Monday, May 25, 2009

Franti! W/ Spearhead, in Eugene, May 24, 2009


Humanity has advanced...not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.

-Tom Robbins

I love Michael Franti & Spearhead. They're probably my favorite current band. I was at their show last night at Eugene's Cuthbert Amphitheater. (Here's a video if you haven't seen this band before: Time To Go Home)

The Cuthbert is a very nice, outdoor venue, located just east of downtown Eugene in the broad expanse of Alton Baker Park. Near the Willamette River and next door to the University of Oregon's Autzen Stadium, the amphitheater (which sits amidst open fields and large trees) was made better this year by the recent removal of the old, uncomfortable wooden benches and having those benches replaced with more grass (festival seating) and fixed, comfortable chairs. It is already a beautiful venue but the new changes enhanced it that much more. For music venues, creating an atmosphere that enhances their concert experience is as important as the quality of the music. Which is why Horning's Hideout makes for such pleasant shows.

The Cuthbert is used no more than 5 months of the year. So in those 5 months... it gets used frequently. For years tho' it went under utilized. Concert management from my eyewitness experience is not an easy business and plenty of folks lose their... shirts. But the Keseys keep bringing in quality acts and I'm sure they really appreciate bands like Franti's, which bring a large, money-spending crowd.

The nice thing about Spearhead is that their message is so community oriented. Family friendly and peace oriented these are folks who come to experience the Spearhead vibe. And it is an infectious vibration. Hippies, yuppies and just plain folks - folks from all walks of life - become like one, moving to Spearhead's driving rhythms and playing off of Franti's intense energy. Few shows' audiences are so animated as a Spearhead crowd. These folks dance, sing along and when Michael says to "PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR," everybody puts their hands in the air.

Because I work as part of Harmony Event Medicine's crew, an audience's vibe can be the difference between day and night for us. With a Franti crowd, there will be no fights. Someone may (did) get too drunk but they don't make waves. Unlike some shows we work... for us, a show like this is fun. Way fun.

So more pics, less words. Here's Michael Franti and Spearhead:

As I was taking these I kept noticing the light changes on the raised arms and hands of crowd and I saw them how I wanted to see them in an image... and heck, I was pushing my ISO to 1600 (ISO is the same as ASA for film) and even then it's just my years and years of shooting that allows me to shoot hand-held at slow speeds with confidence. And with a digital that confidence is boosted knowing I can shoot my ass off and I'm not spending anything other than time so... I shoot and shoot and shoot... and all that shooting allows me to come away with a select few better-than-good images. So I wanted to capture those waving limbs, those dancing digits and celphone cameras in motion. Pretty cool what I ended up with...

And I know I'm just putting these out here to the wwwonderful wwworld of the wwweb, but folks, please, if you use my images, give me photo credit whn you can, please. I appreciate Spearhead allowing people to shoot photos and I'm a promoter of their music so... as they share their music, I share my images.

Oh... one last thing. Michael was talking about our troubled times and he acknowledged those of us out here who are un-employed or under-employed. Well Michael, ummm... you know you guys should have a photographer... (nudge nudge, wink wink, know what I mean?)...

(Michael brought this young lady up fom the crowd near the stage. She was sooo jazzed, grinning from ear to ear and she got a kiss. If anybody in Eugene knows her, here's her pic)

Many thanks to the many good folks who work hard making sure shows are safe, friendly experiences for concert-goers. I've grown so used to working shows I can hardly go to a show just to go and hear the music. Thats just... boring. I like knowing what happens behind the scenes. The perspective is so much different between patrons and staff.


And today is Memorial Day. Remember the vets and let's bring the soldiers home. A shout to my daughter's friend Ryan Fling serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq (a likewise greeting to all of Ryan's peers - all you GIs - no matter in/on which particular swamp, desert or iceberg you've been stationed, they're all great places!).


“Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul”

- Plato


Friday, May 22, 2009

some more o' this, some more o' that...


