Tag Archives: musician

Oatmeal, anyone? An Evening with Ottmar Liebert

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When my daughter was small, she would refer to Flamenco guitarist, Ottmar Liebert as “Oatmeal”.  “Listening to Oatmeal again, Mom?”  she would ask.

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Last night, we were treated to two hours of this graceful guitarist’s skilled execution of some of the most incredible music I have ever heard.  Liebert was joined by bassist, Jon Gagon and percussionist, Chris Steele.  They had definite chemistry, and put on an ideal show in an intimate Portland venue in the Alberta Arts District.

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© Stacy Alexander

Ottmar Liebert is what guitar playing is all about.  He is in tune with his craft to the point that it seemed, at times, that he and the guitar were one instrument.  He was graceful, and seemed comfortable in his own skin, playing, most of the time, barefoot, with his eyes closed, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings, riding the waves of his own creations.   I believe he was playing a small DeVoe guitar, but it didn’t have any markings on it that I could see, so I’m not certain that is what it was.

Since 1986 Liebert has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1992 he purchased an “alt-ranchette” just outside the city, with an adobe guesthouse he built as a recording studio.  In May 2006 Liebert was ordained as a Zen monk by Dennis Genpo Merzel at the Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He had a very strong presence….one of peace and goodness.  Both John and I sensed this immediately as we watched him.

(I couldn’t get the video of Luna Negra to embed.  This video (above) is an earlier performance.)

I have been unable to find a video of Jon Gagnon, his bassist, but will post one here, if i do later.  He  was simply put, rock solid in every way.  Jon had a huge presence and voice on a 4 string fretless which sang like an baritone opera singer…or, at times, a French horn.  I couldn’t figure out what one of his bass instruments was at all it.  The one shown here was huge, and had a EB-like headstock and a body shape of something like a JP and a morsh.   Its  tone was full of mwah, but soulful and crying. The  fretboard was  coated with something shiny. I’d not seen anything like it before.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.54.47 AMThe drummer, Chris Steele, was not to be believed.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.57.15 AMI did find a video of Chris playing, and I encourage you to watch it.  He is truly a unique player, and fantastically talented.

There is a video on YouTube that I couldn’t manage to embed here.  Please look it up.  It is called “Good Drums, Bad Turtleneck” by Chris Steele.  This is the video to watch to really see this man’s talent.  You can find it here:

The Alberta Rose Theater is a sweet little venue….very small and intimate, which was the perfect place to hear a trio such as this.  John and I ate the venue’s delicious  hand pies and sipped Perrier as we basked in the warmth and beauty that these musicians presented to us. We had such a nice evening.   These guys are  true professionals…plain and simple.  They were tight, knew exactly what they were doing, and provided the audience with an amazing show.  ’nuff said.  Well…no….NOT enough said, actually.

As I was sitting there watching these incredible musicians, I though about my dear friend, another musician, and felt so sad that his life has taken the path that it has.  It could have been him up there on that stage last night….but as they say…”When you lie with pigs….”  He has made some not-so-wise choices.   I’ll leave it at that.

Redbird Moonshiner

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My lovely daughter-in-law has the best taste in music.  I am forever learning about new musicians with whom I was not previously acquainted.  She posted this one on her Facebook this morning and I just had to share.  I told her I thought the style was like Eddie Vedder with a soda chaser.

Enjoy Redbird Moonshiner.

Thank you…to my beautiful friend.

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A special friend sent me this video this morning.  You can see his reflection in my glasses.

Rene Best musician                                       Rene Best guitarist
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Rene Best musician

When the Abuser is a Woman

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I am an advocate for women. That is what makes writing this post so difficult.   I have done volunteer work at a rape crisis center, have volunteered in a battered women’s shelter, have assisted women in crisis.  I am sympathetic to the plights of women as minorities, and empathize with the inequities that exist between the sexes. Does this mean I’m a “man hater”?   Um…no.  I have a wonderful husband, a new grandson and many outstanding male friends,  a couple of whom  mean a whole lot to me in terms of how they enrich my life.  I am close to my father, and I adored all of my now-deceased uncles, and the one uncle who is still living.   My sons-in-law are great….so I am very fortunate to have all of these great men in my life.  However, my women friends are not just my women friends.  They are my sisters.  I feel a strong connection to other women and relate strongly to their thoughts, feelings and situations.  This is what makes it so difficult when I learn that a woman has been abusive toward a man.  I feel that she sets other women back by decades.                                    

