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Monthly Update

August 15, 2018

Janis Ian - It's not retiring, it's rewiring

Pat <watching Janis unpack>: I thought you were retiring?

Janis <glancing over her shoulder at the dog>: I'm re-wiring, not retiring. Gracie Mae, take that shirt out of your mouth immediately!

Gracie Mae: (Drops shirt. Immediately moves to investigate more dirty laundry.)

Pat: You've been away a lot this year, for someone who's off the road.

Janis <indignantly>: I've only done eight shows! How could I say no to Arlo, who I've known since we were kids? Or working with Rhiannon Giddens and Irish at Cambridge Folk Festival? A festival that's actually 50% female across the board? How on earth could I turn it down?

Pat: I vaguely remember you were getting off the road...

Janis <patiently>: I am off the road... mostly... Gracie Mae, bring that shirt back or you'll be wearing it where the sun don't shine!

Janis, Rhiannon Giddens, Irish Mythen, photo by Debra Hyslop

Janis, Rhiannon Giddens, Irish Mythen (photo by Debra Hyslop)

Gracie Mae: (Chews reflectively on shirt before dropping it.)

Pat: I don't understand. You were supposed to go from 200+ dates a year to almost none, and yet you've been away as much as you've been home. What happened to writing a new album?

Janis: That's what this next year is about.

Pat: Oh. This next year. You mean the year when we downsize from 4,600 square feet on an acre of land to 1,100 square feet and almost no land? The year you spend getting rid of things you don't need, guitars, microphones, jewelry, and a pair of stage boots for goodness sake, and we don't even get to keep all the money?

songwriting workshop

Those boots and the Baggs guitar

Janis<patiently>: The rest of the money is going to the Pearl Foundation, remember? We're kicking off the website sale with that stupendous $15,000 donation from my old friends Lloyd and Nadine Baggs, of L. R. Baggs fame! Lloyd built the guitar that's on the cover of Strictly Solo (and shot the photos!), and donated a really expensive pedal board for the sale. We've been friends forever.

Pat <staring blankly>: The sale? What sale?

Janis: The annual sale, starting 6 am Central this Saturday... August 18th, I think.

Pat <gasping for breath>: We are doing a sale? For how long? Why?!

Janis: Honey, sit down... here... Gracie Mae, you sit down too.... Now. We are doing a sale to raise money for returning students, formerly known as Old-People-Who-Want-To-Go-Back-To-School-and-Can't-Get-Scholarships. Remember? We've already given away over a million dollars in endowments, we've graduated more than 50 people who wouldn't have had a chance otherwise.

songwriting workshop

Janis and Arlo Guthrie presenting a Grammy in 1968

Pat: But we're not going to make any money. In fact, we'll lose money, because you insist on matching postage costs dollar for dollar and donating that. too. So how will we live?

Janis <sharply>: Gracie Mae, stop breathing so heavily. There'll still be kibble!

Pat: Let me get this straight. We spend hours every month packing merchandise, arguing with vendors, scrambling for haiku to continue your crazy Godzilla thing on Facebook, updating social media, while you're also your own manager, publisher, and record company - we do that all so we don't make money?

Janis <folding laundry>: Yep. That's about right. Because it's not about the taking. It's about the giving. And we have enough.

songwriting workshop

Sheldon's Couch on the Big Bang Theory

Pat <sourly>: Nice platitude when we'll end up with nowhere to live...and you already donated the touring van; I always thought push come to shove, we could live in that!

Janis <sitting down>: Pat. We are having a Very Good Life. I can tour when I want to, the way I want to. You don't have to practice family law to keep us solvent

Pat: — I hate family law. Give me an honest criminal any day!

Janis: — and between shows, I can do cool things like attend tapings of The Big Bang Theory, or play with Kevin Eubanks at Bill Prady's Living Room Concert, or see my Aunt Mona for her 90th birthday. Besides, I will be home most of this next year because I want to write another album, and I only have six songs I like so far.

Pat: What about all this stuff we've accumulated?

Janis and her Aunt Mona

Janis and her Aunt Mona

Janis: It's going to be sold, given away, donated... I'll figure it out. <closes eyes> Gracie Mae, if you steal one more thing from that laundry pile I will dress you up like Melania Trump and send you to Pilates!

Pat <horrified>: You're threatening the dog!!!

Janis <calmly>: Yes. I am threatening the dog. I am also doing my laundry so I can figure out the sale. Then I'm going to the West Coast for TBBT, and then the Northwest to have dinner with three of my favorite writer-friends, Nancy Kress, Nicola Griffith, and Kelly Eskridge, then do an LRC, then do my first Canadian shows in years and years, and then come home... to pack... When I'm done with that I'm going to look at re-opening our eBay account and auctioning things like my stage boots.

Pat: And then?

Gracie Mae Guarding the Laundry

Gracie Mae Guarding the Laundry

Janis: Then it should be just about time for me to whine about having no time to write because I'm so busy recovering from my Year of Doing Nothing... Gracie Mae, for the last time, walk away from the laundry and put that T-shirt down!

Gracie Mae: (Drops shirt.)

Pat: I wonder why she likes that shirt so much?

Janis: Probably because I traded it for a signed CD at Cambridge. One of the road crew had been wearing it all day and I didn't have time to wash it until now...

Janis Ian


Join us for our annual "Christmas in August" sale, from 6 am CST Saturday, August 18 to 6 pm CST Sunday, August 26. 100% of the proceeds go to The Pearl Foundation, and we'll be matching all postage costs dollar-for-dollar.

And yes, we are actively searching for haiku! Please go here to check the rules and regs. You do not need to include a photo; we can take care of that!

Gracie Mae Haiku
Hot News
  • Final summer shows added

    Two solo evenings at The Kate to close out the summer!

  • Cards on sale for Valentine's!

    On sale for any occasion, until February 14th!

  • Historic Interview and Performance on WNYC

    Here's a recently unearthed interview by Dave Sear with Janis, age 16, from WNYC's Adventures in Folk Music radio New York! Recorded on December 7, 1967.

    Also includes five songs:

    1. Younger Generation Blues
    2. Society's Child
    3. I'll Give You A Stone If You'll Throw It (Changing Tymes)
    4. (Too Old To) Go 'Way Little Girl
    5. Beep Beep Song


[more hot news]

Tour Dates

click on any date for full information
click again to close that date

All tour dates updated on March 1, 2019

[full tour dates list]

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