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Topic: Living on the road
Message: Posted by: D. Yoder (Dec 31, 2013 01:46PM)
I've seen a lot of posts and videos, and read several books and articles about the nuts and bolts of doing a show on the street. That part I think I get.

What I'm not seeing is how to live on the road as in how to eat and sleep cheaply, how to keep clean without a daily shower, how to get from one city to the next or one pitch to another without a car, where to park a car if you do have one so that you aren't paying parking fees, etc.

Example:
Once or twice a year I go to Baltimore to busk in the area of Inner Harbor and at Fells Point. If I take public transporation, I usually stay at a Youth Hostel in North Baltimore and ride the free purple tourist buses to get around. At the hostel I have access to a kitchen, showers, a bed in a dorm room, and a locker. Since I'm only there a few days, the cash doesn't build up to a level that I can't manage. If I drive into town, I put the car in a parking garage and pay the fee. However, the cost of the Hostel and parking can easily eat up a good share of what I make in a day.

I'd enjoy hearing how the pros do it.
Message: Posted by: Lundonia (Dec 31, 2013 04:48PM)
I don't have any experience in this subject but this should be an interesting thread. :)

There are a few hints in Mario Morris' pdf 'Street performing manual' such as to live in a motor home and get your food from the supermarket and not in the restaurants etc.

I think there will be only a few bits of solid advice here as we all accept different standards of living. The topic doesn't just apply to buskers but anybody who wants to live cheaply.
Personally (without any experience in budget travelling for busking) I think the main obstacle is to overcome the urge to get comfortable in a hotelroom or a restaurant, even just for one night or one meal. Make your personal plan, stick with your budget. Buy your groceries at a local supermarket and stay at the cheapest place possible - may it be a hostel or your own RV.
Message: Posted by: jakeg (Dec 31, 2013 07:02PM)
Ahdn I akrked fairs, I would sleep in my car the first night. Do an early check in at a cheap motel the next day. Ask for a late checkout time. That would give me a shower every day and a bed every other night. If I knew some other person working the fair we might split a room.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Dec 31, 2013 08:01PM)
My late good friend, George Johnstone,returned from WWII and produced a flash act with his wife Betty. He used flowers that he had salvaged from the Blackstone (PERE). He was successful, but, the market for that type of act faded. George turned to doing a single comedy act. He was very successful. Based in Chicago, he flew to many club dates, He was seldom "at liberty". A few years before he retired, he was booked in a large city on the east coast. Somehow, a young magician managed to "sneak in" and caught George's act. He even got backstage to meet George. George, always the nice guy, made the kid welcome. In the course of a brief conversation, the young lad, asked George, "Where are you staying?" George replied, "Motel 6." The young fellow came back with, "I thought you big professionals would stay at the Holiday Inn." George smiled and said, "I'm here to MAKE MONEY, not spend it!"

I started working schools for the major Lyceum managers when a decent small town "Mom & Pop Motel" averaged $5.00/nite. When color TV "arrived" The price "jumped" to $7.00 or $8.00. Affordable. You could get a good breakfast for $2.00 to $3.00. Then in the fall of 1971, gas prices jumped from $.25/gallon to $.75/gallon. Motels and restaurants followed with increases.

In mid America, motels were closing because of competition from "chain" motels. School performers sign a contract for a year. Suddenly, they were driving extra miles to even find a motel.

Many of us bought motor homes. Usually we could park overnight on the school parking lot. Often,we were offered electric plug ins. A home cooked meal, not only helped the budget, it usually was more appetizing. And, it wasn't necessary to unload suit cases of clothes, plus the props every night. Granted that RFs are a major investment, and motor fuel is not cheap, but the convenience makes the investment worth it I used motor homes for about 40 years. I was very happy.

Can you make a good living "on the road"? Well, whenever I bought a car--or RV--I paid CASH for it.

I did not use confetti cannons or pyro effects in the program.(schools don't like programs that leave a mess to clean up) My "nut" per show was very little.

Touring schools is NOT busking(There's a check after each show) and there's no need to sleep on a park bench, or eat in a community soup kitchen, but you do need to make a budget and live within it.
Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Jan 1, 2014 01:44AM)
Meals: Buying meals on the spot can easily burn through your money if you don't watch it. Eating is a balance between eating healthy and eating cheaply. Rolled oats is the cheapest breakfast cereal, being only about 1/3rd the cost of 'instant' cereals, but not the easiest to make and clean up afterwards.
On my day outings to busk, I always take a cut lunch from home [but I usually buy myself a McDonalds ice cream if handy, as a treat.
I eat my lunch at my pitch and that makes me available for a bit longer for people to come up for balloon models.

