Al Young title

Archive for September, 2010


Thursday, September 30th, 2010


© Shane Eagleton

Saturday, October 3, 2010
Noon to 4:30 pm
Berkeley Civic Center Park

Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival features a stellar line-up of poets and environmental writers, including poets Alison Hawthorne Deming, Brenda Hillman, David Meltzer, Robert Hass, and Al Young; Camille T. Dungy, poet and editor of Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry; nature writer and O. Henry Award-winner Julia Whitty, Deep Blue Home: An Intimate Ecology of Our Wild Ocean; Annie Leonard, The Book of Stuff; John Felstiner, Can Poetry Save the Earth? A Field Guide to Nature Poems; contributing poets from The Place That Inhabits Us: Poems of the San Francisco Bay Watershed; CPITS, River of Words, and Poetry Inside Out K-12 student poets; with Arthur Okamura’s “waterflow” banners, We Are Nature open reading, music by Barry Finnerty’s Jazz Roots Trio, River Village literary and environmental exhibits, environmental updates by Kirsten Miller from Ecocity Builders, presented by Poetry Flash in collaboration with the Ecology Center’s Berkeley Farmers’ Market and Ecocity Builders, held alongside the Farmers’ Market, Berkeley Civic Center Park, one block west from Berkeley BART, downtown Berkeley, free, noon-4:30

Poetry Flash: 510.525.5476

To read, sign up at the festival, to exhibit: 510.526.9105,

Exquisite details at Poetry Flash

Arthur Sze at Watershed 2009 | Photo © Steve Wilson/Poetry Flash


SENSUAL TEXT at CCA, SF | California College of the Arts, San Francisco | Autumn 2010

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010


Image credits: | Michelangelo/ | | | Leonardo daVinci | Creative Commons


Carroll Weisel Hall, CCA, San Francisco

Page devoted to an exciting class from beginning to beginning.


Click red link for details
5 pm | Friday, January 28
Project One, 251 Rhode Island Street, SF 94103

© Jeff Von Ward

Student Selections

(Posting of selections temporarily slowed due to technical and design considerations)

Burt Ritchie

Originally written for Al Young’s Drive-By Love class (CCA Spring 2010), this hilarious short story of Burt Ritchie’s may now be enjoyed online at Ishmael Reed’s Konch Magazine

Kate Haskell

If you are going to walk through San Francisco’s Tenderloin by yourself, you are going to need to learn how to use tourists as human shields. When you are coming up to a street corner, where a sketchy ass man with a sketchy ass cup is haggling passersby, and you see a group of hapless strangers wearing brand new sweatshirts with “SAN FRANCISCO!” across the front, you need to seize this opportunity. You need to scootch around them quickly so they become a barrier between yourself and harassment. You might have to join their group for a moment, but don’t be afraid. They will be too overwhelmed by the whipping cold of July and their eyes will be darting around nervously, searching in vain for the source of trolley clanging in the distance. Trolley? Trolley? they ask each other stupidly. Where we find trolley? So they won’t notice you and won’t understand your intent, and if they do, it will be too late. But you’ve reserved this right because you, you have put in your time. You’ve been yelled at, spit at, chased down streets, and called a bevy of unpleasant slurs, among them cunt, cockshitmotherfucker and, of course, the always popular, bitch. You know how to navigate these streets, but the bus, the bus is a whole ‘nother ball game.

For example:

You are waiting for the 19 that just went from “Arriving” to “23 minutes.” You have already waited twenty. Your toe taps and you scan the horizon, winding and unwinding your headphone wires around pocketed fingers. You think, the system’s just wonky, it’s going to arrive, any second now, it’s going to turn the corner, but no such luck. It’s raining. It’s coming down storks and giraffes. Or cats and dogs. Or just like, really fucking hard. You are hungry and tired and thinking about the crackers at the bottom of your bag, how you forgot about them when you shoved your books in carelessly, how you dropped the bag hard on the concrete ground when you ran into your best friend on the street earlier. They are dust, you think, but this is what you do, you don’t take care of your crackers.

You are starving.


A. Razor: BUDDY COLLETTE GETS HIS REST | In Memoriam Buddy Collette (August 6, 1921 – September 19, 2010)

Saturday, September 25th, 2010


The Death of Jazz Great Buddy Collette | Los Angeles Times, September 21,  2010

Jazz Icon Buddy Collette: Playing It Again

Listen to Buddy Collete talk about cultural diversity in L.A. and how it influenced his playing | NPR Jazz Profiles

Official Buddy Collette Website

Mingus: Collette’s L.A. friend from childhood | Courtesy images

Buddy Collette Gets His Rest

shining shoes on 95th and Compton

Mingus had the bigger shine box

swinging jazz for cents to barely make a dollar

that splits into trio into quartet into sextet

into all night jazz jam sessions

like when bird got out of Camarillo

Buddy is there with Dexter, Morgan, Red, Gay and Co.

Bird is healthy so he shuts it down

after everyone gets a turn at 5 a.m.

there is a school in session

every night

all night

Buddy moves from

session to session

from sax to flute

to clarinet

and back to sax

from record to record

back to session

ahead to leader

from club to club

steady man

steady man

friends become legends

become ghosts

become memories

as he finally makes his exit at 89

to go be the bandleader

with all the saints as they go marching in

marching into cool west coast jazz

swing so low as they go

as they go man go

these cats no longer know

all those lyrics that they blow and blow

go now, buddy, go

still playing on my radio

don’t you ever go


but here

right now

with that sound

that cat left us?

with that sound

it might get quiet

but it never has

to be silent




go on

A. Razor
© 2010 by A. Razor


A saxophonist, clarinetist, and bandleader, he was a leading light in the West Coast jazz scene for many years. Born William Marcel Collette to a jazz family, he was raised in Watts where he became a skilled woodwind player from an early age. Leading his first ensemble (which included Charlie Mingus and Britt Woodman) at 12, he was well known locally by his mid-teens. During World War II he served as a US Navy bandleader, then returned home to join the Kings of Swing, again partnering with Mingus and Woodman, and to begin a long career as a premiere sideman. Over the years, he was to collaborate with Frank Sinatra, Nat “King” Cole, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, and numerous others; in the late 1940s and early 1950s Collette was the only black in the orchestra for the “Groucho Marx Show”, then went on to lead a successful fight to merge the black and white locals of the musicians union. In 1955 he was a founding member of drummer Chicho Hamilton’s quintet that was to produce a number of well-received recordings. Continuing his performing career until sidelined by a 1998 stroke, Collette also served as a professor at Loyola Marymount University, Cal State Long Beach, Cal Poly Pomona, and other institutions. In 1998 he was named “A Living Los Angeles Cultural Treasure”, and in 2000 received a Grammy Award nomination for “The Buddy Collette Big Band in Concert”. A participant in the UCLA oral history project “Central Avenue Sounds”, he co-founded “JazzAmerica”, an educational opportunity effort directed at high school students, and in 2000 published his autobiography “Jazz Generations: A Life in American Music and Society”. At his death from an acute respiratory problem much of his large recorded legacy remained in print.

Bob Hufford



JAZZ GENERATIONS: A Life in American Music and Society | Buddy Collete with Steven Louis Isoardi



Monday, September 20th, 2010
O.O. Gabugah
Escalator Palm, 16th & Mission BART Station, San Francisco

September in Moscow 2010



Photo: Gloria Vando

Following his Sunday afternoon benefit reading for Beyond Baroque, Al Young poses beside an intriguing Thugs Against Drugs jalopy that has long been parked across the street from the beloved literary arts center in the heart of Venice, CA. | October 16, 2010


A California/Oregon autumn medley

Photos: Al Young & PC Mack


Courtesy Albany, CA Public Library

[L-R] Poets Camille Dungy, Cynthia Parker-Ohene (holding Camille’s baby Callie), Catherine Taylor and Al Young

