30 September, 2004

Week, Reviewed.

"...have a languid day...."- Martin Ewen

Unprompted, he leans into the open convertible to kiss me goodbye.

Based on Martin's description of mornings at my house, That Girl has taken up calling me The Breakfast Nazi. She sits on the floor of my guestroom painting a huge wooden dragon with flippy feet from a dun grey to what she terms "our" colors. "They're emblazoned on my brain." She's slept naked and let the dogs out wrapped in a soft pink blanket that I bought for two dollars. She told her friend Sue, meeting us this morning, that if she wanted breakfast, she should be here closer to eight than eight thirty.

"Breakfast at her house is a machine," Martin tells Hilby. "If you stand about her kitchen looking vague, she will tell you what you want and where to get it. 'Cups: drainboard! Coffee- There! Milk and sugar? On the table! Here's a spoon, go sit down.' It's frightening, I tell you."

My response? "What do you expect from a woman you decided has the soul of a three hundred pound black woman? My inner Beulah is showing." She has no cause to complain; my inner Beulah has fed her hungry self more times than either of us care to count.

Thursday I bustled in preparation for the houseful ahead, taught the semester's first drama class. Among the Kaitlins and Kaylees and Sarahs, a lovely girl named Fatima looks just as you'd imagine a Fatima should look. Friday, more bustling, and frenetic checking of Amtrak timetables, for Martin hasn't warned me, nor indeed even decided, which train to take, or when he'll arrive. When I show him my car, he says, "No." Yes. "Well, you know what this means."


"Even better." He dons a fleece beanie topped by a white propeller, instructs the children to inform him if it goes so fast they can't see it.

We phone Hilby, but he won't join us until next night. After a gratifyingly large crowd (20,050)on Saturday, three weary street performers order carryout Chinese, delivered, and swordfighters John and Eric wander in close to midnight. Four men sleep in my house, none of them with me.

Sunday is more lovely than Saturday, if that's possible. I get a little uppity when one of the poseurs from Medieval Times informs our Angelic Procession "The Green Knight wishes you to attend him." Oh, as if. Patrons: "Wait, wait, let me get my daughter's picture with you..." Sorry, lady. We are not a backdrop.

Random female patron: "Them's some tall bitches!" Random male patron, to his four-year-old, dressed in a white princess outfit: "Come on, honey, let's go find you a husband."

I finally see Wolgemut, and am reminded of Alexander Woolcott's famous quote about Harpo Marx, for though all three musicians are wonderful performers, it is Bruno who shines for me.

As I leave the show, obviously volgemut, in a good mood, I see someone whose T-shirt identifies him as a pirate, so, as the shirt instructs, I kiss him. He is gratifyingly embarrassed, and embarrassedly gratified.

Weekend Five, gone. Faire's half over. Come out, come out, come on.

Monday is spent returning Martin to the train station (does he live there? No, why? He's always there when we go to get him, and when he leaves, that's where we bring him back. Ah, toddler logic) and limping around a used appliance store, feeding my moneypit house, which seems to have bad mechanical karma. Select replacements for the stove, the washing machine, the dishwasher. Plumbing chores in the kitchen and the bathroom. Meanwhile, the still-distant hurricane attacks my ankle, and I spend time fussing over a creaky body part.

Tuesday is a blur of housework and dance lesson, and Wednesday we go to see a show that is so poorly written it's actively painful. Then, waiting around for the men with the machines. Finally, they arrive, just as I'm taking Fluffy for his dance class. A phone call: Hawk, infuriated. "Did you know these people don't hook the things up, or unhook the old ones?" Of course not. I have my second fit of the day, the first having manifested after the delivery time screwup. It was a good thing he was there instead of me, because those guys would have put three large appliances back on the truck, along with at least one new asshole apiece. Hawk is much more tolerant with morons and liars than I am. He earns special favors installing machinery that will make him more comfortable.

I wake to That Girl, anticipating a morning in flight, and make coffee.

We approach the harbor, through fog thick enough to chew.

29 September, 2004

Too Much

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm....

Who are these people who claim that they "don't have a life"? Where are they? Would they like some of mine?

Not that I'm complaining.

No, I guess I am complaining. But only a little.

24 September, 2004

Quotations, Chronologically.

...then there she was/ In platform double suede/ Yeah there she was/ Like disco lemonade....

You smell good, fresh, like clothes that have been hanging on the line. – Eve.

