Saturday, March 31, 2012

LOUISVILLE Vs KENTUCKY


I REMEMBER MAMA 1983
         Temecula, CA – It was during my first writing gig and I was living in Louisville, KY, a beautiful old river city located on the Ohio. Louisville is a very cosmopolitan river town with a rich history. The Kentucky Derby is held there and is the only major sporting event that has never been segregated, at least in the infield which is the spot for all the 99%ers. The 0ne Percent sit in the stands. The Derby started beforethe first Jim Crow law was ever enacted because America didn’t start out racist. It became that way after people like George Zimmerman’s father, a retired judge, switched the country onto the racist track it is still on today. Luckily I talked to my grandfather who was born before the turn of the 20thcentury. Seventy miles ESE of Louisville is Lexington, KY, voted one of the cleanest cities in America.
        Lexington also has a rich history and really is the top spot for many Kentuckians. Louisville with its cooperages, tobacco manufactures, and riverboat atmosphere has always been a place that was different from the rest of the state. Besides the freer culture, bounded by a much bigger river, and having a much less distinct southern/hillbilly dialect, many Louisvillians ‘notice’ the out of town speech of new arrivals as hick-ish. Louisville is still the biggest city in the state, despite the ‘uni-gov’* consolidation of 5 counties now under the Lexington banner [officially Lexington-Fayette Urban County]. In the 60s, rightly or wrongly, Lexington’s white picket fences became the symbol of ‘a place for everyone and everyone in their place’ state/country racial barriers. And though located in the heart of the Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region, called the "Thoroughbred City" and the "Horse Capital of the World", it is and has always been Louisville’s Kentucky Derby that the world comes to watch.
        Living in Louisville’s west end, I was unaware of the rivalry until my friend Clarence Knox, a U of L grad popped over one day to tell me the news, “Louisville was going to play Kentucky in the NCAA semi-finals”. The year was 1983. I stared at him blankly at first. “So?” What did I say that for?
        For the next twenty minutes or so, a very animated Mr. Knox explained how the two schools never played each other, a position that Kentucky had cemented on purpose by positioning itself in a different tournament league. In fact, the last time the two colleges played each other on the hardwood had been in 1945.
       After wiping the sweat from his brow and calming down a minute, I reflected about how Coach Rupp vowed he would never have a black player on his Kentucky squad, and he never did. Taking his all-white team to the last NCAA championship game of his long and storied career, and winning it all won my respect for two reasons.
       First, he didn’t hide his feelings behind a sheet. He was racial and proud of it. Second, he showed that white men could indeed jump, keeping the rush to make basketball an all black sport in check once integration became the trend. I didn’t like him for being a racist but I respected him for his convictions and belief in his own skin color. I really believe in a similar position that Coach Rupp would have fired a Sandusky on the first report of sexual impropriety, unlike Penn State, Paterno, and the rest of the cast who turned a blind eye to the sexual plundering.
       In Louisville you could feel and see the hype as game time drew near. Red was everywhere; on buildings, houses, cars, and people. I got a U of L t-shirt and proudly wore it. The whole town, black and white, was all united like back in the Cassius Clay days. Outside of Louisville, it was all blue.
       On the day of the game and when the game was on, you could have literally walked into a bank and helped yourself, except that all the crooks were b-ball fans too. Any 911 call would have been directed to dial 912. In all my years of living in Louisville, there was less traffic than during a tornado warning. Only the return of Jesus would cause the same effect and then it would be a tie in the Neilson ratings in Kentucky. Indiana may be a hoops state in general, but when Louisville plays Kentucky everything else is second. No robberies, no sex going on, zilch, just the game and basketball parties. You can almost walk down the middle of Broadway and if there are any cars out, they will pick you and take you to a b-ball party. The power of sports is amazing, see Invictus.
       In 1983 the pick was Kentucky, much as it is today. Kentucky was the odds-on favorite to everyone outside of Louisville. They were bigger, more depth, more everything. Then the game started and the whole state entered the Twilight Zone, frozen in time. Kentucky roared off to a good start and looked like they would fulfill the predictions. However, Louisville played tough and stayed close, catching up and tying to go into overtime on a buzzer-beater. The whole state held its breath. I took my first piss break and my bladder thanked me.
      When the teams returned, something had happened. Perhaps because Louisville hadn’t been the rollover team they thought, or perhaps the Kentucky squad just ran out of gas, Louisville got the upper hand and won the day. When the game was over you would have thought it was VE day. Horns tooted, sirens blared, people danced in the streets, and the town celebrated for almost a week before turning back to normal. All that commotion and all I got out of it was a t-shirt. But what a shirt!
       It was a t-shirt announcing ‘The Dream Game’, with the final score listed and showing a clawing blue Kentucky Wildcat, cringing, as a big, red, mean-looking, but grinning Louisville Cardinal shoving a basketball up the wildcat’s ass (half the basketball was sticking out). Whatever the outcome of today’s game is, I’ll never forget that t-shirt and the Dream Game back in ‘83. Mercy!
 
