Posts Tagged ‘Jayne Nordstrom’

Buddha, Confucius And Me

June 2, 2013

Friday May 31st, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   “Out of chaos, one must create order.” – Dobie Maxwell, Low Rent Philosopher – 2013

   That sounds like something Buddha or Confucius might have uttered, and for all I know one or both of them did. Maybe one ad libbed it during an after dinner speech at a golf outing or awards banquet and the other stole and claimed it since they died only four years apart. (I looked it up.)

   I don’t know how either of their financial situations were, but mine is about as solid as Lindsay Lohan’s career future. In a word, that would be shaky. OH, is it shaky. Shaky like an earthquake. If I don’t do something about it in the very near future, I’m going to be sleeping in a state park.

   I have chosen to attempt to fix it in a way I haven’t attempted in a while – by having a plan and actually working it. That sounds like the easy answer, but for me it never is. I’ve managed to find ways to lose money that should have been in the bank like nobody I’ve ever seen. It’s uncanny.

   I’m out several grand in the last year or so for either gigs that fell out at the last minute or cash I am owed for various reasons – most directly connected to my generous nature (read: stupidity) and kind heart. When I’ve had money I’ve always been generous to a fault, and that has to end.

   I always gave until it hurt, and thought it would ‘come back around’. Well, it’s not coming and I’m really missing it. Also, I was able to get bookings without much effort because I have proven myself to be dependable, booze and drug free and a rock solid act. I was never worried about it.

   Things are changing now, and I need to follow suit. I’m not worried yet, but I am concerned as to how I’m going to make it through the summer months. I’m still a quality act, and I’ll get work again – but it goes in cycles. I just finished up several runs, and I am between booking blocks.

   The right thing to do is find more booking blocks, and contact people farther out. Most bookers of comedy clubs and even corporate work don’t just book one event or venue. I need to rattle the cages of everyone I’ve ever worked for that might book me back, and find a few more to acquire.

   In a perfect world – which it never is – one should be booking about six months out. That’s not always the way many bookers have done it lately, and with work falling out left and right there is more of a last minute feel than I’ve ever seen. I’m used to living that way, but I’ve never liked it.

   I’ve made a career on being available for last minute bookings, and there are always fallouts all over the country. I was always willing to drive from Albuquerque to Cincinnati on short notice if that’s what it took, but with gas prices and my time in the business I’m over it. I need to evolve.

   I had lunch today with Jayne Nordstrom from a group called ‘Visit Lake County’. It used to be called The Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and I’ve been a member for years now. I get a few gigs a year, and the people there are easy to deal with. My membership includes help with networking other clients, and Jayne gave me some leads to contact for possible future work.

   Now is the time to start throwing out feelers for holiday parties, and in the past I have not made the effort to land any. I just took what came. Some years were better than others, but I’m in show BUSINESS and I have to get that through my thick skull. I have a bunch of leads to follow up on but they’re handpicked fellow members. Someone has to need my services for a holiday party or awards banquet, right? Chaos is not my preference. I have a sales career, and the product is me.

Proper Perspective

February 13, 2010

Friday February 12th, 2010 – Elkhorn, WI/Milwaukee, WI

What a busy day, but it was all in proper perspective. Jim McHugh called me early with news that George Clinton was appearing on WGN’s morning TV news. That was kind of a surprise, as I didn’t think it would be a match. Still, I will always be a fan of George, so I tuned in to see it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen George appear on a morning show before.

He’s been in the news lately for several reasons, none of them pleasant. His mother died a few months ago, and apparently he didn’t have enough money to pay for a funeral. That was a shocker when I first heard it, but it really isn’t. Show business can be brutal with all the lopsided deals people sign, hoping to get ahead. George deserves better. He‘s an icon.

Then, his oldest son passed away just recently. Apparently, he was found at home a few days after he died, and that has to be devastating to a parent. On top of that, a member of one of George’s girl groups ‘Parlet’ named Mallia Franklin passed away from a stroke.

All this has happened in the very recent past, but when George came on TV he was in a very upbeat mood and played along with the interviewer, who brought a box of props and wigs and tried to match George’s hairstyle. I can’t say I’d be as patient as George was, but he played along and made the bit work. I thought he was great and was glad he got a plug.

