Tag Archives: Busker

April 5th,’18 Blue Corn Blue Vegan Shoes

Starting Here Starting Now

Here you find yourself- things have come to this… if you click around you’ll discover information about my shows and books. Buy a book, book a show. Be sure to surf all my digital frontier. You can always message me, our password protected switchboard is open.

Busker Believing Navajo Blue Corn 

Private Investigator

You’ve Got to Look Into Things

There is a connection between a street show and eating a whole food plant based meal. You can eat more, better, new or same. Like many of you I’ve too often picked same. The ruts to the Oregon Trail and my dietary habits look like impossible to surgically separate Siamese twins.

I’m trying to do what I can to maintain my health. Whiskey, Marlboros and jumbo sized banana splits are off my preferred list. Replacing these finer things from another era are kale, arugula and hibiscus tea.

That will take the comedy right out of the entire stinking tragic mess called life faster than getting eighty-sixed from Joe’s Spic and Span Café in Salt Lake City, Utah because there isn’t nothing you can eat— unless you can tolerate heaps of salt, sugar and saturated fat without needing to go immediately to the emergency room due to the signs of malaise being exhibited by your flagging spirits and low pulse.

succulent grandie

Pretty as a Peacock

Eating can be an exploration. If you can find it in the corner 7-11 then put that on the list of things you will not eat and put all things you can’t find in those isles on the list of things you can. That’s simple enough.

So for starters how about some blue corn tortillas? Better still how about growing a crop up in the Navajo Nation? A simple rule of thumb goes like this: if it is a plant and darker in color it is likely more nutritious. So, is blue corn got that hot little better for you going for it?—-  “Researchers found blue corn tortillas contain 20% more protein than their white corn counterparts. They also have less starch and a lower glycemic index (GI), which may be good news for humankind.”

self portrait

Plain as Day Rumpled as an Afternoon

I’m going to go out on the limb of a cornstalk and just state flat out that blue corn’s better in every kind of way for you than that pale to bright yellow corn we toss to hogs and fatten cattle with.

Tomorrow we’ll delve into the virtues of earthen ovens ancient indigenous man used for fire roasting food. Appears the Anasazi were eating pepper and goat cheese encrusted pizza several hundreds of years before Elvis first shook his hips with such licentiousness that all the women in my family fell strangely silent, sad, lonely and ultimately hungry for things I didn’t know even existed. That’s tomorrow… come on back to this crackling fire of a tall tale you hounds for peace, freedom and hot almond milk lattes.

Edited Red Star



March 21, 2018 Maestro’s Return

Blue Wave Surfing Starts Here

Harvey Milk

Street Theater as Social Justice Cupcake Fundraiser

Join us won’t you!!!!

The early days of street theater in San Francisco is part of a collection of photographs and essays I am putting together about the geographically more ambitious topic of busking across the entirety of North America.

The thirty minute performance was boilerplate. An act started at the top of the hour, shows were thirty on and thirty off, noon to night, seven days a week year in and year out. Social commentary remained coin of the comedy realm but the sharp political observations of the first wave acts faded and changed with the times and all but ended. Costumes had to be neat and clean and so did the street performer’s material. You work edgy out on the street but not on the wharfs best stages. A street act needed to draw a crowd, get a laugh and after the show send the audience away happier than when they had arrived. From the get-go the city center shopping districts designed to attract tourists arrived out of the box and joined at the hip merchandising T-shirts, postcards and this new age repackaged variety show entertainment. This structure prevailed for two decades plus until the audience slipped from the grasp of the street performers hold on their imagination. Like the audience the street performer had to move on.

Street hasn’t died so much as had to adapt and add more reliable venues. There remain an endless supply of people and places where this style of show remains viable. We are fortunate, we are mobile, we can go to where we can find our audiences.We are an emotional timeless siren song. The best of what street performing represents is something all of us feel being threatened when the lawless grip of authoritarian power presses in upon our democracy. We are not some cyber ops, black ops, disinformation gadget. We are a reflection of our communities passion for peace, environmental justice and social progress. That’s why I made this work a career.


City Center’s Beating Heart Edmonton, Alberta 2014

See a show, buy a book, come on back. I’ll be here…

Edited Red Star


The Lunch Bucket Card Carrying Men in My Family

lunch bucket

Card Carrying Sandal Wearing Lunch Bucket Raised Man-Boy

I grew up in a lunch bucket household. The men I knew carried union cards. They drank beer, smoked cigarettes and loved Kenny Stablers stylish Oakland Raider leadership. They voted straight D ticket right on down the line.

Oakland wasn’t much of a port unless you call the Army Depot a port, but that was for the boys in Viet Nam. The Warehousemen, Longshoremen, Teamsters, Stevedores… they were on the Embarcadero in the City moving cargo in and out of town by truck, train and ship.

Then, the world changed. We got lots of stuff. Boy did we get stuff. We also got NAFTA, we got China into the WTO, we got stuff happening around the world while we hollowed out the working stiffs world here.

