Ok… Here we go! FLOTSAM! is really finally happening. The boat is sitting in front of my house, growing daily. And the performers are arriving one by one to build the show. This weekend we are doing benefits in Corvallis and Portland. At the end of the month, there’s another in Seattle. Then we head down to perform at the Oregon Country Fair and re-assemble the raft in Corvallis. We’ll be floating down the Willamette River performing free shows in all the towns along the way, ending in Portland at the beginning of August. You can see the full tour, meet the troupe, and read more about the project here: http://www.flotsamrivercircus.com When I first started thinking about this project, it felt like a different planet. We weren’t handing the keys of the world over to the fascists yet, the war on women and immigrants wasn’t being waged in plain view, and my dad was still his healthy self. I know there are other places we could be putting all this energy… but this is still what I feel able to do, and I guess it’s something I still want to see manifest in the world. It's been a heavy couple of years, and I'm ready for something with some buoyancy. Thank you to all the incredible folks who’ve chosen to trust me with a big chunk of their summer, and to everyone else who has lent energy and encouragement to this idea. If you're in Oregon this summer, please come check us out. If you know anyone in any of the smaller towns we are visiting - we are looking to find friends and allies - especially in ALBANY, INDEPENDENCE, NEWBERG, WILSONVILLE and OREGON CITY. You can reply here, or e-mail me: [email protected] If all goes well, hopefully, we'll be taking the show, or something like it to the country's bigger rivers (like the Mississippi) in the future. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! -j
Seattle - Amanda Palmer is playing tonight at The Paramount. Tickets still available. I can't express how proud I am of my friend and her new album. In addition to being some of the strongest songs I've heard in a while, they are incredibly timely in this moment when women's rights to control their bodies are under attack. I hope to see you there.
SEATTLE - we've just added a FLOTSAM benefit at Hale's Palladium on June 28th. A bunch of folks from the river tour will be on board for the night. I haven't played a Seattle show in quite a while. I hope you can come! https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4242356
PORTLAND - I'm playing at the Old Church in June 15! The show is to raise money and build excitement for FLOTSAM - my crazy Willamette River floating circus project this summer. I'll be playing a full set and joined by some great folks from the project and other guests. Also, the Old Church is a crazy beautiful venue. Very excited this is all finally happening. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/jason-webley-and-friends-flotsam-river-tour-benefit-tickets-61253176901 Ps. We'll also be playing in Corvallis and Seattle - details soon!
Playing in Eugene today at Wildcraft Ciderworks Fiddlehead Festival. I'm on early, at 4:30. Hope to see you there! https://wildcraftciderworks.com/fiddlehead-festival-2019/
Playing the Fiddlehead Festival in EUGENE this Saturday! Hope to see you there! https://wildcraftciderworks.com/fiddlehead-festival-2019/
The time has come when we really need to come up with the name for the river project this summer. The original title was FLOTSAM! which it may still be... but I neither hate it or love it. If you had to name a Willamette River Floating Circus tour... what would you call it? Ps. It's happening in July, right after the Oregon Country Fair!
CALL FOR ARTISTS: WILLAMETTE RIVER CIRCUS FLOAT! This summer, a group of performers will be traveling from Eugene to Portland on a handmade raft, performing in all of the cities and towns along the way. The tour will begin at the Oregon Country Fair, where we will be performing as The Stage Left Show, and we will launch in Eugene a few days later. We are looking for 2 or 3 additional performers to round out our troupe. Movement artists, circus performers, and musicians - please apply! Multiple skills are a big plus, as is the ability to play musical instruments. Visual artists, people with set design experience, and folks who have worked around boats highly encouraged. PERFORMANCE DATES: July 12 through August 4 COMPENSATION: All income will be divided equally among all performers TO APPLY: Send a brief statement of interest to: [email protected] Please include: 1. Relevant skills and experience 2. A photo and/or link to your work
Last day and a half to support Sxip Shirey's new project, "Goodnight Little Machines." https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/goodnight-little-machines#/ I just backed!
