There’s a person out here turning Chevy into jazz

(for Ted Gioia, apologies to John Stewart; shout out to Jamie Stewart)

In Palo Alto there is a homeless woman camped out in the gap between the CVS – which uses only one entrance since Covid and has the other one blocked off — and a little door to a VC firm whose office is above, and they have announced a new fund as of January, 2022 that is $1.2B with a billion. And although the Dow went from 8,000 to 32,000 since about 2000 we have cut our civic concert series – -music in the parks — from about 20 shows to about 6 shows. That’s a little tangential to your argument but: musicians need to ask for a better share of the pie. Here that might mean taxing these corporations, unicorns and VC transactions — we have never done so – -and maybe earmarking some of that to the arts. 

I am producing a show with Rova Saxophone quartet —Bruce ackley – soprano saxophone
steve adams – alto saxophone
larry ochs – tenor saxophone
jon raskin – baritone saxophone— in August at the Palo Alto Art Center which has been unavailable for such for more than two years because they cut the funding for their staff — we might have had a billion dollar rainy day fund if we had taxed these corporations using our offices and streets and power and sewers. Again, sorry if I am slightly off topic.

My wife is a visual artist with an MFA but supported herself as a nurse at Stanford. I admit I am paying musicians with the money my father and grandfather earned by charging Chevy owners a dollar too much per month per car, for 80 years. Or as John Stewart almost said: there’s a person out here turning gold into music. 


  1. (John) Stewart (1938-2008, age 68) recorded more than 25 solo albums for various labels and in 1979 reached No. 5 on the charts with “Gold,” a paean to the musicians of Los Angeles. Anyone who was half-sentient in 1979 (and there were many of us who were only half) remembers that rumbling rocker: “When the lights go down in the California town … There’s people out there turnin’ music into gold.” Johnny Stew was the Golden State’s own Guthrie/Cash/Dylan and remained a working musician until his dying day.
  2. Rova performances can reach the soaring lyrical intensity of bel canto, the rough-and-tumble tumult of a garage rock band, or the insistently patterned matrix of a minimalist chamber work, sometimes in the course of a single piece. That’s by Andrew Gilbert; ROVA is Larry Ochs, Ackley I

    Steve, Bruce, Moe and Larry

    think, maybe Bruce; Steve something, maybe Adams. And the other guy. Sorry, I will learn this by the time of the gig. They are appearing with a piano played named McDonas, who might or might not be from Palo Alto. Thellem. I know that one of them is married to Hilda Mendez who used to work at Down Home Music and then had a baby, and she came to my Steve Lacy show. By the way, ROVA is a 501.c.3 if that helps Ted Gioa’s orginal discussion about money. There are countries where the tax payers We The People provide signficant support for artists. America can join those ranks. 
  3. This is a little off topic but later today I am going to Saratoga, about 15 miles south of here, to watch a bunch of teenage boys – -maybe a manly 18 year old or two tossed into the mix — throw around a hunk of leather, poke at it with a stick: Gunn versus Falcons in the CCS Division 6 seminfinals. Tomorrow Wednesday I hope to get to San Jose Excite Field – what I call San Jose Municipal, to watch Paly versus Valley Christian in the real CCS final four, the top division, the colisseum. The call them as they see ’em. And Paly’s top player Henry Bolte is offered a fullride to Texas Longhorns but is also likely to be among the top 30 or so draft picks what they used to call a Bonus Baby – he might be offered $1,000,000 to continue his childhood. And I was writing about him here in this same seat at Coupa last week and in walked bud, and I snapped this photo:
  4. Similarly I stopped Joc Pedersen at the Mitch and had a brief interview. Coming. 
  5. Erik Lawrence and Akira Tana recorded some loosely baseball influenced jazz music for reeds and drums. Then, at my urging, Erik made a flute song about Alex Blandino the former Stanford slugger who is in Vancouver hoping to make it back to the bigs and add to his lifetime 2 dingers. Alex is Nicaraguan descent hence the wood flutes. Vancouver or Billings or something, AAA, PCL. Big but not the bigs.
  6. I might call on my childhood chum Tony Nora and bring a bucket of hot dogs or sausages or weisswurst to the baseball game. He has Saratoga Meats. His father is the first one to throw me overhand battting practice — I remember whiffing on two or three pitches and then he flipped me one submarine style and I clocked it. Thanks, Dr. Nora!
  7. this has digressed into sports more than money or music but Drew Durham sent me a link to an article about Jeremy Lin; Jeremy who might have gone to Gunn not Paly and took the job of a senior, who later became a musician. Anderson something. 
  8. Jeremy Lin who also testified about Jesus Christ at the nonconstitutional church service at City Hall.
  9. On the other hand, I approved of the mulit-church Christian service at Mitchell Park Sunday, as my Gaye Adegbalola concert was setting up. I might a future doctor or neurologist named Justice from Mississippi and introduced her to Palo Alto’s newest commisisoner, a Nigerian soccoer mom who is publicity shy and asks me to take a bit of my joy of writing and facts out of Plastic Alto;
  10. and lastly was that working class to middle class internationally known and beloved musical partners of 44 years Tuck Andress and Patti Cathcart dining early Sunday with Gaye Adegbalola at Saint Michael’s Alley, which, fittingly, was once Palo Alto’s only hipster spot, circa 1959? I mean and excuse the digression — chin music — stepping out of the box — Dick Fregulia used to tickle the keys in the house piano, when Saint Michael’s Alley was owned by Vernon Gates at 432 University, the recent Peet’s Coffee. Dick who played basketball for Paly and went to Stanford and taught Steve Staiger in Marin and also recorded a cd of Tom Harrell for piano. And claims Tom Harrell on trumpet sat in with the Stanford basketball pep band — though when I asked him about it Tom said he did not recall. Anyhoo, Mike of Mike and Jenny who bought out the late Vernon Gates not to be confused with Vernon Alley in the way Doo Lister is not Alton Lister is not Alton Abraham who worked for Sun Ra — and Santa Clara had a Terry Davis who played with Scott Lamsom and Mike Norman but is not my Terry Davis, not Terry Acebo Davis. And Harold Keeling of Santa Clara the player is not to be confused with Kerry Keating of Seton Hall the former coach. And so tuck, nip and tuck I hope this proves that I like to get the facts is more than I just like to write for words’ sake. (Tuck Andress from Oklahoma came to Stanford and studied engineering before focusing on music while Patti Cathcart born in SF but went to San Mateo High and they recounted a funny but sligthly disturbing story about a would-be band called Puck and Tatty on Mercury Records which I wondered was really Puck and Natty with Steve Jenkins and Herman Anthony “Zen” Chunn,  who co-wrote the hit “Semicharmed Kind of Life”. In the way that Chuy Varela said on the air that Fats Waller would sell songs for $500 flat that people would modify and make their own. 
  11. I tagged this “filthy lucre” and “words” 

