Monday, May 13, 2013

And No One Came. But we still Happened.

I woke up with a hell of a headache and an I-Ate-Too-Much-Wendy's-Late-At-Night racing heartbeat...and a mix of joy, sadness, and Did-I-Swallow-A-Bag-Of-Cottonballs in my soul...I don't know if it's good or bad...but I know I love it so...I'm a little bit country...wha? Where the fuck? 
Lord. 
This girl was NOT born to drink. 
Surprisingly. 
I have wrestled with whether I was gonna write this or not since 8:00pm last night.
And a mighty match it was...
BUT, in the end, I decided I would... in the interest of science... experimenting... the arts in Canada... the fucking Maple Leafs... Survivor finale... and Mother's Day...and Donny and Marie...I don't know why Donny and Marie...you can ask the bottle of Pinot Grigio that I drank last night...the liver wants what it wants, people.
The bane of this last few months in Toronto for me has been finding a balance. A balance of how to fill houses when you are doing more than one project a month...wait...more than one project in three months...it is a problem/thing/conundrum (SP? I don't effing care...you know what I mean) that never goes away...I have written about it numerous times...and it still boggles my mind...I have commiserated with artists from Rick Miller to Maggie Cassella....Brendan Healy to Louise Pitre...from across the ocean to right here at home...it is the mathematical equation that NO one can quite figure out...shows get amazing reviews...killer word of mouth and then? 40% houses.
It can make one want to quit it all...sell everything...and go to Tofino...and live off the land...as long as there is an outlet for my hair straightener...a girl has to have limits. 
I mean, I am not a fucking barbarian.
I have had great houses this year...I have been very lucky...I have done A LOT of projects so I am very thankful...and I have worked hard on getting bums in seats...as I am sure anyone on my email list, my FB friends, the people who FOLLOW me (this is a term that freaks me out) on Twitter will attest to the fact that I am out there...there is a constant worry about over saturation.... sigh... worry... sigh... tension... sigh...saturation...and when people come, great happiness occurs AND  then the tiny brain worm of "What about next time?" when the curtain comes down.
It is just the truth.
Can you tell what I am leading up to?
I don't actually know if you can.
I love the idea of The Happening. 
I surely do.
ALL these different artists...telling stories a different way...meeting each other in the dressing room and exchanging ideas...pondering new collaborations...it is very exciting to me.
And the first one in March was light in the audience... BUT they were mighty and appreciative and the performers were stellar.
And May...well, the artists I had lined up were so amazing and interesting....
AND we were the Critic's Pic in the Now Magazine....
And when my dear George, ever the bearer of bad news to me (AND GOOD NEWS...but when there is bad news to be told everyone makes him do it  because...let's face it...he has made it throught 20 years with me so he has to have some tricks up his sleeve)  came to the dressing room at 7:55pm to tell me that NO ONE was in the audience...I just about shit.
No one.
On the night of the Leafs thing...the Survivor Finale...and Mother's Day...no one came out to see this amazing night of music and laughter.
Lord...the embarrassment...the horror...the sadness...the shock...it was like when I rented "Hostel" on Rogers-On-Demand....the horror...I couldn't look away.
It was everything I have always been afraid of.
And it...Happened.   
No loud noise...no trumpets...there won't be trumpets...just a dull drop in the gut.  
Huh.
What do you say?
Everyone had rehearsed... made the trip... did the soundcheck... put on their glad rags... and there we were.
Standing at the bar...looking a bit shell shocked...everyone was great about it... but, again, I couldn't help but feel responsible...  Lord.
That is when Jason White, who was playing the piano for the awesome Van Abrahams said, "Well a Happening is where a bunch of artists get together and perform for each other...and jam...we should do that..."
Huh.
So, we did...and it was quite magical...a lot of people who weren't scheduled to perform got up and did their thing...Jazz who is a wonderful Hip Hop artist (and happens to run the tech in the Cabaret space) got up and jammed to a beat that Cooch laid down...yes, I said hip things there... Helene, who is the wife of Patricia in Crackpuppy got up and sang Danny Boy... Michael who runs Statlers... who DID show up, cried a tear as she sang... Cooch sang Georgia, holding a beer in his hand while Jason improvised on piano...and Wendy sang Bacharach and told a story about how much she loved the old time variety shows...Van sang from the show 'Songs of Freedom' that he had written... Crackpuppy tore the place down...and then...because I had been drinking a wee bit...I got up with them and screamed notes I don't usually scream as we all sang "Should I Stay or Should I Go"...there was laughter...joy...the dry ice machine was pumping...and we appreciated each other's talent.
We talked about the time the Barenaked Ladies first performed in LA to a totally empty room...about the documentary that showed Jann Arden handing out her own flyers on a corner in NYC for her show...about people in Edinburgh performing with 3 people in the audience...with one of those three people being a reviewer.
I still felt a little sad in my heart...I still do ... BUT we made the best of a bad situation...and we laughed it off with true Canadian style.
And I drank a lot of Pinot Grigio.
Huh.
I don't know the future of this event that I truly believe in. 
But I will not let it weigh my soul down for too long.
I hesitate (or don't, really...you all know me) to say I have one more gig this month...yup...I do...and it is one of my fave gigs in town...I sit and sing...and tell stories...and, in honour of Betty Buckley reminding me how much I love musical theatre I will be trotting out some musical theatre tunes...but after that...THAT IS IT for a while.  
This girl has OBVIOUSLY gotta take a moment, people.
WAIT!!! Don't feel bad for me all you wonderful readers...I can take it...it will pass...I do believe in the talent and our audiences in Canada...and that we seem to be totally thrilled that our hockey team is doing something special in their category OR whatever...and that we all REALLY love Survivor (I do...) and our mothers. These are all good things...
I thank the fabu talent that came out last night from the bottom of my heart...and thank them for sharing it like we were being all artsy like at the Burning Man or something.
And Shelley, who we would never ask to do stand up in a room with 10 people in it...who's dear husband ran over to pick her up on a commercial during the sporting event...WE LOVE YOU!! Thank you for showing us your monkey...underwear!!
Here is a link to the tickets for my gig on May 31st at the Flying Beaver Pubaret...my long time friend and cabaret mentor, Mark Cassius will be guesting.

Oh, the fun we will have.
No matter who comes.
:)
Well, people, I have to go and find my car....
Here are some shots from last night's AWESOME Happening.....

 
Cooch!!!

Crackpuppy!!!

Helene

Jazz!!

Van and Jason!!!

Wendy!!!
 
 
  
 
  

  
 
 

4 comments:

Michael Mackid said...

Well said love :) I think the "still happened" part is the most important part. I bet you that 40% was still very touched and loved the show.

MK said...

Thanks for making me feel bad about going to see Falsettos last night.

I love the idea of The Happening. The problem is that there's so much good stuff going on!

Sharron Matthews said...

I don't wanna make anyone feel bad about anything. Just telling the story as it was. Happy that people attend the theatre.

Michelle Giardine said...

That's tough Sharron. Been there myself. 8 of US. TWO of THEM!

What we did for love eh?