Taking a Step. Okay, a Small Step…

Revolutions need a spark to begin.

Tonight, I take one revolutionary step.

For several decades, I’ve collected volumes of historic coins and stamps. Especially coins.

I was honored to receive the Abraham Lincoln coin. And the F.D.R. coin, too. Those people were giants. We were blessed to have them occupy The White House at a critical time in our nation’s history.

I was delighted with the shipments that brought me gold coins commemorating the terms of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. That Washington refused the opportunity to become our first king — and Jefferson’s poetry inspired humanity to champion our cause — must balance out their antebellum slave-holding sins.

Opening the packages that contained the coins honoring Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter and Obama filled me with pride and patriotism. Promise, intelligence, optimism, compassion and forward thinking were the hallmarks of their terms. I smiled as I slid each of them into their plastic page covers and snapped them into my binder.

Along the way, I endured drunken, racist Andrew Johnson, hapless Herbert Hoover, and Dick Cheney/George W. Bush. I had no problem with my Ronald Reagan coin, even though I believe he was a malevolent influence on our body politic.

Then – today – a package arrived with a Donald J. Trump Presidential coin.

No way. I can’t accept a Trump presidential coin.

I didn’t vote for him – and I don’t want him. He’s a menace to the nation we all profess to love.

So, I sent this note to the coin folks…

It made me feel better. And it may affect someone on the other end.

As I said — a revolution needs a spark to begin.

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Filed under Comedy, History, Politics, Polls, Uncategorized

Eva B. Ross @ The Hotel Café

My sweet-singing, songwriting daughter, Eva B. Ross, will be playing a set of her newest and grooviest tunes at The Hotel Café on November 4th at 10:00 pm. Doors open at 9:30 PM.

Vic and I will be waiting at the bar to toast your entrance.

Eva has been woodshedding this summer, crafting a brand new batch of songs – and she’ll be presenting many of them at this gig, backed by her stalwart lead guitarist David Miller and keyboardist Grant Milliken, both fellow UCLA grads and musical prodigies.

Eva is appearing at the Hotel Café to help celebrate the birthday of another UCLA musical friend, Ryan Nealon – whose band will take the stage after Eva at 11:00 pm.

Ryan is a kick-ass R & B singer – and this will be a party that kicks off the holiday 2017 season with a solid dose of dance-inducing soul.

Tickets are on sale here.

Only fans of good music that are 21-years old and more will be admitted. Pre-sales close on November 4th at 6:00 PM.

unnamed-2When you purchase your tickets – please indicate the artist you’d like to support. (That would be Eva.)

The Hotel Café is located at 1623 Cahuenga Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028 United States

In this crazy year filled with nasty weather, insane politics and the passings of Glen Campbell and Tom Petty — it’s a good time to enjoy some wonderful songs played and sung very, very well.

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Filed under Art, Beauty, Music, rock & roll, Uncategorized

Ms. Maura’s Octoberfest!

As many of you already know, my daughter Maura is a singer of great soulful, bluesy and funky power. She’s been gigging throughout the year with Vaud & The Villains – but she’s back for the spooky holidays with her own band: Ms. Maura & The Misters.

unnamedOn Saturday, October 28th, Mr. Maura & The Misters will kick off the pre-Halloween weekend with an exclusive costume party at quirky Kulak’s Woodshed in North Hollywood.

Ms. Maura suggests that you get your dance on at this all-ages shindig — featuring the sweet sounds of Karlina Covington and the rockin’ rhythms of Ms. Maura and her very groovy band.

8:00 PM – Karlina Covington
9:00 PM – Ms. Maura & The Misters

Space at Kulak’s is limited, so get your tickets today at: https://swingingshindigs.yapsody.com/event/index/158021/masquerade-madness

Ms. Maura would also like you to know that Kulak’s is a booze-free listening room. But there are plenty of nearby establishments where you can get a drink or two before and/or after the show.

See you all there!

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Filed under Art, Beauty, Music, rock & roll, Uncategorized

Big Holiday Fun in Chicago (Evanston) is just 3 Months Away…

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 11.32.49 PMDocument3 jpegAnyone who attended last year’s sold-out production of “Mr. Olsen’s Holiday Party”, produced by The Practical Theatre Company at Studio5 in Evanston, won’t want to miss “Mr. Olsen’s Champagne Celebration”.

VPD New 2“Mr. Olsen’s Champagne Celebration” is a brand new show – with lots of new songs, sketches, and some classic PTC material that hasn’t been seen in Chicago for years. Plus, the band is bigger and better than ever!

