Category: TRIBUTE



The Farm, (founded 1974) also known as Crossroads Community,[1]: 43  was an environmental art and performance art project that also operated as a community center. The Farm was located at the corner of Army Street (later renamed Cesar Chavez Street) and Potrero Avenue in San Francisco, California, from 1974 to 1987.[2][3][4] It was founded by Bonnie Ora Sherk and Jack Wickert in 1974.[1]: 43  The open space incorporated a major freeway interchange and is now site of Potrero del Sol Park (formally La Raza Park).[5]

Sherk referred to the thirteen year-long project as an “environmental sculpture” where edible crops were grown, livestock were raised and educational programming took place. Sherk spoke of the project: “We’re attempting to reconnect people and humanize environments” and that the “growth process in life is like the creative process in art.”[2]


“In the city, things tend to be very fragmented, and the freeway is a symbol of that fragmentation,”

–Bonnie Ora Sherk[2]

Adults and children would gather at The Farm which was across a park from Buena Vista Elementary School. Children from Buena Vista would visit the Farm for field trips or go to the Farm after school.

The Farm had a two-story building; the lower story contained an actual farm, with vegetable gardens, chickens, geese, rabbits, and goats.[3] Upstairs was a library and an art gallery. Also on the bottom level was a pre-school. The Farm would put on DIY shows to raise funds.

Sherk departed in 1980 after the city parks department decided to reclaim one of the Farm’s lots and turn it into a traditional urban park. Later directors turned the Farm into a punk rock showcase by night,[1]: 52–53  by partnering with mobile garage productions run by Craig Shell and Bill Gould (of faith no more), infamous for staging seminal 1980s punk rock bands such as Frightwig, Discharge, Camper Van Beethoven, the Descendents, the Mentors, 7 Seconds, MDC (Millions of Dead Cops), RKL (Rich Kids on LSD), Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, Raw Power, the Accused, Redd Kross, Soundgarden, the Gits, the Lookouts (early band of Green Day drummer), Bad Brains, and many more.

’80s punk shows at The Farm, such as the Black Flag / Redd Kross show on November 16, 1984, attracted notable figures including Kevin Thatcher and Mofo of Thrasher Magazine, along with members of The Faction.[6]

Buildings in the same complex also housed Survival Research Laboratories, Goforaloop Gallery, Subterranean Records, and CoreOS.

  1. Blankenship, Jana. “The Farm by the Freeway”. In Auther, Elissa, and Lerner, Adam, eds. (2012). West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965–1977. University of Minnesota Press.

“Black Flag / Redd Kross: November 16, 1984”. Do You Remember ROCK ‘N’ ROLL. 1 (1): 8. April 1985 – via Internet Archive. The Farm is this big barn like place with a stage at one end ad bleechers at the other.


Bonnie Sherk talked me into opening a public office for community programs at THE FARM. She was a fire-storm of productivity and THE FARM was an incredible place:




Bonnie Ora Sherk (née Bonnie Ora Kellner; May 18, 1945 – August 8, 2021) was an American landscape-space artist, performance artist, landscape planner, and educator.[1] She was the founder of The Farm, and A Living Library. Sherk was a professional artist who exhibited her work in museums and galleries around the world. Her work has also been published in art books, journals, and magazines.[2] Her work is considered a pioneering contribution to Eco Art.[3]

Bonnie Ora Kellner was born on May 18, 1945, in New Bedford, Massachusetts. She grew up in Montclair, New Jersey. Her father Sydney Kellner was the area director of the American Jewish Committee and lecturer of art and architecture. Her mother was a first grade teacher.[1]

Sherk graduated Douglass College, Rutgers University in the 1960s.[4] She studied under Robert Watts at Rutgers, who taught her about the Fluxus movement.[1] She later enrolled in an MFA program at San Francisco State University.[4]

Sherk moved to San Francisco in the late 1960s[4] with her husband David Sherk.[1]

Sherk is a developer of a systemic, place-based approach to environmental transformation and education which links systems – biological, cultural, technological.[2] Integrated with such innovations, like Green-Powered Digital Gateways, Sherk’s approach incorporates interdisciplinary, standards-based, hands-on learning, community ecological planning and design, and state-of-the-art communications and technologies.[2] Sherk’s goal is to integrate local resources: human, ecological, economic, historic, technological, and aesthetic – seen through the lens of time – to make relevant ecological transformations, which are integrated with hands-on learning opportunities and community programs.[5]

In an interview with Peter Cavagnaro, Sherk shares her love and passion for the environment.[5] She believes that the environment is a “beautiful” and “diverse” place and that it is the most practical place for art and to create transformation, because it has the ability to reach communities near and far.[5]

  • 2014, Vegetation As Political Agent, PAV, Parco Arte Vivente, TurinItaly[6]
  • 2017, Venice BiennaleViva Arte Viva, May 13 – November 16, 2017.[7][8]
  • 2019, Territorios que importan. Arte, Género, Ecologia, CDAN, Centro de Arte y Naturaleza, HuescaSpain.[9]


A Living Library (1980s–2021)

Sherk working with kids at A Branch Living Library & Think Park

A Living Library[10] was Sherk’s ongoing work[11] she started in the 1980s, that consists of transforming environments -buried urban streams and asphalted public spaces, into thriving art gardens.[1] She has transformed these spaces in order to build education centers for children in communities in San Francisco and New York City.[12]

The Farm (1974–1980)

Created in 1974, and lasting through 1980, by Sherk, The Farm (also known as Crossroads Community) was a 7-acre eco garden and art space that spreads across traffic meridians and underused spaces under freeway overpasses. It even includes animals. This piece provided internships, educational activities for children, and acted as a public park throughout its duration.

Sherk felt that people lacked a “spiritual and ecological balance within ourselves and larger groups and nations,”[13] and felt that a space like the Farm could offer a solution to this issue through community connection, education, and creating a space within the urban landscape to uncover the natural environment that exists within the landscape and demonstrate our connection to life and the ecosystem.

Living In The Forest

Living In The Forest: Demonstrations of Atkin Logic, Balance, Compromise, Devotion, Etc. was an installation created in 1973 for De Saisset Museum in Santa Clara, conceived as a “a metaphor for life in all of its aspects, including birth, death, struggles for survival, compromise, living our daily lives, etc.”[4]

Public Lunch

Public Lunch[14][15] was one of Sherk’s most well-known performance pieces. The piece consisted of Bonnie eating lunch in cages with various animals, such as lions and tigers, at the San Francisco Zoo. She did this on a Saturday at 2pm in 1971, during normal feeding time and prime spectator watching.[5]

Sitting Still Series

In Bonnie Ora Sherk’s Sitting Still Series, 1970 (digital projection, photo documentation of performances) the artist sate for approximately one hour in various locations around San Francisco as a means to subtly change the environment simply by becoming an unexpected part of it. At the first performance, Sherk, dressed in a formal evening gown, sat in an unholstered armchair amidst garbage and creek runoff from the construction of the Army Street freeway interchange. Facing slow moving traffic, her audience was the people driving by. The following month Sherk sat silently in the midst of a flooded city dump at California and Montgomery Streets. Other locations in the series included the Financial District, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Bank of America plaza. Sherk also continued her piece at the San Francisco Zoo in a number of indoor and outdoor animal cages. Sitting Still culminated in the performance Public Lunch, in which the artist ceremoniously ate an elaborately catered lunch in an empty cage located next to a cage of lions during public feeding time at the zoo. The project reinforced Sherk’s commitment to studying the interrelationship of plants, animals, and humans with the goal of creating sustainable systems for social transformation. The Sitting Still Series was exhibited in total as part of Public Works: Artists Interventions 1970s – Now, curated by Christian L. Frock and Tanya Zimbardo at Mills College Art Museum, September – December 2016; Sherk’s first image from the series graces the cover of the exhibition catalogue designed by John Borruso.[16]

In 1970, the first SECA Vernal Equinox Special Award, which recognizes conceptual and experimental projects, was presented to Sherk and Howard Levine by the SFMOMA.[17][18]

In 2001, Marion Rockefeller Weber‘s Arts and Healing Network awarded Sherk the 2001 AHN Award “for being an outstanding educator and for using her creativity to foster environmental healing.”[19]

Sherk was married to David Sherk. The couple later divorced.[1]

Sherk died on August 8, 2021, in San Francisco, California. She was buried on August 11 at the Mendocino Jewish Cemetery near the grave of her parents.[20]


  1. Jump up to:a b c d e f Genzlinger, Neil (November 19, 2021). “Bonnie Sherk, Landscape Artist Full of Surprises, Dies at 76”The New York TimesISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  2. Jump up to:a b c “Bonnie Ora Sherk, Author at Women Eco Artists Dialog”Women Eco Artists Dialog. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  3. ^ Weintraub, Linda (2012). To Life! Eco Art in Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet. University of California Press. p. 110. ISBN 978-0520273627.
  4. Jump up to:a b c d Galpin, Pierre-François (December 16, 2013). “Cultivating the Human & Ecological Garden: A Conversation with Bonnie Ora Sherk”Independent Curatorial International. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  5. Jump up to:a b c d Cavagnaro, Peter. “Q & A :: Bonnie Ora Sherk and the Performance of Being” blook. Archived from the original on May 10, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  6. ^ “Vegetation and politics” Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  7. ^ “Bonnie Ora Sherk and A Living Library Receive International Recognition at Venice Biennale 2017”. September 8, 2017.
  8. ^ “La Biennale di Venezia – Artists” Archived from the original on June 29, 2017. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  9. ^ “CDAN | TERRITORIOS QUE IMPORTAN” (in Spanish). Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  10. ^ “A Living Library – Cultivating the Human and Ecological Garden | ROOSTERGNN”ROOSTERGNN. September 9, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  11. ^ “Focus Areas”WCPUN. October 25, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  12. ^ “Bonnie Ora Sherk” Green Museum. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  13. ^ “A Living Library Crossroads Community (The farm): Early Life Frame Leads to Development of Potrero del Sol Park & A Living Library – A Living Library”. December 5, 2013.
  14. ^ “Writing”Christian L. Frock. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  15. ^ Frock, Zimbardo, Christian, Tanya (2015). Public Works Artists’ Interventions 1970s – Now. Mills College Art Museum. pp. 116, 117.
  16. ^ Frock, Christian; Zimbardo, Tanya; Hanor, Stephanie (2015). Public Works: Artists’ Interventions 1970s – Now. Oakland, California: Mills College Art Museum. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-9854600-2-0.
  17. ^ Desmarais, Charles (June 28, 2017). “SECA timeline”San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  18. ^ “SECA Art Award History”SFMOMA. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  19. ^ “Bonnie Ora Sherk: 2001 AHN Awardee”Art and Healing Network. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  20. ^ Bonnie Ora Sherk (1945-2021)

(SCRAPBOOK) Chet Helms And The Family Dog

Chet was a dear friend and colleague. I worked with, and for, Chet on a number of projects. He is part of American history and culture.



Chester Leo “Chet” Helms (August 2, 1942 – June 25, 2005), often called the father of San Francisco’s 1967 “Summer of Love,” was a music promoter and a counterculture figure in San Francisco during its hippie period in the mid- to-late 1960s.

Helms was the founder and manager of Big Brother and the Holding Company and recruited Janis Joplin as its lead singer. He was a producer and organizer, helping to stage free concerts and other cultural events at Golden Gate Park, the backdrop of San Francisco’s Summer of Love in 1967, as well as at other venues, including the Avalon Ballroom.

He was the first producer of psychedelic light-show concerts at the Fillmore and the Avalon Ballroom and was instrumental in helping to develop bands that had the distinctive San Francisco Sound.[1] Helms died June 25, 2005, of complications of a stroke. He was 62.[2]

Chester Leo Helms was born in Santa Maria, California, the eldest of three sons. His parents were Chester and Novella Helms.[3] Helms’ father, a manager at a local sugarbeet mill, died when his oldest child was nine. Chet’s mother, Novella, took the boys and their terminally ill father to Texas where her family, the Dearmore family resided. After Chet’s father passed away his mother studied to become a school teacher and took the boys to the Ozarks in southwest Missouri and taught school in a two-room schoolhouse. She taught four grades in one room and the other four grades were taught by another teacher in the other room.

Helms spent the rest of his youth in Missouri and Texas, where he learned to organize events by helping to stage benefits for civil-rights groups. He enrolled at the University of Texas and became part of the music scene there, a scene that included a very young and inexperienced Janis Joplin. Soon he dropped out of school and, inspired by the Beat Generation writers, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg to travel across America in search of freedom and inspiration, he set off wearing shoulder-length hair, beard and rimless glasses[4] hitchhiking across the country. He ended up in San Francisco in 1962.

Later he returned to Austin with his best friend at the time, Peter Haigh, to visit his friend Janis Joplin. He thought she could make it as a singer in San Francisco. After a week of partying, they persuaded Janis to drop out of school and hitchhike back to San Francisco with them. Later he would bring her to the attention of Big Brother and the Holding Company.[5]

After arriving in San Francisco in 1962, he scrounged a living in various ways, including selling marijuana, an occupation that caused him to go to a boardinghouse at 1090 Page Street.[6] The house was in Haight-Ashbury, then a rundown, low-rent neighborhood. Having met many musicians in his trade, and appreciating the vibrant music scene in San Francisco, he instinctively recognized the need for a forum for musicians to play music together. When he saw the large basement at Page Street, he began arranging jam sessions for the local bands and musicians. Helms, an astute organizer, made those sessions popular and started charging an admission fee of 50 cents.[7] His career as a rock concert promoter began. Big Brother and the Holding Company formed and Helms functioned as their informal manager. He teamed up Janis Joplin with Big Brother for music sessions in the Haight-Ashbury basement.

