An Autobiograpghy by Joe Lysowski

January 4, 2001

My father was born on the birthday of the Virgin Mary, December 12th. I was
Joseph–Uzek to them in Polish–born October 1, 1938. My sister JoAnne was called
Bollamotz–bad little girl–lovingly, with always a laugh. Judy was quieter, more
thoughtful. She married and moved back East. I didn’t ever see much of her again,
only once at my father’s death from cigarettes.

He was always happy to see me-never an angry word. I remember he liked to gamble.
My life was a gamble. He cooked all day into the night and found time for his art
projects-lamps. He also did drawings and paintings of himself as a sad clown or
once a blue-eyed monk. Otherwise he liked to try and strengthen his mind with
various studies in order to control the luck of the dice. He’d stare at a cork
under glass with a needle set to spin on it that he’d try to direct by thought.
Things like that. Bending spoons.

The only spoons he’d bend were big ones that he’d heave from one end of the
restaurant to the other, a big stainless steel wall behind the sink. I worked at
scrubbing out the “mother-in-law,” a large clam chowder pot so big you had to lean
inside of it to reach the bottom with a metal scraper. We’d get $5,000 worth of
abalone at a time packed into the big reefers in the ’60s-two restaurants he was
chef at on the big end of the Santa Cruz Wharf. He’d always be happy to see me on
the beach whenever he’d lean out the door to have a cigarette break.

I spent most of my time there on the beach, surfing. I’d peddle down from our
house by bike up by the city water reservoir with my homemade boogie board out of
plywood-more boards to throw and jump onto and slide before I got my Velzie Jacobs
9-foot 10-inch Narrow Rail Long Board. Oh I loved that board–red bottom–hot dog!
I’d run up and down the beach in prep for joining the Marine Corps the end of
summer after high school, at 17.

I drove a ’37 Ford blue coupe convertible–white top, ’88 flathead, Mercury
engine, dual carbs, with a rumble seat in back open for my board. Loved that car
too. Where did it all go? Time flickers faster like pages in a well thumbed book
as we look back upon it. Same as it ever was. Talking Heads said that.

Shiftlessly I moved into second gear, squad leader, cold weather training for
fighting in the snow. I went instead to Okinawa, home of something like fifty
varieties of poison nut snakes. (I read about it in the library where I used to go
to study nights, an old, ivy covered, brick building before the flood.) Surfing
Sam Read would be there reading about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire and
making comparisons whenever he wasn’t lifeguard riding his big redwood log of a
paddleboard, clearing out everyone in front of him. Friend of the Duke he was–Big
Kahuna on the beach he was–white zinc oxide nose, shades, checking the surf out.
Me and Johnny Rice would carry down a big hollow plywood paddle board together and
take it out off the racks of the little shack there and paddle it back in when it
was too full of water. I got a pair of new fins one Christmas. I could hold my
breath a good two minutes then underwater.

That was before the Corps. “Eat the apple, fuck the corps” they used to say.
Semper Fi. I got a problem with my lungs and breathing overseas. Thirty years
later at the National Jewish Hospital in Denver they said it was a mold that
usually killed people, but I lived. Decided if I lived to get out of this I’d do
whatever it was I wanted to for life after that.

I remember my Uncle John’s party after the war–homecoming navigator of a B-52
with pictures of smoking bombers going down in flak and a German Lugar he kept.
Gave the SS gloves to my dad and I had some locks of a concentration camp to toy
with. He boxed as the Duke of Poland and ran for Assemblyman, had a bar, moved to
Florida with a rumor about some trouble with the mafia. Grandpa Jankowski kept a
cat of nine tails, black leather with ball bearings in the end for fights at the
mill, Youngstown Street and Tube, where everyone worked before we left in Dad’s
1940 Ford four-door, or was it two, across the states. Merimac Caverns for my
birthday, hide out of Jessie James they say.

