"The same night as my collage show at Batman Gallery, Neal came by with the desperado, Peter Angel, I think his name was. Neal was wearing a Goldwater button, the Republican straw hat and cane, etc. I though he resembled Goldwater."
I also remember the Goldwater costume, although as I recall it was a more a theatrical satire performance than a political statement. I don't think that political activism was much of an issue in Neal's repertoire. I think that he ascribed more consequences to cosmic forces, astrology, cayce, than to political decisions. I do have a very vivid recollection of the time Neal said that the world is going to become more and more conservative. I thought he was kidding. It was when LSD first reached our scene and we were full of all kinds of hopes for the new enlightenment that was dawning, I think it was 1964. No, he was not kidding. His explanation was the fact that more and more cement was poured on the earth. At the time we were at a party and I dismissed it as another of his nutty ideas. We discuss it again, but the idea subsequently played with my mind, especially after he died. I began to consider that indeed if there is one thing that we humans are doing everywhere, is covering the earth with cement. When we walk on cement our feet are met by an unyielding hard surface that does not accomodate to the shape of our feet. Shockwaves are sent up a stiffening spine. Even rocky earth yields somewhat to the shape of the foot, has an organic friendlier feel. And if that is not enough, as urbanization progresses cement rises to separate our senses from their natural surroundings not only beneath our feet but all around us. The visual expanse gets restricted more and more until from looking out at a vast sky where things are seen for far distances, walking down the financial district in San Francisco today our vision stops abruptly across the street and we have to lift our heads to see a small spot of sky between the high rises, or for evidence that a sun is shining above when we are surrounded by shadows. More and more people are spending more and more of their live inside cement cubicles that are getting smaller and smaller. It seems like even in the parts of the planet where urbanization is last to get started, they are trying harder to catcvh up and the process is accelerating as we develop better tools to do do what we seem to be driven to do eveywhere. Maybe I am going far afield from the question that I was asked, to give you some idea of what I recall about Neal's politics.

Oh yes, Neal did talk quite a bit about his suspicions regarding conspiracies in the JFK assasinations. I concur with Charles that Vietnam did not yet seem to be that much of an issue then. High on the list were things related to the failed plans to invade Cuba, the Bay of Pigs, Mafia interests and some mafia related cuban emigres. I remember quite excited lengthy raps from Neal. He never gave up on the conspiracy theories.

It was Peter Angel though who introduced me to your collages. Peter was a very close friend whom I introduced to Neal. I wonder why you call him a desperado. He came from a tragic background, but during those years he was painting and supporting himself working as a subpoena server for Margo Saint James, who in turn worked for lawyers such as Hallinan, something like that. Unfortunately the large canvasses that he worked on are all lost. He lost his life also in a motorcycle accident in Stinson Beach. I wish I had friends like him today.

BTW, Charles, I recall visiting Neal once in the pad that you mention, it seems to me that we were introduced briefly, but I don't recall that too well yet.

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