Friday, April 3, 2009

Do I Smell Something Burning?

The wheels they are a-turnin’!  Granted, they’re not the wheels on the camper just yet, but the wheels in my noggin.  I’m finessing the plan for the single-axle odyssey minute-by-minute.  I’m also working (again, in my head) on the camper itself. 


I dropped by the RV store the other day (now, how many of you can say that?) to do some research and discovered that there is such a thing as a refrigerator that runs on propane.  Turns out everybody but me already knew about this, but most importantly, my mechanic knew about it and he also knows about the old camper out back in his salvage yard that has one.  If it fits (and you can believe that sucker is gonna fit) he’s going to pull it out for the FAN.  I pulled the extra kitchen tile from the storage space the other day, the surround sound system is ordered and on its way (I know, I know—I’m f---in’ insane!) and my dear friend Deb graciously allowed me to rip out the stove (it's an "Autocrat."  Get it?), propane lamp and magazine rack from my old camper/guestroom that is now parked behind her house.  (I’m going to have to get a scan of the frisky foto that appeared in Nerve Magazine that was taken in that camper.)  As mentioned I've got the kitchen stuff already squirreled away in the shed and I also scouted out a new jack contraption for the tongue (hey, that’s what the thing is called at the front of the camper!)


So I’m trying to balance the practical (hah--"practical"!) with the fun.


So much for the camper side of things.


As for the trip itself, I’m starting to get a clearer picture of the basic m.o.  I’ve been thinking I’d stop along the way and get a little part-time job here and there.  Check out Craigslist for somebody wanting help moving boxes, shoveling gravel… that kind of thing.  But I also thought I’d walk into a restaurant some night and offer to play the squeezebox for a couple of hours in exchange for a meal.  So very Woody Guthrie, I know.  I started to run with that idea and thought, hmmmm, why not do a little advance work and find out what the gay bar is in the next town and say That Guy Who Used To Be Gus Mattox will be there in a couple of days and would love to play the accordion at the bar.  Y’know, work up a playlist and tell a couple of anecdotes or something.


And then, like a CGI sequence from that interminably dull “Beautiful Mind” all the bits swirled around me and fell into place.  When I stepped back to get a better perspective I saw this:


While I’m on Saba, I'm going to write a 30-40 minute one-man show about me and all the crazy adventures I’ve had—Broadway… porn… house flipping… some of the—ahem—other stuff… and how all that coalesced to drop me on the road in a 50-year-old camper.  'Cause I'm, like, an actor, too?!  I have so many stories from my various websites already in essay form that really all I’d have to do would be to arrange them in a playing order and write some connecting passages.  That would all be interspersed with songs on the accordion.  It could really tie together all the disparate things I do into one laughsational fun-filled sextravaganza that any self-respecting gay bar would be happy to book.  And pay for.  And give drink tickets to. 


Of course I’d also exploit any and all media connections I may still have to promote the thing ahead of time so by the time I lope into town the buzz would be like a hive of drones transmogrifying themselves into queens (you’re gonna have to ask Mindy about that…)


But wait, there’s more!


I’ve already got the obvious name for the show and the tour:  “The ‘Canned Ham’ Tour.”   I, naturally, would be the ham; the camper is the can.  I mean, I’ve already got the logo, too.  And when you’ve got a logo, can t-shirts be far behind?  No, they can’t!  I picture myself stepping down from the stage (or bar… or speaker…) to tumultuous, drunken applause and working my way to a table in the back where my t-shirts are already set up and waiting to be sold.  I think I may have one or two or 100 t-shirts lying around somewhere.  Surely they could be sold as well?


I am seeing this thing take on a life of its own.  And, what’s more, hopefully paying for itself.  I figure it’ll be a great way to meet lots of new people, finagle places to park the camper for free and just have the grandest, gayest time imaginable.


Methinks the t-shirts might even be showing up before the Saba trip, so get those PayPal accounts fired up, folks! 


  1. I love the idea-- truly-- but I will definitely have to put my foot down if you book a gig at Koch's with your mother!
    Sign me up for a tee-shirt today...

  2. Sounds like a great idea. Good luck with the writing although judging by your writing on your blogs it should come easy.

  3. So long as you make a stop in Chicago (Roscoe's?) I'm in! I'd love to come see you do your thing.

  4. Wow, this practically amounts to a Gus Mattox "Return." It's playing in my head like a movie (you know the one). You're pulling up to the gates of Falcon Studios in your Isotta Fraschini driven by your erstwhile-director-now-major-domo Chi Chi. The guard recognizes you and makes a big fuss. He motions to the other guard to open the gates. Cut to: a side view of the car gliding forward. First Chi Chi at the wheel, then you in the back seat with Mickey on your lap (if she's good and promises not to puke) and then...the Canned Ham in tow. Cut to: a rear view of the Canned Ham bouncing around as it negotiates a speed bump. It's classic Hollywood...West Hollywood, that is. This has been a Filmways Presentation, Dahling.

  5. Where do I order a t-shirt, Tom? I am so excited about all this! I'd like to be your roadie for a leg of your "tour." Seriously. xxooj

  6. "Play the squeezebox"?That's a new euphemism to me...