Tag Archives: Crossroads

Cassavetes Crossroads

Stuck in Bakersfield. Highway through Tehachapi closed due to snow. Grapevine to LA closed. Packed into a Shell Station with a sea of masked humanity attempting to move east to Barstow, Las Vegas and destinations unknown, how does it feel…

Fixed supper, listened to McConnell fold on organizing rules for senate. House sent Articles of Impeachment to senate this afternoon. Revolution, insurrection and treason don’t draw as big or as enthusiastic a crowd as the revolutionaries. Republican senators are hoping to squirm their way out of this vote. I say flush the senators out, make them vote, find out whose for this project in self governance and whose not. 

Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader’s people encircle my present location. Just passed a citrus processing plant. Maybe we need less orange juice for breakfast. I am a passionate opponent of water grabbing. Water grabbers occupy the lowest rung in the ladder. We need more water protectors!

Then I read the new Prez has mandated the national government buy electric cars, not just any electric cars, but American made electrics. Why topless dancing, speedo bathing suits and high school night sober celebrations are making a comeback. Still love a good looking bikini, I find it restores my faith in the healing energies of  seeing unblemished skin in its mortal manifestation.

Road closures, snowfall delays and high wind warnings beats hungry bears romping through the campsite looking for a taste of sponge cake, pork rinds and cinnamon buns.

Favorite vice is going north on the coast to Tomales Bay. In Marshall stopping to buy fresh oysters is an essential culinary act, it is to join in solidarity with the sea. Buddy of mine, we’d drink and dance at the tavern, always dancing with phantoms, the lipstick drenched finest, then sleep over on Dillion’s Beach. First thing in the morning we’d drive to Bodega Bay for coffee, then devolve into post adolescent fog slick highway sport driving.

Have been driving between San Francisco and Denver since March. Even Bakersfield is bigger now. Citrus groves on the southeast side represent political power. The minority leader is the citrus growers man. Bakersfield is a conflicted soul, an end to a valley that craves no ending. Buck Owens Crystal Palace is here, shuttered due to the virus, but the joint will reopen, and then you’ll have to decide if you need Buck’s music makers back in your alligator skinned boots. Two-stepping remains one of country music’s greatest gifts. The best dancers have imagination,  private investigations and divorces.

I don’t know that any of us can predict how we each are dealt a set of crossroads that we seem fated to return to again and again. Beginning in 1974 and until now I’ve been through here in route for shows, home, or adventure. Took a road trip with my mom to Palm Springs to hang with family. Up top near Tehachapi in a snowstorm, just getting through before they closed the road. Yesterday my mom now long gone, but here she was with me at this crossroads.

In those days you drove Highway 58 through Mojave instead of taking the bypass. Mojave no longer a crossroads has all but killed the place. Motels shutdown, restaurants hung on then failed, gas stations seemed about the only business that survives.

A bit further east Highway 58 intersects with Highway 395. Eight hours from San Francisco, another 8 hours to Phoenix the intersection had a few gas stations, truck stop, convenience store. Have slept here countless nights while in transit one way or another. My first encounter with this crossroads I was riding shotgun in an El Dorado, a real boat of a machine, baby blue with white leather interior, my pop was at the wheel, he kept a flask of Southern Comfort in the glovebox, while we motored south to San Diego we’d take a nip, just enough naughty my playing Faulk to my pops Gazarra, pretending to be players in a Cassavetes film. You don’t drive a baby blue Eldo, you swagger in a piece of Americana such as this, the car announces your overindulgence.

I can’t run these highways without visits from long gone souls. Keep them close at hand. Long distance driving allows us to share time. My two dogs come visit, they were both nothing but ball chasers. They were good dogs, loyal to their owner, dedicated and kind. I loved those dogs more than I can say.

Crossroads, there are a lot of jokes, music lyrics and plot lines for novels have all been sorted out while running the two-lanes to far off intersections scattered all across the west. Nomadic types, those with the itch, the ones that understand why we need to keep moving, what we see, what we find out here, the distinctive landmarks called intersections. This is what a road trip is made for. To take yourself to places you’ve never been, then return to feel the ghosts whisper to your soul.

Tables are empty

Millennium on College Avenue has been a favorite vegan hangout. I’d hustle over early grab a seat at the bar with my wife. Glass of wine, appetizers and a main dish was a bullseye. The joint fills up most nights. Getting a table is impossible, a slot at the bar, you’ll wait.

Just Looking

Shangri La Vegan on Telegraph is another favorite. Here is a fixed menu where the only variation is size. My wife orders a moderate and I go for the full plate. You self-serve your flatware, water and tea. They offer wine but it never seems right to us.

Dinner for Two

Thursday nights we’d meet up at The Trappist just off Broadway on 8th. I don’t drink beer but everyone else does. We’ve been meeting there for some years for beer, wine and conversation.

Near my boat in Emeryville is The Prizefighter. Love this bar. Love the staff. Drinks are meticulously crafted. Bottles of booze are shelved floor to the rim of twenty-foot ceiling. Like Alice’s Restaurant you can get anything you want. Conversation is plentiful, Wifi is swift, and dogs are welcomed. Friday night happy hour is not to be missed.

The Prizefighter (Best of the Best)

We will all miss mixing with colleagues, acquaintances and friends. For some indeterminate length of time we won’t be dropping into our favorite saloon. If we wait for the vaccine, and that’s my plan, with luck we’ll be out of this viral fix by the end of 2021. Sooner than that is a roll of the mortal dice and I’m not so smitten with booze to try to beat the house given the bet you’ll have to make.


Rebel Riders on the Rim of Hope

Nothing remains the same. Neighborhoods are a mix of people and places. Staff that work in the restaurant and bars can’t hold out for work and wait 74 more weeks while our research and laboratories find a cure for what is ailing our world.

Ordinary Life Please

Maintaining science experts on staff at the National Security Agency isn’t something I’ve spent much time thinking about. Expertise on how to fight pandemics seemed a third or fourth order issue on my stove of hot topics. You know I’m interested in the good stuff. Pandemic doesn’t sound fun and like a clock I’m right twice a day.

I have spent my life as a showman. I have worked solo for most of my forty-four-year career. Variety show entertainment won’t work while this virus is on the loose. Until the world is immune the show will not go on, the show can’t.

What the World Needs Now

If you had an occupation serving customers jokes, tricks, food and drinks you’re out of luck. Imagine all the nuance that is going down the memory hole? The pesto pasta dish served at Crossroads on Melrose in West Hollywood is the best I’ve ever had. I imagined it best because the cook in the kitchen had been practicing and perfecting this dish day in and day out for year upon year upon year. If genius is pasta this dish might well be a plate of brilliance.

Now that we all have so much more time there is no hurry, there is no rush, “the tables are empty, dance floor is disserted, you play the same love song, like a hundred times you’ve heard it, it’s only the beginning, its one of the clues, you’ve had your first lesson, in learning the blues.”

Steady as you go, better times are ahead