Need a lift? Some heat relief? A good read? Get your mind in the boat: Read The Boys in the Boat

It’s Friday and everyone is itching to chill out so I’ll get right to the heart of this post: Treat yourself and read The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. This is a true story of HEART–true character, “boys” who were men whom current athletes can not match on any level. Yes, I have seen the 2016 Olympics and found them sorely wanting. In a time when ego and individual effort is all the rage it’s impossible to even imagine that a group of nine “boys” could swing like none other. I knew nothing about rowing until I read this book. I knew more than I wanted about the Nazis. I knew about the Depression and the Dust Bowl. I knew about Jesse Owens. But I knew nothing about this incredible rowing crew. Swing is now more than a style of Jazz and dancing for me. It’s not often that I re-read a book but I’ve read the race scenes several times because they’re so damn exciting. Nothing I’ve seen –ever– in the Olympics can compare.

For the romantics there’s even a love story. Actually there’s a lot of love in this story.

The Boys in the Boat

Much thanks and appreciation to PBS’s American Experience episode The Boys of ’36 which turned me onto Brown’s book.

The Boys of ’36 Chapter 1

Watch, read and be uplifted.

M-I-B = Mind In Boat  ~~ rowing mantra

 

Going where NO politician has ever gone. The Urban Farming Guys are on an epic concrete hope for the future roll in KCMO–and beyond.

I had other plans for a post today –until I checked my email and found a missive from The Urban Farming Guys. Timing is everything. The Urban Farming Guys have been busy–very busy. And they want to keep on being very busy in the urban core and beyond. UFG are doing what no politician has ever done–create a world of real possibilities. They are grassroots in ACTION. They’ve got an ambitious plan underway and they need OUR help to make it so. See what they’re up to now and if you’re impressed please share/donate/reblog–in other words, help however you can right now because the clock is ticking.

Without further ado:

 

The Urban Farming Guys YT

Crowdrise 

UFG website

The time is now.

These guys are the real deal. Please spread the word.

Three Muses: Music Beyond Main Streams

Yeah, who cares about Jazz vocalists these days? Hmm? Certainly not mainstream corporate radio stations. So here is the post which I intended as a  Christmas in July gift. The talents of Patricia Barber, Melody Gardot and Cecile McLorin Salvant. Listen and fall in love — I hope.

Patricia Barber

 

 

Melody Gardot 

 

Cecile  McLorin Salvant

 

You are cordially invited to share your favorite female Jazz artist. Yes, for this post it’s Ladies’ Music Only.

To hear Jazz Monday thru Friday, 1 to 3 pm CST visit KKFI 90.1 fm streaming online.

Time out for a laugh track break: a special message from MoveOn.org > Laughter Trumps Hate brigade’s Open Call for Funny People. Really!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Roll out your own barrel of laughs.

Try out your chops serving up a hearty dish of political satire.

It’s been brought to my attention that comedians are called to duty at MoveOn.org to slice and dice politics as they deem fit.

There is no entry fee. Everyone is welcome to enter–newbies and hard-core satirists alike. Satire is not required but it’s appreciated. You can be just flat out funny.

But time is running out and you must submit a video by August 11, 2016. So get crackin’ all you wise-arses with bells to ring and whistles to blow!

Rules and submission tools at MoveOn.org.

Get your video rolling ASAP!

What does one do when the heat index is lethal and you’re learning what it feels like to be an animal at a zoo?

Yes, I have been seriously MIA yet again from this blogcasa. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been on my mind. There’s been a great deal of mayhem and chaos and downright insanity going on around the world. I’d rather not discuss the specifics as you’ve all probably had quite a stomach full enough of it all to vomit. Yes, it has been awful outdoors here–bad enough for moi to be forced to spend much of summer indoors in order to breath properly and avoid heat illness. This is royally pissing me off because I so look forward to having the windows and doors open during the summer. That has been impossible for months at this point. Gardening and walking has been restricted to the wee hours of the mornings and far and few between low humidity and heat days. Anyone who has not noticed the local change in temperature has not been paying any attention for their lifespan. You would think the increase in their electric bills from running their air conditioners all the time would raise a red flag. But not so for climate change deniers and the those who are just plain clueless. Anyway it’s been a shit summer for me because I physically can not endure the heat index. Please share your summer time weather experience at will. So instead of enjoying the great outdoors this summer I’ve been reading and watching far too many films and series. And thinking about a few things. For example: Do men ever worry about their reproductive rights? Seriously, does the male of the human species EVER have to fight anyone about his sperm and the consequences of sharing it with the female of the species? Hmm? Yeah, it’s been on my mind. Oh and every time I  check on my blogcasa I find things have changed at WP–usually to make things easier for blogging. But it’s a bit like coming home and finding the place totally redecorated and having to figure out what’s what every time. Ah the least of my concerns. At any rate, it’s taken a while for me to decide to do a little sharing of the sort that ought not land me in the pokey for defamation of character. Here’s a list of books, films and music I think are worth sharing. Please, oh god, please, share back because this is the first of August and I am running out of quality entertainment while under heat arrest.

