Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Buffalo in Buffalo

Well...my chi is all off! I'm sitting here typing this thinking that tomorrow (Tuesday) is Friday. What the crap? Weird. Sorry to confuse any of you - and Happy Tuesday, too.
So today....buckle in, because it's an exciting one. We did 2 shows at St. Bonaventure, and the audiences were NOT having anything to do with us. It was one of those BIG FINISH - BIG SMILES - and all you hear is....cricket....cricket...cricket....from the audience. So we did the shows, we packed up and we headed North to Buffalo.
The only real excitement to report in Buffalo is that we wasted NO TIME in getting to out on the town - by going to The Anchor Bar - the original home of the original buffalo wings! How exciting is that? They have a mild, a medium, a hot and a SUICIDE sauce...and I think we tried the first 3...and everyone seemed VERY happy with their choices. Out of the 8 of us who went, Chris Sizemore was the only one who actually got the wings. 6 of us got boneless wings/chicken strips, and Andrew some some grilled chicken salad or something LAME like that. I fell asleep when he started to order. So yeah - that was the highlight of our day. The Anchor Bar.

There it is. The Anchor Bar. And there I am...showing you the Anchor Bar. Or atleast the sign to it.

THERE is the actual Anchor Bar.

AND FINALLY - it has been brought to my attention that I have NOT taken time to introduce you to TRAVIS - who has been turning up in our pictures randomly. Although I will be doing a MEET THE CREW segment on Travis, I did want to let you all know that Travis is our new Lighting Director on the spring portion of the tour. He's 22 - he's from the West Coast - and he knows what he is doing. So wonder NO LONGER over who he is - it's Travis! And we're happy to have him! If you get a chance, send a comment and give him a big Gloop-Blog-Reader HELLO!

Here is Travis and Jen at the Anchor Bar. Travis is the new guy. Make a note of it.

That does it for today!
Gloop is GONE!

Um...for SOME reason, at dinner, I thought a picture of the menu would be a good idea. So here it is. Calm down.

Everyone either perusing above mentioned menu...OR just striking a pose for the camera.

L: My HOT chicken strips. R: my end of the table runs the gamut - to the L, Jen's MEDIUM strips. Front, my HOT strips. To the R, Eric's MILD strips. Just missing a suicide.

L: Eric shows off some of the strange...art...on the walls. R: A close up of a framed Fed-Ex we saw on the wall.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Olean vs. Olestra: Which Is A City In New York?

Happy End Of Weekend, everyone! This weekend has been PRETTY dern chill for the Wonka Cast. On Saturday, we took a drive from Bel Air, MD to Olean, NY - the home of St. Bonaventure University - where we will be performing on Monday. Considering our 'major car accident' last week outside of Philly, the drive up here has nothing really that interesting to report. It was very low key - there was a lot of sleeping - and Jill and I sat in the backseat of the van and watched some movies. We also had a discussion, as we were driving in to the Olean area, where we were trying to remember what that BAD stuff they put in potato chips recently was...and we finally came up with Olestra. But for awhile, I think we both were thinking it was called Olean. (And the real confusion comes when you realize that a company CALLED Olean MADE Olestra. Wow. Confusing.)

There was a LOT of sleeping going on this day.

Here's a game! It's called: GUESS WHO WAS DRIVING?

Elisa kickin' it in the back...with the common folk.

So our first night in Olean, we went to Applebee's - behind our hotel - for dinner. While there, I tried the "Raspberry Rapture Cheesecake." Um...sounds great...but poor execution. We had to SEND IT BACK one time, because it came out frozen. I give it a 4 on the MASE. And on the right, you can see our waitress friend, Lauren, presenting the cheesecake with Jackie. Lauren is not only a talented waitress - but in 2002, she won the New York State Short Sermon Competition - Youth Division. AMEN!

Anyway - Saturday, once we arrived, was a free-for-all, and Jill and I decided to be brave and head to a community theater production of TITANIC: THE MUSICAL here in Olean...performed by the Olean Community Theatre. Um...this is not the place nor the time for a review - and let me just say bless their hearts for trying - but for those who speak "MATT" - you'll know what it means when I say it received a LOW 2 on the M.A.S.E. from me - and a high 2 from Jill.

Sunday was a load in for the crew - so we had another day to kick it. I found church here in Olean - and after I got back, everyone headed across the street to the movies, Wal-Mart and other little shops to run some errands and catch some movies. And for dinner tonight, some of us went to the Chinese Buffet right down the road to celebrate CHINESE NEW YEARS EVE! Tomorrow is the first day of the Year Of The Dog...and our very own Andrew Frace is under the sign of the dog. Learn more about the DOG sign by clicking HERE.

L: Chris, Hoops, Yoyo, Eric and Jill enjoy New China Buffet. R: Hoops and Andrew monkey around at dinner.

Hoops and Yoyo are SERIOUS about their Chinese Food. They went to the food line more than Andrew did! Plus, they are both MEAN with the chopsticks. Very impressive.

That about does it. 2 shows tomorrow - and then off to BUFFALO...where I'm sure a trip to the ORIGINAL home of buffalo wings is in order AND a glimpse of Niagara Falls.

BUT WAIT - I have one other thing to share with you...that has NOTHING to do with anything here...but I was just remembering that I hadn't shared the KOREAN KARAOKE GIRLS with you all. To me, it's the funniest thing I've ever seen on the internet. I share it with everyone I can. I've probably seen it 100 times and STILL find it entertaining. Hope you enjoy it, too - and it helps get your week off to a great start!
And now - enjoy the pics from our trip....


