May 2, 2009 Narrow Center for the Arts, Fall River, Massachusetts
Moonalice poster by Chris Shaw
According to Moonalice legend, the city of Fall River prospered during the Civil War. During that time, the city became America’s leading producer of textiles. At its peak the city had one million spindles going in its mills. All this prosperity allowed, Fall River to play a major role in supporting the war effort. In addition to cotton cloth, the city provided a brigade, the 420 Moonalice Quartermasters. The Moonalice Quartermasters were responsible for procuring and distributing hemp through the Union Army. It was a tough job, due largely to the imprecision of quality control testing in those days. Lacking today’s sophisticated equipment the 420 Moonalice Quartermasters had to resort to brute force. They smoked half of every bud to make sure it was safe for the troops. It was. At least, they think it was.
According to Moonalice legend, Lizzie Borden hired live-in servants to care for her parents. The two servants, Forty Whacks Moonalice and his son, Forty-One Whacks, were nice, but not very alert. They were passed out cold – having shared some bud in the family hemp cellar – when the axe was flying upstairs. Forty Whacks was mortified by the bloody murders, but Forty-One Whacks was smitten. His love for Lizzie knew no bounds. Not only did he cast himself as Reasonable Doubt in the musical version of Lizzie’s court case, he grew and marketed a strain of hemp that helped to pay Lizzie’s legal bills. The hemp, known as Steel Lizzie, left smokers with a splitting headache. It was very popular among masochists.
According to Moonalice legend, the worst fire in Fall River’s history started in the Pocasset Mill in 1928. By the time it was put out, the fire had destroyed a big part of downtown Fall River. How did it start? This is where history gets sketchy and the legend takes over. Unfortunately, it says nothing about how the fire started. What it provides is an interesting perspective on the importance of leaving a burning building before the cows come to roost. Guest percussionists: Webb McNamee, Schwager, Stella Xanthakos Baked goods: birthday cake!!! Twittercast #5
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