Aaron Baker was our Clint Eastwood. He rode into town one day from out of nowhere and with his signature cocked-double-eyebrow expression, said nothing.
Nobody knew who he was. Tall, stocky, bald, chain smoker. Looking like he was ready to deliver a message from your bookie. Then, mysteriously, and again almost without a word, he volunteered to help you strike your set, build your complicated website, edit your feature film, perform the supporting part in your play, copyedit your promotional literature, buy a seat to every show you ever perform, orchestrate your multi-platform interactive cell phone environmental theater experience from a remote location, and cook you a gourmet dinner.
When he did speak, it was short and to the point. A few syllables in that trademarked smoky, understated, throaty bass voice of his. It was so spare you often worried you weren’t getting the whole picture. Why doesn’t he say anything? Is he angry? Depressed? Lulling me into a false sense of security until he has the opportunity to kill me? He can’t truly be the open-hearted artist trapped inside the exterior of a fierce gun-for-hire, traveling from town to town, dispensing gratuitous kindness wherever he roamed that he appeared to be, can he?
He could. And much more. He was an illustrator. And a musician. And a graphic designer. And a software engineer. And a grammar Nazi. And a television producer. And a writer. And a filmmaker. And a clown. And an actor. And a director. And a photographer. And a fanatic. And a nerd. And a fiancé. And a friend.
He was a jack of all trades and master of all.
He was a master ninja of life.
He was the man with no name.
To many among us, he was known simply as Walkup, Walkup.
Brick staff members will recognize that nom de plume from the theater’s ticketing system, which requires a first and last name to enter a sale into the computer. If a theatergoer refuses, or if the box office staffer forgets, the system records Walkup, Walkup as the patron’s name. Aaron was always Walkup Walkup. He absolutely insisted. Everyone knew his name. And everyone knew when he was in attendance. But no one could prove it.
Well Aaron, my friend? I have bad news for you. I can prove it. Today a packed house of your friends and loved ones bears irrefutable witness that you were here. Today, this jury of your peers will take in a wealth of video, still photography and testimonial evidence that will go to prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, that Aaron Baker was here. Future accountants and Ticketing Managers of The Brick will pour over the hundreds of performances we host for years to come and from years past and see listed on the presale register of nearly every show, that eternal smoking gun: Walkup, Walkup. You were here, Aaron Baker. And you will always be here. Ninja, cowboy, spaceman, chupacabra, brick. Ride on, Aaron. Ride on.