Al Young title

Archive for the ‘What’s at Stake’ Category

CANARY Issue Number 26, Fall 2014

Friday, November 14th, 2014


Canary slice


Editor, Gail Entrekin

A Literary Journal of the Environmental Crisis

Canary is a literary journal that explores one’s engagement with the natural world. It is based on the premise that the literary arts can provide an understanding that humans are part of an integrated system. Our theme is the environmental crisis and the losses of species and habitat as a result of this ongoing disaster. Our mission is to deepen awareness of the environment and enrich the well-being of the individual and in turn society as a whole.

Published by Hip Pocket Press
Managing Editor, Charles Entrekin
All work reprinted by permission of author

“Anything not saved will be lost.”
Computer message.

Zoos are beginning to rethink their mission and become “the last refuge against a rising tide of extinction.”

© 2014 Hip Pocket Press

Issue Number 26, Fall 2014

Snake Coil

Archives: by Issue | by Author Name



Tuesday, September 9th, 2014


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

loading symbol


They are Team Cable

Cable companies are famous for high prices and poor service. Several rank as the most hated companies in America. Now, they’re attacking the Internet–their one competitor and our only refuge–with plans to charge websites arbitrary fees and slow (to a crawl) any sites that won’t pay up. If they win, the Internet dies.

We’re in the battle for the net.

Are you in?

How to participate

On September 10th, sites across the web will display an alert with a symbolic “loading” symbol (the proverbial “spinning wheel of death”) and promote a call to action for users to push comments to the FCC, Congress, and the White House. Note: none of these tools actually slow your site down; they tell your visitors about the issue and ask them to contact lawmakers.

Be creative! Grab peoples’ attention with a loading symbol, and link to tools for emailing and calling lawmakers (e.g. Whatever you decide, tell us you’re participating, announce it publicly, and commit to getting *one* person or company with a *bigger* reach than you to join in as well. Got a question? Contact us.

Read more and join


ROBIN WILLIAMS (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) in memoriam

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014


Robin Williams As American Flag

Robin Williams as the American Flag (1982)

‘Busy Working, Robin Williams Fought Demons’
– ||| August 12, 2014

Robin Wms by Scott Wintrow Getty Images

© Scott Wintrow/Getty Images

“In the slow flow of those days, the early 1970s, I and my wife Arl not so much worked as played at staying out beyond popular opinion. When she was pregnant with Michael, she and I liked to ease into North Beach and go catch The Committee, which by then had grown so essential to its communities that they could afford their own storefront venue. Sometimes Arl would laugh so hard — memorably during The Committee’s improvisations based on audience  pormpts — that the baby inside her would kick back. After our son was born, we still got around. The San Francisco shopping plaza known as Ghirardelli Square became such a marketing nerve-center that street artists took to hawking and performing there. That’s where we first caught Robin Williams, whose name columnist Herb Caen ha droppd, long before the Mork and Mindy took wing. In the sweetness of an era in which just about anything comedic went, a time when even top mimes headlined, Williams’ bittersweet wildness took the cake. His presence was multidimensional; we saw, heard and felt him. We knew he was something else. What we couldn’t have guessed is how deeply the world hungers always for that precious Something Else. We’ve lost a consummate character actor and brilliant performance artist.” – Al Young

Mork & Mindy’ at

dover fronds 

“I interviewed him on the set of Mork and Mindy, for a piece I was writing about Garry Marshall for New York Magazine (the editor got fired and it never got published). We met him again, David Dozer and I, at the wedding of a comedienne friend. I remember being crammed onto a balcony next to him and him muttering, ‘How long do you think this is going to last?’ And we met him again when he and Billy Crystal and Whoopi were rehearsing the first Comic Relief. He always seemed a sweetie.” Janet Coleman

dover fronds

Dave Zirin

Robin Williams and a Moment of Magic

the nation logo

dover fronds

Peter Coyote


Robin and I were friends. Not intimate, because he was very shy when he was not performing. Still, I spent many birthdays and holidays at his home with Marsha and the children, and he showed up at my 70th birthday to say “Hello” and wound up mesmerizing my relatives with a fifteen minute set that pulverized the audience. When I heard that he had died, I put my own sorrow aside for a later time. I’m a Zen Buddhist priest and my vows instruct me to try to help others. So this little letter is meant in that spirit.

Coyote & Robin
© 2014 Peter Coyote

Normally when you are gifted with a huge talent of some kind, it’s like having a magnificent bicep. People will say, “Wow, that’s fantastic” and they tell you, truthfully, that it can change your life, take you to unimaginable realms. It can and often does. The Zen perspective is a little different. We might say, “Well, that’s a great bicep, you don’t have to do anything to it. Let’s work at bringing the rest of your body up to that level.”

Robin’s gift could be likened to fastest thoroughbred race-horse on earth. It had unbeatable endurance, nimbleness, and a huge heart. However, it had never been fully trained …

Read More

dover fronds

Jack Foley


(half way through the year)

Which half of the horse are you?

            The jockey

Front or back?

            Whose name was Little Johnny Jones

Do you stick to the past like glue

            Was accused of throwing the race

Or are you the leader of the pack?

            Of course this was untrue

Sometimes I ask, What’s new?

            He was a Yankee

As I step out of the sack

            And his blood was blue

Are you red? Are you blue?

            Father fought in the “Spanish War”

Are you whole or halfway through?

            Mother was a Yankee too

Are you stern or tempt-y?

            And his name was really

Half full? Half empty?


The year is halfway up the flue

            And he danced


            And he danced

Which half which half which half

            And he danced—

Which half of the horse are you?





the tigers of the sun are perched on their tails

dear one,

the tigers of the sun are perched on their tails

Time has passed,

the night clear,

a window opens on my head.




An automobile crash in which no one is hurt except yourself

A gun to the temple (remember to squeeze the trigger!)

The “Neptune Society.” Why these thoughts?

Relief—the movement of life

carries so much, and you must carry it with you.

The daily tasks—life’s messengers—now burdensome.

But sleep, minus the consciousness of sleep.

(Voices in your head)


And without murdering everyone around you first.





For whom?

For oneself?




for Robin Williams

© 2014 Jack Foley

 “I should mention that the first two-thirds of the poem were written for Silver Birch Press’s call for half-year poems. Silver Birch Press is publishing the poem in that form. The last section and the dedication to Robin Williams came later. That won’t appear in the Silver Birch Press collection. The ‘George,’ incidentally, is George M. Cohan; the play, Little Johnny Jones, his first hit.”
— Jack Foley



CHARLIE HADEN (August 6, 1937 – July 11, 2014) — in memoriam

Friday, July 18th, 2014


haden shades

38px-Speaker_Icon.svghaunted heart cover
Click to listen

“Thanks to bassist-composer Charles Mingus, who brought me to New York’s Five Spot, I got to hear the legendary Ornette Coleman Quartet upclose and face-to-face in the summer of 1960. Watching and listening to Charlie Haden interpolate folk, country and hillbilly songs into his modal-sounding bass solos, I just sat grinning. The whole night shone. “Squealing like mosquitoes” was how some New Yorker ‘Talk of the Town’ commentator had waggishly described and dismissed Ornette’s raw band. Then and there, I understood. Nothing would ever be the same. After his Liberation Music Orchestra, it was Charlie Haden’s Quartet West band with saxophonist Ernie Watts that knocked me all the way out. Haden played from the bottom of his heart. He rooted for the underdog. He told and played truth as he heard, saw and lived it.”  — Al Young


(L-R) Trumpeter Don Cherry, drummer Billy Higgins, saxophonist-leader Ornette Coleman, bassist Charlie Haden in 1960

Ornette Quartet 1959 Courtesy Atlantic Records
Listen to Haden quote ‘Old Joe Clark’ on Ornette’s ‘Ramblin”


Cover of Ornette Coleman Quartet’s Change of the Century (1960)


© Rafa Rivas/Getty Images


Charlie Hayden & Daughters © Ruth Fremson/NY Times

Charlie Haden with his triplet daughters Tanya, Rachel and Petra — along with guitarist Bryan Sutton — perform the  folk and country songs of Haden’s heartland childhood at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park in 2008. ||| Click on photo to read Nate Chinen’s NYTimes piece, ‘He Was Country Before He Was Cool.’


Charlie Haden, Influential Jazz Bassist, Is Dead at 76 |
Nate Chinen,, July 11, 2014

npr logo
Remembering bassist Charlie Haden

Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra
(59-minutes, ‘live’ performance, France)

 A Charlie Haden discography


BOBBY WOMACK (March 4, 1944 – June 27, 2014) | in memoriam

Sunday, June 29th, 2014


“I was used to basically working by myself, answering to myself,” Womack explained, and this independent streak made him both successful and destructive in equal measure. In the early 1970’s, Womack had a creative hot streak – the title track to the Womack-penned 1970 blaxploitation movie soundtrack Across 110th Street ranks among his finest work; his slow-grooving crossover hits during this period included ‘That’s The Way I Feel About Cha’ and ‘Woman’s Gotta Have It.”’
–Womack to TIME, days before his death


open quotes
She’s tellin’ me about the things that her girlfriend’s got

What she ain’t got and she wants me to go out and get ‘em
xxxfor her

But, girl, I can’t be in two places at one time
— ‘If You Think You’re Lonely Now';
© Bobby Womack, Patrick Moten, Sandra Sully
© 2013 Danny E. Martindale / Getty Images  | Bobby Womack at the July 5, 2013 Roskilde Festival, Denmark

Bobby Womack’s Greatest Hits (Billboard)

15 Photos from Bobby Womack’s Life

38px-Speaker_Icon.svgACROSS 110th STREET — the featured Bobby Womack soundtrack
vidcamera003‘ACROSS 110th STREET’
— the full movie