Friday, October 18, 2013

Poet, blues scholar and 60s legend John Sinclair to perform in Belfast, Maine.

Poet, blues scholar and 60s legend John Sinclair to perform in Belfast Oct. 17

Evening will also include a performance by Portland-based poetry-jazz cello dance ensemble, The Part Time Buddhas

Posted: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 10:15am
Event Location: Waterfall Arts
Event Date: Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 7:00pm

BELFAST — Waterfall Arts and The Belfast Poetry Festival will present "An Evening with John Sinclair and The Part Time Buddhas" on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at Waterfall Arts in Belfast. A poet, blues scholar, legend and icon of the sixties counter-culture era and a forefather of punk, John Sinclair was also a friend of legends like John Lennon, the one-time manager of the infamous MC5, and an activist for the campaign to legalize marijuana. His poetry will be backed by musicians Duncan Hardy and Friends. The evening will also include a performance by poetry-jazz cello dance ensemble, The Part Time Buddhas.

Poet John Sinclair has been described as a pioneer in the counter-cultural movement that began in the 1960s. He's been at the forefront of the underground publishing movement, he's managed rock bands, organized concerts, and was also founder of the White Panther movement - a group of white left-wing activists united in sympathy with the radical civil rights organization, the Black Panthers. In 1969 he was imprisoned for possessing a small amount of marijuana. His plight and legal appeal challenging the constitutionality of Michigan's draconian marijuana laws inspired a freedom rally and concert. Sinclair was released after a 29-month campaign to gain his freedom climaxed in the mammoth "John Sinclair Freedom Rally" at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Michigan on December 10, 1971. At the rally, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Stevie Wonder, Allen Ginsberg, Phil Ochs, Bobby Seale and others performed and spoke at the eight-hour long event in front of 15,000 people. Lennon wrote and performed his song, "John Sinclair," later released on his "Some Time in New York City" album. Three days after the concert, the Michigan Supreme Court released Sinclair, and later overturned his conviction.

Following his release from prison, Sinclair got back into music management and promotion through the Rainbow MultiMedia Corporation, managed Mitch Ryder & Detroit and several Ann Arbor bands, and produced the historic Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festivals while serving as Chairman of the RPP (Rainbow People Party). In 1975, following the resignation of Richard Nixon and the end of the Vietnam War, the mass movement dried up and America went back to business as usual. Sinclair disbanded the RPP, moved back to Detroit, and for the next 15 years raised his family there and returned to life as a poet, journalist and urban cultural activist. Sinclair moved to New Orleans in 1991 and joined the volunteer staff of WWOZ radio, winning OffBeat magazine's reader's poll as the city's most popular DJ five years in a row (1999-2003), and in 1992 he formed his band, the Blues Scholars (founded in Detroit ten years earlier), recorded his first CD in 1994, and toured the United States as a performance artist backed by jazz, blues and rock ensembles. Today, Sinclair lives in Amsterdam and still performs regularly around the world, often to musical accompaniment.

Based in Portland, The Part Time Buddhas is a poetry-jazz cello dance ensemble that includes Shana Bloomstein, Gil Helmick and Ben Noyes. They have performed with Grammy Saxophonist Charles Neville and have been featured at The Bowery Poetry Club and The Kerouac Festival.

Tickets are $9 and are available at the door. Seating is limited, so guests are asked to arrive early.

Waterfall Arts is located at 256 High St. in Belfast. For more information, visit the event's Facebook page or the Waterfall Arts Affiliate page.


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