Bullets Dodged

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I just finished narrating a very well-written, but ultimately depressing autobiographical story by Blake Bailey, entitled The Splendid Things We Planned, about a dysfunctional family.

I guess one could say that the family I had growing up was dysfunctional, although what labels like that actually accomplish, even so far as differentiation of any useful sort, is dubious.

We were functional, and then at times not so functional… I imagine almost any family could be described like that.  An ideal family has yet to trod the Earth, I reckon.

In any case, immersed as I was in the telling of this story, I began to appreciate how very, very fortunate I am to have the kind of family that I do.

The story is told from the viewpoint of the younger brother of a fellow named Scott, who at a young age suffers merely from being a bit selfish, insensitive and arrogant, but ends up a completely dissolute, wasted and worthless criminal who commits suicide in prison at age 43, after decades of ridiculous behavior, punctuated by moments of endearing lucidity.

It’s a portrait of the tormented life that many have unfortunately lead, owing to the abuse of alcohol, especially,  and drugs, coupled with no real knowledge or tools for handling life.

It brings to mind Act III, scene 1 of Hamlet, the part of that famous speech:

“… but who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely (harsh treatment)

The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay

The insolence of office, and the spurns

that patient merit of the unworthy takes,

when he himself might his quietus make

with a bare bodkin?”

This question of Hamlet’s seems ever more fitting and pertinent.  Especially after reading this story about a guy who, in the end, decides that “to sleep, perchance to dream” is his best and only option, and ushers himself out of this universe.

(Don’t worry by the way, I’m feeling FINE.  I’ve been studying Hamlet’s speech not because of any philosophical conundrum, but because I mean to work it into a JIMPRESSION video very soon.  I feel great!)

There is the expression, “There but for the grace of God go I…” and I wish there was a better, non-religious one.  But it communicates.

I had my first steps on that same path to utter worthlessness, and then by sheer luck, love, good fortune, God, and/or my own quiet ambition, I got help, and skittered back off the verge back onto a road that lead to somewhere worthwhile, and, eventually, an enviable family life.

I’m pretty sure you had a less melancholy Sunday than I did, pronouncing every syllable of this captivating, at times sardonic, yet very sobering cautionary tale. I hope so, anyway!

And I hope that you and your family will have a lifetime together that is pleasant and mutually rewarding, and devoid of the heavy drama that seems to rise up like a summer storm for some, as it has since the very earliest tribes.

Sheesh!  More laughs next blog, I promise!

Published in: on January 12, 2014 at 4:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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HELLO, HORIZON? WHATCHA GOT FOR ME?

Me & Tam, sunset

It’s now about a week or so into the new year, and I’m very relieved to report that I have recovered my lapsed ambition.

I had lost or misplaced it in December, and it was amazing how much things slow down without it.

Last year was an amazingly varied and rewarding one. I did a lot of very unexpected things, had adventures all over the map, and met some really delightful people. It was almost all unscheduled, or at least in January of 2013, totally over the horizon and out of view, so I can only assume that the marvelous things in store for 2014 that are likewise invisible to me will soon fill my vision and cause my eyes to bug out. Exciting!

I am of course not leaving anything up to chance. I’m planning and scheming and dreaming, and in every way I know, flexing my refreshed ambition.

I think I was just a little spent!  America’s Got Talent, Parks & Recreation, Jimpressions, animation, TV appearances, interviews, audiobooks… Sheesh!

The main thrust for 2014 is, to create many more entertaining, enlightening and fun things to show you, and to collaborate with other artists to bring about some new works that will stun and amaze, and make the world at least a tiny bit better place for all.

I’m planning on pushing myself a lot, doing things that, frankly, will take a bit of doing. It’s time for me to reach far, and push myself farther and harder than ever before. I’m not just giving myself a pep talk here, I am actually only interested in doing something new and challenging; I can’t be bothered to do the same old things anymore.  Been there, done that!

