Thursday, September 29, 2011
For immediate release.
Press Release, September 29th, 2011
I started an Occupy Wall Street page on Facebook two days after the initial September 17th movement began, belatedly, because I didn't learn of it until an extremely small cross-section of our media began reporting on it. And I'll get this out of the way now: I do not represent anyone other than myself; I don't speak for anyone but myself, and I live in the Pacific Northwest – nowhere near Liberty Plaza. But like thousands of people across the United States, I stand in solidarity with the protesters and active members in the global movement who stand up to those in power, those scant few hundred individuals who have inflicted a global, social-economic tyranny upon our nations.
In the last few days I have been contacted several times by the media to make an appearance and talk with them about “our movement”, “our demands”, etc. Obviously, as mentioned, I am not the qualified individual they seek. But I want to stress that any person who recognizes the growing disparity as a threat to our democracy is more than qualified to fill in for me or anyone bravely exercising their First Amendment rights in New York City. 99% of us are eligible for interviews, so I invite the mainstream media to revisit our 'Occupy' pages and select someone at random, if that's what it takes, to get the story on how everyday Americans are suffering the fruit of their votes. Because the movement now is but the reflection in our mirrors.
This release may be printed and distributed without permission
Press Release, September 29th, 2011 by Craig Boehman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Release date September 24th, 2011
Album Review of
Whitton's “Rare Bird”
It's as though an old 78 from the 1940s was discovered in the attic of an estate sale. And the proud new homeowner, without turntable, takes the strange, bulky disc to a friend at the recording studio. And the tracks are played … for the first time in 70 years. What they hear blows them away. So they digitally remaster the music and make it available for the first time in CD and MP3 formats, ten songs as smartly constructed and performed as any music from the Big Band days. This could well have been Rare Bird's introduction to the 21st Century.
The female vocalist sounds like she belongs to the big band era, and yet, there's a modernity to it that makes Whitton's latest album a delight to listen to whether or not your tastes belong to the times of Billie Holiday or to the eclectic styling of a Regina Spektor, a couple of Whitton's important influences. No matter the genre she's worked in, Whitton aspired to be front and center of a big band sound.
“I've always been a huge fan of big band music and wanted to either join a group or start my own, so I decided to start my own in a modern way.”
Seldom comes along a crooner who possesses a strong yet ethereal resonance in her voice. She effortlessly makes use of a broad rang of alluring vocal dynamics from her tool kit and pulls it off in a poignant way aptly suited to the material, all the while leaving you wanting to hear more – a quality that used to be known to music aficionados in the record industry as talent.
And the proof is in the pudding. Despite releasing Rare Bird all on her own, “Nothing At All” and songs from past albums are finding their way into major motion picture soundtracks. But this isn't an album that has a few bright moments and the rest is filler, a phenomenon that arose because album singles have historically been the best way to launch a new artist or the latest LP. Recording artists taking the independent journey must always be presenting their finest material because the mechanism just isn't there to showcase a single or two. It all must be great! And that's what I hear when I listen to Rare Bird.
“At the end of the day, I've aspired to write good songs all away around, may it be on solo guitar or collaborating with other musicians.”
And there are plenty of good songs to be had. A beautifully orchestrated number, lush and foreboding, “Monster” is about a domineering lover who comes on the scene and takes away his lover's “power.” I couldn't help but draw comparisons of the song's narrative to Beowulf's battle with the dragon which leaves him fatally wounded. It's the slightly ambiguous nature of the lyrics – did she want this kind of love? Maybe at first … There's a mournfully hopeful side to the music that's contrasted with every twist and turn of the imploding relationship, leading down the stairs into a dark place.
If I had to choose a number that best represents the genre, my favorite would be “Pity Party.” This ballad delivers a classic arrangement in the vein of Billie Holiday. From the point of view from an envious admirer who's following the brief rough patch of the belle of the ball, I'm left wondering whether our protagonist is giving herself a pep talk after extensive self-examination, or, more mysteriously, perhaps she lurks in the shadowy out lands of her diva's social circles, wondering at the gall for such a woman to feel any pity whatsoever.
One of the stand-out upbeat track that begs to be made into a video is “B Sting”. This song is full of spirited energy and is accompanied by sassy horn fills. This where Whitton truly sounds like she's at home for the weekend in a musical sense, out on the town at a speakeasy just minutes before the cops raid the joint. It's fun; it's decadent – it's what good music is all about.
It would be a mistake to tag this album just as a 1940s throw-back project if the title track “Rare Bird” is any indicator. Au contraire, ladies and gentlemen. Each song was written with a keen ear to pop sensibilities. This is the benchmark for any artist that dares to crossover into other genres, or to blend them together into musical fusions like a round of mixed drinks in a smoky bar room. Just as there are expectations of the bartender to “know his stuff” and to expertly combine different liquors in order to serve up a tasty concoctions for his thirsty customers, musicians are afforded no less scrutiny in their knowledge of music history when their album has its sonic muse rooted in the past. In the end, it's their talent and their love for the craft that will ring true in the expectant ears of their fans. Likewise, it's her love for the craft and her proven talent through the chronicling of four albums which lends lift to Whitton's latest release to rise beyond the heights of mere tribute and into the starry domain of popular music.
