Dig Dug. March 12, 08.

Ok, first of all - do any of your REMEMBER Dig Dug? It was this cute little arcade game with critters that dug troughs... No? Ok. Whatever. LARRY AND RICH ITCHING TO DITCH jlist_digdug_pixeltoy.jpg

Well - again on gold in them thay're walls... BUT... Amazingness in the lobby. Bright and early (to which I can attest when the vibrations catapulted me out of the bed) George, Margaret's brother, arrived with his truck o' noise makers. Ok they didn't just make noise. If Tina Turner were made of concrete, George would be named Ike. George and Larry and Rich attacked the lobby floor and went to town. I mean, seriously, we heard from Alane that they could feel it across the street in the back of Ness Brothers office. I wasn't down there most of the day, since I think Rich felt if I was in too close of a vicinity it might be tempting to push me into the trough and concrete over the top. :) Actually I spent the day taking care of the remaining graphic design stuff for the Expo (which, now that there are banners for it all over the place, I'm terribly tempted to run around with spray paint and add an 's' just for fun - Heck why should my alley be the only place in town with graffiti. Spread the love, I say.) Anyhowsers... I worked on all that gunk, and also started booking audition appointments with the actors in New York. Which I'll get to later... back to ditch thing.

George brought this bohemeth thing with him that looked like a cross between a fair ground kiddy ride and something Mel Gibson would attack Kevin Costner with in "Mad Max Goes to Water World". I mean it's like a bumper car of death...

SAW THE USA IN YOUR CHEVROLET weird-machine.JPG

Ok, so what is this thing you ask? Well - it's basically the most kick ass saw in the history of the planet. You ride this thing basically and it goes along the floor and cuts grooves. Deep, deep grooves (if you want it too). It's a diamond blade, so like the tile wet saw, it slices through concrete. And makes the most unbelievable PERFECTLY crisp straight lines. I was agog. And that's such a strange word I try to avoid being agog as often as possible. But this had me gogged. First they sprayed a guide line for where they wanted to make their trough:

THIS IS WHAT HAPPEN WHEN YOU LET JOHN MADDEN RENOVATE. red-line.JPG

BTW that will probably be the first and only sports reference I will ever be capable of making. Actually Larry tried to explain the way football works to me the other day. The last time someone had a conversation with me about football it was also over dinner, but the person doing the explaining was Frank Gifford. After about two minutes, Kathie Lee said:

"Frank, honey. It's not gonna happen."

Larry's explanation actually made it sound very much like playing battleship... and I'm still not entirely sure what you actually need the live people to DO if the coach calls the plays, and the plays determine the outcome. So why don't they just sit in a Starbucks and list what they're plays they are gonna make and save a bunch of a broken bones. My only answer: large dudes like to get muddy. And beer commercials need spokespersons.

Anyway - red line made. Then go go gadget trough-a-maker:

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Now, looking at this picture, it suddenly reminded me of Belle's father's entrance in the Beauty and the Beast:

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Except if it WERE Beauty and the Beast, George would be constantly chased by a gaggle of lithe confirmed bachelors in grey spandex trying desperately to act like scary wolves. And instead seeming like a pack of rabid dancing chinchilla.

Anyway - George scored these wicked slick lines (while the boys apparently hosed lots of water in order to keep the blade cool). And then, as I understands it like, once the lines were cut, they jack hammered and inside the area where the guides were and were able to chisel out these big hunking slabs of concrete like eight inches thick. In addition to all this they also cut out the defunct plumbing which used to connect to the concession stand in the middle of the lobby AND made a hole for the plumber to run new plumbing from the storefront basement up to the new bar area - that'll happen sometime post-rotary, pre-supper club. George's expertise and equipment were just mind boggling - so we now have yet another Eckhert we are permanently indebted to.

TURN YOUR HEAD AND TROUGH tough.JPG

It astounded me how clean these blocks came out - I mean they're like almost perfectly smooth slabs.

A LITTLE SLAB'LL DO YA blocks-out.JPG

Larry and Rich then ran all the conduit in the trough lickity split. It runs from the auditorium door wall (microphone and sound hook up) to the wall across (lighting board control hook up) and then meets in the middle and travels over to the stairs until there was a point where they could get into the basement through an old access point from an earlier concession stand - and everything then runs from the trough into there. Amazing.

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At one point when I came downstairs to check in on them, Larry must have been down in the basement and Rich was looking to see where to run the conduit. However, at first glance, I thought he was wabbit hunting.

