April 26, 2013

Beemer Memories Pt. 3 ~ Beginnings

photo by Tim
(click on any image to see larger size)

Sold my Beemer a couple of days ago. This is a shot of Paulie, the man who bought it. He sent it to me during our emails back and forth, he said, "I'm sitting on a brand new Honda CB450 that my oldest brother, Tim, bought in Hong Kong and brought back on the USS Coral Sea." The photo was taken by his brother. "That photo captured the very beginning of a long love affair with bikes."

Paulie then shot his brother in turn. "Here's another pic, but of him, showing off his bike and his Hong Kong tailor made suit."

Paulie's brother, Tim
photo by Paul

I sent Paulie this one of me taken just after I'd bought my Beemer in 1972. I was so proud and happy to have realized a dream come true after twenty years (see link below).

me circa 1972
photo by John Camp

During our email exchanges, Paulie wrote, "I've had a lifelong love affair with motorcycles. I appreciate the BMW design for its simplicity, quietness, and build quality."

After he bought my Beemer he wrote, "I was happy to meet you and Tom and see people taking art seriously. Photographs are among my greatest treasures, my greatest pleasures. There's so much power there for an image to bring me to tears or to make me laugh or excite me in any way."

Any question why I'm a happy man now?

Paulie and me
photo by Tom White

Thanks, Paulie.
Happy and safe riding.

Styrous® ~ August 26, 2013


Beemer Memories Pt. 2 ~ Realizations

1972 BMW R60/5 motorcycle chrome battery covers
photo by Styrous®
(click on image to see larger size)

I received a great email about my blog entry on the sale of my Beemer (see link #1 below). I said some things in it I wanted to put in something more than an email, so here it is.

Email from BJ:

"What wonderful and exhilarating experiences!!!!  I am so afraid of bikes and have never wanted to drive one, but your account of the sierra foothills ride without your helmet makes me want to want it!... although only for the 20 years younger bjo :)

It is bitter sweet to hear of this transition and I'm fighting what it represents Tooth and Nail!: the passing from youth to elder to beyond.

I Love you and I LOVE your sorted, crazy, guiltless, daring, rebellious and FANTASTIC life time journey!!!!!!!!!!

You're the best! and thanks for the blog"

My response to BJ:

What a terrific reply to my blog, BJ, I'm deeply touched. Thank you.

Yes, the "passing . . . to elder to beyond" part is a difficult task. It's VERY strange what's happening to me right now, it's been slowly building for over a year. I find myself in the curious process of the dismantling of my life. I will explain.

My whole life was involved in the process of accumulating things, stuff. Generally, I did not do it casually (my motorcycle, my record collection, etc.) but with care and thought. I now find I am beginning to disperse these accumulations with the same care. Kind of like a man who has attached a very long strip of cloth to his waist then slowly turns so the cloth wraps around his waist until he gets to the end of the cloth which by then, if he has done it properly, has become a beautiful, resplendent sash. It is complete, neat, perfect and radiant. Then he must gently, gracefully and with great thought turn in the opposite direction and unravel the cloth; but he must do it with care so the cloth may then be passed on to someone who will value and cherish it as he did.

I have come to the realization that this is a good thing. I have the luxury of doing it in my own fashion and time rather than letting someone else go through the dreary process of doing it after I've gone many years from now. (I sure hope it's many years from now.)   :-)

The sale of my bike was a fantastic experience for me. I had emotions I did not expect and did not have emotions I had expected. There was no sense of loss, grief or sadness when I watched Paul (the new owner) ride off on it. I felt nostalgic, to be sure, but that is not loss. Nostalgia is an honoring, respecting and savoring of a time, place or thing. Nostalgia makes me sad occasionally but mostly it brings to life a time of special importance in my life; I relive it. That's a good thing and it's important.

By the same token, I felt emotions I had anticipated in NO way what-so-ever!

I had received many email replies to my first ad on Craig's List. Almost all (but not all) were flaky in one way or another which I won't go into, it's not important. I had asked an amount for it with no expectation of getting it.

The ad expired so I re-listed it but lowered the price. Once again I got the flakes, etc,. but I ended up selling my Beemer to Paulie who would treat my Beemer with the care it deserved (to understand, see link #2 below).

Since the sale I have still been receiving inquiries about the bike and when I've told them it's been sold they have regretted the missed opportunity.

All this is to explain the unexpected feelings of lightness, relief, joy, happiness and gratitude that my beloved Beemer was going to the right person. The experience made me realize why I've taken so long to do anything about my record collection other than write about it in my blog (see link #3 below). I want the collection dispersed with care; it has to go to the right person, place or situation that will respect it for what it is. An entity bigger than the individual parts.

I want my beautiful sash unraveled with care.

