What could be more disconcerting first thing in the morning than waking up 45 minutes late because you forgot to set your alarm clock, scrambling to get all your stuff together so you can jump off the boat and head for the washroom, only to be confronted with about 20 of your fellow employees staring and point at you from inside the banquet room next to your slip?
Summer officially arrived in Seattle this Saturday, one day earlier than the rest of the planet courtesy of our friends at the Center Of The Universe, the Fremont Arts Council, which kicked off the Season of the Sun with their 33rd annual Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade benefitting the Fremont Public Association, a community social services agency for whom I worked back in the early '90's.
The parade, which runs through the heart of the Fremont neighborhood on the Northwest edge of Lake Union is a light-hearted affair, open to all participants, and with a mere handful of rules: no motorized vehicles, no displays of signs or wording, no live animals (or presumably dead ones, either), and no guns or weapons. Otherwise, it's pretty much anything goes, and in keeping with the pagan spirit of the proceedings, nudity in some form has been an integral, albeit somewhat controversial aspect.
In past years, the naked bikers have garnered press attention far beyond their numbers, generally due to the decidedly ineffectual efforts on the part of the Seattle Police Dept. to crack down on the handful of unclad pedalists who inevitably show up. This year, however there must have been some sort of collective call, because the Parade started with -- not a few, not a dozen or even a score, but HUNDREDS of bikers-in-the-buff, most decked out in colorful body painted adornments.
But, there's a lot more to the Parade than nude bicyclists, and given the egalitarian nature of the event, you can expect everything from hordes of red-clad bellydancers:
to bunches of cavorting bananas:
to floats of all shapes, colors and sizes:
(This one must have been sponsored by the local Chiropractors' Association)
In addition to the Parade, there's also a Street Fair featuring craft and food booths, lots of live music and -- my favorite -- an exhibition of "art cars":
Needless to say, when the weather cooperates -- as it did spectacularly this weekend -- it's a great place to be. Next year though, I'll definitely remember the sunscreen.
Busy weekend. Saturday spent the afternoon helping to build the set for Annex Theatre's next production, An American Book Of The Dead - The Gameshow!, and then ran sound for Wreckage in the evening. Fortunately, both were in the same location, so that was convenient.
Wreckage is going very well; we've had gushingly positive reviews for the most part (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer'sJoe Adcock giving us the sole pan so far, but given his general penchant for Philistinism, not a big surprise), and sold-out houses for most of the run.
It's been a fascinating experience, watching a performer mold and evolve a show from night-to-night, and I'm continually picking up little nuances of Lauren's performance; how certain character's body language changes subtly over time, how she plays with vocal inflections to glean moments of humor or insight, and how committed she is to not just doing a good show, but to fully exploring all the various facets of the performance, some of which, given the extremely personal nature of the material must be very uncomfortable to depict onstage in front of a bunch of strangers. But, she's up there doing what all truly gifted performers constantly attempt: to expose something about human nature -- and themselves -- to the audience, as opposed to submerging their ego beneath the facade of the character they're portraying.
Sunday turned out to be a massive, all day theatre binge: Started out the morning helping to load-out ABOTD for transport to the performance space, then since I had a Wreckage matinee, I stayed behind and cleaned the rehearsal/shop space we've been using in the back of Union Garage, where Lauren's show is performing. Finished just in time to to the show, then followed that up by running lights and sound for a workshop reading by another local solo performer of note, Maria Glanz. After that, helped the Babylonians pack up the detritus from the weekend garage sale fundraiser they'd been holding in the parking lot next to the theatre. Then, it was off to North Seattle to pick up some serving items for tonight's Equity Membership Meeting, and the day was capped off by a quick stop in to check on the Annex folk at the ABOTD performance space.
And I was worried that joining Actors' Equity would severely reduce my theatre-related activities!
On another front, with the apparent demise of TheatreSeattle.com, I've approached a few other websites about writing for them, and it looks like I'll be joining the staffs of Three Imaginary Girls and Aisle Say sometime around the first of next month. So, now I'll be writing for TWO online publications with a significantly increased readership on both a regional and national level! Of course, none of this pays anything, but it's still great exposure, and perhaps could lead to even bigger and better things, who knows?
Okay, must relate this little moment of psychic synchronicity from last evening's Spin-The-Bottle:
One of the things we always do is run a little raffle. The prizes generally consist of trinkets, comps to shows in which performers may be appearing, etc. So, last evening, among the usual items was a Whoopie Cushion -- one of those old-fashioned rubber bladders guaranteed to provide oh, at least several minutes of flatulence-inspired hilarity. Now, for some reason I decided I wanted this particular prize, and in the manner of the legendary (and perhaps apocryphal) story of Babe Ruth pointing to left field then walloping the very next pitch over the fence at the exact spot he had indicated, I publically announced, as the winning ticket for this item was about to be drawn that, "It's mine!". And guess what? I WON! I actually predicted that my number would come up -- and it DID! So, it just goes to show: every once in a while it IS possible to see into the future.
Unfortunately, this assuredly means the Mega Millions ticket in my wallet is now completely worthless, and that I've most likely squandered any chance of a similar lucky occurance happening anytime within the next 20 years or so.
What's that old saying about, "Be careful what you wish for?"
Just opened the new show at Theatre Babylon last night, and it's going to be a good one, if I'm any judge of these things.
Now, before you get all excited Chris is doing a new show, Yay! I should point out that I'm not actually IN the show, I'm simply running the sound board. Yes, I hear all the moans of disappointment, but really it's okay. Tech work is what I started out doing in Seattle Theatre nearly 20 years ago, and so in a sense it's an opportunity to get back to my roots, stretch some long disused muscles, and aside from the Hellish heat in our tiny little booth up in the back of the theatre, it's really quite a pleasant experience.
Lauren is a delightful person to work with, and it doesn't hurt that she's a pretty darned good performer to boot. If you're familiar with her solo work (which those of you outside Seattle, NYC or LA probably aren't), she has a great facility for revealing uncomfortable, even ugly parts of herself to an audience, but in a way that's completely genuine, sincere and often hillarious, and this latest work, based in part on one BIG LIE she told many years ago, is a maturation of some of the themes she's been exploring for a number of years. Anyway, that's all the review I'm going to give, because obviously I have a certain bias. If you're in the neighborhood, go see it. And wave up at us sweaty, black-clad minions in the booth behind you.