Friday, July 29, 2011

ROBBLOG #296 W E E K E N D Edition

I am tired.
We finished the run of Norm Foster's "Looking" in Gravenhurst at the Opera House on Thursday.
We had big houses.
Larger than we had at the Studio Theatre in Orillia back in February.
The OP in Gravenhurst tells us that we have been the biggest summer show- as far as audience numbesr, that they have had in recent years!
How's that Orillia?
Sorry you didn't come now to support some Orillia-based actors and stage folk?
Not to worry.
It wasn't just you that stayed away.
There was no amount of- "You scatch my back and I'll scratch yours".
For some, the show like it didn't even exist.
Like acknowledging that some "Orillia Theatre People" were presenting a show in Gravenhurst was akin to cuddling up to the "evil dead".
An shot of the CAST in Rehearsal last winter!
Oh- but the marvelous troupe of out-of-town actors populating "local" summer theatre were the "bee's knees".

To be fair many people did come and many had seen the show in Orillia but raved about the new set and look of "Looking".
Thanks for that.
It was really appreciated.

I could count on one hand the number of MAT people who came to the show and we have all been on MAT stages- some of us for many years!
As Andy's character says in "Looking"- "Thanks Matt!"
Of course, few MAT people support their members in other endeavors anyway.

I'll stop there. We had a wonderful time in Gravenhurst.
The audiences were fabulous!
The Opera House staff were all very accommodating and nobody...nobody stood over us telling us do this, do that and don't ever do this thing!
It was refreshing to say the least.


Hey, it's a Civic Holiday Weekend! I started the weekend on a rather high note. Tom and I hosted 40 people at my 60th Birthday celebrations out at Casino Rama FRiday- in the Firestarter Lounge.
It was wonderful.
The food was great.
The service top-notch and my Birthday Cake was a "chocolate orgazam".
Two hundred dollars worth of Chocolate.

So onwards now.
I am 60.
Can't change that.
I am told I don't look 60.
That's a relief.
I don't feel it either.

As one friend said- "Rob, you're ass won't fall off at 60!"
Another said- "The way I figure it, you got 20 good years left!"
Are those supposed to be words to live by or something?
Oh well.
I laughed and life goes on.

Have a great weekend!

Oh- one last thing...
Why not enjoy Summertime and Swisssh Radio?
Sssummer doesn't get any better.
How can it?

All your Favourites. 24/7.
Music from local artists, Broadway Shows and more!
Great artists such as Ian and Sylvia, Barenaked Ladies, Lily Allen, Gordon Lightfoot, Quartette, Lady Ga Ga, Bert Kaempfert, The Supremes, Little Caesar and the Consuls, Pat Hervey, Bobby Curtola, Four Tops, The Beatles, Petula Clark, Denzel Sinclair and many, many more.

Special shows on Swisssh Radio include:

The Vinyl Vault (Saturdays at 10a.m. Tuesdays at 8PM)
The Songwriter's Search(weekdays)
Takin' Ya Back with Kurt David (Saturday at11a.m.& Wednesday Evenings at 8PM)
The Story Lady- Quirky yet cute!
Plus- Chickenman! The Winged Weekend Warrior- heard throughout the day.

Listen to what you're missing.
Swisssh Radio... We. Play. Favourites!
or on
Windows Media Player,

Monday, July 25, 2011


Finally some rain.

Hard, heavy rain.
Things are green again after we wasted tons of H2O on our gardens and lawns the past few days.
It had to be done because our "lillies" were gasping and the clemantis were drooping.

Thought I would drop a couple of lines this morning.
Hey, do you know I had 1500 people view my Rob Blog last Month.
That's a fairly respectable number- don't you think?

Speaking of numbers, Swisssh Rdaio listenership has broken a few records this past week and continues to do so today. The station has been listed on the Internet Rdaio Guide within the Windows Media Player for a couple of years now.

Anyway, a week ago I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw how listenership had gone up- suddenly.
I checked the Windows Player Guide on the Windows Media PLayer, where you'll see a tab for Internet Radio and there was Swisssh Rdaio- an "Editor's Pick".
We are keeping good company too- BBC World, A South Florida Classical Station and a Hard Rock station. Just 4 Editor's Picks!

Listeners from all over the world are tuning in...just not in Canada very much. At least not on the Windows 128k feed. I do see people from Winnipeg, Comox, Kitchener, Montreal, Hope, Edmonton, Richmond Hill, Toronto and others communities tuning in but not in the numbers from Italy, the U.S. and even Turkey!

It's amazing to say the least.
I have never had 100 concurrent listeners in the 4 and a half years for Swisssh Radio being on-air but I nudged that number a few times. Even at 6:30 this morning there were 80 some listeners.
The listeners change throughout the day as the world spins.

I would think hundreds have tuned in every 24 hour period.
Will it last?

My other server also has had a dramatic rise but I can't see where the listeners come from as far as city and country names.

So, it's been fun. One day, I'll type out all the names of cities that have listened to Swisssh Radio or visited the website
The site alone has had a couple of thousand more views over the past week than normal. Even this Blog has had more readers because of the link on Swisssh the Website.

It's all very exciting.

Oh yes, one more bit of excitement to cap this week.
I have a "major" Birthday on Friday.
~gulp~ 60!
How the hell did that happen?
It seems like I was just 45 a few months ago. I'll have some thoughs on that later in the week. I am having what I am calling a "Big Gay Celebration" at the Casino on Friday.
I think I scared a few people away with the invite.
They are imagining Drag Queens and semi-naked Go Go Boys Dancing on phallus-shaped pillars.
Not the case- unfortunately, however, I'd never say no to a fabulous Drag Queen or a well-toned Go Go Boy showing up at the party!

In the meantime, our show "Looking" runs it final week on the Gravenhurst Opera House Stage.
Info is below! The audiences have been great! Many from Orillia have already made the northbound trek and I know there are others who will this week.

The "Looking" cast & crew on Stage after a show at the Gravenhurst OP
The Norm Foster comedy "Looking" is now playing at the Gravenhurst Opera House. Fellow cast members Patti Scott (Nina), Phyllis Johnson (Val) and Jim Dwyer (Andy) and Me- as Matt, are having a hell of a good time presenting this show for you once again.
This time, the production company is Group Theatre Productions in association with the Gravenhurst Opera House. Come in from the heat and enjoy a couple of hours of laughter.
It's the best medicine!
Beats the heat too!
We've been involved in this show since last October, performing it at the Studio Theatre at the Orillia Opera House for MAT back in February. Now Group Theatre is giving us a chance to have fun all over again.
The cast and crew is still laughing at the situations and dialogue.

If you missed it in February, come see it for the first time.
If you saw it then, come and see it again- and bring your friends. Dine before the show at a Gravenhurst Restaurant.
Rombos- just like Orillia, is there opposite the theatre with an outdoor patio. You'll find familiar fast food stops like McDonalds, Tim Horton's and Boston Pizza are all in Gravenhurst. The latter at the Wharf.
The set- by Jim Dwyer is all new.
So is the lighting design.
There are even some "refreshing" twists to the look of this re-staged show.
Tom Ruechel is Stage Manager, with Lisa McKinzey as Assistant Stage Manager. Shimera Dione handles our Hair and Makeup.
You'll hear "Emily Darling's" sound bites. Emily is her real name but Darling isn't.
We just added her "new" last name, since we always refer to her as "Emily Darling" anyway.
Jason helps out backstage.
Details are at
or phone the Box Office 705.687.5550
W still run July 26, 27 and 28.
Once you're on Number 11 outside of Orillia, it's a 20 minute drive. Mid-week too , so the traffic isn't quite so busy.

Remember too, it's a 7:30 Curtain!

See you at the theatre!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

ROBBLOG #295 W E E K E N D Edition

Just a little update for the weekend.

It's the end of five days in a row at the Gravenhurst Opera House.
We started with the "Tech run" last Sunday through Dress Rehearsal and then three shows!
We are pooped!
Thursday night the heat and humidity on stage was a real bummer.
The stage lights were like 6 or 7 "tiny" suns.
It was very warm.

The audiences have been great, however. Many from Orillia have made the northbound trek.
Working on the Gravenhurst OP stage has been rewarding too. Our audience numbers are surpasssing what we did in the Studio Theatre in Orillia last February.
Well, really-
A professional production and Summer Theatre in Muskoka.
How can you lose?
We have had great press up there and radio advertising too.
Here in town, even Randy Lucenti at the Packet printed a story about "Looking"- that I had written.
Pictures too.
The "Looking" cast & crew on Stage after a show at the Gravenhurst OP
Swartz- a local entertainment writer, managed a couple of lines this week- like an afterthought- even though 6 of us are from Orillia and have worked on Orillia stages for many years.
Thanks John...
Not enough room for other "local" productions and us too- I suppose.
I know. It's an out-of-town gig but really Gravenhurst?
It's 20 minutes from Orillia.
A tad further than Coldwater and closer than Midland.
Takes less time to drive there, than it does heading up to Wal*Mart from downtown on a Friday afternoon.
Gas is way cheap too.
$1.16 a litre.
It's worth the drive for the gas.
Oh well...

