One of the things I love most about living in Los Angeles, besides the weather, is the incredible diversity of people, places, and ideas. So when an invitation to tell our “didgeridoo story” to a crowd of nearly 400 at MindShare was offered up, we leapt at the opportunity like a pack of paddymelons. MindShare is a monthly event held at different venues around L.A. The night we did our didgeridoo presentation it was held at the old Los Angeles Stock Exchange building downtown, which has been converted into a very upscale, velvet rope nightclub.
The quest of MindShare is to bring together people involved in art, science and technology for socializing and networking, with an aim to combine efforts for the greater good of humanity. A high-minded cause, true, but advantageous on many levels, even financially for the entrepreneur. So how did the didgeridoo resonate with this clique? Think about it… the didgeridoo ensconces art, culture, science and music within a small hollow cylinder. And for many people, playing the didgeridoo is therapeutic, even reaching into spiritual/holistic environs. It was a perfect fit and the feedback was tremendous. We truly appreciated being asked to participate.
Our presentation was titled “Spirit of the Didgeridoo: Ancient Sound in a Modern World”. We were given 10 minuets which is the normal length of a featured segment, so you really have to work on your patter like an “elevator pitch”. I started by telling one legend of how the first didgeridoo was played (you know–– old fella in the long time ago blows into a hollow log projecting white ants into the night sky which, in turn, become the stars). That one. I love that story. Then I shared how L.A.Outback got started back in ’96 when Mark Dunn and I were selling our hand made plastic didges on the boardwalk in Venice Beach, CA. And how our friend, George Szabo, eventually took over the crafting and painting of those modern didgeridoos so we could focus on importing real eucalyptus didges from Australia. 14 years later we’re still hashing out a living selling didgeridoos, and in this economic climate no less (knock on wood). The audience at MindShare sat up and broadened their perception of this hollow log thingy, especially after learning how people suffering with sleep apnea are playing the didgeridoo to relieve their symptoms.
Next I introduced a good friend and supporter of L.A.Outback, Debra Wilson. Many know Debra best for here long run on the hit television show MADtv. But aside from her acting and comedic skills she’s also a passionate didgeridoo player. Debra spoke her truth about how she was drawn to play the didge. About breath and tone color as metaphor for life and clarity of mind. About sonically connecting oneself with an ancient culture. About self expression and focus. She’s honest and articulate, and Debra’s fervor on any talking point can be infectious. The audience was under her spell.
We closed with a didgeridoo duet, completely improvised, and both of us were wowed by several people that offered up a standing ovation. That was an unexpected warm fuzzy. As we left the stage I checked the stopwatch on my iPhone. 0h9m48s. We left them wanting more, and the didgeridoo won over another mob of potential skeptics. It was a good night.