Susan Dietrich-Schneider - the Space Lady - one of a kind musician

Susan Dietrich-Schneider is the daughter of musicians. She has used her musical genius to play in the street in San Francisco as the Space Lady. Her first husband designed her space helmet with the wings, and sometimes a light bulb on top. He was also a poet and musician who wrote some of her songs. “In those days, an electronic keyboard was quite the thing,” says Susan. It is still astonishing in sound, as it transforms her quiet voice into all sorts of sounds and effects, from melodious to motorcycle noises and drum rolls.

The City Park has had quite a treat for the past week, when she practiced in the big pavilion by the lake to an appreciative audience on one afternoon. On Wednesday, she played in the central pavilion, which she thinks of as the mayor’s pavilion.

She started with “Ghost Riders,” went on to original songs, then “Imagine” and ending with “Born to be Wild,” as I tried for videos. “Ghost Riders” has the best special effects.

She has been playing in Europe for years, but only recently has been getting gigs in the United States, with the help of Skyler Wright, her grandson, who is also her manager. The first was in Denver at the Gothic Theater, an old movie theater converted to a club, which held about 400 people. She was opening for Neko Case, who is evidently quite a star with the younger set, since her grandchildren said, “Grandma, you have made the big time!”

For those of us who remember when San Francisco was the place you went with flowers in your hair, she is a nostalgic breath of fresh air.

She leaves on her East Coast tour on Thursday. She is doing ten days, starting in Miami. From there she goes to Philadelphia, New York City (on Sept. 11), Toronto and then to Hamilton in Ontario, Canada. From there she goes to Cleveland, Ohio, and then back home. She has never been to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, so I told her not to miss it.