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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Before the magic...


My last show with The Great Giffoni this past weekend was pretty insane. It was for the 17th Annual FernFest, which takes place in a part of Victoria BC known as "Fernwood". In the heart of this area is the Fernwood Square, which has the Belfry Theatre, and a few cafes, restaurants, and shops. 

The weather went from spitting rain to a soupy, pouring windy mess! I'll believe it's summer on the west coast when I see it, which means I'd have to wait until those 2 weeks in September where I need to break out my portable fan to blow around the warm air and cool things off, along with blowing around the annual fruit flies that circle the middle of my living room.

In the midst of rearranging the layout of the magic show under the tents, and talking with the event coordinators and sound crew, I was asked by someone in a giant raincoat why I was "so dressed up". I informed the raincoat that there would be a magic show, so hang tight and check it out! 

"What kind of magic show?", the raincoat asked. It wasn't necessarily the best time to describe the act when you're trying to set up for it while there's a drum circle blaring at top volume and sage being burnt and is smoking up your face, and it's raining sideways, the tarps between tents are periodically dumping out water, and all I can think is "my accordion cannot get wet!"... and I also thought "why did I wear my sweet little pink satin shoes?" THEN, my friend from Japan - Misato, who I haven't seen in probably 4 years, called out my name and was suddenly in front of me in the midst of it all. She did this once before -surprise me- in a night club in town. She must have magical appearing/disappearing powers.

That was the soggiest magic show I've ever seen on the wet coast! I received great feedback about the show, and the kids loved it! The Great Giffoni and I's composure throughout the show -despite the dreadful weather- I was told was impressive. That's nice to know :)

The Guerrini got home safe and dry.

 

I often have about 15 to 20 minutes of spare time before a show, while The Great Giffoni prepares his magic and amazement, and it is during these moments that these tales come to be my reality. Today, I thought I would share a few stories about what goes on with the Accordion Girl at a magic show with The Great Giffoni...

You know you're on the west coast when...
I arrived at the house for a children's birthday party. Went inside, began to unpack my accordion, and wondered if the kid party guests had arrived yet. They had, they were verrrry quietly playing a game in the kitchen, if you consider origami a game. Next thing I know a sitar is pulled from the corner of the room and the birthday girl's father is strumming away... In comes the crowd of soundless children, all eating plate-fulls of humus, raw veggies and fruit. From my experience, I love a group of sugar infused kids screaming with excitement, I thrive off of it! I want to see them jacked up on cupcakes, hot dogs, and chips! Kool-Aid stained grins make for a good time! Plus, I get to leave well before the sugar crash!


It's my party, and I'll ball my eyes out if I want to
There's the opposite of silent and organic, where the kids are partying it up, and there's a bouncy castle in the backyard, plenty of snacks to nibble on, and of course: The Parental Freak Out.
Parents sometimes lose their cool, and I politely act like I don't notice it happening. The freak out comes from a combination of over-planning or under-planning, too many kids running around high on sugar -oh now I get the raw veggies snack idea!- with not enough adults to keep an eye on them, and probably being tired - which I don't blame them for needing some rest. The freaking out, of course, has a domino effect, and the birthday party stress is passed along to the birthday girl or boy having their own meltdown and crying their eyes out. I hate when this happens :( Alas, it's truly a birthday party when there's cake on the floor, kids are screaming, someone's crying, and Princess Muffin poops - filling the children with so much joy! A pooping chicken gets them every time! "SHE POOPED!" - they all yell!


Spoiler alert
As the show was about to begin, I was tinkering around on a few notes, getting myself in the zone and a young boy asked "What are you doing?" I answered "Getting ready for the magic show!" he replied with telling me he's seen the show and then recites the tricks to all the other kids, before each trick happens. There's always one!

Cute chats
A super cute little boy came up to me right before a show began to ask me, with his big blue eyes looking deeply into mine, "Have you seen "Mary Poppins"?" I answered saying "Yes, I have! What is your favourite part?" the boy stood there thinking for a second and tells me "I like the part when they fly on the bed". I was puzzled, but smiled at this sweetie pie. I think he saw a different movie, "Bedknobs & Broomsticks", but he totally had me smitten!


Boy troubles
As I was getting settled in, about to start the show a sweet little girl came up to me to ask, "Do you like my dress?" "Why yes, I do! It's very pretty, where did you get it?" "My aunt made it..." "Oh wow, that's so nice!" "Ya... but she is living with us now.. because she had too many boyfriends..."


If you can't say anything nice, brag about your misfortunes
As I got myself set up on the stage for this public event, a man involved with running the show began chatting me up. "You were at Disneyland, right?" "Disney World, yes", I answered.
I feel the need to explain the difference between the two. You see, Disneyland is 160 acres, while Walt Disney World is 31,000 acres or 40 square miles. A pretty huge difference!
"I wouldn't want to work for them! They probably brainwash all their employees..." I replied with "Uh, no, and it was a great experience..." trying to lighten his comment to me, and he then continued to tell me about how he turned down a great opportunity with the CBC, and his friend who did work there is now making more in his retirement then he was currently working 40+ hours a week.

Things not to ask a lady
I was waiting in a hallway at a larger event which we were booked for when a man walked by looking at me with wonder. He complimented me on my outfit, and then went on to ask, "So, do you make money as a musician? I mean, is this what you do? Or do you do anything else? And, you can pay the rent?"
You know something, I really enjoy questions like "what kind of events do you perform at?" or "how long have you been performing with the magic show?" or "It must be so much fun performing for children". Those kinds of non-income related questions are quite nice!

