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Local Eyes

On October 11th, 2008, Blusion® for World Fusion partnered with our friends at Solar Works to present a music show and community building event we called Local Eyes. The place was Odd Fellows Hall in Sebastopol California. This was the first in a planned series of events aimed at strengthening our local community and encouraging citizens to engage in progressive activism, while having as much fun as possible.

This first Local Eyes featured singer/songwriter/keyboardist/guitarist Joanne Rand. Although Joanne now lives in Humboldt County, where she is completing her course study for a degree in music from Humboldt State University, she was a Sonoma County resident for many years. Her unique brand of rock, folk and socio/political music found a very receptive audience here. That audience has grown steadily over the years expanding into national and international territory.

Joanne served up a searing set of acoustic songs. Drummer Jack Springett, whose playing was the perfrect compliment to Joanne's sometimes-furious, sometimes-delicate style, joined her onstage. Joanne was in great form and the audience was very appreciative. The performance was further enhanced by the impromptu appearance of bassist Jeff Martin who played several tunes with the duo. Martin was an important member of Joanne Rand's "Little Big Band" in the '90s. It was an exciting set and a great kick-off to the Local Eyes series.

Following Joanne's supberb performance, Blusion® played a set of their original politico funk jazz-fusion music. For many in the audience, this was their first Blusion® experience. The reviews were great and we thank everyone for their attendance. Special thanks goes out to Greg Hourigan, who captured the first 45 minutes of the Blusion® set on video while managing not to sing, hoot or howl into this camera's internal microphone for almost the entire segment. An edited version of Greg's stunning videograpical expertise can be seen here.

Why Local Eyes?

Although billed primarily as a music event, the music was only part of the picture. We have been gathering ideas for several years on how to merge our music with various worthwhile social and political movements. The idea for this event was to partner with local businesses, organizations and individulas that are engaged in actions to protect our environment, develop and strengthen local sustainable practices, create a local economy in an effort to gain independence from the corporate/warfare state, and help build a just social and economic system for the benefit of us all.

We wanted to encourage community involvement, information sharing, music, fun and activism. Here are some fo the great folks that helped.

Solar Works
Our good friends at Solar Works provided us with invaluable support that made this event possible. We were honored to have them involved becasue we feel that their ethics and their actions are the product of a deep understanding of the issues that face us all. Their involvement in renewable energy and resource conserving services and education began long before 'green' became 'sexy'. Solar Works does the right thing because it's the right thing. We thank you not only for your help in making this event a success, but also for having a presence in the community that makes many of us feel that for you and your employees, your 'bottom line' includeds us all.

Occidental Arts and Ecology Center
Local Eyes was a benefit for the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, whose strong reputation standing for all things good and pure is unassailalbe. An education center and organic farm founded in 1994 by a group of biologists, horticulturists, activists and artists, OAEC's work addresses the challenges of creating democratic communities that are ecologically, economically and culturally sustainable.

Larry Robinson
We also extend heartfelt thanks to Sebastopol's former mayor, current city councilman, poet, writer and musician Larry Robinson, for graciously accepting our invitation to emcee the festivities. His presence and participation added a kind of depth and dimension to the event that was much appreciated.

This is an organization dedicated to creating a stronger local economy and devising methods by which we might keep more of our money in circulation here. We invited GoLocal to set up an information booth at the Local Eyes event to raise awareness and support for their endeavors. We applaud GoLocal's work and support their efforts to create local economic opportunities. Why should the lion's share of all money spent anywhere be immediately siphoned off by multinational monopolists into a corrupt financial system? No, let's go local instead.

In the true spirit of localizing and building community GoLocal's marketing director Jay Beckwith immediately jumped in offering his assistance. From resource networking to grunt work Jay never hesitated to help us mount this production. We look forward to joining forces again with our newfound friend and extend our sincere gratitude for his enthusiastic support.

Green Mary
Now here's a gal you've got to love and she is absolutely lovable. From the heart staight to the recycling center 'greening events' is what she's all about. In an effort to dramatically reduce waste and lower the environmental impact of the Local Eyes party, Green Mary provided reusable glasses and eating utensils, as well as recycling containers for bottles, paper, cardboard and compostable waste. It is what she does, and it is a job that desperately needs doing. Green Mary, thank you for your vital contribution to our effort and for everything you do. You made it possible for us to have an event without creating a mountain of trash.

