Category Archives: Music

Medicine Baul Live at Jambalaya in Arcata

medicine baul 1ba

All Photos in this essay by Bob Doran, some, like this one are stills from his video Medicine Baul Live at Bummer Fest 2012. Other pics from his Medicine Baul photo album on facebook

Amazing! Astounding! Wonderful! Wow! Wow! Wow! If you read this column regularly, you know that I’m a cynical old coot who loves to make fun of people. Not today (sorry to disappoint you). Today I feel rejuvenated, recharged and re-energized, because last night I experienced Medicine Baul live at Jambalaya in Arcata.

medicine baul 9c

Medicine Baul played inspiring, original music. When I say “original” music, I don’t just mean that they write their own songs, I mean that they don’t do anything normal. Medicine Baul didn’t even play anything you could call a song. Instead, we heard one continuous, collaborative, improvised composition that spanned the duration of their set.

medicine baul 4a

They had some normal instruments, like a concert bass drum, a trombone and a hammered dulcimer, but Medicine Baul didn’t play anything normal on them. They had some decidedly abnormal instruments, like a homemade, cello-sized, one string instrument, a mouth harp and an electric hurdy-gurdy. They didn’t do anything normal with those instruments either. They hit things. They plucked strings. They held twisted brass tubes and other strange devices to their lips, and they fiddled with many contraptions too small to see clearly from the audience. They produced a great variety of weird noises.

drum banjo trombone1

At the center of all of this instrumental madness, one tall slender dark-haired woman of artistic demeanor, not brassy, not seductive, but serious, concentrated, reserved, but with a playful glint in her eye, stood alone in front of the microphone at center stage in a long striped indigo dress. Her vocalizations, sometimes soaring and melodic, other times dark and guttural contained no discernible lyrics. Flanked stage left by by a man wearing coveralls, knee-pads and a hardhat, crouching low to the floor amid a pile of instruments, and on stage right by a seated man wearing a red flannel union suit playing what looked like a hillbilly cello, Medicine Baul looked positively surreal.

hillbilly cello2

Projected on a screen behind Medicine Baul as they played, scenes from documentary films, probably made in the 1970s by the look of the film, depicted life in remote tribal villages. The images began with people navigating white-water rapids in dugout canoes while standing up, each using a single pole to steer and control their tiny boats. The music began as a low murmur, crescendoed to a mighty din, climaxed in a cathartic release of energy and concluded as peacefully as it began. Medicine Baul both defied and exceeded expectations with their spontaneous composition.

medicine baul drummer4

Medicine Baul has at least six members. I find it hard to count higher than that, but there were a lot of people up on that rather cramped stage, and they all had something to do, pretty much all the time. Clearly, they all listen to each other. I don’t think anyone would say, of Medicine Baul, that they were fantastically talented players, because none of them were show-offs, and they did not play music for show-offs. Instead I will say say that Medicine Baul is made of fantastically talented listeners, and that together they compose brilliant original music.

medicine baul 7e

You really should experience them for yourself. You will have a chance to do that on November 3. Medicine Baul will perform in Eureka on Monday, November 3, at Siren’s Song, along with Willoughby, starting at 8:00pm. We’ve already planned our next Eureka trip around it, and so should you.

medicine baul 6b

We have an obscene amount of music shows here in Humboldt County, and most of them them are more party than concert and involve music drawn from well-trodden, commercially proven, genres. That doesn’t interest me. I want to hear something original, and I like it that much more when the artists have the guts to challenge the audience’s expectations rather than pander to them. That’s what makes music interesting. That’s what makes music powerful, and that’s what keeps music alive.

vinny plays bugle2

Art matters! Parties, not so much. We need original art now, more than ever, because at the core of our current cultural collapse lies a colossal failure of imagination. It’s going to take a lot of imagination to reinvent the future. Original art is to imagination what business is to money. An abundance of art promotes a wealth of imagination. Medicine Baul is a perfect example of what I mean by “original,” and listening to them could change the way you think about music.

