Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thankful for Diversity

by Gregg Chadwick

Hope that all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We touched base with many of you during the past week and got a good dose of holiday cheer. 
When asked what I am thankful for - I of course start with family and friends but just as importantly I am thankful for the wonderful diversity found in my home state of California and across the US.
Childhood memories are entwined in our holiday traditions. Often, I think of my Dad's parents and the time we took a road trip deep into the South during the Civil Rights era. At a road stop somewhere along I95, in Georgia I think, my Grandma Chadwick saw me staring at a crude racist, epithet scrawled on a sign. She put her arm around me and said to me "Don't mind about those words. Those words aren't true. God loves everyone one of us - equally."
It was one of the first and one of the best lessons about civil rights and equality that I have ever learned. 




Watch The Snowy Day

1. The holiday season often brings a sense of nostalgia. For me the Caldecott Medal winning book by Ezra Jack Keats, "The Snowy Day", seems to illustrate my childhood visits to my Grandma Chadwick’s house. My Aunt Margaret and her daughter Barbara called her Nana. Reading Keats, "The Snowy Day", at my Nana's house in Montclair, New Jersey felt like a walk through that multicultural neighborhood on a wintry day. Ezra Jack Keats passed away in 1983, but his art continues to speak to us today. The most recent offering is the Amazon released animated production inspired by Ezra Jack Keats' book. In this wonderfully illuminated world, the young Peter ventures to his Nana's house to help her deliver presents and Mac and Cheese for the extended family's Christmas Eve dinner. Adventures beckon. Plans are sidetracked. Tears are shed. But in the end, as in all good holiday stories, joy prevails. "The Snowy Day" is a new animated holiday classic. A must watch production. Link here: http://amzn.to/2gkYKYc

For more on Keats and his work please visit the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation online at http://www.ezra-jack-keats.org/

Post Election Thoughts from the Keats Foundation:
"It’s more important than ever to keep on doing what we do.

• Creating, and promoting, diverse children’s books.
• Teaching the value of the many cultures and differences in our country and world.
• Instilling a love of reading and a desire to learn in our children.
• Raising our boys to respect girls and one another.
• Raising our girls to believe in themselves and what they can achieve.
• Supporting programs that encourage writers and illustrators, teachers and librarians, to give children the tools and opportunity to find their own voices.

We are nurturing each new generation to contribute to a more literate, inclusive and just society. That is what makes America great."






Stand Up for Others





2. I was heartened to hear of the proud Texan holding a sign up in support of the Islamic Community in Irving Texas. It made me thankful for my brother Kent and sister in law Cathy who last year created a similar love action in Bremerton, Washington. Full article at: http://www.seattleglobalist.com/2015/10/14/hate-groups-anti-islam-protests-washington-mosques-redmond-bremerton/42558

Below is Justin Normand’s Facebook Post About His Action

I'M THE TEXAN WHO HELD THE "YOU BELONG" SIGN IN FRONT OF THE MOSQUE IN IRVING
I have had the most extraordinary weekend.
Like most everyone I know, I have been in a malaise and at a loss since Election Day. What to do? With myself? With my time? To make things better, or even just to slog through?
I manage a sign shop, and so I had had the urge for a week or so to do this. Friday, I had a couple of spare hours in the afternoon, so I did.
I made a sign, and I drove to the nearest mosque and stood out on the public sidewalk to share the peace with my neighbors. My marginalized, fearful, decent, targeted, Muslim neighbors.
Someone took a picture and posted it, and as of today it’s been viewed millions of times, and shared across various platforms many hundreds of thousands of times.
This is extraordinary and humbling; mainly because what I did isn’t (or shouldn’t be) all that extraordinary.
For me, this wasn’t about expressing agreement; I remain Presbyterian, not Muslim.
It wasn’t about demonstrating my outrage to right-wing drivers driving down Esters Road in front of the mosque. I can never, and will never, change any of the haters. It’s not about them. Not this time, and not here.
This was about binding up the wounded. About showing compassion and empathy for the hurting and fearful among us. Or, in some Christian traditions, this was about washing my brother’s feet.
This was about my religion, not theirs.
And, it was about what I think I must do as an American when our way of life is threatened. Targeting people for their religion not only threatens our way of life, it is the polar opposite of our way of life.
Find a group marginalized by the haters in this current era we find ourselves in. Then, find a way to express your acceptance to that group in a physically present way, as opposed to a digital one.
I can assure you, from their outpouring of smiles, hugs, tears, hospitality, messages extending God’s love, and a bouquet of flowers, it will mean a lot.
My own religious tradition ascribes these words to my deity:
I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.
It is also in this vein that the words on the Statue of Liberty embrace, with eagerness and mercy, all who come to join us:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
These words bespeak the America we all remember, know, love, and are still called upon to be. Especially now.
Lastly, it worked. I felt better for the impact it had on my neighbors. They genuinely needed this encouragement. They need us.
They need all of us. They need you.
We ARE one America.


