Monday, December 31, 2012

On the Last day of the Year...


Friday, December 28, 2012

Flying Artists

Today in the Los Angeles Times there is an article on the travails of airplane travel with a Chelo. It seems that guest musicians travel to various local orchestras to ply their trade and obviously their oversized instrument is part of that trip. 
Violins are a perfect size to fit in the over head compartment, a Viloa is a little more of a problem, but a Chelo or a Bass is like traveling with another person. 
If there is anyone who can have less respect than I do for the concern and efficiency of the TSA it is probably a Chelo player. If it is not the Airlines refusing to board a Chelo in the passenger compartment even when a ticket for the instrument has been purchased, it is the TSA who can damage or dismantle a multi-million dollar Chelo with a security check that is less than respectful.
I share their dislike of TSA Monkeys. Fortunately I manage to travel with the fragile, irreplaceable parts of my ventriloquist puppets padded into a specially designed case which fits in the over head, but I only get to the plane after running the gauntlet of the TSA.  To the TSA size does not matter, it is only the paranoia of some unfamiliar object coming through an x-ray. 
I don't know how the Chelo players do it but I have tried every approach to try and make the TSA job easier and my trip less stressful. I have tried being uber-nice. They don't care... they are used to being abused and are too thick skinned to understand.  I have tried to ask for special consideration due to the delicate nature of my carry on.  They don't care... you are a criminal until you can prove that a puppet is not a weapon.  I have asked if I could remove the puppet from the case for them to inspect.  They don't care... the rules are:  no one touches your stuff but them, and if you try to "help" them it is probable cause that you're a terrorist.    
Of course the Airlines don't get a perfect score on helping us traveling performers.  It is just as likely that once you have successfully gotten through the TSA inspection with a delicate carry on... Airlines Gate agents will want you to check it because all the "bin space" is taken.  The two major reasons why the "bin space" is at a premium are: 1)They charge from $25 to $50 to check a bag and 2) Just because they have charged you a fee to check the bag, there is no guarantee it will arrive with you at the same time or on the same plane.  
The only perfect solution open to the artist who travels with special instruments, bigger than a carry on size, is to Fly or at least own his own plane.  Of course how many symphony Chelo players own an airplane? I'm not sure that I can think of one. So what is the answer?
The answer is really a universal one but it involves a change in human behavior.  No one trusts anyone, anymore. No one values service or courtesy in the work place, especially airports. Everyone is guilty and or stupid until proven other wise by an incompetent, unintelligent TSA agent.  It is not totally their fault. They are trained to catch bad people, not look for the good ones. To a carpenter everything looks like a nail, to a TSA agent everyone looks like a terrorist. 
With all the talk about arming a security force for schools after the Sandy Hook tragedy,  who do we think these "guards" will be? Harvard behavioral science graduates or minimum wage cowboys who like guns. Even if that was a good idea, think armed TSA agents at the doorway to every school.  Think power hungry wannabe cops, think a bunch of George Zimmerman's who see threats with every hoody-shirted teen ager. 
I deal with such an "element" every time I fly to work, but fortunately the TSA monkey's are not packing heat. I would hate to have the same personalities who would be carrying guns "dealing" with our kids who are trying just to go to school.  
As you were,
Jay

Sunday, December 23, 2012

OutBreak

I have just returned from a Cruise on the Adventure of the Seas.  Our itinerary was the western Caribbean. There is nothing that will get you into the Christmas spirit more than a group of local islanders in Calypso shirts and Santa hats playing "Jingle Bells" on steel drums in Aruba... NOT. They did not sing the words but if they did it would have sounded like this, "Jangle Balls,  Jangle Balls, Jangle all ta way, Mawn." 
Photograph at your own risk!
However, since there was no traditional Christmas to be garnered, I did manage to use my time to solve a problem that the Cruise industry has been struggling with for some time now.  I have found the source of all the contagious disease at sea.  It could only have been discovered by a guest entertainer who had read the book he brought, and run out of budget to pay for the expensive wifi fee.  With much time to consider and ponder the events I came to a scientific conclusion. The source of the health problems at sea. I took a picture of it, or should I say "him". If he was real he would be known as Typhoid Barry. Here he is.
I am sure that the ship has a name for him, to me he is just the "guy giving the finger". He is a sculpture that resides in the middle of the Promenade of the ship.  In my search to stave off boredom I would sit at the Dog and Duck pub just across the "mall" and watch as people by the hundreds would stop and pose a picture with him.  All were trying to be clever... by that I mean an attempt to have the picture go FaceBook viral.
Everyone thought they were being original by composing a picture that involved his extended right hand index finger.  I saw it go up the nose of several guests, in the mouth of others, handled, fondled but mostly abused in some suggestive way.  All this with the complete ignorance of where that finger had been only minutes before in some other person's picture.  
At every entrance to the ship and at the door way of every lounge and restaurant is a Purell dispenser and a member of the crew standing guard to make sure guest sanitize their hands.  Yet the infested sculpture stands unattended in the middle of the busiest part of the ship, steps away from two bars and the Promenade Cafe.
 I shutter to think what a swab from the finger of this work of art would reveal in a lab culture.  I am guessing the microbic life species they are searching for on other planets.  For sure it contains common germs among the exotic. Yet hundreds of guests approached the statue with smiles on their faces eager to post a "clever" pose on line that no one had ever thought to do before.  He could be the most photographed object in the Caribbean Sea. As for me after an hour watching the throngs that touched the artwork... I would not go near it. 
So... to all of you who are saying, "Oh look Doris, there is the statue in the mall of the Adventure of the Seas that we have pictures of." If this statue is at all familiar to you, my advice is to get checked immediately and do it before they can dismantle the new HealthCare system.
As you were,
Jay

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Is it Over?


