The last few days of our trip were hectic and stressful, while we prepared for our shows, then sweet and mellow, as we tied up loose ends, divvied up the stuff and then scattered. Though both shows in Manhattan and Brooklyn were riddled with technical weirdness (a spaceship of a stage and the throbbing reggaeton from a nearby block party) our audiences were both enthusiastic and engaged, which was really lovely.
While we didn’t get to work on the play as much as I would have hope over the course of the trip, there’s no question that it nevertheless got better as the summer went on. The dialogue became clearer, the choices we made on stage were sharper, and our focus became more present. It was interesting to take note of what the effects of only doing the show once a week had on the play itself.
The Last and Final Leg: After our show in Boston we had a last lazy day at Dara’s parents, taking care of computer tasks, writing postcards and signing posters with our bike tires. Perhaps it wasn’t lazy, it just wasn’t physically demanding. That evening we packed up our barely dry shoes from the rains on Friday and headed West for the first time all trip. It was disorienting. There were many times when I instinctually wanted to turn the wrong direction, back to the ocean. It would take us a predicted four days to arrive in Brooklyn. It was a long four days, each moment constantly weighted and lightened by the thought of the end. It’s that tough place when you know you can do it, but the end just doesn’t come quick enough. And you find yourself living far too Keep reading!
It has been awhile since I have been able to sit down and write a blog entry, and although I have tinkered with the text in spare moments, there really hasn’t been a single chunk of solid free time long enough to get out a post. Because of this, the words pile up, become outdated, there is too much story to tell. But I’ll do my best….
From Kansas City we set out through the Midwest. In Columbia, Missouri we entered a vortex where, for our entire time there, it was as if time had slowed down and we were able to get done all the things we had set out to do with ease and relaxation, and somehow managed to take a dip in a quarry, take a yoga class, and rehearse for a few hours to re-choreograph the final scene of the play.
Finger Lake Play Time: The bit of hitchhiking in Canada brought us about half a day ahead, which meant we could stroll a bit if we kept up a hustle. Allison and I caught up with the crew in Middleport, where we were all invited by a Ken-doll police officer to stay the night in his safe town that provided public showers, aka, Pleasantville. After that we had one long day of riding to get to Macedon. There we found an appropriate camp spot, an outdoor stage. When we arrived a fife and drum band was just wrapping up practice. They proceeded to give us a private show! So impressive. Keep reading!
Motor City! It took us just 3.5 days to bike from Chicago to Detroit – 88 miles, 72 miles, 84 miles, 38 miles- daily rate. We even had time to jump in the lake along the way and enjoy the beaches, albeit briefly. We were warmly welcomed by Emily and Patrick who hosted us in Detroit (friends of John). I’ve never seen neighborhoods with so many abandoned houses boarded up or burned out. Every other house on a block was like this. The beautiful part is some of the blight was turned into art pieces or the empty lots into community gardens.Detroit is creatively resilient. Keep reading!
Crossing the Confluence. A few days ago we rolled out of Columbia, MO and jumped back on the Katy or MKT trail (old Missouri, Kansas, Texas railway). The Katy trail is one of many old railways converted to a bike and running trail. It is 240 miles of community love and pride from Sedalia to St. Charles, Missouri. We met Grace, 8 and Danny, 11 a brother and sister, walking their dogs in McKittrick. They told us their dad was from California, “Los Angeles, not the regular California.” They were going to Six Flags with their grandma to celebrate Danny’s birthday, and we could probably ask Downtown Joe to fill our water, he owns an inn in town. We bought them chocolate milk and they were on their way.
Interspersed with snare and
Moments of chaos,
Wild drumming electronic.
Like the live- wanna hear it clash with the
Silence is breath stopping
Brink of breath
Round Keep reading!
Kansas City. KC. Last night we performed at Family Bicycles. This place is a blue dot in the middle of red. Such a contrast to the rest of the state. To get here in time for the show we had to hitchhike 300 miles, making up for our work week in Denver. Needless to say we met all sorts of people. Those who were fearful of us, those who gave us hugs, or roasted chicken. Alexis and I paired up and traveled with Don Owen, who was pretty excited about new studies in theology and his angst against the government. He generously gave us a donation at the end of the ride because he Keep reading!
After Albuquerque, we split into smaller groups, and made our way up to Denver separately. Whether on bikes, hitchhiking or in a rental car, all three groups saw the desert of New Mexico turn to farmland, then to rolling green hills and finally to the suburbs of Denver, in their own way.
But we all arrived in Denver a week later, feeling that however we had chosen to spend the in-between time had best prepared us to tackle the next task at hand.
I had arrived in Denver a few days early to take another pass at the script, slowly going over almost every scene, making small but choice tweaks, so the lines flowed better, the beats were sharper and the characters and their motivations were clearer.
Once everyone arrived, we convened for a week of intense work on the play.
Bags are now “sacks” and soda is now “pop.” It’s official, we’ve made it to Kansas! We also have a new group mileage record of 86 miles. As far as the eye can see, amber waves of grain, corn fields and irrigation pipes. There is nothing to block the wind. Sometimes it’s with us, sometimes it’s against us. The towns are 20-30 miles a part with no guarantee the grocery store on the map is still in operation. Today we stopped in Cope at a Bingo hall that doubles as a mess hall for farmers. We munched on packaged burgers, chips, candy bars and Arizona iced tea from Aida and Linda, the owners. On the wall were photos of the Cope graduating classes. The largest class was 12 people in 1955. Their reunion is next week. Tonight we found the Old Iron Pub in St. Francis, KS where the only veggies are fried ones. We’re hunkered down here taking refuge from a storm. Looks like it’s going to be wet night.