Link #1: Beemer Memories Pt. 1 ~ The end and the Beginning

Link #2: Why I chose Paulie:
Beemer Memories Pt. 3 ~ Beginnings
Styrous® ~ April 26, 2013


April 25, 2013

Beemer Memories ~ articles

Beemer Memory 1 ~ the end & the beginning
Beemer Memory 2 ~ Realizations
Beemer Memory 3 ~ Beginnings
Beemer Memory 4 ~ Leatherneck, S. F., 1977
Beemer Memory 5 ~ Leatherneck, Pillow, a Hungry i
Beemer Memory 6 ~ corn dogs 'n nieces
Beemer Memory 7 ~ the last run
Beemer Memory 8 ~ Drummer Magazine  
Beemer Memory 9 ~ Well Made of California
Beemer Memory 10 ~ 1977 CARNIFAIR ~ dancin' for the Seamen
Beemer Memory 11 ~ Leatherneck posters  
Beemer Memory 12 ~ Forty years on with No Name
Beemer Memory 13 ~ Betty Davis, Kaisik Wong & Sandra Sakata
Beemer Memory 14 ~ Sandra Sakata & the Obiko fashion shows  
Beemer Memory 15 ~ Taxicabs when medallions reigned ~ 1976  
Beemer Memory 16 ~ Two wheeled Locksmith & Devon    
Beemer Memory 17 ~ Vietnam War Protests ~ 1973       
Beemer Memory 18 ~ Pearl Harbor Day       
Beemer Memory 19 ~ A-2 leather flight jacket "Made in USA"    
Beemer Memory 20 ~ Protest poster ~ another deja vu       
Beemer Memory 21 ~ Pillow (She-Beast) & The Hungry i     
Beemer Memory 22 ~ The Eagle Iron & Leather Shop        
Beemer Memory 23 ~ Raul Reyna motorcycle sculptures              
Beemer Memory 24 ~ motorcycle gauntlets ~ 1972     
Beemer Memory 25 ~ Hangin' out at the Hungry i     
Green links in the articles lead to more information about the article.
1972 BMW R60/5 motorcycle "Toaster" tank
photo by Styrous©
(click on image to see larger size)


April 23, 2013

Beemer Memories Pt. 1 ~ the end & the beginning

 1972 BMW R60/5 motorcycle
photo by Styrous®

I sold my BMW bike today! I watched with a pang of panic (but not sadness for some reason) as the new owner rode off down the street on it happy with his new dream, leaving me with my old memories. Yes, I sold my beautiful Beemer but not the wonderful memories of over 40 years of happy (well, sometimes not so happy) adventures.  

This is the order of the memories that popped into my brain as I watched my old buddy vanish forever into the new life that lay ahead.       

Before the helmet law went into effect I only wore mine on the freeways. On highways or back roads I strapped it to the buddy bars. I remembered riding along the roads in the Sierra foothills during fantastically hot summers with the exciting visual of the rush of the road under my feet on the foot pegs; the warm wind blowing through my hair; the strobe effect on my face and sunglasses as the sun filtered down through the trees overhanging the road, and the throbbing of my hardy steed between my legs sending pulsating rhythms from my crotch to my brain. A very erotic sensation, to be honest.

Next I remembered the year when the motorcycle helmet law went into effect. A couple of hours or so before midnight, on New Year's Eve, I rode around and around and around the figure 8 of Twin Peaks without my helmet for the last time. It was freezing cold but I was not going to pass up the last opportunity to be free of a cocooned existence on what should be a liberating, exhilarating and even ecstatic experience.   

And last, I recalled the first time I rode my Beemer. I had never driven a bike in my life. I had dreamed of having one ever since I saw the 1953 film, The Wild One, when I was thirteen.  

The Wild One movie poster

The film featured an impossibly handsome and incredibly young Marlon Brando as biker Johnny Strabler. Brando's acting and Strabler's image made cynicism, hoodlumizm (is there such a word?) and disrespect attitudes well worth emulating. 

still from the film, The Wild One

What hot-blooded, 13-year-old, American boy didn't aspire to an image like this one? The film featured a jazz score by Leith Stevens and it was my first exposure to jazz as well. 

The Wild One album cover
photographer unknown
photo of album cover by Styrous®

The film was banned in England for decades and was the first to depict teen rebellion, dissatisfaction and alienation. At one point during the film, Brando and Mary Murphy ride on his bike along the highway with the moonlight flickering through the leaves of the trees while the velvety-smooth jazz trumpet of Shorty Rogers gently serenades them as they dreamily glide along; a night-time prediction of my summer idylls to come two decades later. I would always hear that theme, Windswept, from the movie, when I rode down a road or highway with trees overhead and the strobe of the sunlight coming through them.  


But I digress. In case you forgot, I was talking about my first ride on my Beemer. I had never even driven a bike before (I'd ridden as a buddy on the back of one two or three times); I only knew I had to have one. The salesman at Dave Golden Motorcycles who sold it to me took me out to the parking lot, gave me a five minute lesson in how to drive it then scooted me out into the rush hour traffic of Valencia Street. I don't think I've ever been so terrified in my life. It was only seven blocks from the dealership to my studio but I thought the ride would never end. I was so frightened by my first ride it took me two or three days before I could muster up the courage to get on it again. 

My, oh my; that was over 40 years ago!

I wish the new owner a tenth of the joy I had from my old Beemer buddy. He will be deliriously happy for the rest of his life.  

Surely, to be continued . . . 

Styrous® - April 23, 2013


April 11, 2013

F3 - Art & Taxes at the Cotton Mill Studios

F3 - Art & Taxes

Cotton Mill Studios
1091 Calcot Place, Oakland, CA 94606

Several pieces of my new work, photo de/re-consturctions, have been accepted into the ONE NIGHT ONLY event, Art & Taxes, at the Cotton Mill Studios in Oakland.

F3 is a collection of local artists, featuring installations throughout the building, open studios, live performances, and delicious food and drink. There will also be a raffle, a design bazaar, and local vendors selling their work.

Friday, Apr 19 
7:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Admission is free

Parking is limited, so please take advantage of the free shuttles running between the Fruitvale BART and the event from 6-10:30 PM.

for more information:

(click on map to see larger size)

See you there

Styrous® ~ April 11, 2913