Thursday, February 28, 2019

Quote of the Day

Yes, Republicans, Michael Cohen [left] is a thug, a mob figure, a greedy slime-bag who lies. . . . And he used all those traits as Donald Trump's right-hand man for ten years. You cannot have it both ways: The president employed this guy, used him as his fixer and his deal maker, for precisely the reasons you now find reprehensible. No other president in modern history would even know someone like Michael Cohen, let alone make him his personal lawyer and his Executive Vice President for ten years. Everyone associated with Trump is dirty; they are all liars and crooks, because Donald Trump is a liar and a crook. Mob bosses don't employ honest people and honest people don't work for mob bosses.

We have a criminal president who presided over a criminal campaign and continues to head a criminal enterprise. I stand by my now year-old prediction that this crime boss will resign in disgrace to avoid, not impeachment, but multiple criminal indictments of himself and his entire brood of common crooks. Trump's a mobster who managed to con his way into high office, just like Spiro Agnew or some East Coast mayor or state senator. And that is a very good thing: Federal and state prosecutors – unlike the U.S. House if it were to impeach him – can force him to admit his guilt, shut his mouth, and go away quietly or face watching his children grow old in prison while he slowly dies in a penitentiary hospital bed. Stay tuned. Things are going to start moving faster.

Ken Darling
via Facebook
February 28, 2019


Related Off-site Links:
Michael Cohen's Shocking Picture of Trump's Mob-like World – Stephen Collinson (CNN, February 28, 2019).
Michael Cohen’s Damning Portrayal of Trump as a Lying, Racist Crook – John Cassidy (The New Yorker, February 27, 2019).
The Republican Party Completely and Utterly Disgraced Itself at Michael Cohen's Hearing – Charles P. Pierce (Esquire, February 27, 2019).
The Michael Cohen Hearing Was the Perfect Metaphor for the Maggot-eaten Rotting Corpse of the Republican Party Under Trump – Molly Jong-Fast (The Independent, February 27, 2019).
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Just Expertly Laid a Trap to Get Donald Trump’s Tax Returns – Inae Oh (Mother Jones, February 28, 2019).
How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Won the Cohen Hearing – Caroline Fredrickson (The New York Times, February 28, 2019).
Michael Cohen Speaks Directly to Trump in Scathing Closing StatementNBC News, February 27, 2019).
Republicans Who Held 33 Hearings on Benghazi Complain That Cohen’s Testimony Was a Waste of Time – Josh Israel (Think Progress, February 28, 2019).

UPDATES: The Most Important – and Neglected – Moment of the Michael Cohen Hearing – Quinta Jurecic (The Atlantic, March 1, 2019).
House Judiciary Launches Probe of Allegations of Obstruction by President Trump – Tim Mak (NPR News, March 4, 2019).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – December 7, 2018
Quote of the Day – January 8, 2019
Quote of the Day – October 17, 2018
Quote of the Day – May 23, 2018

Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Remembering the Life of Carl Anderson: “There Was So Much Love”


Today is the 74th anniversary of the birth of the late, great American singer and actor Carl Anderson (1945-2004), whom I've been honoring throughout February – the month of both his birth and death.

This honoring continues today with both a quote from Veth Javier, who attended Carl's February 28, 2004 memorial service at Agape Spiritual Center in Beverly Hills, California, and a beautiful tribute video by Daniela Spaziani which highlights Carl's celebrated association with Jesus Christ Superstar and was first posted on YouTube this time last year on the 73rd anniversary of Carl's birth.


Carl was so loved and he gave so much of himself. He took so many people under his wings. . . . There was so much love.

– Veth Javier





NOTE: The song that's sung by Carl and used in this tribute video is “Sarah,” from the musical The Civil War. It's available on the 2-disc CD, The Civil War: The Complete Work (1999). About the song: Corporal William (Bill) McEwen from Minnesota writes a letter to his wife Sarah from the battlefield. He tells her how much he loves and misses her, that every time he closes his eyes, he imagines memories of being with her and, even now, his heart is there. Immediately after, Sarah receives a black-bordered condolence telegram; Bill has died in battle. She vows that she will struggle on to raise their son and survive in the midst of tragedy for "The Honor of Your Name."



The Wild Reed's February 2019 Celebration of Carl Anderson:
Remembering and Celebrating Carl Anderson
Carl Anderson: “Pure Quality”
Carl Anderson's Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar: “The Gold Standard”
Carl Anderson's Judas: “A Two-Dimensional Popular Villain Turned Into a Complex Human Being”
Carl Anderson: “Artist and Vocalist Extraordinaire”
Playbill Remembers Carl


For more of Carl at The Wild Reed, see:
Carl Anderson: “One of the Most Enjoyable Male Vocalists of His Era”
With Love Inside
Carl Anderson
Acts of Love . . . Carl's and Mine
Introducing . . . the Carl Anderson Appreciation Group
Forbidden Lover
Revisiting a Groovy Jesus (and a Dysfunctional Theology)

Related Off-site Links:
A Profile of Carl Anderson – Part I: A Broadway Legend with Lynchburg Roots – Holly Phelps (LynchburgMuseum.org, May 12, 2015)
A Profile of Carl Anderson – Part II: The Legend Lives On – Holly Phelps (LynchburgMuseum.org,June 10, 2015)
Carl Anderson – Jazz Legend: The Official Website
Carl Anderson Memorial Page
Carl Anderson at AllMusic.com – Ron Wynn (AllMusic.com)
Carl Anderson Biography – Chris Rizik (Soul Tracks)


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Quote(s) of the Day

I find it interesting that most longtime elected Democrats are focused on lowering voters' expectations in quite a Republican way: MN Senator Amy Klobuchar says no to universal single payer health care ("Can't afford it," she says); both Klobuchar and her fellow Minnesota Senator Tina Smith support oil pipelines near Lake Superior/BWCA and never question the cost of destroying our water; andSenator Diane Feinstein just said of the Green New Deal, "we can't afford it." Has she ever said that of any weapons system? (A question one could ask almost all Democrats in office).

