Jan 6th: Coffeehouse w/ Jeff Curtis & Dana Sausa

January 3, 2012 at 9:39 pm 5 comments

February Update:

The next PeaceSmiths Coffeehouse will be Friday, February 3, 2012 with singer/songwriter/activist George Mann and poet Steven Schmidt.



**** Music of JEFF CURTIS ****
****Poetry of DANA SAUSA****
ON 1/6/2012 AT 8 PM

Jeff Curtis


Dana Sausa, poet
(and occupy activist)

Plus Open Mic Time
(Maybe You?!)

Held at:
The First United Methodist Church in Amityville
$7 suggested donation
More if possible, less if necessary

More info or directions, see below, or leave a message at:
(631)798-0778 or www.peacesmiths.org


PeaceSmiths is held at the First United Methodist Church in Amityville.
We call it “The last church on the left.”
Address: 25 Broadway Ave, Amityville, NY
(Broadway is actually the southmost end of RT 110
near Merrick Road/Montauk Highway.)

PeaceSmiths, Inc., community organizing for peace, justice and the environment.

Please bring your ideas, literature, petitions, and announcements to share with the PeaceSmiths community.
Please bring news and announcements from your favorite, local occupations.

More about January’s featured artist:

Jeff Curtis

Guitarist-Composer Jeff Curtis was born on Long Island and resides in Westbury, New York. While growing up during the 1960’s, his earliest musical experiences involved “music lessons for about a week – I think it was the accordion” at age 7. “My father was a builder and my mother was basically a homemaker – I suppose the last thing they ever expected was for me to become a musician.” Within two years, the Beatles had hit the scene and young Jeff found himself becoming engrossed in their music. “There was something about the energy in their songs that made it so accessible, so personal in so many ways – you really felt like you were a part of the music whenever you listened to it.” There was also a rock band “I don’t remember what name the guys used” that some friends on his block had put together. “I watched and saw how cool it was to connect with an audience through music. In late 1969, my friend Bob brought over this new album he had just gotten. I had a little more freedom at my house with the family stereo and it was an opportunity for both of us to listen to `Led Zeppelin 2`. When I first heard the song `Whole Lotta Love’, I decided then and there that I was going to be a part of music on a much deeper level and would to teach myself guitar. In early 1970, I borrowed one of those small pocket chord diagram booklets and a nylon stringed guitar from friends and started practicing. I bought my first electric guitar later that year.”

Jeff continued for the next 20 years primarily with the electric guitar. “I never actually took lessons, I learned pretty much everything I know by ear and watching others along with endless experimentation. I can’t read music and know virtually nothing about theory. If something sounds interesting or melodic, I`ll play around with it and see what evolves from experimenting and jamming.” Though lacking in formal musical training, Jeff’s influences over the years are broad and varied. He cites Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page as “probably the biggest influence on my playing and approach to composition” along with a close friend from Long Island, Quin. “We met the summer after graduating from our respective high schools over a pair of guitars. The improvs and interplay just seemed to click from the beginning so it was easy to invent material. We probably jammed at more parties just for the fun of it than anyone else we know. We would set up this single amp and both plug in and go for it. The sound was horrendous but we always had a blast and got invited all over the place.” When asked about other guitar influences, Jeff cites the following: Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Steve Howe, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Duane Allman, Roy Buchanan, Steve Morse, Eric Johnson, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani.

In the early 1980’s, Jeff had also started playing and composing on the acoustic guitar. “I was getting more into jazz and as my tastes in music mellowed, the acoustic guitar started to have more appeal for me personally.” He had also started listening to a whole different genre of musicians: Pat Metheny, Larry Coryell, Michael Hedges, Preston Reed, Alex DeGrassi, Jorma Kaukonen, Leo Kottke, Will Ackerman, Adrian Legg and Pierre Bensusan came to mind when asked that question. “I consider these guys absolutely required listening for any serious acoustic player. I learned by listening, watching and experimenting on my own, but you have to challenge yourself and these guys certainly provide the inspiration. I don’t ever expect to approach their level of playing but what matters is simply trying to do one`s best. I think anytime I go to a concert, it also serves as a lesson.”