Some accommodation places here in New Zealand have a 'park over' place for vehicles at a minimal cost for you you sleep in your vehicle. No toilet/bathroom facilities provided though.
Freedom camping here in NZ the past 3 years or so has got tough at scenic locations. Two reasons - literally the **** that some people left behind before departing, and the camp ground owners complaining due to their reduction in potential campsite fees. Camp sites with an administrator on hand keeping an eye on things are probably the cheapest safe alternative to sleeping in a vehicle on the sides of a street or out in the country.
Message: Posted by: gallagher (Jan 1, 2014 04:01AM)
I, with my Lady, travel and perform, only 'on the road'.
The benifits,..... a polished Show,..
the danger,.... a "ground" Show.

Traveling, we find it important, to create space.
As much quiet room, as possible.
Hotels, Motels, bording Houses,...coach-surfing never gave it to us,..and,.. toooo expensive.
Creating your own space, while traveling,..that's the Secret.

Another direction we went, is to travel slow.,
.....AND, avoid big jumps.
We learned to play smaller venues,....it cut the stress,...
And Saves on the tank.

We also force ourselves to move.
It doesn't matter how good a town is,.....two days is the max.
We have the feeling, the town stays "fresh".,...
maybe it's in our head,... but,...
It's nice coming back to a town,two years later,.. after they loved you once.

Cooking, and so, we do. in our Waggon,... but between Shows, I love the Café.
And, it think it helps a lot,..breeding with the locals.

I think, "the Travel" has to be part of "the Joy".
,...then the journey becomes pleasure.

parked under a tree, in Chenmitz,
fighting with an IPad,.... with 'Corrective Spelling",
gallagher
Message: Posted by: Eric Evans (Jan 1, 2014 02:45PM)
There are a number of things that have been mentioned here that are relevant to street performing in the 'states.

In the 'states there are a number of things to do to cut costs. The most essential is to invest in a mini-van. It provides shelter at night, a place to nap should that prove to be needed, and a place to store necessary provisions. I keep a cooler in the back, having removed the back seats provides me with a lot of space for a bedroll and storage room. The cooler I use operates off of the car battery keeping sandwich meats cool, cream for my coffee, hydrating drinks and beer to relax and decompress at night. If I use an amp, I can charge it at night on my way to a super WalMart.

WalMart is my home away from home. I can buy everything I need there while traveling, have a place to legally park at night, and a bathroom 24/7. Baby wipes are a requirement to stay clean between showers and finding a laundromat close by is required so that I can change my socks and underwear everyday. I do laundry every week on my day off which is usually Tuesday, sometimes Wednesday.

I'll generally rent a hotel room every third day so that I can get a shower and enjoy some mindless TV (see decompress above) after I've cleaned and organized my van.

As far as parking goes, if you're in a new area, talk to other performers for they'll often know where the free parking is located. I know several performers in Europe that have bikes so that they can remain parked in a good area while riding their bikes to get supplies.

Posted: Jan 1, 2014 4:14pm
Oh, two more things I neglected to qualify:

The reason I stipulated performing here in the 'states is because these days I have a completely different regimen in Europe. Gallagher lives there year round so my approach is different from his.

And the reason I said to buy a mini-van is because I'll often drive a thousand miles to get to a good pitch. The cost of gasoline would be prohibitive for an RV and I still have the space that I need to live out of my vehicle fairly comfortably. Another consideration is cost of repairs while on the road. I prefer Dodge Grand Caravans as they're rugged vehicles, the last one I had I put two hundred and sixty thousand miles on and would've put more but opted to try a slightly smaller Pontiac because it was lighter and got better gas mileage. I'm back in a Grand Caravan these days. I love them.

While on the subject, try to never let the gas level drop below half a tank as I've yet to replace the in-tank fuel pump. A repair that runs about $700. Found that out the hard way. And change the transmission fluid at sixty thousand miles as they are notorious for having transmission problems otherwise.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jan 2, 2014 05:29PM)
I forgot to mention that MOST WAL MARTS WELCOME RV OVERNIGHT PARKING. Some don't! Local ordnances sometimes override Wal Mart. In some areas, RV Park owners have "lobbied" local governments. I pulled into a WalMart in Sheridan Wyoming in the late afternoon. I was jumping from an eastern tour (School Assembly Service) to a western tour (National School Assemblies). The perimeter of the lot was posted with "NO OVERNIGHT PARKING" (HOMEMADE) SIGNS. Yet, there were 3 or 4 Rv's parked along the perimeter of the lot. I knocked on an RV door and asked the occupant. He said I should go and ask the manager of WalMarts. The manager told me I wss welcome! He further said that local RV Park owners would put them up! The manager would tear them down. (WalMart feels that anyone that parks on their lots, will spend some money.) The RV park owners would put them back up! And, the WalMart Manager would tear them down, again!

The WalMart in Bull Head City, Arizona, in order to get a building permit, was required to agree to "No o'nite RV Parking". Many of the Orlando, FL (Disney Land!) WalMarts: DITTO!

