Beware the Ides of Smarch, Days 7-9: Full Circle

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Thursday, March 7

The Vegas trip had come to an end, but we still needed to hit up my favorite breakfast place on our way out.  That, of course, was the breakfast buffet at the Gold Coast casino.  It is still the best dollar for dollar value buffet in Vegas.  For about $10, you get a lot of wonderful breakfast foods and they were in especially fine form this day.  Their legendary French Toast was in fairly fine fettle and they also had some great chicken fried steak and an excellent corned beef hash as well.

Properly fueled we began the long drive back to Phoenix.  Dave and I once again waged battle in Super Mario Party where he managed to get the duke over me.

We got back into town about 4:30pm and just relaxed until Carolyn came home from work.  Then we went to dinner at Venezia’s Pizzeria which specializes in New York style slices of pizza.  I had never had a proper New York slice before and my Buffalo Chicken slice hit the spot.

When we got back to the house, Dave, Mat, and I took a little walk around the area to work off the meal before settling in to watch the latest episode of The Orville before turning in for the night.

Friday, March 8

This was definitely an easy day for us.  Mat had a doctor’s appointment so Dave and I were left to our devices for an hour or so.  Mat came back with doughnuts from The Hurts Donut Company which are still the greatest doughnuts on the planet and I very much look forward to the branch coming to Omaha.  I savored an Andes Mint doughnut while Mat introduced us to the web series, Cobra Kai, which continues the story of Daniel LaRusso and his rivalry with Johnny Lawrence from the movie The Karate Kid.

It’s actually a very entertaining and interesting series.  The focus is mostly on the character of Johnny Lawrence and it’s nice to see William Zabka get to show some depth with a character as his heyday as an actor in the 80s pretty much had him playing one dimensional bullies.

When we watched half the series, I suggested we go out and play some mini golf to get some exercise and enjoy the weather.

So we hopped into the car and made our way to Golfland Sunsplash were we once again dueled on the links.  In some ways, it was the most entertaining round of mini golf I’ve played as I shot video footage of some of our toughest holes.  In some ways it was the worst round as I shot pathetically average.  In one sign of the apocalypse, I finished last to Dave. . .again.  In another sign of the apocalypse, Dave won the ace award (most holes in one).  This left me in a fog where I muttered over and over, “Dave?  Ace Award?”

We returned to the house and did our own thing for an hour or so until Carolyn came back from work.  For dinner we went to Rubio’s which is famed for its fish tacos.  I had a Wild Alaskan salmon taco with a side of fresh greens and it really hit the spot.

From dinner, we went to the movies to watch Captain Marvel, the latest blockbuster from Marvel.  I found it to be a decent film buoyed by strong performances from Brie Larson as the title character and Ben Mendelsohn as a sympathetic war victim.  I gave it a 7 out of 10 and was especially impressed at how Marvel altered the traditional origin story formula.

But it was back to homestead and bed as we readied ourselves for the final day.

Saturday, March 9

This was it.  The last full day of fun with Mat and Carolyn.

Mat and Carolyn slept in.  I rose at my usual early hour and was surprised to find Dave up and about already as he watched the news on his phone.  I ate a banana and the last 2 pieces of bacon from the batch Mat had prepared the previous Sunday.  After eating, I decided I wanted to go for a long walk and persuaded Dave to join me.

Except for the little nighttime excursion taken a few nights prior, I had never really walked around this neighborhood as I was under the mistaken belief that the area was just a few lanes of houses buttressed up against a business area.

How wrong I was.

Once you cross the street, there are actually quite a large number of houses, schools, and neighborhoods to enjoy.  Dave and I ambled for about an hour before returning to the house.

As each member of our group held a victory in Super Mario Party, we decided to crown a winner.  We played an abbreviated version where Carolyn decimated us.  I mean it wasn’t even close.  But I did finish in second place.

