Joel Groover – LikeTheDew.com http://likethedew.com A journal of progressive Southern culture and politics Mon, 19 Nov 2018 13:02:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 http://likethedew.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/cropped-DewLogoSquare825-32x32.png Joel Groover – LikeTheDew.com http://likethedew.com 32 32 Atlanta homelessness group stands to lose its own ‘home’ http://likethedew.com/2012/04/19/atlanta-homelessness-group-stands-to-lose-its-own-home/ http://likethedew.com/2012/04/19/atlanta-homelessness-group-stands-to-lose-its-own-home/#respond Thu, 19 Apr 2012 13:46:07 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=38714 On weekends Brenda Rhodes guides her clients through a 10,000-square-foot warehouse full of tables, beds, sofas, mirrors and more. After picking out exactly what they want, her clients, often families with kids, stand near the loading docks and watch with satisfaction as their newly selected goods get loaded onto waiting trucks for home delivery. While this might sound like an expensive shopping spree, Rhodes is not running some designer space for the well-heeled. Over the past couple of years, she and her Marietta-based non-profit, Simple Needs GA, have helped hundreds of people emerge from homelessness, domestic violence and other desperate situations...

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On weekends Brenda Rhodes guides her clients through a 10,000-square-foot warehouse full of tables, beds, sofas, mirrors and more. After picking out exactly what they want, her clients, often families with kids, stand near the loading docks and watch with satisfaction as their newly selected goods get loaded onto waiting trucks for home delivery. While this might sound like an expensive shopping spree, Rhodes is not running some designer space for the well-heeled: Over the past couple of years, she and her Marietta-based non-profit organization, Simple Needs GA, have helped hundreds of people emerge from homelessness, domestic violence and other desperate situations by giving them all the stuff they need to live with dignity in their newly obtained houses and apartments.

“A lot of people who call us don’t even have an air mattress or a couch or anything to sleep on,” Rhodes says. “Some of these people are not young, and many have kids. When they receive beds from us, this can literally mean they are no longer sleeping on the floor.”

Unfortunately, Simple Needs GA is on the verge of losing its mission-critical warehouse, which was donated by a local graphics company but now must be emptied to make way for a paying tenant. According to Rhodes, the group has to find a new space by no later than May 15 or it will no longer be able to help furnish peoples’ new houses and apartments. Whatever space the group finds needs to be at least 6,000 square feet, Rhodes says.

If that proves impossible, it won’t spell the end for Simple Needs GA. Founded by Rhodes in 2008, the group also brings duffel bags full of hygiene items such as deodorant, soap and shampoo to people who are staying temporarily at a local emergency shelter. And Rhodes and her volunteers give tents, sleeping bags and toiletries to people living in the woods of Cobb County. So far, more than 3,000 people have received the duffel bags, Rhodes says, and about 200 have received the tents and sleeping bags.

Nonetheless, the loss of the warehouse would be a pretty big blow to the group, which fills a special niche by focusing on something other than food, clothing, shelter and job training. After all, many of the families and individuals helped by SNGA have no possessions to speak of, Rhodes says.

“Many times when you flee domestic violence, for example, you leave with nothing. When one woman who was fleeing domestic violence came in to pick up her furniture, she walked over to the shelving area of small items and was talking quietly to herself,” Rhodes recalls. “I wasn’t that near her, but I could hear. She was saying over and over again ‘This is such a blessing. This is such a blessing.’ Then she said, not to anyone in particular, ‘I can stop crying now.’ In those moments, you know you’re making a difference.”

Rhodes is trying to get the word out about the group’s need for storage space, in hopes that some promising leads will turn up. If something comes to mind, she can be reached at brenda@simpleneedsga.org.

