I'm in Illinois and I'm working.
We had a go-zillion storms and yes...tornadoes here most all of yesterday which somehow made me feel even more like the move to Vegas was the right idea. I just get the feeling that Illinois doesn't want me here anymore.
That being said, my luck did get a tad better when I picked up a VERY last-minute gig at about 8 PM last night. As it happened he guy who was flying in to do this show got stuck by all the crappy weather and his flight was diverted to Columbus, Ohio. Enter Andy Martello to save the day (and rejoice at the thought of extra cash to bring home).
I have one two-hour gig tomorrow and then I head back on Sunday, assuming nothing else comes up.
I have three more job interviews scheduled for the first two days of next week. They all seem to be fairly promising and one MAY be somewhat entertainment-related, but I'm not holding my breath. All told, I'm not all that eager to get a "real job" again, but it is a necessity right now and some of he ones on the hopper will at least be involved in things I enjoy. At the very lest, should any of these interviews turn into offers I can avoid taking the higher-paying job I would HATE. Here's hoping for something even better to come along the road.
Working on a letter of proposal to the Las Vegas Review-Journal hoping to snag a gig writing a weekly column detailing the many differences to life in Vegas compared to life in Chicago. They'll surely turn me down, but I do write a good letter. Golfwidow may even get a look at it before I send it. She send stuff out all the time and she's kind of my hero ya know.
New Podcrapular...sometime soon?
I've got a ton of marketing to do as well and a few more contacts to try and exploit - uh, utilize. Keeping fingers crossed.
That's it for now. Limited Internet access. Hope you are all happy.
It Was the Best of Luck, It was the Worst of Luck
I'm heading back to Illinois one last time (for now) Tuesday. I'm actually getting some real cash to come out and do a gig as Jake Blues. I'm sure this is bugging the guy who hired me because he absolutely hates when someone else gets paid more than he does. Long story.
Since I haven't' quite decided if I am a lucky person or not, given how all this crazy stuff has played out and all, I feel I can lament over the LOUSY luck I'm having regarding this trip.
The gig is on a Wednesday night. That leaves the prospect for an entire weekend in August (a busy time for all) available for me to work. Long before I marketed to everyone who has ever hired me in the hopes that some extra work would come from this. After all, the way the show biz thing has been working out in the last few years, about the only thing I can count on is that people will book extremely LAST MINUTE by way of comparison to times when a retarded monkey isn't in power and screwing up our economy.
The last minute thing should play well into this week. I did market and alert everyone of my in-town status long before this week, anticipating the last minute trend to continue. I even went ahead and booked myself through Sunday, taking a chance that I'm right about this thing.
As it happened, only one thing came in and it is a cheapie. Not that I'm complaining. Any more cash in my pocket is a good thing right now. But Thursday, Friday, & Saturday EVENING (always the busiest times in the summer) provided not much of anything. I could have taken a flight in and a flight right back out and gotten this new life underway. Instead I'm committed to staying through with relatively nothing to do outside of more marketing and such.
A waste of time and money in my opinion!
Yes, I am fortunate to had come out of the apartment mess unscathed and even more fortunate to have found a way for us to live out our dream of living in Vegas. What I wasn't expecting was the rotten luck afterwards. The aforementioned story is one example. The fact that we're really just moving our poverty to a warmer climate is kind of buggin' me though. Also, the job hunt among the attempts to get the "career" going issues are staring to really drive me batty.
Remind me to tell you about an agent selling me to a club recently by completely misrepresenting what I do and actually getting me a gig...for less cash than expected...and I kind of have to take it simply because I need the work and need to get my name out there even more.
I know all this will take time to make things work, but really, do I have to become one of the Vegas homeless, living under a makeshift tent made out of a stolen beach towel in order to do it? It's beginning to look that way.
And I'd be miserable at either job! Just thought I'd throw that in there, even though all of your advice was greatly appreciated.
Oh yeah, I'd sure appreciate it if some of the actual entertainment-related jobs I applied to would return my e-mails or at least see how abundantly qualified I am and call for an interview! If I HAVE to get a job that doesn't involve me performing, I'd really rather it be in the business somewhere. This is the kind of town where I could happily make a great living off the sweat of someone more talented and not miss the stage at all. Put me in a damn retail job, even one that's SORT OF, but NOT REALLY in the biz, and I'll be dead by Christmas. Trust me on this.
Here endeth the rant.
Yesterday was our wedding anniversary. This marks the first time we've been in Vegas on August 17th since the day we got married here. The ultimate return to the scene of the crime.
Somehow April has the weekend off so we're going to run around and play.
Consequently, I will be unavailable for blogging. So please continue to enjoy the many fine blogs on my blogroll.
I won't name names as I don't want to upset things, but I need to know...
If you were me...
Would you rather take a job you know you'd probably hate that pays no less than $16.75/hr plus bonuses and instant benefits or a job that starts at no more than $10.00/hour with bonuses and benefits and would probably be more fun (and SORT OF related to my industry)?
Retail manager running things and selling things I don't care about = job I'd hate
Retail salesman selling trinkets SORT OF related to my biz = Job I'd probably enjoy
Neither job will be my "career" if I have anything to say about it. Of course, I won't have much to say about that until the marketing starts to pay off. The "happy" job has room for raises and growth and the "not so happy" job offers the same, but more in bonuses and possibly in benefits.
I was offered both jobs today.
More money, even if I am selling my soul for a year, could really help make this living in Vegas thing work out better in the long run. Neither job really necessarily allows for me to take a lot of gigs, but the "happy" job MIGHT be more flexible.
I told the guy from the "not so happy" job I had other interviews I am committed to attending (not true...yet) and that I have to be out of town in Aug 21 through 26 (true). I understand if he has to fill the position right away, but he told me to give him a call when I'm ready. The "happy" job folks told me they could wait until I'm back in town and the job would be there for me when I return.
April really wants me to take the "happy" job because it is less likely I'll come home grumpy every night. Plus I probably won't hate myself nearly as much.
Most everyone else says the same.
I say that before taxes and other issues that reduce my pay, the "not so happy" gig would pay $670/week and the "happy" gig would pay $400/week to start. Happy or not $2680 a month really beats out $1600 a month doesn't it? Like...an extra $1080 a month before taxes beats it. That's a 32K+/year job vs. a 19K+/year job. See what I mean?
I'd still be working my ass off to try and generate some entertainment work. I'd still consider these as temporary survival solutions. One would allow me to save some cash and the other would allow me to pay most of my bills and not much else.
What the hell? Can't I just be a comedian who happens to juggle?
Yes, I'm Here
I made it safely.
I've been busy.
I've got a lot of crap to do and more to worry about.
I have a very long blogroll filled with many fascinating blogs. Read some of them for now and keep checking back here.
This whole new life thing is a bit more important that a blog only a few loyal folks read, especially since I'm probably going to go broke and be stuck with some really crappy mall job (or two).
So...um...yeah. I'm fine. Lovely trip. Thanks for asking.
Leaving FOR Las Vegas
Been on the road since Sunday. Should be home in a couple of days. More blogging and updates then.
The Answer, My Friend, Is Blowin' In the Wind
Let's take a stroll down memory lane as well as listening to some new stories for you.
Not too long ago I told you a rather amusing story about a booking I had in Illinois that was temporarily postponed by a tornado. Click HERE if you don't believe me.
What made this story so funny was how chronologically close this freak occurrence happened to my home being destroyed by a microburst (a straight-line, tornado-force wind). Once again, a LINK for your amusement.
I've lived in the Midwest all of my life until recently. I'm no stranger to tornadoes and other strong winds & storms. In fact, I have had my show interrupted by a tornado twice in my lifetime.
The first time happened in Benton, Illinois around 1995. I was on the road with a small traveling circus and having a rather awful string of bad luck. The trip started with my car dying and didn't improve much from there. I recall at least three vehicular breakdowns on that trip.
There has always been discussion around my family of a "Martello Curse". See, some time ago one of my family members did something dreadful like feeding a neighbor his own cat for dinner or something like that and apparently, in the Italian immigrant community, that is a curse-worthy offense. What is it with Martellos and cats anyway?
I have never given much credence to such things as curses. I would choose to use it as a convenient excuse for bad things happening. Sometimes you just need an explanation, ya know?
Since I didn't believe much in curses I would also upon occasion just take the more sensible approach to adverse things landing on my life. I just assumed that God hated me. Hell, I don't much believe in God so why not lump Him in with my convenient excuses for all the shit, right?
On the day in Benton my car broke down again on the way to the gig. While talking on the phone to my God-fearing girlfriend at the time I'd mentioned the curse and how I was certain that God hated me. This sparked a rather unnecessary heated discussion about how I can't think that way and so on.
Later that day I managed to get to the show on time and set up for a big day of merry-making and more importantly, money-making in the form of balloon sales during intermission. I made lot of gas - car repair money on the show from the balloon sales. The day promised to be PACKED with circus-goers and indeed we had a HUGE crowd. My plate-spinning act was the last act before intermission.
I was getting the audience whipped into a frenzy. That act never fails to get them going if done properly. I was breaking plates to add to the suspense, nearing the conclusion of the act and then breaking a few more - it was one of the best performances I'd ever given. A wild crowd right before intermission almost guarantees big dollars.
I had just finished spinning the 6th of 10 plates when some stranger stormed into the circus ring and grabbed the microphone. It wasn't a freak circus fan or an Andy Martello stalker. It was the town's Fire Marshall. Apparently there was a tornado sighting 8 miles out of town and he insisted on ending the show IMMEDIATELY!
"Sorry folks, the show has to stop. There was a tornado sighting and you all must get in your cars and go home right now!"
My act was cancelled by a tornado. My intermission money was never made and the crowd left in a most unorganized hurry.
He went on a few more times, presumably to increase the panic, if not just create some for no good reason. The funny thing was, we were in a high school gymnasium. We were actually in one of the safest places in the whole damn town and he sent some 450 people outside into their cars to drive in the storm. That gymnasium was actually the town's storm and bomb shelter and he felt it necessary to put people in harm's way.
Later that night I joked with my God-fearing girlfriend that it would be difficult to argue with me when I say God hated me. After all, if He sent a tornado to put an end to my act and my earning potential, that has to carry some validity.
Sound like too much to believe - this odd series of "coincidences" regarding tornadoes and storms? Is this just another "Number 32" kind of thing for old Andy? Well, if you've come this far you may as well hear the rest of the story.
Here is a clip from a local Marengo, Illinois newspaper (Presumably the Beacon News or the Republican, later merged into the Beacon-Republican and then completely dismantled altogether.). This was about 1979-1980 and I was in the 5th grade. We were all given a writing assignment about things we're afraid of and why. At the time we thought it was for a classroom grade. Instead it was for a feature piece the paper wanted to do a on childhood fears. Those who told the best stories of fears ended up being interviewed & photographed I'll just let the picture and caption speak for itself.
I remembered this when the microburst happened and had hoped I could get my mother to send me a scan of the story.
I still am not convinced of the existence of God or the power of curses, but I can certainly say that some things just happen to certain people for a reason. Until I truly get to enjoy my new life in Vegas I am being hesitant to call my storm "The Curse-Breaker". However I can be a bit taken aback by the continuing presence of things like the number 32 and freak storms in my life.
Labels: Andy Martello Variety Entertainer, Martello Curse, Microburst, Number 32, Tornado
I have to be honest. Everyone I know is INFINITELY more optimistic than I am regarding my future in entertainment. Even though I have a few leads and some potential for work, I've already come to the conclusion that my "career" as a professional entertainer will come to a conclusion this Saturday. Yeah, I have at least one more gig as Blues Brother in the middle of August and possibly a few other little things here or here, but I have no legitimate reason to believe I'll ever make a living as a performer again.
I'm doing all the work and maintaining my regiment of marketing and all that. That being said, I have to keep in mind that it took me 22 years to grow and develop a good enough reputation in the business here. I suppose it didn't REALLY take me that long to be in good graces and making a good living, but let's face it - I don't REALLY have that kind of time to get my name out there and get known in Vegas, L.A., even fucking Phoenix for that matter.
All this town has are entertainers and they're seemingly all comedians who happen to juggle. Game over.
I sincerely hope I am wrong and I do look forward to seeing some sort of positive results to my efforts. I was recently added to the website of one Vegas area agency. This guy gas even submitted me to a Laughlin casino comedy club. That's something, right?
I am hoping to learn and develop more acts and routines as well. But I simply have to keep it in the foreground of my mind that making this move to Vegas generally implied an end to my life as an entertainer. I knew this going into it and I accepted it. I don't have to like it and I can certainly go out of my way to change it, but I have to be realistic here.
The problem is I have even more doubts about finding work otherwise. I can get a job, but I have no degree and have been self-employed for a long time. Translation: I have nothing to offer the workplace by being a 37 year old man with no degree. I have loads of experience in a variety of fields, but the jobs I could land IF someone takes the time to read my resume and interview me will go to someone younger with a degree. Also going to those guys will be a much bigger paycheck than I can get on my own.
In short, I am kind of, if not completely screwed.
Ah well, at least here in the desert I won't see much snow during the winter of my discontent.