Wednesday, April 16, 2014

No Bull!

Today has been great, but not to brag, not nearly as great as our Concert for Utopia was. A beautiful, saddled, Texas Longhorn steer was outside, at the event, for people to sit on and take pictures and I think everyone at the event sat on him. And that's no bull.

When Tony and I arrived at the Cailloux Theater, our good friends/volunteers. Kris and Jim were already there, willing and ready to help us unload the t-shirt and cap boxes, etc., so they could set up the merchandising table for us.

The performances by Chet O'Keefe, Billy Joe Shaver, Jesse Dayton and Ray Benson & Asleep at the Wheel were over the top and the crowd loved their music. Big G and Kinky did a wonderful job introducing the performers and they were also very funny.

Before the Intermission, Brian Kanof, with the help of our friends/volunteers:  Lisa, Eileen and Fay, auctioned off three donated items. The Wolfmuellers donated the book, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, signed by both Willie Nelson and Kinky. Rick Reichenbach donated a Baby Taylor guitar autographed by 37 famous Texas singer, songwriter musicians. And Kinky's friend Sean donated a Fender guitar autographed by Willie Nelson.

After the Intermission, Ruth Buzzi, Big G, Kinky and I went up on the stage, so Kinky could introduce Ruthie and thank her and her husband, Kent, for coming to our concert and then I quickly thanked our super volunteers for all they do for us and then I quickly read off all of their names. Then Ruthie started cutting-up with Kinky and before you knew it, Ruthie had the crowd roaring with laughter. And to top that off—Ruthie, famously known, on Laugh In, for bopping famous men (such as Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali...) with her purse, she used her jacket instead (Because Fay was backstage holding on to Ruthie's purse for her.) and Ruth Buzzi smacked Kinky, Big G and me. It was hilarious.

All in all, it was a fantastic concert and once again, I want to thank Donna Gable Hatch for writing those wonderful articles, for The Kerrville Daily Times, to help spread the word about our concert. Here are some pictures that Tony took at the concert. And that is about it for tonight.

Y'all have a great evening!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happy 80th Birthday, Jim McMahon!

Today has been great. This evening Tony and I went to Jim McMahon's surprise 80th birthday and dinner party, held at the Y.O. Hotel, in Kerrville. Jim was totally surprised and his birthday party was a lot of fun and filled with laughter. And the dinner was delicious, too.

We didn't get back home until 9:20 and when I finish drinking this glass of wine that I just poured out of a box—I'm going to bed, so tomorrow I will write more. Happy Birthday to our dear friend Jim and Cheers!

Check Out Chet!

The Concert for Utopia, on Sunday, at the Cailloux Theater was FABULOUS! Tony and I are fixin' to go outside to do our morning chores right now and I will write more this evening. If you didn't make it to our rescue ranch's financial pleasure, fundraising concert, here's Gerry Olert's fantastic video of Chet O'Keefe singing his great song, The Talking Kerrville Blues, about the famous Kerrville Folk Festival, that put Kerrville, Texas on the map. Check out Chet!

Photo by Gerry Olert

Saturday, April 12, 2014

We Did it! Fay's A Redneck!

Today has been great. Here is a picture of Fay posing with my BB gun, after target practice. She and Tony competed—Canada vs. Texas—Texas won. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ruth Buzzi & Kent Perkins Are Coming To The Concert, Too!

Today has been great. We've had a blast with Fay and our great friends/volunteers. This afternoon  Tony and I wanted to impress Fay, so we took her to Home Depot, in Kerrville, to buy a chainsaw. After we purchased the chainsaw, I think Fay was pretty impressed with us Texans, because later on in the evening, when all of us were eating dinner with Kinky, at the Medina Highpoint Resort, she said, in her cute, Canadian accent, "Well, I've never done that before!"

Well, you guessed it—Donna Gable Hatch and The Kerrville Daily Times have done it again for us! Here is a great story about our dear friends Ruth Buzzi and her husband Kent Perkins. We love Ruthie and Kent and we cannot thank Donna Gable Hatch and The Kerrville Daily Times enough for all they have done for us! Enjoy! And we will see y'all at the Concert for Utopia, on Sunday!

