Friday, May 27, 2016

WEEKEND EDITION.

This weekend kicked off with Friday lunch near the clinic at a restaurant called Le Marceau. Not only was it an opportunity to reunite with friends from the States, but also proved to be a dry run (well, not completely dry; we downed a bottle of Champagne) for our forthcoming visit to New York City and destinations beyond. I'll be in a wheelchair and town cars for that vacation; I wanted to assess my stamina.


Our Los Angeles-based pals Des and Mike joined us, along with their handsome three-year-old Leo. Leo was cool. He brought dinosaurs. And Wheaties®! Props to General Mills, America's leading cereal killer.



Our dear friend Linda came along too. She's from Worcester ("Woostah"), Mass. When she told me she'd be available to join us in NYC on July 5, I added her to the V.I.P. guest list for the Mr. Phil - Still Rollin' private party and acoustic throw down.



I was so thrilled to be out and about again. A beautiful afternoon. I celebrated with a rhubarb tart and vanilla ice cream after my steak. Most of the others in our party went the Café Gourmand route. Which, as you can see, was very generous.

Friday, May 20, 2016

WEEKEND EDITION.

A few weeks ago I read about Twisted Teenage Plot, an exhibition at American Unversity’s Alper Initiative for Washington Art, which was showcasing visual artists who played in DC bands in the late ’70s and early ’80s. That was the era when Marti and I lived in downtown DC. We knew many of these bands, even though virtually none of them broke out nationally. It was a vibrant time in Washington. Young artists and musicians were experimenting in different genres and downtown -- particularly Adams Morgan, the gay-yuppie-Latino 'hood where we lived -- was filled with inexpensive restaurants and bars, funky shops, galleries, clubs, musicians' lofts and rehearsal spaces. An amazing scene.



This gallery show was one I was heartsick to miss. Then I thought of my longtime pal Roy Comiskey, a brilliant graphic artist and one of the first guys we met after moving to DC in autumn 1978. We shared a love for this off-the-radar music/ art scene. Surely he would be going to this exhibition. I wrote to ask him to pick up a catalog for me. And today I received it!



Roy sent me the gallery catalog as a get-well gift. What a great trip down a krazy memory lane it proved to be! All kinds of recollections rushed in: the multitude of concerts we attended together in those 12 or so years, the Take Me To The Other Side farewell party he and his wife Amy hosted for us in early February 1991. (Immediately afterwards the First Bush Oil War halted international corporate travel so we couldn't leave for Paris for several weeks.) My 40th birthday party at La Fonda Mexican restaurant, followed by a slippery snowy ride to Georgetown to see Root Boy Slim & The Sex Change Band featuring Ron Holloway(!) on sax at Desperados in Georgetown. Knowing and hanging with the Slickee Boys, seeing Razz for the first time. Producing a film promo for the American Federation of Musicians (offices in Times Square) with a guy from the Urban Verbs -- and finding out later that he wasn't even in the union! My Best Man Jeff Levesque spending all of a slow afternoon in the Manassas Mall men's shop he managed fabricating a pair of Root Boy ZOOM glasses for me. Even a Paris memory.



It was a sunny, hot summer afternoon in 1993. Roy or somebody else had sent me a Root Boy Slim obit from the Washington Post. I brought it to Kinky Friedman, who was promoting his novels in front of Brentano's bookstore on the Avenue de l'Opera, right in the heart of Paris. I knew Root had opened for him at The Cellar Door or somewhere. "Did you hear that Root Boy died," I asked as I handed him the Manila envelope with the article. Kinky scowled at me and muttered, "Who are you, The Angel Of Death?" Kinky scanned the piece, then accompanied by a former Miss Texas of a certain age in full rodeo girl drag, he grabbed his guitar and led us in a singalong to his Merle Haggard parody, "(I'm Proud To Be An) Asshole From El Paso." In Root Boy's honor. The Parisian passersby didn't know what the fuck to make of this.



In the envelope with the Twisted Teenage Plot catalog, Roy also included a marvelous montage he created a while back. He thought its inherent spiritual theme would boost my confidence. It did. What a dear friend.