Imagine my surprise when I came out of my bunker this morning only to find that the world seemed pretty much the same. Damn those Mayans and their practical jokes.  Boy do I feel stupid, but you got me. But I will never trust an extinct civilization and their calendar again.
"End of the World" Bunker for Sale.... Like new! 
I guess I better get busy and buy Christmas presents.  I don't know what I will say to my sons when they do not get the new BMW's I promised, or my wife when she finds out that I didn't tell her about the bunker.  The only good news is I think I might have a fortune in Twinkies stashed in the safe room.  I understand since I have been secreted away there has been a run on them.
One of the things I thought was interesting during the "last week till the end of the world" centered around the History Channel. It was apocalypse central, almost counting down to 12/21/12 with experts saying that the evidence of the end of time was at hand.  They backed up their research with some compelling evidence that made a very strong case.  However, between the empirical evidence that the world was ending in a matter of days, the History Channel was running ads for next weeks shows.  It tells me that even if time ends the capitalistic interests of the world will be there to sell you a prime seat at scalpers prices. 
The one thing that I never really understood was the time line of the end of time.  No oxymoron here. I knew that the end of the Mayan calendar was coordinated with the alignment on Winter solstice of the sun and our planets with the center of the universe. It was to cause some polar shift or magnetic failure or a gravitational pull on the Earth.  But celestial alignment is a precise moment and like an eclipse it aligns at a certain time and for a certain length.  All the while I was planning my escape to the bunker, I assumed that the cosmos was on Pacific Standard time.  As I anxiously waited for midnight and the beginning of 12/21/12 here in California it dawned on me that 12:00 AM GMT had already come and gone and there was no destruction.  It will be just my luck that after millions of years the Mayan clock has slowed and it is running just about a week slow. Now that I am out of the bunker, the Mayans will once again have a laugh.  You pyramid building, human sacrificing, calendar carving bastards. 

To the readers who have asked, I have not abandoned the blog. Thank you for asking and thank you for noticing. Particularly you Phil, you know who you are. But no excuses for the absence just back to business.
I have now seen a rough cut of the first hour of "The Two and Only" and I am very pleased.  As difficult as it is to watch my own performance I am relaxing a little.  For a time I thought I had produced the worlds most expensive home movie, but alas after what could have been the end of time I am feeling much more certain about the future. 
So... as the last frantic weekend of Christmas shopping is upon us, my intent is to come back to my writing.  This will be a rather low key holiday, just the way it should be.  I am thankful for so many things but mostly that I am not on a plane trying to go somewhere or get back.  I am grateful for a beautiful family and wonderful friends. Now that we know that we have a few more years to go before the apocalypse my intent is to continue to think out loud and write it down.  More later from most of these same brain cells.
As you were,
Jay

Thursday, December 06, 2012

In the Moment

The day I arrived in Pittsburgh to open my run at the Funny Bone back in the 80's, a local event took the national spotlight.  A city politician hounded by the media over allegations of misconduct called a press conference at city hall.  He stepped to the podium in front of the reporters and gave a short rambling speech about how this publicity ruined his life.  He then took a hand gun out of a manila envelope, put the barrel in his mouth and pulled the trigger. 
It was a time when such press conferences were covered by a still photographer and writer, but one of the local television stations sent a reporter and video photographer.  His camera kept filming as the gun went off and the politician crumpled to the floor against a red streak of his own blood against the wall. The videographer stepped toward the podium and moved in for a close up on the lifeless face of the man as the press conference erupted into a cacophony of screams.  The camera man kept rolling.
The station aired a version of the video up to the moment the man put the gun to his mouth. The locals asked whether the video, even the sanitized version, should have been broadcast.  Only a few questioned why the camera man continued to film instead of trying to stop the politician  from killing himself or rendering aid after the shot. His reasoning was actually sound for the time.  He said, "I am a news photographer and my job is to cover the news. I can't do my job if I insert myself into the story or stop filming."  It made gruesome sense in a way.
Today things are different. Everyone has a cell phone with a video camera, still camera, instant communication with instant sharing.  So when a thug pushed Ki-Suck Han to his death on the subway track at 7th and 50th in New York city this week,  a local man got an iPhone picture of the Han moments before he was crushed by the on coming train. That picture became the front page of the New York Post. Hundreds of cell phone pictures of the dead man flooded the Internet before the Post cover was published.  The conductor of the train said that he had never seen so many people taking pictures, and so few trying to help.
What reality are we all living in? It's hard enough to justify  the actions of a 1980's reporter's  trying to document a public event that ended in tragedy, but normal citizens taking Instagram pictures of a crisis ending in death, rather than trying to help, is unconscionable. 
I have "beefed" about this before.  When will we look up from our hand held screens and actually be in the moment we're living? Heros don't take pictures of people in need, they drop what they are doing and help.  Are these smart phones making us smarter.... it doesn't appear so.
As you were,
Jay
  

Monday, December 03, 2012

Feeling the Season

Our friend John Addis is senior show director for the Disneyland resorts.   Among his many mouse duties is the direction and production of the Candlelight Ceremony at Disneyland during the Christmas season.
As is the nature of Disneyland when they decide it is Christmas time, the entire park becomes a festival of decorations and lights that can only be rivaled in beauty by the original star of Bethlehem.  Their art direction and attention to detail and creativity is unequaled in my opinion.
In the past the Candlelight Ceremony has been a special event, for only a night or two. This year they will present it Thursday through Saturday from now until December 20th. It is a very ambitious program, and the logistics John has to deal with are mind boggling.  It is a combination of several choirs numbering in the hundreds, eight trumpeters on top of the main street buildings, staging, lighting, sound design, soloists, a 24 piece orchestra and a celebrity narrator who reads the traditional Christmas story from the Bible.
A group of us requested tickets to the ceremony this year to add to John's stress level, because that is the kind of friends we are.  We attended the opening of John's incredible work Saturday night.
It was beautiful. The perfect way to start the Christmas season. Surely Santa's North Pole can not look more beautiful than Disneyland decorated for the holidays.  The combination of the spectacle, reverence and tradition of the Christmas story punctuated by Christmas Songs was wonderful.

But not to be out done by the creativity of Disneyland, the Universe staged a lighting effect that only could come from a higher source.



















It began to mist with rain during one of the more reverent moments of the show creating an effect  that will not be repeated during the rest of the run.  This is a picture of that moment. Although no photograph can really capture the grandeur of small rain drops illuminated by theatrical lights, even the snapshot is unique.
Later the misty crowd was entertained by a fireworks display which ended in the lighting of Sleeping Beauty's castle. Once again it took my breath away.
John couldn't hang with us because he was still on the Mickey Mouse clock.  We just got a moment to tell him thanks and try to find words that might come close to what we experienced. We will have another chance later in the month when a small group of friends get together and celebrate the season in our own personal tradition.
I guess the human species is really a pack animal. With all the spectacle and technical awe we can create, there is still nothing to compare with the company of friends. Thanks for letting us enjoy your work, John.  And...
 To John, Denny, Tommie, Nanci and Joey... Sandi and I are blessed by your companionship, but it doesn't mean that Joey is out of the barrel for the 23rd.
As you were,
Jay


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thank You Memory on Thanksgiving

I was honored to speak at the 100th Anniversary celebration of the Helen Hayes Theatre last Spring. I  worked on the speech for this event for a very long time. I wanted to get it right.  It was the first time I had been back to the Helen Hayes Theatre since my show closed. I assumed the speech/performance  was just a live event, done and  gone forever.
A few days ago a video of that speech surfaced. There is a "Live" quality to the recording which sometimes makes it difficult to understand but, it is better than a transcript.

