Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy New Year

I'm gonna be out of town until January 3rd, and probably offline the entire time, so the blog will be "dark" till I get back. I wish everyone a joyful and safe New Year's Eve celebration, and a great 2008. See you all back at the next Santa Fe gig in The Lounge at The Palms on Monday, January 7th. Until then, be sure to get out and support our other cats, e.g., Ronnie Foster at The Icehouse (Thursdays), Michito Sanchez and his great Salsero at Southpoint (also Thursdays), Phoenix (NY/NY and Southpoint), and Michael Grimm at various venues.

The blog will soon be a full two years old (as of January 23rd). Interesting to look back to both the January 2006 and January 2007 posts. Making progress. Improvements to come? I'm open to suggestion. For one thing, I'm gonna add routine podcasts in 2008, maybe do stuff like excerpt particularly killer segments of the band's tunes (and tunes by others of note) and do V/O analytical commentaries (in my best baritone FM radio voice, LOL!). Maybe even get some of the cats to come over to my study for interviews. Really just little downloadable "radio" shows.

I have everything I need here; shock-mounted mics and a mixer that I patch straight into GarageBand, a killer app bundled with my iMac. In fact, it comes podcast ready (note, this link runs an embedded QuickTime movie, so you may need the free QuickTime viewer if you don't already have it installed).

Note: my friend Kurt up in Washington said he'd encountered slow blog loading, given all the pics and graphics now commonplace on the blog. One recommendation -- lose that creaking (and chronic security liability) POS Microsoft Internet Explorer browser. It sucks next to browsers such as FireFox or Safari, both of which run on either the Mac or WinDoze OS platforms.


CODA, random stuff...

Below, our son Nick. He lives on a sailboat in a San Diego marina. He came home for Christmas, and went with me to see both of his grandparents.

Below, what does a world-class 13 year old (ranked 43rd in the nation last year in the USTA Boys 12 & under singles) do on Christmas Day at his aunt Michelle's?

My glorious grandson Keenan, LOL! He's playing middle school basketball now, too. He and I have recently gone out to hoopitup together. He's now within an inch of my height (I'm 5'10"). Gwandaddy's "21" supremacy is not long for this world.

Kid is da bomb.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

My wish is for a blessed holiday for all of you


The legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson has just died at the age of 82. When we were in high school in the early 1960's, Cuz Jojo and I were playin' Chuck Berry etc in our little garage band, but listenin' intensely to cats like Oscar Peterson, with his collaborators Ray Brown, Ed Thigpen, and Sonny Stitt.

We sadly have lost a jazz giant with Oscar's passing.


Dubya throws down. Somebody forgot the capo (1st fret). Looks like an A-flat demolished to me.

Below, a little holiday music:

Friday, December 21, 2007

Weekend update

Sweet Louie had always expressed the desired to be remembered as when he was among us -- alive and full of love, and that's how we will keep his memory in our hearts. The funeral services will be Saturday Dec 22nd at 6:00 PM.

Palm Mortuaries & Cemeteries
1325 N Main St, Las Vegas, NV 89101


Thursday night after I took my parents back to the nursing homes from our big family gathering at our house (I'll post a couple of pics and some commentary shortly), we later all went to NY/NY to catch Michael Grimm's last set and stay to listen to Phoenix.

Lenny and Jerry had raved to me about them ("...they're a GREAT band..."), and I'd heard their stunning lead singer Tony Davich sit in with Michael one night recently, so I was utterly confident I would not be disappointed.

Wow. These cats throw down the hard rock! As good as it gets (notwithstanding the subpar sound and lights in that lounge). A-List players all. The chops, the vocals, the energy, the poise, man. Their covers sound better than the originals. Serious Bad Boys, even if their genre ain't really your thing. Cheryl and I really dug them. They have a new CD out, BTW (buy direct via PayPal):

They do Saturday nights in the Fever Showroom at South Point (10:30 pm). I'm gonna have to go and get some shots to post on the blog (and see 'em in the pro A/V stage venue they fully deserve). These are some cats that also warrant our support.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dec 17th gig at The Palms

Got to The Lounge at about 8 p.m. Place was a mess. Boxes lying all around, junk on the floor, no chairs set up. We had to set up the tables and chairs, and we didn't get stage lighting till about 9:50. Thought we might end up in the dark again.

