illustration of two beer bottles buried in the sand with the sun and palm trees in the background
"I met Dennis Wilson Once" illustration by William Mazza Studio

I met Dennis Wilson once


I said I met Dennis Wilson once. It was 1979, I think. In a bar. In Venice Beach.

This good-looking man walks in
linen shirt, unbuttoned –
He’s very tan, and very trim,
and there is something so familiar about him.

There’s a bloat around his eyes,
scraggly beard, uncombed hair –
His feet are bare, wide and dirty
and there is something so familiar about him,
so familiar, and so handsome.

He sees me looking,
comes over, sits down.
He says “I’m Dennis”
asks if I want a drink
I’m not hiding very well my thrill.
He asks if I want to dance.

It was somehow a sweet moment
the afternoon light –
the innocent song –
this sad guy swaying with me.

The world was going from bad to worse.
I had been in LA way too long.
Ronald Reagan had just become president.
But America was still a place
where you could dance with a barefoot rock star
in a nowhere bar
in the middle of a weekday afternoon.

All tracks recorded at Merkin Concert Hall (Kaufman Music Center) on May 12, 2021 by the following artists:



Justine Aronson as Mary/Caroline

Amy Justman as Louise

Paul Pinto as Nash

Tim Russell as Bobby/Jason

Jonathan Woody as Henry



Mila Henry, music director and piano

Abi Fayette, violin I

Rachel Shapiro, violin II

Jessica Meyer, viola

Andrew Yee, cello

Shayna Dunkelman, drums

Liz Faure, guitar



Mike Gurfield, producer

Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center:

Ken Feldman, engineer


Eat the Document at Joe's Pub left

Creative Team

John Glover

John Glover, composer

Described as “an unabashedly expressive composer,” (New Yorker) John Glover has received commissions from organizations including Houston Grand Opera, On Site Opera, New York Youth Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, Washington National Opera, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, and American Conservatory Theater. His work has been presented in venues ranging from Rockwood Music Hall to Carnegie Hall, The Invisible Dog to Rothko Chapel.

Kelley Rourke. Photo by Brittany Lesavoy Smith.

Kelley Rourke, librettist

Kelley Rourke is a librettist, translator and dramaturg. Her work has been commissioned and performed by the Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, Washington National Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Seattle Opera, Minnesota Opera, Carnegie Hall, Met LiveArts, and Houston Grand Opera, among others. Kelley is resident dramaturg for The Glimmerglass Festival and Artistic Advisor for Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative.

Kristin Marting, director

Kristin Marting is a director of hybrid work based in NYC. Over the last 25 years, she has constructed 29 stage works, including 9 original hybrid works, 6 opera-theatre and music-theatre works, 9 reimaginings of novels and short stories and 5 classic plays. Kristin has directed 19 works at HERE and also premiered works at BAM, 3LD, Ohio Theatre, and Soho Rep. Kristin is Founding Artistic Director of HERE and Co-Founding Director of Prototype Festival.

Mila Henry

Mila Henry, music director

Mila Henry is a conductor, pianist and music director, as well as Artistic Director of Brooklyn-based company The American Opera Project (AOP). Hailed “a stalwart contributor to the contemporary opera scene” (Opera Ithaca), she provides musical dramaturgy to AOP works in development and serves as Head of Music for their renowned Composers & the Voice training program for composers and librettists. Outside of AOP, Mila maintains an active and versatile career, leading works spanning rock musicals to folk operas to reimagined classics.


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eat the document © 2024

Photos: “G.I.’s Against the War” (top) and “Don’t Cry: Resist,” (footer) by Bev Grant.

Eat the Document has been developed with support from The American Opera Project, New York State Council on the Arts.