Requesting music for the journey |

Requesting music for the journey

Here’s how my things have turned out so far ” a few years ago I wrote this comedy show about my time spent in a religious cult. It went over pretty well. I performed it in New York and won an award. So I thought, hmmm, how can I do more of this?

The answer, or at least the current answer, is “Fringe Festival.” A Fringe Festival is an unjuried theatre festival. You fill out an application and your name goes in a hat. If your name gets drawn, you get a slot in the festival in which to perform your show, whatever your show is ” music, dance, drama, stand-up, puppets, juggling, telling the story of how you lived in Jesus’ basement, whatever.

These festivals exist in the US, Canada and Europe. Each city produces their own version of it independently. Canada, in its quiet wisdom, has decided to make their Fringe Festival season into a consecutive ordeal, such that someone can start in Montreal in June, then head slowly west, hitting city after city, festival after festival, all summer long, until they get to Vancouver in September. For this, and other reasons, Canada is very cool. I think the two of you would really get along. I hope to introduce you some day.

Last year I did this very circuit ” Montreal to Vancouver ” 9 cities, back to back. And I wrote about my adventures in this here column. And guess what? I’m doing it again this summer! I know you were hoping I’d say that. This year I’ll be touring my two solo comedy shows, “American Squatter” and “Barry Smith’s Baby Book” across the Great White North.

Nine cities, four months, over 70 performances, 10,000 miles of driving. This is where the reader participation comes in. With 10,000 miles of driving to do, I want some new music to listen to while doing so. Specifically, I want some new music from you. Yes, I think we’ve come to the stage in our relationship where its time for you to make me a mix tape.

No, seriously. Last year a few of my friends spontaneously made CDs for me before I left, which was the only thing that kept me from listening to the same Rage Against The Machine album over and over again ” a good way to get speeding tickets.

There are no parameters to this humble request. I’m just hoping to hear lots of music that I’ve never heard. I’ll be a captive audience.

I tend to like not-very-commercial music ” you really can’t find music that’s too weird for me. And that’s not a challenge. I’m not a fan of modern country, but if there’s something you think I need to hear, I’m all for it. If your CD has to have a theme, make it, “Driving 10,000 miles and too cheap to go out and buy new music.” Or old music. Or music you made yourself. Doesn’t matter. You make it, I’ll listen to it. I promise.

Even if it literally is a mix TAPE ” I have a cassette player in my van. CDs would be better, though. But this request has a deadline. I’m leaving soon. Real soon. June 5. So I’ll need to have it before then, otherwise I’ll have to listen to it next year.

You can drop it off at the Aspen Times front desk or mail it directly to me, PO Box 4441, Aspen, CO 81612.

Thanks in advance.


I’m in Orlando at the moment, performing “American Squatter” at the Orlando Fringe Festival. After I’m done here I’ll fly back home, pack up the van, and hit the road. No need for a mix tape in Orlando. Everyone here just hums “It’s A Small World After All” all day long.

Since each festival hosts around 100 different acts, all the artists print up their own post-card-like flyers with their intriguing pictures and logos, then hand them out like mad, hoping they’ll convince people that their show is one of the ones to see.

Yesterday I handed out my first flyer of the summer, a summer which will involve handing out lots of flyers.

Five minutes later I walk around the corner and see the flyer ” my flyer ” the first and only flyer I’ve handed out ” folded in half and laying in the middle of the floor! The flyer handee is nowhere in sight.

This must have some significance, right? It’s clearly a sign, I just don’t know what it’s a sign of. Does it mean that handing out flyers is a useless activity? If so, this is a good lesson to learn early on. Does it mean that I need to embrace rejection? Or, even worse, dismissal? Either way, still a good lesson to learn early on.

Except that I fear I’ll be pondering this well into the summer.

Driving along, listening to your music, pondering the significance of tossed-aside flyers.

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