No Biz Like Show Biz

It’s one of those days that I’m not sure what I want to bore you with. There’s still a bit of Holiday Hangover going on, coupled with a hint of excitement about the World Junior Hockey Championship game tonight, Canada vs. Russia. The sun is out, a winter day that doesn’t require running away (though I am accepting offers if you need a valet and are heading south).

No, me, I have it backwards. I’m aiming at Timmins next week. FR040806Not vacationing, but working, I haven’t totally lost it, despite popular opinion. There’s also a chance to visit with some family and renew old acquaintances. In a past life I was a road musician, a pocket rock god playing what we called the Arctic Circle Tour. Only in Canada can that joke fall flat, because there actually IS an Arctic Circle tour and it’s a thousand miles north of anywhere we were. Scale… man, that’s everything sometimes.

This trip has some unique challenges. First of all, I’m subbing for a country band. I haven’t played much country the last couple years so I have a pretty steep learning curve here, getting tunes together. Cheat sheets are a must, because challenge number two is: no rehearsals. Not only that, I won’t even meet the guitarist until we’re a couple hours into the trip. I’ll hit the stage without sharing a note with this configuration of the band.

Challenge #3 will be existing for the other 20 hours a day, as it always is on the road. Scouting report on the bar we’re playing is that the rooms are typical road accommodations, that is, Pretty Scuzzy. A sleeping bag of known origin will be packed. Which brings Challenge #4: Packing.

20467_1333306139444_1434755936_30927322_3215422_nThe usual foibles of a weekend trip are all in place, what to wear, how to pack it, toiletries etc. but with a couple of unique spins. First of all there may or may not be bathing facilities on the floor of rooms we will occupy. If we’re lucky there will be running water in each room. If we’re REALLY lucky, there will be hot water too. Let’s pack a hat in case Bad Hair Days are the norm.

Further complicating things is the detritus that a band needs, in this case a couple amps, a couple guitar cases, whatever drums we can cram and three of us in an ironically named Honda Fit. Suffice to say this is not the roomiest of the Honda line. At least it’s four wheels and not two. Rumour has it the guitarist has a bigger vehicle which we will switch over to on the way.

Of course the lure of the stage is enough to imbue some optimism, at least on the inward trek. On the homeward side that optimism is gone. The task is over. With soap and hot water willing we won’t smell like the elephant trailer of a departing circus. That reminds me of a joke: Avram had been with the circus for 30 years, faithfully spending his days scooping up elephant shit. Time had passed for any sane person to retire, yet still Avram followed the elephants, day in and out. His family implored him, Avram, why do you retire? Rest. You’ve had a good life, you don’t need to work.

Avram said, “What? And quit Show Biz?”

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All in Favour of the Arts

brickenden_on_663399Head over to the Brickenden Awards website to nominate for the local London theatre awards. If you aren’t in London, head over and vote for Scott Shpak, everywhere you see his name. His productions were Strangers on a Train, Evelyn’s Anguish, Tough, I’ll be Back Before Midnight and The Producers. I saw also Follies, which was very impressive and I heard that Three Musketeers was pretty good too. Lisa DesGroseilliers, who did sound for a bunch of shows, seems like a sweetie too, and we have talked about collaborating on a show in the future.

This is amateur, community theatre, surprising to me in its quality and scope, so winners or loser of the awards… don’t know it’s that big a deal, because really the winners are the people in the community who see the shows, as well as those of us who volunteer. It’s an All Win situation, and your votes, for whomever, are kind of little nudges of support.

All of this theatre is going on at a tough time in the economy, when funding for the arts is more difficult to come by and yet there are people who are so crazily masochistic that they will undertake massive projects and contribute to the vibrancy of  the arts at a grass roots level, making the fabric of the city’s cultural tapestry that much richer.

So vote for somebody, anybody, even if you don’t know who or what you’re voting for, and vote for the arts in your community. A year ago I didn’t even know London HAD theatre awards. Now I am up for one! Don’t let lower your opinion. The rest of the people are great and doing good work. They deserve way more shout outs than they get.

Published in: on December 18, 2010 at 11:36 am  Comments Off on All in Favour of the Arts  
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