David Garver has been on the Taos music and theater scene for 35 years.
So reads his short, and extremely modest bio.
I met David during the late 80’s, when he fronted the very popular Taos band, The Boheim’s.
I was living in NYC at the time, beginning to commute back and forth to Taos, in the aftermath of a rocky divorce. My ex had decided that Taos was a better place for the kids without much consideration for my career. I headed up a Management Company and co-published and edited X-posure, an Anti-Folk zine, along with freelancing as a music journo, writing bios for Columbia Records, and occasionally moonlighting as a makeup artist on top of being a mother.
Needless to say, the kids were more important than the career and over a three-year period, I traveled back and forth four times a year, to be with them, while I began the process of untangling my business affairs in NY, in order to move here.
Being in the “Biz”, I occasionally invited friends and colleagues to join me here during my longer stays. One summer two A&R guys from Virgin Records in London came out and we spent a week checking out local talent along the Rio. One of the bands we saw (and liked), were the Boheims. David was a charismatic performer and the band were tight and interesting. They were duly written up in X-posure as an honorary Anti-Folk hybrid in the West.
The A&R guys made noises about demos but I don’t know what came of that. My life was changing fast and I was more focused on Taos than the City.
David and his then wife (and mother of his two sons, Kim Treiber), lived on the mesa in one of Mike Reynolds’ early earthships, and the following Christmas I housesat for them when they went to Chicago for the Holidays. It was a cold, snowy winter and I was left with an axe and a woodpile with instructions to keep the fire in the wood stove going, “or else.” I managed.
Another time I came, I saw a performance of Hamlet starring David and Kim (as Ophelia), I was struck by his extraordinary acting talent along with his ability to hold the space onstage, never faltering in both his gesture and his impeccable timing.
A year later I had relocated and after six months my savings had begun to run out with no job in sight. A local radio station never bothered to call me back (or check my references) after I applied. I heard later they thought I lied about the references. I got a gig freelancing for Tempo at the Taos News, but the pennies they paid wouldn’t buy a bag of groceries. I needed a job. Kim told me there was an opening at Dori’s Cafe next to the Post Office. A breakfast shift working with her in the kitchen. It paid $5.00 an hour. I took it.
Over the years my past life receded from view. I moved up to Gallery gigs where commissions made up for the minimum wage, and I kept writing. I also kept going to the theatre and have been fortunate enough to see most of David Garver’s work on the TCA stage, since. I’ve also caught quite a few of his gigs.
As a singer/songwriter, his solo CD, Blind Artist, was nominated for Rock CD of the Year in the 2009 New Mexico Music Awards. His song, Tennessee, won Americana Song of the Year. He’s fronted a couple of bands since that early incarnation, (Bones of Romeo and The Black Fields Band from Illinois), and continues to play live and record.
He has been an active member of both Working Class Theater of Taos and Sage Theater Company, and has done over fifty shows since 1983. He is a television and screen actor with a long list of credits and is also the founder of his own production company, Sage and Fool Productions, which produced the short film, The Walking Shadow of Danny O’Shea.
With his wife Aura, he is co-owner of Aurafitness, a yoga, training, and special events studio in Taos.
He’s also a great acting coach. When my daughter Genevieve thought she wanted to be an actress, she applied to audition for AMDA in NYC. With David’s help she aced the audition, and then chose not to go, but to travel abroad instead, (after staging a one woman show at the TCA. Genevieve for President.)
This weekend David reprises his critically acclaimed, one man show (Sage and the Fool), onstage at the TCA. Known for immersing himself completely in his roles, Garver is the consummate method actor, and I was curious as to what he was going to bring to these characters, a decade later.
Last week I arranged to meet David at Manzanita Market. He called to say he was running a bit late.
“Picking the teenager up at the High School,” he said. He arrived just minutes after I did, with his daughter in tow. She’s a friend of my teenage granddaughter, whom I had met her with, and a dead ringer for her mother, Aura. David made sure she had what she needed before sitting down at a neighboring table, to chat with me.
I asked him to tell me a bit about the evolution of this show and why he had decided to stage it again at this juncture.
“When I turned 50, my wife Aura surprised me with a trip to Paris.” He recalled. “I had never been to Europe and my mind was blown, in fact I was shattered and totally devastated by the experience.”
“The history, the culture, the art – I felt reduced to nothing – my life, everything I’d done was rendered meaningless – I totally came apart.”
“In a good way,” he qualified. “I came home from that trip, and began the process of putting all the pieces of myself back together.”
The “pieces of himself” became fodder for the characters he unveiled in The Age Between Sage And Fool. He took the show to Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Denver before putting it to bed for a decade. Why now?
“I’m a different man now, “ he smiled.
I asked if the Women’s Marches and Me 2 Movement had anything to do with him wanting to revisit these characters now?
“Definitely.” He answered immediately. “This whole thing has made me take a long hard look at my life, my past actions as “one of the guys”, y’know?”
“Being in bands didn’t help and I’m certainly not proud of any of that.” He paused. “Look, I grew up on a farm in Illinois with five sisters, so there was always this strong female energy around – they raised me – but the men, were gruff and stuck in that way of being.”
“For a sensitive boy, which I was, it was tough.”
After he graduated from High School he went East to visit one of his sisters and her husband who was studying at Yale Divinity School. There he was exposed to the Theatre and the City. He returned to Illinois, knowing he wanted to act.
“I met Kim right away,” he remembers. “It was love at first sight, she turned me on to Chicago’s music scene and she turned me on to Taos.”
“Women have been a major influence on my life,” he says now. “My wife Aura is an amazing human being, and having a teenage daughter makes me acutely aware of the wounds inflicted on women, by male dysfunction, and of course this has impacted and informed the characters in (this version of) “Sage.”
Talk turned to grandkids (I’m expecting a new one any moment), and his face lit up.
“I feel so blessed,” he said. “To have arrived at this stage of my life, with so much.”
The teenager was just about done with her food and homework, and it was time to head back out into the cold and snowy winter afternoon. A winter not unlike that one, way back in the 80’s when I stayed in the earthship he shared with Kim and their sons.
“I’m finally at a place of peace, where I know I can be happy and creative.” He smiled.
“When I was young, I thought I needed all that pain and angst.”
For much more about David Garver please visit his site linked below. For information about Sage and Fool, Pt.II, (this Sunday at 6pm), I’ve included a link to the TCA.
Portrait of David Garver by Heather Lynn Sparrow
Other images of the Boheims,found online, (David with Aura, and with their daughter, and David with his grandson), lifted from David’s Facebook page