Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Cool, New Acoustic "Stay High" by Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes)

A solo, acoustic version of "Stay High" --- a full-band version appears on Brittany's new solo debut album Jaime

It's named for her late sister who taught her to sing and write songs.

Friday, October 25, 2019 Cool, New Music Playlist - November 2019

Cool, New Music Playlist: November 2019


The Kinks "Australia" from their 1969 classic Arthur, an extended boxset of which is now available. Also, it seems like new Kinks music & a reunion tour are finally in the works, after years of tension between the Brothers Davies. Ray (voice) and Dave (guitar & voice) have finally buried the hatchet (Thank you, Buddha!). The world rejoices! We all win!

Courtney Barnett "Keep On", cover of a Loose Tooth song from the Milk On Milk compilation

Prince "I Feel For You" (Acoustic Demo). Later a big hit for Chaka Khan

Matt Berninger & Phoebe Bridgers "Walking On A String" from the soundtrack to the new movie Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis

Black Lips "Odelia"

Bonnie "Prince" Billy "In Good Faith"


Thunderpussy Milk It (EP)

Leonard Cohen Thanks For The Dance. Posthumous collection of Cohen by his son.

The Hu The Gereg. Mongolian metal (with throat singing!)

Joseph Arthur Come Back World

Ringo Starr What's My Name

Kelley Stoltz My Regime

Steve Gunn Acoustic Unseen

Lana Del Rey NFR!

Mikal Cronin Seeker

Soundwalk Collective With Patti Smith Mummer Love, a follow-up to The Peyote Dance

Jeff Lynne's ELO Out Of Nowhere

Mark Kozelek with Petra Haden Joey Always Smiled

Guided By Voices Sweating The Plague

Stereophonics Kind

Foals Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, Part 2

Desert Sessions: Vol. 11 & 12 feat Josh Homme (Queens Of The Stone Age), Les Claypool, Billy Gibbons, Matt Sweeney, Carla Azar, Jake Shears, et al

Various Artists: Peaky Blinders Soundtrack feat "Red Right Hand" by PJ Harvey (the show's theme song; originally recorded by Nick Cave) and a cover of Bob Dylan's "Ballad Of A Thin Man" by the excellent Richard Hawley 

Various Artists: Wilcovered The British rock magazine Uncut curated this superb collection of Wilco covers (included as a CD with their November 2019 issue with Jimmy Page on the cover) feat Kurt Vile, Courtney Barnett, Parquet Courts, et al.


Carole King Tapestry

Marvin Gaye What's Going On Live. Recently released 1972 concert in Washington, D.C. It may be the only concert recording remaining which contain all of the songs from the album What's Going On, as well as a "Sixties Medly". An amazing document of an amazing artist.

Operation Ivy Live at Gilman Street, Berkeley, 1988 (YouTube)

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Eminem Was Interrogated By Secret Service for Anti-Trump Lyrics

BuzzFeed News reports that Eminem was investigated by The Secret Service for anti-Trump lyrics.

This free-style anti-Trump rap from the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards was cited in the report, as was the 2018 song "Framed":

"Donald Duck’s on as the Tonka Truck in the yard... 

But dog, how the fuck is Ivanka Trump in the trunk of my car?..."

In "The Ringer", Eminem said he was interviewed by The Secret Service:

‘Cause Agent Orange just sent the Secret Service
To meet in person to see if I really think of hurtin’ him
Or ask if I’m linked to terrorists
I said, ‘Only when it comes to ink and lyricists.'
BuzzFeed News' Jason Leopold filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get the documents to verify that Eminem was indeed interviewed for threats against Trump and his daughter Ivanka after being reported by a TMJ staffer.

Who is this TMJ staffer? Why did they report Eminem? Will they suffer consequences for their inappropriate decision? 

It is not the role of so-called "journalists" to help the government shut down criticism of the government (i.e. Free Speech protected by the First Amendment.)

I want to say something about George Orwell, Winston Smith, and 1984 but I just can't...

