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Friday, August 17, 2018

Remembering Aretha Franklin. Aug 17 2018 edition


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Today we bring you a memorial tribute to a music legend who left us far too soon.

"You gotta disturb the peace. Especially when you ain't got none."
-- Aretha Franklin, in a "Jet Magazine" interview.
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First, a quick note...
If you're looking for yesterday's big special feature story, which is being read widely in at least 11 countries around the world --

"Who Is the Real 'The Enemy of the People'? - special edition, Aug 16, 2018"

-- it's still available at:

https://acousticamericana.blogspot.com/2018/08/who-is-real-enemy-of-people-special.html
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Remembering Aretha Franklin

by Michele Marotta

I grew up in show biz and the rarified air of music legends. My father was boss of a record label that stabled big names.

Every time we reach another August 16th,  I am flooded with memories.

I remember where I was when I learned the King of Rock and Roll had died. August 16th. Now the Queen of Soul is gone.

It's also the day Bella Legosi passed away. And my mother. 

All on August 16th.

I first met Aretha Franklin when I was just 12 or 13 years old. I was with my dad, as I often was, when he was running around doing stuff.

The stuff of his business, to be sure, but he simply called it "stuff." He did a lot of stuff. 

At that age, I was not quite sure what all that was. Even when, as a little kid, I posed for a picture with the Beatles in the recording studio. He was in the music industry, so as I grew, I slowly recognized that all that "stuff" encompassed a lot of things. 

Sometimes we would be up at KGIL, an important radio station in those days, working on the Dick Wittenhill Show. By now, I was old enough to know music that I liked and connect their names to their records. And on one of those visits, she was there:

A-r-e-t-h-a F-r-a-n-k-l-i-n-! 

I still remember being in awe of her. She had a huge personality, and was one of the nicest people you could ever meet. I was young, but I thought right away -- and still know now -- she had the most amazing voice, ever. 

And she was just a nice person. Extremely nice, really. Even though I was in awe of her. And she made this young girl feel like I knew her forever.

Smokey Robinson talks of being lifelong friends with Aretha Franklin. His childhood was spent in a mythical neighborhood of Detroit. He grew up within a few blocks of Gladys Knight, Barry Gordy, and a bunch of the guys who would become several of the white-suited dance-step black singing groups, and other stars of a Motown future that none could foresee.

At the age of five or six, Smokey became friends with a newly arrived little kid. That boy took him home to "one of the mansions that sat in a little group in one part of our neighborhood. Our otherwise very poor neighborhood."

He continues, "Inside, I could hear this voice, singing, and somebody playing the piano. I went looking, and that's when I met little Aretha Franklin. She was playing piano, and oh what a singing voice, even then. She was about eight."

As a Southern California and New York girl -- the centers of the record business -- that day at a radio station
was the one and only time I met Aretha Franklin, but I cannot say that is the extent of my memory of her.

Fleeting? Yes. But trivial? Hardly. As the late Maya Angelou, poet laureate of the United States, famously observed, "You may forget what someone said. You may forget what someone did. But you will never forget how they made you feel."

As a teenager and through adulthood, I always knew I wanted to reconnect with Aretha Franklin. But our paths never crossed again. 

Another August 16th has passed. And now she, too, is gone.

The Queen of Soul goes on living in the memories of so many who will always instantly recognize her singing voice. For the fortunate, she lives on not only from recordings of iconic songs, and memories of her incomparable musical prowess -- but for how she made you feel. Including one young girl growing up in the midst of the music business.

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We also like the story in the Pasadena Star-News. Well worth your time:

https://www.pasadenastarnews.com/2018/08/16/what-it-was-like-to-spend-my-33rd-birthday-with-aretha-franklin/

Their writer's piece continues on the very human side of a big star. That includes noting that Aretha Franklin wouldn't fly in an airplane.

Well, add this: Larry King, on his RT America show Thursday, noted she would never go above the 8th floor in any building. If given a hotel room on a higher floor and they would not agree to relocate her? She would check-out and go elsewhere.

Out of context, that simply sounds diva-like. But when you know a bit more of the story...

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That's all for now.

We'll be back again soon with music news and more "News of the Non-Trumpcentric Universe." (c)

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LEGALESE, CONTACTING US, 'N SUCH...

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.
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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Who Is the Real "The Enemy of the People"? - special edition, Aug 16, 2018

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Is the Media the "Enemy of the People?" Why that Deserves more than Simplistic Rejection

by Lawrence Wines

Today, Thursday, August 16, 2018, over 300 daily newspapers across America are individually taking part in a campaign initiated by the Boston Globe. Each newspaper -- joined by numerous online news sources -- is publishing its own response to the repeated accusation from the President of the United States that "The news media is the enemy of the people."

To be clear, this is not another Sinclair Broadcasting moment, wherein local TV news anchors across the US were required to read, ver batim, the same editorial. That was a centrally-mandated message from Sinclair corporate heads.

This is nothing like that.

THE PERSPECTIVE FROM HERE

Today, each participating news source, including the Guide, is, by its own choice, addressing the issue -- from its own perspective, wholly in its own voice.

That said, please do not expect an expression of the echo chamber, or a circling of the wagons, or a rehash of "the narrative" from us. It's time for a harsh, honest and thorough evaluation of why anybody has reason to accept an accusation like the one at issue.

We've been at this journalism thing a long time. We've been privileged to fly NASA's Space Shuttle simulators (the ones the astronauts trained on) and stood between Buzz Aldrin and William Shatner at the first wholly civilian space launch. We've attended the inaugurations of two presidents, inaugural balls, Senate and House hearings, sat down across the lunch table from US Senators and covered national political conventions. We've interviewed many movers and shakers and innovators.

We've spent time backstage chatting with music icons and film and TV stars. We've done long-form interviews with accomplished famous folks on the radio.

We've written about new routes we put up on mountains, crawling through caves, exploring places where no human had been, and other places that no one had entered in years. We've done many field research trips investigating and documenting one of the rarest endangered species on the planet.

We've covered a story from a seaplane and stood in the hallowed wheelhouse of a paddlewheel steamboat with no other visitors and legendary riverboat pilot and banjo player John Hartford reading subtle landmarks on the lushly tangled green banks to negotiate the sandbars and snags.

We rode horseback taking the route of Custer on the Little Bighorn battlefield, on the anniversary day of the battle -- just yours truly with the last living Crow war chief, the late Joe Medicine Crow, as guide.

We've done participatory journalism restoring and running long-dead railway steam locomotives, and experienced 80-inch diameter drive wheels under the floor at speed, with a five-chime whistle resurrecting the dead.

We've been chosen as the person to represent the press pool when only a few could be admitted, and we've been honored with awards, exclusive access, and much more. We've also done plenty of shoe-leather reporting, ferreting-out facts, digging through archives, finding those who didn't want to be found, and piecing together facts that had not been in evidence.

So yes, we do feel qualified to comment on this subject. We've been working on a dissertation about the state of affairs of the media for some time now, and we do believe we have something of worth to contribute.

Members of the press used to be received and regarded very differently than they -- we -- are now. A reckless remark, especially when it comes in a stream of disrespectful, sometimes hateful, criticisms about the media bode ill for the physical safety of everyone trying to bring news to the rest of our society. Yet there are reasons why such vitriol can find an audience that accepts it with cheers. And to ignore that aspect would surrender to the same uselessly divisive polarized tribalism that has America in the embrace of dysfunction and poised for someone else to be physically assaulted over expressed thoughts.

FOLLOW THE MONEY AND POWER

The Guide is presenting a look at how and why things got to this point. Our feature story examines how and why decisions about life-and-death economics of media institutions produced marginalization of credibility even as they contributed to CEO bonuses and corporate get-out-of-jail-free cards.

Those life-and-death economic decisions have created rich heroes of finance who have integrated news with entertainment and corporate agendas.

This has produced information giants and message management empires that have enabled a protection racket for proliferating tentacles of corporate control. They have sailed courses through shark-infested waters that they have willfully chummed, because sharks make for dramatic imagery and can easily occupy all the available air time. Meaning there's no time available to cover anything else, and the public is too satiated to notice.

While purporting to keep us informed, corporate Big Media has perfected a message management that selectively minimizes much that is important by dramatically maximizing a narrative into a veritable singularity. Along the way, facts are selectively dramatized,  exacerbated, exploited, minimized, marginalized, and purposefully contextualized. Sometimes, though not as often, entire sectors of events are ignored completely -- though more often, they're given minimalist coverage that effectively marginializes them.

Still, calling the press "The Enemy of the People" is right out of the totalitarian playbook. It is a phrase from the Stalinist Soviet Union -- a phrase invoked by the despot who murdered more of his own people than the number of its citizens killed in World War II.

THE WARCONOMY, INTEGRATED WITH CORPORATISM WRIT LARGE

There is ample reason to discuss and debate, comprehensively and with painful self-examination, the state of affairs of the American media today. That should start with its cozy relationship with powerful forces.

