Wednesday, September 20th – It’s almost like performing at Carnegie Hall, or the Fillmore! Strange Travel Suggestions will play for one night only at this famed and fabulous Berkeley club, as a benefit for Ethical Traveler. Showtime is at 8 p.m., with doors opening at 7:30. For details call 548-1761, or visit www.freightandsalvage.org
September 8-10, 2006 – I clearly remember the day: September 8th, 1966. My father, brother and I sat on the couch in the living room, in front of a Sylvania B&W TV with a box of Mr. Salty pretzles. I was 12 years old. Vietnam was in full swing; no one had walked on the Moon. But we were about to be transported to a future in which Earthlings had evolved beyond war, and humanity roamed the galaxy with a smile and a shoeshine: The first episode of Star Trek was about to premier. From September 8th-10th, I’ll be a featured speaker the Star Trek 40th Anniversary Gala, to be held in Seattle, WA. Fellow guests and speakers will include Nichelle Nichols, Jason Alexander, George Takei, and many others. Click on the green text above for the link, and beam yourself into the Space Needle!
Thursday, Sept 7th, 2006 – The Mechanics’ Institute Library, at 57 Post Street in San Francisco, will open their Autumn season with a one-off performance of Strange Travel Suggestions. The show starts at 7 p.m., with the box office and café open at 6:30. Tickets are $10 for members, $16 for non-members. Tickets are extremely limited to this event, so if you are interested don’t hesitate… call the MI for details at 415-393-0100 or visit their website.
God, that is. We had a very interesting conversation. Where? Where else but the Black Rock desert, where the Divine Essence and I enjoyed a rambling, 10-minute chat on Friday morning. Not metaphysically, but in a phone booth (while Superman waited patiently outside).
I asked if She’d read “The End of Faith,”an enormously provocative and important book by Sam Harris. Indeed She had. (Interestingly, the woman who spoke to God before me described Him as a man.) “The problem isn’t faith,” She said, “but organized religion.” When I wondered why there wasn’t more divine intervention, given the current state of affairs, She replied by answering that age-old question: Yes, we do have free will, and no, there isn’t much She can do about the little foibles, the microcosmic inanities, of creation.
So what of the Bible? The Old Testament is the source of much of the modern world’s conflict and turmoil, and I wanted to know once and for all whether or not it was, in fact, God’s word. When I asked that final question, She laughed with dry amusement: “Come on," She insisted. "I’m a much better writer than that.”
And speaking of free will,
one of the most outrageous examples of national hysteria in memory unfolded on August 12th, at a JetBlue boarding gate in New York. Raed Jarrar, an architect of Iraqi descent on his way to California, was forced to remove a black T-shirt inscribed with an anti-war slogan — “We Will Not Be Silent” — in Arabic and English. The phrase, ironically, is borrowed from the White Rose group, formed in Munich in 1941. White Rose members believed that the young people of Germany had the potential to overthrow Adolf Hitler and the Nazi government. How’s that for irony?
As fate would have it, I’m scheduled to fly to JFK on JetBlue next month. In a perfect world, every freedom-loving passenger traveling on that airline would pull a Spartacus move, and show up wearing the very same T-shirt. Can you imagine? Two hundred JetBlue passengers, all wearing shirts saying "We Will Not Be Silent" in Arabic and English. Imagine the open mouths of the baggage checkers; the consternation of the ticket-takers; the giddy pride of belonging to a nation of people with the courage to stand up for the First Amendment.
Oh, for a perfect world.