Springfield Augurs Ken Kesey

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I am beginning to believe Springfield got it right! I went and looked at the un-finished mural of Ken Kesey. This is a much better job of Branding then the Homer Simpson Mural. It has a literary and historic theme. There are titles of books that Ken perhaps read and mentioned? ‘Grapes of Wrath’ is one.

When I moved to Springfield Oregon eight years ago, I ran into Virginia Hambley’s boyfriend at a city hall meeting. Afterwards Michael took me for a mini-tour downtown. We stopped in front of the Emerald Art Association that was closed. I came back the next day and talked to the director Cheyrl Liontino. I had a vision. I told her I saw Springfield surpassing Eugene in the Arts and it becoming a Mecca for European artists. As I headed out the door, Liontino held out her arms and blocked the door. I became a member of the EAA located on Main Street a block away from Odd Fellows Lodge building that is hosting the image of Ken ‘The King of the Bohemians’.

I went back to look at the finished chalk art and beheld a tribute to Alphonse Mucha the Bohemian Czech artist who inspired me when I rendered my painting of Rena Easton. I asked for and received a photo of her profile.

When I first mew of Stefan Eins, I suggested he talk to Austrian officials about the large canvas we have that might belong to the Austrian People. I ran into a member of my city government and we talked about the Kesey mural. I told her I would do a report and submit it to the City Council after I attend the unveiling on Friday. I am going to catalogue the murals of Springfield. The first one may have been on the side of the first Springfield Creamery building where I visited my childhood friend, Nancy Hamren. In 1987 Nancy got me on the bus, and an invite to the Dead and Dylan concert at Autzen Stadium. I hiked up Mt. Pisgah with Sue and Chuck Kesey. Nancy and I went to Ken’s reading of his book he co-wrote with students.  Nancy and I lived in a commune with the Zorthian sisters whose father was influenced by the famous muralist, Thomas Hart Benton. This statement brings all the creative elements together, and puts them on the wall that is now the compass point of a cultural milestone for Springfield.


Benton fits the familiar mold of Jack London, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway–the roughneck artist, the temperamental genius disguised as a Joe. But beneath the denim and swagger, there lurks something else: a soul, Benton said, ‘impregnated with a deep sense of the value of life, of the beauty of the basic human emotions and the sadness of the drama of human striving.’ -Verlyn Klinkenborg, Smithsonian, April 1989, p. 100.

As a Master of the New Augury, I found the auspices of this mural, to, augur well. One of the chalk entries was titled ‘It Started With A Crack In The Pavement’. What can I say?


Jon Presco

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Looked, viewed etc. at ‘Tale of Two Cities’ – amazing……Thank you for having put it together!!!


A hour ago I got off the phone with Stefen Eins who Christine said I conjured up and brought into her life when she really needed a friend. He told me his people are Bohemians who lived in the Czech Republic. I told him my grandfather, Wensel Anton Braskewitz (Prescowitz) was born there

What the chalk line is, is CONJURING. It may represent the coming together of the artistic ideas of two Bohemian Artists, they meeting on the edge of the two-dimensional cage that most framed artwork is, or isn’t in some rare cases. This is one of those rarities. With the suggestion of color, I experienced an optical illusion where I saw this plot covered in faint pastel colors, yellow, blue, green. My mind was filling in the blank area. It took some effort to stop my hallucinating and see what was really there. What I would eventually see, is that this work transcends, teleporting, telephoning, telescoping, and, teledesign, a word I just made up. It could be delayed-telepathy where the message has been sent, after the means to receive the message has been launched.



“Then he had the Japanese and Chinese artists living there. They built their beautiful little Japanese paper houses up through the woods. What beautiful country! It looks like a mess now, but it was beautiful then — a natural and wild landscape — and the Japanese had carefully created a meandering little stream, Japanese style, beautifully arranged with gardens and little rockeries near the poet’s. You know their expertness in creating beauty. They’d made this beautiful place where they had their barbecues. At that time the poet’s barbecues were always run by his Japanese friends. We’d have raw fish and soy sauce — really delicious. Then, always the particular barbecue for which the poet was famous — he had beautifully peeled willow switches on which were arranged rounds of onions and meat — which you held over the fire until cooked to your taste.

