Podcasts about The Village Voice

American weekly newspaper

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Best podcasts about The Village Voice

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Latest podcast episodes about The Village Voice

Speaking of Writers
RJ Smith- Chuck Berry: An American Life

Speaking of Writers

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 19, 2023 12:36


In CHUCK BERRY: An American Life (Hachette Books) biographer RJ Smith crafts a comprehensive portrait of one of the great American entertainers, guitarists, and lyricists of the 20th century, bringing Chuck Berry to life in vivid detail. Based on interviews, archival research, legal documents, and a deep understanding of Berry's St. Louis (his birthplace, and the place where he died in March 2017), Smith sheds new light on the notoriously enigmatic icon, a man few have ever really understood. RJ Smith has been a senior editor at Los Angeles Magazine, a contributor to Details, a columnist for The Village Voice, a staff writer for Spin, and has written for GQ, New York Times Magazine, Elle, and Men's Vogue. His book The One: The Life and Music of James Brown was among the New York Times' "100 Notable Books of 2012." Smith lives in Los Angeles. --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/steve-richards/support

Free Library Podcast
Aidan Levy | Saxophone Colossus: The Life and Music of Sonny Rollins

Free Library Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 18, 2023 55:13


In conversation with Nate Chinen The author of Dirty Blvd.: The Life and Music of Lou Reed and editor of Patti Smith on Patti Smith: Interviews and Encounters, Aiden Levy played the baritone saxophone in the Stan Rubin Orchestra for 10 years. His writing has been published in The New York Times, The Village Voice, and JazzTimes, among other publications. Formerly a fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography, he is a doctoral candidate at Columbia University in the Department of English and Comparative Literature, works with the Center for Jazz Studies, and was a co-convener of the African American Studies Colloquium. In Saxophone Colossus, Levy offers the first full-length biography of Sonny Rollins, one of jazz's most celebrated but enigmatic musicians and composers.  WRTI jazz radio's editorial director, a regular contributor to NPR Music, and a consulting producer with Jazz Night in America, Nate Chinen formerly worked as a critic for The New York Times and wrote a long-running column for JazzTimes. He is the author of Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century, named one of the best books of 2018 by NPR, GQ, and Billboard. A 13-time winner of the Helen Dance-Robert Palmer Award for Excellence in Writing, Chinen has also had his work widely anthologized. (recorded 1/17/2023)

The North Coast Podcast

Our guest today is incredible freestyler Isaac Knox (Free Daps, Mile 1). Isaac chats with us about his freestyle beginnings, the magic of off-season basketball, and Disney World Free Daps performances. The North Coast Podcast is a Musical Comedy podcast featuring interviews, improvised hip-hop songs, and long-form improv from New York City's long-running hip hop-improv team, North Coast. From conversations with comedians, hip-hop artists, and other exciting creatives, you can now bring the infectious energy of a North Coast show into your headphones with this brand new podcast. Produced by Anna Torzullo and Douglas WidickNorthcoastnyc.comIsaac Knox - @ImisaacknoxFree Daps - @freedaps North Coast - @northcoastnycRj Williams - @rjron.williamsMichael Crisol - @TheDoctorBrickMel Rubin @melrubin2Billy Soco @bsocoDouglas Widick @douglaswidickLuke Miller @lukemillerfakeRalf Jean-Pierre -  @preciousgorgeousralf Anna Torzullo - @AtorzzWith a cast of improv comedy veterans in New York City, North Coast's explosive performances have been packing comedy venues, universities, and festivals nationwide since 2009. Built around a single suggestion from an audience member, the show's improvised scenes escalate into full-blown hip-hop songs, facilitated by resident beatboxer, Doctor Brick. With their seamless melding of comedic timing and freestyle rapping abilities, North Coast frequently blurs the line between comedy show and concert, drawing audiences from the comedy, hip-hop, and theater communities for an experience that has been hailed as “mind-blowing” and “next level” by critics and audiences alike.Named one of the “Top Ten Best Comedy Shows”  by Time Out New York, North Coast has been featured on Vh1, in Slate's Podcast The Gist, The Village Voice, and The New York Times Comedy Listings. Currently, you can catch them performing on 2/11 & 3/11 at The People's Improv Theater. 0:00 - Start 1:19 - Welcome, Isaac Knox! 2:01 - Freestyling in Qatar 4:40 - Free Daps  7:14 - People Trying to Battle After Shows 9:25 - Isaac's Freestyle Beginnings 11:34 - Mile 1 (8 Mile?) 14:19 - Isaac's Stand Up 16:21 - SONG: Word Nerd 18:11 - Competition in Free Daps / Disney Performances 22:20 - SONG: He Doesn't Really Mean it Coz He's 22 25:05 - For the Love of B Ball 29:35 - Competition 34:05 - Has Anyone Come For Your Throat During a Rap Battle? 35:09 - Florida Artists 40:06 - College Gigs 41:57 - Isaac Freestyles off North Coasts “Crowd Work”

The Delingpod: The James Delingpole Podcast

Support the Delingpod's existence by joining James' Locals: https://jamesdelingpole.locals.com/ Clifton Duncan is a classically trained professional actor, who earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from what's considered one of the most elite acting conservatories in the United States: New York University's Graduate Acting Program, a subsidiary of the Tisch School of the Arts. He's appeared in multiple critically-acclaimed and award-winning shows Off-Broadway, has starred on Broadway, has excelled in lead roles on many of America's most prestigious stages, and has multiple guest-starring appearances on networks including Starz, NBC, Fox, and CBS. As a vocalist, he's thrilled New York audiences from intimate spaces such as Joe's Pub, to massive venues such as City Center. His work has been singled out in multiple publications, including Entertainment Weekly, The Village Voice, the Washington Post, and, repeatedly, The New York Times.   Here is his youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@CliftonADuncan/featured Here is Clifton Singing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MefAi6Xv-G4   This episode is sponsored by Thor Holt: https://www.thorholt.com/ or https://www.linkedin.com/in/thorholt/   Freedom isn't free - James needs your support to continue creating The Delingpod. There are many ways you can show your support to James: Join the James Delingpole Community as a paid supporter at: jamesdelingpole.locals.com Support James monthly at: subscribestar.com/jamesdelingpole Support James' Writing at: substack.com/jamesdelingpole www.delingpoleworld.com Buy James a Coffee at: buymeacoffee.com/jamesdelingpole   Find full episodes of The Delingpod for free (and leave a 5-star rating) on: Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-delingpod-the-james-delingpole-podcast/id1449753062 Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/7bdfnyRzzeQsAZQ6OT9e7G?si=a21dc71c7a144f48 Podbean: delingpole.podbean.com Odysee: https://odysee.com/@JamesDelingpoleChannel:0 Rumble: https://rumble.com/user/JamesDelingpole BitChute: https://www.bitchute.com/channel/Zxu5yMwNWTbs/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheJamesDelingpoleChannel   Follow James on Social Media: Twitter: twitter.com/jamesdelingpole Instagram: instagram.com/delingpodclips GETTR: gettr.com/jamesdelingpole Telegram: https://t.me/+dAx_7JX7WQlwYzVk    

Beaconites!
Donna Minkowitz, Queer Activist and Multiple Memoirist

Beaconites!

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 10, 2023 41:50


Donna Minkowitz is a journalist, activist and memoirist who has written extensively about LGBTQ politics and culture. She covered gay issues and AIDS activism for The Village Voice from the late 1980s through the mid-1990s. In her book “Ferocious Romance: What My Encounters With the Right Taught Me About Sex, God, and Fury,” she describes how she went undercover as a 16 year old christian evangelical boy to investigate Focus on the Family and other anti-gay groups on the Christian Right and surprisingly found she had a lot in common with them. Donna was a lifelong resident of New York City before moving to Beacon a number of years ago. Episode recorded at Beacon AV Lab. Photography by Michael Isabell. Hear more interviews and sign up for our newsletter at Beaconites.com. 

The North Coast Podcast
Amir Shabaan

The North Coast Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 10, 2023 34:57


Today we are joined by North Coast beatbox alum, Amir Shabaan! Amir is a world-class beatboxer, talk-box musician, and dentist. Listen in as he gives tips on the cleanest teeth while providing the dirtiest beats. The North Coast Podcast is a Musical Comedy podcast featuring interviews, improvised hip-hop songs, and long-form improv from New York City's long-running hip hop-improv team, North Coast. From conversations with comedians, hip-hop artists, and other exciting creatives, you can now bring the infectious energy of a North Coast show into your headphones with this brand new podcast. Produced by Anna Torzullo and Douglas WidickNorthcoastnyc.comAmir Shabaan - @amirlikeshugsNorth Coast - @northcoastnycRj Williams - @rjron.williamsMichael Crisol - @TheDoctorBrickMel Rubin @melrubin2Billy Soco @bsocoDouglas Widick @douglaswidickLuke Miller @lukemillerfakeRalf Jean-Pierre -  @preciousgorgeousralf Anna Torzullo - @AtorzzWith a cast of improv comedy veterans in New York City, North Coast's explosive performances have been packing comedy venues, universities, and festivals nationwide since 2009. Built around a single suggestion from an audience member, the show's improvised scenes escalate into full-blown hip-hop songs, facilitated by resident beatboxer, Doctor Brick. With their seamless melding of comedic timing and freestyle rapping abilities, North Coast frequently blurs the line between comedy show and concert, drawing audiences from the comedy, hip-hop, and theater communities for an experience that has been hailed as “mind-blowing” and “next level” by critics and audiences alike.Named one of the “Top Ten Best Comedy Shows”  by Time Out New York, North Coast has been featured on Vh1, in Slate's Podcast The Gist, The Village Voice, and The New York Times Comedy Listings. Currently, you can catch them performing at the People's Improv Theater on 1/14, 2/11, and 3/11 @ 7:30pm. 0:00 - Start 1:19 - Welcome Back, Amir! 2:22 - Dentist in Malibu 3:20 - Calisthenics 4:19 - Speed Cubing 9:00 - SONG: Early Days of Youtube 12:05 - Youtube 13:11 - Teeth & Sound (Amir's Dentistry Journey) 18:30 - Dentists Are Weird 19:35 - Tips from a Dentist 20:37 - SONG: Pro Tips From the Coolest Dentist 23:35 - Calisthenics Con't27:40 - Music 29:57 - SONG: Start with Your Ears, Go to the Mouth

The North Coast Podcast
Suggestion: Mask

The North Coast Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 3, 2023 27:29


Happy New Year!!! We've returned with a home show, featuring our friend Sydney Duncan - Sydney's first time on the pod! We discuss home cooking, a lonely zamboni man, and athlete admiration! The North Coast Podcast is a Musical Comedy podcast featuring interviews, improvised hip-hop songs, and long-form improv from New York City's long-running hip hop-improv team, North Coast. From conversations with comedians, hip-hop artists, and other exciting creatives, you can now bring the infectious energy of a North Coast show into your headphones with this brand new podcast. Produced by Anna Torzullo and Douglas WidickNorthcoastnyc.comNorth Coast - @northcoastnycRj Williams - @rjron.williamsMichael Crisol - @TheDoctorBrickMel Rubin @melrubin2Billy Soco @bsocoDouglas Widick @douglaswidickLuke Miller @lukemillerfakeRalf Jean-Pierre -  @preciousgorgeousralf Sydney Duncan - @sydneyduncanonem Anna Torzullo - @AtorzzDouglas Widick @douglaswidick Luke Miller @lukemillerfake Ralf Jean-Pierre - @PreciousGorgeousRalfWith a cast of improv comedy veterans in New York City, North Coast's explosive performances have been packing comedy venues, universities, and festivals nationwide since 2009. Built around a single suggestion from an audience member, the show's improvised scenes escalate into full-blown hip-hop songs, facilitated by resident beatboxer, Doctor Brick. With their seamless melding of comedic timing and freestyle rapping abilities, North Coast frequently blurs the line between comedy show and concert, drawing audiences from the comedy, hip-hop, and theater communities for an experience that has been hailed as “mind-blowing” and “next level” by critics and audiences alike.Named one of the “Top Ten Best Comedy Shows”  by Time Out New York, North Coast has been featured on Vh1, in Slate's Podcast The Gist, The Village Voice, and The New York Times Comedy Listings. Currently, you can catch them performing at the People's Improv Theater on 1/14, 2/11, and 3/11.0:00 - Start 1:30 - Sydney's first time on the pod! 2:43 - Shitty taxi driver  5:33 - Athlete admiration 9:48 - Home cooking 12:36 - SONG: How Are You Eating Your Spam? 14:44 - Suggestion: Mask 17:10 - Take a Lift on the Zamboni 19:05 - SONG: We're Human Feelings22:17 - NHL Girlfriends24:33 - SONG: Setting Ourselves Up (For Success)

New Books in History
"Gone with the Wind" Revisited

New Books in History

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 28, 2022 34:39


In this week's episode from the Institute's Vault, Molly Haskell talks about her 2009 book, Frankly, My Dear: "Gone with the Wind" Revisited, published by Yale University Press. Haskell grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and studied at the Sorbonne. She came to New York in the sixties to work for the French Film office, where she wrote a newsletter about French films. She wrote about movies for the Village Voice, Vogue, and New York magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/history

New Books in Dance
"Gone with the Wind" Revisited

New Books in Dance

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 28, 2022 34:39


In this week's episode from the Institute's Vault, Molly Haskell talks about her 2009 book, Frankly, My Dear: "Gone with the Wind" Revisited, published by Yale University Press. Haskell grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and studied at the Sorbonne. She came to New York in the sixties to work for the French Film office, where she wrote a newsletter about French films. She wrote about movies for the Village Voice, Vogue, and New York magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/performing-arts

New Books Network
"Gone with the Wind" Revisited

New Books Network

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 28, 2022 34:39


In this week's episode from the Institute's Vault, Molly Haskell talks about her 2009 book, Frankly, My Dear: "Gone with the Wind" Revisited, published by Yale University Press. Haskell grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and studied at the Sorbonne. She came to New York in the sixties to work for the French Film office, where she wrote a newsletter about French films. She wrote about movies for the Village Voice, Vogue, and New York magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/new-books-network

The Vault
"Gone with the Wind" Revisited

The Vault

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 28, 2022 34:39


In this week's episode from the Institute's Vault, Molly Haskell talks about her 2009 book, Frankly, My Dear: "Gone with the Wind" Revisited, published by Yale University Press. Haskell grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and studied at the Sorbonne. She came to New York in the sixties to work for the French Film office, where she wrote a newsletter about French films. She wrote about movies for the Village Voice, Vogue, and New York magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

New Books in Literary Studies
"Gone with the Wind" Revisited

New Books in Literary Studies

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 28, 2022 34:39


In this week's episode from the Institute's Vault, Molly Haskell talks about her 2009 book, Frankly, My Dear: "Gone with the Wind" Revisited, published by Yale University Press. Haskell grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and studied at the Sorbonne. She came to New York in the sixties to work for the French Film office, where she wrote a newsletter about French films. She wrote about movies for the Village Voice, Vogue, and New York magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/literary-studies

New Books in Popular Culture
"Gone with the Wind" Revisited

New Books in Popular Culture

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 28, 2022 34:39


In this week's episode from the Institute's Vault, Molly Haskell talks about her 2009 book, Frankly, My Dear: "Gone with the Wind" Revisited, published by Yale University Press. Haskell grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and studied at the Sorbonne. She came to New York in the sixties to work for the French Film office, where she wrote a newsletter about French films. She wrote about movies for the Village Voice, Vogue, and New York magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/popular-culture

New Books in the American South
"Gone with the Wind" Revisited

New Books in the American South

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 28, 2022 34:39


In this week's episode from the Institute's Vault, Molly Haskell talks about her 2009 book, Frankly, My Dear: "Gone with the Wind" Revisited, published by Yale University Press. Haskell grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and studied at the Sorbonne. She came to New York in the sixties to work for the French Film office, where she wrote a newsletter about French films. She wrote about movies for the Village Voice, Vogue, and New York magazine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-south

Making Media Now
Meet Boston Globe Film Critic Odie Henderson

Making Media Now

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 16, 2022 45:15


Boston Globe film critic Odie Henderson loves, as he puts it, "...film noir, musicals, Blaxploitation, bad art, and good trash.” We had fun chatting about his journey writing film reviews, his 2022 Best Movies list, what he'd do if he ran the Oscars, and his 30+ years writing computer code!    A longtime critic for rogerebert.com, Odie got his start writing movie reviews for the legendary and much loved film critic Roger Ebert himself.   In addition to being a member of the National Society of Film Critics Odie has written about film for Slate, Vulture, the Village Voice, Slant magazine, and the Criterion Collection and has appeared on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour.    Making Media Now is sponsored by Filmmakers Collaborative, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting media makers from across the creative spectrum. From providing fiscal sponsorship to presenting an array of informative and educational programs, FC supports creatives at every step in their journey.   About the host: www.mrazvo.com and https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-azevedo/   Sound Engineer: A.J. Kierstead   

Media in Minutes
Alissa Quart: Journalist, Author & Executive Director of the Nonprofit, Economic Hardship Reporting Project

Media in Minutes

Play Episode Play 42 sec Highlight Listen Later Dec 15, 2022 33:39 Transcription Available


Angela gets the background on how Alissa Quart's admiration for and work with Barbara Ehrenreich sparked their work with the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.  Listen to learn how Alissa passionately continues the work to give marginalized people a voice. Follow Alissa's work here: http://www.alissaquart.com/ Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/alissaquart/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisquart EHRP: https://economichardship.org/ EHRP Twitter: https://twitter.com/econhardship EHRP Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EconomicHardshipReporting EHRP Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/economichardship/ The Village Voice: https://www.villagevoice.com/ Barbara Ehrenreich: https://www.barbaraehrenreich.com/landing-page/barbara-ehrenreich-about/ Gary Rivlin: https://garyrivlin.com/ Maisie Crow/The Last Clinic: http://maisiecrow.com/ Erie, PA: https://economichardship.org/2022/03/homelessness-in-erie-pa-a-single-mothers-struggles-and-where-she-turned-for-help/ Against “Poor” Reporting: https://www.cjr.org/criticism/unskilled-worker-journalism-class-bias.php Going for Broke (podcast): https://economichardship.org/2022/11/going-for-broke-can-work-be-love/ Remembering Barbara:  https://time.com/6211712/remembering-barbara-ehrenreich/ Hispanic Reporters https://nahj.org/ Molly Crabapple: https://mollycrabapple.com/ Brush with homelessness poem: https://economichardship.org/2021/11/jen-fitzgerald-a-poet-without-a-home/ EHRP Funders: https://economichardship.org/funders/ Meltwater: https://www.meltwater.com/en Utah Rentals: https://economichardship.org/tag/utah/ USA News Nursing Home: https://economichardship.org/tag/nursing-homes/ Squeezed: https://www.amazon.com/Squeezed-Families-Cant-Afford-America/dp/0062412256 Bootstrapped: https://www.harpercollins.com/products/bootstrapped-alissa-quart?variant=40517189599266 Thank you for listening!  Please take a moment to rate, review and subscribe to the Media in Minutes podcast here or anywhere you get your podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/media-in-minutes/id1555710662  

Town Hall Seattle Arts & Culture Series
217. Tom Breihan with Tom Nissley: What the Top Hits Tell Us About Pop Music

Town Hall Seattle Arts & Culture Series

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 13, 2022 70:25


The Billboard Hot 100 began in 1958, and for many, that little countdown list provokes some strong feelings of nostalgia. Did you listen in while gathered around a family-room radio? A walkman? Blasted through a car stereo, waiting in the driveway until you heard the #1 song of the week? The way we access music might have changed drastically over the decades, but the Billboard Hot 100 still reigns supreme as the industry-standard record chart. And it has a story to tell. Beloved music critic Tom Breihan started to tell some of that story when he launched his Stereogum column, “The Number Ones,” in early 2018. With the goal to write about every #1 hit in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, in chronological order, he's still in the early aughts after four years. And the column has taken on a life of its own, sparking online debate and occasional death threats, and now, its own book. In The Number Ones, Breihan explores twenty pivotal #1s throughout chart history to tell a remarkably fluid and connected story of music, from the Brill Building songwriters to the Beatles and the Beach Boys; from Motown to Michael Jackson, Prince, and Mariah Carey; and from the digital revolution to the K-pop system. He also illuminates what makes indelible ear candy across the decades—including dance crazes, recording innovations, television phenomena, disco, AOR, MTV, rap, compact discs, mp3s, social media, memes, and much more — leaving us to wonder what future eras of music will hold. Tom Breihan is the senior editor at the music website Stereogum, where he writes “The Number Ones,” a column where he reviews every #1 hit in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. He's written for Pitchfork, the Village Voice, the AV Club, GQ, and the Ringer, among others. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his wife and kids. He is seven feet tall. Tom Nissley is the owner of Phinney Books and Madison Books in Seattle, and the author of A Reader's Book of Days. He has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington and in 2010 won eight games on Jeopardy!. The Number Ones: Twenty Chart-Topping Hits That Reveal the History of Pop Music Phinney Books

The North Coast Podcast

Today the North Coast Podcast welcomes freestyler & educator, BS (Freestyle Fitness, FLS Academy). BS is an incredible freestyler and friend of the pod! We discuss how rollerblading is alike to his freestyle flow, his endeavors in and passion for education, and much more on this brand new episode of the North Coast Podcast.The North Coast Podcast is a Musical Comedy podcast featuring interviews, improvised hip-hop songs, and long-form improv from New York City's long-running hip hop-improv team, North Coast. From conversations with comedians, hip-hop artists, and other exciting creatives, you can now bring the infectious energy of a North Coast show into your headphones with this brand new podcast. Produced by Anna Torzullo and Douglas WidickNorthcoastnyc.comNorth Coast - @northcoastnycRj Williams - @rjron.williamsMichael Crisol - @TheDoctorBrickMel Rubin @melrubin2Billy Soco @bsocoDouglas Widick @douglaswidickLuke Miller @lukemillerfakeRalf Jean-Pierre -  @preciousgorgeousralf Anna Torzullo - @AtorzzWith a cast of improv comedy veterans in New York City, North Coast's explosive performances have been packing comedy venues, universities, and festivals nationwide since 2009. Built around a single suggestion from an audience member, the show's improvised scenes escalate into full-blown hip-hop songs, facilitated by resident beatboxer, Doctor Brick. With their seamless melding of comedic timing and freestyle rapping abilities, North Coast frequently blurs the line between comedy show and concert, drawing audiences from the comedy, hip-hop, and theater communities for an experience that has been hailed as “mind-blowing” and “next level” by critics and audiences alike.Named one of the “Top Ten Best Comedy Shows”  by Time Out New York, North Coast has been featured on Vh1, in Slate's Podcast The Gist, The Village Voice, and The New York Times Comedy Listings. Currently, you can catch them performing monthly at the Peoples Improv Theater. 0:00 - Start 1:18 - Welcome BS 2:25 - Freestyle Fitness 8:00 - SONG: Everyone at the Table is a Teacher 11:24 - Brick & BS Meet Cute 12:44 - BS & Teaching22:23 - SONG: Everything's Dramatic When You're 16 25:00 - Skate Park Influence 30:35 - BS Freestyles Like a Rollerblader 36:43 - Improvising in Art 44:10 - SONG: J-O-Y

FAIR Perspectives
Jazz Vs. Racism with Greg Thomas - Ep. 35

FAIR Perspectives

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 6, 2022 73:07


Our guest this week is Greg Thomas. Greg is a writer, teacher, entrepreneur, and CEO of the Jazz Leadership Project, which uses a creative methodology to frame leadership and team development through the lens of jazz. Greg has written about culture, race, and democratic life in publications ranging from the Village Voice, Integral Life, New Republic, Salon, UPTOWN, The Root, the Guardian Observer, and the New York Daily News—as jazz columnist. We discuss jazz and its ability to serve as a foundation for learning leadership and connection, the power and importance of art and storytelling in our culture, race and the idea of transcending race in our society and personal lives, Greg's use of the term “Black American” and the tensions of trying to adopt it without racialization, whether “American” is an ethnicity, how to disentangle culture and ethnicity from race, and more.

