Wednesday, March 27, 2013

OPEN MIC EVENT TONIGHT FOR LARRY ROBINSON


SENSELESS KILLING SADDENS LOCAL MUSIC AREA

Temecula, CA – It isn’t often that someone is killed around here in Temecula, Murrieta, or Fallbrook. When
something like this happens everyone is shocked, however when the person killed is a musician loved and respected by the total local community, the tragedy takes on a whole new ripple. Last Friday night person or persons unknown, bound and gagged beloved musician Larry Robinson, then beat him savagely during a store robbery. On Saturday the 64-year old Robinson succumbed to his injuries.

Tonight at Sorrel Restaurant/Bistro, 41377 Margarita Rd, 7-11:30 p.m. [Wednesday, March 27], an open mic is planned to help the Robinson family with expenses. Robinson hosted the open mic nights there for two and a half years.
You can read about Larry here and here, in case you missed the news.

I met Larry Robinson twice and talked to him over the phone once. He had a clear baritone voice a little reminiscent of Johnny Cash but without the southern drawl. I know this because I met him one time at a Barnes & Noble in-store music show that featured an acoustic set from War Stories, a band fronted by Larry’s son, Evan.
Evan Robinson, son, and Larry Robinson, father, at Barnes & Nobles, TemeculaCalendar.com photo

War Stories is one of a few bands who came through Cuppys/Java Joz that made you ask yourself, ‘why isn’t this band famous?’ [If you don’t know the real ins & outs of the biz and distribution/radio play channels]

The night Ivan (of The Vault) and I rolled into the B&N set answered a lot of questions about the group’s back story on talent, at least for a quarter of the band. A very special treat was seeing father and son play several duets together. As a father, that moment especially warmed my heart.

After the performance I walked over and talked to Larry, not so much about his son, but about him since I had just seen him perform. In my functionary role of scene historian, I have seen many a parent of the scene performers, but Larry was the first performing parent I ran across. So we chatted. Afterwards I was gifted with his CD release. A few months later when I buried the hatchet in my ragging against city hall, I presented the city council, to several upturned eyebrows, a burned copy of ‘Old California Town’, the single.

I do believe somewhere I did a story about the new Americana and Larry’s CD.

R.I.P.  Edward Lawrence ‘Larry’ Robinson

Sometimes the Good don’t die young, thank the Lord.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

TOM’S LETTER TO GEORGE, DICK AND OTHERS



SOMEONE WHO DIDN’T RUN THE MARATHON, AND WON’T EVER

Temecula, CA – As we celebrate the war's 10th anniversary, the country’s demo falls into one of 3 categories: Those who believe the rhetoric, those who disbelieve the rhetoric, and those who don’t hear the rhetoric. The following letter released March 18th is from a person who falls into the second category.

Tomas Young

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney

“I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.

I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues.

Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.

I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.” – Tomas Young 


FROM TURF TO SURF – THE LA MARATHON



“WORST PARADE EVER”

Echo Park, LA – The story thus far; on a weekend trip to LA specifically to attend Mike Jasoka’s comic book release party for That Bike, I have tasted great neighborhood pizza, picked up a new Memoirsreader, partied briefly with my neighborhood hipsters, and re-upped my 420 goodies. Now, on a St. Patrick’s Day Sunday, the LA Marathon is running less than a hundred feet from my adopted door. I set my phone for 6:30 AM and hit the sack, snuggling up to the foot-warmer commonly known as H.P. Lovecat, a 20 lb. Morris tabby, on my borrowed couch.


The five hours later seemed more like 30 minutes but I got my act together and was out the door by 6:45AM, recalling an earlier conversation about the lights over at Dodger Stadium. Turned out the lights indicated a celebration dedicating the LA Marathon which would start at the stadium shortly. The race from the Dodger turf would include an early start for amputees entered into the event, and would run 26.2 miles to the ocean surf at Santa Monica, the fabled end of Route 66.