Whatever. Turned out to be a great musical evening.

I was really a bit surprised -- pleasantly so -- at the size of the crowd tonight. We were SRO, packed in shoulder-to shoulder in the back. Wildly enthusiastic crowd, too.

Fat City Horns II continue to coalesce. Most of the charts went down just fine, no trauma tonight.

Dave's new "What'cha Gonna Do With That Greazy Thing?" was at once particularly tight and swampy. "Brother to Brother" was off the hook, as was "Ain't That Peculiar."

Incremental blogging ensuing now. First, I video'd "Si Te Vas" (it is so fine) and it's gonna take 20 minutes just to dump it outa the camera into an AVI file, which I then gotta upload to YouTube if it came out OK. Patience.

While I'm waiting, Jasmine says 'buy the Christmas CD.' It really is awesome. Only ten bucks, plus S/H (cocktail server not included).

Jamie was off tonight, so our Bad Boy bro' Abe LaMarca again stepped up to fill in, coming in from Cleveland to do the gig.

OK, 3:51 a.m., and that "Si Te Vas" movie clip is still uploading to YouTube (after which it has to convert from AVI to their compressed format before it becomes viewable). Gonna post some more stills while I continue wait.

Dave Stambaugh is one serious alto player, man!

Below, my shot of the night, Rochon, with Pepe in the background.

Above, Rudy Regalado sittin' in. Very cool.

It's 4:10 a.m., and that YouTube upload is still in progress. May have to post it tomorrow. I gotta catch some Zzzz's. My sister Carole and all of her kids (including the beloved Zen niece April) are comin' tomorrow. We're all still kinda reeling from what happened back in October. Gonna be a healing visit. Bringing both of my parents from the nursing homes to the house Thursday. That will be very interesting.

4:26, YouTube upload still goin'. Gotta crash.

BTW- we still have no word from The Palms about a 2008 schedule. Remember, no gigs the next two Monday nights. After that, TBA. Stay in touch here and on the band's website for update notices.

TUESDAY UPDATE, 10:51 a.m.

OK, here's Jerry singing "Si Te Vas" as copped in my Fuji still camera. Sorry for the Nausea Cam in places. Trying to do one continuous eight minute shot and not screw it up. I need to go to Auto Zone and Home Depot, buy a couple of shock absorbers and some nuts and bolts and shit, and build some home-brew Rube Goldberg cheapo SteadyCam, LOL!

The audio is cheesy too, sorry, itty-bitty built-in condensor auto-volume mic was probably havin' an embolism.

This is a brilliant song. They're really still learning it. Tentative in a couple of spots. The interlude horn ensemble section has zero room for error, it's so deliberately-on-the-edge-of-dissonant. Hope you dig this clip. Dave Stambaugh on alto, man, wow!

BTW, last week I posted the "Si Te Vas" Spanish lyrics. Wanna do something funny? Google one of those Spanish-to-English online translators, screen-scrape the lyrics off the earlier post (click-drag, Ctrl-C, or Command-C on a Mac), and paste 'em into the translator (Ctrl-V or Command-V). Watch what comes out. LOL!

Monday, December 17, 2007

MOSAIC wins CBS a capella competition

"YOU GUYS SOUND LIKE PROS" - Julie Chen, CBS Early Show

Well, yeah, duh. LOL!

The "Next Great A Cappella Group" Is...
..."Mosaic," Of Nevada; Sextet Wins Early Show Competition; Choice Announced By Boyz II Men

(CBS) A nationwide search by The Early Show for the next great a cappella group led to Nevada, home of a six-member group called "Mosaic."

They won the competition judged in part by Boyz II Men, the best-selling Motown group ever -- and Boyz announced the choice on the show Monday, after the five finalists were introduced Friday.

Mosaic, from Henderson, Nev., has been together for about three years now. Its members lived in Orlando, Fla. and liked to sing. Josh Huslig started the group with different people he'd worked with musically. They found they had the same passion for singing and wanted to change people's perception of a cappella groups.

They try to do a lot of private events, such as weddings and birthdays. And they really want to become the next big group. Word-of-mouth and networking have been very important to them.

"They sound incredible," Nathan Morris of Boyz II Men told co-anchor Julie Chen Monday.

"You could tell they've been doing this together for a long time," Boyz' Shawn Stockman added. ... The longer you're together, the better you sound, because you know each others' voices, and you know the harmonies and things of that nature. You know what everybody is capable of doing, so you're tight."

Huslig called winning "awesome. What an honor!"

Click here for a link to the CBS video clip of MOSAIC. Congratulations, dear friends.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sweet Louie, R.I.P.

Jerry emailed me with this sad news early today.

UPDATE: Andy Ebon posted a nice tribute here.

Somewhere in a box out in the garage I have an old Checkmates black and white 8x10 band shot they autographed up in Seattle back around 1967 when my little band from San Francisco opened for them at a club up there. They were the nicest cats. Rest in peace, brother Louie.


Yep, buried on a shelf in the garage beneath a bunch of other old random stuff.

Dang, I'm gettin' old.


Hello BobbyG,

Gabriel Falcon here. I am sad to inform you that a dear friend of mine, Henry Iglesias, just passed away this past Sat Dec 15 2007 @ around 5 am. My wife Linda & I were fortunate to see him at the Hospital in Valencia, CA this past Thurs & Fri. He was battling cancer, (a brain tumor), and unfortunately lost the battle, but he left a musical legacy for all to enjoy.

He would have been 53 yrs old this Dec 30 2007. I'd known him for about 15yrs, and I had the privilege of recording on most, if not all, of his Recording/Production projects. If you have a chance, and you'd like to learn more about my friend, Henry Iglesias, you may go to his website: or his MySpace page. I'm sure you will be impressed at his resume and accomplishments.

He is survived by his Wife of 6 yrs & 3 children.
Thanks for time Bobby G!

Gabriel S. Falcon

Gabe, I am so sorry.


Dan Fogelberg died this morning. I always loved his stuff, and do a lot of his tunes in my acoustic book. From his website:
Sunday, December 16

Dear friends,

Dan left us this morning at 6:00am. He fought a brave battle with cancer and died peacefully at home in Maine with his wife Jean at his side. His strength, dignity and grace in the face of the daunting challenges of this disease were an inspiration to all who knew him.
More stuff about Dan:
In May 2004, Dan Fogelberg was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. He underwent hormonal therapy and achieved a partial remission, which did not eliminate his cancer, but reduced it and stopped its spread. On August 13, 2005, his 54th birthday, Fogelberg announced the success of his cancer treatments and he thanked fans for their support, but said that he had no immediate plans to return to making music, but was keeping his options open, and enjoying spending time with his wife, musician Jean Fogelberg.

After graduating from Woodruff High School in 1969, he studied theater arts and painting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and began performing as a solo acoustic player in area coffeehouses. There, he was discovered in 1971 by Irving Azoff. Fogelberg and Azoff, who started his music-management career promoting another Illinois act, REO Speedwagon, moved to California to seek their fortunes. Fogelberg became a session musician who played with pop-folk artists like Van Morrison. In 1972, he released his debut album Home Free to lukewarm response. His second effort was much more successful: the 1974 Joe Walsh-produced album Souvenirs and its hit song "Part of the Plan" made him a major star.

Following Souvenirs, Fogelberg released a string of gold and platinum albums Captured Angel in 1975; his masterpiece Nether Lands in 1977 and found commercial success with songs like "The Power of Gold," "The Language of Love," and "Lonely in Love". His 1978 Twin Sons of Different Mothers was the first of two collaborations with jazz flutist Tim Weisberg. 1979's Phoenix was his most successful with "Longer" which became a wedding standard. The Innocent Age, released in October 1981, reached the peak of critical and popular acclaim. The double album "song cycle" included three of his biggest hits: "Leader of the Band," "Hard To Say," and "Same Old Lang Syne," based on a real-life accidental meeting with a former girlfriend. in 1984 he rocked again with Windows And Walls.

Also, I just got word that our brother Adrian Garcia's Mom just passed away. While this was expected (Adrian told me about her condition last Sunday), it is no less sad. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of these people and their loved ones.


Celine Dion concluded her five year stint at Caesars' last night. Next up: Better Midler's "The Showgirl Must Go On," featuring our own Fat City Horns. 7:30 pm, starting Feb 20th. Dark Mondays and Thursdays. Note that in the foregoing show link they give our guys props. Very nice.

Oh, yeah, BTW, the Fat City Horns will be known as Caesars' as "Kiss My Brass" LOL! From her website news:
The legendary sensation has signed on with entertainment promoter AEG Live for a minimum two year deal as the new resident artist at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace starting in February 2008. When asked about her upcoming run in Las Vegas - The Divine Miss M had this to say.

"Get ready Vegas 'cause here I come! Caesars Palace will never be the same and to all those critics who have accused me of being 'tacky,' 'too much' and 'over the top' I say, you ain't seen nuthin' yet!"

The show, which is scheduled to premiere on February 20, 2008, will be the biggest, most imaginative production Bette Midler has ever done. With plenty of girls, gags and guffaws, her incomparable humor, the best song catalogue in American music and her fabulous "Kiss My Brass" section, audiences will be treated to an experience that can only be referred to as "divine".
Oh, yeah!

  • "Making yourself look stupid seems much more human. Making other people look stupid just seems cheap."
  • "I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper."
  • "Communication has changed so rapidly in the last 20 years, it's almost impossible to predict what might occur even in the next decade. E‑mail, which now sends data hurtling across vast distances at the speed of light, has replaced primitive forms of communication such as smoke signals, which sent data hurtling across vast distances at the speed of light."
  • "You know that look women get when they want sex? Me neither."
  • On becoming successful in 'Show Business' - "Be so good they can't ignore you."
LOL. The other night I happened upon a Charlie Rose PBS interview with Steve Martin. Fascinating. I bought his new memoir yesterday at CostCo, brought it home, and read it cover-to-cover in one sitting.

Steve is about six months older than me, and landed in San Francisco / North Beach two years before I did. It was such a flash to read about that time, wow. His book took me back there (I loved living in San Francisco).

Then there's this, (published during his tenure as a New Yorker columnist) which really struck me, in light of what I'm currently dealing with regarding my own parents, and as I look back over my own family history. He goes into this stuff in the book as well.

The Death of My Father
By Steve Martin

In his death, my father, Glenn Vernon Martin, did something he could not do in life. He brought our family together.

After he died, at the age of eighty- three, many of his friends told me how much they loved him--how generous he was, how outgoing, how funny, how caring. I was surprised at these descriptions. I remember him as angry. There was little said to me, that I recall, that was not criticism. During my teen-age years, we hardly spoke except in one-way arguments--from him to me. I am sure that the number of words that passed between us could be counted. At some point in my preteens, I decided to officially "hate" him. When he came into a room, I would wait five minutes, then leave.

But now, when I think of him, five years after his death, I recall events that seem to contradict my memory of him. When I was sixteen, he handed down to me the family's 1957 Chevy. Neither one of us knew at the time that it was the coolest car anyone my age could have. When I was seven or eight, I discovered on Christmas morning a brand-new three-speed bike illuminated by the red, green, and blue of the tree lights in the predawn blackness of Christmas Day. When I was in the third grade, he proudly accompanied me to the school tumbling contest, where I won first prize. One day, while I was in the single digits, he suggested we play catch in the front yard. The offer to spend time together was so anomalous that I didn't quite understand what I was supposed to do.

When I graduated from high school, my father offered to buy me a tuxedo. I refused; he had raised me to reject all aid and assistance, and he detested extravagance. Because my father always shunned gifts, I felt that, in my refusal, I was somehow, in a convoluted, perverse way, being a good son. I wish now that I had let him buy me a tuxedo.

My father sold real estate, but he wanted to be in show business. I must have been five years old when I saw him in a bit part at the Call Board Theatre, on Melrose Place in Hollywood. He came on in the second act and served a drink. Somewhere in our memorabilia is a publicity photo of him staged with the entire family: he is a criminal being taken away by the police, and his five-year-old son, me, surrounded by my mother and sister, is tugging at his shirtsleeve, pleading with him to stay. There was no way to explain to a five-year-old that this was not actually happening. During the war, he was in a U.S.O. performance of "Our Town" in England with Raymond Massey. Later, when I was probably nineteen, he wrote Raymond Massey a letter, reminding Mr. Massey who he was and promoting his son who wanted to be in show business. He never heard back.

Generally, however, my father was critical of my show-business accomplishments. Even after I won an Emmy at twenty-three as a writer for "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," he advised me to finish college so that I'd have something to fall back on. Years later, my friends and I took him to the premiere of my first movie, "The Jerk," and afterward we went to dinner. For a long time, he said nothing. My friends noted his silence and were horrified. Finally, one friend said, "What did you think of Steve in the movie?" And my father said, "Well, he's no Charlie Chaplin."