I loved caves. Deep recesses. I’d find them and explore them as a kid in Cave
Gulch above Santa Cruz, peddle up there on my bike with my dog Tuff and a 10- or
12-gauge and do a little shooting. Nothing much. I’d have to practice with a 22 a
lot before I got any good at it. Funny how we change. I wouldn’t shoot an animal
now. Before that I’d hunt rats at night in the city dump. I still like certain
weapons, hand grenades especially. I kept one a long time when I was looking for
my *’s boyfriend. They would call up and threaten me and the kids. After they left
together–22 years of marriage going on like a cool breeze.

Remember him? Cool Breeze, I mean, of the Pranksters. He was fun. Liked to be a
Neal Cassady protŽgŽ. He’d go movin’ around the dance floor of the “Barn” where I
worked doing light shows with Paul Curtis and Saul Mitig of “Magic Theatre.” “The
price of admission is your mind” is what I remember. The Pranksters all stayed
there after Ken had disappeared, leaving the bus parked with a note saying “Ocean,
Ocean, you have won” and his shoes left by the water’s edge. My partner in
sculpture, Ron Boise, drove him down to * in the potato chip truck and rolled him
up in a rug across the border to avoid going to jail for smoking’ a joint with
Mountain Girl. Ken had a fun house up in La Honda, “Sky Londa,” where people used
to like to inhale nitrous oxide, “laughing gas,” up in the redwood grove outside.
They talked real funny and would fall down having such a good time.

Oh yeah, I meant to tell you about my family leaving for California. I was only 7.
They all only spoke English to me so I wouldn’t have an accent. My grandmother
belonged to a Russian Orthodox church but we were all Catholic except for my
father who didn’t even sin and got out of going to church because of it. My
grandfather came out and gave my dad a blackjack as we were ready to leave and for
me he had a pipe wrench he made himself at the Mills. He drove a neat Model A that
he made into a truck himself, putting the bed into where the rumble seat went.
Grandma said there were black widow spiders in California and we’d be back soon.
There weren’t and we never were.

My mother’s father was raised by the Polish Cavalry as a kid when his parents were
killed in some sort of a war. His name was Steve Smur and his wife Susie Urich had
died of pneumonia while my mom and her sisters were kids. He never allowed pillows
to sleep on so we’d have a straight back. They were both from Austria I found out
years later. Lapus Poteck and ________. He never talked much and never spoke
English He raised the girls in a house by a cemetery they had a lot of neat
stories about. But Mom and her two sisters, Mary and Aunt Peg, were all good cooks
because of it. He came out once to visit us when we had a nice house in Santa Cruz
up by where the university went in. We walked all the way down to the beach
because he didn’t drive, saw my father, then walked a mile more out to the end of
the wharf and back up again to the house. He out walked me and he was an old man
then. He liked to go to dances when he was young, my mother said, but never
remarried.

My dad’s real father died when he was 14 of a heart attack. I only saw a picture
of him in a suit once, looking kind of like a gangster. They never mentioned him.

We came out to Santa Cruz where I first saw the ocean by the Boardwalk. We all ran
out into the sand together and loved it. My dad had all kinds of jobs at first.
We’d pick fruit everywhere, my dad and I, apples in the mountains. I’d climb the
long ladders and he’d hand the buckets down to me to dump in the box. Whatever
work he could do building stone walls or putting up fences and painting houses.
Until he met his friend that had a catering business and they cooked together.
Then my dad got a small cafe to work for at an old bar called Mac’s Place in
Boulder Creek. We’d drive up there early and he’d make a hundred chicken pot pies
every weekend for a lot of bikers that would stop in to eat. After that he got
into the Santa Cruz restaurants and I grew up there and in Scotts Valley out where
I’d dig up sharks’ teeth and send to a guy that gave me ten cents each for them.
Once when I went out to dig in the old sand quarry I followed mountain lion’s
tracks down to the creek and back up and we both stepped out into the road at the
same time, different places, and stood looking at each other until luckily a car
came by and he snarled at me and left.

