and, like magic, the final decision has been made that we are, in fact, NOT going to yakima.
100% guaranteed, no changing our minds this time, no going back, it’s finished, done, over, the decision has been made.
the guy sent us the contract. it doesn’t have any of the changes that we discussed when we were in salem, and he hasn’t even tried to answer any of the questions we had, or addressed any of the demands we made after coming back from salem.
so, we’re not doing the yakima gig.
meanwhile, my compact mic stand arrived, which means that now i can take my tuba, and my rolling tote, and busk, amplified, ANYWHERE, with AC power not required. i can also take my harmonic flute and busk, amplified, ANYWHERE…
my 8’x8′ bright red pop-up canopy arrives tomorrow, and that, combined with the massive quantities of aluminet shade cloth that monique just acquired for me, means that i can set up a rudimentary stage with some protection from the wind and rain.
on the other paw, we had an okay set, and an OUTSTANDING set at the pike place market today. the okay set brought in $9 a piece, and the OUTSTANDING set brought in $29 a piece.
we only did one day’s worth of performing, for twice as much time, when we were in salem, where we brought in over twenty dollars.
i agree with hobbit, that performing for the casino, where deni actually works, would be an outstanding gig, but he’s SO FUCKING DISORGANISED that i doubt it’s ever going to happen in reality.
the word that i just got is that we are, indeed, going to yakima.
i don’t have any more details, yet, however:
1) the guy who complained about us not being colourful enough is eric. eric is the guy we were supposed to contact when we got to salem, but when we got there, and called his number, we were informed that he no longer works for the oregon state fair, and we should call someone else.
2) eric is also the guy who was supposed to be responsible for procuring the signs that didn’t exist at the oregon state fair, a fact which cost us a fair amount in tips that didn’t come in because (as was clearly demonstrated) people didn’t know that we were NOT being paid a substantial amount by the fair to be there and entertain them. to counteract this for yakima, we demanded to be paid $2,000 if yakima had signs, $2,200 if they didn’t have signs, and $2,500 if they said they would put up signs, but don’t actually do it.
3) deni apparently “went to bat” for us, and got us hired in spite of eric’s complaints that we weren’t colourful enough. whether or not this means that the issue of the signs (see item 2) that we put into our list of demands (or, for that matter, ANY of our list of demands) has been met remains to be seen.
part of this is because hobbit is so broke that busking to bring in some money NOW is more important to him than clearing up questions such as this. i trust hobbit — more or less — so i’m fairly sure that he wouldn’t deliberately put me into a situation which, ultimately, would leave me screwed, but, because of the fact that he’s so broke, i can’t be 100% sure, and even if i was 100% sure that hobbit won’t screw me, i still have significant reservations about deni, and i’m actually fairly sure that eric would deliberately do things to fuck with me, knowingly or not, simply because he has done so in the recent past. 🤬
so… whee… we’re going to busk for 10 days in yakima. woo. 😒
hopefully it will be more “productive” than salem was.
i got back from the oregon state fair yesterday. things went as follows:
we left at approximately 10:00 am, the morning of thursday, august 22nd, on our way to salem, oregon. on our way, before we got to the I5-I205 split, just north of vancouver, washington, we stopped to meet deni, the guy who hired us to busk. we picked up a preliminary check for $500, and got some advice concerning our appearances — “shave yer scruff, this is a family-oriented show”, and “be colourful”, were the gist of it. there was no inkling of how absolutely pointless this would be, but we were blissfully ignorant, and pressed on.
we got to the fairgrounds and almost immediately discovered that the guy we had been told (by deni) to contact, was no longer working for the fair, and we should contact another guy, who turned out to be joe, but he wasn’t available, so we proceded to our hotel.
the hotel had two criteria: it had to be “convenient”, and it had to be “cheap”. it was both of those things. we were, literally, less than a mile and a half from the fairgrounds — i walked almost the entire distance the first morning we were there, and didn’t realise it because i decided to go back before the road curved around so that i could see the fairground. it was also “cheap” in that it cost less than $900 for an 11-night stay with two beds… but it wasn’t particularly clean: the kitchenette and the refrigerator had mysteriously consistent yellow stains, the shower-curtain rod looked like someone had tried, and failed, to do pull-ups on it, the shower curtain itself was infested with black mold, the sheets and towels were stained, and the staff that i interacted with, with the exception of the lady who checked us in, and a different lady who checked us out, were surly and inconsistent, yelling at us for smoking on the breezeway outside our room, but smoking, herself, in an area that has a sign designating it as a “no smoking” area. for a hotel that had two criteria, however, it fit the bill adequately, and we didn’t spend much time there, apart from sleeping, anyway.
we were supposed to show up at 10:30 am, friday, for indoctrination an important meeting with joe, where we were going to be shown the fairgrounds, the “green room”, get our ID badges and parking permit, and other important stuff. the GPS told us to take 17th ave. to the “red gate”, but 17th ave. was blocked off with a sign that said “vendors exempt”, and we had been told that we were “vendors”, so i pulled around the barricades and was immediately confronted by a harried woman with blonde hair, who said i couldn’t go that way. i said “we’re vendors”, to which she responded, “you can’t go this way” and proceded to give us directions that took us, essentially “around the block”, so that we were approaching from the other direction. we thought it was a little odd, but we didn’t have our ID badges or parking permit, so i said “fuck it” and drove around the block… and, it turned out, that it was, in fact, to the other end of 17th street, and we encountered the “red gate” almost immediately… but we didn’t have a parking permit, so the drone wouldn’t let us park in the VIP lot, which was where we had been told to park. we parked along the street, and inquired at the “red gate information booth” — it said so, with a big sign that could be seen from the other end of 17th street, which caused similar sorts of confusion for two more days, until i decided not to deal with the situation any longer, and drove around the block without even stopping to discuss the matter with the harried looking woman any longer. eventually, we were told, that 17th street is only one way, during the fair, but there weren’t any signs indicating that, and there were other vehicles travelling the “wrong direction” on 17th, but, apparently, WE were “not supposed to”… which is one of the reasons i gave up trying to get a reason out of anybody…
anyway, we parked, and, eventually, met up with joe and brian, a magician, who had also been hired by deni. there was supposed to be a third guy, pug, but his car had broken down somewhere outside of salem, and he was still trying to get there, so we did the orientation without him. joe piled all of us onto a “gator” — basically a large, motorised, all-terrain tractor/cart thingy — and showed us some places we could, potentially, busk. he also showed us the “green room” which was an unlocked and unguarded room at the back of the stadium, where he said we could store our instruments…
and then he took us back to the red gate, and gave us our parking permit and our ID badges, and set us free to decide where we were going to busk for 4 hours. we decided on the last place we looked at, which was across from a dole whip booth, in a place where, we figured, we would get A LOT of traffic, and we were not disappointed… however it was also right behind the big stadium, and about 50 yards away from another stage — the Spirit of Oregon Stage — both of which had EXTREMELY loud bands at what seemed like random times, sometimes overlapping, and, while we COULD busk there, we, literally, couldn’t be heard most of the time… and that’s not to mention the “Jiggle Foot” devices — enormous, brightly coloured feet, barrels, or logs, in which one puts quarters in order to cause a platform attached to a “magic-fingers”-like thing to jiggle, allegedly “rejuvanating” your feet. we had to do some creative re-imagining of how the jiggle-foot devices were plugged in, in order to have enough power for our amps, and for the jiggle-feet. and then one of them broke: first it jiggled REALLY LOUDLY, and then it stopped working at all, which caused many people to complain about it, which caused the fair security guards to come around, discover our creative re-imagining, and summarily unplug our amps, so that, even when there weren’t bands playing, we couldn’t be heard above the crowd noise.
and then, joe disappeared, and was replaced by britanny, until saturday the 31st, when he showed up again.
somewhere in the chaos, hobbit heard some music that he found familiar, which, it turned out, was being made by a fellow named washboard willie, who hobbit busked with at the pike place market, 30 years ago. every day after that, we were visited by washboard willy and his rig, as they wandered by.
we put up with the noise until sunday the 25th, when we requested a different place to play, as we were pushing what we thought was an 8:30 closing time (which turned out to be incorrect, yet another screw-up), and we had only JUST completed our “contractual obligation” of 4 hours of busking. we were given the opportunity to busk under a tree, in the vicinity of a “dippin’ dots” booth and the booth of a hmong fabric artist, and right under the uphill slope of the northwest terminus for the “fair lift”, the oregon state fair’s answer to the “sky ride” from the washington state fair. there wasn’t quite as large a crowd of people constantly going by, but at least we could play without getting blasted away by disco turned up to 11…
monday the 26th was a lot more relaxed. we had the pop-up, but we didn’t need it, because of the shade from the tree. i asked, and was informed that they “would allow” us to take our instruments on the fair lift, so, tuesday, we did our first set on the fair lift, which was kind of amusing, although it was more than a little cramped.
by wednesday the 28th, it was pretty clear that we weren’t making ANYWHERE NEAR as much in tips as we could have been making at home, at the market, so we made some signs to encourage people. that was when we found out that, in spite of the fact that we had been assured otherwise, and we had actually submitted a “publicity photo” for them, there actually WERE NOT signs at the gates, indicating our presence, and suggesting that people who encountered us give us money in exchange for us entertaining them. the signs that we made, made the difference between $17 total, in tips for 4 hours of performance — which is worse than the worst day i have EVER had at the market, by a long shot — and $97 total, in tips for 4 hours of performance, which is an adequate day at the market for 2 hours of performance… but it still wasn’t a lot, which was really discouraging.
apart from not making very much in tips (a little more than $500 total, for 11 days, which works out to about $5.96 per hour, per person), the rest of the fair was pretty uneventful. we settled into a routine of doing a half hour set, with a half hour break, and then four 45-minute sets separated by half hour breaks, and then finishing with a half hour set around 6:00 pm… except for sunday, the 1st, when we were feeling rested enough that we had decided to play a 7th set, because joe (remember him) had said that we were okay until 8:45, when all the entertainment crew would be required for a fire show… but we had just started the 7th set, at 7:15 pm, when a different guy showed up and said that if we didn’t pack up and load out RIGHT THEN, that we wouldn’t be able to load out until 11:30, because of the fire show…
and, after that, we never saw joe again, so we don’t know why it happened that way… but it was just another frustration that made me VERY glad to get back home.
and then, on monday the 2nd, hobbit started losing it. i am sure he was tired, and fact that he has the worst case of sleep-apnea i have ever heard, AND his diet (which consisted largely of whiskey and cigarettes) probably didn’t help matters, but, during our first set, hobbit started out playing his ukulele and singing, and then sort of faded out, started singing gibberish, and then went to sleep… THREE TIMES!!! the first time, i thought it was kind of an odd thing that i had never seen from hobbit before, but by the third time, i was seriously concerned that he was having a stroke or something, so i flagged down a roving EMT, who put hobbit through his paces, and tested his blood pressure, which was 180/90. there wasn’t much he could do, and by that time, hobbit was complaining he was really okay, so he went away, and came back a couple hours later to check. hobbit really was okay, but i’ve kind of got a short fuse when it comes to potential brain injuries.
by the time tuesday came around, i was really glad to leave our sleazy hotel and get back to my own bed.
and, if everything goes the way i think it will, we (meaning hobbit and i) will do it all again, in yakima, in a couple of weeks…