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The Glamour! The Glitz! The…ow! June 7, 2010

Posted by darpop in Uncategorized.

Ah show business! The glamour! The glitz!…The pain! The bruises! The frigid weather blowing up my…well, perhaps I should explain.

I’ve been beating the bushes auditioning, working on two shows and doing one-nighters. No, not THAT kind of one-nighters, these are one-night gigs for corporations, clubs, benefits etc. Usually, the organizations celebrating making tons of assets while a large percentage of the rest of us “eat cake,” so to speak.

A couple of weeks ago, I was hired to perform in a corporate show in Carmel, California’s shi shi Spanish Bay golf club. Yes, the one at Pebble Beach where golfers drool over various holes in the middle of a patch of uber-pampered grass. Ok, I’m not much of a golfer. Chasing a little ball around a big lawn….hey, whatever floats yer putter.

So, I’m supposed to sing 3 songs, one very clever, funny song about San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge while wearing this extraordinary costume that LOOKS like the bridge! No kidding this thing includes cables, fog and a 3-foot high tower as a headdress. The 100-plus corporate executives were all decked out in black tie, expensive gowns with jewelry to match. They had been golfing all day as well as wined and dined, and during our show wined and dined some more as well as being entertained during the 4-hour dinner. Every course had a wine pairing, after all they were black tied and gowned, I mean really, pairings are a must. Right before every course we performers would do our stuff, let them eat and then perform before the next course. The room’s décor was a fantasyland complete with special effects throughout and a huge screen for more special effects. The tables were beautifully decorated and every place sitting had many wine glasses. No expense was spared for this one, the company must’ve really made a haul.

Ok, the show is moving right along towards dessert and my wearing of the glitzy Golden Gate Bridge costume. Much to my surprise the costume had been “re-designed”…huh? Wha? This I did not know. I also did not know what measurements they used. Turned out they used measurements that would’ve fit me when I was 10…when I weighed about 80 pounds. This is many years later – I’m not an 80 pounder. Well, that dang thing HAD to go on me! So, I was “helped” into it by the fella who owned the entertainment company. There was much grunting, pulling and pounding. I must admit our sound-effects would’ve been fun at some other time and in some other place but right then and there nothing was happening. The thing just DID NOT want to wear me! But the show MUST go on, right? So we just kept pulling and pounding!! The 3-foot tower was made with a backpack thing in which I had to be strapped – more pounding, pulling and snapping! Plus I wore a helmet that constricted my movement about 2 inches in each direction. After about 20 minutes of grunting, I was finally in the thing.

Now I’ve worn many a costume, but in this one I couldn’t sit down, I could barely move my head and let’s not even TALK about going to the bathroom! So I stood there for about 30 minutes waiting for my cue. After a while, I felt something begin to happen…it was weird… Oh holy mother of all the Gods…never had this sensation before…I suddenly had an overwhelming feeling that I wanted OUT! OUT of this thing!! Get this bridge OFF ME!!! Then I heard my cue…ok, I’m a professional, I can overcome this devil suit. So out I go to sing the song.

Song is going fine, crowd’s loving the song, loving the costume…the backpack starts digging into my shoulders, breathing is becoming more and more difficult, or is it psychosomatic…I dunno…but I’m a professional, I kept saying, I can overcome this. Finally – FINALLY end of song, and end of show. The cast members join me on stage to say goodnight. OH BUT WAIT!! Mr. Big! The corporate’s head honcho, the OWNER of the company and the boss of everyone in the room, including us, comes up on stage to “say a few words.” A FEW WORDS!! I’M DYING HERE! But the big boss is the boss, right?

Ok, I spent 30 years in the corporate world when the boss wants to say a “few words” – everyone lets him. Ah, but not just a few words will do, he wants to hand out awards! There’s an award for the guy who “got closest to the pin”…huh? An award to the guy who had the longest drive – what? Was he from out-of-state? No! He hit the ball the farthest – ok, whatever, I WANT THIS BRIDGE OFF ME I’m thinking to myself as I’m standing there smiling, applauding as best I can, for some reason I can’t get my hands to work very well…then I realized the backpack was cutting off my circulation and my arms were going to sleep. Oh swell!

Mr. Boss gives out awards to who sold the most, who did this better, who did that best, all the while we cast members were standing behind him on the stage. I’m sure it made for a lovely picture in the company’s annual report.

