Tag Archives: Busker

Four-Seven-Eighteen Saturday Californian

Buy a book, book a show. You can find things out just by clicking around. No mystery, no hyperbole, just straight prose and performer as unmasked and as native Californian as is appropriate.

Misty Saturday Morning,

Bay Club- San Francisco

 

I’ll begin with a quick dispatch from Fox’s Tucker Carlson dissing us this weekend via his tweet cage.

Yes, real estate is too expensive but it isn’t the fault of the lunch bucket crowd. Those card carrying Teacher Union members don’t buy houses and don’t set policy.

For starters California is widely popular. We have beaches, mountains and desert. We have Hollywood and North Beach. We have redwood trees. We make many of the best wines and movies in the world. Facebook, Google and Apple all make their home offices here. We make the world’s most important automobile  here. It is called Tesla.

But, come on dude, Dana buddy what? You going full provincial on us? Not at all. The entirety of the West Coast, my favorite Left Coast has shown the rest of the country how. Work opportunity, education, health-care, social security and Medicare are all supported by large majorities. We want clean air and water. We want to solve anthropogenic climate change. We want nuclear power shuttered and a 21st Century renewable energy system deployed.

That’s us in a progressive nutshell. We want to make good on our promise. We want to weave our citizens into a unified patriotic mosaic. We want peace, freedom and women to have robust access to equal pay, family planning services and the best education we can provide them.

This kiss up and kick down thing doesn’t work. Massive tax cuts to an out of control elite  invited most of the kicking. Tucker bites at California’s progressive wave. We are a cleansing wave of purer purpose. We advocate for a more fully empowered middle class. A busker knows a lot about playing his act to a lunch bucket crowd. They’re known as the people. Let’s rock blue wave friends and roll… time to take back our country.

From California with Love

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.”

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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.

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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

Hot Spring Honeymoon is Available

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Breathing is Now a Privilege… Hands Up Mother….

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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

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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.