That's Kinky!

Kinky Friedman is an author/musician/Jewish cowboy like no other.

Success is a burden for Kinky Friedman. Initially famous for leading the Texas Jewboys, an irreverent combo remembered for knocking country music on its rear with such memorable tunes as They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore and Put Our Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed, Friedman's now carved a comfortable career writing comic mysteries, but he's gripped with the fear that he's on course to become the next John Grisham or Garth Brooks. Even now, he must carry the cross of being Bill Clinton's favorite detective-fiction author and a best-selling belletrist in Europe. Can empty superstardom be far behind?

"I prefer people who interweave art and life -- like Hank Williams and Allen Ginsberg," Friedman says. "That's not true of Garth Brooks or John Grisham -- they're more like Alice Cooper, who dresses bizarrely for concerts and then the next day plays golf with the record executives. They're all going to be discarded like Hula-Hoops," he adds. "I prefer to be an international cult figure." He's off to a rousing start.

Friedman, who's been away, is bringing a whirlwind tour of concert appearances and book signings to the Denver area in the coming weeks. He's the kind of man who has, shall we say, proclivities -- for smoking fat stogies, hunting and pecking out bawdy fantasies, rescuing abused hounds, reading dead authors, and hanging out in Samoa, near the desert-isle digs of Robert Louis Stevenson (one of those dead guys), where the folks are "heartbreakingly friendly." Friedman will hawk The Mile High Club, his latest collection of disturbingly funny musings disguised as a mystery, and perform with his boyhood friend Little Jewford at various venues while in town. The Colorado leg of a grueling tour, it's certain to be both wearying and terrifying.

The Kinkster's back in town: Texas Jewboy Kinky Friedman does Denver.
The Kinkster's back in town: Texas Jewboy Kinky Friedman does Denver.

Details

For a complete Kinky Friedman itinerary, see this week's listings under Literary Events and Concert Calendar.

For information about Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, log on to www.utopiarescue.com

 

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But Kinky's got an idea: "I'm thinking about hiring Patsy Ramsey to help me sign books. What do you think -- is it possible?"

The Mile High Club, Friedman admits, is selling briskly, even in the States -- so briskly that the Kinkster's not even running for president in 2000. Perhaps one candidate from Texas is enough? "I'm just testing the waters. If he wins, Bush will be a real significant guy -- even more famous than me. But if he loses, he'll become a Dukakis, and my star will rise. Maybe then I'll run for governor of Texas. I understand it's an easy job." In the meantime, he suggests that his fictional counterpart (yes, Friedman the author's ongoing protagonist is, indeed, Kinky Friedman) may be destined for a television series. And who could possibly play Kinky himself? "Lionel Richie," he says hopefully. "He does bear a resemblance to me. If you're on LSD."

Like any true Jew, Friedman -- who notes that he'd "be a Buddhist if it weren't for Richard Gere" -- is also whiling away the time performing good works: His pet project of the last few years, Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, now houses some sixty dogs, numerous cats and assorted other creatures, all bailed out of bad homes and eventually offered up for adoption into good ones. "I think it's the most significant thing I've ever been involved in," he says. "Of course, I'm not there much -- I'm just the Gandhi-like figure, the Ronald Reagan pitchman." It helps, too, that such influential pals as Dwight Yoakam and Joe Ely are taking the stage to benefit Friedman's truest passion.

Lastly, in addition to advocating animal rights, Friedman's always good for a Texas-sized helping of philosophizin' wherever he travels, and he's got parting words for Denver: "May the best of the past be the worst of the future, may the lord take a liking to ya, and if you're driving, folks, don't forget your car."

If it means missing a date with the Kinkster, not a chance.

 
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