Sometimes, dear readers, our bookings take us to parts of the world we never thought we'd willingly go. This March, we found ourselves in Colorado Springs, a place I'd only ever thought of as the base of the more creepy aspects of the evangelical movement--Focus on the Family, the Ted Haggard debacle, and everything depicted in The Civilians' brilliant docu-drama "This Beautiful City."
Political, moral, and ethical leanings aside, I'm not a mountain person. We did a show in Denver last spring and I had a headache from the altitude the entire time. I grew up in Seattle, a city that is ringed by glorious mountains but whose altitude is decidedly sea-level. Every day I'd see the enormous cranes that line the Port of Seattle as I rode over the West Seattle Bridge. And today I live in Brooklyn, about half a mile from the Redhook waterfront, so when I look west I still see cranes. Though they are less spectacular than Seattle's, it's funny how comforting to me they were in my first few years here.
It took about 48 hours for M and me to adjust to the altitude in Colorado Springs, 24 hours for the pug. (Is it just me, or does he look grumpy?)
Just in time for our first performance. And that was the million dollar question, of course: How would the audiences be? The show we were doing has secular content, but how would they deal with M's sailor tongue? I took it as a bad sign that I had to chase away a pair of missionaries who came to our door our very first morning there.
But when I got to the theater and saw some posters still hanging for Urinetown, I felt better. An audience who can appreciate that wonderfully bizarre show could probably also deal with multiple narratives about corporate creep in our lives, even if those threads were peppered with expletives.
(My new favorite phrase to warn audiences: Not "obscene" or "profane" or "mature," because I don't actually feel that the language is obscene or profane or particularly mature. No, my new favorite way to describe it is "unrestricted," as in, "This production contains unrestricted language.")
It turned out that the theater who booked us knew what they were doing. The audiences were slightly older and quieter than we typically work with, but the houses were full and judging from the conversations we had with audience members afterward, they really seemed to enjoy the show, unrestricted language and all.
After our first night, an unexpected development: Blizzard! In the last week of March!
I'll come clean and say that the picture above wasn't taken by me and isn't even of Colorado--it's from a spring blizzard in Norway two years earlier. I found it online when I searched for images using the word "blizzard." (It's a great photo, isn't it? Click on it to go to the photographer's website.)
And why don't I have any photos of my own of the blizzard that was bad enough that we had to cancel one show and almost cancel another?
Because I was busy being my own stereotype. Yes, if Colorado Springs did their part by sending me Christian missionaries, then I played the part of the liberal coastal girl by insisting that we drive to the Whole Foods on the other side of town "before the weather gets bad" because I wanted the gluten-free crackers and hummus I knew Whole Foods would carry. Seriously.
Long story short: five minute drive there, hour and forty-five minute drive home. As my husband said to me later, "I really hope you enjoy that hummus."
And I did.
Almost as much as I enjoyed using our suddenly-free night to watch all the episodes in the final season of Battlestar Galactica back-to-back-to-back, for one of the most intense eight-hour viewing marathons I've ever had.
And things just got better from there. The weather improved and a show that had been canceled became uncanceled, so we only lost one of our five scheduled performances to the blizzard.
My friend Krista--who moved from Brooklyn to Denver several years ago and for whom I've been pining ever since--drove down from Denver with her boyfriend Micah. He's such a good guy even I had to concede that he might be worth leaving New York for.
And my father and his wife Kathy drove up from their home in Albuquerque and spent some time with us. We discovered some amazing Korean BBQ in an unlikely place--the best I've ever had--and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at Adam's Mountain Cafe in scenic Manitou Springs.
Their visit really made this trip special. For Michael especially, who'd been away from home for three months solid, it was a lovely ending to a very long tour.