Tucson, Arizona, EE.UU. Adam and I have been wondering what saint deserves some prayers every time we almost completely screw up on tour. For example, when we leave $5,000 worth of equipment sitting just off of 4th Ave. in downtown Tucson at midnight on a Sunday. What saint was responsible for us turning the van around and finding it there before anyone else did?
Tour with Verbobala (and all its applicable tech) is a grime ballet of one thousand swirling details. Everyday, very specific and small tasks have to get done in order for everything to line up correctly. Sending ahead press releases, booking parties to fill in dates, buying 100’ VGA cables, catching the shuttle, updating the website, etc. The good news is that by and large tour is going great. But it’s easier to notice the near-disasters, for example, realizing in Portland that I forgot my passport in Arizona.
This happened last week at 2 A.M., hours before we were scheduled to pick up the rental car and drive to Vancouver. Ensuing panic. What are the border rules? What’s up with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative? Was it pushed back again? Spring and I swung by to pick Adam up at 8 A.M. When I told him, he started laughing, much to his credit. But it was the Nervous Laugh, the one that sounds like homicide waiting to happen. We went anyway, my Dad spent his Sunday morning scanning my birth certificate, and we stopped in Seattle to print it out. Long story short, we made it into Vancouver on Sunday, April 20th.
YOU: CITY NEAR THE WIERD COAST WITH BIG MOUNTAINS AND FIVE DOWNTOWNS. YOU WERE WEARING BROKEN SKIES AND READING IN FRENCH AND ENGLISH AT THE SAME TIME. ME: MOHAWK’T VERBSPITTER CON CUATES IN THE RENTAL CAR, BLOWING OUT BASS IN RENTAL SPEAKERS. I DIDN’T MIND YOUR BASEMENT APARTMENTS, HEROIN DISTRICTS OR ICE COLD APRIL. I KNOW WE JUST SAW EACH OTHER ONCE, BUT I THINK I LOVE YOU A LITTLE BIT. CAN WE SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN?
Among the few upsides of the whole incident was the opportunity to feel fear of a border again. I hadn’t had that feeling since traveling in Central America and the Caribbean in 2006. The way that borders do that thing, oscillating between being Ports of Entry and Border Walls. Borders are like the surface of water. They can let you pass right through, or they can kill you. We’re taught to fear borders, and to think it would be easier to Just Stay Home.
Meanwhile, Moisés is having to deal with all of that on a constant basis. He flew from Mexico City to Mérida, Yucatán last week, in order to get a quick interview with the U.S. Embassy there. Since the Tucson Poetry Festival had passed while his artist work visa was still officially “pending,” he decided that it was time to cut our losses and apply for a tourist visa. Last Monday it was denied, and he was not told why. Maybe because the Festival had applied the work visa. Maybe because of an incident when he was a kid. Probably because the U.S. government is afraid that he will sneak away to pick strawberries or clean our toilets, nevermind that he’s an established international video artist. Apparently, US burrocracy has now driven Moi nuts and he has run off into the Yucatán jungle with some Irish girls that he met. We haven’t heard from him in days. Who could blame him?
We are a three-person group, missing our third member. Adam and I get along famously, and there are a lot of good times, but they’re always tinged with a certain bitterness that Moi Isn’t Here, that Moi Would Love This, that This Would Be Perfect With Moi. Sure, he’s been working hard in Cuernavaca, uploading pieces to our server so that we can use them in performance (and thus manifest his presence, a digital illegal immigrant). But he’s not getting to hear the applause, do the interviews, meet the people, travel. We have been told by crowds that the legal situation adds a certain urgency to our shows, which maybe it does. But Moi Isn’t Here. We talk about this a lot, and Adam called it Mourning Moi. I called it Moining. A-haha. Sin llorar, cabrones, como dice él.
So Moi lights candles to San Judás, Saint of Lost Causes. Adam and I keep up on the grime ballet, bouncing between airports and venues. Good things are happening. It looks like we’ll be touring from here on out. And we’re figuring out who to pray to.