Carolyn left for the afternoon to visit her brother while the three of us finished Cobra Kai and noshed on some sausage sandwiches Mat prepared.  The sausage was tasty, but I could have eaten a sandwich consisting solely of the delectable vegetable concoction prepared by Mat.

About 4pm we headed to Scottsdale where we would close the adventure as it started:  with an escape room.

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We visited Escape Room 101 where our group was joined by Mat’s old friend, Rod, and his new girlfriend, Lisa.  In this room, we would be assuming the role of Baker Street detectives who were contacted by Oliver Byron, son of Lord Byron, the painter.  Oliver Byron had been approached by a cousin who held a will saying that he was the sole heir to Lord Byron’s fortune.  Oliver stated his father would never cut his children from the will and needed us to locate the real will before the reading of the fake.

The puzzles in this room were awesome and really required you to think.  The downside is that some of the devices activated by our solutions didn’t work as they should.  For example, Mat and I solved a symbols puzzles and nothing happened.  Mat unsolved and resolved it later which finally caused a hidden compartment to activate.

This one went down to the wire, but we managed to find the will with about 3 minutes remaining.  I would have combined the two rooms we had done as Blaine’s Basement had better presentation and pageantry while The Baker Street had better puzzles.

After another victory, we visited Carlos O’Brien’s for dinner which was a fusion of Mexican food and Irish pub fare.  I enjoyed a chicken and beef quesadilla while we conversed about various items.

Back at Mat and Carolyn’s we decided to have one final, all out battle at maximum turns on Super Mario Party.  It seemed as if Carolyn would crush us again, but we managed to start mounting a comeback.  However, my two “friends” decided to unfairly target me for purely their own amusement instead of focusing on the greater threat of Carolyn.  Dave stole a star while Mat stole my money to keep me from buying stars.  Due to their chicanery, Dave ended up winning and I vowed eternal warfare on both of them in all future games.

And so the end had finally come.  Having the old team back together added that x factor that made this trip quite a bit more fun.  Sadly, it will be a while before I see Mat and Carolyn again.  I may try a trip this summer or possibly even at Christmas as my family will be celebrating the holiday early.  Mat mentioned the possibility of road tripping to San Diego next time and that is a most intriguing idea indeed.

I see our first flight home has been delayed, so this trip really has come full circle.

Till the next adventure.

The Game Will be Afoot at BLT

BELLEVUE LITTLE THEATRE PRESENTS
“BASKERVILLE” AUDITIONS

Saturday, February 9, 2019 @ 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Sunday, February 10, 2019 @ 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Interested parties need only attend one day of auditions, so please feel free to select the date that is most convenient for you.

Actors should come prepared to move (not dance), demonstrate a variety of accents and dialects, and read from the script.

Please bring a resume and head shot if you have them and a list of conflicts between March 18 and May 19. Excessive conflicts and conflicts after April 19 may affect casting decisions.

Callbacks: Sunday, February 17
Rehearsals will begin February 18 (evenings and weekends)
Performance Dates: May 3 – 19, 2019
Performances are Fri., Sat. evenings at 7:30 and Sunday afternoons at 2 pm.

Questions? Contact Director, Suzanne Withem at suzannewithem@gmail.com

“Baskerville,” by Ken Ludwig, is a comedic retelling of “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” the classic Sherlock Holmes mystery written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In Ludwig’s version, three actors play nearly 40 supporting characters to the leads, Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Actors of all genders will be considered for all roles, and actors of any gender, race, or ethnicity who are 18 or older are encouraged to audition. All actors will utilize various dialects, but a strong standard British dialect is required.

