Kids, kids, kids. You'll never guess where I recently landed myself. So instead of making you wait while you guess, I'm just going to tell you and get on with it. But let me give you some background first...
I was maxin' in my room after running some errands on Thursday when a weird cell phone number popped up on my phone. Yes, there were the days when I would screen my calls before answering, but if you plan on gigging frequently, those days will be long gone before you can say, "What's your budget?" So I answered and spoke with a man named Garret. He told me the standard: so and so called in sick (dog bite?!), so such and such group needed a violinist. Would I be interested? (Yes.) The gig is at the JW Marriott. (Okay, that's pretty fancy...) You will play 3 songs and get paid $________ (Hell yes!) There is one condition- are you scared of heights? (No... why?) Well, you're going to be in a harness hoisted above a thousand people.
Apparently, this was a gig with the group Cirque USA, a smaller branch of THE Cirque du Soleil* squad. (*Hysterically enough, I had already printed out sheet music to audition for Cirque post college, but I guess it won't be necessary now!)
I am not scared of heights, so I did what any freelance, semi-struggling musician does: I accepted.
And within the next 10 minutes, I entered Fury Mode. You know how in certain combat video games you can push the A and B buttons in succession to fire up the "Fury Mode" of a character? That's totally what happened with me for a brief albeit hectic amount of time: I immediately started stripping and trailing clothes everywhere while simultaneously packing a messenger bag with potential clothes/shoes. I turned on the shower while also gathering makeup. It was seriously something out of a romantic comedy, though (unfortunately) Jude Law wasn't involved. #damnit
And yes, blog world, I will admit it- I HADN'T SHAVED! So a shower was necessary. Don't judge.
I left after about 15 minutes of mania for the hotel, not knowing what would be in store.
When I got there, I had no idea where to park. I ended up driving around the general lot at least twice before sending out an SOS to the gig contact. It was a bit nippy out, so I donned my favourite jacket (GUESS? moto-blazer, as I fondly call it). Eventually, I found a building that looked somewhat legit, so I barged inside, thinking that would be a good thing to do. Instead, I was greeted by about 3 gigantic bouncers (a bit unnecessary! Hello! I am 98lbs! HELLO!) who told me I was in the wrong place. I was ultra-apologetic/partially fearful for my life, and ended up going across the way to yet another ball room where they were getting everything set up for the evening's event. It was pretty huge! I was trying to act calm and collected, since I still had relatively no idea what was going on.
I met up with some VIP (basically, the people who knew what was actually supposed to go on over the course of the evening) and then started listening to some of the tracks for the gig. Funny thing is, I would be live improv'ing to the music since I had no idea what I was even asked to play. No biggie, I just wanted to make sure I could at least groove a bit. Though I can play by ear no problem, I can't exactly fly around on a harness and live improv too well. Right? Riiiight?
But that's coming! HOLD YOUR SEAHORSES! (You'll see...)
There was a lot of running around and randomly leaving personal belongings at fancily-made up tables, but eventually I was shown a dressing room. There was a full beverage area, a salad bar, a main course table, and hand-sized desserts. AND COSTUMES! There were costumes everywhere. I was told I would be wearing a gown. How much I had been misled is yet to be determined... But anyway, I met the CEO of Cirque USA who who seemed pretty relaxed. But the first thing out of his mouth was, "So, you're tiny. Take off your clothes."
Gotta say, that was a pretty hysterical way to foster a relationship. And next thing I know, I had found myself in a seahorse costume. Yes, you read that correctly. A f*cking seahorse costume. Jealous yet? You should be.
I basically had nothing to do after that while the crew set up the stage, so I grabbed some food. The stilt performer was apparently some DJ from Detroit who stilt walks for cash. (A good way to supplement one's income.) I knew one of the dancers who had been involved with Dog Powered Robot but all the other dancers were new names I would have a rough time remembering (nothing against them, but I am awful with names. I guess I should start trying harder since I've met at least 75 people in the last week alone.) I got to watch them warm up and do some formations, which was pretty interesting. That was one thing I always wanted to be able to do, but it seems like my body is a bull in a china shop, moving through space the way you would envision an apocalyptic asteroid would as if it were plummeting to the earth.
Wait, you mean it would be on display during the harness show? Damn it.
There was a lot of fuss about me wearing a mask as well as the headpiece, so I ended up wearing both. The harness worker was super nice and said I just had to pretend I had done it a million times. Easier said than done... But they got me all strapped up and tested it by actually lifting me right up by the waist, no pulley system needed. (I guess I really am tiny.) The actual harness device felt like a diaper, but one that was swaddling my ass. Very tightly. In fact, I had bruises later on my stomach sides and legs where it had rubbed, but THAT'S HOW MUCH I AM WILLING TO SACRIFICE.
There was a huge issue with the PowerPoint showing various donors (obviously! Who even likes PP anymore? Prezi is the way to go.), which was pretty funny yet also painful to watch. There were some pretty rich folk there, and rich folk don't like it when things are not smooth. But when it was finally time to go on, I was definitely apprehensive. Though I knew I would not be dropped, I still felt like an egg in the hands of a small child- unprotected and most likely going to get destroyed. The CEO gave the go-ahead and next thing I know...
I was doing that. AND pointing my toes. Who knew that movement class would come in handy?!
Funny thing was that I wasn't even amplified; the tech guy had forgotten the wireless pickup, so I merely acted like I was playing. In all seriousness, I was actually playing, but no one could hear me. No one probably cared, either. And oddly enough, the seahorse outfit was a hit. To the point where after only having worn it for ten minutes (before the hoisted performance), some older man asked me what food I liked/if I had a boyfriend. God save the queen.
I did 3 songs that all seemed relatively repetitive, but it was more about spectacle. Or so I was told. I think my band Fick has a song about that... Overall, it was a really interesting experience. When I was told they wanted a call back, I was pretty thrilled. Though I never thought something like that would be in high demand, I could see why it sells. Suspended violinists? Crazy costumes? Hot chicks?
Why the hell not?
I'll let the e-world know how the gig tonight goes... I have high hopes.
Fine Young Poet : Em
an artist who chooses to starve