of the "Howdy" Address
ho the hilly ho! Here we go again with another amiable
"How do" to you, our hugely devoted gallery,
and to you, the massive multitude of our cautiously curious
cronies. Well, we made it through yet another year.
what a year it was. The Sturdy Beggars were almost
everywhere. We were oh so bi-coastal, premiering not only
at both the Southern AND Northern Renaissance Pleasure
Faires, but continuing our successful runs in Virginia
and Massachusetts. Not to mention our gigs that are going
on forever in Bristol and Texas. It was particularly faboo
to look into our galleries and see so many of you turn
out dressed in the finest Mud Show T-shirts money can
only were we virtually everywhere we went, but we Sturdy
Beggars were also into being quite heavily transmitted
this past year. Perhaps you were rising and shining as
you saw us say, "What a difference Today® makes!"
on the "The Today® Show", of all shows.
Or perhaps you were in need of penetrating reporting as
you saw an extremely edited version of the one and only
Mud Show® on that highly respected news journal, "Real
TV". Maybe you were just dreaming and your sub-conscious
picked up our vibe. Anyway, in pure beggar tradition,
we were further out there than ever.
in this up and coming year we shall march further still.
This summer we will be driving our triumphant beggar banner
of conquest into the wet soil of the New York Renaissance
Faire. That's right the Sturdy Beggars will be performing
the original Mud Show® in Tuxedo, NY after a seven
year long lacuna. Those of you who have attended the Tuxedo
faire within the past three years may have been befuddled
by witnessing the antics of an imitative mud act. Yes,
there are some out there. It truly amazes me to think
that back in '79 when we first lunched on the loam for
a shiny nickel, real people would have any desire to munch
the mulch all in the name of cheap theatrics. It may be
hard to comprehend, but in this day and age a mud act
of any caliber has become an industry standard in the
entertainment field of Renaissance Faires. It would appear
that now any faire claiming first-class status has to
have not just a Joust, but some sort of mud act as well.
Well, you know what they say, aping is the most ardent
archetype of adulation.
who should truly take credit for all this fame? Why you,
our fans! We would just be unanimated little toys without
your encouragement winding our metaphoric key. We would
just be a flaccid flop of elastic without your enthusiasm
blowing up our allegorical balloon. We would just be barren
without child without your... but I begin to babble. I
will tell you true, The Mud Show® simply would not
exist without you, our fans. Without your energy and support
over the years, I would be in the home right now, slurpin'
soup through an elbow straw. Your jocund rabidity towards
our toil, keeps us climbing up from out of the soil. (however,
my chiropractor wanted me to ask you, just how long you
plan to keep on encouraging us?)
Billy Billy vonBilly
Mud Show® Memories
what a long, strange trip it's been, indeed. Hard to believe
the Sturdy Beggars have been around for nigh on
20 years... Over the decades the Show has sported a truly
colorful and eclectic crew, some gone, some still mud-daubin'.
We asked some of the crustier mud vets on our remaining
active roster to offer up one of their most vivid Mud
Show memories from their varied years doing the mud thang
at Ren Faires across the country. A legitimate exploration
of a unique niche of theatre history, or self-indulgent
wankerdoodling? Humor us. It's late and we need to lie
Billy Billy vonBilly - I would have to say the
time that Bert the Beloved came riding into our arena
on a running elephant yelling to our rapt audience, "Out
of my way, or I'll trample your ass!"
Legs Akimbo -One of the best parts of getting dirty
is getting clean again. My dirty old hat's off (along
with the rest of my encrusted togs) to all the tubby times
I loved before-from from Cape Cod to California, &
Tejas in between...
Rott Wyler -My most unforgettable, humbling moment
was the last free-for-all show of the faire back in '80,
when the right Reverend Ikey Noakes & I squared off
together in the pit & he promptly pummeled me into
the muck & gradually stripped off all of my raggedy
clothes AND undergarments. Fortunately for the sensitivities
of our younger & more impressionable viewers, &
my own sense of dignity, the mud was a particularly thick,
gooey greenish clay that year.
Spiney Nodules -...Arriving in Columbia, MD in
1980 and being led by a local alcoholic to the shallowly
scratched out area in the hard mica-rich dirt which was
the first mud pit I would ever perform in & around.
Ptui -Ah yes, a crisp September day in 1987, my final
performance of the Flaming Crotch Dive of Death in our
show at King Richard's in New England. Misjudged the breeze
& length of the groinal fuse & burned the hell
outta my belly. Kids: don't drink & dive.
1998 Sturdy Beggar Season
lumbers on! Our bodies may be broken, but our spirits
boing back! See you at the Pit! Wear your Sturdy Beggar
T-shirt to the Faire and bask in the frothy adulation!
(Specific rosters subject to change. Your mileage may
Virginia Renaissance Faire (Fredericksburg, VA) 1175 King's
Highway/Fredericksburg, VA 22405 * (540)371-3999 4/25
- 6/7 (incl. Memorial Day) Spiney Nodules, Figgy Pudding,
Rott Wyler, and introducing Luby Buffet
Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire (San Bernadino,
CA) Helen Regional Park * 1-800-52-FAIRE4/27 - 6/21 (incl.
Memorial Day) Fitzhugh Nicely, Lutilla Fair Dinkhum
Bristol Renaissance Faire (IL/WI border) 12420 128th St./Kenosha,
WI 53142 * (708) 395-7773 or (414) 396-4320 6/27 - 8/23
Spiney Nodules, Figgy Pudding, Billy Billy vonBilly, Rott
Wyler, Hack Ptui
Northern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire (Novato.
CA) 1410 Hwy 37/Novato, CA 94945 * (415)892-0937 7/25
- 9/7 (incl. Labor Day) [Note: No signed contract at printing]
Fitzhugh Nicely, Lutilla Fair Dinkhum
New York Renaissance Faire (Tuxedo, NY) 600 Rt. 17A/Tuxedo,
NY 10987 * (914) 351-5171 8/1 - 9/20 (incl. Labor Day)
Billy Billy vonBIlly, Halfwit Henry, Special Guest Star,
Fest (Chicago, IL) Located this year in Lincoln Park *
(312) 929-TOTO 8/1 - 8/2 [Note: No signed contract at
printing] Lutilla Fair Dinkhum, Helmut von Mudt
Richard's New England Faire (Carver, MA) P.O. Box 419/Rt.
58/Carver, MA 02330 * (508) 866-5391
8/29 - 10/18 (incl. Labor Day & Columbus Day) Halfwit
Henry, Figgy Pudding, Beggar X
Iowa Renaissance Festival (Des Moines) Located on the
Fair Grounds / (515) 357-5177 9/12 & 13, 9/19 &
20 [Note: No signed contract at printing] Lutilla Fair
Dinkhum, Helmut von Mudt
Texas Renaissance Festival (Plantersville, TX) Rt. 2,
Box 650/Plantersville, TX 77363 * (713) 356-2178 or 1-800-458-3435
10/3 - 11/15 [Note: No signed contract at printing] Halfwit
Henry, Spiney Nodules, Figgy Pudding, Billy Billy vonBilly
Don't Blame El Niño
beggars offer our sincerest apologies for the tardy nature
of this, our 10th missive of massive mailing. Our original
deadline of February second was initially deferred by
that pesky little rat of the soil, who just plain refused
to witness his penumbra presence on his customary day
of meteorology reckoning. However, the rodent's prerogative
postponement only accounts for a mere 42 days. You don't
need a calendar (but it helps) to realize that this edition
is a whole month past that deadline. If you have had your
nose anywhere near the news, you have probably been lambasted
with the media's erroneous summation that the Sturdy Beggar's
Muddy Rag is overdue due to that "dastardly and devious
El Niño". You cannot peruse a paper, or pass
a TV without their ace reporters pointing one of their
longer fingers at El Niño for everything unusual
and incongruous under our Sun.
I am sorry, I just cannot allow those trendy postulating
pundits to continue to hurl their contemptible declarations.
Being as fluent as I am in all the various and sundry
tongues on this planet, I cannot hear the words "El
Niño" without having the English translation
ring in my head. Now, normally, "el niño",
means "the boy", however, when capitalized,
it is strictly translated as, "The Christ Child".
This unduly scapegoated weather condition was thus dubbed
on account that its conception, the unseasonably warm
water that would occasionally hit the shore of South America,
comes during the Christmas Holidays.
With my involuntary translation occurring in my noggin,
just imagine how I hear these headlines; "El Niño
Kills Eight in Trailer Park", "Can Anything
Stop El Niño, The Destroyer?", and as the
New York Post's front page so elegantly screamed, "Hell
Niño!". That is wrong! And I have had enough,
and I say let he who be without some lame excuse cast
the first mud ball! And that he be me! I simply cannot
allow the Fourth Estate to falsely condemn "El Niño"
for the tardiness of that damn Muddy Rag, it is simply
not true. And inasmuch as I hate to tattle, just this
once, I will point the finger in its rightful direction...(dramatic
pause periods) ... the Kenneth Starr investigations. He's
to blame! If he hadn't gone and subpoenaed our lovely
interns, Lolita and Bambi, this newsletter would have
been gently inserted into your snug little mailboxes right
on schedule. (Lolita? Bambi? Please come back to work,
We love you!)
Behold the Roll Call of Honor
Inscribed on this Roll Call of Honor are the names of
those mud patrons who have heeded our wheedlin' and voluntarily
sent us a buck or few to help perpetuate the wholly honorable
& inexplicable works of the Sturdy Beggar Appreciation
Society. We grovel to your glory!
"Sir Bink" McKillen
"Brawling Bess" Garrell
"Loony Bin" O'Hagan
"Guido" Del Rosso
Linda D. Gentile
A Grand Old Game
everybody! You're ol' pal Half-Wit Henry checking in. Ever
since Wakka Ding Hoy left on his world travails, allowing
me to step back into the Beggar spotlight, people have asked
me, what's my favorite part of being back? Is it the thrill
of the mud show, the joy of your laughter, the camaraderie
of my partners in grime? Well as much as all of that
means to me, I'd have to say it's that I get to work with
my dog, Sparky, truly a dog of rare material, who enriches
the fabric of my life. Longtime SBASers may remember an
article a few years back about the wonderful dogs of my
past, and just like them, Sparky's a real doll, with his
own unique personality. He's not quite the entertainer Kippy
or Bofus were, but he is, wad for wad, the best athlete
I've ever had the honor to play Dog Ball with.
The Grand Old Game of Dog Ball. Mid-afternoon patrons of
King Richard's or early morning visitors to TRF might have
seen us on the links, Sparky's ears in flight mode as I
fling him with reckless, carefree (yet calculated abandon)
towards the pristine garbage cans that dot the festive landscape.
Yet so many people have chosen to misunderstand this sport.
You wouldn't believe how many patrons assume I'm "mistreating"
or "abusing" Sparky, that I was somehow being
"cruel" to him by swinging him around on his leash
and then chucking him into a garbage can. Can you believe
that? Geez, not only does Sparky love to do this, why he
was bred, stuffed and stitched to do so!
why I'm writing this, to set the record straight on Dog
Ball! Dog Ball, like it's kissing cousin Golf, was born
in the highlands of Scotland many years ago. The Scots found
themselves with a surplus of cloth dogs and garbage cans
and someone had the idea of tossing the dogs into the cans.
(Well, these are the same people that brought you the Caber
Toss.) The idea is to get your dog into the can in as few
tosses as possible, by any means necessary (Flinging by
the leash is preferable to violent revolution). Each hole
is assigned a 'paw' value-the amount of tosses it should
reasonably take to drain the dog into the can. One under
paw is a Bird Dog and 2 under is a Beagle. One over is a
Dogey, 2 over a Double Dogey, 3 over a Three Dog Night,
4 over a Whoa Dogey, and beyond that, well, let's hope we
never have to know.
in Golf, Dog Ball is a game of etiquette and strict scoring
rules. The Dog must be played where he lays or it's a 1
stroke penalty. Hitting a hazard (Trees, puddles, craft
booths, etc.) also results in a one stroke penalty. Unlike
Golf, in Dog Ball the hazards can also be moving (patrons)
and if hit can result in legal action. Worse, it's a two
stroke penalty. This is why the considerate Dog Baller screams:
'DOG' before he releases the hound. It's good sportsmanship,
although recent research indicates that 'DOG' actually started
as a psych-up mantra amongst the early Scottish players.
Look at this recently discovered poem by Angus Ian McWhatever
(1787-1832): Fish gotta swim / Birds gotta sing / Dog Ina
can one more fling! But I digress
I could go on all day about the intricacies and delicate
beauties of the game, but I just wanted to clear up some
of the mysteries of the game for the uninitiated. So if
you spy me and Sparky out on the links this season, don't
be tempted to say silly things like, 'Oh, that poor dog'.
Poor dog my eye, maybe I just took an 8 on that hole! -H.W.
of 30 Days to better Dog Ball by Half-Wit Henry and Sparky
are available at Dog Ball Pro Shops across the nation.)
Ode To a Hat
by Fitzhugh Nicely
As a testament to sartorial splendor,
One may wear a waistcoat or a cravat.
But if you're a Beggar and not a Lender,
Your choice of accessory is a Hat.
Sometimes it's brown, or it's black or gray,
The felt may be of a multiple hue.
It has a hole, the brim beginning to fray,
But to a Beggar, it's a friend true blue.
The crown may no longer hold it's shape,
With indentations occurring at will.
Just as long as it provides handy
For a one, five, or ten dollar bill.
For when a Beggar's hat receives a buck,
It provides more than mere compensation.
Without it, a Beggar would be out of luck,
And have to find a real occupation.
damn Muddy Rag #10 designed & executed by Hack Ptui
4/98 editorz: Ptui & vonBilly
scribes du jour: B. B. VonBilly, H. Henry, S. Nodules,
F. Nicely, H. Ptui