The inspiration is not limited solely to other musical artists. Having traveled the country extensively, Jeff is quick to mention nature and the many places he has traveled to the great outdoors as having influenced his music, as well as personal experiences with different people he`s known. “I could show you the exact places in Vermont, West Virginia and California where I essentially came up with ideas that turned into some of the tracks from both CDs. I have this belief that there is music in some form in just about everything one can experience and nature plays a big part in that belief.”

In the summer of 1998, Jeff released `Dreams`, a CD containing 18 original compositions that was co-produced and engineered by Greg Sweney. The album featured primarily solo acoustic guitar instrumentals along with viola and/or flute duets on some of the tracks. In addition to the regular standard tuning, Jeff used the drop-D and open-G tunings along with another special modal tuning. The guitar was a “cheap little Carlos I bought for something like 35 dollars and spent another 65 dollars or so for Grover tuners.” The 3/4 scale guitar has brass saddles both at the top and on the bridge giving it a bright sound, which Jeff says he reinforced by changing the strings before virtually every recording session.

The release of `Dreams’ led to live guest appearances on Roy Abrams’ WBLI show `The Island Zone’ and Don Sill’s WUSB show at Stony Brook in October 1998. Music from the album was also later aired on WLIR’s ‘Tri-State Sound’ in Long Island and WRVE’s ‘Acoustic Sunrise’ in Albany, New York.

In 1999, a chance meeting with Verge Belanger at an outdoor gathering led to a trip later that year to northern California. An interview/performance was taped for Verge’s radio show `On The Verge’ on public radio stations KZYX and KZYZ in Mendocino County and on public radio station KKUP in Cupertino outside San Jose. Since then, there have been a total of four more mini-tours of the area including performances in Monterey at Ocean Thunder, the Point Arena/Mendocino Talent Show and coffeehouse appearances in Fort Bragg, California. A sixth trip is currently planned for October, 2003 to coincide with the release of Jeff’s latest CD.

In late 2000, Jeff licensed his composition `Horizons’ to the producer of a local Public Access Cablevision TV show called LT1 for use as that show’s theme score. The show is produced by Bruce Figarsky of Community Media Network. Jeff later appeared on LT1, both as a soloist and in a duet with violist Laura Gallucci of the band `St. Huckleberry`, who originally recorded the song `Horizons’ with Jeff.

Another chance meeting with New York bassist Andy Lowe in July 2002 led to a further collaborative effort as Jeff opted for a more orchestrated sound in his latest compositions. Their first live performance as a duet in October 2002 at an annual harvest party outside State College, Pennsylvania captivated the mostly college aged audience who had been listening to a jam band most of the evening. Back in New York later that fall, two more local showcase performances drew enthusiastic applause. Jeff and Andy have also appeared recently on the LT1 cable show.

In January of 2003, Jeff returned to the recording studio to begin work on a second CD of the more recent acoustic guitar-based compositions. “These are basically the ones that have been written over the years and polished a bit since the `Dreams’ recording project was finished five years ago. The approach to this album is different in that I am playing everything in this crazy tuning that my friend Randy Barnett showed me. It was back the fall of 1996 and we had met at a party at another friend’s place down in West Virginia. Randy is an incredible musician in his own right and plays mostly the violin. We were attempting to jam on Led Zeppelin’s `The Rain Song` and he showed me the tuning that Jimmy Page had used for that piece, though it is actually a whole step higher. The tuning I use is DADADE, low to high, though sometimes I`ll use a capo. I started experimenting over the next few weeks afterward and discovered how easily all these unique chord voicings could be played. Three of the eighteen tracks on `Dreams’ were in DADADE but the new album is all tracks of DADADE in various styles – something for everybody hopefully.”

The new album, entitled `The Next Place` is a collection of 16 original compositions written since 1998 that incorporate musical styles from “soft rock to funk to meditative to blues and beyond” plus a solo instrumental fingerstyle rendition of `The Rain Song’. Jeff mentions that “no guitar picks were used whatsoever” during the recording sessions. Sonny Speed of the Island Songwriters Showcase and of the band, `The Defibrillators` produced and engineered the project at Son Spot Studios in Commack, New York, which took almost 8 months to complete. “I tend to think of the material I am writing now as more like a movie soundtrack – each composition could possibly be the background score for a different scene.” `Horizons’, which is included on `The Next Place’ CD, has been used as the theme music for `LT1′ since late 2000 and another track entitled `Medieval Forest` from the `Dreams` CD was used in a west coast produced full-length 2001 documentary film entitled `Treesit`.

