Monday, June 27, 2016

larry r.i.p.

a long time ago, many life chapters ago, i had a younger boyfriend & his best friend was named larry. larry's name around town with some was "scary larry" bc he had the most morbid taste you could imagine in that pre-internet era! hanging out with larry & friends meant a night of very heavy drinking, maybe some psychedelics, listening to records, & watching disturbing videos, some i wish to this day i could erase from my memory, but much that were so cool, like john waters & russ meyer films... always, always we listened to the cramps. we worshipped the cramps! we all still do, living or dead! shantell -- the tough-looking gal with the soulful gaze & sweet friendly voice, bakersfield punk rock drummer, underground dj, & lifelong dear friend of larry's -- wrote that now larry's in heaven with lux. i hope so. i hope they all are there, all the ones who ravaged themselves to death with booze & drugs & loneliness & wild &/or long nights too many... i was turned on to so much fantastic outsider americana/punk at this time, being around larry, from hasil adkins to the legendary stardust cowboy & esquerita, screamin' jay hawkins, the gun club, the mummies, real rockabilly (not the polished pop barf variety, but the sincere but tough unwashed no-BS raw kind)... the list goes on & on...
larry elected to become a mortician & his school death mask, i remember, was of ed gein. it was quite artfully wrought, of course, for in my experience, the most creative people are not just tortured into self-loathing or insanity in some ways, they're also the most highly talented in many ways, being probably more touched by the divine, maybe icarus-like closer to the sun tho they may not even realize it, to the eternal flames, to immortality that conversely brings rushed mortality... i am rambling because i am sad.
we were in the motel the night before roadshow revival when i learned larry had died. earlier in the day we'd rushed to RSR to see our favorite band, our hero, james's life-long friend & mentor & my teenaged-thru-age-40+ object of adoration & lust & were shocked to tears by what we saw... the musician lifestyle is ravenous, just devastating to healthy longevity; so sad, tragic, heartbreaking, whatever you want to call it that the brightest, most bursting talents end up crashing so hard (see above)... so i already was pretty depressed when learned about larry.
i always knew larry was a loving, sweet guy under all the dark interests. but turns out the morbidity that turned him toward the profession of mortician, along with his love of outsiders, created a champion who was brave & determined to help when people lost their loved ones. story after story told of larry caring for the grieving, going the extra distance to help loved ones at their saddest moments. he didn't just dress corpses, but made sure people could say goodbye to their girlfriends, parents, & other loved ones in the most dignified, protected manner... in other words, i found out my friend "scary larry" was in some ways a saint.
then i found out he had "drank himself to death," & the floor fell away.
alcohol is a demon. i really believe it should be outlawed, except then it just would go underground & still would be used, would even thrive in use. we who have the itch, who cannot steadily be in the flow of g.o.d., want what we cannot have & that want often is for something ruinous. again, i think that's bc the craving for the divine turns in the wrong direction & becomes a craven lust, tho most anyone would laugh if i told them that in that way, so i'm writing it instead... were i fundamentalist, i think i'd describe it as god vs the devil, the almighty struggle for our souls, but that implies we're puppets instead of beings with free will, but then again sometimes the simplicity of the religious story (i don't mean that disparagingly) makes a lot of sense to me, efficiently eliminating the gray, like when i'm really sad...
yes, alcohol is demon, destroyer of families, ultimately a foul tidal wave drowning love, self-respect, lives, soul. if you mess with this nasty, filthy drug, be warned: it might kill you & devastate everyone who loves you. now don't think, please, if i see you drinking that i will condemn you: no. you are the only one who knows if you take a drink, the drink takes you. if that's the case, STOP! if it's not, continue drinking. have fun! i guess some do, tho that's not the case for me, nor too many people i have loved who no longer live because they just wanted to drink, not realizing there was no case of want: they HAD to drink.
one of the biggest blessings of the fact that i had to stop my alcoholic drinking on july 4, 1995 is that i have not broken my mother's heart since then. i've had sad things happen, have made stupid decisions, have made her worry, but break her heart? no longer. i am so grateful for that...
james shocked the crap out of everyone who saw him at RSR: the human comet named james hit that stage & blew it to bits! afterward, full bore, he continued to whirl & smash his way around the grounds until he went out like a firework. he's in rest period right now, but the show advertised on this poster i made this morning is happening saturday, & he'll be back at his powerful full-steam by then, so i hope you'll go.
now back to teaching duties, for i am going back into the classroom come august, i do believe. i am creative, but i am not one of The Creatives. therefore i suffer, have artistic & emotional angsts [sic], but basically am a mere workingman kind of artist, a crazy pragmatist, salieri to the mozarts around me.... ok, whatever: better stop writing now because i'm boring myself. please come to the show, if you can!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

