Al Krulick, Steve Aveson and Dana Smith
Chop Bar- Jack London Square- Oakland
Good Monday morning. Solstice and first day of spring just ahead. Always a good sign in the busking life. Warmer days mean bigger audiences.
Pictured with me are two of the great improvisational talents of street theater from an act dubbed The Shakespeare Brothers. We rode that first wave together. Anyone having witnessed a street show in Harvard Square circa the 70’s will have memories of some of the most high energy street performances to ever be seen then or now.
I am the one of the three who remains active as a variety act. How the long and winding road has allowed me to arrive all the way out to here remains both a mystery and proud accomplishment.
Like vaudeville my community is a living tradition of human beings who embody the show, the experience— we are the physical link to street theaters earliest days. Robert Shields, Harry Anderson, Michael Davis, A Whitney Brown… just four of our best of the best who went onto much great success.
Travel Day for the Left Coast Busker. More soon. Remember to buy a book, watch my video, and come on back. I’ll be here love to have you hanging around too…
Walk in Park
New Vaudeville was a term of art coined some decades back. Musical hall, standup, variety artists, and street performers needed a new flow chart for what had come before, what was happening at the moment and where this juggernaut of new wave entertainment energy was heading. One of the purposes of this website is to simply make my show and production skills available. So there is that on offer here.
Fascinating conversation this morning about Feng Shui, permaculture and collecting edible plants in the Sonoran Desert. What’s on your plate? What are you cooking? Keep in touch, write me a note, let me know what you think we should do about making this a better world for those yet unborn ancestors who will be arriving here soon.
“I’ve got the world on a string
I’m sitting on a rainbow
Got the string around my finger
What a world, what a life – I’m in love”
Good morning from Emeryville.
We’ve been in a whole foods plant based diet revolution here. Heading to Berkeley Bowl for ingredients to make a pumpkin custard. This from a book How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger. He is a reliably disciplined expert on what is in food. Go to www.nutritionfacts.org and start learning more about what’s really best best best to eat. You can thank me later. Diet has been top of the take care of myself list of late.
I’ll continue work on a piece about traveling by truck town to town, gig to gig, show to show. This goes back to the early days before ATM’s, cell phones, videotape or even answering machines. Busking— street performing— has long been about the physical body and voice of a performer and their living and breathing audience. The gadgetry of costumes and props are as timeless and timelessness gets. So, there’s that.
Work continues today on the psychological framework to a successful new comedy that flirts with the circuit popping problems of climate science. So, some brain power dedicated to that conundrum continues.
I am prepping the sailboat for offshore coastal California cruising and I’ve a long list of parts and pieces awaiting attention and time. The boat gets a fraction of my attention today.
And finally a reminder that there is an abundance of material here to explore. You can click on the Highlight Reel link and see some footage of my work as a performer. You can click on my link to my book Hot Spring Honeymoon and bravely sample some comic prose. If you want to go deeper try Pleasure Craft my other novel.
Finally, thanks for dropping— come back soon
Lonely at the Top
It’s Getting Out of Hand
Down the memory hole goes my recollection of accepting a blind date with the idea that information is power. The hot night out was a double date. I was sat in back with Miss-information. Facebook and Google were in the driver’s seat.
Nothing to worry about. Don’t worry. We’ve got it— You mean the ad revenue? All of it? We’ve got it— Every Red Cent—Relax—
Digitally literate experts and influential faux-libertarian nerds were for self-enrichment motives ready to tinker with the connected-internet-revolution. And so we played-and the result? Down goes most of what we know as media, dog food and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
The advertising revenue has been hoovered up by the Big Two at the expense all known cultural and economic life on earth and it turns out that it matters ‘not-so-much’ to a spiraling out of control smartphone ensconced populace.
Kicking the bad actors off Twitter evidently diminishes stocks value and so there is a lot less kicking and a lot more kissing instead. Paid ads on Facebook by those pesky Rooskie’s? You don’t get the subterfuge gringo now do you? We don’t leave no stinking money on the table.
Bat crap crazy has always been a thing but then add wingnut conspiracy theory, resurgent Caucasian counterinsurgency and a dollop of bot driven Twitter induced smear campaigns and brothers and sisters ain’t nobody going to tell me that they know ‘in the name of all the good golly almighties’ what is going on in this fight for the survival of Democracy and Freedom. Chaos replaced Elvis as King.
Somewhere in the laying of the rails for this new high speed internet we forgot that our highway to good intentions might be hijacked by and for the Panamanian hide the money in an offshore bank account sanctuary for the global elite. Ditching money crosses all ideologies- hell it is a theological certainty Christ died so we might be able to fleece one another until the end of time.
We don’t even know what we are up against since much of what we seem to be trying to push back against is not neatly aligned on one side of the demilitarized zone or the other. We are all blended together into one petri dish mixture of crapified health-care mayhem.
Removing madness from office might be a place to start. Facebook, Google, Twitter and Amazon all have grown too big for their britches. I recommend voting for anyone who isn’t talking to Russians, pretending to act as if they don’t know anyone who has been talking to Russians, or mixing up in their minds the difference between a Putin sympathizer and a Russian immigrant fleeing a totalitarian police state immigrating to the USA in the hope of living free having escaped true tyranny. If you were in the Moscow Circus and nobody in your family worked with the FSB— you’re good to come on in.
Here’s a recommendation. We put a functioning democracy above a gangbusters capitalism and a record stock market close. We harden our media distribution system. Recognize that my blog is an opinion piece and not news, and that I’m a native born Californian worried about the future of the Left Coast.
We are all on our butts watching this careening out of control climate disrupted, overpopulated global village groaning at the strain of humanity thinking there is a short cut, cheap meal or simple way out of the mess and corner technology and private equity has put us in. Friends it is always a bit precarious and tentative but when you go flirting with no-mans-land this is the inevitable peaceful queasy feeling you’ve been warned about and hoped to avoid. Well highway to hell is here. Let’s get out and march soon. Say hello. You’ll recognize me, I’m one of you. You know me. We are the peeps who can make a difference.
Like a Bat out of Hell on a Slow Train to a Better Ending
Sit Back Relax, We are Almost Done Here
BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE
Our negotiators didn’t put their thumb down on the scale of who would benefit most from trade agreements they pressed their middle finger down. The damage has exasperated citizens while further enriching the very wealthiest among us. Nice work if you can get it, and party hardy until the social upheaval hits the ceiling fan installed somewhere over Kansas.
If we had set policy so that our workers, our moderate income earners, our middle class benefited most… more than Wall Street, more than the Big Banks, more than the transnational corporations, we would not be in the fix we are in.
Two specific broken policies. Our negotiators broke their promise to invest in worker retraining programs. Higher education instead of going down in cost went up. Instead of scholarships and grants for displaced workers those funds were cut from the Federal budgets.
The second broken promise? Workers and communities harmed by new trade agreements were promised funding to help rebuild the impacted communities and to assist workers who needed relocate to new communities where new jobs were being created.
Not a day goes by… Not a single day…
The heavyweight big money boys continue to pulverize to smithereens all the lightweight small change best idea girlie girls. Instead of setting enlightened policy for the workers we have installed a vulgar liar that results in evermore chaos, solving nothing, while looting, pillaging and profiting from the spoils of their partisan victory.
Practical solutions are not fueled by this much anger. They just aren’t. We have turned over the keys to the car to a vast trove of men temperamentally unfit for high office. Our problems are only going to become the best problems we have ever had. They’re going to be huge problems, the best, biggest, hugest problems many of us have ever seen. And they’re going to make us pay for their problems. Not Mexico, not some global elite. We are going to pay.
“Why not be the best version of our self right now, starting today? I see you. I see the best version of you, something better keeps reaching out, something inside you keeps trying to touch something inside of me. That’s what I want. I want what we have.”
Women of the Oak Savannah’s
Now that we got this populism thing in the groove… Brexit, Trumpistan, and now on Sunday those wacky Italians joined in and have gone full Fellini. Grab your parachutes peeps.
It turns out that all those trade deals we’ve been making since like say 1992 when a Democrat with the help of a majority of the Republican Party rammed NAFTA thru has turned around and bit the globalized world right in the good old shipping containers ass.
Back of the envelope calculation is that NAFTA was worth a trillion bucks. That worker retraining and relocation fund? Ready? They generously set aside 100 million dollars. A thousand billion is a trillion and for the innumerate among you that 100 million dedicated to helping offset the loss of jobs is in fact the living breathing definition of “virtually nothing.” Yeah, that will keep those peons down.
Those swells from Wall Street could not help sticking it to labor. The conservative political groups across the free trading world have backed out funds soon after new trade deals have been passed. These governmental programs cost far too much. You must have taken us serious. How silly of you.
I have griped long and loud about doing more to make our trading system fairer.I’m a creative, performer and author, and you know conservatives want to zero out the National Endowment for the Arts. Good for them. I want to zero there ass out too.
The D’s got to grow a pair. They need to take their rhetorical baseball bats to hearings on Capital Hill and they need to swing for the fences in defense of the common man. You know good jobs with good benefits. I don’t care where my health care comes from. Just get it to me and keep the costs down.
We haven’t got time to be dicking around with all this. We are in a global climate emergency. Come on. Get real because evidently all those dudes from Goldman Sachs that Trump’s just appointed? We be in big trouble because those dudes are coming for us… and they know we be fools. We be voting against our own best interest like the good docile folk we are.
To put it in terms that transcends petty national politics? The world’s economic system remains deeply flawed and dangerous. We’ve been aware of this, but money translates to political power and the best of our human angels are unable to acquire the positions necessary within the system to turn this ship around.