Almost two years before election day, and we're already being told that just getting rid of Trump is all we're allowed to want. (While the DNC still refuses to see how the Clintons' "Third Way" corporate takeover of the Democratic Party paved the way for Trump.) Elect any of the corporate Democrats/"moderates" and corporations will stay in charge of our health care, continue to take over public schools, run more and more prisons for profit, and continue to offer no challenge to the (at least) 54% of the national budget going to endless wars. If we're "lucky," we'll "make history" (again) with another president of color; but damn little will change in terms of the Corporate State – government of the 1%, by the 1% and for the 1%.

– Lydia Howell
via Facebook
February 26, 2019



If much of what Sanders said [at Monday night's CNN town hall meeting] sounded familiar, it's because many policies that sounded radical and new in 2016 have become mainstream Democratic positions. It's not that Bernie went centrist; instead, the center moved toward him. That is how the Vermont senator raised $10 million in the week after announcing his candidacy for the 2020 nomination, and it's why he polls near the front of the pack of contenders running for the Democratic nomination.

. . . Thanks to Sanders' attention to these issues in 2016, now all Democratic candidates must promise to tackle income inequality, the high cost of health care and the stranglehold that monied interests hold over Congress.

– Errol Louis
Excerpted from "Bernie Sanders' Platform
Sounds Strangely Familiar
"
CNN
February 26, 2019



[The Green New Deal is impossible to pass in a divided government, which is precisely why it’s been criticized by Democratic leaders like [Senator Diane] Feinstein and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who recently dismissed the Green New Deal as “the green dream, or whatever they call it.”

What’s the alternative, then? Feinstein’s counterproposal would do little to make a difference. It seeks to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050—an acceptable goal, albeit 20 years later than the Green New Deal’s. But to achieve this, Feinstein’s resolution only proposes three things: re-implementing myriad Obama-era climate regulations, re-joining the Paris agreement, and implementing a national price on carbon. “It’s not that these things are wrong,” environmental activist Bill McKibben wrote in The New Yorker over the weekend. “It’s that they are insufficient, impossibly so.”

The problem with Democrats like Feinstein is that they make a big show of calling for action on climate change. And yet, their solutions prove they don’t grasp that climate change is, as Dave Roberts put it for Vox, “a fucking emergency.” They don’t grasp, as David Wallace-Wells writes in his new book, The Uninhabitable Earth, that 2 degrees Celsius means “tens of millions of climate refugees, perhaps many more, fleeing droughts, flooding and extreme heat, and the possibility of multiple climate-driven natural disasters striking simultaneously.”

Meek policies, like those proposed by Feinstein, will ensure at least 3 degrees of warming. By that point, Wallace-Wells writes, “Southern Europe would be in permanent drought, African droughts would last five years on average, and the areas burned annually by wildfires in the United States could quadruple, or worse, from last year’s million-plus acres.”

. . . Democrats like Feinstein are right to be concerned that something like the Green New Deal won’t pass, but their alternative does about as much to prevent this future as Trump’s policies do to worsen it. Trump’s climate denial, and Feinstein’s climate advocacy, both have a negligible impact on a problem of this scale. This emergency calls for wholesale societal change.

Passing such a monumental plan will indeed require support from Republicans. But the Democratic fracturing over the Green New Deal ensures the GOP will continue to do nothing. When the proposal first gained steam among Democratic voters, but before the party’s leaders were pressed for their position on it, some conservatives argued that Republicans needed to come up with an alternative. As Feinstein and Pelosi signal that the Green New Deal is dead in the water, though, Republicans have an excuse to ignore the issue altogether. They can sit back and watch the Democrats tear each other apart over the issue, while the clock runs out on addressing the most challenging crisis of our time.

Given this partisan reality, there’s only one conceivable path for success in slowing global warming: Voters have to kick Republicans out of office. To have any chance of enacting meaningful climate legislation, Democrats not only must control the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate; they must be in complete agreement about what needs to be done. Feinstein’s scolding of schoolchildren suggests that the Democratic Party would squander that opportunity instead, killing the last real chance for bold action. That’s not all it would kill, either.

– Emily Atkin
Excerpted from "Dianne Feinstein
Is a Bigger Climate Threat Than Trump
"
The New Republic
February 26, 2019


Related Off-site Links:
How Centrist Democrats Could Get Trump Re-elected – Joel Bleifuss (In These Times, February 25, 2019).
Amy Klobuchar’s Defenders Mistake the Promise of Feminism – Elizabeth Bruenig (Common Dreams, February 26, 2019).
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren Are the Real Centrists Because They Speak for Most Americans – Mehdi Hasan (The Intercept, February 26, 2019).
What Does Bernie Sanders Believe? Where the Candidate Stands on 9 Issues – Lisa Desjardins (PBS Newshour, February 19, 2019).
Every Argument Against Bernie, Refuted – Raegan Davis (Medium, February 3, 2019).
How Bernie Sanders Would Dismantle the American Empire – Ryan Cooper (The Week, February 25, 2019).
A Green New Deal Is Fiscally Responsible. Climate Inaction Is Not – Justin Talbot Zorn, Ben Beachy, and Rhiana Gunn-Wright (The Guardian, February 25, 2019).
The Green New Deal Can Work – Here’s How – Jeremy Brecher (Common Dreams, February 25, 2019).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – November 19, 2018
Quote of the Day – September 7, 2017
Quote of the Day – November 9, 2016
Hope, History, and Bernie Sanders

Image: KristenSolberg.


