Sunday, February 13, 2011

Telling jokes, winning money and watching Cheap Trick

This week, I headed up to Michigan's upper peninsula for a string of shows at a few casinos. My good buddy, Keith Lenart, and I piled into his rockin' mini-van and headed up to snow country.

Our first stop was at the Kewadin Casino in St. Ignace. Here's its porch (complete with the lovely view of Lake Superior):

And the cozy fireplace I spent a bit of time in front of:

The cool roof that my camera didn't do any justice:

After a small, yet fun show in St. Ignace, we headed to Sault Ste. Marie, where we performed for a packed house.

Here's Keith on stage:

Eighty-three cents (and bragging rights) goes to the person who can correctly identify the UFC fighter in the background.

The Sault Ste. Marie casino had a fireplace as well (and fake trees!):

And a waterfall:

Right before Keith got busted for riding his snow mobile indoors.

Before the show, I decided to take advance of my "free play" (No, that's not a hook-up you don't have to pay for, it's the amount of money you get to play on the slots after signing up for a player's club card at a casino), and I won a whole dollar fifty! Try not to get jealous.

After thoroughly gorging ourselves at the buffet, ordering a vegan pizza (Yay for free food!) and taking hours to contemplate how to spend my winnings, we headed to yet another casino.

At this one, as soon as we arrived, I made a beeline to the player's club area, cashed in my free play and sat down at a slot machine. And guess what happened?

I won!!!

That's what mama's talkin' about!

I actually won about $103.00 when all was said and done. Yee-haw!

That's headliner, Jack Willhite, Scott from Rock 101 and me after the show (which was a blast!).

After the show, I went to bed so I could wake up early to drive to Milwaukee. Keith was a trooper and drove us in these ick-tastic conditions:

In Milwaukee, we played at the Potawatomi Casino. And guess who else did?

Cheap Trick!

In between shows, Steve, the super awesome Entertainment Director, sneaked Keith and me into the third row.

I didn't enter the room a big Cheap Trick fan, but I definitely left as one. They rocked it out! I was really impressed how well they could still sing and jump around (especially since they can do things at 60 that I couldn't even do at 20).

And Keith even got a pick that Rick Nielsen threw into the crowd:

I'm back in the good ol' mitten now, and I can't wait to go to Florida at the end of this week!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Snowbanks and Beaches

I was a pretty craptastic blogger in January. This is mostly due to the fact that I had a cold that could have killed a small wildebeest. Okay, in reality, I don't know if wildebeests are actually susceptible to human colds, but what I'm trying to say is that I was fairly crippled with sickness. I pretty much did nothing but tell jokes, hibernate in my bed and blow my nose. So yeah, that's why this blog was severely neglected.

But, alas, I feel better and I'm back!

I spent the first weekend in February performing at Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle. I worked with Alec Sobel and Michael Malone, who are both hilarious! And despite the blizzard on Saturday, we still had incredible crowd turn-out. Way to go, Royal Oak!

Saturday was a bit of an adventure for my old girl, the 2002 Honda Civic, and me. On my way to the club (I live about 45 minutes away), the average speed on the freeway was 20 miles an hour. So I was running late and worried about getting to the club on time. Then, as I neared Alec's hotel (he's from New Jersey, so I was giving him a ride), my gas light went on. Drat!

So I rushed to pick him up, sped off before he even had the door closed and quickly threw ten bucks of gas in my car. Well, I didn't throw it in, but it was probably the fastest I'd ever pumped gas in my life.

We finally made it to the club with fifteen minutes before showtime. Well, since I'm cheap, I decided to hunt for a free parking place. Um, bad idea.

I turned down Fifth Street and eyed an empty spot that was somewhat close to the club. Score! So I pulled into a driveway to attempt to turn around in order to parallel park into my dream spot (spots this close are never open when there's no snow on the ground). Big mistake.

As soon as I attempted to back up, my old girl wasn't having it. I gave her some gas, but she simply spun her wheels without any movement. Oh no!

I got out of the car and saw what I feared: she was completely stuck in a snowbank.

And the show was set to start in fifteen minutes.


Alec hopped out and began pushing the hood as I gave her more gas. Still no movement.

After a few minutes, one of the guys who lived in the house nearby saw us struggling and came over to help push. Still no movement.

He volunteered that he had a shovel, and he ran to go get it. I pleaded with him to hurry as the show was now set to start in ten minutes. He came back and began digging like a madman as Alec and I joined the effort with our feet and hands.

After we made a dent in the snow, I got back in my car and tried to back up again. Still nothing.

At this point, I was really freaking out. Mr. Neighbor volunteered to get his buddy who apparently had some sort of jumper cables or rope or something to dig cars out (I know nothing about cars and barely know how to ask for an oil change when I go to Jiffy Lube, so I have no idea what this device was actually called).

By the time Mr. Neighbor #2 got out there, it was five minutes until showtime. I asked what would happen if I just left my car there, hanging into the middle of the street. They immediately replied I would get a $50 ticket.

So I gave the keys to Alec, asked him to wait with the car for another ten minutes (while I was on stage), and if nothing was happening and it was still stuck, to just leave it there. I then ran like the wind. Through the snow. I'm sure it was a pitiful sight. I was out of breath, slipping and sliding with nearly every step.

But, I made it, with about a minute to spare! Kevin, one of the managers at the Castle, gave me a bit of time to compose myself. So I applied some mascara, took a deep breath, looked over my set list and then performed for the nearly 300 people in the crowd.

Luckily, after I left, Alec and the two guys were able to drag my car out of the snowbank within a few minutes.

Despite Saturday getting off to a rough start, the shows were lots o' fun! After the last show, we were all invited to a beach party. I know, I know, beach party in Michigan in the middle of February? Well, it wasn't on an actual beach. It was at someone's house (a friend of Jason Benci's, who did a guest set on Saturday and stopped by to hang out at the club), and the heat was cranked way up as to accommodate the people dressed in board shorts and tank tops. The party was nice, although I wore my regular clothes as I didn't have a string bikini stashed in my trunk. So I suppose I dressed the way someone who is really terrified of getting a sunburn would.

Overall, it was a really fun weekend! And Alec even taught me how to do the worm. Right now, mine looks more like the snail, but I'm getting there.

Onto the pictures:

With Alec and Michael.

Jason and Michael.

Us with Mike Moore, the host of the beach party.

Jason Benci modeling his beach party attire and demonstrating why he's called the Thrillbilly.