Camp Cazadero

“Encourage my soul, and let us journey on…though the night is dark, and I am far from home…” gospel tune

Man oh Manishevitz you  couldn’t hope for a better week of summer than  the one I just spent at Cazadero Performing Arts Family Camp. I went to camp with my two kids and my mom.

For one week my eyes didn’t look at a screen of any kind -TV, cell, computer-, I didn’t handle any money (except at Raymond’s Bakery across the street, man those Brownies) and nobody talked much about work. In fact, you didn’t know who anyone was- or rather you learned about who they were, just not what they did to make the rent. You talked about your classes, how Ukulele was going, or songwriting, maybe Joel Ben Izzy’s story at the campfire last night. (

I could be playing ping pong with a stockbroker, a brain surgeon, or someone still following whoever followed the Grateful Dead- everyone was equal in dusty jeans and unshowered hair.

An average day, I wake up, maybe do Yoga, maybe snooze until the wake-up band comes strollin along the tent cabins about 8:30 or so. The giant redwoods greet me, I stumble to the dining hall and have coffee. (Yes, for a week, no cooking or cleaning.)

First period I taught Playwrighting to a group that ranged in age from 9 to 71. The kids wrote about cowboys and aliens, the older folks learned conflict through scenes of parents and Children.

Second period I took East Coast Swing dancing, and man this year I really got it. For someone who twists in knots whenever I hear the word “choreography” I was out there and freed to just learn the moves and do them in any order I wanted. I Go You Go, inside turn, outside turn to dip, oh man I cant wait to get out on the floor, especially since last year I was still counting steps under my breath. It’s a great coach that gives you not just skills, but the confidence to use them for yourself. And Mark (also the Baker at Raymond’s) made it all so simple: “Ladies you have to let the man lead, lead and follow- so important- that way anything goes wrong it’s his fault… just grant him that illusion of control okay?”

Then lunch, quiet time, go read in the tent, nap.

Then Free time, slip down to the swimmin’ hole in Austin Creek and hope the Crawdads just skip over your feet and don’t snatch your toes. Watch the Boy laboriously get up nerve to climb the rock and jump in or see the Girl struggle with an old rope swing.

Third period I turned back into Mr. Hyde- yelling directions at my 19 beginners doing a 40 minute version of 12th Night. But in the end they had fun and damn it they did Shakespeare. Some of them even understood of what they spoke.

Fourth and final period, singing Gospel with Chelle. ( Oh man. This woman is just the real thing, feelin it so deep but making it so fun and easy- this woman is reason alone to check this camp out. Queen of New Orleans. We sang, we rocked, all of us. The majority being secular Jews from Berkeley but it didn’t matter, we had that room rockin.

Then you play some competitive or not ping pong, I found a guy who could throw a football a mile, ran me ragged, maybe you actually see your kids for a second- though this summer the Girl, now 13, spent a lot of time wearing some lanky blond boy’s sweatshirt and walking past me speedily.

What did I learn at Camp Caz?  (which by the way is the birthplace of Zamboni)

-Being around a lot of strangers can be wonderful, if you aint workin’

-the smaller the kid, the more they seem to love Great Zamboni (which is how I am greeted there several times daily by each small one)

-being inspired and creative is tiring in the best sort of way

-though I feel like a different person in that one week out of the year, that really may be who i’m supposed to be. It’s like me, just more.

-all you can eat food never gets old

-drink a lot of water

-in the real world we’ve got a major shortage of mojo

Thank you Joelle, (camp director)  thank you Redwoods, thank you stars and fires at night, smores and people, most of all, people. And thanks mom, you stole the spotlight with your stories, but i’m still so glad you came.


Zamboni what ya gonna do? go AWOL

Yes folks, Great Zamboni is gone. I came into the kitchen this morning and amidst a pile of Captain Morgan bottles, a loaded deck of cards and two sherpas passed out in each others arms, I found a note scribbled with invisible ink inside a matchbook for The Purple Cow, some breakfast place in Idaho Zamboni often flies to in his helicopter.

The note read simply,

Dear Jordan-

I almost have your answer. Seeking one more voice. Be back in a week. Feed your head, and my hamster.-Z

Zamboni is a man of his word so look forward to his reappearance here then. I myself am going back not to Cali, Cali- but to Cazadero. See you soon.


Great Zamboni appears live to explain all this In October, in The Tent, in Oakland- more on this in 7 days..

Be well, and as they say in Estonia: “May your goat be warm, your children rich, and your wife faithful.”