Eastwood, Pynchon & Bond

The Oaks Motel – A Play

Posted on May 15, 2018 by Royal Rosamond Press

The Oaks Motel

Did Broccoli use legal writing to transfer the Literary Legacy of Ian Fleming – to anyone? Did the Broccoli family ever claimed they owned this Legacy – that I claim – and move to the Oaks Motel, where I install Fleming, London, and Serling. If Clint Eastwood had starred in a Bond movie, then, all that mystique and movie prattle would move to the area where Clint grew up. In my sister’s biography, she and my niece encounter Mayor Eastwood in a restaurant. Then there is the Liz Taylor connection. But the most literary connection is to Thomas Pynchon, who my ex-wife lived with in Mexico.

Never before in the history of literature has a nation lost the franchise of a popular series of novels. With the killing-off of James Bond, and the subsequent attempts to – bring him back to life – one has to consider the posthumous wishes of Ian Fleming. What would he do? Ian Fleming would enjoy being put in the same literary circle and Thomas Pynchon, and vise versa.

How about a series where diseased Cold War Authors and Warriors gather at the Oak Motel, and are consulted by John John and his wife via a Ouija Board? I install Norbert’ Davis and Ludwig Wittgenstein, to make the greatest Cold War Think Tank – ever!

With this international literary move, I am more inspired with my Black Pynchon. I see a Black Columbo. Was Pynchon addicted to this T.V. series?

SYNOPSIS: Tom Witherspoon opens a Private Detective office in the Dimond District of Oakland that soon becomes a hangout for all his friends. He is – The King Fish! His wife and daughter think he is having a mental breakdown. But, when he starts solving cases, and acquires a reputation, they give up their judgmental ways. Tom – is extremely happy! He gets a barber chair an starts cutting his friends hair. Oakland is a Hard-boiled Detective City, home of the Black Panthers, Hell’s Angels, The Raiders, and Bohemian-leftists.

John Presco

Black Pynchon Meets Demi Moore | Rosamond Press


In his introduction to Slow Learner Thomas Pynchon suggests that an influence in his short story ‘Under the Rose’ was the spy fiction he had read as a child.  What he takes from the form, he says, is an enjoyment of  “lurking, spying, false identities, psychological games.” I hope to show that this youthful reading has interesting things to tell us about Pynchon’s writing beyond ‘Under the Rose’ and in more complex ways than his quote suggests. To do this I want to focus on that perennial issue of spy fiction – the maintenance and manipulation of identity. Negotiating ideas of subjectivity is a core concern in Pynchon’s work and to consider it I want to use the four spy novelists he mentions in the Slow Learner introduction – John Buchan, E. Phillips Oppenheim, Helen MacInnes and Geoffrey Household. This is a more disparate quartet of authors than Pynchon’s grouping suggests and I want to employ them to consider a variety of strategies used to ‘build character’ and the way Pynchon’s work approaches these strategies.  This allows a reflection on questions of disguise, doubles, animals and the nomad within the context of a variety of postcolonial theories and aspects of Deleuze and Guattari’s “nomadology”. would appear an obvious place to see connections to spy fiction, but, though I touch on some aspects of this novel, my focus will be very much on Gravity’s Rainbow because it has a much more concerted focus on the subject of Empire. Some intriguing echoes are to be found in the work of Pynchon in these authors and I hope to show how Pynchon’s attempts to formulate US “superimperialism” (Aijaz Ahmad) are reflected in the imperial concerns of what I would term the pre-Cold War British Spy fiction that engaged Pynchon in his youth.

pn-2455-mclaughlin (1).pdf

That Which Has Seemingly Influenced Thomas Pynchon (pomona.edu)

The MLA Bibliography lists citations for studies addressing Pynchon and his sources in such authors, personalities, and genres as: Richard Farina, James Bond, William S. Burroughs, James Joyce, William Faulkner, T.S. Eliot, William Butler Yeats, Hobbes, Hogarth, science fiction, Vladimir Nabokov, Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland), classic spy novels, Ernest Hemingway, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Franz Kafka, Karl Baedeker’s guidebooks, Norman Mailer, Saul Bellow, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller (Catch-22), Beat poets/novelists, and Samuel Beckett

‘Knives Out’ director Rian Johnson explains Daniel Craig’s ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ joke (sfgate.com)

In the whodunnit mystery film “Knives Out,” Daniel Craig’s verbose detective character Benoit Blanc has a habit of pontificating. While interrogating Ana de Armas about a potential murder, he makes an offhand reference to the notoriously pretentious 780-page novel “Gravity’s Rainbow” by reclusive author Thomas Pynchon.
Armas knows the book, but admits to not having read it. Craig quips back that no one has.
No one except writer/director Rian Johnson.
“I’ve read it twice now all the way through,” Johnson told SFGATE in an exclusive interview Thursday. “I also just keep it around and will flip open to random spots and start reading. But I’ve kind of stopped recommending it to people. It’s hard to recommend it without feeling like an a—hole, because you’re handing them a mountain to climb.”

