Skip to main content

The Chris Chandler Show

  • Muse and Whirled Retort Archives 2005

    The Muse and Whirle Retort May 2005

    The Muse and Whirle Retort May 2005
    The Muse and Whirled Retort

    Volume 6 Issue 8

    May, 1 2005

    New York City

    To subscribe to this news letter click here

    Want to buy an advance copy of the new CD  "American Storyteller?"  

    click here and I will send you one as soon as it is finished!

    Coming soon:  Gettysburg, PA;  New York, NJ; Washington, DC; Baltimore; Ashland, OR; Portland, OR; Eugene, OR; Seattle, WA; Olympia, WA; Tacoma, WA; Bellingham, WA; Victoria, BC, Cumberland, BC,

    Port Townsend, WA; Vashon Island, WA MORE!

    To buy my CDs click here

    And now!. . .

    T.H.E. .M.U.S.E. .A.N.D. .W.H.I.R.L.E.D. .R.E.T.O.R.T

    Hey Everybody,

    It's that time of the month again.  OK, it is a little early, but sometimes that time of the month

    comes a little early.  I had to send this message a coupla days  in advance this month to let the

    folks in New York City know about the last Saturday of April.  How often do I get a Saturday night

    at 11 in New York City?  Life is good.

    Last month I had a great ride on the April Fools rollercoaster.  This month we have the May Day

    edition.  May Day should be Christmas for progressives.  And besides it's the 100th anniversary of

    the IWW.  What's that you ask - well read on.

    Ya see, I believe in Solidarity.

    I believe in the Easter Bunny, I believe in the tooth fairy, I believe in Santa Claus.  I believe

    that the power of good is greater than that of evil - just not by very much.  

    I believe in the Buddha, Mohamed, Vishnu, Jesus Christ.  I believe in peanut butter.

    I believe that Athena sprang from the head of Zeus, that Atlas held the world on his shoulders,

    though I'm not sure where his feet were at the time.  It is the telling of the tale that makes it


    In 2001, I saw an image of the Virgin Mary on a telephone pole in Miami.  When I pointed it out to

    others, they saw it, too.  A crowd gathered around it.  People stood in awe and began to

    genuflect. (This really happened - I have witnesses!)

    I believe that every picture tells a thousand stories and every story paints a thousand pictures.

    (You do the math.)  

    I believe that photographs, themselves, can speak.  

    In 2004 in Paterson, NJ, I saw a photograph taken in 1913 of 20,000 people gathered around a

    balcony listening to speakers shout their speeches with no sound system. In the far corner of that

    photograph, there is a small child, 8 years old - born in '05.

    That child spoke to me. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "What's a hundred years between


    In 1900 there were not 1900 automobiles or 1900 miles of paved roads to drive them on. In 2000

    there WERE enough miles of paved roads to build a bridge from here to Uranus and enough assholes on

    the road to form a traffic jam.  

    In 1900 it cost two cents to get a letter from Paterson, NJ, to New York City, and it took two

    days for it to get it there. In 2000 it costs 37 cents, and it takes two days for it to get it there.

    But what's a hundred years between friends?  

    This boy was 8 years old.  He still is  - has been since 1913. He reminded me that in 1913

    European imperial powers were about to begin slaughtering each other wholesale with mechanized warfare.  

    It had been only 10 years since the Wright Brothers, and already they were dropping bombs from


    In 1913 the Panama Canal opened, as did Grand Central Station. Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show

    could no longer compete with the new motion-picture industry, and it went bankrupt.  The Wild West

    was over. Richard Nixon was born.

    Women could not vote. The Russian Revolution had not yet happened, but its electricity could be

    felt on the streets of Moscow, Berlin, Madrid, Seattle, and Patterson, NJ. The sound of revolution

    is exactly as loud as the sound of a rumbling stomach.

    The streets of America were frenzied with the of factories. Some claimed automation would lead to

    a reduction in workload. Just like some claim the home computer will reduce our workload today.

