Stefan Eins and Jessie Benton

Capturing Beauty


John Presco

Copyright 2020

Jessie Benton married Mel Lyman. I met Jessie in Roxbury. I lived down the street from the Fort Hill Commune with three males. In 1971 we were part of the Food Conspiracy where we place orders for wholesale prices, then picked our food up several days later. I recall my kin to be. She had a gentle nature and was like a mother hen looking over her chicks as we divided the food. I believe we exchanged a couple of words. Her husband had designs to take over the world. He authored articles that appeared in his newspaper ‘The Avatar’. Mel Lyman may have been claiming he was God. At the time I was a follower of Avatar Meher Baba. Had Mel read about him.

There are a thousand artists who would die to have their names appear on the same page with Stefan Eins. He is that famous – for founding the last great Art Movement, if not the biggest art movement in the history of New York. Because Christine Wandel and Stefan are a couple, I am right there due to being Christine’s best friend. I now conclude she sabotaged my friendship with Stefan in order to publish her book about – THEM! She was upset when I blogged about her writer-friend, who did make me suspicious. I will summon that blog up titled ‘The Dullard’.

Christine had told me a hundred stories about Stefan that were ripe for the New York Art World. I told Christine I am going to include them in my autobiography. she had no problems. Indeed, Stefan acknowledges he and Chris are going to be the happy ending to my Art Story in the e-mail below. After buying a house together, Chris told me Stefan was not contributing monies for necessary repairs. I suggested I publish articles in the New Yorker Magazine and she gets the monies to fix her leaky roof and drainpipe. Peter Shapiro was going to pay my plane fare to go into the attic and give him an estimate of how much this repair was going to cost – so he could pay for it. We knew what a paranoid recluse Christine – is. When her pipes burst due to a freeze she brushed off several local plumbers – who put her on The Shit List.

Then she told me she voted for Trump and called me a….”Snowflake”. I was blown away! I wanted to come to New York and write about Bill Graham and his troupe – along with Stefan’s behavior after attending Easter Mass at Christine’s church. Christine was a good friend of Bill who took my ex-lover to dinner whenever The Loading Zone played at the Fillmore. Sure he wanted to get in her pants. Christine is now asking me to help her sell a tiney bell that came off Janis Joplin’s costume while they were backstage.

“How much do you think it’s worth? My neighbor threatened to call the city on me for my drain that fell in his yard. Stefan had some money, but he spent it on his latest Euro-Skank. You aughta see this one. She must be eighty, and she dresses like a young Euro-slut! They want to get a famous artist in bed and will pay him. He’s not an artist. He’s a gigolo. He accosted a woman in the subway, Hit her up for money! I apologized to this total stranger, and took back the calling card he gave her!”

“Chris. Stop! You got a gold mine right under your nose. Fuck Janis’s bobble. There are women in penthouses on the east side of Central Park who have unlimited amounts of money. Their money makes money. I see them in bed eating Bon-Bons while reading about your torrid Bohemian love antics. Let me write about this. We will split the revenue from book sales. Stefan doesn’t have a clue how to do this. He’s not going to meet one of these women on the subway.”

I tell Chris I want to spend the last of my Uncle’s Trust on a trip to New York. I had not been there since 1985. I asked Chris to get Stefan to put me up for a few days with one of his artists. I did not hear back. I kept asking. She now tells me she wants me to come stay in her house in Wilkes-Barre – so I can crawl in her attic.

“Chris. I’m too old to climb in your attic. And, I’ve put on wieght!”

“How much? You were so slim!”

When Christine first lay eyes on me in 1967, she had to have me. I wrote a poem about this and read it at the Jazz and Poetry readings. If she can get me in her attic, she will take me hostage – until I repair her house. The Dullard wants to buy her an evening gown and take her to a gathering of Boston Right-wing blue bloods. Stefan was with him – shopping. I wondered if he was writing – their bio!

This morning I found an e-mail from Stefan Eins thanking me for anointing him the leader of The Union of Western States. I am blown away. Two days ago I found an article proving my theory that my Prussian ancestors may have been part of a plan John Fremont had to found a New Nation in The West if the Confederacy won the Civil War. Yesterday I decided not to post on this, and save it for my book. But, after reading a newspaper article about how unpresented Trump’s clinging to power, is, I knew I am looking at a very Historic Event from the viewpoint of creative artists and writers.

