Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Crazy 2010

This was Hamfist's performance schedule in 2010, and these are just the shows we posted on the web site:
Jan 21, 2010 Alex's Ashland
Feb 5, 2010 Alex's Ashland
Mar 6, 2010 The Brick Central Point
Apr 16, 2010 Tease Ashland
Apr 24, 2010 Rogue Valley Earth Day Ashland
May 22, 2010 Alex's Ashland
Jun 13, 2010 Britt Pavilion Jacksonville
Jun 17, 2010 Tease Ashland
Jun 29, 2010 OSF Green Show Ashland
Jul 2, 2010 Caldera Tap House Ashland
Jul 17, 2010 Box R Ranch
Aug 7, 2010 Talent City Hall Talent
Aug 19, 2010 Caldera Tap House Ashland
Sep 1, 2010 OSF Green Show Ashland
Sep 3, 2010 Tease Ashland
Sep 18, 2010 Butte Creek Mill Eagle Point
Sep 29, 2010 OSF Green Show Ashland
Oct 16, 2010 Tease Ashland
Nov 5, 2010 Alex's Ashland
Dec 4, 2010 OSF Holiday Craft Fair Ashland

That's 20 shows in one year kids; not quite 2 a month. And, that doesn't count the dozen or so shows I played with the Serenaders and the 3 shows I played with One Night Band. I was a busy woman.

It's impossible for me to express how grateful I am for having music back in my life, how much I love performing. Every show is a gas.

The Serenaders' last show was a holiday party for Dunn House clients and staff. Dunn House supports victims of domestic violence as they transition into new lives. There were at least 50 women and children at the show, including a slew of toddlers. The toddlers loved us. They looked like the dance party at Charlie Brown's Christmas. Each kid has his/her signature move and they rocked the house. I couldn't quit grinning. People from 8 months to 80 years old moving, dancing, bopping, noddding their heads, smiling - that's why I do this. That's what keeps me coming back.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

St. Francis's Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Esmeralda's Prayer

God bless all con men and hustlers and pitchmen who hawk their hearts on the street, all two-time losers whore' likely to lose more than once, the courtesan who made the mistake of love, the greatest of lovers crowned with the longest of horns, the poet who wandered far from his heart's green country and possibly will and probably won't be able to find his way back, look down with a smile tonight on the last of the cavilers, the ones wit the rusty armor and soiled white plumes, and visit with understanding and something that's almost tender those fading legends that come and go in this plaza like songs not clearly remembered.

Tennessee Williams

Thursday, December 9, 2010

You Wreck Me

I’ll be the boy – in the corduroy pants – you’ll be the girl – at the high school dance…

Thanks Tom. I’ll be your girl at the high school dance anytime. Although, truth be told, my memories of the high school dance are not fond. I was the girl standing in the shadows, waiting in vain for someone, anyone, to ask me out onto the floor. It didn’t take long to realize that the boys in the corduroy pants were never going to ask me to dance. They didn't even see me; well, not until I lost 30 pounds using a combination of speed and cigarettes. That caught their attention, but by then it was too late. I was way too cool for the boys at the school dance. I had discovered the bad boys in the parking lot with their ditch weed and their back seats. Their standards were lower.

I got older, tougher, more reckless, I learned to pick up the signals, how to make the first move, when to walk away. But, that vulnerable little girl with her back pressed to the wall still lies just below the surface. When one of the cool kids freezes me out, it still hurts. It shouldn’t, but it does. It wrecks me baby; it breaks me in two.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Empress

A rogue wind blasted from the mouth of the Mississippi, filling Jackson Square with sudden turbulence. The trees lifted their branches and shook in the sudden squall, the incipient rain blew sideways and the few foolhardy street vendors hustled to cover their wares. A fortune teller's tarot deck exploded into the air and scattered like leaves on the wind. Cards tumbled across the Square, cartwheeled in the air, flew up onto wrought iron balconies. One slapped face down at my feet and I quickly leaned over and snagged it before the wind flipped it up again.

The wind read my tarot cards and pulled The Empress.

The Empress, the fourth card in the major arcana, is represented by the number three, which Schoolhouse Rock tells us is a magic number(the first card in the major arcana, The Fool, is represented by 0.) She is a great mother archetype, often depicted pregnant, a figure of abundance, fertility, pregnant with promise, ripe with the milk of human kindness. Her law is love; love is her shield and sword. She embodies the paradox that an open heart is the best protection, for when you are armed with love, you have nothing to fear.

I've never been very good at guarding my heart; I leave it open to the slings and arrows, the wind and the rain. Perhaps that open heart is my greatest strength. Perhaps I should stop fighting it and learn to love my touchingly vulnerable, dangerously sensitive, bleeding heart.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


The sidewalks of New Orleans are trying to kill me
Root-buckled, storm-subsided, cantilevered concrete
slabs reduced to rubble,
reaching up to break my ankles and send me flailing.
A city long on charm but short on function,
style over substance and no apology,
they wouldn't have it any other way.

The streets of New Orleans are wet, the air is damp,
the ground and the sky both run with water.
Out in the muddy pastures of the 9th ward
star architects build spec homes for orphans of the storm,
jewel boxes in oblique angles and colors not found in nature,
with large party decks overlooking the levee

Not everyone will come back, and who can blame them?
In a city full of cemeteries, this is hallowed ground
and who among us wants to live side by side with the dead?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Stealth Snow

It wasn't unexpected, mind you. All week the weatherfolk have been warning that a winter snow was heading our way, but we saw no signs of it. I actually went for a jog late yesterday afternoon wearing a vest and a tee shirt. Last night, before I went to bed, I went outside to gaze at a clear sky full of stars. A few clouds lay low on the horizon but there was not a hint of preciptation. Awoke this morning to a mostly blue sky and a mostly white landscape. The snow elves came in the middle of the night and laid down an inch or two. It's early this year. It's unusual for us to have measurable snow before the leaves have fallen. As the snow melted this morning, it revealed the colors of autumn instead of the black branches of winter.

I'm trying to convince myself to suit up and get out in it, but truth be told, I'm not a winter sports kind of gal. I'm more of a sit by the fire with a cup of cocoa and a good book kind of gal. I have a new reading chair next to the new woodstove, there are a couple of unread books on the side table, the kettle's hot and the house is ultra-cozy. It will be hard to summon the ambition to leave all this and go hiking in the wet and cold, but I'll manage to get out of the house sometime today.

The "new" reading chair is actually Aunt Mag's old chair. I think it dates to the 30s or 40s. Aunt Mag was my great aunt and I never knew her. She was my mother's mother's sister and my mother adored her. Mag had "the fever" as a young child and it affected her brain; she never progressed intellectually after that point. I think she was one of the few adults who ever took time to play with my mother when she was a child. The adults in my mother's life were engaged in a daily struggle for survival and didn't have much time for play. Even if they did, there was a much clearer line between adult and child back then and playing with children was not considered suitable behavior. Expectations for Mag were different. No-one thought twice about her pulling out her box of junk jewelry (her "bobs") and playing dress up with the little girls. Despite her disability, she was also expected to be able to sew and cook and keep house. I have a quilt that she pieced by hand in the 'drunken path' pattern, tiny squares in curving lines blocked on white muslin that probably came from flour sacks. She had mad skills, no doubt. Her housewifery was far superior to mine.

I'm not sure how or when mom got the chair, but she had it for many years. It's a sweet little upholstered rocker, kind of blocky, vaguely colonial,the only heirloom furniture in our family. Greg took it home after mom died, but he and his wife are remodeling and no longer have room for it, so I paid to have it shipped across the country. Any antique dealer would tell me that it's not "worth" what I paid for the shipping, but to me, it's priceless. It's certainly well-traveled.

Darkness is gathering outside. I better head out before it snows again. At least this time, I see it coming.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different

After all the heavy posts of the last week, it's time to take a walk on the far side:

This is an actual mug shot of a guy who was busted for a "one man crime spree" in Southeast Portland. He was arraigned on charges of assault, menacing, harassment and criminal mischief. All he needs is a "Got Meth?" tee shirt.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Last Time I Saw L.E.

The last time I saw L.E., he was strapped to stretcher and was being loaded into the back of an ambulance. I must have been 7 or 8 at the time. He had shown up again after many years absence. We were sitting in the kitchen when something – happened. I’ve blocked exactly what it was, I can’t picture it, but I remember looking at him and knowing that something was very, very wrong. Later, I learned that he was going into a seizure, but all I knew at that moment was primal fear. My mother shouted at me to go out into the yard. She didn’t have to ask twice.

Someone (who could it have been, I wonder) called the neighbors to summon a nurse who happened to be visiting. I remember watching this grown woman running clumsily up the driveway. She disappeared into the house and I didn’t follow. Not long after, the ambulance arrived and the EMTs hustled inside. By then, everybody in the neighborhood was out in the street, watching, whispering. I was hiding in the bushes next to our driveway, simultaneously terrified and mortified. After what seemed like an eternity, the EMTs came out, carrying L.E. on a stretcher. He was not five feet from me as they loaded him into the back. He saw me cowering under the bush. Our eyes met. He smiled. I can’t remember if I smiled back.

That was the last time I ever saw him. His daughters eventually took responsibility for his care and got him hooked up with the V.A. He finally received disability benefits sometime in the 70s, 30 years after receiving the wound that changed his life.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Violence

Writing about L.E. reminded me that one of my earliest conscious memories is of a horrific fight he had with my father.

It's taken me a long time to acknowledge that I was a frequent victim of violence as a child. I've spent most of my life repudiating that label; I am not now, nor have I ever been, anyone's fucking victim. When you grow up in an atmosphere of unpredictable violence, adopting the label of "victim" is like posting a target on your back. You might as well ask to get your ass kicked. To this day, if I feel like I'm under attack, be it physically, verbally or psychologically, I don't back down; I instinctively strike back before I even realize what I'm doing. Back me into a corner and I lash out like a wild animal. It's a survival instinct at its most primal.

Dad and L.E.'s fight is one of the earliest incidents for which I retain a vivid, concrete memory. They had history, those two. Both were deeply scarred by childhood poverty and a violent mother. I don't know what her story was, but I know she beat my father frequently and without mercy. Both brothers were traumatized by the war. My father exhibited all the classic symptoms of PTSD and L.E. clearly suffered from traumatic brain injury. Back then, such damage was considered shameful, something to be hidden and denied. Despite their wounds, they banged around together a fair bit after the war, hitching through the south and the west engaging in petty and perhaps not so petty crime. They were very close at one time, but by the time I came on the scene, there was bad blood between them. There had been some kind of trouble with L.E.'s infamous wife. I say 'infamous' because hers was one of those names you couldn't mention without people exchanging looks. L.E. was the darling of his mother and five sisters and they never considered L.E.'s wife to be good enough for him. There were vague references to Indian blood, hints about promiscuity. Who knows what the real story was? I never met the woman. I know this: in the last months of his life, when he was in a confessional mood, my father told me that L.E., their sisters and their mother all believed that he had slept with L.E.'s wife. There was an incident; he was hazy on the details. Perhaps they were found together? I don't know. He swore to God that it it was all a big misunderstanding. I didn't believe him, but I told him I did.

Perhaps he sought absolution; as if it were mine to grant.

So, I wasn't five yet; I may not have been four. We were still living in the house on 5th Street, we hadn't moved to Williams Street yet. I was in the living room with my brother and mother (who may or may not have been holding a baby.) It was late afternoon and I was watching Hobo Kelly on TV. She had an afternoon TV show and I can still remember the theme song: "H O B O / K E double L Y / Hobo Kelly / sure n' begoran it's I!" Every day Hobo Kelly put on her giant magic glasses, gazed out into TV land and found the good children. She would say, "I see Timmy, I see Cathy, I see David..." Perhaps their parents sent their names in to the TV show, but I didn't know that. I thought that, if I believed in the magic hard enough, some day she would call my name. So, I was sitting in the middle of the living room, believing as hard as I could, when there was a loud noise at the screen door. I looked up and saw Uncle L.E. crashing though the screen. He was hollering incomprehensibly. Mom jumped up out of the chair, grabbed my brother and I and hustled us down the hall. About then, my dad appeared. I think he must have been sleeping in the back bedroom. He might have been sleeping off a graveyard shift, or he may have been napping. He was a champion napper, my dad, he could sleep anywhere, any time, a trick he learned in the war.

