Chili weather. Jan 28, 08

Well - not all that much excitement to report, but I want to do my duty :) Turns out the blog alert is working pretty darn well. I for one think it's the niftiest thing since sliced bread. BUT in the process of asking people if they'd received it (in order to ascertain if it was working) we learned some of the most avid blog readers that we KNOW aren't even on the mailing list. Which means there might be dozens, hundreds, nay, millions of you who haven't signed up. So we can't send you the blog alerts. :( And you'll never be able to get the "blog fan special theatre ticket 95% discount" I'm sure we'll be offering. So, please sign up. It's not like we want your credit card number, kids. Ok, actually I DO want your credit card number, but I'm too polite to ask ;)

Good news is that the new elliptical machine is just dandy. Actually much smoother and seems to have a better center of gravity that the original choice - so the trade up was good.

I finished off writing most of the award show stuff last night. It's a tricky thing because you don't want to write an intro that just lists their credits in an obvious way, because then the audience already knows after the first line who's coming out and then it's just pointless continuing after the first sentence. So I do this thing where I kind of write them like a series of hints and by the last one the audience usually has it figured out. Does that makes sense? Anyhoo. Got most of it done. I'm a little bummed I'm not back there to work on it just because there are a couple people I'd like to meet and a couple, like Sandy Duncan, who I'd like to give a hug. Ah well.

It's looking more and more like the show we're going to be doing in Bermuda next year is The Tempest. Which is huge. Huge, huge, huge. And a very difficult play...and not really one I have been hopping up and down all my life to direct. See they want The Tempest because Shakespeare wrote it in 1610 and Bermuda was discovered by a shipwreck in 1609 and there is a line in the play about the 'still swept Bermoothes'. So people say he wrote it having been inspired by the tales of the Bermuda shipwreck. So they want it really embrace that element - and there are a lot of mystical creatures in it etc. so I'm trying to woo a bunch of really great designers who can do nifty things. Because it's a very wordy play - and it's gonna have to have a little vegas to it to keep people interested. Anyway - so I'm trying to put together a team for that so we can send them a budget. I've got offers out to costume designer, casting director, projection designers etc. and trying to put together some figures for them.

Rich and I are getting closer and closer to biting the bullet and committing to trying to do the 'supper club' idea we have for the lobby over the summer. We want to bring down four great singers from NY, put together three shows and do each one for two consecutive weekends. Basically almost like the kind of shows they do on a cruiseship or nightclub (without the dry ice and disco balls). Jean Anne is all on-board to do the meals, which will be pre-ordered from a couple meal choices, so there won't be any real risk for her in terms of either having too much or too little food. Rich is running lots of numbers and we think we might be able to make it work and keep it at a pretty good price. Anyway - we've been trying to come up with themes for the shows over the past week or so. Rich did not like my 'musical tribute to body parts' ("All of Me' being the big finale) or a cabaret salute to illnesses ("Fever", "I've got a cold in my nose", and of course 'melanoma' sung to 'oklahoma'.) The short list right now is a kind of 'Great Hollywood Songs" (like "I will always love you", "Heart will go on", "The Rose" stuff like that... there's a lot to choose from; A kind of Tropical thing with Harry Belafonte, and Jamaican and Hawaiin and other island music called "Island Fever", and the final one would be a kind of salute to great war-time songs - "White Cliffs of Dover", "Over There", "Hate to Get up in the Morning" etc. That would would cover the July 4th weekend. Anyway - it's a work in progress.

We've been making steady, if not visually exciting, progress on the lobby. The next couple of days actually should provide some more nifty pics because we're gonna actually start some paint work on the ceiling. Of course taping out the ceiling may take until well into the next millenia... so we'll see. But, over the last couple days I've managed to get all sanding of the walls in the outer lobby finished. This actually involved trading out between two different sanders. The orbital sander which kind of shakes and shimmeys and is really good on flat surfaces, and then for all the curved walls we used a thing called a rotary sander that has a rubber pad that spins with a sandpaper cover. The rubber pad is flexible so it's really good at getting into areas that are rounded. It actually works even better than the orbital sander, but it weighs about four times and much and after an hour or two perched on a ladder holding this thing with your arms outstretched you just can't handle it any more. So I swapped back and forth - using the orbital on the ladder on flat areas and the heavier duty one whenever I really needed it. Anyway the good news is that the walls are now ready for skimcoating... which is going to be a job of mammoth messy proportions - but at least a skill which we have already learned. Except skim-coating the curved parts of the wall which, rest assured, is going to involve a couple nervous breakdowns on my part.

Meanwhile Rich has been prepping the ceiling for all the recessed stuff and doing a bang up job. As you'll recall, Winston helped him drill small holes marking the center point for the recessed lights and speakers. Now the Pack Leader had to actually drill the larger holes. He got this new carbide blade for the sawzall and it did an amazing job. Like the ceiling concrete was like two inches thick and it cut really nice clean lines. I was pretty shocked. The concrete didn't like crack and crumble - the blade went through it and actually cut out this like perfectly clean concrete pancake.

HOLEY CEILING BATMAN ceiling-holes.JPG

and he's also managed to yank out the old door jams that were another remnant of the doors that were in the archways 80 years ago. As you can see, it involved a whole lot of concrete dust.

NOW WE'RE JAMMIN'. door-jam-out.JPG

Most of it came out pretty cleanly - except for one icky spot that will just need a little hydraulic cement. Or a bucket of hydraulic cement. See the doorjams were attached to some of those old-school metal quarter round pieces that are embedded in the cement with that hiddy-odious wire mesh. So, no matter how carefully he tried to get the wooden jams out, it where connceted to the mesh that was connected to the concrete. And, thusly, when one came out, some of the other came with it too. But, it's all deal-with-able. The challenge of it isn't the work that needs done, it's that the area is the most high-traffic section of the foyer, so it needs to be really sturdy since it will have people bumping into it, leaning against it etc.

So jam out. Smooth walls. Holes ahoy.

We also returned to Margaret's house because there apparently were actually things left in her house she didn't make us take the first time. She actually got a sexy new dining room table (this thing is like longer than the QEII) and therefore was able to get rid of the stuff that USED to be in her dining room. Which until the table appeared wasn't really a dining room. Anyway - she gave us an awesome sofa for actor housing (that's ideal cuz it's really long (hmm is this a theme with Margaret's furnishings?) and will be comfy seating for like four actors (or like 11 dancers since they don't eat). We also absconded with a coffee table and this INCREDIBLE old phonograph cabinet that is an amazing piece of furniture in it's own right, BUT if you're a theatre company that will eventually do "My Fair Lady" and have to deal with a victorian victrola in Higgin's study: it's AMAAAZZZZING. Larry also loaned us his scaffolding which should make painting the lobby ceiling whole lot less precarious. Cue music... I'm just wild about Larry.

We also went on a girls night out - with actual girls - to see a chick flick which rocked. We saw "27 Dresses" which, if you're a fan of movies that make you weepy and then go awwwwwwwwwww, you'll love it. :) And it was sure nice to see James Marsden actually get to play a lead in a movie rather than second banana, especially after he was so awesome in "Enchanted" and "Hairspray". He always gets cast as the overly handsome guy that the girl gives up for the 'adorable down to earth guy' (like he did in "The Notebook"). And, frankly ladies, I feel there is nothing wrong with just STICKING with the ridiculously handsome guy and calling it quits. :)

Last night we were invited to a confirmed bachelor girls night in. If you think back in your past-blog-mental-filofax and remember the two gentleman who arrived on our doorstep with cookies the day the youtube winners were announced, well, this was they. Tom and Dave are their names and they were gracious enough to offer us some down-home hospitality and a beautifully presented home cooked meal. They are two very colorful felllows with a particular flair for decorating. They like to collect. Particularly teddy bears. 2000 of them was the number I believe they quoted.

WHEN DECORATING, LOOK FOR THE BEAR NECCESSITIES. bear.JPG

DON'T YOU THINK THIS ROOM IS A LITTLE BEAR? bears2.JPG

CERTAINLY NOT OVER-BEARING bear3.JPG

Someone in particular who had a grand old time was Po. They have three GINORMOUS dogs and invited Po along for a play date. Po seems to be under the impression that she is a St. Bernard - so it didn't phase her one bit. They actually are on a farm and have a great big barn with chickens and stuff... and horses. So, of course, I felt a photo op was called for.

HI PO SILVER po-horse.JPG

And although this shouldn't have really surprised me, we learned that no matter how large a beast to whom Po is introduced...her means of introduction is the same. She licked the horses nose. For quite a while. Whatever you say about her, our little bitch sure has guts.

Mom made me a recipe box for Christmas - I'd be hounding her for years to put all of her recipes together for me. I made her hot dog chili yesterday. I know her version of it is amazing, but wasn't sure I'd be able to pull it off. Jean Anne thought it sounded like a good idea for a Pork-land USA daily special, so she came over today for a taste test. It was really WAS a taste test cuz we hadn't had a chance to try it yet...

1 OUT OF 1 PORK QUEENS AGREE... taste-test.JPG

Don't you just love that she has chili on her chin? :)

And, I am proud to say, that I think it will soon be appearing on a Nicks' Kitchen wipe-off board near you. Which is a triumph not only for myself and the entire Froomkin clan, but, to be honest, a great moment for the 1978 Women's Auxilliary of Millford, West Virginia. The recipe came from their cookbook originally. Jean Anne and I got into a debate because SHE calls these things Coney Dogs and I thought a Coney Dog was a Corn Dog. Well, darn that inter-web thingy because turns out I was 100% wrong. A coney dog is, in fact, a hot dog with chili, mustard and onions. So, I was not only wrong, I was exactly completely precisely wrong. When I do something, I like to do it 100%.

While she was taste testing, I happened to notice (while I was keeping the weenie away from her wiener), that she had a spot on her pants...

pants-kitty.JPG

I asked her what it was. "Oh, That's just Kitty Litter and soap".

Ah, well then. Turns out she was cleaning up some greasy ickiness that had spilled in her parking lot. And, apparently, some ancient Chinese Secret mixture of kitty litter and soap does the trick. I don't ask.

We just got a really nice email from a lovely woman who grew up in Huntington, had her first kiss in our theatre, and said, and I quote "Jean Anne caters all our funerals."

They must have had Malibu Blend the day before.

G'night kids. JOJO