Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Sacrifices We Make...

...for our art.

There are a number of items that fit this category: sacrifices for and to family, in finances, in creative ideas, in bohemian lifestyles…the list goes on.

In a recent post I mentioned how I made a rather quick change in my appearance by losing 5-8 pounds in about a month. I sacrificed food. Not completely, but I ate a lot of rice cakes I’ll tell you, and frankly I don’t know how rice cakes can be labeled a food product in the first place! I made that sacrifice so that I would fit a costume picked for me in the musical review, COLE.

About two weeks before our first rehearsal the small cast was called for a promotional photo shoot. There we were made to wear very nice formal outfits, the men in dazzling black & white tuxedos. My tuxedo was a dashing double breasted winged collar with tails and white tie & vest. However, I felt like a sausage stuffed in that outfit. But I sucked in the gut & stood tall for the modeling session. I knew by the reaction of Sharon, the director, that the spiffy outfits we were wearing would be the very ones chosen for the show. Uh oh! I had to do something…and fast!

I had previous experience in trying to look fit for a show. Last summer I slimmed down to wear a slinky, transparent Carmen Miranda dress with halter top. I looked like a tropical fruit-ka-bob Yes, you can bet my vanity forced me be the best looking Carmen Miranda I could be so I reached an ideal weight suitable for a 6 foot man in drag.

How did I manage to lose the poundage required to fit the tux so that I looked marvelous on stage? The easy answer is I stopped eating and drank gallons of water. But really I ate smaller portions of healthier food, like 6 inch Subway tuna sandwiches, rice cakes, Wheat Thin crackers, anything that would put something in my belly and keep me from being hungry. And I drank a lot of water. No soda. Coffee is a must for me but I limited it to only one cup each morning. But water is an amazing element to rinse the inside of your body. Just be prepared to jump to the restroom every, oh, 15 minutes or so.

So what sacrifices do YOU make for your art? Do you keep a strict diet? Exercise regiment? Botox injections? Leave me a comment and let me know. (Comments can be anonymous for those Botox patients not willing to sacrifice their identity!)

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

EB Knows Omelettes

Ok, I know. Another post about food. But just one more and then on to other subjects pertaining to music & opera. But aside from being one of my favorite subjects, food is important to singers, right? I mean, we must eat to keep up our strength, or forego eating so we fit into our costumes, which is what I recently did for the musical review, Cole. I had to force myself to fit into a pair of tuxedo pants a size smaller than I normally wear, from size 30-something down to a size 30-something. All for the love of theatre, folks. That sounds like a good topic to discuss on my next post.

So now that the show is closed, I feel at liberty to loosen my belt and enjoy some culinary delights. This morning before leaving Spokane for home I was fortunate to dine at the self proclaimed "Spokane's Best Breakfast since 1949", the Knight Diner. One would normally drive right past it and perhaps notice that the diner is simply a passenger railway car built in 1906, much like the ones Presidential candidates used to deliver their candidate speeches.

On a weekend morning one would expect Spokane's best breakfast to be super crowded, especially considering the total seating capacity is only about 24. But my father and I were lucky enough to beat the morning rush and sit right down at bar which runs the length of the diner. All the brass was polished, wooden finish cleaned, and stained glass, well, all stained in their original beautiful colors.

The passenger car has been cleverly renovated with all grill, counter and storage space along one side, one long bar with attached stools separating the 'kitchen' from the guests, and a small walkway behind the guest stools. The diner staff, all wearing pink polos, except the one young high school gentleman with a more macho fuscia, get to know each other very well as they pass by each other behind the bar. There is room only to squeeze past hip to hip, but they've got their system working smoothly, allowing the grill cook to flip flapjacks as a kitchen schmuck passes harassingly close with a tall stack of hot, clean plates. Vicky greets each guest as they enter. When asked if she was the manager, owner, head server, she said, "all of the above." And she does it with amazing dexterity, agility and razor sharp wit. She doesn't take any guff from her customers, nor her workers. I half expected her to mutter Flo's famous line from Mel's Diner, "kiss my grits!" The food is always prepared right in front of the dining guests. One can witness the fresh ingredients pile onto an omelette, and the hand grated hashed browns browning into a bright golden brown. The one thing I was disappointed with was as fresh as all the ingredients are, they only used pre-sliced plain ol' American cheese. I would much prefer a grated sharp cheddar, or Tillamook Swiss.
All meal prices are reasonable, flavor is fabulous and you may not leave without a smile or good conversation with Vicky and the gang, and a famous smile

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Alex, I'll Take Ribs for $1000

Hello, my name is Evil Baritone, and I'm a carnivore. As you remember from my previous post, I enjoy eating the flesh of animals. So it's not often that a carnivore like me, who's been surrounded by Northwest vegetarians for the last 9 years, gets a chance to rip into a plate of barbequed slathered ribs. My chance came today when I made a trip to Spokane, WA. I made a point to visit one of my favorite meat serving restaurants, Tony Roma's - a place for ribs!

Now, TR's used to have roots in Portland, and I do remember a time when I actually tore into the cooked, steaming flesh of baby back ribs beneath at least a half an inch of sweet Carolina sauce. But it seems the vegetarian packs lurking in the great Northwest have run my favorite place for ribs right outta town.

So tonight, this baritone is happy and feeling wave after sweet wave of protien rush. I fear, though, that my dreams will take me to fields where I am chasing prong horned antelope, or clawing after the elusive Impala holding a jar of Texas style BBQ sauce.

Well, looks like broccoli for breakfast. I'm heading back to Vegetarianville. Wish me luck.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sausage Monster

My little Bobo is a true born carnivore. Takes after her dad. That’s me! Yes, Bobo the Klingon has a craving for animal products. She and I can enjoy a heaping stack of babyback ribs, a plateful of greasy bacon, or extra raw horsemeat burger if we ever travel to Hungary.

Goonie, however, takes after her mother. She’s a self-taught vegetarian and prefers to dine on fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Ok, I know I can’t get that one past you. She actually prefers deep fried okra, fruit roll-ups and Kraft Mac & Cheese, and please do not make it the Sponge Bob shape!

I took my girls to eat at kid-friendly Dennys, where they offer delicious and nutritious meals for kids consisting of rocket shaped chicken planks, happy face pancakes, and colored sugar additive that turn water blue, red or green, as well as providing one hell of a sugar rush lasting the entire meal. Not to mention kids eat free on Sunday! SCORE!

The girls decided to order identical meals: cheesy pasta noodles (c’mon it’s mac & cheese!) and a side of grapes. I ordered the meat lovers scramble. Goonie’s quick vegetarian response was, “eeewwwwww!!!” To which little Bobo mimicked and cried, “eeewwwwww!!!” Goonie is so proud to be training little Bobo to become a vegetarian just like her.

Our server placed our food before us on the table about 10 minutes later. By that time the sugar squad duo was in high gear. Goonie stuffed grapes in her mouth, creating chipmunk cheeks. Of course, little sis had to do the same. Yup, you guessed it…one laugh and the grapes flew all over the table.

I noticed, however, that Bobo seemed indifferent to her cheesy mac and was eyeing my plate as I shoved gobs of meat-filled scrambled eggs into my mouth. I knew her secret desire for salty bacon so I offered her a piece. Bobo tasted the bacon, shoved it into her mouth, dropped her fork and walked around to my side of the corner booth and sat very snuggly next to me, looking closer at my plate.

“Do you want some more bacon, Bobo?”

“Mmm hmmm” She says ‘mm hmm’ to just about everything. You could ask her, “are you an alien from Mars,” and she would respond in the affirmative, “mmm hmmm.”

So I give her an entire slice of bacon. Gone.

I’ve only been provided two slices of bacon and the same amount of sausage. I’m already running low on meat products.

“How about a sausage, Bobo?”

“Mmm hmmm.” She took the sausage link, savored a small morsel just to be sure, then I kid you not, she shoved the rest on the link into her mouth, grabed the other link with both hands and gobbled it just like Cookie Monster, “mmmaaarrrhhgghhhmuaahharrrghgghgh!”

After a few chews she swallowed the Tyrannosaurus size bite and said, “Uuuuuurrrrrppp! ‘Coo me!” Which, of course, is ‘excuse me’ in Klingon dialect.

Well, Goonie got a big kick out of Bobo’s production and laughed and giggled with delight. Then did it herself. “Uuuuuurrrrrrrppp!! ‘Scuse me!”

“Uuuuuuurrrrpp!!! “Coo me!!” repeated the Klingon

“Urrrrrrpppp!!!! ‘Scuse me!!!” parroted Goonie.

Oh boy. Despite my attempts to subdue the belching chorus of these two rugrats fueled by a super sugar high, they continued a crescendo of stomach noises until we left, which was pretty promptly after the beginning of the impromptu performance. Meantime, the nice older couple nearby attempting to enjoy a plate of grits & a bowl of prunes gave me the double stink eye. But as we departed said, “they’re so cute.”

“Thanks,” said I. “I taught them everything I know.”

Then without hesitation I provided the coda to the chorus with my signature Daddy fake belch, “UUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRPPPPPPPPPPP!!! Oh!! ‘Scuse me!”

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