The North Coast Podcast
Suggestion: Ditch

The North Coast Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 6, 2022 38:34


Today's suggestion is... Ditch. Join the crew as they take you through a world of alligator rap battles in sewers, mole people, and beatbox technique in this brand new episode of the North Coast Podcast! The North Coast Podcast is a Musical Comedy podcast featuring interviews, improvised hip-hop songs, and long-form improv from New York City's long-running hip hop-improv team, North Coast. From conversations with comedians, hip-hop artists, and other exciting creatives, you can now bring the infectious energy of a North Coast show into your headphones with this brand new podcast. Produced by Anna Torzullo and Douglas WidickNorthcoastnyc.comNorth Coast - @northcoastnycRj Williams - @rjron.williamsMichael Crisol - @TheDoctorBrickMel Rubin @melrubin2Billy Soco @bsocoDouglas Widick @douglaswidickLuke Miller @lukemillerfakeRalf Jean-Pierre -  @preciousgorgeousralf Anna Torzullo - @AtorzzWith a cast of improv comedy veterans in New York City, North Coast's explosive performances have been packing comedy venues, universities, and festivals nationwide since 2009. Built around a single suggestion from an audience member, the show's improvised scenes escalate into full-blown hip-hop songs, facilitated by resident beatboxer, Doctor Brick. With their seamless melding of comedic timing and freestyle rapping abilities, North Coast frequently blurs the line between comedy show and concert, drawing audiences from the comedy, hip-hop, and theater communities for an experience that has been hailed as “mind-blowing” and “next level” by critics and audiences alike.Named one of the “Top Ten Best Comedy Shows”  by Time Out New York, North Coast has been featured on Vh1, in Slate's Podcast The Gist, The Village Voice, and The New York Times Comedy Listings. Currently, you can catch them performing monthly at the People's Improv Theater, and one 12/10 at 7pm @ Young Ethel's in BK. 0:00 - Start1:00 - I AM … 1:30 - Beatbox Tawlk 5:50 - SONG: Beatbox Technique 8:33 - Mel's Bbx Technique 12:50 - SONG: Beatboxing for the Polar Bears 15:14 - Suggestion: Ditch 17:06 - Indianapolis Phone Dropper20:26 - SONG: Frik on a Dick 20:55 - NYC Sewer Department 26:31 - SONG: Sewer Alligator Kreb Cycle Battle 29:31 - Parent Teacher Conference30:26 - SONG: Mole People History 35:21 - SONG: Boy Bands, Mole People

The Art Angle
Jerry Saltz on What It Takes to Be an Art Critic Today

The Art Angle

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2022 54:47 Very Popular


What does it mean to be an art critic today? How do you choose what to write about and how do you even choose what to look at in an age where seeing art in person, which used to be the most common way people encountered art, has now arguably become the rarest? In this episode, Andrew Goldstein speaks with Jerry Saltz, the most famous, most lionized, and arguably the most influential art critic we have. A self-described "failed artist" who only became a professional critic at age 41, Jerry wrote for the Village Voice, Artnet Magazine (the predecessor of Artnet News), and other publications before becoming New York's resident art critic in 2006, where he's been on a run of glory that has included winning the 2018 Pulitzer for criticism. But while he's well known for his exuberant, beautifully wrought criticism, he's even better known as what might be termed an "art critic in the expanded field." He shares his opinions every day with some half a million followers on Twitter and Instagram, alongside frequent TV appearances and a half dozen books, the latest of which, called Art is Life, has just been published by Riverhead Books.

Martin Bandyke Under Covers | Ann Arbor District Library
Martin Bandyke Under Covers for December 2022: Martin interviews Mitchell Cohen, author of Looking for the Magic: New York City, the ‘70s and the Rise of Arista Records.

Martin Bandyke Under Covers | Ann Arbor District Library

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2022 11:40


Looking for the Magic is a cultural-historical remix, a fresh perspective on how Arista Records reflected its place and time, New York in the 1970s and early 1980s. Through interviews with dozens of artists and executives, music journalist Mitchell Cohen goes inside the business of making and marketing music during this vibrant and diverse period. Under Clive Davis, rock, pop, punk, jazz, R&B, disco, cabaret and Broadway were all represented on Arista. The label sounded like the city it was at the geographical center of. From its inception as a new entity built on the pop and soul foundation of Bell Records, to groundbreaking artists like Gil Scott-Heron and Patti Smith, to revitalized legends like the Kinks and Aretha Franklin, up to its launching of its biggest star, Whitney Houston, Arista Records' story has never been told like this. Looking for the Magic covers the wide scope of the label's roster: its giant pop successes (Barry Manilow), its dedication to cutting-edge jazz (Anthony Braxton) and its embrace of rock royalty (Lou Reed, the Grateful Dead). Mitchell Cohen has written about music and film for Creem, High Fidelity, Film Comment, the Village Voice, Musician and Phonograph Record. He began working at Arista Records in the late ‘70s as a publicity and advertising copywriter and then as one of the label's A&R executives. Martin's interview with Mitchell Cohen was recorded on June 22nd, 2022.

Queer as Fact
Asexuals Have Problems Too

Queer as Fact

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2022 15:11


Welcome to Season 10 of Queer as Fact! This week's episode we're talking about a 1971 article from the Village Voice memorably titled ‘Asexuals Have Problems Too'. Join us to hear about being invited to orgies to pour the wine, why 101 Dalmatians is a piece of ace cinema, and how this satirical article became a surprising source of ace visibility. This episode was originally released on our Patreon as a bonus episode. Check out our website, where you can find out everything there is to know about Queer as Fact.  If you enjoy our content, consider supporting us on Patreon, checking out our merch, and following us on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. [Image description: a cropped image of the Village Voice article entitled Asexuals Have Problems Too]

The Great Women Artists
Jerry Saltz on Gillian Wearing, Tracey Emin, Kara Walker (and more!)

The Great Women Artists

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2022 50:40


THIS WEEK on the GWA Podcast, we interview one of the most well-known and prominent art critics of the 21st century, JERRY SALTZ on various artists including Gillian Wearing, Tracey Emin, and Kara Walker! Since the 1990s, Saltz has been an indispensable cultural voice and has attracted an enormous following of contemporary readers.  Only beginning to write at around 40 when he was still a long-haul truck driver, Saltz is now the senior art critic for New York magazine and its entertainment site Vulture. In 2018 he won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism and had twice been nominated when he was the art critic for The Village Voice between 1998 and 2007.  He has spoken at the likes of MoMA, the Guggenheim, as well as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, the RISD +  is the bestselling author of How to be an Artist published in 2020 which provides invaluable insight into what is really important for up and coming artists from originality to persistence, and self-belief.  But, the reason we are talking with Jerry today is because on the first of November, Jerry published his next book, Art is Life: Icons & Iconoclasts, Visionaries & Vigilantes, & Flashes of Hope in the Night which is collection of his writings from 1999 to 2021 and surveys the ups and downs of the time between 9/11 and the Pandemic through the lens of visionary artists shaping how we see art today.  ENJOY!! LINKS: Jerry's Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/jerrysaltz/?hl=en  Jerry's Twitter:  https://twitter.com/jerrysaltz?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor  Jerry's writing for New York magazine:  https://nymag.com/author/jerry-saltz/  How to Be an Artist (2020):  https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/612484/how-to-be-an-artist-by-jerry-saltz/#:~:text=From%20the%20first%20sparks%20of,of%20qualities%2C%20self%2Dbelief.  Art is Life (2022):  https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/612485/art-is-life-by-jerry-saltz/9780593086490/  Follow us: Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel Research assistant: Viva Ruggi Sound editing by Nada Smiljanic Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner Music by Ben Wetherfield https://www.thegreatwomenartists.com/ -- THIS EPISODE IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY CHRISTIES: www.christies.com

