Friday, April 30, 2010

Down Here On the Ground (recycled from my old MySpace blog!

Down here on the ground....
I found this thing I wrote on a forum I belong to. I wanted to post a blog and this easier than writing something new lol.

If you go out my back door, you can sit on the second floor deck and look out at our yard. To the left you got a butterfly bush, then creipe myrtle, some roses and a maple tree we planted 10 years ago that is now close to forty feet tall. In front of it on a small lawn are bird feeders, two finch socks and 2 regular seed feeders. Typical morning you get a dozen various finches and sparrows, 6 or so doves, a junco or two, and other visitors.

Hanging from the beam are hummingbird feeders and we watch them feed in front of our faces. They are cranky little things and don't like sharing.

Oh yeah down to the left is a brugmansia with peach to rust colored flowers in profusion. In the middle of the lawn an arbor , covered with Grateful Dead roses (the bush was here when we moved in),leads to the pond with a couple of elusive bullfrogs. Back of the pond we got another white brug, a nectarine tree, crepe myrtle, acacia maidenii and a parking pad made from pavers and another lawn.

To the right we got some kind of pine and another brug covered with yellow flowers under what was our xmas tree 10 years ago and now is a towering redwood with an ever thickening trunk. The trees are home to a bunch of squirrels, jumping from tree to tree to telephone line to roof to the attic of the ghetto apartments behind us to the right.

Some nights we get visits from skunks, possums, and racoon families.

There is an alley behind the yard and we can watch the world walk by. First it's an old muslim guy in traditional dress walking his grandkid (or kid?) to the park. A chinese family may be next or hispanics headed to the big church. Loud Mexican oompa music plays from the apartments, church bells ring and from the park a block away someone is doing a soundcheck for a festival on the big bandstand. Our 3 dogs bark at some kids running down the street in front and we yell at them to shut up. Someone fires up a chain saw or jackhammer.
Some kids drive by bumping the rap and rattling windows.

This 'hood was once the redlight district then went downhill from there, when we moved in this place had been abandond for years, the yard a pile of rubble and weeds. It was a squat for junkies, and we found 35 hypos in the yard.

A typical day down here on the ground, I love it here!!!!! It's the opitome of diversity and that kind of selects out people that are uptight about stuff. If you don't like blacks,muslims, asians, hispanics, gays, hippies, Democrats, pretty much anyone, you wouldn't dream of living here. But all these groups live in harmony under the 100 year old trees.


Blues in the Schools

One of my favorite endeavors for the past 5 years has been my involvement in a program, sponsored by the good people of the Sacramento Blues Society.

I am involved with 2 phases of this: First is the BITS band, which usually consists of Mick Martin(vocals, harmonica, lecturer), Lew Fratis or Paris Clayton(guitar,vocals), Pete Phillis or Kenny Nichols(drums) and yours truly on bass and vocals.What happens is
first Mick and a guitar player go to a school(usually high school or middle school) and does a lecture presentation to music students. I week or so later the band comes and does a concert and lets student musicians play with us.

The second phase is what they call "Artists in Residence". In my case, Lew Fratis and I have been teaching a weekly after school blues class at Rosemont High School for the past 5 years. We create a band or 2 of students and they play at a Blues Society Event.
This year the show is here on May 7th at 7:00
Swabbies On The River
Restaurant & Bar
5871 Garden Highway
Sacramento, CA 95837
(916) 712-7277

Our kids this year are good crop, and Paul Oscher is the headliner.

I love doing this, and the kids really connect with the music, it never fails!!!!It is part of our continuing mission to preserve the best of American culture before it disappears!!!!!

The Blues Society works hard to keep the program funded, they believe in compensating the teachers at a professional level which is a welcome change for the way we are often treated. These last couple years, grants have been hard to come by, we rely on you all to help. Come to the show and support a worthy cause.

The music never stopped!!!!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Our SF Trip

TJ and I have a tradition of visiting San Francisco for my birthday. This year we did that in spades, 4 wonderful days Thurday through Sunday. TJ has a knack for finding great lodging for vacations. This time she found a cool little basment apartment in the Richmond District at balboa and 37th Ave.

We did our usual SF stuff, a trip to the Haight, much time in Golden Gate Park, The De Young, Ocean Beach, lots of driving and walking around, lots of eating.

On Friday night we went to the Regency Ballroom to see the Dark Star Orchestra. They are the guys that play Grateful Dead shows as a loving tribute. We had a bit of trepidation, we are really not fans of tribute bands, but these guys deliver, enough so we went back the next night.
I will make another post about the DSO.

Back in Black

I decided to start blogging again, I had a blog on Myspace and it attracted more readers than I expected and I enjoyed the outlet. Then I got hooked on Facebook and Myspace fell by the wayside.

Years ago, when I had my first computer I started working on a book of memoirs, musings, and random thoughts. It was gonna be titled "More Than a Touch of Gray- Adventures of a Reborn Hippie". Well here I am more than a decade later, a lot more gray and hopefully a little hipper.

I grew up in Sacramento, CA, 90 miles from the corner of Haight and Ashbury. In 1967 I was a wide eyed 15 year old, totally captivated by the cultural developments emminating from San Francisco, changes cultural, spiritual, artistic, musical , and pharmacological.

This has been a thread that has run through my whole life. I drifted away, into materialism and then into a downward spiral. After 15 years I hit bottom, and there and then I rediscovered a whole world that was still keeping the values and experiences of those days alive.

20 more years have passed and everyday I realize that I have been part of a world changing movement. Joseph Campbell was taken to a Grateful Dead show and he said that what it was was the creation of the newest tribe on the planet. I totally agree and am a proud member of that tribe. And I realize that the more I am true to the values I learned back then, the better my life has gotten.

This blog and everything I do is dedicated to my best friend and wife, the visual artist TJ Lev, who helped find my way back to where I once belonged.

So let's get on with the show..........