Jeff worked with 8 other musicians on the latest project: Andy Lowe on electric 6-string fretless bass and electric 6-string upright bass, Sophie Parker (who also played on the `Dreams` album) on viola and violin; Laura Gallucci, viola; Sean Grace, flute; Sonny Speed, keyboards; Chris Peters, theremin; Dave Broida, harmonica; and Simon Miller, cajon and percussion. “Everyone who participated was great to work with and helped make this CD sound really good, in my humble opinion. There are solo pieces similar to the material on `Dreams` plus orchestrated tracks that will satisfy those who want something more lively.”



Second feature ….Dana Sausa….Poet

Dana is a poet, artist and social justice activist from Long Island.  She is heavily involved in the occupy rallies on Long Island and elsewhere.  Dana’s poetry has been described as diverse, engaging, and intellectually stimulating. The themes of her poems which include emotional devastation, betrayal, and anger are known to stir up strong reactions in her listeners. Many of her recent pieces are about social injustices and the flaws of human behavior based on her personal experiences with the occupy movement.  She has been interviewed by News 12 and other national TV reporters while she was participating in demonstrations at Zuccotti Park.  Dana was an active participant in the protest at Smith Haven Mall on Black Friday. A local reporter from the Sachem Patch noted Dana’s marked enthusiasm and staunch solidarity with the occupy movement…..  “One of the youngest, and most vocal, demonstrators was Dana Sausa, 17. She recited the Declaration of the Occupation, which was approved by consensus on Sept., 29 2011 at the New York City General Assembly in Occupied Liberty Square. It included the statement, “We must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.” As Sausa recited each line, the entire group chanted it back verbatim and in unison which is known as the “people’s microphone.” Sausa, a high school dropout and self-proclaimed “poster child for the movement” feels that her parents and the school system have failed her.”By being here I expect to root out some misconceptions people have,” she said, “[such as] that this isn’t affecting them by shopping at these corporate conglomerations.”  Peacesmiths welcomes this very compassionate and creative young woman to our stage.

Entry filed under: Coffeehouse, Long Island, Long Island events, long island music, news, Peace, PeaceSmiths Calendar, performers, poetry. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Occupy Long Island: Occupy Black Friday demo 11/25/2011 PS Feb Coffeehouse w/ George Mann

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Chris Garvey  |  January 7, 2012 at 2:18 am

    This evening at PeaceSmiths it was alleged that, in a debate, Ron Paul said society should let the uninsured die. That’s not true. Here is a transcript:
    Q: “Society should just let him die?”
    “No. I practiced medicine before we had Medicaid. In early 1960s when I got out of medical school. I practiced at Santa Rosa hospital in San Antonio and the churches took care of him.
    We never turned anybody away from the hospital.
    And we’ve given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves. Assume responsibility for ourselves. Our neighbors, our friends, our churches would do it. This whole idea. That’s the reason the cost is so high.
    The cost is so high because we dump it on the government. It becomes a bureaucracy. It becomes special interest. It kow tows to the insurance companies and then the drug companys.
    And then on top of that you have the inflation. The inflation devalues the dollar.
    We have lack of competition. There’s no competition in medicine. Everybody’s protected by licensing.
    We should actually legalize alternative healthcare. Allow people to practice what they want.”
    Here is the video:

  • 2. Kimberly Wilder  |  January 7, 2012 at 2:38 am

    Kimberly’s personal comment –

    Hello, Chris! I am so glad that you attended PeaceSmiths tonight. I had to miss.

    I am also glad that PeaceSmiths is still home to people of various political persuasions. I love having Libertarians around to speak about Freedom with!

    I had heard people elsewhere making claims about what Ron Paul said about health care. Thanks for presenting your side of the debate, with video proof.


  • 3. megan carpentier  |  January 7, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Ron Paul’s Useful Idiots on the Left
    By Megan Carpentier, Guardian UK

    07 January 12

    f you told a liberal in 2008 that progressives ought to give Republican Texas Congressman Ron Paul a chance because he was the most anti-war candidate on the ballot, you would have been laughed out of the room – or, more likely, the bar. But in 2012, some prominent (and white, male) progressives are arguing exactly that. What’s changed? Not Ron Paul, that’s for certain.

    He’s still the same guy who thinks the US should withdraw from the WTO and the United Nations, and who wants to eliminate foreign aid and the Department of Commerce and all its trade regulation and promotion activities. But, we are told, since he advocates for a complete, immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan (which military intervention, notably, he voted for), he’s a better foreign policy candidate than President Obama.

    And, if his newest converts are to be believed, his support for the withdrawal from Afghanistan, his impassioned pleas for a return of Americans’ civil liberties from an overreaching government and his opposition to the drug war are reason enough to give the man a chance. After all, they say, President Obama has not delivered on his promises and supporters’ expectations in those areas, either. But to the women, minorities and LGBT people (and their supporters) who have paid attention to Paul’s record, it comes as little surprise that his most vociferous supporters on the left are pale and male … and their arguments stale.

    This is the man who, to trumpet his pro-life agenda in Iowa to social conservatives, released an ad that questions whether repealing Roe v Wade would eliminate women’s abortion rights in enough states, since it would create “abortion tourism” (a situation with which the Irish and the British are already familiar). He opposed the Obama administration’s decision to declare birth control a preventative medicine, which pressures insurance companies to cover it without co-pays. He has said he would allow states to decide same-sex marriage rights for their citizens but keep the Defense of Marriage Act intact – which restricts federal rights, including immigration and social security survivor benefits (among others) to opposite-sex married couples.

    He also opposes the US supreme court decision in Lawrence v Texas that decriminalised consensual sodomy in the United States. He opposes the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He wants to restrict birthright citizenship, denying the children of immigrants legal status in the United States if they are born here, voted to force doctors and hospitals to report undocumented immigrants who seek medical treatment, and sponsored bills to declare English the official language of the United States and restrict government communications to English. And that’s just for starters.

    Nonetheless, there have been calls by progressives, most notably Glenn Greenwald, to ignore all of that and more, and focus instead on Obama’s policy failings to have “an actual debate on issues of America’s imperialism”. He went on to argue that there are no policy priorities more imperative than those – certainly not abortion, immigration rights, LGBT equality, racial justice or any other aspect of the US’s extensive foreign policy. (Greenwald, who is gay, was in the relatively privileged position of being able to travel to Brazil to circumvent Doma.) And so people whose lives, safety, livelihoods and health depend on them should accept that they are trading their concerns for, say, the lives of Muslim children killed by bombs in Afghanistan.

    In fact, many of Ron Paul’s newest supporters on the left look strikingly like the majority of the ones on the right who have been following him for years: the kinds of people whose lives won’t be directly affected by all those pesky social conservative policies Paul would seek to enact as president, either due to their race, class, gender or sexual orientation.

    And so, to the women who worry they’d be left without access to reproductive healthcare, immigrants who need to see a doctor or understand a government form (like an immigration form), African Americans who rightly wonder what this country would look like in the absence of a civil rights act, and LGBT people who would like to get married and get access to the rights straight Americans take for granted on a daily basis, all are told, again, to wait: there are more important issues to talk about, more important problems to be solved, more life-or-death situations that we’re simply ignoring out of selfishness.

    Seems like there’s a lot of that going around.

    • Guardian UK Editor’s Note: Glenn Greenwald has responded in this discussion thread to the specific criticism directed at him in this article

  • 4. Barry Loberfeld  |  January 12, 2012 at 9:29 am

    We’ll keep this short — a link:


  • 5. Barry Loberfeld  |  January 12, 2012 at 9:38 am

    “Guardian UK Editor’s Note: Glenn Greenwald has responded in this discussion thread to the specific criticism directed at him in this article.”

    Here is Greenwald’s response:

    The paragraph that purports to describe what I wrote is an absolute, 100% pure fabrication – so reckless and false that it is inexcusable.

