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The Wind Blowin’ Up My…. June 27, 2010

Posted by darpop in Uncategorized.
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So there I was, with frigid wind blowing up my…let me start at the beginning. I was hired to perform at a huge show called KABOOM at Candlestick Park. Well, not IN the park exactly, we were in the parking LOT. We would be surrounded by attractions galore i.e. Melissa Etheridge and John Butler Trio rocking on a gigantic rock stage, synchronized to a world class rock soundtrack, plus expanded children’s entertainment (that’s where I was), local music and wine tasting, fireworks display and much more that would boggle the minds of attendees. I mean, this was a biggie!

I was performing with the Wackadoodles. Yes! I am proud to say, I am a Wackadoodle! Wackadoodles in Wonderworld will, if the planets align properly with the funding Gods, someday become a children’s show on PBS similar to Sesame Street. Where Sesame Street teaches letters and the alphabet, we Wackadoodles will impress upon the young the importance of saving the environment. That’s the goal. Right now we’re working to introduce the Wackadoodles to the general public and getting that funding!

I was the Wackadoodle emcee introducing various acts like a wonderful dance troupe who performed everything that was dance – jazz, hip hop, ballet etc., a hula hoop guy who did amazing things with the hoops over his entire body, a wonderful puppeteer and face painting. There were crowd characters dressed in way-out, really far-out, very creative costumes to interact with the crowd, etc. We had it all for kids of all ages. Fun times! We Wackadoodles were located at the Southern end of the parking lot. At the Northern end was the huge rock stage with speakers that looked like the Transamerica building. In between were all the lesser-known rock bands, wine tasting, food tents, you name it, and it was there.

Candlestick Park is right on the San Francisco Bay. It’s a favorite place for kite boarders and for good reason. The wind blows through there at warp speed. We were to perform every half hour from 3 – 7. I was wearing a black cocktail dress and spike heels, why, I dunno, but that’s what I was told to wear. I was also supposed to wear this enormous headdress made of ostrich feathers, but we decided, with all the wind, there was a good chance I could become a kite flying over the parking lot, so we opted for a much smaller headdress strapped to a helmet to keep it from blowin’ in that wind.

I start the show, the wind is blowing so hard I have to sing heading into the wind as if I were driving a dogsled through an arctic winter. This is not easy because the headdress I’m wearing only wants to go WITH the wind. I can’t take it off because I would look like a normal person who was waaaay over-dressed. The headdress identifies me as a Wackadoodle – one frozen Wackadoodle. My dress is short, with long fringes from top to bottom and no sleeves. The wind just doesn’t blow in one direction, it blows at me, behind me, underneath me, around me and my fringes are blowing all over everywhere. I learned you cannot control fringe in a big wind. They got stuck in my headdress, my microphone, my face and I’m FERR-EEEZING!!! The temperature is about 50 frigging degrees!!! The wind chill must’ve been in the 30s! Surely!

As I’m singing, I notice the dancers are wearing tiny, skimpy, yellow costumes and they’re huddled into this tight, little group. I see a big wad of yellow with many feet. But like true professionals, after I introduced them, they bounced on stage and went into their routine as if it were a lovely day in May – what troupers! In between acts, I wore my below freezing down parka, nice, warm, cozy – oops dancers are over, must intro the hula hoop guy. I go into my second song and suddenly the massive speakers across the parking lot crank up and blast forth with one of the big rock bands. My mouth is moving, I think I can feel my voice working but I can’t hear a frigging THING! There are small children standing around the stage with their little gloved hands stuck in their ears. Some of the parents are movin’ & groovin’ and I’m doing my best to sing “Over the Rainbow.” I wondered if they thought I was singing with the rock band. Who could tell! I thought I finished my song, not sure, but I pointed to the hula hoop guy who bounded on stage and began hooping. Every half hour we would run the show. Good thing we didn’t do a live recording because you would’ve heard – I WANNA PUCK-A PUCK-A AND I WANNA…some where overrrr the rainbowwww…PUCK-A PUCK-A…BABY, BABY…I WANNA…land that I heard of once in a…I WANNA YOU BABY BABY!!! Etc., etc. You get the idea.

Part of my Wackadoodle responsibility was to interact with the children. When the rock music wasn’t blasting, I would bring some little kids up on stage chat with them and try to keep them from blowing away. They were very sweet, very frozen little children. I wondered what-were-their-parents THINKING! One little boy about 6 really liked me and showed his affection by running up to me saying “My name’s Gabe!” then he’d punch me in the stomach and run away. The first punch took me by surprise. I say the first one – there were many to follow. Gabe became, for me, what the crocodile was for Peter Pan’s Captain Hook. Instead of hearing tick, tock, tick, tock I would hear the pitter-patter of little feet running up behind me and PUNCH! “I’m Gabe!” – pitter-patter off into the crowd. There was no place to hide from little Gabe. I couldn’t hide in our dressing tent, it was 7’x 7′ for all of us – 12 dancers, various performers and all the crowd characters. There was no floor in the tent only a flotsam of black bags, shoes and costumes.

As the day wore on the wind became windier, the rock music seemed louder, the temperature was becoming arctic and Gabe was getting sneakier. I still had my fringe on, but everything else felt below zero. There were thousands of people – thousands – everywhere, in all sorts of winter-wear sitting on blankets picnicking. They were all waiting for the appearance of the big name – Melissa Etheridge.

Finally, our show ended and I was off duty. There was no room in the tent to change so I changed into my nice, warm sloppies outside. A couple of dancers acted as lookouts to prevent a Gabe attack. After 4 hours I was kind of used to the cold, or I was hypothermic I couldn’t tell which. Oh yeah, there’s n-n-n-n-noooo b-b-b-b-business like sh-sh-sh-show b-b-b-b-business…

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Comments»

1. bettina Devin - August 2, 2010

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