The Marjorie Kovler Center is a facility in Chicago, Illinois which provides counseling, therapy, aid, housing, and resources to help refugees and victims of torture who have come to the USA.
I first learned about the Marjorie Kovler Center about 10 years ago from a doctor I was seeing at that time. She was an amazing woman, whose name unfortunately escapes me. In addition to being a doctor and the mother of two children, she found time in an incredibly busy schedule to avail herself to the Kovler Center to give her services free of charge.
I was profoundly touched by her, and who wouldnâ€™t be? She told me about the Center, about the refugees that came, who were traumatized in ways that I cannot begin to imagine, having, luckily, no frame of reference except the media for the kinds of inhuman atrocities these people have suffered. She spoke frankly about what had happened to people, and how they found themselves in a new country, often without any language skills and penniless, as well as suffering physically and mentally from their ordeals. Needless to say, it shook and chilled me to the core, and I wanted to help, but at that time did not feel that I had anything constructive to offer.
It was not until the spring of 2007 that I realized I might be able to do something. I had started writing for a new album, and what I was writing was heavily informed by what I had been listening to on the BBC world service, and also by things I had been reading. Slowly, over about eight months, I finished what was essentially a long poem, â€œForgiveness & Exileâ€, which, without trying to explain too much is my own impressionistic view of countries and peoples torn to pieces by war, of prejudices and intolerances, of families destroyed, murder, imprisonment and torture. At the end of the writing process, and during the recording process, I realized that I had said what I set out to say, but was unable to justify my luxury of using language and music to talk about something I felt strongly about, but certainly knew very little of, and was lucky enough to never have experienced such brutal inhumanities. It was at that time that I remembered my conversations with the doctor, and of the Kovler Center, and realized that now at last was my opportunity to do something tangible, and in this respect I am donating all the money I make from sales and royalties of this album to the Kovler Center. Perhaps I can make someoneâ€™s transition a little easier and their quality of life a little better.
Chris is playing at Schuba’s Tavern on Friday, September 12th, opening for JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN. Chris says, “Her new record ‘to survive’ is one of the best records I’ve heard for years!”
Schuba’s is at 3159 North Southport in Chicago; doors at 10:30 PM.
The May 2008 issue of Record Collector magazine features a four-star review of Chris’s autobiographical book, Concrete, Bulletproof, Invisible & Fried, by Kris Needs. (Link)
Chris’s wife, Shayna, a talented filmmaker and contributing writer to Time Out Chicago, recently sent an e-mail to family and friends to tout Chris’s book, Concrete, Bulletproof, Invisible and Fried: My Life as a Revolting Cock. Here is her take on the book, and a little background information on the project:
“The book deal happened in typical Chris Connelly fashion. Ever the supportive fan, he was reading a book from SAF publishing, a company specializing in rock biographies and wrote them to say how much he enjoyed it. In a post script he mentioned he was a musician and asked if they would they would be interested in publishing his story. They asked for an outline and a chapter, loved it and Chris began writing. He wrote it on the train to work while I was pregnant. At the same time he was also making another record – ‘The Episodes’ – and working full time – you’d think he’d get grumpy, but he doesn’t!
“Chris is a fabulous, funny storyteller and ‘Concrete’ is written as candidly and charmingly as he speaks. Unlike a lot of other rock bios, his prose reflects his historian’s mind and voracious appetite for literature. Despite living the quintessential rock and roll lifestyle for many years, the part of Chris that is now devoted family man is still recognizable on the page. The reckless part of his rock-and-roll self has mellowed, but the fun part remains and keeps me, Angus and everyone he meets laughing.”
Durtro has announced the release of Chris’s new CD, The Episodes!
For this album, Chris is joined by Joan of Arc’s Tim Kinsella and Town & Country’s Ben Vida (who also produced the record), as well as members of US Maple, Califone and other Chicago jazz and improv luminaries.
This CD will not be available in stores until April, but is available online from the Durtro shop (Ã‚Â£10 plus shipping and VAT, where applicable) or Jnana Records ($14.99 plus shipping).
To celebrate the launch of this record, Chris is doing a special one-off show on Saturday, February 17th at 9pm at the Hideout in Chicago.
Chris’s next album, “the episodes”, will be out in January 2007 on a new label, Durtro/Jnana. The track list for the album is as follows:
- mirror lips
- the son of empty sam
- every ghost has an orchestra
- henry vs miller
- soul boys/hard legends
- the son of empty sequel
- empty coda
Thank you! Your orders and donations helped us raise $50.00 for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
Order from the CC Shop by September 10 and $2.00 from each item ordered will go to the United Way Hurricane Katrina Response Fund.
Chris has some Upcoming Shows…
- Wednesday, September 21 in St. Louis at The Complex (3515 Chouteau Ave.)
Plus, a redesign is in the works!
The new Mr. and Mrs. Connelly tied the knot on September 5 in Chicago. The ceremony was performed by Paul Elledge with family and close friends in attendance.
More photos will be posted shortly. In the meanwhile, visit Converse with Chris and leave the newlyweds your best wishes!
Why do so many people love Chris? Obviously it’s because of the beautiful music he makes. And to helps us march along this month (ha ha! get it? march along? and it’s March?) we’ve got more music for you.
First, be sure to pick up a copy of Chris’s latest collaborative work, Everyoned. Chris contributes his melodic tones to a band of Chicago-based musicians. Pick it up in our Shop for just $9.00!
Then head over to the Downloads area for some more music… this time we’ve got recordings of Chris live as well as some previously unreleased demos!
You’ll only find stuff this good here at chrisconnelly.com!