Bohemia Ranch Waterfall, oil on canvas by Bill Wheeler
MOST: Speaking of painters, Bill Wheeler opened his first San Francisco one-man show at the George Krevsky gallery. It ran for a month and was a definite hit! Knowledgeable critic Alan Temko wrote that Bill's canvases have "tremendous depth" and show "a combined act of love between artist and subject." Get yours now before the prices soar!
"Off Deadline," from The Maui News
Tuesday, December 15, 1998
by Timothy Hurley, staff reporter
Above the surface, the news story was a straightforward
account of the discovery and retrieval of a baby dolphin ensnared by a
rope and drowned in 35 feet of water off Kamaole Beach Park I. Below the
surface, it was a tale of two lives touched by a tragedy and the interaction
with an amazing creature known as the dolphin. Rena Blumberg of Kihei went
to Kamaole I on that Wednesday morning, Dec. 2, for a swim. Checking with
the lifeguard to see if any jellyfish were in the water, she learned there
was none. However, she was told a couple of dolphins had been spotted.
Having swum with dolphins before, she knew what an exhilarating experience
it is. She quickly donned her fins and goggles and jumped into the surf.
Once in deeper water, though, she couldn't find them. Blumberg had heard dolphins vocalize before, so she mimicked the sound the best she could. It wasn't long before two bottlenose dolphins, about 12 feet long, swam up to her.
"I love dolphins and know that I am safe with dolphins, so I followed them."
They led her to the baby dolphin, ensnared in a rope attached to an anchor. The rope was looped around the baby's bottom jaw, she said, and the older ones were crying out. The two adult dolphins were trying frantically to save the baby, she recalled. She saw them swim under it, trying to lift it to the surface. She saw them rub its belly, as if trying to rekindle a spark of life. They also were chewing on the three-quarter-inch rope.
Nothing worked. Blumberg went for help.
There were a few more lifeguards on duty that morning because of a district lifeguard meeting at the Kamaole park, and Alfredo Villas-Boas, who ordinarily works at a county pool, would soon find himself responding to Blumberg's call.
He and two other lifeguards responded on a rescue watercraft to the location of the drowning, about a quarter-mile offshore. Villas-Boas volunteered to free-dive to the animal.
Jumping into the water, he saw the adult dolphins blocking his way in a criss-cross formation. All he could think to do was to think of God and good thoughts and to make shaka signs with both hands as he descended to the bottom.
The two powerfully built adults were making loud squealing noises, and he knew they could do some serious harm, if they wanted to. Instead, they seemed to understand he was there to help, and they gently backed off.
At the bottom, Villas-Boas saw that the young dolphin had bit into the rope and apparently had been unable to let go. Otherwise, it looked healthy.
Villas-Boas opened the dolphin's mouth and removed the rope, then took the animal into his arms and headed for the surface, all the while maintaining his good thoughts. He knew the creature was dead, because it sank every time he let it go.
When Villas-Boas reached the watercraft, he decided to give the dolphins a moment to say goodbye. He held the creature by the tail with both hands and held it out into the water. On cue, the adults touched heads with the baby and looked at Villas-Boas one last time before swimming away.
Moments later, the two dolphins surfaced within four feet of Blumberg as she was swimming back to shore.
One of them looked her straight in the eye.
"We shared the grief of an unnecessary death caused by marine debris," she said.
The lifeguards hauled the baby dolphin to Cove Park, where it was handed over to a state aquatics official. Later, Villas-Boas returned to Kamaole I, still shaken with emotion over the events of the morning. Incredibly, he found that someone had crashed into his car, causing an estimated $2,000 damage.
The scene didn't even faze him.
"I was thinking: 'This is the most minimal of things to happen to me. I'm all right but something else died',"he said, adding that his only concern was for the injured woman who plowed into his car.
"I just felt so blessed to be with the dolphins,'' he recalled.
Villas-Boas said he believes we're all guilty for the loss of the dolphin.
"If we cleaned up, we could minimize these deaths,'' he said. "For me, personally, I feel responsible. I know a human being did that. The whales and turtles and dolphins live there. It is their home.''
The next day Villas-Boas was with his two little daughters at his Paia home, watching a cartoon about a dolphin. He cried.
"This will be with me the rest of my life.''
Timothy Hurley is a staff writer for The Maui News. "Off Deadline'' is a weekly column that allows staff members an opportunity to take a step back and reflect on issues of the day, or to just talk story.
Joe Dolce, 6/9/99:
Enfants des Fleurs, I thought I'd share some of the last correspondence
I had with Lou before he 'left the building'.