Walking up from the intersection on my side street to the marathon route, a main boulevard with two bus routes and a second bus company transfer intersection, the neighborhood has a number of commercial businesses along the thoroughfare, all ‘Ma ‘n’ Pa’. In front of one street corner market that features fresh veggies and is under new management from a 20-30s couple/family, stood two long tables end to end, stocked with clumps of fresh bananas. At first I wondered if they meant to sell that many to the crowds watching the runners, then it dawned on me. The bananas were for the runners even though we were only 5 miles into the course.   
After surveying my block I strolled down the hill to the next wide intersection, crossing the street to get a better view of the route. It was here that the first amputee roared past me, arms extended, riding a recumbent style wheeled vehicle. A few seconds later a pair using their arms to power them rushed past my vantage point. I started walking back toward the fourth mile which meant walking down the hill they were racing up; to walk up the hill that they raced down before starting up the hill I first saw them on.
The sight of these men and one woman, some with only half a body, propelling their selves in such a courageous effort after being through global battles on foreign lands, brought emotional tears to my eyes, and as I passed another person walking along the route, he too was wiping away a tear. That has never happened to me before though the last race of this type that I saw was The Bix, which isn’t a marathon.

Winding up at the corner of Temple and Grand, which is a few blocks past Hill around the 4-mile mark, my vantage point was excellent and the crowd, few and far between, usually consisted of some camera person. At this point the last of the last amputee racers save one had passed and the marathon for the non-injured group which started a half-hour later, reached my area.
The first person who ran past me wasn’t a person at all but a group. I knew without knowing, it was ‘the Kenyans’. Tall, slender, mahogany smooth and mahogany skinned, a group of men running as a unit in a bunch and in unison it seemed, went by me almost without a sound, before I could set and aim my phone camera. ‘Wow’, I thought to myself, ‘no wonder they always win.’
Two more groups of male runners a half minute later passed me separated from each other by a solitary white runner like a county mountie in freeway  traffic before the group of professional women runners ran past more hunched but just as bunched as the Kenyans. After that the fittest and most trained started through. I turned and started to walk back to where I was staying, now a mile away.

As I walked home slowly, a pulsating wave of people ran past steadily. They continued past me as I walked past the 1218 ½ Temple venue for That Bike release party. They continued past as I saw the family of the market wade out to offer cut chunks of banana to passing runners passing the intersection through the mix of blaring Latin/reggae rhythms coming from two PA speakers. They continued past small groups/families holding signs of support for friends as I walked by one family holding signage that read, “Worst Parade Ever”. 

The runners continued past my side street in full throng for another hour and a half, as I periodically stepped out on the balcony to witness the progress. Finally the flow dwindled to a few walking stragglers and I wondered about the long walk ahead for them. The marathon went from Dodger Stadium going through downtown, winding through Echo Park, Silverlake, heading west along Sunset Blvd before culminating at the Santa Monica Pier, the end of Route 66. The pier was still poppin’ when I stopped there for a sea bass burger [yummy and recommended at Pier Burger] on the way out of town.

You got to hand it to a town that not only rolls out the red carpet, but also takes the pains to do it on your neighborhood doorstop. Ivan of The Vault remarked after reading the article review about Scoops, “You always find the underground, Mr. Pete” but in truth, the underground finds me. I love LA, and I have a tee shirt to prove it, lol.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

LIGHTS OUT FOR CLUB DING-A-LING



THE BIKE PROM OF MICHAEL JASORKA

Temecula, CA – Often in some of my early stories about the music scene here, I talked of feeling a relationship, a mystical connection, to the land area known as Murrieta. Even now though I don’t still live in the city limits, I still have a Murrieta zip code. So I know a territorial smooze when I feel one as Murrieta was the first. It appears that my participation in Occupy LA opened the doorway to another area smooze, this time it’s the big city.
Now I know you can say, “of course LA is magnetic, like New York” so allow me to relate a simple tale of how the magic of LA is working its ‘smooze’ to enhance my infatuation for the big city. This is the first of two parts. Stay tuned for the second installment called From Turf To Surf, The LA Marathon.
Unlike the last visit to LA, see Songs Of Bilitis, this trip started smooth and finished smooth, in and out.

