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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Golden Dawn - It's Gonna be a Golden Day! Steve Czapala

Golden Dawn - It's Gonna Be A Golden Day

It?s Gonna Be A Golden Day

This band is not to be confused with the 90s ritual-magick band. I?m sure I?ll love them too, but (like Nirvana) they should have chosen a different name; this one has been taken since the 60s. The Golden Dawn to which I presently refer produced some of the hardest-rocking metaphysics you?ll ever hear. Texas produced some of the finest music of the era, a good deal of it emanating from the International Artists label, who had Thirteenth Floor Elevators hogging most of the glory but also preserved such true freaks as the Red Crayola for incredulous modern ears.

That would have been plenty, but they also had The Golden Dawn on the roster, who if the Elevators had never existed would have been the best psychedelic band in Texas. Perhaps in fact they were, but they only managed one album (A Power Plant in 1968) and not a very long one at that. Laboring under the shadow of the Elevators and the Crayola, their star never quite attained the ?legendary? luminescence of their peers--but Texas music doesn?t get any better than this. The Golden Dawn was out on as farflung a spiritual tangent as were the Elevators, yet they played much tighter rock and roll. (The Red Crayola were lightyears past either, but they ended up severing themselves from the most minimal standards of coherence to get there.)

So there?s a chunk of the playing field that the Golden Dawn will have wholly unto themselves for all eternity. And a glorious chunk it is. Their liner notes attest that they were as heavily into meditation as they were into acid (they weren?t shy about the fact they?d read a little Crowley either). Their LP (both cover and title) was as unabashed a celebration of the triumph of sacred herb as anybody could desire. One wishes more present-day bands would be as militant about it. There are things like The Chronic, but I can?t think of much from the ?rock and roll? bands--not the Americans at least. There?s a thriving scene in England around Hawkwind, Bevis Frond, Gong, and a hundred other interlocking bands. Prime Minister Blair, for all his punk roots, probably won?t consider giving them their Stonehenge back (as if Maggie had ever had the right to take it away), but even if they don?t have their standing stones the freaks still have each other. In America, unfortunately, hive mentality remains on the throne. So if by chance you inhale, don?t hold your breath.

Remember that cereal commercial, filmed entirely in yellow, tawny, electric brown and orange, and featuring sunbeams glistening off of a haystack? Some corn-pone voice would drawl, ?It?s gonna be a gol-den day!? Surely there were many lovely days for this band, sneaking a toke or two behind the barn. Ah, yes, people breathed easier in them thar days...The hell they did--you don?t believe that, do you? We?re talking Texas! In the 60s! Paranoia was one of the very emblems of hipness. If you were into any sort of chemical adventuring beyond coffee, beer or cigarettes, you were best off assuming your phone was being tapped and the FBI was following you around, because it was not at all inconceivable. And the local cops would be more than happy to pick up from the feds whatever slack there was. It was one of those historic changing-of-the-guard moments. You know what that means--you?re busted! Or at least fearful of it. Nowadays it?s hard to appreciate what a brave gesture it was for a rock band in that place and time to put it all on the line, flaunting their lifestyle choices in so provocative a manner.

These people truly were ?outrageous? in a way to which most moderns have forgotten even to aspire--because back then the outraging of certain authority figures over that particular set of issues could get you anything from a fractured skull to 10-to-20 years in jail. Or both. Lest we forget, in the more white-trash areas of Texas (and just about anyplace else in the country where the kids still eat lead paint chips) such a fate can easily be manufactured for you, to this very day.

If I may digress: That?s one thing nobody is ever willing to give Deadheads credit for--true grit. Punk was little more than a fashion statement after the first few years, and unlikely to get you more than a lot of dirty looks, but Deadheads (especially in the years before their MTV coronation as a ?valid? subculture) had guts. Year after year they?d go out on tour, knowing full well that they were sitting ducks for every narc within 500 miles of the show who was too lazy or chickenshit to earn a badge doing real policework and picked upon lamblike suburban tie-dyes for the crime of flaunting themselves in front of somebody else?s parents instead. (Fun Facts To Know And Tell: During WWII, the theme song of the Bulgarian resistance was entitled ?He Falls In the Battle For Our Freedom.? I?m not even Bulgarian, and yet it comes to mind.)

What does all this have to do with the Golden Dawn? What, you mean the G.D. initials aren?t enough?..welllllll... The only parallel in recent times that I can draw to the atmosphere of young Texas in the late 60s is that of Deadheads in the early 90s being thrown in jail for nothing more or worse than their chemical preferences. (Which is going to be the next cultural war, after we win the one for freedom in our sexual preferences. Sign up now. We?re gonna need something to keep us entertained in our old age.) Anyway...I ramble ridiculously, but the fact remains that The Golden Dawn were Texas kids who were into peace, pot and microdot, as well as meditation and various metaphysical practices...and while they never were as persecuted so publicly and spectacularly as the Elevators, they lived and breathed and did their very best to practice their peace-and-love in a poisonous, rednecked, hate-filled environment not of their making, which is why they played their rock and roll with a viciousness that the Dead Kennedys or Fear never had a prayer of attempting. Which is not to say that the latter bands weren?t louder or more raucous overall, but when all is said and done, they were merely doing what was expected of them. When the Golden Dawn were doing their thing nobody had ever heard it before, and there was no niche that had already been carved out in society for them. Nowadays you can go to the mall and the New Age boutique is right next to the body-piercing cubicle, but people back then were obliged to make everything up as they went along.

This is why the freaks of the 60s were the freaks of the century. There are modes of expression developed by latter generations that were inconceivable during the Summer of Love, but the only reason there was a possibility for such things was that the 70s and 80s kids stood on the shoulders of giants. One could say that there would have been no hippies had it not been for Elvis on the one hand and the beatniks on the other--but the hippies didn?t feel any particular debt to either, nor was there any trace of the kill-the-father hostility that the hippies ultimately inspired. Which is the other thing the punks owed to the hippies--a context. Johnny Rotten used to parade around in a homemade, self-mutilated ?I Hate Pink Floyd? t-shirt. I?ve never lost any sleep over that, but it begs the question: what would Johnny have been had there never been a Pink Floyd to hate? Precious little--a Teddy Boy with bad teeth, muttering to himself about life on the dole. Since killing-the-father is what punk is all about, one couldn?t have expected anyone to admit it at the time, but now that ?punk? is synonymous with Boring Old Fart it?s long overdue that somebody ought to ?fess up.

It?s not likely to happen, and I guess it doesn?t matter. As far as the ?ber-society is concerned, ?punk? and ?hippie? both are synonymous with Loser, and people should be distracted from making any finer distinctions, much less researching the question for themselves. But if you care to, A Power Plant (their only album--the French liner notes bemoan the fact as much as I do), was released on CD in 1992 and can be located without too much difficulty. It?s the crappy French reissue label, Eva, but that?s infinitely preferable to the crappy American reissue label, Collectables. You will find it to be one of the most simultaneously enlightened and pissed-off records you will ever hear. For all the snarling rock and roll tunes (?Evolution,? ?Starvation,? ?I?ll Be Around) on it, there are also beautiful mellow numbers that nonetheless have an edge to them. There?s even one midtempo tune that sounds like the Monkees. No matter. The rock and roll on this record kicks and growls and leaves tooth-marks on your aura even as it elevates your consciousness. $26? Cheap at twice the price. Buy!

?

