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Hunter S. Thompson -complete

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Hunter S. Thompson
Summary
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Hunter S. Thompson is considered the father of “Gonzo journalism”, a style of reporting conveyed via a first-person narrative characterized by its lack of neutrality, often due to the reporter’s first-hand involvement in the topic being covered to such a degree that the reporter becomes a newsworthy part of the story. Thompson became famous for this irreverent “literary” approach toward journalism, blending fact, fiction, and subjective accounts in an attempt–he claimed–to uncover and illuminate deeper truths that couldn’t be reached through a neutral, objective viewpoint. Within his writing, Thompson could often be found strongly expressing his political and social criticisms, as well as describing his unabashed, liberal consumption of recreational drugs.A troubled youth, following an arrest for robbery in 1956, Thompson enlisted in the Air Force to fulfill part of his sentencing agreement. While at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, he kicked off his profession as a writer by working as a sports reporter. Thompson’s writing began to gain attention after he was hired to produce a magazine article based on his experience of having spent a year with the Hells Angels. “The Motorcycle Gang” appeared on May 17, 1956 in The Nation, and a more subjective treatment of the same topic followed in 1967, when Random House published his book, Hells Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.

Thompson is most well-known for his 1971 book, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, which has appeared in at least 40 editions and 16 different languages. Over the course of his career, Thompson wrote over a dozen other books and contributed articles to numerous periodicals, including EsquireThe National ObserverPlayboyRolling StoneThe San Francisco Examiner, and Time Magazine, as well as penning the “Hey Rube” web column for ESPN.

Along with being an avid gun enthusiast, Thompson also had a great love of photography. A posthumous oral history produced in honor of Thompson, featuring many of his photographs, as well as portraits of him taken by others, along with an introduction by his friend Johnny Depp, was published in 2007. Depp played the lead role of Raoul Duke (a character based on Thompson) in director Terry Gilliam’s 1998 film version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

At the age of 67–likely in response to his unhappiness about aging, along with chronic pain from a broken leg and hip replacement–Thompson committed suicide with a gun shot to the head in his Colorado home.

Quote #
“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone…but they’ve always worked for me.”
– Hunter Thompson, “Voices : Footnotes”, LIFE Magazine, p. 68 (Jan 1981)
Author of Books #
  • Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Writings of Hunter S. Thompson (2011)
  • The Mutineer: Rants, Ravings, and Missives from the Mountaintop 1977-2005 (2008)
  • Gonzo (2006/2007)
  • Happy Birthday, Jack Nicholson (2005)
  • Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness Modern History from the Sports Desk (2004)
  • Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century (2003)
  • Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist 1968-1976 (2000)
  • Screw-Jack (2000)
  • The Rum Diary (1998)
  • The Fear and Loathing Letters, Vol. 1: The Proud Highway: The Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman 1955-1967 (1997)
  • Mistah Leary–He Dead (1996)
  • Gonzo Papers, Vol. 4: Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie (1994)
  • Gonzo Papers, Vol. 3: Songs of the Doomed: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream (1990)
  • Gonzo Papers, Vol. 2: Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the ’80s (1988)
  • The Curse of Lono (1983)
  • Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (1979)
  • Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 (1973)
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream (1971)
  • Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (1967)
Author of Articles #
Interviews #
Remembrances

Salvaging Steinbeck’s Vessel From a Little-Known Berth

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Salvaging Steinbeck’s Vessel From a Little-Known Berth

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The Western Flyer in Port Townsend, Wash. The boat’s owner plans to move it to Salinas, Calif., but a nonprofit group wants it in Monterey Bay. Credit Matthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times
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PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. — A wooden fishing boat that John Steinbeck chartered in 1940 with a biologist friend, then wrote about in a story of their journey through the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, sits in sad, decaying splendor in a boatyard here, two hours northwest of Seattle.

People have come from as far away as Liverpool, England, to see the vessel, named the Western Flyer, in the eight months since it arrived. There is no exhibit, no effort to market the ship as an attraction, or even point the way so people can easily find it, blocked and braced out of the water at the back of the yard. Mud covers the portholes from its two sinkings and resurrections. The brass doorknobs are corroded to green, and the upper rail buckles inward with rot and age.

“We get a couple of people a week, and we give them directions — it’s pretty low key,” said Anna Quinn, an owner of Imprint Bookstore, a downtown shop that sells a few copies a week of the book that resulted from Steinbeck’s trip, “The Log From the Sea of Cortez.”

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John Steinbeck featured the wooden fishing boat in “The Log From the Sea of Cortez,” sold in Port Townsend at Imprint Bookstore. Credit Matthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times

“They just want to see and touch it and be in the literary aura,” Ms. Quinn said.

A final chapter for the Western Flyer may be about to unfold. And there are fierce disagreements about how — and where — its tale of fleeting celebrity and ignominious decay should end.

The boat’s owner, Gerry Kehoe, a California businessman, said he planned to collect his property within the next couple of months. The 76-foot-long vessel, he said, will be cut into two or three pieces and trucked to Salinas, Calif., where Steinbeck was born, then reassembled and installed as the centerpiece — with real water and a dock — in the lobby of a boutique hotel Mr. Kehoe is developing.

The hotel, with two restaurants surrounding the boat and glass panels telling the story of the voyage, will open in the summer of 2015 with Western Flyer in the name, he said in a telephone interview.

The nephew of the Western Flyer’s skipper in 1940 has been ferociously critical of Mr. Kehoe’s plan. He says the boat belongs in Monterey, where it worked in Steinbeck’s day as a sardine fisher, and deserves better in retirement.

