Thursday, December 22, 2005

Holiday Travel Day

Hi everyone! This picture is of me, sitting at the BWI airport, waiting for my flight home to Boise. For those of you who don't know my history with HOLIDAY TRAVEL, let me just catch you up by saying that EVERYTIME I have tried to fly home for the holidays the past 4 years, SOMETHING goes wrong...and I am delayed or flights are cancelled or aiports are closed or cities never can tell when it comes to my trip home! It's really turned into a game for me each year.

Today, so far, has been pretty low-key...but I am playing it on the OFFENSE today. For some reason, I got my ticket out of BWI (for those who know where I live, in DC, BWI is the WORST possible option for airports...because it is one million miles away). My friend Allison took me to Union Station in DC to catch the MARC train (basically a commuter train that has a stop at BWI - or close to it) - and from there I took a bus to the airport. My only REAL glitch was that my reservatoin wasn't in the system...but thanks to some QUICK research by my friend, RACHEL OLIPHANT, I found the info I needed and got checked in. I had allowed for a crazy day at security here at BWI - and I was in and out of the line in about.....4 minutes. SO - that was easy.

Now we wait....but I am sitting here watching people as I wait and I'm having the time of my life. There is a HUGE number of military men and women in the airport today - and they are in great spirits. I actually got a little chocked up a few minutes ago when I looked up and saw walking down the hall about 50 guys in fatigues...all with huge smiles on their faces heading to their gates, lauging and joking with each other. I'm pretty sure I could hear "I'll Be Home For Christmas" in their heads...and in a quick moment, I saw 50 families at home, with smiles even LARGER...getting ready to head to the airport...with signs, balloons and open arms. I'm pretty sure that in atleast 50 places today, tears of joy will be shed when these guys step off the plane. Heck! They've already been shed once by a fat kid in a brown sweater sitting in the airport! What a blessing to live in a country that has men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms - and freedom around the world!

Travel headaches or not, I love traveling at this time of year because of that darn 'holiday feeling' that is in the air. (Until the lady beside me yells at the flight attendant for more peanuts or something....I always end up by the angriest fliers, too.....) So anyway - the trip home is on! Hope you are all somewhere safe and warm and happy - and enjoying the warmth of family and friends at this special time of year. And rest assured that any travel stories I have will be shared with you in the coming days!

Merry Christmas, and God bless us...everyone! :)


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Wonka. Season One. The End.

It's in the books, people. 2 big rehearsal. Our school audience today was probably the most BORING audience we've had. They could've cared LESS about the show and the story. This is what we call MARKETING TO THE WRONG DEMOGRAPHIC. Do Middle Schoolers, upwards of 12-14 years old, REALLY want to give their imagination over to a group of 7 people rolling puppets on and off stage, and skipping through bubbles? I'm going to tell you, from my expert opinion I formed today, NO. They do not. Oh well.
NOW - we have all said our good-byes to the people who are leaving from Columbus. At 5:00am EST, Eric, Jill, Andrew, Jackie and I will load in our white van, and we will head down the road towards the East...towards our homes and towards our Christmas plans. At the same time, everyone else will be going their own separate ways from here in Columbus.
If you're bored on a Tuesday morning or afternoon at work, and you have my number, give me a call and say HI! We're on the road, and we could probably use the company. (I would give you my cell phone, but I don't want crazies calling me...being the pseudo-celebrity that I am. But if you've got the digits, dial 'em. Or track them down. Come to think of it, it would be a fun game to see HOW MANY PEOPLE we could hear from....hmmmmm....) IF you're worried that you'll have to go 3 whole weeks without GOGLOOP.BLOGSPOT.COM, you can stop worrying.
Over the break, I'm going to be testing out some new features I plan to bring in to Season Two of Wonka - including VIDEO FEATURETTES! (Please hold your applause.)
The entries will be more spaced apart, and they will probably include more fun little stories of my nieces and nephews, who will be beating me up in Boise...but the blog will roll forth!
So until next time...we're OUTTA HERE, Season One! Thanks for the memories. Remember to have your pet spade or neutered. Operators are standing by!

Monday, December 19, 2005

...And Finally, COLUMBUS...

So everyone. Just a quick note - this is an expansive blog-entry. So like the characters in The Night Before Christmas, just settle in for a long Or something like that. For those of you that want to skim, I will be putting HEADINGS, of sorts, for each section. I hope that helps in your reading ease and enjoyment.


Morning over Kansas City...from my sleep number bed. HAHAHA. Not really...but now that I think of it, I COULD'VE! Instead of getting OUT of bed. What a WASTE!
So, as you know, we finished up in Kansas City. The theater was 3 blocks from our hotel...which meant we could stay in our sleep number beds even LONGER. Pure magic. Our shows in Kansas City were fun - the kids were really into it, for both shows...and my friend, Tammy, brought a few people, and they all seemed to really enjoy the show. And as soon as we started Kansas City, we were done. Our drive ahead consisted of a stop over in Saint Charles, MO before driving on into Columbus on Friday.

Some crazy ART outside the theater in Kansas City. Me likey.

And of course, an Art Shot from Matt.