I may or may not be writing blogs over the Holidays. You may or not be reading blogs over the Holidays. Whatever you're doing over the holidays may they be filled with joy, gratitude and most of all love.
As you were,
Jay

The Two and Only

Editing the film shoot of "Jay Johnson:The Two and Only" is like trying to cut a trail through a Forrest with cuticle scissors.  Here is a quick trailer.  The music is not my favorite but it was the best of the stock tracks that are Public domain. At any rate, here is a "behind the scenes" promo.  Other trailers to come.
As you were,
Jay

Friday, November 16, 2012

More from Hollywood

Wow do I feel like an international star.  I just received a check for foreign residuals from some of my past acting work.  You never know when these checks will show up. SAG/AFTRA waits until they have an amount big enough to send a check.  This is the distribution accounting.  
As my godson said to me: "Don't spend it all on chewing gum."
Have a great week end and a great Thanksgiving Holiday where ever you choose to celebrate it.
As you were,
Jay

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hooray for Hollywood

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. I have no idea what a moving picture is worth. Here is my thousand word blog for today.
It seems if you wait long enough Hollywood will come looking for you.  Here is what I woke up to today in front of my house.
video
To think that all these people got a job working on a 10 second commercial. That is great.  If I was just in the commercial that would be one more person working.
As you were,
Jay

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Commercials

This is a Churches Fried Chicken commercial I did it the 80's.


I don't know how it is today but back then you did the commercial for scale and were paid based on the number of times and markets it was played.  If it was a national commercial and played a lot then you could make some serious cash. This shoot had a twist that I didn't see coming.
It was a fun day, the crew was great, so I was kidding around with Bob. Churches was in direct competition to McDonalds McNuggets as the dialogue implies. During one of the breaks, for benefit of the crew and director, Bob started going off on McDonalds. He joked about their CEO being a clown named Ronald, he questioned that there was actual chicken in McNuggets. The more the crew laughed, the more extreme Bob and I got. I wasn't paying any attention to what we were saying as long as we were getting crew laughs. (note: for me crew laughs are the best. If you can get a jaded Hollywood film crew to crack up it is a better feeling than almost anything). What I didn't know is that on one of my longer "rolls" with Bob the camera was still rolling.  They had my McDonald rants on film. The director said that they wanted to use some of the "outtakes" for a Churches advertising meeting would it be okay with me.  I casually said, "Sure if it is not going anywhere else."
On a break my agent called to see how it was going.  I told her what fun we were having and that Bob and I had gone off on McDonalds. There was a long silence followed by "What? Do you mean 'go off'?" I explained remembering then some of the jokes we had made at McDonalds expense. 
I proceeded to get a lecture from the agent on what a bad idea that was.  What if McDonalds got a look at the film,  they do tons of advertising and that would insure that they would never hire me. In today's world when film can go viral on the Internet it would have been an even  bigger deal. The agent said she would call the producers to get restrictions on the usage.  For the rest of the day Bob and I were better behaved toward McDonalds.
As it turned out the producers and the ad agency loved the adlib stuff as much as the commercial copy. They wanted to incorporate it into their presentation to Churches, and maybe use it at their next corporate meeting. The agent went back and forth with them and eventually negotiated the restricted use along with a payment to me at my "industrial film" rate. (I didn't know I had an industrial film rate, but that is why you have and agent).
I made a lot of money for the commercial with residuals as it played for the next year, but I made almost that much up front for my "industrial film" contributions.  All in all it was a the most profitable day on a set I have ever spent, and some of the most fun. 
Seven years later McDonalds hired me to do their "industrial tour".  It was at the time the cherry job of corporate shows, 12 cities and 24 shows. I never found out if they saw the film where I roasted them on camera for Churches, really didn't want to know. If Churches followed my agents demands the industrial film was destroyed after it was used once.
As you were,
Jay

Monday, November 12, 2012

Only the Truth is Funny

CIA General Petraeus resigned after he admitted to an affair with a woman who was his biographer. The book she wrote about the General is titled, "All In".  If I wrote that in a script I would immediately be laughed at for having an over active writers libido.
When I was in college, between North Texas University and the Oklahoma border was a motel off the freeway. It was a close enough drive for college kids to have a weekend fling, but far enough away that  the likely hood of being seen by friends (who weren't there for the same purpose) was remote.  The motel was named... "Planet Inn" with a graphic of Saturn on the sign.  Further down the road there was another motel which offered female company for a price and it was named "Walkin' Stick Inn" with a cane on the sign.  I don't believe these names are just random semantic coincidences any more than the liquor store in Beaver, Colorado named "Beaver Liquor".
Being sort of a wordsmith myself I have to admire that sort of plausible deny ability.  When questioned about the "suggestibility" of the name it can be turned on the inquisitor for having such a dirty mind to even think such a thing.  Perhaps I admire it from a purely passive/aggressive point of view.
But back to the retired general head of the CIA. I don't care that he had an affair, and I don't care who he had it with,  extra-marital affairs are not unique among high ranking men. And I am not so sure that this particular dalliance was dangerous to national security. But here is why he had to resign.
If the head of the CIA is not good enough to keep an affair secret... how can he be good enough to keep all the national secrets entrusted to him.
In a week when Republicans are wondering where they went wrong hearing that the great GOP hope for 2016 left the current administration in disgrace is just another defeat.
As you were,
Jay

Saturday, November 10, 2012

UnPopular?

Judging on the volume of email that I receive, I became very unpopular on Wednesday morning of this week.  Something must have happened on Tuesday to change my status.  I am no longer hearing from famous people whom I barely know extolling the virtues of political candidates. It has been days since my congressmen and senators reminded me of what a great job they were doing, and the same amount of time since I heard from others on what a bad job my congressmen and senators were doing.
No one cares about my views on taxes, health care, the economy and "binders full of women" since Tuesday.
 Last week at this time my opinion seemed to be very important.  I was encouraged to sign petitions and give money to organizations that were going to make my "valued" and "wise" opinions known to the world.  I had the weight of saving a nation on my individual shoulders.
Since Tuesday, strangers addressing me as "concerned voter" no longer email me to let me know that I was the most important person in the nation, able to leap tall budgets with a single bound.
What happened? All this activity and urgency to act quickly before some crisis, and just as I was beginning to fear the worst... nothing. No one cares any more.
Although nothing has changed, I feel better.  It is a much better day when most of my emails are Facebook friend requests instead of donation requests. I never thought I would look forward to a picture posting of what a friend had for lunch.
In this day when popularity is based on clicks, hits, likes and shares, it seems my standing has declined considerable. Based on sheer volume and Internet statistics my aggregate esteem has suffered considerably since Tuesday night.
It would be easy to perceive it just a coincidence until I compare that drop in activity to an equal drop in my popularity with robots.  Last week I could count on getting phone calls from at least five robotic voices during the dinner hour alone.  It was difficult to eat on Wednesday night because the phone was silent. I am beginning to think that I can no longer salivate unless there is a bell ringing.
When was it that all those bad things were supposed to happen? To my way of thinking, nothing seems to have changed since Tuesday, the sky is not falling and the wolf is not huffing and puffing at my front door.  Everything is the same but nobody is telling me what a pickle I am in since Tuesday. I have lost nothing except popularity.
As you were,
Jay

