About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
I am a native of Illinois and grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. After dropping out of college, I moved to California in 1973 with my first husband. I married my present husband, Butch, in 1977 and got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me a grandmother 25 times over and a great-grandmother of 19. Three years after I married Butch I returned to school. I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication and was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 to return to school and get my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore and genealogy - and add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play a number of folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega with Genealogy Journeys where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that can be found at http://genaandjean.blogspot.com and more about my own business projects is on my Circlemending website.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Phil Ochs Movie: "There but for Fortune"

Earlier this week I attended the movie on the late folksinger, Phil Ochs: his life, music, and tragic death. Phil was one of my early examples of a singer-songwriter and his music techniques were amazing (my father, an accomplished musician, often remarked on how intricate and professional Phil's orchestrations were). Watching the movie brought back some emotional memories of growing up in suburban Chicago. I found it to be a good expose of both an artist and a time period in history when much was in turmoil. Many of us grew from the experiences; Phil was not as fortunate and he took his own life when his depression overpowered his artist-side.

Another interesting thing I noticed was before the movie: A number of advertisements were playing, promoting local (Pasadena) events and other theatrical productions at the theater. All of these were played sans music in the background. It was very odd to have something up on the screen with no noise . . . there were 20 of us in the theater and we were all very quiet and polite as the same advertisements were displayed on the screen over and over. No one talked. What a strange experience it was . . . not even background music in the theater. We are very much a "noisy" society and when there is no noise, immediately people look around to see why not! As you go throughout your daily lives, check out how many tasks (shopping, worshipping, attending sports events, etc.) are accompanied by music in one form or another.

Well, there are a few music thoughts for today and, if you grew up listening to the folk music of the '60s and you can find this movie playing anywhere near you, check it out (click the image above for the link) - a little trip down memory lane can sometimes be a good thing (Tom Paxton says it's OK to experience nostalgia and look back, just don't stare!).

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