The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, January 23
January 23rd, 2013
Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee To Consider Civil Unions Bill: Denver, CO. The proposed bill which would grant civil unions to Colorado’s same-sex couples will undergo its first hearing in the new legislation session. The bill is expected to experience smooth sailing through the legislature because House and Senate majorities have already signed on as the bill’s sponsors, with final passage through both houses coming perhaps as early as March. BTB’s Daniel Gonzales provided a full explanation of the bill’s history here. The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing will take place this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. in the Old Supreme Court Chambers. Committee hearings will be broadcast as audio-only on the Colorado Channel’s website.
Events This Weekend: Creating Change Conference, Atlanta, GA; Midsumma, Melbourne, VIC; BeefDip, Puerto Vallarta, JAL; Winter Rendezvous Ski Week, Stowe, VT; Out In the Desert LGBT Film Festival, Tucson, AZ.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
FCC Backs Stations Which Aired Programs About Homosexuality: 1964. In the summer of 1962, New York City’s Pacifica public radio station WBAI aired a highly controversial talk show about homosexuality (see Jul 15). It wasn’t so much that the subject was homosexuality — that alone was controversial but it had been done before — but that the station would agree to include gay rights activist Randophe Wicker and several other gay men on the program. Real live gay men, talking about he difficulties in maintaining careers, the problems of police harassment, and the social responsibility of gays and straights alike.
This went on for ninety minutes, and at least one group of listeners were fit to be tied over it. They launched a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission and challenge the station’s broadcast license. That complained joined others against two other Pacifica stations in Los Angeles and Berkeley for their broadcasts a two poetry readings and a recording of playwright Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story.” But after a lengthy investigation, the FCC unanimously agreed to renew the stations’ licenses. In doing so, the FCC issued a statement which said, in part:
We recognize that as shown by the complaints here, such provocative programming may offend some listeners. But this does not mean that those offended have the right, through the Commission’s licensing power, to rule such programs off the airways. Where this the case, only the wholly inoffensive, the bland, could gain access to the radio microphone or TV camera.
Commissioner Robert E. Lee addressed the specific complaints made about the WBAI broadcast. While he felt that a panel discussion featuring physicians and sociologists might be informative, “a panel discussion of eight homosexuals discussing their experiences and past history does not approach the treatment of a delicate subject one could expect from a responsible broadcaster.” While the FCC stressed that the ruling did not mean that the commission endorsed the broadcasts, it nevertheless was regarded as a landmark decision upholding the broadcaster’s right to determine the kinds of programs that it wishes to air.
[Source: Lawrence Laurent. “Stations’ judgment backed by FCC.” Washington Post (January 23, 1964): D20.]
Gary Burton: 1943. The Grammy-Award winning jazz vibraphonist is an innovator on several fronts. He began learning to play the marimba and vibraphone while only six years old growing up in Anderson, Indiana. His father built him a platform so that he could reach the keys. By his senior year in high school, he was playing professionally at a restaurant in Evansville. While studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, he also began recording with several Nashville musicians, including Hank Garland, Floyd Cramer and Chet Atkins. He later began touring with Stan Getz from 1964 to 1966 as Bossa Nova became popular. Burton’s innovation didn’t end with the mixing of musical styles. His unique four-mallet technique has become known as the “Burton grip,” which allow him to play the vibraphone in a much more pianistic style. In 1967, he formed the Gary Burton Quartet, and the group’s first album, Duster, set the stage of the jazz-fusion tend in the 1970s by combining jazz, country and rock and roll. In 1968, he became the youngest musician to win Down Beat magazine’s Jazzman of the Year award, and his 1972 album Alone at Last (MP3) won him the first of six Grammys.
Burton came out publicly in 1992 during a radio interview with NPR’s Terry Gross. ” At that time I was in my early 40s,” he wrote in an email to BTB. “Like many from my generation, I struggled for the first half of my life to understand my sexual identity, but finally accepted that I am gay and always was.” He added: “I have always hoped that my experience might serve as a source of encouragement and enlightenment for others in my profession, who are trying to reconcile a career in the public eye while being a member of the gay community. I have been fortunate to have found acceptance from both the musical community and the public during my 30 years of being out. I have no idea what might be said when I’m not around, but I have never directly experienced any discrimination because of my identity.”
By the time he came out, he was not only a successful recording artist, but he was also Dean and then Executive Vice President at Berklee College. He retired in 2003, but continues to teach some courses online. His latest album, Hot House (MP3), with Chick Corea, has been nominated for two Grammys, for Best Improvised Jazz Solo and Best Jazz Instrumental Album. His next album, Guided Tour, is due to be released this summer and he has an autobiography in the works for autumn.
Here is Gary Burton and Makoto Ozone playing “Afro Blue” at Montreaux:
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And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?