We rode into Atlanta thinking we were going to rule the school–two days free and nothing to do. Wrong! First, it was cold as balls. Thirty-degree weather. We checked in on Thursday night and I struck out on my own, unbeknownst to the others, to see a band or two play at Smith’s Olde Bar. I had wanted to catch Freeloader, a NYC alt-country outfit, but missed them. Caught Pontoon and Black Goldstein–two local bands. [I remember nothing about these bands! Though I think Smith’s served a quite good burger?]
I got back to the hotel fairly early, which was good as at 8:38 the next morning we got a call saying that we had a show and had to be ready in the lobby in twenty minutes. What?! Apparently [the theater company] fucked up and we did not, as they’d led us to believe, have a canceled show. The company lied and said we’d had a breakdown but would be at the venue ASAP. [The scheduling snafus? The lying? Standard operating procedure for the company we were working with. Which might explain why they went bankrupt shortly after our tour ended.]
We did the show with the bare minimum of set pieces and lights. [Oh, so! This tour, this show, was the most expensive they’d ever sent out. We were the first group to go on the road with it. Most shows carried their set pieces in a trailer hitched to the back of the van. We needed a diesel-guzzling Penske truck to haul all of our stuff. It was driven by Lou, our technical director, who was never not stoned. If one was sick of the van one would opt to “ride in the Penske” with big Lou. “Ride in the Penske” became a convenient shorthand for “I really need to get stoned.”]
Come to find out at check-out the next morning K., our stage manager, had gone out front of the hotel at 3AM for a cigarette and was robbed at gunpoint. They’d taken his cellphone and wallet. [The whole thing seems in retrospect a bit suspect, but it was at the time frightening and we rallied around our own.] We got the fuck out town, our only brief stop the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum. Well, just the gift shop. I can never get enough tchotchke. [This behavior has not in any way changed. Show me a historical monument or landmark and I will politely ask directions straightaway to the gift shop.]
The ensuing drive to Durham was hellish, everyone wearing their cranky pants. Got to the hotel and chilled.
Drove on to Charlottesville today with a stop in Richmond. We were walking down the streets of the historic district on our way to lunch and they were filming a movie–a period piece– and there were Model Ts lining the streets. The movie had some awful title, Iron Jawed Angels (Lock Jawed Cocksuckers?) and was starring Ms. Hilary Swank. We saw her being fitted into her corset by wardrobe. [That Lock Jawed Cocksuckers joke? Terrible. But we must have found it funny at the time. Maybe we were trying to title the inevitable porn spoof? I never did bother to see that movie. Anyway! At lunch I had the most delicious salmon and dill quiche. I still remember it.]
Doing this tour I now know why rock stars trash hotel rooms. If you see enough of them day in and day out you just want to break something. The level of boredom and cagey animal behavior is so heightened. [I stand by this assertion. For whatever reason we were only booked into Days Inns on the tour. I’ve seen every possible combination of terrible bedspreads and hokey hotel wall art that chain has to offer. Just passing a Days Inn now makes me vaguely itchy and a bit nauseated.]