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Linda Perhacs' inspired solo album Parallelograms traces new designs, 40 years later


Rather, after making her powerful, influential sole disc, life — and spirit — called Perhacs, who passionately holds forth on theosophist Annie Besant's thought forms (which find a place in Perhacs' SFIAF concert), Paramahansa Yogananda, and Sister Josefa Mendez's unabridged The Way of Divine Love.

"I'm a trained nurse," explains the songwriter, who remembers making music at age 5. "I know this stuff isn't good for people. I know I lost a bunch of close friends in the '70s. "Paper Mountain Man" — we lost him at 33. He was being a space pilot with his mind, and we lost him. I knew the dangers, and I knew from working on entertainment personalities in Beverly Hills. I didn't want that world. I knew it would have an effect on an unformed personality. My sense of caution told me, 'Do not go on the road and try to live that kind of life.' My sense of inner balance told me, 'Keep your balance.'"

The lack of label promotion and the first pressing of Parallelograms, badly remixed for AM radio, discouraged Perhacs from pursuing music further, until a 2003 visit by Wild Places' Michael Piper, who first reissued the album on CD using the original LP. Shortly before his visit, Perhacs had almost died of pneumonia, but she soon discovered that her album had found a second life, too: "I was really weak when this guy got a hold of me and said, 'The Internet has sent the album all over the world. I just felt guilty that you didn't know what was going on.'" Perhacs had hung on to her own masters as well as demos she made after Parallelograms, and with Piper's help, the original mix and never-before-heard songs like "If You Were My Man" were finally released. A vinyl version of Parallelograms as it was meant to be heard is due soon on Mexican Summer.

And Perhacs is making new music, inspired and supported by such friends and fans as We Are the World's Aaron Robinson and Robbie Williamson, and Julia Holter, who performed with her not long ago at Red Cat in LA — a new community akin to her long-ago Topanga Canyon creative milieu. "When we had a budget it went really quickly and was very organized," she says sweetly today. "We all have straight gigs, as you call them, so it's hard to get us all together to rehearse or record." Nevertheless, she adds, "I felt very comfortable with what I stayed with, which was spiritual pursuit. Going on the road did not feel right to me, but at this stage of my life, I don't feel vulnerable — you could put me in the middle of a million people and I would feel solid with the choices I made."

With Julia Holter and CLoudS
Sat/9, 7 p.m., $17
San Francisco Art Institute Lecture Hall
800 Chestnut, SF

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