Order today and these should arrive by xmas... ELECTRIC BLANKET and HOUSE OF ETERNAL RETURN: Two new songs from Jason and Amanda on a limited edition 10" colored vinyl record! Available for $15 - or as part of this bundle with two CDs, playing cards, a limited print by Jason, stickers, and more for $25. www.jasonwebley.com
Made a little "holiday" print to stick in people's packages this month. Free with orders over $20: http://www.jasonwebley.com/
New record with Amanda Palmer plus a bunch of other stuff on sale until the end of the year, including a few things I've dug out of storage that have been out of print: http://www.jasonwebley.com/
“November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy … all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God.” - Kurt Vonnegut, 1973 The last man killed in World War One was an American soldier named Henry Gunther who charged a German machine gun blockade just one minute before the ceasefire. His fellow soldiers were begging him to stop, and the Germans operating the machine guns yelled to him in English saying “stop, the war is over”. But Gunther, eager to redeem himself after recently being demoted in rank, kept up his charge and after firing off a shot or two, was killed instantly by a burst of machine gun fire at 10:59 am on November 11th, 1918. This was just one of thousands of senseless deaths that morning. Knowing that the war was about to end, many generals kept sending their men out of the trenches trying to capture a better position just in case the ceasefire did not hold. Allied forces kept firing over enemy lines intent on using up their ammunition in those last hours to avoid the hassle of having to haul it home. Between 5:00 am when the armistice was signed, and 11:00 am when it went into effect, there were approximately 11,000 needless casualties. *** A few nights ago I think I started an unnecessary fight in my family. I didn’t think I was starting a fight. I thought a quick phone call could fix a misunderstanding, but when that wasn’t the case I got angry. And when it was clear that I wasn’t making things better, and voices were telling me to stop - I kept charging. Later this month, my parents will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. It’s a bittersweet occasion because my father was sent home on hospice in the middle of last month. One of the valves on his heart has stopped working, and he barely survived his last surgery. There was a realistic possibility that he wouldn’t make it that long. Around that time, my mother began planning a gathering of friends and family to celebrate his life while he’s still here to appreciate it. She decided the event would happen on November 24th, the day after their anniversary. This worried me. For one thing, it was going to be a hectic few days with Thanksgiving, their anniversary, and the party. But mainly, I was afraid he might not make it that long. But I think that either consciously or unconsciously my mom picked that date to will him to hang on at least until their anniversary. And so far it seems to be working. My father’s condition hasn’t declined noticeably since he’s been home. (Knock on wood.) Earlier this week, my mom called to inform me that they were going to be moving the party a day earlier, to the same day as their anniversary. Someone in the family couldn’t take time of work to stay the extra day. I thought maybe they weren’t aware of the significance of the date, and I called them. “You understand that this is their fiftieth anniversary, and probably the last anniversary that they will ever have together. They love you and want you to be there for the party, so they will move the party to that same day if you ask them to… but is there any way you can stay so their anniversary can just be about their anniversary?” I was told they were aware of his health, and that what I was saying was harsh, and that they just couldn’t do the extra day. Those weren’t the exact words. The choice of words really upset me. I said I was hanging up before I got angrier. I did hang up, but I kept getting upset. And after talking to other family members, it was clear that moving the party bothered me a lot more than it bothered anyone else. And now it looked like my inability to let the idea go might have caused a serious rift. *** They called it World War One “the war to end all wars.” It touched nearly every continent and cost almost twenty million lives, one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. It’s often called the first “modern war” because new technology introduced so many new ways to kill people en masse. World War One saw the first widespread use of the machine gun, airstrikes and chemical warfare. After a series of articles by H.G. Wells and later, an address by President Woodrow Wilson, the nickname became common, “the war to end all wars.” But it was just two decades after the gunfire stopped and exhausted astonished soldiers on both sides climbed out of their trenches into a sudden hopeful silence that the machinery of war was back in full swing with an even greater capacity for annihilation. Watching the world right now, I can’t help but wonder if this is what it felt like leading up to World War II. Aspiring dictators with cartoonish over-saturated egos are popping up and being voted into power with alarming consistency all over the planet, and in my own country. I understand that the parallels are not perfect, and I pray that we aren’t on the edge of something devastating, but adding the recent election in Brazil to the US election in 2016 and the rising tide of nationalism all over the globe, especially in Europe, I wonder what was like to have lived through the First World War and to watch as Stalin, Franco, Mussolini and Hitler rose to power. Will the names Trump, Putin and Bolsonaro have the same grim resonance in 80 years? It amazes, but doesn’t at all surprise me, that today - the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War One - is slipping by somewhat quietly - a curious side note in the endless frantic news cycle. There have been a few mentions in recent days, and obviously today it's getting attention. But I feel like there should have been much more. This is the Armistice Day Centennial, perhaps the most symbolic moment of peace in human history. Up until August, the president still had plans to go through with his ridiculous military parade through DC today. At least that is no longer happening, though it would certainly have provided some dark poetry. *** Last night I reminded my father of the significance of today - the one hundred year anniversary of the war. He asked me what year World War II began. I told him it was twenty one years later in 1939. He asked when the US entered the war. It was the same year he was born, 1941. “That’s what I thought,” he said. “When did it end?” I didn’t know that offhand. I looked it up and told him what Google told me, September 2nd, 1945. “That isn’t right. It was closer to my birthday. When did we stop fighting?” I did some more digging - Germany surrendered on May 7th, but the war in the Pacific went on for four more months and the war officially ended on the 2nd of September. But my dad insisted it was closer to his birthday, so I read more. He was right, the documents weren’t signed until later, but the Japanese surrendered on his birthday - August 15th, 1945. He was six years old. “I remember my dad was upset because all the stores were closed and we couldn’t buy ice cream for the party. But we went to this one dairy outside of town, and my dad was so happy, because they were open.” *** Eleven. November eleven. Eleven eleven. This number has woven its way through my adult life. It’s embarrassing. A lot of people have mystical ideas about numbers, and about this number in particular. I’ve never wanted to be someone with mystical ideas about numbers and dates. But there’s been a relentless uncanny series of circumstances - mostly around my love life and my family history - that have made me aware whenever I see elevens starting to pile up. It’s never been a clear thing - but a melange of auspiciousness, hopefulness, mixed with deep sadness and dark poetry. I often think of the number eleven as simply what it literally is - two parallel lines. I’ve wondered for a while what I’d spend today doing, and what the world would spend the day doing. I guess I’m spending the morning writing a rambling essay drawing poorly thought out parallels between my little world and world history. I’m not sure what the significance or importance of numbers and anniversaries are, other than our need to ascribe meaning to things and to find patterns in the world. My parents decided yesterday to move the party back to the original date - and with a little luck, twelve days after the one hundred year anniversary of the armistice they will celebrate fifty years together with the family they built. These two disparate things have real no connection. Outside of my head.
Friendly reminder, in the following states, you can STILL register to vote today: WA, CA, MT, ID, WY, CO, UT, MN, IA, WI, IL, VT, NH, ME, CT (and DC). http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/same-day-registration.aspx http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/same-day-registration.aspx
EVERETT - There's a very important choice on the ballot. For better representation of the whole city, be sure to vote to bring 5 districts to the Everett City Council. The ballot is a bit confusing - there are two parts: vote YES on Proposition 1 to say you want representation by district. And then choose OPTION A to support 5 districts and 2 at large candidates.
I don't want to hear any more about a "blue wave". Remember 2016 - don't count on anything. Get out and vote. There's still a lot left to lose. The Democrats aren't guaranteed to keep the House. So many of these races are close enough that they could really go either way depending on who is more motivated to come out tomorrow. You can tell me all about the "blue wave" on wednesday.
New video from Amanda Palmer and me. Directed by Hoku Uchiyama. Happy Halloween Eve everyone! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ARMZfdJHZU&feature=youtu.be
In case you didn't see this already... Last weekend, on the anniversary of the New York Times article detailing assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, and as the Senate was busy confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, my friend Amanda released this incredible video made by a cast and crew of over 60 women: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juubxnkgnS8 The Senate's decision last week was demoralizing and heartbreakingly predictable, and I don't know what else to say except that I'm happy to have such strong, articulate, kick-ass women in my life and in the world.
This is Artis the Spoonman's new album. Produced by Mark Ettinger, this is his first record in over 20 years. There's some really nice spoon playing moments, but mostly these songs capture other aspects of Artis' personality and his heart. Please give a listen, and please come celebrate the release of this record with Artis, Mark, myself and bunch of others at his 70th birthday tomorrow night at The Neptune Theater. My favorite track is "Stay Away From Me." https://artisthespoonman.bandcamp.com/releases
I have a favor to ask. Next Wednesday Artis the Spoonman turns 70. I’ve been working with a bunch of friends and fellow performers to throw a big celebration of his music and life at the Neptune. We’ve got Jim Page, Baby Gramps, Amy Denio, the Flying Karamazov Brothers and bunch of other folks lending their time to make an amazing night. So far, ticket sales are at just 25%. I’m still hopeful that we can get a full house - and this is where I need to ask your help. Artis is a Seattle icon. Many people know him because of the Soundgarden song “Spoonman” but arguably even more know him from his years performing at the Pike Place Market, Folk Life, the Oregon Country Fair. I feel like there are probably a half million people in the Seattle area who know Artis by name and think of him fondly. We just need a tiny fraction of those folks to decide to come out to this show. Can you help spread the word? A few years back, at a concert of mine at Town Hall, I invited Artis to come join me for a song. The video below is from that night. The room went crazy for him - it was palpable how loved this man is. My hope in putting this night together has been to have one special night just for Artis. I don't believe anything like this has happened before, and it probably won’t happen again. I hope you’ll be able to join us to celebrate his 70th birthday (and the release of his first album in over 20 years.) And even if you can’t come - please help us to boost the signal about this show. Share the event. Make a post. Ask your friends to do the same. I’ll put a ticket link and the Facebook event in the comments. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8RQd92WJiI&t=2s