Fever

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Friday morning, after a week of 80 degrees plus temperatures here in NYC, the weather report is “Fever.”

Not a song I have ever liked, but Allison Young’s vocals are a revelation, and Josh Turner’s guitar arrangement is ridiculously great.

More at Josh Turner Guitar

 

“So Then I Sez…”

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This is another installment from the file I keep on my computer labeled “Quotations,” which consists of various clippings I’ve picked up along the way. Every once in a while I like to re-read them and share some of them with you.

In the dark times,
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing,
About the dark times.
―Bertolt Brecht

“Perfectionist — a person who takes great pains, and gives even greater pains to others.” — Changing Times, Vol. 12, January 1958

“A man is like a fraction whose numerator is what he is and whose denominator is what he thinks of himself. The larger the denominator, the smaller the fraction.” — Leo Tolstoy

“The fortunes of the entire world may well ride on the ability of young Americans to face the responsibilities of an old America gone mad. . . Even though you can’t expect to defeat the absurdity of the world, you must make the attempt. That’s morality, that’s religion, that’s art, that’s life” –Phil Ochs

“On the way to being a man, you have to stop for a while at the station Leonard Cohen”–an anonymous YouTube comment

If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
–Albert Einstein

“When you wish upon a falling star, your dreams can come true. Unless it’s really a meteorite hurtling to the Earth which will destroy all life. Then you’re pretty much hosed no matter what you wish for. Unless it’s death by meteor.”–Demotivational Poster

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken!”–Oscar Wilde

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.” – Frank Zappa

You don’t get to spawn if you don’t swim against the current…
–Pop Haydn

“To begin, begin.”  — William Wordsworth

“One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to show you a brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken. Then this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the Jack of Spades jump out of this brand-new deck of cards and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not accept this bet, because as sure as you stand there, you’re going to wind up with an ear full of cider.” –Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls

“Coming To You With A Sad Glass Of Soda And A Vague Sense That The World Was Coming To An End”: Peter Davis

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I first encountered Indiana poet/musician Peter Davis’s work only a few months ago, but his laconic slacker sensibility, quirky playful sense of humor and self-deprecation immediately appealed to me.

His poems start off ordinarily enough, and then often veer into strange territory, defying expectation. Underlying much of it, the poems are about self-justification and what we say to ourselves and others in order to get us out of the existential jam that we have no idea what we’re doing, even as we proceed with bluff assurance.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my reading of some of Peter Davis’s poems as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI NY, WBAI.org, and Pacifica affiliates across the country.

You can catch up with Peter Davis’s work  at artisnecessary.com

STRIKE!

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Jeremy Brecher has just come out with a revised and updated  50th anniversary edition of his brilliantly readable book called STRIKE! about the history of strikes in the United States. It’s an eye-opening history in so many ways, but for now, I’d just like to excerpt from the book an editorial that was published in the Seattle Union Record concerning the general strike that had taken hold in Seattle in 1919. The general strike involved shipbuilders, dockworkers, laundry workers, restaurant workers, milk-wagon drivers, and many more trades who brought the city to a standstill. If this rings a bell for you today, it’s not a coincidence.

There will be many cheering, and there will be some who fear.
Both these emotions are useful, but not too much of either.

We are undertaking the most tremendous move ever made by LABOR 
in this country, a move which will lead—NO ONE KNOWS WHERE!

We do not need hysteria.

We need the iron march of labor.

LABOR WILL FEED THE PEOPLE.

Twelve great kitchens have been offered, and from them food 
will be distributed by the provision trades at low cost to all.

LABOR WILL CARE FOR THE BABIES AND THE SICK.

The milk-wagon drivers and the laundry drivers are arranging plans 
for supplying milk to babies, invalids and hospitals and taking care 
of the cleaning of linen for hospitals.

LABOR WILL PRESERVE ORDER.

The strike committee is arranging for guards and it is expected that 
the stopping of the cars will keep people at home..

