Fandom Lenses

Life as viewed through silliness, Fandom as seen through Reality

I was there, and I’m told I had a good time: The Monkees in St. Louis, November 5, 2016 (Bonus: some Final(?) Thank Yous)

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14991351_10153869770282455_8226728400517285904_o*necessary last minute prelude required by intervening political events*

Yes, this dorky concert recap still matters, even when times are rough. ESPECIALLY when times are rough. That’s one of the few things in life I’m sure of. Also, I would like to direct you all to the following lyric:

“Love is understanding, don’t you know that this is true?”

I want all of you to really THINK on that lyric, and its implications, then try reading it the other way round—Understanding is love. If we all (being Monkees Nerds) know this is true, then what are our next steps in this moment? However you feel about what happened, there is a profound divide, and it’s time for all people of goodwill to start bridging it, in order to stand together and build a better world.

And with that, let’s go to the review.


How could I title my (probably) final Monkees concert review ANYTHING else? Let’s go to the tote board:

  • 30 years of Monkees fandom (almost to the month, best as I can figure)
  • 7 group concerts (2001, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2016, 2016)
  • 4 Peter Solo Shows (1997, 2012, 2016, 2016)
  • 3 Nez Solo Shows (2013, 2013 with conversation reception, 2014 )
  • 1 Micky Solo show (2016)
  • No Davy solo shows (but to this day I wonder about that nasty cold I picked up in Manchester a week before Nez Show #1 😉 )

So after all of that, this is almost certainly my final Monkees show. I’ve said that before, and I’ve thought it even more times, but this one feels more finally final. (this is the universe’s cue to prove me utterly wrong) We don’t know categorically this is the FINAL final tour, but there have been hints around the edges, and it’s felt a bit like the elephant in the room we’ve all kind of decided to ignore. I wish I was better at ignoring those elephants, it would save me thousands in psychologist bills. But it’s there, so I’m going to face it head on. No cutesy intros, no ruminations on the meaning of life based on the lyrics of Auntie’s Municipal Court. I’m just going to tell the story of this trip and this concert, and try to make sense of it all at the end.

Driving northeast from Catoosa (no, doesn’t have the same ring): the Pre-show festivities

14937462_1367075193326704_6879888801787689405_nAfter spending most of Friday traveling up from suburban Tulsa, I finally reached St. Louis at the start of rush hour after two traffic jams and a detour. Just as I was exiting on to the highway that looped around town, Christine the Zilch “Button Queen” called to change our meeting place to the mall where Rosanne would be signing her book the next day rather than the hotel by the venue. She said “Just take the Manchester road exit.”


“Did you say Manchester Road?”

“Yes, Manchester road.”

I hung up and rolled my eyes. It was gonna be one of Those weekends.


After some driving around St. Louis and a lovely Barbecue dinner with Christine and her Husband (Try Pappy’s!), we took a few selfies and bid each other adieu. The next morning I awoke and after grabbing breakfast downstairs, I spent a few hours puttering around my room writing the front end of this essay and watching youtubes before my lunch engagement with about a half-dozen Zilchers. We went to a lovely little pub back on Manchester Road (don’t tell me that wasn’t deliberate, Christine), and met her and other long-time members of Zilch Nation such as Opalina, Pixel, and Jane for lunch. Next up was Rosanne’s Book Signing—one of the things I was most looking forward to. Due to a fortunate coincidence, she was in town speaking at a nearby college that week, and I had a spare ticket to the show. It was a match made in PhD Monkees Nerd heaven. We chatted with zilchers and passing fans, talked up the show to shoppers, and I managed to inhale Rosanne’s copy of the Monkee Chow Mein script (gifted to her by Gerald Gardner) in about 10 minutes. We chatted about Monkees book ideas and her wacky celebrity stories (which I will withhold the names of for obvious reasons), and generally had a fun afternoon. And then it was time to go back to the hotel, primp, and then head for the meetup.


