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Saturday, December 20, 2003

Touring With Eric Idle Oct - Dec 2003

Touring With Eric Idle Oct - Dec 2003 Friday October 3 2003 - Rutland Vermont One day my room mate Jennifer Julian asked me if I had nothing to do for the next three months. To which I replied "well could always do something new." I have just come off a 5 week tour and tired and grumpy and feeling like i needed to crawl into my cave before my fans hound me for more gigs. "More More More, we want more of mz moon." I can't deal with the barrage of media and fans... oh it's hard to be famous. So here I am in Rutland Vermont. Yes I Said to Jennifer's idea that i might be a good stage manager for Eric Idle and so, after thinking, "gee wiz do i really know what an undertaking that is to do 50 cities and 50 theatres and handle load ins and outs and... gosh you don't have a lighting director, oh my!!!!! and i get paid what? oh it's a greedy bastard tour? so we all tighten our belts and well i can do that coz this will be fun and and and... here i am. I'm at the start of a 3 month tour with Eric Idle from Monty Python as, officially, stage manager, and then performer for a few scenes. What a trip! it's going to be a bus tour right across america starting east coast and landing in L.A by Xmas. Eric calls it "Around the States in 80 days". So keep hopping on the diary to hear about what goes... on! Jen and I left our lovely playgirl mansion and pool and jacuzzi and l.a blue sky life and we hopped on a 5 hour flight to boston, land of an aburpt seasonal change to winter, wind, rain and probably snow. who knows? oh my gosh... i'm a lighting gal too! we arrived boston wed night and we got in the w luxury tour buses ( i want middle bunk!) where Eric greeted us with fresh smoked salmon and snacks (hmm gonna like this tour!) and we drove 4 hours to rutland vermont. English, or as i call him "Lish" cos he's a liciously cool British bus driver, escorted us pretty gals and guys (We're in the bus with Eric, Skip our tour manager and .. um that's it) and we sang rock songs and musical songs plus played "I Spy" to Rutland. Nice neighbourhood. picturesque houses. it's really cold here. we arrived at the Red Roof Inn at 2 in the morning and i rushed to bed. had to be up and out by 9.30am East coast time (that's 6.30 my time.) Had to unpack ALL the boxes of everything shipped which took forever and then there was no real house crew for us (we're in rutland for gods sakes!) so my lighting guy was also stage hand... can you believe it?? my first show and we have no crew!!! anyway, did tech run (ouch) and dress rehearsal yesterday thursday. shaking all day. but had an EXCELLENT dress and we could have had an audience! tonight opening night. i think we'll do great. the lighting guy cued everything into his littla computa and today he's going to tell me what he did so i can brief every LD in every city kind of the same way, although i'm simplifying EVERYTHING (eric's suggestion too) to about 10 looks, that's it. I really feel this show needed a lighting director but what do i know. I've learnt so much in 48 hours I feel like my head is going to explode AND i have to sing on stage too so i have a radio mic on me and dressed in costume. that will be fun and i'm hoping that as i learn my roles as actor on comms (stage managing truly is an art, it's like performing but to the crew only. everything relies on my cues to the crew and i feel invigorated when a great lighting cue happens to time well with Eric's delivery or change in scene. crazy! then Eric keeps throwing me more harmonies to sing from the wings. Like a black comedy really~ but am thrilled and it's thrilling. swimming but not drowning i'm swimming but few realize. crew are impressed and eric is too. and that counts the most. after the show tonight we bump out, (they call it load out as bump means naughty naughty!!!), pack the buses and drive to toronto for a day off then a show sunday night near toronto. i think on the bus i'll re-write my way over the top running cue sheet to a simple page! lights on. lights off. HA! will tell all over weekend when i get time. Saturday October 4 2003 Last night was such hard work but it was also invigorating Eric Idle is writing his own Tour Diary. This is fun. I found out that he shares the same birthday as me... March 29. What a hoot. So here is an excerpt from his tour diary that you all MUST follow at the same time as mine! "There is a little muttering when all the girls are assigned to my bus. But I am responsible for their moral welfare and I can hardly leave them amongst the crew. As a matter of fact some of them are the crew. Gilli Moon is a hard working Sheila (Australian) who has had only a few days to try and get to grips with massive amounts of work and has done a fantastic job. She has just got off the road from her own tour and is in her other life a fantastic singer and song writer. In fact you should check out her web site at www.gillimoon.com it is certainly worth the visit. I am of course exploiting her as Stage Manager, which is an epic responsibility on a one nighter tour. I also drag her on stage to sing backup, so she will have her work cut out, but I suspect she will be brilliant...." Check out all of Eric's DAILY diary at http://pythonline.com/eric_idle.html and you can also see where we are performing and also BUY his merch because he really wants to sell it!!! HA! I think I'll need to put my street promotion hat on for him and get people to buy his tshirts which I now have 2 of. One he thinks is a little small for me (its a perfect size Eric!!!!). Ok so back to opening night in Rutland. We had a full house bar 12 seats open, and it looks like the State Theatre in Sydney but smaller. I thought everyone laughed at every single line and the tech flow was more than i expected. I even had time to put on some lippy and get on stage myself. I'm sure i'll get a grip on all of that more. We've only done 1 show!!!!! Our tour buses, with Scott protecting them.. or he's having a ciggy, or maybe he's having a piss. not sure! We finished with success and 90 mins later we were loaded out and in the buses. We hung out for a while, sand more songs with Lish up front, then we retired for a bumpy ride to Toronto. We slept on our bunk beds and immigration detained us for what seemed like forever. I was a pretty site this morning at 6.30am when they needed to see my mug shot! By 10.30am we were in Toronto, in the Sutton Place hotel and snoozing again after 4 cups of coffee. Funny hey! I spent most of my day off, Saturday, drawing up a lighting plan in powerpoint cause skippers wanted to email all the L.Ds on the tour in advance so we don't have the mess we started with i rutland of having no bloody idea what lights to use! crazy! Then Eric made some cuts to the show over Chinese dinner (now i know why he wrote the song " I Like Chinese" ;) and i've been editing the cue sheet again (another 4 hour job) with the new lighting cues (i cut from 60 to 12!) ready for a fresh start at the show tomorrow, somewhere just outside of Toronto. Jen and I are currently in the cafe in the hotel on Wifi wireless internet access on our computers, face to face, writing and talking our writing as we speak. We are a funny match and i am so happy to be touring with her. She's a dork like me and i love her. (Another Aries. Wow three aries on the bus!!!) I need sleep cos i am out a here at 10.30am to load in again. Ciao! Sunday October 5 - Belleville, Ontario 11.45pm driving back to Toronto from Belleville where we just did our 2nd show. Belleville is about 2 hours from Toronto. I did not want to wake up this morning. i went to bed so late on my so called day off, doing lighting cues, that i just did not want to wake, and it was 10am still. but we hopped on the bus (crew as cast came later) and did our 2 hours drive. I hadn't even had coffee and being the only girl on the bus who had to pee poo and have a cup of coffee, (can't poo on the bus and the boys didn't have any coffee!) i demanded the bus to stop. so we did. at mcdonalds. We loaded in by 1pm and to tell you the truth i was very impressed with the venue, the house crew, the lights, the whole move today. but show time i was absolutely on a high, an adrenalin rush, to do the show, because for the first time i had a handle on the lighting. Canadians are awesome and have perpetual smiles on their faces. again i was outnumbered by guys who are crew in theatre, but i think they all enjoy a gal bossing them about ;) The day flew by, Jen, Peter and Eric arrived, we blocked a few newly edited scenes and away we went. The crowds loved Eric in this theatre. Really did. We tightened up the first act so it ran shorter and funnier, and the show was a great success. Only Second show and i felt we had a handle on it technically and creatively. I even enjoyed my two scenes with my blonde wig and all (i don't think the house crews have ever seen a stage manager so dressed up!) - and i think by the next show i'll be ready for more harmony parts on other songs. It's close to midnight and Eric, Jen, Skip (tour mgr) and I are watching Craig Pierce's "Memento" on DVD on our way back to the cool hotel in Toronto, while Lish (English) guides us home driving the bus in the very cool night. Until later.... Friday October 10 - Toronto on the way to Ottawa gilli plans the next day's lighting cues, on the tour bus from somewhere to somewhere else. See larger pic With a day off (shopping on Bloor Street is fun!) and nice hotel bathroom toys to play with (soaps, gels, creams) I joined the cast and some crew for Chinese Dinner round the corner in Toronto. Eric loves Chinese. And we all ate well. We had to. Massey Hall Toronto was next and 2 days in a row. We also were treated to free sweaters at ROOTS, which was very nice. The owner, Ray, is a friend of Eric's and Skip's too... S we all chose sweaters (it took 2 hours because we had a free option so, gosh, it took forever to decide!) and Skip even chose a Roots logo sweater which i'm sure would go down well down-under! ha! Putting a show on at Massey Hall would be my first taste of dealing with Union workers who only do something when you ask. There are rules about everything in a union house. On Wednesday we loaded in our stuff (all in haggard cardboard boxes falling apart) to Massey Hall. A very old concert stage, this place is not good for theatre but fine for orchestras. If you step outside of center stage and dare to go down stage towards the audience (as Eric wants to do naturally), there are no lights. Complete darkness for the cast..... greaaat! John DuPrez on farts, Jennifer J sexy momma, Peter Crabbe the Taunter, Larry Mah (feels us up with radio mics every night), Eric, not Billy, Idle, and gilli moon who has a hangover. Then there is union. Lovvvverrrrly. What a horrible experience. Firstly, the experts brought in for sound and lights cannot touch anything. So you end up having older, jaded, union workers working your show. Ouch. My stage hands should have retired. Lovely nice people, but not young and sprightly and I got completely reprimanded for asking them to wear the Bruces hats (our hats with corks on 'em for the floys mate!). Apparently union stage hands who stand on stage with hats on should get actors rates. Look out guys, if there's anyone who gets actors rate first it's moi! It was a really struggle dealing with time on, time off, dinner breaks, don't touch this, do this, we open the house now - I lost all control. Very hard for an aries! Not withstanding, since we completely changed the show before the Toronto dates, we had the BEST shows yet, esp. the last night. I mean standing ovations!!! I'm now singing more in the show when i can get my head set off, call the cues and run to the stage, in particular the finale, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" which I have known since i was 10 i'm sure! What fun. Our usual bump out is 90 minutes, but thanks to 10 union workers who i learnt to get the whip out on, and Skip having bought lovely new road cases to retire our cardboard boxes, we bumped out in ... wait for it... 30 minutes exactly! Fabo! The house was asking me to get out within the hour to avoid the union quadruple time, and so... we saved the money. Yay! I'm really getting a handle on the show now, and am getting my cues down. So life is more comfortable and have time to sit on the bus and type my diary and deal with Warrior Girl Music and Songsalive! a bit, which has had to take to the back burner for a few weeks. So here I sit on the bus driving 6 hours from Toronto to Ottawa. We play at a Casino next and Skip (tour manager) and I will dine together tonight at the Casino, do a recky of the place for our bump in tomorrow. It's a fun ride on the bus right now, about 6 hours. I adjusted everyone's back on the floor.. Skip has a sore left shoulder, Jenn has right shoulder and Eric has a big hump in the middle of his back. HA! What fun on buses. Next: Casino. Another way to spend our per diems...! Sunday October 12 - London, Ontario, on our way back to Quebec... this time... Montreal < view from my room in ottawa. i'm staying in a castle! Ottawa Ontario, right near the border of Quebec, is beautiful. We arrived Friday to a city of castles like somewhere in the south of france, although here there were castles every 2 blocks! Our hotel, the Fairmont, was a Castle too. Friday night was our night off and Jennifer J, Jennifer Usher (wardrobe), Larry (sound) and I went for some seafood grub in the centre of town. Ottawa is kind of like New Orleans. I mean they all speak french. And they have seafood. And lots of street performers. But different with the castles. I want a castle. The show at the Casino (in Gatineau Quebec, across the river from Ottawa - the river divides the states) on Saturday night was the most professional venue and crew yet. They are built for shows, with hydraulic loading lifts for all the gear, fabulous lighting, a stage that is huge, and wonderful crew. For the first time i had 2 female stage hands who were ready to carry anything anywhere. I started to say, "oh maybe we'll need a guy for this one.." and I had to stop myself for being sexist! They were strong lassies. I've just realized we are doing a zig zag tour. I thought i was the only artist who designs silly tour directions. Not that Eric had a choice to go in a straight line.. sometimes you have to be at the beck and call of promoters and of course, venues, and their availability. But this Canadian leg is quite absurd... Check this out. We started, going north from the State of New York, by going to Toronto. We then went about an hour to Belleville, then staying in Toronto we went the other way to Kitchener. Back to Toronto, and then we went north 5 hours or so to Ottawa, ... then 6 hours south past Toronto to London where we are now. Then we have to go all the way past Toronto, past Ottawa to Montreal in Quebec. What a riot! Anyway, we can pretty much sleep on the bus most of the nights we drive. See what we are doing now is no longer staying in hotels for a bit. We drive overnight to a venue, pull up while we are sleeping, and when we arise we saunter in to the venue, shower and start loading in (me, i'm on deck around noonish for the crew.) We work all afternoon setting up, then we eat dinner, and... yabbadabbadoo, it's show time around 7.30/8pm. We do the show, standing ovations, and then we load out. Back on the bus and English and Mike, our bus drivers, drive us to our next destination while we sleep rocking gently like on a motor boat. I'm loving it. Others... well they miss the 5 star hotel! Three blondes in Ottawa (that's our hotel behind!) After our Casino gig in Gatineau Quebec, we hopped into the bus, scrubbed our faces and after playing Twist a Wist with Jennifer (card game I used to play with my old mate Kristi since we were 6), and I won (!) we settled into our bunks, pillows soft, blinds closed, and slept to the next destination. So this morning, Canadian Thanksgiving Sunday, we arrived in London Ontario. We woke up looking at frat houses that could have been mansions, black squirrels running around and a couple of bag ladies wondering why there were two buses parked up next to them. Larry could get online wirelessly because some student must have been online with dsl. I couldn't and i really needed to send and receive my emails and update this diary. I get really frustrated when i can't get online. breakfast but not at tiffanies Eric wakes up, makes tea, demands eggs (we gave him bread) and then plopped onto his king size bed out back (notice bed... he gets a... bed), and gets online wirelessly too. Bugger. He has a wireless card and can go online any time he wants. "Gilli", he calls. "Yeah mate". "I'm online. Na na na nana" "Whatever!" I was on the floor going through my toiletries, jammies still on, and Scott hops on our bus at 12.30. "Gilli they need you on stage cos they want to know where you want the quick change booth" "Scott, honey, I have 30 more minutes till bump in time 1pm, i'm in my Pjs and I have cream on my face. Go away." Am I being an unprofessional stage manager? I know us S.Ms are supposed to be first in and last to leave, but this is ridiculous no? Living in a bus is one thing, but living on site at a venue makes you become way to tangible. I need my own time. Right? Wrong. Anyway, I like Scott very much and he's a pro, so we're all good. Eric was on the cover of Scene, the local free paper, like LA Weekly (or Drum Media in Oz). Very cool photo. He looks a bit like the Crocodile Hunter. Centennial Hall, London Ontario is much like a college auditorium. Basic. Ugly. Big but yuck. The crew were lovely, but all the house and lights were brought in and I never really got much of a break till now, midnight. But the show was EXCELLENT, the cast were really ON and Eric even thanked me for calling a great show. So I think we're really getting our groove and I now have my bump out to about 20 minutes from 90 minutes. Rob the promoter even gave me a bottle of wonderful french wine to thank me from not going into overtime again with the crew. Loverly. So even though it didn't look so nice, as a venue, the 1500 odd crowd hooted and hollered and laughed so hard I could hear them peeing in their pants. Eric was On and Peter and Jen were terrific. All in all a great show and now.. we are on the bus on our way to Montreal, about a 9 hour overnight drive. Jenn and I are about to play Twist a Wist again. Let's see who wins tonight? We are keeping a tally so the person with the highest score loses (the object of the game is to get rid of all ones cards so if you're left with cards you count them up and write them on the tally.) Every time we get on the bus Eric shares with me his smoked salmon. I haven't had so much salmon. Will I turn orange? My big toe still hurts from Day 1 packing the props and Eric's house when I fell. I think I need an Xray on it as it's going gray again and won't bend. Ouch! What can they do with broken toes? I may have to lie down and do my job. Awwwwwww. Cast and crew on the way to somewhere at a truck stop Peter Crabbe and Eric Idle rehearse at Massey Hall, Toronto Friday Oct 17 - Poughkeepsie, NY St Denis Theater in Montreal, another Jam Production, was big, but not necessarily glamorous. But the area, the Latin Quarter, was delightful. Lots of cosmopolitan food, restaurants and funky shops with residents who almost always spoke French. I don't think you could work in Montreal without speaking French. I'm on line reading Eric's diary, Day 8. He wants to be my stage manager one day. Now THAT would be really funny! Ok so back to me (he is a greedy old bastard, with the limelight, but i'm really starting to like him very much. I could call him Uncle Eric, ya know, he's becoming family. Or maybe dirty uncle Eric. Or maybe just, you ugly old bastard (his words not mine.) He even gets my Motrin when my toes hurts and gets some ice for me. Furthermore, it's the smoked salmon on a daily basis that he feeds me that really hits the soft spot!) The St. Denis Theatre show was great. I'm starting to get my bump in flow right where by 4.30 the stage is clear for the actors to do sound check and I don't have to interrupt them with lighting cue to cues. I even have time to read my book for 5 minutes. No Way! Eric Idle monologues in his pretty pink shirt and my loverly pink lit living room behind him. p.s Eric is NOT gay. And now, same scene, different day, in Purple. We have three costume colors. Pink, Red and Purple. in search of the holy hook > Gilli and Jenn outside the Flynn Theatre in a cold, windy night in Burlington Vermont We left at around 1am, heading for the border and a 2 and a half hour drive to Burlington VT (Vermont, the place we started in.) The border crossing was an interesting one. Still in stage makeup the border patrol guy comes on the bus without even knocking. I think Eric was in his dressing gown. And he asks us for our passports and our purpose in Canada. I think I say, "in search of the holy grail." He goes, "oh?" I respond, "that should give you a hint. It's supposed to." He looks at Eric. Looks at me. Shrugs. Looks at Eric. Then you can see his Ah Ha doobie in his head register. "Holy Grail. Right. Can I get your autograph?" he asks Eric. "Sure." Better to give him what he needs than be the bus next to us with every piece of luggage strewn out on the inspection table for 2 hours. Phew. Crossing was easy. The rest of the hour and a half to Burlington was spent singing oldies with Eric's baby Tailor guitar and us harmonizing till we drop! I really don't like Greensleeves. It's sickly sounding. I LEFT a prop though. Eric's famous long hook, that we use in the Bad Beethoven scene. I bring on the hook while John plays this overly done (hilariously funny) Fur Elise and I fake hooking him before going to blackout. Anyway, I forgot the hook off stage right and this is a major faux pas for stage managers as one should always cross check their prop list. But Eric said, "oh Gilli don't worry yourself over it, I'm sure you can courier it." Ok. So I didn't worry about it. Day 3 after that, and we still haven't been able to get on to the theater. Are they on vacation?? Eric got pissed at me and I began to REALLY worry. I mean, this is a famous hook! I said to him at the Bar in Burlington, "Eric, we won't be using the hook for the show tomorrow night. We haven't got it back." "I thought you'd be already on the train to Montreal to get it." "I don't get paid enough to go to Montreal" "You won't get paid at all" "Am I fired?" "If I didn't want you... I'd fire you" (smile) Sulk. We'll get it back. I know we will. Skip???~!!!!!?!?#@%#$^%&^&* So I had two days off in Burlington nursing my big toe which will not heal... fix my computer as Outlook crashed.... and worrying about the hook. Great break! Well at least I had a view from my room of the most magnificent Lake Champlain. Awesome view. But I came up with a quick solution. I bought a walking cane and a mop and stuck the poles together and... voila... a hook. Well it will do. And it did do well in Burlington Just fine. Not as long, but still drew the laughs. The Flynn Theater in Burlington was the last show with Jenny, our wardrobe girl, from Rutland. Eric called her our "stowaway." I'm going to miss her as my job gets bigger and she is a fabulous person too. Eric gave her a Swatch, Skip gave her a huge bunch of flowers, and Skip gave her some extra mula $ which she was shockingly happy to get. (She did this for the experience....) After the show we hopped on the bus and headed to Poughkeepsie NY. We were to arrive in the wee hours of the morning and the next few nights were to be living on the bus. I've been invited to perform in Boston at some cafe on the outskirts. If' I can get a lift and a keyboard I might do it on Monday night. But if it's a bother I won't as I'm already tired thinking about it. This tour really eats up your social life. Give it up for Mz Jennifer J. I absolutely FROZE to death overnight on the bus. Jenn and I share with Skip who, even though a desert boy from Tuscon Arizona, likes to sleep in a refrigerator. It reminded me of the early days living in the bush in the early 80s in our tent before we built the house, with the wind howling and frost biting in the winter. Horrible. But Lish, our bus driver and great omelete maker, got me a top sheet and also dug my doona into the sides so I'll be a warm pee in the pod. And I asked Skip to sleep in the fridge and leave the heater on. "Gilli if it's higher than 69 degrees we'll all get colds." And I'm a pig's butt. I guess all the people at the Equator have colds. Ahh, no. Friday morning the 17th October and I awake in a small parking lot with more bag ladies walking by. This must be Poughkeepsie NY. Jenn goes for a walk after waking up and when she returns she asks me "did you get a chance to walk down town?" I said "no." She says, "you didn't miss much!" Apparently the theater is in a funky neighbourhood. funk And I'm feeling rather funky today. The show went well. It's the travelling, that time of month, mum and dad are in Italy far away enjoying cappucinos without me, and well, I'm really pissed off with the Idle Tour payroll right now. I'm not getting what I expected to make $ wise and it's truly pissing me off. They're taxing me astronomically and even the per diems, which William Morris promised I would not be taxed on. I'm getting net almost half of what I was promised and already I accepted this show lower than what I would normally take, or what this job is worth. Also, as much as I am a multi-tasker, and I do my job well (or at least pursue excellence in my job), I have been increasingly asked to do more. Maybe it's because I can do it! I dunno. We lost Jenny, our wardrobe person and I really noticed this in Poughkeepsie. I really want her back. Am I wingeing? Yeah. Again, it's that time of the month. I am really hoping this payroll situation will sort out. Oh to be a star sooner rather than later..... Waaaaaaa. Ok that will be my only financial winge ok. I won't repeat it. I won't. Because I love what I am doing and money has never been the reason why I do things. (But a pay rise or original pay reality would be awesome!) Ha! Who needs money anyway! I love what I'm doing without a doubt. I really do. I really love working with Eric, touring with Jenn, being on stage and also telling everyone what to do. I have really evolved in my Stage Managing role and begun to own this position well. I love touring. I love it. And I love my stage moments and hope for more. * (Note added later10/21: all the above has been sorted out. No longer worried. Happy girl now!!) < Jennifer Usher, costume designer to future stars! So I'm writing my diary and I catch up on my own fan mail. Reality check. Does gilli moon still exist? Yeah baby: "Was looking at Eric's diary, and had no idea how many times you guys were through Toronto. If I'd known that I could have shown you the town! (when my buds from the Alan Parsons band are here, I usually only get less than a day to go out on the town). Anyways, I hope you all had fun and got to do something besides rehearse, play and do interviews. Saw you at the Greedy Bastards show last night. Awesome show - wished you'd got a little more time on stage. Come back to Toronto soon! Steve" oh and i liked this guest book entry too. "Hey Gilli, Just wanted to say that I bought your book from 'The hippy shop' a cool little shop on the beach here in OZ...and I can't put it down. I am a young artist and people like you are an inspiration. Your book is amazing and I'll definitely aspire from it. Keep up the great work. Live your dreams.... :)" Then I got this load of trot: "I saw your performance last night at Eddies' Attic (Atlanta). After witnessing such an embarssing act, I just had to pull you web site up. Even more embarssing! What a dork! You have an okay voice and seem to know how to play the piano but your lyrics are childish at best. I looked at the new 'poem' you have on your site and could not believe that anyone would actually think you have any creative talent at all. I guess that the old credo 'if you tell a big lie often enough, people will begin to believe i..... "(it cut off) Where do people get off criticizing others and putting them down? That's the last open mic i'll do. it was probably one of the other contestants who couldn't get their dick up. He can't even spell. Oops I'm being harsh. I wonder if Eric Idle gets abusive fan mail too? anyway, some other nice fan mail here. The show at the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie NY was really nice. An amazing crowd. One of the oldest theaters in America (c. 1869) Those played there include Sarah Bernhardt, Charlie Chaplin, Lily Tomlin, and so many more. If I remember I'll add the names here later. Amazingly talented people have played here. Apparently the Bardavon Theater also has a ghost. Roger. Roger was, ironically, a stage manager who back in the 1800s walked out on stage and was shot by one of the actors for coming on stage. Poor guy. He loved the theater and one can smell the gun smoke and see him sometimes. Maybe I'm the second stage manager to walk on stage (and sing too!) I hope i don't get shot. The crew were great tonight and even though a small theater (900 seater but we had around 650), we had standing ovations and just laughs all around. Eric was very much on, esp. in the second act and Jenn and Peter are owning their roles intensely. So here I am on the bus watching Kevin Costner on tv and thinking about money, love, fame, travelling and... the Meaning of Life. I'll smile because if I do, the world will smile with me. ;) Wednesday October 22 - Albany NY eyes wide open and up for the adventure I think, up till now on this tour, I have been in a spiritual funk. I am just noticing it because today, on this sleeting, cold, grey day in Albany NY, I feel WONDERFUL, for the first time in a while. I feel alive, bright, cheery, awake, strong and energetic. I'm up for an adventure. (It could be just the coffee I'm drinking on the bus as we try and find a way into the theater, but I really feel it's an internal thing.) It's like my body and my mind has just woken up from a giant slumber and I'm back to my old self. I need to pinch myself..... pinch! I don't think, also, it has much to do with the Idle tour either. Let's consider a few things. Up till taking this tour on, I was working hard! I had my own 5 week tour, Songsalive! had been expanding rapidly, 4 music conferences (Speaking/signings) in 3 weeks, and a lot of travelling, plus the 10 days to get ready for the Idle tour and ... ouch... I'm buggered before I can begin again. Notwithstanding the Idle tour has been all systems go, ... and now I feel I finally have a handle on it. Today. Back on Oct 18 we had arrived overnight to New Haven, Connecticut to perform at the Shubert Theater. Although seemingly quaint as an area, I still find that these huge theaters are in the funkiest, weirdest parts of town. But New Haven is home to Yale University and the postcards had all this wonderful greenery and beautiful buildings. I didn't get to see them as I bumped in to the building at our now set time of 1pm and didn't see the light of day. Jenn bought me a yummy caramel machiato from Starbucks, which is now my favorite coffee (soy milk of course) and that made a world of difference. The house crew were splendid and and we had a nice show. Afterwards, we drove to Boston MA. The Four Yorkshiremen - John Du Prez, Peter Crabbe, Eric Idle and Jennifer Julian. Side note - first time a woman has performed in this scene ever! Sunday Oct 19 - Boston MA Boston MA came to us slowly. We were supposed to get there around 2am. It was 3.30am by the time the bus pulled into Lafayette Street at the Hyatt Hotel. As Jenn and I went to bed at 1pm on the bus (normally I'm up till 3am but i was exhausted), we decided to not check in at 3.30am to the hotel but instead, remain on the bus asleep, bundled up in our quasi doona/sleeping bags. Why break a sleep just for a king size bed? Eric said to Jenn jokingly the next day... "I organize a 5 star hotel, and you two sleep on the bus!" ..... But I know that we had the best sleep out of all of the cast and crew, simply because we didn't wake up half way through It's better to be rested than dead tired! Besides, we had to play at the Orpheum Theater in Boston that next night, and I had an inkling that I was to need as much sleep as possible to survive the day. The show at the Orpheum, Boston was literally my worst day on this tour. For me anyway. The cast did a great job! From the moment we arrived the walls seemed to crumble down around me. For such a big theatre, it was old and decrepit, and for such a large stage, we could barely use 1/4 of it for the very fact that they had hardly any lights to work with. I had to squash the set into a thumbnail on stage, and I wasn't happy. Also, due to fire hazard restrictions, it was a real bitch to negotiate the use of our lyrics flat (which even though wasn't flammable, we didn't bring the little piece of paper to prove it!) There was also no space for it to go and by 3pm i was dying. I had a few spats with my own crew, and I cried all afternoon, with Skip giving me hugs saying "everything will be alright!!!" Then the cast arrived and in my blues, I still put on the brave face while lighting focusing interrupted their sound check. I felt bad and wanted to apologize about the lighting to Eric, only to be catching his grumpy mood too. I ended up sulking in the audience seats trying to look invisible. I must have missed the memo that went around... "this is how everyone is going to treat Gilli today..." Ahh... but by dinner time E and I hugged and the smiles were back where they stayed forever more. We got through the show and the audience was very receptive. I had some friends come see the show who hooted and hollered when i had my fleeting moments, and I was very proud of the cast who mustered terrific performances. I reckon Eric performs his best when moody ;) And it's not that he's moody much. He's actually the perfect gentleman, and very, very dear and kind. I have a real soft spot for him and I understand the pressure he is under not only as a performer, on the road, but also as the director of the show, and the executive producer/business entrepreneur. He's taking risks and I admire his courage and finesse enormously. p.s my financial woes all sorted out now. am extremely happy. end of subject. Onwards and upwards. After the Orpheum show my friend Chris Marston, who is by the way our Songsalive! Boston coordinator (www.songsalive.org go Boston) took Jennifer, Larry and myself out for some excellent chinese (we were staying in the heart of China town) at midnight, and some cool happy laughs. Monday 20th came around really quick, and it was our non-performance day. Time to regroup, chill and re-energize. I had lunch with old friend Rhonda Stisi who is an excellent performer in her own right. (www.warriorgirlmusic.com go ARTISTS) She just returned from Vegas where she was shooting her next music video. We ate clam chowder and then shopped a bit. I found a pair of shoes that finally wasn't putting pressure on my big toe so i think it's now going to start healing. At 2pm I rejoined Jennifer who had a voice over at Soundtrack studios on Columbus. I decided to go for the walk with her across the Boston Common, which is so pretty, green, and filled with chip monks and ducks. Jenn has been given the voice over queen job of being the Voice of Home Depot, in store, radio and tv. And so her agency has been calling her into studios across the country where we travel to do voice over bits over an ISDN line. It's quite amazing to watch her being directed in Boston, over ISDN, by the producer in another city, and being recorded in that other city to boot! So while she did that, I made all my long distance calls ;) and filmed her a bit, then we went... shopping. Per diems Are coming in handy ;) By 8pm I was ready to do my own show which was at the Midway Cafe, in Jamaica Plain, Boston. Chris Marston came to pick us up and we all took a 5 min bus ride to his Brownstown in Silvertown, which is one of the oldest areas in Boston. Always immaculately dressed in a suit and tie, Chris' house matches his dress sense. It is absolutely gorgeous, decorated in Fleur E'Elise era with 2 chandeliers, a piano, fab furniture and wall paper. He even has the toy poodle to match the decor. This guy is going to make some gal very happy one day! > my punk moment at the boston saloon By 9pm we found the Midway Cafe. My hopes were up as the sign outside said "Voted Boston's Best live music venue". But inside it was a real dump. Far from being a cafe, this bar of sorts had milk crates on stage and a stuffed stag on the wall. Umm... thrilling. Raven, the singer-songwriter host, had about 6 songwriters in the room and I became the 7th. All up, around 11 people. She is a real sweety though and has joined Songsalive! so we're happy to support her Monday night showcases in any way to help build them. At midnight we returned to the Hyatt, all dolled up, and Jenn thought we should go have a drink at the bar and check out the talent. It seemed busy as we walked past. Quick room check, some lipstick, and back down ready for action, we only found 4 people left. And some really ugly ones too. So we hid our disappointment and pretended to see if the kitchen was open for pie, so we could escape again, only to be caught off guard by this Norwegian drunk. He leaned over Jenn's shoulder at the bar, breathing down her neck, telling us how horrible he thought America was, and looking at her butt at the same time. We had to leave. And fast we did. I arrived back to the room to two wine glasses, a cork screw and a delicious bottle of red plonk from Eric which warmed my heart. Tuesday October 21 - Northampton MA always look on the bright side of life Up by 9am and check out at 10am, the crew bus took off towards Northampton MA, which i was assured was a new, quaint town to look at. I must say the North East is certainly picturesque, even when the leaves are falling in Fall. ("They're dead, not pretty", says Peter) I had a gradual re-awakening this day and was merry. Quite merry. Rest suits me and it gives me lots of energy to do my best work. Our bump in was smooth, and it was one of the best crews I've worked with on the tour. Everything I needed was there, plus internet access, which is always a good thing! Jennifer Usher joined us by surprise and for fun and so wardrobe was under control. Yay ;) < Peter, our Taunter! How can I describe the show we did in this city. UNBELIEVABLE would be one word to describe it. As soon as Eric took the stage the audience was the BEST and WARMEST so far. They loved him. And he loved them. Eric did his best show, in my opinion, that I've seen. He was in control, natural, added some new off the cuff jokes, and he had the audience, each and every one of them, in the palm of his hands. Jennifer and Peter also felt the warm reception and they shined as well. Peter's taunter scene was awesome. Everything went perfectly smooth (albeit my cue for the desk to strike in the Argument scene, which left Eric and my stage hand embracing awkwardly in bright lights during Eric's monologue as the stage hand struck the desk. Ooops Gilli.) > Jennifer Usher, gilli moon and Jennifer Julian in Northhampton. I reckon this is good street promotion! Bump out was also smooth and tonight we were to sleep on the bus, but in Northampton, and travel to Albany NY in the morning. So the bus was our hotel, parked in the theater's parking lot. After the show, with crew, cast and entourage in tail, we dined our second dinner (seems like we eat a lot on this tour ;) at a cool seafood restaurant. Then a bit of blues at the ol' local and it was off to the bus for Jenn and I to play cards till 3am, while Skip and the boys got sloshed in the next bus with beer and tequila watching movies. I didn't ask what types of movies and I don't want to know. But we got a moonie from Skip around 2.45am which wasn't flattering. HA! I guess we all have to let loose ;) Eric missed the action, comfortable in his nook, probably online writing as he does (I don't know where he gets the Time!) Wednesday October 22 - Albany NY It was sleeting (light snow) on our drive to Albany. I took the front seat with Lish as we drove the freeway with gorgeous trees lining it. Everyone was asleep and it was 11.30am. I think Eric had made his cup of tea earlier and hid away again. When we arrived in Albany, we searched for The Egg. It wasn't hard to find. It's literally a HUGE, no ENORMOUS bottom half of an egg in concrete, surrounded by Government state high rises all in the same color. I thought I was on a futuristic movie set. Albany is in fact the State Capital of NY (not New York City which I thought was the capital.) So this theater is Govt run. We were about to see what it was like to try and be creative with loads of red tape. Now... where was the loading dock? Took us 45 mins circling The Egg to finally find the loading dock. Few men standing on the corner to guide us in. What a weird theater. It's all semi circular in side. Every door is curved. An no stage hands in site. Well, one. Oh look, another! Yay we can do a show. I sit here in my dressing room, having just set up the stage, about to have my first shower in 20 hours, and change for what I hope to be a great show. Let's see. 4 more days on the bus, 4 shows to go before a day off. But I'm ... loving this. I feel stronger, fitter, faster, happier. Wine anyone? Lata! i'm a riot in my own bus bed bunk p.s before i start, i've added some new photos above so if you've clicked latest entry you may want to to go up a bit ;) plus all pics of the tour here. 5 shows in a row. 5. AND, sleeping on the bus. Let me talk about living on this bus for a moment. First, we have a lovely brit, called English, or 'Lish' as I call him. Jenn calls him Ingy. Eric and Skip now call him Lish. Maybe we should call him L.. for love. He's always horny. Well he jokes about it. I wonder if he leaves a girl in every city. He's based in Florida, with a pad on the beach, but he never sees it. He's always on the bus. He's driven the best of them, especially the Osbournes. Once, he was in Dallas, and he drove all the way to L.A to drive Sharon Osbourne from the hospital in Beverly Hills to their Malibu beach house, because she liked the double bed on the bus. Eric "I've just had Chinese again" Idle It's a small bus. Long. Eric has the back room, the only room, with double bed and shower and it's very private. We often hear him tapping away at his computer with some nice classical music going on. Very bourgeois for a bus don't you think? Then in the middle are the 4 bunks. Skip and Jenn have the top two bunks each. I am bottom right and we have luggage on bottom left. Skip, as I mentioned already, likes to sleep in a fridge. Jenn and I like to sleep toasty. We still can't poop on the bus which makes things tricky because we don't usually arrive to a theater till noon. so we try and sleep till noon to avoid drinking coffee which means, ya know what! So.. hm. anyway. Where was I. Or were we?... Albany NY ready to perform at the Egg. Everything was round. It was a quaint audience, rather small, but easy going enough. I never got to look around town, and I heard I didn't miss much. Lots of concrete and government buildings. So what's the difference between a union theater worker and a government theater worker? If you ask a union guy to pick up a chair, they go "oh ok!" and begrudgingly do it with a smirk. If you ask a government worker the same thing, they respond with the following "oh sure! yeah we can do that!!" and then they stand there and do nothing, smiling. weird... so i basically did a lot of the lifting and working myself. Thursday October 23 - Redbank NJ Jennifer and John in a moment > We got out of there quick smart, onto Redbank NJ to play the Count Basie Theater. Those just played here are Joe Cocker, Peter Frampton and Boz Scaggs. Willie Nelson's coming soonI really think some of these shows are going to become a blur. We drove through the night, spent some in a road side truck stop, and sailed into Redbank by 11am. Again, into the sleazy part of town. Mind you, Redbank is right next door to where Bruce Springsteen lives, I hear. And one good thing was that the Hook finally turned up. YES, Skip had tracked it down drinking cafe lattes at Montreal cafes and told it to come back to us quick smart! Thank GOD because I knew that I had lost a piece of history momentarily and now my reputation was healed finally! Eric even wrote the return of the hook into the beginning of the second act, and has me coming out with it to show the audience. "And Gilli here is our hooker for the evening". Smile Gilli, grab the hook and leave the stage quickly... I enjoy being on stage. Well that's obvious isn't it. But I'm finding that stage managing is very creative, and has elements of directing and producing all in one. I kind of find it interesting how i can go from left brain (Calling the show on headset) to right brain, singing on stage, in a flash. Sometimes I'm sitting at my prompt stage right with head set and ear mic switching back and forth. I manually turn the mic on and sing back up for Jenn while off stage, then off it goes while I turn my head set on to call the next lighting cue. Larry (our sound FOH) worries I'm going to call the lights through the mic one night ;) > Maestro John Du Prez at his keyboard on stage, and the awesome, but empty, Williamsport Community Arts Center, PA. And then it's fun coming on for the finale, Always Look On The Bright Side of Life. That's when John Du Prez on keyboards, and I have our moment singing and whistling. John spends the entire show dressed in hospital blue scrubs. I think we are getting into what Scott calls a 'groove'. That moment where the stress levels have gone, we load in easy, do the show on remote, and load out in bliss. Then it's all about dinner at midnight on the bus. We are RAVENOUS by the time we finish a show, and we've already had three meals. Funny huh! I have 5 gilli moon fans who come to see the show and await eagerly afterwards to say hi while I'm scrubbing props. Friday October 24 - Williamsport PA Eric and hat at the beautiful Williamsport PA theater. thousands flock to see the shows... >Gilli, off to find a Starbucks for coffee, and getting cold in Williamsport PA. 11am and i'm up fast. English is just pulling in to Williamsport, and I need to get a Starbucks. I don't find a Starbucks. I find Harlem, again. What's up with these theaters in loserville??? Tonight's show feels ominous. I hear through the grapevine (Skip) that only 350 tickets have been sold for a 1900 seater venue. I walk into the venue through the back door, always down a dark, dirty alley at the back. Actors always get the best access. No red carpet for us. The theater is beautiful inside. Williamsport Community Arts Center. I mean, almost as pretty as the Sistine Chapel. Gold leaf and frescos all over the house. I'm amazed. And saddened that the promoters have not learnt about a very simple marketing tool to sell tickets: street promotion. We have not seen ANY flyers for this tour and Jenn and I have put our hands up already to help flyer to cities we go to. You'd think, with all the expense, that they would at least organize posters and flyers around the cities. Unfortunately for the citizens of Williamsport, they didn't even know Eric Idle was coming to town. How pathetic is that? Anyway, it's not my job to promote this tour. Eric has William Morris as an agency, Jam Theatricals and a bunch of promoters across the country that you'd think would pull their finger out. I feel for Eric because this show is f*ing fantastic and deserves to be everywhere. Is it a sign of the times? I spend my life trying to figure out why my own career in the music biz has challenges in the indie scene and here we see it even for the famous! This industry is going down the gurgla. Fast. < Eric and Tom (our merch dude). Eric says, "Tom, I don't want to sign every night for 4 hours. I need my Chinese food on the bus!" I know that Tom is trying his best out front with Merch. He's a funny bloke. Likes to fart and burp and well, he's a blokes bloke. Odd match for this tour as he doesn't look like a python fan (more like a heavy metal dude, but i reckon he has a soft heart that couldn't bare to show it. He's warming into his role nicely now. We always have to wait for him at the end cos there are so many people wrapped around the building wanting Eric to sign the merch they just bought. The whole cast and crew got wind of the small audience and Eric rallied us into a last minute meeting 5 minutes before show time to boost some morale into all of us. "It's not about how many who are in the audience, because we must go on and do a great job notwithstanding. Those who are here have paid to see the show and be entertained and they deserve our best so let's not worry about the amount of audience, ok?" He was right. I've always known this, having had to do my best show to 5 people at the Whisky on Sunset, while my band members shrivel up inside into their jaded blob mess where they still remain by the sidewalk. But you make one fan at a time, and those who come to see you want to be entertained, and that's what it's all about! Funnily enough, one couldn't tell it was a small crowd (I purposely didn't bring up the house lights in the singalong), and in fact they were loud and laughing just as much as any large crowd so i would have to say that it was a great show. I think we'll avoid talking about the house numbers though in future. What's the point. There's no point in it. The cast by the keyboard during sound check >. Back on the bus by midnight, Eric and I chow down to some Chinese like vultures starving for a week. We decide that the best thing since slice bread is adding cashews to our vegetables. Yum! Crunchy veggies. Jenn and I put on a movie, when Eric goes to bed, and Skip decides to go out on the town. While the bus drivers sleep in hotels, the rest of us sleep on the buses in the carparks in harlemville. Nice touch to the tour. Who decided on that turn of events?... ah.. Skip...! > Skip's very funny when he's drunk. And about 3am, who dribbles up the steps with his baseball cap hanging on his ear? Skip.... wobbly, tipsy and smelling of cigarettes ...and we got him on film. He was SO funny. Hilarious in fact. He's such a different person when he's drunk. He's f..u..n..n..y. We played Twist a Wist and Skip was able to beat us drunk. Go figure! Go to bed Skip. Saturday October 25 - New Brunswick NJ on our way to Washington DC in search of gilli moon We slept till noon and found ourselves in New Brunswick NJ. It's magic. Go to sleep, wake up in a new city. I kind of like this idea! I scramble out of bed, onto the floor, find my clothes I prefer to live in for seven days that are black, comfy and warm, and squint in the sunlight in search of Starbucks and a good cup of a Soy Caramel Machiato. New Brunswick NJ (check it out, NJ, PA then NJ again! Zig zag tour i tell ya!), is again, all black and mexican. Interesting mix but there you have it. By the time I loaded into the venue, I knew that 5 days in a row was about the maximum before taking a break, which is tomorrow. I went through the afternoon on auto pilot, needing a shower and thinking about my next album.... What will it be? Go here to see the early evolution of gilli moon album no. 4 raw - coming soon in 2004 The show had some bumps but we all ran our lines and cues well. Jenn's microphone died so I ran over to stage left and gave her mine all in the nick of time. We loaded out, ate more Chinese on the bus and settled in for the 3 and a half hour ride to Washington