Ron Armstrong
Special thanks go to our dear friend and electronics guru Ron Armstrong. If it were not for his wizardry with the sound system none of the evening's festivities would have been audible. Ron spent patient hours ringing out the room, sound checking, dialing it all in then running the entire show. Ron is an immensely talented live sound engineer, a world-class bass and guitar luthier, an electronics whiz and a top-notch designer of pickups for all sorts of stringed musical instruments, among his many other talents.

Jack Jacobsen
Our good friend, the jovial Jack Jacobsen, was extremely generous with his time and energy. He shared with us his near-total mastery of all things material as he spearheaded the successful effort to construct practical, reusable, organic and (mostly) cruelty-free stage sections and drum risers. Jack is a fine musician (ten years touring with Huey Lewis and the News), a contractor with abundant skills, and a recording studio designer and builder, just to mention a few of his many talents. Thank you Jack, your help was very much appreciated and your friendship is truly valued.

Jane Clark
If it weren't for Jane, Rustie might not have survived the experience. For two days, nearly round the clock, our very dear friend Jane worked tirelessly helping to set up and decorate, transforming the otherwise dank venue into a work of art. When the party was over, Jane was still there carrying out the last metal sculpture with Rustie and locking up the joint. An astounding talent, Jane Clark, of Jane Clark Studios in Sebastopol, CA, is easily one of the top five recording engineers in the Bay Area. After thirteen years with Motown and with over twenty Platinum and Gold records Jane is probably one of the best-kept secrets in Sonoma County. Low key, generous and humble Jane instinctively understands the concepts of community, integrity and friendship.

Lagunitas Brewing Company
Lagunitas Brewing generously donated more than sufficient quantities of their excellent beer and expressed unreserved support for the cause. A locally owned and operated business, Lagunitas is always quick to lend their support to local efforts, community based events and causes for the greater good. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts, not to mention our beer mugs.

Slice of Life
David Burns of Slice of Life in Sebastopol furthered the casue immeasurably by generously donating enough pizza and salad to feed the entire crew for the event. Business doesn't get much more local than David Burns. Slice of Life began in 1974 in the local Cotati nightspot Inn of the Beginning. Good for the environment and our health, Slice of Life is a treat in vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Thanks for your help, it was very much appreciated and absolutely delicious.

But wait...there's more;

Additional thanks and recognition to the following businesses, all of whose contributions and assistance were invaluable.

People's Music
Renga Arts
Zone Music
Sebastopol Cookie Co
Copperfields Books
Infusions Teahouse
Sprint Copy
Sky Saddle Winery
Sonoma County

Last but certainly not least, our deepest gratitude to our dear family and friends whose brawn and brains and support and love helped immeasurably with the material moving, sound-gear lifting and room preparation that this party required. We gracefully acknowledge the important contribution made by these individuals:

Michel Columb  *  Ellen Picard  *  Nico Columb-Picard

Benoit & Anne Menendez  *  Scott Charter

Greg Hourigan  *  Leah Dean

The Bottom Line

We thank everyone that participated in this event in any capacity. Our goal was to involve lots of people in a group effort to exchange ideas and information, educate ourselves and to dance and party like humans might someday party if we survive until 2999. We regard this entire effort as a clear-cut case of Mission Accomplished. And yet we feel compelled to point out that we pulled it all off without killing or torturing anyone, occupying their countries or otherwise violating international law.

No description of the event and no accounting for the contributions different organizations and individuals made to it would be complete without acknowledging the one person that unquestionably invested the most hard work to make it all happen: producer, singer, manager, booking agent and webmaster, Rustie Woods. Rustie took responsibility for every aspect of the production, from conception to execution. Although this may amount to part of Blusion® thanking another part of Blusion®, thank you Rustie for what you do.

What's Next?

Blusion® for World Fusion is planning to produce more Local Eyes events in the near future. We are seeking opportunities to bring the event into other areas in the hopes of sparking a wide-spread emergence of strong close-knit communities that prosper as a direct result of their localized economies and sustainable business and personal practices. Please contact us if you want to share ideas about shows, activism, education, localization efforts, etc.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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