An Avant-Garde Psychedelic News-Artist

The damn is breaking.

For years I have been considering giving myself a Job Title in hope people will stop hurting me…stop trying to destroy me. I thought I had a pretty good idea who I was when I moved to Los Angeles with my family in 1961. I was fifteen. Right away I get it…..The Sun Is The Message In LA! Just before I left LA in 65, I did a painting – to try and put the fire out! I did a huge canvas of the mudflats off the Bay Bridge.

I am the first to recognize the mudflats as a work of art. This is my Back To Oakland Soul Painting. There are big rain drops falling. Got to put the fire out. Marilyn and I have broken up. Her mother made me go to Billy Graham crusades at the LA Coliseum. My soul wasn’t right. I needed more Jazz in my life – too! When I saw the movie La La Land I told Marilyn it’s about us. Not quite. If you throw in Kenny Reed, then you got the La La Trio. The Reeds knew a lot about Jazz.

I am four generations Oakland California. At fourteen, my favorite musicians are Bo Didley, and Bobby Blue Bland. A friend of mine, Bob Pratt, invited me to stay at his house, and after his parents went to sleep with listened to KDIA down in the basement. The Blues is a lament with a Soul Argument. You got to hear the man’s side of things. I did a painting titled ‘The Argument’. I depict two women and man on a zig-zag road that disappears into the nicotine-brown smog. I gave it to my father who told me his woman investor broke out in tears when she saw it.

“This is how I grew up!”

This painting got destroyed in a drunken argument between Dee-Dee and my Dad. Dirty Dee-Dee shot my father in the back. I am – honored!

After I saw Dodge 38, I beheld some chicken wire in the backyard at Glendon. No one would buy me canvas and paints. I framed a piece of plywood, tacked the chicken wire to it, took the ten pounds of clay I had, and made a relief of a Man. I threw in some leaves and dry grass, and painted everything a black-blue, the only color I had. I mixed some house paints.

When I took Melinda out back to see my art. She stops before my Chicken Wire Man. She starts to sob. She has the same beautiful small contained voice that Lara has. Melinda was written up in TIME magazine for speaking sentences when she was six months old.

“What’s wrong?” I ask her.

“Look! A spider has made a tunnel right between his eyes!”

Three weeks later, her father is trying to murder me. I had no girlfriends in Oakland. Three years in LA and I have bonded with two of the most dramatic women – anyone can meet! To capture myself in front of a defunct radio station closed off with chain link fence – is a work of my art!

When Marilyn was fourteen, Jazz trombonist, J.J. Johnson cooked dinner for her in his appartment in Watts. They kissed on the couch, but, told him her age. Her sister Shauna would make her us to look older. She was living with Jazz drummer, Ron Jefferson, who was a member of the Les McCann Trio.

I haven’t heard from M about her husband. Kenny Reed was a musical mainstay in Eugene. We three are the real deal.

The first time I met somebody who was somebody, was when Marilyn took me up to the Hollywood Hills to meet her good friend, Les McCann, a world famous Jazz Artist. While Les played for us, I looked at my fifteen year old girlfriend – my first lover – and out the window at the light of the city below. This is it, the life I wanted, the life of a Bohemian Artist.

Seeing that we were in love, when Les finished his composition, he looked sternly at me and said;

“You better take care of my little girl here!”

Les and his French wife had adopted Marilyn, her sister Shauna having married Les’s drummer, Ron Jefferson. Marilyn had lived with the McCann’s the previous summer. Marilyn was taking piano lessons in Brentwood, and I went with her to one lesson and sat in the entry of a beautiful home doing a sketch of a cat while my lover’s melodious notes filled my soul. This was the soulful and creative life I dreamed of.

When we broke up wo years later I did a haunting painting of Marilyn and her mother. These women had known poverty. Marie was taking clothes off a line as rain clouds advanced. Her five year old daughter is by her side, watching a man with a black umbrella walk away from them, down the road, into the storm. I knew I would find this little girl in the photos Marilyn handed me yesterday because Marilyn had described this image. That painting hung in my first art show at the New Balladeer, a coffe shop that was once a tea house Marioyn and I discovered. We went there after school. I drew my young lover as classical music played on hidden radio. My life’s course was set in stone. What could ever go wrong?

It was at the New Balladeer that sixteen year old Melinda Frank met Sky, her first lover. One day two men in trench coats came in and threw Sky up against the wall and told him to get out of town – or else! A week later he was found dead with is face burned off with a blowtorch. Sky looked just like Jesus. When Melinda saw
my death mask Bill had made, she had to have it. She kept it by her bed. She was in love with it. Bryan wanted me to break up with Melinda, he blaming her for his good friend’s death. He would go on the play with the famous rock group, Love, the first racially mixed rock and roll group.

A year later I and Christine are living in a famous San Francisco commune with Nancy Hamren and the Zorhtian sisters. Their father was a famous Beat Artist who was a good friend of Charlie Parker. I dropped acid and partied at the Zorthian Ranch in 1966.

In 1979 I married Marianne Thoraldson, who lived with the famous author, Thomas Pynchon, for several years. They went to Cornell, and were close with the famous musicians, Richard and Mimmi Farina, who my artistic wife did a portrait of. Pynchon was into Jazz, and refers to Charlie Parther in his novels. Marilyn made the dress Maryanne wore at our wedding. Bryan was in attendance, and sang several of his songs. Marilyn- cried.

These people are the peers of a beautiful brother and sister who everyone believed would love each other till the day they die. Then my sister became a world famous artist, and then – they came and attached themselves to Fame, and any fame would do, because these are not creative, musical, or artistic people. They drove wedges between my sister after they captured her – to this very day!

Jon Presco

Copyright 2011

Kenny Reed – Silent Sticks

A great Jazzman has finished his work.

Dirty Dee-Dee Knocked My Eye Out

The biggest mistake I ever made, was to move back to California from Boston in 1971. I did this after my mother told me my father had a very rare eye disease and was going blind – in weeks! As an artist, and a romantic, I thought it best my father see his only loyal creative son, before darkness descended upon him – forever!

The Beatnik Murder Case

In 1964, my girfriend’s father, Donald Frank, called my home and threatened to kill me because I cut school with his daughter, Melinda, who my famous sister did a lithograph of in 1986.“When I find your son, brother – he’s a dead man!” Don shouted at whom ever answered the phone, he making his promise several times over the course of four hours. Melinda and I were holed up in a motel in back of the Glenwood house waiting for Melinda’s grandmother to wire my sweetheart some money so we could put her on the hound for Texas. Grandma was poised to turn us in. She too heard Don’s promise I would be dead before that day was done, which Melinda and I took seriously, because Don and his two brothers were members of the Purple Gang, owned half of New Mexico, and this gang murdered Melinda’s first lover, a Venic Beat named Sky. He was twenty four, and looked just like Jesus. Melinda was sixteen. She was the Beat Lolita of the New Balladeer Coffee shop where Bryan McClean played his guitar. When he heard I was dating Melinda, he told me drop her, because…..

“She’s a Black Widow. Her father had two of his goons blowtorch my friend’s face off! They jacked him up against the wall in the Balladeer and told him he had twenty four hours to get out town.”

Now, this is before I took drugs. What occurred to me the other day, is, that no one called the cops on Don. I mean, here is a homicidal maniac on the loose. I think I’m going to put this real life story in a book. ‘The Beatnik Murder Case’. I’m going to raise Sky from the dead! I will expose the New Zion the Jewish Bootleggers have had in the works since Prohibition! The Zionist Beat goes on!

Here is a scene from the movie ‘Bucket of Blood’. I’ve been telling my friend Casey up in San Francisco to get his ass to a new Beat Bar, and give his rants in public – to cool saxophone sounds!

There is an art show at the Oakland Museum titled 1968. I have been meaning to donate my Rosamond’s to this museum.

Ron Jefferson (February 13, 1926, in New York City[1] – May 7, 2007, in Richmond, Virginia[2]) was a jazz drummer.

Considered a disciple of Max Roach, in the 1950s, he worked with Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, Oscar Pettiford, and Lester Young, among others.[1]

A founding member of Les McCann‘s trio, with whom he played from 1960 to 1964, he also recorded with “Groove” Holmes,[2] as well as with Joe Pass for Pacific Jazz Records in 1963/1964.

After leaving the West Coast, he went to live in Paris, and from there to Barcelona, backing Ruth Brown as part of a trio with pianist Stuart de Silva.[3]

He led his own line-ups comprising Bobby Hutcherson, among others.

He was an uncle of drummer Al Foster.[1]

Rudy Giuliani, a focus of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s foreign policy dealings in Ukraine, suggested on Twitter that he has dirt on the Biden family that would be released were he to get into trouble.

Rudy Giuliani, a focus of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s foreign policy dealings in Ukraine, suggested on Twitter that he has dirt on the Biden family that would be released were he to get into trouble.

The emails indicate that Mr. Pompeo spoke at least twice by telephone with Mr. Giuliani in March as Mr. Giuliani was urging Ukraine to investigate Mr. Trump’s rivals, and trying to oust a respected American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, who had been promoting anticorruption efforts in the country. Mr. Pompeo ordered Ms. Yovanovitch’s removal the next month. The first call between Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Pompeo was arranged with guidance from Mr. Trump’s personal assistant, the documents suggest.

Trump Stiffs Andy – With Liz

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Trump stiffed Andy Warhol who did several famous images of my kin, Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor. We share the same great grandfather, James Rosamond, who was the brother of Captain Samuel Rosamond, the Patriot. Liz would be happy to have known about her all American family who immigrated from Ireland. She did not know her cousin was the famous artist, Christine Rosamond Benton, who married into the Benton family of American artists. This history and genealogy was compiled by Jimmy (James) Rosamond, and myself after Christine and Liz, died.  Jimmy descends from James.

The New Balladeer

A few days ago, Marilyn Reed, the wife of Jazz Drummer, Kenny Reed, asked me if I have contributed any of our memories to the West Los Angeles Sawtelle Neighborhood Council. I told her it was close to three years since my last research. Today, I hit pay dirt when I googled the New Balladeer. Information is added all the time. I found a venue for the Balladeer, and a small posterette, which may constitute a first. There was a Jazz jam.

I went to the New Balladeer with Bryan Maclean, of the group, Love. I had my first art show here. I am pretty sure I heard John Fehey, and Ry Cooder, because I bought a guitar and played like them. Bryan taught me some chords, showed me how use a slide, and I did a lot of improvising. If not for my desire to be a famous artist, I might have ended up in a rock band. However, I am a terrible singer. That mattered, then.

Marilyn and I found a tea house here, before it became the Balladeer. We made it our Bohemian hideaway where we went after school. We attended University High School that was six blocks away. I did a drawing of my first flame sitting by the fire, sipping tea.

Morgan Cavett became the manager of the New Balladeer in April of 64. Bryan and I dropped out of High School and went here in 1963 when we were seventeen. I went to the Dwan gallery in Westwood, and was doing a lot of experimenting with styles. Two members of the Byrds played here. I believe they got started here, and not at the Troubadour, which was a Folk Club on Santa Monica. I doubt the Balladeer name was changed to Troubadour. That would have caused a problem.

Marilyn had introduced me to her good friend, Les McCann. Her sister lived with his drummer, Ron Jefferson. Shaunna co-wrote a biography about Fela that was sold to the producers that have a hit on off Broadway. Rising Sons, and Love, were interracial bands. Kenny Reed’s Jazz band, Stone Cold Jazz, is interracial, as is his marriage.

Marilyn fell in love with from afar. Later she saw the bust I was doing of Cindy, her muse since the second grade. Marilyn grew up in a interracial Filipino family in the Sawtelle. She has all the memories that are sorely needed in developing a cultural identity. My sister (who dated Bryan) followed in my footsteps, and became the world famous artist ‘Rosamond’. Bryan was an artist, and the three of us attended the LA Cienega Monday Art Walk. At sixteen and seventeen the world was our oyster. Bryan could not go with the Byrds to Europe because he was not an adult. A watercolor I did at sixteen toured the world.

What I suggest is UCLA turn its thrift store into a Folk Music School with Bohemian Boutique and coffee house. 1566 Sawtelle needs to be declared a Historic Monument. I see Massachusetts Avenue being closed off for a Folk, and Folk-Rock Festival. How about the ‘Eight Mile High Festival’. This may be where it all began. This is – Genesis! What song should lead off the festivities?

The Bohemian Balladeer and Boutique can raise funds for the charity now supported by the Thrift Store, that perhaps can be relocated near by? Can the UCLA School of Music help with the funding?

John Presco

Marilyn at Moonfire Ranch












When Marilyn told me her portfolia got burned up in a fire, I grieved, for she told me within were photographs of her friend, Maggie Thrett. She is posing in the dresses and outfits M made for this actress who was in ‘Mudd’s Women’ a Star Trek eposode.

M had gone to Paris when she was seventeen to study fashoin design. Like the Rosamond Women, she made her own clothes. M&M used to go to parties togethers, and the Reneisance Fair, with their mutual friend, Jane Marie Mandsfield, the daughter of the famous actress who was the other Blonde Hollywood Bobmshell. Mother and daughter both appeared in Playboy magazine that did a centerfold shoot at Moonfire last year.

When I reminded M she has one photo of just her and Jane in it, she asked me;

“Who do you think took the photo?”

I blushed!

When Maggie was invted to the Moonfire Ranch, she got M an invite. At this famous Bohemian house that overlooks the Paccific Ocean, M met McDonald who married Ertha Kitt. He took a liking to Marilyn who made it on the A list. Perhaps it was the modeling she did in this artist’s retreat that was in the movie Mondo Hollywood that starred Jane Mansfield. M said she posed against this mural an artist rendered in a out-of-this world home that Captain Kirk might dwell in on his days off.

Here again is that architectural theme that we find in the Big Sur, and the house designed by for Allan Fox. This is why I was shocked to learn Allan sold that home shortly after Christine drowned, it the kind of home you keep in the family for generations to come. Julie Lynch sold a movie script about Rosamond to the director who did ‘Scent of a Woman’. Will Hollywood be going out to Rocky Point?

At Mooonfire the rich and famous came to partake of the creative ambience and behold other beautiful people. George Harris and Andy Warhol have been guests. Manson and his women did a walk-on.

This Spot of Venus was the best America had to offer, at least on the West Coast. There was a need to say you were there. Here is The Supreme Stage where long white curtain like the hems of giant Greek Angels wave like flags in the ocean breeze. Here the Lost Angels are found keeping their secrets. Here, beautiful souls can have it all, all that was denied since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and unleashed a broadside on the naked native, a bombardment of prudishness, a hatred of pagans and heathens. From these heights, there came a grand

Oly! Oly Ocean. Free!”

Marilyn lived in Latico Canyon up the coast. She and her boyfriend were going to raise Russian Wolf Hounds on a ranch they rented. M would walk on Santa Monica and Venice Beach with her two hounds wearing the scarves and dresses she made. The famous fashion photographer, Steven Silverstein did a shoot of M on Malibu Beach. The movie ‘Harper’ was shot at Moonfire. Consider Pynchon’s book ‘Inherent Vice’ that is being made into a movie. The Manson Murders lurk in the background. Marilyn walks out of a Icart on to the sands of Venice with her hounds, she hot on the trail of the Great Mystery of Life.

When Mary Ann Tharaldsen and I flew down to LA to get married, we slept in Marilyn’s bed. Mary Ann had a aversion to motels and hotels that I assumed was a hangover from her marriage to Thomas Pynchon. M let M wear one of her Train Dresses that was inspired by a pattern that Maggie found, she wanting M to make her a house robe. We got married in Topanga Canyon by a minister who went to Hollywood Boulevard in order to convert lost Hippie street urchins. Bryan MacLean sang ‘Amazing Grace’ at our wedding. He was converted to Christianity by the same minister that converted Bob Dylan.

The biography ‘Forever Changes’ says my friend, Bryan McLean lived at Vito Paulekas’ warehouse and practiced with the band that was once called ‘The Grass Roots’. There is a Laurel Canyon connection. Vito was a sculpture who surrounded himself with wild chicks and nude dancers, some who became the GTOs. Vito is in Mondo Hollywood, as is Lewis Mark, the owner of Moonfire.

In Forever Changes, Arthur Lee talk about the first time they saw Bryan and the Whiskey a Go-Go. He was surrounded by beautiful young women, his followers. It is alleged Arthur invited Bryan to join his band because these girls were Groupies of the Bryds, whom Bryan was a roadie for. But, Bryan was a Chick magnet in High School. He would take me on his rounds, usually on Friday night. He made dates with three girls. When we came thru the door, it was as if he was celebrity. The mothers swooned, and did all they could to get my Bryan to stay. While Bryan is at Vito’s warehouse, Andy Walhol is doing a similar scene in New York.

Cue the Beautiful Gypsy Bandit who with her gang of Bohemian Ragamuffins, the next generation Hippie-chic that tried to hijack this blog, that may contain a Murder Mystery.

Jon Presco

Copyright 2014

The Hey Joe Dance Freak-out



Love22I just read parts of ‘Forever Changes’ that says my friend, Bryan McLean lived at Vito Paulekas’ warehouse and practiced with the band that was once called ‘The Grass Roots’. Vito was a sculpture who surrounded himself with wild chicks and nude dancers, some who became the GTOs. In Forever Changes, Arthur Lee talk about the first time they saw Bryan and the Whiskey a Go-Go. He was surrounded by beautiful young women, his followers. It is alleged Arthur invited Bryan to join his band because these girls were Groupies of the Bryds, whom Bryan was a roadie for. But, Bryan was a Chick magnet in High School. He would take me on his rounds, usually on Friday night. He made dates with three girls. When we came thru the door, it was as if he was celebrity. The mothers swooned, and did all they could to get my Bryan to stay. They took note that I was handsome, but, was not chatty.

Bryan believes he was put-down for his gift of gab, and puts himself down. This is because most musicians are screwed up and hide behind their instruments. Bryan was beyond being healthy. And he had a magnificent whit that he loved to show off! For exhibiting this gift, he was called “arrogant”. Bryan was in a league of his own. You can see this in the photo above. Bryan is making full eye contact with the lens. Bryan isn’t hiding a thing. Sure he was too honest, said things that proved he had a brain and was a great observer of life. He had to put the breaks on, wear a handicap, lest he make people jealous.

LA was a vast flat wasteland with beautiful maidens stuck in their parents little boxes in the middle of nowhere. Bryan understood they were suffering from an identity crisis. Bryan was a Pied Piper come to take their boredom away. He was a polished exhibitionist. Every male wanted what Bryan had, relief from our shyness with women, our awkwardness. Arthur wanted Bryan’s women, his groupies.

Bryan had dated Lisa Minelli in Junior High, and had just started singing folk songs at the New Balladeer located on West Sawtelle Blvd. where I had several paintings hanging on the wall.

Bryan’s mother says that before he took up guitar, Bryan aspired to be an artist. This is what we had in common. On Monday night we would go up to Lacienaga Boulevard where there was open night at about twenty galleries. There was a large crowd going from gallery to gallery. You saw movie stars here on occasion.

While Bryan is at Vito’s warehouse, Andy Walhol is doing a similar scene in New York. I would like to hear from folks who partipated in this art-rock scene, the Bohemian period before it became full rock and roll stars scene, and ‘The Masses’ took it over with the $5 Buck Power, the price of a rock album for many year. They could care less about the visual artist.

Jon Presco

Vito Paulekas

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Vitautus Alphonsus “Vito” Paulekas (20 May 1913 – 25 October 1992) was an American artist and bohemian, who was most notable for his leading role in the Southern California “freak scene” of the 1960s, and his influence on musicians including The Byrds, Love and Frank Zappa.

Pynchon’s Rosamond Women

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I captured these long-legged Rena types from this video. In reality, the only gathering of beautiful hippie chicks happened when I wed Mary Ann Tharaldsen, who was married to Pynchon. We got married in Topanga Canyon where this scene was shot. Bryan Maclean sang. He and the rock group ‘Love’ lived in a castle in LA.

Marilyn is wearing a red dress she made, and lived in Latigo Canyon. She and her friend Maggie Thrett partied at John Phillip’s house and conversed with his daughter, Michele. M was a Buddhist, and I a follower of Meher Baba. A monk is blessing the shoot.

My brother-in-law, Rick Partlow, is off camera. His childhood friend, Lana Clarkson, was murdered by Phil Spector (who lived in a castle) in a case of real vice, and real bad vibes!

“Cue the Buddhist – and his long-legged Babes!”

I think they should have made ‘Daughters of the Barbarian Queen’ rather than that slow-motion flick.

Clark was invited to join an established regional folk group, the Surf Riders, working out of Kansas City at the Castaways Lounge, owned by Hal Harbaum.[8] On August 12, 1963, he was performing with them when he was discovered by the New Christy Minstrels.[9] They hired him, and he recorded two albums with the ensemble before leaving in early 1964.[10] After hearing the Beatles, Clark quit the New Christy Minstrels and moved to Los Angeles, where he met fellow folkie and Beatles convert Jim (later Roger) McGuinn at the Troubadour Club. In early 1964 they began to assemble a band that would become the Byrds.[11]

Bryan started playing guitar professionally in 1963. He got a job at the Balladeer in West Hollywood playing folk and blues guitar. The following year, the club changed its name to the Troubadour. His regular set routine was a mixture between Appalachian folk songs and delta blues, and he also frequently covered Robert Johnson’s “Cross Road Blues.” It was there he met the founding musicians of The Byrds, Gene Clark and Jim McGuinn, when they were rehearsing as a duo. Bryan became good friends with David Crosby.[2] During that time, Bryan also became friends with songwriter Sharon Sheeley, who fixed him up on his first date with singer Jackie De Shannon.

With MacLean as equipment manager, the Byrds went on the road to promote their first single “Mr. Tambourine Man.” By the time the Byrds left for their first UK tour, MacLean was left behind and very disappointed.

In 1964 he moved to Santa Monica, California, and formed Rising Sons with fellow blues rock musician Ry Cooder and Jessie Lee Kincaid, landing a record deal with Columbia Records soon after. The group was one of the first interracial bands of the period, which likely made them commercially unviable.[10] An album was never released (though a single was) and the band soon broke up, though Legacy Records did release The Rising Sons Featuring Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder in 1993 with material from that period. During this time Mahal was working with others, musicians like Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Muddy Waters.[7]

The New Balladeer Los Angeles Concert Setlists

City Los Angeles, CA, United States

Address1566 Sawtelle Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90025
OpenedAugust 1964

The New Balladeer Los Angeles Concert Setlists

CityLos Angeles, CA, United States

Address1566 Sawtelle Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90025
OpenedAugust 1964

The Womenfolk were an American folk band from Los Angeles, California.

The Womenfolk were active from 1963 to 1966 and were signed to RCA Records during the folk revival boom of the 1960s.[1] They released several albums, the most successful of which was their self-titled 1964 effort, which reached #118 on the Billboard 200.[2]

The Womenfolk’s version of “Little Boxes” was their only hit single, peaking at #83 in April 1964. It was at the time the shortest record (1:03) to make the Billboard Hot 100.

Sunday, February 1965 (?): ‘Hoot’, New Balladeer, 1566 Sawtelle Boulevard, 1 block North of Santa Monica Boulevard, West Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California
“Our first open mike [Sunday nootenanny night] was at the New Balladeer coffeehouse in Santa Monica”, Jesse Lee Kincaid recalls. “John Kay, future singer with Steppenwolf, was washing dishes. Bamalama! We hit it into our delta beat, doing our two part Don and Dewey style harmonies. They thought we were pretty cool.”

