Arts & Events

Michael McClure Performance Video is Online Memorial

Ken Bullock
Thursday May 21, 2020 - 05:15:00 PM

Famed poet Michael McClure, longtime Oakland resident and teacher at the California College of the Arts at Broadway and College Avenue, died May 4, age 87.

In memoriam, Mel Vapour and Paul Kealoha Blake of the East Bay Media Center of Berkeley have posted a never before released two-camera video of 'Double Moirè,' an hour- long jazz/poetry performance by their longtime friend and collaborator McClure and George Brooks, the well-known jazz and world music saxophonist/composer, produced and shot by the Center at the Jazz Café of the California Jazz Conservatory, where Brooks has taught, on Addison, a block from the Media Center, on May 22, 2009: 

Accompanying McClure and Brooks are Chris Lopes and Scott Amendola, with designer electronic graphic projected during the performance before a live audience. 

McClure's particularly famous for his participation in 1955 at the 6 Gallery Reading in San Francisco with Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Philip Lamantia and Philip Whalen, reputed to kick off public recognition of the Beat Movement with Ginsberg's reading of 'Howl;' for his play 'The Beard' and its notorious 60s productions; for his collaborations with Jim Morrison and The Doors--as well as many other cultural manifestations over the past 65 years. 

Mel Vapour reminisced about meeting McClure in the 60s around a production of 'The Beard' at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and other notorious collaborations, including one with Andy Warhol and "The Plastic Inevitable Band" (later, The Velvet Underground), and his publishing of a book of McClure's writing with the Great Lakes Books imprint. 

Decades later, they'd reunite at the East Bay Media Center in the downtown Berkeley Arts neighborhood, where McClure performed many times over the past two decades.