Monday, July 13, 2009

Paul Sprawl

I don't make this distinction often, but I have encountered what appears to be the "BEST" guitarist I've ever seen. Paul Sprawl uses open tunings and percussive playing to present an entirely unique style of thought-provoking lyrics whose critique of mass media, irresponsible governance, and the journey of spirit quests demonstrate how a performance should do far more than entertain. Below is a video I took of a private performance he gave to our cycling team in Paonia, Colorado's Methodist Church. The song is called "Sunset Train". Learn more about him at

A brief note on meeting Paul. A number of riders headed towards "downtown Paonia", ie Main St., to visit bars and the kind of antics you wouldn't necessarily put on your resume. I lagged behind as I wrote postcards and read the Newsweek sent to me by my 4k06 teammate Katie Young. Finally I traversed the two epic blocks to Main St., and on my way to the bar I passed a space called The Blue Sage, a performance art space. Inside was a performance hall with about 80 seats sadly filled with just 5 audience members. But they were all enamored as I gleefully joined them in watching a multi-media show combining war footage with the words blogged by Iraqi women followed by beautiful interpretive dance by Paul's wife, Leera Lee, followed by Paul's hypnotic picking. After the performance ended we conversed with the performers and I had a chance to speak more with Paul and his wife. I told Paul about our trip and invited him to perform for us, and he bestowed upon me his handy-dandy instructional DVD detailing his percussive technique.

After some youtube-ing, I dug up a FULL performance of Paul playing what now seems to be my favorite song of his, "Sunset Train".

Colorado Madness

Colorado is by far one of my favorite states to cycle through. There's a reason the sign welcomes visitors and residents to "Colorful Colorado". The Rockies are spectacular. Landscapes cover the gamut - from arid deserts to snow-capped peaks. Towns are just as diverse as the ecosystems - hippy villages on top of mountains (like Ward below), big cities, medium-sized towns filled with Olympians or Coalminers or Tourists. This post shows some of this state's splendor.

The "hippy village" of Ward where Jack Kerouac and his fellow beatpals got snowed in and wrote "mind expanding" verse. To get from Boulder to Estes Park we have to climb a 17-mile mountain on Lefthand Canyon Drive. Ward sits at the top of the climb, population 150. This is a shot of "downtown" taken from the Utica Street Market where you'll find the best cookies you've ever tasted.

Double rainbow! This is our 4k09 group in Wiggins a day before entering the Rockies. If you look closely at the first row you'll notice some of us revisiting poses used to enrapture cameras back in the days of elemntary school.

Sitting in Ward at the Utica Street Market, this is a photo of Officer Anne's shades.

Bike trail out of Glenwood Springs with a colossal mountain perched in the horizon.

In Benkelman, Nebraska (yeah, it's not Colorado, but it's pretty close), I discovered that one of the essential characteristics of manliness is the ability to drive a pick-up truck. This is me in a wife-beater flaunting my manhood.

Those are the Rockies about 20 miles away.

Elk spotting during the descent of Trail Ride Road, America's highest paved rd (about 12,000 ft above sea level) that runs through Rocky Mountain National Park.

Paonia, Colorado is a hidden gem of hippies, coalmiers, and retirees. Several thrift stores boast impressive hat collections. Here, Tom and I model our respective "Baker Boy" and "Toro" hats. We're posing with other great hats, including "Bass Club", "No Sweat! No Sweat! No Sweat! No Sweat! No Sweat! No Sweat!", and "Magnatude". Note the marvelous collection of pre-historic tennis and raquetball rackets hanging above our heads.

Circle-D is a supermarket in Grand Lake, Colorado that donated $371 worth of groceries to our team. These are the two shopping carts we filled beyond capacity.

Abortion causes breast cancer?

We cycled by this sign in Kansas. I must have been to focused on the horizon because I failed to see it and take a photo, so I just took a photo of my friend's photo. Double photo action - whoah! That means if you took a photo of the photo below, that would be triple photo action, and a photo of that would quadruple the fun, and so on... So does anybody care to explain the logic behind the proclamation below?