i screwed up my leg immediately before the fair, so my original intent of going down to help with the construction of the stage was pretty much shot before i even started, but i went on tuesday anyway, basically, as i said, because i can, but also because i knew that i would have an easier time actually making it to camp on tuesday than i would on wednesday, and i was entirely correct. i didn’t have a vehicle permit (they cost $20, and allow one to park in the SCOF lot, but they don’t go on sale until wednesday), however i talked my way into a “full load teddy” which is a document that allows you to drive into “the eight” (or, in my case, into chelamela meadow), so i didn’t have to unload my gear, load it onto a “gator”, and then unload it again at the stage (which is what you have to do if you don’t know how to wheedle a “full load teddy” out of the hippies whose job it is not to give you such a document)… having an obvious limp due to a recent leg injury definitely helps. i unloaded at the stage and went out again and parked my car in the lot called “miss piggy” (there is also a lot called “kermit”). wednesday i got up early and went to get my wrist band cut off, and to buy a vehicle permit, which got me into SCOF lot a lot easier than the lady who sold the permit to me said it was going to be… 😉
tuesday and wednesday i basically spent taking it easy, setting up my camp, and walking slowly, with a pronounced limp, which had gone away by the time thursday came around.
when i finally got unloaded and back to the stage, i was in for a major shock. the oregon country fairgrounds had experienced a late snowfall last winter, and it had brought down a whole bunch of trees in our camping area, which meant that (oh, horror of horrors!) i had to find a completely new place to camp this year. not only was what was left of my campsite already taken, but the rest of it, and two or three other camp sites adjacent to what used to be mine, were completely filled with tree-detritus, or actual fallen trees. simon and kenny took up what used to be my camp site, and i was forced to find camping in “new jersey” (which is the camping area in front of the stage). i did manage to find a spot that was enough like my previous place that i was able to pretty much duplicate the camp site from last year, with a few differences — the overhead was a little higher, and the path to my camp site lead through a bunch of other camp sites, and was separated from the path by a rope on which curtains and blankets had been hung, to obscure the camping area from casual view.
it was a much more subdued fair this year, without anywhere near as many twinkly, sparkly things as in previous years. i’m sure at least part of it was because, prior to the fair, some of the fair “big wigs” were taking a joy ride, thanks to a pilot who was apparently “one of them”, over the fair, and were involved in a plane crash in which everybody was killed. i didn’t know any of them, but a lot of people knew at least one, and some people knew more than one of them, so i understand why things were more than ordinarily subdued.
the shows were… interesting. we did a mashup called “Sleeping Beauty and The Magic Pea”. they were all, very definitely, good, even the ones where nobody could remember their lines and all of the music cues got screwed up. apparently none of the fair-going public noticed… which is to be expected, more or less (after all, the audience doesn’t know the show ahead of time), but the first 3 shows were definitely more rough than the last 3 were. this is primarily because norma (who wasn’t in the show this year), essentially, publically shamed simon into learning his lines (her specific words were “simon, you need to learn your lines, because it’s making everybody else look bad”). i understand that simon has been having quite a few personal difficulties the past few months, but we’re a more-or-less “professional” theater group, and “the show must go on”… once everybody (and it very definitely wasn’t just simon) learned their lines, and the music cues were straightened out, it turned into a finished production very quickly, and, once again, i can say that i’m proud to be a part of the crew that turns out shows like this. 8)
i sought out Lem, who is one of the guys responsible for booking acts for the Ritz, early in the fair (i think it was wednesday or thursday) and he said that he would be sure to book the philharmonic for saturday at 7:00 pm… which actually happened! we finished our 3:00 show (at 4:10, as usual) on saturday, and i threw all of my stuff together, lashed my tuba to a convenient set of wheels (actually, moe gave me a collapsible hand cart a couple of years ago, which works perfectly for an instrument of this size and girth) and made it up to the ritz by 4:30, where i proceded to sauna until it was time to perform. then, when it was all over, i put my gear away and had some more sauna, and still got out of the ritz before it became crowded. i got 3 tokens this year: one that i bought, one that i earned for playing at the ritz (which was a brand new one, minted this year), and one that i earned as “hat money” after the final show. i now have a “pirate stash” of ritz tokens… 😉 an average of two per year for the past 9 years. the ritz has a stylised eagle sculpture in front, and this year someone had put a stuffed rat in its beak… which was amusing in a vaguely disturbing way.
and, once again, playing “Il Ballo Di Qua-qua”, naked, for a bunch of naked hippies who were all doing The Chicken Dance, was one of the major highlights of the entire weekend. i would pay to do a performance like that… seriously! 8)
the “new” tuba was an interesting experience. because of the two or three rehearsals that we had pre-fair, i had a reasonably good idea of what i was in for, and busking before the fair also solidified my confidence, but there were a couple of instances where i KNEW that “the information is in there” (pointing to my brain), and all that is necessary is for me to re-establish the connectons that got screwed up when i had my injury. there were a couple of times, specifically, where i was asked something about transposition, fingerings, and my tuba: i answered without thinking, and at the same time, i was thinking exactly the opposite of what i just said… i thought about what i had said, and considered it against what i had just been thinking, before i decided that what i had said was actually correct, in spite of the fact that what i had been thinking at exactly the same time was incorrect… it happened one time, i noticed it, and figured that it may have just been a coincidence, but then it happened again within a 24 hour period, and that convinced me (if i needed convincing to begin with) that “the information is in there” and it is my job to re-establish the connections so that information will be free again.
other stuff happened, but i will probably write about them some other time.
i left on tuesday, and returned on monday. the week went way too quickly, ended much too suddenly, and left me with major withdrawal symptoms. more pictures can be seen here.