It has been nearly a month since my last blog because I have been away from my home base. I have been away from my computer as well, which is an odd occurrence given that I use a laptop. I left the laptop at home and brought along my tablet pc. It’s pretty neat, but I didn’t have access to a phone line where I was housed. Yeah, no phone line, no access to computers at work; I was completely dependent on the ancient pc at the public library and the eMacs at the local internet cafĂ©. In either location, there was no way to print and an eye on the clock. It was very, very frustrating.

My job was a three week gig in Eastern Pennsylvania. I won’t name names, though it may be fairly evident to anyone who’s talked to me lately. The housing was in the middle of nowhere. The theatre was falling apart. It was a “character building experience”. Except it wasn’t.

The wireless mics kept dying on me, even though they were always fine during sound check. There must be some nice technical term for that, but I don’t know it. It certainly led to many “oh shit” moments. One of the actors sweated like a pig and killed two mic heads before I realized the cause of the malfunctions. Medical tape is always cheaper than microphones.
One day, I got a bad batch of nine volt batteries. Half of them died before we’d even finished the first act of the show. The stage manager, who is not really a stage manager but an electrician, was on my ass about it for the rest of the run. She badgered me about changing the batteries for every performance—which I always, always do---even insisting on changing them herself for the last matinee. I hate being treated as though I am incompetent or don’t care. I do care. I want to have a good show. I hate having train wrecks. I hate feeling as though I am not in control of the show (at least the sound elements), which happened several times during the run. I was lucky that the actors were very flexible about mic reassignments and really saved my ass on more than one occasion. Actors should be kind to their sound engineer. We can make them sound like a million dollars or the worst hack.

The highlight of this sojourn east was a long weekend in NYC. I spent the three days off between our Sunday matinee and Thursday evening show in Gotham with friends. It was wonderful. I pounded the pavement everyday. My legs ached. My feet were blistered. I was in my element.
In New York, I did the following:
•Continued my tradition of buying a Manhattan Portage bag from their tiny shop front on West Broadway in Chinatown. I purchased the flight bag, in black, which is a very good size, sleek, and very practical. I wore it out of the shop.
•I made my usual pilgrimage to School Products for giant cones of yarn. The proprietor, an Eastern European woman who’s been knitting for about a million years was unusually attentive. I ended up purchasing three cones of mercerized cotton, very similar to Karabella’s Zodiac yarn, in ice blue, camel, and red. Very, very classy color combinations. When the owner fussed over my eye for color, I was surprised. It wasn’t until later that I realized she was surprised that someone wearing a neon pink wig would have such discriminating taste.
•I went to a movie. I realize that we have movies out in the sticks, too. I like to see something different when I’m in the city. This has included the following in the past: Camp, Huit Femmes, and Drunken Angel. This time, I went to see Triplets of Belleville at the Chelsea Clearview in the late afternoon, on the recommendation of a good friend. There were only five people there. The other four sat directly behind me and talked throughout the film. When I realized that it was a mother and her young children, I couldn’t work up the nerve for a good “shut the %%## up”. I was still irritated. I recommend the film, nonetheless.
•I went to The Beauty Bar, a highly anticipated visit. They’re known for their ten dollar manicures and cocktails in a tiny, dimly lit former beauty parlor. They weren’t doing nails the night that I was there, but they did have a nice happy hour. It was the cheapest cocktail I’ve ever purchased in Manhattan!
•I paid a visit to KnitNY, about which I’d read many things on the stitchnbitch listserv. It’s a nice, glossy store, but they were a bit understaffed when I was there. I ended up helping a beginning knitter put together a project while the sales clerk was tied up with other customers. I’m such a girl scout. They had the perfect elements for a gift for Lisa, who is learning to knit, and let me use their swift, so I really can’t complain. Also, I enjoyed calling information for their info and asking for “New York, New York”. I’m such a nerd.
•I had lunch with friends. I say had instead of did because there were no cocktails or reservations involved.

It was a good trip, and just the right length. Of course, I didn’t want to go back to PA at the end of it, but my things were there. And there was the small matter of my contract. So I went back, all of my purchases in tow. I had to make half dozen transfers on the subway to get from Greenpoint to Astoria, since the G only runs out there nights and weekends. Argh. Luckily, there was a very helpful man sitting in front of the map in the car on the Q who helped me find the local N station. Sadly, this involved walking several blocks while toting all my luggage, but I got there. I chalk it up to my St. Christopher medal. I think that the gentleman in question wanted to strike up a conversation anyway….but he gave good directions.

I had one good show of Superstar. I was pretty frazzled by shit that happened before the show, what with arguments over batteries, mics going haywire, etcetera. I managed to squeeze in a trip to the local Starbucks. Considering my allegiance to wonderful indie coffee shops, you’d think that I’d hate Starbucks. I don’t. You always know what you’ll get at Starbucks. It’s the overpriced McDonald’s of coffee.

Anyway, the intern decided that she’d “fix” one of the mic packs by spreading the battery contacts with her car keys. She demonstrated that it worked by turning the pack on and showing me the tiny LED light on top, rather than checking for signal to the board. I told her I wouldn’t put it in the show because I wasn’t confident that it would work during the show. She must have said, “I don’t know why you won’t use it in the show. It should work now” about five or six times before I just walked away. I wanted to scream at her, “because you’re the f$^#ing intern!” She’s still in her teens. Maybe she’ll outgrow it. The show was our best, sound wise, and it was our last. The producer never came to see it. Oh well.


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