I had the idea to put together a little book of fun memories of you from friends and family, so I sent out the word by email, text and snail-mail. I was blown away by the response and have spent many hours laughing and crying as I piece this together for you in a somewhat chronological order.
You are a truly amazing person who has touched the lives of so many. As much as I’d like to think you are all mine, you have so many who hold you very dear to their hearts.
I hope you enjoy reading each thoughtful message and the complimentary (or not so) photos.
You da best!
When I was 5 and Evan was not quite 9, Steve not quite 13, our family took a trip through states including Utah and then up into Canada. At one motel stop, Motho and dad told us kids Steve, Evan and me) to go find something to do. Not sure what they did but we went exploring and found a large basin full of muck. We started walking through it. We were getting deeper and deeper. Before we could get to the other side Steve was up to his thighs, Evan to his waist and I had mud up to my chest at least that is what I remember). I thought we were sinking in quicksand. Steve was able to drag me out. I guess Evan got himself out.
Once several of our family members met in Barlow Ky. I remember a time Evan, Renee, Motho, Steve and I were driving around town being silly and calling out the car window, ‘howeeruu’ to the local townsfolk.
On another trip we were staying near Mt St Helens. One night, around midnight, Evan, Steve and I went out on an out-of-the-way road to watch a meteor shower. Evan was in the car, Steve was on the roof of the car and I was standing with my hands behind my neck for support in a ‘surrender’ position). Two police cars pulled up and shined their lights on us. I looked at Steve then at Evan in the car. They were both holding their hands up in a surrender position. It looked pretty funny. The police got out. We told them we were watching the meteor shower. There was no problem – they just thought someone me) might be in trouble.
Some memories of trips to Boston.
1984, on a month long bus trip, I stopped off in Boston to see Evan and Renée. We went to Vermont for their wedding. It was a wonderful time.
Valinda, Becca and I went to Boston in January of 1993. Steve and Motho came the next day. Evan and Renée rented a house in Vermont. I remember walking on an ice pond and other winter activities.
In May of 2008, on a trip to Martha’s Vineyard, I visited Evan and Renee. It was a short but memorable trip. Highlights included going with Evan and Renée to Walden Pond, the Old North Bridge, seeing a bad play at the American Repertory Theater we walked out at intermission) and the Mt Auburn cemetery designed by Olmstead – incredibly beautiful.
Happy 60th Birthday!
You are a great brother-in-law to me and uncle to our children. You have welcomed me into the family, put up with my mood swings and migraines, and always with grace and kindness. I have nothing but fond memories and warm thoughts of you.
I will always hold dear the memory of you playing at our wedding...and the lovely braid of yours. It was a French braid I believe, not every man could pull that off, but you sure did!
I remember you introducing me to Blue Man Group thank you -love them to this day!), skating, well really sliding, for my first and only) time on an ice pond in Vermont, walking Boston in the COLDEST weather I have EVER experiences- the first and again only) time my noise hairs were frozen :)
And many, many family dinners and celebrations with good food and drink and lovely conversation. You are a talented, loving, intellectual, creative soul, and I have the deepest of respect for you.
I am glad you were born, for the world is truly a better place with you in it!
I remember a Christmas in Barlow Kentucky with everyone watching the California cousins running around in their PJ in a snow storm [they had never seen snow falling].
I remember sitting on Grandminnie's porch and seeing Evan and Barlow the dog rolling into Barlow for a fun summer.
Even though we were 2000 miles apart we all maintained a real family love for each other.
By the way 60 is not that bad.
It is hard to wrap my mind and heart around the undeniable fact that we are 60! Not so very long ago 60 seemed quite old – and now it seems both old and not so old at the same time.
I have been thinking back through many memories and two buble to the surface.
I remember so vividly when you called to tell me the news that my father had died suddenly. We both were overcome with emotion and I so appreciated your kindness, compassion, and care during that difficult time. My dad really treasured you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your care and love.
The other memory is a happy one. Time spent with you and Renée on Little Cranberry was a real joy. I found these photos and thought you might enjoy remembering. A picture really is worth a thousand words.
I have loved and appreciated you all these many years. You are very dear to my heart.
Happy 60th B-day!
I first came to know you, Evan, through Little League Baseball at Westchester American Little League in Southern California. Back then, everyone knew you as Mark. You were always known as a very good athlete who had natural athletic abilities, no matter what sport you were involved with. But besides your athleticism, your musical talents got you more and more recognition as we entered our teens. Although I, too, was a musician, and at age 10-12 played clarinet and a little bit of alto sax in a little pre-teen Dixieland Jazz band called Gary Chase's Musical Aces, where we won several battle-of-the-bands titles at such events as the L.A. County Fair. That, in turn, put us on the rich and fancy bar-mitzvah circuit for the children of Beverly Hills' and Hollywood's elite, but that gig never gave me the same recognition as a player in a rock-n-roll band got you. Buck toothed clarinet players don't get you the chicks in jr. high school, Dude.
Evan, you who first honed your skills on accordion, began concentrating on a full range of keyboards in our early teens and you formed a rock band with a guy named Richard Histed on drums, Steve Campbell on bass, Jim Lord (I think Jim was his first name; it escapes me now) on lead guitar and, I believe, John Elg on rhythm guitar. You guys were the best rock group from our community and periodically headlined our local teen dances. Because you guys had the best keyboardist around in Mark Evan Harlan, and although the other guys were pretty damn good, too, you were known and respected as the only guy around our town able to nail down the keyboard parts of the Doors' LP version of Light My Fire and Iron Butterfly's LP version of
Inna-gadda-da-vida on the Farfisa in the early version of the band. That was HUGE back then for the "Chick Factor." In later versions of that band, and as you all became better craftsmen, you expanded your improvisational skills at soloing after being influenced by players the likes of Lee Michaels and Keith Emerson and groups like Spencer Davis, Electric Flag, and such. You kept on expanding your skills as you expanded your musical tastes. And
as your tastes grew, you carried me along (as well as several of our mutual friends) on a journey of a love for many styles of music, and musicianship especially, that you introduced us to. I think musicianship appreciation is what I have most learned from you, because the way I see it, without a good musician the music has no life on its own. Music must have the talent of a fine musician playing it to bring forth the life it is meant to give away to the listener. It was your ear for honest to goodness fine music and playing, whatever the genre, (even before we knew the meaning of music genre), that taught so many of us, your oldest and earliest friends, how to listen to the music deeper and it gave us that same appreciation for musical talent; and I, for one, especially thank you.
After high school graduation in '71, I went off to Vietnam and you headed for college in Santa Barbara. But by spring of '73, I was out of the Navy and living in a tiny one bedroom apartment in Isla Vista with you and your dog, Jason, Danny Carlson and his dog, Nanook, all of us crammed together. And then I got Erin, my Irish Setter, from the humane society, and we altogether looked like the cover of Jethro Tull's This Was album, a bunch of "moldy hippies" and a pack of dogs crammed into that apartment. Of course Erin came into heat shortly afterward and we had every male dog in Isla Vista parking their butts out our window and front door, and where Jason and Klaus, the huge Husky, got into some vicious fights. I remember going over to Two Guys and buying little boys size 3 underwear to put on Erin with her tail sticking out of the crotch just so she couldn't be mounted
by any of the bitch-hunters when she went out to pee. Then after Danny moved in with Chris Von Der Lohe over at Hope Ranch and it was just you and me and our dogs, I remember many of times when you were practicing on the piano in your bedroom while I sat or laid on my bed on the floor of the living room. I remember you going over and over bits and pieces of a classical compositions until you had every part down perfectly, as the whole it was meant to be. I don't remember ever getting bored hearing you play, stumble, cuss, play it again and again and again. I actually admired your tenacity to stretch your ability as you accomplished each goal to perfection. Looking back at it now, I really feel honored to have been your roommate that year and getting to be "the only person sitting in the audience."
Then there was the period of time before you left for grad school in New England. We were back in Westchester and renting my parents' old house with Jeff Lee. I was just beginning my career as a hairstylist and you were playing piano for modern dance classes. It was a chance for you to practice more on
improv and it was a time when you introduced me to Keith Jarrett's piano improvs. What I loved the most about that time was when you sat down at the Baby Grand at night in the garage party room my parents built and just began to play whatever you felt, improvising all the while. I'd sit or lie on the old couch we had there and i'd be taken away on little visual trips that your music sent me to. I remember telling you about how your playing did that to me and we began to experiment from time to time on other evenings where you'd just simply play whatever your mind wanted you to create and I would go on dreamlike journeys to the music. And then afterwards, we would discuss the rhythm changes, the key changes, the musical note phrasing, everything you played and how it affected changes in my little metaphysical journeys to distant lands. Those were some special moments I've shared with you that I will never forget.
