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April 16, 1972 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1972-04-16
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* U. I J iv U, V 5-







Post prison

(Continued from Page 4
h unified within the prison
lid you get flack from other
S.: Oh, I never had any
Lble with any inmates in any
itution I've been in. 'Cause
all know what I'm doing
'e, and what it's about. Even
most reactionary, redneck
knows that I have no busi-
being there, I was a poli-
1 prisoner, _ and I'd been
roaded, and they'd come over
say, "Man, I've never heard
no shit like that before." I
I to get along with every-
y anyway, particularly people
;hat position.
Did they keep you in isola-
in Jackson?
S.: Yes, I was locked up. I
in segregation a long time.
'ards the end they put me
ide, on a farm. You aren't
pletely isolated. There's peo-

campus of course.
It was really good for me. I
was constantly studying, and
talking, and developing myself,
and it was really good all the
time. And I really charged my-
self up to the point where I was
ready. Then I got run down to
Jackson and locked up, from
September through December,
including the last month and a
half in the hole. While I was
down there I continued to -ead
a lot, friends would smuggle
books in, and newspapers, and I
read just about all the literature
available about the women's
movement which is really tre-
mendous. It's the best thing
that's happened.
Then I got sent back there and
locked up, and I was getting
frantic because I was ready to
go home. I had all these things
going on in my head, and not

ner with these guys.
I almost flipped out, I was
getting really wierd, especially
after my bond was denied in
September. Actually the period
of waiting for the bond was ten
weeks, before , they denied the
bond. I just got real wierded
out, everyday I was expecting
them to say ok you can go home,
or not, and nothing would hap-
pen. And finally they denied it.
Q: What effect do you think
the concert had on your release?
J.S. . . . When the law was
changed on the ninth of Decem-
ber, we knew that everything
was coming, at least by Friday.
But the way it worked was just
perfect. I was nervous at the
idea of getting out, I was so
used. to being in these. People
have a misconception about that
phone call during the concert.
I was just so excited. All they
wrote was so dippy. How I
broke down and cried, poor man
... I was so excited, I was sit-
ting in this telephone booth and
I was just sure that they were
going to hear what was happen-
ing and run in and grab me and
run me off to the hole, you
know, for abusing the privileges
of jail. As it turned out, they
didn't even listen, I just got so
excited I was shaking, the whole
phone booth was shaking, and
I had all this stuff written down,
I was going to read this stuff ...
and I heard all these people and
I just started laughing.
Q: No one knew you were
real anymore and hearing your
voice seemed to prove this.
J.S.: That was the whole point
of the concert, even before, that
was being planned. In Septem-
ber when they denied the bond.
and the first of October, that
was my birthday, I was thirty
years old. And I just started
thinking about it, the way we'd
been going all along, realizing
that we'd been making a mis-

Pat Okeia.k-
'No mean achievement, my dears'

asa~:1:ii::::ia*:ss~i::::3::i::::si::::ssiseimsi::r: :.Siis i:"::":": "' ::"siiiit:s:si:'si: : "':io":"::":"::t:::'1 : : :':: a i:: i: 'r::":s i '::::tisi : }::"i
"The only way we've been able to sur-
'ive is through the strictest communal eco-
iomic organization, no one has any money
>f their own.... There's no individual money
it all. Like I've got $1.20 . ..

around, but you can't talk to
n. That was the most horr-
e part, the first year was al-
it, I kind of cruised through
first year . . first six
iths, you see you have to
r six months before you car-
the appeal any farther. So I
lay back for six months, and
ight, well it'll only be a few
re months until something
pens with this, you know, so
ist cruised on through that.
I all the time I was studying
there . . I had a record
Ter in my cell, and records
my electric typewriter, I
just like going to college
ept without any sisters on

only couldn't I go on and prac-
tice it, but I couldn't even talk
to anyone about it. The last six
months I was on this ward with
24. inmates. People who've beat
up someone and are afraid of re-
prisals, people who've been rap-
ed and are afraid to go back
out, and just sit in a corner adn
cower . . . People who are afraid
of getting killed if they go back
out, just the worst elements of
the prison population. I wouldn't
even go out into the yard be-
cause there was no one to talk
to. Going down to eat . . . I
started following the Lions game
and the Tigers just so I'd have
something to talk about at din-

take, laying back and waiting
for the liberal judges to rule
reasonably on this important is-
sue. We were putting forth the
propaganda that this was a po-
litical persecution, which was
right. Not relying on the people
to get me out.. but relying on the
But when they denied the
bond it became apparent that.
there was no way in the world
they wanted totdo the right
thing. We gave them every op-
portunity. The Detroit Free
Press had editorialssaying it
was alright. The stage was set.
if they wanted to come off as
liberal justices. A lot of people
signed the full page ad in the
Free Press. It became apparent
they were not, they were going
to try and keep me in there as
long as they could, as long as we
lay back and let them get away
with it-
So we decided that the'only
way was to go forth and try
to draw as much attention to
the case as possible because it
was just too outrageous. It was
over two years now that they'd
denied the bond. That's when
we started the Calley stuff. Be-
fore then we'd been reasonable.
So we just decided to go to the

cosmic level on it. We put out
posters saying "William Calley
murdered 109 Vietnamese ci-
vilians and he's out on appeal
bond, John Sinclair, two joints.
and he can't get an appeal
bond." We were planning this
thing for the second week in
December 'because we knew the
legislature had some marijuana
legislation for that time and
they were going to try to slide
out under it. We wanted to-focus
as much attention on it as we
could, that's why we were send-
ing people to~ make statements
at the Senate and having letters
read to the Record, and all that
ridiculous stuff that in reality
means nothing. It's just media
stuff, that heats up an issue. So
Dec. 10 was arranged. everyone
but John and Yoko was ar-
ranged - even without them it
would have been a big thing. We
might not have filled Crisler
Arena but we would have had,
I bet. 7.500-10.000 people. It
would have still been monstrous.
It was meant to focus attention
on the marijuana issue in the
Senate, to make sure they would
pass it. So they passed it the
day before the rally, which was
great. That whole campaign. we
felt, was really good, really good.
(Continued on page 14)

Pat Oleszko's theory of arts
begins_ with herself and her
body. which she perceives ,as a
kinetic structure, a moving ob-
ject in space, upon which to
build. Her body is thus like the
scaffolding of -a building. This
very personal approach to wit is,
I hasten to point out, basically
characteristic of our times:
painters have dialogues w i t h
their canvasses; poets write con-
fessional verse; the "I" in many
novels, from Baldwin to Brauti-
gan, is no longer a convention
but an insertion of the self as
an actor into the work of art.
Oleszko's art - the' construc-
tion of moving statues - is also
closely related to another phe-
nomenon of our time: t h e
cinema, where, indeed. every ac-
tor is a decorated object. from
the hair styling, elaborate face
and/or body make-up, to the
costume including the accessor-
ies and ultimately the shoes. One
thinks, for example, of J a n e
Fonda in Kiute or' of Dennis
Hopper in Easy Rider (there are
thousands of others, of -course)
who are. like Pat, walking, mov-
ing, alive pieces of sculpture.
The daring of Oleszko is that
she adapts herself and thus her
sculpture to the total environ-
ment - to the city streets, or
to the Ann Arbor Film Festi-
val; in adition, she approaches
her materials (including her
own magnificent body) with a
most stupendous sense of humor,
Humor, both about herself
(about the human being, in oth-'
er words) and comment upon
the individual in his/her . en-
vironment leads Oleszko natur-
ally to satire. Prominent exam-
ples are her two dramatic l'vis-
ual editorials" in Esquire, one
on Norman Mailer, the other
on the New York police. Indeed,
there is a very significant ele-
ment of potent journalism in all
of Pat's work. She is comment-
ing upon her world in the most
intimate and yet persuasive way
possibly- - through her very
own body and personality. Thus
her appearance, say, at the Ann
Arbor Film Festivals and her
inventive spoof in entering the
1970 Homecoming Parade. Every
gesture, as any good actor or
dancer knows, is a comment:
but most performers restrict
themselves to the limited space
of a stage. Pat, again. has dar-
ingly and courageously (if you
think it's easy or silly, try it)
put herself on the line, where
the action is (here again a par-
allel: the new outdoor murals,
by Al Loving and others, in
Detroit, but they, ultimately,
lack the human dimension after
which Pat strives). She has one
striking advantage: her statues-
que body, magnificently propor-
tioned, with clear-cut features
and a glorious mass of fine-
spun golden hair. She is a Zieg-
field glorified American Girl
(or a drag queen if you prefer)
come to life. Her rhythms are
not, then, merely those of the

mannequin, but those of a hu-
man being mingling with others
of his/her kind. Note: Pat's dif-
ference, as the "Hippie Strip-
per" (her Toledo "billing"),
from the other strip-tease "ar-
tistes"; they dressed and moved
in the conventional pattern of
their kind, ultimately false. Her
a p p e a r a n ce (flame-colored
many hued costumes contrast-
ing with the absolute nudity of
her wildly dancing body as com-
pared with the barely moving
professionals) wasboth a joy-
ful release in itself and a dash-
ing comment upon the very
"art" of burlesque, which, right
there in the theatre itself s h e
transformed and elevated. She
does the same'thing everywhere.
What shocks people - or de-
lights them, too - is the ar-
tist's involvement and honesty.
Like Warhol in his movies or
Rauschenberg in his dancing

Oldenburg. Again, one is re-
minded of poetry, in this case
of e. e. cummings' "this little
bride and groom" who are
standing on thin rings:
and all one two three rings
are cake and everything is
protected by
cellophane against anything
nothing really exists)
As in cummings whose poem
really does not conclude b u t
thrusts itself into space, so Pat's
sculpture is conceived in an am-
bience of daily life, with pre-
tend or even funky elements an
integral part of that totality.
She is simply extending with
absolute logic, the point of view
of today's youth, who dress to
be seen, who in fact "dress up"
whatever their material, from
blue jeans to discarded army
uniforms. Hence, Ann Arborites
will remember Pat in her stu-
dent days, striding along State
Street in original creations
made of old curtains (shades of
Scarlett O'Hara),.the American
flag (patriotism ala mode),
enormous quantities of old cos-
tume jewelry (all this and Glor-
ia Swanson, too) which jingled
in tune with the inevitable bells
around her ankles (a symphony,
no less, of quasi-electronic por-
portions walking down Packard
Road and all for free! to delight
eye and ear!)
Her opening number for the
Film Festival was a "toast" to
the Tenth: on shapely legs,-en-
cased in black and white spiral
stockings. she mounted, coin-
cident with the body, a cock-
tail glass, filled to the brim
(the top of her head) with
liquor and fruit (remember
Carmen Miranda? who did it
before cameras?). There was a
recorded sound track in which
Pat's own voice explained and
expanded her meaning. She
moved to thefront of the thea-
tre, got onto a circular disc and
showed us all sides of her crea-
Thus the triumph of Pat Oles-
zko. She has seized imaginative-
ly upon the one significant ob-
ject which Louise Nevelson has
not found: the human body. She
has made it the glorified basis
of her work, bringing a Wessel-
man painting to life. But all this
she knows. What she may not
know, at least completely, is
how much we in Ann Arbor, her
friends and admirers, enjoy
(love is not too strong a term)
and admire her creations. She
is a true contemporary artist,
of the Street (the people) as
well as of the theatre (she ear-
ly found an absolutely appro-
priate setting, not the museum
but the Ann Arbor Film Festi-
val, whose goddess she unques-
tionably is). A lively Statue of
Liberty, she symbolizes the 20th
century attitude, throwing light
upon our condition, exposing
our pretentions with the gaiety,
beauty and thrust which has
always been the highest pro-
vince of art. Cheezrs, Pat!

performances (or Jackson Pol-
lack in photographs. or any
contemporary sculpture. Giaco-
metti, say, in a movie) ,-she is
Yeats' ideal:
O body swayed to music,
O brightening glance
How can we know the dancer
from the dance?
-Olezko's art also derives from
and is a statement about con-
temporary life. Like other ar-
tists today (Oldenburg and
Pat's friend, Buster Simpson
she uses materials from her en-
vironment, frequently mass pro-
duced objects which give the es-
sence of American society. So,
her comments on the Playboy
"bunny" or her birthday cake
("Patty Cake") to celebrate the
Film Festival's tenth anniver-
sary, a concoction (like the car
she wore which, she said, trans-
ported her to Ann Arbor: which,
the car or the body?), a moving
soft sculpture; she literally out-
does Oldenburg. No mean a-
chievement, my dears.
Her materials are often bright
and shiny. The car and t h e
birthday cake were not only
done with infinite care, but
were, in addition, covered with
a layer of gleaming plastic, an
extra touch, which goes beyond


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