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Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Season's First Folk Fest, a Massive March, & an Unlearned Lesson

This weekend brings one event we've talked about for months -- the season's first folk festival in Southern Cal -- plus a massive march we spoke of last week.

It's also the fifteen-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the start of the long chain of disastrous events and loss of global prestige that haunts our nation with ever-increasing consequences. So we include a piece that appeared in several newspapers way back in 2002, a full six months prior to that invasion. It was written by the Guide's editor, and it still resonates with its caution that could be expressed in the words of Jeff Goldblum's character in Jurassic Park, "Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should."

There is plenty more happening around town on the concert scene. But this go 'round, you're on your own to check schedules for the Coffee Gallery Backstage (Altadena), McCabe's (Santa Monica), Boulevard Music (Culver City), The Grand Annex and Warner Grand (San Pedro), The Arcadia Blues Club (Arcadia), Hotel Cafe (Hollywood), The Fret House (Covina), The Folk Music Center (Claremont), Viva Cantina (Burbank), Joe's Great American Bar & Grill (Burbank), Alvas Showroom (San Pedro), and anyplace else you know offers good tunefulness.


Let's get started.


In This Edition

1) Folkworks "Folk Roots" in L.A., & an Evening Irish Mini-Fest by the Beach

2) Saturday's "March for Our Lives" is Democracy in Action

3) Fifteen Years Ago this Week, We Invaded Iraq


# 1 news feature...


It's the first weekend of Spring, and the season's folk festivals arrive in stylish solid form.

Sat, Mar 24, FESTIVAL:
10 am-10 pm Annual "FOLKROOTS FESTIVAL" at St. John's Presbyterian Church, 11000 National Bl, West LA, 90064
* This is a crossroads of Folk-Americana and world folk music, with so many options that everyone can find plenty of ways to be immersed in fun, listening, learning, and discovery for the full day, into the night.
* WORKSHOPS, FOLK FILMS, SONG CIRCLE, JAMMING all begin at 10 am, and include:
• 10 am block: BANJO (Beg/Int) with Steve Lewis; HARMONICA with Roger Goodman; SINGING - The Art of Unaccompanied Voice (All levels) with Susie Glaze; MANDOLIN with Tom Corbett.
• 11 am block: VERY BEGINNING FIDDLE with Jim & Amber Mueller; HOW TO PLAY ANYTHING with Roger Goodman; BALKAN 101 with Pat Mac Swyney; EGYPTIAN ORIENTAL DANCE AKA BELLY DANCE (All levels) with Gigi deMarrais.
• Noon block: MOUNTAIN DULCIMER For Absolute Beginners with Joellen Lapidus; MANDOLIN "Nail That Tune!" (All Levels) with Emil Olguin; PERCUSSION with Ava Nahas; GUITAR - Bottleneck, Slide, with Fred Sokolow.
• 1 pm block: SPOONS - "Playing with spoons" with Monika White; UKULELE Split-level class with Kate Friedricks; MIDDLE EAST FRAMED DRUM with Rowan Storm; BALKAN SINGING (All Levels) with Members of Nevenka; INSTRUMENT Care & Feeding with Kurt Gary; POWER OF SONGS with Sam Curtis, Ross Altman, Sunny War (followed by 2 pm panel discussion).
• 2 pm block: PANEL DISCUSSION - "SOCIAL JUSTICE AND FOLK MUSIC" with Ross Altman, Darryl Holter, Jonathan Ritter (follows 1 pm "Power of Song"); FIDDLE, Old Time (All Levels) with David Bragger; GUITAR with Chris Berry; FROM COLTRANE TO NUSRAT:THE MYSTERY OF MUSIC & SPIRITUALITY with Yuval Ron; FLAT FOOT DANCING with Rebecca Stout.
* DAYTIME CONCERTS begin at 11 am, with FRANK HOPPE and CHRISTINA ORTEGA as emcees, and performances (two stages of music all afternoon) by:
• Chris Berry, Milena Reed, Art Podell
* Silent Auction opens at 1 pm.
* SQUARE DANCE begins at 3 pm.
* CONCERT BOX OFFICE OPENS at 5:30 pm for those without advance tickets (subject to tix remaining).
* EVENING CONCERTS begin at 6 pm, with YATRIKA SHAH-RAIS as emcee, and performances by:
* Early bird tickets are available through the end of February, and are going fast; get them now at:




If you didn't get your fill of all things Irish last weekend, shura begorahh, you'll be wantin' ta know 'bout this one...

