If God had intended for man to use the metric system, Jesus would have only had ten disciples!

Ruby N. Smith

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  1. Merle Haggard
    Event on 2014-06-21 19:00:00

    The word legend usually makes an appearance at some point when discussing Merle Haggard. Its an acknowledgment of his artistry and his standing as the poet of the common man. Its a tribute to his incredible commercial success and to the lasting mark he has made, not just on country music, but on American music as a whole. Its apt in every way but one. The term imposes an aura of loftiness thats totally at odds with the grit and heart of Haggards songs. Id be more comfortable with something like professor, he once told a reporter, and the description suits him. Studying, analyzing and observing the details of life around him, Haggard relays what he sees, hears and feels through his songs. The lyrics are deceptively simple, the music exceptionally listenable. Others who have lived through those same situations recognize the truth in the stories he tells. But Haggards real gift is that anyone who hears his songs recognizes the truth in them. When a Merle Haggard song plays, it can make an innocent-as-apple-pie grandma understand the stark loneliness and self-loathing of a prisoner on death row; a rich kid who never wanted for any material possession get a feel for the pain of wondering where the next meal will come from; a tee-totaling pillar of the community sympathize with the poor heartbroken guy downing shots at the local bar. As a result, Haggard found his songs at the top of the charts on a regular basis. Immediately embraced by country fans, he also earned the respect of his peers. In addition to the 40 #1 hits included here, Haggard charted scores of Top Ten songs. He won just about every music award imaginable, both as a performer and as a songwriter, and in 1994 was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. His body of work easily places him beside Hank Williams as one of the most influential artists in country music. Thats quite an accomplishment for the boy who was once officially branded incorrigible. Merle Ronald Haggard was born in 1937, outside Bakersfield, California. His parents, Jim and Flossie, moved the family there after their farm in Oklahoma burned down, with Jim finding work as a carpenter for the Santa Fe Railroad. The family lived in an old boxcar that they converted into a home. Though struggling to make a meager living, they had a sturdy shelter and food was always on the table. Things changed dramatically after Jim died of a stroke when Merle was nine years old. It was a devastating event for the young boy, who was very close to his father. His mother went to work as a bookkeeper to make ends meet, often leaving Merle in the care of a great aunt and uncle. With his world turned upside down, Haggard turned rebellious. He hopped a freight train when he was just ten years old, making it to Fresno before being picked up by the authorities. It was the first step toward a youth of truancy from school and petty crime. For the next few years, Haggard would find himself in reform schools, sometimes making an escape, only to get thrown back in again. Merle HaggardThe angel on his shoulder during these troubled times was Haggards love and talent for music. Though he gave it up before Merle was born, his father used to play fiddle and guitar in Oklahoma for schoolhouse dances and social gatherings. Not having an automobile or formal instrument cases, the senior Haggard would ride his horse to these gatherings, carrying his fiddle on one side of the horse and the guitar on the other, in large pillowcases. Still some of the musical gift had been passed on to Merle, and he easily took to playing guitar. Starting out as a fan of Bob Wills, Haggard eventually found his musical idol in Lefty Frizzell, and worked up a pretty impressive copy of the originals singing style. For three or four years I didnt sing anything but Lefty Frizzell songs, Merle told Music City News. And then, because Lefty was a fan of Jimmie Rodgers, I learned to imitate him too. Haggard got the chance to see Lefty perform in person when he was 14. He was dressed in white heroes usually are, Merle said. The hero wasnt a savior though, at least not in an immediate sense. Haggard was already starting to make small amounts of money here and there by playing music, but it wasnt enough to keep him out of trouble. He left home at 15 with a friend, and the two were picked up as suspects in a robbery. Though innocent, he ended up in jail for two-and-a-half weeks. It was the first time he tasted prison life, but it wasnt the last. In and out of jail over the years for small crimes, he found himself doing serious time in San Quentin at the age of 20. Going to prison has one of a few effects, he told Salon in 2004. It can make you worse, or it can make you understand and appreciate freedom. I learned to appreciate freedom when I didnt have any. His musical ability offered hope for a future. A fellow inmate at San Quentin, nicknamed Rabbit, saw that clearly. When Rabbit came up with an escape plan, he told Haggard that he could come along, but probably shouldnt, since he had a good shot of making a career from his singing. As Rabbit had predicted, Haggards music was his way out of a dead-end life of small crimes and intermittent jail time. Released from San Quentin in 1960, he joined the then thriving Bakersfield country scene, which eschewed the smooth country-politan sound coming out of Nashville for a harder-hitting honky-tonk groove. After making an impression working in local clubs, Haggard joined Las Vegas star Wynn Stewarts band in 1962 as a bassist. When he got a chance to record his own single, Haggard chose the Stewart composition, Sing A Sad Song. It came out on the small Tally Records label in 1964, and made it into the Top Twenty. His follow up singles didnt do quite as well, until (My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers went into the Top Ten and brought him to the attention of Capitol Records. He proved himself a hit maker with three Top Ten singles in 1967, including his first #1, The Fugitive. Merle HaggardSongwriters Liz and Casey Anderson were inspired by a popular TV series, The Fugitive. But Haggard knew firsthand what it was like to be on the run. In some ways, he may have felt that he was in that same situation again. Here hed successfully turned his life around, and he realized that his criminal past might now come back to slap him down. He made those feelings clear less than a year later in his next #1. The self-penned Branded Man includes the lines, When they let me out of prison, I held my head up high/Determined I would rise above the shame/But no matter where Im living, the black mark follows me/Im branded with a number on my name. Haggard said Johnny Cash encouraged him to address his problems directly in verse. I was bull-headed about my career. I didnt want to talk about being in prison, Haggard recalls, but Cash said I should talk about it. That way the tabloids wouldnt be able to. I said I didnt want to do that and he said, Its just owning up to it. When Cash introduced him on his variety show, he said, Heres a man who writes about his own life and has had a life to write about. From that point on, Haggard stopped hiding the story of his past incarcerations, and his songs opened a window on the dark life of prisoners and ex-cons. Sing Me Back Home, another #1 in 1967, was written for his old friend Rabbit, who was executed after his escape plan led to the death of a prison guard. Mama Tried, which reached the top of the chart in 1968, offered an apology of sorts to Haggards religious and hardworking mother, absolving her of blame for his bad behavior. He laid out all the other aspects of his life in subsequent songs, proving himself an adept lyricist who specialized in sorrow and pain, with the occasional dash of hope or humor. His 1969 hit Hungry Eyes, a heartrending portrait of a family in poverty, includes a line about a canvas-covered cabin, a reference to the home of the great aunt and uncle he stayed with as a boy. By 1969, Haggard had also won over a good portion of musicians and critics in the rock world. Rolling Stone itself pointed its readers toward his music. Producer Don Was, who has worked with Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and Bonnie Raitt, told Newsweek in 1996, Hell tell you hes a country singer, but to me the essence of rock and roll is a cry for freedom and rebellion. And I dont know anyone who embodies it better. Every aspect of his life is a refusal to submit. Still, Was admits that when he went to see Haggard in concert in the late 60s he tucked his hippie-length hair into a cowboy hat. It was a politically divisive time, with the Vietnam War serving as a lightning rod for opposing political views. Young people protested against the war and openly burned their draft cards, enraging those who felt it was their patriotic duty to support the war and the men who fought it. Working Man Blues, which came out in 1969, may have appealed to the rock crowd because of its hard-driving beat and its anti-elitism, but it delivered a clear message of solidarity to the blue collar country audience, with its uncomplimentary reference to welfare. That political stance was solidified with Haggards most popular song, Okie From Muskogee. He says the song started as a joke, and its tone definitely leans toward the humorous, but it also drew a clear line between us and them. Haggard spoke for the Americans who didnt smoke marijuana, didnt burn their draft cards, didnt grow their hair long and shaggy and were proud to wave Old Glory down at the courthouse. Followed by the belligerent Fightin Side of Me, which undeniably challenged the anti-war protesters, it made Haggard a political symbol. In the ensuing years, Richard Nixon invited him to sing at the White House. Ronald Reagan, then Governor of California, gave him an unconditional pardon for his past criminal offenses. George Wallace asked him for an endorsement which Haggard turned down. The furor caused by those two songs took Haggard by surprise, but he never shied away from writing songs with a strong point of view. In 1972, he released I Wonder If They Ever Think Of Me, which revisits Vietnam via the thoughts of a P.O.W., while 1973s If We Make It Through December crystallized the worries of an unemployed father at a time when much of the U.S. was feeling the effects of a particularly difficult recession. Of course, Haggard also wrote about more cheerful issues. Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man) in 1971, and Grandma Harp in 1972, both express his joy in music and how it saved him in low times. Merle HaggardAll of the particulars of his existence were source material, and Haggard is a man who has been married five times. When his second marriage, to Bonnie Owens, was unraveling, the hurt came through in songs like Things Arent Funny Anymore, with the line Seems weve lost the way to find/All the good times we found before. Owens, who had previously been married to Buck Owens, was Haggards first duet partner and a good friend as well as his wife. His romantic devotion is apparent in Always Wanting You, a sigh of unrequited love that he wrote for Dolly Parton, who he pined for when his marriage to Bonnie was over. His third wife, Leona Williams, was also a singer and songwriter. The sweetness of Its All In The Movies, mirrored Haggards renewed romantic happiness. Then, when that marriage began to crumble, fans heard the details in his recordings of You Take Me For Granted,A written by the soon-to-be-ex Mrs. Haggard and Someday When Things Are Good, written by both Merle and Leona. Chances are good that Haggard also drew from personal experience when he sang such drinking songs as Bar Room Buddies, a duet with Clint Eastwood, and I Think Ill Just Stay Here and Drink in 1980. Though the hits slowed down a bit in the following decades, Haggard never stopped making music. He started producing his own cuts for the first time, and My Favorite Memory and Big City, went to #1 in 1981. The next year he and George Jones made an album together, with their duet Yesterdays Wine, reaching the top of the chart. Teaming up with another legend-in-the-making, Willie Nelson, Haggard scored again with the 1983 hit Pancho and Lefty. In 1987, he scored his last #1, Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star. In the mid-nineties, with the release of the box set Down Every Road coming at the same time Haggard was releasing an album of new music, the media turned its attention to the long-ignored singer once more. His status as a living legend took hold about then, with good reason. It was overdue. It would be difficult to find an artist as creative, as successful, and as stubbornly true to himself as Haggard. In between his hits, he made albums that paid tribute to the musicians who influenced him, like Jimmie Rodgers, Lefty Frizzell and Bob Wills done out of respect rather than commercial calculation. He blended elements of jazz, rock, blues and folk music into his arrangements, while staying true to the traditions of country. No matter what the current fashion of the moment was in music, Haggard always went his own way. Ill tell you what the public likes more than anything, he told the Boston Globe, Its the most rare commodity in the world honesty.

