By Jessica DeLatorre
Clyde Always is the self-proclaimed Bard of the Lower Haight (and regularly contributes cartoons to HATCH Beat).
Always, 30, creates comics about a "rabbit man,” which is an alter ego of himself. His cartoons are satire on current events with political tones. A recent cartoon he made mocked how an iPhone can do everything.
Always moved to San Francisco in 2012, when he found his passion for performing and an interest in the local arts community within the Haight. He described his upbringing as pretty normal: he participated in his high school wrestling team and worked on cartoons and art.
In 2010 he changed his outlook on life after a backpacking adventure. He hitchhiked from Oakland down the west coast through Palm Springs desert into Houston, Texas. Prior to his trip, he sold everything he owned, then after the six-week adventure he wound up in Lower Haight, where he found an open mic flyer at Café International and began performing.
He pursued his art through poetry and his alter ego of being a rabbit man became a larger part of his overall identity. Always says being a rabbit man is when you optimistically welcome people into your life and aim to bring them joy.
Always carries “Haylee," his ukulele, everywhere he goes and wears his whoopee hat and navy blue suspenders as his signature clothing. He was influenced by an 18th century sculptor named Walter Russell, who wrote five principles that Always lives by: humility, reverence, inspiration, deep purpose and happiness.
His spoken word performances started off sheepish. Andy Mignano said one of his favorite things he's been doing is inviting technology workers to his open mic nights and then mocking them once they show up.
"You guys think you're so smart? Well, can you catch this brick?!" said Andy Mignano, quoting Always. Mignano, a friend of Always, said he's a "non-conformist spirit even when it comes to his immediate surroundings." Mignano said Always will come out with a risqué story, such as Tramping in Marin just after the other poets have done their best to put the audience to sleep. "Clyde's a helpful bard that keeps the spirit and practice of creativity alive and well in San Francisco," said Mignano.
Clyde's locally known tune is the “Vegetarian Bagel Shop” song that was inspired by the thought of what would open next in his neighborhood, which he performs frequently at his shows or open mic nights as a commercial break between acts. He gets his inspiration through everyday interactions that he observes. His storytelling is full acted and theatrical. He is a one man show.
Always has multiple dreams for the future, including having his own show that he would name "The Clyde Always Show", his own production that tours, and a gallery of his art in San Francisco. He says any of these goals will help him pursue his passion of bringing happiness to others.
By Jessica DeLatorre