Friday, November 23, 2007

Alice's Restaurant (Arlo Guthrie)

The Lumpy Sue Acoustic Musicfest is a free concert in North Miami's Greynolds Park the day after Thanksgiving. It provides a relaxed and mellow alternative to the frenzy of Christmas commercialism. However, if money is burning a hole in your pocket, you can buy raffle tickets to support Habitat for Humanity. Prizes are generally gift certificates from local merchants (restaurants, music stores, baskets, coffee houses, even vacations, that sort of thing).

The LSAM had its origin in 1992 when a small group of locals decided that the Miami area was in need of a family-oriented acoustic folk music festival. Recalling that Greynolds Park in North Miami Beach in the 1960's was a haven for folk music groupies, the locals decided that that would be their venue. The date for the event would be a tradition… Friday, the day after thanksgiving, in honor of Alice's Restaurant. This founding group remains today as the executive committee of LSAM, and the planning committee has expanded over the years.

All the talent appears gratis in respect for our second addition... Habitat for Humanity. There is a raffle and prizes are supplied by restaurants and many other local merchants with 100% of the proceeds going to Habitat. In our 12-year relationship with Habitat we have helped over 500 families obtain affordable housing.

The festival has developed into everything the founders hoped for: great music performed by respected artists, a family gathering, in a beautiful environment, creating a traditional event to attract a substantial audience-about 2000 of the mellowest people you want to meet and spend a day with.

This will be my tenth year attending this amazing gathering - I always buy raffle tickets... sometimes winning something and, since 2001 when I started my house concerts and continuing to the present with our UU concert series, I've donated many pairs of tickets as well. It's all delightful, spending time with friends, snacking on food/drinking mimosas and listening to wonderful music on an always-perfect weather day - the piece de resistance for me is the very last act at sundown, when Romo, a local musician, performs the full-length version of Alice's Restaurant... and we all sing the chorus, with four-part harmony and feeling, of course!
Here's a YouTube video, with clips from the movie and Arlo performing "Alice" in the same Church 40 years later.

POEM: A Gardener's Thanksgiving by Reverend Max Coots

Let us give thanks for a bounty of people:

For children who are our second planting, and though they grow like weeds and the wind too soon blows them away, may they forgive us our cultivation and fondly remember where their roots are....

For generous friends with hearts as big as hubbards and smiles as bright as their blossoms;

For feisty friends as tart as apples;

For continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers, keep reminding us that we've had them;

For crotchety friends, as sour as rhubarb and as indestructible;

For handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants and as elegant as a row of corn, and the other, plain as potatoes and as good for you;

For funny friends, who are as silly as Brussels Sprouts and as amusing as Jerusalem Artichokes, and serious friends, as complex as cauliflowers and as intricate as onions;

For friends as unpretentious as cabbages, as subtle as summer squash, as persistent as parsley, as delightful as dill, as endless as zucchini, and who, like parsnips, can be counted on to see you through the winter;

For old friends, nodding like sunflowers in the evening-time, and young friends coming on as fast as radishes;

For loving friends, who wind around us like tendrils and hold us, despite our blights, wilts and witherings;

And finally, for those friends now gone, like gardens past that have been harvested, and who fed us in their times that we might have life thereafter;

For all these we give thanks.

QUOTE: "Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life... a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seedtime and harvest, the ripe product of the year - and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God." ~ Ray Stannard Baker

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