Steamy Stories Podcast
Life As A New Hire: part 13

Steamy Stories Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2022


Women making bad decisions. Cáel to the rescue? What?By FinalStand. Listen and subscribe to the podcast at Steamy Stories.-There is nothing wrong being a Lucky Bastard. It is wrong to rely on it-(Monday later)Buffy had finally dismissed me when Katrina summoned me to her office. Ignoring me getting into an altercation…in the Full-Blood gym…yet again, I had a good day. No property damage, lost items, or physically damaged employees. Ragged by most people’s standards, but a good day for me at Havenstone. I still had a chance to walk out under my own power.Katrina motioned me to come to her desk. Upon my arrival, she slid a tablet over to me with a single icon on the screen. I tapped it. Aya’s face appeared as the vid-mail began. She was glowing. There was tent fabric in the background so I had no idea of her geographic location. I didn’t care.“Hey!” she squeaked. “I’m doing great at camp. I met three girls who are as small as me and we’ve formed our own squad; the Fatal Squirts.” I chuckled.I had encouraged her to steal strength from her perceived weaknesses. She had to believe in herself then take that as she built up her skills. I had faith in her when no one else did.“I showed some of my councilors a picture of you. I think you would get into trouble if you came here. I want you to come, but I thought it was only fair to warn my favorite bed-buddy,” she giggled.“Send me a message when you can. I understand there will be a delay as the messages have to be physically delivered. I know you are doing okay. If not, hold off your vengeance until I can return and guard your back. I love you, Cáel. Be well,” she smiled as her picture faded into darkness.“Ah damn,” I whispered. Aya looked good; confident, upbeat and spirited. “Katrina, can I make a message for her right now?” I begged.“Of course,” she gave me an approving tilt of the head. “I think the courier is still in the building.”“Cool. What do I do?” I urged.“Use the webcam; make a message and forward it to my computer,” Katrina told me. “I’ll take it from there.” I made the message, pretty much updating her on my latest exploits with limited editing. Aya was a surprisingly innocent yet worldly 9 year old.Much of that came from being Katrina’s and Desiree’s niece; mainly Katrina’s. It gave her access to tidbits of sensitive data from time to time. Not so much she was a real security threat. Enough so that she got some things confused; like what sex was truly about. I felt in my soul she’d be a great Amazon one day. I didn’t remind her of that much. She had enough pressure for a kid her age.“You are seeing Oneida now?” a frosty voice unnerved me. It was Buffy.“Fuck,” I jumped up. “Damn Buffy, stop sneaking up on me like that, or I’m going to start thinking you are a stalker.”“I am stalking you, Einstein,” Buffy menaced.“I’m glad we got that out of the way,” I rolled my eyes. “Oh look! It’s Daphne coming to my rescue. I am so out of here,” I exulted. I edged passed Buffy, slipped her attempt to grab my arm and raced for the ‘new hires’ at the elevator.“Get back here, you Cock-sucker!” Buffy howled as she chased me down.May miracles never cease. Daphne, Violet and Tigger formed an Amazon (I wasn’t sure if I could consider them 'human’ yet) shield between my frail form and the hulking brute that was Buffy.“Calm down, Buffy,” Daphne pleaded. “He fought Elsa today; again.”“Get out of my way,” Buffy snarled.“Thank God you stopped her,” I huffed to Dora. “I hope to she never finds out that I soaped up Elsa’s entire body while we were sharing a shower together.” Daphne turned and gave me an incredulous look.“Cáel, you are a Dumb-ass,” Daphne sighed. Looking to Buffy as she stood aside. “Have at.”“Are you mental?” Fabiola chimed in. The elevator doors finally opened, Buffy shoved me in and the rest of the posse followed. Helena joined us at the last second.“He’s taunting me,” Buffy responded to Fabiola while using her middle finger to poke my chest. “At this rate I am going to have to devastate a dozen male escorts so I can make it the remaining the 69 more days until he’s mine again.”“Is he really that good?” Paula wondered. Buffy twisted around to confront her.“He hammered me so hard, I thought he’d dislocate my hips. Later, we spent an entire hour, naked, wrapped up in each other’s bodies with no actual penetration; touching, tasting and whispered affections,” Buffy curled her lip. “He’s better than you could possibly imagine.”“You realize we have 27 seconds left, right?” I reminded Buffy.“Really?” Buffy’s head snapped back to me. I nodded and she jumped my bones. She had her hand down my pants, pulling on my rod, and the other grabbing the back of my head to deepen our kiss.For my part, I had my left hand on her breast and the right down the back of her pants, fondling a panty-covered ass cheek. In a culture where you summoned a male, ordered him to perform and he did so the same exact way he’d done a dozen times before, what Buffy and I were doing didn’t make sense.The two of us didn’t give up an ounce of control yet meshed perfectly. Our pleasure was obvious, vocal and we didn’t give a damn about the crowd around us. Buffy and I had created our own little lust-bubble. The chimer went off. We settled down and straightened up our clothes.“Fuck it all; that’s some good dicking,” Buffy mumbled. That was an inside joke between me, Timothy, my big, gay, buff tattoo-artist roommate, and the few women he chose to share that descriptive with; 'a good dicking’. We tumbled out of the elevator.“Is he always like that?” Fabiola mumbled.“He’s a whole lot better with his clothes off,” Buffy sneered at Fabiola. Sometimes I’m a super-selfish bastard; I want life to cut me some slack. Waiting for us was Oneida…in biker clothing. That would have merely been bad, dangerous and creepy except I was dressed in work clothes.I was planning to meet some of the guys (all two of them) for some after-work drinks. The encounter went from not-good to horribly awkward. Oneida had checked up on me, been told how I got to and from work as well as when I left. Unfortunately, she hadn’t checked my social calendar; mainly because I didn’t keep one; sophomore year mistake.If a girl is in your apartment, she will find the thing you don’t want her to find…every single time. I burned my diary and unfriended everybody after that final, hospital-resulting episode.“Hi,” I greeted Oneida. She’d figured out she’d screwed up something fierce. “What bike do you use? I have a Specialized STSE hybrid. Maybe we can use some paths one weekend.”I was trying to diffuse her embarrassment. We were two bikers talking about bikes. Nothing wrong with that.“I have a Specialized Source…” she got out then realized how BAD that sounded. She had the exact same bike as me…how bizarre? Unless you had somebody come down and take a look at what I bicycle I used.Time to save the day.“Do you want to make a date for 6:30 am on Saturday?” I suggested. “Provided this wacky place hasn’t offed, or misplaced me by then.”“Ah; that would be nice,” Oneida rebounded happily. “The date, that is.”“Whoa Oneida, what are you doing with this guy?” Brian derided me as he walked up. I wanted to say, 'Brian, you’ve insulted a princess of the Amazon people. Please continue making an ass of yourself and give Trent and Khalid my regards’. I didn’t.“This is Cáel Nyilas. He’s a real player,” Brian smirked. “You can do better than him.”Oh yeah, Oneida and Brian were co-workers; 'new hires’ in Acquisitions.“Brian, it took you three days to even use my name,” Oneida gave Brian a neutral stare. “I love Cáel. He saved my life and he sees the real me.” For the love of all that’s holy, someone shoot me in the head right now. I could hear the nearly subsonic growls emanating from Buffy.Brian looked at me, laughed and went to put an arm around Oneida’s shoulder. After all, if I could pick her up, it should be effortless for him to take her away, right? Dumb-shit. Laughing at me was okay. Laughing at…then I noticed the two chicks in black leather standing about doing their best (until a second ago) to go unnoticed.Cáel had gotten away with such familiarity because Cáel had risked his life to save their Princess. Brian Fung? He barely knew her name and they worked together. These weren’t even SD chicks; they were something else. My guess was Arinniti House Guard. Did Katrina’s House Epona have a house guard?Sure, I imagine they did. They were probably with the rest of House Epona where ever they lived. It wasn’t like the whole kit and caboodle was here in NYC. That would have been foolish. If Caitlyn, Aya’s mom, had a security issue, she called us at Havenstone HQ, less than four kilometers away. Without a doubt, Elsa would stop by and kick ass for her.I gave Brian this much; he had a working set of eyes. The second those two harbingers of death began closing in, Brian back-pedaled.“Hey Brian, let’s go grab some drinks,” I offered him a graceful exit.“Sounds good,” Brian tried to sound cool.“Oneida, take care,” I nodded to my new romantic stalker. “Ladies,” to my 'new hire’ crew. “Buffy,” to my sometimes boss, “remember you are still hot for a…mature chick.”“You are going die a long, torturous and extremely painful death,” Buffy sizzled.“What? Are you going to make me eat your cooking?” I laughed.Buffy didn’t articulate a counter before Brian and I slipped outside.“Cáel, who was that woman?” Brian whispered.“Which one? You need to be more specific. My erotic malfeasances are terribly confusing.”“The one you insulted,” Brian said. “The last one you insulted,” he clarified.“Buffy. She’s one of my bosses,” I grinned. “She loves me. She’s even promised to play the bagpipes at my funeral. Personally I think that’s because she doesn’t want to risk anyone hearing me pounding on the coffin lid, trying to get out.”“You are not going to make it the full 84 days with that attitude,” Brian lectured me.“Trent has already been promoted,” Brian continued. “I am regularly referred to as indispensable in my work reviews. Felix works closely with Ms. Pharos at all times. You seem to be the only one of us having…issues with Havenstone. Hell, they even shot you and you sat back and took it. I doubt your complacent attitude impressed anyone much.”No mention of poor Khalid. How quickly they forget. Trent had been 'promoted’ to Southeast Asia alright. I looked it up; there are around 10,000 islands between Indonesia and the Philippines. Sure some were small spits of land with a few trees. I had little doubt one of the good-sized one was a jungle of a different sort.Certainly Executive Services sent Trent’s belongings somewhere. I’d never tried to find out. What would I have done with the knowledge? Brooke didn’t care and I didn’t know his family. Brian and I went to the same yuppie bar as last time. I was with Brian this time, so I abandoned him as quick as I could.Why? At the far end of the bar, talking the bar-back was my Delivery Girl; aka the person who did the home liquor delivery to Libra’s place. Half way down the bar, she sensed me looking at her. The bar-back followed her gaze. He wasn’t happy with me. DG simply didn’t recognize me so I held up my valise over my groin.Confusion; surprise; acknowledgment that despite our surroundings, I wasn’t worried about being seen with her. She had her hand truck; she had to make a front door delivery this time.“Remember me?” I smiled.“Cáel Nyilas; the Pillow Guy,” she snickered. “How did that work out for you?”The bar-back was broadcasting his displeasure at some upper class shmuck cutting in on his action. DG caught that.“Jason, this is Cáel,” she introduced me. “We last met under unusual circumstances.”“What kind of name is Cáel?” Jason remarked.“An unfortunate one,” I snorted. “You try explaining to your kindergarten teacher that it is 'c-a-e-l’. Of course, I wasn’t 'Bomophoto’ either. She had it worse than I did.”Jason searched me out to see if I was pulling one over on him. I wasn’t. Bomo and I bonded over our linguistic misfortune. She moved to Santa Fe in the third grade. I wonder if she grew up to be hot looking. Oink.“I’ll give you that,” he chuckled. “Why did you get branded?”“Mom was Irish, my Dad was in love with her so I got the cultural emersion, minus the Guinness,” I shrugged. “By the way…” I looked back to the lady.“Katy Lee Baker,” she batted her eyelashes. We shook hands.“How did it go?” I picked up her question. “Sex, chopped fruit, your drinks, more sex and back to the clinic before eleven.”“Have you talked to them since?” Katy inquired somewhat seductively.“Perhaps. I don’t like to kiss and tell,” I evaded.“I’m curious because two of the three arrived five minutes before you did and they appear somewhat unhappy with you right now,” she smirked. “You can look over your shoulder if you don’t believe me.” Sure enough, there was Felix, Brian, Brooke, Libra and…I think her name was Gene. I waved then turned back to my current two conversationalists.“So Jason, what do you like to do?” I asked the guy.“Huh; what? I work,” he replied.“I mean bike, try ethnic food, go to the gym; stuff like that,” I teased him.“I work six days a week…but usually one or two are afternoon shifts. Me and some buddies play some pick-up basketball,” Jason told me.“Great. You’d pick a sport I suck at,” I set the bait. If Jason thought I sucked, he’d invite me to play. That’s how it worked. I was pretty good at basketball considering I’d spent the last four years playing with girls; on the court. Girls play some mean ball. They also didn’t shy away from putting an elbow into my nuts if they felt like it.“I’m not sure I live in a neighborhood you’d be comfortable visiting,” Jason threw up a roadblock. I had him on this one. I showed him my ID. It had the right address; wrong apartment number. “Shit dude, that place is about as rough as my home turf.”“I get paid a quarter million a year to taste test for hexafluoride in Chinese imports,” I joked.“Really?” Katy chuckled.“It’s a growth industry; if you consider tumors to be growth,” I was faux-serious.“Mr.; Cáel,” Jason looked over my shoulder. “I think one of those chicks is about to come over here and kill you. You best hop to it.”“Which one? The brunette, or the russet-colored (Libra)?” I inquired.“The brunette wants attention and the russet wants to push a red hot poker up your ass,” Jason gave me his experienced opinion. Heading over there was going to be 'fun’.“Give me a call some time, Jason. Nice to see you again, Katy Lee,” I waved good-bye.“You know the staff here?” Libra spat.“That was the girl who delivered the liquor to your place, Libra,” I sighed. “I said 'hi’.”“It takes you an awful lot of words to say 'hello’,” Brian gave a false smile. Libra was positioned next to Brian. Her anger with me plus his 'sexy’ put her there.Brooke shifted as I joined their chair-less center table. She was putting enough distance between us to show everyone she was independent yet close enough to give warning signs to other woman that I was in her sights, if not her outright possession. I was better looking than Brooke had counted on. More 'fun’ was coming down the pipeline.Gene was here on another date with Felix, or so she thought. Poor Gene. Felix was most likely an excellent fuck. What she didn’t appreciate was that Felix was not only a competitor, he was the kind of athlete who had to win. Second place was what you called the first loser. Gene was about to be educated in this personal idiocentricity.Now that I was on stage, Felix made his move on Brooke. Gene? He’d let her in on a three-way if he was feeling personally Hernán Cortés-like. Felix had to have Brooke. I hadn’t dumped Brooke, according to Gene, so he wasn’t getting my castoffs; he was stealing my prize. The flaw in this plan was my whole viewpoint on monogamy. I didn’t much care for it. Brooke was a grown woman and could make her own choices.Felix made his move. Damn, he was smooth. He had Brooke wrapped up and pulled tight without Gene even being aware she’d been dumped. Enter the train wreck named Nicole. She was the criminal defense attorney who I’d fucked in a stall in the women’s bathroom of this place. She hadn’t tried to contact me and I hadn’t worried about her. Hook-ups were like that.She’d been close by, respecting Brooke’s signs and not stopping by to say hello. Then Felix launched his master plan and I was suddenly freed up. Nicole had gotten a rough fucking and liked it, I could tell.“Cáel Nyilas,” Nicole swooped in. “How have you been?”“The normal. Menace to society, disrespectful of authority and being annoying to random strangers,” I teased. “You?”“I’m a lawyer fighting the irresistible lure of evil. The usual,” she joked back. “What have you been doing wrong? As I recall, last time you were doing everything right?”Yes, a good dicking indeed. I was going to relate this encounter to Timothy just so he could shoot me with his Nerf gun. He’d shoot me anyway, but it was nice of me to give him an excuse from time to time.“I’ve been sending sexually suggestive letters to ADA Feinstein,” I offered. “Does that count?”“Oh really?” she seemed surprised. “Why don’t you come by my table real quick and let me introduce you to some of my colleagues.” I wasn’t going to be rude.“Gang, this is Nicole,” I introduced her to my table. “She’s an attorney at a prestigious law firm that probably has more dead partners than living ones and offices in Papua New Guinea and a few dozen other places you’ve never heard of. I’ll be right back.”“You are a nut,” Nicole bumped me as we weaved our way to her buddies. “Ladies, this is Cáel Nyilas. I think I mentioned him once.” By the looks on their faces, once had been enough. “This is Zelda, Marsha, Phyllis, and Rivka; Rivka Feinstein, ADA for New York County,” (that’s Manhattan for us hicks).“Ah crap,” I exclaimed. That wasn’t what they expected.“I confess,” I looked at Nicole, “I saw the name in an article on the back of the Village Voice. Sadly, they had R. Feinstein and I stupidly assumed it was a guy.”“Oh my God! You’re gay?” Zelda and Phyllis despaired.“While my life would a whole lot easier if I was, I’m straight; not even bi-curious. My roommate, Timothy; never Tim; is and he was reading it while I was working out. It sort of stuck in my mind,” I admitted.“How did my name come up in conversation?” Rivka inquired.“Cáel is a pathological liar,” Nicole teased me.“Not true,” I protested. “I’m allergic to excessive honesty. That’s totally different.”“I’d like to put you on the witness stand,” Zelda gave me those bedroom eyes.“You and about a 150 other women,” I groaned.“150?” Rivka choked.“Yep. The rest already know I’m guilty,” I muttered.“Are you of weak moral fiber?” Phyllis joined the game. We were all having a blast.“Sorry, but no. I’m saving up for some. Currently I’m without morals…or scruples. Any suggestion which one I should purchase first?”“You are a great guy,” Rivka snickered. “Why aren’t you dating somebody?”“Shall we revisit my lack of morals and scruples?” I answered.“So you are a player?” Nicole nudged me. She wanted to play alright.“How to put this…I’m a wonderful lover and a lousy boyfriend,” I told them.“I was an eighteen year old virgin. In the past four years, I have betrayed every woman I’ve ever dated, save one; my first love,” I explained.“Why didn’t you betray her?” Phyllis prodded. “Don’t tell me she’s dead.”“No, she’s fine,” I replied. “She was the one who told me to date other women.”“That’s harsh,” Zelda commiserated. She thought Kimberly had dumped me.“Oh no,” I corrected her. “We stayed together until I graduated last month. Four of the best years of my life. When she told me to date other women it was because I was killing her. I have a voracious sexual appetite and she was desperate for a full night’s sleep.”“Do you ever go home alone?” Marsha joined in.“Does leaving a woman’s house at 1 a.m. count?” I requested.“Did she throw you out?” Rivka interrogated.“No. She and her sister were exhausted so I picked up my roommate and left,” I exaggerated.“Wait!” Nicole held up her hand. “Sisters…and you told us your roommate was gay?”“Morals and scruples,” I repeated. “See, I was dating one sister and the other sister wanted a date so I talked my gay roommate into being my wingman so I wouldn’t end up sleeping with them both. It didn’t work out so well. The second, older sister was horny, so my guy pretended to pass out.”“Have you ever considered you are a horrible person?” Marsha studied me.“Yes. Not only have I thought about, I’ve been told that a few dozen times. It usually is accompanied by 'I’m going to kill you’, or 'you had better make it up to me’.”“Have you ever been hurt?” Phyllis appeared concerned.“My body is a roadmap of poor decision making,” I responded.“What was the worst thing to ever happen to you?” Rivka grinned. Her ability to be deceptively pretty had to have made her a frightening lawyer.“When they were happening, I was a bit more concerned with what might happen to me as opposed to rating them,” I informed her.“Except for being shot with an arrow, being chased around naked with a hot poker and having my bed dowsed with lighter fluid while I was still in it were probably the worst,” I nodded. “I’ve been stabbed a few times, tasered, occasionally thrown out of a window not on the first floor and had bookcase dropped on me once, so I consider myself a connoisseur of ex-girlfriend vengeance.”“Have you ever been involved with a police proceeding?” Rivka became a tad bit more intense.“Nah,” shook my head. “I had it coming. As you said, I’m kind of a horrible guy.”“Domestic violence is no joking matter,” Nicole also became serious.“That’s unfair,” I countered. “I’m not so slavishly devoted to the law that I’d ruin some girl’s life because I was a total bastard.”“Domestic Violence laws are supposed to protect the innocent from the abusive,” I added. “I haven’t lied to you about my misadventures, but you should understand I chose to handle most of my problems myself. By the looks on your faces, you are about as disappointed in me as the policewoman I am currently seeing. This is who I am and I’m not going to apologize for it.”“Mind you, I’m not some gun-toting, roughneck Libertarian,” I clarified. “I believe in law, order and the justice system. If someone pulls out an AK-47 on me at a corner bodega, I’m making 9-1-1 my bitch on speed-dial. I don’t want to be a hero, or fulfill my organ donor card. I just don’t equate that to a girl kneeing me in the nuts because I slept with her best friend in her lingerie.”There was a pause as the ladies looked around. They were making an assessment of how much trouble I’d cause versus how much fun I would be. They all smiled at me. They always do.“Who was wearing the lingerie?” Zelda smirked.“I’ve worn women’s lingerie before, but it really wasn’t my thing,” I mused.“I’ll go through a lot for good sex,” I winked. “It was my girlfriend’s lingerie on her best friend.”“Wait,” Rivka noted. “Didn’t the best friend know you were dating the first girl?”“Yeah. I’m not sure why that never stops them,” I shrugged. “Around the fifth time I stopped worrying about it.”“Wow, do you have any idea how many women you’ve been with?” Rivka asked.“Do you always use protection?” Phyllis piled on.“Yes; 223 as of Friday. I’m hoping to break 300 before work replaces me with those guys from 'Hamster Dance’,” I told them. “And yes, I always use protection.”“I may not know where my partner has been, but I know where I’ve been and it scares me,” I snickered. “That’s why I always carry ten.”“Ten?” Nicole snorted. “Do you regularly check the expiration date, or are you that ambitious?”“Ambitious? I’d carry more except it’s hard to hide more than ten in a wallet; I’ve tried,” I sighed.“Have you ever run out?” Marsha snickered. Our snickering, chuckling and laughter were drawing stares.“Run out? Hell, I’ve gone door to door in a women’s dormitory at 2 a.m. trying to find some,” I related. “Ran into an old girlfriend doing that.” I slipped into a dreamy smile.“Why do I think that despite it being 2 a.m. in her dorm with you seeking a condom for use with a different woman, she wasn’t pissed?” Rivka giggled.“Oh God no,” I waved off. “She was freaking furious. That was some of the most intense 'I’m lonely and it’s all your fault’ sex I have ever been through.”“You have names for different kinds of sex?” Nicole was almost crying from laughing so hard.“Oh yeah. The first time I run across a different sexual experience, I slap a name on it so when it happens again, I know what to do,” I explained.“Isn’t every woman unique?” Zelda sniffled.“That sounds nice in a love song, but 'no’,” I smiled. “Women, and men, have a finite number things; needs and responses. Women can have different erogenous zones, but there all on the human body. Admittedly, it can be a bit like predicting the weather at times. It is not a perfect system by any means.”“What’s my 'thing’ then?” Nicole taunted. She didn’t think I could do it.“Sex has to be an accomplishment with you, Nicole,” I informed her. “You need to be engaged mentally as much as anything else. You need a poet who runs marathons. Otherwise you end up staring at the ceiling after sex wondering what better use you could have made of your time.”Silence. That was the norm for that kind of revelation. Women hated to be laid bare. They hated being misunderstood even more.“Nicole?” Rivka prodded her friend. Nicole remained silent. I knew that look.“Nicole, I’m bad news. Wouldn’t you prefer to keeps thing simple?” I hoped.I was wrong to hope. I kept praying they would go 'hey, great, mindless sex; let’s not blow it’, but they never did. I hated giving lame erotic encounters, despite the guarantee of anguish that always followed.“We could go out on a date and see how that works?” Nicole offered. Doom.“Cáel Nyilas; I’m in the book and I work for Havenstone Commercial Investments,” I stupidly replied. “You probably have a killer workload were as I spot-check children’s toys for WMDs. Give me a call when you have a night free.” How was it going to turn out? Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex; let’s make a commitment; you cheating fuck-nut! I hate you.Girls weren’t predictable; I was.“Cáel, we are going out to dinner, if you remember who you are supposed to be with,” Libra seethed as she and the others passed Nicole’s table.“Yup, gotta go where I’m not wanted. Nice seeing you again, Nicole,” I grinned. “Ladies, I hope it was a pleasure. It was for me. Good night.”Dinner; was; bad. Felix, hemorrhoid that he was, squashed Gene’s feeble attempts to draw him back to her as he made crystal clear that he was taking Brooke home; to fuck her into Paradise…instead of letting her go home with me. Problem being; Brooke wasn’t mine to take; never had been.For the first time in his life, I thought Brian was about to be screwed. Libra was past uber-bitchy by the fifth glass of wine. Brian held a pair of Jokers and thought he was the boss, like always. Libra had four Queens and would be screaming my name when she orgasmed; Brian was sexually proficient. He was also a misogynist, I was now sure, and Libra was going to make him squeal.Then she was going to grab up her clothes, storm out of Brian’s place and never want to talk with him again. It wasn’t that I was that unforgettable. I was that I knew what she wanted and had given it to her and not getting it Saturday afternoon while Brooke did was frosting her ass. What did that mean for me?For the first time in a long, long time, I was pissed with another guy. Trent really wasn’t worth my time, but Felix was about to cross my here-until-now unforeseen line of what guys did to girls. It was dawning on me that this was the result of me. Someone was doing something wrong to a girl because of me. It wasn’t my fault. Felix was being a jerk.That would be of cold comfort for Brooke. We split up after dinner. I didn’t have the heart to pick up Gene, who was easy prey right then. It was too much like what Felix thought he was doing to me. I took a cab to Havenstone, changed clothing and biked home. I barely had dinner ready for Timothy when he came through the door.“That’s not a look I’m used to seeing,” he remarked.“I should have beaten someone up,” I frowned, “but I didn’t and now some girl; Brooke; is going to have her heart kicked because of it.”“Was it something you did?” Timothy asked.“No. There is this guy at work who is using her to alpha-dog me,” I muttered.“Brooke?” Timothy was confused. “You hardly like her. What a sleaze (Felix). If it was Odette, first I’d slap you around for still being here. Then we’d go get him.”“I’m not even sure why I feel bad about this,” I grunted. “As you said, I hardly like her.”“It is called a conscience, Dimwit,” Timothy snorted. That didn’t help much. Conscience? Man, I’d stop my bike to run across a highway to move a tortoise off the road. I used to feed some of the Bolingbrook wild hares during the winter. I did humiliating crap for charity. I was never mean to a girl; only dishonest and unfaithful.Introspection got me nowhere. I was a cad. I’d been happy to be a cad for four years. I was going to be damned if my post-college life was going to be any different; all 68 remaining days of it. In my bedroom I discovered Odette had moved in during my absence. I doubted Timothy had been ignorant of all the stuff she deposited. What was going on with my life?I woke up when I heard keys in the door. It was a bit past eleven. I got up to check and sure enough, it was Odette. Timothy had given her a key. Odette had lived through a harrowing night, her boss was a dick and some of the customers were pure hell. I cuddled with her on the sofa while she unwound then we went to bed together. We didn’t have sex…(Tuesday)Around 1 a.m. I miraculously found myself awake and alert in bed. Odette was happily dreaming away. Something was gnawing at the back of my mind. I put a name to the emotion and a face to the fear. I called Brooke.“Hey Brooke,” I greeted her eight tries later. She was tired of sending me to voice mail.“What do you want?” she answered in a voice devoid of soul.“Fuck if I know,” I replied. “I suddenly woke up from a sound sleep thinking of you.”“I’m not interested,” she sighed.“I’m going to go out on a limb here. You don’t want to talk to anyone yet you want someone to help you understand what you are going through,” I gambled.That created a tiny tear in her shroud of depression. After five minutes, I got her to give me her address. She told me she wouldn’t answer the door. I told her I at least had to try. That got me to her place, 90 seconds of knocking got me inside and four minutes later, we were lying in bed with her sobbing on my chest.Half an hour later, she offered me sex. I told her to stop tempting me and if she only wanted me for sex, I wanted to be paid in chocolate. She giggled, took a few deep breaths and fell to sleep. Wow, I was in two different women’s beds in one night and not having sex in either. My watch alarm went off at 4:50 a.m. That meant no 'Marilyn’ call tonight.“Mmmm…” Brooke moved toward wakefulness. “Work?”“Afraid so,” I yawned.“We haven’t had sex,” he reminded me. I couldn’t stop being me.“That’s not why I came over here, Brooke,” I rolled onto my side so that our bodies were very close.“Never think I don’t want to have sex with you, but that’s not why I showed up last night,” I continued.“Why did you show up then?” she worried.“I have no clue. I’m like Felix; a player. Listen Brooke, I don’t consider you my woman,” I stated.“We had sex; we are lovers, but we’ve been thrown together by dire misfortune, not out of any common thread,” I reminded her. “I don’t expect you to have any sense of loyalty to me.” That phrase freed her up philosophically. That meant she could fuck me and not feel obliged to consider and discard any future for us because there was no realistic future that socially glued us into any acceptable form.“So I needed a shoulder to cry on and you showed up,” she mused.“Brooke, you are independent and strong-willed. The next guy you chose will be your choice,” I led her along. “Felix though; Felix is a serious player and he felt the need to add you to his list of conquests. I saw it happening and did nothing. Now I feel like crap for sitting back and ignoring the consequences.”“You knew Felix would turn me into a hash mark?” Brooke seemed depressed, not angry.“I knew he was trying to get at me,” I confessed. “He didn’t accept that you and I aren’t an item. A blonde co-worker; a high ranking supervisor actually; treated him like a bug in the communal showers yesterday while keeping close contact with me. Felix had to win. He had to show me he is the top dog.”“And I was the prize?” Brooke moped.“Not to me,” I whispered. Brooke looked hurt. “You are a woman. While you would look delectable in a big red ribbon, that’s not who you are. I don’t keep hash marks. I have a thing called a heart cord and it is solely for my use. Each binding represents a liaison; like a Quipus; an Incan memory knot.”Brooke really didn’t care. It sounded neat, it was romantic and the act was not demeaning to her. I could savor the memory of our encounter as long as I didn’t share it with my buddies. She wasn’t one of 'those’ girls.“You are very intelligent,” she murmured seductively.She didn’t care if I was the reincarnation of Benjamin Franklin, or some schmo in Afghanistan who made his living digging up (hopefully) spent ordinance of battlefields. Smoking hot, sexy, well-educated debutantes like Brooke could fuck finely-sculpted, 'smart’ guys like me. She could delude herself that I was rapidly upwardly mobile. My turn.“Brooke, I don’t want to get mixed up about us,” I evaded. 'Us’? There was no 'us’ and we both knew it. “If I caved in right now, I’m not sure I could forgive myself.” Yes I could.“I just want to feel like someone gives a damn about me,” Brooke whimpered. Good acting. We wrestled around; me trying to leave, but clearly not wanting to, while she physically enticed me.We ended up, me on top, pinning her wrists to either side of her head. Her legs were trapped between mine.“Make it up to me…please,” she pouted. She humped her pelvic bone playfully against my cock. “I know you want to help me out.” Good word usage on her part.“Brooke, this isn’t going to happen,” I gritted my teeth in frustration. Yes, it was going to happen. Her right leg began exerting steady pressure against my 'weak’ left leg. It slowly 'surrendered’ to her advance. Now she had on leg on the outside. My right leg held out a little longer yet Brooke was persistent.Now she could ground her finely groomed landing strip against my pulsating rod. I really, really wanted to fuck her now. I took my hands off her wrists, turned them into fists and placed the beneath each of her underarms.“Damn you,” I cursed her. Brooke was gyrating her crotch all over mine.With her hands released, Brooke could leverage her body up and trap my cockhead between her labia. They were thoroughly soaked with her honey so after my 'capture’ she drew more and more of my length in until I was completely incased. Brooke had won! She knew she’d won. Fuck Felix and his hash marks. I didn’t care so why should she?I made on last energetic yet futile effort to get away. Oddly, Brooke somehow end on top at the end of my exertion. I must be an awful wrestler…“No you don’t,” Brooke purred only millimeters from my lips. “You are not getting away.” That was Brooke tossing good ole Felix under the emotional bus.Felix the Player? She’d chalk it up to too much to drink and the hype being more than the man. How was this possible? Look at her. She’d thrown a known sexual dynamo down on her bed and was working his shaft over every G-spot in her vagina. Brooke still preferred a long, rough fucking to get her off. At the moment, she need reassurance more.Felix most assuredly made Brooke ride him. He kept her perpendicular to his hips and came up to suckle her teats when he wanted to, or watch them bounce as he lay back. He was great at sex, no doubt. The girl had to scream and howl; forgetting every other male she was ever with and making every other guy she’d be with later an automatic failure. To him, that was how he rated success.This resulted in me keeping Brooke close so I could make quick kisses to her very close lips. She’d playfully pull away; to put me in my place and remind me she was in charge; then she’d initiate the kiss. Our love-making was more rhythmic; less frantic. She was getting close.“Next…next time you fuck Felix,” I gasped. “Tell him…”“What makes; makes you think I’d; every sleep with him; again?” Brooke got feisty.“I bet he was good in bed and now that you have his measure,” I assured her. “You can take what pleasure you want and leave.” Brooke liked that. It was the whole independent woman thing.“Won’t you be jealous?” she panted.“I cannot constantly keep up with your sexual desires, Brooke,” I grunted. “I’ve been neglecting Libra.” Oh yeah, Libra. The girl she, Brooke, initially set me up with. Her Vassar classmate.“What about Felix,” she huffed and huffed. She was real close.“Off-handedly comment that he’s developing male pattern baldness,” I grinned. “Just to fuck with his head.” Felix was gorgeous. Better yet, Felix knew he was gorgeous. Hit him where it hurts. Brooke tried to giggle, but the surge of triumph overcame her and off she went. The problem was I was getting close and I didn’t have a condom on.“Brooke,” I inhaled deeply. She’d come to rest on my chest. “I’m about to…”“Oh,” she sighed happily. She reversed to the side as she slithered down my body. My cock went down her throat and I started petting her flank. Brooke wasn’t the very best, but, man o man, she was going to town on my dick.There was no doubt in my mind that her vaginal secretions didn’t bother her. I had to rush the experience because if I was late to work, Constanza make me stand beside the targets while she shot at them. If she was really pissed, she’d have me hold up targets in front me instead. I shot off, Brooke caught it all in her mouth then spit it into two tissues before tossing them in the trash.I caught her look. Trent and now Felix made her swallow. I didn’t care; which was yet another choice Brooke was free to make when making love to me. I jumped her. We had a little, tickle-nibble fight that ended in some kisses. I had to leave and Brooke made sure she was poised extra-sexy the last time I turned around to say goodnight and cut off the lights.“Ah damn,” I moaned before I left. I didn’t really like Brooke yet, by choosing to engage her in sex, I had accepted the task of making her happy. That was the reason Felix and I were going to fight. He’d use another human being to strike at me instead striking at me directly. To me, this was more than low character, it was an insult to my lifestyle.Felix should have checked his baggage at the door. Competing for the same lady was fine; even fun. Picking one to punish another…not cool. I had to think about my response as I barely made it in for my Constanza time. Wisely, I left my baggage at the door. These were firearms we were dealing with; a danger to me and the people around me.I was in my biking outfit today. More looks. The decision was that I’d go for my Glock-22, a 38 Ruger LCR back-up, a South Korean-made shotgun that looked like an M-16 and a very unhealthy looking device called a Heckler & Koch UMP 40 (which I had never even heard of). Wait…it got worse. I was scheduled for knife fighting training at 3 p.m.; every day for the foreseeable future.Constanza didn’t want to help me breath, much less train. That was okay. I left my shirt in the weapons’ room so the second I hit the shooting booth Magical Amazon Fey appeared to impart their wisdom, and body shapes to me. Oh God! I dropped a clip between my feet. The two ladies nearly head-butted in a race to get.The loser frowned. The winner was able to determine my ankles were strong, my calves were implant free; guys do that occasionally, and my thigh was definitely recovering. Without a doubt, my rod was happy to feel her hand. I retrieved my magazine from her unresisting hand. Then I did some shooting. With three clips I proved to be faster yet less accurate, more accurate yet slower and lastly a balance between the two.I wasn’t better than yesterday. It was yesterday. I did marginally worse with the .38 Ruger, better with the shotgun and I had a blast with the H&K. Was I accurate? NO…but this killing machine was loads of fun to fire off a clip at full-auto. According to 'my’ Amazons I looked so adorable pouting when I was told I’d fired off the last magazine. I repeat; loads of fun.Amazons are a dedicated martial culture, I was definitely a delicious male bouncing up and down gleefully while begging 'Fuck Me! Fuck Me!’ Not actually. I was enthusiastically asking for another clip, but I could tell how my words were being echoed inside their brains.“Behave yourself, Male!” Constanza snapped angrily. I fell on my knees, hands presented in supplication.“Please, please, please, please,” I begged.“Oh, give him another magazine,” two of my shooting companions requested.“I can’t believe we are in the same unit,” Constanza sneered, “rubbing against him like over-drunk un-casted.” Hmmm, that probably meant teenagers; before they chose a profession.“Constanza, they are all aggressive, dominant members of the Host,” I rose (verbally) to their defense. “They are not afraid of their sexuality and they are certainly not afraid of me. What are they doing wrong? They are helping me concentrate (totally false) on the task at hand. I would think you would be pleased that I’m receiving such encouragement, meaning you are more likely to succeed at your task.”“You don’t even know why you are here,” she glared.“I imagine you are here for the same reason I am; to serve our superiors,” I replied. “Do you think that I don’t want to sleep in an extra hour…,” I looked to my new buddies, “Okay, I used to want to sleep in that extra hour, but the point is the same.”“These are our hours. Why not make the most of it as opposed to letting the circumstances make us miserable?” I reasoned.“Constanza,” Naomi, the only shooting buddy to give me a name so far, “you are out of line. He is on our side now and he has the battle scars to prove it.”“Never,” Constanza growled out her challenge.“That is not your decision to make,” Naomi met that challenge. “He is down here. He is courageous, loyal and undaunted.”“Besides, if you hate him that much, getting a hunting license for him like the rest of us.”Fantastic (sarcasm), I was popular with Amazonia’s professional military.“Just remember, I get to hunt you ladies right back,” I grinned. They thought that was funny. “If I capture you, you are mine all-weekend long; yummy. Then, on Monday, it’s back to normality and me running for my life.”“Do you really think you can take any of us?” Naomi chuckled. The others laugh. Even Constanza was darkly amused.“Let me see…I was never a Boy Scout, I’m not ex-military, or even a backwoodsman,” I mused. “Still, I never thought I’d be shot with an arrow, or stabbed with a spear either, so I’m actually upbeat about my chances.”“Besides, I’m going to wear a black bear suit as camouflage.” Pause. “Damn it. I probably shouldn’t have told you that,” I grimaced. More chuckles.“I’ve watched um…Dual Survival…most of one episode…I’ve been so lost in the wilderness to the point I couldn’t see the road…I’ve made love to a Park Ranger…I’ve been so drunk that I hunted a grown moose with a ballpeen hammer…that’s about it for me.”“I am going to enjoy being the first one to catch you,” Naomi purred.“Be careful, Naomi,” I cautioned her. “I’m part lemur. It was the same experiment that made Constanza part Tasmanian Devil; those are some cranky-ass bitches.”“Are you really going to run fast?” another Amazon teased me.“Hell yeah,” I nodded as I stood. No extra magazines for me today. “I’m going to pick some compass point and run at it with everything I have.”“You are lying,” Naomi nudged me. They weren’t pissed; this was 'warfare’ thus deception was not only allowed, it was expected.“Without a hint of regret,” smiled at her. We were suddenly really close again. “I may run, I may hide, or I may double back. That is the prey’s advantage.” This was fine to the ladies around me. I was prey. I was fine with being prey. I was having fun being prey which made the promised encounter to be new and exciting.Amazons didn’t hunt turtles; they hunted dangerous things that hunted other things. Was I dangerous? Constanza was a living testimonial of that; the scar just above her left elbow. This didn’t imply respect and acceptance; no way, no how. It was impossible to believe I would ever replace one of…craptastic. Katrina was too damn smart; far smarter than me for sure.I wouldn’t have figured it out this soon except for something Oneida said; 'The Ash Men’. Who were they and why was calling someone that a good thing? A few more live-fires with a bit of instruction. With all the 'sisters’ willing to show me improved stance and firing techniques, Constanza felt the desire to be in another room.As I was finally departing for my real job, an Amazon with clear Amerindian blood, put a hand to my chest before I could exit out the hallway door.“How much of disaster is he?” she asked Naomi. I seriously thought about doing a takedown then I reasoned I really didn’t want to see Traska’s teary-eyed face looking down at my shattered form.“He’s passable for a beginner,” Naomi answered.“What are you talking about?” I protested. “I’m freaking awesome. I point the boom-stick at…whatever you call them…pull that trigger-thingy and the bullets go in a direction that doesn’t hurt me. Honestly, this crap is easy.” The copper chick grabbed my chin quick as a snake.“Your opinion was not solicited,” she menaced, “you ignorant toad-turd.” On second thought; I hit her. I’m pretty quick too. My fist connected with her diaphragm because she was not only not expecting me to lash out, she masked my movements by having her right limb holding my chin. She recoiled, I assumed my boxing stance and Naomi clubbed me down from behind.Let’s not forget who, what and where I was. I was dogpiled, yanked up then had Bitchy Amerindian chick pop me twice in the gut.“You are going to be caned for that,” she hissed.“Fuck you!” I shouted back. Fist to the head. That was going to leave a mark.“I look forward to hearing you scream,” she threatened.“Huh? What? You are still here? Something swished past me and I thought it was you leaving,” I joked.“Do you want to die?” Naomi hissed in my ear.“Let me go and we’ll all find out,” I replied.“Let him go,” Bitchy chick ordered. They let me go. That was not a good sign.“I’m Cáel Nyilas. I; ah…I’m from the Magyars,” I introduced myself.“I don’t care,” she glared.“Fine. Do you want to take this to the mats upstairs, or do you prefer we fight in a room full of firearms?” I asked.“This won’t take long,” she assumed a stance I’d never seen before. I didn’t know its official name, but it had 'pain’ written all over it.“A little room here?” I prodded the five Amazons standing behind me. My important unknown assailant waved them back to the walls. Constanza was livid, so I could already count this as a victory of sorts. My opponent swiveled on the ball of her left foot. It was a feint. I feinted too; I acted like I was going to fight. I ran away as she made her low, sweeping kick.I vaulted the table before she could catch me. Now she had a dilemma. If she came over the top, she’d be limiting her mobility and I was gambling hers was a very fluid style. If she moved around the table…as she did, it gave me time to grab my Glock and some ammo and keep running. I put a bullet in the chamber right as Constanza and her two feminazis drew there 9mms.I was staring down the sight of my .40 S&W Glock at copper chick. Oh, she wasn’t afraid in the least. She was pissed.“Right, or left?” I inquired.“Put the gun down, or you are dead!” Constanza commanded.“I’m confused,” I stated calmly. “Do I do what she says (copper chick); she is clearly someone important, or do I do what you say, Constanza?”“PUT IT DOWN!” Constanza screamed. Copper chick waved the guns down slowly.“Right, or left?” Copper chick inquired. (dead word spoken) St. Marie,“ she gave me her name.Mistress of the Golden Mare had to be something so not good."Right, or l

The North Coast Podcast
Milly Tamarez

The North Coast Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2022 44:07


Today we are joined by the absolutely lovely and hilarious, Milly Tamarez! Milly chats with us about her time in Japan, hot springs falls, urban planning, dog parenthood, and more! You can catch Milly performing at Union Hall on 12/4 and listen to her podcast "Betches Sup"The North Coast Podcast is a Musical Comedy podcast featuring interviews, improvised hip-hop songs, and long-form improv from New York City's long-running hip hop-improv team, North Coast. From conversations with comedians, hip-hop artists, and other exciting creatives, you can now bring the infectious energy of a North Coast show into your headphones with this brand new podcast. Produced by Anna Torzullo and Douglas WidickNorthcoastnyc.comMilly Tamarez - @milly_tamarezNorth Coast - @northcoastnycRj Williams - @rjron.williamsMichael Crisol - @TheDoctorBrickMel Rubin @melrubin2Billy Soco @bsocoDouglas Widick @douglaswidickLuke Miller @lukemillerfakeRalf Jean-Pierre -  @preciousgorgeousralf Anna Torzullo - @AtorzzWith a cast of improv comedy veterans in New York City, North Coast's explosive performances have been packing comedy venues, universities, and festivals nationwide since 2009. Built around a single suggestion from an audience member, the show's improvised scenes escalate into full-blown hip-hop songs, facilitated by resident beatboxer, Doctor Brick. With their seamless melding of comedic timing and freestyle rapping abilities, North Coast frequently blurs the line between comedy show and concert, drawing audiences from the comedy, hip-hop, and theater communities for an experience that has been hailed as “mind-blowing” and “next level” by critics and audiences alike.Named one of the “Top Ten Best Comedy Shows”  by Time Out New York, North Coast has been featured on Vh1, in Slate's Podcast The Gist, The Village Voice, and The New York Times Comedy Listings. Currently, you can catch them performing Saturday 12/2 @ 8pm at the People's Improv Theater and on 12/10 @ 7:00pm at Young Ethels! 0:00 - Start 1:20 - Welcome Milly Tamarez! 2:53 - Broken Nails 5:00 - I Do Not Identify as a Floridian 6:33 - 11 Year Old Milly on the Bus 7:50 - SONG: Who Can You Trust on the Florida Bus 11:00 - Urban Planning 15:33 - McDonalds Ice Cream Machines 18:18 - Milly in Japan! 25:50 - Hot Springs 31:08 - SONG: Naked In Japan (And I Got No Plan) 33:45 - Milly's Puppy, Valentino 41:21 - SONG: Shag (No Distractions)

Rock N Roll Pantheon
Rock's Backpages: RJ Smith on Chuck Berry + Ice-T + Black L.A. + Wilko Johnson

Rock N Roll Pantheon

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2022 70:04


In this episode we invite esteemed author RJ Smith to tell us about his career, his adopted Los Angeles, and his new biography of Chuck Berry.We start in Detroit, where RJ was raised on a diet of AM radio, the Stooges and Creem magazine, then follow him to New York and his decade of writing for the Village Voice. He talks about the impact of Lester Bangs and Robert Christgau before explaining why he followed the Voice's executive editor Kit Rachlis to California and the L.A. Weekly. We hear how he became fascinated by the pre-rock history of African-American L.A. and how that led to the publication of The Great Black Way (2008). His fourth book, Chuck Berry: An American Life, gives us the opportunity to discuss the problematic brilliance of St. Louis's "Black bard of white teen angst", a half-century after the creepy novelty comedy of 'My Ding-a-Ling' gave the Black-rock pioneer a No. 1 hit on both sides of the Atlantic.We return to our L.A. theme to hear clips from a 1991 audio interview in which Tracy "Ice-T" Marrow talks to Andy Gill about the birth of gangsta rap and his thrash-metal side project Body Count. RJ recalls his own writing about West Coast hip hop before we say a sad goodbye to the great Wilko Johnson and hear the-then Dr. Feelgood guitarist speaking to Mick Gold in 1975.Mark quotes from some of the pieces he's added to the RBP library, including interviews with Long John Baldry and Olivia Newton-John, after which Jasper wraps matters up with remarks on articles about Deadmau5 and Asian Dub Foundation.Many thanks to special guest RJ Smith. Chuck Berry: An American Life is published by Omnibus in the UK and Hachette in the US and is available now from all good bookshops.Pieces discussed: Chuck Berry, Chuck Berrier, Chuck Berriest, Interview with RJ Smith, Charles Brown, N.W.A., Ice-T audio, Dr. Feelgood, Wilko Johnson, Rab Noakes, Long John Baldry, Free, Captain Beefheart, B. Bumble and the Stingers, Simon and Garfunkel, Olivia Newton-John, Deadmau5 and Asian Dub Foundation.

Rock's Backpages
E141: RJ Smith on Chuck Berry + Ice-T + Black L.A. + Wilko Johnson

Rock's Backpages

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 28, 2022 70:04


In this episode we invite esteemed author RJ Smith to tell us about his career, his adopted Los Angeles, and his new biography of Chuck Berry.We start in Detroit, where RJ was raised on a diet of AM radio, the Stooges and Creem magazine, then follow him to New York and his decade of writing for the Village Voice. He talks about the impact of Lester Bangs and Robert Christgau before explaining why he followed the Voice's executive editor Kit Rachlis to California and the L.A. Weekly. We hear how he became fascinated by the pre-rock history of African-American L.A. and how that led to the publication of The Great Black Way (2008). His fourth book, Chuck Berry: An American Life, gives us the opportunity to discuss the problematic brilliance of St. Louis's "Black bard of white teen angst", a half-century after the creepy novelty comedy of 'My Ding-a-Ling' gave the Black-rock pioneer a No. 1 hit on both sides of the Atlantic.We return to our L.A. theme to hear clips from a 1991 audio interview in which Tracy "Ice-T" Marrow talks to Andy Gill about the birth of gangsta rap and his thrash-metal side project Body Count. RJ recalls his own writing about West Coast hip hop before we say a sad goodbye to the great Wilko Johnson and hear the-then Dr. Feelgood guitarist speaking to Mick Gold in 1975.Mark quotes from some of the pieces he's added to the RBP library, including interviews with Long John Baldry and Olivia Newton-John, after which Jasper wraps matters up with remarks on articles about Deadmau5 and Asian Dub Foundation.Many thanks to special guest RJ Smith. Chuck Berry: An American Life is published by Omnibus in the UK and Hachette in the US and is available now from all good bookshops.Pieces discussed: Chuck Berry, Chuck Berrier, Chuck Berriest, Interview with RJ Smith, Charles Brown, N.W.A., Ice-T audio, Dr. Feelgood, Wilko Johnson, Rab Noakes, Long John Baldry, Free, Captain Beefheart, B. Bumble and the Stingers, Simon and Garfunkel, Olivia Newton-John, Deadmau5 and Asian Dub Foundation.

