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Archive for May, 2013

RAY MANZAREK: The Doors’ Keyboardist and Co-Founder (February 12, 1939-May 20, 2013) | In Memoriam

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013


It’s based on Johann Sebastian Bach. It’s my Bach studies which turned the introduction to ‘Light My Fire’ into a rock and roll piece

— Ray Manzarek (alongside guitarist Robbie Krieger in interview with Karl Dallas, UK Morning Star, Friday 30 July 2010)
* [Francesco Cera at the harpsichord on Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto #1 in D minor]

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Ray Manzarek USMag
ray manzarek by matthew peyton
© Matthew Peyton / Getty Images

Ray Manzarek, 74, Keyboardist and a Founder of the Doors, Is Dead

By © NYTimes, May 20, 2013

Ray Manzarek, who as the keyboardist and a songwriter for the Doors helped shape one of the indelible bands of the psychedelic era, died on Monday at a clinic in Rosenheim, Germany. He was 74.

The cause was bile duct cancer, according to his manager, Tom Vitorino. Mr. Manzarek lived in Napa, Calif.

Mr. Manzarek founded the Doors in 1965 with the singer and lyricist Jim Morrison, whom he would describe decades later as “the personification of the Dionysian impulse each of us has inside.” They would go on to recruit the drummer John Densmore and the guitarist Robby Krieger.

Mr. Manzarek played a crucial role in creating music that was hugely popular and widely imitated, selling tens of millions of albums. It was a lean, transparent sound that could be swinging, haunted, meditative, suspenseful or circuslike. The Doors’ songs were generally credited to the entire group. Long after the death of Mr. Morrison in 1971, the music of the Doors remained synonymous with the darker, more primal impulses unleashed by psychedelia. In his 1998 autobiography, “Light My Fire,” Mr. Manzarek wrote: “We knew what the people wanted: the same thing the Doors wanted. Freedom.”

The quasi-Baroque introduction Mr. Manzarek brought to the Doors’ 1967 single “Light My Fire“ — a song primarily written by Mr. Krieger — helped make it a million-seller. Along with classical music, Mr. Manzarek also drew on jazz, R&B, cabaret and ragtime. His main instrument was the Vox Continental electric organ, which he claimed to have chosen, Mr. Vitorino said, because it was “easy to carry.”

Read Jon Pareles’ obituary in its entirety at the New York Times source
© NYTimes

‘Ray Manzarek, a founding member of The Doors, dead at 74’ | Hiram Lee, World Socialist Web Site,
25 May 2013



Manzarek, legendary Beat poet Michael McClure & Big Mix in ‘live’ performance

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Pianist Ray Manzarek, poet Michael McClure and Big Mix, Mill Valley, CA, August 10, 2011

Michael McClure & Ray Manzarek Official Website

The Ray Manzarek Website


Michael McClure and Ray Manzarek
from the album cover of Love Lion, 1993


From  a collection dedicated to Ray Manzarek (1939-2013)



Here’s the river of night with forty songs
I’m standing on the river of night with forty songs
I’ll be stepping in the boat before too long
Stepping in the boat with all these songs
White hair hanging in my beard like moss

Everything I see is movies in a dream
Look at bubbles flowing round the rocks
in the stream
I’ll be stepping in the boat before too long

Deer make noise
As they walk over old dead leaves
I’ll be stepping in the boat before too long
Deer make noise
As they walk over old dead leaves


Like Ali Baba
And the thieves

When you get home

When you get home
Sit down with your back against a tree

See pictures go by like movies in a dream

© 2013 by Michael McClure


 Hear ‘Cover to Cover’ with Jack Foley

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KPFA 94.1 FM
(available via streaming audio at

Today’s show is a tribute to Ray Manzarek (1939-2013). Selections from the Ray Manzarek-Michael McClure CD, The Piano Poems will be heard. Michael McClure writes,

 “On a cold, foggy night in San Francisco after a great Japanese meal, Manzarek and I stepped onto the stage and there were sparks of consciousness – the stage was on fire with poems and piano Improvisations. The symbiosis and the synergy made lights. Then Larry Kassin stepped up to join us with his jazz flute and Lou Judson was recording.

 “This is a live album with its heart still beating – no tricks, gimmicks, or second takes. We are bringing together my poetry and Ray’s improvisations that shape my word-sounds into richer meanings: Piano Poems.

 “There’s no way to be without a politics or an antipolitics, no way to be without art, without anger and generosity, without laughter and kindness.

 “That’s the edge we’re whetting on this album.”

