Monday, August 29, 2011

resume': reply to an inquiry from bill johnson

A good, rich life, Wayne...and I am the richer a person for having shared a part of it. Question: Do you regret not having finished at Stanford?


hi bill,

so funny you should ask! for three months late spring, early summer, I had a theater dream almost every night. they took place in opera houses, on the beach, all kinds of stuff, mostly I was an in and out observer, but you were directing a lot of the shows, great stuff. what a dream career.

of course, I sometimes yearn for status. then I wake up the next morning feeling 
I've escaped with my life (like now). it's the having to work at a false authority persona I could never quite do. psychics have told me I've had so much responsibility in past lives, I get to have fun in this one (I wish it felt more often like fun). and one told me I was too impressed by death when young. well, that certainly took away the illusion I'd never end. other factors like ww2 helped, my first five years of life, newsreels of battles and the dead buried at sea.

at thirteen I try to decide: writer or artist? the first only needed a pencil and paper, me a bookworm who couldn't draw realistically.

to answer your question, I sabotaged stanford from the beginning. as a teenager I decided 1. no television 2. no teaching 3. no kids 4. no house. time was what I wanted, the little I had. so I've stuck to these thru thick and thin, tho stanfords have been thrown in my path.

by the way, the most important people in the world teachers and politicians, they influence the most people in the deepest way. I'm just out here tap-dancing on my coffin.

you've been an inspiration. best, wayne

                                             3 days later we hiked to my first lookout 1951

                                                 cone peak pinnacles national monument

                                          i spent the first six months of my life looking up
                                          at it from a crib in soledad, california. only 
                                         realized many years later when driving back 
                                         from southern california. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

how the hell do you write a resume'?

i've never been able to do it, always misrepresenting myself. say on, you know how the unloved reveal personal likes and dislikes, throw in a million activities, and all the other person wants to know is 1. do you have a job? 2. money? 3. can i get over how you look? unfortunately, for me, the first is yes, the second no, and the third debatable, considering my advanced age.

okay, say i want a theater job, how do i sum up fifty years experience and what would get my foot in the door? at twenty i began writing hysterical psychological plays. my mother an actress in community theater on the presidio of san francisco, so i began running lights and sound. those gave me a great deal of power as i turned up the volume on the nazi footsteps in the diary of anne frank. 

three years later i directed my first play, a broadway comedy oh men! oh women! oh boy, i didn't know what i was doing. at the suggestion of the manager i changed casting at the last minute and never quite had faith in myself. it's better to make a mistake that's your own than accept a promise from someone else. eventually, the actors got the hang of it and i discovered with comedy run-throughs the key to get the timing down.

let's see, during the next two years in greece, berlin, and oxford i attended every kind of play. an old fashioned troupe of five actors counted their money over ouzo after performing a heroic epic in a tiny, grubby  space. in berlin i either went to a play or a movie every night for six months. where else would i have seen goethe's faust? and from oxford i traveled at least once a week to watch the shennigans of the royal shakespeare theater and visit shakespeare's plot in stratford on avon. 

after returning to california, i'd make a yearly pilgrimage to new york city, this being the latter half of the 60's. believe me, i didn't miss a significant show, whether in a basement, loft, or on broadway. i studied play-writing and performance with members of the open theater, savaged my way thru improvisations, fell in love and out of love. 

finally, all that burned out, and i worked for arts and lectures at the university of california santa cruz, house-managing, making a photo record of an old barn being turned into a theater, attending acting classes, directing a production of racine's phaedra in aforesaid space. that all lasted for seven years. i swear to god i still didn't know what i was doing. yes, i read every book i could, however either i didn't have the maturity or the confidence to do a really great job.

twenty years now passed, the new york trips sporadic: one spring i attended seventy-one shows in the city. i ended up in chico california, more or less at loose ends, a town of my first three year old memories (i cut off my sister's yellow curls cause everybody thought they were so pretty!) i did keep writing plays. i figured out how to do it, though few performed. 1995 i think it was, bill johnson pulled me into a production of the musical city of angels. i watched every rehearsal and took constant notes. in the end i lay writhing onstage in a giant iron lung.

this led to a whole round of theater experiences, history and directing with randy wonzong, acting and auditioning with bill johnson, styles with cynthia lammel, choreography with sue pate. eventually, after about ten years of this, i became involved with the downtown blue room theatre, directing with a several of my own scripts staged. launching into photography, i aimed my cameras at the actors with a ferocious zeal, hanging a show of three hundred photographs. here's the link: 

