Toothless would be an exagerration.
But teeth plural were missing.
Behind the counter she bent words into a phone, and sold me a skull cap emblazoned with a confederate flag.
That and a small coffee.
We were in coal mining country.
Dorothy the GPS navigated us through some thick, spooky-during-the-day woods.
When did Ohio get so West Virginia?
And where the hell were we playing?
What if there wasn’t a gig at all?
And the promoter was an evil Ed Gein type.
I thought I had seen a poster for Human Centipede Live…
We got out of the woods and went downtown.
Barnesville, Ohio is a village of 4200 people.
Victorian mansions dot the landscape, proof that its roots reach beyond doo rags and scratch-off lottery tickets.
The hipsters in Barnesville were unlike any I had ever seen.
The men wore straw hats, with bushy neck beards and Moe Howard haircuts.
The women wore black bonnets and wouldn’t look at us.
Instead of having jobs, they just make their own clothing.
Watch out, Brooklyn!
We grabbed a bite at the downtown diner.
Jim had a turkey lunchmeat sandwich covered in gravy, I had a gravy-covered steak, and Nicole ordered “The Dublin” sight unseen.
“Now you’ll see how the poor people live,” our server joked.
Afterward, we hit a thrift store and a football cards shop.
I tried to show the Barnesville hipsters the vintage Cleveland Browns seat cushions I had just scored, but they were all too cool to talk to us.
NO ALCOHOL said a sign pointed at the venue.
It was a youth center after all.
Toby the promoter greeted us with a big smile and a firm handshake.
Quite the opposite of a deranged murderer or mad German surgeon, he provided us with coffee & snacks, and his mother even baked us an apple pie(!).
Unicycle would be the sole entertainment for the night.
With an hour to fill and 45 minutes of material, Jim & Nicole unearthed “Justine” and “Mountain Lungs” from Mirror, Mirror, while I worked on my “Coochi Snorcher” piece from The Vagina Monologues.
We were quite proximate to woods and actual trees and this sort of thing.
I read my book on the bleachers near a little league practice, relishing the respite from the tired rock ‘n roll routine.
It was the ideal locale for a R.A.D.D. PSA.
Or a Nugent/Rollins make out session.
A polite crowd had gathered in the chairs assembled in front of our gear.
They made chitchat over pizza and refreshments.
Toby acted as emcee and for the first time on the tour, we were given a formal introduction.
We played a relaxed, sober set in the NPR-like environment.
Despite the volume, Barnesville remained in their seats and appeared to have enjoyed it.
Though the absence of the town hipsters was noticeably felt.
Nevertheless, we left Ohio with fond memories and yummy pie.
Oh yeah, and that doo rag.