“If I can’t dance to it, it’s not my revolution,” Emma Goldman
Andy and Henry Farag
Jenna Goode gave “The Signal” a plug on Chicago Chapter’s blog. She wrote: “Recently, the Chicago Chapter was reminded of the city’s rich history and roots in Doo-Wop music by chapter member Henry Farag and his book ‘The Signal: A Doo-Wop Rhapsody.’ The Blues and Doo-Wop scene was bumping in the Windy City during the 50’s-70’s; some classic songs from the city include: ‘Live It Up,’ ‘You Painted Pictures,’ and ‘Jump Children.’ The term doo-wop itself was first put into print in the Chicago Defender in 1961. ‘Combined with strong vocalizing, stomping our feet, banging on the bar to keep time, and clapping our hands and snapping our fingers produced a raunchy, raucous live feel that a juke box couldn’t match,’ Farag says in his book. ‘The raw energy of a live show comprised of only the human voice is part of the beauty that is doo-wop.’” The article included a photo of Henry with son Andy of Umphrey’s McGee. “You Painted Pictures,” referred to by Jenna Goods, was a Spaniels song.
South Suburban Genealogical and Historical Society in Hazel Crest, IL, ordered all my Shavings magazines in print for a total of $121. They also want to stay on my subscription list, so I will soon be sending them volume 42. Years ago, librarian Arthur S. Meyers asked me to speak to the group. He was back in the Region a couple weeks ago talking about his new book on the Beth-El Open Forum in Hammond. Perhaps he convinced the organization to put in the order.
I came across my review of S.C. Gwynne’s “Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Commanches.” I used the word fathom in one paragraph that ends: “John Coffee Hays would transform the Texas Rangers from undisciplined marauders into an efficient fighting machine by understanding, and, in some cases, emulating Commanche battle tactics, which were ritualized and predictable. Warriors became demoralized if their leader was killed or wounded. Hays also fathomed the potential of the Colt six-shooter.”
Anja Matwijkiw was scheduled to give a Soup ‘n’ Substance talk about current issues in Bahrain for “Eyes on the Arab World” week. A group of islands off the Persian Gulf coast where oil was discovered in 1931, Bahrain has been independent since 1971 and officially a constitutional monarchy under King Hamad Al Khalifa since 2002. In the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, the government has cracked down hard on dissent, according to Amnesty International, even allegedly torturing children who participated in pro-democracy protests and medics who treated those injured by police. Shia activists have had their citizenship revoked, and an activist who supposedly insulted the king on Twitter has been in jail for six months. An hour before the event Scott Fulk learned that Anja wouldn’t be coming. Instead a student talked about the unrest in Syria, where Bashar al-Assad’s forces have killed tens of thousands and caused a million refugees to flee to neighboring Turkey, Jordan, and Palestine. She traced the democracy movement known as Arab Spring to a Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire to protest his mistreatment by authorities who confiscated his wares. The student supports the Free Syrian Army but noted that some Syrian-Americans continue to back Assad. I enjoyed a bowl of potato soup with onion and bacon bits sprinkled liberally on top.
The Soup ‘n’ Substance event took place in the Savannah Gallery, where a senior thesis exhibition had just been hung, featuring the works of Randi Wible, Lauren Szcepanski, Zuzanna Nguyen-Hursell, and Michael Reed. I particularly liked Randi's photos taken in Wanatah, a small town in LaPorte County that I have visited twice, first to buy a couch 40 years ago and more recently for a wake. The artist Dale Fleming lived there for a while after leaving the vanishing community of Edgewater (our old neighborhood) and before moving in with one of his kids near Bloomington. One photo is of an old store whose sign reads “Knee Deep in Craft.” Another contains a historical marker mentioning that Abe Lincoln’s funeral train passed through Wanatah’s Monon train station in 1865.
In Rolling Stone Matt Taibbi labeled California’s “Three Strikes” laws “cruel and unusual.” Some poor folks got sent to prison for 20 years or more for shoplifting or serving as a guard for a narc making a drug deal. Until a referendum remedied the situation somewhat, judges had no choice but to issue sentences they often thought terribly unfair. Still thousands of prisoners sentenced under the old rules still languish behind bars. Ironically, Democrats as well as Republicans supported these draconian laws. In twenty years America’s prison population has more than doubled, with taxpayers forced to foot the bill, approximately $50,000 a year per incarcerated person. In Indiana Governor Mike Pence wants stricter anti-drug laws despite all evidence favoring decriminalization.
Had lunch with Anne Balay, whose Facebook entry reported: “I am ridiculously happy. Could be the sunshine, the plans with Riva, the good job news, the book progress, the impending trip to Northampton and NYC. . . whatever the cause, I might have to dance a jig to express the joy . . . be warned.” The third and final reviewer for “Steel Closets” was very positive and offered to meet her to discuss a few organizational issues. The end of her editing chores seems in sight. Hopefully ditto for her tenure and promotion ordeal. Vice Chancellor Malik even encouraged her to apply for membership in FACET. She mentioned that a student was going to dog-sit for her, and I related stories about various students who stayed with Ubu while we went away.
Updating his history of Indiana, James Madison inquired about a Margaret Bourke-White photo that appeared in Life magazine during WW II of a woman steelworker at Gary Works. Thirty years ago Time/Life held the rights to it, but perhaps it is now in the public domain.
My computer started acting weird. Every time I opened something on Safari, a program asking that I clean my MAC filled the entire screen. The only way I could delete it was to quit Safari. Fortunately technician Victor Mobley performed his magic and made things right.
The IU-Syracuse game didn’t start until 8:45, so a nap was in order. I watched Ohio State win on a last-second three pointer and sat horrified as the Hoosiers had more turnovers than field goals to fall behind by double digits. The closest they came to making it a game was a seven-point margin. The Oranagemen’s guards totally out[layed Yogi and Hulls.