Sunday, May 12, 2013

Vest Time...

Chris Writes:

Charles Manson once possessed a biker style cut-off vest (a waistcoat), which has often been described more formally as his ceremonial vest.


It was literally a coat of many colors, made up from flowing multi-colored embroidery depicting scenes from the life, travels and adventures of the Family.


Across the shoulders were flowers on vines, and it included scenes from the Black Bus, Spahn Ranch and the desert. 


It was begun in 1967 by Mary Brunner and Lynette Fromme, featured embroidery work by all female members of the group, and was eventually destroyed by Manson in 1975 shortly before Fromme's attempt on President Ford.


In addition to the detailed embroidery the vest also had tassels made up from locks of hair from the women members of the Family (reputedly from during the Tate-LaBianca trial when the women shaved their heads).


Much is made of Bruce Davis wearing it in scenes from the Merrick Manson documentary, but it was also worn by Paul Watkins before his fall from grace with the Family. Much later in the early 1970s Paul Krassner, then researching a book on the Tate-La Bianca trial, was also offered to try it on during a visit to Fromme's apartment in Melrose Avenue, LA.


Paul Watkins wrote that from the moment he began to associate with the Family until the end of his relationship with them that there was always someone working on the vest. He described it as follows: "there were scenes of making love, riding horses, smoking dope, dancing, making music, going to the desert. In time the vest became a vibrant, living chronicle of events within the Family, all the way through the period of Helter-Skelter, the murders and the trials."


According to Watkins, the vest was worn by Manson during music and/or therapy sessions with the Family before being removed to allow the embroidery work on it to continue.


Eventually the vest was mailed by Fromme to Manson at San Quentin Prison, but within two days it had been cut up into many pieces and distributed by Manson amongst the inmates. Realizing he could not prevent it being taken from him, and to quell any envy directed towards him because of his possession of it, he had decided to both prevent its loss and share it amongst all.


The detailed embroidery told the story of the Family. In a most brilliant display of intricate, multi-colored scenes, as Manson's prison counselor Edward George related, it detailed scenes of sex and murder, images of snakes, spiders, wounded bodies, swastikas, black magic symbols harmoniously balanced with clusters of flowers, birds, butterflies, dancing children, musical notes, and natural panoramas.


Edward George, when telling Fromme the news, recounts a tearful telephone conversation with her ending abruptly with sobs as she put down the phone to terminate the call. How could he do such a thing she questioned, when the vest had been made to signify the devotion of those who loved him.


Upon being told of this most unusual reaction (Fromme questioning Manson's reasoning), Manson immediately penned Fromme a short note and the matter was never raised again. He wrote "it will always live in my mind, where no one can destroy it or take it away from me".


The following is a detailed description of Miss Fromme's most recent vest and it's imagery intent: 


"The vest evolved from two trees I wanted to keep so I put them on patches of material. Years later I was required to put these and other patches together to make of them a single "unfinished craft project", as that was my only chance of retaining the work during the Bureau of Prison's big sweep to reduce inmates' property.


"The two trees needed water so the river was a must, and putting it between them meant balance to me. A wildcat in the leaves, a deer in the rocks, a scorpion in the night, drawings, tracings and copies of photographs done by me and friends inside and out, were pieced together for about 10 years, and the work by me is sketchy because I never took the time to study art. My favorite figures and characters in all the embroidery I've seen are those that form themselves of abstracts and are different according to the viewer.


"The river reminds me of the Greenbrier in West Virginia where I went on my 'vacation' in l987. The rocks are like those where the roots of trees grow down its banks, exposed by erosion when the river floods. The river of embroidery leaps and eddies and the lady's feet are fish. She represents both air and water, for the living things of each need the other, but there is another lady at the bottom of the vest in a waterfall. She and all her offspring are the result of the mating of the sky and earth above her. So, of the four ladies she is Water, the other Air, another Trees and the other Animals, all necessary to the balance of Woman and of Earth".


Credits:

Photo#1 found on Ebay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1971-SANDY-GOODE-BRENDA-MCCANN-KITTY-LUTESINGER-WIRE-PHOTO-/160864825798

Photos #2-13, and Fromme Quote Found Here:
http://themoldydoily.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/03/manson_family_t.html

54 comments:

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

CHRIS!

YOU ROCK!

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Seriously... how can you not love Lynn Fromme?

I love her commentary.
She's so freakin' CUTE!

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

This is a BIG-Time Candy and Nuts thread!

My prediction:
She's gonna LOVE this one!

katie8753 said...

Thanks Chris! Good job!

I just want to say once again, Happy Mother's Day to everyone! I hope everyone had a nice day.

And remember...hug your kids!!! :)

katie8753 said...

I'll read this thread tomorrow or when I get a chance. Good stuff Chris!! :)

Doc Sierra said...
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Doc Sierra said...

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Seriously... how can you not love Lynn Fromme?

I love her commentary.
She's so freakin' CUTE!
---------------------------
I agree. She can come off as an innocent little hippy chick. If you disregard all of her talk of murder in "Manson" she really seems quite nice.

Lauren Webster said...
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louis365 said...

How can one not love a puppy?!

johnnyseattle said...

"Upon being told of this most unusual reaction (Fromme questioning Manson's reasoning), Manson immediately penned Fromme a short note and the matter was never raised again. He wrote "it will always live in my mind, where no one can destroy it or take it away from me."

I guess Charlie never heard of Alzheimer's...

Chris, a well written entry as always.

Mrstormsurge said...

Excellent post, Chris. Thx !!

I love Lynette too. She is cute in her way but I can't help but feel sad for her too reading this piece.

sunset77 said...

I suspect that at least some of the images in this post are of a vest embroidered by the girls for Dennis Rice. There is an "affidavit" on another website/blog apparently written by Rice that says in part:

"Prior to my coming to the Family, I had a three-piece suit that had been given to me by my brother. I asked the girls if they would embroider the vest for me as they had done for Charlie. They did and gave it to me following my release from prison. It has remained with me ever since."

The entire affidavit as well as a couple pix of the embroidery on Rice's bluish/gray vest with a thin white pin stripe can be seen HERE.

So far as the Manson vest, if Lynette Fromme sent it to Manson in prison, it's unlikely the prison guards would have allowed him to keep it. Prisons won't store stuff like that in the property room. When I was in prison I was in the property room several times, black guys would get fancy, expensive, tennis shoes sent in, the guards would tell them they had to send them home.

Manson may not have had a "home" to send his stuff, so the guards might have told him they were going to destroy it, (often guards simply steal inmate property they want). That's possibly why Manson cut up his vest, instead of letting the guards steal it.

Zarathustra said...

Hello! nice reading, thanks. Reminds me somehow of the Penelope shroud tale from the western masterpiece Homer's Odyssey

candy and nuts said...

youre right LS!'

candy and nuts said...
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christopher butche said...

hi Sunset77

yes, the embroidery on the gray suit, is I believe from Dennis Rice. The Vest is a couple of pictures in. You can see footage of the Girls on the Corner working on it on Youtube, and there are various photos of Manson wearing it during the TLB trial out there.
According to the author of 'Taming the Beast', Edward George, who was a prison counsellor, he wrote "Vests were not approved items...I made an exception, slipping it to Charlie under the loophole that allowed handmade cardigan sweaters. Charlie played it cool when I presented it to him."
George mentions that Manson was allowed many items: guitars (several times) and a hi-fi system, all of which he eventually smashed in frustration.
For me it does make an interesting point in that Manson frequently claims that he is allowed nothing.

As to Fromme, I do cherish her, but I do feel that she is "inept but dangerous". Perhaps not now. I do hope that now in the era of Kindle books she can get past not publishing a book in order to save the trees and give us her view on all of everything.

christopher butche said...

Sunset 77

Another reference from 'Taming the Beast'...

"He's also about sleight of hand and miscommunication. Under my watch, he'd been protected, provided for, and tolerated, and sometimes even pampered. I lost count of how many guitars, televisions, radios and tape players he'd acquired, destroyed, and was allowed to have again, usually through the bending of the rules. Yet, to read his letters or hear him speak to his followers in the visiting room, you'd think he was spending his time chained to some sort of torture rack."

matt prokes said...

christopher butche said...As to Fromme, I do cherish her, but I do feel that she is "inept but dangerous".
thats a great snl sketch.