Are we not above this?

 

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My friend has been on the receiving end of some serious domestic violence lately.  It is not the first time that it has happened, and I am conflicted about how to help him.  He does not want trouble.  Like any victim, he feels shame at the thought of anyone turning his abuser over to the police.  To make things worse, his  abuser is a petite flower (i.e.”stink weed”) much smaller than he, and loves to pretend that *she* is the victim.   She strikes and then feigns injury herself and has been known to call the authorities in situations where SHE was the batterer….She is mentally ill, a very dangerous type.  This violent dervish is no victim.  She hits him.  She breaks his personal property.  She screams at him.  She spies on him.  She belittles him.  It doesn’t take a genius to note the patterns that have formed through the years, nor  to ascertain that she is the liar in this scenario.  In this particular case, the abuser is also an excellent actress.   Therefore, many people outside of their home only know her as  a “really great lady.” Little do they suspect how cruel and spiteful she truly is. Then again, there are those of us who know what she is and how her seedy little mind operates.

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 Her actions not only hurt the man she is abusing.  They hurt all women, just as male-against-female domestic violence hurts all men.   I am a woman, so this issue effects me….and all women.  I hate it when men abuse women.  I also hate it when women abuse men.   I am writing this today, to speak out against domestic abuse that occurs between men and women, but in this case,I am speaking out  against  women who abuse men.    Domestic violence is wrong.

Are you with someone that  purposefully chooses to destroy only the objects she knows will hurt you emotionally – using these demolition derbies  as a demonstration of her desired power and control?   In actual fact, they are a demonstration of her emotional immaturity and selfishness.

This is the case in the abusive situation that my friend is in.  Do not be silent if you see this happening among people that you know and love.  Abusers fear exposure.  Expose them!  This is what I am going to do.  If I EVER hear of this woman abusing my friend again, I will call the police and have her thrown in jail.  I will not hesitate, even if it costs my relationship with my friend.  This is going to stop, and it is going to stop NOW.

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According to recent studies, approximately two in every five cases of domestic violence are caused by women who abuse men.  This contradicts the notion that it is always the women who are left bruised and battered.  Men that are assaulted by their domestic partners are often not taken seriously by the police, witness their attackers walking away free and have fewer refuges to where they can flee.  Data that was gathered  from Home Office statistical bulletins in England, as well as submitted by the British Crime Survey,  support the fact that men made up about 40% of domestic violence victims each year between 2004-05 and 2008-09.  2009 was the last year for which figures are currently available. In 2006-07 men made up 43.4% of all those who had suffered partner abuse in the previous year, which rose to 45.5% in 2007-08 but fell to 37.7% in 2008-09.  Similar or slightly larger numbers of men were subjected to severe force in an incident with their partner, according to the same documents. The figure stood at 48.6% in 2006-07, 48.3% the next year and 37.5% in 2008-09, Home Office statistics show.  musician

Men have a completely different set of problems with which to cope.  Because women can often be perceived as “less than” men within a given society, and are, at times,  not valued as highly as men, no one is surprised when one is battered.  This is terrible, but the data exists to support this unfortunate claim.  However, the societal pressures when a man is physically/emotionally abused by a woman are completely different.   Just as a woman feels shame and embarrassment when she is abused, men feel it, too, but for different reasons.

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This, from help guide.org:

An abusive wife or partner may hit, kick, bite, punch, spit, push, throw things, or destroy your possessions. To make up for any difference in strength, she may attack you while you’re asleep or otherwise catch you by surprise. She may also use a weapon, such as a gun or knife, or strike you with an object, abuse or threaten your children, or harm your pets. Of course, domestic abuse is not limited to violence.

Your spouse or partner may also: 

Verbally abuse you, belittle you, or humiliate you in front of friends, colleagues, or family, or on social media sites.

