Tag Archives: Closing

And, Curtain.

14 Jul

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“Earnest” has been stripped, unscrewed from the floors, dislocated from the window bracings…our clothes (still on hangers) were loaded up into the back of a car trunk with all the finality of a coffin lid closing. No more props tables, or muffins and cucumber sandwiches…no more pictures and well-wishing notes on the dressing room walls.

…No more dressing room walls, period. 

They don’t belong to us anymore. 

…They’ve now been bequeathed to the next guys, along with that “every theatre in the world” smell…that aroma mix of sawdust, mothballs, sweat, hot lamps, old masking blacks, paint, Ben Nye face base, and hairspray.

The sense of a full life lived, kept us at peace with it all, though…as all the deconstructing began, directly after bows.  We HAD actually won the first bet and sold out the house, the audience was riled and ready to laugh, and our Director was back in the house…coming full circle to how this whole adventure had begun ages and ages ago, once upon a time, in a rehearsal room. With all that in mind, all the last reserve of anything we had left, was pumped into the performance with that extra zing that only Openings and Closings, have.

Bittersweet.

…But before we could get lost in a thick quicksand of regrets, we were off to the stage to work and play, followed by a delight of a cast party hosted by our Lane (and the Mrs.), where much food and drink was consumed, (garden party style) and Croquet and Cards Against Humanity was played.

Sick amounts of laughter can make you forget almost anything.

…Like the fact that next Friday, we’ve no “home” to go to, no costumes to put on, no lines to say.

…It’ll be just an average, ordinary day.

Actor’s don’t really know what to do with those kind of things.

…So it’s good I have a “next” to focus on, at that point.  Not that it will be easy to redirect towards.

For now: my theatre FB header and profile pic will stay the same.  I’ve no interest in making an alteration any time soon.  Where before, these things were a press and advertising nod, now it has become a look back on good collaborative work, during an excellent summer run, with a happy company of Anglophiles.

Thanks, friends, for taking the creative blog journey with me while we did it.

Also, “Huzzah!” for bets won.

Goodbye, dearest Gwendolen Fairfax and all the rest…

…And thanks to Oscar, for the Wilde ride.

~D

When It’s Time For “The End”

12 Jul

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I have a friend, who has been a part of my family for a little over twelve years now. 

…When I first met him, he was a single dude, working in Corporate hell, doing theatre on the side.  Now, he’s married (to one of the awesomest of humans), is Managing Artistic Director of one of our most popular local theatres, and is a proud father of two sons…and a comic book shop. I count it as a privilege to have been there to see the birthing and growing of all these changes in his life, not least of which because he was always, always there to help me usher in mine as well (no matter how totally different they were to his.) 

…And I supposed that is what “family” is about, really. They are the people you support and share these things with…in all life’s infinite alterations.  But as we get older, “time” begins to play in the equation a bit, and it isn’t only the “births” of things you are then present for…but the endings as well.

He’s been there for mine.  I’ve been there for his.  Loss of Parents.  Loss of Grandparents. Loss of sanity. 

…I was there, the first day he quit the Corporate safe-house, and I was there the day he opened his shop.  I was there when he expanded to a new location, and there when he blew the roof off his third.  And because the economy is rough, banks are “Boss,” and people are only (in the end) “human”… today, I was there at 9PM, as the final sell…from his shop.

The receipt said customer number 49,516.

Now think about that a moment, if you will.

I did.

…Hanging out with him behind the register after work today, I couldn’t help but think about it.  Never-ending lines of people, many with their own personal stories to tell about why THIS shop, was THEIR shop…and just what it had meant to them.  An entire new generation of comic readers and gamers and artists were teethed in those walls. A whole collection of fan boys (and girls) began their lifelong thrill of geekdom in the shadow of it’s trademark seal. Careers were launched in it, signings were given in it.  Friends were made in it.  Week, after month, after year. 

…He staffed it with knowing enthusiasts of all things film, art, language, humor, escapist and deviousness. He catered to any group or any club which needed a home to practice their art, their play, their  passions in.  He never let you leave empty-handed, even stocking selves of free-bees, just to get you to give this special world “a chance.”  And he was a walking dictionary of knowledge stacked, shelved and inventoried within it’s walls…because he was just like you: a fan, of some of the coolest outlets of imagination ever invented. 

He cared about his Shop friends and family…and not just as numbers on a sale’s sheet.  Perhaps if he hadn’t so much, he wouldn’t have been in the position he was today. Constant sales and discounts…I helped him clean and collect three cabinets-full of painstakingly archived subscriber files, several to half a year or more in money never collected, for special orders it would certainly have helped not to eat the cost of, which were never sold, but were waiting patiently for the day that their buyers would come and claim them.

…On the other side, however…many an “old faithful” shuffled through the line, looking a little like lost souls with no body now to host them.

…There were College students, reminding him of the first comics they’d ever read as kids, which he had personally put into their hands, starting their imaginations in an entirely new sphere of wonderment. 

…There were gamers whose leagues had been hosted at his tables  for a decade, dropping in to give handshakes and hugs. 

…One longtime customer, (who’d been to the register and purchased several stacks of goods, several times across the evening), watched as even the walls were stripped of their posters, artwork and memorabilia. He got back in line again for the fourth time, and bought his favorite framed piece…one linking back to the original shop location…and after paying for it, gave it back to my bud saying, “Keep this one safe,” before giving a final hug and walking to the door.

… Forty-nine thousand, five-hundred and sixteen.

Forty-nine thousand, five-hundred and sixteen sales, stories, games, posters, movies, autographs, art and comic books.  In ten years.

…And though, I know, that closing the doors today was like many of the other deaths me and my friend have seen each other through across these dozen years…he should know that doing so in no way means he is a failure.

A life is lived to the extent that it is supposed to.  When it has achieved all it was meant to, it ends. The end of a lifetime isn’t failure…can you look at anything or anyone you have ever loved that is no longer here today and say it is?  They may be gone in body…but not in spirit.  Not in memory.  Not in the good that it has brought into life and shared with others.  Not in the friends it has made, the stories it has shared.  Not in the handshakes, hugs and tears of the people left behind when “it” is here, no more.

Forty-nine thousand, five-hundred and sixteen separate stories, in the life of one store.  And this one, is it’s last. 

…It was also one of it’s firsts.

I thought I should write it down for “posterity.”

Dear Bud,

…Remember that day you said, “I’m quitting Corporate and I’m gonna open a Comic Book Shop.”

…And I said, “Oh.  How come?”

…And you said, “Because. I don’t like what I’m doing, you only have one life to live…and since I was a kid, I always thought owning a Comic Book Shop would be awesome.”

…And I said (not knowing anything at all about Comic books, or shops), “Why?”

…And you said, “Because they make me happy. They are some of my favorite memories from when I was a kid. And cuz through the years, they’ve tended to get a little seedy with a bad rep.  I don’t like that.  I want to make a place that’s  bright and inviting and friendly…where whole families can come, no matter the ages, where people can spend time with their friends, and meet new ones. It’s like theatre, you know: where everyone is welcome, no matter what they are into or how ‘different’ they sometimes feel.”

Mission accomplished.

Rest In Peace, Comic Book Ink.

…We will remember you.

~D

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