Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Little Down Time...For Now!

Hey Folks!  After a whirlwind Wild and Willey Tour through Florida, I took a little break in beautiful Marco Island, Florida.  I have been coming down to this beautiful part of Florida for many years to the Southwest Florida SoapFest, run by my friend Pat Berry.  I have had the honor of being the "auctioneer" as we raise tons of money to help with autism services in this area.

Pat's one of the creator's of a new community theatre group on Marco Island, the "Island Players".  Pat know I love community theatre and have a theatre in my hometown of Ottawa, IL so she invited me to be on the Advisory Board.  I was only too happy to say "Yes!"  She asked me if I'd come to the last week's rehearsal to give them a "fresh eye" on the play.  Again, it was my pleasure!

These folks had worked really hard and only needed an audience.  I cleaned up a couple of spots, gave a few notes and they opened to fabulous reviews!  I'm so proud to be a part of this!  Thank you all!  And keep up the good work...I'll see you soon!

While in (or is it on?) Marco Island, friends set me up in a great apartment at the Esplanade.  What a great place!  My digs overlooked the pool and the bay...not too shabby!  I spent the days either in the      sun or working madly on new material for the DVD I'm going to shoot next week in Jackson, TN...that's right..."Jackson" in Jackson!

Stan's from the water...nice!
My hosts took me to Goodland, FL to a place called "Stan's".  It was right on the water and it was Opening Day.  What a blast!

Stan's a good ol' boy of indeterminate age but clearly will never see 70 again, and maybe not 80!  He likes to kick things off with the l-o-n-g-e-s-t version of the Star-Spangled Banner I've ever heard!  I mean, this thing went on forever!  Soaring vocals and writhing orchestra, turning back on itself in a seeming finale only to swoop again!  If they tried something like this at a baseball game, there'd be a riot! Seriously, folks would be throwing the wieners and beer about halfway through!

Stan and me!

But, hey, Stan clearly does things his way and he is a patriot, pure and proud.  He's been known, from time to time, to harangue people not standing at attention with their hands over their hearts for this marathon National Anthem...good for you, Stan!  It's your place, your rules!  Stan likes to tell stale jokes during the band's breaks and asked me if I'd like to tell a couple.  Much as I love getting up on stage there was no way I was going to try to follow that act!  God bless you Stan, and thanks to all the kind folks I met that afternoon...what a great bunch!

The Andean Bear
It was on to Chicago yesterday and some of the most beautiful Fall weather I've ever seen.  A great day for a walk so I headed for the Lincoln Park Zoo.  I've always enjoyed zoos and can stand for long periods of time just watching the animals, especially the great apes.  They have some beautiful chimps and lowland gorillas there and time just slipped away as I watched my "cousins" cavort.  As I was leaving, I saw this stunning creature to the left, enjoying the beautiful weather as much as I and posing for anyone who wished to capture his image.  He's an Andean bear, the only bear of South America and the least carnivorous bear in the world.  That really made me want to pet him!  But I took a look at those claws and any fantasy of rolling around with this bruin quickly vanished!

As I write this, I'm in Dayton, OH getting ready for my shows here tomorrow and Friday (10/6-7) at Wiley's Comedy Club! That's right, it's "Wild and Willey" at Wiley's! What are the chances of that?  Come on out!  I'm getting material ready for taping my new comedy DVD next week and it's gonna be a blast!  See you there!

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