Sunday, November 27, 2005



Honestly, sometimes it’s just hard to find anything I feel like talking about. I’m sick of repeating myself about my physical state. I’m exhausted with talking about the treatment, the drugs, the side effects, and all that I feel on account of it, and…. I’m a week behind with my entry. Still, I owe an installment and something must appear or I’ll be cursed.
Last week I got an alumni association hard cover book listing every one who’s ever graduated from Cass Technical High School in Detroit since it’s inception as a public school in about 1928 or so. That list comprises essentially an index of every graduating class and the names of the graduates. The first half of the book is dedicated to listing individuals, their whereabouts, occupations, and contact info if the organization was able to locate and gather any current information. Obviously, many of the people who were part of the 600+ that graduated in 1961 have disappeared from the radar. Interestingly, I found a few names that mattered in some vague way. Aside from myself, there were three other characters from the art department that had some current information. They are Jim Latimer, Arthur Dworin, and Ron Whyte.
Jim Latimer and I were pretty good friends in the last year of high school and then also for a while at Wayne State University. We recently have been in touch through a quirk of fate where his brother came to the Amoeba record store performance in September and volunteered to put me in touch with Jim. Jim is now living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a published writer/ illustrator, storyteller, and psychologist. He has several degrees and I’m very proud of him. Some day we will get together and recall our lives to each other. In our email exchanges I asked him if he remembered Arthur Dworin.
Arthur was a remarkable character because while we all were clamoring to become commercial artists, Arthur Dworin was playing out a sincere role as a serious, sensuous, impassioned painter. It was a touch of the Van Gogh and a dash of Verrochio. He had wild, skyward tousled hair, and looked half- mad, as if he was about to come unglued. He was quite an antithesis to the common commercial art student of the time. He made an impression on me though I really didn’t know him. No one knew him. He was a mystery. He now lives in New York City and is a videographic artist. I suspect he is still a passionate, creative individual and successful in his own right. Jim Latimer had bemusingly commented, “Yeah, Arthur…I wonder whatever happened to him?”.
The third character, Ronald Whyte, was the “star” of the art department. He was fastidious and meticulous in his work and his drawing had that look about it. He was awarded a scholarship to Art Center School of Design, in Pasadena, California, (my new hometown), and in everyone's eyes he was a shoo-in to be a successful artist. He was the opposite pole from Dworins’ insatiable painter geek. Ron Whyte lives not too far from Pasadena, near Palm Springs, and he is a self-employed artist. I don’t doubt that he is successful. I didn’t really know Ron in school. Yet, he also made a lasting impression on me.
My listing states my occupation as “rock star”. I’m sure if any of these guys ever read that, and if they remembered me at all they probably wouldn’t comprehend it. Of course Latimer was well aware of my career and music. So, it’s also possible Dworin and Whyte have some awareness of me.
All the other names in the book seem irrelevant. A couple of people that I wondered about were “whereabouts unknown,” but on the whole these few names are symbolic of my high school days. If I were so inclined I would be tempted to contact these persons, but then again, I wonder what for? Apart from James Latimer, with whom I had an actual friendship, there really isn’t any point in hashing up old stories with old people that I never knew. I’m really just satisfied to know that they are somewhere and doing what they like to do. Vaya con Dios, amigos.

I’ve been in the treatment tank for 5 months now… alcohol-free for nearly 11. I don’t feel “good” and I don’t feel “bad”. I feel lucky. I feel lucky to be where I am, who I am, what I am, doing what I’m doing, and to be with who I’m with. I feel lucky that fate has given me a mission to “make it right” and "make it right now”. The holiday season is started, and for once I feel a sense of contentment and anticipation. No matter what anyone's beliefs may be, I sincerely hope for all to enjoy and appreciate the experience of friends and family. I also want to extend my deepest, most profound and humble wish that the human race with all its complexity will find a way to shine its light on all of humanity and respect the majesty of the universe. And don’t forget the good food, the pretty decorations, and the happy faces of the children!

1 comment:

John Kuzich said...

Hello Michael.

You write very well - interesting reading. I've been looking for info on Arthur Dworin as I have been curious about him.

The reason is that I - as an art student at the - unheard of - Thurston high in Redford Township in Livonia Michigan; became obsessed with the Scholastic Art Awards competition when I was in the middle of the tenth grade. Having been blown away by the amazing art work done by Cass Tech students
in that show at Crowleys in 1958, I decided to do good the next year. As luck would have it I came in second to Cass Tech's Jerry Degan who won the show. Got to meet a few Cass Tech students then.

Next year I got lucky and won that show at Crowleys, much to the shock of Cass students - who had probably never lost the competition. I made new friends with Cathy Marion who came in second with
an amazing 5 blue ribbons out of only 6 entries!!! and went on to date Kathy who eventually convinced me to come to the Art Center School in LA in 62 and join her and other Cass students. In fact Ron White was in our boarding house as was Roy Ritola - both of who won gold medals in the National Scholastic competition of 1960.

I was very lucky to go on to win that national show in NYC with 4 gold medals, 3 mentions and the scholarchip to Pratt which I turned down. Too cold in NY.

Cathy and Roy and Ron White won one gold medal in that show - and Arthur ( the junior in the group ) won two gold medals and additionally won the Hallmark best of show for Michigan. This came as no surprise to me ( having had two of the 5 Hallmark nominations ) - for when I saw his entry at Crowleys I knew that he would win the prize. It was remarkably sophisticated work. I recognized the depth of his talent and have always wondered how Arthur fared in his senior year at the local and national competitions. I would assume that he won the local show and have been curious to know how he did in the national competition.

Do you know - or have any contact info for him? I would enjoy being in touch with him. Email me.

I lost track of Cathy Marion after a while at Art Center and would like to find her too. Roy Ritola lives here in the SF Bay Area and was my best friend after we both graduated in 60

Best of luck to you Michael - John Kuzich
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