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Election Day- Oxymoron

I am glad the election is over.  I really thought that as contentious as it was in the campaign it would be a much more dramatic and drawn out ending. The anti-climax was almost a disappointment.  We didn't get to see a third of the video tricks John King's magic screen could accomplish.  
So... it is time to move on or stay put or whatever this election means.  The problem is that after all the money spent and all the hoopla, we are no closer to having a government that works.  It is still an uncompromising behemoth that does not know the meaning of compromise or negotiate.  We used to be a government that could work together to find common ground for the good of the nation in spite of political differences.  My fear is that today is not the ending of the 2012 campaign, but the beginning of the 2016 run for an open presidency.  
But... as for me,  I am moving on.  
Yesterday I was walking Boo on a beautiful California day. She became distracted by one of the yards in my neighborhood.  Before I realized what had happened she ran into a yard newly fertilized with manure.  I pulled on her leash and told her to come and she slowly wondered toward me but stopped. It was there in the neighbor's  yard she decided  to "do her business"... "make a pit stop"...."share a tootsie roll"... she took a shit... okay? 
In an action that can only be described as "reverse Pavlov's psychology" I began unfurling a doo doo bag to dispose of the gifts my dog had shared with the neighbor's yard.  That is when the significance of this knee jerk reaction hit me.  There I was carefully trying to remove dog shit from a lawn covered in cow shit.  At almost the same moment I remembered it was election day and I needed to vote. I needed to do my civic duty to make a selection between types of shit.  The metaphor was too close in my mind. 
As you were,
Jay 

Monday, November 05, 2012

Argo F yourself

If you have seen the movie Argo you will know the reference to this title. Sandi and I saw the movie this weekend in the Archlight Movie theatre at the Galleria.  I'm not a movie critic, but it is a good movie and well worth seeing for my entertainment value.
If you have never seen a movie in the Los Angeles area before, there is a different code of courtesy here than in most cities that every movie goer abides by.  Since there is a greater likely - hood of people who worked on the movie living here; the audiences stay through the credits to see their own name or the name of friends.  That is just the way it works.
So when an older man dashed out the emergency exit to the right of the screen the minute the credits began to roll flooding the theatre with light, everyone took notice.  Toward the end of the credits there was a distinct knocking on the exit door where the man had left.  Obviously it did not lead where he thought and he could not get back in.  The knock continued louder.  It eventually became a pounding.
There was a giggle that wafted through the audience as everyone became aware of what had happened to the "discourteous man".   The knock continued.  Even louder than the knock was the voice from a patron in the back of the theatre yelling..... "Don't let him in".  There was another laugh from the audience as everyone began exiting through the proper doors.  Finally an usher came to the man's rescue, the rest of the audience ignored him. 
As reality imitates art, borrowing from the tag line in the movie.... "Argo F---- yourself, Mr." 
As you were,
Jay

Thursday, November 01, 2012

All Saints Day

Happy All Saints day, better known as sugar hangover day.  

As you were,
Jay

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ghouls and Zombies at OHS

Orchard Hardware Supply is the nearest hardware store to my house.  Sometimes I go over and walk around just to get a rush of testosterone.  Most of the time I am not looking for something specific, just visiting all the tools.  Today I was actually looking for a certain cabinet latch to replace one that is broken in the kitchen.
I am not above asking for help when looking for an item.  As a matter of fact I had to ask several clerks to even find the section that I should look in today. It may be that men don't ask for directions because we can't follow them when they are given to us.  Even after someone told me what I was looking for is on aisle 14, I didn't find the latch right away. I wondered around thinking I would see a sign saying, "Over here, Jay". That never happened.
The store has all of its Halloween merchandise on the push aisles displayed all over the store.  Some of the employees were dressed in costume. There is a sort of "unfinished" haunted house feeling to the store right now. That added to the illusion that struck me on my mission.
I saw a bunch of guys my age walking around in a daze looking for the same "Over Here" sign that I thought would be there for me.  I passed some of them several times and it became obvious that none of us knew where we were going or in some cases what we were even doing there. We all had this bewildered look on our faces shuffling along not to fast lest we walk right past the item we needed. 
Being that it was all Halloween-ed out I suddenly saw us as Zombies and Ghouls lusting for human brains, and like the stereotypical male Zombies we were had no  clue where the human brain section started.  One older man in particular was perfectly cast as a Zombie except for the wondering eye.  He never looked at me but kept his gaze at "lower shelf level" with his mouth a gape and limping a little. I passed him four times and he was still wondering when I checked out.
The clerk who was not in costume said, "You're in a good mood today."   I said, "Who doesn't like Halloween?" She looked up to see a long line of Zombieisque handymen waiting to check out  and said, "Me."
 As you were,
Jay



Monday, October 29, 2012

What's on your mind?

Two Days till.....

I found a count down clock to Halloween in the gaget section of the google blog stuff.  It was nice, good graphic but it came with an ad that was bigger than the clock and it could not be deleted. You would think as much revenue as Google generates on pop up ads and paid for searches they could let the Halloween count down clock go naked.
How dare Google commercialize an other wise respectful holiday?
As you were,
Jay

