Fun Gig$
          • Sometimes it could be any combination of those and more...

              • Sometimes it's a Fun Project
              • Sometimes Something Funny Happens
              • Sometimes it's a Fun Location
              • Sometimes it's Fun People
              • Sometimes it's cool or not cool to take photos, or video
              • Sometimes it's easy to decide what to post online
              • Sometimes I have time for this stuff 

Garth Brooks - NBC Christmas Special

Garth Brooks [Official Site] NBC Christmas Special was a fun gig! If only Garth didn't crack me up at the very moment this photo was taken, I wouldn't have looked so "adoring", and would have looked at the camera!

Besides being a great singer and entertainer, Garth was so down to Earh, "wearing his fame" without any "I am a star" attitude, and no Bullsh*t Mask! He sang straight from the heart, "as is"!!!

A great sax player, Tom Scott, was the "MD", Music Director, for that Garth gig! A great example of how a bandleader should be -- a "musician's musician", with nothing to prove, respected by the band etc., a boss whom one doesn't need to fear, or kiss up to! With a band of NYC's "who's who", and Tom's irresistible LA "sunshine smile", plus great catering at The Rainbow Room, at The Top of The Rock, and the gig starting with a 2 hour break -- it was tons of fun!

As we were about to go to camera, and start videotaping, I went to the bathroom to change into a tuxedo! As I was washing my hands, I saw the door in the mirror! Then it opened, and this is who walked in!!! Out of my mouth came these words:

"Holy Sh*t! Joe Torre, I can't believe it!"  

It was a genuine reaction, totally involuntary, not a scripted scene! Delirious, I just kept saying:

"Holy Sh*t! Joe Torre, I can't believe it!".

A real sport, Joe Torre, saw how "real" I was, and he totally "went with the moment"! So he said: "Believe it!!!" And as he said it, I thought to myself: here he is, Mr. Baseball, and he sounds just like a regular New Yorker, and kind of like Joe Pesci, the actor!

Like a 5-year-old, I was excited like crazy from all the great fun I've had all day, playing with a great band, great musical arrangements, backing up Tony Bennett,  Natalie Cole, Trisha Yearwood, etc. And then this Joe Torre moment :)!?

So, I ended up telling Mr. Torre how I didn't know anything about baseball, because in the former USSR I've never even heard of baseball; that I've only been to a game once, and that it was the Mets at Shea Stadium! I said that I never thought that anything could be as exciting as NBA Finals Game 7, until I saw the Yankees playing agaist Mets, and how my stomach turned, cause it's only then that I understood that in baseball anything can happen anytime...!!!

With the cliches like: "It ain't over till it's over!", "Gotta Believe!", "Challenge every possession!" (basketball lingo), etc., I just told him how I felt! Then I asked him: how in the world could he stand it, being right there, when it's already so nerve- wracking on TV!

Mr. Torre remained calm, yet smiling, and showed no sign of being in a hurry! I vaguely recall him saying:

"Yes, it's a very exciting game"!

Then again I said: "Holy Sh*t! Joe Torre, I can't believe it!", and he again said: "Believe it!!!"

So then I said: "The only way I'll believe this would be if we take a photo right here, right now"!!!

So, Joe said: "Here?", and I said: "OK, let's move a few inches, so it doesn't look like we are in a bathroom!"

I gave my camera to another musician who just walked in, and asked him to not screw it up, cause I didn't have too many shots left on my throwaway camera! 

Joe said: "Suck in! It's an old photographer trick to suck in the stomach, which makes you look better on camera"!

I said: "I guess my stomach doesn't look as good as Derek Jeter's". And then I told him how I saw Derek eat alot of pancakes with orange juice in a diner near me!

Maybe it was because of my innocence that Mr. Torre didn't mind doing this with me in the bathroom (!!!)

We had a great laugh! The whole episode lasted a few minutes, but it's now forever in my memory!

Then we walked out of the bathroom, and talked some more, as people were looking at him as a celebrity, and the Hispanic waiters looked at him as if it was Jesus himself!

Joe Torre was another great example of how one can "wear fame" the right way! His "Believe it!!! kept ringing in my head ever since! And during the rest of that night, as I played the show, Joe and I exchanged a few smiles, and cracked each other up a few times! Maybe he couldn't believe what he just did:

took a photo in a bathroom with a sax player from the band!

If you ever run into Joe, please give him a link to this page! He'll probably crack up, and steal my line:

"Holy Sh*t! I can't believe it!", and I'll steal his: "Believe It!!!"

Read the priceless lyrics of that masterpiece song!  

I've heard of "movie extra" work, but I've never done it! Then one day my phone rang, at about 8 PM or so, and I said yes, even though it was for the next morning at 7 AM! Hey, I thought I'd check it out!

Last First Kiss was the original name for this movie, Hitch, as you can see from this Form I-9 which I had to fill out for Columbia Pictures. And I am glad I did! Even though my scene got cut, the "residuals" still keep coming! God Bless America!!!!

My role was a sax player in a wedding band! Wow! What a "stretch"?! Hey, it's like I've never done that before ! Except, I didn't think I was gonna be sitting around that much, and eating, all day long, and then officially breaking for lunch to eat some more!

Yep, those catering guys can feed you to death !!!                             

Luckily, I brought my Apple Laptop, and, as you can see, I was not the only Mac enthusiast there!   

We even set up a mini Network between our laptops! L-R: drummer's 12', bass player's 15', and my 17'! If only there was a Wi-Fi or Wireless Cards!!!                    

...and enough electrical outlets to last us a whole day of waiting, and eating, and waiting, and eating! I never had to work that hard !

Then we finally shot our "scene", after half of the band was sent home! The rest of us faked "Sweet Home Alabama", which, we were told, was one of the leading man's, Will Smith's favorites! Then we were supposed to act naturally, as a band on a break! My "character" was supposed to talk to a "chick singer"! This "extra" was sitting on my left, and she was playing that role! She was not an actual singer! She sounded like she might have been from Australia? I think she even looks a little like Olivia Newton John, right?! So, I spoke to her as I would to a fellow musician.... But I don't want to turn this one photo caption into a novel...
This was another extra, playing the role of another "chick singer", a.k.a. "female vocalist" !?! Hey, gotta give these ladies credit! To be on location at 7 AM, wearing high heels and this dress all day long, porta johns..., etc, to be ready to go in front of a camera at any time -- that can make anyone cranky! Hey, not everyone gets to be Jennifer Aniston, "America's sweetheart", "the girl next door" all the time, or at least not overnight! But, shhh, "the show must go on"! And so, it's constant auditions, dance classes, and whatever other dues the aspiring actors have to pay "to get arrested"...                      

Here is an "inside" music business joke, part of a series, but you'd have to ask a musician to tell you the other ones:

Q. What is the first thing that a female vocalist does in the morning?!

A. Puts on her clothes and goes home!  

See, now you are "almost" The Insider! But, seriously, how likely are you to hear a joke like that on those Entertainment Tonight type of TV shows, or even TMZ?


So, now I know what it's like to be an extra in a movie! This was an educational glimpse into Hollywood! When the residuals come, it's "found money"! I can't even imagine what it's like when one has a speaking role, never mind a movie star! But still, in most cases there are some dues to pay on the way to success, however one defines success...

Eventually, I got to see this movie for free on TV! It was cute, and I had an extra appreciation for it, even though my "scene", playing at a wedding, got cut! 

- Can’t Make It Up 😲!!! 
😎 ♫♭5♯5♭9♮9♯9♯11♭13♮13 😎 


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