This journal focuses on the art, history, culture, and wildlands of the northern Big Sur coast. Periodic entries and documents appear at random here.




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Wild and Scenic Film Festival: September 13 at the Golden Gate Theater in Monterey

It is the wildness of these mountains—and the wildness of this coast—that makes human life meaningful here.

No coincidence that these three values are conjoined: freedom, wilderness, and solitude.

Fight fiercely for each one—in order to preserve them all.

The Ventana Wilderness Alliance is hosting the upcoming "Wild and Scenic Film Festival."

Date: Saturday, September 13

Place: Golden Gate Theater in Monterey

Time: 7 pm

In addition to presenting "wild and scenic" films located in other wildlands, the VWA's evening will also present original stories filmed in our own wild coast.

When you're building a vibrant local culture, it's not enough to curate. You must also create.


"The Sandpiper"—at the Henry Miller Memorial Library 

In the history of artistic events at the Henry Miller Memorial Library—which has encompassed everything from the intimacy of poetry readings to the senses-wide-open theater of the Big Sur Fashion Show—the most memorable events are those joined at birth with the wild coast itself.

You can watch The Sandpiper anywhere. But why?

Every other venue in the world (including your own living room) ties for second place is comparison with watching The Sandpiper on the big screen under the redwoods at HMML.

Thursday, August 28

8 PM

Henry Miller Memorial Library

The Sandpiper won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for Johnny Mandel's and Paul Francis Webster's "The Shadow of Your Smile" (aka "The Love Theme from The Sandpiper")—and the song also won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1965.

You can both listen to and watch the visual and sound poem of the opening credits and music here...

And/ can step outdoors (if you live in Big Sur) or drive up (or down) coast and join us in the place itself.

Richard Burton's elegant Welsh/British tones are dramatic and theatrical. But no more dramatic and theatrical than the coast itself. And from the homage to Jeffers through the vignettes of people and places on the coast, Burton's prelude is a fit depiction of a place and time.

"It must be wonderful to live in such a place...forever."



Sitting Alone In Jingting Mountain


Flocks of birds fly high and vanish;

A single cloud, alone, calmly drifts on.

Never tired of looking at each other—

Only the Jingting Mountain and me.

                           — Li Bai 699-762




Note: an amazing project connecting ancient Chinese mountain poems with the locations where they were written...

Mountain Songs



Big Sur Film: Gala Finale, Saturday, September 7 at the Golden Gate Theatre

If you missed the Gala Finale of the Big Sur Short Film series last Sunday, September 1, at the Henry Miller Memorial Library sweat. The Grand Finale is re-materializing in an even bigger theatrical (and in-town) setting this coming Saturday night—at the Golden State Theatre in Monterey.

The four finalist films are whimsical, heartbreaking, outlandish, thoughtful, beautiful. In short, exactly the kind of diverse, energizing selections we've come to expect from the series as a whole.

And the venue at the Golden Gate Theatre promises a host of other delightful accompaniments.

Here's the skinny:

The "Town" Event of the Year!

 Join us for the first-ever Big Sur International Short Film Screening Series "Gala" Finale in Monterey*, Saturday, September 7th, at the Golden State Theater!
Food from Happy Girl Kitchen, Wine from Heller Estates, Chocolates from Trader Joe's, Beer from Peter B's Brew Pub, live Music from Songs Hotbox Harry Taught Us, the five finalists of our 2013 as chosen by our Jury, and of course, the Grand Prize Winner! 

All of this for only $10! 
Tickets HERE; Facebook event HERE; and please tell all your friends - be a part of history while celebrating all that is good about Monterey County!


Why I'm an oblate...

When I first learned of the Camaldolese, I thought of the three-fold good as an actual map of an actual landscape. And I still think of it that way.

What also interested me from the beginning was the idea of a trail that would lead back and forth between the cloister and the wild.

(That's me in the forest hiking up towards the crest of the Apennines from beyond the open back gate of the Eremo.)

And so at Romuald Duscher's prompting, my friend Steve Chambers and I found the original homestead trail between the Hermitage and Twitchell Flat and then with Romuald and others we cleared and opened that trail again. This meant a direct and open connection between the Hermitage and the Ventana wilderness — such as there had always been for the Salinan people of this coast.

Raimundo Panikaar has said that...

"The salvation of humankind depends upon well-worn paths between huts."

And that has been my own conviction, too — a conviction that's also reflected in the spirit of the Four Winds Council.

Nor have I missed the irony in Dante having his St. Benedict praise Romuald for being a monk who "kept his feet within the cloister" since Dante knew that Romuald wandered everywhere and that when he did settle in a place he generally made sure to establish his own hermitage somewhere outside the monastery's walls.

That was Thomas Merton's intention later in his life, too — to create a "hermitage outside the walls," perhaps even on the Lost Coast of Northern California. It would've been a life that maintained his relationship with his monastery without being physically enclosed within it.

There are moments when I feel as if I'm living part of the life Merton might've lived had he returned from Asia.

And I've also been learning from the Chinese mountain poets that being a mountain poet doesn't mean a quietist withdrawal, but rather that it can be an act of political resistance.

In the mountains I don't feel like I'm getting away from anything (except from some of my own obsessions). Rather I feel that I'm connecting.