SPORADIC TIMES #3
AN EVENING OF MALVINA SPIRIT:
NOVEMBER MONTANA TOUR
NOVEMBER MONTANA TOURJoin Montana Singer/Songwriter Judy Fjell and Songwriter/Storyteller Nancy Schimmel (Malvina Reynolds' daughter) for a Montana tour in November (of 1999) celebrating the wit and wisdom of the late Malvina Reynolds.
Tickets for all concerts are $10 ($9 in advance), $5 Children or Seniors. General information about the tour can be obtained by contacting Laura Bray at 222-5122 (Livingston) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following is the schedule of concerts as of September 14.
OCTOBER BERKELEY CONCERT
Thur Oct 28th, 8 PM - Berkeley, Freight and Salvage Coffee House $12.50
advance, $13.50 at the door.
MALVINA CD SET FOR MARCH, 2000
It's official--Smithsonian-Folkways will be putting out a compilation CD from Malvina's four lp's. Release date is March 17 (22nd anniversary of her death) rather than her birthday, because August is not such a good month for release concerts. Besides, we hope everyone will be selling the CD at the Malvina concerts planned throughout the year to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of her birth in 1900.
The lead-in to the cover article in the East Bay Express, July 23, 1999 was:
“The rally in front of KPFA was more than fifty years removed from the old Spit and Argue Club, but for songwriter and storyteller Nancy Schimmel--like her mother, Malvina Reynolds--some commitments just don't change.”
The staff of Northern California's listener-supported radio station, KPFA, was at that time still locked out of the station by the five-station network's governing body, Pacifica Foundation, in a struggle over local control. (They are back in now, but the situation is still iffy, and they need money to repair the damage done to KPFA's building when Pacifica bolted plywood over the windows to “protect” it from its own supporters who were demonstrating outside. ) In the sixties, Malvina had a program of commentary on KPFA, mostly talk but including whatever topical song she had just written. Nancy substituted for her from time to time when she was out of town.
And the Spit and Argue Club? Formally called the University by the Sea, it was a wide deck off the Rainbow Pier in Long Beach, California, with a range of benches in front of a covered speakers' platform. Anyone could speak for five minutes; then the audience could vote to hear ten minutes more. Malvina spoke there often--always for fifteen minutes. This was back in the late '40s, before she became mildly famous as the writer of “Turn Around” (1956) and “Little Boxes” (1965). She was writing campaign songs for Los Angeles area rallies for the Progressive Party in 1947, and in 1951 launched a run for city council from the Spit and Argue club, but national fame was yet to come.
i've been trying to keep up with the happenings at our dear, kidnapped KPFA, and while at one of the demos heard a song to the tune of 'wabash cannonball' about KPFA...heard you wrote it...malvinas promo for pledge drive on kpfa, done so long ago now, still echos in my brain thru this whole thing..something about who would gladly take over should the listeners no longer support the effor
anyway...have been wanting the words to the song...could you send it?
What Have They Done to the Rain?
Storyteller Linda King Pruitt asks:
And the answer is...Yes, it is my mom's and it was originally about nuclear fall-out, but many people use it as an acid rain song.
Malvina's Writings in Music Therapy
I am a music therapist in the NYC area and I am employed in the inpatient Psychiatry dept of a general hospital. As I am also a...socialist and a composer of political music, I am very aware of the importance of a Malvina Reynolds to the cause of music as a tool of social change. I have used “Little Boxes” in groups when we speak of a person's individuality (very important with many patients whose egos have been seriously damaged) and I present The Soul Book every winter holiday season. I have many of the patients in a given music therapy group recite one section [of The Soul Book] a piece, all with my improvised piano music behind them. I'm told that that group has been inspirational and mystical. This is a specific example...of how music therapy is the clinical arm of the protest song.
Malvina wrote a poem and wanted to send it to the newspaper, but knowing that the Chronicle did not print poetry, she took out the line breaks to make it look like prose and sent it in as a letter to the editor:
The San Francisco Chronicle, August 29, 1954After the letter appeared, a friend phoned Malvina and said, “I saw your poem in the paper today.”
The Hunger Site
My friend Annie forwarded an e-mail about the Hunger Site. Anyone can go there once a day and click on a box that will tell the sponsoring businesses how much money to send to the United Nations World Food Program. This program sends grain and beans to refugees and to countries where war or drought or hurricanes or other disasters have destroyed the local food supply. Schroder/ Sisters' Choice is going to sponsor the site for a day. Once poeple click on the box, they then see a page with sponsors' banners on it, and can click to the sites of any that interest them. So it is advertising with a humanitarian side effect. Try the site, and tell your friends about it. See if a business you own or work for might sponsor it.
“Evening of Malvina Spirit” Tour
Judy Fjell and Nancy Schimmel will repeat their popular “Evening of Malvina Spirit” at Berkeley's Freight and Salvage Coffee House on October 28, then will tour Montana in early November (details to come). The show combines Malvina's songs with the stories behind them, plus family stories and a few songs by Nancy and Judy that carry on Malvina's tradition. The Freight and Salvage show will be filmed by Lucy Phenix.
Malvina concert for the Community Health Center
Our last issue of Sporadic times ended with this item:
And, indeed, they are doing a Malvina concert for the Community Health Center on Sunday, November 21, 1999 at 2pm. Venue to be announced.