I'll start with this nice exchange, in which he talks about his musical dream, which unfortunately was cut short; however, I'm sure he's playing a four-hander out there (in here?) somewhere with Johnny B. Bach. The first letter is mine to him -- the second, his reply:
Friday, February 10, 1995
Taking a breather before going over to the theatre to do 'Difficult Women' tonight. Today has been sweet and sour -- our first review for this season has been somewhat lukewarm -- some good bits -- actually, some great bits! -- but the overall tone does not make it suitable for our press collection. Of course, we all want everyone to like us all the time but unfortunately, reviews are really only advertising and not to be taken seriously as any sort of dependable opinion. We've gotten dozens and dozens of reviews on our show. About six positive to every one negative: an acceptable percentage considering the show is personal, political and controversial. Fortunately, there are about six more to come so we'll see if the percentages hold up.
I would have loved to receive a realization of some of my 'Joan On Fire' oratorio score from you! it would be exciting to hear how you put together the sounds. I would also like to see how your Finale computer program prints out parts for individual instruments. (How do you estimate costs when you put someone's score on disc and then just print out the parts for them? Give me a ballpark figure, for example.)
I was just informed today that a small Arts Victoria grant I submitted for 'Joan' has been approved! I applied for some money to hire a copyist to prepare parts for the strings, trumpets and SATB choir. I've completed the first draft of the piano reduction and put the vocal parts in SATB format with the soloists parts as well. So now, my next stage is to recopy the master score on thirty-eight stave paper with the vocals laid out properly and the trumpets in C. I've also written a neat little piece for viola da gamba and harpsichord which I've included in the score, for the cellos. It looks like I've found someone who is a combination of conductor and entrepreneur to produce 'Joan On Fire' in November.
'Cavafy' will also be happening next month. I'm looking forward to it! (note re "When The Lips and the Skin Remember, a14-part song cycle of the poems of C. P. Cavafy". Lou insisted that I write out the music for the first Cavafy poem that I set to music, 'Return.' This was over twenty years ago, before I knew how write music. He sat there with me for a couple of hours in Maui, writing out the melody for the song for me. So this event was especially significant for him. I still have his hand-written score.)
I'm so envious that you're going to be singing "St. Matthew's Passion." It's my favourite of Bach's sing-a-longs. An incredible hymn-book. All the best! Keep me up-to-date on rehearsals and insights.
There's quite a bit of a hulabaloo about 'Jesus Christ Superstar' in Australia these days. Sort of a revival of the old war horse. For the life of me, I don't understand why. There are some nice tunes in it, of course, but the whole thing seems a bit morally defective, if you know what I mean. It really should be called: 'St. Paul Superstar,' if it's supposed to be an indictment of the evils of organized religion. Andrew Lloyd Weber doesn't have a clue what Jesus Christ was talking about. Finally, the whole things glorifies Judas, who was really a low-life stool pigeon who sold out his friend to the police for money and then hanged himself. Not very empowering, really. Am I the only one who sees these things? A bit of a light cigar compared to Bach's Gospel.
My latest culinary treat: a rocket pizza: prepare pizza dough, roll out, spread thinly with green olive paste, then slices of mozzarella cheese -- bake until ready. Before serving, heap an oil and vinegar-dressed mound of rocket leaves on top (about two inches high!)
I'm still looking for someone on your side of the world to help me organize some 'Difficult Women' shows. I would like to do a showcase for managers, agents, etc, to demonstrate the beauty and power of the show. A few choice folk festivals would be good. We get a tremendous reaction at folk festivals in Australia and Canada.
Have you ever taken up chess? I learned about five years ago and became a fanatic for about two years. I was playing about twenty correspondence games by mail with folks from Germany, and all around the world. Several games lasted four years. Two of my chess-friends died in the middle of games. (Suffice to say, I won by default.) I abandoned chess as a serious activity when I discovered Bach. I think learning how to read four different types of chess notation taught me how to think quickly in symbols which led to the passion that I now have for music notation. Tres cosmique how one thing becomes another like that. Anyway: closing quote: "If you don't get all the things that you want, think of all the things you don't get that you don't want," Joe
Joe: Whew!! My hands are sore from typing but that's an incredible dose of the living and present Lou! If anyone wants me to continue with a few more letters, let me know. I also have a great story about when Lou and Nancy and Gay and I were all living together in a house in Maui. Lou wanted to kick me out because I wouldn't go pick him up from his hike through the Haleakala volcano crater! ( Plenty of action and sex, but that's another story.) I have a new song lyric page up and going if anyone wants to check that out:
Difficult Women: http://members.iinet.net.au/%7Edwomen/DWwelcome.html
Don't forget to smell the Thorns, too, love,
Tanya Armstrong, 6/9/99: Yet another one of us is gone.
