Posts Tagged ‘Dave Hendrickson’

A Night Of Stories

September 2, 2013

Friday August 30th, 2013 – Libertyville, IL 

   If for only one time in my life I’d love to know what it’s like to be in the right place at the right time. I certainly know all too well from a pantsload of personal experience what it feels like to be off the radar and nowhere close to the center of what’s happening – and of that I have had my fill.   

   Happening my way into standup comedy in the ‘80s just as the boom years were about to begin has been about the closest I have come to date to hitting a home run, but even that wasn’t a grand slam. Had I possessed the rock solid headliner act I have now, I’d have been a multi millionaire.

   Instead, I clawed my way up the ranks and earned my stripes over decades of paying dues. I’m fine with paying my dues – everyone has to – but it would be nice to get paid back in money. As of now, I’ll be very much upside down on the dues to payoff scale if it ends tomorrow, and I feel like I got cheated. I’d hate to think I came all this way only to get skunked in the end. How cruel. 

   The entertainment fad of the week seems to be storytelling. There are groups popping up with names like ‘The Moth’ and ‘Ex Fabula’, and I’m hearing they’re selling shows out in New York and it’s heading west. There are groups in Chicago and Milwaukee, and I hear it’s catching on.

   I don’t know why it’s catching on, but apparently it is. My long time friend Dave Hendrickson in Milwaukee has been part of the scene there for a while, and even ran his own events at a place called The Safe House. He asked me to participate, and I said yes. If there’s one thing I’m loaded with in life it’s stories. I don’t have to make anything up, and could fill up a whole show myself.

   Another friend Bill Gorgo in Chicago has done some storytelling events there, and has enjoyed the experience. Dave suggested we try a night of storytelling somewhere, so I suggested we do it at Improv Playhouse in Libertyville, IL. They have a nice performance space there, and it’s small enough where the risk wouldn’t be huge if nobody showed up. I’m always up for rolling the dice.

   I didn’t want it be a sausage fest, so I asked a former student named Cathy Rubino to be part of the mix so we’d have at least a little diversity on the bill. Cathy is loaded with creative talent and was excited when I asked her to join us. If nothing else, it would be a refreshing change of pace.

   Tonight was our first show, and it came off very well. We didn’t sell out, but we did manage to rustle up enough to have a show. On a holiday weekend, I’ll consider that a victory. It’s difficult to get butts in seats for any reason, and this was no different. We did our best to get the word out.

   Dave has a couple of nice video cameras, so we were able to do a two camera shoot. Hopefully that can be cut up into a demo of some sort and we can get some paid bookings if indeed this is a viable product. I’m personally not that impressed with it as a genre, but what the hell do I know?

   I wasn’t impressed with rap either but that sells to the masses big time. I still think it stinks, but someone is getting paid a lot more than me. If storytelling is what’s selling, I am locked, stocked and ready to rock. Standup comedy is WAY harder, but if this is the flavor of the month I’m set.

That Midas Touch

August 23, 2013

Thursday August 22nd, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I truly do have the Midas touch in life. Everything I touch turns to mufflers. I thought I’d found my way around that hassle at least for a little while, but when I started my car this morning I was greeted by that loud annoying noise of unquestionable familiarity. My car sounds like a Cessna.

   I know this is part of buying a used car, but this is the last thing I need right now. I’m on a very tight summer budget these days, and don’t have any extra cash to be throwing around on exhaust systems. The last one that fell off cost me $850. I still haven’t sold that turd, but even if I do I am never going to recoup that money for the exhaust system. It turns my stomach to think about it.

   I’m afraid to even have it looked at. They’re going to run the scam past me that I’ll need a new whizzenfluffer flange on my doo hickey pipe, but they don’t make those anymore so they’ll have to custom ship one in on a slow boat from the Congo. It will be made of pure ivory and cost only $3000 – plus 6 hours of labor from the specialist they will have to fly in from Japan to install it.

   I really like the Toyota Camry I bought, but it’s going to be a real killer financially. I juiced up my credit card all the way to buy it, as that was my only option at the time. I used to have a fund for repairs, but my little hospital fiasco in 2011 ended up totally wiping me out. I’m SO screwed.

   The car is very clean, and it had new tires, brakes, battery and a tune up when I bought it. It has extremely low miles for its age, and I assumed I’d have a trouble free car for a while. Having this jump out of nowhere put me in a foul mood, but there’s not much I can do about it. Life is cruel.

   I’ve been working my ball joints off of late doing all the shows I can find, and also working on all kinds of side projects that I am hoping at least one of eventually pays off financially. I’ve put it all on the line for so many years that I would have thought something should have hit by now.

   How many lumps can one guy take? I’m reaching my limit. I tried to turn my radio up loud all day, but it didn’t cover up the noise. It’s like taking a ‘French whore’ shower. Putting all the pit spray or cheap cologne on in the world won’t eliminate the stench of not having taken a shower.

   I’m trying hard to be a good person, I really am. I go out of my way to help others when I don’t have to, and have tried to make the world a better place than when I found it. One would think if there was some kind of higher power He or She would take that into consideration and cut me at least a little break. What the hell else do I have to do? All I’m asking for is relief from the storm.

   What makes this even more stressful is that I’m going into a period of even more instability for the next week or so. I’ve got three nights in a row that are door deals, and that could mean a total washout with zero cash. I took chances in three different places, and I can’t say what will happen or if even one paying customer will show up. Sometimes that’s how it works out, and this is it.

   I am at Improv Playhouse in Libertyville, IL next Friday doing a storytelling show as requested by my friend Dave Hendrickson. He thinks that’s a hot thing right now, and I hope he’s right. I’ll cross my fingers, but I don’t know. Saturday I am working another door deal in Homewood, IL.

   Another friend Dave Rudolf is a musician and wants to try a comedy night at a music club. It’s a small room from what he tells me, and even if it fills I won’t make big money. It’s called “The Twisted Q”, but if nobody comes out it’s twisted bankruptcy. I could sure use a break right now.

Matters Of Trust

July 10, 2013

Tuesday July 9th, 2013 – Milwaukee, WI

   If the average person knew just how much plain old hard work is involved trying to squeak out an honest living in the entertainment business, driving a school bus would seem like a dream gig.  It’s excruciatingly difficult at all levels, and every advancement brings with it new challenges.    

   I’m at a point now where I need to build a network of quality people around me to help me get through, or I’ll have no choice but to quit and do something else. Everyone needs that network to survive, but I didn’t realize that early on. I thought I could do it myself, and it was a big mistake.

   The best running backs in football still need blockers, and the best race car drivers still need to have a pit crew to change their tires and fill their gas tank. I’ve tried to be a one man band for too long, and I can see by my results I need to change that or I’ll never get anywhere close to ‘there’.

   I’ll freely admit a major reason has been trust issues. Dented cans tend to have a very hard time trusting anyone, and it’s been a big sticking point. If my own mother would abandon me as a tot, why should I ever trust anybody else? It is certainly not an excuse, but it absolutely is a reason.  

   I’ve had my heart stomped on way too many times to count, and that pain can be excruciating. Time after time I’ve been disappointed or lied to or let down, and it gets to a point where it isn’t worth trying anymore. One can only take so many wallops, and I bagged my limit decades ago.  

   It’s why I’m not married or in a serious relationship, and it’s also why I’m not farther along in the entertainment business. I’ve never been able to trust anyone enough to let go. I know I’m not the only one who faces this, but if I don’t evolve I’m never going to taste a bite of true success.  

   My needs are changing as I get older, but I still grapple with this issue far longer than I thought I’d have to. I thought things would all just work out in life, but they surely haven’t. I am learning by the hour, and trying extra hard to squeeze the most out of whatever time I may have left here. 

   There’s no substitute for doing things right, and I’ve always tried to do that. My methods might have been a bit off the wall, but my intentions were always good. I see now that that’s not what’s important. Intentions and results are two very different things, and I have encountered obstacles.

   Nobody likes to admit they were wrong, but failure can be humbling proof. When trying to pry open a safe, one must either find the exact combination or blow the door off. There’s no room for ‘almost’, and that’s how I’m feeling now. I have not discovered the magic combination as of yet.  

   I do have a significant number of quality people on my contact list, but I haven’t found the way to best utilize all their useful assets for the benefit of both parties. A deck reshuffle is in order if I intend to see different results, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It will freshen up the energy.

   Today I drove to Milwaukee to have lunch with my friend Dave Hendrickson. We have known each other for thirty years, and he was the very first comedy act I saw at my first comedy show at Sardino’s on Farwell in Milwaukee. He’s no longer a comedian, but he’s remained a good friend.

   Dave and I have helped each other for years, and in evolving ways. His latest contribution was a regular role on The Mothership Connection radio show as his ‘Two Bit Guru’ character. He has a great website at www.twobitguru.com, and his energy is always positive. I don’t know how our friendship will move forward after thirty years, but I know he’s one of the few people I do trust.

Dave Hendrickson - The 'Two Bit Guru' www.twobitguru.com

Dave Hendrickson – The ‘Two Bit Guru’ http://www.twobitguru.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Changing Roles

December 21, 2012

Tuesday December 18th, 2012 – Milwaukee, WI

   I’m fascinated at how strikingly roles can change with the contacts we make in life. Everybody has people coming in and out of their lives constantly, and the way they come in isn’t always the way they go out. Friends turn into lovers or enemies, and vice versa. And there are no guarantees of how long anyone will stay around. The only thing we can ever count on is constant change.

As the year winds down, I’ve been looking over the people I’ve been in regular contact with in 2012 and it’s significantly different than those I was in regular contact with in 2011. Sure, some of the names are the same but many of the main players have moved on. It’s like a sports team.

I had health struggles with my type 2 diabetes diagnosis in 2011, and Jerry Agar and his family were absolutely wonderful in their generosity by allowing me to heal up at their house for several weeks. They couldn’t have been nicer, and it came at a time when I really needed it. I’m grateful.

Then, out of nowhere Jerry got a radio job in Toronto and pretty soon he and his family moved there and we barely speak. There was no falling out, but life just has a way of moving on when it needs to. Jerry has his life and I have mine, and now they happen to be in two different countries.

That doesn’t mean we won’t cross paths again. We’ve been friends since the ‘80s, and we have always drifted in and out of each other’s existence depending on our current location. Right now, it’s not convenient to hang out often. Next year? Who knows? Neither of us has ever been stable.

One friend who has been stable is Dave Hendrickson. I’ve known Dave since my first comedy show in Milwaukee at Sardino’s on Farwell in November of 1983. Dave came into my life in the role of comedy peer, and then exited when I moved out of Milwaukee to begin my road years.

Then we reconnected several years ago, but our roles have changed significantly. I have grown by leaps and bounds as a comedian, and am no longer the aspiring novice when we first met. I’m now the wily veteran I always dreamed of being – even though it came with an enormous price.

Dave pursued a business of doing patent drawings, and has done that for decades. He’s moved on from doing standup comedy, but he still performs frequently with anything from Toastmasters to storytelling and is one of the most creative people I know. I always enjoy working with him.

We’re both left handed, so maybe that’s why we get along so well. He’s also very spiritual and has been a regular part of The Mothership Connection radio show in 2012.

His role has grown to become a large part of the show on air and off, and it’s working splendidly. His title is “The Two Bit Guru”, and his website is www.twobitguru.com. It’s very well done and full of solid content.

Dave’s website person Nate is going to be working on a site for the radio show and also taking over my personal site which needs a major update. I drove to Milwaukee for lunch with Dave to get things in motion, and we got a lot done. We talked about how long we’ve known each other, and how much we have evolved in almost thirty years. The Daves and Jerrys of life make it fun.

The Cosmic Beatles

December 4, 2012

Sunday December 2nd, 2012 – Kenosha, WI

   I am thoroughly pleased with the remarkable amount of positive progress that has been made in regards to ‘The Mothership Connection’ radio show on AM 1050 WLIP this year. We have made a noticeable leap forward in consistency and quality of product, and I intend for that to continue.

A major reason for it is the competence and cohesive chemistry of the others on the show along with me. After almost five years of trial and error, I feel we’ve got “the band” together and could really take this whole thing to a higher level. Exactly where and how to do that is unclear, but we definitely do have the pieces in place to make it happen. I’d love to be able to develop it further.

Our show is a unique hybrid. It’s kind of a cross between ‘Coast To Coast AM’ and a morning show, and it’s a lot of fun to be a part of the team. We’re getting consistently solid guests – many of whom have been on Coast To Coast or network television. We treat everyone with nothing but respect, and word has gotten out that we’re the fun show to do so guests are now approaching us.

This is exactly how I pictured it to be when the show started in March of 2008. Everything was different then, from the host lineup to the time we were on the air. It seems ridiculous now, but at first we were on the air from 1 to 3pm. Nobody wants to hear about werewolves or flying saucers when the sun is up, and we were so new that filling two full hours every week had its challenges.

We eventually got on at night where we belong, and two hours stretched to three and now four as it has been or a couple of years now. Cast members came and went, and some have come back on more than one occasion. I’m sure it’s a lot like the evolution of a typical band, but now we’re ready to be The Beatles. I can feel this is by far the best lineup we’ve ever had, and it’s exciting!

My immediate co-host is Greg DeGuire, aka ‘Ubergeek’. I say that with total respect, as he has an unbelievably diverse range of paranormal topics he can go off on and be fascinating about for hours. He knows amazing in depth information on everything from the Kennedy assassination to Star Wars to Star Trek to 9/11. He’s a walking conspiracy theory. I couldn’t find a better copilot.

Scott Markus is living in L.A. now, but he’s been back on the show a lot of late. He’s an author, film maker and truly talented on many levels. He fits right in, and is a welcome cog in the wheel. His website is www.whatsyourghoststory.com and he always adds to the mix when he’s with us.

Mary Marshall is a perfect fit as well. Her website is www.theparanormalmd.com and she does paranormal investigations and teaches classes about it at Harper College in Palatine, IL. She’s on when her schedule allows, but always brings something of interest to the table whenever that is.

Dave Hendrickson a.k.a. ‘The Two Bit Guru’ is our newest member, but I’ve known Dave for 30 years. He’s very spiritual and has always been into subjects that fit perfectly on the show. His website is www.twobitguru.com and his webmaster Nate Kroll is working on a site for the show. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but at least the main players are in place. Join us on a Sunday from 8pm to midnight Central Time at www.wlip.com/listenlive. The Mothership is flying high!