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween

There is something about Halloween that will always be special to me. There are many reasons both personal and universal.
On the universal level, what is not to like about Halloween? It is not a family holiday so there are no worries about celebrating together or traveling to be with family.  Not that this is bad a bad thing, it just sometimes adds to the complications of celebrating the Holidays.  
Halloween celebrates the strange and unusual, the dark side of the moon, the yen to the yang, the naughty over the nice. You get to dress up like someone or something else and there are no rules about what is appropriate garb.  Top all that off with the fact that as a kid you get candy just for ringing some one's doorbell. The perfect holiday.
Outside my window
For me, my first venture on the stage was at Halloween.  Abernathy, Texas where I grew up used to celebrate Halloween with a parade, a costume contest and a Harvest Play every year at the school auditorium. As a kid I was called upon to be in those productions. I have played cowboys, ghosts, and been the official crown bearer for the Harvest Queen.  I loved being in those shows and always looked forward to it.  To top it off after the show we could go trick or treating and get enough candy to cause a sugar overdose of energy. Perhaps it was a psychological connection to the stage,  perform... get candy... even Pavlov's Dogs would become hooked.  
Later in life when Harry Anderson and I teamed up we produced some of the greatest Halloween shows the Comedy and Magic Club has ever seen. (Jay said modestly).  These shows gave birth to some of my favorite vent characters, some are still with me.  There was Long John LaFeat, Nethernore and Log Chainey the wooden killer. Log Chainey was the star of the show for a couple of years.  He is a 7 foot monster that looks like one of the evil trees in the Wizard of Oz. He comes on stage dragging me by the  torso and proceeds to become enraged with every wood joke that I tell. It is a unique body costume switch that Kirk Thatcher and I designed. Log was too complicated to make it into the cast of "The Two and Only" but Long John and Nethernore made the Broadway cut. 
Before Harry moved away from Los Angeles we worked months on a "walk through" haunted house in the basement of his Pasadena house.  We pulled out all the stops and raided Harry's vast supply of body parts and magic tricks to amaze the participants.  Mike Caveney even called it the best Haunted House he had ever seen and called his friend David Copperfield to tell him about it.  David arrived a couple of days after Halloween for a personal tour.  It included a severed head that would turn into a werewolf when "moon light" was shined on it.  The moon light was a simple flashlight which anyone could shine on the head, but the effect was mind blowing.  David was impressed.
Every year I create Fredrick the Frightening.  Fredrick started as a simple scarecrow/life-sized mannequin when I was a kid. He grew in design and structure over the years as I was able to find more grotesque and magical head/faces for the guy. The head I liked the best was a foam rubber pumpkin that had a very frightening expression.  I added glass taxidermy lion eyes and it was truly frightening.  After several years the foam began to decay and Sandi tossed it before I could retrieve the eyes.  If we were ever going to divorce that would have done it... but even expensive taxidermy eyes are no where near the value of a soul mate like Sandi.  
This year with a very simple optical illusion Frederick will turn his head and follow you where ever you walk in a room.  Since our neighborhood is gated and no sidewalks we don't get any trick or treaters so Frederick will spend the night at the Williams house nearby.  They get over 200 little ghosts and ghouls and he will be appreciated by a larger audience.  Be afraid kids... be very afraid.
Five more days.... can't wait.
As you were,
Jay 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gas Light

After my blog yesterday about Boo, I now think that my life compares more with the film Gaslight than Vertigo.  I have exposed my weakness for making over Boo in the image of Smooch. Armed with that information here is what some of my friends are sending me.  
No offense to Kim Novak or any members of here fan club or family.  The picture wasn't intended as any editorial toward an iconic movie star. She even makes this incarnation beautiful. 
Rather this clever composite is a statement that friends who know me as well as my son are aware of my canine obsession.  Yikes... my opaque personality and obsessions have been outed. 
I find this picture compelling and just a little bit disturbing.  It makes me stutter in a quintessential Jimmy Stewart manner.  I have never been comfortable with heights and look pretty good in a 50's suit and fedora.  I think I have found my Halloween costume.  I will dress up as John "Scottie" Ferguson. I doubt that I can find the costume in this photo for Boo, but my delusions are obviously working over time so it should work in the mind of Jayland.
Thank you Marjorie.... LOL and OMG.
As you were,
Jay

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A story about a Dog

My oldest son returned a week ago from living in Berlin for the last six years. It was his first time to meet Boo, my dog.  He thinks I spoil her. I tell him I was much tougher raising little boys.
I'm not sure anyone agrees with my method of Boo training and it particularly fails to compare with the discipline of German dogs. My dog is no "Ich bin ein Berliner"  by breed or behavior. Perhaps my son is judging her by culturally different standards. Boo is better behaved than Smooch, our first dog, although it is amazing how similar they are in most other respects. 
Portait of Boo 
Regarding my relationship with Boo my son recently made reference to an Alfred Hitchcock movie. It was an amusingly erudite reference typical of my son's keen observation and intelligence.   I can't seem to get it out of my mind.
The reference was to Vertigo  a 1958 psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock based on the 1954 novel D'entre les morts by Boileau-Narcejac. The screenplay written by Alec Coppel and Samuel A. Taylor.
Most people will know it as Alfred Hitchcock's Jimmy Stewart, Kim Novak movie.  You can go to Wikipedia and read the plot.  This guy falls in love with a woman who commits suicide.  He becomes obsessed with another woman, and attempts to dress her and style her in the image of the dead lady.  At the end of the movie we discover the woman is the same person in a twisted murder plot that ends in tragedy. 
But this is a dog story.
Smooch was a dog we adopted from my brother-in-law. I was close to Smooch but she was not my dog. She was mostly attached to my youngest son and she was a good family dog. Smooch developed an illness and it became necessary to ease her pain and put her down.  No one wanted her to go through it alone, but nobody wanted to be there for it either.  As Father of the family, it was my duty to see Smooch on her way. I had been the "one in  charge" at the death of Peanut the rat,  Gilley the Frog, and Renfield the cat. For those events I only had to deal with the after math of death.  For Smooch my presence was required to be there for the moment. I never felt closer to Smooch than when she was drifting away in my lap. That experience affected me profoundly.  
We didn't have any pets for several years after that. I only wanted a dog if it could be exactly like Smooch in training and personality.  I doubted that we would ever find a dog like Smooch. If cloning was an affordable option I might have considered it.  If not Smooch, better to be without a dog.
A little more than a year ago I heard about a dog needing a home while I was winning at a poker game. The dog belonged to a celebrity friend of a friend. The dog was four years old, 20 pounds, trained, vaccinated and cute.  I asked what kind of dog it was and the poker hostess said, "Blond". 
At the encouragement of my wife I got a picture and more information on the dog.  She was a blond cockapoo who looked remarkably like Smooch.  In a few days when I finally met Boo it was love at first sight and she became my dog. Boo is so similar in personality I call her Smooch occasionally still.
Is my son right in his film comparison? Am I obsessing? Am I Jimmy Stewart and is Boo Kim Novak? Am I trying to reanimate puppy love lost, in the image of a new blond cockapoo? Am I trying to recast a relationship with Boo that I only had with Smooch for the last moments of her life?  Who would even make that connection to Vergtigo  and cause me to wonder but my loving son who has been gone for awhile?  
I'm under the delusion that I'm a complicated person, but the more I try to be opaque the more transparent I become. That is why we have family... to point out that fact.
As you were,
Jay

