Sunday, March 27, 2011

College bids farewell to fallen friend







McMINNVILLE -- A crash that shook the ground startled much of the Linfield College campus in McMinnville this afternoon (Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008).

It took only seconds to find the heartbreaking cause.

The Old Oak (shown in a photo from the 1969 Oak Leaves on this page), which stood majestic when Linfield was founded 150 years ago, had fallen. Efforts to preserve the white oak -- to keep the 80-foot-tall tree standing a few more years -- had failed.

No one was hurt, although many gathered in sadness through the afternoon to stare at the fallen tree.

"It's that point that people look at with a lot of affection," said college spokeswoman Mardi Mileham.

The tree was estimated at 200 to 250 years old and was described by the first settlers to the valley. It grew alone, a short distance from the college’s oak grove, and its branches spread wide.

The Old Oak was mature when Pioneer Hall opened in 1882, the first building on the new campus of then-McMinnville College. The graceful building and stately tree became symbols of Linfield College, appearing on everything from calendars to college stationery.

Commencements were celebrated for decades near the shade of the Old Oak. It stood over weddings and memorial services.

But its decline became evident in recent years as the overall health of the tree declined.

“You could just tell,” said John Hall, a botanist and the college’s senior director of facilities. “You looked at the tree and saw how much dead wood accumulated each year. I knew the tree was on its way out, but that doesn’t mean anything. It could last another 20 years.”

Over the summer, a consultant examined the tree and found an infestation of carpenter worms, a sign the tree’s overall health was failing.

The tree was labeled a “hazard” since a branch would fall at any time. But cables gave it new support and pruning changed the weight load. For many years, an iron post anchored in concrete in the lawn beneath the tree helped support one of the oak’s large low limbs. See smaller photo with this story.

Crews planned to move the senior bench -- made of concrete and placed under the tree 60 years ago -- to discourage people from getting too close.

During heavy winds Friday, Hall watched the Old Oak stand strong.

“I was pretty confident that this tree – hey it’s going to be OK,” he said.

There was no strong wind on Tuesday. Nor snow. Just light rain was falling Tuesday afternoon and no wind to explain the sudden collapse of the bellowed oak. “Incredible,” onlookers said as they gaped at the dome-shaped base of the tree, where spongy, rotten wood was visible.

“Someone told me it fell over, and my heart just went into my stomach,” Hall said.

He rushed to the tree. The roots, exposed, were like pulp.

Light rain was falling Tuesday afternoon, but there was no wind to explain the sudden collapse of the bellowed oak. “Incredible,” onlookers said as they gaped at the dome-shaped base of the tree, where spongy, rotten wood was visible.

The tree fell on the senior bench, pushing it into the wet ground but not destroying it. The painted words of the class of 2007 on the bench were visible: “Oh, the places you’ll go,” from Dr. Seuss.

There had been plans to save acorns and root cuttings, to try to genetically keep the tree alive. Now, Hall and others hope the tree will send up roots in the spring.

University president Thomas L. Hellie requested the wood be saved. How the wood will be used hasn’t been decided. In the past, the college has had fallen branches from the Old Oak fashioned into mementos and sports awards.

For many alumni, the Old Oak is a fixed, fond memory.

Ryan (class of 1998) and Kelly (class of 2000) Carlson of Lafayette were married near the Old Oak in 2002.

“My wife called and said, ‘The tree fell,’” Ryan Carlson said. “It’s a symbol for all things Linfield. It was majestic. Just a beautiful tree.”

Ryan Carlson is a second-generation Linfield College alumnus. He remains a strong supporter of the college’s sports teams.

“Linfield is more than a tree,” he said. “But when you lose something that’s symbolic for a college it does hit home.”

:::This is an edited version of a story by Abby Haight which appeared in the Jan. 8, 2008, Oregonian. Edits include adding info from an AP story and the Wildcatville memory bank.:::

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Do you remember Oct. 4, 1967, when fake Andy Warhol appeared at Linfield?