Steve Czapala

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George Kinney Speaks on Bobby Rector

Golden Dawn - George Kinney Speaks on Bobby Rector

Monday, June 25, 2007,

[golden_dawn_international_artists.jpg]

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Billy Hallmark called me a couple of days ago and told me the bad news about Bobby Rector. I am deeply saddened by his passing. Although most of you know I am a believer in the idea that human beings possess an eternally evolving soul, the loss is no less for us left here to mourn. He is on a completely new journey by now, but I will miss him greatly.

I met Bobby back in 1966, after my fellow Golden Dawn members insisted that we find a new drummer due to several problems we were having with our current drummer at that time. Bobby was recommended by Billy Hallmark, largely due to Bobby's close association with Stacy Sutherland and John Ike Walton, Ronnie Leatherman, Terry Penny, Johnny Gathins and others. He was "one of those Kerrville boys."

He drove into my life in a red Corvette and a winning smile. He won the gig at the first audition...he was simply the best drummer we had ever picked with. His drumming was always on beat, and he threw in stuff we had never heard before...it matched our music perfectly. He was a strong, intense drummer, but a very gentle, kind person.

Bobby was also a very accomplished artist. He designed many posters for our band and his design for the cover of our album, Power Plant, was preferred by the band for production, but we were overridden by Intentional Artists producer, Leland Rogers. The cover that came out was designed by George Banks, from Houston, and, I admit, it was a great cover as well. But Bobby drew stuff all the time and we were always impressed by his artistic ability.

Like most bands of the era, there was a lot of debate and variance of opinion among members about a lot of issues, both philosophical and strategically. I was the poet/leader with dreams of world reform and belief in the emergence of an enlightened species that would save our world and propel us into the next phase of human evolution with expanded capacities for compassion, reverence, and conscious abilities. I have devoted my entire life to these goals and ideals. But others, like Bobby, were much more pragmatic about these goals. Bobby believed in living life as it is and making decisions that reflected traditional concepts of success. That is, Bobby wanted to us to be a money-making band, based solely upon musical ability and good business planning. I welcomed Bobby's ideas, because I saw the value and necessity of them if we were to continue to make music professionally. So all in all, we made a good strategic team. The rest of the band had varying ideas blending the benefits and downsides of each of the more polarized ideals, which essential boils down to spirit vs. matter, or art vs. money.

In all cases, though, Bobby was open-minded and fair in his assessments and contributions to our discussions, and, primarily, he was always a reliable and trustworthy drummer and a close, dear friend.

After the band broke up, I lost contact with Bobby for many years. Then when I contacted him again, in 2002 to join the Texas Psych Fest for gigs in Houston and Austin, he was suffering from several illnesses that prevented his participation. I have always regretted the fact that he did not play for those gigs. It would have been much more of a "real" reunion if he and Tommy Ramsey had played. As it were, Jimmy Bird and Billy Hallmark and I did the shows as the only original members of the Golden Dawn. And while we did our best, and put together a really great band, it would have been a great comfort to my heart to have played a few more gigs with Bobby setting the beat and keeping everything where it was supposed to be musically.

Bands are only the expressions of the members therein. And Bobby Rector was an integral, respected, essential member of the Golden Dawn.

PS.
Keep up the chops, Bobby; I guess the rest of us will be there before too long to start a new band. And it will truly and forever be a Golden Dawn.

RIP
Your friend and brother in music,
George Kinney

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Gilbert Shelton Interview

Gilbert Shelton Interviewed by Frank Stack, excerpted from The Comics Journal #187

Excerpted below are portions of the Gilbert Shelton interview from TCJ #187, conducted by Frank Stack. In the completed version, Shelton guides us through his history as a cartoonist -- from his early days at the University of Texas' newspaper, The Texas Ranger, right up to his current status as yet another expatriate American artist living in France.

Of the current incarnation of Shelton, interviewer Frank Stack writes: "He's mellowed some, though the truth is that, sharply critical of the society as he always has been in his published work, personally he's always been a calm, rational and emotionally mature person. With my questions in this interview I kept trying to get him to vent some anger and some passionate feelings against the kind of right-wing jerks and pontificating crooks that, I thought, he had every reason to hate. But he wouldn't take the bait. As you will see, reading this interview, he preferred to speak about things he felt positively about. Trash-talking is not Gilbert Shelton's game."

Starting Somewhere
FRANK STACK: Well, we have to start somewhere. I assume that sometime in your early career you decided to be a cartoonist. But early on, were you thinking that you'd be a cartoonist, or a writer, or an artist, or what?

GILBERT SHELTON: I've never really been much of anything other than a cartoonist. I remember that when I was four or five years old I would copy the faces of cartoon characters out of the newspaper comic strips. I could do Dick Tracy, and Nancy, and Henry.

STACK: Not Mickey Mouse?

SHELTON: I don't remember Mickey Mouse being in any of our local papers.

STACK: Would you write your own stories?

SHELTON: I didn't have enough imagination. I could copy drawings, but I wasn't good at inventing things. I remember being in kindergarten at age five and having the teacher tell us to get out our paper and colors and draw a picture of anything we felt like drawing. I looked around to see what the other kids were drawing, and they all seemed to be doing a picture of a house with smoke curling up out of the chimney, a lollipop-shaped tree in the yard and the sun in the upper right-hand corner of the sky with lines emanating from it. So I drew the same thing. I knew that the windows of houses weren't supposed to be right up in the corners, but I drew them that way because the other kids did.

STACK: Accepting authority? The authority of the other kids?

SHELTON: Yes, I was the youngest in my class, I think.

STACK: Did you read comic books when you were a kid? Stupid question.

SHELTON: Yeah, I liked Donald Duck and Little Lulu. You know, Disney never allowed Carl Barks, or anyone else, to sign their names to the stories, but I could tell when a Donald Duck story in any given issue of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories was going to be funny, that is to say written by Barks, by looking at the lettering style. I learned how to read before I was in the first grade, mainly by studying Donald Duck.

STACK: Where did you go to school?

SHELTON: I went all the way through public school in Houston. I did best in reading and arithmetic at first, but after a couple of years I built up more confidence about drawing. I wasn't usually the best artist in my class but I was usually in the top two or three.

STACK: Didn't you tell me once that you didn't take any art classes in high school?

SHELTON: I never took art in high school, but I did go to private art classes given by a little old lady when I was 10 or 12 years old. In high school we had a cartoonists' club and I was a member. They gave the club a bulletin board in the front hall and each week we'd have a display of cartoons.

STACK: You told me the name of one of your characters...

SHELTON: Poddy. "Poddy rules the world" was his slogan. Outside of school I would deface local advertising billboards with Poddy graffiti. A sort of early eco-terrorist, you might say. I spray-painted Poddy on the billboards in my neighborhood with such persistence that eventually the billboard companies were unable to sell those spaces to any advertisers, and the billboards fell blank. That was just more space for me to paint on, of course.

STACK: Can you still draw Poddy?

SHELTON:
Sure. [He starts drawing.] Let's see. He was always running from left to right, carrying a 23-cent piece in his left hand. He has a long, flexible tongue like an anteater.

STACK:
Disgusting.

SHELTON:
I didn't make the nose long enough... In those days I would try to copy the style of VIP, Virgil Partch, who would do things like putting both eyes on the same side of the nose. Partch himself was copying the style of, or parodying, Pablo Picasso. That was the modern cartoon style of the '50s. Poddy's teeth I got from Ton Smits, a New Yorker cartoonist.

STACK:
You said a local family showed you The New Yorker?

SHELTON:
One family in our neighborhood had moved to Texas from the Northeast and they had a collection of bound volumes of cartoons from The New Yorker which I studied intently.

STACK:
What high school in Houston did you go to?

SHELTON:
Lamar. Named after Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, President of the Republic of Texas from 1838 to 1841.

