The sun will never disappear But the world may not have many years
— John Lennon, “Isolation”
In the summer of 2020 I contacted visual artist Jim Morphesis to ask his permission to reprint his private reply to Rudy Perez in response to Part 2 of my Portrait of Rudy Perez series. Jim had reminded Rudy of how the two had met on July 24, 1981, when Rudy appeared on Rona Barrett’s television show.
I often am disappointed viewing pop concert videos shot from the audience. Bad sound, bad visuals, bad time. So when my old friend David Moreno asked if I’d heard that Joni Mitchell played Woodst—er—Newport on Sunday I was happy for her, but after hearing audio at the tail end of an NPR segment on Monday I thought I’d wait for the movie. Tonight YouTube as usual pushed Mitchell my way and I bit.
The following playlist is out of order; the artist enters on Brandi Carlile’s stage on track 3, with “Carey’s” original twang: dulcimer, my instrument in high school. I was snagged. The, mm…, videographer can be forgiven any less-than-perfections as can the somewhat ad hoc feel. There are some treats.
Just shy of twenty years ago the then-named Dixie Chicks were pilloried for daring to criticize W for his impending Iraq invasion. They responded with their masterpiece of resistance, “Not Ready to Make Nice.” I bought that album for my wife Andrea Carney, who liked the now-named Chicks. She converted me. Rick Rubin’s impeccable production was akin to what he’d done with Donovan’s Sutras and Johnny Cash’s several American Recordings: let the people play!
Five years ago this month I posted a lengthy review of Martin Aston’s encyclopedic Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache: How Music Came Out.1 Last week one of Aston’s subjects came to life as it was pushed my way courtesy of YouTube: 1964’s “Have I the Right?” by the Honeycombs. Lyrically it’s reminiscent of Sixties songs that became gay and lesbian bar hymns. Think Sinatra’s “Strangers In the Night” (1966), Bobby Darin’s version of “My Buddy” (1962), Connie Francis’s “Where the Boys Are” (1961). Such songs were appropriated by this social set, but its membership included a few of the hymnists as well.
Last Thursday my wife Andrea Carney and I visited the Denver Art Museum to see the homegrown exhibition on the theme of La Malinche, nearly twenty years in the making.1 This was our first door-darkening since Covid-19 hit. During that time, and for three years before, the museum had undergone a major renovation. A little history…
Ten days ago Rob Berg and I rounded out the Bachelors Anonymous studio catalog with The Big Picture. Rob came up with the album title and the cover design: a rainbow emerging behind us as we frame ourselves (at a 1990 New Year’s Eve party held at the home of Anne Atwell-Zoll, who sang backup with Ann Russell). My first thought was that the rainbow is passé, but with the resurgence of a loathing that never left, I’m reminded of those peace symbol posters from an earlier era: Back By Popular Demand.
While searching for half-remembered short films on the theme of public restrooms last month (see In the Can), I ran across a parody of “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen” posted last fall as a commentary on the trans* bathroom con-troversy.
The performer, Christopher Trautman, explains:
This song was recorded in North Carolina. The only State in the United States that passed a law specifically directing that the restroom you use must be based on the junk you possess. It was later repealed after a national embarrassment campaign [led] by Comedy Central where they opened a food truck called Bone Brothers Barbecue in downtown Raleigh and discriminated against everybody who they determined to be gay… which was everybody.
That barbecue pi—er—bit, which aired on The Daily Show in 2016, was by Roy Wood Jr., assisted by Jordan Klepper. It’s hilarious and is, mm…, cued up below.
Colorado Public Radio (CPR) reported ten days ago that the U.S. Department of Justice “has complained that Colorado violates federal law by not providing adequate services to transition people with physical disabilities out of nursing homes and back into the community.” It was the following statistic, however, that startled me: “From 2013 to 2019, only 269 Coloradans with physical disabilities transitioned from nursing facilities to the community, according to a multi-year review by the Justice Department.” That’s less than forty people a year and a little more than one per the 231 facilities in the state over those seven years.1 The implication is that nursing homes are warehousing people.
I know from personal experience that this is a reasonable conclusion, but the problem is more complicated than it sounds. Nursing homes are one part of a system full of holes.
Rob Berg and I released a thirty-year-old song by our band Bachelors Anonymous last week on the the occasion of the Winter Solstice; it also happened to be the birthday of Michael Tilson Thomas, whose work we knew as guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the early 1980s.
“What’s This Feeling?” asks a question that Rob posed to himself, and his affecting account is in the latest post from our BachelorBlog.