Saturday, December 31, 2011

Haiku #95 & 96 - New Year's Eve

the past is too big
for my carry-on and too
heavy to be checked

moment of panic 
'til i decide to leave it
back where it belongs

Haiku #94 - The Nutcracker

the hall is filled with
girls who dream one day to be
sugar plum fairies

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Haiku #93 - Lower East Side Tenement Museum

Beer: Making life tolerable for generations of immigrants
(across the street from the museum)
escaping hardship
maybe wishing to sow a 
pocketful of dreams

Mom really wanted to go to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.  I offered to show her around my building for free, but apparently she wanted to see a "real" tenement, so she booked us tickets on the tour of garment workers' apartments. Longtime readers will know of my tenuous relationship with museums, but I'm happy to report that this one was really fascinating, and our tour guide was great.  Also interesting to note how some things (housing and labor laws, immigrants' countries of origin) have changed, and how other things (human nature, corruption, hope of a better life for one's children) haven't.  

And they had a good gift shop!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Haiku #92 - New York Philharmonic

in lieu of applause
please cough between movements - it's

Took Mom & Dad to the NY Phil tonight - Haydn, Schubert, Ravel.  The first movement of the Haydn was rather long, and the classical music fans knew it was a faux pas to clap between movements.  Yearning to show their appreciation, however, the audience erupted into a cacophony of midwinter hacking instead.  

A blurry ovation.
My favorite was the Ravel Valse, which closed the concert. I commented to my parents that both halves ended with the opposite of a musical theater button: the first half ended with Schubert's Erlkönig (part of a set orchestrated by Britten and Reger, performed by Anne-Sofie von Otter), in which the last word is "dead."  Dad said both halves ended with death - the Erlkönig literally and the Ravel metaphorically.  Happy new year?  Maybe Alan Gilbert goes by the Mayan calendar.  Anyway, it was a lovely evening, metaphorical death notwithstanding.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Haiku #90 - Tourist Attractions

tourist attractions:
parks, bridges, concerts, shopping, 
emergency rooms

Everyone's fine now, but we did have an episode last night and had to pay an (as it turned out) overnight visit to that darkest horse of New York attractions, a major hospital's ER.  It's kinda like Times Square at New Year's - you do it once to say you did it, then you hope never to have to return.  

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Haiku #88, 89 - Christmas Dinner

there is something to
be said for sticking to your
core competencies:

mom and dad and i
had a sumptuous dinner
cooked by fresh direct

I hate cooking, a trait I inherited from my mom.  Dad likes cooking holiday dinner, but he's a pain in the ass in a kitchen he's familiar with, so imagine a miniature kitchen he doesn't know.  So... I consider it money well-spent to have gotten a heat-and-eat turkey dinner delivered straight to my door on Christmas Eve.  It was yummy, and super-easy to prepare.  We hung out and relaxed and enjoyed the day in each other's company.  And Mom cleaned up (I did not inherit her affinity for cleaning.)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Haiku #87 - Christmas Eve

Diesel guards the Christmas piano
(in lieu of Christmas tree)
the stockings are stuffed
so am I, with tamales -
must be Christmas Eve

Haiku #86 - Diminished

G#dim7! Take that, you grumpy neighborhood fart, you!
does this old geezer
know he's messing with the wrong
music theory nerd?

Spanish Harlem, December 23: an anecdote

My parents are staying in a studio sublet about a 15-minute walk from my apartment.  I just got an acoustic guitar, and decided to take my new toy with me when I went over this afternoon.  It's light, so I completely forgot I had it strapped to my back as I strolled down 2nd Avenue.  

Thus, I was completely taken aback when I passed a guy, probably in his 50s, who took a good hard look at me and said, "You probably don't even know what a diminished chord is."  What??  Pause to regain my wits.  I hollered ineffectually at him as he continued walking the other direction, "Actually, yes I do!"  How does he know?? I thought.  About two blocks later, I remembered - ohhhh, the guitarrrrr.  

