Posts for 2010



This morning…

This morning I sat on the pew at Ronni Chasen’s funeral, on this extraordinary day of exuberant sun and boisterous wind, the day of my son’s birthday party, the day Ronni’s body was put into the soft, unopposing earth.

Ronni, who often said, “when are you going to get rid of those gold teeth? When are you going to give up those ripped jeans? You have to get out and be seen! People really like you, it’s funny, I mention your name and people really like you.” Ronni, who felt pride that I spoke hebrew and loved my songs, who appreciated me even as she couldn’t fathom me, Ronni who came to our house and had soul warming dinners with us when I couldn’t afford to hire her, who was making a transition from the woman who got artists recognition to the woman that recognized the artist within her.

That’s why, I feel, Paris became her place. She could be at a cafe, and be anything, for a moment. The senses open and the mind spreads, and before one can’t create an expression for what they perceive, one can imagine that they can. And as Ronni said, “I want to learn, I want to do different things.” I feel the gap between the qualities she loved in the people she fought so hard for and the qualities that made her artists love her, was closing.

Someone after the memorial said, “Ronnie had a way of saying things without offending people.” Shows how little he knew her. “Ronnie offended me allot”, I said. But Ronnie knew herself so well she could easily admit when she was wrong. Like all the times she pushed me to go to premieres with a beard. Months later she saw how much publicity women got when they came out, but I didn’t seek publicity one way or the other, and she gradually accepted me on all fronts.

Ronni had me hook, line and sinker from the moment I met her. I felt like a kid with her, she was so grounded, so worldly, so safe and perceptive that I could laugh and knock her arm, be sweet or outrageous, and she would roll her eyes and say, “I really do love you.”

I hate the users and takers who murdered Ronnie. I hate the world that this happens in. It is completely incongruous that a woman of such integrity, honesty, who worked so hard every day and night of her life, who did nothing but help people should be shot five times in the chest. She wasn’t in any “hood”, she didn’t hang around with people who live on that edge, she was street smart, she didn’t attract anger or danger, this is not the way she was supposed to go.

Ronnie created her life, their wasn’t a hair out of place, she did the work, she took the responsibility, she earned the existence she tended. Very few people have the courage to do that. Ronnie always said, “walk me to my car”, she wasn’t sloppy or careless about anything.

Incongruous. Unfair. Unbelievable. Enraging.

So today as I weep for those beautiful eyes that won’t look out another prodigious day with excitement and knowing, my son will wake up from his nap and have a party to celebrate his life, so far. Its a lot to ask of you, Ronnie, but could you guide him a little? Could you be as tough on him as you were on me, I’m not worried, he’ll find your soft spot. You were protective of me, Ronnie Chasen, I love you, the things you taught me, I’ll never forget.

Sophie B.


The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC) 2010 Gala

Sophie performed at the gala event held November 18, 2010 at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan for The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

The 135-year-old nonprofit, the first of its type, helps victims recover from the trauma of abuse and counsels child care professionals. It also set up a program in the New York City schools that teaches some 1,700 children the difference between proper and harmful touching.

“This gala is very important for me because the society really knows how to take care of children,” said Hawkins, whose emotional struggles were chronicled in “The Cream Will Rise,” a 1998 documentary directed by her manager and filmmaker, Gigi Gaston. “I didn’t have that until I was in my 30s,” she said of the therapy provided by the society.

Read Bloomberg.com’s article about the event and Sophie’s participation.

Red Carpet Video:

View the red carpet interview with Sophie

Event Photos:


Hello friends and neighbors…

Hello friends and neighbors, I am pushing out the banks of my day to let the river of thought well up and twirl a little before spilling into dreamland, assuming sleep is down river. It’s funny what I’m thinking of writing about, considering I could be writing about the first reading of our musical with Kristin Chenoweth, Doug Sills, Kathleen Marshall, Gigi Gaston, Thomas Meehan, Mary Mitchell Campbell and a marvelous cast of seventeen well known and beyond talented Broadway performers. That was the most thrilling five days of my creative life as a songwriter and lover of musicians, theatre and performing artists. Although perhaps I don’t want to sully up the vibrations still humming inside of me, it was by all accounts a great success for a first reading, but we are still at the beginning of a long journey, and I don’t want to jinx it.