From the Pentagon's reporter "embeds" with the troops that produce rah-rah coverage for invasions of countries that have not attacked us (Iraq); to extending the climate of insatiable consumerism into spending more on weapons than the entire rest of the world, combined; to Big Pharma / Big Med escaping what should rightfully be non-stop scathing focus on oligarchs ruling an empire based on pain and suffering, a systemless system that costs America more money for health care, per-person, than any other nation, even though millions of our citizens have no access to health care; to dozens of other underreported or unreported critical issues that determine the very viability of our society.

This day of parallel editorials from the nation's journalism outlets has little precedent. Had it happened to voice skepticism when facts were not in evidence, it could have caused public opinion to take history in a better direction on countless occasions. For example, an honest appraisal rather than a stampede of flag-waving could have prevented the Iraq War.

Because of corporatization to achieve message management, the media has lost public trust.

The casualties are profound.

HOW THE FOUNDING FATHERS SAW THE ROLE OF THE PRESS

America's Founding Fathers had to quickly create the very first amendment to the US Constitution with its guarantees of freedom of speech and the press, as well as religion. It was truly a broad-spectrum guarantee of freedom of thought and an ability to share it, to circulate and disseminate even unpopular ideas, without fear of reprisal.

They didn't envision monopolistic, self-serving interests buying message management any more than they imagined the Robber Barons deriving from Civil War profiteers.

Still, throughout our history -- and indeed, going back to the ancient Greeks who inspired America's political heroes -- there is a pantheon of iconic figures who have asserted that an educated and informed public is essential if democracy is to succeed.

That concept was paramount when America's founders devised a federal government with three branches that would check and balance one another -- and the "fourth estate" of a free press that would hold all of them to public account.

DARPA, THE PENTAGON, AND THE PRESS

Though the founders were a bunch of rich white guys, their sensibilities were unable to comprehend a time of hegemonical, oligarchical, egomanical, billionaire capitalists bent on ruling a kakistocracy. Or that the most prominent institutions of freedom of the press could be bought-up by rich corporatists to become their house organs.

Neither could free-press proponents foresee that a then-secret development grant would come from DARPA -- the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency -- to enable social media to become the safety valve of the masses, the addictive ultimate distraction from the selectivity of the corporate Big Media agenda.

As a result, all of us living in the America of our time have lost interest in remembering. We seldom recall even recent history, that it was the press that championed America's most critical causes and took the moral high ground. That's what the press did, as so many  individual reporters, editors, newsrooms, and independent publishers, so many separate outlets, took pivotal positions of advocacy during the Civil Rights Movement. And in facing imprisonment by presenting the revelations of lies that lured us into Vietnam and Cambodia and Laos.

Yet today, whistleblowers like John Kiriakou, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden were flashes in the pan of a media that moved on, allowing government officials to occasionally spew hatred of one or another of them without recourse.

UBIQUITOUS CYBERSPYING AND THE RAPE OF THE MEDIA

Most of what is different between those earlier times of a courageous press and ours of obsessed singularities and side dishes of pablum comes down to a sad simplicity.

It is the absence, the removal of the rich tapestry. Just like the airlines no longer feed you and cram your knees into your armpits, nothing about corporatism has any modicum of respect for your human dignity.

You are a subject until it's time to coerce you into giving them your money. Then you are momentarily a customer. But never for long enough for the customer to ever be right.

When it comes to Big Media, voices and viewpoints -- of reporting and analysis -- have been forced down the neck of the corporate funnel. Today, not a single big city or small town daily newspaper employs anywhere near the same number of reporters they had a decade ago. The world may be evermore complex, but the number of people available to tell you about any of it is reduced to fewer and fewer all the time.

Instead, metadata determines the list of topics that editors should use for "high interest" assignments. Instead of telling you about something you don't know, you're apt to have your prejudices reinforced. Hey, it's been working profitably for social media, and why should those billionaires get all the bucks from cheesy exploitation?

Today, only six megagiant corporations control most of what is presented as the news.

We, as a society, dodged a bullet when Sinclair dropped its effort to do a Borg assimilation of Tribune Broadcasting. But the forces of profit-taking consolidations and layoffs aren't going away.

And the corporations who control those Big Media outlets? Their back-and-forth networked sales and sharing of every trivial detail culled from what each of us does drives what they tell politicians and other corporations who want to know how to manipulate us. It's collected and compiled and catalogued and analyzed and processed and sold to myriad government agencies and countless exploitive capitalists who do not mean us well.

CORPORATIZED INDOCTRINATION: WE PAY THEM TO TELL US WHAT THEY WANT US TO HEAR

Instead of an information renaissance in an age of a high-speed internet seamlessly integrated through all your platforms and devices and delivered in your order of preference into your phone?

In truth, our portable wonders of technology are tracking devices, delivery systems for constant monitoring, and we are paying them to subject ourselves to their tenuously legalized spyware. Spyware that distills our lives into constantly-updated cyber profiles for purposes we are not allowed to know.

That is immediately and compellingly relevant to the media. Because in large measure, all those things happen based on what we read, where we read it, and how much time we spend with what topic at what source, supported by what corporate advertiser.

The corporatization of information management, driven by tactics akin to psychological warfare, has cost Big Media its credibility. Wall Street, overtly and covertly, has made the public trust a maleable commodity and shattered the bubble of believability.

All that continuously combines every kind of metadata -- obtained through disguised and addictive spyware -- to craft the message dispensed by media. Your own curiosity is weaponized against you to produce the maximum-size audience and deliver you as an individually identifiable target demographic to purveyors of everything from beer to prescription pills to Big Oil and Big Ag and the endless war machine.

Because the mass audience news sources of Big Media have not exposed it -- and indeed, because they have been co-opted by it -- we are in an age when not just journalistic integrity is endangered, but the physical safety of journalists is, too.

Corporations are always said to be risk-averse. That has been so, ever since the age of lawsuits apexed innovation. Insurance rates, as well as protecting a positive public image, depended on avoiding risk. But in our time, corporate risk avoidance is best achieved by obtaining control of the media, because that assures absolute control of message management.

That happens in two ways. One is
the economic power of payola of advertising dollars as news platforms become the province of Big Pharma advertising and buy their own immunity from journalistic investigation. The other is, increasingly, outright ownership of a controlling interest in key media outlets by the same corporations whose profits depend on escaping scrutiny.

Thus, corporate America finds it most cost-effective to specialize in message management to control public opinion. And so media feeds us things like these:

· Big Pharma spends many more millions marketing prescription drugs than they spend on research and development of new medications. (Slick, expensive advertising for something you can't even buy. Unless you "ask your doctor." Who is being persuaded to prescribe whatever-it-is "off-label" to make indiscriminate sale of controlled substances legal.)

· Big Oil sponsors so much of public broadcasting's programming that critics refer to NPR as "National Petroleum Radio."

· The octopus-like tentacles of the warconomy gain purchase across the spectrum, from Boeing sponsoring "Meet the Press" to Lockheed-Martin, Northrop-Grumman, and Raytheon effectively buying gushing media "gee-whiz-wow" coverage of the latest cruise missile barrage launched in a presidential tantrum.

· The unholy alliance of Big Ag and Big Chem keeps investigations deferred or on the back burner, and Americans don't get reporting on carcinogenic ag chemicals and bioengineered organisms banned in the EU or elsewhere in the world. Not until the "breaking news" shock of a court fining Monsanto for making Round Up herbicide -- after Monsanto has just vanished into its underreported purchase-merger with Bayer Pharmaceuticals.

WORKING JOURNALISTS FACE THREATS FOR DOING THEIR JOBS -- OR IS IT FOR THE SINS OF CORPORATE HEGEMONY?

It brings us to the issue of reporters, newsrooms, and news outlets facing actual threats of physical violence, and prominent voices, including the current president, whose stray remarks and Twitter tweets can have the effect of fomenting such violence.

On Monday, CSPAN covered an event presented by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Education. It was a discussion with journalists, educators, and others on practicing journalism "in a hostile political climate."

The title sounds more benign than the purpose of the event. It was about threats and intimidation that are on the increase from various publics and fringes.

Threats against workplaces -- newspaper offices or broadcast studios -- have proliferated since members of a weekly paper were gunned-down this summer in their offices in Annapolis, Maryland.

Some journalists receive daily death threats across the spectrum of modern communications. This has never been so widespread. From reporters to editors, receiving threats has, of late, become part of the job.

It's not just threats focused on particular reporters and on what will happen if they write or say something that's "for" or "against" a particular object of the crowd's adoration -- whether that's an official or corporation or group or cause or campaign. It can get quite specific. Stay away altogether, and do not dare to report at all on some specific event. Do not attend that event to cover it, or else.

Yes, threats often are specific to what will happen if the threat issuer sees a particular reporter -- or anyone from a particular outlet -- covering a specific event.

That aspect is the world turned upside down. Instead of a group with a particular viewpoint wanting the coverage? A group that's trying to find ways to get the press to attend their event, and grab interviews with attendees, so their group's size and devotion to its particular viewpoint will receive broader public exposure? 

That traditional relationship is gone. It's very different now. Instead of a press area with urns of coffee and boxes of donuts? Instead of being handed late-update press releases with pre-packaged "interview" quotes and talking points -- points to facilitate stories by those too lazy (or too over-assigned) to get their own facts and collect their own comments?

Instead of being coddled and subjected to pleasantries of indoctrination from attractive young PR grads who stand close and smile with doe eyes while making sure you get the central theme of their talking points, being comfortably co-opted into helping promote something?

It hasn't become what doctors get from Big Pharma -- the season tickets to the NBA team in return for pushing drugs. In fact, there isn't much at all about journalism that feels very welcoming any more.

Of late, an assignment to cover some event can bring a "welcome" of a hostile mob -- sometimes orchestrated -- complete with angry epithets, plenty of amplitude, tonsils emerging from shouting throats, signs calling the press names, and a forest of middle fingers directed at cameras. Even thrown objects of various weights and sizes are not unknown, as are occasional physical ambushes and pummeling with fists.

Because, too often now, there is a climate of resentment against the presence of the media, or a particular part of the media.

In addition, modern threats often have suggestive or overt references to families and children, including where someone's kids go to school.

One comment from the audience of fellow professionals seen on the CSPAN coverage was the kind of thing you might expect, though it came across as bravado: "If you're receiving threats, you're probably on to something."

Instructors present at the event related plenty about their journalism students. Some seem consciously aware that mental preparation must now include more than "staying focused" on asking the right questions and not being diverted away from pursuing the most important answers.

As one teacher put it, today's aspiring journalists are taught "they should not seem afraid."

Obviously, that changes the agenda and goes to whether or not an editor -- or the public -- should expect the same outcomes -- always heretofore required -- of assigning a reporter to cover anything in particular.

That gets into another part of the arena of a Huxlian Brave New World.

One newspaper reporter in attendance encouraged the forging of "peculiar alliances." From his experience of cultivating friendly relations with cops, he spoke of how that brought tips from them about when and where he should watch his back while in the midst of pursuing a widespread corruption investigation.

Of course, others among his colleagues didn't like that idea at all. No one said it opened the door to being co-opted by the cops, but multiple comments danced all the way around it.

And that kind of skepticism and assertion of journalism ethics vs. pragmatism -- and one's personal survival -- was welcome, and all too rare in any forum the public can observe.

That's not to say that such discussions do not occur in newsrooms every day. But the public only sees them dramatized in movies.

It is important to recognize that most of the people who become journalists honestly want to do the job with integrity and produce work that informs the public. Indeed, within the boundaries set by corporate agendas, they can do that. And even saying that much flies in the face of any accusation that journalists are "the Enemy of the People."

So CSPAN covering the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Education event on Monday was, of course, of high interest to anyone working in news gathering, investigation, and presentation of news, at all levels.

Thing is, nobody finds it worthy, or perhaps is willing to peel back the curtain, to let fresh air, daylight, and public observation into the dialog and process. No one, except, in this case, CSPAN, and our recount of it here.

You are free to speculate on whether such important looks into the process and hazards of news gathering do not produce ratings, or if there is a desire on the part of the puppet master corporatists to avoid scrutiny.

The comments from the event's audience, as far as they went in too little time, were both valuable and telling.

One journalism educator said she would be using, in her classroom this fall, the guide published by the James Foley Foundation. She explained, "It's a 'how-to' for working journalists to stay safe."

No one on the panel knew about it, but there was instant alert interest. Everyone in the room wanted to know.

The foundation that publishes that guide bears the name of one of the journalists -- James Foley -- who was beheaded by ISIL. 

Also mentioned from the audience was the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) two-page guide of "Best Practices" for journalists. There was wider, but not universal, awareness of that one.

We were not pleased that the controling role of overmerged, megagiant corporate media escaped all question and critical analysis by a gathering of news people seeking ways to understand and avoid threats.

It's pervasive: from public distrust of what Big Media reports, and what is exempt from critical attention; the corporate control of a narrative; setting an agenda for the corporation's news division to protect the corporation's other holdings; obsessive singularities that ignore everything else in the world -- or at least divert attention from certain things that would make certain key sponsors look bad.

HATE SPEECH AND CENSORSHIP

The latest buzz term to empower censorship is "Hate Speech." It is, legally, not protected speech, deriving from the concept that one cannot yell "Fire!" in a crowded theatre.

It is nonetheless both an elusive concept and a slippery slope.

Take the historical example of the American Nazi Party being denied a permit to march in Skokie, Illinois. Skokie had a large Jewish population, including Holocaust survivors. The ACLU took the case to court, on behalf of the Nazis' freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. It cost the ACLU a sizable part of its membership at the time.

The press was split, editorially. Some outlets saw it as a "clear and present danger" not guaranteed any rights, while others published pieces asserting that abrogation of the freedom of one was denial of the guaranteed rights of all.

In the end, the US Supreme Court granted the Nazis' right to march. And when few brown shirts showed up, it was a victory for American media because all the attention showed the reality of a fringe whose ideology was universally rejected by the masses.

We can see a parallel of that in last weekend's flop of the "Unite the Right 2" in both Charlottesville and D.C., where white supremacists and neonazis numbered about 40 individuals, while counter-demonstrators came by the thousands. Of course, social media may have been more a factor than actual news media in making people aware so they could become participants.

HATE SPEECH AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media cannot be confused with any news organization of any color or stripe -- except when it comes to the overarching control of the corporatists, because literally billions of dollars are at stake. There, we see a trend-driven, and therefore dollar-driven, basis for outing the hate-speech-du-jour.

Once a social media darling -- for the price its advertising demanded -- Alex Jones and his "InfoWars" page were banned from Facebook last week. "Hate Speech" hadn't been invoked when Jones began claiming that the massacre of elementary school children at Sandy Hook "was a hoax." It had to wait until trendiness and plunging value of Facebook stock determined the righteous ethics for the Facebook corporatists.

Another proof that social media cannot be confused with journalism is the sudden social media banishment this week of TeleSUR. A respected outlet, it is the exact opposite of Jones' right-wing presence. TeleSUR is based in Latin America and funded by Spanish-speaking countries that are on the US spy agencies' sh*t list, including Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

When TeleSUR began delving into the attempted assassination last week of President Maduro, the American intelligence community went nuts. And suddenly, like the magician's rabbit, no more presence for TeleSUR on multiple social media platforms.

Which is only the latest manifestation of corporate kowtowing to the same Military-Industrial-Cybersecurity Complex that funded the rise of social media and its vacuum cleaner of data gathering, going back to the original DARPA grant.

THE WHITE HELMETS: MEDIA DARLINGS, CHOSEN POORLY

We should also take the example of the White Helmets, the supposed "Syrian Civil Defense Force." A glowing documentary about them won an Oscar. But the truth about the group is very dark. They've been funded by the US -- the CIA, NSA, Defense and State Departments -- while they have operated hand-in-glove with the very terrorist groups that US taxpayer dollars and US military lives have been expended to fight against.

Corporate mainstream media has consistently made the White Helmets their darling, "a group of brave heroes among the horror," as one CNN report called them.

Yet journalists have been beheaded by the very terrorists that the White Helmets have supported.

And the moral outrage voiced by media outlets against a bloviating US president for his reckless remarks that endanger reporters?

Nothing like that outrage was heard against the White Helmets, when western media and the defense establishment determined that all-things opposing the elected government of Syria were to be portrayed as good rebels. Bashir so Assad gets hate speech and that's okay, at all levels, while the White Helmets get a free pass. And, oh, by the way, when the terrorists accepted safe passage anf free bus rides to northern Syria, out of their fallen strongholds? The White Helmets chose to go with them, though US mainstream media didn't manage to report that. Didn't 'zactly fit the narrative.

THE NARRATIVE AND THE MEDIA

Often, polls reveal things that US corporate mainstream media never analyzes, if they mention those things at all.

For example, more registered Democrats now favor socialism over capitalism. You missed that? So did most of the American media audience.

Why wasn't that discussed, especially on cable "news" that seems to discuss things to death? Well, with an msm narrative fixated on telling voters in the midterms that "Bernie Sanders-endorsed candidates lost in 80% of the primaries to moderates," there would be a message-management problem if you added an "Oh, by the way," that threw shade on your oft-repeated premise.

To the credit of precious few outlets, Bernie Sanders was asked about the statement. Though that did not include being asked to comment about the one directional flow of the reporting. Bernie told Larry King Tuesday afternoon, and Stephen Colbert Tuesday night, rpretty much the same thing regarding his endorsements supposedly falling flat:

"That's not entirely accurate. Most of those primaries were against entrenched incumbents with all the money and all the party machinery behind them, where nobody else would have stood a chance."

