Friday, November 23, 2012

Living In the Community

The Greensprings area
 I've been here in the Ashland, Oregon neighborhood since 1977--the years have accumulated. The town and surrounding area has changed considerably in some ways, with many more new residents from urban places like SF, LA and NY.  It's speedier than it used to be, and more sophisticated.

Southern Oregon is a beautiful region and a healthy place to live on many levels. I think that there is a greater variety of high-quality organic food available here at lower prices than anywhere else. There are wonderful hikes, swimming holes, dance, yoga, marathons and other ways to be physically active.

The Ashland community is artistic and educated; there's plenty of workshops, performances and other gatherings to choose from. I have a lot of dear friends here. Yesterday I drove up to the Greensprings to visit two of them for Thanksgiving.  It was a marvelous meal and it was a sumptuous repast to be with them, too.

I had a tour of our grassroots media world this week. It was an easy tour because this is not a big city. We have only two community media outlets here. First I went on Craig Comstock's show Like Wow! which airs on RVTV, a cable station whose offices are part of Southern Oregon University. Craig and I talked about positive aging. It was a lot of fun. I will post a link to the show when it is available. I believe it's airing on December 3rd at 8pm for those of you who are in the Rogue Valley.

Craig Comstock

 Craig is a great interviewer. He has a nice sense of humor and moves from topic to topic very easily. I don't get nervous when I speak in public or in media situations, but he made me feel even more relaxed and comfortable than I already did.

We talked about stereotypes, misconceptions, positive solutions and inspiring elders, among other things. Of course, I talked about A New Wrinkle, our musical revue. I had the chance to sing Baba Yaga's Raga (wow, I am looking forward to seeing how that looks) and Craig and I did some alternate line reading of part of the song Ancestors, the choral piece that begins A New Wrinkle.
The front door to KSKQ, our  homegrown radio station

I also went on Lavelle Foos' KSKQ radio show Wonderful World of Women.

Both of these venues, RVTV and KSKQ, are arranged in a low-budget, minimalist style. Keynotes are make sure you dress warmly enough, the rug is tacky but it looks okay on camera, watch out for that shelf or you will hurt your head. RVTV's studio is roomy, but KSKQ's studio is quite tiny.

I loved the entry door at KSKQ, ornamented with a small windmill and some plastic chairs.

I am glad that community and grassroots media exist!  Our print and broadcast media have become rather monolithic. It's refreshing and important to have the freedom to share a wide variety of expressions, not simply those that align with high profile people and mainstream views.

It was great to connect with Lavelle via her show. I've known Lavelle for decades. She is a sculptor, coppersmith and musician. She plays beautiful native American  flute and she is a wonderful artist.  You can learn more about her art at her website.

Lavelle Foos
Lavelle and I enjoyed talking with each other for an hour about creative, conscious aging. It was invigorating for both of us, and hopefully for the listeners, too. During the show, Lavelle played Sex after 60,  one of the songs from A New Wrinkle. You can hear an mp3 of that song and three others at our website,

That was my brief grassroots media blitz, at least for now.  This weekend, I'm back to writing more songs and developing a new class series for 2013.

The Poetry of Aging

I'll be offering The Poetry of Aging at the Ashland Library on Sunday, December 2nd at 1pm.  I will be performing poems about aging by many different poets, including Yeats, Shakespeare, May Sarton, Dylan Thomas and others.  The event is presented at no charge by the library. Please join us if the spirit moves you. It is going to be a lot of fun!

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