Friday, June 29, 2012

RIP Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' marriage.

Wishing young Suri Cruise the best in the wake of the tabloid maelstrom she'll be entering. Here's a poem by IMDB blogger Melanie McFarland: TomKat Blues (with Apologies to W.H. Auden) Shut off your cell phones and stop all the clocks, Put your sweet fashionistas in the somber’est of frocks, Silence the talk shows with their sorrowful preaching, Bring out the pre-nup, let the tabloids start screeching. Let aeroplanes circle as their engines faintly hum Scribbling on the sky the message, “Tom and Katie are Done!” Put jokes up on Twitter about contracts expiring, Let Facebook updates guess which lawyers he’s hiring. She moved him to frolic on Oprah’s plush chaise, She told W Mag, “Tom and I will always be in our honeymoon phase” “He’s my man! He’s my man!” she would go on to cheer, We thought they would last for, like, 10 or so years. The stars have no comment for  E!’s TV hosts, Roll up the red carpet. Go ‘way, New York Post. Cask the Cristal, calm the air with sandalwood, For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blog commenter with post-mortem on Ann Curry's demotion from TODAY host to NBC correspondent.

Yielding the floor to commenter "Bird" from the HOLLYWOOD-ELSEWHERE site:
Sure, Ann never quite had the snappy easy banter with Matt that Katie or Meredith had, but ultimately she's taking the fall for the scattershot gosspy mess Today has become of late. You can't follow a report on an upcoming Supreme Court ruling with the latest on a reality "star". I mean, unless she was the victim of a terrorist attack there is no reason any [Kardashian] should be mentioned in the top half of the 7am hour.
Good luck to Ann, and my condolences to her replacement.

My list of best (and not quite so) 2012 movies from January-June.

Inspired by Jeffrey Wells' "half-time" post on HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE (, here's a list in no particular order of memorable films I've seen from the first half of 2012: MOONRISE KINGDOM, THE RAID: REDEMPTION, YOUR SISTER'S SISTER, BERNIE, THE FIVE YEAR ENGAGEMENT, THE DICTATOR, POLISSE, THE KID WITH A BIKE, THE AVENGERS, PROMETHEUS, JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME
Underachieving: SAFE HOUSE, SALMON FISHING ON THE YEMEN, DARK SHADOWS, BRAVE, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN (though the director shows visual promise and is smart enough to steal from Akira Kurosawa)
Semi-guilty pleasure: ROCK OF AGES
Films I hope to catch up with: THE PIRATES!, WANDERLUST, PAUL WILLIAMS: STILL ALIVE, LOLA VERSUS, DAMSELS IN DISTRESS, MADAGASCAR 3, MISS BALA, MARGARET (uncut version to be released on DVD, counting this as a 2012 release)

Beyond Baroque, a poet who hates me--and me.

Not to go into too many details here, but there's a poet in the community who I was once at least acquaintances with back at the beginning of the last decade.  My wife and I were even invited to some parties at her then-home in West L.A.  Unfortunately, I caused that comradeship to end in 2003 when I was critical of how circle-of-friends clubby her booking of a poetry festival was.  And I didn't know how to shut up and not escalate the situation further when she became upset at me.  So I said something I regret now--and she and I became adversaries. Each of us has left the other alone for the past few years after the two of us traded noncompliments on poetry listserves--though I did try to friend her on Facebook and sent an e-mail expressing sympathy after the death of a female poet we both knew.  Other than that, I don't bother her at all.

Recently, when I was sent the Facebook thread about feedback and pushback regarding an earlier post of mine on this blog, she made an allegation that I was the one who kept her from being part of the local scene.  Untrue--she's been a feature at a few readings and even runs a series of salutes to deceased female poets (Dorothy Parker and Sylvia Plath, for example) at Beyond Baroque.

I donate to Beyond Baroque to help keep the doors open, the lights on and various readings/panels (including hers) possible.  I don't ask for/insist on anything, and appear there as a featured poet only when asked (most recently at one of Billy Burgos' Sunday readings--thanks again to Rafael FJ Alvarado for making it possible).

