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
On October 3rd Artis the Spoonman is turning 70. I've been working with STG Presents to put together this night to celebrate his birthday at The Neptune Theater on October 3rd. So far we've got Jim Page, Amy Denio, Mark Ettinger, Nanda, Baby Gramps, Steve Fisk and myself as part of the night, with other guests to be announced. And of course, Artis will be there sharing his virtuosic spoon playing and his giant heart. https://www.stgpresents.org/neptune/calendar/eventdetail/4360/-/artis-the-spoonman Back in 1998, on one of my first days as a street performer at the Market, Artis saw me and singled me out. The kindness and encouragement he showed me at a fragile moment that has never left me.
LA PEOPLE - I'm coming down at the end of next week to work on a video with Hoku Uchiyama for a song Amanda Palmer and I recorded earlier this year. The video is pretty ambitious - more of a little film - and we're trying to keep it within Amanda's budget. We're looking for help with some tricky specific locations, and a few small roles. - Department store (like Target or Wallmart) where we can film in the early morning before opening. Hoping to find someone who manages or works at such a place that can help. - Nursing home, hospice, or similar space - a clinical place with bedrooms and a large interior corridor. - A home with a fireplace in the living room, and a boy’s bedroom on 1st floor. Would be great if the bedroom has a large window. - College dorm room - A creative-looking, hip loft space - the focus of this scene is the bed. - A plain, sterile office space - possibly a cubicle. - A small bakery or donut shop where baking happens at night. We are also still looking for a few specific folks for small roles in the video: - Young boy age 10-12 - Older people ages 70+ - Punk-ish teenagers We have some $ budgeted for the parts, but don't really have a budget for locations. Filming will be mostly at night from August 11-17. Please send a photo and contact info ASAP and we’ll be in touch! We're really hoping to mail these all down this week. Write to [email protected] (Also, if anyone works in wardrobe and perhaps has access to costumes - that could also be a big help.) Thank you, thank you! -Jason
Rhino Fights tomorrow (sunday) at Gasworks Park - 1 pm. This was one of my favorite things from Camp Tomato. I've got a bunch of big boxes and I'll make a big pot of soup. We'll have a potluck picnic and then some rhino battles. Weather is supposed to be nice with a light breeze. Feel free to bring kites. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLihWCYWeHU
A few weeks back, I posted about the possibility of doing a sort of mini Camp Tomato at some point. I'm now looking at next weekend in Gasworks Park. Nothing very grandtacular, just an afternoon of picnicking, kites, and rhinoceros fights. I was thinking to do this at around 1 pm next Saturday or Sunday (July 7 or 8). Does anyone have any preferences?
Seattle folks! Come to the Tractor Tavern tonight. Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band is playing. I'll be sitting in with them for 'Two Bottles of Wine', as usual. And hopefully there'll be another surprise as well. Ps. Thanks for all the birthday wishes yesterday! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBc9W2pfhbw
Hey everyone, This month marks a year since my father went into critical condition after his heart surgery. After coming very close to death and spending nearly six months in the hospital, he’s back home and on the slow path of recovery. I’ve been pretty quiet this past year. I had to cancel a few big projects that were supposed to happen around this time last year - the ONCE festival and the floating circus trip on the Willamette River. Thank you to everyone for understanding why I wasn’t able to move forward with those plans. Since then, I've played some shows with Amanda and did a short run of dates with Night Vale, but between the stuff with my dad, other larger tragedies going on with close friends, and the steady torrent of dark news in the US and abroad… I haven’t really had much to say. In a few days I’ll be turning 44 (a nice multiple of 11) and in the weeks after, I’ll be poking my head out a bit - mainly a few festivals on the West Coast. I still don’t have the energy or momentum to attempt something like the festival or the river trip, but I’m happy to be playing out a bit. I’m also doing a night in Seattle at the Fremont Abbey on June 29th. This will be my first hometown headlining show in more than a year. Also performing is Hannah Mayree, a talented songwriter from Sacramento who I’m very excited to share the stage with. I think there may be another surprise guest or two, and I’m hoping I’ll also have a few new things to share… I’m also thinking of trying to do something the following day around Seattle. I’m not fully sure what that would be yet, something a little like Camp Tomato - a picnic, some games, maybe some music, a moment to say hello. If that sounds fun to you, let me know. If people seem excited, I’ll get more excited. After these shows, I’ll think about doing some more. I’ve got a vague idea that I should visit Europe sometime this autumn. And there are a lot of other places I haven’t been in a long while. If there's somewhere I should go, let me know and I'll do my best. I've also been toying with the idea of doing some recording. I have a little stack of songs that I'm wondering what to do with. Thank you to everyone who wrote with encouraging words last year, I’m sorry if I never got back to you. Ok, That’s all for now. -jason
VANCOUVER FOLKS - Somehow there are still tickets left for Amanda Palmer's #NinjaTED2018 gig at the Vogue with a bunch of amazing speakers and musicians that she's stealing from TED. Plus Neil Gaiman, Geoff Berner, and me! Tickets are just $20 and all proceeds go to The Vancouver Food Bank! https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1612191/ … https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1612191/
I need to make a decision about whether to attempt the ONCE festival again this summer. Once was my favorite part of 2016 - a tiny weekend of music, camping and silliness. I was excited to see how it might grow, but last year I cancelled the event after my father's heart surgery and illness. I've been questioning whether I should try again, or perhaps resign to the idea that it was only supposed to happen... once. It's a strange time in my heart, and in the world. I'm leaning towards trying again. If such a thing were to happen... how do people feel about the last weekend of July (27, 28 29) ? j
I'm in New York working on a new theater project with Amanda and a bunch of other awesome folks. While I'm out here, I'm doing a just few little shows on my way south to visit friends in North Carolina. March 18 - NEW YORK, NY - Gemini & Scorpio March 22 - WASHINGTON, DC - The Keep March 23 - RICHMOND, VA - Bainbridge House Other than a few opening spots, I haven't been playing out much in the past year... but a couple months back I did a little show in Austin that felt really lovely, and I'm excited to see what might happen when I get back up in front of folks again. Links to event pages for each show are at: http://www.jasonwebley.com Wheeeeee!
Eugene folk! My show with Amanda Palmer next month is 98% sold out! https://www.ticketfly.com/event/1607519-evening-amanda-palmer-eugene/
Happy 80th birthday, Judy Blume! Amanda Palmer wrote this piece for Huffington Post to explain this video we made in New Orleans last month. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/amanda-palmer-judy-blume-matters_us_5a7b03a5e4b07af4e81fcadd
SEATTLE show with Amanda Palmer at The Showbox in April is now SOLD OUT! Tickets still available (but going quickly) for: April 4 - SPOKANE, WA - Knitting Factory April 5 - EUGENE, OR - HiFi Music Hall April 7 - PORTLAND, OR - Crystal Ballroom http://www.jasonwebley.com/