DC. I'm at Show 14 out of about 45 shows. It's time to get introspective. I've got my roles down, so now I can relax... a little, and contemplate the next evolution. What will I be doing in 2004? Gosh, to think that I have travelled the States in 2003 pretty extensively, is an enormous accomplishment. In one year I will have performed in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Idaho, New York New Jersey, Massachusetts, Georgia, Tennessee, Northern California, Southern California, then Canada, Illinois, god I can't count but I'm about the go through the mid west back to the West Coast through Washington, Oregon etc etc. Wow wow! Should I just sleep in 2004? Or partake in the game again? Schedules are so liquid right now. We could be on the road again with Eric in March. Or I could be doing my own One Woman cabaret show on Broadway that I was offered over a month ago. I've been offered to perform in Turkey next Summer. Then there's Australia in January. Idaho again for June. A mix of performing and producing and teaching and book signing and, gosh maybe TV yeah? What I do want to do, though, is produce my 4th album. I'm very excited about that and it will be groovalicious, with some Maxwell inspired drum and bass, soothing vocals, and raw emotions that are relaxing and yet warriorgirl powerful. I'll have to entice my favorite players to come into the studio. May mix some live tracks on the album, with also some of me just on the grand piano. Very nice! Now.. when do I find the time to write some new songs? I'm noticing some hotels have pianos, plus some venues have pianos. The Egg in Albany had three grand pianos back to back, backstage. If I do the one woman show, I know I have learnt much more about timing, delivery and script writing watching Eric, than I could have possibly done without this experience. Danny's Skylight Room on 46th (Restaurant Row) want me to do a month or so there, on their grand, entertaining the NY audiences. I've always wanted to have my own show. But when? And then the Songsalive! team want to do another EXPO. I think I'll post pone that till 2005. I'd like to be more creative next year. Being with Eric has really made me hunker for the theatre again. It's been over 10 years since I walked the streets of Manhattan going from audition to audition, living on a banana a day and scouring Backstage newspaper for that lucky break. My life has oh so changed since then, and yet almost done a full circle. And in two days time I'll be performing at New York's Town Hall. WOW! I'm so excited! My toe is hurting again. I have to stop running around the stage. (But my butt's getting tighter so that's a good compromise!) Day off in Washington DC tomorrow. Ah... bath, massage, sleep.... We drive into Washington DC. Skip: hey girls, check out the beautiful view of the capitol Jenn: (looking out the window) I see McDonalds Gilli: Yeah, that's it! Sunday October 26 - Washington DC I awake in a hotel room, in a king size bed, one toe on one corner, the other toe over the edge on the other side, my hands stretched out. I bathe in the glory of clean sheets in my starfish pose. Larry calls me at 10am (that's like 5am in our kind of time zone) to see if I want to go get breakfast. "call me in an hour Larr, gotta get at least 6 hours in ok?" Oh bliss to have a day off, after 5 show days. It's grey outside. Last night at 3am when we checked in, I discoverd no coffee maker in the room. I ask the porter, "can I get some coffee nearby?" "oh I wouldn't think so. You can go as far as the 7/11 but after that it's really dangerous. Don't go past 14th street." "Do you have a pool?" He just laughs. Where are we???? I feel like we are on the edge of the abyss and if we dare go across the line we get swallowed up by some green slimy monster. So this is DC. Government grey is in fashion and not a Starbucks in site. By 1.30pm (that was the longest hour Larry has probably had to wait), Jenn and I meet up with him in the lobby and off we went for the walk to breakfast. We decided, since it was the only yellow brick road going our way opposite 14th street where the monsters lived, towards the White House. And White it is. To tell you the truth, my stomach was turning looking at this building. What was I supposed to enjoy looking at it? It looked like Tara from Gone in the Wind. This little old bag lady with a wig as big as her head itself, wearing about 5 robes, fed about 100 pigeons and then stood in front of her little humpy in front of the White House speaking about the Zionites. She raised her fist and shook it in the air, shouting to anyone who would listen that the Jewish Zionites were the reason for all wars and troubles around the world. She pointed to her homemade signs which were quite creative, yet depicting children dying in nuclear zones, and she spat on the ground towards the White House. All the while, police on general duty stood by ignoring the woman who seemed to live here in her shanty. I needed to leave. Jennifer wanted to go on a White House tour. I pushed for breakfast. I don't know much about American politics and their government history, but after an excellent salmon and poached egg breakfast nearby, we visited the Old Ford Theater which is where Abraham Lincoln died. I was fascinated by the museum they had set up in remembrance of him and I learnt of his enormous truth and belief in freedom (he abolished slavery) and read the story of his assassination by the Booth actor, for the first time. I felt my heart warming again to know that America has had at least one good president. I went and bought a postcard and a Washington DC Beanie Bear (did you know I collect little beanie bears? I have about 30 of them now! I want to collect one from every city I go to.) Jennifer saw the best clothes store, H&M, and we spent some more of our per diems. The walk back to the Embassy Suites, where we were staying, was long and my legs were sore from being on my feet all day. I don't think touring around and shopping is really a day off. I need another one! It started to rain so I hopped into bed. But got hungry again. The three of us joined up again downstairs only to see it pouring outside. I had seen a cool Thai restaurant literally up the road, but it was too rainy to walk. All of a sudden a limousine pulls up and the porter says, "oh Brahim will give you a ride." Wow. So we jumped in and got a free limo ride to the restaurant. I was so thrilled I almost invited Brahim to dinner. But I thought better of it as his teeth were kind of funky. The Thai food was delicious - we have eaten so well today, and the rain backed off for the walk home. Time to watch a flick, catch up on diary writing and contemplate the 9:30 Club - our DC show tomorrow night. Apparently this is a club, not a theater, with only stand up room, no seating. How bizarre. I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be a bumpy ride. Maybe I'm wrong. It might be cool and intimate. Or a props and set up nightmare. But I'm a trooper, I'll put that smile on and make it work ;) "I'm a lumberjack and I'm ok, I sleep all night and I work all day....." ... oh something to finish the night with: Jenn asks gilli, "gilli, would you still love me if my face was frozen like this and my mouth moved like a fish. huh? would ya?" "ahhh, no jenn." The time is flying - I thought I'd just written in my diary but it's been since Sunday last and i'm coming up to another Sunday now. If I don't write every few days I start to forget because so many things happen and we travel to so many towns and theatres. A guest book entry of interest: Good Morning My wife and I were in the very front pit row dead center so we could see your post at stage right for most of the evening. You looked like the whirling combination of just how you describe it in your tour diary. It was remarkably like an old vaudeville show...it had jokes, skits, music, sing-alongs...everything...it was Very Kewl. I'm one of those 51 y.o. fans from the old days, having seen them at a place called "City Center" in NYC about a million years ago. I hope I have half of Eric's energy when I'm his age....coming soon! ...Thanx for the good time...you did a great job. Good luck at your 2 shows in NYC and have fun ! Mike and Arlene Rosol Somerset, N.J. So let's go where I left off last time - Washington D.C was, in a word, blah. Rainy, cloudy, grey, not pretty. We stayed in the CBD so it was all about government which is ... plain ol'... blah, don't you think? The gig at the 9:30 Club on Monday Oct 27 - was fabulous, to say the least. I was scared shitless that we wouldn't be able to do a big theatre show in a music club. I mean, this club is a club. Not a theatre. It's all about drinking, smoking and listening to heavy duty rock 'n roll. Plus, standing room only. How can one do an intimate night with Eric Idle in that? The Aussie component. John, Peter, Eric and Jennifer doing the Bruces. But I have to say we made it work (they got seats in), and because of the long balcony wrapped around up top, with everyone dangling their feet over the edge, it created a fabo vaudeville vibe that was intimate, rowdy and full of laughs. The perfect audience vibe. After the show and bumping out (we are getting this down to less than an hour!) we hopped on to the bus and headed for New York City, land of the biggest critics and VIP lists. I was on a high from the show so i didn't sleep and by 3am we arrived in NY, driving down deserted sleeping streets (yes, NY does sleep!) and checked in to the Double Tree Suites right at Times Square. My room overlooked all the flashing Ad screens and Broadway musical billboards. I was in the heart of the big apple. Was I to sleep in NY this week? I think not! This was party time. Tuesday Oct 28 - New York City Tuesday Oct 28 and I woke up to ambulance sounds, cars honking and my heart pumping. I was back in New York. I had just been here in August for my own Tour and before that it was 11 years since i had walked the streets. Back then, 1992 in fact, I was in search of my own holy grail... a part in a Broadway show. I would open Backstage up every day scouring the auditions section for the perfect part. I auditioned for all the shows, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, Starlight Express (I thought I'd be perfect for that being a keen rollerblader then), and many small plays. I ended up landing a role as a Californian Valley Girl having never been to L.A and from Australia, and not being able to take the role because I had no work visa. I had stars in my eyes but did not live in reality. I ended getting my first job as a stage manager on an off off broadway play called The Best Part, on 42nd and 8th. We had to strike the set after every show because the theatre was used as a dance studio by day. I'd rollerblade to the theatre every day from 23rd and 3rd. That was my 6 months living in NY. And here I am, 11 years later kind of doing the same thing. How ironic. Except instead of rollerblades, it's a bus, and instead of striking the set for a dance studio, we load out and drive to a new city. And now.... I'm On Broadway. Town Hall Theatre, in fact, on 43rd and 6th. I was really excited. > Buying hats on the street in D.C! "How's this, can you see me?" burning down the house But my day off in NY was consumed with electronics. Just like my father, I love gadgets. Video cameras, recording gear, things that click, flash and move... I love them. So, being in NY, I had my wish list. I had bad Mexican lunch (can't compete with L.A) with Deb Flanagan from BookMusicNetwork (she is organizing my book and cds into book stores), and I dragged her shopping. First came the video camera. I wanted a camera so badly, and found a mini dv camera for a steal (maybe it was stolen?) with all the latest stuff on it. Next came the printer as I needed one for my computer on the road. Last but not least, the new wiz bang cell phone, Sony Ericcson P800. If you haven't seen these, you have to. They are extraordinary. They are a phone, video camera, digital still camera, they sync with your computer Outlook for contacts, Email and calendar and they have games and much more. With a good service provider they can act as modem for your computer to get emails 24/7 and you can surf the internet and get emails on the cell phone too, with a PDA color screen and stylus pen. I should get paid to promote these phones! We took the swag back to my lovely pied a terre in Times Square only to find some parts missing from the video camera. I kept going back to the store 4 times for parts for it, and each time the electronics store staff asked me if they'd see me again and "do you want to go out on a date" and "anything else we can do for you?" I was so glad to finally get out of there, and after reading the manual I put the new 5 hour lithium battery on the camera, plugged it into the wall to charge up and head out. By 6pm Deb and I went off to G, the coolest bar in Chelsea, for a martini where Dr Brooks, a dear friend of mine and my remix producer for some of my tracks, was spinning. He saw me come in and immediately started playing Naked Remix (I have several versions of this at www.mp3.com.au/gillimoon, one of which from the WOMAN album will be released by The Orchard soon as a single... very exciting!) Deb and I must have been gone for no more than an hour and a half. We came up the lift to the room to find a tall serious looking security guard sitting outside of my room on a chair, with my room wide open. "What the..!!!" My stomach was in my throat. I knew it, I had been robbed of all my toys and probably every other possession I owned and that was important to me. Instead, he said, "you've had a fire." Shit, I thought. Even worse. Everything will have been burnt and I'm going to be liable for burning the hotel down. Apparently there were fire engines and everything, and I missed them! They stopped traffic in Times Square. My video camera had melted and caught on fire, which melted the microwave oven door it was next to, and singed the wall and ceiling. They didn't know what caused it, but possibly the wrong battery (overheated), or maybe the hotel had a power surge. Luckily nothing else was damaged, although there was ash on everything which needed to be cleaned. The hotel said nothing (hey it could have been them) and the electronics store, now seeing me for the 5th time with a box of burnt electronics), tried to get out of doing anything. "In the 30 years I've worked in this industry I've never seen anything like it. Are you sure you didn't do anything to it? Did you plug it in right? Turn the power on?" How condescending men can be. I'm sure a guy wouldn't get that kind of comment. I wouldn't hear of it. I demanded a replacement. Fortunately for me they didn't have any in stock so they had to upgrade me to a better camera for no extra fee. What a shame!!! So this was my second fire in less than a year. The last one was in New Orleans, watching the place we were staying burn around us at 3am. If you haven't read the diary of New Orleans from March, you have to! It's a funny story, and you'll be laughing on the floor. We rushed to dinner and Marco, my childhood friend now married to the delightful Christine, plus is friend Roger, awaited us at Amareno, a delicious Italian restaurant. They didn't believe my story about the camera for being late. I mean, who would? It was hysterical. I drank a glass of red wine quickly. gilli and long time friend, Marco Rosa, in New York. Wednesday Oct 29 and Thursday Oct 30- New York yes i know I'm a girl. Now, take your eyes off those and lift this... They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway. They say there's always magic in the air. I woke up to soot in my eyes and bright lights from Times Square. Show time today, at the Town Hall. I guess that's Broadway no? You can't get better than Broadway. The theatre was old, and the house crew there were rusty. I felt like I was the pin up girl for the day, while crusty dudes watched my butt lift and move props around while they got their entertainment. Once again, I fell into a sexist, chauvinist union crew environment that I had no control over. "Bob, do you mind lifting this prop here and..." "Sure babe. How Youuu doin'?" "Um, fine, now let me train you on this prop move for Act I so.." "Oh she sez she's gonna train us, then hey?" "Yes that's right, now anyway this is..." "Sure, honey, whatever you want sweet thing" "Um do you mind letting me finish my sentence?" It was gross. And I'm living in a man's world. Never so noticeable as today. But I had support, - my own boys sticking up for me and helping me do my job. And a good job I did. We had 2 wonderful shows at the Town Hall in NYC, especially the second night, which invited masses of laughter and cheers for the show and for Eric. Even though Eric had a touch of laryngitis, we as a company of cast and crew had found our "groove" as Scott says. We knew what we were doing and we were relaxing into it. We had chemistry amongst ourselves. There were VIPs milling around and JAM Theatricals (Steve Traxler, the man with a twinkle in his eye) took us out for a delicious French cuisine on the Thursday night. My friends Marco, Christine and Roger bought Eric a tea kettle and put it in the Encore Bucket. It was a sweet gesture and Eric loved the kettle. He uses it now at every show. It came about because I was telling them that Eric can't work out the American style urns. "Oh for a simply on off kettle." And his wish came true! Friday Oct 31 - Keswick Philadelphia, PA It was hard leaving NY. Especially because I had stayed up till 5am. Jenn, Darren (replacing Larry on Sound who has a movie job back in L.A), and I went to Tao, this cool bar on 58th and Madison which had a huge Buddha in the main room. Plus I was on the computer and before I knew it, it was 5am. Up and checked out by 10 (I slept 4 hours!), the bus arrived having been in NJ all week. I tried to sleep on the bus but couldn't. Besides it was only an hour and a half, if that, to Philly... our third show in a row this week. Originally we were to stay in NY till Sunday and I was going to have a gig on Sat night at the Bitter End. But we had a new gig in Norwalk Virginia, so we were to sleep on the bus from Philly. Keswick Theater in Keswick was nice. The town was medieval in nature, with lots of castles. I felt like I was on a python movie set. I was exhausted. But lots of coffee and Red Bull drinks kept me going. Besides it was HALLOWEEN and time to dress up for the occasion. Skip went trick or treating with his cousins (he's originally a Philly boy) and returned in full regalia - a very smart black and white tuxedo. I couldn't let him be the only dressed up company member! So I got Jennifer to put wire in my hair and make braids, then freckles on my nose and rosy cheeks... tonight, gilli moon was to be Pipi Longstocking. I didn't think straight because I couldn't wear my headset with my hair pointing out of my head in two directions. I looked cute, but it was very uncomfortable to work in. The show was hilarious. We had practically the whole audience dressed for Halloween, some in Python outfits. They would come up, usually in pairs, during Eric's monologues to tip the Encore bucket, and show off their regalia. What a night! Loads of fun. It was also Peter's birthday and Skip brought out a cake in Act II with 30 candles on it. The Theatre manager blew a fuse on the head set with me. All afternoon he was asking me if we were going to light our prop candles or do any pyrotechnics, of which I replied "no". So he freaked when the cake came out and he ran to turn the smoke alarms off in a panic. I didn't even know about the cake. But I thought it was great! More Chinese on the bus and midnight and we were off to Norfolk Virginia (driving past Baltimore MD which, by the way, we will pass 4 times on our zig zag tour.) Saturday November 1 2003 - Norfolk, Virginia I woke up with my hair still in horizontal position and my nose freckles running down my chin. It was time for a shower. We had arrived in Norfolk at 4am but Jenn and I once again opted for a good night's sleep on the bus rather than the Renaissance Hotel Suite that awaited us. Up by noon, and into the hotel, I drowned myself in a warm shower and rejuvenating coffee. The view from the hotel suite was amazing, a harbour, filled with boats, ferries and navy vessels. It reminded me of being at McMahons Point, Sydney, looking over to Sydney city. Very similar view. Portsmouth, where our hotel really was, looking across to Norfolk, is one of the oldest towns in America, founded in 1762. It has some history here, including being part of the Revolutionary War against the Brits. Jenn and I spruced up and took a ferry over to Norfolk. The ferries look like mini paddle steamers, but with engines. It didn't take us long to decide what to eat. Staring at us from the marina was Joe's Crab Shack. I told Jenn I had had a fab dinner at Joe's in Houston TX in March and that their drinks were enormous. So our decision was easily made. The sky was blue, the weather 78 degrees (such a nice change to the ensuing winter days), and a good tequila margarita and shrimp in the sun was just what the doctor ordered. They have great t-shirts at Joe's Crab Shack - here are some: 1. I got crabs at Joe's Crab Shack 2. Have a crabby day 3. Bite Me 4. Got crabs? We do. It was time to go shopping and spend our per diems again. We found the mall (actually opposite the Norva Theater where we are tomorrow night), and I found Lindt Chocolate balls for 1/3 of their normal price which, even though Jenn and I are on a fitness regime, did not curb me from buying a pack of 60. They are going to be our after dinner delights as long as we can keep off bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, cheese, and anything else that has taste. I left Jenn to clothes and more, and I meandered back to the ferry dock, watched the sun set with John who I found dribbling lobster down his front shirt napkin at Joe's Crab Shack, and then I went back to the hotel for a nap. I don't think I mentioned this but Jenn and I shared an executive suite, the Lafayette Suite to be exact. Huge living room, dining table, kitchenette and two queen size beds with two bathrooms. Plus the gorgeous bay view. We wanted to have a party. I ended up eating Mexican food with Darren and then hopping into the jacuzzi, before crashing and preparing for the next show. Chocolate anyone? Sunday November 2 2003 - Norfolk, Virginia I didn't want to wake up on Sunday and go to work. But the Norva Theatre was waiting for me. I wouldn't call it a theatre. More like an over-rated rock club. It was just like D.Cs 9:30 Club, with standing room only, balcony and bar, plus no hint of any professional theatre lighting or stage design. I cried inside. But the backstage was great: in the dressing rooms was a jacuzzi and sauna, pool table and games room. It was great. I could have slept here rather than the bus! Eric and Peter had a jacuzzzz before the show. Luxury! Better than a cardboard box! To my amazement, the show was the best one we had done. With all the delays in technically putting it together, the house crew, our cast, and the audience made a fabulous show. I think being able to drink alcohol and watch the show had a lot to do with it (them not me!) I mean, they were almost hanging from the rafters in delight at the comedy. Every skit they laughed at, and many were able to rant the Taunter scene verbatim with Peter. The audience laughed so hard I had to turn down my headset from the spill. I didn't want to leave the jacuzzi, nor pretty Norfolk, behind, but it was time to get to Baltimore, this time actually staying there. We are having our first University show coming up at the John Hopkins University. I reckon that's our best audience, young students. We'll see..... oh goody some press just come in: Paul Cashmere, Australia watches gilli moon http://www.undercover.com.au/news/2003/20031019_gillimoon.html Idle leaves audience greedy for more By CHRIS SHADOIAN Thursday, October 23, 2003 -- ( NORTHAMPTON ) Very few people have been lucky enough to survive crucifixion. Fewer still have been able to whistle their way through the ordeal. Perhaps only one man makes a nightly living from the experience. Monty Python's Eric Idle and his international Greedy Bastard Tour stopped at Northampton's Calvin Theatre Tuesday night and managed to deliver far more than one man's fair share of wacky, irreverent humor. Which could have had something to do with the material - a good amount of which was written in the 1970s by various members of the original Monty Python troupe - or Jennifer Julian, Peter Crabbe and John Du Prez - Idle's excellent stage companions, who occasionally shined just as brightly as the show's star. But who cares? The act was a well-oiled, perfectly constructed machine of funniness that received massive amounts of applause, laughter and two standing ovations from the toughest of critics: a near-capacity, Python-obsessed audience. Idle and his well-versed co-stars jumped deftly between reciting classic Python skits and singing old and new parodic songs. Fan favorites ''I Like Chinese,'' ''Lumberjack Song'' and ''Always Look On the Bright Side of Life,'' (Idle's crucifixated swan song from the concluding scene of ''Life of Brian'') drew exceptional praise from the audience, something for which Idle was clearly prepared. He and his co-stars reveled in the fanatical audience reaction, even playing it by encouraging a sing-along just prior to intermission. The second half of the show was more devoted to Idle's memoirs of growing up in post-World War II England, the formation of Monty Python and the revelation that Idle hopes to produce a Broadway show based on ''Monty Python and the Holy Grail.'' It shall be called: ''Spamelot!'' Idle was the same quick-witted bar patron, cross-dresser, swagman that he was when the original Python shows aired, and the show played like