Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Bubbles Galore

with 5 comments

Total Black: $373.03
Total Red: $229,875.12

This afternoon had to be the oddest and yet most interesting event that I’ve worked with New World Stages.  For anyone who’s read the chapter “SantaLand Diaries” in David Sedaris’s Holidays on Ice, my day brought a true-life glimpse into his chronicle of life as a Macy’s Elf.  No, I did not play an elf.  It is March after all; the elves are all hibernating.  (Or recovering.)  Instead, I spent the day helping The Gazillion Bubble Show.  The show participated in the Macy’s Flower Show kick-off.  And what a day it was.

It started with a headache.  I awoke feeling hungover, except I hadn’t been drinking.  I suspected it was the onset of a migraine, so I rolled over and tried to sleep it off.  So much for those lofty goals in Working From Home; at least I won’t miss work on Monday as I can get in a full-day working remotely.  At any rate, I got to the theatre for 10am.  We loaded up the van with all sorts of bubble gear—solution, wands, tubes, and more—and headed downtown to Macy’s.  We were met by a Macy’s contact person who directed the van driver to a parking location, walked us over to the stage area, and then escorted us to a performer’s trailer.

The trailer was like movie star trailers you sometimes pass on the streets of New York.  It had a few sofas, tables and chairs, a bathroom—and a bunch of strangers.  We shared the trailer with Care Bears on Fire and three women dressed as flowers.  After relaxing a bit in the back of the trailer—and watching flower women in bright, yellow, full-body leotards navigate the bathroom facilities—we exited the trailer and headed over to the stage to set-up the show.  On the way we passed two black bumble bees on stilts, children dressed as potted plants, and a very out-of-place older drag queen in a blond wig and an extremely short dress who served as an MC of sorts at a second stage a few steps away.  Her raspy, smokey, Harvey-Fierstein voice echoed throughout Herald Square.  Upon arriving at the stage area a few very excited Macy’s people rushed over to us; they seemed as if they had just tossed back a few Ritalin before we arrived.  We set-up the equipment and waited for showtime.

The stage was small so the performer, Deni Yang, opted to use the ground in front of the stage.  The weather was quite windy—and wind is no friend to bubbles—so Deni was somewhat limited in what tricks he could perform.  Eventually, he opted to work mostly with large wands that create huge bubbles.  And the crowd, and the children, loved it!  So much that my task of passing out fliers for the show morphed into wrangling children.  Something about bubbles makes children, and some adults, go crazy.  They were screaming and chasing the bubbles everywhere.  Interesting that everyone loves bubbles—but just so they can pop them.

We had two sets to perform, so in between we hung around the stage a bit.  But then it got really cold, and started to rain a bit, so a crew member with the show and I walked back to the trailer to warm up.  While nibbling a few complementary cookies and sipping some coffee a knock on the door occurred and the trailer door opened.  This live-action Howdy Doody poked his head in.  He wore denim overalls and had a red handkerchief tied around his neck.  Even his cheeks were dotted with fake freckles.  Because of the height of the sofa I was sitting on, I could only see Howdy’s head and upper torso as he leaned into the trailer and looked up at us.  He was looking for John Tartaglia—of ImaginOcean, another show at New World Stages that was performing at the Macy’s kick-off event.  I told Howdy that we left John on stage and for all I knew, he was still there.  He then passed on a message to me to tell John that Jane is Snoopy and she’s looking for him.  I still can’t get the image of one shoulder, a straw-hatted head, and a freckled face relaying that cryptic message.  I felt like I had somehow landed on some children’s television variety show and had to figure out the secret mission of the day.

After the visit from Howdy, we walked back over to the stage area to set-up for the next show.  By then it really started to rain but—as they saying goes—the show must go on.  And on it went.  So all of us stood there under the drizzle watching bubbles.  And popping them.  And once we were through, we packed up the van and drove back to the theatre to unload the equipment.  Just as we finished unloading the equipment, the fire alarm went off and the entire complex had to be evacuated.  Thankfully, shows on Sunday don’t go up until 3pm and there weren’t many people inside.  I had to wait with everyone because I still had to sign out for my event shift.  Once I did, I went back home and back to sleep before having to catch a bus out-of-town for Monday’s interview for the clerkship.

What a day!  Only in New York.

5 Responses

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  1. The tone of your writing changed entirely when describing the theater adventures. You seem so positive and happy about the whole experience (even the goofy parts). Perhaps you should explore a career in the theatre, at least on a part time basis. It’s not unusual for a hobby to parlay itself into a career.


    March 29, 2010 at 11:47

  2. Good luck on your interview today.


    March 29, 2010 at 13:20

  3. Sure, if you take up a career in the theatre you will have a grand old time, lots of fun, giggles, drinks and cute guys. It’ll be hoot in your 20s and 30s. By the time you reach your 40s and need money, real money, to buy things for your old bones need like health insurance, a nice,safe home, support your family – you won’t have the money.


    March 29, 2010 at 21:26

  4. The sad thing is that LoL already has the equivalent of a nice 30 year mortgage sized albatross hanging around his neck.

    So, considering the state of the employment market right now, the nice, safe home and supporting a family don’t seem realistic anyway.

    That’s why I am beginning to really believe if LoL doesn’t qualify for the 10 year public interest loan forgiveness plan then it might be time to move to Paris and find a theater gig over there.

    You don’t climb out from $230k of debt + build up a savings/retirement/buy a home/start a family on $50k per year. It just isn’t fiscally possible, unfortunately.



    March 29, 2010 at 21:50

  5. I wasn’t suggesting that he take up theatre as a full time profession. At least not in his current precarious financial position. But, if he is going to work part time in theatre, he could at least try to have some fun with it and maybe advance to higher paid theatre positions.


    March 29, 2010 at 21:57

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