IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING

As I continue to advocate for the reality that we shall need to to remain at home for at least another two or three months, a thought occurred to me.

Some of you may wonder (especially those who have known me for a long time) if I am doing this just because I like hanging out at home and want an excuse not to go back to work.

While I’m the first to admit that my default setting is introvert hermit and that I’ve strategically avoided conventional employment throughout my life, let me make one thing absolutely clear:

When this lockdown hit I was preparing to kick my life into high gear.

The Open Stage that Stann Champion and I had been doing for over 6 years was finally getting some recognition and hit the groove that he and I had been striving for since the beginning.

I was working full time in an office, at a fairly complicated sociological research job that I enjoyed a great deal. I was busting ass and crushing it every day, working much harder than I needed to in order to get my research/scholarly chops back, with an eye to entering Grad School, perhaps even Law School.

My harmonica playing was hitting yet another level, and I was going to spend 2020 getting out and showing the music scene what the last 3 years of hard woodshedding had done for me. And finally take the next step toward fronting my own band.

I’d finally found a Theater Company composed of talented musicians and singers who might have an interest (and more importantly the training and skills) to help me actualize a Gilbert & Sullivan-esque Musical that I’ve been kicking around for several years.

And most importantly, I’d finally gotten the PTSD-related depression/anxiety problems that had been hampering me for 20 years under control, and was remembering what it was like to actually feel good about life and myself.

SO DON’T THINK FOR A SECOND THAT I’M STAYING AT HOME BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING BETTER TO DO.

I just have accepted the reality that this extreme personal sacrifice is what I need to do— for myself, for the people I love, and (drum roll) for the good of society.

People used to gladly make sacrifices for the good of society all the time, but the practice has fallen out of favor in the last few decades.

And that’s pretty much the central reason we are in this mess.

So SUCK IT UP, Pilgrims.

Pretend you’re Sonny Rollins on the Williamsburg Bridge. A chrysalis waiting to emerge as a beautiful butterfly. A rocket waiting to be launched.

Eat right, keep active, learn and grow. Work toward becoming your best self.

Because when it’s safe for us to emerge, we’ll have a whole society to rebuild- in one way or another.

The President has advocated Public Suicide and the States with Sane Governors are forced to form coalitions in opposition to his insanity.

America is now in a Cold Civil War, this time over Science and Empirical Reality. It will likely kill even more than the one fought over Human Rights.

Except in this war, the deaths/casualties will be caused by a virus, not bullets. And the States that “seceded” are in the right and will “win.”

But just like the last time, the population decimated will be poor ignorant white people hoodwinked into believing a dangerous lie. And all the innocent non-combatants who will suffer and die needlessly.

The Michael Manifesto:

We’re facing the biggest gaslighting/brainwashing campaign in Human History, and there are few mainstream sources that people can actually trust, especially on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Therefore, I AM DECLARING MYSELF A TRUSTED NEWS/INFORMATION SOURCE.

I will do my best to behave as one and adhere to the best practices guidelines of ethical news organizations.

Many of my future posts will be in essay form, often using analogy, simile, metaphor, allegory, and parables— but the underlying facts and concepts will be based on scholarship and empirical facts. I’ll use incidents from my own life to illustrate concepts (making the personal universal if you will) and demonstrate how mind programming works.

Much of how Media manipulates us is not by lying about the facts themselves, but WHAT THOSE FACTS MEAN, often by framing the facts in misleading ways, so I’ll attempt to cut through the bullshit and obfuscation.

Almost everything in the essays (that isn’t personal narrative) will come from books/articles I’ve read, or classes I’ve taken; or films, videos, websites etc etc. SO ASSUME ANYTHING I SAY IS FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE. My talent is putting ideas together and taking them apart, and I don’t claim to be an “original thinker” (which is a destructive fallacy to begin with).

