Howdy and Happy Groundhog Day!
better day for us to say "thank you" for joining
the Sturdy Beggar
Appreciation Society? We are ever so glad that you not
only took time out of your busy schedules to have actually
come on out to a Renaissance Faire to play with us at
our Mud Pit, but you then took the time to snatch
up one of our pre-approved application forms. Not only
that, but you shelled out at least 19¢ for a stamp
and then put in that extra effort of mailing it on off
to us. (And let's all give a prayer of thanks to Mr. Postman
for deciding to deliver your application instead of opening
fire on his fellow postal workers).
that's what I'd like to talk to you about, this oh so
special bond that has developed between us, you our fans
and us your beggars. Since 1979, when I first put mud
in my mouth at the urging of you, our fans, I knew we
had a sacred union, a sacred union that most performers
have never attained with their gallery. You know, over
the years professionals and auteurs alike have stopped
me after witnessing the Mud Show and asked me, "Why
do you do it?" and, with tears in my eyes, I point
to you, my devoted little votary, and declare, "They
made me!" And you have. You have made us what we
are today. The jury is still out on exactly what 'it'
is we are, but whatever 'it' is we are, we are proud to
be 'it.' Proud to be 'it' for you. Because.... We are
your fan. There, I wrote it! We are your fan. All of you's
fan. The grandma, the toddler, the biker, all the hot
mamas. We are your fan! We think you're great, no matter
what anyone else says. And if we ever heard anyone put
you down, we would immediately come to your defense and
passively resist them.
the point I am gushingly trying to make is that we are
grateful to you for joining us in our little club because
if you weren't there, believe you me, I wouldn't be writing
any of this. Thanks a lot.
Billy Billy VonBilly
Dateline: Shorewood, IL
day after enjoying a day with his family at the Bristol
Renaissance Faire, one David Burnes, age 11, told his
sister Elizabeth, age 13, to get into her 'grungiest clothes,'
saying "I've made some mud and we're gonna do a Mud
Show just like the Sturdy Beggars!" Luckily,
Mom intervened in time to prevent an infringement of anyone's
intellectual property. When pressed she admitted that
the prospect of 2 muddy children running around the house
also played a role in motivating her to negotiate with
her son. David's personal back-yard Mud Hole still exists
and he returned to it often during the rest of the summer
to enjoy and develop material of his own. His sister has
not yet joined in these earth studies.
A Child's Groundhog Day In Oahu
What's shakin'? Wakka Ding Hoy here. These fellas asked
me to reminisce about my boyhood Groundhog Days in Hawaii,
but, like, I don't remember it being such a biggie seeing
as there ain't many groundhogs in Hawaii. Like, try none,
dude. Ain't much winter there, either, dude, so like hey,
who would notice six more weeks of it? Heh heh, pretty
crazy, dude! Hey, like we do have some righteous surfing
and loads of poi. Guess we musta surfed and eaten poi
on Groundhog Day! 'Course we did that every day, so like
I told them fellas, dude, there ain't a whole lot to say
about Groundhog Day in Oahu and I just said it! Later,
Wakka Ding Hoy, Your Hawaiin Poi-Boy Pal
Who the Heck Are You?
may know us, but we were a little curious as to whom we
are writing to. Here's a little quiz that you can't fail.
Just answer these easy to read questions. (Editor's note
- This questionaire is reproduced for archival purposes
only!) You could be the driving force in this fan club's
brave new direction.
you need more room to answer feel free to add scads of
your own stationery until you feel purged of any and all
sentiment you may have towards us, our relationship, or
towards the world in general.
- Have you heard any good jokes lately?
- If so, what are they?
- Have you ever had an out-of-body experience, other
than going to the bathroom?
- How may times have you seen the Mud Show?
- What's your second favorite act at the Faire?
- How far do you travel to be at the Mud Show?
- Would you like to have the Mud Show performed
at your party and/or event? When, where, phone#
- Do you have a video of the Mud Show?____ would
you like to own one?___
- Would you be interested in collecting Sturdy Beggar
Trading Cards? T-shirt?____ Button?____ Bumper sticker?____
Poster?____ Action Figures?____ Cap?____ Autographed
8x10 B&W glossy?____ anything else you can think
- Do you happen to belong to any electronic highway
and/or bulletin board? If so, which ones?
- Would you like to be awarded the distinguished honor
of penning your very own Pulitzer Prize winning column
in this, our highly acclaimed Rag?
- Is there any burning question you would like to ask
any or all of us beggars? Any thing at all?
Boy and His Dogs
time beggar fans may recall that begging legend, Half-Wit
Henry, and his fun-loving collection of stuffed canines.
Yes, that shabby, dim-witted but lovably steadfast fellow,
Half-Wit Henry, who used to bring smiles to the kiddies'
faces and bucks to his pocket by acting as barker for
the antics of some truly talented pooches of yore. What
a sight! this tattered and raggedy man, clutching his
tattered raggedy doll of a dog, stopping a patron on the
street to ask, "Excuse me sir, could you spare some
change for a man whose dog lost it's ear in the war?",
paving the way for the merriment of an impromptu dog street
can forget his first dog, the undeniable Kippy the Wad
Dog! A dog who could do it all, from burlesque to grand
opera, vaudeville to legitimate theatre (Chicagoland critics
still speak in awe of his peerless performance as the
Infant Jesus in Beggar's Holiday). Playing dead, imitating
Jack Benny, and of course his wondrously unique ability
to fly, were all just gears in his transmission of entertainment.
The founder of the grand old game of Dog-Ball, and as
good a road companion as any lonesome beggar could ever
want, the Kipster was truly a dog for the ages! And when
he mysteriously vanished in the Amazon rain forest in
1984, we lost more than a dog, we lost about 9 yards of
for audiences everywhere, Kippy had one last legacy to
bequeath to the world - his son, Bofus Mustafas Mohammed
Ali X Leroy Roosevelt Jones, or Bofus for short. Bofus
had inherited all his father's talents and more! Bofus
could not only fly, he could hover!! And so Half-Wit Henry
was able to keep it going, bringing the excitement and
gaiety of dog shows to another generation of action-seekers.
Bofus did not share his dad's calm temperament, and like
his soulmate, James Dean, it was too much too soon. Bofus
became obsessed with speed...not satisfied with hovering,
but wishing to orbit as well, going faster and faster
until that tragic cold and rainy day at the Maryland Festival,
when Mach 5 proved much too fast an approach speed for
an ice-slicked runway. Failing to get his flaps down in
time, Bofus hit the runway all wrong, skidding out of
control and colliding with the base of an old oak tree.
The good creature went to sleep, never to wake in our
loss of two such boon companions might have driven another
beggar out of the stuffed animal biz, but not our Half-Wit.
He rallied with the aid of another compelling canine,
Angus McNasty, Last of the Scottish Plaids (the tweed
suit manufacturers having thinned out the herd years ago).
Both survivors, the last of their kind, their bond as
strong as any that ever existed between man and pet, they
entertained Ren Faire audiences for only another year,
before fate took them both away from us.
where are they now, my friend? Whither goest Half-Wit
and his pooches? They say on nights when the sky is as
clear as your head, you can see them amongst the stars,
flying, laughing, rolling over and playing dead -- Half-Wit
Henry! Kippy! Bofus! Angus! All together in a doggie show
extravaganza fit for the gods! And they say, should a
mortal ever glimpse this sight it means ---6 MORE WEEKS
The Studious Beggar Reading List
wintertime...time that we beggars hibernate, wait for the
soil to thaw, and then, like the flowers, spring out of
our beggar beds. As we dig into our little lairs, we earthworms
become bookworms. Here's some reading that we beggars highly
recommend. Please feel free to send in some of your favorite
Nodules: The Milagro Beanfield War, (trilogy),
John Nichols ; Tortilla Flat, John Steinbeck ; The
Flounder, Günter Grass ; The War with the Newts,
Hack Ptui: A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving
; Any Old Iron, Anthony Burgess ; Julian, Gore Vidal
; Bone (ongoing B&W comic book series), Jeff Smith
Legs Akimbo: The Wayward Bus, John Steinbeck
; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain ;
All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren ; Code of the
Woosters, P.G. Woodhouse
Figgy Pudding: The Days Are Just Packed, (Calvin
& Hobbes anthology), Bill Waterson ; The Dubliners,
James Joyce ; Glory of Their Times, Lawrence Ritter
; Everybody's Asshole in the World and Mine, Charles
Wakka Ding Hoy: Cats Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
; Groucho, Harpo, Chico & Sometimes Zeppo, Joe
Adamson ; Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women, Ricky
Jay ; Crowds & Power, Elias Canetti
Billy Billy VonBilly: Any of the writings and
lectures by Joseph Campbell ; Geek Love, Katherine
Dunn ; The Sneeches, Dr. Seuss ; Notes From Undergound,
Simon LESlime Mud Pit Debuts in New England
new Mud Pit stage was unveiled at King Richard's New England
Ren Faire last fall. Legs Akimbo, Spiney Nodules & Hack
Ptui were prominently proud to pose and plummet pitward
performing their popular pranks of poverty in the platform's
prestigious premiere. Beggars raised blisters helping develop
the new pit, which offers improved seating and viewing.
Come on by! In honor of our departed mud brother, since
he'd performed some of his greastest shows there, it was
christened the Simon LeSlime Mud Pit. Sparta and Troy salute
Mr. LeSlime (1960 - 1993)
You to Think of Others
We'd like to remind you this winter that there are many
needs in the world. We all have many gifts to share with
those who need help. Please remember not to cast shame upon
the needy and to help out others in whatever way you can.
We hope that generosity's graces are with you all in 1994.