Kristeen Von Hagen Says Hello
So, initially, with motivation oozing out of me like sweat out of George Castanza defusing a bomb in a sauna after eating Kung Pao chicken, this entry was going to be called “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly”. This is the standard issue blog title that everyone uses as legislated by the International Society of Talentless Hacks (ISTH) when you have three events, shows, or children let’s say where the quality of each progressively decays as you go further down the line. This particular version of said title would refer to the series of shows that I had done over the past few days starting with the fundraiser show I did on Thursday to help pay for postcards, posters and the like for my trip to Melbourne (“The Good”), the five minute spot I did at Ein-Stein’s the following Sunday (“The Bad”), and the hosting job I did at the Fox and Fiddle directly after (“The Ugly”). This would have been the spot and you’d be reading it now, saying to yourself something like “Glad the fundraiser made you some cash. Good for you and Kristian Reimer!”, or “Another rough one at Ein-Stein’s. How’s that possible?”, or even better “Yikes. I can’t believe the likes of that white trash family would just camp out in the Fox and do that to you and the other acts. You really needed Jason Blanchard there with a hatchet, didn’t you?” You could be doing that, but since time has been as thin as my hairline after my botched and misplaced Brazilian, I’ve not had the time to fill you in. So as I’m now down in Melbourne and those shows seem waaaaay far away, let me review them thus: The fundraiser went well, Ein-Stein’s was the usual night when I’m grabbing a spot, and the Fox had a table of folks that everyone (audience included) wanted to kill. So there we are. That’s out of the way.
Let’s zip to the flight to LA, the not-so-middle-mid-point of the trip to the festival in Melbourne. I’m on my way to get more water and booze and pass someone who looks really familiar to me. ‘Tis Kristeen Von Hagen. Not that I’m normally shocked to see her, but it’s one of those things where you don’t expect to see someone somewhere and it takes a while for your mind to sort it out. We had been Facebook poking each other for a while [Behave out there – “H!ITVA!” Ed.], and she’d been gloating about watching the Sens play in LA [Not so much with the scoreline… – “H!ITVA!” Ed.] so she let me know she was on her way to LA to perform in a pilot for Showtime I believe. Don’t quote me, but it was something like that. Do I strike you as the type of person that is able to keep track of all the cable channels down here? Really? Well, I’m not. So there.
Landing at LAX, we hitched up for a cab ride with Alexei, the Eastern-European cabbie who not only got mad at us because of our destination (what the hell’s wrong with Manhattan Beach?). He didn’t know where I was supposed to be going, which admittedly is my fault completely. Let’s face it people. LA, and most cities for that matter, would be a much better place if everyone, including tourists, immigrants, and seniors-leaving-their-homes-who-remember-when-Toronto-was-only-three-streets-back-in-the-day, knew exactly where it was they were going. Alexei muttered under his breath about not knowing where to go, all the while ignoring the thing on his dashboard that looked an awful lot like a GPS system of some kind. I’m guessing it was just an electronic beacon for him to get to his Anger Management classes hosted at St. Michael’s Lutheran in Santa Monica. Finally got to Nicole and Alyn’s place once we had Alyn flag us down in the middle of his street. Got to spend a half-day with him, the kids, and Alyn’s sister and brother-in-law on the beach and then off to my cousin Ivey’s in…ohhh…some other suburb of LA. Got to meet her husband Eric, who I’ve discovered you can blame for the fantastic programs on CBS like [snip! – “H!ITVA!” Ed.]. Also got to meet my new other-other-cousin Jack who is four and an utter charmer. I bought him a Maple Leafs shirt which, through it all, has still given me a rash. Thanks again, cuz, for the steak, Dutch apple pie, and the realization that not all the Van Allens are clinically insane.
The 14 hour flight to Melbourne was fairly uneventful. They served dinner at 11:30pm (What!?!? When I eat that late, I’m typically way more hammered than when I am now…Gah.) so passed on the chicken/beef option. Opted instead for my first Victoria Bitter at 40,000 ft. Oh, that’s something we should address. I have it on good authority, and have seen it in practice, that no one down here drinks Fosters. It’s a myth. It’s a lie. Fosters is now about as Australian as I am since the 18 or so buyouts over its tenure, so no. Give it up. VB I was told is where it’s at. I agree. Have had a couple down here so far and, indeed, so good. The seats were quite crampy, the movies quite crappy, and I’ve not seen service people that crabby since the entire staff at the Naples, FL Waffle House all decided to quit smoking two days before I got there and asked for an order of grits on the side of my two-eggs-sunny-side-with-country-ham breakfast.
Australia has been hard-put-down by their cultural ambassadors in North America. Sadly, when we think of Down Under, we think of Fosters, that dead Croc-Hunter guy, and cheesy phrases like “Down Under”. So I was looking to break that mold and attempt to look at everything freshly and get a brand-new perspective on this place. Who greets us at the airport? A driver named Bruce. Who looked like Paul Hogan. Damn you stereotypes. Damn you. Regardless, Bruce is a top-shelf guy who showed us the scenic way around town and pointed out all the things we gotta know. Good times. The family we’re staying with is fantastic and the city of Melbourne from the cursory view thus far is brilliant. Today has me trying to hook up with Kristian Reimer and Mike Sheer who are also doing shows down here, getting my postcards sorted out, going to my venue (the Alley Bar on AC-DC Lane!!!) and doing initial postering before the big Gala show tonight. Looking forward tonight as there’s a Canadian on the show; former Juice Pig Phil Nicol. In my time here outside of the festival and getting people to my show, I’ve got to get to an Aussie-Rules Football Game, get some stage time at a local club, hit the Melbourne zoo, have breakfast here, enjoy a Tim-Tam, and ride the tram. I’m not doing so bad with the Aussie-Things-To-Do list. I’ve had a VB, ate some Vegemite this morning (apparently I’m the only one down here who likes it), and had a Long Black [It’s how you say black coffee down here, so again, behave! – “H!ITVA! Ed.] More to come. Watch this space.