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Melancholy Odyssey Through the Folk Scene

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If it was never new, and it never gets old, then it’s a folk song,” Llewyn Davis says, brandishing his guitar during a set at the Gaslight. That’s a pretty good definition, one that certainly applies to “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me,” the chestnut that opens “Inside Llewyn Davis,” Joel and Ethan Coen’s intoxicating ramble through Greenwich Village in 1961, before the neighborhood was annexed by New York University and Starbucks.

‘Inside Llewyn Davis,’ Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

The Coen Brothers Look Wryly at Their Films
By MANOHLA DARGIS and A. O. SCOTT
The Coen brothers discuss nearly 30 years of making movies, including the mistakes they still make and their surprise at being mainstream, sort of.

inside-llewyn-davis-oscar-isaac-justin-timberlake
Oscar Isaac in “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

Llewyn’s repertoire and some aspects of his background are borrowed from Dave Van Ronk, who loomed large on the New York folk scene in its pre-Bob Dylan hootenanny-and-autoharp phase. Oscar Isaac, who plays both Llewyn and the guitar with offhand virtuosity, is slighter of build and scowlier of mien than Van Ronk, with a fine, clear tenor singing voice. But in any case, this is not a biopic, it’s a Coen brothers movie, which is to say a brilliant magpie’s nest of surrealism, period detail and pop-culture scholarship. To put it another way, it’s a folk tale.

The story — a wobbly, circular journey to nowhere in particular and back, with stops in Chicago, Queens and the Upper West Side — is nearly as old as narrative itself. An important character is named Ulysses, whose ancient wanderings inspired “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” the Coens’ earlier venture (also in the company of the music supervisor T Bone Burnett) into American vernacular musical traditions. The loneliness and romance of the traveling life are echoed in the ballads, sea chanteys and blues reveries that Llewyn and his fellow chirpers like to sing. The lyrics palpitate with the pain of loss and leave-taking: “I’m 500 miles from my home”; “I’ve been all around this world”; “Fare thee well, my honey, fare thee well.” Llewyn, still grieving over the death of his musical partner (heard singing in the voice of Marcus Mumford), is a bit more prosaically adrift, stumbling from one friend’s couch to another, wearing out his welcome faster than his shoes.

But if Llewyn is an archetype, he is also a familiar kind of Coen antihero, the latest face in the gallery of losers, deadbeats and hapless strivers the brothers have been assembling, over 16 features, for nearly 30 years. These dudes are usually at the mercy of other people, a hostile universe and their own stupidity. Above all, they are the playthings of a pair of cruel and capricious fraternal deities whose affection for their creatures is often indistinguishable from contempt.

Unlike Barton Fink, Llewyn is a genuinely talented artist. Unlike Larry Gopnik in “A Serious Man,” he is not merely the innocent, passive victim of cosmic, domestic and professional malpractice. He is, to some extent, the author of his own fate. “You’re like King Midas’s idiot brother,” says Jean (Carey Mulligan), a fellow folk singer whose nest Llewyn has fouled, offering a precise and scatological explanation of just what she means.

The catalog of Llewyn’s lapses is extensive and fills the spectrum from casual bad manners to epic jerkiness. He makes the hostess (Robin Bartlett) cry at a dinner party in Morningside Heights, swears in front of his young nephew in Queens, heckles other acts at the Gaslight and has a habit of getting women pregnant, including Jean, who is romantically and harmonically attached to a singer named Jim (Justin Timberlake). The only misdeed that seems to trouble Llewyn’s conscience at all is letting an orange cat escape from an apartment where he’s crashing. It’s almost as if he thinks that rescuing the animal will make up for everything else he has done.

Llewyn is a fairly unpleasant guy, though the other inhabitants of his world are not much better. The nice ones — a couple of tall, affable singers (Stark Sands and Adam Driver, suggesting Tom Paxton and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott), a kindly Columbia sociologist (Ethan Phillips) and the unsuspecting Jim — serve as targets for his sarcasm. The rest are mostly a parade of grotesques, including music promoters, union officials and an imperious, drug-addicted jazzman (John Goodman) whose company Llewyn must endure on a long car trip.

(Please read the rest at the NYT link above.)

Get Lit hosts an evening at Dodger Stadium, Sunday November 17

Get Lit hosts an evening at Dodger Stadium, Sunday November 17

PRESS CONTACT: Jeannine Jacobi, 310.857.6994 or jeannine@freshpr.net

GET LIT HOSTS EXTRAORDINARY EVENING OF PERFORMANCE AND POETRY WITH CHEECH MARIN, NED COLLETTI, AND THE GET LIT PLAYERS

Event Will Benefit Over 10,000 Teens By Supporting Literacy Programs at Inner City Los Angeles Schools Sunday, November 17

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – October 21, 2013 –

Get Lit, a leading non-profit presenter of literary performance, education, and poetry programs that affects the lives of over 15,000 teens each year, is hosting an extraordinary evening of poetry and performance to benefit literacy programs at underserved inner city high schools. The event will occur on Sunday, November 17, 2013 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Stadium Club at Dodger Stadium, 1000 Elysian Park Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

The exciting evening of entertainment and festivities will feature a special performance by Cheech Marin; a live auction conducted by Dodgers’ General Manager Ned Colletti with exclusive prizes including field level seats to a Dodgers game of choice, passes to the Prime Ticket Baseline Box Club for dinner, field visits during batting practice, and the opportunity to throw the first pitch of a game next season; and a slam poetry performance by award-winning teen poets, the Get Lit Players. Guests will also enjoy a grand buffet dinner created by executive chef Jason Tingley. Diane Lane started Get Lit in 2006. She was inspired by Chicano poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, who learned to read and write in maximum security prison and whom Lane played in a one person show (“Deep Sea Diving”) she wrote and performed. Lane eventually opened for Baca at detention centers, universities, and high schools across the American southwest.

