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After the success of the previous festival in 1980 held in Ukiah and Venice Beach, many artists who were unable to attend or heard about it after the event had happened, wanted the organizers to hold another one. They in turn said, “Yeah, but let someone else organize it!”
You know the whole scenario, you want an event to happen but you don’t want to organize it so you look for someone to elect. Well that’s basically what happened to me, I’d organized the Copy Art Exhibition in 1980 which included many pieces from mail artists. People were happy with the show’s outcome so I became a target for their campaign to convince someone to organize another InterDADA to be held in San Francisco.
I credit Cavellini in part for getting the mindset started on having a festival in San Francisco for in his book Cavellini in California he makes a mention of San Francisco in the list of locations but upon closer look you’ll find that was a stop he made on his California visit. No Inter DADA activities were held in San Francisco in 1980.
If you’ve ever been to Ukiah you know its a very small Northern California town. When Inter DADA 80 happened, accommodations and services were boosted to handle the swell in business but anything larger would tax the town’s resources. Perhaps there was a slight but real concern that it would become a DADA Woodstock, interfering with the small town atmosphere. It was well known that Mendocino County had a reputation as a center for crop growing of a certain sort and perhaps these folks didn’t want more attention from strangers or any media types wandering about. In any scenario, holding the next festival’s events in San Francisco was a logical choice.
I had lived in San Francisco for awhile and knew a lot of artists. More importantly many of the art spaces and galleries were familiar to me. Made it a point to attend many of the openings held each month, look at a lot of art and to know what was happening in the exciting art environment that pulsed throughout the city. Not only was I connected to the visual arts groups in the city but also knew writers and poets through my former roommate, Steve Abbot, the editor of both Poetry Flash and Soup magazines. All of this became extremely helpful when it came to obtaining space for the events.
After polling a few artists to see if they’d attend, I finally relented when Terrence agreed to co-organize the event and said he wouldn’t sell all of his presses until we were done with printing.
I approached Inter DADA 84 as an art project, as described by some of the attendees later, which made it fun – or more fun than if I hadn’t!