Category Archives: Performances

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Tickling Artistry

clock and pressure

Take Your Time, There’s No Pressure

Back in LA. My life had been overtaken since the end of April. Shows at the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, off to Kona to visit family, preparation of boat to sail offshore to Santa Catalina Island, house preparation for going on market, circus arts summer camp instructor, attending Hall of Fame ceremony for Shelley Switzer for her work as artistic director with the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival; add the Saskatoon Bunny Hug 30th Anniversary Celebration of the quirky and brilliant Canadian performing duo Flying Debris and there goes what we know as time as it is related to the comedy of being overscheduled.

New sails arrived. A house received a facelift. There was an oil change, books devoured, and lots and lots of vegetables eaten. The Berkeley Bowl is a venerable institution.

There was the no small matter of moving from one storage unit to another. Culling through possessions, sending unused but still useful items to thrift stores, other items to the dump. I tried selling a double oven on Craigslist only to be inundated with scams, trolls and con artists. That was a modern day wakeup call.

food

Eating for Health

Napa County’s Measure C an oak woodlands and watershed protection law went down to defeat in California’s June primary by a razor thin few hundred votes. Important to mention because a fictional version of this event is the subject of my fourth novel and more than three years of my time.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the brilliant Steve Aveson, the man I toured with in the Royal Lichtenstein Quarter-Ring Sidewalk Circus in 1974-1975 went from his anchor seat at KRON-Television in San Francisco back to New England after a two year stint. We managed a few sleepovers and one bon voyage party in this period of time. Lucky to have had him out here and will miss him like a right arm.

Shakespeare Brothers

Al Krulick, Steve Aveson and Yours Forever (My New Stage Name…)

Reading a sailors 1956 account of sailing and shore side life while in South Africa and while crossing the Atlantic. I have found the sixty-four year old tale jarring to my sensibilities. Our modern day frantic pace of life, the complexity of the new technologies, the fingertip access to any fragment of information we may want is all so smarter and more than clever. Still there seems more than ever to have been spun fog, veil and confusion. We are less able now to make a sensibly constructed holistic narrative of where we are and what we might best do.

The shelves in stores are too full and too complicated. Engineering demonstrates a disdain for simplification. I can’t be sure I will even know how to turn on a television in a hotel room— forget about grasping the embedded algebraic function in an Excel Spreadsheet.

In 1956 a sailor with a copy of Nathaniel Bowditch’s Practical Navigator, a chart, sextant, compass and chronometer could leave sight of land and arrive after a long ocean passage of thousands of miles within a six thousand feet of their planned destination.

Sextant Moon Light

Moon, Light and Destiny

Technology is not only revolutionary. Disruption is our moments primal scream. I look at a gridlocked highway and wonder why the engineers have no answer for the chaos, pain and suffering the automobile is inflicting on us all. We have arrived at a moment with the finest cars than can barely get anywhere. We can fly to the moon and still nearly fifty years later not know what to do once we have proven that we can go there.

As is the case for most of what passes for communication in this day and in this age I am reminded of a cryptic note by Charlie Pierce on Twitter, “Hello? Is anyone listening?”

Edited Red Star

As always buy a book, book a show. Tickling is my art

A Circus Show School

shoes

School of Circus Dreams

Circus summer camp is a portal into the mosaic of my heart and hope. In this station of my life helping youngsters look beyond the finite horizon to what is beyond animates a piece of my own biography. I was that misunderstood boy busy box, the over loveable squirming unmanageable never quite able to be quite entirely quiet kid in class.

Whatever national lunacy going down in the media last week was not going on where I put my time and energy. Sure I was worried about our students. We have no metal detectors, no fences, gatekeepers. Circus camp was taking place in an ordinary city where we go about our business assuming we live in an open, free and safe society.

My schedule is pressing. I want to at least send out this emergency flair of hope. We are better than all of this. We are a loving and kind people. We are the mother’s and father’s who traveled and performed and who now teach. We are guardians and our duty to the future is paramount. To be entrusted with 95 new souls means to keep both hands on the wheel and our eyes on the road.

diablo

Toys as Gateway to a Good Life

Two young brothers were in my group. If not alert to the impulse you’d peg them as troublemakers, as class disrupters. Once I realized how silly my expectations were, how they were never going to act like the best behaved girl of the same age, from the same neighborhood, in the same class things only could improve. All I had to do was sprinkle some time and attention their way. All I had to do was appreciate those two lads, point them toward opportunity and then watch as their imaginations and playfulness took flight.

The two boys noticed right off I was making room for them and in exchange they met their instructor with a measure of mutual respect. I had 95 separate, distinct, individual experiences with our future. I worked my tail off and I’m grateful I had a shot at sharing my circus dream with my community’s children.

Edited Red Star

 

 

 

 

A Stitch of Time

On the Hard in Preparation

Fresh wind bit my neck. I’d turned sizing up the blow. My sailboat is a capable partner to be running with. Going against this howler would tax the durability of the helmsman’s spirit. Not destiny but the downwind harbor made this leg of the journey a more valued lesson.

With the compass I read a course heading South and the least bit of West. I am making my way quick as life will allow. For a lapse of necessary time I anchored secure in stillwaters claiming refuge.

Sacks of fresh potatoes, tins of garbanzo beans, jars of tahini, cubes of sugared ginger, pounds of dark roast coffee to buck up sagging spirits…. provisions meant to stiffen a spine and strengthen resolve.

Time itself is thrown into question. How much, how dear, how little, when to go, will we return, is this the moment? Does passagemaking make the kind of expeditionary sense in such a compact and well charted world?

In an event horizon measured by lifespan what piece of this sail– in all its vicissitudes– can be refracted and focused to provide a more accurate glimpse of what has been too self-sure arranged within?

Can a closer brush with the front range of our ambitious questing to the unexplored corners sail us any nearer to the more fully realized self we hear whispering to us in the wind?

Forces scaled to the size of nature’s wit and wisdom have a way of clearing the view from a cluttered mind. A good passage is what we find and feel from start to end— pieces of the experience can provide a sailor with satisfactions found out of reach just beyond the horizon. A good passage is a promise fulfilled.

End of Day

Crypto Jaw Droppers Here

I’m Just Reading the Signs Peeps

Sign Post One

There’s a Call for You

I didn’t recognize the number. The voice message warned that I was wanted, that there were warrants for my arrest, an all points bulletin had been sent and the police were engaged in an active manhunt. To avoid all of that I was urged to call the number left in the voicemail— now!

I’d received an email that same morning. Someone had tried to change the password to my blog site. Moments later I unexpectedly received a Facebook Messenger notification from an associate. Much the same as the voice message the Messenger message urged me to call this number—now!

I’m racking my brain for my previous crimes. The label I removed from the electrical cord? Marijuana possession- illegal lane change- turn signal deficiencies- bulk bin nibbling- pity party- wishful thinking? What have I done! Why me?

I’m a showman, a juggling act, I had a cute dog then she passed. Lighthearted, breezy style, good natured… Somebody? Anybody? What gives?

Don’t click on that! Our email has been weaponized. My bank routinely “fraud-lock’s” me out of my account.

I’m reading the depressing Cambridge Analytica data driven politically motivated psychological cyber warfare stories from the Guardian. Mercer funding Bannon went offshore where they could then disrupt what are supposed to be free and fair elections.

Zuckerberg is in Europe on Tuesday digging his toe into the linoleum beneath his seat where he is testifying. Wonderkind’s post adolescent prodigy can’t quite invent an app that can defang the duplicitous arrows he has unleashed from his crypto quiver.

Criminality is not just venal— it is mostly brutish, thuggish and smug to the point of not quite so intelligent as the smartest guys in that smoke filled room might have imagined. The brightest bulbs don’t play in those rooms because they read the stories, they know the endings, and it isn’t going to so swell for our digital goon squads.

Monday’s harassment is a testimonial to what? The way it is? The cost of living in a free and open society? What unintended consequences looks like in this psychologically armed for scam and profit social media landscape we now all trudge through?

Be careful not just for what you wish, but for what you click for.

Buy a book, book a show…

Edited Red Star

Getting Rid of Stuff

There is no compromising with your stuff

compromise

Immutable Law of Stuff Riddance

The social activity director has been asked to leave the room— Close the door behind you— All those deadlines, all the things you said you’d get around to but you never did, all those— things?

Yeah peeps it is stuff time again. Toxic recycling center here I come. Second hand stores you’re next. Craigslist for items that still have value— picture’s already posted. The rest of the burden will be my burden to bear. Yeah, I got digital media devices. Yes, a terabyte sized solid state hard drive the size of Tinkerbell has done a fair amount of downsizing and cardboard box eliminating. But, there remains—-more stuff.

Then, there is the immutable law of not needing something until the day after you have discarded the very thing you have lugged up and down stairs, across stateliness, at great expense until you fall into that feverish state where relinquishment becomes sacrament. The newborn proud disposer of previously acquired indispensable stuff you’ve never used finally goes only to turn around a come back to haunt you. First, you buy it, then you never use it, then you try to lose it, only to have the thing come back and bite you in the regretful backside of what was once somebodies idea of a good time. This is stuff’s swan song doing dirge and death march, also known as the local-not nearly nearby as you’d like it to be county garbage dump.

I do not think of myself as a materialist. I have basements, garages, storage areas and overstuffed lockers that argue otherwise. Closets, drawers and shelves put a man like me at risk. I’m more able to resist that next shot of Wild Turkey than  I am able to discipline myself at the mailbox and just toss away another catalogue of mail order stuff that can be here to clog my life by the day after tomorrow.

The whole idea of not getting a hernia is like hoping I won’t get wet while swimming. A pair of gloves that’s what I need, that and some kind of plan. I’ll need to go through things one more time to be sure. I wish the whole idea of having a spring cleaning wasn’t even a time honored tradition, because as things go I could first off enjoy getting rid of that little nattering nuisance of a phrase. Of course words are cheap and stuff is heavy, not item by item but when you figure how much all this stuff weighs on my soul you get the idea right?

I’m starting tomorrow. Things have to change. There is no avoiding the fact I have to get rid of more stuff and worse still is people seeing you getting rid of stuff ask if you’d be willing to take some of their stuff off their hands—? Sure, put right there, I’ll see you when you get back from Tuscany, have a great time. You know where I’ll be.

Buy a book, book a show… let’s do stuff together….

coffee

Hot as Hell, Dark as Death

Edited Red Star

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bikini Days

Tranquility

Kona

The Good Life…

Pace is quickening. Blurred through four/five days in Kona. Tense times on the windward side of the island near the volcano filled the radio and papers with news of eruptions. Visibility was down because of the haze in the air from the eruptions two hours south and west of us. Seismic activity occurred prior to our arrival.

We encamped along the western shores in the south side of Kailua-Kona. We did two beach feasts slathered in sunscreen sheltering beneath parasols. We bodysurfed, ate succulent noshes and drank water. We only regarded the cookies. No sunscreen- plenty of cookies- and lots of beer- is now way too old school and irresponsible behavior for repentant post carnivorous recently converted vegans. The salami fans in the family are crestfallen.

20180515_104958

My Recommendation is you drink your coffee here for all eternity

We took our walks early. Best was into a shaded cool fern forest up at about 6000’. We could hike more but with the heat timing is everything.

The youngest in our family are blissfully foolish and the elders delightful denialist’s. We come from a hardheaded stock. The elephants in the room are ignored while instead we spoil the demure and timid Chihuahua’s lounging in our sofa pits.

The facts of life come dressed in bathing suits. Youth looks great in a bikini. Men would kill to remain fetching in their Speedo but beer and time do not much help matters. Lifespans could be accommodated to fix this shortcoming but by my eye we’d mostly all be dead by 30 but for a genetically gifted handful.

Once upon a time all that mattered was enjoying time near bikini clad beachgoers. Now I am expected to not enjoy my time on the beach with quite so much enthusiasm. More sunscreen, shade and water. Less beer, salami and cookies. I’m doing my best, and that’s being honest with you, would someone hand me my sunglasses…?

As ever buy a book, book a show. It is always the most clever moment…

Edited Red Star

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Experience or Judgement

Can’t Blame Everything on the Bossa Nova

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What Having a Hard Time of Things Looks Like

 

Odd jobs ate my week’s allotment of time. Hidden among the thieving chores and tasks were the weeds. So I performed the banishing act with a gas powered filament line empowered whirling dervish of a whacker. Then, fabric softener was purchased and the salt encrusted lines aboard my sailboat, not all but some were machine washed. Car was a disaster and had to be cleaned. My personage a disaster and had to be scrubbed to within a hair’s breath. My personal maintenance has gone on day in and day out. Thistle, thorn and stickers excised. Dust, pollen and cobwebs wiped away. Sunscreen having served its function removed. Bites from bugs soothed by calamine. I have been tattered, battered but none the worse for the wear.

Thoroughly exhausted the organizing pleasure of what remains of the day is to get horizontal with the current book- The Logical Route by Moitessier. There seems to be a safe and sane serenity space located on my bunk. First, brush teeth, turn on reading light and hold my book in the light with my rosebush punctured by venomous thorns hands. Moitessier’s narrative has been entrancing as it strips the bark from the present to remind us of the always here waiting for us to notice- eternal. His attention to detail- not just any set of particulars- but the concerns of a penniless in pocket abounding in wealth beyond all measure in spirit adventurer opens a space to an unexamined inner world. Moitessier’s gift is to reveal a more intimate testimonial, a more honest accounting of the circumstances he dared to overcome.

Filling the water tanks to the boat, cleaning toilets, putting pots and pans away, make a cup of coffee. It has been that kind of week. Many tasks have been technical. Cut this, acquire that, split the cable apart and insert this thing in there, seal it back up with heat shrink tubing, affix wire ties, onto the next chore. As is said often preparing to sail offshore with even one misplaced matchbook can spell disaster.

Most of what passes for skillful passagemaking is the mental faculty we describe as judgement. Experience is insufficient. Judgement is key.

As always may I suggest buying a book or booking my show as a gateway to fun and laughter….

Edited Red Star