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Di Vinci Code

I doubt that Leonardo would have published his drawings on the web. That is the difference between Mr. DiVinci and myself, among other things. As for me, since there have been no scientific journals hounding me for this information, I share it with the blogosphere.  
One warning... do not take time for granted. If indeed life's pause button has been found, make sure the moment is right to time travel.  Also, know where you are going.  There is so much time and so little now.
These are actual notes taken during my Time Capsule experiments.  For some reason the time machine could not be found for a day.  In an effort to document my attempt to"find" it, I took careful notes using my best drawing pen.  What I found was compelling and unexpected.  
With all our clocks synced to each other via the internet, radio frequencies and atomic seconds there should have been no variance in time. That is why this finding was so baffling.
Using my iPhone and iPad along with my computer I worked all day on the project.  I eventually found the Time Machine and the Time capsule. Looking back on the last few measurements I realized the calculations show a "time gap". It shows that for 31 minutes time stood still.  I believe the time machine made a jump into an alternative universe that is ahead of us by a few minutes.  Since those events have yet to happen in our universe, but are past in the alternate, it would be impossible to exist there.  
Mrs. Williams always told us to show our work so here it is.  

















As you were, 
Jay

Monday, October 22, 2012

Magic Castle

I just finished a week at the Magic Castle.  I always have a great time when I am there performing. What a unique place to work.  
I find that magicians have the best stories.  Mike Caveney works with a live chicken on stage and told me this one involving livestock productions.  
It seems that a friend of his was going to do the "duck bucket" trick at the Castle.  As you might expect that trick involves producing a live duck from an empty bucket.  (No I can't tell you how it works because of the Magicians code of secrecy). It doesn't matter since the story does not involve the production method anyway. 
The magician didn't want to travel with a real duck so he decided to get one when he got to Los Angeles.  The place to get a live duck is Chinatown, so that is where he ended up.  He was directed to a shop keeper with a pen of ducks for sale.  The magician wanted just the right one as far as size and color.  He looked at all of them and found a white one that was just right.  Although the merchant did not understand his reasons for wanting a specific duck, he finally isolated the one the magician wanted.
In one well perfected move he grabbed the duck threw it down on the chopping block quickly cutting off its head saying, "You like me to take off feathers." 
Little did the duck know that he was just moments away from going into Show business.
As you were,
Jay

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What goes around....

It was my friend Harry's birthday this last weekend.  It was great to see him, but it was like the best High School reunion at the party.  Many people I have not seen in a long time were there.  My friend Turk made the trip from Austin, Texas.  
Turk has two girls that are now seniors, one in High School and one in College.  The youngest made a profound statement the other day, Turk said.  It seems that they had misplaced the cordless phone in the house and were turning it upside down to find it.  Lilly said, "They ought to make a phone with a cord on it that attaches to the wall so you would always know where it is."  
The exponential growth of wireless, cordless, remote and blue tooth devices has eclipsed the old days when you had to find a phone booth to make a call on the road.
As you were,
Jay

Friday, October 12, 2012

Time to Think Again...

Spalding Gray did a monologue about living in Los Angeles for a year. He was bothered by the weather and the season change... because basically there is none here in LA. He said that he kept waiting for the winter weather to come so he felt like staying inside and writing. To quote: "When will it be winter so I can wear corduroy and think again."
That statement is particularly relevant at this moment. Yesterday the sky opened and it began to rain. Today the rain is gone but it is overcast and cool enough to wear a sweatshirt when I walk to the Coffee Bean and hang out in doors. Spalding is right. With the sun gone it is time to "think again."
I have become aware of how this blog has changed over the years. I wanted it to be an honest narrative of my life and my feelings. It took me a while to realize this desire is a paradox, and although the thoughts are honest they are also public. After a few publications went semi-viral I realized that being vague is a lot less trouble than being honest.
There have been so many "twists" to the filming of my show it would read like a James Bond novel if I could be honest. Unfortunately I can't. Being honest would not accomplish anything from a business stand point no matter how good it would feel to get it off my chest. Perhaps this is the problem Nostradamus faced in his day. It could be why he disguised his thoughts in quatrains. He had to keep them cryptic in order not to be burned at the stake. Why not use the same device. So here goes, an exercise for me to keep my sanity and a conundrum for the "son of a bitch" of my wrath. Decrypt this and bite me you f----- idiot. Yeah, you.... you know who you are.... I'm talkin' to you.
The French lawyers with their small interest have killed the way for the rest.
They cover their past mistakes by claiming they are looking out for the best.
Their insults and posture are hubris and ultimately nothing but abuse.
We move forward as they regress, determining the way and its use

As you were,
Jay

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Attention Span and Life

Blogs to Tweets.  
How much time can we spare to listen to someone else?  Well, not always listen, we read or text our interactions now. 
So, How much time can we spare to read about someone else? 
It seems the current human attention span is of the second and dropping.  We are all constantly connected to everybody who is connected so we can "share" what is going on in our life. Aren't we all just talking to ourselves? Who is actually paying attention to what we are doing except ourselves?  
So, the shorter the better... Tweets over Blogs.  Speed over content.  The quicker the thought the better because it will not be retained more than seconds (and dropping) anyway.  I am the only one listening so I might as well say it quick and get on with myself.  Short and aBrvi8ed:  :0
Life is like an unfinished...... 
or is that death?

As I am,
Jay

Friday, October 05, 2012

The Great Divide

I remember I was in High School during a presidential campaign that was contentious.  Although not as contentious as the last few have been, it was still a divided electorate. In my government class there was a girl I had a crush on.  She was cute and perky and on the drill team squad.  
Being a shy kid I was mostly admiring her from afar.  She seemed to do everything with such charm and grace. Then one day she walked into class wearing a campaign button.  The button portrayed the picture of the "other" candidate.
Neither one of us was old enough to vote yet, but that was the nail in the coffin in our "never to be" romance.  How could she feel strongly enough to sport a button of a man I was sure would ruin the country and destroy my budding adult life? Obviously I was wrong about how smart and aware she was.
She didn't seem so cute and perky after that.  I became aware that she was stuck up and snooty, just like all those drill team girls. Now I knew why she had not given me the time of day, she was one of the "others" and obviously living in a household of adults who had no clue about what was good for America.  That was it... a relationship that was nipped in the bud.
Back then presidential elections did not go on 24/7 and once we had elected a President it was over until the conventions of the next election cycle four long years away.  Once the campaign yard signs came down, everyone began to look the same.  I would be out of high school by the time the next one came along.
At the end of that school year I found myself paired with this drill team queen on a student council committee. Only months before, this would have been my chance to move in on her in my non-confrontational shy way... but after that "button incident" it was just another duty to fill.
To my surprise we got along very well. We had a common cause to help the school in whatever way we could.  She was funny and clever in addition to being just perky and cute. We never mentioned politics or the Presidential election or party affiliations or anything connected to the button she once wore.  After many years of looking at high school as a distant memory and me moving away from Texas, we remained friends.  We even connect on FaceBook occasionally, until yesterday.
There it was. A picture of "the other" candidate on her FaceBook status with an invitation to "Like" his page and join his camp....  Delete.... "Fool me once... shame on me... fool me twice... you uninformed skank".  
I don't think I am the only one who is acting like a dumbstruck teenager in this election.  Can we just get it over with so I can get back to my adult life and see my friends as people, not some tool of the wrong political party?
As you were,
Jay



