Accordion Babes Pinup Calendar & CD-2017!

Thank god for accordion babes. And women who keep writing music; the world is going to be a better place for it. This is unquestionably the best holiday gift I’ve given family and friends;  practical and fun, they love me more for it each year.  R.D.- Alaska

2017accordionbabescalendarGive the gift that keeps on Squeezing!!

Yes- after an eventful year off, traveling states and Provinces, evading authorities, accepting marriage proposals, recording and touring the world- the Accordion Babes are BACK with accordions in tow!

Now in its 8th year, this underground 2017 Accordion Babes Calendar and CD  of 12 female-led bands featuring at least one “babe” playing accordion- is now a global tradition!  This new 2017 Calendar/CD features Accordionistas from the Bay Area to Brazil, from Louisiana to France, all doing what they do best: taking the accordion into NEW territory while squeezing their way into hearts and homes around the world!

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Showcasing the talented, fun, sensual, often underground, and ALWAYS entertaining Accordion Babes, the Calendar includes a pro-compilation music CD- with one original new song that each of us has written and recorded the previous year. You’ll hear everything from Cumbias, French rock, Celtic-tinged madness, to sea shanty torch, Plus!

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Thank you!~ For supporting women musicians and our newest, lively and original musical creations. Always made with Love.  Get your calendar here!

Photos featured are from previous years calendars. Here is one of me mailing from the road; the Elvis Elves and I are all caught up with orders.

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Shake and Shimmy~East Bay / Oakland 6.1 Quake.

This morning’s 6.1 quake was the strongest I’ve felt in my 12 years living in Oakland. More than the usual light shakers and tremblers, this lasted longer: 7-8 seconds of movement, and was more intense. The house moved sideways and back, over and over, as if someone was trying to push it in one direction, only to have it roll back; like trying to push a house onto a trailer. The dogs went crazy, startled awake in the dark, seeing nothing they ran to doors, jumped up on beds to gain vantage, to protect us. But they were scared. The first response: comforting them, all the while wondering if a bigger one would follow this set of small waves.

This kind of movement is consistent with my last post about Earthquake readiness.  For some quakes along the East Bay faults, like our Hayward Fault, seismic energy runs horizontally, due to the bedrock substrates- so say geologists. Many places along the SF San Andreas Fault have a type of bedrock that transports shock waves vertically, so you would fall trying to walk during a tremor. For many quakes in the East Bay, you would sway from the side to side movement.

The media  is telling us this maybe the first wave, the ‘sleeper hit’ that preludes the ‘big one’ predicted to occur within a week. Ha! Hard to say if this is meaningful geologic logic, or media sensationalism. Unfortunately, it is true that many of the East Bay faults, like the Hayward Fault, are overdue for a large release;  it’s been over 130 years since the last one on this fault line. So I welcome these little shimmies, shakes, and shudders, and I hope that we have enough small tremors and quakes to add up to a significant release of energy- with a minimum of harm to people and property, of course.

This kind of activity always makes us think of the emergency plans we are supposed to all have in place in CA. We do the usual now; check emergency kits: flashlights, batteries, candles, fresh water, radios, blankets, propane tanks, emergency shut off gas valves and wrenches. We remind ourselves of the first contacts on the family/friends call list, posted inside the pantry, and the first call or text we hope to get the opportunity to make, before cell tower circuits overload and shut down.

The first call/text you make in a disaster of any kind- is an important topic. Judging from past catastrophes, time is always a factor.  With only cell phones and no land lines in most homes these days- options are further limited and timed. If you can only make one call, to whom should it be? Mos def someone who will help get the word out to everyone in your clan, yes? We decided that it should be someone fairly savvy with texting. And if local cell towers are damaged, each one of us in our house needs one person outside the area whom we can mutually reach, in case we cannot reach each other. They say that calls outside the area can be easier to make than call across the Bay- if local cell towers are down.

For the first time, today, we talked about what we should say: if you only have a few seconds; tell your condition and location. Something like “We’re on the 880 between San Jose and Oakland, caught in traffic, but fine,” works. Since Boy beast works in SF and I work in Oakland, the status of a bridge can mean everything, as we all know.