But I'd like to say this publicly:  I'm aware that the poet I've written about in the above paragraphs has a negative opinion of me that will never change.  She has a right to persist in her beliefs--I handled myself in a rather insensitive fashion back in 2003-04.  However, it would be much appreciated by both myself and my wife if the poet could please be kind and refrain from stating that I'm impeding her local poetry career in any way, shape or form.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A question Piers Morgan didn't ask Deborah Norville.

Since Larry King's endgame on CNN, it's no longer considered a good idea for ratings' sake to (gasp!) do an entire segment on a topic/guest.  So Piers Morgan had Deborah Norville on for about ten minutes tonight to answer questions about morning shows, Ann Curry and deal with the subtext of what it's like to follow a popular co-host and be unaccepted.

Here's a question Piers didn't ask Deborah:
You've hosted INSIDE EDITION--a tabloid show.  Used to be that shows like INSIDE EDITION, HARD COPY and A CURRENT AFFAIR had a place in early-evening access--and actual news was still covered on morning and evening news shows.  How do you feel about the TODAY show's continuing efforts to emulate and imitate INSIDE EDITION?

Monday, June 25, 2012


here it is, folks
hops, skips, jumps, warps
sounds way WAY too analog
in the age of clean bright digital
files placed in clouds
makes lots of noise
speaks when it should sing
always goes against the pattern
of the rest of the vinyl
plays at the wrong speed
on every turntable
don't fling that arcane relic
onto the floor
and stomp/smash/grind it
into indigo powder
someday it might sound good
and make sense
to those who want to listen
with unplugged ears

Saturday, June 23, 2012

CARS 2/BRAVE--Pixar now apparently makes movies for kids only.

I think a lot of us can guess why Disney/Pixar's CARS 2 was made; assuming Bob Iger ordered it almost totally due to the massive sales of CARS toys.  But at least CARS 2, for its faults, did improve
on John Lasseter's overly indulgent, pokily-paced original.  However, after the three-for-three artistic/commerical successes of WALL-E, UP and TOY STORY 3, CARS 2 seemed like something
genetically engineered for 11 years-and-younger boys--heavy on the Mater stuff and very simple, nail-on-the-head approach to key story points.

BRAVE--a film which now stands as Pixar's lowpoint, equivalent to Disney's disastrous sword-and-sorcery 1985 venture into PG-edginess THE BLACK CAULDRON--is a film which started with a woman as writer/director (Brenda Chapman).  Apparently, Ms. Chapman's approach to the female-centered film was found wanting--and Mark Andrews (not a woman) was brought in to "save" it.  Thereby, the film has a promising first half-hour followed by a dental-floss thin storyline to carry the last hour.  (As irony would have it, sorcery/magic does play a role in Acts Two and Three of BRAVE.)

What's even worse is that the story points/moral are painted in 80s neon colors, with songs used on the soundtrack to pound the message in that much harder.  And the female empowerment/choose your destiny message is worthy, but even DreamWorks at its broadest (take ANTZ and SHARK'S TALE as examples) has a little more subtlety in storytelling.

So what are the problems with the Pixar factory in Emeryville CA?  John Lasseter being spread too thin (since he also oversees Disney in-house animation)?  Worries that WALL-E and UP were too "smart" for family audiences?  Massive pressure to crank out one a year--plus resorting to sequels/prequels?

Or is it an edict from Disney that animation should be kid-centered and dumbed down a bit, with no worries about pleasing a broad audience because parents will accompany children to even the worst kind of treacle that youngsters are hard-sold on via Disney Store dolls, TV ads, magazine articles etc?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Some SoCal poets really don't like me--and let me know it behind my back.