Arugula eating Whole Foods shopping people working at the highest high tech companies within the confines of some of the sweetest zip codes in North America were thought the wave of the future, not just the future they were the ever present stakeholders in our go-go everybody’s an investor economy.

Then, the thud and dud of the financial sector, the end of retiring on selling houses to each other, and the reality that those lunch bucket friends of ours are pissed off. I thought it spot on that R’s discussing cuts to capital gains taxes and inheritance taxes had to be blowing it out of their …. Lunch bucket workers want jobs, wages, benefits, and paid vacation. Few if any of us need capital gains tax relief.

So, here is my bottom line. Fair trade right? Not free trade. We need to set policy so that the lunch bucket types get a living wage, some medical, dental, and a school that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg and their first born donated to the bank they got their student loans from.

Not so difficult to grip hold of is it? Clean streets, decent infrastructure, good schools, get on with the renewable energy revolution, stay the hell out of foreign wars, and could we cut the crap out of beating up on women? Right? Simple enough…

Those of us with the lunch bucket history? We drink less whiskey than our ancestors and we don’t smoke anymore. We drink wine. We watch our cholesterol. We like football but are worried about the concussion thing. And if the people in Washington don’t snap out of it and start doing the lunch bucket crowds business we’ll go there and bang a few heads together until they remember who we truly are.




Hat Snatching Owl’s and Brawling Burro Truths…

image The owl soared across the street to the limb of a cottonwood. The animal perched, balancing on one foot, with Mr. Garrett Harwood’s hat clasped and dangling in her clutches in the other.

Hot Spring Honeymoon

Owl attacks joggers and steals their hats…

Headline from The Guardian, Reuters in Portland, Oregon

I concocted a confrontation between an owl, a burro and an old man in 2012. Some background. I took out on the road with a circus in 1974. We traveled with a bear, fox, pheasant, monkey, dog and miniature horse.

I spent six months tending to the horse. A young stallion that I took from his mother had no choice but to hook into me; the world was too empty- too cold otherwise.

I spent one decade plus performing with an Belgian Shepherd and another decade plus with a Jack Russell Terrier. Sunshine and Lacey devoted their lives to the work we shared.

What I know about the animal kingdom has been derived from 10,000 performances and countless hours spent in a performing duo pair bond with two dogs and a miniature horse.

Garrett searched the ground. No hat. The owl screeched. Garrett startled. He looked from where the call had come from. The animal was in the tree. She had his best hat.

I was plenty sure when I built this scene that what I had imagined was within the realm of possibility. I not only have had two dogs in my act for the longest time I juggled fire while balancing a live chicken on my head.

Two decades plus with dogs and a near decade with a chicken and you get to know things about the animal kingdom that might slip by the casual observer. You know what an animal will do and what guides their understanding of the world they live in.

Bambalina (the burro) was disgusted. Her adversary was pathetic, spineless, not even a worthy opponent, and say what the world will  about the animal kingdom, rare if ever does an animal fight simply for the sake of a fight.

The Guardian’s story about this pesky owl in Salem, Oregon is a literary affirmation. An interested reader now knows by proof of fact that the writer is with regard to the animals portrayed in his work an authority on the subject.

Bambalina and the owl traded a knowing look. They knew a man was no match in a real brawl. Garrett slunk back. The old man turned and trotted away. He was not her equal. He ran for his life.

Once I formed the outline to Hot Spring Honeymoon and began to write Bambalina’s character her voice flowed. She required few revisions. Her ‘burro personage’ from word one rang true.

How and why that is has everything to do with the animals I trained and have shared so many years of my life with. So, besides having concocted a sexual farce (another bit of nature I have some experience of) there is also the reward a reader will find in discovering the truths to be learned about the animal kingdom, a lifeforce man is so inextricably woven into.

This is the realm of the interdependent nature of mind. Where we see mankind in a dog, and a dog sees the canine in us. I’ll leave you with one last piece of burro truth.

His burro approached. She didn’t care about anything but Fletcher. He tugged on the crushed straw western hat, yanked it out of her teeth. “You know I’m going to have to give you a whipping for this?”

No he’s not. Bambalina had heard that sorry act so many times, but Fletcher McCrea was all bark no bite, and it is why she remained faithful to this man. The sarcasm and snide commentary was part of something bigger than both of them. image

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Breathing is Now a Privilege… Hands Up Mother….

This Land is Your Land

We are no longer a freedom loving country. We are something else now. “Corporations are people my friends, and they are pissed off.”

Our counterinsurgency has gone domestic. We are the enemy now.

The police are dangerous. If you are arrested and it doesn’t go so well that is too bad. Our own security is threatened by our own security forces.

Privatized prisons and two million incarcerated felons who may never vote again are tossed on the scrap pile of democracy. Freedom’s costs keep skyrocketing.

We go to war in some far corner of the globe while here on our streets justice is a maniacal police officer who may use whatever force he deems necessary to bring his man down and then whatever is left of him in for questioning.

In case you haven’t noticed our national narrative is imploding. We need markets we do not need democracy. We need free trade we do not need freedom, that is so last century.

Equal justice under the law like universal health care is a luxury we simply can’t afford. Edward Snowdon knows this. Our human rights whither and wilt, the capitalists invade Washington, lobbyists spend their days purchasing what is left of our constitution. None of this is a secret.

Where to start trying to fix this mess? I say a few less dead black guys might be a good first step. A few more bankers thrown into those nifty privatized prisons might be a good second step. How about we bring Snowdon back and give a hero’s welcome? Can we stop with the enhanced interegation’s? It is not clear anyone can make an omelet out of these broken dreams.

Beaujolais Nouveau


Nothing welcomes this traveler home better than autumns release of this years newest youngest wine… Beaujolais. It is a chance to check on whether this last summer was as delicious as I remember.

Beaujolais Nouveau was lost on me until November 2001. That year I drank from a cask of Beaujolais at Nizza La Bella a neighborhood joint on San Pablo in Albany. It was all so complicated.

What happened is that I tasted youth and time. I drink wine it is as simple as that. It tastes good, it doesn’t taste good. Seldom does wine taste of youth. Rarely do I find myself thrown back upon an August nights full moon lighting a mountain ringed river bottom.

Beaujolais is like that. You can count the mere weeks since you last tasted the very same night that the grapes like you were still clinging to the vine. August nights of love and romance and it is so fleeting, so sweet and like everything vanishes into the next moment and becomes past until this youthful wine jolts you back into the prime of all primes those sultry late August end of summer nights.

Beaujolais is for me sentimental and I am if nothing else entirely too sentimental. I am a flaming sentimentalist. And gullible. I believe in keeping love and hope alive and as I plunge into the work that is winter. A winter so soon upon us there is at least this last fling to have with Beaujolais.

She is so silly. A puppy all floppy ears and ready to play while I am bundling up and hunkering down. I am reminded of imperfection and I am accounting here at the end of the year for all the glorious imperfections I have been allowed to get by with.

I will never drink Beaujolais Nouveau with any kind of gravity. I will never take my affair as anything other than a passing fling. But, that is what she is this wine. She is nothing but a one night stand and she was never meant to be anything else. To drink her and to love her for what she is and then for the rest of your autumns, all those years later as you part reluctantly with  glory of the past year you may ring the minds memories one last time of that summer the gods allowed to slip through your fingers like sand.

The Idiots Guide to Discovering Surefire Laughs

Edmonton Streetfest 2014
Edmonton Streetfest 2014

This Doesn’t Just Happen…

This is one way to be ready when a moment like this is gifted to you by laughter’s angels

“People are always trying to figure out who I am in my novels. I seem to be drawn to playing extremely fertile women who know next to nothing about birth control. That’s a man pretending to be a woman right there.”

I have been hitting my glass ceilings, picking myself up off the floor, feeling boxed in, while doing what I can to escape limitedness of my imagination. There are several pathways being used to produce a new way forward and they need to be orchestrated by a conductor who knows what the composition ought to sound like when played to laughter’s unbridled romp into the present moment.

I have been writing new material for the show. I’ve been thinking conceptually about what I want to say. I have been on stage negotiating this material with my audience while alternating back and forth between the new and old material. The new material comes without all those hooks and handles where the older material is surefooted. There are in the tested show material reliable notes that I might hit just the right tone as I wend my way from start to finish.

The degree that I go off old script and into new script is where I reap the whirlwind. Sometimes you are able to seize the audience and take them with you, sometimes they are reluctant guests, and sometimes stubborn and lethargic. Lesser energetic audiences require veteran composure. We are so burdened with simply holding our audience we haven’t much space to discover where those fresh new hooks and handles might be located.

I can fit a funny line here and there into any show. It is another thing to leap off into a longer unguided journey of ‘hookless and handleless’ material. Where the laughs might be located is only approximate to sometimes nonexistent. This is the classic rat in maze moment. We go one way then another trying to escape from the labyrinth of our expectations and our preconceived blueprint of where we feel an audience might allow us to take them.

For the last 24 shows I’ve advanced and retreated while working on the first 10 minutes of 20-25 minutes of material I have written. Now, I’ve jettisoned one third of the first 10 and now I am preparing to introduce another 15. I have another 26 shows to work on this puzzle. Of course this all part Virgo energy and part rat in maze.

Creating a cognitive framework allows me some means of measuring my progress and forces me to go against fears grain. You really must put your shoulder into your material or you’ll get stuck doomed to repeating the older material and never quite getting around to dealing with all the difficulties inherent in breaking in new material.

Finding laughs is not for the weak or timid. You have to be willing to stomach the unpleasant feelings. The result of these experiments is a reliable and well tested routine. I am a soloist’s team of rivals. I am writer, producer, director, and performer. Those tough nuts can be tough to crack. This is my work.

Passing on the tradition
Passing on the tradition
Hot Spring Honeymoon Front Cover
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Available Everywhere on Earth… Really

“Bambalina made me smile and laugh… She may have been one of the best characters in the book and that says a lot since she is a burro! I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for fun yet heartfelt read.”