Um...so...grown man. Evidently staying at our hotel - and Jill caught him walking in from the parking lot. EVIDENTLY he'd just gotten done doing a children's party as Winnie The Pooh - but PEOPLE...come on! Wouldn't you change BEFORE you got back out in public? That way, you can avoid people, like Jill, chasing you down the hall at your hotel saying, 'MR. POOH! MR. POOH! CAN I GET A PICTURE?"

Somewhere in Pennslyvania, we came up on the Amish. And I can't explain it, but to this DAY, they still fascinate me. I could only stare - but luckily, Jill had her camera handy and snapped this pic! PHEW!

Um.....wow. (somewhere in pennsylvania....)

Hoops tries to catch the AMAZING sunset that we saw on our drive into New York.

Just some different shots of the sunset. It really was QUITE beautiful.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Decoys Of Maryland

Today's Entry is dedicated to the Chuck Banker Family...especially Christy, Brian and Sarah. Your family story, and a crazy curiosity, led me to Havre de Grace. I will never be the same.

So the time came to leave Philly. On Friday morning, Elisa, Jen and I packed up the NEW van - which was early-on reported to be an army green...but which I would argue to be either a hunter or forest green. REGARDLESS - we packed up everyone's stuff - took the crew to their trucks - and then hit the road for BEL AIR, MD! And as far as the drives on this tour goes, it was pretty chill. It was only about about an hour and twenty minutes...and we just listened to music, relived the accident, and found things to laugh about. (Like how FIRMLY I had gripped the passenger-side accident bar...with both hands...and shrieked like a little girl during impact.)

L: Elisa and Jen model the NEW VAN! R: Jen, Chris, Emily, Todd and Travis pack in the van for the ride to the trucks.

Once we got to the venue, Jen and I dropped Elisa off for load in, and we PROMPTLY headed back across I-95 to Havre de Grace. Why? Well, for those of you who have driven I-95 from DC to New York or Philly, you will remember that the exit there boasts of a DECOY MUSEUM. For the past 5 years, I have wondered about it and wanted to go there...and here we were in the immediate area with a free afternoon. The real question would be how could I NOT go!? So we did.

L: The sign you can see from the road. R: The actual building itself.

The Decoy Museum in Havre de Grace is a full on 2-story museum tracking the origin, history and use of the decoy. And although you would initially think 'DUCK' when it comes to decoys, the museum taught me, in no uncertain terms, that there are decoys for so much MORE than ducks. We were taken on an indepth (self-guided) tour through the history of decoys........from the humble beginnings clear up to the art of decoying TODAY! And they have broken the museum down into 3 areas for it's guests: What Is A Decoy?, Gunning The Flats (both on the 1st floor...along with a GIFT SHOP!), and Honoring The Masters (the entire 2nd floor of the museum!) But please don't be fooled into thinking you will JUST be looking at decoys - because that is where the museum will surprise you! In fact, you will find a popular and not-to-be-missed diorama that freezes in time a gathering of prominent carvers during an afternoon in the early 1940s. (Better, even, than 'Small World' at Disneyland. And fewer languages.)

So here is the FIRST exhibit...the first thing you see when you walk in. It REALLY hooked me.

L: Sadly, the 'West Of The Mississippi' Exhibit is in progress and closed.... R: But THAT couldn't stop Jen.

Soooo...this is the exhibit case (2 different angles) of Decorative Bird Carvings on the first floor. Which is WEIRD - because I would bet my LIFE on the fact that at the bottom of it is a FISH - which is neither decorative OR a bird carving. Basically, a museum built on lies.

Jen takes some time to mock the diorama. (The picture may be blurry because I was busy LAUGHING at the diorama.)

Jen tests out things in the 'Gunning The Flats' portion of the museum.

A quick look at the 2nd floor 'Honoring The Masters' exhibit. The bathrooms up here were real nice, too.

Ahhh yes....and luckily there was a COMMENT BOOK for visitors.

So after all these years, I have conquered the beast...and I am a different person because of it. For those who are sitting there wondering, let me answer some general questions for you:
-it's only about a 5 minute drive from the I-95 exit for Havre de Grace.
-yes, it's easy to find. Just follow the signs...they have marked it well.
-sure there is an admission fee...how else can they keep bringing you the magic?
-the admission fee is $6! And for me, that's beyond fair. $1 for every minute I spent in there!
-you heard me right: GIFT SHOP! Complete with cups, pens, pencils, bumper stickers, t-shirts,
wine glasses, postcards...and the list goes on and on and on!
-parking was free and readily available.
-and finally, as much as they'd like to...they just can't accept credit cards. Their machine broke a few months ago and they haven't replaced it - so plan on cash or check.

L: Carved Duckhead Art. R: 2 geese decoys watch the diorama going in the background.

L: Some drawn art from the walls of the museum. R: The bottom of the picture on the left. 'The Headcarver'? I'm PRETTY sure that is a horror film character...and that makes me uneasy.

That about does it for the Decoy Museum. It was strangely entertaining and delightfully bizarre. If you're passing through and have the time and 6 extra dollars, take the exit and experience it for yourself!
This tour ROCKS...and it's my JOB!

L: Beside the museum is some construction going on. I didn't ask anyone, but I can ONLY hope that it is an EXTENSION of the current museum. Perhaps a workshop to take decoy-ing classes? R: Looking out over the Susquehanna Flats, from the parking lot of the museum.

L: Jen and I at the museum entrance. R: Jen embraces the larger-than-life decoy outside the museum. (And I'm pretty sure NO ONE has been fooled by this decoy.)