Monday, February 25, 2019

A Call to Halt an Illegal Invasion of Venezuela


I've borrowed the title of this post from a recent article at TruthDig by Kevin Tillman, a veteran of both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. With the Trump administration ramping up its rhetoric of “regime change” in Venezuela and openly talking about seizing the country's vast oil reserves (the largest in the world), Tillman writes how all of this bears a striking resemblance to what happened in the lead-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“As one of the soldiers who illegally invaded Iraq,” Tillman says, “this scares me. I know an illegal coup/invasion when I see one.”

This past Saturday I joined with around 100 others to voice objection to yet another U.S.-led illegal invasion of a sovereign nation and to stand with the majority of Venezuelans who oppose both U.S. military intervention and sanctions.

Here's how Wyatt Miller, writing in Fight Back! News, describes Saturday's event:

The streets were full of working-class solidarity on Saturday, February 23, when well over 100 people, including trade unionists, Latin America solidarity groups and anti-war activists gathered under the banner “U.S. hands off Venezuela!” The event was part of a global day of action to protest the ongoing U.S.-backed coup attempt against the democratically elected President Nicolás Maduro. [NOTE: That Maduro was “democratically elected” is a questionable assertion. Regardless, one can still oppose U.S. intervention.] Protesters occupied multiple intersections in the high-density Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis, distributing fliers and speaking with pedestrians about the situation in Venezuela.

The demonstration took place as the coup attempt took a turn closer to an invasion, involving a high-profile attempt to storm the Venezuelan border from Colombia. U.S. and U.K. media spent much of the day highlighting groups seeking Maduro’s overthrow, who claim to bring U.S.-sponsored ‘humanitarian aid’ into Venezuela from Colombia.


My photos of Saturday's event are accompanied by an excerpt from Tillman's Truthdig article, one that particularly appreciate as in it, Tillman acknowledges that being in opposition to U.S. meddling doesn't mean unquestioning support of the authoritarian rule of Venezuela's president, Nicolás Maduro. (I have some activist friends who assume that whoever or whatever the U.S. government is opposed to must therefore by default be unquestioningly supported. It can drive me nuts!)

Another aspect of Tillman's piece that I appreciate is that he doesn't just critique but offers alternatives, i.e., things the U.S, government could and should be doing if it really was concerned about the people of Venezuela.


________________________


As was the case in Iraq, there are no legal or moral grounds to intervene in the affairs of Venezuela and no international laws to support such an intervention. There is nothing in the Constitution that sanctions meddling in the elections of a foreign country, and nothing in the Venezuelan constitution that legitimizes self-appointed presidents. Venezuela is not a threat. Venezuela is not firing missiles at the United States, attacking our allies or invading the U.S. with troops.

Sadly, the propaganda spewing from the mouths of American politicians and pundits is as predictable as it is hollow: “Venezuela is socialist.” “Their economy is in shambles.” “Their government is corrupt.” “There is food instability.” “There is a humanitarian crisis.”

What’s missing in the attempt to justify the overthrow of President Nicolas Maduro is recognition of the fact that many nations around the world are, to some degree, socialist, have economic challenges and battle corruption. There are humanitarian crises all over the globe. Are all those governments somehow illegitimate and therefore candidates for a U.S.-orchestrated coup?

To be clear, this is not an endorsement of Maduro, any more than I endorsed former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (nor am I comparing the two). This is about our leaders thinking they have the right to interfere in the affairs of any country they choose. Not only is regime change illegal and morally wrong, it has proved to be disastrous.

Yes, Venezuela has problems. Many appear to be self-induced; others are circumstantial, like the massive drop in oil prices, which, combined with harsh, U.S.-led economic sanctions, is particularly devastating, considering that more than 90 percent of Venezuela’s export earnings come from oil revenue. Venezuelans also are dealing with a politically divided country, a situation to which I believe everyone in the U.S. can relate. However, it’s the external problems that I find most concerning. It is pretty clear from where I sit that the U.S. is waging illegal economic warfare against the people of Venezuela. From the sanctions to the freezing of assets to the blocking of Venezuela from the international financial system, this is what appears to be driving that country over the edge. So as our leaders publicly lament this “humanitarian crisis,” behind the scenes, that is exactly what they want.

Why this coup is taking place is transparent. Some of our government officials are actually telling us. Our leaders, yet again, feel entitled to another country’s resources. As was the case in Iraq, Venezuela’s oil reserves are not controlled by U.S. corporations or a pliant government. They are owned by the people of Venezuela. It is theirs and nobody else’s. This means the oil cannot be looted by Western corporations or controlled for political purposes by outside forces.

Unless, of course, a coup takes place and the oil is taken by force. That is what it appears our leaders are going to do. In all fairness to members of the Trump administration, this belligerence toward Venezuela did not start with them. It is merely an extension of previous administrations’ policies. If Venezuelans believe Maduro has mismanaged their nation’s most valuable asset, it is their right to seek change, but this is not a right enjoyed by Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi or Elliott Abrams.

