WILLIAMSBURG AND ROCKAWAY:
BECOMING AN ARTIST,
BECOMING A SURFER (AGAIN)
It wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say that Drew Heitzler’s career as an artist and his reconnection to surfing owe everything to New York City’s transit authority. Both unfolded quite literally on the expanse of rail between Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg and 90th Street station in Queens.
In the late 1990s, Heitzler was attending graduate school at Hunter College (he earned his mfa in 2000) and making, by his own admission, frighteningly bad paintings. Heitzler grew up surfing Isle of Palms and Folly on the coast north of Charleston, South Carolina. But high school in Nashville, college at Fordham, and a stint at London’s Slade School of Fine Art had taken him further and further away from a sustained relationship to surfing. Then, sometime during the summer of 1999, a chance sighting of a surfer carrying his board on the subway caught Heitzler’s attention and caused him to consider — as so many displaced, non-native surfers ultimately do — that Manhattan is not merely an island bounded by the Hudson and the East River, but that the city’s outer boroughs actually stretch clear to the Atlantic and to rideable surf. Fresh from this encounter on the subway, Heitzler called his mother and asked her to send his board. In short order he was back in the water.
At the same time he was rediscovering himself as a surfer, he was also situating himself within the burgeoning Williamsburg art scene. In fact, in Heitzler’s account of this period, the boundary between his relationship to surfing and art can be difficult to distinguish — each activity, each obsession, tends to bleed into the other. The social and communitarian aspects of making art and riding waves — or belonging to the peculiar groups that do these peculiar things — is an important leitmotif for the artist. It is also central to the curatorial work, defined broadly enough to include running a bar, that Heitzler would pursue beginning in 2003.
In some not wholly metaphorical way, then, the subway (and, more specifically, the A train) was the vehicle for this self-fashioning. This is largely because so many of his new acquaintances also happened to be artists and surfers who rode the train to Rockaway. Heitzler had moved to Williamsburg during what he refers to as the “tail end of the colonization period.” Specifically, he moved to a space at 85 N. 3rd Street — also home to photographer Roe Ethridge (whom Heitzler had known for some time), Bennett Simpson (now a curator at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles) and the artist Gareth James.
As Heitzler told me, “It does seem like a moment when these artists, myself included, were really just emerging — as was Rockaway. This was all happening at once.” Richard Phillips, Vincent Szarek, Fia Backström and her then-husband Ricardo de Oliveira, Andrea Aimee, and the dancer Flora Wiegmann, whom Heitzler would marry in 2002, all rode the subway together, often meeting at the Bedford station at four or five in the morning to make their way to the ocean.
The ride to Rockaway became for Heitzler almost as alluring as the destination. The subway was a locus for conversation, debate and ideas. His fellow artist-surfer travel companions represented a well-defined band of brothers and sisters — a small, intense community.
“I was excited to be hanging out with this group of people and hearing their ideas,” Heitzler told me when I sat down with him in March at the kitchen table of his Venice Beach apartment, a short block from trendy Abbot Kinney Boulevard. The artist was wearing a white V-neck T-shirt. Tortoise-shell glasses framed his face. Bald, and sporting an anchor tattoo on his left forearm, he’s a young and fit forty. Wind chimes sounded outside the window and the vibe was very “mellow Venice,” but Heitzler, despite his low-key demeanor, is an articulate and precise chronicler of his own work and career. “Richard [Phillips] especially was really instrumental,” he continued. “I was talking about how our ride out there was a lot like earth art films. Those artists went out into the world, made lines, made marks, but they also brought back evidence of their journeys. I said that we should make a movie about this. And Richard was the one who said it: ‘You should make the movie.’”
Subway Sessions, the resulting film, was made in August and September 2001. The events of September 11, 2001, a day when Heitzler and many others of the Williamsburg crew were surfing uncommonly good waves at Rockaway, figure in the film. Viewed today, those passages seem remarkably subdued and even poignant. 9/11 was part of the documentary record, and these scenes do go a long way toward demonstrating just how integrated the “out there” of the Rockaways is to the fabric of the city “back home.” Anthology Film Archives first screened the film in 2002.
“Subway Sessions was the first work I made that garnered any attention,” Heitzler says. (The film was later shown at PS1 in 2006.) The film was largely about the subway ride (those words even appear as a chapter heading early in the movie). That “the ride” may refer simultaneously to the conveyance of a group of conversationalists on the subway and to the act of moving across the face of a breaking wave is very much the point. The “sessions” of the title functions in much the same way: alluding to both a recording artist’s “sessions” and surf “sessions.”
“I had no idea what I was doing,” Heitzler now recalls. “I was shooting on an 8-mm camera that Flora found at a loft sale. But I remember I was just shooting and shooting and shooting and I had to edit it. And I remember thinking, How do I start? My solved the problem by watching Morning of the Earth with a stopwatch and pause button and every time the camera changed I would pause it, look at the stopwatch, and make a note. That was my solution: I like the way this film looks, so I’m just going to straight up steal its rhythm.” That “time map” delivered a ready-made syntax, which Heitzler later adjusted, tweaked and edited to conform with the structural logic of the film he was actually making. Mostly this meant getting the soundtrack to match up with the content of his film, rather than Alby Falzon’s (who directed Morning of the Earth).
Heitzler hated the cheesiness of 70s surf film soundtracks, but he did appreciate how that the songs often mirrored what was happening on screen. Laughing, he points out that in Morning of the Earth, when they’re making their surfboards, the lyrics are “making it on your own.” Heitzler picked songs for Subway Sessions that were similarly narrative, but updated to reflect the New York he was inhabiting (for example, Andrew W.K.’s “I Love NYC”). “My idea was that I’m going to use all of the tropes of surf films, but instead of going to Indonesia we’re going to go to Queens.”
CHAMPION FINE ART
Fresh off the success of the film, Heitzler and his then-wife Wiegmann founded the gallery Champion Fine Art in 2003. Initially, they wanted to start the gallery in Los Angeles, where Wiegmann had just been admitted into an mfa program at ucla. They’d been kicking around the idea of starting an artist-run gallery for some time and thought, if nothing else, Champion would give Heitzler something to do while Wiegmann was in school. But when Wiegmann deferred her first year in order to pursue another opportunity in New York, they decided to set the gallery up in Williamsburg for one year before taking it on the road. In effect, they backed into a two-year, two-city program by default, a decision that would have a number of unintended consequences for the couple down the line.
From the start, Heitzler and Wiegmann worried that success as gallerists might turn them into dealers or simply distract them from their own work as artists. As Heitzler expresses the problem today, “Who now remembers that Gavin Brown was an artist, and a very good artist at that?” Accordingly, they built the gallery’s future obsolescence into the project from the very beginning. They decided to call the first show #21 and then count backward from there until they got to #1, at which time the gallery would cease to exist. They reasoned they could comfortably put on twenty-one shows in two years. But the number also had an occult significance for Heitzler, referring to the final chapter of the British edition of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. In it, Alex renounces crime voluntarily and seemingly without any cause beyond naturally attained maturity. Apparently, the surest way to escape the fate of the artist-cum-dealer is simply to grow up. The first show, curated by Heitzler, was called #21 — Some Thoughts on Surf Films, and featured the work of Larry Bamburg, Adam Frelin, Szarek and Susanna Vapnek.
The gallery took off, gaining a formidable underground following and exceeding their highest hopes (or confirming their deepest fears — it’s hard to know which, given their declared aversion to success). By the end of its first year, Champion was a darling of the New York art scene, functioning as a sort of artists’ clubhouse and embodying much of the spirit found in the East Village artist-run galleries of the 1980s, specifically International with Monument and Nature Morte.
As Heitzler says, “[Artist] Steven Parrino, who showed at Nature Morte, was sort of the guiding force behind Champion. He was always there and giving us advice. Artforum had just published an issue on the 80s and they talked about Nature Morte and I remember bitching that no one ever came into [our] gallery, and Steven was just like, ‘Dude, I mean, Nature Morte was five of us who would smoke pot all day. Nobody ever came in that gallery. And now people talk about it like it was a really big deal. Nobody saw it.’”
Foot traffic may have been slow, but the critics and curators had taken notice of Champion, as they had with Nature Morte nearly twenty years before. “The press,” Heitzler says, “were now reporting: ‘You’ve probably never been here and you’re not going to get to see it because they’re moving to California.’ So the nice thing is that California knew we were coming. When we landed in Culver City, [Champion] wasn’t underground.”
