I attended the gala opening 9/15/18 at Nora Eccles Harrison
Museum of Art in Logan, Utah. Their current exhibition-
”Collecting On the Edge” contains my husband, Les Kerr’s
painting, “Bird” plus other art from the California Beat Era including Jay DeFeo’s “Dr. Jazz”, Wally Hedrick’s “Flower Flag” and Sonia Gechtoff’s “Icon” to name a few. It was an
opportunity to see the new museum addition and view
their extraordinary collection of art west of the Mississippi.
Check our Facebook for photos and more info.
The Beach is now up on Vimeo along with our other two
documentaries. It can be streamed for $4.99.
Sad news-Frank Rios, poet/artist died August 20, 2018.
He is the last one from Venice West and the LA Scene to
to leave us. His spirit and insight is a lost to all who knew
and loved him.
LA artist Ed Moses died January 17, 2018. He was one of the
fine artists who showed work at the notable Ferus Gallery
during the 50s/60s. Throughout the years, Moses kept
moving forward--reinventing his art--never repeating himself
but striving for the next breakthrough. His retrospective at
the William Turner Gallery in Santa Monica -"Moses@90"
clearly bears this out. For more on Ed Moses see article
from LA Times, 1/18/18, SF Chronicle 1/21/18 and Art News.
SF Chronicle art critic Charles Desmarias wrote an excellent
profile on Jim Newman, January 6, 2018. Well deserved as Newman's contributions to California culture throughout the years have been substantial. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview him for The Beach in 1993. Jim talked about the vital 50s art scene in SF and opening the Dilexi Gallery to show this work. It soon became the premiere gallery in the city, exhibiting many talented artists during the 50s/60, several now who are well known including Roy De Forest (noted below).
Jim Newman's first experience promoting art was in 50s LA when he collaborated with Walter Hopps and others, opening
Syndell Studio, showing underground artists.
More of the history is related by Walter Hopps himself in recent book "The Dream Colony--A Life in Art." It's a fascinating account of how he was inspired by these outsider artists and his
concerted effort to bring their work out to the public at Syndell and later at the Ferus Gallery. This led to LA's transformation from a stodgy backwater to a first class art capital.
"Of Dogs and Other People" retrospective of Roy De Forest artwork is at the Oakland Museum of California through
August 20th. De Forest was part of the avant-garde scene
in San Francisco in the 50s/60s. Recognized for his eccentric,
colorful in the 70s, he continued making individualistic art throughout his lifetime. Roy added his own take on that world
in San Francisco's Wild History Groove.
Tribute for David Meltzer will be held in Venice at Beyond Baroque, at 681 Venice Blvd, May 11th at 8PM. April memorials for this extraordinary, influential poet took place in San Francisco at the Beat Museum and later at Bird & Beckett.
See more about these events on our Facebook.
Remembrance for Adelle Foley and David Meltzer at
Mythos/Firehouse North Gallery, 1790 Shattuck, Berkeley,
on February 24, 6-7:30PM. Announcement on our Facebook.
It was a sad ending to 2016 with the death of David Meltzer,
December 31, 2016. He was an extraordinary individual
gifted poet, writer and musician. His participation in both
documentaries--Venice West and the LA Scene as well as
San Francisco's Wild History Groove is significant,
sharing his experience in the California underground
in both cities during the Beat Era and beyond. David's
poetry and entertaining comments brought out the spirit
and aesthetics that set the tone for that time and place.
We've joined the new world of streaming. You can now stream
our documentaries on Kanopy (educational streaming service).
Two are available -- San Francisco's Wild History Groove
and Venice West and the LA Scene. The Beach will be added
to the site in December.
Donated art for sale.
See art, photographs and poetry books
donated to raise funds for CA Palm.
Bruce Conner's current exhibition "It's All True" is on display
at SFMOMA through January 16th. This is an unique
opportunity to see his eclectic art which includes assemblage,
drawings, photographs and film. More on Conner's excellent
show on our Facebook.
Screening of San Francisco's Wild History Groove takes place
October 6th, 8PM at Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street in SF.
