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Monday, July 25, 2011

Gig, the Second!

Hurrah! Got a call back to usher for yet another gig at the Music Circus, a Sunday night performance of one of my old favorites, Oliver!

I was not keen on some of the changes in this particular staging of Oliver!, including stupid details such as making Oliver the long lost grandson, instead of grand nephew of the kindly gentleman Mr. Brownlow. No clue why such a change was made, I mean, did they can't think the audience is too dense to absorb that Oliver was the son of the man's niece? Talk about watering down the soup! There were other things that rather drew me up short about this particular production, but I certainly have no complaints about the singing voices of its performers. Oh, and I totally loved the kid who played the Artful Dodger, he looked and somewhat sounded like a very young Nathan Lane - I think it's all in the eyebrows. I wonder if he is one of the local talents that I am told stared in this production?

Long story short, I'm thrilled to have been called in to usher and hope I can get another gig or two this season. Oh! The bummer is I will out of State for the play I have been hoping to see Miss Sigon. 'ow is that for a stale bit of toast mate?

The Dodger and Oliver belt out a tune
(photo courtesy someone else)

Quick Chick Update

A couple of days ago I got a chick up date from Barbara down in Monterey. "The chicks love to ride around on Miss Pink's back and fly around". Made me laugh at the thought of a row of chicks bronco riding on their foster Mom's back. However, the chicky escapades were indication it was high time for the family to move to spacier digs.

So, today Barbara sent a photo of the chicks and Mom in their new home, a spacious 10' X 20' area inside of the much, much larger chicken run. Word has it, the chicks enjoyed their first ever dust bathes today. Amazing how quickly chicks grow from fluffy-coated nubbins to feathered hell-raisers.

Miss Pink looks fairly frazzled under the
weight of her pin-feathered responsibilities

Under Mom, On Mom, what's the diff?

The new pen within a pen

Monday, July 11, 2011

Now Ulla Dance... or Maybe Not...

Nothing can sooth one through a melancholy few days like visits from friends; Diane down from Washington State for a bit, and Lynda, another dear, local buddy who joined me at my house for a lovely chat over dinner Saturday afternoon. The only thing that even comes close enough to think about challenging comradely, is of course, a nice evening at the theater. Last night I ushered at the Sacramento Music Circus for the first play of the season, The Producers.

I've seen The Producers as the original non-musical movie & I've seen the musical movie & play previously, so I expected no surprises - Silly me! Last night was no production, it was a ticketed dress rehearsal, only the company's 8th rehearsal. It could have been subtitled, Anything Goes!, because the audience was warned the director could stop the production if any problems cropped up.

So, at one point, the director, shouted out for the action to stop. I figured the halt had something to do with the character Roger De Brie, an actor in drag, who looked like he'd been trying to hold up his silver lame clad bum - literally - for the entire scene. Turned out it was his microphone pack that was dragging, not his glittery rear end.

When De Brie left the stage for repairs, the actors playing Bialy and Bloom stood on stage, nothing to do - other than keep the audience in stitches with their off the cuff humor; awesome! For example, one of the stage's misbehaving microphones suddenly cracked like a cannon, Bialy feigned being shot in the chest, shouting, "I didn't know there was a critic in the house!"
Now Ulla Dance or maybe not!
The ad libbing made the dead time hilarious for all, the actors even cracking themselves up. But wait, there was more! When the Swedish bombshell 'Ulla' was doing her 'stoof", dancing, a leap onto a table top lead to her falling, sprawled on the floor, to everyone's shock. But she gamely got up, and finished dancing her scene. But later the director announced he wanted the actress to stay in a wheelchair for the remainder of the performance. So on stage rolled Ulla, pushed by a squatting assistant. ACTION!

