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From Gary Stockdale

Happy Chinese New Year of the Rooster

(I’m still writing “Monkey” on my checks)

 

We used to send out New Year’s cards by mail every year, with pictures of the kids and us doing something clever. And usually, since we were always late getting them out, we’d make them Chinese New Year’s cards. Now, with social media, we don’t do that any more. I miss it, and feel a bit guilty since so many of my good friends still do, like Bill Mumy, whose family photos feature one of his (I think literally) hundreds of guitars in each year’s card. Or Steven Banks, whose pictures of his beautiful wholesome family somewhat handily obscures his truly dark and edgy comic sense.

But we’ve all noticed that things have taken a dark turn of late. People are locking horns in this political season like never before. And with good reason: We’ve never seen an election like this last one before. Spencer Green and I wrote a comedy song about how we who were against Trump “shall return” to fight back with such formidable weapons as Bill Maher and Samantha Bee. It was meant to poke a little fun at ourselves along with skewering the new administration. Yet, at Wine and Song, Brad Colerick had to get in between two guys duking it out in the parking lot because one guy didn’t like the point of view in my song, and started shouting at me after I sang it (big surprise – left-wing politics at a folksinging show). My friend, the brilliant and funny Eric Schwartz was a little put-out, saying he thought HE should be the one causing fistfights and angry mobs. Perhaps he’s working on a new one that will accomplish that soon, if that’s what it’s come to. Woody Guthrie didn’t kid around, and, perhaps, neither should we.

But I have people I love and cherish who think differently than I do, so I keep trying to communicate, and trying to figure out how we can reach some kind of ethical and moral common ground. If we give up trying to do that – even in the midst of fighting for what we believe is right – then we truly will be a country and a world divided irreparably. Keep talking, everyone, and try to shed more light than heat.

Some good news: Bumpersticker: The Musical, our musical that played the Hollywood Fringe Festival last summer, was awarded the Billy Barnes Award for Best Music and Lyrics from The Robby Awards, This is the 31st year the Robby Awards have been chosen by longtime Southern California theatre reviewer Rob Stevens. With the help of our great producer, Michael Blaha, we’re working on the next step in our plan for world domination.

I haven’t booked a lot of gigs lately so I’m not announcing any on this blog, but stay tuned, as I’ll be announcing some big CD release concerts in the next couple of months as my producer Greg Prestopino and I are just putting the finishing touches on the new record. We’ve actually almost recorded two albums’ worth of tunes, so look for more to come as well.

So as they used to say in Hill Street Blues, “Be careful out there,” in the real world and in the virtual one. And if we want to see a change, we’d better be the change.

 

Love to all, and 恭喜发财

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