Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bio Notes for Brian Kervin

For all you North Bay folks, Neil O"Neill and Maureen Hurley will be on the air live reading poetry (and music) on The Learnin' Kirven Show April 6th, from 4-6 pm at KWMR West Marin Community Radio  at 90.5 FM Point Reyes Station, and 89.9 FM Bolinas (live stream). Maureen will be reading poems of place, growing up in West Marin, highlights of our upcoming CPITS' 50-year anniversary, West Marin kids to read their poems. Neil will talk about coming to Marin in the 1970s, Ross Valley Players, his 30-year gig with Bread & Roses, and play some music.

I began to write Brian some bio notes and it got out of hand. Bloggy material, it is.

BIO—what most people don't know about me:

I grew up in Forest Knolls,  my grandfather came to SF in 1904 from Ireland, and used to camp along Papermill Creek during the summer. Bought our house from an old railroad man (there were spikes everywhere, and the foundation was made of railroad ties) on Barranca Road in 1910. I was raised in that house in the country by my grannie, from Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland. Back then, it was on a dirt fire road. Not county maintained. So we were pretty much our only neighbors at the end of the canyon.

Dr Whitte was ny doctor. Yep. The doctor poet. Only I didn't know that at the time. And it took me a long time to slide into poetry. I didn't begin writing until I was in my late 20s.

Doc Fisher was my vet, he bought my ponies, they were out at Bear Valley for decades. Wonder if they're still alive? They live a long time.

I got my horse from Bear Valley Stables. I used to ride her in the PT Reyes Parade. Whoopptido!

My cousin Katie Collins Gallagher (who drives the little school bus) is my 2nd cousin—they own the old Bob Borillo Ranch in Pt Reyes.

My cousin Sinead Dinsmore lives in Nicasio—that white house on the square. I couch surf there a lot. Her grandfather Dave Dinsmore bought it in the 1940s

I used to work at the Rancho Nicasio as a salad girl when I was 16 with my aunt (Dinsmore) with Dorothy Dolcini & Glen Kirch. LaFrankie in there somewhere. I joined the union, lost my job. Welcome to America.

My other aunt's husband was heir to The Shadows, and other Nicasio properties owned by his adopted father Dr. Ritter, who founded Ross Hospital, Mountain Home Sanitorium, etc. Doc Ritter died when my uncle was in the Army, and his legal guardian Roy (as in Roy's Woods, absconded with it all. Tragic. My uncle never got over it.

My mom, an actress and costume designer at the Gate Playhouse in Sausalito would pawn me off to famous babysitters, Dick & Tommy Smothers, Sterling Hayden. I even remember the Kingston Trio playing in Tommy's houseboat. I loved Tommy. Didn't like Dick. My mom worked for Juanita Musson, the famous restau-ran-teer, of Juanita's Galley. Juanita had a monkey and a rooster in her house on Bridgeway. And a fawn too.

My mom got around, sometimes she'd bring her friends home for tea and Irish soda bread at my grannie's: Bobby Darin (Big Sur connection), Bobby Kaufman, Gene Ruggles, Lew Welch. He & my grannie got on like a house afire.

Lloyd Bridges (grew up in Petaluma) was like an uncle. We all went to Sacto. for a production of Guys and Dolls at the Music Circus. Jeff Bridges was a great palymate in the shallow end of the pool but Beau was a mean teenager. I remember watching Lloyd rehearse as Sky Masterson.

When I was a teenager, I worked for Alice Kent as a housecleaner and manager of Western Star Press for her dead brother John Cooke's New Tarot for the Aquarian Age. John Cooke knew Alestair Crowley, Order of the Golden Dawn, etc. New age, before it was New Age.

I met Bolinas poet Ebbe Boregaard fixing the steps outside my basement office window at Alice & Roger Kent's house. He told me stories about sailing ships and Vikings. I thought he was a god. I still wasn't a poet. I was an artist.

Went to Lagunitas School—the SGV Art Center building, then Drake High (emphasis on high), hitched home with all the rock musicians: Jerry Garcia, Jesse Colin Young, Van Morrison, Carlos Santana, Jefferson SS, Big Brother, etc. Janis Joplin lived on our road, I remember her practicing at Barbano's Camp, and she drove a Porsche. She NEVER picked us up hitchhiking. Even got picked up by Ken Kesey on Further. The First Further.

Went to College of Marin and studied ceramics with Pete Sutton and David Best (Burning Man temple builder, and builder of weird cars). Hung out with them at the Unknown Museum in MV. Also hung out in the Theater Dept—followed Robin Williams around like a puppy. Went to SFSU for a year, but someone got murdered in the library, so I dropped out. Went to SSU, w/ degrees in Painting and drawing. Still housecleaning all the while.

Had a stint working for a horse trainer after my horse died. Went to work in Europe at 19, lost my horse job.

First boyfriend dragged me to readings at COM, Alan Watts, Ram Dass, Alan Ginsberg, Gary Snyder—at Olney Hall. Gary was reading from Manzanita, and about my ridges, my land and I said: I can do that. And so I did. I had no idea what a wild ride it would be.

I called up David Bromige at SSU, and found my passion for poetry, producing poetry events all over Sonoma County—for SSU and the Russian River Writers' Guild.  Book 'em Dano, and so I did. Those poets were my real teachers. And we booked them all from far and wide: Courso, Kinnell, Kaufman, Bly, etc.

Lee Perron and Michael Dow brought me into CPITS, and I found my life's work. I continued to work as an artist as well. 7 CAC AIR grants in Santa Rosa. Worked for Sonoma County Stump, The Paper (now the North Bay Bohemian) as a photographer and began to write stories. Bootstrap all the way. Poetry came easy. Essays were hard. I found out I was dyslexic after a car accident with Will Staple in 1981—which went a long way in explaining why I did so poorly in school (excelled in art), so that's been an important transition.

I also worked with Herman Berlandt—as a photograper, poet, editor. I spent a lot of time on the Bolinas Mesa. We founded Mother Earth Journal after my big stint in the USSR in 1989-91 as a art & poetry pack mule. We did about 10 issues, then another horrific car accident in Marshall in 1997 nearly killed Neil & me. I temporarily moved to Oakland to take care of Neil. Commuted for ages from Forestville. I still keep my west County roots. Like a bad song, I'm a country girl in an urban world.

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