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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Guide NEWS for the Weekend and Beyond. March 26, 2016...

This is Guide Blogspot edition no. 1,530.

A fun live web show, Saturday afternoon, is in here for you. There's a harmonica festival, too. The rest of our picks for Southern Cal's weekend concerts are in Thursday's edition, but don't run off yet. It's not going anywhere.

TODAY, we bring you the latest music & arts news — including one SPECIAL FEATURE story that examines what happens when show biz collides with civil rights discrimination (hint: billions of lost dollars).


In this edition:



a special major feature in the Guide





8) HEAAAVY, DUDE. UMM, DEPENDS WHERE YOU FALL OFF THAT LOG — the Guide goes science geek

Let's get started!


# 1 news feature...


√ Annual Spring "HARP FEST" is Sat, Mar 26, 10 am-7 pm at Harry Griffen Park in La Mesa (N San Diego Co.) This festival promotes Blues Harmonica and is said to be "A great event for the entire family."

(This weekend's concert picks are in Thursday's edition.)


# 2 news feature...


From time to time, and for years, we've talked about the long-running "Acoustic Harmony" radio show hosted by Mark Michaelis from the Green Mountains of Vermont on WGDR and WGDH with a web simulcast.

Mark wrote to tell us, "I wanted to let you know about some great live music coming up on today's edition of 'Acoustic Harmony.' Central Vermont's fabulous folk artists Patti Casey and Colin McCaffrey will be my guests Saturday afternoon (3/26) on WGDR / WGDH. Patti and Colin are well known throughout Vermont and beyond, and both are wonderful singer-songwriters, regularly playing in a variety of projects with other Vermont artists."

The Guide assures you, the live concert sound is great, Mark's conversation with his guests is always interesting, and you'll really enjoy this.

Catch it live online at 2 pm PDT, Saturday, at:

Mark adds, "If you can't listen in live today, there's always the WGDR air schedule archive, where you can stream any program for up to 2 weeks after its original air date. You can find the on demand stream here:

Mark has more live music coming up on "Acoustic Harmony" with the duos Quiles & Cloud and Cricket Blue, both confirmed for guest appearances in the upcoming month.

More on the show and upcoming guests at


# 3 news feature...


For North Carolina and Georgia, it's clear: embrace civil rights discrimination and lose billions — that's the cost of gratifying ideological "absolutists"

By Larry Wines

The arts — from guitar-slinging folksinger to biggest of the big production companies — are very much in the center of this. We'll untangle what's complicated.

Thursday, North Carolina enacted a law that doesn't simply discriminate against LGBT persons. The new law, House Bill 2, endangers the safety of LGBT individuals, and maybe their lives. Thing is, it's so subtle that it's insidious, because things look simple enough: all persons must use the public restroom corresponding to the sex recorded on their birth certificates. Yet that's anything but simple.

From Matthew Sheppard, the young gay man found crucified and murdered on a Wyoming barbed-wire fence, to dozens of hate crimes every year in America's cities and small towns, America's LGBT citizens are at risk. The new North Carolina law is being compared to Jim Crow-era regimentation, wherein black citizens were forced to use "the correct" restroom — and every other specified public facility — or risk arrest, beating, lynching, or any combination of possibly deadly abrogation of their civil rights.

North Carolina's new anti-LGBT law has plenty of critics, all agreeing that it is the most sweeping in the nation. And every aspect of it fails the smell test.

First, there was a specially-called Wednesday legislative session in Raleigh, the state capital, to facilitate the bill's speedy passage by the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

Second, it came about as the most reactionary kind of response to a city ordinance in Charlotte, one of the state's most important cities for global commerce. The ordinance guaranteed no restriction on use of public restrooms by transgender individuals. It broadened Charlotte's prior city ordinances specifically including LGBT persons in civil rights protections. But conservatives in the rest of the state rushed to show Charlotte it couldn't get away with somethin' like that. The result was House Bill 2.

