Posts Tagged With: Joe Bielawa

The Who Hits 50!!

Last night, Pete Townshend and Rodger Daltrey brought their The Who Hits 50 Tour!! to the Allstate Arena in Rosemount, Illinois. The tour is celebration the 50th anniversary of the band and Pete Townshend describes the show as “Hit’s, Picks, Mixes and Misses” while Rodger Daltrey has referred to it as a “long goodbye.”

I drove down from Minneapolis, met up with an old friend from high school and then went to the concert.

The seats where slight of stage right, quarter of the way up the first rise from the back of main floor. I tend to like this area for a show because being back and center of the house provides for a better viewing of the stage show.

I have seen clips of shows at the beginning of the tour and the vocal and technical issues that were noticeable then weren’t present at all last night.

It was classic Who. With Pete ripping it up on guitar, wind-milling with frequency and an occasional jump or slight duck walk; his guitar rang out, flowing though chord progressions and screamin’ riffs reaffirming his signature style. For a guy 6 days shy of his 70th birthday, although his stage gymnastics aren’t what they once were, his playing still reflected his guitar god status

Roger strutted about the stage, swinging his mike about in small arcs and curves, hitting well-know notes with accuracy, but not to the duration of the past. At times he would go silent and wave his hands like a conductor leading the capacity crowd of 18,500 to carry the verse. His harmonica playing still brought the frenzied finish to the last song of the evening Won’t Get Fooled Again. At 70, with light blue tinted glasses and mid length Mod curls, he still maintains a solid frontman presence.

The six member band consisting of Pete’s brother Simon playing rhythm guitar, Zak Starkey on drums, Pino Palladino on bass, Loren Gold, Frank Simes and John Corey sharing backing vocals, piano, keyboards, jaw harp, banjo and bass harmonica created a out a solid background for two icons presence.

Starkey’s drumming and Pino’s bass guitar certainly couldn’t replace Moonie nor Ox’s intensity, yet seemed to fill the space comparably.

The visual graphics flowing across the stage’s background screen ranged from photographic images of the band from their earlier days for My Generation, a big blue eye for Behind Blue Eyes to psychedelic imagery of the 60’s for Join Together and the techno-computerized graphics of the 80’s for Eminence Front.

The crowd consisted of mainly of folks in there 50’s and 60’s but there was a considerable amount of “kids” in their 20’s and 30’s. There were numerous parents who had teen kids in tow.

I was at The Who’s 25th Anniversary Tour at Alpine Valley in the summer of 1989, but was trippin’ balls on magic mushrooms and really don’t remember much except hopping around like a mad Mod dancing, Pete’s loud guitar and John Entwislte’s thundering bass solo. Clean and sober now, I clearity of recall seeing Roger perform Tommy LIVE in 2011; and Pete and Rodger performing Qaudrophenia LIVE in 2012.

No matter when I see these two perform, it brings me excitement and joy to see music of my youth unfold live on stage and am very happy that neither they or I died before we got old.

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Jake Shimabukuro

This past Saturday night, Nov. 9th, I had the enjoyable experience of seeing Jake Shimabukuro perform at the Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul.

Like most people, I was introduced to Jake’s playing by the video posted on YouTube of his rendition of George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps in 2006.

Watch Ukelele Weeps here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puSkP3uym5k

Being completely blown away by his playing, I thought  “I would like to photograph this guy playing live” which seemed fairly unrealistic at the time, for I had yet to own a DSLR and had no clue if he was even touring.

Within in a few months of seeing that video, Jake played at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis. It was after this performance during a meet and greet that I met Jake for the first time. Over the next two years, I had a couple of chance encounters with Jake before and after shows, I gave him my business card, sent him a letter and we exchanged tweets and a bond was formed. He began to grant me clearance to photograph him at shows.

I photographed a couple of his shows at The Cedar on the West Bank in Minneapolis. It was always a challenge, for the lighting at the Cedar isn’t all that great and always made for extremely contrasting imagery.

 November 2010 

ImageImageImage

The full set can be viewed here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joebielawa/sets/72157625200659159/

March 2012

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The ful set can be viewed here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/joebielawa/sets/72157629197082172/ 

When the images started being posted of Jake’s current The Grand Ukulele Tour, the lighting was AWESOME!!  Nice multiple colored background lighting, over head lighting, smoke…the true “rock star” stage experince. I was excited to see that the tor would be passing through St. Paul and was anticipating the opportunity to photograph Jake under such optimum lighting conditions.

At the end of September, in Las Vegas, five hours before I was to fly back to Minneapolis, I broke my ankle that required surgery to repair. Bedridden, then on crutches, I had to withdraw from all of my photographic commitments for October and November…with December still uncertain.

Of all of events I had to withdraw from, not being able to photograph Jake was the most disappointing. I had purchased a front row balcony seat back in May when tickets for the show first went on sale, so I “surrendered” that I would just  sit back, enjoy the show and not do any photography.

When I arrived at he box office to retrieve my ticket from will call, I was informed there wasn’t an elevator and they wouldn’t let me hop up the stairs to the balcony. After a brief discussion with the Lead Usher, I was moved to a seat in the 7th row, stage left, on the aisle.

The experience of watching Jake play is such an incredible one.  From the moment he humbly walks out on to stage, through a mesmerizing set varying from jazz, blues, classical and rock is such an emotional charged experience. And his 90 minute set kept me moving with wowed impression on into blue sadness to a jazzy hyperness to a rocking elation.

As always, his playing style just blows me away and leaves me in a state of awe and, no matter what emotions it may invoke, over all, hearing him play just makes me happy.  There were two moments during this show that really stuck out to me: at the pauses while he played the tribute to a dying friend’s mother during  “Blues Roses Falling” the energy of the audience was silently still and you could have heard a pin drop.  While playing “Dragon” he electronically added riffs and overlays through a wah pedal and a delay, then played a lead over it all to create an “electronic ukulele orchestra.”  You can fully understand why he is called the “Jimi Hendrix of the ukulele”  ever expanding the sonic vocabulary of the ukulele.

What I love the most is his sharing stories behind certain songs, how he came to play ukulele, what inspires him, but mostly his goof –ball antics, reflected on this tour by sharing stories of being a recent new dad. And too, as the show came to a close, how he thanks and acknowledges the various people that are significant to the night’s production and to the theatre, especially the volunteers and then his acknowledging the audience for their attendance. And all of this is so truly genuine and sincere, not just a musician saying from stage “Thank you  (insert town of the night here)”

If you get a chance to se Jake play in your area, it is a truly worthwhile experience to watch this virtuoso express and share his talent.

http://jakeshimabukuro.com/#/tour

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Photo Clearance for POTUS – June 1, 2012

The media company I am shooting for arranged press clearance for me to photograph the arrival of the President of the Untied States (POTUS) at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on June 1, 2012.

First off, I have to say that the first thing I had to adjust was my lingo: ‘the shoot.’  I shot the Lynx and the Twins on Opening Day, I shot Van Halen, I will be shooting Roger Waters on 6/3/12. The shoot, the right shot, shooting; all terms that are part of my lingo. And I own no guns. So I had to become conscience to use the term ‘photograph the President” and not “shoot the President”

When my editor called me on Weds. 5/30, we discussed which of the two venues would work best for photographing the President, his arrival at the airport or at the venue he would be speaking at. We both agreed the arrival of Air Force One and POTUS deplaning and greeting supporters on the tarmac would have more of a dramatic effect.

The event was closed to the public and I would need to be cleared through the White House Press Pool, which undoubtedly would require a background check. I came clean about my background to my editor and he said “Joe, I don’t think there are many photographers out there WITHOUT some sort of drug charge in their past” This put me at ease, somewhat.

I went thru the process of filing an expungement of my criminal record 6 years ago, but had never really put it to the test. Ten years ago, I could not even get simple employment due to my  drug possession/criminal background.

So I knew, if I was granted White House clearance, which is, obviously on the Federal level, than the expungement was indeed final.

The request was submitted on Weds. afternoon around 2pm, 22 hours ahead of the noon deadline on 6/31.

The morning of the 31st, I was angst because not only was I awaiting word to photograph POTUS, but the real test was if the background clearance would go through.

The deadline was at noon, I called my editor at 12:49 and asked: “Ok, so are we gonna call the White House and see if I was denied or are we just not follow up or what?” The other end of the phone just went silent for a few seconds, which seemed like minutes and then my editor said: ” Dude, it’s been 49 minutes past the deadline. Let’s give them some time., ok?” I laughed, realizing the anxiousness was all mine and said, meekly: “Oh, ok.’

Twenty -one minutes later I received an email from the White House Press Pool informing me that my name was on the list to photograph the arrival of POTUS. The email went on to detail the order of events of the day, what gate at the military base I would enter, and what was needed to gain access.

Now with all this in process, the request submitted to my editor and then to the White House, the prestige of the shoot; there was just one small detail. I didn’t have a camera to shoot with.

I had ordered my back-up camera, a new Nikon D90 on Tuesday 5/29, with two day delivery.

I went ahead and reserved a telephoto lens and a 2x convertor from my photo resource, West Photo in SE Minneapolis.

So the angst of being granted clearance had passed, but now it was replaced with if the camera would arrive in time.

With 9 minutes left in the delivery day, UPS showed with my new Nikon.

The morning of the shoot I went into a coffee shop to get a mocha and the twenty-something baristas were all in their customer service mode and one of them asked me “It’s going to be a beautiful day today, any big plans?” I laughed and said  “I am heading out to the airport to photograph the arrival of POTUS”

“Who’s that?” one barista asked and the other quipped “Must be a punk rock band”

I laughed and said, “No POTUS is the President of the United States” both barista’s eyes kind of widened and one of them said “That is the coolest” Laughing again, I said “Ya, it kinda is, huh?”

After getting the coffee, I made my way out to the airport and the Minneapolis-St. Paul Air Reserve Station.

At the gate I was given this pass for the dash of the car:

After passing thru the gate, I was escorted to a building within the base next to an area right off the tarmac. I placed my gear bag on the ground for the dogs to sniff for yet another round of security checks. I met with a Secret Service agent and he gave me my badge for the day:

I was then escorted into the lobby of the building where I went thru yet another security check of a hand held metal detector wand. I was then escorted out onto the tarmac to take position on the media platform. Every outlet was represented: StarTribune, St.Paul Pioneer Press, The Minnesota Daily, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, AP, UPI, and a couple of other local publications.

Since I was one of the last to arrive, I didn’t have a spot staked out, but this gave me freedom to move around the platform. There was about an hour and a half wait before the estimated arrival time. All of us just kind of mingled, some were working on stories; others, telling them. I found it humorous that I wasn’t the only one adjusting his verbage from “shooting the President” to ‘photographing the President.”

Various Minnesota dignitaries began to appear on the tarmac and the motorcade arrived and took position off to the side.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Congressman Keith Ellison

The time seemed to go fast, and in no time an announcement was made that “All activity on the tarmac was to cease and the airport was shut down” It was kinda wild to see the once busy airport with trucks and vehicles scurrying round and the roar of jets launching suddenly come silent and to a standstill.

A few minutes later, the Secret Service agent who escorted myself and the others to the platform came forward and said “Air Force One would be appearing over the tail of that airplane over there” as he pointed to the south-south east. We all turned and then, out of the clouds a jet appeared, as AF-1 began its descent into Minneapolis.

Air Force One’s wheels smoke as it touches down at MSP International

I had seen Air Fore One once before as it flew over me to land at Palm Springs Airport as I was riding my bike along Ramon Road in Palm Springs, in the mid 1990’s with Bill Clinton on board. The thing is massive and I stopped n my bike to marvel as it touched down at PSP International.

But this was different, as I knew it would taxi right in front of the platform I was standing on, and this time I was positioned to photograph the event.

AF-1 made its way along the tarmac and came to a stop in front of the building we were positioned in front of. The MN dignitaries made their way to the bottom of the stairs that were wheeled up to the door of AF-1. The door was opened and after a few minutes, President Obama appeared and made his way down the staircase and greeted the dignitaries. It would have been nice to hear what was said because when he got to Sen. AL Franken, whatever Franken said had Pres. Obama laughing quite hard.

President Obama exits AF-1

Sen. Al Franken quips something that reduces Pres. Obama to hysterics.

After the greeting the MN dignitaries, the President made his way across the tarmac to the group of supporters who were next to the media platform. Most of the photographers went over to the side of the media platform to shoot down onto the event. This left me with a wide open space at the front of the platform, I sat down and placed my feet on the gate between the platform, tarmac and AF-1 and photographed POTUS from the side.

