On May 26, 2013, at the Bearsville Theater, Happy Traum will host Marco Benevento, Tracy Bonham, Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, Jay Collins, Dave Dreiwitz Donald Fagan, Amy Helm, Connor Kennedy, Jerry Marotta, Tim Moore, A.C. Newman, Jane Scarpantoni, Jim Weider, Doug Yoel and Peter Dougan & The WDS Advance Ensemble, among others, singing songs from Bob Dylan’s catalog at the Woodstock Soundout. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 8 p.m.
The Woodstock Soundouts began in September 1967 as an outdoor folk/rock concert produced by Pan Copeland and Jocko Moffitt. Moffitt, a roofer and drummer from California, modeled them after festivals he had seen in his native state. Acts like Richie Havens, Billy Batson, Phil Ochs and Tim Hardin performed in 1967. The concerts occurred yearly until 1970. Due to mass gathering limits—on the Town of Saugerties books—of no more than 200 people allowed, the concert series became unprofitable and were discontinued. In 2008 they were resuscitated by the Woodstock Day School(WDS) as a fundraising event. The school is located across the road from the old site on lower Glasco Turnpike in West Saugerties. In 2009 Happy Traum, a Soundout Festival vet from the 1960s, co-founded the Bob Dylan birthday celebration at the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild with Lu Ann Bielawa. Last year the WDS Soundout series was merged with the annual Dylan birthday celebration.
Dayl Wise, co-founder of the Post Traumatic Press, grew up in White Plains, New York. He was Christian raised, and a respecter of the Ten Commandments—especially, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” However, dyslexia made reading difficult so it was no surprise that he dropped out of college after his first semester in 1969. Shortly thereafter he was drafted and sent to Vietnam.
He says that he will never forget the wall of heat that met him upon arriving in Vietnam. “It literally took my breath away.” During his first week he was sent on practice maneuvers to a rubber plantation on the outskirts of the Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City). Dayl found the organic smell of the place almost erotic. The lush green plant life, particularly the amazing ferns, the colorful birds, the rock apes and the high jungle canopies, lent an otherworldly dimension to his American-conditioned sensibility. Dayl’s in-country assignment began at Phuoc Vinh, a town 30 miles northwest of Saigon, at the U.S. Army fire base. The Army made him a recon leader of an eight-man squad attached to the 1st Air Cavalry Division. Many times his team walked point for an 80-man line company. Over the course of the next seven months he was sent on countless patrols throughout Vietnam—and also Cambodia.
Early one morning in late November 1970 small arms fire pinned Dayl’s team down. Immediately to his right the unit’s South Vietnamese scout was killed. Then Dayl was wounded in the left leg. He was rescued by helicopter and taken to hospital at Bien Hoa. From there he was flown to Japan and on to St. Albans, Queens. Dayl spent six months recuperating in the hospital. It took several surgeries of bone grafts and the insertion of a metal plate before he could be sent home in a wheel chair.
The Vietnam experience pushed Dayl towards the anti-war movement. As soon as he was ambulatory he threw out his uniform and his medals. Oddly, his service-to-country helped him overcome his former learning challenge. During stretches of prolonged boredom he turned to reading anything he could get his hands on, and gradually he overcame his dyslexia. This stood him in good stead when he returned to college, and he received a degree in engineering. He worked as a consulting engineer until the early 1990s. Around this time he was watching a CNN report on the first Gulf War and he suffered a flashback. In the news report he saw a helicopter being deployed and suddenly the memory of the sweet acrid smell of aviation fuel came flooding back. He visited a veteran’s hospital to see a psychiatrist. His healing took a unique turn when he was offered the chance to deliver hospital supplies to Vietnam. It was after this visit that Vietnam changed for him from being a war zone, to a country and a people. Read the rest of this entry »
The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild’s exhibition of William Pachner’s drawings runs from March 29 to May 5, 2013. Pachner has lived in Woodstock since 1945 and counts fellow artists Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Eugene Speicher and Bud Plate as his artist-peers.
William Pachner was born in 1915 in Brtnice, Moravia, a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1920 an accident left him blind in his left eye. Nonetheless he studied design at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna in the 1920s. By 1935 he was staff artist on Ozvěny, an illustrated weekly based in Prague. At the start of World War II he managed to obtain a visa to the United States. For a time he worked as the art director at Esquire Magazine in Chicago. In 1945 he learned that all his family perished at the hands of the Nazis. From this point on he moved to Woodstock and began to dedicate his life to executing serious art. By 1948 he started to participate in large annual exhibitions, such as the Carnegie International and the Whitney Annual.
In 1981 after several operations to fix a detached retina, William Pachner lost sight in his “good” right eye. Up to this time Pachner had worked primarily with color. After this devastating setback he vowed to work with his “bad” left eye. From 1981 to 1999 he produced between 400 to 600 black-and-white drawings. The current show, curated by Nancy Azara, Byron Bell, Matt Leaycraft and Ann Pachner, shows 41 of these works.
On Saturday, April 6 William Pachner appeared with the poet and personal friend, Michael Perkins, at the Byrdcliffe Kleinert/James Center for the Arts for a gallery talk. At one point Michael turned to Pachner and suggested that some people who attend art colleges declare that they’re artists upon graduation. Mr. Pachner replied (and I am paraphrasing) that art is a lifelong struggle and requires one to dedicate oneself to trying many things. Hopefully one is able reach an inner truth through one’s works and that this in turn ignites recognition by one’s fellows. The rhythmic chiaroscuro of Pachner’s works in the show allows the observer to not only feel the pathos of his life, but to experience the truth of his art.
Peter Blum is a long-time resident of the Woodstock area. His shamanic sound healing practice is widely recognized and supported by the community. In 2009 he was honored with an award from the National Guild of Hypnotists for “a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication and service.” I spoke to him recently by phone to learn about his connection to the Sound-Outs.
Peter started his journey as a folk singer in the Bronx. During the early 1960s he traveled down to Greenwich Village to see such fellow folkie acts as Happy and Artie Traum perform in Washington Square Park. From 1962 he took in performances of Bob Dylan, John Sebastian, Richie Havens and Jimi Hendrix around the Village at venues like the Night Owl Café and the Café Au Go-Go. But soon all his idols were hanging out and performing in Woodstock. In 1965 he became a counselor at the Boys Club of America’s Camp Harriman in East Jewett, NY. One day he heard that John Hammond, Jr. was performing at the Café Espresso. Blum decided to hitchhike to Woodstock to catch the show. Unfortunately he couldn’t get a lift from Mt. Tremper to Woodstock, and missed Hammond’s performance. By 1969 he met Jan Zeitz in Greenwich Village and learned about the Sound-Outs. Zeitz was living with her then boyfriend, Cyril Caster, in a school bus on Pan Copeland’s farm. Caster later booked Blum for a gig at the Sound-Outs. Read the rest of this entry »