Like Iraq, our interference is not about liberating the Venezuelan people from some tyrannical regime. Nor is it about saving them from starvation. So please don’t allow our leaders to use the goodness inside of you as a weapon for your own manipulation. The goal is to pillage and plunder a vulnerable nation. It is evident that our representative leaders don’t care about the health and welfare of the Venezuelan people any more than they cared about the Iraqi people.

If they cared, they would consult with the Venezuelan government and ask how the U.S. might provide unconditional assistance. If they cared, they would let Venezuelans sort out their own problems democratically. If they cared about democracy, sovereignty, individual rights, human rights and the rule of law, then they would keep their hands off of Venezuela.

– Kevin Tillman
Excerpted from "A Call to Halt an Illegal Invasion of Venezuela"
TruthDig
February 22, 2019










Related Off-site Links:
“Hands Off Venezuela” Rallies Held in Cities Around the World – Dimitri Lascaris (The Real News Network, February 25, 2019).
86% of Venezuelans Oppose Military Intervention, 81% Against U.S. Sanctions, Local Polling Shows – Ben Norton (Grayzone, January 29, 2019).
U.S. Invasion of Venezuela Would Be a Nightmare for Its People – Michael Fox (In These Times, February 20, 2019).
Venezuela Coverage Takes Us Back to Golden Age of Lying About Latin America – Mark Cook (FAIR, February 22, 2019).
U.S. Sanctions on Venezuela Possibly Worse Than Iraq Sanctions Before WarThe Real News Network (February 22, 2019).
The U.S.-Venezuela Aid Convoy Story Is Clearly Bogus, but No One Wants to Say It – Adam H. Johnson (TruthDig, February 21, 2019).
How the U.S. Is Strangling Haiti as It Attempts Regime Change in Venezuela – Vijay Prashad (Salon, February 21, 2019).
Venezuela’s Stalled Coup: US’ Allies May Soon Regret They Rushed to Embrace Guaido – Gilbert Mercier and Ekaterina Blinova (Global Research, February 22, 2019).
Why Venezuela’s Chavistas Are Fiercely Loyal to Maduro, Despite Economic CrisisPBS Newshour (February 22, 2019).
A Maduro Critic in Venezuela Slams U.S. Plan to Push Regime ChangeDemocracy Now! (February 22, 2019).

UPDATES: Notes From the Streets of Venezuela: The People are Resilient in the Face of Foreign Intervention – Vijay Prashad (Salon, March 1, 2019).
Venezuela: The Trump Coup – And Our Next Oil War – Greg Palast (GregPalast.com, March 6, 2019).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – November 11, 2018
Progressive Perspectives on U.S. Military Intervention in Syria
The War Racket
On International Human Rights Day, Saying "No" to Donald Trump and His Fascist Agenda
Saying "No" to Endless U.S. Wars
Making the Connections

Images: Michael J. Bayly (except images 2 and 9 by Kim DeFranco, and the last image by Meredith Aby-Keirstead.)


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Playbill Remembers Carl


Today is the 15th anniversary of the passing of singer and actor Carl Anderson, whom I've been honoring throughout February – the month of both his birth and death.

This honoring continues today with the sharing (with added images and links) of the obituary that was published the day after Carl's death in Playbill, a U.S. magazine that focuses on theatre actors, new plays, musicals, and special attractions. Written by Kenneth Jones, this obituary run under the headline, "Carl Anderson, Superstar's Judas on Stage and Screen, Dead at 58."

___________________________


Carl Anderson, the actor and singer who was Golden Globe Award-nominated for playing Judas in the film, Jesus Christ Superstar, and appeared in Broadway's Play On!, died Feb. 23 after a battle with leukemia.

In addition to film, theatre, TV and concert work, he sang on a pre-Broadway album of Frank Wildhorn's The Civil War.

Mr. Anderson was 58. He was born in Lynchburg, VA, in 1945, to a steel worker father and a seamstress mother, according to his official website. Mr. Anderson got his first taste of performing when he sang in Baptist church. He also sang in high school.

While serving for two years in the Air Force, he was involved in the World Wide Air Force Talent Contest, allowing him to sing at military bases around the country, strengthening his talent.

He was noticed by a talent agent while singing with a band in Washington, DC. Part of his band's act was performing songs from the concept album of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar.

According to the official Carl Anderson website (here), "The concert touring company of Jesus Christ Superstar was auditioning and, on the last day of auditions, 27 June 1971, Carl – who had been delivered to New York City not knowing why he was there – auditioned for and landed the role of Judas. Two days later, he was in rehearsal." He would later say in interviews that he stepped into the Broadway role of Judas when Ben Vereen suffered throat problems. They alternated the part for a time, and Mr. Anderson then headed west to perform in the Los Angeles company of the rock opera.

But he was soon plucked from rehearsals for a screen test for film director Norman Jewison. Weeks later, he left the L.A. show to begin shooting the film of the rock opera in Israel.



Above: Carl Anderson (left) taking a break on the set of the 1973 film Jesus Christ Superstar with co-stars Ted Neeley (Jesus) and Yvonne Elliman (Mary Magdalene).


Playbill On-Line could not independently confirm dates of Mr. Anderson's Broadway appearance in Jesus Christ Superstar. The Internet Broadway Database information for the production is incomplete.

Mr. Anderson was Golden Globe-nominated for "New Star of the Year" and "Actor in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy."




In 1992, Mr. Anderson again played Judas in a North American touring revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the movie. He would play it on tour again as late as 2002-03.