I’ve occupied my  non-writing time with the likes of:

Show Me A Hero— book by Lisa Belkin, HBO mini-series.

 

IF anyone really wants to have a serious discussion about race issues in America this NON-fiction book and series offers a means for doing so. It also offers some how-to for dealing with community issues. And the trailer hardly gives a sense of the women whose true stories are worth the price of your viewing time.  It might look like it’s all about Nick and the white guys, but it’s NOT.

The HBO series Treme goes to post Katrina New Orleans and strives to portray the cultural, social-economic, racial, justice issues via the personal lives of compelling individuals. It is not a pretty picture of state, local or federal government. If you love the many faces of Jazz you’ve got it made. The issues should make your blood boil. The food will make you hungry. The music will have you dancing and singing. The satire will satisfy a need for intellectual substance. And you just might cry more than you expect.  Absolutely Addictive!

 

 

Another series worth spending some caged air conditioning time with is House of Cards—IF you can stomach any more political evil doing. Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and an all around incredible cast dive into the cesspool otherwise known as the American political scene where there are NO rules at all. If you watch this then you’ll have no trouble thinking the worst of the republican and democratic parties–or any other political party. The pursuit of power by any and all means. Everyone is expendable and all collateral damage is acceptable. Evil is real. Oh yeah.

 

 

Ah more about human nature in glorious black and white—The Fifth Horseman is Fear. Jewish doctor, Nazis, Czechoslovakia and an injured political fugitive = great drama. What’s your risk factor?  There’s a lot to contemplate in this study of human nature, identity and oppression. The image of the pianos haunts me with its beauty, sadness and tragedy. Keep your eye on the boy in the film. What does he make of everything he sees and hears–oh I do wonder.

IMDB

 

Damn, I haven’t even gotten to books and music yet.

Okay I’m going to wrap this post up on an incredibly beautiful note with a link to a blog that those of you interested in film might find interesting. The Case For Global Film has a fine entry for the Hungarian film Love.   Love  stories are not just couples finding each other for sex and corny feel good times. What does love motivate people to do for each other? What does it mean in the grand scheme of all things? Is it the best thing about our species? Maybe. Is it the most powerful –and under-utilized weapon we have to deal with the self destructive chaos that our species creates in the world?

Love is yet another visually gorgeous film in black and white from 1972. If anyone finds a video for this film please drop a link as I’m not having any luck with my searches–yet. Hence the link which offers a host of other films all too often ignored in America.

For now–hello to all. Keep cool if you can. Sing, dance, eat well. Love. And fight the mayhem by refusing to let it overwhelm you.

namaste

Dispatch from the Kansas City, (MO not KS) Metropolitan Area ala City By City

Hola fellow web travelers. As a follow-up to my return to the online world I thought I’d connect with my prior post by filling in a gap in the City By City Dispatches from the American Metropolis edited by Keith Gessen and Stephen Squibb with a snapshot of Kansas City, Missouri–with a few side notes regarding some areas PR people like to associate it with, and some it would rather forget exist too close for their comfortably red-lined zones. Please don’t take this missive as a criticism of City By City. Editors have to work with the material they’re given and I am certainly enjoying its varied dispatches from Detroit, Washington D.C. (a brothel, how deliciously appropriate), and Chicago’s Hyde Park. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Gessen and Squibb either received no dispatches from Kansas City or if they did they couldn’t figure out what to make of them. The latter would be very understandable as Kansas City, Missouri has multiple personalities. Which one you encounter depends entirely on where you are–literally–physically.

If you were to stand on the corner of midtown Kansas City at 39th and Main Street, ground zero for KKFI, a community radio station like none other, your view of Kansas City changes drastically depending on which direction you take from there. Go south and west for money, some of it old and resting very comfortably. North offers old ethnic neighborhoods like Little Italy, and the City Market area working at staying alive north of the infamous Independence Avenue line (former hunting grounds for serial killers). Go east towards the Troost line you’ll find neighborhoods locked in life and death struggles with poverty and crime while contending with everything from a tragically failed public school district to abandoned vacant houses, gangs, and violent crime.

