30 August, 2006

Alive; Dead.

...how does it feel to be/one of the Beautiful People?/How often have you been there?/Often enough to know.....

A sinking snuggle into shabby seat is a welcome embrace. I pull off my top to the Beatles blaring through the radio, and a grin explodes across my face. How I've survived most of August in the BoringMobile is a mystery. Now, with load-in complete and Opening Weekend under our belts, the larger vehicle becomes superfluous for the next eight weeks.

Opening morning is cloudy, but untroubled by precipitation. We are glad to not broil under the gleaming sun. Our spandex suits provide gleam enough.

The white outfits are, as always, a hit, and the race to assist in the PeeWee Pirate and Princess Party Parade (in honor of Kids Free Weekend) puts us behind for Chat-N-Chew with Mimi and Gigi. Good thing I specially marked all times as being "ish" in nature. A garbed couple loans me a baby to snorgle. She's waiting for a meal- her father holds an old-style formula bottle in his hand, but the baby seems content, and settles in my lap as though she'll stay forever. It's an organic sort of non-show event, akin to the bubble appearance I put in on the piazza at the Pennsylvania Faire, wherein there is little required of the patrons in the vicinity. Admire, participate, ignore; it's very low key. Plus, we renew our bodies for our stilt excursion. I've scheduled us too tightly. We make it out on stilts by 1:30, not 1:00, as planned, but make up in enthusiasm what we lack in promptness. Everyone comments on how the children have grown, and it's not just a joke about the stilts. This is us, the first year Fluffy worked with me.

Ken's brother is beginning to look like Ken to me. His ginger hair is silvering. Ken remains dead, except in my heart. I think about Crooked Finger Man, the amatuer photographer who has been looking more frail each year. I wonder if he is connected in the fringe, if any of our company knows his name or could discover what's become of him. I think of Bonnie, formerly Bliss Goodbody of the Bawdy Balladeers, who has been in poor health for some time. Jim Casey's booth, since his death, is being run by his sister. Tradition continues.

I search for new vendors in old booths: who has sold to whom during the off season? I find none. There is a new kiosk for hairbraiding, owned, I assume, by the Goddess Gracie, since I see her there. There are three or four tents up on formerly performable spots. It's just not worth trying to choerograph a "big bit", as any available real estate is leased to a crafter by the management as soon as I discover it. There is a cart selling egg rolls. The tents with logs and bags of hay for people to whack one another with are gone. I do not see the rickey carts, but they often do not appear until the third weekend anyway. Some of the acts are new, but old: Daniel Duke of Danger is here. I remember him as one third of Pandemonium. The London Broil is here, Duncan and Louie being from the first group of the Young Actors Ensemble in 1993. Or maybe '92. Possibly '91. Damn, I'm old.

We wander long-legged into the pub, and there, there! is Crooked Finger Man, looking fragile, but pleased to see us. Darling, you couldn't be nearly as glad to see me as I am to see you. A young man I recognize tells me Dan is back. Dan the Master Joyner, maker of fine furnishings, was in an accident that should have finished him off. "He's in the booth, so stop by to see him." I waste no time. "I'm glad they never told me how bad off I was, or I wouldn't be walking right now," Dan tells me.

"It's our in-betweens that are most comical," That Girl remarks to me, wearing a unitard around her ankles and white socks on her feet. She does a little dance.

I can't argue with that. Next time, I'm wearing stilt pads on my knees, a bra, a hat and a thong. I do a little dance.

"Cybbie, I never thought of you in that way before. It's been so.... platonic between us for so long."


Tim stops while we're changing out of stilts. "Hey, Cyb, has Carolyn told you?"

Told me what? No.

"No, I guess she wouldn't have had time. It's about Bonnie. Bonnie Orr died yesterday. I don't have any details. She'd been pretty sick for awhile."

Thank you for telling me.

Tim is wrong. It's not his fault. But I'm extremely glad that he is, because that means I can call and talk to Bonnie, just like everyone else who got the wrong information is going to do.

A man has hunkered down to talk to That Girl. "Hey, good talking to you, see you on site." He leaves.

Who is that?

"You know what, I don't even know his name."

Okay, but who IS he?

"Some vendor guy. I play tic-tac-toe with him."

Oh. On stilts, right?

"Yup. Don't you play tic-tac-toe?"

I used to.


With Bill. It was my special thing with Bill. So I think I'll probably never play tic-tac-toe anymore.

"Oh." She digests this. "Well, I'm glad you taught me to play."

I doubt very much that I taught you to play tic-tac-toe.

"You know what I mean."

Of all friends that remain dead, Bill's still my favorite.

(Baby, You're A Rich Man; The Beatles)

29 August, 2006

Unrequested Gibberish

....Sabba sibby sabba; Nooby abba nabba/ Le le lo lo......

Do not phone me with your accent dripping with Jamaica, or Sri Lanka, or China, and then be offended when I ask you to repeat yourself because I don't understand you.

Don't assault my ears and my limited brain capacity, then smack me with your impatient and condescending attitude. Just don't even. You called ME, remember?

Plus, you're a telemarketer, remember?

Not so high up on the food chain, I think.

(Good Morning, Starshine; 5th Dimension)

25 August, 2006


...It gathers in my throat and it gathers up my breath....

When I was Featured Poet at the Coffee Beanery Cafe for the Green Moon Poet's Society back in March or May or something, I expected just a couple of cats to show up. But the place was very full. When I returned in June, it was packed.

Last month, for the debut of The Poetry Experience at Ahh, Coffee in Eastport, people were on chairs, the floor, squashed together by the counter; it was really thick with humanity.

Tonight, I'm Featured Poet at Ahh, Coffee. And I kind of wish I didn't know what to expect.

There will, however, be room for you, if you show up. Don't wear a beret or a red carnation. I'll know you by your nakedness.

(Anxiety (Get Nervous); Pat Benatar)

24 August, 2006

Gooooood Morning!

...it's daybreak, if you'll only believe/ And let it shine, shine, shine/ All around the world....

Brrrrrrrrrring. Brrrrrrrrrring. Brrrrrrrrrrrring. Brrrrrrrr-

Wakey, wakey, hands off snakey!

"You're cute. You know what they say in the military?"

No idea. And I guess what I should have said was, Risey, shiney, hands off gynie!

"Hah! I love it. What they say in the military is Drop your cocks and put on your socks."

Wouldn't know. Never been in the military, don't have a cock of my own.

"I know, right? But I like risey shiney hands off gynie."

Well, it's probably less applicable women, because I think in general we're pretty secure that we can sleep without our parts going wandering off to have their own adventures without us.

"I love getting a wakeup call from you."

(Daybreak; Barry Manilow)

21 August, 2006

Gearing Up

...I've got two tickets in my pocket, now baby, we're gonna disappear/ We've waited so long, waited so long.....

The season is upon us. That Girl and I will break camp on Wednesday. Fluff and Fuzz are anxious to get started. I have a boxfull of brochures in the BoringMobile. I don't get my car back until I've finished schlepping ladders, stilts, trashcans, tarps, carpets, plastic tote boxes, camp chairs, shovels, rakes, makeup cases, bugspray, gardening gloves, and oh yes costumes.

I have to make sure the childrens' stilts still fit: their feet may have outgrown the bolted boots, and their shins may have outgrown the leg support. If the former is the case, it's new boots time. If the latter is the case, it's considerably more involved. I dumped a load of cash at my local JoAnn Fabric in pursuit of new heights of beauty. This weekend, people. You want a brochuere? Call the faire, or e-mail me with your addy, and you will have a tri-fold glossy in hand within days.

Join us? I've got two tickets I'm willing to give away (yes, I said give.) Send me g-mail.

(Two Tickets to Paradise; Eddie Money)

18 August, 2006

Whoa, Really?

...Philosophy is the talk on a cereal box/Religion is the smile on a dog.....

I set off for my daily walk, small leather purse for cellphone, poo bags, and writing implements over my shoulder. He eyes the medium sized sheathed dagger still dangling from its strap, leftover from last RenFest season.

"Now I see why nobody bothers you on your walks."

Oh! Of course! And all this time, I was thinking it was because of the large dog at the other end of the leash.

(What I Am; Edie Brickell)

17 August, 2006

Stupid, Scary.

