About My Tribes

I have been a bit of an ironic community builder most of my life. Having been imprinted and conditioned as an outsider in the world, I have worked to find, start, and build community wherever I have lived, which means that I have left behind most communities I have been a part of. A larger community, though more virtual, has developed over the years. I have been fortunate to keep in touch with key people from each community over the decades through the array of modern communications. I hope to use this website as a larger “Home” page that I never had before, that might help connect all my tribes from the past, and hopefully spin them into a larger community of communities.

Sigma Lambda

Cult life said that children were born as blank slates to be programmed by the parents as replicants. My program was that I would resist and subdue all natural impulses, get a business degree, then make money while waiting for Armageddon.

I pledged a fraternity in my first semester at Oklahoma State University. I bought the pitch that frat boys had more sex with better women. I was told that we would be bonded as brothers forever. To be an initiate in the frat meant to have a launch pad for future political and business cronyism.

I was kicked out. I was told that I had issues with authority that didn’t make me a good fit and a generalized “attitude problem.”

I moved into the laundry room of a pizza delivery cabal. The five of us were drivers for Pizza Shuttle. The rental house was called the Safari Lodge, a reference from “The Gods Must Be Crazy.” I was shown a sacred 3 ring binder that contained the foundation for the premise of the Safari Lodge (Sigma Lambda): It was a mockery of the Chaz and Biff frat culture in the spirit of the Church of the SubGenius.

I thought I wanted to do advertising and marketing, and was really disheartened to find out that I’d have to do more basic stuff the first year of college. I couldn’t just go learn advertising and marketing, I had to do high school all over again, and that idea flipped my switch, and I just said, fuck this. College was a different context, but the same story, the same history, the same math, the same me being an outsider in a system I didn’t want to be in.

In high school I saw a Tom Hanks movie, where he’s an advertising guy, and it looked like he was having the best time- he drove a Jeep, and had a great time. I wanted to drive a jeep and be an advertising guy, and have a great time. I grew up on advertising and marketing on TV. And I remember getting excited by some ad campaigns and being annoyed by some ad campaigns and sort of developing an inner monologue around what was good and bad marketing and what was good and bad advertising, just off my own sensibilities.

I wanted to do advertising, marketing, and so I did, I just did it outside of class, and skipped a lot of classes, mostly the morning ones, and then I just didn’t do class at all. Real World marketing was more interesting.

I fell in love with the 24-hour Kinkos. Inspired by the graphics from the Book of the SubgeniusI I started creating flyers for The X Factor (a mobile DJ company that a roommate was part of) and for Sigma Lambda (the anti-fraternity fraternity). I spent hours at night at Kinkos in Stillwater, Oklahoma, learning how to use this modern miracle that enabled me to shrink an image, or make an image bigger. That was a new thing for regular humans and I reveled in it.

I decided to brand Sigma Lambda.

The five in-house members and a couple of other drivers bought standard fratboy jerseys, with the greek letter patches for Sigma Lambda. I produced a series of Sigma Lambda pledge propaganda flyers to slather campus with.

“Don’t Fall Prey to Fall Rush: Pledge Sigma Lambda. Because No Man Should Have to wake Up Before Noon”

We decided that the straight frat habit of calling the female greek system members, “Little Sisters” was creepy, in light that these sisters and brothers were banging a lot. Instead we would just call the females that frequented the Lodge “Babes.”

“Be A Babe: Join the Sigma Lambda Auxiliary Org.”

Delivering Pizzas to the frat and sorority houses in our Sigma Lambda shirts started some gossip. If we were asked about who or what Sigma Lambda was, we always replied that we couldn’t say, that it was a secret society, duh.

At a University Intra-Fraternity Council meeting, a tenured professor declared that he had gotten to the bottom of who Sigma Lambda was: a bunch of homosexuals. As a result of my marketing campaign, our attitude problems, and 1980’s style homophobia, our loud secrecy produced several outbursts of violence and open hostility by the frats, a high speed car chase, police involvement, and a stricter uniform policy for the employees of Pizza Shuttle.