Last year, Qanon advocate Joe M (StormIsUponUs), angered at Eminem for his anti-Trump tirades, alleged the singer was linked to nefarious activities:

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Cool, New PJ Harvey Cover of Nick Cave's "Red Right Hand" for "Peaky Blinders"

A two-disc collection of songs used in the BBC show Peaky Blinders will be released November 15, 2019, feat. songs by Radiohead, David Bowie, Jack White, and The Arctic Monkeys, as well as the original Nick Cave version of the show's theme song "Red Right Hand", PJ Harvey's cover of "Red Right Hand", and Richard Hawley's cover of Bob Dylan's classic "Ballad Of A Thin Man"...

This Arctic Monkeys cover of "Red Right Hand" isn't on the sound track and hasn't been used on the show yet, but it seems like a natural for the next sound track...

GoFundMe: Help Jim Jordan Buy A Jacket!

We started a GoFundMe campaign for Rep. Jim Jordan (also known as Gym Jordan) because he cannot afford (apparently) a jacket or sports coat or even a blazer... 

We found a nice one for him from Men's Warehouse for $399.99. We can't stand to see him underdressed, so we are going to do something about it! You can check out the (pretty sweet) jacket here... 

Men's Warehouse is having a promotion. Buy one, get one for $100. So for about $500, we can double his jacket collection to a total of two!

Also check this out: Another former OSU wrestler says Jim Jordan knew about alleged abuse

"We All Inhabit This Small Planet...", President John F. Kennedy, Commencement Address At American University, Washington, D.C., June 10, 1963

"So, let us not be blind to our differences--but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity...

For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal..."

President John F. Kennedy, Commencement Address At American University, Washington, D.C., June 10, 1963

