One Degree of Separation from Ellen

Posted on March 3, 2006 by Sara Hickman. | 3 Comments

Ok, Ellen, you know that cool game about Kevin Bacon? “Six Degrees of Separation from Kevin Bacon”? Well, I think there needs to
be a new name for that game:


Can’t you see that on t-shirts? People who have been on your show could give the shirt away to their friends/family members, their congresspeople, pop them on their snowmen in winter and their children in the spring!

You see, I bring this thought to light because of what happened last Friday night. Let me explain:

One of my oldest best friends,Julie, was going to be celebrating her birthday last week and she really wanted to go see Bonnie Raitt in concert. So, I asked George (Marinelli) if he would mind sharing two tickets to the Houston show, where Julie lives. He said,and I quote, “No prob, Bob.” He knows my name is Sara, but he just likes to call me Bob.

Anyway, before I know it, I have driven down to Houston, and Julie and I are walking into the Verizon Center downtown. George has left us FOURTH ROW seats!!! Woo-hoo! We are giddy with it! Bonnie comes out and slides all over her guitar (well, I mean she plays her slide all over her guitar) and pretty soon, this one lady who is walking past the front of the stage…she stops…and starts dancing!

“C’mon, Julie!” I holler, and we hop outta our seats, and soon, we are dancing and singing along and wow! It was such fun! such a blast!

Afterwards, George comes out in his Paddington Bear hat, and he takes us backstage to the band’s dressing room (everyone is dressed, yes!) And we have yuks and snacks, when, suddenly, Hutch, Bonnie’s bass player up and leaves the room! I hear him talking in low tones to someone out in the hall, and then I hear this:

“Sara Hickman? Sara Hickman’s here? I want to meet her!”

And it is Bonnie Raitt!

And my palms start sweating (ok, I’m being dramatic, but it makes for good blog!), and I tuck my head between my legs and start chanting, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place…” When in sails Bonnie and she is telling me she loves my work and so glad to finally meet me and I am being hugged by this tiny, hard as rocks body! My Goodness! She must eat yogurt and lift weights on the bus!

Bonnie struts over to the sofa and plops down on next to Julie, who is grinning like Jimmy Carter and pleased as punch to be right where she is, and I am in AWE! Julie hands Bonnie some pita chips, that is how cool she is! I’m just standing there stunned!

Well, that Bonnie is sweet as honey. She sat with us for about forty minutes, and her little dog, Lexi came and sat with us, too. Lexi is a black poodle with glass eyeballs! Isn’t that something? And she looooooooves her Bonnie.

Finally, Bonnie heads on up to the bus, and Gentleman George walks us back upstairs…and Julie and I dance down the street to the parking garage, happy as hamsters with a new wheel in a clean cage!


After a relaxing day at Julie’s inner city farm, complete with roosters, dogs and Shipley’s donuts from our late night run, Julie helps me over to Dan’s Electro, an old wooden club with black, neon-starred carpet on the walls and concrete floors. Dan’s has been around for thirty years, but this is my first time to ever play there. It has the feeling of a college joint (not the kind you smoke, the kind you go hear live music in.)

My band has driven down from Austin, and we rock away! I am doubly animated, still thrilled with last night’s concert, and I am pretending, as I sing and play guitar, that I am at the Verizon center and everyone is up and dancing, and I notice the grumpy security guards and say, “Come join in the fun!” and the guards say, “Heck yea!” and throw care to the wind and join in.

In reality, there are maybe forty people in attendance, but does that mean we give a lesser concert? No way, Jose! It means we burn up the jams even harder! And we have cake!

Yes, cake, in honor of Brad, the drummer’s, birthday! I bought a cake at the Panderia down the street, a giant, round tres leches cake,complete with pineapple filling! My slice is on a plate by the base of my mic stand, and as I grab the mic and twirl and strut a la Mick Jagger, the mic stand comes slamming down to rest right in the middle of my cake. SMUSH!!! It’s rock and roll and I like it, I like it, yes, I do!!!


I am in Ft. Worth for the Kennedy Center’s Imagination Celebration. I have been visiting local schools and giving performances for pre-k to 2nd grade. Oh, the kids are so amazing! I love doing these programs.

Ellen, do you do school programs, too? You could talk about what it takes to become a comedian/talk show host/movie star/bon vivant and the kids would EAT YOU UP!!!

And, I have another idea:
I’m going to create a proposal and deliver it to NARAS (National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences) next Wednesday.

I notice that many of the schools I perform at…ok, about 85% of them!…have no P.A. system. It is very frustrating for principals, performers, storytellers and children to be prepared to share with children, and yet, not have a system to be heard!

So, I think NARAS could partner with a sound company and donate P.A.s to schools. I know there are little mobile/self-folding systems that don’t cost much…maybe $500-600…and when a school is to become a recipient of the P.A., an entertainer within the NARAS community could deliver the system, show kids how easy it is to set up/break down, and then perform for the school! This would be a great way for NARAS to talk about the many aspects of the organization…from Music Cares to education iniatives…and the fact that it does more than just hand out Grammys.

Plus, it gives low income schools the opportunity to learn more about the music industry and have an inroads to a relationship with NARAS. Every kid has a dream, and we should give them a way to have their dream heard in the very beginning of their lives!

3 responses to “One Degree of Separation from Ellen”

  1. Ray-Mel says:

    This is a bit off subject, but it’s the only place I could address this that made any sense. It’s also old, terribly tragic news, but it’s news I’ve only now discovered and this post might run a little long. So bear with me.
    There are people who walk through our lives and disappear around the corner never to be seen again. We might not notice they’re gone until it’s too late to reconnect. Caryl, Sara’s friend, and I hope mine, was one such person for me.
    I met Sara and Caryl practically at the same time 18 years ago. Sara we know about, but I was always struck by Caryl’s intelligence, creativity, wit and talent, traits all leavened by her shyness and reserve. She never let that shyness get in her way, though, nor did she let it keep her from speaking her mind.
    These were all things that set her apart from the many other people I’ve met with similar qualities. I considered her a friend at the time and I hope and believe she felt the same way. I always enjoyed talking to her, finding out what was on her mind and what her take on anything might be, whether it was Calvin and Hobbes or a gallery show. I knew her for two years, then she drifted away.
    I thought of her many times over the years and wondered where she moved to, what she was doing and how she was. I asked a couple of mutual acquaintances (although not the right one, obviously) if they knew and no one did. Recently I ran across something that reminded me of her and I thought, well google and see what happens. I did and got a startling and quick history with an end I had never imagined. I’m very very sad about what I read. And I’m shocked that her passing was four years ago and I’m just now finding out about it.
    The obvious and banal moral to this is to make every effort to keep track of and in touch with people who make some positive mark, however small and fleeting, on your life. But the deeper fact is that sometimes these people don’t want you in their own lives and send that message through their own inaction. We are all surface with some dark and edgy corners underneath. I hope I never in my patented clumsy fashion hurt or offended her and I hope our lack of continued contact was just life moving in different directions. But I’ll never know. And that makes me sadder still.
    Thanks for walking through, Caryl and I hope your days are happy.

  2. jc rx says:

    Sara, my dear friend:

    Have i told you lately that i love you?
    […in a potentially platonic (as if) sounddude kinda way
    …not that i’m above being a dirty old (sound)man…
    uh, where was i going with this???
    Oh yeah: freekin’ great idea! How can i help?
    [beyond telling the kids to just gut 250 cycles
    on the tiny little 9 band eq on those little PA boxes…]
    Try Hartley Peavey; he’s a big ol’ “America Rocks” kinda guy!
    Peace, Love and Light! ~ jc rx
    [somewhere on tour with Carolyn Wonderland,
    …yeah, that’s right! I got a REAL job! Goombye RudaDoodah!] wink

  3. Julie says:

    hens….it’s hens we have….they are the ones that lay the eggs silly…. we used to have one rooster, but roosters are mean… roosters…..

    i will never forget that bonnie Bonnie night…. thank you thank you thank you for such a great b-day!!!!!
    when you meet ellen, be sure to bring me along b ecause i can stay so charming and witty in the midst of celebrity….and pita chips….

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