LOBBYSHACK hellooo.JPG

Then they mixed concrete - another new adventure for the P.L.

REAL MEN MAKE GOO mixing-concrete.JPG

And, then they started whacking it into the troughs.

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THEN, then... Yes more, they did MORE... the filled in all the holes that were in slab in the outer lobby so we could be ready for the carpet. They leveled the big gap along the front doors...

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And that center spot where the old concession stand plumbing had been.

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So while all this was happening I was trying to get in touch with the actors who had submitted to us that we were interested in seeing, and booking them for auditions. Thursday and Friday Rich and I are going to be attending this insane circus of an event called 'Straw Hats'. Basically over two days representatives from about 25 companies sit in a theatre and watch 700 actors audition. I am SO not making up this number. They get something like a minute each or something - and they get to do part of a song and part of a monologue. And from those 700 people you hope to find some people you like. Of course when some one really great shows up, chances are all the companies are going to want to hire them. Which is where the madness multiplies. You see them the first time and then get something called a "breakout room" (sponsored, I hope, by Proactive), where you do 'call backs'. Rich is going to stay in the big room, decide who he thinks is promising, and then I'll be in our private breakout room, and audition them in a more detailed way. So he's separating wheat from chaffe. We have a couple challenges in that the salary we can offer them is modest (since it's our first year and we can't be sure we're going to break even) and since we aren't doing 'book shows' - meaning actual musicals people have heard of, it's not as much of a big deal for them on their resumes. You can pay someone a dollar fifty a month IF you are telling them they are going to get to be Eva Peron. Now, IN our favor, unlike a lot of jobs these people will get offered, these aren't chorus roles. Each actor will get to sing a lot of solos and get a lot of individual 'star' attention. And they also will get to learn a lot about performing in a cabaret style - which is an art form of it's own. Rich also thinks, and this is possible the nicest thing he's ever said (I think it's exhaustion), that he thinks that any of these people going through this awful audition process, if they get to meet me, will decide they want to work for us. See, a lot of places out there, honestly, are pretty schlocky. I mean they kind of do things with felt and a glue gun. And we really aren't like that - ok, maybe a super-duper glue gun... So, hopefully, if we like someone, they'll like us. And then we'll lock them in a trunk and ship them back to Huntington.

So - that's the first two GROUP days. On Saturday we're having our OWN auditions. Those are the people that submitted to us online and by mail. So I spent today contacting them and booking them times. I've gotten through about half of 'em. Now this is, obviously, a smaller group of people, but they KNOW what the job is (having read the description), are aware of the material and the money. So, they are more of a 'sure thing'. If we like them, and they aren't booked, they'll probably do it. Actually getting a room for auditions that weekend was NOT easy. Because all those other companies are attending the Straw Hats, THEY are having auditions on Saturday too. So a lot of the smaller rooms around town were booked. And the larger rooms (where you rehearse a full-scale musical for instance) run about $50 an HOUR. But, I lucked out and got a place right across the street from Winston's, where I used to work all the time. Headache number two, booking a piano player. Also not cheap. But, I managed to reach a composer friend of mine in Jersey, and he's gonna come into town and play for us. Which is awesome. Anyway - that's what I was doing most of my day. And tomorrow is Nick's cake day - so there was some icing thrown in for good measure.

Rich and I finally braved the local Chinese take out. After eight months of desperate Chinese food withdrawal (I mean really... in NY there are like two Chinese restaurants per block) we took the plunge. Verdict: not at all bad. Now that the Pack Leader has gotten a little MSG back in his veins, he's acting like Whitney Houston at crack-er barrel. Twice this week.

Bob and Janice arrived today. Rich and Bob have already in a couple of hours managed to get rid of the old concrete and start replacing the broken stair treads to the apartment stairs. While they were working I DID manage to get about four hours worth of painting done... so that's a relief. I've got about another three hours on the wall with the doors... and then I can tackle the stairways.'

The biggest of the two vinyl banners arrived today. SEXINESS. I'm not gonna post a picture of them yet cuz I don't want to ruin the impact at the Expo. So you'll just have to wait a couple days. The big posters are now framed for the Expo and look pretty nifty as well. And, I've managed to get almost ALL the actors scheduled for auditions. Progress kids, progress.

It was Janice's birthday two days ago. She got a Wii for her birthday and apparently is hooked - we got her a Dancing with The Stars Game for it. Word on the street is that we may be getting one too. I wonder if they have Dig Dug?

xo Jo Jo.