Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Open and Close

Today I finished the load-out for 'The Scottsboro Boys'. After 49 performances, the producers decided that we were going to shut it down. It was sad to see the show go so quickly. We are not the only ones shutting down though. There are close to twenty Broadway shows closing before the new year. So, maybe it was a combination of the subject matter, the economy and the good ole' 'sign of the times'. It was a tough show to sell. It had great music, great direction, great acting but it was a tough story and subject matter to sell to the public. We were lucky enough to close the show with a week of sold out performances. The last eight shows started late due the extreme line at the box office of people trying to see it. It felt really good to have the support of people who realized how good the show was even though the subject matter was not necessarily what you would call a 'feel good' story. As one of the reviews put it, if you want to see something that won't make you think, go see Mamma Mia. As a former employee of that show, I totally agree! That is not a bad thing though. There are tons of different kinds of shows. Some that are entertaining, some are sad, some make you think, others are just not worth your time, and they all have a place in the entertainment world.
So, we shut down Sunday night, had a little party and the crew was in Monday morning to tear it all out. It took us three days to tear the whole thing out and now the show is history. Maybe it will come back in the future, Who knows what will happen in this industry...
The good news is that I am very fortunate to have another job lined up. I start tomorrow as the Head Electrician of 'La Cage Aux Follies' at the Longacre Theatre. It is a show that opened last year and won three Tony awards including Best Revival. It currently has Kelsey Grammer (as in the guy from Cheers and Frasier) and Douglas Hodge (last seen in the latest Robin Hood movie) in the cast. In February, those two leave and will be replaced with Harvey Feirstein (Tony Award for Hairspray. Oh yea, he was the Make-up artist brother in Mrs. Doubtfire, Match Maker, Match Maker, make me a Match...) and Jeffery Tambor (from Arrested Development) in February. So, I have some hopes that this show will be open for some time. I will spend two days learning the show and will run the show over the weekend. Then I have a week off that I am spending with the family in Livonia. It should be a lot of fun. I am excited to see everyone and not have to work on a holiday. It will probably be one of the last ones for awhile that I have off completely. 

In other news, I get to spend New Years Eve in Times Square with a million of my closest friends on New Years Eve, and I am getting paid for it. Not only do I get to be in New York, in Times Square for the coming of the New Year, I get to work it as well. It will be some long hours, but it is something that not a lot of people can say they have done.

Here is a Picture of my Cousins...
Putt-Putt Moeller Style

That's all. More Next Week, Thanks for reading

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My First NYC Thanksgiving

Not a Disaster = Success in my book

I had the Mom, Dad, Sister and Cousin to the apartment to witness my first attempt at cooking a Thanksgiving dinner. I think it went alright. I was a little unprepared. I didn't have a whole lot of dishes (I had enough for everyone, just not a lot of extra) but that is ok because I don't need a ton of dishes except for cooking big meals and I don't plan on doing that soon. I thought the meal came out pretty good for my first time. The family got in around 3am Thursday morning and slept for a little bit. Everyone got up and the girls went into the city while Dad and I held down the fort. Dad and I did some last minute shopping and started cooking. We were joined by my friend who was on tour and stranded on Long Island during the holiday. We ate early and I headed into Work.

Friday, we got up and wandered into the city. We took a stroll through Central park, ended up at Belvedere Castle, walked on over to Strawberry Fields, spent some time there and then jumped on the subway and headed into Rockefeller Center. We took a trip up to the Top of the Rock. It was My first time up there and it was pretty cool. I will be heading up there again sometime. After that, we meandered over to dinner and met Erin and her Fiancee and His parents for dinner. It was a good time. I took off early again to go to work. The rest of the entourage showed up and saw the show.