RELATED: Best movies, shows filmed and set in the Bay Area since 2000
The length of “Gravity’s Rainbow” makes it an arduous read, plus it spans the entire globe and features literally hundreds of characters. The book was a contender for the Pulitzer Prize in 1973, but was so divisive amongst judges that they opted not to give out an award that year.

“It seems like this big challenging thing, but it’s actually the most entertaining book that’s ever been written. And it’s a book where you will experience literally every possible emotion.”
Although not a traditional mystery writer, Pynchon himself would make a great topic for a detective novel. Over his 55-year writing career, he hasn’t given an interview or allowed himself to be photographed. His 2009 novel “Inherent Vice” was adapted for a film by Paul Thomas Anderson, but none of his other works have crossed into other mediums.

Pynchon’s thinnest novel and best entry into his work is “The Crying of Lot 49,” a paranoid novel set partially in the Bay Area that actually has more connections to “Knives Out” than “Gravity’s Rainbow.” Like the film, it revolves around the mysterious intentions of a deceased eccentric.
“It’s funny, I didn’t think about it while writing ‘Knives Out,’ but [The Crying of Lot 49] does have some similarities. There is definitely a similarity in there, with the executing of the will. And it just has the greatest ending.”
Johnson also took loose inspiration from the 1990 Pynchon novel “Vineland,” which revolves around a hippie informant and her family.
“The way that family is portrayed in that book. Talking about the soup of stuff that’s in your head, the way that ‘Vineland’ pulls no punches in terms of the way family can really f— you up — that gets to the heart of what’s important about it.”

RELATED: Drunken breakups, proposals, dads gone wild: What it’s like to work at an Escape Room
For Pynchon obsessives, Johnson did leave a couple Easter eggs. “Gravity’s Rainbow” opens with a V-2 rocket falling through the sky of WWII-era London. The shelves of Harlan Thrombey’s office in “Knives Out” look like they’re filled with literary awards, but the statues are actually rocket models.

Despite the fact that Johnson loves the book enough to include such abstruse references to it, he’s hesitant to discuss the book with those who haven’t read it.
“In what context can you talk about having read ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ without sounding like you’re just trying to be pretentious? I think that’s something that everyone who’s a fan of the book struggles with.”

That was a sentiment shared by Daniel Craig, who actually had his own theory about the “Gravity’s Rainbow” joke. A detective as skilled as Benoit Blanc wouldn’t name-drop a novel he hasn’t read, but also wouldn’t want to alienate a source by coming off as too elitist.
“Daniel had a very interesting take on it,” says Johnson. “which was, ‘I think [Blanc] has read ‘Gravity’s Rainbow.’’

Oakland Tommy

Posted on March 4, 2016 by Royal Rosamond Press


I just found out my ex-wife lived on College Avenue – IN OAKLAND – with Thomas Pynchon. They lived in a big apartment building  located next to ‘Ye Olde Hut’ where I did a lot of drinking with my friends, including Paul Drake who Mary Ann encouraged to take up acting. Paul claims he based his tough-guy persona on watching me drink, but I believe he is speaking of Richard Swartz who was a bodyguard for Dederich of Synanon. Richard held the world’s record to the fifty yard dash – on his hands!

Pynchon Wittgenstein and Cornell Grouping

Posted on March 20, 2021 by Royal Rosamond Press

Today is the most momentous day in my life. All my hard work has paid off. Ludwig traveled to Ithaca and hung with Cornell philosophers. My cup runneth over. I am so overjoyed that my grandparents can be put in a group of writers and thinkers – forever! I can remove my sister Christine from the literary hell she was thrown in hours after she died. My relationship with the woman I married, is redeemed. We believed in each other.

John Presco

Wittgenstein’sVisittoIthaca.pdf (cornell.edu)

Pynchon and Philosophy radically reworks our readings of Thomas Pynchon alongside the theoretical perspectives of Wittgenstein, Foucault and Adorno. Rigorous yet readable, Pynchon and Philosophy seeks to recover philosophical readings of Pynchon that work harmoniously, rather than antagonistically, resulting in a wholly fresh approach.

Amazon.com: Pynchon and Philosophy: Wittgenstein, Foucault and Adorno (9781137405494): Eve, Martin Paul: Books

Martin Paul Eve
Chapter in Profils Américains: Thomas Pynchon
Edited by Bénédicte Chorier-Fryd and Gilles Chamerois

Pynchon and Wittgenstein: Ethics, Relativism and Philosophical Methodology
Perhaps the strongest rationale for a philosophico-literary study intersecting Thomas Pynchon
with Ludwig Wittgenstein is that, in the writings of this philosopher, the very nature of philosophy is
reflexively questioned. Within his lifetime Wittgenstein published a single text, Tractatus
Logico-Philosophicus, influenced by the logical atomists in which he claimed, initially, to have “solved
all the problems of philosophy” (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus x). However, in 1929 he resumed
lecturing and, following his death in 1951, the world was presented with the unfinished product of
these intervening years: the Philosophical Investigations. While many early studies, and indeed this
biographical overview, present a seemingly bi-polar, bi-tonal Wittgenstein, who enacts a retraction of
the Tractatus in the Philosophical Investigations, a closer examination of Wittgenstein’s notebooks and
intermediate remarks reveals that the latter owes its genesis to a critique of the former and was
developed through an accumulation of thought and a gradual transition.