Characters:
* Sherlock Holmes: (any age; any gender) The world’s greatest detective is sophisticated, quick-witted, and passionate. He is an English gentleman who is very precise in speech and manner. This actor plays only one role.
* Dr. John Watson: (any age; any gender) A kind amiable doctor and Sherlock Holmes’s faithful sidekick. A man of action, intellect and deep emotion. He is also very British.
* Actor 1: (any age; any gender) Plays more than a dozen characters – primarily the villains and baddies. Must be a versatile character actor adept a physical comedy and various accents and dialects.
* Actor 2: (any age; any gender – though likely male identifying) Plays nearly a dozen characters – primarily heroes and gentlemen. Must be a versatile character actor adept a physical comedy and various accents and dialects.
* Actor 3: (any age; any gender – though likely female identifying) Plays more than a dozen characters – primarily maids, nurses, and damsels in distress. Must be a versatile character actor adept a physical comedy and various accents and dialects and willing to challenge traditional gender roles.
* Roustabouts and Foley Artists: (any age; any gender) – These two or three nonspeaking roles will be cast and treated as members of the acting company. They will assist with scene changes, participate in comedy bits, and serve as Foley artists providing live sound effects for the production from onstage. They should be creative problems solvers adept at physical comedy and familiar with silent storytelling. They are vital to the success of keeping the “trunk show” design of the production moving forward and creating the world of the theatre in which the play is performed.

The Bellevue Little Theatre, an all volunteer organization, maintains an “equal opportunity” policy for volunteer recruitment of both board and production positions. Auditions are open to the general public, with the same “equal opportunity” policy. All roles are open for audition except an occasional role is precast and is so noted in the audition notice.

Location:  203 W Mission Ave, Bellevue, NE

BLT Holding Auditions for ‘CLUE: The Musical’

Auditions for Bellevue Little Theatre’s production of CLUE: The Musical will be held on Sunday, January 22 and Monday, January 23 at 7:00 PM at St. Timothy Lutheran Church (510 N 93rd Street – 93rd and Dodge) in Omaha and will consist of a music audition (1 minute of music appropriate to the style of the show – an accompanist will be provided), a dance audition, and cold readings from the script. Please come dressed to move. 4 Men and 4 Women (of various ages) are needed.


PLEASE NOTE THAT AUDITIONS ARE NOT BEING HELD AT THE BELLEVUE LITTLE THEATRE. Callbacks, if needed, are scheduled for Tuesday, January 24th at 7:00 p.m., also at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. A read thru with the cast is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, January 29th , and rehearsals will begin on Monday, January 23rd (lasting 8 weeks). The show runs from March 24 – April 9, 2017. Please bring a calendar so you can list ALL conflicts from January 15 – April 9, 2017 on your audition form. The show will be directed by Daena Schweiger, with music direction by Chris Ebke and choreography by Kerri Jo Watts. Pam Matney serves as producer. Questions about auditions, the rehearsal process, or the show can be directed to daena.schweiger@gmail.com.

Characters

Mr. Boddy (B Flat 2 to F Sharp 4)

Professor Plum (B Flat 2 to F 4)

Colonel Mustard (B Flat 2 to E Flat 4 (#7))

Mr. Green (G Sharp 2 to F Sharp 4)

Mrs. Peacock (B Flat 3 to D Flat 5)

Miss Scarlet (G Sharp 3 to F 5)

Mrs. White (B Flat 3 to F 5 (#4))

Detective (no set vocal range)

“City of Angels” Opens at OCP on March 4

City of Angels

Book by:  Larry Gelbart

Music by:  Cy Coleman

Lyrics by:  David Zippel

Director:  Jeff Horger

Dates:  March 4 – April 3, 2016
Location:  Omaha Community Playhouse (6915 Cass St) in the Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre

Summary
Sexy, sizzling and smart, City of Angels is a film noir-style musical that pays homage to glamorous 1940s Hollywood. Winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, this clever show has two plots running simultaneously (the real world and the “reel” world) as a man writes a screenplay that mirrors his own life. Intrigue, mystery and incredible music make City of Angels a must-see production.

Contains adult themes.

Curtain Times:
7:30pm – Wednesday – Saturday
2pm – Sunday

Ticket Prices:
Wednesday: $30 for adults, $20 for students
Thursday-Sunday: $40 for adults, $25 for students

Twilight (half-priced) tickets will be sold each performance day beginning at noon, cash or check only at the Box Office window. Seating is subject to availability. Mention you are a TAG member for a $10 discount; membership card must be shown when picking up your ticket.

Box Office:
(402) 553-0800

Cast

STINE – John Jones
STONE – Isaac Reilly
BUDDY FIDLER/IRWIN S. IRVING – Steve Krambeck
ALAURA/CARLA – Jodi Vaccaro
GABBY/BOBBI – Angela Jenson Frey
OOLIE/DONNA – Samantha Quintana
MUñOZ/PANCHO – Shomari Huggins
MALLORY/AVRIL – Aubrey Fleming
JIMMY POWERS – John Ryan
ANGEL CITY QUARTET – Melissa King, Kathy McKain, Joey Galda, Sean Johnson
DR. MANDRIL/BIG SIX – Patrick Kilcoyne
PETER/SONNY – Matt Karasek
LUTHER/WERNER – Kent Stork
MARGIE – Eastin Yates
PASCO – Michael Castillo
DEL DACOSTA – David Leitch
BOOTSIE – Elizabeth Liebermann
DIXIE – JaChaun Laravie
TRIXIE – Megan Ingram
JERRY – Noah Jeffrey
BERNADETTE – Emma Johnson

Eureka, Ho!!, Days 1 and 2: Small Town Americana & A Day in Nature

Grand Avenue Bed and Breakfast

Grand Avenue Bed and Breakfast

It had been several months, but my summer vacation had arrived and I was more than ready for the call of the road.  Ultimately, I would be making my way to Eureka Springs, AR, but I was going to make a layover in Carthage, MO so I could experience the Grand Avenue Bed and Breakfast.

It was a picture perfect day for a road trip.  I enjoyed the lush foliage of Missouri as I made my way down US-71.  After being behind the wheel for nearly 5 ½ hours, I was grateful for the opportunity to stretch my legs a bit as I walked up the crumbled sidewalk which led to Grand Avenue’s front door.

Grand Avenue is a beautiful Queen Anne Victorian home and I soaked up the view before ringing the doorbell.  The door was answered by Michael Goolsby, one of the owners of this establishment.  He gave me the nickel tour and set a door code for me so I could come and go as I pleased before leaving me to my own devices.

Grand Avenue boasts 4 bedrooms and each is named after a famous author:  E.B. White, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Mark Twain.  I was staying in the Mark Twain Room.  I luxuriated in the blast of cool air that met me after a hot day of driving.  After getting my luggage and other sundry items set up, I stretched out on the comfortable king sized bed and relaxed for a couple of hours.

The Mark Twain Room

The Mark Twain Room

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Then I decided to do a little exploration of the town.  Carthage, MO is a classic example of small town Americana.  It’s the type of town where everybody seems to know each other and everything is closed on Sunday.  The town also has historical significance as a major Civil War battle was fought in its environs.  There is a Civil War museum in the town square if you’re in the mood for a little education on the town’s war history.

Carthage is also the home of one the few remaining drive-in theaters in the country.  If I’d been staying for more than one night, I might have tried to catch a flick.  But after a day on the road, getting back behind the wheel was the last thing on my mind.

I was keen on getting a little dinner and had hoped to eat at a famous local drive-in called Whisler’s which was well-known for its hamburgers.  Regrettably, the open light had been mistakenly left on as the eatery, like most of the town’s businesses, was closed on Sunday.  Fortunately, I found the Carthage Family Restaurant open so I was able to experience the local cuisine.

Whislers

Whisler’s Hamburgers

The restaurant was fairly empty when I arrived so I took a booth in the back and enjoyed a club sandwich while I read a new novel featuring the detective, Frank Cannon.  After dinner I returned to the inn where I posted some pictures and watched Jurassic Park III.  I had never seen it before and it was an OK film.  After the film ended I decided to call it a day as the long drive coupled with sketchy sleep the past few nights had worn me out.