President Anderson, members of the faculty, board of trustees, distinguished guests, my old colleague, Senator Bob Byrd, who has earned his degree through many years of attending night law school, while I am earning mine in the next 30 minutes, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
It is with great pride that I participate in this ceremony of the American University, sponsored by the Methodist Church, founded by Bishop John Fletcher Hurst, and first opened by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. This is a young and growing university, but it has already fulfilled Bishop Hurst's enlightened hope for the study of history and public affairs in a city devoted to the making of history and the conduct of the public's business. By sponsoring this institution of higher learning for all who wish to learn, whatever their color or their creed, the Methodists of this area and the Nation deserve the Nation's thanks, and I commend all those who are today graduating.
Professor Woodrow Wilson once said that every man sent out from a university should be a man of his nation as well as a man of his time, and I am confident that the men and women who carry the honor of graduating from this institution will continue to give from their lives, from their talents, a high measure of public service and public support.
"There are few earthly things more beautiful than a university," wrote John Masefield in his tribute to English universities--and his words are equally true today. He did not refer to spires and towers, to campus greens and ivied walls. He admired the splendid beauty of the university, he said, because it was "a place where those who hate ignorance may strive to know, where those who perceive truth may strive to make others see."
I have, therefore, chosen this time and this place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived--yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace.
What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children--not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women--not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.
I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn.
Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need to use them is essential to keeping the peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles--which can only destroy and never create--is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace.
I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war--and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.
Some say that it is useless to speak of world peace or world law or world disarmament--and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them do it. But I also believe that we must reexamine our own attitude--as individuals and as a Nation--for our attitude is as essential as theirs. And every graduate of this school, every thoughtful citizen who despairs of war and wishes to bring peace, should begin by looking inward--by examining his own attitude toward the possibilities of peace, toward the Soviet Union, toward the course of the cold war and toward freedom and peace here at home.
First: Let us examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable--that mankind is doomed--that we are gripped by forces we cannot control.
We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade--therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable--and we believe they can do it again.
I am not referring to the absolute, infinite concept of peace and good will of which some fantasies and fanatics dream. I do not deny the value of hopes and dreams but we merely invite discouragement and incredulity by making that our only and immediate goal.
Let us focus instead on a more practical, more attainable peace-- based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions--on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interest of all concerned. There is no single, simple key to this peace--no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process--a way of solving problems.
With such a peace, there will still be quarrels and conflicting interests, as there are within families and nations. World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor--it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. And history teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, do not last forever. However fixed our likes and dislikes may seem, the tide of time and events will often bring surprising changes in the relations between nations and neighbors.
So let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly, by making it seem more manageable and less remote, we can help all peoples to see it, to draw hope from it, and to move irresistibly toward it.
Second: Let us reexamine our attitude toward the Soviet Union. It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write. It is discouraging to read a recent authoritative Soviet text on Military Strategy and find, on page after page, wholly baseless and incredible claims--such as the allegation that "American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of wars . . . that there is a very real threat of a preventive war being unleashed by American imperialists against the Soviet Union . . . [and that] the political aims of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries . . . [and] to achieve world domination . . . by means of aggressive wars."
Truly, as it was written long ago: "The wicked flee when no man pursueth." Yet it is sad to read these Soviet statements--to realize the extent of the gulf between us. But it is also a warning--a warning to the American people not to fall into the same trap as the Soviets, not to see only a distorted and desperate view of the other side, not to see conflict as inevitable, accommodation as impossible, and communication as nothing more than an exchange of threats.
No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue. As Americans, we find communism profoundly repugnant as a negation of personal freedom and dignity. But we can still hail the Russian people for their many achievements--in science and space, in economic and industrial growth, in culture and in acts of courage.
Among the many traits the peoples of our two countries have in common, none is stronger than our mutual abhorrence of war. Almost unique among the major world powers, we have never been at war with each other. And no nation in the history of battle ever suffered more than the Soviet Union suffered in the course of the Second World War. At least 20 million lost their lives. Countless millions of homes and farms were burned or sacked. A third of the nation's territory, including nearly two thirds of its industrial base, was turned into a wasteland--a loss equivalent to the devastation of this country east of Chicago.
Today, should total war ever break out again--no matter how--our two countries would become the primary targets. It is an ironic but accurate fact that the two strongest powers are the two in the most danger of devastation. All we have built, all we have worked for, would be destroyed in the first 24 hours. And even in the cold war, which brings burdens and dangers to so many nations, including this Nation's closest allies--our two countries bear the heaviest burdens. For we are both devoting massive sums of money to weapons that could be better devoted to combating ignorance, poverty, and disease. We are both caught up in a vicious and dangerous cycle in which suspicion on one side breeds suspicion on the other, and new weapons beget counterweapons.
In short, both the United States and its allies, and the Soviet Union and its allies, have a mutually deep interest in a just and genuine peace and in halting the arms race. Agreements to this end are in the interests of the Soviet Union as well as ours--and even the most hostile nations can be relied upon to accept and keep those treaty obligations, and only those treaty obligations, which are in their own interest.
So, let us not be blind to our differences--but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.
Third: Let us reexamine our attitude toward the cold war, remembering that we are not engaged in a debate, seeking to pile up debating points. We are not here distributing blame or pointing the finger of judgment. We must deal with the world as it is, and not as it might have been had the history of the last 18 years been different.
