Category Archives: Helix

HELIX Vol. 1 No. 7 – July (date to be announced) 1967

It seems that Tuesday – not Monday – will become the more likely day of the week these Helix Redux offerings will appear here.  (But don’t necessarily count on it.  We will still aim for “Wash Day” to hang these sheets.) Here’s another 12-pager.  It includes many delights, and I took the opportunity of the attached audio to read one of them: an early Dump Truck Baby feature by John Cunnick in which he reflects on the meanings surrounding having ones own newspaper in its eighth week and still learning.  Inside is also an adver for the OCS concert with The Grateful Dead at Eagle Auditorium, and in that line we will attach several snapshots from that bright blue Sunday afternoon picnic with power at the north end of the Golden Gardens parking lot.  You will recognize the Dead faces, surely, but also some others I suspect in the rapt listeners.  There are a few snaps of other musicians performing as well including one of Larry “Jug” Vanover who will be delighted to see his own slim self in 1967 with jug in hand – I expect.


I’ll not caption any of these Dead photos.  There are nine of them and they come from the remnants of the Helix darkroom.  I’ve not determined as yet who recorded them.  At the bottom of this line-up are four or five  shots of other players, include – at the very bottom – one of Larry Vanover with jug in hand.

Here's "Jug" on the left.


HELIX Vol.1 No.6 – June 23, 1967

While preparing the audio – below – first Bill White showed – coming down the steps – and then Jean Sherrard – calling on the phone.  Both had intimate memories of one of the subjects included in this  Vol. 1 No.6, and so I interview them.  The subject is the Last Exit on Brooklyn, a popular cafe that opened in 1967 on Brooklyn Ave. two doors south of 40th Street on the east side.  The result of these interviews is a longish (relative to the first five & 1/2 iterations) but invigorated commentary, which begins with what is by now my typical approach to this extemporaneous blabbering – beginning at the front cover and reading along as long as I last – followed by the two interviews: Bill first and Jean second.  This has also given me an idea – this idea.  To do more interviews on future subjects that are revealed in these issues and to post those too.  This is also a lot of fun for me and an extraction from my bunker of writing – even for those interviews I might do by phone.

Paul’s Comments & Interviews:

[audio:|titles=Helix Vol 1 No 6]


HELIX Vol. 1 No. 4 – MAY 16, 1967


This fourth issue is a maturing cache of our typical subjects, which did include, yes, war, drugs, sex and rock-and-roll.   Many of its parts are not signed – a frustration now – but within it appears new names that would become stalwarts of HELIX production, names we will recognize and thank, no doubt, down this 2&1/2 year line of putting up every issue and in order.   And I have found a few more negatives of that first Flower Potlatch Isness-In at Volunteer Park.  Once scanned I’ll attach them below.

An audio commentary is attached directly below.  The disciplined listener might want to illustrate the “sound track” by opening the pdf to the paper itself – first – giving HELIX time to materialize before punching the audio button.   The audio runs about ten minutes and then prudently adjourns until next week.

[audio:|titles=Helix Vol 1 No 4]

As noted above, we have scanned a few more scenes from the first Be-In at Volunteer Park, named, in part, the Potlatch Isness-In.

(Click to Enlarge – sometimes twice)

The grass on the big sloping lawn was just barely dry enough to sit on. Most people stood.
Buttons, beads, and God's-Eyes (she holds one in her hands) make us happy.
Several dancing snakes wound through the crowds.
Hoping, perhaps, for a jam.
A jam
Under the spread of the biggest tree on the lawn became - and perhaps already was - a traditonal spot for drum circles to jam.
Youth dress with care
Drum circle including beat with bongo and pipe.
Late that afternoon looking west toward the stage.
A band approaching the stage - most likely.
The Blues Interchange, on stage.
The Blues Interchange still on stage, and Gary Eagle and myself too (holding a flower) far left. I remember well that button-down sweater.
Back to the circle with an example of the hip mountain man style with strong chin - or rustic viking.
This big haired fellow was a mystery to me even then.

HELIX Vol. 1 No.3&1/2 – May 4, 1967

Don Edge, once again, did the coloring of our symbolizing bug or representive logo – the masthead.

We continue to turn the screw – of Helix – reaching now the fourth issue, which is curiously numbered “3&1/2.”  This will be explained in the audio link. At the bottom of it all are several snapshots scanned from Helix negatives that I wound up with after the paper folded.  We will try to identify the photographer – later.  Perhaps it was Gary Finholt.  Gary?  A few of these are also printed in the gnarly centerfold of Issue Three and One/half.

[audio:|titles=Helix Vol 1 No 3.5]

Artists Gertrude Pacific aka Trudi and Ted Jonsson. Note the issue of Helix that Ted is holding with his left hand. And Trudi is barefoot.
One of a few circle dances that was launched.
Our Norwegian angle-protector, perhaps, under the park's big spreading tree. Imagine bongo drums here for this was a most p0pular place - under this tree - for drum jams.
Flower Isness Fashions
I believe that Tim Harvey is far right, with the rolled up white sleeves. Tim was one of the stalwart-editors for Helix.
Seattle Magazine - and sometimes Helix too - photographer Frank Denman is aiming on the right. Oh the paisley! bottom-right.
While I remember two faces here I cannot name them.
On stage
The flutist's name eludes me, but - unless I am mistaken - I once threw his cat across a set in a duplication of the Dada Moment titled "The Dali Atomicus" and photographed by Philippe Haisman in 1948, which includes several flying cats and furniture too. The cat ran up a tree and was not noticed, I believe, until later when "our subject" returned home looking for his pet. By then his somewhat abusive friends, myself included, had left unwitting and so innocent but only sort of.


This I pleasantly discovered while scanning the few Be-in negatives I could find includes John Reynolds with beads, bells, Spanish hat, thongs and comfortable clothes, the Far East scholar who named Helix "Helix." I remember the woman that's with him, but not her name.



HELIX Vol. 1, No. 3 – April 27, 1967

This week we have made it to the third issue of Helix.  (It shows a date – April 27, 1967. A few did not.)  Above is Ron Edge’s coloring of the Helix masthead we have chosen to represent this two-plus year project of putting up all the issues.  (Last week it was Ron’s brother Don who started this coloring.  We are looking for colorists – Photoshop artists to have a go with it.  Below is a link to download a blank Helix masthead for those who would like to try their hand at coloring one for use in future post.

Below is another commentary of my first reading of this issue – as with all the others – in 45 years.  So far in these rough and recorded remarks my time runs out – about ten minutes – before I get to the centerfold.  Let it be.

[audio:|titles=Helix Vol. 1 No.3 s]


HELIX Vol. 1, No. 2

This is mildly complicated.  Above is Don Edge’s coloring of Jacques Thornton Moitoret’s logo for Helix Vol. 1 No. 2 – or part of it: the top part of it.  All of Jacques first contribution to Helix is directly below where it wraps page one of that April 13 issue of the then still bi-weekly tabloid.  We put up the first issue last week and we will continue to reveal them here for as many weeks as it takes to run through them all.  Sometime in late 2014 this will end – or perhaps early 2015. (I have not done the math, nor do I need to until at least late in 2013. I am keeping clam.)

Thanks to Ron Edge for doing all the scanning of the 120-some Helixes, and thanks to both of the Edge’s for their playful recommendation for coloring Jacques’ logo.  Somewhere near here a not-yet-colored version will be included that you may wish to color and return to us for posting.  This is very much in the tradition of Helix.  Not as coloring book, but as parody.  Think of it as a loving parody of the Google logo, which changes so splendidly from day to day.

Like this week and last, through the weeks ahead I intend to read each issue from cover-to-cover and record a rough – rather – commentary of first impressions after having not seen any of them  – except to glimpse – for forty-five years.  (The button for playing this commentary is just below.)  I hope that other readers will take moments to respond to what they also may – or may not – find in Helix after so many years.  All this may result in some publishing effort near the end – m0re likely after it.

