RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
One time one of my maids came in and wanted to take some pictures in Planet Wallywood. So I dressed her up in a wig and Elvis glasses. This photo still makes me laugh!
I’ve had this song on my mind for weeks, as I was rehearsing it for the Tony Clifton act. And now it won’t leave my head. Tony Orlando and Dawn with “Tie A Yellow Ribbon (‘Round the Old Oak Tree).”
Tuesday the 31st – PATY’S X 2! – For lunch I headed to Paty’s to meet up with some guys I’ve known since the late 90s when I was signed to their Voice Over agency, which was formerly known as Talent Group, Inc. In the early 2000s they changed the name to Vox, Inc. and went independent. And things have been going well for them ever since. As I’m currently on the search for new Voice Over representation I thought it might be nice to get together, have some food and see where they’re at these days, and tell them what I’ve been up to. It was close to a 2 hour lunch, so we had a great time and a lot of fun. I left with a great feeling that Vox was going to be my new Voice Over home. I drove over to my pal Jim Ojala’s effects studio to drop off my master mold so he could make a second foam latex appliance for the upcoming Tony Clifton act I’ll be doing at Monsterpalooza this coming weekend. At the time it was super-secret (the producers wanted his presence to be a surprise) but since it’s already happened by the time this will be published I can talk about it. I stopped by Goodwill to find an ashtray, which is no easy task in this day and age. But I found a set of small plates, and one of them will work perfectly! I stopped by Michael’s to pick up another can of gray paint for the jail cell window prop, which will be used in the Clifton act. I thought I could get by with one can, but I ran out of paint just before I completed it. I got back home and painted the piece, fed the pets, and then sped back to Paty’s once again to meet with Rae, Valerie and Sara for the Clifton act. They’re going to be playing the Tony Clifton chickie babies this weekend, and I wanted to go over a few small pieces of choreography with them. Then I got back home and did a little work, grabbed a short nap, got up later to do my nightly auditions, did some more work on the jail cell window, recorded a Cameo video that someone had ordered, and stuffed the hands of my Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch puppets for this weekend at Monsterpalooza. If they weren’t stuffed they’d look loose and floppy and weird.
Wednesday the 1st – BUTT SERIOUSLY…! – Because colon cancer runs in my family I have to have one of those procedures done every three years. Luckily my last one was in 2019 just before the world melted down, and now that everything is opening up again, I’m due for another one. I finally got around to calling the office and scheduling the appointment for the consultation. By the time I get scheduled for the actual procedure it’ll most likely be in August. I made some other phone calls, worked around the house, and did some packing for my upcoming trip to Monsterpalooza. Since I’m doing the Saturday night party the producers of the convention were nice enough to get me a room at the host hotel so I didn’t need to run back and forth. I walked over to the hardware store to pick up a few more bolts that I needed to complete my jail cell window prop, hit Subway for a sandwich, and then headed home and finished up the jail window piece. I drove over to my seamstress Shelley’s house to pick up two new bowling shirts she made for me; a Cookie Monster shirt (which I’ll use this Saturday when I have my Cookie Monster puppet at Monsterpalooza) and a cool “Wizard of Oz” shirt. I got home and grabbed a short nap, and then got up later for my nightly auditions. I ironed the shirts I’ll be wearing this weekend at the convention, did some more packing, and then went to Denny’s to get my usual order of food to go. I watched another episode of “Circle of Fear” before bed.
Thursday the 2nd – IT’S A GA$$$$! – After a quick telemedicine appointment with my doctor, I did a little work on the computer and then drove to gas up the Mustang. YIKES! It took some searching, but I did find gas for just under $6 a gallon! SHEESH! I stopped by Burger King for lunch, and then hit my buddy Jim’s place to pick up the finished Tony Clifton foam latex appliance. I already had one piece ready, but the make-up guy who will be doing the application said having a second piece would be a good idea. I got home and napped a bit, and then did some more packing for Monsterpalooza. I recorded my nightly auditions, made some spaghetti and watched another episode of “Circle of Fear.”
