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(Image retrieved from listia.com)

Now the seasons pass with the speed of shooting stars, but at a time when a year represented one tenth of my entire life, it always felt as if holidays and vacations would never come. And out of all the holidays, Christmas was by far the hardest one to wait for.

At school, the Christmas season began with an Advent wreath. A white Styrofoam ring purchased at Woolworth’s on Flatbush Avenue was transformed into a wreath by wrapping it in artificial green vines. Then the wreath was fitted with four candles. Three were purple, the color of penance and hope…


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(Photo from New York City Parks Photo Archive)

For parochial school students, the first official day of summer comes somewhere around the eighteenth day of June when we leave the classroom shortly before noon clutching the report cards that say we’ve been promoted to the next grade. We start our vacation by mercilessly taunting our public school counterparts who, by order of the Board of Education of the City of New York, remain behind their desks in sweltering classrooms until the very last day of June. It’s an annual ritual, but there are no hard feelings and, on the fourth of July, we all emerge from apartment buildings…


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Bill Graham at home, 1970. (Photo by Baron Wolman)

May 18, 1968. During my first visit to the East Village, my father drives the car down St. Marks’s Place where colorful beings in perpetual motion pack both sides of the street. We see nomads and angels, souls on the fringe, the newly awakened, and a few aliens. The Electric Circus gives off a purple glow, and on a stoop a few doors down, young people are drumming energetically on metal garbage can lids. At the corner of Second Avenue, we make a right. I can already see the marquee that reads “Byrds, Tim Buckley, Foundations.” We’re heading to a…


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(Photo retrieved from www.goantiques.com)

There was no Internet then, no DVR, no cell phones, no cordless telephones with answering machines. If we wanted to see our favorite television program, we’d better be home when it aired. If someone called while we were out, we never knew. The world in 1965 was simpler, if not as user friendly. It was bigger too, and Brooklyn New York was a pin spot on the globe.

When I was ten years old, I marked my life by my birthday and the completion of the school year, both of which fell at the end of June. My future was…


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A wandering minstrel of Nepal (Photo from mountainmusicproject.com)

With their workday behind them, a group of friends and neighbors gather on a front porch in the late afternoon. They sing songs, play tunes on homemade instruments, and dance. They share food and drinks, maybe even a bit of moonshine. For at least a little while, good music and good company offer a release from their hard work, and life’s worries. The location could be any rural town in the Appalachian Mountains. It could be, but it isn’t. The mountains are the Himalayas, and the village is in the country of Nepal.

When old-time musicians Tara Linhardt and Danny…


Eric Andersen Is “One Of The Masters”

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(Photo by Paulo Brillo)

In a career that spans more than half a century, Eric Andersen has recorded over thirty albums, and written a myriad of songs that have been recorded and performed by numerous artists from Ricky Nelson to The Grateful Dead. He has shared the stage with virtually every influential artist of his generation, and he has repeatedly toured the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan.

As a young man, Eric Andersen’s appreciation for poetry was enhanced by his interactions with Beat poets Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He appeared in an Andy Warhol film, and was even invited to some of…


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Photo from Larry Hart Collection, Schenectady County Historical Society, http://gremsdoolittlelibrary.blogspot.com

The evening papers carried photos of eerie deserted streets, and the television news showed baseball fans huddling under stands at Yankee Stadium, but I knew there was another side to the story.

I remember the smell of the mortar, and the sensation of the bricks scratching the tip of my nose as I recited, “Holy Mary, mother of God” along with my second-grade classmates. The entire perimeter of the basement auditorium was layered five deep in praying children. Being closest to the wall, I wondered if I was safer than the kids lined up behind me. If I survived an…


Could Psychoactive Drugs Hold The Key To Better Management?

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Image: Parkinson’s Foundation https://www.parkinson.org/

When Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD in 1938, the organic chemist was originally interested in developing an analeptic — a circulatory and respiratory stimulant. Upon discovering the psychoactive effects of the drug, he saw a potential for LSD’s use in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. With the rampant misuse of the drug during the 1960s, it became illegal and research was stopped. The substance that Albert Hofmann had hoped would become a “wonder child” became his “problem child” instead.

However, in recent years, results of scientific research studies in psychedelic medicine…


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Photo by Kimberlee Piper

“The arts are not for the privileged few, but for the many. Their place is not on the periphery of daily life, but at its center. They should function not merely as another form of entertainment, but, rather, should contribute significantly to our well being and happiness.” — John D. Rockefeller III

Each and every one of us is born with talent. We are born to be creative, but a lot of us are never told this. On the other hand, ignorant teachers and well-meaning relatives have no qualms about informing us that we possess no artistic abilities whatsoever —…


“We do not go into ceremony to talk about God. We go into ceremony to talk with God.” These are the words of Quanah Parker, the last chief of the Quahadi Comanche people, and the man credited with playing a key role in the peyote movement and the establishment of the Native American Church. Born sometime between 1848 and 1852 (the exact year of his birth is not known) in Texas or Oklahoma (his birthplace is also a subject of dispute), Quanah was the son of a Comanche chief and a white woman who was captured by the Comanche at…

Siobhán Barry-Bratcher

Life-long Writer / Bluegrass Guitar Picker / Hippie Grandma diving head first into ‘Act Three’ all on one cup of coffee a day

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