It took no time for North Carolina to immediately lose business with cancellation of conventions and removal of North Carolina from lists of states under consideration to host a vast variety of events. Europe prominently featured the story, just after the latest on the Belgian bombings, in its newscasts.

In Charlotte, a campaign was launched to hand-deliver restroom door signs to any business that wants them. The signs, designed to symbolically sabotage the new state law, read, "Non Gender Designated Restroom."

A Thursday evening protest in Raleigh — known as a Southern city with an active arts scene and a prominent gay community — began with an open-air performance by iconic local singer-songwriter Kat Williams. Williams was recently un-invited to play a festival where a sponsor is the Catholic archdiocese, ostensibly because she has been married to a woman. While the demonstration drew a modest crowd — between 250 and 300 people — it happened after the bill's nearly clandestine sudden passage. The local NAACP took part, and has steadfastly supported equality for LGBT individuals.

Taking Stock: a "Come to Jesus Moment"

If we are honest as a society, we must recognize that we live in rapidly changing times where awkwardness and confusion are to be expected. But that doesn't allow room for forgetting the hard-won struggle for civil rights, or selectively applying protections of anti-discrimination to some, but not to all.

We are on the cusp of a regressive trend. Because it isn't just North Carolina or what's heard from overt racists and bigots of all sorts in the crowd at Donald Trump rallies. There's a far broader bill sitting on the governor's desk in Georgia. And other states with repressive urges — where evangelical voters comprise politically sizeable blocks — are watching both these states to see what happens.

The Christian admonition to "Love one another" does not apply in practice to evangelical advocacy for laws to clamp-down what's allowed out there in their vision of the real 'Murica. And with the US Supreme Court in a limbo of eight-member-tie territory, possibly for two calendar years or more, a lot of civil rights matters presumed settled for decades could begin to come unraveled.

Politics, Money, Sport

Contrary to Citizens United and the Koch Brothers billions, money isn't always attracted to politics. Sometimes politics drives money away.

In fact, for a state adopting a discriminatory law, the wheels can come off their economy. Thursday's passage of the North Carolina law brought prompt action from both college and professional basketball. Both sports organizations have reopened consideration of host sites for events worth millions. For the NCAA, it's a full series of 2017 and 2018 championship games currently scheduled there. The NBA may move next year's All-Star Game out of the state.

Even more pro and college sports leagues are poised to flee Georgia, should a much farther reaching law pass there. It would give special legal protections to anyone engaging in discrimination against another persons' civil rights. They could neither be charged nor sued for damages for discrimination.

Marching Out of Georgia: Goodbye, Show Biz

For the past two decades, Hollywood has found Georgia just peachy. In 2015 alone, a record 158 runaway productions, film and tv, went there. The business is becoming entrenched. Leaving Georgia would cost Hollywood millions. But the South's old specter — civil rights discrimination — has resurfaced in its new form, and is imminently on the verge of being signed into law. If that happens, Hollywood invokes an industry-wide boycott.

The film and tv studios and production companies have a love affair with the state and its locations and ever-growing production infrastructure. That's because state laws in Georgia grant lucrative tax credits and more direct financial benefits than any other state. And it's a region where various businesses, industries, and large numbers of retirees settle because many costs are already lower.

Of course, Hollywood's location spending is worth more than the millions it gains in savings and subsidies. Georgia's economy gained $6 billion in 2015 alone, according to the state's own published figures.

The state has even seen a flurry of development of huge sound stages and vast backlots, complete with manicured forests and rivers and streams with controlled flows. An entire closed army base is in the process of being transformed into a fully-equipped studio facility.

But all of it can end with the stroke of a pen.

Georgia's pending law, protecting anyone who discriminates against LGBT persons, has reached the desk of Governor Nathan Deal. Now it's up to him to sign or veto it.

Hollywood wasn't prepared to stand-up for principle before, gleefully embracing financial savings from Georgia's ban on accepting established union contracts. That state, under that old misleading banner of "right-to-work laws," effectively bans unions — and with them, the wages, health and pension benefits that unions have won for workers.

