Last week, I did my JIMPRESSIONS show for a crowd in Encinitas, CA in San Diego at a lovely old jewel of a theater, the La Paloma.
Built in 1928, this well-preserved theatre is a small spanish art deco adobe & wood marvel, and very comfortable to perform in. It’s used mainly as a second-run movie house, and I seem to recall when I was a kid visiting my grandma in nearby Cardiff-By-The-Sea, the marquee always had “Endless Summer” on it.
I was contacted originally by a guy I’d never met before, Ken Harrison, who owns several Comedy Traffic Schools in CA. He grew up in Cardiff By-The-Sea where my grandmother used to live, and where my family has had vacation homes for decades.
Ken wanted to see my JIMPRESSIONS show, but didn’t want to have to come all the way to L.A. to see it, so he got his friend Allen, who runs the La Paloma, to book in a night for me.
Ken was very helpful and outgoing and he made it easy to accept the gracious invitation. Since I could stay at our family home nearby, and we desperately needed a couple of days off, it was a no-brainer to try and make it work.
Since Ken and his family are big fans of Professor Knestor, I agreed to do the second act with the Virtual Museum, and take audience questions on art and culture as my alter ego, Oxmouth College’s own Prof. Jackdaws.
I don’t have many contacts down there, so we conspired to get on local radio and TV to promote the show, much the same way I did in Sydney, Australia last year. Ken and I arranged an interview with a local radio personality, Bob “Sully” Sullivan to let me do some of my celebrity impressions on the air, and then did another interview the next morning with another host, Chip Franklin, who also was very generous and promoted the show on his program.
I had also done a podcast interview with Carolyn Fox, which my pal, Phil “Firesign” Proctor had recommended and then happily dropped in to contribute to, and we plugged the show that way.
We were pretty sure with the radio interviews, the podcast, my own YouTube promotion and especially the TV morning show appearance, we could easily fill the 340 seat venue.
Unfortunately for us, the local TV show in San Diego that had confirmed an appearance to plug JIMPRESSIONS bumped me the morning of the show in favor of candidates from an upcoming mayoral race, which left us no TV exposure at all. So, Ken, my director Tait Ruppert, my wife and daughter and I took a hitch on our courage and did what actors in that situation always do… we passed out flyers to people on the street!
By the end of the last day we didn’t have many advance ticket sales and I was steeling myself to play to a couple dozen souls in a vast old duchess of a theatre that could hold hundreds more, something I knew I could do, but would regard as a bit of a “Lose”.
As fate would have it, the promotion we had done was effective after all; by showtime, the house had about 120 people, mostly walk ins, and, spread out over all rows made for a very “Full” house, if not a “Full house.” AND the important part was, they LOVED the show, and I could hear excited chatter afterwards, of people more in communication with one another and very cheerful. That’s a very telling thing, and one I always listen for after the evening draws to a close.
We made a lot of friends, and learned another lesson: Never Depend on One Channel of Promotion to Do ALL the Work.
So, the JIMPRESSIONS tour continues! Next: a performance and workshop at my old University, UCSC in Santa Cruz, CA, on May 29th. After that, I’ll be back at The Acting Center in Hollywood for one night only, June 2nd at 8 p.m. Then, Sacramento in July, and then… who knows?
For up to date schedule, videos, press and more, visit my new site: http://www.jimpressions.net. And thanks for reading!