Rockin’

I’m in Oakland, staying at sister-in-law L’s house, thank you, thank you!

On Sunday I took the exit for Sacramento and….. too fast to react a red tail hawk dove across the exit ramp in front of my car, pounced on some unsuspecting creature in the embankment, leaped back into the air and soared again to safety. I took this as a good sign that this was an appropriate stop. Even with diligent phone surfing there were no open mics to be found on a Sunday night. My plan had been to go to the state park and shower then assess the town but the phone maps turned me around and around until I gave up and went to the Sacramento Hostel to order up a long nights rest.

Before retiring I ate some homemade lasagne and took a walk. Across the street and around the block took me to the front steps of City Hall… and “Occupy” of sorts. They reminded me of the folks that I don’t enjoy hanging out with at the coffee shop. The guys at the bar that are louder and more obnoxious just to make sure that all know they are there. One man gave me a pamphlet and I offered to sing a song. He said, “Sure!” and walked away. I started singing “we’ve WON!” and halfway through when no one stopped their conversations about drinking and blah blah, or put down their video games, I faded out, wished them luck and continued my walk.

This brought me a couple blocks later to the open house of the Church of Scientology. Curious, I went on in. I fit in nicely, almost. Every on there was wearing all black. I was wearing black cords, grey button down shirt and white Tilly hat. The building was new and shiny with video kiosks every where showing movies about Scientology. Jake greeted me and put down in front of a couple movies to help me learn about their understanding of the universe and humanity. I was interested but wanted more to have social interaction versus movie watching so I moved back out into the main lobby. Many people introduced themselves and steered me back towards the movies. Finally, Jake returned and we talked about the toxins in our environment and our bodies and how Scientology is an all denominational church. He took me down stairs in this newly opened (first day to the public) facility to show me their Purif (for purification) area with tread mills and saunas and a regiment of vitamins that would pull toxins out of their storage compartments in our fatty tissue. He told the story of the man that worked in a garage and how he sweated out pure anti-freeze, or the man who turned the towels blue with his sweat for a couple days, and the people who got radiation burns from the stored radioactive material in their bodies being released through their pores. I bought the book.

Monday morning I woke refreshed and headed out into the world of consumerism. Where I live the thrift stores pretty much don’t even have a men’s section. Boy was I delighted to, in two stops get five pairs of nice jeans for twenty dollars. That alone almost made the whole trip worth while. I also stopped at Skip’s Music and got musicians ear plugs and tried many electronic stores looking for something as outdated as a tiny little one gig memory card. “Sorry, dude, I haven’t seen something that small in years. Try Amazon.”

I cruised on and found The Bistro in Hayward. With my next gig located I climbed back in the Jetta to look for some nature. Four blocks and twenty minutes later (4:15 pm) I found, by luck, a municipal park and took a nice walk. On the way back down I came upon what the movies would let me know was a drug dealing spot. Four or five young Latino men standing around spittin’ rhymes. I asked if I could share and after letting them know multiple times that I wasn’t a cop they said they would listen. They liked “Stand”.

I ate dinner in the car then headed back to The Bistro. It is official. I like open mics in coffee shops better than bars and I was very glad to have the ear plugs. I sang well and received a few solid pieces of positive feed back.  I sang “we’ve WON!”, “Day of the Warrior” and “Stand”.  I am looking forward to performing a set of more than three songs so that I can share some of my other pieces.  Met a music distribution organization that has an intriguing compensation model and a Rap DJ on the local college radio that said “Not on my show, but I’ll talk to the morning DJ.”

Thank you phone for helping me get to sister L’s house safely.

Rolling….

The time is rolling and so are my wheels.  Due to technical difficulties (could be read ‘potential operator error’) I have yet to learn how to post from that fancy phone.  All in good time I am sure.  Here I am at a two dollar per half hour internet kiosk at the Sacramento Hostel.  My first decent nights rest is behind me since I started on this expedition.

