It's a Bird, It's a Hellhound, No, it's Sky Dog.. Orlando 2010
Sights and sounds from yet another victorious Orlando show.
'Elks, this show was out of this world. I have so many things to tell you, that this is going to take a little while.
If vintage cars and guitars, dashed with women (non- vintage, of course) are your thing, then this is the show report you have been waiting for. So buckle up, strap in and hit the accelerator. Away we go..
Photo 1. This 1970 Plymouth Super Bird was but one of the
hundreds of vintage and collectible cars on display at the 2010 Orlando International car show last weekend. These winged warriors are the pinnacle for any Mopar fan: this particular one is in Hemi Orange and you guessed it, a 426 Hemi. These cars are easily distinguished by their massive rear spoiler (referred to as a "wing" on the street version) and in the case of the Superbird, the same horn which mimicked the Road Runner cartoon character. Naturally, this car just spoke to Ray and I; After all, we're Southern, have lead feet, (well, Ray does because he does all the driving- he's a control freak) and for God's sake, just look at the color. You know how we Southerners love us some Dukes of Hazzard and it broke our hearts to leave the car behind. Ray already fancied himself behind the wheel and I already had my flannel shirt and State Patrol glasses on. But don't fret, we'll come up with the $200,000.00 somehow. Ray's already been down to the blood bank three times today and now he looks a little pale....
Photo 2. Further evidence of it prowess. This is, to us what booty shorts are to Richard Simmons.
Photo 3. This is the palatial estate that all seven of us stayed in while we were in Orlando. I have too give an ol' tip of the hat to the incomparable Johnny Dannert for making the whole thing seamless for us. He and Uncle Brad Gibson cooked dinners fit for a Monarch. (Thank you both). More on this in Ray's show report. P.S. The 'Elk Mobile looks right at home there, doesn't it.
Photo 4. Wasyl Bozydaj needs no introduction.
He is the man that brought cool to America, peace to the Middle East on three different occasions, taught John Mayer how to write songs and Prince to dance. When George Clooney needs advice on how to dress for the Golden Globe Awards, he calls Wasyl. Women love him and men want to be him. Dos Equis had to buy the rights for their advertising campaign ,"The Most Interesting Man in the World", because the title was already taken by him, and Visa sent him the only Visa Unobtainium card ever produced. He is the owner of Hellhound Guitars and a personal friend of the 'Elk. To steal a line from the movie Training Day, starring Denzel Washington, "I am King Kong".
Photo 5. I met this sensuous vixen at the Hellhound booth.
We chatted a bit and she looked me in the eye. I commented on how nice her guitars were and still, she looked me in the eye.
She never broke my gaze, not once and this intrigued me. I thought to myself how bold she was, yet still how unassuming she appeared. I later found out that she was from New York and the wife of my close friend, Wasyl. I wanted to find out more about her (not in that way, Dummy), in a "what made her tick" kind of way. I would later have my chance, for much to my surprise I was invited out to dine with her and of course, the most interesting man on the planet. As an added bonus, the ever reliable Kev-Dogg (a Floridian via New York), drove this motley crew down to 621 East Central Boulevard, in downtown Orlando. You must know that I felt outnumbered, being the only red- blooded Southerner in the mist of all this Yankeeness. Kev-Dogg guided us down Hwy 4 like a man that is used to highway debauchery, complete with a few expletives and hand gestures thrown in (you have seen this kind of behavior in movies, I'm sure). After parking the car, we cautiously made our way down dimly- lit streets to a place called Shari Sushi Lounge. I could just sense the place was high- end because the ladies here were not playing around. The dresses they wore were flashy and colorful, yet playful and complete with high heels and Louis Vuitton bags. "Class", I murmured with me in jeans, a pullover and Nike's of all things. So, I did what any self- respecting hillbilly would do when faced with this obvious recognition of class distinction: I ordered a Tanqueray and Seven, what else? After a toast to Uncle John (Wasyl's uncle and old business partner), I started to feel loose and calm so I turned my attention to Casey (oh, I never told you her name). Casey and I got right down to business. We had to break the traditional barrier that was inherent between Mason-Dixon liners: She taught me how to say "fuggetaboutit" and in return for her kind offer, I taught her how to enunciate "Hell Yea" in the traditional Southern form. Not just mere arm candy, she was funny, intelligent and very (and I mean very) intuitive. After dinner, we sat at the table and made small talk, then rolled over to Wasyl's lair. Once there, we did things befitting a man of his intellect and coolness would do: we drank mixed drinks while pondering about a time machine that would whisk us to the front row of a 1970 Zeppelin concert. I would like to thank you three for allowing me to be a part it all- I enjoyed it immensely! You guy's rock.... *Notice Kev-Dogg in the background. What a classic look from "The Enforcer".
Photo 6. Just click your heels together three times and say, "There's no place like home".
Photo 7. This is the protector of the planet and purveyor of all that is cool. He is affectionately known here at the 'Elk as Kev-Dogg. See, I told you he drove us down there....
Photo 8. Ray ask me if I wanted to go to a concert.
I ask Ray, "Who's playin', Playa?" and he replied, "Bachman Turner Overdrive with Larry the Cable Guy opening. It's the Takin' Care of Business and Get 'er Done tour". "Sure", I says. I can't turn down a free night of entertainment and this is a photo of the alleged concert. That short partner of mine did it to me again. I'm like Charlie Brown and he's Lucy holding the football. ARRRRGHHH..... He'll say anything to get me to go to work.
Photo 9. This is the President and official spokeswomen for Fretlightz. After a successful stint in professional wrestling,
she went on to Hollywood to become Linda Carter's stunt double in the critically acclaimed TV series, Wonder Women. For all the fans of that show, if you look closely when Linda twirls into her metamorphosis, you can she the stunt double's blonde hair flash momentarily. Tired of not being taken seriously and just another answer to a trivia question, she started her very own fretboard lighting service. Because I am tall, she did not pose a threat to me but Ray on the other hand, was mortified. Don't worry Ray, I got you your very own Sonny Bono, stacked- heel starter kit coming in the mail. I wouldn't want your nose caught up in a precarious situation.
Photo 10. It's well know amongst guitar dealers worldwide that when we attend one of Morty Beckman's shows, it absolutely forbidden to approach a member of the public as they enter the front door of a show. You would rather attempt to steal a peek at your buddy's sister getting dressed than to ease up to the entrance of a Morty show. Well, at this year's event, a couple of guys tried to "sneak a snatch" at the front door, hoping to grab themselves a '78 Mustang or maybe even a rare Epiphone Les Paul and it was at that moment when the room went dark. Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at the main door as a cold, dense fog blocked the light from outside and an ominous 60- cycle hum reverberated through the room. As our eyes peered through the mist, a figure in black, with long, white hair and looking like a blonde Yanni floated into the room with red eyes blazing. He approached the first dealer who had dared to breach protocol and pulling his Samurai sword out with a smooth, easy motion, beheaded him on the spot. Nobody said a word and nobody took a breath. The other infidel that had made that dreaded mistake of leaving his booth tried to hide under a set of portable bleachers in the corner- to no avail. With a quick swipe of his left hand, Morty pulled the section of wooden steps away from the wall and rent the offending villain into pieces with a hack from his Hattori Hanzo blade. By this time, the rest of us were under our tables, not knowing who would be next when a small voice from across the room yelled, "Hey Man, you can't do that". Morty whirled at the sound, looking to see who had dared to speak when other voices rose, first one then others, "Hey, he's right. You can't be hacking guys to pieces just 'cause they hawked the door. This is Florida, ya know?" Soon the crowd began to swell and surround the Man in Black, angered by the sight of cut- up corpses in the room. Without a word, Morty exited the show and fled across the parking lot, leaving a stunned crowd to digest what we had just witnessed. Lee looked over and said, "Screw that, I'm going to see where he went" and with that, was off to the chase. A few minutes later, Lee came running back in, yelling for me to pack our stuff and scram the heck out of there. Seeing my tall partner move at any speed above a slow canter made me exceptionally nervous, so I threw our gear in the van and we hightailed it out of town. It was only last night that I saw this picture of the feared and reviled Morty Kung Fooey in the Lotus position, calling in an attack from the Rabid Ninja Cricket Squad Hoarde. We have heard reports on the news that no one survived and next year's Orlando show will be held in a roadside hot dog stand. Since Lee and I will be the only dealers attending, there will be no need to even get up out of our chairs.....
Photo 11.You may notice that at some of the larger guitar shows, we take our very lives in our hands by attempting to reveal the identity of that dark presence known only as "The Mysterious Mr. E". This has become somewhat of an obsession for us, as we realize that this planet may be in it's last days and here may be the very Specter that will rule supreme in the near future. On this attempt, we caught two things on camera: the gentleman in the middle who is none other than Mr. E's sinister Minister of Doom, the one known only as #2. He does not speak a language we humans understand; rather he communicates with a series of clicks and pops much like the horrible beast in the movie "Predator". He is the collector of souls and can render the most brave at heart into a quivering pile of jelly with a mere glance. And don't be fooled by his slight frame- on a whim, he once took and held the UFC Heavyweight Championship title for six months just to screw with the odds in Vegas. The second thing happening in the picture concerns the man on the right. We couldn't catch the entire conversation for fear of being discovered, but from what we could gather, he was actually bargaining his rights to reincarnation for a collection of Dobros and a Yellow Pine Ukulele. That's right- you heard it here first. This poor chap was willing to trade this priceless collection of vintage Americana for the guarantee that when he passes away, he won't come back in the next life as either a cow pattie or a lamb. It's an incredible thing to witness, but it gives me an idea: I'm wondering if I can trade a doghouse bass and a puppy for the assurance that when I come back, it will be as something that's taller than 5' 2" tall. The notion is insane, I know but if it works, then it means that next time I approach the Fretlights girl about getting LED's in my bass, I won't have to have the conversation with her bellybutton....
Photo 12. Times are so hard right now, even toddlers have to work for their chips.
Photo 13. In this photo you see me and my distinguished guest, Billy Blues. Billy stopped by the 'Elk booth with his Duane Allman 'Burst,(only 65 of them are in existence). He told Ray and I that while he enjoyed owning this very rare signature guitar, he wanted to make room for another rare acquisition. We could sense that Billy was unsure of his decision and after sitting with him awhile, he found us worthy and honored us with the transfer of ownership on this magnificent piece. Billy, it was our pleasure dealing with you, Ray and I were left with a feeling of immense pride that a man of your dignity choose us to be the "chosen ones".