Monthly Archives: October 2011
I get the Bah-Humbuggers about Halloween where Aussies are concerned. Heck, I used to be one of them.
Until we moved to Canada, that is.
As part of our “let’s hurl ourselves into this new culture with the passion of a hormonal woman discovering free samples at a chocolate factory”, we embarked on our first Halloween. And loved it.
Since returning to Oz, we’ve tried to keep our Canadian traditions going, not in a massive way, but just, you know…making a Canadian flag cake for my Canadian-born 2-year-old’s birthday, shaking a snowglobe on Christmas eve (even when it’s stinking hot over here), honouring Canada Day by eating a donut and drinking a hot chocolate (pretending both are from Tim Horton’s) and yes, when it comes to Halloween, doing SOMETHING Halloween-ish. Our kids, you see, have already experienced a real bonafide North American Halloween. If any child can do that and then proceed to life as normal, I’d sure as heck like to know how.
The first year we were back in Oz we made some treats and gave them gross names (chocolate marshmallows became “snow-poos” and so on) and invited our cousins over to bob for apples in the wading pool. The second year we made the same and invited some friends over for a brief but surprisingly welcoming trick-or-treat in our neighbourhood. Which the kids loved, but I must admit, it made me feel a bit uncomfortable.
And here lies the difference.
Trick-or-treating in Australia is NOT like trick-or-treating in Canada (and I presume, the USA). Because in Canada/America, where it is a big deal, the community gets into it. There are neighbourhoods where only the minority DON’T decorate their houses and/or put their lights on and have preparations made for the pint-sized trick-or-treaters (on another note, I was very surprised over there that dressing up has very little indeed to do with ghosts, gouls and scary stuff. Most of the kids I saw went as superheroes, animals, heck, anything!). My point is, it felt like a community event.
In Oz, trick-or-treating feels like imposing on people who don’t particularly wish to celebrate it.
Does that make sense?
So last night, we decided to do things a little differently. The kids were bummed when we told them we weren’t trick or treating. They cheered up somewhat when I produced face paint. And we got cracking.
We then asked them to go to the end of the house, count to 30 and then come knock on our door.
When they opened it I seriously thought somebody was going to leave their own snow poos all over the floor. Hubby and I took turns playing different characters, from okel to hip-hop to crazy old ladies and back again, each time throwing sugar their way.
In Miss 9′s words: “This is the best Halloween ever!”
I should state for the record, this was followed promptly by: “Now can we go trick-or-treating?”
I’m posting this pic as:
a) it represents what has been taking up a majority of this week’s activity, as opposed to much work, blogging or otherwise. Call me crazy but I don’t like to mix bodily fluids with keyboards if I can help it.
b) it makes me feel a lot better about how our toilet training is actually going.
Hope all’s well in your world!
YAHOO! I can now officially announce that I will be officially appearing at this year’s officially incredi-bamazeballs Woodford Folk Festival!
I am beyond stoked, the program was released last night and looks brilliant from the little glance I’ve had thus far. This one’s gonna be a cracker for me, personally. Not only am I doing the stand-up stage as per usual, but I’m also teaching an improv workshop, representing at the Great Debate and da, da, da, da…performing a one-off festival special of “The Unexpected Variety Show.”
I shall then collapse on top of a pile of dreadlocks while a tender stranger soothes me with chai.
What’s not to love?
Tue 27th Dec 4:10pm Parlour
Feature: The Unexpected Variety Show
Life is an unexpected variety show. It’s full of mind-blowing highs and soul-crushing lows. There are chapters and turning points. Characters, major and minor. And there are parts you wish would simply end when you’re singing “Things did not turn out the way I wanted …” Jen Wynter is a comedian and actor with a particular penchant for improvised, musical and character comedy (and combinations thereof!) She has three kids, is a wannabe rockstar and is extremely sleep deprived (Adult Themes)
Feature: Woodford Comedy Club
Wed 28th Dec 8:30pmParlour
Fri 30th Dec 8:30pmParlour
Sun 1st Jan 9:30pm Parlour
Fri 30th Dec 5:00pm Concert Stage
Feature: Great Comedy Debate: That Opposites Attract
Anthony Ackroyd, Fiona Scott-Norman, The Birdmann, Jen Wynter, John Thompson and Sandy McCutcheon debate the old saw ’til wit’s end. Hosted by the delightful Ernie Dingo.
Sat 31st Dec 12:00pm Parlour
Feature: Improvised Comedy Workshop
Come play with the art of spontaneous comedy. Contrary to popular belief, this is not about being the funniest person in the room, but trusting in your inner funny to show itself while you’re otherwise engaged in having fun.
I do love me a good DIY. Oh, if I had a penny for every DIY I’ve ever read (and never actually completed) I would have me enough pennies to think about making a damn fine penny-mosaic.
As such, I thought it high time I brought a little DIY magic onboard club Comic Mummy. This one’s a little bit of awesome I cracked out the other day, when Mister 7 approached me with the manners of a Deportment School graduate* (*may be code for whingeing) and asked whether I, his darling and extremely crafty mummy, might be able to conjure up a cape of sorts for his Batman figurine.
Child. Say no more.
The results were, I believe you could say, STUNNING.
And being the selfless crafty-mistress that I am, I couldn’t keep such resourcefulness to myself. So here it is. Instructions on how to achieve such lofty heights of brilliance yourself.
You will need:
HOW TO MAKE YOUR CAPED BATMAN:
Step 1: Take above-mentioned materials.
Step 2: Tape that mo-fo.
Note: there is an optional Step 3, should cape tear off, which it occasionally* (*might mean regularly) will. In this case:
Step 3: return to Step 1.
If Step 3 recurs, then go to Step 4.
Step 4: hit your head against a wall. Then go to step 5.
Step 5: write a blog post.
And it’s done.
WOW! What a rollercoaster. Thank you so much for reading along and sharing the wild ride. This mad adventure started strong, wound its way through a “keeping the faith” crisis of small crowds (a very common issue among the fringe fest overall this year so I’m told) and finally, finished strong.
The final show was beautiful indeed. As it was being taped, I went for it 110% emotionally (those of you who’ve seen the show will understand what I mean by that). Which is probably why when, at the end of the show, the audience stood up and threw freaking ROSES AT ME…I completely dissolved into a puddly mess of tears. I couldn’t stop. I think it was just the overwhelm of the entire show, the highs, the lows…the da da da da…UNEXPECTED VARIETY SHOW of it all! The wonderful folks at Revolt then whisked me backstage where they had laid out flowers, wine, glasses and beautiful people for a little post-run toast and celebration. More tears. My make-up melted.
Went home to be suitably spoiled (YET AGAIN) by my wonderful house-hosts John and Sandy. These guys really came onboard team “Unexpected” in too many ways to count, but suffice to say they felt like a family to come home to each night, sharing in the journey, complete with its downs (of which there were several) and luckily, the final HIGH! Which we celebrated with food, glorious food, topped off with this:
I am such a lucky gal.
Faretheewell, Melbourne. I miss you already. From your wondrous trams…
…to your gorgeous coffee…
…to your marvellous marvels.
It’s a wonder I left at all. Oh yeah, hang on. I have a family to come home to.
Who are the most wondrous, gorgeous and marvellous marvel of all. (I can say that with certainty cos I’ve got the rose-coloured glasses that come with having a break. Can’t you tell?)
Tonight was my second last show and the evening of the Melbourne Fringe Festival Awards. I was delighted to walk out to an audience of around 40 (HUZZAH!!! Ten times my smallest crowd of the fest!), had a beautiful show indeed and then was umming and aahing about whether to get my butt over to North Melbourne for the awards night. I’d been told all the nominees had been notified so they would know to turn up; I’d heard nothing, but still wanted to check it out, but wasn’t terribly keen on going solo. 10.30 rocked around, then 10.35, then 10.40 and I finally opted to call it a night and catch a train home.
I was quite literally on my way out the Revolt door, when Ryan, Artistic Director l’extraordinaire, grabbed me on the way past and said “Hey, I’m going to the awards, you wanna come?”
A brief pause.
In we hopped, over we trudged, in we went.
Hundreds of peeps were packed in ready for the awards to start. They started, I caught up with a couple of other friends, the equally fabulous Tess Waters and Kai Smythe (both incredibly talented comedic performers), when all of a sudden my ears pricked up: “The award for Excellence in Cabaret goes to THE UNEXPECTED VARIETY HOUR.” (Note: for a split second I wonder if there’s another show NEARLY called the same as mine, The Unexpected Variety Show, but then calculate the odds of that being quite slight.)
What follows is a dream. A happy dream, but a dream nonetheless.
I believe I shout “What? What? What?” stare disbelievingly at Tess, then start to make my way through the crowd, parting the crowd like an ineffective Moses, then finally shout “I’M COMING, I’M COMING!” as I near the front, drop my handbag at the bottom of the stairs, spring up onto the stage and just wave blindly at the entire crowd in disbelief.
I am guided off to the backstage area where I am directed for photos and then into the award winners’ room where I am promptly handed a champagne which does nothing to suppress my endless giggles of disbelief.
I am thrilled, shocked and terrified I am going to wake up.
I call my hubby, who, as it is past his bedtime, needs multiple phone calls to bring him to consciousness. I have never loved him more. This past fortnight has seen me come to breaking point multiple times, not the least reason of which is from the financial pressure of performing night after night to a handful of paying folks. Yet not ONCE has he ever even seemed concerned about this, rather just reminding me to believe in the show. Tim, my rockstar hubbster, you really do rock multiple casbahs.
The next it of JAWSOME hits when Revolt Melbourne wins Best Venue. AGGGGGGGHHHHH! Could this night get any freaking better?
Why, yes it could. Fellow Revolt artist Mercedes Benz (of “Awkwardly”) wins the Audience Choice Award!
I float off into the breeze, or moreover, back to Revolt for hanging, celebration and general awesome post-awards buzziness, followed by a wonderful night-cap with my beyond-fabulous house-host, John, who helps me wind down from my adrenalin high by presenting me with this vision of wonder:
I could gush for hours about what this award means, but I shall try to be succinct. For me, this means that the show and the efforts that have gone into bringing it down here, have been worth it. Because, and I’m being completely honest with you here, there have been so many moments during this trip when I have questioned whether it is. Worth it, I mean. I started this blog series titled “Touring with a Toddler” because I thought it was kinda cute, but the whole truth is that “Touring With a Toddler” has at times, been anything BUT cute. I expected it to be tough. But it was tougher. Anyhoo, not saying that to be a martyr, but rather just to point out that tonight, to get such tremendous recognition for the show (plus the accompanying invite to perform at Melbourne Cabaret Festival in 2012…agggggh!) is so incredibly wonderful and so, so, so, so, so appreciated! It makes me realise that it has been worth every tantrum and tear along the way (both toddler and adult.) I am so ridiculously grateful!
P.S. If you are in Melbourne, there is one more chance to see the show: Sunday 4.30pm and it is not only the final show here, but it is being filmed! I would dearly love to see you there (in fact, I do hope to get lots of folks there so I don’t have to insert a laugh track on the final edit). You can buy tix here!
P.P.S. I really must thank the fantastic folks at Allan’s Music/Billy Hyde for coming to my rescue in such a massive way when the keyboard I had planned to use didn’t work out. Allan’s stepped right up to help out an artist in need by donating the use of a keyboard and I am so, so thankful. Without you guys, the show wouldn’t have gone on. Or I would have been forced to let it go on with a key-tar. Thank you!
P.P.P.S. Thank you so much for every kind word that has been said to me during this whole thing. It really has meant so much, you darling people have been putting fuel in my emotional tank when I’ve been running empty. Love, love, love.
1. Published my first guest post on Mamamia. WOOT!
2. Found a lovely article in a local paper here featuring myself and littlest (and puppet) behind one very red curtain.
3. Had the distinct privilege of attending the opening of an incredible art instillation in the soon-to-be-opened Royal Children’s Hospital.
Cassidy was quite the media darling, being courted by cameramen every which way he turned. The best publicity opp I’ve ever had and it’s as “Toddler’s Mummy.”
4. Had some much needed hang-time with one of my BFFs Rachel. She introduced me to the scrumminess that is the Footscray Community Arts Centre. It alone, in its buzzy vibe and child-friendliness, made me want to move in!
5. Discovered loverly things being said about the show.
Today I finally gained the perspective I’ve been looking for.
This was in no small part, kicked off by some much-needed physio on my CANING back, followed by a serendipitous stumble into a gorgeous little kiddified cafe nearby on Rathdowne Street.
But that was just the start.
The real clincher was discovering several pieces of bad news today. As in, REALLY bad news. Not for me personally, but for a few different people in my world. One of these pieces of news involved a car accident.
Hearing of these events suddenly made me feel quite stupid, sad and even ashamed of having been so wrapped up in the mega-importance of my “FESTIVAL EXPERIENCE!” As if it’s anything that even matters in the grand scheme of life. The car crash news of course, made me reflect on my own car crash (as did the intense physio session), and how I’ve somehow forgotten again in the past twenty months how lucky I am just to be alive, walking and to be able to set foot onstage.
I want to get back to that. Just being grateful to be onstage. The rest is cream.
Or, in other words, (and I search for them namely because it gives me an excuse to document a beautiful moment from today in photographic form): Being onstage is the tea. Anything on top of that is simply a beautiful teapot.
So I’ve written a truckload on here (well, okay, perhaps enough to fill a small ute) on the “touring” side of this series (i.e. all the festival/show/comedy element of things), while grossly neglecting to shed much light on the “with a toddler” part.
I do hope that I don’t make it look easy. If I ever do, that is only because I am not actually writing about it. Because it is NOT EASY. In fact, this is pretty much one of the toughest gigs I’ve ever done. Single mothers, I take my hat off to you. And I won’t stop there. I take off my hat, clothes, undies and will even exfoliate in your honor.
The thing is, he’s not a bad kid. But he’s just…a toddler. And usually I have back-up to help me through adventures like traipsing through the city. Back-up that helps me stay calm during instances, where, say, he pulls his socks and shoes off and throws them across random footpaths over and over and over, despite the fact it is a very cold and and very rainy day. When I finally give in to his refusal to wear them, an older lady takes it upon herself to ask HIM (not me) but him, “Where are your socks? Your feet must be FREEZING!” and he greets this response with a pitiful look at me and a subsequent screech of: “WANT SHOES ON!”
It’s times like these, you want nothing more than to plead with the little guy to “JUST STOP BEING SO…TWO!”
But I do not do this. Instead I try to run him ragged in the mornings, convince him to watch a movie in the afternoons so I can try to power nap, and in moments of desperation, take umpteen photos of him to get a little perspective and remind myself that he is in fact, also delicious.
He is delicious, right? RIGHT?!
Seriously, when I come home each night post-show and he is sleeping and toasty and peaceful I just want to cuddle him and never stop. It was my choice to bring him. And most of the time, I am glad I did.
But really, why can’t my kids just write a “dear dream nanny” letter that I can tear up and throw into the fireplace like they did in the good old days? Huh?