Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kids Circus Show and Zoo

For the first (and only?) time, my 3 little ones took part in the Kids Circus Showcase at PSCA.

Here are a couple little moments of Isa's performance:

video video

And Ayla:

And Baz:

(I'll edit a few more snippets together later this week.)

And now a few photos - Greg came home for a very short visit today (less than 24 hours!) - so we took the kids to the zoo.

Isa with one of her beloved zebras.

Ayla with today's favorite, flamingos.

And Baz with a dinosaur statue.

Happy kids! Daddy, a hot sunny day, and the zoo. We got soft pretzels and souvenir toys at the end. Couldn't ask for a better day than that!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Putting our lives in storage

The packing / moving phase is accelerating. My parents came down for the weekend, and with their help, and Anthony's, I rented a storage unit (10' x 15') in a nearby facility, rented a cargo van, and brought over the first round of belongings. It's about half of the furniture we own. A lot of the rest is going to Craig's List or to our Yard Sale (planned for June 12). And then the very last items (dining room set, mattresses) we'll bring over here the day before we leave.

There's still enough room in the storage unit for more, and Greg is hoping to move his show equipment here in September.

I'm glad to be moving forwards, but I have to admit that I've had a new sense of panic this week. Not so much overwhelmed/exhausted - I've been doing a good job of easing out of my work responsibilities and having more time with the kids, and at home. This is a new feeling, a kind of paralysis, looking around and just not knowing what to do.

Fortunately I have a lot of help this week. After the weekend with my parents, Greg will come home for a very short time on Monday (20 hours or so!) and then my sister will come down to visit mid-week.

Just two weeks left in Philadelphia.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Show number....

More TOTEM video footage is making its way to YouTube:

You'll see in that video a segment that they call "High Bar" or "Carapace" where four guys are doing giant swings around bars. It's a beautiful image.

Greg tells me that there is a big white board in the artistic tent, where every day there are notices of any show changes. It also includes information like the temperature and humidity in the tent that day. Greg's favorite part is where it lists the show number - for example, Totem #34. He asked about this - does the number get re-set in each city? The answer is no - it will continue to climb, as the show travels on into the future, till it's into the hundreds, and thousands.

Last week they had rope-climbing practice in the artistic tent - required for anyone who needs to access the stage from the overhead grid. Normally, they are climbing up ladders and scaffolding, not ropes. But they have a rule that anyone who works up there must be able to climb a rope, as a backup. Just about everyone who needs to be up there, of course, can climb ropes with just their hands, upside-down, blindfolded... :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Stuff We Do

Ride the bus.

Climb on things.

Attend preschool musical theater.

Puree vegetables and mix them into favorite foods. This will take a little explanation. Have you heard of this book, Deceptively Delicious? It's written by Jerry Seinfeld's wife. The principle sounds wrong in so many ways - defeated in trying to get kids to each vegetables, Jessica Seinfeld purees all kinds of veggies and sneaks them into her kids' diets.

A little background here - First, I am not a cook. Second - my oldest child, Baz, is in contention for the pickiest-eater-on-the-planet award. I am convinced that the old adage about "if he gets hungry enough, he'll eat it" simply does not apply to Baz... that he would, in fact, starve to death in front of a plate full of fruits and vegetables. According to my parents, I was just as bad, and so I blame genetics. As a result, this is a 7-year-old boy who has never eaten an intact piece of fresh fruit, or a vegetable, outside perhaps a kernel or two of corn, in his entire life. I am often amazed that he continues to function. Shouldn't he have scurvy or something? Do Flinstones vitamins really compensate for 7 years' worth of white and brown foods?

Deceptively Delicious has eased my anxious-mom mind. My boy's favorite dinner now, which he begs for and consumes in mass quantities, is Orange Couscous. This is couscous, mixed with a little bit of butter, and a whole lot of pureed carrots and yellow squash. In a single sitting, Baz now unknowingly consumes nearly an entire squash, and about a 1/3 of a bag of baby carrots. It's the closest thing I've experienced to a Genuine Miracle.

Our second-most consumed recipes from this book are Sweet Potato Pancakes, and Cauliflower-and-Soy Mac N Cheese. Sounds insane, I know, but it actually works for my 7, 5, and 3 year olds. I have to admit though that the Spinach Brownies were a serious mistake.

Who'd have thought that one of the big items I'm going to regret leaving in Philadelphia is a food processor??

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Yay Student Showcases!

We're finished, with a run of 5 fantastic Student Showcases. The full lineup for all 5 days was as follows:

Thursday May 6, 2010

Laurie Lenox

Michele Clark

Victoria Barry

Amy Morrissey

Chris Morrissey

Lynn Sabin

Faye Flam

Kitsie Lundell & Harley Newton

Friday May 7, 2010

Molly Northrop

Lauren Rile Smith

Jennifer Heine

Rachel Greenblatt

Jessica Sullivan

Doug McDonald

T. Lawrence-Simon

Dave Breder & Faye Flam

Saturday May 8, 2010 – 4pm

Sara Duling & Agatha Koprowski

Elysabeth Gelesky

Rebecca Barnes

Becky Harobin

Liz Perri

Amanda Sweeney

Jill LeMin Lee

Christy Gorigoitia-Wittenberg


Liz & Jon Aldinger

Saturday May 8, 2010 – 8pm

Cole Della-Zucca

Becky Soll

Deena Weisberg

Sarah Camp

Sarah Gulish

Sarah Nicolazzo

Eric Michaels

Rose Bonjo & Cole Della-Zucca

Aaron Berman

Sunday May 9, 2010 – 7pm

Group rope

Meg Skill

Amy Russell

Sarah Mitteldorf

Sam Karpinski

Sonia Rosen

Roxy Coughlan

Dave Breder & Faye Flam

I was really, truly amazed by all of the creative work, daring choices, and smooth performances that the students executed this weekend. My emceeing, as usual, left something to be desired, but no one seems to complain. (maybe no one else wants that job!) :) In general, I am just so proud of the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, and filled with all of the love and enthusiasm of everyone working and training there.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Saturday stories

