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Sustainable Table & Tunes

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6:15 p.m. Sept. 12

Over the weekend I picked up a dusty '45 of soul stylist Jack Hammer singing "Obviously I Love You" at A Repeat Performance resale shop, 156 First Avenue in New York. There is no date on the record, but when I got home and played it, Jack sounded like Frankie Lymon meets early Grandmaster Flash. The record label is EXPERIENCE in Brooklyn, N.Y. It was a NICE souvenir of my trip.
Jack Hammer sounded like New York.
I grew up on a diet of regional '45s with the Buckinghams on U.S.A., the New Colony Six on Mercury, both out of Chicago, James Brown on King from Cincinnati, Lee Dorsey on Fury in New Orleans and so on. The colorful label logos and the diverse music took me places far beyond suburban Chicago.
I enjoy exploring regional music as much as I like regional food. Before I left town I put that notion to Diane Hatz, Founder/Director of Sustainable Table, the New York-based group that promotes sustainable agriculture. Her roots are in rock music.........

..... "Food is music," Hatz said on the Sustainable Table 45-foot long biodiesel rock n roll tour bus as it stopped in Chicago on its "Eat Well Guided Tour of America." "When we were in California we were actually given sickles, went out in the field, harvested our wheat, milled our wheat, made our crust, harvested the berries. We stepped out on the farm, baked the pie and ate it. We went from start to finish. It was a symphony. There's a choreography involved to it. I don't know if I'm stretching it, but for me, it is like a really good Who show or a Springsteen show."
Hatz stopped for some food for thought. Then she said, "I must say these are questions I've never been asked before."
Hatz, 45, co-founded, wrote and published The Relay, an independent music magazine on The Who, which is archived in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. "The band was cool about it," she said. "They gave me backstage passes and I'd interview (Pete) Townshends's mother and brothers." She also worked in marketing at Epic Records in New York City and managed the indy band Rubber Ugly. Hatz is also a student of Tibetan Buddhism and The Dalai Lama.
"When you're eating real good food you can taste subtle differences," she continued. "Listening to Miles Davis and the difference with other trumpet players is the same thing. I'm surprised there aren't food fan clubs. There probably are through blogs and it could be like fan clubs for bands."
Let me start the Mountain Dew Rags.
"With the Who (Decca Records) I took my passion and channeled it into something positive," Hatz said. "It opened so many doors for me. Even if you're not into food, but if it's diving.....go for it. Because you will find a way to create a life that is sustainable through a sincere passion."

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Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra has been a Chicago Sun-Times staff writer since 1985. His collection of Sun-Times travel columns, "Ticket To Everywhere," was published in 2000 by Lake Claremont Press. He was lead writer for "Farm Aid: Song for America" (Rodale Press, 2005) which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Willie Nelson inspired effort.
He won a 1987 Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick O-Type Award for Column Writing. Hoekstra wrote and co-proudced the WTTW-Channel 11 PBS special: "The Staple Singers and the Civil Rights Movement," nominated for a 2001-02 Chicago Emmy for a documentary program/cultural significance.
He lives in Chicago.


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This page contains a single entry by David Hoekstra published on September 12, 2007 6:20 PM.

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