November 13th, 2008
|07:35 pm - Junkyard Ghost Revival - The Morning After|
x-posted from other websites.
it's actually been a week since the conclusion of my leg with the JGR, but i would like to recount some highlights now, on the internet. so this will be like my tour diary - naughty!
LONG BEACH, CA - DOUBLE DECKER BUS
my first show with anis, buddy, and derrick was on a double decker party bus. essentially two huge men in kilts drove us and about 45 other people around Long Beach while everyone drank and listened to music (i had two BIG gatorades!). we would then make periodic stops (independent bookstore, lifeguard tower on the beach, some giant fountain, the queen mary) and we'd yell poetry at our bus-mates, then get back on and drive, drink, dance some more. this is the most ideal setting for spoken word and i'm not even kidding.
this show was a boss-ass way to start the tour - not only did i actually get to meet and hang out with almost everyone who was in the "audience," but i got to be with some of the most talented people in the history of ever. sonya renee was ending her leg with the guys with that show, so we were briefly five fingers on a hand of awesome slapping the crap out of wackness. mindy nettifee helped throw that amazing party and she "spat" poetry with us too. beau sia, amberrussmama tamblyn were in effect, and claude le monde came out of hiding.
after the show, amber drove us erratically back to her house. a nice house it was. you know, she could just as easily be a spoiled brat culture vampire (which is to say, that life is very tempting), but she chooses to write and support live poetry and everyone benefits as a result. plus she's a jackass like us.
the whole experience bathed me in grateful.
RENO, NV - U of NEVADA
drove to reno through the california desert into the high sierra mountains. thought to ourselves "we wanna be all up in them mountains." held that thought.
did a more standard, less bus-filled show at the school. the audience was fired up from the start and we got to experiment with an off-stage mic so everyone had to be on their toes. derrick and buddy had bus hangovers still, so between poems, they would lay down backstage, occasionally sitting up and looking around as if they just survived the fire-bombing of their city and were taking stock of what was left of their lives. at the end of the show, we invited everyone to go-kart with us the next day.
stayed at harrah's casino, lost 16 bucks in slots, went to an abraham-lincoln themed bar, woke up, bought some ties and a video made to entertain cats at a thrift store.
we went to a bountiful casino buffet, then to go-kart (we don't eff around with promises). seven people from the show turned up to go-kart with us. we came up with good go-kart nicknames, but the only ones i remember were "Sparky McButtPlug" and i said buddy should be "Tina Turner" as turning is an integral aspect of the sport. the regular rules of "try to win the race" are obvi boring, so the real contest was that whoever was able to slap or punch the most people was the winner. derrick won with 4.
hit the road, went through the mountains again. hit a traffic jam, got carsick, a little moody, saw a mountain lake, Donner Lake, in fact. remembered our desire to be up in them mountains. pulled over, removed most of our clothes, and swam (briefly) in the lake. derrick peed in it. it was cold, evidenced by my testicles who now live inside me like a terrified turtle. i'm sorry boys. regard., that swim, everyone agreed, made our skin electric and dissipated grumpiness. played catchphrase until we got to the bay.
THE BAY - DOMINICAN U and UC BERKELEY
dominican's audience was a good enough size to invite on the stage and sit native-american-style so they could see up our performing nose-hairs. there was a piano backstage that we got to incorporate into the show, as well as a hole in the curtain that was glorious. a glory hole, if you will. the things left backstage at shows became instrumental in keeping each set different and fresh.
after the show we went and stayed with anis's cousin and her husband, meisa and khalid. i hung out with them before when they lived in evanston, and they are two of the sweetest people on the planet. despite that fact, it rained.
at UCB, got to hear some awesome poemetry from isaac miller and denise jolly - both beautiful humans. i almost punched a girl in the face during one of our "rile 'em up" sessions, and derrick hit me in the head with a microphone. people seemed to enjoy themselves anyway. in fact, you could feel a palpable positive energy coming from that crowd, so even if you tried to be an utter failure, they wouldn't have let you. sidenote: i love denise jolly.
drove partway to portland, stayed the night in anderson, CA at an eco-friendly hotel. they had swans, met nice canadians, the showers had soap/shampoo dispensers, which is a great way to curb waste. gorged on free organic breakfast.
PORTLAND HALLOWEEN WEEKEND
drove up to p-land to crash at anis's house for the weekend. some important highlights:
-went to two halloween parties, the first (anis's friends) was filled only with characters from the mighty boosh, the second (derrick's "friends") was filled with only bags of douche. that's not true. BUT there was a guy dressed as beaker, the muppet, and his head was where beaker's mouth is and he had an apparatus to make the mouth open and close around his face. i suspect he built the costume from a penis costume. i found a rubber arm on the ground that i incorporated into my costume: guy with an extra arm. everyone agreed i was popular and smart.
-went to an 80s themed party the next day in suburban vancouver, washington. it won the prize for most lamest party, as the lights were on, there was two tvs going with two different kinds of karaoke being screamed poorly into them. there were children there at the beginning, the host had all the books in the left behind series, there was a dog who didn't want to be danced with. what made (and makes) all lame parties fun are the people you bring. so 80s party was salvageable cuz of anis, aaron (who lent me an awesome jumpsuit), rick, ted, joe, chris, and kate were there - many in short-shorts. we left a little early after aaron said "we gotta go, (rick)'s got church in the morning" and then someone with crimped hair said "yeah! church!" and high-fived aaron who said "yeah, i guess - it's kinda creepy: drinking jesus's blood? it's like halloween every sunday - blech!" then crimped girl threw carrots at him and we left.
sidenote: crimp haired girl also carried a guitar hero guitar around all night and pretended to play along with karaoke and actual people playing guitar hero. she said she plays guitar in a band. i said "what's the band's name?" "we don't have one!" "do you play for a living?" "who does?" then she rocked out for no one.
-went to three coffeeshops and two powell's bookstores. i bought 5 books, including a big picture book about bears - ted got one about fish - aly got one about bugs - anis got a comic book. got to hang out and read and write with derrick and anis, occasionally commenting on each other's poetry or just pointing out awesome things. it reminded me of the work environment at the coffeehouse in normal. i miss. i wish.
-got my hair cut and washed by a big tattooed barber who asked if i was allergic to straight razors - it was exhilerating. bought two pairs of tasty socks. spent a combined two hours watching ted's fish tank (anis's roommate is a fish god - like poseidan!). played pool and saw pineapple express and watched others bowl, not in that order.
-buddy, who stayed in seattle at his home, was reunited with us for our monday show and we all agreed that we legitimately missed each other. we jumped up and down for a while when came through the door.
-i could live in portland.
COTTAGE GROVE, OR - PACIFIC U
this show offered us more opportunities to eff around. brought a light bulb on wheels on the stage (a sign on it said it was a ghost light), anis turned it on as he started the show, i turned it off at the very end. got to climb a bar on the side of the stage to the ceiling. aaron (who is the tragic hero of his own life) sketched us on stage as part of his journalism site interview records: http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=177330964&blogID=446809611. tried out a new technique for selling more books that derrick suggested. it worked! message me for the secret! also got to bring a giant prop goose on stage and we re-enacted the end of a christmas carol. miriam, who set up the show, had a sweet laugh.
BELLINGHAM, WA - WESTERN WA U - ELECTION NIGHT!
first of all, look at this poster from the show - http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=39304677&l=85f2b&id=22919389 then watch this video: http://vimeo.com/2230082.
what the hell! the programming at WWU is, as my boss would say, just sick and wrong. they have their stuff together more than anywhere i've ever seen and we (slam/spoken word organizers) could learn about eleven hundred things from them. big thanks to ryan scott on the poster, christian saxton on the video, hallie and keri on the green room and organizing in general. these guys don't play around.
first, the show. the crowd was big and excited. karen finneyfrock and daemond arrindell and this sweet dude, simon, opened the show for us. it may have been bittersweet since it was my last show, but i honestly never felt that. i was in the moment as much as i could have been, and that's one of the bestest, longest moments of my life.
now, the election. we had assumed, along with most of the rest of the world, for there to be a long, drawn-out battle for EVs. the whole day we were nervous about it, listening for updates in the car, and then checking on anis's laptop offstage during the show. we had planned on making fake and real announcements about the race throughout the night, but after i announced that mccain had just won canada, anis and derrick ran on stage and said BHO won. buddy was about to perform, i think, but then we all just started cheering and humping each other and the crowd went crazy for democracy! here's a picture of that moment: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=39304677&l=85f2b&id=22919389/photo.php?pid=34439269&op=1&o=global&view=global&subj=22919389&id=25916313
anis and i grabbed all the food they gave us in the green room and started passing it out. anis said "we're a socialist government now, so i gotta do this!" i was handing out ritz crackers, and i was like "here, here you go, crackers for obama! hey!" and realized what an awesome thing i just accidentally said. throughout the rest of the show we were unrepentantly joyous. we'd open the doors and people would just be running around outside, yelling and running, and the whole audience would yell back at them. i now know that animals feel rapturous glee, because that was some real primal love.
after the show, we did the interview in the above video. we were real antsy to get out and "be with the people" in the street party. at one point, in the video, there's some cheering off-camera that i look off at like "there it is again! let'sgolet'sgolet'sgo!" so look for that. we cleared out and started driving downtown but were met with a wall of revelers. buddy parked the car and we just ran into them, hugging and howling at strangers, so relieved the country came together for this mature gesture, becoming a country to many of us for the first time (and not just a place we had to endure in order to get health care). a cop was driving toward the crowd too, he got out of his car for a second, then got back in and let the people envelop him - what else could he do? a guy in american flag boxers, with his pants around his ankles, shuffled past the cop, took a swig from something in a paper bag, and put his butt on the car. beauty.
hung out with a gaggle of rad folk, notably, karen, daemond, alexis, chelsea, adam, tracey, keri, brittany, bob, and jessica. danced at a gay club, that buddy found to be less a "gay club," and more a "gay-friendly" club, much to his dismay. he took an informal poll as we were leaving and said "how many of you people are actually gay?" and three people raised their hands. he said "thank you, straight people, but you're not helping."
we went to our hotel and i fell asleep watching the news while anis typed on his computer next to my head.
the next morning i took a small plane to seattle, hung out there for three hours with the finneyfrock, tara hardy, and natalie. got to see the fantagraphics bookstore. then i went home.
i don't know if this is entertaining for you to read, but it was so important in my life to experience. i recommend everyone do "business traveling" with friends. it will make you better friends, it will make your business - in this case poetry - better, and it will give you someone to share the private parts and moments of your life with. i've always believed in the power of community and friendship to reciprocally benefit art and the world, and putting a small hunk of that community on a van was a lucky and perfect thing.
and so i miss. i wish. lucky and perfect thing.
back to the real world in chicago. thank you to everyone who exists.