So, to that end, here are some of the targets:

•     The NEW live JIMPRESSIONS show–upgraded, revamped, retooled and supercharged. Watch for JIMPRESSIONS 2014 sometime in March and get ready to ACCEPT IMITATIONS!

•     Eight episodes of season one of the webseries, THE IMPRESSION GUYS, starring myself and actor/impressionist Ross Marquand, written and directed by the talented and hard working Ben Shelton, to be released very soon.

•     Weekly hilarious videos at www.youtube.com/jimmeskimen that explore my impressions, characters and creations in a bigger, better way. More from Professor Knestor, of course…

•     A book about doing impressions for fun and profit…

•     Speaking engagements, live shows, readings, MCing events…

•     And, somehow, someway, more paintings & drawings.

Then of course, there are those as yet unseen things over the horizon– I wonder what they will bring…

In short, life is in me today, and I don’t plan on wasting any of it.

I’m glad you are sharing life’s abundance with me!

What about you?  What do you insist your 2014 will contain?  (You have to insist, you know…)

Happy New Year!

THANKS, EVERYBODY!

Sunset, THANKS

Thanks, everybody!

Thanks for paying me the supreme compliment of paying attention!  Thanks for noticing my efforts!

I have never had such a year of such kind attention and generosity of spirit.  Truly.

I promise to continue to strive to earn it.

Thanks for indulging me and watching, reading and listening to me this year, despite the myriad things that would have been more rewarding to watch, read or listen to.

Thanks for remembering my name, while I searched for yours.

Thanks for braving traffic to arrive to the theaters where I was performing on time.

Thanks for laughing!

Thanks for playing along.

Thanks for always being kind.

And may we all build a new and better world for each other to thrive in, every day.

Love, and enjoy the holiday with the ones who mean the most to you.

Sincerely,

Jim

Published in: on November 26, 2013 at 7:37 pm  Comments (1)  

ART: The “Get Out of Jail Free” Card

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(From a keynote speech for Cal Lutheran University, given on November 2, 2013)

When you attend an arts symposium or an event of that kind, you want to come away being inspired; you want to reach the point where you can no longer stomach being talked to about art and creativity.  You want a saturation point to be reached, and to finally get into action and start doing a little creating yourself.  Right?

Art is one of those things that is kind of irresistible to talk about, like gardening and cooking and and skydiving and just about anything you’d rather not do right now.

That’s why we have to be kind of careful, all of us, particularly me, not to just blather on about it without some over-arching purpose.  And with an eye on the clock.

I plan to reach that point of overstaying my welcome as soon as possible, so that possibly some creativity can have a chance to flourish.

I was very fortunate to grow up in a household that was prejudiced in favor of artistic activity.

My mom, Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actress Marion Ross, was a working actress back then (still is, at 85) and she had a policy of allowing me to drop my responsibilities if they got in the way of my drawing and painting, or making little super 8 movies, or puppets, or radio shows on the cassette player. 

I couldn’t drop ALL my responsibilities, but then, I didn’t actually have very many.  The ones I had, though, could all go to blazes when I was creating.

She let me stay up to all hours when I had to work on a piece of writing or a painting project.  That actually did me more good in the long run than even the short term; I was raised with the experience that artistic expression, no matter how underdeveloped or untrained, was not only something to be tolerated, but it could even be abused and still not get you into trouble. 

Not in my house, anyway.

Art was a kind of “Get out of jail free card.”  That may be one of it’s biggest benefits.

So, obviously it had worth greater than the sum of its parts.

It was worth more than obeying the rituals of youth, the bedtimes, the chores, the baths and the “now I’m supposed to’s.”  It was worth more than, “Don’t make a mess on the dining room table” and “why are you keeping that weird piece of foam rubber?”

I really thought everyone was raised that way.  It was in the sixties, so I’m sure a few more of us were raised that way than are today.