    (Have you any idea how long it takes to send the newsletter I would not write if it weren't for


    When the machine gun was invented, people said, "With this weapon, there is no way we would have

    another war. Not with a weapon that could kill hundreds in seconds.  But the imperial powers of

    Europe convinced the poverty-stricken to throw their bodies into the path of mechanized destruction.  

    The boy in the photograph told me that he had lived to see his brothers do just that.  

    In 1913 Henry Ford developed the assembly line for automobiles. That same year, in Seattle,

    mechanized sawmills were turning the great forests of the West into toothpicks.  The state of Washington

    recorded its first mudslide , but dental hygiene was at an all-time high.  That is, until the

    Industrial Workers of the World organized the saw mill workers.  In Akron, OH, rubber workers were on

    strike; in British Columbia, railroad workers. A year earlier the I W W had won the Lawrence, MA,


    In Paterson, NJ, factory owners realized that anyone who could convince someone else to run in

    front of a machine-gun nest deserved a ribbon - and the factories ran 18 hours a day cranking out

    silk and ribbons.  The war to end all wars was in just beginning, and there was no shortage of

    officers needing ribbons. Demand was as high as the profits, but the workers were stretched beyond their

    limit, so the owners introduced a four-loom system that was supposed to lessen the work load - but

    in fact it doubled it. And this was the cigarette that broke the camel's back.  

    Thousands went on strike.  Thousands were arrested, including the boy in the photograph. But there

    is no jail cell strong enough to withstand the rumble of a man's stomach. The jail cells were the

    epicenter of an earthquake felt all the way to New York City. Those tremors caught the attention

    of the IWW, which put together one of the best-organized strikes in history. Rallies were held,

    along with weekly meetings for the strikers.  Well-to-do families in the city offered child care. The

    boy in the photograph lived for three months in the home of Mabel Dodge, a prominent New York

    heiress. Celebrity speakers were brought in. New demands were raised: the eight-hour day, health care.

    Twenty thousand people gathered at once to raise their voices into the air.  

    But for every foot they moved forward, they were pushed back 11 inches. The power of good is

    greater than that of evil - but just barely.  

    More picketers were killed; more were arrested. But no matter how many workers were killed, it was

    the mills that remained dead. And no amount of violence could make them come back to life. The

    only thing that could break that picket line was the mightiest force on earth: the sound of a

    rumbling stomach.  

    Although they had never been hungry a day in their life - it was the Greenwich Village

    intellectuals who realized this first. Food was needed. So, Jack Reed began work on a play. The earthquake

    erupting in Paterson was just a tremor warning of the Ten Days That Shook That World.

    He took that play and it turned it into a fundraiser, though you wouldn't find his name in the

    program.  Big Bill Heywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn spoke, though you wouldn't see their names on

    the marquee.  Famed scenic designer John Sloan created the set, though you wouldn't find his name

    in the credits. No, all you would find would be The Pageant of the Paterson Silk Strike Performed

    by the Workers Themselves.

    In June 1913, Madison Square Gardens was filled to capacity.  The striking workers acted out the

    events. One thousand striking millworkers joined Actors Equity to perform one of the greatest

    moments in American theater: They told their own tale.  The audience cheered with each triumph and

    booed with each setback - no rock concert could re-create the enthusiasm of that crowd. They made

    Woodstock seem like an episode of American Idol.

    The boy in the photograph was there. He was one of the tens of thousands in the audience at the

    end, in standing ovation, fist in the air, singing the Internationale at the top of his tiny lungs.

    The play received overwhelming critical acclaim. To this day, it is considered one of the most

    important moments in modern art. Few performances in human history can match what happened on that

    stage that night. But, like too many great works of art, it lost money.  

    How could it not? Too many people were let in for free. How could they not BE? How can you ask a

    family to pay to see a play their striking father is in? You can't.  The boy in the photograph did

    not pay.  How could he?  

