Paris on the Kuskokwim

One day Rhonda and I met Mike Lane at Gloria's for lunch, or maybe dinner. At the time Mike Lane was a teacher in Tuluksak. After six or eight months straight in the village, he had come to town with some of his students to see an Actor's Guild Play. He was eating a steak. He had a bag of groceries and other store-bought items. He had lodged at a Bed&Breakfast establishment. He was extolling the thrills and virtues of Bethel. He said, "Well just let me say this about that. Bethel is Paris on the Kuskokwim."

I knew immediately that had to be Bethel's motto. A couple years later, when I needed a new song for a fundraiser gig, the inspiration struck. I was on my lunch break. I parked the Badass Rig at the Post Office parking lot and wrote down most of the verses of the song. Rhonda suggested some refinements later. It became the inspiration for the whole collection of Bethel songs that became "Greetings From Paris on the Kuskokwim."

Paris on the Kuskokwim also became the inspiration for a recruitment video for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation. Rich Trotto of KYUK was looking for a way to present Bethel that wouldn't hype the place too much, let prospective employees know what it's really like, but at the same time let them know the place has a coolness factor not strictly related to the weather.

The Photo

This is the famous Snack Shack with a glimpse of the cathedral. One of Bethel's finest eateries, featuring cuisine from asia and america, the Snack Shack inspired a song not included on the "Paris" album: Chew Your Burger. This song is a blatant parody of "Choo Choo Ch' Boogie," as in "sung to the tune of..." The copyright holder of the original song wouldn't grant me a license to record it with my lyrics. But I figure since the tune will be in your head and not on a record as you read the lyrics, I'm going to go ahead and share them with you, because it's a pretty damn good song. Although I must say, the recorded version, with the Tundra Sisters and some cheesy keyboard and guitar vibrato effects, is a gas.