The most recent national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, with rocker Sebastian Bach in the title role and Carl Anderson as Judas, dawned Nov. 1-17, 2002, at the LaMirada Theatre for the Performing Arts in California before traveling the country.

The new staging borrowed elements from the 2000 Broadway revival, but was altered and made more militaristic than on Broadway.

Mr. Anderson is heard as solo artist on a number of albums in the Epic, Polydor and GRP labels, as well as on the hot-selling Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack, which was reissued on CD in recent years.

Singing jazz, pop and adult contemporary music over the years, Mr. Anderson had a notable hit recording, "Friends and Lovers," a duet with 1980s soap opera actress and singer Gloria Loring.

Kenneth Jones
Playbill
February 24, 2004



NEXT: Remembering the Life of Carl Anderson:
“There Was So Much Love”



The Wild Reed's February 2019 Celebration of Carl Anderson:
Remembering and Celebrating Carl Anderson
Carl Anderson: “Pure Quality”
Carl Anderson's Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar: “The Gold Standard”
Carl Anderson's Judas: “A Two-Dimensional Popular Villain Turned Into a Complex Human Being”
Carl Anderson: “Artist and Vocalist Extraordinaire”




When you feel a cool breeze passing by,
know that I am there.

– From the Carl Anderson recording,
"Sarah" (1998)


For more of Carl at The Wild Reed, see:
Carl Anderson: “One of the Most Enjoyable Male Vocalists of His Era”
With Love Inside
Carl Anderson
Acts of Love . . . Carl's and Mine
Introducing . . . the Carl Anderson Appreciation Group
Forbidden Lover
Revisiting a Groovy Jesus (and a Dysfunctional Theology)


Friday, February 22, 2019

Quote of the Day

What is it in Andrea Dworkin’s long-neglected oeuvre that has suddenly become resonant? Perhaps it’s simply because we’re in a moment of crisis, when people seeking solutions are dusting off all sorts of radical ideas. But I think it’s more than that. Dworkin [right] was engaged, as many women today are engaged, in a pitched cultural battle over whose experiences and assumptions define our common reality. As she wrote of several esteemed male writers in a 1995 preface to [her book] Intercourse, “I love the literature these men created; but I will not live my life as if they are real and I am not.”

Dworkin was unapologetically angry, as so many women today are. Even before 2016, you could see this anger building in the emergence of new words to describe maddening male behaviors that had once gone unnamed – manspreading, mansplaining. Then came the obscene insult of Donald Trump’s victory. It seems like something sprung from Dworkin’s cataclysmic imagination, that America’s most overtly fascistic president would also be the first, as far as we know, to have appeared in soft-core porn films. I think Trump’s victory marked a shift in feminism’s relationship to sexual liberation; as long as he’s in power, it’s hard to associate libertinism with progress.

And so Dworkin, so profoundly out of fashion just a few years ago, suddenly seems prophetic. “Our enemies – rapists and their defenders – not only go unpunished; they remain influential arbiters of morality; they have high and esteemed places in the society; they are priests, lawyers, judges, lawmakers, politicians, doctors, artists, corporation executives, psychiatrists and teachers,” Dworkin said in a lecture she wrote in 1975. Maybe this once sounded paranoid. After Trump’s election, the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, and revelations of predation by men including Roger Ailes, Harvey Weinstein, Les Moonves, Larry Nassar and countless figures in the Catholic Church, her words seem frighteningly perceptive.

– Michelle Goldberg
Excerpted from “Not the Fun Kind of Feminist:
How Trump Helped Make Andrea Dworkin Relevant Again

The New York Times
February 22, 2019


Related Off-site Links:
The Power of Andrea Dworkin’s Rage – Johanna Fateman (NYR Daily, February 15, 2019).
What Andrea Dworkin, the Feminist I Knew, Can Teach Young Women – Julie Bindel (The Guardian, March 30, 2015).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Prison of Pornography
Insightful Perspectives on the Kavanaugh/Ford Hearing

Image: Photographer unknown.


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Carl Anderson: “Artist and Vocalist Extraordinaire”



The Wild Reed’s celebration of singer and actor Carl Anderson continues!

It’s actually a month-long celebration, as February is the month of both Carl’s birth (in 1945) and death (in 2004, at age 58).

In this fifth installment of The Wild Reed’s celebration of Carl, I share the music video of "How Deep Does It Go?", one of a number of standout tracks from Carl's 1990 album Pieces of a Heart.

Pieces of a Heart was the first of three albums that Carl released on the jazz label GRP Records, and a review of it follows the video below. Enjoy!




Have you ever lived for someone
more than you live for yourself?
Can you perceive of a love you believe in always?
Can you learn to let somebody
really live inside your love?
Can you release everything you have to her?

How deep does it go?
How deep does it go in your love?
I just got to know,
could you ever let go of my love?

I feel I can touch you places
that no one has ever been
Trust me this time
as I gently find every end
I will go to any measure
just let me know how far to be
Whatever it takes
I will put your heart at ease.

How deep does it go?
How deep does it go in your love?
I just got to know,
could you ever let go of my love?
How deep does it feel?
How deep does it feel in your love?
How deep does it feel?
Does it make you reveal all you have?

'Cause you live in me
making my world complete.
And what you give me
is so much deeper than deep.

How deep does it go? I wanna know.
How deep does it go in your love?
I just got to know,
could you ever let go of my love?

How deep does it feel? Tell me.
How deep does it feel in your love?
How sweet does it taste?
Could another erase what we have?
How deep does it go?
How deep? I wanna know.
Tell me, how deep?


___________________________



With so many well-known male cross-over artists today in the areas of pop and jazz such as Al Jarreau, Phil Perry, Jeffrey Osborne, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder, few are familiar with the tremendous artistic talents of Carl Anderson, artist and vocalist extraordinaire. Imagine a controlled, powerful, rich baritone voice, something of a cross between former vocal icons Johnny Mathis and Nat King Cole, and you have got the rather unique vocal stylings of Carl Anderson. How a talent of this magnitude could go virtually so unknown, beyond those in the music industry anyway, is a mystery to me.

Just check out the credentials: He played and sang in the role of Judas in the Andrew Lloyd Webber [and Tim Rice] stage production [and film adaptation] of Jesus Christ Superstar, sung the hit duet song "Friends and Lovers" with Days of Our Lives soap opera star Gloria Loring, and had a tremendous solo recording career with labels like Epic, PolyGram, and GRP, while performing with artists like Maynard Ferguson, Stevie Wonder, Brenda Russell, Joe Sample, Russ Freeman, Nancy Wilson, Kirk Whalum, Keiko Matsui, Weather Report, and Angela Bofill.

[On the] impressive Pieces of a Heart, Carl Anderson showcases his amazing talent as a vocalist. Just listen to the beautiful and exotic "Dance of the Seven Veils," the emotionally stirring "If I Could," the classic jazz piece "Maiden Voyage," the sassy duet with Brenda Russell, "Baby My Heart," and the soaring and deeply moving title track and you'll see why the music of the late, great Carl Anderson will take a piece of your heart."

Ellis Ivory
2006





NEXT: Playbill Remembers Carl



The Wild Reed's February 2019 Celebration of Carl Anderson:
Remembering and Celebrating Carl Anderson
Carl Anderson: “Pure Quality”
Carl Anderson's Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar: “The Gold Standard”
Carl Anderson's Judas: “A Two-Dimensional Popular Villain Turned Into a Complex Human Being”

For more of Carl at The Wild Reed, see:
Carl Anderson: “One of the Most Enjoyable Male Vocalists of His Era”
With Love Inside
Carl Anderson
Acts of Love . . . Carl's and Mine
Introducing . . . the Carl Anderson Appreciation Group
Forbidden Lover
Revisiting a Groovy Jesus (and a Dysfunctional Theology)


A New Snowfall Record



Writes Ron Trenda on the Updraft blog of Minnesota Public Radio News:

Wednesday’s snow blitz dropped 8.9 inches of fresh snow at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Our official Twin Cities February snow total is now at 31.5 inches.

This is now the snowiest February in Twin Cities snowfall records, which date back to 1885!

February 2019 is also the 10th snowiest single month in Twin Cities weather records, and we could move up that list with additional snow this weekend.

Let’s rest our shoveling muscles for now.











Related Off-site Links:
Twin Cities Shatters February Snow Record; More This Weekend – Nancy Yang (MPR News, February 20, 2019).
Heavy Snowfall Pushes Twin Cities to February Record, With More in Forecast – Paul Walsh (Star Tribune, February 21, 2019).
Time-lapse of February's Record-breaking SnowfallStar Tribune (February 20, 2019).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
In Minneapolis, a Snowy February Friday
Winter of Content
Winter Beauty
Winter Light
Winter Storm (2016)
Winter Storm (2012)
Shadows and Light
Winter . . . Within and Beyond


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Happy Birthday, Buffy!



Singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie turns 78 today.

Happy Birthday, Buffy!

As regulars readers will know, I’ve long admired Buffy Sainte-Marie and enjoyed her music. Indeed, I find her to be a very inspiring figure. (I even chose her song "It's My Way" as my theme song when I turned 50 in 2015!)


Left: With Buffy after her August 26, 2016 performance at The Dakota in Minneapolis.


I particularly appreciate and am inspired by Buffy's passion and purposefulness – and by the way she blends her art and social activism. I’ve seen her four times in concert, and had the privilege of meeting and talking with her on three of these occasions. She’s creative, articulate, warm, and funny – a very human human being, in other words.


Buffy's most recent album is the award-winning Medicine Songs (2017), about which Buffy says the following.

[Medicine Songs] is a collection of front line songs about unity and resistance – some brand new and some classics – and I want to put them to work. These are songs I've been writing for over fifty years, and what troubles people today are still the same damn issues from 30-40-50 years ago: war, oppression, inequity, violence, rankism of all kinds, the pecking order, bullying, racketeering and systemic greed. Some of these songs come from the other side of that: positivity, common sense, romance, equity and enthusiasm for life.

[. . .] I really want this collection of songs to be like medicine, to be of some help or encouragement, to maybe do some good. Songs can motivate you and advance your own ideas, encourage and support collaborations and be part of making change globally and at home. They do that for me and I hope this album can be positive and provide thoughts and remedies that rock your world and inspire new ideas of your own.


For The Wild Reed's special post featuring highlights from a number of reviews of Medicine Songs, along with an insightful interview with Buffy, click here.



Above: Buffy and guitarist Anthony King performing at the Big Top Chautauqua, Bayfield, WI on Saturday, August 27, 2016. (Photo: Michael J. Bayly)


In celebrating Buffy today at The Wild Reed I share the music video for her song, “The War Racket” (from Medicine Songs), along with Maggie Rahr's review of Andrea Warner's Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography, released last September. Rahr's review, entitled “Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Merriment and Perseverance Shine Through in New Biography,” was first published September 26, 2018 by The Glode and Mail.