Friday, April 23 – Saturday, April 24, 1965: ‘Folk Music’, New Balladeer, 1566 Sawtelle Boulevard, 1 block North of Santa Monica Boulevard, West Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California
Taj Mahal & Jesse Lee Kincaid still performed as a folk duo. Also on the bill: John Kay.

Sunday, May 9, 1965: New Balladeer, 1566 Sawtelle Boulevard, 1 block North of Santa Monica Boulevard, West Los Angeles, Los Anges County, California
A Sunday afternoon rhythm & blues featuring The Rising Sons.

July 1965
Allen Stanton of Columbia Records signs The Rising Sons, at the urging of foresighted A&R man Billy James, who had spotted the band at the Teen-Age Fair. “Los Angeles was experiencing an explosion of psychedelic flower power.” Jesse Lee Kincaid remembers, “In a rush to capitalize on the new music, record companies were signing every band that had a gig. We were offered contracts with numerous labels. Columbia Records was our choice.”

Morgan Cavett,  1944 – 2004

Morgan Cavett, a fifteen year resident of Pinon Hills, died of cancer, peacefully in his sleep, on Thursday, December 9, 2004.  He was a music and film producer, a newspaper writer for the Mountaineer Progress and funny man who made people laugh.  He was 60 years old.  Morgan was born into the Hollywood home of Frank and Mary Cavett.  Morgan’s father Frank won screenwriting Oscars for “Going My Way” and “The Greatest Show on Earth.”  Morgan’s mother, Mary Oakes Cavett was a famous Vogue fashion model.  Morgan grew up hanging around famous personalities such as Ava Gardner, Artie Shaw and Dorothy Parker.

In the early 1960s, Morgan made inroads into the music business by managing the New Balladeer coffeehouse.  Here he met John Kay of Steppenwolf and other singers, songwriters and musicians who become lifetime friends and professional colleagues.  He went on to produce records with Johnny Mercer and became a successful producer in his own right discovering the 1970s duo sensation The Captain and Tennille.  From 1977-1988 Morgan and his partner, Bruce Langhorne, owned Blue Dolphin Recording Studios where they wrote the soundtracks for “Melvin and Howard,”  “Swing Shift” and other feature films. 

In 1990 Morgan and his wife Mary settled in Pinon Hills and Morgan became active in the community.  He and Yvonne Barton helped spearhead a group of high desert residents who successfully opposed the development of a large strip mine in Llano.  In 1993 he began writing a column for the Mountaineer Progress entitled “Around Town” in which he featured Tri-Community residents and he also joined the Mountaineer Progress Staff as a part-time reporter.  In 1994 Morgan served as president of the Pinon Hills Chamber of Commerce.  He did all this while running a successful video documentary production company specializing in creative artists and historical figures.  Morgan is survived by his wife Mary of Pinon Hills and his daughter Christina of Ukiah, California.

Mudflat Sanctuary and Museum











After I dropped put of school I did a painting of the duck hunting shacks off to the right to the entrance of the Bay Bridge. Bill and I had gone there after Mr. Arnold took us to the Army depot for a function we ditched. We cooked muscles in a old rusty can in a wrecked duck boat. We then lay down boards and made our way to one of these shacks. Suddenly, a man came out and told us to go back the way we came.

I did this painting in the half-shelter behind the house on Glendon. There was a fireplace and a Dutch door. Next to it was a queen avocado tree. It is about 3 1/2 feet by 6 1/2 feet. A replica of this hut was in a show at the Oakland Museum.

I stole two by fours from a new construction down the street and began to build a studio behind the garage. I eventually built it under the old shelter where Bryan would come sit and play his guitar.

When I went back to Oakland to live, I spent a lot of time down at the estuary in Jack London Square. There was a big wooden train barn with tracks leading into it. I told my friends I want to build a giant moving sculpture inside this barn, and then bring it out during a even for artists. A year later the Emeryville Mudflat Sculptures appeared.

After I got married to Mary Ann Tharaldsen, I built a studio in a old garage you can see in the photo taken out the window the day of our reception. You can see the Chinese arch in the middle of the garden. The theme of Sanctuary runs through the veins of my life, and became a meditation. I have been channeling my grandfather I never met. A month ago I found another of his lost tales where a cowboy meets the girl of his dreams while riding his horse. Royal has been chasing this beautiful young woman all his life, and then some.

Jon Presco

The Lost Emeryville Mud Flat Sculptures

Posted by Alexis Madrigal

“When I was a kid in the 1970s, we used to go out on the Emeryville mudflats, where they had all the tire and driftwood sculptures. Enough of them were always falling down, or in various states of desrepair, that we could gather up a bunch of driftwood and make something. Then we’d have to wash off before getting in the car, because we would be completely covered in mud, just black all over. These days it’s all clean; it looks beautiful; it even has an intact marsh. But I miss the old sculptures on the Bay.”
Michelle Orr, Wetland Engineer, Philip Williams & Associates.

Countless Bay Area natives can recall their experience of seeing the Emeryville Mudflat sculptures in the 60s, 70s and 80s, either while driving along 80 between San Francisco and points east, or by actually parking at the site and getting dirty among the art, as Michelle Orr so fondly recalls doing.

Not everyone agreed on the artistic value of the large-scale sculptures, which were constructed by unpaid and unsanctioned sculptors, using old tires, driftwood, and other found debris. There were giant animals and creatures of all kinds, as well as trains, planes, and buildings, all of which attracted foot traffic and, some government agencies claimed, contributed to ecological disruption and ground and water contamination.

A Time Magazine article on the Mudflats from 1964 described them like this:
“Most of the derelict sculptures wash away with the tide. But some are such masterpieces that they regularly cause crack-ups by gawking drivers on the nearby freeway. One is a 12-ft. gallows with the 13 steps and a hanging effigy, its neck snapped at a medically correct angle. Another is a dinosaur and pterodactyl combination well planted in the muck.”

By the mid-80s, Caltrans began removing the sculptures, and eventually fenced off the area and eliminated them completely. A new state park and a wider highway helped the memory of the art park fade a bit, but it will never be entirely gone from the minds of those who were kids when the sculptures loomed their largest, feeding young imaginations whizzing by.

