All together I posted 73 times in 2019! Over 1000 views per month. Pretty good for an ‘eccentric’ performing arts blog!
You can use the drop-down menu for Month to Month Archive viewing. I will list some of the highlights here.
Dec 2019 – Interview with Cirque Mechanics Chris Lashua ~ Interview with Coney Island’s own Dick Zigun – Sideshow Hall of Fame.
November 2019 – Corn Mo and The Love Show ~ Vaudevisuals interview with Hilary Chaplain ~ Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Revue ~ Karen Gersch Portfolio ~ Vaudevisuals Bookshelf ~ Martin Ewen’s ‘Panto Damascus’.
October 2019 – Vaudevisuals interview with Kevin Venardos.
September 2019 – Vaudevisuals interview with Noah Diamond & Amanda Sisk ~ Vaudevisuals interview with Adrienne Truscott.
August 2019 – Vaudevisuals interview with Tammy Faye Starlite ~ Ernie Kovacs Centennial Panel Discussion ~ Vaudevisuals interview with Dick Zigun – ‘Bloody Brains in the Juke Box’ ~ Vaudevisuals interview with Sarah the Bird Girl ~ The Seashore Variety Hour
July 2019 – Southern Sideshow Hootenanny Benefit ~ Vaudevisuals interview with Amber Martin ~ Vaudevisuals interview with Tyler West.
June 2019 – Vaudevisuals interview with Trav SD ~ Vaudevisuals interview with Bill Bowers ~ Vaudevisuals interview with Mallory Catlett ~ Vaudevisuals interview with Ralph Lewis ~ Bindlestiff’s ‘brooklyn abridged’ show ~ Vaudevisuals interview with Kevin Augustine ~ Vaudevisuals interview with Everett Quinton. ‘Galas’.
May 2019 – A.J. Silver – A Cowboy from the Bronx ~ Vaudevisuals interview with Boxcutter Collective.
April 2019 – Congress of Curious People – James Taylor ~ Vaudevisuals interview with Greg Dubin ~ Vaudevisuals interview with A.J. Silver ~ Trav SD’s American Vaudeville Theatre.
March 2019 – Vaudevisuals interview with John Jesurun & Nicky Paraiso ~ Vaudevisuals interview with Coney Island Ritual Cabaret Festival.
February 2019 – Coffeehouse Chronicles: Ethyl Eichelberger ~ Bindlestiff Open Stage at Big Apple Circus ~ Lord Buckley by Heathcote Williams.
January 2019 – Vaudevisuals Bookshelf: ‘Atomic Clown’ by Sara Moore ~ Bindlestiff Open Stage ~ Tribute To Rob Torres.
“Look at these streets! Those rotten foul-headfreaks.
“Death to them…” This was what he imagined himself saying
After an Armageddon caused by the State’s geeks. from salon.
“I, in humility, say ‘It is the duty of the humor
“Of any given nation in times of high crisis to attack
“The ca-tastrophe that faces it in such a manner
“That they do not die before they get killed.”
“So I figure I’m going down to the banktomorrow
“With a couple of trucks and take out a few bales
of fifties – “Maybe a billion dollars – and I’m going to start
“A gigantic program over the television, over the radio
“In the newspapers, in the funny papers, call the people
“Who have anything to do with humour and I’m going
“To start a big, elongated eight month campaign
“Against the mother gasser of all time: THE BOMB.
“A great spear of humor against the bomb –
“Rippity-tib-zib-tib and a ring ding ding against the Bomb.
“All kinds, all ways, all slides, all sides against the Bomb.
“A great big, elongated program through the air,
“By the billboards, by little ones, by big ones
“Till eventually you mention H-Bomb to someone
“You say H-Bomb and they say Ha! and Ha! And Ha!
“And you’ll see that you’re laughed out of court.
In Buckley’s routine ‘The Flight of the Saucer’ he becomes
The Flying Saucer Commander Abba Dabba Foo,
Pleading with planet Earth to consider the consequences
Of opening a Pandora’s Box of nuclear goo.
Lord Buckley’s stage costume of a tan pith helmet,
Curly ended slippers hung with silver bells,
Black swallowtail coat and waxed moustache like Dali
Turned him into a Pied Piper leading America out of hell.
He railed against the spread of supermarkets saying,
“I wish I had the nerve to be a great thief.”
“We have gotta knock out the greed heads!”
To him consumer slavery beggared belief.
The needle-sharp points of his white moustache
Were like antennae seeking out the outrageous.
“There ain’t NO problem that LOVE can’t solve.” was his motto
And his emanations of wellbeing were contagious.
He believed that life was subject to divine intervention,
Proved by the flare of the senses in a kiss,
And his advice to every citizen of the world,
From two to toothless, was “Follow your bliss.”
