Tag Archives: Climate Change

Singing Telegram Gigging

Living in an Unpredictable World

Psychological resilience in this after-times is demanded of civilizations players. To survive this rollicking adventure we must adapt to fast moving viruses, wildfires, and weaponized inequality.

Mask wearing, I don’t mind. Socially distancing, I’m hermetic by nature. Vaccinations, I’m ready when they’ve got one that works.

Yesterday I could see and smell smoke here in Northern California where wildfire erupted in Napa County. Evacuations were ordered. Being forced out of your home is disorienting, especially while fleeing and having forgotten your mask.

Into the Wildest Places

Perhaps yours is not but my economy is shattered. For the moment if you are landing on your East Hampton’s helipad things might be just dandy. The peasants in pitchforks are plenty stirred up by the madness that passes for a Republican President and Congress but whether they are going to slow roast their hard-hearts remains a longshot. As we say in the trade, “I like oligarch I’ve just never been able to finish a whole one.”

Swift moving flames of wildfire burn one thing down and odd as it seems another thing isn’t touched. Entertainment industry is shuttered the lives of tens of thousands of ballet dancers, actors, singers, musicians, choreographers, conductors, orchestras, theme parks, circus shows, street performers are all out of work. Movie theaters, Las Vegas, nightclubs, comedy joints, strip clubs, and singing telegram gigs are all kaput.

Better Living Through Virus Dodging

All of what had been reliable and true is no longer the case. We may not wander about the world with our passports, enter and exit most of the world as we once did. We may have thought living on some leafy lane a terrific bit of pastoral splendor at one time and of course now you’ll have to have your head examined before occupying such a residence.

We continue to struggle about whether citizens are going to have access to health-care. Two months from now our Supreme Court may toss out the Affordable Care Act and with it will go coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions. Depending upon how you count that group of unfortunates, to give you a ballpark figure, approximately all of us will be affected by this change.

Starter Home

As we all dash about dodging the plague and wildfires while searching for new jobs, because we can’t perform the work we’ve spent our life training for, our titans of finance are doing their damned best to get their morally bankrupt huckster back in the Oval Office.

History’s warning chastens our self-conceit. Turning the page on the industrial revolution and building a brighter more survivable renewable energy economy is like you know going to take a moonshot. The technology has all been invented, we have the tools, what is lacking is a means of organizing the human spirit into a coherent civilization saving act.

We’ll need leaders at the top. We’ll need an activist citizenship. Mobilizing will require a colossal deployment of people and technologies. Jobs will be plentiful. The economy will thrive, but yeah there are going to be winners and losers. To that end we’ll show those sectors of the economy that need a hand up how a more compassionate capitalism can work.

None of what I’ve outlined is remotely original. This plan waits. November’s election is crucial. Democracy, civilization and the football season are all on the line. Vote like your season tickets depend upon it.

Making it Real

The Inconvenient truth about wildfires

Laura is a Category 4 hurricane barreling through the Gulf of Mexico’s overheated waters taking aim at East Texas-West Louisiana. The timing of Laura’s arrival is a national nightmare. Predictions are for tidal surges to reach up to 30 miles inland.

Driving through Oregon and Idaho Sunday and Monday I was in thick smoke from wildfires. The haze stretched 400 miles. The scale of our disasters, both political and environmental are unbound.

Patriots that gave their lives for our freedom

Fight like your life depends on it. Don’t think for one second if the current executive office holder can cage those children that he won’t eventually get around to caging your children. Authoritarians don’t play nice. You get on the wrong list and your share of nice is coming to a startling end. Guaranteed by 180k souls that have already found out.

Wildfires are bigger, hurricanes more powerful, our newest pathogen is easily spread, it kills, hospitalizes victims, wreaks havoc on internal organs. Somehow we have gone merrily along the road of denial as our world becomes ever more unmanageable.

Our most populous state, California has in the last five years been terrorized by the largest fires in its history. In 70 years California’s population has gone from twelve million to forty million. Arriving with this rising tide of authoritarian sympathizers and left coast liberals is a mentally deluded leader with no talent for confronting reality.

Look it is now only a matter of time before one of California’s wildfires comes racing down the hillsides toward one of our treasured places. Berkeley, Palo Alto, Mill Valley are all in harms way. What does the day after we lose the fight to save one our city’s look like?

We must not surrender what so many sacrificed to preserve

Like pretending that a highly contagious pathogen wouldn’t emerge crossover from wild animals to infect mankind was to put it succinctly just dumb. And then there is the matter of how deadly a new pathogen might be.