Stop the Harassment

3. Cassiel and I had a recent conversation on how to safely intervene in an episode of targeted harassment. 
The illustrated graphic by the artist Maeril is quite good. This is what she recommends:

Graphic by @itsmaeril


Hi everyone! 
This is an illustrated guide I made as part of my co-admining work at The Middle Eastern Feminist on Facebook! It will be published there shortly. The technique that is displayed here is a genuine one used in psychology - I forgot the name and couldn’t find it again so if you know about it, feel free to tell me!Some could say: “Yes but you can use that technique for instances of harassment other than Islamophobic attacks!”, and my reply is: Sure! Please do so, it also works for other “types” of harassment of a lone person in a public space!! However I’m focusing on protecting Muslims here, as they have been very specific targets lately, and as a French Middle Eastern woman, I wanted to try and do something to raise awareness on how to help when such things happen before our eyes - that way one cannot say they “didn’t know what to do”! I’d like to insist on two things: 1) Do not, in any way, interact with the attacker. You must absolutely ignore them and focus entirely on the person being attacked! 2) Please make sure to always respect the wishes of the person you’re helping: whether they want you to leave quickly afterwards, or not! If you’re in a hurry escort them to a place where someone else can take over - call one of their friends, or one of yours, of if they want to, the police. It all depends on how they feel! 
For my fellow French-speakers: I will translate it in French and post it on my page as soon as I can :)
Please don’t hesitate to share this guide as it could push a lot of people to overcome bystander syndrome!!
Lots of love and stay safe!
PS: I you repost this cartoon of mine on twitter or instagram, please add me in the post so I can see it, with @itsmaeril :)

We remain hopeful in this dark moment and send healing thoughts your way.

Thank you for your love and support!

Gregg


PS - Major thanks to those in our community working tirelessly on the Wisconsin recount. Thank You!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

President Obama Presents the Medal of Freedom



The following were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the National Basketball Association’s all-time leading scorer who helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships and the Milwaukee Bucks to another. During his career, Abdul-Jabbar was a six-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a 19-time NBA All-Star. Before joining the NBA, he was a star player at UCLA, leading the Bruins to three consecutive championships. In addition to his legendary basketball career, Abdul-Jabbar has been an outspoken advocate for social justice.

Elouise Cobell (posthumous)

Elouise Cobell was a Blackfeet Tribal community leader and an advocate for Native American self-determination and financial independence.  She used her expertise in accounting to champion a lawsuit that resulted in a historic settlement, restoring tribal homelands to her beloved Blackfeet Nation and many other tribes, and in so doing, inspired a new generation of Native Americans to fight for the rights of others.  Cobell helped found the Native American Bank, served as director of the Native American Community Development Corporation, and inspired Native American women to seek leadership roles in their communities.

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres is an award-winning comedian who has hosted her popular daytime talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, since 2003 with her trademarked humor, humility, and optimism. In 2003 Ellen lent her voice to a forgetful but unforgettable little fish named Dory in Finding Nemo. She reprised her role again in 2016 with the hugely successful Finding Dory. Ellen also hosted the Academy Awards twice, in 2007 and 2014. In 1997, after coming out herself, DeGeneres made TV history when her character on Ellen revealed she was a lesbian. In her work and in her life, she has been a passionate advocate for equality and fairness.

Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro has brought to life some of the most memorable roles in American film during a career that spans five decades. His first major film roles were in the sports drama Bang the Drum Slowlyand Martin Scorsese's crime film Mean Streets.  He is a seven-time Academy Award nominee and two-time Oscar winner, and is also a Kennedy Center honoree.

Richard Garwin

Richard Garwin is a polymath physicist who earned a Ph.D. under Enrico Fermi at age 21 and subsequently made pioneering contributions to U.S. defense and intelligence technologies, low-temperature and nuclear physics, detection of gravitational radiation, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computer systems, laser printing, and nuclear arms control and nonproliferation. He directed Applied Research at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center and taught at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and Harvard University. The author of 500 technical papers and a winner of the National Medal of Science, Garwin holds 47 U.S. patents, and has advised numerous administrations.

Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill and Melinda Gates established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, the foundation focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, the mission is to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. The Gates Foundation has provided more than $36 billion in grants since its inception.

Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry is one of the world’s leading architects, whose works have helped define contemporary architecture. His best-known buildings include the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Dancing House in Prague, and the Guggenheim Museum building in Bilbao, Spain.

Margaret H. Hamilton

Margaret H. Hamilton led the team that created the on-board flight software for NASA's Apollo command modules and lunar modules. A mathematician and computer scientist who started her own software company, Hamilton contributed to concepts of asynchronous software, priority scheduling and priority displays, and human-in-the-loop decision capability, which set the foundation for modern, ultra-reliable software design and engineering.

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks is one of the Nation’s finest actors and filmmakers. He has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role five times, and received the award for his work in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump.  Those roles and countless others, including in Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, and Cast Away, have left an indelible mark on American film. Off screen, as an advocate, Hanks has advocated for social and environmental justice, and for our veterans and their families.

Grace Hopper (posthumous)

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, known as “Amazing Grace” and “the first lady of software,” was at the forefront of computers and programming development from the 1940s through the 1980s. Hopper’s work helped make coding languages more practical and accessible, and she created the first compiler, which translates source code from one language into another.  She taught mathematics as an associate professor at Vassar College before joining the United States Naval Reserve as a lieutenant (junior grade) during World War II, where she became one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer and began her lifelong leadership role in the field of computer science.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is one of the greatest athletes of all time. Jordan played 15 seasons in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards; he is currently a principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets.  During his career, he won six championships, five Most Valuable Player awards, and appeared in 14 All-Star games.

Maya Lin

Maya Lin is an artist and designer who is known for her work in sculpture and landscape art. She designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. and since then has pursued a celebrated career in both art and architecture.  A committed environmentalist, Lin is currently working on a multi-sited artwork/memorial, What is Missing? bringing awareness to the planet's loss of habitat and biodiversity.

Lorne Michaels

Lorne Michaels is a producer and screenwriter, best known for creating and producing Saturday Night Live, which has run continuously for more than 40 years. In addition, Michaels has also produced The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and 30 Rock, among other popular, award-winning shows. He has won 13 Emmy Awards over the course of his lengthy career.

Newt Minow

Newt Minow is an attorney with a long and distinguished career in public life. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Minow served as a Supreme Court clerk and counsel to the Governor of Illinois. In 1961, President Kennedy selected Minow, then 34, to serve as Chairman of the Federal Communications Committee (FCC), where he helped shape the future of American television and was a vigorous advocate for broadcasting that promoted the public interest. In the five decades since leaving the FCC, Minow has maintained a prominent private law practice while devoting himself to numerous public and charitable causes.

Eduardo Padrón

Eduardo Padrón is the President of Miami Dade College (MDC), one of the largest institutions of higher education in the United States. During his more than four decade career, President Padrón has been a national voice for access and inclusion. He has worked to ensure all students have access to high quality, affordable education. He has championed innovative teaching and learning strategies making MDC a national model of excellence.

