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March 25, 2011

Drinks of Tour

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 5:25 pm

If I have a reputation for anything in this business it’s my love of fruity beverages. I drank so many appletinis on my first tour that at the end of the run the producer (who was not even on tour with us, mind you) got me a big bottle of Absolut and a big bottle of Apple Pucker as a closing gift.

This year I’ve had many photo-worthy drinks, and we the crew have collectively decided that I need an entire post dedicated to pretty drinks I’ve had around the country.

So…

We began the spring tour in Minneapolis, where we finally went to the Japanese place near the Guthrie, which is called Wasabi. There, my martini was on fire, which is probably a good way to stay warm in Minneapolis in January.

Then we left Minneapolis, on a rare daytime drive to Brainerd, MN. Along the way we found a steakhouse at a truck stop, that was actually very good. I don’t remember exactly what this was called, but it tasted like cough syrup, and yet was still tasty.

Our next stop was Poplar Bluff, MO, where we went to an establishment known throughout the Acting Company (even among the office staff) as “the Mexican place next to the hotel,” where we had GIANT margaritas. While I’m a martini drinker, this is known as “The Margarita Tour” for reasons that are rather complicated to explain, and still wouldn’t make any sense — but especially when eating Mexican, one is expected to have a margarita. Jackee and I had the large, everyone else got the medium. The large was, well, large.

A word about the margarita. Some people think that it’s the margarita tour because there’s a margarita in Comedy of Errors. This is not the case. There’s a margarita in Comedy because it was the company joke.

A few stops later, we were in Clinton Township, MI. It had been a long load-in day, so we searched out a place to have a nice dinner. Bart managed to get us a reservation at P.F. Chang’s, where I had this concoction, known as a “bomb pop martini.” I don’t remember what was in it, but how can you turn it down with a name like that? It was awesome.

The best sushi place we’ve hit so far this year was one I picked in Fairfield, CT, called Wild Rice. I don’t remember what this was called, it was a blueberry something-or-other, and it was delicious and messed me up. I could have stayed there forever eating sushi and blueberry martinis.

Time passed, the schedule got busy, we weren’t around a lot of nice restaurants, we drank a lot of beer on the bus, and finally we arrived in Fairfax, VA, where we stayed at the Fair Oaks Mall. On the day we arrived we had lunch at Champps, where I was reminded of their ridiculous Rockstar Martini, which I discovered last year. The main thing you need to know about it is that it has a rim of Pop Rocks. It’s a very interesting sensation! I didn’t even feel like having a drink that day, but I had one because it clearly needed to be included in this post!

After our next stop, Hampton, VA, we spent a few hours parked in the parking lot of the hotel the cast was staying at, right next door to a Hooters. I had a key lime pie martini, which, when done right, is actually my favorite martini. It was OK, but I’ve had much better.

Then we moved on to Maryville, TN, where we spent a couple days off. At a brewery near our hotel they had an orange dreamsicle martini, which sounded like something worth trying, if it could be done right. Unfortunately it wasn’t. I can see such a thing being really delicious, but however they made it was not the way I would have chosen. For one thing there was too much vodka, and it tasted more like alcohol than a creamsicle, which is all wrong. I later overheard the waitress advising the table next to us that it wasn’t very good. Thanks, lady!

We ended the tour with a few stops in Florida. In Ft. Pierce we ate at a tiki bar on St. Patrick’s Day, where I had this amazing concoction. I don’t remember what it was called or what was in it, but it was delicious, and I had two, which messed me up!

The night before the tour ended, I had an appletini at the hotel bar, but sadly didn’t think to take a picture of it.


January 31, 2011

Priority 1: Bus Internet

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 12:03 pm

I have installed myself in my new home. This bus:

I’m cheating a little by using a picture of our bus from last year. It looks pretty much identical from the outside, but this one is a little nicer. Also it’s covered in snow right now, and there are no palm trees. Which is only one of the reasons I’m using this picture rather than going outside and taking one. I will do a video tour later.

The rest of the crew won’t be here for a few more hours, so I got myself settled in at the table. Built-in power strip under the table! I must say I’m impressed because as I was packing this morning I realized that I forgot to grab one of our power strips from the road box for the bus, and I was kicking myself. No need to worry!