The main danger facing kids today is the apparency that “everything has already been done, so why bother.”  The “Why bother” atmosphere that kids are going to be combatting all their young lives is the thing I would most like to proof them up against, and it’s up to us as members of the tribe of humanity to do something about.

Why bother writing a song if it takes a studio and a lot of technology to mix it right so it sounds like a song on iTunes?  Why write a story if there were already a ton of stories and they’ve even been made into movies and stuff?

Why paint ANYTHING anymore, if everyone’s phone can take an awesome picture, and you can share it in a nanosecond with the whole world and then we can forget about it and move on?

There have always been lots of excuses NOT to draw, write, paint, tell stories, perform, create.  With the digital age, suddenly the excuses NOT to do something have gone viral.

But still we have this urge to make things and to observe things others have made…  And the wisdom, the lessons learned, the best practices, may or may not mention this fact: you don’t need an excuse to create.  You don’t need any reason at all.  And it is a very healthy thing to do.  It is, in fact, the way OUT of most problems.

But, in this super technological culture, which more and more demands our actions fit into a tightly proscribed template, creativity can start to look glaringly like deviant activity.

In some circles, being deviant becomes the game, so closely are the arts linked to the worst aspects of their reputation.

Creativity is FUN, and that’s where I think the trouble starts.

Things that have, as one of their chief attributes, that they are FUN are already suspicious.  That’s a positioning problem.  FUN things have not always enjoyed a respectable reputation, so many things that are not licentious, criminal, or unsanitary have wrongly been lumped into the same bin as other activities that ARE.

I was one of those kids who liked to sit and draw for hours.  I didn’t know about the “Ten thousand hour” rule about attaining proficiency, but if you had told me that that’s about what I’d have to spend drawing, I’d have been fine with it.

I did it because it was FUN.

I quickly developed an identity; you know how it is, you start to do something a lot as a young person, and everybody wants to label you with it,  cheerleader, class clown, snake handler, cartoonist.  That was me.

I realize now several things about the advantages of the arts in my upbringing.  One thing is that I got to work out a lot of painful, weird and personal stuff on my own, thru my drawings.  How does this work mechanically?  I think you learn about what is stuck to you and making you feel insecure first by pulling it out in front of you and having a good look at it.

It’s like a download.  From your mind, where it’s mixed up with a lot of other files of one kind or another, to your desktop, your ACTUAL desktop, where you can confront it, alter it, show it to somebody, or do whatever you want with it.

When a kid has a nightmare, for instance, it’s kind of therapeutic to be able to draw a monster out of your head: it might be the same kind of monster, but now YOU are in control of it. AND it’s a lot smaller, and you can even crumple it up if you want.

The ancient Egyptians would depict things in their wall paintings and sculptures with status expressed in terms of size; the bigger the figure, the more important.  Made a lot of their public artwork look like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.  But it works. 

Same thing as a little kid taking some unsettling feeling or worry they have, turning it into a little cartoony monster and drawing it on a Post-it. 

Instant reduced status!

If you show it to your brother and he says, “Awesome!  Draw that on my arm!” so much the better.

The things that bother us most in growing up are those unspoken, undefined things that defy description and understanding; drawing and painting and sculpture are fast ways to bring expression to these mysterious things, and in doing so, render them less powerful.

People who draw at an early age are flexing their communication muscles, even if they are somewhat apt to be withdrawn in person.  Kids like me, who spent hours creating little cartoon panels with characters and speech balloons like those in MAD magazine, are learning how to tell stories.  They are developing visual language skills that probably can’t be learned any better any other way.

I used to look at MAD’s Mort Drucker cartoons, those amazing movie satires, and just get lost in the drawings.  He’s one of those guys who developed a completely unique visual language of his own, like Al Hirschfeld of the New York TImes, or Picasso for that matter.  I still think his style of cartooning is transcendent, and, although I have secretly been trying for almost 45 years, I still can’t duplicate it.

So, storytelling is a good something to know.  Ask J.K. Rowling if you doubt that.

And then there are the fifteen billion other little life lessons that art can teach you.  Stuff you don’t even know you don’t know.  That NOBODY knows we don’t know.  Stuff that has never even been considered before. 

Art helps you confront those right-now, precise, meant-for-you-only, needs.

What do I mean?

Well, just for example.  We say, painting teaches one about color and light and all that stuff.

But it also teaches you about finding a model who is willing to sit for very little money, or setting up a still life that won’t rot in a week.  About offering your model a cup of cocoa.  About budgeting your time so you actually have TIME to paint, about taking praise graciously, about accepting or not accepting criticism.  About pricing your art in case, God forbid, someone wants to buy it… hey- it’s how a lot of us learned to make change! 

You learn about thicknesses, measurements, consistency, gravity, drying rate, keeping tools clean, earning money to buy more tools to get them all messy and then learn how to keep them clean like your other tools that you learned how to clean.

You learn about storage, chemistry, and about mistakes.  You REALLY learn from the mistakes.  The childhood mistakes I learned from are the ones I cherish most.

Like the mistake of letting a cat into your workspace.

We had cats all my young life and they are beautiful, selfish things that are themselves some sort of weird live work of art.

When I was in Jr. High school, I was a cartoonist for the school paper and I notice that whenever I would draw something important with my Rapidograph ink pens, and left the room for any amount of time, invariably a cat would come and lie down on it. 

I believe that cats have a kind of specialized vision that allows them to detect where a human being has been directing a lot of concentrated attention; it must leave a kind of luminous stain. 

It’s how cats decide the best place to lie down, so that they can bathe in the attention that human beings emanate.

So, never leave a wet ink drawing anywhere near a cat.  It never improves the drawing.

Mistakes are what childhood is all about, as far as I can tell.  Artistic mistakes are usually a lot safer than, say, dirt-biking mistakes or chain saw mistakes. 

Artistic mistakes can even be profitable someday, down the line, when you pick them up again and notice they have a kind of child-like brilliance.  Maybe.

But to make profitable mistakes, a kid first has to have some possibility of some mistakes to make, and that requires the time and tolerance, from parents and teacher, for the kid to make mistakes.  Not the mistakes YOU think they should make, but the mistakes that only THEY would ever make.  Not YOUR old mistakes, either, the ones that changed your life and that altered the course of your existence forever, but THEIR mistakes.

That should have been part of the Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights; the right to make one’s own artistic mistakes in the pursuit of happiness.

Of course, we are a nation addicted to criticism and advice.  It’s a disease.

In the field of the arts, criticism does not have just NO place, it’s SO damaging that it deserves to have a NEGATIVE place, a place where if it should appear, it should instantly be sucked into another dimension.

How would you like it if someone asked you a question and then told you how you should have answered it?  Well, that’s just ordinary schooling, that’s tests and quizzes and exams, you say, that’s the backbone of the whole operation, how ELSE are you going to be able to tell if the child has learned?

“You have to tell them when they got it wrong, don’t you?  That’s what they did to ME, so…”

Fine.  Math, science, geography, chemistry, biology, fine.  Football, basketball, FINE.

Not, PLEASE, the arts.

By the standards of Right and Wrong, how Right is Picasso’s Guernica?  How Wronger is than Botticelli’s Birth of Venus?  How much Better than a Goya is a Michelangelo? 

Well, I put it to you that, just as you would not give the time of day to anyone who would criticize the way you just told your sweetheart how much you love them, no artist-in-training, young or old should have to give a nano-second of their day to anyone who purports to pass judgement on their artistic expression. 

It’s ART.  It’s the get out of jail free card, man!

Which, if you agree, or even if you don’t, raises the interesting question: Who of us has the self control to let a child draw, paint and write any way they want to without interfering or giving them a little pointer or too?

That’s Herculean.  Anybody that can do has my respect.  Not even I, your humble keynote speaker, can claim a clean record with my own child.