This piece presents a tripartite analysis of the relationship between the philosophical works of
Ludwig Wittgenstein and the novels of Thomas Pynchon. This is broadly structured around three
schools of Wittgenstein scholarship identified by Guy Kahane et al. as the Orthodox Tractatus, the New
Wittgenstein, and several strands of the Orthodox Investigations (Kahane et al. 4-14). Moving from the
earliest affiliation that Pynchon stages between Wittgenstein and Weissman, the underlying theme lies
in Pynchon’s relationship to ethical relativism as it pertains to Nazism. From this it will become clear
that neither relativism of experience and representation, nor an unbounded relativism of non-committal

John Presco Married Mary Ann Tharaldsen

Posted on December 8, 2020 by Royal Rosamond Press

I married Mary Ann Tharaldsen, the ex-wife of Academy Award Winner, David Seidler, who is also in my family tree, along with Rick Partlow who marred my sister, Christine Rosamond Benton, who was married to the muralist, Garth Benton. Partlow won a Grammy. A Cornell paper says Mary Ann was married to Thomas Pynchon and they lived in the Rockridge on College Avenue near where the Hippie Movement began. The Loading Zone played at the Open Theatre. Lead guitarist, Peter Shapiro, played at our wedding reception. A close friend lived nearby and he was asked to contribute to Oliver Stone’s movie. He was a good friend of Jim Morrison and Michael MacLure who taught poetry across the street from the Art College.

The Oakland Bohemian Class

Posted on March 7, 2021 by Royal Rosamond Press

Oakland California may have been the Capitol of World Bohemianism. Ken Babbs read from oneof his small books about partying with Sonny Barger.

The Bad Peanut of Temescal

Posted on August 13, 2015 by Royal Rosamond Press


William Carter Spann was the manager of the building I lived in on Shafter with Gloria Ehlers. Bill may be the foremost celebrity of the Bohemian enclave gathering momentum in Temescal, an area in Oakland next to Rockridge. There is a Friday Art Walk and neighborhood fair. I love the Temescal Alley.

The news tonight said President Carter has cancer. His nephew died of exposure. He was a homeless person suffering from AIDS. He called himself ‘The Bad Peanut’. The first time I paid my rent I asked him why he had peanut bags hanging on the wall with the name CARTER.

“My uncle is the Governor of Georgia, and we own peanut farms.”

Bill was not the first rebel of Temescal. Thelma Reid got caught up in a Love Cult. If she lived on 47th. she was in Temescal, where thanks to her, the birth of the Hippies can be traced.

“In 1927, 17-year-old Thelma Reid had just begun her first year of college at UC Berkeley. She was living on 45th street in Oakland’s Rockridge district with her family and did many of the typical things a college coed did—went to class, helped around the house and did her homework. She never expected her studies would spawn one of the biggest scandals in Rockridge history. But then again, it wasn’t ordinary homework.”

Here is the house that was raided by Oakland Cops led by Earl Warren who authored a report of the assassination of President Kennedy. It is right on the cusp of Temsecal and Rockridge at 460 Forest. This is where it all began. Before there were Beats and Hippies in San Francisco, there was the Great White Brotherhood, and their Love Cult. Consider Mel Lyman and Charlie Manson. Then there is that Cornell crowd, Richard Farina and Thomas Pynchon. Let’s no leave out the ‘Last Bohemian’ Jiryl Zorthian and his daughters.


The building we lived in was torn down and replaced with these modern rentals. Carter got fired and moved across the street into a cottage in back of the old house on the left.


I met Gloria in SF and moved into her apartment on 51st. Street. (right) Michael Harkins has a speaker shop on 51st. (left)


I lived with Amber in a apartment in the building on the lower right. I caught her in bed with my friend Paul Drake, who played the Bad Peanut, Mick, in Sudden Impact. About twenty Oakland Cops showed up for that Love Scene. There was a big storm that night that blew over a big redwood that was in the driveway and came to rest on the building by Amber’s window who was going to the California College of Arts and Crafts. She took me to her poetry class. She wanted me to meet Michael McClure who I had already met thru Michael Harkins who took me to see his good friends play ‘The Beard’. Harkins was a good friend of Jim Morrison. Oliver Stone wanted my friend’s take.

I was a original Hippie and Amber was showing me off, she not wanting to be seen as a wanna-be and McLure groupie.  Did she know McClure was the wanna-be?  I went and saw him at the first Be In. Ginsberg was on stage. His poem ‘Howl’ was ruled obscene, and when Ferlenghetti published it, he got arrested.

