Whiskey & Velvet

I have to start this off by saying that I am a Canadian...and although the personage that I am about to talk about here was not...and her country is my focus in this dialogue...I follow no illusion that my own country is in any way morally or intellectually superior...alas, it is not.

If you search the web for Janice Joplin...for all the information you are given on her talents and her drive to create and the concerts she performed with the bands she performed with and then all the details on where....most of what you glean from the information given is a heavily multitude of details on her drug and alcohol abuse...all of this in legendary colour and in to the nitty-gritty. Somehow the human aspect of her particular life preferences - the small but defining glimpses in to who she might actually have been as a person are missing (okay...well we know she liked Southern Comfort and Heroin...I rest my case). I have not read a biography on Janice. I am just speaking at this moment on what you can find out about her if you decide to use the most accessible reference route - a search engine on a computer - to satisfy a mild curiosity which might then persuade further interest of investigation about a young woman who was a major player in the American music scene during a volatile and motivating and challenging time in recent history. She came from a respectible family and graduated from school and went on to attend college/university (although she did not graduate - but this is not extraordinary). In the bits and bobs that I glean in between the drug highlights it is apparent she liked vintage and she liked Big Mama Thornton and the Blues....that gets us somewhere. We are told she felt an outcast at school....but so did and do lots of people...she sang in the choir...that is a specific choice and it tells of the personality and a sense of community. It is briefly conveyed that she was interested in art before she was interested in her own personal participation in music...well that tells again something more of the temperament. What artists inspired her? And...did she like to read? She liked the Beat poets...so I think she must have had some interest....She cannot have come from all of these normal angst problems of youth with all of her natural talents...and not have been a person of personal human interest. Every site wraps her up as the poster child for rebellion...they wave their flags with her easily enough. But... what did she talk about when she just talked about what she thought? When she had a lucid moment what were her moments? The people who are giving the masses the information out there - in this world of...dare I call this communication (methinks not)? - are not giving anything that resembles intellectual content. Just the facts...but no...not the facts at all. Sorry...no I'm not - this is just crap. Janice would now - in this script - pour herself another Southern and who knows what. It is such a load of...to bear.

These thoughts are all brought on to me from the sheer disillusionment of how I sit at the age of 59 years - 10 years the junior of Janice who died at the age of 27. She lived and died in a time of disillusionment and aspiration...the aftermath of WWII and then Vietnam and intrinsic social upheaval due to racial stupidity - Civil Rights and Feminist Rights - mixed with the youthful energies and hope for a brighter future...with the joined despair and fear that this hope was unreachable and unattainable in the human experience.

And really in an America that still blatantly screams and demands for all of its citizens the right to bear arms and kill but denies all citizens the right to love and to - or not to - bear children with whom they choose - when they choose - as their human right...well...she was probably right in her disillusionment and her subsequent wish which became her death.

A nation that, no matter what the party, believes that they - in this 21st Century - have some kinship with Gawd which gives them the right to make decision which does not advance the freedom of all peoples to choose for themselves their own path to right-eous-ness...within guidelines that protect and preserve the value of all peoples, is not a forward moving nation. To die of old age in a world less progressive than what you aspired to in youth is not a poster concept for Pro-Life.

I drew this Janice image from a photograph with her eyes nearly closed...but I have chosen to open them.

I included this image in a book put together by Dale Copeland - Puniho Art Press - wherein 56 artists submitted a work and text under the theme of 'Exhibit No Fear.' I wrote:  "To celebrate feminine delight in all things of beauty amidst the angst and anger of a world that denies human rights to live and love and believe as a natural and inherent choice is an exhibition of no fear."