my vacation

From April 21st to April 31st I traveled to Geneva, IL, Denver, CO and Los Angeles, CA. Basically, the trip was to see some of my best friends, god daughter my family and . It was a fun, fast-paced time, and I’m sad it’s over. Thought I’d share a few shots of my time on the road. Enjoy!

1. ILLINOIS

On the first leg of my trip, I hung out in Geneva, IL with my mother, sister, Heidi, and her fiancé, Joey. We stopped in at this killer catering/deli spot called Moveable Feast.

Heidi and Mom order at the counter. They see pastries (notice the Strawberry Rhubarb
individual pie – my favorite), and we head into the dining area where Heidi & Mom eat. (They’re gonna hate me for putting these shots up on line).

Did I mention Strawberry Rhubarb is my favorite pie ever?

Oprah said Moveable Feast has the best brownies in Chicago.
They think she should be president.
I thought the painting was a riot.

Heidi & Joey got engaged a couple weeks back. Aren’t they cute?

The reason we all visited was to support my mother, who directed Hello Dolly at Kaneland High School in Illinois.

The cast pulled my mother up on stage and gave her a bouquet of flowers, showing how much they appreciate her. She hates it, for she thinks it’s unprofessional to pull the director up on stage after the final performance. Perhaps it’s not professional, but I was so proud to see my mother up on stage in front of a standing audience. Too bad I couldn’t get the audience in the shot, too. They cheered. Mom rocks.

Students’ mothers made “Hello Dolly Cookies” and passed out at intermission.

On the left is Becca, the girl who played Dolly Levi.

Heidi & me after the show.

So, I’m walking back to my seat after intermission, and I see this kid, who’s probably 13 years old. And he has this shirt on:

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I ran up to Heidi and Joey, who’d already taken their seats for the second act, and told them about this kid. I declared, “I gotta get a picture of this!” and ran back down to the kid’s seat. “Hey, man…can I take picture of your shirt?”

He was happy to comply.

Then, his mother proudly exclaimed, “He wore that on Roe v. Wade day!” Like it is some sort of “holiday” or normal yearly protest for which they wait in anticipation all year long. She was very proud. This is what some kids are being taught in Illinois!

The oddest thing, I might have been this kid in another life. As a kid, I was a Christian, and I very well might have worn this shirt. All I can hope is that he’ll one day go out into the world and have his mind expanded.

My two cents: “Guns don’t kill people, white cowboys in White Houses with hard ons for Iraqis kill people”

But, of course, we all have our opinions.

2. COLORADO

The second leg of my trip landed me in Denver, CO – more specifically, Parker, CO just a few miles south of the mile high city. I was there to visit two of my closest friends in the world, Troy & Jefferson. Troy, I’ve known since we were 13 years old in Canton, IL, my adopted hometown (I was actually born in Peoria, IL). Jefferson is a great mate from NYC. We did tons of theater together in New York, and now he’s living in his hometown and is partner in a beautiful cabaret in downtown Denver called Lannie’s at which I performed on April 25th.

This first shot is of my goddaughter, Abigail, as she practices piano with the instruction of her mother, Teresa (Troy’s wife).

Ever heard of Build-A-Bear? I hadn’t until I offered to take Abby shopping for a birthday present. Friends, this place is crazy. The kid can go through the store and pick out any animal they wish.

Then, they put “fluff” in a vacuum tube…

…which flies into the stuffing machine where they…

…stuff said animal…

(how this isn’t traumatic to a young child I don’t know)

Before the back of the animal’s back gets sewed up, Abigail kissed a heart, made a wish and chose a “voice box” to go in the hand of the bunny. When you squeeze the hand, her bunny says, “I love you.” These guys think of everything!

Once the animal (a baby bunny rabbit in this case) is full, Abigail gives it a “bath” of compressed air to get all the “fuzzies” off the bunny.

After she named the bunny and printed out a “birth certificate” for Baby Bunny Ashley, she had to clothe the poor thing! So, we went shopping…

Ashley’s a baby, so she’s wearing diapers.

Finally, Ashley is complete with butterfly hare tie (get it…hare…tie…man, I’m cheesy) and bottle/rattle set – remember she’s just a baby (Abigail reminded me many times).

I had another picture of Abigail in the car with Ashley, but it was all blurry. So, this is just a killer picture of her and me and her Cabbage Patch Kid.

We spent the rest of the afternoon coloring. This is mine.

Abigail’s… (she liked the cherries I made on the ground & decided to make some on her drawing, too!)

We did this one together. I drew the grass, flowers, bee and me. Abby drew herself and then insisted that tulips were red and had thorns. I tried to explain to her that tulips could be any color and that roses have thorns. Try debating with a six year old. It doesn’t go very far. Hence, our tulip has thorns (or “stickers” as Abigail likes to say).

Abigail is big time into Bratz. The majority of her drawings are of these genie dolls. She LOVES them. She’s a pretty good artist, if I do say so myself. (She’s six, folks…)

And, of course, here’s the original brat herself, Abigail!! Hehe…love you Ab…

At this point, one might wonder, why are there only pictures of people and the indoors?

Answer: It snowed while I was there. 70 degrees the day before I arrived, 70 degrees the day I left. On this day, it was 30 degrees with two inches of snow.

It’s beautiful, though, don’t you think?

My aunt and uncle came up from Colorado Springs on this day and treated me to lunch. Then, we went down to their condo and they showed me their new retirement pad. Go, Uncle E & Aunt V!

Castle Rock – on the way down to Colorado Springs.

Pike’s Peak (shot’s not great, but not bad from a moving car!)

That night, I had a wonderful opportunity, which was afforded to me by my buddy, Jefferson Arca. I threw down some spoken word as my Denver debut at a club in which he’s a partner is called Lannie’s, and on Tuesday night’s they have the Retro Vaudeville Variety Night.

Crazy acts like the Finnish Cuckoo Guy play the accordion and jam out on the guitar.

Here’s a little video of the second act song he did:

http://www.onemuse.com//vacation/colorado/finnishsinger.mpg

Teresa captured some of my second act poem on video, plus a little story about Abigail from that afternoon.

The performance is not great, but the poem is one of my favorites, for my sister.
The top of the poem was chopped, so here’s the beginning, and then the link to the performance below:

mom once told me
as a baby,
when you began to speak,
you spoke in
full sentences.
not baby talk —
broken ideas
words like:
baba
wawa
no!
— but in
full sentences.
not surprising.
the way you talk now:
furiously fast in
full sentences.

mom theorizes…
http://www.onemuse.com//vacation/colorado/fullsentences.mpg

Then, I told a story about Abigail from earlier in the day:
http://www.onemuse.com//vacation/colorado/abbystory.mpg

Coincidentally, my friend and fellow performer, Joanna Parson, was in Denver, too, and she performed that night. It was like a big reunion, for Jefferson introduced me to Joanna almost eight years ago!

Check out: www.joannaparson.com Joanna’s performing her show REDDY OR NOT! for THE Helen Reddy Thursday night, May 4, 2006! Check her site for details.

Puppets! (they were funny as hell!)

Host of the Vaudeville Variety Night, Pierre Jean-Pierre St. Pierre, me and Joanna (sorry J, for choppin’ ya off a bit).

Jefferson and his lovely gal pal, Shelby. Shelby thinks Jefferson looks like Wolverine in this picture. I think he looks like the villain, Syndrome, from The Incredibles.

Teresa and Troy. This is how Troy always looks. Ha!

3. LOS ANGELES

The final leg was in good ‘ole L.A. I stayed with my friend, Giselle, in Hollywood for a three nights, and my buddy, Ken, housed me for the final sleepover of my exciting left coast extravaganza.

I don’t know if I got bored of taking pictures, or we didn’t do anything fun while I was in L.A., but there are very few shots from my five days there. Mostly, we ate and drank, so we were at restaurants and bars. I believe, I was having so much fun I just plum forgot to take pictures. Also, I had some work to do on the terraNOVA website while I was there, so I think that took up time.

Nevertheless, it was grand. My friends there took care of me, and, since I got bumped on my flight to Denver, I got a free, round-trip flight anywhere in the continental U.S.A.! I’m going back to L.A. soon, so if you live out there and I missed you last time, lemme know. We’ll hook up…probably in August.

Here’s Gissy! Pickin’ me up at the airport!

Adria, my friend and former roomie, now works at a bar/restaurant/venue named Tangier in Los Feliz. It was cool, and Adria gave me some great feedback on my new solo play, FEEDER: A Love Story, which is opening in the terraNOVA Solo Arts Festival on June 10th. The pic doesn’t do her justice…damn flash!

Friday night, I met up with my friend, Lindsay, who took me to this great Italian restaurant in Los Feliz called Palermo.

Then, we hit The Dresden, featured in the movie Swingers. Of course, it seems as though every place in that city has been featured in a movie at one time or another.

If Club Tee Gee hasn’t been in a movie, it should. Tee Gee is the coolest, most chill place; however, the bartender told us that because of Coachella, the big music fest last weekend, most of the regulars were missing. No matter. This night was chill with Ken, his roommate, Lance, buddy, Jason, and his friend, Trudy who was moving back to Texas.

Check out the wood paneling. Does this remind anyone else of the basement that they grew up in during the 1970’s? Love it.

What…? Ken.

Brokeback Kenny.

Out the airplane window on my layover heading back to NYC.

This trip wasn’t about decompressing or relaxing, which is an odd thing to say about a vacation, but it was about seeing friends and family…catching up with the people I love most in the world. It’s difficult when those I love are so far away, but I feel fortunate to have others I love just as much here in New York with me.

Tonight, I hung out with an old crew of friends who welcomed a good friend back from being abroad for two years. It was a great time, and I counted my blessings once again. I’m a lucky guy.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s