Archive for December, 2007

TELLURIDE, CO – DAY TWO

Monday, December 31st, 2007

We woke up this morning to much warmer temperatures than yesterday! After a nice breakfast at Maggie’s Bakery, we headed over to the theatre. Nolan unloaded the truck with the crew on Friday in -11 degree temps – that’s cold!!

The day went fairly smoothly and the Michael Palm Theatre is a very nice space. The view outside the loading dock is incredible! The day moved at a steady pace for a 7:30pm curtain – for a sold out crowd. Wonderful volunteers and enthusiastic responses from the audience made it great fun for all of us.

We extend A Big Thanks to Heather and Hilary in the administration offices for getting us great audiences. And to Michael and the tech crew (Corie, Mark, Chad, Adam, and Pat) for getting us in and doing an outstanding job in their respective show responsibilities. You guys made it fun for us.

The lobby was packed after that first show and I had the chance to talk with so many people for the area – some of them from 40-50 miles away. I am humbled – always – when I hear people tell me how much they enjoy the show, appreciate the content, and believe in the magic that is all around us. But some of the most touching words of the evening came from an elderly gentleman who took the time to send me an email. I don’t think he’ll mind if I share part of it here.

I did not want to interrupt your lively rapport with young fans after the Dec 28 performance at the Palm Theatre. So here I am to thank you for your charismatic, enthusiastic, utterly sincere presence on stage, not just during your acts of illusion/magic, but especially during your talks with us, your audience.

You conveyed your love for what you have done for most of your life most movingly. In addition, you know how to tell a story with humor, style, and, when called for, delightful suspense. Your stage presence is brilliant!

As a former actor, now almost 73, I took delight in all your fine attributes, which I described to my wife in detail. Unfortunately she was not able to attend due to a very nasty cold. I do hope the Palm brings you back!

I share this because it’s so reassuring to know that, after all the hard work of our entire team in setting up the show, the audience is pleased with what we have to offer them. This is one of the reasons we do what we do. I received several amazing emails from people who attended the shows in Telluride.

After the show, we had Brown Dog Pizza delivered to the stage and made our way back to the hotel. Interesting sign outside our hotel…

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On Saturday, we took some time to check out Telluride. It was a little bit warmer at 17 degrees! We stopped and had breakfast at La Cocina de Luz. We spent the morning walking Colorado Avenue, the main street through this historic town, visiting many of the shops and talking to the locals. People stopped us regularly to tell us how much they enjoyed the show “last night.” I don’t know how to put into words the way that makes you feel.

While I was walking through town, I thought I recognized someone getting ready to go into one of the shops. I spoke and it turned out to be the former Governor of Virginia, Mark Warner. We chatted for a moment and exchanged phone numbers. He and his family would be coming to the show on Saturday night. The theatre staff also told us that Tom Cruise and his family had purchased 15 tickets for the performance.

After the shops, we rode the gondola from Telluride to the Summit (10,540 feet) and then down to Mountain Village. This is a spectacular, breathtaking, incredible, no-words-to-describe trip. Something everyone MUST do if they come to Telluride.

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After a pleasant morning taking in the town, we had to head back over to the Palm Theatre and prepared for our evening show.

After the show, we loaded it all up in the truck and Ely, the driver, took off to Montrose to spend the night. He would leave in the morning and meet us in Denver to transfer the freight from his truck to ours.

VILAR CENTER SHOW…AND THEN TO TELLURIDE

Friday, December 28th, 2007

We had great shows at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek. This is a spectacular ski resort and it snowed practically the entire time we were there. The views from our lodge were amazing – and the skiers were in paradise with the fine powder snow coming down.

Our first show was on Christmas Day and it was sold out – great crowd. Afterwards, we were able to get back to the hotel, change clothes, and drive over to Arrowhead to have Christmas Dinner at the Vista restaurant. The menu was unique and the food was awesome. We thought that, by driving a few miles away from Beaver Creek, we might go unnoticed. That wasn’t the case. As I came through the door, I was surrounded by a large group of people who had been at the afternoon performance. They were so excited and wanted to let me know how much fun that all had. Cindy joined into the group and we did a series of photographs and chit chat before excusing ourselves to eat!

On December 26, we had two shows – one at 4:30pm and the other at 7:30pm. The evening performance was sold out, over sold actually. They added the afternoon show and almost sold it out – with a very international audience.

Both performances were very well received and I was delighted with the audience response. The Vilar Center is a beautiful venue but, more importantly, the people connected with the theatre are some of the greatest people in the world. We always enjoy performing in this place!

It is Thursday. This morning the truck arrived to load up our equipment and head to Telluride. We open there on Friday night for two performances.

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The drive to Telluride was about 5 hours. We dropped from 7900 feet to 5000 feet and then back up to 9000 feet – including a drive over the Dallas Divide!

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The views into Telluride are panoramic. There’s no way a picture or words can give you an idea of this type of beauty. The town is very historic and has preserved the building and atmosphere of this old mining town. Saturday during the day, we’re going to do some exploring!

We checked into our hotel and then Carter and I watched a few skiers come down the slopes – right behind our hotel!

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BEAVER CREEK, CO

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

We were up early on Christmas Eve to drive from Denver to Beaver Creek. The roads were good – for the most part. I still had the twinge of “fear” as we approached the Eisenhower Tunnel west of Denver. This is a significant grade – 7% for seven miles. I did this last March in the truck and it was NOT fun! It’s a much different experience in an SUV. The Colorado DOT did have some ice/snow warnings out for the Eisenhower tunnel and the westbound approach to the Vail pass. But we didn’t have any problems.

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We arrived in Beaver Creek around 10:30am, grabbed some lunch at the local Subway, and then drove up to the Vilar Center to start getting set up. Equipment had already arrived so we didn’t need to unload – just start into the day. With the great crew at the Vilar, things moved along quickly.

We called it a day around 4pm so they could get the theatre set up for Christmas Eve mass. We checked into our hotel, the Christie Lodge, and then all of us went to the local Thai restaurant for dinner.

Today – I was up early for an interview on GOOD MORNING VAIL. That went well AND the article hit the VAIL DAILY NEWS today too. It’s not online yet but it was a well written article.

Our show today is sold out and our evening show on Wednesday is sold out too. They added a matinee performance on Wednesday and tickets are already selling well for that. I’ll be on GOOD MORNING VAIL again tomorrow morning.

We’re off to find food…and then up to the Vilar Center to get ready for the day.

END OF DAY FOUR

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

We are finally in Denver – one thousand, six hundred miles from Virginia! After four days of ice, sleet, snow, rain, fog, and high winds, we are here! We transferred the equipment to the trucking company this evening and then went to Qdoba for dinner.

We are going to get some rest and spend the day here on Sunday. We’ll be renting that SUV and transferring our luggage. The trip continues first thing on Monday morning as we head to Avon/Vail/Beaver Creek.  We had some stops along the way that were fun!

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The Vilar Center called yesterday and added another performance on Dec 26. There are less than 80 tickets remaining for the show on Christmas Day and the evening show on Dec 26 is sold out. They are adding a 4:30pm performance that day so they are working to get the word out.

The article is supposed to run this weekend in the VAIL DAILY NEWS and should provide updated information. I am going to do an interview on TV8 in Avon Christmas morning to help as well.

The article did run for the performances in Telluride. You can read it HERE.

END OF DAY THREE

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

We arrived in Hays, KS after a very rough morning of driving.  We were in FOG from the time we left Wentzville, MO until we made it to Kansas City, KS.  Finally, it started to break up and the sun broke through the clouds.  It is so stressful driving when you can only see 10-20 feet in front of you and you’re driving 65 mph on the interstate.

We crossed Kansas and there were so many places that looked like it would be fun to stop – the OZ Museum in Wamego, the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, and others.  Maybe some other time…

We arrived in Hays, KS, checked into our hotel and walked across the street to Carlos O’Kelly’s for a little Mexican food.

Tomorrow, we’re off to Denver, CO.  We’ll transfer the equipment we need for Beaver Creek and Telluride into a smaller truck provided by a local freight carrier.  They will drive it through the Rocky Mountains on those small highways and roads while we follow along in an SUV.  Hey, I’m not that crazy!  Driving these mountains without snow is scary enough.  With snow?  Not on your life!

END OF DAY TWO

Friday, December 21st, 2007

The day started off fairly well – good weather, clear skies, and then came the rain.  We drove in rain most of the day.  And as we came into St. Louis, Missouri, it turned to fog – heavy, dense fog.  It was so thick that as we passed the giant Arch of St. Louis, you could only see the base rising about 10 feet into the air before vanishing in the thickness of white.

We pulled into Wentzville, MO and the fog was still very heavy.  After checking into the hotel, we all walked over to Bandera’s BBQ for dinner.  Great food!

Tomorrow we head to Hays, KS.

END OF DAY ONE

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

We were up bright and early! Everything was good, the sunrise was spectacular from the hill where we live. Everyone loaded into the truck, we started down the road and – SNOW AND ICE! It started coming down, heavy at times. This wasn’t part of the weather forecast??!! It only lasted until Roanoke, so about an hour. Once we hit Interstate 81, things were clear…all the way to Cookeville, TN where we decided to spend the night.

I also did the interview for the VAIL DAILY NEWS today.  The deadline is Thursday for it to go to press in Friday’s paper.  I hope someone gets me a copy.  The reporter, Charlie, was a very cool guy and seemed excited about the shows there.  If his enthusiasm carries over to his writing, it should be a good article.

Tomorrow, we drive to Wentzville, Missouri – sounds like fun!

ON THE ROAD TO COLORADO

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

After a few weeks off, we hit the road today for Colorado.  We have about 1,600 miles ahead of us and each day is going to be a long one.  We’re going to take a more southern route – Virginia to Tennessee to Illinois to Missouri to Kansas to Colorado.  I just don’t want to drive the West Virginia mountains!

We are heading out in a new truck.  Well, same body but a completely new engine AND an engine brake!  I feel really good about the mechanics of the truck…it’s the uncertainty of the weather that concerns me.  There have been several major snow and ice events across the plains in the last couple of weeks.  And with a big storm brewing in the Northwest, it should start across the plains sometime on Friday.  We are praying that we won’t get caught in anything too bad.  Once we make it to Denver, Justin and his guys at MK Trucking will do the rest.  We’ll transfer the equipment to a smaller truck and MK Trucking will move it for us through the Rocky Mountains.  Out truck is just too big to travel some of those snowy roads from Vail to Telluride.

I’ll take lots of pictures and video along the way – try to get some things posted as we go.

AHEAD OF THE CURVE

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

I picked up the truck today – all new engine, belts, and hoses. It looks very nice – and runs brilliantly! It also has a new engine brake on it that will definitely help in the mountains. I’m excited!

We took advantage of the 70 degree temperatures today and loaded up the trailer with the equipment we will use in Colorado. Tomorrow the weather starts to get colder, temps dropping to about 50 degrees…and then Saturday it gets really cold! Loading the trailer today was a lot easier than doing it in 30 degree temps. With that done, I feel like we’re a bit ahead of the game right now. We might even be able to take a day off before we leave next week!

The office is buzzing along. I’ve been slammed on the phone the last few days with people calling to lock in performances for fall 08 and spring 09. Much of our 08/09 tour is tentatively locked in – another coast to coast tour.
I’ll be heading to New York City in January to meet with the agent who is handling our Australian tour in June 2009. I’m really hoping that this one comes together. It’s been many years since we’ve been to Australia – it would be great to go back with this new production. I think it would go over very well. And we are already talking about our next tour in Asia with the hopes of picking up a couple of other countries along the way.  This same agent will be assisting us with that.
Things are good. Business is excellent.  We have much to be thankful for…and we are!

AT THE WAREHOUSE

Monday, December 10th, 2007

We spent most of the day today at the warehouse, working on getting things ready to leave next week. It was the perfect day to work – about 72 degrees! We are expecting mild temperatures all week and then – BLAST OF COLD as we move across the Midwest and into Colorado. It was 10 degrees today in Vail. That’s going to be a big change!

For now, we are trying to enjoy the time we have off the road while also getting ready to leave. It’s a delicate balancing act!