Tuesday, November 14, 2006
We made it home safely after 2 months. That's 32 gigs in 14 states for the first ever LOVE-O-RAMA tour.
Me, as host and emcee, and performing my acoustic vaudeville supa-funk music.
Mark Pagano, and his Rock and Roll ballads of Truth and Intrigue, with me on bass and backing vocals, occasionally incorporating percussion in select venues.
VJ Evil Che, tickling the visual ivories to produce some of the most mind-bending video displays of the 21st century.
Rebecca Rivas, resident documentarian and support staff.
Author of "At Highest Risk: Maternal Health Care in the High Peruvian Andes"
and Featuring, in select venues: Melinda Winifred Jane Tentrees, Big Jill Abou from St. Lou, Herb James, Brandon Manitoba and Great Cate, Dan Bob Huck, Christine "Groucho" Marx, and Tom Collins!
THANK YOU. Thank you. Humblest thanks. We couldn't have done it without you. Portland, after the show. Spitzseeds, New Belgium Brewery, and Powersquid sponsor gifts.
Wednesday, November 1, 2006
The LOVE-O-RAMA Halloween SPOOKTACULA!
Our last show. And, boy, was it SPOOKY! My brother, Shack, helped us out with his p.a. and even sat in with me on a couple numbers. This was a very special show for me because my very own family was in the house.
Here's my baby niece, Ivy, and me. We do "Sweet Potato".
Mom and Ivy watching the Spooktacula!
We were packing up our gear that night when we learned that the Cardinals won the world series! WORLD CHAMPS! And that was the end of tour.
How I felt about tour being over. Those are real tears, people. This is booing and hooing. We spent some time with my family that night and the next day before heading to Springfield to see Mike and Mark's sister for a Halloween Outing.
A group shot before we headed out. Scary. Thanks, Maddie, for hosting us overnight. Thanks, LOVE-O-RAMA, for the life-long memories. I love you all - Never change!
Friday, October 27, 2006
This wasn't really a "show", but it really was a LOVE-O-RAMA. Kristin and her daughter Hala greeted us with beer and food, and Hala played with each and every one of us until we were all played out. Mark sat and played a whole bunch of his classic tunes from another time, and after dinner, Rebecca showed the movie to Kristin and her guests. It was a relaxing evening at home in Gallup - thanks, Kristin! And thanks for breakfast the next morning! We left ready to take on Route 66 all the way home!
The Blue Dragon
My brother Shack suggested we talk to Norm to land this gig, because it was the "hippiest-dippiest" coffeeshop around. No better description for a perfect LOVE-O-RAMA venue. When we arrived, there was a ceremony/performance going on in the performance area, complete with tai chi and didgeridoo. We had some calzones and then Norm helped us load in. Norm was so sweet to us, and a very talented singer in the Tuvan style! He warmed up the stage, singing along with Evil Che's Mingus DVD, and then sat in for my set and FIRE DOG's! Norm was very encouraging and helpful all evening, and we look forward to visiting this community and neighborhood oriented, locally owned and operated, "closer to the hand" coffeeshop again. Thanks, Norm!
After our show, we drove up the road to our friend Peter's place, the Pinon Ecovillage, adjacent to the Pojoaque Pueblo in Santa Fe county. We spent 3 days and 3 nights with Peter and Jacque and their two lovely boys, Charlie and Oliver. The weather was perfect and we had some time to explore the area.
Me, Mike, and Mark in the beautiful Jemez Springs.
Mark in the ancient cliff dwellings of Bandelier National Monument.
The canyon at Bandelier.
Me in the Kiva.
The Land of Enchantment.
Gettin' their kicks. . .
Friday, October 20, 2006
San Diego, CA
LA was a great big adventure. It, in fact, did me in. I woke up the morning after the Fais Dodo show with strep throat. Special thanks to our LOVE-O-RAMA physician for your expert advice and treatment! I was at least better enough to sing at Lestat's for our last gig on the west coast.
Josh Damigo, our local act, was so enthusiastic and so were his fans! Great to meet you, Josh!
Also, take a minute to meet our soundman, the great Louie Brazier!
We drove all night to get to Tucson because we really wanted to get some rest before the show the next day. Our friend Archer greeted us just after dawn and fixed us a fabulous breakfast before putting us all to bed!
Well, the key to a LOVE-O-RAMA is, of course, spreading the love. And the Planet Coffeehouse, though tiny, was full of love that night. Rebecca's uncle came to watch the movie with a friend of his, and Archer was just about the music-lovin-est audience yet. We got to spend all morning and into the afternoon the next day enjoying the sunshine in Tucson. Archer fixed us another wonderful meal and we headed out for Phoenix a little later.
Naucalli - House of the Four Directions
We arrived to the smell of menudo cooking on a pot outside this indigenous peoples' center in Phoenix. The place was ours for the night. We set up the screen and p.a. outdoors because the weather was so nice, and we were positively DELIGHTED to see so many folks out! This community center has quite a community! The folks really loved the movie and they stayed late while Mark and I played music under a clear, star-studded sky. Some of Rebecca's family came out and gave her some extra special support and refreshment! We stayed at Antonio and Theresa's (thanks!) and Antonio made us some delicious omelets in the morning. Rebecca's family came by and we spent some time playing with the kids and visiting before we headed out for Gallup, NM.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Echo Park Film Center
Los Angeles CA
We drove all day to get to LA from Santa Cruz. Once we got to town, we scoped out the venue and then headed over to our friend Ryan's place to chill for a bit and have some Thai food. Jill and Herb took a more scenic route through Big Sur, so they met us a little later. We got to the Echo Park Film Center and Paulo was cheerfully making the place ready for our show. We had a small but enthusiastic crowd for this film screening, including a bunch of young people who happened by on their way home from church! Thanks, Echo Park Film Center, and Ryan Wylie, for providing us with a soft place to land in LA!
Celia's Big Rock Band, Cali-style.
We drove back up the road that night to Santa Barbara, where a kind supporter of the arts had offered to keep ALL of us for 2 nights at his fabulous mansion at Hope Ranch. Thanks, Doug and Nina Katsev and family, for this generous donation to our cause!
We spent Friday looking around Santa Barbara before hitting the PRIVATE BEACH, and then back to the Katsevs for a quiet night of pizza and horror movies - a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle since we emerged from the Redwoods!
Herb in Santa Barbara.
Herb enjoying the private beach.
Saturday morning, we drove back in to LA to look around this GIGANTIC city. Herb and I took a ride over to Inglewood to see some of his family while Jill and Mike cruised around Venice Beach, and Mark and Rebecca hooked up with Ryan and Mitch. We all met up around sunset at beautiful Venice Beach. This is my FAVORITE place to visit in LA. After some fun-having, Herb, Mike, Jill, and I drove on down to the LBC, where my friend Megan hosted us for a night on the town! What fun! LBC knows how to PARTY!
Club Fais Dodo
Los Angeles CA
WOW! Thanks, Melanie and Cafe Fais Dodo, for having us out! What a great night!
Here's the club!
Here's the gang! We couldn't have asked for a nicer venue and a more mutually supportive situation. We loved Empowerment Works!, and they loved us! Please see the press page to read a letter from Melanie St. James about our collaboration at Cafe Fais Dodo. We also got to share the bill with an old friend and bandmate of mine from the Kansas days, Melineh Kurdian!
Thursday, October 5, 2006
It was cold at Crater Lake. We'd considered camping there originally but we arrived at dusk and, though the view was beautiful, the campgrounds were closed for the season. We drove on south for a LONG TIME to find a campground. After breakfast and some map-reading, we headed on down US 199 into the spectacular Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, where we stayed for the next 3 days and nights.
That's a big tree.
Our little river beach home.
Almost got us all.
There I am!
Kind of mist-ical, huh?
This is our little cooking fire and my little headlamp that I used everyday of tour.
There's a little tiny person way over there. Hi, Rebecca!
Here's Mike and Mark.
Mike in the tree-cave.
Different tree cave.
Mark and Rebecca.
San Francisco, CA
We came out of the redwoods truly refreshed and ready for the second half of tour. We stopped off in Mendocino for one night and also had lunch at Japhy's in Arcata with Mark's friend Danjo. Maybe we were a little disoriented, because we were very surprised to hear from our friend Joey in SF that we were listed in the paper for a gig that night at Kimo's! We called and explained that somehow we'd overlooked this booking altogether and hadn't even sent posters, but they said to come on by and do the show. So we did, and luckily some of our friends in town came out with some of their friends and we had a splendid night! Thanks, Harlowe, for the friendliness and the DANCING, and thanks, Mikal, for your music! We made some friends at Kimo's, and THAT'S a LOVE-O-RAMA!
This is how SF parties.
What luck we hit upon in SF. The next day found us enjoying the (hardly) Strictly Bluegrass festival in beautiful Golden Gate Park with our new friends Scott Clark, Jillian, and Mikal Shapiro!
My friend Joey, aka Pleasuremaker, and me in the park, enjoying the festivities.
San Francisco, CA
What a special show! Our friend Lyndsey Scott really saved the day by loaning us wheels to get everything together for the show. Our new friend Scott Clark brought the drum set for the show, and Herb and Jill had just arrived from St. Louis, ready to ROCK! David at the Riptide was so accommodating right from the start, and even bought a red LOVE-O-RAMA shirt and sported it all night. (Lookin FINE, David!) Mikal Shapiro and Scott Clark played an knock-out set between Celia's Big Rock Band and FIRE DOG, and our jukebox hero Cree Rider topped off the show with a set that he designed expressly for the LOVE-O-RAMA! What a great night! Lots of dancing and lots of L-O-V-E! Thanks for buying those shirts, David, and thanks to the guy that shared his lasagne with me when it was all over. And huge heartfelt thanks to Mikal and Scott Clark for being the best new friends a Love-O-Rama could ever hope for!
We headed down the coast to Palo Alto where our friend Jo lives and she took us to the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, where we checked out some sea stars, sea anemone, all manner of mollusks, and many other unusual marine lifeforms.
a little Sea Anemone.
Unusual lifeforms. (Jill, Jo, and John)
Jo then took us back to her cute little house in cute little Palo Alto where she and her roommate, Gina, hosted a delightful dinner party just for us. Need I even say it? It was a LOVE-O-RAMA!
Santa Cruz, CA
We got to Santa Cruz a day early so we could screen some more shirts. This was an extra special stop on tour because Santa Cruz is home to one of LOVE-O-RAMA's cherished sponsors, Powersquid, and my personal friend, inventor Chris Hawker and his team. Chris helped me to put together many ideas that we put into practice on this tour, and bringing LOVE-O-RAMA to his town was, to me, the manifestation of a dream realized. We had so much fun at the E3 Playhouse. Wes' mission of "Education, Entertainment, and Eatery" made for a perfect fit with our show, and we enjoyed our salmon dinners just as much as we enjoyed Wes' pro gear and solid sound system! Cree Rider came down from SF to play the closing set, and it was a real winner, complete with me sitting in on the drums and Mark singing back-ups with Cree and Joe! What a night! My heart swelled with pride the next morning when Chris said, "Good for you for creating something that you LOVE." Well, I love YOU, Chris and Sommer and Tanner, and thanks for the inspiration!
Trinidad State Beach
Sunday, October 1, 2006
Luckey's Club Cigar Store
Boy, was I excited to get to Eugene. I spent some time there when I was younger and I LOVED it, plus I have an old friend there that I hadn't seen in years. We pulled right up to Luckey's, the oldest bar in Eugene, and the folks there were super nice. Things run a little late in this sleepy little college town, so we had plenty of time to set up our merch and Mike's screen before The Dead Americans showed up. I was so happy to meet Zak after all the emails we had exchanged, and he was just as nice as he seems on the world wide web. He also brought his dad, Mike, who plays the
Celia's Big Rock Band at Luckey's
We stayed up late over at my friend Jessi's house and kept her up. Good thing she and Sven are so cool. Mark and Rebecca and Dan Bob left early the next morning and Mike and I stayed on in Eugene. Melinda and Brandon and Great Cate drove on up to the Oregon Dunes and they had a blast. I don't remember much about Friday because I was resting almost all day. I woke Mike up a few times and then I'd find him sleeping somewhere else. I think we were pretty tired. Jessi and Sven threw a party for us Friday night and I loved it. They also put
EVERYBODY in the whole crew up and acted like they wouldn't mind if we stayed forever. Then they drove Mike and I to Portland the next day after showing us around Eugene AND taking us out for Yumm Bowls. What sweet people. You'll never get rid of me, Jessi.
For real, folks, it was unbelievable how many JAYHAWKS were at this show! Long-lost friends and people I thought I'd never see again! Hi EVERYBODY! What a great little bar - just like Kansas! Thanks so much for coming out and supporting us! The local band was my friend and fellow Kansan Noah Earle's brother's band, Keep Your Fork, There's Pie. Oh, how I wish I could give you a link for them. What a special, hilarious treat for all of us! And Mary Jo used to be in a band, The Roundups, that I shared a bill with sometimes back in Lawrence! You know what that is. . .it's a LOVE-O-RAMA!
This is the guy from Keep Your Fork, There's Pie juggling during FIRE DOG's set. FU-UN! Look how Brandon Manitoba's eyes are shining behind the drumset!
Back to Eugene. I remembered thinking, a dozen years ago, that Eugene was this really BIG city. We got off the highway and pulled into Eugene with no real idea how to find this place. So we sidled up to a guy by the road and he says, "oh, it's right down there a block" and points right at it, then says, "hey, are you the ones who emailed me on Willamette Valley Music Scene?" And I realized, a dozen years later, that Eugene is a very small town. This was a nice gig. I really liked the pizza. Some midwives came to the movie, and we were all delighted to have our friend from St. Louis, Willy Zep, sit in with his hand drums that night! Mark and I both enjoyed playing on the BIG STAGE, and I think Mike liked the BIG SCREEN afterall, too. Of course, we went back over to Sven and Jessi's and got to spend some more time with them before heading out to Crater Lake the next day.
Wizard Island at Crater Lake.