Comedienne Ruth Buzzi to pay visit to Kerrville

By Donna Gable Hatch 
Features Editor

She cracked us up as part of the sketch comedy troupe on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.” She reduced the legendary Dean Martin and Johnny Carson to tears of laughter with her character, Gladys Ormphby, a hairnet-wearing, handbag-wielding spinster. She can even hold her own alongside the inimitable Miss Piggy.
She’s comedienne-actress Ruth Buzzi, and she’s in Kerrville this weekend to support her longtime friends at Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, in Medina.
“There have been too many highlights in my career to pick just one, so I’ll share a few: winning the 1972 Golden Globe for best supporting actress in a comedy or variety show was huge for me. Getting to know Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, even John Wayne and Muhammad Ali; the fascinating people I met along the way are all career highlights for me. But one thing that really stands out is the day I picked up TV Guide and saw my face on the cover. It wasn’t Rolling Stone, but I did get 10 copies for my mother,” Buzzi quipped.
A homecoming, of sorts
Buzzi and her husband of 36 years, Kent Perkins, will be in the audience at the Concert for Utopia, a benefit for the animal sanctuary founded in 1998 by Kinky Friedman, Nancy Parker-Simons and Tony Simons. The concert begins at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 13, at the Kathleen C. Cailloux City Center for the Performing Arts, 910 Main St., in Kerrville. It features nine-time Grammy winner Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel, singer-songwriters Billy Joe Shaver, Chet O’Keefe and Jesse Dayton. Friedman and radio host Gordon “Big G” Ames will co-host.
Joining the couple in the balcony are her in-laws, Dee and Elaine Perkins of Southlake, Texas, who have been married 69 years. Perkins’ mother will celebrate her 88th birthday while in Kerrville.
“People are surprised that Ruth Buzzi has living in-laws,” Perkins cracked.
Perkins, who met Friedman in 1974, said he and his wife have been friends with the musical talent “for at least 30 years or more. We’ve spent some quality time with Ray and Billy Joe out at the ranch and other places. The concert will be like a homecoming for us. We love Nancy and Tony; they’re among our best friend. We couldn’t have the ranch without them. Nancy’s rare. Tony’s medium rare,” he joked.
Paws all in
Buzzi’s love affair with four-legged friends began as a child.
“I have always thought of animals as friends, from as early as I can recall in my childhood,” Buzzi said. “I was born in Rhode Island but raised in Wequetequock, a small seaside hamlet in Connecticut. It was country living back then, and I had a fox terrier named Fritzy and a black cat named Blackie.”
She and her husband live on a 600-acre ranch near Stephenville in north Texas, where they have 18 head of cattle, a bull, five horses, two rescue dogs — a great Pyrenees named Buffy and an American bull terrier named J.J. — two swans and 10 ducks.
The couple kicked off Utopia’s Pen Sponsorship program in August 2012, and Buzzi raised nearly $8,500 last year for the ranch through her Twitter and Facebook accounts.
She said she and her husband are ready to serve “whenever and wherever we can to support efforts in saving animals. Utopia Rescue has outdoor pens with a tree, at least one tree, in each pen. The dogs are loved there, fed well, played with and treated great by caretakers, Nancy and Tony, who devote their entire lives to the care and love of animals,” said Buzzi, who was honored in 2012 as one of the “Great Women of Texas” by the Fort Worth Business Press. “None of the money raised is wasted; not a penny of it. All the funds go for food, shelter, medical and support services for rescued animals.”
Parker-Simons said the couple’s support has been an invaluable asset to the ranch, and any time they’re in town is a treat, sometimes literally.
“We love it when they visit, because they're always so much fun,” she said. “A few years ago, they came down for a benefit, and later, Ruthie taught me how to cook beignets Italian style, and they were delicious.”
Buzzi and Perkins have been to the area many times throughout the years, and she said she’s grown quite fond of Kerrville.
“My favorite things about Kerrville are the attitude of the people, the incredible beauty of the area, and the name of your public library (Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library),” Buzzi cracked.
It’s that famous wit and impeccable timing that carried the TV Hall of Famer seamlessly from the Pasadena Playhouse in southern California — where she studied alongside Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman — to Off-Broadway, to Broadway, then on to television, followed by film.
“Dustin Hoffman, by the way, was the most shy of all my classmates. He practically hugged the walls as he went from class to class,” said Buzzi, who began working in theater professionally when she was 19, touring with singer Rudy Vallee in a live musical and comedy act. “I guess he’s come out of his shell, wouldn’t you say?”
Her time working with the “Laugh In” cast, she said, are among her most treasured memories in the business — and was a launch pad for lifelong friendships.
“JoAnn Worley and I are the best of phone buddies. I’ve also kept in touch with Gary Owens, Goldie (Hawn), and Lily (Tomlin), too, but we don’t get together much since I’ve moved to Texas,” she said. “When they need me for something, though, they call and we always support each other in whatever ways we can.”
The famously funny "Dean Martin Celebrity Roast" — which aired as an NBC television special show hosted by entertainer Dean Martin from 1974 to 1984 — left an indelible mark, because she got to know the men behind the laughter.

“Both Dean and Johnny were warm, wonderful guys with big hearts. People automatically knew that about Deano, but lots of folks assumed Johnny was standoffish,” she said. “The truth was that Johnny was simply uncomfortable in most large social gatherings, so he rarely went to big parties. He preferred small dinners with no more than four or five people, and my husband Kent and I were fortunate to be counted among those folks several times.” 

She said one image is seared into her heart. “We saw Johnny at a hospital with a dying mutual friend once. He sat beside her every day on his way home from the studio, held her hand and made her feel loved the last few days of her life,” she said. “It’s hard to forget that image of Johnny Carson. I loved him, and I loved Dean, and I miss them both.”

Buzzi said she’s looking forward to the Concert for Utopia and chatting with residents during intermission and while she’s in town. “People should feel free to stop me and say ‘hello’ when they run into me around Kerrville,” she said. “I love meeting people, and I’m never too busy for that.”

Here are a few pictures, too:

 Actress Ruth Buzzi, center, her husband, Kent Perkins, right, Courtesy photo
 and her in-laws Elaine and Dee Perkins of Southlake, will be in the
audience Sunday for the Concert for Utopia.

                                   Ruth Buzzi as park-bench spinster Gladys Ormphy on 
                                                 “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.”

Ruthie and me.

Y'all have a great evening!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Donna Gable Hatch & The Kerrville Daily Times Have Done It Again!

Today has been great—thanks to Donna Gable Hatch and The Kerrville Daily Times great article today about the Concert for Utopia, on Sunday. Kinky, Tony and I love Donna and The Kerrville Daily Times for helping out our rescue ranch and we cannot thank them enough. Here's Donna's latest article about the Concert for Utopia.

Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel, Billy Joe Shaver headline fundraiser