So I plugged in my computer and tried to connect to the internet. No surprise, the router needed to be rebooted. I don’t know what the deal is with routers, but they need to be rebooted too often. Depending on where your router is, this is a pain, but especially so on a bus like this where they try to hide the router somewhere inside the panels with the TVs, stereos, etc. So step 1 is to find the damn router. On some of our buses, this has taken days, and was only solved by using an app on my computer that gives very fine indications of wifi signal strength, using a hot-or-cold method to get closer and closer to the probable location, and then unscrewing paneling. This one wasn’t that hard to figure out. So I unplugged the router and plugged it in at the table, so we have quick access to it when it needs a restart.

Should you care, it’s a Linksys WRT54G3G-ST, which takes a PCMCIA broadband adapter. They use Sprint. It’s “meh,” usually. Sometimes it’s utter fail, but that’s usually in the same places that all carriers fail.

Here’s our speedtest.net score. I was hoping for better, but I’ll take that.

Next order of business is to watch TV. We had a fairly limited channel selection at our Guthrie apartments, so it’s nice to have the DirectTV satellite connection with like 500 channels. The only problem is that sometimes the satellite feed is choppy, especially when driving. A major consideration when parking the bus is whether it’s blocked from satellite signal. Sometimes we’ll drive up and down, making small adjustments as we call out to Bart when we go in or out of TV reception. If the bus is going to sit for an entire day (especially on a day off), it’s very helpful to be able to watch TV!

I also figured out which channels are for the front and rear cameras, so we can tune in and watch out the window from our bunks if we wish. Finally we need to know the channel numbers for the two DirectTV boxes. This allows us to be watching two different channels simultaneously — one for the front lounge and one for the back lounge, and people watching in their bunks can choose between whatever either of the two main TVs are watching (or play a DVD or tune to one of the camera views).

After a brief search of the program guide, I have turned on the movie of The Fantasticks, which I expect to be awful and turned off quickly. But I did work on the show Off-Broadway for several years, so it’s amusing to me.

Thus far that’s my day upon the bus.


January 3, 2011

Twas the Night Before Tech

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 11:16 pm

Today is my day off. We just had a day off two days ago, which is a strange, but very enjoyable phenomenon that comes about every year as a result of our attempts to wrestle ourselves back onto the traditional Monday day off, after two weeks of taking holidays off (Christmas and New Year’s Day). So to get us back on track, we end up with two days off close together, but in different calendar weeks.

Yesterday was a very long but very productive day on stage, in what in Guthrie parlance is termed the “first onstage rehearsal,” although in our case we were miraculously given the stage on Thursday and had it for our last three rehearsals. But since Sunday was our “first onstage” we introduced the new element of our deck crew, Craig and Natasha, which sort of creates a bridge between rehearsal and tech. We even tried out our fly cues (on this show we will use the house curtain, when a venue has one, at the top and end of the show). I love fly cues, so I’m incredibly excited at the prospect of sometimes having them. I’d never seen the house curtain at the McGuire Proscenium. Can you guess what color it is?
A funny story about this photo. I googled “McGuire Proscenium” and picked the first picture I saw that got the point across. Then I saw that it linked to Flickr, and I thought, “I probably took this picture, or Nick!” Well it’s Nick’s. So this image is copyright of Nick Tochelli, who always was better than me at getting venue photos.

Anyway, on the day off I finally managed to go on the grocery run, since it’s the first one we’ve had in weeks that wasn’t dangerously close to or overlapping with rehearsal time. Then I went downtown to Target to buy some needed supplies. Then I watched several episodes of West Wing while gaming and doing laundry, before deciding it was time to get down to business and work on my script.

It was 8:50 and I was marveling at how cool it was that it was still a reasonable hour, and suddenly a little voice wondered what I have to do tomorrow. Tomorrow is TECH. Yes, TECH. When I decide to go to bed and the alarm clock goes off, it will be THE FIRST DAY OF TECH. In an instant I was completely terrified, and immediately relieved and excited. Tech really isn’t a scary thing. It’s a necessary and final step to being ready to perform the show, and it’s when I actually get to start doing the part of my job that’s fun. Scheduling costume fittings is terrifying. Tech is fun, even if it’s not going particularly well. When tech goes badly enough to cost money, that’s the only time it stops being fun, and I have almost never had that problem.

