Friday, May 23, 2008

From the Archives

Saw this video on my old hard drive. This was from almost a year ago, doing a show with Wayne Brady at the Venetian in Las Vegas. It was actually a very fun audience environment scene. When you're in Vegas, you get audience volunteers like this lady who's wearing close to nothing. At SAK, not so much. And, I also get to make a wonderful racist reference to an old Chinese Woman who works in a laundromat. Hope you enjoy this blast from the past.

We're now in official summer vacation mode with the kids out of school for the next (90?) days. We look forward to many fun hours in the pool. I guess I never mentioned on this blog - We got that house we were looking at late last year. We closed on the 17th of December and that night we all camped out on the wood floors and made S'mores in the backyard fire pit. We then moved in on Christmas Eve and had Christmas morning in the new house. Yippee. We still have our other house which we didn't sell.

We've done some fixing and now we're renting it out. House to our good friends Tim and Alice Bass and the apartment to wonderful Denna, our SAK House Manager. We did a good deal of work on the house and apartment in the first part of the year, stepping into the uncharted territory (for us) of home remodeling and general contracting. I guess I would say it all went pretty smooth considering what it might have been, especially knowing as little as I do about renovating. New roofs, new AC/Heat, electric and plumbing updates, new cabinets and some additional remodeling in the apartment as well as redoing the floors. 3 months of time and $45,000 later - whew!! Now we've got to sell it in the next 3 years so we can avoid Capital Gains taxes on the transaction.

Wild Abandon Walker

What's this? Six months since the last post. It better mean a lot has been going on!

Well not really. We moved to a new house on Christmas Day. Since then we've been slowly getting settled in there, and it might take a little longer. Less than 10 days until summer vacation for the kids. Woo Hoo!!

On to today's post. My son Walker recently performed in his school's Variety Show. He fancies himself a dancer - a break dancer not less. This is the video of his performance. Click the play button when you're ready, it's not a photo. What amazes me most about his performance is his utter and complete abandon. He has absolutely no fear. He practiced his moves in our currently unfurnished living room on the wood floor. We convinced him to only try those moves with some sort of padding, so he had us lay out a small carpet. (We actually brought the same carpet to the school for his performance.)

In improv (especially at SAK) we really encourage our performers to play with wild abandon. Obviously we have to consider our own safety. My son hasn't quite got to that point yet. I guess it's going to take a boo boo or two to learn his own limits, but right now he sees stuff on TV, etc. and he just goes for it.

As much as I want our SAK performers to be free enough to flail about we have to be so everlovin' cautious. Of course I don't want our performers to get hurt but when you flail about sometimes there's a bruise, sometimes there might be a little blood. I am so nervous about every little mishap because of Worker's Compensation Insurance. Even the slightest ding, trip or scrape could result in hundreds of dollars in increased Worker's Compensation Insurance costs - not to mention an actual injury. We have to ride a very fine line between "Go for it! Pedal to the Metal! No holds barred!" and "Oh be careful, you might hurt yourself, don't jump on that. Watch out! Eek. Don't do that!" In many instances I have to just put my hand over my eyes and pray.

I've got at least one guy at SAK - Benji Hurlburt - who exhibits much of the same abandon as Walker. (What a great name for a guy who throws himself about - Hurlburt). I love to watch him throw caution to the wind on our stage - the audience loves it too. But I have to say I cringe sometimes and feel that tightening in my intestines when he does. Will he break something or hurt himself? (Benji Hurlhurt) Will he hurt someone else? Will he break our set or our microphone? I'd love to have the freedom and resources not to have to worry about it. The other night on David Letterman, David dropped his Jamba Juice Smoothie. A few minutes later Kevin Spacey came out for an interview and purposely emptied his Jamba Juice all over the set. Was that good or bad? Surely they can clean it up - even put in new carpeting on the set if they have to. Was it worth it for the emotion of surprise we felt or the "Oh my Gosh! Can you believe he just did that?!?!"

Back to my beloved little Walker. I love the concentration he shows on his face. As soon as it's done, you can see the concentration break as he begins to wave. All he needs now is to end up in his underwear or with his shirt off and he'll be just like his old man on the SAK stage.

I believe most of us would do well to take back to at least a portion of that abandon we've lost or given up tucked away due to fear. Throw caution to the wind. Look silly! Do something a little dangerous! Don't worry about what others might think of you. Yesterday on Oprah a therapist took OCD sufferers to a healing boot camp. Part of their journey was to go into a downtown Philadelphia back alley, put their hands inside an old smelly dumpster, run their fingers through their and even lick their fingers. When was the last time you did something insane, wacky, wild, unexpected? Holy Cow - when was the last time I did!!!???

Great job Walker Russell! You're awesome!