George and the band played at The Cubby Bear in Chicago tonight and I’d love to have been there. I’ve seen him there several times before, and he didn’t disappoint. Rarely does he, and it‘s hard to believe he‘s still out doing smaller clubs at age 68. Granted, a lot of it is because he has to earn a living, but he sure isn’t taking the easy way. He really earns it.

A casual fan watching that TV show this morning would have NO idea about all the sad events that have happened to him recently. He came out and entertained. Period. That’s a consummate pro, and I respect him even more after seeing it. I don’t know if I could hide it as well as he does. My problems seemed pretty tiny in perspective so I shut my mouth.

After seeing George I had to attend traffic court in Elkhorn, WI. The sheriff issued me a citation after my accident in December and I needed to fight it for many reasons. It would have taken four points from my driver’s license and the fine was $213. That’s too much.

I don’t know why I got a fine at all, other than they milk the hell out of everybody when they get the chance to raise revenue. They cited me with ‘too fast for conditions’, but how did they know how fast I was going? It was icy, and I had slowed WAY down. Nobody in the courtroom was at the scene except me. How could anyone prove I was going too fast?

There was a sheriff hearing people’s stories and offering deals before a trial. I told him what happened, and apparently a few other people in that accident had already been there. He knew of it, and said I wasn’t the only car in the pileup to get a ticket. Still, I think it’s a total scam and I tried to tell him that politely. He wasn’t a bad guy, and I tried to reason with him like an adult. I thought, and still do, that I shouldn’t have gotten any ticket at all.

Obviously, that wasn’t his idea of a ‘deal’, so he ended up knocking the points violation off and making it a non moving violation. He lowered the fine from $213 to $170 and I’ll have thirty days to pay it. I could see it was probably all I was going to get, so I said yes.

I suppose I could have made a scene and asked for a jury trial or called a lawyer, but the cost or aggravation of all that just isn’t worth it to me. I know the court knows that too, so they get people to pay their fine and make it go away. They had an opportunity to make a quick $170 and they took it. Too fast for conditions, my ass. They just want their money.

Again, I tried to look at it with perspective. I could have easily died in that crash, and if not I could have easily had some horrible injuries. If staying alive and being able to see or walk or anything else most people take for granted (including me) cost $170, it would be a fantastic bargain. I’m sure people in wheelchairs would gladly pay $170 to get out of it.

I wasn’t bitter as I walked to my car with no limp. I’ll pay my fine in thirty days and just move on. It could have been a LOT worse, and bitching about a fine won’t change my life for the better. I felt good about myself for thinking like this. In the past I haven’t done it.

After court I drove to Milwaukee to meet up with Ron Lee to scout out potential places to perform the one man show. Ron has been doing some leg work and we’ve been staying in contact about a lot of the things necessary to bring this project together. There are a lot of things to put in place before an actual show, but we knew it. This is all from scratch.

We looked at a few spaces, and it was a very productive process. We talked to people in charge and asked about availabilities and all kinds of stuff I really haven’t done too much in all my past experience. Most shows I’ve done are preset and all I have to do is show up and go up. This is completely different, but it’s already been a great learning experience.

We’re going to pull this off. I feel it. It’s a quality product and I’m doing things exactly how I’m supposed to be doing them. I’m not disrespecting anyone going in, and I will not look to do it in the future either. I want this to come together through hard work, planning with a dash of showmanship thrown in. No, more than a dash. I’ll need a ladle full of that.

Our last stop was at the Milwaukee Visitors Bureau. I plan on registering with them like I did with the Lake County Convention And Visitors Bureau in Illinois, but they’ll have a challenge to outwork a consummate pro like Jayne Nordstrom and all the competent staff.

This was a pretty busy work day, but I had a show at Zanies in Vernon Hills, IL tonight. There was only one because they brought in some soap opera star who drew tons of horny women who all thought he was going to sleep with them. It was funny to see them run out of the showroom hoping to bed their TV stud master, but see me waiting around instead.

I got some animated dramatic looks of severe disappointment, but I’ve gotten that quite a few times in life so I just laughed and blew kisses to all the ladies. The Zanies staff was laughing, as they saw the position I was in. It could have been worse. It’s all perspective.