one more or twelve, baker’s dozen: I heard from Jim Sapienza my Dartmouth schoolmate about basic advice for young harriers: to wit:

Mark – “Angle of Repose” is still my favorite novel. Leads my Top 50 books list. 

T___ can best be served by a) having a vision of the runner he wants to become, and  b) having a good coach who does not overtrain him and gives him a great team experience.  

  • As for student advice:  be smart, don’t cheat, be curious and learn, use discipline and hard work to pursue grades, learning and entry into college. Most of this last items apply to running too! Happy to talk at any time. 




Sent from my iPhone

On May 23, 2022, at 10:04 PM, mark weiss <> wrote:


Hi, Jim.

I was a sports editor for The Dartmouth. 

My neighbor T____  ran 4:23 pr 1600m in track as a freshman— any basic advice on how to improve as a runner or student? (I just sent a similar note to coach Justin Wood). 

I only saw you compete once: circa 1988 I saw your name in the Sunday SF paper, jumped in my car, drove an hour to SF probably Golden Gate Park and got to the course just in time to see you zip by. 

Also, excuse the digression, I was Wallace Stegner’s neighbor 1974-1993, although I only met him a handful of times. I saw an interview you mentioned “Angle of Repose”. 


Mark Weiss’86

In Palo Alto


  1. my phone is dead but when I get home I will recharge it and shoot the photo of the piece I hung. I(t) was framed by John Doane in Los Altos a master framer. (whose son is Rex Doane a brooklyn and WFMU dj of oldies???)
    I actually took J___ G____ to a party thrown by Les Claypool at Bimbo’s that showcased all the bands on his label, Prawn Song. This predates my decision to go into the music biz. I was invited plus one by a man named Lane Wurster a graphic designer in North Carolina. I also took her to Stars the fancy restaurant owned by Jeremiah Tower I think in Union Square so I was trying hard to impress her but there was no real spark. (I &^%$’d a lot of *&^%#  girls in that era if that explains my failure to mate with a proper Jewess when she came within reach…). Shout out to Beetle Bailey who invented grawlix which is the thing about me $%^&ing all the %$^Y^ chicks. 
    Oh my god, have you read or have you met Kushner, who wrote The Mars Room and The Hard Crowd? Rachel Kushner? About your age meaning younger than me, she grew up in the Inner Sunset and worked as a bar tender at The Blue Lamp and has amazing stories — and classy too — about the regular people or the down-and-out. Her parents Pinky and Peter Kushner the dad went to Dartmouth that’s how I met them — the parents, have never met their daughter but I’m a huge fan. 
    I married a visual artist named Terry Acebo Davis at City Hall SF in September 2017 — after 53 years baching it. 
    Too much info, but excited to hear from you
    Mark (to Charles Goldman, who designed my Earthwise Productions logo or logos – a set of drawings, a suite)
    The other Charles is such a scammer, in a good way. The best is when he borrowed my dad’s mitsubishi van to help Rigo 92 move some large works — they were bus shelter art-ads — and we were taking a break, sitting in a cafe in the mission and Charles jumps up and exclaims “That’s my bike!” and races out the door and I follow a few seconds behind – he was the fastest white guy in Alabama once — and I run for the van and flip a U-ey and catch up to Charles and his bike in the next block. Some Vietnamese gangsters down on Natoma St had stolen Linder’s handmade bike and I guess pawned it at a flea market and the sap who bought it agreed to sell it back to Charles for $75 since Charles was pretty fuckin’ insistent plus I had also blocked their path with the van. Charles both spotted the bike zipping by through an open doorway at 100 feet and then ran it down — eyes of an eagle, winged feet. On coffee and not likely marijuana in that moment, do note. [As I am, here at Coupa, with Duffy on my lap…]
  2. And that’s 55 boldface names as compared to baldface lies or blackface it’s not funny although Gaye Adegbalola has permission to imitate the lisp of Sippie Wallace. Last licks as they say, the rounders of third base. Slide! Slide! Slide!
