Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fellow Travelers' Advisory from Anne Feeney - FEBRUARY 2007, VOLUME TWO, #11

Fellow Travelers' Advisory from Anne Feeney

Taken in front of the Fulford Community Hall on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

In this Issue:

Helen Hill
The Curious Case of Jennifer Strange: A Groundhog Day Parable
Molly Ivins, George Becker - Presente!
Family News
Nice Review of If I Can't Dance in Fort Worth Weekly
Great Source for Bumper Stickers, Tees, Posters & more!
Those Oscars

Immediate destinations:

Fort Worth, TX
Denton, TX
Dallas, TX
Austin, TX
College Station, TX
Sunset Valley, TX
Steelton, PA (near Harrisburg)
Pittsburgh, PA
and on to Florida--
then New England!

complete up-to-date tour details on my tourdates page


Thanks for being on my list, coming to my shows & buying my recordings (and in many cases, hosting me at your home, forwarding this email to your friends, telling me about upcoming conferences, conventions and riots in your area)!!! I could not do this without you.

CDBaby has all my CDs. Visit CDBaby to get them.
Amazon is a terrible place to buy music and books. They give authors and artists a terrible deal.

You can sign up for the Fellow Travelers' Advisory at one of my concerts, or online. Click to subscribe


Here I am almost a week late getting the February news out. I'm back in frigid Pittsburgh after a great tour of the Pacific Northwest and Canadian Southwest. I'm going to put a tour journal up on my news page soon but suffice it to say I am overwhelmed by the generosity, hospitality, solidarity and friendship extended to me on that tour.

I hope you can curl up with a cup of something warm and catch up on my news, and that you'll drop me a line and let me know what's up with you when you've finished reading this.


At you'll get a belated chance to become acquainted with a dynamic 36 year old filmmaker, songwriter, wife and mom who was senselessly murdered in New Orleans on January 4th.

Those of you who are enjoying my newest CD, "If I Can't Dance" are familiar with the catchy opening number - "Emma Goldman." It was written by Helen Hill and her husband, Paul Gailiunas.

The gunman also shot Paul three times in the course of this random act of violence in the city that America seems to have forgotten. Luckily, their adorable two year old son, Francis, was unhurt.

I hope you will be moved to make a donation to one of the funds set up to memorialize Helen's all-too-brief life.


While I was in Sacramento I heard a story about a radio contest sponsored by KDND that reveals some interesting truths about America at the dawn of the 21st century.

the background

KDND "107.9 The End" had gotten hold of one of the highly advertised Nintendo Wii game systems. You've probably seen commercials or news stories about the lines waiting to buy these things. KDND's contest was "Hold Your Wee for a Wii."

The winner would be the person who could drink the most water without urinating.

One of the twenty contestants that morning was Jennifer Strange - a married mother of three young boys. She knew that her children really wanted this expensive game system. The contestants were given 8 ounces of water to drink every fifteen minutes for two hours. After three hours of this, all but two contestants had given up... Jennifer Strange and a woman named Lisa.

You can listen to Jennifer joking with the DJs during the contest. She loses the contest to Lisa. A few hours after leaving the station she was found dead from "water intoxication." She had consumed 7.5 liters (almost 2 gallons) of water during the contest.

the reaction

While everyone agrees it was sad that this young mother died, there were many voices (including the Sacramento newspaper) talking about her 'free will,' her 'personal responsibility' and the 'release' that she signed. It set me to thinking.

I think it is our nature to trust others. We think, "Would the radio station invite me to do this if it could kill me?" But perhaps our trust is misplaced.

Every day United States workers are told to do things that are dangerous and unsafe. (Every year 60,000 death claims are paid to the families of those workers.) Every day soldiers are ordered to do things in Iraq, Guantanamo and elsewhere that violate the military code of ethics and the Geneva Conventions. Every day we open the newspaper or turn on the television and we hear about climate change, about the cost of the war in Iraq, about the violence in New Orleans. We certainly have more information about the life-threatening dangers facing us than Jennifer Strange did about the 'dangers' of drinking water.

Do we speak up? Do we refuse unsafe work? Do we support soldiers who are refusing to violate international law and the dictates of their consciences? Do we demand an end to the war? Do we demand responsible planning for a sustainable future? Do we demand housing and social services and law enforcement for the people of New Orleans?

Or do we sit at home and just keep swallowing, swallowing, swallowing the platitudes coming out of the White House? Why? in order to continue our lifestyle? We have the information we need to save our lives and the lives of future generations. If we ignore it and keep swallowing the lies coming to us from Washington and FOX (sic) News, how are we different from Jennifer Strange? How can we expect to avert her fate?



We lost two great fighters.....

Molly Ivins - August 30, 1944 - January 31, 2007

Molly Ivins was one of the brightest, funniest, and fiercest women I have ever known. I only had the pleasure of one evening with her in 2003 at the Debs Dinner ... and she was not well, but she was brilliant. Up until almost the end, Molly was at Camp Casey listening to opponents of the war and offering her own insights. Let's end this war for Molly.

check out this wonderful footage broadcast on PBS

George Becker - died February 3, 2007 - age 78

My friend George Becker led an extraordinary life. He started on a labor gang in the open hearth at Granite City Steel in Illinois when he was 15 years old. He went on to become the President of the United Steelworkers' Union of America in 1993. He became labor's voice in the anti-corporate globalization movement. He brought thousands of Steelworkers to Seattle for the WTO demonstrations in 1999. The USWA presence was essential to the impact we had there.

I performed at the convention where the Rubber Workers Union merged with USWA (on my birthday) ... it was a really close vote. Rev Joseph Lowery spoke. Rich Trumka spoke. In the end, I think that merger was approved by seven votes. My dear brothers from Bridgestone Firestone in Decatur may have cast the pivotal votes... I'd like to think I had a small hand in that outcome.

During President Becker's tenure I worked on the lockouts at MSI and A/K steel. He never failed to inspire and empower his members. And he had a great sense of humor.

George was the voice of the rank and file. He never lost touch with them. Read his obituary in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Rest well, comrades.



I'm trying to put together a family phone/email/website directory with birthdays, anniversaries and snail mail included. Send me names, addresses, phone, birthday, anniversary, website, blog... and some jpgs...

You can follow Dan and Monique's June 15th wedding plans at

Karen McCahill is planning a move from San Francisco to Park Slope at the close of this school year to be near Kristin & Anthony (expecting in May!!! mazel tov!), Erin & Paul (and Henry and James), and Jody ... all in the Big Apple. I guess I'll be looking for new San Francisco accommodations now.

Cousin Erin Grefenstette and husband Mark are expecting a baby too! Congratulations!

Kevin McCahill has retired from Social Security... Congratulations!


"IF I CAN'T DANCE" reviewed in Fort Worth Weekly

Tom Geddie wrote a nice review of "If I Can't Dance" which was published in the Fort Worth Weekly. Thanks!



Northland Poster Collective is a great source for posters, buttons, tee shirts and so much more ... and unlike the merchandise available from most suppliers, Northland's goods are sweat free and collectively produced... Shop with a clean conscience!



What a great year this has been for films! Since last month I saw Pan's Labyrinth, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Children, Running with Scissors, Venus, Volver, The Devil Wears Prada and Notes on a Scandal.

Pan's Labyrinth was my favorite movie of 2006 in a very very tough year to make such a decision. Set in 1944 in Spain, while resistance fighters are still taking on Franco's fascists, the central character is a lonely and frightened 10/11 year old girl. Her father has been killed and her mother is in the last stages of a very difficult pregnancy. The coming baby's father is the fascist military ruler of the village. There were about 4 minutes of this film where I could not look at the screen because of some graphic (but appropriate) violence. The cinematography is breathtaking, and the film beautifully explores the concepts of free will, submission to authority and fascism. It's definitely not a movie for kids, although the young woman in the film is amazing. Should be a shoe-in for best foreign language film (but, alas, I haven't seen any of the other nominees).

Letters from Iwo Jima would be a somewhat formulaic war film if the heros were Americans. As it is, the heros are Japanese soldiers defending Iwo Jima. It makes for a very powerful anti-war film. It is impossible not to realize the ways we are manipulated into believing wars are just. My pick for best film of 2006...