In February 1966 he formed a loose connection with the Family Dog at 2125 Pine Street, [8] a hippie commune, which hosted dances and events.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24]

Helms was the ideal person to help this group organize their presentations and he moved into the Family Dog house. Their first formal production was a concert at Longshoremen’s Hall.

In February 1966, Helms formally founded Family Dog Productions to begin promoting concerts at The Fillmore Auditorium, alternating weekends with another young promoter, Bill Graham. Helms was instrumental in introducing Bill Graham to the nascent music scene in the Haight Asbury District of S.F. Helms was nurturing when Graham caught wind of the excitement Helms was creating and promoting. As the concerts became more popular, inevitable “conflicts” arose between the two promoters. Chet’s style was “easy-going, mellow, soft-tempered until pushed.” Graham’s style was more driven. Within a few months Helms secured the permits necessary to host events at the Avalon Ballroom, an old dancehall at 1268 Sutter Street, on the corner of Sutter and Van Ness. Big Brother and the Holding Company debuted there in June 1966. Later Helms would get them the appearance that made them famous, the Monterey Pop Festival, where Albert Grossman spotted Joplin and offered her a contract.

Family Dog Concerts

In the context of the Avalon’s “anti-business model” and loose ambience, Helms’ Family Dog held a series of legendary concerts between April 1966 and November 1968, featuring a mix of artists, including rock, blues, soul, Indian, and rock and roll. They included:

Helms presented top blues performers including Country Joe and The FishHowlin’ WolfBo DiddleyMuddy WatersLittle WalterBuddy GuyJunior Wells; the Paul Butterfield Blues Band; Buddy MilesJames Cotton Blues Band; John MayallBig Mama ThorntonAlbert CollinsSteve MillerSon HouseMike BloomfieldElvin BishopBlues Project, with Al KooperJohn HammondCharlie MusselwhiteSiegel-Schwall Band; rock bands like The DoorsBuffalo Springfield; the ByrdsBill Haley & His CometsThe Kinks;The Edwin Hawkins Singers; the Animals‘ Eric Burdon & WarThe Mothers of InventionLovin’ Spoonful; The Carlos Santana Blues Band; Sir Douglas Quintet; the Soul Survivors; the FugsBlood, Sweat & TearsThe Association; Shorty Featuring Georgie FameGrateful DeadIron Butterflythe Youngbloods, with Jesse Colin YoungVanilla FudgeSteppenwolfPocoLove, with Arthur Lee; sarode-player and Indian music teacher, Ali Akbar KhanSandy BullBlue Cheerthe LeavesNew Riders of the Purple SageBarry McGuireFlamin’ Groovies; the Loading Zone; It’s a Beautiful DayJoy of Cookingthe Grass Rootsthe Sons of AdamSons of ChamplinCaptain Beefheart; the Electric FlagVelvet UndergroundPacific Gas and ElectricMoby Grape; the Sopwith Camel13th Floor ElevatorsThe Charlatans; Allmen Joy (see; Mother Earth; Southern Comfort; The Ace of CupsTyrannosaurus Rex; Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band; Flying Burrito Brothers; Congress of Love; Notes From the Underground; Chrome Circus; Initial Shock; Oxford Circle; Daily Flash; Electric Train; Sparrow; the Orchestra; HourglassKaleidoscopeMt. Rushmore; Other Half; Phoenix; Lothar & the Hand PeopleCommander Cody; Cleveland Wrecking Company; The Rhythm DukesA.B. SkhyFrumious Bandersnatch; Eighth Penny Matter; Jimmerfield Legend; South Side Sound; Super Ball; Solid Muldoon; Box Top; and jazz artists Sun Ra and San Francisco’s own John HandyCharles Lloyd; the Jerry Hahn Brotherhood; and folksters Joan BaezDave Van RonkJim Kweskin Jug BandTaj MahalTim Buckley and Flatt & Scruggs.

Family Dog Speakers/Poets/Heroes of the Hour

Sometimes Helms cast the music promoter role aside and the Family Dog would feature speakers, including Alan Watts, Dr. Timothy LearyStephen Gaskin, poet Allen Ginsberg, and other counterculture gurus. Helms is linked in San Francisco lore with Bill Graham, the DiggersEmmett GroganKen KeseyJack KerouacGary SnyderLawrence FerlinghettiMichael McClureNeal CassadyKenneth RexrothRalph J. Gleason, and others.

The Family Dog Denver

In 1967, Helms and budding rock promotor Barry Fey agreed to open a Family Dog Productions concert dance hall in Denver, Colorado. They called it The Family Dog Denver, and brought in acts like The Doors, the Grateful DeadVan MorrisonJefferson AirplaneBuffalo SpringfieldChuck Berry, and many others. The San Francisco psychedelic poster artists were commissioned by Helms to do posters for the shows. Little has been known about the venue until the 2021 release of the documentary, The Tale of the Dog, which unearthed the story through interviews with the venue staff, bands, posters artists, attendees and Denver police, detailing the full history and lasting impact of “The Dog” for the first time.[25]

Artwork and Posters

To promote their concerts in both San Francisco and Denver, Family Dog published a series of innovative psychedelic posters, handbills and other ephemera, created by a group of prominent young San Francisco artists including Wes Wilson, Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse (Mouse Studios), Rick GriffinSteve Renick and Victor Moscoso.[26][27] Often printed using intensely colored fluorescent inks, they typically featured a mixture of found images and specially drawn artwork. The posters of Griffin, Mouse and Kelly, in particular, were known for the intricate and highly stylized hand-lettering in which the concert details were written out, which sometimes took considerable time and effort to decipher. Original Avalon posters are now collector’s items. In a slide show published with the obituary at the time of Wilson’s death in 2020, The New York Times included an apparent portrait watercolor of Helms—a book in the foreground has Helms’ full name on it.[28]

Helms was also involved in joint productions/promotions at the Fillmore, Longshoreman’s Hall, and Haight Street’s Straight Theater (not all formal Family Dog Dance-Concerts).

Style as promoter

While Graham was an aggressive asshole mobster-like businessman and professional promoter, Helms presented a philosophical and intellectual business approach. He was the visionary along with Boots Houghston. He related easily to the San Francisco hippie subculture since, in essence, he was one of them. It wasn’t the money he was after, that was the by-product of artistic talent; it was the creative unity of new emerging music sounds that enriched Helms and the community he was talking to, which spread worldwide. The San Francisco Chronicle called Helms “a towering figure in the 1960s Bay Area music scene,”[citation needed].

Helms embraced music for music’s sake and the Beat-hipster-generation-turned-hippie philosophy. While the war raged in Vietnam and the nation coped with racial clashes and assassinations, the anti-war, anti-establishment youth thrived in the throes of a social revolution. Meanwhile, Helms was cranking out bands and musicians espousing the same lifestyle as this new audience, while giving the very distinct impression that he was indifferent to money and commercial success.

His benign image could be deceptive. According to Jay Ferguson of Spirit, Graham would negotiate shrewdly and frequently offer a lower fee to a band than Helms, but when the concert was over, he would pay the band in full; Helms did not always do likewise. Some of the more serious bands (those not subsidized by trust funds) came to prefer Graham’s hard-nosed, businesslike approach. Graham did covertly help Helms financially at various times during the 1970s, keeping San Francisco in the fore as the West Coast Music mecca. Helms also had a reputation at the Avalon of being a rather authoritarian stage manager, once (April 6, 1969) famously unplugging the Grateful Dead’s stage amps when they played beyond their allotted hour, forcing them to complete Viola Lee Blues a capella.[citation needed].

The core San Francisco rock bands, Jefferson AirplaneGrateful DeadBig Brother and the Holding Company, Country Joe and the Fish, and Quicksilver Messenger Service (including pre-Dino Valenti), would play for both Graham’s concerts at the Fillmore Auditorium, and the Family Dog at Helms’ Avalon dances.

Helms’ shows were always more relaxed and offered a pleasant alternative to Bill Graham Presents dances, at a more reasonable admission, and with more room for the stoned, arm-waving type of solo dancing that personified the era. The nearby Mt. Zion Hospital kept a late-night clinic to treat the many drug-overdose victims from the Fillmore.[citation needed].

Janis Joplin

To concertgoers, Helms’ contributions to the music world, like introducing a singer he knew in Texas, Janis Joplin, to the San Francisco music scene,[3] were not always well publicized, but witnessing the final product of Joplin, with her powerful performances, was a spectacle. First introduced as a new bandmember of Big Brother, she brought what the Grateful DeadQuicksilver Messenger Service, and Big Brother did not seem at that point to have – a lead singer to match Jefferson Airplane’s Marty Balin and Signe Toly Anderson.

With Joplin as the lead singer, Helms became the group’s manager[29] and introduced them on stage when they made their crucial appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, a performance that marked Joplin’s elevation to national prominence.[4]


Bill Graham Presents shows evolved more into high-power, professional lineups of better-known headline bands that made him known as the can-do guy that he was, while Helms, although managing to produce top-flight bands, still showcased bands that tended to be hipper and local. Helms didn’t seem to have the need to hire zealous uniformed security guards, so teenagers found it easier to sneak into his dances. Helms ultimately allowed free admission after midnight. The San Francisco Family Dog dances later re-emerged in a new location, the Family Dog on the Great Highway at the edge of the Western World (its exaggerated sometimes heard full title) which opened in the summer of 69. It was the former Ocean Beach Pavilion Ballroom turned slot car track that was right next door to the old skating rink and “Bull Pup Enchiladas” at PlaylandOcean Beach, at 660 The Great Highway in San Francisco’s Richmond district.[30][31]

In his career Helms used other locations like ventures in Denver,[32][33][34] Portland, and joint productions/promotions at the Fillmore, Longshoreman’s Hall, and Haight Street’s Straight Theater (not all formal Family Dog Dance-Concerts), etc.

Later years

Helms left the concert business in 1970,[35][36] except for managing a few later events: Tribal Stomp[37] at Berkeley’s Greek Theater (1978), Tribal Stomp II at the Monterey County Fairgrounds (1979), a concert series at San Francisco’s Maritime Hall in 1995 under the Family Dog name, and a 30th Anniversary celebration[27] of the Summer of Love in Golden Gate Park (1997),[38] a free event attended by 60,000 people.[39][40]

Helms became an accomplished art dealer,[41] selling American and European paintings[42] and sculpture at his Atelier Doré[43][44][45] art gallery on Bush Street in San Francisco, from 1980 until 2004.[46] After suffering a mild stroke he died within days, on June 25, 2005.[47][48][49][50] Helms is memorialized in a “bright niche decorated with photographs and memorabilia” at the Neptune Society Columbarium.[51][52] [53][54]

Fundraiser and Tribute concert

On July 24, 2005, a fundraiser and tribute concert to Chet was held at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. The show was organized by Dawn Holliday (Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival organizer), Roger McNamee (who put together a collection of posters from major bay area artists) and Pete Sears who was responsible for finding and organizing the musicians. Kathy Peck of the H.E.A.R. foundation organized the online auction. Pete Sears had been talking with Chet while he was sick in the hospital and offered to help get together a benefit to take care of some pressing bills Chet was concerned about. Chet wholeheartedly gave the benefit his blessing. The concert details were well underway and most artists in place when Chet died. They decided to carry on with the fundraiser anyway and turned the concert into a tribute to Chet. The show sold out in just a few days, leaving many lined up outside unable to get in. But the concert obtained its primary goal which was to raise funds to pay off Chet’s bills…all money raised was given to Chet’s brother John. The concert was highly successful and featured such artists as: T Bone BurnettBob WeirMickey HartDavid NelsonCountry Joe McDonaldLeigh Stephens, Bobby Vega, Joli Valenti & Friends, and the Flying Other Brothers.

Chet Helms Memorial – Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, October 30, 2005

Chet Helms Memorial

On October 30, 2005, San Francisco celebrated Helms’ life with a free[55] nine-hour Sunday rock concert[56] in Golden Gate Park,[57] named the “Tribal Stomp”[58] attended by tens of thousands, and featuring a full lineup of bands, including the old core San Francisco rock bands, and others including: The TurtlesCanned HeatDan Hicks (singer)the CharlatansCountry Joe McDonaldBarry MeltonBlue Cheer, Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner, “It’s a Beautiful Day‘”s David LaFlamme, Quicksilver Gold (derived from Quicksilver Messenger Service)Lee MichaelsLydia Pense Cold BloodPete Sears, Nick Gravenites (Electric Flag), Harvey MandelJorge SantanaNarada Michael WaldenMerl SaundersMoby Grape Jerry Miller, and Wavy Gravy (from Ken Kesey‘s “Merry Pranksters” fame).