Hah.  Well, he picked the wrong snowflake to start a music theory brawl with!  As soon as I got to the sublet and related my tale of indignation, I set about figuring out a diminished chord (see pic).  I am not a hipster poser!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Haiku #83 - Love (1)

This is one from the archives of my haiku-writing past...

love knocks on your door
it isn't what you ordered
still you let it in

Monday, December 19, 2011

Haiku #82 - New York (3)

fifteen til showtime
Broadway and forty-fourth street
I'm swimming upstream

Haiku #81 - Sick

three hours in the cold
was the proverbial straw
slept all night and day

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Haiku #80 - Humdrum

the humdrum becomes
singular when it's a lack
of toilet paper

Haiku #79 - My Nephew's Nostrils

my nephew's nostrils
in Japan and also my
computer screen: Skype.

I finally got to skype (ah, the joy of turning nouns into verbs) with my sister and her family tonight!  It was Saturday midday for her, and the boys entertained me while she was hanging laundry.  My younger nephew was bouncing off the walls, so most of what I got was him either a blur in the background or VERY CLOSE to the camera.  They thought it was hilarious when I zoomed my (newly pierced!) nose up to my webcam in response. 

And here is my nose, which I got pierced by Colby at Adorned in the East Village: 
My dad will say, "Just what you needed -
another hole in your head."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Haiku #78 - New York (2)

Today's route, abridged:
Bushwick grit, East Village show
beer in Hell's Kitchen

I feel most concepts can be explained elegantly in seventeen syllables; lists of a day's activity in New York City, not so much.  

I've been running around a lot since I got back last week - seeing friends, seeing shows, even working a tiny bit.  Today was no different - I played with the Story Pirates at a school in Brooklyn, had an appointment, and came home for a pit stop before going to Kurt's show downtown, and finally, to a meet-up event in midtown.  Fun was had by all, and now it's time to crash for a New York minute... zzzzz...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Haiku #77 - Cat-in-a-Box

Diesel's new toy, which contained my new toy
much fun to be found 
like a cat or a guitar
in a cardboard box

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Haiku #76 - New York City

Broadway glistens bright
just above the homeless man
sleeping on the train

Haiku #75 - Crazy Cat Lady

This is basically a transcription of an exchange my roommate and I had last night:

"So then what's your plan 
to meet someone?  Move back home?"
"I'll just get more cats."
Diesel now knows what suitcases mean, and he gets real needy when he sees them come out.  He did this a lot when I was packing for tour.

And thank you, Modern Family, for making me feel validated:
Q: So dumb guys go for dumb girls, and smart guys go for dumb girls - what do smart girls get? A: Cats, usually.    

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Haiku #74 - Busy

Version 1:
there's so much to do
in the city - I resent 
the hours I must sleep

Version 2:
there's so much to do
in this lifetime - I resent 
the hours I must sleep

Haiku #73 - Music's Secrets

wish I could download
all music's secrets - instead, 
they seep in slowly

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Haiku #72 - Friday night, East Village

Old roomie Kate & me

bass booms in the bar
friends catch up hearing only
ev'ry other word

Friday, December 9, 2011

Haiku #71 - Reunion!

skype-ing with Cherie
Kurt and Parker sing Barbra
while the cupcakes cool
from left: Cherie in CA, me, Kurt & Parker in my kitchen in NYC

Tonight, Kurt and Parker came over for a little baking party.  We made Earl Grey-poached pear cupcakes, and played and sang standards. Cherie joined us via skype from California.  The evening ended in the wee hours with Kurt, Parker, my roommate Seth and me geeking out on youtube videos, drinking Earl-Grey-pear juice with Jameson.  

It seems so strange that I've only known these people for three months. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Haiku #69 - How 'bout them Apple(product)s!?

i have crossed over
no time for anything but
playing with my phone

Yup, I got an iphone.  I had a bunch of things on my to-do list for today, but most of them went by the wayside when I got my phone and discovered the app store.  Guess I'll get back to business tomorrow... maybe...