Ooo, you’re slick – you investors in hate
You Saddams and you Bushes,
you Bin Ladens and snakes
You billionaire bullies,
you’re a globalized curse
You put war on the masses
and then you clean out the purse

And that’s how it’s done, war after war
You old feudal parasites
you just sacrifice the poor
You got the cutting edge weapons
but your scam’s still the same
as it’s been since the Romans:
It’s the patriot game
Well, that's the war racket
That’s the war racket

You twisters of language,
you creeps of disguise
Your disinformation –
it's like worms in your eyes
You privileged bankers,
you gambler thieves
You profit on war, you think
there's just less money in peace.

That’s how it’s done, time after time,
In country after country
and crime after crime.
You pretend it’s religion
as if there’s no one to blame
for your dead and impoverished
in your little patriot game;
Honey, that's the war racket.

We got the world's greatest power
and you team up with thugs.
Make a fortune on weapons,
destruction and drugs.
But your flags and boots and uniforms
they start to all smell the same
when both sides are killing
in your little patriot game..

And that’s how it’s done
and you’ve got our sons
in the crosshairs of horror
at the end of your guns
But your national anthems
they start to all smell like shame
when all sides are dying
in the patriot game

And war is never, ever holy
It’s just a greedy men’s dream
And you two-faced crusaders –
both sides are obscene.
War is not made by God,
war is just made by men
who misdirect our attention
while you thieves do your thing

And that’s how it’s done
About every 30 years
The rich fill their bank accounts
The poor fill with tears
The young fill the coffins
The old hang a wreath
The politicians get photographed
with their names underneath.
It’s the war racket
It’s just the war racket

– Buffy Sainte-Marie

__________________________



Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Merriment and Perseverance
Shine Through in New Biography


By Maggie Rahr

The Globe and Mail
September 29, 2018


At just 22, Buffy Sainte-Marie was boarding and disembarking flights across North America, performing for intimate crowds in not-yet legendary folk coffee houses of the sixties, when she made a preternatural decision.

In her purse she began carrying with her, recorded on cassettes, the voices of then-unknowns: Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen.

Sainte-Marie, only just coming to prominence in the United States, hoped to deliver the urgent and bursting poetry of her young peers to gatekeepers she’d earned access to, who might open doors for them.

This is just one of many quietly revealing moments readers ought to pause to consider in Andrea Warner’s new authorized biography, which illustrates how the iconic singer-songwriter, activist and educator changed the landscape of modern music not only with her idiosyncratic voice and self-taught, compositional style, but with her ears – and her capacity to lift others.

Mitchell, decades later, would go on to write the foreword for this very book: “Buffy Sainte-Marie is one of folk music’s unsung heroes and her inspirational life is a story that deserves to be read.”

Longtime fans and careful listeners of Sainte-Marie’s will find details that are charming and relatable, as well as heartbreaking and never before discussed in previous interviews.

The book doesn’t read like your typical sixties music biography, as such tropes wouldn’t match Sainte-Marie’s ascension: There are no lurid tales of adultery or drug-fuelled parties either legendary, regrettable or both. The collection’s selling point isn’t in the salacious or tragic, but instead may be found in a direct pondering and revisiting of years past, in the way a long conversation over a cup of tea might be absorbed.

Those who are familiar with Warner’s work as a CBC music journalist, will recognize her writing tone – one that welcomes us to imagine what the 60-some hours of phone conversations between Buffy Sainte-Marie and the author that preceded the book itself, might have sounded like.

"We talked twice a week, for two hours each time,” Warner says. The two spoke on the phone regularly over the nearly two-month stretch, with Warner calling from Vancouver and Sainte-Marie based in Hawaii.

Eventually they met in person, on tour, and in Warner’s neighbourhood, at a cat café, where Sainte-Marie quickly settled in on the floor, instantly connecting with a handful of cats, as naturally as if she were at home.

For Sainte-Marie, the experience of revisiting the story of her life (up to now – it’s by no means slowed down) has been akin to this: “Confirmation. Like a movie of your wedding. It’s such a blur while it’s going on that seeing it later kinda anchors it down to reality.”




“For working musicians on the road, we don’t experience the calendar rhythms of weekdays-weekends work-rest around which most people build their lives and snapshots,” Sainte-Marie writes in an e-mail.

“So I kind of lack the usual life milestones and goal posts that would mark a personal linear ‘album.’”

This – being expected to divulge the most intimate details of one’s life, only to end up crunched into a headline – is nothing new for Sainte-Marie. But the conversations with Warner were different. More spacious. There was time to unpack the full story,

With each passing week, Warner became more enamoured with her subject.

“[She’s] so incredibly smart … so down to earth. ... That’s Buffy.”

The interviews (Warner was armed with “a lifetime of questions”) often fell into natural conversations and eventually passed the slotted two-hour mark every time. In one exchange, Warner found herself explaining the term “gaslighting” to Sainte-Marie, who she knew had likely experienced it herself without having a word for it.

In the book, Sainte-Marie describes the core of her activism, “decolonization,” the same way. “We knew what it was, we just didn’t have a word for it.”

The musician’s quotes lift off the page. On the subject of being an educator, Warner writes that the artist is, “Gentle, but firm. Her words are an education, not a lecture.”

Buffy’s version: “You don’t give it to people in an enema.”