Oh yes.
He called "looking" a Neil Simon play.
Thanks John.
It's a Norm Foster play.
The info was right in th e-mail and published in the Packet.

Orillia Today ignored us- completely.
C'mon, eh?

Group Theatre Productions who are doing "Looking" has done 25 productions over the years.
Last year and the year before it was "Tuesday's with Morrie".
That show even played the Orillia Opera House.
No, not in conjunction with the Orillia Opera House like in Gravenhurst, Group Theatre had to book themselves in to teh Studio Theatre.

So, where are the local reporters digging up the "angle" that we're 6 Orillians getting paid real dollars to do a professonal production that we did for "free" five months ago? That''s probably why.
Professional Theatre that doesn't pay for an ad gets no free space.
It's a rule, I guess.
Am I bitter.
Not at all.
It's just the way things work.
We are having way too much fun!

So what follows, is just some more information about the show.

The Norm Foster comedy "Looking" is now playing at the Gravenhurst Opera House. Fellow cast members Patti Scott (Nina), Phyllis Johnson (Val) and Jim Dwyer (Andy) and Me- as Matt, are having a hell of a good time presenting this show for you once again.

This time, the production company is Group Theatre Productions in association with the Gravenhurst Opera House. Come in from the heat and enjoy a couple of hours of laughter.
It's the best medicine!
Beats the heat too!

We've been involved in this show since last October, performing it at the Studio Theatre at the Orillia Opera House for MAT back in February. Now Group Theatre is giving us a chance to have fun all over again.
The cast and crew is still laughing at the situations and dialogue.

If you missed it in February, come see it for the first time.
If you saw it then, come and see it again- and bring your friends. Dine before the show at a Gravenhurst Restaurant.
Rombos- just like Orillia, is there opposite the theatre with an outdoor patio. You'll find familiar fast food stops like McDonalds, Tim Horton's and Boston Pizza are all in Gravenhurst. The latter at the Wharf.

The set- by Jim Dwyer is all new.
So is the lighting design.
There are even some "refreshing" twists to the look of this re-staged show.

Tom Ruechel is Stage Manager, with Lisa McKinzey as Assistant Stage Manager. Shimera Dione handles our Hair and Makeup.
You'll hear "Emily Darling's" sound bites. Emily is her real name but Darling isn't.
We just added her "new" last name, since we always refer to her as "Emily Darling" anyway.
Jason helps out backstage.

Details are at
or phone the Box Office 705.687.5550

Our first week is done but we still run July 26, 27 and 28.
Once you're on Number 11 outside of Orillia, it's a 20 minute drive. Mid-week too , so the traffic isn't quite so busy.

Remember too, it's a 7:30 Curtain!

If you don't see many new Blogs here until after July 28th, you'll know why.
I am just too busy!

See you at the theatre!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Readers Please NOTE:
A postscript appears at the bottom of today's BLOG. Added at 1400 Monday July 18, 2011

This has got to be a short Rob Blog.
I need my rest.
It's been a busy few days.
Rehearsals for “Looking” the Norm Foster comedy- of which I am a part, opens Tuesday at the Gravenhurst Opera House.
It's the same cast we had back in February in Orillia. Patti Scott, Phyllis Johnson, Jim Dwyer and little ole me. Three of the same backstage folks- Tom Ruechel (Stage Manager), Lisa McKinzey (ASM) and Shimera Dione (Hair and Makeup) are there to make the show so great too! We are joined by a couple of Group Theatre Folks- including Emily, plus there's Shane from the Town of Gravenhurst. He's also a Casino Rama. Boy! The lighting for this show is absolutely top-notch. Not to mention the set design done by one of the Group Theatre's Producers- namely Jim Dwyer (Yes he's an actor in the show too!)
We have had several rehearsals and a very long Tech Day which continued into the following day- there's that much to do! Now we approach the Dress Rehearsal which for you lay folks means we run the entire show from top to bottom- costumes, makeup, lights and sound. Everything but an audience in the house.Sometimes an individual or two are invited by cast, crew or producers. It helps when you get a chuckle or two before the “real” audiences come pouring in.
We really hope the audiences come pouring into the marvellous Gravenhurst Opera House located right on Gravenhurst's picturesque Main Street- right next to the Norman Bethune Statue. It's a wonerful old building with a bunch of up-to-date touches- especially where the stage, lighting and facilities are concerned. The main house seats about 300. Downstairs is a bar and another large area where a dinner theatre will take place following our show.
It's less than a half hour drive to the theatre from Orillia.
No, really!
L-R: Me and Jim
Norm Foster is one of Canada's best- and funniest, playwrights and this show upholds him that title. The cast and many of the crew have been working on this show since late last fall.
We ran for two weeks in December at the Studio Theatre at the Orillia Opera House under the banner of MAT and direction of Dave Graham. Now Group Theatre Productions in association with the Gravenhurst Opera House has invited- read “hired”, us to repeat the show as part of their Summer Season 2011.
It is going to be a “fun” run.
Come on out for the laughs.
So, several folks have asked- “How come you're not doing the show for the Summer Crowd at the Opera House in Orillia?
I dunno.
Well, I do, really. We weren't asked.
Anyway, local summer theatre in Orillia means bringing in actors who live- for the most part out of town.
Big City folk, I guess.
I could be wrong but I don't believe local auditions were held this year.
L-R: Patti & Phyllis
Now, in Gravenhurst I suppose Muskoka Folks could ask the same question- why aren't more local people involved.
The answer is- many are.
I understand the Gravenhurst Opera House has made it a policy to use local actors and professional production companies who live and work locally.
What a hell of a good idea!