  1. ^ “Joplin Manager Chet Helms Dies”. Billboard. June 27, 2005. Retrieved May 20, 2006.
  2. ^ “Chet Helms Dies at 62; Father of San Francisco’s Summer of Love”New York Times. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
  3. Jump up to:a b Nelson, Valerie J. (June 28, 2005). “Chet Helms, 62; Concert Promoter in Bay Area During 1967’s ‘Summer of Love,’ Propelled Janis Joplin to Fame”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  4. Jump up to:a b Laing, David (June 27, 2005). “Obituary: Chet Helms Promoter of Janis Joplin”. London: Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved May 28, 2006.
  5. ^ Amburn, Ellis (1993). Pearl: The Obsessions and Passions of Janis Joplin. Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-39506-4.
  6. ^ BRAITMAN, STEPHEN M. H. (October 8, 1997). “Big Brother Was Watching”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  7. ^ Selvin, Joel (1995). Summer of Love. Plume/Penguin.
  8. ^ Hjortsberg, William (February 12, 2013). Jubilee Hitchhiker: The Life and Times of Richard Brautigan. Counterpoint. ISBN 9781619021051. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ Mccleary, John Bassett (May 22, 2013). Hippie Dictionary: A Cultural Encyclopedia of the 1960s and 1970s. Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. ISBN 9780307814333. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Jackson, Andrew Grant (February 3, 2015). 1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music. Macmillan. ISBN 9781466864979. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ Richardson, Peter (January 20, 2015). No Simple Highway. Macmillan. ISBN 9781250010629. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Google Books.
  12. ^ Issitt, Micah Lee (October 22, 2009). Hippies: A Guide to an American Subculture: A Guide to an American Subculture. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313365737. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ The Wire. C. Parker. January 1, 2006. ISBN 9780955154102. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Google Books.
  14. ^ Alberts, Don (March 21, 2013). A Diary of the Underdogs: Jazz in the 1960s in San Francisco. Lulu Press. ISBN 9781257225651. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ Anthony, Gene (January 1, 1995). The Summer of Love: Haight-Ashbury at Its Highest. John Libbey Eurotext. ISBN 9780867194210. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ Reddon, Frank (July 10, 2012). Sonic Boom: The Impact of Led Zeppelin. – Break and Enter. ISBN 9780978444655. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Google Books.
  17. ^ Kramer, Michael J. (April 5, 2013). The Republic of Rock: Music and Citizenship in the Sixties Counterculture. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-998735-1. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Google Books.
  18. ^ Hill, Sarah (January 14, 2016). San Francisco and the Long 60s. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN 9781628924237. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Google Books.
  19. ^ Patoski, Joe Nick; Jacobson, Nels (March 1, 2015). Homegrown: Austin Music Posters 1967 to 1982. University of Texas Press. ISBN 9780292772397. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Google Books.
  20. ^ “Billboard”. August 9, 1969. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Google Books.
  21. ^ Lytle, Mark Hamilton (September 1, 2005). America’s Uncivil Wars: The Sixties Era from Elvis to the Fall of Richard Nixon. Oxford University Press. p. 204. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Internet Archive. Chet-Helms Family-Dog.
  22. ^ Issitt, Micah Lee (October 22, 2009). Hippies: A Guide to an American Subculture: A Guide to an American Subculture. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313365737. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Google Books.
  23. ^ Charters, Ann (January 1, 2003). The Portable Sixties Reader. Penguin. ISBN 9780142001943. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Google Books.
  24. ^ “Chet Helms Big Brother and the Family Dog” Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  25. ^ “Hippie History: The Tale of the Dog Chronicles a Denver Rock Landmark”Westword. June 8, 2021. Archived from the original on June 8, 2021.
  26. ^ Arts; Times, entertainment reports from The (February 26, 1987). “Art”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  27. Jump up to:a b Dolan, Casey (June 16, 2008). “Concert posters are rocky history’s visuals”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  28. ^ “Wes Wilson Posters and Art” #20 of 20The New York Times, January 30, 2020. Retrieved 2020-02-22.
  29. ^ Nelson, Valerie J. (December 24, 2009). “James Gurley dies at 69; guitarist with Big Brother & the Holding Company”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  30. ^ Family Dog at the Great Highway, San Francisco, CA 4/18/70
  31. ^ Grateful Dead Download Series: Family Dog at the Great Highway
  32. ^ “Billboard”. September 16, 1967. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Google Books.
  33. ^ “Pay Attention aka Spaceman Lithograph – Family Dog” Archived from the original on May 3, 2011. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  34. ^ Roberts, Michael (April 28, 2013). “Barry Fey is dead: Towering figure in Denver music scene passes away” Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  35. ^ “Summer of Love’s father dies at 62”. Associated Press. June 26, 2005. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via The Guardian.
  36. ^ “Helms dies, aged 62. – Free Online Library” Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  37. ^ “Chet Helms Tribal Stomp by Family Dog”Amazon. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  38. ^ La Ganga, Maria L. (September 3, 1997). “S.F.’s Summer of Love Going Gray at 30”Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  39. ^ “The Chet Helms Chronicles” May 5, 2008. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  40. ^ “Chet Helms, aka Family Dog, celebrated along with his era”
  41. ^ “60s-era Promoters Back in the Limelight” Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  42. ^ “Citations: Art Galleries and Dealers, …” Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  43. ^ Chandler, Robert J. (January 29, 2014). San Francisco Lithographer: African American Artist Grafton Tyler Brown. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 9780806145259. Retrieved October 24, 2016 – via Google Books.
  44. ^ Atelier Doré; Hoeckner, Carl (July 13, 1984). “Atelier Doré – Poster :Not A Pretty Picture” – Carl Hoeckner (1883-1972) “The Yes Machine””. Oakland Museum of California. Poster :Not A Pretty Picture / Carl Hoeckner (1883-1972) / Social Realism / July 13-July 27″ / … Reception: Friday, July 13, 1984, 6 pm / Atelier Dore Inc. / important American and European art / 771 Bush Street, San Francisco, California 94108 (415) 391-2423
  45. ^ Oct 7, 1983 – The painting in San Francisco is being offered for sale by … a gallery at 771 Bush Street
  46. ^ “Chet Helms ~ The Family Dog” Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  47. ^ “Joplin Manager Chet Helms Dies” Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  48. ^ Aidin Vaziri and Jim Herron Zamora, “Chet Helms – legendary S.F. rock music producer,” San Francisco Chronicle, June 26, 2005.
  49. ^ “Chet Helms — celebrated S.F. rock music producer” Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  50. ^ “Chet Helms Dies at 62; Father of San Francisco’s Summer of Love” The Associated Press. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  51. ^ SF Chronicle, July 25, 2010. “Where to Find Celebrities’ Resting Places” by Charlie Wells
  52. ^ “Chester Leo Helms 1942-2005” Archived from the original on May 12, 2017. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  53. ^ “‘Mr Summer of Love’ dies at 62” Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  54. ^ “Revered father of ‘Summer of Love’ dies in S.F. at 62”East Bay Times. June 26, 2005. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  55. ^ Chet Helms Tribal Stomp 30 October 2005 Speedway Meadow Golden Gate Park – S.F. CA – SPCM-8-(cardioid) >…> FLACdetails
  56. ^ X, Mister (April 7, 2015). “Chet Helms Tribal Stomp 30 October 2005” Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  57. ^ “Chet Helms may be gone, but enough hippie rockers are left to throw a Final Tribal Stomp” Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  58. ^ “Chet Helms Memorial Concert, Golden Gate Park: FREE Rock Concert October 30th” Retrieved October 24, 2016.

(SCRAPBOOK) Grace Slick

I worked with Grace Slick and Roger Ressmeyer, ( a very good friend) on her album. I built the special effects, dynamite props and smoke generators.


Grace Slick (born Grace Barnett Wing; October 30, 1939)[1] is an American painter and retired musician whose musical career spanned four decades. Slick was a prominent figure in San Francisco‘s psychedelic scene from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. She performed with the Great Society, then rose to fame with Jefferson Airplane and the subsequent spinoff bands Jefferson Starship and Starship. Slick and Jefferson Airplane had achieved popularity with their 1967 album Surrealistic Pillow, which included the top-ten US Billboard hits “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love“. Slick provided the lead vocals on both tracks.[2]

With Starship, she sang co-lead for two number one hits, “We Built This City” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now“. She has released four studio albums as an independent artist. Slick retired from music in 1990, but continues to be active in visual arts.[3] Slick was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 as a member of Jefferson Airplane.

Grace Barnett Wing was born October 30, 1939, in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois, to Ivan Wilford Wing (1907–1987), of British descent,[4] and Virginia Wing (née Barnett; 1909–1983).[5] Her parents met while they were both students at the University of Washington,[6] and later married. In 1949, her brother Chris was born.[7]

Her father, working in the investment banking sector for Weeden and Company, was transferred several times when she was a child, and in addition to the Chicago metropolitan area, she lived in Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, before her family settled in Palo Alto, California, in the early 1950s.[8]

Wing attended Palo Alto Senior High School, then switched to Castilleja School, a private all-girls school in Palo Alto. Following graduation, she attended Finch College in New York City from 1957 to 1958, and the University of Miami in Coral Gables from 1958 to 1959. On August 26, 1961, Wing married Gerald “Jerry” Slick, an aspiring filmmaker, and after the couple briefly moved away from San Francisco, Grace Slick worked as a model at an I. Magnin department store for three years. Slick also started composing music, including a contribution to a short film by Jerry Slick.[8][9]

1965–1966: The Great Society

The Great Society in 1965: Grace is carried by her then–husband, Jerry Slick. His brother, Darby, is at right.

In August 1965, Slick read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the newly formed Jefferson Airplane. Despite being situated in the growing musical center of San Francisco, Slick only half-heartedly considered music for a profession until she watched the band live at The Matrix.[10] As a result, Slick (vocals, guitar), accompanied by husband Jerry Slick (drums), Jerry’s brother Darby Slick (lead guitar), and David Miner (bass guitar) formed a group called the Great Society. On October 15, 1965, the band made its debut performance at a venue known as the Coffee Gallery. Soon after, Slick composed the psychedelic piece “White Rabbit“.[8] The song, which she is purported to have written in an hour,[11] is a reflection on the hallucinatory effects of psychedelic drugs; when performed live, it featured a speedier tempo and was an instant favorite among the band’s followers.[12]

Although Slick was an equal contributor to the Great Society’s original material, Darby Slick pushed the band toward becoming a raga-influenced psychedelic act. By late 1965, they had become a popular attraction in the Bay Area. Between October and December 1965, the Great Society entered Golden State Recorders and recorded several tracks under the supervision of Sylvester Stewart (better known as Sly Stone). One single emerged from the demos, the Darby Slick-penned “Somebody to Love” (the “B” side to “Free Advice”) on the locally based Autumn Records subsidiary label “North Beach”. Grace Slick supplied vocals, guitar, piano, and recorder.[13][14]

1966–1972: Jefferson Airplane

During the autumn of 1966, Jefferson Airplane’s then singer Signe Toly Anderson decided to leave the band to raise her child, and Jack Casady asked Slick to join them. Slick stated that she joined the Airplane because it was run in a professional manner, unlike the Great Society. With Slick on board, Jefferson Airplane began recording new music, and they turned in a more psychedelic direction from their former folk-rock style. Surrealistic Pillow included new recordings of “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love”, both of which became top 10 singles.

Jefferson Airplane became one of the most popular bands in the country and earned a position for Slick as one of the most prominent female rock musicians of her time. In 1968, Slick performed “Crown of Creation” on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in blackface and ended the performance with a Black Panther raised fist.[15] In an appearance on a 1969 episode of The Dick Cavett Show, she became the first person to say “motherfucker” on television during a performance of “We Can Be Together”.[16]

1970–1984: Jefferson Starship and solo career

Slick in 1976
Slick and Kantner with Jefferson Starship

After Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen decided to leave Jefferson Airplane to focus on their project Hot Tuna, Slick formed Jefferson Starship with Paul Kantner and other bandmates, and also began a string of solo albums with Manhole, followed by DreamsWelcome to the Wrecking Ball!, and SoftwareManhole also featured keyboardist/bassist Pete Sears, who later joined Jefferson Starship in 1974. Sears and Slick penned several early Jefferson Starship songs together, including “Hyperdrive” and “Play On Love”. Dreams, which was produced by Ron Frangipane and incorporated many of the ideas she encountered attending twelve-step program meetings, is the most personal of her solo albums and was nominated for a Grammy Award. The song “Do It the Hard Way” from Dreams is one example of Slick’s music at the time.[17]

Slick was nicknamed “The Chrome Nun” by David Crosby, who also used the nickname “Baron von Tollbooth” for Kantner. Their nicknames appear as the title of an album she made in 1973 with bandmates Kantner and David Freiberg: Baron von Tollbooth & the Chrome Nun.

1984–1989: Starship and Jefferson Airplane reunion

During the 1980s, while Slick was the only member remaining from Jefferson Airplane in Starship, the band went on to score three chart-topping successes with “We Built This City“, “Sara“, and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now“. Despite the success, Slick since has spoken negatively about the experience and the music.[18] In 1987, Slick co-hosted The Legendary Ladies of Rock & Roll, for which she also sang backing vocals on “Be My Baby” and “Da Doo Ron Ron“. She left Starship in 1988, shortly after the release of No Protection.

In 1989, Slick and her former Jefferson Airplane band members reformed the group. They released a self-titled reunion album, and held a successful tour before disbanding.[19]

1990–present: Retirement

Following the Jefferson Airplane reunion, Slick retired from the music business. During a 1998 interview with VH1 on a Behind the Music documentary featuring Jefferson Airplane, Slick, who was never shy about the idea of getting old, said that the main reason she retired from the music business was, “All rock-and-rollers over the age of 50 look stupid and should retire.” In a 2007 interview, she repeated her belief that, “You can do jazz, classical, blues, opera, country until you’re 150, but rap and rock and roll are really a way for young people to get that anger out”, and, “It’s silly to perform a song that has no relevance to the present or expresses feelings you no longer have.”

Despite her retirement, Slick has appeared twice with Kantner’s revamped version of Jefferson Starship; the first came in 1995 when the band played at Los Angeles’s House of Blues, as documented on the live album Deep Space/Virgin Sky. The second was for a post-9/11 gig in late 2001, during which she came on the stage initially covered in black from head to toe in a makeshift burqa. She then removed the burqa to reveal a covering bearing an American flag and the words “Fuck Fear”. Her statement to fans on the outfit was: “The outfit is not about Islam, it’s about oppression; this flag is not about politics, it’s about liberty.”[20]

Slick in 2010 with author Phil Konstantin

After retiring from music, Slick began painting and drawing. She has done many renditions of her fellow 1960s musicians, such as Janis JoplinJerry Garcia, and others. Slick has had a passion for art since she was a child, before she pivoted to music.[21] In 2000, she began displaying and selling her artwork. She attends many of her art shows across the United States. She has generally refrained from engaging in the music business, although she did perform on “Knock Me Out”, a track from In Flight, the 1996 solo debut from former 4 Non Blondes singer, and friend of daughter China, Linda Perry. The song was also on the soundtrack to the film The Crow: City of Angels.

