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August 14, 2016

The Emmy Award-winning series, BAY AREA REVELATIONS, which premiered in 2015, returned this year on August 5 on NBC Bay Area/KNTV. Narrated by Peter, the hour-long documentary called "Olympians" features interviews and personal stories from some of the Bay Area’s greatest Olympic athletes including U.S. figure skater and Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi, U.S. swimmer and eleven-time Olympic medalist Matt Biondi, U.S. freestyle skier and Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley, U.S. figure skater and Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano, Olympian and multiple Hall-of-Famer U.S. water polo player Jim Gaughran, and U.S. swimmer and three-time Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian.

June 24, 2016

As a Buddhist, Peter enjoys sharing his wisdom and views on world events, such as the Orlando shooting, so he has written an article for the Lion's Roar magazine called, "Buddhism, Orlando and the Question of Good and Evil." You can read it here.

June 15, 2016

Peter continues to share his well-recognized voice through his narrations on various topics.  On May 28th he was featured as a guest at Voicetrax San Francisco's "Inside the Voice Actor's Studio" in which he presented his insights and expertise in the field of voice-overs. Presently a 117-minute documentary is being featured around the country called "Paying the Price for Peace" narrated by Peter. It is about Air Force Vietnam veteran s. Brian Willson, who lost both legs protesting against arm shipments to Central America in 1987. The film premiered in Hanoi, Vietnam about a month ago and is making its way through the film festival circuit and is also being shown in Unitarian Universalist churches and Veterans for Peace Centers around the country. Some of the people interviewed include Alice Walker, Martin Sheen, Phil Donahue and Daniel Ellsberg.

Another war-related documentary narrated by Peter is "Sands of War". Using both current and rare archival footage, the film recounts the creation and role of the Desert Training Center against the backdrop of WWII. Told through the personal experiences of veterans, the program provides a compelling account of the young men and woman thrust onto the heaving stage of world conflict. One million soldiers prepared for war at the Desert Training Center in the Mojave Desert. Major General George S. Patton, Jr. said in 1942, "We cannot train troops to fight in the desert of North Africa by training in the swamps of Georgia."

If you've ever trekked to the top of Mount Tamalpais, then you know it's one of the most majestic spots in the entire Bay Area with killer views to boot. But what you may not know, is that the summit is also home to an old Air Force station in dire need of repair. Local filmmaker Gary Yost tackled the much-needed restoration of Mt. Tam's western peak in a series of three short films, which debuted to a sold-out house at the Throckmorton Theater in Mill Valley last month. Through the use of historical footage, 3D reconstruction, interviews and breathtaking time lapse cinematography, the 20-minute films, narrated and co-written by Coyote, explore the history of Tam's West Peak and how local citizens have been fighting to restore their mountain to a natural state.

Amie Windsor of Somoma West reported on the Sebastopol Community Center benefit held on Sunday, May 22 at the French Garden Restaurant and Bistro. The event featured Coyote with his second book, "The Rainman’s Cure Third Cure: An Irregular Education" and KQED's senior editor Scott Shafer as well as a silent auction, dinner and champagne reception, Ms. Windsor writes, "When a Zen Buddhist priest kicks off an interview confessing he’d like to pick his heroin habit back up, should he live to the age of 90 — you know it’s going to be an entertaining evening." Coyote’s conversation flitted on many of the book’s topics, hovering heavily on his involvement with the Diggers.

On June 12th Peter joined best-selling author David Talbot at San Francisco's Jewish Museum in conjunction with the exhibition "Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution." The two authors reminisced about the Summer of Love and San Francisco. The event was followed by book sales and signing.

Coyote recommendation: In the wake of yet another terrorist attack, a former CIA counterterrorism agent has shared her insight into what causes such tragic, intentional carnage. Amaryllis Fox spoke for the first time publicly with Al Jazeera Plus (AJ+) about terrorism, misguided narratives on why it happens, and the underlying motivators driving it — ultimately urging Americans and those in power to adopt a different approach in comabating the ongoing violence. For more information, click here.

May 11, 2016

FYI, both of Peter's memoirs are now available at Audible.com. What a treat to hear Peter narrate his own books! For more information on each of these books, click on the book covers below.

May 4, 2016

The San Francisco Film Society presented the 2016 George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award to Peter during the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival. The ceremony was held on April 25th at Film Society Awards Night at Fort Mason Center. The award honors a worthy member of the filmmaking community for outstanding and unique contributions to the art of cinema. Noah Cowan, executive director of the SF Film Society, said, "Peter Coyote is a Bay Area institution, and he has been an integral part of this film community for decades. His tireless efforts in defense of the arts are truly inspiring, and it is a great pleasure to be honoring someone whose values so closely reflect our own as an organization". He was presented with the award by his good friend, writer Rebecca Solnit. "I think there are many more worthy people than me," confessed Coyote of his award, "but I’m very flattered and very honored because this is my hometown."

Peter, who now lives in Sebastopol, counts the San Francisco International Film Festival as one of his favorites. "It’s not as snooty as any of the festivals in L.A.," he said. "But it’s a little snootier than Mill Valley."

At the end of the evening Peter, clutching his award, said, ""I wish you all peace, absolute enlightenment and a long life. Thank you very much."

Peter's latest book, "The Rainman's Third Cure" has been nominated for the Northern California Book Award in Creative Nonfiction as one of the best works by a northern California author published in 2015. The 35th Annual Northern California Book Awards will be held Sunday, May 15, 2016, in Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin, at Grove, at 1:00 p.m. Immediately following the awards, the book signing reception for all nominated books will take place in the Latino/Hispanic Room at the Library.

On April 25th Fandor.com posted an excellent interview with Peter. I especially relished author Jonathan Kiefer's description of Coyote - "At seventy-four, the former well-born New York Jewish kid, bohemian wayfarer, self-administrator of a shamanic 1960s name change, alumnus of the San Francisco Diggers and the San Francisco Mime Troupe (not to mention films by Almodóvar, Polanski, Soderbergh, Spielberg), one-time California Arts Council chairman, ordained Zen priest and bracingly reliable narrator of Ken Burns documentaries, certainly has been around."  You can read the interview at this link.

On April 6th Peter was in New York at a lower east side launch party. Guests gathered at The New Museum to enjoy live music, cocktails and art in celebration of 204 Forsyth, a new boutique condominium. On the far right in this photo is Peter's son Nick.

March 4, 2016

Here are more photos of Peter's Buddhist transmission ceremony, which took place on January 23rd of this year. The first photo shows Al Tribe, teacher Lew Richmond, disciple Peter Shireson and Peter. The second photo shows Peter with teacher Lew Richmond, Ed Satiszahn, the first of his former disciples and current abbot of SfZen Center, and Al Tribe, Peter's partner in receiving transmission.

This transmission ceremony signifies the completion of Peter's work with Chikudo Lewis Richmond, his Zen teacher for the past dozen years, his understanding as a Buddha and his joining the ranks of "ancestors" of the Buddha. Hosho Jishi is his Buddhist name which means: Dharma Voice, Compassionate Warrior.

This week Peter participated in a Bay Area event called the "Front Row". Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich was recently asked by a group of student curators at the University of California, Berkeley, to organize an event that touched on the creative process and explored what being from the Bay Area means to artists, business leaders and thinkers. A small number of tickets were sold to students for $5 each. The event that followed on campus Wednesday night was a diverse evening of panels. Besides Peter, it featured two members of Metallica, Primus' Les Claypool, and Ulrich's octogenarian father Torben. For several hours, the group discussed everything from art to philanthropy.