So my project for the night is to take our lighting designer’s script and transfer his tentative cues into my calling script, and then pencil in the ones I think I’ll have from other departments (sound and those two fly cues, basically). This will be the fifth show Michael and I have teched together in three years, so it’s no problem to flip through his book and jot down the cues. There are no cue numbers, but it helps me to have a guide to what’s coming up, and to start to see his thought process of where he wants cues and what they’re doing. When we actually tech the scenes I’ll get the numbers, and in many cases a lot of the cues that have been marked may not end up existing.

I haven’t actually done anything with my calling script since printing it, so it’s exciting to see it coming to life, even if it’s the faintest outline. At this point it’s just the rehearsal script with a 3.5″ right margin and the font reduced from 12 point to 10. When we finish tech the cues will be typed in, in the style of the Romeo and Juliet script you can see here. I’ll post it when it’s done, if for no other reason than because I intend it to be awesome and resplendent with decoration that will beat my “swan = crow” graphic in the R&J script.


October 30, 2010

Travel Day

I call this: On the Road Again — Posted by KP @ 11:58 pm

Today was our only long drive of the fall leg of the tour: Santa Barbara to Phoenix. It’s about eight hours of driving. I believe I’ve mentioned that we don’t have our “rockstar” buses on this leg. Because the cities are for the most part close together, the schedule contains no back-to-back one-nighters, and the majority of the schedule is sit-down weeks in Phoenix and Tucson, it was impractical to rent the usual two entertainer coaches. Instead we have a single coach bus, where cast, crew and staff travel together by day.

Today’s journey is the first long trip I’ve taken with the cast. The crew bus rarely travels by day for very long. We did it once last year as part of a two-day drive, and it was boring as hell. The cast has stricter regulations about breaks and such, which can sometimes be frustrating, but it definitely is nice to stretch your legs. You also get to get out and actually experience the places you drive through.

Most of our day was spent driving through completely empty desert. At one point we stopped at an unmanned rest stop at sunset. Here are some pics.


I was very worried about how we would pass the 8 hours without satellite TV, power outlets, refrigerator, or our bunks, but it was better than I thought. I listened to music and looked out the window for the first two hours, slept for the next two hours, which took us to lunch at a strip mall area in Indio, CA. When we got back on the bus we watched the movie Hook. We don’t have TV, but the bus does have small screens and a DVD player, at least. The movie ended just as it was getting dark and the dim glowing interior lights were turned on. I was lucky that I had no one in the row behind me, so I could recline my seat way back and curl up with my pillow into a pretty comfortable position.

We traveled through a little more desert in the dark, and then hit the outskirts of the Phoenix area, which seemed to wake people up a bit. We arrived at our hotel around 7PM, so there was still time to grab a nice dinner and go exploring. The crew went out in search of margaritas, which after much walking and many closed restaurants in the downtown area, we found at a quiet place called Mi Patio.

We actually get a day off here, our only one (for the crew) on this leg of the tour. Yippee!


October 10, 2010

A Day Off

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 10:17 am

Day off #2 of the Romeo and Juliet remount.

We’ve now been working for two weeks, have staged the play and run it successfully, and continued tightening choreography, fights, vocal work and scene work.

Today I slept past 8AM. I didn’t need to go much further than that, because I went to bed at like 9:00PM, trying to finish a podcast (Dan Carlin’s “Hardcore History,” which I’ve had in my podcast list forever, but have just recently actually started listening to, and it’s EPIC!) Anyway, when I ceased to be able to piece together Mr. Carlin’s words into coherent sentences explaining the fall of the Roman republic, I turned it off and went to sleep.

I wanted to get a good night’s sleep, but also to be able to get up early enough to be productive in the morning, because I do have something to do today which threw a wrench in my plans to sit in my apartment in my pajamas all day playing on the internet, before ordering Dominos for dinner and watching football. As I may have mentioned, my good friend Josh is the ASM for the current Angels in America revival Off-Broadway. I did some work with him on their stage management database over the summer, with the reward of getting to see the show. Well the show is impossible to get tickets for, so there were no comps to be had, and even the staff-rate tickets are hard to come by. But having never seen the show on stage before, I was pretty determined to see the two parts in order, and he managed to snag me a staff ticket to Millenium Approaches on my day off a few weeks ago, and just yesterday came through with one for Perestroika for today. So while the day off is sacred time, I do consider myself very lucky to be able to see both parts of this great production, and at an affordable price no less. How many times in one lifetime can one say they “never got around to seeing” Angels in America? I felt bad enough about it the first time. Buying tickets to multi-part plays can be daunting and discouraging (and expensive), but I really need to get better at it. I’m glad (with Josh’s help) I pushed to try to see this one properly. The first part was fantastic, so I can’t wait to see the rest! And if you really want to see it, I hear the cancellation line has a pretty good rate of success.

Otherwise today, I intend to blog (obviously succeeding so far), and will try to meet up with Nick over iChat to help him out with his wedding database woes, which I have been ignoring the pleas of in my inbox. Well not ignoring, I’ve actually been checking in on it several times a day, polling my brain activity, and deciding that it’s of insufficient power to remotely troubleshoot someone else’s database at that moment. As he correctly surmised in his post, it needed to wait for a day off.

Otherwise, I need to do laundry. Maybe I could start packing a bit. I kind of started packing when I got home in August, but obviously some things have needed to be removed since. There comes a week when the clothes that come out of the laundry don’t go back in the closet, but go into the suitcase, or neatly laid out near it, and I spend the rest of the time wearing clothes that will not go on tour. I think that’s probably next week, though. And since it will be late October in New York, and the first leg of the tour is all in California and Arizona, I actually think the clothes I wear for tech week would not be the same ones I’d need on tour anyway. I haven’t put any real thought into which clothes I’m bringing, but the nice thing is that next week we actually get two days off in a row, because of the transition from the Sunday day off to Monday off. So hopefully I’ll have ample time to prepare before the excitement of tech. We leave the day after our final show here, so there’s no stopping once we start tech. Thankfully our company manager took pity on us and got us an afternoon flight!

In the meantime, we still have two weeks left in New York: one in the rehearsal hall, and one at the theatre at Pace University. The first leg unfortunately did not get filled up with as many venues as initially hoped, so we have a three-week layoff around Thanksgiving, and will be back at home probably before we know it.


March 17, 2010

Travel Days: Iowa –> Florida

I call this: On the Road Again,tech,theatre — Posted by KP @ 5:38 pm

SUNDAY: 6:00PM

After our 4AM load in and 3PM performance in Ottumwa, IA, we began loading out at breakneck speed.

On their way out, the cast posed for a picture before heading back to their hotel, anxious to begin their three-day trek to Florida.

The local crew was very ambitious and believed from the start they could break our record of two hours and 15 minutes. Here Nick and Jason enjoy the downtime the truck crew gets while waiting for the walls to be disassembled.

SUNDAY: 8:30PM

They did indeed break the record, by about two minutes! We then piled into the bus, on our way to the sunshine. But first we stopped at a local restaurant for dinner, where we ran into some members of the cast and production staff. We said our goodbyes, and then hit the road for real.

MONDAY: 10:00AM-ish

We awoke in Nashville, where our driver, Jim, lives. Jim parked the bus in the parking lot of a mall, for us to spend the day while he spent some time at home and slept. In addition to the bus, however, he also left us one of his own cars (!!) in case we wanted to get around town! Devon was pretty much the only one who used it, I think, to go to his favorite pancake restaurant. The rest of us were too lethargic to go anywhere but the mall.

MONDAY: 7:00PM

Jim came back to the bus at our scheduled departure time, and brought with him a present to lend us: a Wii(!!). Now a Wii on a bus is not always a great idea, but this bus does have a slide, which makes it possible for two people to swing their arms around in the front lounge without breaking anything. We also learned sadly that our very awesome bus is not coming back on the next leg — somebody else wants it. We think it might be Jay-Z. Whatever. Doesn’t he know who we are??? We are hoping that Jim will be able to come back, though. Tour buses are like children: we don’t really care which one we get as long as it’s healthy.

With Jim back on board, we headed south!

MONDAY: 11:25PM

When we didn’t stop for dinner for a while, and I got tired of the satellite cutting out while we were trying to watch a documentary on the Unabomber, I went to bed. I was awoken by Devon, asking if I wanted the best hotdogs in the world. I didn’t really want hotdogs, but I wanted something, so I got up.