So, I’m thinking how does a bridge leave a stage gracefully? Do I just say what I wanted to say “Sorry folks, but I’m dying in this costume – keep hitting those balls and making money!” No, I just stood there thinking he’s going to stop any minute now….but NOOOOO! 20 minutes later – he calls his wife to the stage!!! OH MY GAWD!!! Now she’s speech-a-fying!!! Telling everyone how wonderful they are!!! I’m TRAPPED! I look at the audience and they’re all doing that “We absolutely adore you” thing that all corporate people do when the boss speaks. And when it’s wifey, you look even MORE adoringly! After all the wine they consumed, looking adoring and awake was not easy! Steady, I tell myself. I can overcome this. I don’t want to embarrass either myself, or our company, because it would jeopardize our getting hired next year…hey, maybe I can come dressed as the Tower of London! I’m beginning to hallucinate, thinking of things like having an earthquake, well, I’m a frigging California bridge, after all. Keep smiling….keep smiling…can’t…feel… my…arms…think of something else…..there’s noooooo businesssss like showwwww bussinesssss, like nooooo businesss I knowwwwwww…..

In my next blog I’ll tell you about the ” The frigid weather blowing up my….” Stay tuned!

One of the 50 In Five Years!! March 17, 2010

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My absolutely wonderful musical director Trauma Flintstone has been producing a wonderful night of entertainment at Martuni’s called “Bijou.” It will soon celebrate its 5 year anniversary, nearly 60 shows. Trauma put together a list of the Top 50 Moments at Bijou over the 5 years, “moments that were sheer bliss.” I’m pleased to say that I made the list! “Darlene Popovic, “Vodka” (Allen Sawyer Tribute show).” I’m thrilled to be part of the “Best of” at Bijou.

Standing “O!” February 26, 2010

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STANDING O!!!! That’s what Rita Abrams and I received today at our preview show at the Mill Valley Outdoor Art Club’s Annual Tea where I performed Rita’s original songs. About 200 people and they LOVED US!!! Unbelievably civilized with finger sandwiches (sans crust thank you very much) and, of course, tea poured by a lovely, elegant lady who offered “milk? Or cream?” Who knew clubs like this still existed. Lovely people. Lovely day – and it’s on video kids!!! All Rita’s numbers went over like an actor’s dream, audience got it – were with us – and laughed like a gift from show biz heaven! Rita introduced my Coach, Bev, who will direct our full-length show, mentioned all her January/2010 bookings i.e. being cast on an episode of “Trauma, worked on Clint Eastwood’s film “Hereafter,” starring Matt Damon, Merrill Lynch commercial and a print job. Not bad for an almost 85 yr old. Rita said she told her 28 yr old daughter, who’s in LA working on her acting career that she needs to hang in there for 57 more years. Many people at the Art Club asked when we were going to do the show at the Throckmorton. Give us a date and we’re there!!! All in all – a lovely day for all!

Welcome to my Blog/Web Site!!! February 19, 2010

Posted by darpop in As of Feb 18, 2010.
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Yes! This is my Blog with brand new Web site!!! Please feel free to stroll through the Popovic garden of links!

Dar’s new news!!!! February 11, 2010

Posted by darpop in Blog, What's New.
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Mill Valley California’s two-time Emmy-winning composer Rita Abrams and I will be teaming up to present a selection of highly entertaining stories and songs, music and lyrics by Rita. This show will be a sneak preview of our full-length show, tentatively called, “POPOVIC SINGS ABRAMS.” Also, stay tuned for my new Web site coming soon!!

Blog #2 – Hot Ziggity! August 11, 2009

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Hot ziggidy!! I had a GREAT audition yesterday! It was for a film…a book trailer. Ok, not a blockbuster but hey, it’s a film. I was told I did a GREAT job! They loved my monologue, which  they asked me to do with an English accent – hey no problem! Shall I stand on my head too?? I will!! I’ll do it!!! They gave me my character lines, which I did and they LOVED! My appointment was at 1:00pm and they said I was the best one so far!! The only problem is, I hear that at EVERY audition. They always say “great! Perfect! Right on!” You leave thinking YESSS! And then you neeeeever hear from them again.  So I guess if Meryl Streep doesn’t audition, I have the role!

Now about Meryl Streep. Is there ANYTHING that woman can’t do??? I just saw “Julie & Julia” and I disagree with some of the reviews I’ve been reading that say the film was lopsided. That the scenes with Amy Adams makes the viewer yearn for the scenes with Meryl Streep. WHA? HUH? Au contraire! If an entire cast could be given Academy Awards – the entire cast of “Julie & Julia” deserve them! It was beautifully acted and it WAS NOT lopsided. Meryl Streep was portraying a larger than life character and Amy Adams was portraying – one of us! The average person who found a purpose in life through a blog…(gee, that sounds familiar). In fact, as I left the theatre, I mentioned to my friend that I disagreed with the reviews – and a lady in front of me said “I think so too!” So there. SSPPLLTT! I once asked a friend, who was a reviewer for many years, what qualifications he had to have. He said the only difference between his opinion and mine was that his gets published and mine doesn’t. Oh yeah? Not now with the internet baby! I say again, SSSPPPPLLLTTT!

The First One! August 5, 2009

Posted by darpop in Blog.

So, ok, I got laid off. Just like millions of others. 2009 was my 30th year working in the corporate world and the first time I’ve been laid off so I guess I should consider myself lucky. I guess.  My emotions run from a Ferris Bueller-type to scared stiff and dare I admit, a millimeter of relief. For several years I worked under horrendous corporate deadlines mostly without the proper resources that would allow me to put forth my best effort so in a way I’m glad that monkey’s off my back. Now I just have to find a way to make a living!

I should probably mention that I am a Comic-Actress-Singer. Oh yeah, I’ve been performing professionally for about…30 years! Yes, for 30 years, I suckled a corporate full-time day job around my performing. Some would categorize me as a “not-really-serious-professional-performer” because we all know serious professionals in the Arts starve. Well, I was really serious about eating, paying rent, bills etc. Hence, the day job. Now, I’m withOUT a day job! Now, I’m a REALLY serious-professional performer! Let’s hear it for starving artists! I’ve always been terrified that I wouldn’t be able to support myself. When I had an audition or a role in a musical or play that rehearsed in the daytime I would take vacation time or a leave of absence. I was fortunate to be able to make it work. Now I’m FREEEEE! Gasp…Oh God, now I’m free…

So far, I’ve lost out on three musicals because the theatres don’t have budgets to pay union contracts. We’re not even talking a living wage here, one job would’ve paid me $196 a week. I live in San Francisco where $196 could be a tab at an average restaurant for two. That is, if you don’t order wine.

I’m not alone in this union-performers-in-San-Francisco-Bay-Area predicament.  It wasn’t easy to find union work when the economy was strong!  Oh swell! NOW I can pursue my dream when the economy really sucks! “They” say it’s getting better…I certainly hope so but where do “they” live? What business are “they” in? And are they hiring union performers? I must admit that I’m a good performer mainly because I’ve had a wonderful mentor, performance coach (whom I call Coach) who, when I’m standing at the end of a diving board thinking “should I do it?” is behind me sawing off the board. She’s 84 now and I’d like to find a way to make a living at performing while she’s still here so she can say “I told you so!” I have this problem with playing those tapes in my head that psychologists say we shouldn’t play…”you’re no good! You’ll never amount to anything!” Oh puh-leeeze! Let-it-go!!

This Blog will be about my struggles to pursue my dream of dreams. If no one reads it fine. Writing about my struggles will probably be more help to me than to those families struggling to pay their mortgages, feed their children, or those in dire need of health care. I have only myself to worry about. No family. No children…that I know of…surely one would remember having children. I’ve been pretty busy though.

So I’ve been auditioning and contacting theatre people. I’m working on choosing the right monologues with a wonderful actor-director. I’ve also been getting into physical shape by trying to work off years of cubicle fat. Not that I’m heavy but I have places where I didn’t used to have places. They have to go. I’m participating in a reading of a new musical – no money, but it’s an exciting project.  I have a few gigs (performing jobs) scheduled i.e. a one-nighter salute to Dorothy Fields (union job – INCOME – YAY!) a Johnny Mercer show at a club and in between auditioning, auditioning, auditioning.

Ok, so the Blog is on.  I hope it’ll be entertaining, and also show people what it’s like to follow a dream. Dreams do come true…I know they do. They always did in Disney movies when I was growing up. So I’m a few years older big deal. It’s never too late. This Blog will keep me honest, hardworking, creative and will keep me from giving up. No, no, no, I’m not giving up! Nooooo…hey, do you hear a sawing noise??