‘Time After Time’ 1985 to 2022

Two films by Randy Lutge.



The cover story in today’s Palo Alto Weekly raised more questions than it answered. For instance: Is there a relationship between the cluster of public art —murals and sculpture- on California Avenue and it’s so called music boom? I have to start with that one because I’m married to the former chair of the public art commission here.*

It was interesting to run into Randy Lutge at my Johnny A show; he posted three videos on his well received website; the website is also an archive for the Varsity theater at its heyday; he has more than 100 videos of people like Tuck & Patti, Michael Hedges, George Winston, Bobby McFerrin and Will Ackerman.


How  do we explain the confluence of talent here 37 years ago?

The palo alto weekly had a disappointing article claiming that the decent local musicians who play in front of an Italian restaurant on California Avenue are comparable  to the Varsity in its heyday. 

I think the real question is can leadership in Palo Alto do something to sustain or encourage the music community; For instance what can be done with the fine arts theater, a stones throw from Mike and Maico?

Is there any way to approach Chop Keenan about converting the varsity back into a performance space? 

Can Palo Alto do more with its music in the parks series?

Is there more Palo Alto as a community can do to benefit from Stanford‘s commitment to the arts which includes the Bing and the renovated frost?

Will the guild in Menlo Park encourage a similar effort in Palo Alto or displace such?

how many Palo Alto think of themselves as full-time musicians or artists?

What about a musicians’ village at Ventura?

Watching Patti Cathcart sing “time after time” in 1985 is almost a sad thing in that we as a community could’ve done more in these 37 years to encourage the arts. Does the development of trillions of dollars worth of new technology displace the arts? I sent a note to the city manager about six months ago —because I was producing a waybacks show —and I noticed a citation on the Internet that the Waybacks  played in Palo Alto nooner series which is now defunct; I claimed that although the Dow has tripled in value in the last 20 years Palo Alto does only about one-third as much in its Civic music series. 

My quixotic initiative has four more shows this year: Battle Trance, Monday at Lytton Plaza; Zoh Amba, November 9 at The Mitch; Zoh Amba November 16 at the art center;  and Kristin Hersh, December 2 at The Mitch. The guild has about 10 more shows, plus multiple nights of social distortion. I admit that their appearance made me up my game, to a career high of 40 shows in 2022  

To wit:

* I went down to the avenue to refresh my memory and try to qualify my initial reactions; I actually met David Jansen; I noticed him as he was photographing one of the temporary murals, the giant stickers. He said he was featured in one of the photographs of Mike Annunzzi and Maico; He was one of the passersby who was invited to sit in. I too, as was described in the article, saw a fairly talented random person invited to the stage, in this case it was a grad student from Zimbabwe who I chased down and tried to contact. The music in front of the Italian restaurant is not a bad thing, but it is a bad thing when our leaders dodge the actual questions relevant to community; and the weekly lives in its own world: maybe they think glorifying the cover of “La Bamba” will make somebody pay $16m for a house a mile away, or four pages away from their cover story. 

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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