A Blog PS/News from another Old Friend

During the toughest years of my life, music sustained me as I drove home from insurance sale appointments listening to music on my eight-track player. (Anybody remember those?). And one of the artists who was incredibly important to me at the time was Janis Ian. Her often heart-breaking lyrics touched my very soul.

As a seventh-grade girl in Bisbee’s Greenway School, I was already six feet tall. I was smart and wore thick glasses which made me pretty much a social outcast in junior high and high school. So when I heard Janis Ian’s song At Seventeen it really spoke to me. In case you don’t remember the lyrics, I’m posting them here:

I learned the truth at seventeen
That love was meant for beauty queens
And high school girls with clear skinned smiles
Who married young and then retired
The valentines I never knew
The Friday night charades of youth
Were spent on one more beautiful
At seventeen I learned the truth

And those of us with ravaged faces
Lacking in the social graces
Desperately remained at home
Inventing lovers on the phone
Who called to say – come dance with me
And murmured vague obscenities
It isn’t all it seems at seventeen

A brown eyed girl in hand me downs
Whose name I never could pronounce
Said – pity please the ones who serve
They only get what they deserve
The rich relationed hometown queen
Marries into what she needs
With a guarantee of company
And haven for the elderly

So remember those who win the game
Lose the love they sought to gain
In debentures of quality and dubious integrity
Their small-town eyes will gape at you
In dull surprise when payment due
Exceeds accounts received at seventeen

To those of us who knew the pain
Of valentines that never came
And those whose names were never called
When choosing sides for basketball
It was long ago and far away
The world was younger than today
When dreams were all they gave for free
To ugly duckling girls like me

We all play the game, and when we dare
We cheat ourselves at solitaire
Inventing lovers on the phone
Repenting other lives unknown
That call and say – come on, dance with me
And murmur vague obscenities
At ugly girls like me, at seventeen.

When I heard those words for the first time, I thought, “She and I must have walked in the same moccasins.” Later, when I learned she’s only four-ten, I realized the moccasin thing was dead wrong, but who cares?

When I began doing public appearances, I often closed events by singing At Seventeen. But then a strange thing happened. Over a decade ago, Janis and I met and became friends. When we appeared together in Tucson a few years ago, we billed ourselves as The Long and the Short of It. We’re both women of a certain age—artists with one foot in the world of art and the other in the world of business. Right now, as I’m about to launch off on a tour, so is Janis—she’s on tour, and no, our paths aren’t going to cross until later this fall.

Her new album, I’m Still Standing just came out, and it speaks to me now just as At Seventeen once did and still does.

She’s out on the road. Some of her performances are sold out, but not all of them. I’m posting her schedule below and hoping that some of you will grab a carload of your vaccinated and boosted pals and go see her, because not only is she still standing, so are we!

As for the last two lines of the song—the ones that say:

And dreams were all they gave for free
To ugly duckling girls like me.

That may have been true for both of us back then, but it’s equally true for both of us that our fans are what have made all our dreams come true.

Thur 24 Jean Cocteau Theatre, Santa Fe NM
Fri 25 Jean Cocteau Theatre, Santa Fe NM
Sat 26 Jean Cocteau Theatre, Santa Fe NM Sold out
Sun 27 Jean Cocteau Theatre, Santa Fe NM* 1pm master class with performances

Thur March 03 The Rialto, Tucson AZ
Fri March 04 MIM, Phoenix AZ Sold out
Sun March 06 Magnolia Theater, El Cajon CA
Fri March 11 McCabe’s, Los Angeles Sold out
Sat March 12 McCabe’s, Los Angeles Sold out
Sun March 13 McCabe’s, Los Angeles * Master class noon Sold out
Wed March 16 Painted Table, Fresno CA
Fri March 18 Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga CA
Sun March 20 Freight & Salvage, Berkeley CA sold out
Sun March 27 Mountain Stage, Morgantown, WV
Thur March 31 Capitol Theater, Clearwater FL

Sat April 02 Parker Theater, Ft. Lauderdale with Livingston Taylor/ Tom Chapin
Sun April 03 Lyric Theater, Stuart FL
Thur April 14 Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs NY
Fri April 15 Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs NY
Sat April 16 Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs NY
Mon April 18 Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs NY * master class with performances
Thur April 21 Katherine Hepburn Theater, Old Saybrook CT
Sat April 23 Lynn Auditorium, Lynn MA with Livingston Taylor & Tom Chapin
Sun April 24 Shea Theater, Turner Falls MA
Wed April 27 Whitaker Center, Harrisburg PA with Livingston Taylor & Tom Chapin
Fri April 29 Tin Pan, Richmond VA sold out
Sat April 30 The Birchmere, Alexandria VA

Sun May 01 Newton Theater, Newton NJ
Tues May 03 Private radio station event
Thur May 05 Scottish Rite Aud., Collingswood NJ with Livingston Taylor & Tom Chapin
Fri May 06 Ocean City Music Pier, Ocean City NJ w/ Livingston Taylor & Tom Chapin
Sat May 07 Society for Ethical Culture, New York with Livingston Taylor & Tom Chapin
Sun May 08 Suffolk Theater, Riverhead NY
Wed May 11 Goodyear, Akron OH w/ Tom Rush
Fri May 13 Stoughton Opera House, Stoughton WI
Sat May 14 Old Town School, Chicago IL sold out
Sun May 15 Old Town School, Chicago IL * master class 1pm with performances
Wed May 18 The Southern, Columbus OH w/ Tom Rush
Thur May 19 Memorial Hall, Cincinnati OH w/ Tom Rush
Sun May 22 Englert Civic Theater, Iowa City IO
Wed May 25 Sheldon Theater, St. Louis MO with Livingston Taylor
Fri May 27 CMA Theater, Nashville, TN with Livingston Taylor