Monday, August 28, 2006

Mendocino Seen Report

Nada surf for this aquaholic due to the Pacific's sick rips, nasty sharks and icy arctic waters---they say ya need a drysuit anywhere north of Maverick. Or at least a 5/4 and all I got is a 3/2 so I went hiking instead. Nitelife; homegrown music at the Headlands coffee house in nearby Fort Bragg, Celtic, piano jazz, or Reggae night at the Casper. Went searching for the spirit of Bennett Berger--could he be hovering above the communes of Albion?

Desperately seeking sociology, Madame Chinchilla's astonishing Triangle Tattoo Museum was the commotion in my ocean--on display were all manner of art and artifact from the Japanese, Maori, from India, the circus, American patriots, Russian convicts, and the involuntarily inked--concentration camp inmates. Madame Chinchilla and Mr. G authored a host of tattoo books and several walls of client photographs. You can't get into the salt water with fresh ink so I held out---there's still a month or two of surf waiting for me back in Long Beach, NY. But maybe when the whales come round, I'll return to Ft. Bragg for a new design.(

Soul surfed the black sand, sea lions and stunning sunsets at Cleone, great recovery scene and 47 acres of God's love at the Botanical Gardens by the sea( Bought a Mary-as-Goddess print, "Our Lady of Everything" at Wisdom House Gallery ( in Mendo. Glass Fire Artglass Studio blew my mind--blown glass marine art made by waterpeople who surf it deep (18320 N. Hwy One, Fort Bragg, CA 95437 Phone: 707-962-9420 ). Spotted deer and wild turkeys in the redwoods of Russian Gultch, rode the Skunk Train ( along the Noyo River to Northspur as Greg the train singer crooned Johnny Cash and Dylan. Ate fresh blackberries, plums and apples off trees, chilled under eucalyptus branches with a dancing Dalmation named Sam.

Fresh air, sunshine, marine layered skies, I threw away my azma meds after three days. On the tenth week of Pentacost, and the eleventh, I took communion at St. Michael and All Angels Episco Church and gave a Reiki treatment to a friend. Green and veganized, I found raw food treats and carrot juice at Living Light Culinary Arts Center ( Warded off psychic vampires with sacred crossing oil from Lady Rhea, High Priestess of the Bronx. Took a hot bath in rose petals from Brother Tommy's garden of 3000 rose bushes. Surfsick and homeward bound, I was sipping a blueberry smoothie in the JetBlue terminal at Oakland airport when I ran into the guys from Flipper. We of NYC look forward to their show next month at the doomed CBGB's.

Landed at JFK around midnight with a redwood burl, wildflower seeds and a pocketful of snails. Thought about going bicoastal, like Jeff Stryker in the 1980's. I can breathe free on the left coast, but I need the right one too. Upon my return to NYC, twelve blissful daze of Mendomellow gave way to a sinus infection, azma attacks, war all the time, crowds and joyful reunions with friends. Yeah, NYC is old, tough and scuzzy, and the Ramones, the clubs and the towers ain't ever coming back. But in the words of the immortal Johnny Bully, aka FF John Heffernan, "It's still my home."


Monday, August 07, 2006

Sociologist Bennett Berger--Memorial Tribute

In November 2005, a precious lifetime guide passed over to the other side. In his work and his life, Professor Emeritus Bennett Berger illuminated the gnarly problematic of individuality within community. Without him, my understanding of the generations would have been impossible. When I started out, Berger's critique of Erik Erikson's stage theories freed me to view my life as a creative sociological journey. We shared a lurid fascination with suburbia and the necrosis of life in academe. Years later, at midlife, when I'd hit a brick wall, Berger's sociological imagination showed me my intuitions were on target. When I finally met him, embracing me as one of his people, Bennett Berger showed me some fine San Diego surf spots. Someday soon, I hope to revisit the break at Cardiff-by-the-Sea to surf it deep--a tribute to a sweet friend and mentor.
Above, in NYC, circa 1997.