Author: Michael Konik

Thank You, Bernie Sanders

Thank you, Bernie Sanders, for your leadership. Thank you, Bernie Sanders, for your courage, your authenticity, your compassion. Thank you, Bernie Sanders, for speaking truth to power. Thank you for rousing the sleeping giant. Thank you for proving conclusively that progressive ideas aren’t frivolous and “out there” but mainstream and sensible. America is awakening. America...

Naftule’s Dream, “Blood”

Klezmer. Jazz. Acid rock. Dixieland. Got the picture? Better question: got the sound? “Blood,” the new CD by the progressive Klezmer band Naftule’s Dream, is a delicious jambalaya of musical ingredients that sounds distinctly like, well, Naftule’s Dream. The group’s instrumentation might be the key to their sound: clarinet, cornet, guitar, drums, accordion and, crucially, tuba....

Shiva Singh-Schlimovitz Knows Best

Go to her official site. Right there on the Home Page: “I may not know how to pick husbands, but I know what’s best for our country! I think she’s being funny? #irony Facts: The marriages. She’s had three of them, so far. None of these husbands has lasted longer than two years. Kept first-husband’s...

Who Are You Trying to Become?

All of us, on some level, are on a meandering journey headed in the general direction of self-discovery. We’re trying to answer the essential questions sentient beings have always asked: Where did I come from? Where am I going? Who am I? For some of us, there’s another crucial inquiry: Who is the person I...

Speechless

Imagine giving a PowerPoint presentation to a large roomful of strangers. Imagine that you don’t know the subject of your presentation until you arrive onstage. Now, imagine that the slides in your presentation are random nonsense images that range from inscrutable to scandalous. What do you say? This is the premise of the sensationally entertaining...

Idealism Lives

Cynicism is the easiest thing in the world. Being cynical takes no effort, merely apathetic resignation. Idealism takes work. If cynicism is the gradual downhill slide to confirmation of your worst fears, idealism is the persistent trudge to the top. Having high ideals while so many around you seem not to can be dispiriting. But don’t be...

An Open Letter to Friends of Runyon Canyon (FORC)

Dear Friends of Runyon Canyon (FORC), On behalf of your fellow Runyon Canyon friends, on behalf of the hundreds (thousands?) of citizens who have attended Emergency Meetings, who have called and written their Councilmember, who have been compelled to file a costly lawsuit to protect the park from your heavy construction, we ask you to...

Poem: To a Progressive Friend Frightened of Progress

Your righteous race to accumulate Good Karma Requires making love And opposing hate This noble social justice quest cannot carve out exceptions To the covenant Between your values and yourself You cannot advocate for the homeless While cheerleading for the Wall Street Banks that put people out of homes You cannot advocate for Peace While...

Ehud Asherie’s “Shuffle Along”

The Israeli-born, New York-based pianist Ehud Asherie is a mainstay of the mainstream modern jazz scene, a collaborator with some of the most respected musicians alive. His new solo recording, “Shuffle Along,” however, looks back — to 1921, when Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle’s all-Black Broadway musical premiered. Improvising on the show’s chewy melodies —...

Defending Runyon Canyon: Why FORC Must Go

“If you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them.”   ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching The disturbing story of how a group of politically-connected opportunists calling themselves “Friends of Runyon Canyon” (FORC) almost succeeded in hijacking one of Los Angeles’s greatest natural treasures will eventually come to a happy ending. To...