Global climate change brought Australia's record high temperatures and record drought. Now Australia's fires are accelerating global climate change. Even as politicians take money from corporate ("corpirate") climate change causer/deniers, and engage in bloviating distractions, obfuscations -- and anything they can think of to keep you from holding their feet to the very literal fire.
The Guide's latest roundup of events, published December 21st and updated almost continuously since then, is a click away, here.
Here's THIS edition as originally published...
Here's our Guide to NEW YEAR'S EVENTS in (or tangent to) the sphere of Acoustic and Americana music and sensibilities. It's also our look at a year ending and the opportunity of a year ahead, with a perspective on history, human achievement vs. human potential, and science and the arts vs. bs and baloney.
The Guide's compilations of recommended arts events beyond January 1st -- both those ongoing into the New Year (that you can send your holiday guests to do) and as much as we've compiled on concerts and other things coming on specific dates -- are in our final wrap-up of events, published December 21st and updated almost continuously since then.
It's a click away, here.
THOUGHT FOR TODAY from one born on this date...
"An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success..."
-- Henri Matisse, artist (botn Dec 31, 1869, died in 1954).
On this day in 1812 (207 years ago), during the War of 1812, the three-masted, square-rigged sailing vessel USS Constitution captured the larger British warship HMS Java off the coast of Brazil after a three-hour battle. It was one of the first triumphs of "Yankee ingenuity," as the Constitution's radical hull construction functioned as a structural spring that repelled incoming cannonballs. The British navy of the time was considered invincible. Indeed, it was at its zenith as the world's most powerful fleet. But it could not defeat "Old Ironsides," the USS Constitution, which mounted only half as many guns as many of its foes. The American vessel with its secret innovative design went on to victory after victory, sinking or capturing British vessels in every encounter, and using its superior speed to escape any confrontation it could not win.
That now-obscure war would give the fledgling upstart United States of America its international treaty guarantees of permanent national sovereignty. It would also give the young nation a navy and a national anthem.
That last part deserves exploration. Francis Scott Key's poem, "The Defense of Ft. McHenry" -- written by Key when he was a peace envoy being held prisoner aboard a British warship -- was set to the melody of an English beer-drinking pub song, "To Anachreon in Heaven." It was impossible to sing sober. It pretty much still is. You know it as "The Star-Spangled Banner."
The remains of the flag in the song can be seen in the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. A full-sized replica is raised daily by tourist volunteers who are directed through the unfurlment and hoisting of the huge flag by the National Park Service at Ft. McHenry in Baltimore harbor. And the USS Constitution, in Boston harbor and crewed by active-duty US Navy sailors, continues as the world's oldest warship still afloat.
150 years ago today, the newly-completed first transcontinental railroad was getting its first test of winter operability, over the California High Sierra and the Great South Pass of the Rockies on Wyoming's Sherman Hill, after the driving of the Golden Spike seven months earlier, in May of 1869.
Seventy-five years ago today the Nazis last desperate offensive effort to prolong World War II, the Battle of the Bulge, was still being beaten back by the counterattacking American army in December, 1944.
Fifty years ago today, NASA was readying Apollo 13 for launch, having successfully completed the first human landings on another celestial body with Apollo 11 in July and Apollo 12 in November of 1969.
Compared with that deep dive into the past, and its seismic echoes? On this final day of the year, there's not very much that's good to remember about 2019.
The most enduring thing 2019 leaves behind is an "IF."
Oh, that "if" will be THE "key" moment of 2019 -- and of our time -- IF the political, social, economic, and thought leaders will allow, in the words of the psalmist, "a little child to lead them." And thus allow all of us to share a future worth having on a broken planet that might still be salvaged and repaired. Of course we are talking about Swedish teenager and TIME Magazine "Person of the Year" GRETA THUNBERG. She is potential personified, for the hopes and dreams of her generation and beyond.
As we searched for some sign of hope for that to happen, we found it in the parting words of a fallen leader. Congressman ELIJAH CUMMINGS died in 2019. He loved Baltimore, whose people he represented, and he championed the city as a model of clean, green redevelopment and overcoming social and racial injustices. But let's go back to his transcendent moment, in his very first speech to Congress back in 1996.
There, newly-elected Congressman Cummings recited a 54-word poem. It stirred the soul, bringing rare heartfelt bipartisan cheering from the members of that Congress 23 years ago. It's even more relevant and powerful now. It's been around a while, written by Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, a pioneering civil rights leader who was the president of Morehouse College during the time that Martin Luther King Jr. received his formal education there. (Dr. King always cited Mays as one of his great influences, and Mays gave the eulogy at King's funeral after he was assassinated in 1968.)
Let Congressman Cummings' recitation call you. Let the poem speak to every human heart and mind, through each of us learning and reciting it. Here it is in full, with the comment appended that day by Rep. Cummings:
"I only have a minute.
Sixty seconds in it.
Forced upon me, I did not choose it,
But I know that I must use it.
Give account if I abuse it.
Suffer, if I lose it.
Only a tiny little minute,
But eternity is in it.
And so I join you as we move forward to uplift not only the nation, but the world."
You can watch Rep. Elijah Cummings deliver that poem in his first floor speech to Congress. It's just 46 seconds long.
It's at: pic.twitter.com/yFczcWq9su
Writer Bill Murphy Jr., who cited the poem in company with many others when the congressman died, said, "Of all the many stories I read... about Cummings, who was black, I was most moved by his account of being a young boy, and being attacked by a mob of white people in 1962, for the offense of swimming in a public swimming pool.
"The son of sharecroppers, Cummings attended college and law school, served in the state legislature, and eventually in Congress.
"Thirty years after the pool incident, he said a man apologized to him for having been part of the mob that attacked him at the pool.
"Cummings's response: 'Apology accepted.'
"He used his minute well," concludes Murphy.
May the future say the same of the rest of us. Frankly, it won't because it can't, based on 2019. But we can still change what lies ahead.
NEW YEAR'S MUSIC VID
This was an easy choice for today (and tomorrow). It comes from EMMA'S REVOLUTION, that wonderful festival-fave folk duo of Sandy O & Pat Humphries (who do such good work comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable). Here, in "ANOTHER NEW YEAR," a song Pat wrote and recorded in 2012 for her solo CD, "Hands," we can all find peace in her beautiful vocal and plaintive yet hopeful longing. Learn more about them and keep up with their tour performances here.
Tue, Dec 31, on web radio:
Tue, Dec 31:
Tue, Dec 31; FREE NYE:
7 pm-1 am - Annual "MARINA DEL REY NEW YEAR’S EVE FIREWORKS & GLOW PARTY" presented by the L.A. County Department of Beaches & Harbors at Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey CA 90292
* Includes multiple fireworks:
☆ At 8:59 pm, do a 30-second countdown and view the Times Square ball drop in New York City, followed by a 10-minute fireworks display here.
☆ At 11:59 pm, do another 30-second countdown to celebrate New Year's Eve in Marina del Rey, followed by another ten-minute fireworks display.
* Watch the fireworks spectacle from Burton Chace Park, or across the water from Fisherman’s Village, or from any of the many waterfront restaurants in Marina del Rey. (Picturesque possibilities, people... romance...)
* PARKING: $8 at Lot #77 or Lot #4 on Mindanao Way, but these lots fill-up early; there is a free BEACH SHUTTLE; use the link for more options.
* PARK RULES: NO ALCOHOL, NO SMOKING, NO unpermitted vending/sales in the park (the restaurants offer alcohol).
* More at 424-526-7900, or use the link for info including a click-download flier: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/marina-del-rey-new-years-eve-fireworks-glow-party-tickets-79792458391
* FREE to attend in the park.
Tue, Dec 31; FREE NYE:
8 pm-1 am - annual "GRAND PARK + THE MUSIC CENTER'S N.Y.E.L.A." features two stages of live music, sprawling up the hill above L.A. City Hall, through Grand Park and up onto the Music Center Plaza at 135 N Grand Av, downtown Los Angeles, CA 90012
* For the 7th year, this extravaganza will be the go-to central gathering place for many seeking a high-energy NYE party night in Los Angeles.
* It's also being billed as "the West Coast’s flagship New Year’s celebration."
* Free for all ages and expanded for the first time this year to include The Music Center Plaza.
* This unique civic event brings together Angelenos and visitors from around the globe for -- read carefully -- "L.A.’s biggest music and dance party." If you translated the word "dance" to mean exclusively "urban"/electronica/rap-hop," uhhhhh, uh-huh. That does still leave some latitude in the word "music," so you can find some non-corporate-label-soundalikery there. The lineup does feature cultural diversity. Just be aware of what you're getting into, before you go down there and get mashed into throngs with no easy escape.
* A laser light show -- including countdown graphics projected on City Hall -- is a major part of this, too.
* GO METRO: Metro will operate 24-hour, overnight service on Metro Rail, plus Orange and Silver Lines on New Year’s Eve with free fares from 9 pm 12/31/19 to 2 am 01/01/20.
* METRO tips: the Metro Red/Purple Line subway's Civic Center/Grand Park Station exits directly into Grand Park; but, Pershing Square Station and Union Station are also within walkable distance and will be much less crowded. Plan your trip with human help at 323-GO-METRO (323-466-3876) or robotically at www.metro.net
* SCHEDULES, performers and times; extensive official list of do's and don'ts; local eateries and watering holes; and more: https://nyela.grandparkla.org/
Tue, Dec 31:
8 pm - NEW YEARS EVE w/ YACHTLEY CREW at Discovery Ventura, 1888 E Thompson Bl, Ventura CA 93001; https://www.discoveryventura.com/
* TIX, $35-$45, at: https://www.bigneon.com/tickets/celebrate-nye-with-yachtley-crew-at-discovery-ventura-ventura
Tue, Dec 31, on web radio:
8 pm (Pacific) - "OPRY PRESENTS: BEST OF 2019" simulcast from the home station of the "GRAND OLD OPRY," 650 AM WSM in Nashville Tennessee
* Info and simulcast: www.wsmonline.com
* This is the final repeat.
Wed, January 1, 2020
"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."
-- E.M. Forster, novelist (born Jan 1, 1879, died 1970).
President Abraham Lincoln famously issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. "All persons," Lincoln wrote, "held as slaves within any State in rebellion shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free."
Though this proclamation limited its power and scope to states that were part of the seceded Confederacy, it represented an important step towards freedom and equality for African Americans during the bloody carnage at the height of the Civil War.
This clip from the film, "The Abolitionists," which aired on the PBS series, "The American Experience," shares more about the moment Lincoln announced freedom for some, but not all, of all the enslaved. Politics has always affected and effected, and sometimes wholly determined, the lives of people who are not part of the power elite. Welcome to 2020.
2020 will be a crossroads for human societies, planetary ecosystems, and whether science and intellect -- or superstitution, innuendo and fear -- will prevail. We can all be sure that the coming year's realities will be enough to make all the breathless headlines seem second-tier, at best. An impeachment trial, possibly sabotaged. Rancorous primary elections. Corporacracy vs. Democracy for conyrol of everything, starting with public opinion. The certainty of shenanigans -- including in caucuses that determine party nominees -- by desperate partisan establishment types and their corporatist funders.
It is an absolute certainty that we will see shockingly unprecedented amounts poured into manufacturing public opinion, in arenas old and new. Especially in the still-new, already big-bucks, no-fact-checks marketplace of spyware-laden, predictive-analytics-exploitation, clandestine-cash-extraction-machine of social media; and of course in all the old places where persuasive lies profitably prevail to buy election outcomes. And that stuff will continue all year, through the general election in November.
There are things awaiting us that are as necessary as a root canal, things we must get past to reach what really matters. Things like overcoming all money cleverly spent on Climate Change denial by oligarchs employing psychological warfare masters, as the world burns.
Planetary desertification is expanding. Ocean fisheries are shrinking. Wildly destructive weather events are becoming more normal. Waves of climate refugee migrants will continue overwhelming national borders and global relief agencies. Racism, misogyny, sexism, age discrimination, health care access, prescription drug costs, gasoline prices, new car costs, jobs that offer benefits, and voter obstruction, are all trending in alarming directions.
Social media will keep "trending" us beneath avalanches of anesthetizing bs, and purport to rescue us with distraction mechanisms of lie-driven outrage. Skyrocketing housing costs will keep increasing homelessness among us as the number of landlords gets smaller and grows richer. More college grads who can't use their education to benefit society will be disillusioned because crushing student debt means, instead, they must do what compensates well enough to pay-off those debts by the time they're 40.
And sadly, all these things are guaranteed to happen whether or not the Wall Street bankster/ manipulators -- together with exploitive rulers of desperate nations -- keep finding ways to increase their bloated fortunes. All, while Rome, and everyplace else, burns.
On this day in 2002, the Euro became the new common currency of twelve nations. With it, the seeds of Brexit were planted, as Frankfurt banksters got the upper hand, displacing centuries of dominance by London banksters.
NEW YEAR'S MUSIC VID
This was an easy choice for today (in fact, we repeat it from yesterday). It comes from EMMA'S REVOLUTION, that wonderful festival-fave folk duo of Sandy O & Pat Humphries (who do such good work comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable). Here, in "ANOTHER NEW YEAR," a song Pat wrote and recorded in 2012 for her solo CD, "Hands," we can all find peace in her beautiful vocal and plaintive yet hopeful longing. Learn more about them and keep up with their tour performances here.
* At 11 am at VASQUEZ ROCKS NATURAL AREA & NATURE CENTER, 10700 W Escondido Canyon Rd, Santa Clarita CA 91390 (off the 14 Fwy, well north of Santa Clarita), a 4+ mi hike hosted by "Trailmothers and Trek Kids" is a "Leave-No-Trace" hike, learning experience, and trail cleanup. It departs from the Nature Center; questions or concerns, email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 818-271-1677
Wed, Jan 1:
2 pm-6 pm - 9th annual "NEW YEARS DAY PARTY POT LUCK & JAM SESSION" at American Legion Post 311, 44355 40th St E, Lancaster CA 93535
* We found a NEW YEAR'S JAM SESSION and it comes with a "Yeeee haw!" and invitation to all.
* It's hosted by "Moldy Marvin," who says, "Musicians: Bring your God given talent and your instruments and we‘ll rock the house! Bass Amp, Drums and Sound System Will be Provided. For the rest of my Friends & Neighbors, come on out and share the love, we’ll kick out the old, bring in the new and do this thing up right on this festive day!"
* Those whose devices are infested with Facebook spyware can find more at: www.facebook.com/events/2254576718172810/
* Also features a song-and-dance routine by the Charlie Brown and Snoopy troupe from Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park CA.
* Recorded Sun, Dec 29, 2019 at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.
* Great reviews, many music luminaries taking part, from Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris to Jackson Browne.
THOUGHT FOR TODAY from one born on this date...
"Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right."
-- Isaac Asimov, scientist and writer (born Jan 2, 1920, died 1992).
For events we've reported for Thursday and beyond, go to
It's a click away, here.
WE'LL ANNOUNCE OURS, RIGHT HERE,
IN A DAY OR TWO.
in the works, and they'll be along as we get them
dressed, shoes tied, cowlicks combed down,
bowties cranked straight, and strings tuned.
of a new decade...
"Hee Haw" voice: "THAT's all!"