Oh - before we leave the festival in the past... there was one topic I forgot to address. Melodramas. This is a totally new phenomenon to me. I understand from Rich and other people that it's sort of a very popular thing in regional areas. The Huntington High School kids had a melodrama tent - all painted fancy-like and decked out - to perform their shows; there is a local melodrama society in Huntington that puts on shows; apparently Rich did them when he was a kid. I was kind of flabbergasted. I mean - if you cast Kevin Spacey in a Broadway revival tying Scarlet Johannsen to the railroad tracks - you'd be playing to empty houses. But apparently outside of metropolitan areas, they are really popular with drama groups. After some rumination and guidance from the pack leader I finally developed a theory. Two things... a) cheap... obviously you don't have to pay for the rights. They were written over a hundred years ago, so they are free to perform... and lots of people, I think, make up their own scripts too. But this is the thing I realized that is REALLY ingenious. I think they are so popular with community drama groups because
b) they make less-talented actors SEEM perfectly cast. With a melodrama, sublety and technique are NOT the order of the day. You can be less Meryl Streep and more Ernie Sabella. It takes training to be believable and natural - but raw, undeveloped, ham-talent can go to town with mustache twirling, hand-fluttering glee. It's pretty smart when you think of it. Find your weakness and make it your strength. Good for them!
So - after the Pie-Onear Phestival we arrived back at the theatre to officially put David and Adam into white slavery (not to be confused with the all-singing-all-dancing white slavery witnessed earlier in the day). When we pulled up to the theatre it was apparent that the Festive-Street-Decorating-Fairies had paid a visit. As if the four of us weren't fairies enough for this town. The lamp posts were all decked out for Halloween. Now this is interesting - because - and I'm dead serious - I had wondered to what extent the town would officially embrace Halloween - because of the proximity to all the Evangelical Univesity and stuff. Y'know... that "harry potter will rot your mind" train of thought. So - I'm DELIGHTED to know that we'll probably be trick-or-treated up the ying yang, no doubt. Something tells me there might be a lot of toilet paper in our future. Eep.
So - like I mentioned earlier - Rich and I weren't sure exactly how down-and-dirty David and Adam were willing to go... but it turned out they were dead serious about experience the goo and grime first hand. So - while Rich and I worked out how to attach the sink to the vanity (it was not as easy of a 'slot-in perfect-fit' as we had anticipated - David and Adam got their first master-class in joint compound. Lots and lots of joint compound. They were AWESOME. See, in order to prep the walls for painting, every single dry-wall screw has to be covered over with joint compound. Every seam has to be masked with fiberglass tape. And then get joint compound over it. And then sanded. And then joint compound again. The first go-rounds of this require a degree of care - but not a high level of experience. So it's one of those jobs that take hours - but not something that Rich or I HAVE to be the ones to do... So having someone ELSE willing to spend the time doing that, while Rich and I worked on more complicated stuff, was HUGE. It really like saved us at least a full day and a half of work. We got a lot done in next 24 hours. And we had a blast doing it.
The thing about having help on stuff like this is that if the people you have helping you don't CARE, then you actually can spend more time going back and FIXING. David and Adam were so incredible - we giggled and joked the whole time... and they happily spent hours doing mindless tasks that made such a difference. Adam, particularly, was amazing because we had only met for like five minutes one time before they arrived this weekend. And he was so enthusiastic and such a great sport and worked so hard. I think somewhere in the back of his mind he has a dilapidated Greenwich village brownstone renovation pipe-dream... because he was so keen to ask questions and find out how we'd done stuff. Adorable. David was obligated because he's hoping sometime soon we'll do his one-man musical production of Come Back Little Sheba. Anyway - because Adam was keen to learn about different things, we kept trying to come up with various activities to give him a full spectrum of renovation hell. But poor little David pretty much had two trowels stuck to his wrists the whole weekend. He started to get a little joint compound obsessed... it was a hoot.
He joint compounded every inch of that place. And then we sanded it all down and he did it again. The place needs some final sanding and the occassional finishing touch - but they came, they saw, they plastered. They, too, came to the scary realization that you can practically hide anything with joint compound. It's the goo that keeps on giving.
The afternoon also yielded some terrific freudian slips. Such as the 'installing drywall with liquid nails' moment between Adam and Rich: Direct quote: "You hold on to it tight, while I shoot the sticky stuff". Nice.
David and I also lost a good fifteen minutes in total hysterics wend Rich was explaining to Adam, on day two, how, when you are cutting drywall, you score it and then 'bend and snap'. A fully staged production number ensued.
In the process of our toils, Rich (still mr. limpy) arrived at the top of the stairs and said: "There's a bird in the foyer".
I thought he meant, like a sparrow. We goes downstairs and it's like a bald-freakin-eagle sized pigeon winging its way across the foyer perching on one weird metal palm sconce and then the next. At least it wasn't a bat. Rich is no good with bats. So I grab the camera like some sort of National Geographic nimrod trying to capture "March of the Pigeons"... Rich starts chasing it with a broom. And - amazingly - after only a few minutes Mr. Pigeon was back in the wilds of Jefferson St. Meanwhile, David and Adam, not knowing any better, carried Po downstairs to watch. Po likes pigeons. They turn her into HUNTING DOG. So she went ape-shit... and was convinced that even though the pigeon was flying fifteen feet up in the air, and she has the shortest legs in the entire Animal Kingdom... she was CONVINCED that she should be in charge of Pigeon Acquisition. It took her... oh...about two days to accept the fact that the pigeon was gone.
By day two Adam had graduated to full-on apprentice. And was, like all great apprentices, watching his life flash before his eyes like Beaker assisting Dr. Benson Honeydew.
And just so Janice doesn't wig... I put safety glasses on him right after I took that picture:
David, now reaching Howard Hughes levels of Joint Compound OCD obsession... continued to trowel.
So - by the time the boys had to head back to Turkey-ville and their real-life jobs as butch jazz dancing football players... the place had come a long way. Now, you walk into those rooms and you can TELL what they are going to be. The bathroom is CLEARLY going to be a bathroom... and in about 24 hours I should be able to start tiling!
So - take a look at their fab-oh handiwork:
While they were busy little bees, I also managed over the span of the day, to cut and measure the concrete board for the floor in the bathroom. Now... we've already established how much I HATE this stuff. Drywall can be a bitch... but this stuff. Well - on the bitch scale, it's the construction equivalent of Leona Helmsley having a celebrity deathmatch with Joan Crawford. It sucks. The REASON it sucks is two fold. it's very very unforgiving. So if you make a mistake and you need to trim some more off, it's tough to remove a small amount without it cracking and crumbling. It is also VERY heavy and tiring to lug around the room checking and rechecking. And it's abrasive so it can rip up the paper facing of your nice newly installed smooth drywall. And it makes a huge mess. Because unlike the drywall which, with Rich's patented bend and snap method, breaks off with a clean line and minimal residue... this stuff crumbles everywhere and leaves gravel all over your work area. And you have to clean it up between every new piece because otherwise you lay it down on the residue and the stuff is so brittle it will crack from laying on an uneven surface. Wait... that wasn't just two things. Ok - see - it's SUCKY. I don't mean to say it's the fault of the product... it's a neccessary evil... it's just a rotten job. No one said birthing a breached calf was fun... but there isn't really any way to do it any BETTER. You just deal with the mess.
So - after lots of grumbling and futzing... I managed to get all the concrete laid down in the bathroom. It still needs mastic to secure it down... but that's easy (albeit gooey with a captial 'oo') part.
A celebration of progress commenced at - you guessed it - the Olive Garden. Where David managed to ensure our covert presence by turning to Adam and saying "What do you want, darling?" within four seconds of our sitting down. Blend... we so blend. Rich has become my 'buddy'. That's how I introduce him... 'this is my buddy rich.' We're a buddy picture.
We had a FANTASTIC time. Even though we got some really great work done, between the Phestival, and having the chance to sit and talk and play a couple games and just laugh and laugh it was a means of relief that Rich and I haven't really had in a long while. It was also really exciting to have people here, supporting us and being so enthusiastic that will, very likely, perform on our currently-nonexistent stage at some point. David is one of my favorite performers, and he kept sayiing "You're crazy... but it's going to be amazing". And that meant a whole lot. After David and Adam said their goodbyes and drove off towards the Land of Stuffed Fowl... Rich turned to me and said "You know... it's going to take a while... but we're doing to do this". He hasn't been that sure in a while. It made me really happy.
See ya later. jo jo