I have been having long conversation with my niece, Shannon Rosamond, about the best way to retrieve, and save, the creative legacy that was will to her, for the purpose of her being The Caretaker of a Cultural Icon. ‘Rosamond’ was a cultural icon whos value has all but been destroyed by outsiders that posed as ‘Caretakers’. Shannon has filled me in on how cunning and devious Stacey Pierrot. I will publish our conversations in my book. Shannon told me she was under contract to continue to help Garth Benton with the murals he painted at the Getty Villa. If this place caught fire, it would be equal to the fire that devastated Notre Dame.
Garth Benton painted murals in the homes of very famous people. After leaving Reseda High School, he expanded his horizons, and became an actor. People who have never been anywhere but the town they were born in, can adopt very narrow and primitive views of the world, thus they demand every around them see the world the way they see it. The Mayor of Springfield is looking for our cities Cultural Icons. Finding very few, she with the expert input of Neil Laudati, have created several Cultural Icons. Homer Simson may have been captured and brought to dwell in our Springfield, against his will. Can the same be said about Ken Kesey?
I am suggesting we create The Nurse Ratched Looney Bin where tourists will be put in straight jackets and – LOCKED UP – as long as it takes to snap their photo. We can have The Ratched Parade of Fools – with Fools Feast! How about a Esmerelda Dance Contest?
Thinking outside the box – can be dangerous to your health!
A cultural icon can be a symbol, logo, picture, name, face, person, building, or other image. It is easily recognized and generally represents an object or idea with great cultural significance to a wide cultural group. It has a special status as representing, or important to, or loved by, a particular group of people, a place, or a period in history.
I have taken steps to be awarded several grants. A year from now, I hope to have my own room at the Getty Villa where I am allowed to roam freely admiring the art of my ex-brother-in-law, Garth Benton, and working on my paper and historic masterpiece………..
‘The Doomsday Prophecies of Wealthy Men’
I will be wearing the best headset money can buy with a endless soundtrack from the DaVinci Code, the Phantom of the Opera, and the best of Leonard Cohen. Young scholars will turn their heads as I pass them in halls.
“May the force be with you Professor Obi-Wan Kenobi!”
“Have you saved our planet yet, Obi-Wan?”
“He can’t hear you. He lives in his own world.”
I have also taken steps to receive a grant from the Paul Mellon foundation. Paul is in my rosy family tree via Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, and Warner. I introduced the Pre-Raphaelites to Christine Rosamond Benton. We are ‘The Last Pre-Raphaelites’.
I just made an offer to be Drew Benton’s Mentor. I can show her how to be a scholar in a year. Above is her mother at the Getty Mansion in New York.
I helped pass this law that Garth took advantage of. He and Christine did not know we are kin to them and Liz Taylor.
“The capacity of some people to give back to the community is truly awe- inspiring, and as far as San Francisco is concerned, the Gettys are in a world all their own.
As if the local standard bearers of high society had not done enough in the areas of philanthropy, culture, music or family planning, now the Gettys have ventured forth in a new and unexpected arena: art education.
Their first project is to remind us that when you decide to “upgrade” an artist’s work, you may want to call the artist before getting in touch with your inner Monet. And it’s better, and cheaper, if your cubist leanings don’t involve someone else’s cube.
Years ago I suggested Nazarite Queen Helena of Abiabene was the Sleeping Beauty Princess, Rosamond. I have found the remnant of the Nazarite church she founded in Iraq. The Church of the East has its roots in Adiabeni a place associated with the Magi – who followed a star! I followed this question; “What is in a name?”
“The Brothers Grimm included a variant, Briar Rose, in their collection (1812). It truncates the story as Perrault and Basile told it to the ending now generally known: the arrival of the prince concludes the tale. Some translations of the Grimm tale give the princess the name Rosamond.”
Erin Sullivan, who painted most of the starry objects in the Creamery Mural, told me she was a friend of the authors of the book ‘Holy Blood, Holy Grail’, and she felt compelled to read ‘The Da Vinci Code’ after the lawsuit. I had not yet found Erin when I wrote this on this post;
“Where’s Ken’s copy of ‘The Da Vinci Code’? Before Ken, Homer Simpson was recruited as the Axis Mundi. Consider Robert Anton Wilson’s ‘The Cosmic Trigger’. Like it or not, we are all hurtling in space. And the mothers that born us want to be proud of all their children. For sure they don’t want us to fall in with the wrong crowd, a bunch of oddballs. Now, the bookcase makes perfect artistic sense. Do you agree?”
Wow! What a Cosmic Trigger Coincidence! Erin posted this post on this Facebook and said it was an example of her ‘Retrograde of Venus’. I am changing it, but have the original. Here is what Erin wrote me – that floored me!
“Boy, could I tell you about Dan Brown . . . I am published by Penguin/Tarcher . . . I was the editor for Arkana Contemporary Astrology, Penguin UK . . . . And, he ripped off my authors and friends, Michael Baigent and Rich Leigh who are the authors of Holy Grail, etc.
Rich Leigh who are the authors of Holy Grail, etc. When they lost the lawsuit, Rich died of a heart attack four months later . . . Michael has since died 4 years ago from cancer . . . , When I was forced to read DaVinci, by the tine I got to page 38, I thought it was Rich Leigh under a boring pseudonym . . . AND, it is also straight out of my book on Retrograde Planets, in the VENUS chapter!!!!””
Erin asked me if I had seen the mural her and Laura Foster painted. I told her I saw it in 1986, when I went to visit my childhood friend, Nancy Hamren, who worked there. We talked about the commune we lived in with the Zorthian sisters, whose father was a famous muralist who was inspired by my kindred, Thomas Hart Benton – who was the mentor of Jackson Pollock! Erin was thrilled to be placed amongst these stars of the Art World, as will Laura be when I find her.
Here is my sister. This site and these images of beautiful Rosamond women, came to be owned by a hostile outsider who tried to get me to sign a legal document that would forbid me to write about Christine – and my family!
On my visit, Nancy suggested I author the history of the hippies because I could recall so much. A year later I began ‘The Gideon Computer’. In 1989, began a theological novel ‘The Lion of God’ where I say Mary Magdalene was the real Messiah of the Jews, and thus was called Jesus, which means “Savior”. Because John was the “savior” of the Jews, and a son of a Rabbi, he would be married. In my book her marries Mary Magdalene. A parchment is saying Jesus was married.
There once were two Kesey Murals in Springfield. My friend Nancy described the first one and got one of names of the artists, right, so I was able to restore the lost description of the mural that was painted on the outside wall of the The Creamery that Chuck told me the town leaders hated.
“It was the only mural for a hundred miles around, and, it had to go!” Said the husband of Sue Kesey, and brother-in-law of Ken.
“There was a caldron with marijuana plants!” Nancy, of yogurt fame, added.
“Wasn’t there a Unicorn?” asked I.
The unasked question at the unveiling (as far as I know) is………
How did Ken get so big? It’s like ‘The Attack of the Fifty Foot Author’.
There are reasons why many people want to see Ken Kesey’s mural in downtown Springfield, work. I will post on the Mayor’s speech later on. What had to be sought was permission to render this mural on a building owned by the Oddfellows. They were mentioned in what can be described as a political speech. Most everything is political these days. For sure no one that mattered was for ‘Cosmic Ken’. To render a giant mural with Saturn and a shooting star above Magi Kesey’s head, is a No-No! There can be no beatitude smile on his face while he hand-feeds a Unicorn that has just come across the Rainbow Bridge. This would not pass muster. Everyone is going to scream…..
Even though these thing were used to sell dairy and yogurt products, stuff that is good for you, let us put these magical things in books, and put these books in a bookcase, that almost renders Ken’s mural, a still life. The revolution will not be televised. There will be no army of happy milk cans marching down the yellow-brick road to see the Wizard who promoted a mind-altering chemical. If folks want to see this kind of stuff they can go see the Kesey movie when it plays at the Gateway theatre, located a mile away. Will it be in 3-D? Will the audience put on tie-dyed glasses?
What I am extremely interested in is becoming a Lobbyist, because I want to see the 17% percent tax on marijuana go to Creative Bohemian ideas. That cauldron at the end of the Rainbow Nancy talked about, will soon be filled with
Many will come running to stake their claim. We are looking at a New Gold Rush!