a better episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus. If you're at all inclined, visit www.pythonline.com to find a nearby performance, and - nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more - go. Eric in front of the lyrics flat for Emmanuel Kant and Sit on My Face songs. This flat takes me and the house crew 25 minutes to erect and then dismantle every night. Bain of my load in, but fabulous prop to wheel out for the audience! Tuesday November 4 2003 - Baltimore, MD feeling like a dead rat 4am in the bloody morning on Monday and we arrive in Baltimore. I actually slept 3 hours on the bus. Do i want to get out of bed and check in to the hotel? no, i don't. Do I? Yes I do. I drag my sorry ass out of the bed bunk, plus my suitcases and everything but the kitchen sink (so i can re-pack all my 5 suitcases!) into the hotel. I look like a dead rat with my hair all over the place and my body aching from all the lifting. I swear I'm looking like a real warrior woman every day, as i pump iron by lifting props and am getting taebo legs from all the stairs up and down from stage to dressing rooms. I should weigh myself. Maybe I'll look like Kylie Minogue one day. Funny I should mention her. I just dyed my hair back to my original mousy brown. Gone are the golden blond locks. They were looking tired and Marilyn Munroe esq on her last days, so I needed a re-vamp. Jenn and I got connecting rooms, as per usual, but I got the corner room with luxury royal family size bed (that's my reference to a bed that must be bigger than a King size i'm sure!) Jenn was relegated to the double beds (she got two but i guess she didn't want to put one half of her body in one, and the other half in the other ;) She started moaning to the front desk about changing rooms, upon which I, now seeing the sunrise under my daggy mop of hair, couldn't take the whine and simply got into one of her double beds and said to her (she still whingeing on the phone), "Jenn, hang up, get in the other room, and go to bed. I'm going to sleep...now." "Oh gilli don't worry, I'll work out a room." "Jenn I don't want to hear it. You're lucky you have a friend who doesn't give a shit about bed sizes. Now, go to bed." She laughed, with relief. I mean really, I've lived in a tent, I've lived in a closet when I first came to l.a. I can sleep anywhere. Give me a rock and I'll curl up on it. It took me another 2 hours to fall asleep. Baltimore is still grey in the early hours of the morning. When Jenn and I finally surfaced from our sleep-in around 2pm in the afternoon, we had breakfast in bed - wow, really splurging... then spread our wings into the daylight. Looking for maps and directions in the lobby, I started chatting with Mr. Cute from MTV's The Real World, who was in Baltimore with crew shooting for their show. His ears perked up when I mentioned Eric Idle, and it wasn't long before we had phone calls back and forth to see if they could film some of the night's show and an interview with Eric. (Needless to say, Peter got wind of this too and became spokesmodel for the Tour, being interviewed and partying to the wee hours of the morning with crew at their MTV party. I'm still wondering why none of the rest of us got directions to the party except him...!) So back to our mid afternoon walk down the main drag (Fayette Street) of Baltimore to get starbucks. Not much to see, but the weather was a glorious 72 degrees. We were in an Indian Summer alright. As per usual, Jenn and I ended up spending our per diems on clothes and I swear I'm going to have to buy that fifth suitcase soon. Scott will soon be loading stuff from the trailer on to the stage and it'll be all my personal jackets, hats, gloves and scarves for props any day now! We were about a block from the so-called harbour and we didn't even bother seeing it. We were dying of internet catch up, in-room movies and sleeping in our beds. Early to bed this time. And late to rise. I loved the sleep! getting dressed for the show. will i wear this black top or this black top? I got the statistics of our journey so far from Eric's diary (he got it from Lish our driver.) Check this out! Boston to Rutland, Vermont 184 miles Rutland to Toronto 486 miles Toronto to Belleville, Ontario 233 miles Belleville to Kitchener, Ontario 142 miles Kitchener to Ottawa 287 miles Ottawa to London, Ontario 395 miles London to Montreal 461 miles Montreal to Burlington Vermont 109 miles Burlington to Poughkeepsie, NY 354 miles Poughkeepsie to New Haven 110 miles New Haven to Boston 138 miles Boston to Northampton 107 miles Northampton to Albany 95 miles Albany to Red Bank, New Jersey 207 miles Red Bank to Williamsport 235 miles Williamsport to New Brunswick 226 miles New Brunswick to Washington D.C. 211 miles Washington to New York 263 miles -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Running Total -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4,143 miles Shriver Hall, at the John Hopkins University, on Tues Nov 4, was simply one the oddest venues to do this show. We drove onto campus and were greeted by a bunch of student union volunteers who promised they could put on a show. Jeez. Not that they weren't proficient. Quite the contrary. Very proficient, under the watchful eyes of our Clear Channel promoters. Just too many people not knowing what to do next. Playing at a university meant using classrooms as dressing rooms, eating crap food on campus, and not knowing who does what ever. I got very frustrated. And I'm sure the CC boys did too. I guess it couldn't be helped. Meanwhile, our Maestro musical director, John Du Prez, was rushed to hospital as he had eaten something in Norfolk (it was that big lobster at Joe's Crab Shack I'm sure!) with some kind of vertigo problems. We went in to panic mode. What would happen if John couldn't do the show? Eric started thinking of backups. I'd play keyboards, (i wonder if I can call the show and play at the same time?), Jenn would back up Peter, and Peter would back up Jenn. Yeah....! umm... Anyway, John came back in time for the show (lucky we were at one of the world's leading medical universities) and said that he had some kind of ear vertigo infection or something that may have been caused by the loud monitors. To fix it they threw him over to the left then right and shook him up a bit to get his balance balanced. Anyway, he can't sleep lying down for 3 days (he has to sleep upright) until it all balances. We're just glad he could do the show! john du Prez and gilli moon Life on the road bites you in the bum sometimes, esp. when you can't sleep the right hours. After the show, i was exhausted. It was hard yakka, the Baltimore gig. More boys unable to take orders from a woman, and... just plain hard work to smile. But this night we were able to go back to the hotel after the show, which is rare, and Jenn and I chilled in the bar with a nice glass of red. Wednesday Nov 5 - Richmond VA I think my worst part of touring is in the mornings, when we have to check out early (10am really sucks), I have to wheel my gear to my bus, pack it all on, then go to the other crew bus and ride to the venue. Firstly, it's early. Secondly, I'm not in the comfort of my own bus and peeps, and thirdly, i get nervous about the venue we have yet to see. It's like the great unknown. What will the theatre be like? Will the crew be efficient? Nice? How will i be able to hide the lyrics flat? (always the bain of my load in and set up), Will the wardrobe girl be able to "read" the wardrobe bible i seem to have to re-write over and over again in plain baby English? Will they provide vegetarian food for lunch? ... coz i'm really hungry. My nerves calmed when I discovered a really pretty theatre. So much so, the greek naked God statue on the wall (there were about 10 around the house), became the subject of our "Getty Song" as i hit a spot light on it's penis. Very creative. I spent the night thinking about the next 850 mile journey to St Louis. Can you believe we go to St. Louis, then we back track to Buffalo NY, then Ann Arbor MI. Bizarre! My night on the bus was spent in my little box of a room lying down with my head on the back board, my knees up, my computer in my lap, a glass of red balanced precariously between the sheets and the wall, my little tv screen on watching a flick, and me catching up on 1,000 emails since this time last year. I've been so behind in my emailing it's ridiculous. Skip staggers into the room and says he's just had 2 valium and polished off a bottle of wine. "It'sss moy sleieeping peell" Go to bed Skip. 4am rolls around and i finally go to sleep. Meet me in St. Louis, will ya? jenn tries to keep up with peter's framing in "The Getty Song" Thursday Nov 6 - St. Louis, MO I wake up in another gray city with lots of gray buildings, on a 48 degree gray day. But my lovely hotel awaits me, the Westin Hotel, downtown St. Louis. Let me tell you about this hotel.... LUXURY! Right next to the Jefferson Memorial Arch - gateway to the west, this superb hotel could easily be home to me. All done Japanese style, we walked into a lobby with a nice fire going, and smiles from everyone. The room. Let me tell you about the room. Are you excited? You can tell I am. This is the perfect studio apartment. Lovely bathroom with deep bath, with fab abstract paintings on the wall; a huge bed, no, ginormous! A cool little alcove for computer, DSL line all night and movies 24/7. All Japanese colors and style, simple, elegant, dark brown, cremes, delicious. I spent all afternoon and all evening on the computer. I didn't even go site see. I did, however, have a great dinner at a brewery restaurant with Bob Baker, his daughter Kelly, and Danica Mathes. Bob is a great music book author based here, and is the male gilli moon warriorgirl (boy). He talks about guerilla warfare in music marketing for indies, just like me, and we are kindred spirits. we met in nashville at the 2NMC conference in Sept, but have chatted online for years. Danica is an entertainment attorney who reps artists to labels and all sorts of music related stuff. She is also a cool chick i met at the IMC Philly conference and then in Nashville. But my night continued on the internet, catching up and chilling out. Friday Nov 7 - St. Louis, MO This is my city. First a grrreat hotel, then a fabulous venue. The Touhill Perf. Arts Center (affectionately known as 'TouPac') is a brand new theater. Not even 2 months old. We arrived and everything was set up. Quick change booth, stage legs, catering, lights, everything. it was a dream. i set up in an hour and spent the rest of the afternoon on the grand piano in the catering room writing songs. And now for something completely different... a little entry from the talented, fabulous, mz Jennifer J.... Crikey, mate, how's ya bum for warts? I tell ya what, kids, I think I'm getting this Australian thing down!!! Ms. Moon and myself spend what spare time we have exploring our hotel rooms (I for one always scope the fitness room just in case I get inspired...where are those Lindt chocolate balls, Gilli?????) It's pretty cool being able to travel to new cities, doing what you love to do and getting paid to do it. We just finished our show in St. Louis and it was dreamy. The venue isn't even 2 months old and they spent $58million to build it. Gorgeous plush cranberry colored seats, multi-tiered balconies, and an atrium skylight that was just awesome. I'm finding myself enjoying the anticipation of what the next theatre will look like because each one is so very different. Between the different architecture of the venues and the designs of our hotels I'm getting lots of decorating ideas. Just call me Martha (not!!) Another beautiful thing about traveling to different cities is the possibility of re-connecting with people you haven't seen in years. I used to be a rep for a music production house and traveled to St. Louis once prior about 6 years ago and met a really wonderful friend named Marc whom I'd lost touch with. I got to the hotel, flipped open the phone book and dialed what I'd hoped to be his number. Lo, and behold it was and we talked as though no time had passed. Love having friends like that. He and his father came to the show tonight and it was really great to catch up. I went out and signed autographs with Eric (can you believe people actually want my autograph??? Holy, glad I practiced my signature, Batman!) I try not to believe comments good or bad when it comes to performing but I really felt people enjoyed themselves and were sincere in their appreciation of my part in that. Some wonderful, sincere compliments tonight about the show and my performance and I was touched. One girl drove 5 hours from Arksansas to see the show. To bring people together and give them laughter and joy is amazing. Okay, I'm done. We're on the bus now en route to Buffalo, NY. Just call this the "zig-zag make absolutely no sense geographically tour" but, alas, we settle in to the long 15 hour bus ride. Lish is great as a driver and I feel like I'm in good hands. Eric, Gilli, Skip and I have a little routine after every show. We all get on the bus, unpack, get comfortable and inhale food. It usually consists of fresh smoked salmon, tuna salad, veggies, sandwiches, cashews, Chinese food (sometimes) and pizza (pre-diet). We nosh and gab over how amazing Eric's performance was and how he is the king of comedy. Then when he's done talking, he retires to his suite with his tea and protein shake for the morning ("so as not to wake you, Jen, dahling, isn't that considerate of me?") and we talk about him. KIDDING ERIC!!! We all get along very well and are strangely like a little road family. "Like" a little road family? We are a little road family!!! G'night JohnBoy, G'night MaryEllen... - Jennifer J thanks Jennifer! ok back to gilli's anecdotes.... armies unite - street teams usurp conglomerations! I'm thrilled about something really truly amazing, and all you indie artists out there will jump up and down with joy and feel inspired by this. We have started a fabulous street team project for the Eric Idle Tour. Well, you all know me, indie marketing extraordinaire. We were somewhere in Virginia and Jenn, Skip, Eric and I were discussing the under packed houses ticket sales. I became frustrated by the notion that there weren't any flyers or posters in the cities we were going to. Where were the street promotion guys? Nowhere to be seen. So we started to discuss how indie artists market their cds and gigs with flyering the areas before the show. We asked the promoters about this. They said it was under control. But obviously it wasn't prevalant enough. There's nothing on the street. So we emailed Hans, the www.pythonline.com webdesigner to create a way that fans could sign up to be on street teams in their areas to promote the shows. No email from Hans. The promoters silenced up. I took the bull by the horns and created a free discussion board through bravenet where fans, even if just coming through my site, could sign up for being a VIP street teamer. In just 24 hours we had 10 cities covered by fans who wanted to spread the word, hand out flyers, put up posters, and wear silly costumes to push the shows, desperately needing promotion in this harsh entertainment industry climate. I emailed everyone, including William Morris, Jam, Eric the crew, cast... that in theory it was working. YAY! Now all we needed were flyers to send to the fans. WHERE ARE THE FLYERS??? Who wants to do the simple task of drop shipping to our designated street teamers?? Several days go by and Skip and I are tearing our hair out. One guy, Tony, in Madison WI, simply took the rains himself and downloaded pics and created his own flyers. He's off, pasting the town red with his posters. Awesome. You see, the fans WANT to be part of the process, of creating a show, and promoting a show. They'll do anything to get involved, and sometimes will do 100 things more than the promoters will, because they have pure passion and love for the project ,and for the star, in this case, Eric Idle. And they will get comp tickets and meet him so it's a cool thing. It doesn't go unnoticed. Skip was best to become the conductor of the street teams, and he goes on to the discussion board, chats with the enthusiastic volunteers in upcoming cities, and nominates the ring leader. It's awesome. FINALLY Steve Traxler from JAM Theatricals, Chicago, came to the party (you're a champ!) and with his lovely Katrine, they will assist us in drop shipping the flyers to the street teams that Skip nomimates. Thanks SO much Steve. It's a great thing isn't it? To see the fans and promoters and talent all work together for the common cause. Now, everyone, go buy tickets! I encourage any artist to follow these footsteps and realize that street teams are the way to go. As I always say, with my Warrior Girl Music label "Revolution never happens suddenly on a global scale. Revolution happens on the streets. It’s time to unleash the warrior within." - gilli moon check out Warrior Girl Music Saturday Nov 8 - Buffalo NY I wake up after a 750 mile overnight drive, in Buffalo NY, home of Ani Di Franco, Buffalos and Niagara Falls. The hotel, Adam's Mark, is all about the book cover, and nothing much to read inside. The shiny gold lion statues and fountain at the entrance hide a plain Hotel 6 atmosphere in the rooms. I think we'll go see Niagara Falls with the cast. I can't wait. A day off today before tomorrow's University of Buffalo show. We are going to be doing our 25th show tomorrow night. oh, one final quote: "the music industry mafia is pimping girl power sniping off their sharpshooter singles from their Styrofoam towers..." ~ Ani DiFranco i missed the memo about the boys club I think by osmosis I'm understanding why Ani DiFranco, from Buffalo NY, wrote so many songs about the underdog, the female point, the "hey, what about me?" songs, and more. I think any boy who goes to Buffalo start to act like male chauvinist pigs. woops, am i being a bit brash? Check this out: Jennifer says, "yay we are in Buffalo! I'd love to go to Niagara Falls!" Skip replies, "sure, ... hey I'll organize an excursion for all of us. Eric wanna go?" Eric, "sounds great. Let's all meet in the lobby at 2.30pm" So Jenn and I settle in to our rooms, get ready into warm clothes, hats, scarves, gloves and cameras... and we were in the lobby, let's say no later than 2.34pm No one around. Empty. No boys. No one. We wait till 2.50pm. Still no one. We call Skip and Eric in their rooms and on their cell phones. No answer. What the...? Finally we decide to go to the Falls ourselves. We were really disappointed that we were stood up but bewildered really. I mean, they wouldn't leave us behind would they? Cabs were $90 to get there, or we could rent a car for $60 but would need to shuttle to the airport first. If they thought this was an easy, cheap 15 minute journey they were wrong. Being resourceful as usual, I sauntered over to a nearby bus and asked how we could possibly get to the Falls by bus. Apparently there was a bus for $5 return. Yay! We'll go, see the city and do it the cheap way. So on the bus we hopped. Jenn turned to the only other guy sitting on the bus. He looked fairly decent. "Hello. Nice weather huh?" He replies, "ish ding derk tu dog, ditty ugh shlick shtuk..." His eyes lit up as he continued to rant and speak for about 3 minutes. Jenn turned to me. "That's the last time I'm going to say hello to a stranger!" Our bus ride took many turns, weaved in and out of the dreggs of Buffalo and its outskirts and finally, after a long hour, yet an amazingly talkative bus ride with our world's oddest passengers, we made it to Niagara Falls, on sunset. It was bloody freezing. I had to keep my hands in my mouth to keep them warm. The lens on my video camera was growing icicles and Jenn's face began to freeze in permanent teeth grin. "Gilli will you still love me if my face was frozen like this for all eternity?" "Jenn, it is frozen." We stayed at Niagara Falls for 10 minutes as the sun set. What is it about seeing something after you imagine it to be this huge thing, and it ends up being puny small? We were so disappointed. We went and had a beer at the Hard Rock Cafe and caught the next bus back to Buffalo. It was again a long hour journey, now in the dark so we couldn't see the grungy suburbs. So sad to see that Niagara Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world, was covered in suburbia and casinos. But Jenn and I realized that it was all about the journey, not the destination. Another lesson in life. We were meant to go on our adventure, to see the area, to talk about life and spirituality and just love the journey. We got home to find out that the boys truly did leave us on purpose. Seems like Eric wanted his own boy day. Well a phone call would have been nice. Sunday November 9 2003 - Buffalo NY 12 noon and i'm on the boys bus to the show. this time, another Uni gig at the University of Buffalo Center. This gig passed without me remembering much except that it was day 1 of a 4 day show session, so i knew i had to muster strength to keep going. The crew were nice, food was nice, show was nice. The audience was a little flat, but hey, we were performing on a Sunday and that's football night I think. No, truly, another standing ovation for the cast. We finished the show smoothly and we loaded out into the trailer quick and ready to leave this joint. Scott says, "Now Gilli, I F*ing know, cos I've F*ing been here before. This F*ing joint blows..." Scott Keaton, our Stage Tech/guitar player protecting our trailer with equipment, props and too many cardboard boxes! I hopped on the bus and headed for Ann Arbor MI. Me thinks that's where my book gets printed! Monday November 10 - Ann Arbor MI Skip, our professional tour manager who has toured with many stars... is now our new sign boy,... and he loves it. He comes out with signs in "I Like Chinese" which are Chinese lyrics and then half way through the song he turns them around as if they were upside down. We and the audience have no idea and they look the right side up in any fashion, which is why it's so funny. He gets so weird everyday wondering what he's going to wear. "The fushia or the orange?" And then he has all these other signs, in the Galaxy song, Eric the Half a B and turning the lyrics flat in Immanuel Kant/Sit on my Face audience number. He's hilarious to watch offstage as he sweats in his roles. What a pissy primadonna! I'm just teasing you Skippers! Darren Mora (new sound guy), Skip Rickert (tour manager and sign boy, and Jennifer J, starlet Ann Arbor was a funny lighting tech debarcle. The stage was nicely lit, but for the first time in the whole tour, the lighting techs had to manually change looks upon my cues, and this time i had two girls as lighting techs each with a board whereupon the 2 boards were connected together. it was a makeshift lighting rig and i was stressed. but i was delighted to find, after the copious rehearsals, that they got the cues down and the show went on without a hitch. Second show down. Two more to go. Living on the bus, rather than a hotel, has it's oddest moments. After each show, after i bump out the gear, I hunt down the best theatre shower. Most of the crew shower in the morning. They hobble out of the bus at around 10, hair in 100 different places, eyes half shut, looking for a loo and a shower... and that's how the theatre management meets us for the first time! I on the other hand sleep till noon ;), load in the show, perform, and then shower afterwards. I had a shower in the Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor (Eric says, "there must be an 'arbor with boats around 'ere") in this old porta shower that made a horrible horn noise rrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer while i had the hot water on. I finally had to turn it luke cold just to stop everyone outside calling "fire alarm!" "It's just me in the shower!" I grabbed the smoked salmon from Eric's room (he gets smoked salmon, rivita crackers, tuna and some yummy tea on his rider), did my last dummy check of the dressing rooms and stage in case we missed something, and hopped on the bus. It was time to watch Spinal Tap again! We slid in the DVD and laughed so hard because I started to feel like I live Spinal Tap in my daily life. "I can't have these pieces of bread like this. Look, they're too small. How am I going to fold them?" Thursday Nov 13 - Battle Creek MI Don't ask me where I am. Please. I couldn't tell you. I woke up at 11am on a cold bus, snowing outside, and alone. Everyone checked in at 4am when we arrived at the McCamly specially boring adjacent to a shopping mall Plaza Hotel. We are in Kellogs homeland. The place where all coco pops and corn flakes are born. When we arrived, Lish called me up on our private 2 way phone, "you up luv. we're here. Wanna sleep on board or check in" "sleeeeppp" So they all hopped off and now, 11am i awake, quite happily, on the bus, all to myself. Not much to see here in Battle Creek so I took my time. I won't be touring the Kelloggs factory today. I braved the cold, the sleet, the crazy wind (i swear i thought i was in a whirlwind) and wheeled my luggage into the hotel. I'm very much at home right now, on the computer, tv on, coffee in my hand and snacks by my side. I think I'll have a bath! Day off after 4 shows and bus living in a row. I might not even see the outside for 24 hours. what luck! Back on Tuesday Nov 11 we had arrived in Pittsburgh PA. Pittsburgh, at least the view i got, was the pitts. It was rainy and cold. But the audience was warm and fuzzy, laughing hysterically at the show. Energy electric. We decided to stay overnight on the bus until 6am. This is always an odd situation because, firstly, we are in some dark alley surrounded by concrete, sleeping on a bus. Nothing to look at except the rain. We all went to a bar. Then back to the boys bus for a little laughter. First time since