Criticism is fashionable, and in the same way that  we lament the clothing fashions of the 80’s, (and particularly the photographic evidence that we wore that stuff) we will come to regret our over-indulgences.

It’s part of our crazy, mixed up culture- the knee-jerk impulse to evaluate another’s creation!  It’s a disease!

It may be very amusing to watch as an outsider, to see someone who is a dreadful singer roasted by some critic on a TV program not to be named, but it is absolutely toxic to a young artist.

Again, my mother was one in a billion.  She never said anything to me about my drawings that wasn’t complimentary.  She must have known the power she held, that the smallest indication of disapproval or even disinterest might have switched off the light inside me. 

Rare were the times she didn’t just say “That’s marvelous!” when I showed her something I had made.

Was she biting her tongue?  I have no idea.  Doubtless, sometimes she was.  Probably everytime she had to clean the ink off the cat.

And you know what?  I was always very eager to show her my work.  And it encouraged  me to do more and more and more work.  And then I started to show it to other people, because by that time experience and ART had shown me that what I was producing was NOT something to be ashamed or embarrassed of, that it had some merit.  And it came from ME.  So, maybe my point of view had some worth.

I think they call that “Self esteem”.  Well, I guess you can give someone a drug to momentarily boost their sensation of self esteem, or you can allow them to cultivate their own, inexhaustible supply.

In conclusion…

Creative work is like a trickle of water.  Let it trickle long enough and it can cut a path thru rock, thru walls, thru discouragement and opposition… 

it’s a positive kind of flow that heals as it spreads.

Don’t stop the flow.

Are you tired of reading by now?  Wouldn’t you rather be messing around with oils or watercolors or yarn or your Wacom tablet?  I hope so.

Published in: on November 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm  Comments (5)  

EVERY MAN, EVERY WOMAN A CELEBRITY

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I had a “come to realize” moment today while on my bike: EVERYONE has some grade or ranking of celebrity.

In the Old Days, there were celebrities, and then there was everybody else.  If you were an actor in a movie, you were probably attached to a studio contract, were effectively working in a separate universe, with separate parking, restaurants and work spaces from the rest of society.  You knew movie “secrets”.  You mysteriously vanished from this material culture into another, more ephemeral one, one that flickered on screens across the world, and in which you always looked amazing, albeit colorless.

Now we have so many grades of celebrity that it is truly “infinity valued”, meaning that there are infinite degrees of being known and talked about.

That’s one of the reasons modern information gathering and metrics have become so necessary; people want to know WHERE they lie in the order of things.  Who knows me today?  How much?  Where?

I have my acting credits on IMDB.com, (the Internet Movie Database) a site that is used by the entertainment industry for information on actors, directors, writers and others.  Like all the other actors I know, I have a ranking that ebbs and flows like the stock market.  Last week, to my surprise, after being ranked comfortably just under the 20,000 mark (among the 20,000 most popular searches for persons, living or dead, on the IMDB site) I found myself suddenly ranked #1444!

Was it my appearance on America’s Got Talent that caused people to suddenly look up my credits?  Probably.  Now that I’m off the show, and am just a normal, workaday actor again, my ranking is going steadily down, down, down… at the moment I’m at, let me see… ah!  #4525.

I got pretty excited for a moment there.  What a leap!  That’s what my friends who work on Wall Street must feel when something in their portfolio spikes!  Of course, they have figured out a way to turn that into a new condominium, or a trip to Fiji.  I haven’t got that down yet.

But then I realized, perhaps naively, that EVERYONE is a celebrity to some degree.  To some website, YOU are very important.  To some groups, YOU are a key player.  To some organizations, YOU are vital.  (One hopes that the groups that find us important are not just the IRS or the NSA.)  To your family, well, YOU are pretty irreplaceable.  Even if you happen to be in the doghouse this week.  (That would put your ranking temporarily with the guy holding the “Plese help me” sign on the offramp.)

So, celebrity is a matter of degree.  I guess that’s pretty obvious.  But to me it was a bit of a breakthrough.

You ARE important, of course, whether or not you are listed on the IMDB.  You would be important if you weren’t listed anywhere on the Internet, although that’s now hard to fathom.  Your importance is in the eye of your beholders, the minds of the people you deal with every day.  The thoughts of your family and friends.  You are important to me, heck- you read my stuff!

Is this too sappy?

You can rate me at SappyBloggers.com.  I think I’m currently… let me see,… Ah!  #44,561!  Wow!  I’m up from #60,000!

Art is a Battle

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Writing, painting, choreographing a dance, making a YouTube video in the back room… it’s a savage battle. 

The TIME to create has to come out of something, dug out of the schedule like a vein of gold ore chipped out of granite.  Time extracted out of the myriad pointless activities of the day, the mundane chores, the necessary rituals, the acceptable, the understood, the predictable.  The things one does because one has always done them.

Translating “important” tasks into art is a battle of wills– the will of the artist against the robotic “will” of the upholders of the status quo, a will that exerts itself against the artist with a dreadful and remorseless automaticity.

How many times have you been interrupted from your daily job with a command to hurry up and get that song written, that painting started or that poem finished?  Unless you are a professional with a deadline, it’s possible that it never has happened to you. 

And even if you are a professional, a cascade of other “needful” little activities will land on you whenever you try to focus on something artistic that exists in your mind only, and just outside boundaries of the physical universe.The battle to keep you from creating something unique, something wonderful, something divinely YOU is a bloody one, even if nary a shot is fired.

And then of course, there’s the blog you started that needs regular contributions, and in which, to your embarrassment, your own attention is hopelessly diverted, away from the gentle and invisible impulse to create something artistic that only YOU can do… if you could only break away.

Uh… Like this.  The End.  There, I did it!

Published in: on August 22, 2013 at 4:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Looking Back

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Now that I’m back home in the bosum of my family, I have had a chance or two to reflect on my experiences with America’s Got Talent.

I had a much better time than I thought I would have in New York City; I had a pretty good amount of free time in a city I love, I got really lucky with the weather, and I got to do my act at Radio City.

There was a last minute hiccup or two; of course, the sound went out for the first 20 seconds or so, and not only couldn’t the TV viewing audience hear me for those precious seconds, but neither could the judges, nor I them.  But I didn’t fully grasp the severity of the problem at the time, and so it didn’t throw me off so that I lost control.  I knew something was up, but I didn’t fully understand what was going on (or NOT going on.)

The other hiccup was a threatened one; the producers told me that if the show ran long, I’d possibly only be able to do six voices, not eight as I had planned.  I decide not to make a big deal out of it, but I was a bit crestfallen with the idea that I would have much less of an impact with fewer voices.  Also, it didn’t even occur to me at the time that my 90 seconds would be reduced because of the other acts running overtime… that seems a bit unfair in retrospect.

I also was told that I might not be able to have George W. Bush on my list (for the audience to Tweet in) because he had gone in for heart surgery that same day as the show. 

So, there were a few last minute things wriggling around backstage and onstage.

As it happened, former Pres. Bush made it thru surgery without a hitch and his name was preserved on the list (although the Tweeting audience opted for Jay Leno) and the show ran remarkably on time, despite the cobra.  So I was told a few minutes before I went on that I could do eight voices instead of a truncated six. Phew!

All in all, I was very happy with the results, and you can see the act by clicking HERE if you are interested.  

I owe a big, BIG thank you to everyone who spent time watching the show and voting on multiple platforms, and for all the kind words.

I’ll be presenting my live JIMPRESSIONS show on Sept. 6, at 8 p.m. back in Hollywood, at The Acting Center Theatre, 5514 Hollywood Blvd, LA CA 90038.  Click here for tickets:

http://www.theactingcenterla.com/jimpressions

Published in: on August 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm  Comments (2)  

The Aftermath

Okay, so first off, THANK YOU!

So many people wrote and tweeted and emailed… all the modern communication channels, to tell me they voted and told others to vote… it was just like being bathed in pure love.  I am so grateful and so amazed!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The other thing is… I’m EXHAUSTED!

That was one stressful week.  I tried to sound cheerful and relaxed in my blog, didn’t want you to feel uncomfortable, or panic or anything.  Didn’t want anyone to call in sick for work, drive out to New York and buy me a smoothie…

But it was like being on HIGH ALERT for seven straight days, culminating in a suspense-filled evaluation of my ability to be on HIGH ALERT. 

The last thing I’ll say before I crash into bed is this:

I had a BLAST.  Being able to do my impressions, to a full house at Radio City, on live television, to hear the validation of the judges, to a standing ovation with my mom in the audience, with my beautiful wife in the audience, KNOWING that YOU and a thousand other friends were out there pulling for me… was just indescribable.  It was worth all the struggle and the sleepless nights, and the bother of being part of a “reality show.”

So, THANK YOU AGAIN, and I’ll be back again soon to tell you more.Image

Published in: on August 9, 2013 at 5:24 pm  Comments (4)  

The Day Before THE DAY

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So, what did I do on my “day off” before I go on TV tomorrow night on America’s Got Talent at Radio City?

After a brief, somewhat perfunctory hair appointment, I had lunch with my very old friend from elementary school, Coleman Gregory, and we had a good New York kibitz in a diner on Madison.  Who comes walking by but another (younger) old friend, Benjamin Welch.  That’s a typical New York thing; I had just been wondering what random friend I was going to run into.  Check!

Then I walked up Park Avenue thru Grand Central Station, which looks marvelous, very clean and spiffy, and arrived shortly at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, where my mom was having tea in the lobby, having just arrived on a plane from Atlanta.

She is here to support me, and I’m delighted that she came out.  It’s heaven to have such a generous and supportive, loving mom.  If someone ever offers you one, don’t hesitate.

Tamra arrives in a little while, so I had to clean up my room, get some flowers…  I had also set up a temporary sound recording studio in the room, making creative use of the hotel pillows, cushions and ironing board, so that had to go:

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Now I’m going to go over my act a little bit more, tomorrow is THE DAY, so I have to be much more than ready, I figure I have to really be beyond ready, especially if I want to win and take home the Golden Fruitcake, or whatever the prize of this show is.

I guess this is as good a time as any to thank you for reading and for being interested, and if you vote and tell your friends to watch the show and vote, too, I will be much in your debt.  If I have to pawn the Golden Fruitcake to pay you all for your trouble I think I can manage that.

So, you may not hear from me tomorrow on this channel, but you WILL hear from me on NBC, tomorrow night, 9 pm East and West coast, and 8 pm in the middle of this great land of ours.

Onward!

Thanks again!

Onstage At Last

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Today I finally got to step onstage at Radio City Music Hall.

We blocked my set for the cameras, lighting and sound, and I got to see the view from up there.  Big hall! 

This magnificent theater really is a monument to the era of spectacular, pre-rock arena, live entertainment, an era that still clings to life thanks to the visionary architects of Radio City, which is truly a work of art in itself.

Every aspect of the theater and it’s several lobbies has been designed to harmonize with the whole; the restrooms, the lettering on the external neon signs, the doors, the carpeting, sconces, murals, sculptures… it’s a tour de force of Art Deco and a treasure for everyone who lives in or visits New York.

My friend Kathy was explaining how one of her relatives helped design the mechanism that operates the massive curtain, which has so many different choreographed ways of revealing the stage that it was considered to be a show in itself.  The CURTAIN.

So, it was great to enter at last, to walk down the aisle, approach the stage and hop on to rehearse.  I can tell you it felt very comfortable.  Even in my new shoes.

You’ll see me there, Tuesday night on NBC, 9/8 central!

Published in: on August 4, 2013 at 11:15 am  Comments (1)