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THE BALLAD OF BECKY BANG

1996 Mick Cusimano

Instead of Disney World in Florida this year I was given the guided tour of the world of Becky Bang. I had to wait for Becky in a Georgia parking lot. Pick up trucks and all terrain vehicles spun in and out of the lot until Becky showed up. She first took me and my friend to her young songwriter boyfriend's house with a 12 pack of beer. He was a funny guy. He told us how his favorite hobby was making fun of rednecks who shoot armadillos off their back porch. He was recently busted for standing on top of a car and howling at the moon. He said now he knows why dogs and wolves do it so often. "It's fun. Everybody should try it some time." I remember when Becky performed poetry with us on the streets of Harvard Square in the 80s, stirring up people on Brattle Street. Pickup trucks and BMWs stopped dead in their tracks to see the woman with the dragon on her jacket. "White trash, white trash, you're all white trash. Eat shit and die!" she yelled. This was too much. Cambridgites were choking on their tofu. Becky was stirring things up.

She did poetry right there on the street

-right in front of the fashionable boutique.

Becky pops open a beer and tells the story of how she met Bob Dylan in the 70s at an Orpheum show. "Bob", she said. She called him Bob. "Bob, what you really need tonight is for me, Becky Bang, to dance on the edge of the stage during your show." Against his adamant manager's wishes, Bob Dylan gave Becky Bang a stage pass and she rocked through the show throwing flowers into the crowd during Dylan's encore. Becky stirred up the crowd.

She did poetry right there on the street

-right in front of the fashionable boutique.

Becky took us back to her place back in the deep woods way down upon the Suwannee River. She tucked her daughters into bed. Becky's a single mother but her kids are on the honor roll. She keeps them going with a bag full of songs and a box full of Barbie dolls.

She did poetry right there on the street

-right in front of the fashionable boutique.

The next morning we deftly dodged the termites to visit her neighbors in the trailer next door. They were dipping into a bottle of whiskey at 10:00a.m. "You would too", said the first woman," if you found a dead black cat in your bed!" The second wo man had great dreams. She dreamed of finding lost pharaoh's tombs on the banks of the Nile. She dreamed of gold jewelry, gilded chariots, and glistening statues with the heads of falcons and jackals. Great dreams these were coming from a trailer way back near the Okefenokee Swamp.

She did poetry right there on the street

-right in front of the fashionable boutique.

But Becky's not done yet. She may live in an unreachable backwoods swamp, but she's putting together a book about her rock and roll poetry. Watch out big time publishers! Becky Bang's coming and she's still looking to stir things up.

She did poetry right there on the street

-right in front of the fashionable boutique

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