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Who the $%# Are We?
by Rick Brown

Having been laid up for 24 hours with what I can best describe as a 24-hour flu bug on July 2, 2005, I inadvertently watched TV between consistent snoozes and bathroom runs…literally. I tried to read but my eyeballs ached fiercely. And anyone who has spent the good part of a day on the couch ill trying to pass the time watching television knows…especially on Saturday…TV is a vast wasteland … even with cable.

Once the sporting events have concluded there is a mind numbing space in time from say, 5 pm until 8 pm, where choices range from lottery shows to dysfunctional local news programming, to blathering about celebrity worship. This is not what the doctor ordered. Unless of course, he or she was selling a new miracle herb or exercise equipment.

The only ray of sunshine I looked forward to…albeit half-heartedly through a queasy fog…was ABC’s “encapsulated coverage” of the Live 8 concerts. I can’t take MTV…really. And MTV was the only network doing live coverage of this enormous event in America…concerts all over the globe to bring awareness to the death and starvation in Africa. People in this country don’t give much thought to Africa or it’s starving masses. Hell, we don’t even care much for Iraqi civilians…placing them well below “unborn fetuses” on our Bush Administration’s “Compassionate Conservative Culture of Life” priority list. Perhaps if these starving millions were white…or Christians…or both. Still, I held out some hope for Bob Geldof and Bono, et al showing that…yes you cynics in power can call peace, love and understanding “naïve” all you want, we’re going to try anyway…maybe a difference can be made.

Imagine my disappointment when the two measly hours of coverage came on. Songs were interrupted before their conclusion with commercial breaks. Swear words…most of which had a massive relevance to what was happening…were bleeped out. This event even mellowed the grudge between Pink Floyd members enough for them to reunite for the show…for FREE. Yet during the tune “Money”, no doubt (the only Pink Floyd gem ABC presented…all acts were limited to one song during this “highlights show”), when it came to the phrase “goody, goody bullshit.” ABC kowtowed to the FCC and bleeped it. How painfully, nauseatingly, wrenchingly ironic. Although I had yet to vomit I felt close to the edge after this. So much “goody, goody bullshit” omitted in the name of goody, goody bullshit. Apparently, I picked a good day to be sick to my stomach. And as empty as it was I knew it was fuller than the 30,000 children in Africa who would die of starvation, AIDs, etc. on this very day…and every day for that matter…would ever know.

But the cruelest joke of all came when Bob Geldorf took the stage and showed a short clip from Live Aid, the concert he organized to raise money for African relief some 20 years earlier and an accomplishment that earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. The film showed a little girl clutching her mother, in the throes of hunger, flies buzzing all around them, tipping toward death. Geldof explained that although this child was maybe 10 minutes from dying, food was provided in the nick of time thanks to Live Aid. And out walked this girl…now a beautiful young woman…on the hand of Madonna. Now I’m no fan of Madonna, believe me. She’s worked her contradictory icon/idol image over and over again. And there’s some merit to that I suppose. But here I hardly doubted her sincerity. She sang “Like a Prayer” to this smiling young African woman. It was the most beautiful image I’d seen on TV in…I couldn’t remember. And about two thirds of the way through this riveting, powerful moment ABC broke to a commercial (Live 8 City by City). Not just any commercial, but an ad about an amazing new WEIGHT LOSS PRODUCT!!!! Replacing this genuinely caring moment…on my television screen…were several young (white of course) girls and boys cavorting on the beach while an announcer ranted about “this is the summer you too can look HOT at the beach”. There were close ups of guys, six pack abs, girls’ slim pelvic regions. They were all skipping. Titties were bouncing. Boys were lifting beautiful, svelte hotties in the air in obvious orgasmic joy.

I worried that all this American marketing narcissism would make me even more physically ill. Mostly it disappointed…saddened me profoundly. Americans…many of whom are now not only overweight but obese…have an immense disconnect with those who have nothing. Even the poor in this country are demonized. Appalachia…after being mined for votes…is left to its own misery. Do I believe George W. Bush and the wealthiest countries in the world take heed to the message of this massive attempt to draw attention to the fact that our fellow villagers are dying and it need not be so? I can only hope. But if the history of the past 5 years is an indicator I won’t hold my breath. Even the millions Bush promised Africa in his last term, has been dwindled down by his cronies in the House and Senate. Countries less fortunate than ours are helping much more than we have been.