This eclectic venue with a huge archive of films in the Mission
hosts events Thursday and Friday evenings.
Aya Tarlow, participant in Venice West and the LA Scene
and San Francisco's Wild History Groove died 9/3/16. Poet and
astrologer, she was an integral part of the underground during
the California Beat Era.
Aya was a feminist poet in the 50s long before that revolution
took hold in the 70s. (See her Matrix Series on our donated
artwork page.) Influenced by her friend, visionary artist Cameron,
she formed her own individualistic expression and mystical
spirituality. Video "Aya Gone to the Mountain" on our Facebook.
Sad news for the month of June. We lost two participants from
San Francisco's Wild History Groove. Bill Berkson died 6/16/16.
He appeared in the Epilogue with David Meltzer, a discussion
about the "beat" phenomenon and it's ramifications today. Their
lively conversation is included on our DVD extras. Berkson also
contributed his wonderful blurb for The Beach--that rare item,
a true-to-the life history .
Adelle Foley died June 27--a profound loss for her husband,
Jack and her son, Sean as well as her many friends. Adelle
and Jack, participants in San Francisco's Wild History Groove,
added their insights and knowledge during the walking tour of
Fillmore Street. Their spur-of-the-moment comments while
pointing out the various locations brought the colorful world
of avant-garde San Francisco to life. Like their many poetry
performances, they were a perfect tag team.
The Beach and San Francisco's Wild History Groove screened
Saturday, March 26th at 7PM at Mythos/Firehouse North
Gallery, 1790 Shattuck in Berkeley. The Beach, with its focus
on North Beach, adds extra insight into the SF Beat Era.
We’re bringing the California Beats to New Mexico with screenings at art house theaters there—CCA Cinematheque, Santa Fe, 3/24, 7PM and Guild Cinema, Albuquerque, 3/26th, 7:30PM. This will be the first time that both documentaries, Venice West and the LA Scene and San Francisco’s Wild History Groove are shown on the same program, using their overall title—Swinging in the Shadows. More about events next month.
Check out both of these events on Facebook
CCA Cinematheque, Santa Fe, 3/24
Guild Guild Cinema, Albuquerque, 3/26th
Last month two participants in our documentaries passed away. Charles Campbell died at age 99 on October 3rd. He lived a long, fulfilling life in both art and music. Charles always enjoyed his role in The Beach and was a strong supporter of the documentary. Throughout the years he would buy a dozen or so DVDs to give out to friends and colleagues. See Facebook for obituary by Kenneth Baker on his contribution to the San Francisco art world.
The other sad death was Ron Loewinsohn on October 14th. He was a fine poet as well as a talented writer. Ron’s participation was a valuable asset for San Francisco’s Wild History Groove. His ashes were scattered in the Bay near the Golden Gate Bridge on November 9th. Obituary noting Ron’s many accomplishments is posted on Facebook.
Stuart Perkoff’s 1957 verse play “’Round About Midnight” was performed October 11th with jazz musician Eric Reed in the Bing Theater at LACMA. It was first performed in 1960 at a legendary event in LA. For more details on this, check Facebook.
Current exhibition of Cameron “Songs of the Witch Woman” is at MOCA Pacific Design Center in LA until January 11. See announcement on fb. Long overdue, it’s a rare opportunity to see Cameron’s exquisite, eccentric work that inspired and influenced the LA underground.
A panel discussion on women artists with Susan Landauer, Alan Selsor and Mary Kerr will take place on Saturday, October 18th at 3PM. This event happens on the last day of the current exhibition, "Beauty Fierce as Stars II" Groundbreaking Women Painters 1950's and Beyond at the Firehouse North Gallery, 1790 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. For more on this event and exhibit check mythosfirehouse.com.
We had another successful screening of San Francisco's Wild History Groove at Beyond Baroque on August 15th. Jack & Adelle Foley with Clara Hsu introduced their new publication, Hotel Poetry Press at the event.
