Monday, April 14, 2014

An Updated List of Concerts I've Seen

Music cleanses the understanding; inspires it, and lifts it into a realm which it would not reach if it were left to itself.
Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), abolitionist

Rock concerts
Frank Zappa (3xs, my first concert ever. Tom Waits was the opening act. This was at the Santa Monica Civic)
Beach Boys and Chicago (Anaheim Stadium)
David Bowie (2xs, Diamond Dogs tour, Anaheim Convention Center, and The LA Forum)
Jethro Tull (Los Angeles Forum)
ELO (Santa Monica Civic)
Tom Waits (2xs, Ivar Theater in Hollywood and at the Pantages Theater)
Leon Redbone (opened for Tom Waits)
Arlo Guthrie (Santa Monica Civic)
Pete Seeger (Cal. State Long Beach)
The Kinks (3xs CSUN, Irvine, Universal)
                                                        Paul Simon in concert                               Photo by DKW
The Rolling Stones (14 times: LA Forum 2xs ’75; LA Coliseum ’81; Anaheim Stadium ’84 not sure of the year, Rose Bowl 2xs one of those was Daughter’s first Stones concert, of course she wanted to go to the bathroom during the encore, but we were back without missing a song; Seattle Dome; Staples Center Halloween night three years ago; Madison Square Garden.
Joe Cocker (2xs, Santa Monica Civic & UCLA)
Bob Dylan (3xs, Universal Amphitheatre, Tucson, and Lake Tahoe casino, front row center)
Paul McCartney (2xs, his first tour after the Beatles and in 2011 at the Las Vegas MGM)
Elton John (2xs, Hollywood Bowl and at Caesar's Palace)
Guns & Roses (opened for the Stones)
Sheryl Crow (opened for the Stones)
J. Geils Band (opened for the Stones)
Prince (2xs, once opened for the Stones and was pummeled with shoes and at Staples Center)
Bruce Springsteen (2xs times, LA Sports Arena, Coliseum)
Red Hot Chile Peppers (Opened for the Stones)
Sting (Wiltern Theater)
Guns & Roses (Opened for the Stones)
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (Hollywood Bowl)
Crosby, Stills & Nash (at the Greek)
The Eagles (2xs The first time was a free private concert at the Wiltern sponsored by American Express and an open bar promoting Jack Daniel’s Black Label)
The Grateful Dead (Santa Monica Civic)
Paul Simon (2xs)
Ray Davies (2 or 3xs)
from Google images
Elvis Costello (2xs)
Lucinda Williams (opened for Elvis Costello)
Leon Russell (at a local venue in Agoura)
John Fogerty (Nokia Theater)
Randy Newman (Universal)
Rod Steward (early ‘80s, LA Forum)
Taj Mahal (Lake Tahoe, opened for Bob Dylan)
Zac Brown (Hollywood Bowl)

Jazz concerts
Frank Sinatra (4xs, three at the Universal Amphitheater, once at the LA Forum with Liza and Sammy Davis)
Tony Bennett (Hollywood Bowl)
Ella Fitzgerald (Hollywood Bowl)
Sarah Vaughn (Blue Note in NY)
Mel Torme (2 or 3xs, at the Hollywood Bowl)
Carmen McRae (4xs, Catalina’s Jazz Club)
Brandford Marsalis (Catalina’s Jazz Club)
Terence Blanchard (Hollywood Bowl and at local jazz club)
Ray Brown (Catalina’s Jazz Club)
Benny Green (Catalina’s Jazz Club)
Jane Monheit (3x at Catalina’s Jazz Club)
Tierney Sutton (3xs Catalina’s Jazz Club)
Karrin Allyson (3xs, Catalina’s Jazz Club)
Dee Dee Bridgewater (2xs, Catalina's Jazz club)
Oscar Peterson (Hollywood Bowl)
Diana Krall (Hollywood Bowl)
Regina Carter (Catalina’s Jazz Club)
Joshua Redman (2xs, Catalina’s Jazz Club)
Sonny Rollins (somewhere in Orange County)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Few Items About The Misanthrope

“What is the answer? In that case, what is the question?”
 Gertrude Stein, 1874-1946, Writer