[audio:|titles=Helix Vol 1 No. 2]


HELIX Vol. 1, No. 1

Paul’s Comments

[audio:|titles=Helix Vol 1 No 1]

HELIX VOL. 1, NO. 1 – Introduction to Posting on April 2, 2012

As I croakingly describe it in the accompanying audio (linked above) my best plans to comment on the entire first issue of Helix were upset by the time I reached page three of twelve.  (It was a small first issue.) Still I did browse the entire tabloid, and was charmed with pleasant and often vivid memories.  But the audio commentary is keyed entirely to subjects on those first two pages.

A similar restraint will follow next Monday with the second issue.  And so on and on for nearly three years more with a new old issue appearing each week on Wash Day.  For this first issue, and the rest of them too, I’ll choose only a few ripe subjects to comment on.  (The alternative would resemble biblical commentary piled on by medieval scholastics, a volume many times greater than scripture itself.)

Perhaps I will get to comment later on pages three to twelve, especially if asked about its parts by readers.  And it may be that at some point I will return to add something to any page in any of the issues, thereby compiling a Summa Helixa – although not so systematic as Doctor Universalis’ Summa.

Besides the recorded but ragged weekly commentaries, I might also attach more captioned photographs – relevant but not necessarily directly to that week’s issue.  I’ll include a few examples at the bottom.

While preparing this first issue I noticed a little hoax on the front cover.  It was given the page number 35. It was new to me, but Ron Edge, who is scanning (Blessings to the Scanner) all the issues, was aware of the wild number and thought it was a prankish gift of first issue enthusiasm.  Surely that is so, and I suspect Meryl Clemens, one of the paper’s founders and also one of the artists who contributed to the front cover.   Ron scanned his own copy, which is better than mine, but still his ink has also faded in 45 years.

Entering the first Helix office at 4526 Roosevelt Way, one was met by an oversize American flag draped along the north wall. Here we see Tim Harvey, the tall short-haired figure with his back to the door. Tim was with the paper from the start.
Scott White - facing the camera - and others at the layout table.
Geneticist Henry Erlich's "Making the Revolution" board game.

As it developed Henry was certainly the most distinguished among us – a brilliant man of great kindness and charm.  With the freedom of blogging I have found his fairliy recent vita and print it here.


Since the early 1980s, Henry A. Erlich has been well-known in the forensic and medical communities for helping to pioneer the research and development of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique that ultimately lead to a number of important forensic and clinical applications. As a result of the pioneering efforts of Erlich and his team of scientists, the first commercial PCR typing kit was developed specifically for forensic use. Currently, Erlich is the director of the Department of Human Genetics and vice-president of Discovery Research, both for Roche Molecular Systems, Inc.; and the co-director (and co-founder) of the HLA Laboratory at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institutell three located in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.

Erlich grew up in Seattle, Washington. He began his bachelor’s of art degree in 1961 at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he completed his degree in 1965 with a major in biochemical sciences. That same year, Erlich was a research assistant at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Erlich then began his advanced degree, completing his doctor’s of philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in 1972 from the University of Washington (Seattle) with a genetics concentration. While working on his degree in 1967, Erlich also worked with street gangs as a Vista volunteer in New Mexico. Erlich did his postdoctoral work in microbial genetics (1972975) at Princeton University in New Jersey, where he was employed as a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton’s Department of Biology. Erlich did further postdoctoral work in immunogenetics (1975979) at Stanford University (California), where he was employed as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford’s Department of Medicine, Division of Immunology.

After completing his postdoctoral studies, Erlich became a scientist at Cetus Corporation, an Oakland-area biopharmaceutical/biotechnology company located in Emeryville, California, where he held various teaching positions and served on the editorial boards of such industry publications as Human Immunology, PCR Methods and Applications, and Technique. Erlich was later promoted to senior scientist and director of the Human Genetics Department, both positions that he held until 1991.