CHAMPION MOVES TO LA,
THE MANDRAKE TAKES OVER
In the fall of 2004, Champion opened its doors in Culver City, commencing with the show #11 — Faith, curated by Matt Johnson. Over the course of two years, Champion’s artist-curated shows exhibited the work of leading artists on both coasts, including surfers Backström, Ethridge and Szarek, and non-surfers such as Walead Beshty, Hannah Greely, James Welling, Kelley Walker, Brian Bress and Mai-thu Perret — the list goes on and on.
Having done everything they could to undercut their careers as professional gallerists, the couple now faced a mountain of debt. “When you’re operating a gallery with the express purpose of not being successful,” Heitzler told me, “credit card bills are just nuts. So we needed to figure out a way to recoup some of this cash.” Their solution was to open a bar.
That bar, The Mandrake, owes its origins to a series of chance encounters, overheard conversations, and the good will — or caprice — Tim Blum and Jeff Poe, the forces behind the pioneering and eponymous LA gallery Blum & Poe. Heitzler and Wiegmann saw in the several blocks of La Cienega running between Washington and Venice boulevards precisely what Blum and Poe had recognized: an incipient LA version of Chelsea. “The architecture was all there,” says Heitzler, “but none of the infrastructure. We thought, ‘This is going to happen. We should open a bar.’ We got it.” At the time there were maybe six galleries in the area, including Blum & Poe. Today there are nearly fifty. Culver City has now overtaken Chinatown, mid-Wilshire, and Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station as LA’s leading gallery district.
Which came first, the discovery of a boarded-up building at 2692 S. La Cienega, smack in the middle of the block, or the idea of starting a bar, may be an unanswerable question. But the lore, if not the actual historical record, unfolds as follows: The gallerist David Kordansky spotted Heitzler, Wiegmann and their mutual friend, artist Justin Beal, poking around the building. That same afternoon Kordansky confronted the three at a mutual friend’s backyard barbecue in Silver Lake. Kordansky wanted to know what the three were up to and wondered whether they were planning on opening up a sequel to Champion. Jeff Poe also happened to be there and overheard the exchange, including Heitzler’s remark that as much as they loved the building, they didn’t have the money to lease it, much less get a business off the ground. Poe took the three aside, asked them how much they needed, and Wiegmann “cooked up a number.” Poe thought about it for a minute and then said, if they were serious, he would write them a check to seed the project. And so he did.
Heitzler either won’t or can’t confirm the rumors — he’s an artful dodger — but it’s said that when the bar first opened Poe required collectors interested in buying a Murakami to first invest in the bar. If you wanted to own a painting by the Japanese artist you’d also have to own a share of The Mandrake. (Blum and Poe continue to have an interest in the bar, while Heitzler, Wiegmann, and Beal jointly retain the controlling share.)
Beal, who studied architecture at Yale as an undergraduate, took command of the renovation design, while all three threw themselves into the actual construction work. In yet another fortunate coincidence, the building had operated as a bar since the 1960s, and was zoned accordingly. After its formal opening, in September 2006, Beal and Wiegmann balanced grad school and bar duties for the first year while Heitzler oversaw day-to-day operations.
Nearly six years on, The Mandrake remains the district’s unrivaled hangout for artists, dealers, and collectors. On opening nights in Culver City, gallery-goers by the dozens leave their plastic cups of Two-Buck Chuck at the door and pony up for Negronis at the bar. But The Mandrake remains, mercifully, unencumbered by art-world pretension. It’s hard to know whether to credit its owners or LA’s altogether casual relationship to the (non-Hollywood) arts for the bar’s persistent nonchalance.
Beal’s design aesthetic surely has much to do with the bar’s easy indifference to formality and social status. The walls and ceiling of the main room are a warm knotty pine, and patrons take their seats at painted blue benches or art studio stools opposite small tables made from the cross-sections of tree trunks. The bar itself is a simple backlit affair, with function trumping form. A sign above the beer list reads, “Sorry, We’re Melvins,” in a nod to the Seattle metal band. Appropriately, a large framed Raymond Pettibon near the bathroom depicts a man in a suit from behind, stridently marching forward or recoiling — but in any case convulsed. Above the figure the artist has written in his trademark comix hand: “i thought california would be different.”
For a while the bar showed art in a back room, but the owners quickly concluded that it was too dangerous to display work in a boozy fun-zone. This didn’t stop them, though, from commissioning a mural by the artist Dave Muller (who himself guest DJs at the bar from time to time). Muller’s Mandrake mural, spanning a long wall and incorporating two columns, is a pastoral scene of verdant grass flown over by what appears to be an intoxicated bumblebee.
When I asked Heitzler if, in fact, The Mandrake wasn’t a covert gallery, an extension of Champion by other means, or itself an artwork, he quickly answered, “No, ” and then hedged. “I mean, the surest way to defeat the concept of a bar-as-work-of-art is to call it a work of art. It’s a bar. Whatever they were calling relational aesthetics wound up devolving into rich people partying in museums. That’s no fun. Curated isn’t exactly the right word — or maybe it is. We were being very careful and intentional about what we were doing here.”
Throughout it all — the founding of Champion, the move to Los Angeles, the opening of the Mandrake, his separation from Wiegmann and their recent divorce — Heitzler’s art continued apace: Untitled (Ladera Heights) 2007, a black-and-white short film of an oil derrick at work in a field adjacent to lax, intercut with color images of palm trees; the film T.S.O.Y.W. (created that same year), a reimagining of Goethe’s Werther, whereby Werther’s love interest is replaced with a motorcycle (T.S.O.Y.W. was shown at the 2008 Whitney Biennial); For Sailors, Mermaids, Mystics (2009), in which Heitzler effectively invented the prehistory of Easy Rider by excerpting, editing, combining and looping scenes from earlier Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper films. There were also drawings, and sculptures, and guest lectures — and surfing. (The Venice Breakwater would substitute for Rockaway; a bicycle for the subway.)
Heitzler had also been thinking about the films and documentary photos made by earthwork artists of the 1970s — notably Robert Smithson’s film Spiral Jetty (1970), which is equal parts fever dream, acid trip and nouveau roman. To Heitzler, the formal and thematic kinship between surf films and art films from the period are striking. If that seems obvious to us now it’s in no small part owing to Heitzler’s own programmatic interventions, culminating in his 2011 three-channel video installation Spiral Jetty/Crystal Voyager/Region Centrale (Bootlegged, Reordered, Combined, Sometimes More, Sometimes Less).
Surf filmmakers like George Greenough and earthwork artists like Smithson were performing in a kind of shared — and expanded — field, although in the case of Greenough and Smithson (and experimental structuralist filmmakers like Michael Snow), this field could take on near-cosmic, and certainly psychedelic, dimensions. In effect, these filmmakers were hell-bent on escape — escaping the burnout of the post-Altamont 1960s, the confines of the gallery, reified modernism, or, in the case of Greenough, unbearably crowded Rincon.
Unlike Subway Sessions, however, SJ/CV/RC is a brazen act of appropriation. Rather than shoot his own content with an eye toward the tropes and conventions of 1970s surf, earthwork and experimental film, Heitzler simply took what content he needed from each genre’s exemplary works. The video grew out of a lecture he’d given at something called the Surfing Art, Science and Issues Conference in La Jolla in 2010. He knew that he wanted to speak about these films and screen as much of them as he could in the hour or so he was provided. He suspected that the majority of the mostly scientist–surfers in the audience — the “art” element of the annual conference had become more or less negligible over the years — might know one or two of the three films, but he doubted many that would know all three. The challenge for Heitzler, however, was how to force the films he’d selected into the time he’d been allotted. Why not, he reasoned, offer a brief introduction and then simply show the three films simultaneously? Smithson’s Spiral Jetty ran a forgiving thirty-two minutes. But Greenough’s Crystal Voyager (1973) had a run time of seventy-eight minutes, and Snow’s Region Centrale (1971) ran nearly three hours. Undaunted, Heitzler began cutting, recombining, sometimes doubling, the material at hand, which required working with the films’ scores and voice-over narration as well.
The La Jolla audience went nuts. One barefoot scientist who had just given a highly complex lecture on the physics and bathymetry of Blacks Beach, stood up in the hall after the screening and yelled, repeatedly, “What… the fuck… was that?” Heitzler realized he was on to something.