  3. Jamie Stewart, Michael Stewart’s son, John Stewart’s nephew, here as Nina Simone, but also as Xiu Xiu, XITSJ and my first time IBOPA

    despues una pausa muy breve: The idea came being back stage in Austin TX, opening for Swans and feeling like I did not play well. Michael Gira and I had the night before talked about our mutual love for Nina Simone and how her intensity and crazy political truthfulness always pushed us to try harder. After watching the Swans that night and knowing the difficult ups and downs of their history and now their epic and beautiful persistence, they made me want to try harder as well. Nina Simone’s singing is way over my head and while I was back stage feeling like i blew it that night, hearing the swans be amazing and thinking of Nina made me want to not give up. The idea came from wanting to honor her, challenge myself to be better than I think I can be and to say thank you to music. Ches Smith is the only person i know who could understand this in his heart and also handle the technical side of fearlessly reorienting such wonderful music.”
  4. sixteen thru nineteen actually: 
  5. Jon Raskin
  6. Larry Ochs
  7. Bruce Ackley; Steve Adams — they dropped the V or turned the V into a W and then just “oooooooo” onomon0poeicly. which makes me want to say that there are people out here turing 0’s into 1’s, or O’s into 0’s. 
  8. and i met John Markoff at Kepler’s and we spoke of a bunch of stuff, including Jim Newton and of course Stewart Brand, whole earth; whole earth twenty years later had people like me complaining about the commodifaction of the image of the planet which I felt should be holy. I thought it weird when I guy showed up with a roll of stickers of the whole earth. Step right up, three for a dollar. 
  9. As I said above I met Tuck Andress a very thoughtful musician and band-owner and he asked me if my journalism background meant I like to write and I said it was more like I liked to get the story straight. So today for instance I have done no discernible work but I returned to a desk to keep working on this post. 
  10. 10 Hell if I know — shout out to Richard Foos of Rhino — why it suddenly went from item or note 16 to a knew 1 thru 10. Unless it has something to do with base 2 and all those 1’s and 0’s and the point in time in the future when the computers know more than we do — the singularity. Maybe this means its here. Phone home. Phone home eat me faux gnome. I don’t know Alaska. 
  11. And the phrase “faux gnome” reminds me that I shot the Barron Park Bol Park donkeys the other day and a couple of years ago the City of Palo Alto or We The People paid a consultant $10,000 to walk us thru a bunch of community building ideas including the big winner: we found or bought or hand made a fake donkey — a false idol — that we moved all over town in honor of the real donkeys at Bol Park. Perry and Miner or Niner or something. And I left a voice mail for Ralph Carney who played on Tom Waits “Mule Variations” asking if for $500 would he come to Bol Park and serendade the donkeys on clarinet. That was the last time I spoke to or even towards Ralph Carney. Although Paula who is friends with Danny Peters’ grandmother says she is from Akron and knows the Carney family. And I hope to see her at the Paly- Valley Christian game. Or as my later Barbara Weiss would say: this is where we came in. 
  12. Ok, I am repeating this for emphasis but I have it on reliable source that Tuck and Patti, who have put out 20 records in their 44 years of musical and personal partnership, remember the “Puck and Natty” incident as “Puck and Tatty”, fair enough. More to the point, unlesss you went to Terman and Gunn sometime between 1978 and 1985, William Tuck Andress is from Tulsa and a former member of the Gap Band, which is an acronym and shout out to Greenwood neighborhood, the scene of the famous race riot and massacre.


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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