Arhghghggh. Ok - well now that you're caught up on the Rotary I just have to get you up to speed with everything from 12 BC to now.There was this caveman named IG... Ok - well not quite THAT much catchup. But since there is a lot I'm going to deal with some stuff in sweeping strokes, try not to be loquacious, and get us where we need to be. Honestly, it has not been that momentous until the past couple days anyway. Real construction, or rather destruction began on the women's restroom two days ago... so we are back on the renovation wagon train.
Ok - Susannahs departure. Man it sucked to see her go. We seriously lost a great mess cook for the troops :) On top of that, however, it was just wonderful to have her here. The Pack Leader has gone from, not that long ago, having a great deal of social interaction at Columbia and friends etc... to spending 99.999% of his time with me. Which, we know, is one of the leading factors contributing to Pack Leader mental collapse around the country. And Po is under 21 so he can't take her drinking. The bartender at Applebees said dog years don't count. So it was wonderful to have one of Rich's best buds around, despite the madness and stress...and hopefully we'll be able to coerce her back. FOREVER. (I'm working with the CIA on convincing her that it's part of the witness protection programm. Her new name will be Bambi and she's going to be a LifeGuard at the Beach restaurant.
Speaking of The Beach. Remember the fake Hooters I told you was going to open. Well it has... It's like two storefronts down and it's called The Beach. The waitress wear skimpy shorts and tank tops that say lifeguard. One walked past the front doors other day, and someone, I'M NOT SAYING WHO said: "If that's the lifeguard I'd rather drown".
I'm just saying...David Hasslehoff ain't gonna do a casting call in the immediate future. They seem to be having some trouble drumming up business. I want to go try it out - just to support a fledgling downtowner - but it's all burgers and stuff which I don't eat much. I think they're main problem might be their seats - which, and this does imply enormous craftiness, the proprietor made entirely out of 2x4s. But they didn't really get sanded or finished. So I think people might be getting Keester Splinters. Which are the worst kind - because you have to ask for help to get them out. He was on the sidewalk giving out samples. Rich tried a burger and said it was pretty good. SO - if you want to support downtown business, you like burgers and you happen to be wearing protective armor on your butt... try it out. The Pork Queen, of course, will banish me for this endorsement.
Before Susannah's plane left we did take time to do one touristy thing so that she could pretend she'd had some kind of vacation. Yup, finally kids we made to (drum roll) THE DAN QUAYLE MUSEUM.
Ok - it's actually NOT really the Dan Quayle museum anymore. It used to be, but apparently as time marched on it seemed that people were not all that interested in a museum entirely devoted to Dan Quayle. Sometime after this...
This, of course, shocks me to the core. So it kind of cleverly segue-wayd (what IS the past tense of segue way?) into the United States Vice Presidential Museum. So. Now the bottom floor is devoted to all the Vice Presidents and the top floor is all Mr. Quayle. Complete with giant Dan Quayle cut-out for photo ops. I don't know how many visitors they get of the over-seven-years-old persuasion...but the docent was very happy to see us. Which, in a small space, is a lot of pressure. Janice and I felt pretty obligated to watch the entire fifteen minute introduction video cuz we thought he might cry if we walked away half-way through. The museum is actually nice. It's not super interactive -which is how museums nowadays are when they're geared for youngsters. Which makes for a lot of reading. There were two particular things about the museum that delighted me. Number One. Fun Fact. They got almost all of the stuff on ebay. Don't know why, I thought it was pretty funny. It explains why a lot of the items are sometimes unusual "Hey look - it's an Eisenhower/Nixon themed Ice Cream Scoop!", cuz how many "Chester Alan Arthur" lunch boxes really come up on ebay every week?
Amusing thing number two. Upstairs they have a bunch of gifts which Quayle received while on State Visits. (I didn't know you were allowed to keep that stuff... but maybe no one told Dan.) Anyway - there is this Persian-style rug hanging in a glass case next to a black and white picture of Dan with a dude in a turban and the plaque says: "Rug presented to Vice President Quayle by the Indiana Minister of Defense".
This made me pee. See, someone accidentally - and it's an honest mistake - accidentally added an 'a'. I'm pretty sure they meant 'Indian minister of Defense". But, as a Hoosier, I'm glad to know we're well protected.
What else... We've now booked the Kiwanis club to come here for their meeting. Originally we were supposed to go talk at their regular meeting place - but after the Rotary success, we thought it would be great if they'd come here. The Pack Leader has declared that we want to have the Women's Bathroom remodeled in time for their arrival...but in the past week another non-theatre project derailed us slightly. So who knows. The Men's Room might go unisex for one afternoon :)
I attended my first "Heritage Day" planning meeting a few days ago. Rich is the one who's been going to the Down Town Business Group, and the Chamber of Commerce and all these things. Largely because they meet before 10am. But also because I have to be kept on a short leash, cuz who knows what I might say or do. Poke fun at the Dan Quayle museum for instance. :( Anyway - so I can't really get a clear understanding of WHAT Heritage Days IS and who's Heritage it is celebrating. There is an American Indian on the logo...and they appoint some Chief for something. But the Chief doesn't have to be an American Indian. It's like a community service honor. But they have to consult with an American Indian or something. And then there's a breakfast. But the breakfast is private. But the holiday is public. I think, from what I can gather, that someone had the idea of bringing in one of those traveling amusement parks to downtown at some point. And then they created a holiday. I think. And there's a parade.
The parade requires a lot of planning because the judges have to judge a series of performances (dance groups and bands and such). And so the parade has to stop for the groups to perform. But then the people standing farther down the parade root think the parade is FINISHED because nothing else is coming. It's seems quite stressful. I'm going to be in rehearsal and I think Rich is very happy that i won't be able to 'help'...also known as me grabbing a megaphone and trying to change everything they've been doing for the past twenty years in a three minute period. I better get some cotton candy, that's all I'm saying.
So - really since your last update three things have primarily sucked up our time. The Pack Leader had to do the business first-ever tax return. Eek.
While that was going on I got roped into something which we thought would be like a fifteen minute quick-errand that turned into seven days of pretty solid work. The Visitor's Center is putting out this forty page booklet about Huntington. You know how when you go to like Boston or somewhere and you stay in a hotel, inside your room on the dresser is that magazine all about Boston filled with all the stuff you can do on our vacation. Well this is like that. With more of an emphasis on pork. Rather than beans. In fact maybe we should put one out WITH boston and it could feature 'pork AND beans'.
Anyway - Rose over at the Visitor's Center called and asked if I could come take a couple pictures that they were missing for the magazine. A week later I just finished working on the thing. I had to run around and take a bunch of pictures of various locales... The highlight of course was the home of a certain monarch:
I also got to visit the local Tea Room which is totally adorable, quaint and Laura Ashley-fied in the best possible way:
The two ladies who run the place were so nice and happy to finally meet me... They loaded me up with a big box of comestible goodies as a belated welcome snack. And...I have to say... the BEST chocolate cake I've ever had. Bar none. Full stop. Amaaaaazzzzzing.
Another surprising find was this place which apparently is like famous nation wide for RV refurbs. They take normal vans and trick them into these amazing living quarters... The roofs accordion up to make bunks... they have full kitchens... really cool:
I did Jean Anne's ad. And I had to take a bunch of pictures for other ads and a few locations. The toughest thing was taking a picture of the mayor for his page on the inside cover. Because I'm not, like a professional photographer. I didn't show up with like lights and a bounce screen and fifteen portable flashes and a light meter. I've just got my camera which I still don't really understand all that much. So I kept saying "i'll do my best I'll do my best I'll do my best". Cuz there more talented people around to handle that particular task. Turned out they were pretty happy with the picture I took and then they asked if I would put together their entire full-page ad. Which was a really nice compliment. And a crap load of work...cuz again...Mayor. Jo Jo not want to make look sucky. So that involved more picture taking of stuff around Huntington etc. It kinda stressed me out - but it came out nicely I think.
I also ended up doing a pile of color-correction for other pictures, including one that I took of the Pioneer Festival which they are using on the cover. I don't have photo credit, but the two olde-tyme ladies (if you ever see the thing when you arrive at your Huntington Holiday Inn) were immortalized by moi. On top of all the stuff for other people, I also had to take care of our ad. Which was a challenge - cuz this thing is supposed to be out for the next two years... so how exactly do you sell a theatre (which does individual events) in a two-year ad. So we pointed people to the website and put some pictures of the lobby in and touted it as an event space. Who knows.
Finally that thing got put to bed... which was a huge relief. Cuz I really worked on like nothing else all week, which was putting renovations and yes, yes, yes the blog on the backburner.
Enter the PeGan. Madge got her groove back, and was ready to whip out butts into shape again. Actually prior to her triumphant return to the theatre, she turned her eyes to her best friend Cindy Zay's house. This happened the evening of that political fund-raiser thingy that Rich went to. Apparently they all ended up back at Cindy Zay's house to further their lubrication and Margaret, after one long island ice tea too many, convinced Cindy that her 28,000 foot high ceilings needed to be painted. I mean seriously, this ceiling is like taller than Westminster Cathedral. So. Colors were chosen and, through the laws of quid pro quo, Rich was drafted to dangle like a cirque d' soleil acrobat off a ladder and paint the stuff up high. After THAT was taken care of Madge returned. Where she BELONGS darnit. :) She's been painting the the exterior poster windows like a little hummingbird. I'm not sure how a hummingbird paints...but whatever.
Around the time of Madge's return we also had troop of volunteers from Gretchen's student council come by to do some of their community service. Apparently the teacher asked a bunch of kids who wanted to come, then assumed only a fraction of them would show up. So she told us to expect five kids. Instead we ended up with the entire cast of High School Musical and Newsies combined. It was amazing that they all wanted to help us for a couple of hours, but it was a real challenge trying to keep everybody busy and useful without involving them in anything that could result in a lost limb. Most of them also didn't come in paint clothes which was another obstacle. The pack leader came up with one ingenious and completely goofy task... The plastic stoppers arrived for the bottom of all the chairs in the lobby. Putting 160 of those things on all forty chairs can suck if there's only two of you... but with fifteen kids it becomes your own little sweat shop. And, yes, a lot of Kathie Lee jokes were bandied about. Sorry Kathie. After that Rich took a bunch of them and they started removing a few rows of seats in the auditorium (they have to come out to be repaired and painted, plus we need them cleared away to refinish the floor. A few of them also painted the box office thingy which now is solid black inside and looks a whole lot nicer. Gretchen (those PeGans) was AMAAAAZING and led a troop of boys cleaning the managers office and that place is now, like actually not icky. Snaps for Gretchen.
We also took care of a bunch of advertising stuff that had to be done soon. Ads for the prom dinner for the school newspaper... posters for the front of the building advertising the event space and the supper club... posters for Nick's... it was a whole lot of stuff.
So with that plus the stuff for that visitors magazine my mouse clicking finger was about to fall off. In fact Ye Olde Mac was being verrrrryyy slow and realllly frustrating dealing with all the graphic stuff. Which is WHY I got a mac in the first place. So after a couple minutes on the phone with mac support they told me I need more Ram Whatever the heck Ram does. I don't give a Ram, i'm just gonna do what they tell me. And hopefully things will speed up.
The Pack Leader also managed to rig up the banner onto the marquee... which I am proud to say, to date, has had a much more successful track record than the garland. 'Why'? you ask. Pegan. One of Madge's first contributions to the cause was a big container of those plastic zip tie things (like they use instead of handcuffs nowadays... Let's not make any conjecture about Larry and Margaret's bedtimes, ok.) Anyway - these things did the trick and that banner is good and secure.
We also got the prom info on the front of the marquee. There's nothing on the FAR SIDE of the marquee because of the... LAMPPOST. We haven't talked about the lampost, have we? Rich has a vendetta against this lamppost. See, the building was here long before the lamppost (which he points out vehemently with photographic evidence). As was the marquee. When they put IN the lamp posts, they were probably supposed to be evenly spaced down the street. But since our marquee was there, someone figured the thing to do would be to put the lamppost as CLOSE to where it SHOULD have been as they could get it. Which means like six inches away from the side of the marquee. Standing right in the middle of it. So a) it's is almost impossible to put letters up in the entire center section; and b) even if you did you can't READ them. Rich is basically trying to build an entire global empire simply so that he will eventually wield enough power to take down a lamppost. That's all he wants in life. He has considered hiring a hit man. Or rather a hit 'semi' to drive into it. He has given speeches crying 'Mr. Gorbachev tear down this lamppost.". The subject has been lightly broached with the city. I had a suggestion. I thought if we put, in the letters, on that side of the marquee... "REMOVE OUR LAMPOST MAYOR PLEASE" as a polite request...but put it on that side. With the word 'Lamppost' in the very middle. So everyone in Huntington would think it said "REMOVE OUR MAYOR PLEASE". We figured that might illustrate our issue and help cut a little red tape. Trouble is the Mayor's a pretty swell guy and we don't want anyone thinking we don't like him. Darn.
Well - I was gonna cover renovation progress in the bathroom - but this is already pretty lengthy. Sooooo... let's delay that till tomorrow and then we'll really be rolling again. So, for now...
Really. She spends hours like that. We should have named her 'lumbar sup-PO'
xo jo jo.