Archive for January, 2006

HOME, BRIEFLY…

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

After the show in Marion, we drove like crazy to get back to Lynchburg. With the demise of the sound computer, we were in need of a new one badly. Turns out the company we work with didn’t have one in stock and the manufacturer was back-ordered! That’s not good news for us. After a phone call to our contact there, she called “production” who made one for us and shipped it out UPS Red! We received it this morning and Cindy has been transferring files all day…what a process. BUT the show will be back on track. How did we get so reliant on technology?

Tomorrow morning, we head BACK to Toledo for a Healing of Magic workshop on Thursday and performance on Friday night.

Our trip out this time is a long one. Our last show is February 25 in Wisconsin Rapids, WI.

Check back…you know I always have something to write about!

THE PALACE THEATRE – MARION, OH

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

This is a beautiful theatre! I never get tired of seeing these grand old venues put to modern day use. They just don’t build them like the Palace anymore! We had a few space challenges but the local crew worked closely with Cindy to free up as much space as possible to get all of our equipment inside. David had to rethink some things from the norm but pulled it off well.

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll remember that a couple of weeks ago we had a problem with our Instant Replay, the unit we use for our music during the show. It’s state-of-the-art technology and it has been a very reliable computer. We had that one problem and then all was well for the following shows. Last night at the Palace, as we opened the doors and kicked into our show music, we had the same problem – the music was caught in a loop! The only way to stop it is to power down the unit and start again. Not the way you want to run a show! We patched in our iPod as the backup unit. Only moments after getting it going, the battery died! Ah, the joys of live performance!

We took to the stage for our opening illusion and the music got caught in a loop! After a bit of banter with the crowd, we started the show again. This amazing audience went right along with us and made this a great evening for us, in spite of the tension and stress we were all feeling. Cindy especially was on pins and needles, wondering what would happen next.

At this point, I have to say something about this crowd. I could see clearly the faces of the audience from the stage. The support we received with every illusion was outstanding. The energy a performer gets from an audience cannot be underrated. And this audience enthusiastically responded to everything we did. It was a pleasure to meet so many of them in the lobby after the show.

Anyone who knows us understands just how “prepared” we are for the unexpected. Over the years, we’ve had to deal with every conceivable situation…and Cindy handled this one with the same professionalism she has with challenges in the past. Now, we’ve already ordered a backup unit for the Instant Replay and made arrangements to get this one repaired.

Life on the road is so glamorous!

A DAY OF TRAVELING

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

People sometimes think life on the road as a performer is glamorous and trouble-free. For some reason, it’s romanticized – staying in hotels every night, eating at restaurants, traveling from city to city, etc. It’s not exactly what you might think it is.

Here’s the way our lives have been in just the few days. We had a performance on Friday night in Morristown, NJ (Thursday’s 1/26/06 STAR LEDGER had another nice article/review about the show). Immediately after the show was loaded back into the truck, we drove to our hotel by Newark International Airport for a short night. We got up early so that Cindy and Kylie could catch the 7am shuttle to the Airport to fly home. I had several days of meetings in NYC so David and I caught a cab into NYC and checked into our hotel all before 9am. Four very busy days in the city for me and David while Cindy was working at home and Kylie was busy in the office (people never realize there is TONS of office work to do – it’s not all about performing).

After we finished up our meetings, David and I taxied by to the NJ hotel where we parked the semi for the last few days…only to arrive and find that the lights had been on and all three batteries were dead! After many, many phone calls, we finally found a truck repair company to come out and charge us up. We had to let the truck run all night. We were up early on Wednesday driving back to Lynchburg. Thursday was a day filled with newspaper interviews (watch the TOLEDO BLADE for the next interview on the show there on 2/3/06), appointments, office work, phone calls, and getting information in the mail to interested buyers.

Early Friday morning, we were all in the truck heading to Marion, OH. We arrived around 6pm, checked into our hotel, grabbed dinner at “Steak & Shake” and then back to the hotel. We are really excited about our performance at the Palace Theatre tonight….and, as I write this, the sun is coming up, the sky is streaked in shades of red, and the beauty of God’s creation is all around me. It’s going to be a great day.

NEW YORK CITY, NY

Sunday, January 22nd, 2006

After our show in Morristown, Cindy and Kylie caught a flight back home while David and I headed into New York City for a series of meetings. This is always a very busy time for us. The weather has been perfect – it was almost 60 degrees yesterday! Tonight the temps will drop to below freezing and snow is on the way. Monday is 100% chance of rain with temps in the low 40′s…what a change in a short amount of time!

I love NYC because of all the difference foods and restaurants here. Tonight we grabbed a quick bite at The Trailer Park in Chelsea and, yes, it looks like a trailer on the inside! Not your traditional New York place for cuisine! They had great grilled cheese sandwiches and tater tots! Pictures to follow…..