About the fourth time I saw the weight loss commercial with all those smiling bimbos and surfer dudes I remembered the Who performing “Who Are You” earlier in the program. And I recalled the line that was bleeped for our children’s sake the moment it came out of Roger Daltrey’s mouth. “Who the FUCK are YOU? I really wanna know. Who the FUCK ARE YOU, YOU, YOU?”

Perhaps we should contemplate that.
Who the fuck are we?…indeed.

by jessy kendall

with the word joy
on the lips of mind
a forced reminder-
i settle into the tile floor
of the soup kitchen, working.

i can stare deeply or
like i was glazed.
Robin's profile quiet
seated in front of computer
is sharp, too sharp.
i could not bear that clarity
if she were to look up.

a daily effort is
how to behave how i want
and have that not appear
to be too different
from other people around me.

i need to sit and stare for a while,
relax my arms, sometimes my
palms turn up.

in this office, Jennie
of white russian descent
closes her eyes for lunch hour
at her desk and just sits
as the hubbub goes on about her,
this Resource Center.

now i reference her originality
when i am self-conscious.
she makes being myself easier.

John Bennett

Virgina Valley
Harry Campbell
click here

Best of Shadowbox 2K5
Easton Towne Center
Columbus, Ohio
* * * * *
by Rick Brown

This show could easily be titled “The Best of Best of Shadowbox” because … all things considered … this is the best performance I’ve ever seen at Shadowbox Cabaret. Ordinarily, on any given night there might be a monologue or sketch that might fall a little flat. Or a tune might need some tinkering with. Not on this evening. BillWho?’s dynamite renditions of popular songs usually work as the glue holding the entire performance together … regardless of the show’s theme. But the interplay between skits and dance and rock songs in “Best of Shadowbox 2K5” is seamless synergy.

Not that the audience noticed right away. Sitting in my favorite spot at the back of the theater, the crowd at first seemed a little distracted…analytical perhaps. It wasn’t unlike occupying a seat in the alumni section at an Ohio State University football game … against Northwestern. But with the hilarity of perennial crowd pleasers like “Jason’s Scary Stories” with Jimmy Mak and David Whitehouse mugging, pantomiming, and pratfalling their talents into delicious mayhem, even the coolest of the cool eventually warmed to this troupe’s magic. (I’m hoping Mr. Whitehouse and I can share a hospital room when it comes time for our inevitable knee replacements)

by Rick Brown

Bonnaroo or Bust?
by Nathan Golden Glynn

Blank Sight
by John Bennett
White Man, Hey White Man! Looking is Free
by Coleman Alleman

Leo tatu, habari mzungu (Day 3, how are you, white man)

"Fine fine, I'm fine." For the twenty-second time today, I am greeted by a small, filthy, smiling child. He runs up to shake my hand, and runs away shrieking with delight or fear. It’s 10am and I’m in Kenya. Rural Kenya. Where not only am I the only white man within walking distance, but also seemingly the largest human being (at 6' 1" 200 lbs.) that these people have ever seen. When I walk through the crowded market, I am as unobtrusive as a halogen homing beacon with legs. It will be six weeks before I will be any more comfortable with my newfound celebrity status, and for now, I can do little but wander around in this brave new world, half-dazed and conscious of my every move…

Leo saba, karibu Kenya (Day 7, welcome (to) Kenya)

Now I know why they call it “dirt” poor - the houses are made of it, the people and animals are covered with it, and the cleanliness that generally follows my baths with boiled water, a bucket, and a cup for rinsing tends to last just until I step out of the bathroom. I give up, and take less than 20 showers for the remainder of my stay…

Leo kumi, ninajua kidogo (Day 10, I know a little)

The Dave Brubeck Quartet
USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra
Bovard Hall, USC
by Ted Kane

Dave Brubeck looks his 83 years of age; not that he looks bad—he could be described as a vital 83--it's just that he is obviously an elderly man, with a stoop to his walk and a shock of thin white hair capping his head. I've been fortunate to see a lot of jazz legends over the last twenty-odd years, some no longer with us, so it was a bit surprising to me to realize that this was the first time I've seen Dave live in concert (though I did see his sun Darius conduct a student group from South Africa back in January). I mention this because he sounded different in person than I had imagined. His style has either changed some over time or else my understanding of him was flawed in the first place--a mix of both is most likely the case. Rightly or wrongly, then, I have always thought of Brubeck as a meticulous player; clever and inventive, to be sure, but methodically so. Headlining the USC Jazz Festival honored as the President's Distinguished Artist, the pianist did display those traits; but he also swung much more freely and loose-jointedly than I imagined, particularly on an almost Monkian and off-the-cuff seeming reading of "On the Sunny Side of the Street."

