Friday, September 25, 2009


"Socks?" I was thinking, an hour before showtime as I whizzed down Menomonies main st, "Socks?, I'm buying socks? Where the hell am I gonna find socks?"
Walgreens it turns out.
We arrived in Menomonie on Friday, in phone contact with T's collaborator Susan. Susan is the granddaughter of Carol Ryrie Brink and hence the great granddaughter of the real-life Caddie Woodhouse, whose name was changed to Woodlawn for the book. Susan was giving us directions to the Pin Cherry where we were all staying, but we Sheltanos were cruising the highways of Wisconsin, grooving on seeing what there was to see.
Our first stop was the Historic Mabel Tainter Theatre, where Caddie was being produced. Now, Menomonie is Caddies hometown, there is a Caddie Woodlawn park, her original real-life house is there, the book won a NEWBERRY award for crissakes! So why, when we pull in front of the theatre, is there a Laura Ingalls Wilder historical landmark sign?!? That damn Little House was on the PRAIRIE damn it, not in the Wisconsin woods! Shows the power of television, and it made THIS general manager and publicity agent DETERMINED to rectify the error.
The theatre is a gem, a jewel box, unbelievable. In the 1800's every small town in America had theatres and opera houses, and in keeping with the style of the period, they were high baroque. The Mabel Tainter is a particularly fine example of delightful, over-the-top ostentation.(And I use that word with love) The whole place is covered in gold-leaf, the seats are gold velvet, the curtain is gold with tassels. Exquisite.
We give ourselves a walking tour, then try to find the Pin Cherry. Silly me, I figure if it is on 650th st, that the numbers have to be consecutive. Hah! We gave ourselves a serious round and round until we found the place. No more mocking GPS'. But hey WI how about an explanation as to why 670 comes before 650 and after 540?
We do make it to the inn, eventually, and it is very pretty. The owner had a baby the night before we arrived, so she isn't there, but the best cream (FRESH) I have ever tasted is.
We meet our director, over drinks, and then toddle off for fish fry and cheese curds. If there is a heaven the clouds are made of cheese curds. Screw the diet, feed me fried cheese and let me fatten like a dairy cow!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

St Pauli girl and boy

Midwest Tour Day 1
We landed in St Paul and stayed at the St. Paul Hotel, where to my delight and chagrin Lou Reed was also staying. (Chagrin because T tried to make me talk to Lou, and I was waaay too shy.) 11 floors up, with a great view of the city.
Within walking distance of the hotel there were 5 legitimate theatres, all open and in production. The only fly in the oinkment was that they all, "Banned guns on the premises." Oh shit, thinks I, does that mean thatat all the other places everyone was packing heat?Gah.
We started our tour with a nerds eye view of St. Paul by visiting Praerie Home Companion sites, such as the Fitzgerald, the offices of MPR, Mickeys Diner and Common Good Books, Garrison Keillors personal bookstore, where I stuck Caddie postcards in every available crevise and cranny.
We ate twice at Mickeys, where their one eyed Jack took the prize for most fabulous breakfast food ever.
St Paul is a beautiful, walkable city. There is public art everywhere and preserved historic buildings. The cathedral on the top of the hill was a particularly beautiful example of Catholic grandiosity.
My red letter event was that I hopped a fence and dipped a finger into the mighty Mississippi, therby connecting myself with history to the nth degree. Actually T made me do it, I was in a dress, it was hot and I felt undignified, but to hell with it, I wanted to connect with Mark Twain.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Back to St. Paul

This time last year we were prepping to go to Minnesota for, "Tales of Two Counties". We are heading back to the Midwest, this time for a new update of, "Caddie Woodlawn" with fancy schmancy Sibelius made piano score.
I can't wait. I LOVED St Paul, and we are spending the first night at the St Paul Hotel, right by Garrison Keillor and the Fitzgerald theatre. I want to move there. Is there really a lot of theatre work in the area? I Imagine it would be hard to break into the pond, but I am getting pretty sick of fiery hot, expensive and boring Southern California. Yes I know, boo-hoo for me. But we could trade our studio apartment for a HOUSE.
I want tea at the hotel, then a perambulation around the town and near the mighty Mississippi. I yearn for a change of pace.
Next we move on to Menomonie, WI the home of the real Caddie. The show is being put on at the Mabel Tainter Theatre and we get to stay at a place called the Pin Cherry Inn.
I love to travel so much. We can't take Lionel this time, but I want to instill in him a love for adventure and the willingness to jump in with both feet.

And now... blatant advertisments.

Alfie, my Mini, is in the shop AGAIN. Woe be to ye who buyeth fancy BMW engined cars. It's never less than a cool thou and 3 days to fix. Aca Automotive 5101 E Willow Street Long Beach, CA
(562) 421-1905. The jury is WAY Out on them. So I drop off the Mini on Wednesday. They call me every night and say they need it another day, 1st because the piece hasn't arrived, second day, it's the wrong part, third day, and best so far, my mechanic gets the boss to call because he KNOWS I'm going to be steamed, and he gives me a huge excuse laden explenation, up to and including blaming the mini dealership for lying about having the correct part. Gah! Still don't have the car.

On the other hand, Manuel at Tempco Radiator (1505 E Burnett St Signal Hill, CA 90755-3515 (562) 427-9740) was nice, fast and helpful. Really a good company.
On a whole different topic; I bought this new stuff for curly hair: Living Proof at Sephora. (Where, if I'm not careful I will blow the grocery money on makeup I don't need, and rarely use) Jury is still out. Yes, my hair doesn't feel greasy. Is it curlier? Perhaps. But the Frizz is still there. I long for the defined and ravishing curls of Miss Penny P.