Sat, Mar 24, FESTIVAL:
6-10 pm Annual "IRISH SPRING GALA" at Harlyne J. Norris Pavilion, 501 Indian Peak Rd, Rolling Hills Estates, CA.
* Features band PADDY’S PIG.
* Reservations required. For tickets, email
or go to


# 2 news feature...


The Guide is proud to support the grassroots efforts founded by young people who survived the school shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The fact that it isn't still "the latest school shooting" in America screams with urgency for getting involved.

We join many other community organizations in being thrilled and inspired to see young people across the country using their voices to call attention to our nation’s gun violence crisis -- and appalled that our elected leaders still dither, dawdle, blow smoke, and refusal to act.

It’s time for us to speak out. The Parkland, FL students have organized and spoken out about how the NRA and its political spending stands in the way of meaningful changes to our gun laws. They’ve said -- and we agree -- that progress on this issue means making sure lawmakers are accountable to their constituents -- not NRA lobbyists and the gun industry that pays them.

On SATURDAY, MARCH 24, there will be marches in Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Ventura, San Diego, and a dozen other Southern California communities.

Here are three things you can do to get involved:

1. Find the closest march to you. On Saturday, led by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the March For Our Lives will take to the streets in more than 700 communities across the country. Those whose devices are afflicted with facebook can find a nearby event at: -- or search "March For Our Lives" and the name of your city on ixQuick, DuckDuckGo, or Startpage.

2. Activate people in your community. Print off copies of this flyer to help connect our work for a better democracy with this fight -- and help put pressure on elected officials to stop taking money from gun lobby groups like the NRA. Download the PDF in color ( or black & white (

3. Read the new report by "Common Cause." Ending gun violence means building a representative, reflective, and active democracy. Read at for info on how we, the people, have the power to confront the NRA and win -- then share it far and wide. The report provides important facts about the NRA’s political spending, its operations, and how it wields outsized influence in our democracy.

The March For Our Lives comes at an important moment where our children, students, families, and communities are focused on what can reasonably be called "the gun violence crisis" -- which kills or injures more than 100,000 people each year. We need to empower ordinary people to advocate for change in their communities. That’s what democracy is all about.

Karen Hobert Flynn, President of the respected bi-partisan / non-partisan organization "Common Cause" says, "The vast majority of Americans support common sense gun reform -- and elected officials’ inaction on the issue is one of the clearest examples of how our democracy is failing us. But together, we can take on the gun lobby, and show that We The People are the true power in our democracy. March with us on March 24th."

*** IF YOU CAN’T GO TO THE MARCH, there are still a vitally important few things you can do to demand that elected officials hear our voices in the halls of OUR government. Whether you have five minutes, an hour, or even longer to spare, you can make sure our democracy represents us all. Check it out at:


# 3 news feature...


No one seems willing to talk about the fact that America's gun culture is fed by an intentional national image of being the biggest badass on the global block. Today, our foreign policy is based not on diplomacy, but on threats of military intervention. So there is a connection between the "March for Our Lives" and the road we took as a nation fifteen years ago this week when we invaded Iraq based on premises that have been solidly proven to be lies, knowingly told to us and to the world by the most senior officials of our government.

In the Guide's edition exactly five years ago, published Friday, March 22, 2013, on the tenth anniversary of the still-ongoing Iraq war, we ran the editor's newspaper piece from 2002. It's still significant, because it was one of the very few in the U.S. opposing the Iraq war before it was launched, AND examining WHY IT WAS A BAD IDEA to invade that country. That original 2002 piece was called, "An Endless Occupation of Iraq?"

The 2002 piece referenced what is now known as "The First Gulf War" under the elder Bush's presidency, and cautioned against a second U.S. invasion. Among the reasons? "Another Iraq war will bring decades of occupation and harsh, expensive realities. It will reshape national defense priorities for decades. It could define us as the British Empire of the 21st century."

When we reprinted it five years ago, those words appeared along with the entire original piece. You can find that 2013 edition in our archive, along with reader comments, where it was titled, "Ten-Year Anniversary of the Iraq War, and an Ignored Caution, Before it Happened..." It's at:

Or you can read the same piece below, following this new intro.