    Without financial support, the general strike began to decay - the workers slowly went back to

    work. Many would say it was the end of the IWW.

    But the truth is, it was only the beginning - at least for their goals.   There is no way to undo

    the jubilation of that crowd - their sentiment was in the air. The songs had been sung and they

    could not be unsung.   There could be no such thing as victory without first there being an

    understanding of defeat.  

    Listen to the blues.  

    If dreams were real, there would be no need for dreams. In a world of no dreams we could only

    dream of dreaming.

    Ya see, the workers may not have gotten everything they asked for - in truth, they went back to

    work under pre strike conditions. BUT their original grievance - the four-loom system was not

    implemented for another decade. AND a few short years later - On March 15, 1917 - Congress enacted what

    the Pageant of the Paterson Strike demanded: the eight-hour day.  

    Three years after that, women could vote.

    There has always been a very fragile bridge between intellectuals and laborers. Intellectuals

    intellectualize millworkers, and weavers weave the clothes of the intellectual - they cannot be the

    same thing.  The bridge is there, but it is fragile.  Few can will make it across.

    Perhaps a play.

    Perhaps a song.  

    Perhaps the photograph of an 8-year-old boy hanging in a museum in Paterson, NJ, can cross that

    bridge. Perhaps 1000 striking workers telling their own tale can cross that bridge. Once it is

    crossed, there is no end to what can be accomplished.  

    It is the telling of the tale that makes it so, just like the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy

    and the greatest story ever told.  

    Happy Mayday!


    H.E.R.S.'.S. . .T.H.E. .A.N.N.O.U.N.C.M.E.N.T.S.

    The new CD!

    I am working on a new full length lush studio CD of new material - all story songs from American

    history.  It will be awesome!  It's working title: American Story Teller (tales of a new American

    revival)  I can't say enough about how excited I am about it!  If you would like to ummmm... share in

    the excitement by purchasing an advance copy of this new CD just hit reply to this newsletter or


    There are other ways you could help too!

    A donation of $100 or more will put your name in the liner notes!  Poor but wanna help anyway?  

    Here's how: click here


    The New DVD

    I am still looking for help with my fledgling video project - a series of short films about...

    about... ummm...  struggle and hope... and just how funny that really is. (I'll just say they are not another

    vanity video from another Singer songwriter whose theme is really HEY! Look at ME perform MY SONG!  

    HEY!  Here is ME from ANOTHER angle, and in another fashionable outfit)  


    I am doing a bunch of shows both solo and with the incomparable Street performing icon from New

    Orleans, a fixture on Royal Street - upright piano, feather boa, top hat confetti cannons Dr. D

    David D.R. Roe.  He is arranging the music for this album too.  So far - it's a smashing success.


    No Kerrville for me this year.  The first time I have well... voluntarily missed it since I first

    came to the ranch back in the H. W. Bush administration.


    In July,  I will be doing a west coast tour with the unbelievable Frankie Hernandez!  You will

    remember him as the blazing trumpet player from my Convenience Store Troubadour Days.  There is a

    rumor that Chad Austinson my join the tour at some point too!  Don't wanna miss that!

    H.E.R.E.'.S. .D.A. .D.A.T.E.S

    Friday, April 29th,  8:00

    The Ragged Edge Coffee House -- Gettysburg, PA

    Chris Chandler  and David Roe

    Thomas Roue Presents

    110 Chambersburg street,

    phone: 717 253 0007

    Saturday, April 30th,  1:00 PM

    American Labor Museum/Botto House National Landmark -- Haledon,  NJ

    Chris Chandler and David Roe

    Passaic County Cultural and Heritage Council and the NJ Council for the Arts Present a Labor Day


    Haledon, NJ

    phone: (973)595-7953

    Other performers include Anne Feeney, The NJ Indutrail Union Council Solidarity Singers, Young &

    Younger and Paola Corso. There is a $10 entrance fee, which includes light refreshments,

    entertainment, a museum tour and preview of the new exhibit on Albert Shanker: Labor's Educator.

