Sacha Sacket News

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Glam Santa Barbara bums, Flagstaff kicks ass in both senses of the word, and Hwy 40

On the way back from San Luis Obispo, I stopped by Santa Barbara for lunch. It's a chichi place really - very much a college town - although insanely rich people live/"summer" there too. The funny-strange-not-haha thing I find when I am there (other than random statues they sell there - refer to a previous blog on that) - are the bums . They aren't quite homeless (or at least seem that way) and have this sitcom-entertainment/hippie quality to them. Because I live right along skid row - my viewpoint might be pretty skewed, but I do think it also informs... Seems you have to do a TON to get through to the A.D.D. collegiate population. Santa Barbara bums are a TALENTED lot.

It's hard to see - because I snapped while driving by - but this guy had a RAT balancing on a CAT balancing on a DOG. It was completely awesome. Very circus. Something I haven't seen before - especially from someone collecting money on the street.

This Indian guy above (who looked really happy but more homeless than anyone else too), was playing a homemade wood keyboard (but sounded like a banjo/sitar) whilst shaking a tambourine with his foot for the back beat. It was really really cool and melodic. Sort of bluesy/hillbilly like. I was impressed with the ingenuity and seeming originality. One of those guys you want to record in studio for a song or something.

And this guy had a whole fishing display out, with a cup hanging from his fishing rod. The sign said something about needing money for bait, but was way more witty than that...

There were more people doing various tricks, etc. Also a whole bunch of hair dyed/pierced/grunged out/tattooed kids (15-18) panhandling. They looked more like runaways-for-the-coolness-factor rather than homeless-without-option.

I never know how to feel about their situation - especially because I see people with SERIOUS mental disorders, horribly physically disabled, prostitutes, crack addicts tooting crack babies, very old and lost senile folk roaming around every day at home. Santa Barbara bums are so glam/fashionable in comparison and just a little offensive.

The other side of me sees a bunch of people that live on the beach, hitchhike all over the country, living hand to mouth for the adventure/excitement of it all. Sort of a paean to Jack Kerouac's "On the Road." I love that book, love the "beat" idea of wanderlust... so at the same time, I know it's a cool and liberated way to live. They are definitely NOT the same as the truly homeless in LA however...

And then of course, it took me 2 hours to get home once I got to LA. This is what I see way too much in life - its notorious traffic situation...
Slept a few hours when I got back and then made the 8-9 hour trek to Flagstaff for a solo show. The drive itself was fine. I thought I was all responsible waking up at 8am, so I could get there early and "freshen up." Didn't account for the time zone change and my need for repeated pee/food breaks - so I arrived 10 minutes(!) before my load-in time. Got to immediately cart equipment, "freshen up" in the venue's bathroom, and perform quickly after that. A really great guy - Cory and his roommate Steven - threw a little shindig after the show, so I partied till about 3-4am too. After getting almost kicked out of the hotel at 11a the next day (the maids just keep knocking and calling you on the hotel phone), I had a rushed breakfast and drove back to LA (9 hours) on VERY little sleep over the course of 3 crazy days. BUT - and a huge BUT at that (without the extra t) - the show was AWESOME. Over a 100 kids came to see the show and were so so so respectful and invested in the moment, I couldn't have asked for a better night. Did not expect a turn out like that from Flagstaff. So all in all - it was intense, but EXTREMELY fun and gratifying. Shout out to Luminaria, who were wonderful enough to open for me.

Donald, above, who along with Irene and Dereck (owners of Applesauce), Jessicka, and other delicious and wonderful friends - helped promote the crap out of the show and drummed up a great crowd. Cannot say how much I appreciate their effort. Extra hearts go to Victor, Cory, Jose, Rachele, and all who came. Here is to the next one in April!

The drive back to La WAS beautiful. Took hwy 40 home, and you sort of graze the Grand Canyon, cross the Colorado River, cruise through the Mohave Desert.... it's just one of those amazing drives you only find in America. Very "home on the range," spiritual experience.

The pictures obviously will never do the landscape justice...

Now I am really rested - thank god - and ready for the new week. Hitting Vegas, Phoenix, and Tucson in a few days. Hope to see some of you there!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I appreciate that you took the time to write about Santa Barbara's homeless. I did want to corrct jut a couple of things though. Altough State Street has a bit of Venice Beach quality to it, the homeless problem is very real. Last year 22 people died on the streets and bushes in Santa Barbara. And, as unbeleiveaboe as it sound, there was one night where the teperature reached 28 degrees recently and a man died form cold exposure in Isla Vista near UCSB. Over 1,300 people are found homeless in this little town, and hundreds come to the locals shelter quite battered and bruised. Despite appearances, it is incredibly sad situation in a place with such great wealth.

Mike Foley
Executive Director
Casa Esperanza Homeless Center