Four years ago at the Tony Awards, Lin Manuel Miranda uttered these words that brought me to tears. It was in response to the tragic massacre at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. A tragedy that probably could have been avoided if gun laws were stricter. Just so we don’t forget those victims:
One of the things I learned while watching the Oprah led discussion “Where Do We Go Now?” is that every thing is so intricately intertwined. My own ignorance refused to learn just how much the game is rigged because I wanted to believe that someone could come and fix it. I wish. There is no easy solution. However, one of the big things you can do, Gentle Reader, is to vote. But you knew that already, right? Cast a vote for EVERYTHING, not just who our new president is going to be. Vote on the local and state stuff too. Those things are so important! They influence who the court judges are, who the district attorney will be, state and city laws that get passed where you live. Make sure you are registered to vote NOW!! And if you aren’t, REGISTER!!! Vote to ensure equality abounds in what can truly be a great country and not just a nation founded on murder and racism. You might feel like your vote doesn’t count, but you still MUST do it! Do it for those who are victims of voter suppression. Do it for those whose lives were cut short and can’t do it themselves. Now is the time to add your voice to the others that demand change and equality for all.
I am also doing my best to learn about the history they DON’T teach in school, or that they conveniently leave out because “history is written by the winners.” It is never truly objective and I used to think “this is too depressing to learn about.” I would hide from it. No more hiding. I can’t promise I will remember everything, but I am going to try anyway. Of course, this video of Kimberly Jones that I saw on Madonna’s IG page is what really helped me to push away that idea of hiding. Yeah, I said Madonna. Don’t judge. LOL!
With the current worldwide situation with violence against people of color and other minorities, I find this sonnet of Miranda’s even more hopeful. I always try to be optimistic and am drawn to positivity and the inspirational. I allow my raw emotions to guide me and I seem to find something that can help me in my saddest moments. I hope you are lifted by his beautiful words and know that even though times look bleak now, if we can stand together, the future should be brighter. But we have to stand together.
My wife’s the reason anything gets done. She nudges me towards promise by degrees. She is a perfect symphony of one, our son is her most beautiful reprise. We chase the melodies that seem to find us until they’re finished songs and start to play. When senseless acts of tragedy remind us that nothing here is promised, not one day. This show is proof that history remembers. We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger. We rise and fall and light from dying embers. Remembrances that hope and love last longer. And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love
cannot be killed or swept aside. I sing Vanessa’s symphony, Eliza tells her story Now fill the world with music love and pride. -Lin-Manuel Miranda
Until next time, Kind Reader, stay safe, alert and willing to listen and learn.
I hope you are safe and heathy. I wanted to complete this Fabulous Fails series because I can use a laugh. Also, it will lead me into my next planned post.
When I think about this fail, I actually laugh out loud. I laugh because there was a string of things that happened in that performance.
Also, let me just make sure to say this little announcement before I continue: While I am saying I wish someone recorded these performances, I know that it is illegal to record performances due to copyright laws.
Anyway, let’s get on with the story!
The year was 2013.
The role: Jerry/Daphne
The show was the very funny Sugar.
If you haven’t heard of the show, Sugar is the musical version of the Billy Wilder movie Some Like It Hot with Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. The story centers around 2 down and out musicians that witness a mob hit and find themselves on the run and join an all-female band to hide. Even though, Tony Curtis is technically billed before Lemmon, his character is a big ass bully in this that I listed them by respect. LOL.
At the start of the night, in my very first costume as Daphne, the persona Jerry takes whilst hiding in the band, I put on a string of pearls. As I start to leave the dressing room to run around to the opposite side of the stage for my entrance, the necklace catches on the corner of the makeup table and breaks. Ugh! Luckily it was only in the dressing room. No big.
