Saturday, June 02, 2007

Barry Crimmins: Of Exits and Eulipions

Ah ha ... You wouldn't forget him either, if you met him where I met him ...

Talking about desolation ... Lord ... Desolation is a railroad station, around about 2AM on a weeknight ... When you walk into desolation like that, and suddenly, out of nowhere, comes a warm song, you ain't about to forget it ...

This is the first time, though, that I heard him at an airport ... I know he moves along the piers ... Ah-Haaa ... He calls himself a journey agent ... A Eulipion ... Says his friends the poets ... The artists ... The musicians are Eulipions too ...

Hey! ... Listen! ... Listen to his tune ... Calls it his Duty Free Gift For The Traveler ...

Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Betty Neal

When you get down to it, Barry Crimmins is one of the fading number of Eulipions.

Barry would often joke and tease me about my love of Jazz, but as time went on, the years passed, the routine sharper and sharper, we would talk about the parallels of what he was doing on-stage, juking and riffing, going off on long solos, or finishing off a bit with a flourishing drum roll coolness.

A few degrees, a few shades and hues of a jazz performance.

Barry announced last month that he will cease performing on stage, ground down by the baseline of chaos-as-life, perpetually-ringing telephone and the relentless harshness of life on the road.

Barry has done the railroads, the piers, airports, buses and just about all other modes of travel over his 30+ years of performing stand-up comedy and satire. He's played the "big rooms", he's done the holes-in-the-wall. A portion of the time, he did it for himself, his career.

A larger amount of time, he did for others, benefits for social and progressive causes, the Peace Abbey, anti-war, Camp Casey, or maybe just a friend, who needed some help, or had undo medical expenses. On one occasion, lending a hand to a struggling jazz festival.

For his career gigs, Barry certainly got his accolades. For the other, Barry deferred credit, no bragging, no big-ego-star turn, taking no compensation for his appearances, or giving the pay to whoever the gig was benefiting.

And Barry is a complainer.

He will give you the shirt off his back, if that was what the situation dictates, and then complain that he didn't give it to you fast enough ... Or that he didn't have enough shirts with him to give to you.

It's been a treasure and a treat to have seen many of his performances. From the old Ding Ho, to the Improv, the Punchline and the whole mishmash of places he gigged. The tours he did with Jackson Browne, or Dar Williams. His live recording sessions. Drinking at a service bar at a Venice Beach café.

And while all that was fun and great, the bigger, longer-lasting reward has been his friendship. The warmth, the trueness, the ease.

He's only trading the stage for the internet, newspaper and magazine essays. More books too.

And for that, we all get more of Barry Crimmins.

Be sure to listen to his tune ... His Duty Free Gift For The Traveler.

You won't forget it, either.


Barry Crimmins Website

Barry Crimmins: My Opening Farewell

The last laugh

Adieu, a little - Barry Crimmins’s comic relief

When Stand Up Stood Out

Rahsaan Roland Kirk Website

Listen To A Clip of 'Theme For The Eulipions'

Barry Crimmins on The Garlic

Friday, June 01, 2007

Editor's Note - Mea Culpa For The Absence and Low Posting

Good Evening Garlic Fans

I hope all is well with you.

I wanted to touch base and offer some reason on why The Garlic has been quiet the past week, or so.

Yours truly has had a real life, serious family situation to deal with, that has required all energy and attention.

For some time now, going on 12-years, I have been caretaker to an elderly relative, an aunt, now 94.

It's only been the last six-or-seven-years that she has started the descent into age dementia and memory loss (as well as significant hearing loss). A very vibrant woman, someone who averaged walking 5-10-miles per-day into her late 80's, an advocate, long before it was popular, or had titles and categories of market share, of eating healthy, vitamins, holistic approaches to medicine, was slowing down.

Roughly eight-years ago, she fell, breaking her shoulder (but didn't tell me about it for nearly six-hours).

Two-years ago, she suffered a 'TIA Episode" or small stroke.

And last Friday night/Saturday morning, she encountered, what turned out to be, Congestive Heart Failure, a small heart attack. Which soon became exponentially more complicated, within 30-minutes of being admitted to the hospital, she took a fall, breaking her left wrist.

So, I have been dealing with this, as she was discharged from the hospital this past Tuesday, and now it's been about getting her comfortable and figuring out, with the heavy plaster cast, and on Lasik to diminish any remnants of fluid build-up, which makes her tired, what her baseline is going to be.

I wanted to present this, to assuage concerns anyone had, fearful that the gas tank was empty and I was giving it up, and that I hope, with this post tonight, and, perhaps a few over the weekend, to get back in the groove.

It may be light - Top Ten Cloves, or riffs pointing to other hot news or great writing - and it could still be erratic, but I am eager to get back to work.

So, please bear with The Garlic and, if it's a light or empty day, scroll down the right column to the vast array of links or highlighted posts you may have missed.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Happy Birthday Rachel Carson!

If you want to take a break from the Rosie O'Donnell - Elisabeth Hasselbeck bruhaha,, here's something much more worthy of a media blizzard.

Happy B'Day Rachel!

Remembering Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson's persistence recalled

The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson Website

And the first guy we are not inviting to the party!

Bill to Honor Rachel Carson on Hold; Okla. Senator Vows Block, Saying Author Stigmatized Insecticides