They’re lesbian wanna-bees. –Lisa.

It’s way too early in the morning for me to even parse that sentence. –Peter Gross.

I know it’s raining. Deal with it. –Carolyn Spedden.

I never knew rain would pop your bubbles like that! –Bill Wood.

You guys be careful. It’s awfully muddy for stilts. – assorted craftspeople.

I’m not superstitious. You can say ‘Good luck, Macbeth,’ and whistle. –Brian Morton.

We’re just entertaining each other, today. –Jim Greene.

I’m so glad you came! -Mich

You always were kind of ‘out there’. –Ruth Richardson.

My wife and I are involved in a group, and we put up little shows with a minimum of rehearsal, so we’re sort of keeping our feet on the boards without too much commitment. –Scott Neilson.

You’ve had enough reunion, haven’t you? –Kim Junkerman.

Pretty bad. Only twenty seven hundred people showed up. Well, it was a hurricane. –Tim Shaw.

You’re my friend, you’re my friend, you’re my friend, you’re my friend- friends, friends, one, two, three, all my friends are here with me! –The Kinderman.

I don’t think the patrons would mind even if you DID still have mustard on your nose. –Randy Dalmas.

I know! It IS like being blonde with big boobs, which is so funny, because neither of us are either of those! –Ginny Hess.

Not too bad, today. We had to park people outside the fence, so I’m guessing sixteen hundred. That’s pretty respectable. –Jules Smith.

So Spence is practicing these fart noises, and suddenly Peter stomps backstage in his straightjacket, and yells, ‘Cut it out, guys!’ Because, of course, Spencer’s mike was on. –John Davis.

G’bye, mimes. –Wyatt Jaster

Sit down. I’ll brush your hair for you. –Hawk.

Let’s go whichever way will take the longest. –Fluffy.

It couldn’t be a more perfect day for it. Best thing I ever bought. –random bald stranger in a Mustang convertible.

I’m not sure we’re going the right way. And now I’m sure we’re not going the right way. – me.

Yaaaah! Get away, Baygull! –Fuzzy.

Are you at the beach? You are! You’re at the beach! – Steven.

Yes, skydiving was fun. But this is a lot of fun, too. –Maura, twenty-three years old today.

The hard work is paying off, CJ caught her split, Garrett his kneehang, Cybelle her split, Tracy's swing is nearing perfection, while Minu's layout full was close enough for her to easily touch my face, so we'll just work on that arm position a bit. – Brian McVicker.

Thanks, Cyb. -The Prince.

(Sex and Candy; Marcy Playground.)

17 September, 2004

Two Images

..."dammit to hell, woman! don't do that shit to me"....- Jay

A flock of birds took flight from a tree with a sound like wind caught in a flag.

16 September, 2004

Hijinks Links

Or, What Is Everyone Up To?

The usual, mostly. Tim Kreider, cartoonist, is bleakly desolate about the election. Brian Morton, Political Animal, is bitingly critical of the firm grip held by this country's current administration. Sloth of Slothville is off to the Outer Banks for a two-week vacation. Brian McVicker, of Trapeze School, currently tops on my list of Cool People, is genuinely encouraging, and pushed Garrett just hard enough that today he finally "caught" his knee-hang, though it was Scout doing the catching. As we drove in past the Baltimore Museum of Industry, we saw townhomes with two balconies and a rooftop deck, and NO YARD to mow. Mama Iguana likes the idea. But the Townhomes at Harborview are likely way too chi-chi for the likes of us.

What else is on my mind? Well, Easter Island is. It's weird. And this genetically engineered cat. It's weirder.

Many thanks to Sachiko for finding the non-allergenic housepet. She’s a funny lady, Sachi, and has just moved to a different living space, where she has no furniture. But the space in her head is most densely furnished. She wrote a little rant about people who blog, get a published gig, and then stop blogging. I sympathize, Sachi-san.

Diablo Cody, of PussyRanch, has officially hung up her spangled thong, and her blogging keyboard. After less than a year of blogging, so has Belle de Jour, and since her blog has fulfilled its function, why not? Nothing official, but TJ’s Place seems to be a dead site now, but it also fulfilled its function, creating a vast blogring, which includes the aforementioned Sloth and (sorry; I apologize in advance for leaving some of you out) investment banker Jay, narcotics officer Jack, Innana, the sheeply Fleece, Canadian Lovisa, librarian Vader, Trashman, new daddy Gooch, chiropractic student Jethro, former birthday boy the Dastard, Ang, uber-mother Angi, the Dave, Jethro's wife Zelda, and too many others to list all in one post.

Don't send the bad fairy after me- I don't want a prick to make me sleep. Well, maybe I do, but not that kind.

15 September, 2004

Four Letters

...if it rains, I don't care/ Don't make no difference to me/ Just take that street car that's goin’ up town....

A selection, divided philosophically.



Non-philosophically, particular favorites are book, shoe and sale. Especially in combination.

(Black Water; The Doobie Brothers)

14 September, 2004

Inner Life

...it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...mmmmmmm, bacon....

Hurricane Ivan spreads a silty blanket across the turgid sky, but we take the top down anyway. The air is heady in its dangerous warm wetness.

I fret at the long interval I've had between poems, but feel no guilt, since I take no responsibility for them. They strike me, then ask me to hone them. They seem to come from some place outside myself, and all I can do is wait until one comes calling.

Usually, at this time of year, I am awash in poetic image and rhythmic turn of phrase. Especially being sleep-deprived, as I have been lately. Three AM is not a normal bedtime, except for me, and I consider myself wandering into dangerous territory only when I settle in past four. There is something ironic about being up at three-fifteen reading Stephen King's Insomnia. Or maybe it's just sad.

My girlfriend of long-ago has nudged me into planning to attend our high-school reunion. I'm not saying which one, but it's big. The Animal says he likes to go to all of his reunions, in order to gloat at the fat, boring, unhappy people his ex-classmates have become. I don't care much either way. I've long outgrown being embarrassed about the freaky highschooler I was, since all my current friends were also freaks (too bad there's no magnet school for freaks, so we could all be together as youngsters rather than waiting to search one another out as adults) and still are, for that matter. We revel in it.

Tonight, sushi with BuddahPat, who less freaky than most of us (someone I know described a friend as being "worth ten of the rest of us." That's Pat, though he'd deny it) and I've been feeling deprived of his reassuring company.

That, and edamame. Mmmmmmm.

13 September, 2004

Countdown Begins

I appreciate your laughing at the stupid stuff.-Chris Davis, Renaissance Man

Weekend 3 is over. We now have twelve days in which to change a life, brighten a day, create a moment, offer a diversion, enhance a snapshot, lift a spirit. Twelve more days. Do you hear, everyone? You all think the run has just begun. I am here to tell you that it is already ONE THIRD OVER, and if you have wasted time or missed opportunities, you still have time to correct your ways and make amends. Go. Do. Be.


Two patrons wait outside the gate. He wears a Michigan cap and a tie; she a Roseanne-red satin corset that clashes oddly with her Annie Lennox-red hair, though both shades compliment her white, white skin.

I pass a seated patron who holds a steaming pretzel. I’ve never known Victor to sell pretzels that hot, I muse, before laughing at myself. The man is holding a burning cigarette in the same hand.

Lili joins us again for Silent Lunch and Patron Feeding. A man aims at her with an AK-47 of a camera lens. She pulls a shocked face. He shoots, thanks us, and walks off, smiling.

For the first time, I am brave enough to approach Ken’s Museum of Unnatural History. I embrace Ken’s associate, who stands in the spot he always stood when he was on duty in Ken’s place, which at this point, is always. “There’s Ken’s brother,” he nods.

Ken’s brother. His surviving brother. I’m sure he has a name, but for now, he’s Ken’s Brother. I embrace Ken’s Brother, knowing he doesn’t know what Ken meant to me, knowing I do not know for certain what Ken meant to me. I release him and turn, walking more quickly than is my habit.

I fix my smile firmly in place, worried that it will fool no one, and clamp down hard on it with my teeth. For fear of smearing my makeup, I do not dash away the tears that stand suddenly on my cheeks.


“Hello Mr. Smith. Hello, Mr. Smith.” Julius Smith III is standing with his father backstage as I am making my way somewhere. Jules Jr. offers his quiet hello with that wry half-smile that I find so appealing, and makes a remark about the white costumes. Ah! The boss notices! How lovely.

I don’t know which Smith to have a crush on these days. I nurture a pointless lust for Adam, think Marc is a sweetheart, have a soft (very) spot for Justin, but boy oh boy Jules Jr. (not III, thank you, that’s just icky) is looking very slim and hot lately.

This blogsite , currently posting a review of Comic-Con, in the 29 August archive references Mimi Flambe, with a special nod to my still-but-not-for-long-short partner. Some of Mimi's friends are mentioned and linked, as well. This page does not mention us, but has some wonderful photographs of the site.

Wyatt joins us, accepting the offer of a wooden bowl and spoon, when we head out on our ritualistic Quest For Tasty Yummies at day's end. I tell Mark so while the kids remove their makeup. Chris grins at us as he approaches the stage in preparation for the Witch Trial. It's a current meme, I suppose, creating new collective nouns. I have no objection to memes, per se; they just seem so...trendy.

"What do you call this? A herd of mimes?" Mark prefers my collective to his own- he said 'a moogle', which I love, but I went for double points with 'a mutation'. "A mutation of mimes," he repeats, smiling.

On the way home Sunday evening, top down, I look into the sketchy sky for that blazing ball of brilliant, searching...ah, there ya are.

Ken's voice? Perhaps.

Coincidence? Never.

10 September, 2004

Accidentally Expected

...my fire/The one desire/ Believe, when I say/ I want it that way....

Today is the first anniversary of CrushWorld. It's been here a year today.

I didn't get to the beach; bad weather: goddamn hurricanes. And not even enough blow left at this point to do anything other than spoil potential beach baking.

And so I reap an unexpected benefit, which is happening so frequently that I am learning to expect the unexpected benefit, and not sulk when things don't go the way I think I want them to.

Though I'm achey on Tuesday, and Wednesday also, by this morning, I feel up to a good swing on trapeze, if the weather cooperates. Website says morning session's on, with a weather warning. If it spits a bit, well, no problem: we're used to working in the rain. We head out, a bit of water sloshing in the roof well from the spot where the back windshield leaks.

Me: Will a couple of paper napkins do it?

Fluffy: Uh, no, I don't think so.

Me: We need a towel, do we?

Fluffy: Yep, that's what we need.

I spy something on the road, stop a yard or so short of the Stop sign, and reverse for a few feet. Open door, snag item lying on the asphalt, return to pilot position.

Me: And the Universe provides, once again.

I hand a small striped towel to Fluffy. Despite the rain, it's barely even damp.

Arrive at TSNY, greet the instructors. It's the three of us, and Dancer Dan. Or Scientist Dan. Or Kickboxer Dan. Take your pick; he's all of them. So the four of us have a really intensive lesson. The kids work A LOT on their "tricks," hoping to "get caught" sometime in this lifetime. I work on my swing, and on my set-split, trying to get "catchable timing"

In tiny silver and black G-string sandals, I walk in my neighborhood, dog sporting his "I Gave Blood" gimmie kerchief from the Veterinary Blood Bank, Fuzzy on her tricycle and Fluffy on his bike. We look ordinary. I pass a couple of elderly people, arguing in the street about presidential candidates.

I wonder again whether it makes any difference.

I wonder how many swing states have Diebold machines, or other similarly designed devices, working to assure voters that their votes will not be tampered with, bought, sold, spindled or mutilated, despite a notable lack of paper backup confirmation.

I wonder how many dollars it takes to buy off the Diebold votes, and how many dollars more the similarly designed devices make by others.

I wonder if I send one of these fabulous T-shirts to my dad in Minnesota, if he will wear it, and if he wears it, will it have the impact I seek.

I wonder if I can be any more cynical and still be described by people who know me as "a fucking Pollyanna."

On that note, please visit Tim Kreider's new cartoon, and buy the T-shirt, and send it to someone living in a swing state and cross your fingers and pray to whatever deity you believe in that G. W. Bush will not be leading our nation for another four years.

And visit The Political Animal, if you're the least bit curious about Truth In Journalism.

Of course, he could be lying. In fact, he often is.



Air lies moist and heavy on the entrance. Blue-grey cast of sky fails to dim the bright faces of arriving guests. This is perfect Bubble Weather, and even I am entranced by their spherical brilliance. A well know face snaps a shot, warns gently, "You be careful up there."

At day's end, we skim down to the elephants, performing an act of Kamikaze Kindness. Frank is unsure what to say to his gift. It's a beautiful vest, embroidered with elephants and tiny bits of shiny. I couldn't not get it for him. His wife Gail assures us that he's thrilled with it. We are pleased.

We have fallen into a schedule we love, though it's an "ish" schedule. I think you know what I mean by that.

