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DIVA NEWS ARCHIVE -- NEWS FROM 1998-1999


The Fantastic Diva Across America Tour

From Los Angeles to Oklahoma to Lincoln to Milwaukee to Lawrence to Albuquerque -- there is fun for everyone. Check out these pages for all the details:

Diva Tour, Page One | Diva Tour Page Two | Diva Tour Page Three | Diva Tour Page Four


JUNE 1999


KTNN's Lorie LeeNATIVE AMERICAN MUSIC FESTIVAL -- JUNE 12, 1999 -- Dine College, Tsaile, Arizona

It all started with a phone call from Lorie Lee, one of producers of the Native American Music Festival in Tsaile, Arizona. Lee is also a major player at KTNN-AM, The Voice of the Navajo Nation. She and Ferlin Clark summoned the Diva to participate in a day-long celebration of Native Music at Dine College. Other invited performers included Buffy Sainte-Marie, John Trudell, Chief Jim Billie, Litefoot, Red Earth and many, many more talented Native acts.

It was a warm, sunny day on the Rez. After a grueling 13-hour drive from Los Angeles, the Diva and band members Nicholas Peters, Gay Wahpecome and Don Read were tired but ready to seize the day.

Kelsey Begaye with ArigonThey met lots of cool folks there, including Evelyn, the Pueblo caterer, Baje Whitesinger, a talented artist and designer of the event poster -- and Navajo Tribal Chairman Kelsey Begaye. The band set up their merchandise booth and waited for their turn to hit the stage.

While they were waiting, they saw Delphine Tsinajinnie, Shouting Mountain, Derek Miller, Primeaux and Mike, then E.J. Satala..then it was time to do their thing. They rocked the Navajo crowd with Indian Land Forever -- which prompted one kid to leap from the crowd, dance wildly and shout "A-ho!" repeatedly. They escorted him out. We're sure it's not the lasttime the Diva will incite rebellion in Indian kids...aaaayy!

They played a varied set -- with tunes from MEET THE DIVA and some from their upcoming release. "Junior Frybread" was big hit -- as was "Navajo Radio." They left the crowd wanting more with "Apache A-Go Go" -- which was transformed for the occasion into "Navajo A-Go Go." Exhausted, but pleased, the band left the stage to thunderous applause.

Arigon with John TrudellMembers of Chief Jim Billie's band (formerly of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) were among the first people to give the band a big thumbs up. Kelsey Begaye and his family watched from just offstage and also gave the Diva hugs, handshakes and high praise. Thie Diva did quick interviews with the Navajo Times, KTNN's L.A. Williams and the Navajo Nation's TV channel.Some interesting sites were band member Gay Wahpecome surrounded by small children after emerging from the backstage hospitality suite...and the giveaway of a copy of MEET THE DIVA. M.C. Jon Ghahate challenged the festival crowd to "describe the Diva's music" -- and a line of young fans gathered quickly at the front of the stage. After a few desperate tries, a young Indian girl was asked -- "Okay, tell us how to describe Arigon's music?" The little girl squealed -- "It's the BEST!!" She won the CD!

Later in the evening, the band was able to meet John Trudell and Buffy Sainte-Marie. John Trudell did a moving, intense set accompanied by Primeaux and Mike -- and Buffy rocked the crowd with her powerful tunes. Buffy's band members were a real hoot, sharing road stories with the Diva and company after their set. After many autographs were signed, pictures taken and CDs sold...the band retired to the comfy dorm rooms of Dine College.

The Band with Buffy Sainte-MarieThe drive home included stops at Canyon De Chelly and Flagstaff...plus lots of music and laffs in the Van.

In the article about the music fest in "Indian Country Today," Buffy Sainte-Marie told reporter Brenda Norell her favorite bands of the day were Derek Miller and ARIGON STARR.

How about that, Sports fans? AAAAAY!


SILVER STAR CULTURAL FESTIVAL -- JUNE 20, 1999 -- Oakland, California

The Van was loaded again for one more trip during June. Mike Smith, the director of the American Indian Film Institute had asked Arigon and the band to participate in the AIFI's Silver Star festival. Also featured were performance artist James Luna and comedian Drew LaCapa.

Nicholas was thrilled to meet more of his extended family -- Luna is also a California Indian. Drew kept everyone entertained with his wild sense of humor and great comic timing. After some tasty sushi, the band set up, sound-checked, checked into their hotel, got dressed and waited to close up the first night's event at the Asian Cultural Center in downtown Oakland.

The band performed late on Friday night -- but to a very appreciative crowd. They premiered another new song from the upcoming CD entitled ,"My Heart Is On The Ground," which is based on a controversial children's book about the bad, old Indian school days. They crooned, swayed and ended with some popular rock tunes....like "Apache A-Go Go." That song gets 'em every time!

 

The next day, the band played several sets during the outdoor festival at Jack London Square. Band manager Janet Miner's brother, MARK MINER was a real help on both days -- helping the group get the gear on and off-stage.

The Band in OaklandPeople danced, clapped, sang along and generally had a good time. The Diva saw her old friends Millie Ketchashawno and photographer Ilka Hartmann during the day-long event.

Nick Peters and Rene GarciaNick had fun talking with event coordinator Rene Garcia. Everyone decided that Rene and Nick could have been brothers - based on their curly locks. Take a look at these pictures and let us know what you think!

It was a great day for everyone. The band celebrated by taking in a sceening of "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me." They hung-out the next day for a screening of "Naturally Native" at the Jack London Cinemas. Everyone loved Mark Abbott's jokes! Honest!

Another successful road trip. Do try and catch the Diva and her band on the road. Don't be shy! Come up and say "Hi!" The band loves to meet their fans.


FEBRUARY 1999

7th ANNUAL FIRST AMERICANS IN THE ARTS AWARDS -- FEBRUARY 13, 1999 -- Century Plaza Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA San Diego, CA

As a past Board of Trustees member, this was Arigon's first awards evening in some years where she attended solely as Talent and guest, and the whole band made the most of it. After obtaining the proper credentials, it was time for a 3PM soundcheck and a chance to meet Clan/Destine, the other band sharing the evening's festivities. This was the second year an after-party was held, and it had already proved so popular that the location has been expanded to a large ballroom. The two bands spent an hour or so assembling equipment and figuring out playing times -- and then Arigon and company sped back to her digs to freshen up for the night. T-shirts were exchanged for gowns (Don and Nicholas stuck with fab suits), spaghetti was sucked down and everyone piled back into the van in record time.

The hotel had been transformed into a glamorous sea of handsome Indian men and beautiful Indian women by the time the band arrived, and it was time to meet and greet new and old friends. Two hours flew by as the whole band strolled through the rooms, taking pictures and chatting with everyone from Wes Studi to Sherman Alexie to Irene Bedard.

The band took the stage around midnight and cut loose with a blistering set that included old favorites like "Navajo Radio" and "Native" and many new songs including "Man Without A Tribe," "Junior Frybread," "Indian Land Forever" and a rocking cover of "Come And Get Your Love" by Redbone. The evening concluded at 3AM with a big breakfast at Norms, a old time Hollywood coffeeshop where no-one blinked at the sight of hungry rock band.


APRIL 1998

Ever wonderered what it was like to be right in the hip pocket of the Arigon Starr Band? Well, take a look at this review written by a band member and Diva insider.

SONY ARTWALK -- APRIL 26, 1998 -- San Diego, CA

By Gay Wahpecome

Sunday morning began with a flurry of activity for the Diva and her band mates. A late night of Padre Baseball (sixteen innings!), a funny Saturday Night Live (but no Mango!), and an early morning call time were enough to increase the stress level of any ordinary person. However, for the members of Arigon Starr, it was just another exciting adventure. Arigon, Gay and Nick, plus our illustrious manager, Janet, arrived at the designated area around 9am. Don and Rose (Don's galpal) arrived around 10am. Unfortunately, Don was the recipient of a moving violation from the city's finest. The sound technician and stage manager arrived and a short sound check was achieved. Our host for the day, Xavier, arrived with a list of poets for the day. Arigon would take the stage at 2pm.

Poetry was a new experience for me. I was not ready for what was to come. The first poet took the stage at 11am. His bright red Converse sneakers, black shorts and T-shirt were the uniform of the day as he read self-penned poems from two of his published works. The poems were full of heady observations of his world. He was especially tuned into the contradictions of politics, religion and relationships. A woman poet relayed her observations in droning voice. Unfortunately, I could not get past the sound of her voice. I lost track of what she was saying and drifted off into my own thoughts. The next guy was wearing an actor's workshop logo, so I thought I'd give him a listen. He was rather amusing as he spoke of Pamela Anderson arching her back (you had to be there). As the day went on, so did the poets. They began to melt into one. A woman went on about the history of the potato, followed by an Angry Sistah, a guy in his pajamas and a Hispanic guy with orange hair. We waited for two o'clock to roll around.

Our time to go on finally came. We started the set with "Monsters of the World." We were off to a rockin' afternoon. There were a variety of people that stopped to listen. Tourists, homeless, moms and dads, kids, and some of the poets drifted in and around the stage as we delivered a superb 45-minute set. During the song "Lost Bird" we spotted a homeless Indian man, who said he was Sioux. Arigon told the story of Lost Bird and we performed the beautiful and haunting melody. Arigon hoped that she reached this man who is away from his people for whatever reason. He disappeared before the end of the show. His buddy was dancing in front of the stage. That made us happy that he forgot about his troubles for just a moment. Nick debuted a song Arigon wrote especially for him called "To Be Your Man" during the set. It's going to be another showstopper!

The band has been greatly enriched by the presence of our present bass man, Don Read. I was mesmerized by the way Arigon, Nick and he worked together as a team. So mesmerized, I was momentarily distracted by the beauty of all and lost my tambourine rhythm.

Following the set, we all headed down to the lovely Princess Pub on India Street. This pub (in various incarnations) has been a mainstay of Little Italy for the past 15 or so years. The latest owners have dropped "the Wales" part of the old name of the pub and have given it a taste of Liverpool. There is a fun mural of the Beatles with other famous rock stars in one room. Around the bar another caricature of the Beatles graces the eye. The new owners are natives of Liverpool and also original Beatles fans that used to see the lads at the Cavern.

By the end of the evening, Meet the Diva was playing on the sound system. Who would have thought all those years ago that Arigon Starr's music would be playing on the sound system at our favorite pub! A lovely time was had by all.


FEBRUARY 1998

Firstly, the screening of NATURALLY NATIVE at the Sundance Film Festival was a resounding success. I hope some of you Starrwatchers out there made the journey -- maybe you were too shy to talk to the Diva? Hmmmm....In any case, Arigon had a wonderful time there -- snow, ice, sleet and all. Her only regret, not seeing SMOKE SIGNALS -- Sherman Alexie's Arigon, Dawn Jackson and Jennifer Farmerwonderful film. It won an Audience Award at the Festival, and seems destined for greatness. Miramax is releasing the film some time this year. Arigon had a chance to say "hi" to Sherman -- and many of the greats in Native Hollywood. Wes Studi, Gary Farmer, Hanay Geiogamah and Frank Blythe....and so many others. Your Diva can network with the best of them.Some Real CUTE Indians & Friends

Following that success, the second "world premiere" of NATURALLY NATIVE took place on February 4, 1998 at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. Arigon and her manager, Janet Miner made the trip with several key production players and witnessed the grandeur that IS Foxwoods. The Mashuntucket Pequot tribe put on a wonderful screening and party -- and the Diva found herself with the movie's "big shots" at Tribal chairman Skip Heyward's house following the reception.

The Diva and manager then took off for New York City to pre-tape and acceptance speech by First Americans in the Arts recipient JOCK SOTO. Jock is half-Navajo -- and a stunner! He's been a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet for 13 years, and First Americans awarded him with the Trustee Award for 1998. Jock was unable to attend the Awards ceremony in person -- so he made himself available for a rehearsal, interview and short acceptance speech. After the work was done, the Diva shopped and dined. Maybe you saw her having brunch at the Plaza?


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