Saturday, October 28, 2006

Texas Renaissance Festival

Istanpitta, like many other acts that have been practically fixtures to this fair, did not perform at the Texas Renaissance Festival. The entertainment budget suffered HUGE cuts. Which left the entertainment director the evil job of either not inviting acts to return or offering contracts with much less pay. We got offered a contract, which Al renegotiated. By the time the fair responded, we had already booked three of our weekends at other fairs. We are hoping negotiations go a little more quickly this year. Al and I visited TRF last weekend and it was VERY obvious that things were very different. The lane where Wyndnwyre and I Madrigali played was completely empty. The Wharf stage where the Flying Fish Sailors used to be was empty.... empty because Tartanic was scheduled to use that stage, but the stage does not fit that group so Tartanic used the space near the stage..... hmmmmm..... kinda odd.
On the positive, we did run into and chatted with the entertainment director. And we did get to hang out with our friends of Tartanic and Gypsy Dance Theater and Gypsy Guerilla Band and our back stage friends Mark & Betty, and Chris and Julie & the other fortune tellers. We were out there specifically to play with Alesha's tribal dance group. In the process Al has met a potential new vielle player -- A GUY!!! a very nice guy.... and as usual fun to see Alesha again.

Las Vegas!

Here is Jay and Annette lookin' pretty cute on Friday before the rain :-)

Now, I'm pretty sure we got a picture of all of us, but alas... WHERE is it?!?! So, here is our stage. We shared this frying pan of a stage with this duo pirate act, an incredible juggler act, a harpist, and our friend Owen Phyfe. This lovely stage, painted black for full frying power was in the direct sun for the middle of the day making our first two sets each day like performing in a frying pan. Later in the day, the trees would catch the sun and the stage wasn't so bad at all.
Now for the real Vegas! We did go to the strip on Saturday evening. We ate at the Venetian.
Annette gambled a couple of quarters away.

Four Kingdoms Fair

Moline, Illinois. This fair was sponsored by the local KOA. Because of this, we got to stay on the grounds in this cozy little cabin. It was really cool. See how Al is roughin' it with the laptop below. We had wireless internet, a little fridge, and a heater which was definitely needed at night. I thought I had a picture of us performing, but alas, can not find it right now. Michelle played vielle and used her dramatic skills in every performance. :-)

Fisher's Fair

In order of actual happening.... First, Annette and I get to Indianapolis and go get some food at the Steak & Shake.... Then we run to pick up Al at the airport and he wants so Steak & Shake, so we go back. This time Annette and I share a deliciously rich chocolate shake with tons of fudgy goo all over it..... mmmmmm
Then we arrive at our hosts' home. This is their dog, Casey. What a cutie! And what a beautiful home, and what wonderful people. This was a second year fair that brought over 16,000 people thru the gates. Our hosts were the folks in charge.This was our stage. We shared it with some great acts and invited the tribal dance group to come dance with one of our sets. We enjoyed great weather and great food.... You could get almost anything out here! And not all of it fried on a stick :-)

Colorado concerts

I know I already said these went well, but I also said we had pictures.... This first shot is of the beautiful concert hall we performed at Colorado State University. The faculty and staff were fabulous and the audience was very appreciative and great to chat with after the concert. By the way, we also enjoyed our trip to downtown Fort Collins. It was like Austin's Sixth Street, only cleaner, better lit, more variety of shops and restaurants and clubs and plenty of parking!

We performed in a small church in Denver for our Colorado Early Music Performance. They baked us a cake! An incredibly enthusiastic audience of early music lovers. Fabulous conversation and cake after the concert.... CAKE!

After the concerts, we got a free day. Well, Ginna went home and Al, Annette, and I stayed an extra day to see beautiful Colorado. Ginna and her family had vacationed in the Estes Park for years. My family did too back when we had relatives living in the area. So I took Annette and Al to the places I remembered. We went to Estes Park and ate lunch at the one place we could find remotely close parking. I had forgotten how crazy it gets in town on the weekends.
This is Annette while Al was driving! Very scary -- just kidding, Al :-)
And here is us at Bear Lake. OK.... it was SNOWING on us!!! It was pretty cold, but I wasn't complaining. Compared to the scorching heat we had left in Texas, Al and I were a little glad to be freezin' our rears off. Mom & Dad & well, everybody else in my family should recognize this spot. I also got a shot of us on THE rock that we always turned into our family portrait center.

iRiver returns

First, let me introduce another addiction of mine. This is my new iRiver. I "lost" my first one which was only plain ol' grey while I was in Las Vegas ("lost" cuz I'm not convinced that it was my fault... I am 95% sure I left it in a specific place in my hotel room). The best feature about this puppy is that it records... and it records pretty darned well for such a teensy little thing. I can then take the recordings and download them to my computer, put them on CD or email them or post them on my website or whatever.... Super easy. And of course it also acts like an iPod in that it can carry your tunes without having to carry around CDs.... the whole set up fits in your pocket and runs on one little AAA battery.... So there!

Monday, October 02, 2006

no problems

Just wanted to let you know that trash cans at the airport are perfectly OK. AND trash cans officially make great drum cases. The drum survived very well. Security asked what was in the trash can, but did not inspect it - of course there is absolutely no metal and the whole thing weighs about 12 pounds. By the way, this is not the first drum case I have designed. I have a small tabor that fits in a "Homer bucket" from Home depot. I made a canvas wrap for it just in case the lid popped off. So there you have it. A $5 solution to travelling with drums.