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Skokie, Traverse City 2X, and Kung Fu, The Series

Hi VanceFans!!

Here’s this weekend’s schedule:

Fri, 5/3, Skokie, IL (just outside Chicago) w/Paul Reiser
Sat, 5/4, Traverse City, MI w/Paul Reiser
Sun 5/5, Traverse City, MI - by my own damn self
Sat 5/10, NYNY, Crossing Bridges Music Festival -

Man, do I look like I’m popular or what?, what with 2 shows in Traverse City. People who come to see me with Paul Reiser - I’ll tell them where I’ll be the next night and they’re sure to say “OMG OMG this guy was so good, honey, let’s go see him tomorrow nite do a few sets all on his own omg omg. Man, what a marketing plan!!


Here’s a few Monday Muse thoughts;

~ So I’m in the basement working on some hobby stuff, contemplating what a country album might look like for me. I know there’ll be more Kris Kristofferson written tunes on it. Problem is that I’m also watching reruns of the ’70’s series Kung Fu with David Carradine. Remember that show? OK, obviously I’m talking to my crowd of 50+ folks, sorry younger people or people who swear they didn't watch TV in the 70’s or inhale...And my brain does the weird mix thing, and suddenly I’m singing the first lines to “Help Me Make It Through The Night” with:

"Take the pebbles from my haaaannnnd...”

~ Just as one dog is fine after eating a pack or razorblades and the other was just back from the doc with the all clear from pneumonia, I get news that an Old White Man model plane friend of mine Jerry has passed. Then a little later one of my very best friends down the street, Ruth, is entering hospice. Both are 90 years old, solidly Christian folks, both have "had really great lives” (man that phrase skeeves (sp?) me, but that’s what people say) and I know both thought and think the world of me. But what about loss and pain and the moving on with memories thing for me? What about ME, dammit? I wish I could do this better. I wish the humor and general good nature you know me for were tools I could just “repairitively" wave happily about when passage occurs. I know I’ll be broken in half by what is to come with these old dogs and Ruth, as with so much else I’ll lose. I have enough bet-hedging belief in a variety of things as some comfort, but for all crap’s sake does it all have to hurt like this even beforehand?

Here’s where the show Kung Fu comes in again. If you remember, the protagonist has these flashback vignettes that have philosophic Buddhist sayings and teachings. In fact, show trivia says that the teachings are indeed culled directly from the I Ching/Book Of Changes. So I’m sitting there in my basement, covered with balsa wood dust, The show on in the background drowning out the hum of the overhead fluorescent, these two pieces of news received but an hour apart, hitting me like a one-two punch, these tears erupting uncontrollably from my face like a stomach virus, and one of those vaseline-on-the-camera-lens backstory scenes come up and says, with Master Po’s voice that the 4 great things to learn are:

1) How to live
2) How not to kill
3) How to live with death
4) How to die

70's TV. Who knew that I’d find even a moment of solace there.

I’ve lost big before, sure. And my losses have changed me forever. I just though I’d be better at this. And I know some may say “Now Vance, there’s a song...” Really, I think I’ve written this song, these songs before. Maybe I should just pay better attention to my own damn songs.

~ While I have you - Racism. I’m a Charlie Chan fan. Even the ones with Step-N-Fetch-It and Birmingham Brown. Stereotypes abound, for women too. Time Pieces, so that’s my excuse. Many Asians and Asian-Americans take the view that the portrayal of Chan is racist, particularly done so by a white man, and I get that. I also read somewhere that actor Keye Luke, who was Charlie Chan’s #1 son, and later Master Po in the Kung Fu series (along with the old wise guy in Gremlins) was quoted as saying that he was proud of Charlie Chan if for no other reason, and I paraphrase, that “There he was, an Asian person depicted as smart and heroic in the American movies!”

There’s a long sordid movie history of originally Asian book or movie characters being portrayed by non-Asian actors. So it’s messy morality when I pull up Kung Fu or a Charlie Chan movie for my pleasure. Then again, I’m still waiting for the Black James Bond or Afro-Dr Who…

~ P.S. - man, Kung Fu dealt quite progressively with racism and sexism in all kinds of situations. That’s some irony, eh? Always kicking some racist cowboy or another upside his head. Owww, man. People be trying to learn about they privilege and stuff an you be kicking them all up on they head.


I’m about to start typing in, cutting and pasting, and alphabetizing you donator names into a file to be printed onto the CD. There’s some time left if you want in, and it’s the same rules - any amount donation to (Paypal) or to Vancefunder P.O. Box 17 Arlington, MA 02476. Any amount gets your name on there $1 to $5,000 (yep, I’ve seen both). Thank for your faith in me.

I’m still available for performance and songwriting coaching, custom chopstick painting, voice. Lemme know.