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LP - “Strange” (A Night at The McKittrick Hotel)

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Max and Violet (Nick and Elizabeth) appreciate thread.

Of all the people who have come and gone through magical doors of the McKittrick, I think just about everyone will agree that this delightful duo is quite possibly the absolute epitome of everything that made us all fall in love with the place.  Their charm, and humor, and personal attention, and devastating good looks, and stories, and songs…  

They are both masters at improvisation, regaling us with outlandish stories off the cuff, and building up the legend of Max and Violet for the entirety of the past (almost) six years.  Who among us has not stood entranced as they shared tales of their many marriages to each other and others, and of Toledo, and of Violet’s love of diamonds, and gin, and of Max’s (mis)adventures with Calloway in New Orleans with their daddy?

Walking into the Manderley and seeing this MIB/WIB combination was an assurance of a lovely time.  Violet was there the night I found Hecate’s ring, and the night Ms. Novak fell over the rail and landed three stories below and was taken out on a stretcher to the hospital, and Elizabeth’s Hecate ( one of the absolute best Hecates by a mile!) was on the night that the Matron presented me with a “fake” ring, at which Hecate scoffed and taunted me me for my gullibility.  It’s the prize treasure in my SNM trinket box!  Max always made me feel like I was the only boy in the bar, and after Max was retired for the night, Nick also made me feel special at many a McKittrick party!

I am quite literally devastated that tonight is their last night.  Had I known in advance, I would have planned my vacation differently so I could be in NY (I’m currently in Florida, returning tomorrow).

I have a genuine affection, not only for Max and Violet, but also for Nick and Elizabeth, and I am deeply saddened that they won’t be a regular part of my experience there any more.  It is truly the end of an era!

I went to NYC

…and all I got was some candy, some salt, a crumpled red boat, a feather, a potion, three stones, and four masks. (That’s a lie–I got a lot of joy and other intangibles, too.)

Increasing my SNM experience by 400% in three days was overwhelming and there’s no way that I can transcribe or translate most of it here. It remains fascinating to me on all levels both inside and outside the constructed world of the show. Which means I’ve got a pretty expensive interest on my hands if I want to keep attending, although I guess it’s cheaper than, say, taking up skydiving or horseback riding.

In retrospect, it was a mistake not to go to May Fair, and thus meet more show veterans. As it happened, we first met the very informative @markeee99, who was first in line on Saturday. He later introduced us to the completely delightful @readwithjoy. Did I mention completely delightful? I also chatted briefly with the talented @evenghostandhorse. Everyone’s May Fair outfits were sublime. In turn @readwithjoy introduced us to @mrhecate and @redlipsandlostrings during the Sunday double, as well as some other folks who I’m not sure are Tumblrites. Monday night I ran into @francesmk. But by not going to May Fair I missed out on, for instance, wishing a hearty “Hail, Satan!” to @emmastory, and potentially meeting all the other regulars whom I later spotted in party photos. Then again, loud crowded parties are usually not my bag. Maybe next time.

I know that if I keep attending, there’ll be an inflection point where most of the surprises and mysteries will have been revealed. But I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near such a point yet. I know my way around the space better, but my mental model of it is incomplete. I’ve seen much of the show, but not every major scene (no door dance yet, for instance). Even after over a year of obsessively reading old Tumblr posts, there were many discoveries and surprises for me in shows 2-5. And I certainly couldn’t note and remember cast lists. I am astounded that some of y'all can go to a show and then generate a full cast list. I did manage to photograph the cast board for the early Sunday show, and there were specific performers whom I recognized, but that was about it.

I’ll post later about the specific shows but for now a jumbled list of observations and experiences, behind the cut:

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SNM - what causes us to follow certain characters

Over the past few weeks this question has really been on my mind. What is it that, we the repeat and frequent visitors to the Hotel, make us decide which characters we choose to follow. Specifically those of us who go against our favorite “type” of characters in other styles of art and life.
For myself, I am normally drawn to strong/independent females in literature and my personal life (as a lady loving lady). However, while in the McKittrick I find myself gravitating towards the male characters. Most especially the Porter. Admittedly, it took real effort on my part initially to follow some of the amazing female roles in the show since checking in to the McKittrick for the first time nearly 3 years ago. Has anyone anyone else had this experience of going against their normal “character type”?