We must, therefore, persevere in the search for peace in the hope that constructive changes within the Communist bloc might bring within reach solutions which now seem beyond us. We must conduct our affairs in such a way that it becomes in the Communists' interest to agree on a genuine peace. Above all, while defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war. To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy--or of a collective death-wish for the world.
To secure these ends, America's weapons are nonprovocative, carefully controlled, designed to deter, and capable of selective use. Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplined in self- restraint. Our diplomats are instructed to avoid unnecessary irritants and purely rhetorical hostility.
For we can seek a relaxation of tension without relaxing our guard. And, for our part, we do not need to use threats to prove that we are resolute. We do not need to jam foreign broadcasts out of fear our faith will be eroded. We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people--but we are willing and able to engage in peaceful competition with any people on earth.
Meanwhile, we seek to strengthen the United Nations, to help solve its financial problems, to make it a more effective instrument for peace, to develop it into a genuine world security system--a system capable of resolving disputes on the basis of law, of insuring the security of the large and the small, and of creating conditions under which arms can finally be abolished.
At the same time we seek to keep peace inside the non-Communist world, where many nations, all of them our friends, are divided over issues which weaken Western unity, which invite Communist intervention or which threaten to erupt into war. Our efforts in West New Guinea, in the Congo, in the Middle East, and in the Indian subcontinent, have been persistent and patient despite criticism from both sides. We have also tried to set an example for others--by seeking to adjust small but significant differences with our own closest neighbors in Mexico and in Canada.
Speaking of other nations, I wish to make one point clear. We are bound to many nations by alliances. Those alliances exist because our concern and theirs substantially overlap. Our commitment to defend Western Europe and West Berlin, for example, stands undiminished because of the identity of our vital interests. The United States will make no deal with the Soviet Union at the expense of other nations and other peoples, not merely because they are our partners, but also because their interests and ours converge.
Our interests converge, however, not only in defending the frontiers of freedom, but in pursuing the paths of peace. It is our hope-- and the purpose of allied policies--to convince the Soviet Union that she, too, should let each nation choose its own future, so long as that choice does not interfere with the choices of others. The Communist drive to impose their political and economic system on others is the primary cause of world tension today. For there can be no doubt that, if all nations could refrain from interfering in the self-determination of others, the peace would be much more assured.
This will require a new effort to achieve world law--a new context for world discussions. It will require increased understanding between the Soviets and ourselves. And increased understanding will require increased contact and communication. One step in this direction is the proposed arrangement for a direct line between Moscow and Washington, to avoid on each side the dangerous delays, misunderstandings, and misreadings of the other's actions which might occur at a time of crisis.
We have also been talking in Geneva about the other first-step measures of arms control designed to limit the intensity of the arms race and to reduce the risks of accidental war. Our primary long range interest in Geneva, however, is general and complete disarmament-- designed to take place by stages, permitting parallel political developments to build the new institutions of peace which would take the place of arms. The pursuit of disarmament has been an effort of this Government since the 1920's. It has been urgently sought by the past three administrations. And however dim the prospects may be today, we intend to continue this effort--to continue it in order that all countries, including our own, can better grasp what the problems and possibilities of disarmament are.
The one major area of these negotiations where the end is in sight, yet where a fresh start is badly needed, is in a treaty to outlaw nuclear tests. The conclusion of such a treaty, so near and yet so far, would check the spiraling arms race in one of its most dangerous areas. It would place the nuclear powers in a position to deal more effectively with one of the greatest hazards which man faces in 1963, the further spread of nuclear arms. It would increase our security--it would decrease the prospects of war. Surely this goal is sufficiently important to require our steady pursuit, yielding neither to the temptation to give up the whole effort nor the temptation to give up our insistence on vital and responsible safeguards.
I am taking this opportunity, therefore, to announce two important decisions in this regard.
First: Chairman khrushchev, Prime Minister Macmillan, and I have agreed that high-level discussions will shortly begin in Moscow looking toward early agreement on a comprehensive test ban treaty. Our hopes must be tempered with the caution of history--but with our hopes go the hopes of all mankind.
Second: To make clear our good faith and solemn convictions on the matter, I now declare that the United States does not propose to conduct nuclear tests in the atmosphere so long as other states do not do so. We will not be the first to resume. Such a declaration is no substitute for a formal binding treaty, but I hope it will help us achieve one. Nor would such a treaty be a substitute for disarmament, but I hope it will help us achieve it.
Finally, my fellow Americans, let us examine our attitude toward peace and freedom here at home. The quality and spirit of our own society must justify and support our efforts abroad. We must show it in the dedication of our own lives--as many of you who are graduating today will have a unique opportunity to do, by serving without pay in the Peace Corps abroad or in the proposed National Service Corps here at home.
But wherever we are, we must all, in our daily lives, live up to the age-old faith that peace and freedom walk together. In too many of our cities today, the peace is not secure because the freedom is incomplete.
It is the responsibility of the executive branch at all levels of government--local, State, and National--to provide and protect that freedom for all of our citizens by all means within their authority. It is the responsibility of the legislative branch at all levels, wherever that authority is not now adequate, to make it adequate. And it is the responsibility of all citizens in all sections of this country to respect the rights of all others and to respect the law of the land.
All this is not unrelated to world peace. "When a man's ways please the Lord," the Scriptures tell us, "he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him." And is not peace, in the last analysis, basically a matter of human rights--the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation--the right to breathe air as nature provided it--the right of future generations to a healthy existence?
While we proceed to safeguard our national interests, let us also safeguard human interests. And the elimination of war and arms is clearly in the interest of both. No treaty, however much it may be to the advantage of all, however tightly it may be worded, can provide absolute security against the risks of deception and evasion. But it can--if it is sufficiently effective in its enforcement and if it is sufficiently in the interests of its signers--offer far more security and far fewer risks than an unabated, uncontrolled, unpredictable arms race.
The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough--more than enough--of war and hate and oppression. We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid, we labor on--not toward a strategy of annihilation but toward a strategy of peace.

Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" Invoked By CNN's Don Lemon To School Trump On "Lynching"

When Donald Trump tweeted yesterday that the impeachment inquiry against him was similar to "lynching", many critics were swift to point out that it was nothing like lynching at all. Lynching was mob justice, often against the falsely accused, often against Black men... Thousands of innocents were killed in the same of "justice", merely because of their race.

Don Lemon on CNN brilliantly invoked Billie Holiday's classic song about lynching, "Strange Fruit" to school Trump about what lynching really means:

[Verse 1]
Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

[Verse 2]
Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

[Verse 3]
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop

It is said that when Holiday performed the song (always her last) at Cafe Society in Greenwich Village in the 1940s, waiters would stop serving drinks and everyone would listen in pin-drop silence (see Frank O'Hara's tribute to Holiday below).

"Strange Fruit" was written as a poem in 1937 by Abel Meeropol and recorded as a song by Holiday in 1939. It became her signature song.

Meeropol was an activist and one-time Communist Party member who adopted the children of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg after they were executed in 1953. Michael and Robert took the surname Meeropol after their adoption.


The Day Lady Died
It is 12:20 in New York a Friday
three days after Bastille day, yes
it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine
because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton   
at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner
and I don’t know the people who will feed me

I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun   
and have a hamburger and a malted and buy
an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets   
in Ghana are doing these days
                                                        I go on to the bank
and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard)   
doesn’t even look up my balance for once in her life   
and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine   
for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I do   
think of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore or   
Brendan Behan’s new play or Le Balcon or Les Nègres
of Genet, but I don’t, I stick with Verlaine
after practically going to sleep with quandariness

and for Mike I just stroll into the PARK LANE
Liquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega and   
then I go back where I came from to 6th Avenue   
and the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatre and   
casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a carton
of Picayunes, and a NEW YORK POST with her face on it

and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 SPOT
while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

ThisSmallPlanet Recommends Doobies, MC5, Todd Rundgren, T. Rex, & Thin Lizzy for Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame 2020

Fans can vote daily starting now through January 10, 2020 for up to five nominees for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Class of 2020.

ThisSmallPlanet Recommends voting for:

The Doobie Brothers, MC5, Todd Rundgren, T. Rex, & Thin Lizzy

Here is a list of all the nominees for 2020:

  • Pat Benatar
  • Dave Matthews Band
  • Depeche Mode
  • The Doobie Brothers
  • Whitney Houston
  • Judas Priest
  • Kraftwerk
  • MC5
  • Motörhead
  • Nine Inch Nails
  • The Notorious B.I.G.
  • Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
  • Todd Rundgren
  • Soundgarden
  • T. Rex
  • Thin Lizzy

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Fans and Friends of George Harrison & Monty Python in L.A. Celebrate "Life of Brian" Anniversary


Fans, friends, and family got together recently to celebrate the 50th anniversary of British comedy troupe Monty Python, as well as the 40th anniversaries of both Monty Python's beloved classic film The Life Of Brian and HandMade Films, the production company set up by Beatle George Harrison to tell the tale of Brian, Jesus' less successful neighbor. 

Sixteen of the 23 HandMade films for which Harrison served as executive producer, will be screened at a special festival called The (Other) HandMade's Tale, brought to us by the Mods and Rockers (which is marking its 20th anniversary) at the Fine Arts in Beverly Hills. 

George Harrison loved Los Angeles, and lived there off and on, so it was appropriate for some of his friends and fans to gather October 7th to kick off the anniversary celebrations at the mmhmmm bar at The Standard Hotel on Sunset. 

