Sunday, November 11, 2007

SAKtoberfest was a complete and utter... SAKcess!!

Enjoy a sampling of the music from SAKtoberfest, our 30th Anniversary celebration which took place on October 6th, 2007 across the street from SAK. It was a great day.

What a great time. What great shows! From the SAKtoberfest outdoor festival to the week's worth of shows culminating in some 3 awesome history making shows at the Lab on Saturday night.

Lots of great visits with faces we hadn't seen for many years. The SAKoberfest celebration on Saturday October was one of the most amazing parts of the whole 30th event. You can see some photos of the event. More will be posted and updated in the next couple of weeks. As we approached the date for SAKtoberfest, we were watching the weather reports rather closely. A week out, there was potential hurricane activity to the east of the Lesser Antilles islands. As the days crept closer we saw thankfully that there was enough wind sheer to tear that potential storm up and send the remains well to the south of us. But looming behind it – or beside it was a lot of warm humid air. Rains came late Thursday night and into Friday – and through Friday. The forecast was for more of the same through Saturday and even into Sunday. We made the choice to wait until Saturday morning to see what the weather would do before calling the festival off (which we would have done if it had rained through the morning like it was supposed to. But there was a little break in the clouds right over downtown Orlando so we went ahead with the set up. And then – it didn't rain. It never rained. Not throughout the whole day. There was rain in the area, quite a bit of it actually, but nothing where we were. There was sunshine (as you can see from the photos) and enough cloud cover to keep it from getting beastly hot. I've posted here a video of my time in the dunking booth. The thrower is my son Walker, and as you'll see, he drops his dad on the third throw. (He had some help, but if you watch closely you'll see he had pegged the target anyway and would have soaked his pop even without the helping hand of Herbie)

More on SAKtoberfest later. The SAK staff – Gina DiRoma , Keith Dickerson, John Hunter, and Dana Robbins all did an amazing job to make SAK 30th happen. I'm sure no one attending the weekend had any idea what all they were able to accomplish, but great and powerful and numerous kudos go to all of them. There were also many wonderful additional volunteers but an extra dose of gratitude goes to Jaimz Dillman for an impressive contribution of help as well.

So that kept us all very busy. Since then we've slowed a little, but now, much to our surprise – the Russell's are looking to buy a house! Oh my goodness! We had not been specifically looking but something opened in the market that got our attention, curiosity, and hearts. Although we don't have a deal yet with the sellers, we're hoping the negotiations will be successful. I'm sure I'll have more on that front as it develops.

Friday, August 10, 2007

As Promised

As promised, here's a sampling of my recent show with Wayne at the Venetian in Vegas. This scene is a word at a time story. Click the 'play' button on the control bar to view.

IN OTHER SAK NEWS - I had what has now come to be a rare appearance at SAK on Saturday night (August 11th). Gotta say how delighted I always am when I see the audiences coming out of our shows. I had a great time performing and both the 8 and 10 shows were fun and funny. The 8pm show was completely sold out which warms my heart - for the theater, for the performers, and for the bottom line. Shows and nights like that give me a breath of relief thinking about the next payroll, knowing we'll be able to pay everybody for their hard work and keep the bills current as well. I had family at the 8pm - Morgan's mom Joyce and her husband Bill, a relative from out of town I can't even title - cousin? Grand nephew once removed on mother's side? I don't know, his name was Tim. As well as Morgan's step brother Scott and his friend Holly. They just happened to be there on the same night. They looked at the SAK web site when trying to find something to do Saturday night and saw that I was playing ( - What's On Tonight? - Tonight's Cast). So it was a great night with lots of friendly faces in attendance.

After the shows it made me realize how much fun I have on the SAK stage. I really ought to be there performing more regularly. The other ensemble members I think really come alive when I'm there. Some of it I'm sure is "the boss is here, better shape up" but I like to think some of it is my energy when I'm there is infectious and livens up the place. Everybody was so funny and I had such a good time performing with them and even just sitting on the side of the stage and watching them perform. But the best part is watching and listening to the audience as they're leaving the theater. Everyone seems so filled with joy - exactly what we're after. And seeing the many differences in age, race, etc. is so wonderful. It truly is something that is equally enjoyed by young and old, black, white, asian, hispanic (leave anybody out?), oh yeah, Lithuanian. I love hearing the comments about how refreshing it is to watch a comedy show that isn't filled with profanity, harsh language, and content that makes you feel a little yucky inside. I love to be part of an experience that parents can do with their kids and neither feels awkward with the other there.

A highlight of Saturday's show was the "Slice of Life" - a part of our show dedicated to one individual with the entire cast performing a musical or shakespeare style scene about their life. This moment in our show has become so popular we now charge for it and it's still sold almost every show. Well last night we were performing a Slice for Adrian Matlin, celebrating her 24th birthday. Her boyfriend Kahlil has set it all up and called us earlier in the day and asked if it would be possible for him to propose to Adrian during our show as well. This too has become an increasingly popular event at SAK so of course we were happy to oblige. We performed the scene and at the end found silly excuses to bring Adrian on the stage replacing the improviser playing her, and then did the same for the improviser playing Kahlil. We then just sort of drifted away to the sidelines leaving the two alone on the stage and Kahlil took over, got on his knee, showed the ring and proposed. Thank God Adrian said "Yes." We do have it on tape and I'll probably get a piece of it posted sometime soon.

Enough for now. Look for more video from my Vegas show with Wayne Brady in the near future.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

LIVE! in Italy - I Mean Vegas...

Got to do another show with Wayne - this time at the Venetian. Looks like Italy, but it's Vegas. Complete with gondola rides, singing gondoliers, and a 25,000 sq. ft. casino. Just like in Venice. Wayne's got a 3 to 6 month engagement there. 5 shows a week, Thursday through Sunday. Jonathan had other business and I was available. As usual I love doing the Wayne shows. It's a little more energy to fly in day of, do the show that night, and fly out the next morning, but it's always good to pick up these opportunities when I can. The shows are fun and it's great to see Wayne, as well as Cat and Trent (his permanent band members). The room is actually really good for improv. Wayne does some straight song and dance in this show, as well as a bunch of improv.

When I go to Vegas I always cruise the casino floor, but never seem to have the energy to lay some money down. Really can't afford to lose anything, so I just watch.

One good thing of note - this time I was able to get some video of the show, so in subsequent posts look for some video trinkets featuring me - (and Wayne) of course - in the show. For now, all I have is this little slide show of some pics from the show.

Enjoy, and look for those videos - right here - very soon...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Time Ain't on My Side

Another long pause between posts. This one was filled partially with an excellent summer vacation. Having learned some valuable lessons from last year's summer vacation, this year would be even smoother. I discovered - wait, I didn't discover at all - I only confirmed - wait, I've been confirming this in many ways for many years, so I guess this is the first admission. I'm incredibly anal retentive. I'm not compulsive (I don't think). But boy, I'm a stickler for certain things.

Here's the thing. I want everything to be like it is in movies. In movies, everything is always perfectly set up. In fact, directors and DP's go to great lengths to make the shot look just right. So when we go to the beach, I want it to be just right.

In order to enjoy a week at the beach, one needs convenient and efficient protection from the sun. Last year it was beach umbrellas, and to make sure they don't blow over when the wind kicks up, you bring in the umbrella pole auger anchors. You twist them and they drill/burrow into the sand and will hold your umbrellas. But I remember when the clouds came in and the winds kicked up - it was still hard to maintain them an entire day. Along with that there was the cabana. A little tricky to set up, what with the wind you get at the beach and all those "convenient collapseable rods, but it offered us a little space to store beach accoutrements throughout the day. Another drawback, this beach camp took about an hour to set up, and about the same to take down. Granted, we kept it up all day while we went back and forth from pool to beach, but I would usually get a good start on a burn just with the set up. A good workout though, with all the sweat lost.

So this year it was going to be different. Went to Wal-Mart, picked up one of those portable canopies - certain I could set it up and take it down by myself, a nice big-wheeled cooler and some more canvas chairs. Not as easy to set up by ones self as I had imagined, but I worked it out. (The canvas top acts like a giant sail with the wind coming in off the water especially at the end of the day.) And when all was said and done, it was easier to set up than last year. Set up time on New and Improved Beach Camp - 35 minutes. And easier to camp out in. This sucker wasn't going to blow away. We wouldn't have to chase down umbrellas.

For further protection from the sun this year and to avoid body boarding sand burns, we all got rashguard swim shirts - a GREAT investment if you're planning a week at the beach and you want to keep the impact of the sun down.

This year's beach camp was more convenient, relaxing and efficient. I was pleased and all the extra anal retentive work and planning paid off. I want things as picture perfect as possible, even if it takes a little (or a lot?) of extra work on my part.

This makes for wonderful and impressive outcomes generally, but it grabs so much of my time scheming, planning, executing, then inevitably troubleshooting when it doesn't go as I'd planned and now being too stubborn to give up, I end up spending way too much extra time solving the puzzle. And I almost always seem to solve the puzzle. I did this one.

