Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Defending The Caveman (sort of)

Last Friday night we went to McIntyre Hall at our local college to see the stage production of "Defending The Caveman." Pat won the tickets to this on our local radio show which was good as ticket prices started at $30 each. We had great seats, in the balcony but right in the front row. I of course took my camera and took a couple of photos of the stage to get a feel for the view I had, which focal lengths I would want to use and to set the exposure.

Caveman show 1
This is looking down on the stage from our balcony seats. This is a beautiful almost new theater and is very nice. I've been to other shows here and always enjoyed them.

Caveman show 2
This is a closer view of the stage. The play is a one-man production, with a guy on the stage talking to the audience, explaining the differences between men & women and how things really haven't changed since back in the caveman days.

It is a good thing that I took these two photos as this is all I have of the "production." An usher came to me and said I was not allowed to take photos here. I can not understand why there is any problem with still photos taken without flash, in fact it seems to me that they might help with promotion of these events. I can see why they would not want video with sound as that would give the whole performance in a way that could be shown to others and produce no revenue for the production crew. I can also see why they would not want flash photos taken as flash can be distracting.

People can order a glass of wine, a mocha, or even just a bottle of water ahead of the show and then go get it during intermission. You have to drink it in the lobby as you are not permitted to take food or drink into the theater itself. We were up in the balcony so went walking at that level to stretch our legs and I took the following photo looking down into the lobby.
Caveman show 3
This will give a bit more of an idea what this place looks like. It really is nice.

But we decided that since I couldn't take photos and we didn't find the play all that entertaining, we'd just go home and watch the rest of the Mariner's baseball game on TV. So we did. I don't know if I'll ever go back to McIntyre Hall as I sure don't like their photography policies and the prices tend to be pretty high, too. As I said, it doesn't make much sense to me but I think they've driven me away. Too bad as I really do like the facility and it, being on our local college campus, is a public facility. But there are a lot of other options in our area.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Ricky Nelson Remembered show

We keep thinking that we are going to slow down but that doesn't seem to happen. I was lucky enough to win two tickets to a show that we attended last Friday night at our local Skagit Valley Casino called "Ricky Nelson Remembered." It featured his twin sons, Gunnar and Matthew Nelson who have had more than one top ten hits on their own but in this show they were mostly playing the music of their Dad, a singer that I have very fond memories of both as a singer and for his role of a kid in his parent's TV show, "The Ozzie and Harriet Show." Ozzie was a band leader, Harriet was a singer in the band, and they also had at least one number one song during their performing years, so these sons represent the third consecutive generation in the Nelson family to have number one hits. I was lucky enough to win these tickets on our local oldies radio station, KBRC but I'd have gladly paid to attend. It was good.

Ricky Nelson show 01
This is the slide that was displayed on the large screen on the stage when we entered the Pacific Showroom at the Skagit. The show used this screen to display various slides and video clips during the show of various things in Ricky's life.

Ricky Nelson show 02
Gunnar at the left side, Matthew at the right, with an image of their father Ricky displayed behind them on that large screen. Gunnar originally was a drummer, as was Ricky, but he has since taken up the guitar which he played that night.

Ricky Nelson show 03
For at least this show the Nelsons (the name of their own band) performed with a group known as the Stone Canyon Band, the name of Ricky's band. Here they are with, from left to right, the lead guitar player, the drummer at the rear of the stage, Gunnar, Matthew and at the far right, the keyboardist. I am sorry that I don't have the names of the band members.

Ricky Nelson show 04
Gunnar playing and singing, with his eyes closed just as Ricky often did. The boys don't sound exactly as Ricky did but it is pretty close.

Ricky Nelson show 05
Matthew playing and singing. I think this is a bass guitar.

Ricky Nelson show 06
At the left is the lead guitarist, who has been with the Nelsons for a long time. Next is Gunnar and Matthew at the right. You can just see the drummer above the cymbal at the rear of the stage.

Ricky Nelson show 07
I liked it when the two boys sung together but they didn't stay in this position very long. They did this maybe half a dozen times but I think I only got two good photos. Here is one of them.

Ricky Nelson show 08
And here is the other one.

Ricky Nelson show 09
It was a bit of a challenge to get the skin tones close to correct. They used a lot of both red and blue lights onstage and neither of those light colors leads to good skin color, as far as I am concerned. The corrections are not perfect but they look better than they did uncorrected. Anyway, here is a last photo from near the end of the show of the two boys together. It was a show that I'd go to see again.

Ricky Nelson show 10
Here is a photo of the main part of the Skagit Valley Casino that I took as I was getting into our car. The multi-story hotel part is out of the photo at the left. This is a pretty big complex and quite striking, looking like a large castle. The freeway exit from I-5 that is closest to our house is #226 and this casino is just off the I-5 at exit 236 so I guess it is about 12 miles from our house. We are not late night people and my free tickets were to the second show that didn't start until 21:30 and we didn't get home until after midnight. But it was good and exciting enough that there was no problem staying awake. Here is another show that if you have the chance to see, especially if you are old enough like us to remember Ricky Nelson, Do It!

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009


"Drop Dead!"- the RiverBelle Theater play

We have been busy. I've posted photos before that were taken at productions put on by the RiverBelle Dinner Theater here in Mount Vernon. We have had reservations for over a month to attend the current production there, a murder comedy called, "Drop Dead!" and we did that last Friday night, along with neighbors, D & B. It was our fourth play to see there and their first. While all of them have been good, they do seem to be getting better and better. Needless to say, we all enjoyed this one very much and are looking forward to seeing many more there. It sure doesn't hurt that the theater is less than two miles from home.

Drop Dead! 00
Here is the cover of the program. It had a couple of actors that we have seen before in other productions here and the director played a major part in filling a couple of roles. Plus he is the real life husband of the actress who played the sister/daughter, Mona.

Drop Dead! 01
This photo shows the brother/son, the director, the new wife of the brother and the stage hand. The play has two acts with a short intermission between them and occurs all in the one setting. The story line has the first half occurring during the final dress rehearsal the night before the opening night and the second half during the opening night.

Drop Dead! 02
Quite a few times during the production the brother goes offstage into the "blue light" and usually comments about the snow. I wasn't sure how the photos taken there would come out but they actually did pretty well.

Drop Dead! 03
The story line has this rather odd family coming together at the home of the parents after the father has been found dead in the library. This photo has the sister/daughter and the new wife of the brother, who it turns out is his 13th. The others have all died.

Drop Dead! 04
The butler is at the left, then the Mother who is 93 years old. The actress is supposedly both hard of hearing and very forgetful of her lines.

Drop Dead! 05
Remember, this is during the rehearsal half so we often have others on the stage. At the left is the author of the screen play who is upset at the way it is being presented and at the right is the one financing the play who also happens to be the father of the actress playing the new young wife. He is also a bit unhappy about some of the goings on that are happening- more later.

Drop Dead! 06
Once the young wife learned about her husband's marriage history, she seemed to be more interested in the butler than the original husband. Here she has lost her dress. I never fully understood the face painting on the butler, but it is different.

Drop Dead! 07
Again, remember this is the rehearsal half. Here the stage hand, who is a little different, is getting consoled by the director while the sister looks on wondering what is going on.

Drop Dead! 08
I like this young lady. She has appeared in four productions at RiverBelle and we have had the privilege of seeing three of them. She plays her roles very well.

Drop Dead! 09
Now the young wife and the butler have been getting a bit frisky and Daddy, the financier of the production, is getting upset. We also have the ace detective who is here to investigate the murder of the Father onstage.

Drop Dead! 10
The sister/daughter and the new wife have a bit of a battle. This is the second time through this scene as the first bottle, a sugar based one, broke rather unbelievably when she smacked it on the head of the sister. I don't think going to a fight with a bottle against a gun is a good thing, but neither of them gets hurt.

Drop Dead! 11
We are now into the second half after the intermission. This is during the first performance for live audiences. The Director came up with the idea of putting a ear receiver on the Mother so she can be given her lines from offstage and he sent the stage hand off to buy one. He came up with this rather large headphone set, and it really doesn't work all that well. Especially when the Mother starts repeating off-stage comments that are not her lines but she is hearing.

Drop Dead! 12
In order to make the role of the Mother work better, the Director dresses himself up in a like outfit and comes onto the stage to play the role. Now we often have two Mother's onstage at once which gets interesting. You also notice the new look of the butler. It seems the financier thought he should be a French Butler, so this is the look he adopted for the second half. Interesting.

Drop Dead! 13
We finally find out who has been killing all of the people- yes there are more than just the Father. It seems the stage hand is the culprit and here he is trying to make his escape while using the young wife as a hostage. He eventually gets captured and it ends well.

I haven't done a very good job of describing the story line and part of that is because I am not sure I fully understand the story line. But that may be a part of the idea- it is kind of a murder mystery farce. Anyway, it was a lot of fun and we are really looking forward to the next production there. I think our neighbors will also try to attend along with us. You don't have to go to the big city to enjoy good live productions. Look around your local community- you'll no doubt find a lot of things that are well worth your support. Go for it!

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