When you are doing five to eight shows a day at a theme park personality traits are exaggerated. What might be tolerable in a normal business situation becomes unbearable when five performers are sharing a dressing room that should be for only one.
His name was Bobby a singer dancer in the show. He had some habits that began to drive us crazy back in those college days. He would smoke in the dressing room, which had no ventilation and was no bigger than a walk in closet. And he seemed to have no respect for the property of others. We all carved out a small bit of counter space to place a hair brush and basic makeup items. He never had any stuff, but kept mooching ours. He would pick up anyone's hair brush and use it and then toss it and leave it where ever it landed. He was forever asking for some blush that I had to cover the occasional zit. He wore it as rouge on his cheeks and would ask me, "Do you think this is enough for stage?" I started telling him that he needed more... no matter how much he took from my stash. There were times he went on stage looking like a bad Raggedy Ann doll. He kept wanting to use my stuff and asking if he needed more, so I kept letting him resemble a bad drag queen on stage.
But it was the smoking that bothered us the most, although I think I was one of the only ones in the cast who didn't smoke at the time. We banned anyone from smoking in the confines of the dressing room, but Bobby would light up anyway when no one was around to stop him. He would even light up when we were all in the room and claim he forgot.
One of he scenes in the show involved an old style camera as a prop. It was the old box kind that used "flash Powder" in a tray for the light. The prop guys actually used the old powder to flash and smoke like the real thing for the scene. WELL... this powder was quite volatile and was usually back stage. We got some one day and set off a very small amount. It was amazing. Big flash... lot of smoke from a tiny bit of powder. It prompted an idea. What if... we wondered... would happen if a small amount of this powder happened to end up in the ash tray and someone put out a cigarette.... well it might teach whomever is smoking in the dressing room to think twice next time. So a plan was made.
Now I forgot to mention that Bobby was rather flamboyant and was taken to squealing like ZaZa in "La Cage aux Follies" at the slightest startle. We knew that the least little flash would scare him immediately. We all saw it as a negative reinforcement.
After several more requests and demands that he not smoke in our dressing room were ignored, we all decided to put the plan in action. The only problem in our plan was the knowledge of the proper proportion of flash powder to put in an ashtray to cause a little behavior correcting flash. We got what we thought was just the right amount of powder and placed it in an ash tray with some other ash as disguise.
A few days went by and the ashtray sat there but Bobby never would light up. Someone even asked if he was quitting and he implied that he had. I guess we had been on him so much that he was taking his breaks somewhere more smoker friendly.
When you are doing five shows a day back to back you count your time in shows, so I am not sure how many days went by but it was a dozen or so performances. Smoking in the dressing room was now not as much of an issue as Bobby using our stuff.
It was a routine show in the middle of the day. The dressing rooms are just off stage in the wings. Girls stage right and boys stage left. If you kept the door open the light would spill onto the stage, they were that close. In the middle of a musical number we hear a loud bang followed by ZaZa squealing... and the sound of panicked running as a harsh light flooded the stage off left. It was only then that we realized Bobby was never in this number. He had a few minutes rest backstage when all of the other guys were working. The audience took note of the pig squeal followed by a cloud of white smoke that wafted across the stage.
Perhaps it was a little too much powder in the ashtray, but who knew that he was going to lite up *during* the show? Our self administered smoking punishment was noted by management. Astroworld Security tried to figure out what had happened and who was responsible. We were all questioned by he summer security guards no older than us, who unofficially thought it was very funny when they found out what really happened. Management thought someone was trying to blow up the theatre. No one became a stool pigeon. Besides it was a mob decision and we were all guilty. Bobby was sufficiently reinforced with a negative reaction to smoking in the dressing room and we never had the problem again. They did however start keeping the flash powder under lock and key back stage and make us do a couple of fire drills.
College days.... performing at theme parks....it is a wonder there aren't more casualties.
As you were,
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
When you are doing five to eight shows a day at a theme park personality traits are exaggerated. What might be tolerable in a normal business situation becomes unbearable when five performers are sharing a dressing room that should be for only one.
Monday, May 30, 2011
John's wife is here for the weekend and there is a multiplex movie theatre down the road. After my matinee yesterday the three of us decided to see a film. I needed the break because John said in his show report: "Watching Jay perform this afternoon was like watching Sisyphus struggling to roll the bolder up a hill only to realize that the audience was not on the other side." They were tough to say the least, a beautiful Sunday on a holiday weekend is not helpful to a visiting thespian. I am still trying to figure out this audience. Sometimes they are club like and sometimes they are theatre like. Just when I expect them to be one or the other they change.
The film we went to see was Annjeanette's choice, "Bridesmaids". I was thinking it would be just the female version of "The Hangover" part one... it was not. It is after all a chick flick with a few gross laughs that belong in a teen film. But it was a great distraction.
My friend Jimmy Brogan plays the preacher in the final scene. I wrote him a note to say I saw him. These events were probably the reason for my vivid dream later that night.
In the dream I was headed back stage to see Jimmy after the performance, which, in my slumber, was a stage show in New York, not a movie. Only I couldn't go back stage I had to go across NYC to an office building and wait in a reception room and congratulate Jimmy in his office.
I had my ipad and my briefcase and a large wool overcoat that I did not need for the weather but had to lug around anyway. On the walk through NYC I stumbled upon a new Ipod and expensive headset with several patch cords splayed in a grassy median. I knew it would not stay on the street long so I took it. I am not sure if I took it to look for the owner, or I just snagged it for my own. Dreams and morals are not always playmates.
It was difficult to hold my briefcase, the ipad, the heavy wool overcoat and the extra electronics so the journey to the building became a chore. Jimmy's office was on the second floor, but the elevators were dedicated to specific routes and I got on the wrong one several times, trying all the while to keep an arm full of electronics and wardrobe under my control.
When I finally got to the office there were lots of people waiting to see Jimmy, so I sat down in the waiting room and tossed my load of possessions on an empty chair. Also in the waiting room was a producer from my Broadway show. I recognized him but he had not seen me yet. I did not want to talk to him or even see him so I tried to hide my face.