10:30 to 11ish, Bubbles at the front gate: Mimi

11:00 to 12ish, Ephemeral Experience, throughout the Village: Gigi, Mimi, Max, Lili

12ish to 1:00ish, Silent Lunch: Mimi and Gigi

1:00-1:30, Set up for stage show: Max and Mimi
1:30-2:00, Mimi Flambe show: Mimi and Max
Bubbles atop Middleton's/O'Shucks: Gigi and Lili

2:30-3:45ish, Family Stilt Parade: Gigi, Mimi, Max, Lili

4:00 to 4:30ish, Bubbles at the Gate: Mimi

4:30 to 6pm, In Search Of Tasty Treats: Lili, Max, Mimi

So now you know the What and When parts of our day. Where? We don't know. Somewhere in the village. We're not hard to spot.


For being Singles Weekend, there sure are a lot of families.

I leave the Wall, pass a family just my scale: It's Michael Rosman, his son Ethan, his daughter Sofia, his wife Heddy. Sofia has grown tall- I bend just a little to kiss the sweet spot on her forehead. Pass behind Michael, stretch on tiptoe just a little to kiss the sweet spot on the back of his neck.

On our opening promenade, a wizened patron gifts me with a bag of marshmallows. Mime treats. Many thanks.

The answer to the question, "do you remember me/us/that thing you did last year/two years ago/when my teenager was a baby?" is of course always Yes, but often more truthfully Not At All. A furry looking man says, "I read you sometimes" but fails to identify himself. That you, Quasi Bear? Three little girls, and a wife with a braid that reaches the back of her knee?

We see over 17 thousand patrons today. Before stilts, I walk to the Costume House to retrieve a prop I'd promised to Garrett. Taking long steps, I feel stretch and flex in the muscles of my thighs, underused as I indian-stepped through the summer in my Foolish Shoes. I've bid on boots to match my unitard, because the soles of my Sandlar Forest Boots have gone paper thin over the years.

Afternoon at the front gate: the entryway is hazy with dust, smearing the scene into an Impressionist painting. A slight breeze blows my bubbles backwards over the wall, so children shriek in delight at the crazy kaleidoscope orbs following them as they exit.

Simple. Dramatic. Happy accident.

I'll take it.


For being Seniors Free day, there certainly are a lot of families with young chlldren.

Atop my post, flinging bubbles for the populace, I am poised to witness the arrival of my Tribe: Coco, Sparkey, Mollie-Mollie, TechChik, BuddahPat, the Prince, his princess, Braless.

Shortly afterwards, I see the owner of TSNY-Baltimore walking in. He seems distracted, and does not notice me. It's funny how many people don't look up. I often wave and blow kisses to babies in strollers, their oblivious parents all unknowing.

Ginny stilts up on a rickety wooden ladder. She says she needs to mark it somehow, so that it doesn't get moved, removed, borrowed, or covered with other people's props. I said I'd make a sign for it, hang it on the cross piece.

"What, Stilt-Mime's ladder, Do Not Remove?"

Oh, no. Much simpler.


Because this is where the angels come from.

And yet another metaphor emerges.

"I love it. I LOVE it. Heaven is a rickety wooden ladder."

Sure. Requires effort, balance, and grace to mount. It's a humble ascent, not a grand gilded staircase. You can find it most anywhere, but in its weatherbeaten browngreyness, it's easy to overlook.

Vendors making a point of telling us how much they love the Ephemeral Experience, which is very nice of them; makes us feel loved, and that our creative efforts are appreciated. We float on a cloud of indrawn breath.

Amazingly, all the people I know find one another, by miracle of accident, or cellphone. This would never have happened were it not for the patron count being low, in the neighborhood of ten thousand. I experience a few Watergate Moments. There's Nixon...and Haldeman, who was also Woodward...and Franko, and Villo, and the Concierge. Oh, look, there's Heidi, and G. Gordon Liddy, and Tony. Here's the director, the set builder, the writer. I introduce the TSNY people to the Tribe, insofar as I can.

Suddenly, I am connecting dots: because of Fest, I know Michael Rosman . Because of Rosman, I know of Motion Fest , which I attended because of Tony Montenaro. At MotionFest, in Tony's class, I met Steven Ragatz, whom I saw years before in a Cirque du Soleil show, Quidam . Because of Steven, I work for Academic Edge .Because of work for Academic Edge, I went to Bloomington, IN , where I tried and loved Trapeze, leading me to Trapeze School.