In 1988, the NAACP claimed Parker’s remains and designed a memorial garden for them outside its Baltimore headquarters.[62] The plaque reads,

Here lie the ashes of Dorothy Parker (1893–1967) humorist, writer, critic. Defender of human and civil rights. For her epitaph she suggested, ‘Excuse my dust’. This memorial garden is dedicated to her noble spirit which celebrated the oneness of humankind and to the bonds of everlasting friendship between black and Jewish people. Dedicated by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. October 28, 1988.[63]

Plaque at Parker’s birthplace

On August 22, 1992, the 99th anniversary of Parker’s birth, the United States Postal Service issued a 29¢ U.S. commemorative postage stamp in the Literary Arts series. The Algonquin Round Table, as well as the number of other literary and theatrical greats who lodged at the hotel, contributed to the Algonquin Hotel being designated in 1987 as a New York City Historic Landmark.[64] In 1996, the hotel was designated as a National Literary Landmark by the Friends of Libraries USA, based on the contributions of Parker and other members of the Round Table. The organization’s bronze plaque is attached to the front of the hotel.[65] Parker’s birthplace at the Jersey Shore was also designated a National Literary Landmark by Friends of Libraries USA in 2005[66] and a bronze plaque marks the former site of her family house.[67]

In 2014, Parker was elected to the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

Berkeley Experimental Arts Foundation

When my artwork hung on the wall of the New Balladeer, I studied The Mix. Did art and folk-rock go together? Was there a place for artists in The Scene. Bryan invited me to the garage where he lived with the artist, Vito, but I declined when he said I might get pulled into an orgy.

When I lived with Peter Shapiro, my art patron, Bob Hamilton dropped by and bought me some more canvases and paints. Peter had me grinding keys for the Kalimbas he made and sold, for a bottle of cheap beer. I did a large painting of Rena Easton that Christine saw, that inspired her to take up art in 1972. Above is a pic of me taken in 1974 in Rosamond’s studio. In back of me is the canvas she had ready to do my portrait.

Here is footage of the last Acid Test put on by Ken and Neal Cassidy, who came home with the Loading Zone after one of the tests, and wouldn’t leave. This was the Zone’s first attempt to live together. Neal commandeered a guest bed in the hall, and did all his speed. He did not stop talking for days. This film is what you get when you put a bunch of alpha males in a room, and give them a extremely introverted hallucinate. Ken and the Pranksters thought the best way to test folks, was get in their face and blow their mind, while, the administers maintain their cool, and their faux believe they are doing art.

Many Acidheads believed Jesus was a charismatic Alpha Male, and is why the hippie chics dug him, or, anyone that imitated him. No alpha hippie male read the Bible, but, Charlie Manson, when he was in jail. Manipulating people’s mind became the new art form. The church employed art and artists to depict a mind-blowing Jesus that had overcome death.

Why wouldn’t a Alpha Male Hell’s Angel on LSD believe he too could cheat death and know God? Consider armed Crusaders with their family cote of arms on their back. At Muir Beach Ken got on the mic and asked if anyone believed they were God. A black man raised his hand. Ken invited him on stage.  He spoke to His people.

I doubt if any of the Pranksters were artists, or, they would not have put on such a cheap looking Halloween Test. There were Lightshow Artists, however. And, psychedelic posters.  There are very few accounts of an acid trip. The idea was to be As One, be in with the in-crowd, and look like you are of one groovy mind.

Peter Max is the only artist that made it big during this time. Rosamond posters were big sellers. There is this bullshit about Max and the Yellow Submarine, which codified the lie that all hippies had the same goofy cartoon visions – especially the Beatles!

Killed it! Max is rendering Max Money. The Beatles are Millionaires. Then, Michael Jackson bought the rights to their music. Jackson is Black Max, until he turned into White Max! Play both videos at the same time. I think Ken charged 3 cents to get into his Spook Show. Read comments below video. Did Acid produce any great literature? No! Then, it all died! I wonder why? Hellish bodyguards at Altamont. Sympathy for the Devil. Why hire real artists and ad agencies?

When I lived with the Zone I did large canvases in my room next to the sound room. Bob hung one up in the lathe shop at UC Berkley.







Here is the testimonial of Alessandra Hart who co-founded BEAF:

“A small group of our friends decided to create the Berkeley Experimental Arts Foundation and we rented a space on College Avenue in Berkeley which we made into a theater, calling it Open Theater & Gallery. Pop Art was just coming in, Andy Warhol was experimenting with it on the East Coast. We opened with a pop art exhibit and a theater piece my husband, Roland Jacopetti, wrote.”

The Loading Zone played at the event these artists and filmmakers put on at the Open Theatre. Here is the missing link between artists and Psychedelic Music that was an intended to be a sideshow to a multimedia happening aimed at expanding your mind, with, or without LSD. We are talking about ART, that would soon be pushed aside, put on the back-burner while The People got it, that they were Art Pieces, living sculptures on a new and very fluid stage. The Muse was everywhere, and in, everyone. No one wanted to look at art anymore and grove on the artist, his or her………..TRIP! Five hundred people were now living galleries with ten million paintings flashing inside their minds every second. There were light shows, but, who gave a rat’s ass? Artists were being – humored!

Psychedelic Filmmaker, Ben Van Meter, is accused on the Village Voice of being on a – ego trip! Huh? I love seeing that world I took part in through the eyes of a fellow artist. We exist in real life, and not up on that Music Stage that keeps cranking out musical notes like bubbles in hope the players can get lucky and strike it rich.

Two days ago Peter Shapiro called me. We talked about the time he put on a happening in the backyard on Miles. He and Tim O’Connor wanted to celebrate my marriage to Mary Ann Tharaldsen. Peter invited Swami X to bless us, even conduct a second Hippie Wedding, but, he was a no-show.
Instead we got our Jewish neighbor, who we placed on a platform in between the Japanese arch I built in the center of an octagonal garden.