Heading west on 39th Street will take you to what remains of the city’s midtown bohemian neighborhoods. The ghost of the New York style D’Bronx pizzeria haunts the south corner of 39th and Bell while Prospero’s Books holds down the fort directly opposite it on the northern corner. Behind the 39th Street mainly food business line-up is a crowd of densely packed homes of all makes and ages. It’s a cool crazy quilt of unpredictability. Continue westward and you’ll cross State Line and then you’re in the KU Med area–which is on the Kansas side of the street, not in Missouri. Though you might never guess it. PR people like to make the most of what’s good around them.

If you travel south down Main and 39th to Westport Road you’ll wind up in the increasingly yuppified Westport area which currently caters to people who enjoy imbibing copious amounts of the legal drug known as alcohol in their free time. Long gone is the classy independent bookstore, the unique clothing stores, the movie theater and many other business venues unconnected to providing watering holes for the young and senseless. To be fair, the heroic Broadway Cafe remains steadfast on Broadway. As far as I currently know it is the ONLY independent coffeehouse to drive out the invasive species known as Starbucks. Yep, that’s right. Corporate Starbucks came, saw and invaded–and departed without conquering the superior java product. Also, the incredible Tivoli Cinemas remains–after relocating to Pennsylvania Ave. There’s also a newer food gig in the area–a new version of The Corner Restaurant complete with goat cheese, kale and alligator. No bagels and lox there–no way. The area has completely lost the feel of a friendly and engaging one-stop contained neighborhood but it is still alive, though steadily losing the remains of its inviting personality. I still mourn the closing of its independent music store, Streetside Records, which was once a great place to explore an incredibly wide range of music. It’s where I purchased Joan Osborne’s Relish after listening and discovering it offered far more than “If God Was One of Us.” Unless you’re into the drunk and disorderly scene evade the area on the weekends after dark when the partying begins in earnest as there are multiple hardcore drinking establishments all within a minute’s walk of each other from the corner of Pennsylvania and Westport Road. If you’re into drunk and disorderly then by all means go wallow whole hog all night long.

If you continue further south on Broadway you will enter the alternate universe of The Plaza where the fountains flow and so does the money dough. It’s not called the Country Club Plaza for nothing. Years and years ago this was an upscale middle class yet still affordable area with all kinds of interesting independent shops and food venues. These days it caters to those with two hundred dollars to spend on jeans without batting an eye. Dinner can easily cost a hundred dollars a person at some eateries. Most of the affordable housing in this area has vanished, but there’s plenty to be had for the urban condo set. The Plaza offers Thanksgiving lights, fountains, a very uninspiring insipid Art Fair–art which will not offend, raise issues or stretch anyone’s mind–but it’ll work well with your color scheme. So ironic considering the fact that just a few blocks away rests the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art–well, maybe not so ironic other things considered. If you desire more engaging on the fringe art then go north from 39th and Main to the Crossroads area around Broadway and 18th Streets. But visit it fast because the high and mighty are digging in big time with developments with hopes to connect the dots to the Power and Light District (Remind me: urban revitalization for who? Yuppies? Again?) and the real people character is vanishing fast. You’ll know the former Crossroads has been entirely vanquished when YJ’s Snack Bar closes and the jamming ends. Yep, that will signal the end of an era.

Okay,so venturing southwest from The Plaza and you’ll find impressive homes on lots large enough for five or six of the houses east of Troost Ave. None of them will have their garbage or household discards left sitting at curb for weeks and weeks and weeks as happens in the neighborhoods east of Troost where, if you’re not squeamish, you can have your pick of couches, mattresses, and entertainment centers. Even the huge lovely Loose Park is very well maintained. There’s cool green space galore with huge old trees, a pond, picnic areas and rose garden. I wonder if anyone east of Troost ever enters the rose garden contest held at Loose Park? I’ve never seen roses blooming in the parks east of Troost. Seeing a bench to sit on is a find. This is part of the character of extreme contrasts that Kansas City offers. This can easily be missed by staying on the highways when driving in from Independence, Missouri–a former Meth Lab Capital of the World–though who knows what’s really going on in that American drug swamp. If you drive into Kansas City from Independence on any residential street like 23rd or 31st instead of I70 you’ll get a close up view of the multiple urban landscapes of Kansas City from the bottom of the economic ladder to the top from east to west/southwest. You might even be impressed by the bus-stop at the corner of 31st and Troost–it does look like something from this decade, sort of.

