Saturday, September 28, 2013

Cindy Lee Berryhill Photos by Henry Diltz 1988

cindy lee berryhill by henry diltz

These were all taken in downtown San Diego, mostly along Broadway,  before the gentrification really kicked in. You can see it was a playground for sailors and the anonymous. I lived about 6 blocks from here on Market and 5th in a building that was sorta subsidized for artists, so our rent was a bit cheaper then the norm. I was living here sometimes and part of the time in New York City on the Lower East Side with my then boyfriend, from the Antifolk scene, Kirk Kelly (also a songwriter). 

I worked as a temp for months at a time, usually being offered a job but having to turn it down because I needed to get back to New York for a while. Me and my Antifolk pals liked that whole Beat Poet transient thing, living part time here part time there. Wasn't so good on the pocket book, but it was great fun. 

Dan and Michelle in the art department at Rhino Records introduced me to Henry Diltz. They booked the photo session date and drove down from LA with Henry in tow. He was super nice and had that long pony tail in back. I was impressed with how comfortable he was to be around and how easy it was to get into a space where you could feel like yourself with him. I was aware of the great photos he'd taken of The Doors and Joni Mitchell and others and he just didn't make it a problem, if you know what I mean. I could be myself.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Henry Diltz and Paul Williams

I took these photos at Henry's house in 1996. Paul had an extended conversation with Henry, an interview which eventually came out in Mojo. I had met Henry years earlier when he did the cover shots for my first album on Rhino Records. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Floating; is it space or is it the sea

Just watched Wall-e with my son. Last time we watched it was with (my late husband) Paul around 2008. Dang it's still such a great film. And the part at the end where Eve is doing everything/trying to bring Wall-e back to life, or back to himself, reminds me of how many things I tried to fix or help Paul. 

Some things we have to let go of, some people, and accept that their fate or life path is out of our hands. That the outcome is not up to us or our doing. Maybe something bigger is at work.

You know the Auto-wheel in Wall-e, and how it goes berserk and tries to control the outcome for everyone on board the Axiom? How it becomes a kind of H.A.L. type computer that must control all things on the ship of life, including destroying the life? That's what I think of myself as now, when I think back at that time when I was in the throes of trying to keep our little family (of three) together, on time, ok, fed, medicated or whatever furthered the directive. 

I'm thankful that somehow in the midst of that crazy brain, I was aware I was off base, and would find a way to back off. Playing music helped. I'll always be grateful to the musicians that helped me through that rough patch startin' around 2004. Mary Fleener and Paul Theerio (i.e. The Wigbillies) were a blast to play music with and whenever I had the chance to escape my home-life for a brief spell and spend time in their garden and home full of cool weird art and music it was a wonderfully healing thing. 

I owe a debt of gratitude to Christopher Hoffee (and Patrick Dennis who introduced us) as well who insisted I come record music in his recording studio. He wouldn't leave me alone. Every other week or so, and I'd been off radar/other side of the moon for a spell, I'd get a call from Chris making me promise to come back in with the Wigbillies. 

At any rate, it's been a week of getting over a cold and thoughts of Paul. I got a package of his books in the mail this week, stuff sent back here from the Boo-hooray Gallery exhibit. One of the books How Deep is The Ocean: Brian Wilson and Beach Boys being a book Paul wrote and released in 1998. He had signed this copy to me in November of 2000, we had separated the year before and were now happily back together, he wrote: "Just like it says on page 5, I Love You!" and then at the bottom a quote from one of our favorite Brian Wilson songs Til I Die, "I lost my way".  

 2008 at home w my wurlitzer
 2007 playing solitaire by the door
 2007 San Elijo Lagoon. One of favorite hikes

with Alexander at San Elijo trail head
2008 w Chin Chu who was visiting from Singapore 
(Dan Chusid this photo)
2005-me, Patrick Dennis, Mary Fleener and Paul Therrio (The Wigbillies)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

East Coast Tour (but really a vacation) Part 2

(Photos by David Hartwell, except where indicated)
Another photo from the Old Mill Inn, Mattituck Long Island, this place was so picturesque with boats docking right alongside the back patio