Pete Townshend, Kathy Bates, Tim Rice, and Peter Asher were among the guests at the party hosted by Martin Lewis, founder/producer of the Mods And Rockers and instigator of the Python/HandMade celebrations, Mike Medavoy (who got Warner Brothers to buy the American distribution rights to Brian), and Python producer John Goldstone. 

Goldstone, with Python's Eric Idle, got Harrison to fund the film with a $5 million mortgage of Harrison's beloved Friar Park estate in the UK. Eric Idle called it "the most anybody's ever paid for a cinema ticket in history").

                                                    Tim Rice, Peter Asher, Mike Medavoy, and Martin Lewis

The tale of HandMade Films is told in the new documentary, also presented at the festival, called An Accidental Studio, directed by Bill Jones (son of the late Monty Python Terry Jones) and Ben Timlett. 

                                                                  Trailer for "An Accidental Studio"

                                                               Harrison's cameo in Life Of Brian

The story of George, Eric, and "Life of Brian", as told by Python's John Cleese to Seth Meyers in 2018:

Many people who worked with George over the years attended the party at The Standard, including drummer Jim Keltner and HandMade executive Linda Arias (George's sister-in-law).

Also attending were some relatives of well-known fans and friends of Harrison and/or The Pythons, such as Rebecca Brando (daughter of Marlon Brando), Terry Gilliam's brother Scott Gilliam, and artist George DiCaprio, father of the actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio.

George DiCaprio is working on a documentary about his late friend, psychedelic pioneer Timothy Leary. DiCaprio, a painter and underground comic artist, got to know Leary after he moved to Los Angeles, where he spent most of his final twenty years and where he died in 1996. (A docu-drama about Leary, starring Woody Harrelson, is also currently in the works by another team.)

                                                                              George DiCaprio

George DiCaprio spoke of his love for the legendary British radio comedy The Goon Show (1951 - 1960, featuring Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan), the kind of humor which inspired Monty Python, The Rutles, and is also reflected in The Beatles' comic sensibility in A Hard Day's Night, their hilarious early press conferences, and their Christmas Fan Club records.

                                                        Ravi Shankar, Peter Sellers, George Harrison

Video: George Harrison Talks About Peter Sellers

Heroes Of Comedy: The Goons

DiCaprio said his son sent his regrets on not being able to attend, since he had such great respect for both George Harrison and Monty Python. DiCaprio recalled that he and his son knew several Python scenes and skits by heart, and used to crack each other up performing them and singing Monty Python songs together.  He even offered a bit of this classic at the party:

Pete Townshend and Martin Lewis

Among the high-profile guests was The Who's Pete Townshend, a long-time friend of Martin Lewis. The Who are currently touring the U.S., and will release a new album in December. Townshend came to the party with his wife, composer Rachel Fuller.

Party goers were fortunate to see a casual chat between the creators of the two greatest British rock operas of all-time: Tim Rice - Jesus Christ Superstar and Pete Townshend - Tommy. Of course Tim Rice is also known for Evita, The Lion King, and so much more. Several guests stopped by to thank them for the music they grew up on.

                                                            Kathy Bates and Pete Townshend

Other notable guests included actor Kathy Bates (currently in Clint Eastwood's Richard Jewell), Rhino co-founder Harold Bronson
screenwriters Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais, director Peter Medak, and producer/manager Peter Asher - also of Peter and Gordon fame. (CNN's excellent new Linda Ronstadt documentary features Peter Asher speaking extensively about his work as Linda's producer and manager.)

                                                       Tim Rice with Peter Asher 

RELATED ARTICLE: L.A. Times: How George Harrison Rescued ‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’ And Launched A Film Producing Career

After some remarks by John Goldstone and Martin Lewis, we were treated to a special performance of some classic Harrison songs by an all-star band of musicians, each of whom had who with Harrison on occasion - specially assembled for the night by Lewis.

John Goldstone:

Martin Lewis:

The Music:


"Here Comes The Sun"

"Don't Bother Me"

"While My Guitar Gently Weeps"

(Technical glitches prevent us from sharing the ThisSmallPlanet video for "Guitar Gently Weeps". It was an excellent performance and can be found elsewhere on social media.)

The Band: The Springtimers

Kathleen "Bird" York, the lead singer of The Springtimers, the all-star band assembled specially for the occasion, appeared in the HandMade Film Checking Out with Jeff Daniels. The film was produced by George, who did one of his Hitchcock-like cameos in the film as a janitor.

Bird is an actor, singer, songwriter, and screenplay writer. She appeared as Andrea Wyatt on The West Wing (2000 - 2006), and as Officer Johnson in Crash (2004), for which she also composed and sang the Oscar-nominated theme song "In The Deep".

Laurence Juber, is a guitarist and a film/TV composer and arranger who played in the last incarnation of Paul McCartney's Wings. He has just released a new solo album.

                                                            Laurence Juber and Pete Townshend

The extraordinary keyboardist Greg Phillinganes also has a new album out. 

                                                                  Nathan, Pete, and Greg at the party

Greg and bass player Nathan East toured with Harrison, as well as Eric Clapton and Phil Collins, among many other high-profile musicians.

The legendary drummer Jim Keltner completed the line-up. In the 1970s, he became the go-to drummer for both Harrison and Lennon when Ringo wasn't available. He appeared on one of my favorite albums of all-time: The Traveling Wilburys, featuring Harrison, Dylan, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, and ELO's Jeff Lynne.

Keltner appeared with The Wilburys in the video for "The End Of The Line"

George Harrison had a strong presence at the party. His music playing on the sound system, and George-themed videos were being projected in the lobby from various concerts, including the memorial Concert For George. Some attendees had attended the memorial concert (and a few had performed at it) and many were taken away by the memories of what George had meant to them, and still means to them, especially on a night like this.

Looking at the big picture, HandMade is widely credited with having revitalized the British film industry at a crucial time in the 1980s and with helping launch and sustain the careers of actors and filmmakers such as Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith, Neil Jordan, and Bob Hoskins (pictured here with Harrison). Harrison made several cameos in HandMade films, including a role as a nightclub singer in Shanghai Surprise, for which he recorded five new songs. The film starred Madonna and then-husband Sean Penn but was a box-office disappointment.

The Monty Python comedy troupe consisted of John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Graham Chapman, and Eric IdleNeil Innes is sometimes called "the seventh Python".

Monty Python's Flying Circus ran on BBC television from 1969 - 1974 (and, starting in 1974, on some PBS stations in the U.S.). They are best known, perhaps, for the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, as well as 1979's Life of Brian. 

Eric Idle and Neil Innes famously parodied The Beatles as The Rutles, starting in 1978, with Harrison's enthusiastic support.


It might be hard for us today to imagine the controversy stirred by Life Of Brian at the time - some thought it was blasphemous and excessively irreverent toward Christianity - but this video with Tim Rice (who was at The Standard party) and Python members reminds us of what they were up against at the time:

Martin Lewis expressed his belief at the party that George Harrison also doesn't get sufficient credit for how his 1971 Concert for Bangladesh inspired the plethora of benefit concerts for political and social issues that proliferated in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s – such as 1985’s Live Aid.  By way of example, he cited Harrison’s 1971 charity concert as the primary inspiration for the “Secret Policeman’s Ball” series of benefit shows, albums and movies he produced for Amnesty International starting in 1976.

The first minute of this mini-doc underscores how Harrison's pioneering Bangladesh concert inspired other benefit shows:


Ultimately the message of Monty Python and their friend and patron George Harrison is contained here:

Agency Photos by Adriana Barraza/WENN

Casual Photos & Videos By Michael Donnelly/

Another Sad Post Script: Terry Jones, a founding member of Monty Python, passed away In January. 

Terry Jones, Monty Python Star, Dies Aged 77. .

Terry's son, Bill Jones, co-produced several film and video projects with his father - including Terry's last feature film Absolutely Anything.    

Bill, with his longtime creative partner Ben Timlett, directed and produced the aforementioned documentary An Accidental Studio, which tells the entire tale of HandMade Films... including its immaculate conception at the hands (and naughty bits!) of Monty Python and George Harrison!

YouTube: At 5:03, hear Steve Martin & Stephen Colbert pay tribute to Terry Jones & Monty Python

The Life of Brian: The late Terry Jones (right, Brian's mother "Mandy") with the late Graham Chapman (left, "Brian"). Jones also directed the film.