Compliments welcomed
For some individuals, boundaries are flexible. I was on a stage, getting ready to start and a man came on to the stage and right up to my face, a very close-talker, to say "ARE YOU EVER BEAUTIFUL!" He was a kind man, with missing teeth and I think he was wearing a muumuu. He also wanted to know if I was going to play any Zydeco tunes, and then left the stage.


Too much information
I had more time to waste before one show, and so I waited in the entrance way near the washer and dryer. A few guests came in and I said "Hello", while I sat on a bench. An older gentleman came in, surprised to see me he asked "Are you the entertainment?" and I answered "Yes, I accompany the magician with my accordion". He sat down next to me, so he could put on his slippers - which had lights in the toes I might add - and then proceeded to tell me about his 70th birthday party, a few years back. Those who threw this party for him hired a stripper to entertain him. He went into great detail, which I'll spare you, about the strippers 'features' and where she did not have hair growing, and what all she did for him. Luckily, The Great Giffoni came over to me, saving me from this conversation.

-------------------------

It's always a pleasure to perform the magic show. I'm off to my next adventure, so we'll see where our paths cross again and when they do the show will be FANTASTICO!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Lions, and chickens, and rabbits, OH MY!


I recently went on a mini road-trip with The Great Giffoni Magic Show. We were invited to perform at the Mayne Inn for the Lion's Club members, on Mayne Island.

I definitely get claustrophobic while living on Vancouver Island. It's a sublime location, a sustainable, blissful, naturally beautiful place, but sometimes you feel a strong pull to get off the island. What do you do? You say to yourself, "I've got to get off this island! ...to another, smaller island!!"

I piled my belongings into the Giffoni-mobile, and who did I find behind me? Some fowl backseat drivers! Bwah haha! 


The bunny rabbit was there too, but kept pretty quiet. You know they're behind you, you can smell them. The Rooster needed to come along for the trip because 1. he loves being on the open road, and 2. he crows every morning, and leaving him at home (without the Giffoni to quiet him) would have been cruel to the neighbors.

We arrived at the Mayne Inn, got situated, and set up for the show. Well, The Great Giffoni set up for the show, as all I need to do is whip out my accordion. The show time came, and the audience at this Lion's party was fantastic! They were ready for us, they wanted to be entertained, and entertain is what the magic show does best!



We each had our own billet for the night, and I was treated to the Fernhill Bed & Breakfast. My room, the Cinnamon Fern room, was Moroccan inspired and left me feeling like a princess. I felt like I was sleeping in a bedroom from a storybook, a cross between what Princess Jasmine and Snow White would call home.






My pictures don't do the room or the property justice. It was a beautiful location, and an incredible landscape. Interesting factoid: the previous owner of this place was Raffi! Sorry Raffi, my children's entertainer adoration is reserved for Mr. Fred Penner :)

The owners of the b&b were so kind and generous to have me, and invited myself and The Great Giffoni for breakfast. Deliciously recommended! It was entertaining for me to arrive in the main house for breakfast, and meet with the other guests of the b&b and have them be bewildered to find out a magician and an accordionist were joining them for breakfast.

I've been to quite a few of the Gulf Islands over the past 5 years, and like small towns, these islands have a unique charm to each of them. My favorites would have to be Pender, Hornby, and now Mayne Island.

Meanwhile, the magic doesn't stop there! The Great Giffoni and I are performing at this weekend's 17th Annual FernFest. This is not to be missed as it will be my last performance in Victoria, British Columbia for some time. If you're in the area come on down to the Fernwood Square for our show on Saturday, June 23rd, 2012 at 3pm!!!


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Smitten Kitten Elvis Pants - UPDATE!


You've been so patient.... so here you go SKEP FANS!!!


Be fierce, and wait for it...


Crush your head, and wait for it...


Duck face, and wait for it...


Ohhh! Here it is!!!


More ways to find SKEP:

Youtube | Facebook | Twitter

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Welcome home


Oh, hello there! Wilkommen, come on in... make yourself at home.

Homes. Yes. Add that to the list of interesting gigs I find myself doing. Why be bored? Variety is the spice of life, baby!

Every once in a while I get a call from some very prestigious real estate agents who hire me to play at their open houses for some exceptional homes, here on Vancouver Island (British Columbia, Canada).

The other day, it was for a home that was selling for 2.9 million. I drove up, and up, and up, and up some more. Finally finding a grand gated entrance, with an exquisite house at the top. I was a bit early, so what better way to burn up some time then to have a private tour from the owner. A beautiful open concept floor plan, complete with an elevator, infinity pool, workshop, a gentle sleeping hound, 10 acres and an incredible view to boot.

The owner, a fashion designer, and German. Sehr gut.

Some of the most unique gigs include riding in the back of a pedicab, or the back of a pick up truck, flat bed, golf cart, hmmm... or maybe the time I did a theatre performance in a women's washroom, busting out from a stall where my accordion and I were hiding on a toilet together.

It's all very interesting, but then again we do play music through stereos, mp3 players, etc, anywhere and everywhere. Why would it be a surprise to see an instrument played live in any kind of location? 

I hear on a regular basis that the accordion is a unique instrument, but I think anything to do with being a performer and entertainer is even more particular. The combination of the two: FUN!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hive Hair Salon

I had the pleasure of lady-posing, with 3 other beauties, for the Hive Hair Photography Exhibit* taking place, as of yesterday - June 2nd 2012, at Mo:Le Restaurant. This exhibit shows the hair and fashion styling, and photography of Ila Angel Marisa Ratcliffe, owner of Hive Hair Salon in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.



*This exhibit runs from June 2nd - July 31st at Mo:Le Restaurant (554 Pandora Ave, Victoria BC) and August 1st - 31st at Bean Around The World (533 Fisgard St, Victoria BC)

For more information, I highly recommend visiting Hive Hair Salon's websites:

hivehair.com
barberandfritz.com

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