Saturday, December 15, 2012

Whew! What a Wonderful Month!

Hey Folks!

First off...HAPPY HOLIDAYS to One and All!

And - in keeping with the season - a commercial anouncement:

More about those later...

Still working on this year's Holiday card, my daughter Merit and me, but it'll be done before Christmas...but not much!  So glad I send and post mine electronically for the most part.  Saves paper and the price of stamps AND gives me extra time...which I need this year!  You'll see why when you read on.

I've been doing my own Holiday cards for over 30 years and enjoy it thoroughly!  My kids, Chance, 17, and Merit, 14, exhibited incredible artistic skills very young and when they got older I made them a part of it.  It's been one our most family-time things to do.  Here are some cards from the past:

On this one, we decided to make a Christmas tree featuring our animal family members here on the Crystal Mesa Farm, our small animal farm and Bed & Breakfast in Santa Fe, NM.

We hemmed and hawed over the order of the animals, ran around the farm taking snapshots for reference, and got to work.  It's one of our favorites!

The golden retriever you see to the left - Olive was her name - we lost a couple summers ago, but she lives on here!  And now holding the space on the tree is VooDoo, our Siberian Husky, who - by the way - has been enjoying our recent snowy weather.  Just lays outside in the snow with a big ol' grin on his face!

This one was a Merit and Dad production the whole way.  Merit had recently been drawing "zentangles", a repetition of different stylized shapes.  Her renderings were so cool I got the idea to set her loose on a Holiday theme and off she went.  

I contributed the "Surfin' Santa" as an allusion to my new home-away-from-home, Los Angeles, and titled the card "surfinsantasychedelia" and off we went!

This card was so much fun, we decided to do something in this vein again this year, maybe doing in color.  Merit's got her part done; a lovely background of "zentangles".

It's now up to Dad! 

This one's another joint effort.  Merit took the photo of the buddha that sits in our front yard, Chance did the rendering work, and I dropped the color in to it.

We found this buddha in our travels to Southeast Asia and shipped it home.  It reminds of us of our many adventures in this fascinating part of the world.

I pass this lovely statue every morning on our way down to the farm and never fail to enjoy its serene beauty.  We rarely get much in the way of snow around here, but when we do this buddha looks especially magnificent!  

We had taken a photo the previous winter and trotted it out for this Holiday card.  

We'll be picking up our Christmas tree today and trimming it tomorrow - accompanied by a little eggnog for the adults to make the damn tinsel go on easier...or care less when it doesn't!

And now, the update!  

I'm going to start with what for me was one the most fun, exciting and weary-making times I've had in recent memory.

I had gotten back to Santa Fe for Thanksgiving with the family.  As always, too much turkey and TV, but playing music with my son Chance - who just in the last year has taught himself music theory and plays, ukulele, banjo, guitar, piano, harmonica, melodica...even the musical saw! - was a blast!  And Merit and I went over spelling words.  She is - as of last week, her school's spelling bee champ!  She was given a special award for having won her class spelling bee for the EIGHTH YEAR IN A ROW!
Nobody can ever beat that record!  Tie, maybe, but never top!  Makes a papa proud!

Then it was off to my hometown of Ottawa, IL to do Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok and to launch the Wild Bill! In-School Program.  What an unbelievably incredible experience it was!

Here we're talking about family size in Hickok's time
and comparing it to the kid's families
My first stop was Lincoln School in the nearby town of LaSalle to give a presentation - an excerpt from  Wild Bill!... - including his early life in Illinois and focussing on his dislike for cowards.  This generates into a Q&A about Hickok, his and times, and bullying.  I got to present it to almost 200 4th and 5th Graders.  Now, you never know what you're going to get with kids that - or any - age, but they were interested and attentive, and had lots of great questions afterwards.  After the presentation, one young man waited until I was alone to come over and tell me he was being bullied.  We spoke at length and then went to his teacher.  Just last week I got a call saying that all had been resolved!  What a great feeling to have been a part of that for just that one child! 

Some up close and personal work
Some one-on-one time onstage
Then it was to my alma mater, Ottawa High School, to teach some after school seminars.  Students brought monologues which they presented and we worked on them.  These were some very talented kids that took notes extremely well and worked on incorporating the changes quickly - soap style!  We met for three hours that Thursday and Friday and were all having such a wonderful time, we did it the next Monday as well.  One young man and a couple of young women had some real breakthroughs - they tell me - and I couldn't be happier to hear it!  

And the Wild Bill! In-School Program also raised $1,000.00 for the OHS Theatre Department, raised through their box office percentage and donated by the Illinois Valley Coalition On Performing Arts (IV-COPA) of which I'm a founding board member.  That's such a great thing about the program.  It raises money for the schools Theatre Arts.  In these economic times, the Arts budgets are always the first cut, so this kind of fundraising can make the difference between producing a play or not!

Hickok making a point -
with his Colt Navy!
It was showtime!  Now I've produced a play here in Ottawa every summer for the last four years, but those were ensemble efforts.  This time, it was just me up there and I'll admit to being nervous.  I so wanted the show to go well for the hometown crowd...and it did!  Both performances!

Hickok in a pose of "daring-do"!
With Dave Keely's great set, Brad Johnson's lights and sound, and my ol' pal and co-writer Kim "Howard" Johnson calling the show from the booth, Bryan Willy taking production photos, and the super support of an Ottawa audience (with quite a few folks from Joliet and Chicago's suburbs as well) what could go wrong?  Plenty!  But none of it did...

Mayor Bob Eschbach with the
Key to the City for me!
At Saturday nights performance, as I was doing the post-curtain thanks, I noticed a figure stage left in the wings.  I had my short-range contacts in, so I couldn't make it out who it was.   Finally, I said, as Hickok, "I don't like you a-lingerin' there in the dark.  Makes a feller nervous.  Get out here!"

And out comes Ottawa's Mayor Bob Eschbach with a little gift for me: the Key to the City!  I was dumbfounded!  What an honor!

And a special thanks to Julie Johnson and the staff of the Ottawa Visitors Center for all they do to help get these shows up!

For more information on Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok and the Wild Bill! In-School Program, please visit WaltWilleyWorld!

I went over to the Rotary club the day after the show to give another excerpt from Wild Bill!...  this one an "Illinois-centric" version.  Those in attendance seemed to enjoy it quite a bit, as did I!  One thing that always amazes me is how folks who see this show become so interested in Hickok, asking tons of questions during the Q&A afterwards.  He was a fascinating man, and I hope I do his story justice.

Mendota High School was my next stop.  Here I was requested to give seminars in getting started in the business and was treated to a run-through of a student written Christmas play, which was very clever!  

I thoroughly enjoy doing this program and hope to be doing it much, much more!

The Wild Bill! LIVE Steaming Event has a
new date! JANUARY 19, 2013!
On my last night in Ottawa, I was getting all in readiness for the Jackson, TN Wild Bill!... and In-School Program gig, and Wild Bill! LIVE Steaming Event, when I got a phone call.  It was my production partner in the streaming endeavor, Wilky Fain of the Jackson Film House there (who shot my comedy DVD last Fall), telling me there was a flu epidemic in Jackson and they were thinking about closing the schools!  

I headed down there the next day - as scheduled - to have a look.  Sure enough, it was spreading like crazy!  Three schools had already been closed.  My producer, Annemarije de Boer, came in from Houston and we had a conference.  

It was my feeling that it would be less than conscientious to put three hundred people in an auditorium in the middle of a flu epidemic, and with the In-School Program also at risk, we decided to move the event to January 19th, 2013.  Go to the Wild Bill! LIVE Streaming Event Facebook page to let me know you'll be watching! 

Working with a student
during an improvised scene

At the Cooking Show!
There was still plenty to do in Jackson, though.  I met many of our sponsors, did some some radio and TV interviews and even judged a cook-off for a local cooking show!  

I taught a seminar through the Jackson Film House on "Improving Through Improv", and had a 'kick-off" party for my new comedy DVD at the South Street Comedy Club, where it was shot!

"Wild and Willey in Jackson; LIVE at South street",
my newest comedy DVD, is now available in
the Walt Willey's World eBay store!
Speaking of which...there's still time for the perfect stocking stuffer!  My new comedy DVD, Wild and Willey in Jackson; LIVE! at South Street is now available at my eBay store, Walt Willey's World!

I recorded this DVD across two nights in October, 2011 at the South Street Comedy Club in Jackson, right after AMC went off the air.  I added special features like a "teaser" of Wild Bill!..., a photo tour of my B&B, the Crystal Mesa Farm in Santa Fe, NM, and even a rendition of the infamous song Pine Vally Lawyer!

And when I wasn't busy I relaxed at the beautiful Peaceful Oaks Bed & Breakfast just outside Jackson.  A truly remarkable B&B and Johnnie made me feel right at home!

And now let's back up a bit...say to mid-October...

Live at B.B. King's in NYC
Thanks to all who made it out to the Fall in Love Again cabaret act at B. B. King's.  Bobbie and Vincent and I were honored by all of you who braved "Superstorm Sandy" to come out and see us.  

The weather that night, ironically enough, was soft and balmy; all hell had yet to break loose!  We were  all trapped in New York City until much later that week, waiting for planes to begin to fly again.  As I left out of JFK, I could see firsthand the incredible flooding in the area.  It was clear the worst was yet to come.  

So let's all keep a special place in our hearts this Holiday Season for all of those who lost so much.

With "the Boyz"!  Eric and I spent
three weekends in a row together!
Borrowed guitar and all,
the show goes on!
I got back just in time to get ready to leave again.  First stop was New Orleans for the "Fall in Love" event there.  

When Kassie Depaiva couldn't make it, Vincent and I jumped in and the concert went on as scheduled!

The first weekend Eric Martsolf and I spent together...

I then headed to Marco Island, FL, one of my favorite places.  I've been appearing at the SWFL Soapfest for many years, and am an honorary board member of the Island Players there.  It was with their help that I first mounted Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok last March! 

This year I headed in early to do some auditions there for Love Letters that we'll be presenting there in February.  I had the pleasure of seeing a local production of Les Liaisons Dangereuse in Naples.  After completing the auditions I headed to Washington, D.C. to be the keynote speaker at the Food Allergies & Anaphylaxis Teen Summit.  I spoke on the remarkable change in my son Chance that came about when we put him on a gluten free diet.

Shoving off for a day of fun in the sun!
Then it was back to Marco Island for the event.  

Beautiful weather, wonderful time spent painting with the autistic kids (for whom we raise money at the event), fabulous dinner and bartender event, and a lovely time "Cruisin', Boozin', and Schmoozin" (and raising more money!) on Sunday! 

And a second weekend with Martsolf!

I raced back to LA do my first episode of The Everyday Lies, a sitcom web series that will be uploaded soon.  I play an acting teacher who is more full of himself and his "method" than he has any right to be!  It was a lot of fun, playing that type of character.  I'll let you know when creator Steve Royall uploads it.

The next night I was at the ACME Comedy Theatre getting ready to do my second and last (for now) turn as "Vincent" on the improvised soap parody Scandal Crest.  

I just LOVE doing this show.  Working with incredibly fast thinking actors like Sean Kanan and Eric Martsolf is a joy!  Add to the mix the great in-house players at ACME like Jen Parker, Dan Kane and the inimitable Diana Costa. I've worked on several ACME productions with these truly talented folks, and it is always the best damn time.  

I'll be doing my stand-up act at ACME some time soon, but in the meantime, take a moment and watch Sean, Eric, and myself have a great time in this very funny series!  And my last weekend with Eric Martsolf!

From there I headed home for Thanksgiving...and that's where we came in!

That should do it, folks!  Talk to you soon!

Friday, October 26, 2012

And AWA-A-A-A-Y We Go!

Let's see...where were we?

Last time I posted was over two months much for my monthly posts.  I'll try harder!

Vincent, Bobbie, Jacob and me at B.B. King's October 28
But it's been busy!  Just this weekend coming up I'll be in New York, doing the "Fall In Love Again" show with Vincent Irizarry, Bobbie Eakes (love her!) and Jacob Young at no less than B. B. King's!  I just love doing this nice of these very talented people to let me play with them!

See it for yourself!  Go to: for more info!

Wanna WIN some tickets?  Go to:

Vincent and me in Harvey in July
Right after Harveywith my friend Vincent Irizarry and the Resident Company of WilleyWorld Community Productions in my home town of Ottawa, Illinois - came to a close, I started in.  I returned to our farm and bed and breakfast, the Crystal Mesa Farm in Santa Fe, NM, and began getting my new one-man show, Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok, ready for tour, putting my stand up act - Wild and Willey - back on the road, editing (with editor Annemarije de Boer) my new comedy DVD, Wild and Willey in Jackson - LIVE! at South Street, developing the Wild Bill! In-School Program, our new in-school program of instruction, mentoring, and fundraising for high schools, and preparing to bring Wild Bill!... to you.  And by "to you" - I mean to your house!

But let's take 'em one at a time, shall we?

Most of you know by now that I have a new one-man show, Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok that I've begun to tour with.  The researching, writing (with Kim "Howard" Johnson), and performing this show has become a passion for me.  Hickok is a fascinating man and one of the Old West's greatest legends.  And we were born forty miles apart, both 6'2' and blonde and blue!

James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok and me - as him!
This show has been blessed from the beginning.  The first night I did it, in March for The Island Players in Marco Island, FL, there was a Hickok in the crowd!  What were the chances?  And when I did it for Wild Bill Hickok Day near his birthplace (and mine!), the were many Hickok's in attendance.  Not too surprising, I guess, but when I did it on one of my favorite stages - McCurdy's Comedy Theatre in Sarasota, FL, in September - there was another Hickok!  And this one was a lawman!

And all those Hickoks told me they just loved the show.  The Hickok's are very protective of their "Uncle James" (no "Wild Bill" for them!),  so I'm very honored to receive their approval.

Thanks to everyone who has come out to see Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok in Marco Island, in Mendota, in Tampa, in Sarasota, and in Los Angeles!  Hope you had as much fun as I did!

One of the joys of my life is that my theatrical production company, WilleyWorld Community Productions - headquartered in my home town of Ottawa, IL - has developed such great community relations in the area.  Since it's formation - with long-time friend and Ottawa resident Kim "Howard" Johnson - we have reached out to area youth interested in the Theatre Arts, offering seminars and internships, instruction and mentoring.

And now we have come up with a formalized program in conjunction with Wild Bill!...

The program features instruction, mentoring, and fundraising opportunities for any high school with a stage!  After several days of in-school seminars, coaching and pre-production, I perform Wild Bill!... for the public in the high school's performance space, with a student crew.  And a portion of the proceeds goes to the high school's theatre department/drama club!

Wild Bill!... In-School Program Launch

The Wild Bill! In-School Program, the first community outreach project of our newly formed Illinois Valley Coalition On Performing Arts (IV-COPA), will have it's inaugural launch at my alma mater, Ottawa High School in Ottawa, IL, as I bring Wild Bill!... home to LaSalle County on December 1 and 2.

In an economy like the one in which we currently find ourselves, the first cuts are always taken in the Arts.  So if you have a high school in your community that would like someone who has made their living in "show business" for thirty years to come in and instruct/mentor theatre arts students and help raise money for their theatre arts program, please let them know about the Wild Bill! In-School Program.

Maybe I'll be in your town soon!

Next stop for the Wild Bill! In-School Program: Jackson, TN!  Sound familiar?  It should!

It's where I shot my new stand-up comedy DVD last fall, during the Wild and Willey Comedy Tour after All My Children folded its tent.  We shot over two nights in October of 2011 at the South Street Comedy Club there.  The result?  Wild and Willey in Jackson- LIVE! at South Street!  My good friend and editor, Annemarije de Boer, and I took our time putting this DVD together. We waited until I shot Wild Bill!... at the ACME Comedy Theatre in LA in June and put together a tour of the Crystal Mesa Farm, our Bed & Breakfast in Santa Fe, NM, so we'd have great extras for the DVD!  And I designed and executed the packaging and graphics!  Truly a labor of love!

Go to right now and subscribe to updates.  We'll let you know the minute that Wild and Willey in Jackson- LIVE! at South Street is available.  We're just adding some finishing touches and hoping to have it available for Christmas giving!  And I'll bet you know a few folks who would just love finding it in their stocking or under their Christmas tree!

And now...on to the BIG EVENT in Jackson, TN!

So many of you have expressed the desire for me to bring Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok to you...thanks for the interest.  However, the logistics of trying to produce this show in so many places is very daunting, so I've decided to bring it to you in a different, very exciting way!

On Saturday, December 8, we'll be bringing Wild Bill!... to you LIVE! and STREAMING! to YOU!

William Fain Productions and the Jackson Film House of Jackson were the folks that shot the comedy DVD last year, and are the perfect partners for this event.

We are in the developmental stage right now, but plan to bring you a LIVE question and answer period with me before the show, taped packages of the Wild Bill! In-School Program experience the previous week at North Side High School, surprise guests, and - of course - Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok!

And if you are in the Jackson, TN area, come on out and be in the audience for this LIVE! and STREAMING! event!  The North Side High School in Jackson has the perfect facility for this intimate show and after the show I'll be doing a Q &A with audience members, which we hope to stream as well.  There will be surprise guests  I'm so excited to bring Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok to YOU!

Scandal Crest, the new improv soap parody from
ACME Comedy Theatre
Last week I got a call from my friends at the ACME Comedy Theatre.  I've done their Hollywood Dream Role and ACME Saturday Night! shows and shot Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok there in June.  They wanted me to join the cast of their new "soap" show, Scandal Crest.

I was the big "reveal" at the end of the show on October 16, playing "Vincent", the patriarch of the central family - back from the dead, of course.  And a surprise to the rest of the cast!

My kids?  Friends Eric Martsolf and (the very funny!) Molly Burnett!  We go again on November 16, live and streaming!  Check it out!

And here's a last minute announcement!
The Everyday Lies producer/director
Steve Royall and me sealing the deal!
And yes, the moustache is real!  

I'll be joining the cast of The Everyday Lies, web series that producer/director Steve Royall describes as "a half scripted/half improv comedy in the vein of Curb Your Enthusiasm about an aspiring director navigating through the treacherous shark-filled waters of Hollywood while trying to achieve movie-making success!"  Steve's last web series, This Indie Thing, was very popular in it's three season run.

I'm convinced that the web series is the future of "TV", and I am thrilled to be a part of this!  Steve and I met yesterday at The Village Idiot on Melrose in Hollywood and had a great conversation.

And my part?  I'm playing myself!  I'm teaching an acting class (art imitating life!) and interacting with many of the series' characters.  My first shoot date: November 15th.

Well, folks, I guess that's just about it for now.  See?  I told you I've been busy!

Make sure you go to waltwilleyworld for all things in Walt Willey's World!

All my love, always and in all ways,

Sunday, August 19, 2012

What a Year in WilleyWorld!

Hey Everbody!  

Welcome to a new era of the “Wild and Willey” blog! 

First stop, the brand new, all-inclusive, state-of-the-art website!  So many of you – and quite correctly – have pointed out that I need a new website…or at least update the one I have!  Here you go!

Go right now and subscribe to updates at:
Take a look around the site.  I’ve put up new resources and entertainment areas.  This website will be the most complete destination for all things in Walt Willey World…hope you like it!

As most of you undoubtedly know, we are very near the anniversary of that dark day that All My Children rang down the curtain for the last time - so far…hope springs eternal!

My year since that fateful day has been an interesting one;.  I toured for three months with my stand-up comedy act, Wild and Willey, (check it out at: during which I taped my shows in Jackson (of course!), Tennessee.  

The finishing touches are going on that DVD and I’m hoping it will be ready for distribution in a couple months.  We are taking time loading it with some “special features”, like a photo tour of the Crystal Mesa Farm, , my B&B in Santa Fe, New Mexico and excerpts from my one-man show, Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok.

Speaking of which…as much as I love working in television and film, live performance is a passion and a thrill for me.  There is a magic to it that you just can’t find in studio work; the energy flowing both directions across the footlights.

I began looking for a one-man show with which I could tour.  I read several shows about notable and worthy subjects, but none “spoke” to me. 

While doing Arsenic and Old Lace with my son Chance and the wonderful WilleyWorld Community Productions Players in Ottawa, IL, my hometown, we drove over to the train station in Mendota, IL to pick up my wife Marie and daughter Merit.  On the way, we passed a sign saying: “Troy Grove, Birthplace of James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok”.  I had no idea that “Wild Bill” and I were born in the same county, and only a vague notion of the man.  Gunfighter, right?  Lawman?  Hmmmmm.

I believe everything happens for a reason.  Serendipity, fate, destiny, happenstance, plain old coincidence – call it what you will – has always played a big part in my career and my life.  It was apparent to me what I needed to do.  I began to research Hickok…

Six-foot-two, blonde and blue, Illinois born, left small town to begin a journey that would propel him to fame.  That sounded familiar enough to “speak” to me, for sure.  As I dove into resource after resource, I found a captivating, complex and often contradictory man.
Hickok – in his time – was a farmer, teamster, trapper, scout, guide, gambler, sheriff, marshal…even an actor!  Hickok – in our time – is the reason that in every western film the “showdown” is in the street, and a poker hand comprised of a pair of aces and a pair of eights is known as “the Dead Man’s Hand”. 

After over a year of research and just under a year of writing the show - with friend Kim “Howard” Johnson’s helpful suggestions - I had a one-man show.  And I had researched and written it.  No one was more surprised than me!

 In March, I did a staged reading of Wild Bill!... with my friends The Island Players of Marco, Island, FL
I’d worked with Pat Berry – of Southwest Florida Soapfest fame - for years and her theatre there seemed like a perfect partnership to get Wild Bill!... on its feet.

Four nearly sold-out shows, a standing ovation, and a great review!  We were offand running, "Bill" and I!  Since then I’ve done this show for “Wild Bill Hickok Day” in Troy Grove, IL, at the ACME in LA – where we taped it! – and hither and thither around as I tuned the show.

Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok has become an absolute passion for me!  The reviews and audience reactions have been wonderful and it gives me the opportunity to get out there and entertain you live!
And now I’m building a national tour!  Check out my Appearance Calendar for performances near you.  And if you have a suggestion for a venue, please let us know!

I’ll see you on the road, buckaroos and buckarettes!  Until then, keep your powder dry and happy trails!

So what else have I been up to this last year?  Spending time with my kids!  Chance, now seventeen, decided around Thanksgiving of last year to teach himself musical theory so he could set his incredible poetry (he really is very good!) to music.  Nine months later he is a songwriter and accomplished musician who can play the ukulele, mandolin, banjo, guitar, dulcimer, piano, melodica, washboard and musical saw!  Of course, this handsome young man can’t remember to charge his phone, pick up his clothes or water the animals…  Such is genius!

And speaking of “genii”: daughter Merit, now thirteen, is absolutely brilliant!  Never had anything but “A”s.  High Honor Roll.  Spelling Bee champion.  Does artwork – beautiful paintings and intricate drawings and fashion designs  - every day.  Reads incessantly.  And has no interest in boys…thus far.  She’s blonde and blue and 5’ 8’’.  Pray for me…

I am blessed to have these wonderful children and spending time with them – in between road trips - has been the most wonderful experience! 

And how about those Tribute to Pine Valley events!?  Weren’t they great?  I had so much fun hanging with my castmates and seeing all of you!

And – rumor has it – there may be more!  Keep checking at:

In July, I returned to my hometown of Ottawa, IL to once again kick off Riverfest with WilleyWorld Community Productions’ Summer Show.  This year – our fourth – my good friend Vincent Irizarry – following in the footsteps of former friends/guest artists Jill Larson, Julia Barr, Taylor Miller and Kale Browne - joined our Resident Company as we presented Harvey.  

Vincent was fantastic in the role and just as helpful, gracious and hardworking as he could be!  A truly fabulous experience for all!  Ah, the theatre!  Check out photos from these productions at:
Vincent and I, along with Bobbie Eakes and Jacob Young, have put together a cabaret act and I gotta say – it ROCKS!  Check it out at:

We’ll be at no less than B. B. King’s in New York City, baby, on October 28th!  We’ll see you there!

Well, that’s been some of my years’ highlights.  Thanks so much for your love, support, and patronage during this time of so much change…it is greatly appreciated!

Talk to – and see - you soon!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ah, the Season is Upon Us!

"Happy Holidays!" to All!

A gallery door on Canyon Road.
Getting warm around a farolito!
I write this while on the Crystal Mesa Farm in Santa Fe, NM where we had a beautiful - and very white! - Christmas.  There is a tradition here, the walk on Canyon Road, which we had not done in some years. Many of the galleries that Santa Fe is known for are on this road and the owners make bonfires (farolitos) and every flat surface is lined with luminarias (paper bags with sand to hold them down and a lit candle in side for illumination).  Cider, cocoa, and coffee - and I suspect a few flasks - are offered around and Christmas cheer holds sway!

That's (L to R) Me, daughter Merit, and Marie. Chance was off canoodling with his girlfriend.
That's a luminaria to the right of Marie. Hundreds, thousands of those are everywhere!  Such a beautiful tradition!

Chance strums his new ukelele!
Merit and her only "non-tech" gift!
After enjoying the walk we headed home to have our Christmas dinner and unwrap a few gifts...

Merit's all about photography these days, so Photoshop was in her pile, as well as a new digital camera!

Chance is writing songs these days and is becoming quite adept with - are you ready for this - a ukelele!

I've been doing my family's Holiday cards (and mine before that) for over thirty years but for the past few years my talented kids have joined in the process!

Merit, my thirteen-year-old computer genius daughter, decided to run the show this year.  At our first snowfall in December, she instructed me to take a picture of our buddha.  She put it through mysterious and wonderful processes on her computer, then asked me to ink the result.  And below is the finished product!  Hope you enjoy it!

Our Holiday Card for 2011...I think Merit did a heck of a job, don't you?
And I hope you enjoy this Holiday Season!  For me - and many of us, I think - 2011 was a year of much change; some good, some bad and some for which the jury is still out!  So let's enjoy this time of fellowship, kindness and generosity and embrace the New Year with wonder and excitement!

All my love and respect...


Next up: the making of Wild and Willey: "Jackson" LIVE in Jackson!