Beautiful Cultural Warfare







boa8At the Vancouver Museum there were rock posters on the wall. I looked for one with the Loading Zone. The poster with the Zone playing with the Who, in particular because I was in Canada. Peter Townsend was a follower of Meher Baba, as was I since 1967. My friend James Taylor was a leading follower of Baba, and found the Victorian in Oakland where we lived with the Zone. James and his childhood friends, were members of Brotherhood of Eternal Love who manufactured and distributed LSD all over the world. I was there when Tim loaded up a batch and headed to the airport to take a jet to London. Tim and Peter were chased thru the Berkeley Hills by rednecks. I was introduced to Tim Skully by my patron, Tim’s brother. Nancy dated Owsley and went on a doube date with Christine and Nick Sands, another LSD manufacturer.

Before there was Acid and Hippie there was the second wave of Beats in SF and Oakland. In 1962, on Stowe Avenue, there was a scene that rivaled what was going on in San Francsico. Here lived Nancy Van Brasch, the first girl I kissed. Her German ancestors came to Texas as part of the Adelsverein movement. Nancy made the Ken Kesey family rich with her grandmother’s recipe for yogurt. In the descript of Hippie, Germans into health food and back to nature were at the root of Hippie Culture. My German ancestors were Forty-Eighters and members of the Turnerverein that came before the Wandervogel. They founded a city and a German Theme Park.

George Blais was a Dunite who invited Meher Baba to stay in their shacks by the sea. George was a Nature Boy and is seen in photo with no shirt on. Blais, Baba, Miller, and Gustav Nagel are on the same wave length. I believe I am their successor.

Above is the artwork of Arthur Matthews who women will wander onto the canvases of Christine Rosamond Presco who great grandfather, Wensel Anton Prescowitz, migrated from Bohemia Germany. We Prescos were real Bohemians. Matthews dancing women look like the Wandervogel. Is there a connection. In this article the women who lived in the Idle Hands commune are mentioned.

They are:

Nancy Hamren Von Brasch
Christine Rosamond Benton
Berry and Ceyburn Zorthian
Carrol Schurter

Above is a photo of me in my sister’s studio taken by Christine. She wanted me to be her first male portrait. I look like Nagel and Baba.

Jon Presco

Copyright 2013

In fin de siècle Europe, from 1896–1908, a German youth movement known as Der Wandervogel began to grow as a countercultural reaction to the organized social and cultural clubs that centered around German folk music. In contrast to these formal clubs, Wandervogel emphasized amateur music and singing, creative dress, and communal outings involving hiking and camping.[3] Inspired by the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Goethe, Hermann Hesse, and Eduard Baltzer, Wandervogel attracted thousands of young Germans who rejected the rapid trend toward urbanization and yearned for the pagan, back-to-nature spiritual life of their ancestors.[4]
During the first several decades of the 20th century, these beliefs were introduced to the United States as Germans settled around the country, some opening the first health food stores. Many moved to Southern California where they could practice an alternative lifestyle in a warm climate. In turn, young Americans adopted the beliefs and practices of the new immigrants. One group, called the “Nature Boys”, took to the California desert, raised organic food, and espoused a back-to-nature lifestyle. eden ahbez, a member of this group, wrote a hit song called Nature Boy, which was recorded in 1947 by Nat King Cole, popularizing the homegrown back-to-nature movement to mainstream America. Eventually, a few of these Nature Boys, including the famous Gypsy Boots, made their way to Northern California in 1967, just in time for the Summer of Love in San Francisco.[5]
Beat Generation[edit]

The Brotherhood of Eternal Love was an organization of psychedelic drug users and distributors that operated from the mid-1960s through the late 1970s in Orange County, California; they were dubbed the Hippie Mafia.[1] They produced and distributed drugs in hopes of starting a psychedelic revolution in the United States.[2]
The organization was started by John Griggs as a commune (and got Timothy Leary to come out to their ranch in Idyllwild-Pine Cove, California) but by 1969 had turned to the manufacture of LSD and the import of hashish.
In 1970 The Brotherhood of Eternal Love hired the terrorist organization Weather Underground for a fee of $25,000 to help LSD activist Timothy Leary make his way to Algeria after he escaped from prison, where he was serving a 5-year sentence for possession of marijuana.[3][4]
Their activities came to an end on August 5, 1972, when in a drug raid dozens of group members in California, Oregon and Maui were arrested, though all of them were released within months; some who had escaped the raid continued underground or fled abroad.[2] More members were arrested in 1994 and 1996, and the last of them in 2009;[1] he served two months in jail after pleading guilty to a single charge of smuggling hashish.[5] A documentary called Orange Sunshine (for the LSD they produced) on the organization premiered in 2007,[2] and in 2010 Nicholas Schou published a book on the brotherhood.[6]

