After playing two hours and mixing and curating a third at yesterday’s A Bite To Remember festival (thanks to all who listened in and attended in Second Life!), I’m kind of burnt out on live improv… but there may be a Live Ambient Rant tonight anyway. If there is, it will be in the theme of tonight’s show, which is “hope in the face of death”.

Tonight’s show may start a few minutes late, for which I apologize: Just before showtime, I will be across town, speaking at a local vigil for the victims of the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh yesterday. Most of our listeners know I’m Jewish, but I doubt that many realize that Congregation Tree Of Life was about a 20-minute walk (if you weren’t in a hurry) from the house where I grew up. My wife attended services at Tree Of Life until we started dating, and my (soon to be our) congregation Rodef Shalom was an easy walk away from there. My brother’s in-laws lived across the street from Tree Of Life; it was a part of my everyday life even though I didn’t attend services there. The thought of its walls spattered with blood chills me.

But I choose not to fall into despair! When I grew up in Pittsburgh in the 1960s, anti-semitism was everywhere, tacitly accepted because it couldn’t be avoided. I grew up verbally and sometimes physically attacked for my religion, surrounded by the children and grandchildren of Eastern European steelworkers who blamed the Jews for the world’s ills. Even Squirrel Hill was called “a Jewish neighborhood” only because the Jews were a vocal and powerful minority, not because they had sufficient numbers to stare down hate without flinching.

Now, fifty years later, the city of Pittsburgh has united to support and protect the victims’ loved ones, standing firm against the actions of one sick individual. Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, and Muslim, all united beside the Jews, because they all know it could have been them this time, and it might be them next time… unless they all stand together to make sure there IS no next time. Hope is a beggar at the doors of Paradise, but I choose to hope… while I and others act to spread love in the face of hate, understanding in the face of bigotry, and peace in the face of violence. The best kind of hope is the kind with dirt under its fingernails and the willingness to fight for what’s good and right in the world. Tonight’s music will reflect that spirit, and I hope you’ll join me to celebrate it.

You know the drill: we go live at 9/8/7/6 PM E/C/M/PDT on — tune in for the music and join us live in Slack chat as well. If you’re in Second Life, we’ll be in the main studio on the beach in Orlov sim, down at ground level to enjoy the sunset. Either way, we hope to see you there!