In 1965 I lived on 51st and Miles with Sherry Souza who had Bill Arnold’s baby that Christine came by to see. Sherry was a friend and neighbor of Nancy Hamren  who works at the Kesey Creamery. Nancy got me on the bus with Ken Kesey. She had been Bill’s lover. Two blocks up Miles I lived with my wife, Mary Ann Tharaldsen , who was married to Thomas Pymchon. Harkins lived on Shafter. My friend Bryan MacLean, who was in the rock group ‘Love’, played at our wedding. Mary Ann went to Cornell and was good friends of Richard and Mimi.

This is the scene that Bill Carter considered himself a part of. There is a good chance President Carter funded his nephew’s Bohemian lifestyle that Ronald Reagan and Ed Meese exploited in his rise to the White House. It was Reagan’s promise to right-wing voters to destroy the Pagan Cult of the Hippie Love Generation that led him to defeat Carter.  Reagan was also aided by Radical Iranian Terrorists who took hostages.  The Great Culture Wars, rage on!


Gloria Ehlers and Jon Presco ‘Temescal Pioneers’. 1975

Jon Presco

Copyright 2015


Best Art Murmur Offshoot” in the East Bay Express Readers’ Poll, Temescal First Friday takes place from 6-9 pm every first Friday of the month.

Galleries, cafes, bars, and retailers in Oakland’s Temescal district have teamed up to bring you art, music, food, drinks, and strolling the streets along Telegraph Avenue and in Temescal Alley and Alley 49.



An estimated 10-15,000 people are expected Sunday for the annual Temescal Street Fair on Telegraph Avenue.

The event runs from noon-6 p.m, and about 120 booths selling local crafts will be set up along Telegraph, between 45th and 51st Streets.

Two stages will be set up, the main at 51st Street, featuring mostly dance bands, and kids’ entertainers will perform at a second stage at 47th Street. Oakland apparel company Oaklandish will have its own stage, a wrestling ring, at 48th Street.

The “Temescal Flows” mural, painted on the Highway 24 underpass at 52nd Street, between Shattuck and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, will be unveiled as well. Artist Alan Leon is scheduled to talk about the mural on the main stage during the afternoon.

“We’re celebrating all things Temescal,” organizer Karen Hester said.

The street fair was scheduled for June but was called off due to heavy rain. This is the first year it will take place in July.



Recently, I’ve been thinking pretty seriously about moving closer to the middle of Temescal. Right now, I’m technically in Temescal (at least, according to some), but I’m many blocks and a freeway overpass away from 51st and Telegraph and all the great stuff in that area. But there was one reason that had been holding me back – no grocery store! Where I currently live, I can walk to four grocery stores – Whole Foods in Berkeley, Market Hall, Trader Joe’s, and Safeway on College. From 51st, I could still walk to the Safeway on Pleasant Valley, but there’s no way I could do the majority of my shopping there.

But just under a month ago, the Temescal Produce Market opened on Telegraph between 51st and 52nd, and I got a chance to stop in yesterday. It’s certainly not a full-scale grocery store, but they do have nearly all the staples (well, if you’re a vegetarian, and I am). There’s tons of produce, which would be great to augment anything not available at the farmer’s market, but I’m even more excited about their grocery selection, which is mostly organic. The store has a decent bulk foods section, dairy, baking goods (including a huge selection of spices), snacks, frozen food, and plenty more.

I just picked up some half and half because I had done my shopping the day before (but, oddly, Whole Foods was entirely out of organic half and half), but I plan to be back in the future, especially if I move further down Telegraph. For pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders, this is the perfect store to run to if you realize you’re missing an ingredient (or a few) or just don’t have time to trek down to one of the bigger stores.

If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by. Here’s some of what you’ll find:

ROSAMUNDE NOW OPEN IN TEMESCAL Rosamunde has been selling sausages and craft beer out of its location in Old Oakland’s Swan’s Marketplace for a few years now. They opened their second East Bay location in Temescal over Memorial Day weekend. This new location, in the former Good Bellie’s café at 4659 Telegraph Ave., is the fifth for the the San Francisco-based restaurant. The Temescal location has the same food menu as at its Old Oakland location, including three varieties of vegan sausages and 14 varieties of beer on tap. Rosamunde Temescal will hold an official grand opening June 11, complete with $1 beer specials and an in-house DJ. Rosamunde Sausage Grill is at 4659 Telegraph Ave. (between 46th and 47th streets), Oakland. Connect with the restaurant on Facebook.


Jimmy Carter sent his nephew clothes, helped him find places to stay, paid for his methadone. When Carter was in the Bay Area, he’d track Willie down through a parole officer and arrange a visit. He also reached out to Drew, who lived with his mother. Carter always remembered his birthday.

In December, Jimmy Carter came to San Francisco and found Willie in the hospital, his face cut and bruised. He said he’d been beaten up while walking past a bar.

“He had all the nurses charmed,” Carter recalls. Carter asked if he needed money, and Willie took $20 for cab fare home.

On Dec. 16, after a record nine months of no violations, the California Department of Corrections finally discharged William Carter Spann from parole. He was 50.