Adelsverein was organized on April 20, 1842, by 21 German noblemen at Biebrich on the Rhine, in the castle of the future Adolphe, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, then the reigning Duke of Nassau in Germany, who was named Protector of the Society.[3] In Germany, the society was referred to as Mainzer Adelsverein after the city of Mainz where it was officially registered. The society represented a significant effort to establish a new Germany on Texas soil through organized mass emigration.[2] The land for the emigrants was to be purchased by the Adelsverein or secured through land grants from the Republic of Texas.[4]

Baba and his group stayed overnight and spent the following day visiting with Sam Cohen and other Dunites, many of whom were eccentric characters and spiritual seekers who gave little importance to social convention. Hugo Seelig was a seeker of truth from an early age, who, after his father’s suicide, roamed the coast of California meeting other seekers and visiting places where they could be found. At Stanford University, he met a resident of Halcyon who told him about Oceano and the little dune colony there. When WWI broke out and America entered the war, Hugo went to live in the dunes and became part of the community, pursuing his writing.

George Blais was an ascetic who despite being in his 60s, was in splendid physical health with long white hair and beard. He was strictly celibate and a vegetarian who lived on grains and fruits, especially fruits which had fallen to the ground (he believed that vegetables like carrots and lettuce suffered because they remain alive after being pulled up or cut off). He seemed impervious to the elements, living naked in the dunes and only putting on a loincloth if he had to enter the nearby town. George was a reformed alcoholic and a lay preacher who attracted attention from outsiders, eventually developing a small following.(22)

Both of these men, along with Sam Cohen, were the “Dunites” who spent the most time with Meher Baba during this visit.

In a letter dated July 1st, 1966 written to another of Baba’s followers, Filis Frederick, Sam Cohen wrote:
Baba arrived with his group the day before Christmas… The next day Baba spent in granting interviews to different people who had heard of his coming. In the late afternoon we all trekked to the beach to escort Baba back to town, from where he would resume his drive back to Hollywood. As we walked along the beach single file, Baba’s car had broken down, and we all kept looking at Baba in the hope that he might perform a miracle, but Baba decided to let the law of mechanics take its course. So the car was pushed forward and Baba and I walked on ahead.

The first “Wanderverein” with the name “Kameraden” began in 1916 in Breslau. In 1919, the many other local “Kameraden” organizations that had sprung up banded together to form a nationwide organization. The “Kameraden” were different from other Jewish youth organizations of the time because they were not Jewish nationalists or Zionists and they oriented themselves toward middle class, assimilated Jews. The goal was to promote the development of spiritually and physical sound Jewish youth who felt they were a part of both German society and the Jewish religious community. The organization took a neutral position on religion because the differences in belief within the Jewish community. “Jungvolk” was founded by the local “Kameraden” organization of Leipzig. It was published for the organization’s younger members. Its stories and articles were about the exploration of the outdoors and foreign lands. Its articles promoted a sense of fraternity among its young Jewish reader

Who is Nancy?
Nancy Hamren, The Namesake
“I had always loved yogurt because my grandmother was very much into natural foods.” Nancy Hamren, 2005
People often ask, “where did Nancy’s Yogurt get its name?” Simple, from Nancy Van Brasch Hamren, the Springfield Creamery’s long-time bookkeeper and recipe supplier. 
Born and raised in California, Texas and Iowa, Nancy’s was the third generation in a lineage of health food enthusiasts. In 1966, Nancy moved to Haight Ashbury in San Francisco to attend college. It was 1969 when she met Ken Kesey, counterculture leader and author of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, and she was invited to take care of Ken’s Pleasant Hill, Oregon farm while he was in London recording stories with the Beatles. When Nancy heard Ken’s brother, Chuck, had a little creamery in Springfield, Ore., and was looking for a bookkeeper, she applied and soon found herself sharing her knowledge of making yogurt.

