November 04, 2009

The strange tale of John Adams, composer and angry neighbor, & Marcel Proost, aka Marcie aka "The Narrator"

In a clash of centuries, John Adams - who, in some lights, could be considered the last great orchestral & operatic composer (if you have your Hegelian-tinted spectacles on) - has started blogging. Adams lives in my lovely town Berkeley - (I once saw him buying canned soup at Whole Foods!) - but he has a composing retreat north on Highway 1. His most recent blog post at Hell Mouth is a reprint of a bizarre story from the Independent Coastal Observer, including the above picture of Adams as angry neighbor:

Point Arena, Mendocino County, CA
November 3, 2009
Sheriff’s deputies and DEA officials, in an early morning raid, confiscated a large quantity of marijuana and assault weapons on the property of Marcel Proost on Buckshot Creek Road in Annapolis on Friday. Also taken into custody were four pit bulls and an unregistered Toyota truck.

Approximately 2500 lbs. (1133.98093 kilograms) of dried marijuana were seized from the property and transported to a federal warehouse in Eureka. Law enforcement officials also confiscated forty AKG assault rifles; one rocket-propelled grenade launcher and ten Uzi submachine guns along with some estimated 60,000 rounds of ammunition.

Acting on a tip by several aggravated neighbors, investigators two weeks ago began surveillance on Proost’s property, which consists of three trailers and an alleged “writer’s shack” deep in a redwood canyon off Buckshot Creek Road. One neighbor, composer John Adams, told an ICO reporter that Proost had been a longstanding source of annoyance for people on the road. “He never bothered to take his excess verbiage to the county landfill…just left it on the side of the road for others to clean up,” said Adams. “Everyone knew that his alibi—that he was down there writing novels—was pure fiction. His dogs kept everyone awake and the target practice frightened the neighbors.”

Proost, (aka “Marcie”, aka “The Narrator”) was released later in the day in his own recognizance after posting bond. Judge A.J. “Digger” Maloney ordered that all weapons and ammunition be returned to the defendant, noting that Proost’s possession of the firearms broke neither state nor federal laws. Further prosecution of Proost is unlikely. Commenting on the case, Judge Maloney acknowledged the difficulty of convicting Proost on such scant evidence, voicing considerable frustration. Said the judge, “We all know Proost deserves an exceptionally long sentence.”

On leaving the Point Arena courthouse, Proost professed innocence of any wrongdoing. “I’m ready to get on with my life. As for the weed, they can have it. All that is in the past.”

Originally posted here.
Coincidentally, I've just gotten Wonders Are Many from Netflix, a documentary about Doctor Atomic, his massive opera about Robert Oppenheimer, so, it'll be nice to see one of my old heroes in proper musical context, not as local nark for weird doppelgänger novelists. If you're not familiar with Adams' music, I recommend the 'News' aria from Nixon in China, on the youtubes here:

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