Beach camp was cool this year. We had a great week. I wish we could have stayed longer. I think I'd be very content just to be with Morgan, Marina and Walker all day long. I like doing stuff with them - like living at the beach. Even being at home (our second week) and finding fun stuff to do is quite enjoyable.

I think I would make a good professional vacationer.

Don't be shy - crank up the volume for some beachin' tunes.

Friday, May 18, 2007

What? Me Bloggy?

It always seems like there’s so much to say and yet it seems so difficult to get some of it down on blog paper. The Monster show is finally open and things have supposedly lightened up a little bit but I’m still running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Many of my ongoing Disney assignments are simultaneously training subs in, so I’m still in the run around mode. Recent happenings of note:

The Re-election Blues

Mayor Buddy Dyer is running for re-election, and Keith, Darren and I went to a fundraising event he had at Urban Think Bookstore in Thornton Park. I was pleased that the Mayor remembered the SAK appearance at CityKidz fondly and was impressed he even remembered my name. He greeted us warmly and said “hey, after I say a few words, I should bring you guys up.” Of course I replied “yes Mr. Mayor, whatever you like.” He did. – “Hey my good friends from SAK are here, and maybe they’ll entertain us with a little comedy…” Don’t you just love set ups like that? We were very glad to oblige of course and ended up getting from the Mayor challenges he’s likely to face during his re-election bid – “Protestors!” were the first words out of his mouth, referring to the crowd that had formed outside waving soup ladles and protesting the city’s ordinance against public feeding of groups larger than 25 people. We sang the Re-Election Blues incorporating that and other suggestions and it was a hoot. There ought to be a video of that impromptu improv performance right here on this blog. In this day of cell phones with video cameras you’d think it would be easy. But here we all were in the ‘show’ - all with camera cell phones – but how do you get someone to work your camera phone without being horribly obvious and opportunistic in front of the Mayor. This is one example where “Baratelli Balls” would come in handy. Mark to his credit would have no qualms about saying “wait a minute, let’s get this for YouTube!," and hand someone his camera phone. As a final note on the story, there was an article in the paper (see it here) about the event. They mentioned the protestors, and had a photo, but no photo or mention of us. On Keith's suggestion, next time we do something like this we'll protest and the protestors can serenade the Mayor.

SAK’s Future Home?
We’re cautiously optimistic to be in discussions with the Downtown Arts District and a downtown developer for a potential new and permanent home for SAK. More on that as it develops. This deal is still a year and a half to two years down the road, but seems promising. Even though great number of snags and/or changes could come in 18 months, it is nevertheless very exciting to proceed down this path.

SAK Escort Service?
Well, not exactly. But one of our past Lab Rats showed up in the paper as a defendant in a criminal investigation for such a thing! That’s right, turns out she was like our local Heidi Fleiss, running an escort service that was really a front for a “full service car wash,” where 'car' is a metaphor for um, people, like famous sports figures and ‘wash’ is a metaphor for, um, well, you get the picture. Gives the phrase “in the SAK” a whole new meaning. Here’s the story: “Lab Rat in the SAK now in the Clink.” Once again, not even 1 mention of SAK.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Where Oh Where Has My Little Dave Been

Wow. I just looked at my blog and the last entry was September 2006. That's over 8 months ago. (Not very good at math). This is maybe the first time since then I've had a chance to post an entry. Why so long? And what's been keeping me? Well, most of September was taken preparing for rehearsal for Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club at Disney. That is a show I'm directing for Disney which will open in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom. There will be much more on that in the next several posts, but suffice it to say, it has had me full-time busy since the first of October.

We were scheduled to open in mid-January but postponed the opening until "the Spring of 2007." That's vague enough, eh? In addition to that there's been lots of other stuff going on with SAK, etc. Last week I looked at a few potential new venues for SAK so all that will be in the MeBloggyBloggy news over the next several weeks.

This weekend I was actually afforded some breathing room. I am in Tempe Arizona where the breathing is physiologically easier. I'm doing some shows with Wayne Brady at the Tempe Improv and we've just finished our last shows for the weekend. The shows as always are very fun and the crowds are great - every show sold out! Yippee!

Certainly more fun news to come (and more regularly) as time unfolds. Yesterday I did an interview with Mark Baratelli for his Arts podcast show, I'll have a link to that up as soon as possible.

I'm back in Orlando tomorrow and have one more show with Wayne - a corporate gig at the Gaylord Palms. Then back to work at the Monsters Inc. show.