Posts Tagged With: comedy


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For a small community, Murphys offers great Little Theatre. The Black Bart Playhouse used to be the home of the Black Bart Players. My husband and I were theatre buffs and at one time belonged to the Fremont Players.  George and I both had acting roles and behind the scenes roles in Fremont and I did a play for the Newark Players, and George did a season with Oakland Reperatory Theatre.  Those were great times and great memories and great friendships made. It was a natural to become supporters of the Black Bart Players when we moved here. We have attended hundreds of theatrical productions, both professional theatre in San Francisco, Santa Clara and even New York City. One of the the best plays I’ve ever seen was God’s Favorite, right here in Murphys by the Black Bart Players when they performed at the old Native Son’s Hall. I no longer remember his name, but the male lead was a local teacher. His performance was stellar and made the play memorable.

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The Accomplice is the product of Murphys Creek Theatre Company and was directed by Maryann Curmi. This twisting, turning plot is full of surprises and comedy and kept me and son, Ken, and daughter-in-law Laurie enthralled to the end. No slapstick, real comedy.

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A comfortable lobby with snacks, beer and wine for sale, makes a night of theatre even more enjoyable. Having been so occupied with my new building in Oregon, I’ve not been to a play in many months.

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Don Bilotti, Maryann Curmi, Paul Del Gatto and Celeste Fiory all have professional theatre credits, so talent is oozing out of this cast and it shows. Not to short the rest of the cast, Joe Conn, Graham Green, and Michelle Low have had gobs of theatre experience from Joe, an East Coast transplant and both Michelle and Graham local work of renown. What I was most impressed with is the number and variety of projects the Murphys Creek Theatre Company employs. Just read the schedule for 2015. There is something for everyone. And, whatever you do, don’t miss ACCOMPLICE. More than a play, its an experience.

The ACCOMPLICE runs Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through April 26th. What a blast. Don’t miss this one.

For tickets you can call 209.728.8422. You can also go to their 

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In yesterday’s blog, I referred to a ceremony that master balloonist, Fergie invited us to attend. We repaired to the motor home, changed clothes and washed up a bit and then found out we were the foil of this little ceremony,  not the observers.  Fergie is, without a doubt,  a genuine character. First he recited the balloonists prayer while everyone doffed their hats.

The winds have welcomed you with softness.
The sun has blessed you with his warm hands.
You have flown so high and so well
that God joined you in laughter
and set you gently back into
the loving arms of Mother Earth.

While we were at attention, we were given a cup of champagne.  And, we were not alone. Lynn and Jim to our right, were also part of the plot. I thought they were regular crew members. I found out   they were part of the veterans motorcycle motorcade from the Freedom Ride, and got invited to fly as we were.

Fergie uses stuffed animals to explain the history of ballooning during  this induction ceremony for newbies.  We gathered from the heckling of the crew during  his speech, he is required to fit every stuffed animal given to him (by them) into the history.  No mean feat.  Technically, I have ridden in a balloon, but it was a fly-by compared to this experience and I gladly submitted to induction. We started out as turkeys or virgins, take your pick. About three  weeks back we visited the ABQ Ballooning Museum and learned about the rich Frenchmen who made the first balloon inspired by a house fire that caused objects to rise high into the air. In Fergie’s version, it was the Parisians ogling of French women whose skirts rose when stepping over a heated vent that inspired the brothers in 1783.

“We’re drinkin’ and drinkin’ and thinkin’ of drinkin'”  (This from the crew.)

And, so the convoluted history continued from the original sheep, duck, and cock proving air was breathable high off the ground. The King of France wanted to sacrifice a  prisoner to try the balloon. The brother’s didn’t want a prisoner to be the first person to fly. He was released instead. In Fergie’s version the prisoner was  the first prisoner to participate in the “early release program.”  And the crews dirty underwear was used to fire the balloon  instead of rotting meat, old shoes, straw and manure.  “We’re drinkin and drinkin…”

It was tough fitting  the stuffed dinosaur into the history,  but the two donkeys better known as asses, became the first haulers of the balloon wagon.  

Fergie, part preacher, actor, comedian,  and all around good guy, getting high on flying and fun. “We are drinkin’ and drinkin’ and thinkin’ about drinkin’  is an essential part of the ceremony.

We kind of learned why his Balloon was named Itsa Touchie Subject, again by some off comments from the crew about “…burning fabric…” and “…a big hole in the balloon” and from event officials, “why doesn’t your balloon have a name?

At the end of the ceremony, we were  pinned as genuine flyers.

Crew member,  Patty,  pinned Jim in the vicinity of his brain.  Fergie pinned me over my heart. It was all in fun, and the crew  enjoyed  the celebration as much as we did.

So, hey, Fergie. What are you gonna to be when you grow up?

My second file of balloon pictures is available in the following link. It takes about two minutes for a full screen slideshow.

Yesterday, we outdid ourselves, putting in a nine-to-five,  visiting four museums, jewelry stores, The Gallup Cultural Center, and the famous El Rancho Hotel.  We leave for Window Rock this morning, so I’ll try and catch up with our last day in Gallup tomorrow morning.

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I get “fun” emails about the differences in today and yesteryear. Yesteryear is always portrayed as the idyllic life compared to today. To be sure, the past has much good stuff to remember, but check out these punishments for school kids. The graphics are marvelous, the punishments suggest kids were to be seen not heard. Obviously no one taught them much about socializing properly. It doesn’t say what they used as a lash. Not that it matters, they probably got treated more harshly at home.

Teachers were also expected to toe the line by rigid societal standards. Marriage for female teachers was unseemly conduct but not for men, of course. If you married, you had to quit your job. Not so long ago, either. I interviewed an “old maid” school teacher from Angels Camp, Bessie McGuiness,  in the 1980’s. She affirmed that it was so, you could not marry, nor even be caught courting if you were a school teacher. The phrase “old maid school teacher” was the rule of the day.

And, a man’s honesty could be questioned if he got shaved in a barber shop. Must be where all the  politicians hung out. You wouldn’t want your teacher to be tainted. And people are against unions?  A 25 cent raise after five years of employment? Could any of us have made economic progress under such authoritarian rules?

And a hundred years ago animal control in Oakland, California, was pretty simple. Boys (not girls) got 25 cents for each cat skin, and 50 cents for each dog skin, they brought in to the back door of the city hall. Gross!

One hundred and thirty-five years ago, came this report from a local newspaper:  “We have just learned that one of our mountaineers last winter, while fishing through a hole in the ice, caught a trout so large it could not be brought through the orifice. The fisherman gently played with his fish and with one hand, took out his Bowie knife and chopped ice with the other and enlarged the hole. Then, with a skillful jerk, he brought out a dead cat with a brick tied to its neck.” 

It was meant to be humorous and it was.  Just another common form of animal control.

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.”   Horace Walpole,  (1717-1797)  A truer reflection of the past than the nostalgic emails I get.  History is fascinating, and often a brutal read.



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