During his early-1980s work with Cetus, Erlich led the human genetics group in the research of PCR techniques. He was especially interested in developing technology for the study of human genetic variation, and with it the applications in forensics and clinical medicine. In 1986, Erlich’s research resulted in development of a PCR technique that ultimately produced a number of clinical and forensic applications. Also in 1986, in what is generally considered the first use of PCR-based forensic DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) analysis in a U.S. court case, Erlich carried out the confirmation that two autopsy samples came from the same person in the case Pennsylvania v. Pestinikas. About two years later, Erlich and his scientific team saw the development of a commercial PCR typing kit as the first forensic application within the United States of DNA typing of HLA-DQA (human leukocyte antigen with a DQ alpha PCR test) locus.

Erlich transferred to Roche Molecular Systems, Inc., located in Alameda, California, in 1991 when the company acquired the rights of PCR technology from Cetus. Today, Erlich holds three important positions with Roche: director of Roche’s Human Genetics Department, since 1992; co-director of the HLA Laboratory at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), in Oakland, California, since 1996; and vice president of Roche’s Discovery Research, since 2000. Erich’s work at CHORI puts into clinical practice the technologies that he had developed for PCR-based HLA typing.

The primary research performed by Erlich in concert with Roche involves the analysis of molecular evolution and population genetics of HLA genes along with human genetic variation and genetic susceptibility to diseases, especially on autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes. He also researches the analysis of polymorphism in HLA genes and the development of HLA typing for class I and class II loci within tissue typing and transplantation, anthropological genetics, and individual identification.

Erlich maintains an academic affiliation with the Stanford School of Medicines, where he is an adjunct professor of medical microbiology and immunology. In addition, he also sits on several editorial boards (such as Human Mutation and Tissue Antigens); participates on numerous human genetics committees (such as the International Histocompatibility Council and the National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence-Research and Development Working Group); and is a member of the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics and the American Society for Human Genetics. Erlich has authored several books, with one of the latest titled PCR Technology: Principles and Applications for DNA Amplification.

Erlich has also been bestowed with many honors within genetic research and writing including such awards as the Gideon Goldstein Award (Walter and Eliza Institutes, 1989), the Biochemical Analysis Award (German Society of Clinical Chemistry, 1990), the Brown-Hazen Award (Wadsworth Center for Laboratories and Research, 1990), The Rose Payne Award (American Society of Histocompatibility Immunogenetics, 1990), the Advanced Technology in Biotechnology Milano Award (International Federation of Clinical Chemistry, 1991), the Award for Excellence (Association for Molecular Pathology, 2000), the Profiles in DNA Courage Award (National Institute of Justice, 2000), and the Colonel Harland Sanders Award (March of Dimes Clinical Genetics Conference, 2000).


Following geneticist E. Henry (above) we appropriately pick a page from Double Helix, a one-time tabloid published ca. 1972 by Michael Wiater and myself.

The Helix Returns

The HELIX cover printed just below appeared first on the 1st of December, 1967, which was still in the first year of the tabloid’s three year – and a few weeks – run.  The cover was one of artist Jacques Moitoret’s many contributions to Helix.  With age the pulp it was printed on has nurtured its color.  Starting tomorrow, Monday April 2, 2012, we will feature it again on the front page of this blog as the front door – or button – to eventually all issues of Helix. We mean to put them up in the order they first appeared.  Directly below Jacques’ butterfly is another and longer introduction to this project.  You can read it and/or listen to it.  The audio, which I recorded at my desk in one take!, runs about eight minutes. (When, in the context of revealing how Helix was conceived, I mention looking “down on 42nd Avenue,” please hear instead, “42nd Street.”  It is correct in the copy, but wrong in the audio.)

AUDIO for the Following INTRODUCTION

[audio:|titles=Paul’s introduction]Sample of banners


(Click to Englarge)

By those who remember it, Helix may be described as “Seattle’s First Underground” newspaper.  This, I think, is too romantic or glamorous.  Rather, it was Helix candor – above ground – that was apt.  It could be either disturbing or compelling – of course, depending.

Helix was conceived in a conversation with Paul Sawyer, a friend and Unitarian preacher, now deceased. I can recall the moment in color. We were alone in the Free University office (beige walls and gray ceiling), on the second floor above the Coffee Corral on University Way, aka “The Ave.”  Under a blue winter sky and from the window I followed a couple walking hand in hand below me on 42nd St., when over my left shoulder Paul suggested, “What we need here is something like the Berkeley Barb.”