So as we try to scale our troubles we might well consider the corner we are in and how best to extract humanity from this tight spot. First we’re going to have to fight this virus. Getting this bug under control will be no small or easy task but we can’t do much else until we do. Second, we’ll be digging out of a horrible economic collapse and like FDR we’ll need to put millions back to work building an energy system for the 21st Century. Third, we’ll be busy prosecuting the cult that erupted in our midst and followed their dear leader over the cliff. In the midst of all of this we’ll be fighting wildfires and seeking emergency shelter from gargantuan climate emergency fueled hurricanes.

We start by voting. Don’t vote for people that like caging children, want to take health care away from citizens, like to cut taxes on billionaires and send the working stiffs off to foreign wars. Use your head and get a grip about the superficial color of another human beings skin. We are out of options and fascistic alternatives make matters that much worse.

Time to not just be safe but to get real.

March 20, 2018 Solstice Mesquite Tree Love

Running for My Life

Mesquite Powder
South American Sourced Mesquite Powder

My people are on foot. I see them much as I do when I slip into Shangri-La Vegan in Emeryville or Flora Vegan in LA’s Silverlake District. So what does that mean? Do they all look like buskers and busker girlfriend’s?

For sheer simplicity I am drawn to the messaging around One Step for Animals Organization. No complicated arguments here. The simple ask of the omnivorous is to stop eating all things feathered. Explanation and persuasion are so last century. Put down the drumstick, eat a carrot, save the world. You don’t need to know why.

Shows this weekend in Oakland at Children’s Fairyland where I’ll gather the youngest among us and their parents, relatives and neighbors along  the banks of Lake Merritt. Triggering laughter born of kindness and sincerity from both an eight and eighty year old is a gratification of the highest comic order. I love when I ask a three year old where they are from and they say—–from my mommy’s tummy..!

Nopales
All Things Desert Edible

Awaiting downstairs is an exercise machine, the famed treadmill. I’ve more than a few hours scheduled. I’ll read about the early training of the great ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. Athletes can attain higher levels of virtuosity with skilled coaching. Street theater has had only a few. More on this later.

In Hot Spring Honeymoon the pinion pine nut is selected as a pivotal plotting element. So I am all the more transfixed by praise sung for the mesquite tree by Tucson’s Desert Harvesters Organization. Trees rock! I think you’re beginning to see where the World Emergency Full Catastrophe Climate Change Comedy Show is being born from.

Friend’s— buy a book, book a show. Get stuck here, come back for another visit. I’ll try and keep it real. We need reality— a good laughter saturated dose of— sobering reality

Edited Red Star

Links:

https://www.desertharvesters.org/

https://www.onestepforanimals.org/why-one-step.html

March 14, 2018 Weather Related

You Win a Baby Blue White Leather Interior Cadillac

Boat
He drives a boat

Rain is the sworn enemy of a street performer. Cold wind and ice come in second with unbearable high humidity and heatwaves next. The not too hot, not too cold is supportive of such things as solvency. It is the shoe that is always about to drop. We’ll discuss noise in another post.

I’m feeling slightly less dread after seeing that back east in Western Pennsylvania there turned out to be 113,813 people that see the world same as I see things and 113,186 people that don’t. No matter— I’ll fight just as hard for their Social Security and Medicare. Best of all we’re just slightly less off the rails this morning. That’s a good thing.

I’ve got a good pile of nonsense stacked up on my desk, some writing to do, a bit more Norman Mailer to digest, and an exercise bike and handstand training session dead ahead. That’s how we roll here in downtown Los Angeles Arts District.

Arts District Art
Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe

For those living in Northern California you may turn your attention to Oakland, California for the weekend of March 24-25. I will perform beneath the oak trees at Children’s Fairyland. The first paragraph in this post could influence the outcome or even whether I appear at all. We’ll see.

Something on global warming…“If you haven’t personally experienced climate change then you haven’t pissed off my wife yet.”

Thanks again for pulling on in and spending half a minute of your valuable time with me. Come on back. I’ll be right here doing my part to make this a better world and a niftier website.

Edited Red Star

March 11, 2018

Walk in Park

Trailer
Welcome to the Good Life!

 

New Vaudeville was a term of art coined some decades back. Musical hall, standup, variety artists, and street performers needed a new flow chart for what had come before, what was happening at the moment and where this juggernaut of new wave entertainment energy was heading. One of the purposes of this website is to simply make my show and production skills available. So there is that on offer here.

