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October 24, 2002


Arigon joined her friend Brian May (yes, really!) at the recent unveiling of Queen's Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. "I don't want to disappoint anyone...but I didn't get to sing with the band after all," said Arigon, laughing and putting on a very *fake* pout. "There was some confusion in the ranks...and I was somewhat relieved to be a part of the very enthusiastic audience. My friends Ellen Perry and Janet Miner SWEAR his eyes lit up when he saw me afterwards at the reception at the Ivar Club," smiled Arigon. The Diva was definitely in a good mood, telling tales from behind the barricades.

Roger Taylor, Queen's drummer was there with some of his family -- and of course Brian had lots of his "crew" in tow. "For me, it was a thrill to see a lot of the behind-the-scenes folks like Queen's former record producer Mack, record company guy Joe Smith (that's his real name! AAAY!), and my public relations mentor, Bryn Bridenthal," said Arigon. Also at the Ivar Club was session drummer Carmine Appice (he used to be in Rod Stewart's band, among others), Nuno Bettencourt (formerly of Extreme), plus lots of video crews and invited paparazzi. Jacky Smith, the hard-working lady who runs the Queen Fan Club was busy circulating and wrangling some of the very nice "Super Fans" who were also at the event. [Arigon and Jacky go waaaay back. They met each other years ago and have remained friends over the years.] "This was really a fan effort for the band to get the star," said Arigon. Super Fan Nan Lawniczak had lobbied for years to have the group recognized. She was there with a contingent of the very dedicated supporters who had traveled to Los Angeles from around the world just for this event. "One couple had flown in from Wales after cancelling a fully-paid trip to Holland to attend," marveled Arigon. "I thought I was a fan, but they have me beat!"

Hooray for BRIAN!Brian and Arigon shared a few moments together -- with Brian complimenting Arigon on her continuing success. "I had emailed Brian that he needed to re-do an old Queen track called, 'White Man,'" said Arigon. Many of you familiar with Queen's music will recognize that song as a powerful rock track from the group's "A Day At The Races" LP that spoke of the "invasion" of Native America. "When I was a kid, it was one of the few times I heard a song about Indians that made me proud. Most rock acts ignored us. It seems the English have this 'thing' for Indians. Elton John did a track called 'Indian Sunset,' [from his LP "Madman Across the Water"] which was pretty cool -- and Iron Maiden did this really odd one called 'Run To The Hills.' I know they meant it as a tribute, but honestly, the image of Indians running for the hills to escape death from the invaders.....hmmm.....kinda antiquated!" Brian was impressed that Arigon found his track "worthy" of re-doing. "We must get together and do something with this, " said Brian. "I knew he was serious and not just placating me. That was really cool! He seems to be for real," smiled Arigon.

The Commer VanLater in the day, Janet, Ellen and Arigon spent time talking with Pete Smith, Jacky's former husband. They are still friendly and this was an event Pete didn't want to miss. "My favorite story he told me was about Freddie Mercury's interview with British dee-jay Mike Read. Read asked Freddie about the "early days" and Freddie quipped, 'Oh, you mean the days we toured England in a Commer Van with all my dresses?' Fred was always good with the bon mot," laughed Arigon. When the girls got home, they "Googled" the phrase "Commer Van" just to see what kind of vehicle Freddie was talking about. You can see a picture of the fetching Commer Van here. Arigon can definitely relate to the Commer Van days. "Hey, at least we HAVE a van!" she laughed.

Janet and EllenThe gig at the 1615 Club was full of fans, friends and family. Arigon was joined by Ellen, Janet and her childhood pals Janet and Pam Holmberg. The crew partied hardy, while the band played Queen hits like "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," "Stone Cold Crazy," and the extra special "Sleeping On The Sidewalk." Arigon was invited backstage prior to the show by Brian for their own "ceremony." "He had asked if I had some sage and would I mind doing a little smudging before the show," said Arigon. "I was happy to oblige -- and it was fun freaking out the other people backstage with the smoke!" From all reports, it was the best Brian May performance in years! "I think if I had been onstage performing I wouldn't have enjoyed the experience. This was a really special night for me and many other Queen fans. I'll never forget it," Arigon beamed.

Janet, Arigon and Pam HolmbergAnother amusing sighting was Rose Parade float designer Raul Rodriguez. He's a very creative guy and is also Brian May's neighbor in Los Angeles. Janet Miner also spent time fending off fans of her own. "People kept asking her if she was Annie Lennox," grinned Arigon. She even recently was mistaken for the former Eurythmics singer at the airport in Nashville. Do you think Sweet Dreams are made of this? AAAAY!


As you can see from our front page photo, a new Indian supergroup has been born! Flutist Mary Youngblood, Navajo singer Delphine Tsinajinnie and Arigon took the stage at the recent fundraising dinner in San Diego, CA. [That's Arigon's mom Ruth Wahpecome with Mary Youngblood.] Arigon was the host for the event and kept the audience laughing with her "Verna Many Snags" act. The Indian Human Resource Center put on a fine event that was completely sold out. Arigon's mom and Nick Peter's sister Mara Peters worked hard to assemble a talented group of Indian woman to celebrate the evening's theme, "Native Women -- Bridging The Centuries." The Mayor of San Diego stopped by, a news crew captured Delphine singing one of her signature tracks -- and even ol' Governor Gray Davis sent an official proclamation. Arigon, Mary and Delphine performed her song "Share The Road," and it was so stirring -- no one moved or even breathed! We hope some of you will join us next year for this really cool event. Those California Indians are something else!


Could NOT let this photo just sit in the archives!!! Arigon's sister and former bandmate Gay Wahpecome took this photo at the Wy-Kan-Ush-Pum gig in Portland last August. Lots of you have been asking where Miss Gay has been -- well, she got married in August and is happy being a married lady. We know she misses her time on the road, but she does join Arigon when she can. Gay took this photo backstage following the show with Gary Bennett. Talk about some mean looking Indians! AAAAAAY! This photo reminds me of an old Indian joke. A group of settlers were crossing the prairie and suddenly heard the sound of drums. Quickly, they circled the wagons, anticipating an attack from the nearby Indians. Some of the men gathered at the top of the hill, guns in hand. "I sure don't like the sound of those drums," said one of the settlers. A voice yelled back from the Indian side, "Sorry! It's not our regular drummer!"

AAAAAAY! Indian humor courtesy of AIROS' John Gregg! John has the BEST NDN jokes in the world.

October 14, 2002


Arigon will be participating in a spectacular event in Hollywood on Friday, October 18th. As some of you know, Arigon's personal faves, British rock group Queen [that's Queen guitarist and Diva fan Brian May playing on top of Buckingham Palace during the Queen's recent Jubilee Thingie] are receiving a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this Friday. Arigon will be joining Chris Thompson, Spike Edney and some VERY SPECIAL guests onstage at the 1650 Club for a rockin' Queen party. If any of you local folks in Los Angeles or Southern California are interested in coming the event, they still have a few tickets left for the gig. Email us and we'll send you information. For those of you who aren't familiar with Queen (there might be some young'uns out there) -- they've sold millions of records, received tons of awards and have their songs "We Will Rock You" and "We Are The Champions" played at least once during major sporting events! AAAY! You might have also heard their track "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the Mike Myers' movie "Wayne's World" or heard it spoofed in a Mountain Dew commercial. Queen have been a MAJOR influence on Arigon's music and you can be sure you'll see the photos and read her report here on Starrwatcher Online as soon as she calms down. Like, that's gonna happen! AAAAY!

Shaw is ALL


Arigon returned to Nashville, Tennessee recently to see some old friends, play a surprise show (okay, it was only three songs!) and visit with her pals, BR549. Arigon joined Chuck Mead, Shaw Wilson, Cowboy Keith Thompson and friends at the Pub of Love for an eclectic songwriter's night. "We tried to get through a Beatles song, but I admit I'm lame at jammin," laughed Arigon. Instead, Chuck and Shaw joined her on "Navajo Radio," "Lost Bird" and "Apache A-Go Go." Cowboy Keith was singing along in the background on that one! Also in the audience, Janet Miner, Sandra Schulman (go Sandra!) and Layla from the Bluegrasss Inn. Layla really gets folks going with her rendition of "Dancing Barefoot," made famous by the ultra-cool Patti Smith. [That's Arigon with Shaw Wilson, backstage at the Grand Ole Opry (more on that in a bit!] Chuck also did some of his songs, including one some of us remember from old BR shows called, "The Shape I'm In." Chuck also did a great rendition with his friend Miles on the Beatles' tune "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party."Vernon Winfrey

Now, you know you never know where the Diva will turn up. She is also an avid "Oprah" watcher and was intrigued that Oprah's dad, Vernon Winfrey, still owned and operated a Barber Shop in Nashville. Oprah Winfrey grew up in Nashville and was in town recently to visit with her Dad. "He was the NICEST guy -- I can see she comes by her love of people naturally," smiled Arigon. Vernon was on his way to make a "housecall" to a friend who needed a haircut but couldn't make it into the shop. He stopped to chat with Arigon before he drove off in his swanky pick-up truck. "My daughter was joking with me about working so hard at my age, " said Vernon. "I really need to fix up this place," he lamented. "I told him not to change a thing -- and to tell his daughter she had lots of Native American fans," said Arigon. Winfrey's Barber Shop is open and ready to take care of your haaar! AAAAY!Winfrey's Barber Shop Vernon also said you can see him and his wife in an upcoming edition of O Magazine. "I was visiting my daughter at her farm while they were doing a Christmas photo shoot," said Vernon. Of COURSE, Arigon reads O!

Arigon also took time to visit with Toye Heape, who's a Nashville American Indian activist. He and a few others have been working diligently to have the Cherokee Trail of Tears commemorated with historical markers around the Nashville area. While there isn't a huge population of Natives in Nashville, they have a friend in Toye, as he does these projects on his own time. One of the coolest things he does is run a website called "Native Nashville" that is chockfull of history and information. Drop him a line if you want to see some of the sacred sites in the Nashville area. Arigon had a spectacular visit with Toye at the Nashville Public Library. It's brand new -- and extremely grand. Arigon's chat will transform into an article in an upcoming edition of The Native Voice.

Gary's New SongsArigon's friend, Gary Bennett, took some time to chat, joke, sing and pick with her while she was toolin' around Nashville. For those of you BR549 fans wondering what this talented guy has been up to since he split from the group -- he's working hard on writing a bunch of new songs. "His new songs are still full of great emotion. I swear, he writes the best song 'bridges' I've ever heard," said Arigon. Here's Gary working in the demo studio on a cool new track. I'm sure we'll be hearing more music from Mr. Bennett in the near future.

Arigon and KeithThe Diva is just lucky. She also had a chance to visit with Cowboy Keith Thompson. They caught up on all the stories of the day -- including the shocking news about one of the guys who used to work on the road with BR549. "Did you hear that our former merchandise guy, Mark was arrested for stealing rare books from some of the libraries here in town and selling them for big bucks?" asked Keith. "He even used his OWN library card to do it!" Known as the "Book Bandit," Mark turned himself in...and is now waiting to be sentenced. Keith and Arigon met at a new place in town called The Lipstick Lounge. It's run by some very friendly gals -- and the two of them missed out on Karaoke Night! Keith's pretty wife, Heidi stopped in later. Heidi is pregnant and will be helping her new son Cash Alexander (yep, they already know the sex and what his name will be) arrive sometime on Christmas Eve. Here are Keith and Arigon professing undying "love" backstage at the Opry along a wall of lockers. Locker love is the best kind! Meet you after second period! AAAY!Kristina, Janet, Arigon and Garth Brooks...NOT!

Arigon was joined later in the week by her friend Kristina Memarian, who flew into town all the way from San Francisco to take in the weekend's "Opry Fest" which featured BR549, The Derailers, Robbie Fulks, Ralph Stanley and a bunch of other cool artists. Kristina is a die-hard BR549 fan, but especially LOVES Wayne "The Train" Hancock. She has some great stories from her road trips with Wayne. Now, take a look at Kristina. Does she look like a gal you might have seen at a Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin gig? Yep!! She saw them all at the Fillmore and Winterland -- even Jim Morrison and the Doors and Gram Parsons with the Flying Burrito Brothers. Here's Kristina with Arigon and Janet Miner at a local Nashville restaurant. Doesn't their waiter remind you of Garth Brooks? "Yo, Garth, where's our garlic bread?" AAAAAAAAAY!at the Opry

Arigon and Janet Miner were special guests of BR549 at the Grand Old Opry on Saturday, October 5th. The group performed at both shows, along with such artists as Marty Stuart and Gail Davies. "I have never EVER been backstage at the Opry!," gushed Arigon. Here's a shot from the backstage area, with the curtain down as the stage techs reset the stage.Brenda, Lois and Chuck, Sr. The folks at the Opry were extra nice. They had a "Green Room" that was actually yellow, where there were tons of comfy chairs and all the coffee you could swig down. "I actually got to see Porter Waggoner up close...EEEK!," smiled Arigon. Hey, those Nudie suits he still wears are cool, though.

She and Janet had fun poking around all the dressing rooms ["Sorry Mister Stuart! I didn't mean to muss your hair!" AAAAAAY!], visiting with Donnie, Chuck and Shaw, and saying hello to Chuck's parents Coach Mead [Aka Chuck, Sr.] and Lois. Gail Davies was joined onstage during her set by her son Chris Scruggs, who's one of the newest additions to the BR549 line-up. Chuck's new bride, Brenda ("Don' t Call Me Mrs. Mead!," she joked!!!), was also helpful in steering the hungry two to the local Cracker Barrel for a late night dinner. As many of you know, Chuck and Brenda have been a couple for 14 years. They recently tied the knot in Glasgow, Scotland.Don Herron and Arigon

Don Herron sure has been busy lately. He and his wife Tracy have bought ANOTHER house. "Yeh, we're rehabbing a 1910 house. We needed to be closer to town," smiled Donnie. He also told Arigon, "That sure was a good record you made! I enjoyed it!" Of course, Donnie was ON the record...but he's not biased! You can hear Donnie playing on the BACKFLIP tracks "Mountain Windsong," "Daddy's Records" and "Edith Keeler Must Die."

Well, last but not least -- here's a behind-the-band shot of the "new" BR549, featuring Chris Scruggs and Geoff Firebaugh. The boys spent most of their down time backstage jamming with Chris' mom Gail Davies. Keith said later their "Night At The Opry" [Do I detect a Queen joke? -- Editor] was basically a five-hour jam session.BR549 at the Opry

We sure wish those guys well. Rumor has it that they'll be heading into the studio shortly to begin recording their next project.

Arigon didn't see former BR549 bassist Smilin' Jay McDowell lurking around Nashville. They were probably just 10 minutes behind each other at the various local record stores!

Arigon, Kristina and Janet were joined by SuSu Green and Mackenzi Johnson on Saturday night at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop Midnight Jamboree. The group also took in the Derailers and Ralph Stanley the next day at the Opry Plaza.

"I had a GREAT time in Nashville and hope to get back there and do a proper show really soon," Arigon said.


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