A COUPLE OF DAYS BREAK – Marilyn Armstrong

Owen will be here with the dogs while the beasties will be doing their usual fine job of protecting the place from any dogs who might show up.

We’ll be down at the Curley’s place for a few days and back home Friday. I worked very hard to schedule posts for the next few days and I will answer comments when I can, but I need a break. When I get back, I’m going to see what I can do to deal with the email deluge on my computer.

I didn’t read almost anyone’s stuff today. I was working so hard at trying to create three days of posts, I’ve had little time for anything else. But, as I keep saying, I really need a break and it has to start sometime. This seems a good time.

I’ll pop in from time to time when I can, but meanwhile, I’ll just bet the world will continue to have one catastrophe after another, even if I’m not online.

PARODY TRA LA, DUM DE DUM DE DUM DUM … – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Parody


What is nearly tragic is even though these were written more than 50 years ago, they are maybe even more relevant now. We don’t learn easily, do we?

And who better than Tom Lehrer?

And finally, there’s Monty Python: “”What have you got to lose, y’know? You come from nothing, you go back to nothing. What’ve you lost? Nothing!”

 

 

ROAD TRIP! – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Tom and I are members of an audio theater company, VoiceScapes Audio Theater. We write most of the scripts for our live and recorded performances. We usually do our live performances in our area – within an hour or so from New York City, where most of the group members live (Tom and I live in CT).

Voicescapes performing live

But this weekend we did something different and special. A road trip! Or more accurately, an air trip. Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio, invited us to perform a ninety-minute show for them in a beautiful theater that they rented for us.

They would pay all the travel expenses for all eight members of our group. On top of that, they would pay us a fee that was more than we’d ever been paid before. So accepting this gig was a no-brainer!

Members of the group at the airport

The planning of the trip turned out to be mind-boggling. Sande, our President, took care of the logistics. She said that it took 62 emails back and forth between our members, the university and the theater, just to come up with a date for the show! Kudos to Sande for her perseverance and stamina!

We’ve all been very excited about this trip. A week before we left, we had a rehearsal at our home studio of the pieces we would be performing. We felt good about our show. Now we just had to get to Ohio.

Hanging out at the airport

We met at our gate at La Guardia airport for our 5:15 flight on Friday, November 2, 2018. There was lots of schmoozing and chatting before we boarded the plane. The flight itself was quite choppy but otherwise uneventful.

Sunset from the plane

We landed, rented our two vehicles, piled in and headed to the hotel. By the time we met for dinner, it was late. But we were stoked that we had started our thespian adventure. So dinner at the hotel restaurant was loud and lots of fun. And also quite good. I had beef bone stock Vietnamese Pho soup for the first time and loved it. We shared a Banana Custard Pie with a pistachio nut crust for dessert and it was truly delicious. It was close to midnight when we got back to our rooms.

Tom and me (on the right) with others at dinner

We were supposed to get into the theater at 9:00 AM on Saturday so we would have all day to set up and rehearse. At the last minute, there was a scheduling problem and we couldn’t get into the theater until noon.

After that, it took three hours for the technical set-up. That’s because our show involves lots of microphones, wires, sound mixers, computers as well as live and recorded sound effects.

We usually have to do this set-up ourselves, meaning Tom has to do most of it on his own. But in Youngstown, Tom had a union crew of three professionals to help him. Tom was in pig heaven! The guys were nice, accommodating — extremely competent and knowledgeable.

Empty Stage

Tom with part of his crew

I particularly enjoyed watching the sound effects guy, Tony (a friend who drove six hours from Indiana to perform with us) set up his live sound effects table. He is awesome! One of our scripts calls for a gun to cock. So Tony brought several guns to choose from because they all make different sounds.

Tony doing live gun sound effects

We didn’t start to rehearse till 3:30 and kept going until 7:30. We still had time to repeat pieces or parts of pieces that required extra work or choreography.

The choreography comes in when actors have to switch mikes, handoff telephones, or cross behind another actor. We also realized that we had never rehearsed taking bows – which requires coordination and timing.

rehearsal

Dinner Saturday night was at a recommended Barbecue place that looked like a real dive. The front room had two pool tables and old arcade video games.

The back room had a tacky bar, wood tables, and generic chairs. But the barbecue pit master is an award-winner from Austin, Texas. The food, which you bought by the pound, was terrific. So was the beer. I usually don’t like beer, but I ordered my own beer and drank most of it!

