Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bob Dylan Revisited, John Lennon, J. Edgar and thoughts on enjoying life despite the bad stuff

The Times They are a Changin' is such a great song. I think we did change the world in the sixties and seventies with our dissent, but so much is unchanged and scary it amazes me. Yet we have to keep on exercising our right to speak out. And one very important way to do that is voting. The right to vote is so important and the GOP is trying to make it harder for the few people who do vote to have their say. What a woild.

Yesterday we saw a film on Sundance about what John Lennon & Yoko Ono went through when the government tried to deport them. Five years of crazy harassment. J. Edgar Hoover was right up there doing it, as he always seemed to be back them. What Hoover actually did to destroy people's right to dissent--and often their lives--was barely portrayed in Clint Eastwood's movie J. Edgar. None of the true viciousness and vindictiveness of this man was in the film. He was portrayed as being strangely eccentric and driven, but the true nature of the man and the damage he caused to American rights wasn't really shown. See the film The U.S. vs John Lennon to get  a truer picture of what happens when people speak up to power. And it's still going on here today with the brutal treatment of many of the Occupy demonstrators.

It was lucky Lennon was rich and famous and could afford to fight. But what about the rest of us? The Senate just passed a bill that includes the government's right to arrest U.S. citizens who the government thinks are terrorists--and put them in jail with no right to a trial. Who are these guys we elected? Check out this article for how each senator voted for the provision of the bill that allows "United States citizens suspected of terrorism to be held indefinitely, without trial, by the military." Scary stuff indeed.

On the bright side, we saw the play "Ann: an Affection Portrait of Ann Richards," which was such a wonderful reminder that many amazing people are on the side of people's rights. Her friends Mollie Ivens and Barbara Jordan were two others mentioned in the play. The world needs all three of them now as much as it did when they were alive. Heros all.

And our life is good--despite all the other stuff. The U.S. is a great country and Chicago is a great city. We see friends for dinner often. We go to neighborhood Soup Nights. On Wednesdays we go to Andy's for Dixieland music from the Windy City Allstars, such upbeat music--played and sung so well. On the first Monday of the month we go to Katerina's to see Jeannie Lambert, our favorite jazz singer. She sings jazz standards like no one else does. And there's so much more there--Bob Dogan on piano, Petra's Recession Seven doing 20's and 30's music, to name a few.

We go to the opera at the Lyric (so far this season we've seen and enjoyed Boris Gudonov and Ariadne auf Naxos) and at the move theater for MetLive performances (this season we've seen an amazing Siegfried that we thoroughly enjoyed and Satyagraha, which I'm ambivalent about, but glad I saw). For our blues fix, we plan to see Buddy Guy at Legends if he's there in January as he usually is.

Every year Chicago has the free Jazz Festival and Millennium Park free summer concerts with all types of music. There are so many small and large theaters. Art museums. The Cultural Center. There is such a rich life here. We are very lucky.

And most important of all, we have wonderful family and friends to get together with, do those things with, celebrate holidays with and just generally enjoy all year long. The best. All of them.

So it seems surreal sometimes that there is so much anger, brutality, pettiness and greed all around us as we lead our happy life. But there is, and it is. Go figure.

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