The next morning, I took a long, hot shower and went downstairs to a breakfast prepared by Jeanne Goolsby, the other owner of Grand Avenue.  Breakfast began with a dish of bananas, granola, and cream with a goblet of orange juice.  The main entrée was an omelet stuffed with bell peppers, chives, bacon, cheese, and onion with grapes, orange slices, and a cherry scone on the side.

Bananas, granola, and cream

Bananas, granola, and cream

Breakfast at Grand Avenue

Breakfast at Grand Avenue

I enjoyed the leisurely meal while I read a mystery of Lord Darcy (having left my other novel in the car).  After a splendid 30 minutes, I returned to my room to start writing up my escapades and preparing for the last leg of the journey.

Once I had settled my bill, I was back on the road heading to Eureka Springs.  Now this was the way a road trip should be.  The route took me through a number of small towns and had more twists and turns than an anaconda as I wound around the Ozark Mountains.

Ninety minutes later I found myself in Eureka Springs.  I first thought to find the Inn at Rose Hall which would be my home away from home for the next few days.  I ended up missing my turn, so I decided to follow the signs and made a visit to Onyx Cave on the outskirts of town.

Onyx Cave is a self-guided walking tour.  I wore a pair of headphones for the duration and occasionally I would come upon these boxes with a green button.  A push of the button and I would get a little information on the sections of the cave that I was looking at.

There were some truly fascinating sights in the cave such as natural onyx (I know, go figure).  Natural onyx is nicknamed bacon strips due to its appearance to raw bacon.  Pure onyx, my electronic guide said, is completely transparent.  Other impressive rock formations were the Dragon, the Fireplace, and the Elephant.  Interestingly, the Fireplace and the Elephant are actually the same formation seen from different angles.

Natural onyx AKA bacon strips

Natural onyx AKA bacon strips

The Dragon

The Dragon

The Fireplace

The Fireplace

After the half hour tour, I decided it was time to find the Inn at Rose Hall, after I made a stop at a nearby visitor’s center where the friendly clerk gave me a map of Eureka Springs and walked me through the numerous interesting sights and things to do while I was visiting.

Inn at Rose Hall

Inn at Rose Hall

Then I began the search for the Inn at Rose Hall.  Even with a map, it was a tricky place to find.  According to local legend, Eureka Springs was designed on a napkin in a bar in Chicago.  It is a very steep city (think a much smaller San Francisco) with streets that suddenly end or transform into other streets.  Eventually, I found the inn and was greeted at the door by its owner, Zoie Kaye.

Zoie checked me in and offered me a plate of delicious chocolate chip, peanut butter, and oatmeal cookies that had chips in every bite.  I lingered over my cookie as Zoie brought me to the Treasures Room which would serve as my base of operations for this trip.  I unpacked my clothes and things and laid out on my comfy bed while I made some reservations for some future adventures.

Treasures Room

Treasures Room

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Antique Rose

Antique Rose

The Gallery

The Gallery

Sun Room (Breakfast Room)

Sun Room (Breakfast Room)

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After a few hours, I headed out to find some dinner and found myself at Bubba’s BBQ (It may not look famous, but it is!).  I had a beef brisket sandwich along with some homemade French fries.  This was the best BBQ I had ever enjoyed, especially with the hot & spicy BBQ that I sprinkled over my sandwich my fries.

Bubba's BBQ

Bubba’s BBQ

After dinner, I saw a sign suggesting I visit the Pivot Rock and Natural Bridge.  I followed the wise sign’s suggestion and had a pleasant half hour jaunt where I saw the famed rock formations and walked off my dinner.

Pivot Rock

Pivot Rock

Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge

I decided to go back to the inn to relax for the evening as I was going to need every bit of energy I could muster for the next day’s adventures.  So as I sip a sherry, I bid you a fond good night and invite you back tomorrow for a new set of hijinks.