16 November, 2004

MotionFest Finale

"Get out of your head and come to your senses." -Bob Fitch

"Karl, why is Frisco on the roof?"

Frisco is sprawled across the sharply raked roof of a tiny shedlike structure inside the theatre where the sound person will be stationed during the show.

Karl glances over my shoulder and flicks his eyes skyward. I lean close to hear him. I can only hear Karl when I am right next to him. With a deep inhale, in his smokey toned voice he answers, "Well, dis guy wahs showing Frisco somesing he does, so Frisco has to show him zat he can do somesing, too."

This makes perfect sense to me. Because I was warned.

"You'll like Frisco. But he's weird."

"I like weird."

"No, he's realllllly weird."

"Even for me?"

"Even for you."

And so he is. Frisco is seven different flavors of weird, all of them more or less delicious. He hugs me at the airport, by way of a how-d'ya-do. First impression? Not weird. Adorable. Last impression? Adorable. Weird. Not mutually exclusive.


Our first guest arrives at the airport at noon on Tuesday. "MotionFest has officially begun," says Michael. I bring him to Reisterstown to pass him off to Michael. Rich has gotten the idea that I am Mike's wife, and wonders why my children refer to their father as Mike, but not aloud, so I can't correct him. I get this later from Heddy, who IS Michael's wife.

I take down airlines, arrival times and cellphone numbers, and become so familiar with the construction patterns at BWI airport that I cease to see crains, earthmovers or dumptrucks. My first pickup Wednesday morning is an overly muscled young breakdancer from Seattle with grand dreams. I wonder how he'll blend.

Bob next, then Todd, separate trips. I remember to start collecting receipts at the toll tunnel. I return home; Hawk arrives! We drop Garrett off at dance class, then do errands together. It's fun to be a family for a bit. We all watch the end of Garrett's class, which is rehearsal for next week's show.

Final pickup Wednesday evening is Karl Baumann and Frisco Canyon, both formerly of Mystere. Karl amazed me in Quidam, and at Motion Fest 1 as a last-minute substitute. Frisco is an unknown. Their flight is not late, but because they've plenty of oversized luggage, it takes a while for them to arrive curbside. It takes so long that the coffee I drank earlier is finished energizing my body and demands to be released. The battery on my cell phone is dying. I park, convinced I'll have better success finding missing Cirquesters with eyeballs white rather than yellow.

I stride through the airport, waistband a bit more comfortable, and the phone rings. I find my quarry, distribute hugs, retrieve them and return to the hotel. Popping by the Creative Alliance, I catch just a bit of the video shoot. Chris the Renaissance Man is in fine form. I stay briefly, spotting my favorite Animal and one of his redheaded Desdemonas, giving directions to my house to Keith the Leaf, who will arrive later with Evan Young for an overnight.

Thursday is similar. Drew Richardson spots me, says "I never thanked you for the nice things you wrote about me on Performers.net." What was that? "Something about my hair... could I quote you?" Oh, yes please. And here it is, me on Drew Richardson: "He deserves an international reputation, and I hope he gets it. His hair alone deserves recognition." Robert Nelson meets me on the Mezanine to pick up Jim. "I'll ride with you," he says. "We can take my rental car. It's big. Martin asked for a big pony, so that's what I got," he says. "You can drive." He hands me the keys.

I take Bob Fitch's non-intensive workshop, because Bob Fitch delights me, then leave to teach Storybook Make Believe. The kids stay home with Hawk, and I have just enough time to dig up props for Saturday's murder mystery. I won't be in it, but my stuff will be.

Back to the airport for Joanie Spina. I circle around and circle around and circle around, starting to worry. I call Michael and ask for a description. "Really tall, black hair, think Vegas showgirl." M'kay.

I finally get Joanie on the phone. My battery is still working, and my bladder is empty, so I'm good. Joanie sounds frazzled. "What are you wearing?"

"Oh, a work jacket and a sloppy tee shirt. I don't look very nice. Shoulder length brown hair, look for the middle-aged fat woman." M'kay.

I find her. Neither description was accurate. She steps forward when she spots my car, which I've described perfectly, thank you. I chide her. "You're no middle aged fat woman."

"I am my mother," she laments. She's skittish. I'm reassuring. I help her check in. I'm home in time for the second half of CSI.

Friday is rainy. I journey to Baltimore Stage Lighting for some gels that Phil needs, then go to pick up Harborplace coupon books and lunch from Port City Java. I return to the hotel with beach on the brain, and run into Frisco, who opines that I should take his session because "we've formed a bond." Have we indeed. He suggests makeup, to accent my expressions. He's wearing whiteface. I haven't brought any. I charge a hundred bucks just to open the box. I don't mention that. "Well, regular cosmetics, then," says Frisco. "I'll dig some out of my car." (I keep a kit in the glovebox, because vanity insists. Gloves I also keep in the glovebox, because logic dictates.) "I should let you do my makeup," I quip, "though perhaps that's more bonding than we want." Frisco considers. "Well, we won't know unless we try," says he. Lunch arrives, forestalling the threatened beautification process.

