The 4th Annual Jazz and Beat Festival: Beyond the Beat Generation

I don’t know of anyone else who is doing this level of interdisciplinary collaboration between the visual, musical and literary arts. It’s the great work.”
-Joyce Jenkins, Poetry Flash

“Those for whom the San Francisco Beat phenomenon is merely the stuff of legend can get a taste of the real thing in an all-day conference sponsored by the John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis.”
-Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle

The Beat Goes on! Experience an intimate festival filled with poetry readings and painting improvisation set to the rhythm of live jazz. Hosted by the Cultural Action Committee, this is a unique opportunity for attendees to experience exclusive performances, a thorough collection of Beat art, and later meet firsthand with the world-renowned poets, jazz musicians, and painters of the Beat Generation.

This 8th annual event is the premier collaborative conference in the region. On Friday October 8th there wil be film screening of work by Stan Brakage, Jess Collins and Bruce Conner along a with a panel discussion with poet, David Meltzer, filmmaker Craig Baldwin, and artist Mary Fuller McChesney. On Saturday October 9th, jazz musicians, accompanied by live painters and beat poets, will perform on two alternating stages for a day of non-stop jazz. Some performers include and the Davis High School Jazz Band, Rio Americano High School Jazz Band, Boco do Rio, Brubeck Institute Quintet with a reading by poet Michael McClure backed by keyboardist, Ray Manzarek, of The Doors.

A concurrent gallery-wide exhibition of Beat art will include paintings from the some of the most intriguing artists of the era. Our two live venues will feature the artists working at a rapid pace in a public venue- a unique and exclusive privilege for the audience.

Additionally, the Jack Kerouac Annual Poetry contest will be held offering the winner the chance to read their poetry at the conference as well as a cash prize to the first, second, and third place winners. See the official rules and guidelines.

Nancy Ostrovsky was born in North Africa and lived in various countries in Asia, and it is this past that is at the heart of her oeuvre. Ostrovsky has been called “one of the pioneers of performance painting.” She creates “Paintings to Music” as she shares the stage with a live jazz band. Ostrovsky uses the immediacy of the musicians, the music and environment to interpret the performance in a highly original and innovative context.

Mary Fuller MacChesney, who has lived in Sonoma County since 1952, was born in Wichita, Kansas, grew up in the Central Vallery of California, studied philosophy at the University of Berkeley, apprenticed at the California Faience Co. , in ceramics, welled in the Richmond Shipyards in World War II, has published three mystery novels, short stories, poems and articles about art in Art Digest, Artforum, Art in America, Craft Horizons, American Crafts, and Current, where she was a staff writer. Mrs. MacChesney was a researcher for The Archives of American Art (1964-1965), a Ford Foundation Fellow (1965-1966) and in 1975 she received a NEA Art Critic’s Grant. Her art book, A Period of Exploration, was published by the Oakland Museum in 1973 in conjunction with a three month exhibition of the work discussed in the book. She has exhibited sculpture at the Syracuse Museum in New York, the San Francisco Museum, the Oakland Museum, Cal State of Cal Center, University of Oaxaca, San Francisco art festivals, and many galleries. Her sculpture commissions include work at the San Francisco General Hospital (1974), Salinas Community Center (1976), Andrew Hill High School, San Jose (1971), Dept. of Motor Vehicles, Yuba City (1978), the San Francisco West Side Pump Station (1979), Petaluma Public Library (1975), and the Petaluma Animal Shelter (2003).

David Meltzer is an American poet and musician of the Beat Generation and San Francisco Renaissance. Lawrence Ferlinghetti has described him as “one of the greats of post-World-War-Two San Francisco poets and musicians.” Meltzer came to prominence with inclusion of his work in the anthology The New American Poetry 1945-1960. One of the key poets of the Beat generation, Meltzer is also a jazz guitarist and Cabalist scholar and the author of more than 50 books of poetry and prose. 2005 saw the publication of David’s Copy: The Selected Poems of David Meltzer (edited by Michael Rothenberg, with an introduction by Jerome Rothenberg) which provides a current “overview” of Meltzer’s work. Meltzer’s other books include No Eyes, poems on Lester Young, and a book of interviews, San Francisco Beat: Talking with the Poets (City Lights Books). Meltzer teaches at the New College of California in the Poetics Program which was originally founded by Duncan. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Craig Baldwin is a filmmaker who uses “found” footage from popular culture to create pseudo-documentaries, and tackles such subjects as intellectual property rights and consumerism. Baldwin was born in Oakland and grew up in the Sacramento area, he attended college at University of California, Santa Barbara and University of California, Davis, and earned an M.A. from San Francisco State University. While there, he studied under Bruce Connor and became increasingly drawn to collage film form. Baldwin’s interest in the re contextualization of “found” imagery led him to various practices of mail art, zines, altered billboards, and other creative initiatives beyond the fringe of the traditional fine-arts curriculum. Baldwin has worked on such films as Spectres of the Spectrum, a sci-fi spoof utilizing early educational kinescopes which criticizes the corporate control of electronic technologies.

Michael McClure is an internationally known poet, essayist, and playwright. Born in Kansas, McClure moved to San Francisco where he was influenced by the developing Beat movement. He went on to join Philip Lamantia, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder & Philip Whalen as the “unknowns” at the famous “6” Gallery reading in 1955. McClure gives performances of his poetry at colleges such as Stanford, NYU and The University of Arizona. He also performs at clubs in San Diego, Vancouver, and New York as well as festivals in Paris, Rome and Amsterdam. He has been featured in several films including Scorsese’s The Last Waltz. He has made three television documentaries, and published numerous books of poetry, plays two novels and several collections of essays.

Ray Manzarek is musician, songwriter, producer, writer, director and keyboardist of the Doors from 1965-1973. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, he grew up playing piano and later studied at the Department of Cinematography at UCLA, where he met Jim Morrison. They expressed interest in each other’s musical endeavors and after Manzarek listened to a rough version of Morrison’s “Moonlight Mile”, the two formed The Doors. The band played at venues such The London Fog and Whiskey a Go Go, before signing with Columbia Records and, and later, Elektra Records. Manzarek played the bass section on a Fender Rhodes piano Bass and a Gibson G-101 Kalamazoo, which sounded like Vox Continental organ. Manzarek has worked with several bands including Nite City, and backed Echo & the Bunnymen, and played with Iggy Pop. He is currently recording with slide guitarist Roy Rogers on a new project.

Andy Jones has taught for the English Department and the University Writing Program since 1990. Originally trained as a poet and interpreter of poetry, Andy has taught classes at UC Davis on TS Eliot, the Poetry of the Beat Generation, and Close Reading of Poetry, as well as the Advanced Poetry Workshop. Andy serves as faculty advisor to The Voice, the campus Undergraduate Health Journal; regularly speaks before groups of students assembled by Student Advising, the McNair Scholars Program, Professors for the Future, and the UCD Medical School’s Post-Baccalaureate Program; and hosts “Dr. Andy’s Poetry and Technology Hour” on radio station KDVS. His recent publications include an essay on Beat Art and Poetry in Lifescapes Magazine, and a book of poetry, Split Stock, that Andy co-authored with Writing Program colleague Brad Henderson. Currently Andy is working on a new book, Cages, and enjoys co-hosting a poetry series at Bistro 33 in Davis on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month.

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