"...Oh, crap; I lied to myself." --Fuzzy

This piece of nonsense, (which may not be considered Safe For Work),Warp Factor Love, comes to you courtesy of WilWheatonInExile. He blames his stepson Ryan. Yeah, I blame my kids for the stupid stuff, too.

Francesca, that mazboot Mama of Frankie Can't Relax, shows us this Not Safe For Work horror show. The scariest bit is, I'm pretty sure I know a few people who would consider having this done. Gee, it sure is colorful.

So the kids and I are checking out the colorful Simpsons episode when Lisa turns vegetarian, with Paul and Linda McCartney as guest voices. The original air date was October of 1995, and that was the 7th season of the Simpsons. Scary that Paul should be widowed, married and divorced, and this crazy cartoon show is still running.

Life imitating cartoons is stupid: see this Wolverine wanna-be. Modification? Please. From BoingBoing.

Also scary: This Sunday, I will appear with Do Or Die Productions in One Of The Gang at Fabulous Whispers. I'll be wearing a black slip and black shoes. At least. The stupid part? Audiences have been enjoying this cliche-infested show for as long as I can remember, and it's still a favorite.

Next Friday, August 25th,I am to be Featured Poet at Ahh, Coffee in Edgewater. The event starts at 6:30PM, and is supposed to run til 8:30, but everyone had such a good time last time that the owner kept us on until 9. Cliff and Rocky will Emcee, and Rocky will bring his new drum, which I will stroke for mojo-- mine or its, I'm not sure. Rocky, Cliff and I hope to read our triptych poem, Rocky's Blood Writes, Cliff's This Poem Is A Zombie, and my Dr. Frankenpoet.

The next day, of course, the long-awaited Maryland Renaissance Festival opens for its Thirtieth Season, with lots of yummy surprises, including the Mediaeval Baebes. Scroll down this page to see Out of the Box's schedule (that's us), and we espcially invite you to bring your food to lunch with us. Remember, we're being paid to not talk, but we love hearing your voices. This is the first year we're hosting a meal, and it will be sad if no one joins us.

Do identify yourself if you come see me, by wearing a red carnation and a beret.

I, naturally, will be naked.

Under whatever I'm wearing, I'm always naked.

15 August, 2006

Flying Leap

...got to roll with the punches and get to what's real....

That Girl has just sent me photographs.

"I finally did it!" she squeals in an e-mail. Really? What has she been wanting to do that this 'finally' is an operative word?

She painted a Mimi-pink jump-suit on her body and leaped from a fully functional airplane, naked but for the man strapped to her back.

I would never do this, no. I'd be too wussy and chicken to jump naked from a plane.

I would have to wear boots.

(Jump; Van Halen)

Lightly Toasted

...I touch your lips and all at once the sparks go flying....

I wake to cold water. It's so cold, even the water in the Hot tap is cold. It's three in the morning. Happy Monday, I guess.

The drive home was uneventful, lightly trafficked and quiet reigned in the back seat. The BoringMobile behaved itself, except for the seat which always bites the backs of my legs and makes my feet go to sleep. No matter; it's comfortable, and fits gear plus family, which was the point.

Mimi Flambe appears this year, after all, at least for four shows. I was sad every time I looked at my beautiful, dust-collector banner. When Fluffy declined to write more material and opted instead for us to be Designated Street Performers this year in Maryland, I had mixed feelings. Fire being not an option at Maryland this year, when Kirk asked me to perform Mimi Flambe for Pennsylvania Ren Faire's Opening Weekend, I said Yes.

He puts me up in a hotel in beautiful downtown Manheim, PA, which sports a beautiful miniature golf course, a stagnating green pond with brown ducks or a blue heron, but never both at once, horse-drawn Amish buggies, field after field after field of lush green corn, the constant odor of manure/fertilizer, charming Victorian homes, and literally more used car dealerships than you could shake a stick at. Your arm would get tired.

We Independants mostly suffer through Morning Meeting, and fail to hear the announcement that the grounds will open at 10:45 instead of 11:00 AM, because it failed to be mentioned.