Then we’d go up to a little art colony scattered throughout the woods in their beautiful paper houses. These houses were well made, beautifully constructed, but all the doors and windows except the frames were made of paper. We’d go in, take our shoes off and sit down and we’d watch the artists work, or they’d display work to show us. Some were Chinese, most of them were Japanese.

In 1848 William Makepeace Thackeray used the word bohemianism in his novel Vanity Fair. In 1862, the Westminster Review described a Bohemian as “simply an artist or littérateur who, consciously or unconsciously, secedes from conventionality in life and in art”. During the 1860s the term was associated in particular with the pre-Raphaelite movement, the group of artists and aesthetes of which Dante Gabriel Rossetti was the most prominent:[2]

As the 1860s progressed, Rossetti would become the grand prince of bohemianism as his deviations from normal standards became more audacious. And as he became this epitome of the unconventional, his egocentric demands necessarily required his close friends to remodel their own lives around him. His bohemianism was like a web in which others became trapped – none more so than William and Jane Morris.[3]

Above is a very large painting at the University of Oregon museum, titled ‘The Last Audience of the Habsburgs’ whom all descend from Jeanne de Rougemont. This painting was discovered rolled up in a bank vault here in Eugene Oregon. It had been smuggled out of Austria when Hitler put a bounty on Empress Zita’s head. The Empress receives war orphans ushered into her presence by a famous Austrian women’s Liberationist.

Zita and her family were smuggled to America with the help of
Aristides de Sousa Mendes, whose kin owned the “Jews land” in South Carolina my kindred purchased. The Mendes are Sephardic Jews kin to King David. The Habsburgs held the title ‘King of Bohemia and Hungary, and fought a war with Louis Kosseth who was a good friend of Jessie Benton.

Kossuth was a Freemason, as was Alphonse Mucha whose huge canvases were also smuggled out Nazi Germany that had claimed Austria and the Czech Republic. Drew’s great grandfather, Colonel Thomas Hart Benton, the nephew of the Senator of the same name, saved Albert Pike’s library during the Civil War.

“Among his many other accomplishments, Mucha was also the restorer of Czech Freemasonry.[12]”

I will now research if Kossuth and Mucha knew each other. The Hungarian Freemasons made up Jessie’s and John’s bodyguard.

The Habsburgs were great Patrons of the Art. The Fremont’s held a salon at Black Point where Mark Twain sent the night. Here is a Masonic artistic Legacy that has come down to my niece, Drew Benton, the daughter of the Getty Museum muralist, and cousin of the artist Thomas Hart Benton, the mentor of Jackson Pollack.

So much for Rosemary calling her four children “Bohunks” and chortling.

“He who laughs last – laughs best!”

Did you know Marie Antoniette was a Habsburg? I own a Habsburg lip. I now understand what the Seer meant, when she saw people coming into my being and “take! Take! Take!” I powerless to stop them for reasons unknown. Well, it appears much of my family history is a Masonic Secret – many partake of – but me, until, recently!

Mucha’s canvases look likes scenes out of Star Wars, they as big as a movie screen! Now, what does my kindred Carrie Fisher got, in regards to the screenplay about Christine Rosamond Benton – and her Artistic Legacy!

All’s well, that ends well!

Jon Presco

Copyright 2012






The year was 1970 and next door to the creamery, the Keseys opened the Health Food and Pool Store. A mural outside depicted a fun-filled utopia, complete with a rainbow, a man in the moon, a smiling sun and dancing milk jugs. Inside, not far from the pool table, bulk foods, whole grains, herbs, candles and, of course, Nancy’s Yogurt, filled the shelves.

Chuck Kesey smiles slyly and his eyes glint as he describes the store as “a real culture shock to Springfield.”

Healy, the fellow who bought the bakery next door, remembers that the place lit up whenever Ken Kesey, who died in 2001, rolled up in his Cadillac. He and a few of the Merry Pranksters, as those in his entourage were known, would hop out, shoot pool and raise the sort of high-energy ruckus that fueled their radical reputation.