Photo: Camille T. Dungy

Grand Uncle Al holding four-month-old Callie, daughter of Camille Dungy and Ray Black, at the Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival, Berkeley | October 2, 2010

Al Young sings some blues and reads his poem “Ars Poetica” with Barry Finnerty’s Jazz Roots Trio at the 2010 Watershed Festival

© Vivian Torrence

Bathing bluebirds, North Carolina

© Vivian Torrence
Visit the artist-photographer’s site at

Full fall moon

Photo: Jason Moran

Saxophonist-composer Charles Lloyd, artist-photographer Dorothy Darr (Lloyd’s life-partner and guardian angel), and Al Young reunite backstage between sets at Yoshi’s in Oakland, CA, where the New Charles Lloyd Quartet performed to a packed house for two nights during the autumnal equinox | September 2010

Al Young

The New Charles Lloyd Quartet in action at Yoshi’s, Oakland | Charles Lloyd, tenor saxophone; Jason Moran, piano; Reuben Rogers, bass; Eric Harland, drums


To and From Russia with Love

September 2010

PC Mack

Photos: WebEx

Photo- and screen-captures of video-conference moments as Al Young and Diem Jones in California sign on with Stanford’s Darlene Reddaway in St. Petersburg and Moscow for the Parshchikov Readings that she and poet Vadim Mesyats co-produced. Because greater Moscow and Silicon Valley’s Santa Clara County enjoy Sister Counties status, the conference featured Russian and Northern California-based American poets, including Michael Palmer, Nils Peterson, and Diem Jones.

Alexei Maximovich Parshchikov
(25 May 1954 – 3 April 2009)

To view a cluster of photo highlights from the St. Petersburg/Mosow Parshchikov Readings (with text in Russian), click here.
Kent Crockett

Sunnyboy (age 16) with cherry tomatoes and Asian pears

Al Young

Tomatoes still dreaming of heat

Al Young

Ride a painted pony

Al Young

Window wishing

© Alonzo Young

Al with his writer buddies Floyd Salas and Claire Ortalda at Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year’s Festival), Berkeley | September 2010

Scenes at the 2010 Enkutatashi Festival, which Al co-emceed, at Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Plaza, Berkeley

Photos: Al Young


©  Alonzo Young

To view all 260 Enkutatash Berkeley 2010 photographs at Flickr, click here


PARSHCHIKOV READINGS: St. Petersburg and Moscow, September 16-21, 2010

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010


Click here to view photographs and commentary in Russian from the St. Petersburg reading (posted by Darlene Reddaway 1 October 2010


SAINT PETERSBURG: September 16 & 17

MOSCOW: September 19, 20 & 21


Arkadii Dragomoschenko Vadim Mesyats Leonard Schwartz
Michael Palmer Andrew Wachtel Aleksandr Davydov
Al Young John High Nils Peterson
Ed Foster Vladimir Aristov Diem Jones
Darlene Reddaway Aleksander  Skidan Pavel Zhagun
Helga Ol’shvang Andrei Tavrov Stanislav Libovskii
Aleksander Ilichevsky Igor Ganikowskij Tatiana Scherbina


St. Petersburg Sept. 16,13:00 American Corner
Round Table: Meta-realism

St. Petersburg Sept. 16, 19:30 American Corner
Poetry Readings

St. Petersburg Sept. 17, 13:00 American Corner
Round Table: Image in poetry and photography

Moscow Sept. 19, 19:30 Club «Bilingva»
Round Table: Parschikov’s “Oil” in filmic images

Moscow Sept. 20, 13:00 Chekhov Cultural Center
Round Table: Organic and inorganic in poetry

Moscow Sept. 20, 19:30 O.G.I.
Poetry Readings

Moscow Sept. 21, 13:00 Chekhov Cultural Center
Round Table: Problems of poetry translation

Moscow Sept. 21, 19:00 RAN
Farewell evening

Russian Gulliver Publishers,
Institute for Modern Literature,
Santa Clara Moscow Sister County Commission,

American Corner of the Maiakovskii Library


Vadim Mesyats, Darlene Reddaway

Preliminary schedule