sk so far

 


sk & Torry at the farm
Portageville, NY '46



Jessie & sk Woodcliff Lake NJ '65
by Phill Niblock

Jessie & Carroll '77

in Mutual Narcissism at The Kitchen NY '84 by Dona Ann McAdams

Jim Neu, Michael Thomason & sk
Buffalo Dreams at St. Marks '87

composting at Bella Oaks '91
by Paul Oppenheim

sk & Jessie, Golden Canyon
Death Valley Nat. Park, CA '98
by Jim Dikel

JAKE TURNER
Letchworth State Park
Portageville, NY '99


sk dunn was born on February 13, 1936 at the Women's Hospital in Manhattan, New York. Since then she has lived in Kansas City, Missouri; Buffalo, New York; Portageville, New York; Washington DC; Cambridge, Mass; Suffern, New York; Chillicothe, Ohio; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Stamford, Conn; Prince Georges County, Maryland; Glen Rock, New Jersey; Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey; Vienna, Virginia; Huntington, West Virginia; Accra, Ghana; Warwick, New York; and Manhattan again. For the last 25 years sk has lived in Rutherford, California.

In 1949, sk graduated from 8th grade at PS #56 in Buffalo, New York. She attended The Park School for a few months and a few other schools here and there but was unable to complete the 9th grade. In 1960 she was granted a federal student loan to attend George Washington University, but after 3 months, took the remainder of the money and went traveling instead. During this period she failed to complete courses in stenography, encyclopedia sales, and typewriter repair. So much for formal education.


dunn began her working life at 16 as a TV sales clerk in Washington D.C., where she moved to live with her father, Carroll Dunn. For the next eight years she lived and worked in other towns but spent most of her time in Washington, where she always felt at home. During this period she worked as a soda jerk, factory worker, magazine door to door sales person, dry cleaning clerk, nurse's aide, bindery worker, waitress, farm worker, cashier, book store clerk, dog groomer, prep cook, cannery worker, toy shop clerk, gas pump jockey, prop person, ice cream vender, mimeograph operator, numbers runner, and cab driver. Between jobs she hitchhiked up and down the East Coast. She also read a lot, raced bicycles, went to movies with Carroll, and thought about being a writer.


In 1960, dunn met Tom Gilbert who convinced her to work for his new company: Educational Design of Alabama. He promised her that he would teach her how to spell, which proved to be impossible. He did however train her in Mathetics (M5), a learning theory he had developed, and she soon became a learning expert, as she had no educational theories to unlearn. By 1963 she had co-authored a handwriting program with B.F. Skinner.


In 1962, sk's daughter Jessie was born and Carroll, a writer and editor working at home, was able to take care of Jessie when sk had to be away. dunn established a self instructional school at Draper Prison near Selma Alabama and developed curriculum for the OEO Job Corps Program in Washington. At the age of 31 sk started her own company: S.K. Dunn Inc., that consulted and developed instructional programs for Head Start, Xerox, Bell Laboratories, The Ford Foundation, and other companies, universities, and publishers.


By 1966 the company was operating out of the family's 5th floor walk-up on East 89th Street in New York, and sk's friends, lovers and fellow byrds worked there with her. Carroll edited the programs and Jessie was the office messenger. sk's career as a learning expert ended abruptly when a publishing company called to ask that she not wear "that man's suit jacket" to the school where a program of hers was being tested. So much for the professional life.


In 1968, sk attended (and was blown away by) a Bob Wilson midnight performance at the Bleeker Street Cinema. When she learned that he preferred working with non-actors, she immediately joined his company: The Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds. sk, Carroll, and Jessie performed with the byrds for the next 5 years. dunn worked as performer, playwright, director, workshop leader, and prior to having her "19th nervous breakdown", Bob Wilson's assistant. She and her family toured with the byrds to Iowa, Europe, and Iran.


The family moved to California in 1973 to join the Napa Valley Theater Company. dunn began directing her own theater pieces and collaborating with Jim Neu, Carol Mullins, and others. She has conducted movement and performance workshops and given poetry readings with Pilar Claro (her favorite poet) and others, around the Bay Area. In the summer of 1978, the NVTC, with dunn as artistic director, toured a collective theater work called Riding the Right Horse throughout Northern California. She sometimes returns to New York to do theater and to hang out with family and friends. In 1986 and '87, Buffalo Dreams, a western musical co-written with Michael Thomason and Jim Neu, was presented in the Napa Valley and by The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church on the Lower East Side.


sk is the mother of Jessie Dunn-Gilbert who is the absolute joy of her life, and the mother-out-law of her good friend, and Jessie's husband, Jim Dikel. Jessie is the Director of The North Point Gallery in San Francisco, where they live with their two cats, Franny and Zooey. sk lives and works on an organic farm in the Napa Valley and is editor of the Rutherford Journal-American, a very local newspaper. During the last decade sk has been doing less theater and more writing. She has also renewed her interest in photography, presenting Leonard's and her work at several local shows. Three collections of her poetry have been published and she has also been writing song lyrics with her favorite singer-songwriter and great friend Michael Thomason.


In 1988 Jim Dikel gave sk his Macintosh 512K and a few years later his SE. Since then she has had a 520 Powerbook, named Jerry Garcia, now living with Deborah Auer (sweetheart) on St. Mark's Place, and a Performa named JAKE, after her excellent nephew, JAKE TURNER of NEW YORK CITY. JAKE, (who only ever uses FULL CAPS) is the son of sk's sister Maggie, and his Performa is named Leonard. dunn has a collection of Classic Macs and is now the amazed owner of a Screaming G3 Powerbook named Mojave. She expects to spend the rest of her life learning how to use it.


Whenever possible, sk travels around the West with her partner Leonard Greycloud (the famous dog photographer), taking pictures, sending post cards, getting lost, and going on long slow walks. sk has been writing poetry and taking photographs since she was twelve and will probably keep at itÜno matter what happens next. As Kenneth King once told her :n
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmKEEP MOVING.