That reputation and the impact Ken Kesey had on 1970s youth culture gave Nancy’s Yogurt a nudge, or, as Gilbert Rosborne puts it, “The Kesey name gave it hippie star power.”.

Rosborne was a University of Oregon graduate student who delivered Rolling Stone magazine in Portland and Seattle. He recalls sitting outside the creamery chatting with Chuck Kesey when he wondered aloud: Why not drive a truckload of Nancy’s Yogurt to that long-hair haven, the San Francisco Bay Area, and try to sell it?

He needed a partner and asked a Mill Valley, Calif., acquaintance — a guy as sharp at auto mechanics as he was with a harmonica — to join him. Rosborne and his new partner, Huey Lewis, called their venture Natural Foods Express.

They bought old delivery trucks and Lewis tuned them until they purred. The two men took turns driving the long slog between Springfield and the Bay Area, Lewis blowing tunes on the harmonica as they traveled. And the Bay Area devoured Nancy’s Yogurt.

“Rock’n’roll, natural foods, pot. We were gonna create a whole new world,” says Rosborne, who lives north of San Francisco, in a Larkspur, Calif., home he and Lewis once co-owned.

The men dissolved their business partnership around the time Lewis’ band, Huey Lewis and the News, hit it big in the 1980s.

These days, Rosborne delivers wine for a living, but he still fills his fridge with Nancy’s Yogurt.”The main thing I got out of it,” he says, “was good digestion.”

Nancy Van Brasch Hamren brought her grandmother’s recipe to Springfield Creamery in the late ’60s when she started as bookkeeper. She still works in 2010 as office manager.

Nancy Van Brasch Hamren had a recipe. Her health-conscious grandmother made yogurt, and so did she during the months she lived on Ken Kesey’s farm near Eugene.

Hamren, a lanky, soft-spoken Californian, ran in circles simply psychedelic with history. She lived in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district from 1966 to 1968, the bookends to 1967’s Summer of Love. Her boyfriend’s sister was married to Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead’s shaggy-haired lead guitarist. And they all knew Ken Kesey — from his books, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Sometimes a Great Notion,” and from the infamous, drug-juiced parties known as Acid Tests, which he hosted and promoted.

When Ken Kesey traveled to Britain to work with the Beatles in 1969, Hamren and her boyfriend moved to Oregon to look after his farm. When Kesey and his family returned, she needed a new pad and a job. Down at the creamery, his brother, Chuck, needed a bookkeeper. He and Sue hired Hamren, and they started talking yogurt.

The time was right. The place, too.

Eugene and Springfield brimmed with hippie bakeries, granola makers, co-ops and natural-food stores. College kids and others living there moved beyond white bread long before the mainstream pondered crafting diets around fresh, local, organic food

In 1972, when the company was struggling, Chuck Kesey asked his friends in the Grateful Dead if they would play a benefit concert. Hand-drawn posters advertised the event for $3 in advance or $3.50 at the gate. The creamery turned Nancy’s Honey Yogurt labels into concert tickets. On August 27, more than 20,000 free-spirited Deadheads rocked the sweltering afternoon away in Veneta, west of Eugene. The creamery raised from $12,000 to $13,000, enough to stay in business.


Now immortalized for posterity as Sunshine Daydream, the Grateful Dead’s August 27, 1972 concert in Veneta was one for the history books on many fronts — especially because it kept the Springfield Creamery alive.

So we’re delighted that the Creamery is celebrating this epic event with a classic T-shirt, celebrating the day A Rock Band Saved A Yogurt Company, with the proceeds going to Rex. (Order yours here!)

Explains Sheryl Kesey Thompson, “The T-Shirt evolved out of a longtime desire to offer a ‘give back’ to the Grateful Dead of some type, as we honor and remember the fork in the road that the ’72 concert had for the Creamery. We also  looked for something to offer when folks, intrigued by the Nancy’s/GD connection,  asked, ‘Do you have a copy of that Nancy’s label/ticket from the Sunshine Daydream Show?’ or ‘Can I get a copy of the poster?’” They didn’t, but last year’s Sunshine Daydream release led to creative thinking, and voila.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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