I left Des Moines EARLY on Monday morning (I was up at 3:30am – yuck!) and flew to Cincinnati where we were playing the Aronoff Center for the week. After lunch at First Watch, I made multiple attempts to leave the hotel and get out and explore on Monday afternoon, but I was so tired from being up so early that I resigned myself to an afternoon/evening on the couch with my cat and some movies.
Load-in went extremely well – the crew finished up in record time. The Aronoff Center is a fairly new building, so there was plenty of space for everything, and the great local crew really made life easy for us. The opening was smooth and the audience loved the show.
On Wednesday, Ryan and I ventured out to Findlay Market, a public market about ten blocks north of our hotel. There weren’t many vendors there as it was late in the day, but we picked up some fish to cook later in the week, and then stopped by the grocery store to gather some other items to go with the fish. The neighborhood north of the hotel gets a little dicey, lots of broken windows and abandoned buildings. It was a shame because the architecture in the area was really amazing. I was too afraid to really even pull out my camera, though – I didn’t want to draw attention. Even the grocery store had a police officer sitting outside, manning the parking lot. It makes me sad to see this sort of thing in so many of the cities we have visited on tour.
Wednesday night was New Year’s Eve. We had a show, but afterwards gathered at Below Zero Lounge for a party thrown by the company. It was a great space and loads of fun. Best expressed in the following photos, I think, rather than words:
New Year’s day was LA-ZY! Ryan and I stayed in our pajamas until we had to go to work. I spent all day editing the photos from the night before and uploading them to Flickr and Facebook. The internet connection at our hotel was ASS so it took way longer than it should have (thank god the internet seems better this week in South Bend). Ryan watched a hockey game on TV.
On Friday we motivated, and went to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, down by the Ohio River. I am so dumb when it comes to geography, so I had no idea that the Ohio River was the divider between North and South, and that slaves that made it over the river were in free territory. Being right over the other side of the river, Cincinnati played a big part in the Underground Railroad. It was such a great afternoon, reading stories and looking at pictures and learning all about that time in history. I definitely recommend a trip if you find yourself in Cincinnati.
On Saturday, we had two shows, and in between, Ryan and I went for dinner at Bootsy’s – a restaurant owned by Bootsy Collins, across the street from the Aronoff Center. It was swankier than we expected, but downstairs there was a display of Bootsy paraphernalia and all along the stairway up to the restaurant, was cover after cover of Rolling Stone magazine. It was very cool – and the food (we had tapas, they also have a sushi bar) was delicious!
On Sunday Ken bought the company pizzas between shows. Cincinnati is his hometown, so he wanted to share a signature Cincinnati treat with us. The pizza was from his favorite in-town pizza place. Last week I also sampled Skyline Chili (eh – not amazing) and Graeter’s ice cream (Yum, yum, yum!!! The black raspberry with chocolate chips IS amazing). Before we dove into the pizza, though, the entire company gathered onstage for a company photo, which I had to take! Talk about nerve-wracking! The lighting was not great onstage so we couldn’t have anyone stand on top of the castle or they would have been in the dark. As it was, the folks in the back were not all that visible. Oh well, I don’t think the photos turned out too badly considering I had about three minutes to set up. We took one shot with the “Support Your Troops” sign, for Nate (our flyman) to send to his brother in Iraq, which I thought was a really sweet idea.
And with that, we closed in Cincinnati and were off to the next stop – South Bend, Indiana. This week we start rehearsals with our new King Arthur, Richard Chamberlain. I can’t believe we only have two weeks left with Jonathan Hadary -I’ll miss him – a fellow knitter!