    Saturday, April 30th,  11:00 PM

    The Living Room -- New York, NY

    Chris Chandler and David Roe

    Randy Kaplan Presents

    154 Ludlow Street (between Stanton and Rivington),

    phone: 212-533-7235


    mail promo to Randy Kaplan 275 11th St. #2 Brooklyn, NY 11215

    Sunday, May 1st,

    House Concert -- West Grove, PA

    Chris Chandler and David Roe

    Private Party

    Saturday,  May 06 thru Sunday May 08

    The Susquehanna Music Festival

    (Just visiting, but I'll be camping and swapping songs)

    Saturday, May 28th

    Baltimore, MD

    Chris Chandler and David Roe

    Red Emma's


    Sunday, May 29th,  7:30pm

    Westside Club - Frederick, MD

    Chris Chandler and David Roe

    Steve Key's Music Showcase

    1A W. 2nd St. (near Market St.),

    phone: 301-418-6886


    June 04 - June 05

    The Washington, DC  Folk Festival

    Glen Echo Park

    Monday, June 20th,  8:00 PM

    The George Meany Center -- Takoma Park

    Chris Chandler

    The Great Labor Arts Exchange evening of Spoken Word

    (I am one of many fabulous acts on this bill)

    Takoma Park, MD


    Saturday June 25th

    The Washington Story Tellers Present

    An evening with Chris Chandler and David Roe

    The Seeker's Church

    Takoma Park, MD

    Tuesday June 28

    Ashland OR Tentative

    Wednesday June 29

    Looking for something in Oregon or Washington

    Thursday June 30th

    Seattle, WA TBA

    Friday, July 1st,  8pm

    Chris Chandler and Frankie Hernandez

    Port Townsend, WA

    Siren's (Tentative)

    Saturday, July 2nd,  8 pm

    Blue Heron Art Center -- Vashon Island

    Chris Chandler

    Backbone Campaign Backyard Benefit

    Vashon Hwy. & Cemetary rd.,

    Vashon Island

    phone: 206-463-1839


    Sunday, July 3rd,

    Norway house -- Victoria

    Chris Chandler

    The Victoria Folk Music Society Presents

    1110 Hillside Avenue,


    phone: 250-413-3213


    Monday, July 4th

    Courtaney, BC


    Tuesday, July 5th

    Bellingham, WA


    Wedensady. July 6th

    Takoma Washington TBA

    Thursday, July 7th,  through 10

    The Oregon Country Fair - Eugene, OR

    Chris Chandler


    Monday, July 11th,

    Sam Bond's Garage -- Eugene

    Chris Chandler

    Peter Wilde Presents

    407 Blair,


    phone: 541-431-6603


    Tuesday, July 12th

    Looking to fill this date in the NW

    Got any ideas?

    Wednesday, July 13th

    Looking to fill this date in the NW

    Got any ideas?

    Thursday, July 14th

    Portland, OR

    Mississippi Studio


    Saturday, July 16th

    Chris Chandler and David Roe

    Amherst, MA

    House Concert Details TBA

    Sunday, July 17th,  TBA

    Forget-Me-Not Farm -- Tinmouth , VT

    Chris Chandler and David Roe


    McNamara Road,

    phone: (603) 847-9049


    Chris Chandler and David Roe are looking fro shows in the NE during the week of July 18th to July


    Friday, July 22nd thru Sunday July 24th,

    Long Hill Farm -- Hillsdale

    Chris Chandler and David Roe

    The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival

    Route 23,


    phone: 860 364-0366


    tix are on sale now. $85 earlybird*, $95 advance**, $115 regular price 4 day with Camping - 4 day

    no camping - $65 earlybird*, $75 advance**, $95 regular price Thursday - $30 Friday - $30 Saturday

    • $35 Sunday - $30

    updated: 17 years ago