One of the legal tests to establish whether the use of another’s intellectual property meets the standards of fair use doctrine is to determine the extent to which the appropriator’s work is “transformative.” As it happens, this may not be a bad criterion for aesthetic judgment either. I had my own doubts before seeing SJ/CV/RC. The original and appropriated works are, after all, three extraordinarily gorgeous and transfixing films in their own right, and each employs stunningly innovative cinematic techniques. Would Heitzler’s adaptation be greater than the sum of its parts, however much they were “reordered”? He had certainly set the bar pretty high. But some twenty minutes into Heitzler’s video (or roughly halfway through), I had no doubt of the transformation he had effected. The climax arrives during the Pink Floyd “Echoes” sequence of the Greenough film, which is without argument the high point of Crystal Voyager itself. Greenough and the human form have evacuated the screen, and the viewer is left to confront the breathtakingly beautiful vortexes of crystalline waves from within their reeling barrels. But what has Heitzler contributed? Robert Smithson intoning over Pink Floyd’s “Echoes,” in his inimitably droll, pseudo-bureaucratic delivery, “North — mud, salt crystals, rocks, water; North by East — Mud, salt, crystals, rocks, water,” and so on, around the points of the compass, as he walks, runs and stumbles across his own chambered nautilus, one channel to the left. All the while, Snow’s mechanized camera arm turns over and over, to the left again of Smithson’s channel, spinning out over the northern Quebec mountainside like a robot on mushrooms. A sonar-like, metallic ping and electronic pulse emanate from Snow’s channel and joins in with Smithson’s voice and Pink Floyd’s song. The red wavelets of the Great Salt Lake seem to have washed out of Greenough’s film just as the earth movers in Smithson’s morph into a hoist in Greenough’s. The impact is visceral and induces a kind of ecstatic delirium. Part of the fun, especially when viewing Heitzler’s work in Los Angeles, comes from recognizing that the best way to describe SJ/CV/RC is to say that it’s a bit of Smithson meets Greenough meets Snow.
ENDLESS BUMMER —
OF SURF SHACKS AND HUNGARIANS
SJ/CV/RC also marked an end for the artist. Heitzler has long labored under the spell of Thomas Pynchon, the American writer best known for his kaleidoscopic, postmodern novels, including The Crying of Lot 49 and Gravity’s Rainbow. And while Pynchon’s novels are works of literature forged through language, Heitzler considers them in decidedly visual terms, almost as though Pynchon were a filmmaker disguised as a novelist. A Pynchon chapter unfolds as a cinematic scene, and that scene only comes into focus when read against the next. The reader’s interpretive work is done largely in the filmic joins that hold these scenes together.
Heitzler has similar ambitions as both an artist and a curator. He speaks of “a slow burn” that develops over a series of exhibitions through the “piling up of images.” Over time, the images begin to coalesce into a narrative. “I’m not a formalist,” he says. “I like to construct narrative structures and tell stories. And literature is the place that comes from for me.” This is fine, of course, provided we remember that by “literature” he means the literature of Pynchon — fiction no less delirious than Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. But beyond this cinematic quality, he is even more taken by Pynchon’s much-discussed paranoia or paranoid method; the “reflex of seeking other orders behind the visible.” It’s this striving to pierce the veil of appearance that leads Pynchon’s characters to see conspiracies and connections, often insidious, everywhere they look. After all, for the paranoid, everything really is connected.
According to Heitzler, however, SJ/CV/RC brings his Pynchon cycle to a conclusion. If SJ/CV/RC sees the Pynchon effect within Heitzler’s art production undergo a kind of filmic dissolve, his summer 2010 curatorial project, Endless Bummer/Surf Elsewhere, signifies much the same for his activity as a curator. Heitzler had just finished reading Pynchon’s 2009 psychedelic gumshoe noir thriller, Inherent Vice, and the writing, as it were, was on the wall. What, Heitzler asked himself, would the novel’s stoner detective, Doc Sportello, have in his fictional Gordita Beach apartment if he were an art collector? The answer: some good old-fashioned Ferrus-era standards, some Finish Fetish and Light and Space work, and a good deal of surf kitsch. Or put differently, Endless Bummer.
The sprawling and exceedingly well-received Blum & Poe show featured the work of some thirty artists, including Ed Ruscha, Billy Al Bengston, Ed Keinholz, Raymond Pettibon, and a younger field of LA-based art stars, including Catherine Opie, Jennifer Bornstein, and Sam Durant. Not surprisingly, Heitzler once again included the work of some surfing colleagues with whom he’d been associated since his Subway Session days in Williamsburg, among them Ethridge, Phillips, and Szarek (who now calls Venice home).