Bernie continued, "But take Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Her victory in the primary over the third-most powerful Democrat in the House of Representatives proves something. If you get the message out -- that instead of paying for tax cuts for the rich, we should have health care for all as a fundamental right, free college tuition to insure the future of our society in the face of global competition, and that anyone who works 40 hours a week should not be living in poverty because of entrenched income inequality -- then that message can win."

But everywhere else, that was a blip, at best, amidst the Trumpian singularity.

Corporate cable news -- whether it's the equally but oppositely biased MSNBC and FOX News, or the camped-somewhere-near-the-Pentagon CNN (when it isn't obsessively looking for a lost airliner), is all based on the same paradigm. It's all a daily scheduled serial of hour-long cult-of-personality presentations that reinforce, through endless repetition, the predetermined narrative. Predetermined? That's obvious, because "Breaking News!" cuts away for anything too earth-shattering to ignore (that's not to say "for anything that happens," because that's a bridge too far). Then it's right back to the narrative, after some quick condescending remark from that hour's host, about praying for the victims.

THE NARRATIVE AND THE SINGULARITY

There is no question there is rampant "Trump Derangement Syndrome" out there, stampeding in every direction across the mediascape. Neither is there a question that it is fed by the singularity of narrative that has seized the levers at corporate cable news and other corporate media outlets.

Take Les Moonves. He was quickly ushered back behind the curtain to resume his Wizard of Oz role. After multiple accusations of sexual harassment. Accusations of the kind, with fewer accusers, that have caused an avalanche of resignations by iconic media figures for the past year. Where's Charlie Rose, and Garrison Keillor? Both gone, their names chiseled off the monuments they built, just like Egyptian pharaohs who fell from grace. Or were pushed, like Humpty Dumpty.

Before his current splash of infamy, Les Moonves was best remembered for saying, "Trump may not be good for America, but he's damn good for CBS."

He was talking about candidate Trump, and how an audience could be held -- commanding high advertising rates -- because they remained at their TV sets staring at an empty podium, or listening to the daily phoner with the bombastic candidate.

Now Moonves is the only major corporate head in the past year who remains in power in the face of multiple accusers who say he sexually harrassed them. As a financial wizard, he's damn good for CBS, so rewrite the news agenda. More diversionary outrage. More Trump tweets. More of Jan Brady's Marsha, Marsha, Marsha, as Russia, Russia, Russia.

THOUGHT-PROVOKING JOURNALISM? FROM CORPORATE MASTERS?

Diversion. Distraction. Carefully crafted outrage. Give the people what they want -- after you decide for them what that is. And you have plenty of "B" roll to keep reinforcing it. With repetition every hour. On  cult-of-personality cable news show.

Just censor-out anybody who won't reinforce the narrative. Bring the whistle. And the car keys. And  the B-roll.

Welcome to world of seemless integration of perpetual marketing and tastemaking propaganda. Where you celebrate removal of everything outrageous. Or disagreeable. Or annoying. Or -- different from your echo chamber.

There may be a loosely defined movement calling itself "The Resistance," but it seems woefully unprepared to protect the First Amendment. Or to investigate voter disenfranchisement, vote fraud, putting the fix in the 2016 primary elections, or the lack of a paper trail in states that use the most widespread voting machines.

Or perhaps that's more consistent with wanting all the demographic data from Facebook for voting-age users, matched with a list of political and news sites viewed and how long and how often each of us looks at whatever we look at.

Democrats who lead that party can tell you plenty of other things (not just what, but who) they're against. But they're not against corporate control of our lives. And they can't manage to tell you, in any comprehensive, coherent way, what they're for.

ALL TRUMP, ALL THE TIME -- WHY?

The media's relentless campaign is equivalent to the morass of hedgerow skirmishing that bogged down all the forces after the Normandy Invasion. The media's hedgerow row with Trump may derive from just one thing they can't admit: perhaps they are doing penance before the angry public for their de facto help in getting him elected.

After all, no campaign in a multiply-contested presidential primary EVER received as many free hours of air time as the Trump campaign. And nobody, EVER, in the history of television, has gotten the number or the total time in phoners broadcast live as were given by corporate mainstream media to candidate Donald Trump.

Or it could be Big Media playing the jilted lover since he stopped calling.

Or, it could be that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, who largely share the same funders, are actually beholden to the same entrenched interests. But you sure won't see THAT examined on corporate Big Media, any more than you'll see a discussion of lung cancer when tobacco executives appear before Congress.

Instead, it's all Trump, all the time. But even the most likely reasons for their obsession go unexamined.

Trump is a true loose cannon, in the original nautical sense -- he is unmoored, rolling dangerously and violently across the pitching deck, crushing all who try to restrain him, and liable to go-off and blow a hole in the ship at any moment. 

Trump represents an entirely different set of threats to corporatists, but he also offers a myriad of opportunities for wealth and power -- like massive tax cuts that give the rich a free ride on the backs of the rest of us. So it could be that Big Media is functioning as a safety valve, an outlet for public steam that protects the boiler from an actual explosion.

NO DIRECTION HOME? HERE'S ONE WAY TO GET BACK TO REAL NEWS

Instead of the endless Trumpian singularity, corporate Big Media could be analyzing all the ways that both the Democratic and Republican parties are fragmented and dysfunctional. But that might further the move of the majority of the millenial electorate to registering as independents, and expressing disgust with both parties.

You'd think someone in that gaggle of cult-of-personality shows would want to examine that. But you need to turn to alternative media.

And not fall for the false equivalency that the White House's "alternative facts" are the same as alternative media. And not buy the name-calling, the default position of smug labelling of anything different as "fake news." Whether it's the Tweeter in Chief or the Facebook though police that espouse it, it is a refuge of tyrants to eliminate all thoughts but theirs.

Bots, of all kinds, should be banned. If you want to communicate an idea, craft your own message and send it from you to your audience. Communication of anything professing to be news should never be farther removed than the model of a newspaper coming off a press and being thrown into your porch. You know who published it and you know how and where to find them and if need be, to hold them accountable.

Much of the best reporting being done today comes from outlets without anything like the resources of Big Media. There is TruthDig and TruthOut. There is Jake Uygur on webstream TV, and until his untimely death last month, there was Ed Schultz, evening news anchor on RT America. Both those important journalists left high-paying positions as talking heads on MSNBC, because they resolved not to be part of the corporate narrative.

There are still good newspapers. Just look for the ones that are not owned by oligarchs who want their "news divisions" to carry water for the rest of their corporate empires.

While documentary films are subject to the advocacy of the filmmakers, you can look for those that win awards and are invited to the film festivals. Often, they do what Big Media's investigative reporters are not allowed to do. Both BBC World and RT America screen such documentaries multiple times a week.

There are some good, honest and intellectual exchanges on TV, without yelling and tribalism and childish name calling vilification -- if you look carefully. Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges writes for TruthDig and hosts an excellent weekly half-hour on RT America. Former two-term Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, who was elected and served as an independent, does a weekly cornucopia of practical populism on the same channel. And a unique amalgam of topical investigative journalism on Fridays / solid interviews on Thursdays, mixed both days with skewering sociopolitical humor, can be found on "Redacted Tonight" on RT America and several places on the web.

Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now!" is an old stand by of alternative sources, though she's being dangerously co-opted into the Russia-Russia-Russia mantra and the plethora of risks that come with it.

BBC World Service, France 24, DW from Germany, RT America, and NHK from Japan are just essential. These outlets must play parts in the weekly viewing of any American. Especially anyone who wants to know what the rest of the world sees and is concerned by, and what is likely to develop into something the American media will suddenly and shockingly discover and cursorily report as "Breaking News!" a month or two from now.

And finally, there needs to be a coherent and consistent realization that censorship is one of the greatest dangers to all we hold dear. No matter how benign, no matter marinaded in morality or religious righteousness, no matter how slickly it is portrayed as "protecting us," censorship always functions in favor of one viewpoint as the only truth.

The arrogance of "Facebook jail" should scare the hell out of everyone who seeks to see other viewpoints.

The gathering of data on what you see and watch and read and question, and the ways all that can deny you a job or promotion or admission to a college is the most sinister use of technology this side of the dark world that George Orwell warned us against.

And finally, live, human reporters must be allowed to ask questions, seek answers, interact with people on different sides of issues, and report on the ever-changing tapestry of our world. They must be allowed to perform that essential function for all of us, and to do it every day, without intimidation or boundary markers from corporatists or advertisers, and without fear of death threats or being physically assaulted because they have a job to do.

Despite the media's infamous penchant for dumbing-down everything to wholly invalid simplicities, they can't away with separating things that are in fact connected. Understanding the reasons reporters are at risk of being attacked, and preventing such attacks, require:

· protecting reporters from fixated zealots -- defusing the desire to attack the messenger.

