Ponder this confluence of people and places:
(1) The old Cody’s bookstore. The final selling ground for Fred and Pat Cody, pioneers of the paperback revolution. An important oasis of sanity and peace during the police and demonstrator violence of the 1960s and 1970s. An empty shell for years at the corner of Telegraph and Haste, with three of the four corners in distress – Cody’s closed, the Berkeley Inn razed more than 20 years ago, the Sequoia Building razed a few years ago.
(2) Ken Sarachan. He owns the old Cody’s bookstore. He is as demonized a figure as exists in Berkeley. I have no room in my life for demonizing or hate, no matter that his detractors are many and loud.
(3) Mark Bulwinkle. My true north of individualism and quirk.
They come together!
Ken Sarachan has launched a major renovation of the old Cody’s. It may or may not eventually be called the Mad Monk’s Anachronistic Media Center. Sarachan has turned to Mark Bulwinkle to create sculpture outside and inside the store. Bulwinkle created steel sculpture for Sarachan’s Rasputin‘s Records when it was at the southwest corner of Bancroft and Telegraph. It is now Bear Basics. The Bulwinkle steel sculptures still rock there.
Over the summer, the outdoor work slowly appeared on the second-floor balcony facing Telegraph – brightly painted and powder coated. The panels depict the flora of Telegraph Avenue, fantastical flowers and bloom spikes and foliage.
Yikers – it is wonderful.
Bulwinkle sent me studio photos of individual panels:
Bright colors! Serving as corner vectors (I think that this is the best word – correct me if I am wrong, please) at each intersection of balcony railing and post is an unpainted, archetypical Bulwinkle manic creature, unpainted steel.
I have not been inside and have not seen the Bulwinkle sculptures there. Mark Bulwinkle took these photographs, which make me anxious to get inside.
There will be Bulwinkle scones, and there are Bulwinkle tiles in the restrooms. Another group of Mark interior photos:
At the risk of repeating myself – yikers! I anxiously await the chance to see this in person.
My friend was busy shopping for an Aarnio ball chair. Busy meaning – obsessed. It would take a lot to pry him from his mission, but I had a lot going for me here. I teased him – “Wanna see some new Bulwinkle work?” Of course. He dropped his search and spread out the photos that I used for this post. He started humming “Burning Down the House” and then looked up at me.