Recovering from his Pynchon hangover, Heitzler is now at work on an anti-monument surf shack for a summer 2012 Hammer Museum–sponsored installation. The work will be shown on or near the Venice boardwalk in what the Hammer is calling, tongue in cheek, the Venice Beach Biennial. The shack will gesture toward the kind of improvised driftwood structures surfers have been constructing on southern California beaches since the late 1930s. But it will also conjure up a constellation of somewhat darker cultural and historical referents. These structures tend to conform to one of two typologies: the first inviting, open and ephemeral; the other sinister, exclusive and intended to make it through the winter and the winter after that. According to popular surf-culture anthropology, the former are built by younger, groovy kids who are actually there to surf and surf well. This is ad-hoc hipster — if not neo-hippie — architecture: friendly, benign and temporary. The latter is the domain of older, menacing heavies and presumptive locals. These are the type of guys who are more likely to knock back ten or twelve and guard the fire than surf. When they do surf, they almost invariably paddle out without wetsuits, even in the dead of winter. Those structures represent pure primal energy, unburdened by civilization or its discontents.
The Hammer shack, provisionally titled Kat Kastle, will play with all of these associations. It also clearly alludes to Miki Dora, transposing Dora’s moniker, “Da Cat,” and rendering it with a “K.” For Heitzler, Dora manifests the right-wing–left-wing “culture clash” at the heart of surfing or at least southern California surfing. “Surfing on one side has this real hippie bus vibe to it. But it also has pitching your board at people. Miki Dora is the perfect example of that. He’s a total hippie in one respect but also an actual criminal and thief and thug.” Heitzler interrupts himself and redirects, “… hippies with guns are what I really think is most interesting about California. And Dora really embodies that, in terms of surf culture.”
The structure itself will be built of wood encased in polyurethane resin — Heitzler is still determining its scale — and interrogate, at some level, the cultural and material history of the southern California aerospace and defense industries and their impact, in turn, on local sub- and countercultures, including surfing. This is, in part, a familiar story, taken up by writers like Mike Davis in City of Quartz and Joan Didion in Where I Was From. But Heitzler’s focus is somewhat different and more particular: the extent to which local countercultures (and here surfing is regarded as the example par excellence) have been the beneficiaries of institutions, corporations, and government agencies, which, from the 1940s on, have been inextricably bound up with the hyper-technicalization of violence and reactionary politics. Put differently, without the aerospace and defense industries, there is no extruded foam, fiberglass, or resin; and without these materials, there is no modern surfing. The telos may be a bit overdetermined, but the history Heitzler is interested in “recovering” is, in truth, a willfully constructed historical fiction. And ultimately, as Heitzler will be the first to acknowledge, authorial intention counts for a good deal less than the observer’s interpretation. The art is in its reception.
When asked to elaborate further on Kat Kastle and anticipate where his own work is headed in this post-Pynchon phase, Heitzler speaks of his interest in the European émigré communities living in Los Angeles during World War II. He mentions Adorno and Horkheimer and Brecht and Schoenberg, the standard “Weimar on the Pacific” figures. But he also speaks of “Austro-Hungarians” and simply Hungarians. “Miki Dora’s dad or stepfather owned The Little Hungarian restaurant, and this was kind of a center for the community,” Heitzler says. He recalls that Gidget’s father, Frederick Kohner, was born in Austria-Hungary. He returns to the aerospace industries of the postwar period and missile technology and Nazi scientists but also moves on to Hedy Lamarr (another Austrian), who, along with the avant-garde composer George Antheil (also of Austrian descent, though born in Trenton, New Jersey), invented something to do with “spread spectrum” communications and “frequency hopping.” As Heitzler describes it, “Without Hedy Lamarr, there’s no Wi-Fi.” And then there’s the Brotherhood of Eternal Love: the “hippie mafia” lsd-and-hash cartel that operated out of Laguna Beach in the late 1960s and early 70s. (Even Mike Hynson, of Endless Summer fame, would have a star turn in this caper.) All said, it doesn’t sound like Heitzler’s quite ready to close the book on Pynchon. There are so many connections. All you have to do is look for them.
This originally appeared in WAX Issue 1.