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Banjo Jokes No More: Gourd Banjo CD Reveals Earthy Side http://likethedew.com/2011/12/07/banjo-jokes-no-more-gourd-banjo-cd-reveals-five-strings-earthy-side/ http://likethedew.com/2011/12/07/banjo-jokes-no-more-gourd-banjo-cd-reveals-five-strings-earthy-side/#comments Wed, 07 Dec 2011 19:00:41 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=33773 Visit the banjo jokes page and you’ll find at least 271 zingers aimed squarely at this beloved and much-maligned instrument, which is so closely associated with the South. Typically, the gems on this list exploit the stereotype of the banjo (or “banjer,” depending on your preference) as a jarring, inelegant noise-maker. Here are a couple of examples…

Q: What’s the difference between a banjo and a South American macaw?

A: One is loud, obnoxious and noisy; the other is a bird.

Q: What’s the difference between a banjo and a trampoline?

A: You take your shoes off to jump on a trampoline.

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gourd banjoVisit the banjo jokes page and you’ll find at least 271 zingers aimed squarely at this beloved and much-maligned instrument, which is so closely associated with the South. Typically, the gems on this list exploit the stereotype of the banjo (or “banjer,” depending on your preference) as a jarring, inelegant noise-maker. Here are a couple of examples…

Q: What’s the difference between a banjo and a South American macaw?

A: One is loud, obnoxious and noisy; the other is a bird.

Q: What’s the difference between a banjo and a trampoline?

A: You take your shoes off to jump on a trampoline.

Fair enough. As played in the blisteringly fast, three-finger picking style made famous by the legendary bluegrasser Earl Scruggs, the banjo can indeed be an acquired taste. But believe it or not, the banjer does have a kindler, gentler side. Take off the sound-amplifying resonator used by most bluegrass pickers, for example, and you’ve just turned the volume knob from “11” down to something much more reasonable. Replace the steel strings with catgut and you’ve basically taken the punch line out of those 271 banjo jokes—the metallic ring and sharp attack give way to a warm, friendly tone.

Anti-banjer bias is fairly well entrenched, but if you are open-minded and really want to hear another side of the instrument, you might consider picking up Adam Hurt’s “Earth Tones” (Ubiquitone 2010), a solo CD played in the old-time “clawhammer” style—and on a fretless banjo made out of a dried-out gourd to boot.

I buy a lot of old-time CDs, but when I popped “Earth Tones” into the dashboard of my VW Jetta and headed down Roswell Road earlier this week, I wanted to pull over and just listen. Even my eight-year-old twin boys, whose noise-making capacity easily rivals that of the most resonant prewar Gibson, fell silent. They seemed entranced by the eerie sound of the gourd banjo (this one created by luthier David G. Hyatt of Fayetteville, Ark.) and by Hurt’s masterful playing.

Adam HurtIn the world of old-time music, Hurt, who is just 27 years old, is well-known for dominating old-time banjo and fiddle competitions in places like Clifftop, W. Va., and Galax, Va., over the past few years. Indeed, his past accomplishments include winning the state banjo championships of Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio, as well as the state fiddle championships of Virginia and Maryland. On “Earth Tones,” this virtuoso of the old-time clawhammer style plays a total of 12 traditional tunes and medleys, including “Fortune” (Surry County, N.C.), Art Stamper’s “Josie-O” (Knott County, Kentucky) and Buddy Thomas’ “Old Beech Leaves/Sheep and Hogs Walking Through the Pasture” (Lewis County, Kentucky).

The CD is aptly named. The earthy tones of Hyatt’s gourd banjo, which is a work of visual art unto itself, are instantly compelling. On the luthier’s Web site is an eight-part article titled “Gourd Banjos: From Africa to the Appalachians” by George R. Gibson, who traces the history of these mellow instruments as they traveled from Africa to the West Indies, Colonial America, the frontier and, finally, the Appalachians. Early European accounts of African gourd instruments, Gibson notes, date to at least the 1600s in Gambia, where today the gourd banjo-like akonting is still played.

Of course, the only way to truly understand the mystique of the gourd banjo is to hear one for yourself. “Earth Tones” is an excellent place to start.