I mention – my muses to Stefan. I just found Rena. What I realize, is, that in telling women I am writing about them, I activate their low self-esteem. Rena would talk about her flaws all the time. She complained her nose was too big. When I began my large painting of her when I was Peter’s roommate, I asked her to send me a pic of her profile. She jumped into a old photo booth, and sent me – one pic – that she picked from the others. She did the editing, and did not leave it up to me to pick the one – I liked the best. This is why she sicked the Sheriff on me, because in her letter she had set a guideline on how – I should see her – too! I activate Belle’s, Kim’s and Valkyrie’s low self-esteem. I held The Ugly Mirror up so – in their mind – they could behold flaws they had never seen before. I magnified them. I had to be destroyed. These four women were told about my struggle to own a picture of how my famous sister died. They could care less. How would Rosamond see them – if she was alive? I have been having a wikipedia War with Stacey Pierrot who keeps changing my input. Here she is saying……

“A rogue wave, unusual for that time of year, rushed into the cove.”

Does anyone but me see how insanely untrue this line is? How did she find out that rogue waves are rare in March? Here is the definition of rogue wave”,ships%20such%20as%20ocean%20liners.

Christine had nightmares about being swept out to sea by a large wave. She was very protective of her youngest daughter, Drew Benton, who is an artist like Jessie Benton Lyman. Her father, the world famous artist, Thomas Hart Benton, the grandson of the Senator, whose name was removed from a building at Oregon State. Garth Benton was a famous muralist like Benton, whose legacy supported the community that Mel made. Jessie and Susan Benton had salons in Paris and San Francisco. These people are kin to Ian Fleming and Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor.

To put Poe next to the Lyman’s, Fleming, Royal Rosamond, and the Black Mask authors – is to map a universal constellation – that will be linked to people who befriended my on facebook, who are trying to found The New Kingdom of Prussia – in Europe! They knew nothing of my Prussian ancestors involvement of founding a Prussian Kingdom in California, that is now hinged on how we collectively defeat the coronaviruses. Poe’s ‘Masque of the Red Death’, and De Rougemont’s ‘The Devil’s Share’ will lead the way in established a Creative Dynasty that will form bonds with the Europen Union, and Artists and Writers all over the World.

Some people of note are suggesting Trump is guilty of treason. He is being defended by millions of evangelical women who voted for him – twice! I now understand Stefan inflamed Christine Wandel’s accute low self-esteem by forcing her to attend publc events where he – shined! Stefan also owns a poor opinion of himself due to his childhood abuse. His father was a Nazi. When he came home after Germany surrendered, he took his three year old son to the balcony, and hung him over the edge by his ankles, threatening to drop him. For my sister to go down in that cove, was not only suicide, it would be equivalent holding Drew over the yaw of Death.

I had another long talk with my friend, Casey Farrell about the course of my writing career. I told him I will be writing a series of short stories. I felt good about my mission statement. This is not meant to be. In reading the exchange of e-mails with Stefan, I now know for sure I am authoring The Great American Novel – while running one of America’s Great Newspapers – all by myself!

My fifty year friendship with Christine ended on Easter when I expressed shock at Trump’s behavior.

“How dare you ruin my Easter. Trump is a great man!”

“Fuck you!”


Just weeks after Christine’s last art expo in 1994, she was invited to stay in a famous home twenty miles south of Carmel at Rocky Point. As reported in the Carmel Pinecone, Rosamond had had nightmares about a giant wave causing her demise. On March 26, 1994, Rosamond was exploring tidal pools in a cove along with her sister and eight-year-old daughter, Drew. A rogue wave, unusual for that time of year, rushed into the cove. The sister was able to save the child, but Rosamond was swept out to sea. She was 46.[6]

I awoke at 4:00 A.M. wondering if my daughter put a witch on me. Why? Why do women take a instant un-liking to me? The answer came in a flash! I am a Historian! Most women hate history and see a dignified white-haired scholar -as their enemy! My ilk had to have oppressed them for thousands of years. Dumb, lust-filled men are like sex-slaves to women. This is the type my daughter – and her mother – bonded with.

I got up, and got on my computer. I needed back up from my dead ancestors. I looked to my Stuttmeister/Janke folks. Eureka! I found him!

