Monday, October 08, 2007

if the car is a rockin'

upon arrival in winona, minnesota, this is what awaited in my room:yep.

nothing is really better than walking into a best western (standard) and having a chevy for a bed. a chevy! is this a chevy? it doesn't matter! it was a bed car! no one knows why we had them! but we did! and i slept in it!

waking up in this thing, however - the room littered with neon, checkerboards, and a weirdo cherry red hot tub - well, it made me feel like cheap trick swallowed me whole. worst image award: achieved.

on second thought, the worst image award is me swallowing cheap trick whole. can i get a witness?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

apples to apples

on the road from wisconsin, the grand debate began on whether we would stop at an apple orchard or pumpkin patch on this grand fall tour of tours. as i rallied for both, i understood why the rest of the cast voted orchard, since you can't really carve pumpkins and take them anywhere in a van (sidebar, i beg to differ).

we stopped at a lovely orchard right before the state line of minnesota that, to our delight, had just about every apple you could imagine. honey crisp, macintosh, golden whatnot, and most importantly, caramel. weird tree.

the boys ate some slices of pie and ice cream while the girls ran through the orchard hunting and gathering. i took home a bunch and even snagged a caramel guy for myself, with nuts, thank you. i almost always choose nuts.*

*since 2003
(get it?)
(it's a bit.)
(is this on?)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

oh, claire

september 26th: eau claire, WI.

i drove the kids in the big blue van the 4 hours this am to eau claire, a beautiful town with lots of liberals, pedways, music stores, and antique/gun shops. this drive was super wonderful for me; there's something sort of romantic of watching your pals nod off in the early morning and looking at the scenery, iPod in, being in charge of the travel-weary. meghan is always so thankful when someone else drives, so i want to try to make a habit of offering. reminder.

we were pleased upon arrival in eau claire to a., find that our hotel was only a block from the venue and a killer coffee shop called acoustic cafe, and b., see that the poster hanging outside for our performance was huge, vinyl, and actually OF US. this rarely happens. after our photo shoot a few weeks back, these guys must've gotten a copy of one of our press packets, and there we were. we yoinked the poster and it's rolled up in my bedroom as we speak, soon to be displayed proudly someplace.

nice work.

september show down

the week of sept 24-30th was merciless.

the 23rd brought us a day of travel, and the 24th gave us the homeshow and a rehearsal, leaving us just enough time to squeeze in a half day or so of overnight laundry and maybe seeing a friend or sig other for a handful of minutes. the homeshow was fun to do and made us feel slightly connected after almost a full month of touring our show. the crowd was appreciative and kind; this homeshow also was david pompeii's quick last, which sucked.

i'll get to that later.

but first... the first day of travel. the 25th took us to rhinelander, wisconsin, about a six hour drive from chicago. none of us really knew where we were heading, but were pleasantly surprised as we headed north that the trees became everything you hope they will in september.
rhinelander was the site of our smallest venue of the month, Nicolet College. The theatre held about 250, which honestly, is still a lot of freaking people. once you get used to big cavernous spaces, though, that feels almost like an intimate cabaret. we were hungry for the chance to actually see the faces of the people in the audience, so it was nice to set the space.

nicer than the actual show itself was the scenery. come on, just look at this shit. incred. incred.

we pulled up in our big blue van and took in all the surroundings, and walked into the frank lloyd-wright-y theatre. the only thing that could make this better would be a lake or something, we all mused. oh, there's one right out back!, our contact proclaimed. feel free to check it out.

fall. fall, y'all.


speaking of some of these events, here's an article on us from hanover. yeah!

blackjack is born

sept. 22: ball state-ish.

ball state is the alma mater of david letterman. it's a fun school tucked in muncie, indiana, about 3.5 hours from chicago. this was my third trip to the campus, my first with SC. joey bland, rich prouty and i had gone years before to perform in a big improv festival the school had as sort of the chicago representatives, and i went back the next year (last) to teach a big workshop to one of their teams, absolunacy.

anyway, here we were. we were technically performing off-campus at the muncie civic theatre, a pretty theatre house that could hold about 500 or so. two improv teams came to see the show. we had a meet and greet with them at applebee's after (you heard me) and then the rest of us went back to a gay bar called "the Mark" across from the theatre to see one of the raunchiest drag shows i've ever seen. it was super fun. i proceeded to get super drunk, along with some of my fellow castmates, and make a wonderful sleu of mistakes that i will never live down. alas, this is the woe of touring, and i have accepted said fate. you only live once.
the next day, we retired back to chicago. it was awesome, just awesome to be home, if only for 24 hours or so.