After meeting with the 30 or so people who had gathered, Pres. Obama waved to the crowd and made his way to the Presidential Limo, got in and the motorcade began to make its way across the tarmac to exit the airport.

I had about a 3.5 hour lag until the second phase, so I left the shooting area, went off base and returned home to upload images to my editor.

I returned out to the base and the second time through went alittle quicker, but it was still the same. As I waited for the dogs to sniff my gear bag I took a call and during it I mentioned I was “out at the airport to shoot the President” when I hung up, a guy in plain clothes with a badge and gun on his belt came up to me and smiled and said
” You were talking about your with your camera right?”

I exclaimed “HOLY CRAP!!  Yes, sir, my apologies, I am here to take pictures of the President’s departure” He smiled and patted me on the back and took me to the metal detector and said “Lets check this guy out.” he smiled and winked at me as the military guard began to wave the metal detector over me. After everything was an all clear, I was escorted back to the media platform.

The media pool had dwindled some, so there was alittle more room to move around.

I had this taken while I waited on the media platform:

It was the same as earlier in the day, but in reverse. This time the announcement was made that the airport was shutting down. And then the head-lights of the motorcade appeared at the west side of the airport.

The Presidential Motorcade arrives at MSP International to depart the Twin Cities

The motorcade made its way across the tarmac and around to the side of the AF-1. President Obama got out of his limo and made his way quickly up the stairs, and at the top, turned and waved to us on the media platform, then went inside of the plane.

It took another ten- fifteen minutes for the media pool traveling with the President to board AF-1. Once the door was closed the engines of AF-1 began to roar. As it taxied away from the media platform and turned onto the tarmac, I was almost blown over by the wind coming off the engines. It was the coolest.

Feeling the thrust of AF-1’s engines

AF-1 made it’s way around the tarmac to the main east-west runway, then began to gain speed and it was wheels up and AF-1 lifted into the sky to the west and then banked to the south and eventually became a speck in the sky.

AF-1 airborne and heading off to Chicago.

This assignment certainly was unlike any other. And it was a lot of fun to do.

The full set of images from the event can be viewed here:

POTUS.DSC_2805.6.1.12
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Tour de Palm Springs, Palm Springs, CA – 2/11/2012

The Tour de Palm Springs is billed as the largest charity rides in America, raising funds for over 151 local charities. It started out in 1999 with 300 riders and this years ride had over 11,000 riders. What drew me to the event was the fact that you could pick a charity that your entry fee would go to. I choose the Desert Hot Springs Jazz Band, which is the marching band & jazz band programs at the Desert Hot Springs Middle and High School.

The day before the race, my friend David Serna and I went over to pick up my rental bike at TRI-A-BIKE in Palm Desert. The antics and zaniness of the bike guys at the shop made me feel right at home. The guy helping me with my rental totally punked me into believing I was getting this sweet tricked-out bike for the ride. I ended up with a K2 road bike.

Afterwards we went down to the Bike Expo to register. The Expo was situated  along Palm Canyon Drive, between Tahquitz Canyon Way and Amado Road.

After registering, we wandered thru the Expo looking at the various wares and bikes the vendors had for sale. David is just getting into the sport for health and fitness reasons and I was amazed at how versed he is and his knowledge of the various bikes. I, of course, told him this, but also keep ribbing him to ” just get your ass on a bike and RIDE”

As we passed  by the Trek booth, David pointed out a bike that he said cost $10,000. The rep confirmed this. I jokingly suggested that he let me take that bike out on the tour and said: “yea, we can do that, that’s why we are here. To let people try out our bikes. But that one’s too big for you and the one that would fit you we just let someone take.”  Grrr.

David dropped me off, and I went and took the K2 for a ride, just a quick five miles to get used to a road bike, as I usually just ride MTB’s.

The supplement Mixture

   I woke up four hours before the start of the ride and two  hours later drank the supplement mixture I use prior to major rides and/or skate marathons. It is similar to my workout mixture, just tweeked atlittle with extra energy enhancers & fat burners. It’s basically a mix of chemistry ( amino acids), herbs and protein to enhance performance by effectively turning stored fat into fuel, to bring mental clarity and reduce fatigue. It is mixed with water and a tablespoon of safflower or olive oil. It is completely natural.

The morning of the ride, my friend Marti wanted to take some pics of me before the race so she snapped the following:

I rode down to the start point three miles from base camp at Amado and Palm Canyon Drive. I entered thru the registration point at Tahquitz Canyon Way, there I was handed a map and told of the extreme wind conditions that were blowing bicyclists off their bikes at Indian Canyon Drive and I-10, and that alot of riders were turning around and opting for the 25 mile ride instead. I was alittle nervous with this news, but figured I would give it a go and if I could make it up over I-10, then I was good.

The start of the 56 mile Tour de Palm Springs

As I approached the start, I snapped this at 8:14am.

The first couple few miles were low key easy going as we headed up Indian Canyon Drive. At  the five mile mark, I saw a guy at the side of the road changing a flat and realized, “shit, I have no gear to handle that.”

Once in North Palm Springs, passing the windfarms, the wind was blowing thru the San Gorgonino Pass from the west.

I had to lean sideways to the left into the wind to keep upright. Most of the riders in front of me were doing the same thing. We made our way steadily north along Indian Canyon Drive, passing thru road construction that had created a  trench to the right of the road. With a gust of wind, one rider was blown off the road into the trench. Other riders began getting off their bikes and walking.  I dropped into a lower gear and stayed my course, leaning to the left, keeping a safe distance from the trench.

At the seven mile mark, we turned off of Indian Canyon Road left onto Garnet Avenue directly due west into the wind. The wind was just howling, making a rippling sounds in my ears. It was slow going as I made my way . I kept telling myself, “If I can make it thru to the other side of I -10, I’ll be set.”

I kept with the pack as we crossed over I-10, and directly into the middle of the windmills of the windfarm. The road started up and into the farms, I again dropped into a lower gear and started to climb slowly passing other riders and people walking their bikes.

 The uphill lasted for about 1.5 miles, the it leveled off, then it was another up hill climb and at the top of the hill,
 at mile 13 the winds subsided and I took a break.  
    Riders making their way North along Wesley Avenue towards Pierson Blvd.
At Pierson Blvd, we turned left, and headed down hill with the wind at our backs. Riders where flying by me like I was standing still. I was geeking out and starting to tense up at the speed, after all I am not used to riding a road bike nor it speed. My Garmin tracked me at 31 mph at this point.
Located at Mile 20 was the first rest stop at Two Bunch Palms Elementary School.
    When I arrived there were three kids rocking out, jamming Carlos Santana, I went up in front of them and howled and gave a couple of fist pumps. The girl played bass, smiled, nodded and acknowledged my goofiness. I went over to the refreshments and had a couple cups of dried fruit consisting of dried bananas, dates rolled in oat flour, apricots and raisins. I grabbed some water and waited in line to the port-a-potty. As I waited, the trio of young musicians played a variety of tunes: jazz, rock, and blues. I was impressed. They where good and played flawlessly. I was pleased to see the charity I had chosen in action.
The ride went thru Desert Hot Springs east along Hacienda Avenue. At one point along Hacienda, there where three little kids,2 girls and a boy, eight or ten years old along side the road. The girls were doing cheerleader moves and yelling cheers ” GO BIKERS!!   GO GO GO BIKERS!! YA BIKERS!!” I started moving my body to the chants and the little boy joined the girls in thier movements. I jsut laughed and yelled  “RA RA YEAH!!!  Thnaks you guys!!!”
The thing that amazed me most on this ride, as I got into it 20 or so miles, were the handicapped riders in specially designed bikes that they pedal with  a rowing motion of their arms. As I passed each one, I gave them a thumbs up and shouted words of encouragement: “Way to go! Looking Good!  Nice Form!” one guy just laughed and asked me if I was crazy. I can’t imagine how these guys must have felt after biking 56 miles with their arms!
The route continued along Hacienda Ave. onto Dillion and at the 24 Mile mark was the second rest stop out in the middle of Sky Valley. A volunteer asked to hold my bike and I handed it over to her. I ate an energy bar and drank some protein drink that was being handed out. I went back to my bike and chatted with the volunteer holding my bike. She knows my former employer, Cy Breen and we chatted about him for a while. Such a small world.
 The second rest stop in Sky Valley.
                                                                        Mugging for the camera at The Sky Valley Rest Stop.
 From Dillion, the ride turned south onto 1000 Palms Canyon Road and thru the Coachella Valley Nature Preserve. I picked up speed going along this leg of the route, but it wasn’t as fast as along Pierson Road earlier, but I was more comfortable in the ride at this time.
From there along Ramon Road to Washington into Palm Desert. At Mile 46 was the Rest Step at Trent Beverage. Here I refueled on bananas,  mini Cliff Bars, electrolyte  &  protein drinks.
This was the last stop and I began the last leg of the ride into Palm Springs. From Washington Avenue South to Country Club to the east. There were quite alot of riders along this leg of the ride. I would follow behind a herd for awhile. Then pass and follow another. Riders kept gathering up at lights, waiting for the lights to change.
At Monterey Ave. I followed a pack of bikers thru the intersection heading west. This was the only confusion during the route. We should have turned north on Monterey to Dinah Shore. A the next intersection, Bob Hope Drive, I stopped and looked at the map and realized the error. I turned north on Bob Hope Drive and headed north to Dinah Shore Drive, passing the Annenberg Estate, Sunnylands.
At Dinah Shore, I turned left and headed west thru Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City and then into Palm Springs. As Dinah Shore became East Mesquite, the route travel by Demuth Park then turned north on El Cielo up to Baristo. I chuckled as I passed the back of the Palm Springs Police Station.
It was this last mile or so that I began to feel a sense of satisfaction as I realized I would be completing the ride without any situations.
Turning north on Baristo, the route went up to Tahquitz Canyon Way. Once on Tahquitz, it was just a matter minutes and I woul be crossing the finish line. At Tahquitz & Indian Canyon the light changed and I was forced to stop and wait for the light to turn green.   I could hear the music and the cheering of the finish line and I pulled my camera out and cued it up to to shoot. The light changed and I proceeded thru the intersection towards Palm Canyon. The Palm Springs High School Cheerleaders were there chanting similar cheers to the little cheerleaders in Desert Hot Springs 2 hours earlier.
  Approaching the finish line.
I crossed the finish line, wandered thru the Expo again for a bit, then rode back to ‘base camp”
All said and done: 66.61 miles in 4h 45 m.
Here is a link to the info my Garmin collected:
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Desired Things

Desideratata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, 
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, 
be on good terms with all persons. 
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; 
and listen to others, 
even to the dull and the ignorant; 
they too have their story. 
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; 
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, 
you may become vain or bitter, 
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. 
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; 
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, 
for the world is full of trickery. 
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; 
many persons strive for high ideals, 
and everywhere life is full of heroism. 
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. 
Neither be cynical about love, 
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, 
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, 
gracefully surrendering the things of youth. 
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. 
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. 
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, 
be gentle with yourself. 
You are a child of the universe 
no less than the trees and the stars; 
you have a right to be here. 
And whether or not it is clear to you, 
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, 
whatever you conceive Him to be. 
And whatever your labors and aspirations, 
in the noisy confusion of life, 
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, 
it is still a beautiful world. 
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The above was written by  Max Erhmann, an attorney from Terra Haute, Indiana sometime in the 1920’s. There is some confusion surrounding the history and the story of this and for years it was circulated as “author unknown.”

I first discovered it in 1996 when at a purveyors house acquiring illegal narcotics. My drug use by this time had long lost its “fun” and I was deep in the darkness of self-hatred that consumed me as the drugs lost their “magic”. I tried desperately to escape my pained reality, of course to no avail.

This was less than a year out from my first admittance into a drug rehab facility. I was lost, angry, scared, vengeful, doubted an existence of God or Source, I didn’t want to live, but was afraid to die.

The purveyor had this framed on a small wall between his living room into his kitchen. The first time I read it, it was as if a bolt of lightening shot thru me and I began to cry. The purveyor, Chef (as he was called for his ability to cook meth) was taken aback by my reaction and told me so.
“People who come thru here barely notice that piece, Joey, let alone cry about it. You’re a good man.”

Months later when I knew I was leaving California for rehab, I went to say goodbye and aquire more dope. As I was leaving, Chef took the frame piece off the wall and handed it to me, looked me in the eye and recited verbatim it to me. Again, I began to just cry ( even now as this memory is recalled).

I have it hanging on the small wall between my living room into my kitchen.


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