· demanding integrity, inclusiveness, no deck-stacking, and no collusion or kowtowing or overt or covert control of what is allowed to be presented to us as news.

A functioning, healthy democracy requires a thoroughly and continuously informed electorate. An electorate informed by all the facts, not a crafted narrative from a corporate compliance office that requires cherrypicked facts and cooked books.

The essence of maintaining a democratic society is not herding sufficient numbers into party regimentation and ignoring economic sedimentation. Rather, it requires inclusively democratizing the dialog and assuring that it will be reported honestly, thoroughly, fairly, and with no attempt to mold it to fit any predetermined message.

That's how we will keep our journalists safe. That's how we will reestablish respect for a profession whose uninvited masters have squandered it. We will earn it back, by making reporting about news, and not about information management.

And until we do those things? We can expect whistles from protesters drowning-out anything anyone says that they may find disagreeable. We can expect some other crazed nut job to turn a car into a deadly weapon and maim and kill people because the driver is distraught over being exposed to a message that isn't theirs. We can expect gun violence as a means of horrifically unacceptable expression by those who are resolved to express their displeasure at someone else's message.

We must base our society on tolerance, and steadfastly maintain willingness to hear and listen to views that are not ours. Then we can be ready to think and consider. And then we will demand our journalists facilitate it.

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That's all for now.

We'll be back again soon with music news and more "News of the Non-Trumpcentric Universe." (c)

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LEGALESE, CONTACTING US, 'N SUCH...

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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CONTACT US -- Post Comments / Send Questions / say Howdy at:

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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.
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The Acoustic Americana Music Guide. Thanks for sittin' a spell. The cyber porch'll be here anytime you come back from the road.

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Meteors, Music, and News that Really Matters. -- Fri, Aug 10 2018 edition


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This weekend, the annual Perseid Meteor Shower hits its peak. It's especially good this year. It'll be at its best Sunday night. If you can find a place that's dark, where the sky isn't filled with light pollution or blocked by fire smoke, you'll see more shooting stars than you can count.

That's not all. The planet Mars came closer to Earth than any time in the last 15 years, back on July 31, and it still looks big and bright. The Red Planet -- which looks orange because of the smoke in our atmosphere -- won't be as close again until 2035. So you get a free bonus, just for looking up.
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There are a few good live music events this weekend, and we've got them here for you, plus a ticket alert, following this intro.
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Then we get to some news. Starting with some MUSIC NEWS and other shorts.

Then our feature story.

So why do we presume it's okay to look at news, beyond music news, on our cyber pages?

Weeeell,

"If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It's lethal."

-- Red Steagall, quoting "an old vaquero saying."

More to the point, did you know this?

From 1940 to 2010, the US interfered in 81 elections in 45 countries. That does not take into account the coups d'etats we have perpetrated, nor does it show anything of the past eight years. These figures were determined in a rather thorough Carnegie-Mellon University study.

See our point? When have you seen corporate mainstream media mention that in their daily diatribe-with-no-evidence about "election interference"-?
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As for the feature story?

We can be smartasses and tell you that it's "News of the non-Trumpcentric Universe," because it is. And frankly, with corporate mainstream media fixated on the Trumpian singularity to the exclusion of 'purt near everything else, there's PLENTY we could cover that's important in the world.

Yep, important, though there's a hefty list of things corporate Big Media won't talk about, at all, or that it contextualizes to the point of minimalization that allows dismissal from the singularity of "the narrative."

Things like:

Clandestine military and intelligence community bases to facilitate clandestine wars; dozens of active drone wars; proxy wars in which US weapons are killing civilians and causing people to face disease epidemics and mass starvation; and blockades of ports that prevent food and medical supplies from reaching children who die as a result.

And then there are all the reasons why mainstream media won't "out" itself by touching those issues. Those include: the integration of wealth with power that co-opts high tech and provides development capital for runaway data gathering, which puts golden chains on tech giants and addicts them into the military-industrial-cybersecurity complex; and the role of broadcast Big Media's number-one advertiser, Big Pharma, in enriching itself by integrating with the Pentagon's endless redeployments of traumatized troops who are thrown out and given addictive drugs when they become too damaged to deploy again.

And there's the underlying, puppetmaster role of Wall Street and the cynical profit-taking of the banksters who exploit everybody and everything.

And the dozens of other issues that are defining our nation and our time on this Earth without anyone noticing, because they don't report it -- or if they do, they intentionally give it low visibility to minimize the impact.

And we didn't even get to the fact that the science of global warming and measurable impacts of climate change get no daily reinforcement with empirical verification to get the entire human race to demand an end to fossil fuels, extractive economies, and unsustainable economic practices.

Huh, we still didn't include the fact that no one in corporate mainstream media ever notes that arts and music education that used to be for every student in all of our schools is now, at best, the province of the few. Those few who qualify for S.T.E.A.M program schools with their "special emphasis" on Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Math. And arts were shoehorned into what had been STEM schools that required special funding. Just to provide what taxpayer's dollars used to enable every school to have for every student.

Hence, we are compelled to serially resurrect Andy Rooney's old question: Why is that?

Because with all that, and plenty more that corporate-paradigm "news" neglects, there are lots of topics, including too damn many critically important, media-neglected places we could go.

This time around, we chose something you'll see as our feature story. It's a rather expansive consideration of the future, as it relates to the contextualized coverage of events happening this very weekend. And it's something that effects and affects whether we can hope to return to a society with civil discourse and Constitutional rights. Those are two things that are slipping away rapidly, things we used to take for granted. Not anymore. We look at why, and what it means.
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Let's get started!
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LIVE MUSIC THIS WEEKEND...

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Saturday, August 11
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Sat, Aug 11:
Time tba - WHISKEY SUNDAY plays  the Celtic Arts Center concert series at the Mayflower Club, 11110 Victory Bl, North Hollywood, CA 91606
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Sat, Aug 11:
Noon & 2 pm - LA VICTORIA plays their Mexican folk music for the summer weekend music series at the Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N Sepulveda Bl, Los Angeles, CA 90049; 310-440-4578.
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Sat, Aug 11, ON TV:
3-4 pm - "JOHNNY CASH MUSIC FESTIVAL" on RFD-TV, runs as an episode of the "Gaither Gospel Hour" series. But don't let that scare you off. There are performances by Kris Kristofferson, Rosanne Cash, John Carter Cash, George Jones, Dailey & Vincent, and more. We've seen it already. Lots packed into an hour.
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Sat, Aug 11:
7 pm - TALL MEN GROUP, that ensemble of accomplished performing songwriters, plays the Coffee Gallery Backstage, 2029 N Lake Av, Altadena, CA 92675; reservations by phone only, 10 am-10 pm, 7 days, at 626-798-6236.
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Sat, Aug 11:
8 pm - PHIL SALAZAR & THE KINFOLK play Russ and Julie’s House Concerts in Oak Park (Agoura Hills/Westlake Village area). Reservations get directions, at 818-707-2179 or by email to rsvp@houseconcerts.us
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Sat, Aug 11:
8 pm - MIKE OSBORN, plus BOBBY BLUEHOUSE & THE ABC ALL-STARS play the Arcadia Blues Club, 16 E Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA; http://www.arcadiabluesclub.com
* MIKE OSBORN is billed as a "Bay Area sensation."
* advance tix online always save substantially over door price.
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Sat, Aug 11:
8 pm - EL VEZ plus PHRANC play the "Grand Performances" free summer concert series outdoors at California Plaza, atop Bunker Hill at 350 S Grand Av, Los Angeles, CA 90071; 213-687-2020.
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Sat, Aug 11:
8 pm - THE SONORAN DOGS play Boulevard Music, 4316 Sepulveda Bl, Culver City, CA 90230; 310-398-2583.
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Sat, Aug 11:
8 pm - JAMES INTVELD plus BRIAN WHELAN play the concert hall in back of McCabe’s Guitar Shop, 3101 Pico Bl, Santa Monica, CA 90405; 310-828-4497.
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Sat, Aug 11:
8 pm - PETER FELDMANN & THE VERY LONESOME BOYS bring their traditional and modern bluegrass to their favorite venue, the Santa Ynez Valley Grange Hall, 2374 Alamo Pintado Av, Los Olivos, CA 93441; 805-688-9894.

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Sunday, August 12:
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Sun, Aug 12, FESTIVAL:
Noon - "JAZZ IN THE PINES FESTIVAL" with multiple stages of music, including Lisa Haley & The Zydecats on the French Market Stage, 52500 Temecula Rd, Idyllwild, CA 92549
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Sun, Aug 12:
8 pm - ROY ZIMMERMAN plays the concert hall in back of McCabe’s Guitar Shop, 3101 Pico Bl, Santa Monica, CA 90405; 310-828-4497.
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Sun, Aug 12:
9 pm - THE SALTY SUITES play Seven Grand, 515 W 7th St #200, Los Angeles, CA 90014.

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TICKET ALERT...
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Fri, Sep 14:
8 pm - ANDY & RENEE & HARD RAIN play "The Music of Carole King's Tapestry" in a special performance at the Grand Annex in San Pedro.
* The South Bay's favorite folk-rockers (named "Best Band" several years in the annual local poll) return with their band Hard Rain for a tribute to Carole King's multi-platinum album, Tapestry.
*  This'll sell-out. Don't dawdle.

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NEWS ITEMS...

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news short # 1...


Two Anniversaries in Music, and Context


One of two...

Belinda Carlile's first band, the Go-Go's, are celebrating their 40th anniversary together. The first all-female band to write all their own hit songs and play all their own instruments recently took the stage on Broadway to play with the cast of the hit musical that uses their million-seller songs. The band's milestones and firsts overcame countless door-slams from big music execs. And that's never quite ended. They still aren't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Two of two...

Billy Joel is marking the 40th anniversary of his first hit, "My Life," and his first show at Madison Square Garden in 1978.

A few weeks ago, he played his 100th show at the Garden, having performed a monthly residency there and selling-out every one of those appearances since January 2014 -- 54 straight shows, over two million tickets, most with guest stars. His 100th show featured Bruce Springsteen.

Billy Joel has written 33 top 40 hits, and on the other side of things, he has experienced drinking binges and depression.

But he'll tell you to never underestimate the power of another artist. He found a Neil Diamond quote that he says enabled him to turn things around:

"I've forgiven myself for not being Beethoven."

How many of us, in striving to be the best "me," are actually trying to achieve the impossibility of being someone else?

Along the way, many of Billy Joel's songs that were not hits at the time have become standards. That includes "Piano Man," an audience favorite that he now plays, by long-standing audience demand, at every one of his gigs, large or small.

Billy will admit he's not crazy about his first Grammy winner, "Just the Way You Are," because he wrote it for the woman who was his wife at the time.

Joel maintains the same comfortable honesty that a friend describes him having when they met before he was famous. Then, "Piano Man" was new, and just hit the radio. He played it because three people asked him to, and they were the only ones there, between sound check and the doors opening for the show.

That earned him three new fans who have followed him ever since.

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news short # 2...


Are We in a Post-Rock Era?


A friend and I were swapping text messages about music.

I noted that a lot of late is passing for rock, with dubious claims to the genre.

He said, "As long as there's 'Classic Rock,' rock isn't dead."

That bothered me. Without all the context, you may have trouble figuring why, but... I saw it as an assumption like Humphrey Bogart's line to beautiful young Ingrid Bergman, that "We'll always have Paris."

So I replied to him.

"Weeeell, I have a qualifier to that. Most 'classic rock' radio has a playlist with about 350 songs in heavy rotation, and another 150 or so in light rotation. And that's it. The same 500 tunes. Over and over, ad infinitum and ad nauseum. So anybody who wasn't alive at the time has no idea what 'aor' (album-oriented-rock) was.

It's like saying Bethoven's Fifth was all his music anybody needs to know. As if his Ninth, with 'Ode to Joy,' didn't matter.

So the Eagles are 'Hotel California,' but never again will they be 'Midnight Flyer.' John Fogerty is 'Proud Mary,' unless that's assigned to Ike Turner. But Fogerty and Creedence will never again be 'Put a Candle in the Window.'

Chuck Berry is only 'Johnny B. Goode.'

You get my point. Real rock in its heyday was a rich stewpot. Now, what passes for a representation of it has become compressed, condensed, minimalized, trivialized, and to someone under 40, it's just a limited litany of the same-ol', same-ol' that's been done to death and they just don't wanna hear it anymore.

Which is a profound shame. Because, just for one of the many reasons? That current pathetic thudding that's accepted as music needs to be put up against the drum solos of Iron Butterfly's "In a Gadda da Vida," and Rare Earth's "Get Ready." (Along with drum maestro Gene Krupa from the Big Band era.)

I know, that sounds like Get off of my lawn. But I'm really arguing against one-size-fits-all mass-market corporate-dominated, short-attention-span-dictated, post modern cultureless culture.

But in terms of music in general and real rock in particular? I argued, at the rate we're going with non-human generated electrocution electronica, that in 30 years, only a few music wonks will want to know about rock's legends and their music, on par with society's portion of fans of Tchaikovsky.

I relinquished the soapbox, but he hasn't jumped back in yet. Feel free to send us your comment.

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news short # 3...


A Very Brady Real Estate Bonanza


The Brady Bunch house from the TV show is a real home in Studio City. It went up for sale in July. It still looks very 1970s. The big difference? The asking price was close to two million dollars, and the buyer, HGTV, spent an unknown but substantially greater amount than that to beat singer Lance Bass.

The price when it last sold in 1973? $60,000.

One more proof there is no affordable housing anymore in L.A.
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news short # 4...


Politeness


A CBS "Sunday Morning" feature story began with the results of a poll: are people more polite or less polite now than five years ago? 6% said more polite. 69% said less polite.

They had a still photo of a little child holding a handmade sign: "Make America Kind Again."

Constitutional lawyer Alan Dershowitz appeared in the piece: "Civility is the basis for dialog."

He went on to criticize the notion that "in these times, we must" do something we would otherwise find repugnant. "In these times, we must incarcerate Japanese Americans, in these times, we must -- what? There is nothing extraordinary about 'these times' that justifies treating our fellow citizens badly."

The same show did a feature on comic Sebastian Manescalco. His routine is based on exasperation with modern life, from intrusive selfies to man caves.

No, not the angry exasperation of a Lewis Black. Manescalco has a gentler approach.

Of his material, he says, "I don't even have to write it."

Manescalco's three HBO specials have been based on his free range observations of absurdities, and on his life moments from his Italian family. Of which he says, "I couldn't rip them to shreds on stage if I didn't love them."

Hmmm. Civility, and love. Not exactly the themes you see very often in America's mainstream media.

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news short # 5...


If Mainstream Media Keeps You Informed, then How Come...


So. How many Americans would have any idea what you're talking about if you cite the culpability for income disparity and name the neo-feudalists, oligopolists, and the kakistocracy?

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NEWS FEATURE...


Add Charlottesville to Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Shiloh -- a Battlefield of the New Civil War


by Larry Wines

This Sunday, Charlottesville, Virginia, will again surrender its identity. A genuinely chilling, downright creepy gathering is descending on Washington, DC, and will partly reprise in Charlottesville.

The event is called "Unite the Right 2." The name is seemingly benign. Its participants and their purpose are not. Their gathering is inclusive of a nationwide self-selected swarm of malconents, social misfits, and advocates who believe their ilk should rule by privileged entitlement with no regard for knowledge, science, facts, or the rights of others. Whether all are zealots, they are there to hear and to cheer the zealots of their proclaimed movement.

We know that because they showed us who they are, the first time they did this, one year ago, in Charlottesville.

Thus, the news of the day and the consciousness of our time will be impacted by yet another polarizing presence in the nation's capital -- and its dangerous sideshow in historic, charming Charlottesville.

And once more the shady green mountain home of the University of Virginia, with its iconic buildings designed by Thomas Jefferson, will teeter on the brink. While the city of Charlottesville issued no permit for a gathering this time, they acknowledge knowing that it's coming. And they have greenlighted its participants to carry handguns.

The raw wounds are reopened.

32-year-old Heather Heyer was murdered while protesting the "Unite the Right" gathering one year ago in Charlottesville. She was in a group that was mowed down by a maniac, a driver deliberately using a car as a weapon of mass destruction.

When exactly the same thing happened in France and Britain, we called it terrorism. But when a right-wing whacko does it here, it somehow does not qualify as  terrorist act.

More than a dozen others were seriously injured. The driver, there in the uniting of ideologies, turned words being shouted into the most blatant of violent manifestations.

The victims of that driver shared only one thing with what they were protesting -- they had come from across the nation. As one in the group of counter-demonstrators, Heather Heyer was there  to stand against what had become a massive gathering of white supremacists, Ku Klux Klansmen, actual latter-day Nazis, and allied neo-nazis.

It was all supposed to be about something else. Suddenly, the public debate over Civil War statues and monuments in public spaces was hijacked.

The "Unite the Right" rally revealed itself. It was taking advantage and exploiting an excuse. It was all about uniting cadres of religious bigots, machine-gun advocates, and white supremacists. It was about turning tonsils inside out, embracing fear-based values based on hate, and evoking intimidation of anyone and anything different. It was a bizarre and pathetic attempt to reject the multicultural, multiethnic, multi-origin, multiracial reality of America. And as such, it was an un-American gathering.

America's communities never got the chance for a dialog over monuments to history. That was stolen by the gathering storm of hate-driven malcontents, claiming to be the rightful guardians and last hope of putting things as they ought to be.

We need to keep that in mind as we enter this weekend, this one-year-later redux.

It was more than one person, behind the wheel of one car, who was saturated in the fear-based message of hate. It manifested a year ago in one cowardly person, who took protective enclosure inside an automobile to use it as a deadly weapon on an unarmed crowd of protesters.

And we saw, in one horrific moment,  blood and mangled bodies take the place of any hope for dialog and discourse. We saw on our TVs the carnage, in the midst of which, Heather Heyer was dead.

It would be months before the trail of tears of school shootings led to one in Parkland, Florida. The one where its survivors -- other young people, fed-up with growing-up in fear of violence and with mealy-mouthed, bloviating politicians who kowtow to dark forces for campaign cash -- would confront all of us to say, to challenge, and to demand, that this stops here. Those high school students went global with their March for Our Lives. And prominent on their list of "other" reasons why is the one-word item, Charlottesville.

Even before that, Heather Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, had founded the foundation that bears the name of her late daughter. It came about when a quarter-million dollars amassed in online donations to pay for Heather's funeral.

Bro said in an interview with Newsy, "I don't see it as promoting one cause. I see it as promoting a human cause for all of humanity. Anytime anybody is marginalized, we all are."

Last year was the first time that Bro did any public speaking. Now she is sought for the essence of her message and the power of her oratory. That began at Heather's memorial, where her moving speech concluded, "They killed my daughter because they wanted to silence her. Look at all the voices they empowered, that they can't silence now."

Some of us find empowerment in Bro's message, turning scars into stars.

But what awaits this time, in DC and in Charlottesville?

It begs the larger questions: What is ahead for a society where intolerance and shouting and tribal adherence have taken the place of civil discourse?

And, are efforts to silence that which we offensive just as dangerous as their message of intolerance?

A recent poll revealed 56% believe social media should be required to determine what is fake news and to remove it.

Further, 27% of Americans polled believed it would be a good thing if the news were censored by the President.

Dismiss those at your peril. Repeated polls show public distrust, or worse, of the overmerged corporate mainstream media, and general belief that everything is biased. Any time the polls go deeper and ask more, results include statistically significant belief that what we see is deliberately structured in behalf of an agenda that is probably hidden.

Does the removal of Alex Jones' "Infowars" site from Facebook make us safer, or less safe because the next round of censorship may gore our ox?

Does the national Democratic Party's request to Facebook for data on who looks at what news and political sites make us "safe"? Presumably, the corporate Democrats want to know who to target for re-education.

For a party fixated on Russia-Russia-Russia, that revelation is right out of Stalin's playbook.

So, how do we make sense of things, when ones who want  protect us from oppression would themselves oppress us?

We should all start by reading the first ten amendments to the Constitution, to see that it doesn't square with the cybersecurity state.

Mostly, it requires more time than ever before -- and spending that time with non-mainstream media and lots of foreign-based media -- to get respite from the Trumpcentric singularity and gain exposure to the news the rest of the world finds important.

Whatever happens in Charlottesville this time, corporate mainstream media is primed to sensationalize it.  Strife, especially tragedy, will allow purposeful exploitation that enables diversion and distraction while wholly engaging emotion.

And that will result in more cheers when Facebook banishes (and, in the traditions of Argentina and Chile, "vanishes") more contrarians. In the digital world's equivalent of the Egyptians chiseling names off their monuments. Or the Germans burning books with disagreeable content.

Because we shouldn't be expected to tolerate anything with which we disagree. So follow Maxine Waters' admonition and bring whistles to drown-out everything someone else tries to say. If you might find it intolerable, no one else should be allowed to hear it. Or if you forget your whistle, somebody surely brought their car keys.

Insanity isn't contagious without facilitators.

There are groups with positive messages, too. The Heather Heyer Foundation. March for Our Lives. Amnesty International. Doctors Without Borders.

But who and what does corporate mainstream media let us see? CBS chairman Les Moonves infamously told corporate stockholders, "Donald Trump may not be good for America, but he's damn good for CBS."

Now Moonves is the only major corporate head in the past year who remains in power in the face of multiple accusers who say he sexually harrassed them. As a financial wizard, he's damn good for CBS, so rewrite the news agenda. More diversionary outrage. More Trump tweets. More of Jan Brady's Marsha, Marsha, Marsha, as Russia, Russia, Russia.

Diversion. Distraction. Carefully crafted outrage. Give the people what they want -- after you decide for them what that is. And you have plenty of "B" roll to keep reinforcing it. With repetition every hour. On  cult-of-personality cable news show.

Just censor-out anybody who won't reinforce the narrative. Bring the whistle. And the car keys. And  the B-roll.

Welcome to world of seemless integration of perpetual marketing and tastemaking propaganda. Where you celebrate removal of everything outrageous. Or disagreeable. Or annoying. Or -- different from your echo chamber.

There may be a loosely defined movement calling itself "The Resistance," but it seems woefully unprepared to protect the First Amendment. Or to investigate voter disenfranchisement, vote fraud, putting the fix in the 2016 primary elections, or the lack of a paper trail in states that use the most widespread voting machines.

Or perhaps that's more consistent with wanting all the demographic data from Facebook for voting-age users, matched with a list of political and news sites viewed and how long and how often each of us looks at whatever we look at.

Democrats who lead that party can tell you plenty of other things (not just what, but who) they're against. But they're not against corporate control of our lives. And they can't manage to tell you, in any comprehensive, coherent way, what they're for.


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That's all for now.

We'll be back again soon with music news and more "News of the Non-Trumpcentric Universe." (c)

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LEGALESE, CONTACTING US, 'N SUCH...

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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CONTACT US -- Post Comments / Send Questions / say Howdy at:

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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.
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The Acoustic Americana Music Guide. Thanks for sittin' a spell. The cyber porch'll be here anytime you come back from the road.

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Music on TV Update: Monday & Tuesday. Aug 6 & 7 2018 edition

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24 HOURS OF HAROLD LLOYD! Who's Harold Lloyd? Check the first Tuesday listing -- you'll be glad you did!

Let's jump right in. If you're going out for the evening, you'll want to set the recording device.

If you're stuck at home, it's a good time for what the video purveyors are offering.

Either way, we've got ya covered.
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All times PDT; broadcast times in Southern California.
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Monday, August 6, through Tuesday Morning, Aug. 7, on TV...

6:30-7 pm - "Stories from the Stage" airs "Road Trip" (S 1, ep 19, 2018). Melissa Ferrick tells about the night she opened for Bob Dylan. On PBS World, antenna, cable, satellite.

7-7:30 pm - "Visiting with Huell Howser" airs a 2001 visit to the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, CA. On KCET, antenna, cable, web, satellite.

7:30-8 pm - "Music Voyager" airs "Atlanta's Stage" (S 8, ep 1, 2017). One of the rare American music/arts editions of this show, which is usually involved with some kind of "world" music. On KLCS, antenna, cable, satellite.

9-10 pm - "Backstage Pass" airs a 2018 episode (S 8, ep 6) with Bobby Murray, guitarist for Etta James, as he pays tribute to the legendary blues artist at "Michigan Bluesfest." On KLCS, antenna, cable, satellite.

10-11 pm - "Allison Krauss & Union Station" in a 2012 concert. Good sound, lighting, camera work. On AXS TV.

11 pm-midnight - "Three Girls and their Buddy" is Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin and master musician Buddy Miller, in a concert recorded during their tour. On AXS TV.

After midnight...

3-3:30 am - "The Dailey and Vincent Show" airs a 2018 edition titled "Country Music Hall of Fame and More" with Statler Brother Jimmy Fortune. On RFD TV.

3-4 am - "Backstage Pass" (S 5, ep 11, 2014) brings a performance by the Lowdown Brass Band. On KLCS, antenna, cable, satellite.

3:30-4 am - "Presley's Country Jubilee" airs a 2017 edition from Branson, MO. On RFD TV.

4-4:30 am - "Best of the Marty Stuart Show" from 2012, with Stuart Duncan, five-time ACM Fiddle Player of the year and principal in the Nashville Bluegrass Band. On RFD TV.
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Tuesday morning, Aug. 7:

All day Tuesday - "Harold Lloyd Silent Movie Classics" run from 3 a.m. to 3 a.m. (okay, the last two are talkies).
* Precious little from 90 years ago speaks to us today like the roles of Harold Lloyd. Often, his characters begin the story as privileged bumblers, made oblivious by inherited wealth. Then Lloyd, and the audience, through his experiences, find realization, whether as process or ephiphany. He does not remain distant from hard working or even desperately poor folks, but without reservation, he interacts with them on a human level because it's what you do when you are human. One wonders what influence his films had in an America that did not know it was on the verge of the crushing Great Depression. Certainly, you need to turn to the speeches of FDR to hear the same reiteration that everyone is worthy of friendship, of understanding, of another chance to contribute to making things better for all.
* Mostly, the realizations come when Lloyd's character finds love. And without pre-nuptial agreements or the family oligarch sabotaging things to protect the affluent blood line, Lloyd's joie de vivre asserts that economic circumstances mean nothing. There are the first cinematic elements of the Horatio Alger ethic, so important in 19th century American literature. But the stronger theme is always Lloyd showing the way to being your brothers' and sisters' benefactor. And it comes without any need for the kind of "Look at ME!" grandstanding that characterizes today's philanthropy. This is human showing how to be human. And while couched in plenty of slapstick humor, it is touching, endearing, and it remains a guide to finding a fulfilling, happy life -- one based on making a difference.
* If that sounds overdrawn, just catch a few of these films, which include plenty of examples of superior storytelling.
* All of these are beautifully restored films from the 1920s, starring the original comic genius of film. And remember, "silent" films aren't silent at all -- they're a perfect demonstration of matching music to mood, emotion, action, bliss, peril, and everything else.
* Harold Lloyd mixed subtle reactions with physical comedy on a grand scale. And he did it all when film was a new medium, and there were NO special effects or stunt doubles.
* So, when you see Harold Lloyd dangling by one hand from the ledge of a six-storey building? Or hanging by the hands of a clock 70 feet up, with the Pacific Electric Red Cars whizzing by far below? Or somehow escaping death when a speeding steam locomotive demolishes his pre-Model T car?
* You are really seeing Harold Lloyd in exactly those hazardous, death-defying predicaments.
* Sure, the same era produced his wonderfully talented contemporaries -- Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Douglas Fairbanks, Clara Bow, William S. Hart, and others whose names most people know better than his. But Harold Lloyd was one of a kind, and no one else topped what he could do.
* Catch some of this, or record it. Recommendation, if you can only catch one? "Safety Last," from 1923, which runs 5-6:30 p.m. This magical time machine, an anthology of Lloyd's best work, screens for 24 hours on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) on cable or satellite.

9:20-11 am - "Shania Twain - Still the One" is a recorded live concert with a 13-piece band from 2013 at Caesar's Palace in Vegas. On AXS TV.

Noon-1 pm - John Mellancamp is The subject on "The Big Interview with Dan Rather" (S 6, ep 7, 2018). On AXS TV.

All day Tuesday - "Harold Lloyd Silent Movie Classics" continue, running from 3 a.m. Tues. to 3 a.m. Wed. (See the first Tuesday listing, above.)
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The Guide waives our copyright for this edition. Feel free to share, so folks'll know there are alternatives to corporate mainstream media's obsession with Chicken Little singularities.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Appalachian mountain music in "Shadows of Endurance," documentary short film on TV, web, & your phone, Wed. & Thu. - Aug 1 2018 edtn

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Homemade Appalachian mountain music as the joyful soundtrack of a tough life in harder times

"Shadows of Endurance" is a short, compelling, 22-minute documentary film that airs on TV, the web, and your phone, Wed. & Thu.

It's spent the last two years gaining acclaim on the international film festival circuit, including winning the Audience Prize in November 2017 at the On the Road FIlm Festival of Rome.

by Lawrence Wines

Most of our readers revel in Appalachian mountain music. It's the fiddle- and banjo-driven roots music descended from pioneers' old world roots with inducted influences from all who passed through or settled there. It gave birth to bluegrass, influenced the blues, lent founding influence to country music (before that became insufferable pop with a fah-ke tew-wang), and it formed a centerpiece for what came to be known as Americana music.

It's prominently featured in "Shadows of Endurance," centering on Harlan County, Kentucky. It's a compelling documentary by a talented Italian team, led by filmmaker Diego Scarponi. It makes brilliant use of a huge amount of on-camera oral histories collected and recorded by Italian author Alessandro Portelli over his 30 years of field research.

The film sees itself as a sequel to the three decades of work that produced Portelli's landmark book, "They Say in Harlan County," which examined life in coal-mining-based communities in that era, before alternatives of clean energy were a factor. The book was published in English in 2011 by Oxford Press.

The film, like the music which weaves through it, operates expansively. So it's about a legacy of life that isn't easy, where the happy memories included tending the still up the hollar, possum hunting in the deep woods, and fishing along the natural network of rivers and streams that wind circuitously through America's Eastern mountains.

Of course, life there has long been inextricably tied to the dark and dusty life of the underground miner, to the fortunes of coal prices, deadly accidents, the salvation of mine safety regulation when it's enforced, and the tension between those expecting decent wages in return for risking their lives, and mine owners who seek riches.

In the recent decades since the book, coal mining is more about a narrative of fewer jobs with conversion to surface mining. And that is based on mountain-top removal that leaves widespread desecration of the mountains' natural beauty, changing geography, geology, hydrology, agriculture and human culture forever. It's a form of mining that poisons the water with runoff of rain through millions of tons of mine spoils.

Any look at the region today is inescapably about the decline of "king coal."

Mining and all its support industries were once the essential employer. The miners' slice of the pie brought bustling little cities, like Harlan, Kentucky. Coal mining brought the benevolent economic tyranny of company-owned towns with company-owned stores, and hamlets around every mine opening where everybody knew everybody, and joys and sorrows were shared.

In just two decades, other forms of energy -- including those envisioned 40 years ago by Jimmy Carter during his presidency -- have finally arisen and gained market dominance. Wind and solar have become more economical than coal, and an energetic American public demands sustainable and clean power.

Which all conspires to leave behind a declining number of coal-country residents who lack the means to move on. But they remain people capable of changing the world, as they showed in their rejection of Hillary Clinton, who pledged to "Close ALL the coal mines!"

People there look upon deserted main streets bounded with closed storefronts. They live in towns where there is no market to re-sell whatever they worked hard to own.

And through it all, some of them take refuge in playing the traditional music they've known for generations.

The film covers a lot of ground, in the words -- and the music -- of the residents themselves.

Despite many folks in Harlan being too proud to express it openly, much of the population lives in severe economic distress. Some are in abject poverty. Older people are trapped on pittance pensions that wouldn't pay rent anywhere else. Younger -- and not so young -- people struggle with patchworks of far-flung low-paying jobs with no benefits.

Of course that paragraph-full of characteristics are becoming a widespread economic reality throughout America. They've been profoundly true, for decades, in Appalachia. In Kentucky, West Virginia, and the surrounding region, decline and decay may be the prototype for times to come, even where primary employment was never based on mining or a mineral extraction economy. As wealth extraction exacerbates with tax cuts, tax breaks for an elite class of wealth manipulators, landlords, and kleptocrats, a gutted Appalachia with declining resources may portend America's future. Even in California.

That transcends the film, but it gives it immediacy for a wider audience.

In Harlan, growing wealth is the province of a declining few. Wealth redistribution there -- and since the crash of '08, throughout America --  has been about middle-class wealth moving into upper-class hands. The debt of the elite, from playing casino on Wall Street, trickles-down to become the debt of the masses. In so many ways, our debt and our liability drains our labors into black holes of astronomical credit card interest, while offering no access to the other end of interest rates that would encourage saving from meager wages.

In Appalachia, a gutted economy and damned few opportunities are a reality that seems inescapable.

Yet the human spirit, there, as everywhere, finds simply joys in making music.

Harlan, Kentucky, epitomizes all that.

The film contains plenty of vignettes for context. But it is not a nostalgic historical tome. It portrays modern realities, including how prescribed opiods have produced rampant addiction and drug-related crime in a place where everyone used to leave their doors unlocked.

The film's trailer notes, "These people are survivors of a life disappearing before their eyes."

Still, the empowerment of the music is as palpable for viewers as it is for those who find renewed resilience in playing it.

Wednesday and Thursday, August 1st and 2nd, the 22-minute film airs and repeats several times over the two days.

Just tune-in to RT America's listings and look for the daily "Documentary." 

It's available free as streaming simulcast online and on many TV, cable and satellite packages, and on several online TV services -- including free on RT's own website, and free with a few viewing options at the online free Pluto TV.

Online -- and ON YOUR PHONE -- you can either:

a) find the correct tabs for RT America and "watch live" during one of the TV simulcasts, after you go to www.RT.com

Or,

b) go to https://pluto.tv/ and find RT America, subect to the RT broadcast schedule there.

The listings simply simply say "Documentary" on most cable systems' on-screen guides; coverage of major news events does alter airtimes of topical programming. That said, these are the Scheduled airtimes.

Wednesday -- West Coast, US, Pacific Daylight Time (PDT):

3:29-4 am, 8:29-9 am, 2:30-3 pm, 4:31-5 pm, 9:29-10 pm.

Thursday (PDT):

3:29-4 am, 8:29-9 am, 2:29-3 pm, 4:31-5 pm, 10:29-11 pm.

Highly recommended.
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The Guide waives our copyright on this short edition, provided reprint / republication keeps the complete content intact and the source is cited as "Acoustic Americana Music Guide."
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