Peter told all his friends to bring a loaf of cheap whitebread as an offering to the Swami. Many brought flowers and placed them around Swami Swartz who did a great job doing a Swami-Rabbi with Vaudville Jesus routine. When we lined up to get our share of the loaves and a blessing, Swami Swartz bid us to kneel, hold out our hand, and then slap five pieces of Wonderbread into our palms.

In the background we had five beautiful young women doing Tai Chi in their white outfits. Their shadows were cast upon the doors of the old garage while multicolor dots of wonder opened new levels of wedded bliss and awareness.

When Stefen Eins came to the rescue of the Queen of the Wends, a creative hand was stretched across America. Chris was backstage for all the Zone’s events. For several months Stefan and I have talked about doing a Broadway Musical based upon the music of Love, and an aging Woodstock Nation. But, with the discoveries I have made in the last several days, we are looking at THE GENESIS of Psychedelic Rock Be-ins that connect to Warhol’s Factory and filmmakers.

What is truly astounding, Alessandra Hart, read from Revelations during these Mind Alterations. Consider the apocalyptic art of my ex-wife who was married to Thomas Pynchon, whose movie is due out in December. Pynchon is a One Man Band who might want to consider giving proceeds from ‘Inherent Vice’ to Bruce Baille so he can preserve this important film history.

Jon Presco

Folk Festival at Zorthian Ranch

In 1965 I attended a party at the Zorthian Ranch with my childhood friend, Nancy Hamren (whose grandmother owned the recipe for Nancy’s Yogurt) and Barry and Seyburn Zorthian, the daughter’s of the artist, Jirayr H. Zorthian, who was influenced by Thomas Hart Benton. Thomas is the cousin of the muralist, Garth Benton who married my late sister, the world famous artist, Christine Rosamond Benton. These four women and myself would live in a commune in San Fancisco, our rent paid by Betty Zorthian, the heiress of the William’s Shave fortune. Seyburn is an artist.Zorthian and I discussed art up in his studio while beautiful young L.A. Godesses soared on the trampoline to ‘Gloria’.

We also partied at Betty’s mansion in Pasadena where she kept horses. We dropped LSD that was legal at the time. I did a psychedelic cowboy shoot-out routine with Toby Zorthian’s gun he had for quick-draw lessons he was taking. I did the slow-mo-draw, where the bullet would come out of the barrel real slow, and do very curious things on the way to a cosmic target where it was swallowed up in a parallel universe. I had folks in stiches in my peace-time play on a deadly weapon turned into an instrument of Cosmic Love!

Nancy dated Stanely Augustus Owlsley, and with Christine, they went on a date with Nick Sands who was also a manufacturer of LSD.

Jirayr Zorthian was the Grand Marshall of the Doo Day Parade that may have inspired the Eugene Celebrations Parade. The New Los Angeles Folk Festival reminds me of the Eugene Folk Festival. Our Mayor should declare Altadena our Sister City and conduct a culture swap. Hip folks could stay in L.A. while those folks stay in Eugene.







“I also borrowed a white noise machine, which was supposed to help you meditate and get into other brain wave patterns. We also had taped layers of music, playing simultaneously, and added voice readings from the Book of Revelations from the Bible. It was a multimedia event. We called it “Revelations.”

The Open Theater in Berkeley is most famous for debuting Big Brother and The Holding Company, and for being one of the incubators of the Trips Festival, which we have covered elsewhere. Indeed, another blogger discovered a listing in the Oakland Tribune Theater section that listed one of (if not the) first advertisements for “Psychedelic Music” at the Open Theater. Following the lead of this blogger, I reviewed the Theater Sections of The Oakland Tribune for 1965 and 1966, and managed to piece together the brief, but interesting history of the organization. I apologize in advance for any serious Theater scholars who have stumbled across this, as my focus is more on the musical side of the venture.

The Oakland Tribune first mentions the Open Theater on July 21, 1965. Founders Ben and Rain Jacopetti had formed a group called the Berkeley Experimental Arts Foundation “for the presentation and study of new art forms and trends”. After opening on September 30, 1965, the Open Theater began presenting shows every weekend, and sometimes on weekdays as well. The first listing above (under the heading Little Theaters, from the Sunday, November 7, 1965 Tribune) was typical of their Fall 1965 offerings. There was new theater on Fridays and Saturdays, and on Sunday they had “Sunday Meeting,” a spontaneous meeting. Sometimes music was advertised, as presented by either Ian Underwood or The Jazz Mice, Underwood’s trio.

It was the Sunday Happenings that seemed to be one of the precursors to The Trips Festival. According to Charles Perry’s 1984 book Haight Ashbury: A History, there was apparently multi-media performances, with lights and nudity (too much nudity for San Francisco’s Broadway), music by Underwood and others, an Art Gallery featuring contemporary art, and so on. The bass player for the Jazz Mice was artist Tom Glass, known also as Ned Lamont, and a painting of a huge comic book-style painting of his graced the lobby.

In January, the open theater begins to shift somewhat more towards music. The second (split-up) entry is from the Sunday, January 9, 1966 edition of Oakland Tribune. The Sunday night happening is followed by an apparently musical performance by Day Wellington and The Poor Losers. The next weekend is January 14 and 15, when The Loading Zone and Big Brother make their debuts, in evenings of “rock and roll and theatrical improvisation”.

The weekend of January 21-22-23 was the Trips Festival, in which the Open Theater participated. They surely contributed some multi-media, and Ian Underwood’s Jazz Mice played the first night. On the Saturday night (January 22), Underwood and others presented an avant garde musical performance. The last day of the Trips Festival, however, the Open Theater has its Sunday Meeting as usual, although perhaps some of the regular participants may have been a little worse for wear.

The last clipping is from the Sunday January 23 edition of the Tribune, noting the Happening, and also upcoming musical events. They are

Thursday January 27, 1966
Ramon Charles McDarmaid and Don Buchla, Movies by Bruce Baille
Don Buchla had constructed the Thunder Machine for Ken Kesey’s Pranksters, a sort of electronic percussion device.