I did a lot of hiking around up there near some old sand hills and a church camp
no one was around much so I’d drop trees down onto their trails to make them
stronger for Jesus in having to climb over them. A lot of fun having a dog, an
axe, and a BB gun as a kid. There were a lot of old horse buggies around the house
there they were saving. Our neighbors were four ladies that had an Arabian
stallion named Cola that was a stud.they’d get paid to bring mares to. Sent me up
to my room, but I could see out the window. They’d lift his dick up with a stick
and help him get it in right and there’d be a lot of noise in my sex ed class
there. I’d chase deer out of the yard and once even picked up a baby fawn that
stood still looking at me from some bushes. He kicked the shit out of me and I
dropped him back to his mom. I’d practice riding horses but didn’t like it much
with this old cowboy named Nick, ’cause mine used to make a run for the barn after
we’d head back in and I’d hang on going across the highway at full speed.

Funny, years later I’d end up working at a large barn for Lithuanian therapist
Leon Tabore. He wanted the Barn to become a living theatre to enrich people’s
lives and strengthen their growth through dance, drama, music, the arts. Leon was
a man of the future whose parents were put into a concentration camp by the Nazis.
How he escaped and made his way to America is a long story. But Peter Demma of
Santa Cruz Hip Pocket Bookstore introduced us. Leon told me of his dream of
expanding the Barn to show man’s future, his evolution from the ocean to become
what he is today and or to further help him up the ladder of consciousness. I
tried to help him with this dream. The entire downstairs of the Barn was done in
an antique fashion but upstairs what had been a gymnasium and basketball court
became our theatre. To get the effect of a living ocean I painted the walls with a
solid yellow background and over this ran a blue glaze, which I’d run along with
my fingers pressed to the walls to make seaweed forms and images stand out with
large-scale finger painting techniques. A dream of mine was reflected within one
part, “Where are you silver love” of a goddess-like figure of shining silver. From
the ceiling I hung large butterfly mannequins that Carl Speyer brought me and I
made wings of fiberglass for, and outside a large iridescent sun symbol to match
the giant shell symbol for gasoline that was on the local freeway. I cast it with
the help of the boat building Denson brothers of Maui over a mound of sand shaped
upon a giant telephone pole. We packed the sand down and then laid strips of
fiberglass over it all. Then lifted it up off the sand and I painted the front two
ways: first to look like a normal sun with the light behind; then that light would
go out and a black light would make it glow with our future direction. The local
church groups couldn’t see it that way and called it works of the devil. Petitions
were raised to shut down the Barn as a theatre and deny it use permits.

The local church claimed trash such as beer cans and condoms had been left in the
parking lot at night and somehow they felt that they were our used condoms and not
of their congregation. I went to a meeting and spoke in favor of Leon, who had
been also speaking to women’s clubs in Santa Cruz advocating the use of marijuana
and LSD in psychotherapy. Afterwards a newspaper wrote up a negative report on the
Barn activities and my dad said, “You ought to get out of town Jog. They’re going
to try and tar and feather your group with gossip and slander.”

Later while I was teaching life drawing classes in my studio, I spoke to Vic
Towers, owner of the Sticky Wicket, with concern. He’d been coming to my drawing
classes along with the head of the local Sierra Club president. He said he’d been
in the D.A.’s office and saw a list with my name ninth of the list of people no
longer needed in the community. No, my time of teaching there was soon over. We
did have a fun show of the drawings and paintings the Sierra Club president had
created over the years. He was an old guy with knee-high boots laced on and drove
up in a Land Rover. He built a clubhouse for himself to sing and perform a German
opera and in between sets he’d show his artwork for everyone to vote upon–even
the mayor of Santa Cruz was there and I was very proud. The class itself was
unusual. I’d mix model couples together. My friend and fellow artist, soon to
become “Minister Bob Casey,” was a strong, good-looking guy and he loved to go up
to the new University of California and choose the model to pose with that night.
I’d put one of my spinning fiberglass wheels, designed by inventor artist D___
Richard Smith into action behind them–looking like a Persian rug powered by a
variable speed motor and variable speed strobe light, turn up the music, serve
wine and we’d draw and paint for hours, all for $2 a person. What fun! Art and
motion, alive.

Artist Al Johnson had quit hanging paper walls for a living and turned to doing
pottery at his Scotts Creek Pottery. He had a strong vocalist’s belief in
mankind’s work. Hoye Parton and Manny Santana opened up Manny’s restaurant in
Aptos and we’d take the ** there for late dinners. He who became a colorful artist
with his son, Luis, loved by all. These were my friends in powerful times,
changing times, “for the winds they are a changing” le B.D. times. Futzy Nutzle,
a.k.a. Bruce Kleinsmith, started a newspaper with Spinney Walker and Harry Humble
to parody these times and the flavor of Santa Cruz, caught in the winds of change
some say, it was like a vortex of energy. Ralph Abraham, mathematician at UCSC,
brought many leaders to speak on campus, like Richard Alpert, soon to be Baba Ram
Dass in India.

I had the same urge to go on to the land of Gandhi, Krishna Murti and while
reading The Upanishads, the Bagavad Gita became my religious inspirational source
and I found myself heading to the Hindu holy lands with the lady that became my
wife of 22 years, Wendy. I felt the powerful draw of Hindu philosophy and science.
This land of the Book of the Dead and the Bardo Thopal to be explored. We landed
in Delhi and caught a bus up to Rishikesh, 16 hours away. The man in the hotel we
stayed at had to get his mother to speak with the ticket salesperson because they
spoke different dialects. This was such a large and different country.

(I’ll finish this later. Suddenly I’m awake at night in this body that’s gotten
old and it seems so quickly now. I’ve been losing friends all my life, men that
should have been alive died before me, seeing Baba Ram Das again in a San Rafael
bookstore this year all caught up in a wheelchair like the big vehicle they roll
into the ocean on a certain day in India. Where are our celebrations? Those that
we believe in? Some people have Rainbow Festivals, hippies from past lives. Aleck,
Aleck (Awake, Awake), Bum Shiva. Patiraja Ne Kalishas–Maha Deva Shamboli Shiva
Shiva Shamboli, walking in my mind new in Rishikesh again, path of Sadus, holy
hermits in caves smoking ganja. Life is just one big cloud of smoke. Pushkar holy
lake, holy brahmen now tourist center. Have your prayers changed? Let me describe
Pushkar. It’s already becoming too busy, a circle of water in the desert of time.
Oasis. Place of rest. End here until later.)

February 19, 2001

The Ashram

We are artists, our lives melted in art, to carry this * and sensitivity in life
is painful at times. A loneliness transpires within. Myself, I haven’t painted at
all these past four years, perhaps a little piece now and then. I’m lonely for a
soul mate, someone caring and happy to be with me. I’ve noticed in Hawaii that I’m
not so lonely being out in nature camping. Houses seem to make it worse. And
thoughts like this morning of my parents now gone are saddening. The birds out my
window bring me joy–there’s not much other wildlife out there now that we can see
so (easily?)

I feel like the Steppenwolf Lone Man from the Steppes. I’ve been here in
California raised without relatives or any other support group except the friends
here I’ve had for some years.

