David Gans (tnf) Tue 7 May 02 07:14
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 7 May 02 09:14
Truly! Peter, you've got some great shots of, what would you say, counterculture philosophers from the more spiritual side of the fence? Ram Dass, Chogyam Trungpa, et al. Were you or are you involved in a particular practice? Or was this all part of the larger cultural whirlwind?
Chris Florkowski (chrys) Tue 7 May 02 09:19
And what is it with that Arica photograph?
Gary Lambert (almanac) Tue 7 May 02 10:50
By the way, for those of you who haven't seen the photographs we're talking about here, a good many of them are on Peter's website (www.petersimon.com). But I strongly recommend seeing them in the book, where they are beautifully reproduced and thematically organized, and brilliantly illuminated by Peter's narrative. And while I'm on the subject, it should be noted that you can order the book from the very same website, and receive your copy autographed by the author his own self! One thing that I found quite striking about the book is just how vivid some of these pictures have remained in my memory since I first saw them in print (thirty-plus years ago in several cases). This is especially true of one haunting image that appeared on the front page of Rolling Stone (hard to believe, I know, in light of the present-day all-Britney- all-the-time travesty that now carries that name). It's a picture of a beautiful, sad-eyed, waifish 16-year-old named Jennifer Thomas, standing amidst the debris of a vacant lot, with an American flag wrapped around her as a shawl. The story that goes with that image is at once infuriating and heartbreaking. Peter, could you tell us a little about Jennifer's story, how you learned it, and how that unforgettable picture came to be made?
jessica (gobeyond) Tue 7 May 02 12:27
[ Oy. A senior moment right here, in front of gopod and everybody: sorry about getting that book title exactly wrong. I blame the 60s. ] There's still a nude beach here on Maui (though development may kill it soon), and the feeling is much the same, probably because it takes a bit of climbing to get over the cliff to get there and the tourists don't often bother (the clothed ones, that is). On Maui, though, it often looks and feels like the 60s never ended! In fact, I started reading your book in the communal kitchen of a farm near Huelo, and the dreadhead deadhead naked gardeners came in from their chores to see what was up, utterly unselfconscious. In the corner is a table/altar full of crystals, with pictures of Ichazo and Yoginanda and Ganesh and Tara. Your book is like a history text to them!
Peter Simon (paytesimon) Wed 8 May 02 17:42
Hi there, folks. Sorry for the delay in responding. This morning (5-8) I spent some time posting, but pushed the wrong button and lost all my thoughts to the ethers of cyberspace. So I'll try again now... (1)I'm glad Cynthia is still gorgeous! (2)I did get quite heavily involved in the spiritual movement during the mid 70's, and searched the USA for a guru and new age community. During my travels, I came upon quite a plethora of scenarios. This is all detailed in my chapter "Searching For The Spirit" from I and EYE. After various false starts, I wound up getting hooked with with the Ram Dass satsang, and even wound up living with he and his devotees for an extended time in Berkeley. I also saw the teenage guru (at the time) Mahaji, Oscar Ichazo (of Arica),David Gaskon (of "the farm), Trumpah Rimpoche, Swami Muktenanda, Yogi Bajan, and countless others. I learned a lot, but wound up realizing that the answers lie within...But got some great photos along the way. (3) Not sure why my art director loved that Arica photo so much. I would have used it smaller. I think she liked the way it spoke of the "brainwashing" effect of the spiritual movement. The photo you refer to Chris shows students hooked up to headphones and looking at abstract art on the wall - sort of a bizarre image. The Arica Institute in the mid 70's had a sort of Nazi-like quality in the sense that Oscar was a bit of a dictator, but a somewhat more benevolant one. (4) Gary - that shot of Jennnifer Thomas was originally taken for a local Boston newspaper called "The Pheonix." It was a big local story about how the cops clubbed and beat her for wearing the American flag which originally had been wrapt around her father in his casket. He had been a WW2 veteran,I think. Rolling Stone caught wind of the sad story and ran the shot on the front page. Far be it for them to do such a thing now, in this age of interchangeable culture. I'm touched that you remember it from when you first saw it published. Actually, quite a few people have remarked to me the same. (5)Jessica - I've actually visited that beach on Maui quite a few times. I think it's called McKenna? I recall one incident in 1973 going there with a brand new lover that I had met after a Ken Keasey lecture on Oahu. I went body surfing for about 15 minutes, and when I returned to our blanket, I couldn't help but notice a good looking dude making quite the moves on her. I was into sharing, so suggested we go into the nearby woods and do a three-way scene. He thought about it, but declined. When she and I walked over the rocks and back to the car, I asked "Would you have done it with him right there if I hadn't returned when I did?" She replied "Well, variety is the spice of life..." I couldn't disagree. Ah - those were the days!! Stay tuned......
