Wednesday, June 01, 2005

a funny thing happened on the way to rehearsal...

i was on my way to tu casa in the lower east side for band rehearsal yesterday and i thought i'd drop off some old clothes at the salvation army on the way. as i stepped out of the subway, i got a message from my (acting) manager: he'd gotten me in with a commercial agency. i had an audition that day. i called the agent for details. it was a national commercial for degree deodorant at hungry man casting at canal and broadway. the audition was happening at that very minute and would go on only until 4:30pm. i had to go but my rehearsal was from 2pm - 6pm. how would i pull this off?

then my cellphone rang again. it was melvyn gibbs. he had something to take care of and would be an hour late for rehearsal. perfect! there was my window of opportunity! i called jack sprat to tell him about the delay but he was already on the billyburg bridge, and andy sanesi, who was always on time, had to be coming in already from God knows where upstate. bob hoffnar was always on time, too, but i knew that he wouldn't show up until 4pm. i jumped on the train and headed for the casting agency, plotting my way downtown. by the time i got there, jack had already called me to say that he and andy were standing in front of tu casa but no one was answering the door to let them in. i sent them to a bar across the street and told them the beers were on me -- how much could they drink in an hour? -- and then i went back to the task at hand: getting a national commercial. it's always worth the hassle of auditioning for one of these. if it airs, i could get as much as six figures.

so i get down there and there's a lot of hurrying up and waiting, and of course someone walks in that i know -- stacey sargeant (we did harlem song together), looking resplendent in a fetching spring frock -- and lots of beautiful black people to chat with while we sit around. everybody knows that when it comes to commercials, getting cast has everything to do with what you look like, so why be catty? if you do enough of these auditions, you see the same people over and over again, anyway. after awhile, each audition becomes a moment to catch up on what everyone has been doing. ("how long were you on the road in that show?" "i saw you in that commercial, i loved it!" "what was it like to work with that director?" "i missed that production, i wish i'd seen it...") everybody looks great, everybody smells great, the energy is very up, very positive. it feels like a happy hour cocktail party without the cocktails.

i manage to get out of there and get to the bar by 3pm. i went over to tu casa to investigate the missing engineer problem, wondering where else we could go to rehearse on such short notice. they guy answers the door promptly. all smiles, no problem. it seems that he'd had a medical emergency -- and to my way of thinking, that could mean anything. as he said this, he pointed to the crook of his arm, where there was a band aid with a lump underneath it. it looked like some hospital intern had been struggling to find a vein and didn't quite figure it out.

we got on with rehearsal but then i had to run out of there like my butt was on fire because i was running late again, for soundcheck at bb kings on 42nd st. my friend renee and i were singing backups for the legendary edgar winter at moogfest.

that's when things got a little bent...

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