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 »
As Woodstock gets ready to celebrate Earth Day on Monday, April 22, we wanted to recap some local environmental milestones.
In 2003 the Woodstock Environmental Commission (WEC) procured a New York State Energy Research Development Agency grant covering eighty percent of the project cost of a photo-voltaic panel array for the municipal building at 76 Tinker Street. On March 13, 2007, the Town of Woodstock unanimously passed a Zero-Carbon Initiative. The goal was to achieve a net zero emission of carbon dioxide by the end of 2017.
In 2009 the Roots of Woodstock Live Concert was held on August 15 at the Bearsville Theater. This 40th anniversary Woodstock festival concert also raised money via an Eco Raffle. The monies raised enabled the concert promoters to purchase two bright red bicycle-shaped Dero bike racks. One was placed in front of Houst’s on Mill Hill Road and the other in front of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Arts booth on Rock City Road.
Also in 2009 the WEC produced The Green Guide, a 39-page handout, detailing ways Woodstockers can lower their eco-footprint. In June 2011 the town installed a solar array atop the Woodstock Highway Garage. The town currently generates over five percent of its electricity needs from solar arrays. Woodstock is continuing to work on a plan to reach its net zero emission goal by 2017.
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.
Gerry Michael, a drummer and an alum of Group 212, arrived back in town in 2004. He still drums, but during the day he paints houses—and he is damn fine painter at that.
Back in 1968 Gerry was the drummer for The Bummers, a circa 1880 Commedia dell’Arte style group of cowboys and Indians. The performers numbered 14 and included a five-piece rock band who in addition to Gerry featured his brother Kevin on lead guitar, Tom Sankey on tenor guitar, his wife, Janet, on autoharp and Frank Thumbheart on bass. The previous year Tom Sankey had enjoyed success with “The Golden Screw,” an off-off Broadway folk rock musical at the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village. The show’s cast album was recorded by ATCO and was the first rock theatrical recording of its kind.
To promote their area debut in July 1968 some of The Bummers went to Saugerties dressed in western gear and the following took place: “A tall young man strode along the street. He wore a wide brim Stetson hat, cowboy boots, blue jeans, and a gaudy western shirt. A six-shooter was at his side. One of the local lawmen moved in for the showdown, “What’s that you got strapped around your waist?” A smile pulled at the stranger’s lips. His clear blue eyes bored into those of the concerned official. “Why it’s just a cap pistol, officer,” the young cowboy replied. “I’m a bummer.” This was account was written up in the Woodstock Week. Read the rest of this entry »