Una Bella Giornata, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood.

10 April 2011

Karen Deamant took this photo of Canned Heat.


Abita di lamé dorato, sandali dorati senza calze, smalto rosso brillante sulle unghie; le chiome rosso fiamma erano raccolte in cima alla testa e sostenute da un alto traliccio di fili dorati. Pensai fra me: “Se questa antenna è provvista di elettrcità, posso sintonizzarmi su Mosca e dire a Putin cosa pensa di lui.

Dressed in gold lamé, golden sandals without socks, brilliant red on her nails; her red flaming hair was tied back to the top of her head and held with an old trellis of golden threads. I thought to myself: “If this antenna is provided with electricity, I can tune in to Moscow and tell Putin what I think of him.”


Karen Deamant, Northern California, 1990.


Wilhelmina and Sam Andrew, my mother and father eleven days before I was born.


La verità è che non aveva aggiunto proprio niente. Aveva semplicemente tolto qualcosa. Quella sera memorabile, aveva bevuto un numero di cicchetti superiore al consueto e, intontita dall’alcool, aveva dimenticato di mettersi le mutandine.

The truth is that she hadn’t added anything. She had simply subtracted something. That memorable evening, she had more cocktails than usual and, numbed by alcohol, she had forgot to put on her underwear.


Credo fatum nos coegisse.

I think fate brought us together.


Hitchcock’s schoolhouse: I worked with Randal Myler on Love, Janis in several cities. When Randal was nine or so, he was an extra in The Birds. He’s the blonde kid with glasses in front of all the other children when they are running from the schoolhouse. Karen Deamant took these photos of a bird in situ and the schoolhouse itself. This is up near Bodega Bay or Marshall in California.


Elise Piliwale, an unusual person by any measure.


It takes about ten years to get used to how old you are.

Packard 1941.


in the end, everything is a gag. Charlie Chaplin.

Peter Albin and the famous fanny pack.


Cogito ergo spud. (I think, therefore I yam.)

Libyan (graphite)


Milioni di anni fa, l’amore era una manifestazione primordiale su questo nostro pazzo globo.

Millions of years ago, love was a primordial manifestation on this our crazy globe.

Karen Deamant, Paul Barbarus, 1990.


Noli me rogare ubi sint claves. Eas nunc nuper habebas.

Don’t ask me where the keys are. You had them last.


Sandra, Lindsey, Susan, Patricia, Penelope, Gary. The Remolif sisters and one errant male.


Sam Andrew, Stacy Bauer, that guy from the movies, Lee Andrew.

St. Cloud, Minnesota.


Experience teaches you to recognize a mistake when you’ve make it again.

Elise diving a drawing lesson to Brittany and AJ Hale.


I ragazzi, che continuavano a vincere, dissero: “Va bene. A dire la verità, preferiamo giocare per terra.”

The boys who continued to win, said: “That’s good. To tell the truth, we prefer to play on the ground.”


Wilhelmina Andrew, née Mann, Bridget Andrew, Sam Andrew, Jr.)


Life is too short to stuff a snail.

Babs Reed. This woman was so kind in high school. I bet she still is. Everyone liked her. She radiated goodness. One of those people, you know?


Emily holding Kieran, Luke, Shane Rollins. The first son Luke is a remarkable child, gifted, really. Kieran has Emily’s nose, though, so there is hope. And Shane’s brain.


This scene looks positively rustic compared to today. Elise’s family are musicians and they have played and sung their beautiful tunes in all of these hotels.


Ben Nieves. Talk about gifted. There was some politician on the radio saying, “We have to save Ohio,” and Elise and I thought that was so funny, but my next thought was, “Ben could save Ohio if he put his mind to it. He can do anything.” Big Brain, Warm Heart, Powerful Combination.


Primavera! Scavallandomi con gli ormoni.

Spring! Cavorting with my hormones.

Ahhh, it’s Spring again. LIFE Magazine 18 December 1944.


Prepositions are the most difficult little words to keep straight in any language. People in New York wait “on line,” but in California they wait “in line.” There is no logic to these constructions, so they are very difficult to learn in each language. We turn the lights out, but everything else we turn off. Elise says “Put it up,” a Southernism. I say “Put it away,” but i had to train myself to say that. You “freak out,” you don’t “freak off.” If you say “freak off,” people will notice it right away. Prepositions…they’re murder. They have to be memorized one by one. Even the slightest misuse of one will mark you as a non native speaker.

Tom Finch, Sam Andrew, Lynn Asher, George’s, San Rafael, February 2011.

It’s easy to make a friend. What’s hard is to make a stranger. (Although it was much easier to make a stranger in the 1960s.)

A day is the time it takes the earth to make one revolution on its axis, right? A year is the time it takes the earth to go around the sun once. A month, too, has a basis in nature. But seconds? Hours? Weeks? Decades? Centuries? These are manmade measurements and have no natural basis. Purely arbitary. Notice that in this country our measurement of long periods of time and our measurement of money are metric, but our other measurements, being based on the body, are mostly not. Ten dimes equal a dollar, but ten inches don’t equal a foot. (“Inches” are thumbs and a “foot” is a foot.)