Picking up a few of Paul's books and some old photos from Boo-Hooray gallery

then, hustling to catch our train out of NYC, and on to Pleasantville, where we pick up the car and high-tail it for Westport, NY about 6 hours up the state and on big beautiful Lake Champlain
(photo by Kathryn Cramer)
Performing with Geoffrey Hartwell at a hall in Westport, NY

We caught an art exhibit in the old train station in Westport. It was great having a day off here. I could hang out with my long-time-no-see friend Kathryn Cramer and Alexander got to know her (and David's) kids. She drove us around other parts of the area and we met some cool folks and saw farms where "slow food" is being grown. There's a "slow food" cafe on the corner by my place here in Encinitas and it was cool seeing a farm that's gone back to using the old horse and plow method and totally organic. I can dig it.

We split the Lake and drove through Vermont, stopping in Middlebury at a tea shop that was exceptional. It was me and Alexander. David and his two kids, Elizabeth (10) and Peter (15) and we all had a lovely cup of authentic and lovingly made tea. Then we hit the road again and drove all the way to the coast reaching our destination of Kittery Maine. The next morning we hit the "beach"...

...which was really a harbor...Alexander took one look at the stuff under his feet and said "this isn't a beach and that black stuff isn't sand and those rocks.. don't make a beach" This was quite different from our Southern California version of beach...

But the views were amazing and the sky, very different colors and shapes of clouds. Look at that blue...

Another thing: the water was freezing. I used to go in the water on Long Island when I lived in New York years ago, but this water in Maine, it was really cold. Ankle numbingly.
I love this photo of Alexander and Elizabeth. The kids were having a great time hanging together. 

A big part of their fun was playing MineCraft on their iPhones ( I had to loan my out to Alexander so he could join in). They were actually linked together in the game, and interacting...Here we are socializing. Except maybe not with one another. 

The next day we drove into Portsmouth, New Hampshire with our wonderful hostess, and fab mystery (and SciFi) writer Sarah Smith. Sarah's husband, Fred Perry grew up next door to the house they now occupy during summer months. It's an adorable old wooden 2 story that was built in the 1800s by a fisherman and is just a few blocks from Kittery Point with it's docks and rocky beach's. 

In Portsmouth we hit a toy store and Elizabeth got dad to buy her a plastic mustache then we checked out the local ice cream joint. We spent a while in a used bookstore down a side street and I found a book of Jim Carrols' I hadn't seen before, came out just before he passed away, Void of Course: Poems 1994-97. 
Which starts like this:
Genius is not a generous thing. 
In return it charges more interest than any amount
of royalties can cover
And it resents fame
with bitter vengeance

It was a great pleasure to walk the streets of Portsmouth, duck into old bookshops and talk of writing and inspiration and love's roll in the creative process with Sarah. Sometimes being with a fellow artist, after being away in the world of mom's and day to day life, one becomes exceedingly thirsty for a conversation, however brief, with a fellow creative sojourner. 
Here Sarah, in Kittery, trying out an old fashioned early 1900s scooter at the Library book fair day. We all gave that thing a shot. The precursor to skate boards and the (always stupid) Segway. 
That night we had a lobster feast. Fred's brother walked me through the stages of taking a full lobster apart and eating it effectively. Alexander was disgusted with the lot of us and left the table. 

(Laurie Lynn)
I was probably most excited about the gig at one of my all time favorite venues, Club Passim in Cambridge MA. Then I woke up the day of the gig, still in Kittery, and received a shocking text from someone close to my co-bill partner, Mary Lou Lord. She had fallen off of a fire escape, trying to get into her own apartment and was in the hospital with a broken hip, pelvis and leg. It was an awful way to start a Sunday. At first I was in disbelief, maybe it was a prank text. But I checked with mutual friends and it was all too real. 

I didn't know what to do about the night. It was billed as a special event where Mary Lou and I share our songs and stories and highs and woe's of love and mystery of the muse. She was someone I could relate to and I'd been so psyched about our night together. I had to re-think. Should I cancel. I wrote to the club, they expected I would. But when would I be out here next, plus I put Alexander's first day of school, a Monday on hold, so I could do this one last east coast gig. 

