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Gayle Pearl
Member of the Artists Workshop
d. Dec. 20th, 2008

Gayle Pearl, an early Corridor denizen, died in San Francisco on December 20, 2008. A Detroit native who graduated from Mumford High in 1960, Gayle came to the Corridor in late 1962, after a short time living in San Francisco. Gayle came to the Corridor as a sculptor, and an actor in live theater, who was one of the founding members of The Detroit Artists Workshop. (Her parents donated their old upright piano to John Sinclair and the Workshop folks.) During her time in the Corridor, she lived at Second & Prentis, and in the 4th Avenue enclave. After a couple years in the Corridor, however, Gayle again left for San Francisco, where she lived the remaining 43 years of her life.

In the Bay Area, Gayle joined the San Francisco Mime Troupe (pronounced "meem," as she insisted...as in the French pronunciation). This radical, political theater group (now in its 50th year) performed what was then called "guerilla theater" in the parks and streets of San Francisco, rarely practicing any "mime"...in fact, they were most often loud and raucous in their anti-racist, anti-corporate, anti-war performances of the mid '60s to mid '70s. Gayle was part of the traveling Troupe of that period, visiting cities and campuses across the country, including performances in Detroit, Ann Arbor and East Lansing. Through the Mime Troupe, Gayle also came to be friends with Bill Graham, whose initial forays into concert promotions were fundraisers specifically to benefit the Mime Troupe.

Gayle eventually left the Troupe and married fellow Troupe-member Robert Slattery. Together, they remained active in progressive causes in the Bay Area, and became members of the San Francisco Symphony and Opera societies, conveniently living just a few blocks from both venues, in the Hayes Valley neighborhood. Gayle's health deteriorated over the last few years, but she continued taking voice classes and piano lessons, as well as creating additional sculpture in clay and marble. Gayle's actual time living in the Corridor was relatively brief, but the creative influences on her from her time there and the connections she made during those years, affected the cultural and political focus of the rest of her life. There was a memorial service for Gayle at the San Francisco Zen Center on January 3, attended by, among others, several fellow native Detroiters who moved to the Bay Area in the '60s and early '70s. Gayle's ashes were later spread into San Francisco Bay.

David Pearl

Please place your remembrances of Gayle here.