My father did not believe that he was hurting me. He was just being honest. After my first appearance on "Saturday Night Live," in 1976, he wrote a bad review of me in the newsletter of the Newport Board of Realtors, of which he was the president. Later, he related this news to me slightly shamefacedly, and said that after it appeared his best friend came into his office holding the paper, placed it on his desk, and shook his head sternly, indicating a wordless "No." My father did not understand what I was doing in my work and was slightly embarrassed by it. Perhaps he believed that his friends would be embarrassed by it, too, and the review was his way of refusing to sanction this new comedy.

In the early eighties, a close friend of mine, whose own father was killed crossing a street, and whose mother committed suicide on Mother's Day, told me that if I had anything to work out with my parents I should do it now, because one day they wouldn't be there anymore. I had no idea that there was anything to work out. But after the remark had stewed in my brain for years, I decided to try to get to know my parents. I took them to lunch every Sunday that I could, and goaded them into talking. My father was cantankerous, and usually, when my mother said anything, he would contradict her; then she would contradict him; and soon the conversation would disintegrate into silence, with my mother afraid to speak and my father angry. This went on for years, until finally I struck upon the idea of taking them out separately. This resulted in the telling of wonderful histories, of interest only to me and my sister Melinda. My mother's recollections could finally be aired without fear of an explosion from my father, and my father could remain calm in the telling of his stories without the presence of my mother, who seemed mostly to annoy him.

Around this time, my sister told me she wanted to make a determined effort to "get to know my brother." I accepted this casually, but found, as we began swapping stories, that we were united by our view of a peculiar family portrait. Until then, we had seldom seen each other. My sister was four years older, which meant that we had always been in separate schools when we were children and never saw each other during the day. In the early eighties, my father began having heart attacks (three) and strokes (many), and my sister and I began to see more and more of each other. It took me thirty-five years to understand that all siblings separated by four years are not necessarily uncommunicative.

My father then had a quadruple-bypass operation. I remember the two of us together, during one of my Sunday lunches at a restaurant, as he held the menu in one hand and his newly prescribed list of dietary restrictions in the other. He glanced back and forth between the standard restaurant fare on his left and the healthy suggestions on his right, looked up at the waiter, and said resignedly, "Oh, I'll just have the fettuccine Alfredo."

It was our routine that after our lunches my mother and father, now in their eighties, would walk me to the car. I would kiss my mother on the cheek, and my father and I would wave or awkwardly say goodbye. But one time we hugged each other and he whispered, "I love you," with a voice that was barely audible. This was the first time these words were ever spoken between us. I returned the phrase with the same awkward, broken delivery. Several days later, I wrote him a letter that began, "I heard what you said . . ."

But as my father ailed he grew even more irritable. He made unreasonable demands, such as waking his twenty-four-hour nurse at three in the morning and insisting that she take him for a drive. He also became heartrendingly emotional. He might be in the middle of a story and begin to laugh, which then provoked sudden tears, and he would be unable to continue. These poignant moments became more frequent. Sometimes his eyes filled for no reason at all, and he would look down to hide his face.

We convinced him that he should visit a shrink, even though therapy did not fit his definition of manhood--fashioned in Texas, during the Depression. The therapist was a callow young man, a recent graduate. My father and I went together on one visit and talked out a few things in an emotionally charged hour, and I still regret how much we said in front of this stranger. My mother, also Texas born, and raised by a strict Baptist mother--no dancing, no card playing--was enlisted to visit the shrink, too, in the hope of shedding some light on their relationship. I waited outside, and when she came out I said, "How was it?" She said, "Well, I didn't say anything bad."

In my youth, my father stubbornly resisted and criticized anything new, from rock and roll to flower power (how right he was!), but as he aged I sensed in him a willingness to try new things, even though he indignantly rejected egg-white omelettes and green salads to the very end. Once, a male nurse produced a bag of pot, and I, having heard of its analgesic qualities for cancer patients, suggested that my father try some--which he did, willingly. He took several hits. Eventually, his eyes glazed over and his leg stopped shaking. He looked around the room with dilated pupils and said, "I don't feel anything."

