wrote the entire flight back...
BULLETED SUMMARY OF KC SIEGE/KCBBQI/HEARTBURN&HEARTACHE TOUR/POINTLESS ROAD TRIP
SATURDAY JUNE 23
*Awaken 5am, cab to Logan
*Take several very good aerials on flight out, including two of Back Bay,
*Meet Dan in KCI about 15 minutes after his plane lands. Hop on waiting rental car bus, notice we are the only people cursing very loud in rental car port, acquire MAGNUM. Dan begins loop around city, southward toward Joplin
*Wacky religious sign causes us to do a u-turn detour of Rich Hill, MO, resulting in a multitude of AWESOME shots of a decaying prairie town
*Arrive in Joplin after seeing none of our favorite religious billboards of 2005 on I-44
*Greet Marley and Nate, head to Lumpy's BBQ, get tired asses kicked by gigantic Michelob Amberbocks
*Sleep 3-4 hours
*Return to Pizza by Stout, split Hawaiian pie with Dan
*Go nuts talking about M---W------ horror movie project, shooting ideas around with Dan and Nate. Plan to watch many horror movies. Remember what it is like to be in a room with like-minded friends discussing something of mutual interest.
*Pass out. Dan is attacked by cats and retreats to guest bedroom floor.
SUNDAY JUNE 24
*Now on central time, awaken at about 7am. Exit onto porch, read several Carver stories, journal, swelter, discover that wifi is stealable in neighborhood, begin posting images of Rich Hill on Flickr, eat leftover pizza.
*Hit Target for required trip incidentals: water, Red Bull, trail mix, pop tarts, lemon cookies, deoderant, sneakers.
*Travel into nearby Webb City. See their friends playing outdoors at a church, stop to greet the locals.
*Nail rearwindow driveby shot of Webb City Wheelchair Mullet Man
*Journey into nearby Carthage for photos as well. Nail shot of caged trampoline girl.
*Purchase individual stashes of fireworks at Black Market Fireworks tent
*Consume lunch at the Undercliff bar (steak sandwich), under a cliff.
*Return to Joplin, begin drinking Kentucky bathtub gin and Steel Reserve HIGH GRAVITY ALE.
*Immediately become addicted to cigarettes
*Start trading Red Bulls for cloves, menthols, anything smokable
*Visit 12:51 Hookah Lounge. Two couples plus Dan plus me. No one will share with me, so I get my own Cherry Cola hookah.
*Overhear MethMidget describing recent methsperience while traipsing to the lavatory.
*Run with such excitement to tell story back to table that I overcompensate and knock over hookah.
*Crowd confirms MethMidgetMiniTale is worth embarassment of hookah spillage
*Return to M&N house
*Explode all fireworks in driveway, street, and nearby schoolyard
*Take walking piss and use Dan's tripod to do a lengthy exposure.
*Run away with tripod and explore nearby Route 66, photographing car lots, tattoo shop, roadside psychic parlor, etc etc. Sirens and dogs barking in background.
*Dan shows up. We return, pass out.
MONDAY JUNE 25
*Wake up late. Clean up. I do dishes.
*M&N warn us about some of the towns in southern Missouri, where all the kids have sex with each other and their animals because there's nothing to do
*Travel through Neosho, Anderson, Noel. Challenging terrain. I drive, Dan shoots. Some awesome road-under-cliff pictures should be on Dan's rolls.
*Every town is about 1/3 Mexican
*Skirt Bentonville, see outskirts of Wal-Mart wealth. We do not stop at the Wal-Mart visitor center.
*Enter Fayetteville, use AAA guidebook and maps to navigate to Madame Wu's high ranked suburban chinese restuarant on the northeastern outskirts of town. CROSE! CROSE! say the hostesses.
*We park downtown and see many live music venues.
*Consume Greek food
*Explore used bookstore. Many jackpots. Two Sinclair Lewis titles (MAIN STREET and IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE), Conrad's THE SECRET AGENT, and some Western novel about frontier justice that Dan highly recommended
*Wander & shoot. Buy chai. Move car.
