Bill Wolf






            Meanwhile, up in the AT&T Bell Labs Computer Drawing Center on Park Avenue, where Maria an I were drawing, the big boys over in New Jersey or the sales persons would occasionally have people in to see our Frame Creation Systems and what wonderful things they could do.  And so we were always ready to give a nice flashy demonstration at anytime.

            Once they brought in this little guy named Wynn Walshe, very distinguished and polite, who oohed and aahed over everything and took a great interest in this thing which could send “graphic objects” over the phone lines.  Well, I liked him a lot, kinda like everybody’s favorite Grandfather and it turns out he’s the Vice-President of J. Walter Thompson here in New York!  And it turns out he has in his office the original “videophone” still hooked up and working.  This was the very videophone on which Richard Nixon made the very first picture telephone call in, like, the History of the World.

            Well, he came around a couple times and he always liked me and he said, “Bill, if you ever need to use that picture phone, you just come right on over and use it, when ever you like, no problem.”

            This was long before FAX, remember.

            Well, it happened that, at that time, Russell and sk dunn were rehearsing to do a production of Samuel Beckett’s “Happy Days” in the studio in San Francisco; sk would play Winnie.  I always think back to Rhoda Eland’s great performance in Seattle at the Ensemble Theater, directed by Dale, and of Winnie, sitting in the big pile of garbage I had created for her, and Dale and I sitting backstage alone, listening to the small houses and the long rainy nights and whispering backstage and Dale’s decision to close the theater and Winnie’s long, sad monologue.

            “Get through the day, Winnie!” she calls out alone, to herself, “Get through the day!”

            Russell was doing the set.  Well, he called me up and said Bill, I know what it should look like but I have no idea how to do it.  If I only had a little sketch or something from you, you know, to give me an idea how to do it, or such.

            I thought of the “videophone” up at J. Walter Thompson’s.

            So that’s how Russell and I got on the first international videophone to each other at the same time, me up in the offices of J. Walter Thompson in New York and he in the offices of J. Walter Thompson in San Francisco.  And they interrupted the international videophone traffic and set us up and made a big thing about it.  “Scenic designs are being rushed from the designer in New York to his theater on the West Coast,” that kind of thing.





            The guys who were running the machines (soon to be called nerds) thought it was great, and took a lot of time with us.  The “conversation” could, of course, be heard by both of us at a normal speed, but the pictures came up very slowly, one after the other, on a screen and could be printed out at any time.  At one point, Russell and I held up two little signs which we each had made, in advance, mine said President and his said Vice-President, and we held them for one of the “takes.”  The guys were very impressed with our foresight.






            I always like to think of sk dunn, burried up to her neck in the sand and winging her way to the West Coast crying, "Get through the day, Winnie.  Get through the day."


            Russell said the drawings were a big help and that people liked the set a lot.  Ah, the Theater!



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            My second winter in New York roared in.

            I was doing a lot of work painting and drawing in my cold, little studio down on Ridge Street with the drug dealers, and jumping over the puddles of blood, and, of course, loving it all.





            My little "amoeba man" from my studio show began to grow and develope.  That winter and the following year in San Francisco, I would paint a lot.  Most were oils and many were on large canvases, some up to six or seven feet tall.















































            As I say they were large.  I would later use a photo of one for the postcard of my show at the Lab Gallery in San Francisco.





            My aunt Mary Ellen and her daughter Joan came to that show all the way from Sacramento, California.

             “Wow, Bill, I had no idea you were doing this kind of thing,” she said.



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