Arriving in the chilly city around 8 bells, my congenial LA host was set to be at a meeting until 10 or 11 PM. I had almost 3 hours to kill but I wasn’t worried. I had a loose plan and an interesting feeling which I couldn’t pin down, still can’t even as I write these words.
Tapping* out of the train station I boarded the Metro subway for my next transfer point for the trip to Wellsville, aka The Good Life collective. I was down to re-up (slang term, see Memoirs) and check on the book copies left there on consignment, not that I expected any sales, lol. However, I had planned in another stop first in my journey before hitting the ‘good life’.

On the corner of the block of buildings that house The Good Life and another collective called the Hot Spot is a small, long time in the neighborhood, non-descript pizza parlor named Pizza Pauls.
The interior, which opens to be larger than expected, is totally ‘old school’ with an artsy flair, [square café tables with plate glass tops beneath which lie play, musical, and other artsy postcard promoted events arranged at collage angles]. The darkened atmosphere reflecting from the hardwood walls is broken by B&W photos of famous people I have never heard of and both snow-white headed owner with his cook wife in the kitchen. The pizza, pepperoni, red onions, and green peppers, looks off a magazine cover. The taste is old school fresh with slightly bitter pepper chunks a delight. Though I get a small, I had two slices ‘left for later’ and still time to kill.

At The Good Life, Hannah, the young woman from Murrieta I originally met there, was on-duty, and I learned that another woman who works there had borrowed the display copy to read.
“Cool,” I assured Hannah and her sisters as I remounted another copy of Memoirs to the display rack. Then I chilled for about 30 minutes enjoying some medicated tea and a water bong in the patient lounge. Walking back past the Hot Spot which had a small packed ‘sausage party’ waiting room, a type of collective not unlike the local ones here when they were in operation; I marveled at the difference in atmosphere The Good Life was.

Arriving back in my adopted LA Echo Park hood, I looked at my phone and saw only it was 9:30PM, then rechecked the text. “Meeting lasts till ten, home about 10:30, 11”
Crawkie! I thought to myself but the night still felt energetic and after two hipsters walked passed me, I wondered if the place of the comic book release party might be just readying the place up for the next night. I pushed on after texting my friend that I was on his home turf.

Crossing the street and moving past my turnoff, I was only halfway through the next block before I saw something was going on at 1218 ½ Temple, a block, one story concrete, two stall garage style building, which during the day is ‘home’ to one or two homeless persons. On this Friday night, there are young twenty-somethings hanging out in front in small groups not unlike a high school club party scene. The dress is big city casually cool with artsy features heavily muted; it’s a night-time neighborhood off-downtown, read like ‘off-Broadway’ hipster happening. The changing silhouettes of light on the bed sheet curtains complete my high school flashback and confirm something is definitely happening, and of course, it is Friday night in LA, even if it is the quiet side of Echo Park.
Bypassing the $5 cover to gain access by dropping the name of my artist friend having the following night’s event, I did indeed locate my friend inside, social butterflying. 


The shindig was being hosted by a middle 30s something art promoter named Collin Manning, the curator who called his venue the DIY Gallery Lounge on this night. The party happening was Club Ding-A-Ling and tonight was the ‘reported’ last time call for the ding-a-lings. Collin had decided to move on to something different, a ‘new horizon’ as Michael called it. Seemed a pity since the place, which reminded me of the Cavaliers’ Club back in Louisville [KY] in being a bare bones room, with a bathroom in the rear and a set-up for a turntable, speakers, and a mic on a mat, had a good crowd. That says a lot and speaks to the need for such a place on that side of the Park which has seen a growth of hipsters in the otherwise ethnic section of the neighborhood.

Saturday night’s alright for more than fighting.

