"You’ve never metaphysician like me!"
I’ve lived in Houston nearly all my life, but until last night I had never had the pleasure of seeing one of the Bayou City’s greatest musical treasures, Beans Barton and the Bi-Peds, in action. Dale "Beans" Barton is both a performance artist and a visual artist, but that simple description doesn’t even begin to do justice to the madcap live performances of Beans and his band. He refers to these performances – which are enhanced by a captivating tribal belly-dance troupe, assorted loony characters and his own manic narrative – as "rock and role" shows. And the emphasis is on the rock as much as the roles, because mixed in with all that craziness is some damn fine music.
It’s all for a good cause, too (beyond the eminently noble one of having a bloody marvelous time): during each show Beans creates a painting, which is auctioned off at the end of the performance, with all proceeds donated to the Houston Food Bank.
Last night was Beans Barton and the Bi-Peds’ 21st anniversary concert at Dan Electro’s Guitar Bar in Houston. The Rev thought it would be good therapy for the two of us after the rough week we’ve had dealing with my mother’s hospitalization, frantic work deadlines and other problems. And he was right.
The theme of the show was "In The Feet Of The Night" – eerie, since my mom just had a foot operation. Plus, I hate shoes, and go barefoot as often as I can. In fact I immediately kicked off my flip-flops as soon as I settled onto my bar stool, and I spent most of the night barefoot. Well, as they say in the New-Wage world, there are no coincidences. Some might speculate that the "Feet" theme might have had something to do with the fact that Beans' band is called The Bi-Peds, but I know better. It was all about me, and what's going on in my life. After all, as they also say, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
Even if he shows up in a larva costume.
One of the main things most people notice about Beans is his curious obsession with the insect world, which is kind of odd, considering that insects are hexapeds, not bipeds. But once again I believe this has something to do with me, since my first career aspiration as a child was to be an entomologist. As a kid I was crazy about bugs of every variety. I was especially fascinated with larvae of all kinds. I don’t like insects so much anymore, with the notable exceptions of click beetles and a few other insect families, but there are definitely bugs in my background.*
But enough about me. Let’s talk for a moment about Beans, who is famous for slithering and dancing his way onto the stage in a huge larva suit, under which are several squirming belly dancers and other members of the troupe. Last night he did not disappoint, and he gleefully carried the insect theme through the performance; the first song of the set was what seemed to be a moth's suicide warning ("I might bite the light tonight!").
Now, lest you think I’ve veered way off topic with this post, hold on. There is a connection, after all, ’tween Beans and my little Whirled, for at one point during his frenzied narrative, Beans (or a character he had assumed) announced that he is a metaphysician.
"You’ve never metaphysician like me!" he added.
And I have to admit he was right.
Today's world, as you know, is full of metaphysicians,** many of whom offer a wide range of products and services and workshops and sessions that could very well set you back thousands and thousands of good American dollars. I'm not saying these people aren't very, very good at what they do;*** I'm just saying that some of them are rather costly. By contrast, the session with Houston’s craziest metaphysician only cost $10.00 per head.
And I came out of it feeling better than I’ve felt in a very long time. Thank you, Beans, and most of all, thank you, Ron.
PS – Ron and I were honored to attend the Beans bash with two other musicians and good friends of ours, Bill and Kathleen Gibson. Bill is a member of the Citykings and Kathleen does backup vocals and percussion for the band. I am still rooting for the Citykings' reggae-influenced "Some Guy Out On The Street" to be a theme song for a TV series or movie someday soon. It’s a catchy tune and I can’t get enough of it! David E. Kelley or Jerry Bruckheimer, are you reading this?!?
Click here to hear more song samples and buy the Citykings album, Four Lifetimes.
Y'know... Houston may not be Austin, but as long as we have the Citykings and Beans, I’m in heaven.
*And some would say there are bats in my belfry too. But I'm sure it's just an inner-child issue.
** As well as many opportunities to purchase the degrees that will allow you, too, to become a metaphysician!
*** Such as getting you to give them your money.