Sunday, February 17, 2008

Feb. 17,

Good morning, I did drive up to Nevada City last night for the New Old Time Chautauqua show to benefit Hospitality House Shelter. It was amazing to say the least, a true Vaudeville act, juggling, tap dancing, Bubble Magic, yodeling and singing, it was a real whip cracking bang up good time, all accompanied by the Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band - Orchestra, need I say more? OK I will. Everybody was so nice and although the show was for the Hospitality House one got the sense everybody came out for or Utah as well. It's easy to see why dad choose to settle in Nevada City. The folks there have done what no other city in America could do, give him a place to call home. That means a lot to all of us, thank you.

I am going to head out and make the drive back to San Francisco. I will give you an update on Utah's health as soon as I can.


Jordan Fisher Smith said...


Last night we attended the New Old Time Chautauqua show at St. Joseph's in Grass Valley, California, which was organized by Utah Phillips, Joanna Robinson, Robin Worley, and friends as a benefit for the Hospitality House homeless shelter. In its last performance tonight--Sunday--it is a must see.

I suppose one way to describe this variety show is that it will make you laugh until you cry or wet your pants. Another is that a good number of the people involved have been working together for more than thirty years. Another is that the show's sense of social conscience and irreverent fun somehow embodies that of a whole generation: those longhairs who are now going gray. It is a moment not to be missed, one to be savored and understood.

Will you have another chance, while she's still performing, to see tiny Faith Petric, now 92 years old and a living treasure of the era of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, and the Weavers, belt out a couple of folksongs without so much as a quaver in her voice and the whole audience singing along? When was the last time you saw the Flying Karamozov Brothers, whose zaniness, polymath instrumental skill, and polished comic timing is impossible to over-rate? The senior member of that group has been doing shows for 35 years. Did you know that Tom Noddy is still doing his "Bubble Magic" show? You had to be very loaded to think up this show, but then, you had to practice it straight--at least part of the time--for three decades to get it this good.

There are poignant moments--the richness of Jim Page's songwriting. And of course, the splendor of Haute Trash. I have left out three quarters of the show.

Do it for Utah and Hospitality House, but prepare to be wildly, richly entertained and leave with some clues about who this generation--now facing the kind of physical mortality that Utah is--are, and what they have contributed to what was otherwise becoming a brittle and moribund American spirit.

Jordan Fisher Smith

Ken Sternberg said...

Thanks so very much, Duncan, for keeping all of us who love Utah informed about his condition. I'm thinking about him every day. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help.

Anonymous said...

Hey Utah,
Hello. Sending you lots of love. When I last saw you in northern California at the Kate Wolf Fest, Pat took a picture of you that is so elegant and full of grace. Makes me smile every time I see it. Big hug to you my dear. Thanks for telling the stories and teaching us how by example. Holly Near