(* - Richard Luger’s plan to keep political power in white hands by diluting the black political power arising because of the 'white flight' in the cities)

Friday, March 30, 2012

NIMBY NUCLEAR CONCERNS GROW


“HELL NO, WE WON’T GLOW”
         Temecula, CA – Today the story is that the nuclear plant just over the western hills and directly in our valley’s almost daily wind stream, San Onofre, is catching the attention of more concerned citizens (see recent NIMBY nuclear story here for the safety record of the nation’s worse operating facility and why). KTLA, channel 5 released the following report just today.
        ‘Concern over the safety of the San Onofre nuclear power plant is growing among Orange County cities closest to the facility, which has been shut down since January because of system failures. "San Onofre is being operated safely -- that's the bottom line," said Victor Dricks, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, came the retort. (Where does old Victor live, um?- Ed)
         Officials in nearby San Clemente and Laguna Beach -- both within 20 miles of the San Onofre facility -- have registered their fears after significant wear was found on hundreds of tubes carrying radioactive water inside the plant's generators. Residents in the Orange County beach towns for years have lived with the twin-domed nuclear plant as a backdrop. In San Clemente, which falls within the plant's 10-mile evacuation zone, city-issued potassium iodide tablets and siren drills have become a fact of life.
         But with scenes of the nuclear disaster in Japan fresh in people's minds and radiation levels many times what people were told by officials continuing still, the recent closure has raised consciousness about nuclear issues and prompted critics to double down on their disapproval. Many city officials are now calling for the decommissioning of the San Onofre site. The plant's just renewed license is set to expire in 2022. Another ‘thank you’ to man of ‘change’ aka Bush Lite.
         "The plant should be shut down, period," said Verna Rollinger, mayor pro tem in Laguna Beach. "I have never supported it, and I wish nuclear energy wassafe because it's a relatively clean energy source, but it's also so dangerous that I don't think we should be counting on that for our future energy needs." She added: "I think people are concerned, and for good reason."
         The mayor of San Clemente, Lori Donchak, wrote to federal officials asking that they demand a permanent disposal place for spent nuclear fuel that accrues at 600lbs a day under regular operation, and others have asked that they consider expanding the evacuation zone beyond the current 10-mile radius [to include Temecula, Murrieta, and Menifee]. At press time it remains unknown if anyone else in the valley, city officials and the Save Our Southwest Hills, are even remotely alerted or aware of the danger. If they are, it isn’t noticeable.
         Federal regulatoryofficials said the facility remains safe and the process to repair the damaged tubes is part of the effort to ensure those living nearby aren't endangered. Given the lies and cover-up attached to the Fukushima incident by their regulatory officials and that people with kids are encouraged not to leave the area, I don’t get a ‘warm and fuzzy’ from that federal assurance. That’s especially true when the plant in operation turns a million dollars a day in profit to its operators. Or put another way, would you stop your aids-infected hooker from 'tricking' if she was bringing you in a Mil a day?
         Now with that facility off-line for some time but with power still flowing to homes and businesses without interruption, some have asked why it needs to come back into service. "The question is," Rollinger said, "how difficult would it be to go without it?"
         But ‘the Man’ always has an answer if you are stupid enough to ask a question. Southern California Edison, which operates the San Onofre facility, said San Onofre is vital to providing electricity to a densely populated, high-consuming area like Southern California, with 20% of the region's electricity coming from nuclear plants.
         "San Onofre is critical to that grid stability," said Jennifer Manfrey, a company spokeswoman, who added that the company is ‘making up for the difference by purchasing power from different sources on the market -- a solution that can't continue indefinitely, particularly with the increase in consumption in the summer months. Other clean energy sources, such as wind and solar, aren't enough to close the gap’.
         But Marion Pack, a political organizer who opposes the facility, said the price for that energy source remains too high. "When you have to have all these safety measures," she said, "it says to me there is an inherent danger (to nuclear energy production)."
(All emphasis-Ed; this report was edited for content – Ed, please visit KTLA website for original wording)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

