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RIP Andy Rhodes: actor, musician, writer, madman

Lani just called; our dear friend Andy Rhodes has just died in Vancouver, aged about 74. Andy was one of a kind, a writer and musician with a wild sense of humour and enormous talent; an obstreperous guy, too. Lan and I met him in 1975 when we were touring the Kootenays in B.C. with a Vancouver theatre troupe. Andy, a draft dodger, had built himself a geodesic dome near New Denver and was one of the Valhallelujah Rangers, named after the Valhalla mountain range, who wrote skits and played music; they all came to see our show. This tall lanky lunatic and I had a little affair and he invited me back to New Denver to work with the Rangers, which I did in one of the grand adventures of my life. We were a big group living communally above the Legion in a large open space that had no running water; we bathed in Slocan Lake. We put together a show and toured B.C. prisons and old folks homes in a van that had no second gear. Andy and I played a flute duet as two musicians who hated each other and as they played, kept trying to stab each other with their flutes. 

That was as close to hippiedom as I got. Should point out, in passing, that all these troupes were paid with government LIP and OFY grants. In those days, grasshopper, the government paid young people to make art. Impossible to imagine now. 

Andy moved to Vancouver to become an actor. Lani got us yet another grant, and Andy, Lani, and I, with several others, formed Acme Theatre, which mostly wrote its own shows, except for the infamous El Grande de Coca Cola. Andy had a tempestuous affair with Lan for a time, as he did with most of the actresses in Vancouver, though it wasn’t a surprise he ended up alone. He had a number of successful gigs, but things eventually got tough for him; he returned to the Kootenays and his dome for some years, and then back to Vancouver, to PAL. Hard to believe such a high octane man developed dementia, but he did, with several good friends, especially Simon Webb, helping to care for him. 

Thank you for your exuberant talent, Andy, your marvellous humour and musicality and mad, mad ideas. You’ll be missed. 

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2 Responses to “RIP Andy Rhodes: actor, musician, writer, madman”

  1. Carol says:

    An utterly irresistible man. So sorry to hear of his passing.

  2. beth says:

    As everyone is saying – one of a kind.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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