The 7th annual Philomenian was held at the same venue on August 17th. Pegarty Long showed her film on twin sister, Philomene taken during memorial for her husband, John Thomas. Also, Elaine Trotter and Mary Kerr screened their own tribute to Philomene. Excerpts were read from recently published "Bukowski in the Bathtub"—conversations between Philomene Long and John Thomas about the crazy times with his good friend, Hank—Charles Bukowski. Check our Facebbook page for photographs taken during this event-filled weekend in Venice, California.
August 15th: at Beyond Baroque: screening of San Francisco's Wild History Groove, companion film to Mary Kerr's Venice West & the LA Scene, shown in January at Beyond Baroque. Event starts at 7:30PM with poets Jack & Adelle Foley (participants in the documentary) and Clara Hsu introducing work from their exciting new press, Poetry Hotel Press.
more details to come (the first film played to a packed house - on Superbowl Sunday! don't miss this!
See the event page on Facebook.
“Beauty Fierce as Stars” Groundbreaking Women Painters 1950’s and Beyond is opening May 9th 5:30–9PM at the Firehouse North Gallery, 1790 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. One of the events during this exhibit will be a seminar by Mary Kerr on artists, Jay DeFeo, Deborah Remington, Joan Brown and Bernice Bing, May 31st at 7:30. Other presentations taking place during the duration of the show, closing on June 21st, includes a screening of recent documentary, “The Worlds of Bernice Bing.” See the event page on Facebook.
Our DVDs are now available on museum websites as well as on www.beatera.org/purchase.html—
The Beach - Beat Museum, San Francisco’s Wild History Groove - Whitney Museum of American Art and Venice West and the LA Scene - Los Angeles County Museum of Contemporary Art.
Screening of San Francisco’s Wild History Groove is scheduled for August 15 at 7:30PM at Beyond Baroque in Venice, Ca. During the event, Jack & Adelle Foley and Clara Hsu will introduce work from their exciting new publication Hotel Poetry Press. See the event page on Facebook.
Venice West and the LA Scene will be shown on February 2nd, 7:30PM at Beyond Baroque in Venice, Ca. This is the launch event for distribution of the DVDs with all their bonus extras.
The following week (February 7th at 7PM), there will be another screening of the documentary at the Firehouse North Gallery, 1790 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. This showing is one of the ongoing events during their exhibit - “Rebels, Hipsters & Visionaries – Bay Area Poets and Artists of the 1950s & 60s”–Jan. 10th through Feb. 22nd. Chek our Facebook page for list of scheduled events at the gallery.
Check out leskerr.org --now indexed in google. It shows images of my late husband’s artwork as well as insights into the 50s/60s art scene—the avant-garde in California.
San Francisco's Wild History Groove will be shown on January 18th-7PM at the Firehouse North Gallery, 1790 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. The screening will be held in conjunction with their exhibition opening on Jan 10th - "Rebels, Hipsters & Visionaries – Bay Area Poets and Artists of the 1950s & 60s." Click on our fb button for list of scheduled events during this exhibit.
Website – leskerr.org is now on the web. It shows images of my late husband's artwork as well as insights into the 50s/60s art scene--more on that legendary period in California.
The Beat Conference (9/2-4) in Norway was an informative event with attendees from various universities throughout Europe including Turkey and Israel. It was an opportunity to interact with individuals that have a continuing interest in the American Beat Scene. Also, it was illuminating to see the Wennesland Collection from San Francisco 50s/60s artists, displayed on the walls of Agder University. You can read a review of the event by clicking our fb (facebook) button.
Launch forVenice West and the LA Scene will be Sunday, Feb. 2, 7:30PM at Beyond Baroque in Venice, CA. This premier literary venue in Los Angeles is so popular that it can only be scheduled months ahead of time.
Mary Kerr will be a keynote speaker at the Beat Conference held in Kristiansand, Norway at Agder University on September 3 "Out of the Shadows" focuses on the significant contribution made by women artists and poets from the Beat Era phenomenon.
The launch celebration for recently completed Venice West and the LA Scene will take place in Venice, California in late September or early November. More details on this event will be announced when plans are finalized.