Robert Redford

Robert Redford is an actor, director, producer, businessman, and environmentalist. In 1981, he founded the Sundance Institute to advance the work of independent filmmakers and storytellers throughout the world, including through its annual Sundance Film Festival. He has received an Academy Award for Best Director and for Lifetime Achievement.  Redford has directed or starred in numerous motion pictures, including The Candidate, All the President's Men, Quiz Show, and A River Runs Through It.

Diana Ross

Diana Ross has had an iconic career spanning more than 50 years within the entertainment industry in music, film, television, theater, and fashion. Diana Ross is an Academy Award nominee, inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and recipient of the Grammy Awards highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award. Ross was a recipient of the 2007 Kennedy Center Honors.  Diana Ross’s greatest legacy is her five wonderful children.

Vin Scully

Vin Scully is a broadcaster who, for 67 seasons, was the voice of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers.  In Southern California, where generations of fans have grown up listening to Dodger baseball, Scully's voice is known as the "soundtrack to summer."  In 1988, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Scully's signature voice brought to life key moments in baseball history, including perfect games by Sandy Koufax and Don Larsen, Kirk Gibson's home run in the 1988 World Series, and Hank Aaron's record-breaking 715th home run.

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen is a singer, songwriter, and bandleader.  More than five decades ago, he bought a guitar and learned how to make it talk.  Since then, the stories he has told, in lyrics and epic live concert performances, have helped shape American music and have challenged us to realize the American dream.  Springsteen is a Kennedy Center honoree and he and the E Street Band he leads have each been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  

Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson has performed on the stage, on television, and on the silver screen.  She has won two Emmy Awards and a Tony Award, and is known for her performances in Sounder, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and The Help.  In 2013, she returned to the stage with The Trip to the Bountiful, and was awarded the Tony Award for best leading actress.  Tyson received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2015.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

Love and Protect the Vulnerable Among Us

by Gregg Chadwick

Dear Loved Ones,
As you know Tuesday’s election results have released a toxic brew of misogyny, anti LGBT, anti immigrant, anti global warming, and outright racist actions and rhetoric from out of control Trump supporters.
There is so much hate out there for trans folks - as well as lesbians and gays and people of color.
People have asked me what they can do. First off - love and protect the vulnerable among us.
Words are not enough. Action is needed so that our families and communities feel protected from the hate.

The California Legislature has stated such in no uncertain terms:
"By a margin in the millions, Californians overwhelmingly rejected politics fueled by resentment, bigotry, and misogyny.
The largest state of the union and the strongest driver of our nation’s economy has shown it has its surest conscience as well.
California is – and must always be – a refuge of justice and opportunity for people of all walks, talks, ages and aspirations – regardless of how you look, where you live, what language you speak, or who you love.
California has long set an example for other states to follow. And California will defend its people and our progress. We are not going to allow one election to reverse generations of progress at the height of our historic diversity, scientific advancement, economic output, and sense of global responsibility."







Here are some actions that you can take now that were originally presented on the Huffington Post by Alex Berg. I have edited and added my own thoughts to her list.
1. Be physically present. Gender nonconforming and transgender Americans already face disproportionate violence and criminalization across the country, which has been exacerbated by laws dictating which bathrooms trans folk can use. Similarly, those in same-sex partnerships still face violence and harassment when together. You can offer to accompany LGBTQ people to the bathroom, walk with us outside, sit next to us on the subway and stand beside us in other spaces to ensure that we have an ally who can provide a physical presence in unsafe spaces.


2. Donate to LGBTQ organizations and people. If Trump and Pence do what they say, queer organizations will be gearing up for legal battles. You can ensure that these organizations can do this work by throwing them some coin. Check out Lambda LegalHuman Rights Campaign, the New York City Anti-Violence Project, It Gets Better Project (to combat LGBTQ bullying), and the Lorena Borjas Community Fund, which provides funding to bail out queer detainees. If you want to donate directly to LGBTQ people, you can search GoFundMe for those raising funds for transition-related healthcare, which is not covered by most insurance.

