You see, what happened was this. Emmanuel Montoya sent me this photo with a note – “Halloween in Corpus, 1960 – mama would dress us all up. She’s my creative source.”
It got me to thinking about masks.
And then came my first post on Alan Cohen and his collections. This mask was on the wall in his workshop. This is a Really Good story about this mask later in this post.
if I were to use the word “satori” to describe what happened next, anybody who knows about the Zen Buddhism would scoff at my use of the word
They might even throw in a low-blow kicker about how I probably learned the word from Kerouac.
They would be right and so I won’t use the word.
Let’s just say that I had an idea – I could (and did and have) create a post about masks I have seen in my wandering.
I posted about two sisters on Walnut, Penny Brogden and Dorothy Klein. They live in the North Berkeley house where they grew up, now filled with their art and art of others.
My post of Robert Fischer was a walk on the wild side.
Holy Mackerel! This mask reminds me of this:
It is a color print (El Tigre) by Emmanuel Montoya.
Among the many pieces of extraordinary art are these masks.
Geneva Addison’s store at 1917 Telegraph is elegant quirky antiques to the nth degree.
Things come and things go in the store. When we shot it for the post these masks were for sale.
I consider Marcia Donahue to be the center of the Quirky Berkeley universe – her garden, her home, her art, her friends, her chickens, her sensibility.
I have not seen a lot of masks at Marcia’s, but there are these three.
My Memorial Day field trip was to the home of Dorothy Herger in Vallejo.
She has made and taught art and acquired art traveling the world for seven decades – including these masks.
In the summer of 2017 I visited Julia Vinograd in her apartment. I had one of the most joyous moments of my life as I sat and she read me her poem “On the Berkeley Inn, Where I Lived for 15 Years, Being Torn Down.”
She surrounded herself with strange and beautiful objects, and they were the subject of my post about her and her visual creativity.. Among those objects were many masks.
I then met Julia’s younger sister Debbie, a painter – I made a post about her. She has several masks in her apartment.
Berkeley wood-carver Sheri Tharpe made this mask.
There are photographs of masks in my post about Lenny Pitt. In 1973 he went to Bali and studied mask-making and Balinese dance, working here with I Nyoman Kakui. Five years later he returned to Bali and studied mask-making with Ida Bagus Anom.
I will soon publish a post about Lynne Danielle and Eliot Kenin. These photos come from that draft post.
I have yet to publish a post I made about the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse. Things come and go quickly there. When John Storey and I visited we found this mask:
Dick and Beany Wezelman have spent a life traveling to Africa, buying beautiful things in Africa which they sell out of their home.
Among the beautiful things, African masks.
On a field trip to Sebastapol, Susan Alexander took us to visit Art Moura. As you can see from my post on him, his art is outsider art to da max. Really out there. There were several masks:
I recently posted on the first half of an estate sale at the home of the late Alan Cohen on Vine Street. Among his thousands and thousands of collected artifacts were several masks:
This mask is creepy AF. NO THANKS!
Along with the great group of coconut carved faces are several masks. The big fellow in the back row has a bump on his right forehead with blood dripping down. Alan’s father brought two wooden masks back from a fishing trip to Mexico in the 1950s. Alan’s brother Ron got the first pick and Alan got this one. His brother then decided he really wanted this one. Nope. Not for a while at least.
I have saved the Very Best Masks for last. Arnold Heller lives in El Cerrito but is in his heart of hearts a son of Berkeley. He makes art for the love of making art. Check my post on him – you will be blown away. And you will see these masks that he made:
All i can about Heller and his art and his masks – is –
What amazing work by Heller. What an amazing collection of masks I have seen.
After I initially published this post, I got a few submissions.
Jenny Hurth, a Brahmin in the Quirky Berkeley caste system, sent this photo of a mask she made in high school for a Bertolt Brecht play. Good mask – very alarming.
Will Squier is also a Brahmin. He sent me this:
When I took the draft into his quarters, my friend was listening to the Woodstock sound track.
I confess, “With a Little Help from My Friends” still works for me. It has a triple evocation – the Beatles, Cocker, and Belushi. It was a go-to dulcimer song for me 50 years ago.
My friend has this photo on his refrigerator. He claims that he is in the photo. Given his blurred line between truth and a good story, I am not even convinced that he was at Woodstock, but no good would come from pursuing that issue.
He had with him a stack of photos. “I’m working on a mini-post for you. This one slays me.”
i asked who I was supposed to recognize. “Nope. I’ll give you a couple days. If you don’t figure it out I’ll tell you.” He didn’t say that I couldn’t ask for help so I hereby ask for help – any ideas?
I said I’d get back to him, but was curious – what did he think of my draft mask post?
nice selections of masks
I have studied/visited “folk and.outsider” environments around the world for the past 45 years. We should meet up and have a coffee at Philz’s in the near future
I would very much like to. Switching to my regular email will make this happen faster – firstname.lastname@example.org
As enlightening as this article may be, you were wise not to invoke the term “satori”…
It seems that the term “synchronicity” may be more apt, particularly with respect to my own connection.
Thanks for displaying these marvelous masks of which I am envious, as I myself am an aficionado and have an eclectic collection which unfortunately is currently in storage.
Another connection that is interesting is that in all the years that I have worked on Lynn and Eliot’s barn, I have never noticed the masks.