[BRINDLEKIN TALES – Book 1: Chapter 2-a]
Julia Vinograd was an important figure in the Berkeley counterculture…and a daily visitor to the Caffe Mediterraneum which closed down back in 2016, much to my enormous sadness.
After being shuttered for four years, it’s now a hot pot and rolled ice cream restaurant; what an insult.
She’d always be there with other, literary-type friends her age. In fact, I’d say she was the main feature of that cafe since the 60’s, when it was a hangout for the local leftie activists and poets, including Allen Ginsberg. Julia had a crippled leg supported by a brace and a large, clunky shoe. So she hobbled while walking, pulling her bad foot forward as if it were a great weight. She’d always carry a small load of her latest poetry (along with earlier ones), in thin, pamphlet style books with a glossy cover…and would walk around the cafe with some in her arm, offering them up for sale to customers, like a sacrifice to the gods. I bought a few, myself. In fact, Amazon seems to have ’em all:
I was always on the periphery of the Berkeley leftie scene, but nonetheless a great admirer, and felt very much a part of this family. (Well, maybe not really the periphery, I was heavy into meeting homeless people and befriending them.) I only spoke with Ms. Vinograd a few times, though my presence at the Cafe Med was frequent, and she was often there when I was. One day, her group invited me to their table, and asked about my homemade book, “The Final Testament,” which I was putting together at another table…cutting up and scotch-taping printouts of my own poems, into this book. Which was actually a spiral bound “heart healthy” recipe book which cover I had painted over in shellac black, with a bright pink, slanted triangle slapped on the front and the title in silver letters, “The Final Testament,” with subtitle in pink: “Fag Bible.” They examined it, pored over the pages and discussed among themselves the interesting style of my writing. That was the only time I sat with them. The year was 1994. I don’t know why I was so shy.
So I had this dream last night, about Julia Vinograd, which I first posted to a friend, and now to this blog. It resonated kindness towards my present worries about Deek’s pups, in an overarching kind of way. The link to the article about Julia’s passing at the end of this post is worth the read:
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Julia Vinograd, Berkeley poet known as the Bubble Lady, dies
Date: 2020-11-27 17:38
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Charles K.
She passed on in 2018, it turns out. I only learned of this today, because I just had a dream with her in it, last night. In fact, it was a lovely dream where I was back in Berkeley. I was staying in a comfy, plush hotel, where Julia was also, and she was among friends. All of whom gave me guidance on my life, which I much appreciated. They were very kind, welcoming, and a true pleasure to hang out with. But towards the end of the dream they grew somewhat annoyed, indicating it was time for me to leave. And so I did, grateful for their words and company, into a heavy rain on Telegraph Avenue…which bothered me naught, as I love the rain. I felt incredibly refreshed upon awakening. So I was highly motivated to look her up on the web, see how she was doing, wondering if she was still alive. Sadly, she’s deceased now, and I wondered: “A kindly visit from her spirit?” Anyway, here’s the article:
Re: Julia Vinograd, Berkeley poet known as the Bubble Lady, dies
From: Zeke Krahlin
To: Tara Roosevelt
Date: 2020-11-27 21:10
Ah! I never met her, but I know people who did. I’ve read about her, and I have a book of her poetry around here somewhere. She was the real deal, and I don’t say that about a lot of “poets.” I did know that she had died.
So she touched your life, too…amazing! Cafe Med was THE favorite place of mine to hang out in, in my entire life! Berkeley still IS my spiritual home, no matter what. If I ever become homeless, that’s where I’ll be headed. I know I’ll find SOME happiness there.
Chuck knew of her, too, because we’d both hang out at the Med, and he’d always point her out to me. She amused him, in a friendly way. I’m hoping my posting the article about her death to him, will reawaken his kinder, counterculture side.
Oh, man! Sitting at the table with them while they gave their full attention to your book!!! And the dream sounds like a gift from “out there.”
Yes, I’ve spent all morning dwelling on that dream…it gave me great peace of mind. I was compelled to write it down soon as I got up. I am still dwelling on it now, instead of my usual listening to the news on Stitcher podcast. Keeping things quiet and reverent, with the Tibetan bells still playing softly via my tablet, which I have playing all night long as I sleep, but usually turn off when I get up.
She and her friends in the dream gave me much reassurance over my concern about Deek and the doggies. Not that they said anything specific that I can recall, but just that, overall, I’m doing great, and need not worry. Just their kind vibes alone lifted my spirits. Deek is moving so fast, I can’t keep up with the writing…he’s exhausting me with worry. Or he was, until that dream.
But come to think of it, I wonder why the dream had her and friends and myself in a hotel, instead of at the Cafe Med. After all, it WAS just a dream, where you can time travel. Maybe it was meant to point out that the spirit lives on, even if the place does not.
Berkeley was a great place, it truly had a heart. Some of it’s still there, to this day. But a chunk of its heart has been cut out since the loss of the Cafe Med and Julia Vinograd. And this:
‘The leadership that came from the streets has been decapitated’: Deaths of 5 homeless advocates in a year leaves a void
I turned my email to you into a blog entry, with four pics:
The Tibetan bells are still playing…I love the sweet catharsis the dream gave me! Thank you so much, Julia!