Thursday, June 09, 2011

June 2011 - Anne Feeney's Fellow Travelers' Advisory - VOLUME SEVEN, #3

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29,000 feet above Dallas, TX
SW Flight 1337
1 June 2011

Hi there hellraisers -

No smashed cars or broken bones this month.  I had a great week at the Kerrville Folk Festival visiting my daughter and her wonderful new beau, Mike Meadows ... as well as hundreds of cherished friends, staffers and performers that I've met there over the past 23 years.  The drought in the TX hill country is devastating.  I'm so afraid that the wonderful sycamore tree we planted beside the Threadgill Theater in memory of Al Grierson won't make it through this season.  I'm haunted by environmentalist David Suzuki's moving speech at the Ontario Public Sector Employee Union's convention a few years ago - "Every day we read about this drought, that tsunami, this monsoon, that earthquake as if these events are unrelated."  It seems like weather extremes make the front page of the paper almost daily now.  Even as I began to worry about the environment in the 70's, I always assumed I would be long gone before the catastrophic consequences of our waste, greed and poor stewardship of the planet made themselves manifest.  I think anyone my age can testify to dramatic changes in the weather since our childhood.  We used to have fireflies by the thousands when we were kids.  I haven't seen a field of fireflies in almost twenty years.

.......  well, now it's June 9th and I'm back on the ground and at home in Pittsburgh with my son, Dan, his wife Monique, and the oh-so-big Sebastian! (now nine months old with three teeth and very cute ...)  My daughter Amy arrived last night.  We're all together to celebrate my upcoming 60th birthday.  I hope you're planning to come for some part of the festivities.  Please call Amy (503-737-8490) or email her ( or me ( and let us know when you're coming and how long you can stay!

I've got a ton of doctor appointments and tests this month... including another PET scan and brain MRI...  Swedes don't cross their fingers for luck, they hold their thumbs.  I must say that either technique makes typing difficult.

Thank you so much for your kindness, generosity, love and support.  My docs think I'm "amazing."  I know that it's your love that has lifted me.

Solidarity forever!



I'm really hoping that a lot of my dear friends and family that I haven't heard from yet are still planning to visit me in western Maryland at Deep Creek Lake June 25-July 2nd.  It looks like we'll be crowded on the 1st of July, but the early part of the week will be mellow, joyous, filled with music and good food.  There is virtually no humidity, it's warm (c. 80) but not scorching hot, and the evenings are cool and star-filled.  We have beautiful lakefront homes rented for your comfort.  Sheets and towels are provided, as well as beautiful well-appointed kitchens, and each cottage has a hot tub.  Come join me and my family as we celebrate together!  call Amy at 503-737-8490 or email her - or me and let us know if you'll be able to join us for some part of the week.


Some of the best pictures from the fabulous New York benefit concert were taken by Joel Simpson and can be viewed at this link.  It was a breathtakingly wonderful evening.  Bev Grant did a fantastic job of organizing the event with lots of help from the Brooklyn Women's Chorus, George Mann and Chris Owens and Felicity Frizbie -

Pete was in fabulous form, and I got to sing "If I Had A Hammer" with Pete Seeger and Peter Yarrow!  Woo HOO!!  Peter Yarrow hung around for the after-party where he graciously autographed programs and sat through countless photo ops before heading upstairs to the music room, where he socialized with us for another hour or so!!  There we enjoyed great music by Four Shillings Short (, Pam Parker, Doug Gauss and the Enablers, Born In A Cent, Colleen Kattau and so many other wonderful performers.


Since 1988 I have made this wonderful annual event a "must" on my calendar.  Labor culture enthusiasts and cultural workers of all persuasions converge on the National Labor College again this year to write, sing, dance, make puppets, discuss organizing strategies and campaigns and to honor my wonderful friend Jon Fromer with the Joe Hill Award. Jon was a founder of the Freedom Song Network, the Bolshevik Cafe, the Western Workers Labor Heritage Festival - and has also produced Emmy award winning television for KQED in the Bay Area.  He's a magnificent songwriter and performer, too.  Longtime AFSCME activist and New York City Labor Chorus founder Bobbi Rabinowitz will also be honored.  There is still time to register for this wonderful conference, to be held June 16-18 at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, MD...  - See you there!


Last month I asked you to consider signing a petition to support my friend, labor educator Judy Ancel. She and her colleague, Don Giljum , were "Breitbarted" by that scurrilous pseudo-journalist.  Hundreds of you signed the petition, and I'm pleased to report that Judy's university backed her up and protected her, and her colleague received an apology and an invitation to apply for an adjunct teaching position.


It was so nourishing to get three days with my union sisters and brothers at the Highlander Center last month.  We planned for the future of our union and worked and sang together at that inspiring and historic location.  We were joined by union sister Bernice Johnson Reagon (MacArthur Fellow, SNCC singer, founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock, mother of Toshi and total legend).  Here's a link to a video of her leading a song at breakfast the last morning.


When I thanked Bernice from the bottom of my heart for sharing her wisdom, wit and song with us for three days she replied - "You are the fiercest, most bad-ass person I have met in a long time!"  I told her I'd be quoting her.  She's definitely one of my s/heros.


Julie's wonderful daughter Sara and her partner David are expecting a baby soon!  I become a "plastic grandma" again!  Sara celebrated her birthday on June 4th - belated gratulera po din fodelsdag, karaste!

And Happy Anniversary to Dan and Monique on June 16th - also Erin Grefenstette and Mark Henninger!

The next newsletter will be coming to you direct from my weeklong birthday party at Deep Creek Lake!

Love to all