Pass Me the Bucket

by David G. Hochman

Seems like everybody and his mother is wearing some type of wristband these days. What started off innocuously enough with Lance Armstrong launching his LiveStrong yellow wristbands with proceeds going to his cancer foundation has mushroomed into an entire industry. You’ve got purple wristbands for cancer awareness; teal for ovarian cancer; rainbow for breast cancer research; lime for muscular dystrophy; pink for breast cancer; red for drug awareness; tie die—I’m not joking—for tsunami victims, etc.

What started off as good-intentioned has spiralled out of control. With so few colors, each now stands for several causes. In addition, churches, schools, companies and organisations have gotten on the bandwagon and are issuing their own versions of the wristband. Needless to say, they have become a fashion accessory, and many fashion-conscious people are sporting a whole array of colored wristbands on their arms. On one arm you may find wristbands supporting cancer research as well as, say, little Billy’s Sunday School.

But one that stands out is the black Silent Protest wristband worn by a friend.


Feral Muse
Turtle Rescue
by Cory Tressler

The James Gang (Rides Again)
Beachland Ballroom
Cleveland, Ohio
June 23, 2005
* * * * *
by Rick Brown
Photos by Sheila Brown

The last time I saw the James Gang was at the Ohio State Fair in 1971 with my soon to be ex-girlfriend. (After she had a hissy fit about running back to catch a third encore I pondered breaking it off with her overnight. But that’s another long, sordid tale.) So you can imagine my excitement when my brother called and said he got tickets to see Jimmy Fox, Dale Peters and Joe Walsh reunited. And when I told my current girlfriend about it she had no problem taking half a day Thursday and all day Friday off from work. Priorities you know.

From the time we all stepped into the Beachland Ballroom I knew the evening would be magical. Not only is this venue close to where Euclid Beach Amusement Park used to stand but the hall itself was built in 1949 and was known as the Croatian Liberty Home. I had a good feeling about this place. Upon entering I saw James Gang hats and shirts as well as FREE drink cozies in the lobby!!! Further back was a great room with a wood floor, very high ceiling, walls decorated with what I can only describe as Eastern European style murals, and a stage at the far end. It felt like Cleveland circa 1969 to me. I was at home. I pictured long tables with Slavic people talking loudly…laughing…and eating Hungarian goulash. It was as if the James Gang reunited to play a cousin’s Eastern European wedding reception. I craved a pirogi.

from left...Dale Peters, Jimmy Fox, Joe Walsh and Mark Avsec

The Gang strode on stage shortly after 8…there was no opening act…and immediately launched into “Funk #49” to the delight of the sold out crowd. The band was decidedly … and delightfully… loose. Joe Walsh joked about how little they practiced. But no one cared. The Gang roared their way through only 11 songs … but they were 11 songs everyone there had waited over 30 years to hear again. “Asshton Park”, “Midnight Man”, “The Ashes, the Rain and I”, and with Mark Avsec sitting in on the Hammond B3 organ on “Take a Look Around” and “Tend My Garden” we were all a part of the euphoric posse. But it was the jam tunes that brought down the house. “The Bomber”, “Lost Woman” and a torrid version of “Walk Away” showed that the three boys from Cleveland were in fact the best power trio this side of British rockers Eric Clapton and Cream. Highlighting this extraordinary musical nirvana was “Stop”. Jimmy Fox thundered on drums in the jazz/rock style that made this band’s sound unique from the army of power trios. The steady bass riffs of Dale Peters anchored it all down, while Mr. Avsec layered a smolderingly soulful B3 organ and Joe Walsh’s Dionysian jamming played off everyone. Then…they segued into Albert King’s “You’re Gonna Need Me.” and it all came together in a feverish orgasm of blues bliss. Had there been seats…people would have been eating them. That’s how lost we all were in this gumbo of joy.

The James Gang encored with “Rocky Mountain Way”…a Walsh solo hit. And although the concert kind of became “The Joe Walsh Show” towards the end, it was all inconsequential. Unconditional love is like that. And the crowd refused to leave. Music began playing and no one moved. Everyone just kept cheering and applauding. The lights came up. No one moved. Everyone just kept cheering and applauding. But there was to be no second encore this evening…let alone a third. I believe the band had exhausted the tunes they had practiced. I thought, “Jeez…come out and play ‘Louie, Louie’ we don’t care”. They could have come out and mooned us and our reaction would have been ecstatically Pavlovian. It was not to be. We returned to the 21st Century. This was more than a great, great show. This was an experience decades in the making. And one of the best things about it…for me at least…my new girlfriend didn’t want it to end either.

