David Meltzer, SF Beat generation poet and musician, dies

David Meltzer, the prolific poet and musician who merged his two passions, creating work that goes back to the Beat generation and San Francisco Renaissance of the 1950s and ’60s, has died. He was 79.

Mr. Meltzer died peacefully Saturday at his home in Oakland after suffering a stroke, said his daughters. He was surrounded by loved ones.

Fellow Bay Area Beat poet Diane di Prima called Mr. Meltzer “one of the secret treasures on our planet. Great poet, musician, comic; mystic unsurpassed, performer with few peers.”

His friends Greg and Keiko Levasseur wrote on the poet’s website that “We have lost a great poet, scholar, musician, and jazz historian. He was a loving husband and father, and a great soul. He was a wonderful friend whose gentle spirit, sense of humor, and astonishing capacity for sake made him a joy to be with.”

Mr. Meltzer wrote more than 40 volumes of poetry, among them “Arrows: Selected Poetry 1957-1992,” “Name: Selected Poetry, 1973-1983” and “Beat Thing” (2004). His nonfiction work includes “Reading Jazz” (1993), “Writing Jazz” (1999), “When I Was a Poet” (2011) and “Two-Way Mirror: A Poetry Notebook,” a collection of anecdotes and quotations published by Oyez Press in 1977 and rereleased by City Lights Publishers in 2015… (more)

Kerouac in Encyclopaedia Britannica

I finally managed to convince the editors of the Encyclopaedia Britannica online that Jack Kerouac did indeed frequent the Beaux Arts coffee house (Pinellas Park) and my first college pub The Wild Boar (Tampa) as well.

But the EB editors found my lines about finding Kerouac still drunk in his car outside The Wild Boar the morning after unsuitable for publication. I don’t understand why really. After all, they report that he was nearly beaten to death by fellow drinkers whom he had “antagonized” in another bar. Then what’s so dangerous about saying that he slept off his hangover in the car outside The Wild Boar?

Anyway, I thought you would be happy to know that the Beaux Arts has now been immortalized by the EB online in their narrative of Kerouac’s life.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest New Year ever!



P.S. Follow this link: additions-and-corrections-to-the-eb-online

In Wake Of Oakland Fire Supervisors Support Unauthorized Art Spaces

By Rose Garrett : hoodline – excerpt

Yesterday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution calling for the protection of unauthorized living spaces and underground art/music venues in San Francisco, calling them “valuable and irreplaceable components of the City’s housing stock and artistic communities.”

The resolution is a response to the tragic Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, which claimed the lives of 36 people. The warehouse and un-permitted living space was hosting an electronic music show when the fire broke out on Dec. 2nd, and since then, there’s been news of post-fire evictions aimed at artists residing in similarly non-conforming spaces.

The resolution urges “various city departments to address safety issues in these unauthorized spaces, develop a legalization process that minimizes displacement, and identify resources to help property owners fund safety improvements and legalization.”

The resolution seeks to assuage fears among tenants and building owners after “media reports … inaccurately stated that the City and County of San Francisco was conducting a crackdown on unauthorized spaces and have generated needless alarm.”

“Both the tenants living in these spaces and the property owners of these spaces should be reassured that the City will work with them and provide resources to help preserve these spaces,” said District 11 Sup. John Avalos in a press release.

The release also notes that the City has convened an inter-department working group that will look into “grants and low-interest loans, amnesty programs, and grandfathering of existing spaces,” and give recommendations in the new year.

See the full resolution here.

This resolution is not surprising given that the citizens of San Francisco just passed a ballot initiative to use zoning laws to protect artists spaces and small businesses from displacement by wealthy corporations.

Gentrification is effecting cities all over the world. If zoning regulations work here, they may work in cities like Nashville, where sound studios are at risk of being priced out. Stay tuned and good luck protecting art and culture wherever you are.

Rick & The Ramblers Press

Greetings Friends of Rick & The All-Star Ramblers Western Swing Band

Just wanted to take a second and share a couple of mentions that have appeared recently in Vermont newspapers (remember newspapers?) about our new “Green Mountain Standard Time” CD. The first up is a very kind story by Roz Graham from last week’s Shelburne News which talks about the “Shelburne Yesterday” track on our CD. And the second is very surprising lead placement just before last week’s sold out “Green Mountain Standard Time” CD Release Party at the Hotel Vermont. Free Press music writer Brent Hallenbeck gave us the star treatment over one of the Phish guys, Mike Gordon, and over Peter Yarrow from Peter Paul & Mary. Name first, bigger picture and lead mention. NICE! Thanks Brent!

So that everyone can love our new album, we are offering “Green Mountain Standard Time” CDs for $15 each and we’ll ship free for the entire month of December. Our music makes a joyous Christmas gift that lasts all year long, not like Champlain Chocolates or Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Vodka, gone too soon but not forgotten. Go to rickandtheramblers.com and order up. We ship immediately!

Make the most of your Holiday Season. Hold close Family, Friends & Vermont Music!
Cheers Everyone,
Rambler Rick

“Is This the End of the Underground?”

By Jessie Schiewe : sfweekly – excerpt

Bay Area cellist Zoe Keating takes to Facebook to laud warehouses as the impetus of her career and poses questions about what the Ghost Ship fire means for the future of underground, DIY spaces.

Though she now lives in the forest near Occidental in a decades old house made of redwoods, when Keating first moved to the Bay Area, she lived in a warehouse on Natoma Street in San Francisco.

“I wouldn’t be the artist I am today if not for living almost seven years in an “illegal” warehouse at 964 Natoma St in S.F.,” she wrote. “We hosted many cross-pollinating, genre-busting experimental events that could never have happened anywhere else. Not only was it inexpensive to live there, so I could focus on my art, but I was attracted to this alternative way of living where life, work and art were merged, meals were shared and social serendipity was built-in. The things I saw and heard and the people I met and talked to and the work I did as a result…it all made me the person I am today.”… (more)

The live-work art studios in the old warehouses did make the underground art scene a special place. the communal nature of mixing art and life and the 24 hour energy is not easy to replicate, but It can be done and will happen again, although maybe somewhere new. Someone must be building a new art scene somewhere.

Invitation to send articles

Anyone can send articles to post to the blog. I am going with what I have and right now there is a lot of concern around the country on how some lives may change with the new administration.

Art related to that subject is popping up all over. In San Francisco we just won Proposition X that will preserve more art spaces in the city. We are being over-run by developers, as I know you all are. Protecting and promoting art and artists was a life-long passion for Tom Reese and he shared that passion with us all. The last Halloween I spent with Tom he ran upstairs to get me a costume and a teddy bear. I’ll look for some of the photos I shot of that night and try to post them.

Meanwhile, here is my winning holiday decoration of the season so far. My neighbor has a wonderful sense of humor:

Holiday Trees by Michael Rudnick