Category: True Life Adventures
S&US Tour Diary – April 10, 2013 – Checkin’ In & Austin show
So, the hotel.
We often head to the next town the night after a show. This gives our crew more time to get, much needed, sleep before they have to be at the venue.
We left Fort Worth earlier than normal, about 11PM. We got to Austin around 2AM. As I said it was an uneventful bus trip, which was nice for a change.
When we got to the hotel, the inner door to the lobby was locked. A guy, another hotel guest opened the door for us but when we got in there was no one at the front desk. The place was deserted.
A sign read that we should dial 0 on the phone in the lobby and someone could help us. Alan dialed 0 and the phone rang at the front desk where no one was. It rang and rang and no one came out. Alan hung up and tried again and it went to a busy signal. So we were standing in the lobby at 2AM with no one to check us in.
It was then that Tyler spotted a stack of check in papers and keys on the front desk. He hopped over the counter and proceeded to check us all in. The papers were made out to us, so it was basically him distributing room keys. Relieved to be able to sleep, we wandered off to our rooms.
Outside the door of my room there was a horribly musty, moldy, smell. I entered the room and was knocked over by a super powerful ‘cleaner’ smell. It was super powerful, and nauseating. I put down my stuff and wandered back towards the front desk, contemplating going across the street to the Hyatt in the parking lot. It was late though and if I did go to another hotel, I’d have to pay for it. So I just bit the bullet and bedded down for the night in my horrible smelling room.
The next morning I was up early to do a TV appearance on local Austin TV. Patrick, Juliana and I headed out with a driver from the venue, The Long Center and we went and did a very brief TV appearance. It was fun and we got to see some of the sights of Austin as we drove to and from the television station.
They bought us breakfast at a place called Spiderhouse Cafe. Juliana and I had the Tupelo Honey & Bacon Sandwich. Bacon, Peanut Butter, Bananas and honey on whole wheat bread. The whole wheat bread makes it healthy. It was amazing.
Once back to the hotel, I asked about switching my room. This was the opportunity the hotel staff was waiting for.
STAFF: You with the group that checked in last night?
STAFF: We have a phone right there, you know. You could have called us.
ME: We did. The first time it just rang and rang. The second time it was busy. No one was here.
STAFF: Well, the woman on duty has worked here for 10 years and there’s never been a problem.
ME: Well, there was a problem last night. She wasn’t around.
STAFF: Well, one of you hopped over our counter. We have it on video.
ME: Well, it wasn’t me. How about that new room?
STAFF: We don’t have any available at your rate. Sorry.
Ugh. They’ll be getting a nice review on Yelp.
As I was changing to strike out into Austin to meet some friends for lunch, I realized why my room smelled so horrible. At some point the rooms on the first floor on this side of the hotel had flooded. They got rid of the water. Maybe replaced the carpet…maybe. But then they didn’t do any other cleaning, they just poured on the industrial cleaner. Lovely.
I then headed out to meet up with Mary Jo Pehl and her husband for lunch. It was so much fun to hang out with them. We had a great lunch and they were excited to come see the show that night.
Afterwards, I walked around Austin for a bit and then it was time to get back to the hotel and get set for soundcheck.
Over at the venue, I ran into Dani Pruitt who works at the center. She helped put on Leslie Carrara-Rudolph’s show in New York and she’s helping Leslie put on her show in Austin, so I’ll be seeing her again soon.
The show in Austin was fantastic. The crowd was into the show from the moment it started and there were a lot of great suggestions.
I had a great Slide Show structure with Allan. We were doing an orientation for new exorcists. It was really loose and fun and Allan and I had a lot of fun playing off of each other.
The Alien Barbershop was another fun one. The suggestion was Long Division. I REALLY wanted to do a long division problem, in song, in four lines, but I needed some scratch paper to work it out. Anyway, this is what I came up with:
I like long division.
I’m not a hater.
But I’m no fool,
I use a calculator.
Overall it was a really tight show and a lot of fun. We got a standing ovation at the end, so Austin was super kind to us.
After the show we spent some time in a tiny bar called Ego, then Sean Johnson and I walked to a place called Gourdoughs. They make the most INSANE donuts in the world. Just look at this thing….
There is a donut in there. Somewhere.
We then walked back to the stinky hotel, saw Patrick and Juliana and Patrick in the lobby and chatted for a minute and then retired.
