S&US Tour Diary – April 13, 2013 – Milwaukee & The AMAZING Pabst Theater
Let me start by saying this, I prefer when we move onto the next town the night after a show. I don’t like having to get up early to travel. That being said, I’m EXTREMELY grateful for this opportunity and would gladly stay out as long as they wanted me to.
We were up early to leave Wausau and head to Milwaukee. The trip was uneventful, but did take several hours in the morning. Once we got to Milwaukee we checked into the Hilton City Center and proceeded to our rooms. So far this has been my absolute favorite room on the tour. The bed was comfortable, the pillows were amazing, the blackout curtains worked and the internet was fast. What more could you ask for?
I immediately hooked up my iPad to play some Mystery Science Theatre 3000 as I dozed off to sleep for a couple hours. It was so nice, and needed.
I then woke up an hour or two before call and worked on yesterday’s blog post. THen showered and met the others in the lobby to head over to the venue.
Ah, the venue. The Pabst Theatre. Stuffed & Unstrung was through here in 2011 and though I was on that tour, I joined up later. I had heard all these stories about how amazing The Pabst is. The stories were true.
The Pabst theatre is a fantastic venue. The inside is just amazing and, as Sean Johnson said, “Very Muppet Show Theatre-esq.” The artist Green Room is a green room by which all other will be compared. Big fluffy couches, bean bags, a LP Record Player with a huge collection of LPs, a collection of stand up arcade games, a vintage nintendo machine, a foosball table and a bistro bar. It was pretty sweet.
The food was amazing too. That was another thing people had been talking up and it didn’t disappoint! They even made us our own banana bread cake. The great thing was we’d finished soundcheck and tech rehearsal early so we were able to enjoy this place for several hours. I believe it put everyone in the right frame of mind to do a kick ass show.
One word about tech rehearsal. I have been asked to sub in for I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face. One of the two vintage recreations we do in the show. I’ve been asked to play the part of ‘Demon Head’ which was the part Jane Henson played. A HUGE honor. I think I may be debuting tomorrow night in Joliet.
The Pabst Theatre show was amazingly off the charts fun. The first three sketches were so funny and so filled with rapid fire laughs, it was just an incredible experience. The momentum slowed a little after, but in a good way, so that we weren’t wearing the audience, or us, out.
I had a fun New Choice scene with Allan. I played Rambo in the A&E Biography on Rambo, we did just an absolutely insane scene about the hot dogs on a roller coaster and the Alien Barbershop song was about Bacon.
I love Bacon
Its wonders don’t cease.
I’d kill my grandmother
For one more piece.
The crowd was so into the show all night and gave us a big standing ovation after. It was just a fantastic show.
After I got to meet up with Tim Winslow and his wife and friends in the lobby. They are big comedy music fans from way back and we’ve known each other for several years. Was so happy to have them int eh audience. Saw them sitting right down front during the show.
After the show some of the cast and crew went to a Milwaukee Bar called The Safe House. You need to know a password to get in and if you don’t know it, they put you through a series of embarrassing tasks before they let you in. Luckily I knew the password. Not much into bars, but this place was pretty cool to just walk around and look at all the things. They have doors that lead nowhere and a bathroom with two way mirrors so as your checking yourself out in the mirror, people in the hallway can see you.
After the bar we walked back to the hotel past the Bronze Fonz and then it was back into that glorious bed.
S&US Tour Diary – April 12, 2013 – Snowy, Snowy, Wausau, WI
Actual snow falling from the sky. That’s the sight that greeted me when I opened up the blackout curtains. I know snow is that big of a deal to most but to a California Boy who mostly stayed in the parts of California that don’t snow, it’s a sight.
I worked out in my hotel room and then, because of the aforementioned snow, I went and ran on the treadmill. I then met p with Dan to walk over to the mall to get a bit of that Subway I had scene the night before. Dan and I had a decent lunch in the Mall Food Court and then struck out into downtown Wausau.
The downtown square area is actually really nice and when you can take it in without running to the next building because you’re freezing you ass off, it’s fun to look around.
I went with Dan to get some coffee and then he went to shave. I walked out looking for some place to get a banana or two for later. I caught this great view of The Grand Theater where we were playing from the opposite side of the town square.
I walked a few more blocks to the Downtown Grocers and picked up a couple bananas. Then, in a brilliant move to undo all the good I’d done by exercising, eating good and walking for a bit, I had a small cup of Fat Elvis ice cream from a little sweet shop next door to the grocery place. Fat Elvis is vanilla ice cream with bananas, peanut butter and chocolate. It was decent stuff. Not sure if eating it while walking back to the hotel in the cold and snow was smart, my hands seemed frozen by the end.
