Not fame or history or legacy … not connections or networking or any of the trappings.
What matters is the show. What matters is the audience and how I can reach them. That connection: the love I pour into every moment of preparation and execution. That I leave them with a gift.
I didn’t bleed and cry and agonize over my choices for a sign with my name on it. I didn’t do it for a place on a wall in the future or a dusty statue.
I did it for You. And I did it for Them. I touched Your heart … and I touch thousands more.
I did it for Love. Love rules me and Love should be the only reason.
The trappings can be nice, but they can be traps, too.
I’m grateful for the gift, as I am grateful for You, my love.
Happiness … is the Road.
The journey continues.
Last night I performed at a ‘private’ show, courtesy of Erika Larson. As it turns out the guest of honor was Darren Lynn Bousman, his lovely wife Lauren, and their guests. Darren is the director of Saw 2-4 and Repo! The Genetic Opera. They were gracious and spectacular.
Just as the show started, the back lights in the room went out. It created a very focused element to the performance, and i believe I’d like that to be a thing all the time. Happy accidents, right?
Today I went in for a physical, and then to lunch with Sarah. Clean bill of health: all the vitals are well within normal, even the BP and blood sugar. Full check for STD came up negative, because of course it did. The doc did a bit of fat-shaming, but nothing horrible. We talked about sex and he readily agrees with my therapist … I check out on all the levels. Nothing to be afraid of.
My harem will be so pleased. (In case you missed this bit of sarcasm, check out the last post. Or some of the rumors that got passed around about me …)
I suppose I can laugh about it. Yeah? Right now the majority of my intimacy is expressed in my stories and my growing art. And some of the poetry I send to a special person.
The rest? Well … all is well. Okay?
I’m meditating and writing and not focusing on next week. If anything, my patience is getting a great workout. I’ve got love, I’ve got art … and I’m finally getting some balance.
More soon as the story unfolds.
On New Year’s Eve, while working at the Hat & Hare pub, I was given a phone number. This happens so rarely that it took me quite by surprise. Let me give you the short version.
During the climax of on of my routines, I ask someone to write a word on a playing card, and I attempt to guess the word they wrote. In the lead up, I intuited that the young lady who was participating, let’s call her Claire, had written a name – so i did a bit of fishing. I asked if she had written the name of a crush … and she acknowledged shyly that she had. I realized by her body language that she had, in fact, written my name. I was quite flattered (because blatant flirting does not happen very often to me) and, after the show, we chatted. She gave me her number without being asked and suggested that we text, if I was interested. She seemed sober and sincere (and reasonably close to my age) and so we corresponded over the course of the following week.
Feeling confident, I suggested we meet somewhere and talk over food. It’s a fine way to get to know someone … across a table. Yes, friends and neighbors: I was going on a date. Claire was very enthusiastic at first, happy to see me and full of smiles. She kept repeating that she couldn’t believe her luck. And then …
Over the course of the next couple of hours she became less and less interested. She asked the usual questions about my career and places i’d been, but was very reluctant to discuss her own life. Flags started to go up. Finally I realized the problem: she wanted stage Hannibal, not everyday guy Hannibal. In fact at one point she made the statement, “Well, this was fun, but I think I’ll just be part of your audience.”
It was a mild surprise. I was … a bit hurt. But similar things had happened before, getting to know someone who first me as a performer. We finished the meal up with friendly chatter, but I could tell she was ready to part ways. This happened amicably enough and I drove home just a wee bit sad.
No, I’m not looking for a committed relationship (and this information seemed to make Claire angry a little, because she instantly disqualified what we were doing as being a ‘date’) but I certainly have no objection to exploring romance and intimacy with consenting partners. Part of the consent means liking me for me: both the guy on stage and the not-quite-as-bombastic guy just wanting conversation and connection.
Alas: this time my ‘celebrity’ got in the way.
Early morning, airport … Charlotte. Chats with friends last night have left me extremely lonely.
“You should find someone who can love who you are.” “You should be more social.” “I worry about how isolated you are.”
I hear you … and I don’t really think about it much until you bring it up. This morning I’m tired and weary, and I wish I had someone waiting for me.
Ah, well. I’ll try not to become maudlin. Nothing worse than a maudlin magician.
Very quiet and almost alone.
But when a lady who is interesting and interested calls …
So I had lunch with a captivating and deep young woman who has eyes like sunshine through honey. Those eyes see a lot, and I think they like what they see in me.
Worked on new magic and read a new book (gift from the same lady) and kept breathing. I’m listening to the closing of the year carols and thinking about art. New Year’s Eve will find me at the Magic Castle, doing my dance behind the bar.
Who knows tomorrow? Right now, in this moment … there’s peace for this earth-man.
The Magic Castle, Hollywood, CA
I looked all over for some small sign of my friend. He was nowhere to be found. The places were still there, but there was no trace of him. Not his laughter. Not his spirit. Not his magic.
I sat on the bench where we talked about performance and art. I spent time at the table where we shared favorite books.
He’s just gone. I, selfishly, would have liked more time with him.
I visited Irma to get some perspective: maybe add some music to lift my heart. At the request of another guest, she played “Suicide is Painless”.
Later a stranger, who earlier in the evening had watched my show, gave me food. “I ordered this to go on impulse. I think I’m supposed to give it to you.” Chicken and veggies, quite delightful.
As I went to pay my parking, I was called back inside. A friend requested that I do a small show for his sister, who was celebrating her birthday. We found a private table and … it was good. I told my stories and did my magic for the two of them. I made a boot for her … and she cried, just a little.
It took everything I had. It was worth it. I gave them a bit of me. That’s art, right?
For you, Leeman. For your smile. For your spirit. I found a bit of it, and I gave it to someone. As it should be.
May 17, 2018
Last set of the night at the W.C. Fields bar. I intended to close with the Elf boot story. There was a woman celebrating her birthday, seated in the perfect position on one side … and what all my training told me was the wrong person on the other. This one was brassy and brash, drunkish and slightly confrontational. Not the sort for a more intimate piece like this. But … she was in the perfect spot, and while I might have chosen someone else, my instinct popped up and told me to trust in my ability to control the moment, and in her as an audience member. I’ve learned to let it flow when that instinct nudges me. So i went for it.
When the routine was over, the ‘problem’ spectator was in happy tears. Hugging me and thanking me for making her evening special. “We got a babysitter for our babies and took a night for ourselves. I’ve had a great time, even though I miss them. You just made everything perfect. i’m going to put this boot on a shelf and tell that story over and over …”
Art from the heart. Believe in the power of the love in your gift. Give the best of yourself, even if you doubt the receiver worthy. Give for the sake of giving. Make art for the sake of making it.
Art and love have the power to enrich and change lives.