ZANZIBAR REVOLUTION HAS A HUMAN ELEMENT


ANOTHER OCCUPY MOMENT, SORT OF
         Santa Monica, CA – My friend John Diaz was in the Right2Know March late last year and from there with just a brief stopover at his house (and a ‘Welcome Home’ from wife Suzanne) he opened up his no-GMO table at Occupy Los Angeles where we met. The fact that we met at all is a wonder, given the ‘3 ring-big top’ atmosphere at the foot of the south City Hall stairs in downtown LA. Even the LAPD used to joke that all the ‘serious occupiers’ were on the north side of the Daily Planet building. Well Sports Fans, even the cops didn’t have a clue on this one. Everyone at OLA was serious with karma was bringing together the people who needed to meet. Because I met John, I got to see a revolution in Zanzibar, a human revolution.
         First though, let me give you the skinny on Zanzibar, the club. As I stood there in the mostly empty parking lot watching my ride there pull off into the night, I received a confirmation from John, the tennis pro and the initial reason for my LA Valentine Holiday. He was on his way to the Club Z. On his personal voucher, I was there to see an artist that he became friends with during the R2Kmarch, see Occupy archives. “You’re gonna love this guy, I can just tell from the (type of) music scene you have told me about,” John had said over the red phone when the invite first went out. “If you can just get to LA, don’t worry.”
         I walked across the street to the Zanzibar Club at 1301 5th Street in Santa Monica, a city that previously I had only been  to for its famous beach boardwalk and Ferris wheel. Tonight Lu Fam Pro Entertainment was starting their Luminous Movement project to ‘activate yo booty chakra’. This premiere event featured the CD release party for the album Small Town by The Human Revolution with Amae Love. What is The Human Revolution? It is a band and an organization raising conscious awareness about the natural wonders of the world.
         After talking to two young women who were also waiting to see the headliner, again, in their case, I got a clue about the fan base. Simply put, the crowd is reminiscent of the core Java Joz/Cuppy’s Burner bunch that would practice spinning poi in front of the fabled Murrieta coffee shop venue. What is a burner, you ask? See the picture below for the 1000 word explanation.
         John pulls into the parking lot with two buds. One is his partner for an upcoming tennis tourney and the other is a camp-mate from OLA. The four of us roll up into the Zanzibar Club, a name that seems a dusty memory from some music group story but just as familiar somehow as the sight of the ‘Daily Planet’ city hall building. So much of LA and the surrounding area has been featured in the public eye that being in the city seems like being on a movie set. It’s pretty trippy, folks, and enchanting.
         The club has a ‘been there for a while’ feel to it, but not the shopworn look like The Roxy. In fact, the inside of the club has a definite hipster edge to it. The crowd is young city types who dress clean, but not bro style. The spotlight graphics beaming over the long front stage are abstract designs, not pictures or images that are political or cosmic.
         The long front stage runs the length of the club’s side wall and bends around the back wall. The drum riser fits into the corner ‘V’ comfortably while the first half from the door back showcases the two DJs with more than ample space. The rear half proves to be enough room to handle all the members of the Human Revolution. The front-man who also strums a big acoustic guitar is Human. He looks barely 25 but as I find out later he has released six CDs, two of which I picked up that night.
          Small Town is the latest, with The Love Revolution the 2008 release. Both CDs are excellent but exhibit quite a range of musicianship in style. Neither album is similar to the other in material and I can’t wait to see John again since he bought 4 that night. I’m anxious to sample the earlier releases but for now that’s in the ‘save something for the sequel, Rocky’ category. Both albums I obtained contain some chart toppers and toe tappers but it is the lyrics that have some meat on them, an observation that I shared with my radio DJ friend, Catter, recently. However, I didn’t buy two albums because of the lyrics. It was the live stage performance that sold me, that and the crowd reaction. Before the last song played, I knew that John pegged this one right on the nose, er, ear.
         Also performing with Humanwas a fiddler who played the instrument like it was a violin; drums, percussion, bass, a lead electric guitar that sometimes dueled for the solo with said fiddler, and Amae Love, also on vocals. Together this band, more a tribe, really rocked it. After I left the front of the stage [watching the band] when the set ended, I got a chance to meet Human as he was chatting it up with John. i shook his hand on a fine show. He is very cordial and accessible, a pleasure to meet. Definitely an ensemble musician, Human is extremely adept at gathering other artists talented in their own right to make his music come to light as art.
         However, most of my readers know many of my stories are not one dimensional and the same is true here as this 2007 award-winning music video shown below will testify.
         Before our little group returned to the parking lot for a ‘safety meeting’ with added member Michelle, a leggy Romanian recruited by John to the label GMOs [John is a babe magnet with a purpose] petition effort, I asked Human if he knew the last name of Mary Jane, the personalized moniker for marijuana. He stared at me with a quizzical expression on a smooth face that doesn’t seem to want to grow much hair yet. “Green. It’s Mary Jane Green. But hey, you alreadyknew that,” I said with a sly smile.
         We hugged as brothers, parted, and I followed the crew out to the parking lot after copping the aforementioned CDs. I love LA!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bel Vino winery announces Tapas and Wine events

Bel Vino is Southern California's friendliest winery. Join us every Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m. for Tapas & Wine Pairings. Each week, a different tapas menu is created by our international award-winning chef, Jorge Alvarado, and paired with our award-winning line of Stuart Cellars wines.

No reservations required. $9.95 for Tapas only, $19.95 for Tapas & Wine pairing.

