Sunday, December 1, 2013

Rust Removal

Saturday November 30th, 2013 – Milwaukee, WI

   I’m back in my home town of Milwaukee for another four week run of “Schlitz Happened! An Old Milwaukee Blatz from the Pabst” at Northern Lights Theater in Potawatomi Casino. I love to perform on that stage, but it’s an adjustment to get myself back in the mode of doing this show.

   The biggest obstacle to overcome up front is length of performance. The casino is expecting 80 minutes which is fine, but that’s significantly longer than the 45-50 minutes most standup shows typically are. That’s a lot of time to fill, and it requires a few times through to establish a groove.

   I had a four week run in April, and that was my main focus then too. I felt myself get smoother with each performance, and I felt it again tonight. It’s a long way from being anywhere close to a finished product, but I have to go through the process and lay a foundation that can be built upon.

   One thing I’ve been doing to prepare for this run is dropping in bits and stories from this show in my standup act over the last few months. They’re personal stories about my life with comedy added, and they fit perfectly with what I was doing. The audiences didn’t know I was practicing, but that’s exactly what I was doing. It paid off tonight as I was able to add those bits seamlessly.

   I had people show up tonight that saw me in April, and they said “I saw you threw in some new material since last time. I liked it.” Mission accomplished. I also threw in some old material I had not done in several years, and that worked too. I put a lot of work into tonight, and will continue.

   This is an ideal situation to shape this show, and I am not taking it lightly. I would never phone it in and cheat either the audience or the casino, but there has to be a place to experiment with the content and order so I can figure out what works best. This will be a constant process for a while.

   It felt really good to pull off the 80 minutes on stage both shows tonight, but that’s just the start of the process. The next six performances over three weeks will involve constant tweaking of the order, and deciding what to add and leave out. This is a workshop, and I’ll do my due diligence.

   On top of all that, I need to get myself out there and promote it. There are several media outlets in town to approach, and I’ll contact Kim Mitschke on Monday to get that process in motion. She is the media liaison for the casino, and really easy to work with. I’m sure she’ll have some ideas.

   I’m glad we didn’t hit it hard promotionally for this first week back. I hadn’t done the show for eight months, and I wanted a chance to get my legs back. There’s always rust to remove, and that was to be expected. Still, we had a respectable turnout and it didn’t stink. That’s all I can ask for.

   The next six shows are going to show significant improvement, and I will do all I can to get out there and put butts in seats. It really is a gorgeous facility, and nobody can complain about ticket prices as admission is free when someone signs up for a Fire Keeper’s card.

   This is exactly the right fit on so many levels. It’s getting me out of the bar gig scene, and into a theater situation which is always better. I know the audience for this show may be limited, but those that get it really love it. I’m going to enjoy the next six shows.

This is a caricature of me drawn by former Milwaukee Journal political cartoonist Bill Sanders. He gave it to me as a gift, and I'm extremely grateful. It's the logo for my show 'Schlitz Happened! An Old Milwaukee Blatz from the Pabst'. It's running the next three Saturdays at Northern Lights Theater in Milwaukee.

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