The Telegraph Avenue Street Calendar 1996

This is one of the two issues of the TELEGRAPH AVENUE STREET CALENDAR that Duncan did all by himself while I was living in Humboldt County. And — like looking at the Beatles solo albums — it gives you an idea of what each of us brought to the table.

Some people thought Duncan was the genius behind the Calendar. While other people (like Hate Man) thought I “carried Duncan.” In truth it was pretty much as close to a 50-50 collaboration as you could find. I came up with the concept of the Calendar. But Duncan had previously come up with the idea of photo-documenting the Telegraph street people. So we shared the credit equally, conceptually.

One of the great things about our collaboration: We were never competitive towards each other. Our approaches to art were so completely different (while being strangely complimentary) that it’s like we weren’t even competing on the same playing field. Basically Duncan was Lennon to my McCartney. Duncan was this uniquely creative artistic visionary. While I added the popular, commercial touch. It’s worth noting that both Calendars Duncan did on his own lost money. Though artistically they ranked among the best of the 15 Calendars.

It was a strange project for two poverty-level street people to be involved in in the first place. For every year we rolled the dice on about $5 grand — which is how much money we had to generate via sales to pay for expenses before we started making a profit.

I was always happy to cede as much credit to Duncan as possible, since I felt he never really got the credit he deserved in his lifetime. Plus Duncan was the perfect public face for the Calendar, as the quintessential “crazed street artist.” And his face appeared on 3 of the covers, and I made sure that his photo was in every issue. And I was more than happy to hide behind him in the shadows.

It was an amazing run in a way. Coming completely from within the street scene, produced by street people, about street people, for street people. With no mainstream gloss.

The homeless cartoonist Paul “Blue” Nicoloff, was known for his blunt, out-spoken manner. And often paid the price for it with street beatings. The cartoon was from an autobiographical story written by Duncan and drawn by Blue, about me and Duncan.
The memorial for Yume on Sproul Plaza, with Ben as master-of-ceremonies.

Duncan, with his peculiar habit of, writing about himself in the third-person.
The back cover of the calendar, a drawing by R. Crumb of legendary Berkeley street person Gypsy Catano, taken from a photo by Duncan.

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