Among the many memories I have of our times together there is one rather humorous event I shall not forget. It happened during the late winter and spring of 1973, the year of gasoline rationing, and the wettest season Santa Barbara, California has ever recorded. Sometime in late February and before the rainy weather really got underway that year, you drove your Chevy Greenbrier van up to Red Rock in the Los Padres National Forest mountains where we used to go hiking and skinny-dipping with friends and other hippie types. That old van made it through a couple of the crossings of the Santa Ynez River but eventually got stuck in the loose and deep gravel on the bottom of one of those river crossings, and that is where you decided to leave it
for the time being until you could arrange for a tow truck to pull it out. It was shortly thereafter that the rain came and it hardly ever let up for the next three months. No tow trucks could get through the river crossings to fetch your van because the rain kept making the release of water necessary from the dam upriver of the van, causing the river to flow higher and deeper than usual. On a few occasions we did manage to take the dogs along for a
hike back into the canyon just to check on the van, and on one of those occasions we saw that it was halfway underwater. We both knew that the Corvair engine those Greenbriers came with was probably wasted at that point. But an amazing thing happened when finally, after three months of waiting for the rains to come to a halt, we hiked back again to see if the river had gone down enough so that a tow truck could haul it out. When we finally reached the location of the abandoned vehicle and could see that the river was considerably lower, we also saw that the van was gone. Not knowing if the river had taken it, or if the forest rangers had it removed, or what, we took a seat under the trees of a picnic spot overlooking the river. A short while later is when we discovered what had become of your van. All of a sudden we heard the sound of a vehicle heading down the road toward us from upriver. That's when we could see your van coming under its own power right toward us. After flagging down the driver and he pulled over to talk to you, we noticed that he and his buddy were high school classmates of ours that had hitch-hiked up there to do some camping and LSD. And it was while they were trippin' that they had managed to hot-wire your van and they had been driving it for days while up there camping before we showed up. I wish I
could remember now who those two guys were, but that's been 40-plus years ago now. Maybe you remember who it was putting around those dirt roads in your van. It doesn't really matter who it was; it's just the fact that it was a couple of guys we'd known from high school trippin' on acid who managed to find your van abandoned and get it started and out of the river and were riding around in it after months of wondering how in the world you were ever going to retrieve it that makes this one of the more odd and funny memories I have from our more carefree days together.
I hope this little memoir brings back some fond memories for you as much as it has for me, my brother. There are so many more memories I have of our times together, but if I wrote them all down now we would have ourselves a book. Just know that I love you and I wish upon you many more wonderful years.
Happy 60th, Evan
Ah, My Amazing Friend
When Evan performed his Senior Recital at U.C.S.B., it was a special affair. Even my parents, Frederick and Muriel, drove up from Los Angeles for the big event. Of course they, especially my father, were always big fans of Evan’s music. Every time Evan came to the house for dinner in L.A. my dad would look forward to the concert of improvisation he insisted on each time.
But the humorous (in retrospect) part as well as the extraordinary parts always pop into my mind when I remember that recital evening.
Dale and Hal had graciously invited my parents and me to join them for dinner before the recital to help celebrate a bit in advance, to be sure Evan was well fed before his highly anticipated onstage appearance. The restaurant was probably one of the first Ruby Tuesdays in the country, just barely north of Isla Vista.
We arrived at the restaurant with plenty of time to spare. Steve Baldwin was our cool, deadpan waiter. I knew him well – he was a photographer who also worked where I worked at Borsodi’s Coffee House.
Never shy about eating a big meal (and this is a man who characterizes his stomach as “cast iron”), certainly nerves before the big event didn’t seem to be a problem for Evan. And for this special occasion, the sky was the limit. “Please, order anything you want!” Wine was ordered! Lobster was ordered! Steak and lobster! And of course lots else.
We all partook of the wine and starters. Main courses not at the table yet? No problem. I’m sure we just ate more bread and butter. And then it seemed we were waiting, well, wasn’t it just a bit too long? We called our waiter over. Do the words “…just taken fresh out of the freezer…” sound like an oxymoron? These were Steve Baldwin’s calmly delivered words about the lobster. He assured us the meal would be coming soon… It seemed to take forever. When it did finally arrive, we ate a lot of food very, very quickly.