“Anarchism has but one infallible, unchangeable motto, 'Freedom.' Freedom to discover any truth, freedom to develop, to live naturally and fully.”

- Lucy Parsons

OK, bare with me here... I have absolutely no idea where this is heading. But I suppose we should find out, eh? (Do you like the way I can type with a Canadian accent, eh?)

And why not start with Lucy Parsons. Imagine... a black woman (woman!) standing up for what is right, standing up against what is wrong. In the late 1800s no less.

The word anarchy...

Pronunciation: \ˈa-nər-kē, -ˌnär-\
Function: noun
Medieval Latin anarchia, from Greek, from anarchos having no ruler, from an- + archos ruler

... gets a lot of abuse these days. People confuse chaos with anarchy. They are distinctly different and not interchangeable. Even with the growing understanding of chaos theory in nature (a butterfly farts in Belize and it snows in Minnesota, or something like that) we still confuse some basic things... but then, we're a pretty confused specie aren't we? Anyway... I make no claim to any deep understanding of science and the theories scientists arrive at by whatever means they do. What I do claim is a very basic, natural perception of the world around me. To me nature makes sense. And the chaos theory does too... kinda.

Arie Uittenbogaard does a fair job of giving a comprehendable explanation in his Chaos Theory for Beginners:

"Nature is highly complex, and the only prediction you can make is that she is unpredictable. The amazing unpredictability of nature is what Chaos Theory looks at. Why? Because in stead of being boring and translucent, nature is marvelous and mysterious. And Chaos Theory has managed to somewhat capture the beauty of the unpredictable and display it in the most awesome patterns. Nature, when looked upon with the right kind of eyes, presents herself as one of the most fabulous works of art ever wrought."

Amen to that! I like it when I find smart people who are good explainerers. If you're interested I'd also recommend a look at Chaos Theory and Fractals (by Jonathan Mendelson and Elana Blumenthal).

In a sense (and keep that fractal art image above in mind) I kind of think it a bit... mmm... interesting... that chaos theory when presented in fractal art is very much like the visions one experiences under certain entheogenic experiences. Nature is finally being understood by the western mind in a way similar (but using a far longer and more complicated route to get there) to indigenous people. Which of course is where we all came from. Except, of course, those who are descendants of those who star seeded the planets.

My daughter Robin had her first solo with her high school choir the other night. Gads that girl can sing:


And of course... more pics, all shot close to the farm here:


“There are many examples of old, incorrect theories that stubbornly persisted, sustained only by the prestige of foolish but well-connected scientists. Many of these theories have been killed off only when some decisive experiment exposed their incorrectness.”

- Michio Kaku


Monday, May 11, 2009

well, who coulda known?


"I can assure you that, given they exist, these flying saucers are made by no power on this Earth."

- President Harry S. Truman, 4 April 1950

[ae note to readers: none of these photos are mine... the milky way shot is from Astronomy Picture of the Day, taken - and copyrighted! - by Larry Landolfi. The photo is a composite... but very, very nicely done...]

I mean seriously... I've been a pretty pragmatic fella throughout my life. I'm hard to convince but I'm easy to get to listen to ideas because I am continuously curious. It's the cat in me...

Now I don't know if you've ever seen things in the sky you couldn't identify or that you identified as a flying saucer (or a UFO). I've had 3 encounters (and a few outstanding dreams) with unidentified moving objects in the sky. I'm also a big fan of science fiction and speculative fiction. So, while I'm very earthbound I also keep an eye on the sky.

Grampa Semu used to talk about the star people. He said they were regular visitors and that the old ones could call them...

When we lived at The Nature Conservancy's Crump Lake Preserve in southern Oregon I discovered Art Bell. And say what you will about his show but Art had many outstanding guests. I'm a fan of Michio Kaku from my hearing his interviews with Art. Living out in the middle of that vast high desert with its starry night-time vistas made it interesting hearing the Art Bell show, because I'd sit in the truck and fiddle with the AM dial at night, picking up stations from all across the country while above me, in a desert sky, clear and free from light pollution, the Milky Way blazes and can be seen as 3 dimensional...