There was a cacophony of shouting, crashes and thuds behind us. Mom pushed us into the bedroom and slammed the door. I heard pounding, pounding, and louds voices. The door sprang open and L.E. was in the room, hollering. Mom was screaming at him and pushing us into the closet. Then L.E. wasn't in the room; maybe dad pulled him out, I don't know. Mom kneeled down and said, "stay here. Don't worry, just stay here," and closed the closet door. My brother and I cowered in the dark, on the floor, listening to the shouts and thuds. We waited. The noise moved outside, got fainter and stopped. We waited. Finally, my mom opened the closet door and we tumbled out into her arms. We were laughing and crying at the same time, giddy with relief. I remember repeating over and over again "I was so scared mama! I was so scared!" She sat with us on the bed for a long time. She probably sang to us. She often sang to comfort us when we were very little. Dad came in, breathing heavily. He said "don't worry, he's gone," or something like that. I can't remember exactly; like I said, I wasn't five. I may not have been four.

That's my earliest memory of the violence. It's not my last.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Watch Your Back, Jack

My dad enlisted in the Navy on his 17th birthday. He ran away from home at age 14, lied about his age and signed up for the Marines, but his mama tracked him down and dragged him home by the ear. He was terrified that the war would be over before he had a chance to get his licks in. As it turned out, he got plenty of licks in; he was one of the first men to land at Okinawa and spent 82 days under fire. He saw some shit, I tell you. But, that's not the story I'm telling today.

My dad's brother L.E. was a bonafide war hero, awarded the Silver Star for actions in the line of duty on the day the USS Franklin was shot out from under him. He used to say that he went swimming that day. Sometime after that incident, he received a serious head wound which resulted in what we now know as traumatic brain injury. He returned from the war suffering from grand mal seizures and a serious lack of impulse control, particularly when he was drinking. He drank alot. But, that's not the story I'm telling today, either.

After my dad completed basic training, he boarded a troop train headed for Treasure Island, where he was to embark for the Pacific Theater. The train stopped over at Chicago's Union Station, which must have been an awe-inspiring sight to a 17 year old boy who had never been out of Alabama. As he and the other recruits struggled to keep up with their platoon leader while gawking at the grandeur, my dad heard his name broadcast over the public address system: "Private Elbert Eugene Smith, please come to the information desk. Private Elbert Eugene Smith, please come to the information desk." My dad couldn't believe it; here he was, a teenage kid from Alabama, being publicly paged in Union Station. He ran up to his platoon leader and said "that's me! That's me! They're calling me! I have to go to the Information Desk!" The platoon leader was skeptical but finally relented. "OK kid, but be back here in 10 minutes or I'll hunt you down myself." Dad took off like greased lightning, running through the vaulted corridors until he found the information desk. Leaning on the counter, flirting with the female announcer, handsome, cocky, his hat tilted over one eye, there was L.E.

Dad couldn't believe it; how had L.E. known he was there? Turns out L.E. had just gotten off the phone with their sister in Anniston, who told him that dad was passing through Union Station that day. L.E. took a chance, had him paged, and the rest is history.

They could only talk for a second before dad had to get back to his squad, but he always remembered, and often repeated, the last thing L.E. said to him: "Be careful out there kid; they're shooting live bullets." With that, L.E. gave him one of those utterly confident American GI smiles and walked off into the crowd. Dad didn't see him again until after the war. L.E. was not the same man after his injury so, for all intents and purposes, that was the last time my dad really saw him.

My pathetic problems at work pale in comparison to what these men saw and suffered, but I thought of this story today when I got mowed down by management. If I could speak to my colleagues at the Art Farm, I'd tell them what L.E. told my dad: "Be careful out there, kids; they're shooting live bullets."

Friday, October 29, 2010

Big Leaf

We hiked up Medusa Flat today. The cattle ranchers have blocked their irrigation ditch for the winter and Mill Creek is flowing as god intended. It was a beautiful sight but the high water complicated our crossing; talk about a hop, skip and a jump. It's the height of the season and the big leaf maples are turning from green to gold to rust to brown. There's very little red in the mix out here on the Siskiyou ridge and leaf peepers would probably find it boring, but the color always catches my breath.

I bowed my head to old grandfather fir as we passed and gave him my greeting. 200 years old, he was supremely unconcerned with my ant-like attentions. He's old enough to remember the Klamath braves hunting in his shade, but I'm sure he doesn't, just as he won't remember me 100 years from now.

The woods smelled of autumn, the rich scent of rotting leaves and humus. As we broke out from under the canopy and into the flat, there were the flanks of Mt Ashland towering over us, white for the first time this season. The snow's in the high country and winter draws near.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Season in Hell

by Arthur Rimbaud
translated by Bertrand Mathieu

A while back, if I remember right, my life was one long party where all hearts were open wide, where all wines kept flowing.

One night, I sat Beauty down on my lap.—And I found her galling.—And I roughed her up.

I armed myself against justice.

I ran away. O witches, O misery, O hatred, my treasure's been turned over to you!

I managed to make every trace of human hope vanish from my mind. I pounced on every joy like a ferocious animal eager to strangle it.

I called for executioners so that, while dying, I could bite the butts of their rifles. I called for plagues to choke me with sand, with blood. Bad luck was my god. I stretched out in the muck. I dried myself in the air of crime. And I played tricks on insanity.

And Spring brought me the frightening laugh of the idiot.

So, just recently, when I found myself on the brink of the final squawk! it dawned on me to look again for the key to that ancient party where I might find my appetite once more.

Charity is that key.—This inspiration proves I was dreaming!

"You'll always be a hyena etc. . . ," yells the devil, who'd crowned me with such pretty poppies. "Deserve death with all your appetites, your selfishness, and all the capital sins!"

Ah! I've been through too much:-But, sweet Satan, I beg of you, a less blazing eye! and while waiting for the new little cowardly gestures yet to come, since you like an absence of descriptive or didactic skills in a writer, let me rip out these few ghastly pages from my notebook of the damned.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stephany's Senior Prom

I was madder than a wet hen about something.

Don't know what I had to be mad about; nothing actually. Gary took my to Sally Stanford's in Sausalito and they served me wine. The dance was at the Hilton in San Francisco. Afterwards, we cruised out to Ocean Beach and drank till dawn. Ah, those were the days.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


It's no secret that I work for a very old, large, well-established theatre company (although many would be surprised to know just how large; we're talking a budget of almost $30 million per year.) On more than one occasion, I’ve heard members of the artistic leadership state unequivocally, "Theater is always a political act." They say it as if it is an accepted, undisputable fact. I once asked, what exactly do you mean by that? I never got an answer.

If theater is a “political act,” can we define what we mean by the term “political”? (What this organization needs is a linguist.) When in doubt, I always return to the Oxford English Dictionary. Perhaps that is another symptom of my racial exclusivity and elitism; I let old white guys define my words.