I could talk about standing in the rain for hours in Central Park, thanking God and my mamma New York, listening to the sounds of my childhood, the lamp light throwing itself on drops of soft, cool water, making leaves drip with gold, and running like mercury into the gutters after something too fleeting to behold. But then deep gratitude, like love, does not always come to the surface, rather it curls loyally around it’s roots. I could write about Provincetown, being stood up by the “nanny” at the airport at five a.m. with three dogs, a child and many instruments, not to mention two shows a night for four nights in a row…and it was a great time, not necessarily in spite of her, but because of the revelation that false support keeps one from opening up to real support. Had the entitled sabotager suffered her commitment, the heroic Erin Duncan, uber nanny turned star medical student, would not have called out a flavor from a no nonsense Italian from Providence, who took Dash to the Lobster Pot every night where we met him in between shows for clam chowder. He has a fan club there now.

I could really go on about Ptown and Dash in the ocean, the Province lands and playing with just Ed and I, but that’s not what’s really on my mind. My friend Richard Grenell, the longest serving American spokesman in U.N. history, a true environmental activist (he’s the guy we went to the Gulf with), and important public relations person, invited me to sing the National Anthem at a lunch for Mattie Fein. I didn’t know a thing about her but I always learn from Richard, and I love the challenge of painting a picture with that profoundly relevant song. I walked in with my guitar and saw Ambassador John Bolton in the diverse crowd, including a soldier from Iraq and business people from Syria and many other countries.

It was a very soulful group; they listened intently as I set up the song in 1814 from the point of view of Francis Scott Key looking at Fort McHenry, as Washington burned. They joined in singing with their hands over their hearts, and I felt rather humbled by the moment. My first impression of Mattie Fein was that she was unconventional, and she is. A pro choice, pro Gay republican, focused on keeping business in her district of California, and she’s running against multi millionaire career politician Jane Harman, who can’t be doing much right ‘cause Cali’s in the pits.

John Bolton was as far from what I thought he’d be as I might have been to him. He was measured, humorous, poetic, insightful, unpredictable and at the core, a true humanitarian. I asked him his view on immigration and he said we need to return to the Melting Pot philosophy, meaning to let everyone in as long as everyone can be Americanized. He said we need more people from all over the globe to keep this country great, to keep our edge, but immigrants need to be 100% American AND 100% whatever their heritage is. He said make legalized immigration easier, and focus on integration so we have generations and generations of diverse people who love this country. He is in every sense worldly and he expresses his appreciation of global relationships in every sentence, yet he believes America, the place in the heart, the mind and the soil, is still worth protecting. He talked about mistakes made during the Bush era, not defensively, because he is looking ahead, and he does believe a nuclear Iran is the greatest threat to destabilizing world safety.

I used to cringe at the Ambassador because I was so angry at our pre-emptive attack on Iraq, and before that I protested Clinton and Gore about the WTO. Now I express opposition to the Obama administration over legislation and his do nothing approach to the Gulf. I guess I’m just not a party girl. I like the individual. My nickname in high school was WW for wild woman, I’d come to an apartment full of stoned teen-agers, dance in the strobe light and leave. My favorite part was walking home alone on the granite sidewalks. I don’t want to be liked, (of course I want to be loved madly), but most of all I can’t stand feeling controlled. Having to be a Democrat or a Republican is giving up my freedom of thought. I appreciate being able to meet politicians and ask them questions, like when I met Hillary and was inspired to work like heck for her, and then when I met Bill and “got it”. I loved being open to Ambassador John Bolton and feeling how much he wants to give not just to Americans but to all people, and Mattie Fein, I like how out of the box she is. I like walking away feeling connected but not indebted.

I don’t want any country to be sold out by it’s leaders, and you know where it starts? When the people sell out to a party, mind, body and soul, and then the party sells out to the elite. I believe that’s happened for the last twenty years, at least. Again, I’m not a party girl and I’ve certainly never been a sell out, and I have a feeling the time is getting ripe for, dare I say it, Mr. and Mrs. Smith to go to Washington.


