many of the performances, including mine – Better Homes and Gardens and his performance, The ABC’s of Eviction was one of the best and one of the most controversial, which sums up Gordon. We had a lot of fun that summer during the series, and went on to collaborate on an exhibition at the San Francisco Art Commission’s Grove Street site, We Lose Space, You Lose Culture.

I always describe Gordon as:

physically, a combination of

+

With a personality like:

+


Art Strike’s Back


Art Strike’s Back


We Lose Space

WE LOVE YOU DAD!!!!!!!

Vipassana – A Personal Perspective
by Kourosh Soroushian

This is an account of the meditation course that I attended almost 2 months ago, over the new year. It was written by my friend Kourosh Soroushian, who I met there. This was his first sitting and I think it’s a really beautiful and accurate description of the experience — everyone’s specific experience is different, however I think this a good reflection of the process that one goes through in questioning and wanting to leave, but allowing oneself to be open and allow the experience to be what it will be. The whole point of Vipassana is to see things as they really are. Thank you Kourosh for sharing this!!!

MAY ALL BEINGS BE HAPPY!


This is not Joshua Tree, but it’s a similiar environment. The Joshua Tree center
feels more rustic.

Introduction: This article is a personal account of my experiences at a 10 day Vipassana meditation course in Joshua Tree, California (near Los Angeles), from December 23rd, 2006, until January 3rd, 2007. It was one of the most unique experiences of my life, and compelled me to capture it in a descriptive form which could be easily shared with others.

Imagine the congregation of over 200 men and women from all walks of life, who otherwise would have no reason to be together. An energy healer, a masseuse, engineer, physician, comedian, substitute teacher, student, and the unemployed. From those living in multi-million dollar mansions to ones living in their vans. Asians, Europeans, Indians, Americans, and Middle-easterners, all living and eating together for 10 days under trying conditions.


This is our teacher S.N. Goenka and his wife.

Welcome to Vipassana, the freely taught meditation course which is offered to everyone around the year, and in centers throughout the world. Yes; after living in the United States for over 20 years, I had finally come across an organization which provided free food and shelter to those in search of personal improvement with absolutely no religious, commercial, or political ties, and without any expectation of receiving monetary returns. But if you have the impression that this was a small vacation, do read on!

You may first begin to wonder what would drive someone to forego Christmas, the New Year, their birthday and a friend’s wedding to wake up every day at 4:00 a.m. and meditate until around 9:30 p.m. at night, while observing noble silence - the silence of body, speech, and mind – at all times. This was a question which I struggled with throughout the 10 day experience, including the two points where I almost left the center. Eventually I came to realize that people – including me – could only have come to this event in search of bettering their mental, physical, or spiritual health. Intellectual curiosity alone could not be enough; in my opinion making it through this experience probably required something more – a degree of spirituality which must come from the inner core of each person.

Of course, a free course meant that the location, accommodations, and food would be very simple and functional. There were 3 or 4 people sharing a room, and up to 8 people shared one bathroom. The food was simple, vegetarian, and plentiful. Breakfast was served at 6:30 in the morning and lunch at 11:00 a.m. Dinner consisted of fruit and tea, which was a welcome change for me.

No reading or writing of any kind was allowed. And noble silence meant that in addition to speaking, eye-contact and the use of body language were also strictly forbidden. This of course made eating and other group activities somewhat of a challenge, but everyone soon became acclimated to the intricacies of living and eating together without communicating. The overall objective of noble silence was to provide everyone with a safe environment to meditate and discover the path on their own terms. I must admit it was quite effective, and at times an absolute necessity.

For the first 3 days, the phrase which crossed my mind continuously as I walked the grounds and followed the silent herd of men in the meditation hall, cafeteria, and dorm rooms was ‘pure madness’! How was it possible that in a capitalistic society which praises individualism, grown men willingly follow each other silently and wake up at 4:00 a.m. to engage in something completely outside of the boundaries of their day to day lives? It only could have been a conspiracy, one which I was now on a mission to uncover. (Of course, since there is complete segregation of men and women at Vipassana, I can only imagine that the female group was also subject to the same exact set of rules – and the same conspiracy theory).

Well in fact, after three days I did not experience anything out of the ordinary, and to my disappointment there was no big conspiracy in the looms: the teachings talked about the strict non-commercial and non-religious aspects of the meditation style, and how everyone was free to choose whichever aspects of the technique which seamed reasonable to them. It was on the afternoon of the third day that I first had thoughts of leaving: sitting on the floor for long stretches of time started to take a toll on my lower back, and at the same time I was having great difficulty focusing my mind. The course teaches two primary meditation techniques, both of which require the concentration of the mind on the realistic state of the body. This was different than my previous experiences with meditation, and using only breath as the central focus of the mind made concentration very difficult.

