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The NeverEnding Story: Fitbloggin’ Part 2! May 31, 2011

"I'm alive!!" (from FoodFoodBodyBody, the show) photo credit: @bodhi_bear

Ah, so where was I? Friday late morning!  My goodness, is this recap ever going to end? Apparently not. (and as a warning/disclaimer: this recap is going to be pretty much all about our Fri evening performance, since it was ALL I could think about the entire day!!)

So after the fitness fun, we had lunch. WOW the food was amazing at this conference! Not the usual icky hotel fare. It was GOOD. Lots of fresh veggies, and grilled sandwiches, and interesting salads… other people have detailed the food better than me, with lovely photos, so check that out.

After lunch I started feeling insane from sweat and grunge (I had not showered since leaving California – UGH!) and also jittery tired and starting to get anxious for the evening performance. I ran upstairs to take a shower and since I did that, I missed the Laughing Cow blogger & brand panel. Wahhh. It just isn’t possible to do everything!  Then it was time for the Blogging: from Hobby to Career panel. During that one, Paolo and I were getting some very very necessary shut-eye so we could refuel for the evening. Zzzzzz. I was very sorry to miss Carla & company on that one until the final 15 minutes or so.

By then it was 5pm and it was time to get serious about prepping for the show. I have to say, performing in a venue like this is very very different from performing at a little theater at home. Usually, what I do at home is not plan anything else for the day (hahahahahaha!). Then we get to the theater a couple hours early to go over our tech cues, walk through our lines, meditate, pace, or huddle in a corner. We don’t talk to anyone and they don’t talk to us. To be prepping for a performance on the same day as a 5k run (in which I got up the equivalent of 3am), several other fitness events and hundreds of people milling around that I wanted to talk to, was brain-melting to say the least.

photo credit: @bodhi_bear

Paolo and I instructed the hotel guys in re-arranging the stage platform riser, and they listened to us (mostly him) run through the piece a few times. The guys LOVED listening to Paolo and kept cracking up while they were breaking down the huge screen and moving chairs around. But I was aware of the cocktail mixer in the room next door, and hoping that people would drift in… drift over… and a few did, and a few more, but definitely nowhere near the 250 people in attendance at Fitbloggin’. We started fretting. We started begging our friends who were in the audience to go next door and make an announcement. Which they did.

Deep breath.

I think I hadn’t realized until this moment how BIG it was for me to do this particular performance in this particular venue. I had performed it many times in San Francisco, but that was for general audiences who may or may not care about fitness or health. But this audience… this audience was the reason I HAD a blog, which was the reason I had a show. I know my big raw heart was super out there that night, and every time I saw a little group of people walking PAST the open doors, it just broke a little.

It’s every performer’s heartbreak to have a tiny audience in a huge room. Those empty chairs just… echo.  I’d say our audience was little/medium. Paolo and I kept whispering to each other, “If this was Stagewerx….” (the theater where we normally perform, which seats around 40!)

we did it! Yahoo! photo credit: @bodhi_bear

But you know what? We killed it. I think we both brought our best up there and I know it was good for the people who were there. It was a really huge and emotional thing for me. I was so glad Paolo was there, to be my performing buddy, to ROCK his brand new show “I Get Wet” and to really understand what all of it meant. After the show we were sprinkled with wonderful Tweets and it all felt good. I went out to dinner with my terrific roommates, and then collapsed big-time.

givin' it up for Paolo! Woot! photo credit: @bodhi_bear

In retrospect, it was understandable, that more people didn’t come. People were starving and exhausted. A lot of people didn’t even realize it was happening. (one friend said, I can’t wait to see your show tomorrow night! later at the bar) Most people hadn’t gone up to their room for a nap in the afternoon like I had. I had to miss some stuff because of my own personal situation, and the same was true for others during the 8pm hour.  If we ever come back for a repeat Fitbloggin’ performance (and I hope we do), I think I’d propose that we get scheduled earlier in the day OR that there are provisions for food during the show (after all, it was all set up a la dinner theater). Some resourceful people went out to Whole Foods and brought their dinners back to eat during the show, and that was cool, but most people just had no idea to do that.

For anyone who’s reading this who didn’t come to the show that night, I don’t mean this to be all guilt trippy, I really don’t! I love you and I understand that Life just happened that night, whether it was “I need to do something else” or “PF Chang’s held us hostage with poisoned chopsticks” or “I fell asleep.” (I totally get that!!) I hope that we will have more opportunities to perform for this wonderful community in the future.

And I want to thank Katy Widrick for this tearjerking (for me) awesome review!!

It was a night that I almost skipped — I’d had one of the busiest days of my life, running around the Fitbloggin’ conference –But when I saw that Susan Ito and Paolo Sambrano were scheduled to perform their one-woman and one-man shows, I decided to peek in and see what it was all about.One hour and two standing ovations later, my face was streaked with tears, my stomach hurt from laughing and I was so glad I’d attended the shows.

Susan Ito’s performance struck at my very center — from the first line, in which she finds herself facing a devastating health journey, to the very end, her emotional yet entertaining story inspired and touched me. Her ability to tell a story, with no props and just a small stage, made me forget where I was. People of all ages, backgrounds and experiences will sympathize with Susan’s challenges while cheering her on through the defeats and the successes.

Paolo Sambrano has an incredible ability to transform his body and face to tell a painful yet wildly funny story — and as he shared his history of overeating, ripe with family pressure and cultural challenges, I found myself laughing hysterically while fighting back tears. From the showdown at the fast food joint to a shudder-inducing story of his family’s travels, Paolo takes what could be a sad and depressing journey through obesity and weight loss and turns it into just a well-told experience.

I can’t recommend Susan and Paolo’s shows highly enough — two thumbs up, five stars and roaring ovations for both.

Just one amazing review like that makes it all. Worth it.
Recap up next: Fitbloggin’ SATURDAY! The day I was able to Relax And Enjoy It All. And it won’t be all about ME! Ahhh! ;-)
 

 
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