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bear by san

December 2021



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phil ochs troubador

nobody loves me here. nobody wants me here.

Friday 5:00 PM. Panel: "The Singularity Needs Women!"

Elizabeth Bear, Kathryn Cramer, Louise Marley, Victoria McManus (L), James Morrow

At Readercon 14 (2002), GoH Octavia Butler said "As the only woman up here, this may be a strange question, but I can't help wondering how much of this speculation about a post-human future has to do with men's desire to control reproduction." We sadly can't ask Octavia exactly what she meant, but we want to pursue this striking statement. Does the post-humanist ideal of freedom from bodily constraints clash fundamentally with the ideal of freedom for the more than half of the population with female bodies? Or might the Singularity actually be a means to the freedoms sought by feminism? Has anyone written fiction about how these ideals interact, and if not, is this an opportunity?

Friday 6:30 PM. Reading (30 min.)

Elizabeth Bear reads from novel-in-progress All the Windwracked Stars, from Whiskey and Water (published days ago by Roc), and/or something else (audience choice).

Saturday 1:00 PM. Discussion (60 min.): What's On Your Bookshelf?: Library Thing.

abby, avalong (L), AsYouKnow_Bob, Elizabeth Bear, Laura Quilter

Join the LibraryThingers who lurk among you to celebrate (or learn about) LibraryThing, a fast-growing online service to help you catalog your personal library online. It's also an amazing network connecting people with similar libraries all over the world. We'll share the thrills, the chills and agonies. With over 200,000 members and 13 million books catalogued, LibraryThing "is quietly achieving cult status among bookworms around the world, creating a network with one of the highest IQs in cyberspace."-Business 2.0 magazine.

Saturday 3:00 PM. Kaffeeklatsch

Sunday 12:00 Noon. Autographing

Sunday 2:00 PM. Panel: Intimidated By Story Potential.

Elizabeth Bear, Ron Drummond, Scott Edelman, Laurie J. Marks (L), Paul Witcover

There is nothing more discouraging or terrifying than the prospect of actually writing a story you've conceived, or finishing one you've started, and having it be (inevitably?) a pale shadow of that shining slab of brilliance you knew it could be, if you only had the chops to do it justice. And yet without that dream of the perfect tale, what would be our motivation to write better? The infinite potential of the great story idea can lead to writer's block or to the disappointment of falling short. How do you learn to profit from dreams of greatness and avoid these pitfalls?

I seem to be on a slight roll of seeing unlikely acts in beautiful old theatres. This winter in was Iggy & the Stooges at the Orpheum (stagediving amidst Victorian decay!); last night it was the inimintable, inevitable, understated, incomprehensible Richard Thompson (and the eponymous Band) at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton.

The opening act was Anais Mitchell, "Down from the Free Republic of Vermont," who was nervous and charming and has a lovely voice.

And then the Band took the stage, RT with his trademark black beret and blue-green Stratocaster.

Personnel and generalities:

Pete Zorn on sax (about four of them--Thompson referred to one as a "fantastic piece of plumbing"), rhythm guitar and occasionally mandolin,

Michael Jerome on drums, and boy he was smooth--at one point he broke a stick, tossed the broken stick over his shoulder, grabbed another one on the same downswing, and was back in the game. (During the encore, Pete laid waste to a saxaphone reed and then his A-string when he switched off instruments.)

I did not catch the bassist's name. (See above, incomprehensible.) ETA. Got him. Taras Prodaniuk. Wonder if he's a relative. *g*

Mmm. good. I'm not sure I've ever seen a bass saxaphone used in a public place before: it's an area effect weapon.

As you might guess from the property damage, they were having fun up there, standing around grinning at each other and playing music loud and hard. (As I said to ladegard leaving the concert, "Shit, can you believe we're this old and they still pay us to do this? I would have thought for sure I would have had to get a real job by now--")

There was great synergy among the rhythm section, too; they were pretty much back there having their own concert all by themselves.


They started off with four songs from the new album, Sweet Warrior, to which I was coming virgin.

Needle & Thread
Bad Monkey
Take Care the Road You Choose
Dad's Gonna Kill Me (warning on youtube link: slideshow with song contains images that some may find triggery) (an incredible high-energy version that was the first song to put the audience on its feet at the end. "That one's going in the back catalogue," sez Richard, with a sly sly grin. I suspect he sold a lot of records last night.) (Acoustic version at Amazon.)