“He talks a good game, but he really doesn’t know what he’s doing — he doesn’t have a clue,” said Robert Enea, whose uncle, Tony Berry, piloted the voyage by Steinbeck and the biologist, E. F. Ricketts.

Mr. Enea, a retired physical education teacher, led a nonprofit group called the Western Flyer Project that he said had raised $10,000 and was trying to buy the boat in 2010 for $45,000 when Mr. Kehoe got it instead. The group, Mr. Enea said, envisioned a mission of environmental education in Monterey Bay, echoing and honoring the Cortez trip.

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Peter and Anna Quinn, owners of Imprint Bookstore. “We get a couple of people a week, and we give them directions — it’s pretty low key,” Ms. Quinn said of visitors seeking the boat. Credit Matthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times

Mr. Kehoe said the Flyer Project lacked resources to save or restore anything — not least a boat built in 1937 that would take “well into the seven figures” to be made seaworthy. And, he added, striking a note that Steinbeck himself might have savored as a champion of the underdog, the economically struggling town Salinas simply deserves the Western Flyer more than wealthy, flourishing Monterey.

“Does everybody want the rich to be richer?” Mr. Kehoe said, adding that access to the boat will be free. Salinas, he said, “doesn’t have a lot going for it, to be honest with you, but it is the birthplace of the great man.”

Literary tourism is a big business, in the bits of a writer’s life that get left around in the messy business of living, or the characters that came to life on the page. From Key West, Fla.,visitors can swill rum in honor of Hemingway, to Dickens World, a theme park in England that offers a re-creation of bleak and stinky Victorian London, writers are still earning their keep.

Here on Washington’s rainy Olympic Peninsula, setting of the hugely successful teen-vampire-romance “Twilight” novels by Stephenie Meyer, Steinbeck is small potatoes anyway. In Forks, which the heroine, Bella Swan, called home and is two hours west of Port Townsend, visitors can stay in one of the Twilight Rooms at the Pacific Inn Motel, or eat a Bella’s Barbecue Burger Dip at the Forks Coffee Shop.

Some who have come to see the Western Flyer pay homage to science. The six-week, 4,000-mile research trip in 1940 to study plants and animals formed a template for thinking and writing about ecology decades before the modern environmental movement, said Ian Hinkle, a Canadian filmmaker who came to shoot in January for a documentary on the Salish Sea called “Reaching Blue.”

“That boat was the inspiration for many ocean researchers and ecologists today,” he said. “Now it’s sitting in a boatyard, just sitting there, one more big old rotting piece of broken dreams.”

But perhaps for at least part of the summer tourism season in Port Townsend that began this weekend, the Western Flyer is going nowhere. Ms. Quinn, who owns Imprint Books with her husband, Peter, said they were hoping to do some Steinbeck readings this summer, with people gathering at the boatyard.

Steinbeck himself, in “The Log From the Sea of Cortez,” said he believed the bond of boats and people ran too deep to sever. “It is very easy to see why the Viking wished his body to sail away in an unmanned ship, for neither could exist without the other,” he wrote.

THE HAUNTED LIFE:THE LOST NOVELLA’ BY JACK KEROUAC

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THE HAUNTED LIFE:THE LOST NOVELLA’ BY JACK KEROUAC

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‘The Haunted Life: The Lost Novella’, by Jack Kerouac

From left, Hal Chase, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs in Manhattan, c1944-45©Corbis

From left, Hal Chase, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs in Manhattan, c1944-45

The Haunted Life: The Lost Novella, by Jack Kerouac, Penguin Classics, RRP£20, 208 pages

Jack Kerouac, an author who was barely patient enough to punctuate his sentences, never mind sit still in one place, always claimed that he had lost the manuscript to his early novella The Haunted Life in the back seat of a yellow taxi cab. The truth is less dramatic: he probably forgot it in the closet of a Columbia University dorm room that had belonged to his fellow Beat writer Allen Ginsberg.

Peter Aspden

It resurfaced in a Sotheby’s auction 12 years ago, selling to an unnamed bidder for $95,600. The previous year, Kerouac’s most renowned manuscript, the famous On The Road scroll, had also sold at auction for a whopping $2.4m, which explains the sudden appearance of the earlier work.

Those relative values strike me as well-judged. The Haunted Life, now published for the first time and generously annotated and edited by Kerouac scholar Todd Tietchen, is a minor addition to the author’s corpus but not without interest. Kerouac wrote it at the age of 22, in the turbulent year of 1944, during which he was jailed as an accessory to murder, married his first wife Edie Parker to secure bail, and was then released.

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“I should now have material for a fine book . . . love, murder, diabolical conversations, all,” he wrote mischievously, but none of these promising themes finds its way into A Haunted Life. Instead we get a rehearsal for the semi-autobiographical exploration that would form the basis of Kerouac’s first major published work, The Town and the City.

Tietchen, in his introduction to the novella, believes that this early and methodical exposition of the author’s literary intentions is a significant rebuttal of the “public perception of Kerouac as a spontaneous word-slinger whose authorial approach merely complemented his Dionysian approach to life”. He casts the hedonistic writer as an improbable respecter of process, honing his ideas in this brisk workout.

In A Haunted Life, Kerouac’s concerns are refracted through Peter Martin, heading into his sophomore year at Boston College along with his friends Garabed Tourian and Dick Sheffield, based on the author’s real-life buddies Sebastian Sampas and Billy Chandler, both of whom had died in the war by the time Kerouac wrote the novella.

The three young men’s conversations skirt around some of the issues that preoccupied American intellectual life in the 1930s and 1940s: the end of the Great Depression, the US’s entry into the war, the exploitation of the working classes, and the possibility of romantic escape from all of those needling dilemmas.