Venice West and the LA Scene is now available for purchase. Each DVD includes bonus material extras plus a CD of composed jazz by JimmyZ. This documentary now completes Swinging in the Shadows, series on the California Beat Era. Plans are being made for a launching celebration in Venice, California in late September. Announcement will be posted on our website for this event as well as screenings for both San Francisco’s Wild Groove and Venice West and the LA Scene.
San Francisco’s Thomas Reynolds Gallery at 2291 Pine Street (nr Fillmore) is hosting an event Friday, April 12 from 5 to 8PM for Swinging in the Shadows during their current group show—East Bay/Midcentry-Art of the 1950s & 1960s from Berkeley and Oakland. We will display our donated artwork, photographs, poetry books and catalogs throughout the entire weekend—4/12-14. (The gallery is open from 12 to 6PM on Saturday and Sunday.) These contributed items are for sale as well as DVDs of San Francisco’s Wild History Groove and The Beach. All revenue raised will go to replication of Venice West and the LA Scene, which is now in the authoring process and will be completed before the end of this month.
More good news--the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City has copies of San Francisco’s Wild History Groove for sale in their bookstore during their current exhibition, the Jay DeFeo Retrospective. Excellent reviews have been written about her work in this show. Check Swinging in the Shadows on Facebook for articles in the New York Times and the New Yorker. Recognition of her important contribution to American art is continuing to build for Jay DeFeo--an extraordinary California artist.
On January 16th Jean Conner, Leah Levy and Mary Kerr took part in a panel discussion at the di Rosa Museum in conjunction with the exhibition, "Renaissance on Fillmore" that closed on the 27th. The event attracted a sold out crowd who wanted to know more about the vital Fillmore art scene during the 50s/60s. Jazz wasn't the only thing happening on that infamous San Francisco street during the 50s/60s.
Dec. 2012—We had a lively, well-attended Celebration/Fundraiser on Dec. 2, hosted by Carl and Susan Landauer. Segments from both documentaries of Swinging in the Shadows were screened. Thanks to Jack and Adelle Foley for their great poetry performance of “Rural California” & “Noir” and the ghost tour along the Venice Broadwalk. It set the tone for the screening and celebratory party.
This event successfully raised the funds to complete replication of DVDs with all the bonus material for San Francisco’s Wild History Groove. It is now available for $25. (Note that cost for The Beach has been reduced to $25 + shipping.) The DVDs with bonus extras for Venice West and the LA Scene should be available for purchase by the end of January. Check this website for announcement.
On December 8th Jack Foley was honored with a special event at Beyond Baroque (Venice, CA) for “Visions and Affiliations” published in 2011. See poster and comments here. Note that he has generously contributed a copy of each volume of this valuable timeline of California poetry for Swinging in the Shadows.
Nov. 2012 - Watch for announcement of the release date (this month) for completed DVD of San Francisco’s Wild History Groove with all the bonus extras that also includes an engaging conversation between poets Bill Berkson and David Meltzer on the Beat Scene.
The Beat Conference at Agder University in Norway has been postponed for this November. The event is now scheduled for September 2013 with Mary Kerr participating as a keynote speaker.
Two exceptional art exhibitions are happening this month--The Jay DeFeo Retrospective, opening11/3 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Fillmore Renaissance at the di Rosa Museum, opening 11/10. Check the museum websites for more details on these exhibits. San Francisco’s Wild History Groove will be shown during the Fillmore Renaissance, focused on artwork produced and exhibited in places along SF’s Fillmore Street during the 50s/60s. The documentary contains many first-hand accounts from this innovative time and place. Both exhibitions recognize and reinforce the lasting legacy of these California artists.
July 2012 - San Francisco's Wild History Groove will be screened Friday, July 13, 2012 in the Meridian Gallery at 535 Powell Street in San Francisco in conjunction with their exhibition, "The Painted Word"—artwork by poets and writers. The event will begin at 5PM with poetry readings by Jack Hirschman and Lissa Tyler Renaud. The Meridian Gallery is a non-profit exhibition and performance space in a 3-story mansion up Powell Street towards Nob Hill. Mary Kerr has been invited to be the keynote speaker at Agder University in Kristiansand, Norway in November. She will do a presentation on women artists of the California Beat Era. Agder University holds classes on Beat Culture and hosts this event annually. San Francisco's Wild History Groove was shown at their 2011 conference. The university also has a very unique art collection, donated by a Norwegian, Dr. Reidar Wennesland, who collected the work of California avant-garde artists while living in SF during the 50s/60s.
