“YIPPIE NOT YAHOO…..” THE SUGARBUZZ INTERVIEW WITH THE RESPLENDENT YVONNE de LA VEGA, COURAGEOUS POET, CONSCIOUS WORDSMITH, FRIEND OF THE PEOPLE, MOTHER OF THE REVOLUTION by Geordie Pleathur
“Beat means to have all the blather knocked out of you by experience, suddenly seeing things as they are. Beat doesn’t mean a broken spirit, on the contrary, it’s scourged of external blather!” (-Gregory Corso)
“If we lose in Hedges v. Obama—and it seems certain that no matter the outcome of the appeal this case will reach the Supreme Court—electoral politics and our rights as citizens will be as empty as those of Nero’s Rome. If we lose, the power of the military to detain citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military prisons will become a terrifying reality.
Democrat or Republican. Occupy activist or libertarian. Socialist or tea party stalwart. It does not matter.
This is not a partisan fight.
Once the state seizes this unchecked power, it will inevitably create a secret, lawless world of indiscriminate violence, terror and gulags. I lived under several military dictatorships during the two decades I was a foreign correspondent. I know the beast.
“The stakes are very high,” said attorney Carl Mayer, who with attorney Bruce Afran brought our case to trial, in addressing a Culture Project audience in Manhattan on Wednesday after the hearing. “What our case comes down to is: Are we going to have a civil justice system in the United States or a military justice system? The civil justice system is something that is ingrained in the Constitution. It was always very important in combating tyranny and building a democratic society. What the NDAA is trying to impose is a system of military justice that allows the military to police the streets of America to detain U.S. citizens, to detain residents in the United States in military prisons. Probably the most frightening aspect of the NDAA is that it allows for detention until ‘the end of hostilities.’ ” (-Chris Hedges)
LET ROBESON SING…
If the nationally co-ordinated, violently undemocratic clampdown on the peaceful Occupy Wall Street protests a year or so ago taught us anything, it’s that obviously, the millionaires and billionaires of Congress and their big-media corporate echo-chamber don’t even remotely represent the actual will of the people. The ninety-nine percent live in fear or denial. Cable television is a helluva drug. In the nineties, me and my glammy, Ian Astbury imitating, goth gang used to forever quote some Sisters Of Mercy lyric that talked about the tedium of “waiting for the next one to arrive”, and usually we mentioned it in the context of squinting at the horizon for the next new gutsy revolution rockers to come ridin’ in, Cavalry style, to deliver us from sports and top forty music. We hated phony ass corporate marketing of grunge and alternative, but had no way of predicting how much worse popular music would become in the years to follow. This corporation ate that one, merging with this one, until we now have just five companies neatly consolidated into one jive-ass corporate mono-culture, pushing base-propaganda down the throats of the gullible consumer class, many of whom were born into this bondage, and have grown up in total saturation of non-stop fabrications. We are constantly browbeaten by big-media into believing any number of brazenly bullshit falsehoods, from Pat Tillman to Jessica Lynch, from the stolen elections to the faux weapons of mass destruction, and while so many of us are often distracted by banal, puerile garbage, Aspartame-pop and totally toxic wagged-dog and pony shows, it’s constantly suggested that any of these showbiz relatives, or dumb heiresses are “talented”, by overpaid media-class whores of TV and the same five smirking mouthpieces for those glossy magazines. It just insults our own intelligence. If you’re like me, and can still recall being moved and inspired by cool bands and the true punk poets of yesteryear’s golden era, you might find yourself wishing authentic talents could still be discovered in this dismal and dreary drone-age. Where is the Joe Strummer or Lydia Lunch of today? When was the last time you were provoked or confronted or consoled or seduced by a wild-eyed writer, cajoling you into action, or who’s soothed your heart, and helped to assuage your personal torment? Where are the new Patti Smith and Leonard Cohens? The Herbert Hunckes’ and John Trudells’ and Richie James Edwards’ and Peter Laughner’s of NOW, that the war profiteering big-media don’t want you to know about?? Well, our friends at PUNK HOSTAGE PRESS, have found a few of these last call visionaries and lingering geniuses and are publishing an essential series of intensely vivid works by some of the underground’s purest voices, like Rich Ferguson, Iris Berry, and Yvonne de La Vega.