I was learning more during the spades games at four o’clock in the morning than I was in class. My whole life to that point had felt like a slog, always waiting to get out. Waiting to get out of church, waiting to get out of my house, waiting to get out of class, school, etc. No one was being diagnosed as ADD or ADHD in my generation. We were just beaten or shamed into submission to the slog by the church, state and family. I decided that I wanted to follow my current interests and passions, as impractical and furtive as they might be. That choice ended my formal education officially.

I spent the next summer working in the oil fields of Oklahoma. My Dad got me a well service job to show me what it’s like to work in the common man’s world, and why I should run back and get a college degree so I don’t have to get greasy. It didn’t accomplish what I think he intended. I decided I didn’t want to work at all. I told my folks that I was wasting their money and wasting my time, because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I thought I knew what I wanted to do, then I heard about all kinds of other stuff. And then I didn’t know what I wanted to do.

After that summer I moved back to the Sigma Lambda house and this cat named Rich shows up, a roommate that had moved out before I had moved in, a Sigma Lambda alumni. He says to me, “Hey, I got residency in Boulder so now I can attend school at Colorado University. I need a roommate before the fall semester starts. Want to move to Colorado?” I said yes and packed up all my stuff.

So, I told my parents that I was going to move to Boulder and start a T-shirt company. It was the 80s and T-shirts were a thing. I just figured I get a job, raise money, buy a silkscreen- they’re cheap, you know, piecemeal it together, get rich. That’s what I told my parents, so it wasn’t just me running off and being wild and aimless. That’s what I had to tell myself, too. It was about doing substantive, concrete things. “What are you doing?” I didn’t feel comfortable saying I didn’t know, so I decided that if I really wanted to do something I would make t-shirts, even though I had no drawing ability or history of drawing anything or any capital.

Drug Warrior, Boulder, CO

I worked at an anarchist pizza place where the manager was running guns and drugs from Kentucky to survivalists and pot growers in the hills of Colorado, after converting them from semi-automatic to automatic. Most of the pizza delivery drivers were delivering black market items with the Chicago-style pizza pies. “Extra mushrooms, wink wink.” I was living in a drug culture, suddenly.

The manager of the pizza joint had a poker game at his place once a week. I was invited to the poker game, and that’s where I first saw people “doing drugs.” I knew about marijuana. I had even smoked one before. But here were folks snorting coke, dropping acid, huffing nitrous. And playing cards and playing music, and whoopin’ it up. It was definitely another realm for me. All the government programming and Drug War propaganda flipped in my head and I couldn’t not see it now as satire and high irony. It was such a small hop from the fundamentalist Christian small town thing, to being at a gun runner’s poker night, and jumping sides in the War on Drugs. It was fun. The folks I met were really cool people. They didn’t beat me up or try to shoot heroin in my veins, or try to prostitute me or anything. They were just surprisingly down and interesting. Some were both open-minded and highly knowledgeable, and often about things I didn’t know were things.

I went to the Colorado University Library and started doing deep research into LSD. I discovered that I had been lied to. I discovered pre-prohibition debates, academic papers, musings by people of faith on the religious significance of LSD experiences. Psychology leaders talking about the capability of LSD to cure alcoholism and suicidal ideation. The propaganda I had been raised with conveniently left all of that out. And so that made me want to go into psychedelics with a bit of a vengeance. I was morally outraged that my government would actually lie to me. So I decided to know everything I could fucking know about LSD.

I was planning to be a t-shirt design tycoon, but instead I embarked upon an acid adventure for the next ten months. The T-shirt business took a backseat to a sudden calling to rearrange all of my known reality, as I took frequent missions into the unknown to scavenge new mods.

Since High School I had been casually dismantling the toxic God concept that my parents had spiked my childhood with. My LSD sessions expedited this process. A world beyond my concepts unfurled, and my first trip gave me the sensation of climbing out of a thick rubberized skin that had insulated me from experiencing anything. I made contact with the Natural World in a new and fuller way, without it being oppositional in my mind.

In 1988 Boulder, Colorado, the LSD was high quality, cheap, and abundant. I started witnessing for the invisible acid church and delivered sheets of the good news to colleges in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Oklahoma.