At this point of the fail in the show, the mob hit has been witnessed, Daphne and Josephine become pat of the all-female band, the two meet Sugar (played beautifully by the charming Jessica Ellithorpe), Josephine/Joe, falls in love with her, there is a party in Daphne’s bunk in the overnight train to Florida *cheese fight*, Sugar confides to Josephine about falling for saxophone players (which Josephine plays) and is going to Florida to marry a millionaire, Daphne is pursued by a retired handsy, real millionaire, Osgood, Joe takes advantage of the situation to woo Sugar, Osgood invites Daphne to dinner on the yacht but Joe hijacks the invite for himself and Sugar…
So here we are. I am ready for my big date with Osgood. I am in this shimmery white dress, which I hate, because I hate wearing that color. I know, I know, white is the absence of color. My blonde wig, looks meh, which is because it doesn’t work with my skin tone so that kinda makes the buying I am a lady a bit funnier. I mean, CLEARLY there is something wrong there. LOL! In the second scene in Act 2, I walk into the scene as Sugar is finishing her conversation with the band manager, fixing my wig and straightening my dress making sure I look lovely.
Sugar: … You must have some hot date tonight! (she walks up to me)
Daphne: Yeah. Hot. (i do a little twirl to let her see the dress)
Sugar: Me, too! With Junior. (I remember inhaling and was excited for her “big date” I think I covered my mouth or clapped my hands and as I did, the bracelet of diamonds or pearls I was given snapped! I know my hands were at least up because as I heard all these little gems fall to the floor in a sound that seemed like they landed EVERYWHERE, I felt a few fall inside the sleeves of the dress. The audience was surprised and laughed, but I think it was more of a nervous laughter. My big eyes must have popped out of my head!! I recall Jessica and I both looked down at the floor and trying not to laugh. I felt like Gaga in the Bad Romance video where she has all the gems around her… just, I wasn’t so fancy…
(Jessica totally soldiered on:)
Sugar: He called and asked me to meet him at the dock right after the show. (I feel like I was still checking the floor because I literally said “Oh no” after the line. I hear the audience laugh but not due to nervousness. I knew I needed to do a little bit of dancing in a few moments, and I had dropped character slightly right then. I think I threw her off with that, so I added, “That’s exciting!” Which I immediately know was not helpful, so I tried to jump a little bit in the script. I take a step to Jessica and I hear more jewels fall. Just a couple. The audience is laughing again. Now it’s actually funny.)Hey what’s wrong with Josephine? She didn’t even say good-night — she just took off, running like a jack-rabbit.
Daphne: What she needs is a bicycle.
Sugar: Is anything wrong?
Daphne: No, no — she’s just late getting down to the naval base– ( I don’t even think I say this line right. Each step I take, a few more gems fall out of my dress and the audience is giggling with each one. Jessica starts to laugh but is holding it in. I remember seeing her shoulders bounce and that is totally enough for me to break character and I laugh a little too. Which makes the audience laugh even more. I talked about being late, but for some reason, I think I kept saying he instead of she because we were supposed to be talking about Josephine but the last bit of conversation was about Junior who was Joe’s name for the fake millionaire. Ugh!)
Sugar: Naval base — Josephine?
Daphne: Oh yes, (At this point, I think “surely there can’t be any more to fall.” HA!) every night (*drop… drop.. drop..*) she stands at the gate, (*drop… drop..*) waiting for the sailors to come out. But never mind her (*drop.. drop.. drop…*) — tell me about your date. (bursts of laughter)
Sugar: Gosh, can you imagine? Sugar Kowalczyk from Sandusky, Ohio, actually having supper on a millionaire’s yacht — just like Joan Crawford in “Untamed,” Gee, if my mother could only see me know! (She exits during the last part of the line and she is giggling while she says it, which make me giggle too. But just a tiny one.)
Osgood: Yoo hoo — Daphne!
Daphne: I hope my mother never sees me. ( I use this as a chance to focus back in so I shake off the moment before and wouldn’t you know it?! *drop*) LOL.
Then Osgood sings this lovely song called “Beautiful Through and Through.” In this number, I have to do a grapevine over the broken bracelet, which is on stage left, and back to the other side of the stage. No accident! YAY!! Then we have this sort of waltz and the actor playing Osgood didn’t really dance, so he is stepping in the same direction as I waltz and we have to go into danger zone. Again, we are safe and cross back to the right side of the stage and I dance around him a little more. Next he is supposed to “fling” me toward stage left and the jewels so I can do 4 chainè turns and remarkably, I am okay! Counting my lucky stars for sure at this point! We make it through the number and into the safety of the wings. Whew! Crisis averted! The next scene is just Junior and Sugar, but Osgood and I come on at the end in a reprise of “Beautiful…” and that leads into Scene 4. At this point, I am thinking the worst is past. there isn’t going to be anymore funny business.
And that’s my favorite fail, Dear Reader! Now, it may not have been as funny as the bean bag pop or the mustache mishap. This is my fave because when I think about it to this day, I still laugh. Now, here’s a little bonus and what starts me off laughing about the whole run of this show.
Scene 4 starts with me singing “Magic Nights” and announcing to Joe, once he arrives that I am engaged! There is a little bit of dialogue and during that little bit of chatter, I grab these maracas that are conveniently on the dresser and begin to sing again. Well it just so happens that Joe (played by one funny dude, Leslie Lamke) is sitting on the bed. I never considered myself to have a very long reach, and I am very good with my spacial awareness. It’s just that I didn’t factor in what my reach would be like holding maracas. So I am singing my song and at the end of a phrase, I reach out and feel my maraca meet with resistance whilst hearing a LOUD hollow thunk! I had smacked poor Les in the head! I tried not to think about it and continue on. Sing, sing sing and strike a po…THUNK!! I hit him again!!! LOL! In my head, right now, I can hear that hollow wooden smack clear as day and I laugh!! I felt SO SO bad when it happened and made sure to apologize to Les as soon as we were in the dressing room. But it still makes me laugh! Hahaha. I think there was one other night that i hit him. Poor fella. He is a great guy and didn’t hold it against me. I didn’t dare look at him, because 1. there wasn’t time since it was a song and 2. it would have pulled me out of the scene.
Because of this bonus fail, the whole bunch of mini fails during Sugar makes this my favorite fail.
I hope, Gentle Reader, that this gave you a smile or a laugh. I met some truly magnificent people in this show and love when I have the chance to share the stage with them. I do hope that the chance comes again very soon.
I hope you are enjoying your days and treating yourself well. Until next time, Lovely Reader…
This is just a short post to let you know I haven’t forgotten to let you know about my favorite fabulous fail.
I don’t want to trivialize all of the important things that are happening in the world, so I will wait until next week to continue the fail series.
Even though I am going back to my regular posts, I won’t stop educating myself on how I can be a better ally. I encourage you to also continue learning about this issue and supporting the Black community.
Thank you, Gentle Reader, for stopping by and I hope you stay safe and alert, especially with businesses opening back up.
I was initially going to continue on with my fabulous fails posts or celebrating Pride month, but after crying my eyes out for the last hour, I feel I need to share and help in whatever TINY way I can.
Before I continue, my Lovely Reader, if you don’t have the mental capacity handle to another person talking about the tragedies of late that have lead to these protests and riots, I understand and this post may be one that you might just want to pass on. No hard feelings. There are days when I don’t have the strength to deal with the shelter in place going on so I skip reading the “here’s what to do to stay sane” posts. I still love you and hope to see you back soon. Stay safe!
Like every other compassionate and rational person that understands the difference between right and wrong, I am furious and saddened by the unnecessary deaths of George Floyd, Adrian Medearis, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor (whose death is even more terrifying to me because she was in her own home where one would have felt the safest!). I am furious because I can’t believe that this is still happening. I am furious because it shouldn’t take public outrage to 1. arrest the criminal (cuz let’s face it, just because they have a badge doesn’t make them any less of a murderer), 2. admit wrongdoing by either the department or the individual, and 3. TRY HARDER to ensure that this doesn’t happen in this line of work!
I am saddened because this has been happening for so long that it is rooted in America and will probably take another millennia before things will change. I am saddened because those families were robbed of a life lived out like Nature would have intended and to have that private moment that all families need to say goodbye to loved ones. I am saddened that people of color have to live with the thought somewhere in the back of your mind that this could happen to you or someone in your family.
I understand the anger and I have always said to acknowledge it. I have found that like Fear, Rage can help fuel you. It is what is fueling this post and the ideas that you can use to take action if you, like me, want to help, but don’t have a lot of funds to do so.
