Volume 4 Book 4 of
Living in the Bonus Round
Bishop Jim gets a call from the Vatican.
[ Book 4-3 ] -- [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ] [ Pt 5 ] [ Pt 6a 6b ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ]
[ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ] [ Pt 12 ] [ Pt 13 ] -- [ Book 4-5 ]
May 26-31, 2005.
Bishop Brochu.Today we pulled a fast one. Lee Melville invited us to go over to the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles to surprise a room full of critics in town for the National Critics Association meeting. We were joined by our new producers Paul & Murphy, and director Anthony.
He was to dress up in full Bishop's regalia and arrive at the front of the hotel. This was particularly fun since the hotel staff had no idea he wasn't the real thing. OR IS HE???
Lee announced that one of the special guests would not be able to attend but that he had sent an emissary from the church, Bishop Brochu.
Jim swept down the aisle from the back of the room, with me following reverently. He stepped up to the microphone and, in his most stentorian voice, welcomed everyone to "Our City of Angels."
The audience didn't quite know what to make of this since Jim is totally believable as a Bishop, but there were a few snickers in the crowd from local critics who knew us very well. Most, however, stared wide-eyed.
Suddenly, in his best Ethel Merman voice, he started singing, "I HAD A DREAM!!"
This provoked even more startled looks. A few were beginning to realize that this was a put-on, but some wondered if they'd walked into a Fellini movie. Then he quickly shifted gears and we began the "psychiatrist office" scene from The Big Voice, with me as the psychiatrist.
Me: Tell me. Why do you want to be a Bishop?
Jim: Well, I love the black cassock and the scarlet cape!
Me: Ah, the costumes!
Jim: And I love the pretty churches.
Me: The scenery!
Jim: The oils, the essences.
Me: The make-up, the props.
Jim, suddenly shifting back into singing like Ethel to the tune of There's No Business Like Show Business... "And the congregation that gets me when I'm down. The masses, the missals, the mitres, the bells. The Bishop in his golden evening gown..."
Now, everyone had finally caught on and they were laughing hysterically.
We finished the scene with his big singing/dancing scene, and then he said, "And that was two minutes of 'The Big Voice: God or Merman?' Come to North Hollywood and see the other 118 minutes!"
And we swept out of the room and down the staircase.
And, naturally, we caught it all on tape.
Later that night, we did a special performance for local theatre people and I met once again with Linda, the owner of the Avery Schreiber Theatre. I'm going to go down there on Saturday to work with her "Improv 4 Kids" program, video camera in hand. My plan is to make a documentary, but also, now that I'm catching on to this whole "improv movie" thing, I pitched to her the idea of making an improv movie with them.
Speaking of which, I have now finished editing the first part of the new vacation movie, "She's Headed To Rome!" and I must say I'm really starting to get good at this. I think I really have a knack for editing video. I have hours and hours of stuff left to go, but this is really fun. And it's also fun to score. I'm astonished, really, that powerful editing tools are so affordable and accessible.
Meanwhile, back in Europe...
May 10, 2005.
When we first pulled up into the harbor in Monte Carlo, I thought it was really impressive. There was a mist hanging low over the mountains which towered dramatically over the tall, freshly painted apartment buildings. In the center of it all was a castle-like building that I found out later is the world famous casino.
As we got into town, it was indeed as beautiful as it seemed from shore. The bus took us directly to the casino, so we stopped and posed for a shot, of course.
The clock on top of the casino.
A picturesque street.
I started, though, to get a creepy feeling. Up and down the streets were nothing but the most expensive, high-end fashion shops imaginable. In fact, those were the only shops anywhere. Cartier, Lalique, names I never heard of. And to get into the casino, you had to pay a cover charge.
I started to realize that this place was like a big mall. It's okay if you're fabulously wealthy, but if not, then there's really nothing here. Who wants to watch a bunch of Euro sleaze Paris Hiltons walking around acting important, as if they've actually accomplished something by merely being rich? Not that I have anything about being rich, mind you, but trust fund babies are a bore to me. And places where you have to be a gazillionaire just to walk into a store bores me even more.
Here's a "country" that has no agriculture, no exports, nothing except a big, fat casino for people with nothing more to do than spend money. Stop in a cafe and have four beers: $60.
Made me wish I was back in one of those fishing villages in Mexico.
Next stop: Portofino, the most unexpectedly beautiful stop on the cruise.
© 1996-2005 by Steve Schalchlin.You have permission to print from this diary and distribute for use in support groups, schools, or to just give to a friend. You do not have permission to sell it.