Thanks for everything, Roy. Especially for helping me remember those magnificent moments we shared together. A lifetime ago.














Or your precocious child. Or your captive cat. Or your slobbering dog. (Not necessarily in that order.)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

#tbt DJANGO 1945.


So this was going on the year I was born.


And one more #tbt, just because I just love this song. It's the Nineties!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

GUY CLARK:
FULL CONCERT FROM 2001.


An excerpt from Guy Clark's concert with Verlon Thompson and special guest Steve Earle. Variety Playhouse, Atlanta GA. June 16, 2001. Free mp3 file set download of entire concert is available at southernshelter.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

GUY CLARK.
(November 6, 1941 - May 17, 2016).
ANOTHER OUTLAW GONE.


Marti and I first heard Guy Clark in concert opening for Kinky Friedman at the tiny Cellar Door in Washington, D.C. in the late 1970s. I turned to Marti and said, "Hey I know where I've heard of this guy. Jerry Jeff Walker has recorded his stuff." Many years later we wound up having late night dinner with him here in Paris after a gig. Swapping Townes Van Zandt stories. What a powerhouse of a singer-songwriter Guy was. I think it was Rodney Crowell, posting about his passing today, who said that Guy simply missed his wife, songwriter and artist Susanna Clark, who succumbed to cancer a couple of years ago. They had been together since 1972.

Let him roll . . .


Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Stigma of Openly Supporting Hillary Clinton.

By Mary Juhl -- Medium.com

A Clinton supporter exits a rally in East Los Angeles on May 5. Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/ Southern California News Group

Hillary Clinton spoke to a crowd of supporters in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 5. By all accounts, the atmosphere inside was initially warm and celebratory among the supporters gathered in the gymnasium of East Los Angeles College. But during Clinton’s speech, multiple anti-Clinton protesters were removed from the event after interrupting her, shouting, and chanting while she was speaking. She ended her speech early due to the interruptions and shouting from protesters in attendance.

As they left the gymnasium, Clinton’s supporters were forced to walk through a gauntlet of harassment. Anti-Clinton protesters lined the gym’s exit on both sides, and as attendees left, they shouted obscenities at Clinton’s supporters. “F*ck you!” one man screamed into a woman’s ears using a megaphone. Witnesses report that protesters called female Clinton Supporters gendered slurs and suggested the supporters commit suicide. According to twitter reports, one protester snatched a sign reading “We love you Madam Prez!” out of a little girl’s hands and tore it up in front of her — Hillary had signed the poster herself. The protesters held signs reading “LIAR LIAR LIAR,” “HILLARY FOR PRISON,” and “BERNIE 2016.” Chants of “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” echoed through the gauntlet.

I’ve never experienced anything close to the level of verbal assault endured by the Clinton supporters in East LA, but I learned quickly in this primary season that if I openly support Hillary Clinton, I will be confronted. When I speak positively about her online, I can expect to be swiftly reprimanded and even shamed by people who support other candidates. People I’ve always had friendly relationships with have called my integrity into question because I support the candidate who best represents my political priorities.

I’ve been called a “$hill” more times than I can count. I’ve been accused of being paid by Super PACs to support her publicly when in reality, I donate to Clinton’s campaign every month. Reddit users have combed through my account history so they can out me as a Clinton supporter, as if that’s a dirty secret I should be ashamed of. Here are a few examples of private messages I have received on social media:
“Quit being a moron and tell me why a vote for her wouldn’t be an absolute selfish waste. You need educating you bint.”
“I am a woman so I vote for a woman. You are a living stereotype.”
“How much is Hillary’s CTR Super PAC paying you to say that?”
“Voting with your vagina is nothing to be proud of.”

These comments aren’t coming from conservatives. Until this primary, I’ve never been at odds with other liberals. I never thought the words “Democratic Party” would carry a negative connotation to so many left-minded people. I’m not used to being labeled as one of the bad guys, and this primary has even made me empathize with Republicans who are villainized for their choices at the polls. During this primary, one constant remains: if I say something positive about Clinton, someone will show up to question my morality, my understanding of politics, or my competency as a voter.

It’s important to note that not all Bernie Sanders supporters feel inclined to attack Clinton supporters. Some of the people I’m closest to in this world support him, including my boyfriend and close friends. They have never attacked me for supporting Clinton, and we’ve had many thought-provoking discussions about the race. Unfortunately, the majority of my interactions with more radical Sanders supporters online have been the opposite of productive and respectful.

People absolutely have a right to disagree with me, and to ask me questions about why I support Clinton. I welcome political discussions, especially with people I disagree with. But the anti-Hillary vigilantes online aren’t interested in nuanced, civil discussions — they’re interested in shaming Hillary supporters and making them answer for all of Clinton’s perceived failings. It’s never “tell me which parts of her platform appeal to you. I have some concerns about X.” It’s always “How can you vote for a liar who is bought by corporate interests? How?!”

Hillary is not a perfect candidate. There are many valid criticisms of her, and she has certainly made mistakes in her 30-year political career. I don’t regard her as a pinnacle of political purity. In fact, I disagree with her on several issues. I agree with many people that we need campaign finance reform, and I see the hypocrisy in her calling for campaign finance reform while simultaneously benefiting from the current law. But to me, the presidency encompasses so much more than the mechanics of a campaign, and Hillary Clinton’s approach to policy aligns with my own more closely than any other candidate. I believe she is by far the most qualified candidate in either field to lead this country, and my support for her isn’t all about pragmatism — believe it or not, she inspires me. She has been attacked and knocked down and had her name dragged through the mud by Republicans for decades, and she is still standing, still fighting. I admire her resilience, her capacity for compromise, and her toughness. I support her with joy and without apology.

I’ve heard people question how it’s possible that Clinton is winning the election when you hear so little from her supporters online. One reason your Facebook feed isn’t brimming with glowing pro-Clinton posts is because when you say nice things about Hillary Clinton online, you will face a barrage of ridicule and spite from purer, more “progressive” liberals. If you know you’re undoubtedly going to be taken to task over posting a video clip that inspired you, you may think twice about sharing it. Sometimes I don’t feel like playing defense with multiple people in the comment section who are attacking my integrity. It’s exhausting.

My goal is not to paint myself as a victim because people confront me over my support for Clinton. I’m not looking to be consoled because someone was mean to me on the internet. I don’t expect people to validate or celebrate me for supporting her. But the onslaught of ideological purity tests projected by anti-Hillary revolutionaries isn’t inspiring, and it’s not a catalyst for change. There’s nothing admirable about dismissing and villainizing people you disagree with, and I long for a primary race where we approach each other with our hearts and minds open to an array of perspectives and opinions.

We’ve all witnessed the gradual destruction of the Republican party as a result of the Tea Party’s rise. Increasingly, factions of the left seem to be following their example of radicalism, intolerance, and rumbling hatred. We are better than this. We have an opportunity to create positive change in our country and in our world, but that won’t happen if we divide ourselves into the worthy and the unworthy, the revolutionary and the dreaded establishment, the ideologically pure and the evil status quo. I implore every liberal voter to consider what’s truly at stake in this election. We are going up against a bigoted demagogue who threatens the safety and the civil rights of millions of Americans. The idea of a Trump presidency is no longer a fantasy for misogynists and racists, it is a reality we must fight.

I don’t expect Bernie Sanders supporters to become cheerleaders for Hillary. I don’t expect them to make calls, donate, knock on doors, or sing her praises. We $hills can take care of that. But if you claim to value the rights of millions of your fellow Americans, if you believe in progressive goals, if you follow Bernie’s philosophy of “Not me. Us.” I do expect you to vote blue.

There is nothing progressive about intolerance and hatred. If we come to consider compromise a destructive force in democracy, we all lose. It is not revolutionary to berate people you disagree with until they give up and shut up. We will not achieve progress by tearing each other apart because of our differences — change will only come when we learn to work together despite those differences. As Hillary says, there is much more that unites us than divides us. Let’s come together to defeat the evil we face with all the determination and strength we can muster.