Kinky Friedman, songwriter-satirist-animal rescuer

Kinky Friedman—the singer-songwriter-author-satirist-animal rescuer and veteran cigar-chomping wag—describes how his longtime friend and sometimes advisor Willie Nelson, upon hearing in a 3am phone call that Friedman was watching “Matlock,” decided his friend was in the throes of depression, and admonished Kinky to start writing songs. Kinky recalls how he took Nelson’s advice to heart, and about a month and half later, he’d written a dozen new songs, which make up “Circus of Life,” Friedman’s first album in 40 years, featuring a sweet salute to Nelson, “Autographs in the Rain (Song to Willie).” Kinky discusses the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, the rescue and adoption facility in Medina, TX that he co-founded in 1998, the reason it closed its doors earlier this year, after two decades–and the inspiration Utopia served for others, including Emmylou Harris, who created Bonaparte’s Retreat, which houses adoptable dogs after their time at a given shelter has expired.  Kinky underlines his soft spot for strays, noting that just a couple of weeks ago, he adopted “a big red dog” that he found on the side of the road. We revisit some aspects of his campaign for Governor of Texas about a dozen years ago, including that one plank of his platform was making it illegal to declaw cats, and that a gubernatorial bid many at first thought was jokey, ultimately generated upwards of 700,000 votes for Kinky, and spurred many young adults to cast their very first vote.  A hall of fame raconteur, Kinky covers all sorts of other ground (including the distinction between important and significant, that his song “Ride ‘Em Jewboy” had become a favorite of Nelson Mandela while imprisoned and regularly played it for other Robben Island residents, etc.)–conversational journeys that resist summaries of this kind. Probably best that you listen to the archive—we’re pretty sure you’ll be glad you did. (https://www.kinkyfriedman.com, https://www.facebook.com/kinkyfriedmanofficial/)

ALSO: I spoke with Jenna Bardrof, event coordinator at St. Pete Health Fest, a new plant-based festival to celebrate health and sustainability, taking place on Oct. 6. She outlined some of the elements of the event, and acknowledged that while it seems highly similar to a Veg Fest, noted the factors that distinguish St. Pete Health Fest from such enterprises. (http://www.solutionaryfestival.org/stpete/, https://www.facebook.com/events/229521190986973/)

COMEDY CORNER: Hari Kondabolu’s  “A Vegan Long Con”  (http://www.harikondabolu.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon”

AUDIO ARCHIVE:

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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