Going to India in the late ’60s was an experience. We landed in BKK on the way
there and I’d wanted to go on to Angkor Wat but there was too much unrest there at
that time. So I’d wait almost 30 years to return. We flew into Vietnam, then the
beginning of the Tet Offensive looking down I’d thought that they were burning the
rice fields, but it was the still smoking mortar craters I’d seen. The airport in
Da Nang had a twenty-foot hole in the ceiling and Marines at the ready behind
sandbags as we waited for a refueling. Delhi was an experience. Very British at
that time. All big old buildings with white columns and shared walkways with
streets around a circular park. I’d heard that Richard Alpert was somewhere nearby
at a Hanuman ashram. And we caught a bus 16 hours up to Rishikesh, place of the
seers. Every time the bus stopped we’d all get out to push it into starting. I can
still vividly recall Rishikesh, the ashrams were all across the river in the wild
forest side. We’d walk up to Lakiman Jewha. Through the Upu colony there. People
would crawl out of huts onto the road banging their metal dinner plates on the
tarmac crying out Bac Shish, Bac shish, Baba and we’d empty our pockets of coins
and cross a long suspension bridge. Into the small group of holy men in a forest
of buildings. Sidding sadus were it was also expected to (ignite?) somewhere along
these paths. I think it was back in Rishikesh where we found a place to stay at
the home of a man that had a rock quarry nearby and was driving a Jeep. We’d met
and he offered us a room to stay in and to tour around with him. * we’d met Mike
Love of the Beach Boys. Mike took us up to the Maharishi Mahesh yogi’s ashram,
where a select group of people were meeting and I thought that these vibrado were
going to change the world through meditation. Mike took us up to his cottage where
we slept out on the roof together and he introduced us to the Maharishi who gave
us jobs to do in return for our mantras, Hindu holy words of vibration. I was to
help as a painter on the portraits of his guru, known as Guru Dev, that were being
painted by his uncle the Dr. Raj Varma. I believe he was called an old man that
talked about Ayervedic medicine and well-being. I can remember that when we went
back to town to get our things we were walking along the path that a holy sadu
dressed in sack cloth that looked like hair was on. His eyes were blood red and he
was powder white with ashes from the funerary fires of bodies burning. He held a
long silver spike with a ring on the end of it that sadus used to stir the fire
with, but to me at that time I thought perhaps it was to be impaled upon. In front
of him a man was going along like an inchworm, rising and falling in the path and
moving along towards the river where a boat was waiting for pilgrims to cross. He
hurried on ahead and got into the small rowboat and the man in the boat waited
until the sadu stepped in. he sat facing us, holding his silver scepter and as we
started crossing onto the stairs across the river, monks came down and all started
blowing on conch shells. I looked over to the stairs which were behind me as we
paddled to see what looked like hundreds of holy men waiting for the boat arrival.
I was thinking, “What are they going to do with this guy?” carrying a long spike
and not saying a word. As we came ashore they all came down the stairs to greet
him and we stepped quickly down river to the path Mike had shown us up the hill
and into the ashram. Wow, I was glad we’d escaped alive, I thought. It was pretty
scary for a while. I didn’t know or see what happened with the holy man. But I had
visions of Christ on a cross flashing before me. We were given a large paisley
tent to stay in and went to have meals in the small cafe above the Ganges.

Often I’d meet with Donovan, a British singer, and he’d tell his tales of Atlantis
and the lost lands there to me. It was the first I’d ever heard of this place and
it was the inspiration for a theatre piece we were to do later in London on Dury
Lane. So I spent days painting with the doctor and Wendy would be tinting photos
for Amuled of the Maharishi to be given to the guests of the ashram who were there
at that time the Beatles, George, Paul and John. Ringo had already returned back
to London. There were also several British ladies that had been witches in London,
as I recall, and a lady opera singer and various other people about. Two young
Brits were the cooks for the Western group and meals were very bland, veggies with
rice or dal, and later at tea in the afternoons we’d meet for tea and Paul
McCartney would often be there with his guitar to sing some of the new songs
they’d been writing. I can remember one called Happy Restaurant and another called
Jai Guru Deva which went like this: “We want to thank you, Guru Dev, for being so
kind to us. Jai Guru Dev, Jai Guru Dev, we want to thank you Guru Dev. It went on
and on! I had a bit of it recorded once, with Bob from George’s birthday party
where Paul gave him a tambura? that played a melodic background sound sort of like
a droning aum, and looked like a sitar.

