“Ben is pretty much game for any endeavor that's interesting to him.” - Lindsey Lane


Cactus Café 2013 | Photo: David Barrow

Cactus Café 2013 | Photo: David Barrow

I started writing songs because I was avoiding work on the Spirit House Safari book manuscript. All I wanted to do was write songs. It was an easier way of telling stories. Plus, I got addicted to the oxygen of performance. For five years, the songs kept coming. They took me to the best venues in Austin all the way to the east coast. My last performance was in New York City. That was enough. I was exhausted. I still perform when it feels right and I always bring my guitar to my speaking gigs.

“People like music. Hell, I like music.” Neb Notsgnivil


"Curly" on the set for The Cherokee Word for Water    Photo: Michael Heller

"Curly" on the set for The Cherokee Word for Water

Photo: Michael Heller

The Cherokee Word for Water is based on the true story of the Bell Waterline Project. The feature film is set in the early 1980s in a rural Oklahoma Cherokee community where many houses lacked running water. Led by Wilma Mankiller (played by Kimberly Guerrero, A&E’s Longmire) and Cherokee organizer Charlie Soap (played by Mo Brings Plenty, Netflix’s House of Cards), the community of volunteers built nearly 20 miles of waterline to save their community. The successful completion of the waterline, using the traditional concept of Gadugi — working together to solve a problem – led to Wilma’s election as Chief, Wilma and Charlie’s marriage and sparked a movement of similar self-help projects across the Cherokee Nation and in Indian Country that continues to this day.

“People like movies. Hell, I like movies.” Neb Notsgnivil

Autumn & Ben | Extreme Cheapskates TV | 2014.

Autumn & Ben | Extreme Cheapskates TV | 2014.

Extreme Cheapskates The neon biz was a little slow so I thought, why not get a job in movies? I went on the Texas Film Commission website and saw all kinds of casting calls from vampires to defensive driving films. I got cold feet. Then, I saw this ad: TLC is starting a new program called Extreme Cheapskates. If you think you are cheap enough, write us and tell us why. So I did. They called me up and I told them I removed Basal cell skin cancer from my nose with a veggie peeler. I was in like Flynn. They flew down that weekend.

“People like reality TV. Hell, I like reality TV.” Neb Notsgnivil


The Living Room, Austin, 2013

Seriously, I love to tell stories. I love to listen to stories. Stories are the way I make sense of my experiences. Whether I’m on stage or talking to a university class, a story always emerges. And it usually makes sense.

“People like stories. Hell, I like stories.” Neb Notsgnivil