Six weeks later, he stood in the predawn chill, trying to turn his jacket into a drink.

Francisco Noyola had gone inside the house for something to eat when he heard screaming outside.

“That man is dead!”

Noyola found a woman standing on the sidewalk, pointing at William through the chain-link fence. “He’s turning blue!”

Noyola’s head was pounding. “He’s just drunk,” he assured her. But when he went over and grabbed William’s wrist, he felt no pulse.

“He could have died on the street, but I didn’t let him lay down,” Noyola would say a few weeks later. “He had his last cigarette, his last drink. At least he died in somebody’s yard.”

The coroner notified Jimmy Carter. Since leaving office, he had negotiated peace in Haiti, brokered fair elections in Nicaragua, fought to eradicate the guinea worm from Africa. But he could not save his nephew from himself.

The autopsy found a toxic level of alcohol but no drugs. Drew’s mother had the body cremated and collected the ashes; even in death, the Bad Peanut did not go back to Plains.

On January 14, 1967, McClure read at the epochal Human Be-In event in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and transcended his Beat label to become an important member of the 1960s Hippie countercultureBarry Miles famously referred to McClure as “the Prince of the San Francisco Scene”.[3]

McClure would later court controversy as a playwright with his play The Beard. The play tells of a fictional encounter in the blue velvet of eternity between Billy the Kid and Jean Harlow and is a theatrical exploration of his “Meat Politics” theory, in which all human beings are “bags of meat.”



Rockridge is a residential neighborhood and commercial district in Oakland, California. Rockridge is generally defined as the area east of Telegraph Avenue, south of the Berkeley city limits, west of the Oakland hills and north of the intersection of Pleasant Valley Avenue/51st Street and Broadway. It is known for being one of the wealthiest areas of Oakland.[citation needed] Rockridge was listed by Money Magazine in 2002 as one of the “best places to live”.[1]


In 1927, 17-year-old Thelma Reid had just begun her first year of college at UC Berkeley. She was living on 45th street in Oakland’s Rockridge district with her family and did many of the typical things a college coed did—went to class, helped around the house and did her homework. She never expected her studies would spawn one of the biggest scandals in Rockridge history. But then again, it wasn’t ordinary homework.

The collection of poems that would eventually set into motion police raids, arrests and a full-blown media circus was assigned to Reid not by any of her UC Berkeley professors, but by a neighbor, Gertrude Wright. Wright’s home, a few blocks away from Reid’s at 468 Forest Street, served as the international headquarters for a mystical society—called the “Great White Brotherhood”—that blended aspects of Eastern religion with notions of Christian love, racial harmony and communing with God through sexual acts. Reid had been attending one of Wright’s “Sacred Schools”—classes where Wright delivered her unconventional teachings and handed out writings advocating “sacred phallic laws” and “mystical marriages” in which both parties had absolute freedom to explore love in all its exotic forms. Reid’s mother discovered the poems in the family’s home, and referred them to the Oakland Police Department.

But it wasn’t until another mother, Margaret Merwin, concerned about her 18-year-old daughter Caroline, who was also attending brotherhood classes, went to the police that then-District Attorney Earl Warren decided to take action. Warren sent OPD officers to 468 Forest Street and what they found there sent a shockwave through the sleepy Rockridge community for months to come.

In Wright’s home, a full-fledged, old-fashioned pagan society had taken root. According to police records, the raid found an “effigy of a woman with a sword piercing her heart, incoherent messages, cards bearing linked names of males and females and other equally weird evidence.” The Rockridge bungalow had become headquarters for the brotherhood that also had branches in San Francisco, San Jose, Portland and Chicago. Members of the Rockridge society included city council members, schoolteachers and businessmen. Cult founder and high priestess Wright was taken into police custody, along with her disciple Irma Gibbs and three others, on charges of encouraging delinquency.

The media went to town. The brotherhood was dubbed a “love cult” by newspapers around the Bay Area, which painted Rockridge as the epicenter of sexual perversion. Articles spawned sensational tales of paganism and decadence. LA Times columnist Harry Carr had this to say about Reid and Merwin:

“The attempt to paint these girls—and their beef-fed sheiks—as innocent, wide-eyed victims of a freak religion is enough to make anybody laugh. Girls of this day and age are wise guys. And any one of them knows that a so-called religious cult that involves being ‘initiated’ in the presence of men with most of their clothes off is merely an excuse for a debauch.”

The only sympathetic voice at the time belonged to Oakland Tribune reporter Nancy Barr Mavity. “Whether the web in which [Wright] is intangled is one of wheels within wheels of enmity on the part of deserters from the order,” wrote Mavity, “Or whether she is the priestess of views not favored in Western society, she remains the romantic lady in a world where a white stucco bungalow easily becomes a temple.”

In May of 1927, one of the arrested society members, Russel Alley, was tried before a jury, and found guilty of contributing to the delinquency of minors. Unconvinced they could receive a fair trial, Wright and Gibbs jumped bail and disappeared across the border to Mexico. For two years there was no sign of either of them, until Wright sent an emissary back to Alameda County to negotiate her return to Oakland in 1929. Local authorities refused her permission to return, and Wright was never heard from again. Whether she was a pagan cult priestess or just a “romantic lady,” in the end she went down in history as a fugitive from justice.

