John Lennon live at the Apollo, December 17, 1971

John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the crowd at The Apollo Theatre for the Attica Benefit in NYC. December 17, 1971. © Bob Gruen / http://www.bobgruen.com Please contact Bob Gruen’s studio to purchase a print or license this photo. email: info@bobgruen.com Image #: R-433

In approximately six weeks from this writing, it will be the 50th anniversary of John Lennon’s concert appearance at the Apollo Theatre on December 17, 1971. Granted it was a very short set (three songs, and one of them was Yoko’s), but this performance was unplugged decades before that term was coined. It was just John & Yoko and his band on the edge of the stage, accompanied by nothing but Yoko’s bongo and their guitars.

December 1971 was a busy month for the Lennons. Only the week before they had performed at the John Sinclair Freedom Rally in Ann Arbor, Michigan before heading back to New York City. The day before his Apollo appearance, in fact, on December 16, they’d taped an episode of The David Frost Show, joined by David Peel and the Lower East Side band. This wouldn’t be broadcast however, until a month later, well into January 1972.

The show was captured on 16mm film, and also completely ignored by mainstream media.  The only reports would come from Harlem’s local Amsterdam News. Aretha Franklin also performed at this benefit for the families of the prisoners shot in the Attica Prison riot in September of that year. Joining John & Yoko were counterculture activist Jerry Rubin, Chris Osbourne and Eddie Mattau. What they were about to offer were three songs that wouldn’t see the light of day until the release of John & Yoko’s Sometime In New York City six months later on June 12, 1972.

“I’d like to say it’s an honor and a pleasure to be here at the Apollo, and for the reasons that we’re all here,” John began. “Yoko is gonna sing a number that she wrote about her sisters.” The show begins with her offering of a beautiful version of “Sisters, O Sisters.” For once Yoko’s voice is gorgeous, as are the harmonies she shares with John on chorus. Next up is “Attica State”, a song John began composing at his 31st birthday party. The lyrics are strident but softened somewhat by the acoustic guitars, and the slide guitar adds a bit of flavor.

“Thank you,” John said, three times actually. “Some of you might wonder what I’m doing here with no drummers and no, nothing like that, but as you might  know I lost me old band or I left it. I’m putting an electric band together, it’s not ready yet and these things like this keep coming up so I have to just busk it. So I’m gonna sing a song you might know. Its called “Imagine”. This may be the most sincere performance of John’s classic, and may quite possibly be better than the official studio version. The acoustic guitar seems deeper somehow than the piano on the original; Yoko’s bongo is not intrusive this time. It’s hard to listen to this song now, since that was one of the numbers they played at my brother Eddie’s funeral in 2018. But sometimes you just got to.

Ironically, Mark David Chapman was sent to Attica Correctional Facility after he shot John in 1980.

Available: John Lennon’s two songs, “Attica State” & “Imagine”, have seen release first on John Lennon Anthology (November 1998), CD 2-New York City. “Imagine” was subsequently re-issued on John Lennon Acoustic (November 2004). Insofar as I know, Yoko’s live version of ‘Sisters, O Sisters remains unreleased.

RE: The Texas abortion fiasco & the Supreme Court

#TheDudeTrader1

I shared this tweet a few hours ago:

The most distress aspect of the abortion dispute, from the beginning, is that the onus is always on women. The rancor and punishments always directed at them and no responsibility attached to the male. Men have as much to do with pregnancy as women…

But no punishment is attached to their actions. Without their sperm, you wouldn’t have a baby, whether it was voluntary or forced on the woman. Oh heaven forbid we should ruin that boy’s future, he’s a good old boy, and she, oooo, she’s just a…oh please, let’s not.

None of the so called evangelicals seem to give a rat’s that a woman’s life might be ruined, or lost, because we know abortions are not going to stop. They’re just going to be rendered unsafe by a pack of odious, unfeeling justices pursuing their own agenda.

Make no mistake, no man is going to be charged, no billionaires will face consequences for taking part in impregnating a woman, which si another obscenity perpetrated by this generation of vipers.

I’d like to add that admittedly, I’m not fond of people, especially politicians with their false cozying up to the religious maniacs who have spent the last 40 years turning this country into a backwater as venal as Russia under the communists.

But I value LIFE, which includes humans, not matter how dense they are. Nobody in the GOP or the religious right/wrong seem to realize a lot of young women are going to die because of this decision–or NON-decision–by the conservative justices on the Supreme Court. Maybe they don’t care. They were certainly fine with Donald Trump committing mass murder last year. I’ll be watching, and pushing with every other decent person, to make sure this ass-backwards law in Texas takes a dive, and to see to it that this SCOTUS does not take us back to the Dark Ages.

–statement by Sherrilyn Ifill, President & Director-Counsel of the NAACP’s Legal Defense & Educational Fund (LDF)

https://www.naacpldf.org/press-release/ldf-issues-statement-on-supreme-court-decision-in-case-involving-texas-abortion-law/

Review: George R. Stewart, Earth Abides (1949)

(Original printing by Random House in 1949)

One might ask, once you’re done Googling the given title, why the HELL would we be interested in a book published 72 years ago. That was before the Red Scare of the 1950s, before fears of nuclear war overtook all future versions of Armageddon. There is wisdom in old works, perhaps more than can be found in contemporary books. I found for myself this is a more timely text than was seemingly possible.

