Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Upgrade on Ghosts
This is not to be considered an ad or
an implied endorsement, review, recommendation,
copyright infringement, or any association with
this product other than this mention in this blog
For Entertainment Only - no Wagering. 
A thought set in motion continues in motion until replaced by another thought in motion. The thoughts cancel each other out if they are of opposing frequencies, or join together and become stronger if they are of the same frequency. *

It is almost June and ghosts are in the air. Just as I am remembering the ghost of the Helen Hayes, I get a notification for an upgrade to my Ghost-O-Meter. Anyone with iPhone apps gets these kinds of notices, but  upgrade on my ghost detector just seemed like ironic timing. Let me Explain.
The app is called the Ghost-0-Meter. 
 It detects ghosts, or so it claims. I have this app for two reasons: One, because there might be an actual chance it might work; two, I'm interested in the phenomenon of ghosts. I love a good ghost story and seek them out. As some know.
The interface to this program/research tool is a tube cabinet radio device circa, 1920's  Spiritual Movement. (See the pirated photo above). A single dial gages the strength of the signal or ghost. When the dial goes past the red and reaches maximum a bulb glows brighter until it registers that energy as a ghost.  By following the signal you can follow the path if the ghost.   But being a better than average Ghost detector myself, I am skeptical.
Although an iPhone can receive all kinds of different electrical signals, what is the app reacting to? I am not sure we have discovered the frequency of "ghost." There is no doubt that the device registers something; it could be just sensing the tiny movements in your grasp. Perhaps a GPS position. Or perhaps it is just a random order of code that never really repeats.   It is much like an electronic Ouija Board several meanings can be read into the movement of a dial. Tool or toy, I'm not sure. But I do know that the device was very active at the 700 year old hotel in Praha.  Elsewhere it was not as active with the same movements of the device. The Ghost-0-Meter registered 9 ghosts in a matter of half an hour. Evidently there could have been more here is the upgrade notice:
Upgrade: Corrected a bug that prevented  5.1 devices from saving the number of ghosts detected. 
That is all.
As you were,

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hellen Hayes Theatre 100 years old

I was in honorable company yesterday but the star of the show was the theatre herself. Just for posterity here is a transcript of my short speech. I gave the staff a shout out by name at the end that was unplanned. I had a great time.

Helen Hayes Theatre at 100 years old
It is really wonderful to be back on this stage. I have not stood on this spot since we closed my show. The theatre is exactly the way I remember it except for one thing. When I was here the seats were blue, today they are red and filled. It is difficult to believe that this theatre is 100 years old, until you flush the downstage dressing room toilet.

Like everyone else who has been here, the moment I arrived I never wanted to leave. Being a television and comedy club guy I really didn't know the proper theatrical etiquette and superstitions. However, I quickly tried to learn about them so as not to anger the gods of the theatre and jinx the run. I even found out that the Helen Hayes theatre had it's own set of unique rituals and superstitions. I tried to perform them to the letter in the best manner I could. I eventually found out these special rituals were actually stunts created by Joe Beck the lighting tech. It became a joke to see if I would actually do them. No one warned me about the wicked humor of Joe Beck.
During the run of the show I saw the door behind that lighting alcove open. From the ambient light I could see it was an elderly woman with glasses, she peered in and looked around. After realizing there was a show going on she closed the door rather quickly so as not to disturb.
After the show I mentioned it to my stage manager and casually asked how one would access the hallway to that door. The word came back that there was no hallway up there. Well, perhaps it was not a hallway, but how would one get to the doors behind the alcoves. The word came back that there were no doors to those alcoves. I found this really hard to believe since I had seen it with my own eyes and called bull shit when I found out the source of this empirical information was Joe Beck.
It was not until Joe offered to set a ladder up to prove there was no door that I began to think of the event in paranormal terms. It was there after referred to as the time I saw a ghost in the theatre. From that moment on any unusual event that did not involve Joe Beck was attributed to the ghost
It finally came time to close my show.
In the lobby after the last show we had champagne and of course goodbye speeches. In my speech I said I intended to pack up a couple of the ghosts in my trunks and take them on the road with me so I wouldn't miss the theatre so much.
However, Susan Meyerberg reminded me that contractually I could not take any ghosts with me. And rather was obligated by tradition to even leave some behind.

