“Let’s play in the key we rolled up in!” was an oft-heard pronouncement upon arrival during my many years traveling with a Multi-Media Performance Group. This group of “Neo-Vaudevillians” was so rag-tag in fact, that whenever She had to dig deep into the Bank Bag (where we kept our earnings), our Treasurer (and Lead Vocalist, Fiddle Player, Yogini and Belly Dancer) would pull out $.42 and exclaim, “Now that’s something to build a dream on!”
On one trip we went into a Worm-hole in Gainesville, Florida and didn’t come out again until Lincoln, Nebraska. That trip, which ended in early May of the year 2000 (also a Presidential Election and a Leap Year), produced one of the Group’s great unperformed Dirges to the Open Road, aptly named: “Triangle Mountains”, (there is at least one other, “Rough Road”)as the tour ended in Colorado.
Another trip, this time in the Summer of 2004, took three Transmissions over 5 weeks (and simultaneously spawned the Cryptic Phrase “Anj Mitten Trance”) and cost us most of our unsecured and valued items (like digital cameras, cds, laptop computers and personal journals) when our Van was burglarized in a Pay Parking Lot in San Francisco. Oddly, the thieves left over $6000.00 in cash sitting in a plastic container (inside the Bank Bag) under the first Pew, which we lovingly called the “Shot Princess” (as it was behind the “Shot-Gun” seat and second most comfortable Bench Seat after the “Princess Seat”, the extra long Pew at the very back of the Van).
While times on the road were not always so rough, those are the times that burn lasting grooves into the wax of our memory banks and become exaggerated as they grow. I have found that time as a memory does not stand still. It is constantly stretching out in all directions. Sometimes a little more this way and others a little more that, as the 3 Mustaphas 3 would say, “Forward in all directions!”
Of course, the Positive Experiences were what kept the Program on the touring Circuit for well over twelve years. We went to some of the most out of the way and subsequently, most beautiful spots in the entire Country, Europe and the Caribbean and thereby met some of the Most Outrageously Creative and Cool Individuals inhabiting the Earth during that time.
Another popular saying within our ranks and almost always directed toward the slumbering percussionist was: “This is what it looks like coming in.” His Father, a College Graduate, had taught him as a young Boy to always be aware of his surroundings. So, when he first entered the Group, down none other that the Gang-Plank of an enormous Steam Ship, working in the Caribbean Cruise Trade, he asked us to wake him up on the way into a town where we were going to perform, so he could see what it looked like around the town and not just the Back-stages and Alleyways and Vegetarian Restaurants.