The Cowboy Cabaret featured at Sarasolo Festival on February 3

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The Cowboy Cabaret featured at Sarasolo Festival on February 3

The Cowboy Cabaret will be featured at the “Flying Solo” performance at the 2017 Sarasolo Festival, two weekends of one-person performances including a “between and betwixt week,” featuring a number of workshops on musical performance, cabaret, and storytelling. The one-man performance originated last year through the workshops of the Sarasolo Festival and has since evolved into a variety of songs mixed in with comedy, poetry, and the philosophy of a simpler way for these complex times.

“The show has changed quite a bit since I started it,” says McAllister, who debuted the initial performance at The Starlite Room in Sarasota before doing a series of performances at The Gator Club. “Each performance thus far has been a workshop experience, where I’ve played with different aspects of what I thought the show should be, and built on what was working. The show will continue to morph as I add more songs and other dimensions, but with the character of ‘The Cowboy’ now being more greatly developed, I think people will really enjoy the results so far.”

Guaranteed to be a different show at every performance, after a brief poetic introduction, “The Cowboy” calls upon volunteers in the audience to choose the songs for the evening from a deck of custom playing cards, featuring an assortment of titles that range from originals to covers by artists as diverse as Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Journey, and Hank Williams, Sr. McAllister, performing with a slow Florida Cracker drawl, then weaves his way through the songs with a variety of poems, jokes, and anecdotes about “the cowboy way” and the folly of civilization.

McAllister has made a career out of exploring the edges of civilization and questioning norms. After spending a year-and-a-half traveling the country to write his second book The Rucksack Letters, he also spent a year not using money, helped facilitate the beginning of a time bank in Sarasota, ran for County Commissioner, and was a programmer for WSLR for three years as the host of Renaissance SRQ, discussing issues of sustainability, resilience, and quality of life. This year, he also starred in One Minute/Sixty Seconds, a feature film about conspiracy theorists directed by Mark Zampella, and has been working on his latest book, Money, Sex, Power & Faith: The Convergence of Culture, when he has not been workshopping The Cowboy Cabaret.

McAllister is no stranger to the cowboy way. In addition to his portrayal of the iconic singer/songwriter in Hank Williams: Lost Highway at the Manatee Players, he grew up on the outskirts of Hi-Hat Cattle Ranch and won a blue ribbon at the Sarasota County Fair for raising a Holstein named Princess. He also once traveled the country for a year and a half, and ended up riding a metal horse, and playing a cowboy on a television pilot at Paramount Studios in Hollywood.

The performance itself features McAllister as the titular character of The Cowboy, delivering anecdotes and poetry in a comforting and comedic southern drawl. A true Florida cracker and native of Sarasota County, McAllister previously played Sarasota’s first settler William Whitaker in the film No Real Than You Are, which was screened at both the Sarasota Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival.
The “Flying Solo” performance also features Gabrielle Lennon and Anne Foley Alper on February 3 at The Starlite Room in Sarasota.

For a preview of the show, go to


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