There must be an instinct about when the end is near, and one day in May, 1997, we all found ourselves gathered at my parents' home, in Orange County, California. I walked into the house they had lived in for thirty-five years, and my weeping sister said, "He's saying goodbye to everyone." A hospice nurse said to me, "This is when it all happens." I didn't know what she meant, but I soon would.

I walked into the bedroom where he lay, his mind alert but his body failing. He said, almost buoyantly, "I'm ready now." I understood that his intensifying rage of the last few years had been against death, and now his resistance was abating. I stood at the end of the bed, and we looked into each other's eyes for a long, unbroken time. At last he said, "You did everything I wanted to do."

I said, "I did it because of you." It was the truth. Looking back, I'm sure that we both had different interpretations of what I meant.

I sat on the edge of the bed. Another silence fell over us. Then he said, "I wish I could cry, I wish I could cry."

At first, I took this as a comment on his plight but am forever thankful that I pushed on. "What do you want to cry about?" I finally said.

"For all the love I received and couldn't return."

He had kept this secret, his desire to love his family, from me and from my mother his whole life. It was as though an early misstep had kept us forever out of stride. Now, two days from his death, our pace was aligning, and we were able to speak.

I sometimes think of our relationship graphically, as a bell curve. In my infancy, we were perfectly close. Then the gap widened to accommodate our differences and indifference. In the final days of his life, we again became perfectly close.

My father's death has a thousand endings. I continue to absorb its messages and meanings. He stripped death of its spooky morbidity and made it tangible and passionate. He prepared me in some way for my own death. He showed me the responsibility of the living to the dying. But the most enduring thought was expressed by my sister. Afterward, she told me she had learned something from all this. I asked her what it was. She said, "Nobody should have to die alone."

- From The New Yorker, June 17, 2002.

Cat plays some serious banjo, too. Has a Grammy for banjo, no less (collaboration with Earl Scruggs).

Nice website here about his life and work, The Compleat Steve.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

December 13th update

No cover no minimum. Nice venue. Great band. Check it out.


An old friend just sent me this:

My wife Cheryl sent me an immediate response:

These men have just finished concreting solid steel posts into place to stop vehicles from parking on the sidewalk outside a downtown sports bar. They are cleaning up at the end of the day. How long do you think it will be before they realize where their vehicle is parked?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Monday Dec 10th gig at The Palms

Above: that was the shot of the night for me. Yeah, man. Love it when I nail a keeper. Gonna post incrementally here as I sift through the iPhoto upload from the camera, getting a bit of a late start.

Fat City Horns II are beginning to jell. It's gotta be stressful, the expectation is so high, and those chart are so difficult.

The band again did the two very newest originals, "What'cha Gonna Do With That Greazy Thing?" and the simply stunning "Si Te Vas." Jerry left the whole room speechless with his vocal. I know peeps gotta be thinkin' "why is this cat not headlining?"

Soon. Jerry and all of the cats.

Quisiera ser tu TODO...
Quisiera ser tu SIEMPRE,
Quisiera ser tu MUNDO

Quisiera ser PERENNE.

Sin mas razon,
te alejas de mi
vida y el dolo,
me abraza
Sabes bien,
tu presencia vista mi
alma, de felicidad.

Pero si te vas,
Mi sol no emanara

Pero si te vas,
Las nada querada

Y si tu te vas,
Mi burlara el destino

Aborrecere al vacio

Entre menira y verdad.,
existire, te vas

No pude ver tu rumbo,
Y me quede desnudo

Un Corazon vacio
Suenos de ayer, perdidos
entre las calles
Mientras la solodad,
me a braza
Y sabes bien,
tu presencia viste
mi alma, te NECESITO...

Pero si te vas,
Mi sol no emanara

Pero si te vas,
Las nada querada

Y si tu te vas,
Mi burlara el destino

Aborrecere al vacio
Entre menira y verdad, existire, te vas.

Just beautiful, man. Awesome song, stunningly rendered.

Rochon was all over it tonight. Those solos defy the laws of biophyiscs.

Below, Johnny Johnson in action. Cat can flat-ass play the guitar, and is all over the funky vocals.

Couple shots of Miguel on tenor. Seems like he's getting more comfortable with the gig.

Below during intermission, Jerry with some folks from Westin Presidio, a big bay area venture capital firm. That's Managing Partner Michael Lazarus on the right (Jerry's left) and Applebee's head Greg Flynn on the photo right. Very nice people.