Tomorrow is a travel day to Wisconsin. It’ll be a long day of travel, but it’ll be very good to get out of this hotel. Blech. The glamor of life of on tour.
S&US Tour Diary – April 9, 2013 – Fort Worth show
The morning of the 9th was spent lazily getting ready for the show that night at Bass Hall in Fort Worth, and making sure I was all packed up to leave. We needed to check out of the hotel as we were hitting the road to Austin right after the show.
Once I was all packed up, I took another stroll in downtown Fort Worth. They have a really nice downtown area, though most of it is under construction.
After a late lunch it was time to head to the venue. Bass Hall is an amazing venue. Like a giant opera house on the inside. Almost a little intimidating to play there it’s so big and ornate on the inside.
The cast is usually called to the venue at about 3 or 4PM. We get into mics and go through sound and tech rehearsal. This is to check the sound, but to also check some of the tech elements of the show, like the Henson Digital Puppetry System and position things like the rail that we use for Java and I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face.
I want to take a brief moment to give a shout out to our crew Greg, Cameron, Zach and Sean. These guys have to be at the venue early in the morning to direct the local crew in getting things set up and ready to go. A few days ago when we had that seven and a half long hour bus ride? They had to get to the venue right after we arrived. No sleep. They do a heck of a job making us look good.
After rehearsal we usually have dinner at the venue. Today the dinner was barbecue chicken and it was amazing. We got to dine in a really fancy green room too. Just off of the green room was a fancy little reception room where Patrick realized it’s be fun to take these goofy ‘serious’ photos. We spent pretty much up to show time posing on this couch and coming up with insane ways to pose with the puppets.
Then it was time to Puppet Up! The crowd at Bass Hall was fantastic. Their suggestions were awesome and they were with us the whole time.
I did ‘Slide Show’ with Allan and our suggestion was Oprah & Gayle’s Road Trip. We had some fun with that and when a slide of a cow came up I remembered Oprah and her ‘beef’ with the cattle ranchers. I brought that up and it got a big laugh.
Alien Barbershop was fun, though having a day off, I should have refreshed my memory on the right key of the song a bit. I was off. But the rhyme got a big laugh. I’ll let you guess the topic but here was my song…
I do it daily,
To keep me calm.
Just don’t look,
At my hairy palm.
That went over pretty good.
We got a great suggestion for the title of our Film Noir structure: Double Indignity. Hilarious!
Right after the show we hit the road to Austin. The bus drive was, refreshingly, normal. No problems at all. We even got a stop at a Whataburger. It was so nice to have some uneventful travel.
But then we got to the hotel….
And since it happened after midnight, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow.
S&US Tour Diary – April 8, 2013 – Day Off – Trip to Dallas, TX
(No editing, just a stream of thought travel diary.)
APRIL 8, 2013
Today was a much anticipated day off. After the rough travel that kicked off our tour most were ready to just chill for a day.
I however love seeing things I’ve never seen, especially history related, So I decided to rent a car and drive into Dallas to see Dealey Plaza. Our wrangler, Sean Johnson decided to join in.
We got there in no time and while we waited for the Sixth Floor museum to open, we walked around the plaza. It’s really fascinating seeing the things you’ve only seen in the Zapruder film in person. It puts the whole event into perspective. We stood on the grassy knoll and I even filmed a little video from the spot where Zapruder stood on that day in 1963.
After exploring all the angles from the Plaza checked out the Museum Cafe & Gift Shop, where you can get yourself a tin of Book Depository breath mints, if you so desire. Fun.
When the Museum opened we went in and tok the 90 Minute audio tour. I really enjoyed it and thought it does a great job of presenting all the information and events that lead up to that day. As you walk through you’re learning all about Kennedy and his administration. Then they start breaking it down…his arrival in Texas, then his arrival in Dallas…then the motorcade. Then suddenly you’re at the sixth floor window. The actual window.
Looking out the window I realized that the shots weren’t as far away as I always thought they were and looking at it, it would be possible for him to make them. It’s pretty powerful and even more so when you realize that Oswald was here. He walked on these floor boards. (The boxes are a recreation, but the floor is legit. Also, you’re not supposed to take pictures. Shhhh….)
