Ready for our Close Up... Feb 24, 08.

That's right, kids. ABC local news, 6pm. Monday night. Tonight. We give new relevance to the term 'boob tube'. OMG. How tired am I? Soooooooooooooo tired. You know what happens when Team Najuch arrives...well we've been making a PARTICULARLY early start of it this weekend, and I haven't been able to GET to sleep at night, and being a theatre person I've never had a job my entire adult life that started before 10am and I am not adjusting well andzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I know. Suck it up, Jo Jo.

Ok. Where were we. Paint paint paint. After that horrific brown and maroon base coat was on, and dry, I worked pretty late that night to have SOMETHING attractive on the walls for Eric Olsen. And, kids, Mr. Olsen is no small shakes in these parts. He's the weekend news anchor AND he does these kind of Charles Kuralt human interest story thingies twice a week too. Anyway. So - I started the metallic painting. Which, I am shocked and amazed to say, has been going without a hitch. It's not SIMPLE, and I've definitely determined that it's finicky enough that it's not something I should attempt to 'outsource' or try to teach anyone to do. Not because no one else can do it - just because I would probably drive them insane in the PROCESS of their trying to do it. Basically you brush one of the two colors on (gold or copper) in a kind of plaid set of forty-five-degree-ish (very often 'ish' I'm afraid) lines over about a three foot stretch. Then fill in the remaining areas with the other color. And blend and blend. And then obsess. It's another one of those charming 'it's supposed to look random' which actually takes a lot more work than something which you're NOT trying to make look random. What's with that? The real issue is that, believe it or not, because of the translucency of the metallic paint, you can actually see every single brush stroke and line which is off kilter. So, in order for it to blend into a nice smooth even non-pattern, you have to work pretty hard to make sure you DON'T go very astray in any weird direction.

By the time Mr. Olsen arrived I had all of the lobby done as far as I could reach from the floor, and then that morning started in on the top working from the scaffolding. Like I said before - he told us in advance that he wanted 'action shots' so we figured having enough that it looked purty, and still enough left that I could work on it would be a good balance. We tore down all the plastic sheeting which we had up to contain the dust from the inner lobby (while we still sanded and gooped) because having it closed off didn't make the space look half as large and open. Rich also swept the place - which, after days and days of joint compound sanding, was no easy task. BUT he used this stuff that was suggested by...guess who... Margaret. Oh, Oh, Oh. Apparently I have been spelling their last name wrong. Or actually not SPELLING it wrong, I've been TYPING it wrong. Seriously. And, thusly, I'm in danger of some sort of boycott. Anyway it's not Pegan. It's, and I'm not making this up, PeGan. Like McCullough. Or SanDeE. Or something. Anyway - The capital G is apparently sacred. It's been spelled that way, so I understand, since time beGan. Have no fear - I won't make the mistake aGain.

Anyhoooo - Margaret (I have this desperate urge to start calling her Madge (it's the British influence) - suggested this stuff called Kleen Sweep. Which, she said, SUCKS up the dust and makes it easier to sweep. Well, I thought she'd lost her attractively bobbed brunette marbles. But no. No no no. Which teaches you never to doubt an Eckert. Bringing about the advent of, for the first time in YONKS, a...

PRODUCT PLACEMENT (drum roll, klieg lights, fireworks etc.) 1095100_lg.jpg

It is, according to the box, a Nonoil-based sweeping compound. Leaves floors clean with a low luster sheen. Does not leave residue. Cleans concrete, tile, vinyl and finished hardwood floors. U.S.A

And, my friends, it sure does. AMAZING. It's like these pellets of green kitty liter - and apparently it just sucks up the dust - and you sweep it up. And the floor looks amazing. Clean as a whistle. Go. Buy. Use. Love me.

On another product placement issue, I recently in my random internet searches for things to amuse YOU gentle reader, found this. This, I have decided, is EXACTLY what the Pork Queen needs to celebrate her 100th anniversary of Nick's Kitchen and the Great and Powerful Tenderloin in true style... This... and I am NOT making this an actual - for sale - commercially available - Barbecue Grill:

HOT PINK bbq-pig.jpg

I think we all need to chip in and get one for her. That is after we all chip in and get us a new sign, a lighting grid, lights, carpet, a sound system.... ah screw it. She can buy her own giant metallic porker... :)

So. Before I tangentially drifted somewhere in the next galaxy... Mr. Olsen arrived. We figured he'd have a camera crew of some sort - but no. He is, actually, quite proud of the fact that he's recently become his own film crew because it gives him more flexibility and he always is able to get the shot he wanted without losing anything in communication confusion. So... Mr. Olsen arrived looking quite anchor-esque in his long black wool trenchcoat. Although I didn't feel it partcularly appropriate to try and keep taking pictures of HIM while he was supposed to be taking pictures of US - I pulled this off of the local ABC website:


Well - I for one was pretty darn scared out of my wits. But he was really cool. He actually stayed for a really long time, and chatted with us for ages before we did the actual interview (pretty great technique actually - because by that time we were more relaxed so when he asked about the Columbian drug cartel, and illegal dachshund racing casino, Rich just let it slip accidentally... aw crap). It turned out he had been here before a few years ago when the Dineus' had purchased the building - so he could certainly see how much different it looked. The GREAT thing was that he's a real theatre lover... He was a drama major in college, and as soon as we made it clear we were trying to run a fully professional playhouse, and not intending on trying to show films any more here at all, he was really incredibly enthusiastic about the project. He wants to come back several times to chart our progress. So anyway... he had us start working - which was pretty hysterical really, because of course I could paint... but we had taken down all the plastic which meant Rich couldn't sand anything. So in this ludicrous reversal of events, the day the newscrew is there, it looks like I've got the masterplan working real hard, and RICH is stuck doing nothing but stirring up a giant vat of joint compound. For fifteen minutes. I tried to tell him that he could trowel an area that still needed skim coating - but he thinks he sucks at it - but eventually he got desperate and the next day after Mr. Olsen's visit I looked up and saw this giant glob that looked like one of the california raisins had a run in with bunsen burner. He's many things, but the pack leader is NOT a skimmer. Anyway - so he started filming us working for a while. While I was painting and the camera was rolling he said "So what is this going to be" and I was concerned it was a trick question (since I didn't feel polite saying "Well Eric, this is what we in the trade call PAINT" ) :)

Then he asked if we had any old pictures of the building. Which of course we did. BUT - they're on Rich's computer... and said "Well can I just come upstairs and shoot them with the video camera off your screen." The Pack Leader practically turned white. We had the downstairs looking pretty darn organized in advent of his arrival, but the upstairs looked like a museum diorama of Hurricane Katrina. Ah well. So we clambored into Rich's office and he took the shots. I was PEEVED that we hadn't put him together a cd of old pictures and shots of us working around the building - but Rich really figured at the end of the day that he was not all that enthused about getting images on a cd anyway. So Que sera sera. He got a bunch of shot of the building from the 40's and seemed content. He also got a shots of what the lobby looked like before we started and of the sketch I did for the foyer design. Which, although you've seen it on the video, I realized I've never posted here:


You're already familiar with the diamonds. And the gold you'll see in a moment or two... and to date, the only thing about this that's really changed is that the bar will no longer be in the middle of the room. With plans for the supper club and everything, we realized it's a better layout to have it on one side of the outer lobby.

Anyway. So he got all those shots, and had chatted with us for a really long time... and then wanted to film the interview portion in the auditorium itself. Which was dark and freezing. I asked him if he wanted us to set up any work lights for the camera (we used work lights all over the place for the you tube video) but he said it was fine. But, I have a sneaky suspicion that when this thing airs you're only going to see a very very dark screen with two shivering blurs in the middle of the frame. So now we're sitting and shivering, and he asks which one of us is the talker. So we said the Pack Leader - so he hooked up the lapel mic to Rich (in a way that I could be heard as well if I decided to speak) and gave me this thing to hold - which was apparently the wireless trasnmitter for the mic, but looked distinctly to me like a "Whack-a-mole" mallet. And the interview began.

And, it went fine. I think. Admittedly, after an hour hanging out with warm and fuzziness, the camera came on and he suddenly did ask "So, Everyone else who's had this building has FAILED. Why do you think you won't." Rich's eyes suddenly bugged out of his head - and he did his best impression of Beaker.


Not because we don't have an answer (we actually have quite a GOOD answer and explanation...which we happen to believe as well...not just 'spin'), but because he's always, for the sake of politeness and goodwill, very careful to never actually call anyone else's attempts on the building a 'failure' per se. We say things like, "Despite the best intentions, previous owners have faced significant obstacles". Things like that. Anyway - the P.L. recovered very well, and the rest of the interview went pretty smoothly. We forgot, like any bad Tonight Show guest, to do the PLUG (The Supper Club or the Blog)...dang...but really he didn't particularly ask us any questions that could have lead to the plug without us trying to forcefully insert it like an elephant trying to slip on Jimmy Choos. I eventually did start to speak, because about half way through I realized I looked like a beleaguered politician's wife in one of those interviews after a Senator has been caught emailing compromising photographs of himself dressed like Cher to underaged interns. So I spoke a little bit... of course I had to keep turning my head to speak into the mic which meant every time I WASN'T speaking I looked at the camera, and every time I DID speak I looked at Rich's sweater. Smooth.

But - anyway - it seemed to go just fine. Of course, twenty minutes after he left Rich looked at me and said "you realize you have a gigantic smear of gold paint across your face." And, since it's supposed to be a human interest 'isn't your town nifty' kind of story, I don't think we'll be raked over the coals or anything. Gulp. So - it airs Monday at Six, on Indiana ABC - so TUNE IN and try not to be as mortified as we will. And, for those of you in the far far away... we've already arranged to get a copy of it and we'll post it on here as soon as we can. Anyway - Mr. Olsen was pretty awesome, and we are really excited that HE seems excited and wants to follow our progress. Or... FAILURRRREEEEEEE... aaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Well - I have lots more to write about - this weekend was MAJOR MAJOR in terms of nifty things happening. But - I'm super sleepy - and you have to rest your eyes to you can watch us on the talkin' gramaphone box.

Oh crap - I almost forgot - you've been waiting to see what the walls look like. Now - if you feel the gold may be a little disconnected from the ceiling scheme...just remember that the inside edge of each of those curved ceiling ledge things will be gold leaf to tie it all together. So, imagine that...and btw the pictures make it look more orangey that it actually's gold and copper take my word...Here ya is....


and a close up... dsc_0024.JPG

xo jojo.