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The Chris Chandler Show

  • The Muse and WHirled Retort 2023

    The Muse and Whirled Retort May 2023

    The Muse and Whirled Retort

    Hey everybody,
    It is that time of the month again! The first of every month since the dawn of E-Mail.

    It is time for your MUSE AND WHIRLED RETORT.

    Evan Greer

    Tiny Desk Concert

    It is May Day, and this is a special May Day Edition.

    Two years ago, we laid My Dear friend Anne Feeney to Rest on May Day. She is buried next to Mother Jones in Mt Olive, IL. I am going to start this with my friend Evan Greer. She has written a song for our comrade. “Hell Raiser” Which is what is written on the head stone.

    Click Here or Paste


    T.H.E. .M.U.S.E. .A.N.D. .W.H.I.R.L.E.D. .R.E.T.O.R.T.
    May 01
    Austin, TX

    The Paterson Silk Strike

    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 – but not by very much.

    I believe in the Buddha,
    Jesus Christ.

    I believe in Peanut Butter

    I believe that Athena sprang from the head of Zeus. And That Atlas really held the world on his shoulders – though I am unsure as to where his feet were at the time.

    I believe it is the telling of the tale that makes it so.

    When John Henry was a little baby
    I believe that children have imaginary friends,

    He sat down on his daddy’s knee
    and that adults really can’t see them,

    He picked up a hammer and a little piece of steel and said, “This hammer’s gonna be the death of me lord, lord. This hammer’s gonna be the death of me.”

    I believe that blankets have magical powers that protects them from monsters.

    Perhaps that’s why I believe in condoms.

    I believe that four leaf clovers bring good luck,
    I believe that people really do get abducted by aliens
    And that people who don’t believe that never had an imaginary friend.

    In 2001 I saw a picture of the Virgin Mary on a telephone pole in Miami.

    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 2005 in Paterson, NJ, I saw a photograph taken in 1913 of ten thousand people gathered at a balcony in 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 told his story.

    He said, “What’s a hundred years between friends?”

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

    In 2000 there are 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 1923 it cost 2 cents to get a letter from Paterson NJ to New York City and it took 2 days to get it there

    In 2023 it cost 63 cents and it takes two days to get it there.

    But what’s a hundred years between friends?

    1913 European, imperial powers were about to begin slaughtering themselves wholesale with mechanized warfare.

    It had only been ten years since the Wright Brothers and already they were dropping bombs form planes.

    In 1913 The Panama Canal opened. As did Grand Central Station.

    Cracker Jack introduced prizes for the first time.

    Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show could no longer compete with the new motion picture industry and went bankrupt.

    The Wild West was over. Richard Nixon was born.

    The streets of America were frenzied with the sound of factories.

    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, New Jersey.

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

    Some claimed automation would lead to a reduction in work load. Just like some claim the home computer will reduce ours.

    When the machine gun was invented people said there is no way we would have another war 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 wake 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 saw mills had been turning the great forests of the West into toothpicks. Sure, the first mudslides occurred, but dental hygiene was at an all time high. Well, that is, until The Industrial Workers of the World led the great Saw Mill Strike of 1913.

    In Akron, Ohio, rubber workers were on strike, in British Columbia, Railroad workers..”

    In Paterson, NJ factory owners realized that any one who could convince someone else to run in front of a machine-gun nest deserved a ribbon. The factories of Paterson, NJ ran 18 hours a day cranking out silk and fabric 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 they claimed would lessen the work load, but in fact doubled it.

    And this was the cigarette that broke the camel’s back.

    Thousands went on strike, thousand were arrested, including the boy in the photograph. But there is no jail cell strong enough to with stand 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 who put together one of the most organized strikes in history.

    Rallies were held. Weekly meetings.
    Well-to-do families in New York City offered child care. The boy in the photograph lived for three months in the home of Mabel Dodge, a prominent New York City heiress. Celebrity speakers were brought in. New demands were raised. The 8 hour day. Health care. 20,000 people gathered at once to raise their voices into the air.

    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 is 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 the most. The earthquake erupting in Paterson, NJ was just a tremor warning of the Ten Days That Shook The World. Later, Jack Reed’s famous book would do just that. But for now, he - a Greenwich Village intellectual - began to work on a play.

    After all, it is the telling of the tale that makes it so. Why else would great stories only happen to great storytellers?

    1913 Poster

    He took his new play and it turned it into a fund-raiser, though you won’t find his name in the program. Big Bill Heywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn spoke, though you won’t see their names on the marquee. Famed scenic designer John Sloan created the set, though you will not find his name in the credits.

    No, instead you will find “The Pageant of the Paterson Silk Strike Performed by the Workers Themselves.” Madison Square Gardens was filled to capacity.