aftermath2


Big Photo Finish to Our Summer Tour (This is gonna suck if you have a dial-up connection)

tin can luminary at NCF2shpshcppsh

Last weekend, my partner Amy Gustin and I performed at North Country Fair in Arcata.

tin can luminary at NCF3cps

We had a terrific time playing for an appreciative and generous audience.

tin can luminary at NCF8 cp

We performed a couple of pieces from Amy’s album, The Big Picture, and one from my album Um… Uh…Gum Eh? as well as several new works-in-progress.

tin can luminary at NCF4pshcp

After a busy Summer, we expected to conclude our season of live engagements with our performance at North Country Fair, one of our favorite venues, before taking some time off to record a new album.

tin can luminary at NCF9 sharp

Most bands that play North Country Fair don’t bring a full, theater-scale, light show, but since it was the last show on the tour, we decided to go all out.

Tin Can luminary mind blowing light show

It did take a rather extraordinary effort to set up 50,000 watts of lighting and four floors of scaffolding for a 45 minute set, but I think all who were in attendance would agree, it was worth it.

lightshow Tin Can luminary

As a band, Amy and I sound pretty good, but our light show will blow your mind. You really need to experience it first-hand.

lightshow Tin Can Luminary 1a

Photographer Bob Doran turned up for the event, and took all of these great photos.

tin can luminary at NCF1 cropsat

After our set, we chatted a bit with Bob.

tin can luminary at NCF7perspective crop

In addition to being a music writer and photojournalist, Bob Doran is also associate producer of my favorite radio music show in Humboldt County, Fogou, with host Vinny Devaney from 2-4pm Weds on KHSU.

tin can luminary at NCF1 blueng

Bob invited us to perform on Fogou the following Weds. Of course we were honored and delighted to play for KHSU’s listeners on Fogou.

tin can luminary at NCF3 crop s3-tile1ct

We met Bob at his exquisitely decorated home in Arcata, and met his lovely wife Amy.

tin can luminary at NCF4 bright1m-tile2

Before we went to the station, Bob showed me some of the photos he took at North Country Fair. Bob has a great eye, and his photos were not only well composed, but they captured the energy of the event as well as our personalities.

tin can luminary at NCF7perspective

I really appreciate that he came out early on a Sunday morning to catch our set.

bob doran thanks

When we got to KHSU, we set up on the floor of the studio.

tin can luminary on fogouwshcp

We had some technical difficulties with the Theremin, which took a while to work out, but we played four pieces from our repertoire and did our best to help them raise money during their pledge drive.

tin can luminary on fogou op-tile1

Bob Doran took several photographs of our performance on Fogou.

tin can luminary on fogou1 linecp

I had a great time, and it was a real kick to be a part of my favorite radio show.

tin can luminary on fogou1 line neg2 ud-tile


Lance Armstrong, Frank Zappa, Drugs and Society

lance armstrong1-horz

I heard on the radio that Lance Armstrong recently celebrated a birthday. I hope he had a nice birthday, and I wish him only the best. I really don’t give a fuck about sports, but I have a lot of respect for Lance as an athlete and as a human being. I don’t care what anyone says. The guy got struck down with a terrible disease, in the prime of his life and fought back to become one of the greatest athletes in history. Period, in case you didn’t notice that little dot at the end of that last sentence.

period

I don’t know why it bothers us when athletes use drugs. We sure don’t hold it against musicians. I’ve never heard anyone say: “I used to really love the Grateful Dead, until I found out that Jerry used drugs.

jerry marijuana

I can’t believe he would let us down like that. Now I think they suck, but hey, why don’t you come over and check out my collection of Ted Nugent records.” Not once have I ever heard anyone say that.

ted nugent

When it comes to music, we assume that anyone who is any good at music, uses drugs, at least I do. I was crushed when I found out that Frank Zappa didn’t use drugs. What a letdown that was. I used to think that Frank Zappa was this totally original psychedelic genius. I thought he must eat LSD every morning for breakfast to compose all of that freaky music.

FreakOut! fz-horz

Then I found out that he didn’t use drugs, and I began to realize that Frank was a geeky American kid with questionable taste, who really dug Edgar Varese, and some other classical weirdos, as well as blues, R+B and rock n’ roll, and he liked to make fun of people. He thought about musicians the way most people think about athletes. He wanted the best, and he drove them to play their best. He made his music as complicated as possible, and played it with a monstrously lascivious groove.

frank zappas band

Drugs had nothing to do with it. Well, drugs had nothing to do with creating it. I think drugs had something to do with why so many people love Frank Zappa’s music. On drugs, people often discover tremendous satisfaction and joy in listening, but when they’re not on drugs, they never shut-up long enough to experience that pleasure.

never shut up2

Thanks to drugs, a lot of people, who would have been just as happy to chew your ear off all night without regard for the music in the background, got too high to think of anything to say. In that stoned silence, they heard music, as if for the first time. Very soon, they realized how stupid most of it was, and began searching for more interesting things to listen to. In other words, drugs didn’t help Frank Zappa make music, drugs helped make Frank Zappa’s music popular.

zappa-conducting

Still I was a little disappointed to realize that all of Frank’s inspiration was earthly, even civilized, in origin, and that drugs, besides caffeine and nicotine, had nothing to do with it. We thought we were all connected in this wild other-worldly psychedelic experience, and Frank just thought we were a bunch of fucked up kids who didn’t get his music. In some ways Frank Zappa is the Lance Armstrong of music. Frank’s got nothing to be ashamed of, and neither does Lance. They both did amazing things in their field. Why should we give a fuck what they do, or don’t do, off-the-field?

frank_zappa 5-horz

Some people make a big deal about the fact that Lance Armstrong lied about using drugs. I don’t hold that against him at all. Everyone lies about using drugs. I’ve lied to my own mother about using drugs. “John, are you high on something?” she’d ask. “No!” I would reply. Why do people even ask? I’ve lied to teachers about drugs. I’ve lied to cops about drugs. I’ve lied to my boss about drugs. What business is it of theirs anyway? As long as drugs remain illegal, everyone will take them, and everyone will lie about them. It’s as simple as that.

everybody lies trust me

If I have one piece of advice for you, it is this. Assume that everyone you meet anywhere, any time, is both armed, and on drugs. I offer this advice for a few reasons: First, it’s true. Almost everyone is armed and on drugs. This is especially true in my neighborhood, but it’s pretty much true, pretty much everywhere. You may find exceptions, but I wouldn’t count on it.

i wouldnt count on it

Second, most of what is wrong with our culture comes, not from people being armed and on drugs, but from people assuming that other people are sane and competent, despite clear overwhelming evidence to the contrary. This is very dangerous. If you have chosen to have “elective surgery” It’s probably because you assume that the surgeon is competent and sane. If you knew he had a three tab a day Oxycontin habit and carried a lethal syringe full of digitalis in his lab-coat, that weird, but benign, grape-sized growth on the end of your nose might not seem so unsightly.

nose growth1

Would you get into a cab if you knew the driver was a paranoid speed-freak with an uzi under the drivers seat? Would you stop for dinner at a restaurant if you knew the waitress washed down her Prozac with a flask of sloe gin and kept a nickel-plated semi-automatic handgun in her purse, the cook was mainlining cocaine in the bathroom, with a revolver tucked into his boot, and the dishwasher is zonked on heroin and carries a big knife? Would you call the cops to investigate the burglary of your home if you knew they were all fucked up on bath salts and PCP? Of course not, but they are, and you do. What are you, crazy?

cop on pcp1

Third, and finally, if you heed this sage advice, and treat everyone you meet as though they are armed and on drugs, you soon realize that the best strategy in life is to stay the hell away from everyone, and do everything you need done, yourself. That may seem drastic, but it’s fucking crazy out there, and it’s time you faced facts, everyone you know and rely on is armed and on drugs, and just about to snap, and you don’t want to be there when it happens.

armed crazy and about to snap

Besides, doing things yourself is good for your sanity, and it increases your competence level. It doesn’t do anything about the drugs and the weapons and the craziness, but we could sure use more sanity and competence in this world. You see that when we realize how crazy and dangerous the world has become, and begin acting accordingly, we actually bring more sanity and competence into the world. In this way we use the bad craziness of modern civilization to heal, and strengthen ourselves.

bad craziness

So, lets learn this lesson from the greatest bicycle champion that ever lived, Lance Armstrong. It’s time to stop worrying about who is or isn’t using drugs. Let’s assume everyone is using drugs all the time. If you choose not to use drugs, that’s your business, and none of mine. Instead, let’s judge people by their sanity, and their competence. When it comes to winning the Tour de France, no one is more competent that Lance Armstrong.

Lance Armstrong no longer contests doping charges


Hear us on KHSU 2-4pm Today, Weds. Sept. 24

This afternoon, my partner Amy Gustin and I ( aka The Big Picture, Tin Can Luminary) will perform, on Theremin and electric didgeridoo, on my favorite radio music show, Fogou, from 2-4pm on KHSU.

KHSUThe show’s host, Vinny Devaney, and co producer Bob Doran play the most diverse, and eclectic music you will hear anywhere.

vinny-devaney bob doranWe’re very excited to play on Fogou, and I hope you will tune in.  If you don’t know the frequency, or the web address where you can stream the show live, google that shit.  I’ve got to get some lunch.  This week’s regular post will be up later this afternoon.


God, Einstein, Kant, Darwin, and Me

God-horz

I’ve been really busy on a couple of new radio projects. One of these radio shows relates to this blog, and will air this Sunday. I really enjoyed doing it, and I’m excited to share it, so let me tell you a little about it:

let me tell you a story

Sunday, August 31, at 9:30 AM Pacific Time on KMUD Community Radio,

kmud-radio-logo
I will appear (if one can be said to “appear” on radio) as a guest on:
The Living Earth Connection:
A Show That Examines the Root Causes of the Ecological Crisis and Seeks to Change Our Vision of Our Place in the World

livingearth back cover

On this show I talk about classical music, Einstein, Kant, Darwin, the phenomenology of the organism and the metaphysics of ecology, in that order. You know, just a regular “off the cuff” interview. We prerecorded the interview last week, and finished editing it last night.

off the cuff stuff

I know this material pretty well, but it’s quite heady. I had the rare privilege, as an interviewee, to edit the interview as well. I did my best to eliminate the long pauses and unnecessary digressions to make it as pleasant to listen to, and easy to understand as possible. Some great bits didn’t make the cut. We only have an hour of airtime, after all. This show was entirely Amy Gustin’s idea, but now that we’ve completed it, we’re both happy with how it came out. We may even post some of the outtakes as additional material on the Living Earth Connection blog.

living earth connection

I got invited on the show because of an essay I wrote that first appeared on this blog. Well, that, and the fact that I sleep with the producer, got me invited on the the show to talk about the essay titled: You Don’t Have To Call It God, But Don’t Pretend It Doesn’t Exist. Amy really liked the essay, because it points out that the best available science supports an animist, or indigenous worldview, while it indicts objective science, technology and the dominant culture.

future indictments

The essay has nothing to do with God. It’s about science, perception and phenomenology. Religion gives God such a bad name, that I hated to use the G word in the title, but “A Short Essay on Phenomenological Metaphysics” has no hook. God is still a celebrity with SEO gravitas, so I went with the stupid title.

seo stupidity

This essay elicited the most inspiring comment I have yet received in three-and-a-half years of blogging:

Frank Josef Orange
May 28th, 2014 at 1:22 am | Edit

This in regards to your essay You Don’t Have to Call It God: I’ve been a searcher all my life, read Relatively for the millions at around 11 but I was never able to do the math but I came to understand the principles.
Looked for god in LSD ,weed ..got closer
The strange thing is that recently I’ve been having some health problems, the kind you know will be the end ..ya just know, the odd part is that answers have been just showing up, I happened to watch a documentary DMT the spirit molecule And your essay, and all of it is coming into clarity.
That all of us and everything ever,was and forever well be One.
And it is simplicity and perfection and oneness and ..Self ?

