Saturday, May 2, 2015

Manhattan (Kansas??), ghost stories, a great hair cut and lots and lots of records

McCain Auditorium, Manhattan, KS

The Historic Plains Hotel, Cheyenne, WY

Cheyenne Civic Center, Cheyenne, WY

Fort Collins Lincoln Center, Fort Collins, CO

Pueblo Memorial Hall, Pueblo, CO

Spring? in Cheyenne

Some great wall murals in Fort Collins

Another great mural, Pueblo, CO

The view from the Colorado Springs airport 

Hey everyone!  Things are still pretty busy out here on the road, but we are quickly approaching our first week sit down since Alaska.  We have had a slew of great shows and experiences, but it certainly has been taxing at times.  As this blog starts, it has been quite a few days since we have had a day off, and since we had not moved from one spot.  Here's what happened on our eventful stops this week:

We drove much of the day from Ames, IA back into Kansas, to play at yet another college.  This time, we arrived in Manhattan, KS on the campus of Kansas State.  After a bit of time to just chill at the hotel, the boys and I jumped in our rental car to head to work.  We made it to the McCain Auditorium (above) that night for our meeting, sound check and show; it was a bit of a weird one that night.  To be honest, I think we were all feeling a lot of fatigue, so we were quite ready for a little bit of time off.  I got back to the hotel and was intent on finishing my long overdue Anchorage blog.  After having worked on it for much of the week, I was just ready to get it done and posted.  Just as I went to post it, I realized it hadn't saved....and sure enough, when I went back to fix it, it was completely gone.  A full week's worth of writing completely down the drain.  I contemplated starting again right then and there, but honestly I was pretty pissed off about it.  So, I headed next door to the bowling alley where much of the cast was.  I really wasn't in the greatest mood, but I figured that a drink and a little bowling might make me feel a bit better.  After hanging out for quite a while, I headed home to forget about my blog and get ready for the travel day to follow.  

We had a pretty long drive on Tuesday morning to get to Kansas City, and from there we flew into Denver, with a sizable drive to Cheyenne that night.  I was still reeling a bit from the loss of my blog, and when I had free moments during our travel day, I was working to rewrite and compile everything.  We got into Cheyenne in the early evening, and once we were moved into the historic Plains Hotel (above), I opted for a quick dinner at Jimmy John's next door.  The weather was quite nice, so it seemed as though we had finally happened upon Spring. I hung out in my room for a while that evening before opting to head next door to a bar called the Drunken Skunk for Jeffrey's birthday.  Quite a bit of the cast and crew were there with us, so we had a really fun time hanging out and celebrating with Jeffrey.  They closed the bar relatively early, so it was back to the hotel to rest before the next day.  

The strange mixed bag of weather we experienced the next day was something else.  As it was our only full day in Cheyenne, I had planned to walk around and take pictures.  As I headed out for food shortly before noon, I found that the temperate weather we had had the night before had turned cold.  Not only that, but it started to snow.  The snow was so strange that it was really almost more like sleet, or hail.  I went straight back to the hotel after getting food, pretty disappointed in the day.  I waited for a bit, and suddenly the sun came out.  So, I made my way out quickly to get coffee, and walk around the historic area we were staying in, in order to get pictures before the weather turned bad again.  I stopped by the historic Union Pacific depot next door (above), and walked all over the place taking pictures of the painted boots around, as well as a plethora of old advertisements painted on brick buildings.  I even stopped into the western wear store and ended up getting a jacket I really liked for use in my solo Johnny Cash shows.  It was expensive, but well worth it.  As the weather started to get colder, I went back to my hotel to rest and stay warm before our show that night.  And, I finally finished and successfully posted my Anchorage blog.  I made the walk by myself to the Cheyenne Civic Center (above) that evening, and the cold was almost unbearable.  I was getting pretty sick and tired of the winter weather, and I was quite ready to not have to walk in it any more.  Thankfully I had gotten a coffee along the way at Paramount, which was a coffee shop in what used to be an historic theatre.  However, the coffee was cold by the time I got to the theatre.  We had an amazing and much needed show that night, and afterward many of us headed to back to the Drunken Skunk.  Due to our short travel the next day, we stayed out for quite a bit before heading back to the hotel.  Some people even opted to do karaoke in the hotel bar.  I stopped in for a hot second, and after getting in an argument with the woman running it, who tried to convince me the famous Johnny Cash song "Jacksonville" was originally recorded by June Carter and her first husband, as illustrated in the movie Walk The Line (she, of course, was very much mistaken; don't try and tango with me on the subject of Cash.  YOU.WILL.LOSE), I headed up to my room.  For the night before, and later I learned on this night in question, Skye and Jake were having a much different experience.  Most of us had learned upon check in that the Plains Hotel was notoriously haunted.  But, not everyone had heard that.  Over our two nights in the hotel, Jake and Skye had a lot of otherworldly experiences, exacerbated by the fact that they were close to one such haunted room; the site of a murder suicide in the early part of the 1900's.  Now, if they had just compared notes on their evenings, that would be one thing.  Instead, they both opted to stay together in the same room so as to prove neither of them were crazy.  Neither of them really slept for two nights, and Skye even videotaped much of the events that happened.  I can't even do the stories and events justice, so I will just say that if you want to hear some amazing stories of hauntings, you should ask them.  The icing on the cake of the whole night was when I realized that I had miscalculated my copious note taking, and that that evening had been my 400th performance as Johnny Cash.  Oh well.  At least I figured it out right away.  