March 2012 – The DVD bonus material for San Francisco's Wild History Groove is complete except for finishing touches. A conversation between poets, Bill Berkson and David Meltzer initially had been planned to be a short segment added to these extras. But it would have been a real loss not to include their entire discussion so the decision was made to do a separate DVD that will be included in the box set. "Beat Scene with Berkson and Meltzer" is their lively dialogue, containing outstanding gems of information and insight. They bring out their own personal experiences and influences from this underground world as well as how it's understood and not understood in today's culture.
San Francisco’s Bay Guardian awarded their Goldies 20ll Lifetime Achievement Award in November to poet, David Meltzer. This is a first for a former contributor to the newspaper for which he wrote CD reviews and features about all kinds of music-- Jazz or New Age. Meltzer, mostly known for his outstanding poetry, also plays guitar and composed music. His “Serpent Power” rock album, featuring his wife, Tina on vocals, was produced by Vanguard in 1967. Later, in 2007 it was listed #28 for Rolling Stones’ top 40 albums of the Summer of Love.
November 2nd, Mary Kerr gave a lecture at the San Jose Museum of Art, “Expressions and Impressions of Joan Brown” during their exhibition of the Joan Brown’s art which will be in their gallery until March 12, 2012. This talented, individualistic artist was part of the avant-garde group that came out of the California School of Fine Arts and exhibited their work in the bars of North Beach as well as the underground galleries in San Francisco during the 50s & 60s.
San Francisco’s Wild History Groove was screened again in Nov. 2011 at Agder University in Norway where they conduct classes on the American beat scene. It was previously screened there in 2009.
David Meltzer's book launch event, June 23, 2011 at City Lights Books was for his recently published "When I Was A Poet" # 60 of their Pocket Poets Series. David and his partner, Julie Rogers read to a crowd of poets and other literary friends including
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who were there to congratulate him for his well-deserved achievement. You can view this event on youtube.
Our Indiegogo campaign is officially over but contributions are still being processed on their site. You can donate by searching on Swinging in the Shadows. Rewards for contributing also continue to apply. This crowdfunding effort helped a great deal and we were able to complete both documentaries of this two-part series. Now we need to raise funds to make a two DVD box set with all the extra bonus material that will add even more to the story of the California Beat Era.
Jack Foley' s tour de force— " Visions & Affiliations–A California Literary Timeline: Poets & Poetry 1940-2005" is a must read for anyone who wants to know how poetry developed here on the West Coast. You get all the facts—highlights, dates as well as quotes and poems from the poets who created the scene from this comprehensive, invaluable book. Available on Amazon.com
Venice West and the LA Scene will be shown in San Francisco at the E6 Gallery, 1632 Market, Suite B (nr Franklin) on May 16, 2011 7PM. San Francisco's Wild History Groove is screening at the Love Unlimited and Art Festival in Portland at The Variant Theater on May 27th.
Charles Brittin, photographer and participant in our documentary died on January 23, 2011 after a long illness. It is another sad loss for us. He followed our progress, keeping a copy each version of Venice West and the LA Scene. Unfortunately, he did not live to see the completion.
Brittin will have an exhibition of his photographs, opening in April 16th at the Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles. Kristine McKenna has completed her book on his photographs that will be available in April too.
Charles was one of the few to photograph the 50s underground in Los Angeles. His willingness to let us use his excellent work without any charge made it possible for us to make this documentary.
The Temple of Man’s 50th Anniversary Event took place October 30, 2010 at Beyond Baroque in Venice, CA. Several of the original members were there as well as the more recent members. This repository for poetry and art is still a vital part of the Los Angeles underground culture. The next day we took a tour of Venice Beach with Frank Rios taking us to each poet wall along the boardwalk. Jack Foley encapsulated the experience in his own inimitable way.
See photo and poem here.