STACK:
I remember Lamar. I was going to W.B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi.

SHELTON:
Lamar played Ray for the state quadruple-A football championship in 1954, as I recall.

STACK:
And Lamar won.

SHELTON:
High school football has always been one of the most important things in Texas.

STACK:
Did you do athletics, or anything besides defacing local billboards?

SHELTON:
No. This was a big school, with 3,000 or so students. There were plenty of outstanding athletes. And there were a lot of creative people too. Tommy Sands, for instance, was a student there at the same time I was. You remember him, the teen-idol singer who married Nancy Sinatra and never did another gig after he divorced her? He was about six years older than me, I think, but I had almost caught up with him in school because he spent a lot of his time doing his daily television show. Also Tommy Tune the dancer was in my class, and Max Neuhaus the sound artist.

STACK:
What did you do when you finished high school? Did you go straight to college?

SHELTON:
Yeah. First I went to Washington and Lee University. That's a small men-only school in Lexington, Virginia. It had about 600 students.

STACK:
And why did you not continue there?

SHELTON:
I was bored, and I wasn't doing well in my studies. The only thing to do there was join a fraternity, and I wasn't invited to join. Ninety-five percent of the students at Washington and Lee were in one fraternity or another, so that left me and a dozen or so other weirdos and eccentrics sitting in the local bar, Doc's. That's where I met Stanley Marsh III, later to be a renowned art patron, who commissioned the work of art now known as the Cadillac Ranch -- the row of Cadillacs buried nose-first in concrete with their tailfins sticking up, in Amarillo, Texas.

STACK:
So did you finish a full year at Washington and Lee?

SHELTON:
Yeah. Then I went to the University of Texas for a year, and then Texas A & M for a half year, and then back to the University of Texas where I got my bachelor's degree in the social sciences in 1961.

STACK:
Why all that moving around?

SHELTON:
I went to A & M because my parents had moved to College Station and I thought it would be a good idea to move back in with them and save money. It turned out to be boring there, too. I was driving to Houston or Austin every weekend. And Texas A & M didn't have a student humor magazine. It was the Texas Ranger that brought me back to the University of Texas.

STACK:
You had contributed a number of cartoons to the Texas Ranger when I was its editor in the academic year '58-'59...

SHELTON:
I did some cartoons, but I wasn't part of the social scene. I never went to any of the Ranger parties that year, even though I was invited. Most of the people working on the magazine that year were a couple of years older than me, and I think I was sort of intimidated.

STACK:
I would never have guessed that you were intimidated. I remember thinking, me and the others, that you were a sort of cocky young talent, self-confident, ingratiating and funny.

SHELTON:
I probably had had to drink two or three beers to build up the nerve to walk into the Ranger office and appear to be self-confident. But anyway, I started getting more involved in the following couple of years when Bill Helmer, Lynn Ashby, and Hugh Lowe were the editors, in the years '59-'60 and '60-'61.

STACK:
You went to New York right after you got your degree?

SHELTON:
Yeah, I moved to New York in September of '61 and started looking for a job. I looked in the classifieds under "historians" -- that's what I had mainly studied -- but there weren't any jobs in that category. I had one contact in the publishing business, Bill Helmer, who was now associate editor at Escapade and Caper magazines, and he helped me find an editorial job elsewhere. I probably would never have found a job if the Berlin wall crisis hadn't caused a lot of people to get drafted about that time.

STACK:
I remember it well. I was one of them. I had to quit graduate school at the University of Wyoming and come to New York and spend my days sitting at a desk at the army base on Governor's Island.

SHELTON:
The editor of two little automotive magazines, Speed and Custom and Custom Rodder, had been called back into active duty from the reserves, just like you, and I was hired as assistant editor to put the magazines together in his absence. It was easy, I just followed the editorial formula they had already worked out. I would sneak my own drawings into the magazines from time to time, saying they were drawings from the readers.

STACK:
I remember you saying at the time that you did almost all of the magazine yourself, since the readers' contributions were so consistently dull and incompetent.

SHELTON:
Yeah, the good automotive magazines, Hot Rod and Rod and Custom, were published in Los Angeles by Petersen Publishing Company. The New York car magazines were low-quality imitations. What do they know about cars in Manhattan?

STACK:
There were several of us ex-Ranger people working in New York that year. Besides you and Helmer and me, there was Lynn Ashby, who was working as a reporter for the New York Times. We made lots of contacts, like the Help! magazine people, Harvey Kurtzman, Terry Gilliam, and Chuck Alverson.

SHELTON:
I showed Kurtzman my cartoons from the Ranger at that time, but he wasn't interested in publishing them in Help!. I remember showing my stuff to Thousand Jokes magazine too. That was a big-circulation monthly collection of single-panel gag cartoons, as you might recall, and the editor, I don't remember who it was, had a curious comment. He said, "Personally, I hate your work, but I guess it's the wave of the future, and you'll probably do all right. We don't want it for Thousand Jokes, though." [laughter]

STACK:
I remember you had tried to work with an old professional comic strip writer.

SHELTON:
Yeah, I can't remember much about that, except that some guy gave me a written script for a daily newspaper strip that he wanted to have drawn up.

STACK:
What was the theme?

SHELTON:
High school athletics. I tried to do it but it took me a week to get one day's worth done, and I realized if I had to do an episode every day I'd be in big trouble.

STACK:
You said you sold some stuff to Escapade or Caper?

SHELTON:
No, I don't think so. I did sell a few gag cartoons here and there, but I can't recall specifically. The first national publication I ever sold anything to was a magazine called College Humor, back around '59.

Birth of The Hog

STACK: What was the genesis of Wonder Wart-Hog?

SHELTON:
The idea for this character came to me one day as I was walking down the street in New York in '61. I even remember exactly where I was, it was the corner of Avenue of the Americas and 45th Street, not that that had anything to do with it.

STACK:
I remember the early roughs you did, on yellow sheets of paper. In fact, I may even still have some of them stuck off in my files someplace.

SHELTON:
I was working on the first Wonder Wart-Hog story in the fall and winter of '61, when you and I lived in the same neighborhood on the upper west side of Manhattan. The first story was actually written by Bill Killeen, the former editor and publisher of Charlatan, the student humor magazine at Oklahoma State University. I had shown Killeen my ideas for the Wart-Hog strip, which was to start with the origin of the hero, and he told me I shouldn't start with the origin, I should start with the fully-developed character and come back later to the origin. He offered to write a story himself, which he would then publish in Charlatan magazine, which he intended to start publishing in his hometown of Lawrence, Massachusetts, now that he no longer attended Oklahoma State University.

STACK:
So Wonder Wart-Hog was first published in Charlatan magazine?

SHELTON:
No. There was a new college humor magazine that had been started back in Austin, called Bacchanal. The editor of Bacchanal, Dave Crossley, was one of a group of guys who had been fired from the staff of the Texas Ranger for sneaking obscenities into the illustrations and text. Bacchanal was going to be distributed at all the Southwest Conference colleges, and there was a lot of enthusiasm for this project. The magazine was well-done, with inside color and everything, but unfortunately it only lasted for two issues, March and April of '62. The first two Wonder Wart-Hog stories appeared in these.

STACK:
You had gone back to Texas by this time?

SHELTON:
Yes. It was looking as though I was about to be drafted, too. I had been called in for my pre-induction physical exam in New York and I had passed, so I decided I had better get back in school and get a student deferment. So I went back to Texas and enrolled in graduate school.

STACK:
That was the fall of '62?

