Monday, September 1, 2008

Eyes Closed

Photoshop anyone???

Sigh. It was hard to say goodbye. I entitled this blog entry "Eye Closed" because in most of the photos from last night, my eyes are closed - something I involuntarily do with all flash photography (as my frustrated friends will attest). But I also think of keeping my eyes closed as a way to keep the tour from ending. The last month went by so quick - the blink of an eye, even though I can say that some solid friendships were formed: Elissa from Patagonia/Vote the Environment, my partner in crime, roommate and running/hiking buddy; Dominic from Rogue Wave, San Francisco local, funnyman, and mischievous counterpart on the SB (support band) bus; Rachel, RW's tour manager, my silly new girlfriend who made me laugh hysterically; Chef Dave "Alaska", the genius behind the incredible meals and fellow surfer; JC, the "cotton tech" who kept me company on every day off, always being up for an adventure (like a 2 mile walk to the laundromat!); and Adam, drummer, fellow USC grad and lunch companion. There were many others, and I feel so grateful to Jack, Kim, Jessica and Cad for making this all happen. It truly felt like being part of a family. THANK YOU!!!!

Left: Me and Dominic

Left: Rachel and I can't get a good photo.

On a Sunburned Field

I arrived at UCLA Intramural Field to find blazing sun and my Village Green cohorts already in full swing putting the tents together. It was another day of a circle of tents in the middle of a field, and even though I lathered up sunscreen in the morning, by the end of the day, it was worn off and I was sunburned! We spent the whole day outside since there was no real "backstage", just some tents set up in the field. I guess I write a lot about the weather on this blog because we are out in it all day, every show day. Most days, we get completey soaked with sweat during set up, then spend the rest of the day and night sticky and dirty. Yum.
Juli, Ania and Lindsay from the West LA/ Malibu chapter came out and rocked the booth - it was so busy, the four of us could barely keep up! They filled every Save Trestles petition I had and worked well past dark with enthusiasm, determined to beat all prior shows for number of people reached. I haven't counted the pledges yet, but I think they may have done it. Even though Jack was a bit under the weather, he came out to meet the volunteers and we snapped a quick photo. Zach Gill, Adam Topol, Fredo and Irwin (percussion) came out to play a little set in the Village Green, and Zach said it was perhaps the best one of the whole tour. The crowd was all singing along. Zach has quite a following at UCLA! This Village Green was one of the busiest and saw the most diverse crowd of the tour (in my assessment), a great send off!
At teardown, Elissa and I folded the last vinyl tent top with little fanfare, our last vinyl burrito being a good one... I guess I will miss it a bit. After years in an office, there is something satisfying about the physical work of putting up and taking down the village: hauling crates, pushing cases, moving tents, putting up banners and signs, and even the pain-in-the-butt teardrops!


Coming home to San Diego felt great! I saw so many people at the show that I know, and recognized many others from the beach and from other Surfrider events and chapter meetings. Jon, Shelly and Steve, 3 of my original Rise Above Plastics volunteers in SD, were my booth volunteers and they did an outstanding job! I think they talked to more people than any other show since Toronto. Of course, a lot of people in San Diego know about Surfrider and gravitated toward the booth. Because they didn't really need me at the booth, I was able to visit with some of the people who came to the show, including Jim Moriarty and Steve Blank from National, Aaron and Alicia (Kansas City vols), and other San Diego EC members. I had asked Jim to bring a Save Trestles (Ramones style) t-shirt in Jack's size and we were stoked when Jack decided to wear it on stage that night. Two nights in a row of showing his support for our campaign! Before heading to the venue in the morning I did a TV appearance on KUSI to talk about Rise Above Plastics on the Jack Johnson tour and the Village Green. I'll post the video when it is online.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Left: Me, sweating it out with the Rogue Wave guys.

The second hottest show day of the tour was in Irvine! We all agreed it was the hottest after Salt Lake City. The venue is where Lion Country Safari used to be, so imagine hot, dry Africa. Musicians, caterers, roadies and all of us in the Village Green were all sweating well into the night. It seems that since it was everyone, no one minded the sticky smelly others around them! I was just happy that I got to go home to my own shower last night, even if it was 1 a.m. before I got one. It was perhaps the worst day for the poison oak from The Gorge hike to show up on both me and Elissa. We have itchy dots in a few places, but it doesn't seem to be spreading on either of us. That's the last time I hike in my bikini!

Despite the heat, a bunch of really cool things happened at the Irvine show. First, I was able to spend some time with Jack and tell him the story of a Swami's surfer named Gus Fleming who has Lou Gerhig's disease and listens to Jack's music every night. He says it helps him stay connected to the ocean. Rich Pavel and John Moseley, as friends of Gus, collaborated on a board that will be sold with a portion of the proceeds going to Surfrider (at Gus' request). I brought the board to the show and Jack signed it for him and I took a photo of Jack with the board for Gus. The board will sit in Gus' living room for now - a special reminder of good things for him at this difficult time. After we spoke about Gus, Jack asked me about the Save Trestles campaign and asked me for a shirt to wear on stage that night. He ended up wearing the green one with the California flag and every time the cameraman focused in on Jack's guitar for the jumbotron, fans got a huge "Save Trestles" message. I missed the first few songs of the show since we were taking down the Village Green but Adam Topol told me that fans were shouting out Save Trestles! Jack also dedicated the third song in his set to Surfrider - such a nice shout out! OC is ground zero for the Save Trestles campaign.

A bunch of Surfrider Global folks were in attendance and it was great to see all of them, and I was glad they could see the booth in action, and could see our good friend Jack showing his support.

Santa Barbara

Left: Me and Adam Topol, Jack's drummer

Hi everyone, sorry it's been awhile since my last post. We had 2 lovely days off in Santa Barbara at the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort. Elissa lives in SB, so she retrieved her car and we were mobile! We spent the 2 days hiking, running, eating and enjoying the water. On Wednesday we prepared Harder Stadium at UCSB for the 18 tent (!) Village Green (we had to rent 7 tents). There were a lot of local non-profits and student groups represented, many of which involved water related work so we were in good company. The crowd was pretty mellow and small in comparison to other venues but we talked to a lot of people and my local volunteers had a great time. During the show Jack made a lot of references to his time at UCSB, where he met Kim, and where he wrote all of his first album and part of his second.

After the show a friend drove me back to San Diego and I have my own car for the last 3 shows of the tour, which are in Irvine, San Diego and LA.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Outside Lands in San Francisco

It's been a whirlwind few days... When I awoke on Saturday morning we were only 85 miles south of Portland. It turns out we didn't leave The Gorge until almost 3 a.m., so we spent the entire day Saturday driving the remainder of the way to San Francisco. This was our "day off" after 3 back to back shows. We arrived in SF around 7:30 p.m. and managed to have a nice dinner and stroll before crashing. Sunday was the third day of the Outside Lands Festival in Golden Gate Park and Jack was headlining that night. I brought the Rise Above Plastics pledge to add to the Surfrider booth put up by the San Francisco Chapter, which had been there the 2 prior days. There was good traffic to the booth, which right next to a stage, until the bands started playing and then it became too loud to have any conversations. I think the best aspect for me was talking to Wes, the chair of the SF Chapter, about the Rise Above Plastics pledge and doing outreach at their booths using the pledge as a tool to get people to think about the issues.

Left: Pat and Dominick from Rogue Wave with Wes from the SF Chapter and Nicole from Headcount.

After Jack played later that night we boarded the bus for Santa Barbara, where we are luxuriating in 2 days before the Santa Barbara show. Tonight, Jack and Kim hosted the crew for a dinner at El Torito, a very nice way to get everyone together for a thank you. A big THANK YOU from Surfrider to the Johnsons for including Surfrider on the tour and giving us this incredible opportunity to do outreach on Rise Above Plastics. I feel privileged and grateful to be associated with such giving and wonderful people.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Gorge

We arrived early from BC at The Gorge, a concert venue out in the middle of Washington State on the Columbia River. It is a stunning setting, rivaling Red Rocks, but much much bigger. The weather was clear and dry, and Elissa and I took advantage to hike down to the river (20 minutes down and 45 back up). We were rewarded with a swim in the cool, clear river, such a treat after 3 weeks away from the ocean! We were enjoying it so much we barely made it back in time to meet our volunteers for the show.

Three volunteers from Washington staffed my booth for the afternoon: Abby, Shannon and Jared. Traffic in the both was slow due to the Village Green being located at the top of the hill, tucked into a corner of the venue few people visited. Zach Gill and Adam Topol from Jack's band came to play a set in the Village Green, which brought a temporary crowd. It's always fun to have them, and Zach uses the opportunity to encourage people to visit the non-profits and enter the drawing to sit on the stage for the show. But the weather was nice and the booth was set on soft, cushy grass, so and I think everyone enjoyed just relaxing and enjoying the show. And Jack came up for a visit, talking to my crew about their favorite surf spots in WA.