Dear Tom,An additional Holiday Greeting and message. The XEROX enclosed pretty much tells all but that is quite a bit. Monday of this week, I called P. Austin to bid him a Christmas message and ask how best to deliver Christmas trinket I'd found for him. His answer, Well, look, Edgar, uh, why don't you bring it to the Palladium Wednesday night?" "Huh, I mean, what?" "The Firesign are performing at the KPFK Benefit."
What better Christmas news could there possibly be? I was there as a guest with a friend and so were all four, joking, fretting, waiting, smoking, planning.
The Palladium (home of Lawrence Welk!) has been converted downstairs, upstairs, and outside under a tent, into a Renaissance Faireground. It is splendid the crafts are beyond description, with many people colorfully costumed, replete with strolling players and vendors. Inside, the main stage does not have room for a full show. It is a mini-stage. Upstairs in the balcony (usually a dining area) is another mini-stage, and at the far north corner of the back area tent is another stage (the one used by the Firesign).
The "press party" consisted, essentially, of a show on that tent stage, broadcast over KPFK. Harrison and Tyler were the only other "big" name I noticed on the unfortunately unavailable schedule. Doors were scheduled to open at 8. However, the L.A. Fire Marshall decided not enough fire prevention had been exercised especially in the tent area. We got in at about 8:30, and went directly to the dressing room area (where I ran into a theatre group I had the opportunity of joining last summer. Oh, well).
Firesign shared dressing quarters with a mime. Greetings all around, and Kevin, (my neighbor) collected autographs while I talked to David.
"We've been doing this piece for years and we've only rehearsed it three times The piece was Count of Monte Cristo , with some new twists. All looked happy, even younger. Theatre magic. There was a visitor from Ann Arbor, Mich. Bambi who is twenty-three and a space scientist. She had just last night arrived from Mich., on her way to Lompoc to watch her very own experimental satellite be launched. She did a video tape (her hobby) of P&B in radio studio act. Ought to be pretty good.
Richard Schulenberg was there, talking business. There's a probable Firesign
tour in spring, utilizing new and old material. Hopes and talk of Carnegie Hall,
perhaps a Carnegie Hall album from Columbia. (Only an idea so far). P&B
satisfied with latest tour, still editing film version of TV and beginning to
formulate new album a country and western concept album "with a lot of music."
8:45/9:00PM appearance kept being put off so we did some more socializing. Bill
McIntyre (of KPFK engineering fame and Martian Space Party stage manager) was in
and out. He handled stage for their act.
Avery Schreiber dropped by the dressing room area with Peter Bonerz. Hit of the evening with all these people was the discovery of a hopper in the corner with lottery tickets left over from the Forest Lawn Banquet last week.
The names were remarkable, and Proctor, Schreiber, Bonerz, Kevin and I spent much time looking at them.The most memorable was Ruth de tur Biland. We all thought it was a great joke until we found Mr. Biland.
At around ten pm, we hustled outside to the tent, stood at the rear of a not large crowd, and watched. (Most of the people were still in lines for food and drink). A very amusing fellow in jester costume did the intro. Bonerz informed me that the jester was Edward Albee's nephew, but couldn't remember his name. (In case Bonerz' fame escapes you, he was with Living Theatre; was in Catonsville Nine; a TV series I never watched; and in PBS version of USA. He's a very fine actor).
The Count was well received, if a bit poorly amplified. And, remember, they haven't performed like that since the Space Party. Afterward, David was hoarse is out of performing condition. But all went swimmingly. The audience may have had more fun than they did, but that's questionable. Austin especially stood out in his performance also in his appearance. Kevin (a rock n roll junkie) was in awe. Austin's silver hair, lean look, intensity, size all make him look like a rock n roll giant, something of an Alice David Jagger, only more wholesome. After curtain call, it was Austin who came to the mike to still the frantic crowd which was literally bellowing for "more more." He waved down the crowd and said something like, "I'm sorry we just don't have any more tonight. There'll be a new album in January. Thank you."
Actually, they didn't have anything. Schreiber and Bonerz were pleased with the act. Tiny was pleased. (She, too, was beautiful). After show, Sheila Wells showed up and Phil P. revealed that while waiting for the stage to be fireproofed, he'd gone to the main floor area, found some balalaika players, and sang with them while CBS News was filming. She suggested we should all go around to different strolling groups and break up their acts. I like her.
During this time, Peter mumble to someone that they were all four waiting for a call from The Troubador concerning a Firesign booking Dec. 26-Jan. 1 (my birthday). If it happens, I'll send you an ad. While we were eating, David or Proctor mentioned that Austin's album is due out in January. But it was never mentioned again, and I didn't get the chance to ask the man himself.
Paul T. was there. He couldn't stay long he was working with some people doing visuals for Genesis, who were appearing at Roxy, down the street. While setting up at Roxy, someone had mentioned a Firesign appearance. His immediate response was "That's not likely. How fast can I get there?" We once again promised to communicate more often.
Phil P. pinned me wit his Western Airlines Jr. Stewardess badge. It was a great ceremony with many obscenities passed gaily around. It was actually a bit prophetic. Yesterday, when I started writing this letter, I got around to reading the pseudo-parchment scroll which was my pass. Someone had made a mistake my new name is Lora Bollington. It's really not a bad name, but it doesn't seem to capture my full essence. But, with the solstice at hand and the comet coming, what can I do but face my fate and accept whatever the gods may dish out? So head high and with hands in my pockets, I bid you a good holiday season, and a stronger, better life in 1974.
Lora (Edgar) Bollington
By the way, I still haven't got a dub of Giant Rat. Can you send one? EB "Bud"