The Gone World Still Parading Thru My Dream
A few of the places and routines of my daily life for the past decades, already fading in consciousness as I turn to the next phase, here recalled with affection.
Plants & prayer flags inscribed with Allen’s Howl in my office window.
My computer desk in office,
with (on the left) Allen Ginsberg/Patti Smith poster from their 1996 appearance
at Hill Auditorium,
Shakespeare, Drama, Women's Studies & Afrocentric Studies
books and paper flotsam, in my office.
View from the college parking ramp:
St. Mark's Church (episcopal), constructed of stones brought up from the river. One of the many architectural marvels tucked away among corporate buildings downtown.
Veteran's Memorial Park. Bikers' hangout in the
60s, always a place to find homeless and destitute. My friend Chris
Clay's name is up on the
Park Congregational Church. When I was a kid, there were three Pitts downtown, where kids could come and hear bands our own age do covers of recent Stones, Animals, Kinks hits, meet kids from all over town & every race and social class. I remember a huge fight between west side greasers vs. the suburban kids and the bikers outside the Pitt that was located in this church—whips made from snapped-off car antennas, clubs, brass knuckles, the works. Of course, this was an age away from drive-bys and semi-automatic weapons, romantic I suppose in that you could only get your head bashed in & might not even need to go to the emergency room.
Civic Theatre, one of the
oldest in US, a haven for Broadway retreads, predictable staging, staid
performance and audiences. When
I was a kid, this was the Majestic Theatre. I saw Hitchcock's Psycho here in
sixth grade and had nightmares for weeks afterwards. It was a great venue to
throw popcorn from the balcony during kids' afternoon shows. The two other
downtown theatres of my youth were the Midtown, where my mother cried through
"The King and I" after her divorce, and the
Rosa Parks Circle, site of jazz, blues and other open air concerts all summer, ethnic festivals, zombie walk @ Hallowe'en, skating in winter. See "Wild Pillars, Billowing Giant Vapors" and "The Sleepers" in Coming Home.
Front of the Scamway Hotel (left), owned by Republicans who have funded "faith-based" initiatives to force the public to pay for religious propaganda in schools and elsewhere, as well as anti-gay initiatives in Ca. They're also connected via marriage to Eric Prince, of Blackwater infamy.
Ahnabawen Park, built for US Bicentennial,
with Gerald Ford Presidential Museum & Library in distance—Ford's grave is
over there somewhere, too. This area is sacred ground for First Nation peoples,
Scamway Hotel and other behemoths from across the river.
Tunnel in park path. I hiked these paths during the 90s, ostensibly as a fitness regimen, but really because I love being near the river. See "Owashtanong Sunrise" in Turn the Wheel.
The old Civic Auditorium, once major venue for concerts in GR. We saw Chuck Berry, Arlo Guthrie and Ry Cooder, and most famously, The Clash here, on their last tour (Combat Rock). Their concert was the last event at the Civic before it closed—helluva knockout show to go out with. I'm not sure what it's used for now.
Interesting facade work on the lower section of the Scamway Hotel (once the Pantlind). It's funny, but when I was a kid, the area now populated by the wealthy and those pretending to be so was then home to the Knife and Fork, a greasy spoon famous for its hookers and cabbies at 2 a.m. A teenager could get an education during a late night/early morning breakfast, just by listening to the conversations nearby.
The famous Calder stabile, "La Grand Vitesse," which has become the centerpiece of this area's artistic identity. When first proposed, the stabile met a chorus of troglodyte boos, but now the Calder logo is on city garbage trucks and is a source of civic pride. It is, I believe, the most graceful and beautiful of the Calder stabiles I've either seen in person or in artbooks. Poesy connection: see "Ghost Dance for La Grand Vitesse" in Coming Home.