Visit Whitton at
Review of Whitton's "Rare Bird" Album by Craig Boehman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.craigboehman.com.
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Thursday, September 22, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
|Daniel Shays and Job Shattuck|
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
The Annual 9/11 Festival marks its tenth year as justification for atrocities committed by the US Government and its corporate mandate. We are asked the remember those fallen and the heroes who saved many on that September day. The Festival is granted the customary respect as a memorial for those victims of an unspeakable atrocity. Unfortunately, it cannot exist only as a memorial service. The event has been used quite successfully as a propaganda machine to advance the agendas of those who control the nation's purse.
By way of cheap peer pressure tactics through fear of being branded as disrespectful of the dead and their families, those elites in Washington, who humbly parade as Democrats and Republicans, work hand-in-hand with big media to get the message across. We are by this underhanded persuasion to mourn our nation's losses while simultaneously accepting the wars that emerged from the aftermath. The intent is to scare those of us who are critics of war atrocities by branding us as unpatriotic, or worse – as terrorists.
Civil liberties have been eroded by the Patriot Act. Illegal wire tapping of Americans and other illegal means of spying have been exposed. Library records are no longer private. We have allowed our government to get away with the kidnapping and torturing of those considered either dangerous or to have valuable information without any due process afforded. In the process, Americans have been tortured – with a couple brave souls coming forward with a lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld, the unapologetic policymaker.
There are also three wars. Afghanistan. Iraq. Libya. Four, since drone attacks and troop incursions into Pakistan without the consent of its government is an act of war under any modern definition of the term.
And with the celebrations of the Annual 9/11 Festival well on its way with full fanfare, what stories will run, what politician or public figure will step forward and talk about civilian death tolls ranging from just over 100,000 documented deaths (Iraq Body Count) to Rwanda-sized death tolls that US forces have inflicted on the Iraqi civilian population? The answer is, of course, nobody in the mainstream media. The death of innocent Americans is so sacred that to speak openly about the death and carnage we have caused in retaliation (and on a much greater scale) is sacrilege.
I would argue too, that with the success of the campaign to smother dissent, power brokers have concluded that they could get away with just about anything. Why not “bail out” Wall Street as well? Bad investments and illegal dealings could be rectified by a domestic campaign of fear with the slogan, Too Big to Fail. They regard the American populace that they rule by brute wealth alone as a passive lot, largely ignorant in foreign and economic matters, and endemically apathetic due to their infliction with consumerist fantasies promoted by the Pavlovian chime of the corporate bell. The climate is ripe for the taking. And Social Security, our socialist “ponzi scheme”, is next on the chopping block to be liberated from seniors. This PR campaign aspires to nothing less than to hear the applause, no, the standing ovation – of those who will ultimately lose their only source of retirement income. And the criminals who propose this count on Americans to be dumb enough to accept it. Sadly, this is probably the case if the last ten years are any indication of American intelligence and backbone.
And the climate of fear is certainly ripe for the taking. Americans have also recently allowed “their” politicians to cut domestic spending on programs that ultimately benefit them or their poorest neighbors. Tax cuts for the rich is an untouchable dogma. Outright exemption for paying taxes at all is now an expectation of mega corporations and an existential reality as problematic as a ship full of plague rats. Could this have all been possible before 9/11? It's worth considering in my mind. Because if the astoundingly negative impact our government's policies have had on the lives of its own people and millions abroad would not have been tolerated in a pre 9/11 America, then we Americans shouldn't only be mourning the victims of that fateful day ten years ago. We should also be mourning our failure at not being smart enough, at not being brave enough, at not being American enough, to stop the rich few from “liberating” trillions of dollars from our pockets. We should be mourning the death and destruction we have allowed to take place in the name of American exceptionalism – and with the multitude of future attacks that will inevitably come against us for at least another generation to come.
On the other side of the coin, if all these events were possible without the 9/11 attacks, what excuses do we have to make to not imprison or execute those directly responsible for war crimes, to chastise and punish those who indirectly enabled these atrocities in the name of political pandering by both Democrats and Republicans … while their corporate buddies profit, well-insulated against democracy in their boardrooms? The point I'm trying to make is, maybe mourning is all we have left as a people. Maybe all we are good for is erecting memorials to past heroes and victims while we give everything we have to those who have conditioned us to be their faithful house negroes, expendable servants who act as buffers against the poorest and the meanest of the poor who constitute multitudes, and who have every right to be indignant in serving up their vengeance as sweet as any apple pie.
It is much too late for being fearful of being branded unAmerican or otherwise.
