Riffs 2016

Peninsula Shaker
Gregory Toliver 1953 - 2016

There are, on this sphere, beings of tremendous grace, heart, talent and hipness who somehow are subradar to the greater percentage of the populance. They are, as Ken Kesey once said of Lord Buckley, a secret thing passed under the table. To the hipnoscenti they are pure gold and to the rest of the teeming motleys they are, for all intents and purposes, invisible. Their feats and impact go largely unknown and unacknowledged. They can also sometimes be extremely challenging to the rest of us. This day LBC is sad to announce that one of these impossible angels has swooped the satellite and is, as they say, real gone. Gregory Toliver age 63 is reported flipped out with no forwarding address.

The Goodly Prince T came to the attention of LBC in the year of 2K when a casual encounter on a suburban Los Angeles coffee shop patio quickly evolved into a recital of Lord Buckley's "Scrooge". This lead to a series of encounters and interviews with Michael Monteleone and Roger Mexico for their forthcoming documentary film about The Lord. Gregory's ability to speak at length, off the cuff and with tremendous power about nearly any aspect of Lord Buckley: artistic, social, political, spiritual, animal, vegetable and mineral had, as The Swingin' One might say, the power to shake the peninsula.

Roger Mexico shares his impressions:

A gentleman and a scholar. Holding forth on Lord Buckley, there was this sense that he fully got what this force of nature was all about uplifting and beholding the subject at hand in such a delightfully inspired manner. The twinkle in his eye as he spun the tale. He clearly loved Lord Buckley and was able to weave such a refined and audaciously informed story transforming scholarship into pure magic. He brought His Lordship into the room in a fiercely beautiful way. Teaching. On fire with delight.
Some thoughts. I remember his entrance spilling out of an old pick up truck along with bottles, books and an illuminated manuscript or two. He may have greeted us with a line from a favorite Buckley routine spoken with a flourish befitting the occasion. A bop philosopher well journeyed beyond the footnotes and thinking fast on his feet. Connecting all the dots. Making sparks fly. A bagman for His Lordship.

At this juncture the facts sheet at LBC is sketchy on Gregory Toliver's history. It is known he hailed from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He was brighter than about any ten people and he had a way with words that might have made Willie the Shake rethink his style. He was a writer of magnificent short stories that provided glimpses of humanity that made you forget you were reading something on a page. A strong rumor tippy toes through in the land that says he once read Humanities and Music at Oxford. Gregory himself would neither confirm or deny it. He would say something like, "That's right, when I lived in England." He was also a computer network specialist and a father.

Gregory's later years on the sphere were not easy for him. He struggled to put bread on the table and sometimes a roof over his head. He knew what it was to have NOTHING!!! The Bugbird for him came in the guise of vascular issues and finally prevailed at 3AM on January 12th, at Pomona Valley Hospital in Pomona, California. A funeral took place on January 16, 2016 at a church in Pomona.

We will leave you with a few quotes from the interviews. LBC prays Gregory Toliver is goofin' crazy and serene in the Great Whatever.

So that what went on all through those years, the upshot, if you will, of it was that, that the ideas of black folks, when they expressed them in their own way, in the way they talk to one another, couldn't' be taken seriously because the mode of expression was "niggerish", "too colored". I grew up hearing things like that in my household from my parents, "Oh, don't talk that way." We grew up in a time, and you saw a great rebellion against this, thank god, in the '60s, my generation. But, my parents generation, you wanted when you talked to talk as much like white person as you could. You wanted your grammar to be the grammar the people on the other side of town used. And it was assumed that in, in what today is, I guess, by some people, who think they are being very chic chic, called Ebonics. It was assumed then that there - nothing valuable could be said in that tone and in that way. Now it's interesting, if you make a comparison of that kind of image. Look, for instance, at how no one thought there was anything wrong with the broken grammar of a Robert Burns. Robert Burns invests the Scottish brogue, which, after all, is not traditional English, with poetry because he is a poet. And what - and the substance of what he says, and the music that he puts into it, invests it with cultural significance and, OK? The street talk that I heard as a boy, and that my parents sort of urged me that I wanted to be a member of an educated class that doesn't talk like that, you know, OK? Comes back to me out of the mouth of Lord Buckley and it's art, it's poetry, it's music, it's a substantive commentary on what's going on around him that actually makes sense. And it is authentically black. He sounds like a black person, he talks like a black person, he knows the linguistic codes and the rhythms of that street talk he's talking as intimately as I do or anybody else around me does as the time. And he's investing it with significance. Here's a white man who is announcing to the world that black folks really have something to say. And they really think something and what they think is, in fact, often quite correct and full of insight. So, he was, yeah he was a revelation. Because, while I always knew that the people around me had something to say, and it was significant. It never occurred to me that there were white people who knew that. And honored it and he did.