Because of MotionFest, I visited Performers.net, where I learned to love Martin Ewen, the man behind the face of Lurk. Martin auditioned for the Maryland Festival after my notice on the forumD a couple years ago. Martin brings me Hilby, who brings me Keith the Leaf. Who teaches algebraic equations to my son on paper napkins, using juggling combinations as variables. Two more weeks before Martin brings his lovely self my way. He's promised to stay with me. He thinks it's me doing him a favor. Hah.

Because of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, I know Coco, and because of her, Sparkey, the Prince, BuddahPat, GracieGoddess, and many others I hold dear.

GracieGoddess would be ashamed of me. I washed, brushed, braided my hair on Wednesday, and haven't bothered it much since. After three days stuffed in my muffin hat, I don't wonder that it's a rat's nest. Someone hand me a pair of scissors.

Accidental dreadlocks. Now THAT was unexpected.

(I Want It That Way; Backstreet Boys )

07 September, 2004

Yes, That.

...With the blink of an eye you finally see the light....

I hadn't planned to post today, because I am catching up on my Real Life- yes, I do have one, and it includes plans for Washing My Car, YES, in my bikini,(if the neighbors are lucky; starkers if I'm feeling nasty). If the weather holds, I'm heading To The Beach tomorrow and Thursday, so I'm catching up on some reading and I come across this, posted by my second-favorite genius, Tim Kreider.

When I got home I had a message on my answering machine from my beloved groupie Alicia, who’d called on her way to Burning Man just to tell me she loved me in case "anything happened" to her there. She seemed to feel the same fatalistic dread about Burning Man that I had about the R.N.C. I've been to Burning Man before, and in fact they felt similar, in some ways; by the end of every day there you were so exhausted and overloaded with impressions that you could hardly remember what had happened that day or keep it all straight. I imagine that Alicia and I had very different experiences at our chosen destinations (for example, there was not much likelihood of my getting fisted, unless it was by the N.Y.P.D.), but it's possible that they are both equally meaningless events. The sorts of West-Coast ecstasy techies who go to Burning Man like to talk about it in utopian terms, but basically it's a lot of people doing drugs and having sex and feeling self-congratulatory about it in the desert. The R.N.C. was a lot of people waving signs and shouting slogans and feeling self-congratulatory about it in the city, with a rejuvenating dose of pure hate thrown in to supercharge things. Ultimately, they're both theater. Which is fine. Theater can be diverting and cathartic and sometimes even edifying. But what matters about theater is not so much what happens onstage as what you take with you when the lights come up and you have to walk back out into the real world. There are two months left until the election, and in the latest polls Bush is leading by double digits.

Can we say epiphany? (Can we spell "epiphany"?) He suddenly and backhandedly sums up why I won't be going to Burning Man, ever, even though I think that I'd like to, and why I won't be doing any protests, ever, even though there are causes I believe in. They're both theatre- without an audience.

I need audience. Audience is the whole point of theatre. As one of my young students once said, if there's no audience "you're wasting your time doing nothing for nobody." Otherwise known as rehearsal. But, to the point: I and most of my oddball associates are actors, (the opposite of people, according to Tom Stoppard in Rosencranz And Guildenstern Are Dead), and being self-congratulatory doesn't do it for us. We're after outside validation, tangible approval of a crowd of strangers.

(This also explains my determination to find a faire that runs in February and March, when my depression spikes, though that's a counterintuitive phrase.)

I came close to doing a protest. No, I didn't. If a protest is theatre, what I did was theatre squared. I was part of a crowd scene on the Mall in Washington, DC for the film Forest Gump. A casting agency sent scouts to the RenFest seeking people with hair. Most of us had plenty. Boredom waiting between takes was relieved by hippie drummers from the faire, none of whom recognized me without my makeup.

The whole experience was surreal. For a few seconds of screen time, they made us take off gloves and jackets (it was cold that November!) and leave our hair unwashed for a whole week of filming.

I mean, I'm all for accuracy, but come on.

(Amazing; Aerosmith)

03 September, 2004

Bless You

...my world's on fire, how 'bout yours?/ that's the way I like it and I never get bored....

Opening Weekend Maryland Renaissance Festival 2004

Welcome Back, Mimi

Opening Day is brilliant, brutal. We drive onto site, past the Designated Patrons, dressing in costumes beside their cars an hour before gates open. “Remind me what ‘designated’ means, Mama?” my son enquires. I explain. “Who designated them to be patrons, Mama, Carolyn?” No, darling. They designate themselves, bless their hearts and pocketbooks.