Blasting out of home base and entering cell phone reception let me know that the phone activation was unsuccessful.  Luckily the internet on the gizmo was active so I was able to e-mail sweet L and have her contact customer service for me to get it up and running. Once I had the instructions on correcting the phone trouble I had to wait due to a four hour lag before the internet would come back up.  I had to have internet in order to get the wrong directions from MapQuest a couple times.  I e-mailed friend L  for directions to his home in Salt Lake City.  Dinner with L in SLC at a crowded Friday night pub and no Occupy visit due to lack of Mobile Internet Information concerning said event.  Oh well…..  directions to The Coffee House in Riverton via GoogleMaps were a little homey as I ended up in  a posh subdivision a couple miles from the venue.  Michael the MCof the event was very gracious to answer the phone mid open mic and give me the true address.  I showed up as my time slot was ending… once again, gracious Michael moved me to a later spot.  I was unable to get the camcorder going and ……  I sang “instrumental intro”, “Stand”, “Ask them to Leave” with hydro frac’ing description as an intro and closed with “We’ve WON!” and received good response from the audience.  Met a young trio by the name of Grey Fiction who were kicking off their California tour at their home base of Riverton that night.  Maybe we’ll see each other out there.  Back in the car and up the 15 and over on the 80 (trying to say it like I’m in Cali) until rest stop thirty or so miles before the Nevada border.  Bed at around 2 a.m.

Slept in!!  (if you call it sleeping) 8:30 and I’m back at it.  Even with the extra hour and a half of driving last night and the hour that I picked up by crossing the PST zone change there is no way that I’ll make it to the Occupy meeting.  Once I realized this I stopped and made a cup of coffee for the road.  It was beautiful desert weather for a drive, cool and clear, excepting the pervasive haze of the sky grid.

Pulled into Reno around 3:30, found the Walden’s Coffee House, and went to a chain parking lot to eat dinner and asses electronics.  With everything in good order and my belly humming softly to itself it is time for the show.  The hecklers invited me to their table and then told me the Occupy Camp had lost it’s permit on Wednesday and the one guy that stayed got arrested and that due to the popularity of the open mic it is a lottery to see if you get to perform.  My number was drawn!!  As the night progressed I mentioned to MC Todd that I was here for one night only from Colorado and he talked to his featured set performer and offered that I share the 9:30 slot with Bob the amazing classical guitar player from Vegas.

Jimmy Q, the friendly heckler ran the camera for my set while the audio recorder spun on the table.  I opened with “We’ve WON!”, gave a better description of hydro frac’ing than last time before singing “Ask them to Leave” and closed with “Stand”.  Intra, the other heckler, told me that it was a good idea to get other people performing as well to make my documentary more interesting.  So I took clips from some of the other wonderful (and questionably drunk) performers.  I look forward to getting pictures and music and video up on the site but it might have to wait until I am home again.

While on the drive I listened to (not this order):Tracy Chapman, John Butler Trio, Bret Dennen, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, System of a Down, Sonny Rollins, Christina Mendoza, Spearhead, Regina Spector and Aaron Neville.

Now it is time to get earplugs, blank business cards, and see if I can find a card adapter to get some tunes up for ya!

Michael LightBringer

My name is Michael.  I have dedicated myself to creating a sustainable future for myself and my family.  As farmers we are striving to raise our own food with a half acre of gardens that we cultivate in the summer, a small flock of sheep, and two greenhouses that we are learning to use.  One greenhouse is the southern window bank on our large multi-family designed earthship that we  are over six years into building.  My family and I currently live in a four hundred square foot apartment that we have finished and are still designing the remaining sixteen hundred square feet.  Our power and most of our heat come from the sun, our water from the sky, and our food primarily from our farm and our neighbors.

I am also a musician. The music that finds it’s way through me shares this message of hope and sustainability, but it carries with it a sense of urgency.  My target audience is the young and the disempowered of today’s society.   I am calling on them to stand for our freedom, put down their weapons, lift a shovel, and be a part of saving humanity.

Please join me on this journey as I make a quick tour of Occupy Camps, open mics and house concerts in Utah, California and Nevada. I will be posting observations, audio clips and photos. You can listen to some songs now on myspace.

I look forward to seeing you on this tour and hearing from you as time goes on.

Peace, Michael