There's also not the same stack of rules and regulations in Gravenhurst- at least there doesn't seem to be, as one finds in Orillia.
No one stands over you pointing or shaking fingers.
Don't do this!
Don't do that!
Stop smiling.
Don't go here. Don't go there! Ever!
Don't put that there- although sometimes things have to be switched around just a bit. It's all in teh way it's handled.
We are there to work and help each other.

Now, the Gravenhurst Opera House is not without regulations for fire and safety, it just doesn't seem to hang over the Actor's and Backstage Crew's collective heads like the Orillia Opera House. Staff I have met are just downright friendlier as well. (see Postscript below)
The job gets done.
Reminders are just that- reminders.
Nobody nags at you!

Anyway- apples and oranges.

Just come to our lovely, friendly, humorous Norm Foster comedy called “Looking”. Hey, we'll all hang around after the show and sign your programmes too. The show runs on various dates from July 19 through 28.
Check for the availability.
Info and tickets at
The Box Office is 705.687.5550.
We'll be “Looking” for you!!


So, Ladies and Gentlemen after a full day on Sunday of putting the set together, doing lights and a cue-to-cue the Manager of the Gravenhurst Opera House waltzes down Monday morning to tell the Lighting Technician, the Stage Manager and the Assistant Stage Manager that the set would have to come down after Monday Night's Dress Rehearsal because he has a local "group" using the theatre Tuesday Morning and they need the stage.

Actually- from what I understand, he pretty much forgot that the "Looking" Show was booked in this week and next- even though the Marquee out front shows it is on stage. He sent the original lighting technician elsewhere on Sunday. The very day the Prodcution needed him.
Yes he gets paid by the Town of Gravenhurst for his work.
Apparently he doesn't like answering his phone if someone takes issue with what he has done and yes, he did get us another lighting technician- a very good technician but just the same...

We must give him that.
Don't sweat the small stuff. It's all small stuff!

So, now, I take back some of my comments, eat my words or just simply tell you that that Manager at the OP is .....~ahem~
Well, you fill in the blanks.
I am TOO much of a "lady" to say...

You gotta love the theatre.
Never a dull moment.
Just  a few knives that need sharpening!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

ROBBLOG # 292 W E E K E N D Edition

It was a perfect summer day.

A gentle breeze off Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe. A brilliant sun- heavy on the UV rays. No humidity. Just a nice all encompassing warmth.

I was on my bike and had rode all the way to Tudhope Park and encircled Barnfield Point. I could see the whitecaps on Cooch. As I rounded the tip of Barnfield Point, I could see surfboards and sailboats everywhere as I look out across the lake.

Lots of people.
Same thing?
Tourists are carefree. They yak and yell at their kids.
They throw cigarette butts to the ground, pretending not to litter.
They yank their dogs along on short leashes. They seem like a bother to them.
Poor puppies. Warm in their fur coats.
Long, pink tongues hanging way down.
Their heads bowed as if to say- “Don't yell at me Mum. I'm on vacation too! I just want a quick sniff”

I made my way back towards Couchiching Beach keeping a wary eye for “tourists” who don't pay attention as they walk across the trail, neither looking left nor right. There was a lady pushing another lady in a wheelchair towards a wheel trans bus. She walked out from behind a parked van and right in front of me.
I throw on my brakes.
Touching my left foot to the pavement I come to a stop- almost falling off my bike, just barely missing a 4x4 sign post.
Do I get a response from the lady pushing the chair?
She barely knew I existed- even though she looked up at me with a startled expression.

