For some reason, insects bug Americans. Most would rather poison themselves with pesticides than admit to the nutritional value of terrestrial arthropods. I do not fall into that category. I was mostly vegan for two years, but even vegans eat insects. It's literally impossible to keep them out of our food. Why live your life resisting something that's inevitable? If you're a serious foodie like myself, edible insects represent some nineteen hundred new flavors. That's an awful lot of possibilities to ignore based on an illogical bias.
Denver restaurant auteur Justin Cucci obviously recognizes the opportunity that bugs represent. Crickets have been featured in several dishes at his global street food-inspired eatery Linger. The latest version of Linger's menu is divided into regions. You'll see Sweet and Sour Crickets in the Thailand section (black ant rice and spiced grasshoppers are other ingredients). Crickets are enormously popular in Thailand, so much so that they can barely keep up with the demand. In fact, it's estimated that two billion people around the world choose to eat insects consciously. Just because most Americans think entomophagy – the practice of eating insects – is strange, doesn't mean they're right. Insects are basically the terrestrial relatives of shellfish. Both are arthropods. Why is eating bugs any different from eating crab or shrimp? Some entomophagy enthusiasts will tell you that they taste similar.
So next time you find yourself at Linger, gift your palate an adventure and give the Sweet and Sour Crickets a try. You just might be pleasantly surprised.
Last year, I penned a bug-infused tune called “Butterflies.” While attending an edible insect tasting hosted by Denver's Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch, I played it for bug wrangler Wendy Lu McGill. McGill then heard (and shared) a version of Kacey Musgraves' then-unreleased, similarly bug-infused “Butterflies” on NPR. I've been an enormous fan of Musgraves ever since a potential customer first turned me onto her early single “Follow Your Arrow” for a possible graduation singing telegram gig. My friend Kelsey and I went to see the Texas-raised singer at Denver's Bluebird Theater on my 4/20 birthday a few years ago, and it was one of the most fun shows I've ever seen. Musgraves and her gentlemen band covered an eclectic array of artists including Bob Marley, Gnarls Barkley, TLC and Roy Rogers. In between sets, each member of the group showed off a hidden talent: drumstick-juggling, joint-rolling and square dance were among them. They even passed out munchies to the stoner holiday crowd in attendance.
Musgraves and I certainly aren't the only two songwriters to pen songs about the physical sensation known as butterflies in the stomach. Michael Jackson included one on his greatest hits album HIStory. But the timing was auspicious, especially considering my demonstrated appreciation for Musgraves' artistry. Both tunes are love songs with multiple insect allusions/references. And even though the melody of each hook is certainly different, the cadence of the two hooks is eerily similar. Yet neither of us had heard the other's version when we each composed our respective ditty. When two or more scientists in different parts of the world come up with the same idea at the same time (Calculus, oxygen, black holes, the Mobius strip, the existence of the stratosphere and the theory of evolution are examples), it's known as multiple discovery. In her book Big Magic, Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert theorizes that the artistic version of multiple discovery is possible. Maybe that's what happened with Kacey and I. Maybe we tapped the same muse at the same time. I'd like to think so:)
Give Musgraves' recently released version a listen here, and stay tuned for details on my own "Butterflies" release.
My edible bug buddy Michelle and I have been fantasizing about entomophagy - edible insect - adventures in other countries for a minute. I first spied La Gruta, a restaurant inside of a Mexican cave, two years ago before hiking the nearby pyramid ruins of Teotihuacan with a few of my fellow EDC Mexico performers, and have wanted to indulge my senses ever since. When Michelle and I realized we could check off two bucket list items with one exhilarating stroke, we were straight giddy. La Gruta's spiced caterpillars were airy and crispy; the escamole – ant eggs and larvae – was the most delicious bug dish we've imbibed outside the States to date. We also had guacamole with chapulines - Mexican spiced grasshoppers (pictured above). Our friend Geraldy ordered the chapulines margarita by accident, even though she speaks fluent Spanish, but ended up polishing most of it off. Even our longtime vegan friend Taylor got curious enough to sample the caterpillars. Although most Americans have illogical food biases toward nutrition-packed edible insects, they were on the menu at three out of four restaurants we patronized in or near Mexico City. Next stop: Japan:)
You may have caught Justin Timberlake's recent performance during a certain high-profile sports ball game. You may or may not have heard he's got a new album out called Man of the Woods. In keeping with that theme, a recent NYC listening party featured fare that one might forage in the actual forest: insects. Click on the image to get the whole story.
A few years ago, Late Late Show host James Corden and singer Demi Lovato joined forces to ambush a few unsuspecting folks with personalized singing telegrams. Click on the image above to watch the hilarity ensue.
Valentine's Day is the Super Bowl of the singing telegram universe. Orange peel and his Custom Singing Telegrams cohort Melissa Ivey have been featured on local TV and radio a number of times in conjunction with the lovers' holiday. Click on the image above to relive a few of the highlights:)
In a new episode of Vanity Fair's Secret Talent Theatre, actress Nicole Kidman shows off her affinity for eating insects:)
Citric Acid Arts is now scouting fortune tellers and Tarot card readers for a potential late July gig near Boulder. Ideal candidates should have a compelling aesthetic, creative, expressive voice and all necessary equipment to set up in outdoor environment. Interested candidates should email a short video demo, along with a quality image and short bio or resume to email@example.com with "Fortune Teller Submission" in the subject field.
I've performed some pretty funny singing telegrams over the years, but this Funny or Die short featuring Brittany Snow is def LOL-inducing:)
Last week, I was a nine-foot tall unicorn. Allow me to explain:)
Lifestylez, a travel agency that organizes winter resort trips for college students, is one of my clients. A few years ago, they booked a pair of parkour athletes and myself to provide roving entertainment for three of their Colorado SnoDaze events: Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Keystone. Each night, as the headlining DJ filled the dance floor, I roamed through the crowd in my four-legged stilt unicorn costume. Mariah, my then-Unicorn Whisperer, occasionally rode atop the silver saddle strapped to my back. If what's left of my memory serves me correctly, I skied a half day at Breck with my dad in between show dates.
When Lifestylez' owner Steve Smolinski inquired if I'd join SnoDaze for another jaunt in early January, my interest was piqued. Having gotten tired of the awkward posture necessary for performing Unicorn version 1.0, I was chomping at the bit to upgrade. Also, I needed to enlist a new Unicorn Whisperer, as Mariah had recently moved to California. I commissioned a white bodysuit from my seamstress friend Sophie, and tasked my longtime fabricator/performance buddy Nate with fashioning new fur stilt covers and a unicorn head designed to sit atop a bike helmet. Michelle, a lovely go-go dancer I'd grown to know through Denver's Team Ez Entertainment, was invited to play Unicorn Whisperer on the week long mountain tour featuring sibling EDM duo Hippie Sabotage. The trek would include four stops: Crested Butte, Telluride, Breckenridge and Steamboat Springs.
Departure day dawned. With my gun metal grey Toyota Corolla Tetris'd to the brim with stilts, food, costumes and makeup, Michelle and I set our sights on Crested Butte. Although I've been skiing since I was a wee kumquat, I don't recall ever having been to the tiny Colorado resort town before. I enjoy driving long distances even when I sometimes have the option of flying instead – many of my best ideas come to me while my body is fully engaged with motor vehicle operation. Case and point: a unicorn name brainstorm produced a great new contender – Hornelius. My transmission gave me a little trouble on the trip, but we arrived alive, checked into our digs and set about applying makeup and shimmying into costume. Michelle's Unicorn Whisperer wardrobe consisted of white boots, a bellydance hip scarf, a fur shrug, fingerless gloves and a long blonde wig. I wore a spandex bodysuit with a tail, fur covered leg and arm stilts and the aforementioned unicorn head.
TO BE CONTINUED
Citric Acid Arts is scouting storytellers for a potential late July gig near Boulder. Ideal candidates are creative, experienced and expressive, with a large repertoire and the ability to improvise and adapt on the fly. Interested candidates can send a performance resume, 2-3 video clips and performance rates to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Storyteller Submission" in the subject field by Monday, January 29.
2017. While many Americans may have been understandably depressed by the current quagmire that is U.S. politics, my metaphorical glass is almost always overflowing with sweet ambrosia. Four hundred singing telegrams were delivered via my singing telegram agency this year, the majority of which I personally performed. I entertained in Japan for the first time, explored Tulum, Mexico and witnessed my first total solar eclipse in Oregon. And I wrote and recorded my new insect-infused love song "Butterflies" with Nigerian producer Daniel Iyere. Below is a smattering of highlights cherry-picked from a bliss-filled year of playing dress up, enabling joy and hop scotching around Earth's curvaceous body:)
Bewitching California festival goers at Escape Halloween
Clowning on stilts in Japan & Mexico
Creating Australian male housekeeper character for California's Lightning in a Bottle Festival
Facilitating the delivery of 400 singing telegrams through my singing telegram agency:)
Exploring Colorado's Butterfly Pavilion with my 5 year-old nephew Kai
Filming singing Valentine segment for Channel 2 with Melissa Ivey
Finally being on the receiving end of a Custom Singing Telegram, courtesy of Miriam Andolini
Imbibing gourmet bug tapas at Denver's El Five Restaurant with Michelle Marie
Jamming ukulele with performer homies at Michigan's Electric Forest Festival
Lumbering around on four-legged stilts at California's Nocturnal Wonderland Festival with Sean
Making my Cirque du Soleil debut as a circus bike-riding stilt greeter for opening night of Luzia
Peeling “Orangami” citrus art for Dub Gypsy Kitchen patrons at Oregon Eclipse
Paying homage to David Bowie for hundreds of people in the Denver Tech Center
Performing singing Valentine on KYGO 98.5 FM with Melissa Ivey
Playing Hunter S. Thompson-inspired postmaster at Electric Daisy Carnival in Vegas
Practicing AcroYoga with my Flight Club Denver family
Practicing yoga at Red Rocks with Michael Franti and friends
Recording my new insect-infused love song “Butterflies” with Nigerian producer Daniel Iyere
Rolling through the streets of Tokyo in a Go Kart
Seeing Cirque du Soleil's insect-themed Ovo with Michelle Marie
Seeing the xx in Arizona with Amberosia
Singing at The Governor's Mansion for Best for Colorado
Singing “Under the Eclipse” at Steph J's self-commitment ceremony
Snorkeling ceynotes in Tulum with festival performer friends
Witnessing a mesmerizing total solar eclipse in Oregon
Witnessing the seizure-inducing absurdity that is Tokyo's Robot Restaurant
Working with my voice coach Casey Collins
Denver singing telegram and songwriter George Peele is on the hunt for an accomplished acoustic/electric guitarist to collaborate and perform with. Interested candidates can email 2-3 video links, a performance resume, favorite artists and contact information to email@example.com with "Guitarist Submission" in the subject field.
Citric Acid Arts is now casting an insured female aerial Lyra performer for an event in downtown Denver on Tuesday, December 12. To submit for consideration, email two images (one performance & one headshot), your best quality video clip and rates to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Lyra Submission" in the subject field.
Come party with The Fungineers on Thursday, November 30 at Mile High Spirits - Denver's distillery!
The Fungineers are a super group of musical magical weirdoes that make Life more Fun by creating fantastically colorful music, videos, live shows, clothing, toys and more. They bring all their flavors out to shine in their unusual live performance, a fresh mix of original tracks, live looping beatboxing, interactive improv, freestyle songs, crazy visuals, costumed choreography, delivered by an explosive cast of crazy characters. It’s a full sensory adventure that is silly, sexy and surreal.
Citric Acid Arts is now casting male performers for Denver Halloween event Coloween on Saturday, October 28 at The Curtis Hotel. Preference will be given to 21+ performers who are fit, familiar with the film franchise and/or own Mad Max-inspired costuming: eye patches, feather collars, feather mohawks, gas masks, leather pants, leather vests, etc. Character acting experience a plus. To submit for consideration, email a performance resume, 1-2 shirtless images, 1-2 video links and contact info to email@example.com by Thursday, October 19 at 12 p.m.
Insects are everywhere. Like it or not, they outnumber us by the billions. And it turns out that's a good thing when it comes to global food resources. Experts warn that animal agriculture isn't capable of keeping up with our planet's growing population. In the future, eating meat might be a luxury not everyone can afford. Enter: insects. Insects like crickets require far fewer resources to raise, and the resulting food source is surprisingly nutritious. Cringe all you want, but eighty percent of the world already imbibes bugs on a regular basis. Insects are instrumental to the future of food - wouldn't you rather be a trendsetter than a late adaptor? Bugs, a documentary making its Colorado debut Wednesday, October 18 at Boulder's Dairy Arts Center, aims to educate viewers on the subject.
Bugs follows Denmark-based Nordic Food Lab as they embark on a gastronomic adventure around the world in search of edible insects. Denver cricket farmer Wendy Lu McGill, of Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch, is hosting the post-screening talkback and providing six-legged snacks.
National Boss Day is coming this Monday, October 16. Does your employer or superior deserve to be celebrated or embarrassed? Custom Singing Telegrams can help:) Suck up with a vampire singing telegram. Or earn brownie points with a costumed delivery of baked treats. Call us today at (303) 931-8466 to brainstorm some more:)
Seeing Rabbit in the Moon live is a memorable experience. Being a part of the show is even more so. I would know – I was a body-painted monkey for the band's performance at Ultra Music Fest in Miami once. How in the world did I land that gig? My longtime friend Ms Easy was responsible for casting both dancers and primates. Knowing I was going to be in town, she offered me a role. Florida-based artist Wildchild airbrushed a fake six pack on my stomach when the day of the show rolled around. Later that night, he was furiously safety pinning faux fur to my waist in a nearby trailer as the stage manager was demanding my presence backstage. When our big moment came, we shuffled around on stage a la Planet of the Apes. If what's left of my memory serves me correctly, it was a barrel of monkeys.
Tomorrow night, Rabbit in the Moon plays its first Denver show in eight years. The main event is sold out, but you can still pick up tickets for the after-party below.
MC Yogi tours and performs regularly with a yoga and lifestyle festival called Wanderlust. A few years ago, I was booked to stilt in Aspen while Wanderlust was in town. Still in my Uncle Sam garb, I caught the homestretch (om stretch?) of MC Yogi's set. Believing he called out Uncle Sam at one point, I eagerly hopped up on stage. The conscious rapper was soon mashing up the Beatles tune “Let It Be” and I started singing along. Seeing that I knew the tune, he passed me the mic for a refrain or two. It was an auspicious first meeting.
MC Yogi recently released his autobiography Spiritual Graffiti. I just finished listening to the Audible audiobook version the other day, shedding a few happy tears along the way and appreciating the lyricist's trademark perspective and delivery. Spiritual Graffiti namaslays – get the down dog lowdown via the book's Om page below:)
SPIRITUAL GRAFFITI OM PAGE