Earthwise 2022 year in review

Zoh Amba, sax; Jordan Glenn, drums at Mitchell Park Community Center, November, 2022

(in order of appearance)

Caroline Davis Quartet – a, a, a (residency)

Dan Bern – b

Or Bareket Quartet- b 

Axon Orchestra- b

Matt the Electrician – c

MC Lars -c 

The Luckies – c 

Ben Goldberg/Scott Amendola/Todd Sickafoose – a


Wayne Horvitz/Sara Schoenbeck – a

Meklit Hadero – a

Inspector Gadj featuring Ismail Lumanovski & Frank London – a

Anna Konstantopoulos – a

Gaye Adegbalola – a, c

DaShawn Hickman featuring Charlie Hunter – d, a

Rome Yamilov – a

Nikita Manin – a

Sony Holland – b

Will Bernard and Freelance Subversives – b

Gaby Castro – b

Jaimee Harris – b

Mary Gauthier – b

Sylvie Simmons – b

Marta Sanchez Quintet – b

Jenny Scheinman Quintet – b

Jenny Scheinman Carmen Staaf Duo – b

Caroline Davis/Hannah Marx/ Paul Cornish – b

The Waybacks – c

Amendola Vs. Blades – c

Citta di Vitti – c

San Francisco Mime Troupe – c

Erik Lawrence/Akira Tana/Peter Barshay – b

Native Elements – c

Matt Jaffe – c

Melanie Charles – a

ROVA w Thollem McDonas – b, e (Steve Adams, at PAAC, below)

Sticklerphonics – c

Pablo Cruise – c

Johnny A – b

Tammy Hall – f

Jack Tuttle – b 

Steve Poltz – b

Mads Tolling – b

Chase Elodia featuring Claire Dickson – b

Trio Paz (Greenlief Amendola Torres) – b

Masako Dubois – b

Ben Goldberg/ Liberty Ellman – b

Lisa Morales – e

Battle Trance – b

Zoh Amba Duo with Wobbly – a, e 

Adams Klipple Thurston Milgrom – a

Marcus Shelby Trio – e 

Venues: a= Mitchell Park Community Center; b= Lytton Plaza; c= Mitchell Park Bowl; d= Kuumbwa Santa Cruz; e = Palo Alto Art Center; f= Johnson Park.

Mitchell Park Bowl by Cory Lerios of Pablo Cruise, September, 2022

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Fair play to Texas folk harpist Lizzie No, especially covering Nancy Griffith at The Kennedy Center, spring, 2022

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Free concert Wednesday with Zoh Amba & Marcus Shelby combos

Earthwise * Productions * live *jazz & improv * 8 pm Wednesday * November 16, 2022 @ Palo Alto *Art Center * Register “eventbrite” & “Earthwise” ***

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Fever dream of 3 min duration

Thought it interesting to be reading about Dylan while listening to Beck

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I am a golden god?

Enter Claudius, King of Denmark, Gertrude the Queen; Council: as Polonius; and his son Laertes, Hamlet, cum aliis including Voltemand and Cornelius, but also Mark Kozelek, the Strokes, Steve Miller, Casey Likes, Beth Custer, Weird Al, R0bert Plant, ghosts of the great highway and or Duk Koo Kim, plus introducing Extraordinary Attorney Woo…

Casey Likes as William Miller based on Cameron Crowe, holding a pointer not a guitar so sue me

I am a golden god question mark. I, Mark, am a golden god? Mark me — ghost of Hamlet — I am a golden god. Swear!

I’m actually a former reporter or trained as a reporter turned promoter of rock and jazz with 28 years experience. I am the least rockin’ rock promoter in the business.

But I noticed four items in today’s New York Times about rock ‘n’ roll and decided I would commit my morning to commenting on that. I am writing a blog post, mark me, about something I saw in The New York Times. At bottom I am a media critic. I started my event series as a push-back against media. The bottom line is I’m more of a writer than a doer. The Bottom Line is or was a music venue. A folk venue. While jazz is becoming classical — due to the ticket prices — rock is folk if it is the people’s music and not the court. Court in the sense of rich people. Did I lose you? I was a journalist who also trained in ad agencies, pr firms, book stores and then read “Howl” by Ginsburg a few too many times.