Next to me on the side table was a copy of Daily Variety. Lying on the spread out paper were two very young kittens both on their backs very unhappy and flailing about with their tiny legs. Like turtles trying to right themselves they seemed to be miserable in that position. The longer I watched them the more I felt sorry for them. I finally turned them over feet down and they bolted like cockroaches in the light. It was so fast that I didn't even know what happened. The kittens begin running wildly all over the waiting area disturbing everyone. I see that Jimmy is still swamped with admirers and the waiting room is chaos. The person next to me says that the kittens belong to my producer and he had placed them on their backs specifically so they would not run wild and go crazy in the office.
I feared he would find out that I had set the cats free and it would not only mean a conversation with him but a heated argument as well.
I sneaked out of the office and took the stairs down to the street. I was glad to have avoided a scene. Time passed as I got caught up in the "performance" that is NYC street life. It dawned on me that I didn't have my coat, ipad, briefcase or newly acquired ipod. I left them in the office in my haste to get away.
I forgot what the building looks like and never really knew the address, but enter a building that I believe is the one and head to the second floor. This time the elevators are a complete puzzle and I can not seem to figure out which one will go to the second floor. One bank of elevators goes to odd floors, the other to even...but starting a the eighth. Some elevators say local, some express and others have signage in a language I don't speak.
I find a security guard who is rude and not helpful but as I explain that I left my property in the Brogan office he says' "That office was closed hours ago. It seems that they had a strange feline infestation and everyone had to evacuate." If I had property that was in there, I should try the lost and found.
Off course it became an adventure to find the lost and found through a maze of hallways, malls, subway tunnels, cross walks and deli's to find the lost and found. I began to think that lost and found were the actual directions to the place.
It was manned or woman-ed, to be more precise, by a over weight security guard. I was relieved to see my coat but this was only lost and found clothing. I explained to the large lady that what I was really after was my ipad. She reluctantly directed me through another maze to the "other things lost and found". At a kiosk in another room was a six foot tall pile of black breifcases so similar too mine that I had to dig through hundreds to finally find my own. The only problem was... it was empty... nothing was inside. "Of course," they explained, "everything had been taken out and placed with all other similar objects that were lost." The patch cords were in one pile, the ipads in another, pencils and pens in still another pile. Papers seemed to fill the rest of the space in the room. It was an impossible task.
I realize quickly that a cord is a cord and a pen is a pen so I just grabbed the first ones that were at all similar to mine. The ipad was a different story... I had to turn on several to find my artwork and identify it as my own. When it came to the pilfered ipod, it was a distinctive red color and there was only one of them in the pile. I grabbed it. The security guard says, "Is that really your ipod?" as if she knew of my crime. I was torn between two responses, and felt bad that I actually heard myself say, "Yes." All hell breaks loose as sirens go off and guards steady their guns. It seems that some witness stated that the guy who let the cats go in the Brogan office left that distinctive Ipod behind. I woke as I was running from a posse of "rent-a-cops".
Now... what are the lessons I learned from this fantasy adventure? Next time leave that heavy wool overcoat at home.
As you were,
Sunday, May 29, 2011
At home I have a carbonator that makes soda from filtered water. Here on the road I do not have this magical device, so I have to buy the seltzer from Wegmans the local supermarket. By accident instead of getting plan seltzer I got a flavored water. It is not satisfying in the least. I miss my soda maker along with several other aspects of being home.
This water is called Flavor Splash... a naturally flavored water beverage. In this case: Wild berry (with other natural flavors). It has pictures of raspberries, blue berries and strawberries on the label and proudly proclaims 0 calories. It still tastes like mystery Kool Aide that has been diluted in a large lake. So I looked at the bottle to see exactly what natural ingredients it contained. Here is what I found.
Contains: Filtered water (that is good... really the only thing I wanted) Natural flavor (still not committing to an actual fruit) Citric acid (so the noncommittal flavor will seem like real fruit) Sodium hexametaphosphate (no idea what that is but it states in a parenthetical: to protect the flavor.... a flavor which needs protection even though we do not know exactly what it is) Phosphoric acid, sodium benzoate( again an unknown ingredient but once more in a parenthetical it says: to preserve freshness...to protect the mystery natural flavor from spoiling) sodium citrate, sucralose, calcium disodium, ETA (and once again a reason for this chemical is said: to protect the flavor.... again I wonder what flavor we are protecting?)
I am no scientist but it seems to me a natural flavor that needs to be protected by three different chemicals becomes a very unnatural soup. The unfortunate reality is, if I liked the flavor, I wouldn't have bothered to read the ingredients. And I am sure that this recipe doesn't come close to the chemistry set that is in the average coke. I will guzzle down one of those with no thought of ingredients. So as I make my almost daily run to Wegmans after the show today I will be careful to avoid any proclamation of naturally flavored water.... just give the the unnatural non flavored stuff that has been infused with suspended carbon dioxide gas which is by the way is natural....oh, and also a deadly poison to humans.
As you were,
Saturday, May 28, 2011
It was a two show day today and it was exhausting. The show times are close together and there is barely enough time to remember the first show before we start the next. However, after the second show tonight I got what could be the greatest compliment for the show that I have ever received.
I befriended a fellow actor who was across 44th doing Spamalot, while I was doing my show. We would meet at Angus for dinner after our respective shows and became friends. Steve sent his parents to my show during my run and I met them back stage at the Helen Hayes. Lovely people they were and I remember the evening they came very well.
Now it is years later and is happens that his dad is a dentist here in Rochester. Steve let them know that I was in town and they came to see my show again tonight. They even brought a theatre party of a couple of dozen.
I have to interject that my show is the same script here in Rochester as is was on Broadway. The only difference is the set that has been trimmed down to accommodate the tour. It is the same characters, same story and same music that we have been doing since the first run Off Broadway. We just can't travel with the scoop set which, although beautiful, really did not add to the material of the show.
Steve's parents stayed around to see me after the show tonight. It was a sold out crowd and a good audience. I felt very good about the performance. Steve's Dad said that he enjoyed the show the second time very much. Then he said, "I remember seeing the show on Broadway when you had Harry O'Shea with you. I guess he is just too delicate to travel with anymore. I loved the way you used the lighted lime green suitcase to symbolize him at the end.... I really didn't miss that he was not seen in the show this time."
Harry O'Shea has never been in the show and never will be. We have used the lighted green suitcase at the end of the show to symbolize him since the beginnings off Broadway. I did not correct his misperception since it was exactly what I want this show to do. He "saw" Harry because I told the story of Harry and Harry appeared in his mind... you can't create that image in reality. It is imagination. He believes that he saw a character that I just talk about in great detail. I could not be more delighted and complimented. I want this show to stay with an audience long after they have left the theatre. Indeed that happened with the good Doctor and he remembers it as I would want it to be remembered, not for the things that happened on stage, but as the theatre of his imagination the show inspired.