Haloo my friends…

Halooo my friends, let me thank you once again, generous souls, for donating to Operation Smile. Having spent time with 3 special children who have had operations to gain the use of their facial muscles, I can say truthfully, if you save someone’s heart, you save their life. Lord it’s gorgeous in Tucson, and we met a man on the plane named Blaise (Anthony) who was quite brilliant about why people are losing their connection with authentic feelings, with individuality, with true expression, with each other. I asked him, “what do think could create jobs, independent of government, what could be the next wave, like what Bill Gates gave to the world?” “Take hand-helds out of the hands of children.” He’s an expert on rhetoric. Rhetoric, he had told me earlier, is stirring someone to action, it is not, as I had thought, a statement that begs no answer. Anthony was describing the atmosphere of working with young people at a successful marketing company of clothes and sound. The kids go to the lunch counter and, instead of taking the food in sensorily, making a decision about what they want to eat and sitting with friends, they text, abstractly, distractedly, superficial reviews.

The first reaction to anything is to text in fragments. We talked about why when a child develops his sense of self on the internet it is so easy to have that fragile construct destroyed. When I was bullied as a child, teased, mocked, as so many children are, I had to deal with my feelings and create a world that strengthened me internally. I sought my path not only to get away from insensitive people, but to go toward creative, productive people. I had to work hard on my weaknesses for years and years to earn the right to be around people of “my ilk”. I still do. If I had been seeking in cyberspace I would have gotten more and more lost. Every person needs a mentor, an imperfect teacher, an illadvised advisor to push them off the perch of isolation. To walk through life texting is like giving away pieces of your soul as you go, cutting off chunks and slices of your spiritual body and bleeding your creative wealth, your presence, as you drift toward your destination. No wonder kids are killing themselves.

Anthony said that although he is the music and visual designer for this huge clothing company, what they are really marketing are emotions. Young people have always been targets, no doubt, but there is no defense against manipulation if “your world”, “your generation” is a manipulated netherspace with no eyes to look back at yours, no facial expressions to try and hide, no heart beating to listen to. Anthony, a rather liberal eccentric grounded by Brooklyn Italian roots who prays every morning and parties at night with rock stars, (on the job), said, “that’s why this country is becoming socialist”. Because in order to be or even appreciate a “rugged individualist” or “pioneer spirit”, you have to struggle physically and emotionally, not just intellectually, against your own void, not just cast your potential into a collective void. He said the lack of critical thinking allows people, especially young people, to accept lies, a collage of life as someone wants you to see it, rather than how you view it. There aren’t qualifications that matter, in any job, just about. The bar is so low that competition has been replaced with self promotion, or worse, an attitude of, “so go ahead and fire me, I’ll sue you.”

When I stood outside the club in Austin friday night wishing on a star before my show, I listened to the wall of sound of the most popular show of the moment. I earnestly picked out the strains of melody or anti melody to follow, as one does, to grasp the memorable lines, to find the form in the mist, but I could only predict when the audience would roar. I knew nothing of the band, but I could say of the crowd, “they’ll hoot here, and now again, and …, hooting now” as if I were conducting the cheers from a block away. Eerily, I wondered if the cheering were programmed into the sound design, formerly known as music. And I know that’s to come. Because they are packaging emotions, not songs.

We have to be aware, like never before, of who we are allowing ourselves to become. I’m hoping this mind time suck of texting, cell phones and computer appendages is a phase, a time in our human history when we exclaim, “how could we have lived that way!” When we call the twittering for what it is, not social “cred” building, but social crud. I’m reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s the Beautiful and the Damned, it’s allot better than tweeting. But we are damned, if we don’t come back to our senses. See you soon,
Sophie B.


From the Cornfields of Illinois

Hello from the cornfields of Illinois! On our way to Midway airport, the show last night was fun, however, we were the last ones standing. I have a feeling this morning that the problem of 12 to 20 percent unemployment throughout the country is to blame. I heard and saw volumes of what’s wrong with the powers that be, and I woke with a strong sense that what is wrong is that we, the people, allow ourselves to be used and don’t stand up and take responsibility for what we hate about ourselves, our lives and our country.

It’s time to stop blaming people who we perceive as stronger and more powerful or mean, and STOP MAKING EXCUSES for the people who are destructive and bitter towards others and themselves. Are you one of those people? If you are, find the spiritual strength to live your truth. It’s now or never.

I loved reading the words of Sophia in Alice Walker’s book, The Color Purple, “White folks is a miracle of affliction” when I was young. Now that I’m less young I realize that so is Black folk, so is Hispanic folk, so is all folk. You wanna say to white people “welcome to our world” now that it’s fine to say out loud how racist you are? NEWSFLASH: we’ve all been in the same toxic world for thousands of years. The people on top keep changing, but the people on the bottom remain the same.

