THE OPERATORS




Ops on tour poster

THE OPERATORS
Midwest Minitour Diary
Summer 2001

"On Tour" poster by Christy McCaffrey

We hit the road with our Soccer Mom Vehicle (a Grand Caravan, in which each individual seat had its own climate control), Paul's new experimental beard, and the new bass drum head that Emily painted (which was used pretty much only on this tour as we got Mishima's old drumset shortly thereafter). At the start of each drive, we would listen to our mini-tour theme song, "Caravan" by The In Out.
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We didn't skimp on food. There was: chocolate covered pretzels, peanuts in the shell, sopressata, cheddar, apple sauce, granola bars, instant cream of wheat, chocolate chip rice cakes, pear juice, lemonade, San Pelegrino, Gatorade, creme fraiche and dill blue potato chips, plantainitos, V8, carrot sticks, marzipan chocolate, lemon wafer cookies, pretzels, Men's Pocky, grapefruit jelly candy, White Castle mini burgers, Arby's Jamocha shakes, Subway veggie subs, crackerjacks, rye crisps, mini scali loaves, cheese bread, mini donuts, and frozen custard. Emily had just gotten braces and a "bite plane" days before the trip and couldn't eat much of this--either because it was prohibited or too painful. Half of her meals had to go uneaten because they were too crunchy. There was much moaning and whinging.

Philly

7/26--TROCADERO BALCONY

First stop: the city of brotherly love. Steph wanted to see the Liberty Bell, for which we teased her mercilessly for the rest of the trip (she didn't even get see it after all that).
Sugartown 7/26/01 poster trocadero.jpg
flyer by Maria Tessa Sciarrino
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We bought these ridiculous designer knockoff shades at a New Jersey rest stop, where our obsession with the arm-wrestling videogame almost made us too late and too sore to play our show that night. Paul hit 106lbs, Jen 76, and Em and Steph tied at 69 against the arm-wrestling robot. (Steph was not content to be tied with a wimp like Em so tried again and got 74lbs. But later on a subsequent trip for LadyFestPhilly, Steph kept her 75lb record and Em got 100!).
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The audience included friends Eleana&Kevin from DC, Maria whose birthday it was, Sara who organizes Sugartown, and Emily's long lost doppelganger Maura/"Starla," who DJs at Sugartown.
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Paul's sunglasses made him nauseous to wear, so they were shortlived. Paul also brought along the most awful cookies. He tried to get everyone to try them, only Steph would and said "ugh, these remind me of all of my most unpleasant childhood memories rolled into one." Paul felt positively ill after eating them, and tried to counteract their effect by chasing with crackers, chocolate milk, and Gatorade, but only felt sicker.
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We drove 3 hours after we played in Philly, crashed for a few hours in the pleasantly named but otherwise unpleasant Breezetown, and then drove a LOT. We found ourselves stuck on the set of the "Everybody Hurts" video shortly after Cinncinnati, with people getting out of their completely unmoving cars to play catch, drink beer, stare at the sky. Emily had to go to the bathroom outside which is really not in her idiom at all but desperate times call for desperate measures.
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Inexplicably stuck in our heads at different points in the trip: "John Jacob Jinkleheimer Schmidt," "Cherokee Nation," "Spice up Your Life," and "Brick House." More explicably stuck in our heads: "Caravan" by the In Out.

Lville

7/27--THE RUDYARD KIPLING

Fortunately, we still made it to Louisville in time to play with the fabulous Grand Prize. Emily wondered aloud: "Gosh, there are so many kinds of bourbon, which should I try?" prompting everyone in the bar to offer a suggestion, getting her drunk on samples before getting to the first real drink. Old Forester and Woodford Reserve were the best. Well, except for Makers' Mark which she was already quite familiar with.
rudyardkipling.jpg After sleeping something like 12 hours, we spent the next day seeing Lville: thriftshopping and hitting Ear Xtacy, eating Frozen Custard (Emily's solitary goal for the trip), visiting Churchill Downs, and enjoying the new riverside with Second Story Man and Grand Prize.
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Bloomington

Next, we visited friends Adam and Melissa in Bloomington, where we listened to lots of comedy and hung out with the dog and saw the town: bookstores, thriftstores etc. With our midwest shopping spree, Emily ended up with: bourbon, a terrifying spastic popup gingerbreadman keychain, card suit drinking glasses, a book of Russian fairytales, a Jack Vance novella, Hello Kitty playing tennis, strange candlesticks, a stack of 7" records, and designer-knockoff sunglasses.
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Columbus

And then visited Steve in Columbus, where we ate amazing grilled food and watched MST3K and played board games. Paul attempted to absorb some French for an upcoming trip from French in Action. Emily won the cutthroat game of Trivial Pursuit, pulling ahead with a key bit of Angela Davis trivia, but mostly clinching because of two lucky leisure-instead-of-sports questions for the orange: something about sangria and poker.
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While watching the disappointing serial killer movie Minus Man, we mused that being a touring band provides quite a lot of opportunity to kill people in random locations. And we realized _nobody_ would be able to figure it out if we were on a killing spree. The detective, with maps and pushpins: "Philly...Louisville...Akron?! What's the pattern? It makes no sense!"

Akron

7/30--THURSDAYS LOUNGE

Finally, we hit Akron, where we were greeted by a large sign that says: "The Touch of the Master's Hand." We were confused. We played with Churchbuilder and Intelligent Knives and had great fun! (But when we learned that everyone in Akron pays 10% the rent we do in the Boston area, we were bitter!) Also, the bartender insited that we watch Fear Factor on TV (the eating bull testicles episode) and we were scarred for life.
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The super-nice and cool Mike Faloon of the band Egghead and the zine Go Metric came to see us and hang out and said it was the best show he ever saw in Akron, which warmed the cockles of our hearts.
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On the drive back, we sleepily listened to Lemony Snicket and Harry Potter on audiotape.

Fin.

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