Looking for ‘The Real Americans’

One morning, Dan Hoyle had simply had enough of San Diego’s trendy jelly.

“I was sitting around with my friends having brunch at some hipster cafe: ‘Hey, Dan — do you want some fruit compote that was made from locally grown reclaimed maple syrup?’” remembers Hoyle in a spot-on mocking tone. “Just say it’s f—ing delicious. I thought, what the f— has happened to my life, to my city? My friends were driving me crazy.”

Crazy enough that Hoyle packed up his van and headed out on a cross-country trip in search of “real, American, tough country wisdom.” It’s debatable if he found just that, but there were certainly no yuppy preserves. “I was in Alabama, and this guy was drinking moonshine and showing me his automatic weapons,” says Hoyle. “And he’s like, ‘Ever notice terrorists don’t mess with Alabama?”

As much as an enthusiastic reporter, Hoyle is a talented actor. His one-man show based on the trip, “The Real Americans,” is playing in Philly this weekend as part of the First Person Festival. Although by no means a lecture, it does raise questions about the two radically different cultures that exist in our country. “There’s a lot of pretty extreme views that are getting a lot of play out there. And it’s not just a handful of crazy people — they’re electing senators and congressmen,” says Hoyle (who, it should be noted, happily returned to San Diego). “And increasingly, our two Americas have less to say to each other. But there are nuances and exceptions — you can find anything you want in this country.”

Also playing at First Person

‘My Salvation Has a First Name: A Wienermobile Journey’

Piloting the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile after graduation would be a nightmare for most college seniors. But Robin Gelfenbien wanted that job — and she wanted it bad.

“I did absolutely everything I could to get their attention. They have thousands of people applying, and they were only choosing 10 my year. I made a cassette which I entitled ‘Rockin’ Robin’s Hot Dog Holiday Favorites.’ I tap danced on the carpet. I sang,” she says. “By the way, I was the only one who did this.”

Not only did she get the job, but she lived to write a one-woman play about it.

More from our Sister Sites