the beginning of the tour, we all let our hair down and made fun of each other, joking and breaking the ice. it was nice. I did this funny impersonation of Scott and he cracked up laughing. With fake cigarette in hand, my hair like Elvis.. "Now here's the deal" (imagine Southern drawl.) I f*ing know how it f* werks. I've f*ing done this a thousand times and I know cos I f*in dooo" Next was my bit of Skip. Hands in the air like a Philly Italian (he's not Italian but he has the hands down), pointing fingers and eyes almost cross eyed, "gerrrrls. (spoken in an east coast drunk accent). I jus wanna say... (hand movements), that I didn't touch her. I'm a happily married man. I jus... liked her smell...." Too much wine? Ask me about the video tape. Yep, all on film! My head was a little spun so I left Skip and Jen listening to James Taylor and candles and I curled up in my bunk dreaming of Aussie oceans. another grey alley and coffee Waking up on Wed Nov 12, we had already arrived in Columbus Ohio. I can't remember what Columbus is famous for but I do know they have a big university. I'm sitting in the passenger seat of the bus (everyone is asleep and Lish has already gone to the hotel as the drivers sleep by day), looking out to a bleek, slimy, grey back alley. This is my morning view. Riveting. I sip my petrified coffee. Skip wakes up, bleery eyed. He sits with his cold frapuccino in a bottle, in the drivers seat. Silence. We stare at the road. "... Morning" "... Morning" We continue to stare at the road. I'm feeling battle worn. One more show to go. It's noon. I've been reading this great book I bought for $2 back in another town called "How to Be Awake and Alive" (Newman and Berkowitz). It's really working for me now. Yawn. There's a knock on the door. Skip opens the door. "Yews guys have t' move yer bus, now!" This tall angry man stands there with a boofy hair do. "Well we can't. Our bus driver isn't here," Skip says "You're sitting in the driver's seat. Surely you can drive yer bus!" "Sorry. (hands waving), I don't drive this thing. I wouldn't know where to turn the engine on!" Skip defends. "Well, I'm gonna call the P'lice and I'll f*ing move yer bus myself if yer don't move it. Yer in my spot!" What a way to wake up. The Police did come and English was summoned back from his slumber to move the bus AFTER the dude and his hench men pushed the bus 5 feet with their hands. Eric and Jenn didn't know what was happening as the bus seemed to inch forward like an earthquake. Skip decides today will be a stupidly fun day. He walks in to the theatre with a pair of Jenn's hosiery hanging out of his back pocket. No audience. Just to laugh for himself. The manager, Teresa, asks him "do you always walk around with hosiery hanging out of your back pocket?" I fine start to a day. This is called getting 'tour silly'. I follow him in to find a loo. Our Columbus show was filled with technical hiccups. Peter's mic goes out through nudge nudge, to which Scott rushes on with a hand held mic. Then I give Peter my wireless mic and I'm left without. Before my scene though i rush to Scott and get mine back and Peter gets his back fixed. We're all sweating. Eric has no clue. Our first street teamer, Desiree, is thanked in front of all by Eric and we're waiting to here the stats of her efforts. It's an amazing thing, this Street Team discussion board. I think I'll have to implement one for my own warriorgirl tours ;) The response has been incredible. We get 20 posts a day from fans around the country wanting to dress up in silly costumes and flyer their cities. The armies build across the nation. By the way, I'm watching CNN. Talking about battles. Did you know that Iraq is exporting 1.2 million barrels of oil to the U.S a day? Ponder that for a moment. Day passes, I live with tired real bed withdrawals, we drive to Battle Creek in the middle of the night and I dream of Corn Flakes. So here I am now in Battle Creek MI. I believe it's Thursday. Yes the 13th. I'm losing track of days. You'd think that all i have to contend with is Kelloggs, snow and wind. No.... Jennifer just opens our adjoining room door having just woken up, and she says, "hey i got room service and the maid said there was some celebrities staying in the hotel." "really?" "yeah I said to her, 'oh yes, Eric Idle?' She replied, 'I don't know Eric Idle. But Aerosmith and Ozzy Osbourne are here on your floor'" Gosh, Battle Creek is becoming more exciting by the minute! People ask me, "gosh what's it like to be on tour? Must be an amazing experience!" I don't know how to answer. I mean, what do I really like about this? Why am I doing this? Well, I do like seeing the country. But that's not it. I don't like lugging luggage. I like being on stage. But I'm only on for a minute or two. I like the challenge of stage managing. Yes it's certainly invigorating knowing I've overcome some obstacles and now I have this job down. I mean, I've really mastered this and I'm very proud of myself. I like life's challenges. But ask me to do this over again from scratch knowing the giant stress i went through understanding lighting, cueing, loading in and out, crew communication, dealing with tour jitters... and I'd probably say, umm... don't want the stress. So what IS it that I like about this? I like saving money. I like travelling with Jenn. She's fun. I'm learning a lot about performance, professionalism and myself by watching Eric in his element. Here is a 60 year old man STILL fresh faced and loving his journey. I want to be like him when I'm his age. I like the fact that I'm doing something different to my normal world. I like the fact that the Aussie press can't stop writing about what I'm doing. That's nice. I guess. But really I'm sort of just flowing until I can work out what the heck I'm going to do with myself for 2004. I just got a call from Jeff Young, producer of Badi Assad's album. He wants to fly me to Nashville in February to record. I like that. I want to record my 4th album RAW. I've decided not to put on another Songsalive! Expo till 2005. Too much altruism. It's time to take care of gilli a bit. Producing another conference for 1000 music professionals and artists, with exhibition booths, panels, workshops and showcases is a big thing and it sucks up all your energy. I have a fabulous team to do it but 2005 it is. So what else for me? Rest in Jan in Oz. Maybe some conference speaking in Austin and around for March. Maybe Eric will tour again? Maybe I'll get that lead role in the movie I auditioned for, for MGM. Maybe I'll get a record deal? Maybe I'll go sing in Turkey in the summer as scheduled. Or do my one woman show in New York. All could be possible. Life has it's twists and turns and I love the unknown. I guess this tour is teaching me a lot about myself. Who I am. How I act. Who I want to be. And who I don't want to be. I should have the answer by New Year's resolution time. If you ask a fish about his world, the last thing he can describe is water ON ANOTHER NOTE: Hey a dear Warrior Girl artist, Deborah Bishop, had a fabulous CD Launch for her new album "Just My Alibi". I designed the artwork and we've been working together for quite a while. You can check her out at http://www.deborahbishop.net FINAL WORDS FOR THE EVENING IN BATTLE CREEK MI I am amazed that while I sat and contemplated why i was doing this tour, so too was Eric on his diary. check it out http://pythonline.com/eric_idle_day44.html He's such a fantastic writer, I do hope you're keeping up with him so you get the "he said she said" thing. I have to say that I too see some kind of purpose here on this tour. Although I am not being the big entertainer, the center of attention, the mz moon of the revolution on this tour... yes I am taking second fiddle, or more bluntly, 5th, 6th or 7th fiddle... but being stage manager and part time chanteuse has it's huge rewards. I feel, being the conductor during the show, so to speak, like i have a hand in its design and it's an amazingly creative and invigorating feeling. I'm conducting about 10 crew members, lights, action, sound and more to create a wonderful show that the audience can laugh at and be entertained. It's like a well oiled machine and I'm really thrilled. Travelling with Eric and with a talented bunch of artists is also very rewarding. I'm learning alot. I feel like I can lend all my experiences together into a purpose that is needed, and acknowledged. And in a way, being on the road for this long, being out of my goldfish bowl, I am getting time to really, truly know who I am. Know thyself. I'm learning a lot about my idiosyncrasies, and learning to align my goals and visions to create some kind of future plan. But ultimately, I'm learning this: we can't control our lives. Sometimes we have to learn to relinquish to the moment. That moment is now. I have to jump in with two feet, open my eyes and taste the experience, wholeheartedly. I don't know where it leads me. And it doesn't matter. What's important is loving the journey. Goodnight. Miles traveled so far: Previous Total -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4,143 miles -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- New York to Philadelphia 112 miles Philadelphia to Norfolk, VA 371 miles Norfolk to Baltimore MD 254 miles Baltimore to Richmond VA 164 miles Richmond to St. Louis MO 822 miles St. Louis to Buffalo NY 772 miles Buffalo to Ann Arbor MI 383 miles -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Running Total -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7,021 miles Sunday November 16 - Davenport Iowa Jennifer, Skip and Gilli, plus a great Caramel Sundae which totally blows my diet! I'm sitting in my dressing room in the Adler Theater. In this dressing room, Cary Grant died. I'm not sure if I should feel remorse, loss and such a great actor, or shudder at the thought of his ghost. Apparently he was here doing a show and died after his sound check. They had to tear the door down as he had locked it. Poor man. It's an early show tonight, 7pm. Normally we do a 7.30 or even better 8pm show. I really like having more time in the afternoon, and over dinner. We're all sitting down in the basement eating dinner (they really take care of stars! First, entering through slimy dark alley ways out the back, and then dinner in the basement.) I'm eating dried tortellini that could be mistaken for cardboard. We talk about Cary's death. "He was British you now. From Bristol", says Eric. "Why do all the Brits and Aussies come to America?" asks Jennifer. "Well Jenn", I reply, "It's because America is the land of TV, land of media, land of money!" Eric pipes in... "It's like Rome really. Everything was in Rome, so everyone went there. Cleopatra spent many years in Rome." "Yes, she was with Marc Anthony", I add "And Caesar at first!" Eric states. "That's where Rome got it's obelisk" I say. "That's right Gil," he adds. "Very angled. It represents the Romans. The Romans also have very angled dicks." Time to go shower. So I'm in my room, with good ol' Cary hovering, and Sting playing on my computer for background music, and I have my own shower. It's good to have a shower! Davenport Iowa is on the border of Illinois. The river separates. There's a big steamer on the river which I thought was a restaurant. But it ends up being a huge Casino. Three storeys of gaming. It's amazing! Apparently they can get away with having a casino as long as it's in the river. That makes it legal. No man's land. Davenport is about 3 hours drive from Chicago. But we'll be going to Minneapolis instead, first, which is a 6 hour drive in some other direction. Iowa is known to be the "pig state." It's important that I buy a soft cuddly toy pig before i leave ;) So where did I leave off last time? Let's back track. We were in Battle Creek MI, land of no battles except corn flakes. On Friday Nov 14 I was fine leaving Battle Creek. We drove 20 miles to Kalamazoo MI which apparently is famous for a song. Now Kalamazoo is half way between Detroit MI and Chicago MI. Gosh I'm pretty good with the trivia these days aren't i! Here's another fact one of the crew at the Kalamazoo State Theater told me: 80% of the commercial shops and businesses are owned and operated by Indians, from India. Yeah. Scott said that the Kalamazoo gig was going to be the worst on the tour. Maybe he had bad experiences with the crew, or with the food. But I really liked it. They were all very friendly. We dined at the Union and my mouth was watering at the grand piano on stage ready for the jazz band about the play. I talked to the Mgr there, and I'll definitely come and play there if ever i'm on my way from Detroit to Chicago. (Toni take note for our files ;) Jennifer makes up And it was after the Kalamazoo show that we drove through the night and arrived in Davenport, at the Radisson no less, at 4 in the morning. This time I got off the bus and dragged all my bags in so I could re-pack. Tonight, or this morning, I needed to sleep in a proper bed and have a proper shower. I ended up having a luke warm shower that was piss weak and I was ready to fume. But instead, I hopped back into bed and watched movie after movie. Tonight i was a winner and it was going to be all about me. I mean, back in l.a, I was winning Best Solo Artist at the Rock City Music Awards. Toni Koch from WGM, Deborah Bishop and Billy her hubby, and a string of friends had gotten a table at Qtopia to celebrate the award. Toni and Deb called me at 11pm my time (9pm their time) as they went on stage and collected the award on my behalf. It was a hoot hearing it over the phone. Toni said that the people dressed there were out of a Halloween party. Rock City Music is all about heavy rock so I'm amazed I got nominated and won. Apparently the girl handing the awards out on stage had only a bra and thong on. Nice. Hmmm.... horror at the rockies toni's rendition of the Rockies Awards back in Los Angeles: And the winner is…and is…and is…. They say it never rains in California but it was drizzling and chilly the night of Saturday, Nov. 15 - the 9th Annual Rockies Awards hosted by online fave Rock City News in Hollywood. Be there early and make sure you purchase enough tickets to reserve a table for it's standing room only!!! Ever been invited to a party but you weren't told there was a costume theme? Such it was for the Rock City News ROCKIES AWARDS 2003 in over the top Hollywood, California. There's no business like show business and this was like no business I know….our friends arrived on time and ready to have a good time in the gothic party atmosphere this was! Everyone inside the large CLUB QTOPIA was having a good time - loud music and even louder outfits - Master of Ceremonies Count Smoke-a lot seemed more like Grandpa of the Munsters, but we didn't care as laughter is the best medicine! Stale jokes, but hey, he probably does smoke a lot. Sound check was most memorable and took 45 minutes for just the bass drum to be pounded into oblivion - then the vocals sound check made of 4 letter words - not chek chek chek but F*#! F*#2 F@!*…. More nail polish on the men than the women and those with less clothing made the most positive impressions. It was a world of black tuxedo's, black leather and red vinyl bustier's with see through thongs…yes, see through thongs. Opening entertainment had 2 women dangling from the ceiling hanging from red scarves performing a Cirque Ban de Soleil dance that had everyone wondering if their costumes would make it through the 5 minute aerial display….and the final acrobatic splits between the 2 women were well worth the price of admission alone….I'll take 2 more shots of Tequila thank you! Quite a night to remember. Surreal - definitely not REAL. Humor played a big part in the festivities. One of the first categories to be honored was "BEST SOLO ARTIST" and everyone at our table had their fingers crossed for Warrior Girl gilli moon to win for the 2nd year in a row. Count Smoke-a lot and his Mistress of Ceremonies Madame Thongbait trembled with the envelope in their hands…they announced all 12 artist's vying for this honor, trying the best they could to PRONOUNCE the names correctly…. GILLI MOON DANNY BLITZ KELLY of KELLY'S LOT EMILY O'NEARY NAOMI NEKTARE GILBY CLARK JOHN PIEPLOW JUSTIN LANNING CELESTE COYOTE SHIVERS DAVID CLEREST GEORGE ADRIAN And the Winner is……and is and is and is…..A 4-WAY TIE!!!! The audience SCREAMS!!! oh no!!!! How can 4 people win and all have the same amount of VOTES? Count Smoke-a lot says, "Gilli Moon will come up first to accept her award." and so, Toni from Warrior Girl Music and Deborah Bishop, from Shotland One Records/Warrior Girl Music, scamper up to the podium. Cell phone in hand, Toni says, "it's gilli moon all the way from Australia to accept the award!" So, we put the phone to the microphone…."Yes, gilli wants to thank all her fans who voted for her…and her bandmates who play on her awesome indie records and and and gilli moon wishes she could be here…thank you Rock City News for this honor 2 years in a row!" As Deborah and Toni slide down the stage's dimlit stairway a camera snaps a photo of the CELL PHONE next to the ROCKIE ANGEL AWARD. After all, gilli was on the line from a hotel room far away and the cell phone was the real winner... As for the rest of the honorees….22 people rush up to the podium. "Hey, this is SOLO ARTIST?" One by one they all thank themselves. Well, it's a night for recognition so bring your all friends we say. The most popular space in the place? The bar. tk I'm sitting now in my island of a dressing room in Davenport feeling like a star in the shadow of a star performing with a star and shining... just like a star. It's half time / intermission and Cary Grant is whispering sweet nothings in my ear. Yeah right! The crowd are good tonight. Polite, but nevertheless still in silly costumes. This is the first night we've dragged our street teamer up, Andrew, on stage to do the lyric flat turn with Skippers. He was very embarrassed. Well that's how you're s'posed to thank someone who promotes you no? Embarrass them silly! At the end of the night... someone threw a pink pig in the encore bucket! and it was for me! It has a note on it. It reads, "Gilli, thanks for coming to Iowa and making us laugh!!! Next time you come thru Our great state we hope your singing. Go warrior girl" how cool is that ;) i think eric was jealous. he wanted the pig. We have a 3 hour bus ride ahead of us to Madison WI. Soon, Minneapolis, Chicago, then a week off on our way through Fargo to Edmonton Canada. I wonder if I'll get time to finish the first chapter of my Robert Ludlum book. Wednesday November 19 2003 - Minneapolis MN we're traveling on the interstate I'm in Minnesota! Where's that? I bought this postcard to send to friends which has on the front of it "Hi! We're Traveling on the Interstate" and it's a picture of a freeway with a green pasture divider, some trucks and cars, and that's it. That's what my road trip is like and that's my view. It's either an interstate freeway, or it's the back alley of some theatre in the seediest part of town. Lovvverrrrly! We left Davenport on Sunday night and arrived in Madison around 1.30am. This was a more decent hour to check in to a hotel. Eric, Skip, Jennifer and I stayed up for the journey chatting about touring, and longevity as an artist, and other deep and meaningful 'why are we here?' discussions. As Eric recalls George Harrison saying, "well everyone has to be somewhere." I enjoyed sleeping in at the Madison Hotel. Firstly, we were right near the State's capital which looks like Washington's capital. A huge dome on the building that is the centre of town. Magnificently hallowed in an illumination of lights, with the fog surrounding it, the Capital looks like the centre of the universe. I have no idea what political party runs Wisconsin, and that's not the point. It did look magnificent. But what a waste of electricity! We wandered around the city in the afternoon, and discovered a delightful street (State Street) of book stores, spiritual shops, nic nacs and bric a braks, great restaurants and a cool vibe. We were on a peninsula surrounded by harbours. My kind of town! I reckon I could spend more time here and the music scene sounds great. I think a Mid West tour for gilli moon is coming soon ;) Btw, this is the first city on the trip, apart from my beloved NYC, that I could stay a while. I wonder if there are direct flights from l.a? After a great Japanese meal, I hopped into bed by 8.30pm, asleep by 11 and woke up the following morning at 11! WOW! I slept 12 hours. I must have needed it. Off to the Barrymore Theater (Eric opened his show later with the line, "Well, it's nice to be inside Drew Barrymore.... although I'm sure I'm not the only one." it was a TINY teeny weeny theater. Kind of like a doll's house. Skip burst my bubble about Madison by saying it was in the top 5 of the country for heroine abuse and a high drinking city. Waaaaa. The theater smelt like a brewery, the stage was as small as my living room, no showers, and my Lighting Director/Theater Mgr was half the size of me. We were up for a ride, tonight. I have to say, and I have been surprised before, that this was one of our best shows. I think intimate audiences work for us, and the simple lighting actually suited our show rather than the all-out lighting rigs we have to contend with. Tony our street teamer had done a great job spreading the word around town and we brought him up on stage to carry the lyrics flat out with Skip in the Immanuel Kant song. Tony our street teamer doing the Flat in Madison WI, with Peter Crabbe on his left The crew were fabulous, quick and professional and i was on the bus before you knew it, eating 6 slices of mushroom pizza and then regretting it for 5 hours while i waited for it to digest. I really need to follow my head not my stomach! Jenn and I played cards and talked till 4 in the morning. We actually were awake when we arrived in Minneapolis. So here we are in Minneapolis, MN and it's a Wednesday something. I'm amazed I know what day it is.... Where did this week go? Our bus is parked right outside Prince's rock club. This is Prince's town. I walk around and check out all the stars on his wall. I also found a Starbucks which is really important! Prince's Club in Minneapolis The stars on Prince's club. I didn't see my name there, nor Eric's. hmmm Then it was time to load in. Talk about a nice theatre. Lots of gold lead and 2 chandeliers. You can always rate a good theatre by having a shower in your dressing room, and that the stage has been swept. Good things to remember! I had gotten so used to one show day, then one off day, that to do 2 shows in a row was tiring! I had done 4 often 5 shows in a row before but i had gotten used to luxury. Mind you, knowing that i would have a day off in Chicago tomorrow made me propel myself into the set up. Normally we seem to be so energized before the show, and into the first act, and then by intermission we are already thinking we are on the bus. Well we had good news to be 'in the moment' tonight: We were going to play to a SOLD OUT FULL HOUSE venue. Wow. For this club its 1000 seats. Not bad, hey? So we did a great show. Not that we do an average show on average nights. not at all. some of our best shows are to small intimate audiences. And I might add that although we had a full house, i didn't think the audience was as gregarious and warm as some other shows, although they certainly applauded a lot. That's a good start. Comedy kind of needs laughs and claps and hoots and hollers. We need a reaction. Our promoters Steve and Sara gave us all the food out of all the fridges and sent us on our way to Chicago. I was asleep by 1.30am and up at 5am to check in to Hotel 71, a very she she place. Chicago Thursday Nov 20, 5am The sun is coming up as i get into the king sized bed at Hotel 71. Jenn and I are pissed because we didn't get adjoining rooms and we won't get them, maybe, till after 9am. For now, the bags stay unpacked until I wake up..... and that ended up being 12 noon. By 3pm we had new rooms, and a brand new view. WOW! Spectacular! On the river, in town, surrounded by high risers and the magnificence of Chicago. What fun! Free DSL internet access for the computer and plenty of coffee. My day was bliss. my view from the Hotel 71 bedroom in Chicago I also landed two gigs, one at Gallery Cabaret Fri night after the Idle show, and one on Sunday night at Jilly's (thanks Toni. You came through!) I didn't think they names a venue after me! ;) Tonight we dine with Michael Plishka, our Songsalive! Chicago coordinator. I've never met him. Can you imagine that? I know several people and work with several people I've never met, all just knowing each other through the internet. He's going to take Ms J and I to a cool Mexican restaurant, then go check out a music venue where we might get up and sing impromptu. I can see Chicago will be all about music. I've been wanting to come here for years. Chicago - Friday Nov 21 rugging up in Chicago It's been a real treat to be in Chicago. This has to now rank in the top 5 of America's "need to spend more time here" cities. Apart from the apparently awful weather (I've only witnessed it's blue skies), I could possibly spend time here for music. The scene is great - jazz, blues, folk, funk... right up my alley. It's probably also due to the fact that Chicago has a lot of water. There are three tributaries running though the city, ... nice rivers with boats... and then of course, we are right on Lake Michigan and there are beaches and an 18 mile rollerblading track. Now that sounds like fun. I wish I had brought my blades. By the way, for those in Los Angeles, we have changed our venue for Fri Dec 19 from Royce Hall to The Henry Fonda Theater. So book your tickets now ok? www.pythonline.com has the details. Talking about Eric's website, he's been writing a riveting diary online. You should check it out already. Today