Last night's Student Showcase was equally marvelous, with performances by Molly Northrop (fabric), Lauren Rile Smith (trapeze), Jen Heine (fabric), Rachel Greenblatt (hoop), Jessica Sullivan (fabric), Doug McDonald (trapeze), T. Lawrence-Simon (fabric), and Dave Breder & Faye Flam (doubles trap). Dave and Faye wanted me to announce that their combined age is 96 years. (!!!) They were excellent as always.

It's Saturday, and I spend this morning in a housecleaning frenzy, so that I could show the house to potential renters. Four of them actually showed up - not as many as I originally expected, but still a healthy sample. I am feeling optimistic that we'll find the right person to take care of this place. But it feels so strange, opening the doors like this... after we've lived her over 10 years!

Just talked to Greg about his day. Here is what Greg's schedule is like on Saturdays:

1:00pm-2:00pm training in cone
2:00pm-2:30pm eat
2:30pm-3:00pm makeup (all artists do their own, after plenty of training)
3:00pm-3:30pm check pre-set, props, equipment
3:30pm-3:50pm get into costume
3:50pm-4:00pm animation (pre-show - Greg is in character, milling around the audience)
4:00pm-5:15pm First Act – Greg has to jump in for occasional “cues” onstage
5:00pm-5:15pm costume changes, makeup changes
5:15pm-5:30pm (intermission) warmup in cone
5:30pm-6:30pm Second Act. Greg has a lot of parts in the second act, including his solo.
6:30pm-6:40pm finale (whole cast together on stage)
6:40pm begin process all over again to get ready for 8:00pm show.

...10:40pm, second show finishes. Out of costume, bus, bike, or walk to hotel, back by 11:30pm.

This is what the schedule is like for two-show days (Saturdays and Sundays). Supposedly he'll have more of these as the tour progresses - they're at 8 shows/week now, and should go up to 10 shows/week soon. (adding second shows on Thursdays and Fridays).

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Student Showcases

Tonight was the first of this year's Student Showcases. There will be 5 in total.
The theme tonight was "The Fabric Show!" as all 8 of the acts in the show were on aerial fabric.

I was nervous about how last-minute thrown together everything was feeling. When I arrived at PSCA at 6:30pm, for the 8:00pm show, the curtains weren't hung over the windows. The lights weren't focused or cued. The rigging wasn't set up. Chairs weren't out. The backdrop wasn't up. I started to panic!

But in the next hour and a half, everyone pitched in. Lights were programmed, sound was checked, mats and chairs were all set up. There was no crisis. Everyone worked calmly, and professionally, and supportively. And in the end, putting on the show felt easy.

Some of the best parts:

- Pre-show pow-wow. Looking around at all of these beautiful faces, many of whom have been part of numerous showcases with me. The performers tonight were Laurie Lenox, Michele Clark, Victoria Barry, Amy Morrissey, Chris Morrissey, Lynn Sabin, Faye Flam, Kitsie Lundell and Harley Newton.

- Cleaning out the closet. I've decided that this week is my chance to pull out all the outfits in the back of my closet, dating back to college, which I'm never going to wear again - for one last hurrah. Tonight's was the Little Black Dress.

- Singing happy birthday to Faye.

- Harley hinting that she might move back to Philadelphia if we campaign hard enough.

- the vibe of Robin's support from the back of the room. Since he joined PSCA I've been feeling this huge sense of relief. All of the worries and preoccupations of the circus school are no longer just my responsibility. Robin shares all of it - along with the moments of pride, joy, and excitement. Even though I've certainly never been alone in this process - I have many wonderful colleagues, students and friends in the circus school - this is still a different thing, having a Managing Director. It's pretty awesome.

- Word Up!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Summer weather!

The kids are pretty excited by their new Totem T-shirts, sent from Daddy.

Temperatures reached 90 degrees in Philadelphia today!

We broke out the kiddie pool and the sprinkler, and the girls from across the street joined Baz and Ayla for playtime. video

Trapped in a cone

I just called Greg. He answered me from inside the cone. He keeps his phone with him during his training times, not to answer calls, but to call for help if he needs to get out.

The way the cone is currently set up, outside assistants need to pull the pins to release the panel at the bottom, which he climbs down through.

Greg has complained about this repeatedly - it's an emergency hazard, for one thing, to be stuck in there! - but also just aggravating to him, to always be asking for help to get in and out of the cone. Management has promised him a solution to this at some point - some method for him to be able to at least release the bottom panel from the inside. But this may not happen for a while - they are still trying to handle more-pressing issues with the show, things that aren't working right, and this isn't as urgent.

So, for now, Greg keeps emergency-stage-manager numbers on speed dial, and the phone close by.