Bob Dylan/Willie Nelson
June 26, 2005
* * 1/2
by Rick Brown

Okay…the concert wasn’t technically in HELL. It was at Classic Ballpark in Eastlake, Ohio. But with temperatures in the mid 90’s…with no breeze to speak of…it might as well have been the bowels of Hell. I’m sure within the confines of this minor league baseball park it was closer to 100 degrees with a million percent humidity. The sun doesn’t set until after 9 pm this time of year. HELL!! And the stage was set up way out in the outfield and the infield was cordoned off. So the audience was split into two groups: the people standing in front of the stage (aka. The folks dying of heat stroke who could see.) and those of us in the stands behind the huge empty space and sound equipment. (aka. The folks dying of heat stroke who watched the giant TV.) Two differing neighborhoods in HELL!!! I’ve never seen so many sweaty humans in my life. Sweat was pouring out of every gland I possess. Even my ears were perspiring profusely.

An Australian bluegrass band called the Greencards put in an admirable ½ hour set to open the show. This proved to be the “purgatory set”. After Willie Nelson came on I teetered between fatigue and delirium. I drank maybe 15 beers. I couldn’t have gotten drunk if I had wanted to. By the time I walked to the “Beers of the World” I’d sweated out the previous brew and quite possibly all the beers I’ve consumed in the past 6 months. HELL!!! I think it was sometime during “Mamma Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” when I burst into flames. Fortunately, between the salt content of the bag of peanuts I’d wolfed down earlier, the fact that my clothes were soaked through, and the gracious baptism of Miller Lites from horrified fans sitting near me, my life was spared. Still, I was a charred ember in the midst of potential spontaneous combustion.

Hospital personnel have since related the story of a dried up shell of a man being wheeled in on a gurney all the while ranting about his certainty that it indeed WAS Mark Twain and Hunter S. Thompson singing backing vocals on “Highway 61 Revisited”. I dunno…it’s all a blur to me. Like a nightmare of a concert in HELL!!! The reviewer from the Cleveland Plain Dealer gave Mr. Dylan a glowing endorsement. He “rocked” is what was written. I’ll bet that guy was sitting in an air-conditioned luxury suite. Either that…or he’s Satan incarnate.

Bonnaroo or Bust?

by Nathan Golden Glynn
( email Nathan at yoyeti@ gmail.com )


In just its fourth year the Bonnaroo music festival has continued in its pursuit to revolutionize the modern day music festival. Held on a 700 acre farm an hour south of Nashville, TN it continues to produce some of the best shows in any given year. This years Bonnaroo lineup held in its grasp an eclectic array of bands. Some would argue the most diverse arrangement thus far. The bands this year were a lot more accessible pre-festival to show goers by way of MTV and radio play and made for a very diverse attendee culture.


The dirt. There was not much of it this year for the rain, rain would not go away. The soggy conditions were anticipated by a majority of people as you could see they had taken precautions to batten down the hatches and provide adequate cover for their campsite. For the most part people fared well and remained in good, if not great spirits. If you walked the mid ways towards evening you could hear the standard complaints. “If your shoes were so fucking important to you…YOU should NOT have worn them. Dig them out yourself.” You can not blame someone for getting a little agitated when they sat in traffic all day and night, finally set up camp and then lost a flip-flop on the way back from the port-o-loo. People lost shoes, people got wet and people got over it. Everyone had a good time. As far as I can tell there were no arrests for violence this year. My source’s were volunteers stationed on either four-wheelers or golf carts that were either always parked exactly the same way or they never moved, but they said everything remained pretty chill. There were folks who got testy to which someone would step in and diffuse the situation. It was nice. People knew that for the most part, everyone was there for the same reason.

If I was to tell you about how great the music it would be an injustice to you. I can not write that well. All I can say is that the auditory stimulation was fantastic. No one can make you appreciate the caliber of sound that was birthed on those stages if you were not in attendance. Everyone should check out Old Union out of Nashville though. Old Union was impressive.