Slick published her autobiography, Somebody to Love? A Rock and Roll Memoir, in 1998 and narrated an abridged version of the book as an audiobook. A biography, Grace Slick, The Biography, by Barbara Rowes, was released in 1980 and is currently out of print. In a 2001 USA Today article, Slick said, “I’m in good health and people want to know what I do to be this way … I don’t eat cheese, I don’t eat duck—the point is I’m vegan.” However, she admitted she’s “not strict vegan, because I’m a hedonist pig. If I see a big chocolate cake that is made with eggs, I’ll have it.”[22]

In 2006, Slick suffered from diverticulitis. After initial surgery, she had a relapse requiring further surgery and a tracheotomy. She was placed in an induced coma for two months and then had to learn to walk again.[23] Also in 2006, Slick gave a speech at the inauguration of the new Virgin America airline, which named their first aircraft Jefferson Airplane.[24][25] In 2010, Slick co-wrote “Edge of Madness” with singer Michelle Mangione to raise money for remediation efforts following the BP oil spill.[26] Grace also sang background vocals on the song and is clearly audible in the middle of the song singing, “On the edge of madness.” In recent years, Slick has made sporadic appearances and has done radio interviews. She accepted Jefferson Airplane’s Grammy Lifetime Achievement awards in 2016, and made an appearance for the unveiling of the band’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2022.

Slick was married to cinematographer and drummer Gerald “Jerry” Slick from 1961 to 1971, then to lighting designer Skip Johnson from 1976 to 1994. She has a daughter, actress China Wing Kantner, born January 25, 1971.[27][28] China’s father is Jefferson Airplane guitarist Paul Kantner, with whom Slick had a relationship from 1969 to 1975.

In 1971, Slick was severely injured when the car she was driving crashed into the inside of a tunnel in San Francisco. This happened while she was drag racing Jorma Kaukonen and both were driving over 100 miles per hour.[29]

Slick has publicly acknowledged her alcoholism and use of substances including LSD (for that she got the nickname The Acid Queen)[30][31][32] and marijuana. She has discussed this, and her rehabilitation experiences, in her autobiography, various interviews, and several published celebrity addiction and recovery books. The latter include The Courage to Change by Dennis Wholey and The Harder They Fall by Gary Stromberg and Jane Merrill. Her alcoholism became a problem for the band during Jefferson Starship’s 1978 European tour.[33]

The group had to cancel the first night in Germany because she was too intoxicated to perform, causing the audience to riot. She performed the next night with the band but was so inebriated that she could not sing properly. She also attacked the audience, mocking Germany for losing World War II and groping both female audience members and bandmates.[34] She left the group the next day, and she was “dragged off” a San Francisco game show for abusing the contestants.[35] She was admitted to a detoxification facility at least twice, once during the 1970s at Duffy’s in Napa Valley,[36] and once in the 1990s with daughter China.[37]

President Richard Nixon‘s daughter Tricia and Slick are both alumnae of Finch College, and Slick was invited to a tea party for the alumnae at the White House in 1969. She invited anarchist Abbie Hoffman to be her escort and planned to spike President Nixon’s tea with 600 micrograms of LSD, but the party had been billed as an “all ladies” event. Hoffman’s presence in the waiting line immediately aroused the suspicions of White House security personnel. He claimed to be Slick’s “bodyguard and escort”, which failed to convince the security personnel, who told him that the event was “strictly for females”.[38][39]

Hoffman then took out a black flag with a multicolored marijuana leaf and hung it on the White House gate. Slick declined to attend once Hoffman was denied entry, and the two ran across the street to a waiting car.[38][39] Slick later speculated that she received the invitation only because it was addressed to “Grace Wing” (her maiden name), and that she never would have been invited if the Nixons had known that she was Grace Slick.[40]

Slick was arrested at least four times for what she has referred to as “TUI” (“talking under the influence”) and “drunk mouth”.[41] One incident occurred when a police officer encountered her sitting against a tree trunk in the backwoods of Marin County, California, drinking wine, eating bread, and reading poetry. The officer asked what she was doing; she gave a sarcastic response and was arrested and jailed.[42] She was arrested in 1994 for assault with a deadly weapon after pointing an unloaded gun at a police officer. She alleged that the officer had come onto her property without explanation.[43]

Visual art

Slick in 2008

After retiring, and after a house fire, divorce, and breakup, Slick began drawing and painting animals, mainly to amuse herself and because doing so made her happy during a difficult period in her life.[44] Soon thereafter, she was approached about writing her memoir, which ultimately became Somebody to Love? A Rock-and-Roll Memoir. Her agent saw her artwork and asked her to do some portraits of some of her various contemporaries from the rock-and-roll genre to be included in the autobiography. Hesitant at first (because she thought “it was way too cute. Rock-n-Roll draws Rock-n-Roll”), she eventually agreed because she found she enjoyed it, and color renditions of Janis JoplinJimi Hendrix, and Jerry Garcia appeared in the completed autobiography.[45][46]

An Alice in Wonderland-themed painting and various other sketches are scattered throughout the book. Her paintings of Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady were used for the cover art of the 1998 album The Best of Hot Tuna. Though Slick has been drawing and painting since she was a child, she admits to not being able to multitask, so did not do much of it while she was focusing on her music career.[46] A notable exception is the 1974 cover art of her first solo album, Manhole, which she signed “Child Type Odd Art by Grace”.

Slick does not always use the same style or medium in her production of visual art and has no interest in doing so.[47] She uses acrylic paints (saying oil paint takes too long to dry), canvas, pen, ink, scratchboardpastels, and pencil. Many of her works are mixed media. Her styles include the children’s bookish Alice in Wonderland themes, realistic rock and roll portraits, scratchboards of animals, minimalist ink wash-styled nudes and a variety of other subjects and styles.[48]

The best-selling prints and originals are her various renditions of the White Rabbit and the portraits of her colleagues in the music industry.[49] In 2006, the popularity of her Alice in Wonderland works led to a partnership with Dark Horse Comics, Inc. that resulted in the release of stationery and journals with the Wonderland motif.[50]

While critics have variously panned and praised her work, Slick seems indifferent to the criticism.[51] She views her visual artistry as just another extension of the artistic temperament that landed her in the music business in the first place, as it allows her to continue to produce art in a way that does not require the physical demands of appearing on a stage nightly or traveling with a large group of people.[45][46]

Interviewed in 2007, Slick attends many of her art gallery shows across the United States, sometimes attending more than 30 shows in a year. While she says she enjoys talking with the people who come to her art shows, she is not a fan of the traveling involved, particularly the flying.[45]


Slick, famous as a rock ‘n’ roll singer, was one of the earliest female rock stars alongside her close contemporary Janis Joplin, and was an important figure in the development of rock music in the late 1960s. Her distinctive vocal style and striking stage presence exerted influence on other female performers, including Stevie Nicks,[52] Patti Smith,[53] and Terri Nunn (of “Berlin” fame).

Between 1985 and 1999, Slick was the oldest female vocalist on a Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping single. “We Built This City” reached number one on November 16, 1985, shortly after her 46th birthday. Previously, the distinction of the oldest female vocalist with a chart-topping single was Tina Turner, who at age 44 had 1984’s number-one smash, “What’s Love Got To Do With It“. Turner (who was one month younger than Slick) turned 45 two months after the song topped the charts. Slick broke her own record in April 1987 at age 47 when “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” topped the US charts. Her record stood for 12 years but was ultimately broken by Cher, who was 53 in 1999 when “Believe” hit number one.[citation needed]

Slick performed vocals for a piece known as “Jazz Numbers”, a series of animated shorts about the numbers two through 10 (a number-one short was never made), which aired on Sesame Street. The segment for the number two appeared in the first episode of the first season of Sesame Street, November 10, 1969. She was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1981 as Best Rock Female Vocalist for her solo album Dreams.[54] She also performed the song “Panda” at the 1990 March for the Animals.[55]

She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 as a member of Jefferson Airplane.[56]

In 1993, she narrated the Stephen King short story “You Know They Got a Hell of a Band” on his Nightmares & Dreamscapes audiobook.

She was ranked number 20 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll in 1999.[57]

In 2017, Grace Slick licensed the Starship song “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” to Chick-fil-A to use in a TV commercial, but because she disagrees with Chick-fil-A’s corporate views on same-sex marriage she gave all of the proceeds of that deal to Lambda Legal, an organization that works to advance the civil rights of LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV.[58][59]

Roger Ressmeyer (1954 – 2018) was an American photographer. He specialized in a number of fields in photography, including photojournalismcelebrity portraitsmusiciansnature and the environmentspace and space exploration, and science and technology. He was also an entrepreneur, starting his own photography agency that was ultimately purchased by Bill Gates and merged into the photography agency Corbis, an author, a futurist, a stock photography industry executive, and an advocate for photographers.[1] [2]

Ressmeyer was raised in Malverne, New York. He was the son, grandson, and great-grandson of Lutheran ministers. He developed a fascination with the Solar System, the universe, and space exploration at an early age, which led him to build model rockets. He also developed an interest in photography at a young age. He merged the two interests at the age of 13, building a telescope with an attached camera. Also at 13, he visited the Grumman Aerospace Corporation factory in Long Island and saw the Lunar Landing Module that was used in the Apollo program in 1969. His early experiences led him to dream of becoming an astronaut[1][2]

Ressmeyer tried to pursue his aspiration of becoming an astronaut, but he was unable to do so due to having diabetes.[1] His photography career began with his photographs of Jefferson Airplane. He had moved to San Francisco after graduating from Yale University with a degree in psychology in 1975 and had met band members Grace Slick and Paul Kantner. He photographed the band and they helped him begin the business of licensing his work.[2] He would go on to photograph a number of well-known figures, including Tom WolfeRobert LudlumAnsel Adams, and Rupert Murdoch, among many others along with shooting album covers for Huey Lewis and the News.[3]

Ressmeyer then expanded his career by photographically exploring what had most inspired him as a youth, the universe beyond Earth. He became a trusted professional in the field of space photography, so much so that NASA brought him on as a photography advisor and instructor for astronauts bound for space in 1991.[4] He further expanded into science and technology. He founded the agency Star Light Photo Agency in 1992, and then sold it to Bill Gates, who incorporated it into the Corbis agency. He became a senior photo editor at Corbis and then became an executive at Getty Images. In 2005, he was elected president of PACA, the Picture Archive Council of America, a stock photography trade organization.

His work has appeared in publications including National GeographicSternGeoThe New York Times, and many others. He is the author of a number of books, including Space Places, which has a foreword by Colonel Edwin E. (Buzz) Aldrin Jr., the second person to walk on the Moon. In 2006, he founded the photography agency Science Faction Images, a rights-managed agency focused on science, technology, and natural history images. Ressmeyer sold Science Faction to Superstock, a leading global photography agency, in 2012.[5][6] [2][1]

Ressmeyer taught a class in rocketry at the Bush SchoolSeattle, Washington.[7] He died of a stroke in August, of 2018, after surviving cancer.[1]


One of my first encounters with Robin was when I had the San Francisco Civic Auditorium booked for a concert. I suddenly got a call from Dave Allen. In case you do not know who that is, David Allen, was the owner of the Boarding House nightclub, who nurtured and booked hundreds of musicians and comedians during his career, he died May 25, 1984 in San Francisco of a chest aneurysm. He was 65. The genial New Jersey-born nightclub operator moved to the city after World War II and opened a target range on the top floor of the California Hall on Polk Street. In 1949, he performed with a repertory theater at 960 Bush St. That same year he began working with KPIX. He later performed as “Deputy Dave” on a KPIX children’s show for eight years. During the 1960s, he worked for Enrico Banducci at the hungry i when the club gave Barbra Streisand her first nightclub job and nurtured the career of Lenny Bruce. In 1971, Allen returned to 960 Bush – this time opening the 300-seat Boarding House. Allen booked many music and comedy stars early in their careers, including Steve Martin, Bette Midler, Robin Williams, Lily Tomlin, the Pointer Sisters and Dolly Parton.

He was calling because The Boarding House was getting a rent raise and they needed to raise funds fast. David had gotten some of his best past talent to agree to a one night fund-raiser for the Boarding House but the only date they could get all of the acts together was the night I already had the Civic Auditorium booked for. I agreed to turn my date over to Dave so that he could do his event and David gave me a pack of front row seats as a Thank you. If I had not agreed to do that, this would never have happened:

Steve Martin had performed and just destroyed it. A little while into the show, David Allen came on stage and said that the next act was a “new guy” that was one of the funniest people he had ever seen…out came Robin William’s. Robin completely free-styled the whole show and even blew Steve Martin’s act away. Robin notice a huge round lighting unit in the ceiling of the auditorium and went off on an insane riff about it being the mother ship from Close Encounters coming in for a landing.

In the audience were some TV show producers who had flown in to see Steve Martin perform and were considering him for a TV show. When they experienced Robin, though, everything changed.

Dave Allen introduced me to Robin after the show and Robin said he would be back at the Boarding House in a few months and told Dave to comp me some tickets. Robin had to cancel his planned return to the Boarding House because… Those TV producers in the audience had decided, there and then, that the TV series they must produce must star Robin Williams. The show became Mork and Mindy and the rest is history. If I had not given up my concert date, that sequence of events would not have happened and Mork and Mindy might not have happened.

Dave Allen explained that “… none of Robin’s acts are scripted, he has a kind of visually triggered autism that allows him to instantly explain anything he sees in comedic terms…”

I worked with Robin, again on a March of Dimes Walkathon and often ran into him around Mill Valley. He was a cool dude.

Robin McLaurin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) was an American actor and comedian. Known for his improvisational skills[1][2] and the wide variety of characters he created on the spur of the moment and portrayed on film, in dramas and comedies alike,[3][4] he is regarded as one of the greatest comedians of all time.[5][6][7] He received numerous accolades including an Academy Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, six Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and five Grammy Awards.

Williams began performing stand-up comedy in San Francisco and Los Angeles during the mid-1970s, and released several comedy albums including Reality … What a Concept in 1980.[8] He rose to fame playing the alien Mork in the ABC sitcom Mork & Mindy (1978–1982).[9] He received his first leading film role in Popeye (1980). Williams went on to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Good Will Hunting (1997). His other Oscar-nominated roles were for Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), and The Fisher King (1991).

Williams starred in the critically acclaimed dramas The World According to Garp (1982), Moscow on the Hudson (1984), Dead Poets Society (1989), Awakenings (1990), Patch Adams (1998), Insomnia (2002), One Hour Photo (2002), and World’s Greatest Dad (2009). He also starred in family films such as Hook (1991), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Jumanji (1995), Jack (1996), Flubber (1997), RV (2006), and the Night at the Museum trilogy (2006–2014). He lent his voice to the animated films Aladdin (1992), Robots (2005), Happy Feet (2006), and its 2011 sequel.

Williams was found dead at his home in Paradise Cay, California on August 11, 2014, at the age of 63. At the time of his suicide, he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.[10] According to his widow, Williams had experienced depression, anxiety, and increasing paranoia.[11] His autopsy found “diffuse Lewy body disease”[12][10] and Lewy body dementia professionals said his symptoms were consistent with dementia with Lewy bodies.[13][14][12]

Early life

Williams was born at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois,[15] on July 21, 1951.[16] His father, Robert Fitzgerald Williams (1906–1987), was a senior executive in Ford‘s Lincoln-Mercury Division.[17][18] His mother, Laurie McLaurin (1922–2001), was a former model from Jackson, Mississippi, whose great-grandfather was Mississippi senator and governor Anselm J. McLaurin.[19] Williams had two older half-brothers: a paternal half-brother, Robert (also known as Todd),[20] and a maternal half-brother, McLaurin.[21] While his mother was a practitioner of Christian Science, Williams was raised in his father’s Episcopal faith.[22][23] During a television interview on Inside the Actors Studio in 2001, Williams credited his mother as an important early influence on his humor, and he tried to make her laugh to gain attention.[24]

Williams attended public elementary school in Lake Forest at Gorton Elementary School and middle school at Deer Path Junior High School.[25] He described himself as a quiet child who did not overcome his shyness until he became involved with his high school drama department.[26] His friends recall him as very funny.[25] In late 1963, when Williams was 12, his father was transferred to Detroit. The family lived in a 40-room farmhouse on 20 acres (8 ha)[17] in suburban Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where he was a student at the private Detroit Country Day School.[25][27] He excelled in school, where he was on the school’s wrestling team and was elected class president.[28]

As both his parents worked, Williams was partially raised by the family’s maid, who was his main companion. When he was 16, his father took early retirement and the family moved to Tiburon, California.[17][29][30] Following their move, Williams attended Redwood High School in nearby Larkspur. At the time of his graduation in 1969, he was voted “Most Likely Not to Succeed” and “Funniest” by his classmates.[31] After high school graduation, Williams enrolled at Claremont Men’s College in Claremont, California, to study political science; he dropped out to pursue acting.[17][32] Williams studied theater for three years at the College of Marin, a community college in Kentfield, California. According to the College of Marin’s drama professor, James Dunn, the depth of the young actor’s talent became evident when he was cast in the musical Oliver! as Fagin. Williams often improvised during his time in the drama program, leaving cast members in hysterics.[33] Dunn called his wife after one late rehearsal to tell her Williams “was going to be something special”.[33]

In 1973, Williams attained a full scholarship to the Juilliard School (Group 6, 1973–1976) in New York City. He was one of 20 students accepted into the freshman class, and he and Christopher Reeve were the only two accepted by John Houseman into the Advanced Program at the school that year. William Hurt and Mandy Patinkin were also classmates.[34][35] According to biographer Jean Dorsinville, Franklyn Seales and Williams were roommates at Juilliard.[36] Reeve remembered his first impression of Williams when they were new students at Juilliard: “He wore tie-dyed shirts with tracksuit bottoms and talked a mile a minute. I’d never seen so much energy contained in one person. He was like an untied balloon that had been inflated and immediately released. I watched in awe as he virtually caromed off the walls of the classrooms and hallways. To say that he was ‘on’ would be a major understatement.”[35]

Williams and Reeve had a class in dialects taught by Edith Skinner, who Reeve said was one of the world’s leading voice and speech teachers; according to Reeve, Skinner was bewildered by Williams and his ability to instantly perform in many different accents. Their primary acting teacher was Michael Kahn, who was “equally baffled by this human dynamo”.[35] Williams already had a reputation for being funny, but Kahn criticized his antics as simple stand-up comedy. In a later production, Williams silenced his critics with his well-received performance as an old man in Tennessee Williams‘s Night of the Iguana. Reeve wrote, “He simply was the old man. I was astonished by his work and very grateful that fate had thrown us together.”[35] The two remained close friends until Reeve’s death in 2004. Their friendship was like “brothers from another mother”, according to Williams’s son Zak.[37]

During the summers of 1974, 1975, and 1976, Williams worked as a busboy at The Trident in Sausalito, California.[38] He left Juilliard[39][40] during his junior year in 1976 at the suggestion of Houseman, who said there was nothing more Juilliard could teach him.[34][41] Gerald Freedman, another of his teachers at Juilliard, said Williams was a “genius” and that the school’s conservative and classical style of training did not suit him; no one was surprised that he left.[42]


Stand-up comedy

Williams at a United Service Organization (USO) show on December 20, 2007

Williams began performing stand-up comedy in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1976.[43] In the 1960s, San Francisco was a center for a rock music renaissance, hippiesdrugs, and a sexual revolution, and in the late 1970s, Williams helped lead its “comedy renaissance”, writes critic Gerald Nachman.[8]: 6  Williams says he found out about “drugs and happiness” during that period, adding that he saw “the best brains of my time turned to mud”.[34]

Williams moved to Los Angeles and continued performing stand-up at clubs, including The Comedy Store. There, in 1977, he was seen by TV producer George Schlatter, who asked him to appear on a revival of his show Laugh-In. The show aired in late 1977 and was his debut TV appearance.[34] That year, Williams also performed a show at the L.A. Improv for Home Box Office.[45] While the Laugh-In revival failed, it led Williams into his television career; he continued performing stand-up at comedy clubs such as the Roxy to help keep his improvisational skills sharp.[34][46] In England, Williams performed at The Fighting Cocks.[citation needed]

With his success on Mork & Mindy, Williams began to reach a wider audience with his stand-up comedy, starting in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, including three HBO comedy specials: Off The Wall (1978), An Evening with Robin Williams (1983), and A Night at the Met (1986).[47] Williams won a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album for the recording of his 1979 live show at the Copacabana in New York City, Reality … What a Concept.[48]

David Letterman, who knew Williams for nearly 40 years, recalls seeing him first perform as a new comedian at The Comedy Store in Hollywood, where Letterman and other comedians had already been doing stand-up. “He came in like a hurricane”, said Letterman, who said he then thought to himself, “Holy crap, there goes my chance in show business.”[49]

Williams at Aviano Air Base (Italy) on December 22, 2007

Williams said that, partly due to the stress of performing stand-up, he started using drugs and alcohol early in his career. He further said that he neither drank nor took drugs while on stage, but occasionally performed when hung over from the previous day. During the period he was using cocaine, he said it made him paranoid when performing on stage.[50]

Williams once described the life of stand-up comedians as follows:

It’s a brutal field, man. They burn out. It takes its toll. Plus, the lifestyle—partying, drinking, drugs. If you’re on the road, it’s even more brutal. You gotta come back down to mellow your ass out, and then performing takes you back up. They flame out because it comes and goes. Suddenly they’re hot, and then somebody else is hot. Sometimes they get very bitter. Sometimes they just give up. Sometimes they have a revival thing and they come back again. Sometimes they snap. The pressure kicks in. You become obsessed and then you lose that focus that you need.[8]: 34–35 

Some, such as the critic Vincent Canby, were concerned that his monologues were so intense that it seemed as though at any minute his “creative process could reverse into a complete meltdown”.[51] His biographer, Emily Herbert, described his “intense, utterly manic style of stand-up [which sometimes] defies analysis … [going] beyond energetic, beyond frenetic … [and sometimes] dangerous … because of what it said about the creator’s own mental state”.[51]

Williams felt secure that he would not run out of ideas, as the constant change in world events would keep him supplied.[50] He also explained that he often used free association of ideas while improvising to keep the audience interested.[52] The competitive nature of the show made things difficult. For example, some comedians said that Williams had stolen their jokes, which Williams strongly denied.[50][53][54] David Brenner claims that he confronted Williams’s agent and threatened bodily harm if he heard Williams utter another one of his jokes.[55][56] Whoopi Goldberg defended him, asserting that it is difficult for comedians not to reuse another comedian’s material, and that it is done “all the time”.[57] He later avoided going to performances of other comedians to deter similar accusations.[57]

During a Playboy interview in 1992, Williams was asked whether he ever feared losing his balance between his work and his life. He replied, “There’s that fear—if I felt like I was becoming not just dull but a rock, that I still couldn’t speak, fire off or talk about things, if I’d start to worry or got too afraid to say something. … If I stop trying, I get afraid.” While he attributed the recent suicide of novelist Jerzy Kosiński to his fear of losing his creativity and sharpness, Williams felt he could overcome those risks. For that, he credited his father for strengthening his self-confidence, telling him to never be afraid of talking about subjects which were important to him.[50]

Williams’s stand-up work was a consistent thread throughout his career, as seen by the success of his one-man show (and subsequent DVD) Robin Williams: Live on Broadway (2002). In 2004, he was voted 13th on Comedy Central‘s list of “100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time”.[58] After a six-year hiatus, in August 2008, Williams announced a new 26-city tour, Weapons of Self-Destruction. The tour began at the end of September 2009 and concluded in New York on December 3, and was the subject of an HBO Special on December 8, 2009.[59]


Mork & Mindy

After the Laugh-In revival and appearing in the cast of The Richard Pryor Show on NBC, Williams was cast by Garry Marshall as the alien Mork in a 1978 episode of the TV series Happy Days, “My Favorite Orkan“.[34][60] Sought after as a last-minute cast replacement for a departing actor, Williams impressed the producer with his quirky sense of humor when he sat on his head when asked to take a seat for the audition.[61] As Mork, Williams improvised much of his dialogue and physical comedy, speaking in a high, nasal voice, and he made the most of the script. The cast and crew, as well as TV network executives, were deeply impressed with his performance. As such, the executives moved quickly to get the performer on contract just four days later before competitors could make their own offers.[62]

Mork’s appearance proved so popular with viewers that it led to the spin-off television sitcom Mork & Mindy, which co-starred Pam Dawber, and ran from 1978 to 1982; the show was written to accommodate his extreme improvisations in dialogue and behavior. Although he portrayed the same character as in Happy Days, the series was set in the present in Boulder, Colorado, instead of the late 1950s in MilwaukeeMork & Mindy at its peak had a weekly audience of sixty million and was credited with turning Williams into a “superstar”.[34] Among young people, the show was very popular because Williams became “a man and a child, buoyant, rubber-faced, an endless gusher of ideas,” according to critic James Poniewozik.[63]

Robin Williams (1979)

Mork became popular, featured on posters, coloring books, lunch-boxes, and other merchandise.[64] Mork & Mindy was such a success in its first season that Williams appeared on the March 12, 1979, cover of Time magazine.[65][66] The cover photo, taken by Michael Dressler in 1979, is said to have “[captured] his different sides: the funnyman mugging for the camera, and a sweet, more thoughtful pose that appears on a small TV he holds in his hands” according to Mary Forgione of the Los Angeles Times.[67] This photo was installed in the National Portrait Gallery in the Smithsonian Institution shortly after his death to allow visitors to pay their respects.[67] Williams also appeared on the cover of the August 23, 1979, issue of Rolling Stone, photographed by Richard Avedon.[68][69]

Later appearances

Starting in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Williams began to reach a wider audience with his stand-up comedy, including three HBO comedy specials, Off the Wall (1978), An Evening with Robin Williams (1983), and A Night at the Met (1986). In 1986, Williams co-hosted the 58th Academy Awards.[70] Williams was also a regular guest on various talk shows, including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson[71] and Late Night with David Letterman, on which he appeared 50 times.[49]

Williams appeared with fellow comedian Billy Crystal in an unscripted cameo at the beginning of an episode of the third season of Friends.[72] His many television appearances included an episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway?,[73] and he starred in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2006, Williams was the Surprise Guest at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards,[74] and appeared on an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that aired on January 30.[75] In 2010, he appeared in a sketch with Robert De Niro on Saturday Night Live, and in 2012, he guest-starred as himself in two FX series, Louie and Wilfred.[76] In May 2013, CBS started a new series, The Crazy Ones, starring Williams,[77] but the show was canceled after one season.[78]


The first film role credited to Robin Williams is a small part in the 1977 low-budget comedy Can I Do It… ‘Til I Need Glasses?. His first starring performance, however, is as the title character in Popeye (1980), in which Williams showcased the acting skills previously demonstrated in his television work; accordingly, the film’s commercial disappointment was not blamed on his performance.[79][80] He went on to star as the leading character in The World According to Garp (1982), which Williams considered “may have lacked a certain madness onscreen, but it had a great core”.[44] He continued with other smaller roles in less successful films, such as The Survivors (1983) and Club Paradise (1986), though he said these roles did not help advance his film career.[44]