    Not only did I never argue what is attributed to me, but I repeatedly renonced those ideas – I even put those sentences in bold-face print, at the start of my piece, to prevent these sorts of blatant, sloppy fabrciations. Is this really too complex a thought for Carpenter to process? Apparently:

    Hence: I’m about to discuss the candidacies of Barack Obama and Ron Paul, and no matter how many times I say that I am not “endorsing” or expressing support for anyone’s candidacy, the simple-minded Manicheans and the lying partisan enforcers will claim the opposite. But since it’s always inadvisable to refrain from expressing ideas in deference to the confusion and deceit of the lowest elements, I’m going to proceed to make a couple of important points about both candidacies even knowing in advance how wildly they will be distorted.

    Or how about this: “It’s perfectly rational and reasonable for progressives to decide that the evils of their candidate are outweighed by the evils of the GOP candidate, whether Ron Paul or anyone else.”

    Or this? “There are, as I indicated, all sorts of legitimate reasons for progressives to oppose Ron Paul’s candidacy on the whole.”

    Anyone with the most basic capacity for literacy would know that Carptenter’s claim — that I argued “there are no policy priorities more imperative than those – certainly not abortion, immigration rights, LGBT equality, racial justice or any other aspect of the US’s extensive foreign policy” – is a total falsehood, to put that generously.

    There’s much more of that in the piece she references, as well as in the separate one I wrote yesterday:

    I do not believe that the issues on which I principally focus are objectively The Most Important Ones. There are many issues of vital importance that I write about rarely or almost never: climate change, tax policy, abortion, even the issue which affects me most personally: gay equality. . . . . But there are many other issues of genuine importance, and I have no objection to those who, when forced to choose, prioritize those concerns over the ones about which I write most frequently. That is why I wrote — and meant — that “there are all sorts of legitimate reasons for progressives to oppose Ron Paul’s candidacy on the whole” and “it’s perfectly rational and reasonable for progressives to decide that the evils of their candidate are outweighed by the evils of the GOP candidate, whether Ron Paul or anyone else.”

    That is the precise opposite of the argument Carpenter either ignorantly or dishonestly attributed to me, and if she had an iota of integrity, she’d issue an immediate retraction.

    My point — said over and over — is that there are vital issues (war, empire, the Surveillance State, the Drug War, due process, transparency, drones, oligrachical corruption) on which Paul — but not Obama — expresses the view progressives long claimed to embrace. But I did not argue — and in fact said I was not arguing — that progressives should vote for Paul over Obama, let alone that issues of LGBT, abortion or social programs were of less importance.

    What a wretched slander.

    Finally, the notion that I am “privileged” — because I am forced to live outside of my own country in order to be with my same-sex spouse — has to be one of the all-time dumbest claims ever to appear on the Internet. Just think about it:

    Glenn Greenwald is barred by discrimiantory laws from living in his own country because he’s gay, so he’s forced to live on a separate continent in order to be with his life partner. Can you believe how privileged he is!

    How can anyone who can manage to turn on a computer possibly express that thought without their brain going into red alert?

    The reality is that issues of gay equality affect me personally more than any other single issue. Because I’m not Muslim, I’m unlikely to be put in GITMO, or drone-attacked; because I’m not a racial minority, I’m unlikely to be consigned to a cage for decades because of drug possession. If I were judging based purely on self-interest, I would be a single issue voter – simply asking which candidate is best on gay equality.

    But some of us are capable of objecting to grave injustices even when they don’t direclty affect us. That, too, should be added to the long list of simple ideas that Carpenter is incapable of grasping.

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Fri. Oct. 4th, 2019
PeaceSmiths Coffeehouse
First of the new season!
Jimi Durso and Matt Kline of
Coincidence Machine
Travis McKevney
Open Mic! Maybe you?
(Won’t we have things to talk about?!)


Fri. June 7, 2019
PeaceSmiths Coffeehouse
Last of the season!

The PeaceSmiths Coffeehouse is the first Friday of the month, from October to June.

Public Access TV

PeaceSmiths Monthly Coffeehouse and Monthly Forum can sometimes be seen on Public Access TV on the Woodbury Cable system channel 20 on the following shows:

Church of Comedy

Harmony Rising

Banner Photo

The banner photo is PeaceSmiths friends and banner in Washington, D.C. for a peace march on January 27, 2007. Susan is waving on the left, above the "e". Photo copyright Merly Thinanyi of Thihanyi Photography in Valley Stream.

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