Follow us: Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Google+ Follow us on Linkedin Follow us on Tumblr Subscribe to our RSS or Atom feed
Monday, October 23, 2017
Southern Weather Radar


Our Writers

  • Adam Peck
  • Alan Gordon
  • Alex Kearns
  • Alex Seitz-Wald
  • Alice Murray
  • Allison Korn
  • Alyssa Cagle
  • Amanda Marcotte
  • Amanda Peterson Beadle
  • Andrea Grimes
  • Andrea Lee Meyer
  • Andrew Bowen
  • Andy Brack
  • Andy Kopsa
  • Andy Miller
  • Andy Schmookler
  • Ann Marie Pace
  • Ann Woolner & Leonard Ray Teel
  • Anna Dolianitis
  • Anna Forbes and Kate Ryan
  • Annelise Thim
  • Anoni Muss
  • April Adams
  • April Moore
  • Ariel Harris
  • Armando
  • Arthur Blaustein
  • Austen Risolvato
  • Austin McMurria
  • Barry Hollander
  • Bert Roughton III
  • Beth Ostlund
  • Betsey Dahlberg
  • Bill Caton
  • Bill Hamm
  • Bill Mankin
  • Bill Montgomery
  • Bill Moyers & Michael Winship
  • Bill Phillips
  • Bill Semple
  • Bill Tush
  • Billy Howard
  • Bob Bohanan
  • Bob Pritchard
  • Booth Malone
  • Bootsie Lucas
  • Boyd Lewis
  • Brad Clayton
  • Braden Goyette For ProPublica
  • Brandon Collins
  • Brett Martin
  • Brian Randall
  • Brianna Peterson
  • Bruce Dixon
  • Bruce E. Levine
  • Burton Cox
  • Candice Dyer
  • Carl Kline
  • Carol Carter
  • Carson M. Lamb
  • Casey Hayden
  • Cathleen Hulbert
  • Center for American Progress
  • Chantille Cook
  • Charles Finn
  • Charles O. Hendrix Jr.
  • Charles Seabrook
  • Charles Walston
  • Chelsea Toledo
  • Chelsey Willis
  • Chris Bowers
  • Chris Kromm
  • Chris Wohlwend
  • Christopher Burdette
  • Chrys B. Graham
  • Chuck Collins
  • Cliff Green
  • Cody Maxwell
  • Collin Kelley
  • Craig Miller
  • Crissinda Ponder
  • Dallas Lee
  • Dan Kennedy
  • Daniel Flynn
  • Daniel K. Williams
  • Daniel Palmer
  • Danny Fulks
  • Dante Atkins
  • Darby Britto
  • Dave Cooley
  • Dave Johnson
  • Dave Pruett
  • David Bradford
  • David Evans
  • David Harris-Gershon
  • David Jenks
  • David Kyler
  • David Parker
  • David Roberts
  • David Rotenstein
  • David Swanson
  • Dean Baker
  • Deb Barshafsky
  • Debbie Houston
  • Deborah Chasteen
  • Denise Oliver Velez
  • Dennis McCarthy
  • Desiree Evans
  • Dian Cai
  • Diana
  • Diane Rooks
  • Dina Rasor
  • Dindy Yokel
  • Doc
  • Don Lively
  • Don O'Briant
  • Donnie Register
  • Door Guy
  • Doug Couch
  • Doug Cumming
  • Dr. Brian Moench
  • Dr. Dorothy Ann Boyd-Bragg
  • Dr. Nick De Bonis
  • Dr. Ravi Batra
  • E. David Ferriman
  • Earl Fisher
  • Eden Landow
  • Eileen Dight
  • Eleanor Ringel Cater
  • Elizabeth Shugg
  • Ellen Brown
  • Elliott Brack
  • Erin Kotecki Vest
  • Fatima Najiy
  • FishOutofWater
  • Francisco Silva
  • Frank Povah
  • Fred Brown
  • Frederick Palmer
  • Gadi Dechter, Michael Ettlinger
  • Gail Kiracofe
  • Gaius
  • Georgia Logothetis
  • Gib Ennis
  • Gina Williams
  • Gita M. Smith
  • Glenn Carroll
  • Glenn Overman
  • Gordon Anderson
  • Gregory C. Dixon
  • Gryphon Corpus
  • Hamp Skelton
  • Harriet Barr
  • Heather Boushey
  • Henry Dreyer
  • Henry Foresman
  • Hollis B. Ball III
  • Hugh
  • Hyde Post
  • Ian Kim
  • Ian Millhiser
  • Isabel Owen
  • Ivy Brashear
  • J.A. Myerson
  • Jack deJarnette
  • Jack Wilkinson
  • Jacklyn C. Citero
  • Jake Olzen
  • James Hataway
  • James Marc Leas
  • James N. Maples
  • Janet Ward
  • Jasmine Burnett
  • Jason Palmer
  • Jason Parker
  • Jay Thompson
  • Jaz Brisack
  • Jeff Cochran
  • Jeff Davis
  • Jeff Rayno
  • Jeff Spross
  • Jeffry Scott
  • Jennifer Hill
  • Jesse Harwell
  • Jessica Luton
  • Jim Allen
  • Jim Bentley and Jeff Nesmith
  • Jim Clark
  • Jim Cobb
  • Jim Fitzgerald
  • Jim Newell
  • Jim Stovall
  • Jim Walls
  • Jim Warren
  • Jimmy Booth
  • Jing Luo
  • Jingle Davis
  • JL Strickland
  • Joan Donovan
  • Jodi Jacobson
  • Jody Wegmueller
  • Joe Earle
  • Joe Shifalo
  • Joel Groover
  • Joey Ledford
  • John A. Tures
  • John Dembowski
  • John Hickman
  • John Hickman with Sarah Bartlett
  • John Huie
  • John M. Williams
  • John Manasso
  • John Sugg
  • John Tabellione
  • John Yow
  • Jon Sinton
  • Jonathan Grant
  • Jonathan Odell
  • Joni Hunnicutt
  • Jonna Pattillo
  • Joseph B. Atkins
  • Joseph Gatins
  • Josh Dorner
  • Josh Sewell
  • Joy Moses
  • Judith Stough
  • Judy McCarthy
  • Juli Ward
  • Julian Bond
  • Julian Riggs Smith
  • Julianne Wyrick
  • Julie Ajinkya
  • Julie Puckett Fodera
  • Just Plain Will
  • Kaili Joy Gray
  • Kate Greer
  • Kate McNally
  • Katherine A. Edmonds
  • Kathleen Brewin Lewis
  • Kathleen Harbin
  • Kathleen R. Gegan
  • Kathryn Hoffman
  • KC Wildmoon
  • Keith Graham
  • Ken Edelstein
  • Ken Haldin
  • Ken Hawkins
  • Ken Peacock
  • Kevin Austin
  • Kevin Duffy
  • Kip Burke
  • Kirk McAlpin
  • Kirsten Barr
  • Kos Moulitsas
  • Kristie Macrakis
  • Lacey Avery
  • Lamont Cranston
  • Laura Clawson
  • Laura Smith
  • Laurence Lewis
  • Lawrence S. Wittner
  • Lee Leslie
  • Lee Robin
  • Leon Galis
  • Leonce Gaiter
  • Les Eatwell
  • LikeTheDew
  • Linda Hunt Beckman
  • Linda Jordan Tucker
  • Lisa Byerley Gary
  • Lisa Kerr
  • Lois Beckett, Propublica
  • Lorraine Berry
  • Louie Crew Clay
  • Louis Mayeux
  • Lovell Jones, Ph.D.
  • Lucy Emerson Sullivan
  • Lucy Guest
  • Maggie Lee
  • Maisha White
  • Mandy Richburg Rivers
  • Margi Ness
  • Marian Wang, ProPublica
  • Marie Diamond
  • Mark Dohle
  • Mark Johnson
  • Mark Sumner
  • Martha W. Fagan
  • Mary Civille
  • Mary Elizabeth King
  • Mary Kay Andrews
  • Mary Lee
  • Mary Willis Cantrell
  • Matt Blakely
  • Matt Johnson
  • Matt Musick
  • Matt Renner
  • Matthew Wright
  • Maurice Carter
  • Meg Livergood Gerrish
  • Meghan Miller
  • Melanie Rochat
  • Melinda Ennis
  • Michael Bailey