Michael Bowen Instigator of Human Be-In

Posted on May 13, 2020 by Royal Rosamond Press

Obituaries  are claiming Michael McClure and other Beat Poets began the Summer of Love. They were the invited guests of the owners of The Oracle.  Michael Bowen appears to be the creator of this vision – that did not elect leaders of our Hippie Movement! We were not in need of leaders. McClure has been guilty of feathering his own nest. That the College of Arts and Crafts was founded by Frederick Meyer who was inspired by the Pre-Raphaelite artist and writer, William Morris, changes the Genesis of the Hippie and Bohemian scene in the Bay Area, and is more inclusive of Artists. J.R. Tolkien was inspired by Morris as was Joaquin Miller who I have depicted as Gandalf. The Hobbits inspired the lifestyle of the Hippies – who I renamed. The establishment newspaper put that name on us, and put their own ignorant spin on our new cultural movement.

McClure was of the previous era as was Ginsberg and Leary. Bowan had to know he too was on the way out, and thus he did not protest.  He had to know of BEAF that held shows around the corner of McClure’s classroom. I lived down the street on Broadway. Up Broadway were camped the Temescal Group of Artists and writers, including George Sterling, the ‘King of the Bohemians’ and co-founder of the Bohemian Club. The Great White Brotherhood proceeds the Beat poets – who should have know about seventeen year old Thelma Reid. My late friend was a good friend of McClure, Jim Morrison, and the Stackpole family. He went to CCAC.

John Presco

Sacred School of the Great White Brotherhood

In 1927, 17-year-old Thelma Reid had just begun her first year of college at UC Berkeley. She was living on 45th street in Oakland’s Rockridge district with her family and did many of the typical things a college coed did—went to class, helped around the house and did her homework. She never expected her studies would spawn one of the biggest scandals in Rockridge history. But then again, it wasn’t ordinary homework.

The collection of poems that would eventually set into motion police raids, arrests and a full-blown media circus was assigned to Reid not by any of her UC Berkeley professors, but by a neighbor, Gertrude Wright. Wright’s home, a few blocks away from Reid’s at 468 Forest Street, served as the international headquarters for a mystical society—called the “Great White Brotherhood”—that blended aspects of Eastern religion with notions of Christian love, racial harmony and communing with God through sexual acts. Reid had been attending one of Wright’s “Sacred Schools”—classes where Wright delivered her unconventional teachings and handed out writings advocating “sacred phallic laws” and “mystical marriages” in which both parties had absolute freedom to explore love in all its exotic forms. Reid’s mother discovered the poems in the family’s home, and referred them to the Oakland Police Department.

CCA was founded in 1907 by Frederick Meyer in Berkeley as the School of the California Guild of Arts and Crafts during the height of the Arts and Crafts movement. The Arts and Crafts movement originated in Europe during the late 19th century as a response to the industrial aesthetics of the machine age. Followers of the movement advocated an integrated approach to art, design, and craft. Today, Frederick Meyer’s “practical art school” is an internationally known and respected institution, drawing students from around the world.[2]

In 1908 the school was renamed California School of Arts and Crafts, and in 1936 it became the California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC).[3]


STILL AVAILABLE: Arthur’s “Paradise Now” dvd

Michael Bowen (artist)

Michael McClure – Lumper

Posted on May 12, 2020 by Royal Rosamond Press

Michael McClure died last week. For three days I have been considering what I have to say about his Death Thing. Haven’t poets – said enough? McClure did the most important thing we can do – after being born. While in our mother’s wombs – we don’t have a clue what is about to happen! BANG!

“Hello world!”

Michael knew he was going to die. Did he wonder what other writers were going to write about him – now that the restraints are removed?

Yesterday I wrote a poem about Michael in the form of a question:

‘Did You Fuck Amber’.

Amber was my Lover. We lived together. I suspect one of her Johns paid her way to go to California College of Arts and Crafts that was founded on the ideas of my hero, William Morris. She was a high-class prostitute in San Francisco. She told me she saved money to go to college. She invited me to sit in on McClure’s poetry class held in this building. This crosswalk is famous in my book. This is the Mecca of the Hippie-Beat-Acid-Rock scene.

I was going to shit-can Michael until I read his poem about working in a produce market as a lumper. ‘The Breech’ goes with my memory of working as a lumper in the Oakland produce market. Then I found this video of the Living Theatre who are inspired by Antonin Artaud who wrote ‘The Theatre as the Plague’. These actors are taking themselves – real seriously. This is what we all did – back then! McClure is heading the Oaks Motel, as is Jim Morrison and the group – Love.

John Presco

“We disliked each other enormously at first,” Mr. McClure told the Victoria (B.C.) Times Colonist in 2011. “We both had long hair to our shoulders and leather pants on. And then we started drinking Johnnie Walker and talking about poetry. We become very deep friends.”