Those folks who weren’t able to get a ticket for last year’s show will be happy to know that, this year, there are three performances rather than two. Tickets will go on sale soon. Watch this space.

2017 has been a crazy year. Damn crazy.

“Mr. Olsen’s Champagne Celebration” is the best way to kiss 2017 goodbye!

 

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Filed under Art, Comedy, Improvisation, Music, rock & roll

Hey, Chicago! Making Plans for New Years?

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September 12, 2017 · 9:07 pm

The Anti-Trump Movement Doesn’t Need Black Bloc Violence.

I originally wrote this article during the heyday of the Occupy Wall Street movement. With the recent violence in Charlottesville and Berkeley, it bears repeating now. (Just replace the words “Occupy Wall Street” with “Anti-Trump” or “Anti-White Supremacist”.) 

It’s obvious to readers of this blog that I am in wholehearted solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and the struggle for economic and social justice for the 99% of our citizens who have been increasingly denied their fair share of the American Dream.

As the OWS movement has spread from lower Manhattan to big cities and small towns across the country, few of these protests have attracted more national headlines than Occupy Oakland, especially after last week’s spasm of police violence energized the Bay Area movement, leading to today’s General Strike and the effective closing of the Port of Oakland by thousands of patriots rallying to the cause of the 99%.

However, among the media reports on today’s General Strike in Oakland, I was disturbed to read this article by Ben Margot of the Associated Press.

OAKLAND – Protesters supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement smashed the windows of a Wells Fargo bank branch in downtown Oakland on Wednesday during a day of demonstrations in protest of wealth inequalities.

 A group of about 300 men, many wearing black, some carrying wooden sticks, was part of a group of hundreds who set out to cause a general strike in the area around City Hall. The smaller group smashed several windows of the Wells Fargo branch while chanting, “Banks got bailed out; we got sold out.” They also spray-painted an expletive on the outer wall of the bank. Employees were inside while this took place, but it did not appear that anyone got hurt.

 Who were these 300 vandals “many wearing black, some carrying wooden sticks”? Were they right wing provocateurs infiltrating the OWS movement to discredit it?

The Raw Story blog shed more light on black bloc tactics in Oakland:

“The vast majority of the protesters remained peaceful, but a small group of black bloc protesters defaced ATMs and broke windows at Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase Bank branches as the protesters marched through downtown, according to the Oakland Tribune.

 A group of protesters also vandalized a Whole Foods store and someone spray-painted “fuck” on the side of the Christ the Light Cathedral.”

And who are “black block protestors”?

You can click on this link to get the full story – but basically, a black bloc is a tactic in which protestors wear black clothing, scarves, ski masks, and other concealing garb to avoid identification and promote solidarity. Black bloc tactics include vandalism, rioting and street fighting.

Black bloc? Let’s just say no to the black bloc.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is doing just fine, thank you, without black bloc tactics. OWS is attracting the old as well as the young, middle class teachers and union workers as well as students and unemployed youths. Dressing in black and hiding your face while engaging in violent acts will not win the hearts and minds of the 99% in America.

If the police attack non-violent protestors, OWS keeps the moral high ground. If the police crack down on provocateurs that smash windows and paint obscenities on bank buildings, grocery stores and churches – then that’s just the cops doing their job.

Scott Olsen, the Iraq War veteran who was shot in the head with a tear gas canister by the Oakland police during a courageous act of non-violent resistance did more to win average Americans to the cause of the 99% than any of these window-smashing anarchists ever will.

Remember the words of John Lennon, who knew a thing or two about street demonstrations and the struggle for social justice.

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out

 You say you got a real solution

Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re doing what we can
But when you want money
for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait

We win a lot more hearts and minds when our movement looks like this…

Rather than this…

Or this….

Rather than this…

OWS must stay non-violent. The movement has already changed the national conversation in a positive way. The politicians, pundits and media are talking more about OWS and the legitimate concerns of the 99% than yesterday’s national debt hysteria.

Martin Luther King won. Ghandi won. Dressing up is a black disguise and busting windows is only a way to lose. So, take off those black masks. Put down those clubs. Pick up a witty, pithy sign – and join the peaceful movement that’s on the verge of changing the status quo.

Let’s not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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Filed under Politics

A Musical Brain Cleanse…

Suffering from Trump fatigue? Scrambled by Scaramucci? Weary of Kellyanne Conway? Stultified by the droning of Sarah Huckabee Sanders? Jared Kushner creeping you out? Would you like them all to go away for a least a few precious minutes?

Enjoy…

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