Some folks are saying that Dave Matthews Band is the first sign of the implosion of Bonnaroo. I would have to disagree. Yes they are not the relatively unknown band that they used to be, but some people came to see them. They made some people happy, dance and have fun. Granted they no longer get down like they used, but it was nice to listen to. My biggest complaint of theirs was that he has absolutely no flow to their show. They would play, get down and stop. If there were transitions into other songs then maybe I would have not remained sitting down for the whole show. That would be my major complaint for the music. But what are you going to do. Bonnaroo organizers are trying to diversify their fan base and if DMB is going to continue to be on the bill you can either skip the whole festival or share some of the stage time with someone you don’t really care for anymore because they, “sold out.” Their style has changed, but don’t we all change our style.


Within the Bonnaroo community arose an appealing sense of well being. Camaraderie was in full bloom this year. People were helping people and making friends everywhere you turned. It was a harmonious mix of socialism and capitalism all mashed together and served up buffet style. I still think someone should do their thesis on the socio-economic trends that permeate the Bonnaroo culture. It would be amazing. Granted you had “vendor” territory that would have to be discussed and agreed upon, but for the most part people made sure that the whole was taken care of rather than the self. I was offered food on many occasions and can not express enough thanks to the kind soul who filled my coffee cup in the morning. Thanks Patrick. There were opportunities to barter, spend hard currency, as well as bequeath excess food stuffs on people who were lacking. I would gladly trade a peanut butter bagel for some real conversation any day. Even the time spent in the port-o-loo lines was pleasurable. You had ambient sounds of the shows washing over you and for the most part someone would tell you their story if you only listened.

I do have one complaint of the masses though directed generally to the males of the show. The majority of the campsites sat downhill from all the stages and the port-o-loos. As soon as the lights went down guys would assemble along the walls that separated the general access areas and the stage and piss. This made no sense to me what so ever. If you assume that half of the people at the show are male, say forty thousand, and half of these guys piss, twenty thousand at the top of a hill, then that is not rain soaked dirt outside my tent it is piss from twenty thousand assholes. If you go next year please don’t be a dick and wait the eight minutes it takes to get through the line. I don’t swim in your toilet….

The food prices from Bonnaroo vendors were up a little this year. This is a perfectly acceptable form of economic progression. If you don’t like it, bring more from home. There is absolutely nothing that you need to purchase at Bonnaroo if you plan ahead. I know. This is how I live when I go. Capitalism will continue to run rampant within the corporate sector of Bonnaroo. I am sure ticket prices will start to rise and before long ice will be traded straight across for gold. So what. Bring your own damn ice. Don’t bitch and moan and then pay. Take a stand and cut that guy out of the equation. People want to make money and in turn want to make more money. There is nothing you can do but circumvent the spending of your dollar. Anyway.

Back to the show. The walk was not bad this year. They made an attempt to boardwalk several of the areas which was nice in the high traffic areas near the stages. There was mud every where and this could have been a major head ache for I am sure someone would have sunk while waiting to get in. Cars getting stuck was also abound this year. Near my campsite was a quagmire filled to the brim with vehicles. I must give credit to the organizers though because they arranged for tractors to come down and pull them ALL out. They did not charge, instead working for tips and for the most part money did not influence the order of which your transmission then the rest of your car would leave the campsite. To these guys working in the mud pulling out cars for nearly fifty hours I tip my hat. I am sure you were more appreciated than patience would let some of the helped express.


Illegal activities. There were drugs, and this year I saw a place where you could get a full on nude lap dance. I am serious. That is all we will say about this topic.

In the end I would have to say Bonnaroo was bonnaroo this year. Good times were had by all. I could see the reason that people were complaining and the negative things that people will say about this year’s festival. It’s going to happen. However I have a sneaking suspicion that they will be back next to negatively critique the show again. The guys who put this show together do a good job. It is up to the festival goers to maintain the inside though. As long as we keep smiling and appreciate the fact that we are all in it together we will survive. So what if the guy next to you knows what Bonnaroo is now. It’s no secret anymore. It’s out there and people are going to go. The question is, are you going to be one of the lucky that do attend. I hope so because I will see you there.

I would like to thank Casebo and Bubba for making this trip out with me memorable. I would also like to thank Naked Sunfish, especially Rique for allowing me the opportunity to put this piece together and submit it a tad tardy.

Our Top 5 Picksby Ted Kaneby John Bennettby Cory Tressler by Patrick O'Malley by David HochmanTravel SectionRecipes and MoreLinks Worth a LookBack Issues

© 2001-2005 NakedSunfish, All Rights Reserved

Issue 1 - January 2002