When I read the folks who rendered the Simpson Family on the side of the Emerald Art Association, were going to do a mural of Ken Kesey, I went downtown to investigate from a skeptics point of view. I wore a funny hat, Merlin’s hat, that was full of stars and crescent moon. I brought objects with me in order to perform an Augur’s ritual. Four days later I could not believe my good fortune when Brenda invited me to come upstairs and see the Oddfellow Hall that was open to the public for the unveiling. I was going to get more than a peek behind te Curtain of Oz.
The first thing I see is a table full of magical and odd hats. I debated about bringing my Merlin hat. There were costumes. In another room there were strange three-dimensional objects in a frame. Did the Oddfellow look down on me while I performed an intuitive ceremony? Did they declare;
“He’s the Chosen One! Let us lure him up here at the unveiling!”
I learned from sister, Vicki Presco, that the father of our niece, Drew Benton, passed away five days ago. Garth Benton married Christine Rosemond Presco in 1986. Garth was married to the actress, Harlee McBride, before that, and had two daughters, Jessica, and Bree.I was glad to hear that Drew was there for her father when he passed, with the help of Vicki. This is the family unity that I hoped for when I visited Vicki in June so we can go foreword. We have spent too much time at the stern of the ship looking at the destructive flotsam in our wake. We have been moving to the bow of the ship in order behold a brighter future.
For those who have inherited at least one of the Muses, let us continue to look to our creations, our beautiful children, and the loving bonds we made, for inspiration.
Above are the images of the beautiful Muses that Garth rendered in his mural ‘Hall of the Nine Muses’. Bree is performing a one act show in New York. Drew is working on new artwork. Here is the webpage Drew designed for her father: http://www.garthbenton.com/
The murals on the J. Paul Getty Museum’s garden walls have been seen by millions of visitors since the Malibu institution opened 20 years ago. But who knew that the artist who painted–and is now restoring–the realistic likenesses of columns, garlands and still-life arrangements is Garth Benton, a third cousin of Thomas Hart Benton? The 53-year-old artist never met his famous relative, an American regionalist painter who rejected modern abstraction and championed a muscular style of realism until his death in 1975. But the younger Benton was turned on to art at the age of 8 when he saw a book of his relative’s paintings, and he occasionally corresponded with the late artist, who spent much of his life in his home state of Missouri.
Fine art connoisseurs insist that Garth Benton creates the kind of exquisite murals that “should be admired and treasured.” Insiders say Benton’s “never-ending” skills are made manifest by the diversity of his commissions, which are inspired by everything from first-century Roman frescoes to eighteenth-century Chinese wallpaper to Art Deco and Modern designs.
Benton, who has been described as one of the top five muralists in the world, truly executes museum-quality pieces. He has worked on such notable projects as the 1,000-foot mural in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, and been published in fine art books. Benton studied art at UCLA and Art Center College of Design after being inspired by the work of his cousin, the late Thomas Hart Benton, a teacher of Jackson Pollock and a well-known artist in his own right.
Benton is renowned for his meticulous research, immersing himself in the history of a civilization before he lifts his brush. Benton often paints his murals on canvas so they can be transported, a detail clients appreciate—especially when they decide to move. Though sources say they “cannot put a price” on these works of art, they willingly write a very large check.
Representative Client Comments:
“Benton’s work is breathtaking.” “In addition to being one of most talented artists of his time, he is a wonderful person—soulful and real.” “I am glad to know that this kind of skilled artist still exists.” “Garth transports you to another time with his art.”
“To Garth with appreciation of your wonderful assistance and with warmest, best wishes.”
– Betty and Gerald Ford
“What a joy to have your murals!”
– Bob and Dolores Hope
“Your work is truly fine, and you go above and beyond the call of duty. So when you present your final bill to me, make it for whatever you like…within reason, of course.”
– Barbra Streisand
“To master artist Garth Benton, and his two talented daughters, and with gratitude for your beautiful additon to our new home.”
