Canada – or, how I will have spent my summer vacation
OK, I’m off. For the next four months, I’ll be on the road performing my solo shows, “Jesus In Montana” and “American Squatter.” Rather than pretend to still be at home writing insightful columns about bookshelves and glasses of milk and stuff, I’ve decided that for the next four months (at least) I’ll use this column to document my adventures on the road, offering insights about bookshelves and milk glasses in other towns.Here’s the plan – in a few days I’ll fly to Orlando to perform “Jesus In Montana” seven times at the Orlando Fringe Festival. Then I’ll fly back to Aspen, throw a bunch of stuff in my van and head for Montreal, where I’ll be performing “American Squatter” at the Montreal Fringe Festival. Then I’ll perform “Jesus In Montana” at the Ottawa Fringe Festival, then at the Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Saskatoon and Edmonton Fringe Festivals, finishing up the tour by doing “American Squatter” at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. Whew.When I tell people about my summer plans – which I’ve been doing a lot, as I’m very excited – they always say the same thing: “Wow! That’s amazing! You’re really living your dream, aren’t you? Congratulations. You’re an inspiration and a fine role model for the children.”No. Not really. Actually, they usually say something more like this: “Did you just say ‘Saskatoon?’ ‘Cause I coulda swore you said ‘Saskatoon.’ You didn’t really say ‘Saskatoon,” did you?”Yes. Yes I did. The reason I said Saskatoon, apart from how good it feels to say it (you’ve said it out loud by this point, haven’t you?), is because the Saskatoon Fringe Festival is part of the Canadian Fringe Festival Tour Circuit, which is the very tour circuit I’ll be traveling on.I tell you this because the question I get asked the most, after people have stopped saying “Saskatoon,” is: “Canada? Why Canada? What’s so great about Canada?”Well, because there is nothing like the Canadian Fringe Festival Tour Circuit in the world. Except in Canada, which is probably where it got the first part of its name.See, as an “emerging” performer, I don’t exactly have people begging me to come and do my little shows in their theaters. In fact, when I actually call up these theater people and ask them if I can come and perform my little shows, they say, “We’ll get back to you, Brad.” I wouldn’t mind them calling me Brad so much if they actually did get back to me. But they don’t. And that’s OK, because some day I’ll show them, I’ll show them all, etc.Now, up there in Canada it’s a different story. They all got together, all of those Canadians, and said, hey, let’s have a bunch of cities host these cool theater festivals known as “Fringe Festivals” and schedule them such that they happen consecutively east-to-west throughout the summer, allowing performers to start in Montreal and travel all the way to Vancouver, all summer long, doing their little shows, one city to the next, and we’ll give them a theater in which to do it and let them crash on somebody’s couch, and then, just because we are so cool, we’ll give them all the money they make at the box office. Not that they’re in it for the money. No, they’re in it for the chance to say “Saskatoon” a whole lot of times. And that will be How I Spent My Summer Vacation; traveling across Canada in my van, bringing my little shows to the eager Canadian masses, standing on stage talking about how well I’ve documented my life, all the while continuing to document my life in this column, on my blog, on video, with pictures, sketches, doodles and maybe the occasional oil painting. So, here’s how my summer breaks down in terms of numbers: One van Two solo shows Four pairs of underwear Nine cities 70 performances 500 cups of coffee 10,000 driving milesI’m assuming there won’t be many places to do laundry in Canada, which is why I’m bringing enough underwear for a six-month trip. Next stop – Orlando.Read more about Barry, his tour, his underwear and so forth at http://www.barrysmith.com.
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