I’m not defending my Masters Thesis or trying to stake out a piece of academic turf, I’m trying to help regular people understand how they’ve been lied to and manipulated. So don’t look for footnotes.***

These essays will be for EVERYONE, not just Smartypants Academics.

I’ll do my best to present complex ideas in a way understandable to anyone and not use big fancy words, but sometimes the best/only word for a situation is a big fancy one.

So look it up on your phone if you don’t know the word. Words are tools and weapons and the more of them you have, the better you can build/repair things and/or defend yourself.

Sometimes I’ll be sharing books, texts, or articles that you’ll need to read all the way through to understand how media and politics really work and how you’re being manipulated. Most of them will be difficult to understand, especially if you’ve had no (or not much) formal education. I’ll explain certain parts of them as best I can, but you’ll have to meet me halfway by learning to focus and strengthen your mind.

My TONE (something folks love to get snippy about these days) is going to be harsh, much of how we got into this mess is because of our own faults, and know that I’m including myself in any blanket criticisms.

I’m going to sound like a pompous ass who thinks he knows everything, and I apologize in advance, BECAUSE I AM. I was raised in the wilderness by pompous asses, and that permeates my discourse.

For the sake of argument, please bear with me and pretend that I’m an all-knowing super genius who has spent his entire life furiously studying to find a way to save humanity from a horrible fate, BUT DON’T GET CAUGHT UP IN THE CONCEPT. I’m not trying to be worshiped here.

Everybody Has Faults/Blind Spots And I Have Mine (More on Hero Worship Later).

HOWEVER

I AM MAKING A SOLEMN VOW ON ALL I HOLD SACRED (KNOWLEDGE, JUSTICE, HONOR) TO TELL THE TRUTH THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH.

Truth is a thorny concept, but everything I say will be as accurate and fact-based as I am capable of as a mortal being. And every life story I tell will be the truth as I saw it and accurate to the best of my recollection.

Sometimes my own prejudices/biases/privileges/ego will shine through, but I will do everything in my power to avoid it. In fact, I’ll be using examples of them and how they have hampered and constrained me to illustrate my points.

And I’ll be depending on others to keep me honest.

While I’ll gladly accept valid good faith criticisms and/or fact checks, I REFUSE to to waste time “debating” the reality of what I say. If you can’t handle what I’m saying, then go away.

Our enemy has countless minions who seek out people speaking the truth and bait them into wasting time debating their bullshit, and I’m not having any of it.

If I’m successful at this endeavor, eventually the Eye Of Sauron will fall upon me and the world will crawl up my ass, and I’m ready for that.

This is the part of The Poseidon Adventure when Gene Hackman (or Kurt Russell) says

“THE BOAT HAS FLIPPED UPSIDE DOWN AND IN ORDER TO ESCAPE WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO TRAVEL UP TO WHAT USED TO BE THE BOTTOM!!!”

Stay where you are and die if you wish.

Or come with me for a journey behind the curtain…

*** THE ONE BIG FOOTNOTE: If you recognize something I’m saying from some course/article/book you’ve read (or if it seems really basic/obvious); CONGRATULATIONS!!! But don’t waste yours and my time by pointing it out to me, especially as some kind of “Gotcha!

UPDATED UPDATE:

CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE CHANGED SUCH THAT CANCELLATION IS UNAVOIDABLE.

STAY HEALTHY, MY SWEET PEEPS!!!

Winter’s Icy Grip Has Broken And The Sap Is Beginning To Rise In All Our Metaphorical Maples— So Time For A Sweet Hootenanny To Celebrate The Coming Spring And Banish The Last Vestiges Of Winter Gloom.

You Know The Story:

Stann Champion’s Musical Mightiness
Michael Hollywood/LaGrange’s Multifaceted Oddness

AND YOU, Sweet Human.

Either Showing Us What You Got Or Just Drinking It All In.

Poetry Standup Storytelling Music Juggling Magic Dance

It’s All Good To Us!!!

And Speaking Of Drinking It In, The Independence Tap Has A Fine Array Of Inexpensive Libations If You Wanna Get Your Drink On (Especially Since It’s REAL Close To A Certain Verdant Holiday).

Come On Down And Join The Fun!!!

ATTENTION PERFORMERS OF ALL GENRES/TYPES:

TRY SOMETHING NEW!!!

The Independence Tap is a great space and this night is perfect for working out new material and expanding horizons as an Artist/Performer.

When we host Open Stages we create an atmosphere of respect for all genres of performance where Artists can feel safe and secure. [No stylistic cliquishness OR DISRESPECT allowed!]

Our greatest joy comes from seeing someone perform for the first time or watching an Artist try out a new genre: a Musician doing Storytelling, a Storyteller doing Stand-Up, a Poet playing Music, a Stand-Up reading a poem…

The Place Where The Boundaries Meet & Overlap Is Where True Magic Happens.

And there is nothing like the feeling of opening a door into a new room in the mansion of your soul— SO COME ON DOWN & GO ON UP!!!

A promo shot of me in early 1985, when I was just starting to do standup comedy. So early in my career that I was still juggling in my act.
Anarchy Is For Lovers!

Independence Tap

3932 W Irving Park Rd

Friday, February 14

7:30 PM

The Second Friday Comes Late This Month And Coincides With A Certain Consumer Capitalist Hetero-Normative Celebration.

This Is Only Fitting, As This Show Also Marks The 1 Year Anniversary Of Stann Champion & Michael Hollywood Bringing Their Special Brand Of Love Fest Hootenanny To The Independence Tap!!!

As Always, There Shall Be A Fine Array Of Talented Comics, Musicians, Poets, Storytellers, And Whatever Other Type Of Performer Who May Walk In The Door And Sign Up.

And Of Course, YOU! Either Strutting Your Stuff Upon The Stage Or Just Drinking It All In. Either Way, It’s All Good!

We’ve Created A Wonderful Vibe Here Over The Last Year, Come And Share It With Us.

Arrive Early And Stay All Night, Or Roll In A Little Later (After You’ve Had That Nasty Argument In The Crowded Overpriced Restaurant).

We’ll Be Doing What We Do And Having A Ball!!!

Feel The Love…
And the rest is history…

In 2013, I was hosting an Open Stage on Monday nights at the short-lived Frankenstone Art Center on Foster in North Park.

Dedicated to the motto “Universal Liberation Through Creative Self-Actualization” it was an open stage that welcomed all types of performer (particularly first time performers) and encouraged everyone to expand their boundaries and horizons as an Artist.

That very first show someone who had just come to spectate felt comfortable enough to read their own words in public for the first time ever- and I knew I was on to something.

A couple shows later, one of the poets told me about a space right around the corner on Kimball. It was called the Roots Room and was run by a veteran Chicago musician and artist who was dedicated to the same principles of fostering creative development in all people.

I finally got up the gumption to head over there a few months later and go inside. That was the night I first met Stann Champion.

It was Variety Open Mic night, so I did some stand-up, poetry, and storytelling in a Combo Platter set; then Stann and I did a few tunes with me accompanying him on harmonica.

We hit it off immediately, and I began co-hosting Variety Night every 2nd Friday of the month for the next several years. Stann and I also got together with the amazing rhythm section of his Reggae/Calypso band (Roots Rock Society) and formed a new Blues/Rock/Roots band called the Propaganda Machine.

After the demise of the Roots Room in 2018, we both took a break from open mic hosting for a while.

In February of 2019 we were offered the opportunity to take over FretKnot Fridays at the Independence Tap. We started slow but soon built things up to where our old Roots Room crowd had reconstituted.

Then the magic kicked into high gear and we kept adding regulars to the mix who were just as committed to the principles of Creativity and Community as we were.

One year later we have a beautiful thing going on!!!

Stann and I still love to rock the duo thing!
(photo by Greg Morelli)

Mather’s More Than A Cafe- Chatham.

33 E. 83rd Street

Friday, January 31 1PM

Although not officially part of the Columbian Exposition, the Midway Plaisance shaped America’s taste in popular entertainment well into the next century, and (for better and worse) influenced the young nation’s attitude toward other countries and cultures in ways still visible today.

For this special Chatham appearance on the eve of Black History Month, Historian/Lecturer/Tour Guide/Standup Comic Michael Corcoran will discuss the African-American presence at the Exposition (a story much more complex and involved than even many Exposition scholars are aware), the controversies in the Black community over participation in and exclusion from the Fair, and how exhibits at the Midway and the Exposition contributed to systemic racism and colonialist attitudes of white Americans.

After discussing these sociopolitical aspects, Michael will provide a virtual tour of the Midway interspersed with the fascinating, poignant and often hilarious stories of the polyglot mélange of humankind which inhabited this mile of boulevard in 1893.

An informative and amusing presentation that is not to be missed!

Young Chicago bachelors flocked to this replica of Medieval Vienna to enjoy expensive beers served by beautiful Austrian girls.
Ida Wells, her future husband Ferdinand Barnett, Frederick Douglas, and Garland Penn collaborated on this pamphlet decrying the injustice of African-Americans being officially excluded from the Exposition.
Shine On, You Crazy Diamonds!

Friday, January 10 7:30PM
Independence Tap
3932 W Irving Park Rd

As We Enter The Post-Holiday Trough And Prepare To Face The Full Brunt Of Winter, It’s Time To Gather Like-Minded Individuals Together For An Incandescently Uproarious Hootenanny To Drive Away All Demons. [Literal, Figurative, Emotional, Psychological, Public, Private, Foreign & Domestic]

All The Elements Are In Place:

Stann Champion’s Musical Brilliance
Michael Hollywood/LaGrange/Corcoran’s Eclectic Insanity
A Committed Cadre Of Talented Regular Performers
A Slew Of Sexy Spectators
An Adorable Venue With Inexpensive Libations

All That Is Missing Is YOU!!!

Either Just Drinking It All In OR Showing Us What You Got!

Musicians, Poets, Standup Comics, Storytellers, Magicians, Jugglers, Mimes, Dancers, Yodelers, Contortionists, Alchemists…

IT’S ALL GOOD TO US!!!

We’ve Got A Beautiful Thang Goin’ On!

Come Be A Part Of It.

ALWAYS Room For One More!

ATTENTION PERFORMERS OF ALL GENRES/TYPES:

The Independence Tap is a great space and this night is perfect for working out new material and expanding horizons as an Artist/Performer.

When we host Open Stages we create an atmosphere of respect for all genres of performance where Artists can feel safe and secure. [No stylistic cliquishness OR DISRESPECT allowed!]

Our greatest joy comes from seeing someone perform for the first time or watching an Artist try out a new genre: a Musician doing Storytelling, a Storyteller doing Stand-Up, a Poet playing Music, a Stand-Up reading a poem…

The Place Where The Boundaries Meet & Overlap Is Where True Magic Happens.

And there is nothing like the feeling of opening a door into a new room in the mansion of your soul— SO COME ON DOWN & GO ON UP!!!

Express Yourself PROUDLY!!!
Festive Love Is In The Air!

Friday, December 13 7:30PM
Independence Tap
3932 W Irving Park Rd

The Holidays Are Upon Us, And The Only Proper Response Is To Have A Rollicking Hootenanny Filled With Love And Joy To All!!!

No Matter Your Race, Religion (Or Lack Thereof), Ethnicity, Gender, Sexual Preference— And Most Importantly, Your Genre Of Performance— We Will Welcome You Into Our Hearts And On To Our Stage.

Stann Champion Will Bring His Musical Genius, Michael Hollywood Will Bring His Special Blend Of Insanity, And You Will Bring Whatever It Is You Have To Give.

We’re Gonna Rock The Halls!!!

This Is How We Roll!!!

The Independence Tap is a great space and this night is perfect for working out new material and expanding horizons as an Artist/Performer.

When we host Open Stages we create an atmosphere of respect for all genres of performance where Artists can feel safe and secure. [No stylistic cliquishness OR DISRESPECT allowed!]

Our greatest joy comes from seeing someone perform for the first time or watching an Artist try out a new genre: a Musician doing Storytelling, a Storyteller doing Stand-Up, a Poet playing Music, a Stand-Up reading a poem…

The Place Where The Boundaries Meet & Overlap Is Where True Magic Happens.

And there is nothing like the feeling of opening a door into a new room in the mansion of your soul—

SO COME ON DOWN & GO ON UP!!!

Be Your Best Self!

Friday, November 8 at 7:30PM
Independence Tap
3932 W Irving Park Rd

November Is Rolling In With Its Cloudy Chilly Ways— But We Shall Fight Back With A Stormy Hootenanny That Shall Warm All Our Hearts!!!

You Know How The Story Goes; Michael Hollywood Brings The Blather & Bluster, Stann Champion Brings The Guitar Genius, And YOU Bring Whatever Ya Got!

Music, Poetry, Standup Comedy, Storytelling, Magic, Juggling, Dancing, Fire Eating— Whatever Your Little Heart Desires— It’s ALL GOOD To Us.

Fine Entertainment And Fine Inexpensive Drinks— What’s Not To Love?!?

Last Month Was Epic Fun, Come See How We Get It Done!!!

Let It Out!!!

The Independence Tap is a great space and this night is perfect for working out new material and expanding horizons as an Artist/Performer.

When we host Open Stages we create an atmosphere of respect for all genres of performance where Artists can feel safe and secure. [No stylistic cliquishness OR DISRESPECT allowed!]

Our greatest joy comes from seeing someone perform for the first time or watching an Artist try out a new genre: a Musician doing Storytelling, a Storyteller doing Stand-Up, a Poet playing Music, a Stand-Up reading a poem…

The Place Where The Boundaries Meet & Overlap Is Where True Magic Happens.

And there is nothing like the feeling of opening a door into a new room in the mansion of your soul— SO COME ON DOWN & GO ON UP!!!

Put Your Back Into It!!!

It’s Autumn, Baby!!!


Friday, October 11 at 7:30PM
Independence Tap
3932 W Irving Park Rd

There’s A Chill In The Air And Soon The Leaves Will Be Turning To Autumnal Colors.

An Excellent Time For An Epic Hootenanny!!!

You Know How The Story Goes; Michael Hollywood Brings The Blather & Bluster, Stann Champion Brings The Guitar Genius, And YOU Bring Whatever Ya Got!

Music, Poetry, Standup Comedy, Storytelling, Magic, Juggling, Dancing, Fire Eating— Whatever Your Little Heart Desires— It’s ALL GOOD To Us.

Fine Entertainment And Fine Inexpensive Drinks— What’s Not To Love?!?

Put Your Back Into It!

The Independence Tap is a great space and this night is perfect for working out new material and expanding horizons as an Artist/Performer.

When we host Open Stages we create an atmosphere of respect for all genres of performance where Artists can feel safe and secure. [No stylistic cliquishness OR DISRESPECT allowed!]

Our greatest joy comes from seeing someone perform for the first time or watching an Artist try out a new genre: a Musician doing Storytelling, a Storyteller doing Stand-Up, a Poet playing Music, a Stand-Up reading a poem…

The Place Where The Boundaries Meet & Overlap Is Where True Magic Happens.

And there is nothing like the feeling of opening a door into a new room in the mansion of your soul— SO COME ON DOWN & GO ON UP!!!

Let It Out!!!

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