Tag Archive: Pig ‘n’ Whistle


Dan at Santa Monica Pier signThe morning after the show at Pig ‘n’ Whistle, Cameron and I rode the Hop-On, Hop-Off double decker bus to Santa Monica. After walking around the pier, we ate at Pier Burger. There is a sign on the pier that says “Santa Monica 66 End of the road.” It signals, of course, the end of Route 66.

People were going nuts, taking each other’s picture by the sign. Which I told Cameron I thought was pretty silly. If you had traveled from quite a distance actually following Route 66, then it would make sense. But just to take your picture in front of the end of line sign means nothing – it just proves you were on the pier.

Dan at Santa Monica with Namba Bag

Had my Namba Gear bag with me, of course.

That and you saw the Forest Gump movie. Then again, I saw a lot of people take pictures of some strange things that week. Like big bushes, weird trees, odd people, buildings that have no significance, and other various oddities.

Then I looked up from my burger, and another group was gathering to have their picture taken in front of the sign. I turned to Cameron and nodded at the crowd.

“Now that’s a group that has a legitimate reason for taking their picture under the sign!”

It was a group of older veterans, each carrying a large flag. The flagpoles were wrapped for a comfortable hand hold and they had braces of sorts on their shoulders. If I read what there was to read correctly, they had actually traveled the length of Route 66.

Cameron at Santa Monica Pier SignObviously, chances are they had not walked all the way, but that is an insignificant fact. Just the fact that they had traveled the distance, supporting fellow veterans and their country, earned them the right to take a picture under the sign signaling, literally, the end of the road. I said a quiet prayer for them as they congratulated each other and took pictures in celebration.

Some of the most memorable moments on a trip happen when you’re not really looking.

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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