Steamy Stories Podcast
Life As A New Hire: Part 3

Steamy Stories Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2022


Women of any age can drive a man to madness.By FinalStand. Listen and subscribe to the podcast at Steamy Stories.Instinct, education and experience are complementary, not in opposition.(Wednesday)The phone rang. The clock was flashing 6:15. Odette snuggled up to me, making cute, happy cat-like noises. Timothy's bed was bigger than mine so I had to reach out to get my mobile device. For the tenth time, I silently thanked Timothy for switching bedrooms with me, though I believed he had chosen to sleep on the sofa instead.“Hello,” I said quietly.“It's Buffy. I'll be there in fifteen minutes,” she stated firmly.“I have a companion over,” I hesitated. “Can you make it twenty-five?”“Who is that, Cáyel Nyilas,” Odette yawned. She liked the way my full name rolled of her tongue.“Who is that?” Buffy grilled me.“She's a sweet young lady I met - the rest is none of your business,” I told Buffy. To Odette, “It is one of my many bosses. After my ‘auto accident' (I couldn't tell a stranger that some psycho bitch - who I had just screwed - had her mentor kick the shit out of me), she brought me home then deposited me at your workplace. My bike is still at work.” I had told Odette I was a cyclist.“Does she think you are sexy?” Odette giggled. I groaned.“81 days, Cáyel,” Buffy reminded me. “81 days,” then she hung up. I wasn't getting my extra ten minutes.“Do we have time…?” Odette wiggled her whole body against mine.“I don't think so. Babe,” I sighed. “All I can do is go down on you then I have to grab a shower and get dressed.” Odette blinked, blinked again, then brightened up incredibly.“If that's all we can do,” she exhibited no regrets as she hurled the covers back. It took me seven minutes to bring her to orgasm.I was good, but I had also torn up Odette pretty badly last night. I had to buy Timothy some more condoms. I felt kinda bad for using the number I did. I raced to the shower, did a Wonder Woman (hold your arms out and spin around a few times in the shower), raced back to Timothy's room - Timothy shot me with his Nerf gun from the sofa (Odette was vocal) - and began dressing.“Odette, stay and get some sleep,” I stroked her cheek. “Timothy heads to work around ten, so if you could head out with him so he can lock up the place. Fix whatever breakfast you like. If it is Timothy, I'll make it up to him.”“You mean beyond letting us use his room?” she fixed me with her feline eyes. I coughed.“Come on, Cáyel Nyilas, this room is plastered with male Calvin Klein models and you have five copies of the Village Voice on your dresser. You are far too proficient with punching all my buttons to be gay,” she pointed out.“Gay men can be very sexually proficient,” I countered.“Cáyel Nyilas (damn, she loved my name), you came five times. I lost track of how many orgasms I had. If you are gay, you aren't in De-Nile, you are in Ethiopia,” she giggled. This wasn't the right moment to brag that I ejaculated eight times last night. Rhada filled up three condoms during our little escapade. I repeat, I have an out of control libido.“Gotta go,” I straddled Odette and gave her a kiss. I deftly avoided the French grapple because I had the feeling that Buffy wasn't the kind to wait patiently.“Timothy…” I mumbled as I sped to the door.“I know - girl - bed - sleeping,” he groaned. As the door shut I heard him add, “at least he's not dull.”I managed not to kill myself tumbling down the stairs in my haste to reach the street. Buffy was waiting and drumming her hands on the steering wheel. I tried the car door - it was locked. A tap on the window earned me a baleful glare. I sighed and fell on my knees.“Please,” I begged. “Please, please, please let me in the car.” I heard a click after ten seconds.“You're late,” she remarked as we sped away. I hastily put on my seat belt.“I apologize,” I tried being obsequious.“You had better be, damn it,” she seethed. Oh…I scented arousal…and jealousy. We drove a few blocks in silence. “Who was it?”“Are we on the clock?” I countered. Pause.“No,” she said in a clipped tone.“None of your fucking business, then,” I growled. “My sex life is none of your concern, Buffy. It is none of your group's concern, so give it a rest.”“Or what?” Buffy's eyes narrowed. I wished she would watch the road.“Thunderdome, Bitch!” I grinned. Oh, she tried. She tried really hard to stay angry with me.“I hate you,” she snickered. She pulled out her phone and handed it to me. It was a picture of Buffy, Katrina, Tessa, Desiree and some woman who looked familiar standing, or kneeling, behind a pile of dead animals. All the ladies had bows, knives and camo gear.“Does the Audubon Society know about this? I'm pretty sure the World Wildlife Fund would have a freaking stroke,” I nodded.“Ladies at Havenstone have a passion for killing things,” Buffy measured me. “I thought you might want to know.”“Why do you use bows?” I questioned. “Don't your boobs get in the way?” Buffy smacked me in the chest - hard. I could have blocked. That would have been counterproductive. No, I grabbed her right boob and gave it a strong squeeze. In retaliation, she hit me again. I grabbed her boob. This went on until we entered the garage. She got in the last hit.“We are on the clock now,” I notified her. She seemed less than pleased. “Very nice, by the way.”“Huh?” Buffy studied.“Sorry. Any continuation of this conversation would constitute sexual harassment,” I sighed.“I am mentally projecting negative emotions your way,” Buffy grumbled.“I believe the totality of your efforts create a positive outlook for me,” I grinned.“Have you ever been skydiving?” Buffy dropped out of the blue on me in the elevator ride up.“With, or without, a parachute?” I inquired. She blessed me with a feral smile.I hurried to Katrina's office, Buffy a step behind me, rumbling like the jaguar she'd performed illegal dentistry on. She wasn't trying to intimidate me. Buffy was trying to mark her territory. I made it to my desk without actually being scent-marked, so I considered the encounter a draw.“Have fun last night?” Katrina inquired without looking up.“More than any one man should have,” I confessed. Further conversation was severed by the arrival of the first of the female ‘new hires'. As Katrina started our little meeting, I surreptitiously put in the work order for my suits. I wasn't sneaky enough for Katrina.“Are you suffering some sort of head trauma that makes you believe you can avoid participation in this meeting?” she purred.“No, Ma - Katrina,” I was contrite. “I had to submit a work order for the business suits Buffy and Helena purchased for me last night so I would stop coming to work dressed like a homeless panhandler.” That killed four of the girls; they failed to stifle their giggles.“Couldn't you have dealt with that on the way in?” Katrina had this glitter in her eyes.“Buffy was attempting to subject me to vehicular homicide,” I replied. “I was afraid for my life on multiple occasions, up to and including her entry into the garage.”“How horrifying for you,” Katrina delivered deadpan.“I had my hands full, I swear,” I placed my hand over my heart.“I suspect that was the case,” Katrina allowed. “Is there anything else you need to take care of while the rest of us wait on you?”“Thank you, yes there is,” I smiled, nodded and began typing away.“I was being facetious, but then you knew that,” Katrina teased. Several girls were openly giggling now.When I finished, I walked around Katrina's desk, went to one knee and lowered my head. Katrina scanned my latest request.“Really?” she was intrigued.“Yes, Ma'am,” I looked up at her. She ran her hands through my hair. “Katrina.”“You are trying,” Katrina remarked. That could read either way. “Go back to your station before I show you where you really belong,” she chuckled. I stood up and fist-pumped.“Woo-who!” I shouted. “I'm going to bed.” That finished them off. Even Fabiola cracked a tiny bit and snickered behind her hand.The real joke they were embracing - making me part of their new breeding program - was the punchline to the joke Katrina and I found amusing. I knew the truth. We received our assignments and left the office.“How did your date with Rhada go last night?” Paula nudged me.“It wasn't a date. It was a corporate appointment,” I corrected. “As for the rest - you don't want to know. Please believe me, you don't want to know.”“I can make you tell us,” Fabiola smirked. The group kept together until I reached Desiree's desk. She was my boss for the day and she was not pleased, or amused.Fabiola saved me.“Sister, compel this one to tell us what happened with Rhada last night,” Fabiola sneered in Hittite. I played dumb which wasn't hard in my fatigued state. Desiree transferred all of her dislike of me into outrage at Fabiola's breach.“Is your blood poisoned?” Desiree seethed. “When they tossed you off the rocks, did you bounce back up, or are you so arrogantly stupid you would flaunt one of our most basic safeguards?”“You are only half the woman you could have been,” Fabiola shot back.By the way Desiree flew out of her chair that was a deadly insult. I put my body between them and grabbed Desiree by her upper arms.“Release me,” she yelled, her hate returned its focus to me.“You are my boss,” I explained calmly. “I most join you in your battles. Is this a battle you truly want to fight, here and now?”“Release me at once,” Desiree commanded.“One of us hiding behind a man,” Fabiola mocked Desiree. Daphne punched her. “Ow!”“Care to try that on me?” Daphne challenged Fabiola. “My family's prestige has never been called into question.” I was starting to think they meant genetic purity.“Buffy would not want me to let you come to harm,” I whispered to Desiree then released her. It was that hunting photo that made me make that leap. Desiree glared at me. A slap followed, but it wasn't all that hard.“Do not touch me without permission, Cáyel Nyilas,” she commanded in a clear voice.The matter was almost settled.“Come on,” Desiree barked. I had one final bit to take care of.“Daphne, thank you. Helena says you are coming along really well. Maybe we could have a few drinks after hours and you can give me some pointers,” I requested.Daphne seemed to mull that over. We had moved past the entrapment phase to the 'male in the bull pen - what do we do with him now' phase.“I'll think about it,” Daphne shot me this sexually curious look. Off they went and I had to sprint to catch up with Desiree who hadn't stopped to listen to my conversation with Daphne.“Do not be flippant with me,” Desiree grumbled. “I am not Buffy.”“Of course you are not,” I nodded. “Katrina values your counsel and she trusts you.”“You know nothing,” Desiree groused.“Really? Helena and Buffy were sent away with me yesterday afternoon - you stayed,” I began.“This male internship program is the brainchild of Katrina and Tessa. Maybe she thinks that I'm in danger, thus her program, so she chooses you to safeguard me - no other,” I added. “I don't think much of my place here as an individual, but I represent something of value to our boss. If that is the case, how much does she value and respect you?”“Do you ever shut up?” she glared at me.“Is that a question, or a veiled order?” I grinned. She glared some more. I kept quiet. Desiree had to enter a special code to gain us access to Basement Level 3. A short trip down a drab concrete hall illuminated a door and two Amazon's guarding it.Desiree's ID card allowed her access. Mine did not. The security types verified my permission to be there, then verified it again. Finally, one pulled Desiree and questioned her. With great reluctance, the guards let me into the room. Their caution made sense. This was the Havenstone Corporate HQ armory.This was not a few guns in a case with handful of wall sconces. Nope, this was an ATF gun-gasm, White Supremacist Nirvana, and a Gangster's Paradise all rolled into one. Desiree went to one table, lifted and examined one 9mm Walther PPQ, loaded the clip and gave it to me.“It has no safety, so be careful,” she notified me. She tossed the shoulder holster and two spare magazines my way.As she readied her own weapon set, I put on my shoulder holster and secured my weapon.“This is nuts, Desiree,” I stated. “I'm not ex-military. I'm not a security officer, bodyguard, or assassin either.”“Don't get hysterical,” Desiree snorted. “This is a simple assignment. We are going to pick up some school children and take them to their exclusive academy.”“Besides, on your resume, you claimed to have a passing familiarity with a number of firearms,” she grunted.“What do I do if we are stopped by the cops?” I inquired.“Go to jail.”With that sterling pep-talk, we exited the bunker with a variety of weapons - mostly Desiree's because she was clearly anticipating the end of the world. She stored the weapons in our new, armored car while I stood close by acting like a weapons dispenser. According to established routine, I was given no specific instructions until we arrived on site where I was then supposed to instantly absorb the knowledge.I gave that some thought. Havenstone knew their male hires had academic success. Given twenty-four hours, we could memorize anything. The Amazons, being a militant culture, were testing us to see how quickly we thought on our feet. It was still mean. As we pulled up to our Brownstone destination, I was given our mission.Desiree was to go into the house, retrieve three schoolgirls, Aya (9), Europa (13) and Loraine (16), and bring them into the car. I was to wait on the stoop, hold the car door for them and keep my yap shut. By insisting I not use flippancy, Desiree had cut off my conversation at the knees.“Woman, grey coat at the North corner,” Desiree muttered to me as we started up the stairs. She went inside; I stayed on the stoop. Thankfully, my sojourn into Amazon politics had strengthened my ability to ignore the obvious and appreciate the benign. Two women were meandering up from the South and the woman to the North had gained a companion before Desiree returned. The girls came out first.At the bottom step I caught sight of movement. I turned and stopped the children from advancing.“Hey,” the Loraine squawked.“Cáyel…” Desiree got out.“Two to the North and two to the South - closing in,” I whispered.She did a casual scan.“Take them to the car,” Desiree ordered. I thought that was pretty stupid. If a murder/kidnapping was in the offing, getting the kids back inside seemed more prudent. I hesitated. She glared. I swallowed my instincts and began sheparding the girls down the stairs.The moment the third child's feet hit the sidewalk, both groups of women began speeding up. I was trying to hustle the girls to the car's back door when a van came speeding up out of nowhere. I wasn't going to get door open in time.“Down!” I shouted as I used my superior size to press my three wards down and against the car. The van screeched to a halt and the sliding door opened.I drew, aimed over the top of the car and fired the pistol twice without even thinking that I was murdering somebody. I heard Desiree firing to the North. The woman in the van door slumped back. A second one tried to untangle herself so I put two bullets in her as well. I took a step and a half South, kneeled to shelter the girls with my body and began firing at the two southern women running my way.I put two bullets into each of them - missing every shot. Crap. Suddenly, as I was shoving a new clip into my semi-automatic pistol, the eldest child broke and ran for the stairs. I looked over my shoulder. Desiree was down. One woman remained coming from the North. I hurled my body at Loraine, taking her down. I landed us on my shoulder then rolled to cover her.I brought up the pistol and fired twice at the northern woman.“Cease fire!” an unfamiliar female voice commanded. The northern woman stopped. As I swung my pistol South, I noticed Desiree sitting up. The two women in the van were coming back to life too. Three women I didn't recognize were coming down the Brownstone steps.The lead female was clearly in charge. She approached me and extended a hand.“Male - pistol,” she demanded. I rose to me knees, pulling away from her and yanking Loraine behind me.“Lady, I don't know you,” I growled. “I'm not giving you my gun, or the girls, until someone tells me what's going on.”I was contemplating how bad her punch/slap/kick was going to be when Loraine laughed.“That was fun,” she exulted. “He tackled me and everything.”“Cáyel,” Desiree ordered, “give her the gun.” I wasn't happy, but I did hand over the weapon.“It was loaded with blanks, Moron,” the leader smirked. “We would never let a man with a loaded weapon around our children.”“Thank God,” I mused. “I couldn't understand how I missed those two down South.”“What makes you think you would have hit them?” she sneered. I pulled Loraine up with me as I resumed my feet then put her behind me.“What makes you think your brain isn't as blank as the bullets you gave me?” I glared.“Watch your tongue, Male,” she glared right back.“You threatened three children under my care,” I grumbled. “Be happy I don't plant you on your ass.” She looked more than happy to throw down.“They were never your children to protect,” Desiree spoke up. “This was a training exercise.”I looked over my shoulder at the other two girls. They were smiling at me. This had been fun for them. The only one who didn't know this was fake was me. I groaned.“Clip,” the leader snapped. I handed it over without protest. I'd used the other spare. She turned to Desiree. “Take them to school.”The five of us piled into the car and drove away. It was less than stunning that I didn't get a new firearm. I was sitting in the front passenger seat, feeling morose and angry when Europa spoke.“That was really brave,” she commented. “You did much better than the lady last spring. She went nuts.”“Really”, I swiveled so I could see their faces and make sure they weren't pulling something on me.“Oh, yeah,” Loraine chuckled. “She ran right at the two down the street, firing as she went. Totally missed the van rolling up. Forgot she was supposed to protect us.”“She got high marks for marksmanship,” Europa told me, “but we never saw her again.”“You smell nice,” Aya beamed little kittens my way.“He smells like sex,” Loraine giggled.“Starting with the fact that you are underage, add my desire to live and we end up with us not having his conversation,” I winked.“I've never seen a man as pretty as you even at school. The boys in my class are such jerks. They say I'm a freak because I have no Daddy,” Aya went from happy to a frown.“When I was in grade school, they called me a freak too, Aya,” I met her gaze. “The difference is, I deserved it. I was a rude, mean person.”“Not having a Daddy doesn't determine if you are a freak; how you behave does. You are a very nice woman so they should be nicer to you. You are not a freak. Trust me, I'd know it if you were,” I gave Aya a warm smile and tapped her nose playfully.“Whomever controls you did a good job,” Europa observed.“No,” Desiree snapped. The children must have been briefed on my status as well as spent a lifetime disguising their true culture.“Europa, I am controlled by Katrina. I'll relay your compliment. She has delegated me to Desiree for the day, which means I'm with you three this morning,” I answered despite Desiree's disapproval.The private academy was for the wealthy; gender was not an issue. Security checked our ID's before they let us disgorge our precious cargo.“Desiree, can Cáyel Nyilas walk me to class this morning?” Aya requested. The look Desiree burned my way was intimidating.“Of course, Aya,” Desiree relented. “Cáyel, only take as much time as necessary.”“Nos morituri te salutamus,” I grinned. I knew that was overly dramatic. How tough could a room full of third graders be? Aya took me by the hand and led me in. Wow! Her teacher was a hottie. A quick glance suggested she was unmarried and very interested in me.“Ms. Reichmann, this is my Daddy,” Aya announced loudly. Ms. Reichmann's eyes flicked down to notice my lack of a wedding band. I knelt so that I was eye to eye with Aya.“Aya, honey, Father has to talk to Ms. Reichmann in private for a moment. Please take your seat and I'll see you before I leave,” I smiled paternally at Aya. She skipped to her seat.“Ulyssa,” Ms. Reichmann bit her lower lip.“Ulyssa, is there a place where I can talk with you in private?” I asked with open innocence and a heavy undercurrent of passion. It turned out there was an unused conference room at the end of the hall.I left Ulyssa with a smoldering look that guaranteed me a call-back. If any of the kids had the faintest idea why she was so flushed, short of breath and happy, they gave no hint. Aya took excessive pride in showing her 'Daddy' off to all her classmates. Any time I detected a bully, I gave the 'I'm keeping an eye on you' glare. I was whistling as I returned to the car.“28 fucking minutes!” Desiree screamed at me.“I had a little chat with Aya's teacher. I thought it would be nice if Ms. Reichmann was aware that Aya was unhappy,” I reduced our love-making to the bare bones, 'no mention of sex' facts. “She said she'd keep a special eye out for Aya.”“That wasn't your job,” Desiree seethed. We started driving away.“I doubt you'll listen to my…” I go out.“Shut up,” she interrupted. “You have nothing to say that I want to hear.”“You shut up and imagine for a second I don't hate you and that I'm pretty good reading women in a way you are unaccustomed to,” I snapped back.“Katrina is going to be hard pressed to save you from this outburst,” she sneered vindictively.“How about this; Katrina saw potential in you so she's given you a chance to restore your prestige. What you are failing to understand is the underlying concept of family at Havenstone. This means they put a premium on their children - their female children,” I suggested.“Protecting the next generation can't be a job for you. It wouldn't be for them. To those women, perpetuating their families is all-important and you must see it as an obligation handed down to you by all your Havenstone predecessors.” See, I avoided saying blood lines and their fucked up Amazon heritage.“I don't know what your mother did wrong. Whatever it is, Katrina doesn't care and she's the one that really matters,” I prodded. “Useless pricks like Fabiola won't be of any use to you even if they did like you. Thus endeth the male blathering.”“How do you know it was my Mother?” Desiree asked after several minutes driving.“Desiree, your father could have done a fan dance on a table at the Presidential Inaugural Dinner and the women of Havenstone wouldn't give a damn. From Fabiola's big mouth, I'm guessing your mother married a guy that the family didn't approve of. In the status-obsessed corporate culture we are stuck with, that has to be pretty dreadful,” I finished.We were almost at Havenstone's Corporate HQ before Desiree spoke. She had been positively grim, far beyond her normal grumpiness.“I killed them,” she stated in a cold, emotionless voice.“Who?”“My parents. When my aunt found me and told me about my true heritage and what my parents had done, I killed them,” Desiree answered in the same lifeless tone.“I'm not going to lie to you. That's totally fucked up, but then I'm not you and I don't have to walk in your shoes,” I mused. “I'm certainly not going to give you sympathy, or pity.”“You are a horrible person for not having the strength of character to allow your mother and father to live with the choices they made. Killing them was a totally selfish act. Before you say 'you wouldn't understand', let me tell you that's bullshit. Like you, I had a mother and father. My Mom is dead and I miss her every day. I think you miss them and that's why you are so damn bitter.”“I should kill you for that liberty,” Desiree informed me.“Bring it, Kitten,” I scoffed. “I'd kick your ass.”“What inspires that delusion?” she turned to me. We had parked in the garage by this time.“I have righteous fury on my side. Against that, you have no defense,” I grinned.“I warned you against flippancy,” she reminded me.“Is that a demand that I present my righteous fury for your examination?” I countered. Silence. We went through the security rigmarole, put up the firearms. As we were leaving, I turned to Desiree.“You would think those two educationally-challenged bimbos would have warned me I was carrying blanks,” I griped. The two security babes' posture turned all agro on me.“I really should leave you here with them for a few hours,” Desiree threatened.“Have I told you recently how much I find you to be a kind, beneficent, wise and gifted teacher and sensei?” I faux-pleaded.“Shut up,” she grunted as we made my getaway.“I think I know why Katrina tolerates you,” Desiree told me after a few second in the elevator.“To try everyone else's patience?” I guessed.“Precisely,” she shoved me. “Stop being overly clever. It is unattractive in a male.”“Stranger danger!” I shouted (still in the elevator) as I backed into the far corner. “Stranger danger!”“If I had a gun, I would shoot you,” she glared. There was a glimmer of amusement as well.“At this range, you would probably miss,” I taunted her playfully.Desiree trembled with conflicting emotions. She gave in, stepped up and punched me in the chest. I kept laughing so she hit me again, but she was letting a tiny smile creep across her lips too.“Damn you,” she ground her teeth, fighting her happiness. “Fine. Cáyel, to my side.” There I went.“Kneel.” I knelt. The elevator doors opened, Desiree stepped out, turned to gaze into my eyes then cruelly smiled as the doors shut and the elevator continued up. The looks I got from women as they accessed the device was priceless. It took a while for one to break the silence.“What are you doing?” she inquired.