Graham Nash benefit performance for Bradley Manning

What: intimate acoustic performance by Graham Nash

When: Friday, October 26, 2012, 7:30 PM PDT

Where: Church in Ocean Park235 Hill Street, Santa Monica, California 90405

Tickets: on sale here

On Friday, October 26, the Bradley Manning Support Network is proud to present an evening in support of Army PFC Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower. The night will feature a discussion led by Bradley Manning Support Network organizer Emma Cape, as well as an intimate acoustic performance by legendary singer-songwriter Graham Nash.

The event will be held at Church in Ocean Park (235 Hill Street, Santa Monica, California  90405) and is set to begin at 7:30pm. A limited number of tickets are available starting today at 12pm PDT. Donors may also purchase a special pre-performance reception with Graham Nash, which includes a show ticket, for $300. A large portion of each ticket is tax-deductible.

PFC Bradley Manning is a 24-year-old soldier and alleged source of WikiLeaks documents that reveal a pattern of unpunished war crimes in the Middle East and secret corporate influence on foreign policy around the world.  Shortly before  he was arrested, he said “I want people to know the truth, because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”  While Bradley Manning has risen to the forefront as an icon of the anti-war and government transparency movements, and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as a result, he currently faces life in prison at the hands of a furious military prosecution bent on discouraging U.S. whistle-blowers.

The Bradley Manning Support Network, a cooperative effort of organizations and activists around the world, including prominent Pentagon Papers’ whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg, exists to raise legal fees and organize public support for Bradley, and oppose his unfair treatment.

One of music’s most legendary singer-songwriters and vocal harmonists, Graham Nash has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice—with The Hollies and with Crosby, Stills & Nash—and is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  He is also an internationally renowned photographer and digital imaging pioneer. Nash wrote “Almost Gone” for Bradley Manning, and he plays the song routinely on tour with Stephen Stills and David Crosby.

4 thoughts on “Graham Nash benefit performance for Bradley Manning

  1. I would like to volunteer at the Nash event at Church in Ocean Park. I am a member of the congregation.
    Thank you,
    Fran Lyness

    Standing in line outside the church which is on 2nd and Ashland just off Main Street in the Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica, I met all kinds of folks waiting to get in. Folk like Eddie and Felicia and there were two soldiers, one flower child, a lawyer, a rancher, a farmer, and also, a radical videographer who was there to make sure to document: Graham Nash playing to benefit the Free Bradley Manning movement. This Church-in-Ocean-Park is a local joint always hosting different activist events (Jerry Rubin used to host his New Year’s parties here) and tonight it was packed and sold out at 70 bucks a pop, with some people paying hundreds of dollars more to support the Manning Network. Emcee Emma Cape welcomed us inside. Graham stood to the side of the stage with his three-man band, watching intently. Emma brought everyone up to date and then brought up a poet Mary ____ (NAME TK) who, disguising her Occupational anti-war words as nature poems, burned through them with brilliance. One had this closing couplet: “There are no unwounded soldiers/there are no unwounded soldiers.”
    Then came Anthony ___(NAME TK) from Veterans For Peace. “Where’s the outrage” he asked us. “A young man decided to do what was right, he speaks up and does the right thing, and he’s in jail for it.”
    “CYA” is a military concept he told us, that means covering your ass.
    He said when he joined the military he, “took an oath to defend the Constitution.” Not take orders that are criminally wrong.

    “And now for the performer you’ve all been waiting for,” said Emma, “Graham Nash!” And Graham was, in a word, “transplendent.” (Yes, that’s a word stolen from “Annie Hall,” the scene where Woody Allen is in bed with Shelly Duvall who is playing a Rolling Stone reporter and commenting on seeing the Stones.) Graham began with a joke about this being his 85th show of the tour (sans Crosby & Stills tonight, but with great players James Raven and Shane Fontaine) (CORRECT NAMES, BOTH OF THEM, TK). He reflected for a moment on playing in such an intimate venue “in my neighborhood”: “It’s been 40 years since I’ve plugged in my own guitar…it’s going to be an interesting ride.”

    Then he took off, attacking the guitar and piano. Here was the outrage. Graham would play “Almost Gone” a song he wrote for Bradley Manning and another called “Back Home” which he wrote about Levon Helm.

    “We’re losing friends,” Graham said calmly. “By the day.”

    He became impassioned immediately at the beginning, singing while banging away at the keyboards, from his earliest solo days of Songs For Beginners, in 1971: “I am a simple man/and I play a simple tune,” which brought my date and me to tears and hugs, while four folks in front of us held up their phones to capture the moments passing. We looked at each other after and said: “We just had a moment, didn’t we?” (Our previous moments, well that’s a whole ‘nother story: falling for each other in minneapolis when it seemed music was part of the revolution and so were we…)

    Graham played a song he wrote for the Bridge School Concerts Neil Young puts on in Berkeley, called “Try And Find Me.” He brought me to tears with a song written about a “nine week sailing trip from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco” with David Crosby and their families. Somewhere off Costa Rica, they saw a blue whale and “To the Last Whale: Critical Mass/Wind On The Water” made me cry and cry for the whales at his line: “It’s a shame you have to die/to put the shadow on our eye.” The melody (while whale effects howled out of Fontaine’s guitar) concludes with one of those great finishes where crescendo crashes into lyrics talking time’s passing and us with it: “Maybe we’ll go/maybe we’ll disappear…It’s not that we don’t know/it’s just that we don’t wanna care…Under the bridges/Over the foam/Wind on the water carry me home…”

    The Church-in-Ocean Park has a few old and darkened stained-glass windows but they seemed to reverberate during “Cathedral,” a song Graham tells us he wrote after taking LSD on the way to Stonehenge and wandering into Winchester Cathedral.

    Then came this: In 1969, he got a call from Wavy Gravy to come to Chicago to sing at a benefit for the defense of the Chicago 8 who were on trial at the time. He and Crosby called Steven Stills and Neil Young to join them. “Please come to Chicago,” Nash begged, “just to sing.”

    And then he came back and wrote this for Steven and Neil who had begged off. “So yer brother’s bound and gagged/and they’ve chained him to a chair/Won’t you please come to Chicago/Just to Sing…We can change the world/rearrange the world/it’s dying/to get better…”

    He spoke about Bradley Manning in between songs, continuing on the attack, at one point remarking: “And our government, in its insanity, has been torturing him! Aren’t we a nation of laws?”
    “Almost Gone,” about Manning in solitary confinement came across as an aching indictment and urgent bark to come to attention America! (Well, as much as Graham Nash can “bark”: that voice from the starry heavens somewhere has continued since I heard it on his records even more wonderful with lightness: less matching heights with his-man-in-harmony forever David, and more low warmth in that warble we could see his terrifically-aged neck vibrate with effort. Compare them to the YouTube videos of him and Crosby on BBC TV and you can sense his ageless wisdom. I don’t know from “old souls” but Graham seems to not be very old at all, voice-wise. Perhaps there’s a correlation between talent + energy given out =in good, insides-wise?)

    Best thing Graham said in between songs: “This kid faces life in prison, plus 150 years, while George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are all walking free! I don’t think we’ll be a really great country ’til we deal with this shit.”

    First comes “America Come Home”, a special song written and sung by a friend of Nash’s (NAME TK) _____Rafael who came up and got us all caught up its Dylan-inspired hardcore folk. It also reminded me of George McGovern who had just passed; his famous convention speech had the cry, “Come Home, America,” as its refrain. And speaking of Greatest Hits of 1972, Graham wrapped up the show with his biggest hits, back-to-back, “Our House” and “Teach Your Children.”

    Walking home we gabbed back and forth about how great it was to finally get to see this one-time Brit (remember his “Immigration Man”? Way ahead of its time, checkitout.), part of CSNY but it was listening to his solo albums together and singing back-and-forth in cars and in parks his wonderful tunes since whenever, since we met (which I told you is a whole ‘nother story). This iconic figure of a man, it must be said: is so personable and revealing in his talkings and singings to us. “From here to Venezuela, there’s nothing more to see/than a hundred thousands islands flung like jewels upon the sea/For you and me…”

    Okay so that was from Crosby’s “Lea Shore.” No biggie.

    Question Finally: Was CSNY as big as I liked them? Did everyone love them? Or was there a lot of snickering going on? I was so unhip back then but tonight love is in the air and we are fourth row from the stage listening to Graham Nash in a church singing for justice for our fellow Manning, right?

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