Search

Piero Amadeo Infante. Really awesome!

This is my Awesome blog, chock-full of meaningful and useful content. You are welcome.

MINDBENDERS: How the far right tricked music-loving millennials into betraying the LGTB community. By Piero Amadeo Infante

Note: this article was originally written around 2006,with some revisions in 2008, if you see updates or corrections that are needed, please let me know. Thanks!

The Christian right, for over 50 years, has attacked music, free speech, hippies, counter-culture, Blacks, Black music, Latinos, people of color, interracial relationships, and gay marriage. They have taken on anything they thought smacked of “liberalism,” They have robbed the poor, using taxpayer money to make themselves and their friends in the military industrial complex very wealthy. They have criminalized drugs while they used the military to import them, pulling money out of schools, and building more prisons, and often while presiding over alcohol, tobacco, and fast food industries.

All in all, the conservative elite in this country have proven themselves to be the enemy of free artistic expression at all costs. And our little Northern California multi-kulti leftist and activist protest culture has irked them for decades.
For lovers of peace, freedom, and democracy, they are the enemy.
Well, they’re back again. And now they have a dangerous new strategy to silence artists, musicians, and culture rebels while making themselves even wealthier off of our ignorance. The new strategy is this: “If you can’t beat them, buy them.” Because they now control the American popular music market and have some very special plans for those of us who make a living from—and express ourselves politically and socially through, the music business.

What I am saying may come as a shock.

Racist right wing Christians have completely taken over large venue music and radio, (and a lot more) in the bay area.
Directly. Openly. and most of my friends don’t even now about it, and some of them, even work for these enemies of free speech and people of color.

Allow me to explain.

As a musician and writer, I have in my lifetime had reason to be proud to come from here. The SF Bay Area. Oakland. Street music. Resistance music. Tower of Power, the psychedelic movement, Country Joe, Taj Mahal, Janis, places like the Avalon, Winterland, the Keystone, and the Fillmore.

The Fillmore, built in 1912, actually started as a place called “the majestic academy of dancing” a ballroom type of affair where the well-clad would come to do the latest variation of the foxtrot, or waltz, and would later go on to be a roller rink, and a blues showcase.

A spacious and long hall, with an upper balcony on one side, somewhat ritzy with a great set of chandeliers, and hardwood floor, the Fillmore would come to be the desired place to play for my generation of musicians. It always seemed to sound great, and the food wasn’t bad either.

But the incarnation of the Fillmore as the epicenter of counter culture, and the new left, as well as the aspirations of an entire generation of hippies, revolutionaries, free thinkers, and artists all over the world, wouldn’t happen until 1965, when impresario Bill Graham met with an artist named Paul Olsen. Their initial meetings were called “The Artist’s Liberation Front” Olsen had a poster company called Funky Features that would go on to make some of the most memorable and iconic art associated with SF’s new musical scene in the ’60s and early ’70s.

So, imagine my surprise in discovering suddenly, after calling a friend who once worked there, that the Fillmore now belonged to a company called Live Nation, and that they didn’t really book any local acts anymore, and that they were headed by a corporate division out of Los Angeles (Beverly Hills, to be exact), and run by a man named Michael Rapino.

To understand just who Live Nation is, you have to know a little history about the music business. Live Nation is a live event promotion company, formed in 2005, as a spin-off of a much larger company. In 2005, Live Nation promoted or produced over 28,500 events, including music concerts, theatrical shows, specialized motor sports and other events, with total attendance exceeding 61 million people. Live Nation owned or operated 117 venues, consisting of 75 US and 42 international venues. These venues include 39 amphitheaters, 58 theaters, 14 clubs, four arenas and two festival sites. In addition, through equity, booking or similar arrangements, Live Nation has (at the time(s) of this article being written or revised) the right to book events at 33 additional venues.

Live nation was created as a separate entity, by this larger company, to offset some of the legal and anti-monopoly cases clear channel began to field, after FCC chairman Michael Powell, son of General Colin Powell, deregulated anti-monopoly laws in 2003, allowing for conglomerate companies to own as many companies as they could buy. The Federal Communications Deregulation Act, while put up as an instrument to protect free access to the media by the common person, was actually part of an ongoing strategy by the right to consolidate as much of the mainstream media as they possibly could.

This trend began when Bill Clinton first signed into effect the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The deregulation in 2003 put nearly complete control of mainstream radio in the United States, into the hands of one company. That one company was headed by three families, and those families have quite a history in US politics.

The name of that company was Clear Channel Communications, now operated under the re-brand “iheartmedia”, in a tactic that smacks of the Blackwater-Xe-Academi re-branding cycle, and owned by both Bain Capital, (Mitt Romney’s old gig)Thomas H Lee Partners, http://www.muckety.com/Thomas-H-Lee-Partners-LP/5010756.muckety .
(They also still share a lobbying firm “Dow Lohnes government strategies LLC”, with the Alaskan Denali gas pipeline company) And the family in the driver’s seat is the Mays family, headed by Lowry Mays, a far-right Christian fundamentalist out of Texas, while His son, Mark Mays sits on the board of directors.

