Asking Questions at Public Events….

Some call it the ‘intelligence of the audience,’ yet sometimes it’s just not that.  We refer to the Q&A session after public talks or lectures.  At Live Talks Los Angeles, we look forward to them, as you never know what will come up, like the time on November 22nd, 2010,  when we hosted Roger McGuinn of The Byrds.  Being the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, someone asked McGuinn to comment on his recollections of  that day. Mcguinn started to speak, and then decided the music said more, so played the Byrds’ version of the song, He Was a Friend of Mine, with the song’s melody altered and the lyrics changed to lament the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Here’s the video (at 3:22).  It was one of those moments at a public event.

Speaking of questions at public events, at Live Talks Los Angeles, we remind folks that questions are short and generally starts with a W or an H.  In today’s NYT is a piece by Misha Glouberman on Q&As at public events that we liked. Here’s an excerpt:

‘How do I know if my question is a good question?’’

‘‘Good question,’’ I reply, setting them on a spiral of positive feedback. A good question is, by definition, a question. You cannot just take a statement and raise the pitch at the end. Sometimes people will say ‘‘Might it not be said that statement-statement-statement?’’ or ‘‘How would you respond were someone to say statement-statement- statement?’’ You can’t just take a statement and dress it up in a question’s clothes, like the Little Rascals dressing up as a grown-up to get into a movie.

Also, if there are grammarians in the audience, they will support me when I say that there is no such grammatical construct as a two-part question. If you think you have a two-part question, you actually just have two questions. We encourage you to ask the better of the two and save the crappy one for a less-discriminating lecture series.



Roger McGuinn event write up in

Roger McGuinn

Our Roger McGuinn event last Monday  at Track 16 to a capacity crowd was a memorable evening nicely chronicled in a write up in with a short video as well.  Full video from the event is forthcoming…

“Fans of folk rock legend Roger McGuinn got quite a treat on Monday evening at the Track 16 gallery in Bergamot Station. The former Byrds guitarist sat down with music journalist Kristine McKenna for a conversation that touched on everything from dropping acid with the Beatles to the true story behind “Eight Miles High.”

Noting that it was the anniversary of John Kennedy’s assassination, someone asked about the song “He Was a Friend of Mine.” Roger said he was at the Brill Building on that fateful day and wrote the words and adapted them to an old folk tune. Hearing Roger sing this haunting song held the audience in a quiet place.

After the questions ceased, Roger played what he said is his favorite Byrds song, “Turn, Turn, Turn.” As he sang the last and only lyric Pete Seger added to the Ecclesiastes scripture, “a time for peace, I swear it’s not too late,” the entire audience stood and applauded. As a closing cherry on the sundae, Roger graciously sat back and picked up his guitar once more, playing a version of “Eight Miles High” that he had infused with influences from Ravi Shankar and Spanish classical guitar legend Andres Segovia. It was a great end to a truly special night.

We have a few of McGuinn’s newest CD signed ($20), so be sure to be in touch if interested: