Sunday, 11 October 2009


The Gang
Vancouver, September 18, 2009
Yes the gang. It's good to be part of a gang. The gang. The other performers, my fellow tourers, my comrades-in-arms, my mates, the others.
The whole damn fringe tour would be impossible without the gang. They're what keeps you sane.
The Canadians the Americans the English the Aussies. The actors dancers technicians poets comedians singers directors writers musicians puppeteers and more. The newbies and the old hands: the young and the no longer young.
As someone said, stand-up comedians go from hotel to hotel to hotel to gig to gig to gig to bar to bar to bar to café to restaurant to café. Maybe for weeks on end. Often all by themselves.Which is notoriously tough and wearing and lonely.
Well, we don't have that. Thank God. We have The Others. The gang.
The gang changes every year and frequently, after the tour is done, you never see or hear from people again. Like never. You've spent months weeks days hours with these people and that's it.
So some disappear, and some come back year after year. And many of these people are good mates. Great mates, superfun people, all sorts.
Because this is truly supportive. Is not a competition. Is not a competition at all. Even when you're on at the same time as someone else, and you are effectively flyering after the same punters. Because there is no mileage in acting like it's a competition, you have to live with everyone else for the tour and everyone gets to know what people are like … If, for instance an act is taking down other shows' posters in the prime spots, to put up their own: as happened three years ago.
And whatever goes wrong for you, well it won't take you long to find someone else who exactly the same thing happened to … only worse.
And whatever goes right, well that's happened to someone else as well.
And there's no triumph in doing better than anyone else at the same time. Because there is no equality. One show has had better reviews, is in a better venue, has been here before, has just been on CBC, is a hard uncompromsing drama while the other is a sketch comedy show, etc, meaning there is no equality of expectation. And well if someone else got an audience of 150 when someone else got 50 at exactly the same time, well, what does that prove? Does it conclusively make one a better show? No.
Everyone knows pretty much how well or badly everyone else is doing, and everyone knows the score. Knows how tough it can be. Knows how it can go well, then badly, then well, then badly, then well, then badly, then … until you're a nervous wreck. Knows how some people do great from start to finish without having to work too hard at getting an audience … Chris Gibbs, Chris Craddock, Red Bastard. Some people work their butts off and end up doing well … Jonno Katz, Gemma Wilcox, me … some people struggle out east and end up doing well as they get further west and they strengthen their show … some people do well at some Fringes and less well at others … And some people do pretty badly from city to city across the green vastness …
And, as Jonno once said to me, everyone on the tour is a doer, is a proactive person. For, if you weren't, you wouldn't be doing this. 'Cos this is tough, is long and involves a serious commitment of pretty much every part of you. Physically. Time-wise. Emotionally. Creatively. There are no half-measures and you have to truly go for it to get anywhere, especially on your first tour.
So yes, the gang. The fun, the laughs, the meals, the beers, the wine, the shots, the walks, the massages, the talks, the encouragements, the hugs, the analysis, the help, the suggestions, the critiques, the very handy pointing out of the suddenly blindingly obvious. And probably the shags.
Except I wouldn't know, I've never actually shagged a fellow tourer. Mind you, my girlfriend is probably touring next year, so my chances are looking up …
The Tour is so supportive that some performers, appalled that a mere fact like cash flow is deterring an excellent act from trying certain festivals, have been known to lend other acts the six or seven hundred bucks of a fringe fee for a whole year.
Like I say, the gang. It would be too hard without them.And this, here, Vancouver, is the gang's last gasp, our final hurrah … While many have already got off the roundabout … Jonny P here … Rob Gee, Craddock, Sage, Jayson McDonald, Jimmy Hogg and more after Victoria … Martin Dockery way back after Winnipeg … Chris Bange, Keir Cutler, Randy Rutherford, Tamara Ober, Celeste Sansregret, Hannah PumpkinPie, Ray and Sterling G-Man, Dave Dawson and Kevin Gillese, and more after Edmonton …While some of us have been going since Montreal and Ottawa … Jonno Cat Chris Sharon Lana Candy Amy Alicia Darren John Ann Gemma and more …And some were there at the start and rejoined us at the end … Dan and Anders and Eric and more … and some have just got on … New York Sarah, Cara, the Afterlifes, the Caberlesques, Dwayne Morgan …And Sunday will be the last of all of them … Ryan Tara Becky LisaHaas Collette, the Lysistrating Ernests, and all of the above.
Some of them will be back next year, some I'll never see again.
Its going to be emotional.
Aah … the peripatetic circus-wagontrain, first hitched together back in Montreal in early June, heading ever west over farflung horizon after farflung horizon … Aaah the talent the energy the creativity the originality … Aaaah from concrete atoll to concrete atoll across the sea of green … Aaaaah the long hours, and Aaaaah the weeks gone in a flash … Aaaaaah the fun and the struggle, the success … Aaaaaaah the fringe tour, nothing else like it on earth, wouldn't miss it for the world … Aaaaaaaah the goodbyesAaaaaaaaah …Its going to be emotional

and yes the cabaret …
something looms in the murky swirl
rumours abound
pieces and ideas form like beings from the primordial swamp of ideas
so its … something like … mister kinski's CABARET OF BS
Featuring Eric Red Bastard, Gemma Honeymoon, Jonno Accident, Candy Afterlife, Lana Grandpa Sol, Becky Murder Hope, Cara Reckless Abandon, Jem Flops, Chris Ignorance Gibbs, Tara Lavignia Travis, Sharon Caberlesque, Amitai GasHeart and Peter or Chris from Peter'n'Chris, and more. Special Guest TJ Dawe and hosted by Dan Uncalled For and Birthdays Anders.
Performance Works, Granville Island, doors 11:20, show 11:30, five bucks, 10 bucks supporter price.
it will be very good indeed

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