Mars (live)

Mars_Moment6

Here’s the first video from my show at the Kraine Theater on 9/22/19. Thanks again to everyone who came out – the support was palpable and encouraging.

The band is:
Vinnie Armanino – guitar
Dan Paccione – bass and vocals
Chris DeRosa – drums
The camera work and background visuals are provided by Daniela Croci.

 

I’ve got a one-way ticket to Mars
I hear they’ve got some really nice cars
And all those shooting stars
I’ve got a one-way ticket to Mars

I’ve got a one-way ticket to the other side
I told my baby and she cried and cried
But it’s just foolish pride
I’ve got a one-way ticket to the other side

I’ve got a one-way ticket to the promised land
Eternal love in the palm of my hand
Oh, and ain’t life grand
With a one-way ticket to the promised land?

I’ve got a one-way ticket to Mars
I hear they’ve got some really nice guitars
And all those shooting stars
I’ve got a one-way ticket to Mars

Do Not Go Gentle

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Coming Full Circle in NYC

band_pics

Thirty five years ago, I moved to New York City, into a friend’s apartment at 4 Saint Mark’s Place. On September 22, I will be performing a show at the Kraine Theater, four blocks away from that first apartment. I’ll be playing songs that I wrote during the years I lived in Greenwich Village, songs I wrote when I lived on the Upper West Side, and ones written in my current home in the Bronx.

Get your tickets here.

The city has changed a lot since my first days here, hanging out in clubs like the Ritz, the Limelight, Danceteria, and CBGBs, finding new experiences that seeped into my songs. In music I found the power of melody and poetry to inspire and soothe and reveal and heal. I would love to share some of these experiences with you in the city that always will be home to me.

Here is a recording from the mid-nineties, by an early incarnation of Late Model Humans, of one of the songs I’ll be performing: New York City.

CitySketch: Pomona

Pomona by Nicolas Fouche, circa 1700

Across a street that is more like a driveway to the Plaza Hotel stands this statue of Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit trees, orchards, and gardens. 
Pomona is one of the few Roman deities who doesn’t have a Greek counterpart. She stands on top of the Pulitzer Fountain in Manhattan’s Grand Army Plaza, the source of the hotel’s name.
Pomona has kept her eye on the southeast corner of Central Park for more than a century.

Take A Walk

Over the last century our species figured out, finally, how to overcome the force of gravity and take to the skies, and even to the great mysterious space beyond our atmosphere. With the internal combustion engine we already had motorized transportation that we measured in horsepower. In the centuries before the last we built chariots, carriages, and trains to move us forward at ever-increasing speeds.

Around 3,500 BC two developments changed the human experience forever: In Mesopotamia the first wheels were used, and in the Eurasian steppes the horse was domesticated. Somewhere between 4 and 5 centuries before that our ancestors figured out how to use balance, flotation, and the currents of water and air to paddle, then sail, our bodies on rivers, lakes, and seas at superhuman speed.
Before that we used our feet. 
A normal walking pace is 3 miles per hour. I found that out recently when I re-discovered the joys of walking. And there are distinctive joys in self-propulsion that should not be taken lightly. I see things when I walk that literally fly past me in other modes of transportation.
I am a disciple of the arts, not physical fitness. I search for inspiration and a stronger mind, not a fitter body. But if walking, like yoga or vegetarianism, leads to a healthier body, I’m cool with that.
But that’s not why I walk. 
I walk to watch the river move faster than me.

Lamplight

“When the world slips slow to darkness, when the office fire burns lower,
My heart goes out to Rouen, Rouen all the world away;
When other men remember, I remember our Adventure
And the trains that go from Rouen at the ending of the day.”
May Wedderburn Cannan

They call her the forgotten female poet of World War I. She became a nurse at the age of 18 and eventually reached the rank of quartermaster. She wrote three volumes of poetry between 1917-1923 and then published nothing until the end of her life, when she wrote her memoir, Grey Ghosts and Voices. It was published in 1976, three years after her death.

Her fiancé, Lieutenant Bevil Brian Quiller-Couch, survived wounds that earned him a citation for courage, only to die in one of the worst catastrophes in human history, the influenza pandemic of 1919 that killed between 20 and 40 million people.

We planned to shake the world together, you and I.
Being young, and very wise;
Now in the light of the green shaded lamp
Almost I see your eyes
Light with the old gay laughter; you and I
Dreamed greatly of an Empire in those days,
Setting our feet upon laborious ways,
And all you asked of fame
Was crossed swords in the Army List;
My Dear, against your name

May Wedderburn Cannan

Memorial Day

“Greater love has no one than this, 
that he lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus
Some people think Memorial Day is a time to recognize those who have served in the American military. It’s not. That’s Veterans’ Day. If you want to thank someone for their service on Memorial Day you should be standing in a graveyard.

The 307th Infantry, on their way to war, from the collection of the Imperial War Museums

There is a graveyard of sorts in the heart of Central Park: the 307th Infantry Memorial Grove. Just to the east of the middle of the park, around 70th Street, a grove trees were planted and monuments and plaques installed to commemorate the sacrifice of the men of the 307th. Here is one of their stories, in the words of Julius Klausner, Jr., one who survived:
Captain Blanton Barrett

The intent was to surprise the enemy with a daylight raid and thereby obtain information thru capture and observation. But either thru knowledge or by chance, the Germans had prepared against this maneuver and the surprise was reversed.

Waiting until our patrol was fairly within their lines, and then partially surrounding them, the enemy centered upon our men a deadly fire of rifles, machine guns, and grenades. The raiders fought valiantly in return but were outnumbered four to one. After an hour’s fighting, seventeen of our party, including Captain Barrett, lay dead, and sixteen were captured. Of the twenty-one who returned, thirteen were wounded. We were informed by two German prisoners captured a few days later that seventeen Germans had been killed.

Many of the regiment’s men were from New York City and their return home after the war was triumphant:


The Company moved on May 5th to the armory of the 22d New York Engineers in New York City to await final orders for the parade of welcome arranged by New York City.

We formed for the parade near Washington Square at 8:00
A.M. next morning and at 10:00 A.M. we marched out to Fifth Avenue and swept up that thorofare to the acclaim of a million throats. No greeting could have been more sincere, no welcome more impressive, and this, our last hike as Company B, was a march of glory.

 

The last hike, up Fifth Avenue

Any person who gives their life for something bigger than themselves – especially when given for the society we’re living in – deserves more than our respect. They deserve an examination from each of us, to see if there is something – anything – we can do to make their sacrifice worth it, to give the people who come after them a better, fairer, and freer society in tribute to them.