jessica (gobeyond) Wed 8 May 02 20:44
Ha! It's Little Beach at "Makena", actually, but the rest of the description is apt enough!
Chris Florkowski (chrys) Wed 8 May 02 21:34
>This is all detailed in my chapter "Searching For The Spirit" Though it sounds as though my experience of the book is unique, I was having trouble finding my ground in its pages. So the first chapter I dove into was "Searching For The Spirit", because I felt that was were I was likely to make the best connection. That Arica image troubled because it *did* convey an impression of brainwashing. I read the caption hoping for explanation or context. The caption only re-inforced that impression: ' Delivering the Arican message at the Learning Center in New York City, 1976'. Does this impression jive with what you experienced when you made the image?
jessica (gobeyond) Thu 9 May 02 12:41
As an Arican, I'll try to get some more specifics about that photo. My memory is that it was in a gallery that displayed the 'yantras' (geometric figures that we use in meditations) and invited the public to try them out in a simplified way while listening to music (which may or may not have been specific to the yantra being viewed). In fact, if my memory is correct, using them that way was never actually a part of any Arica practice that any of us really did (except when posing for Peter!). My mother once asked if Arica was 'brainwashing', because her friends had raised that concern. Having met many of my Arica buddies, she didn't have that impression herself (thankfully). I told her it wasn't what her friends feared at all, but it certainly did help you clean out the musty, dusty corners of your mind. Looking forward to your anecdotes about the making of the photo, Peter.
Chris Florkowski (chrys) Thu 9 May 02 13:11
>In fact, if my memory is correct, using them that way was never >actually a part of any Arica practice that any of us really did >(except when posing for Peter!). I guess that is part of why I am asking the question. The image creates an impression, it was chosen *FOR* the book because of that impression, but that impression may be false.
Gary Lambert (almanac) Thu 9 May 02 15:45
And while we're on the subject of spiritual questing and devotion -- let's talk baseball! Peter, your chapter on your love for baseball in general and the Mets in particular struck as resonant a chord in me as anything in the book. I was touched by your recollections of your relationship with Jackie Robinson and his family. And that great picture of you and your dad in the dugout with Jackie and Jackie Jr! I also really liked the confluence of Tom Seaver and Thoreau that occured during your canoe trip up the Concord and Merrimack, and your observations on the ways that baseball and the counterculture didn't always coexist too comfortably in the late 60s. I experienced some of that while straddling both worlds -- I was both hippie and jock at high school, and it wasn't always the easiest divide to negotiate. But I managed to balance those passions, and fell for both the Grateful Dead and the New York Knicks with almost equal fervor in 1969 (and often thought of them as being very much alike, in their genius for collective improvisation). I was still aware of the disdain some of my countercultural comrades had for competitive sports, but I didn't let that bother me much. I fondly remember (sort of) attending a Mets-Phillies game at Shea while high on acid with my brother -- I couldn't tell you any details of the contest, but I vividly recall being mesmerized by how pretty the tarpaulin looked during the rain delay! What are some of your fondest baseball memories, Peter?
David Gans (tnf) Thu 9 May 02 15:59
<exhaling thick plume of pot smoke> Sports jocks! Feh!