Mom and I on top of Rockefeller

Dad and I on Top of the Rock

Mom and Dad in Central Park

The sister and I

Saturday, Everyone went into the city to go shopping except for me. I went into work. I saw them when I got home. Everyone went to bed and left about 930 this morning. It was a blast having everyone here. I was really happy to see everyone and to spend time with them. I just wish I could have spent more time with them. Maybe one year I won't have to work on a Holiday.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Up and Running

I think I am finally starting to settle into my schedule in NYC. The show has been up and running for awhile now and I am getting used to filling the daytime with what I need to get done and doing the show at night. I have been trying to get work during the day as I can get it so I continue to meet people in the NYC Theatre industry. I have gotten to work on a few gigs during the day and I am starting to see people in the Business that I recognize and that recognize me. The first gig I worked was the load-in of an event on Pier 36 for Heineken Beer company. It was a ton of moving lights and truss. Nothing that I haven't done before. The other day I worked as a Video-Tech for a business meeting. It was an easy gig, the down side was that I had to wear a button up shirt with a jacket. No big deal though, I focused some projectors and set up a laptop and some screen splashes with their logo. The hardest part was staying awake for the twelve hour meeting.

Next Week, I am doing part of the Load-in for the Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. It should be pretty sweet. Look for photos next week. I am going to have my point and shoot in my pocket for throughout the night and I spoke with the guy I am working with and he told me to bring my other camera. When we are done, I am going to be able to get on top of Rockefeller and do some photos of NYC. Not the photos you see from Top of the Rock, Higher than that... Should be pretty awesome since I will hopefully be up there around sunrise

Scottsboro Update: We have protesters outside the theatre again. This time they have a have a new sign. I didn't read the whole thing but the short of it was asking if people would make a movie about the Holocaust. My answer is yes, they would and have. Schindler's List, The Pianist, Life is Beautiful, Diary of Anne Frank, just to name a few. These may been dark periods in civilization's history, but they are important none the less. There are many people that I have spoken with after seeing the show and they didn't even know this case happened. This case was part of the start of the equal rights movement in America. Yes, We do sing in this show, We Dance, We tell Jokes, We do fancy Lighting and try to keep your interest as we take an hour and forty five minutes to tell you this important story. Our jokes, songs, dancing and basic theatricality of it is not to diminish the wrongs that took place, but to put into a context that you can take home, to the street, to the corner bar, the local coffee house and talk to one another about it. We are here to start people thinking and discussing. If you go out and start talking about what you think happened on stage, then guess what? We succeeded. We have you analyzing something that you would not have thought about before. Maybe you will take your experiences from our show and start to apply the lessons in your own life, hopefully for the better. If so, We have succeeded again. The truth is, people are talking about this point in history again. People are reading other articles and viewpoints about our story when they get home. This keeps this history fresh. That way, if people know about what happened, hopefully it won't happen again. It may not happen to African-Americans or in America, but maybe someone will be able to see the parallels between this point in history and something that is happening in their life and stop something awful from happening to someone else.
To quote the Flobots, 'There is a war going on for your mind, If you are thinking you are winning'.

Thanks for reading

Monday, October 18, 2010

Start Acting like a Child

Today, while waiting for lunch, I saw two kids playing and having the times of their lives. The interesting part was that there was a major language barrier. The little girl spoke Chinese while the little boy only spoke Spanish. The awesome thing was is that they did not care that they could not understand each other. The girl would say something, the boy would just look at her and then continue to play. Then the boy would say something in Spanish and the girl would just look and continue to play. Guess what?!? This went on for ten minutes and everything went fine. They were laughing, singing and playing hide and go seek, etc. This just goes to show that just because you don't understand what someone is saying does not mean that you can enjoy their company and be their friend. I think this also goes with people's belief systems, their traditions, their language, their family, their history. Just because you don't have the same beliefs, traditions, etc, does not mean that you cannot get along with them. Just open up your mind, pretend your a kid, enjoy life and everything will work itself out.

So next time someone is prejudice against someone else, I am not going to tell them to grow up. I am going to tell them to start acting childish...

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

2 Miles in 3 Minutes

Grandparents, Friends and Family with squeamish stomachs, you may not want to look at the next photo...

Yesterday morning around 9:45am. I voluntarily jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. Well, Almost perfectly good. It was being piloted by my good friend and former roommate Lloyd. It was an experience unlike anything I had ever done. I have had my adrenaline pumping before with Rock Climbing, Riding a Motorcycle, Mountain Biking, Rappelling, Rigging, just hanging out with Mike and Bobby... but this was a whole different kind of rush. I got to sit up front with Lloyd as he piloted us up to 10,000 feet. We kicked open the door, put a foot on the wheel strut and jumped. There was no danger music or a bad guy chasing me from another plane, not was I rescuing an infant that had accidentally fallen out of an airplane without a parachute because of a careless game of 'Catch the baby' in the back of a cargo plane. It was actually really quiet. There was nothing but the rush of the wind as we fell. After 45 seconds or so, the instructor pulled the rip cord and instantly we slowed down and it became silent around me. I could even hear the guy second pair of jumpers yelling about 100' from me. We flew around and came up on the landing zone. It was really smooth, we hit our mark and slid to a stop. I have know for awhile that Skydiving was something that I wanted to do. It was even greater for me that my really good friend got to be the one that gave me the one-way plane ride up to 10K feet.

I also got to hang out at the airfield all day while Lloyd flew others up to jump. After the day was over, he gave me a quick tour of the Hampton's from ground level. It looked a little bit different. The house certainly looked bigger from the street... Then we stopped at a Surf Shack and had some Mussels. They were mighty tasty. I would go back and get them anytime. After the light dinner, it was time to drive back to the city. We got back around 9 or 9:30 and I was completely exhausted. I tried to do a little reading, but I just ended falling asleep. Today, I got up, installed some shades in my apartment, did a little cleaning and organizing and ended up at the coffee shop to use their free Internet to inform you all that I am still alive. On Tuesday, I get my own Internet so I won't need to take the walk to write. Anyways, off to acquire some couches so I can sit down on something in my apartment besides the counter tops and the bed...

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day at School

I think it is official, I am now a grown-up...

Today was the first day working on 'The Scottsboro Boys'. It went well but it was very surreal at the same time. It was an entirely new experience for me. I am always used to working on a show or in a shop where I can go to others and ask questions about the particular show I am working on. Not anymore... Now, I am the one who has to interpret the plot and make the daily decisions as to how to build things. Yea, there are people who are higher than me in the food chain on the show, but they do not come to the shop everyday. They have trusted me to make sure everything gets done correctly and on time. To make things even more exciting, I am now dealing with the fact that other people (producers and such) have put money into this show expecting that everything goes according to schedule so that it can be successful. So, that means that I have to do it correctly the first time...

That being said. I know that I am very lucky to be working in a field that I love spending time in. I also realize that I am very lucky that all the work that I have done the past 3 to 4 years is paying off. I looked around the shop today and realized that I was one of the youngest people working prepping a show. On top of that, I was not only prepping a show, I was the head on a major Broadway production. I also know that I would not be where I am without all of the help people have given me, especially in the last year. I would not have been able to get this job without the Managers, Actors, Technicians and other Electricians that I have worked with and learned from. I know that I will never be able to repay them for the mentoring that they did without even realizing it. I can't wait until I am in the position to help someone else trying to break into the business. You know, the whole 'pay it forward' thing...

Anyways, I am going to keep it short. The first day went well (I will write more about what we are actually doing in the shop later). I didn't blow up anything expensive or kill anyone. They are even letting me come back tomorrow to keep on playing with the other grown-ups! I don't think I looked like more of an idiot than I usually do, so I got that going for me.

Thank you to everyone who has been on this journey with me so far. It isn't over yet, it is just beginning...

Thanks for reading, more later

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Don't Tell anyone, I think I am almost a grown-up

Well, this has been a huge week for me. The first two weeks of August I was at the PRG shop rebuilding Mamma Mia and it went really smoothly. I had planned on taking the third week to find an apartment in New York and I found one on Monday. Since finding that apartment, I have given people I just met more cash than I ever thought I would hold. Between the Broker Fee, security deposit and first month's rent, I had a good amount of cash on me walking through the subway. Talk about the guy to mug. Anyways, after signing and initialing on all of the 'X's, I am now a renter of an apartment in Jackson Heights, NY. I have about a 20 minute train ride into Times Square, so it is going to be a good location. Right now, all that is in the apartment are the shower curtains that I installed last night. My mattress gets delivered tomorrow and hopefully I will be able to find some furniture for the place without having to spend to much money...

