Back in the dawn of the web, a scrappy bunch of iconoclasts (and I) put together a hyper web text media zine art thing we called Enterzone.
This loosely knit hyperlinked episodic publication contained creative and reportorial content, experimental and traditional works, art and reviews. Some of the founders shared an interest in loose-limbed improvisational music and we prevailed upon one of our friends, Nicholas Meriwether, who even then exhibited a preternatural affinity for deep scholarly inquiry into the counter-culture (as he likes to style it*) and related phenomena.
Also, the Dead, man…!
Because, yes, Nicholas is today the curator of the Grateful Dead archive at UC Santa Cruz, a role he may have been put on this earth to play (among others – Nicholas is a stunningly talented person in many ways).
Anyway, back then we leaned on Meriwether heavily to fill in the gaps on early and recent Bay Area counterculture (that’s how I spell it) happenings and also perhaps because he was still under the thumb of a (friendly) dissertation adviser, he preferred to make some of his contributions to our ‘zine under a semi-acrosticlike pseudonym, Griffin Nicholson and I must say that some of the best original work we published in Eneterzone was by this Griffin fellow.
So, anyway, at the dawn of So Many Roads, a scholarly Dead conference that Meriwether is curating at San Jose State University this fall, it seems appropriate to formally acknowledge that Nicholas is Griffin and that Meriwether is the author of all of the wonderful pieces archived on his author page at Enterzone.
* UPDATE: Meriwether writes “I no longer spell ‘counter-culture’ with the hyphen… that was a legacy of my time at Cambridge (where I was nominally registered at the time)[.]”
Privileged to read an advance draft of Martha Conway‘s stunning new novel, Thieving Forest, I was thrilled to attend her book launch party in San Francisco over the weekend.
Besides the great spread of victuals and lovely wine (a champagne, a chablis, and a pinot noir) at the sadly now-closed Beast & the Hare, we also enjoyed hearing Conway read an excerpt from the novel, which she preceded with an anecdote about a fascinating memoir she read of a Spanish explorer who became lost and more or less went native in North America before being recovered, almost unrecognized, by his own people.
She explained how this led her to the original ideas for the novel, which tells the story of young women – one a settler, the other a native – lost in the Ohio woods in search of four siblings of the settler taken by Potawatomi Indians.
Here’s my Amazon review of the book, which I am re-reading now in its fine print edition:
As soon as I started reading this fascinating novel I was fully engrossed and in some ways as out of my depth as the main characters. My preconceived notions of how such a story might unfold (informed most likely by Leatherstocking tales and Laura Ingalls Wilder and perhaps the more recent Whiskey Rebellion) constantly failed me as Conway kept me up late with a night light eager to learn how everything would turn out.There is an immersive quality to great writing that beats any Hollywood effects-laden costume drama. Thieving Forest draws you into a fully realized world, one that is alien in many ways and yet somehow easy to relate to, and at times perhaps hints at why some things still are the way they are for us in this world today.A+++++ WOULD READ AGAIN !!!!
B shared with me (ok with everyone she knows on the facing book) a great article about software artist John F. Simon Jr.’s creative process. We are fortunate to know him via mutual friends in New Orleans and he contributed an edition of his seminal Every Icon to episode eleven of our 1994-1998 era webzine*, Enterzone.
In the ensuing Facebook thread, we noticed that the original version of the artwork requires a Java plugin that modern browsers don’t love, so Simon pointed us to the now open source version of the piece and I updated the Enterzone page today.
It felt good!
Enterzone deserves more love.
More on that later.
* or, as we preferred to call it, back in the day, “hyper web text media zine art”