Monday, December 26, 2011

Ah, the Season is Upon Us!

"Happy Holidays!" to All!

A gallery door on Canyon Road.
Getting warm around a farolito!
I write this while on the Crystal Mesa Farm in Santa Fe, NM where we had a beautiful - and very white! - Christmas.  There is a tradition here, the walk on Canyon Road, which we had not done in some years. Many of the galleries that Santa Fe is known for are on this road and the owners make bonfires (farolitos) and every flat surface is lined with luminarias (paper bags with sand to hold them down and a lit candle in side for illumination).  Cider, cocoa, and coffee - and I suspect a few flasks - are offered around and Christmas cheer holds sway!

That's (L to R) Me, daughter Merit, and Marie. Chance was off canoodling with his girlfriend.
That's a luminaria to the right of Marie. Hundreds, thousands of those are everywhere!  Such a beautiful tradition!

Chance strums his new ukelele!
Merit and her only "non-tech" gift!
After enjoying the walk we headed home to have our Christmas dinner and unwrap a few gifts...

Merit's all about photography these days, so Photoshop was in her pile, as well as a new digital camera!

Chance is writing songs these days and is becoming quite adept with - are you ready for this - a ukelele!

I've been doing my family's Holiday cards (and mine before that) for over thirty years but for the past few years my talented kids have joined in the process!

Merit, my thirteen-year-old computer genius daughter, decided to run the show this year.  At our first snowfall in December, she instructed me to take a picture of our buddha.  She put it through mysterious and wonderful processes on her computer, then asked me to ink the result.  And below is the finished product!  Hope you enjoy it!

Our Holiday Card for 2011...I think Merit did a heck of a job, don't you?
And I hope you enjoy this Holiday Season!  For me - and many of us, I think - 2011 was a year of much change; some good, some bad and some for which the jury is still out!  So let's enjoy this time of fellowship, kindness and generosity and embrace the New Year with wonder and excitement!

All my love and respect...


Next up: the making of Wild and Willey: "Jackson" LIVE in Jackson!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Pause for a Cause...and "A Tribute to Pine Valley"!

Hey Folks!  Back at it here, and will soon be blogging about "Jackson" in Jackson (Tennessee, that is) and the very interesting two-night shoot for my new Comedy DVD at the South Street Comedy Club.  But first...

You know what...
Lots in the news regarding All My Children and ABC Daytime in general.  For you folks who are yet to receive the sorry word (and remember, I'm only the messenger!) All My Children and One Life to Live will not continue via the world wide web.  No, indeed.  Prospect Park realized that lack of funds and the obstacle of trying to reduce union protections and benefits that were hard won over many, many years was too much to overcome and backed off.  Too bad.  Such an exciting idea!

You know who...
In other news, Brian Frons is out as President of ABC Daytime.  All I have to say about this is: this man was not the devil and it takes more than one middle-management executive to destroy the viability of such an iconic genre as the "soap opera", which - internationally - is one of the most predominant of  dramatic artforms broadcast.

So.  What happened?  The audience watching in real time was quickly dwindling.  Costs were going up.  The advertising rate (based on viewership in real time) was falling.  Not a viable business model anymore.  The daytime dramas had gone from being the "cash cow" of ABC (it is told that ABC Daytime - in its heyday - paid for ABC News and ABC Sports!) to not able to pay for itself!  ABC wanted to get out of the business.  It was no longer profitable and - to their collective mind - couldn't be saved.

But I cannot believe that no one saw this coming.  Could it be that the ABC Daytime division was so provincial in its thinking, so naive as to the future of broadcast technology, had such bad business people making decisions as to totally ignore the opportunity to move this incredible demographic of viewers to the internet themselves?

This demographic group possesses such an attractive profile; they are often "empty nesters" with expendable income, they have a "brand loyalty" that hardly exists anymore, and they are dedicated and vocal!  Why "walk away from them", shoving them out of the car on the side of the road, throwing their money-stuffed satchel out after them?  Can ABC - or any other network afford - not only financially but also in terms of public relations - to turn their corporate, stockholder-owned backs on these folks?  Time will tell, I guess.

What could have been done?  Lots, in my opinion.  This trend in audience loss (again, in real time) had been going on for a while. Building an internet presence with "web-isodes" and alternate endings, interviews and interaction with the actors; basically "easing" the viewers to internet familiarity and access would have given the show a chance to survive...maybe not on television, but certainly not just gone!

So now, what is next for fans of All My Children?  Boy, I wish I knew.  Because that is the shame of all this.  The fans and followers of All My Children - who have been a part of my life for over 25 years - are left in the lurch, for the time being, at least.  In my quarter of a century of doing appearances, comedy dates, hosting gigs, Super Soap Weekends, and guest spots, and I have never once been ashamed to be part of the Daytime community, to say, nice and loud: these folks are our fans!

Doing "Here in Pine Valley" at the
South Street Comedy Club during
the taping of the new comedy DVD!
Since the show ended production, I have been on the road doing comedy, hosting fundraisers, working on many projects.  I have met with fans (some of whom have become actual friends) before and after my shows and these events, and it's been a blast!  
Hanging, signing for, and posing with
fans after the show...from the video
shoot for my new comedy DVD!

But the most fun I've ever had - including the ten Super Soap Weekends of which I was privileged to be a part- were the "A Tribute to Pine Valley" events we did in New York City, Central New Jersey and Long Island, NY!  Truly!  To walk out onto that stage in front of two-thousand people who love you is thrill enough, but to see what it meant to you all, how thrilled we all were to be in our community again, was truly, honestly, electrifying!  And we have hopes, dreams and plans to do it again.  And again.  And AGAIN!

That's me to the left, getting ready to introduce the "boys"...L to R: Vincent, Jacob, Darnell, Cameron and Michael!
Being with these guys, all of whom I love, to entertain and meet you, was one of the best experiences of my life, bar none.  It humbled me to know how much this meant to you for us to come out - especially during this time - and be with you.  And it gave everyone of us the greatest feeling; to know how much All My Children and the characters we played mean to you, as well as to see the outpouring of emotion toward us, the lucky actors who inhabited these roles.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And we're doing it again!

That's right, the "boys" - that is, Darnell Williams, Jacob Young, Vincent Irizarry, Cameron Mathison, and me, Walt Willey, are back on the road!  And with us we bring: the incomparable Alicia Minshew (who's just "one of the boys"anyway, believe me!) to join in the fun!

And this time we're coming to the beautiful Midwest! Here's where we'll be:

Fox Cities PAC
Green Bay/Appleton, WI
January 13
Riverside Theater
Milwaukee, WI
January 14
Rosemont Theatre
Chicago, IL
January 15

We all had so much fun; the actors, the fans...everybody!
Please join us for this incredible event!
We'll see you there!!

"A Tribute to Pine Valley"
and here are some places to go and things to see:
For more information please call

Friday, December 2, 2011

Into the South...Nashville!

My apologies, first off, for not keeping this blog up as I had told myself - and you - I would.  I have never really been on the road for two months (okay, I was home for a quick four days) and it was a bigger deal than I had thought.  Not the promoting, nor the performing or the after-show meeting and greeting; that's never a's what it's all about, after all!

It's the bloody travel!  I'm old enough to remember when travel, especially air travel was an exhilarating adventure, not a tedious chore at best.  At worst, it's just hideous.

"Saying it and feeling better" at the
pre-show Meet and Greet and Q&A
Even driving.  Now, I'm a big fan of the road trip.  In the old days it was an opportunity for a "Hunter Thompson-esque" free-for-all.  Now days, I'd just like to get there in one piece listening to satellite radio the whole way.

Basic driving rule: if you're not going at least 10mph over the speed limit, stay the hell out of the passing lane!  There: I said it and I feel better....

Okay.  Back to Nashville!

After a busy but refreshing time in Chicago and Ottawa, Illinois, I was braced and ready for the next leg of the Wild and Willey Comedy Tour 2011.  Nashville is a town for which I've felt an affinity for a long time.  Too often I'm in a town for too short a time to really enjoy it.  This was the case in Nashville.

In past trips, I've seen the Grand Ol' Opry, Ernest Tubbs' store, heard the kick-ass music spilling out of the bars (only to find myself inside a few of them, lured by the music, don'tcha know?), but this trip I had other things on my mind: namely, the shoot in Jackson, TN that was looming in the very near future.  It was to be the first DVD I've done of my comedy act since Hector was a pup (and he's a big dog now!) and I wanted everything right.  I worried about content and the audience response, about working with a crew I don't know.  I wrote and refined new material.  I was content to just hang out in my room.

My room before Hurricane Walt hit!
Zanies, wherever that club may be, always does things classy, and this time was no exception.  I had perfect room for hanging in. The Hutton has great potential, but it's young (hip?) crew can be a little long on attitude and short on working knowledge.  Oh Lord, how old am I, to be making a comment like that?  Yipes!

Anyway, I looked out the window of my room and nashville beckoned.  I've had some good food in N'ville, so headed out to put on the feedbag.  I didn't have far to go...

Yum! This was good!
The Mambu Restaurant (in a funky blue house on Hayes Street, walking distance from the Hutton ) was quite a find.  I grabbed a seat in a small booth in the Hideaway Bar and Grill, allowed myself a cocktail from the incredible list (a truly grand martini) and settled in for a superb meal in a really fun atmosphere; think Island Funky meets Country Fried and your just about there!  I had the calamari (delicious) and the corn fritters (who doesn't like fritters?) and the beet and orange salad (so good!).  Anita, the owner (I believe) was a fabulous and gracious host and the place was fairly full (it was late...I got there just before the kitchen closed).  This was on a Tuesday night; I can only imagine this place on a weekend!

It pays to wander out into the night, it seems.

The next night brought the show at Zanies.  The turn out for the meet and greet prior to the show was a small, but very dedicated bunch of fans.  These Q&As are so much fun for me and with AMC's cancellation and the Prospect Park issue a-broiling, folks had lots of questions.  I added some behind the scenes stories, talked about my family, let these folks know how deeply their devotion is felt by myself and all of the Daytime family.

Making a point...about what I have no idea.
These images are taken off video, by the way...
That's why they look the way they do.

Onstage at Zanies in Nashville!
And then came my show!  I truly believe that live performance is the most magical, intimate experience that performer and audience can share.  I got to try out some new stuff (Jackson and the shoot always on my mind) and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  And the audience seemed to as well, judging from your comments that night and on my Facebook sites ( and

Thanks so much for coming out...I love you all!

Next up: "Jackson" in Jackson!