33515 Rancho California Road • Temecula • California
BelVinoWinery.com - (951) 676-6414

Saturday, March 24, 2012

FUNK FITNESS


LOCAL CLUB A SCENE CHAMELEON
          Temecula, CA – When I relate to my LA friends that have come because of my participation at Occupy LA,about how ‘magical’ this valley is, I always use an example as a metaphor. The latest instance is the local club that has changed owners more times than Maverick has been dealt aces. In the latest possession, the name was briefly changed to something ‘brand new’ [Red Lounge] before common sense for a small town prevailed. You see, in the big city a new name means a crowd to check out the ‘new’ digs but in a small town, a new name means a lot of ‘what?’; where is that?; aehhk. So in the end the new owners kept the name the same as it has been for years, Aloha J’s.
         Over the years Aloha J’s has been the scene for bros, gays, rockers, burlesque, sports, and of course, some of the town’s best drinkers, including a few that I know, hic, Elyse. However, now on Sundays, to use an old Monty Python tagline, they have something completely different, and that’s just half of the story. So in the nature of the Calendar, here’s the whole story, starting first at the valley’s scene chameleon, Aloha J’s.
         The new menu of entertainment at AJ’s on Sunday is as follows, 8-10PM is stand-up comedy; 10-12Midnight is open mic with offerings featuring singers, rappers, music acts and dancers; and from Midnight until 2 the club rocks to old school funk hits played deftly DJ’d by Kool Boy, a pop ‘n’ lock dancer who used to live in Murrieta but now resides in Menifee, CA, which is just down the road on the other side of the mountain that has Lake Elsinore on the other side [for all my new out of town readers].
         It was once said that clothes make the man but nowadays it is clothes that make the connection, at least in my case. At the last Afroman show which sold out the Tilted Kilt, I met Kool Boy because I was wearing my satin Afroman jacket and KB thought I was part of the entourage. Kool Boy had been on an Afroman tour of several months before the show so it was a natural mistake. KB was part of a dance troupe that opened for Afroman, if memory serves me right. KB’s artistic talents have been working the Sunday Aloha crowd now for a little over a month.

        The LA Times featured a story 3 months ago about the show Kool Boy put on for LA’s Skid Row district with Ronnie Hudson. For the style of dance that pop locking is, just follow this link
        Now all of you that are really into fitness, the latest exercise craze sweeping the country is the Latin/Spanish music infused program called ZUMBA. It is the number 1 style going on right now but that may change if Kool Boy has anything to do with it. Initiating a program called ‘Funk Fitness’, KB has been test marketing the idea around the IE. So far, the regiment that is based on exercising to old school funk hits, songs we are all familiar with like Jr. Walker’s Shotgun, has been wildly popular at every gym KB has plugged his new program into, even pulling a hundred people away from a ZUMBA romp.  
       Another creative new twist invented or thought up in this enchanted valley.

Friday, March 23, 2012

MAKING ART BETWEEN THE STREETS


BRUNNING DOWN THE HOUSE
         Echo Park, CA – When I ask my peeps in the scene how they feel about LA, the answers always fall in two slots. It’s either ‘I Love LA’ or I hate LA; there is nary a wishy-washy in-between. For my readers who have never been to Los Angeles, or to New York City for that matter, it is easy to find reasons not to like living in ‘the big city’. After my week long stay in the Big Apple back in high school, I understood the tagline, “It’s a great place to visit but…” Before Occupy LA I used to feel the same way about Los Angeles. That all changed when I got to see the Blade Runner level of the town, without all the rain.
        Having been one of the oldest communal gathering spots [settled September 4, 1781] and the least racially divided, there is a mystery that is the art/style of the place and the people. This same quirk, if you can call it that, is also found in the architectural variety of design found everywhere around the city. When you spend two months on the ground, sometimes in the rain and wind with the people of LA, Angelinosas they are called, rather than just swooping in as a passenger to see a show like youse lived in Joewzee at twrdy-twrdy and twrd, something happens to you, especially if you are a romantic at heart. Being back in Echo Park, a hipster [in the nicest sense] area by night, for a Valentine Holiday was just the break I needed from the revolution.
        I’ve mentioned that LA is hilly. The hills are short and choppy so the city is built out and the hills are built in, making the landscape and structures multi-leveled like something drawn on a tourist t-shirt. I found this out one day as I walked along the Sunset Blvd overpass that runs over Glendale. Peering over the railing and looking down, I noticed that the end of the block art gallery had an entrance on Sunset Blvd and an entrance on Glendale. How interestingly peculiar since the Sunset entrance only descended a floor at the doorway when I had seen it open on nights of past visits to the district, see archive OLA stories. I made a mental note to come back later that first Friday in town, as my Spidey sense was tingling.
        Returning that night to the last doorway on the block which was now open with a sign announcing Rafa’s Lounge, I sidestepped the raised first step and walked down the one flight of concrete steps to the lounge floor. A turn to the left in one direction revealed a sitting room with a table in the center and walls where paintings or drawings were hung. However, a turn to the left and straight, led down a hallway and an angle to the right with more small rooms on the left and on the right a cutout revealing a cabaret, complete with a stage and café tables. All this, the hallway and the cabaret butted into a bar where the signature painting used on the lounge business card hung. The painter is Rafa, a full-time welder [his day job], full time artist [paints and sculpts], and part-time gallery operator [Fri-Sun, most weekends, 1836 W. Sunset Blvd, Echo Park, 213-413-4464, next to the vintage clothing store] of Rafa’s Art Lounge.
        Getting the grand tour from Rafa who was the only one there when I entered at around 8PM, the mystery of the two entrances on two different streets was solved. At the hallway turn to the right for the cabaret area, should you look to the left, a short hall reveals another flight of concrete stairs, this time leading down to Glendale Blvd. Though new to me, Rafa is in his 15thyear of hosting the gallery spot and I’ve heard a Brit owned the place, which is like a redecorated large apartment built between two street levels, before that. The tour also reveals the talent of Rafa; in the style of the cabaret décor which is the most recent addition, in many of the paintings, and in the metal sculptures that are found here and there.
        Winding back over to in the sitting room, Rafa showed me the work of the current artist in residence, William Brun. ‘Mr. Brun is expected later this evening at any minute’, said Rafa to this reporter but alas, I was done, with my curiosity sated, it was up the stairs back onto Sunset as Rafa called, “He’s here! William Brun is here.”
        I turned and walked back down between the streets to discover art being made.
Gathered at the table in the sitting room were several artists with William Brun at the head of the table end away from the entrance. One of the artists was actively sketching a comic book panel and as I found out later, this was Michael Jasorka (see Close Encounters of the Graphic Kind).
       William Brun is in his 70s and he credits his long career as an artist to the undying support of his wife Melinda. Sporting a ten o’clock shadow, and being the senior fellow, we all chimed in our outlook on the current state of affairs as I threw in my most recent Occupy observations for feedback from a well seasoned mind. In the end we were all left with points to ponder upon before William untied his bound together portfolio to show some of his work to me.
       We had started conversing about picture art rather than music which is my usual beat. That was a pleasant change for me. All of us dropped the names of our favorite pop culture artists and experiences as we chilled between the streets. From time to time I would see a guest stroll past the hallway door headed to the cabaret. I told William of the art scene in Temecula as I talked of the valley, the mountains, the clean air, and the magic of the area.
       “I am a 20th Century artist. My canvases tell allegorical tales spanning over 44 years. I’ve been making images, expressing my thoughts as I record my family, my friends, and my models on canvas, paper, and computer prints. I am always ready to exhibit these works of art to the world.”
       I would label the art style of William Brun as classic modern retro and I feel a showing at the Merc would draw patrons, especially fans of T-town talent Sherry Williams. Because if pictures were music, William Brun’s art would be jazz!

William R. Brun, artist, 213-925-5652, or PO Box 75359, Sanford Station, Los Angeles, CA 90075





Thursday, March 22, 2012

BREAKING NEWS – CALI SEZ NO TO CITIZENS UNITED


OCCUPY IS WORKING – HOW?
        Temecula, CA – There is exciting news for those who want to overturn the horriffic Citizens United vs. FEC Supreme Court decision, which opened the floodgates for unlimited amounts of corporate money to corrupt our political system. The California state Assembly just voted to passAJR 22, a resolution calling on the U.S. Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and send it to the states for ratification.
       AJR 22 now goes to the state Senate. If it passes there, California will be among the first states to officially call on Congress to amend the Constitution to undo Citizens United. The Occupy Movement is working because it is still [and started] bringing notice to issues that are finally getting the attention they deserve to attract a sheeple America to do the right thing. Evil cannot stand a spotlight on it. You don’t get mugged on a well lit street. Also see any recent article about Jason Russell and really research Joseph Kony. Zimmerman and Sandusky are Art Linkletter and Mr. Ed next to Kony.
      Sadly, we might need to work really hard to get unlimited corporate money out of politics and re-establish the common sense and democratic view that only people are people, not corporations. With 85% of the public opposed to the Citizens United decision, there should be a potential for a broad coalition of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who allwant to restore our democracy. If there isn’t, you better start looking for Plan B. For now your state senator, Joel Anderson, needs to hear from you, regardless of where he/she stands on this issue.
      It won't be easy to pass a constitutional amendment.
We need to show all the state senators that their constituents are part of a broad movement demanding action — not only to convince them that overturning Citizens United is the right thing to do, but also that it's possible.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

ETCH-A-SKETCH THIS


DON’T BE MANIPULATED – WRITE-IN RON
         Temecula, CA – It seems that every day more and more the curtain is pulled back to reveal that the word ‘citizens’ has been changed [without your apparent knowledge or consent] to ‘subjects’. Our ‘public servants’ have become our ‘public overseers’, our rights became laws and their laws have become our rights, because money is speech and corporations are people. One percent control the 99% and at press time, one percent, less than one percent actually see what is really happening. Between the circle of clowns and a man who divides the country along racial lines, for good or ill, stands the man who gets ignored by everyone but the common folk. Don’t be railroaded, as the correct political term is, make the jump back to America…
now 

GLEEFULLY, OUR MAN SAM


TEMECULIAN JOINS THE GOD SQUAD
         Temecula, CA – After talking to my friend Catter about his placement of a Samuel Larsen song in his radio playlist highlighting the T-town underground music stars on his upcoming show from LA (stay tuned here for all the details on the debut), he asked if I had seen the  FOX TV show Glee that now features Sam in a continuing 7-arc role. “Been covering the revolution” was no excuse as he said in his radio DJ voice, “Well you’re back now.” So at the first opportunity I decided to check out the hit ensemble series and see my friend in action. Boy, was I surprised, at both the show’s premise and Sam’s acting chops. I always knew he could sing since the 15 North days, but WOW!
         Looking much the same as when we did the Inverse music video Do You Wanna (see below), Sam(uel) joined the cast for the show episode ‘Heart’ which was broadcast 2/14/12, apropos since Sam showed plenty of that in his first outing. In a cast filled with handsome people and colorful characters to say the least (my high school was nothing like this nor had any of these student issues, like lesbianism, to deal with; only racism, a teacher/student affair, and Fonzi types). Sam, with his bohemian good looks and dreadlocks, still stands out as someone unique. It makes me proud of a valley which can offer something and someone completely different to the world stage of Hollywood television. That’s stellar and another music star that I can say ‘I knew you when’ to.
         Unfortunately Lee Koch wasn’t as lucky on The Voice, though I suspect he may have been the victim of being caught in the middle of drama against his sponsor, Christina Aguilera, more than just outdone in fair competition. Here’s hoping he keeps his promise to return to doing music again as he was quoted to say by Vanessa Franco in her weekend piece.
         Sam’s character is named ‘Joe’, who arrives at the school as a transfer student and is Christian. Immediately he is attached to the God Squad, a small group of performers headed by the plump black girl who is a regular lead in the series, judging by the amount of screen time and dialog. Back in my day like in Ferris Bueller, my school was divided by race [except the few of us who were color-blind] and the usual categories, like gear heads, dweebs, jocks, nerds, the ‘in crowd’, etc. In this musical drama the high school kids are separated by talent – Glee – and it would seem by sexual orientation, wealth, and religion. In fact, Sam’s first episode centers on whether ‘Joe’ will be part of the God Squad who take a fundraising job to serenade a lesbian couple with a love song. Christian Joe makes the right decision and we get to see the girls kiss, not just a peck, in the last reel.
        Although the singing is overdubbed, Sam’s voice stands out even in the group singing bits as distinctive. His look which you can see in the photo  is intact and the writers even made ‘Christian’ use of his dreads. In the final grand finale number, if you look closely, you can see a cast member girl grab ‘Joe’ and whisk him off camera. Not sure if that is part of the plot but I guess I will have to watch the next episode to find out. I catch the show on Hulu since I don’t watch television per se.
Congrats Sam, when I see you next I won’t ask for an autograph, just a hug and a handshake, and of course all the backstage dirt [off the record]. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

MOTHER’S KNOWS BEST/I LOVE LUCILLE


CONFESSIONS FROM AN OUTSIDE AGITATOR
         Santa Ana, CA – Welcome back for the conclusion to my latest Occupy weekend. For the sake of brevity and cutting to the chase, in my last report I revealed the bottom line for the motivation of Occupy. The forces that plunder this planet are serious and scary, cough Jason Russell’s breakdown, but the rebel forces aligned against this evil are no slouches either. Didn’t we all cheer at the end of the first Star Wars? So in this report we meet some GMO rebels, get a confirmation that short range atomic weapons were used in Vietnam, and find out another reason why Orange County was chosen for a TV series. This entire segment is brought to you by Mother’s everywhere.
         For a TV series to be named after a specific location, that location must be unique. Orange County is all of that, being transformed from largely agro to a world class center for economic and medical businesses. Not bad for the smallest county land-wise in California. Sharp ideas are stock-in-trade for the real OC. One of the sharpest, cutting edge ideas is also a friend of the people who are trying to make a difference in California, and by extension, the nation, in the food supply. And wouldn’t you know two of the most sentimental names are involved in both, Mother and Lucy, or in this case, Lucille.
         Since 1978, beginning in Costa Mesa, Mother’s Markets have been providing organic, locally grown produce, sports nutrition, supplements, herbs, plus free seminars, cooking classes, books on proper health, bath/body care, and house wares, but it is their kitchen, deli, and juice bar that are the nemeses to a poor outside agitator’s wallet. Manning a table inside Mother’sat the Santa Ana location was a look inside a different world for me. I don’t eat healthy so I can’t compare food prices with the local healthy markets of Spouts* and Henry’s, but I can tell you this. Any store that supports the GMO labeling efforts of John and the right to label GMOs by allowing sign-up tables inside the store is on my ‘solution’ list.   Mother’s owner Lucille made that happen at all 7 of her locations. That was great too because the weather on St. Patty’s day was very Irish but wearing my neon green 3-sleaved GMO awareness t-shirt seemed to keep me out of the really blustery quall that blew through the parking lot periodically as I dashed back to John’s truck occasionally.
         Despite the weather the store stayed busy and more than 50% of the people we asked “Are you aware of GMOs” said that they had already signed our petition. John walked me over to the deli/kitchen/juice bar area during a rainy break from customers entering the store to show me where it was. Before the day and night had passed I walked myself back there several times to gobble up some food stuffs that I was familiar with, like freshly made diet tuna salad, and some that I wasn’t, like Sconehenge’s yummy lemon poppy seed cake servings. Had two of those. Over the course of the day I chased a dry mouth first with some Prometheus Springs** Lychee Wasabi Capsaicin spiced elixir, [Mama Mia, that’s some spicy juice extracted from chili peppers], and later by trying a smoother, if different, swig of Rob’s Really Good*** Swirling Cucumber drink. Guess what, it was really good so I wound up having two of those puppies over the course of the day into night stint.
        The store is well lit and reminded me a lot of where I usually shop when I go to my closest super market. The prices weren’t as bad as you might expect from a health food supermarket and the whole place smelled fresh, especially by the roses which rang out an aisle away like incense. When I questioned some staff about a piece of chocolate that I plucked from a POS box dispenser, it was the deli dept mgr who found said box at the checkout stand for me. There is so much variety of products that I had simply forgotten where I had copped them from. (For a close themed store replica, see 'The Simpsons', 3/412 "Exit Through The Kwik-E Mart"/Swapper Jack's episode)
        This event wasn’t an 'occupy protest' though the sentiment for being outside the box is clearly evident in both Coni (Connie)and Jerry, the two volunteers that John and I joined up with when we got to Mother’s just before the real rain hit. Coni had all the zeal of a new recruit to the cause and the intelligence of a ‘professional student’ maiden. Slim, bright, and serious, she had pages of notes to check on from the comments of petition signers, an intelligent lot all.
       Sporting a bit more grey, actually quite a bit more was Jerry, an Army Ranger vet from the Vietnam War days. Eager to relate the difference between his group and the type of ‘special forces’ that ‘killed’ Osama Bin, he clarified, “We was goons with guns” in a still thick Brooklyn accent before showing me a picture of himself with other members of his squad in Tayninh, Vietnam. Among those members was the son of the man who broke the sound barrier, Chuck Yeager’s son, Don. Upon seeing this and hearing of Jerry’s tour duty, I put this statement to him.
       “I have written a book [to be published] that has a mention of American troops using atomiccannons utilizing low yield devices in Vietnam to clear jungle areas. I was shown pictures of it, called a Long Tom, by one of the squad members back in the day.” His reply.
       “275MM with a range of thirty miles.”
       But it was Jerry’s young at heart attitude that won me over as he shared his life story with me capped by the motto espoused when his college enrolled daughter asked him if he wanted to live in a senior care center. (Those places) are ‘God’s waiting room’.
       Long after Connie and Jerry had put in their shifts and a few others had been recruited to carry the petition drive forward, it was time to call it a night. John made a phone call to his better half, an ad sales exec for a century old boating magazine named Suzanne, to fix us some vittles, and we were off, concluding our latest adventure together. After a delicious no-GMO meal of pasta mixed with Wahoo and cod, covered in a tasty red sauce, all prepared by Suzanne, John hit the sack and I enjoyed a glass of organic wine as Suzanne told boating and magazine tales about a job she obviously enjoys. As Jerry had showed me pictures of two of his five sloops, it seemed a fitting end to a rewarding two days of raising awareness on the western front of LA and in the real OC, especially for an outside agitator from Temecula, like myself.

(* - Sprouts gets Honorable Mention for spreading autism awareness about the correlation to the increased vaccination schedule and autism, see archive story; ** - bears USDA Organic Seal; *** - bears FAIR TRADE Certified Ingredients seal; all emphasis - Ed)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

SPOTLIGHTING EVIL HAS BLOWBACK ON KONY 2012


COMMON REACTION IS COMMON
         Temecula, CA – Stories break when they break and even a ‘Lois Lane with a penis’ can’t be on top of every story. While I was participating in this weekend’s Occupy/No GMOs event, the news of Jason Russell’s alleged mental breakdown reached me in a debate over the film’s propaganda pitch to help NATO/USA forces encroach the area for American economic control. While we may all be radicals, we found out in Occupycamp that we still see things differently from each other’s POV. So when this disturbing news reached me, my first reaction was to defend my friend and the cause for which he has poured out his life for. Hang in there, Jason, for this too shall pass.
         The official story is mental stress from the negative blowback caused by the short film KONY 2012. This story is believable because when you are unknown from the general masses, you can pretty much say your opinion to anyone and people who agree, will; others will ignore you. When you become ‘huge’ and well-known, every action, every word, every opinion of yours suddenly becomes the property of everyone. In this light the focus leaves what you say, feel, and care about, shifting entirely to and on you, the individual. When you are in the spotlight, the pressure is intense and suddenly very personal.
        However, for this ‘mental breakdown’ to occur when it did suggests two possible avenues which will NOT be found in any of the ‘usual suspect’ accounts regarding this episode of behavior. The end result of both is what Jason is suffering through, which is public ridicule as a person rather than more scrutiny of Kony. Just remember this Jason; they talked about Jesus Christ, are you any better than he is? A wise older man once departed those words to me when an idea of mine was derailed by detractors who waited a year before enacting the very suggestion I proposed. The reason for this was to avoid paying me a handsome sum for the suggestion.
        Diverting attention away from the idea/cause to focus on the initiator is a tried and true way to defuse an issue. This tactic is used in politics all the time and by the 0ne Percent when they get caught with their hands in a cookie jar, i.e. rape of a hotel maid. However, Jason Russell is no hotel maid, politician, or newcomer to the spotlight, so how did this event unfold and what was the spark of ignition? As I said before, IMHO this mental breakdown was brought about by one of two actions.
        The first action is what I call ‘The Winning’. This designation is in reference to Charlie Sheen. About a year before Charlie ‘fell apart’ on Two and A Half Men to become a laughing stock in the biz, he was making the talk show rounds involved in calling for a new investigation about 911. People were taking him seriously until the story of him boozing and coking it up with skanks (i.e. hookers) in some hotel broke. I wondered if someone slipped him a ‘goofball’ to get him started down the coke line. Once you’re spun and some wench (or two) starts handling your package with one hand while teasing you with her tongue in your ear, you could be the Lone Ranger but still your silver bullets are going to get melted down.
        The second and for me the more (Sherlock Holmes style of what’s logical) likely deduction is that Jason Russell was hexed by Joseph Kony after all the attention about him hit the fan. For the real-life drama illustrating this phenomenon, please either read the New Testament or watch the movie The Rainbow and The Serpent. Both sources depict the results of such entanglements. As stated here previously, conversations with Jason and Bobby (I believe) point up the fact that Kony is no ordinary or typical warlord type despot. If there ever was a man possessed of the devil, it is Kony. Spiritual warfare is the scariest of all because there is no defense against it that you can mount unless you too are such a warrior. A more recent movie showing this style of dilemma is Drag Me To Hell, a film illustrating that it matters not your innocence or motive. It also matters not if you are a Christian, except in nomenclature. Evil and its followers are no respecter of titles, as only knowing how to either protect or cast off the hex is valid.
        The prognosis here is twofold. Use the Bible’s words to cast out the demon/spell and ignore your critiques. I once saw an actor say that they never read their reviews. At the time I thought what an odd thing to do, not to want to see any feedback from something you took part in. Then I started to write in the public forum. That’s when I learned that if there is a reaction to something you did artistically/politically, that is the end result desired. Otherwise, let God judge your actions and fuck the rest. In current terms, “any press is good press as long as they spell your name right.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE GRAPHIC KIND


12/3/1967, BOMBSHELL COMICS
          Echo Park, CA – Periodically at the Calendar we get a novel for review. Though I can’t speak for any other writer here, all the book reviews that I do stem from personal contact just like my CD reviews. On my Valentine Holiday in LA not long ago, I met a comic book artist as I sat at an art gallery lounge located slightly off Sunset Blvd, so to speak. He was sitting with a group of other artists at the table, one of whom I had just interviewed (see the upcoming Art Made Between The Streets). Looking much like a young, handsome, scholarly ‘Dewey Largo’ complete with longish locks, Michael Jasorka, who teaches cartooning, is a spokesperson for Herbert Schirmer, UFO contactee of 12/3/67.        
It should come as no surprise that interesting but quirky things can cross your path when you visit an art gallery that literally exists between two street levels as does Rafas Art Lounge, 1836 W. Sunset Blvd. What was in front of me this night was the first comic book I had seen adapted from a CD recorded conversation; said CD being attached to page 6, a dedicated page facing the beginning of Herbert’s story. Your instructions as the reader are to play the CD as you follow the graphic interpretation of Herbert’s actual words spoken to a group at a UFO convention.  
          In 1967, on December 3, police patrolman Herbert Schirmer, then 22 years old and a navy vet, had an alien encounter where he was abducted. Though he reported the UFO sighting in his log at 2:30 AM, it was when he was questioned about the time gap between the sighting and the arrival back at the Ashland, Nebraska police station that brought on the hypnosis session which revealed the abduction. Herbert’s complete story including his back story is told panel by panel verbatim from the CD dialogue. The result is like hearing a running narrative frame by frame comic story, very unique.
          For those who are not comic book aficionados, the obvious difference between comics and cartoons is of course motion. The comic artist must tell the story in a series of freeze frame panels that advance the plot pictorially within a standard format. This is best done through either the hero’s motion or emotion in the frame, preferably both. The non-linear use of the panel borders can also enhance story advancement and portray emotion like a virtual exclamation point. Michael Jasorka makes full use of all the graphic enhancements to tell Herbert’s story. The reason how and why Michael has Herbert Schirmer’s story is a tale for the sequel, Rocky.
          The comic, which is available at Stories, a bookstore about a block east of Rafas on the same side of Sunset, features a cover that is classic 50s-60s drawn in a style that is more Steve Ditko than Wally Wood, and depicts an occupied police car caught in a tractor beam being pulled toward a flying saucer against a starry night sky along a deserted Route 63 highway. In the lower left corner you have the standard dialog box announcing the contactee’s true story on CD ‘in this package’.
          The first 3 pages present reproductions of the newspaper headlines surrounding Herbert’s sensational story with other reported sightings and then the comic depiction begins. The book panels draw visual personality onto Herbert’s words giving an innocence not felt since Close Encounters of the Third Kind was a hit. The 7”x11” comic starts with the standard 3x2x3 panel page but soon abandons it for out-of-panel 3D, panel over panel overlays, and a full page dissolve [pp. 42] while throwing in a color swatch here and there to break the monotony of black and white drawing. As the story advances, the artwork becomes more complex and detailed, adding a more fleshed-out atmosphere to Herbert’s narrative of his roller coaster ride of UFO fame and ridicule. The last three pages again show archive headlines but this time spotlight Herbert as a MUFON speaker. Also presented are the hand drawings Herbert made of the 40’x120’ ship, the ship’s interior, the propulsion system used, the alien he talked to,     and the star system they came from.
          The first issue printing by Bombshell [www.bombshell-comics.com] is set to be a collector’s item. “CONVINCINGLY NARRATED - ACCURATELY ILLUSTRATED”
         And lest you think UFO activity has died down, have a peek at the latest UFO vid making the rounds on YouTube. Look fast though, because these types of stories get pushed under the rug like Ron Paul’s delegate results. When looking through Wikipedia’s UFO archives, Herbert’s story or any mention of it was scrubbed clean.