Move over, Deadheads: Meet the ‘Chautauquanauts’

A cozy business in Enterprise, Oregon provided more than just coffee, homemade apple cake and Internet access to New Old Time Chautauqua. Gypsy Java Coffee Lounge – an appropriately named pit stop for a band of gypsy vaudevillians – also served as the nexus for the new rage sweeping the nation: following NOTC from show to show!

Okay, this trend may actually be sweeping … Eastern Oregon. And by “rage,” we might just be talking about … two people. But we’re honored that the warmth and family vibe we experienced with the whole community of Enterprise translated into two of its much-loved residents sticking with us, even after we moved on.

Following Chautauqua isn’t a new concept (rumor has it that our own Claymazing joined the troupe after first stowing away on an Aqua Chautauqua boat). However, discussion with several long-timers proved that there has never been a name for such wild, crazy, advisable behavior. Until now. To that end, we’d like to say, “Move over Deadheads, Parrot Heads, and Juggalos!” The best fan crew now has an official name (thanks, Wren, for coining the term). Ladies and gents, introducing the first-ever, official CHAUTAUQUANAUTS!

Clare: Kite flyer, budding circus star (Enterprise, John Day)

From dancing at the Gypsy Java musical jam – featuring many Chautauquans – to flying her kite in our circus mixer, everywhere we turned in Enterprise, there was an exuberant, bubbly, social little girl: Clare, age 8. Clare says she enjoyed our juggling and music, and her favorite act in the show was “the princess” (played by Shannie).

Clare (center, striped dress) juggles with Wes, after flying her kite.

“She actually made great friends with [Shannie],” says her dad, Stirling, who often dove right into the dancing and acro, along with his daughter. “We horse around all the time, and I try to teach her ‘no fear,’ one scab at a time. We love the way you guys are a big family, and I was amazed at how she could just join in.”

Proving that she’s internalized her dad’s “no fear” lesson, Clare stood on Shannie’s hands, rode her bike in our parade – and will be joining us for even more of that in John Day, where her mother lives. Thanks to Clare, for being one of the first “Chautauquanauts” to celebrate with us in multiple cities. With her confidence and encouraging family, we wouldn’t be surprised if, a few years down the line, she’s joining us – on stage.

Shannie laughs as Clare and her friends show dad Stirling, during an acro workshop, that little girls are stronger than one might think. (Clare is the one wrapped around her dad’s neck.)

Edie: Coffee shop owner, free spirit (Enterprise, Pendleton)

Facilitating the entire Chautauquanaut movement is the woman who made it all possible: Edie, owner of Gypsy Java. Her business hosted the musical jam where we first met Clare. She injected us with coffee when we were sleep-deprived and supported our ability to get work done by providing Internet access. She met us for beers at Terminal Gravity (special shout out to owner, Steve, who was so amazing and generous that we are hoping he joins us again, as the third member of the Chautauquanauts). Edie also came to our shows, joined her customers to cheer in the parade – and decided that one tour stop wasn’t enough. On Saturday evening, she drove out to Pendleton to catch another show.

“I was missing you guys the moment you left town,” Edie laughs, adding that we brought color, amazing energy and a great joy for life to her community. “We have Internet and TV, but we don’t see this live. The way you work together and seem to genuinely love each other comes off on stage. What you do is such a great gift.”

Thank you, Edie, for providing the hub for our Enterprise activities and for being one of the founding members of the Chautauquanauts. For anyone rolling through Enterprise, we highly recommend stopping by Gypsy Java, where you can experience small business at its best – and meet the woman who did her part to facilitate this new trend of following merry vaudevillians, wherever we land.

Edie waves, with newfound friends Steveadore and Shannie.

How to become a Chautauquanaut

Joining the Chautauquanauts is sure to be the most popular trend of 2012. To get in, while it’s still cool, the first step is to buy a ticket to one of our shows. And then, buy a ticket to another show. And then, buy a ticket to another show. The second step is to don the official clothing (clown nose, funny hat) and sell grilled cheese sandwiches next to our tour vans. If you’re broke, you’re welcome to attend a free workshop – and then another free workshop – and then another free workshop. If you’re really broke, then congratulations; you’re probably already a vaudeville act. We love you, Chautauquanauts. See you on the road!

(Revolva may be occasionally supporting blog captain Dr. Bonkers by writing about the people we meet – and by proclaiming the start of historic trends.)

This entry was posted in 2012 Oregon Tour, New Old Time Chautauqua. Bookmark the permalink.

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