But now, essentially all of Hollywood has found its soul, declaring it will invoke a total boycott on working in Georgia if the law is signed that allows discrimination.

For Governor Deal, it's the will of the most ideological "absolutist" of his state's voters vs. billions of dollars in damage to an economy for which he is responsible. There's already buzz in business circles that convention and large-scale conference business would go elsewhere. The NFL has also indicated it will not consider Georgia to host a Superbowl if the governor signs the law.

Gov. Deal doesn't need to look far to see how these things produce push-back. In North Carolina, the largest corporations with a major presence in the state have rushed to condemn the new law there.

A growing number of music stars are signing a pledge not to perform in North Carolina, and similarly, not to play in Georgia if the discrimination law is adopted there.

More, specific to the Georgia situation, with some sobering financials, is explored today in a piece at Indiewire.


# 4 news feature...


Always a spring highlight, the 26th annual "Bob Dylanfest," returns to the Torrance Cultural Arts Center, outside at the Torino Plaza, on May 1. The festival runs noon to 8 pm. Produced by and featuring the splendid ANDY HILL & RENEE SAFIER, award-winning singer-songwriters, and their award-winning Dylan tribute band, HARD RAIN, the event is characterized by the on-stage performances and tuneful interactions of a great many musical guests,

Some 65 iconic Bob Dylan-composed songs will be performed by more than 70 musicians in various combinations of the duo's band, Hard Rain, and dozens of other musicians. Sometimes you'll hear artfully original arrangements. Often, there's a full horn section. Sometimes things are fully acoustic, sometimes delivered with electric guitars. You get masterfully played keyboards. The selections include interpretations of material that cover a broad spectrum of Dylan's musical styles. Nearly everything arrives with instantly recognizable opening notes. You smile a lot at this festival.

A real signature of Dylanfest is that the music flows — with no songs repeated — so if you arrive late and miss one of your favorites, you'll have to wait 'til next year.

Together with Hill and Safier and Hard Rain, performers this year include Marty Rifkin, who has toured with Bruce Springsteen and is a top L.A. session musician. Somehow, with his global touring schedule, he has made room to play Dylanfest many times through the years. Rifkin is among more than 70 accomplished musicians performing some of America's most loved songs written by the legendary Dylan.

Some audience members attend in costumes that represent themes or characters in the songs. There are great visuals and opportunities to join-in with "Tangled Up in Blue," "Just Like a Woman," "Like a Rolling Stone," and more, or you can start a new tradition.

This one-day outdoor festival has become a must-attend event for fans from throughout Southern California and beyond. The photo gallery displayed inside represents every previous year, and proves the point (yes, you can hang-out inside, if the sun is too much for you or your little kids).

The family-friendly celebration includes a free souvenir program. T-shirts, CDs, DVDs and other memorabilia are available for purchase at the show. Acclaimed chef Michael Shafer of the popular restaurants The Depot and Buffalo Fire Department purveys casual food and beverages. (No outside food or drinks are allowed.)

Each ticket holder is eligible for raffle prizes. Things run well because much of this is ingrained tradition. What began as a small backyard party, with talented Bob Dylan fans taking turns performing his music, has evolved into an eight-hour festival attended by hundreds and featuring some of the L.A. area’s top musician — some of them marking their own 26th appearance.

Dylanfest's host band is first-rate. In 2005, Renee Safier, showcasing her prodigious blues and jazz vocal chops, won the Telluride Blues Festival Acoustic Blues Competition, receiving a rousing response from the 12,000-plus festival crowd. Together, Andy and Renee and Hard Rain have taken their polished sound and vocal and multi-instrumental skills to venues large and small all over the world: they were headliners at the "Bob Dylan 60th Birthday Festival" in Alba, Italy along with Michelle Shocked, Bruce Forbert, and long-time Dylan sideman Bucky Baxter. They've played the Kerrville and Napa Valley Folk Festivals, Sierra Songwriter's Festival. Their PBS Concert Special won a Regional Emmy. Titled, “Andy & Renee-Live at The Boulder Black Box,” it was recorded at the University of Colorado, and it will be available on DVD at the festival.

