The Brotherhood of Fools and Other Stories: The Brotherhood of Fools There was a time in my life, for about six months, when I lived in a Catholic monastic community. I had occasionally taken retreat among the Franciscan Order and sometimes with the Dominicans. I am not a Catholic and dare not even call myself Christian, in view of the Mosaic Tablets, which prohibit the taking of the Lord’s name in vain.      The occasions of retreat were satisfying experiences set in splendid environments. I came to some affection for the kind-heartedness of the Franciscans, and to some appreciation for thought among ... Jan 29, 2014, 3503 reads


Roberto Fierro : A Born Artist      San Jose artist, Tony May called just at the right time. “There’s an artist down here I think you’d find interesting. His name is Roberto Fierro. I bought a small painting from him. ” Tony is professor emeritus at San Jose State, where he taught for decades, and I pay attention to his recommendations. I asked him to tell me a little about the artist.      “He lives in a building called the Art Ark. It’s only a couple of blocks from where I live. It’s some kind of subsidized housing that’s meant for ... Jan 5, 2015, 3196 reads


Koan: A Conversation with Vaea Marx: I first heard of Vaea Marx from John Toki. Vaea is an old family friend of the Toki family. John’s parents founded Leslie Ceramics Supply in Berkeley in 1946. Their business was built on integrity and a deep spirit of support for both aspiring and established artists who came into their shop, first as customers and then, quite often, as friends.        John told me stories of Vaea and Peter Voulkos, both friends of the Tokis, who worked closely together for decades. Then one day artist Ann Weber handed me a catalog saying, “Here’s an artist you ... Apr 9, 2015, 10632 reads


Peter Kalmus: The Question of Progress: I met Peter Kalmus at a ServiceSpace gathering in Santa Clara, in the heart of Silicon Valley. All of us had introduced ourselves in a circle and something about the way Peter described his work as a scientist in environmental studies stood out. Immediately I wanted to know more about him and his work and fortunately, he was able to make some time for an interview. We started at the beginning. Richard Whittaker:  So you grew up in Illinois? Peter Kalmus:  Yes, outside of Chicago. I remember in high school, I went for a walk. I was going to a friend's house and I was ... Sep 17, 2015, 3265 reads


Paolo Soleri: Architecture as Salvation: Before leaving for Arcosanti, it was explained that Paolo Soleri no longer gave interviews. I decided to take my chances, confident the trip would be worth it, no matter how it turned out. Before leaving, I read Soleri's books Arcology, The Omega Seed and The Urban Ideal among other things.      I spent a couple of days at Arcosanti taking the place in and chatting with residents and guests. While there I attended Soleri's weekly talk, a regular practice of his over many years. On this occasion a group of young architects were visiting from Japan and ... May 12, 2001, 25705 reads


A Conversation with Dr. Ann Petru: A Doctor for Life Ann Petru is my neighbor. I don’t recall when I learned she’s Ann Petru, MD. Even then, all I learned is that she worked at Children’s Hospital in Oakland. The other things I knew were that she put effort into our annual neighborhood party and was the keeper of the neighborhood email list. Oh, and from time to time an offer was sent out for neighbors to drop by and take some hens and chicks she’d thinned out from her front yard.      I vaguely recall an email a few years ago from Ann soliciting donations for an AIDs walk. But this year I read ... Sep 24, 2017, 6757 reads


Magic Flute: A Conversation with Marvin Sanders I met Marvin Sanders during a film festival at Berkeley Art Center. At the time, Sanders ran the Sunday evening music series there. On the first evening of film screening, Sanders was there to help at the front desk. Chatting with him, I discovered he plays the flute.      "Jazz?" I asked.      "You say that because I’m black, don’t you?" he replied.         I was taken aback, but realized I’d been offered an opening to a deeper level of conversation. I admitted he was right and ... Apr 2, 2007, 23693 reads


Interview: Carl Worth: Birth of an Art Center, May 19, 2007 This was a public program at the Berkeley Art Center celebrating its 40th anniversity. Keynoting the evening is an interview with founding director, Carl Worth, by Richard Whittaker.  Director Jill Jimenez:  Hello, everyone. This is one the events I was most looking forward to here at our 40th Anniversary Celebration. Richard Whittaker has been doing our Berkeley Treasures Interview Series for about two years. It’s a wonderful series because it puts us in touch with some of the people we hear about, but don’t ever have access to. When we were talking about ... Sep 28, 2007, 12241 reads


Kilo Charles Six VHU: I received my first Amateur Radio licenses in January of 1991 at the age of 49. As a kid in the mid-west I had a radio shack in the wash house, an outbuilding where the women folk did laundry; it was filled with old Atwater-Kents, Philcos, Crosleys and whatever else I found in the junk yards. I'd go there at night and sneak cigarettes. I could bring in WSN in Nashville, Tennessee, XERF Del Rio, Texas and other far off stations. I could bring in some DX (foreign stations) on 41 meters and some hams on 40. The aerial was a run of wire I thumbtacked to the peak of the house roof ... May 18, 2008, 6107 reads


Conversation with Jane Baker: Working Assets San Francisco 12/08/08 My first acquaintance with Jane Baker came at a dinner party at a friend's house. I left with a strong impression that stayed with me, but a year was to pass before we met again. That happened thanks to Leigh Hyams who was in town for an exhibit of her own work at Meridian Gallery. A couple of days after Leigh's opening, the three of us got together for breakfast at Jane's house. It was one of those memorable occasions when conversation flows almost magically from one wonderful story into another. "You should visit her at her studio," Leigh ... Feb 19, 2009, 10905 reads


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 720750 views

The Dumpster      “We can’t use these. They look like ... Read More 140481 views

Cotton and Silk Vorbeck quilt, detail I’m working on the last panel of a pair of ... Read More 8083 views

Say Grace I am deeply delighted to live on a planet that is so big and varied that I can ... Read More 4989 views

A Conversation with Silas Hagerty I met Silas, a young man in his twenties from New England, at a ... Read More 60495 views


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 720750 views

Interview with Bill Douglass—Jimbo's Bop City and Other Tales At the time I'd first gotten to know the widely respected jazz musician Bill ... Read More 363193 views

Greeting the Light It was thanks to artist Walter Gabrielson that I was able to get in touch with ... Read More 293652 views

Interview: Gail Needleman Gail Needleman teaches music at Holy Names University in Oakland, California. ... Read More 188901 views

Interview: Stephen De Staebler John Toki encouraged me to interview his old friend and mentor, sculptor Stephen ... Read More 150257 views