August 5th, Buena Vista, CO, Cottonwood Meadows Ranch – Among the many suprises at the Vertex Festival that converged on its new home in northwest Buena Vista this weekend, was a little homemade stage, with a very unique man. You might have missed him as you walked through campground villages and the standard high-tech checkpoint, scanned your bracelet, then looked past food and drink vendors to sculpture installations, delighfully lanscaped cottonwood patches with shade bearing flags overtop outdoor living rooms and craftman style sitting areas. Further past the Wonderland style Tickle Room and house of glowing ballons, was the traveling stage of “Super Tall Paul,” who was rocking a tweedy suit, fedora, bridge-taped glasses and curly pig tails.  A handpainted stage set that can only be described as a psychedelic Cape Cod style front porch with planter boxes and all, was nestled away next to the creek.

Weirdly enough, this scene may have blended with the overall asthetic of the venue, had not the groovy stylings of Atlanta Rhythm Section’s 1979 hit “Spooky” came wafting through the trees. Paul covered these tunes and others with his tiny-guitar ukelele, his tiny soprano saxophone, Ron Buirgundy style flute, his midi trigger electric clarinet and some nimble beat box live-sampled and looped with Paul’s soulful vocal antics. He mixed his one-man-band virtuosity in with professional clown tricks and gave quite a show.  As Van Morrison’s swing-time “Moondance” somehow became Michael Jacksons “Billy Jean” and the flute/clarinet solo kicked in, it was diificult to peel away to explore the major talents on the larger stages that had drawn us there in the first place.

This turns out to be Super Tall Paul Newman out of southern California. Paul is a well rounded entertainer, having done stints in theater, comedy, circus and music outfits. Copied directly from his website bio at http://supertallpaul.com, “…his acting highlights have been national commercials as an Underwater Clown for Farmers Insurance National and a Street Unicyclist for Ford Fiesta National, Improv with the cast of Reno 911, a clown & juggler for Paris Hilton’s My BFF final show, Unicyclist for Panic at the Disco music video, Clown/juggler/Unicyclist for a Nicole Atkins music video & Juggler at The Elevate Film Festival. Paul has also performed & hosted for very large audiences like the Hollywood Bowl, The Getty Theatre, Coachella Music Festival, Bonnaroo Music Festival, Teatro Del Cirquo Braga in Portugal, Electric Picnic Music Festival in Ireland, LIghtening In A Bottle, General Motors Car Show and Centennial Sideshow on The Santa Monica Pier.”

What a treat to have caught him on this little magical front porch in the woods. I hope he will take my advice and return to Colorado to surprise us again.- Jamie Wolkenbreit