Yvonne is an avenging angel, a warrior soul, an indomitable artist, beat chick, friend of the people, a healer, an example, a menthol smoking pool shark, a mirrored ball flickering Soul Train’d Emma Goldman, a mother of the revolution. Her book is dope, like Gil-Scott Heroin. Geddit? I knew she was a gardener before she told me, you know? If you are a gypsy fringe-dweller and have to move around a lot, it’s hard to take that many books and records, on the road, so some of your most cherished objects probably get left behind. Computers and i-Pods and all the radioactive surveillance grid gadgets are made to self-destruct and have to be up-graded every two years. Planned obsolescence. Same with the phony music of today. Good books and records are still your best entertainment value. I’ve never had a computer last more than three years. I’ve got books and records older than I am that I’ve listened to for hundreds and hundreds of hours, read and re-read. A great book is a quiet companion you can return to, again and again, that your friends will read when they spend the night. “TOMORROW, YVONNE Poetry & Prose For Suicidal Egotists” By Yvonne de La Vega ought to be on your coffee table with the robot toys and Japanese magazines and signed James Elroy hardback and trendy fucking overpriced beer.
PUNK HOSTAGE PRESS have a real knack for locating original voices with true points of view, that shine a light. I mean, you remember when we were delinquent teenagers and we used to treasure those magazines and books we’d buy at college town record stores and share with one another? The Iggy bio with all the pictures? Sylvia Plath, Bukowski, Eldridge Cleaver, those Re/Search magazines, “Adulterers Anonymous”, that heartbreaking Henry Rollins bio? “B.B. Gun”? PUNK HOSTAGE PRESS are ushering in a lengthy roll call of undiscovered beats and street punk truth tellers. Everybody who saw the Grammy Awards the other night was moaning about how bland our corporate conditioning has become. We are given Katy Perry instead of Sinead O’Connor, Will I.Am in place of Chuck D. or N.W.A., Billie Joe Armstrong replacing Richie James Edwards, Nickelback instead of Nirvana, Hannah Montanna has replaced Kathleen Hannah. Our honest and conscious social commentators and defenders of civil liberties like Medea Benjamin, Tangerine Bolen, Ralph Nader, Glen Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, Chris Hedges, Cindy Sheehan, and Cynthia McKinney are excluded from Sunday morning round table discussions. Commercial Country is just the most insincere, jingoistic, formulaic garbage since Bobby Vee and Paul Anka were big. It pains me to even mention what passes for hip-hop now. Punk is dead. Sure, there’s lots of rich guys with spiky hair and fedoras and tattoos, showing off their classic cars again, but the untamed spirit of punk, the big Johnny Rotten fuck you, it’s been forced back underground. If you post anything about the N.D.A.A. lawsuit or drones, or the obvious link between indefinite detention without trial and gun round-ups, or more expanding and ongoing, “pre-emptive” “regime-change” proxy wars, or the disturbing continuity of agenda between Bush-policy and Obama-policy, on some online “punk” forums, invariably, the old school “got mine” ex punks come out of their high fructose corn syrup induced couch comas, in full-force, to trollishly demand to know, “since when are we posting about politics on here?”
…They never mind rehashing their Sunday Matinee hardcore fight story for the millionth time, or the time they almost got vomited-on by Kid Congo Powers, or something, but bring up anything real that actually matters NOW, and all the “got mine” corporate robots from the seventies with the classic cars obediently shut you down. It’s not coincidental that anyone with passion or perspective is excluded.
WAITING FOR THE MIRACLE TO COME….
