Daze & Nights 1a --
Long Haired Art Student under a Hard Hat
The Art Department
occupied old barracks buildings on the southeast end of the campus
when I first went to college.
been fond of libraries, and enjoyed studying in the
U of U's then-new Marriott Library.
my second Jefferson Airplane concert, I applied my energies to the
first year of college, which was NO FUN I only took a few art
classes the entire year, working mostly on my General Education requirements.
Dions lament, Abraham, Martin, and John, filled the airwaves.
Like many in my peer group, I supported the Anti-war Movement too
(see below). I guess I should mention Nixons election also,
but thats almost too depressing. The next important concert
I went to was Joni Mitchell, soon after the new year she wasnt
famous at the time, although shed written a couple of hit songs
-- me and my friends were eyewitnesses to history that night!
She and her circle of musical associates would become VERY influential
after the Woodstock Festival at the end of Summer 1969.
Nam, April Committee, S.D.S. and The Draft
The war in Southeast
Asia had gotten intense under JFK's administration. The US stood
by while its allies Ngo Dihn Diem and Ngo Dihn Nu were deposed and
murdered about a month before Kennedy's assassination. Network TV
showed us stupid and tragic films from the front lines regularly,
but they were explicitly PRO-war. Under LBJ, everything "escalated."
by Dennis Phillips
we grew up with a universal male draft in the USA, it was only
a matter of time before the government would give me, my brother,
and our friends free passage to do either guard duty along the
Rhine, or full-scale slaughter along the Mekong River, unless
we banded together to oppose the insane pointless carnage of
the Viet Nam War, and defend our human and civil rights.
I helped organize several events, the most successful one featuring
keynote speaker Congressman Lawrence Burton in Liberty Park
in early October 1968, as part of a National 'Protest the War'
There were also a number of meetings with activists in April
Committee, who had a proud track-record of principled resistance
against the Draft.
We later formed a local chapter of Students for a Democratic
Among my tasks, I was happy to pick up printed materials and
haul them around to local offices -- even drove to BYU one evening
after a call for volunteers at the Phillips Gallery, with some
of the Art Deptartment faculty in attendance. (Note the gratuitous
semi-nude image at the left.)
I kept informally advising other youth about their options,
and supported the organizations that had possibly saved my life,
but the damned war kept grinding on, even after Nixon's resignation,
half a decade later.
The Pentagon Papers and the POW-MIA campaign did much to change
the majority's opinions against the conflict, but it still continued
several scholastic quarters of anti-war activities, my draft
card changed from 2-S to 4-F.
While I was
active, we organized one concert at the Terrace starring Holden
Caulfield, but I had nothing to do with THIS show in 1969, except
as a member of the audience. (Poster by Art Dept. grad student Richard
invasion of Cambodia, and the deaths of innocent students at Ole Miss
and Ohio State during nationwide protests marked a serous change in
the politics of the USA. The University of Utah had its OWN student
strike, and I was on campus, but did not attend classes -- however
I watched the Gothic soap-opera Dark Shadows in the Union Building,
as I normally did, only I didn't have my Art History book open as
was normally the case. Other than that, things were as serious as
a heart attack as Spring turned into Summer in 1970.
a quarter spent out in the weather at work, I was ready to complete
my so-called Foundation Year in the Art Department. The old barracks
in the elms fostered an atmosphere of experimentation consistent
with those times. I met Concept Artist Paul McCarthy plus his friends
Michael Cram and Al Payne, joining a broad coalition of artists
and musicians sometimes called the "Up River Skool," which
put on a series of "Gigs" around the city, somewhat following
the example of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. These associations
caused me to journey back and forth to Los Angeles over the next
few years and meet other interesting people. (to be continued
Art and Architecture Departments moved into a newly-constructed building
during 1969-1970. It was closer to the library, where I had been getting
much of my education. One of the first times I entered the Art and
Architecture building from the east side, B.B. King's mighty guitar
was wailing -- The Thrill Has Gone reverberated throughout
the three-story atrium via FM Radio.
I met and bonded with a whole new group of students who attended classes
there on a trip to psychedelic Canyonlands National Park in Southern
Utah -- We spent the bulk of the next four years taking a variety
of formal classes with one another. Although the layout of the new
building drained off some of the fertile sea of creativity that characterized
the old department, we still threw some dynamite parties -- especially
at the annual Art Department Picnic.
of the University of Utah circa 1970, looking eastward. The Circle
is in the lower middle. The Union Building is nearly dead-center,
and the Art Department is off to the middle right, near the 13-story
What can I say
about the seemingly endless revolving sequence of Drawing, Painting,
Printmaking, and Art History courses? Life Drawing, with nude models,
was always a good time. Several students shared a studio with me
next to that particular classroom, and I brought a stereo and records
there. Thanks to the Cosmic Aeroplane, we always had something new
and different to play. We especially liked the Incredible String
Band, T-Rex, Frank Zappa, Alice Cooper (before and after they became
famous), Pink Floyd, the Soft Machine, and other kinds of music
that we didn't hear on the omnipresent FM Radio.
(L to R)
Composition of one of my early Intaglio prints; One of my pages
from Aardvark Papers Number One.
We took initiative
outside of class too -- some of us contributed to a locally-produced
tabloid called Aardvark Papers, which was printed by my friends
Jim Neilson and David Faggioli. Through them, I met Parley and Robert
Holman, who created graphic art and comics independently, as did
Neil Passey and Larry Farrington. We all found common ground as
collectors of variously arcane forms of artwork, and knew rare book
dealer Ken Sanders at the start of his career. We also got into
Cinema through on-campus screenings of European and Underground
films, and even shot our own 16mm films at times.
Union presented a couple of spectacularly insane movies among their
many gems. Roman Polanski's Fearless Vampire Killers came
back after public distress had subsided over Sharon Tate's murder
by the Manson Family. James Whale's Bride of Frankenstein
was a legend, but for some reason hadn't been on television very
much -- it was extremely well-recieved by a crowd who saw the humor
behind the melodrama and horror.
(The monster's line: Smoke GOOD! was heard around the campus
for a long time afterward.)
In Downtown Salt Lake, the tiny Blue Mouse Theater started showing
Classic Cinema from what had been a screening room for 20th Century
Fox's and Paramount Pictures' distributors -- movies by the Marx
Brothers and W.C. Fields alternated with Art Films by Bergman and
Truffaut. It was always easy to get a date for the Blue Mouse!
My friend Al Payne came back to the University of Utah as a graduate
student, and I was glad to steep myself in his unconventional art
projects again -- for credit, no less! He sponsored a video workshop
by Paul McCarthy, where I was introduced to the Sony Porta-Pak,
the first portable video system available to the public at large.
At the time, I was also taking a class in Television Production
with an eye on escaping from the grind of work and school via a
career suitable to my far-flung talents. The Porta-Pak looked like
it might provide me with the key to a much-needed change in my life,
but all that took another year ...
Video, Dance, and the Mime Troupe
about my studios and The 9th & 9th
the end of one era at the University of Utah.
Photos and images from
personal memorabila, Charley Hafen, and Steve Jones -- published material
used for educational purposes in the context of these essays, and covered
by Fair Use provisions of International Law. All
Rights Reserved © Michael R. Evans 2012