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The Mud Show
 that damn Muddy Rag #10
Groundhog Day 1998  
The Officious Newsletter of the Sturdy Beggar™ Appreciation Society

State of the "Howdy" Address
Hey ho the hilly ho! Here we go again with another amiable annual address.
"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.
And 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 buy.
Not 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.
And 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.
And 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
And 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 down.
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.
Hacks Flaming Crotch DiveHack 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.

The 1998 Sturdy Beggar™ Season
Legend 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 vary)
The 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
The 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
The 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
The 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
The 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, Beggar X
Oz 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
King 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
The 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
The 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

We 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.
Well, 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!
"Grazelda" Milewski
"Sir Bink" McKillen
"Forgotten" Jackson
"Brawling Bess" Garrell
"Loony Bin" O'Hagan
"Guido" Del Rosso
Linda D. Gentile

It's A Grand Old Game
Hello 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 thaDog Ballt 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.
Ahh, 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!
That's 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.
As 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. Henry
(Copies 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.

that 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
The Mud Show
The Mud Show