3. Get involved with your school board or PTA. Parents, this one’s for you. The Supreme Court will hear its first transgender case this spring about Gavin Grimm, a 17 year-old transgender boy who is fighting for the right to use the male restroom at school. Grimm’s case will decide the fate for transgender young people across the country, while Trump has said he would rescind existing guidelines that advise schools to allow trans kids to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. But, you don’t have to wait for that to happen. Agitate on your PTA committees and before your school boards about their policies for transgender students. Are there gender-neutral restrooms at your school? What are the policies for locker rooms and sports teams? And, are teachers and administrators actively supporting LGBTQ student alliances? Even if you don’t have an LGBTQ-identified kid yourself, you can help bring attention to their safety.

4. Recognize that queer people also face racism and other forms of discrimination. Trump has used racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic rhetoric during the duration of his campaign, which has resulted in an uptick in hate crimes. documented daily on twitter and other social media platforms  LGBTQ people of color face homophobia, transphobia and misogyny that is racialized, meanwhile queer Muslims face profiling as both Muslims and LGBTQ people. We can amplify the voices of queer people of color by sharing their stories and statuses and centering them in LGBTQ spaces. Learning about intersectional identities is just one click away.

5. Become LGBTQ culturally-competent in your field. If you are a doctor, lawyer, teacher, waiter or in virtually any field, you can educate yourself to provide competent care to queer people, use the correct language when coming into contact with us and volunteer your skills to help us. It is difficult to find doctors who can meet our specific healthcare needs, but there are resources you can use to educate yourself. If you are a lawyer, you can volunteer your legal skills to help us navigate the criminal justice system or to acquire accurate documentation. And, if you work in any field, you can educate yourself about correct terminology and always be on the look out for bullying, harassment and violence.

6. Contact your local lawmakers. The backlash against queer rights isn’t just happening federally. North Carolina’s bill #HB2 which walked back LGBTQ protections and made it illegal for trans people to use the appropriate bathroom was a house bill, passed by legislators who were elected at a local level. Find out who your local representatives are and where they stand on LGBTQ rights. Then, give their office a call. Here is a tool by Common Cause that will help you find your elected official -> http://act.commoncause.org/site/PageServer?pagename=sunlight_advocacy_list_page

7. By fastening a safety pin to their clothing, people are declaring themselves allies to folks who have been maligned by Trump and his followers, to show that they stand in solidarity with anyone who might be afraid. 





8. Support progressive journalism such as Mother Jones or the Nation

As the son of a Marine I was taught at a young age how to fight and how to win.
We lost a significant battle on Tuesday night. Our LGBT family and friends are in tears.
They are afraid that their families will be torn apart.
After hugging my wife and daughter this morning, I got to work.
I will fight with my pen, and my brush and my physical presence when needed. 
Feel free to join up with me on Facebook or follow me on twitter. We need to create a movement to prove that Love does trump hate.

So much more to come.
Sending my love
Gregg

Thursday, November 10, 2016

California Rejects Bigotry and Misogyny

Joint Statement from California Legislative Leaders on Result of Presidential Election

Wednesday, November 09, 2016
SACRAMENTO – California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) released the following statement on the results of the President election:
Today, we woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land, because yesterday Americans expressed their views on a pluralistic and democratic society that are clearly inconsistent with the values of the people of California.
We have never been more proud to be Californians.
By a margin in the millions, Californians overwhelmingly rejected politics fueled by resentment, bigotry, and misogyny.
The largest state of the union and the strongest driver of our nation’s economy has shown it has its surest conscience as well.
California is – and must always be – a refuge of justice and opportunity for people of all walks, talks, ages and aspirations – regardless of how you look, where you live, what language you speak, or who you love. 
California has long set an example for other states to follow. And California will defend its people and our progress. We are not going to allow one election to reverse generations of progress at the height of our historic diversity, scientific advancement, economic output, and sense of global responsibility.
We will be reaching out to federal, state and local officials to evaluate how a Trump Presidency will potentially impact federal funding of ongoing state programs, job-creating investments reliant on foreign trade, and federal enforcement of laws affecting the rights of people living in our state. We will maximize the time during the presidential transition to defend our accomplishments using every tool at our disposal.
While Donald Trump may have won the presidency, he hasn’t changed our values. America is greater than any one man or party. We will not be dragged back into the past. We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our Constitution.
California was not a part of this nation when its history began, but we are clearly now the keeper of its future.
###
Hoy despertamos sintiéndonos extranjeros en tierra extraña, porque ayer los estadounidenses expresaron sus opiniones sobre una sociedad pluralista y democrática que es claramente inconsistente con los valores de la gente de California.

