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.
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.
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.
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?”
As always buy a book, book a show. Tickling is my art
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…
Blueberries on my mind
My lifestyle caught up with my hairstyle. Black Monday’s deep dive has nothing on my temporal skyline. While I haven’t physically resorted to the comb-over there is a forensic team searching the empty corridors of my courage for suspicious activity.
My bandwagon finally collided with my chow-wagon. With my hair going full on canary in the coal mine and my fondness for renewables being what they are I thought I’d head on down to the corner plasma testing center for further guidance.
That of course led me to the door I didn’t want to walk through. The door you don’t want to walk through is the same door, located in the same place like right in front of your freakin’ face, carried with you the entirety of your life on earth. It may be locked, unrecognized, invisible, squeaky-hinged, or have a sign posted warning you to Do Not Enter. Trust me eventually you’re going to have to open the door.
I found an exercise bike waiting. Long walks were there. Extra time on the cushion meditating was there. There were old pictures of how I used to look hanging on the walls. New dietary guidelines. Admonishments especially slanted to the mind altering penchants and predilections of a certain person whose door this is. The self destruct Google Maps app especially designed to not know the directions to every single saloon within drinking distance was there. There was an enhanced Vegan Diet from Carnivorous Hell, smoothies made by retired showgirls, and a fine Pop-up Wheat Grass Beverage Cart all arranged to catch what’s left of my eyes.
Having spent two months on the other side I can tell you for a fact that Sinatra was absolutely spot on when he said. “I feel sorry for people that don’t drink, because when they wake up in the morning, that is the best they are going to feel all day-” And that’s true, besides who wants to call the greatest dead saloon singer of all time a liar? No, I’m here to figure out how to put some numbers up on the big board that won’t frighten a cardiologist or get my life insurance canceled. I’m living proof that at some point no matter how you cut the deck or keep a lock on that door eventually you’ll find out that what life is really all about is located somewhere between having less hair and eating more leafy greens.
There are no secrets to life just unopened doors.
San Francisco Bay
The Catalans vote to separate from the federal center of power in Madrid, the British vote to exit the European Union are unmistakable indications that national governance is failing to protect its citizens from the barbarians of business and finance.
City of London types leveraged influence upon British Parliament tilting policy away from the rest of the nation’s in favor of banking’s international financial interests. Madrid during the run up to the financial crisis of a decade ago had gone on a real estate spree. The culprits in government, royalty and European banking had their fingerprints all over the collapse in housing prices.
Lobbyists fanned out decades ago with the aim to capture the regulatory apparatus located at the nation-states nerve center’s: London, Madrid and Washington DC among the many. Supervision and regulation of the transnational corporations was relaxed. Labor relationships were smothered while entrepreneurial individuality was encouraged. Profits went to the top while flat wages were sent to the working stiffs lower down on the pay scale.
Agents who had gone to the worlds leaders to purchase their agenda had sold their policies in the false assumption that these changes would be cost free.
Capitalism and democracy have proven to be a fragile alliance in the hyper-intense internet of information era. What is rotten is not forgotten so much as buried in a fire hose of more information tumbling forth virtually toward exhausted consumers of the human condition.
With central governments besieged voters are keenly aware that the collapse of the climate changing ecosystem is racing full speed ahead and there is nobody home to steer the ship of state.
Responding to the well oiled stalemates voters are deciding they would prefer power be exercised on the basis of regional interests. Californian’s do not much care for other regions views on abortion, immigration, or climate change. Renewable energy, electrification of the transportation system and clean air all seem more probably solved by the state government in Sacramento.
It is no wonder that consensus is breaking down. While regional differences grow shrill shouts go out for separating from centralized political power. Head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, and the petroleum centric state of Oklahoma he has long represented is not a suitable policy interface for anything other than the multinational corporations he devotedly serves. The business friendly fringe responds by ignoring a world with problems they have no answers for. In the minds of an ever increasing percentage of voters if this is the case there is no reason to remain.
About those Scenes
Many of us, not all, taste our first sip of love from our mother’s heart. Depending upon the woman and her emotional circumstances this is a first glimpse into the unconditioned embrace of being alive we’ll later seek in our grand search across the universe for connection. Seeking love is narrative, finding it is finale, writing beyond the heart struck sweet bliss is pure fantasy. Not all of us have the same capacities, some of us find little love in the world while others find too much, each comes with its own set of awkward circumstances and fates. What a character does with their heart helps us cheer them on or if they fail, the painful demise helps us feel the same human anxiety haunting us all. And we haven’t even talked about the hot sex yet!
Women of the Oak Savannahs… A Fragment
Jessica and Tyler ceased moving, stopped speaking, her cheek set on her pillow, his cheek on his, she searched one eye then his other. Tyler did the same, dialing in, finding they were on the same wavelength, the two had been a tight fit from the first. Every minute or so one or the other would take in a deeper breath and then exhale. With each tick of the clock Jessica’s confidence increased. Pulling her arm out of one sleeve and then the other, she threw Tyler’s t-shirt off the bed, feeling more sure, coming in closer, skin to skin, pregnant, filled with expectation, Jessica left no room for doubt, the time for second guessing was over.
Looking for Love
Jacaranda Petals Healing the Velocity of Life
Long fiction, scene by scene, attempts to decode the workings of our ever smaller world. Politics, culture and commerce bombard our nervous system from the mundane to the uninvited digitized global events we view on our media devices. Individual freedoms in this interconnected phenomenal life are proving to be illusory and failing that within just an instant forgotten then irrelevant. The long fiction writer is scrubbing the temporal landscape, we depict neural networks, free associating matrices that flicker-light through the shadows of our daily lives. Pace of time, velocity of attention, the sense that our ability to think through the circumstances we are folded into becomes scattershot and piecemeal. Neither at the beginning or end of this technological revolution, we are lost in the chaotic Dadaist like midst of a world disrupted. Because the event horizon has accelerated the long fiction writer has to work quick to speak to the moment or have the next moment overtake what he has spent so much time preparing his readers for.
Dialogue from the new novel
“See that, try to sign me up and you end up getting picked for an inside job.”
Like Piper, Jessica filled her jeans full to temptations brim, the activist felt safe enough with Piper’s companionship, looking at Jo she said, “You’re going to be the best. The big boys are going to be pleading for mercy once they find out what kind of woman they’ve run up against.”
Tyler, Ronnie, Piper and Jessica were gangling guiltlessness, mercurial mischief makers. Jo knew among her three friends that, “none had had their chests cracked in two, hearts half eaten, left for dead on the side of the road, none had found that kind of love, not yet.”
“Come on, Dudes, lets go have a swim party…” Tyler said.
“Go on, go, all of you…” Jo could smell the hijinks. “Running around a swimming pool in my underwear with you two? That would just piss me off. Go on, get,” she clapped her hands, “you don’t need any adult supervision.”