Dr. Bill: Hello, friends and neighbors. I’m Dr. Bill Thomas and this is…
Nate: Nate Silas Richardson. Hello, everybody.
Dr. Bill: And we’re here with the “Ask Dr. Bill” podcast, special edition for our friends at Holiday Retirement.
You guys are so awesome. And actually, Nate and I have a lot to talk about because we’re back in the home studio, Rep Studio, and we’ve just spent a lot of time out on the West Coast and a lot of fun and actually a bunch of stories to tell. It really has to do with us rolling down the road with some really cool people from Holiday. So, I’m gonna kick it off, Nate. We were in the Bay Area. Do you remember that far back? That was weeks ago, man.
Nate: Yeah, let’s see. Well, I can only really remember right now is the last couple shows that we had because they were so epically amazing, just out in the Pacific Northwest, the representation from the Holiday communities was incredible. Front five rows filled with just elders and I can’t tell you how inspiring it was. The energy that they brought was very enlivening for me and I was this close to running into the front row of the audience and pulling people up on to the stage for the end when we were thanking them. Because just one person in particular was, she was, I’m sure you remember her, she was right in the front row.
Dr. Bill: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. In Eugene, Oregon.
Nate: Yes, she was almost singing along, you could say. She would follow each sentence, and as you are known to do, you kind of bring your sentences to a close and she would feel it and she would like say the word like right before you said or right after you said the word. And every time, when I was singing, I just noticed her riding on every single word, really being in the moment and expressing her feelings throughout. She would get very happy when she heard something come out of my mouth that she liked. And I could tell, she was like, when she wasn’t sure, she would look a little bit, maybe a little stressed or something and I just took a lot of joy in having her along for the ride.
Dr. Bill: You know, I almost pulled her on the stage. Yeah, well, next time. Next time we see her, we’ll do that. And you know, what you described there is actually a pretty perfect description of what live theater does. It helps people feel their feelings. You know, when we’re out and about, we definitely have ideas about what we’re trying to accomplish and communicate, oh yeah, we do, but we also have a very clear idea of what we wanna help people feel. We wanna help people feel some enthusiasm and some excitement around the idea that it can be different. This whole crazy aging thing could be really different if we make it different.
Nate: Well, yeah, I mean, I suppose it’s not too early to spill the beans on this other part of this last week. I know you’re asking about, you know, the Bay Area, but just this last week, we also were told by somebody, I actually wasn’t there for this. I know you know what I’m talking about. Do you wanna tell the story?
Dr. Bill: Well, yeah, I mean, we were doing a show, and I’m not gonna mention the city because I’m protecting a person who told us something amazing, we’re doing a show and, as you know, we’re always out in the lobby after the show, I love hanging with people. A man came up to me, and had tears in his eyes, told me that he’d been experiencing some memory challenges and that he had been planning his suicide, I mean actively planning his suicide. And he was very emotional because he said, “After being with you and hearing that there’s another way of thinking about all this,” he’s dropping his plans to commit suicide and he’s gonna live. And I thought to myself, “Wow,” mind-blown.
Nate: You can’t give a performer better compensation than that. I don’t know if it’s fair to call it that, but… I wouldn’t take anything in return for that.
Dr. Bill: I was gonna say, Nate Silas Richardson, life saver. Pretty cool.
Nate: Yeah, you don’t get that kind of feedback normally.
Dr. Bill: Not normally, and that was amazing. And I think it represents what a lot of people feel when they’re leaving. It’s like, “I didn’t think it could be like this.”
In fact, one of the things we picked up on from our Holiday friends was a lot of people were talking about coming to the show, not coming to the show, and a lot of people were like, “I don’t know what is this thing. It sounds kinda crazy.” And, you know, if you come to see us, you gotta expect the unexpected. And we really take a little bit of pride in that, actually.
Nate: That’s what we do. We mix it up.
Dr. Bill: So, before we were in the Pacific Northwest, and I’ll just say for people who weren’t with us, the cities we visited were Portland, Puyallup, Seattle, Vancouver, Washington. Hey, no offense to Vancouver, British Columbia, we love you.
Nate: We’ll come there, too.
Dr. Bill: We’ll come there, too. Before that, I actually picked up the bus down in San Francisco and spent a week with a friend of ours and a couple of the tour people.
Nate: I guess that had been on the Power of Song actually.
Dr. Bill: Yes, exactly.
Nate: He was second or third guest.
Dr. Bill: Tenzin.
Nate: Yes, Tenzin Chopak was on the bus with you.
Dr. Bill: Yeah, so, Tenzin Chopak just hopped on the bus and we cultivated this idea. We’re gonna go see our friends, shout out to our friends we visited on the way. We just rolled into parking lots and we’re like knocking on the front door of the retirement community and we’re like, “Hello. Hey, we’re hungry. Can we have dinner?” And then, I guess, really in some sense, we sort of sang for our supper, you know, and, oh, it was so great.
Nate: And it should be mentioned, Tenzin got the phone call, I called him on, I think, Saturday and you meet him out there.
Dr. Bill: No, not correct. Monday!
So, this friend of Nate’s, musician, gets a phone call on Monday. “Hey, Tenzin, would you like to go on tour on the West Coast with Dr. Thomas on Tuesday?”
Nate: “Can you leave in the morning?”
Dr. Bill: And of course, this is what’s really great about him, he’s got this phenomenal openness and he’s like, “Yeah, I can do that.” And off we went. And I wanna say again to my friends in Northern California, “Holy cow is Mount Shasta big.” It is really super big. I had no idea it was that big. And as we were driving sort of up out of the Bay Area over towards Sacramento, into the Central Valley, and then up to Redding, California.
Nate: On the five?
Dr. Bill: On the five and the mountain was incredible, sort of climbed up over the pass. It’s really beautiful. So, and then, the week before that, we were touring in the Bay Area and that was really fun. And I’m gonna tell a little story, if you don’t mind, Nate.
Nate: Well, we should probably clarify. So, the tour in the Pacific Northwest was “the ChangingAging Tour.”
Dr. Bill: Yeah.
Nate: The whole theater experience. The connector tour from the Bay Area to the Pacific Northwest was just visiting retirement communities. And, so now we’re back to the Bay Area and this is, we’re going back in time here, so we did a week of theater tour.
Dr. Bill: And then a week unplugged, crashing our friends’ retirement communities. And I have to tell you, we were in one of the communities, and one of the people we met was a long-time bus driver. So, we got her up into the Lucy Pearl, which is our big touring bus, got her in the captain’s chair, and she was just like, “Yeah, I want this. Where are the keys to this thing? I’m out, you know.” And she was great. So, yes, we’re kind of working our way back in time. And then, we had the big tour with the theaters and everything, and I just want you to tell the story of the Holiday elders who came to see us in Oakland and…
Nate: Refresh my memory.
Dr. Bill: That was the venue where the doors opened and we were like, “Yeah, smells like beer!”
Nate: Wow, yeah.
Dr. Bill: So, tell, the night before, this venue we performed in, the night before was…
Nate: WrestleMania? it was something like that.
Dr. Bill: Hoodslam.
Nate: Hoodslam, yeah. It was a theatrical wrestling event and, yes, the floor was sticky, the stage had mostly empty vials of fake blood.
Dr. Bill: We think it was fake blood.
Nate: The owners of the place were awesome.
Dr. Bill: Oh, I know.
Nate: They looked like they hadn’t slept in months or that they had been sleeping for months, one or the other.
Dr. Bill: So, the whole team pitched in and we mopped the venue.
Nate: Mopped the floor.
Dr. Bill: We mopped. So, you can say, “We mopped the floor with them.” Yeah, we did, we mopped the floor.
Nate: And we sanded it and we scraped it.
Dr. Bill: And we mopped it. So, we set up in that theater and elders came in from Holiday. And we’re like, “Yeah, we’re loving this.” It was, yeah, I can’t even, it’s like a big play, rock club that also features wrestling.
Nate: And kind of reminded me of going to see Max Creek in Providence, Rhode Island in 1987, when I was like 16 years old.
Dr. Bill: Yeah, exactly. And that’s where I really, what I wanted to say is that, what we found out is people really like to have different experiences that aren’t what they’re expecting. They like it. You know, when we find ourselves living a life, where every day is similar, we develop a real taste for difference. And that doesn’t leave you. I don’t care what age you are. You know the old saying goes, variety is the spice of life.
Nate: The spice of life.
Dr. Bill: I think it’s true.
Well, we covered sort of the main thing is that we’ve been out on the West Coast. We feel like the Holiday family opened up its arms, reached out to us, made us feel so welcome, and this is great big thank you to you from Nate and I.
Nate: We love you.
Dr. Bill: We love you. And good news for people in the Midwest and actually more, even more so the Northeast, you’re gonna be seeing us pretty soon. You’re gonna get info about the Lucy Pearl and Dr. Thomas and Nate Silas Richardson and company. We’re gonna be pulling up to your community and we’re gonna be going on a little adventure.
Nate: That’s right. I think Springfield, Mass., Quincy.
Dr. Bill: Hartford, Connecticut.
Nate: Hartford, Connecticut.
Dr. Bill: Roxbury?
Nate: We’re playing in Roxbury, Massachusetts?
Dr. Bill: I believe that’s true.
Nate: That’s where I went to elementary school, bro.
Dr. Bill: Well, I think we’re doing the elementary school gym.
Nate: We’re gonna have to go to William Monroe Trotter. Please tell me we’re playing at William Monroe Trotter.
Dr. Bill: Yes, but all the chairs are very low. That’s the problem with that one.
Nate: I did go visit that school many, many, many years after being away from it. I went a few…
Dr. Bill: I think you always, when you do that, you always wonder, “How did we ever sit in those chairs?” That’s impossible.
Dr. Bill: And the other thing, I think there’s one more, Foxborough.
Nate: Oh yes, we’re playing in Foxborough.
Dr. Bill: The stadium.
Nate: We’re playing in the stadium?
Dr. Bill: Not exactly in the stadium. Next to the stadium.
Nate: Bring in a few extra speakers for that one.
Dr. Bill: Yeah, I think we will. And that’s it for now. Keep an ear out, you’ll be hearing from us again, soon.
So, this has been another edition of Ask Dr. Bill podcast with Dr. Bill Thomas, surprise, and Nate Silas Richardson. And we’re so happy to be supported by our partners at Holiday Retirement. You guys rock. We will very likely see you down the road.