Thanks Mr. Rosenberg. You don't read this blog and I did not correct your memory because what you remember about my show, however incorrect is the absolute truth. Art is only in the mind of the observer. I could never present Harry O'Shea in a way that could compete with your memory. But it was always my intention for you to see Harry the way I knew him... as a creation of the imagination . Thank you.
As you were,
Friday, May 27, 2011
Raining again and the theatre owner is delighted. It seems that a nice day with good Rochester weather causes people to seek outside entertainment choices rather than the dry confines of a theatre. We should do well tonight.
I am finally figuring out this space and am glad that I have had the time to make that adjustment. Taking no personal credit for the creation or execution, this show still has an amazing affect on the audience. It is my good pleasure to be the observer to what is happening in the theatre, and enjoy it as well. It is an out of body experience to a large degree. An old friend is coming with his family tonight and he has never seen the show. I am delighted that I will be able to present it to his clan.
On the funny side, I got an email from my friend Mary Willard. She is my neighbor and keeper of Fred Willard her husband. It is the 11th commandment:
Subject: Gospel for Arnold of California: Eleventh Commandment
Thou shalt not share...thy rod with thy staff.
Thank you Mary. It is the laugh of the day if not the entire week.
I have not used my Ipad for reading much. It has been an internet tool and drawing platform mostly. However, my good friend Robert Dixon sent me a wonderful book thinking I would like it. He knows me too well. It has been a revelation to me. I find that I can not put it down unless to digest a complicated idea it suggests.
First of all reading "kindle" style is not the visceral experience that some readers enjoy. Some like the process of turning a page and holding the volume in their hands. On the other side my sister believes that her kindle has transformed her life. As an avid reader she has access to the greatest library in the world at a moments notice, and can concentrate on the words themselves without the cumbersome nature of a physical book.
I have found this to be a distinct advantage for my dyslexia. The least amount of energy spent on the actual process of reading the better I can concentrate on decoding the words. Dyslexia and AADD can sometimes lead me away from what I am reading into the contemplation of how paper is made by merely the feel I get from turning a page. I can drift into a reconstruction of Newton's life from holding weight of a book. And the comparison of the number of pages I have read compared to the chapters left to read is sometimes discouraging for a slow reader. These attention magnets have been minimized by this new form of electronic literary delivery.
I am not advocating the elimination of printed books. For readers who are more mentally limber and able to concentrate more effectively like my son, the physical book is a cherished item. He loves to see them on his shelf and recall the experience of reading them. For me unless I have been extremely motivated to digest a book it is just a dust catcher in my life.
Thanks Dix. You have opened up for me a whole new world locked in my Ipad. You are a Mac evangelist, techno wizard and good friend. I am glad you "don't do windows"
Rainy day in Rochester.... good day to lite up a good book and contemplate the ideas. Perhaps I will attend a good show in the evening and enjoy my experience.
As you were,
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
At the house John and I are staying they have provided us with a wifi DSL. John lives on his computer doing several jobs off sight and needs a firm connection. My needs are less critical, but I have noticed that the connection is spotty and dumps me off line with irritating consistency.
Being the techno wizard that he is, John has examined and reworked and tinkered with the modem and the phone lines trying to trouble shoot. We even had the company come out and look at the line. All our efforts have helped for a while but just as we pronounce them solved they happen again.
John has been monitoring the connection while he works. It doesn't seem to be effected by my downloads nor his. It can happen when we are doing minimal operations. However, often there is a phantom connection that appears on his screen. He can see my Mac Ipad connection and his own, and often a third user called Sammy. Sammy will appear and disappear and the pattern seems to be when Sammy appears we were knocked off line. When Sammy goes away our connection is restored in that instant.
John changed the channel, Sammy was still there. We took the DSL off line, unplugged the answering machine, and disconnected the land line. Sammy would go away for a spell and then return to knock us off line. Finally we changed the password to the modem and the network. Surely that would confound the omnipresent Sammy, but to no avail, the ghost user returned. We have tested how far the wifi will broadcast and it seems to be too weak for any of the neighbors to pinch. It will fall off in the basement of the house and after only a couple of yards outside. It doesn't seem to be a proximity overlap.
I have heard several noises that sound like walking and doors opening in the house when I am alone. I even thought John had returned from the theatre one evening, but the noise was not him. We both have remarked how noisy the house is sometimes when we both were in our rooms. But then neither one has disturbed the other when we do actually get up in the middle of the night.
So the name we now give to these occurrences is Sammy. Like all ghost stories there is usually an explanation that will explain it another way besides the paranormal, but for me it is easier to just say, "Sammy is back". Other than the internet distraction it really is a non issue. There seems to be no hostility associated with Sammy just the internet presence and the occasional noise. Even the interference with the wifi is not so bad that it keeps us from doing what we need to do... it just creates a break once and awhile. Perhaps when Sammy needs attention and we are involved with our screens.
There are several schools of thought on the regularity with which I encounter these enigmas in my experience. Either paranormal phenomena follow me around from place to place, or I am just sensitive to the process and notice it when I am traveling... or I have an over active imagination with a flare for the dramatic. I know the idea I would choose for myself, but think others would explain it differently. For now I just plan to let Sammy do his or her thing and co-exist with whatever or whomever it is.
As you were,
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Brother Wease is the morning drive time DJ for Rochester. He has been the dominate radio personality here for 25 years and can probably go another 25 if he wants. If Wease says go see a show, people go, and if he says it is just okay they don't. He loves "The Two and Only" and this morning I did an in studio guest spot on air. He gave away tickets and will continue to promote the show the rest of the week. I believe he will get the populous to act and we will see a huge increase in ticket sales. He is a very nice guy with his roots in comedy and even owned Yuck Yucks in Rochester when comedy clubs were king.
I said that there would be no more mention of Harold Camping and his doomsday prediction. I was wrong. He has evidently said he got it wrong again and the date is now October 21. So the saga continues.
Here is what I think happened. Camping said to God..."What is my Fate..." God says, "It will come on May 21st and it will be a big event... it will be something that you have waited for all your life. But you must be there to receive it yourself because it is only meant for you."