A hand full of people I know took their money out of the big banks last year, a few others heroically fought for white collar accountability, government transparency, civil liberties, and human rights in the freezing cold, being arrested for their troubles, Un-Constitutionally, all day and night. Only a few of us have cancelled our abuse-box cable-misinformation subscriptions. The rest of our old friends just LOVE to pay to be lied to. They like(!) to pay to be molested by blue gloved airport gestapo, they pay to be spied on, they’ll pay to be poisoned, they’ll pay exorbitant insurance rates for deadly “medicine” and radiation and brag about it. It really gets you down….ya start wondering, where will we find the new Allen Ginsberg, or the next John Sinclair? When will we get to hear the inspired, incendiary, HOWL of another unique, young, fresh Jim Morrison–Bob Dylan–Phil Ochs–Stiv Bators–Bill Hicks–George Carlin–Angela Davis–Bobby Seale–Paul Westerberg–John Easdale–Steve Earle–Exene–Billy Bragg–Alistair Liddell–L’Andrew Wood? WHO ARE the Last Poets of TODAY??? Well, we found them, at least, a solid half a dozen. They are putting out books of real and enduring quality on PUNK HOSTAGE PRESS. Don’t hate Yvonne de La Vega for manning the barricades while we were nodding out on Fascist Crack, bidding frantically on E-Bay, or texting one another frivolously about today’s assigned talking points fake controversy reliably generated by the distraction factory, to make us forget they’ve destroyed the Bill Of Rights and built a prison state where everyone with any moral decency can be declared a domestic terrorist for thought crimes against the empire, assassinated, or dragged away in a black bag. You saw that Natalie Portman film, “V For Vendetta”? It’s already happened here. Charlie Sheen, TV’s highest paid actor, who used to pal around tinsel-town with Heidi Fleiss and David Lee Roth, partying like he lived in the land of the free, he memorably, came out demanding an investigation into Building Number Seven, and what really happened on 9/11, and they ruthlessly pounded him around the clock, for months. Destroyed his livelihood, his name, his earning potential, invaded his home, took away his children. The half black Constitutional lawyer so beloved by rich goobers like Dave Grohl has seized dictatorial powers that would have enraged you if a white privilege patriarch like John McCain was in the oval office. People are STARVING. Most all of us are starving to hear something that rings true.
Yvonne de La Vega is hardcore. Her book will stir your own private ghosts. We all got ‘em, right? Someone else said they read her book in a whoosh, well, not me, hip cats, maybe I’ve had my attention-span shortened by computers, but her book is best savored a bit at a time, it’s not something I’d wanna wolf down. You quickly guzzle something like screw-top fortified wine, that ain’t good anyway, while this work is a deeply satisfying collection of substance and depth, brimming over with photo-real memories spanning decades. Her poem about her brother walked with me for days. Her poem about how the gods are laughing took me straight back to the yuppie bookstore I worked at with all those thousands upon thousands of new age self help books peddled by confidence men and snake oil hucksters. She remembers the vile insincerity and cheap drama of funerals. She writes about love and betrayal, of riding in cars listening to music at dawn, with her legs stickin’ out of the windows. She writes about her childhood and teenage years, back before I was really payin’ attention, so effectively, it’s like she took me there. In a bleak time when the global elites and think-tank strategists are force-feeding us fiction 24/7 against our will, when truth seeking free speech activists like Ilya Zhitomirskiy, Aaron Schwartz, and Phillip Marshall, the author of ‘The Big Bamboozle: 9/11 and the War on Terror’ are all found dead under mysterious circumstances-”suicided” like Fred Hampton, Paul Wellstone, and so many before them…When Bradley Manning and Julian Assange are detained just like Russia’s Pussy Riot, for blowing the whistle on war-crimes, and Dennis Kucinich has left office and gone to work for Fox Fraudcasters, it is a thing of real beauty, to read Yvonne de La Vega’s brilliant collection of heated flashbacks, holistic prose, and intimate reflections. She gets her stars from her scars and reveals to us deep wisdom, saying all the wise and sensitive things to her gifted children you wish your mom would have said to you, and that some of us must learn to pass on to our own loved ones. Whether she’s revisiting old haunts, advocating for social justice, or jamming with musical greats of every genre, Yvonne is a perceptive, wide awake, rebel soul badass. One of the real literary stars of here and now. A mesmerizing spoken word artist, a beacon, a witness, a forgiver, a healer. An example. She is consciousness. She is cool.