His first major break came from his starring role in director Barry Levinson‘s Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), which earned Williams a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.[60] The film is set in 1965 during the Vietnam War, with Williams playing the role of Adrian Cronauer, a radio shock jock who keeps the troops entertained with comedy and sarcasm. Williams was allowed to play the role without a script, improvising most of his lines. Over the microphone, he created voice impressions of people, including Walter CronkiteGomer PyleElvis PresleyMr. Ed, and Richard Nixon.[44] “We just let the cameras roll”, said producer Mark Johnson, and Williams “managed to create something new for every single take”.[81]

Dramatic roles

Williams and Yola Czaderska-Hayek at the 62nd Academy Awards in 1990

Many of his subsequent roles were in comedies tinged with pathos, such as Mrs. Doubtfire and Patch Adams.[82] Looking over most of his filmography, one writer was “struck by the breadth” and radical diversity of most of the roles Williams portrayed.[83] In 1989, Williams played a private-school English teacher in Dead Poets Society, which included a final, emotional scene that some critics said “inspired a generation” and became a part of pop culture.[84] Similarly, his performance as a therapist in Good Will Hunting (1997) deeply affected even some real therapists.[85] In Awakenings (1990), Williams plays a doctor modeled after Oliver Sacks, who wrote the book on which the film is based. Sacks later said the way the actor’s mind worked was a “form of genius”. In 1991, he played an adult Peter Pan in the film Hook, although he had said he would have to lose 25 pounds for the role.[86] Terry Gilliam, who directed Williams in two of his films, The Fisher King (1991) and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), said in 1992 that Williams had the ability to “go from manic to mad to tender and vulnerable … [Williams had] the most unique mind on the planet. There’s nobody like him out there.”[50]

Other dramatic performances by Williams include Moscow on the Hudson (1984), What Dreams May Come (1998), and Bicentennial Man (1999).[87] During the early 2000s, Williams demonstrated a new rank of his versatility by playing darker roles than he had in the previous decades. In Insomnia (2002), Williams portrayed a murderer on the run from a sleep-deprived Los Angeles police detective (played by Al Pacino) in rural Alaska.[88] Also in 2002, in the psychological thriller One Hour Photo, Williams portrayed an emotionally disturbed photo development technician who becomes obsessed with a family for whom he has developed pictures for a long time.[89] In the 2004 science fiction psychological thriller The Final Cut, Williams played a professional who specializes in editing the memories of unsavory people into uncritical memorials that are played at funerals. The Angriest Man in Brooklyn was Williams’ last movie to be released while he was alive. In the movie, Williams played Henry Altmann, an angry, bitter man who tries to change his life after being told he has a terminal illness.[90]

Williams’ performances garnered him various accolades, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Good Will Hunting;[60] as well as two previous Academy Award nominations, for Dead Poets Society, and as a troubled homeless man in The Fisher King, respectively.[60] Among the actors who helped him during his acting career, he credited Robert De Niro, from whom he learned the power of silence and economy of dialogue when acting. From Dustin Hoffman, with whom he co-starred in Hook, he learned to take on totally different character types, and to transform his characters by extreme preparation. Mike Medavoy, producer of Hook, told its director, Steven Spielberg, that he intentionally teamed up Hoffman and Williams for the film because he knew they wanted to work together, and that Williams welcomed the opportunity of working with Spielberg.[91] Having Woody Allen, who directed him and Billy Crystal in Deconstructing Harry (1997), helped Williams. Allen knew that Crystal and Williams had often worked together on stage.[92]

Voice roles

Williams in Washington, D.C., 1996

While Williams voiced characters in several animated films, his voice role as the Genie in the animated musical Aladdin (1992) was written for him. The film’s directors said they had taken a risk by writing the role.[93] At first, Williams refused the role since it was a Disney movie, and he did not want the studio profiting by selling merchandise based on the movie. He accepted the role with certain conditions: “I’m doing it basically because I want to be part of this animation tradition. I want something for my children. One deal is, I just don’t want to sell anything—as in Burger King, as in toys, as in stuff.”[94] Williams improvised much of his dialogue, recording approximately 30 hours of tape,[17] and impersonated dozens of celebrities, including Ed SullivanJack NicholsonRobert De NiroGroucho MarxRodney DangerfieldWilliam F. Buckley Jr.Peter LorreArnold Schwarzenegger, and Arsenio Hall.[95] His role in Aladdin became one of his most recognized and best-loved, and the film was the highest-grossing of 1992; it won numerous awards, including a Special Golden Globe Award for Vocal Work in a Motion Picture for Williams.[96] His performance paved the way for other animated films to incorporate actors with more star power.[97] He was named a Disney Legend in 2009.[98]

Due to Disney breaking an agreement with Williams regarding the use of the Genie in the advertising for Aladdin, Williams refused to sign on for the direct-to-video sequel The Return of Jafar (1994), where the Genie was instead voiced by Dan Castellaneta. When Jeffrey Katzenberg was replaced by Joe Roth as Walt Disney Studios chairman, Roth organized a public apology to Williams.[99] Williams would, in turn, reprise the role in the second sequel, Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996).[100]

Williams continued to provide voices in other animated films, including FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992), Robots (2005), the Happy Feet film franchise (2006-2011), and an uncredited vocal performance in Everyone’s Hero (2006). He also voiced the holographic character Dr. Know in the live-action film A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001). He was the voice of The Timekeeper, a former attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort about a time-traveling robot who encounters Jules Verne and brings him to the future.[101]

Later films

Years after the films, Janet Hirshenson revealed in an interview that Williams had expressed interest in portraying Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter film series, but was rejected by director Chris Columbus due to the “British-only edict”.[102] In 2006, he starred in five movies, including Man of the Year, a political satire, and The Night Listener, a thriller about a radio show host who realizes that a child with whom he has developed a friendship may not exist.[87] Four films starring Williams were released after his death in 2014: Night at the Museum: Secret of the TombA Merry Friggin’ ChristmasBoulevard, and Absolutely Anything.[103]

Stage work

Williams at the USO World Gala in Washington, D.C., on October 1, 2008

Williams appeared opposite Steve Martin at Lincoln Center in an off-Broadway production of Waiting for Godot in 1988.[104][105] He headlined his own one-man showRobin Williams: Live on Broadway, which played at the Broadway theater in July 2002.[106] He made his Broadway acting debut in Rajiv Joseph‘s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, which opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on March 31, 2011.[107]


Williams was the host of a talk show for Audible that aired in April 2000 and was only available on Audible’s website.[108][109]

(SCRAPBOOK) Edgar Mitchell, Sc.D., Ph.D., NASA Astronaut On The Moon

I was lucky enough to have spent a day with Edgar Mitchell, Sc.D., Ph.D. (1930 – 2016). He was an American naval officer and aviator, test pilot, aeronautical engineer, NASA astronaut, and consciousness research pioneer. Educated at Carnegie Mellon, The Naval Postgraduate School, and M.I.T., Mitchell was the Lunar Module Pilot for the Apollo 14 Moon Mission. He was the sixth person to walk on the moon. Among the many awards Mitchell received are the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.

Mitchell described his mystical experience, which occurred on his way back to earth after nine hours of working on the moon’s surface, as follows:

“I had completed my major task for going to the moon and was on my way home and was observing the heavens and the earth from this distance, observing the passing of the heavens. As we were rotated, I saw the earth, the sun, the moon, and a 360 degree panorama of the heavens.

The magnificence of all of this was this trigger in my visioning. In the ancient Sanskrit, it’s called Samadhi. It means that you see things with your senses the way they are – you experience them viscerally and internally as a unity and a oneness accompanied by ecstasy.

All matter in our universe is created in star systems, and so the matter in my body, the matter in the spacecraft, the matter in my partners’ bodies, was the product of stars. We are stardust, and we’re all one in that sense.”

According to the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which Mitchell founded, “That moment, for Mitchell, was an epiphany, and it sowed the seeds of his next mission, which he described as follows:

‘To broaden the knowledge of the nature and potentials of mind and consciousness and to apply that knowledge to the enhancement of human well-being and the quality of life on the planet.’

To that end, he founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences [IONS] in 1973. Noetic, from the Greek word noetikos, means “inner/intuitive knowing.”

As a physical scientist, Mitchell had grown accustomed to directing his attention to the objective world “out there.” But the experience that came to him while hurtling through space led him to a startling hypothesis: Perhaps reality is more complex, subtle, and inexorably mysterious than conventional science had led him to believe. Perhaps a deep understanding of consciousness (inner space) could lead to a new and expanded view of reality in which objective and subjective, outer and inner, are understood as equal aspects of the miracle and mystery of being. In his words:

‘I realized that the story of ourselves as told by science – our cosmology, our religion – was incomplete and likely flawed. I recognized that the Newtonian idea of separate, independent, discreet things in the universe wasn’t a fully accurate description. What was needed was a new story of who we are and what we are capable of becoming.’” For nearly 40 years, the Institute of Noetic Sciences has worked toward that end.

Quoted from “In Memoriam: Edgar Mitchell, ScD, PhD”, a video prepared by the Institute of Noetic Sciences.

(SCRAPBOOK) Wavy Gravy From The ‘Woodstock’ and ‘Lights’ Events

Wavy Keeping Scott amused at the LIGHTS concert on Twin Peaks

If you have seen the feature film:

…then you have seen Wavy Gravy. Wavy and the Hog Farm helped Scott take over the mountain in the middle of San Francisco (With help from the Mayor’s office) and perform a light concert for 3 million people when we took over the mountain in the middle of San Francisco, known as Twin Peaks, for a whole week (With City Hall permission).

Wavy wanted to see what his obit would look like “before he kicked the bucket”, so I hereby comply:

Hugh Nanton Romney Jr. (born May 15, 1936), known as Wavy Gravy, is an American entertainer and peace activist best known for his role at Woodstock, as well as for his hippie persona and countercultural beliefs.

Romney has founded or co-founded several organizations, including the activist commune, the Hog Farm, and later, as Wavy Gravy, Camp Winnarainbow and the Seva Foundation. He founded the Phurst Church of Phun in the 1960s,[3] a secret society of comics and clowns that aimed to support ending of the Vietnam War through political theater, and has adopted a clown persona in support of his political activism, and more generally as a form of entertainment work,[not verified in body] including as the official clown of the Grateful Dead.

As Wavy Gravy, he has had two radio shows on Sirius Satellite Radio‘s Jam On station. A documentary film based on his life, Saint Misbehavin’: The Wavy Gravy Movie, was released in late 2010 to generally positive reviews. Romney was awarded the Kate Wolf Memorial Award by the World Folk Music Association in 1992.[4]

Hugh Nanton Romney Jr. was born in East Greenbush, New York, on May 15, 1936.[5][1][6] His father, Hugh Romney Sr., was an architect.[7] Romney was raised in early life in PrincetonNew Jersey, and by middle school age his family moved to West HartfordConnecticut.[8][9] He attended William Hall High School, graduating in 1954.[9] After high school graduation, he volunteered for the United States Army, serving as a sign painter, to take advantage of the G.I. Bill.[7][10] He was honorably discharged after 22 months.[citation needed]

Romney entered Boston University Theater Department in the late 1950s under the G.I. Bill,[9][11] and then attended the Neighborhood Playhouse for the Theater in New York City.[7]

In 1958, he began reading poetry regularly at The Gaslight Cafe in Greenwich Village in New York City, where he eventually became the cafe’s entertainment director, befriending musicians such as Bob DylanTom Paxton, and Dave Van Ronk.[12][8] He lived with Bob Dylan upstairs from 116 MacDougal Street.[8]

His early career was managed by Lenny Bruce who brought Romney to California in 1962 where he did a live recording of Hugh Romney, Third Stream Humor as the opening act for Thelonious Monk at Club Renaissance in Los Angeles.[13]

The Hog Farm collective was established through a chain of events beginning with Ken Babbs hijacking the Merry Pranksters‘ bus, Furthur, to Mexico, which stranded the Merry Pranksters in Los Angeles.[citation needed] First Romney assembled a collective in North Hollywood, visited by musicians such as Ravi Shankar and Tiny Tim (whom he managed).[citation needed]

Wavy Gravy, ‘Woodstock’ and ‘Lights’

After moving to Sunland, a suburb in the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles, Romney was evicted from his one-bedroom cabin after the landlord discovered that a large group of assorted pranksters and musicians were staying there. Two hours later, a neighbor informed Romney that a nearby hog farm needed caretakers after the farmer had suffered a stroke, and Romney accepted an offer to work at the farm in exchange for rent.[7][14] Local people, musicians, artists, and members of other communes began staying at the mountain-top farm.[citation needed] In his book Something Good for a Change, Gravy described this early period as a “bizarre communal experiment” where the “people began to outnumber the pigs”.[15]

Throughout the mid-1960s, both Romney and his wife, Bonnie Beecher, were employed in Los Angeles. He worked for Columbia Pictures teaching improvisation skills to actors.[citation needed] Beecher was a successful television actress, appearing in episodes of The Twilight ZoneGunsmokeStar Trek, and The Fugitive.[citation needed]

By 1966, the Hog Farm had coalesced into an entertainment organization providing light shows at the Shrine Exposition Hall in Los Angeles for music artists such as the Grateful Dead, Cream, and Jimi Hendrix.[citation needed] Beginning in 1967, the collective began traveling across the country in converted school buses purchased with money earned as extras in Otto Preminger‘s feature film Skidoo (1968).[7]

The Hog Farm relocated to the Black Oak Ranch in LaytonvilleMendocino County, in Northern California in the early 1990s.[16][17]

Woodstock Festival

At the first Woodstock Festival, Romney and the Hog Farm collective accepted festival executive Stan Goldstein’s offer to help with preparations.[18]

Romney called his group the “Please Force,” a reference to their non-intrusive tactics at keeping order, e.g., “Please don’t do that, please do this instead”. When asked by the press—who were the first to inform him that he and the rest of the Hog Farm were handling security—what kind of tools he intended to use to maintain order at the event, his response was “Cream pies and seltzer bottles[18] (both being traditional clown props). In Gravy’s words: “They all wrote it down and I thought, ‘the power of manipulating the media’, ah ha!”[19]