– Rhonda “Mann” Flemming
Mr. and Mrs. Bob Hope
Pres. and Mrs. Gerald Ford
Ms. Barbra Streisand
Mr. Sidney Sheldon
HRH Prince Saud Al Faisal
Ms. Carol Burnett
Mr. and Mrs. David L. Wolper
Ms. Jaclyn Smith
The J.Paul Getty Museum
M.H. De Young Memorial Museum
Mr. Danny Kaye
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Singleton
Mr. And Mrs. Mickey Rudin
Mr. Dean Martin
Mr. Hugh Hefner
Ralph M. Parsons Company
Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Firestone
The Beverly Hilton Hotel
Squaw Valley Inn
Mr. Richard Cohen
Lily and Richard Zanuck
Mr. and Mrs. George Doheny
Princess of Iran
Ms. Polly Bergen
Mrs. Walt Disney
Ms. Pamela Mason
Mr. and Mrs. Jim Knight
Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Spelling
Mr. and Mrs. Kirk Douglas
Mr. Jerry Magnin
Mr. and Mrs. Warren Clark
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Maguire
Mr. and Mrs. Stewart Resnick
Ms. Danielle Steel
Mr. David Nutt, Esq.
Poor Baby Bree is really Bree Benton, 35 and a newcomer to cabaret. But her arresting characterization—unbroken for the length of her show—is worthy of a small theater. She drifts into view, worldly goods slung over her shoulder, and then, through vintage recitations and songs of woe, she recalls every defeated wretch who traipsed through early-20th-century America, looking for home and hanging on by a thread. Opening her bag, she pulls out her “babies”—antique dolls to whom she sings. Is she insane or just lonesome? Benton draws her laments from tattered sheet music and acoustic 78s; her voice is the frail warble heard on those tinny recordings, her face the portrait of despair immortalized by Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish and other silent-era waifs.
Learning of Benton’s incongruous family connection—she’s the stepdaughter of Richard Belzer, the cranky, politically minded comic actor—makes you all the more curious: What led her to adopt this antique persona? So hauntingly does she inhabit it that you may conclude that Bree Benton is not of this time, nor even this world.
Producers of the abandoned revival of Funny Girl struggled to find a new Fanny Brice, someone with the requisite comedic chops and rafter-shaking voice who could shake the ghost of Streisand. They might have done well to consider Bree Benton, who, in the persona of Poor Baby Bree, evokes the comic pathos of Brice and her contemporaries while putting her own indelible stamp on vaudeville revisited.
Since 2005, Benton has been performing in one-person shows as Poor Baby Bree, with musical director Franklin Bruno at piano—championing lost vaudeville songs of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Baby Bree, a street-smart waif with stars in her eyes and “not a plug nickel” to her name, provides Benton with the ideal vehicle for her repertoire of vintage comic songs, ballads, and patter. In Benton’s skillful hands, tough-talkin’, sweet-singin’ Baby Bree is part Bette Davis, part Fanny Brice, part Judy Garland with a sprinkling of Olive Oyl—a sassy comedian one minute, a heart-breaking balladeer the next.
Baby Bree’s latest adventure, “I Am Going to Run Away,” is now playing at La MaMa through April 29. In this outing, Baby Bree runs away from home to join the circus—only to find herself lost in the big city, with only her dolls for company. This provides the frame for such forgotten standards as the rousing “Oh! You Circus Day” from 1912—a lively celebration of big-top glamour—to the poignant “Laugh! Clown! Laugh!, ”a 1928 ditty about the tragic life of a circus clown. For the most part, Benton breezily walks the tightrope between funny and sad, as epitomized in her charming interpretation of the 1932 novelty song “The Angel Cake Lady (And the Ginger Bread Man),” replete with a dancing marionette, gingerbread man, and larger-than-life doughnut. In some places, however, she is still finding her comedic feet. Not all the jokes land, particularly in the awkward first 10 minutes. (A crack about a wild bear eating sauerkraut crashed with a thud). Under Bruno’s musical direction, the band provides lively accompaniment, driving the momentum while providing rich period sound. Consulting director David Schweizer has built a solid framework—though sometimes the transitions drag—particularly the long, unnecessarily complicated and literal shift from the “woods” to the city. (The action stops to a halt as two stagehands dismantle trees and put up a garbage pail and crates).
Still, this is charming evening—a celebration of old songs whose cleverness and emotional truth still resonate—and a showcase for prodigious performer. In all, “I Am Going to Run Away” is a delightful introduction to the forgotten songs of a century ago.
Poor Baby Bree in I Am Going to Run Away; LaMaMa Etc. Conceived and performed by Bree Benton; Consulting Director: Michael Schweizer; Musical Direction and Piano: Franklin Bruno; The Club at LaMaMa; 212-475-7710; http://www.lamama.org, http://www.poorbabybree.com