David Gans (tnf) Thu 9 May 02 15:59
I do like the idea of goikng to a ballgome high on acid, I must say!
David Gans (tnf) Thu 9 May 02 15:59
I'll just let those typos stand.
Gary Lambert (almanac) Thu 9 May 02 16:10
Heh! And then there was Dock Ellis of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who also liked the idea of going to a ballgame high on acid, only to find out that he was his manager's last-minute choice to pitch that day -- and went out and pitched a no-hitter!
Gail Williams (gail) Thu 9 May 02 18:44
Perfect, Gary. You set up one of the links I posted recently in the WELL Sports conference -- an audio file about seeing that game. It's funny, and it's an amazing mixed-up slice of history. History really was mixed-up at that time, with most counterculture people living the intermittently double life, doing staunchly non-counterculture things we loved. <http://loveofthegame.bizland.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/davidland er.mp3> just for fun.
Peter Simon (paytesimon) Thu 9 May 02 22:09
Well guys, so glad my baseball chapter has stirred so much conversation!!! Growing up with Jackie Robinson as practically a member of our family in the fifties imprited a love for the game for LIFE. Sure, I was derided by my freak friends in the 60's and 70's for still being such a FANatic, but I just didn't care. HEY - didn't the DEAD sing the national anthem once at Candlestick before a world serious game? So there!!! Gary, my fondest memory has to be enjoying the 6th game of the 1986 world serious with my wife Ronni, my sister Carly and her son Ben Taylor. We sat in the press box at Shea all crunched together, holding hands as the Mets staged that other wordly comeback. With the Mets behind with 2 outs and nobody on in the ninth inning, and with the scoreboard already congradulating the Red Sox on their world series victory, the magic happened, much like what Garcia calls miracles during a special jam. Then the Mookie dribbler through Buckner's legs.......God we were in extacy - hugging and jumping, laughing and crying - a dream come true! Where did you go Jackie Robinson? Somewhere up there to toss us down some nirvana no doubt! With free agency and players switching teams and loyalties year after year, to say nothing about the greed and the unequal playing fields, I'll never feel as in love with sport as I once did. I actually enjoy my weekly SOFTBALL game now more than watching a Met game. As far as that Arica shot goes, I don't remember it as having been "staged" per se. If it had been, why were all those chairs and headphones already there? Honestly, I'm not sure exactly how the shot happened. I will say, however, that Arica did seem a bit militaristic for my sensibilities at the time, though I'm sure it helped some people along the way. On a completely other NOTE,I'd love all well-watchers to know that I host a weekly radio show called "PRIVATE COLLECTION" every Sunday night at 8PM to 10pm (EDT)on our local station here on the Vineyard (WMVY). I feature rare recordings by legendary groups like the DEAD, BEATLES, STONES, and artists like MARLEY, CLAPTON, DYLAN, CARLY (of course). It's streamed on the web at mvyradio.com. Each week the show is devoted to a certain theme, artist or genre. For example, all songs on this coming Sunday's show will all be about (you guessed it) MOTHERS. Try to turn on and tune in. Take care.......
Chris Florkowski (chrys) Thu 9 May 02 22:23
> As far as that Arica shot goes, I don't remember it as having been > "staged" per se. I wasn't suggesting it was staged. One doesn't need to 'stage' a situation to produce - even inadvertently - a misleading photo. I'm wondering why it - and other images - were included. How did you choose what to include in the book - and what to exclude. I'd suspect that - like the photographs - there was probably more writing produced than was used. How did you decide what to keep and what to edit out?