We’d just arrived at the club where Tom O’Keefe (who works for the venue) and Christine had prepared a lovely spread for us. I had a moment of regret that I didn’t have a tablecloth to spread out underneath the zilch buttons, when I remembered that I HAD BROUGHT THE DAMN PONCHO. Just as I spread it out on the table and started pouring buttons out of my bag, I heard a voice familiar to everyone in the Monkees fandom and especially to me.

I stopped, and ran to hug podfather, mentor, friend, and bratty older brother Ken as he entered the room. I owe him so much, and I was so afraid he’d never get to see the fruits of his labor. Melanie and I joke that we’re a bit like Charlie’s Angels, going forth into the world of concerts to spread the good word of Zilch while Ken stays back at headquarters running his Podcasting empire. But I (and a few others) was NOT going to let the year of the Monkees end without him seeing them live, and so after a few bumps in the road he made it to his first Monkees Concert ever—with front row center seats. He was immediately swarmed by the faithful, and was surrounded by zilchers taking selfies with him and looking as happy as anyone I’ve ever seen.

And then around that time—well, you older fans know that running gag in Cheers when everyone would look up and yell, “Norm!” when he entered the bar? Well, imagine us all automatically yelling “Andrew!” in the same manner when a very nattily dressed Andrew Sandoval stuck his head in the club door to say Hi.  As the hubbub died down, Ken asked him some wonderfully insightful questions about the tour and the anniversary, and we all gathered around as Andrew shared his viewpoint on the Year of the Monkees. I stood about three feet away from Andrew, trying not to interject anything overly stupid, and also forcibly keeping myself from pinching myself. THIS WAS REALLY HAPPENING.

Alas, Andrew had to leave after about 10 minutes to go work for a living, and as Rosanne was quickly chatting him up about the writer’s guild getting access to a full set of Monkees scripts promised to them for scanning by a mutual friend, Tom O’Keefe beckoned me to one side. I assumed it was about our date the next morning to record for Reel Spoilers, but Tom got straight to the point.

“Grab your guest and get to the elevator as fast as you can.”

I understood immediately. Andrew had left, so I extricated Rosanne from her new conversation as subtly as possible. As we neared where Ken, his wife Linda, and Christine were standing waiting for the elevator, Rosanne remembered that she hadn’t ever had a chance to give Peter a copy of her book and sprinted to grab one from her bag (Micky received one several months before). She got back just as the elevator came, and then before we knew it we were all waiting by a nondescript door to a backstage office, waiting to be Summoned into the Presence for photo ops. It all happened so fast I didn’t even have a chance to get nervous. OK—maybe a little. 😉

Ken went before me, and it took a moment, but I think as soon as Ken started talking, Peter recognized Ken as “That Ken!” He sounded delighted as they shared a moment before the photo. Rosanne floated up, handed Peter a copy of the book, and took an elegant photo like the elegant seasoned pro she is.

And then it was my turn. I had just broken a promise I made to myself never to lengthen Peter’s meet and greet line again after Bay City, so I took advantage of the moment. I’m so delighted I did. I tried to swiftly thank Peter for the certificates of appreciation he signed for me and Melanie and Ken at the SSB show, but I imagine it came out something like “thank you blah blah blah your sweet thank you note yadda yadda Zilch bla bla bla shoe suede blues.” (Side note, I didn’t even try to talk to Micky. I would have just stammered out “Thank you — Zak–” and burst into uncontrollable sobs and held up the line until half an hour past showtime.) Peter was totally sweet, said “I was happy to do it” as if he’d actually managed to understand the utterly mortifying word salad that just escaped my mouth.  (Second side note—THAT is why I spent almost as much time plotting out possible small talk scenarios for my Nez conversation reception with Nez as I did outlining one of my PhD qualifying exam questions). Then the standard “execution at dawn” celebrity photo op (was so frazzled I didn’t even pose in a remotely flattering way and ended up with several extra chins that I swear I don’t have, but oh well), and I quickly scuttled out of the way for the next folks taking pictures. As I cleared the area, Micky piped up and called after me, “Hey, I love your Pink Party hat!” I turned around, grinned, and tipped my fedora back at him. I think I may have said “Thanks!” But the adrenaline was kicking in and things were going hazy. And then it was over, and we all rode back up the elevator to the party in a state of shock. I had just enough presence of mind to make a cheeky “Rule 2”-bending post to the Zilch group, and decided to check in after the show to see just how much it blew up. (spoiler alert: a LOT)

The rest of the party was a bit of a daze, as I quickly inhaled about four pieces of toasted ravioli, hobnobbed with John Billings and his wife, accepted more hugs and selfies from fans of the show (I will not mention many of you out of fear of missing someone, but Lou and his Daughter Junebug stand out, along with Monkeeman Kevin), and signed a stack of papers for Zilchers to get each other’s autographs. As I signed away mechanically till my fingers started getting sore, I started thinking to myself “Tonight is my Karma…” (If so, I guess I’ve lived pretty clean overall)

And then it was time to get to our seats. Rosanne and I jogged downstairs, and after a quick stop for directions found our seats just as ken was settling in two rows in front of us. I came up to chat some more with him and Tom O’Keefe, and handed out a few more buttons to me seatmates before the lights dimmed. And for what may be the last time, Andrew’s video started playing, and I prepared myself for an evening with the Monkees. I’d never done it while sitting next to a fellow PhD, and I hoped I wouldn’t come off like too much of a doofus. (Though Rosanne had seen me at the meet and greet, so that ship had already sailed)

It looks like we’ve made it to the End: The Show

(To see highlights from the show, check out this youtube playlist, compiled by Lou Babinga and featuring goodies from Sherri Hansen. )

This time, I just thought I’d keep myself to a sentence, a word, a reaction, or a moment from each song (plus videos where available). We all know how they go, and we know they were impeccably performed. Everyone was in top form , and if this was my last show, then…well…what a way to go out. Here was what happened and/or what I thought/felt the last time I experienced:

Listen to the Band: This is the last time I will hear them remind us to do just that when times are hard.

Clarksville: ZOMG DAVE AND COCO ARE WEARING ZILCH BUTTONS!!!!!!!! *high-pitched squeal*

That was then, This is now: Thank you for being there when I was 9 and needed you—and in a very different way 30 years later. (Still sad I didn’t ever get to hear Heart and Soul live though)

Saturday’s Child: Peter was peeved that Micky got a round of applause for merely sitting at the drum kit 😉

Grizelda: Peter doing the Grizelda right in front of a BEAMING Ken Mills. #TEAMGRIZELDAFOREVER

She: Good Heavens, That was the last Mic Stand Tilt Gag I will ever see. 😦

She Makes Me Laugh: Somebody else’s Pink Party Hat gave Micky a chuckle. I love this fandom. And I love you, Anissa.

A little Bit me, A little Bit you: I really enjoy the duet take on this one—almost forgot that this is the last time I’ll hear a song I first heard Davy do live back in 2001. Thanks, Davy.

The Girl I Knew Somewhere: Good heavens, this is the last time I will hear Peter do that tasty little harpsichord solo.

You Bring the Summer: Now THAT’S Synchronization! (And someone threw in That “Baby!”)

Steam Engine: AWESOME to see live! (Though you DID do this in Cleveland this tour—I just checked my setlist from that show)

Shades of Grey: No tears, just gratitude and a growing realization of just how central this song is to my personal worldview. Loved seeing Micky and Peter hug at the end… (and yes I agree Rosanne, totally a better memorial than Daydream Believer). I honestly expected them to retire it after he died, and it’s wonderful they brought it back this year.

Me and Magdalena: Here is where I cried. When i listen to this song, Magdalena is the young me, the scared me, the me who worried for her father and still tries to make it all better by being perfect. Everything lost WILL be recovered, girl, I promise.  ALL. OF. IT.