I'm his Performer, Stage Manager, masseuse and general Poo-Bah. Tomorrow...? So here we are in the windy city. I'm rugging up with hat, scarf and gloves for the occasion. I here it's minus something in Fargo, our next destination. Brrrrr. Our first night here in Chicago, Thursday night, saw Jennifer and I out with our Songsalive! coordinator here, Mike Pliska, at a Mexican Restaurant in the burbs, watching Herbie Gaines put on his Herbie-Oke. This is his version of Karaoke live, where he plays any song you want on guitar, in any key, while you sing along. It was quite hilarious and we soon were drinking margaritas and singing the Eagles, Donna Summer, Carole King, Neil Diamond and James Taylor all night while making friends with the locals. Herbie sounds like Neil Diamond so when he sang songs from across the 60s to the 90s, I started thinking that Neil Diamond had once covered these songs. It was eery! Our waiter, Jennifer, Mike, Herbie and moi. We're quite sloshed at this point singing some Beatles song a la Neil Diamond. The pic on the right is Jenn and my new pose when we are silly. "Gilli, would you still love me if I only have one eye shut like this?" "Keep drinking girls... I think it's really important to laugh at yourself sometimes, ya know? Some people in this world take like way too seriously. Here's Herbie's scoop on the night: So here I am, I was thinking this month’s Herbie-oke was going to be a bomb, not having heard from anyone. Then, my friend Mike Pliskha calls me and tells me he has a friend in from LA who is a singer-songwriter-artist-author and they may come by for Herbie-oke. Of course I said "great" but didn't count on anything (then I wouldn't be disappointed, right?). So, I'm there setting up, and he walks in with her and another gal. He introduces them as Gilli Moon and Jennifer J., saying that Gilli is the PRESIDENT of "songs alive" a songwriters organization. They sit right in front of me!! Some other unexpected friends also showed up, about 20 people total. The girls were so nice! I played while they ate dinner, and finally Gilli said she'd come up and sing "Killing me Softly". I start the song and this AMAZING voice starts pouring out of this little girl. The whole restaurant stopped and froze while they listened (and the guys drooled, she is very pretty). A little later her friend came up and sang and was also very good. Jen J then explained that they were in town to do the "Eric Idle" show Fri and Sat at a great small theatre in Chicago (You know, the Monte Python guy). I figured (stupidly) they had small parts or something, whatever, it didn't matter. They stayed all night, until midnight, singing, drinking and having fun. They sang alone, and in groups. We had so much fun. I got to do some of my originals for them and I think they genuinely liked them!! At the end they invited my wife and I to be their guests at their show". Imagine our surprise, when Gilli RAN the whole show as stage manager, and Jen J STARRED in the show! She was in almost every skit with him, singing, dancing, and being totally cute and funny. We laughed (hard) for 2 hours, it was very entertaining. After the show we were invited to one last event, Gilli was going to do a one hour set on Sun PM at a famous Chicago piano bar called "Jilly's" (how funny is that!!, the same name as her just spelled differently). When we got to Jilly’s, we started to realize what a talent Gilli was!! Her two CDs were on sale, as well as a book she has just written about being an artist. We bought both and she autographed them for us and told us that she had SO much fun at Herbie-oke!! She really great doing her originals and Eric Idle and the whole cast were there. We got pix with everybody!! (see attachment folder) I went into my gig on Thurs with the LOWEST expectations and it turned into a great whole weekend of fun and new talented friends. Jen and Gilli were so nice and great and kudos to Mike Plishka for getting us involved. I now know that Mike is the Chicago chapter coordinator for "songs alive" and that is how he made the connection. He is a talented songwriter himself. I went to Gilli’s website a few days later, and found that she had put in a nice paragraph about the evening including pictures!! Check it out!! http://www.gilli.net/gillimoon/diary.htm (click on “latest diary entry” under her picture in the middle of the page) You just never know what could be coming your way at Herbie-oke, even when you don't expect it!! Herbie Gaines The Host of "Herbie-oke" Oh my god, I just looked outside my hotel window and it's SNOWING!!!! Well it's sleeting. Wait, it's turning into rain. Maybe the cold hasn't set in properly yet in Chicago. English, our bus driver, wants us to leave early tonight for Fargo so we miss the snow storm. But I have a gig at Jilly's at 9pm. Isn't that cool? A gig at a venue that's like my name! They've given me carte blanche at the club tonight cos I used Eric's name (yeah, touring with Eric Idle yaddayaddayadda) and so I've become a celebrity overnight. Kind of could get used to this! Jilly's is a cool piano bar on North Rush and I popped in there the other night to check it out, and it was packed like Sardines with very cute men. So this shall be quite a trip! Our shows went really well here in Chicago. At first I was surprised that our National promoters stuck us at The Vic. Being their home town, you'd think they'd go all out with the ritz. but hey, what do i know. The Vic had an AWESOME crew, don't get me wrong. They bent over backwards for us. But the place had seen better days and were not used to theatre. Give them rock and they'd do just fine. They hadn't used the stage legs in 4 years! So when I arrived, the stage was not ready for theatre in the least. No cross over to stage left and right, no area for quick change, no wings for actors to enter with grace. And then of course there was a smell of beer everywhere. It reeked. The downstairs dressing rooms were more like cellars better used to age wine. Anyway,... in 4 hours we had the place sparkling, and curtains, although raggedy, seemingly theatrical. Lights were focused and the set was ready. They had these fake breasts on a barmaids apron hanging up as their mascot for a couple of years and i thought they would be perfect for the Getty Song as Eric had wanted something just like it. So with a few beer bartering, the crew donated them to us for the tour! Fake or real? You decide! Left: Jennifer trying them on Eric. And Right: in the Getty Song scene with Peter Crabbe eyeing everything... On Friday night, the 21st Nov, we did our first show and because we have two nights in a row, we were fortunate enough to leave everything on stage and leave without the debarcle of bumping out. JAM, our promoters, went all out and put on a party at a local diner and I had a sip of my red wine before taking an early leave with Jenn to go perform at the Gallery Cabaret across town. We arrived at around midnight to see Mike Plishka finishing up his set to a full bar. I wouldn't call it cabaret, because the room was a pub, and the stage more suited for folk music, but it certainly was fun. He had organized a weighted keyboard for me which was lovely and inviting. It had seemed so long since Boston where I did my own show and I felt a bit rusty. Jenn hopped up for backing vocals and it was like we had been doing this every day. our harmonies purred like a kitten, and the songs were fun and causing the room to stomp and clap. I was in my element. They flowed out, temperamental angel, woman, plenty, naked, tiny diamonds, when we first met and too much. lots of fun and a great warm up for our Sunday night show at Jilly's. Saturday was a sweet day for me lounging around again. I felt like a total sloth waking up at noon and not leaving the hotel until 5.30pm to catch the cab to the venue. There was a huge parade down Michigan Ave so the buses could not take us to The Vic as the street was blocked off. The Taxi took us along the foreshore and although dark, i got a glimpse of water. I love water. The second show was a hit. Eric was his best i've ever seen. The cast were great. Sound was great (As Darren says, "dude, first night is sound check, second night is on, man!") Darren Mora, our sound dude I had about 12 friends at the gig and that was fun. After the show we headed back to the hotel to drop off gear then English, Mike, (our two bus drivers) and Darren (not into jazz but came for the beer) and I headed to a jazz bar (sorry Darren, but blues is in the same realm of jazz and that band did play both ;) and I drank one of the finest margaritas on the rocks I've ever tasted. That's because Lish got top shelf for me and I was really feeling like falling off the shelf by the time i finished it. It went down smooth as silk, and so did the seafood chowder. Here's something about these chowders. I didn't even know what a chowder was until I came to the East Coast. Boston's famous for their clam chowders and Philly is famous for their Lobster Bisques, which is a creamy chowder that's like whipped creme in the oven. I love both types but i have to say that you have to watch where you order it as some are runny like water and don't give you anything to chew on. The other part of the chowder issue is one is not quite sure what one is getting. I mean, for all i know, I could be getting a piece of gristle from the butt of the fish, but it DOES taste good. So I just close my eyes and open my mouth and chow down. We listened to fabulous blues and about 2.30am i slid into my hotel room and looked at the huge sea of my king size bed, crawled underneath, curled into a ball and fell asleep. it's my turn for autographs Sunday Nov 23 and Chicago was gray. I'm getting used to gray. Gray... followed by sleet... then ice... then tickle your ass with a feather. What? I mean, particularly nasty weather. I didn't do much today. But the evening was splendid. Talk about carte blanche. We walk in to Gilli's, woops, i mean Jilly's Bar, and Billy, the manager, and Tony, the mgr on duty tonight, greet us and open up the bar for whatever we wanted. it was all about gilli moon tonight and they had the bells and whistles. There was an old lady about 70 who had her grey hair in a pony tail, and dressed in beatnic gear from the 50s, who took our coats. She was a dear and i kind of think she has been working here since the club opened. She even bought my book later and mentioned that all the authors I quoted were her favorites. I seem to be assimilating with all ages! Jilly's is named after Frank Sinatra's body guard. The show went well, for a Frank Sinatra covers bar. Yes that's right. Didn't realize it until Billy started saying how impressed he was with my website, and that "'dis joint is all about payin' hommage to the great Frankie so we all sing his songs, ya know." He was so Chicago mafia sounding I thought the next thing he was going to say was "ya wanna go get a slice?" But he did say "yeah, me an' Tony, we don't go beyond da borda no more. dey don't let us cross, ya know what i min?" So what shocked me was Jilly's is really a covers bar for Sinatra songs. Unfortunately I didn't play any Sinatra (although if I had known I would have certainly prepared something), and no, i didn't "throw some covers our way" but I Did play my songs. Eric Idle, that guy who has the same birthday as me , walked in, and so did Steve from Jam, and a bunch of my friends, and we had the house clapping and clicking their fingers. I was sad that the venue didn't allow Eric's daughter to come. Lily's 16 and under age for the club. Apparently, when a club doesn't serve food, they can't have any under agers even accompanied by an adult. So Eric came alone. That's a big thing esp. since his family flew in to see him from l.a. And then... as I was signing autographs, Eric came over and pulled me away to get a photo with him and Tony the owner. "Hey I'm busy signing autographs. It's my turn!" I said with a smile He laughed. You can read his report on Jilly's here. I sang my faves, Temperamental Angel, Tiny Diamonds, Woman (needed the guys this time to help with the singalong part as the girls were way to shy in this joint!), Touch Me, Stories (yet to be recorded), Too Much (it's so cathartic to sing this) and Plenty. I don't think the Frank Sinatra fans truly understood my alternative self, but my friends enjoyed themselves and we got some good drinks! Jenn was terrific on backing vocals. That gig on Thurs night came in handy for our parts. If you wanna hear the songs online check them out here at mp3.com.au. I think I'm still no.2 on their adult alternative charts downunder. It was 10.30pm and time to head back to the hotel. We were to leave to Fargo tonight on the bus. Eric was going to stay in Chicago and fly out to l.a tomorrow morning. Skip had already gone to Tuscon Arizona. It was only me and Jenn on the bus. What rockstar treatment tonight. We stepped out of Jilly's and I swear the temperature had dropped to 0 degrees since we had arrived. It was freezing. Mike Plishka, who had just given us a box of chocolates, no, a trunk full of chocolates, xmas cups and two gorgeous xmas bears and cards as thank yous for coming to town, escorted us back to our hotel. he is such a sweety and a brand new friend. i think he's the bees knees. So, packed up and out. "Let's blow this joint." We are driving 660 miles tonight to Fargo and then another 1200 odd miles to Edmonton Canada. I will miss Chicago and I look forward to seeing this windy city again. I am already planning a tour of the mid west for September 04 to include Chicago, Wisconsin, Minnesota and probably all of East Coast again. By that time I'm sure my new album will be done, sealed and out. Hmm.... where is Capital when i need them? Or Sony for that matter. Shucks, who needs 'em. Warrior Girl Music seems to be doin' damn fine on it's own 500 street team and community driven warrior artist legs. Oh check out this photo that Larry Mah did of Eric at Mount Rushmore. Silly but cool. Since Larry is no longer on tour with us, back in l.a being a hotshot movie sound dude, he seems to have more time on his hands than he knows what to do with! Eric Idle and the Presidents at Mount Rushmore Bus miles so far.... Previous Total 7,021 miles Ann Arbor to Pittsburgh, PA 290 miles Pittsburgh to Columbus OH 204 miles Columbus to Battle Creek MI 331 miles Battle Creek to Kalamazoo MI 27 miles Kalamazoo MI to Davenport IA 307 miles Davenport to Madison WI 196 miles Madison to Minnesota MN 272 miles Minnesota to Chicago IL 430 miles Running Total 9,078 miles Monday Nov 24 - Fargo North Dakota So let's see, what happened since Chicago? We left in the middle of the night and arrived in Fargo around 11am Monday. As we were going to leave at midnight, Jenn and I decided to opt out of getting a hotel room to take the 'buy-out' money (probably about $100 each) and stay on the bus. I mean, if we're not staying a whole night what's the point? The bus is warm and Lish kept the generator on so we had all the mod cons and plenty of movies through the satellite dish. Around 2pm we decided to go check out Fargo. We so wanted to get the movie "Fargo" to reminisce about this small town with not much in it. We went to the only video shop in town, the pawn shop, but they were sold out. The movie is a telling story about a murder in a small town filled with people who have little personality and not much to do. I was amazed at the similarity in characters in Fargo. Very nice people. But kind of dull. They seemed to have to pause before they answered you, like they had to think a little longer. Maybe the freezing 0 degrees temperature causes a delayed reaction. There wasn't much to see in Fargo except walk down the main street. I felt like I was in a time warp. All the shop signs were very retro. I don't think they had upgraded the signs or the buildings since the 50s. Makes for a perfect murder movie. My fingers were frozen as we wandered the deserted one main street, Broadway. I gave my regards to Broadway as we passed the Fargo Theatre. I said to Jenn, "hey we could do a show here and stay across the street at the Fargoan. Would you like that there Marge?" "Darn tootin' Marge. Eh" Jennifer outside the Fargo Theatre in sub zero temperatures People in Fargo are originally immigrants from Denmark and Ireland I think, and so they have this lilt in their accent that causes them to talk melodically, a little bit like the Northern Italians around Venice. Sometimes they sound Irish, other times, with a German lilt. It's cute. We found the only restaurant open in town on a Monday night, a mexican joint, and actually had the best mexican food I've had in a long time. Wow. Who knew?! By 11pm we were ready for the drive to Canada and a couple of good movies. postcards from the edge Tuesday Nov 25 -Border crossing near Winnipeg, Canada I'm sitting here looking out at a sign covered in snow saying "Winnipeg 75 North". Everything is covered in a blanket of white snow. We've been standing at the stop sign in this barren wasteland for almost an hour, waiting for the other bus to pass through immigration. What a night! We crossed the border and arrived at around 2am at Canadian immigration and were sent back to the U.S (it's about 300 yards apart and there's no man's land in between), because the customs did not get our paperwork from the House of Blues Concert Promoters who had organized our tour visas. This sucked because it meant we had to wait at a truck stop till 7.30am when the correct immigration officials were back working. Our drivers were furious. They were ready to drive the long haul through the night and it also meant dealing with the snow storm tomorrow that we were trying to avoid. We drove back to the U.S side of immigration only to have to brave the icy degrees again to show our passports to re-enter and wait, yet again. I felt like I was never going to leave no man's land. Maybe I'll just stay in limbo and figure out what country i want to be in? Eventually we were back on the U.S side, and we drove up the road to the truck stop and waited till 7.30am when we headed to Canadian immigration to try again. We had called Shawn, the HOB visa lady at 3am to work out what the hell had happened. She didn't know but was going to try and fix it. This was major communication faux pas on someone's end and no one was happy. Around 8.30am and our bus was clear. Jenn was back in bed recovering from frost bite, and my nose felt like it was about to fall off. But the debacle wasn't over yet. Immigration, on the U.S side, had not let the other bus with equipment/props trailer through because Mike, our other driver, didn't have copies of the manifests detailing all the stuff we had and the value. This was exactly what we wanted to avoid. Skip, our tour manager, had flown home to Phoenix for Thanksgiving, and thinking he'd left us with the paperwork, we thought we had things covered. Apparently not. Luckily I had manifests in my computer so I printed them out (Thanks Skip, the printer really came in handy this time!) and gave them to Lish. We couldn't reach Mike on the CB so English decided to walk back over through no man's land to the U.S border to give the manifests to him, hoping it would suffice. Meanwhile, I got on the cell and called Skip and he faxed more paperwork through to HOB who faxed immigration. It took another hour, but we got the 2nd bus through, at least to the Canadian side of immigration. Poor Mike, he was sent on wild goose chases trudging through the snow from one office to another (100 yards apart in the fields of cold snow), to pass the trailer through on this side. We sit, already on the other side, watching their bus get inspected, the trailer trying to be opened (the cold froze the locks so no chance in hell) and I kept wondering if in fact we were in East Germany trying to get to the West through the gestapo. Any moment now and I was going to see some trenches! This was world war II Beaurocracy style. English, and I are wondering if we'll ever leave this no man's land and be allowed to proceed into Canada. I'm stirring him about needing to go for a pitstop. He says, "we only stop for fuel." "No no no Lish. When I need to go, I need to go." "Of course Gilli, whatever you say." "Lish I like stirring you." "I know luv (in his British accent), and I like stirring you. The only other guy I like stirring is Sting. He still owes me $20 for a bet on a footy game." Finally we all passed the inspections and we were on our way to Edmonton, 850 miles north west. So English and I drove through the town of Morris just now on the highway to Winnipeg, and we feel famous! English and I related. I'm sure of it. His real name is Glynn (Welsh like my name Gillian) and his last name is Morris, like my heritage. My family goes back, on my mum's side, to Michael Morris, who was a convict sent back in the 1860s to Australia from England for shooting the dog on a property when he was trying to steal food for his family. He was eventually pardoned and he married Elizabeth White, had a family and one day, years later, my grandfather was born, Errol White. He married an irish aussie who was destined to be a nun if she didn't get hitched, my grandmother, Dulcie Gillin. Along came my mum and the rest is history. I'm on the phone to Kevin Hovey in Minneapolis, who Lish introduced me to outside our theatre before we left. He's worked with Prince, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Jessica Simpson, to name a few. All the girl singers he's helped break in the mid West. Kevin and I are planning a mid-west tour for September 04, with a bunch of warrior girls. I can see the future opening up like lightening. We talk about yoga, tour buses, dealing with Sony Music and how to make a million dollars as I watch buffalo search for blades of grass under the flat sea of snow either side of me. I continue writing in my diary. I like writing on the computer up front with the view expanding in front of me as i type, bleary eyed with few hours sleep and coffee beside me. I like the adrenalin. I get very creative and can write a lot. That's how i wrote my book. Up early in the mornings, tap tap tap. All of a sudden, finished a book. the view from the front seat of my bus, for 1000 miles I think I'm surrendering to the path of self-discovery I think I'll write a bit, take a snooze and wait till the fuel stop. The snow is landing hard. The freeway roads are clear of snow, but in the towns, they're not. How weird. Whatever happened to local councils and street cleaning? 1 hour later. I've written a song, and am watching the white plains outside as we drive across Canada. I'm feeling so alive and energized and it's not even 11am. Maybe it's the coffee. But I know one thing. This is the first time I've seen countryside since the beginning of the tour. Mainly because we drive through the night so i'm always sleeping, and i wake up in another city. But now... in full daylight... I'm seeing the open white plains and i'm breathing the air, and feeling the freedom of nature. I'm visualizing and dreaming my future, and writing songs and poems and can't help them pouring out of me. This is a great thing to be back in touch with the moon. I've been living in a bubble and now for a week i have my own time to be my own self. And how lucky to be on this journey to have the opportunity to fully release my creativity. Enjoying this waking moment on the 850 mile run across pastures. I think I'm surrendering to the path of self-discovery. This amazing opportunity of touring is something I need to do. It's about the journey. We arrive in Edmonton Canada at 10pm at night. It's been a long day on the bus. But we are safe and ready to relax in this nice smiling city that hosts the largest shopping mall in the world. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Sunday Nov 30 - From Calgary Alberta to Vancouver, Canada There's something kismet about my current experiences in Canada... I'm seeing the beautiful wilderness on long day drives and I'm relishing in it. This time, we are going over the Rockies and the snow is everywhere like a gorgeous clean blanket. The pines are in full force and I just saw two rams (Big Horn Sheep) walking up the highway as if they own the road. It's rugged, mountainous terrain, and this is just what the doctor ordered. We spent 3 and a half days in Edmonton Canada. The first two were days off and that included Thanksgiving. I spent most of the time soaking up my hotel room and soaking in the Jacuzzi after working out. I've gotten into a nice rhythm of working out in the gym and I've become addicted to running again, although inside on the treadmill. About 2 years ago (wow time flies) I sprained my Achilles heal on my left foot (like tendinitis for 6 months) and I had to stop running. I used to run 3.5 miles a day up Fryman Canyon in Los Angeles, which is a rugged dirt goat track up a mountain and down again. I loved it because it reminded me of home, Monterosa, but I had to stop running. Then at the beginning of this year I started running again, mildly only to hurt my big toe at the beginning of this tour. The toe still hurts sometimes (esp. in the cold) and I can't bend it down as far as the left one. I'll have to get i xrayd. Can you believe that I have been that busy these two and a half months that I haven't even had a breath to find a medical centre? The silly thing about U.S medical is you have to go to a doctor first to get a referral for an xray and all this is through red tape medical insurance and can cost a hellova lot if you don't have insurance. I think I'll just wait till I get to Sydney at Xmas. But now in the hotels, I've been visiting the gyms and very much enjoying the running which seems not to hurt my toe. Plus I'm getting into the weights so toning is key right now. Heck, I've got summer coming up in Sydney so I better hop to it! thanksgiving and taking On Thursday Jennifer organized a thanksgiving dinner for some of the crew and cast who had not flown home for it. This included us gals, Darren (sound), Peter (actor), Tom (merch) and Mike (driver). English (driver) decided to wash his bus because he didn't want to get into the American tradition, being British. I said I was willing to participate even though I'm an Aussie, and I even went as far as reading about it on the Internet so I was ready for Jenn's grueling 20 questions. "So, Gilli... what does Thanksgiving mean to you?" "Well Jenn.. funny you should ask, as I've spent some time on the Internet researching it." "And what did you learn Gilli?" ( I swear she would make a great teacher.) "Well Jenn", I said ..., " I learned that the pilgrims and the strangers all came out on the May Flower hating each other and then they became the pilgrims once arrived to unite forces against those already suffering here and starving, and then they started starving too. So the Indians, who were very friendly and nice, offered to teach them how to grow crops like corn and harvest for the winter, which ensued bumper crops and several years of storage of food to get them through the cold months. By that time they would celebrate a day in the year to give thanks that they didn't starve to death. And over more time, they took more from the land, and then they just started killing all the Indians." Woops, that was a new topic. Um... time to eat. We had two top shows in Alberta Canada. The first one was at the Francis Winspear in Edmonton on Fri 28 November and then the Julilee on Saturday 29th in Calgary, about 3 hours south of Edmonton. I had the same lighting and sound guys for both shows so Calgary was a sweet sweet set up. I also had time in Calgary to go to the mall. Now that was an experience. Shawn, our House of Blues promoter, offered to drive me to the mall which he says was 5 minutes away. Lucky I had 2 hours up my sleeve because it took half an hour to drive there, including through stopped traffic in the mall's parking lot, and then inside was an absolutely maze. I wanted to buy one thing: a snow jacket with hood. I found it, but it took me an hour to walk from one end of the mall to the other, then back in the car with Shaw to rush back for sound check. Shawn promotes the shows up here and next week he's taking care of Shania Twain. But he also does the low end gigs and organizes mini tours of the ski villages in the area. Naturally, I'm currently negotiating with him about touring my band in these parts next year from one ski village to the next. Can't wait! The stage was huge at the Calgary Julilee. So big poor John felt he was sitting at his keyboard in the boonies in comparison to down stage where everyone was performing. I felt really bad that I overlooked the distance I had placed his keyboard, but since he only told me at intermission, I couldn't do anything about it as we had focused the lights and taped down the monitors for where he was placed. Unfortunately his distance, and the size of the stage and hall (more the accurate reason) caused a delay between his monitor and the down stage wedges, so everything was out. This was the biggest theatre we had performed in and the biggest audience: 1700 people. WOW. Jenn's parents, Pauline and Earl, drove up from Kalispell Montana (7 hours) to see the show in Calgary. They are so gorgeous. They're close to their eighties and very huggable. They loved having dinner with us, with the cast and crew in the crew room. Pauline gave us all warm snugly red and blue chequered snow hats that she made herself. Awww how sweet. We got a photo of us all with the hats and Eric decided to use his for the Lumberjack encore so it's now part of wardrobe. The full team, Scott, Peter, John, Eric, Darren, Skip, Jenn, Tom and Gilli - in Calgary We decided to sleep overnight on the bus outside the Calgary theatre and leave at 7am, instead of departing for Vancouver at midnight. Eric asked all of us if this was alright and we agreed because by day we could see the Rockies. Jennifer went and stayed with her folks at the Days Inn promising she'd be back by 6.30am to depart. The bus drivers arrived back at the bus at 6am and for some reason i was restless and not totally asleep. So when the bus started to roll, I noticed we weren't stopping. We were really going. I rushed out and told English we didn't have Jenn. (Don't know why they always want to leave earlier than the proposed time). Lucky I ran out otherwise it would have been hours down the road before we'd awake before Lish would realize, and Jenn would have been sitting at the theatre waiting. Anyway, Jenn and I sat up the front under a blanket with pillows, watching the sun rise. We drove past the Olympic Ski jumps (yep Winter Olympics right here) as we exited Calgary, and headed for the mountains. We'd miss it all if we drove by night. And what a wonderful decision. I'm totally loving this ride to Vancouver with snow capped mountains, passing by all the ski villages I soon hope to tour and ski at, and while I day dream, drinking hot chocolates to keep me warm. The Rockies view from the bus. The right pic is at a truck stop. I loved the ram on the side of the house! (I'm an Aries..) Monday December 1 - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada I'm not feeling well today. I have a headache. This is the first time in the whole tour that i feel a little funky. I went for a walk with Jenn around the city because I had to. Last time I was up in this nexk of the woods was August 2002. I was on tour doing my One Woman Show (just me on keyboard) and Toni Koch and I had driven up from l.a through San Fran, through Oregon (on the way camping on Mount Shasta. That was spiritual!), and then to Seattle. We got as far as Richmond, Canada, and didn't quite get into Vancouver. I've always wanted to come to Vancouver. So there was no way i was going to be cooped up in bed today starving a fever. It was time to day boogie. I had to drag Jenn away from the stores (she has a terrible shopping bug), down to the water. Vancouver, like Madison Wisconcin, is on the water, and is a peninsula. The city is much smaller than I thought it would be. Actually, all these U.S cities are much smaller than expected. Jeez, I should show them all Sydney. They'll be surprised at the enormity of our inner city, let alone the outer suburbs. Down at the water's edge we had a lovely view of the snow capped mountains and an Esso gas station parked in the middle of the bay for boats. Lovely view. I knew then that this was no swimming water hole. Time for lunch. Consisting of smoked salmon, capers, whipped cream cheese and onions on a pizza base, lunch would have been perfect for my mother, who savors this particular dish. For me, I was smoked salmoned out from this tour. I needed a pasta, but i wasn't brave enough to try one in Canada. gilli in Vancouver. The afternoon was spent in bed resting my headache and by the time i awoke for dinner, the ache was gone, and I was ready. I had a business meeting with Brian Richy from www.songcatalog.com, a unique online music licensing company that I've been partnering with in Songsalive! Looks like we'll make stronger affiliations and perhaps some good rewards for my Warrior Girl Music artists down the track. I like doing business of tequila. Mind you, Brian had the 3 shots of tequila. I had ginger ale (just for those readers who think I'm turning into an alcoholic..!) Brian is a cool British dude who lived in Tokyo for decades doing music, radio and all sorts of music biz stuff. He's now in Vancouver with Songcatalog which is affiliated with Modern Records, originally set up with Stevie Nicks. I asked Brian if he liked Vancouver, to which he whispered, "well, it's kind of small town mentality and not much goes on here, but the mountains by the sea is quite nice." I didn't know quite what to make of that observation, but he thinks L.A is the bees knees so I guess I'm doing something right by living there. Right? Anyway, doesn't matter where you live these days, with everything conducted on the Internet. I had a cool IM (Instant Message) conversation with my dad in Australia at around midnight. I told him that I still preferred Sydney to all the cities I've been to in the U.S. Dad said that Sydney was full of posers. Well dad, you should meet the Hollywood types I have to deal with. Posers!*!*! Yeah, Sydney still rocks in my opinion. Hmmm. I must be homesick today. Tuesday December 2 - Vancouver, Canada I wake up to a gray day overlooking the Vancouver city. I've been swimming in gray weather on this tour. But I'm typing away first to Patty Smythe's self-titles 1992 album and now C&C Music Factory (bought some second hand cds at the pawn shop in Fargo for $2 each. Got Barry White, Joe Cocker, Brian McKnight, Aretha Franklin, Angelique Kidgo and Sting also) "Everybody dance now!" uh uh uh. bop. uh. bop I'm alive. Let's rock. Let's do this show today at the Orpheum and kick butt. Coming up, 5 shows in a row, Seattle, Eugene, Boise Idaho, Spokane and Portland Or. All living on the bus. Woah. I'll need some fortitude for this home stretch. Wednesday December 3 - Seattle WA Home stretch. And coming up, 5 days in a row of shows and living on a bus. For now, I sleep dreamily in my Hotel Sorrento in Seattle, which is like being in Florence. Everything is written in Italian and I feel like I'm in a Tuscan villa. Luxury! Our show in Vancouver last night was a riot. We had our biggest audience ever, 2,100 people. Eric remarked that it was his best audience response YET in his LIFE. That's a huge statement. I asked him how he arrived at this conclusion. "Well, up till now with even the Python boys, I don't think we've ever had this huge an audience response, being warm, and laughing at all the jokes. I do believe it's the biggest and best show ever." I was stunned. But hey, I guess being the only idol, meaning, just Eric Idle, he's feeling the kudos coming to him and good for him. I was very happy for him that he was happy. As for me, well at intermission I bumped my head (my right eyebrow) on a door backstage and it killed. My eyebrow came up like a golf ball, literally, and everyone was packing ice and hovering. "I need space! But thanks everyone." I told Eric it was best not for me to go out straight away for the hook introduction scene. Normally, at the top of Act 2, Eric talks about our long hook, and how famous it is, and how we've left if all over the country and now it's returned. I bring it out and he says, "This is our hook.... (and then pointing at me), and this is our hooker for this evening." Fain shock every time. It gets a good laugh. But Jenn had to step in to do my scene this time. I was on motrin, with a bag of ice on my forehead hoping i wouldn't get dizzy. I had to call the lights every second and my eye hurt. We crossed the border after the show (gosh I really love the greencard, cos I used to have to sit for over an hour at the immigration office looking up my files on their computers to see if i was a criminal. Now it's all about 5 minutes to pass through. Phew) and we arrived in Seattle around 3.30am. I had napped on the bus licking my wounds. And now, this morning, I awake in the huge fluffy bed with a black eye. Lovely. Lot's of makeup girlfriend. Friday December 5 - Eugene OR I'm sitting in Cafe Paradiso on Wifi Internet access drinking a soy latte, and licking my wounds. My eye, now a nice black and yellow, is definitely not a pretty site. My crew guys think it's cool. It turns them on apparantly. I think that's sick. It turns guys on. Or at least they want a black eye cos it makes them look cool. I think, if a woman has a black eye, people insinuate that someone has abused them. No, I'm not in a co-dependent relationship. Thank you. I'd like to order a coffee. I performed in this cafe a year ago. I had 100 people in here and it was one of my best shows on my North West 2002 tour. I like Eugene. It's a college town. Comfy, cool, small and fun. It's raining today, but hey, I'm used to grey weather right? Seattle was fun to be in again. One of my favourite cities. The first night I took Jennifer and her morning radio DJ friend Jim to Jean Mann's boat party on Lake Washington. What a thrill to watch these huge cruisers come by and listen to a huge live choir on board the ships sing Christmas carols. The whole local community were around a nice bon fire on the beach. We drank wine and ate smoked salmon dip and had a blast. It was lovely to see Jean again too. Jenn, Jean and Gilli and Jean Mann's Christmas boat watching party. Check out Jean Mann at www.jeanmann.com Last night's Seattle Show was fabulous. Small (gone are the 2000 seater shows of Canada) and the venue was a hemp house (i learnt this means, lots of ropes and pullies, no marijuana) but a warm crowd. We left straight after the show and slept on the bus overnight to Eugene. I remember camping out at the truck stops on the river on this trek with Toni Koch last year. Wow, what i different experience this time. So we are going to do a show tonight at the Hult Center. It's luxury compared to what's in store for the next few days. Some venues, eg Spokane we can't access the theater till 5pm (jeez, normally we start setting up at 1pm) and Boise we have no dressing rooms. This will be a bumpy ride. Come back soon to the diary. This is a short update. More on the weekend. Portland OR - Monday Dec 8 where we've toured. not very clear but an idea. follow the dots from boston, up to East Canada, down to New York, Philly, DC, Virginia, across to St Louis, up to Buffalo NY, over to the Mid West, up to West Canada and down the West Coast USA. all in 11 weeks. I'm sitting on the bus at 3pm having been up way too early to set the stage, feeling rather pissy. One surely would get like this after 5 days on the bus and really wacky theaters. I think we've done the kings of the crop this time. I reckon we would have done better shows in a parking lot or field, looking at the so-called theaters we've had to play in this past week. It started at Eugene on the bus. Now the theater was nice, yes, but it was the first of living on the bus. Some people think that touring is a glamorous life. Well, let me tell you, it's not. It's waking up on a bus outside a theater in the back dirty alley not knowing where to go and poop cos usually the theater is not accessible until noon or so. So, I sit on the bus, waking up in dirty clothes because we haven't had a washing machine facility in days and days. We load in, do the show, maybe have a shower if possible and then load out. I'm constantly on my feet, never stopping, and then back on the bus, eat at midnight, sleep by two, rocking with the wind and windy roads to next destination. Lots of bumpy rides through the Rockies again. The actors were accommodating even with alley ways as dressing rooms (Boise ID Dec 6). Boy that was a really weird gig. We had no wings left and right and no quick change area at the Egyptian Theatre. Just an alley way out back. It's a movie theatre and they never do shows there. We were the first theatrical show ever. I put together a whole cozy environment for the actors to accommodate their costumes and have a quiet place out back and voila, a show. We had one split down the back curtain for us to enter the stage. It was weird and wacky but it worked. The Egyptian Theatre is gorgeous inside though, (although tiny)... with Tutenkamen Pharaoh statues on either side of the stage in gold. Impressive. Just backstage was a thimble sized room. Eric writes about me in his online journal; Gilli, however, I am concerned about - her black eye is spreading, she has bruising on her forehead, still has headaches and last night a couple of nose bleeds, but she absolutely refuses medical advice. She has enough headaches trying to get these shows up and running. Ok everyone, maybe it's because I'm Australian or maybe it's because I grew up in the bush far from a doctor and had to just make do.. but i really think my black eye (now purples and yellow) will be just fine. My childhood isolation has given me great strength in the power of belief. One just doesn't get sick, that's all. And my black eye IS healing. But it does look a mess. "It looks worse than it feels", I tell Eric. In Spokane WA Dec 7, we couldn't access the theatre until 4pm. It was crazy. Usually we start at 1pm but they had a matinee show so we couldn't access. I loved our crew though. Everyone rolled up their sleeves and we set up a show in 2 hours. I was so impressed. I love the fact that we have developed a wonderful family and everyone pitches in. I liked Spokane, at least one little cafe called The Spike. I might come back to Spokane and play there. Cool free wireless internet access. Have to love that. The city overall didn't grab me, but again, you see we mainly see divey neighbourhoods cos that's where the theatres are. How absurd! So here we are in Portland OR. It's Monday. And I've about had enough of tiny theaters that offer no support to create a show. This place is small (always good for audience participation) but has limited facilities. I'm tired, I need a hotel room and actually I'm ready for Australian sunshine. Spiritualism will have to wait till another day, cos i don't have an ounce in me today. We are playing the Aladdin Theatre here in Portland. They used to play Deep Throat here for years and years. And now it's home to comedy for one evening. It's been a dismal day setting up with no help whatsoever. But guess what, the show is AMAZING. No, I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E. The Portland audience were overbearingly (but lovingly said) loud that i had to block my ears. It was like being at a Beatles concert. By the way, for those of you who don't know, Eric Idle was a great friend of George Harrison's and he talks about him a lot in the show. In 1978 or somewhere around there, Eric put together the Rutles, a spin off early Spinal Tap type band of the Beatles, and we play the Rutles Cd before every show. So even though this crowd wasn't huge, around 650 peeps, it was most certainly the loudest and warmest we have had on the whole tour, surpassing Vancouver, even though that was the biggest audience we've played. I'm hoping to catch a Victoria's Secret in San Fran cos the next show will be all about me in lingerie. Say... no.. more. Latest travel stats from Eric's site Previous Total 9,078 miles Chicago IL to Edmonton ALB 1683 miles Edmonton to Calgary, ALB 186 miles Calgary to Vancouver, BC 603 miles Vancouver to Seattle, QA 147 miles Running Total 11,697 miles Tuesday December 8 - San Francisco CA I really felt like I was coming home as we travelled over the Bay Bridge to the San Fran city. I don't know why i felt this but i think it's a combination of seeing a wonderful harbour (like Sydney harbour) and coming to a city on the West Coast that's close to Los Angeles. I could live here. If I had a huge creative outlet like L.A. Or i fell in love with a San Franciscan. So here's a joke. My crew didn't think it was funny over dinner tonight but I think it's funny, and besides, my dad has been telling this joke for years. Sam Crab ("I left my heart in sam crab's disco..."), was in love with Lucy the Fish. They used to swim and crawl the bottom of the ocean days on end, gazing into each other's eyes. One day, Sam Crab proposed. Lucy swam home to her mother to celebrate the news, but her mother said, "no way, Lucy, fish cannot marry crabs." Lucy was devastated. "Why mum?" She replied, "because crabs swim sideways love, and fish cannot go out with no sideways swimmers. It's just not on." So Sam went off in complete depression and would crawl endlessly along the bottom of the ocean in complete desolation. One day Lucy spotted Sam Crab out through the reeds. "Sam!" she shouted with glee. "Sam, you're ... you're swimming straight towards me, this is fantastic! Wait till my mother finds out! No more sideways,... straight towards me!" And Sam replied, shoving her aside, hiccupping in his drunken stupor, "..Hik... get out ...hik.. of my way..." Did ya get it? We arrived at Eric's hotel (now and then he goes to a fancy hotel while we get relegated to a less expensive although still fancy, hotel. The local TV crew await us (pre-planned) and Jenn and I feign as groupies, kissing him profusely, and being warm and fuzzy. It was hilarious. At the end, while we started leaving on the bus to our hotel and Eric continued being interviewed live with the news crew, Eric started running after the bus. What a great actor, running, through the early morning crowds, pretending to miss us. Only he was serious. We didn't know it. We kept on driving. He had left his bag on the bus and we thought he was acting for the camera. It was hilarious. But we stopped in time. Oh give me a camera and i'm all over it. Eric and I are too similar... (birthdays aside.) Our Eric just got nominated for a Grammy for his voice over in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He's disappointed because The Rutland Isles didn't get a Grammy. Some people are never satisfied. I'd kill for a Grammy. "I really won't change if i get a Grammy" he says "Yeah yeah. I hope you still eat Chinese at midnight with us." I certainly have found that I've grown a lot on this tour. I mean, when i first landed the responsibility of stage managing, and overseeing crews, wardrobe, theaters, cues, lighting.. i was drowning. Then I overcame the role, and got to sing on stage etc. But I was still a lost sheep compared to all who had toured before together. I had admired Eric from the start but he is a little eccentric and sometimes couldn't take his jokes. I thought he was attacking or insulting. But really it's his english wit and once you learn not to take things personally, i found him terribly funny and terribly warm. In fact I love him to death and i would love to work with him more, on stage. This tour has also brought me in touch with the comedian inside of me. I never thought i was funny. Or at least, I forgot. Not that I have any lines (I sing in the show), but even in my moves i'm learning humour again, and just being around Eric and Jenn and Peter who are all so talently funny, laughing with them, I am finding my own sense of timing coming to the fore. I also am convinced, having gone through this tour experience, that there is much more for me out there than playing lonely low paying cafes and bars who don't give a shit about my music and my message. I see my childhood dreams possible, again. I had become disconnected from them. I want to finish my musical, SUCCESS, which is a show using music, song, dance, sketch, comedy, and script to tell the story of 2 young female artists rising up through the music biz. I can finish the script now, after 10 years of being on hold, now knowing more about the biz, and now understanding theatre more. Somewhere along the track I thought I was no good at theatre or acting. I don't know why. I've always been the top of my class. Even last year at Howard Fine Studios, Laura Gardner my teacher insinuated I was her A actor in class. But somewhere with the knock backs, auditions, bloody agent talk - "oh the industry is slow right now..." I just thought, well, maybe music is my bag. But fuck. Why can't I be acting also?? Who said one has to choose. No fucking way. I'm allowed to be an artist, sing, songwriter AND an actress, and BE GOOD AT IT. I pursue excellence to the highest degree and punish me God for wanting to do it all.. but i Do. We dine with Skip's family tonight. Yes, he is a dad. Quite unbelievable really. He's 50 and he looks 40 at the most. His son, Willy, owns two restaurants in town, and his daughter Katie, has flown in from Tucson. It's a warm and fuzzy night and Jenn and I sing some of my songs on the piano that Willy has set up for me. So let's talk about that. I get up there and everyone's talking and drinking, oblivious to my playing. In my first song, Inner Circle I wonder why I even bothered getting up. Even our own party is chatting and not even coming up to the bar to be even in eye sight. Jenn comes up and we kind of laugh our way through a set knowing that we are probably the only ones appreciating and enjoying the performance. It's hard to get an applause. Jenn's more nervous doing this gig than performing in front of 1000 people. I'm used to it. Used to being ignored. Scott comes up after and says to me, "you're talented Gilli." (Thanks Scott.) "Why don't you play some happy songs?" (Is Woman or Touch Me sad? I don't think so. Rather sexy i thought. Do i sing in a sad way? I'm perplexed.) I look around the bar and spot some cute guys. We head to the Irish Bank, a bar behind our gorgeous Triton hotel on Grand street. More cute guys. Wow, I do believe I'm waking up. Maybe it was all that lingerie shopping for my big Bad Beethoven scene debut tomorrow night, when I come out on stage wearing knickers holding the hook. Let's see if it will work. I think the Santa hat might top it off. I'm sitting in my funky art deco style hotel room that I'm sure was once a home for homeless, or rent by the week hotel visitors (old 60 year olds with dribble down their bellies and no real homes.) They've done a good job at converting what i think was this type of hotel before. The reason I say this is the rooms are tiny and not equipped well with amenities (the sink is in the main room not bathroom as an example), but the decor is marvellous now and I'm really enjoying the lyrical, naive style paintings on the walls and leopard skin headboard on the bed, plus the gold sun on the warm ochre wallpaper above. It's cool. I mean it. I'm watching VHI and Nelly Furtado is singing some new weirdly timed song about doing what you want in life. It's upbeat. She's smiling and laughing. I guess I have to sing more songs like "Don't Worry Be Happy" with 2 chords, to be noticed. I'm really sick of feeling intimidated by my peers. I think it's time to take a stand and stand NAKED to the world. I've been way to shy. If one reporter thinks I'm the David