“My boss told me to kneel here,” I explained, “so here I kneel. In nine hours, if I can still walk, I'm going home and taking a long, hot bath.”“You are just going to stay there for nine hours?” another woman groused.“I'm an intern. An order is an order and it isn't like she's forgotten where she left me.”“Our male intern isn't nearly this nice,” a third lady commented. “We call him the Chinchilla. When he isn't acting as if he's somehow valuable, he scurries about like a rodent.” That would be Brian I was willing to bet. The women in the elevator were suddenly self-conscious they'd talked that way around another male intern.“Do you have a nickname?” the third one tried to make light of the faux-pas.“I think there are three in the running: 'come here', 'kneel', and 'shut up'. When I hear one of those, I assume they are talking to me,” I joked. They snickered. God, I could have an orgy in this elevator. Thank goodness my libido was still slaked from nailing Ulyssa the teacher.“Where are you?” Desiree snapped over the phone eight minutes later. I had her on speaker.“I'm right where you left me,” I grinned. There was a new crowd in my box. I was getting the impression the word of my fate was circulating around the building and women were slipping over to see for themselves.“Are you an idiot?” she grumbled.“I'll leave the evaluation of my mental facilities to the experts, oh glorious Boss of mine,” I replied. “I would like to report there are two wonderful ladies from International Finance putting a shipping label on me as we speak,” I lied. From the look of one of the ladies, that wasn't such a bad, or far-fetched, idea.“Stand. Get off the elevator on the fourteenth floor and go to Conference Room L,” Desiree commanded. “Do you need to write out your orders in crayon?”“I'd prefer you use body paint,” I bantered. The ladies around me didn't know what to make of the exchange.“81 days, Jackass,” Desiree promised balefully.“I tremble in anticipation - no, wait, that's fear,” I snorted in amusement.“You are very irreverent,” a lady onboard observed. This wasn't a good thing in her mind.“I apologize, Ma'am. Reverence required me to become a eunuch and no job is worth my jewels in a jar,” I bowed.“I will report your poor attitude and mockery of your assignment to Tessa,” she vowed.“Very well, Ma'am…” I started.“Astarte,” she gave her name.“Very well, Astarte.”“Please consider that I am doing precisely what I've been told to do and that my humor has made multiple travelers on this elevator smile,” I continued. “Happy employees are more productive employees and barring being given something productive to do with my time, I've decided to give busy women a small bit of amusement.”Astarte had no good comeback to my defense. I didn't doubt Katrina and Tessa would get hate mail no matter what I said. The fourteenth floor job turned out to be transporting something from a director's safe to a bank vault. Drudgery followed - laundry, dinners, delivering a new car (I drove the company car back; Desiree drove the new car), picking up my suits and ending off where the day began - school.I had barely exited the car when I heard a little girl scream “There's my Daddy”. I sensed this was going to be a problem in the future. Aya didn't come running up to me. No, she made sure every classmate she could reach knew her 'Daddy' was here to take her home. Things got 'better' when she and some friends approached.“Mr. Ruger (Aya's family name), is it true you are a spy?” a rather aggressive male classmate asked. I took a deep breath. My gaze made Aya looked down, embarrassed. I could sense her tormentors closing in. I knelt in front of Aya and tilted her chin up so we were eye to eye.“Now, Sugar,” I addressed her, “we've had this discussion before. You can't tell people what Daddy does. That would put a lot of good people's lives in danger.”“I expected better of you, Aya. You must never tell strangers what I do for a living. Don't forget that,” I chastised her. Turning my focus to the surrounding children, “Forget that Aya ever told you I was a spy. Otherwise, bad things might happen to our family. Understood?”They nodded, eyes wide with shock and fear.See, Aya's Daddy WAS a spy, but no one could talk about it or people would die. In the eyes of a nine year old, that was so cool, if scary. The thing was, I hadn't lied. I had been evasive. We had been on the road for two minutes when Loraine conveyed a concept she was having difficulty with.“Thank you, Cáyel,” she told me. “That was a very nice thing you did for Aya.” I had to think of the clearest way to express why I had done what I had done, circumstances included.“I'm not a father, but if I was and Aya was my daughter, I would defend her as the situation warranted - physically, or verbally.”“They pay you to be with us,” Europa grumbled. I laughed - hard enough to hurt my sides.“Europa, Havenstone doesn't have enough money to keep me on this job,” I chuckled.“Why do you do it then?” Loraine leaned forward.“If I make it three months, I get a date with Desiree,” I lied.“Do you think she's pretty?” Europe prodded.“No. She scares me. If I quit, I have to take her out on a date the next day,” I continued fibbing.“Stay at Havenstone. You can do better than dating a half-breed,” Loraine stated. I digested that.“Loraine, your weakness sickens me,” I gave her a pained look. “Unsettling an opponent is acceptable. Insulting an ally is a quality of an immature and insecure mind.”“You don't talk to me like that,” Loraine spat.“Or what?” I mocked her. “Are we going to stop the car and take this fight to the sidewalk?”“If we do that, I'm going to spank your pathetic ass and we both know it,” I grumbled. “No, you'll have to hide behind Desiree and her sisters - the women you just insulted with an issue that is no one's business but hers. Are you going to show some courage and agree to fight me, or are you going to be worthy of your family, show some respect and apologize?”“I don't want her apology,” Desiree stated blandly.“I'm not doing it for you,” I told Desiree. “I'm doing it for her. She should have the chance to not grow up ignorant and rude.” Loraine was forming up an angry retort.“Cáyel, please stop,” Aya pleaded.“Of course, Aya,” I smiled at her.“We are not finished. You are the one who is rude and ignorant,” Loraine persisted. I ignored her. “I'm going to get you fired.” Ignored again. “Say something!” Kept ignoring her. She hit my shoulder. Ignored yet again. She finally sat back in her seat, crossed her arms and sulked.“Why won't you talk to my sister?” Europa inquired. I assumed she meant Loraine.“Economy of motion,” I answered. “She's not listening to me and she's upsetting Aya. Arguing with Loraine would only upset Aya more while accomplishing nothing.”“You are a jerk,” Loraine seethed. Oh fuck…I knew that tone. How could I have missed it?“She thinks you are hot,” Europa smirked. Ah, sibling rivalry. Loraine prepared to hit Europa.“In two more years I can tell her what a beautiful young woman she is,” I 'told' Europa. “For now, I work for her family and she's underage.”“You think I'm beautiful?” Loraine perked up, anger forgotten. The wonder of teenage hormones.I didn't respond to Loraine, which renewed her fury.“Do you think I'm prettier?” Aya jumped in.“Well, you don't have Loraine's deep blue eyes and Junior Miss physique, but you have the cuter smile and the boundless spirit of a winner,” I winked at Aya. Loraine flipped back to pleased.“What about me?” Europa prodded.“Oh, you are a total hag,” I sighed sadly. “It hurts me to look at you.” Europa's jaw dropped then she hit me repeatedly.“I give. I give,” I surrendered. The conflict was resolved for the rest of the trip.Aya was upset that Desiree wouldn't let me take her into the family's brownstone. After the chore was done, Desiree was non-communicative. I made it through the End of Day meeting intact with the hint that I actually did a good job. A bizarre conflict developed as I made my way to the elevator in my biking gear and a bulging dress bag - I was taking a taxi home.Buffy and Helena collided with the 'new hires' over who had the right to bombard me with sexual innuendo. I dodged any discussion on Rhada, blushed through my hart cords saga as well as my solo attempt at moose hunting, and all fishing expeditions concerning my dinner with Katrina.In the middle of my workout back at home, I got a call from the Desk Sergeant's daughter. Her name was Nikita Kutuzov - NYPD rookie patrolwomen and she exuded this raw confidence tempered with a suspicious nature. We agreed to meet for dinner. When we sat down at this Polish deli she frequented, she got down to brass tacks.“Have you ever been in a committed relationship?” was her lead in question.“Define a committed relationship,” I countered.“The answer would be 'no',” she sighed.“Why should I go out with you?” was her next point of attack.“I have a plethora of bizarre knowledge, I laugh at danger and have an incessant desire to learn,” I answered. That won me some points.“How much do you make a year?” she inquired.“Go to the bathroom, take off your panties then come back and give them to me,” I responded.Her eyes narrowed.“Your request was about as rude as mine,” I sighed. “Listen, if you are looking for an excuse to not go out with me, I'll spill some water on the table, you can tell your mother I was clumsy and call it a night,” I suggested. She glared, I looked bored then she got up and left.I wasn't worried for a second. A girl hadn't dumped me on the first date in three years. When she returned Nikita passed her undies under the table. I took the offering and deftly pocketed them.“$237,000 a year,” I confessed. Nikita choked on her soda. “I do dangerous work.”When I said 'fat paycheck' I meant 'FAT PAYCHECK'. In retrospect, this was the shiny lure they hooked us pompous 'Cream of the Crop' doofuses with. My pay was probably a clerical error as I would have taken the job for far less.“But you just got out of college,” she choked. “Do you weapon test plutonium, or what?”“I really can't talk about my job, Nikita. Most of it is mindless stuff a trained chimpanzee could do yet falls within the purview of corporate confidentiality,” I told her. “I am on call 24/7, which is a bit sucky - reference my salary again. I also get long- and short-term disability, major medical, eye, dental and health insurance plus a generous life insurance policy and a 401K.”“They have you doing illegal things, don't they?” she leaned across the table.“I refuse to answer on the grounds I'm on a date with a law enforcement agent,” I parried.“I can't date a criminal,” she cautioned.“Would it help if I promise to never get caught?” I tried to look innocent.“That's a ringing endorsement for me leaving right now,” she grinned. She wasn't doing that. They never did. It is not that women are sluts. I exude the promise of great, guilt-free sex and each one believes they are going to be the one that reels me in and tames me. This despite all the evidence to the contrary - namely that I do this with every woman I meet.We finished eating, bought some drinks to go and took a walk. Somewhere along the way, I slipped my arm around her waist. Nikita took thirty seconds to bring it up.“What's with this?” she prodded.“I like the feel of your body close to mine, Nikita. If it bothers you, I'll stop,” I offered.She didn't stop me; she reciprocated the gesture and carried on. We talked about growing up; me in Chicago and her in New York City, missing one parent (her father divorced her mom, my mother having died of cancer) and having the other parent work long hours. She'd graduated from Queens College with a degree in Criminal Justice then gone to the Police Academy - she was a year older than me.We parted ways outside the Deli. I gave her a tender French kiss. She wanted more. I wanted a second date so we parted ways with Nikita looking over her shoulder and grinning at me as she walked away. Girls like it when you only have eyes for them. My bicycle had barely gotten on the road home when my phone rang - work.I had to go to corporate and meet up with Desiree. I called her and gave her my location - I was in the wrong direction, farther from the workplace than normal. She grudgingly agreed the best course of action was to come get me, though the purpose of the assignment wasn't given. Desiree didn't utter a word as she picked me up and drove to the work site.We ended up at the children's house. Desiree parked the car and led me, in my bike clothes, up the steps of the townhouse. The looks we were greeted with weren't promising. The woman at the door was an older version of Loraine - not her twin but closely related. I had barely crossed the door sill when the nature of the problem became evident.Aya was screaming. Desiree and I were kept in the entryway for a minute until a more mature woman came gliding down the stairs, clearly steamed and, upon seeing me, livid with rage.“What have you done to my child?” the older woman seethed.“I'm not sure what you are talking about,” I answered.“He did nothing more than his job,” Desiree's defense of me came out of nowhere. “He engaged himself in the welfare of your daughter. I was there the entire time.”“Come this way,” the older woman beckoned. Desiree, the woman from the door and me followed her up two flights of stairs to Aya's room.Loraine and Europa had stepped out of their rooms and were observing us.“There,” the woman - Mom - pointed me into the room.“Cáyel,” Aya squealed. “You came.” She was sitting in bed with her arms outstretched. I crossed the distance, sat down and hugged her.“Now what seems to be the problem?” I tapped her nose.“I…I - ah - wanted you to tuck me in,” she mumbled.“As your Daddy, or as Cáyel?” I questioned.“As my Daddy,” she murmured.“I am not your Daddy, Aya,” I explained. “I am your friend, and your guardian upon occasion, but I am not worthy of being your Father. You are a very special girl and I am the son of a working stiff from Chicago. With your Mom's and Katrina's permission, I would gladly help you convince the World that I am your Daddy. We must remember that this is not real, okay?”“Why can't you be my real Daddy?” Aya asked. 'Because your Mommy would bite my dick off' didn't seem the politically correct thing to say.“Life can be very harsh, Aya. We all face different challenges. Since life has not provided you with a Daddy, you must find a way to get by without one,” I said. “Now let me tuck you in.”We hugged, I tucked her in, kissed her on her forehead then waited around a few seconds while she held my adult hand in her tiny mitt. As I left, the Mother cut off the light and shut the door.“Good night, Cáyel,” Europa and Loraine called out. I waved, but kept my peace. Downstairs, it was a bit less pleasant.“I will report this egregious breech of conduct to Katrina. You are dismissed,” she waved her hand.“Really?” I perked up.“Cáyel, don't,” Desiree cautioned me.“Oh, come on,” I pleaded. “Desiree, what is the penalty for tucking a little girl into bed? Wait - wait, are they going to get me for NOT embarrassing a child in public? Is it because I accepted a female's gender-appropriate pet name?”“Shut up,” Desiree demanded sedately.“Yes ma'am - Desiree,” I sighed.“The charges will be murdering our patience, insolence, irreverence and not being able to follow simple commands - like 'Cáyel don't',” she explained. I could swear she was mocking our hostess except that wasn't like Desiree. She had no sense of humor.“Do you think this is funny, Half-blood?” Mom mocked.“No. He is a jester and I'm superior to him because, unlike you, Pure-blood, I can tell the difference between his juvenile antics and him being a viable threat,” Desiree reposed. “Funny is Cáyel throwing his body on top of your eldest daughter, sacrificing himself to save her life only to be treated by you as a common household pest.”“It was a test,” Mom said.“He didn't know that,” Desiree countered, “or are you claiming he fooled me and the entire security detail?” Insulting Desiree was okay in Mom's book. Insinuating those stone-cold bitches who scared the crap out of me this morning were incompetent wasn't.“I repeat, you are dismissed,” Mom seethed. This time we took our leave. Desiree remained lost in her own thoughts as she drove me home.“Thank you,” I said when we were close.“For what?” she murmured.“No specific cause. I reason that if I say 'thank you' a few thousand times, one day you'll say it to me,” I looked at her through the corner of my eye.“Hold your breath,” Desiree commanded. “Hold your breath until I repeat the words 'thank you'.”There was really no way around that. I practiced breath-control techniques I had learned from swimming and diving, making the most of what air I had. Desiree was heartless. I broke the two minute mark, which wasn't bad given my lack of preparation. I leaned forward, panting for breath and looking down.“You might want to appreciate that you are not perfect, can't do everything and should reacquaint yourself with your limitations,” Desiree commented.“Thank you, Desiree,” I gasped. That was some of the best advice I'd received on the job to date.“You are welcome, Cáyel,” she said serenely. In her culturally limited way, Desiree had allowed me a tiny space in her world - Immature Student Lackey. “Be at work thirty minutes early.” With that, I exited to my apartment and belatedly got to my workout. Timothy was out on a date so I had to bolt out of the shower to get whomever was at the door when the doorbell rang.“I must redeem my prestige by breaking your spirit, Cáyel Nyilas,” Rhada snarled then leapt to the attack. I was standing there, dripping wet, with my hand clenching the towel tightly around my waist. Mortal Combat - the pornographic edition. Rhada was feisty yet I had the feeling she was more into our fight as a contact sport than a real effort to subdue me.I wasn't aware that there was an oral appliance that allowed you to give a blowjob without having the recipient bite your dick off. Timothy had one in his toy box. Rhada and I tried it out, but I got the feeling she didn't get much from the experience. I felt like I was at a glory hole. After that, things got better.I clued in that Rhada's key focus of arousal was being forced to pleasure me. Under threat of something horrible (mostly in her imagination), hands bound behind her back, she'd fuck me in every imaginable way and she was even becoming passible at fellatio. Binding her legs was actually counterproductive. If I wanted to pin her legs, she liked it if I wrestled with her.I keep pushing myself to keep up with her. When someone screamed in pain, my gut instinct was to succor them. For Rhada, it was a signal for her wanting more. I'd really helped her through some serious frustrations, and a great deal of sweat, when the phone rang. Rhada was facing me, bouncing in my lap with her ball gag back in (she liked to bite during climax).“Hello?” I said.“Hey Cáyel Nyilas, it is Odette. Whatchya doing tonight?” my waitress bed-buddy asked.“I'm bored out of my skull, doing something worthless,” I answered. “Do you want to come over, or do we want to meet at your place tonight?”“Ah - um - I live at home with my parents,” she confessed.“Come on over. I need to clean up a mess first,” I told her. “See you soon.” With that, I hung up and looked into Rhada's eyes. “You really are a worthless mess.” She sobbed. “What are you crying about you disgraced harlot? Are you surprised I'd want to be with a real woman?”“You are a disgusting piece of filth so that's how you deserve to be treated; not like a true tower of femininity,” I continued to press her buttons. She was really upset and absolutely erotically active. I was starting to get worried about the vigor she was pounding me with. Sadly, I had some plans to implement before Odette arrived. I kept Rhada on my lap, swiveled us off the bed and fished out a few restraints.Rhada wrapped her powerful legs around my waist. Using a combination of thigh, stomach and vaginal muscles, the Indian Princess kept working my cock with every bit of imagination she could muster. We traveled out to the workout area. I leaned over the weight bench, pressed Rhada down and put a hand around her throat.Honestly, all this cruelty and humiliation was grating on me. Sure, I knew Rhada was evil, as was her entire culture. The thing was, I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. I didn't think I had it in me to harm, or murder, a person who was not an immediate threat. The reality was twofold. If I didn't do this for Rhada, she'd find someone else who would, with the likelihood of grievous harm coming to her.Also, I could do without her holding a grudge for my kicking her ass then rejecting her amorous advances. For now, I played her game with the added benefit that tonight was a 'freebie' - not in my cue.“Bitch, I'm going to tie you down and ruin you until you can't walk straight. Fight back and I'm going ram two dildos into you and leave them on all night long,” I threatened.I could see her thinking about it as I gave her some more crushed ice to drink. In the end, she allowed her feet to be bound separately then her hands bound together over her head. Once she was secure, I leaned in and whispered in her ear.“I lied, Rhada. I'm going to shove two vibrators in anyway,” Rhada thrashed about against her bonds.After lubing up both sex toys, I worked them into her pussy and ass. She wiggled and shifted about a few times, but her heart wasn't in it. She was too clearly looking forward to the torturous pleasure coming her way. I cut them both on then, because I could, I put on three vibrating eggs; one on her clit and the others for each nipples. That drove her wild. I readied the last part of my plan.“Rhada,” I leaned in and spoke softly, “I'm putting your phone in your hand. Press the 'send' button and it will call my phone. I'll come get you. Don't drop it. Rhada?” Her wild eyes flashed about, gained some clarity and met my gaze. She nodded her understanding. Now I had to worry that she would drop the phone on purpose just to add to her torment.I drew the makeshift curtain that separated our workout space from the rest of the living room, cut on the TV to mute the sound of moaning and vibrators. While cleaning up in the bathroom, I realized I had to dump my condom. Doing two girls with the same one was beyond thoughtless and gross.My drawstring shorts were barely cinched up when the doorbell rang. Thankfully it was Odette. Extra special was Odette wanted to get freaky with me - she brought a dildo and some lube. The problem with having a vast variety of sex was that fewer and fewer things were new and remembering how exciting it was your first time with a given kink gets tougher.Odette decided that conversation was overrated as she waltzed through the door. She showed me her toy, grabbed my hand and led me to my bedroom. I helped her undress, which she liked. Then she threw me down and raped me. She was even all excited about rolling her first condom on. She hadn't been a virgin last night, only lacking in confidence.Tonight, she was a beast (in her mind). After our first noisy, moist round, Odette 'discovered' another pleasure; namely sitting up, riding my cock and getting into an in depth discussion about our relationship - sigh. When a woman thinks it is casual sex it is casual sex. When a man thinks it is casual sex it could be any Goddamn thing.To Odette's credit, she was willing to talk about things she'd like to do, didn't get too upset when she finally pried out of me that I'd been with more than a dozen women, and she took suggestions well. She liked to talk about mutual interests, cuddled without being needy and asked if what she was doing made me feel good in a way that didn't make her sound insecure.At 2:10 my phone buzzed. Odette barely murmured then rolled over and went back to sleep. It was Rhada. Sneaking out wasn't so difficult. I stealthed to the bathroom, got a wet wash cloth and a towel, followed that up with a trip to get some chilled bottled water and finished up at Rhada's side.She was barely there at all. My hands flew over her body in the dim light then I pulled her into my lap on the floor.“Rhada?” I called to her gently.“Kill you,” she whispered. She was okay.In my sleep-deprived state I missed her initially looking at me. Her eyes were unfathomable. I pressed the water to her lips and let her drink in small sips. Five minutes later, she was in better shape mentally and physically.“Why?” she asked.“Sometimes it is a matter of why not?” I replied.“You hate me,” she furrowed her brow.“What gave you that idea?” I reposed.“You are a man…you don't hate me?” she struggled to breach our cultural divide.“Rhada, I can't speak for all men, but I don't hate you. I have no intention of destroying you,” I paused. “I'm working on a way to suspend you off the ground blindfolded next time. Tarnishing your prestige is not on my agenda though.”“Do you like causing me pain?” she studied me. That was a tough one both from my perspective and hers.“I treasure every orgasm I rip from your body, Rhada,” I breathed into her ear. It was the best I could do. For Rhada it was enough.She wasn't suicidal, only ravenous in her need to surrender to her taboo desires. Her not being on the edge of death with me lessened her thrill. It also meant she could live long enough to have all kinds of other thrills. This was the bargain we were making. How I was going to live up to it was going to be intriguing.Maybe I could bill Katrina for the needed playroom upgrades. What the future held was coming with the dawn. First I had to make sure Rhada was clear-headed and ambulatory. Then came the trip to her auto and her fiery kiss and body hug. Rhada liking me was okay. Rhada getting attached to me was one more headache I didn't need.To be continued in Part 4By FinalStand for Literotica.