“TOMORROW, YVONNE Poetry & Prose For Suicidal Egotists” By Yvonne de La Vega is undoubtedly the next smart investment you should make if you don’t own property for planting heirloom seeds.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Did you hear about this new white paper edict that the executive branch can kill citizens on U.S. soil with no proof of a crime ever? IN ADDITION to indefinite detention?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: I did, and it is par for the course isn’t it? It’s amazing the hope that still prevails for this current government when in actuality it is that “rogue” government that was hypothetically referred to when the crafting of the 2nd Amendment was in design. It’s bold and aggressive to say so, but let’s face it; the truth is, our government has been jacked by the corporations. The corporations are not in the spirit of generosity and never were, therefore their steering of rule is against its people. We’re pretty fucked, bottom line.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Even the punk fanzines are more focused on Taylor Swift’s love life and like, cable tv shows about vampires.
YVONNE de LA VEGA: To be honest, I dig the vampire myths, chronicles and other vampire classic portrayals. Television, I do not dig. I have not watched television in years. I suspect you must be referring to a tv series on vampires and I say that anything television gets its hands on is doomed in legacy. I apologize but I don’tknow who Taylor Swift is.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: How did you meet Iris Berry and come to publish your book with Punk Hostage Press?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: I had heard Iris Berry’s name since way back in the days of poetry on Fairfax, namely The Poetry In Motion series which was produced by Michael Lally, Eve Brandstein, Michael DeBarge, somewhere in the mix was actor Ty Granderson Jones. That was back in the late ‘80’s, early ‘90’s. Fast forward to around 3 years ago – Facebook. Ray Manzarek had emailed me and said he would be interested in doing another poetry & jazz sextet, which is the first project he and I did together. Since all the other poets that were involved in the last project were nowhere to found, and since I knew some currently on the scene poeticizing type people, I thought I could put together a slammin’ group of poets. I couldn’t really think of another poetess that would be able to throw down like the dudes I would invite on the project, Milo Martin and Rich Ferguson. I knew I needed another chick, one that would not feel intimidated by me or end up competitive, so I went hunting through all my Facebook friends and through the friends lists of Rich’s and Milo’s and came across Iris Berry’s profile. I immediately remembered the name, recalled the name as a hip memory and hit her up on Facebook. We spoke on the phone and gradually became very close friends. I take that back – immediately, we immediately became close friends since we had so many parallels in our lives. We had both left home at a young age, we were both somewhat abandoned by our family and friends at one time or another, we were both victims of what I call “Venus Envy” and more. There were so many parallels between us, we couldn’t get off the phone and at times we would talk through things like junkies that found the right medicine finally, we couldn’t get enough of this new clean water we had found in one another. She was from another world, a place much different than what I grew up in, yet take both of our life stories, color hers red and mine blue, yet side by side the straight and squiggly lines are exactly the same. Then I went to Occupy and this took a good 8 months of my life and I had seemingly disappeared from the Literary scene. During this time she had formed Punk Hostage Press with A. Razor. When I came out of submersion, she told me about the new company and asked me to publish with them, saying both she and Razor would like to include me in their roster. At first I said thank you but I would like to self-publish under my own press, The Poetry Cartel, and another 3 months went by. I was so involved in media with Occupy Los Angeles that I realized I would never have the time to publish myself. I called Iris and told her that if the offer was still good, I would love it if they could take me on. I’m glad I did. I love the dot org about Punk Hostage Press, that they are a non-profit entity. This reflects my own sentiments as well as my own take on life and its social values. I couldn’t be in better hands with Iris’ understanding of my life and Razor’s own activism and involvement in Occupy Oakland.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What can you tell me about Rich Ferguson, when did you first become aware of his work?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: Ah geez, I remember Rich Ferguson from the days of poetry on Vermont at the Onyx. He was regular at The Onyx in Los Feliz where Milo Martin, Ben Porter Lewis and Nathan Green were hosting The Overhead Projector series that today highlights the Los Angeles poetry scene of the late ‘90’s. Then, in 2010 or so, Milo had produced an Onyx reunion and Rich Ferguson was also booked as I was, and I realized even more so than ten years before, that this poet was amongst the real deal poets. Later, Milo turned me on to Rich’s videos and I started playing Rich regularly on WordBeat, a radio podcast that Milo and I hosted. I love Rich Ferguson’s work. He’s aware of it all, this lifetime around, he knows what time it is.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What jazz l.p.’s do you play to turn people on who aren’t that hip to jazz?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: Well of course the all-time classic Miles Davis’ “Kinda Blue”. Miles’ “less is more” voice is not too much for virgin ears to listen to. I dig be-bop, and straight up be-bop is a little alarming for those who don’t know or have never heard the “language”. If you dig guitar, I love Kenny Burrell and if you love L.A. and like jazz you already listen to Charlie Mingus. My favorite horn player is ‘Trane – John Coltrane, there hasn’t been anyone even close to his voice since be-bop… except maybe Zane Musa who is at the forefront of The Young Lions, these are the guys today that are keeping be-bop alive. My favorite jazz records today are Kenny Burrell’s “Midnight Blue”, and “Coltrane Plays The Blues,” the latter being my all-time favorite. “Coltrane Plays The Blues”, oh man It’s great to listen to at any time, during dinner, sex, art, writing poetry and etc.. Love ‘Trane. I came to love jazz when I was looking for music to play while painting or writing because there are no lyrics, no one else’s thoughts to infiltrate or govern my creative flow.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Do you have a record player?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: Yes. It’s an antique and I just found a new needle for it. It’s pretty cool, with a shortwave radio in the console. It is from the 1950’s.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Name some artists in hip-hop who have meant something to you over the years and explain why young people might still hear a valid message in their music.
