“The Spaceman of Ocean Beach” : August 9th and 10th at OB Playhouse

by on August 9, 2013 · 10 comments

in Culture, History, Media, Ocean Beach

OB Spaceman posterA local ticket holder to the planet Rillispore remembers seeing Clint Carey

By Stephanie Denton / Special to the OB Rag

OB Spaceman 02Some explain the OB Spaceman as an “artist who could have been, one who chucked his career for a life without possession.” Meaning the New Englander who found himself in Ocean Beach, Clint Carey was a self-proclaimed “Contactee” of the planet Rillispore. Clint portrayed his contact with planet Rillispore through the glowing medium of fluorescent paint on fiberglass. This was a progressive art form at the time; fluorescent paintings dubbed “Black light Art” had yet to take on the cultural identity of the hippie counterculture.

Regarding the Spaceman of OB, one native recollected “The Spaceman did some kind of art or music or something, played the Saxophone.”

Bob Oates provided the association of the Saxophone to the Spaceman of OB. An avid Jazz Saxophonist, from his OB Pier side bungalow he listened, created, recorded, and supported Clint for over 30 years. “This was friendship,” says Rick Bollinger, the writer and director of tonight’s – August 9th – opening of “The Spaceman of Ocean Beach” a Readers Theater taking place tonight At the Ocean Beach Playhouse, 8pm.

If symbiosis is the definition of friendship than Bob was definitely a friend to Clint the Spaceman of OB. When the Spaceman found himself in any trouble, Bob was there to pull him out. A wine-o in most accounts the Spaceman found himself in precarious situations.

OB Spaceman 01Having bail was an assumable constant for Bob to budget into the cost of his friendship with Clint. But he remained dedicated their friendship lasted for 3 decades, until Clint’s passing in ’92. Throughout the fifties and sixties the two would intoxicate on life and love at least, record tracks of conversation, and were leaders of the hippy infused Jazz movement of Ocean Beach.

In tonight’s Readers Theater there will be a live Jazz band led by Richard James who grew up playing with Bob and the many musicians then and the near now who played at the door to door salesman’s bungalow. The writer of the script, Rick Bollinger was personally granted the Bob Otes and Spaceman recordings then later duly transcribed the decades of recorded conversations between Otes and Carey. Question and answer. Space talk. Why do you drink talk. In the Readers Theater we will hear what those conversations conveyed about their relationship.

By the end of his life in 1992 the Spaceman of OB was still painting even without eyesight. Bob Otes suffered from Parkinson’s disease nearing the end of his life, physically unable to play the Saxophone which he once proclaimed was “the only thing he wanted to do in his life.” Otes the cosmic loving Jazz Saxophonist who once said “life is a gas” reframed this line to “life is a gasp.”

OB Spaceman SpaceTree

“Space Tree” by the Spaceman of OB. Personal collection of Frank Gormlie.

In tonight’s show there will be the original artwork of the OB Spaceman in as it should be- fluorescent lighting. Not to mention era authentic Jazz to sink into. Then kick back and hear the show the actors present, they have the story to tell.

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”-Carl Jung

The Art show/Jazz Jam plays August 9, 8pm and August 10th 2 and 8pm. Buy your tickets at Brownpapertickets.com or cash at the door.

OB Newport 7-16-13 Spaceman Poster



Do you have your number?

If you were a visitor to San Diego’s Ocean Beach in the years 1963 to 1993, there is pretty good chance you do. It was during those years that Clint Cary an extraordinary cosmic artist, alcoholic, derelict and certified psychotic became notorious and widely known as The Spaceman of Ocean Beach.

Holding forth in the unique beachside community, virtually everyone who came in contact with Cary, whether they wanted one or not was assigned a number by the renowned space traveler. Some received printed cards and others were given their numbers verbally, but all were warned that they would need to remember their assigned number for salvation as planet earth came to an end along with the lives of all without a number. All of it arranged and communicated by Cary who was first contacted by the space aliens during a trip to Joshua Tree, California in 1957, and made the first of two trips to the planet Rillispore. As a result, Cary was later authorized to assign the coveted numbers to thousands of residents, tourists, surfers, sailors and others who he deemed worthy of seat on the spaceship.

While Cary died in 1993, his legend lives on thanks to Rick Bollinger of Rillispore Productions who will bring The Spaceman of Ocean Beach to the Ocean Beach Playhouse August 9 and 10.

The Writer/Director with a Film and Video Degree from San Diego State University describes his effort as both a labor of love and responsibility since first meeting the Spaceman. Despite the title of his production, Bollinger is quick to point out that the real story is about much more than the troubled life of Clint Cary. “While it was my initial meeting with Clint that drew me into this, the real story goes much further as Clint becomes a vehicle for telling about a wonderful jazz musician by the name of Bob Oaks. ” Oaks befriended the troubled Cary in 1963, created the Spaceman brand and promoted his extraordinary art – all while trying to keep him out of trouble and jail as a result of his alcoholism and often psychotic behavior.

A major feature of this Reader’s Theater presentation, and the reason the ten cast members are augmented by The Richard James Quartet, is the fact that Oaks was so well known for hosting Sunday jam sessions at his cottage above the pier, open gatherings that often lasted into night, and featured the royalty of the San Diego jazz community.

The production will feature Cary’s extraordinary art work, dated as far back as 1958, illuminated by blacklights, the live reproduction of the jazz jams held at Oaks cottage, and featuring the extraordinary historical photography by Ocean Beach’s own Steve Rowell.

Contact Rick Bollinger at rickbollinger@sbcglobal.net, or 619-733-4047 for more information.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

donna August 9, 2013 at 10:45 pm

I have some memorabilia ans stories you might be interested in. And yes I still have my card for the second flight number 4265.


Frank Gormlie August 10, 2013 at 9:58 am

The OB Rag was planning on attending tonight’s session and reviewing it, but were just told by the organizers that it has been sold out – and that there’s no room at the inner sanctum at the OB Playhouse.


Tom Cairns August 10, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Frank, I was checking my safe deposit box, and found a Spaceman bumper sticker and a poster for a Spaceman Giant Rally–Picnic-Concert cir. 1979. I’ll send you them. I’ll be in SD in November. Tom


Jamie August 11, 2013 at 11:30 am

The song on OB WAVES VOLUME I cd about the Spaceman, is awesome.


Debbie August 11, 2013 at 12:30 pm

The show was FANTASTIC!!!! and brought back many memories of Spaceman and my introduction to OB. Being there was comforting and feel of community was all around :-)

Thanks to all for a great event. That was special. Just what OB needs since there is already plenty of bars.

PS Moshe….bring back the OB movie theatre. If you did ….that would be great for OB, community, merchants etc…..you got the POWER! Move the clothing store into another one of your buildings!


gristmiller August 12, 2013 at 4:35 pm

I’m for that!!


wolf t. May 21, 2014 at 7:51 am

I own one of his artworks. Are they collectible and do they have any value?


thom danfield July 20, 2017 at 3:04 am

I am a native Obecean, circa ’47, who moved to the San Luis Obispo area in 1990. I am very happy here in Los Osos, the south bay of Morro Bay, but might be interested in a bit of OB history and culture as portrayed in The Spaceman’s work. Let me know what might be available and at what cost if possible.
thommy lee d.


Chris September 21, 2023 at 5:33 am

I have a painting of his from 1972. What a character!


Frank Gormlie September 22, 2023 at 1:17 pm

The Rag has 3 of Spaceman’s paintings. One is a blacklight painting.


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