Read a couple of blogs posts at Tosy and Cosh that inspired me to start posting again. We’ll see how long it lasts. Not sure why I stop and start. I enjoy publishing them on Toner Mishap, but then stop just as suddenly as I start.
Let’s be optimistic and say this time, we’ll try to post more frequently. Now I am careful to emphasis that I am not going to post every day, which is just too much effort. We did it for one year in 2005 until 2006 and we had fun and gathered a bit of attention. Most of the posts from me were political in nature. While in hindsight the posts were rather too full of hyperbole, but then again that was my aim to call attention to the views and get comments.
Photo by RJW
So in the spirit of starting anew here are a few things you may or may not know about me. Me being the Misanthrope, I would rather not use the pseudonym, but I have almost 20 followers under that name.
Here are a few things about me:
1.     I enjoy reading
2.     I’d rather go by the initials RJW
3.     I like to write and like to be read as well
4.     I go to the gym more often than not
5.     I work from home and rather happy about that since I spent years driving to downtown Los Angeles from a far away suburb
6.     I often make notes while reading I underline in light pencil in my books or I write down a phrase or sentence I admire
7.     I play darts with a buddy, but not in bars
8.     I play ping pong and have yet to find any one who can beat me on a regular basis
9.     I am pretty good at darts
10. I like more drama type movies over silly slapstick movies
11. I am not a fan of slapstick, except for the old time greats: Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, W.C. Fields
12. I love Godfather and Godfather II
13. A close second or third depending on how you count is Django Unchained. My favorite scene is when Christoph Waltz is surrounded by a crowd after shooting a marshal and then ends up getting paid
14. I like to golf, but rarely do
15. Happily married, finally
16. I feel very grateful and thankful for all I have
17. I am looking forward to retiring in five years at most, but hopefully sooner
18. Photography is of interest to me. I would like to get much better
19. I write poetry, but have no idea if it is any good
20. I love music and my tastes have evolved over the years (this will be a post in the near future)
21. I have hundreds of books and have turned our living room into a library
22. I dislike cheap, stingy people
23. I have no interest in religion or fairy tales that people believe verbatim
24. I have more than 23,000 songs in iTunes
25. I have playlists based on moods
26. Politics have gotten even more ugly over the years. Yes, in the early days of this country it may have been even worse, but we are suppose to be more civilized
27. I don’t think American is as good as it once was
28. We, America, have no business being the world’s sheriff
29. I like scotch before a steak dinner
30. I like red wine. Melbec is rapidly becoming a favorite
31. Utah has a lot of beauty, but far too many narrow minded people
32. I do not like pretentious people
33. I have written short stories, but have never submitted any for publication, mostly because I don’t think they were good enough
34. I have written essays and I had one published in the Seattle Times, but upon rereading it I can't understand why it was published
35. Arrogant people make me sick
36. Don’t understand why more young people don’t listen or learn from their elders
37. I have been burnt out in my job for a few years now, but keep going because I have no choice
38. My favorite rock band was the Rolling Stones beginning in 1971 with Sticky Fingers and growing with Exile on Main Street
39. Discovered the poignancy of Bob Dylan after the break up of my first love
40. Enjoy many of Woody Allen’s movies. One of my favorite is Midnight in Paris. I used to love Annie Hall, but not so much any more
41. I tear up too easily for anything emotional
42. I wish I set a better example for my daughter in many areas
43. I’m very proud of my daughter who has a bachelor’s, master’s, and a law degree
44. I miss my dad, my grandparents, and my uncle
45. I met my wife on Facebook. We knew of each other since the 7th grade. We were on opposite pages in our school year books through junior high and high school, but never hung out or talked much
46. Now my wife and I are together most of the time
47. I love puttering and hanging out around the house
48. I love my wife’s grandchildren. Daughter has none yet
49. I don’t go to many concerts any more because I’ve seen most everyone I want to see and they are too expensive these days
50. I have a great idea for a short story that I have been toying with for years
51. I appreciate and thank you for reading through all of the above

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Oh, For The Love Of Christ

"Imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of our real life. 
Simone Weil, French philosopher

Costo apologizes for labeling the Bible fiction.

Of course it belongs in the non-fiction section, right next to the Dr. Seuss' tomes. There is no such thing as allegory.

Monday, November 18, 2013

It’s Not Art. It’s Graphic Defecation!

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
Nelson Mandela, former South African president

Ever since Daniel Boone allegedly tagged a tree stating he killed a bear a couple of hundred years ago graffiti has proliferated. The hills of Chatsworth, California and surrounding areas are where hundreds of old movies, mostly westerns were filmed from as early as 1914 (beginning with D.W. Griffith’s short silent drama “Brute Force,” which was a story of cavemen and dinosaurs), through the late 1950s. The trails around the areas are generally easy hiking trails and they provide a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding San Fernando Valley.

Steve (identified only by his first name) is not pushing a rock up hill, but he is trying to save rocks and boulders from being another eye sore and casualty of graffiti from gangs, drunken teenagers partying in the hills, and wantabe graffiti artists. It as close to a true Sisyphean effort as there may be.
Over the years, the recognizable rocks of Chatsworth Park have filled with graffiti marking gang names, lovers, and favorite beverages has served as a place to show off artistic prowess, some dated long before graffiti artist Banksy became famous.

Steve is an avid hiker and the bombardment of senseless defacing of nature was frustrating. He called the Graffiti hotline several times and never had a called returned. Three times he called Los Angeles County Michael Antonovich’s office, which is the County’s fifth Supervisorial District that comprises San Fernando Valley, and not a single call was returned. He called Metrolink on whose property much of the graffiti resides and was told he’d need a train spotter at $750 a day, even though he is hundreds of yards away from the railroad tracks. He called the park ranger and was told that he cannot paint over the defaced rocks or he would be arrested, as if he were tagging the rocks with graffiti. He finally talked to LA County Sheriff’s who were more sympathetic to his quest and would most likely ignore him.

Mad as hell, Steve took action into his own hands. On a sweltering November day he loaded his truck with two gallons of paint, roller brush, paintbrush, and rope and started his quest. Traipsing through the brush, he climbs the hills with a 20- to 30-pound backpack. He covered up a few of the offending tagged rocks. He has no reason other than the graffiti aggravates his aesthetic sensibilities.

“It’s not art. It’s graphic defecation,” said Steve. He has made five trips up there and spent 15 hours. “I feel like I have made a lot of progress. Maybe by the time I get 30 hours in it will just be maintenance.”

 The color was a bit off on the first patches, but he found the right color. The guys at the Do It Center hardware store laugh that they have never mixed paint for rocks before. Steve spends $40 a trip to do his part to restore nature as best he can.

On his fifth trip up there, he loaded his truck up at 6 a.m. on a Sunday. Hiking up to the area, he was mildly surprised and frustrated that one of the cleaned rocks was already painted over. He is hopeful his efforts on the higher boulders last longer than some of the urban hieroglyphics.

“I don’t want to wake up any sleeping giants. It’s enough that it is getting done. Maybe I’m doing it for karma points.”

All photographs by RJW

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Have You No Decency -- Republicans Hold Nation Hostage

"...You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"
 --Joseph Nye Welch (October 22, 1890 – October 6, 1960) was the head counsel for the United States Army while it was under investigation by Joseph McCarthy's Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for Communist activities, an investigation known as the Army–McCarthy hearings.

From The New York Times: Because some states are not expanding Medicaid, two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and a majority of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance will not benefit from the new health law. 

Millions of Poor are left uncovered by Health Law and Republicans continue to try and stop the availability of health care.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Republican Congress Tells Citizens to Eat Cake

“If the people have no bread, let them eat cake.” 
--falsely attributed to Marie Antoinette

"If you are sick, please die"
--U.S. Republican members of the House of Representatives tell U.S. Citizens

Unlike Marie Antoinette's misattributed quote, there is no mistaking Congress' disdain for its citizens, led by House Speaker John A. Boehner. They don't care if more than 800,000 federal workers across the country are facing an uncertain financial future, including everyone with a 401K savings that is losing retirement money.

In the days ahead many government agencies prepared to close their doors, set up barricades and turn out the lights all because Republicans don't like President Obama's Affordable Health Care Act.

Just remember in November to quote another outspoken, knuckleheaded Republican when you vote and tell your elected representative, "You're fired!"

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Endless Roads

"The road that leads to nowhere for others might just be the road that leads to somewhere for you!”
Mehmet Murat ildan, writer

What is it about roads? I love paintings and photographs that show a road disappearing into a distance. Maybe it easily captures the imagination and instantly allows the viewer to imagine driving off down the road or possibly the opposite that a lost love is returning (see the Long Road post below).
It’s not just visional arts, but there are myriad songs that talk about the road from going down the road, hitting the road, lost on the road, people who live on the road. We are suckers for the promise of a new start whether coming or going down the road.
A dirt road in Brian Head, Utah that leads up the hill to 11,000 plus elevation for a breathtaking view

When I added up all the time in the last 11 years I spent driving back and forth to downtown Los Angeles, I frighteningly found that I sat behind the wheel for six straight months 24 hours a day. Until I calculated all that time, I simply accepted it because I refused to live in Los Angeles County proper with its crazy congestion, crime, and corruption. I adapted and enjoyed my alone time listening to the news, books, or music. I suspect that is why one of the reasons that I have a relatively large collection of music. The last time I checked it was 23,000 plus of songs. I could probably drive for a few weeks without worrying about running out of songs. My Misanthropic playlist includes 780 songs and will play for 2.1 days, according to iTunes. I am continually revising my numerous lists. The first few songs of The Misanthrope Songs list include:
·      Wrote a Song for Everyone by John Fogerty
·      Heart on a Strong by Jason Isbell
·      Checkout Time in Vegas by the Drive-By Truckers
·      Waiting for Dawn by Bobby Long
·      Long as I can see the Light by John Fogerty with Morning Jacket
·      Take Me to Tomorrow by Dave Matthews
·      Operator by Grateful Dead
·      Useless But Important Information by Jimmy Buffett
·      Call Me The Breeze by John Mayer
·      Different Days by Jason Isbell
·      Oldest Surfer on the Beach by Jimmy Buffett
·      Ripple by Grateful Dead
·      Happy Just to Be Like I am by Taj Mahal
·      He’s Gone by Grateful Dead
·      Time Passes Slowly by Bob Dylan
·      Goddamn Lonely Love by Drive-By Truckers
·      I Throw it All Away by Bob Dylan
·      Roll Another Number by Neil Young and another 761 songs

This little structure was built in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. From this lookout you can see parts of Nevada and Arizona.
The view from the shack above

A few years ago when I drove alone from San Francisco back home, I navigated Highway 1 all the way. For some reason I felt my playlist of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young was apropos. After a practically tough day at the office, I used to listen to my Misanthropic Jazz list, but today it’s mostly played when writing or reading. Because of the recent deaths of people close to me (my dad and uncle), as well as a short story idea I keep puttering with I feel I have assembled a perfect list for the time being. A few songs from my jazz list include:
·      Star Dust by Joshua Redman
·      So Long Mr. T by Aki Takase
·      Let it Be by Joshua Redman
·      I Have Dreamed by Christian McBride
·      Solitude by Aki Takase
·      I Guess I’ll Have to Forget by Christian McBride
·      State of Mind by The Christian Jacob Trio
·      Left Along by Terence Blanchard
·      I Got it Bad and That Ain’t Good by Aki Takase
·      The Folks Who Live on the Hill by Joshua Redman
·      One for My Baby by Chris Botti
·      Melancolico by Stan Getz
·      Apres un reve by Arturo Sandoval
·      Don’t Explain by Dexter Gordon
·      Here’s That Rainy Day by Art Pepper
·      Fables of Faubus by Project Trio**
·      Fat Back and Greens by Regina Carter and Christian McBride
·      Slow Song for a Dog by Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer

One of the photos from my journey on Highway 1, all those years ago
I have a Coffee House play list with acoustic songs and another one title Bar Jazz with Sinatra, Nat Cole, Diana Krall, Dean Martin and many others. So, you can see why I got use to driving and sometimes didn’t mind it.

I have not created a playlist of songs that incorporate road, but a quick sort found dozens, but here are a few:
 ·      Wrong Side of the Road by Tom Waits
·      Winding Roads by Terence Blanchard
·      Rules of the Road by Nat Cole
·      Revelation Road by Shelby Lynne
·      Heaven’s Only Days Down the Road by Shelby Lynne
·      Old Dirt Road by John Lennon
·      Coming Down the Road by John Mellencamp
·      Love is a Long Road by Tom Petty
·      Lowside of the Road Tom Waits
·      One for My Baby (And one more for the road) by Frank Sinatra
·      The Long and Winding Road by The Beatles
·      Why Don’t We Do it in the Road by The Beatles
·      Road Ladies by Frank Zappa
·      Dark Road Annie Lennox
·      King of the Road by Dean Martin
·      Further On Up the Road by The Bank
·      On the Road Again by Willie Nelson, and I am sure hundreds more, but you get the idea.

Short city driving is certainly not my favorite and my little, redneck conservative city will eventually become known as the city of stoplights. I counted 12 traffic signals just going four miles and that does not include the stop signs. That kind of interruptive, stressful driving is only occasionally helped by music, so I try not to drive much in town.

It’s the long open road winding out to destinations unknown that stoke our imagination and keep us hopeful.

A wild flower along the road

Photographs by RJW

** "Fables of Faubus" is a song composed by jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus. One of Mingus' most explicitly political works, the song was written as a direct protest against Arkansas governor Orval E. Faubus, who in 1957 sent out the National Guard to prevent the integration of Little Rock Central High School by nine African American teenagers. Source: Wikipedia. I just discovered this when I was looking up the word Faubus for this piece.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Keys to Anything

“I get up in the morning, torture a typewriter until it screams, then stop.”
 --Clarence B. Kelland, American Writer (1881-1964)

photo by RJW