Posts Tagged ‘fundraiser’

Calendar Alignment

February 11, 2014

Saturday February 8th, 2014 – Hartford, WI

For the second Saturday in a row, I did a well run benefit show for The Lions Club. This week it was in Hartford, WI at a beautiful facility called The Schauer Center. I’ve worked there before, but not in the same venue. It has multiple venues, and I played in one of the smaller ones the last time I was there. It was a full house and very well received, so I was delighted to be back again.

This time it was in their main theatre, which is gorgeous. It’s much bigger than where I worked last time, and there were probably the same amount of people so it wasn’t as impressive. I’m still glad I got a chance to work the big room, even if it wasn’t sold out. I enjoy playing bigger stages.

I had no idea this was a Lions Club fundraiser when I booked it, and in fact the way I got it was a bit of a fluke. I happened to throw out an offhand smartass comment on a Facebook post made by someone I recently friended, but hadn’t seen in person in more than twenty years. Someone in that person’s circle of friends saw it and recognized my name. He happened to book this event.

The person I made the comment to happens to live in Denver, but is from Milwaukee originally and so is the guy that saw it. His name is Phil Larsson and he used to be part of ‘Comedysportz’, a competitive improv group that was started in Milwaukee. He lived in Texas for decades but has now moved back to Wisconsin. All of that had to come together how it did to get this booking.

I’d met Phil years ago, but only briefly. To have him see my name like that and happen to have a gig on a night that I was open a month out is damn near miraculous. It’s amazing how when the mindset is in a positive space, things like this happen. I truly believe it’s because of all the recent events that have been happening with reconnecting with my family. It’s made all the difference.

Even if it hasn’t, I’m believing it is so that’s good enough. Maybe this would have worked out before, but I doubt it. How many other things like this have I missed because my mind wasn’t on the wavelength it should have been – but totally is now? I can’t worry about that. They’re gone.

The point is, they’re happening now and I know it. I claim it, and I see no reason why it won’t keep happening indefinitely. I see no reason to stop. I had a nice booking close to home on short notice, had a lot of fun doing it and helped raise money for a good cause. How could I top that?

By keeping it coming. I am still in my prime as far as performing goes, and can light up a room with the best of them when I’m on my game. I’m on it far more than I’m off, and I don’t want to miss even one opportunity to stay in shape and work whenever I can. Events like this are a blast.

The audiences now are reaping the benefits of the ones I ripped off years ago by being terrible. It’s a process all performers go through, and it’s painful. I wanted to be great when I started, but I was anything but. I was horrendous, but so is everyone else. The headliners then carried shows and I was nothing more than time filler. I was trying my best, but my skill level just wasn’t there.

Now I’m the one carrying shows, and the audiences today are reaping the benefits. They didn’t have to sit through my growing years – they only see the polished product now. “You sure make it look easy up there,” people often say. Well, looks are deceiving. Nothing worthwhile is easy.

For whatever reason, my booking calendar for 2014 has been filling up quite nicely. Two months down, ten to go. Knock wood.

For whatever reason, my booking calendar for 2014 has been filling up quite nicely. Two months down, ten to go. Knock wood.

Your Life Is Now

October 7, 2012

Thursday October 4th, 2012 – Milwaukee, WI

   What are the three most difficult words for anyone to have to say? Are they “I love you?” or “I don’t know?” (Well, that could be considered four words if one counts the contraction.) Maybe it could be “The Bears win.” How about “Pass the liver?” I would cast my vote for “I was wrong.”

I think that one can be the bitterest pill of all to swallow. Nobody likes to admit it, but I think it needs to be said when the situation calls for it. I’ve been saying those words frequently in the last few years and it actually gets easier the more I say them. I wish I didn’t have to, but it’s the truth.

Some people just can’t seem to find it in their heart to say those words. Ever. I don’t ever recall my father saying those words to anyone. Everything was someone else’s fault, and he was on the receiving end pointing it out to anyone who would listen. After years of hearing it, it grows old.

Then my father himself grew old, and he died. There weren’t enough people who cared enough for there to be a need for a funeral, and now it’s all over. What of all he ever did matters now? Is anything living on today because of him? The only things that live on with me are bad memories.

