It will be an evening of storytelling and a walk down Gainesville's '70s-era music scene Memory Lane, with a fair amount of comedy, reflections on politics and scenes from Gordon's life.

A funny thing happened to Gary Gordon after he left Gainesville for the City of Angels in search of fame and fortune.

Life, love, traffic, matrimony and a 19-year detour down Main Street.

But never mind all that.

The point is that after a 27-year sojourn in the earthquake zone, Gary Gordon is back. And if you want to know what a long strange trip it’s been, you can go to the Thomas Center on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and catch “Start Making Sense: The Ballad of Gary Gordon.”

It will be an evening of storytelling and a walk down Gainesville’s ‘70s-era music scene Memory Lane, with a fair amount of comedy, reflections on politics and scenes from his life in Los Angeles thrown in to keep things moving along.

All this through the eyes of a P.K. Yonge graduate turned anti-war activist, turned political cartoonist, turned Archer Street Band leader, turned record-store manager, turned Gainesville mayor/commissioner, turned Western pulp novelist turned radio comedy show host turned playwright turned ... well, suffice to say his is a fairly exhaustive resume.

Which is one reason Gordon left to begin with.

“I used to tell people that I’d done everything here except be president of the University of Florida,” Gordon says. “And they weren’t going to let me do that.”

But why LA? “I wanted to be a screenwriter,” he said. “And I didn’t want to sit in Gainesville thinking I coulda, woulda, shoulda.”

The script-writing thing didn’t pan out. And Gordon might not have stayed so long if he hadn’t met, courted and married Cindy. And then through a series of serendipitous events, he landed a job that more closely resembled his three-year stint in Gainesville government than anything he’d done in show business.

Through a friend Gordon learned that Santa Monica had gotten a grant to start a Main Street Business Improvement Association, and was looking for an executive director. “They needed someone who could get some things done, and I could do that” he said. The grant was for six months “but I had the job for 19 years.”

“Believe me, my whole life has been wearing many hats,” Gordon reflected. “I have this memory of working at (Gainesville record store) Hyde and Zeke’s and reading that the city was planning to make a deal to buy into the St. Lucie nuclear power plant. I raced home, changed clothes and raced downtown” to fight it.

“Clark Kent mild-mannered record store manager by day, anti-nuke hero by night,” and later, city commissioner.

Gordon really hadn’t planned to resume his music career in LA but one day, when a band canceled its Santa Monica farmers market gig, he was asked to “come over and play some songs. I did some Dylan and (John) Prine and got fifty bucks.”

Later he would form the Gary Gordon Band and begin picking up gigs of his own. “In LA if you have a band and you’re the leader and you don’t name it after yourself, then what are you thinking?”

Gordon finally left LA because “things were getting more and more expensive, and the traffic was getting more ridiculous.” Since returning he’s been showing up for open-mic night at Satchel’s and preparing for his formal return to the Gainesville music scene at the Thomas Center. Gordon will be performing several original songs, some of them from way back when, others more recent: “Roget’s Blues” (circa 1979), “Hitchin’” (an Archer Road Band tune) “Oh They Built Another Bomb” (from his anti-war rally days), “Atlanta” (a love song) and other selections.

“Some of it’s political, some not,” he said. “I would say it's a combination of blues, country rock and rock 'n' roll.” He’ll be backed up by bass player James “Fritz” Knaggs, drummer Larry Thompson, Don Blitch (aka Mr. Aullie) on harmonica and perhaps one or two others.

Gordon’s Saturday performance at the Thomas Center is sponsored by the city of Gainesville’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department. There will be a $10 admission charge.

And perhaps it will be an opportunity for Gordon to answer that most philosophical of all questions: Can you ever really go home again?

“I think the weirdest thing has been dealing with what I would call the time warp,” Gordon smiles. “When I first got back people were recognizing me who I didn’t recognize. I was looking for people who were 35, and then I realized, oh no, I’m looking at the wrong age group.

“I’m still sort of adjusting to looking for people who are now 65.”