Showing posts from September, 2011

My Birthday Is Coming Up.

And it's St. Francis animal love day.
I  never knew this.

Growing up, we Baptists rejected the religious office of "Saint" designation. So, there were no stories of any "Saints" of any kind unless they were in the Bible. Same as in the designation "Mother Teresa." She was just seen as a weird-looking old broad who made Catholics feel self-satisfied that she was one of them.

St. Francis. I don't think I really knew about him. And if I did, it was only in the most generic way possible.

It was to my great pleasure -- the kind of cosmic gift that can only be appreciated when one is an adult.

And the Franciscan robe costume! How sexy is that when turned into beach attire?

Which brings me to my birthday...

Coleman & Shack are born.


Jamming With Amy Coleman

Amy Coleman and I met down on 17th street in the basement of this building being renovated. She has a little keyboard, so we set it up near a back door that leads out to a courtyard covered with glass. It was hot in there, so I took off my shirt.

(We've been invited to sing a concert together up in Rochester, NY at one of our old haunts, the Downstairs Cabaret Theater -- which is what has precipitated this session. But we still had no idea for a show, or what songs we'd sing or anything like that.)

When she arrived, we just chilled a little talking about music and about other people, just hanging together and getting a little loose.

We had already met this past Tuesday (on another hot, muggy day) and though had I played her of my new songs and she showed me some of hers -- chord charts which I tried to decipher -- we were musically awkward, not sure what we were doing -- until the end, where a couple of times we connected. But still, neither of us were sure what we might do. I…

New Song: "At A Hospice, In An Atrium."

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been on a retreat, writing and writing and writing -- mostly songs about my home town. As I was working long and hard on them, this other song just kind of popped out. It was all I could do to write it down fast enough to catch it.

Based on an experience I had singing at a hospice in Los Angeles. Longtime readers of this diary might remember it. Anyway, this is what happened that day...

When War Ends With A Shrug.

I listened to a General doing a lecture about how the world has changed and how the nation-state is becoming a thing of the past -- how all the power is going trans-national to either corporations or militant groups. And how all the money for defense is being directed at a military plan that is still in the 60s.

At one point he said, "And I'm neither Republican nor Democrat. I've given up on both parties."

And that received the biggest, most spontaneous ovation of all. I saw a woman who was just walking by, who caught that. She leaned in and applauded as hard as she could.

He said he never realized how fragile civilization was until Somalia, "which, when I was there, had a pretty well functioning government. And now it's Mad Max."

He described a long term high level strategy meeting of top commanders in Berlin. It was his first. He was in a group of newly-arrived Brigadier Generals to Berlin. They had a driver take them directly from the airport.
But, earlie…