By the time we left the restaurant we had absolutely no time to spare. Actually it was a bit worse than that. Evan was holding it together remarkably well, considering the fact we were actually in the process of being late to his own Senior Recital. I felt the gracious soporific advances of wine and a big meal. I thought, if I were Evan I would be ready for a serious nap about now.
But of course the moment came, Evan walked out on the stage, and the recital began. And there it was, the beauty that poured out of Evan’s fingers, the passion and power of Chopin and Prokofieff and I’ve forgotten exactly what/who else at the moment. Evan, was this the recital that included your composition for cello and piano, that you performed with the cellist Rutkowski?
Evan had something else up his sleeve that he had kept from most everyone – including Roger Grove, his piano teacher at U.C.S.B.. When the time for the intermission came, after taking his bow, Evan announced to the audience to take just a few minutes break and come back to their seats; he would be playing an improvisation. When he came back to the stage after those few minutes, he played his own passion and creativity. It was so beautiful! That was Evan, so talented in his traditional classical training (that actually came late by most standards), and so creative and irrepressible in his own gifts. The evening was an amazing expression of so much, including those maverick qualities that have always been a part of his music.
After the recital, I couldn’t help going back to the part about our large, late meal, and having to rush, and arrive to a waiting audience, and get on that stage as if he’d been preparing quietly for it all afternoon. I asked Evan “how did you possibly manage that?” I know, such a mundane question! He said something like, well, once I sat down at the piano I could feel the energy coming into my fingers…
That’s the thing about Evan. The power of music has always flowed into him. At times it has flowed through him, at times he has transformed it as it encountered him – a remarkable prism to bend the light – everything from a cartoon theme in the cello and piano composition at U.C.S.B., to the fabulous and fun transformations of Shostokovich Preludes. – And then his own endless music creations in how many different forms and genres and instruments? And all with so much love and humility. How does anyone even do that? and even after such a giant meal?
Evan, you are one of the best, longest, and most beloved friends of my entire life. How lucky I am. I embrace you with my whole heart and with so much gratitude.
What’s more important, school or sleep? We know the answer to that. Zzzzzzzz
How best to start the day at the U-Cen? Two Ds and C. And okay, when we decided to be health conscious, two Ds and C and O – Hey, that’ll make all the difference – just add more sugar! (That’s 2 donuts and coffee and o.j. for the uninformed.)
So what’s to be done? Let’s keep on eating and sleeping and making music! And loving! Can’t help it that Shakespeare has come to mind: “If music be the food of love, play on!” He’s got the three most important words there – Music, Food, Love! We could create a flip book with that lovely phrase from Twelfth Night, and interchange those three critical words: “If Love be the Food of Music, love on!” “If Food be the Music of Love, eat on!” I know it doesn’t end there, but I’d best put a stop to my permutations. I could call them my Evanizations of Shakespeare!
You see dear Evan, your imagination inspires my imagination. Ah, the beauty of Life.
Ah, My Amazing Friend
Happy 60th Birthday to one of the world’s most special people. (I’m not exaggerating)
Hello 60 year old Evan. I've been trying to remember the first time we met - and can't, though I assume it was at a dance performance at Joy of Movement. My earliest memory of you is of my exiting left in my Olds Starfire how weird is that?) off of route 2 onto 111 to pick you up on the way to watch our ladies dance in Northhampton. You and Acton were new to me then. Who knew!
Was it 31 years ago that we first celebrated Laura and your abutting birthdays together on Monhegan Island? Birthday cake-in-a-can and all? And have we missed celebrating any of them since? I don't think so. Even our California gig didn't get in the way.
When I think of you Evan, the first thing that comes is your laugh an E flat legato to Renee's staccato in G) and then you at a keyboard. Piano or accordion. And my amazement, wonder, and awe at the seeming ease with which you relate to them and create on them- and remember every freakin' note of every song ever written by you or anyone else! To me it's like being able to recite π to the ten thousandth digit. What a brain! No wonder something else wants to hang out in there. And your acute grasp of world geography has me wondering about its relationship to music. Any ideas?
Anyway, when I think back on the past 30 something years I experience an image and sensation of a long continuous cord or chord if you like) connecting our lives that is part of my being - and well being. Both your spirit and music have touched and warmed my heart for almost half the beats it has taken in this life.
My love to you Evan. Onward to 70.
Montage for Evan
In reflecting about you and this landmark birthday of 60 and our times together it is not a few momentous occasions that stand out but rather many, many smaller ones across 31 years...