John Wilson Poe


Prussia, alone among the contenders for California, had no colonies of its own. All but without a navy of its own, and the weakest and smallest of the European great powers, its position as a candidate for the vast state of California upon the other side of the world can seem unlikely at first. Friedrich Ludwig von Roenne, the German ambassador to the United States, was a vigorous proponent of colonies, and wrote the following to Christian von Bunsen, the Prussian ambassador to the United Kingdom, as follows:

I fully agree with you that now is the moment, under the rule of our excellent King, who has a genuine German mind and heart, which beats aloud for everything that is noble, to lay the foundations of the greatness of our beautiful German Fatherland, in a political as well as in a commercial sense. England will always, as you say, see in us an awkward rival, but the time has arrived when we must act in a bold and independent way, and this can only happen if we are united as if we have a Navy and colonies. What a country Germany could become in such circumstances! She would be the equal of any other . . .

Your idea of purchasing California is an excellent one. I would never have thought of doing such an audacious thing, but, nevertheless, as early as the year 1837 I already had the notion, for when I reported on the condition of immigrants- especially with regard to the question of establishing a penal colony- I called attention to the possibility that Mexico might agree to give up a piece of land in California. The idea of buying all California deserves in every way to be preferred to this. The many Germans who go there yearly from the United States very soon cease to be Germans; they adopt local manners and customs and are entirely lost to Germany. On the other hand, a completely German colony, even long after migration, would retain for our German manufactures a permanent market and yield all the profit to the Mother Country. The possession of such a colony would also provide a good training-ground for our army and offer innumerable other benefits.

Upper California- which alone can be considered- if one can trust the many descriptions of it which which have been produced- the [latest] is I believe that by Alexander Forbes,12 published in 1839 in London- is one of the finest countries in the world, and on account of its happy position between the tropical and northern zones, is capable of bringing forth all the products which are suitable for exchange with the Mother Country, and which also would even be sought after by Mexico and the South American states. It is only necessary that it should be in the possession of an active, industrious and energetic people, and who would dispute these qualities to our German countrymen? These are the qualities whereby they earn so much respect here in the United States. No people on earth are better as cultivators of the soil than the Germans.

England, France and the United States would no doubt look at such an undertaking with jealous eyes, but I can hardly believe they would use force to prevent it from happening. Certainly not the United States! But in any case it would be a good thing, before taking any of the contemplated steps, to assure the cooperation of Denmark through her Navy. Only then would we be powerful enough, and have the means to carry out this plan.

The sovereignty of Mexico over California may hardly at be said at present to be more than a paper one-as a matter of fact I don’t exactly know what the situation is. Three years ago independence was declared.13 Nevertheless it would be very important vis-à-vis the other powers that sovereignty should be ceded by Mexico. Actual possession could then easily be secured without the use of very much force being required. Also, I am inclined to think, because of the looseness of the existing connection, that she would be readily disposed to entertain such a proposition. In any case she would prefer to see Germans there to the English, the Americans or the Texans, and I believe that even these two last would prefer to have Germans to the English.

Nevertheless I am not absolutely in a position to say whether this is likely to have enthusiastic acceptance on the part of Mexico. If Denmark appreciated her advantage she would not hesitate for a moment to cooperate in the closest possible way with Germany. The time is past- or at least should be- when smaller nations should see advantage in being hostile to their more powerful neighbours. . . . The smaller states can only reckon on the continuance of their independence if they don’t stand in the way of their larger neighbours. . .

Ludwig von Roenne’s words were not just idle musings. He planned to negotiate with Denmark for the usage of the Danish navy in communications with the colony, and to have his colleague Baroth von Gerolt, a fluent Spanish speaker, conduct negotiations with the Mexicans. However, in December 1842, he Mexican ambassador to the United States in Washington DC. Talking with Mr. Almonte, the Mexican ambassador, he was convinced that the Mexicans saw advantage in ceding Northern California to the Germans, rather than, as rumors put it, to the American or the English. For the Mexicans, the idea was that it would form an effective buffer state between them and the Americans. He would go ahead as well to contact William Hogan, a former US congressman and the equivalent of a lobbyist, who declared his support for the endeavor. This all came to nought : at this points sources differ with either that the Prussian government advanced no further, quietly shelving the project, or that it proceeded as far as negotiations with the Mexicans in Washington and London for the sum of some $6 million to purchase the colony, but then abruptly dropped out of negotiations. Whichever that it was, California would not be painted in Prussian blue.

Friedrich Ludwig von Rönne, a German liberal and a proponent of German colonization of California.
Friedrich Ludwig von Rönne, a German liberal and a proponent of German colonization of California.

What if these attempts had succeeded?

As with any discussion of attempts that might have succeeded, but didn’t, there is the question : what if they did work out? What if one of these nations managed to take California from the Spanish or the Mexicans, establishing it as one of their own colonies?

In all of these nations, the question they faced is not whether they could take California, but whether they could keep California. As American settlers expanded West in huge numbers, the possibility existed that any European colony might be overwhelmed by them, just as Mexican Texas faced an American revolt as Americans grew to outnumber the Mexicans in its territory. European powers would have to ensure that any territory they took had a strong enough government, or enough of their own emigrants (and loyal ones) to be able to prevent an internal rebellion from snatching it from their hands. Here, the capabilities of California’s suitors diverged.

  • England

Throughout the long 19th century, England possessed the largest colonial empire in the world, one which continued to expand throughout time. Although in North America the English had lost and were challenged by the newly-rising United States, with the world’s largest colonial empire and the world’s largest and most powerful navy, the capability for the English to be able to project power to California would have been more than enough to deal with any American incursions there. In addition, large numbers of people emigrated from England, driven from conditions of misery in that country, and thus a large settler pool existed for any potential Californian colony. Thus, a Californian colony would in the intermediate future in all probability remain British.

  • France

In the 19th century, the only nation which stood second to the United Kingdom in terms of its colonial empire, and in terms of its navy, was France. While the France of the 1840s, increasingly riven by internal turmoil and division, had fallen in relative terms from its position half a century before, France still had a powerful navy, army, and world-wide reach. In the event that the French succeeded in gaining control of California, they seem likely to continue to be able to hold it. France’s only problem was a small settler population during the 19th century, as few Frenchmen preferred to leave overseas : the lack of the same explosive population growth as elsewhere, and the solution of rural landlessness through land re-distribution, meant that few French left the country. But during the pre-Gold Rush days in California, the French population was relatively abundant from trappers and explorers, and during the Gold Rush itself some 25% of the population was foreign and a third of that French, an entirely reasonable base combined with French support with them and fewer Americans. Thus, a French California seems like a colony that would remain French, instead of being supplanted by the United States. France would both be able to settle enough French into the territory to ensure the reliability of its population, and to threaten the United States with sufficient military power, to ensure that the costs of taking California would be too high to make it worth it for the Americans.

  • Prussia

The smallest and the weakest of the European great powers, and lacking in a navy, Prussia’s capability to hold onto the distant colony of California is one which presents itself as doubtful. Although many German colonists came to the United States in the 19th century, few of these were ones that the Prussian state could call upon or view as loyal to its projects : many came from outside of Prussia, such as in Saxony, and of those that came from Prussia, a great number were German liberals fleeing from oppression at home. Prussia’s capability to send colonists was limited, while its limited navy meant that supporting its colony through military means was equally problematic. It was envisioned that Denmark would enable Prussia to support its colony through the support of the Danish navy, but this raises the great problem of colonies : that colonial and continental politics diverged. If Danish support would enable the Prussians to guard their colony, in Europe, Germany desired Schleswig-Holstein, under Danish control, and if, as historically, this conflict flared into war, it would make Danish-German colonial cooperation infeasible. Still, lacking a navy didn’t historically preclude colonial endeavors, such as Belgium’s colony in the Congo, created by a state almost entirely lacking in a navy, Prussia had a famed army and government administrative system, and at least some German settlers might be drawn to California. A continued Prussian hold over California might be unlikely, but with careful management of power politics and an iron hand, Prussia might have been able to forestall American interest in the region long enough to secure it.

stefan.eins@oneunoeins.comTo:braskewitz@yahoo.comFri, Nov 3, 2017 at 5:13 PMToo bad you didn’t make it to New York!! How come? Need some time to go through your recently emailed product – beautiful shot of nude females!!! Tootle-oo! Let’s all be happy! Stefan, Tel. 9176050974

stefan.eins@oneunoeins.comTo:John AmbroseFri, Feb 24, 2017 at 8:36 AMTHANK YOU! I AM HONORED, Stefan One 壹 Eins ОДИН فرد Uno, T 9176050974  Hide original message

——— Original Message ———Subject: Euro USA
From: “John Ambrose” <>
Date: 2/16/17 1:30 pm
To: “” <>

Stefan, I would like you to be the ambassador for the Western Union of State in New York. Jon Western Union of States

 Western Union of StatesWhite Canton – Correct Version image by Rick Wyatt, 28 July 2001 Blue Canton – Wrong Version image by Rick Wyatt…

To:John Ambrose

Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 8:36 AM

THANK YOU! I AM HONORED, Stefan One 壹 Eins ОДИН فرد Uno, T 9176050974 

John Ambrose <>

Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 10:16 PM

I will help promote your work. Check this out. Show it to Christine.