The back cover of the 1976 edition I read describes this as ‘a novel about a tomorrow that could happen today’. After the events of 2020 it seems very close to home. Our protagonist, Isherwood Williams, spends some time in a cabin in the woods recovering from a rattlesnake bite. He comes back to a city that appears deserted. Scattered newspapers, what’s left of them, tell of a ‘new and unknown disease of unparalleled rapidity of speed, and fatality’. Unlike in 2020, in the novel there was a concerted and competent government response, although this pathogen still wiped out the better part of the population of the late great United States.

I saw a lot of myself in Ish. He was well read, and probably more mechanically inclined than I. Basically he’s a good person trying to make sense of an impossible situation. At first he was all right with solitude, he could do without loads of people and their problems for a while. Peace and quiet were nice, and he was free to do what he wanted. Some inhibitions had to be broken, such as when Ish had to start breaking into stores to get canned goods, just for his own needs, now without fear of prosecution. Given that all means of mass production were essentially gone, canned goods were all that city people had to live on.

But no one can live alone forever. That’s how Ish was adopted first by a homeless dog, Princess, which lead him to Em, his future wife and the woman who would become this novel’s Mother of the community they gather together in an old California suburb. . As the first, original Mother, Em becomes the heart of what they call the Tribe, probably the most intuitive person and the one everyone defers to in matters.

This community Ish gathers, this Tribe, is comfortable, too much so perhaps. Even when a crisis arrives, when the reservoirs have dried up and no more water is to be had from their taps, it is very hard to stir the people to make an effort even to dig a well.

I can see this–I believe it. For a novel written seven decades ago, it has a clarity and insight. These are average people with average goals, without much ambition to rebuild civilization as they knew it. Ish’s efforts to educate the children of their small Tribe come to no avail, until he settles on more basic–and potentially fun skills, such as bows and arrows. And of course there is the Hammer, which Ish has carried with him from the beginning. This becomes an unconscious symbol of power, a tool as well as a faithful companion that Ish has to pass on in the end.

I would highly recommend Earth Abides. There is more truth, more humanity there than a lot of the propaganda we’ve indulged in for the past several years.

(The 1976 Fawcett Crest edition)

Lianna in the Microverse: Conclusion

Soon as this was over she wanted to get stoned again. So much had been real…so much surreal: the heft of Kali Ma’s sword in her fist, the cool solidity of the pommel. Cradling Lady Smirnoff to her chest, her weight in her four arms evenly distributed, drooping like a lazy cat…

Four…arms–!

The Professor and Dr. Chen bumbled into each other as Lianna jumped up. She tossed off the blanket, then immediately tugged it back to her naked chest. She took in the bland white medical cabinet over a sink behind the medics, the stiff sheets under her legs.

Dreamy, fuzzy images floated in the periphery of her thoughts; an emergence of some kind on the main floor of the observatory, her tail swishing between her buttocks. No tail now, she thought. Some wise ass must’ve thought it’d be a good idea to get her to the outpost’s dispensary. That was probably a good idea since she didn’t remember much after first she dropped Lady Smirnoff, and then collapsed herself.

She slapped her left shoulder, groping for ridges, skin folds, anything that would be indicative of a scar. She came up empty. “Professor, how many arms did I have when I got back?”

Their distended eyeballs gave the game away. Troopers that they were, they kept up the pretense. “Two, of course,” the Professor replied, lifting his arms. “Just two. Right, Chen?”

“Oh yes, yes! How many arms were you expecting to have?” His forced laugh reeked of fear and barely suppressed hysteria. And then Petersen burst in.

“Got the stills developed! They’re gonna love this at the…” he frowned, first at the two scientists waving their hands like livid sports coaches. His eyebrows raised at Lianna, nodding at her cot. “Oh. Hi, four-arms.”

That earned him the double sock in the arm that she’d been waiting for. “I knew it!” Lianna bounced off the cot, pacing the room despite the Professor’s efforts to keep up and drape his lab coat over her. “I knew it! It’s the first proof that the Hindu cosmology has a basis in fact! I gotta write this up in the Physicists Quarterly–“

“Lianna…”

“Mom would shit if she could see this! This would be the best–!”

“Lianna!”

Both bare heels slapped on the deck. The Professor stopped himself just in time, finally succeeding in wrapping his coat over her. “Your other limbs disappeared shortly after we had you settled,” he said.

“What, they melted?”

“No, they…how do I say this, dissipated. I can’t explain it better than that. They seemed to vanish as soon as you came off your high. Umm, how much powder did…?”

“A snootful.”

“I thought it’d be a bit much.”

Lianna crossed her arms with a smirk. “And if there had been evidence of a transformation, I suppose you’d keep it from me anyway?”

The Professor sighed. “Lianna, cultivating a personal relationship with Kali is not something I’d encourage.”