The duo and their band have played top Southern California venues. Highlights include the House of Blues and the El Rey Theatre in Hollywood, The Grand Annex, Coffee Gallery Backstage, and the Hermosa Beach Civic Center.

Their fourteen independent CD releases have won numerous awards, including the Los Angeles Music Awards "Americana Group of the Year." They won Best Duo/Group at the International Acoustic Music Awards, "Top-40 CDs of the Year. They were semi-finalists in the 2011 ISC International Song Competition (competing among more than 16,000 entries from 37 different countries), and were runner-up for best folk act at the Crossroads Music Awards. In addition, they've been named two years in a row in Musician Magazine’s “Best Unsigned Band” Semifinals.

Andy & Renee’s CD, “It Takes A Lot To Laugh", is a musical tribute to Bob Dylan that has earned them "4-out-of-4 stars" from many Dylan websites. A cut from that CD was featured on the BMG international release "May Your Song Always Be Sung, Vol. 3."

In addition to their skills with Dylan's music, Andy & Renee were featured on the International Hemifran release, "Music Is Love," a tribute to the music of CSNY. That album also features cuts from Judy Collins, Carrie Rodriguez, Venice, and Karla Bonoff.

Find highlights from DylanFest performances on YouTube, at:

Tickets for this year's Dylanfest are $30 online / $35 at the door for adults. Children's tickets (under age 14) are $10. VIP tickets are $100 and come with lots of goodies, including the entry fee, event T-shirt, the 2015 Dylanfest highlight CD, the post-Dylanfest VIP Party, your own lil' musical instrument Dylanfest Shaker Egg, a VIP Hanging to wear , and more.

Tix and info are available by phone at 310-346-9383. Buy tix online at: www.andyandrenee. com.

For more info, contact Andy Hill at or Renee Safier at

Dylanfest happens May 1, 2016, on the Torino Plaza at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center, 3330 Civic Center Dr, Torrance, CA. There is plenty of free parking, and the lot accommodates motor homes for those coming-in from far away.


# 5 news feature...


The 2015 movie "Concussion" and Will Smith's outstanding performance in it both may have been suppressed and ignored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Despite the clearly told true story of the consistent efforts of a big-money sport to suppress science that was trying to save lives, there were no Oscar nominations.

But public interest in the film's disturbing subject was aroused. Media attention keeps disclosing more, in what looks to be an NFL conspiracy to cover-up what it knew.

"More than 100 diagnosed concussions left out of NFL studies, per report NFL," read a headline in the New York Times this week. It represented a bombshell.

In studies conducted from 1996 through 2001, the NFL omitted concussion cases even as it downplayed the effects of head injuries on players, according to the New York Times.

Based on confidential documents The Times obtained, more than 100 diagnosed concussions were left out of the League's studies. Shockingly, star quarterbacks, including Steve Young and Troy Aikman, were among the players who suffered concussions but were not counted. A total of zero concussions involving Dallas Cowboys players were documented in NFL research during that entire six season period.

The research, published in 13 peer-reviewed articles beginning in October 2003, was supposed to be based on a full account, a compilation of all diagnosed concussions that each team's doctors had reported between 1996 and 2001. But the missing concussions accounted for about 10 percent of the total number of cases, according to The Times.

Dr. Robert Cantu, one of the peer reviewers who, at the time, criticized the committee's analyses, told The Times, "It should be an unmistakable red flag that a team does not report any concussions over multiple years."

ESPN made its own damning additions that pile-on in their reporting of the latest NY Times report. It's available at:


# 6 news feature...


The Skirball Cultural Center, that lovely museum and arts complex off the 405 atop Sepulveda Pass on the SFV side, is checking-in with us early, because they have music in April. They're including first word of their "Family Amphitheater Performances" that don't start 'til late June, and the 20th season of their free "Sunset Concerts" that aren't 'til late July. But you'll miss plenty if you ignore 'em until then.

Most events at the Skirball are included with museum admission; some evening performances are free, others require advance ticket purchase; there's free on-site parking, and street parking is strictly prohibited over a wide area.

