Anyone who truly knows Venice, California can espouse that it is Heaven. When Solomon Burke introduced the Charles Brown wake service, he said, “We are celebrating a home going.” That’s what happened recently to Linda Albertano, the supreme goddess poet of Venice. She transitioned back home . . .Heaven . . . Venice. She was the epitome of Venice, towering over us all with word power, perseverance, performance art, laughter, vulnerability, laughter, beauty and so much more.
Linda said “Someone said poets do kind things for a cruel world, but sometimes I feel I do cruel work for a kind world.” She reeked of real kindness, and knew that we can embrace contradiction. She tore the roof offa da sucka at Sponto Gallery reading her “Buck Fush” poem. I tried to book her at practically every event I ever produced. One of her most memorable pieces was entitled “I’m so busy.” Yet, she’d always take to time to greet and converse when I encountered her on the Boardwalk or at local gatherings. Linda was gracious.
When she first arrived in Los Angeles in the early 60’s, she did some TV shows, like Ozzie & Harriet, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., The Monkees. Her height helped. She was six feet tall at age 13, and grew into being six feet four inches. She was an aspiring singer-songwriter and hung out with Taj Mahal and The Byrds. Eventually, she played the executioner evil nurse in Alice Cooper’s The Nightmare Returns tour. I’ve seen the best minds of my generation rock’n’roll.
Linda studied at UCLA, and one of her favorite professors was Arnold Kaufman, author of the 1968 book “The Radical Liberal.” Kaufman envisioned what we need today—traditional social democratic policies aimed at ensuring economic equality infused with community-based participatory democracy. She carried on this activism through out her life and always encouraged voting, and moving and shaking. She epitomized Emma Goldman’s maxim: “If I can’t dance I don’t want to be in your revolution.”
Her love of dance and music was infectious. Watch her on Youtube perform with The King of the Kora, Prince Diabate on Radio Venice. And while you are on YouTube, search “Linda Albertano – interviewed by Gerry Fialka” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYHzAY90X5A
Visit this jubilee from 2013 in front of an audience at the UnUrban Cafe, Santa Monica. The playfulness abounds – enthralling and everlasting! An audience member quotes the James Stewart film HARVEY (written by Mary Chase): “In this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.” Linda’s presence still abounds in smartness, pleasantness and so much more. She towers over us all, yet always stayed grounded.
What she wrote to me afterwards touched me deeply, but more so – it is exactly how I feel about her: “I was so honored to be selected for an afternoon of stimulating and rollicking conversation with you! It’s rare to have an opportunity to communicate for any length of time these days. What a gift you give to your interviewees of your bright, probing and convivial interaction. You’ve created a simultaneously celebratory and profound happening unlike anything else anywhere. What a splendid combo of fun and intelligence you possess! Your creativity enlivens our community enormously, and I truly appreciate you.” Right back at ya, Linda. Those words express how I feel about you. We love you and miss you. We need your vibrant smile. Bright moments. Right Now!!!
At the UnUrban, Linda spoke about her upbringing in foster homes. She detailed the incredible rage inside her, and her need to be heard. How does one learn to compromise? How does one win the hearts and minds of others? Linda expressed her gratitude for the overwhelming influence of community on her healing process, with special people like Rachel Rosenthal, Lin Hixson, Elisha Shapiro, Frank Lutz and many more. She duly appreciated their dedication, which inspired her own loving devotion to helping her own Mother in her elder stages of life. It was a struggle, and she found meaning and reward in care work.
We die with the dying
See, they depart,
And we go with them
See, they return
and bring us with them ( – excerpt from TS Eliot, 4 Quartets)
I know nothing
I live in the Eternal (-George Santayna)
The word “arrive” comes from Old French “ariver,” meaning “to reach the end of a journey by sea,” . . . “to come to land.” Linda has just arrived. Well, she never left. Linda is always arriving. She lives in the eternal. She lives in Venice.
I welcome your comments and input. Thanks, Gerry Fialka email@example.com 310-306-7330
Lots of new interviews by Gerry on Rob Grant’s channel “I’m Probably Wrong About Everything”