MORRISTOWN, NJ

Saturday, January 21st, 2006

This was our second appearance at the Community Theatre in Morristown, NJ. What an awesome staff, crew and audience! Our first show there was about three years ago…and it was great to be back. The audience in Morristown is so enthusiastic! From the moment we stepped onto the stage, the crowd was with us – laughing, responding and applauding. We had some really wonderful volunteers, including a great kid named Mark who surrendered his last dollar bill for a bit of magic…and the audience fell in love with him. Each and every person who assisted us on the stage helped make the show more personable and magical for everyone. We had some really memorable volunteers last night.

When you tour with a show, flexibility is the name of the game. Each venue has it challenges – whether it’s a state-of-the-art performing arts center or a turn-0f-the-century vaudeville house. The Community Theatre of Morristown is a wonderful space but has limited backstage area. That always presents us with a bit of a dilemna in determining what illusions will be featured in the show. We can’t make it all fit in a limited amount of space but our goal is always to give the audience the best possible performance we can. Most of the challenges we face are often overcome by working with an excellent crew (which we had at the Community Theatre) and the organization and experience that Cindy and David bring to figuring out what can and cannot be done in a given space.

I am always humbled when I have the opportunity to talk with patrons in the lobby after the show. Last night in Morristown was no exception. The hundreds of positive comments from enthusiastic adults and excited children make all of this so worthwhile. For me, it’s about more than the “tricks” that get rolled onto the stage. It’s about making a connection with the audience on a level that evokes an emotional response. THANK YOU Morristown for your overwhelming generosity and awesome response to our show. What a pleasure it was and we hope to see you again down the road.

MANCHESTER, TN AND MORE

Monday, January 16th, 2006

The Coffee County Child Advocacy Center brought us in to do a small show and to help them raise some much needed money for this new organization. It’s sad that a community needs a group to help them deal with abused children but, thank God, this group is in the area. We were privileged to help them raise some funds…and the event in Manchester was very successful.

This morning, Katy left us to fly to Orlando. She was on the road with us for about a week and had some truly unique “American” food experiences – Taco Bell, Panera Bread, Cracker Barrell and, of course, Waffle House! When we were in Hong Kong, we found a small diner similar to a Waffle House there. We ate there several times late at night after performances. It was right across the street from our hotel. We always called it the Waffle House and now, they call it that too! It was a lot of fun to take Katy to a real Waffle House (she even tried some grits – didn’t like them).

We are back in the office for a couple of days and then the big tour begins…..

GENTRY AUDITORIUM – TN

Friday, January 13th, 2006

There are no words to describe our experience at Gentry Auditorium last night! We had a great time working with the crew and making it through some of the challenges of the venue. The audience was extremely spirited and vocal! This was a very enthusiastic crowd with some memorable volunteers. And we are always excited when we have the chance to meet area magicians; this show was not an exception. And many of our favorite magical friends from surrounding communities were there as well. It was great to have a chance to visit for a brief time with friends and make some new one.

Every illusion got a great response and the audience honored us with a standing ovation at the end of the show. What a great way to get our 2006 tour started!

JEFFERSON CITY, TN

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

We spent most of the day today driving to Jefferson City, TN. We’ve stopped for the night only a few miles away in Morristown, NJ. We wanted Katy – our Hong Kong intern – to experience something very “American” so we ate at Waffle House tonight! It was a very fun experience for all of us…and the crew at Waffle House didn’t let us down. They made it a memorable evening for Katy and she got lots of pictures.

Tomorrow, we perform our first show of 2006 at Gentry Auditorium on the campus of Carson Newman College.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN…

Monday, January 9th, 2006

We’ll be heading out very soon for the first leg of our Spring 2006 tour…and we have another companion with us for a week. Katy (that’s her in the picture with Cindy and I) has arrived from Hong Kong. She will be with us for our performances in Tennessee and then she’s off to Orlando and Las Vegas. I know she will be overwhelmed by America – it’s hundreds of times larger than Hong Kong; but we’re excited for her to see our country and experience our culture. I’m sure I’ll be posting more pictures very soon.

CHANGES

Friday, January 6th, 2006

If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that nothing stays the same. Life is full of changes and challenges. Living life on the road, out of a suitcase, has it’s fair share of challenges and inconsistencies. As a matter of fact, nothing is ever the same – difference bed, different food, different venue, different crew, different audience, etc. And there’s really no way to convey in words how that impacts your life. It’s something that has to be experienced. The one constant in our lives is our team. The four of us – me, Cindy, David and Kylie – working together to pull off each performance. We are like family spending almost every waking hour together.

While touring in Asia last year, our Hong Kong presenter provided us with a technical liason for each venue. Her name was Katy. She was with us almost all the time, every day, working hard along side us to make each show a success.

On Monday, Katy will arrive from Hong Kong to experience “life on the road” with us in America. Talk about change! This will be a new experience for us and, we hope, a rewarding and exciting adventure for Katy.

Life…there’s never a dull moment!