Of course, money for communities is always helpful. IF you have the means, donate to verified organizations that are legitimately giving the monetary benefits where they claim they are going. I recently learned of a “king” that left a lot of unanswered questions about missing money and numerous failed ventures despite popularity on social media. And no I am not talking about a certain orange leader. If you have doubts, check this Before Donating to Charity (Special thanks to TBA and Leigh Rodon-Davis for this tip) Might I suggest donating to the ACLU? Find Black Owned businesses and use your money to buy goods and services to help them through these times. Need some ideas? The site Support Black Owned has a truly extensive directory of businesses as well as a very impressive goal of being a worldwide directory. The site also has a super informative blog and there is a companion app! So any of my Dear Readers around the world can find a way to help out. You can buy from makers on Etsy, too! You can type in Black Owned Shops on the search bar and get 37 pages of products.
Social Media is another outlet that people can put to good use. If you know of any POC that are content creators, uplift them!! Share their content to support them and help them be seen. Wanna show some love? Some of my fave Youtubers are TL Yarn Crafts (crochet and Tunisian crochet) and EarthtonesGirl (knitting, crochet), TechMeOut (Tech and App reviews and tutorials), and Jackie Aina (makeup). I was watching a cooking tutorial and then the Jackie video came on and I was not only entertained, but she expresses her truth so wonderfully that I became a fan. Anyway, this doesn’t just apply to Youtube, find content creators on Instagram too.
Share the stories of these wrongdoings and the names of the victims and don’t forget to fight for this change. Reminding people of corruption and wrong doing that needs to be addressed is a tough job. When the hashtags aren’t trending anymore, will you still be there to help create the change the world needs? This latest round of protests didn’t happen just because it was inexcusable and caught on camera. This has been building and building since America was created. We need to fix this now! I fear that the violence will escalate but it doesn’t have to as long as compassion and reason win over greed, fear and racism.
VOTE!!!!! If you are in a country that supports the oppression of a group of people for ANY reason, VOTE that “leader” out! Those people aren’t leading. They say they are preserving tradition. Do you know what “tradition” is? It is an excuse to continue to maintain a narrow view in a world where the lens has been made bigger. Get them out of positions of authority! Let them live as a regular civilian and get a regular job and not live off of a pension of thousands of taxpayer dollars until they die. Use that money for something useful like psychological training and testing for people that want to become cops or join the military. I know the US could save MILLIONS possibly Billions if we did that instead of pay someone that refused to change or uphold the will of the people THEY were supposed to have worked for. That money could pay for higher wages, free schooling, and free healthcare. Also, if you want to get even more into the politics of it, here are some suggestions from our friends at Crowded Fire Theatre:
https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/justiceforfloyd_george_floyd_minneapolisSign Color of Change’s petition demanding that Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey block the involved officers from receiving their pensions and ban them from being able to become police officers again, as well as demands that County Attorney Mike Freeman charge the officers with murder. (You can also text “FLOYD” to 55156 to sign the petition.)
Welcome back to hear about my fabulous fails that ended up making delightful memories.😜
Today’s fail is my second favorite. The reason it isn’t my first fave is ONLY because the show itself is SO funny and even if this fail didn’t happen, the audience still would have enjoyed the show.
Let’s go back to 2015, Dear Reader. The show is Boeing Boeing. The role is Robert Lambert.❤️
Show summary: Well-To-Do bachelor, Bernard gets a visit from small town friend from college, Robert. Bernard reveals he has 3 fiancés who are all international airline attendants on different airlines and their paths never cross. Or do they?
The story so far: Bernard and Gloria (the American) are having breakfast when Robert shows up. After Gloria leaves for her flight, Bernard tells of his love life: 3 fiancés with two days spent together each week and their paths don’t cross. Bernard invites Robert to stay with him and tells him that Gretchen (the German) will be having dinner with them before continuing on her flight, but first, Gabriella (the Italian) will be incoming for lunch. There is a large scene between Robert and the housemaid, Berthe, at the top of Act 2, that really sets up the forthcoming physical comedy of the rest of the play. Arriving much earlier than scheduled, Gretchen and Robert meet while Bernard is out and he is totally smitten with her. She storms off to her bedroom in exasperation and as she does, enter Gabriella and Bernard! Gabriella is now on a turbo jet and doesn’t have to leave until tomorrow. I recall how much the energy ramped up at this point as the dialogue goes back and forth much faster and I am jumping all over that stage and I pretend to be a tree in the wind and a bunny on a meadow… Robert convinces Bernard and Gabriella to spend a romantic night in the countryside leaving Gretchen in the apartment with Robert and Berthe. So far, so good! But a call comes in saying that Gloria is on her way back because there is a storm. And that’s where we find my fabulous fail… (I kinda wish I had did this as a vlog, because they way I wrote the paragraph above should try and be read in one big breath to get the sense of the chaos of the show, but you wouldn’t know that.)
