Monday, January 29, 2007

The Great Mother Ramone
Charlotte Lesher 1926-2007

On Sunday January 28, Charlotte Lesher, mother of Joey Ramone suffered a heart attack in her home in Rego Park, Queens home , and passed away. "Mama Ramone", as Joey called her, was 80 years old, but her youthful sparkle and lust for life kept her looking and feeling half her age. Charlotte is survived by her younger son Mickey Leigh, a first class guitarist on the New York scene.

An artist and bohemian with a diamond wit, razor intellect and a heart bigger than the ocean, Charlotte was instrumental in nurturing the talents of the early Ramones. During the 1970's, she owned a gallery called the Art Garden in Forest Hills. Joey and Dee Dee practiced in the basement, grew pot plants and sometimes they slept there, barricaded behind cartons to avoid detection. After Joey died in 2001, Charlotte and Mickey honored his memory by hosting an annual birthday bash that would become an in-gathering of the Post-Ramones Empire, featuring some of old school and neo-punk's greatest bands.

Charlotte Lesher was instrumental in getting a street sign erected at Joey Ramone Place on East 2 and Bowery, near the former site of CBGB's. She had been a passionate and vocal supporter in our campaign to save CBGB's from closing last year. Charlotte was a scene matriarch, as beloved by us as the Blessed Mother herself. Over the years she gathered two generations of brokenhearted Ramones fans who sent her letters, cards, gifts and flowers. Charlotte rarely missed a gig, no matter what time the band went on--if her sons were playing, she was right there, turbo-charged, alive and kicking.

Fierce like a lioness in her devotion to her sons, protective of anyone she loved, Charlotte was one of the strongest women I've ever known. A petite, powerful and charismatic presence. Married three times, in the pre-feminist era when women were expected to be coy, submissive and cooperative, Charlotte kicked down the doors and shouted out her own version of "Hey ho, let's go!" Though she survived the violent death of her beloved husband Hank, a bout with cancer, and the loss of her firstborn son, Charlotte never crumbled.

I will always remember my sweet, beautiful friend this way; it was summertime, were standing outside watching the sunset on a deck near Woodstock, where she had her summer home. The Great Mother Ramone looked out at the pink cloud formations, her pixie eyes twinkling, exhuberant, bursting with chi she declared, "Donna, I love life!" This great spirit is as undefeated in death as she was in life.

In lieu of cards or flowers, the family requests donations to the Joey Ramone Foundation for Lymphoma Research: P.O. Box 1107 Cooper Station, NY, NY 10276.

Donna Gaines, NYC

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Scholarly Paperback
Available April 2007, Rutgers University Press

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

"[Animals] were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men." Alice Walker

"The time will come when people such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of people." Leonardo da Vinci

"The average meat eater is responsible for the deaths of some 2,400 animals during his or her lifetime. Animals raised for food endure great suffering in their housing, transport, feeding and slaughter." J Motavalli

"So You're an Environmentalist; Why Are You Still Eating Meat? I feel very deeply about vegetarianism and the animal kingdom. It was my dog Boycott who led me to question the right of humans to eat other sentient beings." Cesar Chavez, United Farm Workers

"I encourage the Tibetan people and all people to move toward a vegetarian diet that doesn't cause suffering." Dalai Lama

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Mohandas Gandhi

"The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future: deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease." World Watch

"Nothing will benefit health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." Albert Einstein

"There is a direct relationship between eating meat and the environment." Andrea Gordon

"If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That's the single most important thing you could do." Paul McCartney

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy Holidaze 2007

GRATITUDE--Bill W. & Dr. Bob, co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous

Ten years ago on January 26, I had my last drink, it was a Merlot. New Years Eve 1997 had been spent at Coney Island High. The mighty Sea Monster pounding through the night, white powder, and twelve hours of drinking resulted in another blackout. "Heavy social drinking" had become alcoholism. I was at a spiritual, mental and physical bottom. But then something happened--and like so many drunks before (and after me) I found myself uplifted, saved, born again. In 2007 life is sweeter than ever, the Promises of sober living are endless, and love is everywhere--in me, in you and in the world.

In 2007, SoulSurfing will continue to ponder the complex relationship between the sacred and the profane, the mystical and the mundane. The thing is, after a while, sociology of culture and sociology of religion start to look very much alike. The Ramones and Rachmaninov seem equally compelling, and it becomes increasingly clear that "life is the only thing worth living for."