1. A. Of, belonging, or pertaining to the state or body of citizens, its government and policy, especially in civil and secular affairs; public, civil; of or pertaining to the science or art of politics. B. of persons: engaged in civil administration; civil as distinct from military.
2. Having an organized government or polity.
3. Relating to, concerned, or dealing with politics or the science of government
4. Belonging to or taking a side in politics or in connection with the party system or government; in a bad sense, partisan, factious. (emphasis mine.)

Despite receiving negligible government funding, I don't think anyone would say that this theatre "belongs" to the state. As a 501(c)3 we are specifically forbidden from participating in electoral campaigns or party advocacy. I don't think they use the term "political" to refer to the internal politics of this organization (as Byzantine and fraught as they may be.) I don't think they mean to imply that the work we do directly relates to the science of government. Therefore, when they say "all theater is political" I assume they mean it in the sense of definition #4: taking sides in connection with the party system or government.

Is it the mission of this theatre to belong to, or take sides, in a party system or government? Is it our mission as theatre practitioners to advocate a political point of view?

I believe that theater aspires to something greater, something that transcends parties, systems of government and political points of view. It seems I always return to King Lear: regardless of whether the actor playing Lear, is black, white, male, female, young, old, right wing or left wing, audiences (be they black, white, male, female, young, old, right wing or left wing) can relate to his universal journey. We are all going to get old (if we’re lucky), our mental and physical powers will decline and we’ll die. August Wilson roots his stories in a very specific African-American experience portrayed by African-American actors, but he uses that specificity to talk about disappointment, injustice, exploitation, deferred dreams, and other universal themes that even a middle class white woman can relate to.

I have come to the conclusion that, for me, theater is a spiritual act. As cynical, suspicious and cranky as I am, I still hold the irrational belief that a handful of universal truths transcend race, class, gender and can be expressed in story form. The stories we tell have the potential to connect us to universal human truths. From what I've observed of politics, it breaks us down into smaller and smaller units and drives us further and further apart. Theater is the opposite; it has the potential to unite us in communal catharsis. That's why I do this work.

You can't change minds until you touch hearts.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

All is Vanity Saith the Preacher

"Hey, aren't you in that band Hamfist? I love you guys!" said the 20-something girl behind the counter at a sandwich shop. I fluttered, I demurred, I ate it up with a spoon. I fully admit it: I'm shallow, vain and self-obsessed, but I absolutely love it when some stranger recognizes me as a musician.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Stand Up and Sing

Stand up and sing for the sisters in the kitchen
Mopping floors, frying chicken
For the mothers and their babies
Sweet young things and tough old ladies
Plain and simple, big and loud
Small and frightened, shy or proud
Stand up for my sisters and sing

Stand up and sing for the sisters in the office
Behind the scenes, below the surface
For the doctors and mechanics
The depressives and the manics
Mothers sisters daughters wives
Leading unheralded lives
I stand up for my sisters and sing

With our hands we make the world
We create each day anew
With our hearts we heal the world
We raise up our voices and lift up our spirits and sing
We sing

Stand up and sing for the hag who rides the hedges
Hecate’s child living wild out on the edges
For the rocker and the punker
For the farmer and the hunter
For the priestess standing tall
All for one and one for all
We stand up for our sisters and sing

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Darkness

Sunday dawned cold and damp at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park, but the sun broke through during the performance of Shelby Lynn & Alison Moorer. It was the first warmth of the weekend and mirrored the sweet, sunny sound of these two sisters from Alabama who call each other "sissy." Marty Stuart (of all people) once commented on the kind of harmony that can only be achieved by people who are related by blood - "blood harmony" he called it, an apt description. I heard it in my family and I hear it in others - the Boswell sisters, the Louvin brothers, the Delmore brothers. Perhaps there is a genetic component to the timbre of the voice, the frequency of vibration.

I bopped through the park all day like a summer of love hippie, shimmying through the congenial throngs. The thing that strikes me about this festival is how half a million people squeeze together in one location and coexist cheerfully, peacefully, non-violently. I saw some seriously drunk ass people, lots of them, but not a single fight, not even a dog fight. It's a utopian vision of how the world might work.

But it doesn't, does it?

Patti Smith came out late in the day and drew a shroud of fog around her. She called down the darkness and bore witness to its power. A middle aged woman, her face lined, her teeth yellow, no fashion, no make up, no pretense of youth, no need to be anything other than herself, she stood before us with authority and power and in a deep, rich voice, she sang her uncompromised truth. As she called on the dead to release the world and cross over, she reminded the living that we too must release our vain attachments and false gods. Emotionally naked and unafraid, she spoke and I responded.

I was in the first generation of feminists to embrace that label, to claim our power and speak out against our systematic subjugation. Somewhere in the day to day work of marriage and children, I abdicated my voice and strove instead to be "nice." I had a responsibility to love and nurture my daughters and I did it the only way I knew how, the way my mother taught me, through denial, abnegation and sacrifice. I don't regret it; it was a necessary lesson in how most women live in the world. Rich, poor, first world or third, women everywhere put their dreams aside to nurture the next generation. But, what do we do when the next generation is grown and gone? Fade away into oblivion? Seek our lost youth through hedonism and self-absorption? Or, do we embrace our power, stand tall and speak out?

The world is a beautiful place. I've drunk deep from her wonders and am grateful for her many gifts. But, here's my truth: I have no beauty, no youth, no comfort left within me to give. For more than 30 years I sought to nurture, to soothe, to protect. I tried to shine a light that drew people in. I tried to make people happy. Optimism never came naturally to me and it was generated at great cost. I had to pump like mad to keep that balloon inflated.

I'm done with false facades. It's time to release my power and reveal the darkness at my core. It's a risky move. It will make many of those I love uncomfortable; it will drive some away. So be it. It's time to stand witness for those for those who were used and discarded, for those who fought and fell. It's time to speak truth and let the chips fall where they may.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Ken Pearson breathed his last on Monday night. Pneumonia finally did him in, as it does so many. He was in and out of consciousness on Friday, but never responded or opened his eyes. The stubborn old Swede held on longer than anyone could have expected. The will to live was strong in that one; in the end, it was like sitting with a breathing corpse. His spirit was completely gone, but his body insisted on taking one - more - breath. Then another. Then another. Tough old bird. It was a long time coming and hard to watch, but you gotta admire the sheer perserverance. Poor old guy.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dear Mom,

There are so many things I miss about you, I can’t begin to tally them all, but today, I miss being able to call you up and complain about my life.

I’m on the other end of the mom continuum now, I know the drill: my daughters call me, they’re upset about something, they tell me their troubles, I comfort them. That’s how it works. I don’t question their motives or strategies, I don’t suggest alternatives. It’s not my job to tell them what they've done wrong, it's my job to tell them that they are absolutely right, always, in every situation. Very occasionally I might suggest a slightly different approach, not because my daughters are WRONG – they are never wrong - but because the world is full of assholes who obviously don’t understand this basic, universal truth. Sometimes, I explain to my girls, you have to humor these idiots to get what you need.

Then we laugh and talk about what’s really going on. I listen closely for clues and labor mightily to keep my solutions to myself. They don’t call me for solutions, they call because they need to hear their mama tell them that everything is going to be OK. So, that’s what I tell them. I like to think that, more often than not, they hang up the phone with a load off their mind and a new sense of purpose. I know I did when my mother used to say the same things to me.

I understand that this is not a two-way street. I can’t cry on my girls' shoulders; it would upend the natural order, rob them of their trust. They would never be able to lean on me again, and that’s the worst tragedy I can imagine. I can’t talk to Mr. Oblivious, the man for whom the phrase “the sound of silence” was invented. There’s no one left in my life I can pour my heart out to, no-one who will listen intently without judgement and tell me in every situation that everything is OK.

Mama, whenever I was sad, sick, sore, sorry, whenever I couldn’t see my way clear through the darkness and despair, you’d tell me that everything was OK. You'd say, “don’t let ‘em beat you. Don’t let ‘em keep you down.” You knew whereof you spoke, didn’t you? Those words came from deep experience. I’m feeling beaten down today and god, do I wish I could hear your voice.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Heracletus v. Pythagoras

In the last few months, I’ve written posts about a) my inability to deny my intrinsic nature and b) my ongoing, daily efforts to create an identity. Which is it, girlfriend? Is there something distinct, unique about each and every one of us? Some intrinsic quality that we are born with, dare I call it a “soul?” Or is creation a constant flux defined by action, foreword motion, change?

The early Greek philosopher Heracletus believed that change is the foundation of all creation. He is credited with the saying, "Everything flows, nothing stands still." Heracletians believed that fire was essential element that defines existence, and fire is nothing but constant consumption. He is the source of the famous aphorism that no man can step in the same river twice: "We both step and do not step in the same rivers." In other words, there is no permanent reality. Change is all.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was Pythagoras (he of the theorem), who apparently believed in a constant, essential universal structure derived from mathematical principals and moral certainties. “Apparently” because none of his original writings survive; the only evidence for his philosophy is the testimony adherents made decades, and even centuries, after his death. Much of their evidence is muddled and contradictory, but it seems clear that he believed in an immutable soul. Life, to him, is not a process of becoming; it is a process of uncovering that which already exists. He must have been encouraged in these beliefs by his mathematical discoveries. "The area of the square built upon the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the areas of the squares upon the remaining sides" doesn't change. It is, was and always will be.

So, which is it kids? Are there fundamental, eternal truths that underlie all creation? Or, are we nothing but change, forward motion, will manifesting as action?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bitter Blue

Coming down out of the hills west of Weed yesterday, a hundred horses grazed in a tawny field, massive Shasta and the autumn sky in the background. Azure with a hint of indigo is, for me, the color of nostalgia made manifest. That soulful, bitter blue sends a shiver of pleasure and pain deep into the root of my being. Why am I so enamored by the end of things? The alpha and the omega, the high and the low; I'm a sucker for a dichotomy, always seeking balance in the chaos.

For many years, I had two small Maxfield Parrish reproductions on either side of my door: "Ecstasy" on one side, "Contentment" on the other. I guess that was my idea of balance; clearly, I don't much relate to enlightenment, I only know what I feel. Age has cooled those passions somewhat, but not much.

Do any of us ever really know one another? Admittedly, that question came out of left field, but it has been much on my mind lately. The secrets we keep from each other, the truths we cannot tell ourselves - do we ever know ourselves? And, if we don't know ourselves, how can we know others? How can anyone know us?

I am constantly rewriting the story of my identity, continually improvising a new sense of self. I have no idea when or where or how the climax of the story will come, much less the dénouement. I have no idea what the morale of the story is; I make it up as I go along, negotiating the border between ideal and reality. The angel on my shoulder has to live in this world just like everybody else.

But, the hag of the hedges rides alone.

We think we know someone and then they do something that we consider to be so completely out of character it makes us question whether we ever knew them at all. I guess I'm glad to know that I'm still capable of surprise. I wonder though, am I capable of surprising others? Could I, would I, take a hard left turn out of the deep groove that I've dug for myself? Unhitch the traces, open the gates and run free?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Predator and Prey

Driving home late Tuesday night, a big buck Elk with a full rack of antlers, 4 points to each side, was making his way towards Cottonwood Creek. I stopped the car to get a better look at him, rolled down the window. He lifted his magnificent head and, without the slightest quiver of a muscle, vaulted over a barbed wire fence and majestically stalked off into the night.

The next night, driving home late again, I saw a cougar cross the road in the very same spot, a flash of tawny hide that I thought for a moment might be a bobcat. Then my headlights caught him full on, illuminating the breathtaking size of him, that long twitching tail. I tried to angle the car lights to catch a better glimpse, but he slipped into the underbrush and was gone.

In the waning light of autumn, I am confronted by predator and prey. Can’t get more primal than that.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Woah Nellie

This photo was on the front page of today's Medford Mail Tribune:

And they call this a Blue State. I beg to differ.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Horns of the Dilemma

Here's the kind of question we ask ourselves in the Colestin: if a guest wakes up with a massive black eye, the direct result of extreme overindulgence crossed with gravity, was the party a success or a failure? A bunch of boys held the Testosterone Olympics in the meadow this weekend. The moonshine came out in the middle of the afternoon. There was much smoking of substances and cooking of meat, followed by cigars and more drinking, capped off by a semi-conscious header into the creek in the middle of the night. Yup, that's a party alright. I may have to revive talks of a liability waiver. Just kidding; my beloved friends and family are all adults who take responsibility for their own choices...I hope.

I freely admit, the meadow encourages this kind of behavior. Nobody's driving anywhere, so you might as well drink. As Ed put it, our place has the "fuck it" factor, as in "let's go to town...naw, fuck it." There ain't a lot to do but sit around the fire and imbibe. Although, really, what's better than that?

My falling down drunk days are behind me (thank the goddess), but I don't begrudge them in others. When I used to drink, my hangovers where so vile and violent, I literally thought I was going to die. It was no fun anymore and, if it ain't fun, what's the point? Nobody drinks for their health. But, if it's still fun for you, mazel tov says I. Park the car and have at it; just have a story ready for the wife when you show up in the morning hangdog, hungover and sporting a huge shiner.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Crank it

Sometimes starting a show is like starting an old car. We walk onstage, turn the key, and listen to the engine crank throughout the first song. Will the battery die? Will we give it too much gas and flood it? Will the engine ever turn over or are we going to have to get out and push all night long?

Last night’s Green Show was a little like starting an old car. I was turning the key and pumping the gas pedal through the first couple of songs, wondering if we were ever going to get this old jalopy moving. When the car won't start, I tend to pump the gas and flood the engine. No-one wants to see a performer work; it’s our job to make it look effortless.

The engine finally caught during “Dark as a Dungeon” a slow, somber song about the miner’s life; "the dangers are double, the pleasures are few." Sometimes the jump-start we need can’t be achieved with “harder, faster, louder.” Sometimes that kick in the pants comes from going deeper into the soul of a song. I have to be quiet and listen hard to catch it, but it’s almost always there.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I'm a far cry from sleep tonight but Sequoia is out like a light. He drove to the Bay Area and back in 24 hours; brutal. This was his final visit to his family home; the sale closes on September 3. 57 years the Pearson lived in that house; boggles my mind. For me, growing up in California was defined by transience; everybody moved, then moved again. Up, down or sideways, it almost didn't matter which direction you were heading as long as you kept moving. I grew up in a culture that valued mobility, freedom, the right walk away whenever you chose. How do you think all those white people made it that far west? We come from a long line of leavers.

The Pearsons took a different approach: they dug in and started acquiring. Sequoia himself has been indulging his badly suppressed hoarding tendencies. I guess that's how he deals with the stress. The amount of stuff he keeps bringing back with him! Some of it is precious, like his grandmother's steamer trunk, but most of it is trash. Ah well, it must bring him some kind of comfort. Clutter makes me a little crazy, but I'm holding my peace for now. If there are still boxes of crap stacked about the house in a month's time, well...

I spent a couple of hours visiting Ken this evening while Sequoia made the epic round trip.. Aristotle tells us that tragedy arouses pity and fear leading to katharsis. Ken takes me to the place of pity and fear, but I'm a far cry from catharsis yet. Maybe that's why I can't sleep.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Peek a Boo

Someone asked me today why I haven’t posted in awhile.
Aw… I didn’t know you cared.

Frankly, I didn’t think anyone actually read this blog. I thought this was an exercise in self-involvement; mental masturbation if you will. Now that I know yer out there, I’ll watch my mouth.


Let’s see, what’s happening that I can report on? There were nine, count ‘em NINE homeless hippies camped out in the meadow last week. How they got here is a long story involving my brother-in-law’s ex-wife’s step-son (how’s that for six degrees of separation?) Suffice it to say they were unexpected, but charming. Every last one of them was “cute as a button, dumb as a trout” as my friend Eric says. So sure of themselves, so certain that the world is cleanly divided into black or white, right or wrong. They have yet to discover the gray areas, but the life has a cure for that particular malady, doesn’t it?

I remember certainty. I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.

Starting Saturday, here’s my schedule for next week:
Saturday morning – BTGS plays the Farmer’s Market (talk about incongruous…)
Saturday afternoon – Brenda’s wedding
Sunday morning – drive to Tiller
Monday afternoon – drive home
Tuesday morning – work
Tuesday afternoon – see American Night
Tuesday evening – rehearse with Hamfist
Tuesday later evening – rehearse with One Night Band
Wednesday morning – work
Wednesday evening – Hamfist plays the Green Show
Thursday work
Friday – Hamfist plays Tease
Saturday – collapse in a heap.

Pray for me campers, I think I’m in for a bumpy ride.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


O Poesy is on the wane,
For Fancy's visions all unfitting;
I hardly know her face again,
Nature herself seems on the flitting.
The fields grow old and common things,
The grass, the sky, the winds a-blowing;
And spots, where still a beauty clings,
Are sighing 'going! all a-going!'
O Poesy is on the wane,
I hardly know her face again.

The bank with brambles overspread,
And little molehills round about it,
Was more to me than laurel shades,
With paths of gravel finely clouted;
And streaking here and streaking there,
Through shaven grass and many a border,
With rutty lanes had no compare,
And heaths were in a richer order.
But Poesy is on the wane,
I hardly know her face again.

I sat beside the pasture stream,
When Beauty's self was sitting by,
The fields did more than Eden seem
Nor could I tell the reason why.
I often drank when not adry
To pledge her health in draughts divine;
Smiles made it nectar from the sky,
Love turned e’en water into wine.
O Poesy is on the wane,
I cannot find her face again.

The sun those mornings used to find,
Its clouds were other-country mountains,
And heaven looked downward on the mind,
Like groves, and rocks, and mottled fountains.
Those heavens are gone, the mountains grey
Turned mist--the sun, a homeless ranger,
Pursues alone his naked way,
Unnoticed like a very stranger.
O Poesy is on the wane,
Nor love nor joy is mine again.

Love's sun went down without a frown,
For very joy it used to grieve us;
I often think the West is gone,
Ah, cruel Time, to undeceive us.
The stream it is a common stream,
Where we on Sundays used to ramble,
The sky hangs o’er a broken dream,
The bramble's dwindled to a bramble!
O Poesy is on the wane,
I cannot find her haunts again.

Mere withered stalks and fading trees,
And pastures spread with hills and rushes,
Are all my fading vision sees;
Gone, gone are rapture's flooding gushes!
When mushrooms they were fairy bowers,
Their marble pillars overswelling,
And Danger paused to pluck the flowers
That in their swarthy rings were dwelling.
Yes, Poesy is on the wane,
Nor joy nor fear is mine again.

Aye, Poesy hath passed away,
And Fancy's visions undeceive us;
The night hath ta'en the place of day,
And why should passing shadows grieve us?
I thought the flowers upon the hills
Were flowers from Adam's open gardens;
But I have had my summer thrills,
And I have had my heart's rewardings.
So Poesy is on the wane,
I hardly know her face again.

And Friendship it hath burned away,
Like to a very ember cooling,
A make-believe on April day
That sent the simple heart a-fooling;
Mere jesting in an earnest way,
Deceiving on and still deceiving;
And Hope is but a fancy-play,
And Joy the art of true believing;
For Poesy is on the wane,
O could I feel her faith again!