On top of renting my first apartment outside of college, I also landed my first Broadway gig! Originally, I got offered to run a Follow-spot on the upcoming holiday run of the musical 'Elf'. Yes, It is based on the movie and No, Will Ferrell is not involved... I was offered the gig at the end of last week and then got a phone call saying that the 'Elf' gig was falling through for me and there wasn't a spot open, but he did have another job on another show if I was interested. Because of that phone call, I am now the Head Electrician on the new Broadway show of 'The Scottsboro Boys'!! It is an open ended contract, this means that it will run until it stops making money, so, hopefully a little longer than 'Elf' would have. Plus, I am going to be a Head Electrician on Broadway. Talk about a big first gig...

So, all in all, it has been a very productive week. I am no longer unemployed or homeless, which will probably make my family give a sigh of relief. Today I am heading out to the Mamma Mia's Production Electrician's house for a BBQ. It should be fun. He has a beautiful house that he has been re-finishing for the last couple years. I haven't seen it since I was in NYC to work on Broadway Bares two years ago. Tomorrow, I get a mattress and hopefully some furniture. I am renting a van to get a couple couches out of storage, wish me luck driving through New York...

That's it for now! Thanks for reading...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The New Home!

Here are some photos of my new home for the next year. You will notice that is very empty, So, if you have any monetary donations or ideas on what to do with the place, let me know...

In the Front Door, Kitchen to the Left, Living room straight ahead


Living Room facing Windows
Living room Facing away from Windows, Bedroom down the hall to the left

Bedroom facing away from windows...

Hallway to Bathroom and closets...
More to come later!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Life off of the Greek Island of Mamma Mia

A ton has happened since the last post (this is due to the fact that I was lazy and did not update, not because my life has been all that exciting...)

I recently ended the National Tour of Mamma Mia. It was bittersweet. The people that I worked with were amazing. I could not have been luckier or asked for a better tour to be my first major show. I learned a ton about myself, my career and just about living. The tour was an awesome eye-opening experience for myself. I have traveled to many parts of the country that were on my list of places to go, I traveled to some parts I did not even know existed and met some potential life long friends along the way.

Since leaving the tour, I went and spent a few days in Huron, OH. There, I hung out with the Huron Playhouse crowd and met a ton of Talented people. I caught up with old friends, met some new ones and even made some acquaintances into friends (the nice thing about not having any responsibility at the Playhouse is that you can just hang out and talk with everyone without having to worry about the politics of the Playhouse). I also got to see Erin work her magic while stage managing the BMX show at Cedar Point. She has already learned the skill of controlling the weather to cancel shows on a hot day. After spending a unplanned bonus night in Huron due to a huge storm and some great people, I headed back to Detroit to continue packing for the eventually move to New York City.

I traveled to Chicago last week to hang out with the Chicago Moellers. It was awesome to see everyone there. I got to go on a boat ride and tubing with the family. We went to the Zoo. Brooke showed me the Kangaroos and Zebras. Eric Taught me how to play a Lego board game and Uncle Scott taught me that U-Turns are illegal in Lake Geneva, WI...
Last Sunday, Uncle Scott and I participated in our first 'Muddy Buddy' race. It was a six mile race where we traded back and forth between running and Bicycling through the muddy course. Uncle Scott definatly had the tougher course than I did. We did well. We beat our goal time in the end and we did it looking sexy. It was a Fundraiser for the Challenged Athletes Foundation and you were supposed to be in some kind of costume. Waiting to the last minute, like we often do, we wore purple camisoles to the race. We were getting compliments left and right about our outfits, even through the race! The funny story is that prior to this event, I didn't even know what Camisoles were. I had seen them before, I just never knew what they were called. So, My aunt took me shopping to find a matching set that would fit my Uncle and I for the race. Yea, you read that right, my aunt took me shopping for matching camisoles for my uncle and I to wear in public...