Image: Audart Gallery Allen Midgette with Audrey Regan of New York’s Audart Gallery, many years after Midgette impersonated Andy Warhol in a series of lectures in Oregon






Andy Warhol: Linfield College Presents
A poster for the Factory-authorized fake lecture series of Western colleges, organized by the (unwitting) American Program Bureau, where Allen Midgette, a young actor and part of the Factory family, toured to colleges and appeared as Warhol giving lectures wearing a white wig. This lecture was Oct. 4, 1967 at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. At least four lectures took place before the ruse was discovered – two in Oregon, one in Montana and one in Utah. A few months later, Midgette appeared in Warhol’s film "Lonesome Cowboys". A very rare and obscure piece of Warhol and Factory ephemera. Item #56.
Condition: Good, folded as issued, toning and some soiling to paper, two pinholes at top left and right corners, some soft creasing.
Event Poster
Linfield College
22.75" x 17"
Offset printed
McMinnville, Oregon: 1967
Source: Monograph Bookwerks, Portland

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Wildcatville note: Yes, Linfield was reimbursed. Story below with slight editing by Wildcatville.


Andy Warhol pulls a fast one on Oregon art students


One of Warhol's cronies powders his hair, dons Ray-Bans and impersonates his pal on the lecture circuit at universities in Oregon, Utah and Montana; hilarity ensues — for some, at least


By Finn J.D. John — Feb. 1, 2009


It was Oct. 5, 1967, and students were spilling out the doors of the biggest room in the University of Oregon's Erb Memorial Union in Eugene.


At the front of the room, a man stood with a cigarette in one hand, Ray-Bans on, a shock of white-blonde hair. The students had come to see Andy Warhol talk about his underground films.


Warhol was booked for a tour of Western colleges, including the University of Utah, Montana State, Linfield College in McMinnville and the U of O.


But they didn't get Andy. The students didn't know it, but the man at the front of the packed ballroom at the U of O was actually one of their own -- a University of Oregon actor named Allen Midgette, one of Warhol's cronies at his "Factory" art loft in New York. Warhol, at the time, had never left the Eternal City.


Some students grumbled about it afterward – “Warhol,” they said, showed a boring "art film" and gave them answers that were either really, really deep or really, really stupid: "I don't know how to say what my meaning is. I guess it means to me that I film it, mostly." "That (why we make films) is one of the big questions. Let's just say we do it to keep us off the streets." "All kinds of things -- it changes all the time." (This last was in response to a student asking, “Sir, do you give a damn?" and about what.)


The reception was less hostile at Linfield, where, according to Leland John, an art professor from Mt. Angel College who attended, "Warhol" responded to most questions from an audience in the college's Melrose Hall auditorium by giggling.


When "Warhol" left, rumors started to circulate. They originated at the University of Utah, where "Warhol" started his speaking tour. A student journalist had sneaked a photo of him, shot from the waist with one of the twin-lens Rolleiflex cameras that were then the hottest news cameras around. Professors who had met the real Warhol and smelled a rat compared the pictures and concluded they were two different people.


Rumors of this reached Don Bishoff, then a reporter for the Eugene Register-Guard. "We had an aging hippie working on our copy desk, named Bill Thomas," Bishoff recalled later. "Somehow he had the number for the pay phone on the wall at The Factory. “So I called the number and … (Warhol associate) Paul Morrissey answered it."


Morrissey, clearly taken by surprise, "hemmed and hawed" and the finally put Warhol on the line. After some head-scratching about how Bishoff could know it was the real Warhol this time, the “Peter Pan of pop art” confessed. "He (Midgette) was better than I am,"


Warhol told Bishoff. "He was what the people expected. They liked him better than they would have liked me ...." "His explanation of how he sent the guy didn't make sense," recalled Bishoff.