Further along I pass two guys laying in the sun on a patch of green grass that hadn't yet been yellowed to the colour of wheat field.
One guy is “lily-white” and smooth.
Hope he had sunblock on.
The other- who could almost pass for his twin, was brown as toast, his chest and abdomen artistically covered in thick, brown fur.
Hello Daddy!- I thought from behind my Raybans.

I peddled along briskly- yet cautiously.
There were a few more older folks strolling along the path in the wrong direction, oblivious to the rollerbladers and bicyclists whizzing by. They were watching a sailboat gently rolling on a series of waves that were left by a passing motorboat.

The trail crossed the boat launch and wound around a pair of Maple trees.
What a beautiful day!
Then, just ahead on my right, I saw a lady relaxing in a lawn chair just a foot or two from the trail's edge. Her manicured and brightly coloured toes resting on the seat of a picnic table pulled up in front of where she sat. Her right hand was propped up against her right cheek. She appeared to be looking out into the waters of the Port of Orillia. As I came closer my initial thought was-
Oh, there's Olive. I hadn't seen her down at the Park before- at least not on her own.

Suddenly, I was dumbstruck.

Olive had passed from Cancer nine months ago.
My God!
This woman was a copy. Identical posture.
Manicured nails.
Same hair- both style and colour.
Dangling, golden earrings.
Powder blue sweater with white peddle-pushers- that's what I call them. You know, those pants that Laura Petrie always wore on the Dick Van Dyke Show.
She had a huge handbag perched on the seat of the picnic table. On the top of the table- well within reach, sat a can of potato chips and a bottle of Coke.

I slowed down and stared.
She didn't move.
I expected her to turn around and say-
Oh, Hello Dear!” in that special, warm “Olive” voice.
It didn't happen.
I peddled on slowly but I kept turning back. She hadn't moved.
My mind swirled.

In another minute, I rounded the curve at the tiny train station near the Water Filtration Plant. I looked back across the park as I turned and saw “her” still sitting there.
What if...
What if only I could see her?
What if it was a request she had made on the other side?
Just to sit on a perfect summer day and gaze out across the blue water- even for a few minutes.
A few minutes is a long time in the next plane.
Maybe she never expected to see someone she knew- or knew her.
What if there was a major rule when you slipped back to visit this side: You cannot allow anyone you know to see you or speak with anyone who might know you.
I couldn't stand it any longer.
I had to take another look.

I turned left into the parking lot and rode across the grass near the Seymour Conservatory. Past the statue with the now silent fountains called- ”Somebody's Mother”. Then, over the road and straight across the wide patch of green that led to the trail and the spot where the women had been sitting only a few minutes ago.

I peddled up to a bench in the area where I had seen her, sitting there relaxing on her lawn chair. I balanced myself- still sitting on my bike, by placing my left foot on the edge of the bench. Now where was she exactly?
I looked left.
I looked right.
She was nowhere to be seen.
How could she have left the area so quickly?
She had been sitting there only a short couple of minutes ago
I saw her from across the park.
No one was seated close to her. It had just been her. The woman that resembled Olive, sitting there- alone.

I couldn't figure it out.
I looked out across the port's waters. The sailboat I had seen earlier was just passing by.
Where could she have gone?
I just sat there on my bike. Bewildered.
Had it been a dream?
I couldn't be sure.

Suddenly, there was a soft whisper in my right ear.
I turned around- still seated on my bike.
There was only silence.
Next, a gentle, tender brush of a hand crossed my cheek.
Finally, a light breath of warm air.
I shivered for a moment.
The warmth trailed away.

A child screamed as he caught a beach ball.
Bicycles rode past.
A dog barked.
A boat raced into the Port.

Tears began to roll down my cheeks from behind my Raybans.
An overpowering feeling of sadness was soon followed by euphoria. The sun was shining brightly as the lake breezes tussled my hair and dried the tears upon my cheeks.

I pushed off from the bench and rode for home.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


The shit should be hitting Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's fan anytime now.

After the big, bulbous, buffoon totally ignored the Toronto Pride Celebrations- even though the flag- raising was right in City Hall's front yard, Ford has now thrown his support behind- and it's a big one, what used to be Caribanna. Caribanna has be re-named. It's called something else. Something about a Caribbean Celebration etc. The name's too long and too cumbersome to commit to memory.

Now, if good old Mr. Ford was embarrassed about seeing exposed skin at Pride, he sure is lapping it up at The Toronto Caribbean Fest. A picture shows a smiling Mayor doing what appears to be either the “chicken dance” or the “Twist” with a scantily clad young woman doffed in feathers. Looks a lot like the Pride Parade to me, only the scantily clad young woman could be a scantily clad young man- in Drag.
God, I hope she isn't Lesbian at least!!
Not that there is anything wrong with that...

What does this prove?
It proves something that we all knew all along- if you read between the lines of any newspaper article prior to Pride Week- Rob Ford is Homophobic.
Not just a little.
A lot.
One, two, step, three four dip!
Look, he hid for an entire weekend behind his mother's apron's strings up at the family cottage in Muskoka. He had another councillor read a proclamation- with his name on it, at the Rainbow Flag raising at Nathan Phillips Square. He didn't have the “guts” as mayor to show up to that or any other “public” Pride event.
He is the Mayor of all Torontonians- even those that didn't vote for him. Just like Harper sitting on his throne in Ottawa. He needs to be constantly reminded that just 40% of voters actually wanted him for their PM. By the way- did you see that picture of Stephen in a headdress and warpaint as he was made honourary member of a Southern Alberta First Nations tribe.
Good Lord people!
He's a Conservative! In reality, wouldn't he just as soon put his Tory wagons in a circle and fend you off-not dab some “poster paint” on his pale face- adorned with eyewear no less.
Ya have to laugh- don't you?

Back to Ford.
He could have said at a press conference-
Look, I'm just a little unsure about this Gay thing. It makes me uncomfortable. Give me some time and I'll work on being less comfortable. I am not homophobe, it's just outside my comfort zone right now.”
Wouldn't that have been better than hiding away in a Muskoka bush?

When I first came “out”, I was less than comfortable in the Gay community- especially bars. They were nothing more than “meat markets” in the 80's. One had to “learn the ropes” before feeling comfortable but once that comfort zone was reached those bars were the safest place a Fag could be in Toronto. Now walking to and from these bars- many were down dark alleys, that was another kettle of Gay Fish entirely!

Funny, there hasn't been a newspaper article on Ford- post parade, that I've read. The whole thing was dropped like a lead jockstrap. Now, really, I shouldn't be that hard on Toronto's Portly Pie after all, isn't name-calling infantile?
Isn't it?

I don't have to look too far around my life here in Orillia to know that there's a certain level of “dis-comfort”. For example, nobody attended Toronto Pride Celebrations with my husband Tom and I. Everyone seemed busy all of a sudden.
Friends and family didn't call in the week or so leading up to the event.
When I asked my Mother why I hadn't heard from her she said-

Oh I thought it was your celebration and you'd be busy?”

Celebration? Busy?”- I asked.

Yes you know “your” parade and all.”

Oh.”- I was a bit taken aback.

Mum, that is a Toronto celebration- not here in Orillia, although Tom and I hope to go to the Pride Parade”.

We did of course and had a wonderful time.
There were a bevy of excuses.
I'm not going to list them but it might have been nice to get a call or two asking if we were going and- “could we tag along?”

We wouldn't make anyone do something or go somewhere they didn't want to go.
We'd even tell then to divert their eyes if one of the “old-timers” of the Toronto TNT sauntered by with his “family jewels” sagging to his knees. Or if a “Chick with a Dick” and heels- nothing more walked proudly past. Anyway, there were too many straight folks crowding around taking photos of “chicks” and naked old guys, that one could barely see what was happening even if one wanted to. Gay couples just rolled their eyes and passed by quickly- smiling all the while.
Look, We don't particularly care for that either.

So here's Robbie-Bobby getting down and dirty with a “Caribanna Babe” and shouts to the crowd concerning his attendance- “I'll be there!”
Good for you Robert.
A festival for blacks gyrating, jumping and grinding their way along the Lakeshore or through the Ex grounds- practically naked.
That is within the confines of the Mayor's idea of decency and sexual conservatism.
I have no problem with Caribanna- just Fordy-pordy.

A final comment.
I don't remember anyone getting shot at a Pride Parade with over a million attendees. Maybe a Gay man or two getting “bashed” as they headed home from a day of Gay abandon but I don't think anyone has ever taken “pot shots” into the crowd watching the Pride Parade pass by.

Can't say the same about “The Caribbean Celebration.” As a matter of fact the party-people had to be confined behind a tall metal fence several years ago and herded into a particular area- for crowd control, unlike Toronto Pride where marchers galore happily trott across Bloor and down Yonge Street with just waist high barriers along the parade route.

I'm just saying...

Sunday, July 10, 2011


We saw Hugh Jackman in concert at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto on Sunday afternoon.

