Amoeblog

John Sinclair Talks to the Amoeblog Before Performing at Amoeba SF

Posted by Billy Gil, October 24, 2012 05:35pm | Post a Comment

Harry Duncan’s Roots and Rhythms Series returns to Amoeba SF Saturday Oct. 27 from 2-5 p.m. To hear a sample of the music Duncan spins, listen to In The Soul Kitchen with DJ Harry Duncan on KUSF In Exile Tuesdays from 7 to 9 p.m. Listen to past shows here.

John SinclairThis Saturday’s show will include a rare appearance by legendary poet and activist John Sinclair. Sinclair was once the manager of Detroit proto-punks MC5 and lead anti-racist and pro-marijuana efforts in the 1960s. He was imprisoned in 1969 for the possession of two joints of marijuana, which spawned the John Sinclair Freedom Rally in Ann Arbor, Mich. in 1971, which featured John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman and another of other luminaries from the time. He was soon after released, and the Michigan Supreme Court ruled the state’s marijuana law was unconstitutional. He was charged with two others in the 1972 Supreme Court case United States v. U.S. District Court, which upheld that warrantless domestic wiretaps were illegal.

Sinclair is now based in Amsterdam, where he continues to write and record poetry, which is often accompanied by blues, jazz and rock musicians. He hosts a radio show at RadioFreeAmsterdam.com where he plays jazz, blues, R&B and other music, and maintains a blog, Fattening Blogs For Snakes. I caught up with Sinclair over the phone as he was working on a documentary in Healdsburg, Calif.

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(In which we consider Paul Robeson.)

Posted by Job O Brother, February 7, 2010 03:22pm | Post a Comment
houdinilaurie anderson houdini
Harry Houdini vs. Laurie Anderson

My actual heroes in this world are few and disparate. From Harry Houdini to Laurie Anderson, from John Lennon to Mrs. Mary Eales, they reflect people who may inspire and impact me with their art, their political activism, their bold-faced chutzpah, or any combination thereof.

But perhaps no one embodies all these traits to such heightened super-awesomeness for me than the great Paul Robeson.

paul robeson smiling
Rad.

Robeson was born in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1898. His father was an escaped slave-turned-church minister; his mother was from a Quaker family, and died tragically when Paul was six, which isn’t funny at all, so don’t laugh.

Paul received a full academic scholarship to attend Rutgers University, which I hear is a pretty good school, though I’ve never been there myself because I’m allergic to schools. Seriously. If I even step foot on a campus I start itching, sweating, and my head comes completely off and falls to the ground and rolls away.

Minnesota's New Senator: Al Franken

Posted by Whitmore, June 30, 2009 12:05pm | Post a Comment
The Minnesota Supreme Court Tuesday morning ordered that Democrat Al Franken be certified as the winner of the state's never ending Senate race and recount that was decided by only a few hundred votes. Finally, the paint has dried ...
 
The high court rejected a legal challenge from Republican Norm Coleman, whose options for regaining the Senate seat dwindled to almost nothing. Shortly after the decision was announced, Coleman accepted the loss, conceding and congratulating Franken on his victory. Coleman told reporters outside his St. Paul home, "The Supreme Court has made its decision and I will abide by the results; in these tough times we all need to focus on the future, and the future is that we have a new United States Senator."
 
Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said the earliest Franken would be seated is next week because the Senate is out of session for the July 4th holiday.
 
The unanimous court wrote that "because the legislature established absentee voting as an optional method of voting, voters choosing to use that method are required to comply with the statutory provisions." They went on to say that "because strict compliance with the statutory requirements for absentee voting is, and always has been required, there is no basis on which voters could have reasonably believed that anything less than strict compliance would suffice."
 
The 58 year old Franken was born in New York City but was raised in St. Louis Park, Minn., a suburb near Minneapolis. He graduated cum laude in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Harvard University. Best known as a writer and performer on Saturday Night Live from 1975-1980 and 1985-1995 and as the radio talk show host for The Al Franken Show on Air America Radio from 2004-2007, Franken has also authored several books, including Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations (1996) and Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right (2003).