There is a point to the story. This building is named after the first lady of the American Theatre. One of the very few theaters on Broadway to ever be named for a woman. And for me that could not be more relevant. A theatre, like most living things becomes that for which it is known. This is known as the Helen Hayes, it seems to have taken on the nurturing and graciously mothering traits of the feminine while embracing the beauty of a consummate artist. This theatre is the mother and the shows are her children. For those of us who have been reborn in this artistic womb we have a notable pedigree.
My show was not one of her most famous children, one of her most profitable children, nor one of her history making children. My show is simply one of her most appreciative and grateful children. At one hundred years old I can not give this theatre anything she does not already possess. But like a perfect mother she does not take she only gives.
So Susan, I disobeyed, I did take that ghost with me. It lives in my heart with so many other memories of being here. Marty, Happy birthday, happy anniversary, happy journeys. Thanks for making me part of this family.
As you were,

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Prague in my rear view Mirror

I am feeling a little better and have tried to get back to enjoying New York and mentally reviewing our trip to Europe. I found this blog almost finished and ready to publish. I suppose I was waiting for a better wifi and forgot that I had started it. Although close to a week late it is an impression of Praha at the time.
We are on the way home from Prague, Praha, with a stop in Dusseldorf before boarding a plane to JFK. We had a great time and it was definitely a great place to celebrate a major wedding anniversary. There is a great charm in a place that considers the 700 year old part of the city the New town.
However, it was over run with tourists, and we were told that this isn't even the busy season. One person said that at the peak of the season people can wait for 45 minutes just to walk across the Charles Bridge, which is a major attraction. In my opinion it was too crowded when we walked across when we were there.
Now I am more comfortable with capitalism than my son when it comes to cashing in on an attraction, but I do think that the Pragians have taken commercialization to a extreme. At the Prague Castle, which is a major attraction and still the seat of government, there is a section of the original village behind the protected wall. There is a fee to get on the Castle grounds and there is an additional charge to go through the village. These are very small houses with door ways that are five and a half feet tall. It is charming to see a village almost a thousand years old still standing, but they have turned the small houses into souvenir shops hocking all the usual stuff one can find all over Prague. Basically you pay a fee to visit a hybrid medieval mall.
One other observation. I did not think that the people were very friendly. The usual custom, when ripping off tourist, is to smile while you are doing it. No warm and fuzzy here, in fact if you could get a clerk or waiter to actually speak at all it was an accomplishment. Those who did seem friendly also did not look local. The standard for tipping is 10%. Perhaps if they would be more out going they could up that a few percentages points.
Nonetheless we had a great time and it was indeed beautiful and quaint. Unlike Positano, Italy where I would return to anytime I could, I am not sure Prague would be on my repeat list. The bucket list yes.
As you were,

Monday, May 21, 2012

Under the Weather
I returned from Europe with a cold so New York City has not been as pleasant as I would want. Not that the weather for the first few days was not spectacular. The perfect New York weather for the last couple of days. Today it is rainly so the NYC weather has become a metaphor of my sinusus.
I am hoping to be feeling much better by this Thursday. I was asked to speak at the 100th Anniversay of the Helen Hayes theatre. On the afternoon of May 24th they will hold a ceremony at the theatre, and a party next door at Sardi's after. I really don't know who will be there or what else will be on the bill, but I am honored that they asked me to be there. It extends our vacation/anniversary trip by a few days. It was all working fine until my nose started to run. It has been a long time since I felt sick like this.
We saw a preview of Jim Parson's "Harvey". I had never seen the play but love the movie. There are some differences, but the story is still charming and funny. Jim is really perfect for this role as the gentle odd soul of Elwood P. The theatre was packed with very enthusiatic fans. I don't think this production will have any problem doing business. The official opening is on June 14th.
The next night we saw the new Disney Musical "Newsies". It has been extended and was packed with screaming fans. The show has evidently become a cult hit with a very dedicated following. I have to admit that the audience liked the show much more than I did personally, but it is a very athletic and energetic show that deserves a good run. Based on the screaming kids in the audience it should.
In a case of bone head producing, "How to succeed in Business" closed last night. Their numbers have not been the run away sell out that it was when Daniel Ratcliff was there, but the Jonas brother that is in the part now is strong with teenagers. Their numbers were fantastic for spring break, but dropped when the kids went back to school. They closed the show just before heading into summer when that audience would return.
We are lined up to see some more shows and I hope that this cold will get better so I can enjoy them more.
Thalian Hall, "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only." Filming. September 15, 2012, Wilmington, NC
As you were,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pinocchio in Prague