Top of Act 3, after dinner together, Robert accidentally offends Gretchen and she storms off for a walk but not before beating on him with her purse, which gets left behind. A mini-scene between Robert and Berthe sets up the entrance for Gloria. As she walks in, Robert notices Gretchen’s Lufthansa bag and Berthe intercepts Gloria.
This is the stage direction in the script: “(Berthe turns Gloria away from Robert. Robert throws the bean bag chair with himself on it to hide the Lufthansa bag in front of Door #1)” We liked it, so we went with it! 😆
Now, my Lovely Reader, I am a chunky monkey, thick like molasses, and apparently reckless! LOL! So as the following happened, so too did my fail:
GLORIA. Hi! (Played amazingly by Heather Bass, waves to me)
ROBERT. Hi! (Big eyed and overly toothy smile, I wave back “There’s nothing weird here at all ” of course I don’t say it, that’s my inner dialogue. LOL!)
BERTHE. Good evening, Mademoiselle. (Christine McElroy was perfect as Berthe BTW’s. She takes Gloria as she is saying her line and leads her a step away from the bag)
As Christine shifts Heather over, I grabbed the bean bag, tossed it on the purse and jumped over it to sit facing the audience.
When I landed, there was a distinct and audible, PFFFFT! 💨and suddenly I noticed there were little pellet type things all over my legs. I could feel my feet slipping out from under me and I knew the bag popped. Well, that and the hysterical laughter that was coming from the audience was a big clue too!
Here I am on this popped bag, the audience is dying of laughter, Christine and Heather are being amazingly professional, and waiting for the die down to happen, all while maintaining character. If it were me, I would have been DYING!!! Anyway, from has been told to me, the hole was in the vicinity of my bits and pieces. (That sounds terrible when I read it back… Imma leave it tho.) When I landed the bag shifted slightly and I wasn’t really centered and ‘comfortable” on the bag, so as though nothing were wrong or out of the ordinary, I try to get my feet back under me to reposition myself. Each movement cause a new spewing of little rabbit turds to pop out of the bag which is under my bum so it looks like I am popping them out not the bag and the audience launches into another fit of laughter. Mind you, I didn’t know where the hole was at the time, I was only told of it after, which makes me actually laugh when I think about it. Wait… laughter subsides…
Gloria and Berthe have a few lines of dialogue before, Heather as Gloria makes her way over to me, who is cool as a cucumber and says:
GLORIA. And how have you got on since I left this morning? (LAUGHTER)
ROBERT. It’s been quite dull really (LAUGHTER)
GLORIA. Cosy here, isn’t it? Home sweet home. Everything’s so calm. (BIG LAUGH!!)
ROBERT. Calm yes? Really calm isn’t it, Berthe? ( BIG LAUGH!! Remember each little movement i make has me rabbit poopping bean bag beans…)
BERTHE. Calm as calm can be. (Christine’s deadpan perfectly delivers the killer blow for this whole mess and the audience explodes with laughter and applause.)
I could only hear Christine but since Heather was much closer to me and looking down at me, I got to see her struggle with maintaining a straight face whilst I was playing the laziest version of Peter Cottontail. 👀😄😂
If I remember correctly, bean bag beans were found constantly on the set during the run. I felt bad that the bag popped because it meant funds had to be spent to repair and refill, but grateful that it happened early in the run with a big audience and we had nearly a sold out run because it was a funny show. Even without the beans!
Oh, Gentle Reader, I hope I conveyed that story better than the last, and I hope it brought a smile to your face. When I think back on that moment, I get a pretty good laugh out of it. That show is one of my more cherished plays. Not only was the script funny as all get out, but the cast fit the characters and got along so well and it was easy to get lost in my character. For the director, Kevin, I cannot say “thank you” enough. 💖 And thanks for the pictures! It reminds me it really happened.