One of the more frequent commenters here is Bridget Annunciata O’Flaherty Kelley, better known by her blogonym, Shaw Kenawe. Her birthday is this week, and I wanted to give you all a chance to help celebrate it with her. Please do go to Shaw’s blog and wish her the best!
Shaw has had an interesting life so far. She was born on a commune near Taos in New Mexico. Her parents had joined the commune in an effort to create a new world of peace and understanding and really good skunk weed. While they brought with them great hopes, and a supply of carefully husbanded cannabis seed, they failed to bring enough agricultural knowledge to realize that you can’t grow wheat at 7,000 feet. They also learned that there is indeed, a limited market for macrame plant holders.
Back in their ancestral home in south Boston, the Kelley family was helped by connections to the organization there, and Shaw’s father found work as a policeman. As the seventh of twelve children, Shaw grew up in that confusing middle child world where she was often forgotten. Shaw was once left at a rest area near Casper, Wyoming, for more than a week during a family vacation (counting was not her parents’ strong point) where she survived by catching field mice and cadging potato chips from other travelers.
In school, she was a frequent target of jealous nuns. Her ethereal, unworldly beauty, combined with a razor-sharp intellect, got her in trouble with the nuns often. Few of her friends know that the reason she always wears gloves in public today is not her lifetime fascination with Micheal Jackson, but instead shame and embarrassment about the scars left on her hands by the incessant swats of the nuns’ rulers.
Indeed, one might expect such an experience to have permanently alienated Shaw from the Roman Catholic Church. But the love of an aunt, a nun herself, who works in the brothel neighborhood of Amsterdam ministering to the patrons and workers alike, helped bind Shaw more fiercely to the church.
The aunt, Sister George Wenceslaus, was a middle child herself, and knew the bitter frustrations. Most importantly, she knew that Shaw’s family lived on a policeman’s salary (unlike other Boston cops, Shaw’s father refused any graft). On that tight budget, something has to give, and with Shaw’s birthday in December, what gave was any separate celebration of her natal day. Instead, her birthday was folded into the family Christmas celebration, and Shaw received only the presents for the holiday.
Sister George knew this, and every year sent Shaw a Precious Moments ™ figurine. They formed the nucleus of her lifetime collection, which now numbers over 400 figurines, and is recognized as one of the premier collections in the world. If you want to send a gift to Shaw, you now know what she loves!
Such was Shaw’s gratitude and respect for her aunt that Shaw had decided to take a vocation herself, and was planning to take vows and join her aunt’s order. School was an agony, a situation not helped by the fact that Shaw’s prodigious talents in mathematics, physics and dance had outpaced the nuns’ abilities to teach her. She had in hand full scholarship offers from the Joffre School of Ballet, MIT and Cal Tech. But she took a different path, when, at the age of 16, she entered into a tumultuous, off-again on again relationship with Mick Fleetwood, drummer for Fleetwood Mac.
Shaw met the musician when, after attending a concert, she sneaked aboard the tour bus and hid herself in Fleetwood’s bed. By the time the band realized she was not just another groupie, Mick and Shaw had fallen in love, and she spent the rest of the tour as his lover. She lived with Fleetwood for a time in his Malibu home, but the relationship was filled with screaming fights and passionate reunions.
In the meantime Shaw was completing her studies by correspondence, and recieved her doctorate in applied particle physics at the age of 20. Ninety percent of her thesis was immediately classified by the Pentagon. Of the rest, physics researchers worldwide agreed that it was surely brilliant, and deserving of not one but two Noble prizes; commented Stephen Hawking, “if we could understand it, which we can’t.”
Family ties also loomed large for Shaw; there were eleven other brothers and sisters who needed tuition for school and colleges. She responded by using her dancing talents in the exotic arts, choosing as her stage name “Shaw Kenawe,” a play on “shock and awe.” Shock and awe were indeed some of the emotions felt by those who viewed her work, either on stage or in lap dances. Her abilities brought her much fame, and offers from producers of adult movies, but she concentrated on her stage performances.
Two of those are indeed legendary in the field; as a special commission for a UAW convention in Las Vegas, Shaw performed “The Fan Belt Dance,” to high acclaim and dozens of sold-out audiences. Another of her works was done for the International Federation of Construction Workers, and “Dance of the seven nails” was so powerful and had such an effect on the audience that her premiere performance was the only one. It was immediately banned in nearly every state, and to this day bootleg cell phone videos of the event circulate around the internet.
Shaw continued her relationship with Fleetwood while developing her stage career. Professional jealousies led to many fights between Shaw and her drummer-lover. But despite the drama, upon the retirement of Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter keyboardist Christine McVie, Shaw was invited to join the band. Preparations were underway for a tour featuring a new album. Shaw’s heretofore unknown talent for songwriting led to her writing and arranging ten of the twelve songs on the album. This didn’t sit well with singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks, but even Nicks acknowledged Shaw’s talents, saying, “the bitch writes better sober than I do coked up.”
The album and tour were cancelled (and the recorded masters destroyed) when Shaw suddenly threw over Mick Fleetwood for guitarist John Mayer. The new relationship lasted less than a week before Mayer had to be hospitalized, suffering from dehydration and exhaustion. After a long recovery, Mayer recognized that Shaw was to much for him, and resumed his relationship with Jennifer Anniston.
Shaw has never commented publicly about her brief time with Mayer, but a source close to her has suggested that Mayer, despite his youth and apparent virility, simply could not keep up with the voracious appetites of Shaw. Mayer’s only comment about the affair was simply, “Oh, my God.”
What’s next for Shaw? For a time, politics seemed her next career. Shaw was confirmed to be first on the short list of those considered for the New York senate seat, but multiple published sources reported that Shaw had declined the appointment, suggesting instead Caroline Kennedy. President-elect Obama, according to sources inside the transition team, had offered Shaw her choice of positions: secretary of defense, secretary of energy, and White House Chief of Staff.
But when word reached the ears of Michelle Obama, the response was curt. “If that ***** gets within a mile of my husband, she’d better have Secret Service protection,” was the reported comment, although no one will confirm that on the record. Instead, Shaw may be part of Obama’s kitchen cabinet, available for consultation by phone as need arises.
December 19 2008 08:19 pm | A Political Break