William Webster, Cinderella Man

Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 5.00.54 PM

Bolshoi Ballet, film still from Spartak (Aram Khachaturian)

After getting a PhD in German language and literature and writing both the words and music for operas about George Washington and the Little Match Girl, my friend William found himself working as an administrative assistant in the firm I joined in 1981 as a software engineer. He and some of my engineer coworkers were interested in art and San Francisco, so we’d go into “The City” to attend art openings and go to dinner…all on low salaries since we weren’t “superstars”, just good at what we did.

In the expensive rental and housing market of the Valleyof the 1980s, just as crazy as Hong Kong’s market today, I was able to find a rental on a crumby street in Mountain View, but one that had its own charm; its name, for example, was “Easy Street”. My lawyer laughed his ass off when I gave him my California address.

William lived in East Palo Alto, a hell hole since it was a dumping ground for service people (janitors, maids, computer operators and so on), especially people of color, who were exploited by criminals and landlords in a ghetto, adjacent to a wealthy suburb. Rich Palo Alto white people would go to EPA to get drugs but EPA represented what James Baldwin said terrorized American whites: “night, death and the devil”.

William therefore organized his community to fight the root cause of East Palo Alto’s problems: greedy landlords, and he continues the fight today.

But suddenly his opera, “The Little Match Girl” has been recognized as a work of art and given a Paris premiere. I do rather hope that any number of his wealthy enemies who like he love the opera are completely green with envy as this pesky community organizer and gadfly jets off to blasted Paris for the premiere of his opera! Take that, you ne kulterni scum!

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3 Responses to “William Webster, Cinderella Man”

  1. Score one for the good guys…

  2. I will immediately snatch your rss feed as I can’t find your email subscription link or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly let me know in order that I may subscribe. Thanks.

    • spinoza1111 Says:

      This is my newsletter, Nan. Just subscribe to this wordpress blog for email notifications of new posts. At this time for family reasons I post something every day.

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