Over two weeks ago, someone who won't be named here alerted me to a conversation of Facebook (one I wasn't invited to) started by G. Murray Thomas on a blog post of mine about Murray needing to disclose close connections to small presses when he reviews books by poets from those small presses on  The conversation started out reasoned and intelligent (giving thanks to Murray, who I have often disagreed with), then turned to personal attacks at my expense.  In a way, I deserve being hit with metaphorical baseball bats on occasion when I've said things (on this blog and elsewhere) that go beyond professional disagreements about poetry and poets.  But some of the comments made (by people in the LA/OC communities past and present) veered into a ditch filled with barbed-wire.  I will provide excerpts below, with most names named:
"And we care about Terry McCarthy's opinion because...? Oh, yes, he's been SUCH a positive force in the community."--Richard Beban (Hyperpoets reading co-founder)
".. I do not see anyone asking for his opinion for reviews, because he has no clout to back them up...and that is the exact reason that his blog commentary is harassment at best."--Lob Instagon (ex-Orange County)
"Let's throw rotten kumquats at the guy! Murray you rock!"--Zack Nelson-Lopiccolo
 "I'm now picturing a certain someone as an unfunny Rodney Dangerfield. This amuses me."-- Ben Trigg (co-host of OC's long-running Two Idiots Peddling Poetry reading)
"And I for one would pay good money to see a grudge match between [person who made first comment]and whats-his-name [me]." (Matthew Mars, formerly known as Matthew Niblock--co-editor of deceased poetry publication BLUE SATELLITE)
 " [Name deleted], he's the reason you don't hang out with the poetry community anymore? My dislike of him has moved to hate."--Ben Trigg
And finally, from a person no longer living in LA/OC I barely knew--and thought I got along with--over a decade ago:
"Clearly in person this fellow is unpleasant. (I have been accused of the same, BTW). His blog, however, seems somewhat confused, vague, and timid. I didn't see an "attack" on you so much as a complaint that you didn't like his stuff (this was implied). How does this guy get 27,000 hits on this blog? It's not nearly as interesting as my old [poetry website] reports. Ahem"--former Orange County poet/musician Mark Corwin "MC" Bruce.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are actual poets who believe in "community." 

More random comments about Andrew Sarris, Ann Curry, Matt Lauer, Joy Behar and Al Gore.

1. RIP film critic and auteurist Andrew Sarris--read his reviews in THE VILLAGE VOICE and THE NEW YORK OBSERVER and consider his books THE AMERICAN CINEMA and THE JOHN FORD MOVIE MYSTERY essential reading for those interested in film studies. 2. As Keith Olbermann mentioned on Twitter, it's sad that Ann Curry is enduring public humiliation by NBC/Comcast (news leaks) regarding her forced departure from the TODAY show. Yes, Savannah Guthrie might evoke (to Matt Lauer at least) the Lost Era of Katie, but Lauer and NBC News majordomo Steve Capus should have the sense (they're being paid enough)to realize that any alleged "chemistry" between anchors doesn't necessarily raise ratings or paper over the essential problem of TODAY doing too much wading in the shallow end of the news pool. 3. Al Gore and his partners at Current TV are now focusing on the Hail Mary pass of getting mild-to-moderate progressive comics to join the channel. John Fugelsang (who can be pithy on Twitter) is subbing for "rock star" Jennifer Granholm on THE WAR ROOM and Joy Behar is getting a five-night tryout before officially debuting this fall. If you see the Joy Behar ads, the impression is given that she'll be Politically Direct and free of any restrictions on content she had on her HLN series or may still have on THE VIEW. So last night, amid the horse race election-coverage stuff, Ms. Behar felt compelled to do a tabloid crap story about Kim Kardashian, Oprah Winfrey and Kris Jenner. Fine for ABC and HLN, but it was woefully stupid for Current TV--even considering them having Cenk Uygur do an on-bended-knee interview of Hugh Hefner, which the channel probably justified due to Hef having some progressive views.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy 70th Birthday Brian Wilson--20 essential tracks.

1. The Warmth Of The Sun 2. Guess I'm Dumb (Brian wrote and produced this for pre-stardom Glen Campbell; this is the prototype for PET SOUNDS) 3. I Just Wasn't Made For These Times 4. I Know There's An Answer 5. This Whole World 6. Add Some Music To Your Day 7. Surf's Up 8. Heroes And Villains 9. Still I Dream Of It 10. Johnny Carson 11. Solar System 12. Cabinessence 13. Love And Mercy 14. Baby Let Your Hair Grow Long 15. Rio Grande 16. Soul Searchin (track with Brian and Carl) 17. Your Imagination 18. Til I Die 19. Pacific Coast Highway 20. We Belong Togrther (Brian covering Randy Newman's TOY STORY 3 song)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


In 1992, he asked
"Can we all just get along?"
Twenty years later,
the answer is:
Yes, we can, a little better than before.
But we still have miles to travel
on the Human Highway.
And it's better to do it together
than to waste time separating,
criminalizing and generalizing
people we don't know.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy 70th Paul McCartney: 20 Essential Album Tracks.

