Dallas. Roadside assistance arrived at almost 1:30am to put the spare on. Apparently he nor I had the proper tools for the job, so I called roadside assistance again and got a tow truck on the way. The tow truck driver was a very strange large man. He was curt and almost got hit by a swerving sedan halfway into the highway shoulder. He started shouting at cars as they passed by at 2:30am. He dropped me and the van off at Bridgestone/Firestone and I set an alarm and went to sleep. It was a 4 hour drive to Dallas, Bridgestone opened at 9am, and my friend from Argentina who I hadn’t seen in 6 years, was performing from 12a-3p.
I woke up when I heard voices around 8:20am. I got up and started walking around to the entry doors and briefly locked eyes with an employee who just arrived. He averted his eyes quickly and set his pace and direction toward his place of work. He entered as I was about 10 feet away and his coworker quickly locked the doors and ignored me. To their credit, they did open the doors at exactly 9am.
I approached the gruff woman at the front desk and explained my predicament in a pressing but courteous way. As I expected, she shot me down saying they couldn’t get started on it right away. Rather than stir the pot by calling her out on this bullshit, I just showed my appreciation that she has her ways of doing things and it’s her facility. It is what it is. Her response to my respectful handling of the situation was to get to my project very quickly after all. The best part was the cost. $5. No joke. $5 for labor. I thanked her and got on the road.
I arrived in Dallas and found parking just in time to catch the last 20 minutes of Fanci and Jairus performing at Saint Ann. Another beautiful location. Two lead vocals, rhythm guitar, and bongos. The sound was fairly quiet, but just loud enough that nuance could still be appreciated with attentive listening.
I got to meet many members of Fanci’s family. What a unique joy to see Fanci again. It was a pleasure to meet Jairus too. I helped them break down and pack equipment after the show and then the three of us had a drink and conversation. It was engaging and fun conversation that danced among several topics and managed to glide through a brief discussion of politics.
We packed the gear and then they took a look at my van with ear to ear grins and we took some pictures. They peeked inside at my messy humble van studio and loved it.
I had a run in with the valet. While we were packing up gear I decided to put my compact cart to its first use. I hustled over to the valet stand and asked for my keys so I could get the cart to assist the band with their gear. The valet looked at me and said he did not recognize me. I said, “Well you have my vehicle, it’s the big colorful van ov..” he cut me off to say “What van we don’t have a van.” I completed my pointing gesture and sentence and he turned around and saw it and said, “oh, okay just a minute.” Ten minutes later, he hasn’t said anything, the valets are running around clueless, so I just got my spare key from a secret location that’s not easy to get to, and got the cart. As I passed him with the cart, I scolded, “When you find my keys, text me.” The stupidest part in this valet nonsense was that the lot encompassed the valet booth. It takes seconds to walk to any of the cars they park. I waited for 10 minutes. What is the point of this valet service? To offend the clientele?
Anyway, now I am writing in a Starbucks and deciding on what my evening will look like. I am scouting open mic nights, and I think Fanci will join me tonight!
The sleep deprivation from the flat tire escapades started to hit me so I ordered a small black coffee from a woman with a decade on me. She began handling my purchase like she would any client, but something in the interaction flipped a switch in her and she followed me out to my van to maintain the interaction and tell me I was cute. She unabashedly asked if I lived in the vehicle, and unabashedly told me about her friend who was practiced and taught some kind of vagina meditation/yoga. She signed my van and brought out a paper bag filled with fruit trays, croissants, candies, and sandwiches that she said they were just going to throw away.
Side note: When I am inside the van and people knock on the outside, it is a very threatening sound.
Last night, I went for drinks in Deep Ellum with Fanci and we talked for hours. It was something truly special to get to explore memories with her. Our trio in Argentina, SEFL, was the beginning of music performance for both of us. We recounted how we managed to throw a successful rooftop show and party in Buenos Aires and lamented not having any videos or pictures from the event. I don’t think we realized at the time the significance and specialness of what we did and accomplished in a foreign land.
After I left Argentina, Fanci found work with a theatre organization and traveled South America putting on stage performances in giant theaters for thousands of kids. She laughed about how she had to learn a proper British accent to be in accordance with popular views on professional english.
Fanci is going to try to line up a gig in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale for she, Jairus Withrow, and I. I’ll be in Ft. Lauderdale/Miami from December 3-7 and I can’t wait!
Today I got cleaned up, exercised, and got a bunch of writing, song/photo/video uploading, and mixing work done. As soon as the last video uploads, I will be heading over to Poor David’s Pub in Dallas for the costume contest/open mic night. Only problem, I don’t have a costume. I suppose the old joke about going as myself might actually win these days (one month into van life). I’ll write more tonight!
CONTINUED AGAIN AGAIN..
So I went to a park and made a list of a bunch of songs to work on and played my heart out to a Dallas lake. A couple came over and stood nearby to listen and approached me when I started packing up. They wanted to know what drives me to sing to the lake making a number of deep suggestions. The most significant reason for that particular moment was that it is my job and I have to practice, so I said, “A little of all of those reasons and also just to practice.” She was hung up on the deep reasons and wanted to appreciate the profound mystery of the lake-singing artist, and I did not steal her moment. He was much less interested, however, before I drove away I ran back to give them a CD. He cracked a genuine warm smile and thanked me and they wished me well in Dallas.
Now I’ll skip forward to Poor David’s Pub. When I arrived, not a soul outside of staff was there. It was a larger venue with auditorium style seating for at least 150. I was at once charmed with the place, and also spooked. The background music was some sort of spooky carnival orchestra. Coupled with the fact that I was the only non-staffer, I thought that might be the place I would die. I introduced myself to two of the staff near the bar. A shorter man with a bandana on his head and a big white beard introduced himself as “Troll”. Great, I’m in a nice venue with eerily no people and the manager is called Troll. While arguably the signs suggested to get the hell out, I had a hunch I was in the right place.
Troll turned out to be a very sweet man and we talked a lot about different performances he’d seen because of his job and my adventures on the road. This was a drinks only venue, but some friend of the venue dropped off a big bag of tacos and Poor David’s Pub let people eat free. There ended up being a handful of performers with only one wearing a costume. I was impressed by some of the talent in the room. I connected with Alexander Webb who runs Studio 516 in a facility 40 minutes south of Dallas. He approached me after my performance exclaiming about my songwriting and that he is a big fan and even said he’d shoot a video in his studio for free.
A young kid dressed the the 9s with a bowtie delivered a memorable performance. He introduced his songs with the utmost professionalism and serious dry tone in his voice. Once his backing track started to play, he broke into a modest groovy dance. It was not just adorable, it was inspiring. A kid trying out his moves to a nearly empty room with a musician-filled audience nowhere close to his age. Fanci had suggested I learn some dance moves for my stage performance, and this kid sealed it in my mind as a real possibility for me.
I performed 3 original songs to an albeit small, but engaged audience. While playing my song “Is There Any Such Thing As Coincidence?” I had some banter going on between my lyrics and an audience member. It changed the way I sang the second verse and in a way I never would have thought to do before. Then I called Fanci to the stage and we performed a song by Ingrid Michaelson, “The Way I Am”. She hadn’t performed this song in a long time but stepped up to the plate and we did a great job! Got some whoops from the audience partway into the song. More importantly to me, it was just such a special moment to play a song that we worked hard on 6 years ago in Argentina, at the dawn of our music careers. I then played Asa’s “Fire on the Mountain” which Fanci was not ready for nor necessarily excited to attempt on stage but hung in there anyway and delivered some wonderful harmonies and accents at perfect times. For me it is unforgettable and I am so grateful to Fanci for meeting me there in these recent moments.
The sound engineer was moved by our performances and the story and gave us a recording of our set for free. Troll invited me to come back as a featured act the following week. I will be in Dallas next Monday performing at a place called Opening Bell Coffee, which happens to be a block away. I will walk over to Poor David’s Pub after my performance at Opening Bell.
Tonight I’m back at Fralo’s in San Antonio. And tomorrow..
On to Austin.