Was Little Willy John innocent?


He was convicted of manslaughter and died at age 30 in prison for a pneumonia that was probably treatable but was he even tried fairly?

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Weiss of Earthwise: ‘4 you, 2 musicians’ (wears Ronnie Lott jacket to introduce Jerry Hannan and Johnny A solo sets at Mitchell Park, 42)


Photo by Terry Acebo Davis

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Good on McFaul for chiming in on ‘the drug deal’


He wants people to testify

Reminds me of the botched lyric of the Grateful Dead: “don’t try to give me all your flak Jack”


I spent a little time on the mountain
Spent a little time on the hill
Things went down we don’t understand
But I think in time we will


Note: Avid readers of plastic alto know that Michael McFaul and I and our respective dates K, J, saw the grateful dead in Berkeley spring 1982.


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Tanaka-Johnson, 2016 VS Voight-Kampff, 1982

I re-watched parts of the interview Greg Tanaka, then a Palo Alto planning commissioner, did as a candidate for City Council with Bill Johnson of the Palo Alto Weekly, in 2016. What I remembered was that Greg kept avoiding Bill’s question. I went back to the interview after reading a bit about the lack of a grocery store in the office complex that replaced JJ & F Market. (Actually the most dramatic or bizarre part of the 2016 interview was over whether or not candidate Tanaka supported “the Downtown Cap” — a message in a bottle from years ago policy makers to today’s leadership reminding us that the Residents are primary over the Developers — which was basicially gutted and undermined when the Comp Plan was revised, rebuked — it was actually my own interview with Johnson during the 2014 elections when I whiffed at a chance to critique the project, when asked. I knew it was fishy, but did not grasp or could not recall the details).
The Voigt-Krampff test is to tell whether a subject was human or replicant — Android — robot. I guess I’m sort of a racist or playing to a trope to suggest that a Japanese guy is not very emotional (Cf, Jessica Yu, Inscrutable Films, reclaiming the slur). But it is also true, and I circulated my complaint privately, that Greg Tanaka more recently taped my interview with him, during his office hours — about public art — and cut me off just as I was explaining that my mother’s entering hospice is why I withdrew from the 2018 council race; then he edited the tape to conceal that fact; then, when I brought it up again recently, he had a high school kid reply on his behalf, to take down the tape. He has tapes of 100 such interviews. Not that he didn’t inform the subjects — his neighbors and constituents, just that its apriori creepy. The edit calls to mind both “deep fakes” a current topic and The Watergate Tapes.
Tanaka should not run for re-election.

Note: there is a discrepancy in the spelling of the test between the novel and the movie. Also, the term Bladerunner is not from the Dick book, it is from a 1974 novel about underground surgeons. It is also a pun on the German word for “remain calm”. And1: I used the term “Total Recall” a few cycles ago to suggest that Palo Altans could or should replace its elected leaders by off year petition. I think council has improved slighly in terms of represenation and response.

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Coming soon: CJ Chenier at Mitchell Park, with Dartmouth Coast Orchestra and MC Lars

Someone can loan us a drum kit, please

onsale right about now

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‘Respect my hair, white people’ Jon Pareles of the Times touts Xenia Franca of Bahia at GlobalFest

BLUF: I’ve produced a handful of world music concerts in Palo Alto — Femi Kuti, Ozomatli, Kemuri, Danilo Perez — and would like to do more. Also: I think there should be more street music and buskers, beyond the Claude Ezran World Music Day — Make Music Palo Alto. The article in the times about GlobalFest NYC spurred a certain amount of chatter and progress on this front. Stay tuned. And somehow colored my efforts to impact local policy and leadership, and a weird brouhaha at the Human Relations Council, or the version of reality and my sister site, PAW.

Actually, she’s gone to braid…

Xenia 2019 not braid but SXSW showcased

The same article also glossed Meklit Hadero pka Meklit frisco-ethiopian singer and activist. I mistook the photo of Xenia for Meklit, sometimes confusing dreads with braids and clock wise with earthwise

edit to add the next day:
I started my day by drinking coffee and listening to Xenia Franca — the Times pointed out in a link that her entire cd is on Youtube, with 200K plays – -and you can also jump to 20:00 to start with the song about her hear. It’s all pretty mellow and not very exotic — if you’ve heard Jobim or Gilberto this is not far from it. Or Seu Jorge. Meanwhile, tying a bunch of parts of my brain together, I wrote a missive on local politics on the PAW site:
I think the work of the HRC could be incorporated into the missions of Public Arts, and Parks and Recs commissions: besides beauty, how does art enforce our highest sense of community? How can we use our open space and recreation areas for social justice and building of community, et cetera?

Note that Claude Ezran did exactly that in 2009 when he founded World Music Day.

I think inherent to HRC is you get people with chips on their shoulders arguing that their chip is more significant than another’s.

You say tomato, I say tomato, let’s call the whole thing off.

Or leave it to the church to promote church values: as is we push against the No Establishment Clause.

Also: if you pay attention, you see that the entire commissions and board process is going out of balance.

Mark Weiss
2x candidate for that board, 5x candidate for other boards, 3x candidate for Council, 2009-2018
plus 25 years enacting these values and more in private sector as Earthwise Productions, which is in some ways a spin-off of Bay Area Action

Whether Steven or Kaloma emerge from this tempest in a teapot, they’ve done huge harm to the idea of civic engagement and or the values purportedly represented when this commission bylaw was written a long time ago, pre-Obama certainly. And that’s nice that a woman named Jill Asher signed her name to a pro-Steven Lee post – but it makes my point that a group of self-selected NGO or 501c3 created that playground, not a city commission, and not HRC per se. Never underestimate what a group can do…

Also: I noted that in my epistolary of sorts with Mr. Lee Lakiba Pittman, who I noticed apropos of the community debate or lack thereof about Ventura — a historically black community here that is the target of developers now — but Sue D of the PAW brought her up with skeletons in the closet of her purported homophobia from 2004 — so has Lakiba reconciled her Christianity with her love of all of us or is she now blacklisted by the Social Justice Left? I think it was a cheap show for Sue to bring this up. Maybe she has changed or grown in the ensuing 15 years…

How many of those (even anonymous) posters who support Steven Lee were solicited by him? He seems, from my observation, to be the type of guy who would ask people to post here. (Hint: maybe next time, ask them to use their names, like Jill Asher did, or better let chips fall where they may).

This brouhaha is more of a press contrivance than real on some level: I don’t think council is seriously considering any action in response to this. (And I know that posting here rather than lobbying actual leaders or speaking for the record at meetings and hearings or letters to City Clerk/Council is just letting off steam and not actual political efficacy – that plus half my shit gets edited out by the arbitrary powers that be in the fake news editorial board at 450 Cammie – and I’m an advertiser!

We could do better. Or I know 100 people who could do better — their names are a public document. I’m saying: draw five random names from the last 100 people who applied for commission and ask them on behalf of the rest of us to take over the HRC agenda — I bet we’d get better results than what the current process evolved or devolved to. Five for fighting!

Or come find me in a cafe and berate me for my views: I’m wearing today a cap that says: well, it is gray with a blue logo with a shark’s fin and when I bought it a professional hockey team gave $5 to breast cancer. But berate me if you think I eat too much fish and you think killing fish for food is a sin, or berate me for being a capitalistic predator who prays on smaller fish, or berate me — as my wife, the former arts commissioner Terry Acebo Davis does – for the fact that that shade of gray on my cap does not match the blue of my shirt, aesthetically. Or berate my dear friend and colleague Tim Gray for cybersquatting a URL that people might thing belongs to a competing political faction.

Further: if you dredge thru the HRC video archive, you see me speaking my 3 minutes in a meeting and suggesting a comedy event that I claimed would further the goals of the HRC. I suggested a specific comic I had met and was following who had a unique ethnic background or mix. But when I called another potential participant in my proposed comedy event he said “that comic is not funny” and soon I realized it was a stupid idea to book a comic just because of his ethnicity. It’s one thing – and I’ve been producing similar events for years, in fact I have five music shows on sale right now – -to include diversity in cultural offerings. But its another thing to ram it down people’s throats.

Bottom line: a little “human relations” as policy goes a long way. Or as Paracelsus once said: the difference between a potiion and a poison is the dose.

I’m here all week. Try the fish. (and then I tagged the category: Plato’s Republic, meaning its political). Also I am recalling Venus Opal Reese who I booked once into a gallery series here and who had a monologue on black woman’s hair. And I booked a local folk band featuring Brad from the library a white guy with nice hair. To open. Wandering Stars I think. Astrid (not gilberto) was in the band. She makes book art.

and1: Meklit Hadero deserves a closer look. Here in Plasty and on planet earth per se.

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Bitch, I’m Honeychild

Musician and dj Carolyn Coleman aka Honeychild and other names

The article by Lauren Messman in Sunday’s Times about Carolyn Coleman, an artist who uses subway subsidy cards and completed a vocational training program, is also the artist known as Honeychild or Carolyn “HoneyChild” Coleman who, among other recent events, has toured and performed at music festivals in Europe and was a panelist at an event at the Museum of Arts and Design at 2 Columbus Circle last year.

The Times should run that, as a correction.

To write about this person and not identify her by her best known moniker is a disservice, to the artist. The article makes people like me, potential collaborators or buyers, re-read the article and look for the part about the hardship that bumped her down a notch from being on museum panels and touring. (It does say she is in four bands, but pretty low in the story).

As is, it makes people like me wonder if she is on drugs or mentally ill.

It’s true that we don’t value artists and local artists; that’s a good story, but you don’t have to tell it at the expense of the reputation of Carolyn Coleman.

It may be true that ageism and sexism have made it harder for middle-aged musicians to find work; this is true in other fields, that are less image-oriented.

Ms. Messman’s article is, as I said, in a previous post, akin to not mentioning that the B. Henry Zuckerman, 89 was the same guy who, as Buck Henry, starred on “Saturday Night Live”.

It’s like writing about Madonna in the 1980s and saying she walks around in her underwear because she cannot afford proper clothing.

Not that Carolyn Coleman — who I don’t think I had heard of, but research says she is pretty serious in her craft and known in her field — likes being poor or has chosen such.
But to further exoticize her by this glaring omission is inconsistent with the noble goals of journalism and the “neediest cases” trope.

Compare this to the recent article about Sudan Archives.By Jon Pareles: it’s a different story, but on a continuum.
I think an arts writer could have written about this. There are stories of artists who go thru rough stretches — think Mingus, think Sonny Simmons — but if the argrument is that being an artist is so tough that they are often mistaken for crazy people or the homeless, that’s not fair, or this story doesn’t say that, only cynically hints at it.

Who said there is no such thing as bad publicity? I don’t think it extends to slander. As in this case.

Messman is piling on, not lifting up.

Google says this is someone

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