Haiku #68 - One-nighters

hotel one-nighters
illustrate well the concept 
of "this too shall pass"

Whether it's a mysterious smell reminiscent of a floral crime scene cover-up, or crisp 1000-count sheets, it's over quickly.  

But never mind that - I'm back in the city, and looking forward to sleeping in the same place for 35 nights in a row!  35 nights that will still pass quickly...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Haiku #65 -

From my roommate Alex as she was getting dressed in our hotel room:

Quotable Al: "You're
harshing my mellow, black pants."
They must be shrinking.  

(I should mention, she's still skinny.)  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Haiku #62 - Opelika, AL

Warning: this can happen when you spend a lot of time with the same people:

our minds are melding
into one seamless haiku
get out of my head!

I'm playing a very competitive game of cribbage with those people now.  

Oh no.  An ice fight is breaking out.  Gotta go!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Haiku #61 - Tallahassee

arena show, then
Southern hospitality
I'll lose weight next week
Andrew maintaining trombone-playing strength with dessert

Played our first show in a big arena - my first ever - at the Leon County Civic Center.  It was quite a trip to be in such a large space, with the band set up in close proximity to both the stage and the audience.  I finally have some control over my mix, since I finally got some sound-isolating headphones.  Trust me, when you have a trombone pointed at the back of your head, you want fancy headphones.  It also means that hopefully what I hear won't change so much from night to night in the different performance spaces.

fried things.
Anyway - so on to the important stuff, food!  They had a party for us after the show, with some of the best food I have eaten in my whole life.  Southern hospitality is no joke - they had alcohol and "heavy hors d'oeuvres", by which they meant wine, champagne, and "food that will make you forget why you want to be thin".  Fried green tomatoes, calamari, and a regional specialty stuffed oyster.  Also more typical carved meats and salads, and an array of desserts that made me want to cry.  The pics don't do it justice but I must go now - I need to slip into a food coma for a few hours before we head to Alabama tomorrow!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Haiku #58 - Black Friday

spend money, not time
better for America:

I just have to wonder about a country whose political leaders tout family values and whose business leaders create ads encouraging us to buy products at stores staffed by people who are not with their families the night after a holiday because their store opened at midnight.  What do we really value?

Anyway, I had a really nice black Friday - my cousins and I hit the mall (in the afternoon) for an hour, then had a beer-and-cupcake pairing party at Susie's apartment.  We took a walk while the combined effects of sugar and alcohol wore off, and saw the beautiful Armed Forces Memorial at the harbor (speaking of people who have to be away from their families).

Oh yeah, I work away from my family, too...  But I feel very fortunate to do what I really love, and to bring my show to people who haven't had a chance to see it yet.  Back to tour tomorrow - Sarasota-bound!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Haiku #57 - Real American (Pie)!

BEFORE (clockwise from left): mixed berry, pumpkin, pecan 
jogging with cousins
in preparation for an
assortment of pies

Last night I made a mess in my Aunt Lynn's kitchen as I made a mixed berry and a (required in my family at the holidays) pecan pie.  Aunt Lynn made a couple pumpkin pies this morning.  Luckily, I'm ready for them (as well as the turkey, which I sort of consider a formality), because my cousins Susie and Joel and I went jogging about an hour ago.  After dinner, I'll edit the songs Aunt Lynn and I recorded yesterday - some favorites for Grandma.  

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Haiku #56 - Free Beer!

packed supermarket
run in real quick just for milk
waylaid by free beer

My poor aunt was probably about to alert the authorities when my cousin and I finally emerged from the Thanksgiving Eve madness of the supermarket.  We actually got through checkout really fast - the delay was caused by the friendly sample lady who was offering egg nog, wine, and, best of all, samples of beer from the New Belgium brewery.  We tried about 4 different kinds of beer, and bought a couple 22-oz bottles for our upcoming beer-and-cupcake pairing party.  Yay free samples!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Haiku #54 - Real American Home-Cookin'!

saved my appetite
'cause I know after the show
Greer's mom will feed us

Our last stop before the Thanksgiving layoff was Maryville, TN, where Greer, one of our female swings, grew up.  Greer's mom (who actually has a real name, Karen - though she said she goes by "Greer's mom" a lot) sent boxes of delicious homemade cookies to Clemson during tech week, and I was an instant fan.  She brought an entire meal to us at the hotel after the performance in Maryville, and Greer's family and the Heights cast hung out in the hotel conference room eating barbecue and salads and Kentucky Derby pie.  I could die happy.  I mean, that pie - like chocolate chip cookie dough in a pastry crust!  It's such a treat to have home-cooking when you're on the road.  