Doc Sierra said...

matt prokes said...

christopher butche said...As to Fromme, I do cherish her, but I do feel that she is "inept but dangerous".
thats a great snl sketch.
------------------------------
Hi Matt. Please familiarize us. What sketch and who was in it?

Here's a cool video with Blackberry Smoke and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. I'm thinking Katie might like it due to her Texas connection. Deadheads will find it interesting. Please St of Circumstance, let me know what you think of it. Hint, the Dead do this song on their Reckoning album. Enjoy.

Doc Sierra said...

Matt, let me know if it needs more cow bell.....

Doc Sierra said...

I forgot to post the link. Here it is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6np42AMfG8c

katie8753 said...

Doc, I LOVE ZZ Top! La Grange. It's not far from me.

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

katie8753 said...

I'm not a big fan of the girls, but they put their blood, sweat, tears and hair into that vest, and for him to just tear it up is tantamount to a kick in the teeth. Ouch!!!

matt prokes said...

it was from the first or second season of snl.
its been posted on youtube but always taken down quickly.
heres the transcript.
http://snltranscripts.jt.org/75/75cinept.phtml

Doc Sierra said...

Thanks Matt. I don't remember that one. I do remember the Manson Girls human hair pot holders. I remember Larraine Newman was in it and maybe Jane Curtin. That reminds me, it's my turn to cook dinner. I better get out my Bass-o-matic...

katie8753 said...

Is that a picture of Squeaky lying on rocks and dirt?? Huh?

Looking at that video with those girls on their knees with their palms up, and Sandy saying the jails were going to open, I have to wonder if those girls ever look back now and say "did I really do and say all that stupid stuff? Geeeeezzzz."

matt prokes said...

I'm sure we've all done and said stupid things when we were that age-hell i did 3 stupid things today-luckily most of us don't have cameras recording them for posterity.

katie8753 said...

Matt, I did stupid things like ringing someone's doorbell, running into the bushes and laughing.

Or standing over a phone book, closing my eyes, swinging my finger around and landing on a number, calling that number and saying stupid things to the person who answers to make them mad.

Or when my big brother got a call from his girlfriend on our home phone, I listened on the extension and giggled uncontrollably until he had to put the phone down and chased me down.

But never did I sit outside a courthouse on my knees with my palms facing upward, sewing on a vest, and touting that the jail cell locks would open and suspected murderers that I was vested in would go free like a birds in the wind.

Never.

katie8753 said...

And those girls made SURE they were on film. It was on purpose.

katie8753 said...
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katie8753 said...
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katie8753 said...
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Lauren Webster said...
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katie8753 said...

Thanks Lauren.

Cappy-From what I hear, she doesn't. According to a person who talks to her, she loves to jump in and out of her infamy.

What's her infamy?

If she knows you like Manson its not a plus, but she brags her part and then acts as if she hates it.

Okay I'm lost. She brags, but acts like she hates it? Scratching my head on that one. LOL.

Lauren Webster said...
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katie8753 said...

Oh BTW, Jodi Nefarious got out of the nuthouse and back to jail, and I guess she's going fine because she was able to wiggle her way to the pay phone, even though her wrists and ankles are now shackled to her waist belt, and was able to call her he/she/it to tweet the following:

"If you want to give me donations, please make sure you give to my website. There are evidently frauds out there trying to steal your money."

Frauds trying to steal your money. HA HA HA HA HA. That's a good one Jodi!!!

katie8753 said...

Lauren, I hear ya! :)

katie8753 said...

Well I made a mistake. I meant she's DOING fine. LOL.

katie8753 said...

BTW, Jodi had promised her he/she/it interest that she would be with "it" after her release after being found "not guilty", but "sa-prise, sa-prise, sa-prise", she was found guilty.

Now Jodi's into plan F. That is, she's found a new "man interest" to go forward. I guess that means she's found a new "tweet outlet". Hmmmm.....

Anyway, you'll get all the new updates here! :)

Tomorrow is the Aggravation Phase of the trial. We have to find out if Travis' killing was "cruel". I think we all know the answer to that.

Oh, and also, Jodi tweeted today that "the person she thought was trustworthy is not anymore". Jennifer Willmott? Kirk Nurmi?

Jodi is a big mouth. Imagine if Charlie had access to tweeting during his trial... HA HA.

Stay tuned...

katie8753 said...

