Monday, March 07, 2011

A Concert To Benefit the Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding


It is very, very difficult to try to talk about anything good associated with the January 8th assassination attempt on U. S. House of Representative Member, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords that left six dead and 13 physically wounded.  Countless Tucson families and citizens and all the networks all these people touched were also emotionally changed, and indeed the very community itself was injured, for when a community member is hurt, the community itself is injured.  And Tucson is a community.  We are the biggest small town in America.  We are healing, but the perception of our community, our dear Old Pueblo, is forever changed.  When talking heads use the word Tucson now they are referring to a few seconds of violence, the act of a madman, that attempted to change the vibe (We talk that way here.) of Tucson.  It isn't going to happen;  Tucson will be more like Tucson than ever in the coming weeks, months and years.  Not all communities could attract such a diverse and positive musical outreach and support network as Tucson has in  the Benefit Concert featuring Jackson Browne, Alice Cooper for the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona's Fund for Civility, Respect, and Understanding.

There is an amazingly diverse line up and it is perfect.  These are all performers who have a reason to be here other than just for a pro bono feather in their service caps.   Zelisko has been promoting shows in Arizona since 1974.  Jackson Browne has had Arizona connections for a long, long time.  And I mean that in the best of all possible ways.  In the '90s I traveled up to the Verde Valley Music Festival that happened every year during the first weekend in October until 2001 when air traffic came to a roaring halt mid-September.  Alice Cooper, has lived in Phoenix/Scottsdale most of his life (even when he was Vincent Damon Furnier, and you know, I can see him as a "Vinnie") and his Christian faith certainly aligns with the cause of this concert.  Calexico IS Tucson in so many ways. Ozomatli used to play Tucson a bunch and it will be good to have them break their boycott of Arizona and show the rest of the country that Tucson doesn't deserve to be boycotted for the things Phoenix does.  Welcome back! I've seen Crosby and Nash in Tucson before, usually with another guy often linked with them.   I've seen Keb 'Mo play in Tucson,  Lofgren plays through Tucson too,  Roger Clyne is from Tempe and a third generation Arizonan, Joel Rafael wrote "This Is My Country" that was covered by Crosby and Nash and included in the Barry Levinson documentary, "Poliwood." You may remember Sam Moore from "Sam and Dave."  Milton 'Quiltman' Sahme has worked as a composer and vocalist on soundtracks & occasionally tours with John Trudell. Jerry Riopelle lives in Scottsdale and is probably best known for producing music.  And Dar Williams, what can I say about her except that as one of the very small minority of women performers in this line up she will have no problem representing anything and everything you may want or need to have reflected in this show --as she is a singer and songwriter who can present viewpoints and essences of being with amazingly deft nuance and skill.   And speaking of smarts and talent, Jennifer Warnes, is well a music legend even if you don't recognize her name at first.  She has won Oscars and Grammy Awards for songs you know all the words to, but Jennifer is perfect for this concert because as she says about music, "I'm more interested in how close we can get through the music."


Tucson so deserves to have great musicians play here and I think with this concert it is clear that Tucson has been exempted from the boycott of Arizona over the discriminatory 1070 law.  Instead of boycotting Tucson I think people from far and wide should inundate Arizona and talk to the people of state.  Come and support non-right wing, non-politico artisans and businesses  that are a far more fair representation of us than the big corporate money and religious minorities that control the politics of this state.   If you have not heard, some of us are so adamant about the distinction between us and the rest of Arizona that we want to secede from Arizona and become the 51st state. For more info just check out the Start Our State movement.  

Secession has absolutely nothing to do with January 8th.  But I just loved Fitz's cartoon and he is a great guy and didn't deserve the muzzling his corporate media boss gave him when they demanded he apologize for speaking to reporters as a private citizen when he happened to be in that parking lot that infamous Saturday morning.  But hey if you want to keep your job you have to do things that make you cringe at times. 

Ok, back to Tucson, we Tucsonans really try to be civil and peaceably live together.  We are a University town, we are one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in North America.  We are artists, writers, musicians, hikers, birders, and we have given rise to many  political families as well.  People who come to Tucson, even if they move on through it, are touched by it.  

Women participate in politics here, we won the right to vote in 1912 here in Arizona.   Look at Gabby Giffords, a Democrat who won a hard fought battle for what had been a Republican seat.  Look at all the women who came out to talk to Gabby that Saturday.  And by the way if you have not read Suzi Hileman's blog, The Burrow, the civic minded and loving neighbor of Christina-Taylor Green, The Burrow,  I highly recommend that you do.  It is inspiring.  It is very Tucson.  Hileman chose to live here in Tucson because it is such a great place. 

Oh we need this concert, just like we needed the UMC vigil that lasted for weeks and helped us to meet and heal and pray, and like we needed the uplifting words of our President here in our town.   The shootings come back into the news this Wednesday, two days from now,  when a court date is set for the shooter and our wounds will hurt all over again, but this concert will help all of us to heal and will provide significant assistance to all those directly hurt by that madman's actions and tools.   

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