Ahh, Jimmy Magahern. Your decision to start this blog is a little miracle. Your creation of KCAC Lives! has in turn created some incredibly meaningful memories that many of us had let migrate to the back of our brains. It's evident every day in the posts that people send here. What you took the time and energy to create has inspired a rebirth of our community. We are lucky indeed!
Bob Gately's post (scroll to the bottom) got me to thinking about the community we share, this blog and AMEHOF among other things. It leads me to comment on the concerns in Bob's heartfelt post:
Yes. this family of friends does grow. And it will keep on growing. You're right, any success can be a slippery slope. It's no doubt that the focus changes along with the world in which we live, and that this world has disconnected us from our essential selves. But I still believe that people from our "clan" like yourself, Danny, Russ, Marty. Alice and the rest of the folks who have had such success in their endeavors have a special outlook, and a place in their hearts that is wide open, still embracing the things Bill Compton and KCAC stood for.
Though I don't hang out with these folks I think I can assure you there is still a real, unique connection within the KCAC era 'clan.' Why, take yourself for example! And don't worry too much, I'm pretty sure Russ is still 'wonderful.' And sure, Danny Zelisko is a dynamo! But he hasn't lost his heart or love for the community. He's still here, after all.
You mentioned the need to promote local bands and promoting what's 'ours.' Well, the Danny Zelisko produced Jerry Riopelle New Years Eve show was phenomenal. Bob Meighan Band was the opener! They were great. What a nice trip down memory lane! Zelisko also was key along with Troy Lucketta (TESLA) in putting together the fabulous 'Drummerpalooza' Lissa Wales Benefit last year. Heart and soul. That's what it's about.
One of the exciting things about KCAC Lives and AMEHOF is that these two efforts complement each other. Both share the goal of bringing our Arizona community together. Both give us a place to express ourselves and to unify. And your own ideas and contributions to this blog certainly illustrate the dedication of those who care about our past and its part in our present lives. Who will forget how last year's 1st Az Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was simply incredible in its ability to bring the community together in a spirit of love, appreciation, celebration.
Perhaps people who weren't there don't yet understand the impact and importance of that event. But whoever was there saw that AMEHOF brought Arizona's music, arts and entertainment communities together on a scale and in a way this Valley has never seen. That AMEHOF event put Arizona on the map as a strong community of musicians, artists and entertainers who respect and promote our own in what was an often overwhelming day of wonder. Tears of joy, bittersweet memories and laughter filled an audience eager to see and be seen as a true community, heart and soul. They knew it was the real deal. How sad for those who couldn't be there to participate in that benchmark day.
Sometimes it's hard for us to recognize great things in ourselves. AMEHOF didn't get all the local press it deserved. But it was astonishing to 'google' the AZ Hall of Fame at that time and read the truly wonderful reviews and comments about the event from various print media and websites in Arizona and elsewhere. KCAC Lives started out with a small group of people and look at it now!
We've learned to minimize our efforts to bring people together in terms of the impact on our community. We've fought time, 'progress' and cynicism, expecting to be disappointed. Until Bill Compton and KCAC came along, this area had its collective head in the sand. When we lost that formidable, good force and all that came with it, of course we were scattered creatively, emotionally, physically.
But there's a new 'movement' that anyone who participates in this blog or was at the AMEHOF event can't deny or forget. This community counts on things like this blog and AMEHOF continuing to recognize and build upon the legacy that was born that Sunday. AMEHOF knows It has built a house of cards that we can't let fall. We are all part of it. Our community depends upon it. Those who lived through those times, even those who are new to AZ, could feel the vibe at last year's AMEHOF ceremony!
Like KCAC Lives, it celebrates what is at the core of our community, creatively. The AMEHOF event was a celebration of the unabashed pride we have in our community and for the success Arizona's own have achieved. KCAC Lives did it's part and more to make the event a success too, as did Radio Free Phoenix.
So the circle is NOT broken. And yes, I think this 'clan' of ours is a band of Movers and Shakers in the best sense. I deeply believe we are all people whose appreciation for our culture and the history of especially these last five decades is strong.
The AMEHOF ceremony nurtured that identity and resolve. So do KCAC Lives and RFP. All will continue to do so just as other things are developing to bring us back into the eye of our whirlwind. All of us staying involved, aware, and caring...that's what it takes.
So take heart. We've only just begun to shine a little light.