After receiving tremendous response and requests from students and teachers alike, Lane put together the Get Lit curriculum and started the program at multiple high schools in Los Angeles. “This evening of entertainment is an awe-inspiring one as we honor Cheech Marin, a great supporter of the arts and a hero to the young people in Los Angeles whom we serve and who aspire to great things,” says Diane Luby Lane, founder of Get Lit. “There is no better way to enjoy outstanding performances, experience transformative poetry and literature, and to give back to the community at the same time,” she added.

General tickets to the event are $125 per person and $200 for VIP tickets, which include free parking, program recognition, and premiere seating. To learn more about the benefit event or Get Lit, please contact Jeannine Jacobi at (310) 857-6994 or jeannine@freshpr.net, call the ticket hotline at (310) 962-6696, or visit http://getlit.org.

About Get Lit – Words Ignite Founded in 2006 in Los Angeles,

Get Lit is a leading non-profit presenter of literary performance, education, and teen poetry programs. Get Lit uses the memorization and recitation of classic poetry as a launch pad for teen-created spoken word responses, fusing the two forms of expression into compelling performances, conducted by teens in school, after school, and through the organization’s own select group of Get Lit Players. These poet ambassadors from throughout Los Angeles perform both classic and spoken word poetry, inspiring fellow teens to read, write, participate in the arts, and be leaders in their community. Each year, Get Lit reaches over 15,000 at-risk teens in more than 45 high schools, turning students into motivated scholars inspired to stay in school and thrive. Learn more at http://getlit.org (http://getlit.org/) or check out video link http://www.youtube.com/user/glwordsignite?blend=1&ob=5.

http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=6e49d094cce3022a65cbe3028&id=180f6cb087&e=4f9ed2a7d1 Ash Grove Music

Reminder! Celebrate the Art of Resistance with the Center for Political Graphics, Sunday October 20!

** The Center for the Study of Political Graphics is excited to invite you to Celebrate the Art of Resistance at our 2013 Party Auction

– Please join us as we recognize these outstanding honorees: Activists/artists Cheri Gaulke and Sue Maberry will receive the Art is a Hammer Award.

Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it. -Vladimir Mayakovsky

Acclaimed teen poetry troupe Get Lit Players and their founder Diane Luby Lane will receive the Historian of the Lions Award.

Until the lions have their historians, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter. -African Proverb

Activist Attorneys Sonia Mercado and Sam Paz will receive the Culture of Liberation Award.

Culture contains the seed of opposition becoming the flower of liberation. -Amílcar Cabral

Sunday, October 20, 3PM 3pm: Reception and Silent Auction

4:30pm: Awards Program and performance by the Get Lit Players
Professional Musicians Union Local 47 817 Vine Street Hollywood, LA 90038

There will be an elegant reception, a dynamic poster presentation, and a unique auction of vintage posters and original artworks. The formal program will begin at 4:30 pm and will include award presentations and a performance by the Get Lit Players.

Cheri Gaulke and Sue Maberry met at the Woman’s Building, a feminist art center, in 1976. Their work combines art, activism and education. In 1981, they co-founded the anti-nuclear performance group Sisters Of Survival. Cheri is Head of Visual Arts at Harvard-Westlake School and Sue is Director of the Library at Otis College of Art and Design.

Get Lit Players, founded by Diane Luby Lane, is an award-winning classic and spoken word teen poetry troupe comprised of teenagers from throughout Los Angeles County. The Get Lit Players perform for over 10,000 of their peers each year, inspiring them to read, write and participate in the arts and be leaders in their communities.

Diane’s literacy and poetry system is being taught at over 40 schools throughout Southern California and expanding.

Sonia Mercado and Sam Paz are activist civil rights attorneys with a long and successful history challenging police misconduct and supporting the constitutional rights of prisoners. Their work supporting the rights of the incarcerated to medical care, to be free from violence and brutality and to end illegal police spying against community and political organizations have led to important reforms.

http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=6e49d094cce3022a65cbe3028&id=3d5430bc7e&e=4f9ed2a7d1 The Daily Digest Celebrate the Art of Resistance with the Center for Political Graphics, Sunday October 20! Is this email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser (http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=6e49d094cce3022a65cbe3028&id=ba30f99b1c&e=5617d3d307) . http://edpearl-ashgrove.us7.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=6e49d094cce3022a65cbe3028&id=f319abc595&e=5617d3d307

