Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Arlo And Alice Meet Jane

Jane Ellen @ OASIS Albuquerque: The 4th of July is a long way from Thanksgiving (145 days this year, to be exact). So Abq Jew is pretty sure he will be the first to remind the world of the

Abq Jew here writes not of the song, but of the event (or series of events) that inspired it.
This song is called "Alice's Restaurant." It's about Alice, and the restaurant, but "Alice's Restaurant" is not the name of the restaurant, that's just the name of the song. That's why I call the song "Alice's Restaurant."

As Abq Jew recently reported (see Summer 2015 @ OASIS Albuquerque), Jane Ellen (see Atomic Cocktail & Uranium Rock), the Musical Muse of the Abq Metro, will be teaching about Arlo Guthrie this week.

Now, the story of the Alice's Restaurant Massacree (as the song is properly known) began back on Thanksgiving Day in 1965.

For those keeping score: Thanksgiving 1965 fell on Thursday (you knew that, right?) November 25, which was (unlike this year) but 144 days after the 4th of July 1965.

The Alice in the song (Wikipedia tells us) was restaurant-owner Alice Brock, who in 1964 used $2,000 supplied by her mother to purchase a deconsecrated church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts,
Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago ... two years ago, on Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the restaurant. 
But Alice doesn't live in the restaurant; she lives in the church nearby the restaurant, in the bell tower with her husband Ray and Facha, the dog. 
And livin' in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of room downstairs where the pews used to be. And havin' all that room (seein' as how they took out all the pews), they decided that they didn't have to take out their garbage for a long time.

Now what, Abq Jew hears you ask, does this have to do
with the price of pastrami in Poughkeepsie?

And the answer is ... nothing much. Except that Arlo is, in fact, a dyed in the wool MOT, although the color has faded somewhat over the years. As Wikipedia tells us
Arlo Guthrie was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of folk singer and composer Woody Guthrie and his wife Marjorie Mazia Guthrie. His sister is record producer Nora Guthrie. 
His mother was a one-time professional dancer with the Martha Graham Company and founder of the Committee to Combat Huntington's Disease, the disease that took Woody's life in 1967. 
His father was from a Protestant family and his mother was Jewish. His maternal grandmother was renowned Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt.

And what, Abq Jew hears you ask, has Arlo managed to accomplish in the fifty (50) years, less 144 days, between the Massacree and now? Well ... a few things.

The Guthrie Center (that's a hint!) website tells us
In 1991, Guthrie bought the church that had served as Alice and Ray Brock's former home in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and converted it to the Guthrie Center, an interfaith meeting place that serves people of all religions. 
The center provides weekly free lunches in the community and support for families living with HIV/AIDS as well as other life-threatening illnesses. It also hosts a summertime concert series and Guthrie does six or seven fund raising shows there every year. 
There are several annual events such as the Walk-A-Thon to Cure Huntington's Disease and a "Thanksgiving Dinner That Can't Be Beat" for families, friends, doctors and scientists who live and work with Huntington's Disease.

And what, Abq Jew hears himself ask, has he managed to accomplish in the fifty (50) years, less 144 days, between the Massacree and now? Well ... a few things.
  1. He was graduated from high school. Yes, the Massacree was that long ago.
  2. He was graduated from college. With a degree in Engineering, no less.
  3. He was graduated from grad school. With a degree in Education, no more.
  4. He survived more than 32 years as a worker in the technology mines.
  5. He built the Abq Jew Blog and the Abq Jew Web and the Abq Jew App;
    and, most recently, helped to build the New Mexico Jewish eLink.

But more importantly, Abq Jew married Perri Yellin the Artist. And helped to raise Dov Yellin the Film Editor and Alex Yellin the Communications and Development Pro.

Which may not rank up there with Alice's Restaurant and the Guthrie Center.

But, Ken O'Hara, it ain't bad, either.

When Abq Jew ponders the knowledge and values he will pass on to his kids  - he realizes that Dov and Alex have no idea who Arlo Guthrie is or what Alice's Restaurant meant to a whole generation of anti-war kids way back when.

They have never heard the song. The phrase
"twenty-seven 8 x 10 colored glossy photographs
with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back
of each one explainin' what each one was"

means nothing in particular to them.
So - this is for the kids.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Shake Your Windows

And Rattle Your Walls: Although the waters around him have grown, Abq Jew must report that his time, to him, is worth saving. He therefore happily announces that

The Times, They Are A Changin'

Yes, there will be changes - to the Abq Jew Web.

The look & feel will be very different. Brighter colors; clearer, simpler navigation. But the new focus will be much more on Albuquerque, and much less (except for special events) on Santa Fe and Elsewhere, NM. And much of the ... ahem ... extraneous material that has (over the past five years) clogged the pipes will be gone, including the [in]famous Go Do page.

The Abq Jew Web will continue to be a source and a resource for Jewish life in Albuquerque and beyond. Abq Jew will continue to strongly support those who have supported him. But there will be a fresh emphasis on the Abq Jew Blog, the Abq Jew App  - and on the New Mexico Jewish eLink.

Yes, there will be changes - to the Abq Jew Blog.

The look & feel will be very different. Brighter colors; clearer, simpler navigation.
But the rest of it, G-d willing, will continue.

As Abq Jew first stated in June 2011 in Unorthodox, He Said,
Of the many things of which he is proud - especially his humility - Abq Jew is most proud of his commitment to, and practice of, equal opportunity criticism, sarcasm, and sardony. But only within the bounds of civility and good taste.

Abq Jew must tell you, as if you didn't already know, that there's always more than one version of any good song. See here are The Seekers and their version of The Times, They Are A Changin.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sparks of Restitution

Adele in Gold: Congregation B'nai Israel is proud to present Sparks of Restitution, the June installment of the popular Shabbat Sparks series of Friday evening events.

Sparks of Restitution follows the release of the film Woman in Gold, starring Helen Mirren.

As Abq Jew reported in Adele in Gold:
The just-released film tells the story of Maria Altmann (Tatiana Maslany and Helen Mirren), who was forced (and able) to flee Vienna shortly after the Anschluss (March 1938) - the joining of Austria with Nazi Germany. 
With the help of a young lawyer, Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), the then elderly Maria sought to recover Gustav Klimt's portrait of her aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer (Antje Traue), from the Austrian government. 
The portrait , the "Mona Lisa of Austria," had been displayed at the Belvedere Gallery in Vienna since it was stolen by Nazis off the wall of Maria's family home.

Cantor Leon Natker will speak about the theft of Gustav Klimt’s stunning portrait of Viennese Jewish socialite Adele Bloch-Bauer by the Nazis during World War II.

Completed in 1907, the painting, known as the “Lady in Gold”, became the subject of a riveting law suit filed against the Austrian government by Adele’s heirs.

The battle was to last over a decade and ultimately involve the US Supreme Court as well. Drawing from his personal relationship with the family during this time, Cantor Natker will share some of the details of the case as it unfolded.

Having recently completed his Master’s degree in Museum Studies; and through his ongoing work in archaeology, Cantor Natker will address the ramifications of the Supreme Court decision regarding restitution for stolen works of art, and its impact on the art world.

Here, then, is Abq Jew's advice:

Go see the film.

Better: Go see the film and go read the book, The Lady in Gold, by Washington Post contributor Anne-Marie O'Connor.

Better yet: Go see the film and go read the book; then go participate in Sparks of Restitution!