Monday, October 01, 2012

Graphic Monday

In the attempt to distill art I have come up with this diagram.
As you were,
Jay

Friday, September 28, 2012

Andy Williams

There are many reasons to remember Andy Williams. Besides all of the obvisous like great entertainer, great singer, hip and classy, successful variety show host, and icon of the Christmas season, I have my own to add.
I was the opening act for  his last Andy Williams Christmas Show Tour. We had a plane to travel in and my seat was across from Andy. He was not always "on" like some entertainers. He was as easy as he appeared to be on stage.  His stories came out of those relaxed moments of conversation and he had great stories. Being a wanna be story teller myself I hung on every word and every chance to listen or ask a question that might lead him into one of these great stories.  My favorite Andy Williams story involves one of my other heros Edgar Bergen. 
Edgar Bergen died at Ceasar's Palace, Las Vegas.  He was performing in the Andy Williams Show. Andy was a big fan of Mr. Bergen who had recently announced his retirement. Andy begged him to do one more Vegas turn in The Andy Williams Show before he stopped performing. Andy said he didn't care if he did the whole two weeks of the run; if he wanted to he could do a week or just a few days. Andy just wanted him in the show.  Edgar agrees.  After mentioning it was their retirement show Edgar and Charlie took their curtain call to Andy Williams singing the "September Song". All of that I knew already, but here is the story Andy told me. 
Midway through the first week Andy's road manager comes to the suite earlier in the day than usual.  Tennison Flowers looks forlorne and Andy asks what's wrong. Tennison says, "Edgar Bergen is gone." Andy says, "Well, we all knew it might happen." Tennison agrees sadly. Andy continues, "It was good we had him here as long as we did. So what do you think we should do?"  
Tennison says that is exactly why he is there so early to try and figure it all out.  Andy says, "I guess we better replace him.  Can we get someone by tonight? I'm sure someone local can come in and do 20 minutes, right?" Tennison says, "Replace him, you just want to replace him...just like that?"  Andy relies, "Well, I don't think we have to make a big deal about it. "  Tennison says,"Are you sure we don't need to at least say something?" 
Andy, "I don't see why, I wasn't sure he would last the week. We just get a comic or someone and the show will be fine."  
"I don't know if I agree with that. The man was a legend,  his death is going to be big news." 
"Wait... Edgar Bergen is dead?"
"That's what we have been talking about."
Andy thought Tennison was telling him that Edgar had decided to go back home.  Of course it was a big deal, they did not replace and a tribute was done.
Andy's Birthday is in December so we celebrated it on the road in St Louis. I gave him a birthday card that said, "It is unsettling for a ventriloquist to be in the show that killed Edgar Bergen."  He laughed.
So it is another good bye to a friend named Andy this year.  They are gone but great memories remain.
As you were, 
Jay

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Intellectual Property Recycle or Garage Sale?




Long time readers of this blog will remember psychic readings, like the one republished below, which would appear at this URL from time to time. In fact it was a weekly-weekend feature of The World is a Stage for several months in 2008 and 2009. That was a time when I assumed I could take off from writing on the weekends.  I know now that an artist must adopt the work habits of the muse and always be ready to "articicate." 

FROM: 

Saturday, November 15, 2008


My thanks to Madam Tnek the psychic tarot card expert and seer for this reading today. Until recently Madam Tnek had a small store front on Ventura Blvd and Haskell in Encino, CA. The neon sign out front read, "Madam Knows the Future for everyone." Recently she closed the store from lack of business. Wait a minute, didn't she know?


The Single Tarot Card Reading for Today -

Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008
King of Wands: The essence of fire behaving as air, such as lightning: A great and daring leader who inspires others to rise to challenges alongside him. An artist who can take hold of an idea and make it a reality through bold action. One who is forceful, charismatic, and honest, leading by example, but unafraid to invest authority in others. A dashing and magnetic personality, carrying authority naturally, and striking at the world with swiftness and grace.
________________________________________


These "features" were created in advance and timed to be published on a schedule.  Other attempts at running themes were  Medium Rare's Weakly Astrological Projection . For entertainment purposes only. 
I actually wrote the text for the zodiac signs myself. That way I was sure no one could claim prediction plagiarism. I just wrote a few sets and then switched them from sign to sign. So far no one has noticed.  We tend to read only our own sign and ignore the rest.   
The soap opera of Jam Shade actually exists in my sketch book as a cartoon series.  Produced by National Visual Radio I thought I could just jpeg the cartoons.  That process was not satisfactory.  So I attempted to recreate the short lived adventures of Jam Shade (Bflat 7th) Dyslexic Detective.  in blogsy html. It was quickly replaced on line by imaginary blog editor J Arthur Tildad with the Magic 8-Ball: "answers to your future". That feature was unceremoniously cancelled by the creator from total lack of continuing interest.  The only reason all of this was brought to my attention was because the stats say two people read this Saturday, November 15, 2008 blog... yesterday. It is the first time it has been read since, you guessed it, Saturday, November 15, 2008. I have no clue why, now? But, everything reminds me of something now-a-days. 
See there I did it again. Published a blog with practically no original thought. Totally relied on past attempts at original thought. I suppose there isn't a shelf life on thought.  Thought is the raw material of intellectual property. Therefore... no expiration date on expression.
As you were,
Jay 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Reviews...

