Editor's note: For this month's column, singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash—who performs at the Woodland Park Zoo on August 29—submitted three pressing situations for our columnist to mitigate. Here are his responses:
John Roderick is the singer and songwriter responsible for the Long Winters.
Cash: The Porta-Potties. I am at the point of giving up playing summer festivals entirely because of this. How does a woman, i.e., me, play lucrative summer festivals without exploding her bladder? P-Ps not an option.
Roderick: There is no situation where Porta-Potties are not an assault to a person's dignity. They are literally a windowless plastic house for one, poised over a foundation of pee and poo and barf, roasting in the hot sun. Now that you mention it, it's a shockingly pathetic state of affairs that in this age of private space rocketry, our human discharges are so inelegantly mishandled.
Leaving aside the fact that a performer of your stature should probably just go behind the curtains, a la Marie Antoinette, and then gesture to the promoters with a wave of your Japanese fan, I'm going to propose that the first inventor to perfect a "Personal Sanitary Waste Incinerator, Privacy Curtain, and Trucker Grooming Station" name it in your honor. Until that time, may I humbly suggest that you have earned the right to be a little more demanding.
You are ROSANNE CASH, and although I know you don't like to be a diva, I think that demanding proper rest facilities is well on this side of being high-maintenance. Requisition one of those busy-looking twerps driving around in a golf cart and tell him to take you, without delay, to the nicest restroom on the premises. I did exactly that at Bonnaroo one year, and got driven to a bathroom I never wanted to leave. Scented candles! Potpourri bowl! Two sinks! There is just such a "best bathroom" everywhere, and it's usually the private affair of some bald guy with cordovan shoes and an age-inappropriate girlfriend. Make it your mission.
I did a barbecue tour once; we compared the offerings in every town. I've also done a Key lime pie tour. What's next?
Oysters. The general rule is: Never eat shellfish in a state that doesn't touch the ocean, so the tour routing will have a few days off between Galveston and San Diego, and again between Vancouver and Halifax. But imagine how great you'll feel taking the stage every night with a tummy full of raw oysters. Nothing gets me in the music-making spirit faster than oysters, oysters, oysters!
I can tell you're dubious, thinking "Aren't oysters the province of hoity-toity fancy-pantses?" Well, what about FRIED OYSTERS!? Think how energized you'll be after a month of eating fried oysters. They are practically the perfect food.
Let me know how the shows go.
How many bare-chested women does it take in the audience before they cause a natural disaster?
The number of bare-chested women sufficient to cause a natural disaster varies, depending on a few other factors. For instance, a Van Halen concert at the L.A. Palladium in the summer of 1978 was recorded as having more than 800 pairs of exposed bosoms with no significant aftereffects, despite being located almost directly over the San Andreas fault. On the other hand, that same summer a single woman breast-feeding in the lobby of an Anne Murray concert in Edmonton, Alberta, was indirectly credited with enabling, for almost 11 days afterward, people in Nova Scotia to talk to whales.
So you see, although we ought not be too quick to point the finger of responsibility at mammaries that have slipped their lacy bounds, we also cannot rule them out as the cause of disaster. I imagine that a Rosanne Cash concert could support four to six pairs of exposed audience breasts without tempting fate, although some of your bandmates may momentarily lose track of the "one," but if that many naked boobs appeared at a Sufjan Stevens concert, I would brace local hospitals for an epidemic of virgin births and ecstatic crying. Lady Gaga exposes her breasts onstage every night and nothing happens beyond a slight uptick in the number of unicorn throw pillows sold at neighboring Targets, whereas one glimpse of a Courtney Love breast puts your entire family at elevated risk for Lyme disease.
These are just some of the documented cases. I'm at a loss to explain the phenomenon, but I don't take any chances, which is why I wear a bike helmet when I perform.