Mother Blues in Chicago, 1966

(August-September 1966) – Big Brother and the Holding Company played at Mother Blues, a small club on Wells Street, Chicago. They didn’t have a record out yet, we’d never heard any of their songs, and they had a new singer no one ever heard of.
Some of the band members needed a place to stay. Accommodations were made for one of the musicians at a crash pad I was staying at on North Avenue, about two blocks from Mother Blues. I’m not sure he actually stayed there, but in return several of us were allowed in to see the San Francisco band, because of course we couldn’t afford tickets.
The club was full of tourists as usual, except for our table of hippie street people. The singer gave us a little wave and at intermission came over to say hello. Sounded like her name was Janice.

Photo credits – https://drloihjournal.blogspot.com/2017/02/all-about-old-town-neighborhood-of.html (November 5, 2018). https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Big-Brother-drummer-holding-onto-the-times-that-11119423.php (March 27, 2018).

Cleveland Poetry, 1966

On my third or fourth pass through Cleveland in 1966, d. a. levy brought me along to an open-mic poetry reading he’d organized at a place called The Gate. It was July 1, and the Plain Dealer wrote a full-page story on the event, including printing a poem of mine. The poem was from my booklet that d. a. levy had published, Paracutes. The two other poems I read were also published, one in Carl Woidek’s Sum, and the other in levy’s compilation, Poets at the Gate. That one came to the attention of poet Walter Lowenfels, who published it in a 1969 Doubleday anthology, The Writing on the Wall.

Lincoln, Nebraska’s “younger” avant-garde

“Younger” because Pat Brougham, George Eade, John Powers, Joe Knight, Ron Barzydlo and others were my peers, mostly freshmen at the U. of Nebraska in Lincoln. The problem is, we didn’t have cameras. I don’t have my own picture from that year, 1965-66.

Randy Rhody printed 50 of his poems. Steve Abbott drew the cover, and Grady Waugh wrote an introduction. I sold several copies before the rest were stolen.
Grady Waugh (from a later photograph) was a guitarist and my roommate at the time we hosted the big party for Allen Ginsberg at our apartment on W Street.
Darlene Barnes (from a later photograph).

About Record of Mishaps

An otherworldly 18-year-old seeking a mystic’s higher understanding flees compulsory military service in 1966, drifting without a safety net through subterranean America for 22,000 reckless miles.

Record of Mishaps is the title of the 1966-1969 memoir by Randy Rhody. At the time, he carried a cloth-bound green ledger to write poems and make notes of his 22,000 miles of wandering (see map below)… until it was stolen!

Printed on the cover was the word Record, to which he added with a marker, of Mishaps.

Record of Mishaps is also the name of my memoir of those travels and misadventures. Below is a map of my route. Learn more about the book at http://www.randyrhody.com. The purpose of the web site you’re looking at now is to store images Randy collected from the specific episodes and characters in his book.

Lincoln, Nebraska’s “older” avant-garde

“Older” because these people were all older than me by 4 to 6 years.
Carl Davidson (lower left) came from Pennsylvania to Lincoln as a graduate student and lecturer. He co-established the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) on campus in 1965-1966 when I knew him. In August 1966 he was elected SDS national vice-president.
Larry Clausen (upper left) was vice-president of the Lincoln chapter of SDS that Carl Davidson started. In Lincoln I used to see him riding around on his Indian motorcycle, with Steve Wilson. At about the time I knew him, this photo by Jon Giorlich appeared in the March-April Scrip magazine.
Steve Wilson already had a degree in fine art from the university and had served a year in the army, before the Vietnam ramp-up. He rode a 1950 Harley and lived at his mom’s house, making paintings and drawings like the one shown (upper right), courtesy of J. Seyler. In a couple of years he became the ZAP Comix artist, S. Clay Wilson.
Steve Abbott (lower right and lower center) edited the campus literary journal, Scrip, issued five times in 1965-1966 at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. I considered him a good friend and he kindly published some of my poems in each issue.

Allen Ginsberg in Nebraska, February 1966

In February 1966 Allen Ginsberg visited Lincoln, Nebraska to read poetry at the University, where I was an 18-year-old freshman and aspiring poet. He is shown onstage (upper left) with his companion Peter Orlovsky in the February 21, 1966 University of Nebraska at Lincoln newspaper, the Daily Nebraskan.
The Department of English literary magazine, Scrip, featured Ginsberg’s photo on the cover (upper right) of the March-April issue. When the department chairman balked at including a copy of the poet’s latest composition, “Auto Poesy to Nebraska,” Steve Abbott, the Scrip editor, ran it as a supplement.
Karl Shapiro, 1945 Pulitzer winner and faculty member, wrote a review of Scrip in the Daily Nebraskan (lower right). He very kindly praised my poem about Ginsberg’s appearance. Karl also slipped in a mention of my self-published book of poems, A Year’s Worth of Wonder 1965-1966 (lower left).