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.   

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Conservative Calls Labor Members Slobs and Animals

Just heard, on the Lawrence O'Donnell show, The Last Word, on MSNBC,  State Senator Grothman of Wisconsin refuse to apologize for calling the protesting constituents who are camped out in the Capitol "slobs."  In not doing this he also managed to dig a deeper hole for himself.   It seems union workers, public servants and the like are a different "breed" of people from the Walker supporting constituents of his district.  Just click on the link above and start watching the video 1:45 min. into the clip.

Does this consdescending, pompous *bleep* really understand that he is calling the public servants of his state animals?  He might as well have said, "Oh the common people, I do think they should be kept out of sight when the upper classes are about."

This shows a basic BIG problem in the U.S. that is presenting itself all the way from Wisconsin to Arizona.  Somehow ignorant people, truly ignorant people who despise education and knowledge, people that did not finish college and have found themselves in the upper socioeconomic brackets of society, through no efforts of their own, have taken over much of our political system.

These authoritarian elitists really think that they inherently are better than every one else and have the right to impose their beliefs on the rest of us and force us to do the work as they reap the benefit.  These folks are no better than anyone else and in my opinion have no class, no honor, and no conscience.  Our country was founded to help regular people have control over their own property.  We attempted to eliminate the power of the Monarchy with our War of Independence.  We created our country so rule would not be consolidated and inherited by a privileged few.  Common landowners were citizens with equal voice in governance; there were to be no rulers. 

While the common person was watching TV and consuming the opiate of the masses, the same little *bleepers* that would have been the simpering tax collectors of the monarchy switched their loyalties to the new monarchy - the corporation.    The U.S. originally gave the corporations no rights.  They did this for a very important reason.  The East India Tea Company was buddy, buddy with the Monarchy, Lords, and Ladies.  If you haven't read about corporate personhood, you should. 

I sincerely hope that legislatures start listening to their constituents because we are not that far away from another bloody revolution.   I don't want that.  You don't want that.  If anyone in your family works for the city or state, or receives any assistance from the county or state, or belongs to a private union you are cutting your own throat by supporting corporate interests.  Forget Repulicans, forget Democrats, look at who is in favor of progressing the state of the common person.  Traditionally Democrats support labor and Republicans support management.  This is no longer true.  Democrats now support labor and management.  Republicans support corporate management and owners.  Progressives support labor and local business.  Conservatives - well that word has been co-opted to the point where it means nothing.  If you are talking about religious conservatives, well that has no place in our governance structure.  Fiscal conservatism... well, no one has been fiscally responsible for decades.  Let's just get back to government of the people by and for the people.

And if our government refuses to represent the interests of the people, well we have to change the government.  I was at a PDA meeting last week and it was amazing, a couple hundred people showed up rather than the group of 20 that were present when PDA tried to start up in Tucson a few years ago. There was an energy there that was calling to be channeled into an aggressively progressive. 

At the same time that PDA is gaining steam, the Start Our State, or Baja Arizona, movement is getting attention.  Phoenix has been draining the coffers of Tucson returning far less than than an equitable amount to our community, allowing religious conservatives and pseudo-libertarian corporatists to impose anti-American legislation on our state, gut our K-12 and Higher Education systems, and insure a low wage workforce.  People are getting fed up. 

I for one am very tired of living in states that are absolutely regressive, but I love Tucson. When you are connected to a person who teaches and does research at a University level, you are tied to working in states that may not be your first choice if all other things were equal.  I would love to live in a state that somewhat supports my belief in democracy and equality.  Baja Arizona might just do it for me. 
But if elitists like Walker run Wisconsin, and wackos like Brewer run Arizona, I'm not sure where is safe to go other than metropolitan areas, and I don't want to have to do that.  Somehow I feel like my rights are being stepped on. 

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Capitalist Hippies of the World Unite!

Went to see Moonalice at The Hut on 4th Avenue Saturday Night.  Damn good musicians, damn fine crowd and damn the torpedos, full speed ahead  social marketing experiment! Okay, to read much further you will have to acknowledge that not all baby boomers are evil nor are they all they all socio-tech illiterates.  Unlike the Saturday Night Live overview of a week ago insinuated, these boomers do not need anyone to tell them what iTunes is.  And speaking of SNL, a former/occasional/whatever Moonalice member was a the SNL bandleader for quite a while. These boomers have been turning on amps, tuning in their audiences, and dropping out tunes with the likes of Jefferson Starship, Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia.... and on the way were investing in Google and Facebook early on, and are most generously gifting Wikipedia on a grand scale.

The power of the boomers (who are currently peaking at age 54 - height of the baby boom was 1957) may well only now be coming into season as the Late Boomers, roughly those born 1956 to 1964, who were the neglected largest half of the boom, we are talking temporal halves here, ok?   But this same group was also the subject of a book called Generation X. So the age group, cohort so to speak, are likely to be major players who are only now coming into second careers or early retirement.

Here I'm reminded of The Who's, Won't Get Fooled Again. The late boomers came of age and entered adulthood as rock shattered into plethora of proto-genres, as they began trying to find a foothold in an economy that  thwarted them at every turn.  The yuppies of the "me" generation were not so much greedy as simply far more aware of what the purveyors and power brokers of the last days of the 20th Century's "bigger is better" mindset does to individuals.  Heck and gosh, they'd been living with it all their lives: never enough desks in the classroom for them, marketing targeted at them from the cradle on, eco-disasters as a part of life, wars up close and personal on the teevee every night ... all these and much, much more created the mindset of the last half of the baby boom.  Pardon them for being a bit cynically and skeptically in your face about it.

The hippie ideology of the first half of the baby boom, leading edge boomers, is melding with the tactical knowledge of the late boomers. Age allows the collapsing of these distinct cohorts into a generation for the first time in their lives though the rest of the World has referred to them as a unified group since at least the late 1970s when the term "Baby Boomers" began to be used.

All this was realignment of cultural semiotics was made "perfectly clear," to borrow a "Tricky Dick" phrase, last evening when I watched, listened, and danced to the music of Moonalice [each member  listed with one of their more famous gigs;  Roger McNamee (T. Rowe Price,) Ann McNamee (Flying Other Brothers), Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship,) Barry Sless (David Nelson Band,) John Molo (Bruce Hornsby and the Range)] and the last couple days of research didn't hurt either.  Blogging note:  Research is good.  Action note: The revolution can be finished and podcasted, if not televised if the late boomers and early boomers combine forces for the good of human kind.  Rock, all sizes and shapes of it,  is our soundtrack! Okay back to the intriguing business aspects of Moonalice.

Roger McNamee is creating a different (as in "and now for something completely different") model of music making, performing, recording and playing that is a far more cooperative venture than anything the music industry would have ever tolerated.  This is good.  New types of organization require resources and advocates with influence.  McNamee is commenting on the corporate system itself, and, since he is an acknowledged master of at least some components of that system, and in the end this is one of the reasons I am intrigued by Moonalice.  While the musical ability of all the members will bowl you over whether or not you've had a bowl, the core of a revolution is contained within the marketing and relationship of all the participants to the ideology.  This new music model is build on relationship -- and that is more than just buying a ticket to watch or listen at some huge arena.