MAY 14, 2012 - I wrote this a few years back, and decided to bring it out of mothballs when we had the BP oil disaster in the Gulf in 2010. I put the capo on the the second fret, updated the lyrics, and filmed the video shots at Great Falls Park, Maryland. The song is called, "Rise Up", and I hope it can help inspire more people to "Love our Mother", and support sustainability. Go Green!
MAY 14, 2012 - Zhanna Arshanskaya Dawson had a talent for playing the piano even from an early age, starting at 5. She even played Bach’s Invention Number 1 in public, encouraged by her parent’s love of music. Unfortunately she was a Ukrainian Jew living in Kharkov, and the year was 1941. German troops stormed her house, and marched her and her family towards a death camp She and her sister somehow managed to get away from the guards, and ended up in an orphanage. There, a caregiver heard her talent for playing piano, and offered her and her sister a chance to play with a musical troupe entertaining Germans, and they used their talent to stay alive, and eventually make it to America in 1946.
In a CNN article by Moni Basu Zhanna says about playing for the Germans, “I was playing for the memory of my parents. I was playing to survive.” She ended up hiding in plain sight entertaining the Germans with her music, and even was taken with the musical troupe back to Berlin at the end of the war. After the war in 1946 in a camp for displaced persons run by the Americans, she met Larry Dawson, a musical lover and viola player himself and he arranged to have a concert for the survivors of Dachau. She remembers fondly of finally playing for her people, and said, “These were such special people”.
Her and her sister’s musical talent helped them get to America, and even win scholarships. Zhanna now lives in Atlanta, and is being honored with a doctor of letters from Oglethorpe University. Her son Greg Dawson has wrote a book called "Hiding in the Spotlight" recounting the events, and has also made a mini documentary (watch below). You can read the full article over at CNN here.
MAY 10, 2012 - The Fender Music Foundation, whose mission is to assure "music is available to everyone in the communities that they serve", has received another signed guitar to their autographed guitar collection donated by artists and celebrities.
Tom Morello, aka The Nightwatchman, who has been active in the Occupy music arena recently has signed and donated a sweet Fender Kingman SCE dreadnought acoustic guitar. It can be yours too, all you have to do is donate $2,100 to the foundation and the bad boy is yours! All the funds will all go to benefit the Fender Music Foundation to help spread music! While you are there, you can get a guitar signed by Tom Petty, Vince Gill, and even President Jimmy Carter!
Wanna know more? Check out an intro to the Fender Music Foundation video below, and their website with testimonials of the awesome work they are doing is here.
MAY 10, 2012 - Cher hammered presumed Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney in a series of Tweets. According to EOnline she Tweeted, "If ROMNEY gets elected I don't know if I can breathe same air as Him & his Right Wing Racist Homophobic Women Hating Tea Bagger Masters." It has ignited a firestorm on her Twitter page, and she even apologized to some of her followers later on.
MAY 10, 2012 - Photographer Amara Betty Martin was up in New York for the recent May Day march, and she caught so many scenes of the day in rich black and white photography, freezing a moment in life and preserving it, while at the same time making a piece of art out of these moments in history. Below is one of her pictures of an activist musician drumming, his drumming frozen in time, his energy bottled.
You can check out more of Amara's pictures at her Facebook page.
(Photo credit: kiinovilland.com)
MAY 10, 2012 - Activist Erin Potts, who works with campaigns such as the Free Tibet movement with the Milarepa Fund, and musical activism with Air Traffic Control to name just two, has shared her memories and thoughts with the world about her experiences with Adam Yauch, a longtime friend of hers, in a letter on the ATC website. Together they started the Milarepa Fund through royalties on the Beastie Boys songs "Shambala" and "Bodhisattva Vow" to support Tibetan independence, and this paved the way for the popular Tibetan Freedom Concerts.
In her letter Potts says, "he didn’t just produce and perform at our concerts for Tibet. He also went to conferences and organized workshops. He was deeply strategic–most of the time–always passionate, and always welcoming. He believed in our team of inexperienced but determined 20-somethings, and our ability to do the impossible. And with that belief in us and in nonviolence, together we DID do the impossible. Never before has more fun been had while changing the world!!"
Read the letter on the ATC website here, and thanks to TibetArchive on YouTube for this clip of the Beastie Boys from one of the Tibetan Freedom Concerts from back in 1999.
MAY 9, 2012 - Vieux Farka Toure', the son of Malian music legend Ali Farka Toure', is using his music and activism in Mali to bring about awareness and change for social issues, most recently helping out with getting mosquito nets to women in Mali, and lending his support to the Fight Malaria Campaign. He hopes to reinvent music, and reach out on a global scale and have an impact on the grassroots level with positive change. He also reaches out across borders and religions, and on his new album he plays with Israeli pianist Idan Raichel. A review of his album on Difrent.org says, "In a beautiful statement of musical transcendence, the rhythmically infectious album brings an Israeli Jew together with a Malian Muslim, soaring straight over the stale and outdated political dialogue of divisiveness, a strong image of the world that the young generation is making." Check out a performance video from Vieux below, and his website is here.
MAY 8, 2012 - The war on poverty, known to most Americans as the "war on drugs", almost killed a young law student at UC San Diego, when he was arrested by police and put handcuffed in a windowless cell and forgotten for 5 days, with no food or water. On April 20, 2012 Daniel Chong went to one of the many annual 4/20 counterculture parties across America, but was swept up in a police raid the next morning and forgotten about when he was put into a holding cell. Daniel said later, "I didn't care if I lived or died, I was completely insane.", and even ate one of his eyeglass lenses to try and commit suicide. JTMP supports the ending of the insane war on drugs, and urges our supporters to sign the petition over at Just Say Now calling for the Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate the DEA's abuse of Daniel Chong. Read more on CBSNews.com here.
President Obama and the White House have set up on their website where Americans can directly petition the President and give us a "voice in our government", and an American citizen has started a petition to legalize marijuana on it, and you can check it out here.
Progressives giving to grassroots voter registration groups, conservatives giving to Super PACs that run negative ads.
MAY 8, 2012 - The New York Times has an article out showing how progressives such as George Soros are now donating money to outside independent groups, but unlike their conservative counterparts who are donating money to Super PACs that run negative TV advertisements, progressives are choosing to donate their money to more grassroots-oriented organizations such as America Votes and American Bridge 21st Century, which concentrate on grassroots activities such as voter registration and "Get Out The Vote" efforts.
Michael Vachon, a spokesman for Mr. Soros issued a statement saying, “George Soros believes the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United opened the floodgates to special interests’ paying for political ads. There is no way those concerned with the public interest can compete with them. Soros has always focused his political giving on grassroots organizing and holding conservatives accountable for the flawed policies they promote. His support of these groups is consistent with those views.” Read more on NY Times here.
JTMP wants to remind everyone to register to vote, and get all your friends to also! Most states now have online voter registration, so check your state today, and get it done today! A great place to start is canivote.org.
MAY 8, 2012 - Tony Sclafani on MSNBC Entertainment has a great article about MCA, Adam Yauch from the Beastie Boys, and how he brought social consciousness to the Beastie Boys. Adam passed away last week from cancer, and JTMP has been blogging about him recently and how he became a Buddhist and evolved into a socially conscious musical activist, with the Free Tibet movement being one of his causes. Tony writes how they started helping out many causes such as ASPCA, Food Bank for NY, and Habitat for Humanity among others. Check out the article on MSNBC here. (photo credit: blythe_d/Flickr)