That night-time AM listening started when I was a kid and got my first portable(!) transistor(!) radio. I would keep it under my pillow and listen to the Lakers' games broadcast by Chick Hearn or surf the music stations when I should be sleeping. Sometimes I could pick up Wolfman Jack on "the BIG X E R B baby!" It was Wolfman who turned me on to James Brown and a lot of soul and R&B music never heard on big-hit, popular radio.

But... there was a night when my little sister, Lori, and I were home alone. There was a high window that faced south. And this particluar night we looked up and through that window we could see a light travelling amazingly fast over the L.A. harbor, heading east. We ran outside and the light suddenly stopped, took a right turn, sped forward, made another 90º right turn and flew back out over the Pacific. I think I was probably about 11.

When I returned to the states from Thailand in 1974 (that's another story... and it has all the critical elements to a good tale - sex, drugs and Rock&Roll) I bought a VW van (yep). A buddy of mine that came back from the same base close to the same time flew into L.A. and travelled east to Denver with me on my roundabout journey to my next duty station down in Texas. When we got to the west face of the Rocky Mountains in Utah and headed over them towards Denver, we stopped and picked up a hitchhiker at about sunset. Well, this hitchhiker proceeded to tell us how he had been watching a light moving up and down the face of this mountain off to the southeast. Well, we could see the light, but... you know... anyway we drove on into the dark, up the face of the Rockies, with me behind the wheel.

I came to a place that I could see the hitchhiker's light. My friend Jeff and the hitchhiker were now asleep. I saw a turnout and pulled over and parked so I could see the light over on the other mountain out my windshield. I flashed my headlights (headlights! headLIGHTS! not head lice...) and not noticing any change in the light I pulled back onto the highway.

It was cold and dark outside and not much traffic. My passengers asleep, my instrument lights bright and reflecting in my windshield... I noticed a light out the driver's side window. And the light was travelling at a speed that kept it even with me. I thought there was a light in the cab reflecting off the window. But no... this light disappeared when we'd pass through a cut in in the hillside only to appear once we passed that highway cut. It would flicker as it passed behind trees. I had to wake my guests for this!

So I turned to them and yelled "Wake up! You gotta see this." When I turned back, no light... so...? What was it?

There is another UFO encounter that I'll share sometime, but right now it will detract from this tale.

Because... I'm moving on to another aspect of flying saucers that shocked me! Aghast I was! Simply stated... I witnessed a program that proved once and for all that flying saucers are real. And I know it is true because I saw it on PBS! Are you ready for this shocking revelation?

Flying saucers are real and they were developed by the Nazis:

I didn't know? Did you? If you did... why the heck didn't any of you tell me? All those hours listening to Art Bell and never once did I hear flying saucers were a Nazi product... but what about Area 51? And Roswell? Well... consider that our government has been known to lie to us. You know, nothing big... just little white lies.

Of course... and neither do they ever use us for guinea pigs (never mind the Tuskegee Airmen), or operate hypocritically like they are (and have been for decades) with the drug war and medical cannabis.

So here is the only PBS link on the Nazi flying saucer story:

History Project: UFOs: The Real History

But it was popular enough that you can view it from several sources, via a streaming torrent (whatever that is) from several links on Google

Aye lads and lassies, we don't get the real scoop often enough. And when a government (not just on UFOs and flying saucers) deliberately lies, obfuscates and acts to deceive those from which it derives its power... surely we must take that as a sign that an overhaul is required...


After I give lectures—on almost any subject—I am often asked, "Do you believe in UFOs?". I'm always struck by how the question is phrased, the suggestion that this is a matter of belief and not evidence. I'm almost never asked, "How good is the evidence that UFOs are alien spaceships?"

- Carl Sagan, 'The Demon Haunted World,' 1996.