Los Angeles, CA
Even though I took some time off from writing about poker, I did not stop writing completely. I published the August issue of Truckin', a literary blogzine that I've been spearheading since 2002. The latest August issue features six stories including contributions from Mark Verve, Johnny Hughes, May B. Yesno, and my favorite Norwegian scribe, Sigge. I have a part in two selections this month including a snippet from the L.A. novel I started writing shortly before the WSOP began. That piece is titled Invisible. (Truckin')
On the music side, I penned nine recaps (out of the 11 Phish concerts I attended) as I made my way cross-country starting out in Berkeley, CA and making my way to Telluride, CO, and eventually to the Midwest and Deer Creek, IN and Alpine Valley, WI, before I made a last minute jaunt to Jones Beach, NY. Writing about music is an entirely different beast than writing about poker. If you're a music fan, then definitely check out the excerpts and linked up recaps below. And if you're just a little curious, don't be afraid to take a peek at what it's like following around the psychedelic circus for two weeks...
Mellow Thursday (Berkeley, CA)All of these recaps originated at Coventry Music. You can follow us on Twitter... @CoventryMusic.
The suite next to us had two huge ass dogs. I think they were Shetland ponies. With the dogs around, it was easy to spot one older surly guy. When I was paying for the pizzas he was making a scene and kicking one of the doors down the hall. An hour later, the local police had him in handcuffs and were dragging him outside. In all, five squad cars were outside. We peeked through our blinds and saw two guys slumped against the back of one car while handcuffed and a group of four officers were huddled trying to figure out what to make of the scene.* * *
Friday Rager (Berkeley, CA)
One young heady Momma was doing her best to walk the steep hill and carry both a beer and a baby bjorn. She almost slipped but she perfectly steadied the beer so none of it spilled. A few wooks tried to hop the barbed wire fence in the back of the Greek. One female cop was waiting. She tackled the fence jumper and cuffed his scrawny ass. As Benjo noted, the cops didn't care about any weed smoking. They were just busting the folks trying to sneak in.* * *
The Invasion (Telluride, CO)
The citizens of Telluride had a legitimate fear -- being over run by blood thirsty Phisheads who blindly trail their heroes around the country, ingesting every potential mind-altering substance in its path, and literally taking over and destroying whatever city Phish plays in, let alone a tiny town nestled in the Colorado mountains. But somehow, Phish's management team pulled off two 9,000 person shows at Telluride's Town Park. Someone must've dropped off a huge sack of cash to the local political machine, because the council was eventually swayed to permit Phish to play.* * *
Redemption and Make-Up Sex (Deer Creek, IN)
"I got heroin, morphine, and Klonapin," said the 50-year old woman with track marks sprinkled over both arms as her scrawny dog wandered around us in circles.
"I'm looking to get up. Not doooooown," I told her as we stood in the middle of Shakedown, with a searing 95-degree heat sending waterfalls of sweat down the sides of my face."* * *
Phish Recovers from Hangover; Smokes the Shit Out of Deer Creek (Deer Creek, IN)
"Do you have any Peggy?"
I had just sold two Dharma patches to two schwasted sorority girls on Shakedown. They were huge fans of LOST and fresh off of Dave Matthews Band tour. They were also looking to blast off.
"Peggy? What the fuck is that?" I muttered.
"Peggy. You know... ecstasy."
"Ohhhh... you mean Molly?"
Giggles all around. "Oh yeah, Molly!"
I told her to keep walking and look for wooks with sideways flat-billed hats.* * *
The Circus Comes to Wisconsin (Alpine Valley, WI)
On our way out, I wandered into the bathroom and the janitor had just finished cleaning one of the toilets.
"Tips are appreciated," he screamed out to the near empty bathroom. I stood at a urinal next to another spun out dude. A schwilly guy jumped out of the other stall and confronted the janitor.
"Dude, some brah dropped a deuce in this stall. It's a two-foot long turd!"
The janitor's face dropped. He had just finished cleaning that one.
"Naww.... just kidding!" screamed the spunion as the panicked look evaporated from the janitor's face.
"Shit, you had me," joked the janitor. "I'm lucky you didn't film my reaction and put that shit up on You Tube."
"Two foot turd. Fuck your face, brah!" screamed the spunion, who ran out of the bathroom.
"Tips are appreciated!" screamed the janitor. I reached into my pocket, handed him a nug, and walked out.* * *The Mothership Returns (Alpine Valley, WI)
I woke up early on Sunday morning (still in the clothes from the previous night) and still reeling from the Saturday show. At 7am, the crew in our lakeside cabin were still asleep. I wandered over to Daddy's cabin and sure enough, he and Jason were up. I walked into a stimulating story by Daddy about an old friend from college who once ate two live mice for $60.* * *It's No Easy Road (Jones Beach, NY)
We headed out to the lots and within seconds the sounds of evaporating brain cells filled the air. The nitrous tanks were out in force and the crackheads rushed towards the hissing sounds. Within seconds, my row was filled with brain-damaged tards clutching balloons and stumbling into oncoming traffic. You can't sell grilled cheese at Jones Beach, but nitrous is perfectly acceptable.* * *The Last Grope (Jones Beach, NY)
We drove up to the parking lots and heads wandered up and down the road with their index fingers pointed to the skies. When we pulled into the lot, we were greeted by hundreds of ticketless fans seeking out the toughest ticket on the tour since Telluride. Extras for tour closers are never easy.
I didn't see too many extras at the beach for either night. It was a hot ticket and fans stood at the entrance to the parking lot and praying for a miracle. Some held out cash ($20s will never suffice, you gotta flash a few Benjamins to get someone's attention) while few amateur artists whipped up snazzy signs hoping to catch someone's eye. A few hopeless heads scribbled their pitch with a sharpie on the back of an empty beer box. I doubt any of them got inside.
By the way, my crew at Coventry Music created a podcast called Wook Patrol. My buddy the Joker and I are the co-hosts and we often interview our friends before/during/after Phish concerts. That music-themed podcast about the happenings around Phish tour is is modeled after the successful Tao of Pokerati quick-fire podcats. Heck, we even have Benjo as a guest on two episodes.
Episode 15: The Greek: Cows and Discoball Hemlets (1:14) - Pauly and the Joker return with a post-show episode. They chat about the Joker's encounter with the cow people while he and Carrie were rocking the Disco Ball helmets.The Telluride episodes are among my favorites. "The Ganjala" episode is one of the funniest things we recorded to date.
Episode 16: The Greek: Wook Patrol Update (1:34) with Benjo - Pauly asks Benjo to give him the run down on the wook trying to jump the fence in the back of the Greek, and the cops who were busting them.
Episode 17: The Greek: Setbreak Convo with Benjo - During setbreak, Pauly quizzes Benjo about the funny snippets of conversations he's heard around him while waiting in line.
Episode 18: Telluride: The After-Party with Wildo - Pauly and Wildo survey the bizarre, yet heady scene at the Coventry crew's post-Phish after-party that the Joker hosted in his condo.
Episode 19: Telluride: No Wooks, No Tour Dogs - When it started getting late at the after-party at the condo, the Joker went on an aggressive patrol and encountered a wook trying to enter the party with a tour dog. The Joker was not going to have any of that. Listen in as the Joker explains to Pauly what happened.Episode 20: Telluride: The Ganjala - The Joker tells Pauly about his ride on the Gondola, which the locals refer to as "the Ganjala." The Joker ran into the only non-herb friendly person in all of Telluride. Hilarity ensues.
Episode 21: Telluride: Late Night Patrol with Jonas and Wildo - Party crashers were the biggest concern for the mellow Tuesday after-party. The Wook Patrol was prepped. Pauly discusses the new security set up with Wildo and Jonas.
To listen to older episodes from the Horning's festival in Oregon and Part I of Phish's summer tour, then visit the Wook Patrol archives.
OK, that's it for now. I wanted to pimp some of my other scribblings and side projects before we return to the grind of poker.
Regularly scheduled poker broadcasting resumes shortly....