Friday, November 27, 2009

Feel the Heat

Ok, first I have to apologize for how long it has been since I last has been a really long time. In my defense, my computer is down for the count, so I have been relying on the generosity of strangers (no, my castmates) for online access. And I have also just been really lazy.

It is crazy that I have only two weeks left here. I have spent the past couple weeks mourning the approaching end of tour; saying goodbye to the mountains, the Food Co-op, the animals, the quiet, the play, etc. And consequently, I think when it is time to leave, I will be ready. I also really miss everyone in Chicago, not the city so much as the people, and I will be really eager to see everyone and then head to Indy for Christmas.

Since it has been so long since I wrote, and fortunately amazing things happen almost every day out here, I will try to hit some of the highlights of the last month or so.

The first thing that comes to mind is the Glassblowing Art Program in Box Elder, MT. Box Elder is on a reservation and it has the BEST and most comprehensive Arts program I have ever seen anywhere. They have an Industrial Arts wing which teaches vinyl design, wood cutting, leather tooling, furniture building, computer repair, car repair, metal cutting, and welding. They also have a Creative Art wing which houses ( I think this is correct...) one of only three Glass Blowing programs in the country. They also have pottery, batik-making, wood-etching, drawing, painting, air-brushing, ceramics, I could go on and on...

But back to the Glassblowing - they have a studio with three stoves that are running the majority of the year and the head of the program, Tom , says "It's the hottest room in the whole state!" And it is true. These kids are slinging hot glass like it's not really really hot glass. When I first walked in, all I could think of was the competence my high school peers exhibited in the scene shop with a staple gun, and I was very much humbled and afeared. Basically, in a school where the attendance rate is not high, Tom's program keeps kids coming back day after day. As he put it, once you blow some glass and put it in the kiln to sit and cool, you gotta come back to retrieve your glass or it gets put in the scrap bin. It is this important draw that has brought in the funding to build the studio - he told us that most of the furniture (benches and tables) and the tools were handmade by he and the students. Everyone from the cast was so fascinated by the glass blowing that eventually Tom decided we should try and Laura was first up. Now, what was most amazing about this whole experience was the authority and competence that the students exhibited - Tom just sat back and let the students instruct us on what to do. And they were amazing! Tom basically had to kick us out of the school - we stayed the entire day - but he invited us back to retrieve our creations the following day. I didn't blow any glass, but I did end up with a creation that vaguely resembles a glass, so I totally lucked out!

Lets see....Oh! Another fun story: I forget where we were driving to, but we left on Sunday night and spent the hour or so trip talking about Paranormal Activity ( a horror film that came out about a month ago). My understanding is that it's creepiness lies in the idea of ghosts making things move or turn on and off when no one is there. Some of the guys had gone to see it and we were talking about how terrifying it was and our love (or hate) of horror movies in general. It was all good fun until we got to our motel. I had a single that night, so after retrieving my bag from the van, I went to my door and put my key in. My door wouldn't open. I kept turning my key, back and forth, and I knew that the lock was moving because I could hear some hissing sound from inside the room when the lock retracted. I finally shouldered the door and it opened to a normal, dark hotel room. Except for the TV that was on with just static on the screen. I yelled for Steve, who was rooming next to me, and he came and was even more unnerved than I, considering he was one of the people who watched the creepy movie the night before. Therefore we decided we must immediately go round up everyone and make them scared too. So we did and they were. Most of the boys patted me on the back and told me, "Good luck with that." Finally Laura came and I closed the door so that she could walk in and experience it fully. Then I realized I had locked my keys in the room. So Steve was a saint and walked with me to the check-in desk ( which was NOT close to our rooms) and they gave me a new key. It was upon my second entrance into the room that I finally turned the TV off. When I had then turned on every single light in the entire room, I turned the TV back on and there was no static - just a regular old channel. That really creeped me out. Then I noticed the child-sized coffin-like bench that was in my bathroom. It had no apparent purpose. Just a creepy white wooden box attached to the wall. Then I made Chris and Laura and Steve come hang out with me all evening until it was time to go to bed. It was while they were there that we discovered the fine white animal hair that was all over every inch of my bed spread. So we pulled back the bedspread and discovered the highlight of the evening - a felted blanket with ducks on it with pink floral pillows, all covered with a hairy bedspread depicting hunting dogs. I would like to say I slept well, but I didn't - there were goblins having a picnic in the radiator all night - and it was ONLY loud when the lights were off.

Tomorrow we go to Missoula - I will try to be more frequent with my entries in the next two weeks.

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