Little Children was a surprisingly good film. Kate Winslet turns in the performance of her career to date. I've always thought of her as kind of a lightweight ... I thought she almost ruined an excellent film - Finding Neverland. She's utterly compelling in this film. And Jackie Earle Haley is fantastic. I still think it's Helen Mirren's year for best actress in The Queen.

I've ordered "Half Nelson" from Buzzflash. I'm hoping that Ryan Gosling is worthy of best actor out of this field. I thought VENUS was little more than an overblown homage to Peter O'Toole - I don't care if he's Irish or that he's been nominated a gazillion times before without winning... I didn't like it. I don't think I'm going to see Blood Diamond in a theater either... The reviews convinced me I would hate it. I usually have no use for Leonardo Di Caprio, but he really dazzled me in "THE DEPARTED." He should have gotten a nomination there.

I loved Volver. It might have been my favorite film of 2005 if it had been released then. This year was just too tough. Devil wears Prada was entertaining, but out of its league here. Sorry, Meryl -- it's Helen.

Notes on a Scandal had me engaged throughout ... but when it was over I felt kind of embarrassed to have been so engaged ... the way you feel if you get teary-eyed watching an AT&T commercial... in the end, I found the plot completely incredible. Judi Dench was great, but it's Helen. Now Cate Blanchett is quite wonderful in this, but I'd rather see Abigail Breslin (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE - hilarious!) get it. Apparently every TV viewer in America wants Jennifer Hudson. If anyone wins from DREAM GIRLS it should be Eddie Murphy... but that crop of nominees is the toughest pick I think... ALL the supporting actors were terrific!

If Scorcese isn't best director this year I'll be astonished.

Well, that's it for this month. I'm looking forward to the Lone Star State and testing out my daughter Amy's newly acquired massage skills! Let me know what you're up to.


Friday, February 9th, 2007
Live on Voices@Work on KPFT-FM
90.1 FM or streaming at link below
Houston, TX

listen in to this fabulous labor radio show
from 8-9PM and phone in a pledge! 713.526.5738 - KPFT is a great Pacifica station!

Saturday, February 10th, 2007 7:30 PM
Last Minute Add! B-There or B-Square
1919 Hemphill St
Fort Worth, TX 76110

Price: pay what you can
Don't be late for this show - If there aren't 10 people in the house by 8PM I'm taking the folks who show up on time out for drinks. I love this venue. They're doing great work. Check out the website! and also the review in the FORT WORTH WEEKLY

Sunday, February 11th, 2007 5:00 PM
Anne Feeney in Concert
219 W Oak
Denton, TX
Price: $10 suggested

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007 8:00 PM
Red Hot (Grand)Mamas (Anne Feeney and Lu Mitchell) do Valentine's Day at
Poor David's Pub
Dallas, TX 75215
(214) 565-1295
Price: $10 adv/$12 at the door
This show is with the fabulous Lu Mitchell

Friday, February 16th, 2007 8:00 PM
Broken Hearts' Ball with Laura Freeman
Cafe Caffeine
909 West Mary Street
Austin, TX 78704
Price: $10 suggested
possible special guests

Saturday, February 17th, 2007 7:30 PM
House Concert
Danny Yeager's house
College Station, TX
(979) 777-8758
Price: $10-20 - pay what you can
email address is touchst(@)
Call or email Danny right away to reserve a seat!

Sunday, February 18th, 2007 3:00 PM
House Concert
Carol and Peter Knight's house
Sunset Valley, TX
Price: $10-20 sliding-pay what you can
call or email to reserve a seat and get directions...

Saturday, March 10th, 2007 7:00 PM
Benefit Concert for United for Progress -
Harrisburg's Fabulous Labor Radio Show

Steelworkers' Local 1688 Hall
200 Gibson St
Steelton, PA 17113
Price: $10
Rick Smith's show on WHYL, 960 AM airs on Saturdays from 2-5 - and also streams on the internet, so you can listen or call in from home - WHYL Call in (717) 960-0960 - all shows are available as podcasts, too, so that you can get your labor news on the run!

Sunday, March 11th, 2007 4:00 PM
Friendship House Concerts Presents Anne Feeney
Jim and LLouise Altes' House
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Price: $10
more details soon.

Your moment of Zen:

My husband Julie Leonardsson posing with Seattle's underpass troll

No comments: