Memorials August 13, 2001 - Present
Thank you very much for every message that has been posted to this board. Bread & Roses has saved all messages, organized by date and accessible from the links below:
The eulogies that were given for Mimi at Grace Cathedral can be accessed from this link - www.breadandroses.org/eulogy, or from any page on the site. Again, thank you for all of your messages.
I only had l call from Mimi as I was considering starting my own branch on the central coast of Calif. I was stunned she would call, put me on her mailing list and make annual inquiries if I had started this work. I still haven't, but I want to and somehow her role model up there which I have only witnessed in the newsletter is enough to enable me to get to The Work that needs to be done. What an example of compassion...
Well done Mimi, beautiful Mimi.
I know you're in the bosom of Abraham, with Richard perhaps.
I know I'm gonna share my music the way you inspired.
Many years ago MIMI FARINA played on a little stage in South-Germany. It was the most wonderful evening we ever had. There are some words from "Platon" we will give to all her friends:
Und so, rein und von der Unvernunft des Leibes befreit, werden wir dann wohl unter gleichartigen Wesen leben und durch uns selbst die ganze reine Wahrheit erkennen; und das ist dann wohl das wirklich Wahre.
So long dear MIMI
Mimi, you will be missed. Go Well
Dear "Big Joan",
I don't know if you remember me or not---we corresponded some during the 60's and 70's--I am from Kansas City, always a big Joanie Jr. fan. You were answering Joan's fan mail at the time, and I kept writing back. You helped me get through some rough times.
I want to extend my profound sympathy regarding the earthly loss of Mimi. I lost my father during the time of your loss (a loss for us all).
I often think of you and wonder how you are doing. I know Mimi's great spirit will always be with us.
Please take care. I know you will continue to be in my thoughts.
Mimi - Your star is shining bright in Heaven as it did on Earth. You are bringing joy there as you did here with your goodness, and kindness. We will miss you. God bless you.
When the song of the angels is stilled
When the star in the sky is gone
When the Kings and Princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins,
To Find the lost, To heal the broken, To feed the hungry, To release the prisoner, To rebuilt the nations, To bring peace among people, To make music in the heart.
This is a well known poem called "After Christmas" but for some reason it seemed to apply to this "special angel in her life and after".
Yea, but I was hoping this was the web page for The Bread and Roses Festival in Lawrence, MA. Perhaps in the future you could provide a link for those of us who have no clue what there web address is?
The music of Mimi Farina has touched me deeply over the years indeed has often been a sort of "soundtrack" to my life. I am an Episcopal priest and am involved with a prison ministry. I enter a prison and "Bread and Roses" plays in my mind and heart as a sort of prayer for the time inside: that it will be a time of spiritual feeding yes but a time also of unfolding spiritual beauty in lives that have known too little of that and too often, in action and circumstance, known only its opposite. I am so grateful for Mimi's work, passion and inspiration.
As I might guess is true for many of you who are reading these tributes to Mimi, her passing stirred a desire to know more about her life, and her death. For those of you interested, the eulogies given by Joan and Paul are posted at Joan's web site <http://baez.woz.org<. Follow the link.
I knew of Mimi only as the singing partner of Richard on their two albums. I found her voice hauntingly beautiful and, at the same time, expressive of a strong personality.
Some weeks ago I very nearly bought a book about Richard, Mimi, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez -for some reason I shrank from the purchase at the check-out. Two days later, I read of Mimi's death and felt stunned.
I had no idea of all she had done over the years - her strength, her courage, her humaniry - at a time when such qualities have found little encouragement from the leaders of the Western world.
The world needs people like her. She will be missed.
I wish love and peace to all who knew and loved her.
I just finished positively 4th street and decided to contact mimi to give her my best wishes. I did not know she passed. What a very special person. My condolence to joan and family and friends. All I can say is sleep in peace dear sweet lady.
This was a letter that I wanted to send to Mimi while she was alive. I respectfully submit it now, with love to her family. Thank you.
I feel dumb silly stupid and sad that I didn’t write this to you before you died. I still believe I really need to write this, so I’m going to go ahead. First of all, I want to pray now, to God above, that you are safely with him. God is a mother and a father, and I don’t believe in getting hung up on pronouns when it really matters.
This really matters. Where you spend eternity matters. I believe that the life that you led here on earth pointed toward heavenly values. “Where everyone has a seat at the table.” I pray that you are in the realm of perfect harmony now and that you are filled with the deepest, most exquisite joy right now.
I talked with you perhaps only once. But that was really nice. You said something like you were glad that Bread & Roses was working for me. I am glad too Mimi.
I first heard about you through Dr. Gonzo--I worked with him in 1985 and 86. I was thrilled to be on his first LP, and that he did one of my songs. After a session one day, we came up to Corte Madera, or nearby, and did a Bread & Roses gig with a group called Billy & the Boppers. They were good, Gonzo was good, and I just sort of played along. The laughter on the faces of the kids was tremendous. Bright, creative kids who found themselves on the edge of the system. I think it was at that gig that I came to believe that brightness can almost be a liability for a young person who doesn’t have enough emotional support.
I think I was hooked that day. Later, in the summer of 86, I had my first Bread & Roses gig. I remember that Rob (last name?) was one of the program coordinators. My car had just died, and while I didn’t have one, he offered reimbursement for my train fare. So I came all the way from Menlo Park to Marin, and had a great time. I think it was a great group of kids with Downs syndrome.
Works here on earth are not everything, but -faith without works is dead- You put your faith into action Mimi, and you did it in a way that elevated the people who worked with you as well as the people for whom the music was intended. I am one of those beneficiaries, and I thank you.
I read in one of your bios that you were raised a Quaker. I have such respect for the Quaker tradition. I attended a Quaker youth group in Claremont CA in 65-66 when I was in 10th grade. It was an incredible opportunity to discover and express the yearnings of my young soul.
Did you ever live in Claremont? I know that you lived in Palo Alto, and I had heard that your family had also lived in Claremont, but I might not have that right. I know that your Dad taught physics at Stanford. I took physics at Stanford, but I dropped it because it was too hard.
This has been a little opportunity for me to pretend that I am talking to you as if you still are living on earth. Please excuse me, because this is not the proper way to address a heavenly being.
I send my love to you Mimi. And I send my love to your family and loved ones here on earth as well.
As you might have guessed, I am a Christian. Until I was 30, I thought that Christianity was too judmental, too exclusive, and not really compassionate in the ways that it was honestly trying to be. I had known a lot of fine Christians growing up: my Dad was the College Chaplain at the Claremont Colleges from 51-58, and then spent 22 years at the Danforth Foundation funding campus ministry programs, encouraging students and faculty to communicate with each other. Joyous fellowship, laughter, and acceptance is what I remember. My mom worked hard for fair housing for minorities in the 50’s and 60’s in St. Louis, was fanatically enthusiastic about Martin Luther King, and she was a Christian, so I had good models.
But I guess I had to discover it for myself, and I had to discover what I really believe.
I read fairly recently (in a reliable publication from Evangelicals for Social Justice) that Dr. King met secretly with Billy Graham 3 times. Because they respected and loved each other and they shared common (though not identical) goals. Billy Graham wanted to march with Martin, but King thought that their respective constituencies weren’t ready for that, at least at that time.
Somehow the thought of such a meeting sums up my sense of mission here on earth: Christ brought us the truth. Let’s live in that securely and carry it to people who are desparate, hurting, and hungry. Whether or not we get recognized for it.
I love you Mimi. It was such an honor to be a part of the 25th Anniversary celebration. When Marian Hubler told me that there would be TV cameras there at Stanford Children’s Hospital, I gulped.
We tried to make it to the War Memorial show, but we truly had arrived from London that day, and Debbie was exhausted (oh yeah right, like I wasn’t). I know one show is small potatoes in the grand scheme.
The grand scheme is that God loves you and wants you to spend eternity with him.
Debbie and I love you. I regret the moments that I missed with you, including the moment I missed by not sending this letter of thanks to you in the last year of your life. But I rejoice for the moments I DID share with you! Not just talking to you, but working with you, and with the marvelous sense of teamwork and networking that you developed.
I am breathing better, having said this. I thank God for your beautiful life.
I just learned of Mimi Farina's death while sitting and waiting for an appointment. It was reported in a magizine I was reading. I felt such shock and sadness as Mimi's music helped shape who I became since I first heard her album with Rihcard Farina as a teenager in the 1960's. Her work with Bread and Roses was wonderful and I send my deepest regards and prayers to her siister Joan Baez and other family members.The world is a better place because of the music and work of Mimi Farina.
As I wandered through town several months ago I passed a GAP store. When I was sixteen, it had been a small club where Mimi Farina and her then-singing-partner, Carol McComb, sang one weekend in the fall of 1972. Mimi and Carol performed two concerts a night for four nights in a row which (after much arm wrestling with my parents) I was able to attend. Together they sang some of the songs from Mimi’s album with Tom Jans ‘’Take Heart,’’ several songs by Carol, a wonderful version of Gilbert O’Sullivan’s ‘’Alone Again Naturally’’ which they said they had learned off their car radio. However, it was when they opened the first night by singing ‘’A Swallow Song’’ that I was mesmerized and hooked; even now I am not sure I’ve ever heard anything quite so beautiful. I remember walking back to the subway, afraid to be out so late but marveling at what I had heard. I wanted to hear it all over again and wondered how long it might be before they released a record. As I walked, I figured (I long ago realized how naively) that it would take no longer than a year for the record to appear. I even remember rationalizing that was no time at all to wait considering how wonderful the record promised to be. Almost twenty-nine years has since passed and I’d still love to hear those songs again. They were absolutely incredible as the one newspaper critic who also attended wrote, ‘’This is some of the most haunting music being made in the country today.’’
Mimi continued to tour solo and for the next decade and sang in my town, at first, every six months and, later on, once a year. I, of course, went to every show. She sang many songs later recorded by other singers but I loved her own songs the most. As the realization that there may never be any recording slowly sunk in, I tried unsuccessfully to memorize the words to her songs which were straightforward, filled with sadness, humor and anger but totally lacking in pretension or grandiosity. For me, and perhaps only for me, Mimi Farina’s concerts while entertaining were not about show business nor were they overtly political. For me, they were the highest form of art.
I think it was Mimi once said, -It takes a career to have a career-: an important lesson for anyone involved in the arts. Later it made perfect sense when Mimi, at 29, announce that she was founding Bread & Roses. As a fan in her audience, I felt sad as she started to faze out her songwriting and singing career in favor of Bread & Roses. However, I now realize, she gave up something exceedingly rare for something else perhaps more scarce. Hopefully, for her, it was more fulfilling. When I was older, I also wondered if her decision to start Bread & Roses at precisely that point had anything to do with the fact that she had reached the same age Richard Farina had been when he died.
A painter-friend of mine, a little younger than Mimi, died several years ago from cancer. Her sister couldn’t believe the outpouring of grief and emotion from people touched by this death. But then, several weeks later, she couldn’t fathom how quickly everyone had accepted it and continued on with their lives. Counter to this experience, in our lifetimes and after, I hope Bread & Roses always flourishes and that, in the decades to come, singers will also continue to rediscover and sing Mimi's songs.
She knew I loved painting and, recalling the time she lived in the Boston area, Mimi once told me about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, an ornate mansion built around 1900 to resemble a 15th century Venetian palace, it overflows with a collection of extraordinary paintings and decorative arts. One year, when I went went up to her sing in Boston, I went to the Gardner, where in the mid-afternoon (shortly before her concert), I remember seeing Mimi, (who rendered herself almost invisible by wearing one of her many signature hats), come in alone and walk to the edge of the Museum’s beautiful three-story garden courtyard. For a few moments she stood there in silent contemplation then, as if she had touched base with the force she was seeking, turned around and left.
I am surprisingly stunned at how true it is that so much of one’s life is dictated not only by whom you meet but also by when in your life you meet them. I am so happy I heard and met Mimi Farina when I did and that I had the chance to attend ten years of her concerts for, in my life and work, her music has always been a Muse. I am a painter now and sometimes embarrassed that my work does not have the bleeding type of a bite that many people tell me needs to exist in art for it to be truly serious. Sensing my uneasiness with this, a friend once jestfully said to me, “Never apologize for beauty for, whether we know it or not, it’s what we all yearn for.” Most of my friends are other painters but I became aware of Mimi before I met any of them. I don’t think a day has passed in the last 25 years when I haven’t found myself (even fleetingly) singing parts of Mimi’s songs “Madman,” “Reach Out,” “Deep Feelings” and others to myself as I wander about. There were other unrecorded songs of Mimi’s that I only remember a line or two from, but I try, too, as I walk to piece them together in my mind: “Darling,” “Come-Get-Me-Shoes,” “Ruby: Woman of Easy Virtue,” “Free Entertainment on My TV,” “California,” “Mister Rudy,” “Oh Mama,” “Sad Cities,” “Dandy Lion” and probably others that I no longer remember. I never knew all the words to these songs although I always counted on knowing them someday. It now dawns on me that I probably never will. I shall, I hope, always remember the magical feeling I had as a very young fellow when I sat enthralled in those tiny smoke-filled bars, coffee houses and great big halls and watched and listened to Mimi who would, “Play it soft. Play it loud. Then put a smile on the crowd.”
I remember, in the fall of 1973 (after completing a spectacular concert at a small coffee house just outside of Philadelphia), Mimi was serenaded by a standing ovation as she came back on stage to sing a third encore. She playfully raised her arms above her head, giggled and for a moment stood there in her long red dress like a flamenco dancer, triumphant, with the stem of a red rose playfully clenched between her teeth. What glee she exuded! There was no lightning storm of flashbulbs but when the clapping finally subsided one could have heard a pin drop in that room where her attentive and adoring audience sat: each of us as lost as we were alert in the glow of her presence.
People tell me how important it is to let everything go. I understand this intellectually, but emotionally it’s a recurrent and incessantly heartbreaking lesson that simply reduces me to tears. How I now wish I could go back in time for just an hour or two to hear her sing again in those coffeehouses and bars that no longer exist. After her final concert during the 1972 weekend when I first heard her in person, I remember, the tiny audience filed out of the theater and stood speechless on the pavement, a bit stunned and in awe of what we had just heard and seen. We stayed like that for a few moments, all of us strangers but connected with one another as if in a lifeboat, before dispersing and returning to our lives. I often think of that moment when I hear the line from “A Swallow Song” that reads, ‘’...and will this silence drive confusion from your soul?’’ As I recently stood on that same pavement I recalled what a wonderful feeling that had been and that how it is one that I now hope I never again take for granted.
Thank you Mimi for your creativity and for everything you accomplished and inspired.
-- Bill Scott in Philadelphia
Mimi was the best. I was a volunteer usher at the B&R festivals for several years, working for the amazing Mandy Carter, and I've NEVER been treated better, in all the volunteer gigs I ever did. Everyone connected with Bread & Roses showed how much they cared and respected those they worked for and with, and that came from Mimi. Every volunteer job I do now gets measured against the fabulous acoustic music festival fund-raisers that B&R hosted for several years and I thank everyone at the organization for that opportunity. And I thank Mimi for creating one of the finest organizations this country has ever seen.
My new friend Laurie Reemsnyder volunteers for Bread and Roses, and I was stunned but very privileged when she asked me to take an early lunch and go with her to Mimi Farina's Memorial Service at Grace Cathedral. Sure the place was beautiful and it was great to be in the same room as those great musicians, but to be asked by my new, dear friend to attend the memorial service made me feel very special and close to her. I'm sorry I never met Mimi but it seems like she touched every person's heart who ever met her, what a special gift.
My friend Laurie later told me that she saw Mimi floating in the air like Tinkerbell, spreading Gold Dust over the crowd at Grace Cathedral, and that is why Laurie was smiling at one point during the service.
I was very saddened to hear of Mimi's death. I still have not gotten over Dick Farina's death 35 years ago. I just read Postively 4th Street and realize now that my college freshman roomate and I were fortunate to have been at their first performance at the old Club 47. We both followed their career very closely; unfortunately, he too died of cancer a number of years ago. Mimi will be remembered for her music and the bold contribution she made to people through Bread and Roses
My utmost condolences to Mimi's family and the extended family she created both at Bread and Roses and everywhere else she blessed with her prescence. I just finished (yesterday) Positively 4th Steet and was immmediately moved to find the B & R website...which I did tonight and to my great distress found out about Mimi's passing. My college life in the mid to late sixties was substantially influenced by the music and culture generated and fueled by the art of Joan, Bob, Mimi and Richard. I, too, picked up an old Martin guitar and learned to play their songs, founded recycling centers, marched in Washington and "thought global and acted local". Last year, I did an art installation at and spent the day at the annual Labor Day "Bread and Roses" celebration in Lawrence, MA, site of the original and successful 1912 Bread and Roses strike by the (so-called)"millgirls" who worked at the Everett Mill there under awful conditions. The current annual event is very popular with and populated by, I am sure, the eastcoast counterparts to those of you at Bread and Roses in Marin County. We are, here in the Boston area, pretty proud of our humanistic bent and the heritage that the Baez sisters lent their great talents to here. I think it would be great if there could be a recognition of Mimi's life and work at this year's Bread and Roses festival in Lawrence. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend this year but I will make some inquiries of the festival planners if they can fit in some sort of recognition, even at this late date. My warmest wishes to all, particularly to Joan.
Althoough I am 3000 miles away I feel a sense of loss over Mimi's death and I wonder if a tape of the memorial service will be available (on tape or over the internet) for those of us who feel sad and seperated from their community? Thank you for your consideration of this. I wish you peace and strenth in your time of sorrow.