Heading south from The Plaza, or from 31st and Troost, you’ll find the University of Missouri which years ago ran into very deep shit with its very diverse residential neighbors when it embarked on a buy and destroy mission to enable expansion of the parking garage ilk–among other things. The good neighbors fought back hard, going so far as to threaten UMKC’s chancellor’s residence with a bulldozer. No joke, these people were pissed off and rightly so in my opinion. Along Rockhill Road were blocks of lawn signs screaming “UMKC Kills Homes.” So much for the Ivory Tower’s idealism when it comes to money matters. This is another area in which the small independent local business flavor has all but disappeared. Perhaps they just don’t make people the same anymore? Just a question. Rockhill Road leads to Brookside and Waldo areas where the older tree-lined streets are narrow and generally quiet and the grocery store offers delights you won’t find in Wild Woody’s store east of Troost on 31 Street. Lamb chops and Green Tea ice cream anyone? Hmm?

Troost Avenue is only one block east of Rockhill Road. Once you get past being impressed by Rockhurst University’s presence on the east side of the street it’s clear straight off that the residences are not on par with those to the west of UMKC. Things are a tad rougher and tougher looking on the east side of Troost for the hard-working poor and their attendant gangs. Just a tad. I don’t think I’ve ever been in another city with such an obvious social economic division designated by a single street running north/south where you can actually stand on the street’s yellow dividing line and see two contrasting worlds just by looking in opposite directions: urban blight versus urban de-light.

I haven’t said anything about barbecue. Yeah, there’s plenty of it in all directions.
Nor have I mentioned the Historic Jazz District at 18th and Vine which is one street featuring the wonderful Gem Theater, the Blue Room and the American Jazz Museum, The Call newspaper–and historic painted storefronts.
Then there’s the Northeast area of Kansas City with its incredible influx of immigrants whose language needs the Kansas City Public library tries to address with ESL courses.
I haven’t mentioned the former mayor who refused to discuss the state of education even when it was front page news.
I haven’t mentioned the ex-school superintendent who insisted that 36 students in a classroom was a good thing.
Nor have I said anything about the decline of a newspaper that first impressed me with its coverage of a suspected serial killer hunting prostitutes and other vulnerable women on Independence Ave.
I’ve only hinted at the vibrant art scene that serves as a huge street party every first Friday.
There are thousands of homeless people in Kansas City.

There’s extreme wealth in Kansas City–and that’s not counting Johnson County which is in KANSAS not Missouri–and there’s extreme poverty with every economic class in between. I wonder if the people working at the Channel 4 news station ever drove down the street right behind their building and saw the houses with plastic sheeting for windows? Yes, there were people living in those places.

I could write a great deal more. I’m trying to stop while I’m ahead. I suspect I might already be behind the eight ball here.

Perhaps the very best thing about Kansas City is the community radio station which is still going strong after more than twenty years of Jazz, Blues, World, Folk, Classical, Latino, Reggae, and Rock music. If anything is truly alive and well in Kansas City, Missouri, it is KKFI–the beating heart of a diverse population which can’t be red lined. If you want a taste of Kansas City then tune in–they’re streaming online world-wide from the corner of 39th and Main 365 days and nights a year.

KKFI

City By City

Hello Online World

An interesting thing happens when you unplug from the world-wide web–time expands. Yes it does indeed. Time expands in the sense of all the things you can explore OFFline. Consider what happens when you forget your cellphone and you don’t feel the need to answer every ringtone like Pavlov’s puppies. Oh the freedom from the ring, from the keyboard connected to social media, and everything in the info universe. It can be very liberating–and you realize just how much energy, effort and time you’ve been putting into communication technology. Having been almost constantly online since BEFORE Facebook and twitter were even imagined I discovered a real big break from it all was in order. It’s been the kind of break where I’m on the verge of needing to upgrade my cellphone so that it will ‘work’. Aside from personal connections I have not missed the world-wide web much. I don’t enjoy reading books online–but I adore reading. Writing online has its pros and cons. I’ve discovered that the best way to deal with writer’s block is to actually write with a pen/pencil on paper. Yeah, it works. According the research I suspect it’s because more of your brain is stimulated by using your fine motor skills when using a pen than with using a keyboard. Oh and there’s never a problem with power outages or viruses or hitting the wrong key and sending everything into nowhere-land. Yes, being offline has been very good for my writing. It’s also been good for reading, exploring music, and cooking. Virtual cooking leads to virtual food and that’s inedible no matter what it does to your salivary glands.

When you’re exploring books offline in a library setting interesting things tend to happen–to me anyway. For example, an oversize book cover featuring Virginia Woolf’s profile draws your attention to Stefan Bollman’s Women Who Write, a book of profiles of women writers. Reading Francine Prose’s introduction raises the question of what other women have won the Nobel Prize in Literature since the book’s publication. The answer to this query leads to 2015 Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster. I currently do not know where else you can read anything like this in English. Which leads in turn to the translator, Keith Gessen who is the co-editor of City By City, Dispatches from the American Metropolis. The essays therein present diverse perspectives on the American urban landscape–and they’re anything but boring.

