Christian (?) Perspective

Allow me to respond to Mr. Matthew Haltom's letter [June 12, Letters]: Cheap shot!

The Rev. Jim Winborn
Maysville, KY

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Mail: 486 West Second St , Lexington, Ky 40507


Someplace Beyond Lonely

Wherever I go, people talk about Alejandro Escovedo with awe. They do that because he touches something inside them, something that trembles at the beauty within the songs, something that, in my case, keeps a man company on a ride through the country just as the sun is fading down into the hills. Even if it takes me someplace beyond lonely for a while, that's okay, because I know, like Alejandro, that hearts like ours were made to be broke.

-author Larry Brown

In a cover story this time last year, Austin Chronicle writer Raoul Hernandez observed Alejandro Escovedo at his lake-front home outside San Antonio: "wet, his jet-black hair slicked back, the last thing Escovedo calls to mind is a road-dependant musician overseeing his family on a sunset swim."

At the time, he was a critically-lauded "road-dependant musician," touring in support of a successful record (A Man Under the Influence); re-releasing the desolate and powerful Gravity; and performing By the Hand of the Father, a theatrical/musical piece and record, inspired by the life of his father.

Now Escovedo's life on the road has hit a detour.

In late April, the 50-something rocker collapsed at an Arizona show and was hospitalized for complications related to Hepatitis C.

In failing health now, with substantial medical costs mounting, Escovedo's tour schedule has been suspended through at least March of next year. Even his Austin performances have been canceled, including his appearance at Austin City Limits in September.

Escovedo has made many friends and fans here through his years of touring, and has often cited Lexington as one of his two favorite cities to play on the road (the other being Chicago, where his label is located).

On his last visit here, he talked with us about his 30-year career, and the highlight of developing a show and CD around his father's life.

He told us Pedro, Sr. (Alejandro is Escovedo's middle name) "was born in 1907 in Mexico. He crossed the border at 12, in search of his parents who were working as pickers in Texas.

"From there, my father at the age of 16 ran away to the coast of California. He got work on ships to Alaska and back. He was a singer in work campsa prizefightera baseball playera singer in a mariachi bandand a father of 12 children." (Escovedo is just over halfway to his dad's record there.)

He's always candid in discussing the pain, pleasure, and struggle that have all been a part of his life, his career, and his inspiration. He's blessed with many children and a loving extended family, but also still carries the burden of grief following the suicide of his wife Bobbie LeVie, many years ago. Thirteen Years and Gravity have been re-released, to critical acclaim. A Man Under the Influence is a critical and commercial success (as was Bourbonitis Blues). Even after his initial diagnosis of Hepatitis C, his health stayed strong for some time. And he's certainly come a long way from the days when a California teacher insisted on calling him Alex, because she refused to pronounce Alejandro. Then again, it wasn't all that many years ago that some venues would direct him to the kitchen entrance of the clubs where he was playing.

Although Escovedo's CDs sell well, they fall more in the cult-following arena (in the tens of thousands, as opposed to the platinum range he so richly deserves), and so his life, and his living, is made on the road. While he's a proud man, reluctant to accept charity of any kind-he's also a man deprived of his livelihood by his health, and a man with a family to support.

In the Chronicle's cover story last summer, Escovedo characterized himself as possessed by the music, concluding, "Right now, at this point in my life, after having done this 30 years almost, there's nothing else I would ever wanna do. I would never trade anything for what I've done musically. I'm one of the luckiest human beings on the planet."

But he added, "At the same time, when you choose to follow the life, to chase whatever it is-like a gambler-you're possessed. And it's sweet sometimes, and it's extremely painful a lot of the time."

One of Escovedo's regular haunts in Austin, The Continental, is hosting benefits in Austin this week. His record label, Bloodshot Records, is organizing a benefit in Chicago.

Contributions from supporters can be mailed to Alejandro Escovedo, c/o Heinz Geissler/ the Texas Music Group/ 805 W. Avenue, #2/Austin, TX 78701.


Free Flowing?

With the Urban County Council's recent 9-6 vote in favor of an ordinance condemnation of RWE,Kentucky-American Water will now fight back. KAWC Vice President Nick Rowe has stated the company will keep in mind which way the council members voted in future elections.

The Coalition Against a Government Takeover is expecting membership to increase because of the condemnation movement, and may go so far as to expand staff.

The ordinance will have first its first reading, Thursday, 26 June.

Lick It, Put A Stamp On It

LFUCG's first satellite payment center/drive thru (in the Phoenix Building at 100 East Vine), operated by the Division of Revenue, will close at the end of the day on Friday, June 27. If you want to pay parking tickets, property taxes, child support, or other fines and fees, go to the Division of Revenue offices on the 2nd floor of the Government Center. (Most payments, other than child support, can be made by mailing your check to: Revenue, 200 East Main, Lex KY 40507). Director Bill O'Mara cites the city's "tight budget situation" as the reason for closing the satellite office. Info, 258-3340.

The Dotted Line

There will be a signing ceremony Friday, June 27 at 11 am at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning to celebrate the agreement between The William Stamps Farish Foundation, The Lexington Public Library, and Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government in support of the Carnegie Center.

Faces of Faith

The Interfaith Alliance of the Bluegrass is sponsoring "Faces of Faith in America: Affirming Lexington's True Colors," July 1 at the Kentucky Theatre from 7:30 to 9pm. Mayor Isaac is scheduled to appear, as well as representatives from the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic communities. An accompanying food fair begins at 6 on Esplanade, as well as a street dance from 9-11 on Esplanade and Short Streets.

Opening Doors

One hundred and twenty six doors, saved from demolition in the Bluegrass-Aspendale neighborhood have been turned into art.

On Tuesday, July 1, the public will be able to see the doors on display in Lexington. Artists from Kentucky, and neighboring states such as Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee created 97 of the 126 pieces. The rest were created by local schools and community groups as a part of their art projects. The Dynamic Doors will be on display throughout the Lexington area until November 17, with an auction of the doors in December. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the arts in Lexington and the Lexington Housing Authority.

To submit an advocacy/activism activity or event for Quickies, email rkirkland@aceweekly.com, or editor@aceweekly.com.