My fine Princes and Noble Princesses we are starting to receive reports from all over the realm about last week's Centennial festivities. We are triple flipped to present this narrative from His Lordship's home town of Tuolumne, California. The swingin' scribe is Tuolumne historian and Buckley interpreter David Simerley. Via an email to LBC curator Michael Monteleone he describes the Buckley celebration that took place on Our Lord's Natal Day Swing date, April 7th at the Tuolumne Museum.
Our Centennial Celebration a huge success. And what a 7-ply Gasser it was! Standing room only (about 40 folks), they traveled from as far away as Sacramento and the Pennisula to attend.
We played some old Jazz (like Sunnyside) as everyone came in to the main room. In between songs, I channeled The Gasser, God's Own Drunk and Willie the Shake. We handed out sheets that had the straight and hip versions and the audience followed along to Marc Anthony.
We went into the train room where we had a video set up with interviews Mark [Schecter] gave me of the Royal Family. Then we led everyone into the back room where we had the dedication of the new exhibit and projected your video onto the wall like a little theater. The video wailed. It told the story and really grabbed everyone. After that, there was the cake cutting and we played Happy Birthday and When the Saints Go Jammin' In.
Folks were stopping me in the street days later to tell me what a great program it was. JH from Sacramento e-mailed me and said:
I can't thank you enough for the tremendous celebration you produced last night for Lord Buckley's 100th birthday. It was a fitting tribute to this great man. For me, the production was a complete success. I felt moved and entertained all the while I was there. Musically, you guys were fantastic! Perfect for the party. David, your presentation of some of The Lord's routines was inspiring. You really opened them up and showed me some things I had not noticed before.
Talking with folks at cake cutting time, I heard some Buckley stories.
At 16 years old, Steve hung out at the Inside at the Outside in Palo Alto and saw Buckley perform many times. One night, Steve took a girl whom he wanted to impress. After the show, he introduced her to his Lordship, who leaned over, kissed her hand and said, "One piece of advice, Dear Prince, Marry her - TONIGHT!"
Getting ready to take his family to the beach, Buckley offered to take the son of a neighbor and teach him to swim. When they arrived at the beach, Buckley picked up the kid, ran to the end of the dock, raised him over his head, and threw him as far as he could out into the water. "SWIM!" Buckley yelled.
I'll try and hunt down some pictures and e-mail them this weekend. I'll also gather together a packet, with programs and promotions and send them along via snail. A guy named Rod did take footage of the dedication and I'll see if I can get that, as well. In the meantime, here's a link to a promotional piece written by a guy from Soulsbyville, which is 3 miles or so from Tuolumne.
We've made Buckley a household word - like Lysol.
April 23, 2006 Addendum
from The Sierra Mountain Times review by Carolyn Gunn
Festive balloons tied to the iron fence welcomed approx. 30 people into Tuolumne City Memorial Museum's Lord Buckley centennial birthday celebration...Altho the evening was cold and rainy (what else?), once inside, guests were treated to exquisite live jazz, vases of tulips, and a birthday cake that was virtually the size of Montana....
The Wandering Bishops provided a riveting and humorous dramatic reading of some of Lord Buckley's work, which was then followed by rare video clips, a dedication of the new exhibit, and the screening of a trailer for the upcoming documentary, "Too Hip for the Room." And of course, everyone joined in singing "Happy Birthday."