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cape

a long, long time ago… probably 1980 or thereabouts… i had just moved to bellingham and was a student at fairhaven college, on the campus of western washington university. there was a “student market” called the “VU Vendors” on weekdays, where “professional” vendors (somewhat like what Hybrid Elephant was like, at the FSM) and students who wanted to sell stuff congregated. one of the latter vendors was a guy who had made a cape out of army blankets, which he wanted to sell because he needed some “medication” (i never asked what kind of “medication” he wanted), but i didn’t have the amount of money he was looking for, so i memorised the pattern and went on my way. about a year later, after i had gotten a job, i bought a couple of wool army blankets and made my own cape, which have worn, more or less constantly, since then.

i wore it when i went to the rainbow gathering in 1982. i wore it when i was a migrant fruit picker in 1983. i wore it when i freight-hopped to various places, i wore it when i hitch hiked places, i slept under freeway bridges, and in farmers’ fields wrapped in my cape… in 1993 or thereabouts, i wore it when i went out picking mushrooms, got it caught on a barbed-wire fence and tore a hole in it, which i repaired. eventually i modified the design a little, and cut arm-holes, which fastened with velcro, so that i could wear a backpack and still wear the cape, when it was raining. originally it had three buttons that i rescued from a pea-coat, but the buttonholes failed, so i removed them and replaced it with a metal frog that i got at OCF, where i wore it to protect me from mosquitos.

eventually, i learned that it wasn’t really a “cape”. it is actually a garment called a burnous, a traditional garment worn by Berbers… but nobody knows what a burnous is, despite the fact that it is actually a really cool garment…

it was well worn, and well loved, so it wasn’t particularly surprising when i was putting it on a couple months ago, and the frog ripped a big hole in the front, and i decided that it was time to retire it as a garment…

141215 cape in progressbut i still want need a cape… i NEED a cape. it has been a part of my wardrobe for 40 years, and it’s lack has been felt intensely… so i went out and spent $250 on real wool fabric, and real lycra lining material, and made a new one. 😎

at this point, it’s about 85% finished. i put together the pieces, and sewed the neck, but i’m letting it hang for a couple of days before i finish it, because that way the lining will have a chance to “settle”… the old cape didn’t have a lining, so it wasn’t a problem. i found it rather bizarre, essentially, to have to make two capes, and sew them together inside out, so that the lining came out right.

and i didn’t realise until i hung it up, that, because of the fact that it’s made of brown cloth, it looks suspiciously like a “jedi” cape… which, naturally, means that i’ll be getting a lot of comments from tourists at OCF next year, but… oh well, i’ll deal with it…

NOTC

141019 vashon island amanita muscariai played with the fighting instruments of karma in mt. vernon on friday, olympia on saturday, and vashon island on sunday. i left my top hat in mt. vernon, but i didn’t notice it until saturday, when i was in olympia and getting ready for the show… so i had to go to mt. vernon to pick it up today. for all the time i lived in mt. vernon, the first time i have ever been in the lincoln theater was friday…

141019 vashon island amanita muscariaon vashon, i arrived very early… we caught the 9:10 ferry, and we weren’t actually supposed to show up until 12:00, so i got a chance to wander a little bit on vashon, and i found a whole bunch of amanita muscaria… truly a cup of wonder… i took a bunch of pictures…

141019 vashon island amanita muscaria
141019 vashon island amanita muscaria
141019 vashon island amanita muscaria

i’m seriously considering applying to go on tour with the chautauqua next year. it starts with performances at the oregon country fair, and (this year) procedes to southeast alaska during the three weeks immediately following the fair. it sounds like A LOT of fun, and it would be a great way to re-connect with a bunch of people from my karass with whom i have been out of contact for far too long… 😎