Papa Gene’s Blues: Good heavens, this is the last time I’m going to hear this harmony. (And I think this might be when Ken turned around and gave me a Heart sign?)

Look Out, Here comes Tomorrow: Peter does this better than Davy did. Also, Rosanne Welch, PhD knows how to rock out properly to Monkees Songs.

Randy Scouse Git: “Who woulda thunk”, Indeed? As always when on these adventures without Kevin, I thought of my “boy with yellow hair” whom I rewrote these lyrics for in college and who I left back in Tulsa.

For Pete’s Sake: Pretty sure that “I’m glad it wasn’t a show about a fictional track team” line was new, Peter! Good on you for keeping it fresh. 😉

Sometime in the Morning: Best live version of this I’ve heard. As the closing notes played, I looked up, smiled, and tipped my pink party hat to a figure I could almost see sitting in the rafters, whose shoes I’ve tried to fill for the last two years when I was Called to Adventure by a crazy, insufferable, wonderful podcaster from Arkansas who is one of my best and perhaps unlikeliest of friends.

Thank you, Anissa.

I love you.

Higher and Higher: I gotta get my butt back to the gym. Will always remember the Stranger Things Have Happened version this playing in my headphones and dragging me forward at the end of my first try at the Tulsa Run 5k (which ends on a NASTY hill…)

Let’s Dance On: Never say doctoral degree holders can’t cut a rug when the moment requires. 😉

Intermission: Butch Patrick tried to steal my Pink Party Hat! Should have told that brat I always preferred the Addams Family 😉 (Seriously, he was a sweetheart and very nice to all the folks bugging him at a concert on what might well also have been Date Night…) Also enjoyed hearing Roseanne talking to folks sitting around us in the audience, learning their Monkees Stories. (Rosanne, have I ever mentioned I’d love to do an ethnography of the fandom one of these days? Well, I’d love to do an ethnography of the fandom one of these days. Let’s ponder this. 😉 ) But the capper was watching the streams of listeners coming up all intermission to meet their favorite Podfather, Ken.

Mary Mary: FINALLY got a good shot of Coco’s Zilch Button!

Circle Sky: Well, It looks like we made it to the end.

Porpoise Song: There’s so much to say…

Long Title: Ken was LOVING this one. I think he went full headbanger here. Or maybe that was when we transitioned directly into

Stepping Stone: PETER DID HIS GENE SIMMONS TONGUE SCHTICK RIGHT IN FRONT OF KEN!!!!! Totally stole the song away from Micky, which I did not think was humanly possible…

Words: They remembered them! 😉


Goin’ Down (intros): Rich Dart, you magnificent Bastard. That was Epic. I am 95% sure Micky wasn’t expecting him to pull the fake flying bloody hand trick…

DW Washburn: Good heavens, this is the last time I’m going to hear Peter do that Basso Profundo “DW Washburn!” line live.

What am I doing Hanging ‘Round? Good heavens, this is the last time I’m going to hear that banjo line live. Also, Peter somehow gave a performance that gave an extra-solid yank on the heartstrings at the end…

Daydream Believer: A sea of twinking phone flashlights brilliant enough to bathe the audience in a soft glow…a rebuke of darkness and misfortune in the form of a silly dance and goofy song…3000 people joined together to celebrate love and light and daydreams and friendships that survive decades and discords and even death. And this is the last time I blow out much of what was left of my voice screaming for an encore.

PVS: Good heavens, this is the last time I’m going to hear that opening guitar lick live.

I’m a Believer: Yes. Yes I am. From the moment I sang in my hairbrush in my bedroom to the moment Junebug walked up with that bouquet of flowers, and Peter, as is his wont, promptly ate them. Of the power of love and friendship and silliness, above all other things in my life, I am a believer. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you for teaching me.


And that was what happened the last time I saw the Monkees.

Ken had been invited back again after the show for a longer audience, which was as it should have been. I gave him a huge hug, told him half-jokingly to try to bag Micky and/or Wayne Avers for the podcast, and then Rosanne and I left to get some grub. Cracker Barrel is little more than culinary background noise in my part of the world, but Rosanne hardly ever got to eat there, so we hit the branch next door to the hotel, nibbling a very late dinner and chatting about Monkees, academe, pop culture, and the importance of spending money on comfortable high heel shoes. As we walked out to the cash register in the gift shop to pay up, Rosanne pointed down at a shelf and said, “Oh, how Cute!” As she paid the bill, I looked down.

It was a matched set of Owl salt and pepper shakers, because of course it was.

Thanks, Anissa.

But…do you want to know what my absolute favorite part of Saturday was? It wasn’t the show, cathartic though that was. it wasn’t the meetups. It wasn’t standing 3 feet from Andrew Sandoval as he gave his take on the care and feeding of the Monkees (both the people and the brand). It wasn’t even ticking the last item off from the Monkees section of my bucket list and getting to briefly meet the Monkees backstage before the show. My favorite part of last weekend was watching Ken. I’ll never forget finally hugging a guy who changed my life after a two year wait. After seeing and bathing in all the love for Zilch Nation over the last year or two, I was delighted to see Ken holding court with all his listeners, fans, and even a few former guests. I loved seeing that split second of recognition on Peter’s face backstage when he realized that Ken was “That Ken”! I loved sitting two rows behind Ken, watching him FINALLY getting to rock out to his first (and likely only) Monkees concert from Front Row Center, after a brief worry it might never happen when Branson was cancelled. About half way through the show he turned around and made a heart sign at me. I returned it. You were the man who had the original idea for what grew into Zilch Nation, and I am thrilled you finally got to see your creation first-hand. We all tried to describe it to you, but what you have seen you must believe–If you can. I love you, Brother.<3

It cannot be a part of me for now it’s part of you: Final thoughts

In a blur of adrenaline in a nondescript office in Saint Louis, the final (Monkees-related) dream that I even thought to wish for as a kid came true. It all came true because I opened myself to friendships and to my sillier side, while keeping hold of the things that made me well, *me*. To be clear, Zilch will stay Zilch, and I will remain with Zilch for as long as Ken will have me and the fandom will have us. The podcast will inevitably be somewhat different the Year after the Year of the Monkees, but that’s the way of the world. I want to dig deeper into the TV show, and into the people who made the show what it is. I have some phone numbers and emails from Rosanne that I need to follow up on. We’re even pondering the possibility of some sort of Zilch Nation uber-meetup next year. And yet last weekend was almost certainly AN ending, whether or not it is THE ending of the phase of my life where I blew way too much money following a septuagenarian boy band.

So, what have I learned, over 30 years, 15 concerts (would have been 16 with the one in Glasgow in 97 that got away), over a dozen of the best friends I will ever have, a blog and a podcast?

Well, I’ve learned that The Impossible—like Micky Dolenz complimenting your hat, Peter Tork writing you a thank you note, or Nez cracking a sweet, Nezzish smile at one of your jokes, is attainable with a little luck combined with the application of hard work. I’ve figured out that the best way to make sure my life matters is to be authentically and totally myself and to serve other people when and where the moment arises, because it’s not about me. Ending up backstage before the show talking to Peter and Micky did NOT change my life. It’ll be little more than one of those amusing cocktail party stories when people ask me what my hobbies are. But the road I walked between Anissa’s death and that nondescript office in St. Louis DID change my life.

I want to be an academic library director at a place where I can make a difference. That might or might not happen in Oklahoma. I want to continue playing with my library podcast and blog, and use an opportunity I have to teach others how to be library leaders. This might turn into a side business, but it’s OK if it doesn’t.

I want my heart to outlast Davy’s. I haven’t had the nerve to say that openly, but I suppose now is the moment to do so. I don’t have very tall genes, but I wound up an inch taller than Davy Jones. I’m ready to see if I can do the same with my wacky but effective circulatory system, but the road there is not paved with medicinal bacon cheeseburgers. So I suspect my next journey is figuring out how I can deal with wounds that are probably not going away anytime soon by means other than spartan self-flagellation and workaholism (which appears to be good for about 50 pounds or a beloved friend dropping dead, whichever comes first) or self-medication with cholesterol. I’m guessing the long term solution will involve equal parts psychotherapy, moderate exercise, and Soylent for all non-social meals. (it’s not as bad as you think, I swear). 2017 will be the year of self-care, and the year I look more closely around me to make sure I am doing my part in the places where I find myself to make a better world.

Whether it’s due to PTSD, Early oxygen deprivation, or simply being a third generation worrywart, I will always have to live with my lizard brain telling me that I do not deserve to exist. If my scholastic, career, and fandom accomplishments of the last 5 years didn’t fix that, then it’s simply not gonna happen. But over the last few years, three lifelong role models finally pounded through my thick skull the concept that one can learn to live with those early wounds and have a happy life nonetheless. Hell, it’s perfectly ok to bitch about your miracles as long as you don’t get stuck in that part of the cycle, and use what you have to brighten others’ lives. I am not that, but it is also part of who I am. There are colors you can change and some you cannot switch.

Last but not least, I want to say thank you to a people who seem to pop up over and over during the darkest and most uncomfortable times in my life. This ending post may be premature, but I know all too well it may not be. I have written this post and lived this weekend on the assumption that it will be the last show I will ever see with any of you. So here goes:

To Davy: thank you for giving me a lifelong Thing for English accents (I married a guy who does a passable one, even if he does hail from Oklahoma). Thank you for making me believe you were singing The Day we Fall in Love to ME when I was 9. Thank you for that first “shades of grey” lesson in heroes being complex people when I stumbled across that photo in A Manufactured Image of you smoking a *gasp!* cigarette. Thanks for that weird jolt of confidence I felt walking down that street toward the University of Manchester in 2013, about to give my first international conference presentation. (but really, did I HAVE to come down with that cold?! I was going to see Nez in Ferndale 2 weeks later!)

To Peter: Like I said, I think I fucked up what I was trying to say in that meet and greet. let’s try again with that (and some other things) since I bet I can persuade You Know Who to make sure you see this. Thank you for getting me curious in alternate spirituality—my road ended elsewhere but it was an early and necessary part of my path to making sense of a VERY weird childhood. Thank you for showing me that a kind heart and a keen mind need not be contradictory. Thanks for that hug in Dallas in ’97 when I was scared out of my mind I’d do something wrong. Thanks for the song in Bay City, Michigan and for utterly ignoring the dorky gal at the breakfast buffet who was trying to maintain a poker face, avoid eye contact and pretend she didn’t recognize you (and who was probably failing abysmally). Thanks for reminding me that the point is not to be perfect or to overcome all your demons, it’s to learn from your mistakes, not let the demons run the show, and to keep picking yourself up again when you fall. Thank you for coming on Zilch, and making me eat two years’ worth of words to Ken and everyone else. Thank you for, at the end of the day, being as kind to your fans as possible—certainly kinder to us than we deserve. Thank you for inviting Ken backstage a second time after the show—that meant the world to him. And thank you, thank you, thank you for the Facebook update that helped me grieve and ultimately changed my life. Everything I have done since May 13, 2012 has been an attempt to pay what you did forward.

To Nez/Monkee Mike: I’ve always kind of followed your lead as a thinker and an artist. I unashamedly travel to the beat of my own drum (which is a different drum than yours, but works for me). I keep a jar of Liquid Paper on my desk to remind myself that my success comes on the shoulders of women who faced obstacles I can’t even fathom. I do my best to stand up for what’s right, even it if meant I was a terrible fit for corporate America. I unashamedly blend large words and dry wit. I’m an introvert who wants to create big things. I’m nowhere near as smart or as witty, but of the four of you, I’m probably the most like you (or at least the You that you let us see). In 2012, in one of the most freakish coincidences of my life, we’d both lost old friends under shocking, gut-wrenching circumstances. And in my grief I tried to follow your lead once more, knocking down a few of my personal barriers, and tentatively raising my freak flag higher, and then higher still. One thing led to another and, well, I landed at Zilch. When I was younger, I loudly sang along with I Am Not That, combatting a terror of the soft bigotry of low expectations that arises when folks know you have a heart defect (or got your start in a Boy Band). But if the last five years I saw you seeming to accept more openly that you are that too, just the same as me. And when my path crossed with Zak and I knew I was uniquely positioned to offer a helping hand, I was able to find the nerve to own that inconvenient part of my truth in much the same way you Mooged the Nightly.

Thank you for being such a gentleman when we met in Chicago. When I’m about to go into a particularly nervewracking presentation or podcast interview, I remind myself that I managed three minutes of small talk with you without making an idiot of myself. It’s embarrassing to admit, being a PhD and experienced public speaker and all, but I don’t think I’d have joined Zilch without the courage I gained from our conversation.  Thanks for playing Princess Gwen. Bumping into that episode while channel surfing in 1986 led me down a surrealist pop culture rabbit hole (Monkees led to Monty Python led to Douglas Adams and Neil Gaiman, among many others) from which I hope never to re-emerge. Finally, I finally get what you were saying in Tapioca Tundra. I intellectually knew (or at least strongly suspected) much of what you said at Pantages, BUT it took hugs and buttons and a roomful of Zilch listeners to actually GROK it. Zilch Nation is a necessary part of the recipe, and without it, there is no Zilch, at least not in the truest sense of the word.

To Micky: Thanks for the memoir. I’m a Believer was my first deep look at you (and the other guys) as real, complex people, and it piqued my interest in a more mature way right around the time I was becoming too old and too cool for my childhood crushes. (We SERIOUSLY need a sequel or revised edition though, and it’s looking like you may have some free time in 2017. Just saying…) Thanks for always being the diplomat or the glue or whatever metaphor one wants to use for helping to keep four very different people reasonably cordial with each other for surprisingly long stretches of time over HALF A CENTURY. Thanks for laughing at the hat in Tulsa, and complimenting it in St. Louis. It was cool to be seen as a real person, if only for two seconds. Oh, and thanks for befriending Zak. Like I said, I didn’t even really try to go into that topic any of the times we’ve met because I would have gotten about three words in and exploded in sobs. I would give up a million backstage invites if it would get you down to Houston to do a show and meet him next year. This is a hint. 😉

To everyone else involved in making and remaking and re-re-making the Monkees ™ in its musical, television, and live forms, from Bob and Bert all the way to John Hughes: Collectively you (mostly) figured out the right balance of art and commerce, and somehow you created something that I suspect may outlive all of us in the cultural landscape. You made what could have been a filler kids TV show and cash-grab albums far better than they had to be, and in so doing you captured a moment in time and an optimistic worldview that has rippled through pop culture to bring joy to tens of millions of people. You’re the part of the machine we all too often forget to thank, so—thanks. 🙂

Although I intend to stay at Zilch for as long as Ken will have me, there is a very good chance that this is going to be the last time I post about the Monkees (or at least a Monkees concert) on Fandom Lenses. I may let the blog stay in stasis as-is, I may refocus it on other pop culture interests such as Hamilton, or get back to that Dr. Who project I barely started when Zilch came a-calling. I may in fact next be posting on a solo show in a few months making this farewell post superfluous and ridiculous. But Nez (and Micky and Peter) taught me how to say goodbye this year, and so I am, even if it turns out to be more of a “see you later”.

And with that, it looks like we’ve made it to the end.

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