Archive for the ‘Gratifying’ Category

A political story with a happy ending

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

This story begins with a house concert in Missoula, Montana. I have been friends with the host, Stew Weis, for a number of years and I have played in his and Meg’s home several times.

On the morning after the concert, we had a fairly substantial stack of uneaten pizza, plus some other items. I suggested we find a homeless shelter that would appreciate a modest donation.

Almost two years later, I received this email from Stew. I share it here with his blessing.

Greetings David,

I’ve been meaning to shoot you this message for some time and I’m finally doing it.

I don’t know if you remember this, but on the morning of Sunday, October 28th, 2018, you and I hopped in the car with a whole bunch of leftover pizza, salad and cake from the previous night’s house concert and drove it to the Poverello Center, Missoula’s most prominent homeless shelter, and dropped off our haul, feeling pretty confident that every last morsel would be enjoyed.

Well, that part you most likely do remember. This next part you may not.

On the way home from dropping off the food, I worked up the courage to broach the subject of politics with you. It took courage because at that time, I considered myself a Republican and at least on Facebook, I don’t think that I had ever witnessed you using the word “Republican” without it being prefaced by the adjectives, “those motherfucking.” So, I was a bit gunshy about admitting to you my party affiliation. Though I did further explain that I did *not* vote for Trump, yet I could not vote for Hillary, either. I voted for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, which I can see in hindsight was a huge mistake and a total waste of my vote. I also explained that I had always considered myself a “social liberal” and a “fiscal conservative.” And finally, as an employer with ~200 employees, I “get to” experience crushing federal regulation that a non-employer just cannot appreciate, which is why most business people with any significant number of employees tend to be Republican.

Thankfully, and really not surprisingly, you accepted my position with respect and decency. Thank you for that.

Little did I know that this was a bit over a year from a totally unexpected and dramatic change coming my way.

While my disdain for Donald Trump slowly grew over the ensuing months, what pushed me right over the edge was the Ukraine scandal, the infamous quid pro quo and the ensuing impeachment hearings. I became a voracious consumer of cable news, viewing for hours on end, CNN, MSNBC and even Fox News, just to keep tabs on what bullshit was going on over there. I watched almost the entire impeachment hearings and the Democrats impressive parade of witnesses, including but not limited to Alexander Vindman, Marie Yovanovitch, Gordon Sondland, Fiona Hill and more. It was during these hearings that I got to know the names and quickly came to hate, Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, Matt Gaetz, Doug Collins, John Ratcliffe, Louis Gohmert and several others. I was stunned by the way these assholes fell in lockstep behind Trump, even though to my eyes (and I must admit to taking a degree of pride in being able to tell the difference between truth and bullshit) Trump was beyond guilty.

This was the precise moment in time at which I flipped. I was literally now a Democrat. It’s really kind of bizarre, in retrospect, how it happened as fast as flipping a light switch. However, I was witnessing a Republican party that I no longer recognized. Furthermore, once I found myself on “the other side,” I quickly began to realize that there was a lot more that I identified with “over here.” Conversely, I also began to realize that I had been living with quite a bit of cognitive dissonance as a Republican, especially when it came to social issues. One example is the abortion issue. The government has zero business in a woman’s vagina. None! Period! Anyway, as the months go by, I am finding myself much happier and enjoying greater peace of mind as a Democrat.

I’ve come to define the two parties this way, in as few sentences as possible:

The Republican Party regards the Almighty Dollar as the most important thing in life. Get all the money you can; the hell with everything else AND it’s every man for himself.

The Democratic Party believes that our country and our world works best when it works for all its citizens and inhabitants. What the hell is wrong with striving for world with no poverty, no hunger and no homelessness? In fact, we have a long way to go until these problems are eliminated.

No doubt you’re well aware of this paradigm shift in my own politics, as I’ve also become annoyingly politically vocal on Facebook. I’ve lost some “friends” as a result, too. Sorry, life’s too short to worry about that.

Anyway, David, this is really just something that I wanted to share with you, mostly as a result of that brief, sticking my toe in the political waters in the car, on the way home from the Poverello Center that October Sunday morning in 2018.

It seems that you and Rita are still doing well and making the best of our temporarily coronavirus-dominated life, as are Meg and I. I wish more people would realize that it could be so much worse.

Hopefully we’ll soon have some real leadership. How incredibly refreshing!

–Stew

Let me add that I recently, like literally just a few days ago, figured out at least one element of Trump supporters.

First I should say, that I have said more times than I could possibly keep count of, that the only thing more perplexing to me than how this moron got elected to the highest office in the world, are the millions of people that believe in him and support him. What am I missing? I guess the better question is, “What are they missing?” Why don’t they get it?