Adelsverein was organized on April 20, 1842, by 21 German noblemen at Biebrich on the Rhine, in the castle of the future Adolphe, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, then the reigning Duke of Nassau in Germany, who was named Protector of the Society.[3] In Germany, the society was referred to as Mainzer Adelsverein after the city of Mainz where it was officially registered. The society represented a significant effort to establish a new Germany on Texas soil through organized mass emigration.[2] The land for the emigrants was to be purchased by the Adelsverein or secured through land grants from the Republic of Texas.[4]

Culture (Latin: cultura, lit. “cultivation”[1]) is a modern concept based on a term first used in classical antiquity by the Roman orator Cicero: “cultura animi”. The term “culture” appeared first in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, to connote a process of cultivation or improvement, as in agriculture or horticulture. In the 19th century, the term developed to refer first to the betterment or refinement of the individual, especially through education, and then to the fulfillment of national aspirations or ideals. In the mid-19th century, some scientists used the term “culture” to refer to a universal human capacity. For the German nonpositivist sociologist Georg Simmel, culture referred to “the cultivation of individuals through the agency of external forms which have been objectified in the course of history”.[2]
In the 20th century, “culture” emerged as a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of human phenomena that cannot be attributed to genetic inheritance. Specifically, the term “culture” in American anthropology had two meanings:
1. the evolved human capacity to classify and represent experiences with symbols, and to act imaginatively and creatively; and
2. the distinct ways that people living differently classified and represented their experiences, and acted creatively.[3]
Hoebel describes culture as an integrated system of learned behavior patterns which are characteristic of the members of a society and which are not a result of biological inheritance.[4]
Distinctions are currently made between the physical artifacts created by a society, its so-called material culture, and everything else,[5] the intangibles such as language, customs, etc. that are the main referent of the term “culture”.

Wandervogel is the name adopted by a popular movement of German youth groups from 1896 onward. The name can be translated as rambling, hiking, or wandering bird (differing in meaning from “Zugvogel” or migratory bird) and the ethos is to shake off the restrictions of society and get back to nature and freedom. Soon the groups split and there originated ever more organisations, which still all called themselves Wandervogel, but were organisationally independent. Nonetheless the feeling was still of being a common movement, but split into several branches.

Yesterday I received information from Shirley Schwoerer of the Redwood City Library, that said my ancestor, Carl August Janke, was instrumental in establishing a Turnverien in Belmont, and the Bay Area. Was it the first?
“He erected the old amusement hall of the Turnverein, and managed this for several years.”
Janke may be the first real estate developer in the San Francisco bay area.
“In 1849 the family came around the Horn on an old Clipper ship, and Mr. Janke brought with him on the trip the material for six portable houses. He set up these houses, and at once engaged in a successful business, as a building contractor.”
This information confirms my theory that the Tanforan cottages in the Mission, are the Turnverein cottages that Janke brought around the Cape in order to establish a German comminity of Freethinkers in the New Western Land of the Free -free of church rule! The Jüdischen Turnverein was established for the same reason. For awhile Jews and Germans shared the same Turnverien in Berlin, and were seen as Liberal-Socialists. San Francisco is considered the most Liberal and ethnically diverse city in the world where folks from the old world can practice their traditions of total freedom. Hitler banned and persecuted the Freethinkers, and outlawed the Turnverein because he was a devout Christian. Consider the support the Sephardic Jews gave William of Orange in his war against Papal rule in Britain. Members of the Jüdischen Turnverein were instrumental in the founding of the Socialist state of Israel, and thus can be seen a Messiahnic orginazation that did name itself after the Messiah, Bar Kochba, “son of the star”.
It is time for Democrats to reach out to members of the Republican Party and show them their traditional roots.
Down with Big Brother Jesus and the ‘one arm workout’ that makes the rich and powerful – stronger! Let us rescue our obese children from the Fat Cat Billionaire Club, and launch a new Physical Education Program that will get young people away from their electronic gadgets made overseas.
Jon Presco
1. Postcard of “Bar Kochba” Sports Club: Turnergruss vom Jüdischen Turnverein “Bar Kochba”, Berlin. Postcard in color, in lithographic printing, produced by Bruno Bürger & Ottillie, Leipzig. Sent by mail in 1900. Good condition. Minor stains, creased corners. Mailed.
2. Postcard with photo and writing (photomontage), produced for “Maccabi World Winter Games”, (Banská Bystrica), Slovakia, February 1936. Good condition. Mailed.
“Charles August Jaxke came to CaHfornia in the gold rush days
of ’49, and as a contractor erected some of the very early homes and
other huildings around the bay. He was especially interested in the
development of that section known as Belmont, in what is now San
Mateo County.
He was born in Saxony, Germany, in 1809, and he married there
Dorothy Peterson, who w^s born on one of the Islands of the North
Sea in 1814. In 1849 the family came around the Horn on an old
Clipper ship, and Mr. Janke brought with him on the trip the material
for six portable houses. He set up these houses, and at once engaged
in .a successful business, as a building contractor. He had served his
apprenticeship and had become a very thorough workman in Germany. He
erected the old amusement hall of the Turnverein, and managed this for
several years. He secured a tract of land and established Belmont Park,
opening it and developing it and putting it on the market, and continued
to operate Belmont Park proper until his death. He died in 1881, and
his wife passed away at the age of sixty-three.”

