Leaving Palm Desert and a Night off in San Fransisco.
A Vision in Beige - Your trusty correspondent taking notes and melding into the background
Will has pointed out to me that all I do on tour is tap tap tap on my computer - while other Ukes are out visiting museums, white water rafting, going to bars and having fun - muggins here (moi) is usually to be found in a darkened room tapping away at this blasted blog, however its good to know that while I'm wasting my time - I'm wasting plenty more of yours. Looking back at old entries when I was here last (Jan 2015) I used to bung up a paragraph and a pic per day, now its like being in a 24 hour newsroom!
So to top and tail last night. We played a great show in the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert - as a Proud Northern European Ukulele Player (PNEUP) I can state that it has been extremely peculiar to play Christmas carols in the desert - however the audience really appreciated it and many people brought their ukuleles to participate in the playalongs - even the CEO of the theatre, Mitch, had taken up the uke since we were last here in January 2015.
We have been here before Doug adjusts a microphone.
I've stood in front of this wall before, it is a Wailing Wall of Showbiz Signatures (try saying that when you've had a few drinks) scrawled with thousands of stars whose boots we are not fit to lick - Tony Bennett, Bob Hope and Smokey Robinson, to name but a few.
Relaxing on the theatre patio after a terrific meal.
Immediately after the show, we were invited/summoned to appear at the sponsors after-show drinks reception. I'm slightly ambiguous about meet & greets like this, not because of the people - everybody was charming, but speaking as someone who has often rolled their eyes whenever I've seen actors in the UK moaning about Arts Council cuts, over here its very much a matter of course that shows/theatres are routinely sponsored by individuals who then get to meet the artists. State funding for the arts dosent work the same way as it does in Europe, so there's a touch of the Medici style patronage here. However, this is our business and as the old saying goes "while the musics still playing you've got to keep on dancing!"
We were ushered into a luxurious suite above the theatre with twenty or so patrons and then posed for photos with various people. There was a conspicuous atmosphere of wealth in the room, so I decided to eschew my normal back slapping, fart joke telling, alpha male testicle grabbing party persona for something more muted.
However, all the Ukes are well used to being charming and so we were, all the while being shepherded round the room to pose for pictures by the photographer.
Here we are lined up (above) against a sponsors backdrop having photos taken of us and me taking a photo of them, taking a photo of us. NB that furry thing on the bottom of the frame is Will's head.
As an addendum, I should point out that smiling professionally for the camera is hard work. Its not enough to set your teeth in a rictus smile and call that a 'smile'. For example, take any photo of your favourite show business personality, put your hand over their mouth/smile: now take a good look at the eyes - do they look dead?
My trick to avoid this, is to set my teeth in the aforementioned 'rictus smile' but to imagine that every five seconds, drops of lemon juice are being put into my eyes - I also like to think of this.
At Palm Springs airport, the only airport in the world with an outside departures lounge. Ben is looking 'super excited' again!
Another small plane that took us from Palm Springs to San Fransisco.
Woman with a heavily tattooed arm on the left.
More early morning alcohol and a reminder of home.
Arrival at San Fransisco, we are staying at a hotel in Fishermans wharf before taking a bus to Davis tomorrow so a night off!
I'm 'back in the room' with the pens too - my lovely blue Sheraton pen joins the pack
Since I'm in San Fransisco, I should mention that earlier this year while the Ukes were touring Sweden (I skipped that tour) I digitised my Great Uncle Georges photo album of his trip through the United States in 1929 and posted them on this site over nine days in January. Here's San Fransisco in 1929 - you can have a look at him and the index of his travels on this page