The next day brought a short yet eventful drive through a heavy blizzard to get us to Fort Collins, CO.  By the time we got there, the snow had turned to rain, but it was still pretty cold.  Again, we were getting pretty sick of the weather.  Because of that, I stayed in for much of the afternoon and evening before the boys and I headed to the Fort Collins Lincoln Center (above) for the first of our 4 shows there.  Honestly, the audience was pretty lackluster.  We had been hoping for a raucous response, but that is definitely not what we got.  Following the show I headed to the IHOP next door with Jake before turning in for an early evening.  

I woke up pretty early to get a much needed haircut at Scissors and Sinners the next day, and was really taken aback by the amazing people at the place, and the great hair cut I got.  We talked quite a bit about the show, and the fact that seemingly the entire cast would be getting haircuts there.  Skye stopped by for his appointment, and after we were both done we shared an umbrella to head for some lunch at Chipotle, and a coffee at Alley Cat coffee.  He opted to walk back, so I drove back to the hotel.  Along the way I stopped at Bizarre Bazaar, a record store within walking distance from our hotel.  Patrick had told me that they had an abundance of Johnny Cash records, and I was not disappointed.  The problem at this point is, because I am never with my records, I sometimes can't remember which ones I have anymore.  After buying 12, I figured that I should probably head home before buying anything else.  I used the terrible weather that day to my advantage, and opted to do some laundry.  That night brought another funky show, with an audience to match.  It marked the first of a weekend of shows with Jimmy joining us as Jerry Lee.  I again headed back to IHOP with Jake following the show that night, and then headed back to my room.  With all the things I never get to catch up on, I decided to pull up Psycho on my computer and watch it through HDMI on my hotel's tv.  Then it was off to bed early to wait in line the following morning for Record Store Day.  

The folks at Bizarre Bazaar had warned me the day before that people would be in line very early.  As I showed up at the store that morning at 9:15 for a 10AM opening and found myself about 40th in line, I found they were right.  I had a few priorities that morning, and after waiting quite a while to get in, I was a bit disappointed.  For those that don't know, Record Store Day was actually created by the folks at Bullmoose Music in Maine, more specifically, at what I consider my home store, in Scarborough.  It is a day that is meant to encourage people to not only buy vinyl, but to shop at independent record stores.  Over the years, a slew of artists and record labels have started releasing limited edition findings for the day, prompting people to stand in line for these limited releases.  On my list were 3 very specific things.  The new Broadway cast recording of Hedwig and the Angry Inch on pink vinyl, Johnny Cash Live in Prague on red vinyl, and most importantly, the first pressing of Elvis' first recording, never released, My Happiness.  I was only able to get the Hedwig, an odd 45 of the Psycho theme (a bit ironic given my movie choice the night before), and Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska.  I frantically posted on Facebook that I was looking for the other two, and in just a few short hours I had two friends pick them up for me at local stores.  Ah, to have great friends out there!!  Moderately pleased with my purchases, I got some food, coffee, and headed to the closest FedEx to ship out the ridiculous amount of records I had purchased that day before our matinee.  Another weird show followed that afternoon, and after bringing Jake to Scissors and Sinners for a cut, we grabbed some lunch at Chipotle, and then headed BACK to the record store.  Thankfully I escaped without making a purchase.  After a bit of downtime, the boys and I headed back to the theatre that night for our closing show before heading out the next day.  It was the best of the performances we had there, but still a bit weird.  I had a couple of friends there from outside Denver, so we headed to a place called Nick's near our hotel for some food and conversation that night before heading to bed.  

Sunday brought the much dreaded drive into a matinee.  Thankfully, though it was a moderately early morning, the weather for the drive and that greeted us in Pueblo was just gorgeous.  We landed straight at the theatre, and shortly after we were provided with food for the short amount of time we had before sound check.  After eating and taking a quick walk through town to take pictures and get coffee, we started our meeting and sound check and went straight into our matinee at the Pueblo Memorial Hall (above).  Thankfully, with a 3PM matinee, we were done for the day at 5PM.  After the show we all checked into our hotel rooms, and I crashed for a bit.  I went out for dinner a bit later that evening, and found the Shamrock Brewery, as did the majority of the cast.  After a great reuben and a local brew, I laid low for the rest of the evening before heading to bed early. 

So, that is about all from our eventful week.  Our crazy schedule continues with some nice stops in some unexpected places here and there, and of course there is always some excitement with our group.  That's all for now, but please tune back in for news from Texas, Louisiana, and a few other southern stops.  Thanks for reading!!  

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