YVONNE de LA VEGA: Oh… I can’t be a purist when it comes to hip-hop because I was never that deep into it. This is not to say I don’t dig it because I do, I just didn’t listen to it enough, but let’s see… I love the cross genre of Digable Planets, of course because they were the first hip-hop group to bring in the jazz you dig, I have always been attracted to all things jazz and when I first heard the sound of Digable Planets first album, it was the jazz that moved me to listen longer. MaryAnn “Ladybug Mecca” Viera’s voice is probably the only female voice I would like to duet with if producing a hip-hop track and I say this because I was asked by my friend Shock G of Digital Underground, who I would ever do a project with, someone in hip-hop. I know- the track, “Jump Street” that I did with Herb Alpert was an early ‘90’s hip-hop beat, but neither of us were really in hip-hop, I‘ve always loved jazz with blinders on. Is there a valid message in hip-hop today? At this time, I couldn’t give a right answer, I can’t pretend to know what’s really up in hip-hop today. I’ll tell you what I really dig, fucking dubstep. It’s so dependent on distortion that it reminds me of punk. It’s like punk’s dancer cousin, you know?
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: When did you first get hip to punk rock and how did the D.I.Y. punk rebellious punk aesthetic affect you?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: When Punk hit America, I was disco dancing in the South Bay which at the time was Los Angeles in the latency of the late ‘70’s, I mean it may as well have been Orange County, people out there in the beach towns had their own values and even in the winter wore shorts and flip flops. I had already been on my own a couple years and because of Disco I had landed my own dance show pilot on NBC with Dick Clark called “Le Disco”. I have shots of myself and my dance partners with The Village People and a few other Disco legends. Meanwhile the Ramones in New York City were starting to go off and The Clash in Britain but I still wasn’t aware until the very late ‘70’s when I joined an all-girl dance troupe called SMACK. I was still dancing on the Disco scene and there were always these dance contests at almost every venue and these contests had various categories. SMACK would enter these contests with choreographed routines to songs like “Uncontrollable Urge” by Devo, tracks by Oingo Boingo who back then were the enemy if you were into Disco in Los Angeles. I was told by dancer friends, “What the fuck are you doing Yvonne? This Punk shit is never going to last, this “New Wave” thing is only going to be around for a minute… just a trend.” I was like, “Whatever, I’m just dancing.” Our costumes were out there in SMACK. Chemical jumpsuits and huge rubber baggie pants that were not at all fashionable in comparison to the legs and cleavage Disco look. But that was the point, we were being “anti” everything, even Disco. I might have lost friends, I don’t remember …. It was hella fun though. As far as the music itself, I was always into whatever moved me and it wasn’t until I discovered The Clash that I actually started buying my own records again. My friends and I were the original Led Zeppelin youth and that Classic rock would prove a very hard act to follow. I was extremely picky when it came to buying records. I never bought records during Disco.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Current events/projects?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: Just my book yo. “Tomorrow, Yvonne – Poetry & Prose for Suicidal Egotists.” Oh and John Barrymore, his short stories. Barrymore says to me often. “THE BOOK IS DEAD YVONNE. It’s all about the kindle and e-books.” I always answer, “Ouch, mutherfucker, c’mon!” asking, “What about the coffee table book?” and he says, “Everyone’s got a fucking laptop on their coffee table.” And then just to mess with my head he adds, “Your book? It’s a beautiful book!” This last line is a reference to all the comments on my Facebook. Every time someone leaves a comment on my Timeline, it’s usually, “A beautiful book” and I started calling my book “the Marilyn Monroe of poetry books” in that, no one ever remarks that the poetry is intelligent but everyone says “it’s beautiful”. So of course, that’s all Barrymore ever says if I bring the book up, “Your book? It’s a beautiful book!” Yeah, wait ‘til I finish his. That’s my current project, secondary of course to marketing my beautiful book. I am currently editing John Barrymore III’s book of short stories entitled, “The Sins of The Father”, soon to be released on The Poetry Cartel. I have an RV here which is parked at the back of this property I live on in Sun Valley. I live in the house but out back I’ve got all my recording equipment hooked up and