moosebutter news and musings
Highway 2 -- North, north, north United States. The furthest North freeway in the US. We followed it East from Shelby, MT, all the way to Minot, ND -- it continues further to the East, though I don't think anyone has actually dared to see JUST HOW FAR IT ACTUALLY GOES. To the West, it stretches all the way to Hawaii. Or so I hear.
Monday we booked it on over here to Minot. Weston, Chris and Jorge traveling in one vehicle got here a couple hours ahead of Tim and his pretty little family, who drove through a massive thunder storm. Blowing-construction-signs-across-the-street massive.
Minot is a pretty big city, evidenced by the requisite population of fast food chains and a super wal-mart. The North Dakota State Fair is pretty massive -- big grandstand entertainment including Carrie Underwood, Steve Miller Band, Keith Urban and the like; 10 free stages, one of which has us doing our happy little act three times a day.
Fairs, especially the carnivals, are interesting places. The only carnival-esque experience I had growing up was at Lagoon, an amusement park in North-Central Utah. There you have the rides, the games, the booths, the food stands and the everything else, I think deliberately set up to imitate a carnival, but with a few major differences: it's paved (so no dust), it's pretty cheap (because you pay for most of it at the gate), and it's staffed by teenagers. Real carnivals are dusty, hot, expensive (five bucks for two dart throws?), and staffed mostly by old, craggy, chain-smoking dudes. Scary to walk the kids past. No wonder these places are dying out -- it's gross.
That being said, it's a totally different beast than Lagoon, or even the carnival that rides through our part of Colorado every year and sets up camp in the mall parking lot. People in the Boulder area are not hurting for things to do. Even the poorest are pretty well off, and most laborers are not hard laborers. For a town like Shelby, MT, the fair is a big thing -- possibly THE big thing all year. They don't have Lagoon, or Six Flags, or the local water park to hang out at all year; there are not big events a few miles away happening every weekend; they work hard, and amusement is a different thing than to us cooshy lifers. The fair is the big thing -- they enjoy it when it comes.
It was interesting to see the confluence of cultures -- the older folks still wear the boots and wranglers and flannel shirts; younger, you still get boots, but they're usually wearing gap on top, or cowboy hats and nike airs. And we saw a group of highly-pierced punks hanging out at the rodeo. Cool.
Speaking of rodeo. Watched some regional competition rounds of calf roping and bronco riding. I always thought it was bizarre when they did rodeos at the Salt Palace in downtown Salt Lake City. Now I get it a little more -- plain country, Montana, that's how people up here survive. I don't know how much calf roping actually gets done anymore, but at least not long ago this was a living -- if you couldn't catch a calf, heard cattle, tame a horse, and master the elements, you dead. The community celebrated the skills that kept them alive. Not to mention that people like to show off, and you show off in ways that can be measured -- everyone rides a horse? Everyone can tell who's best at riding a horse, so let's have a contest.
Medieval / Renaissance, you got what? Pageants, jousts, sword fighting -- celebrating the skills and abilities that kept kingdoms strong and armies powerful. Fencing: a sport that grew out of a martial art. Even the Olympics originally started with events that mirrored war, both ancient and modern -- javelin, discus; equestrian events, rifle shooting and archery.
And, of course, ballroom dancing.
News from the Road deux
Day two at Shelby was cool - three afternoon shows in the scorching heat, glowing neck sunburns to show for it. Lots of fun stuff with the audience, great requests, excellent sing-a-longs.
This morning we drove to Havre... if you can't have 'er in Havre, ya know... three shows today, too! And got to watch the curly blonde haired magician in between!
So we walk through the lobby of the hotel Saturday Night and Jorge has, I lie not, FIVE GIRLS sitting on the couch next to him. We had driven into this town less than twelve hours before and he had already managed to collect a harem of cool, smart girls. There must be swarms of broken hearts in Massachussets since he left (can hearts swarm? Why not?) because he's a ladie's man -- not in a bad way, but he's funny, easy going, and completely devoid of that sickening macho-man swagger that makes many a high school/early college-aged boys so dopey. He's not shy, either, and he's genuinely interested in other people and in ideas; so no wonder the smart girls want to hang out with him.
News from the Road:
We're up here in beautiful Shelby, MT, kicking it at the Marias County Fair. Had a show tonight at the horse track/mud wrestling pit (actually mud racing but who's splitting hairs?). We were performing at the front of the bleachers with the audience in the bleachers right in front of us. Interesting trying to navigate our stage movement by jumping from bleacher seat to bleacher seat. Girl who did interpretive dance actually fell down a couple steps. Grooooovy.
Highlight of the show #1: the dude who sang the amazing solo on I Will Survive - dude, all I can say is, dude. Wow. Dude. Highlight of the show #2: Weston swinging his coat around his head and knocking Chris' mic out of his hand, which spun crazily and was somehow caught by the deft fingers of the Chris.
Then Weston and Tim played hoop with the stud kids of the hoop yard (Jorge played the first part and did well for only having three toes).
Now we're enjoying a lovely summer night in Shelby. Woot.
Last time we told you about the first strategy to bring moosebutter to your town.
Remember the principle -- to get us to your town, the people doing the hiring have to have a favorable impression of us
This time we're giving you two things to try.
moosebutter is beginning a vigorous and rigorous traveling and performing schedule and we want to do a BIG show for a BIG crowd in YOUR TOWN. Problem is, we just
So, here's what we need you to do:
If you want us to play in your town, keep your eyes open for venues, events, activities,
That's it. Then get their email address and phone number, and pass them along to us;
There are lots of things you can do to get us to your town, but the most important is to give the people who hire entertainment a favorable impression of us. You can do it! You're on the front lines!
More information to come!