Sixty-eight citizens call Baker, Nevada home. Five miles from the entrance to Great Basin National Park makes this unincorporated corner of the universe a park visitor must-do experience- like it or not.
Running with the big dogs. Terrified, trembling, the healthy sign. cholesterol in the zone, handstands are ripping hot when you divide 67 by 2 then add or subtract wisdom.
Things I miss? My dogs. There were two. Sunshine-1977-1989 and Lacey 1998-2012… Steinbeck admired a man who could wear out 7 dogs in a life. I have fallen short, but trying counts.
They were the small dog-gods, keepers of the present moment peace. Sunshine and Lacey believed in parks, scent and national forests.
Then there are my mentors. Our soul inspiring sisters and brothers demand I keep stepping up. So there is this climbing into to the batters box. Still swinging for the fences.
Maybe it is that I also a father, a husband a friend… maybe it is that I novelist, sailor and global warming-climate change-the end of the world-let’s do something about the impending crisis enveloping our globe dude.
Perhaps the story is about becoming a vegan. You may not have seen my blood tests, my periodontal procedures, my dermatologists admonitions…. but the gentleman was on a highway to hell and that highway and hell had a very terse, short, to the point ending.
Let me give it to you straight. On June 10th I roll east from Emeryville. You don’t know Emeryville?
The fact of my moment is that after coffee with five or six good citizens this early morning, Sunday morning, I am braced, packed and ready to dance with the always there for the loving road. See you out among the summer breeze…
There is talent and then there is talent. I’ll let you ponder how near or far I’ve come as you take a trip on the wings of this stunning tune… buckle up buttercup…
Luscious open empty miles on Nevada Highway 50 are planned. Busking buddy Sean Laughlin rules from the roost in Silver City. We go back to sidewalk show days. Sean’s pop was Bay Area icon radio broadcast personality Travis T Hip. Born and raised in Berkeley is its own geographical means of bending soul to place. I’ll twist a few yarns from his perch prior to more eastbound into the heart of nowhere.
Hot Spring Honeymoon, my third novel, a sexual farce takes place here. Long fiction uses uncountable hours of our imaginations bandwidth. Jerusalem crickets, pinyon pines and sagebrush become contemplative Great Basin life forms. Nonconformists are the entire Nevada population…. think imaginary prizefighters and hardrock miners. Easy if you try.
Best part of running east on Highway 50 is the caprice of starting and stopping. Yes, I will practice reciting new material. Delivery of a new line with nonchalant premeditated comic intent is a craft. You have to listen to your audience. Is there a reaction? Does the joke land or the following spontaneous line deployed hoping to save my belly laugh bacon save me from silence? Spontaneity is a gateway technique common to busking.
In the town of Ely I’ll juggle on a park lawn beneath cottonwoods. Unless the wind is howling the workout will be once each day as I cross to Ft. Collins.
Love, sex, booze and mustang are first order elements to living in Nevada. Perhaps you are married, maybe you twelve-step, given up on sex and have no affinity for horses there remains the great task of fitting your lack of conformity with what is regarded as sacrament here in the Silver State. If all else fails act cranky, but profess respect for lizards.
Hay growing, cattle ranching and gold mining thrive here. Natural resource extraction has not been easy on this delicate ecosystem. Adding to this is the sociologically bizarre gambling epithet called Las Vegas and this humanity that has gathered pressurizing the demand for the groundwater here to the north. Remember that water running east from the Sierra’s or west from the Rocky Mountains comes to Nevada where it forms ponds and sinks into the ground. Millions of years of accumulation can be extracted by well pumps and piped away in the wink of an eye.
As far as nowhere goes I’d recommend more nowhere for its healing spiritual qualities. Cheek to jowl in California is bumper to bumper soul stifling. Preserving some sizable portion of our western states where we may travel for the sake of soul rebalancing is a prescription for our personal psychological health-care.
If humankind has been building temples for the gods it is likely the gods have built the Great Basin Desert for all of creation. Nevada she is the emptiness jewel mounted upon a crown of forlorns…
If I hadn’t gotten all drunk and stubborn and insisted on putting a down payment on that double wide I fell in love with there would not be that much in my life to be ashamed of.
End of my show I use some musical tracks mixed down. I do my own editing. I’ve got plenty more mixing to do. Then, there is synchronizing the musical tracks with the volunteers who’ll be caught up in the show’s ending. None of this can be rehearsed. You just go out and try it on a crowd to see how it fits.
This musical closer is pure street theater. It belongs to the street, and is a form of group improvisation perhaps singularly suited to the here and now.
I find love a particularly salient theme, but you have to handle the conveyance of a loving theme with a certain cold disdain so as to not overshoot your audiences appetite for such intimate insights. Sneaking up on the powers of heart with a good laugh is close enough.
However it works in your life- in a relationship, not in a relationship, single, married, lifelong bachelor, married once but never again, never married but suddenly head over heels, these things are not choices, we are not in control, our heart sees the world through its own eyes and makes its own decisions. We are along for the ride.
Some busking types might say it is all laughs, that it’s how much you make in the hat, how big a crowd you can draw. My goal is to touch the four year old, the eighty-five year old and everyone in between with the notion that our loving one another is where everything begins and ends. Imagine having a show that works on that level every time? I’m such the romantic
When I work in Mexico there’s this guy that pushes a cart through the neighborhood selling bottled water. Well, it turns out he’s got a sister that sells hot water that a married man can never get out of.
“Well, I’m excited to be here and by excited I mean I want to do something, and by something I mean I want to give you the best 20 minutes of entertainment packed into 60 minutes that you or any audience has ever seen.”
Backstage before the show goes up our one man solo production team is bounding about fleet of foot and fogged of mind. As ever I am prepping for one more swig of the unquenchably intoxicating elixir of performance life.
This present decade proceeds at a more measured pace. The previous decade each year I made some 500 appearances before my audiences.
There is a backward and forward command of your material when working so incessantly. In place of such a regime I am now deploying a more rambling-rollercoaster-improvised style. Like a pesky fly the improviser dashes from one near death like moment to the next dodging the swatting like silence while awaiting another sure laugh to land. The beloved house fly dodges web and window sill while dreaming of succulent crumbs of cinnamon buns. Authentic laughter is no less delicate and uncertain a fated final end.
While working with my show-dog Lacey our five thousand performances once developed was ‘error’-tight with minimal variation between any two performances. Improvisation demands that our work be fueled by cognitive super powers. We live and die by such gambits. Rare is the performer that can rise to the occasion 500 times each and every moment of every show across the timeline of a year. There must be such a talented soul buried out there in this sea of performing humanity.
Between June and July I’m figuring I will launch somewhere near one hundred shows. By the end of July the audiences and performances sent into mayhem, mirth and orbit will then return to earth. Instead of landing the shuttle in the Mojave it will be a Prius motoring southward over and around the Canadian Rockies, pondering life along the Grand Ronde River, lingering on the backside of The Sisters, Oregon and finally safely back in the hangar where we make our home in this sprawling sea of high priced real estate famously named California.
It’s one thing to be the world’s great lover and it is another thing entirely to be the world’s greatest lover’s lover.
Listening to their every word, laughing at their every joke and then it’s back into the bedroom.
All the cards, the flowers and chocolates… and then its back into the bedroom.
This isn’t just about love, this is about the championship of love, you hear that inner voice that says, “go on kid, you can do it, take one more for the team.”
Now you know that there is no way out other than going all the way in.
She’s perfect and you’re perfect. The whole thing is perfect even though you know there is no such thing as perfect and even that’s perfect.
June 10th I roll eastbound. The author of Hot Spring Honeymoon will thread his way from one geothermal wonderment to the next. Rehearsing lines, writing more material, finding a good shade tree where I can juggle will be part of each day. Making miles east will be a second duty. There is an art to being somewhere while you are trying to get to somewhere. They are one and the same. Road warriors know how to drink up every inch of the two lane highways.
Once I arrive in Ft. Collins, Colorado I’ll hustle down to Old Town and pitch up and throw a few shows down while I am there enjoying the guest services of my always much younger sister and brother in law.
Rules seem to be important to understand for those people not in the serendipitous business of sidewalk entertainment. The key to a successful career in busking is to never ask for permission and always ask for forgiveness. When ordered to shut down best to move along so as to get along. In a nutshell that’s the long and short to the busking game. Smile, appear to be reasonable, act compassionately toward officials fearful of a creative uprising breaking out upon the sidewalks of their free speech infused constitutionally guaranteed democracy. Street is the ultimate rule of law.
North from Ft Collins we’ll next take on Thermopolis, Wyoming and her astounding geothermally heated waters. After taming that frontier town we’ll circle north then west for Chico Hot Springs on the northernmost boundaries of Yellowstone before stopping in Helena, Montana where I’ll drop my wife so she may return to California for further explorations in all things to do with a major home remodeling project that at that date is scheduled for completion.
For pure comedy I’ll roll north and cross into Canada and streak north where I’ll be appearing at the 35th Edmonton International Street Performers Festival. I first appeared at this much heralded busking tsunami in 1987. All these decades later being invited to appear at the event dwarfs my wildest expectations. There is not a more lucky so and so. More to come
Ramping up for getting out on the Beggar’s Banquet-Kindness of Strangers- Why Don’t You Do it In the Road North American International Busking Tour of 2019
This is the Ft Collins, Colorado, Edmonton, Alberta to Grand Prairie long hops and short stops itinerary.
This includes stopping at Miette Hot Spring, Thermopolis, Wyoming for soaking and two days in Kootenay’s at Nakusp Hot Spring. What would you expect from the author of Hot Spring Honeymoon.
A bit of sunscreen, chapstick and we’re set. See you out there on the Street of Dreams