*Gas up, travel west
*Dan gets speeding ticket in West Siloam Springs, OK
*Shoot Glenda at Cherokee Turnpike toll plaza
*Drive toward Tulsa, following the power lines, which Dan likened to breadcrumbs
*Skirt the city, trying to decipher the repetitive, looping interstate geography
*Pass hotels to the south, highway patrol hiring billboards everywhere, refineries to the west, slums to the east.
*Stop in abandoned, autocentric downtown. Shoot new stadium rising as part as Tulsa's Plan 2025.
*Shoot abandoned CONEY ISLAND hotel
*Discover that there are dozens of CONEY ISLAND-themed hot dog joints all over Tulsa
*See a real live drive-in
*Spot Hank's hamburger stand from the highway; regretfully take no photos and consume no burgers.
*Spend half-hour getting checked into "hospitality district" EconoLodge by middle-aged new hire who mistakenly gives us keys to a broom closet. Navigate challening parking lot.
*Settle in late, order chinese food (one order orange beef, one order pepper steak, two root beers) from industrial chinese delivery service
*Small Mexican male delivers chinese food
*Consume all chinese food, pass out
TUESDAY JUNE 26
*Sleep through breakfast
*Start day at Elmer's BBQ, home of the famous BADWICH ("It be bad"). Citysearch reviewer claims that in 17 years of patronage, he has never ordered anything else.
*Badwich consists of smoked bologna, brisket, and split hot link on bun with jalapenos and pickles, served with a rib on the side.
*Two badwiches ordered.
*BBQ, the Great Unifier, brings together businesswoman, home inspectors, cops, working class heroes, and cultural voyeurs, in Tulsa.
*Travel westward out of the city in search of a photovantage point from which to shoot refineries and steam/smog cover
*End up in large county park outside of Tulsa, explore, shoot
*Travel to OK jazz/blues hall of fame on OU campus in neighborhood once known as the Black Wall Street of Tulsa
*Dan takes long phone call from Liz
*I shoot at nearby rr crossing
*Travel to futuristic Oral Roberts U, photograph prayer hands
*Walk campus, witness screaming asian penitents at base of Prayer Tower
*Shoot chickadee smashed into grill of truck in parking lot
*Venture into large building believed to be an office tower with observation deck; discover it is a hospital.
*Realize there were no crosses at ORU
*Try to get tickets for show (311, unimportant) at Cain's Ballroom. Sold out.
*Venture out to Wilson's BBQ. Order brisket and bologna.
*Discover that bologna is not actually smoked here, just served warm.
*Eat fantastic, single serving buttermilk pie
*With Dan again at helm, venture out to Catoosa to attempt photography at the highly industrial inland Tulsa Port of Catoosa, constructed on the Verdigris River, above the head of navigation on the Arkansas River.
*Discover that one entrance to port is heavily guarded
*Join Rte 66 in next town and start hunt for famous Catoosa Whale.
*Find Catoosa whale in about 5 minutes.
*Meet Tyler and Sarah, heavy-swearing locals, who offer us beer and nightlife advice. In appreciation, I trade more Red Bull and immediately pound can of beer.
*Mass of new VW bug conventioneers descends upon the whale, on way to convention in Roswell, NM.
*Much photography at whale.
*Return to EconoLodge, post photos.
*Move into Brookside neighborhood (just above Elmer's), walk scene. Quiet but active on a Tuesday night. Dan takes many Lomo fisheye shots.
*Settle in for a beer at the Brookside
*Despite presence of hot, apparently single girls, we join table of dudes having a high school reunion. They are giving away cigarettes.
*Guy comments that he never takes the bus because he isn't poor. I tell him his attitude is emblematic of a third-rate city and needs rethinking.
*Discussion of downtown redevelopment ensues. NERDS!
*Dan and I leave, get chai at very cool coffee shop up the block.
WEDNESDAY JUNE 27
*FANTASTIC, requisite, high-value Waffle House breakfast.