 

A Sense of Balance is Good

Fascinating conversation this morning about Feng Shui, permaculture and collecting edible plants in the Sonoran Desert. What’s on your plate? What are you cooking? Keep in touch, write me a note, let me know what you think we should do about making this a better world for those yet unborn ancestors who will be arriving here soon.

Edited Red Star

Start Here (More Beginnings…)

Starting Here
Clipper Cove on San Francisco Bay

 

I’ve wanted this portal, my main link to the outside world to speak more immediately, about things that concern us both today. My main concern is that this evening is road dog night. Jump from downtown Los Angeles back up to Northern California. So there is that.

But, what you have come here for may be for a great many much more grand purposes than to find out where the seat of my pants is going to be placed somewhere after sunset. I understand how you feel.

Here we go. Let’s try connecting a few dots. Show business first and foremost is to be found right around this page. You can visit my highlight reel link just above where you’ll find a short piece of Dana Smith in Edmonton from a few years ago. Shot, edited and to the extent possible Alan Plotkin tried to be sure to annoy his subject matter by including certain moments of resistance the entertainer encountered while playing to his crowd. So there’s that.

You can check out my novels by clicking on the link. You can sample some of my blog posts. You can contact me and last of all once you’ve put yourself through all these digital contortions you can grip that mouse in your hand firmly click and depart for virtual experiences near and far, better or worse, few I prefer to believe a good bit less bent than mine.

I’m wrestling with some new writing on the topic of street theater. Have a boat I’m getting ready for sailing off the coast of California this summer. I’ve been threatening to mount a new performance titled the World Emergency Full Catastrophe Climate Change Comedy Show. It’s not like I’m just sitting here counting my lucky stars. I’m working twice as hard as the next guy and getting half as far. Artistic endeavors are seldom achievements we can measure as going lightning quick. More like they take their own good time, arrive as they will, when they’re ready. Sort of like this website change. I want to welcome you here by keeping it real and fresh. I’ll be back soon enough with more for you to see and chew. Until then eat more vegetables, drink more water and try to get some sleep.

Edited Red Star

Taking the New Normal for a Spin

Burned Out Four

Valley Fire 2015

Lake County, California

We flew south from Seattle to Burbank arriving over the Thomas Fire where the blaze had just crossed from Ventura into Santa Barbara County. Last summer’s dry season never came to an end. Instead this fall the Southland of California was treated to twenty degree above normal temperatures, low humidity and then the voluble Santa Ana winds.

Last nights flight down the coast was crystal clear, picture perfect. While cool in Seattle less average was the clear sky. Less than common still was the monolithic singular cloudless atmosphere witnessed the entire length of the west coast. As we approached Burbank after sunset we descended over the top of Los Padres National Forest. Looking down off the starboard side of the plane we could see flames approaching Carpentaria and further north near Montecito. The fire had in just twenty-four hours consumed another one-hundred-thousand acres with the most inhabited of those yet to be consumed acres in sight. Both densely populated communities are thickly canopied and in any other moment would be regarded as blessed with a handsome landscape. Not visible were the five thousand firefighters who had cut fire breaks. Standing along the break they braced to snuff out blowing embers that might escape from the national forest and ignite a blaze within the city limits of the two communities. Thousands had been order evacuated. The Department of Homeland Security had no answer to this terror threat.

There have always been wildfires, but there had always been a time of year associated with the fires. In decades before the present California had grown to near forty million citizens. In past times the wildfires happened out there in the wildlands far from the California car crazed maddened clogging crowds. An unintentional a price had come due for our obsessive horizontal sprawling real estate development. And as we all know Mother Nature bats last in the game called life. In this instance wildfire had come to speak about the risks homeowners take when locating their domicile adjacent to a tender dry fuel loaded landscape that with one accidental spark and aided by an ill-timed windstorm can ignite an inferno of unstoppable proportions.

My much loved daughter in Seattle and her partner have put off any thought of having children. Even at just twenty-five they’ve recognized and noted that the climate has changed, they know that the world is in trouble and the trouble that most concerns them is the trouble people make for the people who take climate change as a real and present threat. Stalemates are quaint even useful on a chessboard and existentially suicidal when played on the surface of the earth.

Puerto Rico is in super hurricane ruins, barely able to function, its electrical grid destroyed. Houston pounded by rains and floods- turned into a lake and now is mecca for slightly water damaged furniture. California not to be outdone has put on a wildfire show unlike any other. How we react, what we do, the planning and precautions we might take will tell us all we need to know about how smart, how intelligent, how adaptive and resilient our species is. Stalemate and gridlock might be a useful tactic in our nations capital but it won’t work here. If ever the world needed enlightened leadership now is that moment. If you are an optimist it is never too late, for the pessimists it already is, either way Mother Nature doesn’t care. Facts speak for themselves.

great tree

Piece of Reality Prior to Wildfire

 

The Invisible-Glorious-Full-Stop

DTLA-Arts District

Start from Where You Find Yourself

Here on the rotisserie in LA it is expected to go triple digits. For one hot second I’d deluded myself into believing the autumnal equinox had passed, summer was over and that Trump would have folded like a cheap piece of patio furniture by now.

As far as trifecta’s go I’m a raving savant.

The future is akin to a plane on autopilot. Doors locked, we can’t get in, there’s a mountain dead ahead. Believe me I’d rather be on a beach listening to Kenny G, reading my GQ while sipping on my first extra dry-stirred not shaken- Sapphire martini.

Is it just me? Yes, it is evidently just me. Everyone else I know wants beachfront property, doesn’t believe in tsunami’s and dismisses the reports of Antarctica’s demise as premature. Even displaced polar bears sighted south of their ancestral range turns out to be attributed to nothing more than advances in ecotourism.

Even my chakra’s, all seven have told me to just take a chill pill, stop worrying, it’s all coming to an end, but it’s a great ending without the Koch’s, Trump’s or Murdock’s surviving any of what they’ve so fervently wrought.

Today my car still starts, radio works and I know where the hell I’m going for at least the moment. Having been a pilot of the prairie, the daring-do-dude of the desert I can unplug the plug-in-hybrid and go. Blinkered, emotionally bombed out- gutted like a cathedral under renovation I can take my sorry-to-have-to-do-this-to-you-self out into the vast emptiness of the terrifying void where I’ll try to find a can of start-over.

So, there you are and here we go. To the barricades. Helmet on, optimism thermostat turned to full on. The scout will sprint ahead looking for a plausible path through the impasse. Probably to be found under a rock, at the counter of a country store, or maybe locked inside my heart of hearts. I haven’t looked there in a while. Must be a key to my soul somewhere.

 

sign

The Sign I’ve Been Looking For

 

 

The Longest Running Show on Earth

latesummer09 003a
Late Summer Telegraph Hill, San Francisco

 

The severity of the climate change induced wildfires in the winegrowing region of Northern California comes as no surprise. Lake County’s record breaking Valley Fire of 2015 remains an all too fresh memory. The unholy alliance between real estate developers and the bipartisan business friendly politicians have been paid to ignore the calls for a more sustainable growth model. The only obstacle they have had to overcome on their way to this day were environmental organizations and voters who have been urgently sounding the alarm on unchecked sprawl, traffic choked highways and a perilous all too visible decline in the quality of life.

With the end of American frontier an all but ‘un fait accompli,’ the rush to plant more wine in the teeth of the just broken five year drought could not have been a more ill-considered act. The much put upon planning commissioners, supervisors, and regional water regulators have been incapable of staring down the powerful agriculture lobby while they have been pressing their thumb on the scale for more vineyards, more wineries and more development.

All the money in the world can’t put down the danger to the drought damaged region when the inevitable hazardous autumn red flag warnings arise. Puerto Rico having taken a direct hit from Hurricane Maria remains in shambles three weeks after without any of our authorities having taken a moment to wonder if under the influence of climate-change the region is not anything other than another target on a map for a future super hurricane to come clobber yet again and again. We can’t think that far ahead because we have defunded and discredited the very scientists and engineers we are going to need to rely upon to devise a way out of this collision course we are on with Mother Nature.

Whether you believe in climate change or not is very much beside the point. There are super sized forces in the tangible Universe being unleashed and roaring down upon us. After the fact our rescue and rebuilding efforts may be welcomed but these costly interventions are being made all the more necessary as we put off our collective humanity making a globally coordinated effort and respond to the carbon addicted behaviors that are much the cause for the calamitous events the people the world over now face.

I live here in California. I admire much of what this state has done, but I am not in total awe. Like any other region or kingdom money rules the day rather than the interests of concerned citizens looking at the problems. Without favor or financial interest ordinary citizens can see through the smog shrouded windshield of their lives and that a more sustainable path needs to be reconciled with democracy and capitalism. A key part of what more needs to be done is to leave what has not yet been spoiled alone. Leave water in the ground and our trees standing on the mountains. When a regions carrying capacity hits full we need  our leaders to put a halt to further growth until we have a workable plan. We’ll need to employ conservation techniques, more vertical housing, deploy new and cleaner methods of mass transportation. We are all going have to surrender to the common good and give something back to the place we call home.