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Part 2

What a fantastic party!  Despite the glitches in pre-event marketing, everything was spectacular night of.  I have to be honest, I prefer open bar–  it’s better to not have to worry about anything except tipping once inside the doors– but the drink tickets were managed very well–  no trouble finding tickets, no backed up lines at the bar, no drama. 

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✞ Cunning Man I/II/III ✞

mixed media & found objects
12x12 wood panels

Creation:

I selected two Fultons from the week I was in NYC in November, as well as one from previous shows. It took hours searching for the right pieces in antique stores, and altering ones I’d discovered. I tried to use pieces from the 30’s and 40’s as often as possible. My only rules were no salt and no birds.

When you look at these, imagine standing at the podium in the Tailor’s shop. Malcolm might run past at any second.

Context:

Sometimes hopelessness creeps into your heart and by the time it is choking you, you no longer have the will to stamp it down. By the time I was supposed to head to NYC for my Thanksgiving trip, I was asking anyone I could: should I even be going? Why should I be doing this when things are so dark, and so many people are unhappy? I wasn’t looking for permission as much as someone to give me a concrete explanation of why I should bother continuing to exist.

With one foot off the ledge, I reluctantly boarded the plane. I debated giving my shows away, but @nodoubtaholic told me to fly away from the bullshit, threatened violence, and came out every night to stand in line with me and kept my Doom stuffed in a suitcase back at my hotel.

Then, two things happened that brought these pieces (and me) into existence:

✞ Since I wasn’t getting out of the shows, I gave myself a task, something I could do every show. I’d do a little survey of different Fultons and how they cast their spell with the bird during the end of the loop. Every performer does something different, and while I’ve watched this scene dozens of times, focusing on it above all else gave me a new appreciation for how simple little gestures or meticulous placement of pieces can make it such a complex act. Did they use salt? Pins?

✞  Annabella sat down next to me in the bar and asked how I was doing and I was honest with her. I asked her the same thing I’d been asking everyone, and expressed my hesitation to come to the shows. She spoke about transitions and of people finally waking up and connecting, and many other things that were personal and relevant to me and I absolutely needed to hear. And she gave me a task: Go to a museum. Look at art. Look at the best of what humanity has done. She talked about how coming to the show was also supporting art and artists and how very important that was right now. By the end of meeting with her, I felt the poison vines of hopelessness beginning to shrivel.

By the time I got home, I resolved to continue living, and recommit to being creative. The show has always been a great source of inspiration to me, and it is essential that the first things I created after returning home were born of watching Fulton.



PS: Thank you for everyone who checked in on me, offered support, and love. I know that many of us aren’t having the best times. You can always message me if you need someone to talk to. You’re important & we need you here.

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Cordelia’s first follies part 1

https://youtu.be/Gz89c1VB2O8
Part 2

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SNM #65

Friday, May 26, 2017 • 11pm

I finally got to see Colin Buckingham’s wonderful take on Fulton last night at the late show. Colin brings a whole new dimension to the role (no pun intended) by forcing me to view things in a new perspective (often literally). The choreography has been modified to accommodate Colin’s height, making most scenes feel brand new. It’s the most refreshing “change” to the show since Caroline and the Reverend. And I can’t say enough about how it “woke me up” to the show again. Colin is mesmerizing—so confident yet child-like. It’s truly an honor to spend a loop with him. Check it out if you can!

5/26/17.

Early

Macbeth: Erik Abbott-Main
Lady Macbeth: Isadora Wolfe
Macduff: Jeff Docimo
Lady Macduff: Kristen Stuart
Duncan: John William Watkins
Malcolm: Shane Jensen
Banquo: Daniel Staaf
Bald Witch: Elena Valls
Boy Witch: Steven Apicello
Sexy Witch: Evelyn Chen
Hecate: Tori Sparks
Porter: Austin Dale Tyson
Agnes Naismith: Isabel Umali
Mrs Danvers: Stephanie Crousillat
Speakeasy: Tyler Phillips
Fulton: Colin Buckingham
Taxidermist: Sam Asa Pratt
Matron: Tina Mitchell
Nurse: Jenna Saccurato
Man in Bar: Nick Atkinson
Woman in Bar: Ginger Kearns
Gypsy: Ava Lee Scott  

Late

Macbeth: Tim Heck
Lady Macbeth: Hope Davis
Macduff: Jeff Docimo
Lady Macduff: Jenna Saccurato
Duncan: Gino Grenek
Malcolm: Nick Dillenburg
Banquo: Brendan Duggan
Bald Witch: Stephanie Crousillat
Boy Witch: Tyler Phillips
Sexy Witch: Ryan VanCompernolle
Hecate: Tori Sparks
Porter: Parker Murphy
Agnes Naismith: Andrea Farley Simota
Mrs Danvers: Isabel Umali
Speakeasy: Amadi Washington
Fulton: Colin Buckingham
Taxidermist: Shane Jensen
Matron: Ginger Kearns
Nurse: Elena Valls
Man in Bar: Nick Atkinson
Man in Bar: John William Watkins
Gypsy: Ava Lee Scott

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Victor Adaire tells us his backstory, with a poem
Part 1


https://youtu.be/5Rs0M8HsORY
Part 2

SNM 6/18/17

Macbeth: Jeff Docimo
Lady Macbeth: Sarah Stanley
Macduff: Doug Burkhardt
Lady Macduff: Andrea Farley Shimota
Duncan: Ben McHugh
Malcolm: Adam Griffith
Banquo: Tim Heck 
Bald Witch: Elena Valls
Boy Witch: Steven Apicello
Sexy Witch: Evelyn Chen
Hecate: Jackie Schram 
Porter: Nick Dillenburg 
Agnes: Kristen Stuart
Danvers: Risa Steinberg 
Speakeasy: Brendan Duggan
Fulton: Colin Buckingham
Taxi: Parker Murphy
Matron: Mallory Gracenin
Nurse: Debra Zalkind 
Man in Bar: Nick Bruder
Woman in Bar: Virgina Logan
Woman in Bar: Ava Lee Scott

6/23/17. late cast & mini recap.

Macbeth: Jeff Docimo
Lady Macbeth: Ida Saki
Macduff: Marc Cardarelli
Lady Macduff: Jenna Saccurato
Duncan: Gino Grenek
Malcolm: Casey Jordan
Banquo: Parker Murphy
Bald Witch: Stephanie Crousillat
Boy Witch: Tyler Phillips
Sexy Witch: Emily Oldak
Hecate: Mallory Gracenin
Porter: Louis Butelli
Agnes Naismith: Andrea Farley Simota
Mrs Danvers: Ryan VanCompernolle
Speakeasy: Nick Dillenburg
Fulton: Assaf Salhov
Taxi: Shane Jensen
Matron: Ginger Kearns
Nurse: Elena Valls
Man in Bar: Nick Atkinson
Man in Bar: John William Watkins
Gypsy: Chelsey Ng

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Visit Number 27 (or my clumsiest visit yet...)

It seems, historically, that whenever I buy a last minute solo ticket to Sleep No More, my parents have this extra-terrestrial 6th sense that I’ve just spent money on a big ticket item. Without fail, if I’m going to the show alone and unplanned, my mom calls me just as I’m getting off the subway to see how I’m doing. My mom and I are very close, but usually, when I’m buying a last minute ticket, it’s because I want to lose my life and identity for a while, so every time this has happened, I’ve told her that I’m meeting my friend, Emily, downtown for Italian food. Mind you, when I tell her this, I’m never really meeting anybody, and I’d say that running around in a 6 story warehouse for 3 hours is about as far away from eating a plate full of pasta as you can get. And yet… On Monday night, as I milled about the Manderley, blissfully watching the exchange between Shane’s man in bar (whose name is escaping me) and Ben’s Freddy Valentine, I wandered over to the bar to grab some water and walked smack dab into… my friend… Emily…

I hadn’t seen her in quite some time! She’s been involved in some of the shorts my good friends from college have been making over the past few years, but for some reason, we haven’t crossed paths in a while. It was very funny to catch up with her before the show, and nice to be able to gush about how much I loved it to someone before and after… The McKittrick always has its own plans for us… doesn’t it?

To preface this recap, I had gotten 2 hours of sleep the night before, and the only things I had consumed all day were a very large cup of coffee and a protein shake. What resulted was my clumsiest night at the hotel to date, both in mentally processing my surroundings and in physicality. Strap in guys, this is a long one.

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