You know- "Wolverine" for those readers who only know Mr. Jackman as a movie star and not a hoofer and singer.
Man can that guy dance- and sing!
He was absolutely amazing and awesome.
I have been trying to recall a concert that affected me more than Mr. Jackman giving 120 percent for 120 minutes on that Princess of Wales stage on Sunday.
Hugh Jackman (Tom Ruechel Photo)
It was one-on-one.
~sigh~ I only wish. Sorry, Hunnie.
It seemed like it was just Hugh.
The orchestra

Rock Voisine comes closest for projecting the same feeling of intimacy towards the audience. Of course, he is very easy on the eyes- if not more so, that the stunning Mr. Jackman.

Now, to be fair, Hugh is no slouch either.
No sir.
Long legs.
Nice eyes.
A hairy chest- revealed through a series of buttons that were undone on the shirts he wore on stage. He didn't remove any of the shirts during this performance but I understand earlier in the week he did!

Then, I thought about Rita MacNeil.
A Lady. No doubt about that!
Salt of the earth from Cape Breton.
Tore my heart out when a 100 miners came trudging up on stage behind her during a recent Casino Rama concert.
But does she dance?

Liza Minnelli.
Terrific show.
I've seen her twice. A true entertainer too.
She sings.
She dances- as best she can on her surgery-ridden gams. She tells stories about marrying several “Gay” men- including Peter Allen- the guy Hugh portrayed in The Boy from Oz and revives during this one man show at the Princes of Wales.

Bernadette Peters.
Also very good. Very, very good.
A Broadway star in every sense of the word.
Just not Hugh.

Dolly Parton.
Again, very lovely. Cute on stage.
Sincere with huge...
A true delight and a memorable concert.

Back to Hugh.
We saw him going into the Stage Door- albeit with about 20 other people (see photos)- but he stopped to talk. He had his photo taken and took the time to sign autographs.
He was very real, quite charming and un-obsessed with his super stardom.
Yes, he was quite gorgeous too.
Nice hair.
Big chest.
Sparkling eyes.
Someone you'd take home to Mother?
Hugh Outside Theatre
 (Tom Ruechel Photo)
Apparently not since he introduced and even sang a song to his wife during the show. Sang Happy Birthday to his 6 year old daughter- although she was just too shy to come on the stage. His 11 year old son did though, during a salute to Australia.
He played the didgeridoo.

Again- Gay?
I could see some “Gay Genes” but I would have to say I believe the “straight” hormones won out.
Just barely.
Good Lord!
If I could only point my toes and dance and sing- hitting the high notes every time with ease and perfection, the things I would do!
His portrayal of Gay Australian Icon Peter Allen was especially charming. A sequined top tied with a bow above his tight belly.
What a sight!
Hugh had me in tears a couple of times. He was just that good. He oozed “boy-next-doorness”.

He was simply awesome as I said off the top of this blog.
If you can get a ticket, Hugh holds court at the Princess of Wales till July 17.
Hugh (right) in Boy from Oz
Never been in the Princess of Wales?
Neither had “Peter Allen” according to Hugh during his portrayal of the Aussie singer.

In Peter's words- “I've never been in her but I've talked to her!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

ROBBLOG #289 W E E K E N D Edition

Now for your Weekend reading pleasure, a bit of a scoop. I am writing this show. It takes place in a launderette- God I hate launderettes! I used to do my laundry in one back in the 70's- eeek! Anyways, the following is what is called a tease. Enjoy. And please...don't judge me.

Scene: In a laundromat in an apartment building. A couple of washing machines and dryers. A few chairs. A table with magazines. A folding table. Various signs on the walls and a picture or two. A doorway at stage right. Bobbi enters. He’s carrying a basket of dirty laundry. There’s a box of detergent on top of the laundry along with a bottle of fabric softener. He separates his colours and whites.

He starts reading the side of the laundry box.

Bobbi: (exasperated and breathy) Shit! Why do I always turn to the French side of the box first? Mesurer la quantitee recomendee de detergent”….Where does it say about pre-soaking. (he reads the back panel) Hmmmm. Here it is. Soak soiled garments. They make it sound so dirty.Why don’t they just say dirty. Soak soiled garments for one half hour in cold water. Do not rub. Oh, pardon me. It is dirty…Dah. Dah. Dah…Daaah. (he continues to sort clothes etc.)

Wayne: (enters through Laundry room door carrying a laundry basket) Hey Girlfriend. How they hanging-Bobbi? Talking to yourself again for company? Poor Dear?

Bobbi: No and yes, I'm just fine Wayne and I really wish you wouldn’t say that.

Wayne: Say what?