    Critics sat in the isles prepared to hate this new propagandist art form.

    The striking workers waited in the wings – for in this play – the workers themselves would act out the events.

    Yes, in June of 1913, 1000 Striking Mill workers joined Actors Equity in New York City to perform one play, for one night. They would tell their own tale.

    When the curtain went up, a whistle sounded, as if to begin a new work day. On that stage it was 6 AM on a February Morning. The Mills were alive, and it was the workers who were dead. But soon, the workers began to think. Soon they were singing together “The Internationale.” The Audience joined in the chorus. The Great Silk Strike had begun.

    Arise, Ye prisoners of starvation With each triumph the audience cheered.
    Arise, Ye wretched of the Earth With each set back they booed.
    Justice thunders condemnation. No rock concert could recreate the enthusiasm of that crowd.
    A Better world’s in birth.

    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,

    No more the vicious chains that bind us
    singing at the top of his tiny lungs

    Arise, Ye slaves no more enthrall
    “The International.”

    The Earth shall rise on new foundations
    We have naught we shall have all!

    The play received overwhelming critical acclaim. To this day it is considered one of the most important moments in modern art. On a personal note. I first learned of it in art school, long before any labor activisim.

    Few performances could ever match what happened on that stage, that night. But as with 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? 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 further financial support the general strike began to decay – the workers slowly went back to work. Many would say it was a defeat and even the end of the IWW itself.

    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 just as there could be no such thing as victory with out first there being an understanding of defeat.

    Listen to the Blues.

    They Carried him down to the grave yard
    If dreams were real.

    Buried him in the sand
    There would be no need for dreams

    Every locomotive came a roarin by says
    “There lies a steel drivin man lord, lord
    There lies a steel drivin man.”
    In a world of no dreams we could only dream of dreaming.

    There lies a steel drivin man

    You see, the workers may not have gotten everything they asked for. But in truth, they went back to work under pre-strike conditions. Their original grievance: the 4 loom system was not implemented for another decade.

    But a few short years later on March 14, 1917 congress enacted what the Pageant of the Paterson Strike demanded: the 8 hour day.

    Three years later women could vote.

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

    Intellectuals intellectualize mill workers and weavers weave the clothes of the intellectual – they can not be the same thing. The bridge is there. But it is fragile, it takes skill to cross it.

    Few will make it.

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

    John Henry had a little baby / You could hold him in the palm of your hand / The very last words I heard that poor boy say / “Was my daddy was a steel drivin man Lord Lord / my daddy was a steel drivin man.”

    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.


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    We are looking for dates on the west coast Between Brisih Columbia and Santa Cruz

    Starting North July 25 - August 26.

    Wanna have a house concert? Get us into your favorite book store, watering hole, Laundry-mat?

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    Your Poem of the Week Please Subscribe!

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    Here is a full set from The Pin Church in New Orleans!
    Thanks to Michael Perry for making this happen!
    and please oh please subscribe to my YouTube Channel, I just need a few more people to subscribe and I can monetize it!

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    The New Album from Chris & Paul

    I want the new Chandler and Benoit Album!
    You can download it or i can mail you a physical copy!
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    H.E.R.E.’.S. .D.A. .D.A.T.E.S.

    Saturday, May 27th, 2023
    Costa Mesa Scottish Fest With Jen Delyth The Orange County Fair Grounds
    88 Fair DriveCosta Mesa, CA

    Sunday, May 28th, 2023
    Costa Mesa Scotsih Fest With Jen Delyth The Orange County Fair Grounds
    88 Fair DriveCosta Mesa, CA

Monday, May 29th, thru May 11
    The Kerrville Folk Festival The Threadgil Theatre
    3876 Medina HighwayKerrville, TX

    Friday, July 7th, 2023
    The Oregon Country Faire Faire Site Stage Times TBA
    Venita, OR

    Saturday, July 8th, 2023
    The Oregon Country Faire Faire Site Stage Times TBA
    Venita, OR

    Sunday, July 9th, 2023
    The Oregon Country Faire Faire Site Stage Times TBA
    Venita, OR

    Saturday, July 15th, 2023
    Portland Scotish Highland Games Mt Hood CC (W Jen Delyth)
    Portland, OR
    Purchase Tickets: For More Info

    Saturday, July 22nd, 2023
    Seattle Scottish Highland Games Enemclaw State Park (with Jen Delyth)
    Enemclaw, WA

    Sunday, July 23rd, 2023
    Seattle Scottish Highland Games Enemclaw State Park (with Jen Delyth)
    Enemclaw, WA

    Paul and I are looking for dates From July 25- August 26 in BC, Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada Write to me Here!


    updated: 1 month ago