Category Archives: Sly and the Family Stone

Your Daily Hot Air

There’s A Riot Goin’ On

It’s an anniversary of sorts. This day, 43 years ago, Sly and the Family Stone was scheduled to play at the old Grant Park Bandshell, just north of the Field Museum on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive. Tens of thousands of people showed up for the free show, many of them, no doubt, veterans of the street violence that had beset the city over the previous couple of years.

S&TFS

Sly And The Family Stone

In April 1968, there’d been the Martin Luther King riots and, later that month, an unprovoked police attack upon peaceful anti-war protesters in the Loop. Toss in the Democratic National Convention in August, the shooting war between the local Black Panthers and the cops throughout the spring and summer of ’69, and the Days of Rage in October, and you’ve got some battle hardened folks who likely were present that day on Chicago’s lakefront. That is, both uniformed and not.

S&TFS had disappointed their Chicago fans three times already in 1970, repeatedly cancelling shows at the last minute. More specifically, Sly Stone had let ticket holders down. See, Sly had fallen in love with cocaine and PCP, going so far as to carry around a violin case stuffed with the illegal drugs. He’d come under the influence of certain members of the LA Black Panthers who told him he should make more revolutionary-oriented music and to get rid of the white members of his group. Sly also hired a mobster and his drug dealer to be his bodyguards. He became paranoid, convinced that his bandmates were conspiring against him.

All in all, Sly’s life was going to hell and, natch, his productivity suffered.

[MG Note, April, 2018: A reader points out that Kahn and Rufus (or Ask Rufus) was not the opening act (see comments). Unfortunately, I can’t find my original source although I recall it being a dependable one. For the sake of good journalism, let’s ignore the Kahn/Rufus part of this story unless someone else out there can cite a good source for it.]

But all might be forgiven that July afternoon in 1970 because Sly et al would be playing for free. The lead-off act was the West Side funk band Ask Rufus, who’d been playing recently with a dynamic new singer named Chaka Khan. She’d eventually become a member of the group and go on to make gold and platinum reords and win Grammy awards.

Khan

The Young Chaka Khan

 

Even as Khan and Ask Rufus were playing, the crowd (estimates range from 40-75,000 people) pushed forward, threatening to overtake the stage. Tempers became short, the cops on hand got antsy, the late afternoon sun grew hotter, and — wouldn’t you know it? — Sly and the Family Stone was late. Many in the crowd wondered if the band would blow them off yet a fourth time.

Next thing anybody knew, a riot broke out. The police unleashed their dogs and unholstered their service revolvers. Chicago Sun-Times columnist Tom Fitzpatrick wrote the fighting was worse than that during the ’68 Convention. According to Khan, the helicopter carrying Sly and his band neared the bandshell and when Sly saw the mayhem, he directed the pilot to turn back.

Photo by Gene Reynolds

The Wrath After Khan

Other reports have it that the Chicago police stopped the car carrying the band as they were heading to the Bandshell, leading to their late arrival.

BTW: Topflight newspaperman Dave Hoekstra has a neat little piece about the riot and Chaka Khan in today’s Sun-Times.

Anyway, the Bandshell riot seemed to be one of the mournful codas of the Sixties. along with the Kent State and Jackson State killings, the Manson Family, and Altamont. All the dreams and dynamism were swept away in orgies of drugs and violence.

I wanted so much to be part of the counterculture back then but I was a tad young for it. I wanted to protest the war, work for social justice, push for civil rights, and hang with all the cool hippies.

Maybe I was lucky.

Vandal In Chief

So, somebody splashed green paint on the statue of Lincoln at his eponymous Memorial. Many people think it was actually nail polish. And, it seems, everybody has an opinion as to whodunit.

Lincoln Vandalism

Photo By Scott Applewhite/AP

You know how this works. Depending on what side of the fence you stand, you know in your heart it was someone on the other side who did it.

I so very much want the perpetrator(s) to be Right Wingers, Me Party-ists, or fans of Ted Nugent. Better yet, George Zimmerman.