Jon Gregory

John Ambrose <>

Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 11:52 PM

Thank you for you and Chris offering me the end of my story, but, I think it arrived tonight. However, I have such a story to tell, it might take two books – or three!

I’d love to come see you and Chris. Let me see if my Muse is ready to see me. She live’s in Montana. Maybe I can do a stop-over on my way to NY.

Show Chris this video.


Jon Gregory

John Ambrose <>

Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 11:52 PM

Thank you for you and Chris offering me the end of my story, but, I think it arrived tonight. However, I have such a story to tell, it might take two books – or three!

I’d love to come see you and Chris. Let me see if my Muse is ready to see me. She live’s in Montana. Maybe I can do a stop-over on my way to NY.

Show Chris this video.


Jon Gregory

Hide original message

On Monday, January 20, 2014 9:36 AM, “” <> wrote:


The picture of your Muse looks like Christine. Your email – to me – below refers to Stefan and Christ (!), I thought the end of your autobiography might be you actually visiting New York and joining me and Christ having a magical time. How about it? After all: you found your muse! Tootle-oo!

Stefan Eins

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Strange Freind
From: John Ambrose <>
Date: Thu, January 16, 2014 12:45 am
To: “” <>

Hi Stefan;

My artist-friend Amy turned out to be too strange. Forget about that show.

The good news, is, I found my Muse and she sent me a four page letter. We have not communicated in 44 years. I am inspired. I have the end of my autobiography.

I trust you and Christ are having a magical time.

Jon Gregory

Picture of my Muse at 18, the last time we talked.

John Ambrose <>

Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Hi Stefan.

I heard your message. Chris like the clothes – great! Now she is ready for NY Art Scene.

I hope all went well in court. I will send photos of our friends on bridge.

Have a good trip!


Sat, Jan 4, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Hi, attached a shot of Christine and me; it was taken by Julie Christine daughter a few days ago.


stefan.eins@oneunoeins.comTo:braskewitz@yahoo.comThu, Sep 12, 2013 at 11:20 AMHi John,Very interesting, will follow up!Stefan917  ——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Chris’s Friend
From: John Ambrose <>
Date: Thu, September 05, 2013 6:31 pm
To: “” <>

Hello Stefan; It was good to talk to you. Anyone who champions Chris, is a friend of mine. Here is my phone no. 541 844-1974 Here is painting ‘The Last Audience of the Habsburgs’. (Preview) Here is some of my history off my blog. My former wife was married to Thomas Pynchon. She was  an artist and part of a Family Dynasty of Artists. My late sister was the world famous artist, Christine Rosamond Benton. An early love, Keith Purvis was Chris’s lover later on. On a bridge in Venice Ca. Is from left to right, myself, Peter Shapiro, Tim O’Connor, Janette, and Keith.In 1967 we lived in a large Victorian with the ‘Loading Zone’ in Oakland. Chris and Peter were also lovers. Peter called two days ago to see how his old friends are doing. Please show this photo to Chris. Two bad biographies were written about my sister, and two bad screenplays, one of them written by my kindred, Carrie Fisher. Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor is my kindred. Chris Wandel and our mutual friends will be in my autobiography ‘Capturing Beauty’. I believe you are a perfect agent that will bring back Empress Zita to the Motherland. You are known for your ‘Found Art. I see a Grand Entrance and Ball.  I would like to see Chris there, in a Austrian Palace, being asked to dance by a Habsburg Prince.  Who anc re commission to make a glass slipper.  Your friend in Art: Jon Gregory Presco President: Royal Rosamond Press

Art repatriation is the return of art or cultural objects, usually referring to ancient or looted art, to their country of origin or former owners (or their heirs). The disputed cultural property items are physical artifacts of a group or society that were taken from another group usually in an act of looting, whether in the context of imperialismcolonialism or war. The contested objects range widely from sculptures and paintings to monuments and human remains.

