1978 Mazzeo stays in Santa Cruz and starts a rock and roll publishing company called “Third Reef Music”. He publishes a song on the “Snails” first album.
1979 Moves back to Malibu where he works for while with pal Nick St. Nicholas in the band “Steppenwolf”. At the end of the year, Mazzeo returns to Santa Cruz.
1980 Mazzeo learns how to sail. He reconnects with his love of the ocean. Mazzeo’s close friend Paul Ziegler (a musician who spent some time with Hot Tuna) had a small teak ketch “Mary Anne. He and Mazzeo spent much time on Monterey Bay. Mazzeo became quite proficient at sailing, and buys his first boat “Spindrift”, a Catalina 22 on a trailer.
1981 Mazzeo starts “The Lucky Duck Boat works” and tries building a trailerable 26’ St. Pierre Dory with a ten horse diesel for costal cruising or fishing.
1982 Mazzeo lives in Santa Cruz. He enjoys spending time flying kites and sailing boats.
1983 Mazzeo promotes local shows.
1984 Coconut Grove: Flora Purim Concert. Flora, a singer who gained recognition with Miles Davis, performed along with her South American percussionist husband, Aierto.
1985 Mazzeo promotes The Blue Notes 3 days of shows.
1986 On tour, Mazzeo plays visuals with Neil Young and Crazy Horse in their concert called “In a Rusted out Garage”.
1987 Mazzeo buys “Seaway”, a 42’, 1936, John Alden canoe-stern ketch. Living aboard, he spends the year restoring the vessel to its original condition.
1988 Sets sail for Mexico. Upon arrival in San Diego, Seaway’s engine blows up. Mazzeo and his friends spend the next ten weeks and all their money on a new engine. They cancel their plans for Mexico, returning to Santa Cruz.
1989 Mazzeo designs major new light show for Neil Young’s “Lost Dogs” tour of Japan, Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. Mazzeo calls his new light show “Traveling Light”. His paintings and drawings, which are loosely animated through multiple projectors, seem to dance along with the songs.
1990 Moto Haru Sano, a very popular Japanese singer and songwriter sees Mazzeo and Neil’s “Lost Dogs” concert in Tokyo and hires Mazzeo to design a separate light show for his 90 show tour of Japan. Mazzeo calls this light show “Napoleon Fish”. The light show and Mazzeo’s artworks are a huge success all over Japan. Moto writes a song that tells of Him and Mazzeo and his old boat back in Santa Cruz. The song is titled “The Circle” and is a hit in Japan. Mazzeo’s artwork continues to develop a warm relationship with his Japanese patrons and friends.
1990 With the beginning of worldwide acceptance, Mazzeo seriously digs in and begins to paint on canvas full time completing over 20 works. In the same year Mazzeo gets married and tries to find employment in the “real world”. He is forced to sell his boat. Becoming sidetracked, failing normalcy, 1993 ends in divorce and begins a renewed self-pledge to put all his time and energy into his art.
January 1994 Mazzeo paints with great passion and inner strength. He is ready to be called “Artist”.
1994-1999 Mazzeo paints for long periods of 10-14 hrs a day, seven days a week for the next five years. Needing a break from painting, Mazzeo would sculpt three dimensional cardboard sculptures. These cardboard sculptures have delighted just about everyone who has seen them.
Issue date: December 16, 1998
WOODSIDE: Last picture show -- Jim Mazzeo art show marks end of era at Village Pub restaurant
By MARION SOFTKY
Branches of cactus in psychedelic hues twine and almost spill out of the frame on the wall of the Village Pub. Its spines droop forlornly.
The painting with the whimsical name -- "Don't Forget to Water the Cactus" -- is part of an exhibit of paintings by Santa Cruz artist Jim Mazzeo at the Village Pub in Woodside until the end of December.
The show marks the end of an era. The venerable Village Pub, a Woodside institution for 40 years, will close its doors at the end of this year. A new owner, JMA Properties of Cupertino, has bought the building and will go to the Woodside Planning Commission in January with plans to remodel and expand the building, and to reopen a new "Village Pub," with a different operator, sometime next summer.
Meanwhile, the twisting arms of "Don't Forget to Water the Cactus" evoke a colorful patch of county history, when artists, hippies, school kids, hikers and free spirits converged at the Star Hill Academy for Anything at the old Wickett saw mill west of Skyline.
Linking this odd mix is artist Jim Mazzeo, an ebullient survivor of the hippie era with an earful of wild stories about people most of us have only heard of, and wall-fulls of vivid paintings briefly on display at the Pub.
The opening of Mr. Mazzeo's show at the Pub on December 5 drew an eclectic mix of people from over the hill and out of the past.
Jim Wickett, who ran the Star Hill Academy for Anything at his father's old lumber mill in the 1970s, was there with his wife, electronic-commerce guru Magdalena Yesil, and a handsome son. Jim Wickett is now living in Atherton and is a venture capitalist with Bay Partners in Cupertino. But he still has the ranch, where he raises llamas and emus. He recently sold his yaks.
