Take Steps 2010!

I am not one to walk under small bridges thanks in part to my paranoia.  The other part is because every movie or show that has one always portrays it to be bad.  The last thing that I need to happen is to walk under one of those minding my own business and finding a body or something.  Bleh.

Last Saturday, I had to do exactly that.  Luckily I didn’t have to do it alone.

Last Saturday was the evening that the Take Steps Walk for Crohn’s and Colitis took place.  As we parked the car and walked up to the park, there didn’t seem to be many people at the event.

As our team (Carrot’s Coffee and Tea) signed in and such, I began to feel just slightly squished even though I had plenty of space.  When I looked around again, the crowd seemed to have doubled in size.  The end count I recall was just over 850 people.  Not bad, considering Crohn’s and Colitis aren’t generally spoken about as commonly as cancer or AIDS or diabetes.  It’s just as brutal as the afore-mentioned diseases.  I can tell you that it was definitely more that the number of people who participated in the last few walks that my friends and I have done.  It’s good that word is finally getting out.

So as the teams prepare for group photos, there is a band playing. I didn’t catch their name, but I did notice that there didn’t seem to be a sense of fun on that stage.

I know that one never thinks of diseases and fun in the same thought but I just felt the band should have stepped it up a notch to excite the crowd for what we were accomplishing on that day.  Speaking of accomplishments, the San Jose walk alone raised over $140,000 which was the most the San Jose event has ever made. Additionally, our team actually doubled our goal!!!  So a HUGE HUGE thank you to everyone who was kind enough to reach into their pockets and give to a worthy cause!

No one on the team knew what path we would take, so when we headed toward the little creek that runs through the Discovery Meadow Park, I got a little jittery.  What would I see?  Bullet casings?  Blood stains on the pavement?  I made sure to squeeze into the middle of my friends while we began our ten step decent to, as it turns out, nothing spectacular.

Once we got into it, we just enjoyed the day and were happy in our efforts to make a difference.  Well, except for my buddy, Tom.  He doesn’t seem to be happy, but I think it’s the glasses.

The walk itself was uneventful, except for the times when the police stopped traffic so that the walk can keep a steady pace.   It was like a river, no…more like a creek of people walking.  Finding the front of the line was difficult right off the bat.  Our group tended to split up between the speed walkers and those of us that were out on a casual stroll.  So at times we could be heard shouting for our teammates as other teams looked at us as though we were insane to be acting like hooligans at such an event.

The walk felt very short for some reason, but when all is said and done, it always feels good to try to help someone.

After the walk, we marched on over to P.F. Chang’s.  Such wonderful food.  Our waiter was great, even if everything he said was an accidental double entendre.   Ah, good times, good times.

I know I haven’t read every piece of literature, but many of the things I’ve read seem to agree that while genetics can certainly play a part in how one could be at risk of Crohn’s, they also say that environment could be just as responsible.  What I find most unnerving is that they don’t give any examples of possible environmental triggers, like standing at the microwave while your food cooks (which coincidentally you should never do.  Also, I’ve read you should wait at least 5-10 seconds before opening the door to let the micro-waves, which are a type of radiation, dissipate. Most health related studies linked to microwaves are “inconclusive”, but it’s best to be safe than sorry.)  Here are a few links that I have found information on Crohn’s Disease.  If you would like to learn more, you can get an overview HERE . This site gives information from well-being and treatments to nutrition info and support.  The organization Take Steps that is involved in helping to find the cure for this disease is also linked to CCFA.org which has a wealth of information.

In any case, take care of yourself, and should you decide that you would also like to donate even though the walk has passed, feel free to visit my donation page  by clicking HERE .

Have a great day!

It’s time for Episode 5!!

Episode 5

(Click to listen)

Special thanks to Samantha Stidham, Lisa Milanes, Kyle Dunnigan, Podsafe Music Network, and Danny Ippolito for their contributions to Episode 5.  Check out the shownotes for this episode by clicking HERE.

Hope you enjoy it.

Big Spender…

Hello Patrons!!!

I figure that since enough time has passed, I can post some things about my ideas and concepts for this number in Sweet Charity.  Jeez, where to begin…

I performed Sweet Charity with another local group back in 2000.  I was one of the trio that start the Frug and Daddy Brubeck (after the original guy that was cast for it left the show).  I loved performing in the show not only because it’s great campy fun, but because of the Frug.  However, when it came time for the choreographing of this number, the staff decided that cutting out the middle section of the song was going to be the best way to go.  I was so disheartened by this.  You see, I am a great admirer of Bob Fosse and the unique style that he created.  I jumped at the chance just to perform some of these songs.  Little did I know that I would actually be doing the choreography that was from the movie.  So I guess I have to call it more of a re-staging than actual choreography.   I say this because to choreograph something is to create movements to a piece of sound or music, and to restage is to take something that is already created and teach it to new people.  And at the time, I was okay with that.

Then last year, when I found out about this show, it made me think of all the potential that it could have had.  The direction of the 2000 production was full of gimmicks. The costumes were stunning. And the dancing was fun, but unoriginal.

One night in the beginning of summer, I had a dream where music filled my head.  It was the da dada da da da of the trumpets at the beginning of Big Spender.  I was sitting in the audience, and the dance hall hostesses came down the isle talking to the men with their lines, “Hey good looking you wanna talk? What’s the harm in a little talk?” and all that jazz.  There was this mood of anticipation, excitement and yet unease that hung over the crowd because they were no longer safe in the separation between voyeurs and participants.  They were in the show. This feeling is something that I felt needed to be addressed but it never does.  It’s a great feeling to sit in a show and physically feel the vibe. Bob Fosse was able to create this sort of atmosphere ever so slightly in the movie by utilizing camera shots full of shadows, smoke and lipstick.  Unfortunately, in the amount of time we have in theater, this is not something that can be properly conveyed.

After the proposals, the hostesses head behind the bar (which is cut in the middle) , slightly upstage.  A safer distance from the audience and as they go behind, the bar slams shut behind them, in a small way symbolizing the fact that they are stuck in this life.  Incidentally, Charity isn’t in this number, and if you know the ending, you will know why I believe this would have been a great idea.  Unfortunately, the bars we have aren’t incredibly easy to move, so open they stay.  A small hint to the audience that this show is more than just a comedy about love.  As the hostesses sing the first verse and chorus everything happens behind the bar, but when they ask for some time to be spent with them, the genie is out of the bottle and isn’t secured until the end of the number.  It’s in your face.  It’s sexy.  It’s sassy.  And it’s a little dark.  But hey, they aren’t exactly innocent church ladies are they?

It was when I woke up from this dream that I kept thinking about this show.  I kept thinking, can I actually try to work on this show and create something Fosse-esque?  I thought about it so much that I finally got the nerve to ask the producer.   I started thinking and researching and planning right away even though I had almost 5 months time.  I found old Vogue photos that became my inspiration for some of the poses in the number.  Here are some of my faves:

These models were sexy yet classy.  Yet, I needed something a little more intense.  So the angles of the models are a little sharper and so are the attitudes.
I can’t decide if Big Spender or Rich Man’s Frug is my current favorite.  Although I’m A Brass Band is coming along quite nicely!  So at this point I am torn, and I hope that you are too when you see the show!
Until next time,  break a leg!