Friday, August 26, 2011

how i overcame my millenarian instincts and became young again

yes, i was one of those. in my first poems i didn't want anything from the mechanical modern world, no cars, telephones, typewriters, yet i gradually gave  up. however, i did use a manual typewriter til 1995 when i decided to write my opus cloud watcher, a firelookout's book of days. (you can read a few excerpts here:   (i can't reveal the rest until i'm either dead or don't need a job, whichever comes first.)

then the dam broke in 2002 when i lurched into photography. twenty or more thousand dollars later the gear piled up in my closet, the cameras depreciating and the lenses going up. i rather like googling my name, as it's the first of the hundred wayne peases in america to come up:,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=c0bea07e605a791b&biw=1920&bih=909  my snail's trace across the canvases of francis bacon.

okay, so i burned out. i admit these days i feel photography is a dead art (forgive me all you passionate clickers). the greatest pictures made in the early days and digital turned everyone into a decent if not great photog. yes, i do like looking at my pics, as i do my poems, always surprised they came thru me.

i'm sick with drawing, that's where my passion yowls this eve. my droid x phone transforms me into the artist i always want to be. scroll down the page and see the depths into which i've descended: and of course this has whet my appetite for a better instrument.

xoom, aspire, pandigital, vizio, nook, i've bought them all and returned them. nothing matched my phone, until today. true, the ipad arrived this week and i felt i'd gone on the gold standard (much as i admire steve jobs i don't care for apple), given completely in. i dragged myself to the local verizon store to set up a hot spot for it. and damned if i didn't come away with what i needed and loved: a galaxy tab. the ipad goes back tomorrow!

and i must say, all the really young bumpkins bumping into me with their smartphones these days don't seem so foreign. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

let every day be different

                                                            smarmy helicopter

as a moody human being, i find this almost impossible to practice, especially sitting here on a mountain-top, alone ten days at a time. self-awareness comes at a price, ie. you can't really control how you're feeling, try as you might.

example, this week up and down like a yoyo. i think it was wednesday i inexplicably felt grateful for everything, needing to have, be, discover nothing more. the peacefulness of it all, that state of acceptance and perfection. i could just sit! what a relief, as i'm usually as restless as a bee on a blossom. 

the next day we'd a dramatic event. a lumber truck turned over and burst into flame, blocking both lanes of highway 70 in the feather river canyon, igniting the brush on a steep slope. at least, this is the way it sounded when my friend lucas, lookout on another forest, called and told me a helicopter reporting it. i immediately passed it along to our dispatch. later ron, on pike county lookout, called me with updates, and these too i relayed. 

all ended well, just a half acre of tiny flames crawling between the rocks. alas, the next day i got chewed out for interfering with the dispatch, and i'd thought i'd been the hero of the day. my heart hardened like a rock, i couldn't feel anything but a kind of sociopathic hatred of the world. this two days after feeling completely at peace. 

okay, a couple days later i forgave everybody and got back to normal. that said, i've careened from peacefulness to anxiety to inspiration to despair over the weekend. i lurch for the good and grab the bad. i curse the bad and am suddenly uplifted with insight. a doctor once wrote, 'if you wake up in the morning age sixty plus and feel no pain, you're dead.' and to that he added, 'no day will be the same.' 

my eternal search for security could only end six feet under, rolling my eyes in the quiet of the tomb. if i could just let everyday be different, i wouldn't have to collapse every night in a frenzy, worn out by the struggle to make no effort.

my androids reflect all this: 
tolstoy wrote 'creative works the record of our twitching nerves.' no wonder he always felt like a saint in heat.  

Monday, August 15, 2011

if you're not growing, you're dying

alas, true in the literal sense. each new cell created in your body to replace the last weaker than its predecessor. if something isn't done about it! 

unfortunately, i'm not sure what can be done. diet. yoga. chris marker filmed nine hours of india way back when, and i remember a 70 old yogi who looked as healthy as any human being on earth. as a consequence, i studied with a fine teacher and did my stretches for years. ironically, with my first back failure, i abandoned it, never to get back in the practice. 

once i sat next to an actor in new york, one i'd seen onstage. he too had the bloom of youth at 45. i asked him how he'd done it. "eating no meat," he said, though he was not at all pompous about it. eons later i watched him perform again and he seemed as youthful as ever. 

