So. Disney’s The Lion King is back in town, next week. Hell of a show. The world premiere at Historic Orpheum Theater, 1997. Afternoon. In a police car. Look out the window and who’s crossing the street but Samuel E. Wright. Who stars in the show as Mufasa and, so happens, used to be a professional acquaintance. We’d last seen each other in 1976 or so. He acted and sang in my play, In The Midst, back at college. Can’t catch his glance. Well, he’ll be in town for two months. The police take me to Rock Bottom, where somebody had showed his private parts to the public. A big Mexican cop says, as I’m shoved into a coffin-like backseat with no place to put your legs, “It’s probably him.” People look at me odd when I say we don’t need more police officers of color, we need more with some character. This rests my case. Anyway, him and rest of his crew are disappointed when they return me to the scene of the crime only to have the waitress say, “No, that’s not him.” Thank God we don’t all look alike to some folk. A week later, hunkered down at, of all places, Rock Bottom – hell, Sam’s buying — I tell Wright the story of how I spotted crossing Hennepin Avenue, but wasn’t in a position to strike up our reunion. He gives a wizened, bittersweet grin. Broadway, film and television star or no, he understands from racial profiling. Sam Wright probably now’s teaching at his private school in Upstate New York. Be interesting to see how whoever’s playing Mufasa these days works out.
That’s next week. Tonight, I just poured myself in the door after playing Wild Tymes in St. Paul, Steve McClellan’s thing, DEMO (Diverse Emerging Music Organization) Showcase. Did what McClellan called a “raw” set. It was uneven. Really good highs, some awkward lows. Patti Ryan, Mark Martin, Bethany Ford and a nice lady named Mary all had a nice time. Folk clapped. Plus, Steve McClellan at least didn’t say, “Don’t come back.” Ultimately, if the guy could be sure I’d draw a crowd of more than two musicians, an actor and a friend who came with the musicians, it’d be nice. Raw, uneven, whathaveyou: y’ put asses in the seats, you get work. Which is what, frankly, pisses me off about half my Facebook “friends” who always have something else to do instead of coming down to a club.
Bethany had to scoot halfway through the set, but Patti, Mark and Mary stuck around. The three of us shot the sugar, honey and iced tea a good while. Patti and me really vibed, jawing about my last Something I Said commentary for MN Spokesman-Recorder. About womanly beauty not being about being pretty. Which Patti is, but that’s not the point. Basically the piece says, Beauty’s skin deep, ugly is to the bone. Anyhow, it hit her where she lives and we got a real rush together relating to that. Mark looked like a million dollars, no tax. In this brown, suede-lookin’ suit (hell, it might’ve been suede, I’ll have to ask him) and a smartly groomed head of hair guys my age would kill for. Mary, God bless her, was patient as I kept pestering her to have her daughter actor send me a bio. Before they and I took our leave off one another, things had got pretty oiled up. I tried to fight them off, but Mark held me down while Patti pried my jaws open and poured, first, a round of Tequila, then a double-Jack rocks down my throat.
Elsewise, it’s hurry up and wait. Anura Si-Asar at Papyrus Publishing, Inc. is trying to get my book Something I Said out, but the man has a life to live. Including a full family, a school he runs with his wife and, oh yeah, a job. On top of which, he keeps going over the manuscript with a fine-toothed comb and just found a couple more niggling details to deal with. Well, So, what’s another few weeks for a project that’s been in the works more than a year. Once the thing’s out there, after all, it is out there. It’s best to do something right instead of right now.
Meanwhile, there’s airplay, which is always cool. Including an archive, Dwight Hobbes Steps on the Leopard Carpet with Lady Flava (www.blogtalkradio.com). As always, singles “Lady Midnight” and “End It All Over Again” available at CD Baby. Angels Don’t Really Fly (Beat Bad Records-EP) finally drops — cross your fingers — in Spring.
Keep them cards and letters comin’. Butch & Sundance send their love.