When I got to the front lounge and peered out the window, I saw a surprisingly familiar sight: we were right in the heart of Atlanta, on Peachtree Street. I said, “wait, I know this corner!” and sure enough we passed by the stage door side of the Fox Theater, and I thought to myself, “this is the way to that burger place!” I soon realized that was our destination: The Varsity. I had never heard of their hotdogs, but I had been taken there at the promise of the best burgers in the world, when I was at the Fox for two weeks doing merchandise on the Scarlet Pimpernel tour back in 1999. Unfortunately, Varsity had closed five minutes early, and would not serve us. So we continued driving, watching South Park, and eventually stopped for fuel at a truck stop with a McDonald’s. Not so exciting. Then we went to bed for real.

TUESDAY: 10:00AM-ish

We awoke in the parking lot of our soon-to-be hotel in West Palm Beach. We were not officially supposed to arrive until Wednesday, so we just got a crew room for the first day. After a day-and-a-half without a shower, that was our primary concern, and we rushed through our turns in the shower until our scheduled 1:30 tour of the venue, which is right down the street.

TUESDAY: 1:30PM


The five of us who are involved in the onstage and backstage layout of the show (me, Nick, Bobby, Devon and Olivia) walked to the theatre, where we were met by two of the technical staff, to have a conversation we thought would be about how screwed we are.

The theatre is a black box with a raised stage. Even without the raised stage, it would be barely big enough to fit the set, and with the platforms, it is not actually as big as our marley floor (which we were assured would always be the minimum size of every venue on the tour). We’ve been talking about this on the bus, in hotels and restaurants all over the country for at least a month, so there have been many plans devised, and questions going back and forth to the venue staff about possible solutions.

We laid out Olivia’s tape measure to see how wide the set would be, and began brainstorming. We were told where additional platforms could be added to the stage, and where stairs could be located. As we talked over it, we got more reassured that there weren’t any major obstacles to the staging. The big thing was that we really didn’t think our platform, Fred, would be able to fit anywhere, even if he had to be lifted to stage level. Bobby and Olivia had planned to use Wednesday to go to Home Depot and buy supplies to build a mini-Fred. Thankfully, we realized we didn’t have to do that.

Somebody pointed to the slightly extra amount of width stage left and said, “it’s too bad that space isn’t over stage right, we could put Fred there.”

Massive lightbulb went off. “We can put Fred stage left. We’ve never had to do it, but it’s one of the possible plans for dealing with a Fred problem. It just means more light gets cast on the crew.” We’re also going to work with Devon to see if anything can be done so the crew isn’t walking straight through the light from the floor par. But even so, the fact that our real Fred can live on stage is better than any of the other possibilities, so we left after our short tour feeling much better about our load-in on Thursday.

Here’s a view of the house:

TUESDAY: 2:30PM

Back on the bus we began hooking up the Wii. After a couple quick games of bowling, Nick, Olivia and I went to The Cheesecake Factory for lunch, where we sat outside and drank pina coladas. The entire rest of the tour was worth it for that one hour. It felt like a paid vacation.

TUESDAY: 5:00PM

We ate way too much, and stumbled our way to Barnes & Noble, and then back to the bus, where Bobby and Matt were furiously battling each other on the Wii.

Here Nick and Olivia look on while Matt and Bobby race.

WEDNESDAY: 8:00AM

Me: asleep on the bus. Bobby texts me to let me know we can check into the hotel. I had asked him the night before if we had early check-in, and he said the front desk would have to let us know in the morning.

I was anxious to spread out into my own room, to take a shower, and to get away from any planned St. Patrick’s Day festivities, so I got up right away and gathered my stuff as quietly as possible, and headed to the hotel.

I was also anxious because I got confirmation that my new flashlight would be delivered today. For more about that, read my flashlight post.

WEDNESDAY: 2:30PM

I was getting my laundry ready when I happened to check Twitter and read that Nick was also doing his laundry. So we met up for lunch at the restaurant in the hotel, while waiting for our laundry.

WEDNESDAY: 5:00PM

After doing laundry, I have torn apart my suitcase, made piles of things, and have been making copious lists for what I’m going to bring home with me on vacation, so that I can lighten my load for the final leg. As I did on the last leg, I’m only taking my backpack and Acting Company tote bag home with me, so I have to think carefully about what will fit in those bags and can be taken on a plane. Getting my suitcase emptier is especially important because at the end of the tour I also need to be carrying all my personal possessions that normally live in the work box.