Bowie of the new millennium.... watch out, I just might strip naked and become a man, or worse, act like one. That seems the only way in this biz. ANYway, to cut a long, long night's discussion short, it's time for gilli moon to go out no hold's barred. Time to really unleash the warrior within. Tomorrow morning I think I'll saunter down to the cafe below and have coffee reading the local paper. I want to fit in to the culture of San Fran and its bohemian, artsy, and sophisticated feel all at the same time. Load in at 1 at the Fillmore Theater so I'll have time. That is if i get to bed early enough to night. My clock has been SO out on this tour. Scott, Tom and Jennifer (plus English's brow) at the Irish Bank Pub behind our hotel in San Francisco. Thursday Dec 11 - San Francisco Only 6 shows to go. Wow. How many have we done? 50? more? I dunno. I lost track. It's been a huge tour. The biggest for me. Last night we played the Fillmore Theatre in San Fran. This is a very very famous theatre. Janis Joplin has a huge pic on the wall. Every huge artist has played here. Last night Tom Jones played here. I have his set list with me. He sang Delilah, Kiss, Sitting on the Dock of the Bay (not his), and about 13 other songs. Cool. The Fillmore have a long standing tradition to give away apples to the public, and play Greensleeves as everyone exits. I found the traditions a little stifling, esp where the house mgr wanted to flash the flashlight for everyone entering the stage. I think I offended him when i said, "no worries, you don't have to do that. People can see you light the feet and there's no surprise off the wings as they enter." He got so offended that i broke the Fillmore tradition he walked off in a huff. I didn't mean to offend him. I guess ya can't please everyone! I was just trying to do theatre. The Fillmore has become a rock club. No, it always has been a rock club. But I'm noticing that all the theatres around the country have become rock. No theatre. What has happened to the arts? No funding! Only rock n roll pays the theatres' bills. It's sad. I'm working with crews that have limited perspective on theatre, lighting, staging, curtains, timing... all of that. They just turn the lights on and turn the lights off. It's depressing. English, our driver to the stars, and moi Evening. Back after the show. Look at Lish! He's such a doll. And a tease. He's our driver. He never sits at the pub cos he sits all night driving. He gets jealous when i chat with Mike, our other driver. He's a funny Englishman from Liverpool. Well we just completed our second show at the Fillmore. It was a very smooth show and Jenn and I got men's undies in the encore bucket with "I Love Jennifer" and "I Love Gilli" on each pair. They were brand new. Very cute. Today I had lunch with Scott Urquhart, who I'm going to produce some songs for my next album in February. Can't wait. We're going to mp3 each other ideas to get things going. I've already started laying down some pre-production ideas, all of which are on my new album page. Scott, some of his buddies, and Ian and Joanie Crombie came to the show last night. Wonderful peeps i met at the West Coast Songwriters Association conference in Sept at Palo Alto. Ian and Joanie run it, and they flew me up for an all expenses paid weekend of fantastic seminars and discussion. I felt very privileged to be part of their set. They're amazed i can do so many different things and still maintain my creativity and sanity. (should I tell them one must be crazy to do what I do? I mean, sometimes I think I'm completely nutty.) So tonight was cool. Eric was feeling throaty though, and I thought Peter was going to get a standing ovation for his Taunter scene. I even bet him. But i lost. As much as the crowd were way more raucous tonight than last night, they still didn't overwhelm us like, say, in Portland, Calgary, Vancouver or Washington DC. I'm packing tonight. I have SO much to pack. Counting the days. Next gig is San Jose, then a fab fun weekend in Vegas. The clock starts ticking as i dream of Aussie beaches and summer down-under. Backstage at the Fillmore San Francisco. A psychodelic gilli and jenn with eric on the cover of a street mag. where we've toured. not very clear but an idea. follow the dots from boston, up to East Canada, down to New York, Philly, DC, Virginia, across to St Louis, up to Buffalo NY, over to the Mid West, up to West Canada and down the West Coast USA. all in 11 weeks. Mike, and English, our drivers, waking up at 10pm in San Francisco, ready to drive us to San Jose Saturday Dec 13 - Las Vegas It's my parents 35th wedding anniversary today. Pretty cool huh? That's the longest I've heard of except for Jenn's parents who've been together 52 years or something like that. They have about 60 children. Jenn's the youngest. My parents met in a bar in Milan, Italy, in 1968 ("that's before man went to the moooon" Eric would say just before the Pepperpots scene in the show.) Dad, who was born in Rome but spent his first 6 years in Alexandria, Egypt, when it was trendy to be there, went on to Australia from ages 7 to 16 or so. Then back to Rome from age 16 to 25. Then he overhears Mum's Aussie accent in the Milan bar, picks her up, takes her home, marries her and the rest is history. Who says you don't meet "the one" in a bar. Sure you can! They got married in Champex Switzerland under the roof of a tiny tiny French chapel that could fit about 20 people, to a French speaking monk. Mum just said "oui" throughout the ceremony, not knowing what she was saying yes to. She dressed in hot pink (mini skirt and top) and knee high black boots, ala 60s fashion... so that she wouldn't melt into the white snow. Now SHE'S a warrior girl! Always been the best dressed woman I've ever met. She's a model, tall blonde, blue eyes, skinny. I don't look anything like her. For their honeymoon, they sent everyone away and stayed at Champex, driving dad's convertible mercedes out onto the frozen lake like they had no tomorrow, watching the cracks behind them. I was there too... but I don't remember it ;) Blinded by a tummy... They were such dare devils in those days. Still are, living the bohemian life in the bush. Well, I forgot to mention that i had a Warhol experience in San Francisco. The first night, Wednesday last, I got my 15 minutes of fame. It was fleeting. We decided to try a new ending on the Bad Beethoven scene. Normally, John sits at the piano playing Fur Elise, extending the twinkles. it's funny. Then I (disguised behind the curtain leg) pull out the famous Python hook, slowly edging towards John. We always get a huge laugh from the crowd. At about a foot away, i twist the end of the hook, going in for the kill, his neck.... At the end, just before it looks like I'll hook him off, we go to blackout. Next scene. Well in San Fran, we decided to do things differently. Just before I hooked him, John turned around and grabbed the hook (all pre-planned) and yanked me on stage. I get caught in the spot light, in my red hot lingerie number, black stockings, garter and high heels, plus red and white santa hat. Hot lipstick and a look of shock on my face. I run off. I thought it was cute. Eric didn't think it worked. But he did say i looked good! Anyway, scrap the lingerie scene. Back to square one. Back to black and behind the curtain. Oh, fame is fleeting... Last night was San Jose. The Flint Centre on a college campus. I was in this area in Sept. Gosh I've travelled. We had no catering for lunch (must have not sold that many tickets...?) so i scouted the campus for coffee only to find nothing but a horrible coffee machine that dripped tar into a paper cup. My day was doomed. A 2000 seater and we had 600 people. Mind you, cos it was dark, you couldn't tell. What will Vegas bring? Overnight sleep to Vegas and i felt the dry desert. We are back in the West and I can feel the Indians. I love the desert of the West. One of my favorite areas of the world. At 8am we arrived in Vegas, land of plastic palm trees, oversized buildings, pretend Euro trash cities and over-rated prices. Everyone was excited to be in Vegas except for me. Las Vegas is a myriad of sex and money gambling pimps and fringe dwellers who don't fit into society so they've created their own plastic paradise in the middle of the desert. Gambling's not for me. Eric gave us all $100 last night to "try our luck at our Vegas experience." Why gamble? I had already one. I just had $100 more than I did before! Mandalay Bay, our hotel, is on the fringe of the strip and one of the newest hotels. When I was here in '91 the road was half the size, and the city was half the enormity it had become. This is one giant strip mall with flashing lights (even McDonalds has flashing lights) and each Casino hotel is trying to out do each other. It's all about money here. I think Eric's show will go down well, with money (or the political and philosophical rant about it) being the theme. I wonder if the Vegas tourists will understand Eric's poignant messages. I doubt it. They're just not smart enough. Am I being to harsh? Hmm... I don't know. All I'm seeing are 18 something blonde girls pretending not to be drunk in the bathrooms as the pull down their mini skirts to at least cover a bit of their undies; guys seriously trying to win their bets at craps, black jack, the roulette wheel, poker or the slot machines; old ugly men escorted by middle aged plastic faced once pretty women in diamonds; bar tenders wearing less lingerie i would dare to on stage; people who smoke way too much; newly weds who couldn't find a tropical island to marry in so the bride, all in white, gets sloshed while throwing money on the table (attractive...), and old couples spending their complete retirement money on the pokies hoping for a bigger return. It's not pretty. No matter how much the lovely hotels try to glamorise it. Everything is fast, huge, expensive, and bright. I did have a nice dinner with Andy Jermstad (plays guitar with me), his partner Beverly, and Larry Mah, our sound dude who resurfaced for the fun of Vegas. We've missed him! He drove out from L.A today. Andy and Beverly flew out in their little Piper Warrior (girl) this afternoon from Burbank airport. I've offered Eric to go for a spin tomorrow to the Grand Canyon. I doubt he'll take the offer, preferring to sleep in with his wife. We all went to Second City after dinner, which is promoted by JAM Theatricals, our promoters, with Steve Traxler at the helm. They are a funny group of improv actors and I laughed hysterically. All of us went and we met Skip's wife Barbara, and re-met Tania, Eric's wife. I think I'm going to investigate some comedy stand-up and improv classes next year in L.A. I think I could do it. Afterwards Beverly, Andy, Larry and I walked a mile back to Mandalay Bay looking at the sordid lives, tourist traffic, and flashy lights and videos. Lots of music playing here. Shania Twain soon, Celine Dion in residency, and... tomorrow... Eric Idle. We tried to get a hot chocolate in the casino to no avail. It's impossible to get service at these damn huge hotels. As Skip says, these are not hotels, but casinos offering beds. I ended up making hot chocolate (thanks to Larry's idea) for Beverly and I (we were going crazy) using the hot water out of my bathroom tap and the end of my toothbrush to stir it. It's 3am and I need to be up by 3pm to set the stage. House of Blues awaits us. Larry, Beverly and Andy - walking the streets of Vegas / Beverly, Andy and Gilli - Vegas strip Vegas lights. Monday Dec 15 - Las Vegas I'M STILL HERE. In this odd, bright, 24/7, fast cash, glossy, and tired... city. I don't know why Eric decided to give us an extra day in Vegas instead of driving to the coast. He thought we would all love staying on and "having a blast" here. I would have chosen Pismo Beach any day. But I think it's important for him to catch up with his Saturday Night Live buddies and perhaps look at working here. I dunno. But I'm happy that the crew are enjoying it. For me, I'm finding the room service overrated, the amenities limited, and my cash bank diminishing, and that's just for buying coffee ($8.50!) Yesterday, Sunday, was show day for us. We weren't bumping in till 3pm so i had time to relax. I watched a movie in my room, "Under a Tuscan Sun." Oh my god, it was fabulous. I cried and cried. The story is about a woman in her late 30s (Diane Lane) who after a divorce goes on a tour of Tuscany, Italy where she falls in love with a tumble down old farm house. Una Villa. There were so many parallel themes to my life or at least to a life I wanted, that I was deeply emotional about this film. I can't put my finger on it whether it was because she was in Italy, or in the country in Italy, or just in the Country.. or whether it was because she was doing up this old house on her own, or her sense of inner love. Or that she could not find a perfect love. Or about her falling for italian men. Or the adventure in her. I dunno. But i assimilated with the character immensely. I loved the messages: always keep your childish innocence. Seek adventure. Create the railroad, and the train will come. It reminded me that we can all dream for and live an extraordinary life. Sunday, yesterday, 3pm and i walked down to the lobby and through the maze of the huge casino to the House of Blues, which is situated inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel Casino. It looks like our HOB in Hollywood, but smaller. Same decor. We didn't have much time to set up but the crew here were used to working fast, as they often have up to 5 acts a night. There was a Gospel choir for matinee lunch, then us at 8pm, and then hip hop after us. Weird order of artistry but, hey, we're in Vegas. Churn 'em out... I saw Beverly and Andy from last night and they gave me a present. Because of our debacle of trying to find hot chocolate, they gave me an electric water kettle so I could make my own hot chocolate. It was so sweet, funny and cool! The show was a good one although I felt the energy of our troupe being a little lax, including myself. We only had 4 shows left on the tour including tonight's and we can all see home run. It's like running a marathon, ya know? You set out for 20 miles, and then as you ear the 3 mile home stretch, you feel really weary, but you know you have to do those 3 miles to get home. If you weren't counting, you probably wouldn't be so tired. I couldn't tell you how many shows we've done. I'll get the statistics from Skip and add it in my journal later. I keep wanting to sing "I've been through the desert with a horse with no name..." I'm looking out of my Vegas hotel room to a stark contrast of fake European tourist sites (Eiffel lower, the Pyramid of Giza, and NY's Statue of Liberty, surrounded by high rises that reflect the sun in their mirror windows... against the backwash of a bleak desert range. Guess what! I'm sick. Not just sick of Vegas, but i also caught a cold. I'm sure it was that guy in the lobby that sneezed right in front of me. Uggh. My right nostril is blocked and itchy and I'm feeling heady, achy and fluey. Shit. I had lasted 3 months not getting sick and here i am, the last 3 days, feeling like shit. I hope this passes by the time I get back to L.A and then Sydney. I hate having a cold on the plane. I drag my sordid ass out of bed at midnight, which was the allocated time to depart Vegas (Eric thought he was giving us a holiday by extending our time in Vegas... god! I spent the day in bed sniffling!). The bus engine was on, English had done his 40 paces before driving (he does this to get mentally geared for long legs) and I got into my bed bunk (from one bed to another), my Robert Ludlum book in hand, and in a minute, was instead, out like a light. I coughed and spluttered all night to San Luis Obispo. Tuesday 16 December - San Luis Obsispo, CA I woke up in the parking lot of the PAC in San Luis Obispo, the local university. The bright sunlight blinding my sleep induced eyes. I went through a kleenex box before even venturing outside. When i did saunter in to the venue, i was completely delighted to see everything set up (quick change, stage legs, lighting) and Scott had loaded in all the gear himself already having been bored all morning. I took a break and went with Jennifer and her niece Stacey to Pismo Beach. I remember being here a year ago, completely in love with this beach. I could live here. I don't say this lightly. I hardly say it at all. But 3 hours from L.A and 3 hours from San Fran could be a perfect spot, no? Cute and quaint little town, plus a hillside wash of houses that from the distance look like Positano Italy. A great wide long beach. Jenn and i cuddled up in blankets and began to dream of a new year and a new day. The beach certainly brings peace, and nice thoughts, tranquillity. Yes, I could marry a surfer. Back to the theatre, we had an easy, flowing show, and the tech crew were brilliant. I discovered Jennifer had a cold like me, so we sniffled all day and tried to avoid coughing when on stage. Ughh. What a night. By the way, this is the only theatre we discovered that had DSL internet stage right off stage. You can tell when the troupe are well-oiled machines. We were checking our emails between scenes. Funny! By 11pm we were packed up and on the bus. Lish was fired up to drive the 510 miles to Phoenix AZ, our second last show. I was exhausted and went to bed, my nostrils on fire, and my throat numb. Mike Plishka from Chicago sends me an awesome christmas poem. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing..: It's not about the business It's about the sacred It's about the naked you that I've experienced... Light and gold woman bold warrior soul transcendence... the cup overflows deserted shows yet heart knows transcendence.... love and life paint your soul; paint mine... It's not about the business It's about the sacred It's about the naked you that I've experienced... This made my day. And no, don't get the wrong idea. Completely innocent. He did not see me naked! LOL ;) Wednesday 17 December - Phoenix AZ Something about waking up at 7am and looking out your window and seeing the Arizona desert sparkling in the early sunshine. I love it. I'm writing my diary upfront with Lish, our driver, looking out at the splendid view i love so much. We're about 40 miles out of Phoenix. I'm drinking French Vanilla coffee from the truck stop outside Buckeye, and I already bought a postcard for my tour visual diary. Oh you don't know about that do you?! It's a cool scrap book (i've been doing these for years) of the tour across the country, and i collect postcards from everywhere we go. I first came out to Phoenix Arizona in 2001, with my friend and publicist at the time, Kelly Hammett from RSEInc. Her mother lives in Phoenix and so we came out for a long weekend, driving 6 hours through the desert listening to Jeff Buckley. It was the first time I had listened to Jeff Buckley and I was hooked. (Segue: more recently I've befriended Jeff's mother Mary, who is a real warrior woman and have performed for her in L.A and New York for Jeff Buckley tributes. Other segue: Jeff drowned in 1994 and became a huge cult icon for singer/songwriters and fans worldwide since his death.) Jeff Buckley's music inspired a lot of my music in the past few years, in particular my live performances. That first weekend was also marking a step forward into touring for the first time in the U.S. So that first weekend in Phoenix I had been referred to a girl named Toni to get a gig in town. She did. And 2 and a half years later Toni Koch and I have been working together to build Warrior Girl Music. She is my right hand gal, RHG, a wonderful friend and an amazing warrior girl. In 2002 I travelled to Phoenix 12 times to perform, and by October I opened for Simple Minds at the Celebrity Theatre for Clear Channel. 2000 seater. I can't believe my Warrior journey to date all happened .... from that first trip to AZ. Touring. Toni. Jeff. On Monday we were still in Vegas. STILL. God I was SO happy to get out of there. Vegas is not for me. So here I am on my way to Phoenix for the upthteen time. It's Wednesday. Friday is our last day on tour. It will have been 3 months and 49 shows once we complete the L.A show. I'm going to miss this bubble, miss the joys of the talents around me, the friends i've made, the security I live in. But I will be very, very happy to break, have a rest, and regroup. I've changed much over these 3 months, and have come to learn that my dreams and visions are strong, yet plans will be changing. I no longer want to live the life I once lived. Harsh as it sounds. I need to change. We all do, ya know, and I've come to a crossroads in my life. This tour was a rite of passage that no one gave me, except myself. I provided myself and opportunity to go left of field and do something completely different for a moment, in order to re-focus and see life a different way. I can't really write exactly how I will change, but i know it's coming. I await the new deliverance. By the way, I've changed the title of my next album. Saturday 20 December - Los Angeles, CA. Home. 49 shows. 49. Didn't quite make 50. But we certainly have done MANY shows. Wow! 3 months and I'm exhausted. I can't wait for Australia, sunshine, beach and Cadbury chocolate. Phoenix was hard to leave and I have such good memories here. I woke up on the 18th still sick, and the bell boy did not arrive as planned. So I dragged all my bags myself down to the lobby with a fever and a running nose. Then out the door to the crew bus I began to pack my bags on their bus (as my bus wasn't leaving till 3pm) I asked Mike where our bus was, and he pointed behind me. I saw it. So I pulled all my bags off and thought, heck I'll dump my bags on my own bus. I dragged them all up behind the Ritz where the bus was, only to find 4 buses that looked identical to my bus. I went from one bus to another, now feeling really frustrated. The bags felt like lead. I dragged them back and this time crying my eyes out. "Where is the bus?!!!!!" I cried to Mike. My face flush. "Oh it's up there, around the corner, over there and up the street. Those buses are Shania Twains." Mike responded. I was teary and tired. I loaded my bags in and hopped on the bus. Blew my nose and then it was all ok. I had my cry, I was better. This is called End of tour blues. The Phoenix show was a cool show at the Marquee on Thurs Dec 18. The Marquee, like most theatres across the country, has become a heavy rock n roll house, and that includes the crew... rock dudes with little theatre finesse. But because they are young, they were eager to learn and try something different. Our troupe were tired. We were all burnt out and ready for the end. And when you see the end in sight, ending becomes long and arduous. But we all put up a great show, and even shared a "last supper" meal in the green room eating mexican food out of paper bags and reminiscing about the tour. I've captured pretty much every day of the tour on video, editing along the way, and have a good 2 hours on tape which will be a fun watch later on. I've captured the 'out takes' so to speak, the fun behind the scenes moments, bus riding, sing alongs, sound checks, and the occasional show taping from my desk stage right behind the curtain. After the Phoenix show we hopped on the bus for our last sleep in our bunks. I was still feeling really sick and blew my nose all night, and felt groggy in the a.m in Hollywood. It was weird to be waking up on Hollywood Blvd in the parking lot next to the theatre, looking at the stars along the blvd and a couple of weirdos and homeless people. Home. Oh I forgot, we had a cool view of the Hollywood sign too. The Henry Fonda Theatre on Fri Dec 19, was our last show for the tour. Number 49. It reminded me of the Egyptian Theatre in Boise for it's in the round stage and little curtain support, but it was bigger and more glamorous. I was SO fried and the end was near that I had a really horrible day. But the show was fabulous and we had a full house. The last bump out and we split all the props to different boxes for different locations, part to Eric's house and part to his lock-up garage in the Valley. Actors took most of their costumes home. We all exchanged Xmas gifts and Eric gave me a great Python history book plus wonderful pressies from everyone including a picture book of the tour compiled by Larry, but a gift from John, and a frames signed flyer and pics from Skip. Final party upstairs along with George Harrison's wife and Gary Shandling, some wine, final goodbyes to my cast mates and crew, and I gathered my friends off to Casa Vega for the first good Mexican food in months. I have mixed feelings being back in Los Angeles. I'll have to consider these feelings for some time on my Xmas trip to Oz. I need some time and space to work out how I'm feeling. But I know that my feelings on this city, and my career building in this city have changed. The tour is over. There are hints of more in 04. But I can't think about that right now. I'm toured out. I've been touring all year. March was the South West. August was the East Coast. And Oct - Dec right across with Eric. I'm fried. Time to regroup, recoup, re-energize. I'll miss my cast and crew mates. My dysfunctional family for 3 months. What a ride. I'm sure I'll write about it more as i reflect whilst in Australia. gilli and Jen on Pismo beach. Ending one chapter. Ready for new beginnings. From Eric Idle's website Final Mileage: Previous Total 14,300 miles Las Vegas NV to San Luis Obispo CA 429 miles San Luis Obispo to Phoenix AZ 596 miles Phoenix AZ to Los Angeles CA 380 miles Running Total 15,705 miles We've travelled a long way! That's longer than flying to Australia! GO SEE THE PICS OF THE TOUR ERIC IDLE PUBLISHED HIS TOUR DIARY AS A BOOK. BUY I NOW: Until next post...... Signing off for now. Welcome to a brave new world. gilli

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