John and I will sit in there and talk stories. I keep the recorder on. There is some historic and hilarious legendary stuff that we have already. This guy is so funny I swear there is no one like him with that cross of bourgeoisie and anti-establishmentarianism. His family is known generationally for their lack of general concern for societal pshaws, yet they tended to rule socially regardless. It’s fun going out and partying with him, and the fun starts at the door of any venue. Door people look at us with raised eyebrows and then, when he says, “John Barrymore.” Every door swings open from the one we’re standing in front of at the Entrance, all the way back to the opposite end of the building at the EXIT. Have to admit, we’ve been on this project for a long while, which is another reason he came to stay with me at Occupy. We started working on this back then, but then John ended up Occupying too. To this day people at Occupy tell me John made the experience at Solidarity Park a little more interesting. One of the ways the mainstream media would attack us was slander. Well, anytime a news person would come in, more often than not, they would stop at my tent because it was located at the entryway of the camp and it was this huge 10 man, 3 bedroom tent. We used to joke that John and I were the 1% of the 99%. John still recalls that time as “The Winter of our discount tent”, haha. But John and I gave numerous interviews and when the story got out that someone of such a famous Hollywood lineage was occupying, they began to slander John with headlines like, “John Barrymore lives on Skid Row”. That’s how nasty the 1%’s foot soldiers are, with that old tactic slander and false reporting.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Discuss why you were moved to participate in the Occupy movement.
YVONNE de LA VEGA: I saw it as right action. I knew it was the result of the same Revolution that had begun in the 1960’s and the same cries from the same people were being heard. It was a result of the same oppression from corporate greed that began to become apparent decades ago, except today in this new millennium, it is clearer who the oppressors are, and the names are now written on the wall. The new Global community has become able to communicate amongst the people with the (as you mentioned above) the new advanced D.I.Y. ethics, de-centralized sites from new technologies of the Internet and all of its offspring such as YouTube, twitter and etc. To occupy was a duty for those of us who could. Those who couldn’t, gave their wholehearted support and knew we were there at the frontlines for them and us, and for the people as a whole. The numbers of cities that occupied is staggering, yet the mainstream media that is the artillery of the 1%, was slick and the bashing was somewhat successful on their part in that the people that were only obtaining the facts from television saw Occupy as degenerate and other profiles attached to us by the Banksters. But I tell you, on the inside, we knew that they were scared, very frightened of us and the Occupy Movement, which is not over. The Occupiers are still fighting against the Banksters. When I say they were scared, I mean, this was evident by the brutality against us. The pepper spraying, the beatings on peaceful protesters. The police brutality was more than police brutality, they were orders from on high. I was moved to Occupy because I had something to offer. I was on the media committee reporting to the people from the frontlines as a writer and witness to the day by day progressions. I became an administrator on the website and my thing I felt, was to keep the troops inspired by writing about us. I also became the only female “peace-keeper” which was a nice way to say “security”. I asked fellow Occupier Emilio, who was organizing man for the Peace-Keepers, “why do you need a female?” He told me that when the guys would squabble it took a woman to calm them, and it was true. I really enjoyed my days at Solidarity Park. Being a Peace keeper, being a PR/media person that would greet the folk that needed greeting… my favorites were Jesse Jackson, Russell Simmons, and the most fun was when No FX came and jammed right in the middle of Solidarity Park and elbow to elbow with all of us Occupiers. They didn’t bother to set up at the top of the stairs but instead played right in the middle of the square. Ah we were in heaven, knowing full well it was moments before the raid. Because of their appearance a couple thousand folk showed up and the raid had to be put off since the LAPD were quite outnumbered. Eventually the DHS got hold of my daughter, interviewed her with a gang of questions about me and I laid off. I could risk my own freedom, but I would never jeopardize the freedom of my children. In my own personal fight, they won I guess. Sucks, but I did the best I could until I couldn’t anymore, the fuckers.