I’ve got a brand new pair of….shhhhh

Publicité de 1908 vendant des patins à roulett...
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Recently, guitarist Vince Brown and I  had a chance to make a music together and as usual, had a grand ole time.

We had a chance to share our musical alter egos, Red and Ruby,  filling a couple evenings with  tunes from the 20’s and 30’s with a few contemporary  tunes thrown in.  With Red, it’s always new, the arrangements, well, they are never the same twice, which always keeps it fresh.

You know what else keeps gigs fresh?  The audiences. A song sparks a memory in a listeners mind which bubbles up from some deep recess  of the past and it has to be shared.   Songs for many people are aural journal entries, marking time, the sweetness and the sour.

At one gig, a  woman, whose name I didn’t catch, related how she loved to dance, but her dad wouldn’t let her go to dances because there was an army base near by and well, you know how soldiers are. Vince and I nodded. She then got a sparkle in her eye, ” But my father couldn’t stop me from dancing,” she paused dramatically. ” I got a medal for artistic roller skating.”

Honestly, she lost me. A who, huh, huh huh wha?  “Artistic roller skating.” She  repeated these words, probably  because my mouth was slightly ajar as the Google in my mind returned “no search results.”

“Yeah, artistic roller skating was real popular,”  she said.  And maybe I had been  reading too many Weekly World News headlines while waiting in line at the supermarket, but I could have sworn that she looked over her shoulder and lowered her voice a little before adding “until the ice people shut us down”.

You can do what  I did and go on line to learn more about ice skating’s  secret sibling. Who knew?

I must admit, my mind enjoys chewing on a conspiracy theory with this new knowledge. Ice skaters,  shrouded by the darkness of an empty locker room, hacking off the wheel frame with a newly sharpened ice skating blade, separating it cleanly from the boot, laughing a little maniacally  minutes before  the  big rollerskating competition begins.

Ball bearings swimming with the fishes.

It was at that moment, I realized that it was time to sing. This thinking stuff can get dangerous.

Did I mention? It was a good gig.

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Oh so true, Mr Wilde…

Oscar Wilde in 1882.
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I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.
Oscar Wilde

What a great quote. Oscar captures the gravitational pull of what keeps a performer performing and keeps an audience, coming back and wanting more. It’s curiosity, it’s a search for affirmation of what it means to be human.
Not all forms of entertainment (theater, movies, live music etc.) affirm our humanity, Lord knows, but occasionally, just occasionally, an audience gets to see a work that subtly educates and opens mind as well as hearts. I recently went to Lynn Nottage’s latest offering, Ruined at the Intiman Theatre in Seattle. Our story begins and ends in a small town in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, where Mama Nandi runs a bar and brothel. With live music, a powerful story and down to earth characters the audience gets a glimpse of what happens to human beings when they are stressed by the realities of war.

I am sure I could Google and find lots of information about the effects of war on women and men in Democratic Republic of Congo, or grill the local reference librarian for books and articles about this tragedy; however books and search engines would give me the linguistic description of violence and rape only. Theatre, can tamely bring the eyes of one’s heart to the doorstep of any part of the world.

Needless to say, it was a heart stirring evening. My heart went to a place that I knew little about geographically or emotionally; and although it is no substitute for the real situation, I got a sketch of what another human being’s walk might be. I watched fellow audience members cry, gasp, hold their breath as they went through a roller coaster of emotions.

As an audience member, Ruined, reminded me why I perform. As an actor I get to explore my own humanity. I am forced to figure out what makes a character tick; which inevitably gives me clarity about what makes me (and other folks) tick. This character exploration makes my world…bigger. I re-learn in a very intimate way that everyone for good or bad does not see the world as I do and I am forced with that knowledge to see how small and dependent, I actually am. If I am doing my job right, I get to make an impact. Being part of an audience absorbed in this “play” about a place more than 8500 miles away made me grateful for my profession. To be part of that sort of power is a marvelous thing.
Sometimes, when I tell people that one of the things that I do is act, they nod and smile in anticipation, hoping that I will stop being so damn dramatic and tell them what I really do. Next time when someone asks me what I do, I’ll say that I am a cardiologist. “Oh I specialize in treating and preventing diseases of the heart. What kind of diseases you ask? oh you know.. hardening of the heart..things like that it’s a serious problem.
Yeah, it really is and that is what I am grateful to have the opportunity to do.

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Have You “Misbehaved”?

Hello all-

Hope this note meet you well, happy and reasonably dry! I have been having a great time in Ain’t Misbehavin’ at Centerstage Theater in Tacoma. This show is good for whatever ails you! It is two hours of shakin’ and shimmying to the music of Fats Waller.

This weekend is your last chance to see this show, tickets are available at http://www.centerstagetheatre.com/.

Hope to see you!

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The Bard, Fats, & Red…all coming soon!

Happy Birthday Shakespeare.. you sure do write purty!

In celebration of William Shake sphere’s birthday– April 23rd 1564 to
be exact for those of you who want to send him a congratulatory tweet
–Shakespeare in the Parking Lot in cahoots with the Tacoma Arts
Commission is hosting a Shakespere- a-thon, this Friday and Saturday,
April 23 and 24th. More information is available here: http://www.sitpl.org/ShakespeareathonApril2010.html

Yours truly is in the Friday 6:30 show Richard II, appropriately
renamed Regina II, for I get the opportunity to play Queen Regina II.
Regina II will be a moving show, in that the show will be both indoors
at the Speakeasy Arts Collective, 222 Broadway in Tacoma and on
various locations on Broadway! Bring your gortex and fleece and come
out and see Shakespeare in a new light. Read more…

Friday, April 23rd:
6:30pm – Richard 2 (Regina II)
8:30pm – Henry 4 Parts 1 & 2
11:00pm – Henry 5
If you are unable to join in the celebrations, pepper your
conversations with “forsooth” and “anon” and see how good it feels!

Mr Waller I presume…
I am currently in rehearsal for the Fats Waller musical review, Aint
Misbehavin, with Centerstage Theater in Tacoma. Opening night is May
21st! Show times and dates can be found at http://www.centerstagetheatre.com/
. This is wonderful show, two rip-tearin, throw-down hours of Fats
Waller songs. Just try to stay in your seat for this one!

Lions,Tigers and Red and Ruby Lights Oh My!
This weekend is Artwalk!, Procession of the Species, and the gorgeous
Luminary procession It just isn’t spring in Olympia ’til you see a 8
foot dung beetle in the middle of 4th Avenue. Red (Vince Brown) and
Ruby (that’s me, the short one) will be at Swing Wine Bar Saturday
night April 24 at 9:30. Drop by after the Procession; We would love to
see you!

Until next time…be well and be kind.

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Jazz (and such) Monday at the Royal Lounge

Greetings everyone and happy spring…uh winter, no spring. Definitely
spring. Almost.

I swear to you that I saw a chickadee at the feeder at our kitchen
window wearing leg warmers. Really! But I digress.

I want to invite you to the Royal Lounge this Monday 9:30-midnight.
Yes, I know it is late but I will be playing with fine dressin’
guitarist Vince “Crazy Fingers” Brown, Syd “Sweet Lips” Potter on
flugelhorn and crazy but calm Carey Black on bass! We will be doing
all manner of things jazzy and jazz related.

The Royal is located at 311 Capitol Way North, Olympia. There is
plenty of parking. Need more info? Call them at (360) 705-0760.

Hope to see you soon, and for those of you who can’t make this gig due
to its late hour, earlier gigs are afoot.

Be well and be happy,

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