Brianland

the Best in Kerouac & the Beats, Adventure, Politics, Music, Movies, Poetry & other Lifejoys

Brianland header image 1

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is Dead, Long Live Lawrence Ferlinghetti!

February 28th, 2021 · Kerouac and The Beats, Poetry

(collage and poem by S.A. Griffin)

 

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is Dead, Long Live Lawrence Ferlinghetti!

 

Howling Allen Ginsberg
got shot out of history’s atomic canon
and never stopped flying
Ferlinghetti prints the poem as news hysterical naked
and gets busted for publishing obscene odes

the law fought the poem and the poem won

without this greeting at such great beginning
there would be no Beat Generation heard ‘round the world
and I would have descended a very different staircase
and would not know my wife
nor most all my friends

Ferlinghetti climbs down from the gaunt tree of war
and with his poet’s eye sees fists of Hiroshima and Nagasaki blossoms
shadowboxing in the dark and declares god
a fraternity of one hung up on eternity
a frightened lonely child
pissing himself

the poet’s dog lifting his leg knows
that democracy is deconstructionist porn
for masturbating objectivists
and as of this writing
the poet himself has shed his bony skin
and is no longer making this carnival scene

and from those of us here
still snapping in ripe time
most gratefully and lovingly we bid you
good night sweet paperback prince
may choirs of scat seraphim
sing thee to thy authentic angel headed rest
everything ends lost and found
as rebirth and revolutionary wonder

         Oh, man!

S.A. Griffin
2/27/21

→ No CommentsTags: ···

En-Cora-gement: Give The Kids The Vote – by Dale Topham

January 31st, 2021 · Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy, Politics

Here’s a beautiful inspiring story about proactively engaging young people in democracy.  And I mean young people under 18!

It’s a story about generosity and generations, empowerment and inclusion, doing the right thing, and putting your good where it will do the most (as Ken Kesey used to advise).

It’s told by a fellow Canadian Prankster Brother who’s technically named Dale Topham, but is known in preferred circles as “Gubba” — which this New Yorker expanded to “Gubba Gubba Hey!” to refrain a certain hometown punk band.

As Brutha Gubba tells it . . .

In the most recent Canadian election [2019], I let my 11-year-old granddaughter, Cora, choose how I would cast my ballot.

It started because I was in an unusual muddle about whom to vote for.  I generally vote Liberal in Canadian elections.  In 1963, my first time voting, I supported Lester B. Pearson, then became a full-fledged member of Trudeau-mania (for Justin’s father Pierre).  Since then I don’t believe I ever cast a federal vote for anyone but a Liberal, right up to supporting Justin Trudeau his first time out in 2015.

But Justin disappointed me in spades.  Once he was elected he changed 180 degrees from opposing to supporting the Trans Mountain Pipeline [bringing dirty tar sands oil across the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean].  And then he used political pressure to intercede in a case against a Quebec-based construction company.

It was clear to me that for the first time in my life, I would not be voting Liberal.

To muddy the waters further, our Liberal candidate, Terry Beech, was far and away the best choice of those running in my riding!  He’s a hard working young man who’s on the right side of all the issues I care about, but all he could do was promise to apply whatever pressure he could when those issues were discussed.

When the election was called, the Conservative candidate was Heather Leung. About a week into the campaign, some film surfaced of her making extreme anti-gay remarks from a Christian religious right point of view. They were so bad that she was kicked out of the party immediately.

To make this tricky choice even harder, the NDP Candidate, Svend Robinson, was once our long-standing Member of Parliament. He was also the first Canadian MP to declare himself openly gay, but had left politics about ten years ago when he was convicted of stealing an expensive ring from an auction house. Now he was back looking for my support. From a philosophical point of view, I would tend to support the NDP over the Conservatives, but a jewelry thief?  I think not!

Among all these flawed choices, there was a young woman representing the Green Party.  She looked like the best candidate to me, but the Greens got less than 2,000 votes in our very populous riding last election. To me, this looked like throwing away my vote.

So there I was.

In other news — once a week I would pick up my granddaughter Cora after school and take her to her climbing class, about a 20 minute drive. All the street-side political signs turned our conversation to the election. I told her about my dilemma with Trudeau, and she told me they were having a mock election at her school, and that they were going to be learning about the issues and about what the parties were representing. I told her that if she could figure out who to vote for she should tell me! And we both laughed.

Over the next few weeks we talked about what she was learning. She told me if the election were held today, she would vote Green, and said it was mainly because of their position on environmental issues and climate change. I said her reasoning was very sound and that I thought young people would probably make better choices than their parents.

And that’s when the lightbulb came on!

I told her then and there that I would give her my vote in the real election, and that if she ever changed her mind from Green (she never did) just to let me know and I would vote for whomever she said.

I told my wife Rene what I had promised Cora and that I would be voting Green. Every time we discussed it, Rene would say something like, “You know Terry Beech (the Liberal) is the best candidate in our riding,” which I would counter with, “… but I just can’t support Trudeau!” Obviously she was still going to vote Liberal, as we always do.

On election day, as we left the polling station, she asked me, “Did you vote Green?”  I said “Yeah.”  And she said … “So did I.”  Boy, was Gubba happy!  And I couldn’t wait to tell Cora!

For the record, our Liberal candidate won, the jewelry thief came second, and the ousted religious zealot came third. Our Green candidate came fourth with over 4,000 votes — but more than double what she got last time.