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What’s something you can tell me about Ray Manzarek that I might not know even though I read hundreds of Doors books?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: Hm let’s see… well he’s a great writer himself. He wrote a book that was a story based on the hypothesis that Jim didn’t die but instead did indeed take off to live free and incognito. “A Poet In Exile” by Ray Manzarek. I’m sure you’re aware of it, let’s see what else? Oh, his son Pablo was born in 1973, the year 3 very famous Pablos passed away. They were Pablo Picasso, Pablo Casals and Pablo Neruda. I loved the story and dedication, tribute to the art masters. Ray is a great man, a real funny guy, and a family man which as far as I am concerned is the reason for his continued success. He has been with Dorothy since before the Doors were signed. He told me a story once, about the first check that he got from the record company. He said he got the check, at first glance, thought it was for $25 hundred dollars. When he got to the bank and realized it was for $25 THOUSAND dollars, he said to Dorothy, “Now we can get married.”
And they did, they went and got married. It’s admirable, that a legendary rock star is so in love with his wife, that she is the only woman he has ever had eyes for. …sigh.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Are you familiar with Michael McClure?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: Of course, he is one of the last living Beat poets and a great one I should add. People that know him personally have nothing but good things to say of him. Ray has been touring with him for quite some time. Who are some contemporary voices in any field who people should pay more attention to? People need to listen to the poets as reference for every field. I guarantee you there is a poet in every field. In 2011, Michael Rothenburg founded 100Thousand Poets For Change. The same year, in the Southern Hemisphere, The World Poetry Movement formed. There were five other global movements happening simultaneously and they were powerful, each movement involving hundreds of cities around the world for each cause. It was amazing to realize the birth of the New Global Community. In Poetry, There is a healing due, one that will come from the efforts of the people, led by the “voice” of the people. The poets will share insights and these truths will travel like light upon the people and those who are the catalysts will hear, understand and move to cause movement for the sake of the progression of mankind and the planet we live on.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: If you could live anywhere in the world besides where you are now, where would it be?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: The beach. I have to get back to the ocean, It’s been way too long. At this point, It would probably be in another country, it’s getting pretty funky here. Overall, you know?
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What kind of food do you like?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: LOVE sushi. Seafood. Crab more than lobster, scallops. And I was a vegan for 2 years. I still love the raw vegan dishes but have included everything else now, except for red meat. I can eat toast all morning, I love toast. I love bread. Mangos, avocados, blueberries, peaches. I grow my own food. This past summer my zucchinis were an average 2 ½ – 3 feet. My basil and tomatoes were a daily caprice salad and I had giant, sweet watermelons for virgin watermelon mojitos. Just today I put seed down for spring cabbage, lettuce and spinach. Oh – and I love a PBJ.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What brings you joy?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: Kids. I love kids. They bring me joy. And puppies. Kittens. I’m pretty easy.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What do you do for fun?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: I make things. I just made an eco-pool in my backyard. I love playing pool and riding horses.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Do you have a pool table?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: Not anymore but I miss it.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Greatest achievement besides your kids?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: How about my most favorite achievement? That would be getting my poetry together and finishing a book. This book took me four years to organize, lay out, edit and publish, or get published rather. And it’s a collection of my entire lifetime.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: When were you most happiest?
YVONNE de LA VEGA:Oh I don’t know. What is that? Happiness. I apologize, I just need a banana. It’s said that bananas are the only food that raises your serotonin level. Bananas and Ecstasy actually. But in an effort to answer the question.. Probably sitting in a venue with my beautiful daughter listening to my son sing. He’s so divine. Blaise Smith, you can find him on Soundcloud.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: You write about the significance of books in this age where consolidated-media has weaponized the disinfotainment industry. Boarders bookstores closed, I think, in part, due to corporate greed.
YVONNE de LA VEGA: But on the high road there is the D.I.Y. as punk has always known. If it weren’t for the power of the people, the horizontal transparencies as new protocol, the ability to see the necessity of de-centralized incorporation of the power of the people with our insight and natural inclination for right action, there would be no conflict. The conflict we inspire in protests and peaceful battles have been baby steps toward a greater leap that is inevitable. I only pray for less bloodshed and unfortunately, this is a lot to ask for with bloodshed being the rogues’ first resort without conscience due to that corporate greed.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Do people in Hollywood notice they aren’t making any more good movies? That it’s all just jive-ass war propaganda, false flag attacks, and non-stop glamorizing of a trans-human, Kafka-esque police state?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: Yes of course. All education must be eradicated in order to implement their great agenda.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Do music people in L.A. ever talk about how good music has been banned from the corporate airwaves?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: See answer above.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Discuss the underground literary scene in L.A.
YVONNE de LA VEGA: The underground literary scene is you and me…. It’s The Out-Crowd, twitter and facebook. It’s Youtube and Wiki-leaks and Wikipedia. It’s the growth from the readers, the writers and the thinkers that can step out and up from the privacy of their bedrooms and offices without a campaign trail and support from corporate finance but with the personal artilleries of our minds and divine spirits, our way with words and the ability to send our voices outward, upward and onward. And the world wakes daily to hear us and therefore themselves, all righteousness agreed with and separate from the powers that be, like water from oil and oil from water.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What is your philosophical and aesthetic relationship to beauty? Is beauty truth? Is truth beauty? I used to know this rock star’s daughter and everywhere she want people sucked up to her because of her parent’s super-fame. Even second hand reflected fame was a form of currency, for sure, but also, it was obvious that people were gratuitously insincere to her most all the time. I always imagined beauty must be like that, like it seems to bring out the best and worst in people.
YVONNE de LA VEGA: True Beauty is different than Beauty Alone. True Beauty is an aesthetic that emanates from within each individual, some more than others, and there are those that have not accepted Beauty into their hearts and therefore their spirits could not contain the timeless capacitation of it. In other lifetimes they may have rejected righteousness which is the catalyst of beauty. Philosophers have stated that Beauty is a result of good deeds in former lifetimes. I believe this. I believe that the collective consciousness causes the agreement of the description and immediate acceptance of Beauty.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: How do you remain kind to people in this life or trust they are being sincere when you’re cursed with all that beauty?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: Before trust is unconditional love for all things living.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What qualities do you most value in your friends?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: Loyalty. Honesty. The people in my life share the Beauty.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What books can you recommend to smart fourteen year olds?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: All things written in Myth.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What books do you recommend to us old burnout rocknroll people?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: See answer above.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Who are your favorite artists of any/all mediums?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: Sandro Botticello in classical art, the artist that painted the “Chinese Horse” in Dordogne, France, the architects of The Temple of Apollo in Delphi above the methane gas leaks, the Creator of the human body, the colorist in charge of sea life, Joni Mitchell, the muse of my son Blaise Smith, my daughter Bianca in film, Robert Graves the poet/historian, Milo Martin the poet, Charles Bukowski, O.G. Able the old lowrider ex-tagger, Ray Manzarek’s musical compositions, Anne Sexton, Scott Wannberg, Bernini, Miro, Maxfield Parrish, Diogenes, Herekleitos …and many, many, many, many more.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What historical figure do you most identify with?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: Saphos, poetess.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Plans for the future?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: To begin my novel and finish my screenplay, return to veganism and move back to the beach.
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What else did I forget to ask you?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: My social security number?
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Where can people see/hear more of your work?
YVONNE de LA VEGA: Google me and stay tuned. YvonnedelaVega.com
SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Thank You. If you dig the word, buy the book.
WAKE UP & SMELL THE NAPALM: