Have A FAT Saturday!

Fatheads, Unite! KVMR's  Saturday daytime programming has definitely been influenced by the legacy of the beloved KFAT radio station in Gilroy during the '70s and early '80s.  KFAT offered a mix of humor, roots music, Americana, bluegrass, country rock, blues and more. 

This Saturday, Wesley Robertson and Thomas Greener once again honor the "Fat" tradition with collections of  KFAT's musical tastes and actual recordings of the station from the era in a three-hour membership drive show 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming)

Newsom On 'Cannabis Crusades'

California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom -- who raised some eyebrows when he called for legalization of marijuana in the state -- is one of the guests slated for this month's special membership drive edition of "Cannabis Crusades" noon to 2 p.m. Friday (89.5 FM , kvmr.org streaming).

He'll be joining the show via phone in an exclusive KVMR interview.

On the other side of the political spectrum comes rightwing "constitutional" sheriff Richard Mack -- a recent speaker at a local Tea Party gathering -- will talk about what he feels is the failure of the war on drugs.

Hosts Patricia Smith and Martin Webb will also welcome upstart Democratic congressional candidate Heidi Hall and county supervisor candidate Jediadiah Biagi.

Moondog on KVMR

Now just how did the blind avant-garde music composer with the strange name of Moondog become the subject of a KVMR radio special last night (Thursday)?

"I saw him on the streets of New York City when I was a teenager,"  explained volunteer broadcaster and program host Catherine Allen.  "He was a very unusual character in weird garb, always wearing a Norseman's hat and carrying a staff."

Whew. That's strange, even for New York.

As Allen learned more about Moondog over the years, she had "a fascination" to do a radio special on him.

So she and fellow broadcaster Betsy Lombard combined forces to present the life and music of the man Louis Hardin, who became Moondog, Thursday 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming).

"He took the name after his childhood dog who loved howling at the moon," noted Catherine. "He was blinded in a dynamite accident at age 16."

According to Allen, he was friends with the likes of Charlie Parker and Benny Goodman, was a major influence on experimental composers Steve Reich and Phillip Glass (a onetime roommate).

"Andy Warhol's mother designed one of his album covers," added Catherine, "and Janis Joplin recorded one of his songs."

In addition, he wrote children's songs for a Julie Andrews album and played percussion on the recording.

Not only that, but Moondog deliberately chose to live on the streets for twenty of his thirty years in New York City, where he was better known as "The Viking of 6th Avenue," because of his outfits.

Allen and Lombard played samples of Moondog's compositions during the show, and talked with British filmmaker Holly Elson, who is making a documentary about the bizarre character's life.  The movie should go to festivals this year and to the public in 2015.

(A weekly wrap-up of news and oddities about community radio station KVMR (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming), a noncommercial station offering diverse musical programming, independent news and provocative public affairs from about 180 volunteer "citizen-broadcasters."  The station is currently holding its spring membership drive, and listeners can join KVMR at its website -- kvmr.org -- or by calling 530/265-9555.)