Harmony for Humanity Concert October 10

The Ash Grove Harmony for Humanity Concert
For Immediate Release

October 10, 2013–Harmony for Humanity Concert:
It’s Time To Start Singing Again October 7, 2013 Hosted by Ross Altman Contact: Ross Altman The Santa Monica Synagogue (323) 931-9321 1448 18th Street
sgreygoosemusic@aol.com (mailto:sgreygoosemusic@aol.com) Santa Monica, CA. 90404 (310) 453-4276 FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Program : Rabbi Jeff Marx Welcoming Remarks

Poem by Judea Pearl–read by Ross Altman

It’s Time to Start Singing Again: A Folk Music Concert Featuring the Songs of Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Fred Neil, Don McLean, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) and Ken Graydon Participating Artists: Mika’ele McClellan Carol McArthur Paul Zollo Martha Stevens–Storyteller Neil Harburg April Halprin Wayland Bob McCallam Jill Fenimore Alex Alejandro Soschin Tom Graham At Home In the World by Daniel Pearl–Read by Ross Altman

On what would have been Daniel Pearl’s 50th birthday (October 10, 1963) we celebrate Harmony for Humanity, an evening of music from many walks of life and national origins, from America to Egypt. In keeping with the mandate of Daniel Pearl World Music Days we feature an evening of music that highlights efforts to build bridges across divisions of misunderstanding, to create links on the chain of our common humanity, and to forge a peaceful world.

The tragedy of Daniel Pearl’s murder in Pakistan on February 1, 2002 carries that challenge into the 21st Century and makes even more vivid the human spirit that must prevail if we are to avoid the ultimate catastrophe of obliterating what Pearl eloquently described as My Favorite Planet, an album adapted from his stories for the Wall Street Journal that carried him into the heart of darkness. As a light bringer he remains a steadfast symbol of hope and courage in the face of evil.

Daniel Pearl was a musician as well as a journalist and his violin–like his pen–will be remembered as mightier than the sword, for they have outlasted his shortened life. Join us for an evening of music, poetry and storytelling that welcomes a diverse audience of artists, veteran peace activists and organizers for social change to come together for an evening devoted to the ideal for which Daniel Pearl gave his life–Harmony for Humanity. (c) 2013 Grey Goose Music ### ### ### ### ### ###

Celebrate the Art of Resistance with the Center for Political Graphics, Sunday October 20!

The Center for the Study of Political Graphics is excited to invite you to

Celebrate the Art of Resistance at our 2013 Party Auction

————————————————————
Please join us as we recognize these outstanding honorees:

Activists/artists Cheri Gaulke and Sue Maberry will receive the Art is a Hammer Award.
Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it. -Vladimir Mayakovsky

Acclaimed teen poetry troupe Get Lit Players and their founder Diane Luby Lane will receive the Historian of the Lions Award.

Until the lions have their historians, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter. -African Proverb

Activist Attorneys Sonia Mercado and Sam Paz will receive the Culture of Liberation Award.

Culture contains the seed of opposition becoming the flower of liberation. -Amílcar Cabral

Sunday, October 20, 3PM 3pm: Reception and Silent Auction
4:30pm: Awards Program and performance by the Get Lit Players

Professional Musicians Union Local 47 817 Vine Street Hollywood, LA 90038

There will be an elegant reception, a dynamic poster presentation, and a unique auction of vintage posters and original artworks. The formal program will begin at 4:30 pm and will include award presentations and a performance by the Get Lit Players.

Cheri Gaulke and Sue Maberry met at the Woman’s Building, a feminist art center, in 1976. Their work combines art, activism and education. In 1981, they co-founded the anti-nuclear performance group Sisters Of Survival. Cheri is Head of Visual Arts at Harvard-Westlake School and Sue is Director of the Library at Otis College of Art and Design.

Get Lit Players, founded by Diane Luby Lane, is an award-winning classic and spoken word teen poetry troupe comprised of teenagers from throughout Los Angeles County. The Get Lit Players perform for over 10,000 of their peers each year, inspiring them to read, write and participate in the arts and be leaders in their communities.

Diane’s literacy and poetry system is being taught at over 40 schools throughout Southern California and expanding.

Sonia Mercado and Sam Paz are activist civil rights attorneys with a long and successful history challenging police misconduct and supporting the constitutional rights of prisoners. Their work supporting the rights of the incarcerated to medical care, to be free from violence and brutality and to end illegal police spying against community and political organizations have led to important reforms. ============================================================

The End of the World

The Ash Grove List The End of the World, in Two Parts

Hi. The Response to Tuesday’s Digest article “The Crisis at Fukushima’s Unit 4 Demands a Global Take-Over” has been strong; along the lines of a friend’s “Yikes!” People want to know what to do about it. Romi Elnagar, the woman who sent me the article also provided this answer:

Yes, there is a petition at Avaaz. Please pass this on, Ed. I’m delighted people are asking! https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/STOP_FUKUSHIMA_RADIATION_UN_ACTION_NEEDED/ I clicked it on and signed, taking maybe one minute to write my email address, country and zip code, and immediately saw my name and country at the top of a quickly rising list of sigs from around the world. I think I was in the 5,000 section. I urge you to do so after reading part 1 of the great interview below. Tomorrow, part 2 -Ed http://www.democracynow.org/2013/9/26/as_ipcc_warns_of_climate_disaster

As IPCC Warns of Climate Disaster, Will Scientific Consensus Spark Action on Global Warming? Guests: Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at the Weather Underground. Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] is set to issue, Friday, it’s strongest warning yet that climate change is caused by humans and will cause more heat waves, droughts, and floods unless governments take action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The IPCC releases their report every six years. It incorporates the key findings from thousands of articles published in scientific journals. The IPCC began meeting earlier this week in Stockholm ahead of the report’s release. This is the IPCC Chairperson Rajendra Pachauri.

RAJENDRA PACHAURI: This working group one session will approve the summary of policymakers an acceptable report. This is happening at a time when the world is awaiting the outcome of this session with great expectation because of its obvious significance in respect of the current status of global negotiations, and the ongoing debate on actions to deal with the challenge of climate change. JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The IPCC report is expected to conclude with at least 95% certainty that human activities have caused most of earth’s temperature rise since 1950, and will continue to do so in the future. That is up from a confidence level of 90% in 2007 report, the last or the assessment came out. Meanwhile, the Heartland Institute released a report this week by group of climate change skeptics called a Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change or NIPCC. The 1200 page report disputes the reality of man-made climate change.

AMY GOODMAN: For more Greenpeace International’s Executive Director Kumi Naidoo remains with us and we’re joined by Jeff Masters, Director of Meteorology at The Weather Underground. On Friday, he’ll host the Weather Channel’s live coverage of the release of the IPCC’s report. He is joining us here in New York studio ahead of attending Climate Week in New York. Today he moderates a panel on innovative ways to combat climate change. We welcome you both to Democracy Now!. Jeff Masters, the significance of this report that is being released tomorrow.

JEFF MASTERS: It is huge because we only see one of these reports every six years, and it lays out a very authoritative and unarguable case, that climate change is happening, humans humans are mostly responsible, it’s going to accelerate and there are things we can do to slow down this sort of climate change upon us.

AMY GOODMAN: And this report of the nongovernmental panel, Heartland Institute?

JEFF MASTERS: It is what you’d expect from basically lobbyists who are working for the fossil fuel industry, whose profits are threatened by the scientific findings of the IPCC. You would expect this sort of blowback by the fossil fuel industry to dispute the science, to cast doubt, to play up some of the arguments against it, which really aren’t under dispute by scientists.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And the conclusions are those, not just of the scientists, but also, isn’t there sovereign government involvement in the findings as well? Could you explain that for people who are not familiar with how the IPCC works.

JEFF MASTERS: The IPCC is kind of a unique hybrid because it is not just a scientific organization. All of its results have to be approved by government representatives. So, this week in Stockholm, the scientist have presented their information and each government — 195 in total — have to go line by line through the report and approve it. So, the politicians have a say in what is in the final report. As a result, the report is very conservative because everyone has to agree — it’s unanimous approval required.

AMY GOODMAN: Jeff, what needs to be done?

JEFF MASTERS: We have to do two things, we have to cut down our emissions of heat trapping gases like carbon dioxide and we have to adapt, we have to get prepared for the coming climate change storm as I call it. It is already here. We are already seeing the impacts, and we better get ready.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In terms of what has been leaked about it so far, some of the conclusions may be a little bit surprising. For instance, on the relationship between climate change and hurricanes and typhoons, what do they say they’re?

JEFF MASTERS: They have reduced their amount of certainty that we’ve already seen changes in intense hurricanes due to human causes. So, that reflects kind of the going scientific work that has been happening which is not sure. There is a lot of variability in hurricanes naturally; hard to tell if they are actually changing now due to a changing climate. So, that is one positive maybe we can take out of the report. We’re not sure we’re actually seeing an impact on hurricanes and typhoons.

AMY GOODMAN: How does Colorado fit into this picture — the thousand year flood? And then in India in June, something like 5700 people died in floods.

JEFF MASTERS: One thing we are pretty sure of is that climate change is already causing an increase in extreme rainfall events, particularly in North America. These are the type of events that we saw this year in Colorado and again in Asia. We have seen an increasing number of very heavy precipitation events, the kind that are most likely to cause some of the extreme floods we’ve seen in recent years.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to bring Kumi back into the conversation. You’re here for the United Nations General Assembly and obviously President Obama spoke this week at the General Assembly. Your assessment of what he did or didn’t say about climate change?

KUMI NAIDOO: He hardly mentioned climate change. The thing about it is, even the CIA and Pentagon in 2003 in a report that was present even to President Bush, which he chose to bury it as somebody who was in effect an agent of the fossil fuel industry. That report suggests in the coming decades, the biggest threat to peace, security and stability will not come from conventional threats of terrorism and so on, but will come from the impacts of climate change. So, if any head of state, any political leader is concerned about peace, security, and stability, then they should be using the platforms at the United Nations now to talk about the biggest urgency this planet has ever faced. We are talking already of serious impacts, particularly in the developing world. We are seeing lives being lost. Darfur, I would argue, as the Secretary General of the United Nations argue, the genocide in Darfur, was certainly intensified, and exacerbated as a result of climate impacts. Lake Chad, one of the largest inland seas in the world that neighbors Darfur has largely, to use the words of the Secretary General of the U.N., shrunk to the size of a pond. And then, the Sahara Desert is marching from Senegal to the Sudan southwards at the rate of one mile a year. So, water scarcity, land scarcity and together food scarcity was the trigger. So, when you see all that happening, when heads of state are talking about all these sort of interventions around chemical weapons, all of which are important, but the biggest threat to peace and security is coming already from climate change and it is going to intensify. In that sense, I was deeply disappointed that President Obama didn’t make that connection.

AMY GOODMAN: What could the U.S. be doing right now?

KUMI NAIDOO: The U.S. needs to recognize, firstly, that they are compromising their economic future because the U.S. needs to forget about the arms race, space race, and so on. The only race that is going to matter in terms of which countries and companies will be competitive in the future is those countries and companies that get as far ahead of the green race as possible. The U.S. needs to take leadership. The world is hungry for U.S. leadership in climate negotiations and —

AMY GOODMAN: It’s interesting, President Obama, in his speech, was making the case for how the U.S. is exceptional.

KUMI NAIDOO: Yes, and the thing about it is, that case, speaking beyond climate change now, is an approach by the U.S. of do as we tell you to do, do as we say, not as we do. Because, the U.S., if you take on torture, they are signatories to the anti-torture conventions, but we’ve got waterboarding, we’ve got Guantanamo, we’ve got extraordinary rendition. On respecting human rights and not violating peoples privacy without their knowledge — people around the world are saying things like, we had so much optimism in Obama. President Obama was saying, yes we can, yes we can, but with all of this NSA spying, maybe he was saying, yes we scan, yes we scan, yes we scan. ============================================================

Ash Grove List: Alan Lomax Treasure Trove Of Early 20th Century Folk Music

Alan Lomax Treasure Trove Of Early 20th Century Folk Music Discovered

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/23/alan-lomax_n_3976852.html?utm_hp_ref=arts

Treasure Trove Of Early 20th Century Folk Music Unearthed In Michigan

By JEFF KAROUB 09/23/13 AP

In an undated photo provided by the Library of Congress, the Floriani family performs their folk music in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Michigan was fertile ground for folk music, brought to the region by a wave of immigrants in the early 20th Century and played in the camps and factory towns where they worked.

Legendary folklorist Alan Lomax discovered the music in 1938 when he visited the Midwest on his famous 10-year cross-country trek to document American folk music for the Library of Congress | AP

DETROIT — Detroit is famous for its music, from the Motown hits of the 1960s to the cutting-edge punk of Iggy Pop to the rap of Eminem. Little known, though, is that Michigan was also fertile ground for folk music, brought to the region by immigrants in the early 20th century and played in the logging camps, mines and factory towns where they worked. Legendary folklorist Alan Lomax discovered the music in 1938 when he visited the Midwest on his famous 10-year cross-country trek to document American folk music for the Library of Congress.

A trove of his Michigan recordings is now being publicly released for the first time by the library, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Lomax’s trip. The release is causing a stir among folk music fanciers and history buffs. “It was a fantastic field trip – hardly anything has been published from it,” said Todd Harvey, the Lomax collection’s curator at the library in Washington. The Michigan batch contains about 900 tracks and represents a dozen ethnicities.

Lomax, son of famous musicologist John A. Lomax, spent three months in Michigan on his research, which also took him through Appalachia and the deep South. He drove through rural communities and recorded the work songs and folk tunes he heard on a large suitcase-sized disc recorder powered by his car’s battery. The trip was supposed to cover much of the Upper Midwest, but he found so much in Michigan that he made only a few recordings elsewhere in the region.

The collection includes acoustic blues from southern transplants, including Sampson Pittman and one-time Robert Johnson collaborator Calvin Frazier; a lumberjack ballad called “Michigan-I-O” sung solo by an old logger named Lester Wells; and a similar lament about life deep in the copper mines of the Upper Peninsula called “31st Level Blues,” performed by the Floriani family, who were of Croatian descent.

The 250 disc recordings of about 125 performers, along with eight reels of film footage and photographs, reflect the rich mixture of cultures in Depression-era Michigan, where immigrants fleeing poverty and persecution in Europe and the South came seeking jobs.

Natives of French-speaking Canada, Finland, Italy, Croatia, Germany, Poland, Ireland and Hungary perform the songs, which represent 10 languages. John and Alan Lomax’s archives at the library’s American Folklife Center encompass 10,000 sound recordings and 6,000 graphic images, documenting creative expression by cultural groups around the world. Most famous were the field recordings made in the South, including those of Leadbelly, Muddy Waters and Son House.

“This fills in a big chunk of the top half of the middle section of the country,” says Laurie Sommers, an ethnomusicologist who serves as Michigan’s program coordinator for the Lomax project. “Now you have the stories and the sounds of sailors, miners and lumberjacks, ethnic communities who came to work … and brought their traditions with them.”

One example is Exilia Bellaire, a woman from the Upper Peninsula community of Baraga who recorded “I Went to Marquette.” It’s sung in a mixture of French and English, and Harvey said the song is one of many that “captures (what) occurs when cultures interact with one another.”