 Karen (2nd from right) with four well-fed members of the Heights band

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Haiku #53 - Layover

Parker and our sensible sangrias

terminal hiking
is refreshing but so is
overpriced massage

Very slow day today since my flight wasn't til 4. Parker, one of the cast, didnt have his flight til 5, so we headed to the airport at 1, dropped off our bags, and ran across a perilous higway for a bite to eat and a sensible pre-flight sangria. Now I'm halfway through a 3-hour layover in Charlotte. I made my second frivolously sensible decision of the day and got a foot massage in the airport terminal..  Looking forward to getting to my aunt & uncle's in Norfolk, andbeing in the same place for 6 whole nights!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Haiku #52 - Powerless

second-show jitters
we are powerless (again)
remember: just breathe

We had some power issues again today, but this time, they happened during the day as the crew was loading in, and were fixed by the performance.  I was more nervous tonight than last night - everything sounded different in the new space, and I had just enough space in my brain to think, as opposed to last night's fight-or-flight mode.  We had a great show, and now we have a week layoff - off to Virginia to hang out with my aunt and uncle and cousins!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Haiku #51 - Conducting Debut!

(warning - spoiler alert)

Hold up a second -
I thought the blackout came at
the end of Act One???

I'm pretty sure the universe messes with me to keep me from taking myself too seriously.  I was up on the podium conducting the opening number of In the Heights  during an actual performance for the first time, hands a little cold but feeling pretty calm.  A few bars before I had to play, I noticed I'd forgotten to turn my stand light on.  Ok, click.  No light.  Uh-oh.  Shit.  What kind of an idiot am I that I didn't check my light before the show?  I glance at the horn section - lovely, working lights.  Oh well - guess I'm playing at least this number in the dark. Good thing I know the show so well.

I start playing the first montuno, and a few bars in, I see my cue light blinking, which is usually the signal to pick up the phone and talk to the stage manager.  WTF!?!?  I can't talk now!!  I'm playing! With both hands!  IN THE DARK!  ...aaand a few seconds later, I feel a rush of relief as I hear the stage manager's voice come through the house, announcing that they have to fix a technical problem and restart the show.  Phew!  It turns out they've lost power on one of their boards, which happened to be the one that also powered my stand light.  I'm not an idiot (at least not for that reason).  

That is what relief looks like, after surviving
my first time conducting a show of this size.
Note that the theater looks like a spaceship. 
That was exciting.  There were other moments of excitement, but none that anyone in the audience noticed.  Now it's time to have a drink & sleep before an early bus call.  Conducting tomorrow night too!  

Haiku #50 - The Conductor

A rabid windmill*
The conductor waves her arms
in case they're watching.

We're in Athens, GA tonight - another place I wish we could stay longer, based on the food, hospitality, and the nice venue.  Alas, it's a one-nighter.  

I ran most of soundcheck this afternoon, because I'm conducting the show tomorrow night.  I'm excited/nervous - it's a big show, with lots of people and machines depending on me not screwing up.  However, I humbly remind myself that, as with so many conductors before me, they aren't really paying attention most of the time!  

