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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"Nowhere Is Our Real Home": Ken Brower appearance at HMML June 5 has been cancelled

UPDATE: the event I describe below—Ken Brower's appearance on June 5 at HMML, the Library has announced, has been cancelled.
Later today—Sunday, June 5th—the speaker series "Nowhere Is Our Real Home" continues at the Henry Miller Memorial Library with author Kenneth Brower.

In Big Sur and throughout the West, a new economic wave spurred by the internet is causing dramatic impacts. Some immediately presenting issues: workers’ housing, short-term rentals, the commercialization of neighborhoods, and traffic congestion along Highway 1.

Ken is the oldest son of the pioneering environmentalist David Brower— and editor of the Sierra Club exhibit-format book Not Man Apart: Photographs of the Big Sur Coast, Lines from Robinson Jeffers—a book that belongs on every Big Sur bookshelf or coffee table.

The talk begins at 3 pm. This event is by donation. Tea, coffee—and most importantly, discussion!—will be readily available.



Nowhere Is Our Real Home: Community and Identity in the New West


Nowhere Is Our Real Home: Community and Identity in the New West

                                                           — beginning Sunday, April 3 @ 4PM

In Big Sur and throughout the West, a new economic wave spurred by the internet is causing dramatic impacts. Some immediately presenting issues: workers’ housing, short-term rentals, the commercialization of neighborhoods, traffic congestion along Highway 1, and the intrusion of helicopters, drones, and other electronic devices in the backcountry and in backcountry neighborhoods.

The Henry Miller Memorial Library will host Nowhere Is Our Real Home, a speakers series aimed at shedding light on the overall new economic wave itself—"the natural amenities economy"—while also addressing the specific local issues (listed above) that the new internet-driven economic wave is causing. The series begins with author David Gessner on April 3 (see below) and then resumes on the first Sunday in June. Speakers also include Kenneth Brower (Not Man Apart), Don Usner (The Natural History of Big Sur), and Malcolm Margolin (Life in a California Mission: Monterey in 1786). HMML will also produce it own local programs on Jaime de Angulo, Robinson Jeffers, and Henry Miller.

To begin the series, HMML is pleased to announce…

                                                        * * * * *

Nowhere Is Our Real Home: Finding a Wild Home in a Virtual Age

                                                            — Sunday, April 3 @ 4PM

David Gessner, award-winning author of All the Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West and nine other books, opens the series with an exploration of what it means to find (and keep) a real and wild home in our "virtual age." As part of a generation of writers who have followed Gary Snyder and Wendell Berry, Gessner will discuss his own "post-regionalist philosophy" about what home and its relationship to the wild might mean now. And he will use Wallace Stegner, Edward Abbey, and Wendell Berry as touchstones.

Please visit or call 831.667.2574 for updates and more details

                                                        * * * * *

(Disclaimer: I'm on the HMML board of directors and also one of the co-creators of the "Nowhere" speakers series.)


Charles Lloyd: "Arrows into Infinity"

Spent Friday and today (Sunday) at the Monterey Jazz Festival—dialed in on Charles Lloyd and his trio Sangam (Friday) and his New Quartet (Sunday). Both performances different—and dazzling.

Also saw the relatively new film on Lloyd—"Arrows into Infinity." Apart from all the vintage footage—and a helpful reflection on Lloyd's time in Big Sur—drummer Eric Harland has an endearing segment on what the hell it's like to try to play between fabled tablas player Zafir Hussain and Lloyd.

And about halfway down a page of videos on Lloyd's webpage is the Montreux 1982 performance of "Forest Flower Sunset" with Michel Petrucciani. Lloyd had gone into seclusion for a decade in Big Sur — and the young Petrucciani traveled from the south of France to show up on Lloyd's doorstep.

And here's a performance of "Soaring" by the New Quartet.

Anyone have this LP?


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."