A Date, A Command, A Band – A Good Time

I spent the early part of the day making faerie wings for a friend who will wear them next weekend at the Gay Pride festival in Denver. They were not being made specifically for this event. The faeries told me he needed wings, so I started to make them for him. Most times you have to do what the faeries ask of you after asking yourself why you think they want you to perform such an action. In this case their advice was noble. I set myself to task. No sooner than I had begun in this fashion than they took over my body and hands, sewing dark pink sparkly spines into the shoulders and span, attaching ribbons, and ripping white fish net fabric only to reattach it with tattered love. Some like to make their wings pristine. I prefer the worn throughout ages look, much like the magic of the “used future” that Lucas experimented with in the original Star Wars. At the end of this day’s enterprise I was confident that I would be giving him the gayest thing he might ever own. There is a certain amount of pride derived from this for me, a predominately heterosexual male.

No matter how much I wanted to keep them for myself, I knew they did not belong to me. I was the vehicle for the faeries madness to supply him with a set of aviary devices. But these pixies and sprites did not leave me with nothing. They inspired a story, still in progress, about life choices and consequences that should be released on Stories of the Flea later this season. Jotting this down for editing was the next part of my day.

I called him after his own work day to stop by the house and take a look. He mentioned the style of the lead character in Were the World Mine, a movie about a homosexual boy who gets the lead faerie Puck’s part in a highschool version of Midsummer Night’s Dream. He finds a love potion hidden in the play and turns the whole town gay, including his school basketball star crush. My buddy also had my hard drive, that he was transferring 250 gig of music onto from his personal collection. He could also bring that by. He said he had to leave now because he was going to a concert with another friend being met there. Based on his description, a punk marching band at the Fox on the hill, I invited myself.

They were amazing. March Fourth took the stage with percussive rhythm, a vaudevillian circus of performers, men on stilts, a human puppet show rebelling against the authority of the stringmasters for a night of DIY chaos. Speaking with Joel, a trumpet player in the baker’s dozen or so carnival players, everyone makes their own costumes. Decked in tribal silver face paint, twirling Dali moustaches, black and beaded bodices, striped socks and sleeves, welded spikes on bass drum shoulder pads like something out of Castle Grayskull if Skeletor would have beat that pansy He-Man, hairs of every color, and a layer of that apocalyptic used future dirt that I mentioned before coating their sweat stained bodies I knew there were faeries among us. I was with my people. They had a tribal feel in the same vein as Crash Worship, a similar style group from the 90s, except with a little less darkness and no fire. March Fourth could use a little fire, but that was the thing that got the Worship banned from most places. It was either the torches or the shooting of Roman Candles off the stage that did that. Finally, they resigned to only play in spots that had some sort of horrible accident in its past, like children drowning in the river or the end of a dead man’s curve or next door to a building that burnt down. That was back in the days before ‘goth’ was a genre, people still made their own clothes to go to raves, and raves were non-elitist outdoor events for adults in the know instead of a bunch of kids wanting to experiment with drugs.

LaTisha Strickland, named after a character in a Russian spy novel and one of the energetic dancers, caught my eye before the encore begging for one more song with a single digit pumping the air. She followed suit with her own finger brandishing wind, enthusing the audience for the chant of another. Our sign language conversation went from one finger to two, asking for a second song to be added to the one that looked like it was about to start. She returned my query with seven fingers in the air and I thought that was appropriate, although probably unreasonable. During the movements of that encore performance, she brought out the feather to fan and blow on the audience, who might just as well been working as hard as the band, but still I thought she needed the air more than us. Half naked and dripping with my own sweat, the room cleared as the music finalized. I lingered for a moment, catching my breath, and saw Ms. Strickland sitting on the corner of the stage talking with a group of fans. I went to thank her for her portion of the performance. She mentioned the sweet deal the band got on a house through the International Hostel and that they would all be hanging out there later. Of course I had to ask how a fellow member of this family could get invited back to this Thanksgiving Dinner of sorts and she said I was invited with the tone of telling a brother he was more than welcome to join them on their excursion back to their mother’s place.

Outside I met Blake and Matt flirting with the stilt man, Aaron Lyon, and a cocompatriate, Christopher (not Chris), last name unknown but it might be Long, who has a wife that would happily pay big money for photographs of her hubby making out with another dude. We parted ways with the promise of return later in the evening. Despite work in the morning, Blake agreed to accompany me to the afterparty after a stop at home for a quick refresh, a beer pickup, and a hula hoop grab. LaTisha informed me that Amy was very particular about who played with her hoops so I figured I would bring my own.

We sat outside on the front stoop for a spell crafted of fresh Twilight beer from Deshutes Brewery in Oregon (the origination of this motley crew) and an American Spirit smoke from an African guy outside the Mountain Sun’s Fish Out of Water show a couple nights previous. Christopher joined us while we talked about tigers in the trap with Uranium bullet teeth and frickin’ laser beams. Rich Cawley, the metal worker who designed the M4 ninja star belt buckle, assisted the esoteric conversation out there on the porch and would be a major player in our later evening rendezvous on top of the bus.

Amy Hatfield, the focus of the front page ad and hOt.hOOps teacher, spurred conversation about the kinetic LED hoop I was building for my sister with her collapsible hula hoops. We played with the 40lbs force weighted neodymium magnets I had in my pocket to power the thing as I explained the design of tubes within tubes and coils and reflector sockets. Throwing the ball bearings at her broke one of the cylinders. I did not mind. She could break anything of mine I owned including my heart. She invited us inside to come check out their home on wheels in the back yard. It is nothing special from the exterior, but getting inside is another story. They had beds and seats for the bulk of them in a red tinted glamour of stow away compartments, iTunes flowing music provided by Sid Phillips, the Boone Fairy, and a no ladder entrance to the top, where the rest of the gang drank dangerously from the external sundry supply box seats.

Giggles, Jen Forti, People’s Republic of Portland (buy her stuff here), proclaimed she has been told that she laughs too loud by her fellow bandmates. She brandished this natural talent of amusement for us and still I thought it could be louder. Not that it was not enough to put smiles on our faces, but to be obnoxious it would have to sound more like a cheerleader through a megaphone huffing helium. Anyone who tells you that it is wrong, honey, is just jealous. Jen’s character was one of my favorites. With the spirit of a mime she tried to fit in with the cool kids a la a rope tussle and a stilt war. Constantly, she ducked under and hopped over members without a single place because her skills were too broad to be pigeonholed. Good for you. Keep on chuckling.

We also met Faith Jennings, another dancer of the macabre and hatmaker clothing designer. Utilizing my mnemonic devices to remember names, i told her I did not believe in her nor did I believe anything she would say based on principle. Her famous quote from the evening – “The best part about being in the band is not about the music. It is about making out with the groupies.” They debated about the usage of the word ‘groupies’ and concluded it for our benefit with the change of the word to ‘fans.’ Andy Shapiro, a newer member, who learned to play saxophone just so he could run away with the M4 circus, retorted, “You guys are fans for life. Right?” Sure, you guys are great, unless you do something stupid like go J-Lo ubermainstream and stuffy. I will tell you though, I am not rushing out to get a tattoo right away, buddy.
Even though it is a cool logo. Later he would end up with the perfect traffic cone and Katie Presley’s cell phone sized MP3 player pretending to be the modern punk rock equivalent of the RCA dog. Are those bugle boy jeans you are wearing?

We stayed on top of that bus most of the rest of the night. On a restroom run into the house, trying to conserve the interior traveling tank’s capacity, I saw LaTisha, the instigator to this journey, sitting on a vinyl couch with Luke Solman, trumpet player. She welcomed me, glad I made it, and I let them continue. Twos had begun to separate for the sake of intimate conversation time. Jenny DiDonato and a former member of the band who moved to Boulder a while ago talked on the stoop near the tigers with frickin’ laser beams while I hooped in the street to realign my bearings.

One member I would like to discuss is the bus driver, the Neal Cassady of the group, known by the crafted name of Bangkok, don’t ask him why, and better known as Alex. They have the categories of the Brass, the Beauties, and the Beats on their website, but not the vehicular counterparts that get them to where they are going. They are a valid an important part to the crew. They keep it all moving. They make sure everyone who needs to be on the bus is on the bus when the bus starts moving by taking off at scheduled times. At the very least he needs a spot on the web lauding his accomplishments and relationship with the craft affectionately known as the Razzle Dazzle, or Razz, or a number of other nicknames they declined to tell us. Razzle needs a spot in that category as well. We need the story of the name derived from the Hollywood Bowl and that ninety year old Broadway showtunes singer, who gave it her ancient energy, her blessing, through song to keep on trucking from town to town for the sake of entertaining these millions stuck in the real world.

We left the night with that song in our own hearts.We hugged you all. We never gave Aspen the whiskey, but he found it anyway. We hope you enjoy your travels not only when you look back after the time has gone, but while you are in the midst of it despite the strength of such magnanimous personalities because I know they can be oppressive. I have been there. Keep beating your drums. Keep blowing your horns. Keep on moving and keep on playing. As the command goes, “March Forth!”

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3 Responses to “A Date, A Command, A Band – A Good Time”

  1. Nice article, despite the misquote. While some connections with fans occur on tour, it is hardly the best part of MarchFourth. I love the music, dancing, the energy of the crowd, the adventure of the road, and the challenge of moving this crazy group around the country. I don’t want anyone getting the wrong idea. I’m in it for the art, music, fun, and the show, not making out.

    • tymora42 Says:

      I told you I did not believe you.

      But if I did, I would hope and assume you meant it in the ways of ‘making out’ like ‘getting along with on a greater level than usual’ rather than the base carnal kissing and feeling up one’s shirt like we think it means in high school. I will use it in a sentence, “I really made out with that job offer you sent my way. Thanks.” Or, “I hung out with the band after the show and we really made out.” Is that too 1940s? If mine was the proper interpretation, then I would think I made out with nearly everyone I met that night.

      As for the misquote… it was “a party night” (as I heard it referred many a time that eve), there were lots of inebrients, and nobody had a microphone – that would be unethical. You are probably going to get a lot of smack about this on the bus later, but whatever. It was said out of the left side of the mouth like people do when they are cutting loose.

      Hopefully you are ‘making out’ with all those crazy people you meet on the bus and off. They are, after all, a significant part of the art, music, fun, and spirit of the show.

      How did Mishikawa go? The weather was unfortunate in Boulder, otherwise I would have made it out.

  2. tymora42 Says:

    now go read some of my real stories where I am allowed to make things up http://storiesoftheflea.com

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