The other side, of course, wants the vandal(s) to be my people. Some already are saying that because the paint-or-polish is green, it’s got to be those crazy eco-maniacs. You know, tree-huggers and owl-lovers.

So I went to The Blaze, the interwebs home of the likes of Glenn Beck and other yipping hyenas, to see what the zeitgeist is on that side of the sanity demarcation line. And — whaddya know? — they’ve got the villain sussed!

Well, of course, the person to blame for this outrage is none other than that noted Gay Commie Abortionist from Kenya.

From The Blaze

Now you know.

A Family Affair

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“County fair in the country sun.” — Larry Graham of Sly and the Family Stone

FAIR AND MILD

Made the Monroe County Fair last night.

Perfect night. High, brush stroke clouds, spectacular sunset, cool temps, low humidity.

I still can’t believe that The Loved One and I have settled in this fab locale.

Mark Stoops was out shaking hands in front of the county Democrats booth. The GOP booth was manned and womanned by about five hardy souls, the sight of which caused me to remark to my neighbor Tom, “Looks like every Republican in Monroe County is here.”

Shelli Yoder‘s pretty mug was plastered all over the Dem booth. In the scant few moments I idled there, at least three men asked, craning their necks, where the 9th District congressional candidate was. Their shoulders slumped when told she was off somewhere else, campaigning.

Yoder

Neighbor Maryanne and The Loved One wanted to cruise the rabbits barn. I became transfixed by a row of caged white ones with black spots over their eyes. A kid who looked to be ten or so edged up, his hand placed in a proprietary manner on top of the cage I was peering into. He stared at me.

I felt a need to convey the fact that I wasn’t plotting to abduct the rodent but settled only for asking, “These yours?”

He nodded proudly.

“Uh, what do you do with these guys?”

He looked at me as if I were from the moon but decided to explain.

“Well, I show ’em.”

“Ah.”

“Y’see these spots over her eyes?”

I nodded.

He gestured toward the other rabbits. “If any a’these have spots like that anywhere else on their body, I can’t show ’em. So we eat ’em.”

“Hmm.”

The kid proceeded to point out all his ribbon winners, which turned out to be all his rabbits on display.

The Loved One and Maryanne ambled up and I told them, “You can eat these guys!”

At which point both women made shushing motions at me. The Loved One warned, “They can hear you!”

Hmm.

HOT FUN IN THE SUMMERTIME

Hell, let’s do it.

Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

I Fucking Love Science: The Kākāpō Of New Zealand

Present and Correct(New Listing) Fun, compelling, gorgeous and/or scary graphic designs and visual creations throughout the years and from all over the world.

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

Mental FlossFacts.

Caps Off PleaseComics & fun.

Caps Off Please

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Monroe County Fairgrounds — Second day, 2012 Monroe County Fair, Flat track motorcycle racing; 6pm — Music, Clear Note; 6pm — Music, Circle of Friends, Free Draper; 7pm — (no carnival until Monday at 4:00pm); Noon to 11pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Joe Porter; 2-4pm

◗ IU Wells-Metz TheaterMusical, “You Can’t Take It with You”; 2pm

The Player’s PubAndra Faye and the Rays; 6pm

Bryan ParkSunday Outdoor Concert Series: Jason Fickel & Ginger Curry; 6:30pm

Bear’s PlaceRyder Film Series: “Kumaré: The True Story of a False Prophet”; 7pm

Highland Faith Assembly of GodMusic, Christian Cavaliers; 7-8:30pm

The BishopCursive, Fly Painted Feathers; 9pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • John D. Shearer, “I’m Too Young For This  @#!%”; through July 30th

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • Qiao Xiaoguang, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts” ; through August 12th
  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th
  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th
  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th
  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th
  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st
  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012
  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st
  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits: Bloomington Photography Club Annual Exhibition; through August 3rd

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — Closed for semester break

Monroe County History Center Exhibits:

  • “What Is Your Quilting Story?”; through July 31st
  • Photo exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

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