Mr. McClure appeared in a film directed by novelist Norman Mailer, was friends with actors Dennis Hopper and Peter Coyote and drew praise for his poem “Peyote Poem” from Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of DNA.

When I was a boy, I thought a thousand times I’d be a man
I’d sit inside a bottle and pretend that I was in a can

In my lonely room, I’d set my mind on an ice cream cone
You can throw me if you wanna ’cause I’m a bone and I’ll go
Boom, bang, bang, boom, bang, bang, yeah

If I don’t start cryin’, it’s because that I have got no eyes
My bum’s in the fireplace, my dog lies hypnotized

Through the crack of light, I was unable to find my way
Trapped inside a night but I’m a day and I go
Boom, bang, bang, boom, bang, bang, yeah


Kerouac based a character in his novel “Big Sur” on Mr. McClure — “the handsome young poet who’s just written the most fantastic poem in America, called ‘Dark Brown,’ which is every detail of his and his wife’s body described in ecstatic union and communion . . . and not only that he insists on reading it to us.”

Mr. McClure’s early poetry was often descriptive and drawn from everyday experience. One of the poems he read at the Six Gallery, “The Breech,” was drawn from his job unloading trucks at a produce market:

In anticipation of Michael McClure’s book, “Mysteriosos and Other Poems”, (published in April by New Directions), Steven Fama wrote a blog post called “17 Reasons Why…I Love the Work of Michael McClure!”.

Number one on the list was the October 7, 1955 reading at the Six Gallery in San Francisco. It was McClure’s first poetry reading, and the first time Allen Ginsberg read “Howl” in public. Philip Lamantia, Philip Whalen, and Gary Snyder also read that night, and Jack Kerouac brought the wine.

Organized by Kenneth Rexroth and billed as a “a remarkable collection of angels on one stage reading their poetry”, the Six Gallery reading was pivotal at a time when San Francisco poets were stirring up something new and exciting, and resurrecting the art of poetry from what McClure describes in Scratching the Beat Surface as “the gray, chill, militaristic silence”.

In his 1956 New York Times review of these new, radical West Coast poets, Richard Eberhart wrote: “They have exuberance and a young will to kick down the doors of older consciousness and established practice in favor of what they think is vital and new.” Half a century later, Jonah Raskin, author of American Screamwrote in the San Francisco Chronicle that “All Americans might look back at the Six Gallery reading for inspiration.”

At a 2008 reading at UC Berkeley, McClure recalled the Six Gallery and read three of his poems from that night: “Mystery of the Hunt”, “For the Death of 100 Whales”, and “The Breech”.

When he wrote “The Breech”, McClure had a night job in a produce market. Working in the dark streets made him think of Rimbaud, he says, and inspired the poem:

The Breech

—A barricade — a wall — a stronghold,
Sinister and joyous, of indigo and saffron —
To hurl myself against!
To crush or
To be a part of the wall…
Spattered brains or the imprint
of a violent foot —
To crumble loose some brilliant masonry
Or knock it down —
To send pieces flying
Like stars!

To be the chalice of the hunt,
To handspring
Through a barrier of white trees!

At work — 3:00 in the morning — In the produce market
Moving crates of lettuce and cauliflower — Predawn
A vision — The rats become chinchillas — I stand
At the base of a cliff — sweating — flaming — in terror and joy
Surrounded in the mist — by whirling circles of dark
Chattering animals — a black lynx stares from the hole
In the cliff.

Rotten lettuce — perfume — The damp carroty street.

It is my head — These are my hands.
I don’t will it.
Out in the light — Noon — the City.
A Wall — a stronghold.

—Michael McClure

CCA was founded in 1907 by Frederick Meyer in Berkeley as the School of the California Guild of Arts and Crafts during the height of the Arts and Crafts movement. The Arts and Crafts movement originated in Europe during the late 19th century as a response to the industrial aesthetics of the machine age. Followers of the movement advocated an integrated approach to art, design, and craft. Today, Frederick Meyer’s “practical art school” is an internationally known and respected institution, drawing students from around the world.[2]

In 1908 the school was renamed California School of Arts and Crafts, and in 1936 it became the California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC).[3]


In 1968, after years of self-imposed exile in Europe, the Living Theatre triumphantly returned to America with their theatrical breakthrough “Paradise Now.”

The sensational production, involving group nudity, marijuana smoking, advocacy of a non-violent anarchist revolution, continuous interaction with the audience and something just this side of a full-on public orgy, received attention from those far outside the normal theater-going public.

From The Living Theatre: Art, Exile, and Outrage by John Tytell (Grove Press, 1995):

Doors singer Jim Morrison and poet Michael McClure actively participated in performances of ‘Paradise Now’ at the [San Francisco Bay Area’s] Nourse Auditorium…. McClure brought Morrison to visit at [Beat poet/City Light Books founder Lawrence] Ferlinghetti’s office. Julian [Beck, of the Living Theatre} was on and off the telephone to New York, frantically worried about the money to get the troupe back to Europe where engagements has been scheduled. Quietly, Morrison offered to assist with money.

Morrison–who had read Artaud and Ginsberg in college–saw himself as a revolutionary figure. Agreeing that repression was the chief social evil in America and the cause of a general pathology, he was typical of the sectors of support The Living Theatre had received in America. [The Doors’] long improvisational song ‘When the Music’s Over’ proclaims, as in ‘Paradise Now,’ ‘We want the world, and we want it now.’ Morrison had seen every performance in Los Angeles and followed the company up to San Francisco.

“On the day after his visit with McClure, Jim Morrison gave Julian [Beck] $2,500 for the trip home…”







STILL AVAILABLE: Arthur’s “Paradise Now” dvd

Hell’s Angels and the Beat Counterculture

Posted on March 9, 2014by Royal Rosamond Press

Hell's Angels Ride the Streets

In 1967, I attended the first Human Be-in with my childhood friend, Nancy Van Brasch, who later became a Merry Prankster and good friend of the Kesey family. The Hell’s Angels guarded the sound equipment offstage.

The Beat Poet, Michael McClure, was a good friend of the famous Hell’s Angel, Freewheelin Frank, and did a biography about him.

Putin was the head of the KGB, Russia’s Top Cop. Putin busted and jailed a lot of folks who did not want to go along with the program. His Anti-Outlaw biker gang, the Night Wolves, are busting heads in the Crimea, they sent there to make non-conformists tow the line. These fake outlaws are cops, out to bust the counter-culture wherever they find it.

I would say every Angel in the Bay Area took LSD more than once. Putin is too chicken-shit to drop, as are his wolves.

What I recall about that day was the sun. For January it was warm and bright. Our collective good vibes was credited. We took a huge risk, tried something different than the Terrifying Cold War, that the Christniks have brought back, the Night Cops leading the way. Fuck the cops! The New Cold War is going to cost humanity trillions!

Michael McClure was a good friend of Jim Morrison. They would get fucked up on drugs and booze together. Putin and his Night Wolves are afraid to get fucked-up, but have no problems fucking-up millions of peoples lives with guns and tanks.

Ken Kesey was on a mission from the cosmos to turn the Hell’s Angels on to LSD.

“Turn on. Tune in. Drop out!”

Jon Presco



San Francisco 1966
Michael McClure introduced me to Freewheelin. They were doing a book together for Grove Press and needed a cover shot. Frank was the secretary of the San Francisco branch of the Hell’s Angels. He would dictate the book to McClure who would type the words. I liked Frank very much; he was always good to me. He gave me a Hell’s Angels protection card, just in case. He would invite me to parties, drive-in movies, etc., but I was too afraid to go.

San Francisco 1966
Freewheelin Frank and Michael McClure were writing a book together about Frank’s life as a Hell’s Angel. It is an ‘as told to’ book because although Frank was the secretary of the local chapter of the Angels, he was illiterate (but he had a steel-trap memory). I saw the unfinished manuscript on McClure’s bed and thought it was a good establishing photograph. Years later, I asked Michael why he did not use a computer in his work. He told me there would not be a hand written manuscript (typed with corrections/changes and drawings) for the archives and a diskette had no real value

The Rose of the World. The Metaphilosophy of History.) is the title of the main book by Russian mystic Daniil Andreev. It is also the name of the predicted new universal religion, to emerge and unite all people of the world before the advent of the Antichrist, described by Andreev in his book. This new interreligion, as he calls it, should unite the existing religions “like a flower unites its petals”,

Oakland, 1966
Gypsy was a Hell’s Angel from Colorado, where he said he knew Dylan. Neal Cassady is lighting Gypsy’s cigarette from his, in this photograph. Both of them were talking in ‘con talk’ most of the time. Neal asks Gypsy “Hey, have you got any animals, man?” Gypsy replies that he doesn’t have any animals. Later, I asked Gypsy what Cassady asked him for and he said that Neal wanted some Camel cigarettes.




The ‘Human Be-In’ was later recalled by Allen Cohen (who assisted the artist Bowen in the organizational work,) as a necessary meld that brought together philosophically opposed factions of the current San Francisco-based counterculture: on one side, the Berkeley radicals, who were tending toward increased militancy in response to the U.S. government’s Vietnam war policies, and, on the other side, the rather non-political Haight-Ashbury hippies, who urged peaceful protest. Their means were drastically different, but they held many of the same goals.


The Human Be-In focused the key ideas of the 1960s counterculture: personal empowerment, cultural and political decentralization, communal living, ecological awareness, higher consciousness (with the aid of psychedelic drugs), acceptance of illicit drug use, and radical liberal political consciousness.[2] The hippie movement developed out of disaffected student communities around San Francisco State, Stanford and Berkeley and in San Francisco’s beat generation poets and jazz hipsters, who also combined a search for intuitive spontaneity with a rejection of “middle-class morality”. Allen Ginsberg personified the transition between the beat and hippie generations.

About Royal Rosamond Press

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