Oh well. Hey check out Sono Bono's vest back in the 60's. FAB! LOL.

G'night Jugdish! :)

1nonbeliever said...

To me, the funniest Jodi drama, is that both her attorneys tried to get removed from her case. The reason they told the judge 'I don't personally like her'
hahahahahahahahahahahaha

katie8753 said...

Yeah Nonbeliever, that is funny, but not to her attorneys. They have tried to defend this evil harpy for years, but after she was convicted of first degree murder, she decided to throw both of them under the bus.

They're sick of her. But the judge ordered that they have to stick it out.

Meanwhile, she's still trying to bilk people out of money for her fake art (traced) and now T-shirts. Anyone stupid enough to send her money needs to be admitted to some type of drastic facility.

The 3-Hole Wonder told the media last Wednesday when she was convicted that she wanted to die.

Fast forward to today. The 3-Hole Wonder now wants to live. Huh?

If she gets up to talk to the jury and makes a plea that she wants to live, Juan Martinez can play back the interview wherein she stated she wants to die.

Which is it, 3-Hole Wonder? You want to live...or die?

Juan will say: "And this is just another lie".

HA HA HA.

Either way, she's screwed.

katie8753 said...

Oh, and one of the only 2 character witnesses that she's presenting met with the judge today and absolutely said that she will NOT be seen on TV. They can only use her voice. She's afraid people will be gunning for her if she shows her face on TV.

This is supposedly 3-Hole Wonder's "Best Friend". LOL.

Doc Sierra said...

What scares me is that at my age, I could see myself falling for her (before the crime) because of her looks. For the first time in my life I'm completely alone, no wife, no kids (they're all grown up), no girlfriend. I love being alone but if a woman that looked like her came at me I'm not sure what I'd do.

katie8753 said...

Well Doc I think you'd figure it out in time.

First of all she looked like a dime store floozy with that bleached out hair. She's a mexican, and as such, can't have white hair like that without burning it up.

Secondly, if she snuck in your doggy door (appropriate for her) or punched in your garage door code and gained entry, and you came home with a date and found her in your house asleep in your bed, everything in your brain would be telling you to DITCH HER.

What you would do at that point is completely up to you. Hopefully, you would take the high road. But if not, you should hide all sharp objects in your home. LOL.

Doc Sierra said...

katie8753 said...
Hopefully, you would take the high road. But if not, you should hide all sharp objects in your home. LOL.
----------------------------------
Well....I am a man.... I'm just saying, and I think a lot of other men would agree with me. I've made a lot of stupid mistakes by thinking with the wrong head. She'd be hard to turn down if you didn't know her. Thank God I quit being a mangina long ago so now I don't have to worry about crazy women like her anymore. I hope she gets the chair or however they kill murderers like her in Arizona......

On a lighter side. I just watched "Hit And Run". I got it on Netflix but they only have it on DVD. It's one of the best movies I've seen in a long time........

katie8753 said...

Thanks Doc. I'll check that movie out! :)

louis365 said...

Hit And Run is downloading

Doc Sierra said...

I'm going to get my muffin stump, fun size Three Musketeers, and my pizza bagel and jump on the Peterman Reality Tour Bus and hit the sack.
Katie, please tell Jugdish g'night!

katie8753 said...

Sorry Doc. I missed out on your request. I'll have to change it to G'Morning Jugdish.

BTW did you hear that silly banjo music on the Peterman Reality Tour? LOL.

Doc Sierra said...

katie8753 said...

BTW did you hear that silly banjo music on the Peterman Reality Tour? LOL.
---------------------------
Yes I did. I heard it was played by some hip jazz musician with complicated shoes.......

katie8753 said...

HA HA HA.

"Turn...music...off". LOL.

christopher butche said...

Manson wore the vest on his birthday in 1971 during the penalty phase of his Hinman-Shea murder trial.

The report states that rather than his usual attire of prison blues and bedroom slippers, Manson appeared in court dressed in black wearing the vest.

Sleepy in Sandhurst said...

This is Amazing; thank you for this wonderful research and article. I have recently found an article about the embroidery in the British magazine Nova from 1970 and was hoping to develop it into an academic piece of writing about women's creative practice (that's what I do). I hope you don't mind.
Do you know whether the embroideries/clothes still exist and where I might find them for closer research?