JACK WICKERT,
June 29, 1937-Janurary 21, 2018

Memorial celebration and Altar: SOMARTS, 937 Brannan St.
Sunday, October 21, 2-6 PM, program at 4

Community builder and musician, born in Wisconsin, raised in the Mission and Potrero Hill, friend and helper to all grassroots arts.

Jack graduated from Mission HS and SFSU, drove school bus and taxi. He entered the community arts scene playing trumpet and every other kind of horn for the SFMT. He toured with THE INDEPENDENT FEMALE, THE DRAGON LADY'S REVENGE, and THE MOTHER: 1970-1973.

In 1974, with artist Bonnie Sherk, he co-founded the Farm: a community garden, school, theater, barnyard and social hall in the elbow of the Chavez/Potrero exit off 101, where neighbors held weddings and funerals, kids got to know plants and animals, and performing groups including the Troupe rehearsed. Jack was manager, truck driver, gardener, plumber, host, cook, piano player, rabble-rouser, and mentor to young volunteers. But the 10-year lease ran out just as rents were rising. The Farm fought to survive but lost, in 1987.

After that he travelled, mainly to Mexico with friends in his old school bus, helped at SOMARTS, Bayview Boat Club and Black Bear Ranch commune, marketed north-state produce, taught music, held poker nights on his Mission Creek houseboat and played with the several x-Troupers in the Spitters brass band. Died of smoking on his houseboat in Mission Creek, on New Year's morning, 2018.

Dan Chumley, director and actor 1969-2000, provides this portrait:

1971? 1972? Nixon is President, the counterculture is turning hearts and minds against the Vietnam war. Noon on a cold, dripping summer day, our Gorilla Band is taking guerilla theater to Aquatic Park. In ragtag mummers' costumes and long hair, with banners, trumpets, tuba, and drum corps, we head into Ghirardelli Square to draw shoppers outside.

Drums pounding, xylophone ringing, we head up a stairwell. A volunteer opens a door onto a main floor-and into two or three angry- looking guys in khakis and haircuts. Jack can't see them: he's behind the banner, playing trumpet loud and proud. The lead haircut ducks around the banner and smacks the bell of the trumpet, driving the mouthpiece into Jack's lip.

If Jack were the Hulk, he'd be turning green. Gentle Jack, older than the rest of us, stands stunned, feeling his lip. Then throws a hammer punch straight into the jerk's smirking face. As the asshole sinks Jack hits him again on the way down. Now the fool is on the ground. Jack kicks him out of the way, to where his body holds the door open. Jack puts the mouthpiece to his swollen lip and starts to play. We struggle to find time and measure, do, then march over and past the attacker. Jack was a Mission District street kid and didn't take shit from Walnut Creek punks.

Outside it's still fog and chill. We play to almost no one. Jack plays all his cues but by the end of the performance he is suffering. His front teeth were damaged; later he lost them. A trumpet mouthpiece is small: it requires a tight embrasure with lots of back pressure. Jack shifted to the baritone soon after that summer.

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