FLYING "J" Truck Stops WELCOME RVs! Many have holding tank dump stations, and fresh water sources. All I've seen have propane. Many have small laundromats (for truck drivers) but often they can be used--ask! Ditto: showers, for a small fee. PLEASE, DON'T ABUSE THE PRIVILEGE!!! I've seen some RVers open their awnings and set up charcoal grills which take up space for other RVers. Also,buy your gasoline there,etc.

Most casinoes allow o'nite parking. Not in Biloxi MS!!! Biloxi DID, until some apparently disgruntled gambler, DUMPED HIS HOLDING TANKS ON THE LOT!

In Florida, the state now haa armed guards in their interstate highway rest areas. Ask the guards! They MAY say OK.

I drove into a North Carolina medium size town on HALLOWE'EN NIGHT. "Hallowe'en high schoolers were on the streets!!! I stopped at the Police Station, and asked if there was anywhere that I could park. (There was NO RV park locally). The desk sergeant said: "Park in the lot out in bsck, where the police park their personal cars!" (I never felt so protected!)

In general, act like a gentleman and you'll be so treated. I used RVs for 40 years, and always found a place to park. TED CARROTHERS (magic shop owner in Toledo OH. had a small parking lot next to his shop. After we got acquainted, he installed an electric outlet just for me! Ah! I miss those Brick & Mortars! Jay and Fran Marshall handed me the key to the "side door" when I first played the Chicago area in the '60s. I could run an extension cord under the garage door. Fran said that I was welcome to stay in the "CHARLIE MILLER SUITE". So,I did. It was the beginning of a wonderful relationship. Often I stayed over a weekend, so I would help behind the counter. In December, Fran would book me local club dates. Jay introduced me to Howard Schultz (the best agent I ever worked with!) Howard booked me on the BOZO SHOW many times.

I've gotten a little bit off the basic topic, I hope I've made the point: In general, you'll be treated like a gentleman, if you act like one!
Message: Posted by: D. Yoder (Jan 2, 2014 07:34PM)
I'm impressed with the voices of experience that are providing helpful advice. Thank you!

It is exactly the kind of advice that I was hoping to receive when I started the thread.
Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Jan 7, 2014 04:23PM)
I'm reminded that back when touring bands used to play at various places and stay overnight, they would roster one person to sleep in the van to protect their expensive gear, and would back the van's back doors against a wall so they couldn't be easily opened to unload the gear from.
I've sometimes thought that a wheel-clamp used on one's own vehicle could immobilize it from being driven off.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jan 7, 2014 06:11PM)
Old roadie "trick">>When eating in a restaurant try to park under a light at night. Try to park where you can see your vehicle from your table in a restaurant (this "works" best in a "sit down grab joint" like McD's Wendys Burger King etc.

When I was using motels (before I bought an RV, I ALWAYS CARRIED THE PROPS INTO THE MOTEL.(Props traveled in ONE case) Clothes were in ONE suitcase. I carried two suits, one to wear and one for the next day. So, THE suitcase and THE suit "hanger bag" went in.

I also carried a "catalog" case containing a small electric coffee pot, coffee and tea, instant oat meal, (for those small towns where there was no morning restaurant!) --Yes!, I played some 'ONE HORSE TOWNS'! (IT DON'T TAKE BRAINS TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE!)

DON'T PAINT "WHITESTONE THE MAGICIAN" ON YOUR VAN OR CAR. Jeff Wawrzaszek had signs in the windows,on his first school tour. Before he hit the road, I bet him a milkshake that he would remove the signs before his first week. I won the milkshake. Moral: Don't advertise that you're "on the road".
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Jan 7, 2014 07:53PM)
I understand and agree with the "mini van" vs the "RV" thing, however.

There's a favorite book of mine, "Callahan's Key" by Spider Robinson. Short version, a group of people convert a team of school busses into motor homes and transport themselves from Long Island to Key West to open a bar and save the universe (in that order.)

While I know a full sized school bus would be impractical. I kinda thought it would be cool to get a "short bus" and try something like that.

Would probably eat a lot of diesel though.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Jan 7, 2014 09:18PM)
A car will not be easy. A full size van will not be as hard. Sleeping in the back of the van on the floor is less noticeable. Parking in a 24 hour lot where others vehicles go in and out will make it less difficult to be notice by any of the workers. Get free tickets to a exercise building to get free showers every morning. Keep a bag of soap and towels to a fast food restaurant with a locking bathroom door to wash up and change clothes. Clean clothes at night in a 24 hour laundromat. Wash up there too. Keep a canister of water in your vehicle, getting the water from public buildings.

If a homeless shelter is nearby, sleep, clean up and get free food from there. Busk in the day time when you leave the shelter. Come back to rest at night. If you have no vehicle, use the bus back and forth.

If the busking was low that day, do the 3 card monte if you can at the bus stop, and while riding the back of the bus.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Danny (Jan 7, 2014 09:30PM)
The Service guys that come in to work on our sawmill equiptment put No pest strips on the bottom of suitcases, they say it keeps the bedbugs out. Sounded like a good idea to me.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Jan 7, 2014 09:39PM)
Search for churches that give free meals.

Sleep in your vehicle at a hotel. A lot of hotels have a room of free meals for their guest. Check and see if you can squeeze in that room. It should be hard for the workers to remember all the guest. After eating the free meals and using the hotel's bathroom, get to work busking.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Danny (Jan 7, 2014 11:47PM)
Ok, Got to comment here. While doing Street Magic, have receved tips of: just fried Funnel Cake,
(the sugar made a mess on my table), fresh Egg Rolls (twice), and the left overs from a food vender across the Board Walk. AND one lolly pop, the little boy only had two, and he offered me one. :)
Message: Posted by: gallagher (Jan 8, 2014 04:30AM)
These seems, to me, to be going thru the sausage-grinder of "Homeless,..hungery,.. wandering Wursts".
Folks, the Streets are the highest stage there is.
.., bar none.
As a Street Performer,.... YOU set the standards.

Your Castle. Your Cave. Your Wandering-wigwam-of-Wonder,... lays in your hands.
Go out there with confidence,... not fear.
Create the space you need.
,don't sell out to fear,... robbery, ect.
Performing and traveling, are intense,....... positively intense..
'On the Road' needn't be,.... "in the shadows".

Comfort comes from a combination of Direction, Space, and Time.

As I said, the Streets are the highest stage,
....one reason being,.. they're attainible for 'everyman'.
However, if you don't CLIMB the Stage,..
you will lay underneath it.

Take your time.
Give it the respect it deserves.
,..and the Streets will take you places.

a friend in time,
gallagher.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jan 8, 2014 04:50AM)
[quote]
On 2014-01-07 22:18, Dynamike wrote:
A car will not be easy. A full size van will not be as hard. Sleeping in the back of the van on the floor is less noticeable. Parking in a 24 hour lot where others vehicles go in and out will make it less difficult to be notice by any of the workers. Get free tickets to a exercise building to get free showers every morning. Keep a bag of soap and towels to a fast food restaurant with a locking bathroom door to wash up and change clothes. Clean clothes at night in a 24 hour laundromat. Wash up there too. Keep a canister of water in your vehicle, getting the water from public buildings.

If a homeless shelter is nearby, sleep, clean up and get free food from there. Busk in the day time when you leave the shelter. Come back to rest at night. If you have no vehicle, use the bus back and forth.

If the busking was low that day, do the 3 card monte if you can at the bus stop, and while riding the back of the bus.

see last line above. I'm not sure that I would recommend TOSSING THE BROAD!!! --THAT, could get you 30 days FREE room & board in the COUNTY "CROSS BAR HOTEL"!!!
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Jan 8, 2014 05:02AM)
[quote]
On 2014-01-07 22:18, Dynamike wrote:
A car will not be easy. A full size van will not be as hard. Sleeping in the back of the van on the floor is less noticeable. Parking in a 24 hour lot where others vehicles go in and out will make it less difficult to be notice by any of the workers. Get free tickets to a exercise building to get free showers every morning. Keep a bag of soap and towels to a fast food restaurant with a locking bathroom door to wash up and change clothes. Clean clothes at night in a 24 hour laundromat. Wash up there too. Keep a canister of water in your vehicle, getting the water from public buildings.

If a homeless shelter is nearby, sleep, clean up and get free food from there. Busk in the day time when you leave the shelter. Come back to rest at night. If you have no vehicle, use the bus back and forth.

If the busking was low that day, do the 3 card monte if you can at the bus stop, and while riding the back of the bus.
[/quote]
...get arrested for the three card monte. Your food and shelter problems will be solved for about 30 to 90 days.
[quote]
On 2014-01-07 22:39, Dynamike wrote:
Search for churches that give free meals.

Sleep in your vehicle at a hotel. A lot of hotels have a room of free meals for their guest. Check and see if you can squeeze in that room. It should be hard for the workers to remember all the guest. After eating the free meals and using the hotel's bathroom, get to work busking.
[/quote]
Good job. Now you're a leech, taking something that wasn't ment for you.
Message: Posted by: inhumaninferno (Jan 8, 2014 12:55PM)
Dick Oslund provides much good info on RV touring. I toured in my van then truck pulling a 30 ft travel trailer for a circus tour and then years touring schools. It was home on wheels and I was able, when touring schools, to get lower weekly rates at RV parks. Gas prices shot up and that really grew your nut-made proper routing even more important.

Eric Evans is a true road warrior out working the pitch. His method for what he does is spot on...should be memorized and heeded by touring buskers.

Sorry D-Mike, don't care for your ideas/methods. Would only follow some of that out of pure desperation. Fortunately, I've never been that down.