Sarah came to my aid and called friends, who recommended friends of friends that were songwriters. Eventually we arrived at a songwriter from Maine with the surprising name of Cormac McCarthy (nope not the author). He said "Oh what the heck, I'll do it" and so we did the show together. It was a wing-it kind of night but he sounded great and it was a kick getting to know a New Englander with songs and stories about growing up in the area. Thank you Cormac for jumpin' in and salvaging the night. 

Meanwhile Mary Lou Lord continues to improve and just went home from the hospital in the past few days and is back on line writing updates about her recovery. 

We woke up on Monday morning at Paul's brothers house in the Boston Area. Eric Williams was a wonderful host and we had a lovely brunch with he and Tom Fels from Amherst University. Talking about Paul Williams books and his archive in my storage back home. I was tired but they were understanding and we got to the plane on time, and flew home, with school and work starting right back up the next morning at 7am...

Monday, September 9, 2013

First Week on the East Coast

(photo David Hartwell)

2013, with it's four months left, has been a most difficult year. I say that, because of the obvious, because of the loss and the knot of stuff that goes with endings, but not with anger, though sometimes frustration. It is and has been, a year of transformation. And with change comes some confusion and grasping, but mostly a feeling of being 'void of course'.

w/John Hector at Dancing Cat Saloon (D. Hartwell)

And so it made a lot of sense to get out of town and do a little adventuring. Alexander and I flew into Boston a few weeks ago on a red-eye, took a cab to Sarah Smith and Fred Perry's home in Brookline, slept for 3 hours, caught a train to Stanford, Ct where David Hartwell picked us up, drove us to his place in Pleasantville, NY and took us to dinner. A darned good start to the adventure.  I had bet Alexander that he would for sure sleep on the red-eye and I was wrong, he won a dollar and I slept for a lovely long hour. 

Next day David, Alexander and I drove out to the Catskills where my friend John Hector had set up a show at a cool little joint in Bethel called The Dancing Cat Saloon. It was a distillery and a music lovers hang-out. I met most of John's family and the opener was a friend of his from kindergarten and her husband. 

Bethel is the place where the original Woodstock concert happened and it turned out, I was there the week of the anniversary of the big music fest, so I read something of Pauls, who had been there, from his book Right To Pass.

(D. Hartwell)

Next day we headed back to Connecticut where Alan Bershaw held a Poolside-House Concert. Alan is a long time friend and if there's every anything you want to know about the recordings of Sandy Denny, Jewel, or Cindy Lee Berryhill, or Wolfgang's Vault he's the guy.
some laughs (A. Bershaw)
some surprises  (A. Bershaw)

w/Forrest Harlow and Margaux Hayes (A. Bershaw)
the mellow vibes of pool-light permeate the mood
(Amy Neufeld)
(Amy Neufeld)

After a late night with friends we had to get up and get going early so we could catch the ferry from New London to Orient Point on Long Island. We stayed at a cool and funky older hotel right on the  L.I. Sound then high tailed it over to the breath-takingly charming and historic Old Mill Inn to play a show. 
(D. Hartwell)

The Ocean air is so different on the east coast. It was wonderful sleeping to the sound of water lapping gently on the shore with sea gulls scree-ing in the distance. 

A few days later we were heading into New York City just for a day. Heading into David Hartwell's work, he's a senior editor at Tor Books. Alexander gets set up in his own office and I visit Boo-Hooray Gallery in Soho (the place that exhibited Paul's work last March) and visit with curator Johan Kugelberg for a few hours.

Reading one of Tor Books bestsellers

Heading home after a long day at the office
And getting ready to hit the road again, this time a late night drive up into the New York Adirondacks.....(more to come)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Paul Williams and Kurt Vonnegut

Above is a link to a book from Paul's personal collection up for sale. Paul met Vonnegut when he was attending  Swarthmore College, or just after. Mark Vonnegut, Kurt's son, went to Swarthmore as well and Paul and he met one another right about the time Crawdaddy Magazine began. Kurt was still living on Cape Cod when Paul came to meet him around mid 1966. This photo was either 1971 or 1973...

The book, Kurt Vonnegut's God Bless You Dr. Kevorkian has a cool inscription to Paul inside.."To my best friend among the living"...