  • Michael Beckel
  • Michael Castengera
  • Michael Ettlinger
  • Michael J. Solender
  • Michael Linden
  • Michael Lux
  • Michael W. Twitty
  • Mike ”Hunter” Lazzaro
  • Mike Copeland
  • Mike Cox
  • Mike Handley
  • Mike Lofgren
  • Mike Ludwig
  • Mike Williams
  • Mimi Skelton
  • Moni Basu
  • Monica Smith
  • Murray Browne
  • Myra Blackmon
  • Nancy Melton
  • Nancy Puckett
  • Nancy Robinson
  • Nancy Rogers
  • Neill Herring
  • Nelly McDaid
  • Nikki Gardner
  • Niles Reddick
  • Noel Holston
  • Occupy Wall Street
  • Overman & Senn
  • Pamela Sumners
  • Pat Garofalo
  • Pat LaMarche
  • Pat Norman
  • Patrick Andendall
  • Patrick L. Ledford
  • Patsy Dickey
  • Patti Ghezzi
  • Paul Buchheit
  • Paul Krupin
  • Paul Rutledge
  • Paul Thim
  • Pete & Jack
  • Peter Crawford
  • Peter Turnbull
  • Phil Gast
  • Phil Noble
  • Philip Graitcer
  • Phyllis Alesia Perry
  • Phyllis Gilbert
  • Piney Woods Pete
  • Polly
  • R S
  • R.L. Miller
  • Rafael Alvarez
  • Randy Conway
  • Randy Schiltz
  • Ray Bearfield
  • Raymond L. Atkins
  • Reagan Walker
  • Rebecca Sive
  • Ric Latarski
  • Richard Eisel
  • Righton C. Willis
  • Rob Chambers
  • Rob Coppock
  • Rob Douthit
  • Robert Allen
  • Robert Dardenne
  • Robert E Hunt Jr
  • Robert Jensen
  • Robert Lamb
  • Robert M. Williams, Jr.
  • Robert Mashburn
  • Robert Weiner & Richard Mann
  • Robin Marty
  • Rodney Adams
  • Roger Gregory
  • Ron Feinberg
  • Ron Taylor
  • Rose Aguilar
  • Rose Weaver
  • Rosemary Griggs
  • Russ Wellen
  • Sam Morton
  • Sao Magnifico
  • Sara Amis
  • Sarah Ayres
  • Sarah Bufkin
  • Saralyn Chesnut
  • Scott Anna
  • Scott Borchert
  • Scott Keyes
  • Scott Wooledge
  • Sean Manion
  • Seth Cline
  • Shane Gilreath
  • Sharon M. Riley
  • Shay Dawkins
  • Sheffield Hale
  • Sheila Barnard Nungesser
  • Sigrid Sanders
  • SoniaTai
  • Sonya Collins
  • Soraya Chemaly
  • Spencer Lawton
  • Stephanie Taylor
  • Stephen Lacey
  • Stephen Wing
  • Steve King
  • Steve Krodman
  • Steve Valk
  • Stuart Liss
  • Sue Sturgis
  • Sujigu
  • Susan De Bonis
  • Susan Soper
  • Susan Wilson
  • Suz Korbel
  • Tammy Andrews
  • Tammy Ingram
  • Tanya Somanader
  • Ted Kooser
  • Terri Evans
  • The Barnacle Goose
  • Thomas A. Bledsoe
  • Tiger Liliuokalani
  • Tim Oliver
  • Timothy Freeman
  • Timothy Hurst
  • Tom Baxter
  • Tom Crawford
  • Tom Ferguson
  • Tom Millsop
  • Tom Poland
  • Tom Walker
  • Travis Waldron
  • Travis Waldron & Pat Garofalo
  • Trevor Stone Irvin
  • Tricia Collins
  • Troubadour
  • Valerie Evans
  • Viveca Novak
  • Waldron, Somanader & Garofalo
  • Walter Rhett
  • Wanda Argersinger
  • Wayne Countryman
  • Wayne Johnson
  • We The People
  • Will Cantrell
  • Will Nelson
  • William Cotter
  • William Hedgepeth
  • Yana Kunichoff
  • Yasmin Vafa
  • Zack Beauchamp
  • Zack Ford
  • Zaid Jilani
  • Zaina Budayr