Here are some lovely feet that belong to Rona Walstra Avery and her beautiful sisters.


Paula Andrew, Stephen Andrew, Austin, 1980s.


Janis Joplin at The Magic Mountain Festival. I don’t know why, but I like this shot. Maybe it’s her breasts. They’re perfect. Maybe it’s that typically pensive expression. Anyway, it’s the real Janis.


My friend Sue loves plants. I cannot forbear adding here, even though it has nothing to do with Sue, that Dorothy Parker, when asked to use the word “horticulture” in a sentence, said “You can lead a whore to culture but you can’t make her think.


Lynn Asher has such a great smile.


Okinawa 1947. Concrete proof that I was indeed graduated from Kindergarten. I’m thinking that the man here who is giving me the diploma (a diploma for kindergarten!) is perhaps General Heggenberger who then gave his name to Heggenberger Road in Oakland, that runs by the Coliseum and on into the Oakland Airport. I love the looks of my classmates. Eyes flashing, smiling, eager to step out into life. Years later I came back and graduated from high school on this same island.


Karen Deamant, Karen Lyberger, Victor Skuratowicz and his wife Paula.



Sam Andrew, James Gurley, Janis Joplin, on the water.


My friend Joel Hoekstra plays in this show. He’s on the right middle, with white guitar.


Nick Suntzeff, Stephen Hawking. “Next time I am in San Rafael, and you are around,” Nick writes, “I can give you my schpeel on dark energy. I co-founded one of the two groups that discovered this stuff (and did a lot of work on dark matter), which seems to be everywhere in the universe. and in fact, makes up 73% of everything out there.” This will make for something to chat about over coffee one of these days.


Snooky Flowers and Trina Baucom. Trina said, “Snooky, would you watch my purse while I go to the bathroom?” and Snooky replied, “I’d rather watch your body.”


This Side of the Truth (29 March 2011) oil on canvas (Photo: Max Clarke) Maybe three quarters finished?


Sophia Ramos, Sam Andrew, Topanga Canyon. This was a good audience.


Elise has made our home a beautiful place. An Italian film crew is coming here on Monday to photograph what she has done, Brussels Sprouts and all.

Ezio, Maria and Stefania.


Sue makes that Cadillac look good, doesn’t she?


Bill Rude has a ski magazine, and he was the maître d’ at The Trident during the Glory Years. He knew everybody from Paul Desmond to Bill Cosby to Janis Joplin.


Sam Andrew, KK Ryder, Mark Riley, Todd Zimberg. Under The Rail, Seattle, 1990s.


Elise Piliwale making a film noir, Frankfort, Deutschland.


Elise’s mother, Carla Piliwale, and Joan Piliwale.


Astronaut Dennis Wheelock took this beautiful photograph of Italy. Did you know that Sicily was this big?


My friend Ronnie Campsey’s parents and grandparents, South Texas, 1938.


We were going to the airport one day, and Karen Deamant was kind enough to arrange this beautiful limousine for us. Photo: Karen Deamant.


Elise woke up one morning and said, “There is something wrong with Obama’s mouth. There has been an injury there.” Later that day on the news we heard that he had been banged on the basketball court. Women. They are tuned in to a whole other level. Elise said, “Where did that come from? How did I know that?” and I answered, “Maybe it’s because you were both born in the same hospital, maybe even the same bed, with the same nurse.”


Janis Joplin onstage at The Magic Mountain Festival.


All right, I will learn to read, but when I have learned, I never, never shall.

(British novelist David Garnett at age 4, to his mother.)

Ben Nieves and I in the throes.


Big Brother and the Holding Company as a horn band. That was fun.


Hawaii looking very much like Okinawa. Of course, this is in the 1950s. Neither Oahu nor Okinawa looks like this now.


There was an amazing series of gigs at this Santa Venetia Armory A film of all those concerts would be most interesting. I played in two of these bands.


Sam Andrew was laughing and Janis and Peter were serious.


During the Kozmic Blues Band adventure in Europe, Bobby Neuwirth and i got drunk with the mayor of Stockholm and walked all over town. One of the best guided tours ever.


Money like drugs is a terrible master, but an excellent servant.


Karen Deamant going home.


Snooky takes a break.


As usual, the Jews and Arabs are “settling their differences” in the true spirit of “Christian charity.”


Classmates, Okinawa. We went to school in quonset huts. We lived in quonset huts. A more simple building design would be hard to imagine. Plus, when it came time for typhoons and tsunamis, the building was simply tied down with cables.


Snooky Flowers, larger than life, from Lake Charles, Louisiana.


Kate Russo. Her name means Russian or red in Italian, and she could be all three of these. Good vibrations. Buone vibrazione. Thank you, Kate.


Nothing is said that has not been said before. (Terence 185-159 B.C.)

See you next week!

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


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