One of the most infamous cases of esurient art plundering in wartime was the Nazi appropriation of art from both public and private holdings throughout Europe and Russia. The looting began before World War II with illegal seizures as part of a systematic persecution of Jews, which was included as a part of Nazi crimes during the Nuremberg Trials.[5] During World War II, Germany plundered 427 museums in the Soviet Union and ravaged or destroyed 1,670 Russian Orthodox churches, 237 Catholic churches and 532 synagogues.[6]

The 1970 UNESCO Convention against Illicit Export under the Act to implement the Convention (the Cultural Property Implementation Act) allowed for stolen objects to be seized if there were documentation of it in a museum or institution of a state party and the following agreement in 1972 promoted world cultural and natural heritage[33]The 1978 UNESCO Convention strengthened existing provisions; the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of illicit Appropriation was established. It consists of 22 members elected by the General Conference of UNESCO to facilitate bilateral negotiations for the restitution of “any cultural property which has a fundamental significance from the point of view of the spiritual values and cultural heritage of the people of a Member State or Associate Member of UNESCO and which has been lost as a result of colonial or foreign occupation or as a result of illicit appropriation”.[34] It was also created to “encourage the necessary research and studies for the establishment of coherent programmes for the constitution of representative collections in countries whose cultural heritage has been dispersed”.[34]
UNESCO’s Executive Board and other Organs elected by the General Conference (36C), Intergovernmental Organs and Councils of UNESCO’s InstitutesIntergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Country of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation (ICPRCP)Origin: Committee established by the General Conference at its 20th session, in 1978 (20 C/Res. 4/7.6/5). Statutes amended by the General Conference at its 23rd (23 C/Res. 32.1) (1985), 28th (28 C/Res. 22) (1995) and 33rd (33 C/Res.44) (2005) sessions.Mission: To seek ways and means of facilitating bilateral negotiations for the restitution or return of cultural property to its countries of origin; to promote multilateral and bilateral co-operation in this respect; to submit proposals with a view to mediation or conciliation to the Member States concerned; to encourage the necessary research and studies for the establishment of coherent programmes for the constitution of representative collections in countries whose cultural heritage has been dispersed; to foster a public information campaign on the real nature, scale and scope of the problem; to guide the planning and implementation of UNESCO’s programme of activities in the matter; to encourage the establishment or reinforcement of museums or other institutions for the conservation of cultural property and the training of the necessary scientific and technical personnel; to promote exchanges of cultural property in accordance with the Recommendation on the International Exchange of Cultural Property.

Mel Lyman’s Culture War

Posted on March 17, 2012by Royal Rosamond Press

Mel Lyam married Jessie Benton, the daughter of the artist, Thomas Hart Benton, the cousin of Garth Benton, the father of Drew Benton, the daughter of my late sister, Christine Rosamond Benton.

The Gooch genealogy ends thus;



ii. JESSE P. BENTON, b. Private.

I met Jessie once at the Fort Hill commune. I lived down the street two blocks in a commune I and four friends founded in 1970. We exchanged food and ideas.

With the rekindling of the Culture Wars by the Pope over sonic imaging and birth control, I must assume the War on Hippie Bohemians has been rasied from the Dead – Heads. When you add together my history with alternative societies and thinking, you can conclude I am the Big Boss Bohemian Man – the Last Hippie Man Standing!

Come and get me – Ratzinger! You dirty rat!

Jon the Nazarite

Melvin James Lyman (March 24, 1938, Eureka, California – April 1978, exact date and location unknown) was an American musician, film maker, writer and founder of the Fort Hill Community.

[edit] Musician“ Mel Lyman played harmonica like no one under the sun / Mel Lyman didn’t just play harmonica, he was one. – Landis MacKellar[1] ”

Lyman grew up in California and Oregon. As a young man, he spent a number of years traveling the country and learning harmonica and banjo from such legendary musicians as Woody Guthrie, Brother Percy Randolph, and Obray Ramsey.[2] In 1963 he joined Jim Kweskin’s Boston-based jug band as a banjo and harmonica player

Lyman, once called “the Grand Old Man of the ‘blues’ harmonica in his mid-twenties”,[3] is remembered in folk music circles for playing a 20 minute improvisation on the traditional hymn “Rock of Ages” at the end of the 1965 Newport Folk Festival to the riled crowd streaming out after Bob Dylan’s famous appearance with an electric band. Some felt that Lyman, primarily an acoustic musician, was delivering a wordless counterargument to Dylan’s new-found rock direction. Irwin Silber, editor of Sing Out Magazine, wrote that Lyman’s “mournful and lonesome harmonica” provided “the most optimistic note of the evening” [4]

[edit] FilmmakerIn the early Sixties, Lyman had been drawn to New York. The music and fellow musicians that he found there led in turn to a larger circle of writers, artists and filmmakers. He became friends with underground film-maker Jonas Mekas, which led to the studios of Andy Warhol, and Bruce Conner all of whom he counted as both teachers and inspirations for his later film work. Several of Lyman’s films have recently been digitally restored to be included in the permanent collection of the Anthology Film Archives,

