Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays to all Dirty Jacksters Everywhere

Happy Festivus or whatever you celebrate. I hope you get the gifts you want.

Santa will come late to my house, dressed as a UPS driver. I bought a new amp. Well, it's actually a very old amp, born in 1947 -- six years before I was. I'll post pix and audio samples later.

Peace on Earth. Goodwill to all.


UPDATE: Christmas in Denver, shoveling snow from my sidewalk.

Denver Breaks Record for Snowfall on Christmas Day

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Jon Stainbrook was an Edgy Comic Genius

In the 1976 production of Paint Your Wagon at Dirty Jack’s Theater there was one particular joke every night that I remember because it got a really big laugh. It was one of those laughs that starts small and then rolls and swells across the audience as everybody gets it. It was one of the best gags every night.

Jon Stainbrook’s Ben Rumson character set up the joke, which I don’t clearly remember. But I remember his punch line:

“Rosh Hashanah!”

The audience was in hysterics. I didn’t get it.

Nope, not a clue. I sat in the band pit watching the show up close every night and wondered what the heck that was all about. I finally asked another band member (I’m pretty sure it was Tim O’Reilly) who told me it was a Jewish thing.

I was a 23-year old yokel from a tiny Wyoming farming and oil town. Not only was I unfamiliar with Jewish holidays, to my knowledge I had never met a Jewish person in my entire life. In fact, it wasn’t until after I moved away from Wyoming the next year that I realized I had never seen black people in TV commercials. Wyoming was not a bastion of diversity back then.

The gag was something about an Indian name, so in today’s environment Jon may have offended two ethnicities. But looking back I think it was good-natured, having more to do with a tradition among old-school entertainment types – such as Jon – for inside-baseball humor at the expense of Jewish friends in show business. Johnny Carson, for example, was big on that. And Jon's joke slayed every night.

Be that such as it may, Jon Stainbrook was an edgy genius. This all makes me wonder about something: I am among the fortunate minority of players at Dirty Jack’s who actually got to work with Jon. I also was there for his final season in 1979. What was Jon’s reputation among the later casts? Did the players who never met him know he was brilliant? Was he the legend he deserved to be?

Monday, December 17, 2007

RIP Dan Fogelberg

Dan Fogelberg was a very influential songwriter/musician during the 1970s, at the time of my service at Dirty Jack’s Theater in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He carved out a niche in the soft-rock/guitar ballad genre with his Souvenirs album of 1974 (very popular during my first year at DJs in 1976) and his Twin Sons of Different Mothers album with jazz flautist Tim Weisberg in 1978 (ditto during my second year at DJs in 1979). His music was all over the FM radio stations and everybody was buying the records.

His style was soft-focus and intimate, not really parallel to my musical interests at the time, which tended toward the loud and twangy. But I listened to his music over and over and strained to learn the hidden secrets of its appeal. I failed.

I remember Fogelberg's music as lovely and gentle, for the most part. The song of his I first thought of when I heard he had passed away was The Power of Gold, a song that rocked a little more than his usual stuff. Back in the 70s I spent a lot more time listening to Country/Rock, such as Jackson Browne, Neil Young, The Eagles, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Waylon Jennings. Still, I remember the buzz Fogelberg’s music generated in Jackson Hole and among the music people with whom I mixed. I wanted to be like him.

Dan Fogelberg died of prostate cancer, and he was only two years older than I am now. That is a very sobering thought. I would be happy if my music had even a tiny fraction of the influence his music had, before I too pass away.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Nancy's Birthday

Hey Rick,

I just wanted to send a quick note to you and I hope you receive it so you can post the info on the blog.

Today, Dec. 7th, would have been Nancy's 54th birthday.

I just thought that her birthday should be mentioned on the DJ's blog. If we didn't, well in Nancy's words, she'd "hang our guts on a fence post!"

She is so missed by many.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

A letter from a Dirty Jacks Fan

Hey, I left a comment on one of the early blogs regarding DJ's and have been frequenting the sight as often as I can. Anyhow, here's a picture that I found in one of my boxes I'm just now unpacking from college. I believe it's a shot of the last or second to last cast of Dirty Jacks.

L to R from back row:

David Joder, Scott Sieffert, Joani ?, David Turner, Davey Hough, Kathy Stainbrook, Craig Richensen, Cory Curtis

Lisa dyson, Audrey Berger, Ruben Travis, Mark Nowlin, Nina trout

Rocky 'Joe' Quarles, Chuck Maes, Nancy Stainbrook, Lisa Sprague, Heather Stainbrook, Kanton Budge, Amber Goe

M. P. Hanford (on the ground right behind the fabulous…) Tom Dewester.

Best regards,
J Morgan

[Note- Click on the picture for a larger image. And thank you so much Jesse! -Rick]