Gregory Toliver Interview at LBC



Joe Alaskey [1952 - 2016]

There are cats and kitties on this sphere that seem anointed with a particularly vivid talent and charm. They might be slinging pigment at canvas, or slicing subatomic rip-a-dees into even tinier zap-a-doos, or leading the populance to some better grazing grounds and wig set. Whatever their special riff these little gods pull it off with such panache and to such a degree that the rest of us can't help but cry, “Where do we surrender?”. And when one of these secular bodishattvas finally surrender themselves to the Great Mystery we are all brought up a wee bit short.

Well, brave warriors, another one from Column A has packed it in. Voice Maestro Joe Alaskey, a Brigade General of the Larynx commanding 10,000 voices, a cat with some much Pipeage he was peerless, has taken his leave of us. He checked out on February 3rd, 2016 in Green Lake, New York, his home state.

Alaskey was, arguably, the heir apparent to the First Pope of Cartoon Voices Mel Blanc. His Hollywood career was peppered with with an astonishing variety of voices in the service of gigs from television to movies to live events.

He did nightclub work as an impressionist and the range of his voice and his fantastic ear for the timbres, nuances and peculiarities of any given impression was jaw dropping. He could squeal like the proverbial pig and then handily shake the building's foundation with the dark and spooky growl of a subwoofer. He provided his audiences with his take on a dazzling parade of famous people raging from Jackie Gleason to Woody Allen to William Shatner (and just about everyone in between.) And then he would take the whole gag one step beyond into the realm of the metacomical by doing impressions of one celebrity trapped in another celebrity's brain. His take on Woody Allen doing Star Trek's Captain Kirk is only topped by Alaskey doing a 180 by having William Shatner do Woody' Allen's lines from the end of 'Annie Hall". This flavor of genius has to be seen and heard to be believed.

He was also a scholar of Hollywood personalities which he put to good use in his self written stage play “1958: a Retrospeculation.”. In this performance he played three different personalties: Orson Welles eating lunch at a Parisian restaurant, Vincent Price lecturing on “the Fly” and Lord Buckley performing for some hipsters in a living room. Each of these turns was a polished gem with pitch perfect voices and dialog.

In a 2006 interview with Roger Mexico and Michael Monteleone Alaskey shared his thoughts on The Lord. Here are a few excerpts: with Joe alternating between his own voice and that of Lord Buckley:


Well, aside from the, the look of the man, that [Buckley voice] comically challenging stare. And that beatific smile. There's that beautiful voice, that, that smoky, silky, silly, jazzy, completely captivating and convincing voice [regular voice] of his with all the musical highs and lows and all the sound effects. The, the, oh, the [makes swoosh sound] and the [makes train whistle] and the little trumpet trills [makes vrrpptt sounds]. All these just punctuate that beautiful adopted language of his, his beloved adopted language. And his absolute mastery of it. And the piece I picked to start with, was "The Gasser." Because this is about a guy going through changes. And just to become Lord Buckley - I'm doing my homework, right? I'm sitting and reading about this guy and how he had to get off the bottle and how he started the Royal Court with Lady Elizabeth. And I started realizing that this cat went through some heavy changes just to become Lord Buckley and start talking about - well, the message was love, right? Through the retelling of all his wonderful stories from history and the bible and so forth and literature. He really went through changes and when you try to get inside the guy like I do, you find yourself maybe getting some of these very positive, very welcome changes, very powerful changes in your life. So, I picked "The Gasser", it's also my favorite story. It's, I think, one of his best rounded stories, beginning, middle and end style. And, well, so the first thing I had to nail was the voice. But, like I said, I almost got that through osmosis. Just listening to him over the years. I wasn't even consciously aware that I was getting to the position where I could imitate him vocally. Alright, so, but that's more or less the easy part is just doing the surface. Now it's getting a little harder because I'm going to be doing him onstage. But, there's so little footage. There's so little of it we can see. I had to glean a lot from listening to the laughs he got and the way he used his voice. How far away the microphone was, all these little element told me a lot. And sometimes, you know, he's almost indecipherable. Not only in what he says but how he's saying it. How does he get this laugh? There's a moment in the Ivar Theater version of "The Nazz", which I'm sure you are familiar with - and it's this moment where the apostles are in the boat and the storm is raging Buckley tells us, "Here come The Nazz." Right? And it gets this tremendous laugh with this element of surprise in the laugh. So, we don't know what it is but whatever is was, you had to be there in the moment, it both got a hilarious laugh. Just regular laughter laugh but also there was some very evocative that moved this audience to surprise when he did it. How do you guess what he did there, when he announced "Here come The Nazz"? I guess the harder part then is just deducing the moves.


Joe Alaskey's "1958: A Retrospeculation"

Joe Alaskey on Wiki

"1958: A Retrospeculation" on YouTube



Her Majesty Speaks

Lady Laurie Buckley, titular top hub cap of the known Realm of The Lord will be laying down some very hip semantic units this coming Sunday (February 28th) at Beyond Baroque, the storied story of the LA literary riff. Accompanied by her buddy cat Lee Boek, Her Maj will be present “Diggin' It Harder – Stories of Lord Buckley” starting at 6PM in the library at BB.

Those of you So. Cal hipsters that really want to get with The Lord should make the Bee Line to this event as it is as close as you are ever likely to come to the Mitochondrial Glory that is the Buckley Gene Pool. Chromosomes aside, you are still in for a treat as Lady Laurie is a treasured trove of first person tales concerning her swingin' parents, Lord and Lady Buckley. You may well learn a thing or three. Info below, beloveds.

Many thanks to Roger Mexico, the Wizard of Oaxaca for hipping us to the latest charge on the Inside Wire.

"Diggin' It Harder - Stories of Lord Buckley"
Sunday, February 28th at 6PM - Beyond Baroque Library

Beyond Baroque
681 N. Venice Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
Ph: 310-822-3006
Fax: 310-821-0256


Beyond Baroque


P & J - Taos Jazz Bebop Society Style

The Keeper of the White Hot Flame of With It-Ness, Her Swingin' Ladyship Laurie Buckley, is once again about to Illuminate the Hipnoscenti with another deft twist of the tuner to the Channel of The Way Gone and Back Again.

In an evening called "Poetry & Jazz" the Taos Jazz Beboy Society presents a groovy amalgam of jazz from the Greg Abate Quartet and poetry from Jimmy Santiago Baca, Steve Rose, Paul E. Nelson, Annie McNaughton and Amalio Madueño. And as a groovy cherry on a hip sundae a tribute to Lord Buckley manifested by Lady Laurie Buckley and her buddy cat Lee Boek.

Along with emcee'ing the show, Lee Boek will perform His Lordship's "Gettysburg Address". And the Magnificent Lady L will share stories of growing up as Jazz Royalty in her father's swingin' Royal Court. When Charlie Parker hovers over your bassinet you know your life is not going to be measured in gold stars for good deportment from your third grade teacher Mrs. Grant.

Many thanks to Cynthia Sesso of CTSImages, for laying this intelligence on the table in front of us.

"Poetry and Jazz"
Saturday, April 16th
Main Event at 7PM

Taos Mesa Brewing
20 ABC Mesa Road
El Prado, New Mexico

Directions: Approximately 11 miles west of the Town of Taos off US Highway 64 near the historic Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.


The Taos News article


Kosti’s Kavalcade of Komedians

You Buckley cats and kitties that dig the infinite variation on The Tome might wish to get hip to an effort by Richard Kostelanetz titled "Kosti's Comedians". Published in 2014, it consists of four sections each dedicated to (depending on your definition) four comedians or three comedians and a United States president. The four persons presented are Lord Buckley, Groucho Marx, Al Kelly and Abraham Lincoln.

It is hard to pin down the exact nature and/or style of this book as there is intense variation and experimentation going on. Perhaps the promotional description provided by Amazon.com will give you a little taste.

"Kosti’s Comedians contains four chapbooks, each appreciating a favorite American comedian in a different way: Al Kelly, Lord Buckley, Groucho Marx, and Abe Lincoln. Among the moves are reworking their classic texts, annotating favorite lines, and imitating."

In the case of Lord Buckley, Kostelanetz evidently employs some kind of random word scrambler to provide the reader with 19 variations and one "straight" version of "The Hip Ghan". It is not known if the author is a fan of William Burroughs "cut up" technique, but what appears on the printed page seems to be at least indirectly related to what Burroughs did all these long years ago. The Lincoln section employs this method as well.

The book is available on ebay and Amazon. See links to connect.

Kosti's Comedians by Richard Kostelanetz published in 2014 by Archae Editions 230 pages ISBN-10: 1937401618 ISBN-13: 978-1937401610





Johnny, We Hardily Knew Thee
John Hostetter [1946 - 2016]

John Hostetter may not be a cat you are all that familiar with by name. But if you watched "Murphy Brown" or "Murder, She Wrote" or "Kermit's Swamp Years" or Star Trek "Insurrection" or 8 septillion other flicks you have most likely dug his licks. For he was a groovy, gone, most swingin' actor trying to keep his wig cool in the gnasher filled world of Hollywood. He was also a singer/composer, a visual artist, a loving husband and a top hub cap Buckley interpreter. And John Hostetter was also a personal friend of mine. He was my buddy cat and he leveled with me. "was" is a hard word for me to write this very minute. For I must hip thee, beloveds, that Prince John, a stud of the Double First Order has made his final curtain call and taken his leave of us protoplasm bound mortals to find his righteous place in the ever expanding Cosmos way on out there.

John came upon The Lord early and started his ongoing homage while in college and subsequently with a traveling troupe of thespians. It was one real crazy day in Las Vegas, that John, standing tall on a bale of hay, reciting from the Buckley canon, encountered not only Lewis Foremaster, Buckley's last aid de camp, but only hours later, incredibly, found himself performing for local Vegas resident, Her Ladyship Laurie Buckley. It was a wig shaking confluence for sure. And it began a long relationship with the Buckley family.

In later years, John moved with his wife Del to her home stomping grounds in the area around Daytona Beach, Florida. They settled in New Smyrna Beach and John set to work fixing up the house, signing, playing and writing for a a great rock band called "The Pirates", creating beautiful artwork and generally digging the cool, laconic, and easy going nature of a small beach town.

While still in Los Angeles I was able to film John performing Lord Buckley's acid trip. He utilized a word for word transcript provided by Dr. Oscar Janiger, the pioneering LSD researcher from UCLA. Later in Florida, documentarian Roger Mexico and I were able visit John and Del and film John doing some wild Buckley bits in his groovy second story hideaway. The glee in his eyes and voice, the deep understanding, the physicality (for John was in the same height and physique range as Lord Buckley) and deftness of his projection placed him deep in the Inner Circle at the heart of Channeling The Lord.

While still in Los Angeles I was able to film John performing Lord Buckley's acid trip. He utilized a word for word transcript provided by Dr. Oscar Janiger, the pioneering LSD researcher from UCLA. Later in Florida, documentarian Roger Mexico and I were able visit John and Del and film John doing some wild Buckley bits in his groovy second story hideaway. The glee in his eyes and voice, the deep understanding, the physicality (for John was in the same height and physique range as Lord Buckley) and deftness of his projection placed him deep in the Inner Circle at the heart of Channeling The Lord.

John and I spent many an hour on the phone exchanging bits and pieces we had learned about the Great Master. He would entertain me with his scholar level memory of Buckley routines. His was a love born of the appreciation for the talent and spirit and old fashion Moxie that erupted from Lord Buckley. I am sure if there is such a place as heaven and if there is a Chez Buckley nightclub that The Lord Himself has made room at the head table for my friend Prince John Hostetter.


John Hostetter on YouTube

John Hostetter’s Artwork

John Hostetter art at LBC



Dig The Infinite Loop
Trager Conjures The Lord

Dig Infinity! Saturday 9/24 @ 5pm. Free Admission! Berkeley-Carroll School Seminar Room 152 Sterling Place Brooklyn, NY


Art Slope

Dig Infinity ! site

Zippy Do Dah!
Bill Griffith Strips for The Lord

Swingin' Graces all, this just in on the Inside Wire from the super sharp peepers of Her Ladyship Laurie Buckley. It appears that her father Lord Buckley who, once upon a time or two, paid his dues in any number of strip joints, has once again been associated with stripping. This time it is in the more genteel and illustrative guise of the comic strip. The far out wig stretch talent of cartoonist Bill Griffith, of “Zippy the Pinhead” fame, has penned a grand little four panel opera in homage to His Lordship.

Published on this day, Tuesday, September 20, 2016 the strip can be found by clicking on the link to the left.

LBC lauds the Good Prince William for his kind and loving nod to The Master of Flip City. And many thanks to Lady Laurie Buckley for the superb tip!


View the Strip



Appointment With Annointment
Jake Broders Hips Us To The Lord Again

Beloveds, in a blatant affront to the gold gilded escalator descent of humanity; in a nose thumbing gesture to the oncoming turd shirts; and despite the evidence that this great swingin' sphere may soon become an overflowing ashtray, veteran channeler of The Lord Jake Broder is planting flowers of Laughter, Love and Hipness that we all should pray spreads beyond Gotham like a magic garden to embrace our sweet Cherryland and beyond.

Broder, in glorious tux and tails, lays out the Word of The Lord for all of you True Faith cats and kitties to dig deeply in his latest offering “His Royal Hipness Lord Buckley”. Directed by David Ellenstein, Broder is ably accompanied by his hip sidekick Michael Lanahan and backed by the regal musical trio of Mark Hartman, Brad Russell, and Daniel Glass.

Those of you in need of a Lord Buckley fix, and those of you who just want a light filled night out prior to the great looming question mark should make it down to New York's 59E59 Theaters sometime between December 6, 2016 and January 1, 2017. See the links for the theater address and show dates/times.

And swingin' citizens always remember: The Lord never disappoints. He annoints!!



59E59 Theater Info