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Tag Archive: McDonald’s


Coming home from playing a show last week – back before the flu kicked my ass and I had to cancel a really good gig I was looking forward to – I turned left onto the access road for the entrance to Central Expressway. As I came around the turn, I noticed the cars in line at McDonalds. Behind the car at the window was a cop with all lights blazing. There were two cars waiting in line behind him.

I could not take a picture. I guess if I had acted quickly, I could have pulled over and taken a picture. But I did not want to chance drawing his attention away from the scenario that was unfolding at the McDonalds. And cops with lights blaring are bound to attract other cops. And I didn’t want to draw their attention either.

So I drove down Central, trying to avoid the people on their phone, and contemplated the mystery of the cop at McDonalds. The obvious scenario is that the cop was pulling over the guy in front of him and the guy pulled into line – briefly oblivious to his surrounding environment. Either that or they didn’t want to go to jail hungry.

The one final scenario would be that the cop was late getting where he/she was going and simply wanted the car at the window to hurry up and get out of their way so they could get their food.

Any other scenarios?

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

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mcdonalds-on-montfortA friend from high school, Claudia Noble-Stooksberry, posted in a W.T. White Facebook group. With the Valley View Mall shortly becoming a memory itself, she asked for memories of the mall. It was finished in 1973, before our senior year. As you look at the picture of the McDonalds, ponder this: McDonalds and the Target to the right behind it were the only businesses there. Most of the buildings you see in the picture were not there. The McDonalds was half the size it is now. Across the street from both was a lot of dirt that led to a dirt cliff. On the hill, at the top of the cliff, was Sears. When they put Christmas lights up, you could see them for miles around.

I had jobs since I was six, selling things door to door, delivering newspapers, and so on. But my first “real” job, was at that McDonalds. I had target-on-montfortlong hair then, much like I do now, but it was a little more red then. I had to wear a wig at work. It was the closest I could come to red – cheaply – but it looked on the purple side to me.

One evening some cute girls were sitting on the patio. It no longer has a patio. I felt subconscious in the wig and I knew it made me look a little strange. But with long hair, I was used to people thinking I was strange. Now I just accept the fact that I am, after all, a little strange.

But I was about to punch out at the end of my shift (by punch out, I mean actually putting the card into the top of a clock and having it print the time on the card) and I thought I would impress the girls. I would walk out on the patio, take off the wig with flair, and let my hair roll back out onto my shoulders. And, hopefully, they would think that was cool. I shoved the door onto the patio to draw their attention. I reached up, jerked off the wig – and sent my glasses flying across the patio. A cool moment spoiled.

There would be more cool moments – some spoiled, some not – in the mall when it was built. But first, way back then, the Target was the first “Super Target”?…..

Peace be with you.

 

Dan at Pig 'n' WhistleBefore I went to the ASCAP conference, I wanted to line up a place to play while I was in LA. While I was checking,  I found that it so happened that  the Pig ‘n’ Whistle on Hollywood Blvd., a block from the hotel, had an open mic on Tuesday night.  Not having any kind of following in LA – other than fans on Reverbnation and Facebook – setting up a solo gig would have proved difficult. So an open mic was my best bet.

But it was good fortune that it was an open mic in a historical building. The Pig ‘n’ Whistle was founded in 1927, next to the Egyptian Theatre where the premiers of movies were shown.  You can imagine the movie stars and celebrities that ate there.  The restaurant  has been restored to its original glory. What is called Backstage or the Back Room is down a hall to the back of the restaurant. There was a bar, but it was only used for parties and special events.

Backstage is a funky little room with an even funkier stage. Which is a good thing. Again, you can imagine the private parties held back there over the years. Cameron and I got there before they had everything set up. I was one of the first people on the list. I prefer to go on after a couple of people or acts to get a feel for the crowd. I shouldn’t have been concerned.

When it came time to start, everyone in the room had to pay $3. Which was new for me. If Dan Roark at Pig'n' Whistle 2there is any charge at an open mic in the Dallas area, it is a request for a drink minimum. But it was also Hollywood  Blvd. – you don’t want just anybody wandering in and hanging out.  The McDonald’s has a security guard and police patrols drop around regularly.

The crowd was made up of mostly performers, although there were a few people there to listen. When the show began, the MC asked for the hands of those who wanted to play. I hesitated, to see how  it went. About three people raised their hands. They were the first three to play – with the order corresponding to the raising of hands. The next time around I raised my hand and played in the second batch of performers.

Dan at Pig 'n' Whistle 3It was an eclectic group of people and performers, to say the least. A man who sang cover tunes a capella – in stops and starts at times.  A girl playing her songs on a ukulele, and not too shabbily. A comedian who apparently calls into the Howard Stern show and had jokes that I’m surprised Stern would appreciate. One of those there to listen was a guy made up like Will Farrell in Semi-Pro. He had been out on Hollywood Blvd. near Grauman’s Chinese Theater, posing for pictures for tips.

When I played my songs, I told them I was from Dallas out for the ASCAP conference, and introduced the songs as I always do. I felt like the veteran of the group. I received a good reception from the audience. We listened to a few more performers after I played – including a blues player with an interesting style – before we headed back to the hotel.

It was a great way to end the first day in LA. It’s a more authentic trip when you get to mingle with local people as a traveler and performer. And the journey had just begun.

Peace be with you.

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