Thursday, December 13, 2012

Durham, Duke University and a little friendly holiday competition....

Is he cute, or what?

THE Durham Bull

Outside of the Burt's Bees factory

He's a baseball player!

The Durham Performing Arts Center

The Duke University Chapel

The lighting of the Lucky Strike Tower

The Durham Bulls mascot

I'm hiding from cockroaches and bed bugs

Giant family dinner

Billy as Chuck Zayas

 I'm a VERY happy man
I hope this last week treated you all well!  Not to spoil anything, but I will say the week in Durham was pretty uneventful.  That said, I certainly have some stuff to update you on. 
As we left Baltimore, we were all looking forward to the fact that it was our first travel day in weeks with a direct flight.  We didn't really have any plans when we got into Durham, but we knew at the very least we would have most of the evening to relax and explore.  Little did we know....
We arrived in Durham, and took the bus from the tiny airport to our hotel.  Within minutes of our arrival, it became very obvious that the hotel was not up to our standards.  Or, to ANYONE'S standards, for that matter.  I won't tell you the name of it, but it rhymes with EXTENDED STAY AMERICA.  My room was "fine"; I wouldn't say it was great, and I wouldn't say it was clean, but it was ok.  However, the rest of the company experiences cockroaches, bed bugs, dust, general filth, and in one case....NO FURNITURE in the room.  So, it was decided by company management that we would not be staying.  However, that's easier said than done to find a hotel that will immediately take in 28 people for a week.  With time to waste until a new hotel was found, the entire cast and crew made their way to a small German restaurant nearby.  These poor people had no idea what was coming.  They hadn't opened yet, but we waited until they did.  Though it took quite a while to get food, our server was quite nice, and the food was very good.  It may have been annoying travel day, but all of us being able to let off some steam and eat good food together was a great experience.  Later on in the evening, we got the word that we had a new hotel, so we all made our way there. 
The next day I explored the area immediately around the theatre.  The Durham Performing Arts Center is directly across from the American Tobacco Campus; it's a renovated cigarette factory filled with restaurants, cafes, office and retail space.  It's a pretty cool little area.  I got my hair cut at a great little barber shop, American Tabocco Barber, and then walked around taking pictures for quite a while.  Also near the theatre is the Durham Bulls ballpark, home of the team by the same movie, and made famous by the Kevin Costner baseball movie Bull Durham. 
Opening night went extremely well, and the promoters threw us an opening night party at a local restaurant.....probably some of the best food we've gotten at an opening party on the whole tour.  To be honest, a lot of my time in Durham was spent at a large mall nearby.  Not only was I doing a bit of Christmas shopping, but I've been having some problems with my brand new iPad mini.  The problem still hasn't been cleared up, but hopefully soon. 
On Friday, Vince and I went to see the Duke campus.  I've been a Duke basketball fan for a very long time, and I've always heard they have a beautiful campus.  I was not disappointed.  We strolled around for quite a while, but we were most taken with the Duke University Chapel (pictured below).  I had to make some obligatory purchases of Duke schwag. 
Saturday brought the more interesting/exciting things of the week.  In between shows the crew at the DPAC had a potluck cookout for us.  It's always so nice to be able to mingle with the local crew, and share some fantastic food.  After the between show cookout, some of the cast and I headed to the jam room to record a Christmas song.  Strangely, our cast has quite a few friends in the Broadway cast of Once, and they challenged us to a Christmas song battle.  Their first song, White Christmas, was extremely well done, and we knew we needed to turn it up a notch.  So, we recorded our version of Mele Kalikimaka (video below).  Both songs have gotten a great reception, and a lot of buzz on social media, and now we are just awaiting the next installment from the Once cast as we work on OUR next song/video.  Let me tell's gonna be EPIC. 
I'm writing you know from the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia.  I've been here quite a few times, but I've always loved this city.  I'll be looking to see what I haven't gotten to see here before.  AND, we welcome a new cast member this week.....more on that later.  I hope you are having a great week!  Enjoy! 

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