Camping say, "Wow that is my fate?"
God says, "Fate?... oh I thought you said Freight."
Today is the birthday of my oldest son. I'm not sure he reads this blog on a regular basis, but I am so glad to be his Dad. He has become a very fine man and although it is hard for me to admit, much smarter and wiser than me. He is truly a citizen of he world speaking several languages navigating himself all over the globe. His thirst for adventure and to experience new cultures and new ideas is outstanding. He is coming home to LA from his residence in Berlin next week. I will get to spend some time with him after this Rochester gig. I am ready for some quality time with him. Happy Birthday Bran...
As you were,
Monday, May 23, 2011
I guess we can all look at this as an extra day since the world did not go into rapture yesterday. That will be the last reference to that event from me... I think we have beaten that "horse of the apocalypse" to death.
I forgot to mention, at the matinee yesterday there was an incident. Just as I started my show a small red light went on in the middle of the house. It seemed to be following me for most of the show. I realized it was someone recording the show. I couldn't really make out who it was but this red light kept blazing at me and following my every move. There is no time in the show I can walk off stage and tell the assistant SM, besides the SM is only back stage long enough to ring a phone and throw Spaulding on stage anyway. I kept hoping that the house staff would catch it, but it continued on. At one point I knew that I was thinking so much about this "pirate video" that the show was suffering. Instead of being in the moment I was only thinking about the recording. As an actor it was really weighing on me.
I decided to take matters in my own hands and paused the show. I spoke to the unseen videographer and asked him to stop filming. I said that it was really distracting and I would like to tell my story to give the audience the best show I could. The audience gave me encouragement and support and I continued on. It was at a point in the show which was difficult to recover, but with a renewed sense of dedication I returned to the script. It eventually became a non issue and the show got back on track.
John and I discussed it afterwards. He was not in position to see the light like I was, but documented it in the show report. I was a little stressed that the house staff was not aware of it to stop it without me having to interrupt the show. I think they knew that. Afterwards the assistant house manager, Aaron who is also the go to guy for most everything at the theatre and we like him a lot, came up to me.
He said, "The guy wasn't actually filming the show... it was an older gentleman with an assisted hearing device. The red light was coming from the unit." Yipes... I had not thought of that because the theatre is so small I didn't know they offered hearing assistance. The light was following me on stage because the guy was watching me move back and forth. I went from offended artist to obnoxious jerk in a matter of seconds. I felt terrible for calling him out in front of the audience.
Aaron said that fortunately he did not know I was talking to him and actually clapped in support of admonishing the phantom videographer. I guess I dodged a bullet. Now that I know there might be the occasional hearing assisted patron I will be less likely to become distracted by a red light coming from the back of the house. I also think that the house staff will police the audience a little closer so their actor does not go off on another tangent.
Ivy spent all day making the most incredible stew for our dinner and it is now ready. I am eating it as I write and it needs more attention than I am giving it.
As you were,
Sunday, May 22, 2011
I am looking forward to a day off from the show. It is an odd feeling. There is nothing I like better than doing this show, but it does take more energy than I am willing to admit. I do need to recharge after a while. It is nice to come to a day off, especially since it has been a very stressful week. However, after a little rest, I am sure I will miss it tomorrow about eight o'clock.
The theatre is a hybrid cabaret/theatre. It requires a different energy than what is needed in a regular theatre. I am trying to figure out why, and probably will by the end of the run. All I know is that the room and the audience is like a psychic sponge soaking up every vibration of energy I put into it and seems to give little in return. The audience is enjoying the show and they exit very happy and thrilled, but I exit drained and exhausted. They take it all and give little.
I am happy to say that the last show for the week, a matinee on a Sunday, was especially good. With no technical glitches it was the first show that we have done that felt like we were settling into a run. Unless there are more problems that follow us next week, we should be able to gain some momentum.
One of the writer/producers of SOAP lives in Rochester, Stu Silver, and he has been to the show now twice. After the performance today he took me, John and our assistant stage manager out to dinner. It was very nice of him and we did not expect it... we were willing to chip in our per diem to have a nice meal to end the week. Stu is one of the nicer people who populated SOAP. He wrote some of my funniest lines and went on to run the show for several other series, as well as scripting a couple of movies. We remembered those days and tried not to recall how long ago it really was.
I am sorry that this is not a comedy club where I could capitalize on the "ruptured rapture" of May 21st. There is no way to incorporate that event into my show. If you know the Two and Only you might see the humor in this idea: It was my suggestion to John that I open up SQUEAKY'S case last night to find him missing as he would be the only one of the cast worthy of being taken up in the final days. Like I said it is not a comedy club and we can not riff on current events so the idea only became fodder for a post show laugh.
The blogs and feature writers had a field day this morning joking about the predictions of Harold Camping and his followers. I feel very sorry for the people who were duped into selling their things and spending their money on promoting this non-event. On the one hand I wonder how gullible they could have been, and with the same thought wonder if I would have been as dedicated as they were to bet my life savings on a belief. It is easy to sit back and say... "I told you so" and make light of those who believed that the end was yesterday, but most of us would not have had the balls to put our life where our belief is. I see it as more of a courageous endeavor than a blind following. Most of us are just following the masses of common acceptance. We don't make waves, and try not to stand out lest we be the subject of the ridicule of not fitting in. How many of us would bet our lives on something we feel strongly about to the point we would subject ourselves to be demeaned by the masses for that belief? Yeah, we have our beliefs but we keep them to ourselves.
So, let's not sell these people short. They may have been victims of following the wrong leader, but we really can not challenge the sincerity of their conviction. If these people were the evangelists of a cause that everyone thought was correct they would be exalted as heroes.
As you were,
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Well, I guess I was not one of the ones taken up in the Camping rapture tonight. None of my audience members were either. We diid our two shows today with very little input from the earthquakes that were suppose to signal the end.
It has been a very strange week however.
First it was the issue with the set opening night. We weathered that inconvenience and the show went up on time. Friday night presented a different set of problems. When we came to the theatre with two hours before show time John turned on the dimmer board and it was completely locked down. It was flashing cues from the previous show at the theatre and no button would react the way it was supposed to. John is a genius and if he can not figure out what is going on with a lighting board, then it is a serious situation. He said he had never seen a board react like that. It was as if it was haunted. There was a discussion that we might have to cancel the show since there was absolutely no light on stage. The board completely quit.