Its time to change and be an example for our children. Its time to realize that if you are racist you are being used. You are just an ignorant pawn in the game of greed and power. Black people enslave black people to this day. Hispanics are as racist as
any group of people I have ever witnessed. And of course, the brutality of white people is well documented. Muslims, Jews, Christians, too. But the irony is, we are 99% the same. We share cultures, we share ideas, we share toilets and we share this world. You wanna watch this country fall while saying to whitey “welcome to our world”? Then you are low level. You are seething with self abuse. You are worthy of the mind that entraps you. The same goes for all of us. The high people are the folks who love, wholeheartedly, the humanity in everyone.

The high people make bridges – emotionally, spiritually and intellectually – so we can all cross, one by one, to higher ground. In fact, in America today there is an abundance of high level, generous, creative people who are immensely, IMMENSELY, successful and BRAVE. The next time you wanna put someone down in bitterness for oppressing you, think of someone who came from even lower than you who rose up and is now an ambassador to the world. Who is really keeping you down, beside your self? Be the 1%, if you dare.

Sophie B. Hawkins
Sunday morning


On the Road from KY to IL

Hello people of the light, we are on the road from KY to IL, early in the morning buzzing with locusts, sheltered by clouds and smelling like toasted bagels. We just passed a Waffle House, how cold.

Last night is memorable for several reasons, not the least of which was Andy Andrews’ summation of what’s going on in this country, and of course, the world. “Bullsh*t!”, he cried out. Bless your heart, Andy, there is so much to say, but really more to do, so just simplify the matter in a word and rev up your engines. As Dashiell says, “vroom vroom!”

These shows are getting more and more surprising, the people coming are either new, or familiar but different, as I must be. The tension between “I don’t know these people but I’m gonna sing what I feel under threat of desertion” and, “I’ve seen these people before, I wonder how they’re gonna react to me now” makes for good stuff.

The musical is being workshopped at the end of Sept, they’re casting the reading now, I’ve started working with the MD, I’m writing and rewriting in earnest. There are new songs now to glue onto the album, I think the title should change, and when I asked Gigi when are the lawyers gonna get the deal done so I can release this mother she said, “I’ll get it closed next week. I’m going to be wild.” Good on ya, mate.

I suppose its “healthy” for Dash that I leave and he has the opportunity to feel his independent life and tap into his sense of security in the bigger, spiritual sense, which he has in abundance, it seems, and its good for me to be without him and trust he’s doing well, physically and emotionally. But it’s a struggle. Especially because he understands what’s going on when I talk to him about going away, and he seems to resolve himself to be strong. It was said to me that he doesn’t want me to be upset, which could be true, and I cannot fathom that I have been given such a great and profound gift as my child. The other thing that amazes me is when I call and talk to him he has so much to say, and I realize when I hang up that I only got half of it in the moment. Is it always gonna be like that? Am I going to think about my conversations with him and realize more and more layers? It is like walking away from a great painting that lives and grows in you, or a poem, or a being who makes you expand. I also realized on the plane that I am continuing my journey, and mine is supporting his. And so soon he will take off on his destiny and I’ll be holding onto every moment of him, as I do now. I see corn, and horses, and I have a new appreciation for excavators, trucks and buses.

See you soon,

Sophie B.


On the Gulf

Hey there people of the light, I’ve been on Baretaria bay with Dan Sinykin, his partner and Gigi collecting oil with his sheep wool. It worked amazingly well, although there was so much toxic dispersant in the water we were chasing clumps of gooey cake batter rather than laying it over a slick.

The dispersant smells like bathroom cleaner, and it’s strange to sniff that odor in the middle of a beautiful bay. Why do the dolphins jump and play around our boats with so much crap in their water?

The fishermen were very glad we were there, so were the Hazwopers. I didn’t want to go, to be perfectly honest, there is no time as it is to be at home, relaxing and creating with my beautiful son and fur babies, but I had to take this opportunity. I just had to experience for myself WHY the oil isn’t being cleaned up. WHY aren’t American entrepreneurs working with the local fisherfolk, going out on boats, wading through marshes to try new and age old technologies for cleaning up the delicate eco-systems.