A massive donor to right-wing republican conservative causes, Lowry Mays attended the A&M College of Texas and later earned an MBA from Harvard, and is a former Air Force Officer, from Harris County Texas. He Founded Clear Channel in 1972, buying a single radio station in Texas for $175k. He purchased it with his partner Red McCombs, another heavy hitter, donor, investor, and supporter of right wing Christian causes.

Along with Clear Channel’s “consolidation” came a lot of controversy. The Dixie Chicks were practically banned from all Clear Channel stations after their lead singer, Natalie Maines, said publicly that she was ashamed that George W. Bush was from her home state of Texas. Bad girl. Suddenly country’s number one act was pulled from country radio, despite the fact that they were then riding on the crest of a multi-million selling CD, and were the forward charge of the “new country” musical movement.

After September 11, a program director at the chain suggested that other songs, including Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and the John Lennon anthem “Imagine,” not be played. And they practically vanished from the airwaves. Radio shock jock Howard Stern had several memorable clashes with Michael Powell in the press, and once on air, insinuated that his father had gotten him the job. (As a then-loyal Bush crony, you can be assured that he most certainly did, as Michael Powell had no broadcast experience whatsoever before Bush appointed him head of the FCC) The FCC’s response was to fine him like crazy for each and any infraction of “decency” and language, and to make the operations of his radio show on broadcast radio nearly impossible. Stern eventually partnered with Sirius satellite radio, acquiring two stations as a result of these clashes, and remains to this day the most visible and vocal critic of Clear Channel and right wing media control.

These were in essence, both unprecedented examples of politically motivated full-scale American radio power plays, by a group of far-right-wing Christian fundamentalists, with deep roots in Texas oil, the Skull and Bones, and the Council for National Policy, a secretive and powerful right-wing think tank and activist group with roots in the extremist Christian reconstructionist movement, started by Rousas John Rushdoony. While Clear Channel was sold to Bain Capital, the Mays family still sits on the board, with Lowry Mays and his sons running the day to day operations.

It gets even deeper here, as the then- CEO of Bain capital was none other than former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney. Romney, a Mormon, was also a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2008 United States presidential election, and recently spoke at a gathering held by the Council for National Policy at their private function held in Salt Lake City. As of February 2007, the organization was planning involvement in the 2008 presidential election campaign, and actively looking for a candidate to represent their views. U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and Romney spoke at a four day conference they held in Salt Lake City during the last week of September 2007. The Council for National Policy scheduled a conference in late October 2007.
(Recent allegations that Bain capital was founded with money from death squads, are under investigation by international courts. http://www.democracynow.org/2012/8/10/romneys_death_squad_ties_bain_launched)

I wanted to think that this was an isolated event in the Bay Area, that the ideological arch enemy of the left, the enemy of free speech, gay marriage, people of color, and the anti war movement, the Christian activist republican billionaire right, the same people who authored Prop 8, the political supporters and architects of the Iraq war, that those people, owning and controlling local radio and venues was an impossibility. Right? I mean, this was Oakland, Berkeley, the Castro, the Mission—some of the most famous activist neighborhoods in Northern California. I mean did the whole state just go to sleep while this was happening?

What I am saying here, is that Mitt Romney and some crazy Fundamentalists from Texas owning the Fillmore had to be an isolated event, right?

The Christian far right owning the birthplace of psychedelic music, ’60s anti-war resistance, hippie culture, interracial marriage, and marijuana law reforms, a place that started out as the home of the “Artist’s Liberation Front,” was nothing less than a full-scale shock for me. As a musician, a local concertgoer, a sometimes writer, and a lifelong resident of the Bay Area, I had been looking forward to playing there again.

The end of an era. The end of a dream. I didn’t want to stop believing in our ability to sing, write, and perform as a form of resistance against racists, homophobes, fascists, and far-right-wing fundamentalists who wanted to control the country using their radical interpretation of the Bible. I was getting a hard and brutal education in American financial and religious politics.

My naiveté was even more dashed when I discovered who their main competition in the Bay Area and concert promotion was, and what they controlled.

The offices of Goldenvoice lie somewhere near the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco. Their actual addresses, like many things about their company, are something of a secret.

Goldenvoice was founded in the ’80s by Gary Tovar, who signed over control of Goldenvoice to partners, Paul Tollett and Rick Van Santen, in 1991, after Tovar was arrested on drug distribution charges. Originally conceived as a way for punk music to find bigger audiences, In the ’80s, when punk was regarded as a violent subculture by the mainstream media, and received as much negative media attention as hip-hop and rap did in the late 1990s.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, Social Distortion, and Jane’s Addiction, as well as hundreds of popular alternative, hardcore and punk bands, all owe their beginning popularity in California to the upstart company whose co-founder Rick Van Santen died in 2004.

