American Morris Newsletter  

American Morris Newsletter

Volume 26, Number 1
May, 2006

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 AMN Article  

(Or tales from Tropic'Ale in April, 2006)

Audrey Goodman

Brian Smith, holding forth...

You know, once you were able to look around for a moment, after having signed in, spent half an hour socializing, consuming 2 or more beers or ciders in rapid-fire 'Thank God it's Friday' frenzy, you may have noticed that the room looked kind of colorful. Really! Green and golden palm trees, red and yellow hibiscus infused tablecloths with pink and blue surfboards, a rich brown 'Tiki Bar' sign, and various scenes from rainbow colored tropical paradise's adorning the walls like your grandmother's favorite 1950's bathroom wallpaper. And as you were taking this all in, perhaps it hit you over the head like a wet hankie that you weren't in Kansas, or the pouring rain on PCH anymore. No indeed, you were at the Tropic'Ale!!

This was the first community endeavor of the newly formed side known as Rising Phoenix, comprised of dancers and musos who recently have in fact 'risen' from the ashes of the former 'legends in their own living rooms', Sunset men and Pennyroyal women. Were we nervous? You betcha! But wandering (staggering?) around the room watching the mass dancing group grow hour by hour, seeing the smiles of old and new acquainting and re-acquainting themselves, and noticing the amount of alchohol already consumed, I knew we were in for a blast. 

We had top notch musicians from all over California, Arizona and Illinois ( well ok, only one town in Illinois, but it's more impressive to credit the entire state don't you think?) The sound and sight of feet, hankies and sticks flying were as always, a joy to watch. We were thrilled to have not only many of our local California teams attending, we were also honored to open our doors and kegs for a team from the Mid-West, Chicago's Pullman Morris and Sword. Thus did all the frivolity of Friday night's mass dancing go on and on 'til finally 3 hardy souls were left staggering out at 4 AM-ish. Don't ask me who because I sure wasn't there!

Saturday we managed to get 3 buses out just after 9 AM and three tours made their way onto 3 different routes through Ventura, Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Malibu and Camarillo. We started with 'karma stops' at various nursing homes where we were very warmly received, and then hit the road to our crowd pleasing destinations.

Tour 1 had a receptive audience waiting for them to arrive at Heritage Square in Oxnard, where Bufflehead, Berkeley, Deer Creek, and Monarch Grove put on a great show. Tour 2 consisting of Rising Phoenix, Pullman, Wildwood, and Seabright went to a spot near Ventura Harbor to entertain tourists and shoppers. Tour 3 with White Rats, Bedlam Bells, Faultline and Morton Bay Figs gave a great show to a waiting crowd at a spot in Channel Islands Harbour near the Maritime museum in Oxnard.

Mid- day, all the tours met up at Figueroa Plaza in Ventura for lunch, mass dancing and show dancing, not to mention the fine Anacapa Brewery just down the street. The tours then continued their separate ways all seeming to culminate in those extra l-o-o-o-o-n-g pub stops where people could really catch up with each other and their favorite beer or 'refweshing' beverage. Then back to camp for feast preparation!

Though it was hard to pay attention to anything other than the beautiful Faultline members in their matching hula skirts, we enjoyed a splendid buffet of gourmet poultry followed by everyone's favorite dessert - ice cream sundaes! After which we all managed to roll up the hill to the rec hall where the evening's anxiously awaited 'skit theater' was about to begin.

Although many of us Morris jews were delighting in the consumption of non 'kosher for Passover' food like BREAD for instance, Seabright took a moment to acknowledge the holiday by giving us a terrific rendition of "The Ten Plagues of Morris," more frightening than any locust or boil could ever be. Following that, who could forget the flashing red undergarments featured in the Rat's skit, and Andy Bullen's workshop on the importance of Grecian Urns? Not us. Your hosts then ended the 'on stage' entertainment portion of the evening by demonstrating how Morris culture even got onto Gilligan's Island so many years and three hours ago.

Then of course, it was more dancing and drinking, more drinking and dancing, more...oh come on, you get the picture.

Sunday morning's breakfast was followed by the famous tradition of the 'awards ceremony'. Bedlam Bells got the singing stick wielding elephant for a wonderful show dance, Peter got the cup that leaked like a sieve in honor of his 'leaking' the ingredients of his fantastic 'Hurricane' alchoholic concoction all over the floor, Eustace got the hangover award for a hangover which started the previous night at 9 PM, a couple of terrific dancers got their very own sets of wings to facilitate their future flights, Faultline claimed the award for most beautifully costumed, and our little participants each got a special award for accomplishments from doing great clog dancing to being the best Wonder Boy around (don't ask. I didn't). But the piece de resistance of all awards had to go to our special guests, Pullman Morris and Sword. These hardy and humble folk were given the dubious honor of escorting the world's most beautiful lamp from sunny So Cal to the windy wards of Chicago, IL. Which I'm told they did with the utmost grace and good humor, and with help from Andy's daughter who lives in So Cal as luck would have it. The lamp was like a glorious symbol of Morris camaraderie, affection and eclectic style and I'm sure Pullman can't wait to dump, er I mean BESTOW it upon the next deserving side at one of their Ales.

A meet up at Brennan's pub complete with dancing, drinking and merriment followed camp clean up, and thus the Ale groggily came to a close. We thank all our wonderful friends for their participation, humor, dancing, singing, playing abilities, and most of all, getting their money into us on time!

With love,

Audrey Goodman
Rising Phoenix Morris

 AMN, Vol. 26, No.1, May, 2006  ISSN: 1074-2689