Archive for October, 2008

DRIVING TO MORRISTOWN, NJ

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

After a fun show last night at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick, MD, we were on our way this morning to Morristown, NJ.  This will be our third performance here in the last 8 years but they theatre has undergone an extensive renovation.  This will be the first time we’ve been able to do our complete production in Northern New Jersey!  I’m pretty excited about it.  Tomorrow, there should be two articles in area newspapers – the STAR LEDGER and the DAILY RECORD.  This poster is hanging at the theatre and we’re definitely on the marque.

The drive today was fairly uneventful.  We did drive over some really bumpy roads however. As we entered NJ from PA, the road were horrible (I think they’re also under construction, I hope so).  Our closet area became a disaster zone after everything flew off the racks!

We pulled into Morristown around 4:30pm and got checked into the Hyatt.  The service here is outstanding and it’s centrally located in the city, very close to the theatre.  I wandered the area in search for food.  Just around the corner is THE SOUP MAN.  As the sign says, “The soup that make Seinfeld famous!”

I settled for a place across the street – little deli that made some awesome sandwiches and pizza.  Tonight, we relax in the room and prepare for the long day tomorrow.

WEINBERG CENTER – FREDERICK, MD

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

This is our first time to perform at the Weinberg Center.  It’s located in historic downtown Frederick – a busy and charming section of the city.  It’s a great old theatre/movie house that hosts a wide variety of performers.

Load in was a little bit of a challenge because we couldn’t get our truck through the sharp turns.  The TD, Greg, said it’s tough to get a truck our size in that dock and they were used to unloading in the alley and ramping it to the stage.  That’s exactly what we did…and it worked just fine.

Once cases arrived on stage, we filled most every open space.  Cindy and Ethan started working to pull together the details of the show.  Cindy – once again – did an amazing job of making it all fit AND work smoothly!

Set up moved along very quickly – drops in the air, hanging the intelligent lighting, focusing the fixtures, etc.  Before we knew it, we were checking lighting cues and getting ready for tech rehearsal.

The audience was incredibly enthusiastic – and vocal!  Literally, many of them talked to me through the entire show!  I loved it!  We had some great volunteers and I had the chance to chat with dozens of people afterwards in the lobby.

It was a great night – a wonderful staff, a great crew, and a terrific audience!  I hope we get to come back here again.

THE ART OF JUGGLING

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

My wife and I do magic but most days I feel like a juggler as well.  Not in the performing sense of the word – but definitely in the technical sense.  This is the time of year when I am booking our 2009/2010 tour schedule.  On top of that, we are also touring, setting up, and performing shows every week.  There are interviews to do and paperwork that needs to be done.  Then there are all the things that have to be done at home.  And, somewhere in all of this, it is important to remember the people who give my life purpose – like Cindy.  It’s so easy to get caught up in “all the stuff” required to keep our business moving forward that I can forget to spend time with the person who inspires and motivates me.  I am the luckiest guy in the world.  I get to do what I love with the person I love most – but it’s easy to let the “person” get lost in the “doing.”  I’m trying to get better at that because time is limited.  What I do with the time I have is the single most important decision I have to make…and I want it to be the right one.

MORE PAPERWORK…

Monday, October 27th, 2008

With one day at home, it was a busy one.  I’m still trying to complete all the paperwork required for our upcoming tour in Canada.  It is not nearly as difficult or time-consuming as preparing the manifest and carnet for our Asian tours BUT still lots to do.

Today, I completed/faxed the IMM60 form to the Canadian Immigration Office.  Keith, Cindy, and I completed/faxed the Show Inventory to the Customs Broker so they can prepare the Temporary Admissions Forms for us.  And I completed/faxed the Regulation 105 Tax Waiver Form to the Customs and Revenue Office so we don’t have to pay Canadian taxes on the money we make there.  On top of that, I also completed/faxed the CT-588 Form to reduce withholding for our upcoming shows in Connecticut.  Wow, taxes are out of control!  And they could get worse after this election!

Cindy and Ethan worked out of the office.  Keith and I worked in the office.  I’m still not sure I got everything done…but I’m closer to be finished than I was before I started, right?

Tomorrow, we head to Maryland for our Wednesday night performance at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick.  And then we make our way to New Jersey to the newly renovated Community Theatre at the Mayo Center for the Arts.  I did a newspaper interview today that will run on Friday in the DAILY RECORD. The STAR LEDGER article will also run this week.

BUNDY AUDITORIUM – USC, LANCASTER

Monday, October 27th, 2008

The routing on this date was perfect – only an hour drive from Camden to Lancaster.  Everyone was a little happier about that given the long drives we did last weekend in Michigan!

Bundy Auditorium is a very different space.  It was once a lecture hall that underwent a renovation to convert it into a theatre.  It presented several challenges but Keith worked with the guys from Audio Ethics and they were awesome about working with us to make some changes…and Cindy did a miraculous job of putting this production together!  In the end, the show made sense, had a nice flow, and worked very well.

The place was sold out – not a seat remained anywhere and we were heading into “standing room only” territory.  It was a great mix of people – families, senior citizens, children, young adults.  It was the perfect audience.  And when the music started and we “appeared” for the first illusion, I knew they were going to be a fantastic crowd.  The welcoming applause and enthusiasm just about knocked us over on the stage. And with each illusion, the enthusiasm continued to build.  By the time we reached our finale, the audience was on their feet and we were beyond thrilled that they had enjoyed the show.

I ran off the stage to get changed and head to the lobby, and Carter was there to meet me – ready to play.

Keith got me to the lobby fairly quickly and I had the pleasure of meeting so many of the folks in the audience – signing their programs and posters, and getting pictures taken with sponsors, etc.  It seems everyone had a great time.  I met the publisher of the local newspaper and there was a photographer in the house that night.  They’ll be doing a follow up review of the show and I’m hoping they send along the article and the pictures for our FLICKR page. I’ll keep you posted.

We managed to drive home this morning.  We’ll spend a couple of days here before leaving for Maryland on Tuesday afternoon.

FINE ARTS CENTER OF KERSHAW COUNTY

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

Last night we performed at the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County.  We had a near capacity, enthusiastic crowd.  The staff and technical crew here took such good care of us – including a home cooked meal for dinner!  You can read the artcle from the INDEPENDENT CHRONICLE here.

We have been noticing the impact of the economy on ticket sales.  We are still very fortunate that we are ending up with great crowds but tickets are selling much later than they have in the past.  Only a few days ago, there were just a handful of tickets sold for our show in Camden.  In the 24 hours prior to the performance, ticket sales were strong…turning out a great audience.

This morning, we’re off to Lancaster, SC for a show tonight at Bundy Auditorium.

ARRIVAL IN CAMDEN, SC

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

We pulled out of Lynchburg today around 12noon, heading to Camden, SC for our show on Friday night at the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County.  It was a fairly pleasant drive – sunny day and gradually got warmer as we traveled south.  The trees have not yet begun to change color here so still looks a bit like summer.

As we traveled, I had to pull over a couple of times to try and conduct a radio interview.  After several tries, the reporter and I connected and were able to do the interview “live to tape.”  They’ll use it a couple of times during the local news.

I have lots of work to get done tonight so I’m going to start on that before it gets too late.

I HATE PAPERWORK!

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

I spent most of the day today trying to decipher the stacks of paperwork that is now required by Massachusetts and Connecticut in order to perform in the state.  These particular forms are fairly important because they deal with the amount of money you actually get to keep from your check.  Many states these days have a “Non-resident Entertainment Tax” that is deducted from any payment you receive while performing in the state.  Missouri, New Mexico, Wisconsin, California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and on and on.  The thing is, completing these forms doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll  get a break.  It just means they will balance your expenses against your profits and decide how much tax they are going to “withhold.”  And there’s really no formula for this from what I can understand.  It’s simply up to the discretion of the person reviewing the forms.

I also spent some time trying to get all the paperwork completed for our upcoming trip through New Brunswick, Canada for two performances – the Imperial Theatre on November 13 and the Fredericton Playhouse on November 15.  It’s been much easier dealing with the Canadian government on these two shows than with the tax offices of the ones here in the states!  We do have to have some extensive documentation of the equipment (something we still have from the Asia tour) as well as our passports, contracts, and permits in order.

There should be a couple of articles in area newspapers to promote upcoming shows.  I know the LANCASTER NEWS ran a feature today for our show there on Saturday night (Lancaster, SC).  And yesterday there was an article in the Camden CHRONICLE-INDEPENDENT about our show on Friday night.  I wasn’t able to find it online but heard that it was a good write up.

We are heading to South Carolina on Thursday.  I have a radio interview set up to talk about our Camden performing at the Fine Arts Center at 1pm.  I’m guessing I’ll be doing that one on my cell phone while driving!  Nothing like the sound of a diesel engine in the background – life on the road!

BLOG WEIRDNESS

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Some of you have brought to my attention that the blog is showing up kind of weird on the website.  I think that it’s fixed now.  Greg got on it right away (for which I am very grateful).  We’ll know as soon as I make this post!

HOME IN VIRGINIA

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

We finally arrived back home – long drive from Michigan to Virginia.  We made the trip a bit more “slowly” than I normally would because we were all kind of tired.  It was nice to sleep it and drive more “casually.”  It is good to be home though, even if only for a day!

The drive into Virginia was beautiful.  The trees near the Blue Ridge Parkway are in full color and spectacular!  Cindy had her iPhone out trying to capture as many images as she could.

 

Tomorrow will be a very busy day.  There is so much to get done in such a short amount of time.  I’m pressed to get the paperwork completed and filed with the Canadian government before we cross the border on November 13.  And I still have “tax forms” to complete for some of our upcoming New England performances too.  I know it sounds a little crazy but, without these tax forms being filed, the states will take about 7% of our income as “non-resident entertainers tax.”  Just their way of getting a little portion of money that doesn’t really belong to them.

I’m fairly tired and still need to try and organize my day tomorrow so I can be productive!  Thursday we will leave for South Carolina – warmer temperatures than Michigan I think.