The Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Surrey Street Performance Salon.

For the last three weeks I’ve been working as a member of the production crew building the atmosphere for the Great Dickens Christmas Fair that is happening right now in Daily City at the Cow Palace. There are three more weekends left and it’s one of the best Christmas themed fairs I’ve ever been to. I managed to get hired by Red Barn Productions as a production crew member because of my long running affiliation with the Pattersons who created the very first Renassaince Faires in Southern California. I’m basically working for Kevin Patterson. Early on in my stint on crew, they discovered I was good at hand lettering. Acting as if they had won the lottery, they set me in a corner and had me touch up and re-letter a number of old signs that needed new wording or old pieces of art that had been scuffed or damaged from years of storage.

I spent most of the 3 weeks painting signs while the rest of the crew were hoisting flats and drilling frames into the asphalt.  In other words, my skill at hand lettering saved me from a great deal of back breaking work.  I will say that painting signs is no walk in the park. Anyone who has painted detail work for 8 hours a day knows that all the leaning in and bending over to clean brushes or daub paint onto the brushes is a great deal of repetitive strain on the lower back.  Combine that with sleeping in my car on site and by the second weekend my back was screaming at me. 

I had to do something about my sleeping arrangement for the third week of the build in order for my lower back to survive. Thankfully I was offered a 1963 Chevy Truck with a camper shell to borrow from a Kindness of Strangers tour supporter from San Ramon. He set me up with a durable vehicle and a flat carpeted truck bed to sleep on.

At the end of the second week of the Dickens Fair build I was booked to perform at a house concert in San Francisco called The Surrey Street Autumn Performance Salon. I was one of 5 or 6 performers and I was given a 35 min set at 9:30pm. It felt great to perform for a packed room of San Francisco residents, all of whom had never been exposed to my music before. I had them singing along and the crowd was attentive and respectful and most of all, they were truly listening to the songs and stories and catching the message of my Kindness of Strangers tour. I was offered a place to stay by one of the other performers and more than a few audience members purchased the new BTB CD. It was a great night.

Here now, for your enjoyment, is the new Kindness of Strangers Tour video (Episode 3). It covers everything I’ve posted here in this blog in video form. Be sure to watch all the way to the end to see the awesome crowd singing along to my songs…songs that they had never heard before. They did a great job!

If you would like to donate to “tour support” you can do so at http://briantravis.com and 25% of your donation will go to the Red Cross Typhoon Hayian relief efforts.

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