Anytown, USA


Tom –

What's been happening? Was in Santa Barbara last eve, to see Anytown, USA. Show has vastly improved – it's much smoother, more intense, making finale more acceptable, though I still wish they'd do something else for a finish. Encore is "Indian Piece" followed by brief local community improv, leading into "Toad Away." Davis is seeking tapes of tour so he can hear all versions of improvs before publishing script.

Evening was not without memorable moments. My roommate, Chris, and I went up for a two-day vacation, visiting various old friends in and around area, including UCSB. Good vibes all around. Show was in old, beautiful Arlington Theatre (where, according to, er, someone last evening, was the very first preview of Frankenstein – the one where horrified audience members ran out into the streets). Theatre has full sized proscenium stage, and an auditorium that defies description – it resembles a Spanish courtyard, complete w/balconies and stairs which are real; and an intensely black night sky with stars that really twinkle. It's a little like walking into the "Pirates" ride at Disneyland, where you're not sure whether you're inside or outside.

All seats were $4.00, none reserved. The advertising posters indicated two important facts 1) that radio KTYD was producing (station that featured Easy Street, now broadcasting Dear Friends) and 2) that audience was invited to wear costumes. This was the wildest dressed Firesign audience I've ever seen, and over-all, one of the nicest.

For the first time, I had decided to join in the fun, and took
a horn and a laugh box.

About 10 minutes before the show, usher confiscated several noise makers, including ours. "No big deal," thinks I, "it's just uninformed mgt." When usher took items, I asked if I could get them back – he said yes, after show.

Show, as I said, was much better than Royce. They are growing, and I imagine show will be even better when it shows up near here (Santa Monica Civic, July 27).

After show, I asked a different usher about sound things confiscated. She said, "Oh, yes, follow me." She led me directly back stage to near back door of theatre, and disappeared. It was there I ran into Paul T. (who had been taking pictures). I told him what strange things were happening to me, and he advised me to stop buying tickets, and sit in the pit with him. Then, saw Phil A. and Oona, who got in on the action. This was getting me nowhere with my toys, so I split for Mgrs. Office. Both toys were returned, but the laugh box was broken. It was then that I got mad, pressed to talk to Mgr. Just as he walked up, so did David and Tiny, who had picked-up on minor hassle, and told Mgr. In no uncertain terms that their audiences were invited to bring noise boxes. Manager was actually Assistant Manager. He explained that usher acted on his own. Ushers had been told to confiscate drinks, not toys. It was then that D&T left and I made it clear that 1) my toy was broken and that 2) as a semi-pro house staffer I found his crew unsatisfactory. It was then that Phil A. showed-up, and the whole thing started again. It ended when Asst. Manager made it clear theatre was not responsible for replacing broken laugh box, that usher was – and he wasn't getting paid for the evening for all the trouble he'd caused. There was still no apology, so I started in again; Phil interrupted; and Asst. Manager kicked all of us out of "his" office. He'd used no tact, and Austin hollered out "I'm the reason you're getting paid tonight." About that time, one of the KTYD people showed-up, telling the Asst. Manager not to "fuck around with my performers." By that time, the traditional Firesign after performance champagne was being opened in the lobby. Asst. Manager said we'd all better leave him alone, or he'd call off the party. KTYD person said party was part of contract and he'd better go into his office and play with himself.

Remaining hour or so very pleasant. Fab Four are popular enough to be subjects for autographs – and tour posters had been passed out for such purposes. (I didn't get you one, as I was chasing my own tail at the time). Spent much of the time with PA and Oona, drinking, watching crowd, smoking.

New album officially begun today with writing sessions at David's. This will be January release (they hope to record within the month). Book due October 1, and things basically busy.

Personal news next time.

Until then, write!