SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 15: 200 Strangers, A Blues Man and A Survivor: Part One

“That Casting I’ve Been Talking About”

Today I meet around 200 strangers. Well, kind of? It was a casting and not exactly like approaching strangers on the street. But, I have to say that they still are people I am meeting for the first time. That makes them strangers, Right? My crew, begs to differ. We’ll get into that later.

My Mother always has said when meeting people, “Oh what a lovely bunch of Coconuts.” Trust me, I not a Mama’s boy, but being raised by a very opinionated Jewish Brit, some things just stick in my mind. Plus, her quote is appropriate in explaining the day. Talent, I promise there is no disrespect in my coconut comparison. What it means, we are all humans, but we are all very different. No two coconuts are shaped the same, and all are lovely. Get it?

Granville – Blues Harmonica: When asked about his music he replies “You’ve gotta come see us jam, it’s sick what we’re doing!”

With the casting drawing to a close, I strike up a conversation with one of the more vicarious actors. Granville, interesting guy, cool history and a great sense of humor.

Granville is a smokin harmonica player and tells me stories of his days in Europe jamming with greats such as Memphis Slim and Alexis Korner (Father of the British Blues Movement).

I’ve met a lot of musicians in my time, but never have sat to chat with a blues man. And man, this dude is a “Man of Blues.” I see it in his eyes.

I realize he has two modes, the actor, very gregarious as he pitches his talents with a story of playing the part of Riff in choreographer and director Jarome Robbin’s Broadway revival of West Side Story. But as we talk, I feel a vibe that acting is a living and blues is a passion for Granville. It flows out of him in his words and body language, and as it does, he mellows out into one cool cat.

You can check out what he’s doing every Tuesday Night at Melody Bar & Grill. It’s called Bluesday Tuesday. Tell him Richard sent you.

I ask, “where do you see yourself in ten years?” His answer, “PLAYING THE BLUES THAT’S FOR SURE!”

In parting, we get into a political discussion. I know, stay away from politics in casual conversation. But to be true to the mission of 365, it would be a disservice to the project to not share the view proposed by those I interview. I invite Granville to send me a short perspective, promising him I will publish it. I have included it below.

We finish the interview and thinking I met one cool dude, I turn to my crew for approval. They all harass me hard, calling me a cheater. Telling me that it is not fair to interview someone I have scheduled for a casting. Their platform, “He is not a true stranger.” After a futile argument, I loose the battle and am banished out of the studio to hit the street’s. Sort of glad they did. Read 200 Strangers, A Blues Man and A Survivor: Part Two, you’ll see why.

Granville’s Political Plea:
“As for our political discourse…I would say that the current state of affairs in our country is truly disturbing. The gap between the average American worker and the elite, wealthy upper class has grown to a gaping chasm. And this Supreme Court that rules over our constitution has listed to the extreme right with its 5 to 4 majority that has consistently ruled in activist ways. Most recently in their decision which gave the same rights to corporations that are given to people. As if corporations ARE people too! The top 1% of Americans own close to 50% of the wealth. And there comes a point when the concentration of extreme wealth threatens the existence of democracy. And we ain’t too far from that point I’m afraid. Income inequality in the United States far exceeds that in Europe and is rapidly approaching the Latin American range. It’s already more concentrated in the U.S. than in Venezuela! Economic oligarchies are threatened by the tenets of democracy and will exercise all in their power to maintain a stranglehold on the economy. And as long as they can manage to manipulate markets to give the illusion that times are bad: ie. high gas prices, high food costs, high energy costs etc., then they can disparage the current administration in power as the culprit and resume power. That’s their hope anyway.

I’m disgusted with the political theatre that is at play in this country and in this current Congress.

If more people got up off their behinds and took an interest in the politics and the politicians that impact their daily lives, they might be motivated to vote. People MUST vote! I could go on, but you get the idea. I would like to see a government that invests in our country and stops waging wars that benefit war profiteers like Dick Cheney and company, Halliburton, KBR, Bechtel, Blackwater to name a very few.