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  • The Muse and Whirled Retort 2016

    The Muse and Whirled Retort December  2016

    The Muse and Whirled Retort December nbsp2016
    Happy Solstice everyone.
    May this, the darkest of days be just that... may they... from this point forward grow ever brighter.

    In the coming year, I pledge to get this news letter out on a punctual basis... for 15 years I prided myself in its timely release.

    and for the past few I have not been so consistent.

    ... from this point forward... grow ever brighter.

    As you know... our community here in Oakland has grown dark.

    "The winter night replies: Do not shun sadness. It knows secret things the brash sun can not envisage."
    - Phil Rockstroh

    I am putting this here at the top of the news letter
    If you would like to make donations that can truly help
    our hard hit artistic community here in Oakland please follow the following:

    Also check out this important website for more information:

    Here it is:
    T.H.E. .M.U.S.E. .A.N.D. .W.H.I.R.L.E.D. .R.E.O.T.R.T
    December, 2016

    Oakland, CA

    Voyage of a Ghost Ship
    (for Donna Kellogg)
    Fire, somehow makes the world a much darker place.

    So many bright-lights lost in one titanic tinderbox.
    A super nova of hope.

    But where does it begin?  
    Which immense Imago strikes the match...
    ...which sets the spark...
    which ignites this particular darkness?  
    And into that darkness sets sail a Ghost Ship bound for eternity.  
    Our Eternity.  


    There is an abundance of blame.
    Layers of liability that lead to such a loss.

    Vulcan's vacuum.  



    Bob Dylan said, "To live outside the law you must be honest."

    Art has long been the underground root that makes the San Francisco Bay so seductive.
    From Ferlinghetti to Franti,
    John Lee Hooker to 2Pac,
    The Dead to The Dead Kennedys.
    Green Day to today.

    This is why we live here.  
    There is no there there?
    There is nothing but there, here.
    We are not just here.  We ARE here. We are the here that makes here here.

    We all have enjoyed a looseness that comes with the vast artistic expression of the Bay Area,
    even as rents rises  at a rampant rate.

    It is not far fetched to say,
    "WE are the reason the gargantuan Googles want to come here."

    Even with rising rents
    on tenements
    through the wake of Uber Footprints
    so enormous they cause sea levels to rise...
    ...swallowing all that is above ground...
    ...driving us underground...
    ... only to re-emerge...
    ...refurbished... abandoned warehouses...
    ...left vacant and ossified...
    by the very same rising rents.

    But, we have been here before.

    "To live outside the law you must be honest."

    I, for one, belonged to a commune of street musicians, jugglers, and magicians in the late '80s.
    Before that, for me, it was warehouse parties with the hardrock of the '70s...
    into and punk rock basements in the following years.  

    Semi legal at best.


    It could have been me.
    It, likely, could have been you.  
    Anyone interested enough in the topic to read - or hear - this little missive has likely been there.
    If you too have been there,
    then you too know:
    it COULD have been you.
    Perhaps WOULD have been you.



    I am lucky, in that have some knowledge of building codes, and have a background in underground theatre - where audience safety is paramount and sacrosanct.

    These are skills we must have
    if we want to live this way.

    "To live outside the law you must be honest."


    Forty-Four inches in an Exit Aisle.  Lighted Exit signs,
    Up to date fire extinguishers.  
    If you are going to run an extension chord,
    know what kind of extension chord it is...  
    Know how many amps a circuit can take.  
    Ya wanna live outside the law?  
    Be honest.  
    Know how.

    But blaming an extension chord is like blaming the city's traffic problems on an expired parking meter.

    There is an abundance of blame bouncing about.


    A city block warehouse (formerly a bottling plant) never inspected by the city?


    One that is one block from a fire station?

    "To live outside the law you must be honest."

    You want to let your city grow void of industry in the hopes of attracting
    the tech boom's No-Collar jobs?  

    Inspect the vacuum that is created.

    Especially in a growing culture of deregulations,
    crowd sourced housing (Air B&B,)
    ride-share Lyfts,
    and DIY events.


    Make it easier, not harder to get a cabaret licensee,
    to pass an inspection,
    lower fines,
    (not raise them)
    be tolerant,
    Do not make a knock at the door by a person in uniform be cause for panic...
    Do not drive us deeper underground.
    For there is plenty of blame to go around...

    You want to be an absentee land lord?

    Feeding off bottom feeders, so you won't have to make any improvements?

    Cashing in on the laxness that WE have made thrive?

    How dare you!?

    That is capitalism run amuck.  
    In fact, I say, "You are guilty Murder by capitalism!"

    And in this day and age of corporate citizenship...
    I say,
    "Capitalism itself should go up on trial...
    and when found guilty...
    be given the death sentence!"

    How do you like your corporate citizenship now?

    "To live outside the law you must be honest."

    There is plenty of blame to go around.

    "Who killed Davy Moore, Why and what's the reason for?
    Not I, said..."

    The concert promoter
    "Not, I," said the lease holder.
    "Not, I," said the building owner.
    "Not, I," said the city...
    "Not, I. Not I. Not I!"

    How about I...!?

    I too, am responsible?
    I too, live in a full time live in working studio in Oakland?
    I too, am not fully up to code.
    I have made a raft of improvements
    since the fire)

    It is not JUST OAKLAND!

    How about you - urban pioneers of Detroit?
    How about you?
    Post Katrina Flippers of New Orleans?
    How about you?
    Suburban house concert planners?

    You know who you are!

    How about you?  
    Festival on the Playa?
    How about you?

    How about...

    It is time my friends, for us to tighten up OUR ship!

    Because our artistic community can not afford such a loss of so many young people.
    The bright lights,
    the ones that would be...
    should be...
    and in some ways
    illuminating our way...
    right now.  

    Never again,
    do I want to got to the memorial of a friend,
    and have a mother look me in the eyes,
    as she tells me of receiving a text that reads,
    "I love you, Mom.  I am going to die now."

    (Never again.)

    Tighten up our ship...

    For if we do not tighten up our ship...
    the ship we are on...
    ...will be...
    a ghost ship.
    If you would like to make donations that can truly help
    our hard hit artistic community here in Oakland please follow the following:

    Also check out this important website for more information: