Marv and Olouse

Marv and Olouse
Bandon, OR. 1981?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's hard to do the troupe chronologically. The best I can do is done with a faulty memory, my memory, so I hope anyone who remembers better or differently, will chime in and share theirs. Once we had the bus painted and primed, John Zeretzke and Muzzy worked on the interior. They installed a long couch with a lifting seat that served as the storage area for our sound board and light cords, lights and miscellaneous equipment including rolls of duct tape. Four bunks, 2 on each side of the aisle, were built in the area behind the couch and before the hatch. There was a side door and an overhead hatch area in the middle of the bus that held a rack for costumes, shelving for props and storage for the backdrop and stand. Behind that were four more bunks, one on the bottom with a slide out platform that made a double bed for Muzzy and me. All the bunks had curtains for privacy and storange underneath for suitcases and make up bags. The cozy bunks were pesonalized with hanging net bags for snacks and books and whatever. At the front of the bus, two double seats faced one another with a table inbetween. On the passenger side, a double seat faced the front door well. Long overhead shelves stored a stereo, tapes, books and the cribbage board. A small refrigerator for water, juice, etc. completed the living room. It was Marj who invented the Golden Griddle Syrup water bottles we used on stage. She even made decorative glittery covers for them! She was the first of us to have a serger sewing machine. The bus was deluxe, a rolling hotel. John Zeretzke joined us when Jon Parry decided to return to his first love, country fiddle playing. As we bid goodbye to Hank Ababa, John, Al Tamiz, was an excellent addition. We found him stowed away one night after an infamous Pete's Tavern gig. As we pulled up to unload, John leapt out of the back, eagerly helping us unload, and overwhelming us by his entusiasm.
Muzzy says we got involved with the NCAA, the National College Arts Association, after a suggestion by Kevin Mijkut at Western Washington University. It was a group that block booked entertainment for colleges throughout the US. There were regional conventions held every year. Acts applied to showcase and have a promotional booth, and then booked shows with colleges. For our first showcase, held in Spokane, WA, Cecelia, John, Muzzy and I booked a room in the Davenport Hotel where the convention was held. We went over first to get checked in. The next day the rest of the troupe caravaned over from west of the mountains with the equipment. We all stayed in one hotel room. After our successful 20 minute showcase, we manned the booth and started booking contracts for our first long tour. Once we had a few anchor colleges booked, we filled in the time by contacting local dancers in the area and soliciting their help in securing gigs in restaurants, taverns, small halls. We also offered workshops to the communities of dancers. By doing this, it was viable to be on the road for one to three weeks, playing every day in a town close enough to drive to from the last show. It also meant we had to produce publicity materials, including a logo, blank flyers, publicity suggestions, tech sheets and contracts. Whew! It was a business. All of this was done before computers, cell phones, and even fax machines. We worked out set lists, one for restaurants and taverns, one for colleges and families, either one long set or 2 shorter ones with intermission. Our format was worked out in those first three years and it was the one we followed, with tweaks, for the life of our troupe.
CeCe and me at the Davenport Hotel, Spokane, WA 1978?
And yes, we sold T-shirts too!

No comments:

Post a Comment