The Sea Gull burned to the ground forty years ago this year. It’s easy for me to remember the date because my friend and key employee, Lorna, was born on December 12. We took a few minutes to comment on the irony of that coincidence, but we didn’t dwell on it for long. Lorna and I together with many employees and friends of the Sea Gull rolled up our sleeves and went to work building a new restaurant.
A decision was made to move the Cellar Bar above the restaurant to take advantage of the spectacular view from that level. Some customers periodically remarked that it seemed odd that a Cellar Bar would be located upstairs. I’m not quite sure how the rumor got started but the story soon became an accepted fact—the Cellar Bar had to keep its old name because the Catholic Priest had printed up his business cards with that location and couldn’t afford to print new ones.
A natural consequence of the upstairs being called the Cellar was that the downstairs became the Attic. That room served many purposes over the years. One of the first projects was a gallery. Ilja Tinfo, a waiter at the Sea Gull and an accomplished artist offered to organize shows for The Attic Gallery.
In 1978, when Norman deVall was running for Fifth District Supervisor, I spoke with a number of artists about organizing a fundraiser. We organized an “Art-In”. We papered the walls of the Attic with canvas and invited all artists in the community to drop by and create paintings of their choice. At the same time the public was free to attend, watch the artists at work, and donate to Norman. At the end of the day, the paintings were cut from the wall and auctioned off with the proceeds going to the campaign.
The event was a success. Money was raised, the participants and spectators had a good time, and Norman won the election and served for sixteen years.
You might think getting artists together is like herding cats but on one day in Mendocino nearly forty years ago a great number of talented artists lined up and marched in the same direction.
Maybe it’s the rest of us who have a hard time figuring out where we’re going. Especially in this bizarre election year, widening our horizons is a good thing.
Read this wonderful essay over at Brain Pickings: Complementarity and the Quantum of Life: Nobel-Winning Physicist Frank Wilczek on Why Reality Is Woven of Opposing Truths. It explains exactly what I’m talking about.
Some Links To The Artists Mentioned