It's been quite the week. Loaded out of CT no problem. On Monday, we loaded in to our first arena - The Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State. Load-in went fine for audio. Drew and a number of the design staff were back to see what changes and shifts needed to be made for our "arena set-up". It was good to have Drew back on hand, as well as Josh and Ana-Rose. All were welcome. The "new" addition to the team (I say new because he works for Scenic Technologies who built the truss for the arena rig and therefor has been working on the show for some time...I just never met him) was Troy who was a great guy. We hit the dinner break of load-in and, since audio load-in was complete, I cut our crew and went to dinner with the GM, Associate Producer, Ana-Rose (production manager), Drew, Josh (scenic designer) and Troy. Obviously, when in State-College, given the numerous high-class dining establishments...you end up at Hooters. A fine meal at Hooters, too, involving fried pickles and wings. After a luxurious meal, we headed back to the theater to baby-sit until end-of-day was called. At which point, since rehearsal wasn't until 11a the next morning, we went out drinking. A few friend from NYC had gone to Penn State and suggested going to a bar called The Saloon...which, as it turns out, was just down the road from our hotel. Josh, Troy, Ana-Rose and I piled into a cab, and headed off to the bar around 11p.
The Saloon is famous for it's "Monkey Boys" which are some secret concoction of cheap liquors and flavouring. They're served in pitchers and contain, apparently, 5 shots of liquor. Mine was "bong-water" flavoured. Gotta love college towns. Well, about half-way in, we all started to feel ill at the sugar content of the drink. Not to mention the ice-cold nature, and the general lack-of-booze-but-too-much-sprite ratio. We finally managed to finish those and moved on to our usual drinks - makers, jack and coke, vodka cran....etc. The rest of the evening was not particularly memorable. A number of cute girls, a number of drinks, and one VERY crowded game of pool. Comically crowded game, really. After leaving the bar at 2, it was time to find pizza. We followed our bartender's directions and came to College Pizza, a couple blocks away. We walked in, and after some small-talk, the guy behind the counter said to us "Listen, you're probably the last guys I'll have in here tonight - I'll make you a deal - a dollar a slice." I countered. "How 'bout I give you 20 bucks for everything." Sooo we walked away with 2 and a half pies (of various make-up) and a large number of breadsticks. All in all, a fine evening.
The next day, the shows were uneventful, as usual. Load-in went fast. Very fast. So, I booked it for the shower, aiming to get to the bar ASAP. The closest dressing room with showers...didn't have running hot water, but it DID have a jacuzzi. So, I took a quick dip in the jacuzzi, and called myself clean. So, decently clean, I dragged Josh back to The Saloon (where the cast was drinking that night) by 11:30 or so. Josh and I, and various other crew members (as load-in finished up), drank until closing - only 2a in PA. At some point that evening, I had gotten a text from Ana-Rose saying "I'll give you $20 if you hook up with a girl before load-out's over. Hurry, you only have 90 minutes!" We all laughed and just kept drinking. Around 2, Ana-Rose came to pick us up and take us back to the venue, where the last truck was almost packed. As I was getting into the car, I'm not kidding, a drunk girl climbs into the car and sits on my lap.
OK, from here on....just be warned. Read at your own peril (Mom, skip to the next section)
So, this girl climbs into my lap. I hadn't talked to her, I remember walking up the stairs out of the bar behind her and saying something to her when she said something to us outside the bar. But all of a sudden, this girl is sitting in my lap in the car. And there are 4 other people in the car! I ask her a few times if she understands that we're going back to the venue and does she want to get out. Now, mind you, she's drunk (so am I, but this girls definitely more drunk than I) but she nods yes, she understands. I ask her her name - it's "Hope" (side note - of course it's "Hope". Far too perfect for the story for her name to be anything else.)
We kiss a bit on the ride back to the venue, to the general cat-calls of the other passengers. As we get out of the car, Ana-Rose (who had been driving) slaps a $20 in my hand. I then led Hope through the backstage hallways of the arena to the star dressing room, where the jacuzzi was. Ignoring the jeers of the carps and riggers on the call, we went into the jacuzzi and took a dip. A little while later, I started getting texts from people: "where are you, the trucks are packed" and "we're back at the hotel, everyone's on the bus" So, I quickly pull some pants on, and venture out to find some towels. I open the door of the bathroom, and find Ana-Rose, Josh, Jeremy (head elec), Stacie (ass't elec) and Troy sitting in the couches, laughing at me. Awesome. Once they're done laughing at me, Troy and I go in search of towels...and find a hand towel. One. As it turns out, I still had about 15 minutes before bus call...sooo, another quick dip and then I begin to convince her to get out of the hottub and come with me so I can call her a cab...
This is where it starts to go south...she's being difficult and doesn't want to wait for the taxi. So, after a little hard work, she figures out how to get onto the crew bus. Bart, our awesome bus driver, actually let her on, ignoring my frantic waving and mouthing of "Oh god no, for the love of god no!" She then begins to drunkenly ask Bart to drive her home...I get her off the bus and we're waiting for the taxi in some lightly falling snow. Entirely lame. A few minutes later, the taxi does come and I get her in, giving her the $20 that I'd won in the bet. Full circle.
OK, Mom, start reading here.
Thankfully, the next morning is a "day off" in Syracuse, NY. However, I didn't wake up until about 12:30 and, as it turns out, we had a walk-thru of the theater at 2. So much for a day off. Following our 2 hour walkthru, 4 of us head to Dinosaur BBQ, which apparently only exists in NYC, Syracuse, and Rochester. It was pretty good! Not the best brisket I've ever had - a little dry - but all in all, a good meal. Later that night, at an all-crew meeting, our head carp announced that he had officially given his two weeks...and so begins a transitional period of fitting our new head carp in. Oh joy.
The following day sucked. Let's just leave it at that. Woke up, un-aided, at 4a, load-in at 6a, 3p and 7p shows, followed by a load-out. Went to bed around 2a. No overtime. Awesome, thanks.
Woke up this morning in South Bend, Indiana. Had a rather grotty shower in the hotel, and then off to the mall for some food. Ended up at a "Bar Louie's" which is apparently a chain though it had decent food and a good beer selection. From there, headed to the local "Cinemark 14" to watch Alice In Wonderland in 3-D. Not a bad movie...the story was a little 1-dimensional, but the visuals (had we not been in the 4th row) would have made up for that.
OK, bed time. I skimmed over the last two days a bit, but I have another 6a load-in tomorrow. Thankfully, we've crossed into CST, so it's only 11:30 now...