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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Blind Faith

Here's a video of something I've been working on for the show I can't tell you much about. Since I have had nothing but blind faith that the move to Vegas would be the right thing to do and blind faith that the new act will be the reason Fate brought me here, it seems only fitting that a big part of the show will feature me blindfolded.

Enjoy the video and don't try this at home.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Reasons for Radio Silence

No, this is not another post about why there haven't been any podcasts.

I'm referring to the vague nature of my "irons on the fire".

In case I haven't mentioned this before (though I'm quite certain I have), I am rehearsing with a new partner for a show. The show is designed for everything from corporate work to theatres, and TV work. I am replacing one half of the team and taking over his role. The guy has left the act voluntarily so there's no vicious coup here.

With the new role comes new skills and new acts to learn. There is also a lot of rewriting to make the act fit the new duo and reflect our own comedic sensibilities.

Moreover, our first show together isn't until August 22nd. Until then (unless something comes up sooner) the other guy is working the shows they have. He knows that a replacement is in order but he doesn't know who it is, when the new guy will take over, etc..

I also cannot make too much mention of it because the agencies in town know this act well and know the guy I'm replacing well. We cannot make any mention of this change until the act if completely broken in. That is to say, we need several shows under our belt, new photos, new video, new press kit, and all that rot. Then people will be made aware of the new and improved program and have no fears of a seamless transition.

PLUS, my partner has a LOT going on with this act. In the short time I've been rehearsing we've been approached about a possible regular gig on the Strip, we have at least two other venues we're working on for small corporate events, a separate touring show where we'd headline and have supporting acts surround us, and we're getting the act back into the college circuit. If any one of these things hits I could be extremely busy in a short amount of time.

All that being said, I cannot tell anyone in the business here about my involvement yet. Only a few friends and family members know about it and I can't use the names or anything to promote myself in the area. Lord knows I can use a little boost in the gig-getting department out here.

None of this bothers me, it is just a bit frustrating to be sitting on a powder keg and not be able to tell any of you about it all. Besides, when it all does happen I can share some of the real fun with you. I can also relish the fact that I came out here suddenly, packed up my life completely, left behind a successful and steady entertainment career and managed to build up something even bigger out here in a relatively short amount of time. Assuming it all happens according to plan.

More when more is available for the general public.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I Found My Keys

I actually found them Friday. I just wanted to keep you in suspense.

For those drawer, with my receipts. I NEVER put them in a drawer. I inadvertently put them there looking for a return address label and closed the drawer.

Ahh, the miracle of Blogger Minutiae!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Raiders of the Lost Childhood

With the release of the latest Indiana Jones movie this summer came the inevitable re-release of the first three films on DVD. These had all the extras and re-remastered charm and all that crap.

What they also had was some classic Spielberg/Lucas revisionist history.

The first film, "Raiders of the Lost Ark", had been mysteriously renamed "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark".

I was there when "Raiders" was in the theatres for a few million weeks. I saw the film a couple of times in the theatres and loved it. I know it had a main character named Indiana Jones, but not a TITLE character of the same name. The two subsequent (and pretty awful) movies featured "Indiana Jones and the..." titles and we were fine with that.

Why then, do we have to ruin the first movie by changing the name? I like "Raiders" just the way it is or was , in fact.

Not that these films are anything on par with one another but there's been a bit of the same thing in the Sylvester Stallone universe.

First there was "First Blood". Then there was "Rambo: First Blood, Part II" and finally there was "Rambo III", which made no sense at all. The correct title of the third movie should have been, "Rambo Part II, First Blood Part III: The Revenge...This Time It's Personal".
Then the fourth movie, "Rambo" came out this year and all hell broke loose.

There have been a few releases of the Rambo films on DVD, many of them are referred to as the Rambo movies, which I guess, given the simplicity of the plots and the folks who watch them (myself included, provided there's enough alcohol at the ready) is just fine.

But seriously..."Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark"?

FUCK, Spielberg...Did you digitally remove the Nazis as well or did you just remove all the guns a la "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial"? Notice how I used the full and correct title?

I still haven't forgiven George Lucas for his bastardizing of the original (and ONLY) Star Wars trilogy. Let's not get all geeky on this, OK?

Friday, July 25, 2008

I Can't Find My Keys

I've looked everywhere else so I thought I'd try here.