Goldenvoice was regarded as the jewel of indie promotion companies in California. Large-scale, non-corporate, edgy pop music and hard rock acts finally had venues to play at all up and down the California coast, and locals in most of their cities couldn’t have been happier. They quickly developed a reputation as a hands-on, personal company, with fair business practices, and Van Santen to this day, is thought of as a saint among California promoters.

Goldenvoice had a serious struggle on their hands, competing against much larger nationally known and more powerful concert promotion companies, with deep pockets, and large scale concert tours and sponsors. Their biggest victory was starting the now-annual Coachella Festival in 1999. Coachella has since become one of the biggest annual concerts in the United States, featuring Radiohead, Madonna, and other globally popular, platinum-selling artists, as well as hundreds of up and comers.

And out came the wolves:

The wolf in this case, was the radical, far-right, Christian theocratic billionaire Philip Frederick Anschutz. Anschutz is an American businessman and supporter of conservative Christian causes. With an estimated current net worth of $7.8 billion, (at the time of this article), he is ranked by Forbes as the 31st richest person in the USA.

Inexplicably, Tollett and Van Santen sold Goldenvoice to the Anschutz Entertainment Group in 2001 for a measly $7 million and continued to run the firm from within the corporation.

A quick list of Anschutz’s personal friends and social circle reads like a Who’s Who of radical Christian theocracy. While being on the board American Petroleum Institute Board of Directors, he is also a donor, sponsor, board member, and investor for Americans for Truth in Politics, the America’s Foundation, the Discovery Institute, and many other conservative policy organizations, and has been a major donor in every important republican campaign in the United States in the last 20 years. Goldenvoice also recently had themselves removed from Wikipedia, and try to distance themselves publicly from their parent company, Anschutz’s holding company, AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group).

The fact that a man like this would come to own the Coachella musical festival, and that no one would be the wiser, or even care enough to so much as utter a word about it, is one of the worst signs for the future of music the industry has seen, since the initial rounds of deregulation in the ’90s

During the writing and research of this article, I had many occasions when I uncovered things such as connections, affiliations, buyouts, sellouts, and back-room deals, and would get profoundly depressed at how gigantic it was. I got depressed over the fact that they appear to have won. If they indeed have, that is a victory for the gay-hating, racist, Armageddon-loving, Christian right.

They had pulled it off. The conservative right had just taken over all the major live concert venues. They had taken nearly complete control of the airwaves, nearly all the billboards, and were essentially now holding the future of American pop music culture in their crafty hands, and an entire generation of musicians never saw it coming.

I marveled at what it meant for me and future generations of artists, fans, industry people, and activists. Millions of us who love music, and new music in particular, have already, for years now decried the stupid, pop-slush, teen beat, boy-band, lip synching, garbage being constantly promoted to us on radio and TV. Corporate “consolidation” has assisted the right in totally closing down activist-aware hip hop in favor of commercial “bling” rap, and replaced political resistance rock with American Idol. This corporate consolidation has reduced Latin music to stereotypes.

Now concerts are going to start to suck too, and anyone having a strong political bent towards the left, or a real love of black and Latino culture,  will soon find themselves not on the lineup, and what does it matter if they are anyway. Their ideological arch enemy will make more money off of them than they will make anyway, so what the hell.

Men running television and movies like Sumner Redstone, and Rupert Murdoch, while both being in their ’80s crave the shares of the youth market and always hide their own faces, and promote the faces of glowing youth of color in their commercials and ads. They do this while they destroy any chance for that those youth will have an actual chance to express themselves artistically.

They love younger and more naïve artists for one reason: they are easier to control, have less political awareness. Political opinion is a dangerous thing to have with these people owning the store. Once you know the statistics on who owns what, it makes the cry of so-called “liberal media bias” (a concept thought up in one of their think tanks, using your entertainment money) something only a complete idiot could believe in.

I was most amazed by the fact that the Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender community in San Francisco somehow was in the dark about this, or worse, didn’t see its importance. How is it that these venues are allowed to operate without a massive, city-wide boycott?

I have also been dismayed at a normally reactive, responsive community of people of color, Latino, Black, and Asian and indigenous peoples, in Oakland in particular, and the bay area in general, for the total lack of a unified response to this local media takeover, by people from Texas, who have traditionally hated all people of color.

All the money made by Clear Channel and Goldenvoice, in terms of profits for their owners, goes directly into the war chests of the far right, and their massive, big-budget think tanks, and “policy councils” that attack American civil liberties in the media, federal courts, and from boardrooms of major corporations on a constant basis. The thought of doing a benefit against Prop 8—or for any socially progressive cause for that matter—at the Warfield, Fillmore, or the Shoreline Amphitheater is positively mind-boggling, since the people who own those venues are the people who wrote and sponsored Prop 8 in the first place. How will the LGBT community respond? Stay tuned. What are Clear Channel and Goldenvoice up to? More of the same. How will it affect us all here, if we don’t make ourselves aware of how we spend our time and money and with whom?