Speaking of bridges, with our new retrofitted Bay Bridge, I am counting on a better outcome with this bridge, than with the last one during the big ’89 Bay quake the Loma Prieta. So, how does one go about ‘retrofitting’ a bridge with shears, baffles, and shock absorbers to make it ready for action for “the big one”? Here is a glimpse of the engineering and construction that took place over the last 11 years, to earthquake retrofit the new Bay Bridge linking SF and Oakland. I think it’s kinda cool. Just click on the map to enlarge. Source: BA News Group & CalTrans.

Bay Bridge-New contruction graphic- BANG 9-1MED

Raw Nerves in Oakland this Weekend

I was moved by all of the great photos from this montage by reporters/photographers with the Oakland Tribune/Bay Area Newsgroup whose offices were destroyed this weekend. I am grateful for your work (Mathew Artz, Laura Oda, and many others).

To say that nerves are raw here, does not begin to speak to the frustration bubbling under the surface around Oakland. Staff PhotojournalistBut timed with the Oakland premier of the movie Fruitvale Station, highlighting the life of Oscar Grant, the Florida Zimmerman trial acquittal was the lightening rod that brought it to the surface.

Staff PhotojournalistAs usual in Oakland, this weekend too, daytime protests are peaceful…

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but by nightfall, things take a turn…

protesters march vandalize after not guilty verdict in George Zimmerman trial Oakland

when “sharks” descend to leave a last word in broken glass and graffiti. I  call them sharks because over the last 12 years, they are the ones who seem to show up late, well past the peaceful parts of the event, covered up, and dressed in black to destroy the party.
PROTESTERS MARCH IN OAKLAND IN REACTION TO GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ACQUITTALprotesters march vandalize after not guilty verdict in George Zimmerman trial OaklandThese folks really anger me, because I think they ‘undo’ the good work done in the light of day. Amazing that a photographer caught this like this.

Protesters march in Oakland vandalize after George Zimmerman trial not guilty verdict
Remarkably, our police response was quiet. Restrained even. Only 1 arrest. And for the first time in memory- no tear gas.

I can understand the frustration. Many people continue to struggle; too many schools have closed here, crime growing, no jobs, real poverty. It is no wonder that banks continue to be a target.

PROTESTS OVER NOT GUILTY VERDICT IN TRAYVON MARTIN CASE

PROTESTS OVER NOT GUILTY VERDICT IN TRAYVON MARTIN CASE

To hear of acquittals like this with the outcome of the Oscar Grant case still fresh- just adds another thick layer of hopelessness to the air.

I can understand taking to the streets. I cannot understand destroying property. I know several of the small “ma & pa” shop owners downtown. They can’t afford to keep replacing windows every time the sharks come out. One friend keeps saying she cannot afford to keep her shop in downtown Oakland and she can’t afford to move shop either. Some shops have only recently moved to downtown, making it a better cooler place for all of us to hang and play music- good for we working musicians. But the destruction does nothing to help any cause.

I just hope (beg) all the people looking in on Oakland now: don’t judge us for our crime and the destructive actions of a few. There is so much more to Oakland!  And yes, it may seem that the newspapers cover little else, but we are not only our crime. And of course making the press the target makes no sense either.

I continue to see beauty in this city: through the people I see, meet, and know. Through our mix of cultures, abundant art and music scenes. I hang-on to the belief that if there are enough of us trying to create something good, trying to add something, anything of beauty- we all create hope any of a million ways. This is how we add Humanity- one piece at a time. If we give of ourselves this way- all of us, things will improve. They have to. That, and electing folks who are not afraid to act, to take a stand, to defend, to administer justice.

See the full photo montage and article here.  What do you think of these pics?

Inspired in Oakland ~ Dancers by the Lake

On our bikes headed home, we happen upon this fun dance and drum troupe at Lake Merritt. The crowd gathers…

On our bikes headed home, we happen upon this fun dance and drum troupe at Lake Merritt. The crowd gathers…

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Not sure the cultural bent of these wonderful dances and music; the lyrics sounded Spanish, rhythms; African-Caribbean- mambo plus. This in itself is Oakland; a multi-cultured blend. The singers sang and called out, the dancer- moved in response, large flowing skirts and fluid moves- beautiful.

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Signs of Spring- A Traipse across the Bay

Lots of visitors to our humble abode in recent weeks and for the whole month. I like how this turns us into tourists in our own hometown, Oakland CA.

Lots of visitors to our humble abode in recent weeks and through the month. I like how this turns us into tourists in our own hometown (thanks for that idea Ms. Stella!)

I also like turning people’s ideas of Oakland upside down; all the “is it safe” trepidation.  I’ve updated my Inspired in Oakland page with statistics, press, & perceptions.  A friend says ‘let folks continue thinking all of this nonsense about Oakland, so that we won’t get any more crowded.”  It’s true; the papers keep saying that more people are moving to Oakland than to San Fran now. Either way, I prefer to show folks all the beauty of my town.

Spring weather & a running race on the lake last weekend. Lake Merritt is one of just a handful of tidally influenced, salt water lakes in the world.  It’s about 3.3 miles round.

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Signs of Spring- what’s for sale from local farms at the Oakland Farmer’s market;

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Off to the Mission! The best Fish tacos (salmon) at our favorite La Coroneta, in SF.

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And something we’ve never done before…the ferry to Alcatraz on a très foggy-turned-sunny afternoon~

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Alcatraz1alcatraz2View toward San Francisco…

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…wondering did the 3 who escaped ever reach shore, anywhere?

Digging Hope   6:52

Companions in hope, blood, crime-

adjacent cells sharing spoons, digging slow  

until thick fog clouds sting all fingers still,

a blanket enveloping night, while 4 scrape

air ducts clear, concrete crumbling fast beneath

sink-to-shaft, growing softer each year

finally yielding into the desperate frigid  bay,

      finally.   

Poems 52:365

The Parkway Theater- Looking for a new home

The Parkway Theater may be close to finding a new home.

It was a sad day when our favorite Parkway theater closed a couple of years ago.

This was the coolest place to go for cheap second run films, and a steady feature of beer, wine, and pizza- all enjoyed on couches and living room furniture.  I hear they are negotiating new locations now (yay!) off of either Broadway Auto Row, or Temescal, or possibly West Oakland.  Can’t wait.

Owner Ceaser says “We’re still committed to people being able to spend $20 to get into the movie, get a decent meal, and get a cold beer,” he said. “I don’t think there are many places where you can make that happen.”

Keep Going! (Follow your Dreams)

Enlightened and Inspiring Oakland graffiti art.

I had one of those moments about a week ago- when you’re walking, absorbed in thought, only to look up and see just the thing you need to see in that second.

I was off to get my mail.  The day had started badly.  An art venue called me to book music, and when I asked about pay- to decide how big of a band to bring- they  said “Oh sorry, we only pay the artists.”   I wanted to scream.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard these words from gallery owners.  What shocks me is the fine line they so righteously draw between what IS and ISN’T art.  And how music is considered to be… what, so low brow that it isn’t worthy of pay?  And the confidant ignorance with which that view is held.   They have no idea how much work it takes to get music to your ears and to the stage; songs must be written, I have to find the right people to play them.  I pay them, book shows. I record CDs at studios, pay the engineers, distribute the music in stores, online, and do all the marketing, etc.   Not worthy of pay, eh?   It was hard to even find words to respond to her.  I just told her “Like good art, good music is worth the pay. Believe me. Good luck finding your free music.”

That- and a comment a  family member had made that day- that showed they still don’t support the idea of me making music for a living.  It feels awful not to have the moral support of family. Living as an artist is rewarding at times, but the most difficult way I’ve ever tried to survive.  Snide comments from family don’t help.  Not all family feels this way, but most.

So I was feeling a combo of glass fragility and mild rage when I looked up to see this;

Yah!  Rock symbol, eye contact and all!!  This stopped me fast.  The message by itself might have seemed a canned inspiration.  But presented by this art punk looking me in the eye, really said to me,  “Wake up!  Dust off & keep going.  No one said it would be easy.”

Thank you PKR!  (& Thank you  Peggy Daly for documenting this spot so timely).

The reason I didn’t post this right away, was because when I went back to photograph it the next day- it was gone. The contractor had taken it down.  But no worries, the next day, there were 2 more in its place.   Invade &   “Fight Banks”!  😉    It took me a week to find Peggy’s photo stream.