And who’s that stranger walking in my dreams
And whose that stranger cast a shadow ‘cross my heart
And who’s that stranger, I dare speak his name
Must be old Death a-walking
Must be old Death a-walking

Then they charged into the old stuff. ("So you can't catch the early bus home after hearing what you came for.")

I Still Dream
The Wrong Heartbeat
Al Bowlly's in Heaven and I'm in Limbo Now

The rest of the band left the stage ("I think it's an industrial dispute, but I'll try to amuse you for a few minutes") and RT, who had swapped out for an acoustic, launched into an intricate version of '52 Black Vincent. To expected pandemonium, but we quieted down and were properly hypnotized within seconds.

She Sang Angels to Rest

After which the band snuck back out and picked up like they'd never left

One Door Opens
I'll Never Give It Up 
Hard on Me (which turned into a sort of transcendent jam)
Mingulay Boat Song
A Man in Need
Too Late to Come Fishing
I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
Wall of Death
Read About Love
(Totally fun, bouncy infectious version that might have been the world's best garage band having the time of their lives on a Sunday afternoon. I think they forgot we were there.)

And then two encores.

First encore:

Sunset Song (new)
Mr. Stupid (new)

Second encore:

Gypsy Love Songs (a personal favorite of mine.)
Tear-Stained Letter, which involved one heck of a jam session, and much of the abovementioned property damage.

Yeah, that was a'ite.

Tour Dates Here.

And now, off to shower and then the farmer's market, and then to work!


It was a flying version, too. WOOO! ZOOM!

Check out the youtube link. Watch out for the slideshow, though. It may be triggery.
I love your blog. "What it's like to be A Proper Writer" and new music to check out, too.

Bliss :)
Richard Thompson is a *fantastic* guitarist.

And a sly, sardonic, opinionated motherfucker.


We like that in a musician.
Heh. Agreed. Come to think of it, we like that in just about anyone...
Pretty much the same show he did a week ago in DC at the 9:30 Club (for links to the live webcast and a slideshow of pictures check out NPR's podcast). The bass player, by the way, was a mid-tour replacement for Teddy Thompson (his first performance was the set in DC -- while he clearly was familiar with the music, he was madly reading charts and working hard to keep up the whole show).
Ahh. Yeah, he's quite good. And he's still checking his cheat sheets. *g*

But the drummer is giving him all the help he can. They are eyelock city back there.
They are eyelock city back there.

Octavia Butler said that, and no one followed up on it there? Or is it only that there's no record of what the follow-up was?


When I was in college, I wanted to interview Octavia Butler for a project, and was warned off doing so by my advisor. Which was possibly good advice, but I still regret never meeting the woman. Her books were so very different from anything else I read.
I was very into Richard Thompson and then went off him a few of years ago.

However, I am slowly getting back into him again and Read about Love and 52 Vincent are cracking songs. As is Wall of Death. And I do have a fondness for Don't sit on my Jimmy Shands.

I think he is one of those performers who needs to be seen live to be appreciated and in the right venue. Birmingham Symphony Hall was sooo not the right venue and started the falling out. But I think me and Richard might be making it up now.

Sounds like you had a great time and Pete Zorn is a complete star.
I like his solo stuff best, personally. But ahh. *g*

Sorry about your falling out... :-(
Sorry about your falling out... :-(

I like to think it was more Richard than me, but if I am honest, we both wanted different things at that time. He wanted to write songs I didn't like and I wanted to dance in concrete basements until 6.00 am.

However, we are coming to a new understanding of each other and despite the hiatus, I always kept Crazy Man Michael as one of my in-the-shower numbers. It echoes nicely.

And, I've only read Kindred but I'm intrigued by the Octavia Butler quote.
My futon es su futon. ;-)
Oh, here.


Somebody linked that above. Maybe that will help.

The link at the top is the whole concert.

ReaderCon & RT

Hi - I look forward to meeting you at ReaderCon. (How did you get your schedule already?)

And we're big RT fans, too - he'll be in my town on Sunday - but a) we've seen him half-a-dozen times and b) it's not a good week for us to to blow (60 bucks + babysitting) on a concert - - we're sort of saving our money for the Con.

See you next week!

- Bob

Re: ReaderCon & RT

see you there.
BITCHING! Give 'em hell.