Lomax’s Michigan research proved to be challenging. Thieves twice broke into his car and stole equipment and films, and performers would hound him for money or liquor in exchange for recording them. He frequently requested more money from headquarters, in part, he wrote, because “songs in (Michigan) absolutely require beer.”

The recordings weren’t released at the time, in part because the late 1930s were a time of growing suspicion of non-English speaking immigrants in the United States, said Sommers. Now, the library is releasing a podcast and an e-book, and the University of Wisconsin is releasing a multi-CD set.

A traveling exhibit with live concerts will begin Sept. 30 in Mount Pleasant, about 120 miles northwest of Detroit. Sampson Pittman Jr., 77, son of the blues artist Lomax recorded during his final Michigan session, said it’s fascinating for him to hear the collaborations between Frazier, whom he called “Uncle Calvin,” and the father he lost at 8 years old.

“I started out playing the kind of music I heard him playing,” said Pittman, who has carried the torch as a longtime blues guitarist. “They would tell these stories through the music.” ___ Follow Jeff Karoub on Twitter: . His work can be found at Links: http://twitter.com/jeffkaroub http://bigstory.ap.org/author/jeff-karoub ============================================================

Let’s discuss the [insert shooting tragedy here]

[R-G] [BillTottenWeblog] Let’s discuss the [insert shooting tragedyhere]

by Chris Andoe AMERICAblog (September 16 2013)

It’s time to have a somber national discussion about the [insert shooting tragedy here] tragedy. Before we get started, let’s go over a few basic ground rules.

1. In the wake of the __________ tragedy it’s time for us all to come together as a nation and not assign blame. This is not the time, for example, to talk about how it’s easier to purchase a gun in America than it is to vote (or buy French cheese)

{1}. And I quote White House spokesman Jay Carney, speaking about the murder in Connecticut of at least eighteen children

{2}: I’m sure [there] will be rather a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I don’t think today is that day. Fortunately, the President’s subsequent statement was better

{3}. Child with gun via Shutterstock: http://americablog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/shutterstock_83497078-e1356726327727.jpg

2. And we won’t tolerate any second guessing of the Second Amendment right to carry assault weapons, or questions about how the Framers could have possibly envisaged an assault rifle over 200 years ago, or why a “hunter” needs six thousand rounds of ammunition, or kevlar, or smoke grenades to kill a pheasant.

3. While the shooter may have been inspired by political fliers showing the victim in cross hairs, or may have come unhinged by inflammatory rhetoric about how said victim was coming for the shooter’s guns, discussing such motivation at this sensitive moment would be completely inappropriate. Not to mention, disrespectful to the __________ victims.

4. If the tragedy involved someone flying an aircraft into a government building, or for that matter blowing up a government building, now is not the time to discuss people like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity (no names, please), or Republicans generally (no political parties, please), incessantly trying to convince their audience that the occupant of the White House, or any government official, agency, or entire branch of government is evil and/or “un-American” and/or out to get them or our country or our freedom.

5. And definitely don’t mention the Republican party’s frequent claim and/or insinuation, including suggestions from the GOP candidate himself, Mitt Romney, that the sitting Democratic President is a socialist, which in American parlance actually means “communist”, which actually means “Soviet”, which was America’s deadliest enemy out for our utter destruction.

Sure, it would be entirely understandable why someone would take up arms against a Soviet takeover of the United States, but a Democrat said something mean once about a Republican’s dog, or something, so aren’t both parties really to blame, thus making the charge moot?

6. Never, ever mention the NRA. Sure, they’ve proven themselves, time and again, incapable of passing laws that effectively keep guns out of the hands of crazy mass murderers, but that’s no reason to blame them for the _______ tragedy because it’s just too early to cast blame on anyone other than the shooter, who was obviously crazy, and thus this month’s anomaly. Now, let’s discuss for a moment the race of the shooter and the victims.

7. If the ______________ tragedy involved angry white men opening fire on brown people of faith, this is definitely not the time to replay clips of bombastic commentators and politicians getting white men in places like Kansas whipped into a frenzy over Manhattan’s zoning criteria for non-Christian houses of worship.

8. But feel free to discuss if all brown people, and thus the shooter, or his victims, were Muslims – sorry, I meant to say “radical Islamists”. And even if neither was a Muslim, make sure you discuss that point incessantly – Muslims, Muslims, Muslims, Muslims – so as to eventually sow suspicion in the public’s mind as to whether there really is a Muslim angle to this story.

9. Speaking of which, this is not the time to discuss the more general fear mongering around words like “Muslim”, including the ongoing, successful, attempt by Republicans to convince their base that our dark-skinned President is one. Okay, I think we’re ready now to discuss the ______________ tragedy.

First off, it is entirely acceptable for a Republican to opine that the tragedy could have been averted had the victims all been armed (please disregard previous tragedies where armed police officers themselves were injured by the shooter).

Second, poignant, but ultimately meaningless, gestures such as lighting tragedy candles at nighttime vigils, and posting anti-gun petitions on Change.org, are to be encouraged.

Finally, clutch your pearls, and all together now, ask the purely rhetorical question: “How could this happen?” Forty-eight hours later return to talking about the Olympics and the latest Kardashian wedding until the next shooting occurs, then refer to Point 1 above. Postscript: If the victims of the ___________ tragedy were black, ignore the above restrictions and take up a collection for the shooter’s defense fund. Links: {1} http://www.americablog.com/2012/07/is-it-easier-to-buy-gun-than-french.html {2} http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2012/12/14/obama-briefed-on-newtown-school-shooting/ {3} http://americablog.com/2012/12/obama-statement-school-shooting.html

____ Chris Andoe is an Oakland based writer and seasoned activist. After meeting John Aravosis at a Chicago “StopDrLaura.com” protest in 2000, Chris was inspired to organize his own major demonstrations in Saint Louis, which drew national attention. Since then, his activism has revolved around LGBT, affordable housing, and mass transit issues. Always in the fray, Andoe’s been interviewed by NPR, CBS, and has been quoted from CNN to The Saint Louis Post Dispatch. He’s a regular contributor to AMERICAblog and covers the West Coast for the Vital Voice. http://americablog.com/2013/09/lets-discuss-the-insert-shooting-tragedy-here-tragedy.html TO POST A COMMENT, OR TO READ COMMENTS POSTED BY OTHERS, please click the appropriate link at the top or bottom of http://billtotten.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/lets-discuss-the-insert-shooting-tragedy-here/

Bill Maher – The US: world’s policeman or schoolyard bully?

Ash Grove List
Bill Maher – The US: world’s policeman or schoolyard bully?

From: Abie Dawjee [mailto:abie=rain.org.za@mail182.atl61.mcsv.net]
Sent: Sunday, September 15, 2013 12:08 PM
The RAIN Newsletter (15-9-13)

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/14/usa-worlds-policeman-school-bully

Bill Maher : The US: world’s policeman or schoolyard bully?

Ever since 9/11, it seems America’s just been itching for a fight – and any Muslim country will do. Really, who acts like this?

Guardian/UK Saturday 14 September 2013

New rule: 12 years after 9/11, and amidst yet another debate on whether to bomb yet another Muslim country, America must stop asking the question, “Why do they hate us?” Forget the debate on Syria, we need a debate on why we’re always debating whether to bomb someone. Because we’re starting to look not so much like the world’s policeman, but more like George Zimmerman: itching to use force and then pretending it’s because we had no choice.

Now, I’m against chemical weapons, and I don’t care who knows it. And there’s no doubt a guy like Bashar al-Assad deserves to get blown up: using toxic chemicals on unsuspecting civilians is purely and profoundly evil.

But enough about Monsanto. When it comes to Syria, I do understand the appeal of putting the world on notice that if you use poison gas, the United States of America will personally fu*k you up: we will seek out the counsel and support of the entire family of nations, and then, no matter what they say, we will go ahead and fu*k you up.

But however valid that argument may be, it is, I believe, outweighed by the fact that we have to stop bombing Muslim countries if we ever want to feel safe from terrorism in our own. The Chemical Weapons Convention is important, but to the jihadi in the street, it just looks like we’re always looking for a new reason to bomb them. We keep calling this part of the world a tinderbox – and we keep lighting fires there.

Even worse, bombing seems to be our answer for everything.

Since 1945, when Jesus granted America air superiority, we’ve bombed Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Serbia, Somalia, Bosnia, the Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and Yemen. And Yemen only because the tenth one was free.

How did we inherit this moral obligation to bring justice to the world via death from above? Are we Zeus? It doesn’t make any sense. Our schools are crumbling, and we want to teach everyone else a lesson?

And look, like I said, I’m no fan of Assad. And I say that openly: I don’t care if it costs me jobs in Hollywood. I think he’s the worst kind of sociopath – the kind who commits unspeakable acts, but who looks like a menswear salesman.

I’m just pointing out that in recent years, our foreign policy debates look like the Facebook page of a loner who shot up a McDonald’s. We’re the only country in the world that muses out loud about who we might bomb next:

“Iran, yeah we might bomb you … thinking about it … maybe, depends on my mood.”

We did this with Iraq after 9/11, even though they had nothing to do with 9/11. We do it with Iran every day. And now, it’s Syria’s turn. We’re like a schoolyard bully who’s got every kid in the class nervous they’re going to be next – and I don’t know if anyone should have that power. Can you imagine going to work and sitting at the lunch table in front of ten people and saying:

“Hey, you think we should … kill Bob? It would send a message to Steve.”

Who acts like this?

People in other countries don’t talk like this. Probably because, if they did, we’d bomb them. Is there no self-awareness about how arrogant it looks to sit around politely pondering who needs a good bombing?

And,we’re the only nation – as we have seen in this Syrian fiasco – who threatens to drop bombs on you while telling you we don’t want to get involved!

“We’re just bombing, please, don’t get up – no boots on the ground, just a little light bombing, we’ll be out of your hair in a week.”

I remember being on the Howard Stern show 12 years ago this week, right after 9/11, and Howard said that, in retaliation for 9/11, America should bomb a Muslim country, any Muslim country, it didn’t matter which one. And yet somehow, I was the one on trial for talking crazy.

And I thought to myself, really? Bomb any Muslim country – that’s the policy? Get a map of the Middle East and just throw a dart at it?

Well, apparently George W Bush was listening that day because that’s exactly what we did.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/14/usa-worlds-policeman-school-bully

Woody Guthrie to be honored by hometown after decades as black sheep

Ash Grove List Woody Guthrie to be honored by hometown after decades as black sheep

On Behalf Of Rick Kissell Sent: Monday, September 16, 2013 10:04 AM http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/14/woody-guthrie-home-rebuilt-oklahoma/print

Woody Guthrie to be honored by hometown after decades as black sheep Plans to rebuild folk singer’s home under way as part of tourism push by Okemah, Oklahoma. When Woody Guthrie’s dilapidated boyhood home was ordered torn down in the late 1970s, the demolition reflected the strained relationship between conservative Oklahoma and the native son who became famous for his folk singing and leftist politics.

Those tensions persisted for more than a generation, but attitudes about Guthrie have slowly softened. Now developers, working with the blessing of Guthrie’s relatives, have announced plans to rebuild his 1860s-era boyhood home in Okemah, a time-worn town of 3,300 people that is desperately seeking tourism dollars.

“If you were to put a Mount Rushmore of American music here in the midwest, the first two artists on it would be Hank Williams and Woody Guthrie,” said Johnny Buschardt, a spokesman for the project. “Without Woody, there wouldn’t be a Bob Dylan or a Bruce Springsteen.” Best known for the song This Land is Your Land, Guthrie came of age during the Great Depression and later embraced left-wing politics, including some tenets of communism. By weaving social issues into his music, he reimagined folk songs as platforms for protest, starting a creative tradition carried on by scores of other top artists.

In hundreds of folk songs and ballads, Guthrie’s lyrics celebrated American workers, lamented the woes of the poor and advocated for civil rights. Although revered as one of the best songwriters in American history, he was rarely acknowledged, let alone honored, by his home state, even decades after his death. Some of his early songs, released as the Dust Bowl Ballads, depicted the plight of migrant workers who traveled from Oklahoma to California in the 30s.

Guthrie died in 1967 at age 55 in New York, from complications from Huntington’s disease, a genetic neurological disorder. “When I was going to school, it was almost like his name wasn’t supposed to be mentioned. And when it was brought up in class, the teacher would change the subject,” recalls resident Ric Denney, whose family has roots in the town dating to the 20s.

It took more than 30 years, but Okemah now celebrates Guthrie with an annual music festival that draws thousands of people from around the world. Tributes, such as a mural of Guthrie strumming his guitar on a downtown building, are commonplace. Other parts of Oklahoma are honoring him, too: in April, a 12,000-square-foot museum showcasing his life’s work opened to much fanfare in downtown Tulsa. A community park across the street from the museum is called Guthrie Green.

The estimated $500,000 reconstruction of Guthrie’s childhood home will use original planks salvaged from the run-down property, called London House, which was purchased by a prominent local businessman named Earl Walker in the early 60s. Walker hoped he could eventually win support from town leaders to restore, arguing that it would promote Okemah, which lies about 60 miles south of Tulsa.

Instead, they ordered him to tear it down, declaring the property a public nuisance because it had become a place for teenagers to smoke and winos to pass out.

Walker complied, but he saved the lumber for when his neighbors would recognize Guthrie’s importance to the town. The bundle of preserved wood eventually ended up at the Okfuskee County History Center.

Today, all that remains of London House are a few blocks of sandstone foundation mostly obscured by tall weeds. A faded sign warns visitors against stealing the stones. London House is to be rebuilt on the lot, and project organizers want to make it look as much as possible like it did when Guthrie lived there.

At the historical center, board member Ron Gott is eager for work to finally begin after years of indifference or opposition from town leaders. “In the early 1970s and 80s, Woody was still a bad name among some residents,” Gott said. “You had some old-timers here in Okemah who were just against Woody, but there’s maybe a handful still alive.”

The town is “coming around,” he added. “Most people understand [the home is] a draw, something that is part of history.” Leann Priest, who has lived in Okemah since she was 14 and owns a house near the Guthrie parcel, said the ranks of those who despised the songwriter are thinning dramatically.

“There are still people in town that still believe he was a communist,” said Priest, who grew up listening to her dad and uncle sing Guthrie songs. “I don’t think he was. He was a man who stood up for everybody.” Linda Knebel, who has lived here for 22 years, said Guthrie “did a big thing for Okemah” and openly honoring him is the best way to return the favor.

“It was the old codgers who said that” about Guthrie, Knebel said. “I’m glad those thoughts are going away.” Organizers hope to raise money through donations and an October benefit concert in Tulsa, by singer Kris Kristofferson, among other events.

Construction is scheduled to end in May. Kansas-based project coordinator Dan Riedemann, who owns a company that restores celebrity properties, said the undertaking will preserve Oklahoma’s music royalty for future generations. “He’s their Elvis Presley, and this is their Graceland,” he said in a recent interview. Guthrie’s family members have also praised the plan. His granddaughter, Annie Hays Guthrie, who travels to Okemah every year, said she feels like a part of her has “come home”.