RIFFS 2007

Published March 25, 2007
Buckley 101

He's been called Tuolumne's Mark Twain, but few living in the area have actually heard his work.

Buckley 101, an introduction to the work of Lord Buckley, will explore the rhythm and structure of Buckley's Jazz monologues through an evening of storytelling and song.

Marking the 101st anniversary of this native son's birth, the program will be held Thursday, April 5, at the Tuolumne City Memorial Museum.

"He had all the hallmarks of a true American humorist," said museum docent David Allen Simerely, who is helping organize the event.

Simerley points out that Buckley's account of his run in with a bear in the story God's Own Drunk is in the same storytelling tradition as Twain's Jumping Frog.

Both stories also happen to be set in the Mother Lode.

Buckley and Twain are known for their original American voice. Another trait in common is their use of a persona, an alter ego that defined their work. Author Sam Clemens became Mark Twain. Comedian Dick Buckley became the Lord of Flip Manor.

And like Mark Twain, Lord Buckley helped reinterpret our country's values during an era of dramatic social change.

"For Twain, it was the Civil War era. For Buckley, World War II," Simerley said. "But many of the issues they dealt with are still with us today."

Buckley thought people should be judged by their character and not by their position in society. He railed against those he called the "greedheads" and the accumulation of wealth and power into a few hands.

Buckley believed it was the Everyman who "held the whole world in gear" and believed in a America where everyone is created "level in front."

The museum is located at Carter and Bat Streets in Tuolumne. The program will begin at 7 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Admission is free.