We were met with gratitude by the fishing community, but came up against the same damn barriers they are hitting. We were blocked at every turn but we managed to get out there and try Dan’s product anyhow. We were even stopped on the water by sherifs, but they were cool…I don’t want to say too much. Dan will go back to his factory/ laboratory and finesse his product. This is just what we have to be able to do, in my opinion. More later!

Sophie


Happy Belated Mother’s Day

Hello out there! I want to say happy belated mother’s day to everyone, because you don’t have to have a human baby to be a mother, it’s the essence of wanting to take care of another being, doing things to help them be healthy, happy, and self assured.

My greatest mother’s day moment was the evening before at around eight pm, Dash’s bedtime. We were at his grandmothers doing this and that outside and we heard a fluttering in the gutter spout, we went in to get tools and ended up using our hands to pull out a very condensed and big nest of a bird. The bird had not lived to fly away, and I was very sad until, just as we were walking into the alley to go home, there was another fluttering sound and a bird flew out and up into the dusky sky. How happy we were! And then, more fluttering and we reached in to pull out another nest, this time the bird was entrapped in the dry weave but still alive. We put the nest and the bird in a cage and sang all the way home, about nurturing the bird back to strength. We gave it Dash’s old baby food (‘cause he’s so grown up now), but by the time Dash had his bottle the bird had died. The middle one lived, though, and we had the experience of saving, and trying to save, another’s life.

I’ve been so happy to meet new people at these last shows, and I’m really stoked that my next group of shows, starting with Anthology in San Diego, are giving to the Waterkeeper’s Alliance. That’s exactly what I wanna do with my music. I hope you will come to a show, and I hope you will down load The Land the sea and the sky ‘cause every penny will go to saving the birds and cleaning the water in the Gulf. So much more to come!

Love, Sophie


SOPHIE ANNOUNCES AFFILIATION WITH WATERKEEPER

In 2010,  Sophie affiliated herself with Waterkeeper Alliance, an organization of on-the-water advocates who patrol and protect over 100,000 miles of rivers, streams and coastlines in North and South America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa.

The Waterkeeper Alliance are the first line of defense during the BP Gulf oil disaster recovery. The Gulfwaterkeepers on scene are FL: Apalachicola Riverkeeper and Emerald Coastkeeper. AL: Mobile Baykeeper, LA: Louisiana Bayoukeeper and Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper. Also working to clean up the ocean waters and beaches are volunteers, marine biologists, environmental advocates, and members of each of the coastal communities who have been affected.

Sophie launched a new eco-message single, “The Land, the Sea and the Sky” for sale at I-Tunes with all proceeds going to the Waterkeeper Alliance.

The Save Our Gulf website has been established by Waterkeeper Alliance to coordinate the efforts of Gulf Waterkeepers who are fighting to proctect the Gulf Coast. Please visit the website to learn how you can help.

Imagine the long term effects of this disaster, just because we don’t see the devastation, like another disaster we see directly and react to immediately with an outpouring of money and love, doesn’t mean it isn’t as bad. As Einstein said, we need to expand our circle of compassion. — Sophie


Phoenix

Phoenix is bright, the air is thin and cool like an ice box open on a hot day. I’ve never seen such contrast, that’s what the desert does. Not all mixed, like the shore where everything tosses and slops together, where salt and water and sun and sand all stick to your skin and the air clings in moist familiar folds around you all day and night. The desert is a place of peace where a cactus is a cactus and a rabbit is a rabbit. A shadow is a shadow, perhaps coming out from under a rock and slinking around the saloon with the sun until they leave together for a very important meeting, and aint nobody’s business if they do.

I loved the show last night, a kid named Christopher sang soulfully from the audience on” As I” and I held the mic for him, what a wonderful duet, in the spirit of the desert night, that’s what its all for, the living life of a song introducing voices, stories, in concert, by accident or on purpose. I am full of appreciation for the details of my life, and didn’t expect anything from this gig except that I’d leave the children and my projects, get on a plane,perform, and come home. And yet a new world opened up, being invited to a new place of vivid, joyful colours, sitting on that rock for hours watching the bunnies and the nest overhead, birds coming and going with food and building materials. I wanted to paint, I bookmarked the desert as a place to return to on that other journey, when the musical is on it’s own, my new cycle of songs is out, when it’s that time.

On the plane home now, the only time off is travelling. But I don’t need time off, I need a life time of health to bring all these desires to fruition, desires that keep having babies, that doesn’t seem like allot to ask.

See you soon, Sophie B. Hawkins

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