Gary Lambert (almanac) Fri 10 May 02 01:09
>Then the Mookie dribbler through Buckner's legs... Which reminds me how much I love the picture in the book of Mookie running out that roller -- appearing as a blur, as he so often did on the basepaths. That was one of the great at-bats in baseball history -- the patient way Mook worked the count, with the Mets down to the last strike of their year -- staying in control, not lunging at the bad pitches, fouling off what seemed like a hundred balls at the time, and that astonishing instinctive flinging of his whole body out of the path of that *way* inside pitch, somehow knowing, in that tiny fraction of a second, that if it hit him he would merely be awarded first base, with no run scored, but if it missed him it was headed for the backstop and the game would be tied. And then that last pitch where he was fooled but committed to the swing, and got *just* enough of the ball to send it on that fateful trickle toward first, and poor Billy Buck's achin', hobbled legs... That one at-bat told everything anyone could ever hope to know about what a beautiful, thrilling, heartbreaking thing baseball is. But jeeze, Peter, I've *gotta* ask... what *was* it like to be a Mets fan in Sox-crazy New England after that series?
Peter Simon (paytesimon) Sun 12 May 02 05:40
Gary - for the first year or two it was highly problematic wearing my Mets cap around the Island....New Englanders WERE really devastated. But asa the years go byu, the wounds do heal...I actually don't MIND either the Sox or Yanks, and would root for them in ther World Serious if the Mets weren't the opposition. By the way, the SUBWAY SERIES (2001) was great fun too, but not nearly as exciting as 1986. Hey out there.....ask me more stuff. This is fun! Anyone else around that has"I and EYE" and wants to feedback to me about it - good, bad, ugly or indifferent?
Linda Castellani (castle) Sun 12 May 02 10:17
Well, first off, let me say that this a just a gorgeous book. My boyfriend and I have a fifty-something friend in San Francisco who is dating a twenty-something former opera star from someplace like Romania or Hungary. They get along famously until it comes time for our friend to explain what life was like in the 60's or what a "hippie" is. I suggested that they get this book and use it to get a sense of what life and times were like back then because the photographs are so richly evocative of the times that formed us. I am curious about one thing, though. In Stephen Davis' introduction to the book he describes you, in part, thus: "He's a generous friend, a good husband and father, a masterful stickball player, a way-cool DJ and radio host, and a frustrated, unresolved weatherman." Would you elaborate for us on what he means by that last bit about the weatherman?
Jonathan Kopp (jbk) Sun 12 May 02 23:31
Forget professional baseball - what about those softball games at the Chilmark Community Center?
Peter Simon (paytesimon) Mon 13 May 02 21:39
Hi Linda - My good pal Stephen Davis refers to the fact that I often dreamed about becoming a professional TV weather"person" during my youth. My mother always discouraged it because she sensed that my lack of mathmatical skills would compromise my abilities to learn the intracacies of meteorology. Little did she (or I) know that TV weather personalities often have no scientific background at all. I still do have a passion for weather, and watch the weather channel habitually. And Jonnathan - did you once play ball there with me? You'll be glad to know I still play weekly at the age of 55, even after knee operations!! But now the games are in West Tisbury, Fridays at 5pm. See you there!?!
jessica (gobeyond) Mon 13 May 02 23:58
Update: As I remembered, that Arica photo was taken at the Nine Rings Gallery, probably at the grand opening of it. I had a lovely bunch of e-mails from friends with their (rather varied) recollections. One fellow owns one of the paintings/yantras in the picture! The idea was to let the public try out a meditation =without= a leader leading it (an attempt to seem less 'militaristic'???). The chairs (available apparently in sizes built to your own body's specs) didn't sell (no surprise there). The gallery was on West 57th, next door to (or a little ways away from) the main Arica facility at #24. So, that's enough about that... What I'm still curious about, payte, is the photo of Oscar himself. Might there be more story to your snapping that one? And while we're reverting back from baseballs to Babas, how's Ram Dass' health these days?
Peter Simon (paytesimon) Tue 14 May 02 05:00
Jessica - that shot of Oscar was taken for New Age Magazine - part of a series of portaits I did at the time. I may have shot over 100 photos!! I remember a pose I got him into using swords..... As far as RD is concerned, there's a great new film out called "Fierce Grace" about his stroke and healing process. Maybe it will come to a theatre near you!!! He's doing about as well as to be expected - slow speech and paralized. He still lectures however and sees people about the aging process, etc. Hope this helps....
Members: Enter the conference to participate