Garabed and Dick respectively represent the leftist and liberationist ideals that animated those debates. In contrast, Peter’s frosty exchanges with his father Joe – clearly based on Kerouac’s own father Leo – see the young man wrestling with the bigotry of the preceding generation. In the novella’s very first pages, Peter drowns out the beginnings of one of his father’s rants by turning up Benny Goodman on the record player, an early reflection of Kerouac’s belief that jazz music’s freedom of form was the nemesis of sclerotic social views.

This opening feels stagey, as do the opening remarks between Peter and Garabed, clunky in their philosophical intent: “Poor Garabed,” says Peter. “Dostoevsky terrifies you with his Slavic portraits that remind you too much of yourself. You fear ugliness, you chase beauty and embrace it.”

As we focus on Peter’s interior life, touches of the freewheeling Kerouac begin to emerge in passages of existential celebration: “The morning sun, the swift clean smell in the air had called him back to life, called him back for more of the same – which at times held so much wonder that Peter deplored his physical limits. On a morning like this! – to be everywhere, be everyone at the same time, doing everything!”

Kerouac always intended The Haunted Life to become a multi-volume saga on the war, told through the story of the Martin family. “[It] will be a very sad book,” he explains in a note included here. “It can’t be otherwise: youth is shocked by maturity, but war adds to this shock enough to kill youth forever.”

But it is not for this melancholy tone that Kerouac would become best known, and it is clear from his musings that he was already looking ahead at a new America. In an outline for The Town and the City, he emphasises that the book’s ending will treat its characters well. “I write with gravity and gleefulness because I do not feel sceptical and clever about these things, and I believe that this is an American feeling. (No Joyce, no Auden, no Kafka has anything to say to a true American.)”

With that slap at the Old World, Kerouac launched himself to become one of the most exuberant adventurers of a new cultural landscape, whose heroes would include James Dean, Marlon Brando, Elvis Presley, characters who were infused with a sense of the limitless. Here, in this small book, are the tentative beginnings of a journey that was always going to lead to the open road.

Peter Aspden is the FT’s arts writer

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Philip Roth Says He Has Had His Last Sandwich

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Philip Roth Says He Has Had His Last Sandwich

The Borowitz Report

May 20, 2014

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NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—The novelist Philip Roth announced today that a sandwich he ate last week, a turkey one with lettuce and tomato on wheat, would be his last.

Roth’s retirement from sandwich eating, announced in an interview with a Dutch literary magazine, came as a surprise to the worlds of publishing and sandwiches.

In the interview, Roth attempted to soft-pedal the reasons behind his startling decision, saying only, “I had my first sandwich when I was three or four. That’s almost eighty years ago. That’s a lot of sandwiches.”

The response to Mr. Roth’s renunciation of sandwiches was skeptical, with some readers of the interview questioning whether the acclaimed novelist had not left the door open a crack to sandwiches in his future.

When asked by his Dutch interviewer if he had sworn off deli meats, Roth said, “I could see a situation at a buffet where they’d have those mini slices of rye bread, and I’d make an open-faced thingy with roast beef and maybe a pickle or whatnot. But that’s not the same thing as a sandwich.”

As if to quell any misunderstanding, on Tuesday afternoon Roth issued the following statement through his publisher: “Not only have I had my last sandwich, I have made my final public statement about sandwiches.”

Photograph by Jenny Anderson/Getty.

This piece was presented as Kurt Vonnegut’s commencement address at MIT in 1997. It’s great stuff, but apparently it wasn’t written or delivered by Vonnegut. It’s still a beautiful piece…

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This piece was presented as Kurt Vonnegut’s commencement address at MIT in 1997. It’s great stuff, but apparently it wasn’t written or delivered by Vonnegut. It’s still a beautiful piece…

I came across this and find it completely confusing- if Vonnegut didn’t write it or deliver it why present it!

This piece was presented as Kurt Vonnegut’s commencement address at MIT in 1997. It’s great stuff, but apparently it wasn’t written or delivered by Vonnegut. It’s still a beautiful piece…

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Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97:

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Shortest Story Ever Told

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Shortest Story Ever Told

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Shortest Story Ever Told

Ernest Hemingway

It is said that the shortest story ever told was written by the then young Ernest Hemingway, who said he could write a complete story in only six words!

His colleagues disagreed, and each bet 10$ against the claim.

Hemingway wrote down the words on a napkin
and passed it around.

Everyone agreed that he won the bet.

Here is the shortest story ever told:

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.

NORMAN MAILER-A DOUBLE LIFE-BY J. MICHAEL LENNON-HIS BIO READING “OH MY AMERICA” FROM THE BBC

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NORMAN MAILER-A DOUBLE LIFE-BY J. MICHAEL LENNON-HIS BIO READING “OH MY AMERICA” FROM THE BBC

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Every moment of one’s existence one is growing into more or retreating into less. One is always living a little more or dying a little bit.
— Norman Mailer

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November 22, 2013 6:04 pm

Norman Mailer: A Double Life, by J Michael Lennon

By Randy Boyagoda

Norman Mailer campaigns for mayor of New York in the garment district with Jimmy Breslin (right), June 1969

Norman Mailer: A Double Life, by J Michael Lennon, Simon & Schuster, RRP£30/$40, 960 pages

Obviously, Norman Mailer should be reviewing the authorised biography of Norman Mailer. Were he not six years in the grave, he would certainly accept the assignment. And based on the evidence in J Michael Lennon’s impressive effort to recount Mailer’s multitudinous and combustible life story, here’s how that scenario would likely play out: asked for 1,500 words, Mailer submits 150,000. Upon learning that this newspaper is unwilling to devote its entire Saturday edition to his writing about himself, he is shocked and outraged and demands (successfully) that his agent secure a six-figure book deal so his work could be published in its rightful fullness. He uses most of that money to pay down his latest overdue tax bill; the rest goes in alimony instalments for his ex-wives.

