Sunday, November 8, 2009

Austin City Limits

Well, here I am in Austin, Texas. My dog, 'Baby', looks at me everyday with a forlorn look on her face, I think she misses the wide open spaces of Boulder, but she is great company for me, and she gets me out walking. We are staying in a cheap motel until we can find a house or apartment, which I've been searching for from the day I arrived. Like LA, Austin has lots of traffic, but with a great downtown area, filled with western stores and cowboy bars, a perfect place to do 'Bohemian Cowboy'.

The theatre I'm performing in is small, seventy seats, (The Hyde Park Theatre) but, it is a well known theatre thats been around a long time. I went down Friday and met the artistic director, Ken Webster, and we had a great visit and had lots in common. Unlike San Francisco, the theatre personal here are mature and savvy, with a fully equipped theatre, which is ready to go. Although there is another show running simultaneously with mine, the space can be cleared in five minutes to put my show up. Since I left my furniture pieces in San Francisco, (thought I'd be going back down) I have to search for a chair, two tables, and two stools. As always, I scan the streets looking for Thrift Stores and used furniture stores, to get what I need. The only immediate glitch (besides finding a place to live) is getting a new radiator, as my deer smashed front end is finally showing its damage. It started out with a little hole which has grown larger with the long thousand mile trip to get here. So here it is, once again, with a few bucks in my pocket and a show, the 'life' I've pretty much always lived, so I don't feel the desperation, one gets used to getting out of jams.

Marie, (my producer in LA) has let me know there are two producers coming opening night, so the pressure is already on. I've yet to go through the script again, will start that tomorrow, with an opening a week from Tuesday. Although my performance nights are a little strange, (Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday), it will leave the weekends open to look for work as a honky tonk singer, although I've heard they don't pay much in Austin. If I can find a gig in a restaurant, however, I can do pretty well with tips. (Thank you Hell's Backbone Grill and Blake!) Its always a little daunting to go out and hustle that kind of work, when in Austin, if you 'throw a brick you hit a musician'. Even though there are about six hundred venues, the competition is fierce. I'll just have to compete. Rustin Reber is coming down in a week, (the technical director for my show) and also one hell of a guitar player, we'll join forces and see what we can come up with. Like so many of my endeavors, its the idealism that gets me here, its the reality that I have to contend with--maybe I live in an alternate universe. Combining the two is the key, I suppose, keeping the hope alive with one foot on the ground, sometimes, however, the ground seems a little rocky and with such a slope!

Friday, I went to see my friends, Lucy and Donnie. They live in the beautiful hill country of West Austin. Lucy has agreed to be my house manager for my shows, and she is a great hostess. They live in high up on a hill, in a beautiful home. If I can't find a place of my own in the next couple of days, they have agreed to let me stay there for a few days. Lucy used to live in Phoenix, and I did lots of theatre with her, from Terry Earp's 'Skimpies', to the 'Man With the Lady Like Hands'. I saw her act in a production of Genet's 'The Maids' in Phoenix for I theatre, which still stands out as one of my favorite Phoenix productions. Lucy came into my acting class in 1998, and until both her and I moved away, she had been in many shows that I either directed or acted in. She did 'Mamah', another one of my favorites, which was the story of Frank Lloyd Wright's second wife who was murdered along with her children by their gardner. It was a grand production, (written by Nick Newberry, a great friend and architect), it taught me a lot about architecture, which I still keep with me to this day.

Well, its time to fill up my radiator and look at some places I found on Craigslist. I'll let you know how it goes, as its time to start the process of blogging my adventures. Once again, the odds seem a little impossible today, but then that seems pretty normal for me. I'm feeling pretty 'bohemian' right now, but the day is full of possibilities and surprises... talk to you soon.


Gerry said...

Whew, well the only thing I can say is that in these times with so many jobs lost the bohemian lifestyle seems a plus because it teaches people they can survive anything. I see what you are up against but glad you made it to Austin with that radiator. You had best send me an address soon so I could send a few bucks to contribute to expenses. So you will be running the show three weeks then? I am glad you posted. We need to keep track of you and Baby. You have got a lot of nerve, son, I must say that for you, but I remember the Playwright Workshop days with a lot of scrambling for some funds to keep going. Baby is probably thinking now what is this all about? Producers. Tell Lucy hello. Did you see Brenda's comment on Facebook that Allen Lea lives there, too. Guess you will soon have a poster for us to show where the theater is and times. Really sounds exciting to me. Well, back in the days of our pioneer ancestors, they always said do a little praying and your needs will be met! And do it for art's sake. There are not too many risking the odds to do an original show. Always a gamble. But so exciting in the doing.

TJ in Boulder said...

Hey buddy - We miss you and baby, but glad to see you've made it to Austin. Directing lots of positive energy your way. Send your address and I'll contribute to the radiator fund. I just got my first SS check and have a little extra each month. It has been particularly beautiful here for the last 2 weeks and quiet now that the season is ending.

caroline said...

Glad to see you've landed. BTown misses you, fer shure. May the mountains become molehills, toot sweet.
Oh. And at our writers' meeting tonight Cheryl read her suite of 10 poems written about her recent Colorado river trip. if she hasn't read them to you get her to send them. They are wonderful and powerful. said...

I was happy to see your blog from Austin, Texas.. Couldn't you call
a wrecking yard for a radiator? They can actually make sure that it is good...we have done that before. It might be worth the phone call!
I can just see that dog wondering 'what the??' They can look very puzzled. I have Sid, Jason's dog, on my lap. Lola is in her cage resting...I just got a call from Marge and Merrill Taylor
they are in town.

LaRena said...

Hey there Raymond. So you are a Texas Bohemian now huh? Hope you have enough coins to buy plenty of kibbles to last. That will the most important thing to baby, besides your love. I'm sure she has got that. She's very cute and anyone who will go on the road of uncertainy with Their dog has a loving heart for sure. Of course we have always known that about you and admire your nerve to persue the art with little security. I feel in my bones that you will be much appreciated in the land of many cowboys. Dont throw any bricks, and all will be well. Many people wish you the best and this creates a big ole cloud of positive energy for you to draw on.