John kept mostly to himself, occasionally sitting out on the stairs to his
pattis(?) cottage. Brushing his wet hair in the sun and making funny comments. I
keep thinking about the first time we met Paul. It was after walking down a long
path to the river, where we could sit nude and not be seen and swim in the river.
I dove down off a rock into the icy Ganges water and saw a rope floating up toward
me. “Wow,” I thought, “what luck.” I can pull myself down to the river’s bottom
there. And as I went down deeper I saw what I was pulling on. It was fastened to
the neck of a cow that must have gotten caught in the river, and as I pulled his
head came up to meet me. Bloody hell, what a sight, I thought. Returning to the
surface, there was Paul and his wife sitting on the rocks. I didn’t know his name
or even that he was one of the Beatles, as I didn’t pay much attention to any rock
stars, thinking that we were all on the same level of being–except that the only
thing that separated them from us was money. He told us all about his farm in
Scotland and invited us to come stay with them in London whenever we were out
there. It was a fine afternoon in the sun. The meals were so bad we were always
hungry and Paul would get out his stash of peanut butter and cookies whenever we’d
meet again at the cafe to have chai (tea). Often we’d go back to Rishikesh to the
chai shop there to sit and have Indian snacks and walk along to see the tailors
and get India style clothes made–baggy pants without pockets and long, Hindu-
style shirts and vests, and a shoulder Sadu-style bag to carry extras in. A
soldier once in town pointed his swagger stick at me and asked, “Why do you dress
like that?” and I replied, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Abandoning Western
wear for the looser, cooler Hindu-style clothes–Wendy would wear a Sari or a
piece of cloth around herself or Neru-style pants and jacket that women wore,
while others had to stay at the ashram we were allowed to come and go into town as
we pleased. It was high times. There then, after the Brits would come down to our
tent to smoke hash from a big block of it they carried about, and we’d walk in the
forest along Trails, always saying “Ram, Ram” when we’d meet others on the path.
Just saying God’s name (Ram) in Hindu was enough. You needn’t be polite like in
English society and inquire, “How are you?” No–just saying God’s name and
folding your hands in prayer were enough. a good replacement in thought for the
questions often uncaringly answered in the West.

George Harrison and Paul were telling me all about the far-out movie they made
with the group called “Help” and asked what I’d been doing. I told them of the
thunder machine made by my partner, Ron Boise–large musical instruments made to
help musicians develop new ways and sounds of music, a way to break traditional
habits; and what it was like in America, California in the ’60s, the politics and
political scene going on there and my wanting peace so bad for Viet Nam. What
would it take for peace on Earth? Could we make any changes? I’d hoped our just
being there in India would help–a country where I felt the foundation of religion
had started. I didn’t feel ties to the Judeo-Christian notion of God centering in
Israel.

I loved the Krishna stories, like when his mother went to spank him once for
stealing butter, he opened his mouth to cry and she saw the whole universe inside
and realized that he was God also. And the time when he was to bathe in the River
Ganges with the Gopies and while swimming he made love to each one as she saw fit
and hundreds of women were pleased. Sort of different than breaking the bread to
feed the group, but same thought.

I’d worked on painting the large thunder machines for a show at Anchor Steam Beer
in San Francisco. Before taking them on to Dallas “fucking” Texas. The show was on
the roof and we made the Chronicle with a picture or at least talking with a lady
reporter there. Before leaving on the long drive to Texas in a potato chip van and
long old flatbed truck lashed down with psychedelic painted sculpture I’d worked
on with Ron. We were stopped 23 times on that drive. The police just couldn’t
believe us. They’d pass, their jaws would drop, and they’d wheel around on the
highways of life to stop and talk to us. Like the time I remember we came down in
Ray’s old VW primered matt black, all packed into it to do a light show in Foster
City for the Art League there.

February 24, 2001

Wind me back, wind me back like some clock to an earlier time, to us 41 happy
hippies in a commune with nature. Not as far back as the Corps at 17. I was too
young for that. I wasn’t ready to kill or even those I think of now that is passed
by in life. The Ron Boises, Neal Cassadys, Gerry Garcias of a time past, dim in
review to being there. When we were younger and face to face with reality and our
changes in it. Past the times picking fruit in the valleys of California with
Father. Somewhere between the hospitals of the military and times I almost died in
New Delhi, feverish from hepatitis and the doc there saying I’d be lucky to leave
alive. Take me to the happy times: a first marriage, thinking this was it, church
and all. Grand Baroque silverware place settings, we were there in heaven’s hands.
Past lobsters I wouldn’t kill but took them to the oceans return, past spiders I’d
let go–perhaps I was a predetermined Buddhist. Given some hard shakes to stir up
compassion, gratitude for life. I love it–being here–every day breathing, just
breathing, what others take for granted. Movies packed with Tibetan refugees pass
my mind. The women all seemed to know when some sexy scene would come on and they
would pack in for it. I’m dreaming of a tight mistress now, one like I always used
to have, with boobs that glistened and ears that listen. Fun is paycheck that
always seemed to roll. Oh Goddess within my heart, compassionate one, loving
kindness one, love who sees me as I am and it’s okay, who sees me as I’m not and
it’s okay. This isn’t a rehearsal. This world is full of tragedies and happiness
is short lived. Don’t desire too much.

