Saturday, November 28, 2009

Remembering Lenore Kandel

Lenore Kandel at home, May 2007. Photo: ©

Back in 2005, I had the pleasure to meet Ramón Sender Barayón, son of famed Spanish writer, Ramon J. Sender, during an assignment for El Mundo, Spain's second largest newspaper. He introduced me to Dennis Peron, father of the medical marijuana bill. Both Peron and Sender had lived in San Francisco in the sixties, a time and place where I'd have loved to live in. There was something special about them and I decided to find other sixties activists. I found them still being activists and very involved with their community. It took only two years to convince El Mundo that a story about old hippies was worth doing. By then, 2007, it was the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love.

Ramón put me in touch with many others, including Judy Goldhaft and Peter Berg, directors of Planet Drum, and founding members of the Diggers (website here). They introduced me to another founding Digger, Vicki Pollack, who later would found the Children’s Book Project, donating thousands of books to poor children who otherwise don´t have books at home.

Vicki´s best friend was Lenore Kandel, an amazing poet known mostly for The Love Book, which was banned for being too sexually explicit. Lenore kindly received Carlos Fresneda, my editor, and me in her humble San Francisco apartment and recited some of her poetry. I had the most magical time of my life, listening to Lenore. She had the presence of God.

Lenore passed on October 18. My love goes to all who are missing her, especially to Vicki, who took such good care of her, after Lenore´s back was hurt in a motorbike accident. You can read the obituary Carlos wrote in Spanish for El Mundo here. Or you can read one written by Julian Guthrie, in English, for the San Francisco Chronicle here.

To honor Lenore and to relive our brief time together, I'm preparing a multimedia presentation to project at her memorial. I will include the audio I recorded in May of 2007, and photos from her life. If you have photos, film or audio of Lenore, please do contact me to be part of this project.

Thank you Lenore for being who you are.

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