  • Writer Login


    Southern Sounds

    Bob Dylan and Eartha Kitt: Dealing With Presidents

    by | 4 | Jan 31, 2011

    Your Position and Your Place . . . Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter was different. Not only was he happy to accept proceeds from rock concerts benefiting his campaign, but he was actually familiar with the rock artists and their material. On the campaign trail he spoke highly of music by Paul Simon, The Allman Brothers Band, and most especially, Bob Dylan. Carter called Dylan a friend and a “source of my understanding about what’s right and wrong in this society.” Such was not the standard campaign fodder. One might have expected Carter, upon election, to meet with Dylan and discuss the nation’s priorities. But there was no Carter-Dylan summit. Surprisingly enough, there wasn’t even a Dylan concert at the White House.

    On December 12, 1978, Dylan gave a nearly three-hour concert at the Omni in Atlanta. Carter had famously attended one of the two Dylan concerts given there in January ’74. Then, Carter was Governor of Georgia. He was little known outside the South, but already working behind the scenes to win the Presidency. Carter proved most creative. Little things like attending the concert, and inviting Dylan and The Band to the Governor’s Mansion after the show caught the attention of  discerning baby-boomers. A large segment of America’s young voters read all about Dylan, The Band, and Gregg Allman spending time with Georgia’s resourceful governor in the pages of Rolling Stone.

    That chilly night in January ’74 was a good time for both Dylan and Carter. The Dylan tour was getting the two-thumbs-up-way-up treatment in the rock press and the Carter team had to be jazzed with what they were endeavoring to pull off. The Carter people could claim a commonality of sorts with Dylan. In his songs, Dylan had long chastened the established order. In seeking the presidency, Carter would campaign against “Washington.” The political and media elite took notice, and the outsider claimed victory. Just one day shy of three years since his first meeting with Dylan, Carter reported to work in the Oval Office.

    Jimmy Carter enjoyed being president but some days proved difficult. In his White House Diary on December 4, 1978, he wrote, “This is the worst time of the year for me, with the Mideast, SALT, China, South Africa, Nicaragua coming to a head and preparing for the 1980 budget–all onerous and dispiriting–nothing pleasant.” Perhaps it would’ve been a good idea for Carter to fly down to Atlanta the next week to hear Dylan at the Omni. After the concert, they could have gotten together for a lively chat on their work and the bad press they were getting.

    Rolling Stone had taken both to task in recent months. In June, the magazine published an article by right-wing columnist Patrick J. Buchanan entitled “Why Carter Must Go.” Pat Buchanan? In Rolling Stone? Just two years before. the magazine had run a long and captivating piece by Dr. Hunter S. Thompson that praised Carter’s integrity and refreshing attitude. Buchanan, of course, had a different take, writing, “Sixteen months and Jimmy Carter’s presidency is dead in the water, trapped in a Sargasso sea of contradiction and incompetence.”

    Two months later, Rolling Stone published Greil Marcus’s review of Dylan’s new album, Street Legal. Marcus, of course, had written many words extolling Dylan over the years. He admired much of Dylan’s work, whereas we can be sure Buchanan was rarely, if at all, in Carter’s camp. So when Marcus found little to admire about Street Legal, calling most of the album “dead air or close to it,” the words proved disquieting, if not to Dylan himself, then certainly to many of his fans. Throughout that year Dylan’s work would continue to receive harsh judgments. An October issue of New Times magazine featured an article by Newsday music critic Wayne Robins which had nothing kind to say about a recent Dylan concert at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum. Robins likened the concert to a slick Vegas show, concluding that wisdom called for Dylan’s “graceful retirement, or at least a well-deserved rest.”

    But on December 12, 1978, if retirement wasn’t on Dylan’s mind, Jimmy Carter was. After his Omni concert that evening, he spoke with a reporter (“too embarrassed  to sign my name” to the story, the editor’s note said) for The Atlanta Gazette. Dylan and the reporter are recalling the ’74 Atlanta concert which Carter attended and the party at the Governor’s Mansion afterward. “You know,” Dylan says, “He didn’t invite me to the inauguration, and he’s never invited me to the White House.” The reporter was taken aback, “Never? In two years?” he asked. Dylan responded as if he wanted to speak with Carter himself about the slight, ” No, never. He had Charlie Daniels to sing. I never heard him quote any Charlie Daniels song.” No surprise there. Paraphrasing from Dylan’s “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” to say America was a country busy being born and not dying sounded much better on the campaign trail north of the Mason-Dixon line than “Be proud you’re a rebel, ’cause the South’s gonna do it again.”

    Even though Jimmy Carter didn’t host Dylan at the White House, he and wife Rosalyn Carter have attended Dylan concerts in Atlanta over the last 25 years or so. In summer ’88, they attended a Dylan concert at the Chastain Park Amphitheatre on the city’s north side. G.E. Smith was on lead guitar. Dylan and his band were loud and they rocked hard. Sitting close to the stage, Jimmy Carter may have thought it wasn’t how most couples in their sixties spent an evening out. And he probably found it more fun than some of those long nights in the Oval Office.

    And How You Like To Be Kissed . . . Eartha Kitt was a star of stage, screen, television and the American Top 40. Orson Welles once called her the world’s most exciting woman. Considering Welles had been married to Rita Hayworth, that’s high praise. Upon seeing Kitt dance at a Parisian nightclub in 1950, Welles decided to cast her as Helen of Troy for his stage production of Doctor Faustus. During the show’s run, he became quite enamored with Kitt. Welles turned on the charm, sharing with her what she called a “marvelous gourmet type of living.” Naturally enough, Orson Welles was smitten. But along with the high life, Kitt was also introduced to Welles’s unpredictability. “I never knew what the hell he was going to do,” Kitt remembered.

    The impetuous nature of Welles was experienced first hand — very first hand — by Kitt in the opening night presentation of Doctor Faustus. Barbara Leaming, in her biography, Orson Welles, reports on the drama within the drama.

    To illustrate, (Kitt) describes the strange scene…. Miss Kitt played a young student who, seeing a statue of Faust in a museum, falls in love with him. The action that unfolds is the daydream she has about the statue’s coming alive. As the spotlight falls on Orson, he begins suddenly to move. “And he stretches his arms out,” Miss Kitt recalls. “The girl gets up on the other side of the stage. As she gets to Orson, he takes her in his arms and he says, ‘Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.’ He’s talking to the audience , and he says, ‘Helen make me immortal with a kiss, he pulls me up to him, he kisses me, but he bites me at the same time. I mean, he bites me to such an extent that it was very painful.” Miss Kitt suspected it was the conspicuous presence of an older gentleman friend of hers from the states that triggered Orson’s jealous outburst: “I asked him later and he said that he was jealous. He said he got excited.”

    Pass The Sugar, Lady Bird . . . In January ’68, there were many, especially in the government, who wished Kitt had bitten her tongue, or at least held it. Always candid, she let fly with her opinions at a White House luncheon hosted by the First Lady of the United States, Lady Bird Johnson. Kitt was among the 50 influential women (called “Women Doers”) invited to discuss juvenile delinquency and the problems of American youth. For some reason, Mrs. Johnson asked Kitt about the Vietnam War. Instead of mumbling the standard pap regarding the brave young soldiers, and then asking the First Lady to pass the sugar bowl, Kitt made her feelings clear, “You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed; no wonder the kids rebel and take pot,” Kitt declared.

    Eartha Kitt wasn’t finished. She held her ground, more resolved as she continued, “The children of America are not rebelling for no reason. They are rebelling against something. There are so many things burning the people of this country, particularly mothers. They feel they are going to raise sons and I know what it’s like, and you have children of your own, Mrs. Johnson — we raise children and send them to war.”

    Reportedly, Kitt’s  strong words brought Mrs. Johnson to tears. So while President Johnson couldn’t end American involvement in Vietnam or help America reconcile with its young people, he could show support for his wife by changing the direction of Eartha Kitt’s career. Prior to conveying her feelings to the First Lady, Kitt had been a big star in the United States. She was that great rarity: a black entertainer accepted by the mainstream. Kitt was added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960, nominated for an Emmy in ’66 for a guest performance on “I Spy” and during the 67-68 TV season, appeared as Catwoman on “Batman.” However, her achievements became irrelevant to millions overnight after so freely stating her mind. She became persona non grata in America.

    In a ’97 interview with Philadelphia’s Citypaper, Kitt recalled Johnson saying, “I don’t want to see that woman’s face anywhere. Out of sight, out of mind.” Johnson got his wish. Kitt spent the next decade performing at venues in Europe and Asia. But in 1978, she returned to New York to star in Timbuktu!, the Broadway musical. The same year, she made a return to Washington, to the White House, where she was welcomed by President Jimmy Carter.

    ###
    Jeff Cochran

    Jeff Cochran

    Jeff Cochran worked in advertising at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 27 years before accepting a buy-out in the Summer of 2008. In the seventies/early eighties, he handled advertising for Peaches Records and Tapes' Southeastern and Midwestern stores. He also wrote record reviews for The Great Speckled Bird, a ground-breaking underground newspaper based in Atlanta.

     

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email

     

    • Monica Smith

      Fascinating perspective. I still think at some point somebody decided “I’m gonna wipe that smile off his face” and succeeded. A depressed Jimmy Carter was no longer attractive to the American public.

    • Michael Jarrett

      Very interesting piece Jeff, Eartha Kitt was a dear friend.

      In our 34 week stint at Caesars Palace in Vegas in 66, she requested that my trio precede her shows during her engagements there. Those were wonderful and exciting times.

      She was always a very outspoken person and that’s what I respected most about her. We often had long conversations about the inequalities and disparity in the world.

      She told it like it was to Lady Bird Johnson and paid a price for her honesty, but I know she never regretted a word of what she said that evening .. sometimes the truth hurts.. She’s gone now but not forgotten, we need more people like Eartha today..

      Thanks for writing this piece and reminding us once again, when things aren’t right, the truth will surface eventually.

      Mj

    • Dallas

      Another great, irresistible story, as usual. Only thing is, I’d like to think that LBJ only thought he had the power to bring low talented, independent cultural icons like Eartha Kitt. Does he really get this much credit? Or was she she single-handedly capable of ruining her own success?

      • jeff

        Hi Dallas,

        Thanks for reading. LBJ had his wish regarding Kitt fulfilled, but it’s doubtful he had a direct role in her exile. It was the American people who turned against Kitt. After all, she reportedly made Lady Bird cry! Americans are generally inclined to back their president’s sensibilities in times of war, as was the case with Johnson and Vietnam. So while Johnson got his way, he probably just mouthed off and the inevitables took their course. Besides, Johnson also had to contend with The Smothers Brothers…..

  • Worthy of Comment






  • Health Care: U.S. vs. Canada



  • 'L-G-B-T' - James Corden
    Sings for Transgender Troops



  • "The Elections Are Rigged" Arnold Schwarzenegger On Trump, Congress, Gerrymandering

     

  •  
     
     
  • %d bloggers like this: