Archive for September, 2009

STEAK ‘N SHAKE

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

The day started with a radio interview for our upcoming performance on 10/24 at the Renaissance Theatre in Mansfield, OH.  After the interview, we loaded up the luggage, jumped into the rig, and hit the highway.  Weather was pleasant.  Interstate 64 West took us through Kentucky, Indiana, and then into Illinois.  Not much to write about except for the fact that we got to eat dinner at one of our favorite places – Steak ‘n Shake!

TRAVELING TO KANSAS

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

After a crazy busy week last week, we are now back on the road driving to Kansas.  We should arrive in Emporia, KS on Wednesday night.  I’m looking forward to a day of activities working in the community on Thursday.  The “big show” is Friday night at the Granada Theatre!

We started out a little slow today.  Luggage was packed by 9:30am and everyone was ready to go.  As I did the final check on the truck, I noticed our dip stick was missing from the engine.  How do you loose a dip stick??  A call to the local International Truck dealership said they had one in stock.  Ethan and I jumped into the jeep and made the 15 mile drive up the road…only to be told they don’t actually have one in stock. Duct tape made the repair until we could stop by Tommy’s place (our local mechanic).  He had a real cap that he put into place.

We made it through the mountains and crossed into West Virginia only to find that we also lost our electrical connection to the trailer.  What does that mean?  Well, no marker lights, brake lights, turn signals, and (most importantly), no trailer brakes.  YIKES!

We pulled over in Beckley, WV and found a mobile repair guy who took about 30 minutes to find an fix the problem.  We were back on the road in no time.

We are spending the night in Charleston, WV…and tomorrow we head to Mt. Vernon, Illinois.

THANK YOU MONTGOMERY!

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Yesterday was an incredible day for us in Montgomery at the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre.  This is a spectacular venue, state-of-the-art in every way and with one of the nicest and most professional technical crews we have ever worked with.  And the GM, Allen, made us feel like family.  Great venue – the view from the stage was amazing!

The day moved along so smoothly we all wondered when something was going to go wrong.  Thankfully, it never did.  Soft goods and lighting were hung, and focused moved along quickly.  Keith handled lighting focus and we double checked the cues to make sure everything was ready for the show.  Bill was on hand to make sure I sounded good and that the show music was perfect (and it was).

Doors opened at 7pm for the 8pm show and the crowd started rolling in.  They kept coming in right up to show time until we had a nearly packed house.  And what an enthusiastic audience they were!  We had lively volunteers through the show and people responded loudly to the magic.  In the lobby afterwards, people told me about their favorite illusion but, hands down, the most common answer I heard was, “I didn’t have a favorite – I loved it all.”

THANK YOU MONTGOMERY for an outstanding evening and memorable experience.  We’ll look forward to coming back!

MONTGOMERY, AL – MEDIA DAY

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

We arrived in Montgomery, AL last night (Wednesday) and got checked into our hotel.  This is a spectacular place in downtown Montgomery and it’s going to be an experience staying here for the next three days.  We pulled the truck into the loading dock of the theatre (connected to the hotel) and luggage was taken to the rooms.

Today started much earlier – out of bed around 6am after a restful night.  Ethan, Alan, and I met for breakfast and then hooked up with the Executive Director of the MPAC, Allen, to head over to the radio station.  I did an interview with JT and LeAnne at MIX 103 and then slipped into another studio with Dr. Sam of WLWI Country – the two hottest radio stations in the area.

After radio, we made our way to WSFA to make an appearance on ALABAMA TODAY.  I enjoy going television and the team at WSFA were gracious and fun!

We talked about the performance on Friday night at the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre (8pm) and then Kim, the anchor, decided to learn a simple trick.  Josh, the weather dude, got in on the action and we all had a fun time.

After television, Allen dropped us off at the hotel.  The team gathered together to share lunch at Dreamland BBQ – wow, what a place!  The food was outstanding…and the rumor is the sauce’s secret ingredient is moonshine!  Tell me it ain’t so!!

After lunch, we walked back to the Performing Arts Center and met up with Keith.  We also joined a couple members of the crew to move a few soft goods in preparation for tomorrow’s load in.  I am very excited about this show.  The “buzz” is good so the audience should be great.

Today is my wedding anniversary so I’m off this computer and spending some time with my beautiful wife!

SARA BELLE NOVEMBER THEATRE, VA

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

After a busy week in St. Paul, MN, Keith and I flew back to Virginia on Sunday.  We landed around 4pm and Ethan was at the airport to pick us up.  We quickly made our way home, exchanged suitcases, and drove over to the truck to start the fall tour.  We were on the road by 5:30pm heading for Richmond, VA and the Sara Belle November Theatre.

We made good time and got into Richmond around 7:45pm.  After checking into the hotel, we headed over to the theatre to drop the trailer off so we wouldn’t have to fight traffic on Monday morning. Ethan and Alan disconnected the trailer while Keith and I scoped the theatre stage.  Melinda and her team had been working hard to clear the stage and make room for all of our cases.  Everything looked great – Monday would be a smooth day!

We drove back to the hotel for a little rest.  Monday morning would come very early.  With two shows that day, we would need to be on the road by 7:30am, loading in at 8am.

Working with Melinda and a great technical crew, the show was loaded in before we knew it.  Keith, Cindy, Alan, and Ethan started working on setting up for the first show (4pm) while I conducted a few workshops – one for early education students and then two for occupational therapy patients.  I made it back to the theatre around noon, just in time to grab a quick bite to eat and hit the stage to start checking things and work with Keith on the lighting (not that he needs my help).

We had two fantastic, sold out performances at the Sara Bell November Theatre with enthusiastic audiences! It was a great way to start the season!

We were back on the road this morning by 9:30am (a chance to sleep in just a bit).  We are heading to Montgomery, AL where we will perform on Friday night at 8pm at the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre.  I’ll be making a television appearance on Thursday (Today in Alabama, NBC/WSFA).  I’m scheduled for a Healing of Magic workshop Thursday night.

There’s no doubt we are back on the road!

USAIRWAYS – STUPID DECISIONS

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

I am writing this on Sunday morning sitting in a hotel room in Charlotte, NC.  I was supposed to be home last night at 9pm from a week-long trip in Phoenix.  But, thanks to stupid decisions by USAirways, my 5 hour trip has now turned into a 28 hour trip.

It all started when I arrived at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport around 9am.  My flight wasn’t scheduled to depart until 12noon but I wanted to get some work done and grab something to eat.  When I checked in with USAirways, they said I could take an earlier flight if I wanted to pay a significant amount of additional money (along with the $22 they charged me for my suitcase).  While I would arrive in Charlotte earlier, my connection would remain the same, leaving me to wait 4.5 hours at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.  I decided to decline the offer.

I made my way to Gate A24, got out my computer and started finishing up some work.  My flight was scheduled to leave at 12:07pm and at 11:30am, I realized that nothing was being done to start boarding the plane.  Finally, at 11:55am, only 10 minutes before our scheduled departure, an announcement was made that the flight would be delayed until 3pm due to “maintenance issues.”  More than 130 passengers were scrambling to find new flights and connections.

I walked directly to USAIRWAYS CUSTOMER SERVICE where I was told I had already been re-booked onto the 3pm flight BUT I would miss my Charlotte connection and would not be going home today.  The next available flight to Lynchburg would be Sunday at 12:59pm – more than 12 hours after my original scheduled flight.

What is most frustrating about this entire experience is this:  USAirways decided to inconvenience their “valued” passengers for a low priority maintenance issue.  As it turns out, there was a leak in a water line that provided hot water to the coffee pot.  The “elbow joint” that needed to be replaced was difficult to access so the repair took several hours.  Unbelievable!  Not an essential, life-saving repair – oh no, a routine “comfort” repair so the Captain could have coffee in the cock pit!

On this holiday weekend, USAirways executives decided that a leaky waterline was more important that getting their customers to the final destinations to spend time with family and friends.  For me it means that I lost a day at home.  Now, I’ll spend less than 36 hours at my place before I have to leave again.  In my humble opinion, USAirways has its priorities in all the wrong places – again.

PHOENIX EXPERIENCE

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

I had a great time in Phoenix this week. I had some very successful meetings and have the beginnings of a great tour in the Southwest for April 2011.

I had the opportunity to make an appearance on NBC 12′s ARIZONA MIDDAY with Destry Jetton.  It was great fun in a lot of ways – great crew at channel 12, fun to work with, and Destry was a quick student when it came to learning some magic.

I was staying downtown at the Sheraton Hotel.  Andre and Kathy Kole drove over one night and we enjoyed dinner at the revolving restaurant at the top of the HYATT.  Incredible “Arizona cuisine” and enjoyable company.  It’s always a treat to be able to spend time with these guys.

I also found an incredible Thai restaurant in the downtown area – the THAI ELEPHANT on Adams.  I ended up eating here twice this week.  The second time I brought a huge group of people with me to enjoy the food and experience.  We pretty much cleaned the plates.

I’m at the airport now trying to catch up on some work.  It’s already been an exciting morning.  I arrived only to find the alarms flashing and an announcer saying, “We are investigating this alarm.  Please stand by for additional information.”  We never got the information but I did manage to catch it on my iPhone 3GS video phone.  Alarms finally stopped, I made my way through Security, and my plane boards in 45 minutes.

I’m looking forward to spending a couple of days at home.