Pot and acid were everywhere in Boulder. Bong hits for breakfast was a new cultural norm. Suddenly so many neurochemicals, and openly. It was an open story, compared to the Stasi style of Oklahoma’s drug policy. The culture was decidedly different, in part because people weren’t paranoid about their experimentation fucking up their entire life because of sadistic and overzealous enforcement policies. Instead of “Don’t Do Drugs” it was more like, “If You Are Going To Do Drugs, Don’t Be An Asshole.”

Boulder was my first exposure to “liberals.” I wouldn’t call the Subgeniuses and anarchists in Sigma Lambda liberals, they were beyond the partisan thing. They weren’t pro or con in fashionable ways. Boulder was definitely liberal. They had co-ops. I’d never heard of such a thing. People drinking tea instead of coffee in the morning. It was like going to Amsterdam or to some completely different culture. And so much of the 60s ethos of the Cultural Revolution was finding root, or still surviving in some expression in Boulder. It was like time traveling. The culture was radically different from anything I’ve ever been exposed to before. I embraced it. It was wild. I was a wild child raised in a rules based fundamentalist environment. The goal was always to get away from that. Suddenly I was away.

I stocked up on bottles of liquid LSD and circuitously made it to Los Angeles.

Land of Misfit Toys

LA Part 1
One afternoon I was driving down Ventura Blvd in my Land Cruiser, and came upon the L.A. Cabaret comedy club in Encino. Maybe I’ll be a comic, I thought. I impulsively went in to inquire about how to audition, and found myself signed up for a slot that evening. I made up an act in four hours. It was awful. I ordered a double whisky in the hopes of being kicked out before my turn, as I was still shy of 21. I was four shots down when I took the stage and it didn’t take the edge off my adrenaline. I acted weird and goofy, and said some things that had seemed funny when I was on acid.

Panic thrills of nerves on fire blinded me as I walked off stage. I was never going to do that again. Bobby Pollack, a comic sitting in the back of the room, caught my set and stopped me on my way out. He said I was amazing for my first time up and invited me to follow him to an open mic at the Mad Hatter Espresso Bar, on the other side of town. I was on another stage an hour later. I rewrote everything on the way there, and did it again, and people laughed, and I was hooked.

Those two stages would serve as portals to two different tribes. One was up-and-comers hustling for stage time, a comedy clique of fevered aspiration. The other was proto-hipsters, jaded artists in recovery before they were old enough to drink. One clamored to join the establishment. One saw through it.

In the overlap of these two tribes was the land of misfit toys. Aberrant types, walking wreckage of the American experiment. Orphans of living parents, the self-medicated, the kids that sat in the back of the class. I found the fringe pool, where my extreme and their extremes mixed into a cocktail of social isolation disguised as elitism.

I immersed myself in both tribes, feeling ironically at home with the alienated, and the underdog energy of hope. I emceed a series of open mics and comedy nights, which gave me the stage all night intermittently, rather than waiting around all night for a precious five minutes.

I was in the Arts. The Comedy tribe was commercially driven, the proto-hipsters were immersed in the process of creating. I was feeling ripped between pursuing success or pursuing meaning. I lost the art thread in the business of comedy, and the Mad Hatter shut down. I had a crisis of meaning and found myself beyond the fringe.

I left the tribes and lost my identity formed within them. I suppose I became a seeker-had a dark night of the soul, or a psychotic split, or a bit of a rough patch. Broke down trying to break through. I suffered acute paranoia, megalomania, and synesthetic overrides of reality. There were deep depressions, and ecstatic highs. I suffered ego death and then resurrected it back into action like a Frankenstein monster of a personality. I don’t know if I can recommend it.

The arrival of my first daughter brought my feet back to earth.

LA Part 2

LSD helped me break out of the cult mentality that I had inherited by connecting parts of my mind/brain across barriers of fundamentalisms. Good and Evil wasn’t good enough anymore. Seeing binaries as holistic systems became more conceivable and preferable to what I saw them as before, which was competing dualities with value judgments.

I emerged from my cave, my pneumonia, my depression. Still not much meaning. During an acid trip with a friend from the comedy tribe I took on a new identity. I agreed to play the role of the author of a book that the actual writer feared would make him an assassination target.

The book was a weave of threads from the Old and New Testament, the Bhagvad Ghita, the Gospel of Thomas, and other holy writs. The original draft had been written five years earlier, during the time when Scorsese’s Last Temptation of Christ and Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses were generating death threats and fatwas against the producers.

L.A. had been a do-or-die suicide run for me, in general. Now it was a specific one. I went native again, but as a post-tribal oddball. I method-acted, both the role of the author, and the hero of the story.

No to the Church, no to the State, and no to the Rebellion against either (the Tao Te Ching must have been in there somewhere too).

Feeling the freedom from Black and White cognition sparked a zealous nerve. I conjured the possibility of an Apocalyptic road show. DIY  illusion-popping. Feeling the New Age currents swelling in 90’s L.A. it was possible for me to believe that the prescribed myths of separation might imminently expire. Then we might be able to have a better time as humans on a sane, healthy, interconnected planet. Maybe cross the Level 4 civilization threshold. Maybe cut down substantially on institutionalized sociopathic fuckery.

In the span of a few months I re-devoted my life from the craft of clowning around to a mission of world peace (of course, with me as the main star of the show). Just when I thought I was getting over my cult Christian programming, I styled myself as a cable-ready denim messiah. It was complex. And it got messy.

Lost Woodsman

I gave L.A close to ten years, then jettisoned everything and went North with a bag. I was pointed to Alaska, but a Montana friend offered a place and opportunities. I was advised that the contiguous would be safer than Alaska, post Y2K.

I had a job waiting for me when I got to Great Falls. I was a bartender at a restaurant casino. I emceed an open mic on Saturdays from behind the bar with a lapel mic.

The Chef had hired a bunch of inmates from the pre-release, screening for ones that were artists. We had indentured inhouse talent to spark the lineup, and quickly became the place to be on Saturday night.

To expand the traffic we started an “Open Mic Rehearsal” night on Wednesdays. The only difference being that we left the house lights on and made a space for artists to work out collaborations, in a casual atmosphere. It became as popular as Saturday night, but for different reasons. People that had never been privy to the backstage part of performance got to be flies on the wall of the creative process.

I landed a volunteer position as Music Director for the local college station. My radio show “ In The MeanTime ”, was from 2 to 6 am. It was particularly popular with the night store clerks and the state prison inmates. New music, call-ins, prison poetry read by phone from an inmate, Y2K preparedness updates from a local organizer, and drunken guests that followed me to the station from the bar.

I was terminated from the station for the “ Chemical Confessions ” episode, where listeners called in to reveal stories of black market experiences. Good, bad, and ugly.

India Cafe

My second daughter appeared unexpectedly on the radar in Great Falls. Taking a cue from the incongruous Hawaii state license plate on a ‘ 56 Ford truck we saw crawling through a Montana snowstorm, her mom and I decided she would land in Honolulu. We ignored concerns that Hawai’i would be just as vulnerable a place as Alaska when the ships stopped running after Y2K, and we left the mainland to see what the millennium would bring. Our plan of living on the island for two years to get our daughter on her feet turned into ten years for me.

I spent my evenings in Honolulu cultivating a scene, reading poetry, facilitating “The Big Deal” at the India Café. Shree Sadagopan layed down loops of beats and bass and riffed on electric sitar while I read poetry or freestyled some prose, or ranted. Others would join us on stage, then I would slide out and start finding who else wanted to do what. One jam might have a singer and a poet sit in or inspire some freestyle from a local MC, or all three. It was a freeform flow performance without a list. I would wind up a jam to clear the stage for an a cappella voice or a Butoh dancer, or a traveller on the island inspired to share a story or two.

It was an eclectic community of communities. Hippies and hipsters, singers and dancers, poets and raconteurs, punks and surfers, kids and elders. Always all original content from friends and neighbors. It would become the first of many open mics to appear across Honolulu that were highly diversified and cooperative.

Studio One

Chinatown was at a turning point when I arrived on O’ahu. In late 1999 Honolulu’s Chinatown was a foreboding place after hours. Post Y2K, creative spaces opened in a rapid succession.

I found a small underground scene that had been percolating, and was privy to watch it boil over, flooding the streets with the arts. Performance studios, galleries, night clubs, an art walk, exotic foods. I emceed and performed at an open mic at Studio One, serving as the segue act between the First Thursday’s Poetry Slam and the open mic that followed it.

On Wednesdays I facilitated a weekly series of post partisan event called The MeanTime, where I interviewed a guest and facilitated dialogue between polarized groups.

rRed Elephant

For eight months I hosted a weekly talk show style event, “A Dark Night @ the rRed Elephant,” a 3 to 4-hour variety show of local talent, visiting dignitaries, poets and mystics, and a 6 piece house band.

Imagine Butte

My first visit to Butte, America was in 1998, when I got stuck for 3 days and fell in love with the people and the place. I felt it was futile to even attempt to shoot Butte with two rolls of 35mm, so I made a determination to come back some day for an extended period of time and see what I could capture with the camera.

I moved to Butte in 2014. The plan was to live in and remodel a Victorian. The owner engineered the place back together, and I made it look like it wasn’t engineered.

I began collaborating with a fledgling arts organization in town, The Imagine Butte Resource Center. I joined their seasonal art scene paper, The Butte Arts Monthly, contributing as a writer and photographer. In 2016 I wrote a series called Letters from Buttetropolis, as I was, at the time, the Interim Mayor of a trans-dimensional realm. The letters were a six part “perceptual relief” package from The Buttetropolitan Mayors Office to whoever might find them useful.

I had a gallery showing in 2015 called The Art of Cultural Composting, where I displayed interior kinetic sculptures, egg art sculptures, and constructed a large hanging kinetic piece over the course of the two months.

I also participated in the Butte Area One exhibition. I transformed an 8 foot satellite dish into a “giant bonsai” tray where I recreated a scene from the North Side Tailings mine waste site.

For the first four years in Butte, the IBRC was an important third space for me, between home and work. It provided an instant community of folks who were interested and interesting. It was a part of the glue that kept me in Butte when the house job was finished.

Unfortunately, when I separated from the girlfriend I moved to Butte with, it caused a slow rift in the arts community, as many folks took sides, and most chose her side. The director of the IBRC invented and spread slanderous rumors about me and my new wife in 2019, ruining many friendships. Eventually, she capped it all off with banning us from the entire building.


KBMF Launch Disc – June 3rd, 2015 : http://www.butteamericaradio.org/kbmf-music/2020/2/4/kbmf-launch-disc-re-discovered

When it was still just call letters on a contract, I joined the staff of KBMF as founding Music Director in 2015.

I helped brand the station’s voice by selecting and producing seamless overnight playlists, and creating hundreds of station ID’s to help stitch together the vibes of our more than 70 volunteer DJ’s (all doing their own thing every two hours). The Clark and Dark Show was one of the first radio shows on KBMF, where the station manager and I probed intergenerational confusion and updated our listening audience on what was happening with their station week to week.

I worked with the Station Manager to hatch the KBMF DJ Social (by “worked with,” I mean I suggested the name change from The Monthly Station Meeting to The DJ Social. It lived up to its name).

In 2016 I answered a Facebook message on the KBMF page from an African Prince. This began the ongoing story which joined nations, spawned lifelong friendships, radio programs ( Let’s Talk Butte, Copacetic Conversations, The Clark and Dark Friday morning hour in Zululand, and more), and connected opposite sides of the planet. The beginning of this friendship also inspired Zulu Summer, a documentary of worlds meeting.

On a Clark and Dark show in September of 2016, I reported on what I had been watching all day on multiple live streams: the taking of the North Camp of the Oceti Sakowin prayer site of the Standing Rock Sioux. Frustrated by the complete absence of this event on any mainstream news outlet, The KBMF News Team was born. (See Standing Rock )

As Music Director I produced a weekly half-hour radio show, Grok On This, where I played my picks from the flood of music pouring across my desk each week.

After being denied a raise for over a year (at the time I was working 30 hrs a week for $500 a month), I resigned from the airwaves and my staff position i n 2018. Eventually, I returned to co-host Copacetic Conversations with Mokai Malope, with Logical Fallacy Referee (and High School forensics president) Leif Clark, and Media Maven Ainsley Sevier. This was a Q&A program where Mokai interviewed a guest, I moderated i between, and Leif schooled the adults when the conversation started to veer from productivity. Our guests included a feminist Trump supporter, a Blue Dog Democrat, a Libertarian, a Pro-Life advocate, an ANTIFA character, trans women, Mormons, Jack Mormons and other various folks from the neighborhood. (more on this at Copacetic Conversations)

When Mokai returned to South Africa, Ainsley stepped in as co-host and we renamed the show Post-Orthodoxy. With the tagline, “An Outpost in the Borderlands”, the show examines the liminal space around changing our minds: cognitive dissonance, post-partisanship, religious trauma, tribal impulses, media literacy, conspiracy analysis (as opposed to conspiracy theories), and other interesting things.

In 2020 we were censored, gag-ordered, and terminated from the airwaves and facilities by the station manager and board president, including Ainsley’s long-running kid-co-hosted talk radio show, The Jolly Roger. This termination was an unfortunate continuation of the rippling split of the arts community in Butte choosing sides after my breakup in 2017. Ainsley and I have been nothing but dedicated to the wellbeing of the radio station since its inception, and our show content was always respectful, inquisitive, and rule-abiding.

Silver Dollar Open Mic

The Silver Dollar Saloon had a long-running Open Mic every Wednesday, but there had been no emcee for a while when I arrived in town. I took the job for whisky. On average it became the busiest night of the week for the bar, attracting the kinds of folks that don’t hit the bar until 10PM on Wednesday.

It was one of the few bars that welcomed my dog. I retired from that post after 6 years, partially because the whisky from Wednesday was impacting my Thursdays, and partially because the bar owner wouldn’t replace the mic cords (scotch tape to fix the cable? Scotch tape?).

Standing Rock

After I brought what I was learning about the Standing Rock conflict to KBMF airwaves in September 2016, the listening community pooled money and supplies, and sent us out to report on what we saw. The result was an hour-long radio program from the Station Manager on his impression of the initial 5 day stay. I photo-documented the trip, including the last night where the Backwater Bridge incident occurred.

Members of our travelling party were on the bridge the night that Sophia Wolanski had her arm destroyed by a police grenade. Our report of the incident was published in the Montana Standard (and 50+ other daily newspapers) upon our return, and gave two first-hand accounts of the explosion, which were counter to the dubious official narrative being spread around.

The KBMF News Team made three trips to Standing Rock, each at a pivotal moment. The Backwater Bridge incident, the arrival of the Veterans (and subsequent blizzard), and the final day of mud and fire.

All of my photography from Standing Rock can be found under a CC license on Flickr and continues to be used in countless articles around the world.

The Zulus

While working for the Butte Arts Monthly publication, I developed a writing exercise where I replied to a Nigerian 419 scammer to see how long they would email me back before giving up. It was an improv typing exercise to nimble the fingers and the wit.

A day or two after conducting one of those exchanges, I found a letter from an African Prince in the KBMF station page Facebook messages. I stretched my fingers and went to town on him, both as the KBMF Music Director, and the Interim Mayor of Buttetropolis (the original exchange can be found here: https://politicsasunusual.tumblr.com/post/150367743234 )

Prince Siboniso Zulu claimed that he was the Station Manager for Nongoma FM, and wanted to do cultural exchange for tourism and business. He showed me their Facebook page. I showed him the Dark Sevier: Interim Mayor of Buttetropolis Facebook page.

Every week from the 1 st day of the station going on the air The Clark and Dark Show aired 10pm to midnight on Thursdays. Generally we would pick a theme, then weave related music and discussion around it. I took screen shots of the dialogue with the Prince and posted it to the Clark and Dark Facebook page to announce that week’s topic: “The Zulus: Who are they and what are they doing?”

The Prince said he wanted to do a programming exchange between the stations, and maybe even a DJ exchange. He told me that he wanted to broadcast an hour of the Clark and Dark Show to his listening audience this coming Thursday. Uh, huh.

I figured I would try to scam the scammer. I said “Sure, We’ll do a Zulu hour on the show” while googling the Zulu’s, their history, their music, past and present. I produced an opening intro to the Zulu hour, with quotes from “Coming to America” and lion roar SFX. As we got closer to the show, I ramped up the Buttetropolitan trans-dimensional rhetoric, and invented mythology. The Prince entertained my version of reality with politeness and diplomacy, and continued to dialogue.

At the station’s weekly staff meeting (consisting of Clark and Dark), the Station Manager showed me that the Zululand Governmental website listed Nongoma FM as a real thing, and he showed me that Prince Siboniso Zulu was the Station Manager. And I learned, weirdly, their station took to the airwaves on the same day and the same year as ours. And I learned that I was an asshole.

I immediately messaged the Prince and apologized for my behavior. He told me it was fine, fine, and of course he was aware of the 419/African Prince scam. Then he sent me a list of unpronounceable Honorable figureheads that I should greet at the beginning of our broadcast, including the Honorable King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu of the Zulu Nation. What The Fuck.

Ok. Suddenly I’m the scammer and I have to learn some isiZulu. And I had invited him to come stay with me, when I thought it wasn’t real…

In the first hour of the Clark and Dark show I walked the audience through the whole exchange, including the parts about Reptilian Politicians, human sacrifices to the Berkeley Pit, and the War between the Butte Miners and the Illuminati over the Gold buried deep in the mines beneath KBMF, now filled with toxic water just shy of battery acid. Some of that is true.

I fear I offended the Prince when I posted our private chats publicly, so I wanted to contextualize everything for the audience leading up to the Zulu hour.

We are almost antipodal from each other on the surface of the Earth. I knew nothing of the Zulus, and the United States (is that the same as America?) was a vague concept for him and he was looking to ask questions: “What is your economy like? How does your government work? Do you celebrate Christmas there?“ Suddenly I was an unlikely Ambassador between Butte, America and the Zulu Nation. And the power of Community Media.

We went LIVE in South Africa at 11PM Montana Time, 7AM Nongoma Time, to 70,000 bewildered audience members of a 30% English/70% isiZulu language, community education, radio station. We spoke isiZulu badly. And it was a hit.

I made a playlist of traditional Zulu music, contemporary Zulu music, and things tagged #Zulu on BandCamp. Our audience were the radio listeners in and around Nongoma, and the terrestrial listeners of our 100 watt station in Butte, AND the potential global audience listening to KBMF’s live audio stream on the web (which is how the Prince says he discovered KBMF in the first place). We reflected to our audience what we had learned about the Zulus from the internet. Then I played the funkiest shit I had come across in the last year as Music Director.

After we turned off the mics, I walked home and still wasn’t 100% convinced that we were on the radio in Zululand. I opened up my computer to check the Clark and Dark Facebook page. Our page interaction had jumped 32,000 %. Suddenly it became real.

The second hour of our Thursday night show was part of the Nongoma FM Friday morning show for a couple of months. I started the NongomButte Facebook page and Zulu’s and Buttetians began a cultural exchange that continues to this day. This was in September of 2016.

Then we planned the Zulu Summer. The radio station found $3000 in their anemic budget and rented a house for 3 months in the Summer of 2017. Three representatives of Nongoma FM and the Zulu Nation arrived in Butte in late May, Prince Siboniso Zulu, Nkokhelo Msomi, and Mokai Malope.

I was an ambassadorial soccer mom without the minivan. Station volunteers and radio listeners rallied to furnish the house with a hodgepodge of furniture and kitchen supplies. We had a potluck and the Zulus met the station community. I made a calendar and people took dates to host the visitors and show them their version of Montana. Rafting, hiking, tours of local schools, a tour of the mine, many dinners in the dining rooms of the locals.

I had the honor of introducing the Zulu Nation to the Crow Nation. The Lieutenant Governor welcomed them personally to Montana. They shook hands with Bernie Sanders on his first presidential campaign tour.

Three months after the Zulus returned home, four of us from KBMF made a 6 week trip to South Africa.

A sweet documentary was made, called Zulu Summer, that highlights some of the beautiful moments of that initial trip. The Zulus, in various configurations, have returned three times since.

More of Dark’s Art