We decided to reprint it again, because all too sadly, given the proliferation of a foreign policy based on braggadocio, bluster, and who's-got-a-bigger-nuke-button; childish taunting tweets about "little rocket man"; threats the U.S. will unilaterally renege on the multinational Iran Nuclear Deal despite international certification that Iran remains in compliance; this week's appointment of chicken hawk John Bolton as National Security Advisor; and too damn many years of sabre-rattling that's extended and amplified under the third president in a row.

Avoiding additional disasters by pausing to consider consequences is more urgent today than it was five years ago. Because as bad as things were then, thousands of civilians had yet to be killed by drone wars, bombing raids, cruise missile attacks, and proxy wars. And the most massive arms sales since WW II had not yet been made by America's arms merchants to Saudi Arabia, the richest Arab nation -- the nation that is now actively exterminating the population of Yemen, the poorest Middle East nation.

Five years ago, our intro said, "With all the sabre-rattling in stark contrast to the message of Easter, we received a comment (March 30) from a reader calling himself 'Pete for Peace.' As he points-out, it's beginning to feel like deju vu all over again. You can read his comment and others, and we encourage you to do that ~ and to add your own ~ at the end. Thanks to Pete, and to all, for your reader comments to this reprinted piece from long ago, which seems eerily relevant once again."

Once again, we welcome your comments on a fifteen-and-a-half-year-old piece that still calls to us to consider the unintended consequences, painfully obvious repercussions, and financial and moral bankrupting of our future because we want to be the biggest badass on the global block.


(Where it says "ten years," just note that it's now fifteen years.)

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. Ten and half years ago, a full six months before that invasion, Larry Wines wrote a full-page piece that ran in several newspapers, opposing that war. At the time, precious few journalists were expressing caution. Indeed, many seemed happy to get in the Pentagon’s good graces in hopes of being given coveted “embed” positions with deploying troops.

Perhaps you recall Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s cryptic comment about known knowns and unknown knowns and unknowable knowns. It was weird at the time, and his delivery, with self-satisfied smugness, already smacked of the hubris that characterizes any examination of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld policy that led to the US becoming an invading aggressor in the name of finding weapons of mass destruction that were never there.

Larry’s piece, "An Endless Occupation of Iraq?" was published in September 2002, the week of the one-year anniversary of the 9/11 attack, and more than six months before the US invaded Iraq.


Here is the piece, as it ran in September, 2002.


(A “pull quote,” in larger, bold typeface, midway down piece, read, "Rebuilding Iraq will require a lengthy commitment from US taxpayers, without help from anyone else, and plenty of accommodations with people who hate us.")

An Endless Occupation of Iraq?
By Larry Wines

This week's September 11 remembrances have run the gamut: poignant, exploitative, useful, and manipulative. The last should concern us most.

A Bush White House is spending millions preparing for war against Iraq. It looks like the family business. After the 9-11 attacks, Dubya wasted no time assessing public support for completing what his father left unfinished with Saddam Hussein. He inherited a decade of simmering frustration from a conflict left maddeningly unresolved despite overwhelming military domination.

Frustration in Southern California is acute, given the prominence of the military-industrial complex here. The sexiest aerial weapons platforms, the F-117A, B-1 and B-2, are local products. Builders are proud when their creations work.

Meanwhile, the national attention span is short. A year of Dubya's saber rattling, and Iraq hasn't been attacked. Now, polls show collapsing support for another Iraq war. Complex realities may have penetrated popular reckoning.

Senior Pentagon commanders doubt killing Saddam is a good idea. Our traditional allies in NATO will sit this one out. Our erstwhile Arab allies from the last go 'round won't fight alongside us, and some hint at unpleasant surprises if we attack their fellow Muslim nation. Even Russia joined the international chorus, with Moscow seeking to resolve tensions by returning UN weapons inspectors after their eviction four years ago.

But Iraq says that's a "non-starter," and White House spokesman Ari Fleischer agrees, saying, "Iraq changes positions on whether they'll let the inspectors in more often than Saddam Hussein changes bunkers."

It begs questions that aren't being asked. Is there a moral imperative here? Does our security, or the free world's safety from terrorist attacks, rest on Saddam's removal? Or, would going after him trigger more attacks? And if the moral thing to do is kill him, should fear influence us?

