Harry Partch, Barstow, 1941-55
This is from the era that Buckminster Fuller was busy with his domes and Jeffrey Burland Lindsay was manning Fuller's Research Institute in Montreal – 1948-53. It seems to me, because I am doing all this investigation into Lindsay, that this was a particularly exciting, open and boundless era for experimental work.
And yet, when Lindsay moved from Montreal to Los Angeles in 1953, it looked like this:
Harry Partch lived in Los Angeles, and later in Petaluma where Jeffrey Lindsay did a sun shelter out of a shallow space frame section of a dome: a magical telstar sort of thing on a pole. There is such a disjunction between the visionary structural work and musical experimentation of the time (this piece for example, and John Cage's 4'33 which was composed in 1952), and street culture, which appears to be still lodged in the Depression with desperate hitchhikers stuck in Barstow.
'Barstow', from The Wayward, for two voices, surrogate kithara, chromelodeon, diamond marimba & boo (1941-1955). The spoken parts are 'eight hitchhiker inscriptions from a highway railing at Barstow, California'.
Part of the YouTube description: In late 1939, [Partch] went on a hitchhiking trip to take photos in the Southwestern deserts of California and Arizona. In the tough little Mojave Desert junction town of Barstow, California, in February 1941 while waiting for a lift, he noticed the following inscription on a highway railing:
It's January 26. I'm freezing.
Ed Fitzgerald. Age 19. Five feet, ten inches.
Black hair, brown eyes.
Going home to Boston, Massachusetts.
It's 4:00, and I'm hungry and broke.
I wish I was dead.
But today I am a man.