"I still think to this day he was pulling another Andy Warhol spoof -- and proving a point that people wouldn't know the difference."


Sources: Eugene Register-Guard and Oregon Daily Emerald archives; personal recollections of Don Bishoff and Leland John. Finn J. John is a columnist specializing in unusual and little-known aspects of Oregon history. Photo: Allen Midgette, with Audrey Regan of New York’s Audart Gallery, many years after Midgette impersonatedAndy Warhol in a series of lectures in Oregon. Photo credit to Audart Gallery 

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Offbeat Oregon: The day Andy Warhol pranked UO students

By Finn J.D. John, Offbeat Oregon, in the 10/20/2016 McMinnville N-R/News-Register

Image: Audart GalleryAllen Midgette with Audrey Regan of New York’s Audart Gallery, many years after Midgette impersonated Andy Warhol in a series of lectures in Oregon. 

The day Andy Warhol pranked Oregon college students

On the evening of Oct. 5, 1967, students were pouring out of the doors of one of the biggest rooms in Oregon State University’s Erb Memorial Union.

It was a big day. The one and only Andy Warhol was scheduled to appear, for something he called an “illustrated lecture.” For the students, it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see and talk to one of the most influential characters in the art world … or, so they thought.

At last the man of the hour stepped out on the stage with already-legendary film director Paul Morrissey. With his crazy-cut white hair, his ever-present Ray-Ban Wayfarers and his stylish cigarette, the speaker was instantly recognizable as Warhol.

Almost immediately, the lecture got off to a rocky start. The two men on the stage started an “art film” showing a young black man in jeans and T-shirt running through crowds in New York City yelling, “I love you! I love you!” to everyone whose eye he could catch. The film, of course, had no narrative arc or plot — the absence of any such bourgeois conventions was de rigeur in the avant-garde art of the day — so basically it was just several dozen minutes of that sort of thing, until the film ran out of the spool. Then the lights came up, and Morrissey asked if anyone had any questions.

The questioners started out curious, but soon they were sounding baffled and by the end of the evening some of them were actually angry.

“I don’t know how to say what my meaning is,” he told one student. “I guess it means to me that I film it, mostly.”

“That is one of the big questions,” he told another, after being asked why he made films. “Let’s just say we do it to keep us off the streets.”

As the questions got tougher and more specific, Morrissey started breaking in and fielding them, to the annoyance of students who had wanted a response from Warhol.

By the end of the event, the students from the School of Journalism were starting to make their presence known, firing zingers at the white-wigged swinger on the stage. “Sir, do you give a damn?” one of them demanded. (Former students and colleagues of the late legendary journalism professor Bill Winter will instantly recognize the pedigree of that question.) The by-now-beleaguered speaker replied, hesitantly and vaguely, “Sure … (about) all kinds of things. It changes all the time.”

The Oregon students didn’t know it, but they were looking at one of their own up there on the stage: A University of Oregon-trained actor named Allen Midgette who was now one of Warhol’s cronies in the Factory art loft in New York City, dressed to look like Warhol and sent out to do a series of four college lectures for him. Warhol himself had never left New York.

The University of Oregon appearance was the second stop on the tour, and it represented a distinct turn for the worse. At the University of Utah, where it had started out, the reception had been warmer; but almost as soon as he’d left, faculty members were wondering if it was really Andy Warhol. The student newspaper there stepped up and started pulling together evidence, including a shot that one of their photographers had snuck of him during the visit — “Warhol” had been very insistent that no pictures be taken, but someone had anyway, likely intending it only as a personal souvenir. Close examination had left them convinced that unless Warhol had had a nose job, the speaker had been someone else.

And so it was that the day after “Warhol” spoke, Oregon Daily Emerald Entertainment Editor Chris Hougham got a phone call from an editor at the University of Utah’s student newspaper, the Daily Utah Chronicle, asking if there had been any suspicion of Warhol’s identity. Hougham assured her that it had been Warhol who appeared at the U of O; but after the phone call, Emerald staffers started connecting the dots as well.

