A Texas Toast

Saturday February 26th, 2011 – Prowling The Gulf Of Mexico

This week is turning out to be the cruise to nowhere. We lost a day at sea because of fog at the port in Galveston, so that means we won’t be able to make it to any ports of call for the rest of the trip. I’d heard we were going to try for Cozumel, but that didn’t work out.

The passengers seem to be handing it extremely well. I haven’t seen anyone upset in the least, and they all had the opportunity to get off after the first night stuck in port and get a full refund if they chose. Those who’ve stayed are nice people who want to enjoy a cruise.

I have to admit I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how outgoing and friendly the majority of Texans have been since I’ve been based out of the Galveston port these last few weeks. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but drunk and dumb wouldn’t have surprised me in the least.

They’ve been anything but that, and I’m thrilled. Both the last two runs on the Conquest and now this one on the Ecstasy have been filled with friendly people who enjoy seeing a good show and aren’t afraid to tell you they had fun. I’d work for these people anytime.

I hardly ever worked Texas in the clubs over the years. I never had to. I had all the work I needed and more in the Midwest whenever I was there, and whenever I had radio jobs it wasn’t an issue because I had to stay near whatever towns I lived in, nowhere near Texas.

I used to work in El Paso, but it was never a hot bed for me. There are obviously a lot of Mexicans there, but they don’t beat down doors to come see gringos from Wisconsin they haven’t heard of and I can’t blame them for that. It’s all about who puts butts in the seats.

And therein lies the problem I’ve never been able to solve. It’s the $64,000 question for anyone who can answer it correctly, and actually way more than that. What does it take to draw crowds to see a live performer?  I’ve been searching for that answer since I started.

If there’s a crowd already there, I can go in and pull off a professional show more often than not. Getting them in there is a different story. I’ve tried all kinds of ways to fill seats including giving away free tickets, but the formula of what packs ‘em in is still a mystery.

My mistake was thinking it would be the one who had the best act. Ha! How stupid was I to think that? And who’s to decide what the ‘best’ act is? Everybody has an opinion, and what it usually boils down to most often is a popularity contest. Who does a crowd like?

I’m working this cruise with my friend ‘Just June’. Talk about someone who has what a crowd likes, it’s her. Wow. I don’t ever remember working with anyone with an ability to make crowds love her like she does. She just has that magic that attracts strangers to her.

People come up when we walk through the ship and give her hugs, ask for pictures and then gawk at me like I just sneezed on their children. I shrug it off. I’ve only got a day of shows to go and then I’m headed home. If I could jump off the ship and swim, I would.


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