Evoking everybody from Teddy Roosevelt to Mahatma Gandhi can prove a moral argument one way or the other. So let's stick with some practical concerns.

History offers contradictory but useful examples. There is the deliberate decision to keep the Emperor of Japan alive during World War II. Bombing the Imperial Palace was prohibited. America's war propaganda made Prime Minister Tojo the symbol of evil, and scant mention was made of Emperor Hirohito. But, Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini had no fall guys, then or now. Neither does Saddam. His adversary, Iran's Ayatollah, got off America's list by dying, so it's unclear whether we're supposed to hate Iran anymore.

Saddam is, without question, a brutal and ruthless dictator. He has murdered his own people, including anyone with leadership ability who might build their own cult of personality. It's a means of control that Niccolò Machiavelli would have admired, and it creates a practical problem for Saddam's removal. Who is left to take over?

World War II offers additional insight. The Allies in conquered Germany employed unreconstructed Nazis, the only ones who understood infrastructure that enabled human settlements to operate.

It's a lesson in practicality versus moral imperative. West Germany combined the American, British and French sectors. Solutions involved all the participants, and accommodations allowed some nasty Nazis to escape justice at Nuremburg, as we later learned.

But the Russians went it alone in East Germany. They invoked the moral imperative, persecuting defeated Nazis, regardless of an individual's role in German society from 1933-1945.

While West Germany's famed industrial capacity was quickly rebuilt, economic prosperity came quickly, fueled by the generosity of America's Marshall Plan. East Germany remained largely in ruins and a drain on its Soviet sponsors until German reunification brought money from the west.

History's lessons? Iraq has a resource, oil, but has never been industrial. Rebuilding Iraq will require a lengthy commitment from US taxpayers, without help from anyone else, and plenty of accommodations with people who hate us. In the end, our own oil companies will exploit us. But that isn't the only point, or the most costly one.

American military forces occupy conquered nations. There are important variables, like how long it lasts, compliance by indigenous peoples, and what threats lurk at the borders. These determine the differences between the US in Japan or Germany or Vietnam.

Postwar duty in Japan was pleasant, with no hostile adversary lurking at a border. Germans accepted occupation without resistance, but pleasantries ended there. A half-century of US military presence and Pentagon war plans centered on expected ground invasion by the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. America's military was designed and deployed in response to that scenario. Hostile borders determine everything.

In the 1980's, Iraq fought a ten-year war with its hated neighbor, Iran. Saddam received US assistance during that war, as payback to Iran for the humiliating hostage siege. America was Saddam's friend. So were the Afghani Mujaheddin who fought the Soviets and later became the Taliban. So much for moral imperatives.

The legacy of the Iran-Iraq War is the trump card. Decapitating Iraq's leadership invites another Iranian invasion. Iran made dozens of "human wave" border attacks during the war. Armed with pointed sticks ahead of armed troops, Iranians died in mounds of carnage unseen since the Middle Ages. The horror of Cambodia's killing fields is the only modern parallel.

America chose not to stop that killing in Iran or Cambodia. We allowed the carnage in the former Yugoslavia to run its course before a controversial peacekeeping entry. None are proud moments, but none evoke the specter of Vietnam. Our modern "model," the first Iraq war, brought pride in a victory that was only symbolic.

Another Iraq war will bring decades of occupation and harsh, expensive realities. It will reshape national defense priorities for decades. It could define us as the British Empire of the 21st century. Should we use military power to pursue still nebulous moral imperatives and goals we abandoned a decade ago?

Originally filed September 4, 2002.
11:13 PM


See you soon with a TRULY HUGE and brand-new mega mondo MUSIC NEWS EDITION!



Boilerplate? Where's the main pressure gauge? And the firebox?

What "boilerplate"? Who came up with that goofy term for the basic essential informational stuff...

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♪ 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. That includes 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 (now undergoing a major update), and inside info on FESTIVALS and select performances in Southern California in venues from the monumentally large to the intimately small and cozy. We cover workshops, conferences, 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 swamp water roots of the blues and the bright lights of where the music is headed now.
The Acoustic Americana Music Guide. Thanks for sittin' a spell. The porch'll be here anytime you come back from the road.


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