By this time, of course, “Warhol” was well away from the Scene of the Crime, and moving on to his next appearance, at Linfield College in McMinnville. There the reception was considerably less hostile, according to the recollections of Mt. Angel College art professor Leland John, who traveled to McMinnville to attend. This was clearly due in part to the fact that, mindful of the trouble his vacuous answers had caused at the first two stops, Midgette had adopted the tactic of responding to most questions by simply issuing an ironic laugh or giggle.

Then it was on to Montana for one final appearance at Montana State University, and home once again to New York.

Meanwhile, back in Eugene, Register-Guard reporter Don Bishoff had actually gotten through to the source, and blown the cover off the whole thing.

“We had an aging hippie working on our copy desk, named Bill Thomas,” Bishoff recalled later. “Somehow he had the number for the pay phone on the wall at The Factory. So I called the number — and Paul Morrissey answered it.”

Morrissey had clearly made a variety of arrangements in case, but apparently it had never occurred to him that any of the hinterland yokels would be hip enough to actually know the phone number of the Factory’s ironic pay phone. Caught by surprise, Morrissey stammered a bit, then put Warhol on the line. And, after some head-scratching over how Bishoff could know it was the real Warhol this time, the artist confessed the whole thing.

“He was better than I am,” Warhol told Bishoff. “He was what the people expected. They liked him better than they would have liked me.”

“His explanation of how he sent the guy didn’t make sense,” Bishoff recalled. “I still think to this day he was pulling another Andy Warhol spoof, and proving a point that people wouldn’t know the difference.”

The student journalists in Utah, whose skepticism led to the full unmasking, seemed distinctly unimpressed. In a telephone interview, Morrissey told Chronicle Assistant Editor Kay Israel that impersonating each other was just regular hijinks for the art world’s self-styled avant-garde golden boys.

“We do it a lot in New York,” he explained.

“Well, being from the West, I don’t think we’re quite used to it,” she shot back.

Paul Cracroft, the director of lectures and concerts at the University of Utah, was even more acerbic about the whole thing. Cracroft, who had learned of the scam early enough to withhold payment for it, said he’d be open to having other pop artists come and talk at the U. of U — “if they’re wonderful and can assure us somehow that they’re coming themselves.” Asked how that might be 

accomplished, he quipped, “Blood tests and fingerprints.”

(Sources: Allen, Greg. “The Fake Warhol Lectures,” greg.org, 4-06-2007; archives of Eugene Register-Guard and Oregon Daily Emerald, Oct. 1967; personal recollections of Don Bishoff and Leland John, Jan. 2009)

Finn J.D. John teaches at Oregon State University and writes about odd tidbits of Oregon history.


 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oct. 19, 1967: The Buckinghams, but not José Feliciano, performed during Homecoming in Riley Gym
























In fall 1967, The Buckinghams performed in Linfield’s Riley Gym.

Comedian Sandy Baron was The Buckingham's opening act as a fill-in for guitarist/singer José Feliciano.

During the opening of Baron's routine, his mispronunciation of Oregon threw him a curve ball. “It's great to be here in Oregon,” he said. But, he pronounced it “Ory-gone” instead of “Ore-gun.” The audience laughed. “No, it really is,” Baron responded, not understanding the laugh was for mispronouncing Oregon, not for the audience assuming he was not sincere.

One Linfield alum (then a student and today not a medical doctor and does not play one on TV) at the event, claims Baron lit up a cigarette. “That’s my recollection. This was in Riley Gym and smoking was not allowed on campus. I can’t remember, but I believe he was asked to snuff the smoke and I think he did so by stepping on the cigarette on the gym floor. It’s interesting to note that he died at age 64 in 2001 of emphysema which is quite often caused by smoking.”