A few hot-headed enthusiasts have complained that strikers-only 
should be fed, and the general public left to endure severe 
discomfort. Aside from the inhumanitarian character of such 
suggestions, let them get this straight—

NOT THE WITHDRAWAL OF LABOR POWER, 
BUT THE POWER OF THE STRIKERS TO MANAGE WILL WIN THIS STRIKE.

What does Mr. Piez of the Shipping Board care about the 
closing down of Seattle’s shipyards, or even of all of the 
industries of the northwest? Will it not merely strengthen the 
yards at Hog Island, in which he is more interested?

When the shipyard owners of Seattle were on the point of agreeing 
with the workers, It was Mr. Piez who wired them that, if they so 
agreed—

HE WOULD STILL NOT LET THEM HAVE STEEL.

Whether this is camouflage we have no means of knowing. 
But we do know that the great eastern combinations of capitalists 
COULD AFFORD to offer privately to Mr. Skinner, Mr. Ames and 
Mr. Duthie a few millions apiece in eastern shipyard stock.

RATHER THAN LET THE WORKERS WIN.

The closing down of Seattle’s industries, as a MERE SHUTDOWN, 
will not affect these eastern gentlemen much. They could let the 
whole northwest go to pieces, as far as money alone is concerned.

BUT, the closing down of the capitalistically controlled industries 
of Seattle, while the WORKERS ORGANIZE to feed the people, 
to care for the babies and the sick, to preserve order—
THIS will move them, for this looks too much like the taking over 
of the POWER of the workers.

Labor will not only SHUT DOWN the industries, 
but Labor will REOPEN, under the management of the appropriate trades, 
such activities as are needed to preserve public health 
and public peace. If the strike continues, Labor may feel led 
to avoid public suffering by reopening more and more activities.

UNDER ITS OWN MANAGEMENT

And that is why we say that we are starting on a road that leads—
NO ONE KNOWS WHERE!

					

Arts Institutions In The Time Of COVID

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Virtual-Jazz-Jam

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When an arts center depends on its community, how do you deal with lockdown conditions? Ellen Kodadek, artistic and executive director of Flushing Town Hall, talks with us on Arts Express about some of the strategies they have implemented at her institution, including virtual hangouts and virtual jazz jams.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the interview as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI NY radio and Pacifica affiliates across the country.

Till There Was You: MonaLisa Twins

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Monday morning, the MonaLisa Twins get their auditory capacity improved, all because of you.

I first heard this song on the Meet The Beatles album back in 1964. I had no idea at the time that it was from the Broadway musical The Music Man, by Meredith Willson.

More at MonaLisa Twins

Twice Shot The Teller Once

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Leslie Nielsen starred in this television show, Police Squad, that was cancelled after six episodes. But  Nielsen had the last laugh as the characters were resurrected in the wildly successful Naked Gun films.

Thanks to YouTuber madpossum24

 

 

Nora Brown, Old-time Banjo: “You Need To Connect”

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Two summers ago at the Ashokan Summer Hoot in upstate New York, a young woman named Nora Brown just knocked the crowd out with her amazing virtuoso banjo playing and evocation of traditional Appalachian music. I was very happy to interview her for the Arts Express radio program.

Click on the triangle or the mp3 link above to hear the interview with Nora Brown and some of her music as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.

At Seventeen: Janis Ian

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Monday morning, a song for misfits.

At the time, 1975, the song was a  highly unlikely candidate for a pop hit. It may have been the first pop song for young women of high school age that wasn’t for the cheerleaders. It might be hard to recall now, in the age of Glee, but songs examining the inner lives of high school students who saw themselves as social outcasts were not, at the time, the common fare. Millions of young women saw themselves in the lyrics of the song, and suddenly the singer/songwriter, Janis Ian, who at age 14 had had a qualified (and often censored) hit with her song of interracial love, “Society’s Child,” was overnight an international star.

The clip above seems so raw, true, and natural that you might think it was just an amateur effort turned lucky. But Ian by that time had already had seven albums of music released and was an accomplished songwriter. It was the one time, though, she said, that she had penned a song and told her manager that she had just written a hit.

Thanks to YouTuber LittleMonster13100