We finished the race, drank some beers, relaxed with other racers and then headed back to his house so I could shower and head to the Airport to come here to New York. It was an exhausting day. I will write more about my first week in NYC tomorrow.

Thanks for reading...

Enjoy a picture of my shoes after the race...
These were brand new white shoes 2 hours before this photo was taken

Post Race Beer Tent!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

One year with a 'Real' Job

Wow, as of yesterday I have been affiliated with the Broadway show Mamma Mia for exactly one year. One year ago, I got a phone call asking me if I could be in Lexington, Kentucky by 9pm. Since then, a ton has happened to me. It is interesting that so much can happen and it seem like it all happened yesterday.

In the past year, I;
Was let go from my first job out of college due to budget cuts
Started my own Free-lance Lighting Design Career
Learned how to run a Spot-Light for a Major Broadway Production
Took a test that could have defined the rest (or at least the next five years) of my career
Passed that test in the top 40 out of about 700 people
Bought a Harley
Have spent more time in Hotels than I have at home
Re-aligned what I thought was important to me as a person
Have been able to actually make enough money to not feel like I am still a broke, College kid
Have spent more time in Airports and on Airplanes than in Cars
Had a very important, personal relationship end a lot sooner than I ever hoped or even thought it would
Have visited a good portion of the country, including towns that I have never heard of
Have made a ton of new friends from all over the country
Learned I can live out of one suitcase
Have actually start to feel like I know what the Heck I am doing
Gave my first lecture as a guest at a university
Been to more opening night parties than I ever thought I would go to
Been to more bars in more cities with great people than I ever thought I would
Celebrated New Year's Eve in Canada
Celebrated my Birthday in Wisconsin
Celebrated Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street in New Orleans
Saw the Saints win the Super Bowl while in New Orleans
Hired my first accountant to take of my Taxes
Opened a retirement fund
Made a huge dent in my School-Loan Debt
Have employer-provided health care
Became a 'grown-up' with a 'real job'

these are just a few of the highlights. I bet I can look back on the past year and find a ton more. The most important thing to happen to me is the fact that I have had the time to look back and reflect on who I am as a person. I saw some things that I liked, and some things that I didn't like about myself. I have been able to really work on the things that bothered me. I have started to adventure out of my comfort zone more. I have really tried harder to stay in better touch with those that are important to me. Communication while away was not my strong suit a year ago, I like to believe that I am getting better at it and it is helping me enjoy things more.

Anyways, the first year is complete. Let's see where the next one goes...

Thanks for reading

Friday, February 5, 2010

Quick Update before heading to Work

Hello All!

I just wanted to do a quick update before I have to head into the theatre today. We are spending the week in New Orleans, LA. It has been a blast so far! As soon as I sift through the photos I have taken, I will make sure I post some. There are a lot of really cool historic neighborhoods I have been able to visit this week. Each day, I have been trying to pick a different direction and start to walk and see where I end up. I have been all through the French Quarter, the Garden District, Uptown, Downtown, the Business District... It has been really cool to be in a place with this much history. It is definatly a party town with Mardi Gras and the Super Bowl happening this weekend, but if you look a little deeper you can find a really cool city that isn't all about booze and beads. The Garden district is full of awesome, old-school houses and some great food! I had lunch the other day at Commander's Palace. It was probably one of the best meals I have ever had. I had turtle soup as an appetizer and then some duck over some beans for the entree. It was really good. I learned later on that in addition to being a landmark in New Orleans, Commander's Palace is where many world class chefs worked early on in their careers. I ate at a restaurant where Emeril Lagassi once cooked! BAM!

New Orleans is still a party town though. Last night we celebrated a couple birthdays on the balcony of an apartment over looking Bourbon Street. It was a lot of fun to see all of the people walking by underneath. Hopefully we can go back for the parades that are supposed to start today. As of last night, I have officially thrown beads off of a balcony during Mardi Gras. We can cross that off the list of things to do during a life-time...