I retired to my room for a few hours before the show where I worked on yesterday’s blog post and gathered my things for when it was time to go to the theatre.
Theatre going time arrived and once we, as a cast, walked to the theatre, I headed out with Peggy and Sean to take some puppet photos in front of the theater. Always a fun time coming up with creative ways to try to help promote the show via social media. SOmeone has to do it and it might as well be us.
Tech rehearsal went of after and went well, except we had a problem with the tech for the ‘Usher Brothers’ bit that opens act two, so that bit had to be scrapped for the night.
Dinner was great, all vegetarian fare. A change from most venues. Stuffed Peppers, steamed carrots, potatoes, it was awesome. The Apple and blueberry pies for dessert were amazing too. Almost made you too full to perform, but perform we did.
Nice big crowd in Wausau, WI. They were pumped and rearing to go. Special shout out to the folks who drove in from Minnesota for the show! Wow! They were Cinematic Titanic fans as well. Very cool to meet them.
I felt my improv was a little off last night, but there were some fun structures where I thought I did okay. The ‘New Choice’ scene with Allan about Curling was fun. I pulled all the curling facts from Jonathan Coulton’s song I could remember. Did a ‘Date Scene’ with Peggy that was decent. And, of course, Alien Barbershop was fun. The suggestion was Chewing Gum.
When chewing gum,
Don’t swallow it.
Or else you will,
See it when you…go to the bathroom.
At the end of the show we got another standing ovation, third in a row, very nice. Then Tyler, Sean and I went to a bar called Malarky’s Pub where two audience members had offered to buy us drinks. I’m, of course, a real cheap date, so my waters with ice didn’t set them back much at all.
Stayed at the bar talking to Sean a bit and then we headed back to the hotel. Had to get to sleep early because there was an early, 7:45AM, bus pick up call to drive on to Milwaukee.
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 6, 2013 – Hamilton, Montana
(Again, these are just sort of barfed out. No spelling to grammar checks at all.)
April 6, 2013
Our housing in Hamilton, Montana was pretty amazing. A set of three cabins up in the hills above Hamilton. Rustic log cabins but really, really fancy. Each room had a private bath and the upstairs room that Peggy took was like a mini apartment with a sitting room and a kitchen.
I woke up around one and worked out then had some breakfast. They had provided us with a fully stocked kitchen and some great fruit which I devoured. Because we’d arrived so early in the morning, shortly after waking up it was time for us to caravan to the theatre.
Hamilton, Montana is a small town. The 2010 census puts the population at around 4,300. Our performance venue? The Hamilton High School Auditorium. It was a great, modern facility though. No green room or dressing rooms but the band room and choral room provided both. Our bathrooms were in the gym locker room. Sounds weird but it was really great. The people who hosted us really took care of us right.
The show was a bunch of fun. We were a little nervous as on the ride to the venue our host told us how they’ve had shows were people walk out because the president’s name had been mentioned. Another act had a large number of walk outs because they’d done a song about greed. Hamilton is conservative. But the crowd was really into the show and we had a great time. Even got a partial standing ovation.
Remember yesterday when I wrote that the Alien Barbershop makes my brain melt sometime. Tonight it did times 1,000,000.
If Patrick has a few good suggestions he’ll usually have the audience vote on which one we should do. When he asked for a topic he got three: Gay Marriage, Ballet and Moonshine. Instead of having the audience vote he said, “Great! We’ll do all three!” Meaning he had now just obligated me to do all three topics in one song. All three topics in one, four line song. Plus I had to do the bunnies in the bit before.
Here’s what I came up with…
We’ll do fifth position
On our honeymoon,
Me and Fred
Drunk on shine of moon.
It was a hit. I felt a little cheap with that rhyme but it was the best I could come up with in that short amount of time.
Other great structures were a Film Noir set in Darby, Montana (Hamilton’s rival city). So lucky our host had told us about Darby on the ride to the venue. Also did a fun Lucha Libre scene where my name was El Burrito and Ted’s name was Mild Salsa.
After the show we retired back to our cabins, grateful to not have to travel immediately after the show was wrapped. We hung out in Patrick’s cabin which was the fanciest of all of them. Tyler built a fire and we all socialized for a bit.
After not too long I headed back to my cabin to write a bit and then get to bed, I was wiped out. I was very grateful for the cabin being out in the middle of nowhere. It made it pitch black in my room and I was out. Was just a little bummed the sky was overcast as I’m sure the viewing of the nighttime sky is pretty amazing where we were.