'We're alone now', hesitantly announced Bloom to Ulla and her squatting assistant, to audience howls. Bloom and Ulla managed to dance (uh... wheel?) through their routine and I laughed at their improvisations until I very nearly did myself an injury. Talk about 'the show must go on'.
Die Storm Troopers tanz dance to Spring Time for Hitler
Later on, Ulla made her entrances, out of costume and with a huge pair of crutches - now that's a trooper! I think she was more bruised than anything and should be fine by showtime on Tuesday night - or so everyone hopes. A couple of more stops to the play lead to the director actually calling a halt to dismiss all of the live musicians, save for the piano, because of union rules. The final blow, and face it, the audience was getting a little sluggish, the director called off the dress rehearsal but we only missed maybe five minutes of the final number. Bravo! Valiant dress rehearsal if I ever saw one, and truth be told, that was my first ever.

Here's to hoping I get a chance to help out at one or more of the remaining Music Circus shows for the 2011 season. I was happy to sign myself up last night for an August performance of Defending the Caveman at the Cosmopolitan Cabaret. Hurrah!

Friday, July 08, 2011

My Dear Little Hen


My dear little hen,


August 31, 2009 - July 7, 2011

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Little Peeps

Haven't visited Barbara on her home territory in ages, but I made the drive down this week; a BIG goal... or rather, little goals in mind - New Baby Chicks! So I was down for the trip to the feed store right after the new day old baby chicks came in.

Baby Jersey Giant - largest of chicken breeds

Easter Egger, future layer of green or blue eggs

Lovely Silver Laced Wyandotte chick

Now, first up - how to raise the chicks. Barbara had a plan - one of her two Buff Orpington hens was broody, and spent the past few weeks patiently sitting on eggs, waiting for the eggs to hatch - the eggs being wooden aren't expected to hatch any time soon.

So! At the feed store Barbara chose some new chicks, mostly 'Easter Eggers' that lay blue or green tinted eggs. She also picked out a couple of Silver Lace Wyandotte chicks, and one or two Jersey Giants, the largest chicken breed in the world. Unable to resist, at the nth minute I decided to add two Americana chicks to my own flock so I picked out a couple of the fawn and stripped babies.

Ten little chicks on the ride home to their new foster 'Mom'

Now it was time for the big switch - convincing Miss Pink these new frisky chicks were hers. Barbara fretted over how to make the switch for weeks. So, soon there we were, at the temporary rabbit hutch that was to serve as a chick nursery. Miss Pink looked rather dubious about the fuss.

The patient 'Miss Pink', Barbara's broody Buff Orpington Hen

Finally the moment came... Barbara gingerly unloaded the peeping chicks into the pen with Miss Pink.

Barbara puts chicks into their nursery while
Miss Pink gave us dirty looks

"What the... where'd these youngings come from?"

Suddenly Miss Pink, started clucking low and fussing with her bedding. We couldn't decide if she was upset or what... but suddenly a couple of chicks pushed their way under their new Mom, as if they'd been waiting all day just to do so.

Someone's little bill peeking out from under 'Maw'

So, all in all, the 'adoption' time for Miss Pink to accept her new babies was about .002 seconds. As far as she was concerned, what the heck took those babies so long to arrive?

"If you don't mind, get lost, I've got some
youngings to get ready for their nap"

So! No worries, all ten chicks were warm and snug. Visiting the little family during the next couple of days was great. Miss Pink taught her babies to drink and eat their scratch. She was kind enough to let us handle her sweeties without pecking us... ok, she got Barbara once, but as long as it wasn't me!

It was a nice visit at Barbara's. Haven't seen Oscar, her husband or Eric, her grown son in eons so it was nice visiting with them. Barb and I made up a list of chores for ourselves and to our amazement, we actually did everything on the list. The list included putting up wiring for a new hen pen. We lined the pen 'baby wire', The small holed wire will keep the new chicks safe from raccoon paws that reach in to snag babies. I'll nick my chicks in late September when they're old enough to be on their own in my little flock.

It was a lovely visit. I made it home in time for the Forth of July so I can celebrate the holiday with my beautiful and crazy 'old' girls.

"Holiday? Heck, where's our afternoon snack?"