“Once you catch the theme of the beam of the invisible edge
“Then, beloveds, you hit total simplicity,
“And all of the feral truths that carry on way beyond
“The parallel of your practiced credulity!”
After a night under the stars exploring inner space,
Aboard what he called ‘The Good Ship Lovely Soul Detonator’,
Buckley concluded that, “the sky showed a shifting, revealing infinity”
And that “one message came to me with great positivity:
“That there’s only one way to live. That is, live in a house of love.
“That’s right, the universe is a house of love
“You can’t walk out of a love house with a sword or a gun
“There’s none in there to come out with.
“You have to come with a flower.
“If attacked, defend yourself with a rose.
“There’s no other way to live –
“The stars beamed it into me – except by love.
“The star-flashed message stayed with me
And buoyed up my soul
“As I came down from the sky.”
He’d re-enter the world after a toke on God’s stash
Eager for the world to share in his high.
But Buckley’s great love wasn’t limited to human beings
As is evidenced by his party piece, God’s Own Drunk:
In which the man described as “a Fred Astaire of the tongue dance”
Speaks instead in mind-blowing grunts.
“I’d like to do a little creative wig bubble for you
“Called ‘God’s Own Drunk.”
“When asked to guard my brother-in-law’s illegal still
“My claim to be a non-drinker got sunk:
“That big old yellow moon was a hanging out there
“And God’s lanterns were hanging in the sky.
“My curiosity got the better of me and that yellow whiskey –
“That moonshine – went down like honeydew, and made me fly!
“I felt a revolution going through my body
“Like there was great neon signs a-goin’ up
“An’ sayin’ There’s a Great Life a Comin’ –
“Suddenly I’d fallen in love with everything
“In God’s sweet world that moved, lived, didn’tlive,
Animate, inanimate, black, blue, green, pink, and slam dunk!
Mountains, fountains, and golden double-good sunshine,
“I was in love with life, ‘cause I was DRUNK!!
“I wasn’t fallin’ down, slippin’ slidin’ drunk.
“I was GOD’S OWN DRUNK! A fearless man.”
And as a result Lord Buckley bonds with a bear
In an ecstatic, trans-species communication.
“I walked right on up to that bear, because
“I was God’s Own Drunk and I loved everything
“In this world. And he’s a sniffin’. He’s tryin’ to
“Smell some fear. But he can’t do because I’m
“God’s Own Drunk and I’m a fearless man.
“He expects me to do two things: flip or flee.
“I don’t do either. Hangs him up. I told him,
“I said, ‘I’m God’s Own Drunk and I love every hair
“’On your twenty-seven acre body.
“’I’m a fearless man!’ I reached up
“And took the bear by the hand.
“I said Mr. Bear, we’re both beasts when it
comes right down to it.”
“Took him right by his big, old, shaggy man island sized paw
“And said “You’re going to be my buddy, Buddy Bear.
“And pretty soon he started to sniff and snort.
“Tapped his foot. And he got up and started to do the Bear Dance.
“Two sniffs, three snorts, a half-turn and one grunt.
“We was dancin’ and a yellin’ and finally, my love –
“It upped and got so strong that I laid back on that sweet green hill
“With that big, old buddy Bear’s paw right in
mine and I went to sleep.”
In Buckley’s pantheistic world, “Everything isalive.
“Everything has an embodied soul. Everything is of worth.
“Everything is beautiful. Everything is God.
“Everything is you – and you’re the king of the earth.”
“The problem of humanity, of progress, is to be beautiful;
“To be more gracious, more sweet, more divine.
“And when you balance yourself, the truth is that the world’s a family –
“Then love will hit you. Love is swinging. Love is fine.”
Before Buckley finally stepped off the stage
He uttered a last benediction:
“It has been a most precious pleasure to have temporarily
“Strolled in the garden of your affection.”
For his re-routing American culture (and not paying police bribes)
Buckley had his cabaret licence withdrawn
Which meant that, thanks to the NYPD, he couldn’t work
And thus his end was undeservedly forlorn.
His sad fate led to a public campaign against the police
For their depriving him of his cabaret card:
They were seen as having destroyed a clown prince
And were roundly condemned as fucktards.
To Buckley the dives he worked in were, “atomic age cathedrals”
Built on the “seashores of Bohemia”
Where all malice was transcended with moral miracles in jive slang
And his advice to fans, “You have courage, great warrior!”
Joseph Jablonski, who took a trip with Buckley,
Described “the spirit of the sixties as preexisting
“In Lord Buckley’s aggressive, optimistic humour,
“Optimism being a colourless way of describing
“The brilliant dialectical gold rays the one and only
“Lord of Swing could direct to the blind apostles
“Of nineteen fifties-style miserabilism.”