It is high time to create our very own climate of fear, a fear that will be directed at the enemies of man who wage war for profit, and more importantly for our supposed democracy, create a climate of fear for their bought-and-paid-for PR people who hold office on our behalf. The message should be clear and simple. If you kill for profit, you may be executed or imprisoned. If you steal from us, you will be imprisoned. There are laws in place that mandate punishment for ordinary citizens for like crimes. Now, they need to be applied with equal zeal to those who have been above the law these last ten years. Otherwise mourning those that deserve memorial become victims once again of crimes committed in their names, crimes more foul and enduring because they were conceived and perpetrated by Americans without conscience with no real respect for life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness, an ideal that's seldom realized and often discouraged but exists nevertheless to be seized upon and torn from the written pages of history by those who do more than believe in it.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
|Image courtesy of Wikipedia|
through the midnight Carolinas
your first taste of freedom
is a breathless sweat
and blackberry lashes
fuel for the hounds of dawn
Head down the middle of the creek
towards the sea
a 50-50 chance at a good head start
all you need
a fighting chance
to build a raft
and to head north
but there is no wood here
in your midnight Carolinas
where thick swamp meets the sea
sucking off your tattered shoes
leaving your blistered toes to the leaches
of this unknown land
washing your face in the surf
Romarong is in the glistening foam
but how far across
to your wife's family
who would be grieving if they knew
of her death
at the hands of white devils
run north keep north and low
pitter patter bare feet in the sand
along the tree line
under a cruel moon
dropping tears and memories
of her warmth and smile
only four months ago
before the end of the world
in a white man's hell
the gods are watching
they will carry your tired frame
the god of sand and sea and fog
the god of grief and torment
the dung beetle spirit
rolling a ball of misery and servitude
into the shit of a thousand wasted lifetimes
and you weep for the toiling
of your brothers and sisters
but you must leave them now
and get back home
across the great sea
convince those remaining to hide
and go deep and deeper into the interior
to live with the lions and hippos
under the bellies of crocodiles
or as dust on the butterfly's wings
through the midnight Carolinas
ragged and marked
drunk on adrenaline
an evanescent peace
pissing on the writhen
they would surely hang you from
Thursday, September 8, 2011
The Eight-Legged Funambulist
in some short span
between cups of coffee
a spider so small stood on the rim
of my mug
she raised a leg to test the
a three foot gasconade
her silk thread whispered
across the chasm
as quietly as a Banksy line
I undid the work
of this gravity thief
I lifted the mug and found
no trace of her
only graffiti on the walls of
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
blackberry breeze on a summer day
down wind past the man with no reply
we are asked to remember early
countdown to remembering
the day of would be of course
a baked pie
our just dessert
for me without flour
without egg without sugar
without cause to bake
I only pick fresh blackberries
in the waning heat
with the hungry homeless crazies
and pregnant dope dealers
who cast all these people adrift?
what trick made them leave home?
I wait for acorns to fall from the neighbor's tree
I wait for my sunflower to go to seed
and the figs I'll harvest in complete ignorance
the pendulum tick-tock has no replacement but
for the sounds from my 6 am. window
cats and more cats
the dying earth and birth of weed
the blackberry breeze
and the dry dry grass a gift
to those in the know
a hose is in my hand
the marigolds are asked to remember
and so is the sky and the wind and sea
remember to remember
as the buildings burn
my flowers drink
and the dishes are drunk
in the kitchen sink
and far away
far far far away
Monday, September 5, 2011
|Pullman strikers outside Arcade Building, 1894|
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
It is very likely that if you live in the United States then you probably aren't aware of the history behind Labor Day. This was true of myself for most my life. I would urge anyone who isn't aware of it to look up “Labor Day” and to also look up “The Pullman Strike.”
The reality of “labor” as it is, is the foundation of civilization. Without labor, quite simply, you do not have civilization. Within this framework politics and power have always been about the division of labor. Who controls a city or a nation, historically, has controlled labor. It took slavery to build the pyramids of Egypt. The Greeks used slaves, as did many societies of antiquity. Slavery also helped shape the United States.
But with the Industrial Revolution came another kind of revolution that grew alongside it. People begun to organize when they found themselves stuck in a vicious cycle of abuses ranging from long hours and low wages to dangerous working environments. It was also plain to see the vast wealth that their labor created for industry barons. Unions came into existence because governments and industry did not represent their citizens that toiled on their behalf – at all. In fact, as history shows, the government of the United States was quite against its workers from the start (again, check out The Pullman Strike). It was left up to the people to fight it out on their own.
And that's what they did.
People these days have been mislead about what unions are and what workers' rights – and human rights – truly are. This isn't surprisingly when you consider that it's the same forces from industry that control government and by and large control the message. Labor Day isn't about them, and they resent it. They fear it. Dissent has the potential to cut into their bottom line. Very few of them consider their “help” to be their friends and colleagues or their equals in an employer-employee relationship. Their stance, even “these days”, seems straightforward: Our workforce is both our friend and enemy. They must be made subservient. They must be made to fear.
Labor Day is recognition of those who fought the battles and still fight them today on the behalf of all of us. Laws will never be safeguards from greed and corruption. And workers – PEOPLE – HUMANS – YOU AND ME – must remain vigilant no matter what flag or ideology we stand behind.
And on that note, Happy Labor Day!
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- Midnight Carolinas
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