San Francisco’s Wild History Groove was screened on November 4th at Agder University in Norway in conjunction with their Beat Era course at that school. In September the documentary was shown at the 2010 Docutah International Film Festival. It also screened on September 27th at film critic, Michael Fox’s Olli class in Berkeley.
Venice West and the LA Sceneis nearly finished with the replacement of jazz by composer/musician Jimmy Z. See Ztribe.com link for more on these talented LA musicians. It was a difficult but necessary decision to replace the Charles Mingus jazz with original compositions. Fortunately, this new music adds an even more independent vibe to the documentary.
Jack Foley Day took place June 5, 2010 where he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Berkeley Poetry Festival. Foley well deserved this award for all the work he's done over the years writing and producing his weekly "Cover to Cover" KPFA radio program.
Artist Deborah Remington died on April 21st of lung cancer. She plays an important part in San Francisco’s Wild History Groove.
I met her in the early 60’s when she showed her work at the Dilexi Gallery in San Francisco. In the 50s she was one of the original members of the avant-garde 6 Gallery.
There has been several obituaries--New York Times (5/21), Boston Globe (5/21) and Philly. Com (4/28).
Deborah was a very talented, uncompromising painter. I'll miss her intelligent, sharp comments about the art world, politics and life—an unique individual.
We had a Sneak Preview Screening of San Francisco’s Wild History Groove on December 13, 2009 at the San Francisco Art Institute. It was an appropriate venue to have this “fine cut” showing at the school where so many artists during the 50s learned from exceptional instructors, influenced one another and started on their own creative path.
Susan Landauer, who wrote “The San Francisco School of Abstract Expressionism” and Ron Loewinsohn, Retired Professor of English at UCB made the introductions before screening, giving enlightening background information of the period. After the screening, poetry performed by ruth weiss, Jack Foley and David Meltzer brought out the interaction between poetry and art that was such an important element during the Beat Era milieu.
The audience gave the documentary a very enthusiastic response. Because of the positive feedback and comments, we are now proceeding with the last, polishing touches. But we do need to raise more money for this expensive technical work--getting this project ready for possible broadcast. (See paragraph below for more details on artwork available for sale as well as contributing towards the completion of San Francisco’s Wild History Groove.)
THE BEACH was shown at San Jose Museum of Art during their exhibition, “The Culture of Spontaneity” from January through May 2009.
VENICE WEST AND THE LA SCENE was screened at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm during the weekend of December 13th through January 6th. This screening was in conjunction with their exhibit, “Time and Place: Los Angeles, 1957-1968.”
Congratulations to Jack Foley, poet and participant in San Francisco’s Wild History Groove. His "ALL A James Broughton Reader" was voted #1 Gay Book of the Year by the website, www.afterelton.com. Foley edited the book, adding his comments on the sheer variety and encompassing range of work from this wonderful, effervescent California poet and filmmaker. You can get a copy by contacting the publisher, White Crane Institute www.gaywisdom.org.
Memorial from Philomene Long was held December 7th at Beyond Baroque in Venice. We shared our poems, video and memories of this extraordinary poet—“The Queen of Bohemia”. Philomene was the Poet Laureate of Venice and played an important part in Venice West and the LA Scene. It’s sad to know that she is gone—much too soon.
Tribute for Tony Scibella was held on October 28th at Beyond Baroque in Venice. He was a first-rate, unique poet and an important participant in Venice West and the LA Scene. David Meltzer and others who have read The Kid in America, Scibella’s long prose poem of his coming-of-age in Venice, claim that it is equal to Kerouac’s On the Road. Several excerpts from this were used in the documentary. If you would like to obtain a copy, email us. We can give you the publisher’s contact number. A couple of short poems and photos from the event can be viewed here.
The art auction on September 7th at the 8 gallery was very successful. Several outstanding pieces were auctioned. Images of the unsold items will be on this website by the beginning of October and can be purchased by clicking on the “Donation” button. If we can sell these donated items, we will much closer to achieving our goal of raising the necessary funds for completion of the documentary. Images of the unsold items are now on this website and can be purchased by clicking here.