“But isn’t that what Mom and Poppa wanted to investigate? Surely that’s the reason they kept such extensive notebooks.”

The Professor nodded to both points, though his downturned bushy mustache suggested he now wished that he’d never let her get her hands on them, let alone follow the hints and star charts highlighted in red in the margins. ‘What happened to my tail? And what about Lady Smirnoff?”

“First, allow me to congratulate you on the successful conclusion of your extraditionary mission. She’s in the next room. Would you like to see? We can discuss the, umm, other item after that.”

Her deep crimson skinsuit glistened even in the dimmed lighting ordered for her recovery room. What was left of it, anyway. Lady Smirnoff looked like she’d been through a war and lost. Her right leg was a purplish stump below the knee. Her left side wasn’t in much better shape. The skinsuit over both her left shoulder and breast was torn, exposed to the dangers of the Microverse. In fact, her left breast appeared to have been punctured by a barbed shaft. Tardigrade, Lianna deduced silently.

Further puncture marks could be found in both wrists, another in her suit through the crotch. Some repulsion prevented Lianna from examining that hole too intensely. Lianna took a scanner from a young medic in training, which enabled her to probe the puncture just below Lady Smirnoff’s breast that almost reached through her chest cavity to her heart. Curiously, all these puncture wounds had been plugged with a flexible, indigo-tinted foam. Further proof, to Lianna at least, of Kali’s charity, or malice.

The medics stepped aside to let Lianna in, but not too far from the floating examination table. They were keeping her in an induced coma for now, they told her, pending a decision by the outpost’s chief of staff toward what exactly they were supposed to do with her; whether her punishment by Kali had been sufficient, if indeed that would factor into any subsequent care she’d receive at a better equipped facility.

Her hand squeezed the smooth blotchy stump, just above the knee. Lianna peeled back one of Lady Smirnoff’s eyelids. Her pupils had shrunk to tiny dots. Her facial features, usually so stern, was relaxed in sedated rest. She hadn’t been prepared for this, Lianna thought, her hand lingering for what little comfort it might offer. Sweet Kali, what a state her mind must be in.

“Baby, come on,” the Professor said, gently taking her hand. He led her along the main corridor to the Specimen Lab. Normally this was where cultures were housed in specialty racks, behind vacuum sealed doors housing the wall-mounted coolant cells. He fixed on the third coolant door to the right, grunting as he yanked the handle down.

A tray rolled out containing no racks full of specimen trays, only an extra-large storage bin, about the size of Lianna’s upper torso. With the input of a code, the top was forced wide open as a bushy something arched out of its confined space.

“It didn’t dissipate…”

“Presumably Kali wanted this preserved, as a keepsake,” the Professor muttered. “So we’d know this wasn’t entirely a dream.”

The thick fur yielded several centimeters to the touch. Moments passed as he watched her stroke the reddish streaks. The end where it should’ve ‘connected’ seemed evenly cut, or partly healed. “Did you guys…?”

“We didn’t have to do anything. It sort of popped off as soon as you two hit the floor, just as a chameleon’s would.” All latches shut quietly, efficiently as he tucked the fur back under the lid and shoved the tray door shut. Lianna drew the lab coat closer, almost disappearing inside it.

“Professor, this isn’t a surprise to you. None of it. I’ve given you probably the most absurd, unscientific reports you’d ever seen, about things that would normally get a gal shipped to the nearest funny farm. And you…you just accept them. How much did you know, before I started out there?”

He kept his hands in his pants pockets, then adjusted the online scribbler in his top shirt pocket with a smile. “I had a more adventurous youth than I’ve let on. Several of my experiences could be described as humbling. I’d like to tell you I was never…hmm, intimate within my interpersonal contacts, but,” he shrugged, “I could never lie to you, child.”

“But you’re never gonna tell me about those experiences, are you?” she asked.

Still smiling, perhaps a little more warmly, he held out his hand to her. “There’s too much to cover in one afternoon,” he said. She clutched the coat to her bunched in one hand, while with the other she took his proffered palm. “But I see no reason why we couldn’t start.”

Continued from ‘Summoned by Kali’: (link)  https://mike3839.com/2021/01/18/summoned-by-kali-a-story/

Here’s where it all began: (link)  https://mike3839.com/2020/02/11/lianna-into-the-microverse-introduction/

Barack Obama A Promised Land review

This has been a hard book to get through. It’s not a difficult read; President Obama has a way of drawing you in, making the hard choices easy to understand. His conversational skills haven’t failed him.

I suppose the problem, for me, was that I remember those years and the bullshit thrown at both he and his wife Michelle. For the first time Obama seems free to express his frustrations and disbelief not only at the continual obstructionism, but also his personal struggle with racism.

What’s also made it hard is the fact that the same dipshits are still in Congress, still spewing the same toxic nonsense they had 12 years ago. If anything, the recent crop of Republicans is 100 percent worse.

I’ve gone on but honestly, it is worth the read. We are guided from his early days as a senator, on through the first presidential campaign in 2008, and closing with…nahh, I won’t spoil it. Can’t wait for the second volume. Cheers.