“Out of the schools and into the streets”

1972 Demo still

On Sunday afternoon a comrade in the effort to change the name of our neighborhood posted the following regarding George Floyd and so many others:

For those of you with kids, I thought you might want to know about this peaceful protest happening at Central Park on June 6th 9:00am

Not knowing the neighbor who organized this protest, I thought the image that accompanied the announcement was a little tone deaf. Continue reading ““Out of the schools and into the streets””

Left the Nest: Jimmie and Penelope Spheeris

Magic Empire Shows ad

Years ago I was surprised when my brother Richard told me that filmmaker Penelope Spheeris was singer-songwriter Jimmie Spheeris’s sister. She: creator of The Decline of Western Civilization, the punk rock doc I saw only last night, tho’ I saw the bands she shot. He: creator of ethereal ballads I found amongst my brother’s LPs when I returned home to Boulder from Los Angeles in the ’70s while he was living abroad. Continue reading “Left the Nest: Jimmie and Penelope Spheeris”

Death be not proud: We’ve Been Here Before

Oriental Mourning

There were varied responses to an earlier pandemic, and I first read the following poem in a 1989 collection, Poets for Life: 76 Poets Respond to AIDS. David Kalstone was James Merrill’s friend whose study of Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, and Robert Lowell was cut short by his death in 1986. Caro is an Italian endearment.

There were varied responses. What are our varied ways today? How to be in solidarity in a time of distancing? Continue reading “Death be not proud: We’ve Been Here Before”

Symonds, Whitman, Rossetti and Rake

Outrage cover image

Before Christmas I checked out a book from my little public library branch: Naomi Wolf’s Outrages: Sex, Censorship, and the Criminalization of Love. I had a lot of other things to read and left it for last, not knowing what it contained, vaguely recognizing the author’s name. Turning to it, I recognized Wolf’s photo. If nothing else, readers might remember her defense of Julian Assange when he was accused of sex crimes in Sweden. I thought the book would be a history of censorship, but it’s more comprehensive. By introducing and then returning often to her cast of characters, Wolf creates an intimate narrative against the mise en scène of her historical sweep and sociopolitical stance. Continue reading “Symonds, Whitman, Rossetti and Rake”

“Eat the book”: Electric Evangelists 2

Saint Francis @ Walmart

This second and likely last installment of Electric Evangelists (see Part 1) looks at longer works by two composers, both choosing to present religious texts simply spoken atop electronic scores. The third and fourth pieces are artifacts of pop culture, coupling SoCal evangelical eccentricity with European élan. The last composition contains no text at all. Continue reading ““Eat the book”: Electric Evangelists 2″

Falling Awake: Joseph Shuldiner (1957–2019)

Joseph Shuldiner

Yesterday my friend and collaborator Rob Berg messaged me that my old, dear friend Joseph Shuldiner died. Of a brain tumor. It’s a cruel joke: I’m the one bingeing on cheddar cheese, and last week I was told to go on statins.

My heart goes out to his spouse Bruce Schwartz, his sister Judy, and to all he’s touched.

Joseph and I go a long way back, but hadn’t corresponded for several years. Looking for a photograph last night I came upon a half-dozen file folders containing the following mementos. Continue reading “Falling Awake: Joseph Shuldiner (1957–2019)”