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Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women Heat Up The Talkhouse 7 12 09

Well, I was surprised when the six woman band accompanying Dave Alvin came out on the stage.  What a hot night it was.  Dave Alvin is one of the great guitarists of the world.  His last appearance at Stephen Talkhouse had him on the electric guitar for the whole show with the Guilty Men.  He was more sober, and less acoustic.  This time his cast led him in a different direction.  There were four and five part harmonies in songs like ‘Downey Girl’ and fiddle solos by Laurie Lewis and Amy Farris; hot lap steel guitar solos by the beautiful Cindy Cashdollar; super-steady drumming by Lisa Pankratz (who looked like Diego Rivera’s wife (twice married – to each other) Frida Kahlo with that flower in her hair off to the left side), and Sarah Brown in the middle of it all holding it together on the bass.  Oh, and then there is Dave’s childhood sweatheart Christy McWilson on the lead vocals of songs like ‘Weight of the World’ and ‘Potter’s Field’ – the latter having mucho four and five part harmonies as the ladies sang the chorus ‘Bury Me in Potter’s Field’.  A bit morbid, but you gotta go anyway and sometimes we do think about it and Christy wrote this song and it’s on the new CD.  Apparently this group was assembled in only 2008 for a San Francisco bluegrass festival, and now they are on the road tearing it up. 

For the entire show proper, Dave played acoustic guitar, and the band was showcased to great pleasure.  Then for the demanded encore(s) Dave strapped on his electric instrument and wowed us all out in Amagansett, especially with the last tune that ‘tells us everything that we have to know about life…a tune written by….?Doris Day?’   Yeah.  Don’t know if my mother would have adequately appreciated undoubtedly the hottest version of ‘Que Sera Sera’ ever performed.  Maybe 8 or 9 minutes with everybody cookin’ but especially Mr. Alvin blasting thru it, flying and penetrating the tune’s essence and rocking beyond anything else done last night.  That peaked off the night.

P.S.  I picked up a Laurie Lewis CD called ‘Earth and Sky’ that is stupendous.  Mostly bluegrass.  Just about every song is terrific.  She hails out of Berkeley, California.  Downey is where Dave is from.  He and his brother formed the Blasters out of Downey.  Which is just down dee road from Whittier, where Christy McWilson hails from (also shamed ex-President Richard Nixon).  These are towns in the San Bernadino valley west of Los Angeles.  Where all the smog collects when the ocean breezes blow it from the freeways and city, toward the trapping mountains….

P.T. Walkley and Band Perform At The Talkhouse 6/9/09

P.T. Walkley and his band were a magical surprise show at the Stephen Talkhouse
last Saturday, June 6, 2009. P.T., a rather experienced songsmith and singer, with
terrific phrasing skills and a great lyricist – – with the words not flowing quite as
expected they would – – proved that going out to the Talkhouse, after missing Reel Karma a few nights before, still made for a wonderfully inspiring evening. Many of the tunes were short and sweet. The tang and beauty of the melodies linger still, especially the guitars as they faded away in the super short pieces: Lizzy Lee Vincent (no relation to Gene ???) from Birmingham (Burmingumm) UK
was the man in the black tie and gray shirt on the lead, and P.T. did his overall choreographing/trumming and plucking and driving songs from beginning to end. Mike Nolan was loverly in his little hat on the pedal steel, especially on the last few songs. But the star for me for joie de vivre, energy, and expertise was the vibrant, wild, sometimes manic, fiddler Earl Maneein. He had a brimmed Mao Tse Tung kine of green hat and stomped his brisk feet whether he was firing thru
a song or stomping about the extablishment. Absolutely loved him and his contribution to the music. The Brothers Kulund, Nicky (drums) and David (bass) bottomed up the rhythm section with fire, constancy and pizzazz. Marc Trachtenberg played pretty extemperaneous fitting piano
noteage thru each tune upon which he tickled his keys – – he also contributed to the vocals.
How about this for an example of Walkley’s lyrics: from ‘Comin Over’ with the great last line >
Biding my time/One glass, I’m passing through/Waving goodbye while whispering I love you/I think about you/I think without you I’d be blue/Is it coming over you/Wake me when my dream comes true…..