Beyond the big hits of Paul McCartney's post-Beatles career, here's a playlist of lesser-known gems: 1. Junk 2. Tomorrow 3. Dear Boy 4. Back Seat Of My Car 5. Mamumia 6. Mrs. Vanderbilt 7. Bluebird 8. Waterfalls 9. Take It Away 10. Here Today 11. Ballroom Dancing 12. No Values 13. Footprints 14. This One 15. Put It There 16. Calico Skies 17. Little Willow 18. Somedays 19. Only Mama Knows 20. End Of The End

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Why poets should whine about their books and small presses when necessary.

Someone I know in the SoCal poetry community (he's been kind to me professionally on a few occasions, though we've had disagreements) mentioned on Facebook that he's tired of poets "whining" about their books--re how many or few they sell and difficulties with publishers. As for me, the state of book sales is a topic I avoid bringing up on this blog. I've been through DIY self-publishing, being published by small presses (both by selection and paying for it) and paying to have an e-book professionally published and distributed. [ In terms of the last option, I'm happy to have actually sold e-books on Amazon Kindle and Xlibris, though more often (in the case of the former) I've had to depend on occasional free days to get people to sample.] And I'm aware that books and e-books need to be nurtured over a long period of time in terms of publicity, promotion and placement in regular-and-virtual stores. But perhaps it's time to abandon the ethos of "we're a small community and it's bad for you and the community to complain about anything.". Authors may not want to call out certain small presses or the people specifically involved with poetry volumes, but it's far better for the community if poets speak up about issues involving books and book sales. In the current environment, DIY books or chapbooks aren't being done in the amount they were, say, a dozen years ago. So most poets desiring to be Published, Recognized, Accepted and--just maybe--have their work survive posthumously should be concerned and assertive in making sure the fruits of their craft and labor find the audience the poets envision.

Friday, June 15, 2012

9-year-old UK girl blogs about school meals--blog banned, ban overturned.

Before you read the link below, I'll tell a true story.

On a visit to London in September of 2006, I saw a girl of elementary-school age walking through the Marble Arch area with her mother.

The girl said, "But Mummy, I don't want to eat healthy."

As the girl and her mother were walking and conversing, I noticed the mother was smoking a cigarette.

One more communique from the past about SoCal poetry

This conversation took place last year.  Context is that my opinions re SoCal poetry and how it works are a bit blinkered.  Turning the floor over to the commenter I'll keep anonymous:
Believe it or not, most of us do not see the poetry community that way [responding to a statement I made referring to it as a playground with mean boys and girls]. We aren't constantly thinking about who's cool and who's not, who's part of the in crowd and not, who to suck up to and who to blow off. Instead, we are mature adults participating in an artistic community.
I'm not going to deny that we make judgements about other people, that's just human nature. Those judgements generally fall into two categories -- those we like as people, and those we respect as artists. Sometimes the groups overlap, sometimes not. But to think that we divide everyone into two groups -- the cool people and the others - is, in your own words, "a lack of nuanced thinking." And to think that there's any sort of "in group" which is uniform in its judgements, is absurd.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A story from 1991 applicable to poetry communities today.

It was a weeknight in the late winter of 1991.

I was in Santa Monica to attend a meeting held by an anti-Gulf War group at Midnight Special Bookstore.  This wasn't the large, upscale store from the latter 90s-early 2000s; instead, it was perhaps one-fourth of the larger store's size, crammed with books and with a narrow floor space to fit metal folding chairs into.

The people at the meeting, predominately elderly folks active in progressive causes, were discussing various ways of taking action against the War (at that time, no one knew that the George H.W. Bush administration was planning to call a halt to the proceedings after roughly two months).