Although there is still the problem how this thing came into existence. Something can’t spontaneously exist from nothing.
Could be we are just one of many beautiful shinning entities.
Oddly I’ve come to not care.

To conclude though, there were many things that lead me to the conclusions I’ve come to, but I have to say your essay just about puts the dot at the end…….

What can you say about a comment like that? Words matter! I write!

words have power

Frank read the essay about a week earlier than most of you, because I accidentally hit “Publish” when I meant to hit “Schedule.” The post appeared on the blog early, for about 10 seconds, but because he subscribes, the post went right to his email. When he came back to post a comment, it ended up under the previous week’s post. I’m telling you this, because, hey, sometimes there are bonuses for subscribers.

bonus

There are bonuses for listeners too. I always find it easier to understand something when someone explains it to me, than when I read it. On the radio show, I go into much more detail about the science behind the essay, and the implications of this world view. I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of what you read on this blog is just pointless drivel. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, but this radio show is different. This radio show can change the way you see the world. At the very least it will give you something to think about. I hope you’ll tune in. 

tun in loungeclick this link to stream or download Part 1 of the show

click this link to stream or download Part 2 of the show

 


Boomer Karma

boomer-karma-horz

This vein is just too rich to ignore, so today I’m mining the irony of the whole sad situation in Garberville yet again. I realize that this situation has upset many people, and I think people should be upset. In fact, people should be outraged, just not at the poor, the young and the homeless. Instead, I think we should blame it on the Baby Boomers.

boomers Jake Dimare quote

Never before have so many taken so much, and yet demanded so much more as the Baby Boomer generation, and it couldn’t be truer here in SoHum. Here in SoHum, a small community of Baby Boomers bought land here dirt cheap, and took advantage of the Drug War to turn enormous profits growing black-market marijuana. Today a small community of Baby Boomers still control most of the real estate in SoHum, and they make damn sure that no one ever gets a deal like they got. They supply half of the nation with marijuana, which turns people into hippies, but the money they got for it, turned them into yuppies. Now that they have become crotchety old geezers, what do we hear them complain about?

boomers cynical

Hippies! The Baby Boomers in Garberville are complaining about hippies!

hippies on sidewalk

You know what folks, what goes around, comes around, and sometimes the karma runs over the dogma. You might not be old enough to remember this, but there was a time when there were even more scuzzy, smelly, obnoxious hippies around than there are today.

boomers-grow-old-horsey

Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, you wouldn’t believe how many filthy, dirty fucked-up hippies there were. They were everywhere. They took every imaginable drug, meth, heroin, cocaine, LSD, PCP, Quaaludes and anything else they could get their hands on.

hippies turn on collage

They freaked-out spectacularly. They fucked-up catastrophically, and they passed-out in their own vomit. Not only were they totally “in your face” everywhere you went, they had to have their loud music blaring all the time as accompaniment.

hippie BW-tile

And talk about attitude. They treated the whole world as if it belonged to them, exclusively, right from the start. They rioted, for God’s sake, big raucous riots where they turned over police cars and set fire to buildings. They’d never shut-up and sit down at music concerts, and they’d never turn their music down anywhere else. They wore faded, ripped, shabby clothing and they never took a bath. They were disgusting, repulsive, and obnoxious, and they took over every park, square and sidewalk in the whole country.

hippies take over park

They didn’t like how anyone else did anything. They wanted a revolution so they could do everything their way, and “their way” meant “at a party and on drugs,” and they thought that that made them cultural revolutionaries. To this day, SoHum Boomers still believe they can solve all of their problems at a party and on drugs.

hippies_and_hipsters-tile

To be fair, the boomers did change our culture. They changed us from a culture of stilted, stiff, sexually repressed, uptight consumerism into a culture of dumbed-down, hyper-sexualized, casual, convenient consumerism. Spirituality replaced religion. Positivity replaced compassion, and self-serving non-profit organizations replaced charities.

self inc

The War on Poverty became the War on Drugs because suddenly Americans hated hippies more than they feared black people. With cocaine, they turned a rich man’s drug into a poor mans drug and annihilated a generation of inner-city youth. With marijuana, they turned a poor man’s drug into a luxury only the rich could afford, and they made income discrimination more socially acceptable than racial discrimination.

colorblindideology

Go ahead and ask any of our local Baby boomers about the 60’s and ’70s and they’ll tell you how long their hair used to be. They’ll tell you about all of the drugs they used to take and all of the crazy shit they used to do, and they’ll tell you it was the best time of their life. My how times change.

hipies love free earth

One thing hasn’t changed however, Baby Boomers thought they owned the whole world then, and they still think the whole fucking world belongs to them. Now that they’re all shriveled-up, they don’t think anyone else deserves the opportunity to be young and irresponsible, and no one else has the right to come here and make a home in the woods without giving them a quarter-of-a-million dollars first. I guess they’ve still got some lessons to learn because it’s their bad karma that keeps bringing more hippies to Garberville, and I don’t think anyone deserves them more.

hippy chick beer


I Entertain Children

bored-girl

I hope you caught my performance in the belly dance tent on Saturday night at the Mateel’s Summer Arts and Music Festival, the weekend before last. With my partner Amy Gustin on Theremin, Patrick, who I just met earlier that day, and don’t even know his last name yet, on Djembe, and Yours Truly on electric didgeridoo, we rocked that belly dance tent! Didn’t we?

i-rock-the-house

As a didgeridoo player, I often find myself playing at herb shops, tea houses and yoga retreats. I don’t get to play through a bumpin’ stereo PA, for drunk people who want to dance, nearly often enough. That was a real treat. I am grateful to the Mateel Community Center for giving me that opportunity.

mateel

The Mateel treated us really well, all weekend. The Mateel knows how to treat musicians, and they treated us right. We had a great time at the event. I especially appreciate the talent coordinator, who booked us to play both in the belly dance tent, after dark, and on the kids stage, early in the day. It’s hard to know what to do with a didgeridoo player, but they gave us a broad opportunity to connect with an audience.

Connect-With-Your-Audience

We were a little surprised to discover that we were booked to perform The Big Picture on The Youth Stage, sandwiched between two clowns, and a puppet show. I’m not complaining, or even poking fun here. I appreciate the gig. It’s just that we never thought of The Big Picture as children’s entertainment.

childrens-books

We don’t have children ourselves, or even like them much. Entertaining children is just not something we think about. I enjoy living an R rated life. I prefer not to check my language, limit the scope of my humor, or refrain from abusing drugs, so most people know better than to let their kids anywhere near me.

malboro costume

As a musician, I consider it my role in life to encourage people to ingest mind-altering substances, and then to make them glad they did. I consider it noble work and I take it seriously, but even I understand that recreational drug use is not appropriate for small children.

baked baby

Amy conceived of The Big Picture for her Sunday morning radio show, The Living Earth Connection which airs on KMUD at 9:30 AM on the fifth Sunday of the month. Amy’s show is usually quite intellectual, and requires a bit of concentration. It’s probably over the heads of half of the adults around here, let alone the children.

Gallagher-Over-Your-Head

We got the idea of blending my psychedelic druggie space noise didgeridoo music, with her thought provoking ideas, after listening to one of our favorite albums: Albedo 0.39 by Vangelis. Specifically the final song on the album, coincidentally also titled Albedo 0.39.

vangelis_albedo

For this song, Vangelis found a clever way of adding a vocal track to his, otherwise instrumental, synthesizer music, without having to write lyrics. On Albedo 0.39, we hear a soft spoken English gentleman, with a sonorous voice and excellent diction, recite a list of statistics about Planet Earth. These include the length of the day and year according to two different measurements, the Earth’s mass, density, diameter, distance from the sun, speed, escape velocity, etc, concluding with “Albedo 0.39.”

vangelis albedo.poster

Albedo is the percentage of light striking a non-luminous object that gets reflected back out into space. The Earth’s albedo is 0.39, or at least it was in 1973, when Albedo 0.39 came out. In other words, 39% of the sunlight that strikes the Earth, gets reflected back out into space. With the poles melting, and the Asian Brown Cloud spreading, the Earth’s albedo may have changed in the intervening years.

EarthAlbedo

Swirling around this vocal track, we hear one of Vangelis’ trippiest analog synthesizer soundscapes. I always liked that piece because it makes you glad that you got good and high before you listened to it, and even though you were totally wasted, you still learned something.

learning beyond

We assume that most KMUD listeners are already baked at 9:30AM on Sunday morning. We thought we might try the same approach with the radio show. We would combine something over your head, with something for your head. That was the inspiration for The Big Picture.

??????????????

We thought it came out pretty well, and the audience let us know that they liked it, so we decided to take it on the road, and to perform it live. That’s how we found ourselves on The Youth Stage at Summer Arts and Music Festival, performing a piece designed for KMUD’s wake-and-bake listeners, to small children who were not stoned. I learned a lot about children’s entertainment that weekend, and I got to witness some great performances by some really talented artists:

talented artists

A OK The Clown devised a great interactive game that illustrates the problem of Global Climate Change. Riding a very tall unicycle, AOK pretended to be the atmosphere, while a circle of eager children surrounding him, pelted him with rubber balls, pompoms and hula hoops that symbolized the smoke, smog, and other airborne pollution that contribute to Global Climate Change. Frantically pedaling his unicycle, A OK endured a relentless shitstorm of hurled objects that brilliantly symbolized the assault on nature waged by industrial society.

A OK the clown

Following A OK, came Mickey The Clown, an old school circus clown who was as kindly and gentle as he was entertaining. Mickey had a great song about suburban sprawl and habitat loss, told from the perspective of a frog named Freako. Freako the Frog was so catchy that I still can’t get it our of my head.

frog cartoon

Then came our drugged out head trip, The Big Picture, with Theremin solos. After us, the Kinetic Paranormal Society Puppet Troupe took the stage. This very talented puppet troupe included a band, great puppets and terrific voice actors. Their, very funny, production also had an environmental message as well, but we never heard the end of it because we had to go get lunch before they shut down the kitchen.

lunch backstage

Environmental education seemed to be the overarching theme of all of the acts that performed on The Youth Stage, including The Big Picture. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I think it’s great that clowns and puppets are educating children about environmental issues while their parents are getting smashed on overpriced beer.

mommy daddy and me

On the other hand, I think, “Can’t a kid throw stuff at a clown without turning it into some kind of learning experience?” Today’s children are going to have to deal with the consequences of environmental crises, that they had no part in creating, for the rest of their lives. Do they really need to be lectured about it by a sock puppet when they are four years old? The parents need lectures not the kids.

irresponsible parents drugs

That’s why we created The Big Picture, to lecture adults about what a fucking mess they’ve made of the planet, and where we went wrong as a society. It’s a tough message, but it’s easier to take when you’re stoned. I don’t know what the kids thought of us.

confused kid 1

I don’t really see how you can educate kids about the environment without implicating their parents. If kids today knew how stupid, crazy and wrong their parents were, and how much damage they’ve already done to the planet, those kids would run screaming back to their mother, claw their way back up her vagina and into the womb with the admonition “Fuck you! You stupid, selfish, irresponsible idiot! Now quit fucking around and clean up this mess, and I am not coming out until you do!”

Mom says Clean Up_Your_Mess

That’s what happens to kids who spend any time at all around me, before long they cuss like sailors and hate their parents. We’re happy to perform The Big Picture for birthday parties, and children’s events of all kinds, for children of all ages. You provide the drugs.

tim leary gif


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