Archive for September, 2007

JARMAN AUDITORIUM – FARMVILLE, VA

Monday, September 24th, 2007

It’s rare that we have the opportunity to perform close to home. On Saturday night, we were the culmination of festivities for Family Weekend at Longwood University. We’ve performed in Jarman Auditorium several times over the years but haven’t been there since 2002. I really like this place and this would be a chance for us to perform some of the new illusions in our show for a more “hometown” kind of crowd. The show wasn’t necessarily open to the public so no one from Lynchburg would be driving over; but there would be some familiar faces to be seen.

Once we were loaded in by the guys from Lancer Productions, we were started getting things set up for the show. We had a couple of lighting challenges along the way – had to move a few instruments from the FOH position to the booms but Kate handled that with ease. Once everything was hung, patched, geled, and focused, Keith and I finished up the cues and the intelligent lighting. Cindy and Keith had already been working much of the day getting the sound EQ’d and ready to go. Only my microphone was left to be tested…and we’ve been having some issues with that. We dropped some cash on an amazing wireless mic for me to use during the show and a few more bucks for the new Lectrosonics transmitter to go with it. The transmitter has been giving us some problems – or part of it anyway. Half way through the show, it just stops working. But Keith has that backup mic ready to go…and Cindy’s always got it there in my hand! The show moves along as if it were planned… Keith will be working this week to make sure that problem is taken care of before the next show.

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The show went very well – a couple of surprises but the audience was GREAT! They responded so well and, with a full house, the reactions really carried. Final Destination got a gasp…and the Wall just stunned them…while No Feet captured their imagination and they went on that childhood journey with me. They were just an incredible crowd.

Nolan has been doing a great job as well. He passed his written CDL exam this week so he can now drive the rig on the road. He’ll be getting his chance to do that this week as he and I head off to Louisville, KY for a series of meetings.

PASCAL ARTS CENTER – ARNOLD, MD

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

We had our first show of the season on Friday night at the Pascal Performing Arts Center in Arnold, MD on the campus of Anne Arundel Community College. We’ve performed here many times over the last several years but our last show was in 2004, just before our first trip to Asia. The show has changed considerably since that time so we were very excited to be bringing new illusions to the stage – and the audience.

The theatre had just installed new dimmers and the electrician and inspector had not yet “approved” everything when we arrived. We were the first show with all new equipment at Pascal so techs were a little nervous. In the end, it all came together very well! THis could have easily been a very challenging day for everyone; instead, things started to come together and we finished setting up in time to eat dinner before the show.

We had a great crew working with us – Peter, Joy, Nate, and Eric, along with a fine group to help load in and load out. Doors opened at 7:30pm and the people came running in to grab those front row seats. By the time 8pm rolled around, the place was full and the crowd was ready to have a good time. I love audiences like this!!

The show moved along with no major technical glitches (always good for the first show); volunteers were plentiful and enthusiastic. I met so many of them afterwards in the lobby. Kids, adults, college students – they were all there and I enjoyed the excitement in their voices and just the opportunity to meet and talk with them. Some of them even took the time to email back to the office their pictures!

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KATHY GRIFFIN AND GOD

Monday, September 17th, 2007

There has been so much discussion in the media about Kathy Griffin’s recent statements after winning an Emmy Award for her show, “My Life on the D-List.” At this point, I can’t imagine that anyone would not know what she said BUT, just to keep this post in perspective, here it is:

griffin.jpg “…A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. Suck it Jesus. This award is my god now.”

I’m certainly not the first person to blog about these comments. If you google it, you’ll find lots of different posts. Lauren Green, Religion Correspondent for FOX News, wrote a blog about Griffin’s comments with a very different approach. Many people have come forward and condemned the statement and the edited version that aired on E! did not include the statement. “Kathy Griffin’s offensive remarks will not be part of the E! telecast on Saturday night,” the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences said in their own statement last Monday.

Yes, Kathy Griffin’s statement was very offensive but is it so far from the truth about many of us? Even for those of us who claim to be Christ-followers? It should really make us stop and think. Kathy Griffin only acknowledged that she is a Worshiper and this Emmy Award is her god. But everyday, all day long, all over the world, in every place, we all worship. Think about it like this – Worship is all about our response to what we value most in our lives. It fuels our actions and is definitely the driving force behind everything we do. If we all seriously examine our own existence, we might be surprised to find that, while we say that God is the most important Person in our reality, something else might be sitting on our “throne.” At least Ms. Griffin was honest enough with herself to identify her god. Every person has an altar somewhere in their life, even those people who aren’t “religious.” And at every altar, there is a throne. All of us have an altar – all of us have a throne. If we follow the path of our time, affections, energy, money, etc., we will instantly know what we have put on that throne because it is the one thing that is of the most value to us…and that is what we worship.

At the end of the day, our worship is more about what we do than what we say. Some profound words were written in a small book in the Bible called 1 Timothy. The writer wrote, “Teach with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity.” And St. Francis of Assisi once said, “Preach the gospel. Use words if necessary.” Ms. Griffin was honest enough to just say it – THIS is what I worship. And, yes, the words were very offensive when we heard them. But how many of us express that same thought every day as we live in our own reality? What is it that we worship with our lives?

AMERICAN AIRLINES

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

For those of you who read my blog, you know that in late July I posted about a terrible flying experience I had with American AirlinesFlying the Friendly Skies. I wrote several postings about the lack of Customer Service in the airline industry these days and especially how disappointed I was with American Airlines in this experience.

When I returned home and really had a chance to think about it, I was incredibly irritated that American Airlines would be so arrogant in the way they treat their clients/customers. So, at the encouragement of a representative, I wrote American Airlines a letter addressed to Customer Relations in Dallas, Texas. I was polite, but very detailed in my review of the experience. I received a little card in the mail from American Airlines letting me know that my letter had been received, that my comments were important, and that someone would be contacting me soon.

What I received next was an insult. A few days ago, I received a letter from American Airlines signed by a Customer Relations representative named Barbara McKay. She started with the statement, “From the details you provided in your email, it is clear that you were inconvenienced when you traveled with us recently.” Suddenly, it hit me – THIS is a form letter! I didn’t email; I had written and mailed a letter! As I continued to read, it became even more clear that this was nothing more than some ridiculous form letter stating American Airlines emphasizes the highest level of customer service.” Really? And do they “emphasize” that by sending out form letters???

Ms. McKay went on to write that, for my inconvenience, she had credited 10,000 bonus miles to my AAdvantage account (that would be their frequent flyer program). If she had truly read my letter, she would have understood that this was my FIRST experience flying with American and she would know that I don’t have an AAdvantage account!

I’m not sure if I should be more insulted by the treatment I have received on my July flight or by the response I received to my letter! Both are evidence of the extremely poor customer relations that exist at American Airlines.

Feel free to write to American Airlines and let them know how you feel about the way they respond to their customers. It’s easy, just send them an email!

OFF TO MARYLAND

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

We’ve been working hard these past two days to get everything ready for the first show of the season. We leave in the morning for Maryland – quick trip out and back home again. With all the meetings of the last two weeks, I’ve got lots of things to do in the office before we leave again. Thank God September is always a bit “sporadic” with performances before it all starts hitting hard in October!

I had a little “incident” last week at the LAX airport while returning home from a trip out that way. Without going into a lot of detail, someone attacked me in the airport and I have filed charges – three felonies including robbery, threats of bodily harm, and assault with a deadly weapon. The dude completely destroyed my computer so I apologize if I’ve been a little late with BLOG postings and email returns. While I’m a bit rattled, I’m fine…minimal bruising.

Someone once wrote, “It is not the crisis that builds something within us – it simply reveals what we are made of already.” More than ever, my faith was important to me that day. During the entire attack, I stayed very calm – almost disconcertingly calm. The officers later indicated that, if I had reacted to the guy, he would have (most likely) killed me. I wonder why these things happen but my faith at least gives me the assurance that God is in control of all circumstances and situations in my life. It’s not a matter of right and wrong, but a matter of God taking me through a way that I temporarily don’t understand.  In the end, the most important thing for me to remember is that nothing happens in my life that doesn’t first pass through the fingers of God’s hand.

BACK FROM COLUMBUS…and BACK ON THE ROAD

Monday, September 10th, 2007

I’m back from Columbus, OH after spending one day at home last week.  It was a good trip and I got to meet Jack Hanna (he’s the guy that handles all those animals)!

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Nolan and I got home last night (Sunday) and all of us spent most of the day today working on the truck trying to get it ready to go out on tour.  Tomorrow we’ll be working in the warehouse most of the day but there are still lots of things that have to be done in the office as well.

My computer was completely destroyed in an “incident” at LAX on 9/2/07 so I’ve been without one for more than a week.  Cindy ordered me a replacement but Gateway sent the wrong model.  Today I bought the new Toshiba but it uses Windows Vista – ugh!  My friend Chris has been working on it most of the day trying to get things to work correctly while saving as much of my original data as possible from the old computer.  It’s almost comical the way most of the programs don’t work in this new operating system.  It would be funny if it wasn’t so important.

We have our first show of the season on Friday night at the Pascal Performing Arts Center in Arnold, MD.  It should be great fun!

GOOD DAY COLUMBUS

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

I hope everyone is having a great holiday weekend. I’m heading home today from Los Angeles. I’ve had a very productive week here in this town but I’m ready to go home. I really, really miss Cindy – can’t wait to see her tonight!

For those of you who are in the Columbus, OH area, I’ll be appearing on GOOD DAY COLUMBUS this coming Thursday (Sept 6) around 8:15am. I hope you’ll tune me in…and drop an email to say you watched.

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