I spend my first hour being quietly atmospheric. My flight deck is crammed with characters, so I find a semi-shady spot with a good-sized rock for standing on, with a downhill breeze. Out come the giant bubbles, which never (never yet) fail to charm. A family wants to take me home. A woman mouths "I want that job" at me. A man critiques my bubble mix. "Too much glycerine," he pronounces, then advises me that vegetable oil works just as well. Perhaps I'll try it, now that I've already ordered a gallon of glycerine. Characters interact: "Oiye, lookee that! It be pixies! Oiye, come 'ere, come back, ye pixie!" and "It must be a thing of the devil! Look at it! It's beauteous and shapely! And there it goes, Pop!" Oh, he was talking about the bubble.

It's funny to note how a perfectly ordinary looking young guy with slightly shaggy hair who wouldn't deserve a second look wearing a TOOL tee-shirt dons a velvet doublet and suddenly becomes a dashing romantic hero. Provided, of course, he has a good jawline. All the velvet in the world won't help a weak chin.

There is an encampment of torture devices and torturers and torturees. I watch. One device, a head and hand stocks, is occupied by a patron-garbed gentleman. A torturer slaps him with a wet sponge. Another installation, a two-person leg-stock, holds a couple of enticing wenches. Their faces and feet are visible. A man tickles them with various objects, and they shriek almost convincingly. I know people who would find this appealing, but wonder when objects and activities traditionally labeled as "kink" wandered into the realm of "family entertainment."

I realize that I don't know the Designated Patrons here at PARF. Soon, soon, I will see my own beloved patrons, reconnect with my fan base, with the people who have loved me for ten years or more; some of them twenty years, and counting. And yet: "Mimi? Is that?" I turn. "I thought it was you! It's good to see you here!" And then, in a conspiratorial undertone, "You are still doing Maryland, right?" I nod. A look of relief. "Good. I'll see you in two weeks, then."

My first show is at 1:30 PM. Fluffy didn't want to do the show, so I rewrote a bit, moving back to my "Bob" show, and rewrote a bit more until what I presented was a Double Bob show. It went well, for me, for the Bobs, and for the audience. Kirk even pronounced my first shaky effort "good stuff," which provided validation for Primarily Decorative.

The mud show at PA is run by a guy I've know for twenty years now, who never really learned my physical language very well. Not surprising, as he has the attention span of a gnat. And yet he asks me who is still in Maryland that he would know. I mime a swordfight. He comes up with Hack and Slash. I draw my sword sideways across my tongue and then tip my head back to swallow, giving the trademarked arm gesture and snap that belongs to ".....Johnny Fox! Johnny's still there? That's incredible, what is he, ninety?" Hah, like you're much younger. I pull out a pretend clipboard, to indicate Carolyn, but he guesses Mary Ann Jung, which is also correct. I make an O with my arms, and he says, "Wow, Mark Jaster's still there, too?" Oh, you'd be surprised. I wave a wand and poof. "A magician. Uhhhhmmmm...." I hold a flower, smell it, ouch, thorns. I shake my hand and suck on my gloved finger. "Flower, pretty flower....rose. Rose." I do the magic thing again. "Magic. Rose. Mike Rose! Hah! I remember him when he was Brian Howard's partner." Right. I remember that, too. Funny that I never think of Mike as Brian Howard's first partner. I deliberately do not mention my ex-partner, who is still there as well.

In the afternoon, I do an organic "show," which is mainly just me and the bubbles and the patrons. They are tired; it is five o'clock and the sun has been strong. I interact with people who are resting, or waiting, or pausing. They assemble and disperse, and do not interrupt the storyline, because there is none. I finish when I see Kirk, waiting to bring the Living Statue to the Piazza.

Sunday's Morning Meeting is mercifully short. I work powder into my white base, apply liner and lips. Kirk asks the Independants, "Any problems from yesterday?"

The mikes at my stage weren't working at all.

There is dead silence. Kirk looks apologetic, then confused, then good-naturedly furious. The assembled bursts into laughter. It's a good start.

The second day goes much as the first. I see people I breakfasted with at the hotel, but they do not recognize me, for I was incognito.

At 'my' stage, a couple of well-garbed patrons from Maryland are righteously indignant on my behalf that I will not be performing fire there this year because of last year's 'incident.' "All the years Mimi's been doing fire, we said, and never an accident, and here comes this newcomer, and now Mimi can't do her fire show anymore. It's not right." Which was extremely gratifying. "We'll see you soon," they promise. "In two weeks."

That's right.

Two weeks.

(Kiss Of Fire; Georgia Gibbs)

12 August, 2006

Where? There-

...Right or wrong/ Don't it turn you on/ Can't you see we're wastin' time, yeah....

Arms come from behind me, locking my elbows to my ribcage. My forearms flap uselessly, like Allosaurus arms. I am in a parking lot, after ten PM. I was asking for this, I guess, by lingering instead of getting directly into my vehicle.

I know my attacker, too. The Prince has had several beers in honor of Coco's birthday, and is in a playful mood.

If you grab me like that, you know you have to bite my neck.

"Ah, is that the rule?" As if he didn't know. I tilt my head to the right, exposing, waiting.

He hesitates. I feel the tension in his body as he makes a decision, feel his breath a moment before his teeth connect with flesh and tendon. And though I was expecting it, demanded it, my skin prickles and my knees buckle. His arms prevent me hitting the pavement, then he loosens his grip so that I can turn and hug him fiercely round the waist.

It's a good thing Hawk's coming home tonight.

"Oh, yeah?"


(Do You Wanna Touch; Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)

10 August, 2006

First Annual

...it's not hard, not far to reach, we can hitch a ride....

10. 2. 2. 10. 895. 695. 95. 495. 95. 676. 30. 70. 72. And back again.

(You can retrace my route if you like, but you'll detour from Baltimore into Pasadena to drop off my kids, just as I did.)

The last time we were at the beach together, he was in Miami, FL, and I was in Ocean City, MD. The roar of the ocean blended with cellphone static. Today, we are in Surf City, NJ, no cellphone between us.

I have now been in four states today.

It was his idea, which surprised me, because he hates the beach. ("I don't hate it. I just get bored." Same thing.) He loves his daughter, though. His daughter wanted to go to the beach.

The sand on Long Beach Island is in no way different from the sand in Ocean City, or Rehobeth, or Chicoteague. I haven't been to many places. One of these days, I'll see another ocean, another grade of sand, but I really like the Atlantic, so am thrilled to be here. Or anywhere, really.

The ocean is warm, for an ocean. It feels good on my hot, excited skin. The sand feels good beneath my feet.

"You're walking like you're wearing stilts."

I look down. My heels dig into damp sand just above the waterline. I watch my friends carefully place their feet flat upon the surface of the sand, and try walking that way. It requires different mechanics, and feels precarious, as though I'm on the verge of twisting an ankle, which I hate. I go back to my stilt-walk spike.

The salt on my skin forms a sticky film. I wriggle out of a sandy bikini beneath my clothes (the reverse of how I got into it, but wetter) and hop into the car. There is sand in the car. There is sand on my feet.

"You didn't even make an attempt to get the sand off your feet, did you?"


It's true. Once I'd put the unflattering Teva sandals on, I was done. I brushed away the lumpy bits that would make walking uncomfortable, secured the straps and was on my way. This crystal caking on the tops of my feet is, um, decorative.

I have sand on my feet, in my hair, on my seat, in my crannies. I am grinning like a madwoman.

Have I mentioned I love the beach?

(Rockaway Beach; The Ramones)

08 August, 2006

Assorted Madness

...there she goes again!/ she's tidied up, and I can't find anything!/ all my tubes and wires/ and careful notes/ and antiquated notions....

I have mixed feelings about a project like this, yet will admit that making a palm-tree shaped island certainly maximizes waterfront property potential. But.


See if you can spot the misteake I'm looking at in this phoeto capetion. If not, your not the reeders I thunk you was.

From the architecture department: you may think this house, the Pearlroth House, is odd-looking, but it's nothing to this precariously balanced house. Who designs a house like that? Who builds it? Why? It's not like the mountain, because it was there, because it wasn't. Somebody had to think of this weirdness.

Aahh, weirdness; it turns out I know one of the guys of Mentos and Diet Coke Experiment fame- Fritz Grobe, whom I met at MotionFest a bunch of years ago. And now there is a dedicated website, EepyBird.com. You can also listen to the NPR interview. Booyah! There may be something to this Mad Scientist thing after all.

(She Blinded Me With Science; Thomas Dolby)

07 August, 2006

Recovered Memory

...I wanna ta-ake you home/C'mon, jump in my car, it's too far to walk on your ow-own....

His name was Mark, and that's about all the personal information I recall about him. The fact that he was taking me to my prom despite having a girlfriend might've informed my Wiser Self that he was not a great guy. This was not important at the time. I was just looking for a prom date, not a soul mate.

At any rate, my Wiser Self wasn't listening. Over the rage of hormones in my sixteen-year-old inner ear, I could hear the rumbling purr of the eight cylinders in Mark's lovingly maintained 1973 AMC Javelin.

I met him in Photography class, and though I still have an eye for a good shot, what I remember about the class was Mark and me feeling each other up in the darkroom while we waited for chemicals to work on our exposed film. The smell of developer still puts me in a hot/cold sweat.

The Javelin, of course, was not the hottie it would be nowadays. Then, it was just an old car. It wasn't a Camero, which was the height of Teenage Dirtbag cool during both of the years I attended high school, and several that I didn't. Plus, it was an automatic, which even at that early moment I thought was weenie. Still, it was his. Most of my friends- those who could drive- were borrowing station wagons or boxy sedans from their parents. The boy I fooled around with during the summer (also some other girl's boyfriend) drove a VW Bug, the one with the distinctive putt-putt-sputter noise to its engine. That was a stickshift, but also not a hot car. If I'd had a boyfriend with a t-top TransAm, I would have thought that I'd died and gone to teenage heaven. Especially if Van Halen was rocking the cassette player.

Mark's Javelin had an intact paint job (after market) and clean, uncracked leatherette seats. Everything gleamed. He vacuumed it daily. It was blue. I think I have a picture of it somewhere. The car, not Mark. Or, well, maybe Mark's posing with the car. Yeah. I think so.

I haven't thought of Mark in years.

Naturally, I think of the Javelin much more frequently.

(Jump In My Car; David Hasselhoff)

04 August, 2006

Can't Sleep

....Which way will things go tonight/Toss and turn or sleep tight...

Can't blog, either. I got nothin'.

(You Can't Walk In Your Sleep (If You Can't Sleep); The GoGos)

01 August, 2006

Spam Sandwich

...pull out some Fritos corn chips/Dr Pepper and an ole Moon Pie....

No, I don't want any Viagra. My penis is exactly the right size. I don't need (or believe in) a Free! Vaio computer. I don't read my horoscope very often; I certainly don't want to subscribe. My mortgage is okay, and you can keep your insurance. Chinese pictograms, Spanish and Portugese are a mystery to me. I have no idea what it is you're trying to tell me. Cheryl Martin, you are a pisser for giving my e-mail as your own when filling out some damn form or another. In my next life, I will get you back. Or this one, if I can figure out how.

Dental Care, Classic Movies, Chipolte Qdoba, Free Home Depot Card, Burger Bonus, Bed And Bath Sale, Brazilian Diet Promotions, Lirpap, Coke v. Pepsi, Olay Regenerist, GovernmentGrants, Designer Handbags, Conformation Request, Paris Hilton, Hoodia, All Homeowners, LookYounger, Printer Ink, Ephedra, OpinionsGetPaid, Energy Boost, Shipment Notification, Amusement Park Offer, and Hot Housewives Tonight fail to entice me.

Other complaints: After suffering unemployment, a long breakdown, an unplanned trip to California for unfun reasons, the hasty accquisition of a tractor that needed immediate repairs, a missed paycheck, a slipping transmission in the Tanmobile, an uncashable check, and the beastly heat, the central AC quit three days ago. We've been sleeping in the basement.

And feeling damned grateful to have one.

Yet, I will be of good cheer, for tomorrow marks the soft start of my RenFest season: Youth Camp day at PARF! For the first time, I also work during their regular season, Opening Weekend. The Entertainment Director (the fourth in six years) made the pot sweet, plus I still have a weekend free between PARF and MRF's Opening.

Pass the turkey leg.

(Junk Food Junkie; Larry Groce)