Thankfully I have a second set, but I always carry two sets of keys. Now I have only one and it drives me crazy.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Should Work in Graphics or in Advertising

I've got an ad coming out in a free magazine that goes to several golf clubs/country clubs in the Vegas Valley. Great pricing on the ad and it runs for a full year in front of the people with the money to buy some quality entertainment.

The guy selling me the ad used the selling point that the professional graphics department would be able to come up with a suitable ad based upon a visit to my website. Naturally I was doubtful. Generally when this sort of creation occurs, the folks have no real idea what to promote, especially since they are not entertainers and are most likely looking for photos to use instead of talking points that would make an impact. Just because you're in graphics or advertising doesn't mean you know jack about selling a comedy juggling act.

Here's the ad they came up with.

See what I mean?
They didn't even get my phone number right.

Undeterred and more than capable of believing in my own abilities I tweaked the ad and sent them my concept. I based it upon their starting point and made it fit with my current promotional campaigns, something I knew they wouldn't be able to do without actually consulting me.

Here's the final version.

It may not be perfect but it is
way better than the first version.

Sometimes I totally rock!

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Why No Podcasts?

There was a time when people actually tuned into the Podcrapular podcast that featured the mighty Golfwidow and myself.

Sadly, that project has been indefinitely put on hold. You may recall the awful news about Golfwidow losing her job thanks to the lousy economy that doesn't exist according to those in a certain portion of our government. That little setback has turned into a full-on major butt-fooking mess and it just isn't getting better.

See, Golfwidow and her hubby were planning on starting anew elsewhere. Seeing as how New Haven, CT was sucking balls anyway (and maybe always has) there was a plan in place to relocate somewhere more fun, warmer, with a better job scene. Indeed they had planned on moving out to Las Vegas. What's more, they were going to be starting there new life in our home for a short spell while they found jobs and a place of there own.

This was to be great. We save a bit on rent and expenses (YAY, savings account!), they get a fresh start at a bargain comparatively speaking, and the podcast could resume and be recorded IN THE SAME ROOM!

As it happened, they have been delayed on leaving New Haven through no fault of their own. unscrupulous bankers have royally lived up to the image we all have of them today with regard to mortgages and foreclosures. There has also been a lack of follow through on the aforementioned bank assholes regarding payments and other things, even though Golfwidow and Jeff have done their part in full. She can tell you the whole story at her blog.

In short, they've been sitting in a home that isn't really there's for much longer, relying on the savings and pittance they got for their condo to live, and making no more money since neither one can get a job in the shitty economy that doesn't exist.

They need help. If anyone can send her a few bucks, buy a guest post for your blog, or maybe buy a copy of her book to give to a friend, please do so. Full details are available at her site. She'll get out here soon, but she needs about a million friends right now. Those million friends need not all send a buck, but you get the point.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Another Satisfied Customer

"Andy was the guide for me and my friend Kathy as we took an afternoon trip out to the Hoover Dam. He was very knowledgeable about the area and the Dam itself. He was great company and more then willing to share in conversation and advise on the area. he went out of his way to accommodate our every need. Meeting Andy was a treat and he made our little tour a wonderful adventure.

Thanks Andy!

Stacey S."

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Yellow Book Report: Part Three: Cheap & Unrealistic

Earlier this week I made a comment about how the people who are using the Yellow Book to contact me are cheap and unrealistic. OK, I used stronger language but after some mystery reader named Ken showed up and said I made him "feel special". I altered the post a bit to prevent too many hurt feelings and MAYBE not turn away potential clients.

It is funny though. Every so often new people come in here and get huffy when they find a less than corporate Andy than you'd find at my main website. They're all wa
rned in advance. Whether or not they choose to read and believe the warning is up to them.

Hurt feelings or not, it seems that the majority of the people that have been responding to my Yellow Book ad have some rather LOW budgets and some extremely unreal expectations.

I've had three more calls since the last post.

One reflects people who actually did want to plan in advance, but had literally no money to spend. I started with my already low rate for such an event and then, after finding out their budget was merely $85.00 (Seriously?) I agreed to take the event should they wish to book. I felt like a whore, but I wanted SOMEONE to book from the Yellow Pages ad. Even bringing my price down to the point where I was losing money to do the show didn't work.

One was a spur of the moment, "Gee, I've already spent a ton on this big party in the hills, yet I have no entertainment" kind of call. He wanted a full-on 45-minute show complete with the fire-eating, the plate-spinning and so on. I quoted my rate for such a show - well, my rate from about 5 years ago, and told him I'd be willing to work with his budget since it was so last minute (two days out from the big party he'd been planning for months).

The third was a last-minute planner & someone who read the ad and called to ask about something I don't even provide, a moon bounce for her yard. Embarrassed by her mistake she chose to inquire about my entertainment services which resulted in a total freak out at the very inexpensive price I quoted. I cost considerably less than a moon bounce if you're wondering.

Again I ask,
if you are looking to spend about $50.00 or less for entertainment, why would you choose to call the guy with the biggest and prettiest ad in the Yellow Book? I'm not saying there aren't people in the Yellow Pages who will charge practically nothing for a ton of entertainment because clearly, there are those under-cutting jerks out there. I'm just saying that it doesn't take long to find out many of the cheap acts don't have my skill set nor my performance record and the fact I'm willing to come down in price so much should be as much of a selling point as having a Ringling Bros. trained, 23-year seasoned performer who has opened for Gladys Knight, been seen on national TV, and performed for the President & Congress.

With all due respect to Ken, it is I who should have the hurt feelings.

"Party Planning Service" Category:
Four Calls, No Bookings

"Entertainment - Family" Category:
Two Calls, No Bookings
One "Moon Bounce" Request. WTF???

One day I'll find the right combination and get some bookings. At least the phone is ringing, right? Of course, none of this bodes well for the salesman next year when he tries to convince me to place another ad.
Stay tuned.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

My 20th High School Reunion

Yep, I got a call from an old classmate from high school. It seems that the class of 1988, the single greatest example of unused potential in high school history, has a wild notion to have a 20th reunion.

Truthfully, the likelihood of my attending is heavy on the "none" side and barely listing towards "slim".
This has nothing to do with feeling old or any of that crap. I generally don't care one way or another about going. If I wanted to keep in touch with any of these folks I'd surely have done so. Curiosity is not a reason to attend such a thing.

I enjoy hearing from old classmates, but do I want to know what they look like now, learn how their lives have turned out, hear about how many kids they have? Fuck no. Good lord, NO!

And for the record I have no intentions of attending my 20th (and the school's 40th) reunion of the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Clown College either. Again, I enjoy hearing from the folks when they seek me out, but attending a reunion of Clown College graduates? That's an even more repellant notion to me. I can't stand being around that many people who are in that much need for attention ya know? A lot of these folks have no idea when the show is over if you get my meaning. I went to a party of some CC grads here in Vegas, hoping to meet new people who could provide some help in getting work out here in Vegas. NOT. A. GOOD. IDEA.

Anyway, I am certain I'll be making my decision as I get closer to the date of the high school reunion. However I rather doubt I'll be going unless I am already in the area for work or something. Seriously, somebody actually called me and essentially asked this of me...

"Andy, would you like to leave vibrant, exciting, and scenic Las Vegas, Nevada, at your own expense, mind you, to return to the floundering micropolis known as Marengo, Illinois to hang out with people you haven't seen in 20 years?"

Am I a jerk? Hell yeah. Does any of this make sense even outside of Andy Land? MOST DEFINITELY!

And I own the copyright on the term "micropolis" so don't try and use it without crediting me ya thieving bastards!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Had a Gig Wednesday

If this were Chicago, I'd know I'd be getting called again soon from this company.

Since this is Las Vegas I have no idea if the "home run" I hit today at this corporate event will bring about any future work.

It was the second time I've worked for this company since being here in the Vegas Valley. The first time was the comedy club in Laughlin, which went extremely well and was full of high praise from audience members and casino workers alike. Taking all this into account, I have not been able to get re-booked there nor have I been able to get the guy at the agency to return a call, give a reason for not booking me again, etc. [SIGH!]

This gig was an excellent one for me. The audience loved me on stage and when strolling (no, really!) and the owner of the company that booked me was in attendance. All things considered I left happy to have waited so long for the event. Still and all, this being Vegas I have no idea how this will affect future bookings . I did two killer bookings awhile back for another company, they loved me and told me so, subsequent calls. [DOUBLE SIGH!]

Perhaps when I can tell you about some of my other prospects all this will change. Until then...back to work (at two day jobs, promoting myself, and rehearsing for another gig).