John was able to contact the manufacture of the equipment and they were able to give him a solution for turning it on, but the cues were not responding. Finally, he was able to program in the first few cues after a curtain hold of ten minutes and programed the rest of the show on the fly. He stayed a couple of scenes ahead of me and got the right lights at the right time... just in time. He was so good that I didn't even notice what he was doing, it was virtually seamless. I made an announcement after the show to let the audience know that John Ivy had been able to pull off what should have been an impossible task at the time I did not know how impossible it really was. It is very comforting to know that I am in such capable hands technically when I take the stage. Live theatre, it is like nothing that anyone can ever repeat. I know this show is blessed because it found John Ivy to be the keeper of the lights and sound.
It was also a weird show for more reasons than the lighting board. Squeaky, my main man and star of the show, decided to create an issue. Art Sieving, who created this amazing puppet, said, "The only thing you might need to replace some day is the cord that goes around the mouth pulley," That day came on Friday, May 20, 2011 which was 43 years after he was built. That cord broke at the end of his routine at the Friday night show. He finished his performance and only I knew from having my hand on the controls that something had happened. I assumed it was the very thing that Art had told me to be aware of.
I gave Squeaky the once over Friday night after the show and indeed it was the cord. I was up early and went to a near by Target store to get the supplies I needed and it was a fix that took no more than an hour. Easy to do because Art had made it so accessible. Squeaky is better than ever, and performed extremely well tonight. Because the first major repair to my friend came after 43 years of use speaks volumes to the craftsmanship with which Art created my partner. This show is a valentine to Art Sieving and I can think of no greater tribute than to know that he has been flawless for over four decades. Art I think you are watching what is going on each night... but I want to say publicly that you inspire me still and I will always be in your debt. Harry is well and living a retired life in Encino but wishes you were here with him to perform again, I am a poor substitute for you artistry my friend.
As you were,
Friday, May 20, 2011
I am not sure who the freight company is that transported our set from Wisconsin last week end to Rochester this week. Even if I did, my new more gentle rules of calling people out on my blog would not permit the admission. The truth is we were told it would be here on Wednesday and paid extra to insure that would happen. That would get the set in the day before we opened which seemed to be a minimum requirement. It did not arrive and after several calls to the company it was determined that they did not know where it was. They seemed to have no tracking abilities except to document it when it arrived.
Finally one of the executives at the company assured us that it would be on site at 1:00pm on opening night. That would make it a little tight but manageable to focus the lights and have a 7:00 show. When I arrived at the theatre at 2:00 the crew was sitting around still waiting. More calls were made and still no one knew the exact location of the truck. They had a number of the shipment and a number for the truck, but evidently no way to reach the driver by radio or phone.
I think the truck finally arrived at 3:15 and it was a fire drill to get it up and the plot focused. Because John is running the sound and the lights himself it was easy to check the cues and do a outline run through. It is great to have John running the show from the audience again like at the Atlantic Theatre where we started. We do seem to have a psychic connection and breath as one on stage. I could tell the cues were just a little more crisp with him punching the buttons himself. And I don't know that I have ever had a better sound guy.
It was not a full house on a rainy Thursday night. It is a cabaret theatre so the show plays a little differently with people down front sitting at cocktail rounds. I will have to figure out some differences in timing although one nights performance is not enough of a good sample. Like always no situation, no audience and no theatre is ever the same. The entire operation even thought there were bumps in the road was not nearly as strenuous as the three shows in three states on consecutive nights a couple of months ago.
Tomorrow stories about the Frat house we are staying in... the star accommodations. I think the house is haunted or just very noisy internally. More on that for another blog.... assuming that the world really doesn't end tomorrow and I will get to write another one.
As you were,
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
We are basically ready to open tomorrow, with one exception.... the set has yet to arrive from Wisconsin. The trunk that I sent Fedex is here and ready but the other two large set cases, shipped by another company, are not. It will be nice to actually have the set for the opening night show. Why is it that even when you have a couple of extra days to set up it still becomes a rush to the opening?
John has taken the time to re-patch the electricals. He certainly could have made the show work just fine the way they were set up, but is making it much easier for the next lighting designer to figure out which light is on what circuit. He is that kind of a guy. I assume it is like leaving the secret treasure map for the next pirate.
This is one of the first times I have seen him program the show basically starting from scratch with our lighting plot. I have a layman's knowledge of a sound board, but when it comes to lighting... it looks to me like some console out of a sifi movie. Like anyone who knows his stuff John tried to give me the birds eye of the workings. "This is the master and the sub master is here, this is the intensity and this is the length of time, they all go into that cue and..." I was lost immediately. So glad he is up in the booth doing his thing.
This is cabaret theatre which is a hybrid between a black box and a night club. I think it will have the best elements of both. There is a back stage and cross over space which is not always available in black box theaters. It is an intimate theatre and that is a very good thing for my show. John has the talent to make it pop with the lighting design and if we ever get the set it will be great.
John and I are living in a house in Irondequiot. It has an exercise room in the basement, televisions in each of the four bedrooms and three baths. I has a 3/4 grand piano in the living room and pretty solid wifi. And the theatre has given us each a vehicle to drive. Except for the location this is exactly the treatment we would get at Harrahs, Reno. They also give the star a house by the lake and a personal car to drive back and forth. I was never the headliner for that room but my friend Harry was and I stayed at the star house several nights when he was there.
So it is all just like that except this is Lake Ontario and not Lake Tahoe, and if I go over my stage time there will be no thick necks knocking on my door. I think the trade off in this case is acceptable.
As you were,
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
This story was told to me at a hair salon after my haircut a couple of weeks ago. I have been anxious to write it up in my blog. This down time on the road has afforded me the opportunity. The story teller is a client of the stylist whom I have been going to the entire time I have lived in LA. The tale came out of a mundane discussion between appointments when the lady admitted she was a vegan. This story was part of the reason why she is a vegan.
As the story goes, it seems she was never much on eating meat but on Thanksgiving she decided to have some friends over for a tradittional Thanksgiving dinner.
She had never prepared a turkey before and bought a big frozen forty pounder. She took it out of the freezer Thanksgiving day not realizing it had to thaw much longer than she realized. As she went to prepare what was still a frozen bird she knew that the giblets were packaged inside the bird and needed to come out before she cooked it. But, she could not find the butt "entrance" to the carcus, because it was still frozen almost solid.