A History Of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs
Episode 158: “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane

A History Of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2022


Episode one hundred and fifty-eight of A History of Rock Music in Five Hundred Songs looks at “White Rabbit”, Jefferson Airplane, and the rise of the San Francisco sound. Click the full post to read liner notes, links to more information, and a transcript of the episode. Patreon backers also have a twenty-three-minute bonus episode available, on "Omaha" by Moby Grape. Tilt Araiza has assisted invaluably by doing a first-pass edit, and will hopefully be doing so from now on. Check out Tilt's irregular podcasts at http://www.podnose.com/jaffa-cakes-for-proust and http://sitcomclub.com/ Erratum I refer to Back to Methuselah by Robert Heinlein. This is of course a play by George Bernard Shaw. What I meant to say was Methuselah's Children. Resources I hope to upload a Mixcloud tomorrow, and will edit it in, but have had some problems with the site today. Jefferson Airplane's first four studio albums, plus a 1968 live album, can be found in this box set. I've referred to three main books here. Got a Revolution!: The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane by Jeff Tamarkin is written with the co-operation of the band members, but still finds room to criticise them. Jefferson Airplane On Track by Richard Molesworth is a song-by-song guide to the band's music. And Been So Long: My Life and Music by Jorma Kaukonen is Kaukonen's autobiography. Some information on Skip Spence and Matthew Katz also comes from What's Big and Purple and Lives in the Ocean?: The Moby Grape Story, by Cam Cobb, which I also used for this week's bonus. Patreon This podcast is brought to you by the generosity of my backers on Patreon. Why not join them? Transcript Before I start, I need to confess an important and hugely embarrassing error in this episode. I've only ever seen Marty Balin's name written down, never heard it spoken, and only after recording the episode, during the editing process, did I discover I mispronounce it throughout. It's usually an advantage for the podcast that I get my information from books rather than TV documentaries and the like, because they contain far more information, but occasionally it causes problems like that. My apologies. Also a brief note that this episode contains some mentions of racism, antisemitism, drug and alcohol abuse, and gun violence. One of the themes we've looked at in recent episodes is the way the centre of the musical world -- at least the musical world as it was regarded by the people who thought of themselves as hip in the mid-sixties -- was changing in 1967. Up to this point, for a few years there had been two clear centres of the rock and pop music worlds. In the UK, there was London, and any British band who meant anything had to base themselves there. And in the US, at some point around 1963, the centre of the music industry had moved West. Up to then it had largely been based in New York, and there was still a thriving industry there as of the mid sixties. But increasingly the records that mattered, that everyone in the country had been listening to, had come out of LA Soul music was, of course, still coming primarily from Detroit and from the Country-Soul triangle in Tennessee and Alabama, but when it came to the new brand of electric-guitar rock that was taking over the airwaves, LA was, up until the first few months of 1967, the only city that was competing with London, and was the place to be. But as we heard in the episode on "San Francisco", with the Monterey Pop Festival all that started to change. While the business part of the music business remained centred in LA, and would largely remain so, LA was no longer the hip place to be. Almost overnight, jangly guitars, harmonies, and Brian Jones hairstyles were out, and feedback, extended solos, and droopy moustaches were in. The place to be was no longer LA, but a few hundred miles North, in San Francisco -- something that the LA bands were not all entirely happy about: [Excerpt: The Mothers of Invention, "Who Needs the Peace Corps?"] In truth, the San Francisco music scene, unlike many of the scenes we've looked at so far in this series, had rather a limited impact on the wider world of music. Bands like Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and Big Brother and the Holding Company were all both massively commercially successful and highly regarded by critics, but unlike many of the other bands we've looked at before and will look at in future, they didn't have much of an influence on the bands that would come after them, musically at least. Possibly this is because the music from the San Francisco scene was always primarily that -- music created by and for a specific group of people, and inextricable from its context. The San Francisco musicians were defining themselves by their geographical location, their peers, and the situation they were in, and their music was so specifically of the place and time that to attempt to copy it outside of that context would appear ridiculous, so while many of those bands remain much loved to this day, and many made some great music, it's very hard to point to ways in which that music influenced later bands. But what they did influence was the whole of rock music culture. For at least the next thirty years, and arguably to this day, the parameters in which rock musicians worked if they wanted to be taken seriously – their aesthetic and political ideals, their methods of collaboration, the cultural norms around drug use and sexual promiscuity, ideas of artistic freedom and authenticity, the choice of acceptable instruments – in short, what it meant to be a rock musician rather than a pop, jazz, country, or soul artist – all those things were defined by the cultural and behavioural norms of the San Francisco scene between about 1966 and 68. Without the San Francisco scene there's no Woodstock, no Rolling Stone magazine, no Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, no hippies, no groupies, no rock stars. So over the next few months we're going to take several trips to the Bay Area, and look at the bands which, for a brief time, defined the counterculture in America. The story of Jefferson Airplane -- and unlike other bands we've looked at recently, like The Pink Floyd and The Buffalo Springfield, they never had a definite article at the start of their name to wither away like a vestigial organ in subsequent years -- starts with Marty Balin. Balin was born in Ohio, but was a relatively sickly child -- he later talked about being autistic, and seems to have had the chronic illnesses that so often go with neurodivergence -- so in the hope that the dry air would be good for his chest his family moved to Arizona. Then when his father couldn't find work there, they moved further west to San Francisco, in the Haight-Ashbury area, long before that area became the byword for the hippie movement. But it was in LA that he started his music career, and got his surname. Balin had been named Marty Buchwald as a kid, but when he was nineteen he had accompanied a friend to LA to visit a music publisher, and had ended up singing backing vocals on her demos. While he was there, he had encountered the arranger Jimmy Haskell. Haskell was on his way to becoming one of the most prominent arrangers in the music industry, and in his long career he would go on to do arrangements for Bobby Gentry, Blondie, Steely Dan, Simon and Garfunkel, and many others. But at the time he was best known for his work on Ricky Nelson's hits: [Excerpt: Ricky Nelson, "Hello Mary Lou"] Haskell thought that Marty had the makings of a Ricky Nelson style star, as he was a good-looking young man with a decent voice, and he became a mentor for the young man. Making the kind of records that Haskell arranged was expensive, and so Haskell suggested a deal to him -- if Marty's father would pay for studio time and musicians, Haskell would make a record with him and find him a label to put it out. Marty's father did indeed pay for the studio time and the musicians -- some of the finest working in LA at the time. The record, released under the name Marty Balin, featured Jack Nitzsche on keyboards, Earl Palmer on drums, Milt Jackson on vibraphone, Red Callender on bass, and Glen Campbell and Barney Kessell on guitars, and came out on Challenge Records, a label owned by Gene Autry: [Excerpt: Marty Balin, "Nobody But You"] Neither that, nor Balin's follow-up single, sold a noticeable amount of copies, and his career as a teen idol was over before it had begun. Instead, as many musicians of his age did, he decided to get into folk music, joining a vocal harmony group called the Town Criers, who patterned themselves after the Weavers, and performed the same kind of material that every other clean-cut folk vocal group was performing at the time -- the kind of songs that John Phillips and Steve Stills and Cass Elliot and Van Dyke Parks and the rest were all performing in their own groups at the same time. The Town Criers never made any records while they were together, but some archival recordings of them have been released over the decades: [Excerpt: The Town Criers, "900 Miles"] The Town Criers split up, and Balin started performing as a solo folkie again. But like all those other then-folk musicians, Balin realised that he had to adapt to the K/T-event level folk music extinction that happened when the Beatles hit America like a meteorite. He had to form a folk-rock group if he wanted to survive -- and given that there were no venues for such a group to play in San Francisco, he also had to start a nightclub for them to play in. He started hanging around the hootenannies in the area, looking for musicians who might form an electric band. The first person he decided on was a performer called Paul Kantner, mainly because he liked his attitude. Kantner had got on stage in front of a particularly drunk, loud, crowd, and performed precisely half a song before deciding he wasn't going to perform in front of people like that and walking off stage. Kantner was the only member of the new group to be a San Franciscan -- he'd been born and brought up in the city. He'd got into folk music at university, where he'd also met a guitar player named Jorma Kaukonen, who had turned him on to cannabis, and the two had started giving music lessons at a music shop in San Jose. There Kantner had also been responsible for booking acts at a local folk club, where he'd first encountered acts like Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, a jug band which included Jerry Garcia, Pigpen McKernan, and Bob Weir, who would later go on to be the core members of the Grateful Dead: [Excerpt: Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, "In the Jailhouse Now"] Kantner had moved around a bit between Northern and Southern California, and had been friendly with two other musicians on the Californian folk scene, David Crosby and Roger McGuinn. When their new group, the Byrds, suddenly became huge, Kantner became aware of the possibility of doing something similar himself, and so when Marty Balin approached him to form a band, he agreed. On bass, they got in a musician called Bob Harvey, who actually played double bass rather than electric, and who stuck to that for the first few gigs the group played -- he had previously been in a band called the Slippery Rock String Band. On drums, they brought in Jerry Peloquin, who had formerly worked for the police, but now had a day job as an optician. And on vocals, they brought in Signe Toley -- who would soon marry and change her name to Signe Anderson, so that's how I'll talk about her to avoid confusion. The group also needed a lead guitarist though -- both Balin and Kantner were decent rhythm players and singers, but they needed someone who was a better instrumentalist. They decided to ask Kantner's old friend Jorma Kaukonen. Kaukonen was someone who was seriously into what would now be called Americana or roots music. He'd started playing the guitar as a teenager, not like most people of his generation inspired by Elvis or Buddy Holly, but rather after a friend of his had shown him how to play an old Carter Family song, "Jimmy Brown the Newsboy": [Excerpt: The Carter Family, "Jimmy Brown the Newsboy"] Kaukonen had had a far more interesting life than most of the rest of the group. His father had worked for the State Department -- and there's some suggestion he'd worked for the CIA -- and the family had travelled all over the world, staying in Pakistan, the Philippines, and Finland. For most of his childhood, he'd gone by the name Jerry, because other kids beat him up for having a foreign name and called him a Nazi, but by the time he turned twenty he was happy enough using his birth name. Kaukonen wasn't completely immune to the appeal of rock and roll -- he'd formed a rock band, The Triumphs, with his friend Jack Casady when he was a teenager, and he loved Ricky Nelson's records -- but his fate as a folkie had been pretty much sealed when he went to Antioch College. There he met up with a blues guitarist called Ian Buchanan. Buchanan never had much of a career as a professional, but he had supposedly spent nine years studying with the blues and ragtime guitar legend Rev. Gary Davis, and he was certainly a fine guitarist, as can be heard on his contribution to The Blues Project, the album Elektra put out of white Greenwich Village musicians like John Sebastian and Dave Van Ronk playing old blues songs: [Excerpt: Ian Buchanan, "The Winding Boy"] Kaukonen became something of a disciple of Buchanan -- he said later that Buchanan probably taught him how to play because he was such a terrible player and Buchanan couldn't stand to listen to it -- as did John Hammond Jr, another student at Antioch at the same time. After studying at Antioch, Kaukonen started to travel around, including spells in Greenwich Village and in the Philippines, before settling in Santa Clara, where he studied for a sociology degree and became part of a social circle that included Dino Valenti, Jerry Garcia, and Billy Roberts, the credited writer of "Hey Joe". He also started performing as a duo with a singer called Janis Joplin. Various of their recordings from this period circulate, mostly recorded at Kaukonen's home with the sound of his wife typing in the background while the duo rehearse, as on this performance of an old Bessie Smith song: [Excerpt: Jorma Kaukonen and Janis Joplin, "Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out"] By 1965 Kaukonen saw himself firmly as a folk-blues purist, who would not even think of playing rock and roll music, which he viewed with more than a little contempt. But he allowed himself to be brought along to audition for the new group, and Ken Kesey happened to be there. Kesey was a novelist who had written two best-selling books, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and Sometimes A Great Notion, and used the financial independence that gave him to organise a group of friends who called themselves the Merry Pranksters, who drove from coast to coast and back again in a psychedelic-painted bus, before starting a series of events that became known as Acid Tests, parties at which everyone was on LSD, immortalised in Tom Wolfe's book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Nobody has ever said why Kesey was there, but he had brought along an Echoplex, a reverb unit one could put a guitar through -- and nobody has explained why Kesey, who wasn't a musician, had an Echoplex to hand. But Kaukonen loved the sound that he could get by putting his guitar through the device, and so for that reason more than any other he decided to become an electric player and join the band, going out and buying a Rickenbacker twelve-string and Vox Treble Booster because that was what Roger McGuinn used. He would later also get a Guild Thunderbird six-string guitar and a Standel Super Imperial amp, following the same principle of buying the equipment used by other guitarists he liked, as they were what Zal Yanovsky of the Lovin' Spoonful used. He would use them for all his six-string playing for the next couple of years, only later to discover that the Lovin' Spoonful despised them and only used them because they had an endorsement deal with the manufacturers. Kaukonen was also the one who came up with the new group's name. He and his friends had a running joke where they had "Bluesman names", things like "Blind Outrage" and "Little Sun Goldfarb". Kaukonen's bluesman name, given to him by his friend Steve Talbot, had been Blind Thomas Jefferson Airplane, a reference to the 1920s blues guitarist Blind Lemon Jefferson: [Excerpt: Blind Lemon Jefferson, "Match Box Blues"] At the band meeting where they were trying to decide on a name, Kaukonen got frustrated at the ridiculous suggestions that were being made, and said "You want a stupid name? Howzabout this... Jefferson Airplane?" He said in his autobiography "It was one of those rare moments when everyone in the band agreed, and that was that. I think it was the only band meeting that ever allowed me to come away smiling." The newly-named Jefferson Airplane started to rehearse at the Matrix Club, the club that Balin had decided to open. This was run with three sound engineer friends, who put in the seed capital for the club. Balin had stock options in the club, which he got by trading a share of the band's future earnings to his partners, though as the group became bigger he eventually sold his stock in the club back to his business partners. Before their first public performance, they started working with a manager, Matthew Katz, mostly because Katz had access to a recording of a then-unreleased Bob Dylan song, "Lay Down Your Weary Tune": [Excerpt: Bob Dylan, "Lay Down Your Weary Tune"] The group knew that the best way for a folk-rock band to make a name for themselves was to perform a Dylan song nobody else had yet heard, and so they agreed to be managed by Katz. Katz started a pre-publicity blitz, giving out posters, badges, and bumper stickers saying "Jefferson Airplane Loves You" all over San Francisco -- and insisting that none of the band members were allowed to say "Hello" when they answered the phone any more, they had to say "Jefferson Airplane Loves You!" For their early rehearsals and gigs, they were performing almost entirely cover versions of blues and folk songs, things like Fred Neil's "The Other Side of This Life" and Dino Valenti's "Get Together" which were the common currency of the early folk-rock movement, and songs by their friends, like one called "Flower Bomb" by David Crosby, which Crosby now denies ever having written. They did start writing the odd song, but at this point they were more focused on performance than on writing. They also hired a press agent, their friend Bill Thompson. Thompson was friends with the two main music writers at the San Francisco Chronicle, Ralph Gleason, the famous jazz critic, who had recently started also reviewing rock music, and John Wasserman. Thompson got both men to come to the opening night of the Matrix, and both gave the group glowing reviews in the Chronicle. Record labels started sniffing around the group immediately as a result of this coverage, and according to Katz he managed to get a bidding war started by making sure that when A&R men came to the club there were always two of them from different labels, so they would see the other person and realise they weren't the only ones interested. But before signing a record deal they needed to make some personnel changes. The first member to go was Jerry Peloquin, for both musical and personal reasons. Peloquin was used to keeping strict time and the other musicians had a more free-flowing idea of what tempo they should be playing at, but also he had worked for the police while the other members were all taking tons of illegal drugs. The final break with Peloquin came when he did the rest of the group a favour -- Paul Kantner's glasses broke during a rehearsal, and as Peloquin was an optician he offered to take them back to his shop and fix them. When he got back, he found them auditioning replacements for him. He beat Kantner up, and that was the end of Jerry Peloquin in Jefferson Airplane. His replacement was Skip Spence, who the group had met when he had accompanied three friends to the Matrix, which they were using as a rehearsal room. Spence's friends went on to be the core members of Quicksilver Messenger Service along with Dino Valenti: [Excerpt: Quicksilver Messenger Service, "Dino's Song"] But Balin decided that Spence looked like a rock star, and told him that he was now Jefferson Airplane's drummer, despite Spence being a guitarist and singer, not a drummer. But Spence was game, and learned to play the drums. Next they needed to get rid of Bob Harvey. According to Harvey, the decision to sack him came after David Crosby saw the band rehearsing and said "Nice song, but get rid of the bass player" (along with an expletive before the word bass which I can't say without incurring the wrath of Apple). Crosby denies ever having said this. Harvey had started out in the group on double bass, but to show willing he'd switched in his last few gigs to playing an electric bass. When he was sacked by the group, he returned to double bass, and to the Slippery Rock String Band, who released one single in 1967: [Excerpt: The Slippery Rock String Band, "Tule Fog"] Harvey's replacement was Kaukonen's old friend Jack Casady, who Kaukonen knew was now playing bass, though he'd only ever heard him playing guitar when they'd played together. Casady was rather cautious about joining a rock band, but then Kaukonen told him that the band were getting fifty dollars a week salary each from Katz, and Casady flew over from Washington DC to San Francisco to join the band. For the first few gigs, he used Bob Harvey's bass, which Harvey was good enough to lend him despite having been sacked from the band. Unfortunately, right from the start Casady and Kantner didn't get on. When Casady flew in from Washington, he had a much more clean-cut appearance than the rest of the band -- one they've described as being nerdy, with short, slicked-back, side-parted hair and a handlebar moustache. Kantner insisted that Casady shave the moustache off, and he responded by shaving only one side, so in profile on one side he looked clean-shaven, while from the other side he looked like he had a full moustache. Kantner also didn't like Casady's general attitude, or his playing style, at all -- though most critics since this point have pointed to Casady's bass playing as being the most interesting and distinctive thing about Jefferson Airplane's style. This lineup seems to have been the one that travelled to LA to audition for various record companies -- a move that immediately brought the group a certain amount of criticism for selling out, both for auditioning for record companies and for going to LA at all, two things that were already anathema on the San Francisco scene. The only audition anyone remembers them having specifically is one for Phil Spector, who according to Kaukonen was waving a gun around during the audition, so he and Casady walked out. Around this time as well, the group performed at an event billed as "A Tribute to Dr. Strange", organised by the radical hippie collective Family Dog. Marvel Comics, rather than being the multi-billion-dollar Disney-owned corporate juggernaut it is now, was regarded as a hip, almost underground, company -- and around this time they briefly started billing their comics not as comics but as "Marvel Pop Art Productions". The magical adventures of Dr. Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts, and in particular the art by far-right libertarian artist Steve Ditko, were regarded as clear parallels to both the occult dabblings and hallucinogen use popular among the hippies, though Ditko had no time for either, following as he did an extreme version of Ayn Rand's Objectivism. It was at the Tribute to Dr. Strange that Jefferson Airplane performed for the first time with a band named The Great Society, whose lead singer, Grace Slick, would later become very important in Jefferson Airplane's story: [Excerpt: The Great Society, "Someone to Love"] That gig was also the first one where the band and their friends noticed that large chunks of the audience were now dressing up in costumes that were reminiscent of the Old West. Up to this point, while Katz had been managing the group and paying them fifty dollars a week even on weeks when they didn't perform, he'd been doing so without a formal contract, in part because the group didn't trust him much. But now they were starting to get interest from record labels, and in particular RCA Records desperately wanted them. While RCA had been the label who had signed Elvis Presley, they had otherwise largely ignored rock and roll, considering that since they had the biggest rock star in the world they didn't need other ones, and concentrating largely on middle-of-the-road acts. But by the mid-sixties Elvis' star had faded somewhat, and they were desperate to get some of the action for the new music -- and unlike the other major American labels, they didn't have a reciprocal arrangement with a British label that allowed them to release anything by any of the new British stars. The group were introduced to RCA by Rod McKuen, a songwriter and poet who later became America's best-selling poet and wrote songs that sold over a hundred million copies. At this point McKuen was in his Jacques Brel phase, recording loose translations of the Belgian songwriter's songs with McKuen translating the lyrics: [Excerpt: Rod McKuen, "Seasons in the Sun"] McKuen thought that Jefferson Airplane might be a useful market for his own songs, and brought the group to RCA. RCA offered Jefferson Airplane twenty-five thousand dollars to sign with them, and Katz convinced the group that RCA wouldn't give them this money without them having signed a management contract with him. Kaukonen, Kantner, Spence, and Balin all signed without much hesitation, but Jack Casady didn't yet sign, as he was the new boy and nobody knew if he was going to be in the band for the long haul. The other person who refused to sign was Signe Anderson. In her case, she had a much better reason for refusing to sign, as unlike the rest of the band she had actually read the contract, and she found it to be extremely worrying. She did eventually back down on the day of the group's first recording session, but she later had the contract renegotiated. Jack Casady also signed the contract right at the start of the first session -- or at least, he thought he'd signed the contract then. He certainly signed *something*, without having read it. But much later, during a court case involving the band's longstanding legal disputes with Katz, it was revealed that the signature on the contract wasn't Casady's, and was badly forged. What he actually *did* sign that day has never been revealed, to him or to anyone else. Katz also signed all the group as songwriters to his own publishing company, telling them that they legally needed to sign with him if they wanted to make records, and also claimed to RCA that he had power of attorney for the band, which they say they never gave him -- though to be fair to Katz, given the band members' habit of signing things without reading or understanding them, it doesn't seem beyond the realms of possibility that they did. The producer chosen for the group's first album was Tommy Oliver, a friend of Katz's who had previously been an arranger on some of Doris Day's records, and whose next major act after finishing the Jefferson Airplane album was Trombones Unlimited, who released records like "Holiday for Trombones": [Excerpt: Trombones Unlimited, "Holiday For Trombones"] The group weren't particularly thrilled with this choice, but were happier with their engineer, Dave Hassinger, who had worked on records like "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones, and had a far better understanding of the kind of music the group were making. They spent about three months recording their first album, even while continually being attacked as sellouts. The album is not considered their best work, though it does contain "Blues From an Airplane", a collaboration between Spence and Balin: [Excerpt: Jefferson Airplane, "Blues From an Airplane"] Even before the album came out, though, things were starting to change for the group. Firstly, they started playing bigger venues -- their home base went from being the Matrix club to the Fillmore, a large auditorium run by the promoter Bill Graham. They also started to get an international reputation. The British singer-songwriter Donovan released a track called "The Fat Angel" which namechecked the group: [Excerpt: Donovan, "The Fat Angel"] The group also needed a new drummer. Skip Spence decided to go on holiday to Mexico without telling the rest of the band. There had already been some friction with Spence, as he was very eager to become a guitarist and songwriter, and the band already had three songwriting guitarists and didn't really see why they needed a fourth. They sacked Spence, who went on to form Moby Grape, who were also managed by Katz: [Excerpt: Moby Grape, "Omaha"] For his replacement they brought in Spencer Dryden, who was a Hollywood brat like their friend David Crosby -- in Dryden's case he was Charlie Chaplin's nephew, and his father worked as Chaplin's assistant. The story normally goes that the great session drummer Earl Palmer recommended Dryden to the group, but it's also the case that Dryden had been in a band, the Heartbeats, with Tommy Oliver and the great blues guitarist Roy Buchanan, so it may well be that Oliver had recommended him. Dryden had been primarily a jazz musician, playing with people like the West Coast jazz legend Charles Lloyd, though like most jazzers he would slum it on occasion by playing rock and roll music to pay the bills. But then he'd seen an early performance by the Mothers of Invention, and realised that rock music could have a serious artistic purpose too. He'd joined a band called The Ashes, who had released one single, the Jackie DeShannon song "Is There Anything I Can Do?" in December 1965: [Excerpt: The Ashes, "Is There Anything I Can Do?"] The Ashes split up once Dryden left the group to join Jefferson Airplane, but they soon reformed without him as The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, who hooked up with Gary Usher and released several albums of psychedelic sunshine pop. Dryden played his first gig with the group at a Republican Party event on June the sixth, 1966. But by the time Dryden had joined, other problems had become apparent. The group were already feeling like it had been a big mistake to accede to Katz's demands to sign a formal contract with him, and Balin in particular was getting annoyed that he wouldn't let the band see their finances. All the money was getting paid to Katz, who