Warner’s narrative tracks Sainte-Marie’s life from birth on the Piapot Plains Cree First Nation Reserve in Qu’Appelle, Sask., her childhood with her adopted family in the United States – the exact date and circumstances surrounding her adoption are unknown, a painful and common casualty of the time – and some five decades spent both in and out of the spotlight in good measure, across the United States and the world.

Born under the name Beverly (and still called so, fondly, by some old friends quoted in the book) the musician showed great promise in both singing and composing by the mere age of three. By university, she was playing guitar with the then yet-to-be discovered Taj Mahal, who sought her out in the stairwell of the University of Massachusetts where she studied.




Sainte-Marie’s memories and observations, in her own words, are tidily and poetically inserted throughout the book, in interludes that appear between chapters.

“I’m surprised I get any credit,” one such interlude begins, a stunningly raw admission in itself, given that it’s coming from a legendary singular talent who has been largely overlooked in the North American cultural canon of musical heroes and activist groundbreakers.

Sainte-Marie isn’t digging for compliments. She’s simply sharing a straightforward personal take: demonstrating a rare, deep humility and groundedness from someone who has been famous since the beginning of her adulthood. It’s often been suggested in popular culture that celebrities who rise to fame at a young age are somehow fossilized at that nascent age, if not lost to the ravages of fame.




If anything, Sainte-Marie, or what we can conjure of her from the pages and from her music, seems to have manifested just the opposite – somehow spanning both youthful exuberance and wisdom in her 78th year.

Warner, for her part, explains her subject’s omission from our mainstream cultural touchstones in this way: “Music journalism was white, straight, male for so long,” she says plainly. “It’s not that people want to exclude her voice, I think they just didn’t understand . . . or listen . . . or analyze their own complicity in it.”

But Sainte-Marie holds no bitterness. In fact, she sees the arrival of this book as a kind of introduction.

“I’m pretty serious for somebody who has so much fun and I’m a lot of fun for somebody who has also engaged with tragedy.”

The admiration isn’t one sided either. Sainte-Marie has plenty of good things to say about Warner.

“Because Andrea captures that merry side of me that many writers either have not gotten in the first place, or have seen edited down in favour of a heavy-handed headline, it is kind of a public coming-out of my merry side.”

Merriment and perseverance together – the image Warner’s writing casts is one of an insightful leader, whose commitment to joy in learning has only grown over the years. This is at the heart of the biography – one which arguably is decades overdue.

– Maggie Rahr
The Globe and Mail
September 29, 2018




___________________________



For The Wild Reed's special series of posts leading-up to the November 10, 2017 release of Medicine Songs, see:
For Acclaimed Songwriter, Activist and Humanitarian Buffy Sainte-Marie, the World is Always Ripening
Buffy Sainte-Marie: "I'm Creative Anywhere"
Buffy Sainte-Marie Headlines SummerStage Festival in NYC's Central Park
Buffy Sainte-Marie, "One of the Best Performers Out Touring Today"
The Music of Buffy Sainte-Marie: "Uprooting the Sources of Disenfranchisement"
Buffy Sainte-Marie's Medicine Songs



For The Wild Reed's special series of posts leading-up to the May 12, 2015 release of Buffy's award-winning album, Power in the Blood, see:
Buffy Sainte-Marie and That "Human-Being Magic"
Buffy Sainte-Marie's Lesson from the Cutting Edge: "Go Where You Must to Grow"
Buffy Sainte-Marie: "Sometimes You Have to Be Content to Plant Good Seeds and Be Patient"
Buffy Sainte-Marie's Power in the Blood


For more of Buffy Sainte-Marie at The Wild Reed, see:
A Music Legend Visits the North Country: Buffy Sainte-Marie in Minnesota and Wisconsin – August 2016
Two Exceptional Singers Take a Chance on the "Spirit of the Wind"
Photo of the Day – January 21, 2017
Buffy Sainte-Marie Wins 2015 Polaris Music Prize
Congratulations, Buffy
Happy Birthday, Buffy! (2016)
Happy Birthday, Buffy! (2018)
Actually, There's No Question About It
For Buffy Sainte-Marie, a Well-Deserved Honor
Buffy Sainte-Marie: Singing It and Praying It; Living It and Saying It
Buffy Sainte-Marie: Still Singing with Spirit, Joy, and Passion
Something Special for Indigenous Peoples Day
Buffy Sainte-Marie: "The Big Ones Get Away"

Related Off-site Links:
Buffy Sainte-Marie's Authorized Biography Serves As a "Map Of Hope" – Scott Simon and Ian Stewart (NPR News, September 29, 2018).
Buffy Sainte-Marie Tells Her Life Story, Her Way – Sue Carter (The Star, September 29, 2018)
Buffy Sainte-Marie, Jess Moskaluke, and The Dead South Lead Saskatchewan Artists Nominated for Junos – Spencer Leigh (The Independent, January 9, 2018).
Buffy Sainte-Marie: "I Constantly Ask Myself, Where Are the Great Protest Songs of Today? Are People Deaf and Blind?"Regina Leader-Post, (February 6, 2018).
Music as Medicine: Buffy Sainte-Marie Talks Politics, Sex Scandals and Her Brand New Album – Rosanna Deerchild (CBC Radio's Unreserved, November 19, 2017)
Buffy Sainte-Marie Takes a Stand with Medicine SongsET Canada (November 30, 2017).
Buffy Sainte-Marie Makes Music for a New Generation of Activists – Tom Power (CBC Radio, November 17, 2017).
The Unbreakable Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Candid Conversation with the Resilient Songwriter and Activist – Whitney Phaneuf (Acoustic Guitar, January 18, 2017).