Then the museum takes you through the aftermath and the conspiracy theories. They do a really good job, in my opinion, leaving it all open for you to decide. I don’t know if Oswald was in cahoots with anyone else, but seeing the view of the street from the window, I do think it was possible for him to make the shots from there.
We then walked over to the JFK memorial. Pretty unremarkable if you ask me, but was still glad to see it.
Having our fill of conspiracy, we then went for barbecue in Dallas. The place was called Off the Bone and it was pretty good, I ordered the pork and links. The pork was okay but the links were just amazing. I told Sean I was glad we left right after we ate because I was tempted to order more.
We then just drove a bit around Dallas. We tried to see if we could go up in Reunion Tower but couldn’t find parking anywhere. So we drove back downtown and went to Pioneer Plaza and checked out the ‘cattle drive’ sculpture they have and the cemetery behind it where some important figures in early Dallas history are laid to rest. We then walked over to City Hall which is an impressively weird building.
About that time we got a call from Patrick and Peggy who’d taken the train into Dallas and were wondering if we could give them a ride back. We picked them up and then, upon hearing about the Cattle Drive sculpture we doubled back because Peggy had to see it. More pictures with cows were taken. Then we headed back to Fort Worth.
I’ll add it’s eerie driving out of downtown via the same route JFK’s motorcade took. Two white X’s mark the street in the approximate spots where JFK was shot. Again, eerie.
Once back in Fort Worth the plan was made to have dinner and we decided to listen to fellow Stuffed & Unstrunger Michael Oosterom’s suggestion to try Angelo’s Barbecue. A whole big group of us walked the 1.6 miles to the place and it was worth every step. Just fantastically great barbecue. We were all appreciative of Michael’s suggestion and toasted him even though he wasn’t there.
After the walk back, the evening was just sort of chill as people relaxed, not having anything much to do. The travel starts up again in earnest after tomorrow’s show in Fort Worth, but we are ready!
S&US Tour Diary – April 7, 2013 – Travel Day
(No editing, just a stream of thought travel diary.)
APRIL 7, 2013
It was with a heavy heart that we had to leave our amazing accommodations in Hamilton, Montana. WIth those great digs and the amazing crowd we had the night before, none of us wanted to head to the airport.
We did however because, dammit, there were more shows to perform. The drive from the cabins to the Missoula airport was pretty great, mainly because we were doing it in the day time as opposed to 4am at night like we had on the way in to Hamilton. Beautiful countryside, lots of cows, sheep and other animals frolicking about in the grass. It was a great ride and out drive, who’s name escapes me, who drove Peggy, Ted & myself, had a great sense of humor and we all four laughed the whole way to Missoula.
Topics of funny included a store we passed with a sign that advertised it’d figured out a way to make ‘Tarping your hay’ easier. Peggy and riffed on just how time consuming tarping your hay is. We then passed a tattoo parlor in Missoula called ‘You Mother’s Nightmare Tattoos.’ Next door was a place called ‘Piercings By Paul.’ The joke then became that you cold get a tattoo and a piercing at the same time thanks to holes in the wall of the tattoo parlor which allowed you to stick the things you’d like pierced through to allow Paul to work his magic. It’s always fun to travel with comedians because the funny just seems to keep rolling along.
We got to the Missoula airport, which was festooned with many taxidermied creatures on all the walls and were soon winging our way to Denver en route to Fort Worth. On the plane from Missoula to Denver, I created a puppet out of one of the barf bags. He visited with Patrick and Peggy who were in the row in front of me. They dubbed him Barf Bag. Minutes later, two sexy girl barf bags appeared over the back of their seats and Barf Bag met the Ho Bags. The woman next to me thought we were out of our minds. We are.
The flight from Denver to Fort Worth was unremarkable. What was remarkable was the bus that was awaiting us upon our arrival to DFW. It was a party bus in all sense of the term. Lights, leather, extremely nice compared to what had come before.
Upon arriving in Fort Worth we checked in and explored the downtown a big. Major construction going on here, but there’s still some great buildings to check out.
Allan, Dan, Tyler, Ted and I had dinner at a place called The Flying Saucer. A pub type place. Not being a drinker it was not my thing and the menu didn’t entice me much. Being in Texas I wanted barbecue, but the place I was recommended to visit in Fort Worth was closed Sundays, so I made do with pub food. It wasn’t bad, I had some bratwurst. It was okay, but not my thing, especially being in one of the barbecue homelands.