  • Be possessive, act jealous, or harass you with accusations of being unfaithful.
  • Take away your car keys or medications, try to control where you go and who you see.
  • Try to control how you spend money or deliberately default on joint financial obligations.
  • Make false allegations about you to your friends, employer, or the police, or find other ways to manipulate and isolate you.
  • Threaten to leave you and prevent you from seeing your kids (or pets) if you report the abuse.

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If you have been abused and need immediate assistance, call 911 or your local emergency service.

Abused men can also reach out to the following organizations for help:

  • U.S. and Canada: 1-888-7HELPLINE (1-888-743-5754)

 

Abusers use domestic violence to gain and maintain complete control over their victims. It is not uncommon for an abuser to use guilt, fear, shame or intimidation to wear down their victims and to keep them under their control.  Abusers  may also threaten to take away their victims’ children or pets.

 

dv6Verbal abuse can be severely damaging as well.  Often men believe, that if they are not being physically abused by their partners,  they are not being abused.  This is wrong.  If either men or women are in a relationship which is draining something from them… that person may not recognize that his or her self-esteem is eroding his or her  happiness through verbal, mental, emotional and other forms of abuse.

In addition to physically harming him, my friend’s partner also verbally abuses him.  I want to help him by exposing her.

The following is a list of ways to tell if someone is being abused without being physically touched:

  • Withholding:  Does the abuser stop speaking when he or she is displeased?  Does he or she ignore you?  does he or she withdraw affection in order to punish?
  • Countering:  Are you told continually that you are wrong if you don’t agree with?  Does he or she argue against your every thought?  Tell you your feelings are wrong?  Tell you that you don’t know what you’re talking about?  Are you forbidden from having your own opinions? friends? life?
  • Ridicule [Verbal Abuse Disguised as Jokes]:  Are you being made fun of?  Are you being ridiculed about subjects that you are particularly sensitive about?  Does your partner seem to enjoy it?    Does he or she use sarcasm to put you down?
  • Blocking and Diverting:  Is  the subject abruptly when you try to bring something up?  Does he or she divert serious discussions by accusing you of virtually everything under the sun?
  • Accusing and Blaming:  Are you blamed for everything that goes wrong?    Does he or she accuse you of hurting him or her when you tell him or her your feelings?  Are you continually accused of having affairs?  Is your partner jealous?
  • Trivializing:  Is what you say belittled?  Are your feelings or accomplishments dismissed?  Are you frequently insulted when you express pride in your own abilities?  Are you treated as if your work is no big deal?
  • Under-mining:  Is your enthusiasm destroyed with insensitive comments such as, “You wouldn’t understand”, or “You’ll never make it”?  Are your ideas sabotaged by his or her pointing out all the ways in which they might fail?   Are you interrupted when you need time alone?
  • Threatening:   Are you overtly or covertly threatened with emotional pain?
  • Name-calling:  Are vulgarities used to insult you?  Are you called cruel names?
  • Ordering:  Are you ordered to do something instead of being asked?
  • Judging and Criticizing:  Is fault found with everything that you do?  Are you told that you “ought to” or “should” do things a certain way?
  • Denial:  Do you witness denial by your abuser that certain things happened?  Are you told that the abuser didn’t say something or that you never saw something occur?
  • Abusive Anger:  Does your abuser erupt into a rage when angry?  Is there screaming, yelling, or shouting?  Are obscenities hurled in your direction?  Does your abusers body language become more aggressive?  Does she stomp, strut, hit things, or hit you?  Become red in the face?  Throw things?Does she physically get in your way, or follow you from room to room?  Snap at you?  Is she usually irritable?  Does all of this usually take place in private, when you are alone?  [ It’s a sure sign things are escalating if she attacks you in public. ]
  • Refusal to Accept Responsibility:  Are you blamed for his or her anger?

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If you know someone that is being abused…man or woman….encourage that person to leave.  Encourage them to prosecute.  You will be helping ALL survivors of domestic violence when you do.  Being passive is not the answer.

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Day #24 – On Your Mind

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Photo a Day – June

Day #24 – On Your Mind

Stacy Alexander

©2012

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This is a stylized version of  me kneeling at the grave of Jimi Hendrix.

Fellow artist and neighbor, Russ Osterweil lost his battle with AIDS this morning.

Rest in peace, Russ.

Suffer no more.