Pull Up a Chair: Awakenings

“There has been an awakening — have you felt it?”


Episode VII in the Star Wars Saga, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

So, what do you think? It opens December 18th, next year. Will you be in line? I confess the music gets me psyched. (How ’bout that new light saber?)

Episode IV: A New Hope
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Episode VII: The Force Awakens


Jedi Kittens Strike Back

Pull Up a Chair: Awakenings

“There has been an awakening — have you felt it?”


Episode VII in the Star Wars Saga, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

So, what do you think? It opens December 18th, next year. Will you be in line? I confess the music gets me psyched. (How ’bout that new light saber?)

Episode IV: A New Hope
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Episode VII: The Force Awakens


Jedi Kittens Strike Back

Late Night: The Last Waltz

Another Thanksgiving holiday tradition is The Last Waltz. I was living in the Bay Area at the time and fantasized about winning tickets to the concert.

In his autobiography, concert promoter Bill Graham says that when the Band’s singer-guitarist Robbie Robertson told him that he wanted to do one final concert on Thanksgiving, he was the one who came up with the idea of serving dinner. Graham then goes on to list the evening’s menu: “Two hundred and twenty turkeys…five hundred extra turkey legs that weighed six hundred pounds. Stuffing…sautéed in one hundred pounds of butter…ninety gallons of sauce made from drippings. Forty crates of lettuce for the salad. Eighteen cases of cranberries. Two thousand pounds of peeled yams. Four hundred pounds of pumpkin pie. Rock and roll’s last supper.” Martin Scorsese’s documentary about this momentous occasion doesn’t dwell on the fact that Graham and Co. prepared a “buffet for fifty-four hundred people,” but you can sense that something special, both grand and intimate, is taking place. It’s the ultimate portrait of a band, a showman and a community giving thanks for what they had. You should play this movie loud, with family and friends present, and on a full stomach.

So without further ado, here are a few videos from that momentous evening, November 25, 1976.

The concert opens with Up on Cripple Creek

(Levon Helm *pitter pat*)

Followed by The Shape I’m In:

Don’t Do It:

The Weight with The Staples Sisters.:

God love ’em, each and every one.

Beginning with a title card saying “This film should be played loud!” the concert documentary covers the Band’s influences and career. The group—Rick Danko on bass, violin and vocals; Levon Helmon drums, mandolin and vocals; Garth Hudson on keyboards and saxophone; songwriter Richard Manuel on keyboards, percussion and vocals; and guitarist, songwriter and occasional vocalistRobbie Robertson—started out in the late 1950s as a rock and roll band led by Ronnie Hawkins, and Hawkins himself appears as the first guest. The group backed Bob Dylan in the 1960s, and Dylan performs with the Band towards the end of the concert.

Various other artists perform with the Band: Muddy WatersPaul ButterfieldNeil YoungJoni MitchellVan MorrisonDr. JohnNeil Diamond and Eric Clapton. Genres covered include blues,rock and rollNew Orleans R&BTin Pan Alley popfolk and rock. Further genres are explored in segments filmed later on a sound stage with Emmylou Harris (country) and the Staple Singers (souland gospel).

The film begins with the Band performing the last song of the evening, their cover version of the Marvin Gaye hit “Don’t Do It“, as an encore. The film then flashes back to the beginning of the concert, and follows it more or less chronologically. The Band is backed by a large horn section and performs many of its hit songs, including “Up on Cripple Creek“, “Stage Fright” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down“.

The Last Waltz

Another Thanksgiving holiday tradition is The Last Waltz. I was living in the Bay Area at the time and fantasized about winning tickets to the concert.

In his autobiography, concert promoter Bill Graham says that when the Band’s singer-guitarist Robbie Robertson told him that he wanted to do one final concert on Thanksgiving, he was the one who came up with the idea of serving dinner. Graham then goes on to list the evening’s menu: “Two hundred and twenty turkeys…five hundred extra turkey legs that weighed six hundred pounds. Stuffing…sautéed in one hundred pounds of butter…ninety gallons of sauce made from drippings. Forty crates of lettuce for the salad. Eighteen cases of cranberries. Two thousand pounds of peeled yams. Four hundred pounds of pumpkin pie. Rock and roll’s last supper.” Martin Scorsese’s documentary about this momentous occasion doesn’t dwell on the fact that Graham and Co. prepared a “buffet for fifty-four hundred people,” but you can sense that something special, both grand and intimate, is taking place. It’s the ultimate portrait of a band, a showman and a community giving thanks for what they had. You should play this movie loud, with family and friends present, and on a full stomach.

So without further ado, here are a few videos from that momentous evening, November 25, 1976.

The concert opens with Up on Cripple Creek

(Levon Helm *pitter pat*)

Followed by The Shape I’m In:

Don’t Do It:

The Weight with The Staples Sisters.:

God love ’em, each and every one.