Anyway, it occurred to me that there are some people that simply will not, under any circumstances, vote for a Democrat. They would vote for Satan himself before voting for a Democrat. I believe that Fox News is largely responsible for this perception, but such is the case.

The rural, redneck, uneducated element is a lot easier to make sense of.

Anyway, yes, feel free to share. I’m thrilled that my little “political statement” could be put to good use!

Festival Express promo kit

Monday, July 6th, 2020



In 2003, I received two copies of the promo kit for Festival Express, a wonderful musical documentary of the June 1970 Canadian tour that inspired the Hunter-Garcia song “Might As Well.”

If I recall correctly, the press kit included a screener DVD, bio and other info about the film, probably a few photos. Each package also included several bags of guitar picks and a case of Hempire rolling papers that had nothing that indicated a link to the film.

The guitar picks had the film’s logo stamped on them – a 100-count bag each of three different thicknesses of Jim Dunlop Tortex picks, the kind I like. The purple ones were the gauge I prefer, so I gave away the other four bags and used nothing but those purple Festival Express picks for the next ten years or more. When my supply ran low, I ordered a thousand white Tortex picks with my own logo and web site stamped on ’em in purple.

The Hempire papers were also very much to my liking, the popular 1.25 size. The two cases of papers lasted seventeen years. The last two packs are nearly depleted. I bought new papers for the first time since 2003.

It’s the end of an era, and that’s what this post is about.

KPFA/Stu Steinhardt campaign update

Thursday, February 13th, 2020

As of this morning, we have raised $11,104 – blasting past our goal of $10,000!

Here’s the story, and you can of course still contribute!

The marathon happens on Saturday, 9am-1am Pacific!

KPFA Grateful Dead Marathon Sat 2/15/20

Saturday, February 8th, 2020

Read all about it here.

art by Darrin Brenner

Honoring Stu at KPFA: update

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

Our campaign to raise $10,000 for KPFA in Stu Steinhardt’s name is coming along nicely. As of this afternoon, our total is $7,490.00!

Please add your contribution. Any amount is appreciated! Here’s a link to the story.

You can make a check payable to KPFA and send it to me –

David Gans
484 Lake Park Ave #102
Oakland CA 94610-2730

Or you can contribute via PayPal to david@trufun.com – make sure you mark it FRIENDS AND FAMILY so we don’t have to pay a fee – and include a note stating that it is a contribution to Stuart’s memorial fund.

We’re gonna “pay it forward” and give KPFA several years’ worth of the donations that Stu is no longer able to make. Nothing will replace the hours he gave to the station, nor the PIE he so generously baked for our music jocks. But this plaque will keep his memory alive at the station forever.

And please tune in for the KPFA Grateful Dead Marathon on Saturday, February 15, 9am to 1am pacific time.

Honoring Stu: current total!

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

As of this morning, we have raised $6,205.00 toward our goal of $10,000. Here is the original post with all the info! Please read it, and please contribute!

Honoring Stu: update

Thursday, January 30th, 2020

This is a repost of the original announcement. Our total to date is $5,419. Keep the contributions coming, please!

Also: We’re auctioning a painting by my wife, Rita Hurault. Take a look and place your bid!

Everybody should have a friend who brings you pie.

Stuart Steinhardt was that friend, to many of us. He loved to bake, and he was wise enough not to consume his entire output – so he SHARED.

Among the beneficiaries of his sweet largesse were the hosts of Stu’s favorite music programs on KPFA, Berkeley’s pioneering listener-sponsored free speech radio station. He brought pies to many of us on countless occasions.

In addition to copious carbs, Stuart also gave generously to KPFA in both time and cash. I co-host a 16-hour Grateful Dead fund-raiser every winter, and Stu was a godsend on that day, year after year. He’d hang out for all or most of the day and night, helping out by answering phones, picking up food, etc. And he invariably wrote a check before leaving the building.

A group of us who were the beneficiaries of Stu’s kindness have come up with a plan to honor his memory at the station: we’d like to raise $10,000 by February 15, the day of the 2020 KPFA Grateful Dead marathon. KPFA has agreed to put up a plaque over the door of the phone room, honoring our dear friend’s lifetime of support.

To that end, we’d like to ask you to contribute. You can make a check payable to KPFA and send it to me –

David Gans
484 Lake Park Ave #102
Oakland CA 94610-2730

Or you can contribute via PayPal to david@trufun.com – make sure you mark it FRIENDS AND FAMILY so we don’t have to pay a fee – and include a note stating that it is a contribution to Stuart’s memorial fund.

We’re gonna “pay it forward” and give KPFA several years’ worth of the donations that Stu is no longer able to make. Nothing will replace the hours he gave to the station, nor the PIE he so generously baked for our music jocks. But this plaque will keep his memory alive at the station forever.

NOTE FROM SANDY SONNENFELT:

Stuart and I had a love of radio in common. He was a fervent supporter of public radio and especially of KPFA. I am deeply moved that a group of his favorite volunteer music jocks have arranged to name the phone room after him.

KPFA depends on our donations to survive as one of the very few truly independent listener- supported radio stations. In honor of Stuart, I hope you will join us in donating to the station. No amount is too small. Thanks in advance for your generosity.

P.S. Stuart is wearing KPFA Marathon t-shirts in both of these photos!

Honoring Stu: update

Sunday, January 26th, 2020

We’re hoping to raise $10,000 or more for KPFA in Stu Steinhardt’s honor (see the original post for all the details). As of this morning we have collected $3396.

Please read the original post and make a contribution if you can. It’s tax-deductible!

Here’s a photo from May 2004 in Utah. (left to right) Rita, Sandy, Stu, Pam, and Bob

Honoring Stu: update

Friday, January 24th, 2020

We’re hoping to raise $10,000 or more for KPFA in Stu Steinhardt’s honor (see the original post for all the details). As of this morning we have collected $2115.

Please read the original post and make a contribution if you can. It’s tax-deductible!

Here is Stuart wearing a KPFA GD Marathon t-shirt (as he often did).

Stuart Steinhardt in a KPFA Marathon t-shirt

Art auction for KPFA/Stu Steinhardt memorial

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020


SPRING, BRIONES by Rita Hurault
Acrylic, 16″ x 20″, ready to hang

We’re raising $10,000 or more for a memorial to Stuart Steinhardt at our beloved KPFA in Berkeley. Here is the announcement of the fund drive.

Rita has offered this painting for auction. Please place your bids in the comments section of this post.

Starting bid is $500.

Honoring Stu: update

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

We’re raising $10,000+ to honor our late friend at KPFA, where Stu was a devoted listener and a frequent donor and volunteer.

Here’s a link to the original post, and I’m here with an update: as of today’s mail we’ve collected $1215. Please click through, read the story, and contribute if you can. No amount is too small.

Stu and Sandy in Utah, 2004.

Honoring Stu at KPFA

Friday, January 17th, 2020

Everybody should have a friend who brings you pie.

Stuart Steinhardt was that friend, to many of us. He loved to bake, and he was wise enough not to consume his entire output – so he SHARED.

Among the beneficiaries of his sweet largesse were the hosts of Stu’s favorite music programs on KPFA, Berkeley’s pioneering listener-sponsored free speech radio station. He brought pies to many of us on countless occasions.

In addition to copious carbs, Stuart also gave generously to KPFA in both time and cash. I co-host a 16-hour Grateful Dead fund-raiser every winter, and Stu was a godsend on that day, year after year. He’d hang out for all or most of the day and night, helping out by answering phones, picking up food, etc. And he invariably wrote a check before leaving the building.

A group of us who were the beneficiaries of Stu’s kindness have come up with a plan to honor his memory at the station: we’d like to raise $10,000 by February 15, the day of the 2020 KPFA Grateful Dead marathon. KPFA has agreed to put up a plaque over the door of the phone room, honoring our dear friend’s lifetime of support.

To that end, we’d like to ask you to contribute. You can make a check payable to KPFA and send it to me –

David Gans
484 Lake Park Ave #102
Oakland CA 94610-2730

Or you can contribute via PayPal to david@trufun.com – make sure you mark it FRIENDS AND FAMILY so we don’t have to pay a fee – and include a note stating that it is a contribution to Stuart’s memorial fund.

We’re gonna “pay it forward” and give KPFA several years’ worth of the donations that Stu is no longer able to make. Nothing will replace the hours he gave to the station, nor the PIE he so generously baked for our music jocks. But this plaque will keep his memory alive at the station forever.

NOTE FROM SANDY SONNENFELT:

Stuart and I had a love of radio in common. He was a fervent supporter of public radio and especially of KPFA. I am deeply moved that a group of his favorite volunteer music jocks have arranged to name the phone room after him.

KPFA depends on our donations to survive as one of the very few truly independent listener- supported radio stations. In honor of Stuart, I hope you will join us in donating to the station. No amount is too small. Thanks in advance for your generosity.

P.S. Stuart is wearing KPFA Marathon t-shirts in both of these photos!

STUlogy

Sunday, October 27th, 2019

Everybody should have a friend who brings pie.

