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!