A man spoke up with an idea.  Another man in the room didn't like the idea and, while he didn't shout the first man down, proceeded to be vocal enough in disapproval to cause the first man to rise from his folding chair and leave the bookstore.

A woman near the naysaying man said something like "We need all the volunteers possible."

But the naysayer didn't respond to her; instead, he displayed a satisfied-granite facial expression which said: "I only want people around me who agree with everything I agree with.  He was wrong and deserved to leave."

Twenty-one years later, I look at the SoCal poetry community and I see much the same attitude as Naysaying Man expressed at the defunct Midnight Special bookstore.

To be honest, that attitude could often be found in my first five years (1998-2003) of poetry community activity.  For all the cliques that believed that their members were the only ones with poetic talent, there were other people (some of them now either deceased or living elsewhere) that believed in the "big tent" notion of poetry as a public activity where participation was encouraged whether you were a just-starting-out amateur or acclaimed Published poet.

Or, to state it this way: A long time ago, poetry communities had various segments expressing unconditional love.  Now, love is highly conditional, with even the sympathetic-to-others poets believing they have to conform and take what's given--even if it sometimes borders on hazing and/or forms of indentured servitude before a few peanuts of reward are granted to them.

Zestyverse: Rogue Machine Benefit for Max Petrakos and family June 24th

Zestyverse: Rogue Machine Benefit for Max June 24th: Tucker Smallwood in Where the Great Ones Run Thanks to the generosity of Tucker Smallwood and the Rogue Machine Theater, there will be...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Even Madonna gets insecure.

Two observations re the above:
1. In essence, it seems that Madonna, by exposing her right breast in Turkey, is taunting Lady Gaga for canceling a show in Malaysia after pushback from religious conservatives.
2. Earlier tonight, I was listening to Sirius/XM's Studio 54 channel (Channel 15) when the now-obscure Jellybean Benitez/Madonna track "Sidewalk Talk" played.  And I remembered the golden days of the 80s when Madonna exuded so much confidence that it wasn't necessary for her to have someone in her entourage paint a fake-tattoo of the words NO FEAR on her back (evident at the Istanbul concert).

Friday, June 8, 2012

Re poetry feature bookings.

Someone who will be anonymous here communicated the following to me over a year ago. It's for the best to share it for the sake of local poets: I would agree that the standards for featuring at the Ugly Mug, and to a lesser extent Redondo Poets, have gone up in the past ten years. But part of this is an expansion of opportunity. Both of them, but particularly the Mug, have developed reputations in SoCal and even beyond, as good readings to feature at. This has increased the status and quality of the poets willing to feature there. If you're a poetry host and you have the chance to book Kim Addonizio or Cecilia Woloch, you're going to take it, even it means not giving a feature to some promising but undeveloped local. Still, both readings do give opportunities to their regulars (again, Redondo more than the Mug). Still, I feel there are plenty of other readings where the beginning poet has plenty of chance to become a feature. And, as a counterweight, I would point out that it is much easier to get a feature at Beyond Baroque, one of the premier venues in the area, that it was ten or fifteen years ago. A second question is whether it is a totally bad thing for a reading to raise its standards. I believe there is value in exposing your audience to more talented poets. And let me, at this point, flat out dispute your assertion that we favor "star value" over talent. Maybe that is true for some other members of our community, but not for me, and not for (other poets, names withheld). Of course, the distinction is made difficult by the fact that many of those with "star power" have earned it with their talent.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Empathy for Bob Welch, ex-member of Fleetwood Mac.

