Raw power: Robert Anton Wilson will have his send-off party Sunday at the Cocoanut Grove.
By Bill Forman
Last Friday, I got an email from Robert Anton Wilson's daughter Christina about the multimedia Meme-orial at the Cocoanut Grove this coming Sunday. In a last-minute interview, she gave Mūz the lowdown on the event and growing up with RAW. Noting that her father's work "has always attracted an illustrious group of thinkers," Christina says folks are coming from more than a dozen states as well as Canada, England and Norway. "We are inviting his 'extended family,' who have been deeply touched by his writing and lectures to join together with intimate family and friends for this occasion," she notes. "It's very helpful to us that tickets are purchased in advance by going to www.rawilson.com, as this will help us accommodate everyone up to 600 people, but we cannot handle a rush at the door, nor would we have enough food. Also, many people around the country and the world are doing mini RAW events as they are not able to join us in Santa Cruz. There are at least six that I know of!"
So what will happen Sunday? Besides catered food, she promises "a very eclectic presentation--a running photo montage of his life will be on a 10-foot screen behind the stage, the documentary of his life's work, Maybe Logic, and footage from Trajectories will be screened in a separate area. Musicians coming from around the country will be playing things from Irish tunes to harp to rock & roll; music clips have been sent from England that were inspired by his work, along with RAW-inspired paintings and pictures from Australia, Germany and the USA. There will be readings from his books of folks' favorite passages, poetry and open-mic periods for spontaneous sharing. Funny stories will be told. Tears may or may not be shed. I mean, we do have five hours! And, in line with Chinese New Year and Bob's love of Taoism and much about Chinese lore, we will have a processionary with his ashes--in the best of all worlds, a sailboat will be standing by to launch his ashes into the bay to join his Immortal Beloved, my mom, who died seven years ago. And all those participating will have Chinese noisemakers to honor the event. Also, all present will receive a RAW meme-orial Pope card, and a Maybe sticker, and perhaps an experience that will offer a paradigm shift in some way."
So what it's like being Robert Anton Wilson's daughter? "Growing up in the House of RAW gave me a spectrum of experience that exquisitely formed me and morphed me into who I am today. Truly, I remember once as a young woman, in telling a childhood story, how a look of incredulous wonder crossed my listener's face, and for the first time I realized, hey, maybe my childhood was 'really different?' And in many ways it was--from my parents legally ordering sacred peyote through the U.S. postal system in the early '60s, to Zen monks dropping in, to Tim Leary being a family friend; Anti-Vietnam War Marches were a "day out" for the family, traipsing around the country--I went to 11--yes--11 grade schools; to my own world travels, which brought me to Santa Cruz in 1978 where I started a business with my dear friend Dana [Quicksilver Voicemail] and then years later started a national nonprofit that I run now, called the Trichotillomania Learning Center [www.trich.org], devoted to improving the quality of life of children, adolescents, men and women who suffer from what are called body-focused repetitive behaviors, such as hair pulling, skin picking and severe nail biting. My dad was so proud of me for setting this organization up, and when others rolled their eyes, was totally behind my work. And I never would have pushed the envelope to give this problem a national voice, without the upbringing I was blessed with, which taught me to state how things are, not just how they are supposed to be."
Where: The Cocoanut Grove, on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk: www.cocoanutgrovesantacruz.com
When: Sunday, Feb. 18, 1-6pm
Tickets: $23 each; limited number available. To purchase, or for additional information: www.rawilson.com.
Send a letter to the editor about this story.