She did manage to locate a hole in the neck of the bird and with her finger touched some waxed paper which she knew was the wrapping for the parts to be taken out. So instead of accessing the bird from the back end she attempted to force her small hand into the neck of the bird.
She was able to get here hand inside but the shoulder bone of the turkey was too frozen to break and it closed around her wrist, trapping her hand inside the frozen bird.
She struggled but after some time her hand was still trapped and now the cold was creeping up her arm. She realized she could soon be in real jeopardy of frost bite and needed help to extracate her hand from the fowl.
Barely able to dial the phone with one hand she realized she could not drive with a forty pound oversized frozen fist. The solution was to call a cab to transport her to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.
Not wanting to attract the kind of attention having your hand stuck in a bird would garner she threw a poncho over her shoulders and and held the turkey at belly level under the garment with the free hand.
By the time the taxi arrived she was in great pain. She said, "Take me to the emergency room as fast as you can." It was becoming very painful on the ride and she was moaning in spite of herself. The cabbie rightly assumed that she was a pregnant woman he was taking to the delivery room and wanted to get her to the doctor before her water broke.
She staggered into the emergency room full of doctors and nurses working the holiday shift. When it was determined what the problem was a great guffaw echoed down the corridors of medicene. Everyone came to see the woman with he frozen turkey hand. They even took pictures. It became the highlight of the shift.
It was an easy extracation with chest spreader forcepts and she was free before the laughter died. They thanked her for providing the entertainment for the day. However, the turkey was still viable, undamaged and now thawed enough to prepare, so they placed it in a clear plastic bag, gave it back to her and sent her on her way.
Outside the emergency room she hails a cab to return home. It is the same cabbie. He sees her without the large belly under the poncho, but carrying a clear plastic bag with a dripping flesh colored carcus inside. His eyes become twice their size and offerred absolutely no conversation on the way back.
That is her story, but I would love to get the version from the cab drivers perspective. "Hi honey how was your day driving a cab on Thanksgiving day?"
As you were,
Monday, May 16, 2011
Well it is official Donald Trump is NOT going to run for president. Since the sole plank in his platform was removed with the release of the Obama birth certificate, his fledgling campaign has stalled. I am sure that the "regretful decision" as he classified it, had nothing to do with the fact that Celebrity Apprentice was picked up for another season just a week ago, Regrettable for the electorate, who did not get the chance to tell him, "Your Fired".
It would have been a great cabinet if he had made it all the way to the White House: Gary Bussey as secretary of War, Meatloaf as secretary of Mental Health and welfare, Star Jones as secretary of state and Lil John as Attorney General. There could be some new cabinet positions as well.... Marley Matlin as head of communications, and Nee Nee as the United Nations rep.
Each week they would bring cameras into the cabinet meetings and President Trump, flanked by a young male nerd and a luscious beauty queen would determine who's policies had raised more money for the country. Everyone would eventually be fired except for the one narcissist who appointed them all, Trump himself.
I can't believe that the media fell for the oldest PT Barnum promotion in the book. When your show is on the bubble of being cancelled, start a controversy that is pure fiction and then when the show begins to show signs of life, start the rumor that you are tired of people causing controversy.
It is a cold rainy day in Rochester although the trees think it is spring. I just found out from my sister that there is a Minister who says the world is going to end on May 21st. There goes the chance to extend my run here by popular demand. If the end of the world takes as long to get to Rochester as it does for spring to arrive I'll be writing a blog on May 22 and for some time after.
As you were
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Although I passed by the Houdini Museum yesterday in Appleton I was not aware of the significance. Today at the airport I spent 50 cents to crush a penny into a medallion with the name and likeness of the great Magician. I think Harry Houdini was born in Appleton or at least in Wisconsin. Which leads me to a very relevant discovery. It would appear that Houdini's first and greatest escape was getting out of Wisconsin.
It is a beautiful day in Appleton, the sun is out and the wind is blowing. I am not sure if that translates into a quick flight or a bumpy one on the little hopper we are taking to Detroit to connect to Rochester.
Yesterday was my wedding anniversary. It is not the first time Sandi and I have spent an anniversary apart nor is it apt to be the last.
After waxing poetic on my love of the Theatre and performing in yesterday's blog, the down side is being away from family on special occasions once and a while. I envy people who can plan a vacation or event well into the future. I never know from month to month exactly what I will need to be doing.
I missed my oldest son's High School graduation, but made it in time for the dinner party in his honor after. It happened that I was on a plane sitting next to Quentin Terrintino. He turned out to be a fan of my work and we started a conversation. I mentioned I was away for my son's graduation because if the plane ride. My son happens to be a huge fan of his work, so Quentin wrote me a note as an excused absence from the proceedings. It didn't completely make up for the absence but was an acceptable story for him.
John Ivy, who is not only my stage-manager/lighting director/sound guy and traveling buddy, he is also an excellent chef.
He has gone a little crazy buying cheese here in Wisconsin. He found a block of two year old cheddar in a brand that is really good and fresh. He will use it to make his wife a wonderful meal for his wife. There you go, that is the difference between us..... John is buying cheese and I am mashing quarters into Houdini faces. Sort of says too much about us doesn't it.
As you were
Saturday, May 14, 2011
It was a great engagement at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. Thanks to everyone involved who made it a very pleasant couple of shows.Thanks to Erica, Randy, Jason, Steve, Gerald, Polly, Amy and especially Captain Pete. You are all true professionals. It is the backstage people who make a theatre great and these are great people. I really felt like I belonged here and although the theatre is much too new to be haunted, it is my kind of place.
A special shout out to Aaron and Judy who drove 6 and a half hours from Springfield, Ill just to watch the show. I can't tell you how humbled I was to think that you would make a such a journey. They are working on a plan to bring the show to Springfield because it really has its roots there. I think it would complete the saga of Art Sieving to actually perform the show, that is a Valentine to him, in his hometown.
Now it is off to Rochester, NY and a sit down for three weeks. This show has not had a chance to settle into a run for a long time and I am looking forward to it. There is nothing like being able to stake a claim to a run, a theatre and a community for more than just a hit and run. One gets to find the local jokes and personalize the show to make it relative to the moment and the location.
This is what theater is all about. Film can deliver the same performance every time, but theatre is an organic flow of immediacy. There is nothing like it. I am a hard core junky for live theatre... there is nothing quite like the thrill of knowing this moment is like none other and will never be repeated again.