More pics from the gig below. Tonight was not my best behind the lense overall. Still messing with higher ISO settings combined with various functional priority settings. Lotta "grain" in some of these.

And, of course, Dave Stambaugh got called up front to do the obligatory Fat City Horns Initiation Dance. No problem, he threw down nicely, LOL!

Please check out my prior post about the Deep Rock Drive streaming web concert thing. Consider signing up and doing a "vote" for Santa Fe. I'm still reviewing all of their legalese fine print, but thus far everything looks pretty reasonable.

And, please buy some copies of Dave and Lenny's Christmas CD. It'll put you in the Holiday spirit in a whole new way.

'Nuther note: Our little bro' Santa Fe alum Michael Grimm will be back at Home Plate this Wednesday and then back at the Big Apple Bar in NY/NY starting Saturday. Also, Boy Katindig, about whom I blogged in my prior post, will be at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve Winter Lights Festival this week on the 14th, 15th, and 16th from 6 to 9 pm.

It's 10 till 5 am. Fixin' to crash. 'night, y'all.


A public service wherein the radical centrist BobbyG follows ongoing political developments so you won't have to.

These cats, LOL!


Interesting article in the L.A. Times today:
THE BIG PICTURE: In the strike, the studios are playing to win
While attention is focused on the writers strike, a bigger confrontation with the actors guild looms down the road.
By Patrick Goldstein
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

December 11, 2007

DESPITE what they say about global warming, it's going to be a long, cold winter for the writers of Hollywood. The studios pretty much made it official Friday, when they walked away from the negotiating table after giving the Writers Guild an abrupt "put up or shut up" ultimatum. Considering that the studios were asking the writers to give up much of their core Internet residuals proposal, there was little left to negotiate.

The studios' message was obvious: They're going to play hardball. Believing they have comparatively little to lose by letting the strike drag on, the studios will try to weaken the guild by letting writers spend Christmas out of work while studio operatives sow seeds of discord among the membership, hoping to persuade some high-profile writers to cross the line and go back to work.

This puts all of Hollywood on the road to perdition. That still leaves the real unanswered question: Why have the studios walked away from the negotiating table? Although it seemed hard to believe at first, the evidence is overwhelming that they never had any serious intention of making a fair deal, at least the kind of deal that, as Lew Wasserman might have put it, would've allowed both sides to come away declaring victory. There is clearly a powerful studio faction that believes that giving residuals to the writers was a fundamental mistake. Since it's impossible to put that genie back into the bottle -- not that the studios didn't try -- the next best thing would be to put a tight lid on any new media revenue streams, since they will someday become the studio's biggest new source of profit.

The studios' behavior appears shortsighted unless you look at the negotiations in a broader light. While attention is focused on the writers strike, a bigger confrontation looms down the road. No one expects that the studios will have much of a problem settling with the Directors Guild of America, whose contract is up June 30, 2008. But the Screen Actors Guild, whose contract is also up that day, is another matter.

The largest union, with 120,000 members, SAG also has a relatively new president, Alan Rosenberg, who came to power after promising a much more aggressive stance about new media revenues. For the first time, SAG also brought in an outsider, former NFL Players Assn. executive Doug Allen, to be its executive director, another sign that the guild is preparing for a hard-nosed negotiation.

The studios don't want to make any concessions to the Writers Guild of America that would set a precedent for the SAG negotiations. In fact, many insiders believe the studios are trying to crush the writers as a way of signaling to SAG members that they can expect similar treatment if they don't soften their negotiating stance.

The studios have little to lose by stonewalling, since it's all too clear that they can win any prolonged strike. Their pockets are too deep, their weaponry too strong. But at what cost? Even many studio supporters admit that squashing the WGA after a prolonged strike would be something of a pyrrhic victory. If network TV turns into a 24-hour reality TV and game show channel, it will simply accelerate the trend of young viewers deserting the tube for the Internet.

For the writers, their best defense now is a good offense. As I've argued before, their future lies in becoming more entrepreneurial. This would also be good strategy for future strike negotiations. With the studios stuck churning out reality sludge, the barriers for entry for an outsider are lower than ever. What's to stop Google, Yahoo or Mark Cuban from striking a deal with a top TV show runner who has a proven ability to create characters and stories that would bring eyeballs to the Internet?