L: Me and Tammy and her niece, Belle, and the kid she babysits. It was cold - HENCE the dorky hood. R: Tara had her own dressing room in Kansas City...and as you see, it was a pretty serious deal. Our door said, 'Chorus Dressing Room'. Nice.

Here is the Folly Theater - in KC. Can you find the CRAZY art thing? I knew you could.

The entrances to the Mens and Womens bathrooms in the lobby of the Folly.

Chris stretches the dressing room...AFTER our shows. wait....what?

A dance Eric Thompson. Sponsored by iPod.

Our trip into Columbus, like all trips, consisted of lots of music, stops and fun! A couple of our stops were at areas that we had stopped at previously in the tour - PLUS - we passed through a lot of cities/areas that we had already driver through before, as well. So it was kind of like a homecoming day for us all. I think our FAVORITE stop was when we pulled into the convenience store right across the street from the favorite sign earlier in the tour - THE G SPOT! Luckily, the good tourists that we are, we had our cameras ready to snap some WELCOME BACK photos for you all. And trust us, it was good to be home. HA! We also passed through Indianapolis for like the 39th time, or something silly like that. OK - it wasn't really that much - but I'm here to tell you that the city we passed through the most on this tour was indeed the home of the Colts.

L: Andrew points out our old friend across the street. R: The Old Friend.

Also, a very important stop for ME on the trip was just outside of Indy - and it was our lunch stop. This stop was important to me because earlier on in our tour, I had told my friend, BECKY SHELTON, who I worked with at the Washington Speakers Bureau, that I would stop at a WHITE CASTLE burger joint for her, eat some burgers and take some pictures. Well, she got on my case earlier for not doing it. So today, on this blog, would SOMEONE please tell BECKY SHELTON that the pictures are here - the burgers have been eaten - and my promise has been fulfilled.

Becky. Here you go. The food...and then me giving the food a THUMBS UP for you!

This drive back across the Midwest really was like a moving scrapbook for all of us, as cheesy as it sounds. We retold stories and relived laughs that we each remembered along the way. Well...all of us except Jackie. She was asleep, in the first passenger seat, as always.

Elisa and Jackie give me their "1-2-3" faces at Chili's...enroute to Columbus.

L: How big is that cross? R: IT IS HUGE!

Friday night and Saturday, we were all free to do whatever we wanted. They are called DAYS OFF - and they are grand. Friday night, a group of us went to see The Family Stone. This sneaky little 'comedy' has a way with tricking you into thinking you're going to sit there and laugh the whole movie. I don't want to go into too much detail - and really just because if I do, I might start crying AGAIN. Yes - that's right. It's an emotional show - with laughter, tears - it's got it all. Including really bad acting from Dermott Mulroney. AND YET - I still wept. Good times. I give it a solid 8 on the MASE.

Saturday, everyone did their own thing. We were all MADLY preparing for the cast and crew Christmas dinner and gift exchange we were going to have Saturday night. I think a lot of us were also trying to pull our non-tour Christmas stuff together too, as much as possible. Not much time!

The Ohio State Capitol Building. I don't get the dome-thingy.

I had a great afternoon - hanging out with Emily, our wardrobe GENIUS! We met up in the mall, and headed to the NATURAL next stop - the ORIGINAL WENDY'S RESTAURANT. It's right here in Columbus, folks...and as cool as it was to see it and snap pictures of it, it was ALSO a bit creepy - because there are pictures of the real life Wendy (I think her real name was Tiffany...but I could've made that up. I was too creeped out by the pictures to read too much) and she sits there STARING AT YOU while you eat. ENOUGH WENDY! GOSH!

L: Me showing off the ORIGINAL. R: Emily and I showing off the original AGAIN. (Different sign...mixing things up.)

The original Wendy's Logo/Cartoon Artwork.

The reason they needed to make it a cartoon drawing. Could you REALLY eat a burger or Frosty with that face looking at you? Anywhere you sit in the restaurant, it stares at you. CREEPY. ('Unfortunate')

And then, Emily and I headed back to the hotel to get Torg and the van, and we headed south into German Village to the Hausfrau Laundromat...the clothes were calling! It was fun to hang out with Torg and Emily. I've said it all along, and I will continue to toot this horn: we are a lucky cast and the fact that aside from our petty differences, we all get along and enjoy being with each other, when we have to be, (hahahahahahaha!), and I think there is a huge level of respect for each other. I know - OFF THE SOAPBOX. But as our first leg rolls to an end, I think it's important to re-iterate it all. We really ARE blessed....

L: I found a WONKA POSTER in the Hausfrau Laundromat. R: While loading his washer, Torg decided he wanted to wash the shirt he was wearing, as well. So he took it off, threw it in and put his jacket on over it.