[edit] WriterIn 1966, supported and funded by Jonas Mekas, Lyman published his first book, Autobiography of a World Savior, which set out to reformulate spiritual truths and occult history in a new way. In 1971, Lyman published Mirror at the End of the Road, derived from letters he wrote during his formative years, starting in 1958 from his initial attempts to learn and become a musician, through the early Sixties as his life widened and deepened musically and personally. The last entries are from 1966 which simply express the profound joys and deepest losses which defined and gave his life direction and meaning in the years ahead. The key to the book and the life he lived afterwards are stated simply in the dedication at the beginning “To Judy, who made me live with a broken heart” .[5]

[edit] The Lyman Family, The Fort Hill Community and the AvatarIt was his relationship with Judy which brought him to Boston in 1963. Again, Lyman became acquainted with many artists and musicians in the vibrant Boston scene including, among others, Timothy Leary’s group of LSD enthusiasts, IFIF. Lyman was involved for a very short time and, against his wishes, so was Judy. Knowing LSD’s power, he felt she was not ready but, “the bastards at IFIF gave her acid… I told her not to take it. I knew her head couldn’t take it.” Lyman’s fears turned out to be justified and she left college and returned to her parents in Kansas.[6] Lyman was by all accounts very charismatic and later, after Judy had left, a community or family naturally tended to grow up around him. At some point thereafter Lyman began to realize himself as destined for a role as a spiritual force and leader.

In 1966, Lyman founded and headed The Lyman Family, also known as The Fort Hill Community, centered in a few houses in the Fort Hill section of Roxbury, then a poor neighborhood of Boston. The Fort Hill Community, to observers in the mid-to-late Sixties, combined some of the outward forms of an urban hippie commune with a neo-transcendentalist[7] socio-spiritual structure centered on Lyman, the friends he had attracted and the large body of his music and writings.

Although Lyman and the Family shared some attributes with the hippies– prior experimenting with LSD and marijuana and Lyman’s cosmic millennialism–they were not actually hippies either in appearance (female members dressed conservatively and male members wore their hair relatively short by the standards of the era) or beliefs (while Lyman and other Family members had fathered children by different women, polyamory was eschewed in favor of serial monogamy).

By the Spring of 1967 the Fort Hill Community had become an established presence in Boston and it, along with members of the wider community in greater Boston and Cambridge, came together to create and publish the Avatar. It contained local news, political and cultural essays, commentary and more personal contributions, writing and photography, from various members of the Fort Hill Community including Lyman. The paper and magazine set new standards in content and design later adopted by more mainstream publications. Throughout the first year of its existence it created what became a national audience and many more people visited Fort Hill at that time, some eventually staying and becoming part of the community.

Rather than the gentle and collectivist hippie ethic in other publications of the time, Lyman’s writing in Avatar espoused a philosophy that contained, to some readers of the time ‘, strong currents of megalomania and nihilism and to others a powerful alternative voice to the prevailing ethos.[8]

“ I am going to reduce everything that stands to rubble / and then I am going to burn the rubble / and then I am going to scatter the ashes / and then maybe SOMEONE will be able to see SOMETHING as it really is / WATCHOUT ”
—Mel Lyman, Declaration of Creation [9]

After working very intensely on each issue, in the Spring of 1968 the Family gained complete editorial control (some say adversarially) of Avatar for the final issue of the paper. Later they founded their own magazine, American Avatar which continued the editorial directions of the newspaper. Lyman’s writings in these publications brought increased visibility and public reaction both pro and con. His writings, along with others in the publications, could be poetic, philosophical, humorous and confrontational, sometimes simultaneously, as Lyman at various times claimed to be: the living embodiment of Truth, the greatest man in the world, Jesus Christ, and an alien entity sent to Earth in human form by extraterrestrials. Such pronouncements were typically delivered with extreme fervor and liberal use of ALL CAPS.

“ Love isn’t something you find, something you do, something you study. Love is something you BECOME after there is no more YOU. – Mel Lyman[10] ”

[edit] Later developments, and Lyman’s deathIn 1971, Rolling Stone magazine published a cover exposé, an extensive philippic on the Family by associate editor David Felton. The Rolling Stone report described an authoritarian and dysfunctional environment, including an elite “Karma Squad” of ultra-loyalists to enforce Lyman’s discipline, the Family’s predilection for astrology, and isolation rooms for disobedient Family members. Family members disputed these reports.