I heartily recommend all these books for your reading table or tablet. Warning: Voices from Chernobyl may break your heart with its love stories. What happens to people who know nothing about the downside of nuclear energy when things go terribly wrong? This is an intensely personal record of what happens. Considering the world in which we live we owe to these people to at least make ourselves aware and informed. Because Blue Skies do not mean all is hunky dory in the radioactive universe. Note: this is also a National Book Critics Circle Award winner for General Nonfiction.

Dots:
~Virginia Woolf’s profile
~Women Who Write by Stefan Bollman, Francine Prose
~Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Alexievich
~Translator Keith Gessen
~City By City, Dispatches from the American Metropolis edited by Keith Gessen and Stephen Squibb

Please do feel free to share wherever these dots lead you.

Thanks for engaging here. Your time, energy and virtual presence is very much appreciated–more than ever before.

About Svetlana Alexievich:

http://alexievich.info/indexEN.html

Women Who Read Are Dangerous~~(select translation):

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/buecher/rezensionen/sachbuch/ein-buch-ersetzt-den-mann-im-haus-kuenstlerblicke-auf-lesende-frauen-1214751.html

Get Your Jazz Fix Free From KKFI

I swear this is not a bait and switch stunt. Jazz lovers can indeed grab some great Jazz every Monday through Friday from 1-3 pm streaming online via KKFI http://www.kkfi.org/  . Go ahead and surf the link to a great independent community radio station without any corporate suits and ties. Wherever you are in the world, if you can read this blog then you can catch two full hours of jazz programs hosted by working Jazz artists and lovers like Jeff Harshbarger, KC, the Jazz Geek, the Jazz Insider, and the Jazz Disciple. For direct specs on program guides –>> http://www.kkfi.org/program-categories/music/jazz/ .  This is not your standard radio listening experience. The programs change daily. You might hear Jazz at other hours. There are no paid promotion spots. These programs are labors of love for Jazz in its many forms from the past to the present.  KKFI’s Jazz programs offer interviews with  current working Jazz artists, historical information, a gig calendar of who is playing where and when around the Kansas City area, and incredible music all for free. Though for a donation they’ll even let you be a “Guest DJ” ~ for more info –> http://www.kkfi.org/support/guest-dj/ .

You can even sign up for information about forthcoming live recording performances at The Blue Room at 18th and Vine.

Now, if you’re not in a surfing link frame of mind–here’s some piano beauty from Bill Evans.

Bill Evans Trio ~ Blue in Green —

Thanks to Burningable for this and other great music on YouTube.

Bruningable

Album: Portrait in Jazz (1959) Bill Evans: piano, Scott LaFaro: bass, Paul Motian: drums; Composition: Bill Evans
Recorded on December 28, 1959, NYC

There’s more of Bill Evans posted on the sidebar to the left.

Enjoy.

If your ears are privy to other online streaming radio programs featuring Jazz, please share a link via the comments.

Jazz goes everywhere around the world via KKFI.

Aldrey’s Mirate ~ Look At Yourself

Return to blogging round two:

Hola!

I’m back–again.

If you enjoyed Aldrey’s high energy up-lifting La Lista — which now has over a million views on the tubes of you–yeah, he got his audience of 80,000 and then some since my first posting of that positive spirit booster–I think you’ll appreciate this song-video about a serious image issue for women–Mirate. Posted on August 13, 2015 this video is racking up some serious views–91,620 as of this posting. If it strikes a chord with you then please take a moment to share it with ladies of all ages in your life.

How can you resist? Hmm?🙂

AldreyMusica

Can I still blog?

Only if I can remember how to type.
Testing: uno, dos, tres, . . ..

It’s raining slugs and snails. In other words, it’s very wet in my tiny part of the universe.

Mini rant: I have NEVER met a single doctor who ever behaved like the ones depicted in television shows who exhibit interest and engagement with their patients. I suspect television shows are simply marketing models for an ongoing AMA public relations effort.

Yeah, I’ve been away for a long time.
There’s a baseball film titled “The Trouble with the Curve” – no baseballs involved, but some trouble with curves were involved in the making of this MIA period.

Greetings to whoever reads this missive. I sincerely hope YOU are enjoying life on planet Earth.

I shall now attempt to catch up. It’s got to be easier than catching a fly ball to right field.
Or maybe not.
Hmmmmm.

For your listening pleasure, the incomparable~~

Bill Evans

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