Money as they say is “speech.”. But money is a fallible one-dimensional speech that influences civilization at its extinction inducing peril. Clear as a bell and cold as a winter day the affairs of our world have reached the point where the best path forward be plotted and planned by a more carefully considered forum of enlightened interests. Money as a one trick pony is going the way of the Ringling Brothers beloved famous elephants. And as well all know the longest running show on earth is over…

Wildfires in Northern California

burned-out-three

Scenes from Arson Instigated Fire in Lake County

Valley Fire, September 2015

Intending to begin my fourth novel at Calistoga’s famed dirt racing oval I was instead shocked to find the fairgrounds transformed into a shelter for the evacuees of the deadly and destructive Valley Fire of Lake County. The famed racetrack where the motorcycle championship riders would have been competing was their next to last stop on their way to the season ending Las Vegas finale. Arson and climate change induced drought forever cancelled those races and altered the trajectory of my plotting of Women of the Oak Savannahs. Now the destructive and deadly fires of 2017, in part the result of the same out of control development, chronic water shortages  and drought stricken arid landscape I have been writing about have vaulted my fictitious characters from the page and have been brought to life as gut-wrenching  non-fiction fact. I didn’t want to write about climate change. I didn’t want to write about overdevelopment. I had the story handed to me by stubborn politics, rapacious real estate developers and a handful of committed environmental activists standing up trying to sound the alarm. Here is the opening to my all but complete still in editing fourth novel…

cropped-cropped-primary-section-break-hsh.jpeg

Valley Fire, Lake County

September 19, 2015

High aloft the aerialist gripped the climbing rope. Beyond a brownish orange sun went lost in a smoke filled sky. Helicopters, Super-Huey’s thump-thump-thumped eastward to the front. In the tumult of the still out of control wildfire the aerialist startled the audience with a swift descent back to the ground. The rhinestone bejeweled woman slipped one foot then the other into her glittering silver clogs. Each knee-high-stride was accent, twirling her palms face up, she tickled the ovation with her fingertips. The incessant droning of the Grumman Air-tankers crisscrossing the sky mixed with the audience’s anxious murmurs. Within the respite of the struggle to survive a showgirl’s smile simmered across her lips. The heavy oppression of the air reeking of acrid smoke pressed a sorrowful reality down upon the fairground. Jo assumed a dancer’s first position, her concentration slipping away, mind wandering, locking eyes with the motorcycle racer for one part of one instant, then in the next breath the performing artist vanished out of the light away into the night.

“You want to unfasten me?” Jo was standing backstage on the other side of a pickup truck. She was peeling her full figure out of her costume. By design the garment fit skintight. Piper tugging the flesh colored fabric together unlatched the hooks to the eyes along the seam running down her back.

“I thought the Deputy Sheriff was going to poke us with his night stick.” Jo said.

“He’s just gawking. It’s always something, our mascara, false eyelashes, our derrières.” Piper wiggled hers.

“Have you noticed how it is that white girls’ lives matter?”

“All lives matter.”

“The fair manager notified the Sheriff’s Department. She told them we were setting up for a show.” Jo rolled her eyes.

“They haven’t started shooting showgirls as far as I know.”

“Give the deputies a chance. We haven’t resisted arrest yet.”

“This is the wine country, we’re in Calistoga. Nothing but mud baths and chardonnay as far as an eye can see…”

“How about all those stretch limos full of binge drinkers? That’s what I want to wake up to, a five hundred dollar hangover.” Jo laughed. “That’s a headache and a pain in the ass wrapped up into one fan-fucking-tastic butt-ugly credit card bill.”

Children on tenterhooks, eight of them, old enough to play together so long as they didn’t stray too far from their parents’ watchful eyes, had come around from where they sat at the front of the audience to peek.

“They are such perfect pests.” Jo smiling at her admirers.

“They just want to grow up and be like you and me,” Piper said.

Jo wrapped her fingers around one wrist and then the other pumping her hand. She grimaced, “I’m glad we came out.” She scanned the dusk sky, “This has to be the hardest thing, performing for a fairground filled to the brim with heartbreak.”

Piper her understudy was elvish, shorter, blanketed with a pearl white skin, blue eyed, blonde hair said, “The audience had a chance to forget their problems, even if it was only for tonight. Nothing’s wrong with that. Life has to go on.”

Jo scrunched her nose and tilted her head grinning at her new fans. She wagged her finger like she was tickling the overcurious kids. They scattered giggling.