Voices and Vistas: Blue Moon Lady


Voices and Vistas: The Blue Moon Lady


Editor’s Note: “Voices and Vistas” is a recurring column about the people I meet and the books I read. Some of the topics discussed here will branch off into other stories or columns. Some will exist for their own sake. The “voices” refers to the literal voices and thoughts of the people I meet, and hopefully, the sounds of our talk in the city. “Vistas” refers to a distant view through or along an avenue or opening.
“I heard the song Blue Moon just outside, and I had to stop, I started crying,” Tara Feuerborn tells whoever she’s talking on the phone with. Wherever she was the day before, the song stopped her in her tracks, as it usually does. 
We are driving to Tulsa to sell some t-shirts for Phil Brown and his Guitar Army–members of which the energetic guitar virtuoso Phil, 60, has flown in from Milwaukee, Ft. Collins, and perhaps, outer space. They were headlining Mayfest.  Brown is her first client in the PR work she does early in the morning or late at night on her computer inside her home in North OKC near the Asian district. She was hired by Phil’s friend Jay Shanker, a well-known local entertainment lawyer.  The job she’s better known for around here is running Blue Moon House Concerts, a donation-based series of carefully chosen folk concerts (Samantha Crain and oft forgot but expert Austin songwriters are among her clients). A lot of folks from The Red Cup, including her son, go there. 
It’s nice to get away for a weekend. Things have felt like they were dragging at Blue Moon house concerts the previous week, though hearing Blue Moon did pick her up, reminding her of the time she was proposed to by her husband Randy on the 2nd full moon of the month of June (the 2nd full one is called “blue”). Last night Cosmic Bob Livingston played to a very small crowd, but played it all the way. His Luther Perkins style guitar company, Cam King (an authority on American architecture and carpentry) had timing on guitar and with jokes. It felt like an old variety hour. Livingston told stories about having the same high school English teacher as Buddy Holly, in Lubbock. There was also the time Livingston picked up an Austrian guy in California, the land where both the passengers had come to seek their fortune. The Austrian guy told him about another Texan he’d met named Michael Murphy. Together Murphy and Livingston would write songs that were emblematic of the rock scene there (oft recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker). The Austrian turned out to be the future governor of California.

….Tara is in the corner requesting Livingston play Geronimo’s Cadillac, and Randy is hollering the chorus from the bar he’s tending when that song happens. Cosmic Bob wears a bandana around his neck and his skin is getting pale. Hair combed to perfection. His energy is very young. 
It seems some people are beamed in to be receivers of these kinds of stories. That’s a thought I have when I see Tara’s short frame walking around her venue, turquoise jewelry jangling. Most people I know who have been to Blue Moon end up hanging around quite a lot. Tara gives off vibes that are often comforting and chill,  maybe a temperament that has cooled and wisened from the days of, say, one of her first projects as a young lady, the band The Whores of Babylon…. A new friend of mine calls Tara “the original Voodoo child.” She’ll talk about people with impressive sympathy, and try to find the place where people have good in their heart. That’s a certain kind of voodoo or mystical human behavior, I think.  You’ll see different people there. Ward 2 councilman Ed Shadid did some campaigning there. And our 15 or 16 year old friend Damion came in, bored with school, kind of wandering. One night you might see him operating the camera for Dennis Banks’s American Indian Movement Presentation. He was with us in Tulsa, Tara got him to put a Phil Brown t-shirt over the wife-beater he was rockin. Elementary school teachers come, poets, Cowboy hall of fame employees, lobbyists. The singer-songwriter J.D. Thompson held a concert there last week.  
By day Tara has a few helpful young artists who work with her to craft murals for places like Deep Fork and The Wedge. She just did a baseball themed restaurant, and is working on the interior look for all-night diner on 23rd street. 
….Years ago Feuerborn, then Hudson, was one of the recipients of her grandfather’s fortune. He had invented a safety valve used on oil rigs that wasn’t there before. Money came in for a while, enabling her to open up the first Blue Moon venue in the Paseo district. She doesn’t receive the yearly installments anymore, indeed most of the factories are in China now anyway. Her political beliefs and the arts for art sake life she chose wasn’t exactly the family norm. She makes her living with the art, and it’s not always constant when that money comes in.  
Her brother Kevin is probably best known by people who’ve seen Howard Stern’s  “Private Parts” as (“Pig Vomit”) Kenny–played with an un-Oklahoman southern drawl by a young Paul Giamatti). He was a programming director in New York who over saw WNBC radio and also later made influential decisions with the early Music Video Awards. In our hotel room Tara tells me about the time Don Imus disappeared to Iowa or somewhere and Kevin flew out to personally lure him back into coming on the air again. Imus was in a cheap motel with lots of booze. When she tells the story I wonder if this family’s special function is carrying people back into places of activity– Cosmic Bob Livingston, looking older, sounding pretty good, not the draw he was, has a place to stay at Blue Moon. Or the flowing red haired bartender who tended Tara’s first bar in the Paseo, and now oversees the donation bar at this Blue Moon. In Tulsa the red head, Sarah, is selling shirts with us. It starts raining the moment before Phil goes on. She points at the clouds as the wide crowd disperses. “Look. Red clouds. These people were afraid there was going to be Armageddon anyway. They’re not coming back!” 
Everytime I see Tara, she’s working on something. Sometimes we’ll go to a Phil Brown show (once at Rococo). She’ll enjoy the food with zest, but complain about the turn out, and wonder if the next step for Phil will be to get him into some Casino shows.  
At Tulsa’s May Fest Phil Brown and his guitar army from all over are shaking hands at the hospitality suite of the Hyatt before heading off to eat. After everyone disperses there’s me, my mom, Tara’s good friend, and the fiddle player, a guy from Enid who listens to Western Swing and French Gypsy Jazz. He demonstrates this to us by putting his I-phone into the small player and making expressive arm gestures. His French is really good, and Tara giggles this politely muffled impressed laugh, and moves forward with more questions for him. She’s immersed. 
She’ll continue to treat musicians like this, probably. 
When we are driving to Tulsa she’s talking on her phone, catching up with family, I think. I drive in closer to a semi-truck with a tarp, and its cargo slowly revealing itself to us. The closer I get I see the rows of tan white bulbs. While Tara talks and listens she moves her head around to get a view of the truck. She turns to me, covering the phone microphone and whispers, 
“It’s onions!” 
And then goes back to talking. 

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