It’s the principle of the thing

Photo shoot with Lise Sarfati

Saturday I posed for a fun and amazing photo shoot with Parisian photographer Lise Sarfati and her gracious assistant Francois. We tramped through the streets of Hollywood and Koreatown, got chased away by a psychotic motel manager, and generally had a rockin’ good time.

Sarfati’s work is in the permanent collections of New York’s
International Center of Photography (ICP), the Bibliotèque Nationale in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art of San Francisco, and many other museums worldwide. Check it out at lisesarfati.com.

RahmWatch: Mayor Daley’s mystery tweet!

This popped up in my HuffPo news stream; it’s a tweet from Mayor Daley of Chicago:


OK, so Tuesday afternoon has come & gone, Daley, what gives? Does this mean what it seems to mean?

Update: alas, a false alarm. Follow-up revealed that the tweet refers only to a Global Cities Forum, held next Tuesday in Chicago, at which Emanuel will appear as a panelist. Interesting news, but not hype-worthy. Well, except to the participants and Chicago-area residents. I don’t think I’ll make it out to Chicago for this one. But if anyone else attends, please comment here with a report!

Pro-gun rallies in Washington

The Huffington Post has (rightfully) called today’s NRA gun rally a “PR FAIL,” considering that today is also the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City domestic terrorist bombing. So I suppose I’m completely un-PC by proudly posting my NRA certification in basic pistol training (below). But, hey, maybe this will convince the LAPD that I’m not a flaming, card-carrying, pinko-hippie-liberal-communist-terrorist, or something:

Seriously, though, I don’t want to be glib about any of our national tragedies. However, I agree with the Supreme Court’s recent decision affirming gun ownership as a constitutional right, as intended by our nation’s founders. Nonetheless, there need to be some limits. I remember one occasion when an ex-boyfriend took me to the house of married friends of his; the couple had a child — a toddler — and they also kept an AK-47 assault weapon by the front door (“just in case”??)! PARENTING FAIL.

I’ll stick to air guns.

Festival report: the LAPD shut us down!

Three songs into my new band’s first show together, the police shut us down … for being too loud!. Right after we wrapped up my tune “Jihad,” police officers parked in a squad car across the street barked through their bullhorn, letting us know that that Gena Mason & the Noise were making too much … well, noise! Then they shut us down! That, my friends, is what rock and roll is all about. Of course, some suggested that, had we not been playing for a marijuana festival, the cops wouldn’t have given us a problem. Whatevs. We played a pretty good short set, anyway, and are looking forward to our next show. I’ll post photos of our performance here soon.



RahmWatch: He’s back!

Obama & Emanuel return to the WH after Nuclear Summit (Reuters 4/12/10)

Oh Rahm, how we’ve missed you! We’re not sure why you stayed out of the spotlight during the first half of April (after all, you belong on center stage), but you did a pretty good job of keeping a low profile. Our daily searches for news of you yielded only one rumored sighting outside of DC. Meanwhile we had to content ourselves with mere fantasies of naked shower tickle fights. How could you leave us this way?

No matter, we’re just glad you’re back. All is forgiven … no questions asked! Just check in now and then — when you can — to let us know how you’re doing … OK?

Rock City news item

I made it into the latest issue of Rock City News magazine. Check out page 7 of the April issue, which is dedicated to previewing LA JEMM‘s Medical Marijuana Awareness Festival on April 18. I share a spread with the great Count Smokula from Smokesylvania. You can view the entire issue online, at the Rock City News website (click the flip-book beneath the image of the new magazine cover), or pick up a copy of the magazine at one of dozens of locations in the L.A. metro area.

Who heads the U.S. death squads?

Last year renowned investigative reporter Seymour Hersh publicly discussed JSOC, a longtime black-ops U.S. military operation that Hersh describes as an “executive assassination ring.” Hersh, who writes for the New Yorker, made his statements as part of a public talk at the University of Minnesota. He’s been investigating these issues for a forthcoming book.

When asked whether covert hit squads run by the White House continue to this day, Hersh said yes, and elaborated:

“After 9/11 … the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven’t been called on it yet. …

“Right now, today, there was a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command — JSOC it’s called. It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to … the secretary of defense.

“Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths.

“Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.

“… they are young men that went into the Special Forces. The Delta Forces you’ve heard about. Navy Seal teams. Highly specialized. In many cases, they were the best and the brightest. Really, no exaggerations. Really fine guys that went in to do the kind of necessary jobs that they think you need to do to protect America. And then they find themselves torturing people.

“I’ve had people say to me — five years ago, I had one say: ‘What do you call it when you interrogate somebody and you leave them bleeding and they don’t get any medical committee and two days later he dies. Is that murder? What happens if I get before a committee.?’ But they’re not gonna get before a committee.”

Of course, this comes as no surprise to me or to many others. However, it does beg the question: who is running the operation NOW? Because if there’s one lesson we’ve learned in our country’s brief history, it’s that power is addictive. So it may be that JSOC (and perhaps other such black-ops federal death squads) functioned without oversight until the last Bush administration; but if, as Hersh claims, JSOC reported to Cheney (GWB’s “shadow President”), then Cheney’s departure from the White House created a power vacuum that someone must have jumped at the chance to fill. The “inspirational” Barack Obama would likely not want to dirty his hands with running a secret assassination ring. And, according to Hersh, JSOC doesn’t report to the defense secretary. So at present, JSOC and/or other assassination squads must be either functioning without any authority or reporting to another figure — likely someone with White House heft. I’m speculating, of course, but Obama’s uber-powerful Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel currently fills the role closest to that of a “shadow President,” and may be JSOC’s go-to guy.

Well, if so, I’d rather have Rahm Emanuel in charge than Cheney. But we probably won’t begin to know the truth until another generation has passed and relevant documents start to be declassified.

1 week from today: LA JEMM’s pop/pot fest!

ONLY ONE WEEK LEFT until LA JEMM’s Medical Marijuana Awareness Expo — an all-day, indoor/outdoor festival featuring booths, vendors, and 2 stages with live bands and speakers! My new band, Gena Mason & the Noise, will perform at 12:30 pm. Other scheduled musical acts include headliner Anthony Aquarius Mystery, Paint It Black (a Rollilng Stones cover band), The Who Revue (a Who tribute band), and many more. Speakers include State Senate candidate Adrian Galysh and medical marijuana pioneers Dennis Peron and Richard Eastman.

The event takes place on Sunday, April 18 at Rock CIty Fairgrounds, 5552 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028. Admission only $12! For more info and daily updates, visit lajemm.com.

Rock City News cover story

Several weeks ago Ruben MacBlue, my editor at LA JEMM and Rock City News magazines, gave me the green light to interview Anthony Aquarius Mystery, L.A.’s Jimi Hendrix impersonator extraordinaire. That interview with Mystery became the cover story for the new issue of Rock City News, whose April issue is dedicated to previewing LA JEMM’s Medical Marijuana Awareness Festival. Pick up a copy at a coffeeshop, record store, or other cool location in the L.A. Metro area.