The Adventure Continues

TT in the Blue Mountains and Sheldy in New York.

Culture Shock.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Long Beach

I could have sworn I'd never been to Long Beach. But as my bus this morning pulled into the Downtown shopping mall I reeled with the shock of recognition. During the original Sydney run of PRISCILLA in 2007 I was flown to the US to take part in an annual event called "G'day L.A." which promotes all things Australian and exportable such as wine, movies, Ugg boots and, in this case, new musicals. My first duty was to get into full drag at 8 a.m. on a chilly Los Angeles morning ...and lipsync to selections from the Australian cast album played on a ghetto blaster and accompanied by two local dancers (ex-pats Troy Woodcroft and Zac Brazenas) in front of a silver bus parked guessed it...Downtown Long Beach. It was a deeply embarrassing experience as our only audience at that ungodly hour were a couple of drunks who waved their brown paper-wrapped bottles at us and rasped "You go, girls!" as we vigorously bopped to "I Will Survive". Even more bizarrely, another ex-pat performer, Simone De La Rue, with whom I had performed in FAME in Australia seven years earlier, strolled by doing her grocery shopping and executed possibly the biggest triple take I have ever seen. But just as I was giving in to despair and feeling my soul actually leaving my body, a school teacher leading a group of very tiny children paused to take in the curious scene. One little boy suddenly broke away from the others and made a beeline for me, whereupon he took my hands and clambered aboard my outsize "Gumby" shoes, looking up at me expectantly. So I did my disco moves and he stayed planted on my shoes as if I was his favorite Disney ride and we danced and laughed and danced some more until his teacher decided enough was enough and moved the little boy and his classmates on to their destination. I guess I'd blocked out the whole experience until today when I found myself by chance in the exact same spot. And I'm grateful someone took a picture while it was happening. I'd like to think that kid was inspired to be a dancer. Or maybe he works in a shoe store...

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