On the road: be smart, plan ahead, keep your dignity and blend in.
Message: Posted by: Paddy (Jan 8, 2014 05:23PM)
I've found that there is always a Motel 6 handy
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jan 8, 2014 07:52PM)
Ed Rhodes!!! Re. 3 card monte and dynamike's suggestion...

Your last line "...get arrested for the 3 card monte. Your food and shelter problems will be solved for about 30 to 90 days."


That's what I said in my one line comment to dynamike's suggestion!!!

Tossing the broad==tossing the queen in the 3 c monte. 30 days free room and board (self explanatory) COUNTY CROSS BAR HOTEL==THE COUNTY JAIL

(I just phrased it in carnie argot--it's a lot more colorfulL!!!

What dynamike is apparently suggesting is that the OP should become a "short con grifter"

I was a "first o' May in the mid '40s. The following season, I became a "Johnny Come Lately". By the end of the second season, I definitely got "sawdust in my shoes". I've been with it (off and on) ever since.

Did you hear about the big blowdown on Beckman & Garety? Big Eli and the Zipper were scrap iron, Slum and plush from a dozen stick joints was scattered all over the lot. The mitt camp ended up on top of the grand stand. The high striker was bent up like a cork screw. The Ten in One was a pile of rags, and three single "o"s disappeared completely. THE ONLY THINGS LEFT STANDING ON THE LOT, WERE THREE MILK BOTTLES ON AN OLD SPARE TIRE!

If you want THAT translated, it will cost you a yard or two. Next week I'll tell how I got started on a ding show. I was working as a pickled punk for Lou Dufour. Sleeping in a possum belly aint too bad.
Message: Posted by: D. Yoder (Jan 8, 2014 09:10PM)
I have never slept in a possum belly, Dick, but I slept under one once to stay out of the wind and rain. It was a long night, but it made the sunrise the next morning that prettier.

The thread has been helpful, as I said earlier. Keep the advice and the stories coming.

Some other things I have wondered about:
1 How do you pick a pitch when you hit a town without a lot of knowledge about the town before you get there?
2 How do you eat cheaply but well while on the road? For me it has been to make my breakfast, buy something like a Subway footlong (sandwich) and split it for lunch and for dinner. Sometime in the later part of the day I treat myself to a cold soda if it is hot. I don't gain any weight, but it keeps me going.

Posted: Jan 8, 2014 10:29pm
Responding to Dynamike's suggestion for how to live cheaply. Once in Baltimore at Fells Point a man who was living on the street was hovering in the background and grabbed a handful of cash out of my hat and was trying to make off with it instead of putting some in. I respectfully told him that was the money that I needed to eat with that night and that he was going to give it back because I really didn't feel like going hungry.

He did give it back and then left in a hurry, partly because the other folks who had been sitting with him on the nearby bench told him he had to. They then told me that I didn't have to pay for meals, that they knew of a church that served lunch, and that I should come with them the next day and they'd take care of me. I think the key was that I had been treating them with respect all evening and they did the same to me. I really did consider joining them the next day for the fellowship and that it would be fun to do magic with the group while they were waiting for the meal, but I ended up two miles away where I was making money at lunch time the next day and didn't make it over.

Eating with a group of people where I'm invited sounds better to me than sneaking into a motel breakfast, but I guess I've never had to face life when I was completely broke either. I always had the plastic card in my back pocket to bail me out if I needed it since busking is something I do for enjoyment and some profit rather than my complete livelihood.

Thanks for the different perspective, Mike. I hope I never have to use all of your advice, but I've certainly met people who have had to over the years. The thing is that they seemed to be trapped in that way of living and could never find their way back out. One gentleman talked about how living on the road can 'wear you down to nothing in a hurry' and just laughed at me when I talked about the romance of hitting the road. I'd like to travel but avoid the pitfalls.
Message: Posted by: Paddy (Jan 8, 2014 09:35PM)
Bro. Yoder. You can't be that cheap on the road because you don't want to wind up dehydrated or worse get sick and need the emergency room. There is always an IHOP, Denny's or other cheap chain restaurant. True story, I was in Green Bay WI years ago and went into a restaurant for breakfast. The waitress asked "coffee?" I answered "Was Jesus Jewish!" well she brought my food and I asked where the coffee was she said "you said 'was Jesus Jewish' he wasn;t he was Catholic so I thought you didn't want any."
Message: Posted by: gallagher (Jan 9, 2014 04:55AM)
Hey Paddy, Love your story!
By the way, how do we know Jesus was Jewish?

He was in his father's business.

smiles from gallagher.
Message: Posted by: MagiCol (Jan 12, 2014 05:40PM)
D. Yoder asks "Some other things I have wondered about:
1 How do you pick a pitch when you hit a town without a lot of knowledge about the town before you get there?"
My suggestion: Find the central business district, then find within that the street/s or places/events where there's plenty of people.
In a normal town the most people are where the shops are. I especially like pitches based at the shops in a line down the side of a public street - even better if its a public mall [former traffic street]. The private vast shopping malls, and the cities with scattered private car-parking required to visit the spread-out shops are dead losses in my experience - they refuse permission to buskers on their private-owned car parks and malls it seems. Well, I've been refused when I've asked at their offices.
Open-air markets on Saturday mornings are a gathering place for people.

