Sunday, January 01, 2006

a new year end

January 1st, 2006,

Nice number 2006... The year of the Dog.

The New Years party was at our place, and it finished at midnight with everyone burning their lists of regrets for 2005 and resolutions for 2006 in an impromptu fire in our back yard. We're thinking of using the ashes to pot a plant on... wonder what kind of fertilizer that will be? Now, the morning after, the house is littered with champagne bottles and even the dog has a hangover.

It was a good year. The fall featured Lisa working intensely on a novel and finishing the final drafts for her poetry book that will be launched in the spring in Calgary and Toronto. She's also considering doing a theatrical adaptation of it with a wonderful canadian actress Emily Pearlman. My Jaques Brel went very well. I certainly had a great time and the audience...well, they seemed to love it, and besides: it took place on a little theatre built on a barge floating right beside Notre Dame Cathedral, there were windows looking onto the river and the buttresses of Notre Dame, so I imagine if anyone wasn't into the show, they couldn't complain about the view... The final night I had the immense honor of having Leslie Caron come to the last show and meeting her afterwards... If you didn't grow up with a Mom obsessed with music theatre (Mom only likes movies with happy endings and music theatre generally guarantees that) then she's the woman who's the female lead of an American In Paris, dancing around the city with Gene Kelly, I thought she was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen when I was 12. And at 77 or so, she's still pretty beautiful... Ironically, the dance scene that's always stayed in my head, one of my first ever movie memories and also basically the only thing I knew about the city before I washed up here, is set on the Quai of the Seine, by a set of steps leading down to the River, and those steps are just a few hundred feet from where the barge was moored.... Some kind of synchronicity involved here..

After the fringe it was a real pleasure to have a gig where I just turn up and do my thing and someone else worries about all that production/money/profit/organization thing... Although, also after the fringe, I'm constantly having to stop myself from getting involved or giving 'advice' (wanted or not)... been practising not getting involved as I watch various panic attacks hit various people on the production end.. though I did have the pleasure of getting to act like a Diva when an inexperienced house manager tried to throw out Lisa because the house was overbooked, (he came down ten minutes before the show and told me she couldn't have the seats that had been reserved for her since he needed them for a larger group and he'd maybe let her stand at the back) To give me credit, before telling him I wouldn't go on if she didn't have the seats, I did spend five minutes trying to talk rationally to him... (she got the seats...)

I replaced a sick friend for four days at Disney, so I got my taste of the Magic Kingdom... I'm thinking of it as an innoculation against ever working there again (unless they pay me way, way, waaaaaaay more money). The people involved are all quite wonderful, but the disney worldview gets me down.....very, very down. I still go down on weekends with a friend and sing opera arias in a beautiful renaissance square in the middle of Paris (Place des Vosges). I'll never sing these things professionally again so it's a pleasure to have the chance to get up and exercise my voice in that style that I spent so much time training in. A while ago I had one of those moments that makes me so love France: my friend got bored of the usual Opera favourites, so she pulled out her backing track of Schubert songs that she had using earlier to give lessons with. Within minutes she had a crowd around her and people smiling and nodding their heads (and throwing money in the hat). Where in North America could you walk out on the street and start singing Schubert and have dozens of people recognize it and love it. And it's not like a knowledge of schubert implies any sort of superiority ... it was just so nice to see that some people aren't only, only familiar with pure pop culture...

Oh yeah, the new dog... we now have a muppet for a dog... a ragamuffin cross breed of a french hunting dog (a Griffon) and something... she's a raggedy assed enthusiastic 8 month old with a shaggy silly head that we got from the pound this weekend. She looks like a close realtive of Animal from Sesame St. She's kind of timid and hand shy so we think she was beaten around a bit, but she seems to be quickly gaining confidence...

2006... a very even and calm number.... we'll see what kind of irony that plays with..