Another little side note. There is a company that is in the process of making a Documentary about my job. Well, not the electrician side so much as the whole production. Anyways, they are starting to release little Internet versions to get the word out before the entire documentary releases on TV. Here is the link for the first one:

Enjoy! I will make sure I post more addresses as they are released and let you know when the documentary is going to air on TV.

Thanks for reading...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Another Couple Weeks

So, another couple weeks have gone by. We had a couple weird schedules the past two weeks. In Appleton, WI, we didn't load-in until Wednesday. That was nice to get a day off but it meant we had to load in Wednesday, and then do two shows a day every day except Friday to fulfill our 8 show a week contract. Appleton, WI was a neat town. It was nice to be back in the states. The crew was really good and made our week really easy. There wasn't much to do in the town though. It was just a cozy little midwest city outside of Green Bay.

After Appleton, we went to Rosemont, IL. Rosemont was neat because I stayed with Family while there. It was good to sleep somewhere where I did not have to go through a lobby to get to my room. Plus, I got to see my family all week. I got beat up by my cousins when they weren't in school, I got to go to lunch at the elementary school with a second grader and talked about video games with the fourth grader. All in all, it was a pretty good week. I also got to go snow shoeing and work out with my Uncle. I really enjoyed spending time with everyone. It was well worth the Commute. Now we are in Durham, North Carolina and it is between 50 and 60 degrees during the day. This is weather that I enjoy much better than the stuff we have had lately on the tour. We are in a almost brand new theatre with a good crew. It is going to be another good week out here. The weather is going to keep getting warmer for us as we move farther south. Next week we are in New Orleans. It should be fun with the combination of Mardi Gras and the Saints being in the Super Bowl. I also think some of us are going on a ghost tour of New Orleans. I have only been on one of those before in Florida. It should be interesting.

Anyways, the show is ending so I have to pack up for the night. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Photos of Ottawa

Here are some photos that I took in Ottawa...


Wednesday is the New Monday

For future reference, I will be updating on Wednesdays now instead of Mondays. That will allow me to settle down into the new city and actually get to see some of it rather than just reminiscing about the load-out that just happened. Should be better that way...

So, we are in Montreal now and I wish that I knew more French. This is the second largest French speaking city in the world and the only five phrases that I know are; Hello, Good Evening, Very good, Thank you and shut your mouth. Not very useful when the entire city is in French. I mean everything, the street signs, the newspapers, the TV, the restaurant menus, everything. I feel that Montreal has at least two sides to it. There is the really neat, cultural side that you see during the day that I am looking forward to exploring this week. And then there is the seedy underworld filled with strip clubs and sex shops. Kind of a surprise when we first got into town. It varies on the block that you are on within the city. One street is full of fantastic architecture and old churches until you get to the next block, then it is full of strip clubs. I wonder if people go to church before or after...

The theatre is very nice and spacious which is a good treat to us after being in so many small theatres lately. It gives us the room we need to reorganize everything that has gotten packed incorrectly in the past couple weeks. The crew is nice, even though it is sometimes difficult to communicate with them because of the language barrier.

There haven't been to many adventures for me lately. I went rock climbig a couple times last week in Ottawa. We spent News Year Eve on the roof of the theatre overlooking Parliament. That was pretty neat and it was good to spend it with a lot of the people that are close to me and that I work with everyday. I went grocery shopping on Monday in a store that was all French and I couldn't read the signs so I just went up and down every aisle looking for what I needed. They sell milk in a bag here, which is neat. There is also Mayonaise served with everything. You name it and the Canadians will put mayonaise on it. I don't understand why, and I am not going to ask. If they like it on everything including french fries, then go ahead but don't bother giving it to me. I also went to Pita Pit yesterday thinking that would be an easy meal to order but guess what, It was also in French. It is sometimes hard to believe that I am still in North America. I have really enjoyed it and this experience has made me want to travel overseas. Maybe I will do it when I retire at the age of 28. Who knows, we will see what happens.

More Next Week, Thanks for reading.