I am so grateful that I get the chance to do this work. I am so blessed to be a part of this show and get to tell this story. Often I experience a perspective that takes me out of the reality of being the performer and lets me enjoy the moment as an observer. There is no way to adequately describe this sensation but when it happens, as it did for moments in todays performances, it is truly is unworldly.
Onward and upward traveling to more people who will come and listen to my tale. I will sleep with the sublime exhaustion of knowing that as much fun as I had today, can happen again in a few days. Whatever my dreams tonight, they will pail to truth of today. My gratitude abounds and my soul is filled with thanks to the benevolent deity that controls this path.
As you were,
Friday, May 13, 2011
It is a real word and it means the fear of Friday the thirteenth. Happy Friday 13th, I am not sure that Hallmark has a card for this occasion. Mathematically it works out that there is a Friday 13th in any month that begins on a Sunday. So... why is there no fear off Sunday the 1st, that would be the determining factor. Historically it was a Friday 13th in October 1307 when French King Philip sent his army to arrest the order of the Knights Templar. It was a mess and eventually led Dan Brown to write a novel about it in the first decade of the 21 Century that became a best seller and two movies. It did not seem to be so unlucky for Mr. Brown.
Johnny Carson used to take the opportunity to mention his own phobia every Friday the 13th on the Tonight Show. He said he had "gooseabackaphobia" which is the unhealthy fear of backing into a door knob.
As for me Mr. Superstition, it was a non issue for me. It was a relatively easy day setting the show up for a couple of performances tomorrow in Appleton, WI.. It is a luxury to get to set up a day a head. The theatre is great and the crew is as well. The theatre is just a couple of blocks away from the boutique hotel where we are staying. Very easy this run and Sunday we leave for a three week sit down in Rochester, New York. I hope it will go as well as it did last time in Rochester.
A friend of mine in New York last week asked me if I was still writing a blog. He said he used to follow it but doesn't anymore and then he asked, "aren't blogs a thing of the past now?" I wasn't sure how to answer, He said that it seemed to be all about tweets and texting now. I told him I thought blogs were just as popular as ever not that this one was ever "mainstream must read." It seems that every news cast I listen to talks about what the blogs are saying about certain world events, and they even quantify it by indicating what is "trending" on the web. Blogs seem to be even more relevant than ever before. I don't know. I'm not even sure why I write this one except it keeps me observing life around me in hopes some really funny story will come my way. It seems I have to look a lot harder for funny these days.
I think the economy has taken a toll on the humor quotient of the country for the last few years. Wall Street seems to have bounced back after having been the one to cause the problem in the first place. That doesn't seem right.
Here is Wisconsin it still looks tough. Downtown every other store front is vacant and available for rent. Signs as faded as the dreams of the retailers that occupied them seem to haunt main street. I am not an archeologist but it seems that it is not just new business that have closed, based upon the abandoned signage some look like they have been in business a long time. It is not isolated to this area. There are lots of empty store fronts down Ventura Blvd in my home town.
So I guess I am still looking for the funny happy stories even on Friday the 13th. Happy Friggatriskadecka.
As you were,
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Monday, May 09, 2011
Just one more love letter to New York City. To paraphrase Eddie Izzard, New York.. it is where American history comes from. Sandi and I are alone at Murph and Paul's place for our last night in New York. Of course everything in the theatre district has a legend this apartment building is no different. It is steeped in theatre history and one of the best places in Midtown.
This corner apartment looks down 8th Avenue from one window and across 45th from the other. It is possible to see the entrances of seven theaters from the high top dining table. The Camelot takes its name from the title of the hit musical playing a long run at the Majestic Theatre when the building was built.
I should actually research that fact to see if it is true. There is a reason I don't try to validate the facts. It is such a good story I would hate to give it up because it is not true.
There is a rumble and a tempo of noise in Midtown and particularlly at this spot. I know it annoys some people, and rightly so. It is much better to sleep in the silence of nature, than the sound of commerce. But for some reason the NYC sound is comforting to me. There is a sense that the city is alive and its heart beat becomes a natal lullaby. I find the white noise soothing. There were times on this trip when I heard the cheer of a distant crowd. It was faint enough not to be a certainty, and at first no one heard it but me. It happened again the next evening about the same time. I determined it was the cheer for Daniel Ratcliff's bow at the end of "How to Succeed". It could be heard clearly on the street in front of the Hershfield theatre and at the apartment directly across the street. Like I said I have never heard a cheer like that from any Broadway audience.
I believe it was perfect weather. There were even news casts that proclaimed it to be a perfect mothers day. It was a great trip. The next best thing to living here doing a show. I miss it... but if anyone would like to mount an off Broadway revival of The Two and Ony.... I'm in.
As you were,
Sunday, May 08, 2011
I also took a picture of this sign in a wash room in midtown. It suggests that the water is safe but to check it out one might want to light a match and hold it near the running water. I assume that the water is potable of it does not catch on fire. Everything is in NYC.
As you were,
Saturday, May 07, 2011
I'm not without bias in the opinion that "How to Succeed in Business" is a great production because I love my brother-in-law who definitely works hard as any to make this show so wonderful. Daniel "Harry Potter" Ratcliff is really charming and delivers a very likable Pierpont . John Laroquette is very funny as Mr. Bigley and the whole cast gives life to a show my wife did as a teenager in rep. It could have come off as dated but doesn't. Rather it comes off as a charming period piece like "Hairspray". I have never heard reactions like that coming from a Broadway audience before. It was more like the screams of a rock concert than a theatrical presentation. Daniel is a world famous movie star and he is attracting throngs to see this show. After meeting him back stage he is as charming and centered as any young guy you could know. That charm and lack of pretense in real life makes his stage persona all the more appealing. He casts a spell on the audience as affective as any hogwart grad. It is impossible not to like him even if you did not grow up wit a crush on Harry Potter.
Way to go Cleve. Number 12...a full dozen on Broadway. Mom, Dad and Claudia would be (and in reality are) very proud of you. I was touched by the dedication you made to Loddie in the Playbill; she more than anyone would have screamed at your bewigged portrayal of the Ad executive. Very proud of you and Donna and Jacq.
As you were,
Thursday, May 05, 2011
I won't have the evidence available until I get home but it was a picture perfect day in New York City today. Even on a camera that was half the mega pixel rating of other newer versions I could buy on the street, I still got a couple of photos that look like postcards. Central Park was newly blooming from the leaves in the trees to the tulips in their beds. Everything was fresh, absolutely the essence of Springtime.