My granddaughter is so proud & pleased that she was involved. She’s always been very adult and we treat her that way. And now she’s voting before her time and feeling the power of having her voice heard and counted. Of everything we’ve happily given her over the years, we all three agree this was maybe the best present ever.

~ = ~ = ~ = ~ = ~ * ~ = ~ = ~ = ~ = ~

Giving the gift of the vote.

We’re always reminded that “people died” so we could have the right to vote.  Well, now you can give it to somebody who doesn’t have the right — and nobody has to die!

It’s such a mind-flippingly beautiful twisteroo Prankster concept — giving the power to the purity of smart young people who see the world with unpolluted eyes to suss the good guys from the bad, the good ideas from the baloney.  Adults listening to pundits or their pub pals sure haven’t been installing the most evolved visionaries … or even functionaries.  So how ’bout if we go ahead and let some fresh voices in the choir.

Vote swapping is already something gaining popularity in both the U.S. and Canada the last couple elections — how about giving the gift of political engagement to someone younger who will get in the habit of using it including long after the gift-giver is gone.

=========================================

.

You can read this story and a whole bunch more in my latest book — Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy:  Adventures in Politics 1980 – 2020.

=========================================

by Brian Hassett

karmacoupon@gmail.com   —  BrianHassett.com

Or here’s my Facebook account if you wanna join in there —

https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Hassett.Canada

→ 7 CommentsTags: ······

Brian Meets Biden

December 31st, 2020 · Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy, Politics, Real-life Adventure Tales

From Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy: Adventures in Politics 1980 – 2020

From the chapter — “Fun & Loving on the Campaign Trail 2020 — A Prankster’s Primary”.

 

.

The next day — Tuesday, February 4th, the day following the night of the Iowa caucus vote-counting debacle — I pulled off three rallies: Biden, Tulsi & Amy.  The order I caught the candidates all week was in direct correlation to the order they appeared in Nashua.

The New Hampshire primary is the New Orleans Jazz Festival for politicos.  All the best performers are playing all day long, every day, for a week!  The only challenge is figuring out which stage you wanna be at. 🙂

For this 12 noon Joe Biden rally I got there at 11.  This is key. Always arrive an hour early, wink-wink, jot a note.

. . . . .

One bizarrely cool thing this 77-year-old grandpa does is frequently sprinkle “man” into his dialogue like you’re listening to Dizzy Gillespie or something.  He so often seems like a patently unhip old geezer, but man, sometimes this cat sure can swing!

. . . . . 

After the rally was over, all the candidates (except Bernie) held meet-n-greets after their show (speech) — but Joe just sorta wandered over to the ropeline and started talking to someone, then just kinda began drifting along the front of the crowd, very impromptu.

A bald Secret Service type guy immediately came out to Joe’s side.  I’d seen him standing at the back earlier and he looked so much like the strategist and Lincoln Project cofounder Steve Schmidt, I thought it was him.

Then for some reason, Joe picked me out with his eyes in the second row — I wasn’t right on the ropeline.

I’m sure my visage reflected positivity.  And he looked over two people’s shoulders and stared me right in the eye and said, “What’s your name?” reaching out his hand.  I was kinda caught off guard, but … “Brian. . . . I was at your first inauguration.”

“Yeah, so were a lot of people,” he said, but not dismissively, rather, celebratory with his beaming smile.

“I hope to be at your next one,” I Irishly twinkled back.

And the other people in the thick crowd kinda moved aside as though he and I knew each other or something and gave us space.  “You’re the one guy in this race who’s gonna know what to do from day one,” I told him.

“And you’re the one guy who knows that.  Tell your friends,” he said with a laugh.  And just then a staffer showed up, so I handed him my camera, and Boom!

.

Go Joe!  Get us back to where we once belonged!

=================================

You can email me, or you can order Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy here.

Here’s the book’s prologue — “Let The Games Begin”

Here’s its Introduction — by The Beat Museum’s Jerry Cimino.

Here’s a full list of all the Adventures in Print spanning six books.

=========================================

by Brian Hassett

karmacoupon@gmail.com   —  BrianHassett.com

Or here’s my Facebook account if you wanna join in there —

https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Hassett.Canada

→ 10 CommentsTags: ····

Post 2020 Election Coverage Reviews

November 6th, 2020 · Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy, Politics

.

George Walker:
“Your election comments were brilliant and as good as anything by anyone I read anywhere.  You should be getting paid for this.  You nailed it all the way through.  Sometimes I would disagree with something you said, and then a couple weeks later I’d realize, ‘Oh yeah, Brian was right about that.’  And you wouldn’t just say things, you’d explain the thinking and facts behind it.  Anybody can just say stuff — but you would always back it up.  I looked forward to reading your new posts and comments every day.  Something would happen in the news and right away I’d wonder what Brian would have to say about it.  Professor Walker gives you an ‘A’ on your coverage.”

Cynthia Johnson:
Brian has been my virtual Xanax over the past few weeks.  Any calm I’ve felt is because I trusted his data and his take on things, even as I distrusted most conventional wisdom.  Thanks again, Brian.”
and
Thank you for all your hard work and brilliant cheerleading to keep us all sane and hopeful during this process.  Thank you for your devotion to Democracy and to America.  You are truly what we used to call in the HHH campaign way back in ’68 – A Great American (with dual citizenship!)  Much love to you my campaign trail road buddy.  We made it!”
To which Monica Bein replied, “Well said & totally agree about our Merry Politico buddy.”