Vote with your wallets, and with your time. The enemy is here. They own San Francisco Bay Area mainstream media, and they’re just getting started.

The following is a list of venues and businesses owned by both Clear Channel and Goldenvoice. If you support them, you support Prop 8. You support the end of free market competition, the demise of free speech, and the destruction of real musical and artistic culture in California, which means, the world. Don’t take my word for it. Do the research. And stay aware.

MUSIC IS BY THE PEOPLE, AND FOR THE PEOPLE.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Clear Channel and GOLDENVOICE venues and radio stations in the Bay Area include:

( NOTE this list has not been updated from 2009, and both these corporations have acquired or liquidated many more properties since then. for the most up-to-date list go here
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_Nation_Entertainment#Venues

Bay area venues include

The Fillmore

Shoreline Amphitheatre at Mountain View

Punch Line Comedy Club – San Francisco

Sleep Train Pavilion

Punch Line Comedy Club – Sacramento

Sleep Train Amphitheatre

Cobb’s Comedy Club

Oracle Arena

Nob Hill Masonic Center

HP Pavilion

San Francisco Opera House

San Francisco Jazz Festival

The Concourse at San Francisco Design Center

Candlestick Park

Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

Golden Gate Theatre

Maritime Hall

Nob Hill Masonic Center

War Memorial Performing Arts Center

War Memorial Opera House

Grand Regency Center

The Warfield

San Jose State Event Center Arena

RADIO:

Wild 94.9 (urban contemporary)

KSJO 92.3 (spanish)

Star 101.3. (pop and rock)

KISS FM 98.1 (classic soul & R&B

KKSF 103.7 (smmoth jazz)

KMEL 106.1 (Urban and Hip hop/Rap)

________________________________________________________________

research links

The Family affair:

http://www.muckety.com/Live-Nation/5015659.muckety

When you get there click on Randall or mark Mays. (Sons of Lowry Mays)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lowry_Mays

http://www.nndb.com/people/533/000052377/

http://mapper.nndb.com/start/?id=52377

THE SON

http://www.nndb.com/people/087/000170574/

http://www.nndb.com/people/087/000170574/

http://mapper.nndb.com/start/?id=170574

AND THE HOLY GHOST

PHILIP ANSCHUTZ

http://www.nndb.com/people/498/000094216/

http://mapper.nndb.com/start/?id=94216

http://mapper.nndb.com/start/?map=1789

MAPS:

1: THE FILLMORE – CLEAR CHANNEL – LIVE NATION MONEY TRAIL

Clear Channel – Live Nation 1

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4018/4234759501_4f0c3d0746_o.jpg

Clear channel live nation 2

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2636/4235534182_ba85d5a83d_o.jpg

Clear Channel Live Nation overview

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2792/4234759577_e3c8d72da5_o.jpg

_______________________________________________________________________

2: THE WARFIELD – GOLDENVOICE – COACHELLA AND AEG MONEY TRAIL

Warfield-goldenvoice AEG 1

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4029/4234759897_b782bbc69e_o.jpg

Warfield- Goldenvoice AEG 2

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2656/4235534300_d904eb3178_o.jpg

Warfield- Goldenvoice AEG 3

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4068/4235534444_52ca029138_o.jpg

Warfield- Goldenvoice AEG 4

 http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4053/4234759819_24c720f8c2_o.jpg

East Bay in the crosshairs: An argument against politeness.

AN ARGUMENT AGAINST POLITENESS

I love being kind, generous,helpful, understanding, and forgiving, WHEN APPLICABLE. Even to snobby, Monied newcomers to the East bay.

But is this applicable?
– Only four home loans given by companies to black applicants in Oakland in 2015
– Local recycling center, the last way for hundreds of Oakland homeless to make any kind of money, shut down.
– Oakland Evicitions at an all time high, for long term residents.

Of late, there has been too much smiling acquiescence to the hoards of wealthy newcomers, buying up all the property and evicting elderly, shutting down recycling centers, (a lifeline for the community for over 4 decades), and attempting to create ordinances that silence, set back, and disempower the long time residents of the East Bay, while smiling in our faces, and then acting vastly offended at the mere mention of their active assault on the the working class here.

It’s real. It’s serious. it is time to openly address who and what these people are, how they operate, and their part in the East Bay’s future.

No. I shall not smile at such people. I’d like to go on record as someone who argued, and called them on it, talked about it. Someone looked it in face for what it actually was (Class and racial warfare disguised as free market capitalism), and who at some point said: “No. fuck off. Learn how to be a part of the community, and help people here, or get out of the East Bay”
Class warfare against working and lower class people and people of color, is the new Imperialism. Why should I be their guide and waiter?

And I can FEEL it. the condescension, the air of power and superiority, on the part of mostly White tech hipsters, moved here to engage in whatever business it is they have come for. The downtown and other new Oakland and Berkeley Enclaves is rife with it. Everyone who has lived here more than 20 years knows of what I speak.

Make no mistake, be as happy and as light as you want, but this is class warfare pure and simple, and either you are working on solutions, or you are part of the problem. Membership in a nonprofit, or donation to the many commercially available guilt removal-businesses posing as activists movements, does not automatically give you a pass, thought they will aggressively market themselves as such. It’s like going to Disney World and saying you “know Florida”.

NO. I do not think I will smile and go along with this, and as such, (as usual) might sometimes be branded a a “troublemaker”
It has been, and will continue to be, my sincere honor to even be considered such, in such a toothless, namby-pamby, time where so many has lost the ability to speak.
(Disclaimer for those actually in need of one: This is a “shoe fits” op-ed, regarding the force of incoming financial power, and racial, social, and class disparities, and it’s effect on what is widely considered to be one of the most innovative places on earth. If you think it is “mean” or “Impolite”, I suggest you take a look at your own part, (or lack of one) in this massive problem, that ruins the lives of children and breaks up families that have been here for nearly 100 years)

Immediate solutions for those who actually seek them include:

– Actively engaging locals in conversation about local problems.

– Strongly supporting local businesses, and entertainment venues

– Respecting the natural environment here, which includes respect for homeless, recycling centers, local food programs, and a big push for RENT CONTROL.

– Understanding which large businesses, and local corporations are applying pressure to construct new businesses, bring things like chain stores, restaurants and high-rises to Oakland

– Respecting the culture that brought people the nation’s first declared wildlife refuge, one of the highest per capita concentrations of artists in the US, the largest Asian Cultural Center in north America, The first politically progressive free Breakfast program for children and elderly, (BPP), Three successful sports franchises, one of the largest container ports in North America, the Popcicle, the Mai Tai, Rocky Road ice cream, and one of the first areas in the northern United States, to embrace African culture, dance, science, and religion.

There is a lot of good here.
Enough to be occasionally impolite for.

And there it is.

©Piero Amadeo Infante, 2016

IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE!

helping-hand

In a world filled with seemingly endless amounts of frustration to go around, an addiction to bad news, and lots and lots of scared people puffing their chests out, and embracing chaos as a lifestyle, there IS something you can do. In fact, there is a LOT you can do.

– Buy hungry people food once in a while.
– Help elderly with their loads.
– Escort scared people to their homes and bus stops.
– Give people who can’t make it to appointments and clinics rides.
– Make sure kids and toddlers are safe and not running out in the street.
– Give up your seat without being asked.
– Always be respectful of the elderly.
– Conduct yourself honorably.
– Let rushy people pass you.
– Always show respect for people’s personal or religious beliefs or lack thereof. Unless said beliefs are directly affecting your life, they are of no import. if they are, then let someone know it, and hold true to your own.
– Have a kind word ready for those in trouble.
– Remember to remind people who have helped you, that you give thanks.
– Introduce good folks you know to one another.
– If someone tells you their dream, be supportive.
– Don’t beat yourself up or torture yourself for past events. Just do better.
– Recognize when people want to be alone, (Especially couples! smile emoticon ).
– Don’t be afraid to intervene in violence. (not for everyone).
– If you have a little extra cash, share. (easier when you don’t smoke & drink)
– Learn how to say hello in every language (Fluent in hello in 67 languages)
– Don’t try to justify fear and greed. if you are scared of getting involved in something, or scared you will not have money, and scared to share, just admit it. It’s more dignified.
– If something happens in front of you you are already involved.
– Learn how to de-escalate tense situations. (Lot of books on it).
– Call out cruelty, meanness, and intimidation whenever you see it.
– Accept advice, help, money, friendship, energy, and good wishes when offered, and when you need them.
– Accept that you will fail sometimes.
– Accept that humans will be human and let you down. (hard one for me)
– See your life as a path, look backwards, and forwards, & constantly adjust.
– Allow yourself and others to be sad sometimes. You don’t always have to fix it. Just witness for them. be present.
– You, are as authorized as any official, any politician, or any public servant to get involved and help people out whenever you want to. Just understand the parameters of your abilities, as well as your personal safety, and what and how much you are willing to sacrifice to help someone.real help can be both costly and dangerous. Think clearly on your place in this.

P.S. These are also all good things to do , when you feel shut in, disconnected, or depressed. Action is good.

Secret tip from an expert on being annoyed:

When all else fails, and some people really get on your last nerve, visualize them as big ass babies in huge oversized diapers, with those big baby bonnets on, quacking like ducks, and whining for their bottles. Works every time. I did this once during a meeting of internationally important big shots, and while they were throwing shade, and fighting with one another over nothing, I could barely drink a water, I was laughing inwardly so hard.
Later the lady keeping minutes of the meeting said, ” you seem to have an “Inner glow” when listening to others”

Yeah. “Inner glow” That’s the ticket. Lol.

©Piero Amadeo Infante 2013.

The long road is a cure for the warring heart

Everyone has noticed. Other than writing, and occasional appearances on Facebook, and posting for my website, In the past couple of years, I have pulled something of a disappearing act socially, publicly, and in some ways emotionally.
Taking occasional walks and talks with friends, and sometimes my brother, it is giving me time to really respect how different I am from most of the people around me, while highlighting for me, many similarities I never recognized until now. I’ve taken a very close look and listen to my own heart, like a forensic investigator at the scene of my own crime, I came to an inescapable conclusion, and one that calls for some kind of action.

I have a warring heart, an and a most un-peaceful mind
My apparatus, my toolbox, my war program, all my life,  was adapted from men and women who influenced me in my youth, with their ability to navigate, fight, and succeed in difficult conditions. These are the warrior souls who trained me. it has served me well for the most part, and now I feel like the time is coming from you put it behind me, as I walk these next few miles to my death.

The idea of peace, something always fleeting for me, has become one of the most important things in my life in the past five years. Many times in my life, when I invested into the idea of what I thought was peace, and along with it comfort, and togetherness, and softness, and warmth, and many of the things that people associate with peace and love and closeness,, the outcomes left me feeling sad, betrayed, and with the feeling of mutual misunderstanding with many of the people I endeavored to have peaceful relationships with. I felt barely qualified to even keep close friendships most of the time, and tried to get what I needed socially, and emotionally, in terms of friendship, from the people that I work with. With dubious results. No peace. I wonder if it is in these times, that make closeness, and especially romantic attachment, so dangerous, illnesses, and temporal. I have found no peace there, but I had some great nights. 🙂

Add to that the fact that I love my family dearly, and still feel misunderstood, and disconnected from them most of the time, and I can only extrapolate that is time for me to step back from all of this even further.

Apparently, music and performance were not the answer either.
A reentry into the musical world, which was arguably fairly successful, left me with the feeling of never wanting to have anything to do with the music industry again directly, especially performing, and left me with a profoundly bitter taste in my mouth about about just about everybody involved in it. It was fun, but at the end of the day, it proved to be a profound waste of my time and energy, often including individuals more than willing to  sabotage their own careers, something which I decided to no longer be an accomplice to. This is still a dynamic I don’t understand, but I know when to back away from it. On the other hand, I made a couple of what I believe to be lifelong friendships, and became close with a couple families, something I think I needed a lot. I held babies, and attended barbecues. These were some rare visits into the lives of regular people, and I enjoyed them quite a bit.

a warning heart, is like a habit, a groove in a record, a re-occurring behavior, a distant, stoic detachment, and emotional isolation drawn from some of the examples of my youth, including old samurai movies, Chinese war strategy books, archetypal characters in Afro-Cuban religion I have loved since my childhood, and several of the older men and women,I grew up around, mostly all dead now by the same sword they wielded so gracefully during their lives. I carry some of my mother’s hardcore, gangster death-oriented humor, and chuckled quietly under my breath, wondering how I will go.

Death. It is something I think about a lot. I should think about a lot. It is surrounded me in a way I cannot even explain to the average civilian. I have been immersed in it, practically since my birth. I was raised in it, steeped in it, and trained in it. I’m a shepherd for the dead. A funeral All-Star. Keeper of memories, and the one to close the ceremony of the burial. I have become very, very at home with death.

My life past has brought me into direct contact with conflict, anger, hatred, and violence, nearly all my life. When these situations arose, I usually placated myself, telling myself, that life is war, and that if I accept that life is war, I have no need to be paranoid or hurt, when conflict, or negative energy come into contact with me. That is the warrior’s ethos. We are here to act in a capacity. Whatever my capacity, I have had this warring heart, and this discomfort with humans and social situations in general since I remember being self-aware, at around age 4. I felt like I was shot out of a cannon, already prepped for battles that hadn’t even occurred yet.

This is wonderful warrior talk, and works great when there’s a catastrophe, or disaster, but doesn’t play too well you have a kind of nightmares that I do, the constant state of suspicious awareness and aroused senses, the feeling like you can’t go to the bathroom unarmed, and a 24/seven hyper vigilant guardianship of myself and people around me.
it’s been my source of self-esteem for a long time, and I feel that coming to an end.

So. Two years of practically no public engagement, except for a couple of gigs. I backed away from the record company, I backed away from the band, I stopped trying to do the long-term dating thing, (again) got multiple years sober again, kept my nose clean, stayed out of other people’s business, try to be as helpful as I could, and still, I go to bed with, and wake up with, heart at war with myself and the world around me.

It doesn’t mean I don’t love peaceful times with other people. I do. And I have greatly appreciated them. I have even felt peaceful warm love for another person, while I was at war with myself. Perhaps I am just a creature of contradictions.
But I can tell, that my current engagement with the world, is coming to a close. I don’t want this old connection anymore. I can renew the connections with the people I care about, but I won’t lie, over the years a growing desire to retreat from society, people, friendships, even my family, has been a constant reminder, that I am in possession of an un-peaceful mind as well. Learning to be alone, deliberately alone, has been something that I think has saved me a great deal of pain, and also given me a great deal of peace, and has taught me, that I cannot find actual peace, nor contentment in another person, arrangement, lifestyle, or career path.

This this retreat from people, society, and the public, has definitely lessened my tension, and removed a great deal of conflict from my life, but has not brought me a peaceful mind, and has not brought me relief from the constant vigilance of my warring heart.

Strangely enough, this does not mean I’m sad either. In fact I’m kind of happy. There’s just that one part of my heart that is dry, and in need of much rain, and it might be time for me to take a very long trip, to a very faraway bunch of places, for a very long time.
I prayed no one takes it too personally, when I vanish completely, and go on a long trip never to return. I think I’ve been here too long, and there’s so many places in the world I’ve yet to see. irish

P.

 

The Ghost in my house

night_rain_ghost_by_vancu

I am the ghost in my house
I am the ghost in my hall
Reciting poetry in the air
And touching the living with my song
I am the other side, reaching
I am the memory of the dead, living
I am the hope of all good spirits now departed
I am the blessing of the kindness of phantasms
The cool air on your neck
The far off cry of your unborn dream
And all things floating over your head and heart, that you cannot name.
I am the ghost in my house
I am the ghost in my hall
And I was here.
bampw-black-car-night-rain-snow-Favim.com-66200

Falling forward

IMG_3085

Once a year now, I simply enter my testimony into the record. And here, for the record, my name is Piero Amadeo Infante, and this is the year of our Lord, 2016. On the 20th of January, next year, I shall turn 55, something I never could before, and still now cannot, fathom in any reasonable manner.

Sometimes, when the conditions are right, and there is enough activity around me to distract my conscious mind, I can be totally still.
it’s a little spooky though.

I feel like I’m processing too much, and the load triples when I stand still, developing all this film, doing all this math, and mapping all these places, in the life that I have lived up to the moment that finds me here writing this, for no other reason than to bear witness that I was here, and that I actually existed.

I fear the things all men my age fear a little, I think. the slowing of the blood. The lessening of the usefulness. The road ahead, which for many of us, looks like the road behind, meaning we travel alone.
And most of all, we fear being trapped in our own gravity, our own perspective, and secretly want do risky things, or get involved in bold projects, to save us from the prison of our own outlook. creative pursuits, are our prison breaks, and the culmination of them, our personal Bastille days. We want our reality to be broken sometimes.

The peace that has overtaken my life in the past few months, I have used to learn things I never knew before. How to truly be a domestic housekeeper. How to shop, clean, and keep the house.
I never stayed in one place long enough to learn these skills. I finished a book which is now in the hands of my able editor, while I take interviews from around the globe.
I am able, on occasion to be of service (or so I would like to think) to younger men navigating parts of their life, that I have mastered, while my life, careens recklessly into new territories I have yet to discover.  it is like calling to the ships behind you to avoid the reefs, while you, ahead of them, sail directly into a fog bank, feigning confidence.

The lack of rain in this part of the world absolutely kills me. I mean really. I can feel myself dying inside a little bit every day that there is no rain. It was always the only safe place for me, the only time I felt totally loved by the universe. I’m considering leaving this place and moving to a place that has a regular rain pattern for that reason alone. I cannot live in a place with no rain.
I deal with feelings of my departed mother, wondering why it never felt like she was on my side, and beginning to mildly envy those who had actual mothers, and what that must of felt like, to have somebody to protect you. In my life, I have mostly been protector, but never really felt protected.
I hold the vocation of motherhood as sacred, and mothers in general really impress me. as a study for scriptwriting and character development, I went through the entire series of the Sopranos, (A series that used my music) and found the similarities between the soprano family and my own, a little too close for comfort.

My mother’s impact was like a comet, and like a comet, everything exploded out from the middle, with nearly every member of my family, changing their last name and leaving town at some point.
I don’t feel robbed over something I never had to begin with. It just seems like a strange ritual, between women and their children, this religion and belief in unbridled love, that I admire, but was never a practitioner of.

I am neck deep in the middle of my second book about 350 pages in, recording around 50 compositions for use in Spanish-language television, working on three scripts for children’s cartoons, and generally using my imagination to make a living, which is turning out pretty nicely.