Prague is a city of puppets, my kind of place. There are several puppet theaters that do a very nice business. Some are black light tourist traps. Some legitimate theatres with miniature performances. There was a poster for a "black light" puppet performance of the musical "Cats". The mere thought of it made me want to stick pins in my eyes. The advertisements looked like a psychedelic hair ball fest.
We did attend a production of Mozart's "Don Giovani" at the National Puppet Theatre. It was interesting seeing an opera done by puppets in the Italian language at a theatre in Prague. The production was good, but I thought they treated the puppets a little rough. When the puppets smacked each other they really hit, wood on wood and there were several fight scenes. I guess what I am saying is that the puppets didn't pull their punches on stage. (Yes I do know how crazy that sounds...nonetheless). All I could think of was the repair and paint job that would be required after every performance. At any rate.
At every souvenir place they sell puppets, good, bad, cheap, expensive, creative and just stupid marionetts. There is a common theme however. All have witches, orthodox hebrews, Charlie Chaplin and of course Pinocchio puppets. There is a large jewish history, and they claim Pinocchio was born here, but Charlie Chaplin? I have no clue.
It was the prevalence of Pinocchio that reminded me of a story. Years ago during the days of the television show "Dave's World", the blond sexy ingenue was J C Wendel. She was and still is a cutie. One evening during those days she was at a super market shopping, when she realized she was being followed. It was actor Martin Landau, a character actor who played many varied roles. One was Bella Lugosi in the movie Ed Wood, which Johnny Depp fans might remember, He also played Geppetto in a cable production of Pinocchio that probably no one saw but me. At every turn he tried to engage J C in unwanted conversation, but Matin Landau was not her type nor even close to her age.
Finally as she was putting the groceries in the trunk of her car she noticed that he was approaching her in the parking lot. He wanted to know if she would accompany him for a drink since he had just gotten back in town. He said, "I just wrapped 'Pinocchio' in Prague".
JC looked him in the eye and said, "I don't care if you wrap it in a 20 dollar bill, I'm not interested."
Pinocchio in Prague will alway make me laugh.
As you were,
"Jay Johnson: The Two and Only". - Historic Thalian Hall - North Carolina - Sept. 15, 2012 --- be there.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


If there is one thing that I know about European trains it is the exact nature of their schedule. If a schedule says that the train will be at the main Prague station at 13:04, do not get off the train if it is 13:02. Unfortunately that was not a lesson that another American couple on our train has learned yet. Although they announced in broken English that the next stop was Praha, it was actually not the main station but a station outside of town. I looked out the door of the train to see the clock at the station and it said 13:00 four minutes earlier than we were supposed to be at the main terminal, so I knew we were not at our stop yet.
Outside with their luggage was a couple asking a local if this was Prague. The gentleman said that it was and off the couple went as the train pulled out. It could have been their stop, but since it looked like only locals were exiting I think they wanted the main station like we did.
At one stop a family came into our compartment. The boy was 12 or so. I heard him talking to his mother in a Slavic, I assume. Although I didn't know what he was saying there was a rhythm and tone that is the same for every pre-teenager arguing with is parents. I wondered what it was all about, but didn't have a clue even what language it was. It all seemed so far from anything that was familiar to me on a daily basis. We got off the train at the right station and as I passed him by I repeated the German phrase for "excuse me" that Brandon taught me. The little boy responded in clearly pronounced English. "That's okay, no problem, sir." Americans are so far behind the rest of the world in language skills.
Sandi brought a spring hat with her. The weather has been a little too cool to wear it much but it has caused much excitement. As we changed planes in Dusseldorf Sandi realized half way thorough tthe terminal that she left her hat in the over head. We sprinted back to the gate and she ran onto the plane. It was being cleaned by a group of people who thought she was a confussed terrorist. None the less they let her retrieve her hat. However, when she tried to get back into the terminal the door was locked. We communicated through the glass door with no results. There was no one around so she went back onto the plane to see if the cleaning crew could make a call. At just that time a man showed up and said something to me in German. I said, in English, that my wife was locked inside the jet way. If she had been there at that moment he might have understood, but she wasn't and backed away from me slowly.
Twenty minutes later a man came with a key and rescued her.
On the last night we were in Prague, we came back to the hotel and sat for a minute to figure out our plans for the next day. I looked behind the desk and hanging on a hook was a hat that looked just like Sandi's. I said "Hey Sandi, that looks like your hat," there was a moment of isn't that interesting followed by realization. Actually it was her hat, she had left it at the desk when we checked in and it had been there on the rack for three days waiting to be claimed. It sometimes pays to stop and look around where you are.
More on Prague later. It will require some time to collect my thoughts about the city.
As you were,
Filming "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only" at Historic Thalian Hall in Wilmington, NC on Sept. 15, 2012. Come join us on that Saturday and be a part of Broadway History.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Berlin with Luggage

