Friday, June 29, 2012

A Crazy Month ... and Moving Forward

   It's been a rough patch here. I went to two memorial services in a week, and another within a fortnight. It's good to be together with friends, to remember someone's life with joy and dignity, but enough is enough. I'd like to be affirming life while it's still happening, but I can barely keep up with the passings. So hang in there, everyone!

   Then there was the bad news from Wisconsin: Scott Walker survived a grass roots recall effort, thanks to the $30 million, primarily from outside Wisconsin that put him over the top. It's disturbing to me on several fronts. For one thing, it's just bad news. Walker didn't run on a union-busting platform, but taking his orders from conservative planning groups, he used his majority in the state ledge to eliminate public workers' rights to collective bargaining. Surviving the pushback will only make these efforts stronger. And they will spread to other states. Open season on unions, workers, pensions and health care. It's not going to be pretty.

   Even more unsettling is what this says about the election process. Elections ARE bought and sold, in this case by people who don't even live in the affected area. The Koch brothers can't vote in Wisconsin, but they can sway an election there because they have SO MUCH MONEY. How can we call it "free speech" when some of us have so much more of it than others? As the guy said, how much money will it take for us to get served poop and call it chocolate? We're about to find out.

  There's a great deal of solidarity among millionaires. If you go to bat for them they will bail you out when the time comes. I'm hoping the rest of us learn the same, so we can be there for each other, in numbers if not in wealth.

  Summer has a beautiful sense of timelessness, a stillness in the air. But we're only a couple of calendar page flips away from turning leaves. I'll be mostly in Oregon and the midwest this summer and fall. Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday will be July 14, '12. We have Woody events (including a Woody sing-along on 7/15 at Sam Bond's Garage) in our community and I hope you do too. Woody changed the way we write songs, and the way we listen to them. His heritage is huge and continues to unfold (with continued relevance) today.

  I'm involved in planning some community-oriented music events at the Reality Kitchen here in Eugene. Check out their website and watch for new events in August. I'm also involved in some noncommercial guerrilla music projects. Fun and mischief. And Chico's Hydrogen Jukebox will make its formal entry into the fray at Territorial Vineyards in Eugene on July 20. Whoo hoo!

  Time to get outdoors!

P.S. - Here's my latest newsletter just sent to my mailing list: "No More Manouche Noir and Other Happs"

Summer's here (kinda, sorta) and there's a lot going on in town.

For starters, this Friday is the Last Friday Art Walk in the Whiteaker neighborhood. The LOW TIDE DRIFTERS will be holding forth on the lawn in front of the CALC office (across Blair Blvd from the World Cafe) from 6-7:30 pm. Stop by and say hi.

I will NOT be playing with Manouche Noir at Territorial Vineyards that evening, nor at subsequent shows. I am no longer affiliated with that group.

Next Friday (July 6) is the Downtown First Friday Art Walk. David Andersen and I will be playing a plethora of instruments at NEW ZONE GALLERY, starting at 5:30.

Tuesday, July 10 is Reality Kitchen's WOODY GUTHRIE CENTENNIAL BLOCK PARTY in honor of Woody's 100th birthday. Anne Feeney, Mark Ross, Chris Chandler, etc. Wow!

Sunday, July 15 is the WOODY GUTHRIE SING-ALONG at SAM BOND'S GARAGE at 8:30 pm. Songs led by KATE DOWNING, NATHAN MOORE and myself (and anyone else who wants to lead one). Celebrating as Woody woulda.

Wednesday, July 18 at Perugino's (on Willamette): a small group of friends has started to play some Irish music there and we'll be there then. Not an open jam, not a performance... what IS it?

Friday, July 20, 7-10 pm at TERRITORIAL VINEYARDS is the big debut of CHICO'S HYDROGEN JUKEBOX. GEORGE FILGATE on drums, DAVID ANDERSEN on guitar, tenor guitar and bass, and me on SEVEN instruments, playing everything we can think of from Brazilian jazz to bluegrass. My songs and a few from Woody, Townes and Eddie Cochran. It's barbecue night with cooking out front. I'd love to play here regularly, so show up and make us look good with your presence. No cover.