this weekend...

whiteboy james & the blues express plays this friday at sammy's original in lake forest ca & sunday 1 pm at the roadshow revival festival in ventura ca (see for details). at bottom's the front & back of a flyer i made up we'll distribute at the fest. we opted to not sell merch. we don't want to give up even a penny. it's gonna be a good bunch of fun! i think fans will go nuts when the see james just being james!
just walked home from library. big uphill! high elevation! it's summer on the mountain, pretty hot (though with breezes blowing, thank goodness)! my favorite part of the walk/hike home is when i get to the cut-off point where i can take a short cut, climbing about 15-20 ft up the side of the road via a rope somebody thoughtfully tied to a shrub at top. it's a rugged detour, but rewarding: you gotta use your muscles, you gotta stretch, you can't be a weakling!
my "lunch at the library" job for june-july has been dubbed "the library workout" by boss marie: we put up & break down 10 tables & 70 chairs! between all the gigs & this, i lost 5 lbs last week, even with stupid thyroiditis & middle age & bad eating habits influenced by ravenous james, who eats like a hibernating beast, or like he might have a tape worm, but likely like a creature with high-gear hyper-manic metabolism... i can't eat like that, so am grateful to enjoy exercise & have opportunity lately to do more!
last wk i built a "meditation shack" on the back 40. my counselor-lady recommended i have a place to go meditate & pray, so i got a bunch of scrap lumber & nails & paint we already had & built a little place at the top of the hill in "the back yard" (leading to the national forest). happily, the view within is glorious. i cogitated a bit before starting construction, such as how to build it & where to put it, but didn't give a thought to view, so that was one pleasing coincidence.
i need to crawl in there & commune with the Great Spirit or Pumpkin or Singularity or whatever Good Grandness i only amorphously understand but do feel in a definite, visceral, even at times forceful sense -- anyways, think & surrender a bit about what to do with my career path. am grateful to be wanted in a few different fields, but the thought of giving up this bohemian lifestyle of 6 yrs' running to again step onto the path of job respectability, security & big bucks is... intimidating.
well, here's the flyer.  if you wanna order anything, just follow the directions & we'll send you some WBJ swag... tho please don't hold your breathe bc we can be a little tiny wee bit inefficient around here in getting tasks promptly completed (you WILL get your stuff, tho! you WILL!) :D

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


i have declared as my sworn enemy from this day forward the edible crack called crunch 'n' munch.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

thurs june 16 in frazier park!

- finally we're local! no big drives to get to a show! - we have been having more fun lately, tho, using GPS to avoid LA freeway, giving us opportunity to explore new neighborhoods & see more of the city... smellay! the sprawling, brawling metropolis! so huge, so fascinating, such a beautiful mess! i love LA! (do not cue song, please...)
- two nights ago we were in long beach & tonight we're again in long beach at shenanigans and next week will be someplace else: check for more info!
- what's up with you? i do ask; please comment, if you will! nothing new here, i don't think... just lots of gigs, & next week starting more library work! laborare est orare...
- brother doug won the humanitarian of the year award at last week's beautiful bakersfield award. dang that guy, we all were sitting there at the banquet table & asked what he was doing. calmly, humbly, he said, "writing my acceptance speech." i almost laughed! foolhardiness? arrogance? no! he then won the award! i actually screamed out loud when they called his name. i haven't screamed since riding a roller coaster at six flags magic mountain in 1994. or maybe it was the wooden one on the santa cruz boardwalk in 1997. point is, i don't scream, but scream, i did. it was a beautiful & humbling evening for all; i believe we all were filled with a hushed sense of expectancy afterward, of wondrous portent: doug will continue to do greater  & greater things. will the rest of us follow in our own ways? what will we do with the gifts we have been given? what will YOU do?
- then last week the champ passed away. the beautiful, brave, big-mouthed, big-hearted champ from the crib! james was felled, devastated: so many were! i reflected it might be more of a big deal for men: men of the 60s-70s had astronauts, nfl, bruce lee, elvis, evel knievel (ok, he was a  butthole, awesomely brave or fierce or maybe just awesomely stupid, but he WAS awesomely something!), frazier, foreman, ali... who have we women had for superheroes? (hmmm... gloria steinem? maybe in another universe where she wouldn't've been perceived as such a threat with her combo of goddessy looks & intellect) -- even with that said, ali WAS a superhero in my eyes, too, as well as the most magnificent male specimen this side of johnny weismuller and/or elvis: he looked like a GOD! what a matinee idol; what a superhuman!
- rest in peace, muhammad ali, who was gratefully accepting of his parkinson's, who lived in the moment, who said this: "everything i do, i say to myself, 'will god accept this?' sleep is a rehearsal for death. one day you wake up and it's judgment day. so you do good deeds."
- wow!

Friday, June 03, 2016

haircut minus shave = one bit?

james is so photogenic! if i'd grown up with him & paid attention, i might be even a hair as physically charming. he's said repeatedly his high school drama teacher was key in teaching him how to move & use his corpus & especially his face in the most compelling, actorly manner (interpretation mine, of course)... tho training or not, his charisma is not just alluring, but highly unusual! most of us humans are not so dynamic, never will be no matter how much practice, nor can be ready at all times for close-up!
he's a cool cat, my husband. we each have our merits, of course, but i prefer his since they seem to be much more inherent & interesting than mine...
i'm vain, yes,  & terrified on some level of my aging human suit, but deep down i'm most  interested in being the best piano player possible. my mouth may express the contrary, especially around my husband, who is kindly patient in his reassurances. fundamentally, tho, i know the music is more important than my aging face. - also that this, too, shall pass. lastly, realistically, i can't invoke a ban on all photos in which the lighting is bad or in which i'm not smiling (these add 10 years)... and i'm sure not gonna stop playing just cause i'm no longer cute!
these photos came out cool, taken by long-time huge james fan alice diaz... thank you, alice!
will keep the long hair while we are in san francisco this next week... then the hippie locks must go! i had no idea i looked like an old hippie... weird! that's always been quite far from my mind, tho like any sane sentient being, i do believe in peace & love...
the beautiful bakersfield awards are this saturday. brother doug bennett, "a cross between mother teresa & p.t. barnum," is up for an award for his humanitarian work & ministry aiding persons who are being trafficked. (it is called magdalene hope, if you want to look it up.) hope that he wins, but having been nominated yrs ago when i had my underground paper, i know the voting is highly political! (actually, i didn't deserve to win that year: the award went to the kid who does the christmas lights event, 13 yrs later an annual beloved yuletide event at bakersfield's california living museum, aka CALM.)
i haven't been to SF since i finished my MA at the defunct, worthwhile new college in the mission... not any trips i really remember, that is! james & i are anticipating having huge fun. he deserves it! i believe i might, too.
sacre bleu! carpe diem! stay sick, turn blue! hail hail rock & roll! have a nice wan.