Nunca nos hemos sentido más orgullosos de ser californianos.

Por un margen de millones de votos, los californianos rechazaron abrumadoramente la política alimentada por el resentimiento, la intolerancia y la misoginia.

El estado más grande de la unión y la locomotora de la economía de nuestra nación ha demostrado que también tiene su conciencia más tranquila.

California es - y debe ser siempre - un refugio de justicia y oportunidades para las personas de todos los orígenes, lenguas, edades, y aspiraciones - independientemente de su apariencia, dónde vivan, qué idioma hablen, o a quiénes amen.

California, por mucho tiempo, ha sido un ejemplo a seguir  para otros estados. Y California defenderá a su gente y nuestro progreso. No vamos a permitir que una elección sea un revés para el progreso de generaciones en la cima de nuestra histórica diversidad, el avance científico, la generación económica y un sentido de responsabilidad global.

Estaremos comunicándonos con los funcionarios federales, estatales y locales para evaluar cómo una Presidencia Trump podría afectar potencialmente los fondos de programas estatales en curso, las inversiones creadoras de empleos que dependen del comercio exterior y la aplicación de las leyes federales que afectan los derechos de las personas que viven en nuestro estado.

Estaremos utilizando al máximo el tiempo durante la transición presidencial para defender nuestros logros, usando cada herramienta a nuestra disposición.

Aunque Donald Trump haya ganado la presidencia, no ha cambiado nuestros valores. Estados Unidos es más grande que cualquier hombre o partido. No seremos arrastrados de vuelta al pasado. Lideraremos la resistencia a cualquier esfuerzo que destruya nuestro tejido social o nuestra Constitución.

California no era una parte de esta nación cuando comenzó su historia, pero ahora somos claramente los encargados de mantener su futuro.

###

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around



NAACP ‏@NAACP 1m1 minute ago
Don't let nobody turn you around. If you’re in line when the polls close, you STILL get to vote #StayWokeAndVote

Thursday, October 27, 2016

An Elegy for Lou Reed

by Gregg Chadwick

I wrote this when I heard of Lou Reed's death in 2013. Three years on the thoughts still stand. Reposted as an elegy to an inspirational figure for so many. 

"Lou Reed gave us the street and the landscape - and we peopled it."

 - David Bowie in the documentary "Rock 'n' Roll Heart - Lou Reed"

Well hey, man, that's just a lie

It's a lie she tells her friends
'Cause the real song, the real song
Where she won't even admit to herself
The beatin' in her heart
It's a song lots of people know
It's a painful song
A little sad truth
But life's full of sad songs
Penny for a wish
But wishin' won't make you a soldier.
With a pretty kiss for a pretty face
Can't have it's way

Y'know tramps like us, we were born to pay

 - From the beginning of the "Slipaway" section of Lou Reed's song Street Hassle.
    Uncredited spoken vocals by Bruce Springsteen.


Annie Leibovitz
Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson 
Coney Island, New York, 1995
Silver Print



When I found out about Lou Reed's death yesterday morning from Rolling Stone's twitter feed I turned to my Lou Reed playlist and put Reed's cover of Blind Lemon Jefferson's haunting blues number - See That My Grave is Kept Clean along with Antony and the Johnsons' song with Lou Reed - Fistful of Love, and Reed's elegiac urban hymn Berlinon repeat. 