Beside Lord Buckley, America was a fossil.
Was he mysteriously be-twinkled by timetraveling goblins
From the utopian sixties?
The tutelary spirit of idealistic and free-loving
Hippy, peacenik pixies?
Both Allen Ginsberg and Quincy Jones loved Buckley
For the purity of his attitude,
And for establishing the idiom for both rap and the Beats –
At their best, both quests for beatitude.
His daughter spoke of his saintliness,
And of his “insights into lives and souls.
“He had kindness and compassion and never put people down.
“I might look at someone and say ‘what an asshole’
“But my father would always soften my prejudice by saying,
“ ‘Well, he’s just not himself today’!
“Sure, he could identify the negative in people,
“Though to use it against them? – no way.”
“Did I say all?” asks Buckley in ‘Desolation Angels’
Just before dying, according to Kerouac
Who’s bewailing, “This modern America of crew-cuts
“And sullen faces in Pontiacs.”2
“No matter what people tell you,” said Robin Williams,
“Words and ideas can change the world. It’s true.
“There was an old crazy dude who used to live a long time ago.
“His name was Buckley. My Lord, my love goes with you.”
The deck may have been stacked against Buckley
In his card game with the cops
Yet his legacy’s avoided capture, and without his hip
There’d never have been any hip-hop.
He showed the mind could be expanded by
Words that give you a buzz and a blast
And prompt what he describes as “wig bubbles”,
Buckley’s hip phrase for thoughts.
Lord Buckley’s obituarist wrote that “The Lord of Flip Manor,
“Prophet of the Hip and Royal Holiness of the Far Out, has gone
“To his reward. It probably won’t be as swinging as his life,
“But Valhalla will have a hard time keeping him down.”
“It is difficult”, the writer adds, “for anyone who knew Buckley
“To think of him as dead and gone.
“It is more like he has been on an extended engagement in Reno
“And he can’t get back to town.”
When interviewed by Studs Terkel in Chicago
Shortly before Lord Buckley died,
Terkel was concerned that the audience
Who’d tuned in were fully prepared:
“Just remember,” Terkel said, “what he has to say makes sense
“In it’s own strange and unique way.”
“Take it easy but take it! That’s my sign off.”
Were Buckley’s last words after having his say. Lord Buckley
Lord Buckley is still audible through the aether
Where this mercurial comic’s vitalizing words
Are forever impregnated with his fairy-tale humor –
Mightier than both the pen, and the sword.
~ ~ ~
With grateful acknowledgments to Oliver Trager; David Amram; Jim Burns, ‘Beat Scene’; Albert Goldman; Wavy Gravy; Timothy White; Paul Krassner; Joseph Jablonski; City Lights Books; Jack Foley; Malcolm Ritchie; Ian A. Anderson; Chris Radant; Douglas Cruickshank, and to P. St. G. who first introduced me to this non pareil.
Despite being such a still relatively unknown and increasingly remote character in the consciousness of the western world, Lord Buckley sure has a lot of imitators. Go on YouTube and do your own search but, for whatever reason, there ain’t many attempting to channel Lenny Bruce much less Henny Youngman.
No, Buckley draws a certain flavor of personality and performer and Rod Harrison is at least tied for first as the best of the best. His energetic onstage buoyancy captures the manic Buckley and is an intoxicant of sorts in its own right — a shamanic portal of transcendence!
For anyone interested in a different take on tackling the persona and material, I will be playing the lead role in “Dig Infinity!” my play drawn from my book on the man at the FringeNYC Festival this coming August, dates/times/venues tbd.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Lord Buckley appeared on the TV show “You Bet Your Life” hosted by Groucho Marx. This episode was telecast near Spring 1955.
At the 6:28 mark of this show Lord Buckley utters the word ‘Groovy’ years before it became part of the popular lexicon.
A wonderful example of TV and the shows that use to light up the tube.
Oliver Trager is the author of the definitive Lord Buckley biography “Dig Infinity – The Life and Art of Lord Buckley”.
On April 7th, 2007 the Official ‘Lord Buckley Birthday Bash’ was held at The Bowery Poetry Club. Produced by Oliver Trager and featuring David Amram and his band along with Tom Calagna performing Lord Buckley.
Great fun honoring one of the world’s most original performers.
Actually it is the amazing channeler of Lord Buckley from Santa Fe, New Mexico. ROD HARRISON. If you haven’t ever heard of Lord Buckley do some internet investigating and see what you are in store for! A real delight! Rod brings Lord Buckley back to life with his humourous, uncanny portrayal.