The four items in The Times are:

  1. A review by Jesse Green of the Broadway version of “Almost Famous” which started as a book by Cameron Crowe who also wrote “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”. “Like a Cover Band Not Up to the Task: Cameron Crowe’s film, set in the world of rock, doesn’t weather coming to Broadway”. First page of the arts section, C1, Friday, November 4, 2022;
  2. Advertisement for Steve Miller On Steve Miller: A Blues and Rock and Roll Journey at Lincoln Center, two nights, November 11 and 12, featuring members of the Steve Miller Band and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Ok, so by my terse definitions this is classical not rock or blues or jazz, but close enough for Plastic Alto to be included in my rockin’ round up, of today’s Times. Bottom quarter of C3.Tickets range from $40 to $200
  3. Film review, by Amy Nicholson of the biopic about Weird Al Yankovic. “Behind the Music, With a Huge Grin: The pop parodist makes a joke of his own life, with the help of Daniel Radcliffe”. The picture shows a strange man, with red jeans, a Hawaiian shirt open, showing his hairy chest, a wig of curley locks, a mustache, glasses, and a fake bling parody necklace made of five cds, I think, rather than gold or, like the guy from Public Enemy a giant clock face. Is Al Yankovic even rock? He covers Nirvana, or parodies it, so he’s rock. Although I note that my rabbi on all things Weird Al is actually the rapper MC Lars. The ersatz weird Al is posed with Quinta Brunson — not sure what she does – and I admit that my first pass thru the section I thought the weird guy had a weird name, Quinta. The cutline adds the helpful info that the film is directed by Eric Appel — normal name. Or maybe they call him Weird Eric Appel. (note: I skipped a couple more rock items to get from “Almost Famous” to “Weird Al”, I now realize).
  4. Page C8, capsule reviews of other new films, there is a picture of a guy with an electric guitar and the cutline says that the Strokes are one of the bands and I am plagiarizing covered in Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace’s “Meet Me in the Bathroom”. I turn back to note that the small photo with the “Almost Famous” article also has a guy with a tiny electric guitar and about a dozen others in the ensemble, calls to mind “The Last Supper”, and of course Steve Miller is holding a guitar in the ad for Lincoln Center. I still am not sure if the movie “Meet Me in The Bathroom” is biopic, lyrical film essay or doc. Let’s say doc for a few more graphs. Electric guitar = rock ‘n’ roll.

    different strokes for different folks or rockers

Mark Kozelek. He’s a local indie rocker, Sun Kil Moon and Red House Painters, who played the fictitious guitarist in the band in ‘Almost Famous” and was scheduled to play in my music series in Palo Alto in fall, 2019 but canceled. Am I the only person of the thousands reading about the new Broadway show in The New York Times who wants to know who plays the Mark Kozelek character in the show, or is there even a Mark Kozelek character in the show? And my brain jumps ahead to: what if I write to Mark and suggest that he write a semi-autobiographical theatre piece about indie rocker turned fictitious rocker in film turned creepy pariah middle age version of himself turned Redemption Song about doing something like a deep and honest semi-autobiographical Broadway bound version of his life where he treats people — ok, women — better and they forgive him and his career expands into a fourth decade — at least on stage. And he hires three other actors to play 1990’s indie rocker Mark, post-rock kinda mature Mark who is quirky but still has a following, and unfortunate not quite realizing he is middle aged and NOT A GOLDEN GOD Mark, and then Mark Kozelek himself plays Ghost of Mark like in Hamlet or The Narrator like in “Passing Strange” — a different Mark, Mark Stewart also known as Stew — my former client — and the film is both a jukebox of his bigger songs over the decades, a couple new pieces written for Broadway, and references to boxing and “Hamlet” — in the way “Passing Strange” is based on “Othello”. Maybe its called “Swear”.


I swear this looks like a guy holding a guitar


Swear by my sword (sounds phallic).

I definitely would not call such a thing “Cum aliis” which is a direct quote from “Hamlet” Act I and is Latin for the stage direction that Hamlet or his uncle all enter a scene as a group. With Everyone. But it sounds like a woman named Alice who eats a lot of…popcorn. And whatever you do do not outro with Weird Al doing Michael Jackson:


addendum: weird quote about Robert Plant seeing the movie and taking credit for saying “I am a golden god’.

and 1: not sure why this fits here but I want to rush back to Kepler’s book and buy not a boxing mag but a soccer mag Four Four Two that has the Young Norse God Haaland on the cover.

andand: Steve Cohen, who is half Swedish and half Jewish and likewise is a phantom who haunts the fringes of Hollywood, called the other night and mentioned he was going to a friend’s house to watch pay per view of a Swedish boxer who had a shot at the heavyweight title, for the first time since Ingmar Johanson[ok, that’s Ingemar Johansson, 1932-2009, and 28 takes and two hours, 3:09 pm not morning and the crow will sound that much sooner] back in the 1950s. And since I was still sem-quaranting due to a novel-coronavirus but not THAT novel-coronavirus I figured out on my handheld devices how to order the same media package of BAM! and BIFF! and turned off the normal tv and went back to my handheld just in time to watch the bum get knocked out in one punch. Like, he was leading 4 to 0 early in the fight based on scoring of blows but got knocked out the first punch anyhow. And he was only part-Swedish. I wonder if Mark Kozelek was watching the same fight? I like his sad and complicated song about Duck Soup Kim or whoever. (I promise to update with the actual name of the boxer, out of respect for the dead. Which reminds me here in edit 15 that Terry and I stayed up late watching the Korean tv series about the lawyer on the spectrum who is obsessed by whales. She helped an old woman avoid murder conviction because spoiler alert she hit her demented and abusive husband with the iron but he had complained earlier about a headache reasonable doubt that it was a subdural hematoma related to his dementia that killed him).

“Duk Koo Kim” by Sun Kil Moon  excerpt fair use yo:

Watching an old fight film last night Ray Mancini and Duk Koo Kim The boy from Seoul was hanging on good But the pounding took to him And there in the square he lay alone Without face, without crown And the angel who looked upon him She never came down You never know What day is gonna pick you, baby Out of the air Out of nowhere

andand but not Anand Patwardhan: I am very happy for my friend Beth Custer who published a song book and performs tonite at SF Jazz and meant to write a post called “Fired Up Manager Blues’. I meant to compare three versions of that song: 1, from the soundtrack to “My Grandmother”; 2, from the studio album of Clarinet Thing; and 3, live recording at Mitchell Park Community Center her birthday also Mardi Gras a Tuesday right before the covid hit in 2020. A songbook featuring a song for a soundtrack to a movie from 80 years before that was banned by the bureaucracy in Soviet Georgia about how to bribe your way to the top.

I managed a Vietnamese author turned songwriter Dao Strom and the year we were at SXSW sure enough the founder of Rounder Records Ken Irwin who had just won the Grammy for his work with Robert Plant and Allison Krauss scouted our show which is my unique rocker guy intro to: CROWE Never have you watched two heads more than we watched their two heads watching “Almost Famous.” Every once in a while they would whisper something to each other. And we’d look at each other like, “What did that mean?” And then comes the “golden god” sequence. And Billy goes, “I am a golden god!” And Robert Plant lets out the greatest laugh and claps. We could breathe now. We’re like, “We got a shot that they might like the movie.” Then comes the end, where Billy Crudup is on a bench and he’s finding out that the kid has written all of it [in the article], including screaming, “I’m a golden god.” I think Billy says, “I didn’t say that.” And Plant shouts out, “I did!” in the theater.


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MC Hammer looks more like Hank Aaron than Sonny Rollins looks like Don Newcombe

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‘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. 

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Mini bar blues by Steve Poltz and Bruce Bochy

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US Treasury Under Attack by Blueberries

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18 of his prime home runs during Judge’s record season

(this was a joke about math but got garbled in the WordPress)

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