Friday, October 31, 2008

TV Vacancy, Kamloops, BC to Ashcroft Halloween

We’ve got a TV show to do today in Kamloops, BC. It’s only about 150 km away, but we don’t know the roads all that well, and need to give ourselves a good start to get there on schedule. It’s Starbucks coffee to go, and the worst muffin I have ever tasted, and we’re on 97 headed north. The road south to Penticton, where the tour was originally routed, has been blocked by a massive landslide. They are saying it may be closed for a month, and the drive-around is something like 3 hours. The road north looks good, and there’s not much traffic today as we head out.

I always enjoy the drive into Kamloops. The hills around it are strange, cartoonish things. The sprawl is something else, however. Worse everytime in, it seems. Take a breathtaking landscape and fill it with corporate logos, billboards, and condos that look like cancer cells on the hillsides… Rolling into town a car honks at us and pulls up alongside. “Where are you trying to go?” the driver asks. I tell him we’re lookng for the TV station. “Follow me!,” he says. And off we go! At the top of a ridge overlooking the city we pull into a parking lot. Perfect. And right on time for soundcheck. We thank Rusty for guiding us in, and give him a couple of CDs for his trouble. He’s a blues fan, and knows a bunch of local players. Neat.

The TV show is Midday. We soundcheck. Our bite will be about four to six minutes at the end of the show. We hole up in the Green Room— thank goodnes it has WiFi— and wait for our turn. Michael sits outside and smokes. Nice view outside the front doors. I catch up on email and sit with a college football player, a specialty butcher, a woman who does custom Halloween parties… Our host, Tracy is dressed in a cowboy hat for this occasion. Happy Halloween! The tech drops a mic on the floor. Michael and I take snaps of ourselves in the newsroom. Finally it’s our turn to go on. There. We’re done. We present Tracy with a tour jacket and we are out of here! Thank you! Good-bye until next time. I wonder how much of our demographic is watching Midday Television. Will they drive to Ashcroft tomorrow to see us at the Oper House?

Michael and I are very, very hungry. He wants to stop at the first food place he sees. It’s an Indian restaurant. I say “not me” as I want breakfast. Michael goes Indian. I wander up the street and find a diner in the same block. Eggs, toast, coffee. Good. Very good. Back at the truck we decide to push on to Ashcroft. It’s not far, and as we are not performing this evening we might as well check in there a day early.

It’s a fascinating drive for us and we stop a few times to take it all in. In Ashcroft we quickly find the Opera House. Owner-booker-manager-chef Martin is standing outside as we drive up— a day early! But he is glad to see us and shows us around the venue. This is very, very cool. The building was once Town Hall, then was an opera house, a silent movie house… and eventually this wood filled concert hall. We can sleep in the Green Room if we want, but Michael and I elect to stay at the local hotel. There are plenty of vacancies at this time of year. We drink coffee with Martin and then check in for a nap. Michael naps. I go to the bar, the only place here where I sem to be able to get a WiFi signal. I sit with my laptop and a glass of red wine while some of the local lads drink beer and play pool.

After dark we go back to the Opera House, pick up Martin and head out for some Halloween social events. We are introduced to some really nice folks, and end up at a Halloween party at a studio/house high over the river. Michael plays guitar while a whole lot of people play drums. That’s more than I can manage, but I enjoy talking with quite a number of local artists and musicians. Also at the party are a couple members of a theatre group who are doing a play at the local school here. One of the women is from Atlanta, so we catch up on South for a few minutes. They travel around the country doing week long workshops in schools. Tomorrow afternoon all the kids will be presenting a play at the local high school. Anyway, back to our hotel before it gets too late. We had hot dogs. We had a pleasant evening. Thanks, Ashcroft!!

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