I have added a new link on the Archives & Link page - "Here on the Edge" is the long-awaited story of how a small group of World War II conscientious objectors on the Oregon Coast plowed the ground for a generation of social and cultural revolution. Twenty years in the making and packed with original research and more than eighty photographs, this definitive history of the Fine Arts Group at Waldport is available from Oregon State University Press.

February 27, 2016

It has been reported that work has begun this month on THE ETRUSCAN SMILE, a drama that Peter has joined alongside Brian Cox and Rosanna Arquette. Relative newcomers Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis are directing from a script by Michael McGowan, Sarah Bellwood and Michal Lali Kagan.The story follows tough old Scotsman Rory MacNeil as he travels from his home in the remote island of Vallasay, Scotland to San Francisco. Seeking treatment for a terminal illness, the colorful character stays with his son and his family. Rory finds his precious days left alive transformed as he bonds with his American grandson. Based on the Spanish novel "La sonrisa etrusca" by José Luis Sampedro, the story’s setting has been shifted from Italy to the US.

February 24, 2016

Peter was interviewed in a recently released documentary called "The Reality of Truth". This film explores the relationship between spirituality, religion and psychedelics. Hosted by "Zappy" Zapolin, the documentary features Deepak Chopra with interviews with spiritual gurus, celebrities and people of all faiths as they share their personal experiences with spirituality and transcendence. Among those interviewed are the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, meditation leader Dr. John Haglin, bestselling author Dr. Norman Rosenthal and renowned spiritual teacher Ram Dass. For screenings, visit the official web site.

January 30, 2016

The California Arts Council celebrated its 40th anniversary with a sold-out special event at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento on January 27. Back in the ‘70s, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder of the San Juan Ridge as the first chairman of the new state arts commission. The celebration was hosted by Annette Bening with special guest, Governor Jerry Borwn, who created the Council in 1976 and Peter, a founding member and the second Chair of the California Arts Council.

January 25, 2016

On Saturday Peter participated in a Buddhist transmission ceremony. [Photo below] Back in April last year, he was interviewed by the Pacific Sun and was asked what the actual process of taking vows and becoming a priest entailed for him. This was his response:

First, I would never put myself forth as a teacher of any kind, because I could never think of how to do it without my stepping forward becoming an expression of ego. One of the reasons I became a Zen Buddhist was because of the custom of ‘transmission’—that you don’t teach independently until you are given permission to teach by your teacher and by the students you have been practicing with. And that saves you from being one of the guys who just show up and announce that they are gurus, set out their shingle. A lot of abuses stem from that. So at a certain point my teacher told me it was time to start teaching, and when I demurred that I was not ready, he said, ‘There are people behind you who you can help, and others you can learn from.’ And he and four other teachers had established a three-year priest’s training program, kind of like a divinity school, to try to train priests to be alert to some of the hazards that arise when you are in a position of authority—transference, countertransference, women being attracted to you, financial improprieties and so on. I told him I didn’t want to be a priest but would take the class since he asked me to. And I was so impressed by the caliber of the other 40 or so people in it, I followed through.

Being ordained is kind of like having a Ph.D.—you don’t have to use it, but it is a kind of accreditation. I wanted to step up my game, so I ordained as a priest, and now I’m studying to receive transmission from my teacher. I’m not sure I’ll even use the term ‘teacher.’ My old friend Dan Welch, one of the first students of Suzuki Roshi [founder of the San Francisco Zen Center] uses the term ‘Dharma Friend’ and I probably will too, to sidestep these traps and props of hierarchy and status, all of which are very Asian, and Japanese, and not all of which are helpful. I’m not overly enamored of classical Japanese Buddhism, which is what Suzuki Roshi was seeking to escape by coming to America. My intention is to help make Zen vernacular here, eventually less exotic, something that would make sense to garage mechanics and ranch hands. My teacher and I refer to it as the ‘thousand year project.’ So, I only wear my robes for very formal ceremonies like weddings and funerals, and haven’t shaved my head, as most Buddhists in the world do.


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