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More from Bryce Canyon

Still working hard. Still nothing new to report. Still not much I can talk about.

Let's just say that things are a bit more settled at Big Horn, life is rather bizarre at Houdini's, and one day I hope to be able to talk about some of the entertainment stuff I'm working on.

Oh yeah, people who use the Yellow Pages are cheap & unrealistic. OK, maybe not all of them...just the ones who've called me recently. I'll give a Yellow Book update sometime soon.

I know that I have not been the prolific Andy of the past. I'm just too tired and far too unmotivated to share much of anything right now. Lots of work and little to show for it. This town is nearly impossible to get ahead in if you're an entertainer new to the area and that is far too depressing for me. Therefore I don't blog much. When I do blog, vague or not, you get something to read. Sending me e-mails asking for more details only makes me more upset so just be glad I'm posting something.

Until life is better, here are a few more snapshots of my birthday trip to Bryce Canyon National Park. I can't wait to return there and see more.

We've got many more of these on the ole hard drive and you'll be seeing many of them along the way.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Vote for the Mustard Museum

From Barry Levenson, Curator, Mount Horeb Mustard Museum.


Vote early and vote often! The Ketchup Kartel is planing another of its infamous dirty tricks campaigns to sabotage the vote. But we can show the real power of mustard and win this crucial vote. The Mount Horeb Mustard Museum was recently named a top-ten finalist for one of two $25,000 Markham Vineyard Mark of Distinction grants. The program recognizes individuals and organizations that have contributed to their respective communities and can use financial help to do even more.

This grant would be a tremendous opportunity to bring even more excitement to the Mustard Museum with new displays, exhibits, and interactive programs.

The two winners are determined by online voting at the official web site: www.markhammarkofdistinction .com. Visitors to the web site can cast one vote per day through July 21. Mustard lovers everywhere can make a big difference by casting daily ballots for America?s favorite condiment museum, the Mount Horeb Mustard Museum.

Please visit the Markham Mark of Distinction Website. Vote every day if you'd be so kind. Should they win this grant, there may be a much better chance for me to return to the Museum this year and entertain. ;)

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Trying to Cheer Things Up

Since I have no news to share about all of the entertainment things I can't talk about and I don't really feel like bitching about how cheap people who use the Yellow Pages really are I will simply post a few photos from my birthday trip this year to Bryce Canyon National Park.

I'll put up one or two every so often to remind me and those who still read this blog (both of you) that there are some good things out there.

Besides, I need a pick-me-up.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Fourth of Ju-[SIGH!]

Every damn person in this town blows up major fireworks on the street here. Kinda cool. Kinda dangerous, but still cool. Cooler still is that most folk seem to clean up after their mess.

The Station Casinos also have a big fireworks display choreographed to music and running simultaneously among most of their properties. Find a cool spot somewhere close and listen to the simulcast on the radio. NICE!

Otherwise I'm all bummed out about some major mistake I made on a tour today. this will likely cost me about $240.00...which i really don't have to lose right now.

The tour gig is fun, but there's a lot that can go wrong and there's definitely a bit too much stress over the little things. My mistake was "major", but I'd already essentially solved the problem by
A) Stating I didn't know I was making a mistake.
B) Offering to make it right so the company doesn't "eat it".
C) Assuring the boss it won't happen again.

Should be enough, right? Well I don't REALLY need to hear the same six sentences over and over again explaining my error, especially after I've done what I could to make it right, will have to wait for the results to see if my offer is even necessary, and I'm still so damned new at this I don't even know if I'm making a mistake or not.

Plus, with the exception of today and maybe one earlier this week, the gratuities have not been working out to the amount I should "expect". I know that you can't truly place expectations on a gratuity, but so far as I can tell, the folks who do this kind of work don't do it for the much more than the tips. I mean, how many times can you see the Hoover Dam, right?

Add all this to the fact that I've now gone through TWO pay periods at Houdini's and am still waiting for my FIRST check from the tour company (I've no doubt I'll be "in the system" soon, these guys are honest and good people. I'm just sayin'...) and I'm starting to think that two weeks will soon be given. I can survive on 4 days a week at the magic shop and my comedy magic show gig I can't tell you much about is starting to bear some fruit...which I also can't talk about yet.

Moreover I can use the
sleep more than the stress!

All frustrating. I thought I did so well given the rather large amount of stuff on my plate today.