hanover, indy

the 21st: Hanover College.

we arrived in hanover, indiana after a long morning of driving around 2pm. upon driving into this town, our tourco hit panic mode, noting that all the scenery around us was quite conservative and modest. we passed what looked like relatively severe churches and rode a good long stretch on a two lane road, twisting past farm houses, cornfields, and not much else.

we were sure we were about to get run out of this town.

however, upon our call of 4pmish, we got in the van and drove five minutes to Hanover College campus, a mecca that popped out of a twisty, wooded area. hanover reminded me immediately of my own alma mater, Ohio University - an Ohio Valley school with red brick buildings, trees dressing the landscape, and an overlook of a river, the mighty Ohio.

we got through tech with little problems - the stage was a pipe and drape, a term used by groups like ours/musicians to mean that the set up is an elevated staging area with literal pipe and drape curtains to form a performance area. think of it like a carnival coming to town; you've still got a pretty awesome ride, but it might topple down at any moment. anyway, this pipe and drape was a great set up - set in a huge auditorium holding 2,000 or so, all the mechanics secure and well secured. great.

we were there on behalf of a new president, a huge event that rivaled a homecoming of sorts. the president, named Dewine, was a woman who was super outgoing, charismatic, and excited about the transfer. aimee and i in an improv portion of the show in the first act went after Dewine, much to the audience's delight. at intermission, a man came back to tell us a little more about the president, that her name was Sue. and that she taught at an Ohio school prior to the transfer. and that she led communications. and soon, thereafter, i realized I HAD HAD HER. she was one of the outstanding teachers of my second major InCo, a sort of business comm major that teaches you marketing/stats skills and how to be charming. she taught a huge, 400 person lecture class i had as a sophomore.

the show went off without a hitch (even though this was one of those "no f" shows, something we had to remind ourselves of), and after, we had a big meet and greet with the audience. sue dewine found me and had heard word that i was an alum; we celebrated and she invited me and our tourco to the president's home in the morning to tour campus and get free tshirts. we snapped about a zillion pictures for the Ohio University alumni magazine, laughed a bunch, and caught up a bit. not so bad, hanover. you were full of surprises.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

on the road again...

this week (sept 18th-23rd), our tour takes us through some random places: clarksville, tennessee and double stops in indiana. some of these were "no f" shows, a show where we have to literally not say fuck, but anything else goes. i will never understand this rule, because we say much worse things in this particular show than the f-bomb.

here's me, in our greenroom in tennessee, post a scene called "dirty baghdad". you're welcome.

this trip was a driving tour, as the others have mostly been all month, and we made the best of a nine hour drive to clarksville by lots of road bits (pretty much going after shad), a fun stop here and there (see metropolis, ky, right), and grazing at meghan teal's favorite chain restaurant, outback. outback was just the reprieve we needed from a long drive down - a little food that tasted semi-real, and gave lehrer a chance to hit on a cute waitress moving to LA to become an actress* (standard).


in clarksville, lehrer and i taught a workshop to the kids of Austin Peay College, my first with SC TourCo on the road. it was a blast. the kids were theatre/arts kids and were super hungry to learn about improv and stuff. michael and i asked them where to go later, and they told us about a bar on a little college strip they went to, so most of BlueCo joined them there that night after the show. cute.

during our lunch outing before the show, though, the thing that will stick with me most from this trip - we had a delightful server named Angie at a pub we went to on the same strip as the bar. teal and i were both wearing SC shirts to lunch, and she got excited to see some chicago people in the tavern. she told us she was moving there soon, and that she had lived there a while back. she started to get choked up and immediately apologized. aimee grabbed her hand and the rest of us quickly snapped from bits mode to compassion. "i'm so sorry," she said, as she wiped tears of her cheeks, "my husband is being deployed tomorrow morning. he just came in for lunch and it just started hitting me." her vulnerability was super endearing and we told her we'd love to take care of her once she moved to the city again, something she was doing in the 18 months her husband would be away. we gave her a number and meant it when we said for her to call. i hope she's doing well now.

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