Laurie Jones:
I am celebrating now.  Now.  Thank you Brian.  You helped me stay solid in the hard weeks and months so these last three days were not stressful.”

Cyndie Henderson:
Your posts are informative and down to earth.  Enjoyed the whole experience.”

Helen North: 
It’s great that you have kept this photo and you can now share with us all …. you did an amazing job Brian at keeping us informed …. and sharing your enthusiasm for politics with us …. you even educated me quite a lot in the last few weeks in regards to American Politics ….. great photo of you and the President of the United States !!!!”

Johnny Walker:
“Thank you for an astonishing effort at helping to make this remarkable day become a reality.  Thank you Thank you Thank you.”

Carrie McCarthy:
Thanks again Brian, for the continued honest and accurate reporting that was especially helpful to the sensitive souls that found watching traditional media too stressful.”

Eric Douglas Augustsen Mani:
I thought I should congratulate you in a campaign well fought for.  So many got out there and let their voices be heard and largely because of the efforts of people like you.  It is with that in this late Swedish morn I raise my cup of coffee to you and wish you CHEERS!!!  Peace & Love Our planet thanks you the children, the animals, the fish at sea, Mother Nature thank you!!!”
also — “YES!!! YES!!! Healthcare!!!  You did it Brian my beacon of light through he thick Orange haze of uncertainty!!!  A new day!!!”

Deanna Waters:
You have such a positive outlook on life and a sense of adventure.  Bravo!”

Brian Stevenson: 
Man, you and I got to meet someday Brian!  Let me say that your optimism and hope in your writings including your great new volume, and your current writings around this recent election, were and still are lighthouses for me.  Thank you.”

 

=========================================

You can email me for a signed copy, or you can get the political Adventure book Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy here.

You can see a live show with readings from Blissfully Ravaged here —
https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Hassett.Canada/videos/10163863488060261/

You can read The Beat Museum founder Jerry Cimino’s killer Introduction to the book here.

You can read an excerpt from the book about New York’s reaction to Obama’s first election night here.

=========================================

by Brian Hassett

karmacoupon@gmail.com   —  BrianHassett.com

Or here’s my Facebook account if you wanna join in there —

https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Hassett.Canada

→ 11 CommentsTags: ··

Things You Can Do Beyond Voting

October 14th, 2020 · Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy, Politics

Yes — you can Vote — and maybe you’re already one of the record-shattering 11 million who’ve cast their ballot — but here’s some other fun cool proactive things you can do —>

Talk to your friends and neighbors and make sure they’ve got a plan to vote.
https://howto.vote/

Check to make sure you’re registered — and check on behalf of your loved ones.
https://www.usa.gov/confirm-voter-registration

If you’re living outside of the country, you can still vote.  I’ve been involved with Democrats Abroad ever since I left Manhattan, and they’re a cool krewe.  Here’s how you can vote from abroad —
https://www.votefromabroad.org/

Talk to your third party leaning friends, or those who tend to cop out with “they’re all the same,” and politely explain how hate mongering and hate crimes have increased nationwide; about the lies told about a virus trump knew was deadly and how he turned mask wearing into something political instead of medical; how America has 5% of the world’s population but fully 25% of the world’s coronavirus deaths; how disenfranchising people’s votes is an active practice for an entire political party.

Put up Biden/Harris signs in your front yard or apartment window.
When one person does it, it often prompts others to, too.

You can find your state Democratic party website and info here —>
https://democrats.org/who-we-are/state-parties/state-party-websites/

You can volunteer to phone bank for an hour from your home.  You’ll get to talk to some cool people you wouldn’t otherwise, and bank some votes that may otherwise have been squandered.
https://joebiden.com/call/

You can check in with people you know who don’t have a car and offer to drive them to their polling station.

You can send your own customized creative postcards if you wanna go old-school funky & personal.  There’s a cool group coordinating this called Postcards to Voters —
https://postcardstovoters.org/

Also old-school but still effective — write a well-penned letter to the editor of your local newspaper.  Since less people do that now, you have more of a chance of getting printed, and/or having a nice published web link you can share around.

If you’ve got an extra $15 or more that you didn’t spend this month because you’re locked down, you can put it towards restoring sanity, empathy & respect to our governance.
https://secure.actblue.com/donate/biden2020_fr_web

You can call your senator and register how you want him or her to vote on the Supreme Court replacement.  Phone the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, and an operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.

https://www.senate.gov/senators/How_to_correspond_senators.htm

You can do all of the above for the Senate candidates who are poised to stop the second most evil man in America, Moscow Mitch McConnell.

And that includes a particularly strong slate of women who would bring a different perspective to the law-making body:

Amy McGrath is McConnell’s opponent in Kentucky.
https://amymcgrath.com/

Sara Gideon is trying to unseat Susan Collins in Maine.
https://saragideon.com/

Theresa Greenfield is close to upsetting the trump yes-girl Joni Ernst in Iowa.
https://secure.greenfieldforiowa.com/page/s/sign-up-to-volunteer

And Barbara Bollier is on the cusp of winning a Senate seat in Kansas of all places!
https://bollierforkansas.com/

Plus there’s the very impressive Jon Ossoff taking on the Repugnant David Purdue in Georgia.
https://electjon.com/

And Mike Espy is neck-&-neck with that crazy “I’d attend a lynching” Cindy Hyde-Smith in Mississippi.
https://espyforsenate.com/

And then there’s the cool smart Democrat-aligned Independent Dr. Al Gross who may unseat the Repugnant in Alaska.
https://dralgrossak.com/

No matter if you’re in a solid blue or solid red state — let alone a swing state! — every single vote that goes into the national kitty is one more voice — yours! — that history will record as voting against and putting an end to this racist-in-chief.