that kicked off 32 years of vegetables and tofu for me. i only lapsed with an attack of asthma and a visit to an 82 year old chiropractor. she believe in eat right for your blood type and convinced me as a blood type O i needed meat, especially to keep the acid in my stomach busy. true, i seldom eat the red stuff and almost never pork. maybe that's why i have to swallow an ant-acid pill every night or wake up to a beating heart and trembles.

as for exercise, i've always walked an hour a day. and recently i bought a wonderful mini-trampoline. i just bounced on it, waiting for my coffee to drip. i felt like a little kid jumping on a bed. NASA recommends it as the best exercise, perhaps as training for that first tourist trip to mars. 

you know, i can finally hear the notes from my tiny ukulele, improvising like a mad scientist. they say being increasingly sensitive to sound can help stave off alzheimers. and recent studies show you can dig new grooves in your brain and expand the snaps. the mind doesn't need to decay.

why do we lose our sensual perceptions as we grow older? we can keep our libido alive with tricks (a little fantasy goes a long way), yet following einstein, we've a physical sense of the universe when young. later it changes into an abstract formula, habit, and  mathematics couldn't save einstein in old age, except i believe his uniform field theory to be true, even if he didn't have the tools to prove it. see my thoughts on the subject here:

and i've added a series of drawings called the mayan underworld:  

maybe playing with my smartphone will at least keep more than my hair and nails growing in the grave. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

life isn't short we just waste a lot of it

okay, seneca, you stabbed me to the heart with that one. where have i gone wrong? i mean, really, what have i done (or not ) done that has stolen chunks of my tardy existence? 

i do remember having a girlfriend whose friends bored me to tears. every time we had a gathering, i found myself looking desperately for the exit. they didn't seem to have a way with words or a single original thought. my god, no wit! how can such people stand themselves? 

not that i'm a genius, but at least i'm weird. (i know, cause plenty of people have told me.) and that seems to me at least somewhat intriguing. ah, and i recall two people in town i've avoided like the plague for years. what was it about them? they  felt they were geniuses and continually talked about themselves. that's it, the vital life is a conversation.

this leaves plenty of time for daydreaming. aren't the most interesting talks the ones we have with ourselves? and other times don't we communicate with the bicycle we're stripping down, the seed we're planting, the sun splitting the clouds apart? maybe i object to others interrupting my thoughts with trivia. and by that i mean, they don't stimulate me, the weather doing a better job, creating meditations on fate, creation, are there gods, can we really be alone in the big universe? 

what about worrying about what other people think of me? i've done precious little of that since overcoming puberty. still happens, especially on the job, maybe they think i'm lazy. jesus, i chose a job staring out the window all day. retarded, or communing with nature? 

and then there's trying to motivate people, has that been a waste of time? yes, i have to admit it has, sticking my nose in other's problems, attempting to solve them even though i haven't been asked. i have learned you can fire-up a group with members already active. the key: skip the individual in this case. failure may be their agenda. don't mess with it.

and something very overwhelming is happening in my lifetime: women taking over. how could i have predicted that, though i've always thought mothers did rule? now it's out in the open. it would certainly be wasting my time to oppose the flow of the economy and history. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

learning how to HOWL

it all seems so bizarre now, being seventeen and wandering around north beach san francisco, mike's place, the co-existence bagel shop, not really part of the beat scene, a literature student at berkeley.

last night i spent the whole evening on netflix creating an even longer instant queue for myself, bouncing from anime, to french thrillers, documentaries about butterflies and beautiful insects, collecting a long list along the way, longer than i will ever be able to watch.

this evening i wandered down the stair of movies, trying to find a landing, and nothing stuck til i stumbled across a movie about alan ginsberg and the obscenity trial for his poem HOWL, and began watching it without high hopes, but having listened to most of ON THE ROAD last summer and remembering the sad death of neal cassidy by the railroad tracks outside san miguel, mexico, the police coming to the author of EPISODES pierre delattre to ask if he knew this body of the man who'd been given divinity by jack kerouac and he said yes, i let the movie pull the memories out of me.

at that time (1957) i studied modes of fiction in a thomas parkinson class, a friend of ginsberg, the prof had him come speak to us, and alan pensively  read part of KADDISH, a requiem for his mother, which he'd been working on out in the courtyard while waiting for class to begin, not shaggy haired and bearded but a young fifties guy in normal clothes, just like in the movie. 

one kid in the class demonstrated outside the courthouse during the trial, very nervous about being arrested himself and what what would happen, and i don't know what did, but it's all like yesterday, years later alan coming up to me at a table in the new school for social research where i was helping with registration and asking where he should go, limping for some reason.

and then  when he read at the city center in santa cruz, jingling his bells - he'd been to india in the meantime and wore the white of a guru - when the loudspeaker called out someone had planted a bomb and we all filed out while alan cheerfully kept chanting and told us to be calm. 

alas, too many of my ideals come from these guys, the movie PULL MY DAISY, local readings by gary snyder, who lives in the area and who lost his sense of humor after his first book of poems RIP RAP as did alan after HOWL, both becoming sages who couldn't make fun of themselves. 

since i'm just a clown stumbling through the universe, i can't say i've done the same, a ridiculous hold-out from the rebellious boys of the fifties and still trying to find my own voice up here on the mountain where the coyotes howl. 

feel free to wander through my galleries and see if you can find a faint echo of that radiant epoch:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

how do you know the real thing?

now i don't relish having beer cans thrown at me, especially with a camera in my hand, which i'm constantly covering with my straw bonnet. a friend of the lead singer, johnny rotten, in the seat next to me, and of course, he ultimately has the booze running down his face, as rotten peppers him with cans and dowses him in alcohol. 

the artistic director had asked the audience to keep it calm for the cameras. that seemed to unleash even more shouts and missiles, the theme of the show basically  fuck you! in this punk epic, 'sid & nancy'. actually, i'm not sure what it is all about. the foam earplugs cancel most of the dialogue and i never can understand the lyrics of songs. plus, i'm clicking and flashing away. 

obviously, sid has a fatal attraction to nancy, and nancy keeps bouncing back from any rebuffs. looking at the pics you can sense the visceral impact. if a show well-directed, the visuals tell the whole story. i figured the director, martin chavira, must be a lapsed catholic. characters in his shows love to destroy themselves, as well as buildings. sid revives from his own death at the end to sing and fire a forty-five into the audience. 

all this could have been completely false and lackluster, yet this production sucked me in (and spit me out). afterwards i just wanted to escape with my life and my pictures. the next morning the evening's memory depressed me. yet as i worked on the photos over the next three days, i gradually felt a thrill. this no ordinary endeavor. 

after all, sitting in the front row, i got raped by sid's electric base. another time he nearly fell on me as he lurched around the stage in a drug-induced state, grabbing my foot to save himself. how and where they managed to draw the line, i don't know. they did, and that the ultimate art. another night they might cause a riot. we'll see as they go on the road. 


and the theater: 

to quote james joyce: history is a nightmare from which i am trying to awake. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

have you tried revising the ten commandments?

as a preacher's kid, i always attempted to do so, mainly to make it easier on myself, yet i've found my new rules as tough as the old, if not tougher. they say when a follower attacks his/her own religion, the desire is for more restrictions, not fewer. i'll do my best to entertain the fallacy.

1. LOVE THYSELF. otherwise your neighbor will have hell to pay. remember the golden rule?

2. BE PREPARED TO IMPROVISE. if you can't light a fire with a couple of sticks, you won't survive the next millennium.

3. AVOID FAME. the reason for this obvious. yes, extremely difficult if you're mildly talented in a world of mediocrity. didn't i say these new strictures would be painful?

3. GIVE FORM. this is something i discovered for myself. it's better to create castles in the air or in sand, than not to create at all. it will make your day.

4. KEEP MOVING. death finds it more difficult to hit a good circulation.

5. DO WHAT YOU WANT. ultimately, nobody cares. and in a hundred years, nobody's bloody likely to know.

6. BE AN EXPERT. they get paid.

7. DON'T JUDGE YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE. actions tend to reveal their true meaning and value days or years later.

8. ALWAYS LOOK BACKWARDS. see how your shadow follows you? if you don't know history, you're unprepared for today.

9. PRACTICE WHAT YOU DID AT FIVE YEARS OLD. you followed your instincts before school and the devil got hold of you. (look at the first commandment again.) why else do we lose our sensual perception as we grow older?

10. DON'T LET GO OF YOUR OWN MYTH. when you get away from it, the world turns black, a sign of your depression and straying from the true way. only you can renew your world every day.

********haven't i done this before: ah, pablo, where are you when we need you!