John Clare

Coming? Or Going?

Once again, I find myself involuntarily involved in a game of “approach, approach, back away.”

Once again, I have no idea how I got here.

Why does this keep happening? Why are the passive-agressive drawn to me? If I could figure out what I do to attract them, I'd quit doing it.

I guess I need to develop better defenses; keep my guard up, keep my distance. Less trust, more suspicion.

What a world.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer Nights

Driving home through the night, the smell of ozone and damp asphalt evoking the summers of my youth. Storm rising in the south, a band of black across the wild profusion of stars. Lightning flashing from cloud to cloud, the bursts and fades partially obscured within the bank of thunderheads. When I finally arrived home, I stood stretching in the driveway and almost fell over backward tracing the milky way with my eyes.

Another late night playing at the Prospect Trophy Room. The audience outnumbered the taxidermy, but not by much. We shared the bill with our pals in 8 Dollar Mountain. I was so tired that I could only stay for a few of their songs, but they sounded great. The bass player plays an electric stand up bass; it looks and sounds pretty sweet.

Awaking early to a heavy sky and the faint smell of smoke, I willed myself back to sleep and dreamed vividly of my recently deceased boss Peter Thomas. I was in room with a bunch of work folks. At one point the actor G Val Thomas was sitting next to me; at another, Artistic Director Bill Rauch was watching me from a window. I was bitching vociferously about some work outrage, consciously choosing to air my grievances in detail, even though I knew Bill was listening. As I was ranting, I noticed that Bill was gone and Peter was sitting next to me, looking at me with deep and genuine compassion. Peter was a compassionate man, but that wasn't really his default mode of expression, at least not with me. He and I loved to bitch and dish about work absurdities, and his sense of humor was wicked. In my dream, there was nothing remotedly wicked or cynical or ironic in his countenance; he was beatific. He listened to me complain with such love on his face and, in a kind and supportive tone, suggested that I talk to the HR manager. I threw out some excuse about HR being a big part of the problem, but then, unbidden, I immediately recanted. I said that he was right, I shouldn't bitch about work unless I was willing to do something about it. Then I woke up.

Lying in a post-dream fugue state, I tried to recall what had set me off in the dream. I could clearly recall the conversation with Peter but, try as I might, I could not remember what I was complaining about. It was a specific incident that felt real and important, but I couldn't recall a single detail.

Another message from my unconsciousness: It does no good to complain unless I'm also willing to do something. Am I willing to change that which I cannot accept?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I’m taking a poll. What would you do in this situation:

A friend sent me an email asking a question. The question required me to do a little online research. I then replied with an email that contained the requested information and several pertinent links. I received no response.

Should this person have acknowledged me with an email saying “thanks”?

I’ve quizzed a couple of people on this issue. Most say they would have replied with a “thanks.” One person said that she never sends one-word replies because they clog up the recipient’s in-box for no good reason.

Myself, I ALWAYS say thank you whenever anyone does anything for me. If I didn’t, my mother would roll over in her grave.

I was sorely tempted to send one last email saying "yer welcome, asshole," but I refrained. I'll probably just let it fester, as is my usual practice. Of course, that leaves me with this residual bitterness. How do I off-load it? Part of me wants to call him out on what I perceive to be rudeness; the other part of me thinks I'm being petty.

Is it too much to hope for one small gesture of gratitude in this surly world?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lifestyle Choices

I’ve been living off the grid for 13 years now; no power lines, no phone lines, no propane delivery. We didn’t make this choice because we’re ecologically “pure.” When the local utility quoted $45,000 to bring out a power line, the choice to invest in alternative energy was clear.

Living off the grid does not require a 19th century lifestyle, but it does require commitment and consciousness. We have to do periodic maintenance on our battery array and twice-yearly repositioning of our panels (we don’t have a tracker – yet.) We never, ever leave a light on when we exit a room. I turn off the shower as I wash my hair and turn it back on to rinse. All of our electronics are plugged into power strips to eliminate “ghost loads.” Our house is heavily insulated and its passive solar construction keeps us deliciously cool in the summer and above freezing in the winter . Our woodstove is small but efficient and, you know what they say: wood warms you twice, once when you cut it and once when you burn it. We do not make superfluous trips to town; if we’re out of milk, we’re out of milk.

"Lifestyle upgrades" require power, but not as much as you might imagine. I refuse to be a martyr to ecological purity. We choose to stay “plugged in” and have purchased enough panels to support that choice. We receive TV and the internet via satellite and lobbied our cell carrier until they finally upgraded our tower to digital. I can surf the web, but I don't have a microwave or a dishwasher or a toaster (heating elements are notorious energy hogs.) We have a washing machine, but not a dryer. (Personally, I wouldn’t use a dryer even if I lived on the grid. With a clothesline outside and a drying rack inside, who needs one?) I have an electric toothbrush but no blow dryer.

Our commute would make a compelling SUV commercial, but I spend much less time in my car than my friends who live in the suburbs of major metropolitan areas. The only traffic jams on my road are caused by free-range cattle.

My lifestyle definitely does NOT save money. It will take a lifetime to recoup our upfront and ongoing investments in panels, pelton wheels, inverters, back up generators and batteries. My lifestyle is not going to save the planet. When I compare the carbon footprint of our commute, well pump, woodstove, back up generator and replacement batteries to our carbon savings on lights, appliances, air conditioning and heating, I figure we come out dead even or maybe a little ahead.

My advice: Don’t choose this lifestyle unless you’re willing to work hard and do it yourself. It’s not for those who are easily discouraged. But, if you’re up for the challenge, it’s pretty sweet to be “the captain of my fate, the master of my soul,” at least, electronically speaking.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

When The Spell is Broken

Richard Thompson resonates in my core.
"...When the spell is broken
(Can't cry if you don't know how)
Oh when the spell is broken
All your magic and your ways and schemes
All your lies come and tear at your dreams
When the spell is broken
(Can't cry if you don't know how)
When the spell is broken
Now you're handing her that same old line
It's just straws in the wind this time
When love has died,
There's none starry-eyed
No kiss, no tears,
No farewell souvenirs
Not even a token, when the spell is broken..."

When is enough enough? When is it time to cut losses and throw in the towel? Let the chips ride on the sure thing or throw it all down on the long shot?

I came to the crosssroads and chose a path. Is there no going back? Lately I find myself pulled in an opposite direction. I don't know where that impulse comes from and I don't trust it, but I can't get it out of my head.

We're all heading to the same destination. The risk and reward comes from the paths we chose to follow and the paths we leave behind.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that oppositesex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."

God bless Judge Walker!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

And then, the rain

I love the smell of ozone in the air, don't you? The Colestin is reborn after yesterday's thunderstorm. It droppeth as the gentle mercy of heaven on the place beneath. The dust is laid, the weeds softened, the creek freshened and my windshield is washed. Hallelujah.

Spent most of last weekend in the swimming hole, doing yoga on the beach while breathing the heady scent of the last of the mock orange. As the end approaches and the bushes drop their blossoms, the scent becomes sweeter, stronger, more compelling. I take that as a metaphor.

Change is in the air this summer, isn't there? Claire, Lauren, Sierra & Grace heading off to high school in the fall, young Cooper almost as tall as I am, the Smith family moving to Boulder Creek, Ezra getting married, Jimmy newly single. It's a whirlwind.

The biggest change for Sequoia and me has been moving his dad into foster care. The Danville house is for sale and we're already riding the roller coaster of offers, counter offers, etc. We need to sell as quickly as possible because Ken is officially out of money. His expenses are about twice his income and guess who's on the hook for the difference until the house sells? But, we also want to be good stewards of this resource. It's all that Ken has left and must finance his end-of-life care. As is always the case, the competing interests of those involved are creating the potential for conflict. How's that for guarded? Bottom line: it's stressful.

Sequoia is handling it beautifully, as usual. He applies his considerable skill and experience to every challenge. Every decision he makes is based solely on the best interests of his dad. When he looks back on this time, he will never need to reproach himself. I'm married to a Real Man.

Monday, July 19, 2010

To Thine Own Self...

When I was little, I loved a cartoon called Tooter Turtle. Every week Tooter Turtle would ask Mr. Wizard to turn him into some outlandish identity - a Wild West sheriff or a movie star or a lion tamer or something. Mr. Wizard would say to him (in a thick Nordic accent no less) "Oh no Tooter, I don't theenk you would like to be a sheriff." Tooter would beg until Mr. Wizard relented and turned him into whatever. Of course it always ended badly for Tooter, usually in a paroxysm of fine cartoon violence. When Tooter couldn't take it any more he would holler out "Take me home Mr. Wizard! I don't want to be a sheriff (or a movie star, or a lion tamer) any more!" And Mr. Wizard would intone, "Drizzle, drazzle, drozzle, drum. Time for thees one to come home."

All to illustrate that ancient, venerated lesson: to thine own self be true. We can't deny our essential nature.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blooms Along Cottonwood

As if on cue, all the mock orange bushes bloomed at once, masses of white flowers on green hedges that line the waterways. They smell like heaven. The flower that Tom calls Sea Foam is at its peak. If that's not what it's called, it should be; it is perfectly described by its name. The Tiger lillies are also in full bloom, but the Shasta lillies are done. There was 7 foot tall Shasta lilly with 21 blooms down by Queen's Bath this year.

Y'know, I think what we call Tiger lillies are really just different variety of Shasta lillies. They don't look anything like the pale pink/white lillies, but both varieties are called Shasta lillies.

I was never very good with the botanical names. I just love the way they look and smell.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Old Times

"A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Live and Let Live, but WTF?

I lurk on the local Craigslist Musician's site and saw a post today that left me scratching my head:

"looking for musicians that live for jesus not just playing and live for themselves and the world jesus says not to be luke warm but to die to the world and yourself and live for him"


"i play all styles of jesus power metal hard rockin blues...i would like to start a christian musician fellowship where all christian who love to play music can get to know each other and pray with each other and work together to connect musicians with one another and find out who god wants us to play with"

Assuming god wants anyone to play "jesus power metal hard rockin blues." But I digress from the serious business of soul saving at hand.

"only serious sold out on fire christians who have a calling from god to spread the gospel warriors for christ that there weapon is there instrument to come against the devil and sin in this world no groating or screaming just quality vocals in harmony to spread the word of jesus christ let's die to our flesh and pick up our cross if you have the annointing and got your life together right with jesus grown up in christ not just for fire insurance but doing everything to be a mature on fire christian lets rock."

The mental image of sold out on fire christians spreading gospel warriors for Christ will haunt me for days. I don't expect correct grammar, usage or punctuation in a Craigslist post, but is it too much to hope for coherence? Live and let live but, damn, learn to speak the language, will you?

Don't forget: no groating.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Once Upon A Time

Jim and Hope, 25 years ago this month

Monday, July 12, 2010

Praise the Lord

News from the Front

Sorry I’ve taken so long to follow up on the photos of the camp out. btw - for some reason, the blog is hiding some of the posted photos. I can't figure out why, but if you click on the title "Colestin Camp Out 2", it will reveal additional snaps.

June was insanely busy, but July is less frenetic. Time to spread some gossip.

With Ezra & Manda’s wedding and subsequent honeymoon rapidly approaching and Joe’s trip to Alaska on the horizon, Hamfist is taking a breather in July. We will play a short set at the wedding, but we don’t have another gig scheduled until mid-August. It’s a good thing; we need time to recharge our batteries. I’ll be using the hiatus to dig through the American song books for tunes that lend themselves to a thorough shit kicking. We shift back into high gear in September.

The Bathtub Gin Serenaders is going through changes of its own. Kerissa, the resident vixen and shit-hot musician, will play one more BTGS show in July before heading off to Portland to start a PhD program (that’s right boys, she’s beautiful AND smart. Unfortunately for you, she’s also taken. Eat your hearts out.) We will audition new singers this weekend. I’ve auditioned actors before, but never singers, so it should be interesting. Bryan the uke player has also decided to call it quits. Despite all the changes, the band is really coming together sonically. The fiddler and the reeds player are totally amazing; they complete outclass me. I’m learning so much just listening to them. I completely support the leader’s vision and I love the material, so I’m going to hang with this project as long as it’s viable.

Since I’m clearly a glutton for punishment, I signed up for one more year of the One Night Band, a motley assemblage of OSF company members who get together for a couple of Green Show performances. I’ll be playing mandolin and singing on the Led Zeppelin song The Ballad of Evermore. Fun fact: that’s Sandy Denny singing the high part on the original. She's one of my musical heroines and the only woman to ever record with Zepellin. She rocks my world.

My brother Greg and I have rented an apartment in the Haight for the weekend of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park. I’m so looking forward to hanging out in the city and being able to walk to the venue. If you find yourself in the city during the first weekend in October, drop in for coffee or beer.