A birthday buddy for life, a day and a year apart, 31 birthday celebrations together and still going strong...
The early years...A handsome gifted musician, my excitement of playing music with you in a Boston apt
You capturing Renee’s heart, you two falling in love during Zellsworth residency at the Tobin School
Dancing to the delightful music of Gallery Games, moving to your wonderful live music while Amy’s teaches
Piling in to your van on a cold winter Boston day for a Zellsworth gig
En route to Maine, an early a.m. diner breakfast, laughing about pancake sandwiches
A turbulent boat ride to Monhegan, the 4 of us working hard to keep our eyes on the horizon
Hiking around the island, perched on rocky coastline gazing out to sea, spotting seals, joyfully playing games accompanied by candlelight
Unveiling the makings of a birthday cake transported in pieces
Cambridge neighbors of the finest kind, a short walk between Thingvalla St and Malcolm Rd, porch dinners, morning glories wrapping their way up the railings Myriad walks on Mt Auburn’s winding paths, rhodies and azalea blooming, spanning the years, reminding us of the warmth, grounding, and continuity of friendship
Visiting Julie’s grave, life and death intertwined, the beautiful music you wrote for Tamsen Donner
Bike rides around Boxboro, the steep climb to Harvard and the welcome coasting back
Birthday time...silly hats and hooters, apple picking with your mother, yummie homemade meals, freshly harvested basil pesto, pumpkin cheesecakes, Marie lying deathly ill on the living room floor, enjoying the warmth of each other’s homes
Swimming in every lake, pond, and quarry we can find, far and near
Blue wall hanging from Bali that now hangs on our kitchen wall, postcards from Australia, Iceland, Russia, Europe, Florida, Maine
House concerts with your amazingly gifted bands ...Annie Starr’s, Amy’s, lying atop rugs at Gregorian’s, wishing you would do one at our house
Recent years...Disturbing news of seizures in France, scarier news of brain cells proliferating,
Resilient body seemingly undaunted by the challenges of surgery, radiation, and chemo
Sitting on your front steps after surgery a zipper scar across your skull looking happy to be alive. 12 years later life force fierce and strong.
Pianos in and out of windows not made for pianos, accordions crafted and retrieved in Italy, playing tunes never before heard on accordion 1000 different ways, creative impulses flowing like a determined river
Making walls of coins, walls tumbling down, and walls re-constructed
Sending us off to CA, the place of your youth, and welcoming us home, heads spinning, wondering where/if we would ever land
Breathing a deep sigh of relief, Gloucester is home, at least for now, which is truly all we ever have
Livingston Taylor at Shalin Liu, a magical whale watch out of Gloucester Harbor, one more swim in the quarry before it gets too cold...
October is here again, birthday time, a big number, 60, unbelievable, WOW! I beat you to it, incredulous at the passage of time. Full of gratitude for your Evanly presence in our lives and sweet hopes that we will share many more simple precious times together...
Happy 60th dear Evan!!
We’ve always looked for reasons to vacation, party and celebrate with Evan and Renee. In the 1980’s, we hiked in the Adirondacks, traveled to Jacob’s Pillow to see dance concerts, and went away for weekends to Western Mass, Vermont and New York. The photo with Lynn and Andrew is in Vermont. Somewhere in the archives is a photo of Evan and Markus baring it all in a stream after a good, steamy hike.
Often times the get- togethers included dressing up as you’ll see in the pictures from the 1990’s. Halloween included pumpkin carving at Lynn and Andrew’s for many years, until Eli developed an “Evan phobia” which he eventually outgrew. Birthday celebrations are always a good reason to get together, and in the past, several times with the moms. The Tacky Birthday celebration when several of us were turning 40 almost got out of hand when someone at the disco in Saugus took exception to Evan’s pairing of a tux with Birkenstock sandals. We escaped unscathed and it made for a memorable evening.
In the 2000s, we continued our tradition of hiking but added more biking. Markus and Evan share a music bond which has led to many conversations, sharing of cds and concerts and when there happen to be two pianos next to each other, playing together. We’ve enjoyed our quiet Christmas eve celebrations over these many years which typically include a walk and a fine meal before our family and friends descend for a raucous evening. As always, it is our shared appreciation of being with dear friends, be it outdoors or indoors, in a saddle or at a table, wining and dining over freshly prepared food, and sharing our stories.
Happy 60th, Evan.