You want to feel good on November 3rd.

You want to fully enjoy the moment this nation will celebrate on that night, and on January 20th, and every day going forward.
And you don’t want that gnawing guilt in the pit of your stomach that you know you didn’t really do your part.

And boy — it’s gonna feel so good when you do it. 😉

And it’s free!  And it’s fun!  And it changes the world!
And how often do you get to do that?

Feel free to copy and share, and add your own personal touch if you want.

And if anybody has any other good ideas beyond simply voting, by all means let me know.

.

.

=========================================

Here’s where you can get my Political Adventures book Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy.

Here’s the first show for the book — a live stream on Facebook — where I perform a part of this live —
https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Hassett.Canada/videos/10163863488060261/

Here’s where you can get the first book in The Beat Trilogy — The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac.

Here’s the second book in the Trilogy — How The Beats Begat The Pranksters.

Here’s the third book in the Trilogy — On The Road with Cassadys and Furthur Visions.

=========================================

by Brian Hassett

karmacoupon@gmail.com   —  BrianHassett.com

Or here’s my Facebook account if you wanna join in there —

https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Hassett.Canada

→ 11 CommentsTags: ···

Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy intro chapter

September 30th, 2020 · Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy, Politics

A lot of people got discouraged during 2016 — first the Berners supporting Sanders in the primary, then most of the nation with “the perfect storm” of the November electoral college disaster. Twice in my lifetime has this antiquated 1700s electoral college voting concept resulted in the loser of the vote becoming President. And both those times resulted in the #1 and #2 worst Presidents in modern history (by a long shot) that this country ever had the misfortune to have.

There is no other elected office in America you can win without winning the actual vote — and it just happens to be the most important one. Maybe this was a good idea back in the horse-&-buggy days, but it sure ain’t democracy now that everybody can actually vote.

Citizen participation goes back to … well, the Greeks (if you were a white native-born male 2,500 years ago), or women in America for the last hundred years, and minorities kinda mostly since 1965 (except since 2013 when the Roberts Supreme Court dishonorably and despicably rolled back the Voting Rights Act), and all of us who choose to be involved in the primary process since 1972. A lot of (particularly young) people seem to think the political world started in 2016 … and for them it’s been nothing but a disaster.

This is a terrible thing — and we’ve got to collectively work to re-engage and fix as best we can a flawed system.

In these pages I’m going to share some Adventure Tales about engagement in politics. It’s a helluva fun pursuit — and the winner gets to run the country! And speaking of running, there was a great documentary in 2007 called Run Granny Run about the inspirational Granny D from New Hampshire who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004 at age 94. In it she said a line I’ve repeated often — “Democracy isn’t something we have, it’s something we do.”

That should be carved into marble in Washington somewhere. At least I’ll carve it into this paper and maybe your brain.

Democracy isn’t something we have,
it’s something we do.”

And we’ve all got a lot to do! 4 in 10 Americans think Donald Trump is doing a great job as president. (!) This makes zero sense to 6 in 10 Americans, but what this book is going to hopefully help do is get those 6 in 10 back to being passionately involved in the grand experiment that is America.

We’re each here for only a small sliver of time. I have many friends who have been engaged in politics and governance for longer than I’ve been alive; and I’ve got many younger friends who are still going to be involved in it (hopefully) long after I’m gone. But we each have to be engaged proactive stewards for the wee window we’re here.

Perhaps this is a good time to talk about age. According to my birth certificate from Kenya, I mean Calgary, I am supposedly 58 years old as I type this in early 2020 — but obviously there’s been some mistake because I feel like I’m 18. And I think the same drunk clerk was in the records office for a while because I know a bunch of people older than me that will swear on a stack of On The Roads that they are not the age their birth certificate says they are.

One of them is my 80-year-old stage partner, George Walker, who just put a new roof on his house by himself while simultaneously rebuilding a 1939 Furthur bus called “Farthur” to take On The Road in 2020. I also perform regularly with Jack Kerouac’s principal musical collaborator, David Amram, who is a still-improvising & wailing jazz cat at age 89. And I finally tracked down and interviewed Locke McCorkle who had the house in Mill Valley where Gary Snyder and Kerouac stayed that prompted the Dharma Bums adventure, and he told me that even though he’d just stopped racing motorcycles at age 85, he felt like he was 35. So, everybody reading this book who’s under 90 years old, there’s no excuse for not having full engagement in this life.

And this also relates to the current leader of the Democratic Party, Nancy Pelosi, who turned 80 in March 2020, as well as three of the four frontrunners in the Democratic primary — Joe Biden (77), Elizabeth Warren (70), and Bernie Sanders (78) — who are all bounding and bouncing with the same kind of vibrancy as Granny D or the jazz cat or the guy up putting on the new roof. 70 is the new 30, and 80 is the new 18.

The Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh also turned 80 in March 2020 and is actively involved in Get Out The Vote (GOTV) actions — as are all the members of Dead & Company.

If smart people in their 70s and 80s have not given up hope, have not become cynical, are still working hard every day to make the world a better place, that should be instructive to anyone in their teens or twenties or thereabouts that giving up is not an option. Or wise. Saying of candidates and political leaders “they’re all the same” is a cop-out and abdication of the rights and powers of citizenry. Just ask Granny D.

I was born and raised in Western Canada in a world with a mocking disdain for everything American, and anything from the East. I didn’t fit in in the least — left as soon as my “finish high school” box was ticked, never looked back, and became an American by choice as soon as I was able. I served nearly 30 years in Manhattan, and am now back in the land of the red-&-white outside Toronto, with the minute-by-minute madness of Manhattan no longer taking up every day of every week of every year, and time and distance to reflect on that massive round-trip road trip.

Although Americans love to pride themselves in being “#1” at everything — their system is the worst for democracy. In Canada (and the U.K. and a lot of other countries) a national election is called — and the whole thing’s over in six weeks — and costs 1/1000th what 2020 will cost America, not to mention the thousands of hours of print and broadcast and social media reading about the bickering between any two people.

But what America has is characters, drama and stakes. And as a friend said at the end of yet another great Grateful Dead show back in the Jerry days — “That’s why I keep comin’ back.”

Who wins these elongated and compromised elections gets control of the biggest property on the Western World gameboard. And when I say “compromised” — what I mean is gerrymandering and voter suppression and the candidates’ requirement of taking big money from big business (codified by the anti-democracy “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision of 2010) in order to buy media ads and hire staff in 50 states to coordinate more fundraising to pay for more fundraising.

America is leading the world in democracy-destroying gerrymandering — at least in the 37 states that allow it — where the state government fences in all the voters of the opposing party to one or as few congressional districts as possible, then gives the whole rest of the state to themselves. This is reason #1001 why getting involved in your state government is as important as engagement in a presidential election. And I may as well say it — it’s actually more. And you know what’s even more important than your state government? Your city government. I know it ain’t sexy, and it ain’t gonna be all over the TV and social media, but who your mayor and city council is makes a bigger difference in your life than who your president is.

I know in people’s heads they see the face of the president as the political person overseeing their life. But the counterintuitive truth is your quality of life, in general, is determined far more by your city council than your federal congress. Whether your water’s clean, your power’s on, you don’t get robbed on the way to the store, you’ve got paved roads to drive on, whether the literal and metaphorical trains run on train, what your property taxes are (which generally takes more of your income than your income tax) — all that stuff that really is your life is more your city and state governments than it is federal — so if any of this sinks in at all let it be for you to give as much of a damn about who runs your city as Washington. Sadly, municipal elections usually have less than half the turnout of the already low federal election participation — which was 61% of eligible voters in both 2012 and 2016. Those people whose names you probably don’t even know, get elected by about 20% of your neighbors, and have more to do with your day-to-day quality of life than all the presidents of your life combined. Or thereabouts.

But of course if this book was about mayoral elections, you wouldn’t be reading it. It’s about “the show.” Which we love. It’s the big one … with the leg-kicking Rockettes and half-time rock stars and fireworks of exploding heads every night on the TV sets of America. Not the preseason. Not the regular season. Some people watch that stuff — but everybody tunes in for the playoffs. Which, in U.S. Presidential politics, means from the summer conventions through the November elections. Or many don’t really tune in until the first Presidential debate in late September (usually) — but it’s the same four years as every Summer Olympics when we wave our flag and wear our team jersey and celebrate the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat.

And every election I’ve lived through was (rightfully called) “the most important election of our lifetime.” I dunno why that is or why it’s true, but it is. Well, maybe ‘96 wasn’t when Bill Clinton was just holding serve against the Roll–Hemp ticket. I mean, Dole–Kemp. We’re always at war or some damn thing. But in 2020 there is a proudly overtly racist fascist sociopath in the White House who’s cultivated a cult of straight-arm saluting devotees committed to re-electing “the greatest president we ever had.”

And so here we are.

25 different men and women from all demographics and backgrounds and philosophies threw their lives into the ring to be the 2020 Democratic nominee. At least this part of the grand game is a healthy democracy. Voters can choose from longtime socialists like Bernie, or longtime businessmen like Bloomberg, or practical centrists like Joe Biden, or non-politician outsiders like Andrew Yang.

I’ve been On The Trail on way or another since first seeing third party candidate John Anderson in 1980, to catching every candidate in New Hampshire in 2020 — 40 years On The Road as another Adventurer coined it — and you’re holding a good chunk of it in book form for the first time. Throughout this process of writing lots of new pieces up through March of 2020, I also found old clippings of stories past, old photographs & buttons, rediscovered old memories, and followed a paper trail of typed tales back to when computers were only props on Lost In Space.

Now there are trolls and bots and memes and apps, and as the old saying goes — “A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on” — is more true than ever. We are all living through a redefining of what democracy and even “truth” is.

I’m glad you’ve joined in this Adventure, and hopefully reading this book will inspire you to get involved and create your own stories for eternity.

.

=========================================

Here’s where you can get Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy.

Here’s the first show for the book — a live stream on Facebook — where I perform a part of this live —
https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Hassett.Canada/videos/10163863488060261/

Here’s where you can get the first book in The Beat Trilogy — The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac.

Here’s the second book in the Trilogy — How The Beats Begat The Pranksters.

Here’s the third book in the Trilogy — On The Road with Cassadys and Furthur Visions.

=========================================

by Brian Hassett

karmacoupon@gmail.com   —  BrianHassett.com

Or here’s my Facebook account if you wanna join in there —

https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Hassett.Canada

→ 12 CommentsTags: ···········

The Loopy Luvey Longtime Lowdown Lockdown Rap

August 31st, 2020 · Poetry

.

Here’s a live stream version . . . 

.

for Andy Clausen
and all the poets of eternity
wrapping a present

of the past for the future

.

Sleeping three or four times a day,
An hour or two a shot;
Vivid dreams in shutdown streams  —
Solo swimming in sunlight —
Surreality surfing in twilight
as Adventures soar

when the subconscious scores.

Stopped drinking
To go with stopped smoking;
But waking with muscles like I just chopped wood,
If a woodchuck could chuck
you know I would!

It’s all gone digital,
It’s all gone Dada;
Reality’s nada —
Keepin’ a Beat … when there’s none to hear!

Ran out of pot months ago,
Just when it became legal!
In the whole continent-wide Oh Canada I find myself locked in
— a big evergreen jail with the politest of prisoners
All holding the door open, but … no one leaving.
“Welcome to the Hotel Canada!”

That’s when I stopped smoking?!?!

Been hiding my stash for 40 years,
And now that it’s legal as 40 beers,
I don’t even bother ordering it from menus
With more pages than IHOP!

But keepin’ track of the dineros
Saved in sober scenarios,
As I watch movies with De Niros
About inspiring heroes
Gambling on truth 
And regaining their youth.

In the upside down
Of the cockeyed clown
Running mad all over town
Telling us even the postman’s in on it.

 

No more gas in the car
No more cars On The Road;
No more peeps for a crew —
What would Cassady do?

The Twilight Zone
Is now my Real-Life Home
A desolate future right on cue —
What would Rod Serling do?

Now Doctor Fauci’s writing scripts
Of a future that used to be fiction.

Why are we here? . . .
And why aren’t we there?
And how long will it be
Our social cupboard is bare?

It was interesting for a week,
For a dream, for a Test,
But I’m not waking up
And I’m not getting dressed!

I’m also not drinkin’ . . .
Or puffin’ or snortin’
Or poppin’ or droppin’
Or mixin’ or fixin’
to die just yet.

The yellow flag’s flapping,
The time-keeper’s napping;
The frame’s been condensed,
Intermission’s commenced,
But nobody’s loading the reel.

So let’s get real
Get goin’, get down, get busy, get crazy, 
“Get back to where you once belonged.”

In this big gift of time,
Never before and never again

Will we have all this space —
This lesson in Zen.

To sculpt our meaning
To write our work
To play our truth
In this cosmic quirk.

To paint our lives
On a canvas so big
You can’t even see the frame!

In a play so long
You can’t remember its name; 
In a performance so rich
You’ll never be the same.

So take the baton
And conduct your song;
What could go wrong
If you play it long?

Now’s The Time
Bird Parker sang,
Now’s your chance
To spring your sprang —

You don’t need nuthin’ 
But the time you got,
And you don’t need others
Cuz you got a lot,

To paint with colors
And paint with light, 
And check off dreams
And do ’em right.

It’s once in a lifetime
Lockdown lore;
Once in the nighttime
Fingers soar;
Life during wartime
Lions roar  — 
This is the time
You were born for.

So play your play
And write your rights,
Let’s make today
Your night of nights.
.

===============================

.

Here’s some rockin’ Adventure Tales for your 2020 poli-lockdown — Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy: Adventures in Politics — 1980 – 2020 — including 100 pages of meeting every candidate in New Hampshire in the Before Times.  😉 

Or here’s the book that kicked it all off — The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac: The Adventure of the Boulder ’82 On The Road Conference — Finding Kerouac, Kesey & The Grateful Dead Alive & Rockin’ in the Rockies.

Or here’s the joy of the connection between the most fun cultural movements of the 20th century — How The Beats Begat The Pranksters & Other Adventure Tales from London to New York to Toronto to San Francisco and lots of other side Trips.  😉 

Or here’s a whole multi-faceted portrait of the First Family of Beat — On The Road with Cassadys & Furthur Visions — which completes the sequentially written only-one-of-its-kind Beat Trilogy.

And of course there’s also the Epic Adventure of sneaking my van backstage at the big Woodstock ’94 festival — Holy Cats!  Dream-Catching at Woodstock — the only Woodstock since ’69 that worked — including parking & living right behind the main stage for the entire weekend.  The book peaks with a 100-page acid trip for the climactic Bob Dylan / Peter Gabriel night.  😉 

.

=========================================

by Brian Hassett

karmacoupon@gmail.com   —  BrianHassett.com

Or here’s my Facebook account if you wanna join in there —

https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Hassett.Canada

→ 19 CommentsTags: ······

What I Didn’t Know Then

July 26th, 2020 · Poetry

What I Didn’t Know Then

by Brian Hassett

.

“Democracy isn’t something you have,
It’s something you do,”
94-year-old Granny D shared for eternity.

Love isn’t something you receive,
It’s something you give.

A smile isn’t something you see,
It’s something you shine.

Truth isn’t something you know,
It’s something you share.

A hand isn’t something you hold,
It’s something you offer.

Wealth isn’t something you hoard,
It’s something you GIFT.

A word isn’t something you utter,
It’s something you keep.

We’re only here for a sliver of time,
Though when you’re young it seems like forever.

You’ve got one reputation,
And one occupation —
To do the right thing
For all whom you know
And all whom you don’t;

To do the kind thing
For the stranger among us
As the partner beside us;

To be the heart in the darkness,
The spark with the kindness,
With the will of a warrior
And the love of a mother.

Support your sister, support your brother,
Support your elder, support your younger;
The more harmony we sing,
The farther our voices carry.

Compliments are free to give,
But worth a million to receive;
So share your love with those you know,
And those you know to believe.

Your happiness is no one’s job
But your own;
Every day, and every night,
Do the work that makes you right.

Follow your soul and follow your heart,
Only you know – what sets you apart;
But know you do, when you quiet your mind,
Uncover the truth only you can find.

The sooner you practice forgiveness,
The longer you’ll live in the light;
The faster you run from malicious,
The stronger your beam will shine bright.

Don’t count on your next life — enjoy the buffet,
Don’t put off till tomorrow what’s sizzling today;
Give it your all and give it your best,
Cuz this go-round is the real Acid Test.

.

Here’s the piece set to some catchy upBeat world-beat funky-cool music by Gabriel Walker —

https://fromtheancestors.com/brian-hassett/

=============================================

.This new poem will soon be in the international collection —

.
From the Ancestors: Poems and Prayers for Future Generations
.
a double album and book project — including 33 poets, musicians, singers, healers/curanderas/shamans from 20 countries, in 19 languages.
Release date is November 10, 2020.

Besides myself, folks included are —

Anne Waldman, NYC/USA
Ron Whitehead, Kentucky/USA
Andy Willoughby, England
Birgitta Jonsdottir, Reykjavik Iceland
Joy Harjo, Muscogee (Creek)/USA
Dr. Hilaria Cruz, Oaxaca Mexico/USA
Doris Kareva, Tallinn Estonia
Tanya Lind, Iceland
Iris Lican, Sintra Portugal
Michael White, Tennessee/USA
Jaouad El Garouge, Morocca
Thomas Bellier, Paris France
Aprilia Zank, Germany
Chryssa Velissarous, Greece
Vesa Lahti, Finland
Al Paldrok, Parnu Estonia
Frank Messina, NYC/USA
Amber Lee, NYC/USA
Aurelia Lassaque, France
Giulio Tedeschi, Italy
Wilfred Hildonen, Norway/Finland
Lee Pennington, Kentucky/USA
Greta Render Whitehead, Kentucky/USA
Bengt O Bjorklund, Sweden
Jeanette Aslaksen, Sami/Norway
Jaouad El Garouge, Morocco
Thomas Attar Bellier, France
Jared Zarantanello, USA
Patrick Latanga, Congo
Rani Whitehead, USA
Himeko Narumi, Japan
Theo Dorgan, Ireland
Seda Suna Uçakan, Turkey

Producers Ron Whitehead, Gabriel Walker, Matt Thomasson, Bill Hardesty, Yunier Ramirez. Executive Producers sonaBLAST! Records, Michael White, and Ron Whitehead. a sonaBLAST! Records and released for the global literary renaissance.

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Gabriel Walker, Bill Hardesty, Matt Thomasson at Logan Street Recording Studios.  Music Composed and Produced by Gabriel Walker.

Music co-Produced by Matt Thomasson and Bill Hardesty.
Mastered by Kevin Nordstrom.
Book produced and edited by Ron Whitehead.
Cover art by Wilfred Hildonen.
Profits from this project will go to Kentucky Refugee Ministries/KRM, a non-profit organization in Louisville, Kentucky dedicated to providing resettlement services to refugees and promoting self-sufficiency and successful integration.
.
=====================================
.

Here’s where you can get the above political book with the Granny D quote — Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy.

Here’s the first show for the book — a live stream on Facebook — where I perform a bunch of excerpts from it —

https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Hassett.Canada/videos/10163863488060261/

You can hear a Democrats Abroad podcast interview about the New Hampshire Adventures here.

Or here’s where you can get The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jack Kerouac — The Adventure of the Boulder ’82 On The Road Conference – Finding Kerouac, Kesey and The Grateful Dead Alive & Rockin’ in the Rockies 

Or here’s where you can get How The Beats Begat The Pranksters & Other Adventure Tales 

Or here’s where you can get On The Road with Cassadys & Furthur Visions — completing The Beat Trilogy 

Or here’s where you can get Holy Cats! Dream-Catching at Woodstock – all about the epic Woodstock ’94 Adventure

=========================================

by Brian Hassett

karmacoupon@gmail.com   —  BrianHassett.com

Or here’s my Facebook account if you wanna join in there —

https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Hassett.Canada

→ 6 CommentsTags:

Obama Election Night NYC 2008

June 29th, 2020 · Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy, New York City, Politics, Real-life Adventure Tales

Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy

I spent the afternoon getting all gussied up in my black velvet tails and Ben Franklin knickers with knee-high socks topped off with a top hat, accented with colorful Obama buttons, and everything underneath my waving homemade Obama pennant flag with a little red & white Canadian one on top.  All I needed was a clanging bell and some rolled parchment.

Heading into the Election Night, for the first time in my life, I was the most popular person in Harlem!  Looking like a “Hear-ye, hear-ye!” town crier from the American Revolution, I was carrying Obama’s flag into battle — lighting up faces of people who still hadn’t come close to learning English.  Shopkeepers were waving, and mothers were pointing me out to their small children.  Passing pedestrians were either breaking into huge smiles or full-out hollering, “Obama!”  It was dusk on the final day of The Nightmare From Texas, and minorities may have been happier than anyone that the lying war sap’s reign of error was finally ending.

Riding the subway through Harlem in black velvet regalia — facing beaming white smiles from dark African faces, shining and sharing across the aisle like Washington would soon be if all goes according to plan.  A little boy beside me was admiring my buttons, and finally says in the cutest voice, “All Barack!”  So I reached in my bag and found a button for him just before he got off.  And some guy was watching me do this, and he pulled out his keys from his pocket and wound off his little Obama key-chain and handed it to me across the subway car.  It’s the coolest thing and I’ll cherish it forever.  And so I looked in my bag and found another button and hand it across to him.  And there was some guy standing nearby smiling as he watched all this go down, and the guy I just gave the button to hands it to him.  A crowd got on right after that and we all got separated — but within seconds all us strangers had just given each other something for nothing.  America was changing right before our eyes.

=========================================

Here’s where you can get Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy.

Here’s the first show for the book — a live stream on Facebook — where I perform the Top Hat in Harlem story —

https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Hassett.Canada/videos/10163863488060261/

Here’s some reviews and quotes about the book.

Here’s the Beat Museum’s Jerry Cimino’s Introduction for the book.

=========================================

=========================================

by Brian Hassett

karmacoupon@gmail.com   —  BrianHassett.com

Or here’s my Facebook account if you wanna join in there —

https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Hassett.Canada

→ 1 CommentTags:

“Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy” News & Reviews

May 31st, 2020 · Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy, Politics

.

Here’s the first live show for the book — a Facebook live stream for an online Prankster reunion — featuring The Franken Fracas, Obama’s election night, Abbie Hoffman, the climactic Bernie rally in New Hampshire & lots of other gems . . .

https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Hassett.Canada/videos/10163863488060261/


.

David Amram — Jack Kerouac’s principal musical collaborator

“Thanks for your Hip Herodotus History of Happenings!
“You really nailed the whole era, in addition to a crash course in Pranksterland and your account of the afternoon tribute to Abbie. 
“You showed a new generation your take on the relationship of the THEN and the NOW on the TV show we did together, and I know you’ll continue to do this in your OWN way, and that’s the whole idea!!”


>.

David Wills, Beatdom — “This book is fantastic!”



The Beat Museum

There are very few people on the planet who know as much about the Beat Generation, their lives and their impact, as does my friend Brian Hassett. In a way, you could say Brian wrote the book on the Beat Generation. Multiple books, in fact. And at a level of storytelling and personal detail matched by very few. This is why when Brian told me he would be having a new book coming out and asked me to write the introduction, I quickly and happily said, “Yes!”

And that new book — Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy: Adventures in Politics 1980-2020 — is out this week. It’s a departure from his usual musings about the counterculture, and is just as important. It is an immersive look at the last 40 years of politics in our country from Brian’s own unique perspective. Rather than telling tales of what we’ve all been seeing through our TV screens, Brian once again, took a hands-on approach by showing up. He showed up in 1980 and in 2000 and again in 2020, and every election in between. Over and over again Brian has been on the scene and met the people who guide our day-to-day lives as we weather the politics of our age.

Blissfully Ravaged in Democracy is a personal tale filled with personal anecdotes of both the mighty and the fallen as only Brian can tell them — from the grandest hopes and aspirations of the highest profile people in the world to the crushing defeats and the rebuilding that follows.



Simon Warner
— author of Text, Drugs and Rock n Roll and Kerouac On Record —

Brian Hassett, Beat commentator and raconteur extraordinaire, switches tack with his new book, leaving the cool chaos of the counterculture for the wild waterfront of politics USA.  Like a latter-day Hunter S. Thompson, he straps on his laptop and heads out to the Wild West of Western democracy with sharp words his only defense.  There is even an introduction from Beat Museum boss Jerry Cimino!  What’s not to love?



David Schellenberg, Chair, Democrats Abroad
— 

“Very nice book and stories. Going to New Hampshire and actually meeting all the candidates and getting a picture with every single one of them is a total game-changer.”



Mike Flynn, WUML — 

“You have been on the political scene for years, and have finally documented it, filling in that piece of the giant output of your literature documenting Adventure Tales from your life.”

“This book brings an insider perspective to what politics looks like on the ground, the human interaction, and what’s really happening — when so much of this stuff gets erased by history. What is the reality of people involved in politics and how has it changed over the years? That’s one of the interesting things that you get down in this book. It’s continuing the theme of what you do.”

“You’re the Gonzo journalist type who’s attracted to very interesting, colorful personalities, and you join them on their travels, and are able to communicate it in a way that the reader feels like they’re with you on these Adventures. It’s a really fantastic thing that you’re doing with your literary voice.”



The Democrats Abroad podcast — stories about the New Hampshire primary, with hosts David Schellenberg and Rachel Eugster (March 7th, 2020).



The Subjective Perspective interview (starting 22 minutes into the podcast) about Winnipeg, the Grateful Dead, Kerouac, Kesey, memory, Democratic unity, participating in democracy is fun, the Cassady family (April 29th, 2020).


.

Watch for upcoming shows . . . or you can order a copy here.

Or you can read The Beat Museum founder Jerry Cimino’s killer Introduction here.
.

=======================================

by Brian Hassett

karmacoupon@gmail.com   —  BrianHassett.com

Or here’s my Facebook account if you wanna join in there —

https://www.facebook.com/Brian.Hassett.Canada

→ 8 CommentsTags: ···