THE LEAF BLOWER
Somehow one of those annoying leaf blowing machines have followed me here to Toronto. I thought those were only used in Los Angeles. Jeesh. So here we are. The new plan is for me to write one of these things consistently every month. I think that’s a good idea because I have a tendency to put it off. And then I get overwhelmed by all the stuff I want to write so I put it off even more. The leaf blower sounds like it’s literally in my kitchen.
I’m a little cranky and tired as you might have noticed because I worked at Woodbine Casino last night from 11pm to 3am. What, you may ask, was I doing there at such an ungodly hour? Well I was walking on stilts, of course. They even had a little area cordoned off for me so that I wouldn’t hit any of the clientele with my juggling rings or fall on a gambler. It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be although I must say I did start pacing back and forth like a lion in a cage. I said hello to people practiced my juggling and ball and parasol trick. I tried to tighten my core muscles, which I’m learning from the Pilates mat class I’ve been taking. I talked to the people who work there. Nice people. I watched a man win a jackpot. “How’s the weather up there?” I get asked that a lot.
Zero Gravity Circus is the one who I’ve been working for, in case any of you reading are in need of some circus entertainment. Seriously, I’m so grateful to be doing these gigs. I like it, it pays well and I get to see places I’d never go to otherwise.
One of the big events of the past month or so is seeing my dad perform with Cheech live for the first time in literally 20 odd years. They came to Toronto and did two shows at Massey Hall. It’s part of their tour they are doing all over North America. It was great. I saw the second show and as we were waiting to go in masses of people filled the streets in front of the theatre. The air was filled with the smell of marijuana and general chaos. Jimmy Root who was the roadie when Cheech and Chong toured in the seventies came down to get us. “The last time I saw you, you were about 4 years old, in the back of a limo, on the way to a show”, he says. I had talked to him on the phone a bunch of times and I kept expecting to see him in bellbottoms and long hair and a band t-shirt. But he’s got short graying hair now and dark rimmed glasses, other than that he’s exactly the same. My mom said they called him up and it just so happened he was free and he got it all together, the video clips, hired tech people, basically the million things you need to get together in order to do a live show.
When Cheech came out as the low-rider character the crowd went nuts. It was so fun. And then my dad came out and it was like they’d been doing the sketches for years. And it’s true they have amazing chemistry. My mom opened with her stand up set and she was great. Beautiful and funny and potty mouthed. My dad would do some of his stand-up during the transitions and he was just so at ease. Really, he’s so comfortable to watch on stage. Just relaxed and happy and enjoying himself. When Cheech did Basketball Jones in his pink tutu a man came running down the aisle in an identical costume. At first I thought it was part of the show but then we realized it was just a crazy fan. It was so funny and great. That was one of the wonderful things about the show was that the audience was so in it. So invested in these characters. They were knew some of the songs better than Cheech and my dad.
I have no perspective. I used to watch the show when I was little. I would freak out when my dad and Cheech did the old man in the park sketch. My dad fake dies and I’d start crying thinking that he was really dead. My mom would have to take me out of the theatre. Ah show business. I really liked being on the road. The random Holiday Inns in different parts of the States. The bustle of moving from one city to another. Flying in those little planes. Always different stuff to see. Room service. Hotel lobbies with the gift shops where I’d get activity books with the yellow marker that would make the picture appear when you colored it in. That marker must have been toxic because I always got a headache from the smell. Ah the 70’s.
As for me…I wrote a piece for CBC’s Definitely Not the Opera. It was about my first day working for Oliver Stone. The producer, Iris Yudai, had seen my show in Winnipeg and had read some of this blog and contacted me. I was thrilled. I got to go into a studio at the CBC and record it. It aired on Sept 6 but maybe you can still listen to it online.
I performed in Hamilton on Friday as part of Shelley Marshall “Full Bawdy Comedy Show”. She’s amazing. She started doing stand up 5 years ago at the age of 37 after raising two kids and now she’s making all her dreams come true. I got to perform with these wonderful talented women; Sandra Battaglini, Christel Bartelse, Kristen McGregor, Susan Fisher, Rachelle Ellie, Erica Scott, Anna Sapershteyn, Ginger St. James, Andrea Murray. I did a character from my show. I wasn’t so happy with my performance. I was in my head. I didn’t have so much fun. But other than my own neuroses the show was a complete success and Shelley Marshall made it all happen, which is very inspiring. Not only that she’s really really funny.Last but not least, I may have mentioned before that I’m a part of a film collective that makes a short film a month called 20 Buck Films. Well we shot our twelfth film on Sunday!!! There’s even a website up now, showing some of the films: www.20buckfilms.ca. I’m so happy that I’m a part of it. I think it’s nothing short of a miracle that we somehow manage to get it together to shoot something each month.
Which brings me full circle. Deadlines. I’m good with deadlines. Otherwise I can just float and not get stuff done. Because it all goes by so fast. This life. A blink of an eye. So I better not wait. I better do it now.