March 12, 2001

Annie and Art

I drove over to Berkeley today to see the show of art prints done by Annie
sprinkle. She used to work in the film industry of porno movies and had now a
studio in San Rafael and stayed with my friend Dr. Betty. I’d seen her one day
working on a 20×30-inch sheet of watercolor paper, painting black onto a Polaroid
print she’d transferred onto the paper somehow. It was a picture of one of her
friends in a negligee that she was coloring lightly. I would like to have seen
more paint used onto the backgrounds so that it gave the piece more of a painterly
artist quality instead of the appearance of a colorful photograph.

But she’d gotten them displayed at the Good Vibrations store that sells vibrations
and all kinds of sex toys, the perfect place to put the art. But it was displayed
on the walls well above eye level and secondary to the products on display. I much
preferred her tit prints that she did of herself, having the right equipment for
the job, she simply applies water-base paint into herself and then presses them
onto watercolor paper. Viola! That tit is painted in a variety of colors and
shapes, sometimes even in a perfect smaller circle by using a stencil. Back in the
’80s, some time ago, I’d been doing body prints out in the desert while staying in
a trailer at Sam’s Family Spa. I’d paint Wendy and myself with acrylics and then
we’d press down onto dark blue denim cloth. The colors would show up nicely and
I’d work back into them, adjusting shapes and putting in colorful hearts and
bright gold lines like I’d do in a painting. I’d even fantasized about doing them
in Hollywood where I’d been doing some sidewalk art shows on weekends. Body
prints, your body on canvas, $1 a pound.

I’d even wanted to do them on surfboards, so that surfers could have their soul
mates under themselves as they rode the waves. Ashore, I’d mentioned it to Doug
Haut of Haut Surfboards, but he said “No way! Parents buy these boards for their
kids and I can’t have any nudity around them.” So I gave up body art.

Vitality Balthazar Lysowski – extra

Watching a movie on the ’60s I saw a film clip of Allen Ginsberg in a white robe
dancing and chanting Hindu mantras. And I thought, “I was there” at the place Bill
Graham(?) ran. I saw some of my slides of the thunder machines of Ron Boise being
projected up on the theatre walls of the Family Dog in those days. My mind slips
back dimly reflecting the essence of the verbal sounds that illuminate these
times. How old I seem to myself but the memories appear like yesterday and even
music from the Grateful Dead fills my ears. What a great time it was, it felt free
to be in San Francisco, the great Love-in at the Golden Gate Park, riding to L.A.
with Neal Cassady driving the Kesey bus, a tube from the back porch tank of
nitrous oxide hanging from his mouth, his hand on the leg of J.B. sitting on the
engine like being with Boise going out to Texas to show our sculpture show
overgrown by rednecks. We moved it over to Fort Worth. Happy happy times–all the
communes–I saw them all. Drop with Libre, the Lama Foundation. How strange, I
thought, you pay people to let you work on their property. That must be how
religions get started. Painting the Last Supper as a picnic table at Libre with
Steve? Everyone seemed to have a horse but I had the Boise van. Content to exist
on wheels on the road to nowhere. But being somewhere–ever present in this past
moment even as I speak of it. I was pure, full of love for being alive. Camping
eating, brown rice in trailer parks in national camprounds and smelling the bacon
and coffee others were cooking and knowing the different that I was with a wife
and small son child along.

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    2001

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