By Donna Gable Hatch 
Features Editor

In 1966, Kinky Friedman and legendary honky tonk hero Billy Joe Shaver became lifelong friends. Over the years, whenever Friedman stepped up to help raise funds for a worthy cause, he turned to his old friend, and Shaver had his back.
“Twenty years ago, we did a benefit for the historic Arcadia Theater on Water Street. The show was a sellout, and it was just great,” said Friedman, a best-selling novelist, humorist and singer-songwriter. “Well, Billy Joe was on stage, and he said, ‘Before I go on with the show, I have to thank the man who is the reason I’m here today.’ Well, I stood up, and I was making my way to the stage, you know, thinking he was going to thank me. I get my foot up on the first step, and he said ‘and that man is Jesus Christ.’ Well, I felt like an idiot, and the audience laughed their heads off. I felt about 2 inches tall and slinked back to my seat.”
The dynamic duo is at it again, this time to raise money for Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, an animal sanctuary co-founded in 1998 by Friedman, Nancy Parker-Simons and Tony Simons.
The Concert for Utopia is at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 13, at the Kathleen C. Cailloux City Center for the Performing Arts, 910 Main St.
“I’d do anything for Kinky, anytime, anywhere,” Shaver said. “I dearly love Kinky. He’s a good ol’ boy.”
The fundraising concert also features nine-time Grammy winner Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel — dubbed the Kings of Texas Swing — and singer-songwriter Chet O’Keefe, who performed with blues master and rock and roll pioneer Bo Diddley. Also on the bill is Austin-based Jesse Dayton, a honky tonk-rockabilly artist who has performed with Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.
Friedman and radio host Gordon “Big G” Ames of radio station KERV-AM 1230’s Big G’s Texas Roadshow will co-host with a little help from Friedman’s longtime friend, Little Jewford. Born Jeff Shelby, he is an accomplished pianist and comedian — as well as the keyboardist in the original country western band, Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys. He’s been described as “a Liberace and Victor Borge cocktail, with a twist of the Marx Brothers”
“He’s a Jew, and he drives a Ford,” Friedman quipped of his friend’s moniker.
Friedman said longtime friend and supporter of the ranch, Ruth Buzzi — comedienne and actress of “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” fame — also will be in the house. Buzzi and her husband, Kent Perkins, are “pen sponsors at the ranch,” Friedman said.
Concert tickets start at $45, and all proceeds support Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, 966 Echo Hill Road, which is located on the 365-acre Echo Hill Ranch in Medina. The ranch has been in the Friedman family for more than six decades.
“There will be absolutely no politics at the benefit,” said Friedman, who faces cattle farmer Jim Hogan in a May 27 Democratic primary runoff for the position of agriculture commissioner of Texas. “And Big G and I will keep our remarks brief. This night is all about great music and raising money to save animals and support the work we do at the rescue ranch.”
Good friends, great music
Ray Benson, frontman for Asleep at the Wheel since 1969, and Friedman have been friends for 42 years.
“Whenever I see Kinky’s name come up on the caller ID, I hide,” Benson said with a laugh. “But eventually he tracks me down, and this is what happens.”
Benson said he’s always happy to saddle up and ride in to help animals in need.
“I’ve rescued a number of dogs, and I love dogs. We have corgis, and there’s a lady who does a corgi rescue in north Texas, and she calls when she gets one, and we become their forever home,” he said. “As a matter of fact, just before I called you, a new one we rescued just peed in my guitar case, and I had to clean it up. We’re dog lover and cat lovers around here, and we’ll do anything we can to help.”
Benson said he will do his famous hat trick at the concert — he balances his hat on the tip of his nose and flips it back on his head.
“Kinky does love that hat trick,” he said. “I also do a bit of juggling, but that’s another story.”
Benson said he’s excited about sharing Asleep at the Wheel’s new band member, Katie Holmes, with the Kerrville audience.
“Katie is our new fiddler and girl singer, and she just started two months ago. She’s just fabulous,” he said.
The Kerrville audience also will be the first to hear live performances off Benson’s new solo album “A Little Piece,” which was released earlier this year.
“I did a song with Willie Nelson on that one, and I’ll do that song live, and we’re working on a new Asleep at the Wheel-Bob Wills album, and we’ll do a few of the songs we recorded for that,” Benson said.
In addition, “An Asleep at the Wheel-Billy Joe Shaver show is very rare,” he said. “We’ve known the boy for 40 years or more, and we don’t play together a whole lot, so this is quite a show. Billy Joe and I go way back, and we’ll do one of the songs that we cut, ‘Way Down Texas Way.’”
Benson said he hopes the audience enjoys the show as much as he knows the performers will.
"I hope the good folks from the Hill Country will come out and join us for a good time and enjoy the hell out of it,” he said.
Friedman said the music industry has recently lost some great artists — George Jones and Ray Price, to name two — “but we will have on stage some of the finest musicians in country music today. Asleep at the Wheel is the last great swing band of the modern era. Billy Joe, as Willie Nelson says, is Texas’ greatest songwriter. As far as pure songwriter and someone who’s currently writing great stuff — and his recent stuff is brilliant — I’d say Willie’s right. He’s a real poet.”
“Chet comes from the great Northwest, and people are really going to enjoy him,” Friedman said. “I think he’s about the best singer-songwriter I’ve heard this side of Woody Guthrie.”
Dayton is a native of Beaumont, which named a block of a street George Jones Place in homage to Jones, who moved to the city when he was 11.
“Jesse is going to do a salute to George Jones. He sounds so much like George, it will make you cry. They’re both Beaumonsters.”
Shaver, who in 2006 was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame, also was honored in 2007 by the Americana Music Association with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Songwriting.
He’s known as the songwriters’ songwriter, and his work has been covered by such musical luminaries as Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.
His string of hits include “I’m Just An Old Chunk Of Coal,” “Live Forever,” “When the Fallen Angels Fly,” “Georgia on a Fast Train,” “Ride Me Down Easy,” “Old Five & Dimers Like Me,” “(Just Because) You Ask Me To” and “Sweet Mama,” among many others.
Shaver wrote 90 percent of Waylon Jennings’ 1973 “Honky Tonk Heroes” album, which was the genesis of the country outlaw movement and changed the face of country music.
“I wrote 10 of the 11 songs on that album, and Chet Atkins was so mad at me, because it was so different,” Shaver said. “It was the first outlaw stuff, and Chet didn’t like me one bit, because he thought it was gonna mess everything up. Well, it turned out OK,” Shaver said. “Of course, it was very helpful to have someone like Waylon do the songs, because the songs are so much bigger than me. He was one of the greatest singers who ever lived.”
Shaver said he’ll perform his old, crowd-pleasing classics, but he also will give the audience a taste of his latest work from his yet-unnamed album.
“I’ve got a new album coming out in June, and I’ll play a few songs off of it,” Shaver said. “A single will be out soon, and it’s called ‘It’s Hard to be An Outlaw Who Ain’t Wanted Anymore.’ I gotta say, it’s a really great song.”
Shaver pulls no punches when it comes to pouring his life into his music.
“I write the truth,” he said. “It’s real easy to do that. I guess I was meant to be a songwriter; all kind of crazy stuff keeps happening to me. All I do is report it.”
Shaver said he hopes he can help put a person in every seat at the Cailloux.
“I have the same kind of heart Kinky has for these dogs,” said Shaver, who shares his life with a shih tzu named Lucy Lou and a pit bull named Honey Bee.
“One time, I found a dog, a pit bull, up by the capitol building, and it had one leg that looked like it was near torn off in a fight. She was a good dog, but she couldn’t be in a pen with another dog,” he said. “Well, I took her out to Utopia, and she was there for a while. It happened that a Vietnam vet, who had his leg knocked off, well, he came to Utopia, and he and that dog just fell in love. It was real heartwarming.”
That particular dog, he said, “never would have stood a chance someplace else. It would have been put down. But not at Utopia. That dog had a fighting chance to have a good life, thanks to the rescue ranch, and it ended up with a war hero.”
That’s what this concert is all about, he said. “It’s about raising money for a place that helps dogs find the people who need them.”

If You Go
➤ What: Concert for Utopia
➤ When: 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 13
➤ Where: Kathleen C. Cailloux City Center for the Performing Arts, 910 Main St.
➤ Details: The concert features Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel, honky tonk hero Billy Joe Shaver, Jesse Dayton and Chet O’Keefe
➤ Tickets: Start at $45
➤ Info: For tickets, call 896-9393 or visit

Before I finish writing this, I want to let you know that today has also been great, because Fay is here!
Y'all have a great day!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Yee Haw! Fay's Coming Tomorrow!

Today has been great. Tony and I are so excited about Fay coming to see us tomorrow, from Toronto, we have spent all day and much of the evening cleaning up The Cabin, Outer Space and The Bunkhouse, my pretty, pink writing cabin.

We still have some more work to do, but for the most part—We're Ready For Fay! Tony and I cannot wait to welcome her to Texas, hug her, show her our rescue ranch and get a lot of visiting in during her short visit here. And I cannot wait for our friends/Best volunteers in Texas, to meet her on Friday. Carol is also anxious to meet her, because she is also one of the main fiction characters in my two novellas.

And that is about it for tonight, because I still want to do some more sprucing up on our old, thirty-one-year-old trailer, before going to bed, so it won't look like Tony and I live here with our four, four-legged best friends.

P.S. I'm going to put our good bedspread on the bed, too!

Y'all have a great evening, because Fay is coming to Texas!