Based on “The Buckinghams (The Classic Rock Connection)," the 1966-1969 iteration of The Buckinghams performed at Linfield. Its members were Carl Giammarese, guitar/vocals; Dennis Tufano, guitar/harmonica/vocals; Nick Fortuna, bass; Jon-Jon Poulos, drums; and Marty Grebb, keyboards.
Photos:

  • from the 1968 Oak Leaves show The Buckinghams (“send the beat rocking through Riley”) and Sandy Baron (“All American practical joker”)

  • by Wildcatville shows front of United Airlines special handling tag which was on some of the band's equipment when it arrived in the gym.



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On Thursday, Oct. 19, 1967, during Linfield Homecoming 1967 the guitarists/singer did not perform in Riley Gym as opening act to the Buckinghams.

Feliciano (born José Montserrate Feliciano García in Puerto Rico) was heavily promoted (see Sunday Oregonian story Oct. 15, 1967, and advertisement in same newspaper Oct. 19, 1967) as the Buckingham’s opening act, but illness forced his last minute cancellation. His replacement was comedian Sandy Baron (born Sanford Irving Beresofsky in Brooklyn, N.Y.).

It’s easy to lament not hearing Jose Feliciano, but it’s also easy to forget that, according to Wikipedia, he “recorded the Doors' song ‘Light My Fire’ in a Latin style and released it as a single, and in the summer of 1968 it reached #3 on the US pop charts with over one million copies sold in the US market alone.” Thus, his general fame came after when he would have graced the maples of Riley Gym.

…………………..

Below from the Oregonian an Oct. 15, 1967, story and an Oct. 19, 1967, advertisement. (Note error in ad. It says concert was to be Oct. 29, not Oct. 19.) And, from the Linfield Review cutline for a photo from Oct. 12, 1967, issue; story headlined “Singer-Guitarist Appears in Riley Concert” from Oct. 19, 1967; and cutline (headline “Cigarettes in Riley Gym?”) from Oct. 26, 1967.


For more info see:

Oct. 19, 1967:  The Buckinghams, but not José Feliciano, performed during Homecoming in Riley Gym
http://wildcatville.blogspot.com/2011/03/dont-you-remember.html











Friday, March 04, 2011

Linfield's Old Oak in photos


Even though the late great Old Oak on the Linfield campus is but a memory – see story below -- it still shows up in photos now and then. Here’s an example from www.westernoregonwaste.com. You can see Old Oak branches off to the left.

Linfield College landmark collapses

By Associated Press
January 9, 2008

MCMINNVILLE, Ore. (AP) - A proud symbol of Linfield College fell to its death. The Old Oak, an 80-foot-tall tree that had been standing since the college was founded more than a century ago, collapsed in a matter of seconds Tuesday. No one was injured.

The tree was estimated at 250 years old and was described by the first settlers to the valley. The oak was mature when Pioneer Hall opened in 1882, the first building on the new campus of then-McMinnville College. Pioneer Hall and the Old Oak became symbols of the college, and had been pictured together on everything from calendars to college stationery.

But the tree was starting to show its age. A consultant who examined the tree last year found an infestation of carpenter worms. The tree was labeled a hazard, because a branch could fall at anytime.

College officials took steps to keep the tree standing as long as possible, but crews planned to move the senior class bench, which was placed under the tree 60 years ago, to discourage people from getting too close.

"You could just tell," said John Hall, a botanist and the college's senior director of facilities. "You looked at the tree and saw how much dead wood accumulated each year. I knew the tree was on its way out, but that doesn't mean anything. It could last another 20 years."

But it didn't. Light rain was falling Tuesday afternoon, but there was no wind to explain the sudden collapse of the beloved oak. "Incredible," onlookers said as they gaped at the dome-shaped base of the tree, where spongy, rotten wood was visible.

College president Thomas L. Hellie requested the wood be saved. How the wood will be used hasn't been decided. In the past, the college has had fallen branches from the Old Oak fashioned into mementos and sports awards.