Usually when we travel, we arrive at our destination the morning of our show. But because trying to fly all the way across the country day-of and expecting nothing to go wrong is about as silly as writing a blog post at 2 a.m. the night before you wake up at the crack of dawn to drive five hours on unfamiliar roads, we arrived in Arroyo Grande last night, which meant that we were able to wake up today and visit the town's famous swinging bridge:
(WOW, a picture would be so great here!)
...Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream Parlor:
(Imagine if I were able to post a picture of it and you could see just how charming it is. You would lose your shit).
...and the soon-to-be world famous Sweet Shop Named Desire:
Our show was on the 617-seat main stage in the Clark Center, which was both beautiful and brand new. When professional photographers take pictures of it at sunset, it looks like this:
It was built entirely with donor money and used by several local high schools for their stage productions. They also program their own season, mostly music, dance and comedy from the looks of it. Some of what came before us this spring, in no particular order:
- The Peking Acrobats
- Yesterday, A Tribute to The Beatles
- The Best of San Francisco Stand-Up Comedy Competition
- Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra
- The Guthrie Family Rides Again With Arlo Guthrie
I wouldn't say our show was quite Peking Acrobats good, but it was definitely Guthrie Family good. Part of that had to do with the amazing parmesan-crusted bread we were given to eat before the show. It was truly the kind of bread you tear in half, only to realize you really want the whole piece, and no matter that it's over on the counter in a Ziploc bag and you're already sitting down.
About 250 people came out to see us. It's weird for a 250-person crowd to feel small, and in a house that size it definitely does, but the audience at the Clark Center more than made up for it be being one of the most focused and energetic we've ever performed for. They even laughed their heads off at our opening blues game*, which last got a laugh in St. Cloud, MN in October, 2009.
As a result, the show was one of the better shows we've done as a group in a long time. We improvised a musical about a couple in the audience that met on MySpace and was married by Elvis. We invented a story about a coroner cursed with incredible longevity, doomed to embalm and plaster makeup on the faces of each of his friends and loved ones, one by one. And we closed with a scene about bong juice, in which I tried and failed to make generic reggae sound convincing on a grand piano.
I wish we could stay here for an extended run, but tomorrow we're off to Modesto, which seems to be a dirty word out here, for some reason. Whatever. I have a feeling I'll be pleasantly surprised.
Tomorrow: I give the Gallo Center in Modesto, CA the Youngblog treatment.
Hey look, I found a picture of the swinging bridge!
*More on this tomorrow, and the other improv games we play, including a very special discussion of playwrights.