*Shoot Tulsa Parks garbage truck in rain, confusing driver
*Shoot Camelot Parkside Hotel being fenced off prior to demolition
*Scrap plans to go to Philbrook art museum
*Travel north to Bartelsville. Entire town is owned by Phillips 66/ConocoPhillips. Many modern office towers contrast with the FLW-designed Price Tower. Shoot decay
*Buy new memory card at Wal-Mart. Dan shoots fatties. We depart.
*Rural Kansas cruise. Shoot roadkill store in Caney, cemetery in Niotaze, dead armadillo and cowboy mural shrine somewhere else.
*Have ears CHEWED OFF by friendly welcome staff on the Kansas Turnpike who notice our cameras
*On tip, stop at Hog Wild at entrance to Wichita for BBQ sandwich that wasn't very memorable. Counter girl says she hates bbq and would rather eat at taco bell.
*Father of family of 4 notice cameras, says, "if you guys are photo-graphers, you're missing a hell of a wreck over on Broadway. They got the bridge closed."
*Wolf down sandwiches, race to wreck. Road is closed. Weave through residential neighborhoods in suburban Haysville. Impossible to see wreck.
*Drive local streets across all of Wichita at dusk. See another real-life drive in.
*See taco bus, vehicular chase ensues, shoot taco bus at its place of rest
*Check into Holiday Inn Select using frequent traveler points, are given free beers. Weird to be back in a nice business hotel on vacation.
*Go dowtown to Elmer McFratBar's.
*Buy drinks at bar, sit down
*Waitress with star tattoo on belly comes by, says that if we need ANYTHING, just to get it from her. It's easier.
*She never comes back.
*Thirsty and hungry, we move to the next room, where a comically SMILING waitress brings us wings and beer, then ignores us for the rest of the night
*The wings happen to be the best I've had, which may not be saying much, because I don't usually eat wings
*I spill a glass of water.
*The check never comes, not even after we ask for it, so we leave a small amount of money on the table and return to the hotel.
THURSDAY JUNE 28
*Forget to call mom on birthday, even after making note and being reminded of birthday by brother
*Travel to Pig In Pig Out at its new location on the northeast side of town, adjacent to the buildings of the CARGILL VEGETABLE OILS REFINERY
*Eat the best chunks of brisket I've ever had in my life, perfectly, flavorfully smoked. Falls apart when touched with fork.
*Amid this competition, pork fails to make impression.
*Meet Transgender Bearded BBQ GImp, a short, man-sounding, husband-having, bearded, oily-haired creature in a purple t-shirt who quizzes us about our cameras and makes fun of Dan's long, wing-fueled stint in the bathroom
*Drive around refineries, take shots
*Heartbreakingly miss a shot of a stray dog lapping blue water from between two rails amidst a backdrop of gray skies and gray hopper cars containing some kind of mineral or cement.
*Skip town, hit turnpike, stop for DQ in Emporia.
*Cruise busted Emporia. It doesn't look like anything has gotten in since about 1975.
*Move on to Topeka, for drive by shooting of the disappointingly tiny Westboro Baptist Church (aka GOD HATES FAGS).
*Dan almost sideswipes fat girl with silent male thug passenger while pulling into traffic. Fat girl becomes hysterical, screaming, then blubbering, then sobbing about how the piece of shit she's driving is her first car in a year and it's all she cares about.
*I attempt to defuse situation, and almost succeed.
*Fat girl speeds off through solid red light
*Journey out to St. Mary's, Kansas, in search of two post-Catholic sects, one that rejects Vatican II and the one that rejects them.
*Find no sects, shoot several small towns.
*Journey to Lawrence, home of KU, whose 70,000 year-round residents supposedly keep the place swinging all year.
*Check into the Holiday Inn, which we soon discover is referred to as the HOLIDOME by all local residents
*Take Jayhawk taxi downtown
*Consume hella spicy thai beef, drink drink drink
*Drink at 8th St taproom
*Wander one square block for almost a half hour, before we discover the Granada, where DMX is playing, and a whole bunch of local music joints
*Pay $2 to enter the very hipster Replay Lounge for some sort of show. I think,: I hate hipster scum, but perhaps these people who have seemingly devoted their lives to taking advantage of both consumer and artistic cultural streams in order to enjoy themselves and the people around them are onto something. Indeed, this scene appears to beat downloading my email in an airport at 6pm while connecting to the flight home, then using the flight home to compose detailed responses to the emails received, then discovering upon synchronization at 11:31pm that others have already responded to the emails I just sent responses to, thereby negating many of the decisions I have already made in addition to nearly all of the typing and occasional wordsmithery.
*See wacky mix of acts, drink many $1PBR cans. See all types of gorgeous midwestern hipster girls, even one with a B-17 tattooed on her arm in b&w. Hard not to be impressed, hard not to imagine these people as the consumer products as which they have styled themselves.
*Dan fades early. We meet one dude, from Topeka, who is studying architecture and is very interested in talking about cities. We meet/talk to no girls.
*See cool post-rock act of teenage drummer and mid-30ish chubby Les Paul guy
*Back to Holidome, back to sleep.
FRIDAY JUNE 29
*Sleep in, decide not to leave HOLIDOME. Reservation insanity ensues once again when the new girl doesn't undertand how to make new reservation.
*Eat best breakfast ever with hottest bus girl ever at place called milton's. Three meat scramble, blonde and pink hair, tobasco, orange juice, a four foot tall bombshell body, real butter instead of margarine, a smile to probably die for, even with her retainer in, beautiful hashbrowns. We stayed until they closed.
*Wandered in daze. Walked across the river, shot freight trains and abandoned grain elevator in gray mist.
*Bought hottest, awesomest, green western hipster scum shirt ever
*Found great T-Bone Walker 2-disc set and mint vinyl LP by Ernest Tubb's backing band (the Texas Troubadours) in some fucking record store
*Returned to hotel, traded in free drink coupon for scotch/soda
*Jayhawk taxi (same driver) to brewery place. Jack/Coke. Sesame marinated chicken with sunflower rice and "tasty miso/sherry reduction."
*Pay $2 cover to re-enter 8th st thing, Jack/Coke.
*2 more $ to enter SOUL/FUNK DANCE PARTY AT REPLAY. FIVE JIM BEAM/COKES. rock out, stare at people, don't talk to anyone. have a beer.
*call taxi lady again. takes 20 mins to show. when she arrives, 2 guys with english accents try to get into cab. i run them down, jumping over a 2' tall concrete planter to tell them to get out of our cab. nervous driver explains their error. they are reluctant to concede. one is belligerent. finally they share the cab with us. they've come from the midlands of england to dallas, then to memphis, then to kc, then to lawrence, and were off to san antonio. i told them to go to austin.
*can't sleep. blast huey lewis. blog angrily. very angry. realize i should not be in the position that i'm in and that after a year of working my ass off, i have no opportunity to enjoy anything.
SATURDAY JUNE 30
*cancel lease via email at 4:32am EST
*get scone, scrawl in notebook
*Dan and I get heads buzzed
*Drive, finally, through driving rain, into KC
*agonizingly search for Rosedale BBQ, an unassuming, bank-like bulding across from a grain elevator and some sort of chemical distribution facility
*order two flying pigs: HUGE roasted chicken with three ribs, fries, beans, slaw. heart-stoppingly fucking awesome. neither of us can finish.
*move to quarterage hotel in westport. check in guy tells us that we're in for some wild times, and that we're staying on the best corner in the city
*decide that we WILL go to royals game, even in the rain. call cab.
*young cabbie from somalia tells us that westport "isn't a neighborhood anymore, it's a party place"
*$28 later, we're at the royals game. it's hat night! straw hats! everyone in the agonizingly slow-moving ticket line is raving about the hats. will they run out? there are boxes of hats on the other side of the turnstiles, but every few minutes, another empty box is cut up and thrown into a recylcing dumpster.
*we finally get cheap tickets and get hats.
*every concession stand sells a different type of beer in 16oz cups. we have one of each.
*we spend about 8 minutes in our seats. dan shoots an obese man shoveling goldfish crackers into his mouth. we leave our seats to wander.
*things stay quiet until we make it to the left outfield seats.
*first, i take a piss in one of the stadium's troughs. when i go to exit, the attendant who is mopping the concrete floor (it's raining) tells me: SIR, that's the ENTRANCE. i turn around. with exasperation, he huffs: i JUST mopped there!
*i send dan in with instructions to cause a repeat of the small scene, but the attendant only points out the exit to dan
*then, in the nearby stands, a beach ball appears. fans jump up to give it a whack. people and dan and i pay more attention to the ball than to the game, for the ball is more interesting and allows everyone a chance to particate.
-suddenly, a behemoth, bearded fatass in full KC regalia stands up holding the beachball, screams incomprehensible profanity, and stomps the ball, exploding it. he continues to stomp on the wreckage, amid hundreds upon hundreds of boos and asshole chants. he barks furiously at the crowd, which begins to bait him with cries of BEACH BALL HATER. i try to get closer to the action, and discover that the
section usher is a young girl of about 20, who is panicking, repeating "i have no help over here! i have no help over here!" miraculously, another inflated ball appears and begins to travel above the crowd. dozens and dozens of fingers and outstretched arms point to the beach ball hater, and the chant is renewed. the ball travels the entire section, almost falls fatally over the section's edge and into a grassy slope with a dodge pickup ad it in. the ball is saved, journeys into the heart of the crowd, and is finally volleyed straight into the head of the beach ball hater, who explodes with furor unmatched by anything that has happened on the field or will happen on the field. suddenly, two male ushers in green USHER shirts, and their supervisor, a white-haired, thick-armed 50something, with short-sleeve denim buttondown shirt and the thin white thread of an earpiece running from his right ear, descend into the fray. a screaming match ensues between the supervisor. the supervisor's eyes bulge from his head, and his mouth barks in convulsive, frighteningly precise vertical movements. his muscled arms flail threateningly at the head of the hater, who chooses to argue back. maybe the beach ball spilled his beer. no one cares but him. BEACH BALL HATER, chants the crowd, louder and louder. finally, the hater relents.
*the royals lose in 10 innings to the white sox. i spit in the famous kauffman stadium waterfalls in right field.
*$28 later, we make an ethiopian cabdriver friend who confirms that westport is insanity.
*westport is insanity. we enter kelly's, a famous institution/meat[head] market, and order two 44oz fat tires, which come in large paper cups. this sounds like a good idea, but it is not. dan pounds his beer, and i get halfway through mine.
*when we arrive, the C:P ratio is about 1:1.5. 22oz later, the ratio is more like 3:1. lecherous men of all shapes and sizes descend upon the flattered females. some look out of place and uncomfortable in a cute way. some put near-professional concentration into being in the room. a fat lady sells jello shots for cash, carrying a tray in one hand and a canister of whipped cream in the other.
*finally, we exit the melee. outside, the streets are barricaded with steel fences. KCMO cops and armed WESTPORT PUBLIC SAFETY guards are now IDing all who wish to enter this particular corner. a cadre of girls we eyed exits kelly's followed by three separate teams of men. a uniformed bridal party contemplates its next mood/move.
*we have surprisingly decent pizza in the back of kelly's. i add parmesan cheese, hot pepper, and a few dabs of honey to each slice.
*we return to our room sometime around 12. the insanity rages until 3. i wonder what future marriages could possibly result from this bullshit.
*i receive an email from landlord, notifying me that final rent payment is due and that all my shit must be out on or before 7/31.
*i blog angrily and go to sleep.
*dan has troubles.
SUNDAY JULY 1
*wake for awesome hot buffet breakfast at the quarterage
*clean out MAGNUM LAND BARGE
*cruise up to 39th/volker, photo, confrontation with shopkeep, buy more used shit we don't need.
*cruise plaza corporate retail neighborhood
*see/stalk jesus man
*return to silent westport, photo, coffee
*jesus man returns
*depart w/final huey playing, out to airport
*return car, pass through britbomber security checkpoint, check in, separate at gates, and...