I never got to have a father/son relationship with him, and there’s not even a single photograph of us together at any time in our lives. Not ONE. For whatever reason we never bonded, and now he’s dead and it’s too late. It all seems like such a waste, and I don’t want to carry on his legacy.

I want to be the polar opposite of who he was and what he did, and leave pleasant and precious memories for both myself and those who were around me. I truly believe that’s all that matters in the end, and the end is coming for us all. I don’t want to waste any more time chasing the wind.

There’s a touching song by John Cougar Mellencamp Fawcett Majors Rodham Clinton Abdul Jabbar or whatever his current name is called “Your Life Is Now”. I don’t consider myself a big fan of his, but that song really hits home in a major way. There’s a lyric that massages my heart and calls me. “Your father’s days are lost to you. This is your time here to do what you will do.”

How true this is for all of us, and it inspires me to “do what I will do”. That’s why I am so glad to be able to do the upcoming benefit fundraiser for Officer Albert in Milwaukee on October 17th at Shank Hall. It’s going to bring people together with a spirit of goodness and human kindness. I can’t help his injuries heal any faster, but hopefully I can make his recovery time more pleasant.

I don’t claim to know everything or be right all the time, but this is the right thing to do. It’s an opportunity to spread – dare I say it – love. I never felt love from my father, and maybe he never felt it himself. Whatever the case, he’s gone now, and it’s “my time here, to do what I will do.”

All that matters is showing kindness. That’s it. Everything else is meaningless. I have a ways to go as far as having everything figured out, but I know I’m on the correct path. I feel it. This is the kind of event that touches hearts and souls and that’s why we’re here. I’m not afraid to be wrong, and I’m not too proud to admit it whenever I am. This is not one of those times. My life is now.

Fundraiser Focus

October 3, 2012

Tuesday October 2nd, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   My main project for the next two weeks is going to be attending to the details pertaining to the comedy benefit fundraiser show for Officer Josh Albert at Shank Hall in Milwaukee on October 17th. The lineup of comedians is set, but that was the least of my concerns. There’s a lot more to do, and seeing how I’ve managed to lose money on most benefits I’ve ever done I’m a bit wary.

First and foremost, I need to get the media behind it to get the word out. There was significant media coverage when the accident first occurred, and hopefully this can help put as happy of an ending to it as possible. Obviously it would be best if it never happened, but that’s not how it is.

I’ve received several responses from various media outlets in Milwaukee, and I’m encouraged. I don’t care who gets interviewed, I just want word to get out the event is taking place at all. My cousin Katie will be able to tell the story far better than me because she was there, and hopefully that puts butts in seats to show support. The comedians and I will handle everything from there.

But beyond that, I’m hoping to do even more good if I can. I’m attempting to reach as many of my comedian friends who have CDs or DVDs or books and have them donate two copies of each – one for Officer Albert to listen to while he’s recovering and another to be used for an auction.

I know Officer Albert isn’t the only person recovering from horrific injuries, and I wish I could find a way to spread some comedy around to them. I thought of this last year when I was dealing with my own medical issues, and the idea still appeals to me. But first things first, I’ll make sure this event comes off successfully before worrying about saving the world. I can’t do everything.

So far, we’re looking good. My friend Drew Olson from 540 ESPN Milwaukee agreed to host the evening. He is very well liked in town, and hopefully those in the media that may not be my biggest fans will help support the cause despite my involvement. I don’t want personal politics.

My other focus is rounding up items for a silent auction. What will sell, I have no idea. I have had several donations already though, and I’m thrilled beyond words. My comedy writer friend Bill Mihalic put a word out to Jay Leno, and Jay’s assistant said a signed picture is on the way.

I asked Eddie Brill the best way to get a David Letterman signed picture, and I have no doubt if it’s at all possible Eddie will help make it happen. If not, I’m sure he will have some suggestions as to what else I can do or who else I can approach. I do have an extensive list of quality people.

Another friend Steve Olsher really came through with an amazing combination package of self help materials including a videotaped seminar weekend I was a part of this past summer and two of his bestselling books. The retail value of the package is $593.79, and I’m grateful to accept it.

Pat McCurdy’s manager Brian Murphy will donate some of Pat’s merchandise, and he’s one of my all time faves. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writer Tom Haudricourt wrote a book that I really love about the ’82 Brewers and is donating a signed copy. This is a start, but there’s more to do.