Athur Mathews was a California painter active in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
Mathews is sometimes thought of as an Art Nouveau artist. He and his wife Lucia Mathews, also an artist and one of his former students at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in San Francisco, brought together influences from the European Art Nouveau artists, the burgeoning American Arts and Crafts movement (of which they were an influential part) and the ideals of classical art, and created a style that came to be called the California Decorative Style.
Arthur Mathews was trained as both an artist and an architect. He studied painting at the San Francisco School of Design and later at the Academie Julian in Paris. There, like many American painters of the time, he was exposed to the creative explosion of avant-garde European art. Unlike most of his compatriots, he did not become enamored of the techniques of the French Impressionists, but took his inspiration from the graceful elegance of Art Nouveau (see my post on Alphonse Mucha) and the sublime tonalism of Whistler. (It’s sometimes hard to remember that Art Nouveau and Impressionism were essentially contemporary, Mucha and Gauguin shared a studio for a time.)
Mathews returned to California and became director of the San Francisco School of Design; and brought his various influences to bear on the creation of brilliantly colored and elegantly naturalistic California landscapes. He became an influential teacher and, though he was not a proponent of Impressionist ideals, counted among his students major figures of California Impressionism and plein air painting like Granville Redmond.
Arthur and Lucia produced a range of artistic and decorative works — stained glass, carved frames, furniture, graphic design and illustration. After the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, they joined with like minded artists and artisans and tried to make their part in rebuilding San Fancisco a guiding and enlightening role, with the dream of making the city a cultural utopia.
Unfortunately, there aren’t lot of high-resolution images of their work on the web just yet. As their influence and importance is rediscovered, that should change.
Those in the Ohio area can see an exhibit currently at the Akron Art Museum (originally organized by the Oakland Museum of California) called California as Muse: The Art of Arthur and Lucia Mathews that runs until September 7, 2008.
For the rest of us, there is a new book created to accompany the exhibit, The Art of Arthur & Lucia Mathews by Harvey L. Jones.

And I love this picture here from 1932 of Norina with Meredith Starr and the Dunites, a small spiritual community who lived on a beach in California. Meher Baba visited the Dunites at Moy Mel in the 1930s. R-L: George Blais, Hugo Seelig, Norina, Meredith Starr, Pete Kosky.

The dunes had long been the home of a drifting population of vagrants and eccentrics, but it was in the 1920s that the people who became known as The Dunites claimed the transitory area for their own; a rag tag collection of everyone who felt disenfranchised with the world. Edward St Claire a Spanish-American war veteran turned poet was one of the first to claim residence. Then came George Blais, a reformed alcoholic turned evangelist and a naturist, who dressed to go into town in a loincloth and bandana, but otherwise lived naked in the dunes, surviving off fruits and nuts. One of the most illustrious and flamboyant Dunites was astrologer, writer and socialite Gavin Arthur, grandson of United States President Chester A. Arthur and who ‘had it all’ by the standards of the day, but opted out of society. Probably the most well-known resident of the make shift dune neighborhood was the artist Elwood Decker.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to Beautiful Cultural Warfare

  1. Reblogged this on rosamondpress and commented:

    Don’t you wish we could turn back the hands of time and go back to those good old days, when ‘The Gipper’ was demonizing the hippies and their lightshows – with glee? I wonder how Reagan would handle the ISIS Crisis? Let’s ask the right-wing think tanks, they have all the answers, such as how to get Trump our of the limelight.

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