Mentors ~ and “Mind On Fire, The World’s Aflame”

          I’ve been playing music with my best friend, Jan, since we were in high school back in the early 1970′s. We’ve been through many adventures over the years and lots of characters have faded in-and-out during that time. My one solid continuous thread since high school has been my friendship with Jan and the music that has been the fruit of our ongoing labors. Back in the day (teenage, that is…), it was handy to know an older person when Friday night came around (wink-wink, nod-nod…). That was Jan’s older brother Jerry, who took us under his wing and tolerated our mostly feral ways. Jerry had a station wagon, and on Friday nights the whole gang would pile in and go down to the Tu-Vu Drive-In theatre for a double-feature.

Tu-Vu Drive-In (built in 1958, demolished 1978)

          As I recall it was $2 a car with no limit on how many people you could cram in you’re vehicle. And the movies… well, this was the golden era of exploitation films, and we enjoyed such classics as “Trip with the Teacher”, starring a very psychotic Zalman King,


          and “The Pink Angels”, not your typical motorcycle gang,


          and of course the amazing Jane Fonda in “Barbarella”, a film I’ve watched many times since.

          Jerry always anticipated where I was going and where my interests were taking me. He turned me on to lots of life changing things, like amazing books for example. We had become enamored with everything Carlos Castaneda had written about the Yaqui brujo Don Juan Matus, and then Jerry slipped me a copy of “Black Elk Speaks”,


the incredible true story of the Oglaga Sioux medicine man who participated in Custer’s Last Stand as an 11-year old warrior wanna-be and was a later participant in the Wounded Knee Massacre. Black Elk’s doom vision for the end of his tribe and the passing of the old ways became chillingly real. As much as Carlos Castaneda resonated with me, I began slowly to realize that Black Elk was the real deal… and I became driven to find the real story behind these incredible personages.

          Jerry also had some hard to find records to listen to. His range of likes was all over the map, which is really a very forward way of thinking… but quite out of style at the time. Most of us seemed preoccupied with our few special groups… and disdained any other influences. One of the most memorable players in Jerry’s record collection was the booze-driven Irish Blues rocker, Rory Gallagher. Rory’s live shows were legendary, and we were fortunate enough to see his show when he came to San Diego.

“Live in Europe” (1972), stands as one of the most iconic of all live albums. Songs like “Messin’ with the Kid” fairly oozed molten heat and many of us singed our eyebrows while listening.

          Jerry was instrumental in introducing me to a couple of my favorite artists’. The surrealist Rene Magritte, and the graphic designer, M.C. Escher. Both continue to inspire me and loom large in my personal mythos.

           Dr. Jerald Ault is Professor of Marine Biology and Fisheries at the University of Miami RSMAS. Jerry and his associates are deeply involved in quantitative methods for investigating responses of marine populations to exploitation, ecosystem modeling, and resource management decision-making under uncertainty. This vital information is critical to our understanding of world-wide fish populations and how they effect the health and well being of the earth’s food chain. Here is a link to Jerry’s website for more information; .

          Back in the day I always carried around a sketchbook (still do!). I guarded my sketchbook obsessively, and was quite shocked and angry one day to discover that someone had the temerity to draw in my book! Of course, that drawing has become one of my most cherished possessions. And here it is;

          Much later I drew my own response to Jerry’s original, which leads to this “Drawing of the Day”.

~ samwell

About sidestreetsam

Sam Hallmark ~ Graphic Designer ● Conceptual Design ● Animation ● Multi-Media ● Music ● Desert Wind Graphics was established in 1994 as an affordable graphic design solution for a wide range of clients. From conceptual media, storyboards, print collaterals, logo design, multi-media presentations, animation, engineering, technical, marketing , advertising and corporate image packages, Desert Wind Graphics will fulfill your design needs for projects both big and small. With over twenty-five years of design experience I can provide you with access to a unique skill set that will deliver your project on time, within budget and on target! Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have regarding your graphic design needs.
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4 comments on “Mentors ~ and “Mind On Fire, The World’s Aflame”

  1. Oh Barbarella. Does that bring back memories — and what delightful ones they were. Remember the S__ Machine. I sure do.

    What a great Post that brings back lots of great memories. It is kool to have a kindred spirit.

    • SamMan,
      Nice tribute to the Ault Brothers.
      Glad Jerry was able to connect and guide you in your music and literary explorations. (You should never argue with The Doctor)
      Funny how some people who pass through our lives may introduce us to music etc which we most likely would never have stumbled upon on our own.
      In the 1970″s I shared a house in North Park with a fellow named Charlie Fox. (He was a student at USD and today is an attorney in El Centro) He was somewhat of a musical troubador himself and filled the house with the sounds of Poco, Pure Praire League, and Jimmy Buffet. This was all foreign to my world, but it left it’s mark and I’ve been grateful ever since. Early Poco is The Eagles but better, and without the mass commercial calculation baked in. And Jimmy Buffet?? A fine American poet first, and a delightful rogue. (This long before “Margaritta” fame).
      Also, thanks for throwing the spotlight on Rory Gallagher. The power & pride of Ireland. Not as well recognized as he should be. I first heard ample doses of him while pursuing an Irish lass in 1971/72. (Anybody remember Bloody Sunday) He was big over there at that time.
      Enough already. Thanks for the spark……..

      • ~ Howdy, Tom! Poco was a awesome band. I saw them early in 1972 on a bill with Seals and Croft and Loggins and Messina. They opened up the show and were by far the best group at that concert. I know exactly what you mean, just think of the Eagles, only better. Jim Messina had recently left Poco to form a duo with Kenny Loggins, but sat in with his old band buds in Poco for the first set. A memorable night. Sneaky Pete Kleinow played the amazing pedal steel guitar heard on Poco’s recordings (also on the Eagles albums). Before his musical career, he originally worked as a special effects artist and stop motion animator for movies and television, including the Gumby, Outer Limits, and Davey and Goliath series, as well as movies such as 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (starring Tony Randall and Barbara Eden) and The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm. Also wrote the Gumby theme. Interesting kat! ~ samwell

    • ~ Thanks, Peter! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. That was a simpler time back in the drive-in days. I remember the machine, but I thought it was called the Orgasmatron! (might be wrong on that one!) I’ve been most fortunate to have many mentors and guides during my life journey. Peter, you should also know that you are a kindrid spirit, as we have so much in common.

      ~ samewll

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