New Year’s is Deadman’s To Me

So what does a Polka/Rap artist do on New Year’s Eve? He’s a stagehand for the Deadman’s Carnival of course!
For a number of years I’ve had the good fortune of tending bar during the Carnival’s NYE shows. I say good fortune because it was a nice way to earn February’s rent as well as hang around scantily dressed burlesque clowns…. I have very specific tastes apparently. Over the years I’ve witnessed some of the ups and downs of Milwaukee’s finest variety showcase, including the fire in the Miramar that forced the group into Riverside Park which turned into a really good outdoor show on a hot July evening. Just two months before that yours truly along with his trusty partners in Polka Hip Hop, Spade ONE and NTSC, got to open the show with our song AHOY! 21087_10151492609129145_1051370126_n
As you can see by the picture we were dressed to kill (and commit acts of piracy). The Magnificents gave us something special in not only playing our song with us but adding their own unique flourishes and members of the cast got involved for a rollicking opening song.

Later on we were in the Star Wars sketch and I made my acting debut as Chewbacca where I dry humped a burlesque dancer while choking Luke who later retaliated by facefucking me with his light saber. Did things get out of hand? Maybe. Did everyone have a good time? I like to think so.

With hot action like that its no wonder The November Criminals returned for the Day of the Dead show at The Astor Hotel to play The Real Ghostbusters in the outgoing sketch. Did we remember all our lines? Maybe. Did everyone have a good time? I like to think so.

When I learned that one of Pinkerton’s dreams was coming true, specifically playing the Oriental Theater, and that the New Year’s Eve show was therefore NOT going to be at the Miramar I let him know that there was no place I’d rather be than with the cast and crew carrying a puppet elephant through the tradesman’s entrance next to Ma Fischer’s.

Once we got everything loaded in we all had to hurry up and wait while the Oriental fulfilled its obligations and ran the 8pm movie. And so it was I lost track of time in the green room where 20 or so carnies took turns shushing each other so as not to incur the wrath of disgruntled film buffs. I stained my T-shirt eating a taco. I got sick on mint Oreos. I drank water. Forgot about the stomach ache, had another Oreo and I figured out in that moment what my New Year’s resolution might be. The show went on as only  a Deadman’s show can and everyone pushed through and did justice to their craft. The fact that most of them did it on little to no sleep only added to the sense of admiration I have for the folks who work for weeks at a time practicing and planning and coordinating to bring a few hours of fun into the lives of people who long for the sense of effort, conviction and abandon that comes with live variety acts.

I rang in 2014 trying my best to project confetti and balloons past the already covered front row patrons and  when the last big chunks of staging were loaded into the van and I heaved myself into the van next to Pinkerton and I had to admit this was one of the better New Year’s Eves I’ve had.