I have a rule about reading reviews of my performances.
I don't, if I can avoid it.
In the early days of my career I was just so excited that someone would write about my act that I was eager to see what they said. It seemed like part of the entertainer's romantic myth.  Waiting at Sardi's to see if your show is a hit.
For me stalking reviews was never satisfying and more often heart-breaking.  More importantly... the information pointed out in a review, good or bad, never helped me make better choices on stage.
At some point I realized I could save the energy spent listening to what someone else said about my show, and use the energy listening to my own heart.  It cancels regrets later, you never have to say to yourself, "What I wanted to do," or "What I should have done was..."  If you follow your heart you make the most satisfying decisions.
That said, this can not be considered a review. This is a note I received from Jimmy Nelson.  I did not ask his permission to publish it here on the blog.  I hope he doesn't mind but I want the world to know how much it means to me.   The way I figure it, if a ventriloquist gets a letter from the Dean of American Ventriloquists, and in my opinion the Dean of ALL Ventriloquists, it seems appropriate to share it.  So here goes:

Hello Jay.
Just a few thoughts about our recent get-together in Wilmington.
Jay, you never cease to amaze me with your many talents. I've always admired you for your obvious vent
talents...impeccable lip control, manipulation, etc. But to watch you work in three back to back performances of "The Two and Only" was a revelation. How you manage to keep all those voices sharp and clear, and your timing perfect, must hark back to your ten-plus shows a day at Six Flags!  And even then you weren't on stage for almost two hours continuously!  You are truly a Renaissance Man in the vent world!
I want to thank you for allowing Betty and me to participate in this special event.
The DVD will entertain audiences, but for me it will archive your talents for years to come.

Betty & I send our love to you and Sandi.

'Till we meet again,

Jimmy

I have written a pre-rebuttal right here in a previous blog on  Wednesday, January 26, 2011.  
To find favor with those of whom you favor is the most satisfying review an artist could receive. Thank you, Mr. Nelson.
As you were,
Jay (Officially Half-Nelson)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dyslexic Spelieng..

As I was unpacking from Wilmington I found this note among the receipts and other documents I brought home.  It is a packing note I wrote to myself before making the trip.
It just proves that technology has not out paced the use of a ball point pen.  In addition to the spelling mistake, there is an indication that purchasing is easier than laundry in some cases.
You can lead a dyslexic out of stupid class, but you can't make him spell.
As you were,
Jay

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hallowed Eve is Near

Spring Fever.... Autumn what?

I had to get a new battery for my wrist watch.  For a day and a half I thought it was 10:55. That is what time the watch stopped.  I would look at the watch, realize it was not working then get the time from my phone.  I would forget quickly that the watch was not working and go through the same process several times over the weekend.  I needed a new battery,so I went to Fashion Square to my "watch guy".  I know it is a sign of my age that I actually use and wear a Wrist watch.  Most people today use their phone to tell the time.  I find that a little cumbersome, digging my phone out of my pocket and waking it up just to see what time it is. However, looking at a wrist watch is something like writing and mailing a picture postcard in today's connected public.
While at the mall I decided to hang out and see if the environment would be conducive to writing a blog.  I had my trusty iPad and keyboard.  I found a great place with a table just the right height for typing.  There is an original Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf there so I was well oiled for the attempt. There was just one thing wrong, I couldn't seem to get any sort of thought/writing flow going. There was no inspiration at the dining  circle of Fashion Square even though I had the place almost to myself.
Just a doodle on my iPad thinking about Halloween.
I don't know if there is a reciprocal state of mind for an autumnal version of spring fever, but I have always been susceptible to something this time of year.  It makes me inhale differently.  I get a smile on my face when I walk out the door, the angle of the light and the slight change in the temperature just make me happy.  I start thinking about Halloween, my favorite holiday.  My friend and teacher John McLean called autumn the "champagne of seasons" yesterday.  Eloquently said and for me inspired truth.
The summer seemed to be all about getting ready for the filming of the show.  Suddenly it is done and with that, a let down... but a change in season brings me back up. Here is hoping you are feeling the same excitement today and for the rest of the year.   
As you were, 
Jay

Friday, September 21, 2012

What would you say?

I got a FaceBook message yesterday.  A screen capture of that message is published below.  I blurred the identifying information like they do in those true crime television shows, you know, to protect the innocent and all. Other than that this is the actual message.  Okay, and the profile picture of the devil was my idea...only trying to protect the innocent.
Here it is just as I got it....   How would you answer?

















"How would you answer" is a rhetorical question.  While I would never actually answer a FaceBook message in this manner, my knee jerk response is:


"You certainly may have a moment of my time.  That was it.  I hope it was great for you too. "

Never give a person who thinks he's funny an opening line.

As you were,
On Happy Friday,
Jay

Thursday, September 20, 2012

HD Mentia

I am not exactly sure what I said at the curtain call Saturday night when I introduced Jimmy Nelson at Historic Thalian Hall. There was nothing written. I was prepared to do it with the directors blessing of camera coverage.  I decided I would speak from my heart in that moment. That is what my show is about so it seemed natural. To thank Jimmy Nelson for being the inspiration to thousands like me who have heard the call of an inner voice should come easily from my heart.
However, I discounted the sheer power and emotion this moment would have.  To realize as you talk about the history of ventriloquism, one of the greatest ventriloquists of the 20th century, the only living legend of that era, currently sits in the audience, is to realize a moment of speechlessness.  Unfortunately in moments like this my mouth begins to speak before my consciousness gives it permission; consciousness then forgets the entire verbal discourse so it can't be blamed for the unauthorized dialogue.
The same dumbstruck amnesia has erased what I said about Murphy, Sandi, John Ivy, Bryan and I remember nothing about mis-pronouncing Marge's last name. 
The shout outs from stage could have gone on for much longer.  Sitting close enough for me to see their smiles was Annie Roberts and Lisa Sweasy. How great to have the historians and keepers of ventriloquist history come to participate in this moment. Because of my friendship and affections for these ladies, I forget the impact of having W. S. Berger and Vent Haven Museum represented at this filming.  In later moments of reflection I realize how blessed I am with friends like Annie and Lisa.  It is only later that I have the words because, the moment is all to overwhelming.
This memory erase is caused by the psychological stress of multiple HD cameras imprinting digital images from the stage. I do not think this mental condition has been identified before so I claim the discovery in the name of science.  I name this condition of digitally induced amnesia "HD Mentia."

To everyone working at presenting the show or working at enjoying it... to Lori, Bob, and David, peers in the artform... and especially to Betty and Jimmy ... Thank you....you all made it happen. 
Marge and Bryan you led the charge and gave quarter to the troupes. You believed, but more than that you acted upon that belief with your talents.  
John you continually amaze me with the wide brush your artistry covers.  You are a modern theatrical Renaissance man.  
Murphy you are Captain of the Heart for "the two and only", and channel energies to the performance that are of "more than ordinary significance".   
Sandi after four decades I have run out of words to express my love for you. Beyond my deficiency of vocabulary, you know, in the silence, that you are my muse, my lover, my friend and the reason I do what I do.
As you were,
Jay