mariposa studio blog   july 2017     John on Writing and Apparitions
Mariposa Studio Blog:
July 2017

John on
writing &

by John LeFan
John LeFan

Most of the dance forms I worked in involved the spoken word.  My own words
appeared in my work and the work of others.  When my career as a dancer began to
wind down, I spent more and more time writing.

Out of dance in the late nineties with injuries I wrote a screenplay and actually got
paid for it.  Boy, did that put the hook in.  (Never was made into a movie, long story.)  

It became part of my every day activity to write.  I think that most people who start
devoting their time to something get (a) addicted to it and (b) better at it.  So, I hope
the things in this book reflect a lot of writing no one will ever see.

My style of writing is more reporting than anything else.  I’m not much on telling you
about a tough childhood or what therapy taught me.  I think the lady checking
groceries in a remote New Mexico town is more interesting.   I think Inez, my building
supe in the Bowery, or the guy working at Coffee Bar is more interesting than navel

I will tell you a tall tale, true ones pretty darn near.  True tales of a mountain lion or of
a house full of ghosts and musicians.  Gary Snyder once said that “all good writing is
really field notes”.  Yeah, that.

My Fender Stratocaster got stolen right before I went in the Navy.  I didn’t seriously
pick up another guitar for decades.  Once I picked one up again I couldn’t put it
down.  The guitar I use was made in 1968 with Brazilian rosewood. That was the last
year that wood, the Holy Grail for guitars, was legal to import.  I discovered the magic
between that aged wood, through the ear to the heart.  I also discovered it in a
raunchy cutaway with a beer bottle slide.  It is easy to become, as the great
songwriter James McMurtry says, “A drinkin’ man with a guitar problem.”

Anna and I began our work together dancing.  Our working relationship transitioned
with remarkable ease after we stopped dancing.  Starting with a production of “The
Tempest”, we have enjoyed collaborating and supporting one another’s work.  Her
painting and my writing is done in isolation.  When we can participate in a shared
project it is always a rewarding experience.
John LeFan has recently released his new
book of songs and poems, "Apparitions", a
collaboration with partner Anna Dal Pino
whose paintings from the
Bones Series are
also featured.
John LeFan is a writer and a song and dance man.  He has won Bay Area Theater Critics Circle
and Los Angeles Dramalogue awards for choreography.  He was a founding director of Theatre
Artaud and Mangrove Dance Company.  John and Anna Dal Pino began their collaboration as
dancers, and are co-directors of the Mariposa Studio, a laboratory for theatre, musical and visual
art since 1976 in San Francisco.