 Gary Snyder called Manzarek and McClure “two great shaman-artists of deep experience and long practice.” They were, in addition to being brilliant artists, deep friends for whom “collaboration” and “love” were synonyms. “It was all joy,” McClure said of their many exciting performances.

 Sleep well, Ray Manzarek.

— Jack Foley




Saturday, June 8, 2013

SF Jazz Poetry Festival
(June 6-9, 4 nights of jazz poetry)
San Francisco Jazz Center


Click here for details

 11119046-a-sketch-brass-musical-instrument-saxophone-tenorThe Text
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NANCY MOREJÓN, Cuban Poet, La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley, June 13, 2013, 7:30pm

Monday, May 20th, 2013


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   Nancy Morejon.poster

KPFA Radio & La Peña Cultural Center present

Fresh from Cuba, the celebrated poet and public intellectual

Presented by AL YOUNG
California Poet Laureate emeritus, novelist, essayist

& Kathleen Weaver 
poet, biographer, translator

Thursday, June 13, 7:30 pm

La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94705

$10 advance tickets, $12 door:

benefit for KPFA + La Peña


NANCY MOREJÓN is the best known and most widely translated woman poet of post-revolutionary Cuba. Born in 1944 in Havana to a militant dock worker and a trade-unionist seamstress, Morejón graduated from Havana University. She was Cuba’s first black woman poet to be internationally acclaimed as a poet. Her distinctive poetry is shaped by an Afro-Cuban sensibility and an eloquent concern for Cuban nationhood, cultural fusion, and the rights of women. She has published more than twenty volumes of poetry, as well as critical works and translations from French and English. Her works in English translation include Looking Within / Mirar adentro, Selected Poems 1954-2000, Where the Island Sleeps Like a Wing, translated by U.S. poet Kathleen Weaver, and With Eyes and Soul/Images of Cuba with photographs by Milton Rogovin.  For many years, Morejón served on the editorial staff of UNEAC (Union of Cuban Writers and Artists). Currently she is president of the Cuban Writers’ Union, UNEAC, and an advisor at Casa de las Americas in Havana.

 Morejón has won Cuba’s prestigious National Literary Award, the National Prize for Poetry, and the National Award in Criticism – as well as many international awards, including the Latin American Studies Association Cuba Prize. Thoroughly bilingual, she has read and lectured at universities in the U.S.  She served as writer in residence at Wellesley College and conducted a two-day symposium on her work at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Howard University Press has published a collection of critical texts on her work: Singular Like a Bird: The Art of Nancy Morejón.

AL YOUNG  is a distinguished writer, poet, fiction writer, anthologist, and educator. His  many honors include Poet Laureate of California, the PEN-Library of Congress Award for Short Fiction, the PEN-USA Award for Non-Fiction, two American Book Awards, and the Richard Wright Award for Excellence in Literature. His writings have been translated into many languages, including Russian, and Urdu. His works in fiction include Seduction By Light and Sitting Pretty; in poetry, Something About the Blues, and Coastal Nights and Inland Afternoons: Poems 2001-2006.

 In the 1970’s Young wrote film scripts for producer Joseph Strick, Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, and Richard Pryor. In the 1980’s and 90’s, as a cultural ambassador for the United States Information Agency, he traveled throughout South Asia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian West Bank. In 2001 he traveled to the Persian Gulf to lecture on American and African American literature and culture in Kuwait and in Bahrain for the U.S. Department of State. Subsequent lecture tours have taken him to Southern Italy in 2004, and back to India in 2005.. Blending story, recitation and song, Young often performs live with musicians. In 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him Poet Laureate of California.

 Kathleen Weaver is a poet, author of the biography, Peruvian Rebel,The Life and Work of Magda Portal; co-editor of The Penguin Book of Womens’ Poetry and The Other Voice; translator of  Nancy Morejón, Julio Cortázar, Omar Cabezas, and many others.

NOTE: Nancy Morejón and Kathleen Weaver will also appear Sunday, June 9, in San Francisco at the Emerald Tablet

Contact: Bob Baldock  |  |  510.848.5006

vidcamera003Nancy Morejón reads at the First International Festival of Poetry of Resistance, Toronto 2009


 “Mujer Negra,” a poem by Nancy Morejón translated by Kathleen Weaver @ Tumblr


I still smell the foam of the sea they made me cross.
The night, I can not remember it.
The ocean itself could not remember that


Todavía huelo la espuma del mar que me hicieron atravesar.
La noche, no puedo recordarla.
Ni el mismo océano podría recordarla

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© La Peña Cultural Center