Paul Sawyer standing on the beach beside the park on the north shore of Lake Union, just west of Ivar's Salmon House. The photo is dated April 25, 2010. I took it during Paul's last visit to Seattle, a wind up, because he knew that he would not live out the year. He brought with him two boxes of his then new book "Untold Story," the cover's of which we will insert directly below this subject. Below the covers we include a page from Helix that features a poem of Paul's from the paper's first year, 1967.
The covers of Paul Sawyers "Untold Story," 2010.

The Barb was one of the many weekly tabloids associated with the 1960s “counter culture” that were blooming then from Boston to L.A. and soon from Atlanta to – with Helix – Seattle.  Most of these were loosely connected with university communities and the talents they offered. Here, for instance, Helix bundled Seattle’s University District and the University of Washington as part of a town and gown experiment. That was in the winter of 1966-67.

An early contribution of Walt Crowley's, an allegorical illustration of our struggle with City Council to hold light show dances. We won.
Bitter Harvest, another example of the many covers Walt Crowley did for Helix.

Now thru the next nearly three years we will hang from this blog all manner of HELIX, which is every issue from Vol.1 No.1 to Vol. 11 No. 21.  By posting one a week, and in the order they first appeared on the street, we expect, or hope, that the paper’s often illuminated pages will stimulate some responses and recollections – some current alternatives for drop out, turn on and tune in.  Perhaps remember, reflect and rejoin.

A cover by Alaskan artist, Mary Hendrickson

The first issue of Helix is dated March 23, 1967, although it “hit the streets” a few days later.  And then it popped!  Pastor Paul was right – it was what we needed. It was our own news and opinion, often otherwise not reported.  And it also yielded the small economics of street sales, which helped many get by.  At 20-cents a copy our little pulp was enthusiastically consumed, sold by vendors whose enterprise was only limited by the number of copies they could carry and the charms at their corner.  (The seller kept half the cover price.)

(Cartoons by Skagit Valley artist Larry Heald above, and below.  All three of the artistic Heald brothers, Maury, Paul and Larry, were part of Helix.)

The first issue was late because Grange Press, the scheduled printer, on seeing the flats we delivered to their high-speed photo-offset webs, found the content somehow offensive.  At the time this rejection mystified us, but if you choose to browse that same first issue – and it appears here first tomorrow – you may find something in it that hollers for more than editing, perhaps for censorship on the grounds of decency or national security. (And please point it out with a blog response.)

A back cover designed - and layout - by Paul Heald.

With help from some civil libertarians we found another printer, Ken Munson, a union man. Ken pulled good fortunes from the combination of our Grange rejection, and his Heidelberg flatbed press.  This meant higher quality pressings and split-font color for the covers and centerfold on an array of colored newsprint.  On the day of publication the flatbed also obliged a ritual for the staff that was at once bonding and blabbering.  Every issue printed on Ken’s flatbed required hand folding and collating on the big tables in the Helix office.

Helping in the folding and collating line, Scott White turns to the camera. Scott was one of the younger staff members, and with the paper throughout. He was the first person I met in the University District, when we arrived at the same moment at the front door of the then still proposed Free University. He was then still in high school - a brilliant teen. The younger folder this side of Scott I recognize, although I cannot recall his name.
Helix was part of the Underground Press Syndicate. We shared each others papers and could reprint content from them. This brought desirable contributions from great sources like cartoonist Art Crumb.

For the first few months Helix was published only every two weeks, but here from the start we intend to bring it back every week, ordinarily on those Mondays that aren’t busy with washing.  We may treat Sunday’s Seattle Now & Then as a civic service, and Monday’s Helix as a humanist’s hippodrome.  On the distinction of having first heard the voice of Pastor Paul over my shoulder in 1966, and having edited the paper for most of its life, I will introduced each issue with a commentary. Much of it will be new to me too, for although I was the editor through most of its life, I did not read it all.  Editing the Helix was sometimes like being a coach, making certain that there were enough players were on the field.