Saturday night, we all headed to Claddaugh's Irish Pub in Columbus for our dinner! And let me just tell you right now - IT. WAS. FUN. We had drawn names back in Minnesota - and the rules were simple...$25. Bring it. We'll hand it out. As I sat watching last night, I was MOST impressed with our group for how RIGHT everyone was with everyone else's gifts! And I have to take a moment here and tell you SOMEONE has busted the MASE to a new level. That someone is Torg - and on the MASE, scale of 1-10, Torg gets an EASY 15 for the gift he brought me. WHAT could get a 15 on the MASE Scale (1-10)? A Cheesecake Factor Pumpkin Pecan CHEESECAKE and an iTunes gift card! YOU READ THAT RIGHT! THE WHOLE CHEESECAKE. Seriously - I didn't even know how to function at that point. For those of you who have kept up, you will know that this is the cheesecake to END all cheesecakes for me. AMAZING. So TORG - you're getting a lot of spotlight on this entry - THANK YOU...from the bottom of my full stomach...for the VERY VERY thoughtful gift. I loved it - it was the perfect size! And while I'm busting it open, I would like to award the whole evening/gift exchange a 15, as well. It was a good thing.

There it is. I'm speechless even looking at it here again...BRILLIANT!

A selection of everyone and their LOOT!

Today and tomorrow are really historic days, on all of our calendars. The last 2 days of show on the first leg of our tour. PLUS - the 2 shows today were #98 and #99 - so tomorrow, we surpass 100! IMPRESSIVE. We are performing at the Capital Theater here in Columbus - and it's a great space...perfect for our show. PLUS - it is on the same city block that our hotel is...and right across the street from the Capitol Building. And THAT means that we get to sleep longer in the mornings before our shows. PERFECT! Today, the both shows were good. The audiences enjoyed the shows - although they were a bit subdued...meaning, I guess, they weren't school crowds...and they didn't freak out when the lights down or when Charlie burped. But the shows went well...and we all sweat ALOT! All I'm saying is that if JACKIE LAMPTEY says it's hot backstage and onstage, you KNOW there is a heat wave.

After our shows, I headed out to dinner with a friend from here in Columbus. My friend Kelly Benedetti, who lives in the Washington DC area where I live, is from the Columbus area. Her mom, Pam Benedetti, lives and works in the this area - and Pam is actually an usher at the theaters here in Columbus. So when Kelly told her I was coming to do this show, she got an ushering gig for our show today, and afterwards, she took me out to eat at Schmidt's in German Village. (Truth be told - she had invited the whole group, but at the last minute, we had a cast meeting called...but Elisa said I could still go out....) This place was NO joke. And - as luck would have it - we were there during their Sunday night it was all-German food, all the time! I had their bahama mama sausages, which were probably the most amazing sausages I've EVER eaten. The whole dinner was great. And then, for dessert, if you scan their website, you will see they are known for 2 things: sausages and cream puffs. WELL - they are right on both accounts. The cream puffs - DELIGHTFUL. I had the peanut butter fudge one - and it was a solid 9 on the MASE. I think if I had just done the normal vanilla one, it would've scored a 10! Easily. Anyway, a HUGE thanks to Pam for dinner and for showing me around cool German Village! It was snowing - everyone had their luminares lit and out on the was a little Christmas magic south of Columbus. (And PAM! Sorry I forgot to get a picture with you let me off and drove away, I remembered that we didn't get one! So you are not PROPERLY represented on the blog! APOLOGIES!)

For those of you who read daily, or as often as possible, thank you. And for those of you who answer my calls or challenges, thank you even more! Today, thanks to my friends Christine Shainin and Shanna Doak (also former co-workers at the Washington Speakers Bureau), we have ANOTHER 'Case Of The Unfortunates' - and it's a doooooozy! 2 weeks ago, WSB had their holiday party. SOMEONE brought a friend as their date. As we all know, Corporate America likes their alcohol, so the juice was FLOWING all night - and at some point, this FRIEND disappeared from the party. It wasn't until later, when the SOMEONE found their friend, passed out just outside her hotel room door. LUCKILY, as you can see in the picture, she looks content. But really - THIS is the epitome of 'Unfortunate.'

wow. just wow.

Also - for those who have been asking for our schedule, ASK NO MORE! All you have to do is click HERE, and it should show up. For specific information, times and what not, please feel free to ask. But it's nice to be able to report that it is FINALLY up on the website. We've only been out for 4 months. DOH!

So here I sit on the EVE of our last 2 shows. (Have I mentioned that tomorrow are our last 2 shows? They are.) Graham, our esteemed and favorite director and friend, arrived today - along with a Kim Peter and Michael, from the Kennedy Center. They will be seeing the shows tomorrow - and inbetween the first show (Tara's LAST as Veruca) and the second show (Jill's FIRST as Veruca) - we will be having a big rehearsal for Jill to slide into the show. Jill is uber-talented and will slide right in with no hopefully it will be a smooth day.
Tomorrow, after a pretty smooth 4-month run of it all, everything will change. Some of the changes were expected and some of them came from out of the blue...and some of them are going to be a lot easier to accept in the long run than others. But what is so cool to think back on is that for those 4 months, we were all happy to be doing what we were doing, and very accepting of the group that we were with. We have continually been different situations on this tour...and by each other, in one way or another. And whether the end is now for you or 5 months from now, just remember that at the end of 2005, we were in a good place, doing good things and loving the adventure of it all. And be thankful that you were part of
The Family Wonka.