Cause It’s Summer

Photo by Nia O'Reilly Amandes

With the summer comes the rain, and the heat, and the festivals and the farmers markets. In the blogsphere there’s a whole lot of beauty in virtual pages of gardens and herbs and handmade soaps with lavender and beeswax and thyme. Do-it your-selfers – mommy gardeners – salsa makers, jam-preservers, and micro-brewers. It’s a youthful culture of arty folks who go for it, go local in fooding, global in their thinking. There are lush, nearly pro-looking photos, smart tweaks, and funny youtubes posted all waking hours, and you wonder if there’s a parellel virtual 24 hour day created to find a place for it all. I’ve had luck at many things in my life. A green thumb isn’t one of them. I have one houseplant – a little citrus tree that I drag in the house the fall, and out in the late spring, I have a serviceable backyard with more trees and stones than flowers. This year my daughter and her boyfriend have taken on the planting. They transferred seedlings a few weeks ago, and I make sure they’re watered, while the neighbors try every trick to keep the rabbits out of their garden, the squirrels hiss menacingly at us from the rooftops, and branches. Still, I like my perennials and shopping for the geraniums in time for fourth of July. And gathering the little soft purple flowers and cornflowers, with a fern leaf or two for the bud vases I keep on windowsills and book-cases.  But what I am really good at is fostering ideas, and creating projects with outstanding artists and thinkers. They really give me something to blog about.

Here’s some of the stuff I’m up to.

Stuart Rosenberg’s Radio Gumbo


Sunday June 12 7 PM 1245 Chicago, Evanston SPACE Stuart headlines his cosmopolitan orchestra playing brazilian tunes, sephhardic romanceros, old-timey, rollicking blues. Jamie sings a guest spot.



GUEST SET IN WESTERN ‘BURBS Jamie & Michael Smith appear in Backyard Soundtrack A Benefit for Theater of the Highlands Saturday June 18  5:30 PM 1310 59th Pl La Grange,





The Roots Salon

The Third Annual Roots Underground Fest
Saturday August 27 5:30 – 10PM
The word-of-mouth music fest hosted by Jamie and Midnight Moxie



NEW SHOW! “Songs of a Catholic Childhood” WITH Jamie & Michael Smith A Benefit for St. Scholastica Academy Web: Sunday, September 11 3 – 5PM Mayne Stage, 1328 W Morse, Chicago Jamie & Michael perform songs and stories of life in parochial schools, big families, growing up in two very distinctive eras for the American teen. His – in the working class Irish/Italian neighborhoods of post-WWII New Jersey. Hers – of life in an Illinois town, during the post-Vatican II, Baby-Boom era of the 60s and 70s.


WFMT RADIO The Feminist Lens presents “Coming to the Table” The 30th Anniversary of The Dinner Party Project in Chicago” Saturday, September 24  6:30 PM Marilyn Campbell hosts this radio series on WFMT 98.7, produced by Maya Friedler and Jamie for Women’s Media Group. Web:

Pasiones Anniversary Poster, Grace Amandes

FOLK-CABARET “Pasiones: Songs of the Spanish Civil War” Sunday, October 9  2PM Evanston SPACE 1245 Chicago Av, Evanston, IL Jamie and Michael bring their celebrated 1997 folk-cabaret honoring the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, to the cultural series WPA 2.0 The New New Deal, produced by Marguerite Horberg and Cellist Bob Weber and Pianist-Vocalist Katrina O’Reilly-Greene accompany songs, sung in six languages, with poetry by Lorca, Brecht, Hemingway and commentary by the Vets themselves.

Midnight Moxie





DAUGHTERS MEG & NIA & SARAH CHANG rehearse in the upstairs music room here at my Roots Salon.  This July the Midnight Moxie releases its first CD! VIDEO. Filmmaker Jack Mayer recorded this little gem in the Moxie’s upstairs music room for  Jack Mayer’s Living Room Couch Potatoes Living Room Songs

Moxie Dates:

Old Town School of Folk Music’s Folk & Roots Festival Staff Stage (Lincoln & Sunnyside) Saturday July 9,  8:00 PM See Midnight Moxie headline, with Unibrow, John Mead & The Coyotes, and more! AND Midnight Moxie’s CD Release Party @ Phyllis Musical Inn 1800 W. Division St. Friday, July 29, 9:00 PM