***I wrote the first part of this in early May 2020, and the second part after George Floyd’s murder and the protests a couple week later. I didn’t post it then as I was hesitant to be blasting out my thoughts during that time. I’m posting now as an interesting time capsule, and a reminder of the promises I — and perhaps you — made, and whether we are fulfilling them a year later.***

Early May, 2020, Oakland, California

At the grocery store yesterday, while I waited for the butcher to appear, something in the produce section caught my eye…


I wrote this essay over five years ago, in 2015, when our first child was born and we were living in an apartment above the Bronx Documentary Center in the South Bronx. It’s wild to look back and see where I was at then. I’m in a much different place, in mindset and place (we live in Oakland, CA, in a small and cozy house with a wild and lovely back yard). I’d say I have a lot more peace. If anything, being a Dad has brought me closer to many more new and interesting complexities of our shared humanity…


The 2020 Election Redux

Revelers near Lake Merritt in Oakland, November 7th 2020 after the election was called for Biden/Harris.

On Election Day, November 8, 2016, we were in Brooklyn, watching the returns late into the night under a sagging Happy Birthday banner. It was our son’s first birthday. That morning we had put a number 1 candle in his oatmeal. We had played in heaps of fall leaves in Von Herbert King park, in Bed-Stuy, where we lived. A friend, a Wisconsin native, came over to watch the returns at our apartment, pulling out his laptop to have the Nate Silver probability needle at the ready and predicting a blowout for Hilary Clinton. …


I watched parts of the RNC so you don’t have to. But I’d like to convince you to Phonebank for Democrats.

August 26th, 2020

I bike up into the Oakland hills, streaming the RNC convention on my phone and listening on high volume through my pocket. I did this last week with the DNC. Then it felt like trumpeting truth. This week, it’s warning of another Trumpian term. It is cringe-worthy every peddle of the way. Biden last week said, “Democracy is on the ballot.” Pence shot back this week: “Law and order is on the ballot.” But really, it’s a little more complex than that.

On Monday, the first day of the RNC, as I peddle up past ancient redwoods…


Around week three of California’s shelter-in-place order, pigeons and pigeon poop arrived in our backyard. We live in a quiet neighborhood in East Oakland, about four miles as the pigeon flies from downtown. The pigeons were refugees from downtown, because, as I saw later that day driving down Broadway, aside from a few groups of homeless folks, nobody’s there. So nobody’s feeding the pigeons. So they’ve gone looking for someone who will.

Two weeks later, our neighbors, who have a newborn baby, announced they are moving out. Both laid off — retail and hair stylist. Can’t afford rent. …


Photo of Daiden Kent, artist, skater, Bronx Native, in Wash Sq park last week

We are all shut ins now. Home schoolers. First thing in the morning banana bread bakers. Midday dance party throwers. Living room obstacle course makers. Late night drawers. Yes, there will be a lot of content streamed. But hopefully there will be some made.

A week ago I was making friends with and getting inspired by artist-skater kids in Washington Square Park on my off-day. Watching their mesmerizing laps around the pseudo-bowl of the dry water fountain, that grind of wheels on pavement. Then after awhile striking up conversation and making connections. One kid born in the same hospital as…


About to sleep in my van in the Walmart parking lot in Dinuba, CA. June 19th, 2008

This is me in my van 11 years ago on the first night of the big research trip for The Real Americans, about to camp down in a Walmart parking lot. I slept in lots of Walmart parking lots that summer. There was an informal brother/sisterhood of truckers and RVers; they’d advise you where to avoid the bright flashing lights of the safety patrol cars that beeped around at night. Walmart welcomed us all, they knew we’d buy water at night and milk in the morning. …


Perhaps it was fitting that I had to listen to the biggest Warriors game of their last year in Oakland. It was a Friday night, and I had a show, and I was driving across the bridge from my new home in Oakland to perform in my old home in San Francisco— a drive many Warriors players will be making in five short months. …


Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

November 13th, 2018

There are approximately zero to one radio stations from Douglas, Arizona to Lordsburg, New Mexico. There is static at every point on the AM or FM dial except for 710 am, and that too is spotty. And changes. From 1960s Mexican Cha-Cha-Cha, to California wildfire updates out of LA, to Sunday Night Football, to Native American drumming from a res station, to tractor commercials from a station out of North Platte, Nebraska.

The euphoria of Bisbee, the grandeur of the desert at sunset, the romanticism of the lonely road ended with Randy, the cashier…


Blue Wave Hoedown in Bisbee

Bisbee, Arizona November 10th, 2018

10 miles outside Bisbee, Arizona, and a few miles from the border with Mexico

It’s very dark in the desert at night. You can’t read road signs. The sun has faded them to illegibility. On county highways and rocky dirt roads thick with Ocotillo cactus, the usual “where the fuck is that road” desperation takes on increased urgency. Stepping outside my car to gather my wits, it’s cold, and darker. I imagine the hundreds of migrants pausing to sleep for a few hours somewhere in this epic desert, scrunching deeper into hooded sweatshirts and thin jackets to keep out the cold. Hundreds more trudging…

Dan Hoyle

Actor, playwright, journalist, sports fan, politico.

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