Like too many people of my generation, I believed that Fleetwood Mac began in 1975 with the self-titled album and then-new members Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. And in 1977, I bought Bob Welch's album FRENCH KISS, only to find out later via ROLLING STONE that Welch's hit single "Sentimental Lady" was a remake of an album track from Fleetwood Mac's BARE TREES, recorded during Welch's tenure with the band. Welch's brand of pop music fit well on Late 70s AM radio--then, after the 1979 TWO HEARTS, I never heard his later music. Welch committed suicide today at the age of 65 in Nashville, TN--apparently he was distressed over health issues according to the site. What follows is an excerpt from Welch's Wikipedia biography, which probably gives an idea of the used-to-be-Somebody heartache he may have carried through his life over the past three-plus decades: Hall of Fame controversy When Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, original band members Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie were named to the Hall, as were Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Welch, who anchored the band for several years and three albums, was not. "My era was the bridge era," Welch told the Cleveland newspaper the Plain Dealer in 1998, after he was snubbed by the Hall of Fame. "It was a transition. But it was an important period in the history of the band. Mick Fleetwood dedicated a whole chapter of his biography to my era of the band and credited me with 'saving Fleetwood Mac.' Now they want to write me out of the history of the group. It hurts." Welch went on to tell the Plain Dealer, "Mick and I co-managed the group for years. I'm the one who brought the band to Los Angeles from England, which put them in the position of hooking up with Lindsey and Stevie. I saw the band through a whole period where they barely survived, literally." At the time, Welch believed that he had been blackballed by the Hall because of the breach of contract lawsuit against Fleetwood and John and Christine McVie. At the time of his snubbing by the Hall, he believed that the falling out with three band members led them to pressuring the selection committee into excluding him from the Hall.[17] In a 2003 online question and answer session on the Fleetwood Mac fan site The Penguin, Welch revised his opinion of why he was snubbed by the Hall. He had recently attended a Fleetwood Mac show and visited the band members back stage after the show. The visit reconnected him with Mick Fleetwood, his ex-band mate and ex-manager, after being estranged for many years. (He had never been estranged from Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, who were not party to the lawsuit.) By 2003, Welch believed that he had been snubbed by the Hall as the directors in New York, music industry insiders, did not like his style of music. However, he did believe that the lawsuit was a factor in his being blackballed, as it prevented him from getting in touch with Mick Fleetwood, whom he was not talking to at the time of the induction, who may have otherwise have used his influence to get Welch included with other members of the band. (Jerry Garcia had used his influence to get 12 members of the Grateful Dead inducted into the Hall, including some band mates whose contributions were considered marginal.) Welch said he had also communicated with Christine McVie but was still estranged from John.[18]

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Saw the grin of triumph from CNN's Erin Burnett
Yeah, we got those money-gulping
Workers-rights-happy unions on the run!
Don't cry over Citizens United.
Don't do contortions over Obama
Playing political poker by
Refusing to stand up
For ordinary people.
Just organize.
And keep organizing.
And keep voting.
And even in defeat,
Brush yourselves off
And organize and vote some more.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Coda to poetry book review post on full disclosure.

No, I'm not tearing the fabric of the poetry community to shreds by writing a blog post about poetry book reviews--though I get the impression (from the commenter on my previous post) that a number of people will think otherwise. All I'm saying is that reviewers should flag their connections to small press publishers if conflicts of interest are too blatant to be ignored, no matter how small the community believes itself to be. And, if necessary, reviewers shouldn't be afraid to recuse themselves and let someone else do the review if necessary. In the case of G. Murray Thomas and Poetix, there's a second reviewer, Eric Morago. He can take up the mantle.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The art of full disclosure when writing poetry book reviews.

First, I'll start with a full disclosure of my own: I once had a book published by Lummox Press and was included in an anthology of its Little Red Books series.

G. Murray Thomas, who reviews books for (alongside Eric Morago), knows the proprietor of Lummox and has toured with him in recent months. 

But Murray routinely reviews poetry volumes published by Lummox and even more routinely fails to offer any kind of full disclosure.  This modus operandi has also occurred with books from Write Bloody.  There, the ethical conundrum gets a bit stickier because Derrick Brown's Long Beach-based small press recently offered up the NEWS CLIPS AND EGO TRIPS anthology, based on the NEXT....poetry magazine edited by....G. Murray Thomas.

Once again, I'm aware that a certain segment of the SoCal poetry community views itself as small enough where friends write reviews of each other's books and few people don't care to see this as any kind of an issue.

And I'll give Murray the benefit of the doubt and guess he does his best to be objective when writing reviews of Lummox and Write Bloody offerings.

But, if the poetry community in SoCal wants to trumpet its idealness more convincingly, then it should avoid too many occurrences of even the appearance of conflict of interest.

UPDATE 6/5/12: Heard from Murray privately (sent him comminique via Facebook); essentially, his response is that "most people" know he knows people from local presses and that he's not interested in full disclosure.  Case closed.

JAY LENO (inspired by The Beach Boys' Johnny Carson)

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Fwd: For Max

Thanks to e amato for forwarding this via Facebook: Dear Family, Friends and Community:   On Saturday, June 2nd, Brenda Petrakos’ nephew, Max, was killed in a car accident.  The car he was traveling in with his mother and brother was hit by a drunk driver.  His mother and brother are in the hospital.  Max was 13 years old.   As many of you know, Brenda’s role in Max’s life went well beyond that of Aunt. This is a devastating time for her and her family.   Max was beloved.  He was insightful, smart, irreverent, creative – much like his Aunt.  He had a sweet spirit, a curious mind, and a perhaps odd addiction to Scrubs and Sanford and Son.   As a community, we have come together before to buoy those who need it, and steer people away from rough shores.  We are asking if we can do that again.   The family needs your prayers and support at this time.  They are also in need of financial assistance.   A funeral for Max may cost up to $10,000.  This is a burden that the family cannot bear.   We are asking for donations to raise the money so that Max may have a funeral.  He deserves one.  We must also raise this money as quickly as we can, and have set a goal of June 15th.   Donations may be made via PayPal  ( to  For those who prefer to write a check, or drop off cash, you may do so to:   Brenda Petrakos 1055 Lincoln Blvd., #2 Santa Monica, CA 90403   For more information, or questions, please feel free to contact me, or Marie Lecrivain:   E. Amato   Marie Lecrivain   We will do our best to post information about the funeral, and the fund.  We hope that you will help to share this message, as well as any future information about services for Max, with the community.  Those of you with venues, if you would be kind enough to either read an announcement and share the information, or post this to your lists, it would be much appreciated.   On behalf of the family, thank you so very much for your compassion.     Max's last performance at Downbeat 720 Youth Open Mic: Downbeat 720 on FB: Max's FB page:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Deadhead misbehavior at L.A. Coliseum June 1, 1991.

Haven't written about this until now, twenty-one years later.

Saturday, June 1, 1991, was a beautiful sunny day in Downtown Los Angeles.

I bought a walk-up ticket for $25.00 to sit in the upper rows of the Los Angeles Coliseum to see The Grateful Dead (for what was to be the first of three Dead shows for me).

The opening act on that tour was South African musician Johnny Clegg and his then-band Savuka.

After an interval, the Dead came out by mid-afternoon.

The late, legendary-and-controversial Bay Area-based promoter Bill Graham took center stage to warn the audience that no one was to leave their seats and go down to the field.  In retrospect, this seemed a bit unusual since I remember at least field seating for the previous Coliseum shows I attended (the 1988 Amnesty International concert and the 1989 Who reunion tour also known as "The Who On Ice").  But that's what Graham said--and apparently what the Coliseum wanted.

But certain Deadheads in the crowd seemed to think Graham denied them a Divine Right.  So about a song or two into the Dead's first set, a lot of people ran down the aisles onto the field.  I saw a security guard trying to hold people back and he was knocked backwards from the first-row entrance by the force of the crowd.

I watched all of this from the opposite stands--as I heard an audience member near me say under his breath that Bill can't make the audience stay seated because it was a GRATEFUL DEAD show and the crowd should do what it wants to do.

Being a relatively young man of thirty-one, I quickly focused on the show and put aside the stupid behavior of asinine, ferociously selfish people who thought they were Misunderstood Heroes rather than genuine rebels of the recent Occupy Wall Street//Egypt/Syria movements.

And, in the end, I'm wondering if the Deadheads realized they handed a victory to the Man.

The Grateful Dead never again played a show at the Los Angeles Coliseum in their four remaining years before the death of Jerry Garcia.

UPDATE 6/2: Here's streaming audio of the concert, plus comments from those who were there relating to the Incident discussed in the post.