The inimitable Big John O'Dell, known as "Preach" during the 60s, passed
away recently. I'm certain at least some readers of The Most Newsletter
will recall this memorable character and good friend. Big John lived large,
filling a room with his joy of life and vigor. You and Judy met him in
1991, at that seder dinner at my house with Uncle Lou, and John and Jeannie.
It might have been difficult for you to recognize John's great sense of
humor and storytelling abilities that night because Lou was naturally the
star of the evening. John brought his friend Kyle with him to that dinner
party, and shortly after Kyle and I became a couple. I thank Big John for
bringing Kyle into my life.
Only 56 years old (my age), he died of congestive heart failure behind the wheel of his stepvan. His vehicle was also his home. The pastor of the Lily of the Valley Baptist Church on San Pablo Avenue had allowed him to live in their parking lot for the last few years. His eight-year-old female birddog, Chelsea, is now looking for a new loving home. If you know anyone looking for a high-energy companion, please let me know.
Big John was a very familiar character on the Berkeley scene, quite tall, large of girth, with a booming laugh and a long, squared-off preacher beard. He had a wild sense of humor and never failed to crack me up at every meeting in the 37 years I knew him. He was an extremely talented artist, as well as a lively critic of several East Bay municipalities. He attended most city council meetings and ran (unsuccessfully) for mayor of Hayward in 1994. He most recently made his living in advertising as a graphic artist. His business card read "Absolutely Everything Promotional". What a vibrant, alive person he was!
His memorial was this Saturday at Lily of the Valley Church, which was packed. John had segmented his life in such a way that one group of friends did not know of the existence of the others. It was not an ordinary ceremony with a few relatives getting up to extol the virtues of the deceased. Almost everyone got up to relate amazing and hysterically funny stories about this generous and remarkable human being. The church fairly rocked with laughter, interspersed with warm tears for the loss of the big guy who had been their friend.
When it was my turn, I told about a time in 1965 when he came to Dick's and my little house in Cotati. We were getting our degrees from Sonoma State at that time. We wanted a fireplace but the house didn't have one. So Big John came up from Berkeley to make a filigreed fireplace out of a 55-gallon drum and an old Sylvania TV tube for a hood. We set him up to work in the wrong place, however -- under a huge acacia tree. Dick and I were inside the house, putting a meal together, when John accidentally ignited the outlet of the acetylene tank with the torch. Not knowing how to deal with the situation, he dropped everything and started running around the house, yelling his head off, "Help! Somebody help! Fire! Help!"
We saw him go flying past the window and looked at each other. We'd never seen him move that fast before. Dick quickly threw a blanket in the tub and ran water on it. He then ran outside and threw the blanket over the still-burning tank, quenching the fire so he could turn off the tank's valve. Then, as John came howling around the corner of the house for the last time, we tackled him and all fell to the grass in a giggling pile of good buddies. Afterwards, John finished the fireplace, which was really quite beautiful and definitely unique. We used it often in the three years we lived there, before moving to the Delaney Ranch in Occidental, and we always thought of Big John when we did.
The ceremony lasted a couple of hours and the potluck party which followed went on for a few more. Everyone thought they knew all the facets of John's life, but he'd held out on all of us. The article about his passing appeared in all five East Bay papers and brought all sorts of people to the memorial -- all ages and all walks of life. The variety of stories about John was amazing! As though he'd had a multiple personality. In fact, that's a real possibility! Early on, he'd been a feature writer for The Berkeley Barb and The Berkeley Citizen. He'd sold shoes, worked as a bartender, hotel manager, car salesman (which he was when I first met him at age 18), layout artist and forklift/tractor operator. We discovered that he was an active promoter of the arts and public transport in the East Bay, as well as a very vocal advocate for the homeless.
It was marvelous to see so many old, familiar faces. Despite the expanded waistbands and balding heads, we all looked pretty much like we used to. My ex, Richard Armstrong, still has his blond hair and biting wit. John's lifetime friend/lover, Toba Goddard, now has curly hair like me (in the 60s, I was so jealous of her long, straight, swingy hair). Baana Barker told how she and Mark Hickman referred to John as a verb, that after he would visit their home on Joy Road they'd say they'd been "Johnned". Everyone agreed they broke the mold after making Big John O'Dell. We will keep him in our hearts always. Ramon, I hope you will add the foregoing to your next MOST for those who knew John to read and say "amen" to a life fully lived. Badaba, your friend,
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