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Friday, January 11, 2008

Literary Yuma Part One

Despite my penchant for all things immediate and my severe Attention Deficit Disorder affliction, I do always have a book in hand. Nahhh...not the Sporting News or Wrestling Weekly (although, they are convenient tools during the morning constitutional) but real books! Pickup your jaws and read on as I present the first in a series of my favorite finds and reads.

Ringolevio: A Life Played For Keeps

"Ringolevio" is the memorable tale of Emmett Grogan and the Diggers, the irreverent urban guerrillas anti masters and masters of street theater who made San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury a home, putting on Grateful Dead dances in Golden Gate Park, ladling out free stew to all comers in the park's Panhandle, and keeping the peace with the cops. While Kesey's Merry Prankster's were off tripping the light fantastic, the Diggers were transforming the Haight from a seedy district of abandoned Victorian houses into an evanescent paradise on earth.

My first reading stemmed from the memories of playing the intensively violent kids game in my youth.

"It's a game. A game played on the streets of New York, for as long as anyone can remember. It's called Ringolevio, and the rules are simple. There are two sides, each with an equal number of players. There are no time limits, no substitutions and no weapons allowed. There are two jails. There is one objective......"

That objective varied from borough to borough but basically involved doing everything humanly possible to catch opponents and keep them in "jail" until opposing teams dispatched early day Rambo's to beat the living crap out of the protectors of the jail and free their comrades. Sounds like a blast, huh?

I suspect that this youthful urban guerilla warfare was a major factor in our protaganist's life and eventual tie in with the infamous and decorated Diggers of SF in the 1960's.

Additional Resources: Ringolevio: The Game
Ringolevio - Full Text
Digger Archives
Peter Coyote's Intro