Berlin is a great city and it is much more enjoyable when you have your luggage and there is not three feet of snow on the ground. A couple of years ago we experienced it with those conditions and this way is better. The legal age for drinking beer is 16 and it is okay to take your beer onto the streets and enjoy it as you stroll. Near the apartment where we are stayin is there is a bridge across the canal. As afternoon gives way to evening the bridge fills with people hanging out sipping their beers. It is a hopping place. As we "hung out" with my son and several of his friends we noticed a lady sitting alone talking to herself. Occasionally she would chase behind a car that crossed but mainly it was just yelling into the wind. I would suppect she was in her 40's much fatter than Janis Joplin but with a similar 60's attire. No one was paying her much mind, which was either encouraging her to yell louder or having no effect whatsoever. Since the rants were in German I could not understand what she was saying. She did seem to be saying one pharse over and over within the tyrade. I finally ask one the people we were with what it was that she was saying. William is a translator by profession, but had not been listening to her seriously. For a moment he put his attention on the yellling. He thought for a moment and said in his British accent. "Well, most of it is just gibberish, but she does keep saying one thing over and over very distinctly." "Yeah, what is that phrase she keeps saying." I asked. William said, "She is sayin, I need to get my penis cleaned can some one help me?" It sounded much funnier in German. I don't know if the police were the ones who helped her but they did escort her off the bridge. She was immediately replaced by a young man dressed in a tee shirt and poodle skirt doing cartwheels, with balls to the wind. We left the area before we found out what kind of help he was looking for. As you were, Jay

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Imagination for Hire
Never hired any one to imagine for you? Why not? As Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge". The missing ingredient in any success is probably lack of imagination.  If you are out of imagination,  or you have become "blocked" to your own imagination, why not hire someone to imagine for you. If you are out of paint you would go to someone with paint for sale; the same principles apply to imagination.  Get the raw materials you need to finish that project that is on the edge of success.
Modern business is stressed by too much knowledge and too little imagination.  On the other hand there are artists who lack the knowledge of a particular project, but have more imagination than they can use for themselves. Finally there is a way to bring these two resources together.
Welcome to Jaysons Imagination, Inc. - Imagination for hire. Adding imagination to your project is fulfilling, fun, and almost affordable. More importantly it is completely confidential.  No one will know it is not your imagination at work.  Jaysons will never disclose a client list nor use any information. Non-disclosure agreements are required for both the imaginor and the imaginee. 
At Jaysons Imagination, Inc. we get paid to think about it. You forget it, let us get it.  You give us the how or what  and forget it.  We will give you back the why, for a modest hourly fee.  It is cheaper than using that hour to think for yourself, even if you had the tools. 
When you have a project, product, service, book, screenplay, theatrical event, live performance or a simple toast to the married couple to conceive; You have to ask yourself...
What is my time worth? How many hours will I have to waste trying to be "creative"?  Do I have the time to sit around daydreaming? Of course you don't. At Jaysons Imagination we do. 
At Jaysons Imagination our business is daydreaming for you. Not only does it take that time demand off your calendar, Jaysons Imagination excels at daydreaming 24 hours a day, and we have been doing it for decades.  Over the years no one has wasted more time in creativity than the founder of Jaysons Imagination. 
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"The price was reasonable for the imagination I needed. If anyone can imagine how it is, Jaysons Imagination can. "
 (Of course we can not revel the names of the famous clients that wrote these words, but you can imagine how big they are in the corporate and show business world.  If you can't imagine how famous these clients are then you could be in need of some "imagination for hire". call Jaysons Imagination, Inc for a free quote. )  
Don't waste another minute trying to imagine how it will be.  Let our imagination make it so. 

This was a paid advertisement. World is a Stage takes no responsibility for the claims made by Jaysons Imagination, Inc. However we have used their services and have found them to be excellent. 

As you were,