EVERY LITTLE BIT HURTS —Caron Vikre

This song was another from my 1992 release SAQQARA. The track showcases the harmonies of Kathy Elzey and Gail George, with Ray Elzey on guitar, and David Houston, as always, raiding the broom closet for things to jingle and smash.

When we found ourselves drummer-less at the onset of making this record we knew we were at a disadvantage. To compensate, we made the best of a bad situation and focused on what we deemed to be our strength, namely, our vocals. I’ve always had a soft spot for pop songs slathered in harmonies, so having two extra singers in the band—particularly ones as skilled as Kathy and Gail—was a bit of a dream. It made missing a drummer nearly tolerable—but only nearly. Though, we played and promoted SAQQARA for a couple of years, sadly, it was our last record together.

“MOWGLI TAUNTS SHERE KHAN” —Roland Vikre

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In Rudyard Kipling’s children’s story “The Jungle Book” (1894), Mowgli, a small infant (man-cub), is taken from his parents into the jungle by the arrogant and sore-footed tiger Shere Khan. Little disturbed that hunting defenseless humans is against the law of the jungle, the hungry Shere Khan boasts he has killed a man in the past and is not adverse to doing it again, as it is his ancient birthright.

Despite Shere Khan’s ominous intention, Mowgli miraculously escapes and is adopted by a kindly wolf couple who want to protect him from the hungry tiger and raise him as their own with the rest of their wolf cubs. Of course, this causes the chop-licking Shere Khan great displeasure and he vows revenge on the little Mowgli.

As the story progresses, there are many tests upon the character of Mowgli until he is finally cast out of the jungle for being too human. When he returns to live among men, Mowgli soon realizes he doesn’t fit-in there either. He does not understand the caste system that makes some men more important than others. Nor does he understand the value of money, or the silly lies men tell about the creatures of the jungle who live just beyond their gates. When he succeeds in killing Shere Khan with a stampede of cattle, he expects to be lauded as a hero among the villagers. Instead, he is cast out again for being a “Sorcerer” and too much a wolf.

Oh, Mowgli, sometimes growing up is learning you are far more than society imagines you to be!

c.v.

I DON’T BELIEVE THIS DREAM IS POSSIBLE. —Roland Vikre

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The story begins in the small Spanish town of La Mancha. There, a middle-aged, otherwise rational thinking gentleman Alonso Quixano takes his passion for books—particularly chivalric romances—to a delusional, sense subverted level.

As Alonso becomes engrossed in this world of knights, chivalry, castles, and jousts; reality slips away and he imagines himself to be Don Quixote, a brave and honorable knight.

Donning a ragged suit of armor and recruiting the simple-minded laborer Sancho Panza as his squire, Quixote begins his quest to seek adventure and to right the wrongs of the world. While the world may mock him for attempting to do what cannot be done, Quixote continues to dream his impossible dream. On his many adventures inns are castles, windmills are giants, and sheep are attacking armies all in the romantic regions of his imagination.

It is only in the end, after enduring much deception and manipulation that a defeated and melancholic Quixote returns to his wits, and rejects his ideas of chivalry.

“I now enjoy my judgment undisturbed, and cleared from those dark shadows of ignorance, in which understanding hath been involved by pernicious and incessant reading of those detestable books of chivalry. I am now sensible of the falsity and folly they contain; and nothing gives me concern, but that this conviction comes too late to give me time sufficient to make amends, by reading others, which would enlighten my soul.”

For Quixote—as with the aspiring actress in this painting—some dreams may indeed seem impossible. But to give up on our imagination (as Quixote did), is to choose death. Better to remember that imagination is life. And that dreams are always as possible as we chose to make them.

c.v.

A PERSONAL FRIEND OF THE GREAT CARUSO —Roland Vikre

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Heralded as one of the most famous opera singers of all time, Neapolitan tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921) rose from obscurity as an impoverished street singer to perform in virtually every major opera house in the world. A big guy with a hot temper, and a reputation as a perfectionist and a stickler for order, “The Great Caruso” had his greatness put to the test in a tragic real-life opera. With a cast of thousands and an improvised libretto, he was given a role for which he could not prepare.

On 18 April 1906, while visiting San Francisco for a celebrated series of concerts with the Metropolitan Opera, Caruso was rudely awakened at 5:12 in the morning by a violent jolt. A substantial amount of shaking and plaster falling followed and it became apparent that his was no ordinary nightmare. As the day’s drama unfolded, Caruso realized (as did all of San Francisco) that he had been significantly upstaged by California’s San Andreas fault!

Nerves rattled; he was escorted from his fifth-floor suite at The Palace Hotel by his devoted valet. With 54 steamer trunks full of costumes, memento’s, and self-portraits in tow, his valet trudged through the mayhem of Market Street. Able after some time, to commandeer a horse and cart to get The Maestro and his luggage ferried safely out of the city.

And so it was that the “Great” Caruso was made greater still by escaping the great San Francisco earthquake with a great amount of luggage, and the help of his great and loyal valet!
Bravo!

c.v.