Here's what's coming up.

• ARITMIA, on April 3. The Jewish Music Commission of Los Angeles and Valley Beth Shalom present ARITMIA, the ensemble of Merima Kljuço, world-renowned concert accordionist, and famed guitarist Miroslav Tadić. The Skirball tells us, "This new project is a perfect vehicle for their compositions, arrangements, and improvisations."

• ESTER RADA on April 28; Early-bird tickets available through April 14. Israeli-born singer-songwriter Ester Rada takes the stage with a sound that effortlessly blends the power of American soul with the musical traditions of her Ethiopian heritage and Israeli upbringing. Compared to songstresses ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to Erykah Badu, Rada brings a new voice to contemporary soul that has undeniable global appeal.

• CLASSICAL CLASS: "The Golden Age of Opera: Nineteenth-Century Europe—The Middle Years (1840–1870)." Runs Wednesdays, May 18–June 22. In this class, explore opera’s romantic period during three decades of intense change. With the social upheavals of unification in full sway, new national identities emerged and, amidst the chaos, the literary and performing arts produced some of the world’s most lasting treasures. Register now, it'll fill-up early.

• "Make Music Los Angeles" happens citywide and beyond on June 21, FREE everywhere, and the Skirball is joining-in for its first time as a venue. They're enthusiastic about it, saying, "Dance, sing, and jam along at the Skirball's first annual Make Music Day! Enjoy art making and interactive musical performances from Las Colibrí, Motherland Music, Gary Allegretto, and Yale Strom." All ages and musical experience levels welcome.

• "Family Amphitheater Performances" return with this year's theme, "The Sounds of Our City." They run Saturdays and Sundays, June 25–September 4. The same artists play twice each day, but it's different acts each day, all included with museum admission and free to Skirball members. This summer, the Skirball’s family amphitheater series honors the diverse cultural communities of Los Angeles through the eclectic sounds of our city — from son jarocho to indie rock to Yiddish folk tunes. First up are the ever-popular Buyepongo followed by the award-winning ensemble Mariachi Tesoro de San Fernando.

• "Into the Night," July 8, is a "late-night party featuring indie bands, DJ sets, exhibitions, signature cocktails, and more."

• "Sunset Concerts 2016," runs Thursdays, July 21–August 25, and is completely FREE. "World music" fans can celebrate the 20th season of the "Sunset Concerts" series in the Skirball's spectacular yet intimate central courtyard. We don't know if they'll throw the dog a bone this year and include any Folk-Americana or Canadiana.

√ Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N Sepulveda Bl, Los Angeles 90049; ; 310-440-4500.

More details are promised soon at:


# 7 news feature...


Wow. It's called "Democracy Awakening," and it features a "Congress of Conscious." Which already sounds like it'll bring two things to Washington, D.C., April 16 –18, that have been in short supply there for a while.

Musicians who have signed-on include SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK.

Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, says, "Democracy Awakening will be a historic event that will send an unapologetic message to Congress: there is a political price to pay for standing in the way of an inclusive democracy."

She continues, "I am more and more proud to be a part of Democracy Awakening. I am truly humbled by the opportunity to take the stage alongside stellar performers like Sweet Honey in the Rock and speakers like the longtime rabble-rouser Jim Hightower.

"But what is even more exciting is the opportunity to mobilize alongside Americans across the country who share a commitment to justice and a firm belief that we can do better. Now is the time to begin building a truly representative government. But it’s going to take commitment."

Now that sounds hopeful. Positive. Good thing all around. Makes you want to go, even.

Except that part of the agenda — hopefully an optional part — includes deliberately getting arrested. And now you see the '60s part.

Leonard explains, "The stakes have never been higher; we must stand up to corporate interests like Shell and Exxon holding our democracy hostage, widespread voter suppression targeting communities of color, and leaders in Congress blocking the fair consideration of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. In moments like these, we have to give it everything we’ve got. Lock in your plans for the Democracy Awakening action and help us shape a system that works for everyone — not just the wealthy elite."

Thousands from across America have signed-up to go. Greenpeace director Leonard says, "Hundreds will risk arrest in peaceful direct action with the Democracy Awakening on Monday April 18th – I’ll be one of them!"

It's an organized effort. You can reserve transportation to D.C. to attend the mobilization, whether or not you want to sign-on to get arrested.

Check-out the program and all the musicians, and see what's planned for April 16-18 in the streets of Washington, D.C.

Get all the info at:


# 8 news feature...


the Guide goes science geek

Gravity. We take it for granted, sometimes to our detriment. Like when we when we try that Acapulco cliff dive after forgeting about the accelleration constant of 32 feet per second per second. Oops. Still, it seems pretty regular. Seems. A fly ball to deep center field. That tennis ball that just clears the net. Frisbee at the beach. Your guitar that really wasn't leaning against that chair all that well (ouch).

'Purt near everybody accepted that a heavy hammer and an eagle's feather, both dropped from the same height, would hit the ground at the same time if it weren't for air resistance. An Apollo astronaut actually proved it on the Moon.

So, anybody suggesting that gravity could be stronger in some places, and weaker in others? It just sounded crazy, at least counter-intuitive. And until recently, there was no real way to find out.

But in spite of a congress that does its best to starve what little is left of our space program, science is resilient enough to keep learning things.

A new map showing places where gravity is, uh, different, has been made with three NASA spacecraft over a period of years. It shows variable gravity — on Mars.

It's the most detailed thing of its kind to date, providing a revealing glimpse into the hidden interior of the Red Planet.

"Gravity maps allow us to see inside a planet, just as a doctor uses an X-ray to see inside a patient," explained Antonio Genova of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge.

And what do we find? Well, there are regions of stronger and lesser gravity. True on Mars. True on Earth.

Of course, things dropped side by side won't show it. But if you're in orbit, some places you pass over will pull you down, while passing over others, your path is higher — farther from the surface below because gravity beneath you is weaker. And it has nothing to do with how you use your spacecraft maneuvering rockets. It's about your mass, and gravity. And stuff like atmospheric drag and solar wind pushing on big surfaces, like your solar panels. But let's stay out of the tall cosmic cotton. We're talking about variable gravity here. Well, not here. On Mars.

Why does it matter?

Dr. Genova continued, "The new gravity map will be helpful for future Mars exploration, because better knowledge of the planet's gravity anomalies helps mission controllers insert spacecraft more precisely into orbit about Mars. Furthermore, the improved resolution of our gravity map will help us understand the still-mysterious formation of specific regions of the planet."

Genova, who is affiliated with MIT but is located at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is the lead author of a paper on this research published online March 5 in the journal "Icarus." It's quite revealing. A tale with gravitas.

Read the whole story at:


The Guide brings you frequent editions covering MUSIC NEWS and ticket alerts, published separately, and always available right here on the Guide's Blogspot site.

More soon, as always.

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Contents copyright © 2016, Lawrence Wines & Tied to the Tracks. All rights reserved.
♪ The ACOUSTIC AMERICANA MUSIC GUIDE endeavors to bring you NEWS and views of interest to artists everywhere, more specifically to musicians and the creative community and music makers and fans of acoustic and Folk-Americana music, both traditional and innovative forms. From the deepest roots to today’s acoustic renaissance, that’s our beat. We provide a wealth of resources, including a HUGE catalog of acoustic-friendly venues, and schedules and inside info on FESTIVALS and select performances in Southern California in venues monumentally large and intimately small and cozy. We cover workshops and other events for artists and folks in the music industry, and all kinds o’ things in the world of acoustic and Americana and accessible classical music. From washtub bass to musical spoons to oboe to viola to banjo to squeezebox, from Djangostyle to new-fangled-old-time string band music, from sweet Cajun fiddle to bluegrass and pre-bluegrass Appalachian mountain music to all the roots of the blues and where the music is headed now.
The Acoustic Americana Music Guide. Thanks for sittin' a spell.

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