By my start time at 10:30, I am damp and burning in the sun. Enter the grounds, excited beyond excited. I pass the magnificent thighs of Peter Gross, just at pinchable level as he stands on a bench. He slaps my hand, blushing a bit. I begin with bubbles on the front gate wall, as is my custom, and am rewarded with exuberant greetings from folk I do not know. The one person I recognize does not see me. He does not look up. I think perhaps he can’t.

I love this man, the Crooked Finger Man, who over the years has become more and more hunched. I posed with him, at Mike Higby’s request, on stilts with a huge wooden sword, and this was the first time we'd met. Ten years ago? More? Possibly. This tall elder stood proudly as I “knighted” him. Something has gradually crunched him into a question mark. He has the noble distinction of having the unique ability to take a bad picture of Mimi or Gigi. His enthusiasm is matched by his generosity, for he always brings a set of prints to distribute to the subjects of his photographic endeavors, so Ginny and I are dubiously blessed by numerous so-so shots of ourselves in action.

It was Ginny’s thought, inspired by my white Gelsomina costume from Moresca, topped by a fabulous feathered hat by Debra at Dragon Wings, (mentioned in this article ) that we should present the four of us, all in ivory, white and gold, as a special visual spectacle.

As it is imagined, so it shall be done.

She takes costume pieces I have collected and trims them into gorgeous creations, to compliment a wonderful wingy satin and organza cloak she’s made from my collection of fabrics. I head to the costume house, already in Gelsomina, to find a tiny white-faced troupe of cherubim. Alaina is angelic, and Garrett is charming. Ginny stilts up, is breathtaking. I am tickled with the three-quarters of us that I can see. I can’t get far enough away from us for the full effect, but the reaction as we parade, solemnly blessing the village, is astounding. We are a hit.

We have time enough, post-parade, for MimeLunch before I set up for Mimi Flambe. We choose our spot as much for shade and comfort as for aesthetic value. We feed grapes, strawberries, bits of apple to passing patrons. My knife is dull, must ask at Heineke’s booth if someone will sharpen it for me.

Mimi Flambe goes well. Our crowd contains my writer-friend Cynthia Polansky from MWA, and Pam, one of the agents from Cast of Thousands. Though we’ve had less rehearsal than I’d have liked, we make only minor mistakes, one of which Fluffy notices and mentions post-show, as we stilt up for walkabout. This is Lili’s (say Lee-Lee, to rhyme with Mimi and Gigi) performance debut on stilts. She wears a pair of butter-colored pants that were until Friday morning a pair of curtains. She is natural, in constant wordless conversation with her audience. Of course, it helps that her reception is unanimously positive. We wander to the Boar’s Head. I need to sit already.

(After rehearsing with Ginny on Friday at the site, I discovered that I was up to less action than I’d hoped. The hurricane wandering around our general vicinity has snaked barometric tentacles into my joints and I hurt all over. I am unaccustomed to the heat, the humidity. I’ve become wussy. Quite disappointing. Still, I’m been up on stilts and am more solid, though less energetic, than I had anticipated. Mimi returns, limping.)

Gypsophilia plays the Boar’s Head. Can I resist dancing? I cannot. It’s good. I am myself. The children are ready to continue, and last longer than we’d expected. A young gallant comes after us- we’re not hard to spot, or to catch up with- to present me with a pair of gloves I’d dropped at the pub, with a polite yet friendly bow. Lovey mime kisses for his thoughtfulness.

Gigi and I head out a deux when the youngsters have had enough, leaving them to relax in MimeCamp. She stays with me another half hour, until her shift is over. She’s been on stilts twice already today and is wiped, toast, outta here...leaving me on my own, on stilts, for the first time in…two years? I think. What shall I do?

I do what I always do: play with the people. Walk over them, steal babies and sips of beer, flirt, preen, sneak, tap, rub, shimmy, curtsey, shake, lift, adore, glow. There I go again, getting away with what I get away with. Advantage: white makeup, for it permits people to allow me to touch beyond touching.

Come down, then, after more than an hour. Grab the mini-Mimis and head off in search of treats, holding the tails of one another’s hats, elephant-style. Ice cream for Lili, cookies with milk for Max. Victor’s girls create that sensual cool concoction, Iced Cappucino, for me, and we sit together enjoying afternoon snacks, like any other family only quieter and more photographic.

