Saturday, October 27, 2007


Tim O’Reilly, my buddy from the 1976 season at Dirty Jack’s theater, came to Denver on business last week and we were able to hook up for dinner and a long visit. It was the first time we’d seen each other since ’76, so we had a lot to talk about. Good thing, too, because we spent most of the time driving rather aimlessly around Denver, since my place is rather spare with no place for guests to sit. We talked and talked for hours as we wandered lost on the streets of the city.

Tim and I were members of the band at Dirty Jack’s in 1976, an eclectic (if not oddball) set of musicians that gelled magically to produce a kick-ass high-energy score for the show Paint Your Wagon. It was some of the best music I ever made.

Tim is still at it, composing, playing, and recording great music. He is embarking on a venture with his son – a student at the Berklee College of Music – to market their creations. I think that is wonderful in so many ways.

An odd thing… Tim and I did not talk much about Dirty Jack’s; mostly talking about our lives since. It fascinates me: the arc of our lives. There is a quality in all of us that drew us together 30 years ago at a funky theater in Jackson Hole. That quality still spins out in all our lives. What a long strange trip it’s been.

Thanks for hooking up with me in Denver, Tim. It was one helluva good time.

UPDATE: Tim has a website dedicated to his musical collaboration with his son. He is a brave lad, develping the site himself in native HTML (which he is just learning) so it is a work in progress. Go take a look and listen to the music. You will be impressed: Songwraith

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Life

I caught only the merest glance of her as she walked by the batwing doors of the lobby, heading south toward the town square on the wooden plank sidewalk that fronted the theater. She was past the door, really, and from inside the lobby it was only a three-quarters glimpse of her back. But I knew it was her.

It was early in the summer of 1979, and I had not seen or thought of her for three years, since the spring three years earlier just before my first stint at the theater. She had been a classmate of my girlfriend back then, Lynda, in their horse training curriculum at Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming.

I stepped out onto the boardwalk and called her name. She was tall and slender, with short sandy hair held by a small barrette. I had not really known her at all in college. I had seen her around. But at that moment in front of the theater I turned on all the oily charm I had learned in three years of honkytonk nights.

Lynda and I did not last long after the 1976 season at Dirty Jacks. I have written about that in detail elsewhere in this weblog. I spent most of the next three years with my Droogs pursuing a lot of the old in-out, and indulging in some of the ultra-violence.

On the boardwalk that afternoon I reached for her hand – my left and her right – and drew her close enough to smell her; to brush against her. I mumbled the trite words that had worked before, usually at closing time after we were done playing our last set.

It worked again. She and I spent the next couple of weeks having sex; sometimes in her car; sometimes on the carpeted floor of a spare room in Kathy’s house. She got abrasions along her spine from our missionary-position episodes on that floor. At that time I lived in a small, crowded apartment with several other actors and musicians. She and I had to seek out alternative venues.

And then it was done. I dumped her, delivering the hard words in the empty theater one afternoon when she came around looking for me. I was interested in someone else.

Thinking back, I don’t know why any of that happened. Revenge against Lynda, perhaps. That is the explanation that seems to fit now.

I caught another glimpse of her several weeks later, at the end of the summer season. In a crowded shop near the town square I spotted her browsing in the early evening. She was wearing a frilly top, and she had the barrette in her hair and a little eye makeup on. She looked happy; excited. I ducked away before she could see me, and I never saw her again.