Then miraculously, on the evening of the 3rd day I finally discovered a posture which was relatively comfortable, and my mind finally cleared up such that I could meditate by observing my breath for long stretches at a time. My body ache was still present in full force, including the sheering back pain which required me to change positions every 5 to 10 minutes. I did not know it then, but in the coming days I would come to see my pain in a completely different light: a companion; an entity that I could observe rather than a simple blind experience.

During the evenings, we were presented with discourses – audio-visual recordings of the original teacher of the course who currently resides in India. His instructions were also given at all meditation sittings, which actually turned out to be a very effective means of teaching the course. We were accompanied by 4 assistant teachers – two men and two women – who were available for guidance and consultation during the break periods (speaking with the teachers and the staff was permitted in moderation). It was after the third evening discourse that I realized the importance of noble silence: the chatter which had been going on in my mind for years could have only been calmed by entering a field of isolation.

Somewhere on the 4th day the main Vipassana meditation technique was taught. It consisted of 3 sittings of one hour each throughout which students were asked to remain absolutely still (or as it was called, ‘hour of strong determination’) while observing all the senses of the body from head to toe. The technique is of course taught gradually and in small steps, but nothing can prepare one for this conundrum: the periods of ‘strong determination’ are used to demonstrate the impermanence of the senses – pains, itching sensations, and tingling – all of which come about after around 10 minutes of immobility. The mind can eventually detach itself from the physical pains and pleasures of the moment, learn to observe them, and even decipher them as a different entity. With further practice, one learns to gain full control aversions and cravings as part of observing the sensations of the body – leading to the complete separation of mind from matter and achieving a more balanced and realistic mental experience (the literal translation of Vipassana is observing things as they really are).

I believe it was on the 6th day where noble silence finally started to get the better of me. I missed my friends, family, and it was getting close to the New Year 2007. I thought hard and long whether continuing my sacrifice was really worth it; after all, I had already learnt Vipassana meditation and was getting pretty good at it. I could actually take a step back and observe the senses of my body without reacting to the pain – which was a great achievement for me. I admittedly was starting to get a little bored. But to my surprise, the boredom of the 6th day was transformed to ‘only an act God will take me from here’ by the evening of the 7th day.

Throughout the evening discourses, the teacher kept on repeating that Vipassana meditation will perform a ‘deep surgical operation on the subconscious mind’. He mentioned that intellectualization can operate on the surface level of the mind, but problems often remain deep within the subconscious. Well, for me (putting it mildly) this sounded like a bit of science fiction. But in the early afternoon of the 7th day, as I was partaking in my daily walk between 12:00 and 12:45 p.m., I became overwhelmed by thoughts which I had buried in my mind for years. Like a newly discovered spring, thoughts from my childhood, young adult life, and those of just a few years ago poured out uncontrollably. Events, accidents, and experiences that I had long forgotten and buried in deep vials surfaced like a sunken ship rising from the bottom of the sea. I seemed to have lost control of my great intellectualization abilities, which had given me a complete sense of security over the years.

There was no where to run to any more. I absolutely did not want to talk or see anyone. I only wanted to deal with my unexpected and unwelcome guests and understand them. By myself, and through an objective and clear mind. For the first time, I understood the need for noble silence. I desperately wanted to immerse myself in noble silence.

Vipassana teaches one to ultimately give up all aversions and cravings, thus freeing the self from all misery. While I still struggle with this basic premise, I found out that most (if not all) of the unpleasant experiences of my past had in fact been due to excessive craving, or alternatively hatred, of something, someone, or some place.

Eventually, I would make it through the entire course. I came to understand that the course had been constructed with great care. All instructions and new techniques were delivered with ample time and clarity. Interviews with the teachers helped in understanding the subtle details of the meditation styles. Even on the morning of the 9th day where I was feeling ‘meditation overload’, a new method of meditation was introduced which again became a challenge to decipher and digest.

The evening discourses discussed various concepts centering on the teachings of the Buddha and theories behind the different meditation techniques. Being of Zoroastrian faith, I could not help but notice some of the similarities between these teachings and those of the prophet Zarathustra. The concepts of the ‘universal law of nature’, ‘ultimate truth’, and ‘good thoughts, words, and deeds’ were presented and discussed in ample detail. In fact, one of the discourses delved upon how thoughts lead to actions and words, and that ultimately, good thoughts were the origins of good words and deeds – just like bad thoughts were always necessary for the ensuing physical and verbal actions. Besides these, the freedom of choice was also greatly advocated and presented as the only way for understanding and accepting Vipassana as a practice in one’s day to day life.

I found the teachings to be clear, concise, and in no way contradictory to my own religious beliefs. There was some mention of a concept regarding “the relinquishing of need for organized religion” after one achieved the state of ultimate truth or nirvana - a state that cannot be described in words. I suppose that in some way, this could be interpreted as an anti-establishment idea. However, achieving this state also requires living the life of a monk – which for me is nowhere on the horizon!

And yes – I plan to take the course again as an old student in the future.
For more information on Vipassana meditation, please visit
http://www.dhamma.org/

For a sample of my own soothing music compositions, please visit http://www.soroush.com/

Souroush’s music is very soothing and beautiful! Thank you Souroush!!


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

OREGON COUNTRY FAIR!

This is Part Four of my
In fact, I was a hippie chick!

For my good friend Maw who had no idea that I had been a hippie chick. Read below for Parts One, Two, and Three.


main stage

The Oregon Country Fair is one of my favorite memories of the time I spent in Eugene. OCF is about as hippie as you can get … well, maybe a Rainbow Gathering is more so.


hippie chick friends — Jessica, Karen, Alicia

I attended the Fair for 6 years in a row (1987-1992). It always takes place the 1st weekend of July. However, because my boyfriend at the time, Dave was part of the construction crew for setting the Fair up, the OCF was always a 6 week adventure, starting in early June. Dave would leave then and camp out for the month before the fair and I would come out as often as possible to visit and stay over. The best part was that they would build the sauna booth early on and we’d have late night saunas with camp fires and lots of instruments being played.


me and Al

Yes, it’s another topless pic. The fair would always draw lots of locals who wouldn’t normally partake in such an event except that they wanted to see all of the hippie chicks baring their tits. We were so much in our own world that we hardly noticed. Not to mention that often times we’d spend the majority of the daytime (when it was open to the public) in our camps away from it all. One of the great perks of having a partner who worked for the Fair was that they would get an extra camping pass!


Al, John, and Peter

The best part of the fair really happens after hours when the general public goes home and it becomes open to one big huge family of Fair folk. On Saturday nights, there would be performances all night long on the Main Stage so that the folks running booths all day were able to see some of the amazing artists featured. The best included the Flying Karamazov Brothers, Baby Gramps and Artis The Spoonman.


Jeffrey, his partner, and their baby

Other highlights of night time activity included the sauna — we LOVED the sauna! — and the cheesecake booth! Writing about all of this is making me think that this might be my year of return.


Nani and Al


Phil and Tree (Tree is pregnant with Acacia)


Fair festivities


children’s xylophone band


Nani and Monica


Nani and me


group shot


our camp — Dave’s van is the white one


pre-Fair work

Please, NO GRATEFUL DEAD!!!!

This is Part Three of my:
In fact, I was a hippie chick (kinda)!

For my good friend Maw who had no idea that I had been a hippie chick. Read below for Parts One and Two.


Alicia and me sitting on her bus at Lost Creek

I should clarify that while I spent a good part of my early twenties at gatherings in the forest, wearing long flowing gauze skirts (and nothing else if I was at the Oregon Country Fair), naked at hotsprings, and staying in refurbished school buses, I was NOT a fan of the Grateful Dead and had a very hard time understanding Deadheads. Their full-on conformity and predictability really rubbed against my anarchist tendancies.


Me looking a little less hippie

In spite of my physical appearance, I was a much better fit with the edginess of the Butte Tavern, which was the total antithesis of a bunch of doe-eyed kelp dancers, swaying in unison in the sun. This is probably why I was drawn to the grittiness of the band The Crawdads of Pure Love, which my boyfriend Dave was a part of — even though the chaos around their lives could drive me nutty too. However, it was FAR more interesting.

I know I said my first introduction to the world of the underground alternative scene in Eugene was the Butte; however for clarification, that was my first introduction to living in that world and being a part of the community.


Merry Prankster bus

My real first experience was like baptism by fire. I moved to Eugene from Montana in July 1987 to go to college at the U of O where one of my best friends, Kim had already been for a year. Kim found a huge house with a swimming pool that had been a Budhhist temple in the seventies for 7 of us to live in. Our landlady was an older Budhhist hippie, who owned and lived in my favorite home in Eugene several blocks away. Kim was working at the Hillyard Street Market with a friend of hers named Sarah. As it turned out, Sarah and her boyfriend James were part of the Kesey/Babbs clan. So, two days after I arrived, I found myself “celebrating” 4th of July out at Ken Kesey’s and Ken Babbs’ place at Lost Creek (my friend Alicia lived near by). The bus was there, the drugs were there, and there was some funky ass experimental music that they were trying out. A total blast! and very surreal.


Merry Prankster bus at Keseys’ out at Lost Creek

An aside: A couple years later, Simon Babbs was in one of my printmaking classes. He was a total prankster! – very sharp and very funny. Not a hippie dippy kind of guy, however, Simon did have little crush on me and he would follow me around campus serenading me, totally embarrassing, but I loved it!


Babbs Brother Band (Simon is in the center)

My first real intro to the music scene was the Reggae Allstars: Steve Smith on vocals an guitar, Sequoia on bass, and Gordon on drums. Kim was friends with Sequoia, and Steve would come over and hangout with us by the pool; later, I came to know Gordon as a regular (on the pay phone) at the Butte. Since our house was so huge, we would have big blowout parties with bands about 3 times a year. The Reggae Allstars played at our first.


Sequoia

OnceI started working at the Butte though, the band scene was my life, especially since I had to work every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night (Frankie and Dennis strategically scheduled me on band nights to draw more young hippy chics in, though the bands did that themselves much more than me). And since Dave was in 2 or 3 bands (Band of People, the Crawdads of Pure Love, and Burnt Toast & Jam), I seemed like a groupie for the first couple of years (then I got sick of the late nights, dragging gear around, drugs, booze, and the real groupies).


Crawdads Dave Hicks on steel guitar and Dr. D on bucket bass, Joe in background

The Crawdads of Pure Love were Chuck White on guitar, Dave Heath on mandolin, Chip Cohen on fiddle and banjo, and Dr. D on bucket bass and bones (originally), then Dave Hicks on steel guitar and mandolin, and Kenny Sokolov on drums came along later, and finally Shaun Dicoster came on on guitar. They didn’t call themselves Crawdads without good reason; they were definately bottom feeders and proud of it! I’m sure that was part of the alure for me. That and their music, a combination of bluegrass, folk, and old timey jug band.


Crawdads

The music scene was booming in Eugene in the early nineties. Bands formed and broke up every other week then remixed with other musicians in the same boat — literally a game of musical chairs. The bands in my community included the ones listed above and Mission District (John Schwartzman, Alan Toribio, Mike Walker, Jeffrey Powell, and Phil White), Nine Days Wonder (Ben Sturgil, Dave Coey, Mike Walker, Peter Bach, and Phil White), Midnight Sun (Peter Bach and I can’t remember who else anymore), the Renegade Saints ( Mike Walker, John Shipe – formerly Schwartzman, Alan Toribio, Dave Coey, and Andy Mitchell.)


Dave Coey and Ben Sturgil with Nine Days Wonder

Yup all boy bands — totally lame for a place that prides itself on being so radical, but that’s just the tip of Eugene’s contradictions. These bands were also pretty much all Grateful Dead knock offs — though better because they would cover some pretty great other bands (Santana, Clapton, Blind Faith, Allman Brothers etc). Our favorite venues were Taylor’s (made famous in the Blues Brothers movie), the Butte Tavern, the WoW Hall, and I can’t remember the others anymore. Oh yeah, Jim Guthrie’s backyard.


The Renegade Saints (Allan, Dave, John, Mike, and Andy)

However, as I started to become more and more bored with the hippie music, the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies hit the scene with their big band funk punk sound. Steve Perry and Dan Schmid lived next door too and would often come over and hang out around the pool. My friends Kim, Katie, and I would love to go over to the Vets Club and swing out to the Daddies (the name went through so many different transformations).


The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies at the WoW Hall (that’s my friend Pam in the air)

Other highlights of this period included the time that Steve Weber from the Holy Modal Rounders came down to play with the Crawdads (Chip Cohen, who is truly brilliant fiddle player often played with the Rounders). Then there was another time that the Crawdads opened for Johnny Paycheck in Coos Bay.


Steve Weber playing with the Crawdads of Pure Love at the WoW Hall

I have to say it’s been a great trip down memory lane writing about these times and surfing the web to see where folks I haven’t stayed in touch with are at now. Here’s some of the scoop:

Dave Hicks is still in Eugene and playing in a newband, Wellsville.

Chip Cohen is still playing often in the northwest.


Chip and Crawdads

John Shipe (who I knew as John Schwartzman) is still in Eugene and playing music, check out his site at: http://www.johnshipe.com/ — and he’s still playing with Al Toribio.


Al and John today

Dave Coey is still playing music in Portland, sometimes with Al Toribio.


Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, 2005

The Daddies are still playing and touring.

Next post will be Oregon Country Fair.

Hippie Habitats

Got no flowers for your gun, no hippie chick
Won’t make love to change your mind, no hippie chick
No hippie chick, no hip hip hip hip hip hippie chick


(Kenny’s son Rain in front of Phil and Tree’s bus outside of Dexter)

This is Part Two of my:
In fact, I was a hippie chick!

For my good friend Maw who had no idea that I had been a hippie chick. Read below for Part One.


Alicia’s bus outside of Dexter (Phil and Tree’s was on the same property). I painted
the flowers.

The majority of my friends in Eugene lived in alternative spaces — communes (the Church, Livewood, Merrywood, the Peacock Farm), old school busses, built out trucks, tents, teepees, yurts, etc. My favorites were always the renovated vehicles. I loved the creativity that went into them, the relatively low maintenance, the ability to be mobile (though this was often not the case), and the minimal space allotted for packrat tendancies, which I have bad! Dave and I did end up with an old Seattle city bus; however, we never used it for anything other than big road trips to various protests, gatherings, and Dave’s gigs. By the time we had the bus, he was playing with the Crawdads of Pure Love, my all-time favorite Eugene band, but I’ll save the subject of bands for another post.


Alicia’s kitchen, next to her bus

There was one summer when the Butte Tavern’s parking lot turned into one big bus/vehicle encampment with about 25 – 30 different homes on wheels at any one time. Folks would spend the days at the Keystone Cafe, smoking weed, and hanging out. In the evening, the propane stoves would get fired up, meals would be cooked, and the guitars, banjos, mandolins, and fiddles could be heard for blocks. Later on into the night would be the same except that the campfires would get started.


Inside Alicia’s bus


My and Dave’s bus on the way to the Nevada Test Site protest


Sunshine driving the bus to Nevada Test Site


Michelle, Kenny, and Eliza


The Peacock Farm (Graham, Michelle, Holly)


Jennifer at Alicia’s bus

Hippie Chick

Got no flowers for your gun, no hippie chick
Won’t make love to change your mind, no hippie chick
No hippie chick, no hip hip hip hip hip hippie chick


At the Nevada test site protest in ’91, outside of Mercury Nevada.
My hair is almost dreaded. I would always catch it just before
it hit that point of no return — so about every 6 months.

In fact, I was a hippie chick!
I had dinner with my good friend Maw the other night and she mentioned that she loved the picture of me topless in the desert from a few posts ago. She said she had no idea that I had been a hippie chick. Somehow these roots seem obvious to me, but maybe not so much.


Jean, Dave (my beau), Dr. D, Chuck, and Mark jammin at the Oregon Country Fair

So — MAW, THIS IS FOR YOU!!! Enjoy!!
It’ll probably be a 5 part series, considering I think I lived more wild experiences in the five years I lived in Eugene than any other time in my life.

I lived in Eugene, Oregon for 5 years and received my undergrad degree there. However, my community was not really the college scene. It was the alternative, underground, hippie community. And even that ranged vastly — from other college students, who like me were really drawn to an an alternative way of seeing the world and living, yet still had at least a toe in the more mainstream culture (ie. as a college student) — to folks who were so completely off the grid and truly living under the radar and off the land.


Jam session on the porch of the “single moms’ house.” Chuck (on guitar),
Dr. D on bones, Chip (on the fiddle), and Dave Heath (on mandolin)
Yeah, I know, almost all men in the pic.

My first introduction into this surreal world was working at the Butte Tavern, a total seedy, blue collar (timber and mill workers), on the “wrong-side of the tracks” bar in south Eugene. The place was a large cement box with no windows, pool tables, dart boards (teams for both), and Blues on Thursdays.


Alicia (still one of my very best friends, and still living in Eugene)
and Chuck with Daisy dog.

I still giggle everytime I think about the night I walked in and asked for an application. I REALLY needed a job and I think I’d seen an ad in the paper, so I went to get and application. It was like 7:00 at night, I walked through the door and the cloud of cigarette smoke wafting throughout the place; EVERYONE (like 12 regulars and the two bartenders — all very long-haired, bushy and clearly NOT used to perky college students walking in) turned to look at me. I walked straight up to the bar and asked if I could get an application. The bartender (Frank, or Frankie as he dearly became referred to — he was a big hairy bear, though I didn’t really put this together until years later) was taken off guard and sort of paused and then said “uhhhh sure” and went in the back and got one. I had a beer, filled it out there and the next day Frankie called and said I had the job (apparently the owner Dennis was sitting at the bar when all this went down and he told Frank after I left to hire me).


Me in Dave’s van at Cougar hotsprings

Soon, I was considered a special member of the fraternal order of blue-collar men who would gather everyday Monday through Friday at 3:00 pm to drink beer together and shoot the shit until about 6:00 at night. Frankie also started scheduling a lot more music. We had bands on Thursdays (always stayed Blues night), Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Henry Vestine (guitarist from the Mothers of Invention and Canned Heat fame) was a regular and Ken Kesey would occasionally hang out. This is also how I met my boyfriend Dave Hicks, who is really the one responsible for my experiences in the bowels of living off the grid in Oregon. Dave was playing with the band, Band of People and needed a poster designed (I was also just starting to do band posters for the WoW Hall). We met at the Butte to discuss the design, he came over that night, we went to Cougar hotsprings and then had a great, adventurous, tumultuous relationship for the next four years. I was 21, he was 30; in addition to the lure of the sexy, older guitar/mandolin player, Dave had been a nuclear physist for 6 years, saved the big bucks he’d made (being extremely non-materialistic), realized how fucked up the industry was, and left it all behind to move to Eugene and pursue an alternative life and his real love of music.


Dave in our kitchen

Back to the Butte Tavern for a minute. I’ll share one of my favorite stories from working there. I worked the night shift/closing for the first 8 months I was there (7pm – 3am) — alone during the week. However, this ended following a close call on a Sunday night – three guys had been there all evening/night playing pool and getting wasted. When I announced that I was closing, they started to give me a hard time and I was getting very nervous (remember, I’m 21) Luckily by the grace of god, Dave, who lived a couple blocks away just happened to walk in at that very moment to see if I wanted to come over. Anyway, close call.


Scary Dave drinking his morning coffee during the month long
hotspring camping trip we did through Oregon, Idaho, Utah,
Wyoming, and Montana.

So it was the dayshift for me now. Well every day, like clockwork, at 2:00 in the afternoon Harold would pedal in for his one can of Bud (my theory on the 2:00 – was that Harold wanted to avoid the hoohaw that would begin shortly after 3:00 when all of the mill workers would file in). Harold was probably in his sixties and had the look of someone who spent every day clawing his way out from 6 feet under (rusty bicycle in tow) just to ride on over to the Butte for his Bud. And he’d sit at the bar, barely saying a word, nursing his can of Bud (Bud was the Butte Tavern’s signature beer – of our 5 taps, 4 were Bud and Bud light, Bud in a can, Bud in a bottle, Bud signs everywhere), stay for an hour and pedal out. Well on the special day mentioned, the group of us who are there – me, Frankie, and a handful of other regulars – see Harold coming from the street (during the day we’d keep both doors in the bar open cuz it was the only way we could tell that it was daytime since their were no windows) and Harold is riding up on a sparkly, spanking new turquoise Huffy mountain bike (Kmart’s finest) with a bell to boot, and he’s ringing that bell as he rides in like there’s no tommorrow. We’re all speechless. Harold parks that thing in the corner and sits himself down at the bar, grinning ear to ear (I note that Harold actually has a lot less teeth than I had thought). So we have to ask, “Harold, what’s up with that new bike you got there?” Harold says “I won myself $22,000 in the lottery.” So we all congratulate him and gather round to hear about the big moment and ask what he’s going to do with the cash and he tells us he gave $20,000 to his grandkids for college and is keeping the other $2,000 in the bank, less what he spent on his new bike. And my Allman Brothers tape is playing and “Midnight Rider” comes on, when it gets to the chorus Harold stands up, toasts the air and belts out “and I got one more silver dollar …”


Crawdads of Pure Love at the Beanery. Chip on fiddle, Dave Heath on mandolin,
Chuck on guitar, and Dr. D on bones.

I can’t believe I don’t have any pictures of the Butte because I know that there were a bunch, but I think they ended up with Dave when we broke up.

So that’s all for this entry, I think I’ll share stories of bus living and culture in the next.