i have been being deliberately vague about this because i was “under contract” not to tell anyone, but now that i’m no longer bound by that contract, i can spill all.
i went to san francisco last weekend for the America’s Got Talent auditions. we passed the audition in seattle, so we (we being the Big Bois With Poise) stopped everything and made arrangements to have ourselves and our gear transported to san francisco, at NBC’s expense.
on friday, i got up at 4:00 in the morning and made it to the airport by 5:00, which i quickly realised was much too early…
the reason it was much too early is that i had prepared for a long, drawn-out and mostly pointless hassle with TSA over the clips, pins and screws in my skull – really, i even brought the letter from the neurologist that i had him write specifically for occasions like this – but after an extremely bored TSA goon scribbled a meaningless doodle on my boarding pass, i walked through the metal detector with no alarms going off at all… and that WAS IT… there was no other TSA activity from that point until i was preparing to get on the plane in san francisco, three days later!
so i waited around in the terminal for about 45 minutes, until the rest of the Bois showed up. we got on the plane and were whisked to the san francisco airport, about an hour and a half later, and from there we were whisked by “private” shuttle – which we had to wait an hour for, because the number that they had given us was the confirmation number for our return trip, two days hence, and once they got that straightened out, they still couldn’t take us because the reservations had been made in the name of the first people on the list (whose name is SIZER) instead of the name of the spokesman for the group (whose name is HUSON)…
but once that was all straightened out, we were taken to our "luxury, boutique" hotel in the heart of the tenderloin… which was an interesting contrast, i can tell you.
at that point, they had told us that the rest of the day would be filled with interviews and a dress rehearsal, but the producer that we had been dealing with was not available, so we left her a voice message and proceded to walk down to the theatre where we were supposed to be performing, where they wouldn’t let us in, and wouldn’t contact the person who we knew was inside, to confirm that we were, in fact, supposed to be there… so we decided that we should take the opportunity to be tourists in san francisco, and went off without further discussion.
i took a couple of pictures of city hall to illustrate the point, but the fact is, i saw buildings EVERYWHERE that were decorated with gold leaf, and where there wasn’t gold leaf, there were bright colours and murals and artwork everywhere… much moreso than seattle, and i was under the impression that seattle had a lot of public artwork (although it is also much more subdued and hidden away, as well).
i went with a couple of friends to golden gate park, where we enjoyed the japanese tea garden, and waited for my net-friend adam to show up. when adam showed up, we walked through golden gate park to haight street, which i have always wanted to see, and searched for a tattoo/piercing shop where i could purchase an ear plug to replace the one i realised i was missing in the plane (although, fortunately, i lost it in the bed, prior to leaving)… and we found cold steel piercing, where i bought a pair of really beautiful fluorite plugs for half the price i would have paid in seattle (which, of course, means that if i want to get new jewelry, check online before going to the local shop). we also managed to talk a local into taking our picture at haight and ashbury, where it turned out that one of our party (macque) had actually lived for a while during the late 1960s…
then we wandered back to the hotel, where we met with some other people from our crew, and went to dinner at a very good american restaurant about two blocks away from the hotel, and after that, i walked adam to the bart station and went to bed, because we had to check in at the theatre at 8:00 the next morning.
they had told us that we had to check in at 8:00, but that once we had checked in, we weren’t going to be needed until 1:00 in the afternoon, and that we were free to go somewhere else until then. but when we actually got there, we were informed that we had been moved to a different – earlier – time, and that we were no longer free to leave. also, we were informed that we were, essentially, their prisoners, and we were not to leave the room without an escort… which was slightly alarming, since we still hadn’t seen our gear, which had to be shipped by ground freight, because it contained materials that were flammable, and thus not allowed on airplanes. we eventually found an escort to take us to the other side of the auditorium, where, after a fair amount of “the left hand not knowing that the right even exists” action, we located all 12 boxes of gear, and arranged to have what we couldn’t carry transported back to our
holding cell waiting room.
then there was the fire marshall…
the fire marshall was a large, vaguely amused, buddha-like figure who was initially quite alarmed that they had arranged to have us performing inside, but once he found out that macque is a professional OSHA safety inspector, he calmed down and gave us suggestions for how to fix the (relatively minor) issues with our gear, rather than shutting us down… and, after his inspection of all of our gear, and watching as we demonstrated our fueling techniques and our extinguishing techniques, we actually had a “dress” rehearsal, with real, live fire, which the fire marshall was very amused by, and gave his blessing.
a little while later, i was sitting, in costume, in the
holding cell waiting room and a guy came up to me and said “hi, i’m with network standards. what’s under your kilt?” and then he and his female “associate” waited, patiently, while we showed them that we are, in fact, wearing underwear (and protective cups, you don’t want to hit yourself in the balls with flaming poi). he also wanted to make sure that we weren’t planning on doing any backflips, or splits, or have camera shots from “below”, or that sort of thing.
the show itself was a lot of “hurry up and wait”. we finally went on stage, and they asked chris a few questions, and then they said “go for it”, so we went for it.
we all bent down so that krissy could light our helmets, and then chris gave the command and we all threw off our capes — and instantaneously the ENTIRE AUDIENCE (which was around 3500 people) started screaming and booing, and showing us the X sign with their arms… it was really shocking… but they told us to expect a very strong reaction from the audience, so we continued. we got most of the way through the chant before the booing of the crowd was so loud that we got off synch with each other… my poi got tangled, and i had to stop swinging and start over (aparently a couple of the other guys had a similar problem). howard stern put his X up almost immediately when the crowd started booing, and sharon osbourne put up her X about ¾ of the way through, but howie mandell actually liked us. sharon said that she was “really confused” (and this coming from the lady who married ozzy osbourne) and that the act was “silly”… which is exactly what it is, only she’s too dumb to see it. howard said that he wanted to like us, because of our costumes, but once the act started, he said it was “nothing”… unless you count the fact that the entire audience was making so much noise that you couldn’t hear the chant (which was what howie said). howard also said that he’s not sure if he would like it if his parents were doing something like that… which just goes to prove that he’s a no-talent philistine.
after it was all over (all that work for ninety seconds on stage seems like a lot of work for not very much payoff), we packed up our gear and left the theatre, where we met up with adam and went back to the hotel… where we met up with some other people, and went to dinner at a very good greek restaurant about two blocks away from the hotel.
the next morning we all got up at 4:00 in the morning and schlepped back to the airport, where i had to opt-out of the cancer-scanner, and they actually patted me down (although they still didn’t care about the pins and screws in my skull) at security, which took about half an hour.
there are more pictures for the morbidly curious, but, unfortunately, there are no pictures of the
holding cell waiting room or the actual performance, because those pictures belong to NBC television, in perpetuity, throughout the galaxy… 😐