Category Archives: Presente!

Karen Brandow, Presente!

Charlie King, Steve Deasy and Karen Brandow at Great Labor Arts Exchange, Detroit, 2010
Charlie King, Steve Deasy and Karen Brandow at Great Labor Arts Exchange, Detroit, 2010

Karen Brandow died last night.  I share with you the words of her partner Charlie King, which express how many of us feel in this moment.

Rest in peace, Karen Brandow (1954-2014)

Charlie’s prayer:

GD bless Karen. Thank you for the gift of her life and welcome her home. Comfort those of us who have loved her. Stir up her spirit in our midst so that the good she left undone may be done by us. Karen Brandow, Presente!

Steve Deasy Sings “Courage” by Bob Blue



by Bob Blue

A small thing once happened at school
That brought up a question for me,
And somehow it brought me to see 
The price that I pay to be cool.

Diane is a girl that I know.
She's strange, like she doesn't belong.
I don't mean to say that that's wrong.
We don't like to be with her, though.

And so, when we all made a plan
To have this big party at Sue's, 
Most kids in the school got the news, 
But no one invited Diane.

The thing about Taft Junior High 
Is, secrets don't last very long.
I acted like nothing was wrong
When I saw Diane start to cry.

I know you may think that I'm cruel.
It doesn't make me very proud.
I just went along with the crowd.
It's sad, but you have to in school.

You can't pick the friends you prefer.
You fit in as well as you can.
I couldn't be friends with Diane, 
'Cause then they would treat me like her.

In one class at Taft Junior High,
We study what people have done
With gas chamber, bomber, and gun 
In Auschwitz, Japan, and My Lai.

I don't understand all I learn.
Sometimes I just sit there and cry.
The whole world stood idly by
To watch as the innocent burn.

Like robots obeying some rule.
Atrocities done by the mob.
All innocent, doing their job.
And what was it for? Was it cool?

The world was aware of this Hell,
But how many cried out in shame?
What heroes, and who was to blame?
A story that no one dared tell.
I promise to do what I can
To not let it happen again.
To care for all women and men.
I'll start by inviting Diane.

About Bob Blue

Bob Blue (July 31, 1948 – March 17, 2006),  a native of Huntington, NY and a resident of Massachusetts, was a teacher and songwriter. His most well-known song, The Ballad of Erica Levine, was occasionally performed by Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary.
Bob was a member of the band “The Nice Jewish Boys” and one of the founders of the Children’s Music Network.
There is a photo of Bob and a recording of Bob in the Children’s Music Network Blog at
Songs that Bob wrote include “I Did It Their Way”, which is a parody of the horrors of academic life sung to the tune of “I Did It My Way”.
Bob suffered from multiple sclerosis in the last years of his life, and died from it in his home at Amherst, Massachusetts in 2006.