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Jabbour & Perlman: Old-Time Music at its Best http://likethedew.com/2010/10/22/jabbour-perlman-old-time-music-at-its-best/ http://likethedew.com/2010/10/22/jabbour-perlman-old-time-music-at-its-best/#comments Fri, 22 Oct 2010 13:48:39 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=11744 Two legends of old-time Appalachian music—the clawhammer-banjo virtuoso Ken Perlman and the masterful fiddler Alan Jabbour—will play tunes from their highly acclaimed “Southern Summits” CD in Huntsville, AL, on Saturday night.

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Two legends of old-time Appalachian music—the clawhammer-banjo virtuoso Ken Perlman and the masterful fiddler Alan Jabbour—will play tunes from their highly acclaimed “Southern Summits” CD in Huntsville, AL, on Saturday night.

Just about any diehard fan of old-time (pre-bluegrass) music will be familiar with Jabbour. The former UCLA professor, who apprenticed with Upper South fiddlers like Henry Reed of Glen Lyn, Va., and Tommy Jarrell of Toast, N.C., led the Hollow Rock String Band during the folk revival of the 1960s. His cultural credentials include stints as head of the Archive of Folk Song and the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and as director of the folk arts program for the National Endowment for the Arts. For his part, Perlman is well-known among banjo-pickers as a pioneer of the 5-string banjo style known as “melodic clawhammer,” a more intricate variant of the gentler, down-picking style of banjo that traces its roots to Africa and was played throughout the South prior to the advent of Earl Scruggs’ supercharged, three-finger technique. Considered one of the top clawhammer players in the world, Perlman draws his material from a wide variety of traditional sources, including the music of Scotland, Ireland, Canada’s Cape Breton and Prince Edward islands, and, of course, the American South. Like Jabbour, Perlman is also a prodigious folklorist. He has spent the better part of the past decade, for example, collecting tunes and oral histories from traditional fiddle players on Prince Edward Island. (He’ll play a few of these tunes in Huntsville as solo banjo pieces.)

Whether you’re already a fan of this music or have never heard a fiddle-banjo duet played in the old-time style, the chance to see Perlman and Jabbour perform together is a rare opportunity to witness traditional music at its best. Their energetic, highly rhythmic performances include faithful renditions of tunes from fiddlers like Archie Stewart of Prince Edward Island, Edden and Burl Hammons of Pocahontas County, W. Va., and, first and foremost, Virginia’s Henry Reed, who was the source for 14 of the 23 tunes on “Southern Summits.” Ever-mindful of the debt they owe to a great generation of fiddlers–now all deceased–Jabbour and Perlman are American treasures in their own right.

Ken Perlman & Alan Jabbour

  • Saturday, Oct. 23 – Huntsville, AL. 7:00 p.m., Flying Monkey Arts, 2211 Seminole Drive Southwest. Admission: $10. Contact: Jim Holland.
  • Monday, Oct. 25 – Louisville, KY. 7:00 p.m., Bird Hall, School of Music, University of Louisville. Contact: Jack Ashworth.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 26 – Goodlettsville, TN. 7:30 p.m., Historic Mansker’s Station, 705 Caldwell Dr. Contact: Laura Blankenship, 615-859-3678.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 27 – Lexington, KY. Noon-1:00 p.m., Niles Center for American Music Gallery, Lucille Little Fine Arts Library, University of Kentucky. Contact: Prof. Ron Pen, 859-257-8183.
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Out of the Shadows… http://likethedew.com/2009/08/14/out-of-the-shadows%e2%80%a6-how-the-dark-side-of-human-nature-is-fueling-the-healthcare-backlash/ http://likethedew.com/2009/08/14/out-of-the-shadows%e2%80%a6-how-the-dark-side-of-human-nature-is-fueling-the-healthcare-backlash/#comments Fri, 14 Aug 2009 14:51:26 +0000 http://likethedew.com/?p=5233

How the Dark Side of Human Nature is Fueling the Healthcare Backlash.

arlen specter at a townhall meetingStill rattled after being heckled and booed by enraged voters at a town hall meeting this week, Sen. Arlen Specter pointed out to reporters that such a feverish outpouring of fear and rage must be rooted in something deeper than healthcare policy. “It’s the economy,” said the Pennsylvania Democrat, “the facts that millions of people have lost their jobs and millions of others are afraid of losing theirs.”

Anxiety about the economy might well be part of the reason healthcare opponents have become so unhinged. Another contributing factor surely is the relentless campaign of lies about healthcare reform spewing forth from disingenuous demagogues like Sean Hannity. But the overreaction to healthcare reform might have a deeper wellspring than even Specter realizes—the very dark side of human nature itself, known in psychological terms as “the shadow.”

We all have a shadow, made up of the unconscious, repressed parts of ourselves that we learned from childhood to disown, deny and hide. This rejected material—rage, hatred, lust, jealousy, racism, infantile drives; the list of possibilities is long—finds expression through the phenomenon of projection. “Ask someone to give a description of the personality type which he finds most despicable, most unbearable and hateful, and most impossible to get along with, and he will produce a description of his own repressed characteristics—a self description which is utterly unconscious,” writes John A. Sanford, a psychoanalyst and Episcopal priest.

Of course, the world is full of actual jerks. But what is interesting to observe is the way we become highly irritated by some types of people or behaviors and yet remain unmoved by others. What sets us off has everything to do with our shadow.

And clearly, there is something about the idea of that other known as “the government” intermarrying with the healthcare system that reaches deeply into the dark matter of the American mind.

Many Americans (but Republicans in particular) tend to be highly identified with the notion of themselves as rugged individualists who are utterly responsible for their own successes in life, including their ability to pay for healthcare in perpetuity. Wealthier Americans might downplay the role of structural advantages such as race and class, or unconsciously deny their fundamental vulnerability as humans. A single mother who lacks health insurance, needs kidney dialysis to survive and lives in a neighborhood overrun by gangs, on the other hand, sees such realities as cold fact.

shadowWhether conservative or liberal, many of us don’t want to go anywhere near a hospital because the very idea stirs up issues related to suffering, death and an utter lack of control. For some Americans, the aforementioned single mom might well represent an unconscious shadow figure—someone who reminds them of realities they would rather repress. (An affluent white person might even envision such a person as black or Hispanic in order to create further distance.)

The fact is, though, that no matter how excellent our health might seem today, any one of us could be diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor tomorrow. Financial privilege and access to blue-chip healthcare are equally subject to impermanence. (Among those swindled by Bernie Madoff was Stephen Greenspan, author of Annals of Gullibility: Why We Get Duped and How to Avoid It.)

The shadow side of the healthcare debate has a larger dimension. Unfortunately for humanity, people tend to project their shadows collectively as well as individually (see: the Holocaust). As clinical psychologist Jerome S. Bernstein noted in an essay titled “The U.S.-Soviet Mirror,” the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a veritable tango of projection throughout the Cold War. Their respective political systems and ideologies were so diametrically opposed, he observed, that each country could believe the other was the source of all evil in the world.

The end of the Cold War overturned these symmetrical, though highly dangerous, psychodynamics. Reagan started the crusade against “big government,” but that campaign took on an ever-more-irrational scope and scale in the years that followed. It reached a crescendo of sorts during the George W. Bush era, but the need for an enemy—someone to carry the projections of our collective shadow—is still sorely felt.

Right-wing demagogues seem to have an uncanny knack for tapping into this unconscious need to scapegoat. They sense the efficacy of stoking fears related to two separate shadow elements—the specter (no pun intended) of big government and the vulnerability associated with medical care. Violence has already occurred at some of these town halls. If the bloodshed worsens, blame it on Hannity and his ilk—but also on the shadow that lurks in us all.


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