He then flies from New York to London with a documentary film crew in tow. Cameras rolling, he pushes his way into the editorial offices, roaring for an explanation as to why his piece was rejected. The meeting leads to some combination of the following: a fist-fight, a drunken reconciliation, a drunken fist-fight, a one-night stand, a press conference. Then Mailer returns to the US to work on the documentary of his trip to London, and on the manu­script of his 150,000-word autobiographical impressions of his authorised biography. When these matters and a few dozen others are dealt with, he at last returns to the latest million-word novel he’s writing. This one concerns a barrel-chested, curly-haired Paleolithic warrior-fertility god’s endless battles against the legions of cowards and prudes arrayed against him.

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That may seem like a fanciful scenario, but it’s nevertheless in keeping with Mailer’s entire career as nothing less than himself: writer, lover, fighter, family man, man of letters, man of action. He pursued all of this from the earliest possible age. Born in Brooklyn in 1923 to Jewish immigrants, at 11 he wrote a 35,000-word novel. At 16, he entered Harvard intent upon achieving the greatest possible outcomes in the fields of literature and sex. He then enlisted, primarily so he could experience firsthand the events and soldiers of the second world war that would enable him to write “THE war novel”, as he declared to his first wife, detailing in advance his plan, ambition and expectation (these were always synonyms for Mailer). And he did it: The Naked and the Dead, published in 1948, when Mailer was 25 years old, was hailed as one of the greatest novels about the war. It was also an immediate bestseller, the first of many that Mailer would enjoy in every one of seven decades from the 1940s to the 2000s, alongside near-constant public attention, which was, constantly enough, public notoriety.

In telling this life story, Lennon competes with Mailer to assess Mailer, a dynamic in keeping with Mailer’s sense of self and approach to all else. As his one-time friend, the writer and intellectual Norman Podhoretz, observes: Mailer “must always work everything out for himself and by himself, as though it were up to him to create the world anew over and over again in his own experience.” Lennon quotes Podhoretz approvingly and then more than proves Podhoretz right by closely and thoughtfully attending to Mailer’s steroidal self-reliance, which, turned outward, took the form of some 44 books of fiction and non-fiction, thousands of magazine pieces for publications such as Esquire and Playboy, and also some 45,000 letters, in addition to screenplays and assorted public speeches. On multiple occasions, motivated by financial need and literary fecundity and intellectual jingoism and political imperatives, Mailer would publish several books in the same year, and the quality of the work did not suffer much from this prodigiousness: in 1969, he received double nominations for the National Book Award, for The Armies of the Night and Miami and the Siege of Chicago, and he did the same three years later, with Of a Fire on the Moon and The Prisoner of Sex.

He was similarly productive in personal terms: married six times, he fathered nine children, and along the way pursued innumerable affairs, some of them passing assignations, others spanning decades. Unsurprisingly, his personal life was frequently turbulent. And because he saw little distinction between his personal life and his public life, this turbulence often made news, most dramatically in 1960, when a drunk and high Mailer stabbed his second wife Adele with a penknife in the middle of a house party where he had planned to announce he was running for mayor of New York City (on the “existentialist ticket”). As he does with Mailer’s many well-publicised feuds with fellow writers, which also involved violence on occasion – Mailer famously headbutted his nemesis Gore Vidal at a swish cocktail party while Jackie Kennedy watched – Lennon recreates the terrible domestic scene in extensive detail, drawing on multiple viewpoints, including that of Adele and also Mailer, who only years later was finally fully contrite.

Perhaps the most telling take comes from Mailer’s friend, the actor and screenwriter Mickey Knox, who recalls that the morning after the stabbing, once Mailer had ambivalently visited his stitched-up wife in the hospital and was then facing arrest, jail-time or commitment to a psychiatric institution, he really had just one pressing concern: “Mailer asked him to go into the 94th Street apartment and retrieve the open letter to Castro he had been working on.” Knox was only momentarily taken aback, as he explains to Lennon: “ ‘Christ, I thought, he stabbed his wife the night before and what was uppermost in his mind? Getting the letter published. It did not surprise me. The foundation of Norman’s being is the sum of his writing.’ ”

This foundation was ordered to and by Mailer’s sense of the writer as a sacred figure of mystical capacities and grave responsibilities for an otherwise godless, dulled and plastic age: among the many subjects Mailer pursued, as a writer and whenever possible as an intimate witness and boisterous participant, were the ways of presidents from John F Kennedy to George W Bush, national politics, sexual politics, boxing, celebrity, murder, war and espionage, and that’s only in American terms. He also went after the stories of outsized historical figures, from Egyptian pharaohs and Jesus to Pablo Picasso and Adolf Hitler, and whether implicitly or explicitly, measured their ambitions and accomplishments against his own. Lennon does not defend this implacable, voracious egotism so much as establish its meaningful centrality to Mailer’s vocation.

The subtitle “A Double Life” serves as Lennon’s governing premise for exploring how Mailer’s personal life mattered to his writing life and vice versa, but he does far more than merely affirm this abundantly obvious, abundantly volatile relationship. He makes strong cases throughout the biography for the inherent strengths of Mailer’s writing, particularly his achievements in reconceptualising the possibilities of journalism. For instance, “Superman Comes to the Supermarket”, Mailer’s 1960 Esquire article about JFK’s campaign for president, fundamentally altered the terms of political writing: it brilliantly broke down artificial boundaries between the inner lives and outward actions of politicians and voters alike by exploring in vivid and numinous-toned prose the private-cum-collective psychological drama and ecstatic desires that Kennedy catalysed and embodied. Mailer did likewise for sports writing in 1974, when he went to Kinshasa to report on Muhammad Ali’s famed “Rumble in the Jungle” heavyweight bout against George Foreman and then published The Fight. He did it again, this time for celebrity biography, with his speculative take on Marilyn Monroe’s desires and demons.

To great effect, he erased the boundaries between true crime, the non-fiction novel and literary fiction with The Executioner’s Song (1979), his Pulitzer Prize-winning account of the life and death of a Utah murderer that many regard as his supreme work. As for Mailer himself, set from youth on producing works that would “out-Joyce James”, as he once put it, he was always intent on writing the Great American Novel, if usually distracted from this quest by much else. The Naked and the Dead often comes up as his closest approximation, but Lennon makes a strong case for Harlot’s Ghost (1991), about the CIA’s deep and far-reaching presence in modern American life. Maddening many critics and readers, this 1,300 page novel ends “TO BE CONTINUED” but Lennon argues persuasively that the book “could be likened to a magnificent, half-finished cathedral”, and that there was in fact aesthetic and intellectual purpose to this anti-conclusion, in keeping with Mailer’s incomparable, indefatigable ambitions and with his similarly capacious ideas about America.

Lennon is well-positioned to offer such judgments: following decades of collaboration on various projects, Mailer invited Lennon to write his biography after the subject outlasted his first authorised biographer, Robert Lucid. Instead of merely continuing Lucid’s work, Lennon began anew and very much made it his own. At times, he’s too willing to give his pages over to Mailer admirers (Mailer included) to embroider testimonials to his greatness. But in the main Lennon has done a very fine job of chronicling most every possible dimension of a sprawling, brawling, daredevil-cum-car wreck of a singularly great American writer’s life – and I can say that without fear of a 150,000-word letter to the editor disputing everything I’ve just written, save that Norman Mailer was great.

NORMAN MAILER BIOGRAPHY

Quick Facts
NAME: Norman Mailer
OCCUPATION: Journalist, Author
BIRTH DATE: January 31, 1923
DEATH DATE: November 10, 2007
EDUCATION: Harvard University, The Sorbonne
PLACE OF BIRTH: Long Branch, New Jersey
PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
AKA: Nachum Malech Mailer
Full Name: Norman Kingsley Mailer
AKA: Nachum Mailer
AKA: Norman Mailer
AKA: Andreas Wilson
AKA: Nachem Malek
Originally: Nachem Malek Mailer

Best Known For
Author Norman Mailer used a style combining fiction and journalism to write the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Executioner’s SonAuthor Norman Mailer was born on January 31, 1923, in Long Branch, New Jersey. He studied at Harvard and served in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1946. Mailer’s first book, The Naked and the Dead, won immediate acclaim. His writing style, New Journalism, combined the imagination of fiction with qualities of reporting. His works included the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Executioner’s Song. He died in 2007, at the age of 84.

Quotes
“Writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing.”

– Norman Mailer

Early Years

Often described as controversial, combative and egotistical, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Norman Mailer—his Jewish name is Nachem Malek—was born on January 31, 1923, in Long Branch, New Jersey. His father, Isaac Barnett Mailer, known as Barney, was a South-African Jewish émigré, and his mother, Fanny, was a Long Branch native whose family ran a local grocery store. His sister, Barbara, was born in 1927.

When Mailer was 9 years old, he moved with his family to Crown Heights, Brooklyn. An excellent student, he was just 16 when he enrolled at Harvard University, intending to major in aeronautical engineering. By his sophomore year, however, Mailer had found his niche in literature. After graduating from Harvard in 1943, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Shortly after marrying Bea Silverman, in 1944, he was sent to the Philippines, where he saw very little combat. He finished his military career as a cook in occupied Japan. His experiences in the military gave him the inspiration he needed to write his first book, the semi-autobiographical The Naked and the Dead, while he was enrolled at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. The book instantly propelled him to fame at the tender age of 25.

Personal Life

In addition to his writing, Mailer was known for his alcohol-fueled fistfights, problems with alcohol and drugs, fascination with boxers and sometimes very public issues with the opposite sex. In 1960, after a night of drinking and partying, he stabbed his second wife, Adele Morales, with a penknife, seriously wounding her. Mailer was arrested, but his wife declined to press charges, and he was eventually released after being sent to Bellevue Hospital for observation. The marriage did not last the incident.

Mailer’s attitude toward women did not sit well with the up-and-coming feminist writers of the day or the emerging crop of women’s liberation movement supporters. Furthering these sentiments, in a famous 1971 debate with Germaine Greer in Manhattan, Mailer stated that he was an “enemy of birth control.”

Mailer had six wives, including Carol Stevens, to whom he was married for just a few days in 1980 to give legitimacy to their daughter, Maggie. His other wives, in addition to Silverman and Morales, were Lady Jeanne Campbell, Beverly Rentz Bentley and Norris Church. At the time of his death, he had nine children; an adopted son, Matthew, by an earlier marriage of Norris’s; and 10 grandchildren.

Literary Career

After writing The Naked and the Dead, Mailer was never far from the limelight for the next six decades.

OH MY AMERICA-NORMAN MAILER PART1

OH MY AMERICA-NORMAN MAILER PART2

Published on Apr 8, 2013

THE SUBLIME JUDY COLLINS

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THE SUBLIME JUDY COLLINS

“SOME DAY SOON” JUDY COLLINS ON THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS SHOW 1969

“SEND IN THE CLOWNS” JUDY COLLINS

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“I AM A MAID OF CONSTANT SORROW”

Judy Collins has inspired audiences with sublime vocals, boldly vulnerable songwriting, personal life triumphs, and a firm commitment to social activism. In the 1960s, she evoked both the idealism and steely determination of a generation united against social and environmental injustices. Five decades later, her luminescent presence shines brightly as new generations bask in the glow of her iconic 50-album body of work, and heed inspiration from her spiritual discipline to thrive in the music industry for half a century.

The award-winning singer-songwriter is esteemed for her imaginative interpretations of traditional and contemporary folk standards and her own poetically poignant original compositions. Her stunning rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” from her landmark 1967 album, Wildflowers, has been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Judy’s dreamy and sweetly intimate version of “Send in the Clowns,” a ballad written by Stephen Sondheim for the Broadway musical A Little Night Music, won “Song of the Year” at the 1975 Grammy Awards. She’s garnered several top-ten hits gold- and platinum-selling albums. Recently, contemporary and classic artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Shawn Colvin, Arlo Gutherie, Joan Baez, and Leonard Cohen honored her legacy with the album Born to the Breed: A Tribute to Judy Collins.

Judy began her impressive music career at 13 as a piano prodigy dazzling audiences performing Mozart’s “Concerto for Two Pianos,” but the hardluck tales and rugged sensitivity of folk revival music by artists such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger seduced her away from a life as a concert pianist. Her path pointed to a lifelong love affair with the guitar and pursuit of emotional truth in lyrics. The focus and regimented practice of classical music, however, would be a source of strength to her inner core as she navigated the highs and lows of the music business.

In 1961, she released her masterful debut, A Maid of Constant Sorrow, which featured interpretative works of social poets of the time such as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, and Tom Paxton. This began a wonderfully fertile thirty-five year creative relationship with Jac Holzman and Elektra Records. Around this time Judy became a tastemaker within the thriving Greenwich Village folk community, and brought other singer-songwriters to a wider audience, including poet/musician Leonard Cohen – and musicians Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman. Throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and up to the present, she has remained a vital artist, enriching her catalog with critically acclaimed albums while balancing a robust touring schedule.

bohoBased on the success of the CD/DVD Judy Collins Live At The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, which aired on PBS, Judy Collins filmed another spectacular show in Ireland, on September 29, 2013 at Dromoland Castle. The show features some classic Judy Collins songs like Chelsea Morning, Cat’s In The Cradle, Bird On A Wire as well as some of her favorite Irish tunes … Wild Mountain Thyme, She Moved Through the Fair (featuring the amazing Mary Black) and of course, Danny Boy. JUDY COLLINS LIVE IN IRELAND will air on PBS nationwide in early 2014.

Judy has also authored several books, including the powerful and inspiring, Sanity & Grace. For her most recent title, the memoir Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music, she reaches deeply inside and, with unflinching candor, recalls her turbulent childhood, extraordinary rise to fame, her romance with Stephen Stills, her epic victories over depression and alcoholism, and her redemption through embracing a healthy and stable lifestyle and finding true love with Louis Nelson, her partner of 30 years. In addition, she remains a social activist, representing UNICEF and numerous other causes. She is also the co-director, with Jill Godmillow, of an Academy Award-nominated film about Antonia Brico, the first woman to conduct major symphonies around the world–and Judy’s classical piano teacher when she was young.
Judy Collins, now 74, is as creatively vigorous as ever, writing, touring worldwide, and nurturing fresh talent. She is a modern day Renaissance woman who is also an accomplished painter, filmmaker, record label head, musical mentor, and an in-demand keynote speaker for mental health and suicide prevention. She continues to create music of hope and healing that lights up the world and speaks to the heart.

Paul Bowles, expatriate writer, composer and traveler who lived 52 years in Tangier, Morocco.

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Paul Bowles, expatriate writer, composer and traveler who lived 52 years in Tangier, Morocco.

paul bowles1

paul bowles

Paul Bowles

“Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps 20. And yet it all seems limitless.”

THE OFFICIAL PAUL BOWLES WEBSITE

http://www.paulbowles.org/bowlesbiography.html

By PERRY MEISEL

YOU ARE NOT I
A Portrait of Paul Bowles.
By Millicent Dillon.
Illustrated. 340 pp. Berkeley:
University of California Press. $27.50.

Paul Bowles is the bridge between the Lost Generation and the Beat Generation, even though his work exceeds Beat fiction in technical interest and even though he, as Norman Mailer was among the first to point out, was quick to foresee the craftiness inherent in any unvarnished stance. Now 87 years old, Bowles has lived in Morocco for more than 50 years. Like his wife, the novelist Jane Bowles (who suffered a stroke in Morocco in 1957 and died at a sanitarium in Spain in 1973), Paul Bowles emerged out of the New York art and social scene of the 1930’s; he gained his own earliest reputation as a composer before rewarding himself with expatriation in the 1940’s.

Millicent Dillon’s biography of Bowles, ”You Are Not I” (the title comes from one of Bowles’s short stories), is not an attempt to narrate the events of Bowles’s life or the histories of his influence; that has already been done in two earlier biographies and a documentary film. Dillon, the author of a life of Jane Bowles, is also a novelist and believes in evocation, not reduction. With implications well beyond what she intends, her new book is a strange and uncanny success. Using the atmosphere of Tangier to advantage, Dillon lights the chilly Bowles from a number of angles; she eschews even portraiture in favor of a dramatic strategy based on her many conversations with him in his Tangier apartment beginning in 1977. Bowles’s sadness and the sense of opportunities lost suffuse Dillon’s narrative and weigh it with emotion.

Beneath the tea and sympathy, however, beats a deeper purpose. Despite her impressionism, Dillon wishes to find a classical way to understand both Bowles’s work and his relation to others. As Jane Bowles’s biographer, she is particularly fascinated by the dialectic of the Bowleses’ marriage and work. Why the contrast between the contempt and humiliation served up to opposite-sex characters in their novels and their love and respect for each other in real life? (Dillon is understandably preoccupied with the absurd rape sequences in Bowles’s 1949 best seller, ”The Sheltering Sky,” although she fails to press him about them.) How did these two homosexuals find sexual happiness in each other before Paul twice struck Jane and destroyed their intimacy forever? And why was it not until after Jane had asked Paul to edit the manuscript of her first novel in 1941 that he, too, decided to make prose fiction his primary metier? Was this a heightened dialogue between them or a form of violence and usurpation?

Primal scenes tumble forth from the ordinarily reticent Bowles, who sits, befogged by kif, as he and Dillon explore the relation between art and experience. Bowles’s father was a dentist in Jamaica, Queens, who wanted to be a violinist and who regularly hit his son on the back of the legs when the child did not move up the stairs fast enough. Paul was often left home alone at a very young age, too, growing so lonely that he tried to make friends with mosquitoes. He even recalls seeing his father in bed with his aunt while his mother stood alongside laughing.

But the links between Bowles’s life and art remain, like all else in Tangier, elusive. ”You Are Not I” makes us reimagine the relation between life and art, and between art and its explanation. The book abounds with new notions if we look and listen, especially when Bowles’s friend Mohammed Mrabet appears. He is a Moroccan storyteller whose ”performances,” as Dillon calls them, force the realization that there is little difference between life and its narratives, no cause in the one for the other; they commingle. Both are performances. Given Bowles’s influence on her, it is as if he had, as Dillon realizes, written his own biography. To be sure, Dillon brings insufficient material to the performance from her own life and desires. She has left her side of the dialogue out. Is she letting Jane Bowles do the talking for her? Or is she simply being too modest about finding in Bowles himself an unexpected quality of feeling?

Perry Meisel, a professor of English at New York University, is the author of ”The Myth of the Modern.” His new book, ”Romanticism to Rock and Roll,” will be published in October.

DECEMBER 4, 1949
An Allegory of Man and His Sahara
By TENNESSEE WILLIAMS

“THE SHELTERING SKY” PAUL BOWLES FIRST NOVEL

After several literary seasons given over, mostly, to the frisky antics of kids, precociously knowing and singularly charming, but not to be counted on for those gifts that arrive by no other way than the experience and contemplation of a truly adult mind, now is obviously a perfect time for a writer with such a mind to engage our attention. That is precisely the event to be celebrated in the appearance of “The Sheltering Sky,” Paul Bowles’ first novel.

It has been a good while since first novels in America have come from men in their middle or late thirties (Paul Bowles is 38). Even in past decades the first novel has usually been written during the writers’ first years out of college. Moreover, because success and public attention operate as a sort of pressure cooker or freezer, there has been a discouraging tendency for the talent to bake or congeal at a premature level of inner development.

In America the career almost invariably becomes an obsession. The “get-ahead” principle, carried to such extreme, inspires our writers to enormous efforts. A new book must come out every year. Otherwise they get panicky, and the first thing you know they belong to Alcoholics Anonymous or have embraced religion or plunged headlong into some political activity with nothing but an inchoate emotionalism to bring to it or to be derived from it. I think that this stems from a misconception of what it means to be a writer or any kind of creative artist. They feel it is something to adopt in the place of actual living, without understanding that art is a by-product of existence.

Paul Bowles has deliberately rejected that kind of rabid professionalism. Better known as a composer than a writer, he has not allowed his passion for either form of expression to interfere with his growth into completeness of personality. Now this book has come at the meridian of the man and artist. And, to me very thrillingly, it brings the reader into sudden, startling communion with a talent of true maturity and sophistication of a sort that I had begun to fear was to be found nowadays only among the insurgent novelists of France, such as Jean Genet and Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre.

With the hesitant exception of one or two war books by returned soldiers, “The Sheltering Sky” alone of the books that I have recently read by American authors appears to bear the spiritual imprint of recent history in the western world. Here the imprint is not visible upon the surface of the novel. It exists far more significantly in a certain philosophical aura that envelopes it.

There is a curiously double level to this novel. The surface is enthralling as narrative. It is impressive as writing. But above that surface is the aura that I spoke of, intangible and powerful, bringing to mind one of those clouds that you have seen in summer, close to the horizon and dark in color and now and then silently pulsing with interior flashes of fire. And that is the surface of the novel that has filled me with such excitement.

The story itself is a chronicle of startling adventure against a background of the Sahara and the Arab-populated regions of the African Continent, a portion of the world seldom dealt with by first-rate writers who actually know it. Paul Bowles does know it, and much better, for instance, than it was known by AndrÈ Gide. He probably knows it even better than Albert Camus. For Paul Bowles has been going to Africa, off and on, since about 1930. It thrills him, but for some reason it does not upset his nervous equilibrium. He does not remain in the coastal cities. At frequent intervals he takes journeys into the most mysterious recesses of the desert and mountain country of North Africa, involving not only hardship but peril.

“The Sheltering Sky” is the chronicle of such a journey. Were it not for the fact that the chief male character, Port Moresby, succumbs to an epidemic fever during the course of the story, it would not be hard to identify him with Mr. Bowles himself. Like Mr. Bowles, he is a member of the New York intelligentsia who became weary of being such a member and set out to escape it in remote places. Escape it he certainly does. He escapes practically all the appurtenances of civilized modern life. Balanced between fascination and dread, he goes deeper and deeper into this dreamlike “awayness.”

From then on the story is focused upon the continuing and continually more astonishing adventures of his wife, Kit, who wanders on like a body in which the rational mechanism is gradually upset and destroyed. The liberation is too intense, too extreme, for a nature conditioned by and for a state of civilized confinement. Her primitive nature, divested one by one of its artificial reserves and diffidences, eventually overwhelms her, and the end of this novel is as wildly beautiful and terrifying as the whole panorama that its protagonists have crossed.

In this external aspect the novel is, therefore, an account of startling adventure. In its interior aspect, “The Sheltering Sky” is an allegory of the spiritual adventure of the fully conscious person into modern experience. This is not an enticing way to describe it. It is a way that might suggest the very opposite kind of a novel from the one that Paul Bowles has written. Actually this superior motive does not intrude in explicit form upon the story, certainly not in any form that will need to distract you from the great pleasure of being told a first-rate story of adventure by a really first-rate writer.

I suspect that a good many people will read this book and be enthralled by it without once suspecting that it contains a mirror of what is most terrifying and cryptic within the Sahara of moral nihilism, into which the race of man now seems to be wandering blindly.

Mr. Williams is the author of “A Streetcar Named Desire” and other plays.

PETER COYOTE

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WHERE THE COUNTERCULTURE PREVAILS-PETER COYOTE

http://youtu.be/zV3qLXhmSLQ

BIOGRAPHY

On October 10, 1941, Peter Coyote was born Rachmil Pinchus Ben Mosha Cohon in New York City to Ruth (Fidler) and Morris Cohon, an investment banker. His involvement with both politics and acting began in high school. At fourteen he was a campaign worker in the Adlai Stevenson presidential campaign in his home town of Englewood New Jersey. Two years later, he began actin classes at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York.

As a student at Grinnell College in Iowa, Peter was one of the organizers of a group of twelve students who went to Washington during the Cuban Missile crisis and fasted for three days, protesting the resumption of nuclear testing, and supporting President Kennedy’s “peace race”. President Kennedy invited the group into the White House (the first time protesters had ever been so recognized), and they met for several hours with MacGeorge Bundy. This meeting received national front-page media attention, and the Grinnell group xeroxed the coverage and sent it to every college in the United States, precipitating the first mass student demonstration of 25,000 in Washington, in February of 1962. At the end of his school term, Peter was elected President of the Council of House Presidents, the governing student body at his college.

After graduating from    Grinnell College with a BA in English Literature in 1964, and despite having been accepted    at the prestigious Writer’s Workshops in Iowa, Coyote moved to the West Coast to pursue a    Master’s Degree in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University. After a short    apprenticeship at the San Francisco Actor’s Workshop, he joined the San Francisco Mime    Troupe, a radical political street theater which had recently been arrested for performing    in the City’s parks without permits.
In the Mime Troupe, he    was soon acting, writing and directing. He directed the first cross-country to tour of    “The Minstrel Show, Civil Rights in a Cracker Barrel,” a highly controversial    piece closed by the authorities in several cities. The cast was arrested several times    before a tour of eastern colleges and universities, ending triumphantly in New York City,    where they were invited and sponsored by comedian Dick Gregory. The following year, a    play, “Olive Pits,” that Peter co-wrote, directed and performed in, won a    Special OBIE from New York’s Village Voice newspaper.
From 1967 to 1975,    Peter took off to “do the Sixties” where he became a prominent member of the San    Francisco counter-culture community and founding member of the Diggers, an anarchistic    group who supplied free food, free housing and free medical aid to the hordes of runaways    who appeared during the Summer of Love. The Diggers evolved into a group known as the Free    Family which established chains of communes around the Pacific Northwest and Southwest.    Many of the stories of that period are included in his memoir called “Sleeping Where I Fall” published    by Counterpoint Press in April of 1998. One of the stories incorporated into his book is    “Carla’s Story,” which was    awarded the 1993-1994 Pushcart Prize, a national prize for excellence in writing,    published by a non-commercial literary magazine.
From 1975    to1983 Peter was a member of the California State Arts Council, the State agency which    determines art policy. After his first year, he was elected Chairman by his peers three    years in a row, and during his tenure as Chairman, the Council’s overhead expenses dropped    from 50% to 15%, the lowest in the State, and the Arts Council budget rose from    one-to-fourteen million dollars annually. It has never been higher since.
These political    victories, among others, fostered Peter’s decision to re-enter acting. In 1978, he began    to work at San Francisco’s award-winning Magic Theater doing plays continuously “to    shake out the rust” and get his unused skills back in working order. While playing    the lead in the World Premiere of Sam Shepard’s “True West,” he was spotted by a    Hollywood agent who asked to represent him. Seventy plus films later, Peter is still    acting.

Beginning in the early ’80s, Peter began doing voice-overs, which has led to a very successful side venture, now numbering over 120 films. His mellow voice,    often compared to Henry Fonda’s, is a gift that won him an Emmy in 1992 for his narration    of the “The Meiji Revolution” episode, part of the PBS American Experience    ten-part series called “The Pacific Century.” He continues to lend his rich    voice to narrations for commercials and documentaries and often donates his voice to films that support issues close to his heart.

Peter makes his home in Marin County in Northern California since the early ’70s. An avid outdoorsman, he is also a passionate songwriter, guitarist and amateur photographer. He has two grown children and has been married to Stefanie Pleet since 2000.

COYOTE ON THE BEATS 2013

Chttp://www.diggers.org/Coyote-on-Beats.htm

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