I suspect the guild is already in the process of setting up interim deals that would allow writers to work with companies not represented by the studios. It would be a way to show the WGA rank and file that other opportunities exist outside of the traditional studio model while sending a message to the other side that, when it comes to negotiating, the guild has other arrows in its quiver.

And speaking of arrows, the studios last week hired Mark Fabiani and Chris Lehane, former aides and advisors to Bill Clinton and Al Gore with reputations for canny damage control and bare-knuckled attacks on political adversaries.

It is widely believed that the new consultants had a hand in a recent studio proposal designed to portray the studios as willing negotiators. Although it offered precious few concessions, it was labeled a "new economic partnership," which brings to mind the time the Bush administration described a pro-logging proposal as a "healthy forests initiative." Nonetheless, the studios flogged it as a big step forward, claiming it would increase the average working writer's salary to $230,000 a year.

The proposal doesn't mention anything about the average nonworking writer, who, as it happens, is on strike too. If you include all writers, the plump $230,000 figure ends up being roughly a quarter of that. The new consultants also clearly had a hand in the studios' Friday statement about the collapse of the talks, a statement that many in the guild leadership view as a "red-baiting" style campaign designed to divide the guild -- and chip away at its public support -- by branding the leadership as radicals.

It's a fascinating statement, not for what it says, but for the language it uses, which would bring a blush even to the face of wily GOP rhetorician Frank Luntz, the man the WGA should hire if it really wants to win a PR battle with the studios. A new word that pops up in the document is "ideology," as in "the WGA organizers are on an ideological mission far removed from the interests of their members."

The document also criticizes the guild's "radical demands" and repeatedly refers to the WGA leadership not as negotiators but as "organizers," another sign that the studios are attempting to brand them as militant apparatchiks. That would be in keeping with the traditional tactics of the studio's new hired guns, it being Lehane, who, as Gore's campaign spokesman, once compared a Florida secretary of state to a "Soviet commissar" during the 2000 election uproar.

The statement also charges that guild leaders have "never concluded one industry accord," implying that they are clueless outside agitators. It has a nice ring to it until you realize that the single most successful labor negotiator of modern times, baseball players union leader Marvin Miller, had never done a baseball deal either when he came to the game. He'd been an economist with the United Steelworkers.

From where I sit, it was telling that the labor talks collapsed just days after the Baseball Hall of Fame revisited its own divisive labor history, electing former Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, a die-hard opponent of free agency, while once again overlooking Miller.

Like today's studio bosses, Kuhn had become so beholden to the old rules of the game that he was paralyzed by a fear of the future, convinced that allowing players to become free agents would destroy the sport. Of course, he was wrong. Baseball franchises are more lucrative than ever. But that distrust of the future is at the core of this labor dispute too. The studios have assembled a comfortable business model, one so comfortable that they are loathe to tinker with it.

Kuhn once warned that if the players gained free agency, the game wouldn't survive unless "we find oil under second base." Hollywood is different. In an era when show business is the secular religion of America, there's oil under every studio in town. If the studios aren't willing to share some of that black gold, the writers should do what any good entrepreneur would -- start digging for themselves.
Complex issue. Lotta people wanting a slice of the "new media" pie. Musicians have known about this for years.


Been a while since I mused on my various ongoing readings. I get feedback from some blog readers that they dig it. So...

I finally managed a while back to finish up Steve Coll's lengthy and detailed "Ghost Wars." No wonder these cats are givin' us such a bad time over there. We (our CIA) trained 'em, duh -- to fight the Soviets back during the Reagan era. Apt pupils, they have been. Now they hate us equally, and are not the least bit impressed by our 400 billion dollar annual military bluster.

One of my long-treasured books in my library is the 1971 "Einstein, The Life and Times" by Ronald C. Clark. I bought it in hardcover when it first came out. When this new bio came out by Walter Isaacson this year, I bought it right away as well. Lots of new stuff emergent from his estate papers. Man, the cat was more than just a bit of an ass as a young man. Got himself crosswise of all kinds of authority figures in academia early on, to the point where he almost couldn't get a job (or his Doctorate). Sort of a Bill Gates / Mark Cuban of his day, in terms of "not suffering fools gladly" in light of his stratospheric intellect. And, his personal life was a danged mess.