Vegan food is delivered by the Yabba Pot ladies, and I tuck into my lunch with high enthusiasm. Stuffed grape leaves, peas and rice, seaweed salad, mashed yams and a cucumber punch that knocks me out. I make a big deal of this. "It's like a party in my mouth, good food, good people, good music. And a foot masage." "Can I quote you?" the Yabba Pot lady asks. By all means. Please.

Okay, have I mentioned that Frisco is weird? Can we exist in a world where Frisco is weird AND I flat out love his workshop? He's chosen music that I'm nuts about, and pushes us, drives us, insists that we perform his vision. Pre-expressivity being his goal, he coaxes and coaches us into movement without intent. Does he call me beautiful? More than once. Do the other students suspect he's trying to make time with me? I see it in their eyes, and know they're wrong.

I venture home for family supper, leaving after bedtime to attend Critique Sessions. These are marvellous. People have talents that I've never even imagined, and bravery to put up things that are just horrible. I admire both ends of this spectrum, as well as all the middling efforts. Hawk calls. Evan's stuck in Philly and it's midnight. He thinks we'll lock him out. Hawk thinks Evan will beat me home, even with his two hour delay. He doesn't. I wait up for him.

Saturday, errands again, dry ice, flowers, mini DV tapes. Heavy preparation for the public show. Rehearsal begins; I mention dinner. Wil and Michael request that I get fruit and a couple of veggie trays. In this, I am foiled, for there are no pre-made veggie trays. Choking on powdered molar, I select vegetables and a large bowl, dip and hummus. More work for me, but the talent seems pleased. Despite being stuck with the boring job of T-shirt sales as opposed to a more desirable position as a tech (Wil didn't feel like teaching someone else the job; I've done it two or three years running), I enjoy myself. The audience begins to arrive, and a familiar man appears, talking to Spencer, (who mostly makes me miss That Girl). I watch him sporadically. I think he has no idea how beautiful he is to me.

I join the audience as lights go down. Positioned on the floor in the front, I am a target for Frisco as he poses audience in dramatic tableau: I recognize this exercise from class yesterday. He's already posed my mother. It turns out I am not the only one amused by this. He is weirdly charming, or charmingly weird, I can't decide. The audience is startled when he puts his foot through the wall trying to mount the roof of the shed, but not nearly as much as Frisco is. And nobody is as spooked as Bromley the sound guy, inside the shack, who didn't see it coming.

As the audience filters away and everyone resets their brain for Critique Sessions, I stow tee shirts, folding them tenderly, touching designs created by That Girl.

Large heavy items still being on the outside edge of my capabilities, I wheedle someone into carrying the boxes to the office for me and head into the theatre. A friend sits beside Marianne and Steve. "Hey," he gets my attention, beckons with his head, patting the seat beside him. I've had more eloquent invites, but few more welcome. I go.

Sunday morning, my body tells me that twenty two hours from now, the weather will change. I wake Evan, feed him eggs and hustle him out of the house. We both want to take Karen Hurll Montanaro's morning Intensive. Phil says when I arrive, "There's nothing left to do. Go to a workshop." Yes. Three hours with Karen doesn't kill me, but my aching body protests, limits my participation. Still, it's good, and I leave with rugburns and the knowlege that I can still do a barrel roll, quickly. ("Such a fireball!" Tony said at MotionFest 1) Karen is luminous. I hug her, with thanks for bringing Tony inside her.

Afternoon. What to do? Since this final MotionFest has knocked home for me that I am more interested in writing than performing, rather than trying to learn something, I think I'll take something fun. What's fun? Frisco's workshop again. Yes, that. And then, back to airport runs. I'd planned on taking Robert, but Martin beat me to it. Dave Walbridge and Jim, then Karl and Frisco.

"Look," says Karl as we load his large wheelie box into my truck. "Big strong guys dere yapping, leaving the work for us little ones." The heavily muscled breakdancer has cornered Frisco. "Good thing we're feisty," I agree, silently snickering at Karl's description.

Frisco, who has been singing "I blew my calves out in a show..." (Day In The Life; Beatles, bastardized) is unnaturally quiet in the car. "Was it good?" I ask. "It was great," says Karl. "I don't want to leave yet!" says Frisco. "I was just getting started!"

Yep. That's MotionFest. So good nobody wants to go home. And now, we're all going home for good.

Goodbye is so much harder than Hello.

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