SHELTON:
The summer session. By this time, it was apparent that Bacchanal was going to fail for lack of distribution, and the position of editor of the Texas Ranger had fallen vacant again, so I applied for the job and was appointed. I was the editor for all of the academic year '62-'63, and I did half a dozen Wonder Wart-Hog stories during this time. Some of the scripts I wrote myself, and some of them were written by Killeen, who by this time had moved to Austin.

STACK:
The Texas Ranger had a big circulation. I think it had a circulation of 20,000 copies per issue at its peak in '61-'62.

SHELTON:
I believe the maximum was 12,000, but it was still the biggest of the college humor mags. It went into a long, slow decline and finally died in the '70s. Anyway, after I was editor of the Ranger, I dropped out of graduate school in history and started over again as a freshman in the art department. The draft board didn't seem to care, though. They kept giving me the deferment. But after two years, I flunked out of art school and was finally drafted. The army only kept me for a couple of days, however.

STACK:
And why did they only keep you for two days?

SHELTON:
They said I was medically unfit. Maybe they didn't like the fact that I admitted taking drugs like peyote and LSD.

STACK:
Were you humiliated or delighted?

SHELTON:
I was glad to get off the hook. Vietnam was really heating up by this time, '64. I thought I was doomed. [laughter]

STACK:
What did you do then? You had your character, Wonder Wart-Hog. Weren't there people interested in publishing it?

SHELTON:
Bill Killeen was publishing it in Charlatan magazine, which he had re-started in Gainesville, Florida. That incarnation of Charlatan lasted until Killeen was sued for libel by some official of the University of Florida whose name had found its way into the joke column of the magazine. But I wasn't making any income from the Wart-Hog. I lived off my friends for a while. I published six or eight numbers of THE Austin Iconoclastic, all but the last two of which were pamphlet format. I also published a small edition of your Adventures of Jesus, at least I took credit for being the publisher. It was xeroxed clandestinely at the University of Texas law school by a law student named Brooks Alexander, and I stapled it together. One of these original editions, which is titled the Adventures of J. by F.S., is supposed to be very valuable today since there were only about 50 copies made, but I imagine it would be sort of difficult to distinguish a genuine original from a copy of the original.

STACK:
One of the things in THE Austin Iconoclastic which was memorable was the regular "Austin's Monuments to Bad Taste" feature.

SHELTON:
That was Jack Jackson's contribution. Some of the monuments he made fun of were the sculptures by your teacher and mine, Charles Umlauf, and I imagine if Jackson had tried to go to art school Umlauf would have killed him. [laughter]

STACK:
If Charles Umlauf blamed you for that, that might have been one of the reasons you found art school difficult.

SHELTON:
No, I thought Umlauf was friendly towards me. I had another art teacher who told me that he had wanted to give me a C but the other teachers on the jury had overruled his decision and forced him to give me a B-minus instead.

STACK:
That's one of the first good stories I've heard about the University of Texas art faculty.Well, I thought at the time, and I think lots of other people thought too, that you had an extraordinary feeling for what's funny. You said earlier that you didn't know how to do jokes, but somewhere along you did learn. How did you know if it was funny? Did you just show it to somebody and say, "Is this funny?" Did you have sounding boards? Did you try things and change them? Did you talk to people about it?

SHELTON:
If it makes me laugh, then I know my idea is funny. But I wasn't especially good at the single-panel gag-type joke, like Virgil Partch used to do. He was very funny with the single-panel gags, but after he started doing a daily comic strip it wasn't so funny.
STACK: You're talking about Big George?

SHELTON:
Yeah. But in the '40s and '50s VIP was really funny.

STACK:
Who else did you think was funny?

SHELTON:
Let me see... Charles Addams. Cobean. George B. Price. Jules Feiffer. Shel Silverstein. Kliban. And in the newspaper comics, Chic Young, Charles Schultz, Mort Walker, Johnny Hart and Mel Lazarus.

STACK:
I remember you saying you liked Dick Tracy.

SHELTON:
I liked Dick Tracy because it was so weird. I don't know if Chester Gould was trying to be funny, but Dick Tracy really broke me up. I liked the names of the villains, like Flyface.

STACK:
Why did you decide to leave Texas, where it seems like there was some kind of scene developing in music and other things, and go to California?

SHELTON:
I left and returned to Austin several times. In '64 and '65 I spent some time in Cleveland, where my girlfriend Pat Brown was going to the Cleveland Art Institute.

STACK:
Wasn't Robert Crumb living in Cleveland at this time, too?

SHELTON:
I think so, but I never actually met Crumb until '68, in New York. In Cleveland I applied for a job at the American Greeting Card Company of Robert Crumb fame, but I was turned down. I did meet Dave Sheridan in Cleveland then, where he was a student at the Art Institute, and Fred Schrier too. During '64 and '65 I was shuttling around between Austin, Cleveland, and New York. Harvey Kurtzman had started reprinting old Wonder Wart-Hog stories from the Ranger in his "Public Gallery" section of Help!, and in '64 he asked me to start writing new Wart-Hog stories for his mag, for which I got $35 a page. Help! didn't last long after that. Then I went out to California for the first time in '65, in a truck with a bunch of guys in a motorcycle gang called The Cleveland Gooses. I stayed with friends in Venice and Summerland, California, and lived in Santa Barbara briefly. In March, 1966, Tony Bell and I started doing regular Wonder Wart-Hog stories in an automotive magazine published in Torrance, California, called Peter Millar's DRAG CARTOONS. Then Tony and I moved back to Austin and continued sending in the strips from there until Millar went out of business in '68. One of the reasons that Millar Publishing Company went bust, maybe, was the publication of two issues of Wonder Wart-Hog Quarterly, done by me and Tony Bell and Joe Brown.

STACK:
Wasn't it the second Wonder Wart-Hog Quarterly that had "The Second Ugliest Thing in the World"? The portrait of Wonder Wart-Hog standing in the same pose as the rejected official portrait of Lyndon Johnson by Peter Hurd?

SHELTON:
Yes. I imagine very few people remember that story now, how Lyndon rejected that portrait, calling it the ugliest thing he had ever seen. Tony Bell did the drawing for Wonder Wart-Hog Quarterly, and there was a big poster done of it too. Probably not many of our readers got the allusion. I wonder whatever happened to that official portrait of L.B.J...

STACK:
I believe somebody bought it and gave it to the National Portrait gallery in Washington, D.C.

SHELTON:
Anyway, Wonder Wart-Hog Quarterly failed after two issues. Millar had had 140,000 copies of each printed, and he had to sell half of them to break even. But the thing was too weird for the distributors and most of the copies stayed in the warehouses. Only 40,000 of each number were sold. I remember looking and looking for a copy on sale at various newsstands around Austin, and I never found one anywhere.

STACK:
Was there anything being published at this time that anyone would recognize as an underground comic?

SHELTON:
The format of Wonder Wart-Hog Quarterly was modeled after Jim Warren's Creepy, with 64 pages in black and white and a cover price of 50 cents. The archetypical underground comic, Zap, didn't appear until a couple of years later. There had been some earlier things that could be called underground comics, like The Adventures of Jesus and Jackson's God Nose, back in '64.

The Vulcan Gas Company

STACK: So Wonder Wart-Hog Quarterly sounds like first a career break, then a career setback. What did you do then, in '68?