Stuart Steinhardt (1949-2019) was that friend. He loved to bake, and he was wise enough not to consume his entire output – so he SHARED. He’d post a photo on FB and offer it up on a first-come, first-slice basis.

I’d get on my bike and ride over. Sometimes we’d eat our pie together at his kitchen table, preceded of course by a smoke; other times I’d bring home two slices, one for Rita and for for me.

And sometimes, Stu delivered.

Stu blowing bubbles 2

Early in our life together, Rita turned me into a geology buff and eventually a hiker. Stu and Sandy and Rita and I once tripped around southern Utah in a pair of rented Ford Rangers, Stu proudly introducing us to many of his favorite spots, from the Moki Dugway to Crystal Peak, and we met his friends Riley and Barry, too. Stu and I took several other trips up and down and all around the Mountain time zone, visiting with friends and seeing marvelous sights in between my gigs. I doubt I would ever have visited Fall Creek Falls in Tennessee were it not for Stu and a visit to his friend Denis. On a visit with Stu to Marble Canyon, I took a photo of a coyote turd that has been immortalized on the web site of the National Wildlife Federation.

Coyote turd

Everyone in our traveling party is a photographer. On our expeditions out there in the world, Stuart always got to the cool scene before I did – so I’d take a picture of him taking the picture! I have a nice collection of these meta-photos. I cherish them.

Stu Steinhardt in Wildflower Heaven

Stu was the very dictionary definition of a mensch, completely committed to decency and compassion. A union man all the way, he refused to use the self-checkout lanes in the grocery store. He was passionate about his compassion, and he got angry – quite appropriately, in my opinion – when he saw the social contract being violated. On Facebook, one of his favorite refrains was “Livin’ the Dream” – invariably delivered in a context of irony or despair.

As great a traveler as he was on the back roads of the USA, Stu kinda lost his shit when we went to Peru in 2013. But! by his negative example, he taught me how to be a better traveling companion to Rita, for which I have been quietly thankful.

A llama named Anthony

Severino and our group

Here at home, Stuart was the quasi-official staff photographer for Perfectible Recordings, my little musical empire. He was always happy to stop by my recording sessions to make sure we had photos of that day’s ensemble. He had a very low-key approach to the task, and he’d hang around to enjoy the music and get into the mood of the session before we’d break for the pictures. Stuart baked a perfect pot cookie – which I consider a performance-enhancing drug! – and in so doing contributed immensely to those recording sessions, and every other phase of my creative well-being.

Our lives were so intertwined. We shared news items and photos on each other’s social media; we had plans for future travels; we have a long tradition of shared holiday feasts that will now be very different without Stuart in the kitchen and at the table. We had an endless series of new restaurants to try, and a tradition of occasional meals of ill-advised foods shared when our wives weren’t watching.

A few days after Stu’s death I received a promotional box of Grateful Dead-branded cookies in the mail. This was exactly the sort of thing that would prompt a meeting with Stu and probably Marc, to have a smoke and sample the item.

Stu at Little Wild Horse

All the laughs we shared, the concerts and the radio broadcasts and the books and the photos, all the recording sessions, the hikes in the red rock country, all the pipeloads on the deck while the crabs were cooking, all the KPFA fund-raisers to which he contributed generous quantities of time, money, and carbohydrates.

All the love he brought to this world, and all the love we feel here today in his wake. Thank you, Stuart, for your steadfast friendship.

Peter and Stu

Kind review of a recent live show

Monday, April 1st, 2019

David —

can’t remember the last time I looked up a performer’s lyrics the next morning.

quality, thoughtfully written stuff that I happen to culturally agree with. . .

and exactly the stuff that needs reinforcing in this particularly weird time. you gave a ton — very genuine and complete performance — the content of the lyrics, the fingerpicking, the cosmic loop music — really terrific assortment of sounds and feelings, all from one musician. plus a good message of firmness, resolve, and hope.

Rob Catterton

(He attended my house concert in Santa Rosa CA on Saturday, March 30)

Carnahan on “Drop the Bone”

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018

Got a nice email from Danny Carnahan, founder of Wake the Dead, who recently bought a copy of Drop the Bone:

“I’m enjoying the heck out of the new CD. Your singing has never been more relaxed and fluid. Well done! And I was amused at the shoutout for Haight and Buena Vista*. I lived at that corner for nearly two years in the early ’80s. And today’s favorite rhyme is ‘Marco Polo’ with ‘just a solo.’ Ha! The bonus CD was a fun listen as well. The trimmed-down radio mixes were well-considered and retained the fun and the punch of the full-length versions.”

*in “Summer By the Bay

You can order the CD and/or the bonus disc here!