Friday, January 28, 1966
Performances by Congress of Wonders and Ned’s Mob, introducing new material.
Congress of Wonders were a comedy trio, also regulars at the Open Theater, who did hip comedy and performance art (they later released a few albums). Ned’s Mob are unknown to me.

Saturday, January 29, 1966
Rock and Roll dance featuring The Loading Zone
This would have been The Loading Zone’s third performance, to our knowledge, the first two having been two weeks earlier at the Open Theater (Jan 14) and then at the Trips Festival (either Jan 21 or 22). The Loading Zone was based in Oakland.

The Open Theater continued to present performances through early March. They presented a John Cage piece on February 4 and 5 (reviewed by the Tribune) and a few other shows. Ian Underwood was now mentioned as the Musical Director, and per the March 12, 1966 Tribune it appears that Ben and Rain Jacopetti had left, and the Open Theater was under new management. However, by the end of March the Open Theater had closed. Ian Underwood said the Theater group was looking for a different space, but it was not to be.

Alessandra Hart testimonial

But I’ll begin by telling you about myself and my experiences and evolution, starting from ’65  – ’66.

I was in an artists’ crowd. I was in my mid-20’s and we had a child. The Beatles were already a big thing and everyone’s hair was getting long, our clothes were casual and mostly we wore jeans.

I had created a kind of light show that was participatory and people came to our attic to experience it and “have their minds blown” – a kind of opening up that expanded one’s consciousness. We used light show techniques with an overhead projector, slide projectors, moving film, and I had convinced a Palo Alto scientist to lend me a new contraption they were experimenting with, a strobe light that flashed in a sequence that appears to stop action in movement if other lights are low or off. It turns out that if it synchronizes with certain brain patterns, it can stimulate an epileptic seizure, but that wasn’t known at the time.

I also borrowed a white noise machine, which was supposed to help you meditate and get into other brain wave patterns. We also had taped layers of music, playing simultaneously, and added voice readings from the Book of Revelations from the Bible. It was a multimedia event. We called it “Revelations.”

A small group of our friends decided to create the Berkeley Experimental Arts Foundation and we rented a space on College Avenue in Berkeley which we made into a theater, calling it Open Theater & Gallery. Pop Art was just coming in, Andy Warhol was experimenting with it on the East Coast. We opened with a pop art exhibit and a theater piece my husband, Roland Jacopetti, wrote: “The Hard Con, the Soft Con, and the Unvarnished Shuck” a kind of spoof on how we felt the older culture had “conned” the people.

This period of time was when the first bumper stickers that said “Question Authority” started to appear. We questioned EVERYTHING! We wanted to know the truth: the truth inside the truth! Not what we’ve been told but what we can experience directly and KNOW to be true!
Out there the scientists were getting ready to travel to the moon! They were taking care of the exploration of outer space – we were interested in “inner space.”

Soon other friends who were experimenting in their own fashions and we decided to “take our show on the road” so to speak. Bill Graham, was like an “impresario”. He brought you Woodstock later on. He was the manager of a small pantomime group called The Mime Troupe. Our Open Theater and the Mime Troupe were accustomed to small audiences of maybe 10 or 12 people, just to give you a sense of scale of the popularity of little theater at that time. Ben Van Meter was an experimental or “underground” film maker and was also working with overhead projections and light shows that happened in somebody’s garage. Stewart Brand later created the Whole Earth Catalog. He had a show he called “America Needs Indians.”  Ramon Sender had an experimental music center he called the Tape Music Center.

Chet Helms  was finding himself, but he had begun to work with other musicians and he arranged for his group,  the Family Dog (which I think is where Janis Joplin started out, I’m not sure), Grace Slick and the Jefferson Airplane, and the early group who evolved into The Grateful Dead to play rock ‘n roll. We were going to perform our “Revelations”. Somebody got a big trampoline and the Olympic athlete, later novelist and spiritual author Dan Milman performed on it with the  strobe light trained on him. Stewart knew Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a popular novel at the moment. Ken showed up with his busload of Merry Pranksters who had been on the road with something they called The Acid Test.

Together we rented the Longshoreman’s Hall, a large hall in the San Francisco port area, and planned a big multi-dimensional, multi-media three-day event we called The Trips Festival. A “trip” was anything that surprised you, opened your mind, or brought you unexpected delight or illumination. It was set for January of 1966. As it turned out, it was a bigger “trip” than any of us could have imagined.

Just before the event while we were getting the last things in place, maybe half an hour before ticket sales were to begin, Bill Graham who was taking care of the money, went outside to see that everything was right there. He came back in, wildly waving his arms, eyes big, and he said, “They’re lined up around the building out there, waiting to get in!” None of us had experienced crowds like that before, and we were more than a little wide-eyed. Thousands of people attended in those three days.

Unknown to me, Ken Kesey had spiked the punch with his “Acid Test” formula and many people had taken the test. It very quickly became apparent that while all our theatrical “trips” were certainly interesting enough, that the music was the thing that actually held the energy. It could provide the people a means of self-expression and the possibility to work out their various energies in a positive mode, while still interacting with other people. It was the unifying element; essential. Bill Graham understood this so immediately that before the three days were over, he had gone out to find a big hall to rent on a regular basis. He tied up the Fillmore which became THE place to hear this kind of music. Later the Avalon Ballroom also opened. The Rock scene was born!

The Trips Festival was the first time any of these people had come together in a place where they realized there were others like them who were interested in the exploration of the same kinds of things. The alienated and small cliques of friends were suddenly part of a culture that could create change! Everyone was filled with excitement and possibility.

In time this event became credited with opening the gateway to the 60’s, to the Rock and Roll era, to the San Francisco counter-culture scene. In 2008, last fall, there was  a documentary that premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival called simply “The Trips Festival”. It includes original footage of film taken in ’66 at the Trips Festival and interviews with people who were responsible for creating it. There’s a short image of me looking very hip, a black and white photo from the time. Women were kept in the background in those days. We’d never allow it now, but the film kept to that custom. It’s an hour-long regular DVD and can be purchased from its maker through the website of the same title.

About Royal Rosamond Press

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