Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Au Revoir, Victoire


Open Mic

I walk into the darkened sanctuary and hear a voice. It’s Anna singing Go tell it on the mountain. I generally hate the way the Christmas season now seems to come the day after Halloween filling November. Kind of depresses me. But there’s something about the  simplicity of Anna’s voice and the song in the half-light that cheers me.

Back from meeting with Marc and Elise to plan a benefit for the Interfaith Assembly in December. At West-Park. Julie Gold, who wrote From a Distance,
(  will be with us.  And John Jiler, author of Sleeping with the Mayor, which documents the 200 day occupation of City Hall Park by the homeless, that brough the Assembly to life. (

Just enough tine to catch up with Pat O reviewing the week before going with Elise to meet the Lutheran Bishop of El Salvador. Bringing back lots of memories of my time there in the ‘80’s during the dark days of the Death Squads. Going with John Fife to see the young Catholic students photographing the latest victims before the bodies were carried away by the government so that thee would be a record of the disappeared at the Diocese for families. US Ambassador Dean Hinton. FMLN leader Ruben Zamora. The Maryknoll sisters at the orphanage at Zaragoza making us an American Thanksgiving with pavo real mole and pastel de manzana.. Our surprise commands meeting including a ride in a Cherokee with dark windows, with Roberto D’Aubisson, nicknamed Bobby Blowtorch. The sense of apocalypse. Our visit to the prison known as CAIN. Later I would meet someone I met there in a deportation jail in Noglaes.

Salvador made it into democracy somehow only to lose vast parts of the country to drug gangs and tied to the Los Angeles underground.  The reign of death is hard to defeat.

I leave the dinner early because I have to be back for Victoire’s last night at West-Park. I get there in time for Nick’s banjo set.
Nick Lantigua
And Rabbi Steve on uke again.
Steve Blane
And Pat O’s original about one of our nights at the Gate.
Pat O
And another stellar set by Mandola Joe.
Mandola Joe
And A set of ‘80’s rock by David Smythe and another David S and then Victoire’s farewell set. We’re all moved by her emotional response to her time with us.

Then it’s my turn. I invite Vic up to join me on  my Queen of the Factory Town, which she had me write down so that she could learn it. She gives me a harmony and I feel great to have her sing with me. 
Then Pat O comes up to join me on You Never Even Called Me By My Name, by Steve Goodman for David Alan Coe. I change the lyrics for our crowd and do my own version of the spoken word part in the  middle. Finally, Mandola and Victoire and young Jeremy and Pat O all join me on Long Black Veil with Mandola sharing my mic.  And most stay on stage for RL’s Stay Awhile.
Stay Awhile

That moment, singing Long Black Veil with a full stage, harmonies all around--- it’s as close to happy as I get. The constant  frustration and stress fly away while voices join and I play rhythm to Pat’s lead and Joe’s mandolin.

We will all go out together to celebrate the night. Au Revoir, Victoire....

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