Diane Karasik — Artist • 1964
Seal Beach, California USA
There are some loves one never forgets
No one ever stopped loving Diane
Years after we made this photograph I wrote:
My Last Poem for Diane • 1966
I carry the NO that you gave me
in the palm of my hand
Like the empty weight of summer wind
kissing the spray on Mexican waters
… without touch.
written during a break…
while photographing a recording session
Sunset Sound Recorders, Hollywood, California
fyi: That was not the last poem…jt
Woman Walking Past Kosher Butcher
Venice Beach, California • 1963
Like Greenwich Village & North Beach, Venice Beach was widely known as a home for Beatniks because we had one Coffee House, the “Venice West Café,” owned by an actual unapologetic communist (a rare bird in America at the time) and because we hung out inter-racially, smoked reefer and played conga drums all night while dancing in the sand.
We had two or three known poets Stuart Perkoff, who was very intense & Black albino Maurice Lacy who was elegantly musical. The voice and rhythms led by Tamboo, (aka Curtis Smith) echoed often throughout the night. Boo was the best entertainer I’ve ever known — I saw him get a group of old Chinese people to stand up, clap, sing & sway along with him on a Muni bus — I said that when, 45 years later, I spoke at his funeral.
We also had Clair Horner who drank buttermilk and wrote and sold books of scornful epigrams in the coffee house and in the restaurants in town; I remember Clair for coining the phrase “beat-end weaknik.”
But, in truth most of the denizens of Venice Beach were nameless students like my roommate Gunner, our neighbor Jim Morrison and me, who ate 35¢ pork chops at Olivia’s where she had a sign over a basket of hard-boiled eggs that read: “Boneless Chicken Dinner 10¢.”
Still by numerical count the greatest percentage of the neighborhood’s denizens were old Jews, many of whom were survivors of the camps. Looking back at my photographs, it appears that I found their lives more interesting than those of my contemporaries, at least when it came time to make photographs.