Library Cards – Show-making Continues

Remember library cards? The ones you’d get from the card catalog? It’s not a relevant question, really, I was just trying to do a “library” and “card” tie-in.

I’ve been writing for about 8 hours straight, so this is the best I can do.

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I went to the library. I tore up some pieces of paper (like cards – get it!?) and wrote a “scene” on each one. I put “scene” in quotes because they aren’t really scenes, more like concepts. Little nuggets of kernels that need to be put in some sort of order. I write things like “shit poking” and “colorado” and “situation wanted” on them and start moving them around. It’s fun. I love the computer, and have no real anti-tech feelings, but there’s just nothing like writing stuff on paper and moving it around on the floor or table.

I spent last week doing what I called a “loose pencils” writing of my show. In the comic world “loose pencils” is the rough, very rough, lightly sketched first draft. In pencil. Next comes tight pencils, then ink. I’m not actually in the comic world, but I’m a fan.

As of today, this minute, I have 26 days before I have to stand on stage and read my script-in-progress. Feeling good about it. Here’s a screen shot of my work today.

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This is me (below) in early 1989 in a squat in London.

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I was writing, then thought, hmmm, some day I may want a picture of me, in a squat writing, so I put the camera (Pentax ME Super) in the corner of the room, sat the timer, then ran back and started “writing.” I found this picture today, and was looking at it on my computer screen, so I figured I should do exactly the same thing, 21 years later – a picture of me pretending to write while looking at a picture of me pretending to write.

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Coffee should probably be prohibitively priced. Or heavily taxed.

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Not On Tour – But You Can Relive The Glory…

…by clicking here. This is how you can download all the columns I wrote documenting my 2008 tour. I am so good to you.

Oh, and here’s a picture that kinda sums up the summer of ’08 for me. 10,000 miles of driving, 80 or so performances, 10 cities, 4 months, 3 different shows, 1 van. You always want to have bananas around.
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In Fresno – Pt 3

I can’t stop thinking of Fresno puns. What part of Fres-NO don’t you understand…stuff like that. Pretty much the exact same things I thought last year while I was here. I generally have the same 5 thoughts over and over again, all day long, whether I’m in Fresno or not.

But this year I thought – Fres-gnosis! A sudden knowledge that I’m in Fresno! I shared this with fellow Rogue performer and Fresnan Jaguar Bennett, who had already thought of “Fres-gnosis,” and thought of a much better definition than mine.

Here’s Jaguar’s blog – maybe he’ll post his definition some day.

And speaking of gnosis, which I conveniently seem to be doing, I visited my friend Arman in Aptos, CA during the week. We walked around Santa Cruz one day and stopped in to browse in a head shop.

Where I saw this sticker:

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Now, I’ve known about this before, and have always been fascinated by it. Basically, I’m there to buy a device to use for smoking pot. I know it, the person selling me knows it, everyone within 100 yards of the store knows it. Yet we have to nudge-nudge-wink-wink around it.

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“May I please see that large water pipe on the shelf? No, the other one. The one with the large multi-colored skull on it. Yes. This looks like an effective tobacco smoking device.”

But we all know that I’m saying, “Dude, can I check out that bong?”

It’s a very surreal arrangement. Imagine not being able to actually say “coffee” at Starbucks. “Yes, I’d like a venti, non-brown beverage that will in no way alter my consciousness in a manner that is stimulating. And room for cream.”

And speaking of both drugs and coffee, which I conveniently seem to be doing, I had a cup of coffee. First cup of coffee in months. I have given it up because it makes me weird. And no, that’s not a typo that’s supposed to be “wired.”

About half an hour after my coffee (plus refill – why not go all out?), Arman went to the car wash. As I stood there waiting for the car to come through the washing machine, I had a sudden realization that I don’t know how anything works. Everything around me was a mystery to me. So I began to photograph all the things I didn’t understand, which was a nice distraction from pacing around and talking a lot, which is what led to my lack of understanding.

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Traffic lights? Not a clue. Where are they controlled? How? An algorithm, probably. And I have no idea what an algorithm is. I don’t even know how to spell it – thank God for spellcheck.

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This car wash machine? Forget it.

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Basic framing/construction? Not me. Not one bit. I built bookshelves once. It didn’t turn out well.

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A tree? No way. Where does that spark come from that makes an acorn into a might oak? Got me.

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Garbage? Nope…you just throw it in a can it it mysteriously disappears. Sure, I know that people come and pick it up, and take it somewhere, but that’s hardly an “understanding.”

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Electricity? The sun? Hardly…

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Arman displayed amazing patience as I paced around taking pictures of every single thing. I don’t understand patience.

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Or kids.

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Or my own hand.

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Or my camera. Or me. Or the physics of reflection.

The coffee wore off eventually, as all drugs do, and we headed back to Arman’s house, an awesome place in the redwoods.

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There we proceeded to hang out and watch some movies for the rest of the day/evening.

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That’s Arman in his recording studio. He’s holding a tobacco smoking device.

In Fresno, Great Lighting

Here’s a video shot by Mike Osegueda from the Fresno Bee. This was my first night in Fresno, and I thought that standing under a bright street light and talking fast would be the best way to endear myself to the community. I was right.

And here’s my link on the Rogue Festival web page. You can read what people said about my show, and stuff. How fun for you…

In Fresno

Last night’s performance of “American Squatter” was my best yet. Everything just clicked. It was actually my second performance of the day, as I did an added show earlier in the afternoon. The added show was lightly attended, which is one of the dangers of doing a show that nobody knows about. But I think it was pretty good despite having an audience of 20 spread evenly out over a space that holds 130.

Oh, and for the first time ever, I saw some guy in the front row texting during my show. TEXTING DURING MY SHOW! It was awesome.

I had to visit the chicken pie factory, one of the places you have to go at least once if you find yourself in Fresno. I documented my visit last year, so I don’t want to make the same jokes, but it is worth posting this picture of the interior of the chicken pie factory, because these shades of green are now extinct.

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Fresno is like the Galapagos of hues.

The Road To Fresno, Part 3

I’ve seen lots of these before…

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But never, until this Fresno drive, have I seen one of these…

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You can put your card in any way! Well, either way, not any way. You can’t put it in upside down. At least not if you want to buy gas. Still, baby steps, right? I personally don’t have time to figure out which direction my card is turned. I just need to buy shit with it. Now! And this new “either way” technology makes it that much easier for me. I love this time I live in.

However, while taking pictures of the credit card picture, I noticed a sign that seemed much more relevant.

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Holy shit!

I’m assuming that the reason you aren’t supposed to use electronic devices is because they’ll make you blow up, right? I mean, why else? You’re filling up your car, you whip out the cell to talk to someone, it creates a spark, and you blow up! Or, you take out your camera to take a picture of the credit card instructions, and you blow up! Jesus, this is terrifying. But not so terrifying that I didn’t take a picture of it, because I figured that a picture snapped at the very moment that you blow up would be pretty cool, worth it in a way.

This “You’ll Blow Up” icon isn’t huge, either. And you’d think it would be. In fact, you have to look really closely to even find it in the jumble of other “You’ll Blow Up” warnings.

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No shortage of ways to die at the pump.

“Slow death by poverty” is not mentioned in the warning signs, but it could happen.

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Be careful.

The Road To Fresno, Part 2

I’m not a big fan of fast food, but I’m even less of a fan of preparation. So, on the road, I sometimes have to bite the bullet. Though an actual bullet is usualy preferable to most fast food offerings, I’m using it as a figure of speech. I don’t, for obvious reasons, travel with bullets. So, fast food it is…

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This Subway looks a bit sad, though it doesn’t really read in this picture. As I drove past it, on the prowl for some food, I thought to myself, “Is this OK? I mean, Subway can be kinda gross. Is it OK to have Subway?”

Then I looked up and saw…

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Which you’d think would answer my question pretty clearly, right? Yet somehow this sign made me think that it actually WASN’T OK to have Subway. Like, as in seriously not OK.

But I was hungry, so I had to do some rationalizing – I figured that the people who do the sign are the employees, right? The same ones who make the sandwiches, right? Certainly they don’t have a dedicated sign-letterer at the Subway in Salina, Utah. So, judging by the slap dash appearance of the sign, I have to assume that the employee who was on sign duty that day was so excited to get back to making awesome sandwiches for people like me that they did a really shitty job on, you know, general sign layout, spacing and stuff…

So in I went, got a 6-inch turkey sub on wheat, no cheese, ate it quickly and got back on the road.

It was OK.