Friday, April 21, 2017

Music, Money and Mara Lago.

I've been thinking about how fortunate I've been to have music be such an integral part of my life... forever...for as long as I can remember.  Music wasn't something outside of the realm of my day to day was a part of my day to day world.

This is me circa 1958.

Music was probably buzzing around somewhere in that little head. I distinctly remember the day that photo was taken. My Grandmother Grace was making spaghetti in a huge pot over a camp fire. Who does that!? She was amazing. Anyways, it was a glorious day on Lake Winnepesaukee in New Hampshire.  There was clean water, pine scented air, my big family and of course music.

When I think about Trump's plan to cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities ENTIRELY ( this is the first time any president has ever proposed such a measure) I am beyond angry.  I think of the lucky little girl I was and how rich my life has been because of Art and Music. It makes me ill to think about today's young and budding artists having a much harder time than I did getting that part of their spirits fed.  It is unthinkable. It's unfair. Art and music should not be extraneous luxuries.  They are essential.

I never met my grandfathers. They were both gone before I was born but they were both artists. My paternal grandfather was a shoe maker but he played violin with a passion. He passed that love of the instrument on down to my father who made his life playing jazz violin.

My maternal grandfather was an actor, acrobat and comedian in Vaudeville.

This is my uncle Don with Grandpa Thomas dressed for the act "Bouncing Fools"
"Monroe and Grant" were on the bill with a young Frank Sinatra, The Marx Brothers, Bob Hope, Abbott and Costello...very cool stories live on about his life on the road!

Mom followed in her fathers foot steps and became a fine singer and doubled for Diana Durbin in Miss Durbin's films out in Hollywood.

That's mom on the far left...she was adorable!

For a while she toured all over the U.S. in acts with the Hollywood doubles and sang her heart out!  That's her on the far left of photo.

So I never thought that art and music were a peripheral aspect of was a necessary and constant part of life.  
Today I find so much joy in teaching music to young interested talent. I see how it excites and enriches each student I work with...young and old alike. I'm still wrapped in music every single day. 

This is mum today...listening to a recording of my husband George's music being played by the Bratislava Radio Orchestra in Slovakia.  As I said young and old alike are enriched by music. She turns 99 this year! Take a look at music joy on that face.  George's music is beautiful and lifts the heart and spirit!

And this is my mothers Great Grandson....he too loves the violin.  My father would be so happy...

See the similarity? 
This was my father in 1989. He had fabulous white hair that flew wildly when he played.

So...back to our current president? 
Here's my message to you D.J.T.
"Donald..cutting funding for the arts is unthinkable. I think we need to cut funding your trips to Mara Lago, no? 
One trip to Mara Lago costs taxpayers $3.6 million, and I see that you go there quite a bit sir." 

OK I will stop preaching. But on the subject of Art and Money, the music festival that I am the associate director of "Lulufest Austin" (which will take place on June 3rd)  needs more funding. No surprise there, right?  
I will be having a fund raising concert this Sunday April 23rd at Casa Karen 3:00 PM and I hope you can make it!  If you'd like to attend please email for details like directions and time and suggested donations. 
 I will be joyfully singing with the amazing Peggy Stern (no relation)  on my 9 foot concert grand, Sam Pankey on Bass, Michael Longoria on drums and Joey Colarusso on sax.  It will be a great afternoon of Salsa, jazz, tango and more!

more info on the June festival coming up at:  check out the line up which is stellar, and the workshops offered all day!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Pearl Inside Of The Shell

I have been remiss in sticking to my commitment to do a weekly blog, but I am back and moving forward with the plan!
The short spring that Texas experiences is here in full force. Beautiful cool evenings and just enough rain to make things lush in new green-ness. I know the heat of summer is minutes away, so I'm remembering to enjoy the days that I'm able to enjoy in Austin's spring.
The "living between L.A. and Austin" experiment is proving to be interesting but a bit difficult energetically.  I'm psychically always somewhere else...sort of out of my body and it takes some effort to be present in my body where ever I am literally. 
I think being able to transport ourselves over thousands of miles in a matter of hours in a speeding silver tube in the sky makes it confusing to truly be whole where ever we've traveled to until our bodies and minds catch up at the destination. 
Walking to L.A. from Austin might give me a more realistic perspective of time and distance...well that's not happening.

In my "present" moments in Austin I'm writing a new song and a rough of the poem is below. The Pearl Inside Of The Shell.

Hopefully a new CD will appear in 2017 with all the most recent material I'm working on. 

In the mean time I'm excited to be singing with a group of musicians that jazz pianist Peggy Stern put together for a concert we'll be doing at: 
Casa Karen in Austin on Sunday April 23rd from 3:00 to 4:30.  
If you'd like to attend, drop me an email and I'll pass along the details!

Also please check out the Lulufest Music Festival ( which I am the associate Director of ) that's coming up on June 3rd at Jones Auditorium in Austin!
Web site with details:

me trying to be present in my body!

The Pearl Inside Of The Shell

she drifted on water
Her feet wet, 
with mud of brown earth
That she will carry with her, 
to step upon a new shore
And walk into the unknown, 
not knowing what lies before.

She watched death,  
he feasted on sorrow.
Their eyes met, 
to challenge her fate.
“Don’t look away he dared her, 
come sleep with me with out fear…
I offer you sweet blindness, 
to all you loved and held dear.”

“You are not my lover…
I am not your whore, 
so lie beside another,
Let me wash ashore”
A lifted flag will fly…
Though not afraid to die…
Life is like surrender.

The ocean, 
holds secrets in fathoms
Beneath her, 
the salt of their tears
A wish for opal stillness
The fog that hides a farewell
A welcome quiet stillness
The pearl inside of the shell