*highly recommend this Charles Hazelwood video

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Haiku #49 - Secret Santa

undercover elves
deliver candy and booze
for secret santa
Kat in a Cat Hat from Secret Santa, Dominic
Today was our holiday party, complete with Southern Thanksgiving food, a trivia game, and the great Secret Santa reveal.  My Secret Santa giftee was the other Kat on tour.  I enclosed a haiku with the last gift to reveal my identity.  My Secret Santa gifter was Dom.  He gave me (among other cool things) a cat-hat (I forgot to take pics at the party, so yes, that is a pic I just took of myself in my hotel room).  Fun was had by all...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Haiku #47 - Food Mooch

Champion food mooch
Other people's waffle fries
Look so delicious

This is a big country, y'all.  I can say y'all, because we're in the South now, having spent the day in the bus driving in that direction from Scranton.  We're parked for the night in NC; tomorrow morning we continue to our next performance town of North Charleston, SC.

I had a stomachache when we stopped for a break at a mall somewhere in VA, and the only things in the food court that appealed to me were a strawberry shake and other people's waffle fries. I am, incidentally, totally winning the informal food mooching contest I'm having with Perry, the actor who plays our lead.  No one in my family will be surprised that I'm ahead at swiping food off of other people's plates.  My tour-mates should be flattered; it's a sign of affection.  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Haiku #46 - Insomnia

of all the things that
go bump in the night, my mind
is one of the worst

Haiku #45 - Dollar Beer

Five dollars will buy
A great hoagie or five beers
Scranton has its perks

I am hungry, but I'm about to go to sleep, so instead of ordering pizza, which is what I really want to do, I'll just make a list of what I've eaten in the past couple days in Syracuse and Scranton:

both ends of the spectrum - incredible milkshakes at Strong Hearts Cafe, a vegan eatery near our hotel.  ...And then there was Dinosaur BBQ.  Biploar much?


they seem big on their hoagies in this town.  I had an amazing prosciutto, fresh mozz and roasted red pepper sandwich for lunch from a place called Cangiano's.  Dinner between shows was scallop and bacon chowder from the local hipster coffee shop, Northern Light Espresso Bar.  I ate it on a bench in the plaza, because A) it was pretty nice outside and B) I felt wrong about taking my carnivorous soup into the vegan cafe to pick up the rest of my meal.  

What's up with the recurring carnivore-vegan theme?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Haiku #44 - The Understudy

the understudy
must recall many details
and still tell the tale

The first time one of the lead actors was out sick - Perry succumbed to the bug that has been going around our little petri bus, and Jeffrey Nuñez went on in the lead role.  Everyone did a great job!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Haiku #43 - Real American: Luis

we were running late
we would have starved but for the 
kindness of strangers

Some hotels are surrounded by walkable food options, or at least have a restaurant of some kind on site.  Other hotels, not so much.  Alex and Benjamin and I were running late one morning about a week ago when we were looking for breakfast.  Of course the hotel restaurant was closed, and the hotel itself was surrounded by a pedestrian-unfriendly moat of concrete and asphalt.  Luis, one of the managers, very kindly gave us a lift to a diner about a half-mile away, and waited while we got our food to go.  

"Are you Boricua?" Benjamin asked on the way back, seeing the Puerto Rican flag hanging from Luis' rearview mirror.  Oh yes, Boricua through and through.  We told him about our show, and how we hoped he could make it that night, since it's all about Latin culture, and full of music he could really get into.  Unfortunately, Luis had to work all day at the hotel, and then go to his second job at a club in the evening.  Kind of like seeing the story of In the Heights in real life - the guy this show most personifies couldn't come see us because he was working two jobs.  Hopefully he at least got to check out the music!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Haiku #42 - Always Carry a Towel

In honor of the number 42 (perhaps that is the number of towels you should carry):

Towels are useful
to wipe your fingers after
Dino BBQ

Haiku #41 - Jam Session

cast of in the heights
hopped up on vegan milkshakes
lobby jam again
A Foggy Day, Four Hands
Photo by CBT

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Haiku #39 - Weekend!

you are exhausted: 
first five-show weekend, complete.
get thee to the bar!

Getting a lot of love from the audiences, and I think we (the band) have a higher-than-average retention rate during the bows and exit music.  You know how at musicals there are normally about a half dozen people - mostly musicians - who stay til the band finishes playing?  We have an enthusiastic crowd after almost every show.  The music in this show is awesome, and we are starting to sound kind of badass, if I do say so myself.  

Day off tomorrow!  The theater in Binghamton fed us like kings between shows this afternoon, and we're at a nice hotel where the bar is staying open for us.  Robert, who plays Sonny, is having a birthday today.  Lots of reasons to celebrate!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Haiku #35 - New England Autumn

PA - so not technically New England, but still pretty
Photo by Cherie B. Tay

there are far worse fates
than bussing through New England
in fiery autumn
Taking a walk in Concord, NH
Behind our hotel in Burlington, VT

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Haiku #34 - Hangover

The occasional side effect of being on the road with people I really like:

the sun shines brighter
and ev'rything is so LOUD
when you're hung over

Great audience in Burlington tonight.  Wish we were staying longer, but we're on to Concord, NH tomorrow!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Haiku #33 - Halloween Party

Where else can you find
Captain Kirk and La Migra
With Ghetto Geisha?
La Migra

Captain Kirk 

Ghetto Geisha

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Haiku #32 - Sold Out Show!

We were completely sold out tonight!  It was pretty exciting to drive into the parking lot and see the "sold out" sign next to In the Heights on the marquee, and even more exciting to play to a packed house.  According to people who saw the show out in the house, it went really well - looked great and sounded great...

...which was a huge relief since we were dealing with some technical issues backstage.   Obviously, the goal is that the audience doesn't know about those issues, and hopefully the actors are blissfully ignorant of them too.  Tonight's haiku was inspired by heroic effort on the part of everyone who works back(or-below)stage.  

Kurt's afflicted by 
post-traumatic show syndrome - 
pass the tequila.  

Haiku #31 - Hot Music on a Cold Day

Lady from front row:
"If that music doesn't melt
the snow, nothing will."

First two-show day - tiny theater, terrible weather, great audiences.  That quote was from someone who attended the matinee.  The band cooked even more at the evening performance - it was that first show where we all agreed that we'd played the hell out of the show.  Yeah!  I love that feeling.  

On to Brookville, NY tomorrow... 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Haiku #30 - Canada

Two days, many miles
Border crossings, now traffic -

Sorry to disappoint those who expected a quintessentially Canadian haiku; nothing particularly Canadian happened to me in the 21 hours I spent there.  The main event today was a long bus ride to New London, CT. (Better luck with Canadian haiku in Toronto in February - we'll be there for two weeks in February - I'm predicting at least one haiku about the cold.)  This time, we crossed into Canada about 1 pm yesterday, did the show in Kingston, Ontario last night, and crossed back to the US around 10 this morning.  I hurriedly ate an apple I took from the hotel breakfast before the US agri-inspector came onto the bus. I'm a rebel like that.

Kingston was cool. My main criteria for a town are: pedestrian friendliness, tea, and food that didn't come out of a deep fat fryer, and Kingston more than met them. Wish we could've stayed longer. Kurt & I went to a really cool tea shop before the show (inventively called Tea Store).  The walls were lined with jars of loose leaf tea, and you just pick the kind you want and take it to the barista to prepare.  Ah, Canada, where the streets are lined with tea shops, bookstores, and red mail drop boxes...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Haiku #29 - Swing

Midway through Act Two
Stage manager says "You're on"
The life of a swing.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Haiku #28 - Real American: Ruth

let's all sing Gershwin
with Ruth on the eighty-eights
'til they kick us out
Kurt, Kat, & Ruth
Photo by Cherie B. Tay
Real American: Ruth
The Stanley Theater threw us a party last night after the show - a real party, complete with local brews, a chef preparing pasta (delicious - not helping me in my quest to be skinny on the road!), and a cocktail pianist named Ruth playing a square Sohmer piano.  

Ruth doesn't remember what year she was born (or so she said, when someone asked her if she was around when a particular 1920s song was popular).  She was playing stuff that always makes me feel like I was born 75 years too late.  Kurt and I made our way over to her to say hello at the beginning of the party, and at some point, he started requesting songs to sing.  We were joined by Christina, Nathaly, Benny, Gabe, Perry and a few other cast members, and in the end they finally turned the lights out so the cast (and keyboardists) of In the Heights would stop singing standards and let them go home.  

I hope, when I am of a certain age, that 20-somethings will sing Queen and Journey when I'm playing for their cast party. And Gershwin, eternal.  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Haiku #27 - Laundry Logistics

join the laundry queue
for the washer-dryer - or

Let me explain the logistics of one-nighters on the road:
*get up (sometimes offensively early, after having finished work around 10 or 11 pm) to get on the bus to the next city
*sleep/read/listen to music, etc. on the bus.  
*barring delays caused by traffic, mechanical problems, etc., arrive and check into the hotel in time to have a couple hours or so free before 
*to the theater for soundcheck, company meeting, prep/warm up for the show
*there's a dinner break in here somewhere
*do the show
*back to the hotel (or out, for the young and restless among us)
*sleep (or not)

So, now that we're in one place for a few nights, you can imagine the rush to do laundry.  30 people, give or take, who care about their appearance, more or less, one washer-dryer that sort of works (but it's cheap!).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Haiku #26 - Hotel (Cushy)

Thousand thread count sheets
Wifi that works, for a change
It's the little things

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Haiku #25 - Mistakes

ok, guys, "Atencion"
oh, where's the guitar player?
cue accordion

This one's a guest haiku from Kurt, about a really obvious patch change mishap I had at today's performance.  If you are familiar with the show, you will know that "Atención" starts with soft, lovely guitar (as played by the beautiful and talented second keyboardist, me), as it introduces a reflective part of the second act.  Well... today it started with accordion (as played by the beautiful and... well... second keyboardist, er, me).  Wah-wah.  Day off tomorrow, just in time!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Haiku #24 - Peeing on the Bus

peeing on the bus
for emergencies only
no pooping allowed

The View in the Loo

Haiku #22, 23 - Real American: Cherie, ASM

Meet Cherie B. Tay, our assistant stage manager, Texas/Singapore native, technology savant. 

Where do I begin.  Cherie possesses a level of talent and drive I can really only describe as stupid.  She is my massage hookup, because, in addition to her grueling itinerant-stage-manager schedule, Cherie has taken it upon herself to learn reflexology during this tour.  I made up this haiku for her the first time she used me as a guinea pig:

i wish i could purr
reflexology is nice
i will drool instead

I wrote her this, too -

signing is handy 
to talk to the ASM
from across the bus

- because she is also learning sign language using the videos from the ASL website.  She's teaching me, too.  Or trying.  So far, I speak sign language with an offensively thick accent: I keep saying "vaffanculo!" instead of "good", and when I'm trying to sign back "I don't understand" across the bus, it usually comes out as something like "HORSE! WANT! WHYYY!??!?"  Slowly but surely, however, I am learning to say such useful things as "I want cookie now!" and "Why, God, why today?"
Let's see, what else... she's working on her Spanish (a no-brainer on this bilingual tour), keeping a blog on her stage managing adventures, and acting as our unofficial tour photographer as well as posting on her daily photo project.  

She can also drink me under the table.  But that's not so stupid.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Haiku #21 - Breakdown

those trees are pretty
I have time to gaze at them
bus is broken down

We got about 15 miles down the road from Penn State when the driver pulled the bus over to the side of the road to investigate a funny noise.  We were rescued about about an hour later by another bus driver who very kindly spent his day off getting us the rest of the way to York (location of tonight's performance).  It's probably good these kinds of things happen right off the bat, before we start to get on each other's nerves, and before we get lulled into a false expectation that things will always go smoothly.  

York tonight, Easton tomorrow!

Haiku #20 - Opening Night

the scores were missing
but it all came together
on opening night

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Haiku #12 - Roomies!

Better to lose sleep
because you like your roommate
than because you don't.

Me with my tour roommate, Alex the Badass Bassist 
We both look a little tired at the airport waiting for our flight back to New York, partly because we've been working very hard, and partly because we're getting into a habit of staying up talking and sharing music.  She is going to introduce me to funky jamz and remind me how to wear lipstick, and I'm going to introduce her to Latin grooves and teach her how to pack. We're a good team, and half of the rhythm section of the Heights band.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Haiku #11 - 2nd Preview

Sunday matinee
Trying to be on our game
Lac's in the hizzy

From left: Gianchi, Alex Lac, & Kurt
We had our second preview performance this afternoon, and Alex Lacamoire, the music supervisor was there.  He was (along with the aforementioned Shermanator) the Tony- and Grammy-award-winning orchestrator and arranger of the show, and the original music director on Broadway.  So... he knows how it should sound.  We all survived, and got some notes from Lac to polish the sound of the show when we hit the road for real in about a week.

Back to New York tomorrow... I am being beckoned downstairs to help some of my colleagues finish the riesling.  

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Haiku #10 - Real American: Woody, The Vegan BBQ Master

At the theater
The vegan pitmaster feeds
Scores of carnivores

We had our first preview performance last night at Brooks Performing Arts center here in Clemson, SC. My friend from college days, Gregg, now heads the commercial music department in Spartanburg about an hour away, so he was able to be there. I had a little moment during the opening number when I realized that, while I've played these number hundreds of times for rehearsals, last night was my first time playing them with an audience.

Real America:
Today is the homecoming game at Clemson. It is now crystal clear how big a deal football and marching band are here in the South: this little college town, normally pop. 20,000, balloons to 100,000, mostly dressed in Clemson Tiger orange. We are marooned at the theater all day because of the parking and traffic situation, so the company and theater are feeding us.

Real American:
The theater is run by a guy named Woody, who makes a mean barbecue, and is, implausibly, vegan.

Haha, that's a good one, I laughed when he told me. I'd just tasted the pulled pork he brougt in for the crew. Ain't no way no vegan cooked pork like that. ...Awkward moment as I realized he wasn't joking. He's a self-described "friendly vegan" - vegan for health reasons, he does have a taste of his BBQ to make sure it's up to par. Woody has also been my hot water hookup - as long as his office door is open, I can feel free to use the electric kettle. This has improved morale during these long tech days, because I am MUCH nicer when I have tea access.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Haiku #9 - Pedro the Click Track

Pedro the Click Track
Act One meltdown - don't panic;
Count on each other.

Haiku #8 - Shotgun

The Shermanator
Folded up in the backseat
Gianchi called "shotgun"

Our drummer Gian-Carlo, being cradled by the
inimitable, award-winning, applause-causing Bill Sherman

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Haiku #6 - Kokopelli Goes to Band Practice

G.C. and Al - bass & drum!

Playing in the band:
Andrew, Al, Jonathan, Jim
G.C., Kat and Kurt

(not pictured: Jonathan, Andrew - trumpet and trombone, respectively. I'll catch them eventually, bwah hah hah hah...)
Jim the flute (and sax and clarinet) player with Kokopelli the flute player
With music director, Kurt and Koko

Haiku #5 - Sharpie Explosion

Aw, you have a stain :(
A Sharpie broke in your shirt,
so I'm signing it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Haiku #4 - On the Keyboards!

I am practicing
pedal choreography
2nd keyboard woes

Let this not be interpreted as a complaint - 2nd keyboard woes in this show are mild compared to the woes of the 1st keyboard/conductor.  We had our first chance to practice on the keyboards last night, so finally I'm hearing the sounds from the show. I have about 160  patch changes, and I'm using a volume pedal for the first time. My left foot is like, "Yo, you want me to work? I haven't seen you since you needed me for the sostenuto pedal in 2002." ...But I have a lot fewer notes to play on a nightly basis than our fearless music director, Kurt (I also get to trigger the coolest sound effects, including but not limited to a car horn, a record scratch, and a big-ass explosion).

Relative woes are really a moot point, since I am also learning the conductor score to be prepared to conduct in the event Kurt eats some sketchy General Tso's or gets hit by a covered wagon. The show must go on - that is the magic of thater.