Bobbi: “How they hanging?”. It’s so red necky. I just hate it. It something right out of a straight boy's” locker room.

Wayne: (he laughs) Me a Redneck? Honey, have pigs started flying?

Bobbi: Oh shut up.

Wayne: Ooooh. Ouch! Nice comeback. (Bobbie makes a face) So, how’s tricks?

Bobbi: Few and far between- if you're referring to any dates I've had recently.

Wayne: I thought you were tight with that “waiter” guy. What is that company called he worksfor? Oh yes. “Boys with Balls”. Chicken or Beach? (he laughs)

Bobbi: Oh hah, hah. It’s “Boys at your Ball”.

Wayne: Oh that sounds way better- now doesn't it!

Bobbi: Well anyway, the waiter boy is history.

Wayne: Do tell!

Bobbi: Oh, he was always working nights and well quite frankly I wasn’t up for “it” at 2:30 in the morning-every morning.

Roger comes in in a pair of blue jean shorts- cut high, and a white tank top.

Roger: Did I hear someone say “up for it”? (Roger has some laundry in a sack)

Bobbi: Oh look what the fleet dragged in.

Roger: Bobbi, Darling. I haven’t been out with any boy in the “fleet” in absolute months!

Wayne: Why? Did the Port dry up?

Roger: No I’ve raised my expectations, some.

Bobbi: Keyword “some” What he really means is he’s abandoned a “sinking” ship of heartbreak and betrayal. (Bobbi's hand is resting on his forehead as if weeping)

Roger: Sort of…

Wayne: How Titanic of you Dear!

Bobbi: Not to worry. His Heart Will Go On…and on and on and on!

Roger: So are you two Fags here for laundry or a gossip-fest?

Wayne: Why? What have you heard Dear?

Roger: Never mind! (He puts his hand in the air) So is everyone present for Laundry Day at the Launderette. My Conchitta Girl has the day off. Again!

Wayne: You only wish you had a Conchitta you lazy thing!

Roger: I do have a Conchitta- in my mind at least.

Wayne: Only when you play dressup! Frankly, I’m surprised there’s room for anything in your

Roger: Bitch!

Wayne: Whore

Roger: Man-eater

Wayne: Drama Queen!

Bobbi: Not here Girls. What if Mr. Levenstein were to hear you talking that way…

(a voice comes from the hallway. Mr. Levenstein enters with a mop)

Mr. Levenstein: So, what. I am out here in the hall scrubbing the floors and I can’t hear you. I hear every word you Keens say.

Bobbi: Queens, Mr.Levenstein! The derogatory word is “Queens”. Not Keens. You hear every word the Queens say!

Mr. Levinstein: Of course I hear every word because I listen. That’s why. I love the Queens. I love all Queens. Her husband, not so much and that horsewoman daughter-don’t get me started.

Bobbi: I wouldn’t think of it.

Roger: Oh Mr. Levenstein….

Mr. Levenstein: What!

Roger: Mr. Levenstein, I hate to mention this again..

Mr. Levenstein: So don’t!

Roger: Mr. Levinstein, as superintendant of “Light in the Loafer Towers” I must protest to you once more. Mr. Popadopolus in 311 is playing his music way too loud again. It wouldn’t be bad if it was in the afternoon but at 1:30.

Mr. Levenstein: 1:30? That is in the afternoon.

Roger: No, I mean the other afternoon. The afternoon that comes in the early morning!

Mr. Levenstein: If it’s not you complaining-it’s her. (He gestures to Wayne)

Wayne: Me? I mean Her?

Roger: Sweetheart. She’s got you pegged! (laughs)

Bobbi: Her who- Mr. Levenstein?

Mr. Lenevstein: Her? Her Who? That dingbat Mrs. Kravitz in 201. That’s who.

Wayne: I hear she is sweet on you!

Mr. Levenstein: Sweet? Pooey. Phooey. She wouldn’t know sweet if it was wrapped in chocolate. I don't know what you “rags” hear...

Bobbi: (stops Wayne and Roger from speaking) Never mind girls. He means well.

Mr. Levenstein: And on that note. I shall take my departs young Gentleman.

Roger: Ohhh. Gentlemen. Get her!

Wayne: Shhhh. Roger. (Turns to Mr. Levenstein) Nice talking to you Mr. Levenstein. Have a nice day! Look Girls I gotta go too. I got a cake in the oven.

Roger: That's not the way I heard it.

Wayne: Bitch!

Roger: Slag!

Wayne: Fruit!

Roger: Skank!

They both exit.

Bobbi: See ya later fellas. (Bobbi goes back to his laundry) Now where's that damn bleach?