A few weeks ago, I was privileged to see a hilarious duo perform The Gideon and Hubcap Show in the living room of a stranger’s apartment in the theater district of Manhattan. I’ve written about Gideon Irving before—he’s an itinerant musician, comedian and storyteller whose stage includes private homes all over the world. His new act, with the equally talented and hysterically funny Nate “Hubcap” Sloan, follows the same trajectory, but is now moving onto another stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the pair also recently launched a Kickstarter fundraiser to pay the fare.
I asked Gideon (left) to talk about the duo, performances and life.
You’ve launch a Kickstarter campaign, what are you raising money for?
We just met our goal and ended our campaign! We raised just under 16K from 204 people to help bring our two man show The Gideon and Hubcap Show to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the largest arts festival in the world. That money will help pay for our venue fee, travel, housing, publicity and marketing materials.
You usually play in homes of people who invite you, where did this arise?
We saw Julian Koster and The Music Tapes play in a living room in Bayside Queens in 2012. It was one of the best shows we ever saw. Neither of us were crazy about venues and clubs and all that comes with it. Homes seemed the place to be. You get to meet interesting people. You talk before the show, after the show, spend the night, have breakfast with the host, maybe play with the kids, see what they’ve got on their walls. It’s a dream come true. Home also offers us the opportunity to make a show that is interactive. A show that doesn’t just happen to be in a home, but that is designed for a home and is in constant communion with the nature of this most intimate space.
Will your stage act at Fringe be different from your living room performance?
It’s pretty close to the same. Part of what we are going to explore is: can we maintain the intimacy of a living room in a larger space? Can we transmit this show in the same way? Can we connect like we are still all sitting on the couch even though its a wee black box theater? We think we can!, but we’ll let you know.
You used to perform alone, how’d duo come together and where are you going?
I still perform alone. I’ve got two solo shows that I’ve made for homes, both of which I continue to tour, in fact after the run in Edinburgh I’ll be touring a solo show through homes in Germany, England, Scotland and Ireland for 3 months.
We met when we were 11 through a mutual friend. There was no connection at the time. Hubcap was erudite and talented, he frequented museums and engaged adults, he had opinions and ambitions and read the dictionary like it was a unicorn bank heist novel. Gideon on the other hand liked to watch cartoons and eat croissants, punch his brother and be generally frightened of outer space. We were reunited when we were 16 at a school on a farm in Vermont called The Mountain School. By that point Gideon had some thoughts and Hubcap had some humility and we fell in love. Plutonic love. We both think the other is incredibly attractive that was just never our connection.
I was on my first home show tour in New Zealand traveling on bicycle with a trailer of instruments behind me pedaling across 3,000 miles to play in 80 homes. It was an epic trip. A leap of faith or insanity or stupidity, but a leap all the same and it worked. It launched me into this life of playing in and developing shows for homes. I was in New Zealand cause Hubcap told me to go there. I do what he tells me, he is a doctor after all. I was riding from Pauanui ( a show wear my pants actually tore during the performance and an audience member took off his pants and gave them to me and I put them on right there and kept going) to Whitianga. I pulled into the most darling little cafe when Hubcap called me. The cell phone a host had given me worked intermittently, but this time everything was crystal clear. He said he loved what I was doing and wished he was out there with me. We said “let us not wish, let us do”. A year later I toured out to Oakland California from NYC to be near Hubcap and make a show. We spent six months working every day in my cousins garden cottage before going on tour.
For those who have not planned a Summer trip to Scotland, you can see some of the act here. And Gideon performs here too. If you have an apartment that can hold 20 or more people, you may also have a perfect stage for the duo.
The festival lasts from August 5–16 and August 18–23. G&H will be playing at 10:55 p.m. every night in The Wee Coo Space of The Underbelly, a small black box that fits 50 (not unlike a big living room). “It’s our experiment to see if we are interested in also performing in small intimate places outside people’s homes,” says Gideon.
PRINT’s Summer 2015 Issue: Out Now!
The New Visual Artists are here! In this issue, meet our 2015 class of 15 brilliant creatives under 30. These carefully selected designers are on the scene making the most cutting-edge work today—and as many of our previous NVAs, they may go on to become tomorrow’s design leaders. Why not get to know them now? Check the full issue out here.