Friday, November 16, 2012



Jeremy Mage and the Magi and Catherine Feeny

George, Marc and Marsha of the Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness meet in my office. Although we struggle every year, this year seems worse. Some funding sources drying up. Somehow with his own sweat and tireless energy Marc has kept this Assembly going for almost three decades. But there’s always a certain chaotic quality, a certain frustrating scramble to stay alive. Wears people out. But that’s all so familiar, I understand. And hang in there with Marc. I can see so clearly how it could come together, the kind of grassroots, congregation by congregation organizing it would take to do it. Marsha and George have come up with some strategies. We’ll have to get the executive committee to buy in, but it’s a possible way to weather the storm. The most exciting thing we’ve got going is the new program with homeless veterans. A reality that should not even exist.....

RL is wanting reassurance that his open mics and showcases still will have a chance...

Anna is in with puppy for a conversation Suggests that if we could get into distribution of food and services for dogs, we’d have a growing church. And we could give music lessons to the kids in the projects and we could offer homework  help and a quiet place to read and ...she tells me of her years at Chicago U, her dad, her brother and living situations she’s been in..a Fred Newman cult....more than I’ve known. For all that she wrestles with, she’s clearly brilliant and creative. She looks at me, I know I give you a hard time, y’know? But really, you deserve to have more people hear you. When you teach, when you preach, I hang on every word. Fuckin A, every word...

Look up and see Jamie. Tours. And tours. Jamie’s got a revolving circle of schools and brokers and non-profits and arts groups coming through for tours. She needs the place more in order. Needs to to look more like we’re serious. I’m always fascinated by the looks and reactions of people as they pass through our space.  Sometimes makes me defensive. 

The drawn out negotiations with Noche are wearing me out. We have lunch at Popover’s. When I get back, Nate is sitting behind Danielle’s desk. I’m so glad soemone’s taking charge around here, I say, just what I need. You wrap this up, I’m going to go home and kick back awhile... He laughs. ...if only...

Marc has started getting the sound set up for tonight’s concert. Getting late in the day..I need to run home and change. Glad my son Nate will be helping out. Anxious as to what our turnout might be given that we're up against the People’s Bailout, an Occupy Faith event at the Village Church, live streaming of the telethon at Le Poisson Rouge...I decide to just  let it be. 

When I get back to the church, Martin has arrived. I take him back to my office. Two cold Lagunitas. What do we have to do to get this done? We talk. OK, let’s get our people here tomorrow and finish the papers....He goes out to join his mom and daughters for the concert.  People are starting to stream in. OK, this will be OK.

Catherine is watching Jeremy warm up. Asks me how my day was. Long. 
What did you do?
 Meetings.Negotiations, Meetings. People. Negotiations...and I smile.

I’m happy to see my friends Beppe and Liljana. And my neighbor Ric, who among his many other lives, works the music business. I’m anxious for his opinion of Jeremy and Catherine. And I’m especially happy to see that Jane and her Sanctuary team held their meeting earlier so that they could be there for Jeremy. 

Jeremy opens. Hitting his grooves like the night I caught him in a midnight show at the Bluenote.  He brings Catherine out to join him on his Brechtian cabaret style Let’s take the whole year off...swapping verses and harmonies. During Jeremy’s acoustic guitar songs, I notice there’s a character near me, whistling, loudly, not bad, but loudly...We’re approaching the border of anxious moment territory here..I ask Ric who says give him one more song...There’ something familiar about his looks, his whistling...Took me a long time to figure it out, Rastaman, the occupier, Rastaman..same dreads, same this like a rasta thing? Rastawhistle?  Later before Catherine begins, I go over and say gently, somewhat anxiously, bring it down my brother, bring it down...thankfully he nods and does...

Catherine and uke
Catherine begins with her uke, her Spill it all over the ground...She’s got this voice that pierces with its beauty, but also quirky, coming in at an angle, lyrically enchanting and intelligent....I enjoy hearing her songs raw, without the range of accompaniment on her albums. She brings Jeremy and the Magi out for some songs. Then at the end, brings him back for her new anthem from Occupy, United... and for an encore jams with him on  Hurricane Glass...

Soon we’ll head to Slightly Oliver for food, drinks, conversation about music, Occupy, progressive and emergent religion...

Feeling good about having put the night together. Get a text from my friend Beppe. Thoroughly enjoyed all the concert. Catherine is irresistible. I love your  church!

Jeremy, Bob, Catherine
Me too (sometimes) me too. 

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