Yes, P.T. is a very romantic fellow. In fact, his tall slim beautiful wife Michel sings in the band and plays the tambourine. Many of the tunes are actually rather Beatle-esque. Though without a doubt in my mind, the hottest song done by the band that night was ‘Four Cheers.’ Apparently, this song was originally done with/by P.T.’s former band the Blue Jackets. There is a video of
it available on the internet via YouTube, but it pales in comparison to how they all did it live at the Talkhouse toward the end of the show (after a ‘Suicide..’ David Bowie cover that was mildly fair). Lizzy Lee played some really hot licks to begin the tune, his loose tie ahangin’ over the guitar neck, then the band came in, and they cooked. My advice to P.T. is: record your current members doing this song either live or in the studio and release it! If it comes out close to how you sounded on June 6, 2009, maybe you will have yourselves a beeeeeg hit!?!

The two songs ‘Mediocre’ and ‘To Be Somebody’ were interesting to end the CD ‘Mr Macy wakes alone’ and similarly in concert…but not the ideal subjects for music to play over and over again.

P.T. Walkley has a very very bright future. He and his band sound great in person. Go out and see hem whenever they come to your town. They/he may likely become a familiar and popular ame/phrase/buzzword in American culture in the years ahead.

http://ptwalkley.com/videos

Danny Kalb Great Guitarist Performs At The Talkhouse in Amagansett, April 10, 2009

Danny Kalb used to be the lead guitarist with the Blues Project back in the 1960’s, with fellow prominent band member Al Kooper. Most of you today will know the band Blood Sweat & Tears, which Mr. Kooper formed after the Blues Project broke up. Mr. Kalb was not part of that band. Great show April 10, 2009; band members described, song by song laid out for you from that night.

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Shinobi Ninja Rocks The Talkhouse July 1 2009

Shinobi Ninja! High energy, Baby Girl, D.A. rapping and rocking,
twin brothers Maniac Mike (guitar) and Terminator Dave (drums)
anchoring the band, six terrific musicians putting their
hearts and souls out there in Amagansett at Stephen Talkhouse
to start off the month of July 2009. Watch out for this band. They will make you shout and pout and be happy and wacky, bouncing off the walls, partying defiantly, leaping into a low ceiling somewhere in Brooklyn or Mumbai….

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Barack Obama Wins, Now The Problems Must Be Confronted

A monumental victory.  Good for America.  Good for Barack.  Heard on MSNBC this morning that already the Taliban wants to negotiate post results of this election.  Now what kind of public works would be ideal to 1) get the country going again, 2) put people back to work,  3) cure a major problem, 4) be good for the environment….?…How about a massive effort like during World War II – but instead of building war machines and weapons to thwart Hitler and Mussolini’s Nazi/fascists, what about building something to cure our energy dilemma?

After some calculation, starting with the fact that one megawatt of wind energy can supply 270 homes with electricity [fact supplied by American Wind Energy Association or awea.org], what if we started building enough 2.5 megawatt Clipper wind turbines [these already commercially exist] to power ALL of the USA’s homes?!  Yes, that would take 122,000 turbines.  It would put people to work doing something they would take great pride in, and not be pollutive.  Also, these turbines could be exported to the rest of the world, and make America the world leader in wind power.  Although most Americans don’t realize this: America right now is number two in megawattage in the world behind world leader Germany.

Where could we do this?  How about in all those closing car plants?  Retrofit or superfit them.  In 2007 Ford alone produced 2.5 MILLION vehicles.  Get into those closing or closed plants, Americans, and let’s solve our energy/electricity mui pronto!   No nuclear needed [first new nuclear  plant wouldn’t be on line til 2015 anyway; no ultimately toxic nuclear waste with over 500 different kinds of radionuclides produced every day in each of our 104 current nuclear plants to cause cancer, genetic defects, mutations, fetal loss – these are just for starters.  See more in the Chernobyl post on this site re plutonium and specific other radionuclides.]  Minimize ‘clean’ coal or dirty coal [remember that 50% of USA electricity is now generated by coal; 18.8% by nuclear; ~19% from natural gas; coming up to 2% by wind; only 2% by oil.]

Congratulations Mr. President-Elect, we can pull ourselves out of our economic mess by our bootstraps.  At least $10 billion per month we waste in Iraq.  Withdraw quickly.  Sorry thanks to Mr. Bush/Cheney/Rice/Rumsfeld and all the hawky plunderers who have helped kill about 1,000,000 Iraqis and maybe 4000 Americans by now in that unfortunate oil-rich country.  Negotiate with the Taliban.  Let’s get the world on the road to peace, instead of war and domination.  And the suppression of our own civil liberties.  Can’t we close at least half of those expensive 800 military bases overseas?  We’ve spent ourselves into fantastic debt and economic desecration by thinking we can rule the world and maintain our empire, mostly for the benefit of corporations who have no soul or commitment to anything humane or human.

Change.  Time for it to start bubbling.  The people are enthusiastic.  Let’s ride the wave, and make this country and planet a great place to live and improve upon, based on love and encouragement.

11 5 08  C  Conrad Miller M.D.

Edition III of ‘The Most Important Issues Americans THINK They Know Enough About,’ addressing the above approach to our future, is featured in Dr. Miller’s book – – available from Amazon and other sources in 2 weeks.

Best Films of 2008 Hamptons Int’l Film Festival

Another year, another great Hamptons International Film Festival.  Many different films show us how the world looks thru many different eyes and lenses in 2008.  And these films come to us, if we are able to visit the cinemas hosting this terrific festival.

‘Song of Sparrows’ – might as well start at the top.  Best film of the festival in my eyes.  Fantastic cinematography.  Maybe best I have ever seen complementing the story of a blue collar father portrayed by ?Reza Naji trying to survive.  It all starts on an ostrich farm, and that is different.  Ever watch ostriches move, and run?  Unique!  And the director, Majid Majidi, has to be one of the best directors alive.  Or even dead!  It turns out he also was the director for my two favorite films: ‘The Color of Paradise’ and ‘Children of Heaven.’

Now I have seen all three of his monumental films at the Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF)  over the years!  What a credit to this festival!

Karim is the character for whom life does not flow smoothly, yet he can fix anything, has the confidence to do almost anything.  The colors in this movie make the viewing of it a visual/mental orgasm, along with all the perspectives and scenes you are blessed to see.  Whenever this movie comes close to you, go see it, along with Majidi’s other movies I mentioned above.  You will not regret it.  Remember, these are Iranian movies, so explicit political commentary would not be wise to make.  Poetic plot and visuals is the way the director has chosen to work.

Next great film:

‘Taking Root:  The Vision Of Wangari Maathai’ took the prize for me as the best documentary.  Wangari Maathai is perhaps the most important individual in modern Kenyan history.  After the English
colonialists came in and tried to make an England out of Kenya,
cutting down so many of the land’s trees, laying railroad tracks and roads, subjugating the people with the unction of missionary religion, there came two dictators, Kenyatta and Moi, who further subjugated the people.  Ms. Maathai noted how important trees were to the survival of the country, combating soil erosion and drought.  This caused her to start a tree planting movement in 1977.  This led to a confrontation with President Moi who wanted to build a towering skyscraper and a very tall statue of himself on the last piece of public parkland in Nairobi.  If this occurred there would be no place for the common citizen to freely sit and/or gather in the capital city.  Moi made fun of Maathai, in a typical man-rules macho manner.  Then the women who had had their sons arrested for various political reasons by Moi’s henchmen decided to call a hunger strike and sit in the still existing park.  After a few days, Moi tired of the embarrassment and had his forces destroy their little tent, beating the women and anyone else who tried to fight back.  Maathai was beaten unconscious, ending up in a
hospital for several days.  The world press picked up on the story.  Naturally, the Moi project had been backed by the World Bank, but with the adverse press, the Bank withdraw its approval of the project.  Maathai had won a victory, which led to Moi’s downfall after two decades.  Much of this was captured on film, which the producers Lisa Merton and Alan Dater, beautifully displayed,.  The colonial footage was particularly stunning as was one particular statistic: 100,000 Kenyans
were killed as a result of the English incursion, with only ~350 English dying.  This is almost the exact ratio we see in Iraq today: 1,000,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the Bush administration incursion there, with about 3500 American soldiers dying.  As time passed, Maathai was elected to parliament, and was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.  Her wisdom and determination are in evidence as we hear her talk and act, starting with her Green Belt
Movement, along with many other women.  Planting trees to combat erosion and drought, leading to a political movement freeing the nation from dictatorship and the entrails of colonial thought.  Religion however remains to erase much of Kenya’s native culture unfortunately, as has occurred in so many African countries, and other colonially demeaned lands.

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ also played during the festival.  I confess I did not see it, for I heard it had already been picked up and would be shown in the USA commercially.  Subsequently I did indeed see it, and reckon that it is one of the best films of the twenty-first century.  The scene in the outhouse on the boardwalk with the younger protagonist brother has to be one of the most classic scenes ever filmed, especially in terms of comedy.  The director, Danny Boyle, is not an Indian.  He also made ‘Trainspotting’ which I had to exit from within the first ten minutes due to its graphic sensationalism of injecting heroin, the lover spitting on the needle before inserting it.  Those who dislike Slumdog object to its Boyle-istic sensationalism, and lack of Indian involvement.  However, the original creation was written by an Indian.  The colors in this movie are unbelievable, as is the cinematography.  {But not to surpass that in ‘Song of Sparrows.}  The story is very current, with plenty of tension, and some real purty faces.  Go see it is all I can say.  Despite any detractions, still, the movie overall is great. 

More comments on films will follow in the forthcoming weeks, as time permits…….

Presidential Debate #3 Nuclear Power Option Unrebuked

During the third and last presidential debate on Oct 15th, John McCain said “We can eliminate our dependence on foreign oil by building 45
new nuclear plants, power plants, right away.” Barack Obama did not respond to this by saying the obvious:
“But, John, only TWO percent of our electricity is produced from oil!  And by the way, 80 percent of our uranium for our nuclear plants is imported.” 

Alas, he declined to do this.  This whole nuclear option is NO option.  Nuclear power is not ‘green’ nor is it ‘safe and clean.’  We still have the tons of nuclear waste that are radioactive for 500,000 years that we cannot safely store.  Radioactivity from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident has contaminated an area north of the exploded Ukrainian plant across a 750 mile diameter for 100,000 years, according to the late Dr. Vladimir Chernousenko, the nuclear physicist in charge
of cleaning up the worst industrial accident in mankind’s history.  When the next Chernobyl happens, that will be the end of nuclear
power, but it will come too late.  For our presidential candidates are both mouthing support for the nuclear power option when its health effects should eliminate the dirtiest most-toxic technology commonly employed by mankind from the energy roundtable.  When the media should be hosting a debate on nuclear power, allowing scientists to participate
who can discuss what radioactivity can do to the human body, and the cells of all living organisms. 

Dr. Alexey Yablokov, president of the Center for Russian Environmental Policy, informs us in his 2007 book that 300,000 people prematurely died so far as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion and fire.  Nuclear proponents continue to proclaim that only 31 people died at Chernobyl, as if there is no such thing as radioactivity, and over 500 radionuclides like plutonium-239 that are produced in our 104 nuclear plants every day as a result of the
fissioning or splitting of uranium to make heat to produce steam to turn a turbine to produce electricity.

Remember, all these radionuclides have dangerous ‘half-life’ periods during
which their radioactive beams can mutate your DNA and that of your fetus especially, to produce unsurvivability, death, genetic defects and cancer.  Plutonium-239 has a half-life of 24,000 years.  After one half life, HALF the radioactivity of plutonium-239 or any radionuclide is still present.  The danger of this radioactivity to produce ill-effects continues thru 10-20 half-lives, which scientists call a radioactive element’s ‘hazardous life.’  For plutonium-239 that means 240,000 to 480,000 years.  And only one millionth of one gram is the lung cancer causing dose for plutonium.  That means that with 454 grams in one pound, twenty pounds of plutonium could cause lung cancer in every human being on Earth if the plutonium is dispersed and spread about the planet to possibly be inhaled by each of us 6.8 billion Earthlings.

I have decided to post my new nuclear power chapter (99% completed) from the latest edition of my book ‘The Most Important Issues Americans THINK They Know About – Edition III’ on my website so that everyone can read a broad informative discussion about nuclear power from a concerned physician’s perspective, written for the layman.  It will be available in a pdf format with images and photos to make it more enjoyable and to highlight certain important concepts.

The entire book, six chapters in all, with a four part Appendicies, and nearly 1000 references, will be available from my website on October 24th 2008.  It should be available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc., by mid-November.

All books purchased from the website shall be autographed by the author, until further notice.

Contact me if you have any questions on nuclear power, the health effects of radioactivity, and what we can do with especially wind and solar power to provide ALL the electricity American homes need within a few years.  YES! we can do that starting NOW!  See
the website http://www.crestofthewave.com for more vital information…

darnoc@crestofthewave.com