“ The only difference between us and the Manson Family is that we don’t go around preaching peace and love and we haven’t killed anyone, yet. – Jim Kweskin (perhaps in jest)[11] ”

The Rolling Stone article and the earlier trial of Charles Manson, who seemed to share some traits in common with Lyman, raised the Family’s profile and – whether fairly or not – established Lyman in the sensationalist part of the public mind as a bizarre and possibly dangerous person.

But although Lyman deeply understood Charles Manson and even corresponded with him once, and was sometimes revered as a Messiah-like figure by the Family, it would be inaccurate to overstate the similarities between the Manson Family and the Lyman Family. The Lyman Family was larger and more stable and productive than Manson’s. Unlike Manson’s group, Lyman’s included many persons of accomplishment and note, such as Kweskin, therapist and actress Daria Halprin,[12] actor Mark Frechette, and pioneering rock critic Paul Williams. And although the Family was often accused of strong-arm tactics in dealing with neighbors and alternative-community groups, they certainly never killed anyone or even manifested serious homicidal intent.

However, in 1973, members of the Family, including Frechette, staged a bank robbery. One member of the Family was killed by police, and Frechette, sentenced to prison, died in a weightlifting accident in jail in 1975.[13]

Frechette said the place was not a commune: “It’s a ‘community,’ but the purpose of the community is not communal living. … The community is for one purpose, and that’s to serve Mel Lyman, who is the leader and the founder of that community.”[14]

Thus it has been said that, unlike the Manson Family, Lyman’s did not explode in a dramatic denouement. Rather, the Family took a lower profile and carried on, quietly building on the relationships formed in the turbulent early years. Lyman died in 1978, age 40, under unknown (but presumably natural) circumstances.

After Lyman’s death, the Family evolved into a more conventional extended family- small, low-profile, and prosperous. The skills and work ethic honed in refurbishing the structures of the Family compound led to the founding of the profitable Fort Hill Construction Company. The Family acquired property in Kansas and other places. Many Family members went on to successful careers. Although some former Family members have rejected him and perhaps that part of their own past, all current members still revere Lyman, as do many former members.
Jonas Mekas (Lithuanian pronunciation: [ˈjonɐs ˈmækɐs]; born December 24,[1] 1922) is a Lithuanian-born American filmmaker, writer, and curator who has often been called “the godfather of American avant-garde cinema.” His work has been exhibited in museums and festivals across Europe and America.

Jonas Mekas (Lithuanian pronunciation: [ˈjonɐs ˈmækɐs]; born December 24,[1] 1922) is a Lithuanian-born American filmmaker, writer, and curator who has often been called “the godfather of American avant-garde cinema.” His work has been exhibited in museums and festivals across Europe and America.

In 1954, he became editor of Film Culture, and in 1958, began writing his “Movie Journal” column for The Village Voice. In 1962, he co-founded Film-Makers’ Cooperative (FMC) and the Filmmaker’s Cinematheque in 1964, which eventually grew into Anthology Film Archives, one of the world’s largest and most important repositories of avant-garde films. The films and the voluminous collection of photographs and paper documents (mostly from or about avant garde film makers of the 1950-1980 period) were moved from time to time based on Mekas’ ability to raise grant money to pay to house the massive collection. At times, Mekas personally paid its housing rent and, at low points in external funding, he had to restrict access to the collection. Easily, he can be credited with single-handedly saving large portions of the avant garde films and associated materials.
He was part of the New American Cinema, with, in particular, fellow film-maker Lionel Rogosin. He was heavily involved with artists such as Andy Warhol, Nico, Allen Ginsberg, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Salvador Dalí, and fellow Lithuanian George Maciunas.
In 1964, Mekas was arrested on obscenity charges for showing Flaming Creatures (1963) and Jean Genet’s Un Chant d’Amour (1950). He launched a campaign against the censorship board, and for the next few years continued to exhibit films at the Film-makers’ Cinemathèque, the Jewish Museum, and the Gallery of Modern Art.
From 1964-1967, he organized the New American Cinema Expositions, which toured Europe and South America and in 1966 joined 80 Wooster Fluxhouse Coop.
In 1970, Anthology Film Archives opened on 425 Lafayette Street as a film museum, screening space, and a library, with Mekas as its director. Mekas, along with Stan Brakhage, Ken Kelman, Peter Kubelka, James Broughton, and P. Adams Sitney, begin the ambitious Essential Cinema project at Anthology Film Archives to establish a canon of important cinematic works.

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About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to Stefan Eins and Jessie Benton

  1. Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:

    I have been talking with Peter Shapiro about doing a musical.
    Fearless Girl of the Graffitti Art Labyrinth | Rosamond Press

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