Flaskaland
Thursday, October 03, 2013
  Alice Cooper: Berkeley Community Theater 1971


This is the Reader for Saul Geiser's class, Political Sociology (SOC 118). 

She attended the Alice Cooper concert without me and reported back.  This may actually be one of the earliest reviews of an Alice Cooper concert although I am writing about it now some forty years later. 

"The worst thing I have seen in my LIFE!"  she responded when I asked how she'd enjoyed the show.

"Oh dear," or some such thing I murmured.  But I persisted.  "What was it like?"

And she soon gave me a description (via telephone conversation) of a man with heavy make up and torn blue tights shouting out lyrics she could not easily decipher all of which was a stage presentation of some kind culminating with him being hung by the neck on stage. 

(She even imitated the kind of "singing" she heard him vocalize, which truly sounded dreadful even second hand, and before I forget she also mentioned something about a coffin and a cross on stage or maybe it was a tree ... )

This all took place sometime during the Fall Quarter 1971 at UCB, a vague academic calendrical period to me now falling between late September and end December that year just as I was approaching at long last matriculation from what would soon be known as my alma mater. 

The Reader soon went off to Hollywood, where I visited with her in her second floor apartment located directly across the street from a porno film house, and I had warned her about that sort of thing in Hollywood.  She persevered in pursuing her dream and was able to snag a role after all her undergraduate and graduate training in acting.  A role.  A bit part and she had two lines of dialog in a television drama ... I would shop at Two Guys for shampoo and music boxes while in transit to her Hollywood home .... and I understood completely when she bagged her acting career in Hollywood and returned to the East Coast.  To which she boomeranged, in part because the people auditioning her kept advising her to get her teeth fixed. 

Saul Geiser, she advised me in 1971, had big dreams about revamping the educational system at Berkeley, a dream he had shared with her.  At the time I knew him I was a student sitting in a far back row of the auditorium styled classroom .... he wore Frye boots, levis, and a tan suede jacket with wide stylish lapels.  His hair was perhaps his most noticeable feature, longish to the collar and a near auburn in color.  He had a very sweet smile and soft but persuasive speaking voice.  One of the questions he startled the class with first thing one morning at the podium was to ask, "There was an oil spill in Richmond recently that has been on the television news.  Did any one here today participate with the clean up in any way?  Raise your hand if you did."  Not one hand out of 300 went up. 

Young professor Geiser also once built a lovely rocking horse from wood that was on prominent display in the window of a toy store on Shattuck Avenue near the corner of University in 1971 ... and that year he in some mysterious way knew or was friends with a woman doctor from Davis, a veterinarian who was looking at a practice over on Solano Avenue which was a new vet clinic then, with separate entrances for dogs and cats, and she had already started working on an idea she had for a book, which when released was entitled: "The Well Cat Book: The Cat Lover's Illustrated Medical Companion" (Terri McGinnis, D.V.M. with illustrations by Tom Reed D.V.M.) which was published eventually by Bookworks in 1975. 

I have not thought of these people since 1972, really.  But I bring them up to let you know that I am aware the details and comings and goings and interactions I witnessed with Frank Zappa are somewhat lacking.  That had a lot to do with my age factor at the time.  An older observer would have had a lot more on the ball.  Even I would have, had I been an older observer.  But I think I can accurately with effort recreate some of the "aura" and "influences" and will attempt to avoid conjecture.

If you want to hear accurate first hand details about that Alice Cooper concert in Berkeley, please contact Pamela Munro who was last seen heading East towards New Jersey. 

 




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