Saturday Barbeque dinner

Sunday, the day of the show, we met for breakfast at the hotel and headed over to the theater at noon, the earliest we were allowed in. The performance was at 2:00 so we didn’t have much time. All we could do was a quick run through of the beginnings and ends of the pieces and the transitions to the next piece.

Sunday run through

We had to put carpets down on the stage to minimize feedback. One of the stagehands got out a vacuum cleaner and actually vacuumed the oriental carpet for us. Now that’s service!

Stagehand vacuuming our carpets!

The cast went back to the Green Room (the waiting area for actors backstage) to wait for their cue to go on stage.

We got a wonderful introduction from the Dean of the College of Creative Arts and Communications. And it was SHOWTIME!

We sailed through the show with our usual enthusiasm, skill, and professionalism. The audience laughed at all the right places and seemed to love us. The applause was prolonged and gratifying.

After the show, we had time for a quick toast before we had to head to the airport for our flight home.

Toasting ourselves after the show

Overall, it was a smooth and successful weekend. It was good to spread our wings professionally. We traveled together to a gig for the first time and we performed a ninety minute show for the first time in a while (our shows have generally been one hour). It was also a unique opportunity to hang out and socialize as a group over a two day period. And everyone had lots of fun.

So, here’s to the next Voicescapes road trip!

Nothing Has Changed Since Winston Churchill Said It – REBLOG – The Shinbone Star

That is what I have been saying. I know it isn’t a total victory, but we didn’t get to this place in a single election either. There’s a lot of work remaining to be done, but this time, at least, American came out of their holes and VOTED. That’s the beginning of the next chapter. Voting always is!


 

THE SHINBONE STAR

The Midterm Election’s warm glow of victory and its cold agony of defeat last Tuesday night lasted until Wednesday morning. That’s when formerly besieged, belittled and begrudged Democrats, who took back the House of Representatives from the raging Red Staters, swore to move the country forward despite Trumpian politics.

Incensed Trumpleforeskin threatened to retaliate against the Dems if they dared investigate him. For emphasis Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and temporarily replaced him with Matthew Whitaker, the former legal counsel of a shutdown company the Justice Department said swindled ordinary people out of almost $26 million.

The Reds think he is a fine addition to the Trumpian swamp lizards’ inner circle. How the swindler’s mouthpiece managed to obtain work in the upper echelons of the Justice Department desperately needs to be plumbed. How he got to be the Acting Attorney General of the United States can only be the…

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NOVEMBER AND DAY LILIES – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – November 12, 2018 – Day Lily


Nice to take a look back to the flowers of summer. Hard, right now, with the cold and the rain and the wind, to believe we’ll ever have summer.

I’m glad I take pictures because I find them very comforting in the chilly nights of November.

The most reliable flowers we have got are daylilies. Some of the cultivars have gone wild and you can find them in the parks along the rivers. Otherwise, the roses  — once they get started — really hang on until the first snow. We get lots of columbines and for some reason, this year, the rhododendrons really took off. I guess they finally reached “full-grown” and it only took them 18 years — probably more like 20 since they were here when we moved in.

We moved them to a better — sunnier — location, but otherwise, this year, they grew like crazy and even bloomed a second time in October.

Growing wild by the river, a yellow daylily

November is a funny month. We’ve had some very warm months … almost like summer, at least for the first half, though usually it drops down and gets cold by the time we get to Thanksgiving.

When we lived in Boston, November 18th was a “shorts and tee-shirt” day. We walked from our apartment to a local bar for lunch and visiting local friends. It was almost 80 degrees (26.7 Celsius) when we went into the bar. Two hours later, we left the bar. It had dropped forty degrees and it kept dropping. We ran home as fast as we could. The warm November weather ended in two hours in the middle of a Wednesday in November.

This year, it has been cool most of the month. Although some of the roses are still blooming, everything else is gone. The trees are bare, except for the little Japanese maple. The television meteorologists are beginning to mutter about snow.

Oh no! Not snow! But at least we got the leaves cleaned up. Imagine the snow on top of the millions of oak leaves.

It isn’t unusual for us to have snow on Thanksgiving. I hope this isn’t one of “those” years. Talk about “unready!”

One daylily

Two daylilies

More daylilies

Chinese daylilies