For many of us who came of age and under the influence of the New York City of the 1970's and 1980's, Lou Reed was New York. While at NYU working on my grad degree in art, Reed's music provided an aural map for my explorations across the city. Reed's staccato talk/singing proved to be a gruff yet tender guided tour through my artistic and lovelorn ventures. Often while on the A train, Marty Fogel's Junior Walker fueled sax riff on Reed's Shooting Star would blare in my walkman's headphones. And Walk on the Wild Side always seemed to accompany me across Washington Square. 


Gregg Chadwick
Ghosts of New Amsterdam
24"x36" oil on linen 2013


Reed's urban suite New York kept me close to the city I loved even as I moved west to California. On a trip back to Manhattan a few years later, a friend who had opened a restaurant in the Village told me that she thought that she had been given a sign that she would make it, because Lou Reed was becoming a regular at her joint. 

Not long after, Reed and his song Why Can't I be Good rumbled across the screen in Wim Wenders' cinematic sequel to Wings of Desire - Far Away So CloseLou Reed's future wife, performance artist, composer and musician Laurie Anderson, also provided powerful music for the film. On a recent artistic excursion to Berlin, memories of these two films and Reed's album Berlin brought to light elements of the city that I had missed in the past. 




 


Much like an author will write about an event or a place to learn what they feel, I will create a series of artworks to understand what I have seen. I pushed my interaction with Berlin into a recent ongoing series of monotypes fueled partly by the visions of Lou Reed, Wim Wenders, Bertolt Brecht, and David Bowie




Gregg Chadwick
Brecht's Song
30"x22" monotype on paper 2011


As Gavin Edwards wrote in Rolling Stone,"While many musicians have made Berlin albums, Lou Reed's Berlin (1973) is the wrist-slashing standard against which they're all judged. When the record concluded with the epic ballad Sad Song, it felt like the whole world was shutting down." Berlin forces us to wrestle with the dead as we walk through its haunted and enchanted streets. After the fall of the wall, Berlin has come to embody the future while at the same time carrying the scars of the past. In the city of Berlin, the political and the personal merge, as evidenced in Lou Reed's Berlin album and David Bowie's recent song Where Are We Now?. In Berlin we are left with existential questions and are reminded that bodies age and die, marriages end, friendships dissolve and memories fade. 



Gregg Chadwick
Rauch Licht (Smoke Light)
30"x22" monotype on paper 2011


During the last years of his life, Lou Reed continued to work with and inspire younger musicians and artists. One of the most fruitful of these mentorship/collaborations was his work with Antony, of Antony and the Johnsons. John Hodgman in the New York Times recounts how the cover image of Antony's EP, I Fell in Love With a Dead Boy "caught the attention of the producer Hal Willner, who bought the EP and played it for Lou Reed, with whom he was working at the time:

'I said, 'Who is that?' Reed recalled. 'So we set out to find him, and he was a few blocks away as it turns out.' ''


Lou Reed invited Antony to tour with him throughout 2003, and every night Antony would sing Candy Says, Reed's haunting tribute to Candy Darling. Caught in the video below, Lou Reed, one of the most influential musicians of the rock era, looks across towards Antony with an expression of pride and wonder. Lou seems mesmerized by what he described as Antony's double tracking and unusual harmonies. Reed had said that he could listen to Antony sing all day. In this video we witness a legend passing on his wisdom and inspiration to another.




Antony and Lou Reed Perform Candy Says



More Videos Below:



Lou Reed & David Bowie Discuss Reed's Album Transformer

 in the documentary "Rock 'n' Roll Heart - Lou Reed"




In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1989, Lou Reed explained that he and Bruce Springsteen were both recording albums at the Record Plant in New York City when an engineer suggested inviting Bruce over to record the "Slipaway" vocals on Reed's song Street Hassle. The last line was Reed's, written with Springsteen's Born to Run in mind:

Y'know tramps like us, we were born to pay



More at:

Lou Reed: The Rolling Stone Interview
Antony Finds His Voice


  
Lou Reed greets Chuck Close in front of Close's 2012 tapestry Lou 
    published by Magnolia Editions; photo by Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg


August 2013