Day 46 – Catching Up Some More and Finally

OK, today is the day I get caught up. We’re now up to the Ottawa Fringe Festival, which was already a week ago. Ottawa was fun – cool people, great crowds, wonderful staff and volunteers – but it was nowhere near the craziness of Montreal, so I can’t really blame that for my falling behind.

My internet access was very limited, though, which was a Hell on Earth that I hope to never experience again.

So…

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Not to give the impression that much of the festival takes place within the confines of the beer tent, but…The Beer Tent (above)

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Julie and Ricardo, from Flamenco con Fusion. In the beer tent.

 

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My sandwich board! In the beer tent.

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Stewart and TJ. Beer tent.

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Beer tent.

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With the dancers from Flamenco con Fusion. Beer tent.

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Oh, wait! NOT the beer tent! This is a mobile coffee station that was in my venue. You close it up and it looks like just another crate full of audio gear, but you open the doors and plug it in, and it’s a lil Starbucks away from home. Coffee tent!

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This is Courtney, aka Poofy du Vey. I take a lot of pictures of her because, unlike me, she always makes a different face.

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Oh, and yes…beer tent.

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This is Jayson. He has a solo show called “Giant Invisible Robot.” He won an award for it – best concept or something – I forgot. It was a great show, though, and deserving of an award, which he is holding in his hand. He wrote down some guy’s email address on the award envelope and it bled through to the award. He has just discovered this. Beer tent.

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Me and Samira, Ottawa Fringe volunteer coordinator. Not the beer tent, but it’s nearby, don’t worry.

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Me and Lucyna, a photographer. She was the first person I handed a flyer to in Ottawa, and she wanted to do a photo shoot with me. It was some Jesus-y thing (I had a crown of barbed wire), that’s why my shirt is off. And because I’m HOT!

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When she sends the photos I’ll paste them here. Oh, sweet anticipation.

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Back to the beer tent. Phew. A group photo was being taken, so I jumped in front of it and took the above shot. This is why I’m so popular.

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And this (above) is why I usually go for the whole deadpan look – see what happens when I show actual emotion? Dork.

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I actually went to this meeting, but was a few minutes late, and the anarchists had a strict policy on no latecomers.

To see more pics from the Ottawa Fringe Festival, click HERE.

 

 

Day 45 (cont) – Still Catching Up (cont)

OK, Montreal – we’ll focus on that for a bit. Last year focus was hard to find in Montreal, but this year I had a new show I was getting off the ground, so I was, well…tired. It was a shame to be in such an amazing city and be so exhausted, but I had stuff to do.

For instance – the mass wedding comes to mind – everyone at the Fringe, as far as I know, married someone or some thing during the evening of the mass wedding, presided over by the producer of the festival, who claims to have some sort of authority in such matters.

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It was really, seriously fun…

There was a mass divorce the next night, but I wasn’t able to make it. I hear it was lightly attended. Probably due to the intensity of the mass wedding AND the mass bachelor / bachelorette party the night before.

Now, some random reflections:

I handed someone my flyer, as I do, and she handed me back a flyer with no words and a strange little drawing.

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“What’s this?”

“It’s my anti-promotion flyer,” she said. It was promoting nothing. I thought this was a great idea. I demanded she sign a copy for me. Then I demanded she let me take pictures of her and her flyer.

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It’s only now, as I review the photos, weeks later, that I realize she was flipping me off. Fair enough.

Each night there was an after-hours Fringe party. After-hours in Montreal means 3 a.m. There was a show called the 13th Hour (1 a.m. technically) hosted by some very talented performers from an improv troupe called Uncalled For Improv. They had a “money wheel” which people gave a spin after doing whatever it is they did. You can see it in the background here, if you focus.

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Some of the possible choices were “11 Second Dance Party, ” “Bottoms Up” and so forth. One night they added “Fire Drill” to the choices. Someone spun the wheel. Fire drill came up. The hosts announced “Everyone out. Fire drill!”

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And everyone in the club stood up (with their drinks), walked down the stairs and into the street.

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Then they went back and continued the evening. Maybe I’m just a bumpkin, but I thought it was about as cool a thing as I could imagine – a packed club all walking outside, en mass, just for the hell of it.

OK, so here I am sleeping again. Goddammit.

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If you happen to A) Be a drag queen and B) play the bagpipes, then you are lucky enough to call yourself the…wait for it…Drag Piper! – a pun that I am so envious of that I am tempted to, well, become a drag queen and learn to play bagpipes. However, it’s been done…

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I know it’s kinda lame to take pictures of your food and make others look at it, but…damn, this was good…

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This is Nicole, stage manager/lighting designer of the highest caliber, and generally all around cool person. I’ll see her again in San Francisco, where’s she’ll be my tech at The Marsh in late September. Oh, and that’s me on the right.

And as long as we’re going for self-absorption critical mass…

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This is me, pre-show, at the Geordie Space. Not at all nervous. Or tired.

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And this is me, pretending to be doing a show at the Geordie Space.

Oh, and here’s me, taking a picture of myself after a sweaty time in the fringe club…

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And here’s the picture that I actually took at that very moment. Yeah, I know, I know…how DO I do it, right?

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Some assorted friends…and assorted mes…

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Now for a few random shots within the random update…

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The sign outside of the Montreal Fringe office.

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No problem there…

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No mention of vans, though, notice?

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I’m trying really hard to give up coffee on this trip, but I’m in the cafe and teh waitress tells me that she just made this coffee by mistake and do I want it? For Free. I’d be a food to ignore such signs. Plus, look at it…what could be more beautiful?

And finally, this bit of wall scribble sums up how I feel about Montreal, the Fringe Fest, and all the people I met there…

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DAY 45 – Still Catching Up

 OK, OK, I’m trying. I’m in Toronto now, with some time off before the Toronto Fringe starts, so I need to catch up with some stuff here. This is day 45 – I’m starting Day 1 as the day that I arrived in Orlando for the Orlando Fringe Festival. Which, by the was, is where I won a Sold Out Award.

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It’s a beautiful little award, a little plastic clappy-hand thing with “Jesus In Montana – Sold Out” written on it with a Sharpie. I’m very proud of it, but not so much when I compare it to the praise given to Greg Landuchi, whose show “Dishpig” won the Patron’s Pick for the venue we shared.

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He got a gnome as an award. I probably didn’t spell his last name right, but too bad. Fucker.

Here’s a pic that Cindy Lopez took that she just sent me.

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She took it in Montreal. I was just pretending to have fallen asleep in my dinner, I swear. Curse you, Montreal!

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Yes, we’re back in Orlando now. I went to Epcot, thanks to the kindness of my awesome host, Lori. She works there.

And here’s the room in her house where I got to stay.

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And here’s evidence that my father was consulted in the designing of Epcot.

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Alas, the Sitting Up Straight While You Eat ride was closed. Because it needed cleaning.

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Oh, look, and here I am in Orlando. Sleeping. Can’t really blame Montreal on this, can I? And yes, I’m wearing the same shirt. Too much chloroform in my laundry, perhaps.

Here are some various Orlando friend moments…maybe you recognize yourself in some of these. Or maybe you recognize yourself in me.

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To see more of my photos from the Orlando Fringe Festival, click HERE.

Catching Up, Part 1

OK, so I seem to have far less time than I thought I would for such things as this page, so I have now officially fallen way behind on an ongoing chronicle of my tour. But I have not given up. Oh no – I will right myself soon enough.

So, a few small offerings from The Ottawa Fringe Festival. First of all, an amazing bit of sandwich board art.

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As you may know from previous posts, I have me some sandwich boards that I’m traveling with, so maybe I notice these things more than others. But check this out – this one has an LED readout on top that is flashing, “SHOW TONIGHT – 10:00.” It was a combination of two of my favorite things – self promotion and blinky things. I spotted this while in the company of some other fringe artists and we had an immediate rush of promo envy.
But maybe sandwich boards don’t interest you all that much. Understandable. How about one of the funniest T-Shirts I have ever seen?

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I don’t know who this guy is, I just asked if I could take a picture of his T-Shirt. He was more than happy to comply.

Or how about the Tall One-Man Show Collective?

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From left to right we have Baba Brinkman (The Rap Canterbury Tales), Jem Rolls (Performance Poet), Me (Guy Who Makes People Pose for Pictures), Keir Cutler (Teaching As You Like It), and TJ Dawe (Maxim and Cosmo). In the front, for scale, is Courtney Cunningham (Poofy Du Vey), an average sized one woman show. Thanks to Montreal Fringe Photochick Cindy Lopez for bringing this tall one man show concept to our attention.

Here we are with our heads close together. Just because.

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And finally – I was standing outside of a coffee shop I noticed this phone pole. This is years and years of trying to get the word out about some thing that someone is doing, or saying, or thinking, so that others can watch, or listen, or read, or just basically know about this thing.

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A dense epicenter of promotion, rusted and beautiful.

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Ottawa Arrival

I’m in Ottawa now, which makes me a bit sad, but only because I REALLY love Montreal, and I have several hundred pictures to prove it. I’ll have to catch up real soon and post some here. I am excited to be switching gears, though, going from doing “American Squatter” to “Jesus In Montana.” And the Ottawa Fringe people have been incredibly wonderful to me so far.

In fact, this is a day that I’ve been looking forward to for a while. This is the day that I do a show tonight, having just done a different show last night.

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It’s a first for me, and I look forward to seeing how it goes. Alas, it will be going at 11:00 tonight, on a Sunday, which doesn’t strike me as the best of all opening times, but we’ll see.

I met someone yesterday who told me that they read my blog about my opening show having a small, non-appreciative audience and it almost dissuaded him from coming. But he did, so from now on I will keep this in mind.

So, tonight I will do an awesome show. If you are thinking about seeing it, then do. Or, better yet, do it without thinking about it.

The other day I was really looking forward to was last Tuesday – that was the day when I had to drive to from Montreal to Ottawa on my day off from the “Squatter” run to do a tech rehearsal of “Jesus” in Ottawa, then drive back that night and continue the run. I don’t know why, but this just seemed so on-the-roady.

Riding along with me was Cara, who is doing a show called Bye Bye Bombay. Here she is navigating, sorta…

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And Julie and Ricardo, who have a show called Flamenco Con Fusion. The were up until 5 the night before, so they aren’t even pretending to navigate.

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About 15 minutes into our trip I felt I should tell them about my van’s little quirk – that it occasionally, and without warning or provocation, stops running. Just stops. You’ll be cruising down the highway at 65, then press on the gas and…nothing. The engine is dead. No more.

I felt I should warn them of this so in case I suddenly yelled GODDAMMIT and started coasting to the shoulder in busy traffic, they’d know what was up. I also hoped that by telling them it would somehow magically keep it from happening.

It worked exactly opposite of what I’d hoped. Less than 10 minutes later…GODDAMMIT!

I coasted to the inside lane. We were going uphill on the highway, not quite all the way out of Montreal yet, so I had to pull over fast. There wasn’t actually a shoulder, though – sort of a half-shoulder. I wedged in there, put the flashers on, and the horns began to blow and the traffic started to knot up.

The thing is, the van always starts again. You just have to wait a few minutes, that’s all. I waited a few minutes. It didn’t. A few more, and it still didn’t. A stalled van in the fast lane of a highway is not the most relaxing environment, but we made the most of it. Given the collective lack of automotive skills, (hey, we’re artists…) the other passengers decided that the reason the van was stalled was because I had yet to give it a name. They settled on Constance. Fair enough. But Constance still refused to budge.

The cops came. It took them a lot longer than I thought it would. They called a tow truck and threw down some road flares, then drove away.

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Soon the guy driving the big flashing arrow truck arrived and parked behind the flares. He told me that the two truck was two minutes away. I ran to the van to tell the others and, just for kicks, turned the key.

IT STARTED!!

I ran back to the arrow truck guy, told him it was running and that I was leaving. He replied (I’m not going to type it out this way, but this needs to be read with a thick French accent), “How do you know she will not die again just over the hill?”

He had both an accent and a point. I contemplated asking him to follow me for a while in his arrow truck – like to Ottawa, maybe – but ran away instead. There was no way Constance was going on a tow truck while she was running. I jumped in, put it in gear and took off. The lane was clear in front of me for a good long way.

We drove to Ottawa, did our technical rehearsals, drove back to Montreal (here we are at the end of our day)…

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…performed for the rest of the week, then drove back to Ottawa, all without incident, and Ottawa is where I now sit, biding my time until my (awesome) 11pm show.

Chez Coolness

There’s this place in Montreal called Chez Jose – a nice little cafe not far from where I’m staying. I sat there a few days ago waiting for my food to arrive and I looked around and realized that I was in an epicenter of cool. Everywhere my eyes landed I saw coolness. So I took some mostly random pictures..

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Cool.

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Cool

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Cool.

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The view from the window (top) and the pic on the right is where I stuck my camera out the window and pointed it at the sky. Both cool.

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And me, a bit tired, but kept alive by the prospect of breakfast.

Montreal “American Squatter” Reviews

I got two reviews in the Montreal press today for “American Squatter.”

From The Hour:

American Squatter (Aspen Comedy Works) Barry Smith – the peripatetic spirit behind 2006’s Jesus in Montana – is back with another hilarious, LSD-soaked journey of self-discovery. A master of understatement and PowerPoint, he employs his family’s home movie collection to dissect how punk music, skateboarding and teenage rebellion against his cleaning-obsessed father led to his “Zen-like state of disarray” as a squatter in London. What sets this production apart is not only Smith’s sharp wit, but his ability to channel laughter’s deeper cathartic powers. See this one. You’ll leave with the Sex Pistols in your head and a desire to occupy abandoned buildings in your heart. 5/5 (Brett Hooton)

And from The Montreal Mirror:

American Squatter

Autobiography triumphs with Barry Smith’s new show (premiering here in Montreal!). American Squatter uses home video clips, snapshots, audio fragments and Smith’s spare, laconic delivery to hilarious effect, as he takes the audience on a tour through his life as the son of a clean-freak father. Rebellion takes the form of the SoCal skate-punk lifestyle, LSD and, finally, a seriously crusty interlude in a London squat. While Smith finds a theme in obsessive self-referentiality, which he calls “self-absorption critical mass,” he never lets it interfere with the joys of a one-man trip through the American ’80s underground zeitgeist. (Venue 3, Geordie Space, 4001 Berri)

Although my favorite so far is from the Montreal Fringe web page for my show, posted there by an audience member named Carly…

“deadpan storytelling has never been better. barry smith is absolutely hilarious and i think i maybe love him. “

Thank you Carly, whoever you are.