Friday the 3rd – MONSTERPALOOZA; DAY 1! – There were a few items on my grocery list that I needed to get before I left for the convention. I knew I’d be tired when I got back on Sunday and I wouldn’t be in the mood to shop then. So I darted out to get some supplies, picked up a prescription, and then headed home to finish packing. In addition to all of the Tony Clifton stuff I needed to take for the show, I also brought along Oscar the Grouch and Cookie Monster so I could wander the convention floor over the weekend and have some fun. My assistant Emily came over to get briefed on all the care needed for Roxy and Spook, and then I headed to Pasadena. I got checked in at the hotel, loaded my stuff into the room, and texted a few people to let them know I was on the premises. I unpacked my stuff, and Kenny Myers (the legendary make-up artist) texted me to let me know he was bringing all the stuff to my room to set up the make-up studio. I wouldn’t be using the second of the two beds in my hotel room, so we had the hotel staff remove the second bed so Kenny would have enough room to set up an impromptu make-up studio for the Clifton application Saturday night. While we waited for the staff to arrive we looked out the window at the sea of people already forming outside the Pasadena Convention Center for tickets. It was a beautiful sight! I told Kenny, “Ya know…three years ago we would have looked at all those people and said OH CRAP! But now, the sea of people is a beautiful thing!” And it was just that. It was good to see people gathering again, enthusiastic, and ready to have fun. This was going to be a great weekend! Kenny said he had never seen that many people at a Monsterpalooza Friday night before. He said he suspected they were going to set some sort of attendance record. I suspect the entire weekend will set an attendance record! Kenny, his wife Karen, and their assistants Kris and Jeff set everything up and took off to enjoy the opening of the convention. I got showered up and headed over to the convention myself. It was great seeing old friends (some of whom I hadn’t seen in years!) and all of the booths and merchandise on the convention floor. It felt so good to be normal again, I just couldn’t stop smiling. Not being able to stifle a smile was going to be commonplace this weekend, I feel. I asked the gal at the front desk at the Sheraton how late I could order food from room service, and she said to have my order in no later than 10:45. So at 10:30 I headed back to my room and ordered up a burger and fries. I rehearsed the Clifton act a few times and went to bed. I slept, albeit very uneasily. Saturday was going to be a VERY big day!
Saturday the 4th – MONSTERPALOOZA; DAY 2! – Cookie Monster got stuffed into my shoulder bag and we headed to the convention. I met up with my pal James and gave him his wristband for entry, and we met up with Officer Mark who was there with all his camera gear. Cookie Monster in his Cookie Monsterpalooza shirt was very popular and we posed for a lot of photos and made a lot of people smile. It was great seeing more friends again, getting a lot of awesome photos, and enjoying the convention. The museum was amazing as always, but the thing that literally took my breath away was a life-size version of the old Frankenstein model kit by Aurora that I had as a kid. They 3D scanned an original model kit and printed a life-size version of it, complete with a 10 foot tall long box! It was stunning! But to make it even more accurate, they had a large paint brush and bottles of Testors model paint! I felt like I was the Incredible Shrinking Man and I had found my way into a monster kid’s room! I bought a set of cool “Star Trek” black light posters for the Tranquility Zone, and I also bought a gorgeous Creature from the Black Lagoon button-down shirt. I had seen them advertised on the Monsterpalooza Instagram page and set out to find one once I got there. Mark, James and I went across the street to a Mexican restaurant to have lunch, and we ran into Valerie and Rae. They would be playing the Clifton chickie babies at the show later. Kenny texted me that he wanted to start the make-up at 4:30, so at 3 I headed back to my room and got showered up. As I was getting into make-up my keyboardist David Joyce arrived and loaded his gear into the theatre. He said he did a line test and it all sounded great. Then he stopped by the room to show me some costume ideas. As Kenny worked on my make-up with his assistant Kris, my only problem was remembering not to smile so much. The experience was so amazing (on many different levels) that I wanted to smile all the way through it. But in order for the make-up to go on correctly I had to maintain my composure. But I was smiling inside! Around 6:45 I was almost completely in make-up, with the exception of the wig. I had to go to the theatre to do a sound check with David to make sure everything sounded good and to check out the stage. In order not to spoil the surprise of the make-up, I put a hood over my head and walked to the theatre. Though we didn’t actually get a chance to do a sound check, it was good to see where the steps to the stage were, how the microphones sounded, and to plot the path from the backstage door to my room. Since the Clifton unveiling was going to be a surprise they didn’t want me coming in through the front door. I got back to the room and Kenny, Karen and company were enjoying some room service. They put the wig on me and I was pretty much ready to get into costume. The chickie babies arrived and we did a minimal amount of rehearsing. Then I went into the bathroom and put on the full costume. This would be a memorable day! My Clifton make-up has never looked better, and I finally had the perfect, accurate costume! Our group walked over to the theatre’s backdoor and they ushered us all backstage. Sara lit up a cigarette for me and poured a swallow of Pure Leaf iced tea into a glass. I wanted to walk on stage with a lit cigarette (quite rare in this day and age) and take a slug of “whiskey-looking” liquid before starting the show. The chickie babies planted the props they’ll be using in the show, David took the stage to check the sound on the keyboard and Mark made the opening announcement. The music started, the chickie babies took the stage, the bodyguards followed and I strolled on to the stage as Tony Clifton. What a high! You could tell that half of the room knew the character (as they showed their enthusiasm) and the other half of the room had no idea who it was. Which was rather beautiful, as it played perfectly into Andy’s original concept of the character. Confusion…that was Andy’s goal. We did an even 15 minute act, which was the perfect time. B.J. played Dead Elvis, who was the evening’s emcee, and we had worked out an altercation to close the act. Of course Tony Clifton can’t just leave a stage peacefully, and some sort of commotion is part of the act. It all worked out perfectly! Legendary make-up artist Todd Masters took the stage to accept his lifetime achievement award, and we sat backstage and watched it on the monitors. Once he was off-stage and the KISS tribute band went back on, our group went out to mingle and pose for photos. The after party was sponsored by a company called PPI that sells all sorts of make-up supplies and does a ton of make-up demonstrations all weekend. Scott owns PPI and he was LOVING the whole Clifton thing! We were all having such a great time mingling around with the audience, but Scott said that Kenny wanted me back at the room to do the make-up removal, so we all headed back. Kenny had brought in some young make-up students to do the removal under his supervision. They were all really nice kids. Most everyone left, since it had been such a long day, and I got showered up and dressed so Officer Mark, Miss Connie and I could go grab a late dinner in downtown Pasadena. By the time I got back to the room I was exhausted, but I’m SURE that I went to sleep with a smile on my face!
Sunday the 5th – MONSTERPALOOZA; DAY 3! – Once I got everything packed up I loaded some stuff into my car and checked out of my room. I walked over to the con to meet up with my friend Kayla Cromer, a very talented young actress. I also put Oscar the Grouch in my shoulder bag and took him out to wander the floor. Cookie Monster was very popular on Saturday, but people went CRAZY for Oscar the Grouch! I introduced Kayla to several people and she even did an interview with my pals who host the “Monster Party” podcast. I took a ton of photos with Oscar, and when I needed a break Mark and I went across the street to the Hyatt to have lunch with his wife Connie in the small restaurant there. It was nice and quiet, cool and very chill. By the time we got back to the convention make-up artist Kevin Haney had completed his Barnabas Collins make-up, which was stunning! I saw my friend Pat Jankiewicz again and he told me how much he loved the Clifton act. He had no idea it was me until he heard my voice. Then he said the funniest thing I heard all weekend! He said, “Everything was going well, and then Tony Clifton came in to shit on the room.” I couldn’t stop laughing, and that was my favorite quote of the weekend! My pals Scott and Deverill had been working at the MUD booth all weekend (Make-Up Designory) so I stopped by to say farewell to them before I left. On my way to my car there was still a long line of people waiting to get autographs from the “Scream” cast. Had I thought about it earlier I should have made up a t-shirt to wear with the “Scream” logo on it, but I would have taken out the letter “e” so it just said “SCRAM” – which would have been totally appropriate given that I was with Oscar and that’s his catchphrase! Maybe next year! I had some fun with the people in line posing for pictures with Oscar. Then I got to my car, cranked up the A/C and headed home! Whew! What a great time. It was SO good to see people laughing and having a good time again! I got home and saw the pets, everything was good, I paid Emily and unpacked and showered. Then I hit the hay for a while. It sure felt good. Later I unpacked some more, hung up my new “Star Trek” black light posters, put Oscar and Cookie back where they belong, recorded some auditions, walked Roxy on our late night stroll through the neighborhood, and enjoyed a celebratory cigar to toast the amazing weekend! Since I was at the hotel on Saturday night I made my weekly giant salad and watched an episode of “The Saint” before bed. I think I’ll sleep til Tuesday! What a weekend!
And how was YOUR week??!!
PIX FROM THE WEEK
Until we get the official video of the full Tony Clifton act, here is some fan-shot video of the show, along with some random convention-floor footage with Oscar the Grouch! FUN!