We of A.C.E. are seeking donations to memorialize and preserve the work of Jeff Rosenbaum -- the guy who made Starwood and Winterstar happen year after year, and the reason that many of us met. He didn't do it alone, but if he hadn't been there, it wouldn't have been done. Now that he's no longer with us, we want to make sure it still gets done.

Our goal is the preservation of Jeffs' home and life work. We want to organize and make accessible the vast archives wherein are recorded an astonishing amount of material from Starwood and other events, and we want to keep Starwood going. With your help, Starwood can grow and flourish as the festival Jeff worked so hard to create.

Keeping Starwood (and A.C.E.) going often entailed titanic efforts, heroic efforts even, and as a hero Jeff went rather unsung while he was alive. Although he was a prolific writer and a talented musician, he's best known for bringing the most diverse weirdoes imaginable together, and then herding those cats into making Starwood happen year after year. That pagan hippie weirdo festival has impacted a hell of a lot of lives in a very deep and core way for 35 years.
                The rest of us are going to try to keep it going for another 35 years!
When Jeff was on his deathbed, and knew it, he just wanted to know one thing of his close friends: "Are you guys gonna keep Starwood going?" Joe Rothenberg assured him that we would and, praise "Bob", I think he believed it, because he finally teared up and cried. That was the only time we saw him do that throughout his whole torturous ordeal of fighting brain cancer.

Above all, Jeff Rosenbaum was a REALLY NICE GUY. Nice is rare these days, and he was unrelentingly kind, honest, understanding, forgiving, and unbelievably generous. I can't count how many times he gave us rides to the airport, or dropped off a bag of bagels, or found an excuse to help us out when we didn't want to admit we needed help.

I personally owe Jeff as much as I owe any of my other influential "heroes," such as Frank Zappa, MAD Magazine, Ray Harryhausen, Ken Kesey, Robert Anton Wilson, Robert Crumb, even J. R. "Bob" Dobbs. Jeff invited me to come to Starwood in 1990 to make fun of it! He even PAID me to make fun of it! And, wouldn't you know it, I ended up literally married to it! It may very well have saved my life! It certainly saved my Slack. And I'm only one of hundreds, no, thousands of people that he very directly affected that way.

Jeff was a complicated guy. He didn't fit any stereotypes very well, and he became his own unique self-created stereotype: big jolly Jewish guy who runs a festival of varied beliefs but doesn't himself believe in much of anything supernatural. He sure did enjoy those varied beliefs, though, and he did a fantastic job of mixing and matching them to see what might come of the crazy combos.

He had an unusual relationship with the religion in which he was raised, Judaism. Despite his professed disbelief, he couldn't stop singing its praises and comparing it favorably to other religions. He knew Jewish history and doctrine inside and out, and loved explaining it to anyone interested. If Jews were into converting people, which they're not, he'd have been very good at it!

He was a man of many complex qualities, but the one that shone through the most, for me anyway, is that he was FUNNY. I know a lot of funny people, and he was right up there with Woody Allen if it's deeply funny quips you're looking for. Secondly, he was incredibly smart. His memory seemingly contained EVERYTHING and he was like a living playback machine. He could recite and/or describe numberless comic books, comedy albums, sitcoms, commercials, cartoons, movies, books and radio plays. Inside that brain was recorded every Firesign Theater album, every Spiderman issue, every George Carlin one-liner, and damn near everything about the counterculture in general.

His house was a museum of counterculture history, and we're trying to keep it that way. His house is still there, owned by Chameleons, and his stuff is still in it, or protected elsewhere. The protection is what we're trying to raise money for.

The Starwood Center is gone, but the archives were moved to his house, or in the case of media files, Regis Sedlock's collection. These archives include (for instance) professionally recorded videos and audio of most of the main acts that performed or speakers who spoke at Starwood since the early days. We intend to make sure those videos and recordings are sorted out and made accessible, perhaps on YouTube or something similar. There is amazing history in there. Things happened at Starwood that were so astounding and unforgettable that we might forget them because, in retrospect, they don't even seem possible. They couldn't have happened! -- and yet they did, and if we take good care of the records we can prove it!

The Merry Pranksters were never a huge group, but they were memorialized because a very talented writer made their wild trip comprehensible to millions -- some of whom (like me) were sufficiently inspired by the true story to pick up the ball and run with it, or at least try to.

The true story of Starwood is every bit as spectacular and inspiring (and, frankly, INSANE) as that of the Merry Pranksters, and it very directly affected many more people's lives over three decades.

Three decades! Wouldn't it be great if people could someday see those three decades as the mere beginning? As a drop in the bucket of great events that bring people together -- people who need to be together but wouldn't be, otherwise.

There is no way I could thank Jeff enough for all he did for me and probably half the people I know. He introduced me to my wife, Lisa Lefkort, to my neighbor and brother Joe Rothenberg, to all my friends associated with the Chameleon Club, and also to the weirdoes at WCSB who became my radio SubGenius partners, Lonesome Cowboy Dave and the late Chas Smith.

Just about everybody who knew Jeff and the Starwood scene has a similar story.

All of us have one thing in common -- Jeff Rosenbaum. He wasn't famous for anything while he was alive because his real work was all behind the scenes. He CREATED the scene but wasn't the focus of it; often he was the main flack-catcher. Only in retrospect does his real achievement become clear: he was a gracious host who invited everyone to his party, and it was the most important party that many of his guests ever attended.

He didn't set out to do that; it was just the inevitable result of what seemed to him the natural thing to do.

Wikipedia wouldn't list him, or much of anything else pagan, as notable -- which seemed very odd, until Jeff discovered that the reason for it was one jealous, anonymous, disgruntled jerk with nothing better to do than to discredit anything pagan, and especially Jeff Rosenbaum, in Wikipedia. When that sneaky bastard's perfidy was revealed it opened up a floodgate of pagan-related information that this one creep had managed to suppress until Jeff did battle with him. Jeff's enemies were the sometimes-powerful enemies of the whole consciousness scene.

There are still those who want to erase Jeff's memory and make it look like they invented big pagan festivals. There are young people and newcomers who are being taught that Starwood was a rip-off, and that the copycat is the real thing.

His own family thought Starwood was a waste of time!

Talk about unsung!

We need to show Jeff's detractors WHAT FOR. Some of us remember how the huge northeastern Ohio pagan scene developed, and we want to make sure that history isn't obliterated by commercial concerns. We want future generations of crazy hippies, weirdoes, intellectuals, disbelievers, and authentic shamans, to know which giants' shoulders they're standing on. It was not the company that rented out the party site. It was the people who threw the party. Those guys were Jeff, Joe and the Chameleon Club.

Not everyone knows that Jeff's ass was on the line, financially, all those years. Sometimes Starwood made money. Sometimes it lost money. Guess who paid the bills and made up for the shortfalls out of his own pocket, especially in recent years following the identity theft?

Let's pay him back.

When our friend Chas Smith died, Lonesome Cowboy Dave said, "If only we could treat our friends as if they were already dead." You don't know what you had 'til it's gone. Let's face it, Jeff wasn't perfect. He talked too much, and loudly, and sometimes we kind of wished he would shut up for a second.

Funny...now I miss hearing that loud voice lecturing on and on about Dr. Strange comics or old TV shows or whatever. I wish I could hear that loud voice again.
                                                                                                        --- Rev. Ivan Stang