Sunday, August 10, 2003

Last Day of Camp

Yep, it's hard to shake that metaphor, even when you are your mid-30s. Yesterday was an act of pure desperation - went to see SABOTAGE: IN FINE FORM at Hey City (okay, all you pikers, now that's comedy) and then rushed my butt up and down Hennepin (in Denny's black Mustang convertible, which would have been funny if you could have seen me make it stall a few dozen times) driving in the bus lane (no one told me about the bus lane) so that I could get lost running around the MCTC campus in 80 degree heat trying to get to THE ART OF RUTH DRAPER, which I also enjoyed. I may not have made time for that yesterday, except the actress in question came to see IHT on Thursday.

... with, apparently, everyone else. Okay, that's not fair, I did have 35 people last night. And I thank all of them. But I have to admit this has been disappointing, especially with "Fringe attendance up!" as they say, and "Lots of shows selling out during the final weekend!" as they say.

My show is just this bastard step-child of the Fringe. I could blame the lack of print media - I have seen the dumbest shows getting reviewed, shows you would just look at the description of and say, hmn, no, I wouldn't see that even if I were getting paid to write about it, even if the kid's father is an editor at my paper - but that isn't correct. I'll tell you why. I will tell you in no uncertain terms why people have avoided this show, in spite of very strong word-of-mouth, w-o-m I couldn't have bribed myself into getting, and in spite of mine and Nick's hardcore meet-n-greet campaign. I will tell you why, despite of all of this, I expect to get (I hope) twenty people at today's matinee and closing performance.

Duh, you already know why, don't you? The show is about STILLBIRTH. Who wants to see that?

That and the crowd that did join us (oh, another influential member of the Twin Cities media was on hand, too little, too late) was another one like opening night. It's very hard to do this show when I make some kind of amusing comment and everyone sighs a little, like "ooh, yah, that's so sad." But at least the show goes faster.

Afterwards Nick, Denny and I went to see ONE-MAN HAMLET at Bryant-Lake. That kicked ass, the man is a FREAK, and not only that, but a CANADIAN freak and we sat in the dark eating cheeseburgers and drinking pints of Summit and watching this guy charge around the stage with music stands with balloons on them representing all the different characters, it was a whoot.

One of the two closing night parties was last night, and it was really great. I only got to chat with a few people ... one conversation was with a Fringer artist, who had seen my show that night - the conversation was very personal and I won't write about it here. But she was torn up about a review she received in the weekly paper, and I think I said all the rights things for her to put it in perspective. I mean, the show isn't for the CP's readership, that and the style of the day of being a complete smart-ass in as few words as possible, a trend which is also popular among the local papers, gives writers the chance to vent all kinds of prejudices, against content, against experience, against, well, absolutely everything. "Your show isn't hip," I said, "my show isn't hip. You know people like your show, they've told you, and that's what matters, when you come down to it."

Well, Amen.

Amy Salloway says she's coming today. I write this in my blog to shame her if she doesn't. ;)

What I Will Take With Me
I asked Leah Cooper via email some time ago how many programs I should bring. She said, how big is your house and I said 110 and she said think positive, bring 500. I thought realistically and brought 100. I thought, if I get 20 people a show, I will be doing all right. I have already beaten that, and today will be a bonus. I had to print more programs.

I met a midwife last night, who came because she read about it and had to see what I said and how, and she and her friend loved it, she said she is so glad to hear I will be performing it for a conference of Nurse Midwives this fall in Cleveland.

I will never forget the spontaneous ovation I got when I walked out onto the sidewalk in front of the Red Eye on Thursday. That's never hapened to me, and it is apparently not some kind of tradition.

Hearing Rik Reppe pimp my show hard after his near-sold out perf. of STAGGERING TOWARD AMERICA earlier in the week. That man is a hair's breadth from signing some kind of deal with HBO or something with hiw show, I am not kidding, he has to be, and here he is shedding light on me. Very cool.

Watching Zelda push herself onto her knees the other day. She's trying so hard to crawl, we can all taste it.

The kids from MXTW. Their director, Jim Hamilton, wrote me a very kind email, thanking me for the support I had given the students - and apologizing for the fact that they weren't able to fir my show into their schedule. I can't say I wasn't disappointed. But it must be difficult to wrangle over a dozen teenagers to even half a dozen shows. They were just amazing, and I am glad I caught their work. After years with the Night Kitchen, I know how much disrespect teenage actors can get, especially when they are attempting work with substance (can we all say "hey kids, let's put on a show!") Those people were just great.

I'll get more thoughts and memories down, I hope. Right now ... well, hell, the Fringe isn't even over yet. And I got a show to do.

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