Rock star Neil Young and his wife, Pegi, are longtime friends and colleagues of Mr. Mazzeo. Mr. Young is also a major collector of his work. "It gives me a good feeling," he says. "It has playfulness and lightness, but underneath it's dead serious."
A highlight of the opening of Mr. Mazzeo's show was the auctioning of his painting "Sacred Cow" to benefit The Bridge School in Hillsborough. He is also donating 10 percent of all sales to The Bridge School.
Opened in 1987, The Bridge School is sponsored in part by the Youngs to help their son, Ben, who was born with cerebral palsy, and other children with severe speech and physical problems, using computer-assisted techniques. About 75 children have graduated, and one is in his first year at San Francisco State University, says director Michael Kimbarow. "In many, many cases these children are academically capable," says Dr. Kimbarow. "We help them realize their full potential and become successful members of the community."
A group of abstract paintings, vaguely resembling a cross between germs and chains, bears another of Mr. Mazzeo's offbeat titles: "Dilem-millennium."
Does this have anything to do with the Y2K problem? someone asks.
"Why 2K?" Mr. Mazzeo shoots back. "Silly computers can do anything in the world but count from 1999 to 2000. Any 2-year-old can do that."
Mr. Mazzeo is better known in the world of rock music as "Sandy Castle," the name he used over the years he managed rock bands and created spectacular light shows to go with the music.
Two years of managing world tours for The Band culminated in a rock concert and film, "The Last Waltz," directed by Martin Scorcese. He also did art and light shows with artist Andy Warhol.
Mr. Mazzeo has loved art ever since he was growing up in a cherry orchard near the Winchester Mystery House and won a prize for art at Campbell High School. Later, for 18 months, he participated in the Living Arts Program of Harvard's Fogg Museum in Boston under Philip Hoffer. There he ran a group called the Laughing Academy.
What Mr. Mazzeo most likes to talk about is his experience in the early 1960s in the Coast Guard in San Francisco. By day he would practice search and rescue on a 95-foot vessel, and the rest of the time he hung out on the San Francisco scene.
He shared a flat with Margo St. James, noted for founding the prostitutes' union called Coyote, and two other call girls. "When the girls had money, they bought gold leaf and put it up in the bathroom," he says.
Mr. Mazzeo also remembers the time Ms. St. James hid beat icon Ken Kesey when he was hiding from federal agents.
About 1968 Mr. Mazzeo and some friends moved to John Wickett's former lumber mill to form an artists' commune. Shortly afterward, Jim Wickett, fresh out of Woodside High School, got the property and built a house around the platform holding the band saw. The house itself was memorable; the bandsaw, painted in psychedelic style, dominated the living room; the bed protruded out of the wall; and a firemen's pole connected two levels.
As Mr. Mazzeo tells it, Kendall Whiting built a seven-room tree house way up a redwood tree, connected to the shop in the old mill by a cable and gondola. The ride down was pretty exciting, he says.
By 1971, Mr. Mazzeo moved down the hill to Neil Young's, but they kept using the Wickett place for projects -- like holding concerts in the sawdust burner, and filming parts of Neil Young's movie, "Journey through the Past."
Mr. Mazzeo gleefully recalls the finale to that movie, when Neil Young played a Steinway concert grand piano inside the sawdust burner lit by an open fire. The sawdust burner, for those who don't know, is a monstrous rusty iron cone, which -- according to Jim Wickett -- has superb acoustics and was occasionally used for concerts.
"I built such a great pyramid-shaped fire that it caught a $50,000 grand piano," Mr. Mazzeo chortles. "The black finish literally bubbled."
Star Hill reunion
Another reminder of the crazy days at the Star Hill Academy for Anything appeared at the reunion in the form of a frosted pastry flying saucer. A creation of pastry cook Louise MacLaughin, the decadent, chocolate-and-cream-filled UFO recalled another episode in filming Neil Young's movie.
At Star Hill, Mr. Mazzeo turned his creative energies to creating a UFO to crash in the film. "I built the first religious space capsule -- 'Cruca-14,'" he says. "We had to crash and burn it."
But the Star Hill Academy was much more than high jinks and hippies. Jim Wickett founded it with Dr. David Schwartz, then head of adolescent mental health for San Mateo County, to educate young people about outdoors and art and living with nature. "We had the goal of changing how young people looked at life," he says. "We wanted to teach kids where their roots are."
Through the 1970s thousands of children came over the hill to take nature hikes, or grind wheat and bake bread, or cast sculptures in a foundry. The program that started out serving troubled kids and kids on probation expanded to include the Nueva Day School, San Mateo public schools, and nature trips led by Olive Mayer of Woodside. "Yellow bus-loads of kids would come up every week," Mr. Wickett recalls.
Now that Mr. Wickett has gone mainstream, the ranch is mostly home to wildlife, llamas and emus.
Why emus? "Emus are incredible, prehistoric birds," says Mr. Wickett. "They are friendly, inquisitive and lay gorgeous emerald-green eggs. You can scramble them and have 15 friends over for a one-egg omelet."