Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Chryss Yost started off the (standing room only) memorial by letting us know what a blessing it is to have many more friends than chairs, and then she turned the mic over to Barry’s family, close friends, musicians, artists—you could say Renaissance Man, absolutely, to describe Barry–poet, actor, musician, artist, teacher, mentor to so many, including me—he was a dedicated explorer of life.
Barry’s art will be featured at Sullivan Goss Thursday, April 8th. Each piece will cost $108, the money benefitting a charity he believed in. Spacks Street T-shirts will also be for sale. If you don’t know what Spacks Street is, go to spackstreet.com and have a read. After visiting Spacks Street, if you didn’t know Barry, you will wish you had.
My little tribute to Barry was posted in the museum with other tributes. Here it is:
When I was 17 years old, I was cast in a production of Tartuffe’s, ‘The Miser’, at Santa Barbara City College. I played Marianne, the naif slated to marry the miser himself, who was played by Barry Spacks. In the make-up room, Barry sang. A lot. His eyes were constantly twinkling as he powdered up and he was full of a bubbly (yes, bubbly) energy that infected cast and crew. He walked around in his costume tights as though he wore them every day. He was unselfconscious, really friendly and always interested in what others in the cast were up to or their opinions on the works of Moliere and the play. Then he’d get on stage and be this nasty miser guy that scared the bejeezus out of me. One thing I remember so well is how, in the makeup room, powder and hairspray wafting everywhere, he would proclaim how excited he was that his Lady Love was either going to be in that night’s audience, or he was all excited to be joining her for some fun evening after the show. At 17, I had never heard a man call his woman a Lady Love before. I never forgot that. When I was 18, Barry was the first “real” poet to critique my weird fledgling poetry. He was very generous with his comments. He gave me words of advice I remember to this day (luckily). In the theatre, it’s so important to be able to trust your castmates. Everyone trusted Barry. He went for his ‘Miser’ role with major, humbling gusto. In the decades to come, whenever I saw Barry, we shared a giggle about ‘The Miser’. I am so very grateful to have known him. I always have and will continue to learn about poetry through his work.
Thank you, Barry.
Thank you–he is greatly missed.
Lovely tribute! I can totally see Barry in tights. Also, a shout out to the painter, Jack Smith who painted the portrait of Barry you have shown in the post.
Thanks for that–and the reminder to credit the exquisite painting that captures Barry so perfectly.
Hi Pam, Thanks for the insightful take on Barry’s largess of spirit and his generosity. And yes that twinkle in his eyes. I painted that portrait in, I believe, 2005 while he was visiting here in Taos, NM where I live. Happy that you chose to use it in your piece on this remarkable soul. He is missed.
All best, Jack
Jack, I love your poet portraits. In addition to Barry’s, I especially like Dan Gerber and Jane Hirschfield and Kim Addonizio–I am pretty partial to their work and I think you capture each poet’s poet-self beautifuly. What a treat to visit your site. I’m going to put a link in my Blogroll.
He sounds wonderful, PB. I’m sorry he’s gone.
You know–I can’t believe he’s gone. I always thought I’d see him again. He was ageless.
Really nice, Pam!
Jennifer Plana, Realtor®
Coldwell Banker Previews International
1290 Coast Village Road
Montecito, CA 93108
Thanks, Jen–it really was a wonderful memorial and I’m so glad I went. I feel as if I’ve said goodbye, even though I don’t want to say goodbye.