The Argentinean Paramour and the Presidential Contender

Posted by Whitmore, June 26, 2009 07:38am | Post a Comment

File this under “there isn’t much of anything new under the sun.”
 
Hearing that the South Carolina Governor and possible Republican 2012 presidential candidate, 49 year old Mark Sanford, was having an affair wasn’t all that surprising. I’m beginning to believe most everyone in politics is diddling somebody on the side. But an Argentinean paramour and a southern Presidential contender reminded me of another career unraveling misadventure a few decades back.
 
In 1974, Democratic Congressman Wilbur Mills from Arkansas, the powerful overseer of federal revenue legislation as chairman to the House Ways and Means Committee and briefly a candidate for President in 1972, was caught in a year long affair with an exotic dancer from Argentina, Fanne Foxe, who worked at Washington D.C.’s not quite legendary Silver Slipper on 13th Street NW. It was reported at the time that Mills would spend as much as $1,700 a night at the club.
 
The melodrama unfolded in the wee hours of October 9, 1974. Mills’ car containing five passengers and driven by a former Richard Nixon staffer (... set up? ... conspiracy? ... you never know ...) was pulled over by D.C. Park Police for driving without headlights. Congressman Mills was intoxicated in the back seat sporting a bloody nose and a few facial scratches from an altercation he had with his companion, Fanne Foxe, born Annabelle Battistella, better known in the burlesque world as the “Argentine Firecracker.” But when police approached the car, Foxe leapt from the car and tried escaping by jumping into the nearby Tidal Basin, a man-made inlet next to the Potomac River. That didn’t work out so well; she was rescued by a policeman and taken to nearby St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for treatment.
 
Despite the scandalous headlines, Mills was re-elected to Congress in November 1974, winning 60% of the vote in a big year for Democrats following Nixon’s resignation and Watergate scandal. But a few weeks later, on November 30, 1974 at Boston's Pilgrim Theater, a Burlesque house where Fanne Foxe was performing, an intoxicated Mills was in the audience. Mills, accompanied by Foxe’s husband, was called to the stage by the exotic dancer. After exchanging a few one-liners with the audience, the Congressman received a kiss on the cheek from Foxe and then exited. According to some accounts he then held an impromptu press conference in Foxe's dressing room. The whole trip to Boston, Mills drunkenly explained, was to quell rumors he had ever had an affair with Fanne Foxe. Well, I guess some people are just a bit thick in the head. Needless to say, after this second round of embarrassing press Mills was forced to step down from his chairmanship on the Ways and Means Committee. Mills' distinguished 36 year legislative career didn’t just end, it crashed and burned. Mills checked himself into the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD for a much needed respite; eventually he acknowledged his alcoholism and entered the West Palm Beach Institute saying he was a “sick man.” He did not seek re-election in 1976 and retired. In 1992 Mills died at the age of 82.
 
Fanne Foxe continued working as a stripper for a while longer, re-dubbing her stage show from "The Argentine Firecracker" to "The Tidal Basin Bombshell." She also authored a book about the affair, The Stripper and the Congressman. In it Foxe claims she became pregnant by Congressman Mills and had an abortion. A couple of years later it was reported she attempted suicide. After that she just faded away, eventually returning to Argentina.

DON'T NEED A WEATHERMAN

Posted by Charles Reece, June 7, 2009 10:28pm | Post a Comment
A Kiwi gentleman (hiya, Stevv) pointed me to this online time-waster, the Political Spectrum Quiz, so I figured why not put my results on this here blog. What does being from the South and reading too much Frankfurt critical theory get me? Well, this:


My Political Views
I am a far-left social libertarian
Left: 7.63, Libertarian: 6.57



My Foreign Policy Views
Score: -4.03


My Culture War Stance
Score: -8.04




What do you know? I don't trust big business or big government, just the former a little bit less.

gomer pyle nabors surprise



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