Helix took part in the struggle to save the Pike Place Public Market. Here one of the paper's contributing photographers, Paul Temple, took the cover and centerfold for his study of "market faces."

For much of the staff, myself included, preparing and publishing a paper was like attending school, and many of us stayed involved in community life – even journalism – beyond owning a home and paying taxes. Throughout the weekly routine of publishing a newspaper we were more reporters than hippies, and much of the super sincerity often associated with those we primarily served – “the hips and the rads” – was wrapped by us in irony and the rules of evidence.  Ours was a sort of liberal conspiracy of both self-taught and schooled intellectuals who might join a demonstration but when the nightsticks came out we might also think “My how ironic!” while running away.

The 1968 Sky River mud dance before being treated with color and the split-font feature of Ken Monson's flatbed Heidelberg press.
The newspaper was the source or center for a variety of efforts off its pages, including be-ins in the parks, concerts at Eagles Auditorium, the Piano Drop and the multi-day music festivals that dropping a piano from the sky inspired - the Sky River Rock Festival in the late summer of 1968 and two more following. It rained that late summer weekend in '68 except for this moment when the sun splattered with the rain.
From the stage, Sky River NO. 3, outside of Washougal, Washington.
The paper's barely readable report on the Piano Drop, for which the Berkeley band County Joe and the Fish volunteered to play.
Years later Country Joe admiring Paul Heald's poster for the Piano Drop. I remember Paul laying it out in the office, and I remember Joe taking it from me for his concert collection. For all the help he gave, Joe deserved a hundred posters.

After the next nearly three years of weekly postings, if we are then still able – I mean standing – with the readers’ help a book might be fashioned from all these reflections and reprints.  Then certainly we would also have to edit.  Thankfully, already one of our staff, Walt Crowley, wrote his book Rites of Passage which treats on the Helix and the events of that time and it can still be easily found in public libraries and perhaps your own.   Add two years more to these about three of weekly offerings and we will be spot on for the paper’s Golden Anniversary.   And then surely a few from the original staff will be lingering to lift a toast at the Blue Moon.

An example of an "illuminated page" in the paper. This one with part of a poem by Tom Parsons and a rapidiographed frame by Zac Reisner, another regular. The early romantic artist William Blake was an inspiration for such pages.

Above and below, two political cartoons by artist Mike Lawson.

Springtime is a good time to reminisce about our youthful enthusiasms, while also reflecting on some of our abiding concerns.  We hope you respond. We will check for posts for one thousand days, should we survive them what with springtime allergies and day-in and day-out mortality.

Another illumination - this one with poet Gary Snyder and novelist Tom Robbins.
The Great Clock was one of the "hoax reports" I created for the paper. It was believable enough to influence friend Tom Robbins' characters in his second novel, "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues." Another Larry Heald sketch, bottom-right, fits the story well.
The cover - by Walt Crowley - for our issue closest to the 1969 moon landing.

*There was little that was “underground” about Helix.  When the Yakima Eagle printed that they were determined to find out who was printing our paper and lead a boycott against them and us we published the details for them in Helix. Our only underground certainty we discovered after the paper passed away when we surveyed our stripped quarters on Harvard Ave. East.  We found that our phone had been elaborately tapped, but then again almost certainly in the interests of decency and national security.

For may years after the paper folded in 1970, the front of our office on Harvard Ave. - just around the corner from what was then still a funky Red Robin Tavern - was plastered with concert fliers.
Not so long ago - in 2008 - while driving by the old Helix office site, Jean Sherrard pulled over and posed me in its now tagged ruins for a panorama. The wire tap was far right.
Renaissance Blues Man and Photographer Jeff Jaisun's capture of the eight who made it to the sidewalk from the party inside the Blue Moon Tavern celebrating the silver anniversary of the founding of Helix. Left to right are myself (Paul Dorpat), Maury Heald (with the great white beard), Paul Heald (with the lesser white beard), Alan Lande (shaved), Walt Crowley (having a good time), Tom Robbins (shaded), Jacques Moitoret (maybe stunned) and "Not So Straight" John Bixler, looking sort of straight. Except for Maury and Walt, we survive and hope to see each other and you as late as 2017.