SHELTON:
About this time a friend of mine, Houston White, and some other guys opened a rock dance and concert hall on Congress Avenue in Austin -- the Vulcan Gas Company -- and I became art director, in charge of getting the posters done each week. I did a number of posters, in a style influenced by the California poster artists, Victor Moscoso, Rick Griffin, Wes Wilson, Bob Fried, and others. These posters for the Vulcan Gas Company were similar in style to the California ones, but larger, since this was Texas. They were printed by an Austin printer named Johnny Mercer, and some of them were really beautiful, with split-fount inking. Only about 100 copies of each of these posters were printed, so they're quite rare now. I did this for about a year, until I moved to San Francisco in the summer of '68. Jim Franklin then became art director for the Vulcan Gas Company, and then for Eddie Wilson's Armadillo World Headquarters, which was more successful. A whole art and music scene grew up around the Armadillo World Headquarters, which I missed.

STACK:
I remember being at a party in Austin and seeing you there with Janis Joplin, if my memory serves me right.

SHELTON:
Yeah, Janis and I were close friends and it's entirely possible you saw us together. Janis started at the University of Texas in '62. She was studying drama, I think. These were the days of the big folk music revival, and Janis would sing each week at the regular hootenanny in the student union. She was a folk music purist at the time, and when I once suggested to her that she ought to try doing some rock and blues, she rejected the idea. But then she dropped out of school and moved to New York in '64, and then later went out to California with the Texan Chet Helms, and well, the rest is history.

STACK:
Did the two of you go to California at pretty much the same time?

SHELTON:
By the time I got to San Francisco, Janis was already a star. She'd been discovered at the Monterey Pop Festival, and she already had an album out with Big Brother and the Holding Company. The album cover was done by Robert Crumb.

STACK:
Columbia Records didn't have the nerve to use Crumb's original front cover, so they used his back cover as the front. The original front cover was too raunchy, with Janis sweating and all.

SHELTON:
[laughing] I didn't know that. But it makes a great front cover anyway.
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Getting to Grips with Roky Erickson

Getting To Grips With Roky Erickson: A Dr Rock Interview

All hail the mighty return of Dr Rock! And Roky Erikson! That's a whole lot of rock


When I was asked to interview Roky Erickson I was excited as well as worried ? where does one start with an artist whose life story is so bizarre? One could easily talk about it for days and still probably only scratch the surface of the enigma that is Roky Erickson.
His songs tell the real-life tale of a man who went from being the 19-year-old heart-throb lead singer of one of the world's first psychedelic groups - the 13th Floor Elevators - to being incarcerated in a high security psychiatric institution.

The Rusk Maximum Security Unit for the Criminally Insane was where he lost three years of his life to bouts of shock treatment and mind numbing drugs. And when he emerged, he was but a shadow of his former self, obsessed with demons and aliens. He turned his new, unusual world-view into songs and released them with his now cult-group Bleib Alien / Roky Erickson And The Aliens. This is arguably some of his best material, with classic numbers like 'Creature With The Atom Brain', 'Two Headed Dog (Red Temple Prayer)' and 'Bloody Hammer'.

The Aliens ceased to exist and numerous new groups and solo projects surfaced, and Roky?s gift of making even the most simple of songs feel touching because of his uniquely honest way of telling a story never waned. Due to ill-health Roky disappeared from public view after his last show in 1987 and apart from strange incidents like one in the late 1980s where Erickson was accused of mail-theft after his neighbours letters were found glued to his living room walls, no-one seemed to know what he?d been up to. Erickson had officially quit the music business but his fans didn?t forget him. A compilation CD [Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye] of Roky Erikson songs was released in the early 90s with songs covered by groups as far ranging as ZZ Top, REM and the Butthole Surfers. The record remained steadily popular and introduced Erickson to a new generation of fans.

Meanwhile it was quiet still in Camp Erickson, no one knew if he was dead or alive. Then in 2005 the documentary You Will Miss Me was released. A team of film makers had sought out Erickson and recorded his hermit like existence and his brother Sumner?s battle to receive guardianship over Roky with the goal to make him well again. The film won numerous awards and finished on a happy, or happier note ? after years of untreated schizophrenia, he ended up on medication and received therapy, and also revived his career that saw him travel to London for the first time in 2007 for a sold out show at the Royal Festival Hall.

Two years on and I have Erickson on the line, a little confused but enthusiastic sounding, looking back excitedly on the early days of his life and his career in general.

Did you grow up in a musical household

Roky Erickson: Yes I did. It was supposedly called a musical household but it was kind of an unsolved; America?s most interpretive guidance help mystery. [laughs] They just wanted me to play music. I just had one guitar, a little tiny guitar. Most of the time all my studies were real kind of groovy, I really had to stick with it. But somehow I got it and I didn?t really have to do it, I guess. I just went "Wow, oh my God!" Do you know what I mean, about it? I just got it, you know?

Did you first play the electric guitar with The Spades?

RE: No, that was with another group, The Roulettes. We?d just get together and wear clothes that would kind of be like a rainbow - black and red.

Moving on to the 13th Floor Elevators, how did you first meet those guys?

RE: Well, let me see, I was playing somewhere, New Orleans at the Jade, I think. They came up and told me there was this kid out in the audience that wanted to talk to me. It was Tom Hall [jug player and band leader of the 13th Floor Elevators]. He said ?Boy, I?d sure like to form a band." So I left the Spades but I had a hard time telling them because it was a large band, about 10 people.

I hear Janis Joplin briefly thought about joining The Elevators. What do you remember about that?
RE: That was just something they said. That was something I thought was kind of controversial.

So she never actually auditioned for you?

RE: She did not. Neither her nor Townes Van Zandt. We were gonna get him to play heavy bass but it didn?t happen either, somehow.

People say it was Tommy Hall who pushed you into taking too many drugs. What do you think of that?

RE: I don?t really know. That can?t be found out about now. For some reason I came alright through it though, I?m alright.

Eventually you got put into a mental hospital for using drugs and Tommy Hall helped you escape. Can you tell me about that episode?

RE: That was a strange one. All of a sudden he came in there, I don?t know, with something to cut the door off. That?s all I remember.

Eventually you ended up at Rusk State Hospital for possession of marijuana. What would your day consist of there?

RE: Mostly I would just smoke cigarettes and get out of doing chores [laughs].

Your ex-wife Dana was quoted as saying that your time at Rusk was your most productive. What did you work on then?

RE: I worked on my stuff all the time, I worked real hard. I had three books and for some reason I became disoriented with doing that.

Tell me about the band you formed inside Rusk.

RE: Well, we got together a band and called it the Missing Links. We practiced and played one gig.

Did you record any of those sessions?

RE: Let me see. I don?t think so. We may have recorded one song called 'Cell Soul'.

Whilst in there you studied religion and became a Reverend, correct?

RE: That?s right, I was encouraged. I said I really want to do it. They had this advertisement, it said ?Reverend required? and recommended me to do it.

Once you were pardoned from Rusk you started to obsess over extra terrestrials and demons. What caused that?

RE: It could?ve been the earthquake movement, that could?ve been it. It could?ve been in the outer space, or in the air or in the atmosphere, or something like that.

The music of your new band Blieb Alien, was categorised by you as horror rock. Why?

RE: Oh, I don?t know, it just was. I guess I was big fan of horror movies but I hadn?t been to too many horror movies lately.

What?s your favourite horror movie?

RE: I like The Creature With The Atom Brain. And I like The Giant Cricket. I like them two a lot, yeah.

In 1987 you stopped playing live. Why?

RE: I don?t know I guess I just wanted to take it easy. That weather in San Francisco, have you heard about that? It?s real strange, it?s like somebody left their fan on all the time. Living there was alright but I had the feeling at certain times that I just wanted to take it easy.

For the film You?re Gonna Miss Me you were filmed over a period of 5 years. Did it sometimes feel like your life was being intruded?
RE: They didn?t really bother me. But it?s a strange film, I can only ever watch it for a very short time.

Why?

RE: Well, for one my hair was a very strange thing.

What do you do in your spare time these days?

RE: I play guitar, I got a whole lot of guitars around here.

What sort of stuff do you play these days?

RE: I usually play acoustic and sometimes electric.

Do you still paint?

RE: I?ve been thinking about it. Shout Factory have asked me if I would do some drawings. I did one and they said "Boy, it?d sure be nice if maybe you could draw us another one?.

What are you most looking forward to on your trip to England next week?

RE: They?ve been taking it really easy on me in terms of practicing and all that.

Will you have time to have to do some sight seeing?

RE: Well let me see, probably yeah!

I guess it must be exciting for you to visit England because of its musical heritage, The Yardbirds and The Who were around at the same time the Elevators were around at.

RE: That?s right, I?ve got an article about them here, you know. I haven?t read it though. I have an article of mine in here too.

Looking back now, from a sober point of view, how do you feel about your career?

RE: I?d just like to have it serialised, to have it put in a book.

I hear you?ve been working on some music with Billy Gibbons recently, how?s that been going?

RE: It worked pretty good. He?s real strict about making sure he?s got guidance all the time, you know? Thank you for asking.

How do you enjoy performing live these days?

RE: Live performances? I don?t mind them. Live performances are just like practicing. But I tell you, you got to have guidance and help, you have to have somebody with you to know that you?re being instructed to do something.

So you?re off the medication now and you?re feeling well.

RE: That?s right, I am doing well, I sure am.

The mighty Roky Erickson will be playing the HMV Forum on Thursday, 20th August and Green Man Festival on the weekend.
Roky's backing band is: Kyle Ellison - guitar (Meat Puppets / Butthole Surfers), Matt Harris - bass (The Posies / Oranger), Kyle Schneider - drums (Ian Moore/Charlie Sexton)

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George Kinney Interview

George Kinney & The Golden Dawn: Fanning the Flames of Legend

George Kinney & The Golden Dawn

Fanning the flames of legend


As George Kinney peered into the crowd that August night at Room 710, he couldn't see the room full of bodies, because most of them didn't exist. There was the odd graybeard who was there the last time the Golden Dawn graced the Austin scene 35 years ago, but the rest were unborn spirits in the ether. This must be what it's like to be immortal.


"What I'm doing is kinda what I've always done," says Kinney, Austin's own Rip Van Winkle. "It's different because the times have changed. We're not doing acid every night anymore. But if you listen, you'll still hear threads of an esoteric theme that's always there. Nothing's really changed on that level."


The legend of the 13th Floor Elevators and Texas psych in the Sixties has not diminished over the years. It's just that somewhere along the way, George Kinney's part of the legend was forgotten.


But Eric Arn didn't forget. The frontman for then-Austin-based psych warriors Primordial Undermind knew and cherished the Golden Dawn and their Power Plant album from 1968 on International Artists, long considered a lost treasure of classic Texas psychedelia among record-geek cognoscenti. Upon discovering that Kinney was still in Austin, Arn invited the Golden Dawn to be part of the 2002 Texas Psych Fest he was organizing.


To Arn's shock, Kinney accepted, and the Golden Dawn suddenly floated back into the consciousness of cult psychedelia fans across the world, thanks to one starry night at the 710. Power Plant was reissued on a French label, a hearty Internet group was formed, and the band even went on a short American tour last year, documented on the live CD The Legend of the Dawn.
But what now?


"What's the market for a bunch of 55-year-old Sixties rock stars that never were really that big anyway?" asks Kinney.

That's a good question. The general interest level in old Texas psych seems to be rising, and the return to activity by Kinney's old comrade Roky Erickson can only fan the flames.


"Roky always surprises you," says Kinney. "Just when you think you've got Roky figured out, he'll do something that makes you realize you don't."


Kinney ought to know, as his friendship with Erickson goes back to junior high. As a duo, the two strummed songs on the UT campus in high school, and later anchored a garage rock act called the Fugitives. Together they developed parallel strands of soulful rock & roll with transcendent, mystical lyrics and tripped-out flurries. Roky helped the Golden Dawn ? named after the 100-year-old magical order ? get signed to Houston's International Artists, the signature label for the then-burgeoning local psych scene (Lost & Found, Bubble Puppy, Red Krayola). Unfortunately, it didn't turn out as the Dawn (Kinney, guitarists Jimmy Bird and Tom Ramsey, bassist Bill Hallmark, and drummer Bobby Rector) envisioned.


Recorded in 1967, Power Plant, a sizzling potpourri of heady, mystical rock, gathered dust as International Artists elected to release the later-recorded Elevators classic Easter Everywhere first. When Power Plant came out months afterward, it was immediately decried as an Elevators knockoff.


"It killed us," laments Kinney. "It's like getting accused of a sex scandal ? the damage is done by the accusation. If Power Plant had come out when it was supposed to, we would have been recognized as a very innovative and meaningful band of the era. It had nothing to do with the Elevators. Roky and Tommy [Hall] were very supportive, and they were the prime band. But we were next."


The ensuing lack of success was devastating to the youngsters, and they slowly faded from the public eye. Kinney, briefly in a band called Headstone, resurfaced in Austin in 1970. He helped his old buddy Erickson, incarcerated in the nefarious Rusk State Hospital, by smuggling out the manuscript that would become Roky's poetry collection, Openers, which Kinney actually published as well.
Kinney's odyssey included a stay in Nashville and a brush with Johnny Cash, then a return to the University of Texas in the Eighties. It all culminated in the release of Kinney's fine solo album After the Fall in 2000, along with the publication of his offbeat novel The Bandit King, described on the back jacket as "South Austin hick meets Mayan surrealism."


Looking forward, Kinney has a new album on the horizon as George Kinney & the Golden Dawn ? featuring Bird, Hallmark, Ramsey, Charlie Prichard, Toni Price, and others ? that will hopefully draw more attention to this eloquent artisan with a unique world-view.


Beyond that, Kinney has been contemplating an autobiographical look at the Sixties Texas psych scene. It would be hard to imagine a more fitting archivist.


"Nobody's really told that story," says Kinney. "All the things that you've seen or heard or read, none of it even touched upon half the shit that happened."















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George Kinney - A Theory of Eternal Life

George Kinney - A Theory of Eternal Life

A Theory of Eternal Life

By George Kinney

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The following presentation is a brief consideration of a series of key ideas regarding possible relationships that exist between densities of matter, time, and quality of life. Further, I will attempt to shed some light on how these ideas may correspond to some of the most essential elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine, specifically the concept of Qi. Without attempting to define Qi, an attempt will be made to show possible similarities between the actions or properties of Qi, inseparable from the concept of Yin and Yang, and the properties of various states or densities of matter and energy.

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Comprehensively, these key ideas allude to one or more ways of attempting to understand our existences, collectively and individually, in a vast and mysterious universe that possesses qualities, aspects, and dimensionalities that are essentially beyond our ability to define or fully understand?that is, these ideas are metaphors or symbols to aide us in the search for the miraculous, a search which by all indications so far, can by nature never be completed.

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POINT

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Let us first examine the fundamental nature of our understanding of time, and let us use geometric symbols to do so. Primarily, time, according to our psychological apparatus, is essentially sensed as an ?instant? or moment, isolated in perception and connected with past and future moments psychologically thru the application of the associative cortex of our brain. Geometrically, this may be corresponded with a point.

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LINE

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The extension of this span of time, a moment, linearly gives us the psychological experience, presumably, of a series of events. This expressed geometrically can be visualized as the extension of a point into a line. The same relationship that exists, therefore, between a point and a line, exists also between a moment and a linear series of events. This extension is generally considered to be infinite in the sense that there are conceivably an infinite number of points in a line and an infinite number of potential events in a series. We may further assign a dimensionality value on them and that value would be one. That is, we have begun with one dimensionality, both in geometrical space and time.

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Another way of looking at it is that a point, infinitely extended one dimensionally, produces a line. By the same token, a moment extended infinitely produces a series, or infinite succession of events in linear time.

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PLANE OR SURFACE

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Our one-dimensional friend, the line, if extended either vertically or horizontally, becomes a plane, or we may say that the ?trace? of a point becomes a potentially infinite line and the trace of a potentially infinite number of lines forms a plane or surface.

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SOLID

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A plane or surface, similarly traced in a any direction perpendicular to it, forms what we refer to in Euclidian geometry as a solid. Thus we may follow these natural progressions of dimensionality to result in the following relationships:

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Point> line> surface> solid? forming the continuum of 3 dimensional space that we have all come recognize as our normal sphere of observable existence.

According to the same model, we may experience seconds becoming minutes, becoming hours, becoming days, becoming weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, etc.


These are the logical extensions of aspects of our psychology into graduating levels of dimensionality. *1

In addition, these relationships can be shown to correspond to our experiences in terms of sensations, perceptions, concepts, up to and most likely beyond abstractions and idealisms.

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The point of all this is to demonstrate that our sense of time and space, as well as our method of arranging them into understandable forms, systems, and patterns, depend on assigning them graduating degrees of dimensionality in order to grasp them with our understanding, or even to experience them without comprehensive understanding. That is, all the human qualities and potentials for experience are RELATIVE. This is directly associated with Einstein?s General Theory of Relativity.

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EVERYTHING EXISTS AND IS MEASURED EXCLUSIVELY IN TERMS ITS RELATION TO SOMETHING ELSE.

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A grossly oversimplified bumper-sticker understanding of E=MC2 is that something perceived in a particular state or form is observed as such due to the nature of the observer?s ability to observe and the particular conditions, internal external, under which the observation occurs. That is, energy and matter are either /or dependent, literally, on how one looks at it. This makes the existence of anything relative to the existence of something else and only such interdependence and interrelationship allows or defines such existence. This indicates that existence consists more of patterns and relationships than of tangible particles of 3-dimensional matter, shrinking in size logarithmically until they mysteriously disappear into theoretical beings such as the infamous ?strings? and slip away from our direct observation altogether.

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You may also remember that in TCM fundamentals, we learned that Yin and Yang, the powerful creative forces of life, are interrelated and interdependent, that is, they exist only in RELATIVITY to each other. However, it is important to note here in light of modern advances in quantum physics, specifically in the observation of the characteristics of light and the behavior of energy in the ?string theory?, that it seems reasonable at this point to speculate that the more comprehensive our awareness, that is, the more dimensions our awareness is able to embrace and process intelligently, the more comprehensive will be our experience of our environment. In fact it can also be justifiably speculated that the very nature of our environment and our ability to manipulate it constructively, which is a key element in the practice of TCM, rests in expanding this ability through increased awareness of the energies involved.

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OUR CONCEPTS HUMAN OF LIFESPAN ARE DETERMINED BY THE LIMITS OF OUR AWARENESS

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While a comprehensive understanding of this concept may be well beyond the scope of this presentation, it is not overly difficult to consider that the same limits we naturally place on matter due to the limitations of our natural sensory apparatus as it relates to our psychology and our understanding, we may also be imposing upon our concepts of our own potential lifespan. That is, our understanding of both our environment and our existence in it, as it pertains to time or duration, is deducted or induced by our method of observation, which may not include all of the potentialities existent within the phenomena themselves, apart from our ability to understand them. Here we return to the idea of the relationship that exists between the limits of our awareness and the definition of what constitutes our existence, both as matter and/or energy. Thus, varying densities of matter, or various states of matter, involve different laws of physics and time.

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The implications of this concept in regard to conscious, practical manipulation of this awareness or energy and its application to healing disease and establishing and maintaining a beneficial equilibrium, or health, may be an important precursor to a vast new approach to health care and quality of life in general.

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LIVING TIME

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The idea of immortality can either be synonymous with the idea of eternal life or not, depending on how you want to look at it. One common connotation of immortality implies the absence of death. If taken as such, we would not consider eternal life and immorality to be synonymous terms at this time, although they are closely related. Only if we expand our understanding of death can we make these two concepts synonymous.

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So right off the bat we have to say that if by death we mean the death and decomposition of the human body, and the absence of that process is immortality, then the concepts I am discussing here do not imply immortality. If, on other hand, we agree to consider death as a process that is intimately integrated with the process of life, and cannot be separated from life, then we could consider eternal life and immortality to be one and the same phenomena. So let?s say, for now, that we can have it both ways?that we can experience death, that is, the decomposition of the cellular material that makes our bodies, and yet that life, for us, can go on, relatively, forever. It is in this context that I offer the following information for consideration.

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THE INTEGRATION OF SCIENCE, RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY

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Let me emphasize that what I am proposing as a possibility here has almost nothing whatsoever to do with any particular religion, cult, social group, or dogmatic system of worship of any kind. It is interesting to note, however, that most all organized religions and ?spiritual belief systems? stem from the fundamental concepts (and the investigations thereof) that roughly form the general category of thinking sometimes correctly referred to as esoteric knowledge. Even this distinction is fading, however, as what has formerly been considered esoteric knowledge begins to merge with the most advanced ongoing scientific discoveries.

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Let us consider some of the similarities that can be found that interrelate behavior, awareness, and duration of existence. **2

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Matter in our neck of the physio/psychological woods may for our purposes here be broken down into various states of density that have corresponding relationships to duration, i.e., time.

They are, in order of density and duration, the mineral state, the cellular state, the molecular state and the electronic state.

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We know that the present doesn?t really exist because by the time we consider it, it is already past. So if the present doesn?t really exist, and the past doesn?t exist any more and the future doesn?t exist yet, then everything doesn?t ever exist, and also, nothing always exists. This paradox can only be solved by evolving ones? concept of time and by lifting the restrictions we impose on the consistency of matter according to our sensory apparatus. This process can be referred to as the conscious expansion of consciousness, or psychological evolution.

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Here are some examples of comprehensive systems that express evolution through the increase of their dimensionality:

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Dance:????a.)? A concept of possible motions including all types of dance, known and unknown. These motions exist in abstraction and only as potentials, but include all possible dances and the steps therein.

b)????? The specification of particular dances that share some common aspects with all ?dance? and have unique characteristics which define it as a particular dance

c)????? The various steps that formally identify the particular dance from other particular dances

d)????? The variations of those identifying steps according to the individual interpretation and expression of the individual dancer

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?????????
Literature:????? a) All books and all written ideas or experiences, including all linguistic applications such as letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, etc., which make up the essential elements of literary expression

b)????? Any particular genre of literature such as fiction, non fiction, speeches, poetry, etc. that classify literature into particular categories

c)????? The various literary techniques specific to a particular author, which utilize the general characteristics of the genre to identity his work from others

d)????? The individual and unique interpretation of these techniques in a specific work by a reader??? ?????

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The point here is that the trace of a dance movement in linear time forms a segment of a dance or an entire dance, dependent upon the duration of that extension. The finite repetition of that sequence may represent the lifetime of the dance, or the dancer, and the existence of the dance throughout linear time may represent eternity for the dance. That is, eternity for the dance is repetition of the steps in an infinite field of recurrence, which is not limited by the individual dancers participation by any physical application.

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Art, Science, and even Religion may be seen to follow this pattern, as well. Religion is perhaps the most ephemeral of the pack in that its precepts and key ideas are not as easily categorized, yet contain definite and obvious concepts involving the transformation of various degrees of matter, an expanded concept of time, and an interactive paradigm of cause and effect which is largely dependent upon an individual?s psychology, expressed through behavior and the concept of choice. Beginning to sound a lot like quantum physics, isn?t it?

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States or Densities of ?Matter

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Mineral states of matter.

These are the densest, and therefore the slowest instances of existence as we consider it. Relative to the next finer state, cellular life, it is 800 times slower. That is everything is experienced (if we can even use the word experienced in that reference) 800 times slower that it is in cellular life. In this context we will consider cellular life as it pertains to humans, as an 80-year span. The accompanying charts illustrate some of the variations in the velocity of matter at different densities and the relative ?work? done in various time spans relative to these variations.

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Cellular states of matter (human body)

This is the next finer state of matter, cellular organization, specifically the human body, but also including the biological world of nature. We may consider it to last 80 years, more of less.

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Molecular states of matter

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Next up we have molecular life, represented theoretically as the nature of the existence of the human soul. Also, we may consider scents to be a part of this world. The sense of smell is akin to molecular states of matter, in that it can permeate and travel through cellular matter. So the soul can permeate and travel through cellular and to some degree, mineral matter. In this world everything happens roughly a 1000 times faster than in the cellular world.

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Electronic states of matter

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Last and certainly not least we come to the fastest of the lot, electronic matter or solar matter or the most essential expression of energy as it relates to matter, light, and how it specifically relates to a human life. Everything happens in just 40 minutes that happens in one month in the molecular world and 80 years in the cellular world and 800,000 years in the mineral world. In other words, life in the fast lane, the sub-atomic world of light, is about a million times faster than in a human cellular body.

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Living Time and the Integration of Life

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So what? Why does any of this really matter to anyone but speculative mathematicians, quantum mechanics (even shade tree ones) and theoretical philosophers?

Here?s why.

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The beautiful paintings which follow describe the various world views of major spiritual systems covering a vast time spans and vast geographic areas.

Interesting to note is that they all involve behavior, choice, various states of matter, and duration of life force. They also include states of being superior by degree of dimensionality, which operate in realms of energy that are subject to fewer physical laws as density decreases. These higher states allude to conscious judgment of some degree and that choice and behavior are extremely important factors in determining further states of being.

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It is crucially relevant to notice the connection in all of these world views, the relationships of consciousness, behavior, choice, varying states of matter, and the allusion to an omnipotence that is both subjective and objective, intimately connected with what we may consider an invisible aspect or aspects of our being. All include states of being between death and birth that accommodate some form of conscious experience. All incorporate some form of existence after the decomposition of the physical or cellular body. All include some relationship between behavior and the potential outcome of some sort of ?judgment? that occurs after death and before birth.

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EAST MEETS WEST

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Understanding one?s life in time in light of the vastness that the above concepts suggests, life itself may become much more meaningful, and the idea of individual responsibility becomes inseparable from quality and duration of life. This is essential to the integration of fundamental TCM concepts into western medical modalities and research. To accept and seriously investigate the elemental properties of Qi and Yin and Yang together with the investigation of western advances in quantum physics is to initiate the ultimate merger between the ideas of the East and the West.

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NEW AGE HEALTH POTENTIALS: FANTASY OR

EXPANDABLE REALITY?

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Whatever else one might gain from this investigation, regardless of spiritual beliefs, the idea of being able to extend our abilities to manipulate cellular activity through the manipulation of molecular activity and ultimately through the knowledgeable manipulation of electronic or subatomic energy is an exciting and relatively limitless quest. It could even imply the refinement of health care to levels never before possible, even to the extreme of developing a capacity to treat a disease in the timeless, subatomic realm in order to literally prevent it from ever occurring in the first place.? Imagine a doctor who could manipulate energies that existed in a patient that has contracted a life-threatening disease in a realm independent of time. This would be preventative medicine in the most advanced context.

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PSYCHOLOGICAL EVOLUTION

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However you look at it, this life is most likely very important, and how you consider it, that is, the degree to which you are aware or present for you own life is a major factor in determining the overall quality of it. It affects others, too.

For instance, what if you believed that everything existed always and forever? Every thing you did or said would then be in some way more or less permanent.

You wouldn?t waste so much time on insignificancies; things would matter more to you. And this level of awareness of your life would affect everyone around you, in direct proportion to your level of interaction with him or her.

It would be less attractive to you to be unpleasant or inconsiderate of others and of yourself. Personal self-esteem would gain ground in your overall evaluation system or worldview.

This is not to be confused with moralization.. It is relevant only insofar as it applies to actual conscious experience and the potential for the improvement thereof, a process that I fondly refer to as psychological evolution.

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But even if you don?t think of life as something that extends for an individual consciousness beyond death and decorporealization, all this is still relevant, if only because it affects the 80 years you might have in which to live and breath and have your being. And anyway, to master the skills in self remembering and persistence in consciousness that might allow you to exist eternally as an individual being, but not confined to the limits and laws of cellular existence would take a whole lot more energy and intent than the vast majority of us are able to muster.

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So don?t worry too much if you don?t think this will happen to you. You still might be eligible for some kind of rebirth or reincarnation, as another you just like the old one, constantly recurring on and endless circle of existences without memory of the succeeding life. Or perhaps you might progress with little increments of positive change (visualized by the upward spiral a slinky toy makes when stretched upwards) that might someday qualify you for electronic existence or the life of pure spirit or energy. But in any case, I highly recommend that you do everything in your power to avoid the ultimate degradation, that is, consignment to the world of mineral existence. Remember, that one lasts 800.000 years without significant change or modification. For most of us, that would be Hell.

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SO THEN:

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In summation, the quality of one?s life depends upon one?s fundamental understanding of time. Everything you do, say, feel, or think, is related to how you view time in general, and specifically how much time you may or may not have. Many if not most of us have experienced the death of someone close to us. At these times, our own sense of mortality is enhanced, for better or worse. Somehow we seem to understand something that passes us right by in our normal daily lives. It has to do with being present for our lives instead of absent from them. It has to do with living our lives under the stark, tangible realization that our bodies will, indeed, succumb to decomposition and yet embrace the thrilling, invigorating sense of timelessness that may exist for more durable components of our being.

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NOTES:
**2: The ideas of evolution and intelligent design are anything but mutually exclusive. One only had to consider the evolution of a novel to see this. What are the chances that War and Peace wrote itself, randomly, with no intelligent design? Tolstoy had letters and words already available, a totally random field of potential combinations of them, and he organized them into patterns that communicated his essential artistic ability, emotional desire and intellectual intent. Now the letters and words were also invented by intelligent design by humans who came before Tolstoy. The origins of the written word are clearly evolutionary yet include obvious intelligent design. In fact, nearly everything you can think of follows this pattern. Why then, is it so difficult to consider the possibility of mutual participation between intelligent design and evolution? I think discounting the possibility of such a combination of complementary forces is not only unwise, but also unfruitful.

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*** 3: The big bang theory, Stephen Hawking and the others notwithstanding, is not necessarily all-inclusive, even though relative to what we have to observe it the best explanation we have within the confines of an understanding of time limited to linear conceptualization.

The thus-far unanswerable question is: What existed before the big bang? Nothing? Well, nothing is something. In fact, nothing and everything are equal according to Zen philosophy. The idea that everything either does or doesn?t have to have a start and a finish is based on a linear concept of time, that is, the progression of past to present to future.

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