Romney made announcements from the concert stage throughout the festival.[citation needed] He later wrote in his memoir that “the reason that I got to do all those stage announcements was because of my relationship with Chip Monk [sic]. Chip built the stage at Woodstock.”[20]

At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum‘s psychedelic tribute to the 1960s “I Want To Take You Higher“,[21] Romney’s sleeping bag and tie-dyed false teeth were displayed. He and Paul Krassner appeared there on the last day of the exhibit on February 28, 1998.[citation needed]

Romney, as Wavy Gravy after the first Woodstock, has been the Master of Ceremonies of, and the only person to appear on the bill of all three Woodstock Festivals.[clarification needed][citation needed] On the morning of the 20th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival, he and author Ken Kesey were interviewed on Good Morning America, live from the Bethel concert site, where he discussed his experience as the MC of the event.[citation needed]

Wavy Gravy name origin

At the 1969 Texas International Pop Festival, two weeks after Woodstock, Romney was lying onstage, exhausted after spending hours trying to get festival-goers to put their clothes back on. He later explained, “They had these conga drummers on the stage, and I said, ‘Don’t dance on the wavy gravy’. Then someone announced that B.B. King was there, and he was going to play for free. I started to get up, and I felt this hand on my shoulder and it was B.B. King. And he said, ‘Are you Wavy Gravy?’ and I just said, ‘Yes, sir,’ and he said, ‘Wavy Gravy, I can work around you.’ And he stood me up next to his amplifier, and Johnny Winter comes from the other side, and they played all night long.”[22][23] Romney said he considered this a mystical event, and assumed Wavy Gravy as his legal name.[24][third-party source needed] Romney has said, regarding the name, that “It’s worked pretty well through my life… except with telephone operators–I have to say ‘Gravy, first initial W.'”[This quote needs a citation]

Phurst Church of Phun and clowning

After frequent arrests at demonstrations, Wavy Gravy decided that his arrest would be less likely if he dressed as a clown.[citation needed] Romney therefore co-founded the Phurst Church of Phun,[when?] a secret society of comics and clowns dedicated to ending the Vietnam War through the use of political theater.[citation needed] Romney also performs more generally as a clown, including entertaining children, work that includes such traditional clown activities as joke-telling and magic tricks.[citation needed] As Wavy Gravy, he has served as an official clown of the Grateful Dead.[when?][25]

Wavy Gravy has also been recognized for his work as a collage artist, with work presented at a solo exhibition in April 1999 at the Firehouse Gallery in New York under gallery owner Eric Gibbons.[26] He had an exhibition, Wavy Gravy Retrospective (1996) at the Firehouse Gallery of Bordentown, New Jersey.

He began exploring collage in the early ’60s, and his first works were created in the period where he lived above the Gaslight in Greenwich Village; he has stated that he was inspired by a Max Ernst collage he saw at the Bitter End, when he opened for Peter, Paul and Mary.[when?][citation needed] His collage work includes larger pieces done for celebrities in the San Francisco Bay Area.[citation needed]

Neo-pagan appearances

Wavy Gravy’s first appearance at an event in the Neo-Pagan community was at the WinterStar Symposium in 1998 with Paul Krassner.[27][failed verification] He appeared there again in 2000 with Phyllis Curott, where he joined Rev. Ivan Stang in a joint ritual of the Church of the SubGenius and his Church of the Cosmic Giggle.[28]


Seva Foundation

Wavy Gravy co-founded the Seva Foundation in 1978, along with spiritual leader Ram Dass and public health expert Dr. Larry Brilliant.[29][30][31] Based in Berkeley, California, Seva Foundation is an international health organization working to build sustainable sight restoration programs in many of the globe’s most under-served communities.[29][32] Gravy is famous for throwing all-star benefit concerts regularly featuring members of the Grateful DeadBonnie RaittJackson BrowneDavid CrosbyGraham NashAni DiFrancoBen HarperElvis Costello, and many other musicians.[29]

Camp Winnarainbow

Gravy co-founded, with his wife, the circus and performing arts camp Camp Winnarainbow, now located in Laytonville, California near the Hog Farm.[when?][32][33] He co-ran the camp alongside Txi Whizz (also known as Barbara Hanna), his “right-hand woman”.[34]

“Tornado of Talent”

In September 1981 there was an anti-nuclear protest, which included trespassing, blockade, occupation, and civil disobedience action at Diablo Canyon Power Plant, organized by the Abalone Alliance.[35] Approximately 640 protesters were arrested, and Wavy Gravy and Jackson Browne were in attendance.[35]

Browne was able to have an acoustic guitar and performed in the gymnasium at Cuesta College; where the male incarcerated were being held.[35] Gravy organized and acted as MC for a variety show there that he called the, “Tornado of Talent”. Wavy arrived at the holding facility dressed in a pair of bright green coveralls. After settling into his “bunk” (a thin mattress on the gym floor) he removed the coveralls to reveal a Santa Claus suit.

Nobody for President and Nobody’s Business

“Wavy Gravy nominated Nobody for president at the “Yippie National Convention” outside the Republican National Convention in Kansas City in 1976. It was the second time the Hog Farm had nominated a candidate for the Presidency, following the nomination of the hog, Pigasus, eight years prior.[36]

Wavy Gravy ran a “Nobody for President” campaign that held a rally across from the White House on November 4, 1980, which included Yippies and a few anarchists to promote the option of “none of the above” choice on the ballot—as in, “Nobody’s Perfect”, “Nobody Keeps All Promises”, “Nobody Should Have That Much Power”, and “Who’s in Washington right now working to make the world a safer place? Nobody!”.[37][38][third-party source needed] After criticizing Jimmy CarterRonald Reagan and John B. Anderson, the committee offered the “perfect” candidate: Nobody. “Nobody makes apple pie better than Mom. And Nobody will love you when you’re down and out,” Gravy told a crowd of 50 onlookers at the rally.[39][40] The allusion had been used previously, in the 1932 short film Betty Boop for President.[citation needed]

Gravy established the store Nobody’s Business across the road from the Hog Farm.[when?][41] reminiscent of his “Nobody for President” campaign.


Wavy Gravy and his wife, Jahanara Romney (July 2013)

He was briefly married to a “Frenchwoman” in the early 1960s; the marriage ended in divorce.[7]

In 1965, Wavy Gravy married the actress Bonnie Jean Beecher, who later adopted the name Jahanara Romney.[42] They have a son, born in 1971 as Howdy Do-Good Gravy Tomahawk Truckstop Romney, who has since become known as Jordan Romney.[42]


(SCRAPBOOK) In Memory Of The Music Farmers


Bill George Hunter of Auberry, California – My Banjo Teacher

The Music Farmers Old Time String Band

December 16, 1929 – February 4, 2021

Bill George Hunter of Auberry, California passed away on Thursday, February 4th, 2021 at the age of 91 years old.

In the story of Bill’s life there are many chapters. He was a veteran of the Korean war. He was a world traveler. He was a math teacher. He was a bail bondsman. He was a Music Farmer. He was a story teller.

Bill grew up as the youngest of five siblings: Charlie, Orville, Mary, and Ada. As a young man, he served his country in the Korean War as a member of the United States Army. He then went on to get his masters degree in mathematics and spent time as a math teacher for Bullard High School in Fresno, CA. Bill was also a successful bail bondsman, founding his own bail bond company.

One of Bill’s most treasured accomplishments in life was leading his old-time string band, The Music Farmers, and creating his 20 acre mountain oasis known as The Music Farm. There wasn’t a string instrument that Bill couldn’t play, but he was particularly fond of the fiddle and the banjo, being so talented that he could still play the fiddle behind his back well into his 80’s. Bill built the Music Farm from the ground up in Auberry during the late 1970’s as a performance space and retreat for local musicians and students. Unfortunately, The Music Farm was lost in the recent wildfires.  Bill and his beloved wife Joan had just moved to Rancho Cucamonga to begin their next chapter near her family.

Bill always had a story to tell about his adventures, usually followed by his signature laugh. The day he was born in the back of a buckboard wagon. The time he spent in a jail in India for having the wrong currency to pay for his meal. Being airlifted after breaking his leg on a hunting trip.

Though Bill never had any children of his own, he was the loving uncle to his many nieces and nephews.

Bill is survived by his wife, Joan Delzangle-Hunter; nephews Danny Malone and Donald Hunter; and nieces Holly Van Vleck

Holly Van Vleck – Teacher at CUSD

Fresno, California, United State

and Donna Hunter.

While circumstances do not allow for a formal service, please sing a song, play an instrument, or tell a story in honor of the way that Bill lived his life.

“…I got car-jacked by an armed meth addict who snuck into the Music Farm and car-jacked myself and a young woman as we were driving up the Mountain to a small store. He put a pistol in my ear. I talked him into letting me get out of the car at the edge of The Music Farm at Bill Hunter’s cabin to “get some more money..”. Bill Hunter told me to wait at his cabin and he would “handle things”. Hunter went in to his cabin for second and then walked down the little hill to the car where the car jacker was. Hunter had a very large Colt .45 in the back of his belt….. Nobody died that day, as far as I know… but that was the end of the situation that afternoon…”

In one of the last big Sierra fires, the whole Music Farm burned to the ground. It is all gone but the memories of the huge music jams still survive…”



The Music Farmers taught Scott Banjo, Fiddle, Washtub Base and Harmonica

Although….. Carjacked – A Bad Day – While learning Banjo and Fiddle at The Music Farmers Music Farm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a crackhead jumped in the car Scott and his friend were in and stuck a pistol in Scott’s ear. After a drive through the woods, Bill Hunter, the head of the Music Farm ended the situation with his Colt .45. Nobody died.

Bill George Hunter of Auberry, California

The Music Farmers Old Time String Band

December 16, 1929 – February 4, 2021

Bill George Hunter of Auberry, California passed away on Thursday, February 4th, 2021 at the age of 91 years old.

In the story of Bill’s life there are many chapters. He was a veteran of the Korean war. He was a world traveler. He was a math teacher. He was a bail bondsman. He was a Music Farmer. He was a story teller.

Bill grew up as the youngest of five siblings: Charlie, Orville, Mary, and Ada. As a young man, he served his country in the Korean War as a member of the United States Army. He then went on to get his masters degree in mathematics and spent time as a math teacher for Bullard High School in Fresno, CA. Bill was also a successful bail bondsman, founding his own bail bond company.

One of Bill’s most treasured accomplishments in life was leading his old-time string band, The Music Farmers, and creating his 20 acre mountain oasis known as The Music Farm. There wasn’t a string instrument that Bill couldn’t play, but he was particularly fond of the fiddle and the banjo, being so talented that he could still play the fiddle behind his back well into his 80’s. Bill built the Music Farm from the ground up in Auberry during the late 1970’s as a performance space and retreat for local musicians and students. Unfortunately, The Music Farm was lost in the recent wildfires.  Bill and his beloved wife Joan had just moved to Rancho Cucamonga to begin their next chapter near her family.

Bill always had a story to tell about his adventures, usually followed by his signature laugh. The day he was born in the back of a buckboard wagon. The time he spent in a jail in India for having the wrong currency to pay for his meal. Being airlifted after breaking his leg on a hunting trip.

Though Bill never had any children of his own, he was the loving uncle to his many nieces and nephews.

Bill is survived by his wife, Joan Delzangle-Hunter; nephews Danny Malone and Donald Hunter; and nieces Holly Van Vleck

While circumstances do not allow for a formal service, please sing a song, play an instrument, or tell a story in honor of the way that Bill lived his life.



(TRIBUTE) Karen Jessica Evans – ‘Goth Girl’

Jessica Evans, well-known as Goth Girl. A concert pianist, recording artist and iconic female biker. You have seen her on network television with her club: THE DEVIL DOLLS
Goth Girl 1955-2018 ▶ Co-founder of Devil Dolls MC, graduate of Berkelee School of Music, co-star of Motorcycle Women (2002), featured in The Biker Code and Chicks on Bikes, 1980’s rockstar with her synthpop rock groups Makaface and Goldilocks, and inventor of Goth Block, a commercial sunblock. Rest in Peace.

Karen Jessica Evans

Karen Jessica Evans
Goth Girl

Born December 9, 1955
San Francisco, California
?Died February 12, 2018 (aged 62)
San Francisco, CaliforniaFebruary 12, 2018 (aged 62)
?️ Nationality American
? Alma mater Berklee School of Music, BA 1991
? Occupation
Motorcycle Women, MakafaceDevil Dolls

Karen Jessica Evans (Goth Girl) (December 9, 1955 – February 12, 2018) was a multi-talented personality who has appeared in numerous magazines, books, videos, movies and television as a model, pianist, entertainer and iconic female biker.

Early life

A child prodigy, Evans started exploring the piano at age four. She graduated from Fullerton Union High School in Fullerton, California in 1974[1]. Matriculating to the famed Berklee School of Music, she was a classically trained concert pianist, earning a degree in performing arts piano. While at Berklee, she was an under-study to the noted classic jazz pianist, Ray Santisi, a faculty member at Berklee who played with the iconic Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Mel Torme and many others. She briefly worked with Bill Evans before becoming the house pianist for the Boston Marriott, later forming a jazz duo, Double Take, and continuing to perform at the Marriott.

Recording Artist

In 1983 Evans left Boston and traveled to Hollywood, California with her songwriting partner, Leslie Smith, to break into the recording industry. After organizing several bands, including GoldilocksTwo Tall Blondes and Makaface and playing numerous local clubs, including Whiskey A Go Go and Troubador, her band, Makaface, auditioned for A&M Records. A fixture in the evolving musical genres of synthpop, glamrock and goth, Evans was a contemporary with other female-led alternative rock bands, including Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons, Toni Basil, Cyndi Lauper and Gwen Stefani of No Doubt, exerting an influence on stage presence and cultural style in the world of 1980’s Hollywood pop culture.