then doled out money to the band when they asked for it, and they had no idea if he was actually paying them what they were owed or not. The group's first album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, finally came out in September, and it was a comparative flop. It sold well in San Francisco itself, selling around ten thousand copies in the area, but sold basically nothing anywhere else in the country -- the group's local reputation hadn't extended outside their own immediate scene. It didn't help that the album was pulled and reissued, as RCA censored the initial version of the album because of objections to the lyrics. The song "Runnin' Round This World" was pulled off the album altogether for containing the word "trips", while in "Let Me In" they had to rerecord two lines -- “I gotta get in, you know where" was altered to "You shut the door now it ain't fair" and "Don't tell me you want money" became "Don't tell me it's so funny". Similarly in "Run Around" the phrase "as you lay under me" became "as you stay here by me". Things were also becoming difficult for Anderson. She had had a baby in May and was not only unhappy with having to tour while she had a small child, she was also the band member who was most vocally opposed to Katz. Added to that, her husband did not get on well at all with the group, and she felt trapped between her marriage and her bandmates. Reports differ as to whether she quit the band or was fired, but after a disastrous appearance at the Monterey Jazz Festival, one way or another she was out of the band. Her replacement was already waiting in the wings. Grace Slick, the lead singer of the Great Society, had been inspired by going to one of the early Jefferson Airplane gigs. She later said "I went to see Jefferson Airplane at the Matrix, and they were making more money in a day than I made in a week. They only worked for two or three hours a night, and they got to hang out. I thought 'This looks a lot better than what I'm doing.' I knew I could more or less carry a tune, and I figured if they could do it I could." She was married at the time to a film student named Jerry Slick, and indeed she had done the music for his final project at film school, a film called "Everybody Hits Their Brother Once", which sadly I can't find online. She was also having an affair with Jerry's brother Darby, though as the Slicks were in an open marriage this wasn't particularly untoward. The three of them, with a couple of other musicians, had formed The Great Society, named as a joke about President Johnson's programme of the same name. The Great Society was the name Johnson had given to his whole programme of domestic reforms, including civil rights for Black people, the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts, and more. While those projects were broadly popular among the younger generation, Johnson's escalation of the war in Vietnam had made him so personally unpopular that even his progressive domestic programme was regarded with suspicion and contempt. The Great Society had set themselves up as local rivals to Jefferson Airplane -- where Jefferson Airplane had buttons saying "Jefferson Airplane Loves You!" the Great Society put out buttons saying "The Great Society Really Doesn't Like You Much At All". They signed to Autumn Records, and recorded a song that Darby Slick had written, titled "Someone to Love" -- though the song would later be retitled "Somebody to Love": [Excerpt: The Great Society, "Someone to Love"] That track was produced by Sly Stone, who at the time was working as a producer for Autumn Records. The Great Society, though, didn't like working with Stone, because he insisted on them doing forty-five takes to try to sound professional, as none of them were particularly competent musicians. Grace Slick later said "Sly could play any instrument known to man. He could have just made the record himself, except for the singers. It was kind of degrading in a way" -- and on another occasion she said that he *did* end up playing all the instruments on the finished record. "Someone to Love" was put out as a promo record, but never released to the general public, and nor were any of the Great Society's other recordings for Autumn Records released. Their contract expired and they were let go, at which point they were about to sign to Mercury Records, but then Darby Slick and another member decided to go off to India for a while. Grace's marriage to Jerry was falling apart, though they would stay legally married for several years, and the Great Society looked like it was at an end, so when Grace got the offer to join Jefferson Airplane to replace Signe Anderson, she jumped at the chance. At first, she was purely a harmony singer -- she didn't take over any of the lead vocal parts that Anderson had previously sung, as she had a very different vocal style, and instead she just sang the harmony parts that Anderson had sung on songs with other lead vocalists. But two months after the album they were back in the studio again, recording their second album, and Slick sang lead on several songs there. As well as the new lineup, there was another important change in the studio. They were still working with Dave Hassinger, but they had a new producer, Rick Jarrard. Jarrard was at one point a member of the folk group The Wellingtons, who did the theme tune for "Gilligan's Island", though I can't find anything to say whether or not he was in the group when they recorded that track: [Excerpt: The Wellingtons, "The Ballad of Gilligan's Island"] Jarrard had also been in the similar folk group The Greenwood County Singers, where as we heard in the episode on "Heroes and Villains" he replaced Van Dyke Parks. He'd also released a few singles under his own name, including a version of Parks' "High Coin": [Excerpt: Rick Jarrard, "High Coin"] While Jarrard had similar musical roots to those of Jefferson Airplane's members, and would go on to produce records by people like Harry Nilsson and The Family Tree, he wasn't any more liked by the band than their previous producer had been. So much so, that a few of the band members have claimed that while Jarrard is the credited producer, much of the work that one would normally expect to be done by a producer was actually done by their friend Jerry Garcia, who according to the band members gave them a lot of arranging and structural advice, and was present in the studio and played guitar on several tracks. Jarrard, on the other hand, said categorically "I never met Jerry Garcia. I produced that album from start to finish, never heard from Jerry Garcia, never talked to Jerry Garcia. He was not involved creatively on that album at all." According to the band, though, it was Garcia who had the idea of almost doubling the speed of the retitled "Somebody to Love", turning it into an uptempo rocker: [Excerpt: Jefferson Airplane, "Somebody to Love"] And one thing everyone is agreed on is that it was Garcia who came up with the album title, when after listening to some of the recordings he said "That's as surrealistic as a pillow!" It was while they were working on the album that was eventually titled Surrealistic Pillow that they finally broke with Katz as their manager, bringing Bill Thompson in as a temporary replacement. Or at least, it was then that they tried to break with Katz. Katz sued the group over their contract, and won. Then they appealed, and they won. Then Katz appealed the appeal, and the Superior Court insisted that if he wanted to appeal the ruling, he had to put up a bond for the fifty thousand dollars the group said he owed them. He didn't, so in 1970, four years after they sacked him as their manager, the appeal was dismissed. Katz appealed the dismissal, and won that appeal, and the case dragged on for another three years, at which point Katz dragged RCA Records into the lawsuit. As a result of being dragged into the mess, RCA decided to stop paying the group their songwriting royalties from record sales directly, and instead put the money into an escrow account. The claims and counterclaims and appeals *finally* ended in 1987, twenty years after the lawsuits had started and fourteen years after the band had stopped receiving their songwriting royalties. In the end, the group won on almost every point, and finally received one point three million dollars in back royalties and seven hundred thousand dollars in interest that had accrued, while Katz got a small token payment. Early in 1967, when the sessions for Surrealistic Pillow had finished, but before the album was released, Newsweek did a big story on the San Francisco scene, which drew national attention to the bands there, and the first big event of what would come to be called the hippie scene, the Human Be-In, happened in Golden Gate Park in January. As the group's audience was expanding rapidly, they asked Bill Graham to be their manager, as he was the most business-minded of the people around the group. The first single from the album, "My Best Friend", a song written by Skip Spence before he quit the band, came out in January 1967 and had no more success than their earlier recordings had, and didn't make the Hot 100. The album came out in February, and was still no higher than number 137 on the charts in March, when the second single, "Somebody to Love", was released: [Excerpt: Jefferson Airplane, "Somebody to Love"] That entered the charts at the start of April, and by June it had made number five. The single's success also pushed its parent album up to number three by August, just behind the Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and the Monkees' Headquarters. The success of the single also led to the group being asked to do commercials for Levis jeans: [Excerpt: Jefferson Airplane, "Levis commercial"] That once again got them accused of selling out. Abbie Hoffman, the leader of the Yippies, wrote to the Village Voice about the commercials, saying "It summarized for me all the doubts I have about the hippie philosophy. I realise they are just doing their 'thing', but while the Jefferson Airplane grooves with its thing, over 100 workers in the Levi Strauss plant on the Tennessee-Georgia border are doing their thing, which consists of being on strike to protest deplorable working conditions." The third single from the album, "White Rabbit", came out on the twenty-fourth of June, the day before the Beatles recorded "All You Need is Love", nine days after the release of "See Emily Play", and a week after the group played the Monterey Pop Festival, to give you some idea of how compressed a time period we've been in recently. We talked in the last episode about how there's a big difference between American and British psychedelia at this point in time, because the political nature of the American counterculture was determined by the fact that so many people were being sent off to die in Vietnam. Of all the San Francisco bands, though, Jefferson Airplane were by far the least political -- they were into the culture part of the counterculture, but would often and repeatedly disavow any deeper political meaning in their songs. In early 1968, for example, in a press conference, they said “Don't ask us anything about politics. We don't know anything about it. And what we did know, we just forgot.” So it's perhaps not surprising that of all the American groups, they were the one that was most similar to the British psychedelic groups in their influences, and in particular their frequent references to children's fantasy literature. "White Rabbit" was a perfect example of this. It had started out as "White Rabbit Blues", a song that Slick had written influenced by Alice in Wonderland, and originally performed by the Great Society: [Excerpt: The Great Society, "White Rabbit"] Slick explained the lyrics, and their association between childhood fantasy stories and drugs, later by saying "It's an interesting song but it didn't do what I wanted it to. What I was trying to say was that between the ages of zero and five the information and the input you get is almost indelible. In other words, once a Catholic, always a Catholic. And the parents read us these books, like Alice in Wonderland where she gets high, tall, and she takes mushrooms, a hookah, pills, alcohol. And then there's The Wizard of Oz, where they fall into a field of poppies and when they wake up they see Oz. And then there's Peter Pan, where if you sprinkle white dust on you, you could fly. And then you wonder why we do it? Well, what did you read to me?" While the lyrical inspiration for the track was from Alice in Wonderland, the musical inspiration is less obvious. Slick has on multiple occasions said that the idea for the music came from listening to Miles Davis' album "Sketches of Spain", and in particular to Davis' version of -- and I apologise for almost certainly mangling the Spanish pronunciation badly here -- "Concierto de Aranjuez", though I see little musical resemblance to it myself. [Excerpt: Miles Davis, "Concierto de Aranjuez"] She has also, though, talked about how the song was influenced by Ravel's "Bolero", and in particular the way the piece keeps building in intensity, starting softly and slowly building up, rather than having the dynamic peaks and troughs of most music. And that is definitely a connection I can hear in the music: [Excerpt: Ravel, "Bolero"] Jefferson Airplane's version of "White Rabbit", like their version of "Somebody to Love", was far more professional, far -- and apologies for the pun -- slicker than The Great Society's version. It's also much shorter. The version by The Great Society has a four and a half minute instrumental intro before Slick's vocal enters. By contrast, the version on Surrealistic Pillow comes in at under two and a half minutes in total, and is a tight pop song: [Excerpt: Jefferson Airplane, "White Rabbit"] Jack Casady has more recently said that the group originally recorded the song more or less as a lark, because they assumed that all the drug references would mean that RCA would make them remove the song from the album -- after all, they'd cut a song from the earlier album because it had a reference to a trip, so how could they possibly allow a song like "White Rabbit" with its lyrics about pills and mushrooms? But it was left on the album, and ended up making the top ten on the pop charts, peaking at number eight: [Excerpt: Jefferson Airplane, "White Rabbit"] In an interview last year, Slick said she still largely lives off the royalties from writing that one song. It would be the last hit single Jefferson Airplane would ever have. Marty Balin later said "Fame changes your life. It's a bit like prison. It ruined the band. Everybody became rich and selfish and self-centred and couldn't care about the band. That was pretty much the end of it all. After that it was just working and living the high life and watching the band destroy itself, living on its laurels." They started work on their third album, After Bathing at Baxter's, in May 1967, while "Somebody to Love" was still climbing the charts. This time, the album was produced by Al Schmitt. Unlike the two previous producers, Schmitt was a fan of the band, and decided the best thing to do was to just let them do their own thing without interfering. The album took months to record, rather than the weeks that Surrealistic Pillow had taken, and cost almost ten times as much money to record. In part the time it took was because of the promotional work the band had to do. Bill Graham was sending them all over the country to perform, which they didn't appreciate. The group complained to Graham in business meetings, saying they wanted to only play in big cities where there were lots of hippies. Graham pointed out in turn that if they wanted to keep having any kind of success, they needed to play places other than San Francisco, LA, New York, and Chicago, because in fact most of the population of the US didn't live in those four cities. They grudgingly took his point. But there were other arguments all the time as well. They argued about whether Graham should be taking his cut from the net or the gross. They argued about Graham trying to push for the next single to be another Grace Slick lead vocal -- they felt like he was trying to make them into just Grace Slick's backing band, while he thought it made sense to follow up two big hits with more singles with the same vocalist. There was also a lawsuit from Balin's former partners in the Matrix, who remembered that bit in the contract about having a share in the group's income and sued for six hundred thousand dollars -- that was settled out of court three years later. And there were interpersonal squabbles too. Some of these were about the music -- Dryden didn't like the fact that Kaukonen's guitar solos were getting longer and longer, and Balin only contributed one song to the new album because all the other band members made fun of him for writing short, poppy, love songs rather than extended psychedelic jams -- but also the group had become basically two rival factions. On one side were Kaukonen and Casady, the old friends and virtuoso instrumentalists, who wanted to extend the instrumental sections of the songs more to show off their playing. On the other side were Grace Slick and Spencer Dryden, the two oldest members of the group by age, but the most recent people to join. They were also unusual in the San Francisco scene for having alcohol as their drug of choice -- drinking was thought of by most of the hippies as being a bit classless, but they were both alcoholics. They were also sleeping together, and generally on the side of shorter, less exploratory, songs. Kantner, who was attracted to Slick, usually ended up siding with her and Dryden, and this left Balin the odd man out in the middle. He later said "I got disgusted with all the ego trips, and the band was so stoned that I couldn't even talk to them. Everybody was in their little shell". While they were still working on the album, they released the first single from it, Kantner's "The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil". The "Pooneil" in the song was a figure that combined two of Kantner's influences: the Greenwich Village singer-songwriter Fred Neil, the writer of "Everybody's Talkin'" and "Dolphins"; and Winnie the Pooh. The song contained several lines taken from A.A. Milne's children's stories: [Excerpt: Jefferson Airplane, "The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil"] That only made number forty-two on the charts. It was the last Jefferson Airplane single to make the top fifty. At a gig in Bakersfield they got arrested for inciting a riot, because they encouraged the crowd to dance, even though local by-laws said that nobody under sixteen was allowed to dance, and then they nearly got arrested again after Kantner's behaviour on the private plane they'd chartered to get them back to San Francisco that night. Kantner had been chain-smoking, and this annoyed the pilot, who asked Kantner to put his cigarette out, so Kantner opened the door of the plane mid-flight and threw the lit cigarette out. They'd chartered that plane because they wanted to make sure they got to see a new group, Cream, who were playing the Fillmore: [Excerpt: Cream, "Strange Brew"] After seeing that, the divisions in the band were even wider -- Kaukonen and Casady now *knew* that what the band needed was to do long, extended, instrumental jams. Cream were the future, two-minute pop songs were the past. Though they weren't completely averse to two-minute pop songs. The group were recording at RCA studios at the same time as the Monkees, and members of the two groups would often jam together. The idea of selling out might have been anathema to their *audience*, but the band members themselves didn't care about things like that. Indeed, at one point the group returned from a gig to the mansion they were renting and found squatters had moved in and were using their private pool -- so they shot at the water. The squatters quickly moved on. As Dryden put it "We all -- Paul, Jorma, Grace, and myself -- had guns. We weren't hippies. Hippies were the people that lived on the streets down in Haight-Ashbury. We were basically musicians and art school kids. We were into guns and machinery" After Bathing at Baxter's only went to number seventeen on the charts, not a bad position but a flop compared to their previous album, and Bill Graham in particular took this as more proof that he had been right when for the last few months he'd been attacking the group as self-indulgent. Eventually, Slick and Dryden decided that either Bill Graham was going as their manager, or they were going. Slick even went so far as to try to negotiate a solo deal with Elektra Records -- as the voice on the hits, everyone was telling her she was the only one who mattered anyway. David Anderle, who was working for the label, agreed a deal with her, but Jac Holzman refused to authorise the deal, saying "Judy Collins doesn't get that much money, why should Grace Slick?" The group did fire Graham, and went one further and tried to become his competitors. They teamed up with the Grateful Dead to open a new venue, the Carousel Ballroom, to compete with the Fillmore, but after a few months they realised they were no good at running a venue and sold it to Graham. Graham, who was apparently unhappy with the fact that the people living around the Fillmore were largely Black given that the bands he booked appealed to mostly white audiences, closed the original Fillmore, renamed the Carousel the Fillmore West, and opened up a second venue in New York, the Fillmore East. The divisions in the band were getting worse -- Kaukonen and Casady were taking more and more speed, which was making them play longer and faster instrumental solos whether or not the rest of the band wanted them to, and Dryden, whose hands often bled from trying to play along with them, definitely did not want them to. But the group soldiered on and recorded their fourth album, Crown of Creation. This album contained several songs that were influenced by science fiction novels. The most famous of these was inspired by the right-libertarian author Robert Heinlein, who was hugely influential on the counterculture. Jefferson Airplane's friends the Monkees had already recorded a song based on Heinlein's The Door Into Summer, an unintentionally disturbing novel about a thirty-year-old man who falls in love with a twelve-year-old girl, and who uses a combination of time travel and cryogenic freezing to make their ages closer together so he can marry her: [Excerpt: The Monkees, "The Door Into Summer"] Now Jefferson Airplane were recording a song based on Heinlein's most famous novel, Stranger in a Strange Land. Stranger in a Strange Land has dated badly, thanks to its casual homophobia and rape-apologia, but at the time it was hugely popular in hippie circles for its advocacy of free love and group marriages -- so popular that a religion, the Church of All Worlds, based itself on the book. David Crosby had taken inspiration from it and written "Triad", a song asking two women if they'll enter into a polygamous relationship with him, and recorded it with the Byrds: [Excerpt: The Byrds, "Triad"] But the other members of the Byrds disliked the song, and it was left unreleased for decades. As Crosby was friendly with Jefferson Airplane, and as members of the band were themselves advocates of open relationships, they recorded their own version with Slick singing lead: [Excerpt: Jefferson Airplane, "Triad"] The other song on the album influenced by science fiction was the title track, Paul Kantner's "Crown of Creation". This song was inspired by The Chrysalids, a novel by the British writer John Wyndham. The Chrysalids is one of Wyndham's most influential novels, a post-apocalyptic story about young children who are born with mutant superpowers and have to hide them from their parents as they will be killed if they're discovered. The novel is often thought to have inspired Marvel Comics' X-Men, and while there's an unpleasant eugenic taste to its ending, with the idea that two species can't survive in the same ecological niche and the younger, "superior", species must outcompete the old, that idea also had a lot of influence in the counterculture, as well as being a popular one in science fiction. Kantner's song took whole lines from The Chrysalids, much as he had earlier done with A.A. Milne: [Excerpt: Jefferson Airplane, "Crown of Creation"] The Crown of Creation album was in some ways a return to the more focused songwriting of Surrealistic Pillow, although the sessions weren't without their experiments. Slick and Dryden collaborated with Frank Zappa and members of the Mothers of Invention on an avant-garde track called "Would You Like a Snack?" (not the same song as the later Zappa song of the same name) which was intended for the album, though went unreleased until a CD box set decades later: [Excerpt: Grace Slick and Frank Zappa, "Would You Like a Snack?"] But the finished album was generally considered less self-indulgent than After Bathing at Baxter's, and did better on the charts as a result. It reached number six, becoming their second and last top ten album, helped by the group's appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in September 1968, a month after it came out. That appearance was actually organised by Colonel Tom Parker, who suggested them to Sullivan as a favour to RCA Records. But another TV appearance at the time was less successful. They appeared on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, one of the most popular TV shows among the young, hip, audience that the group needed to appeal to, but Slick appeared in blackface. She's later said that there was no political intent behind this, and that she was just trying the different makeup she found in the dressing room as a purely aesthetic thing, but that doesn't really explain the Black power salute she gives at one point. Slick was increasingly obnoxious on stage, as her drinking was getting worse and her relationship with Dryden was starting to break down. Just before the Smothers Brothers appearance she was accused at a benefit for the Whitney Museum of having called the audience "filthy Jews", though she has always said that what she actually said was "filthy jewels", and she was talking about the ostentatious jewellery some of the audience were wearing. The group struggled through a performance at Altamont -- an event we will talk about in a future episode, so I won't go into it here, except to say that it was a horrifying experience for everyone involved -- and performed at Woodstock, before releasing their fifth studio album, Volunteers, in 1969: [Excerpt: Jefferson Airplane, "Volunteers"] That album made the top twenty, but was the last album by the classic lineup of the band. By this point Spencer Dryden and Grace Slick had broken up, with Slick starting to date Kantner, and Dryden was also disappointed at the group's musical direction, and left. Balin also left, feeling sidelined in the group. They released several more albums with varying lineups, including at various points their old friend David Frieberg of Quicksilver Messenger Service, the violinist Papa John Creach, and the former drummer of the Turtles, Johnny Barbata. But as of 1970 the group's members had already started working on two side projects -- an acoustic band called Hot Tuna, led by Kaukonen and Casady, which sometimes also featured Balin, and a project called Paul Kantner's Jefferson Starship, which also featured Slick and had recorded an album, Blows Against the Empire, the second side of which was based on the Robert Heinlein novel Back to Methuselah, and which became one of the first albums ever nominated for science fiction's Hugo Awards: [Excerpt: Jefferson Starship, "Have You Seen The Stars Tonite"] That album featured contributions from David Crosby and members of the Grateful Dead, as well as Casady on two tracks, but  in 1974 when Kaukonen and Casady quit Jefferson Airplane to make Hot Tuna their full-time band, Kantner, Slick, and Frieberg turned Jefferson Starship into a full band. Over the next decade, Jefferson Starship had a lot of moderate-sized hits, with a varying lineup that at one time or another saw several members, including Slick, go and return, and saw Marty Balin back with them for a while. In 1984, Kantner left the group, and sued them to stop them using the Jefferson Starship name. A settlement was reached in which none of Kantner, Slick, Kaukonen, or Casady could use the words "Jefferson" or "Airplane" in their band-names without the permission of all the others, and the remaining members of Jefferson Starship renamed their band just Starship -- and had three number one singles in the late eighties with Slick on lead, becoming far more commercially successful than their precursor bands had ever been: [Excerpt: Starship, "We Built This City on Rock & Roll"] Slick left Starship in 1989, and there was a brief Jefferson Airplane reunion tour, with all the classic members but Dryden, but then Slick decided that she was getting too old to perform rock and roll music, and decided to retire from music and become a painter, something she's stuck to for more than thirty years. Kantner and Balin formed a new Jefferson Starship, called Jefferson Starship: The Next Generation, but Kantner died in January 2016, coincidentally on the same day as Signe Anderson, who had occasionally guested with her old bandmates in the new version of the band. Balin, who had quit the reunited Jefferson Starship due to health reasons, died two years later. Dryden had died in 2005. Currently, there are three bands touring that descend directly from Jefferson Airplane. Hot Tuna still continue to perform, there's a version of Starship that tours featuring one original member, Mickey Thomas, and the reunited Jefferson Starship still tour, led by David Frieberg. Grace Slick has given the latter group her blessing, and even co-wrote one song on their most recent album, released in 2020, though she still doesn't perform any more. Jefferson Airplane's period in the commercial spotlight was brief -- they had charting singles for only a matter of months, and while they had top twenty albums for a few years after their peak, they really only mattered to the wider world during that brief period of the Summer of Love. But precisely because their period of success was so short, their music is indelibly associated with that time. To this day there's nothing as evocative of summer 1967 as "White Rabbit", even for those of us who weren't born then. And while Grace Slick had her problems, as I've made very clear in this episode, she inspired a whole generation of women who went on to be singers themselves, as one of the first prominent women to sing lead with an electric rock band. And when she got tired of doing that, she stopped, and got on with her other artistic pursuits, without feeling the need to go back and revisit the past for ever diminishing returns. One might only wish that some of her male peers had followed her example.