As we exit, a karma chip drops from nowhere particular: Kaz, my childhood bosom friend, appears through the trees. We’ve not kept in touch. She carries a child I’ve never seen, and her first baby is now six. Though it’s been quite a while, she reads me easily, and we have a lovely chat. Our respective children, all weary, grow impatient, and we part. I give her my card, hope she’ll phone.

We transform back to our human selves and make our way across the savannah of parking lot, lugging sweaty laundry and bulky coolers. The cooler sits in the passenger seat. I furl the roof. Fresh waters in hand and open to the sky, we head home, westward with the sinking sun.

Presenting: Lili!

Despite the forecast, the weather is a repeat of Saturday’s. I head to a plastic house, morning tea already making its presence felt. Few who’ve not worked this venue will appreciate the small delight there is to be had in being the first to use a freshly washed privy. I err gravely in not warming up properly, and regret it the entirety of the day. Once again, our angel parade is received with awe and reverence. Victor at the candle booth: “You are among the top ten most beautiful things I’ve ever seen!” I’d prefer top three, but thanks. Lili has refused to carry her wand, blesses patrons instead with regal waves of her tiny hand.

Gravel shifts uneasy beneath my feet. Between heavy weather and lumpy terrain, every step screeches my infirmity. Backstage, folk ask how I am, and I answer honestly. My ankle is entitled to be tetchy. It took the brunt of the force, which thanks to a swift reach and grab by right arm (entirely involuntary; that arm was guided by the gods) did not impact my head or neck. So, as I tell those who ask, I’m grateful to be able to complain.

Again with feeding the patrons, who number fewer than yesterday. Yesterday, we came within twenty-four bodies of matching our all-time best opening ever, set last year at 11,800 and change. Again with the slightly glitchy Mimi Flambe show. Again with the four person stilt troupe, with the addition of Wyatt Jaster, Uh-Oh, son of O, and his diablo. However, after a mere fourty minutes, I am wiped out, and Ginny suggests I finish my day doing something else, strolling, or bubbles, perhaps. I acquiesce, knowing I push my limits and court injury. Alaina balks. She does not wish to leave stilts already yet. No, she will stay with Ginny, she says. And does so, to the delight of patrons at the O’Shucks pub, which I will insist on referring to as Middleton’s, though it hasn’t been called so for three years or more. Gigi, back from stilts with Lili, tells how the Tiny Terror danced unassisted to music of the omnipresent Gypsophilia, and invited a patron to join in her dance. Whose girl is that? Mine, oh, yes.

Bubbles at the gate is quietly successful. A series of minor fiascos follows, fortunately after my contracted time is finished, and we leave the parking lot exhausted, cranky and still partially in makeup. Even so, after a few miles with wind in my hair and sun on my face, a smile spreads across it and I breathe the breath of completion.

(All-Star; Smashmouth)

02 September, 2004

Wink, Wink Links

...Shoulder length, longer/ Here baby, there mama, Everywhere daddy daddy....

He says I have medieval hair, long and beautiful, so thick even in a braid. He says that’s what he thought the first time he saw it. (It, not me. I do note the difference.) With effort, I clamp down on my impulse to preen, but am internally delighted. Look, she’s got a little crush on her teacher. Isn’t that cute? Wanna meet him? Come to Trapeze School.

Speaking of crush, here’s Tim Kreider. But not his cartoon.

Did I say crush? I meant animal magnetism. Specifically, the Political Animal magnetism. He’s so magnetic. As well as magical. His double life, revealed.

And Tom Tomorrow's last frame sums up quite nicely why I feel that even Maryland will go for Bush. I'm crushed.

Three women who do not know me, but to whom I owe huge debts of gratitude:

Judith Martin, also known as Miss Manners, who answers myriad questions of etiquette, and once picketed the National Press Club pushing a baby carriage.

Paula Begoun, who checks out and debunks the inflated claims made by cosmetics companies about their ever more inscrutable products.

And Fly Lady, who encourages me and keeps me organized and tidy, insofar as anybody can.

Now I'm off to my third grocery store of the day. WHY can I not find tahini and nori at the same place? How about this: SuperShop of Foods That End In i, where I will find in addition to tahini and nori also sushi and spaghetti and pignoli and gnochi and blini and lichi and....

(Hair; lyrics by James Rado & Gerome Ragni)