The rest of my night is free, who knows what I’ll do. I’d be happy to hang out and do some little projects, maybe read a little. 8:00AM load in tomorrow, with a 7:30 show. This one is going to require a lot of energy and clear thinking!


March 12, 2010

Dear Civilization: Please Help. Crew Starving. Send Interwebs.

I call this: On the Road Again,phones,theatre — Posted by KP @ 7:54 pm

Here I sit, at the Fairfield Inn in Ottumwa, IA. Clinging to a single bar of Edge on my iPhone.

I know what you’re thinking: “why are you even looking at your phone and expecting it to work? — you’re in Iowa. AT&T has made it clear they don’t care about Iowa. You should be happy you have any signal at all.”

Well, about that. The Fairfield Inn is charging us $90 a night. What in Ottumwa is worth that much for a hotel room? I have no idea. ¬†It must be something or else they’d be out of business. ¬†All I know is it’s half a mile to the closest source of food, and this afternoon we had to have our bus driver drive us to the grocery store, and tonight he’s taking us downtown for dinner. ¬†The bus driver, by the way, is not really supposed to have to do that. ¬†His job is to drive us between cities, to the hotel, and to the venue. ¬†Otherwise he should be sleeping, or picking up chicks, or whatever else bus drivers do when they’re off the clock. ¬†Any other trips beyond that are just to be nice.

The bus internet, which uses Sprint, is struggling a bit here, too, which is surprising because it always does better than AT&T in places of dubious importance to wireless carriers.

No problem though. We have two days off here. We have hotel rooms. We can just sit in the hotel and use the internet all we want. WRONG.

THE HOTEL INTERNET IS BROKEN.

They don’t know when it will be fixed.

Let me recap what we’re getting for $90/night at the Fairfield Inn in Ottumwa, IA:

  • No access to food aside from the snack machine in the hall (I don’t know if it works)
  • Located in the middle of nowhere where both AT&T and Sprint don’t provide reliable service
  • NO INTERNET

Look at this smug little anthropomorphized ethernet jack. Lies. All lies. Now, a hotel advertising “high speed internet” almost always means that one time, about 10 years ago, their bandwidth would have been considered high speed. When I installed my first 56K modem I felt like I had put a rocketship in my computer too, so I get where they’re coming from. But seeing the little sticker on the wall when I checked in did not fill me with hope. I did kind of expect that there would be something coming out of it, though.

We’ve complained, but the manager won’t be in until tomorrow, so who knows how it will turn out. I wouldn’t mind paying half the price for a place to shower, sleep and do laundry, but we’ve stayed in nice hotels in the downtown areas of major cities for less, and they had internet, too.

If we were just passing through it would be one thing, but this is where we’re spending two days off. The cast, lucky sons-of-guns, are staying an extra day in our previous hotel, which was near a lot of stuff, including a fast food / ice cream joint called Culver’s, which I’d never heard of, but about which I will be fantasizing for months if not years.

I think I may be doing a lot of writing for these days, although usually when I write I do refer to the internet for things. I will get by with whatever I can eke out of my one bar of Edge. I can only imagine what a disaster my life would be right now if my phone wasn’t jailbroken and I couldn’t tether. You hear me, AT&T? I’m stealing the bandwidth I already paid you for — 1KB every second!

UPDATE

Well things worked out OK. An hour before we were supposed to check out, Bobby called to say that the hotel was going to take care of us and let us stay all night (we have a 4AM load-in, so we were going to check out at 1PM and then sit on the bus in the middle of nowhere until our 3:30AM departure). And on top of that, they just fixed the internet! So the ability to stay all day, time to grab some sleep before load-in, even shower again if we want to, and the access to internet while here, have made it worth the $90 (I consider that a day-and-a-half hotel stay, which works out to just about what the room is worth).

I had just settled in to spend my last hour in the hotel beginning to prepare graphic elements for the next version of my stage management database, which I will begin working on once the tour is over. I figured it’s the one project I can accomplish completely offline. I want it to share the look and feel of the website, so I began importing the graphics. Here’s what I came up with in the five minutes before the phone rang.

And this whole experience allowed me to return to my childhood, when you could click a web link, go take a shower, and come back to see if the page had finished loading.

In other news, their internet seemed really fast, maybe fast enough for gaming, which is what I usually hope to do when staying in a hotel for a day off, so I headed over to DSL Reports to see what the speeds were. One time it tested at about 100kpbs, and another in excess of 1MB. Anyway, I’m happy with whatever it is.


February 8, 2010

Day Off Excursion: Niagara Falls

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 8:19 pm

On Day 2 of our cross-country trek from Minnesota to New London, CT, we stopped for the day at Niagara Falls. If you haven’t figured it out already, when traveling we generally travel (and sleep) during the night and then park for the day near a hotel where Bart can sleep while we wander around and have fun. So Bart gave us some freedom to choose our stops within reason of our path of travel.

Four of us went to the Falls, in a cab that we negotiated a flat rate for, when our plans to get a cheap rental car were crushed. Our cabbie, Jay, was really awesome and filled us with historical knowledge and local gossip, while shuttling us from place to place around the falls and telling us what we should look at. On the way back he also helped us decide what we wanted for dinner. Because the bus was parked far from most places, we decided we wanted pizza delivered, and he told us the best pizzeria to order from. We were also pleasantly surprised that they didn’t flinch when we ordered a delivery to “the white tour bus in the Holiday Inn parking lot.” Sometimes that can be a bit problematic.

Photos courtesy of our lighting director, Devon Allen, who took a real camera along.

That’s me, Olivia (props supervisor) and Jason (wardrobe supervisor) at the American Falls, and below on the Three Sisters islands.

We also saw the statue of Nikola Tesla which is at the entrance to the American Falls, and wondered why he was looking so perplexed by what he was holding. We have come up with an explanation:


January 14, 2010

Evening Off

I call this: On the Road Again — Posted by KP @ 6:06 pm

Today is one of the rarest events on the tour — an evening off. We had a 1PM student matinee, followed by a talkback with about 100 of the students. By 5:00 I was home. Tomorrow we have a Skype conference with our publicist in New York at 3:30 and then a show at night. Between all this is something that might almost be considered a day off.

Earlier today I began supposing that the errands I had to run at the Mall of America might be easily done tonight, saving my day off for true rest. Most of all, the weather is really nice today. When I was done with my paperwork I raced home, threw off my Guthrie badge and hoodie, and tore the hood off my winter coat and grabbed a small knit hat that my aunt got me for Christmas. What weather is this that has me skipping through the snow with such abandon? Why it’s 29 degrees! Who knows when we may be so lucky again, and by golly I’m going to take advantage of it.

So with my light rail ticket in hand, I’m off to enjoy an hour or two of daylight and get some shopping done.


January 4, 2010

Day Off Dilemma

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 3:59 pm

It’s the great decision that needs to be made on any day off in Minneapolis in January:

Is what I want to accomplish in the outside world really worth leaving the house?

On our day off we also go grocery shopping in the Guthrie van. There are usually three grocery runs, at 10am, noon, and 2pm. I like to take the 10am one, because it gets me up early so I don’t waste the entire day sleeping. It also acquaints me early with how cold it is. Which is usually pretty damn cold. Except when we greet each other in the front lobby of the Guthrie to meet the van, we usually use a stronger word than “damn.”

So today I was planning to go downtown to Nicollet Mall. This always has to be explained to people: Nicollet Mall is not a mall like the Mall of America is a mall. It’s a mall like the mall in Washington is a mall, except instead of national monuments it has like, a Target, and an Office Depot, and a Barnes and Noble, and a Walgreens, and so forth. And it does have one national monument, which is the statue of Mary Tyler Moore outside Macy’s. Anyway, it’s simply a pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare that runs through downtown.

So I had some things I needed from Target and/or Office Depot (or Office Max, I can never remember which it is). The question is, how badly do I really want to go there? Do I really need a nice big eraser when I’m frantically making changes in my calling script during tech? Does our extra cast member since last year really need a valuables bag that matches all the other ones, this week? If I bother to replace my exercise band that broke this fall, will I actually use it? If I tour with a second lingerie bag, will my socks really dry any better by being split up into two piles? Well yes. Does it matter this week, when I have free laundry 8ft from my bed?

On such things do I dwell on my day off.

And then finally I went to WeatherBug on my iPhone for the hourly forecast, to decide if there might be an optimal time of day for this journey. And I actually said to myself, in total seriousness, “Oh look! At 3:00 it’s going to be 6 degrees! Maybe I can make it!”


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