A series of petitions (1)

suffrage : from the Oxford English dictionary


1 [noun] The right to vote in political elections.

example: ‘universal adult suffrage’

[as modifier] ‘the women's suffrage movement’

1.1 archaic [noun] A vote given in assent to a proposal or in favour of the election of a particular person.

‘the suffrages of the community’

Getting a Word in, Edgewise

by Jan Galligan & Lillian Mulero

Waiting for the conversation to begin at Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico

"Celebrity distorts democracy by giving the rich, beautiful, and famous more authority than they deserve," says Maureen Dowd. Her new book, The Year of Voting Dangerously: The Derangement of American Politics will be released on Sept. 13.

While serving as cultural correspondents at the 2016 San Juan International Film Festival, we received an invitation to attend a Conversatorio at the Conservatorio, a talk between Maureen Dowd, political columnist for the New York Times, called by some “the most dangerous columnist in America,” and New York Times congressional reporter and Washington D.C. bureau chief, Carl Hulse, known by the nickname “The Senator.” We decided to skip the closing ceremonies of the Film Festival in favor of attending the talk, billed as a discussion on the 2016 Presidential election – Clinton vs. Trump.

Arriving early we milled around the lobby and noticed a well-heeled crowd, people who obviously read the New York Times. One table at the reception area was filled with small receiver and headphone sets for simultaneous translation, but few people were picking those up. We grabbed a couple of index cards in order to prepare our question for the audience participation section of the presentation, and found a seat in the middle of the auditorium. Lillian spotted Geraldo Rivera sitting a few rows in front of us, closer to the stage.

Dowd introduced herself by reading what might have been one of her Times columns, talking about Clinton, Trump, the election and the general sense of craziness that currently prevails. She told an anecdote about meeting privately with president Obama, thinking he was going to give her an scoop or some inside information. Instead, he told her to her face just how annoying her found her. Hulse, gave an extemporaneous presentation of his experiences among the senators in D.C., and then told a lengthy anecdote about being invited to the White House to watch a Chicago Bears football game with president Obama, both Hulse and Obama being natives of Illinois and fanatic supporters of the Bears. That time the Bears were thoroughly trounced by the Packers. The story, intended an amusing encounter with the president, fell flat – as most of the audience had no knowledge or interest in American football. Both Dowd and Hulse seemed to favor Clinton in her contest against Trump and their analysis suggests that she has a good chance to prevail in November. Dowd characterized Trump as a clinical narcissist who is running his campaign on a moment to moment basis, unplanned, seemingly spontaneous, and subject to the ups and downs of the news cycle. Hulse said that there is no doubt that Trump wants to win; the question being what will he do if he doesn't. Both Hulse and Dowd related a lunch they attended last June at Trump's invitation, held in the Trump Tower dining hall. Over plates of meatballs and spaghetti (“which Trump barely touched,” said Hulse) they discussed his problems with the Republican party and other issues of the moment. They said that they were surprised to find him to be both friendly and solicitous in person. Characterizing Clinton, they both agreed that despite her cool, wonkish public persona, in private they said in unison, “she is a hoot.”

When the time came for questions from the audience, we handed in our card and waited to see if it would make the cut. There was just time for a handful of audience inquiries. They mostly dealt with questions about the two candidates, their chances, and possible post-election scenarios. Our question, which turned out to be the last one of the night and the only question specific to current affairs here on the island, concerned the political and economic future of Puerto Rico. Knowing Geraldo Rivera would be listening, we had asked: Can you speculate on the PROMESA process, politically and economically? What might be the outcome by the time of the 2020 presidential election? Dowd deferred to Hulse for the response, saying she had given him responsibility to be ready for such a question. He said that he had actually followed the issue closely in discussions with congressmen involved in the legislation that established PROMESA. He gave a carefully worded explanation that he appreciated the sensitivity of the issue to the people of the island, calling it the “third-rail” issue of the moment. He explained that he lived in D.C. when a fiscal control board was appointed by Congress to oversee the capital city fiscal crisis of the late 1990s. He contended that however painful the process, the outcome for the city had been positive and that by 2001 the city had completed four consecutive years of balanced budget. He said he hoped for a similar outcome for Puerto Rico in the near future.

Maureen Dowd and Carl Hulse of the New York Times in conversation at
the Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico, September 7, 2016

Mozne Je Vesechno, Deku. (I know you know who you are)

Chapter ONE

Berty zepravy, takove jake jsou (Accept the information at face value)

11.11.01 - 12:12PM
Ruzne Airport, Prague
Gate 32, Flight OK050
Departure: 12:35PM
Prague to JFK

Settling into my seat, I check my notepad, a 4x5 paperback notebook that I picked up in a corner store, my first day in Prague, in which I've written down everything I've done, or needed to do over the past ten days. On the page headed Sobota (Saturday) Listopad (November) 10, I'd written "CSA Airlines, Praha to JFK, 1:30PM."

This is typical. For some reason I always miscalculate departure times. Just ask my daughter Lydia. London to JFK, San Juan to JFK, Paris to JFK. JFK to Chicago. The list goes on. Luckily, I'd given Steve a copy of my itinerary last night, for safe keeping and true to his word, he came to pick me up 20 minutes before the time we actually needed to leave for the airport. That gave us time to drive past Fred&Ginger, Frank Gehry's signature building on the banks of the Vltava River just south of the new, Stare Mesto, part of the old, Nove Mesto, section of Prague.

We pulled Steve's Skoda four-door wagon into the first available parking spot and I jumped out and ran across Rasinovo street to get a good prospect on the building. The sun was streaming in from behind, which put the structure into an interesting silhouette, the sun shining through the glass crown on Fred's head. Snip, snap. A few quick grab shots of the river, swans, the tram and some of the 11th century buildings surrounding Gehry's fantastic modernist construction, then we were back on the main street headed north to the airport. Cruising past Karluv most (Charles Bridge), we drove across Manusev most, one of the main bridges, and climbed a hill which is surmounted by Prazsky hrad (Prague Castle) and I made some pictures out the window. Turning around, I was able to get good pictures of Prasna vez Mihulka (the Powder Tower), Petrinska rozhledna (Petrin Tower), Staromestska mostecka vez (the Old Town Bridge Tower), Chram Matky Bozi vez, (the towers of the Church of Our Lady before Tyn), Novomestska radnice vez, (the tower of New Town Hall), and finally Katdrala sv. Vita, Vaclava a Vojtecha (St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas and St. Adalbert Cathedral) off in the distance.

Unfortunately, it was a whirlwind tour, but fortunately, I did see everything with enough time to spare and arrived at the airport thirty minutes early. Hardly like the Albany Airport, where I arrived two-hours and forty minutes early because when I called to ask, they told me I needed to be there three hours before departure to insure that I cleared all of the necessary requirements for international travel in these times of heightened 9/11 security.

Lillian got me there early and then it took just eleven minutes to check in, so I had a few hours to kill. Luckily, Sharon was working in the airport gallery, so I hung out and helped her proof-read the text for her upcoming exhibition of wacko collections that people in the Capital District, many of them artist friends, have assembled over the years: toy trucks, weather vanes, old trains, doll clothes, wooden dinosaurs, etc. Everything representing one or another obsession on the part of the collectors.

Chapter TWO

Prvni dousek povzbudichut na celou lahev.(A first sip whets the appetite for the whole bottle)

"Excuse me, I think that is my seat."

I am shaken from my reverie by a petite woman in her mid forties, with close cropped hair. I've got my stuff all over her seat, next to me.

"Pardon." I reply, "I'll move this right away."

"Nei problem," she says.

I take my drink from her tray table, grab my stuff and she sits down next to me.

"It's certainly a beautiful day out today," I tell her.

"Yes it is, and it's been beautiful the entire ten days I've been in Prague," she says. "Except for yesterday and the night before, when it was rather cold. In fact," she continues, "yesterday I saw snow."

"You did?"

"Yes," she says, "not a lot, but definitely snow, on the ground, near my brother's house where I was visiting, on the outskirts of Prague."

"I saw snow myself yesterday and I really froze my butt," I reply. 

"How's that?"

"I was on the top of the Prague TV Tower, the tallest structure in the city, on a hill in the Jarlslov district."

"Yes, I know it," she say, "but what were you doing there, having dinner."

"Nei," I answer, "I wasn't inside the observatory, I was outside, on the roof, taking photographs."

"You're a photographer?"

"Right, that's why I was in Prague, to do some photography. Anyhow, I'm out on the roof on a small platform which has a one foot high perimeter wall around it, leaning over the edge, trying to get the best birds-eye-views of the city, and trying not to loose my balance, when my foot slipped and I found myself sliding on some snow."

"That sounds dangerous," she says.

"I suppose, but sometimes you've have to go to the edge for your art."

"You're an artist?"

"Of a sort," I tell her. "I do photography, installations of pictures and other objects, make constructions, and try to put as much of it as possible on my website."

"The web is great, isn't it?" she says.

"For me, sure."

"No, really," she says, "I got my tickets for Prague using the web. Jan, my ex-husband, got me the tickets by using an on-line auction. You go there, pick your destination, and then make an offer on the tickets. Just for fun I offered $50 for Prague, but of course it was rejected, so I just kept upping my bid by $100, until finally, for $450, I got the tickets. Of course you don't know until you confirm your bid, which airline you'll be flying. As you can see, I got Czech Airlines, but they're good. Well, they're better now, than they were ten years ago, the last time I flew home."

Chapter THREE

Musel Jsem pres vedcit tatu, aby souhlasil vice za vzdelani. (I had to twist my dad's arm to get him to agree to pay for more education.)

"You're from Prague?" I ask.

"Yes, I was born here, in Liben, across the river from Holesevice. I left Prague in the 70's with my husband, now my ex-husband, to get away from the repressive government of those days. We moved to Texas and then to Chicago, which has a large Czech population, I lived on Kedzie and Cermak."

"I know the area," I tell her.


"I went to art school in Chicago, in the 70's. The American Academy of Art, downtown, beneath the "EL"."

"You mean that beautiful elevated subway. It looks alot like the trams of Prague except the tracks are way up above the street," she says.

"How did you end up in Chicago?"

"I was raised in Kenosha, in Wisconsin, north of Chicago, and when I graduated high school, I chose to move to Chicago."

"I've been to Kenosha," she says.

"You have?"

Excerpted from the book: NUDNY NOVINY by Jan Galligan, 2002.
  Third in the series: GALLIGANSTRAVAILS, a guide for the common traveler
  Volume One: PARIS, Chronique Enneuysis, 1995 (click to view)
  Volume Two: MADRID, Chronica Aburrida, 2000  (click to view)

FULL STORY HERE (click crossed-arrows for full screen view)



Albany, Sonic Youth, Edson & Garrett (among others)

JC Garrett & Richard Edson, packed in the car, leaving Albany for destinations (as yet) unknown, 1978

Goodbye 20th Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth 

by David Browne 


1-10 of 20 pages with references to Richard Edson: 

1. on Page 3: 

"... "There was nothing sacred, and anything that was perceived as sacred had to be reduced," recalls Richard Edson, a musician who arrived in the city (from Albany [ed.]) during this time. "It was the beginning of a whole 35 ..." 

2. on Page 16: 

"... didn't actually know that many-except for one they'd seen playing around and hanging about A's. Like Gordon and Moore, Richard Edson had arrived in the city fairly recently-in his case, ..." 

3. on Page 17: 

"... guitars and keyboard, and almost immediately, Moore began playing his instrument at top volume. "I was like, Well, that's interesting,"' Edson recalls. "No warming up here. ..." 

4. on Page 18: 

"... GOODBYE 20TH CENTURY With Edson behind the drums, the new band played its first two shows as Sonic Youth, one on May 8 at Club ..." 

5. on Page 21: 

"... The Noise Festival would be the last of those, and Edson himself was on the way out. "The scene was just too straight and too white and too middle class, so ..." 

6. on Page 38: 

"... for it, they would need a drummer to firm up their sound. Without many options, they reached out to Richard Edson, who decided to return to the fold: "I remembered it fondly enough," he says. ..." 

7. on Page 39: 

"... and more dreamlike and expansive, on another wordless performance, "Where the Red Fern Grows." During rehearsals, Edson had ridden the band particularly hard on another partly developed song, "The Burning Spear. ..." 

8. on Page 41: 

"... stores encircling the battered Union Square Park, 14th Street was, as Richard Edson puts it, "the northern demarcation. It was a wasteland above that. ..." 

9. on Page 42: 

"... GOODBYE 20TH CENTURY were able to lay down rough takes of some of the songs they'd worked up with Edson, but the experience was so unsatisfactory that, except for a recording of "Where the Red Fern Grows" that would be ..." 

10. on Page 45: 

"... An even more obscure East Village reference point was embedded on the cover: Edson folded his hands on the cover in imitation of a Jesus statue he'd walked by on the way to the ..." 

11. on Page 46: 

"... like James Brown drummers, soft and so deep into a groove and hoping everyone else would approach it that way," Edson recalls.) Both the rhythms and the guitars intensified on the next track, "I Don't Want to Push It," but minimalism ..." 

12. on Page 47: 

"... " As Coleman also learned, Edson was no longer a member of Sonic Youth. Edson's commitment to the band had been shaky from the start; he'd ..." 

13. on Page 48: 

"... GOODBYE 20TH CENTURY To the three of them, Edson's announcement came as a jolt and an inevitability. During rehearsals, Ranaldo would often see Edson with his fingers in his ..." 

14. on Page 50: 

"... when it was released, shortly before he spotted their flier. He'd already seen several of their shows, including one with Edson, and was astounded by how long they took between songs-hours, ..." 

15. on Page 59: 

"... " Adopting hard-boiled urban identities was not unusual on the scene: For a while, Richard Edson referred to himself as "R. Smith" during Sonic Youth shows and put up a sign on his apartment door that ..." 

16. on Page 60: 

"... Finally, Moore and Lunch met by way of their mutual friend Edson, who lived across the street from Lunch. By then, Sonic Youth had formed, and Lunch approached Moore with the idea ..." 

17. on Page 98: 

"... a larger, more complex issue reared its head. Bert had stayed with the band far longer than his predecessors Richard Edson and Jim Sclavunos, ..." 

18. on Page 171: 

"... Richard Edson during his second tenure in Sonic Youth, Danceteria, New York, 1982. (Photo by Catherine Ceresole) ..." 

19. from Back Matter: 

"... Former mem- bers David Keay, Richard Edson, Bob Bert, Tom Recchion, Jim Sclavunos, and Jim O'Rourke graciously sat down with me (or let me hound them over ..." 


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