Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tour update

Right now I'm in New Orleans, in a warehouse/punk house. What's the technical term for such a place? A werepunk house? This is without a doubt one of the most gorgeous collective spaces I've been in. Two stories, multiple rooms, alcoves, high ceilings, posters from as far back as the 90s on the wall, random things everywhere, lumber, screenprint studio, Books to Prisons HQ, an NES system, a treasure trove of VHS tapes. There are windows that lead into hallways and doors converted into shelves and hidden stairways. Describing it does no justice. I had a communal dinner with the residents last night, in which we broke bread and had a lengthy discussion about the politics of the X-Men. Everyone except me was well-versed in the mythology. Still, good times. I hear it's closing down at the end of the month, as the person who owns the property wants to do some kind of land trust thing with it. Maybe that'll be a good thing, but as of now, it rocks as a collective space.

We had a good show in Lafayette. Small crowd, but they were feeling it, and it worked nice as a dress rehearsal for the rest of the tour. It even felt like a dress rehearsal, as we were in a theater, with a stage and furniture and vases of paper flowers. Both Ben and Luka are cool folks, and Ben's music/comic presentation was super polished.

But it is not tour without disasters big and small. My tourmates rented a car from one of their friends, and drove it to Lafayette. At some point before we went on, Luka went to the car, tried to open it, and the key broke off in the door. I didn't know a piece of metal could just snap in half. This left us stranded in Lafayette with a car we couldn't move.

As disasters go, not so bad. It could have happened in the middle of the tour, when we had less down time. Instead, it happened right at the beginning, during the days we set aside in case we got Baton Rouge or Austin. As there was 15 hours left on their Kickstarter, Luka put up an emergency "we're fucked" message on Facebook. We got a little extra change off of that. For our troubles, the owner of Cite des Arts gave us a drink each, on the house.

Here's how this went. Ben and Luka could not just walk into a locksmith and ask for a duplicate key of a car they don't own. So the person who owned the car had to borrow someone else's car, drive three hours from Nola to Lafayette. They had to have the car towed to the Chevy dealership. Once their friend arrived, then they got a new key, then they got the car, then we went to New Orleans. I spent the whole ride down to Nola grading student papers, and got grades in right at the 9 o'clock deadline, thus gratefully ending the longest semester of school I've ever had. All's well that ends well. I got my papers done. Ben and Luka got a nice long vacation in Lafayette.

I've been homeless for over a month. That is not bragging about how tough I am, or trying to elicit sympathy. It's just reality. I was renting from somebody who basically had a mental breakdown, and one consequence was they kicked my black ass out in the literal cold without explanation. Having to move for the thid time in three months felt pretty disgusting, but there was nothing to be done about it. As I could not find housing in the middle of October, I came back from Canada with nowhere to live, and spent much of November dragging luggage between different temporary shelters. I still went to work every day and did my job. I am grateful that eventually one of the professors put me up for long enough to get done with whatever was necessary, and get things situated for tour. It's funny that, being on the road, I feel more secure than I have been for the last several months.

I want to try out some new material on this tour. All of the stories in Hard Times Blues are ripe for reading. Until I find a printer, it's JDS. Tomorrow I'll read "When the Law Come." We've got two other artists on the bill. And everybody who comes out gets my kudos for bravery, because goddamn it's cold down here. Winter, you have arrived.

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