Michael Jasorka lives the artist that he is. Art is his life, not his hobby. As such, he travels in one of LA’s art circles and tonight is the night of his latest art effort from Bombshell Comics, That Bike.
As with December 3rd, 1967, the comic book story about the recorded true life UFO encounter of the fourth kind, That Bike is another true story, only this time autobiographical. Michael  is from the east coast and in Philadelphia Mike found a rare 1969 AMF (American Machine & Foundry and AMF bowling equipment) ‘muscle bike’ on a rooftop. This night ‘that bike’ is perched atop a table, completely restored and in semi original as-issued state. The comic book index adds notes about the ‘add-ons’ to the working model that Mike sometimes rides even at night. The book also includes re-created AMF bicycle ads and an NBHAA analysis of the bike along with historical photographs.
The venue this night is called the Krishna Kumar Gallery but has familiar face Collin as the curator however the room is transformed from the basement house party look to brightly lit gallery gathering, neighborhood style. Cheese cubes and crackers, Crown Royal, some red wine, while cans of Tecaté chill on ice. Small gatherings of people look at the hung original art drawings or read the photocopied archives lain about the table under ‘that bike’, but the ‘birthday boy’ of the evening is Mike. This is his Bike Prom and he wears the crown well, with a quiet glow of accomplishment. The book reading given later is perfect since it also includes a live slideshow shown to the UFO comic book recording.
As I bid adieu to Michael in the midst of a party still going on for the second time in as many nights, I spy Jessica standing in the doorway. She has come by to see the reception after getting off work. She and the featured artist were dating a month ago. The time apart actually allowed Michael to focus on the launch of his latest comic zine, and now perhaps get another dance at this bike prom.

I walked past one of the many signs attached to the sidewalk telephone poles (I hear the gasp from fellow Temec/Murrvillians) announcing ‘No Parking Allowed/No Bus Service’ allowed along Marathon Route. Turns out this weekend [last weekend now] is the running of the Los Angeles Marathon and I am staying less than a hundred feet from where thousands of runners will past in the morning.
(*- Tapping is paying the fare by ‘tapping’ a pre-loaded metro card against a fare box monitor; to be continued…)

Friday, March 15, 2013

THE SONGS OF BILITIS STAGE SHOW REVIEW



PAST SONGS FOR FUTURE WOMEN

Temecula, CA – The year after high school graduation I learned two things. When hired over the phone for a cool summer job, the opportunity disappeared when my tan hide showed up in person for the ‘white only’ gig. My Male High ‘American Dream’ life of equality didn’t extend past those hallowed halls of learning and there were other things undreamt of outside my humble philosophy, sexual things way past my virgin understanding of the birds and the bees.
Finding an element of adventure in attending an ‘after hours’ underground bar, I was sitting at a café table when I witnessed my first girl-on-girl kiss. Though not turned on or turned off, the scene was hypnotic and I wondered about the happy girl pair in the midst of the more typical couples at the table in this speakeasy kind of place. That was then.






Today we have the internet with access to everything, and I have my experience with the underground music scene at Java Joz and later Cuppys. Though never outted but sometimes hinted at, the 'scene' during those days was highly charged sexually. Visited sometimes by gay males and later by gay male circle ketches, the scene was more metrosexual, curiosexual, and bi-sexual. Now I also have a bi-sexual BFF who treats me like a sister, though she doesn’t divulge that side of her sex life to me, just the hetro side. Two women being affectionate to each other is the real world and I have long since accepted it. By the same token, I don’t dwell on the club photos of women grinding on each other just to titillate either.

When you look at the reality that everything told to you is a lie, save one, then perhaps the Adam and Eve role model of romance is part of the program for a weak drone society made strong again by capitalism, a male concept. With the changing of dominant roles in the next 26K year universal cycle from male to female, the inquiring/searching female of the future is that told of in Sappho love poems from the past. 


Sappho's poetry centers on passions and love towards various people of both genders. The word lesbian derives from the name of the island of her birth, Lesbos, while her name is also the origin of the word sapphic; neither word was applied to female homosexuality until the nineteenth century. The narrators of many of her poems speak of infatuations and love (sometimes requited, sometimes not) for various females, but descriptions of physical acts between women are few and subject to debate. Whether these poems are meant to be autobiographical is not known, although elements of other parts of Sappho's life do make appearances in her work; and it would be compatible with her style to have these intimate encounters expressed poetically, as well. Her homo erotica should be placed in the context of the seventh century (BCE). The poems of Alcaeus and later Pindar record similar romantic bonds between the members of a given circle. (All above from Wikipedia sources)

Though I did not recognize it at the time, I was part of such a circle when I was the only man in the circle of Max, Wanda, and The Widge, (see Memoirs). Though with no ‘bi’ overtones, the 3 girls and I enjoyed a poly amorous unrestricted relationship that I nicknamed ‘the wolf pack’ in Memoirs. It is with this newly realized mindset that I sought out the Greek erotica play Songs

In 1894 Pierre Louÿs, travelling in Italy with his friend Ferdinand Hérold, met André Gide, who described to them how he had just lost his virginity to a Berber girl named Meriem in the oasis resort-town of Biskra in Algeria; Gide urged his friends to go to Biskra and follow his example. The Songs of Bilitis are the result of Louÿs and Hérold's sharedencounter with Meriem the dancing-girl, and the poems are dedicated to Gide with a special mention to "M.b.A", Meriem ben Atala. (Again Wikipedia)

Outside research seems to reveal that the travel adventures of the two men were more on the order of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas since the two men smoked hashish/opium and consumed absinthe, two psychoactive drugs, with wild and reckless abandon. The Songs of Bilitis, a collection of erotic poetry, was published by Pierre Louÿs in Paris the same year in 1894.


The book's sensual poems are in the manner of Sappho; the introduction claims they were found on the walls of a tomb in Cyprus, written by a woman of Ancient Greece called Bilitis, a courtesan and contemporary of Sappho, to whose 'life' Louÿs dedicated a small section of his book. Louÿs claimed the 143 prose poems, excluding 3 epitaphs, were entirely the work of this ancient poet—a compilation from childhood innocence in Pamphylia to the loneliness and chagrin of her later years where she poured both her most intimate thoughts and most public actions.

On publication, the volume deceived even the most expert of scholars.Like the poems of Sappho, those of 'Bilitis' address themselves to Sapphic love. The book became a sought-after cult item among the 20th-century lesbian underground and was only reprinted officially in the 1970s. The expanded French second edition is reprinted in facsimile by Dover Books in America. This second edition had a title page that read: "This little book of antique love is respectfully dedicated to the young women of a future society."

Seventy years later, the first lesbian organization would call itself Daughters of Bilitis. Founded in 1955 in San Francisco, it was organized for lesbians to meet other lesbians while promoting the acceptance of lesbians as legitimate members of society.


Though the poems were actually clever fabrications, authored by Louÿs himself, they are still considered important literature. The poems were eventually exposed as a literary fraud. This did little to taint their literary value in the eyes of the readers, however, and Louÿs' open and sympatheticcelebration of lesbian sexuality earned him sensation and historic significance. After reading a few of the poems one wonders whether or not the drugs consumed actually opened them up to an astrophysical channeling from the muse Bilitis. The play Songs seems to suggest that possibility as the story of Louÿs is staged and played out in the simple but spacious darkened auditorium.


Through simple use of hanging curtains which can be lowered or raised to create stage vistas, most nudity and seduction scenes are played out in back lighted silhouettes with live ‘real time’ characters Pierre Louÿs, Meriem, friend Claude, and Pierre’s brother/sponsor, Georges, being out front with the mixed-media stylings of shadow play, puppets, masks and ritualized movement adding their best effect to the production. The staged play scheduled to end March 30th has an extended run until April 6th. Check below banner.

The Bootleg Theatre, which opened in 2006, added live music shows to the stage show plays about two years ago, thereby widening their prospective audience crossover market. To read the provocative poetry go here.