Finding another busker at work and chatting to him when he's free can give good leads.

But I think most of us posters here who busk know these things anyway.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Jan 12, 2014 06:31PM)
[quote]
On 2014-01-08 20:52, Dick Oslund wrote:
Ed Rhodes!!! Re. 3 card monte and dynamike's suggestion...

Your last line "...get arrested for the 3 card monte. Your food and shelter problems will be solved for about 30 to 90 days."


That's what I said in my one line comment to dynamike's suggestion!!!
[/quote]

Yes, yes you did. And yes it was much more colorful. I'm not going to read the whole thread to see if anyone has already posted what I want to say.

[quote]
I was a "first o' May in the mid '40s. The following season, I became a "Johnny Come Lately". By the end of the second season, I definitely got "sawdust in my shoes". I've been with it (off and on) ever since.

Did you hear about the big blowdown on Beckman & Garety? Big Eli and the Zipper were scrap iron, Slum and plush from a dozen stick joints was scattered all over the lot. The mitt camp ended up on top of the grand stand. The high striker was bent up like a cork screw. The Ten in One was a pile of rags, and three single "o"s disappeared completely. THE ONLY THINGS LEFT STANDING ON THE LOT, WERE THREE MILK BOTTLES ON AN OLD SPARE TIRE!

If you want THAT translated, it will cost you a yard or two. Next week I'll tell how I got started on a ding show. I was working as a pickled punk for Lou Dufour. Sleeping in a possum belly aint too bad.
[/quote]

Welp, I got [i]some[/i] of that, but not all by a long shot. I used to study carney stuff way back when. But I've lost a lot of it.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Jan 12, 2014 06:48PM)
[quote]
On 2014-01-09 05:55, gallagher wrote:
Hey Paddy, Love your story!
By the way, how do we know Jesus was Jewish?

He was in his father's business.

smiles from gallagher.
[/quote]

At the risk of getting this thread deleted. I'm going to derail it for a moment to give you a sequence from Spider Robinson's "Callahan's Key." The lead character finds his friends lying in the grass in the yard of his bar "The Place" in Key West;

[quote]

(I) came out from behind the bar to join a group of folks lying on their back next to the pool, gazing up at the Aurora Borealis and lazily conversing. I stretched out beside the Lucky Duck and accepted the joint he passed me.

"You're just in time, Skinny," he said. "I was just proving that Jesus was Irish."

Pass me a joint, I'll play straight man. "How's that?"

"Just think about it. He never got married, he never held a steady job, and his last request was a drink. Case closed."

A few folks chuckled. Marty Pignatelli, the ex-trooper from New Jersey, said, "I think he was Italian. Talked with his hands a lot... seemed to have wine with every meal... worked in the building trades..." More chuckles.

"You're not looking at it right," Tanya Latimer said, "He called everyone 'brother,' had no fixed address, and got crucified for preaching without a permit -- I figure the man had to be Soul Brother Number One."

"You're crazy!" Noah Gonzalez told her. "Everyone knows he was Latino."

"How do you figure?"

"Hell, his first name was Jesus!"

That brought us from giggles to outright laughter. And with perfect timing, Acayib jumped in. "I'm sorry, but there can be no disputing this point. Jesus was a Jew."

He said it with a straight face, and Double Bill didn't yet know him well enough to realize his tongue was in his cheek. "Look," Bill said, "nobody meant to --"

"The evidence is clear," Acayib went on. "He went into his father's business. He lived at home until the age of thirty three. And to his dying day, the man was convinced his mother was a virgin, and she believed he was God."
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jan 12, 2014 08:12PM)
ED>>>>>Liked your story, too.

WATCH THIS SPACE---COMING SOON!---FULL & COMPLETE TRANSLATION OF THE BLOW DOWN STORY

In the meantime, here's a PS to the blowdown story>>>

Cleaning up from the blowdown, the "mortal remains" of three carnies were found. One was "THOUSAND FACES FOXIE", a "FLATTIE" (an agent for a "flat store"'

















A flat store is a GAFFED game of NO CHANCE! --SKILL WOULDN'T HELP EITHER. The other two were "pig iron" guys ("ride jocks" who get the rides up and down and operate them during the week.

So, the three carnies find themselves at the Pearly Gates on the "Big Lot". A Catholic priest, a Protestant Minister, and an Orthodox Rabbi are also standing in front ot the gate. St. Peter enters and says to the carnies: "Welcome fellas, pass thru the gate--you don't need to crack 'with it'--go up the golden escalator--it's trailer mounted--and enter the grand blow off.

The minister says to St. Peter: "How come those carnies get to go in before us?" as he pointed to the priest and the rabbi. Saint Peter replies: "Don't fret gentlemen! --for them, it's only a three day spot."
Message: Posted by: Iron Butterfly (Jan 13, 2014 01:51PM)
[quote]
On 2014-01-08 05:30, gallagher wrote:
These seems, to me, to be going thru the sausage-grinder of "Homeless,..hungery,.. wandering Wursts".
Folks, the Streets are the highest stage there is.
.., bar none.
As a Street Performer,.... YOU set the standards.

Your Castle. Your Cave. Your Wandering-wigwam-of-Wonder,... lays in your hands.
Go out there with confidence,... not fear.
Create the space you need.
,don't sell out to fear,... robbery, ect.
Performing and traveling, are intense,....... positively intense..
'On the Road' needn't be,.... "in the shadows".

Comfort comes from a combination of Direction, Space, and Time.

As I said, the Streets are the highest stage,
....one reason being,.. they're attainible for 'everyman'.
However, if you don't CLIMB the Stage,..
you will lay underneath it.

Take your time.
Give it the respect it deserves.
,..and the Streets will take you places.

a friend in time,
gallagher.
[/quote]

I really love your posts. I will admit they took time to grow on me...but your post spoke exactly what I was feeling as I scrolled to it. Coincidence?
Message: Posted by: Eric Evans (Jan 13, 2014 11:44PM)
Two more things I thought of recently regarding the mini van:

They fit into any parking lot space.

And generally, I'm a late riser and in the summertime, when the sun comes up, it can get real hot, real fast. Now personally, I don't like to wake up prematurely, much less prematurely and sweating.

Trees and a compass are my friends.
Message: Posted by: The Great Zoobini (Jan 14, 2014 12:15AM)
I had a Grand Caravan with a bed, stove, and easy chair in it.
Then I got a pick-up truck with a nice cab-over camper in the back...even better.

In Switzerland, everything's very expensive so I made a huge breakfast of ham and eggs myself and ate dinner out thusly limiting my meals to 2 a day.

Some guy I knew simply ate once a day at the all-you-can-eat specials he found around town.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Danny (Jan 14, 2014 05:46PM)
What? Ham and eggs but no Red Eye Gravy? How did you make it?
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Jan 22, 2014 09:27PM)
Well, I suppose some times you just have to be willing to rough it.
Message: Posted by: bluemagic (Mar 17, 2014 11:40AM)
There a web site cheapliving. Com
Message: Posted by: bluemagic (Mar 17, 2014 04:57PM)
Sorry cheap rv living. Com
Message: Posted by: MRSharpe (Mar 18, 2014 10:33AM)
I heard a tip on security while on the road. I think it was at a Sammy Smith lecture. If you have cash you want to leave in your hotel/motel room, wrap it up in dirty underwear or socks and leave it laying out in the open. Presumably housekeeping will leave it alone.
Message: Posted by: D. Yoder (Mar 23, 2014 01:25PM)
Dick Oslund,
We're waiting for the blow down story!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Mar 23, 2014 02:40PM)
OOPS! I got yer PM this PM (!)

Was it in this forum???? (?)
Message: Posted by: D. Yoder (Mar 23, 2014 06:50PM)
Dick,
Back up to the first page of this stream near the bottom.

Darrell
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Mar 23, 2014 09:30PM)
Well here it is folks! The translation I promised a couple of months ago. I had been in the hospital for 42 days and was recuperating at home. I was making a "visit" to the hospital for check ups OFTEN. Somehow, in all that "activity" I totally forgot. Darrell Yoder PM'd me and reminded me of my promise. How could I say no!

In the mid 40s I spent several summers "with it". ("with it" is the carnis "pass word". It's how you tell another carnie that you're with the show. Back then, when you "cracked with it" ("said, 'with it'") at the grab joint --carnie restaurant where you 'grabbed' your burger and coffee and sat on a bench or a stool, you got a discount.

I was working in a 'TEN IN ONE'. A ten in one is a side show that advertises ten acts "on the inside". I did magic and fire eating, and sometimes did the lecture on the "big snake" (a fifteen foot long python). Carnies like many "professional people" have their own argot. The first thing you learn is how to talk "ceissarnie" ( c eiss arneie). Just insert the extra syllables "e iss" and you're talking ceissarnie. It might be compared to "pig latin" we spoke in school back then.

A 'BLOW DOWN' happens when a big wind storm hits. Carson & Barnes Circus had a NEW big top one year. The C&B big top was big enough to cover a football field! A big wind storm hit and the entire tent was picked up and dropped in the "back yard" (where the performers trailers are parked)

A blow down on a carnival can create havoc! BECKMAN & GARRITY was a BIG carnival in the old days.

BIG ELI is the name for the ferris wheel. A ZIPPER is a high ride (as opposed to a flat ride) Old carnies sometimes called any high ride a 'simp heister'. A simp heister, "heisted a bunch of simps up in the air".

SLUM is CHEAP 'prizes' like comic pins , plastic charms, combs, paper leis, etc. Slum is bought by the pound or by the grosss!

PLUSH is the stuffed animals, which cost more and the joint agent makes sure that early in the evening, a few nice pieces are "won" so that the marks (customers) will carry them around the lot (walking advertising). In my day, plush wasn't "around" yet. Then, plaster of paris dollss were the big items. They were called 'plaster' or just 'garbage'.

Now a days, most 'joints' (any game of chance--or NO chance--is called a joint.)are trailer mounted. It saves set up time. A "stick joint' is a frame work of 'sticks' (2 x 4s) that support a canvas cover.

A 'mitt camp' is a Gypsy Fortune Telling joint--the Gypsy reads your palm (mitt).

A 'high striker' is the joint in which the mark, using a large mallet, strikes a a lever which causes a piece of metal to "travel' up a wire and strike a bell.

A 'single O' is a "one act side show" It may be a 'walk thru display of 'pickled punks' ("babies" in big jars of formaldehyde) or a cage of HUGE JUNGLE RATS, a snake den, or almost anything that the show owner can sell tickets to see!

'Milk bottle joint'. A mark pays for three baseballs and tries to knock some wooden milk bottles off a spare tire. Old timers say that "you couldn't knock 'em off with a baseball bat!

A 'yard' is a hundred bucks.

A "ding" show is a walk thru show that is FREE to enter. Inside you are "urged" to make a "donation" to "help cover the expense of the "exhibit".

Lou Dufour was a well known side show owner.

A 'possum belly' is a compartment which carries tent stakes or similar equipment. It is fastened under the floor of a truck. Often carnies would use them for sleeping quarters.

There! now you can consider yourself "duked in"! You shake hands with your "dukes". A dukie lunch is a sack lunch provided by the circus when it is making a long jump between distant towns and there wont be a cook house to feed the help enroute.

I'm still with it, and for it, and have never been up against it.

I'll see you on the next lot!

Dick
Sneaky, underhanded, devious, & surreptitious itinerant mountebanc
Message: Posted by: Mr. Pitts (Mar 23, 2014 11:46PM)
Dick, I just need to know, where can I get my donniker pass?
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Mar 24, 2014 06:33AM)
On this little mud show, you don't need one! (Just go and "fly a pigeon"!!!) hee hee

On the OLD Jack Mills show, "it" was just a saw horse and a pit in an old umbrella top.

I'll bet that no one here has heard 'fly a pigeon' before!!!!!

Hey! Where's the G Top??? (On a circus, it's called the pie car.)

I gotta go and guy out........

Follow the arrows! --
Message: Posted by: D. Yoder (Mar 24, 2014 09:18PM)
Thank you, Dick. It was worth the wait! I hope you continue to recuperate.
Message: Posted by: KC Cameron (Mar 25, 2014 12:40PM)
In my youth I loved being on the road. Now, only on occasion, and not "roughing" as described here. To each his own.

I like my own bed, and the freedom not to have to scramble to make ends meet. Some, on occasion, but not a steady dose. I don't know if that would be viewed as lucky or not. I think I am. I'll stay in a cheap hotel on the occasion, and I certainly look for deals, but YOLO, and spending that time using cheap motels is not my description of a good time. If I am on the road for more than an overnight, I want don't to scrimp.

It seems to me that busking in maybe up to 3 spots a year would be most economical, and you get to meet the locals and relax. Chasing festivals seems exhausting. Doing a few is fun, but too much of anything generally isn't. I can take 2-3 weeks of festivals and my well runs dry. They are fun, but a lot of work.

If you have to scrimp, then the "freedom" you have isn't actually experienced much. It isn't romantic. I think fond memories tend to stand out and the bad ones fade away and are forgotten.

But, to each his own!
Message: Posted by: Zack (Apr 8, 2014 09:46PM)
Eric,

Why the Dodge Caravan in particular?



I take it you are suggesting a minivan over a full size because of fuel economy?

I would have guessed that an astro would be the way to go. Why the Caravan?

Zack
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 9, 2014 12:28AM)
K.C.Cameron>>>

I guess you would never have made it as a "Toby Tyler".

"Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit!!!" --That's not "carnie", that's Virgil!

Posted: Apr 9, 2014 01:33 am
Zack>>>

Some day, I'll write up the 'story' of Thousand Faces Foxy who bought a new Cadillac every year, and 'lived' in it! Hee hee!
Message: Posted by: Eric Evans (Apr 11, 2014 12:02PM)
Heya Zack,

I thought I already listed the important ones, but in addition I might add that Dodge invented the minivan (or so I've been told). For my money they represent the best value as I can't afford a Honda Odyssey anyway ;)

Besides, there's a ton of them out there; its easy to blend.