    at Oregon Zoo Amphitheater
    4001 SW Canyon Road
    Portland, United States

  2. THE HOT CLUB OF BUSHWICK Gypsy Swing Jazz BrunchRandom AD Network Listing meant for Coral -

    Event on 2014-06-08 13:00:00
    Blue Note Jazz Festival Presents
    Gypsy Swing Jazz Brunch
    June 8, 2014

    Showtime @ 1pm
    Doors Open @ 12pm
    General Admission – Seated
    * First Come, First Seated
    * Full Brunch Menu Available
    * Minimum Per Person, For All Tables
    * All Ages

    This show will take place in Lucille's Bar & Grill,
    located inside B.B. King Blues Club
    Ticket price does NOT include food/drink. A special a la carte brunch menu will be available for purchase:


    homemade sauce, carrots, celery

    chili lime sauce

    cornmeal crusted & flash fried, marinara sauce

    seasonal homemade soup

    tomato, carrot, cucumber, balsamic vinaigrette

    hearts of romaine, garlic croutons, shaved parmesan


    lightly scrambled eggs, spinach, goat cheese, hollandaise, hash browns

    8 oz. New York strip steak, lightly scrambled eggs, asparagus, hollandaise sauce

    classic tomato based jambalaya

    creamy grits, sauteed spinach, Dill caper sauce

    toasted walnuts, diced celery, red grapes, julienned apple, lettuce, tomato, whole wheat bread

    mashed potatoes, asparagus, homemade chicken gravy

    cheddar crust

    aged yellow cheddar, smoked bacon
    green leaf, tomato, brioche bun, French fries



    at Lucilles Bar and Grill
    237 West 42nd Street
    , United States

  3. Halloween Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre – Act 1, Murder 2: Night of the Living Dead
    Event on 2014-10-31 18:00:00

    Smoking GunEntertainment Presents -

    Act 1, Murder 2: Night of the Living Dead

    Your agent called, you're wanted on the set of Sage Productions' latest movie: Night of the Living Dead 13.

    If the actors are short handed (or dead) you might land the lead role. Choose to be a zombie or a hero because when the guts and goo hit the fan, it will be your job to choose sides and get to the cold heart of it all.

    OPTIONAL DRESS CODE: Zombie, Super Hero Zombie Killers or other Halloween apparel. Anything goes!


    Murder Mysteries unfold over an evening uproariously funny food and drink. A deliciousbuffet dinner is served in the main gallery of space of historic Fort Calgary as a who dunnit unfolds involving actors and diners.

    • 6:00 pm – Doors Open / Cocktailsand Museum Access. We encourage guests to grab a drink and wander through our amazing space.
    • 6:30 pm Actors move table to table to deliver clues and interact with guests.
    • 7:00 pm – Dinner andShow begins.
    • 8:30-10pm – You'll be called upon to solve it, then you'll sit back, watch the summation unfold over dessert!

    COST – /person + gst

    Includes Dinner, Entertainment and Gratuity on food


    Cold Buffet Presentations

    Ancient Grain Salad / Orange / Grilled Onions

    Romaine Salad / Apple / Walnut / Tarragon

    Zucchini, Fennel, Apple Slaw / Mustard Seed Truffle Dressing

    Antipasti / Marinated Vegetables / Mushrooms

    Warm Olives / Rosemary / Garlic

    Hot Buffet Presentations

    Crispy Chicken Thighs

    Braise of Roast Peppers /Dried Tomato /Olives /Smoked Paprika

    Slow Roasted Beef Brisket

    Caramelized Onions /Veal Demi Glaze

    Gnocchi / Roasted Butternut Squash/ Oven Dried Tomato / Parmesan

    Organic Poplar Bluff Potatoes / Truffle Oil / Butter / Green Onions

    Roasted Winter Vegetables / Thyme / Dried Cranberries

    Oven Roasted Tomatoes / Olive Oil / Parmesan

    Kale / Lemon Zest / Shallots


    Flourless Chocolate Cake / Candied Pistachios

    Bergamot Crme Brule / Cinnamon Sugar

    Pavlova/Seasonal Fruit

    Individual Apple Pie /Cognac Whipped Cream

    Gluten Free Sponge Cake/ Caramelized Fruit

    at Fort Calgary
    750 9 Avenue SE
    Calgary, Canada

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