Kearns Tells All About Phoebe — But Who Is ‘The ‘Poetry Man?’

Phoebe Snow Rolling Cover

Phoebe Snow ‘Rolling Stone’ cover from June 5, 1975.

At about five-thirty on Sunday afternoon, Philip Kearns and the band got tuned-up to play and pay “A Tribute to Phoebe Snow.” This would be the fourth time that Kearns had performed this tribute to his ex-wife, who died a little over four years ago at age 60. He’d originally done the show as a one-off performance in Greenwich Village about a year ago, but the success of that show led to a performance in downtown Winston-Salem, which led to another performance at Greensboro’s Carolina Theatre.

This time he was playing at the Luna Lounge & Tiki Bar, a nice enough small bar at the northern boundary of Winston-Salem’s gallery district, a far cry from the Duplex Cabaret, where he first performed the show, or the venerable Carolina. But the show was for charity, to raise funds for the North Star LGBT Center, a cause dear to his heart. So, as they say, “The show must go on.” Continue reading Kearns Tells All About Phoebe — But Who Is ‘The ‘Poetry Man?’

Keeping Phoebe Snow’s Music Alive in Winston-Salem

Tribute to Phoebe Snow posterI can’t remember the last time I heard Phoebe Snow’s “Poetry Man” on the radio. But 40 years after the song first hit the airwaves, Philip Kearns is working to make sure her music is not forgotten with a tribute show he’s been playing around the Triad for about a year now.

It’s not surprising that you don’t hear Ms. Snow on the radio, which programs almost exclusively by genre. Like many talented musicians, Phoebe Snow transcended any single genre, and the music she created measured soul, jazz, rock and pop into a blend that was distinctly her own. Coming to prominence in the middle of the 1970s, she was one of the last of the great singer/songwriters who populated the charts in the early part of that decade, and one of the last of a breed of popular musicians who eschewed pop pablum to make her own kind of music, as Cass Elliot would say. Continue reading Keeping Phoebe Snow’s Music Alive in Winston-Salem

Incident at Starbucks

Today we visited the new Harris Teeter that just opened on Reynolda Road where the Roses once stood, mainly to see if they carried Hoffman hot dogs, which is a favorite of my roommates. While there, we picked up some roasted chicken, some ice cream and a few other items, and while going through checkout, my roommate noticed that there’s a Starbucks in the store.

I like coffee and despise yuppies too much to like Starbucks, which insists on ruining gods-little-beans by adding milk, sugar or any other ingredient they can find to everything. Coffee is perfect by itself; it doesn’t need any help. But order a plain cup of joe at Starbucks, and they decide — meaning the guys and gals who, by dint of working behind the counter, are the arbiters of what passes for cool and what doesn’t — that you’re an uncouth and unsophisticated laggard who wandered in from (stereotyped cliche alert) some trailer park.


The headquarters for the friendly down-the-road little place where everybody knows your name and you can stay sober.

Needless to say,

But my roommate doesn’t share my disdain for corporate deceit, and asked if I would fetch for her a decaf mocha latte while she took care of paying for the groceries. No problem. I sauntered up to what looked like an ordering spot at the Starbucks counter, and waited a minute or two for the young lady who had absolutely nothing to do, to notice she had a customer.

For a while she chose to keep her attention on the store’s front door, but she eventurally turned around and without smiling or being in any way cordial asked if I wanted to order. Yup, I do, I nodded. She walked up to another ordering area, about ten feet away and told me I’d have to go to her to order. Fine. I did. Continue reading Incident at Starbucks

Dr. Strange’s 418th Dream

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Saint Rémy de Provence; September 17, 12:00:10 am…
Dr. Strange’s 418th Dream:

Saint Rémy de Provence; September 17, 12:00:10 am…

I was in bed asleep in the tower room of the Hotel les Antiques when something, some sound from outside, awakened me. The French doors to the balcony stood open and the curtains drifted slightly in the breeze. The air tasted of crushed sage and lavender, and the breeze did have a voice, whispering quietly as the edge of the lace trimming danced over marble. The window squeaked faintly, opening a little wider as the breeze stirred up from the town with a promise like a goddess’ kiss. Continue reading Dr. Strange’s 418th Dream

DANCING WITH THE DEAD: Voodoo, Paganism and Possession

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Dr. Strange runs the Voodoo down. . .
Voodoo, Paganism and Possession

The drumming and chanting have been going on for hours. The final offerings and propitiations have been made, and now the tension mounts to its peak. The Spirit moves its host, performing an intricate and physically impossible dance. As full possession strikes, series of tests are performed by the Spirit to prove its authenticity. Then it speaks, answering questions and making pronouncements. When the Spirit is released, the host slumps to the floor, exhausted. Continue reading DANCING WITH THE DEAD: Voodoo, Paganism and Possession