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Mercy enjoys jazz, volunteering
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Mercy enjoys jazz, volunteering

by Mercy Moosemuzzle - SGN Contributing Writer

Anne Frank's Diary
Mercy's friend Oodles Verbform alerted her to the controversy about Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl. Apparently, a parent at the Culpepper County, Virginia, public schools, objected to a passage referring to Anne's vagina, as well as a Lesbian fantasy. Oodles raised the question that if Anne Frank is a hero, why does the possibility that she had Lesbian thoughts create cognitive dissonance for conservatives?

Mercy wondered why she had never heard about this material. Assonance Blankverse made the point that the diary is a tale of Anne coming of age sexually while in hiding, so it wouldn't have been possible for her to act out anything.

Mercy did read the definitive edition, and found these passages:

'Unconsciously, I had these feelings even before I came here. Once when I was spending the night at Jacque's, I could no longer restrain my curiosity about her body, which she'd always hidden from me and which I'd never seen. I asked her whether, as proof of our friendship, we could touch each other's breasts. Jacque refused. I also had a terrible desire to kiss her, which I did. Every time I see a female nude, such as Venus in my art history book, I go into ecstasy. Sometimes I find them so exquisite I have to struggle to hold back my tears. If only I had a girlfriend!'

She goes on to spend time with Peter Van Daan, who she eventually develops an attraction to. At first, she says, "You mustn't think I'm in love with Peter, because I'm not. If the Van Daans had had a daughter instead of a son, I 'd have tried to make friends with her."

Amazon notes The Diary of a Young Girl is on the top of the list of books most frequently banned in schools. They say the most common reason cited is feeling the material is too depressing for children.

Sweet Voluntour
The founder of Sweet Lesbian Vacations, Shannon Wentworth, has started to take the combination of volunteering and party Mercy and Cuteness enjoyed on their Caribbean cruise on the road. Mercy and Cuteness had hesitated to participate in the volunteer part, thinking it would not make a difference, but wound up being persuaded by the appreciation in the eyes of the people in the local community.

The voluntouristas came home from the cruise motivated to continue spreading that goodwill. One woman in Chicago started the Roatan Computer Project and collected enough money to send seven more computers to Roatan's E-Learning Centers. A teacher in Florida collected more school supplies to send to the school in Belize City which the cruise had visited. Two more Sweet Cruise members ("Sweeties") opted to do a book drive for the children of Belize rather than a gift exchange at their holiday party, and so on and so on. The sweet ripples from the first cruise continue to spread.

Their mission is to get more people in motion and create a ripple effect of positive action all over the world. Think of it as Lesbians (and our pals) giving the world a giant hug.

The Live Sweet Voluntour 2010 aims to start as many ripples in as many cities in the United States as they can reach this year. That means that Wentworth is traveling to different cities to lead community service projects, gathering Sweeties for fun and fundraising fitness events, and hosting parties to celebrate our lives. They are also spreading Lesbian visibility in the United States, where it seems like every day people are voting on whether we deserve equal rights. The more we connect with people in our own backyard, the less likely they will be to vote against us.

Currently, she is heading to Orlando, Florida, New York City and Denver. If you'd like Sweet to come here, you can suggest projects at http://discoversweet.com/live-sweet-voluntour-2010/.

The Kids are All Right
Cuteness excitedly noticed that the movie The Kids are All Right, which stars Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as two mothers raising their teenage children in California, was sold to Focus Features, part of Universal.

One of the children contacts their sperm donor, played by Mark Ruffalo. This creates complications, as you can imagine. The film was written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko. Mercy and Cuteness aren't sure when the movie will open in Seattle, but they are eager to see it.

Spyro Gyra
Mercy is delighted that Spyro Gyra is coming to Jazz Alley, March 11-14. The group is touring in support of their new release Down the Wire. Band members include Jay Beckenstein (sax), Tom Schuman (keyboards), Julio Fernandez (guitar), Scott Ambush (bass), and Bonny B. (percussion/vocals).

Spyro Gyra has spent more than three decades pushing the boundaries and definitions of jazz beyond the commonly accepted parameters. In so doing, they continue to forge an edgy, enduring sound that incorporates some of the best elements of jazz and merges them with R&B, pop, and Latin.

Their new album, Down the Wire, is a snapshot of Spyro Gyra's enduring dedication to the walk down the wire. For more than three decades, they have maintained a position at the forefront of modern jazz by successfully managing not just one, but several feats of creative dexterity. "That's what has kept this band going," says Beckenstein. "There are always balances to be found between the individual player and the group, between the songwriter and the player. It's about both satisfying yourself and satisfying your audience. And when you're improvising in front of a crowd, you're really walking down that wire. There are always surprises that way, but our openness to those surprises is what makes this band what it is. We just happen to be walking on a slightly more forgiving tightrope."

Asked where Down the Wire belongs in Spyro Gyra's substantial legacy, Beckenstein is quick to reply. "You know, everybody up on the wire knows one thing for sure," Beckenstein laughs. "The real trouble comes if you start looking behind you. The future's in front of you."

With over 30 recordings under their belts, one can view their remarkable output as a true contemporary jazz legacy.

You can get tickets at www.jazzalley.com.

Maceo Parker
Another legend coming to Jazz Alley is saxophonist Maceo Parker. He will be there March 18-21. Band members are Dennis Rollins (trombone), Ron Tooley (trumpet), Will Boulware (keys), Bruno Speight (guitar), Rodney "Skeet" Curtis (bass), Jamal Thomas (drums), Corey Parker (vocals), and Neta Hall (vocals).

While James Brown is generally credited with redefining and re-energizing R&B and soul music in the 1960s, turning that revolutionary vision into a reality would not have been possible without the help of his creative collaborator, stage foil and right-hand man, saxophonist Maceo Parker. Like no other sax player before him, Parker stretched the potential of his instrument to unprecedented limits, exhibiting an uncanny ability to alternate the saxophone from a melodic instrument to a percussive one, and then back again, in the span of just a couple of beats, often less.

Four decades later, after recurring stints with Brown and funk titans George Clinton and Bootsy Collins in the '70s, and a solo career that has propelled him through the '80s and '90s, Parker's skills are just as tight and precise as they were during those highly charged early days, and his creative audacity is equally undiminished.

For perhaps the first time, the breadth and scope of Parker's musical prowess is fully realized on his latest release that positions him front and center in a fully orchestrated setting. Roots & Grooves unites this brilliant sax innovator with Germany's renowned WDR Big Band. The album is both a tribute to R&B/soul legend Ray Charles and a showcase for Parker's own fiery hybrid of R&B, soul and funk.

Without question, Parker's body of work over the past four decades stands on its own merits, yet he sees the music as part of an even greater message. "At all my concerts, I try to say love as many times as I can," he says. "I think if we all use that word as much as we possibly can, the idea will flourish, and all that other negative stuff will diminish. So I'm definitely going to do what I think is my part by just showing the spirit of love throughout the world as much as I can."

Tickets at www.jazzalley.com.

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