Beginning with a title card saying “This film should be played loud!” the concert documentary covers the Band’s influences and career. The group—Rick Danko on bass, violin and vocals; Levon Helmon drums, mandolin and vocals; Garth Hudson on keyboards and saxophone; songwriter Richard Manuel on keyboards, percussion and vocals; and guitarist, songwriter and occasional vocalistRobbie Robertson—started out in the late 1950s as a rock and roll band led by Ronnie Hawkins, and Hawkins himself appears as the first guest. The group backed Bob Dylan in the 1960s, and Dylan performs with the Band towards the end of the concert.

Various other artists perform with the Band: Muddy WatersPaul ButterfieldNeil YoungJoni MitchellVan MorrisonDr. JohnNeil Diamond and Eric Clapton. Genres covered include blues,rock and rollNew Orleans R&BTin Pan Alley popfolk and rock. Further genres are explored in segments filmed later on a sound stage with Emmylou Harris (country) and the Staple Singers (souland gospel).

The film begins with the Band performing the last song of the evening, their cover version of the Marvin Gaye hit “Don’t Do It“, as an encore. The film then flashes back to the beginning of the concert, and follows it more or less chronologically. The Band is backed by a large horn section and performs many of its hit songs, including “Up on Cripple Creek“, “Stage Fright” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down“.

You Can Get Anything You Want at Alice’s Restaurant

It isn’t Thanksgiving if you aren’t stuffing a turkey with Arlo.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Miko’s posted the lyrics at MetaFilter.

This song is called Alice’s Restaurant, and it’s about Alice, and the restaurant, but Alice’s Restaurant is not the name of the restaurant; that’s just the name of the song, and that’s why I call the song Alice’s Restaurant.

You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in, it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant

Now, it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on – two years ago on Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the restaurant. But Alice doesn’t live in the restaurant, she lives in the church nearby the restaurant, in the bell tower, with her husband Ray and Fasha the dog. And living in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of room downstairs where the pews used to be in. Having all that room, seeing as how they took out all the pews, they decided that they didn’t have to take out their garbage for a long time. …more

 

You Can Get Anything You Want at Alice’s Restaurant

It isn’t Thanksgiving if you aren’t stuffing a turkey with Arlo.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Miko’s posted the lyrics at MetaFilter.

This song is called Alice’s Restaurant, and it’s about Alice, and the restaurant, but Alice’s Restaurant is not the name of the restaurant; that’s just the name of the song, and that’s why I call the song Alice’s Restaurant.

You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in, it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant

Now, it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on – two years ago on Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the restaurant. But Alice doesn’t live in the restaurant, she lives in the church nearby the restaurant, in the bell tower, with her husband Ray and Fasha the dog. And living in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of room downstairs where the pews used to be in. Having all that room, seeing as how they took out all the pews, they decided that they didn’t have to take out their garbage for a long time. …more

 

Late Night: What’s Going On

Let’s not just make noise, let’s make a difference.

Marvin Gaye’s words are so meaningful today:

Mother, mother
There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today – Ya

Father, father
We don’t need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today

Once again, Michael Brown’s family’s statement:

We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.

While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.

Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.

We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction.

Let’s not just make noise, let’s make a difference.

ADDED:

Book Salon Preview: Angels By The River, A Memoir

Reflections on race, environment, politics, and living on the front lines of change

Angels by the River: A Memoir

Come chat with author Gus Speth and host Will Potter, 5pm ET, 2pm PT.

In Angels by the River, James Gustave “Gus” Speth recounts his unlikely path from a southern boyhood through his years as one of the nation’s most influential mainstream environmentalists and eventually to the system­-changing activism that shapes his current work.

Born and raised in a lovely but racially divided town that later became the scene of South Carolina’s horrific Orangeburg Massacre, Speth explores how the civil rights movement and the South’s agrarian roots shaped his later work in the heyday of the environmental movement, when he founded two landmark environmental groups, fought for the nation’s toughest environmental laws, spearheaded programs in the United Nations, advised the White House, and moved into a leading academic role as dean of Yale’s prestigious School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Yet, in the end, he arrived somewhere quite unexpected—still believing change is possible, but not within the current political and economic system.

Throughout this compelling memoir, Speth intertwines three stories—his own, his hometown’s, and his country’s—focusing mainly on his early years and the lessons he drew from them, and his later years, in which he comes full circle in applying those lessons. In the process he invites others to join him politically at or near the place at which he has arrived, wherever they may have started.

James Gustave “Gus” Speth is the former dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, founder and president of the World Resources Institute, and co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council. He has also been administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, chair of the U.N. Development Group, professor of law at Georgetown University, and chair of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality in the Carter administration.

He currently teaches at Vermont Law School, and is a senior fellow at the Democracy Collaborative where he is co-chair of the Next System Project. He is also distinguished senior fellow with Demos, associate fellow with the Tellus Insitute, and the recipient of numerous environmental awards. His previous books include America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy, and the award-winning The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability and Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment. (Chelsea Green Publishing)