Goodbye Blue Monday

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left to right – larry rivers, jack kerouac, david amram, alan ginsberg and gregory corso (with his back to the camera)

if you don’t know david amram, let’s say that he, when i met him here almost 2 years ago, was the person who told me that i had done the right thing. that upon entering this place for the very first time, he was thrust back to his youth. he told me that he felt like he just walked back in time to the way greenwich village was. to understand fully the implications of what he meant, go here; David Amram and read about him. as we spoke that first time, i revealed to him that i had another place in my past that he might remember. “what place was it?” he asked. “116 macdougal.” i answered. i saw his eyes flash. “you had that place? that’s amazing! your spirit is linked to an amazing past and it shows.” I had a place in the 80’s and 90’s called Scrap Bar. i like to say that punk had its last rights and wake there and metal and big hair bands got baptized there with MTV performing the services. (did anyone notice that i might have been a catholic at one point of my life?)…… it was, in a way, the antithesis of the beat generation, but not in a bad way. Youth and discovery are based on self indulgence, self inspection and self realization. in spandex or blue jeans, it’s all forward motion. The Scrap Bar website can offer a little insight into the time. Scrap Bar’s Myspace can offer more. Eventually, I’ll be adding more in the blogs located there (there’s 9 short, lead-up stories about Scrap Bar there right now), like when Alan Ginsberg walked down into the place as i was spray-painting flourescent lightbulbs and told me the history of the the Village Gaslight and why beatnicks and “finger-snapping” became synonamous. He spoke with excited reverence about his youth. About the age of awakening from the McCarthy era….that’s why this David Amram meeting was so wonderful. Twenty years after meeting Ginsburg, I’m in my new “home,” no longer where traditional NYC bohemia exists and another and possibly the last important link to the age of fearless creativity walks into my life and tells me “you’re doing good.”

This was a kind note Mr.Amram sent me a while back after i had spoken to him about the weariness of my journey. Being “out there” (out here)  has its low points, believe you me. He wrote it for me to put out there, so that’s what i’m doing;

Dear Steve,

Glad the New Yorker will give you some play

Goodbye blue Monday’s is an invaluable part of New York‘s cultural scene. It is a mecca for young artists and their audiences to meet, develop rapport with one another.

It provides a showcase for some amazing talent. In an era where music venues are colossally expensive, this warm, family-type setting is affordable, charming and a perfect place to both do creative work and go to listen to new performers.

i often go there with my kids to hear new groups, and the two times i played there were truly gratifying. The owner and artistic director of the club is a modern day Medici for a whole generation of performers of all genres.

It is one of the places I take all my friends who visit New York who want to witness what is new, artistically excellent, innovative and truly entertaining.

David Amram

As i look at my calendar, i know i’m doing my job. Thank you David.

One Response to “a message from david amram to goodbye blue monday”

  1. DaVID AMRAM

    Dear /steve

    NICE ARTICLE!!

    thank you for mentioning me and ost important thank you for all you do and with that, finding time to come to the wedding!!!

    It meant a lot t adam and all of our family tohave youmake the trip to be there!

    hope to see you soon.

    will be the Owen Sound Folk Fest in Canada August 15-17 and than the rest of summer hiding out at the farm composing my new piano concerto, until my series of concerts for the Democratic National Convention August 22-27, where i have been designated as the composer-in-residence.!!

    My opening concert at the convention on August 24th is called……………….

    “Outside of Convention- From Fanny Lou Hamer to Martin Luther King to Barack Obama: How the Civil Rights Movement changed American politics”

    This gala event, (free to the public in Denver as well as to the delegates and their families) is sponsored by Nation Magazine, the Democratic National Convention, the Denver Public Library and PBS, (both the English and Spanish speaking stations) who will taping my opening concert as well as other events, including the august 24th program at Convention Center the night before the opening of the convention.

    My musical contributions will include my Three Songs for America, settings of speeches by John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy for bass voice and orchestra, written 40 years ago for PBS.

    I’ll also be conducting the Denver Children’s Chorus (a killer 100 voice prize winning choir) in three
    pieces for children’s chorus for which I composed both the words and the music, dedicated to three great musicians I have played with over the years. They are Native American master musician and actor Floyd Red Crow Westerman, jazz innovator Thelonious Monk and ambassador of Afro-Cuban music, band leader Machito. I’ll conduct the chorus, accompanied by my trio.

    we will also perform the premiere of a new piece for which I composed both the words and music, based on the “I am somebody” statement of Rev. Jesse Jackson in a version I will be conducting with the children’s choir, based on short sentences by the people of Denver who were interviewed on the street by socioloigist Dr Audrey Sprenge, for a film she created for the convention as well as the Denver Public Library, documenting their own statements (“I am a cabdriver, i am a student, i am a Bronco’s fan, I am a future doctor, i am a proud father….etc)

    All of these statements will be sung and chanted, with audience participation, accompanied by my jazz trio, with special guest Jose Rivera, leader of the Latin Jazz Giants.

    Congressman John Conyers will be honored for his work in civil rights as well as speaking and being interviewed in a discussion with John Nichols, editor of Nation Magazine, about the progress over the past sixty years of everyone’s civil rights in America. Congressman Conyers is also a lifetime
    supporter of jazz as a national treasure (as well as his being someone who truly appreciates the symphonic masterpieces of European culture and how they relate to jazz as music which endures)

    We will end the evening with my “Theme and Variations on Amazing Grace” followed by the grand finale with my trio playing Now’s the Time by Charlie Parker, honoring the rly civil rights slogan “Our moment is Now”, with audience participation.

    The finalized program all be announced shortly. And I’ll be working on finishing the piano concerto through it all, so I won’t have any time to get into any trouble!!!

    KEEP UP YOUR GREAT WORK!!

    BLUE MONDAAY’S WILL SAVE NEW YORK!!

    david

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