I keep dreaming of a place, surrounded by Eucalyptus, where I plant a giant circle of black bamboo, and build a single level house, very spartan, solar powered, water efficient, with a beautiful outdoor area. A place for me to wind down my life, a place to receive visitors, and to do projects. And a place less populated. I’m getting a little tired of people. Humans are aggravating me.

I have, by choice, not engaged in any romantic long term engagements, for nearly two years  now, in an attempt to clear my head and heart, and see clearly the nature of my love, lust, fascination, obsession, adoration, and issues with, women in all their forms. The subject has become no easier.

I feel the dead in and around me, with a pleasant lack of gravity, and of late, have been the subject, of what I can only call astronomically rare good luck.

Looking back, on all this, I think I was the one that was supposed to die earlier. The one a lot of people thought would be either destitute, or delusional, despite the fact that the same people made use of my talent, services, and loyalty. All debts paid in full.
I’m still here, and we owe one another nothing. I’m doing quite a bit better than most of the people who considered themselves stable, productive, or even upstanding members of society. Having scratched the surface of the façade, I’m no longer impressed by any of these people, their businesses, their industries, their claims, and least of all, their expensive charades. I’m utterly glad, that I took this road, through the rain, to wind up exactly where I am.
In a wide dirt road, in the fog, with 1000 miles behind me, and 1000 miles ahead of me, sitting on a suitcase, writing poetry, and remembering my loves with a smile.

Life in general, is a bloody, beautiful, heartbreaking, joyful disaster, and metaphorically, you could say, that I dressed perfectly for the occasion, in the clothes of a street kid, who could survive anything, and did.

I’m still here. I have a black eye and a bloody lip, and sometimes nurse a broken heart, yet as the poem says, my head is unbowed, and as another poem says, there are miles to go before I sleep.

Suddenly now, after writing this, my spirit feels lighter.
Thank you for bearing the burden of this testimony with me, and I hope it does not offend. It is only way I know how to communicate, things I do not fully understand.

 

Real news from Real Locals. Check it out!

aug-23-2015-112

THE NEWS:
Meanwhile, back home, if you want real news coverage, a truly local perspective, from a long time resident who has a cutting edge take on Oakland and Berkeley, Check out oakculture.com.

https://oakulture.wordpress.com/2015/08/26/janelle-monae-brings-hell-you-talmbout-to-san-francisco/ for articles on the arts, music, commerce, changes in the East Bay, and and the future of Northern California’s boomingest region.

This is true Bay Area media, culture, and voice. Check it out~!

Home reconstructed

There is something about the routine of normality, and domestic living that heal long standing wounds to my heart and soul.
I never really had a home before, or even the desire for one. I think I starved a little in that respect, now knowing what my life needed.

But now, a solid year of cleaning, cooking, gardening, (Or rather clumsy attempts at gardening) and letting my highly qualified NextGen arts community handle the front lines, (hey I put in 40 years, sue me) have stilled me and I hear myself, and the subtleties of my own heart again.

It wasn’t really about the place or places, it was about the routine, and the day in day out life that used to scare me, because I have essentially been on the run and scared of stillness for nearly 50 years. Now that stillness can be my friend.
Meet Piero. The homemaker. With his helpful cooking tips. lol.

doingdishesfavthingjkg

Power: For you.

p7
I see you.

I saw you sitting in your car today looking a little beat up.
Smoking a cigarette, with your head occasionally in your hands, and sighing deeply. I could tell that some adversity had struck.
I know that look, and that sadness well.
I know you feel sad sometimes with life, what you perceive as a lack of personal power, you feel unseen, and like you and your feelings, do not count.
Not true.

This is an Illusion, the illusion of one who has brought their diamond to the rhinestone market. It can never been seen for it’s true worth, by people totally unaccustomed and unlearned in who, and what you are. And I see you.

I learned power alone, but learned to wield it through my interactions with others. you can too.

1st:
Never, ever, place your importance in the hands of people you don’t really know, or people who were born with their social power, or wear it like a garment, and who are this society’s idea of empowered people, because they are ruling class, or pretty, or have a sick society’s seal of approval. This is not power, this is Hubris. And time will lay waste to it as it always has.
Do not emulate this. And never allow them to determine your worth under any circumstances.

2nd:
Cultivate your own power, alone, getting in touch with yourself and your dead, and when you do want to know your real worth is, you will know it among people who value you, and care about you, and who listen and learn from you and who are the simple folks who work, cook, clean, raise kids, drive, and are everyday people, because it is through sharing power, that they create power. And me. I will share my power with you.
Real power can only be shared. All else is merely force, and assumption.

You have power here, beyond what you know, and I see you.
I see you.

Love.
Piero Amadeo Infante
2015

(Illustration by Nan Cruz, from the book “The Kingdom of Mescal”)

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