Makaface was offered a recording contract with A&M Records, at the dawn of the new wave and synthpop era, releasing Sleeping Girls Don’t Lie[2], scoring underground club hits Normal for Norman[3]Little White Lies [4] and Bump in the Night. The album was recorded at the historic Eldorado Studios in Burbank with Supertramp producer Dave Jerden before the studios relocated to Sunset due to damage from the 1987 Northridge earthquake. Evans and Makaface later went on several national tours as an opening act.

Devil Dolls Motorcycle Club

Exhausted by grueling tour schedules, Evans returned to San Francisco in the early 1990’s, settling in Rincon Hill, renewing her lifelong interest in Harley-Davidson motorcycles and choppers and taking the stage name of Goth Girl. It wasn’t long before she discovered other independent-minded women, forming the first all-female outlaw motorcycle club in America in modern times, the Devil Dolls[5][6], on Valentine’s Day in 1999 in San Francisco, with co-founders T Rexxx, Calamity and Harley.[7][8][9][10][11][12] Once affiliated with Hell’s Angels, the Devil Dolls became the first female biker club to earn a full three-piece patch. The club started a successful merchandising arm with a line of clothing, Worship Your Devil Doll, soon growing an international presence with establishment of a chapter in Sweden. Evans remained as club president with the Devil Dolls until 2004 on tours and participating in annual runs to Sturgis and motorcycle events throughout the country. The club remains active twenty years later. After leaving Devil Dolls she toured frequently with the Wall of Death, a traveling motordrome roadshow, as the piano accompanist. Evans passed away on Valentine’s Day, the anniversary of the birth of this iconic and infamous one-percenter female motorcycle club.

Motorcycle Women

In 2002, Evans was contacted by Original Productions, seeking a lead actress for a documentary film about the world of female motorcyclists, to be broadcast by Discovery Channel. Janice Engel discovered Evans after reading about the formation of Devil Dolls Motorcycle Club by Evans, Theresa Foglio and two other women in San Francisco in 1999. Engel, Thom Beers and Original Productions were then commissioned to make the film. Evans was cast as the lead actress in Discovery Channel’s Motorcycle Women, exploring the resurgence of female biker culture, the phenomenon of alpha women and the empowerment of women. She joined five other women bikers, three from the East Coast and two from the West Coast on a cross-country road trip to San Francisco[13][14], produced, directed and written by Janice Engel. Motorcycle Women was broadcast on PBS. Evans received credit for composing the film’s soundtrack.[15][14]

The movie, in turn, led to television appearances on To Tell the Truth, MSNBC, 20/20, Evening Magazine, Travel Channel and Mary Anne’s Bikes. Evans also appeared in numerous magazines, including Cycle Source, Outlaw Biker, Easy Rider, In the Wind, The HORSE Backstreet Choppers, Thunder Press, Full Throttle and Scooter Goods. She also filmed an iconic commercial for V-Rod published in Conde Nast Travel in 2004.

In 2002 Evans appeared as Goth Girl in The Biker Code, published by Simon and Schuster.[16]. In the words of the publisher “The Biker Code captures the iconoclasts, free spirits, and born-to-ride outlaws of Planet Harley.” She was also the centerpiece in Chicks on Bikes, published in 2009 by Paper Wings.[17][18]. Other book appearances included One Percenter Encyclopedia[19] and Soul on Bikes[20]

Political and Environmental Activism

Karen Jessica Evans 2003

Evans had returned to San Francisco in the early 1990’s, seeking refuge from the hectic demands of Hollywood in piano gigs around San Francisco, including Biscuit and Blues, Sheraton Palace and One Market Plaza, while writing new classical compositions. Alongside the busy Devil Dolls and new touring schedules, she started a music school in her rapidly growing Rincon Hill neighborhood, From Bach to Broadway, which she operated through Thumbtack, training hundreds of students through the years.

Later in her life, Evans became involved as an environmental and political activist with her partner, Matthew Steen, fighting to preserve open space in Rincon Hill, against urban deforestation and contributing to political fundraisers for the Democratic Party in San Francisco.[21][22][23]. San Francisco held an official Memoriam for Jessica in February 2018, the Board of Supervisors suspending their regular meeting in her memory.[24]


  7.  Quinn, J.F., & Forsyth, C.J. (2011a). Bikers ladies and the evolution of the 1% subculture. In K. Katz (Ed.), Devil dolls (pp. 132–156). Indianapolis, IN: Dog Ear Publishing.
  14. ↑ Jump up to:14.0 14.1 {{cite AV media | title=Motorcycle Women | publisher=Original Productions | date=2002 | medium=TV Documentary Movie 52 m. | location=U.S.A.

This article “Karen Jessica Evans” is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical and/or the page Edithistory:Karen Jessica Evans. Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.

(TRIBUTE) Henry Dakin – The Stuffed Toy Millionaire That Became The Secret Behind-The-Scenes Benign Godfather of VR

Henry Dakin – The Stuffed Toy Millionaire That Became The Secret Behind-The-Scenes Benign Godfather of VR…And My Mentor


Our Friend Henry!

Henry Saltonstall Dakin 1936 – 2010

Henry Dakin – The Stuffed Toy Millionaire That Became The Secret Behind-The-Scenes Benign Godfather of VR

  • Operative behind an entire Russian Revolution

Henry Dakin died peacefully at home surrounded by family in Ukiah, California on August 25th at age 73. A fourth generation Californian, Henry helped creative individuals realize their uncommon dreams by sharing his skills and resources to support their innovative for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. His boundless curiosity, indefatigable industry and selfless service inspired countless people. He leaves a prodigious and enduring legacy of visionary philanthropy, humility, kindness, and immense generosity. Henry grew up in Pasadena, California, and graduated from Harvard University in 1958. During the 1960’s, he did research in health physics at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and designed a pocket radiation detector that is still in use today. Devastating tragedy befell him in 1966 when he lost seven family members in a plane crash, among them his father Richard and brother Roger, who founded the Dakin Toy Company.

During the 1970s, Henry’s protean interests in consciousness, parapsychology, virtual reality, computer technology, and environmental conservation generated leading-edge projects at his Washington Street offices in Pacific Heights in San Francisco. His love of printing led him to explore early innovations in desktop publishing and many other publishing ventures: he wrote a book on Kirlian photography, published religious documents smuggled from Soviet political prisons in the “Samizdat Bulletin” and a major guide to doing business in Moscow. Many of us helped Henry organize the latest “Russian Revolution” by helping him fax documents in and out of Russia and relay video via his “SpaceBridge” so that all of the Russians knew that an uprising was afoot.

Mondo 2000’s RU Sirius described him as “technology’s ultimate philanthropist”.

Henry had the first, fully-equipped, modern “Ghostbusters” lab in the basement of his Washington Street Research Center, rigged out with a full Faraday Cage and NASA thermal imaging systems to capture paranormal and high-level human experiences. Some of us ran tests, like Ghostbusters, before there was a “Ghostbusters” movie. Some people think that Ivan Reitman got the idea for “Ghostbusters” by basing the main character off of Dakin. The Washington Street Research Center was around the corner from his transformed auto-body shop/Atelier which was at 3220 Sacramento Street.

Henry mentored and helped Jaron Lanier, Linda Jacobson, The Well text posting site, Scott Douglas-Redmond, RU Sirius, Howard Reingold, et al, move their efforts to the next stages. Henry had a deep relationship with NASA, CIA and State Department connections. His parties on the top floor of 3220 Sacramento Street were legendary, and usually had some of the most famous authors and technologists in the world in attendance.

Henry’s deep concern over the escalating arms race grew in the 1980s, and resulted in his increasing support to many activist groups that were pioneering novel forms of citizen diplomacy such as Esalen’s Soviet-American Exchange Program. Ever-expanding activities required more space, so Henry transformed an auto-body shop at 3220 Sacramento Street into a unique office complex, multi-media and cultural networking center for citizen activists to hold public and private events.

Over the decades, Henry incubated an astonishing number and variety of fledgling non-profit groups, providing them with technical support, funding, and office and living space. Some are now well-established groups such as Internews, United Nations Association of San Francisco, Institute for Global Communications, Presidio Alliance, San Francisco Global Business Council, Association for Space Explorers, Link TV, and Bioneers. Self-effacing, Henry shunned publicity, yet was a truly remarkable cultural ambassador, peacemaker, and global communications pioneer.

In 1988 the New York Times featured two of the many groups he fostered: Center for Citizen Initiatives, which exchanged business delegations of thousands of Americans and Soviets, and the San Francisco/Moscow Teleport, which introduced e-mail to the Soviet Union and later became a global telecom company. Henry and his wife Vergilia helped Bay Area parents establish the San Francisco Waldorf School, based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. The school now operates classes from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, and is the largest Waldorf school in North America.

This loving husband, father, brother, and compassionate friend of humanity and the Earth was a 40-year resident of Pacific Heights in San Francisco, more recently of Mill Valley in Marin County, and finally Ukiah. He is survived by his wife Vergilia Paasche Dakin; daughters Adriana Dakin, Rose Dakin, and Julia Dakin Frech; son David Platford; grandchildren Iola Dakin Gravois and Gwendolyn Dakin Johnson; sisters Susanna Dakin and Mira Sadgopal (Mary Dakin); nephew Samuel Dakin and his children; and a vast network of friends and grateful recipients of his generosity.

A memorial celebration for Henry Dakin was held in San Francisco at The Presidio Golden Gate Club on November 14, 2010 at 2:00pm. The most interesting people in the world attended that event.

Gifts in Henry’s name may be made to: San Francisco Waldorf School, Earth Island Institute, RSF Social Finance, and Mendocino Environmental Center.

Henry will be missed, never forgotten and…thanks to his support of VR and “Ghostbusting”, he may not be entirely “gone”…

(TRIBUTE) In Tribute To Musician Giovanna Joyce Imbesi

Giovanna Joyce Imbesi

When you watch a movie on Netflix or Hulu, and that film opens with a sepia-tone aerial image of the Warner Brothers sound stages, you hear a piano play the key elements from the music for the film Casablanca: “As time goes by”. That piano is being played by Giovanna Joyce Imbesi. Some of us knew her as “Gio”. I was lucky enough to know (and almost get to marry) her.

Giovanna Joyce Imbesi, was an American pianist/keyboardist. She embarked on her first national tour with Yanni in 1987 to promote his album, Out of Silence,[1] and performed during the “Yanni 1988 Concert Series” and “Reflections of Passion” concert tours. During this time she played alongside such musicians as John Tesh and Charlie Adams, and with various symphony orchestras such as the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and the Minneapolis Symphony. During the following years, she worked with a number of performers including Patti Labelle, Jeffrey Osborne, Sheila E., Toni Childs, Starship, Narada Michael Walden and Andy Summers with whom she toured internationally. Following another national road tour with saxophonist Dave Koz, she released her first album in 2006, Short Stories: Piano Music for Healing, Meditation and Relaxation.


In 1982, Giovanna Joyce founded Kimball’s Jazz Club in San Francisco with Joe Henderson and Joanne Brackeen as the first performance. Jazz artists performing at Kimball’s featured Stan Getz, Charlie Haden, McCoy Tyner, Earl Fatha Hines, Denny Zeitlin, Pete Escovedo and many other legendary jazz musicians. Imbesi recounts “I was playing piano during dinner and at 8pm everyone left for the opera or symphony. I suggested to owner Kimball Allen that we have some jazz and he said OK. That’s how Kimball’s Jazz began, and I was booking the artists and essentially running the marketing, sound and graphics.”

See also

A Thousand Summers


  1. Yanni; Rensin, David (2002). Yanni in Words. Miramax Books. p. 123. ISBN 1-4013-5194-8.

External links

Written by Lisa Yen, NP, NBC-HWC

We recently shared the sad news of the passing of our founder, Executive Director, and dear friend, Giovanna Joyce Imbesi. It had been a challenging year for Giovanna’s physical health and she moved to Marin County this fall with hopes of enjoying many months of music, nature, and friends. Sadly, her physical condition unexpectedly and rapidly declined. Giovanna passed away peacefully in her home in Marin surrounded by an intimate circle of loved ones including our very own Lisa Yen and NorCal Carcinet founder and president Josh Mailman along with Giovanna’s sister, Donna, and a handful of longtime friends. (Click here for the LACNETS tribute.) Giovanna also felt incredibly loved and supported by the countless family and friends who were present with her in spirit.

Although we miss her dearly, Giovanna expressed her desire that we focus on how she lived richly and fully for 14 years with neuroendocrine cancer. She felt that her greatest legacy was founding and building LACNETS, a Los Angeles based non-profit dedicated to providing education, support, and advocacy for those whose lives have been touched by neuroendocrine cancer. Giovanna was especially proud of NET VITALS, a tool we created to improve the communication between patients and physicians. Her hope was to help as many people as possible learn to thrive while living with neuroendocrine cancer.

Giovanna built more than just a community; she created a family. Her wish was for us to continue celebrating life and connectedness. We welcome you to lean on each other for support by joining us at one of our LACNETS meetings. Our upcoming December 10th meeting will feature a presentation by Chaplain Michael Escelun and will include a time for remembrance of Giovanna. For those unable to attend meetings in person, they are live-streamed on the LACNETS Facebook Page. Past meetings can be viewed on the LACNETS YouTube channel. There are tentative plans for a celebration of Giovanna’s life in the Bay area in January 2020 and Los Angeles in February 2020. More details will follow. You may also leave a tribute to Giovanna in the comments section below.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, please send a donation to LACNETS to carry on Giovanna’s legacy.

LACNETS is a program by Generate, a California 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, Tax ID #20-0062062. All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Remembering Giovanna Joyce Imbesi: