Storytime with J.R. Gibbs

March 12, 2014
J.R. Gibbs

This past August, I decided to take an adventure from Arkansas to Los Angeles to see one of my favorite bands of all time, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros perform under the Big Top.  To say they are one of my all-time favorites covers a lot of music. I’m in my 60s and I’ve seen a lot of bands. Hundreds.

I bought concert and airline tickets, made accommodation reservations and started watching the ESMZ websites and sharing greetings with others that were planning to go.

I saw a posting from a talented young artist (Sarah Moumblow). She lives in the Canadian Arctic Circle. She was constructing her own Big Top event with her very own ESMZ paper band. She was unable to travel from the north pole to L.A. I watched her project progress. She was so dedicated and I could see, she was putting in hours upon hours of work in to her paper band.

I was so impressed with Sarah’s obvious true caring for the Zeros, I sent an email telling her I was enjoying her work and I too am a big fan of the band. I told her I was going to see them on the last day of the event, Sunday October 20th and she would be there in spirit with me and I would send photo’s in real time and share.

Sarah finished her ESMZ paper band and brought them to life with the music of “In the Lion.” When I first watched it, I got such a big smile on my face. It was magnificent. I thought to myself the Zeros are so fortunate to have Sarah as a fan.

I had to do something to be sure she knew she was not only there in my heart, but there in the Zeros hearts as well. I am not talented in the arts by any stretch. I played with making a paper Sarah. That was not working. So, I decided I would share Sarah in the only way I know in my mathematical mind and just print a piece of paper with her name and my location. I would seek out Zeros and ask them if they would hold the page so she knew she was indeed at the Big Top on Oct. 20, 2013.

Came the day of the event and I arrived about 3 p.m. It was like back in the 50s when I was a child and the circus did come to town. The dust was heavy and only rose about a foot off the ground and covered the cuffs of my jeans and shoes. The Big Top was the real deal. There was a small avenue of vendors sitting in their own opened canvas covered spaces. Belly dancers, actors on stilts. It all had the feel and smell of stepping back in time. There was a beer garden tent with local brews.

There was an outdoor stage with great bands playing. I even saw Josh Collazo and Seth Ford-Young jam with their our jazz band. Crash even joined in.

As I walked the avenue shopping, I saw Mark Noseworthy. I walked up and we shook hands. I asked if he had seen the paper band. He certainly had. I told him what I was doing and asked if he would mind taking a photo with Sarah’s sign. He said, ‘Of course.’

I walked up to a food trailer to get a bite to eat and found myself standing behind Crash. I explained to him that I was helping Sarah enjoy the Big Top through me. He too already knew of the paper band and posed. We chatted and I got my food.

I sat down and ate at picnic tables by an beautiful white antique Ferris wheel. As I started to leave, I noticed Jade Castrinos was there and she was about to leave. I talked to her and she too knew of the paper band, and she took a picture. Then Stewart Cole, Josh and Christian Letts. Everyone of them knew of Sarah and the paper band.

They were all such nice and wonderful young folks. It was an honor for me to bring the Zeros and Sarah together at the Big Top. It was the least I could do after all the smiles she brought to me with her art.

Of course I had to get her a T-shirt and Big Top hoodie. That took a month to get to her in the Arctic.

The Big Top was genius. I’ve never seen such brilliance and talent as I’ve seen with the collaboration of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Magnetic being the key word.

This is the second time I have seen the Zeros. One thing that makes the Zeros wonderful live is their fans. When you’re in the crowd, they too are the nicest and friendliest people as you could ever have the pleasure of sharing a memory with. The fans help make the Zeros special. Sarah Moumblow happens to be the tip of the Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros fan arrow.

The very first time they play Buffalo or Toronto — or at least some where close enough so my new friend Sarah and I can meet up — we will be front and center dancing and singing to every lyric to ever song that Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros sing.

Love and peace out.

To read J.R.’s bio, click here.

To read more about Sarah Moumblow’s Paper Band project, click here.

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