We walked past the baseball fields to take a picture of the Navy Memorial at the Bethesda terrace and fountain. Then on through strawberry fields to 73rd Street where we left the park and walked by Loddie's building over to Columbus Ave. It was great to be back in that neighborhood.
We saw "A Normal Heart" and had late drinks with the Wiz and other wonderful friends at Angus...third floor. If you don't know the significance of the third floor at Angus, then there is no way to impress you. That or you have never known a real Broadway Gypsy. More later.
As you were,
Today before President Obama went to ground zero he visited this station for lunch. Since it was just up the street we decided to go and see what we could see. Not much as you can tell. There were 12 dump trucks filled with sand that ringed the perimeter of the station bumper to bumper. I am wondering how they got to many sand filled dump trucks.
"Hey, Bernie we need a dozen dump trucks full of sand at noon at the fire station." Why? I can't tell you."
No one was allowed on the street or that side of the sidewalk for 3 blocks either side of the location. No on on the other side of the street was allowed to stop. I took several blurry photos until this one came out. It was a massive crowd but it was moving so it seemed thin.
Police were everywhere, and sharp shooters were on the roof of all the buildings. I am not sure if this would be normal security for the President or is it special in light of the Osama bin Laden action last weekend.
I think I got to see the presidents shoes for a moment as he went from Limo to the station, but you really couldn't tell, they were all wearing presidential footwear and we were constantly told to keep moving.
It just proves my point about New York. We haven't been here twenty four hours yet and we have already eaten at one of our favorite restaurants, seen an incredible show...(War Horse.. more later about that show) and waved at the President of the United States all in a few blocks of where we are staying.
As you were,
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
We are winging our way to NYC to see my bro-in-law perform in his 12th Broadway Show. It happens to be playing at the Hershfield Theater which is directly across the street from the apartment where we are staying. It will be like coming home. It took me most of my life to "get" New York but I finally made friends with the greatest city in the world. Funny how New York has changed for me since we were at Cleve's opening night of tthe West Side Story revival in 1980.
Was it really that long ago? The opening night party that evening was at Sardi's and all the Asbury clan was there. It was the first time I had ever been to Sardi's. The party was upstairs in the very room that 26 years later the owners of the restaurant would unveil my own Sardi's cartoon. At that time the idea would have been so far from my reality as to be laughable. I remember making a mistake on my Amex charge that evening and inadvertently giving the waiter a hundred dollar tip. He was nice enough to ask me if I really intended to tip that much before he rang up the bill. I tipped him well for his honesty but not at the original 200% rate.
New York is now part of my own history. I would love to have the time to really be there, but it will be a whirl wind week and I will be a tourist at best. My favorite New York is leaving the Atlantic Theatre and taking the subway up town to my sublet on the West Side. 79th Street would give me sanctuary and it would take a while before I could decompress from the show. My time would be spend writing about what the day was like. New York is a writers town, because no matter what kind of day you had, it happened in New York. There was always something to write about.
I have never lived there when I wasn't performing, but the embrace the city gives to artists is like a mother's hug. It is a comfort that you never forget and the streets are never the same after they have smiled at you. It is an artists dream... inspiration at every turn and on every subway car.
LA is a group of areas in search of a village. NYC is a world village. Instead of driving through the action removed from any contact with your fellow inhabitants as in Los Angeles, New York is a town of pedestrians who actually touch as they travel through their lives. That contact is everything. Instead of thinking, isn't that Johnnies car, you an say... "Hey Johnnie."
I am certain that this trip will not allow me the time to chronicle my experiences in the city, but the replenishment of my artistic soul can not be denied. It will definitely affect my next blog.
Can't wait... I almost hunger for the energy that is Manhattan.
As you were,
Sunday, May 01, 2011
Unfortunately the automatic spell checker will not correct proper names. The actual spelling of my friend Jim's name is MacGeroge.... not Mc... like McCarthy. Not listed in his IMDB listing is the fact he was the voice of Beanie of Beanie and Cecil.... and won several OBIES for commercials he did with Stan Freeburg (which I probably misspelled as well....)
Here is a shout out of thanks to Internet friend Dave Robinson. It seems that my investigation into the
"Mystery of the Dripping Blood" was flawed. As grateful as I am to Dave for solving the mystery is also as disappointed as I am of the outcome. Being the ultimate conspiracy buff I have a mild case of let down that it was less mayhem and more Mother nature to blame for the blood trail. That coupled with the realization I did not turn to the Internet for answers like my Watson Dave did makes me realize that I chose the correct career to peruse. The reputation of blood spatter expert Henry Lee remains untarnished.
In case you missed his comment on the blog, Dave discovered that some moths and butterflies secret a red blood like substance when they emerge from their cocoon. Of course this is only circumstantial evidence, but I feel that no grand jury would indite on any other explanation. It is better than blaming lizards or hummingbirds or even OJ Simpson.
I am preparing myself now to leave this investigation hobby and continue with my real job. I will be in Wisconsin for a night and on to Rochester, NY for a three week run performing "The Two and Only" during their lilac festival. My show did very well there several years ago and I hope the interest will remain high. This comes on the heels of a show I helped write and perform for the Bohemian Club of San Francisco last week. Club rules limit the amount of information I am allowed to share, but I am proud to say as the reluctant SIre of the two evening run, the event set a club record and sold out. The second night was a rare Ladies night when the club goes from an all male audience to a mixed one. Well healed matrons and trophy wives devoured the performance.
I think the most fun is actually writing and preparing the show over a period of several months preceding the event. It is a chance to hang with some really talented people in the industry here in LA. This is not to discount the adventure of rubbing shoulders and having expensive cigars with my Northern California brothers.
Jim Mc George, a legendary comic and elder statesman of show business, was in attendance and was persuaded to perform. He is a proverbial joke machine with a style of comedy that one rarely gets to experience now days. As with most comics a written version of his act sans the impeccable timing and decades of experience is un-representative but here is one of his jokes. "A farmer and his wife are down on their luck and have only one pig left on the farm. It is their 45th wedding anniversary and there is nothing for dinner. The Farmer says, 'Why don't we kill the pig?' the wife says 'why blame the pig for something that happened 45 years ago.'
As you were,