Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dino Buzzzz!

WOW! There's a lot of buzz around the internets for our show. Everyone from the BBC to the Associated Press to AOL has reported on our missing dinosaur! The problem is, all the info in the articles, aside from the fact that one of our puppets was stolen while we were in Guadalajara, is wrong.

A remote-controlled dinosaur robot worth about 100,000 Australian dollars (£55,600) has been stolen from a Walking With Dinosaurs show in Mexico.

Staff noticed the 1.5m tall robot was missing after the show closed on its opening day in Guadalajara on Friday.

The Australian show based on the BBC series has toured worldwide and been seen by more than four million people.

"Only in Mexico! How it happened we don't know," said the show's spokesman, Karla Arroyo.

It is the first time an exhibit has been stolen from the show, she added.

The theft did not stop the show going ahead.

Computer graphics

"Everything went on as usual," said Ms Arroyo.

She said the stolen robot was the least expensive from the show - some measure up to 13m and cost up to 1m Australian dollars.

The show originated in Australia, where it first opened in Sydney's Acer Arena in January 2007.

Ten species are represented from the 200 million-year reign of the dinosaurs. The show includes the Tyrannosaurus rex and the Stegosaurus.

The UK tour sold more than 500,000 tickets earlier this year and has now moved to Europe.

The Walking With Dinosaurs TV series, which used animatronics and computer graphics to portray the prehistoric animals, was broadcast 10 years ago.

The series took two years to make.

Little Nigel, as we call him, isn't 5ft long. He's about the size of a cat or a small dog. He's not robotic or remote controlled. He's a simple rod puppet. I don't know his exact worth, but I know that what's been reported was grossly inflated. Even the info that we 'opened on Friday night' in Guadalajara was incorrect. We opened on Wednesday night. None of us even know who this "spokesperson" Karla Arroyo is.

Here's a pic of Nigel's twin brother, Cedric:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

HUGE Itinerary Update!

Yesterday our tour schedule through the beginning of April came out. Other than Las Vegas, all of these cities and most of the states will be new to me. How exciting!! So many places I've always wanted to go: New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, Portland...and a few I've never even heard of!

You can check out the new schedule over there on the right hand side ------->

*it's the last one in the right hand column

**also, keep in mind that these dates can change and aren't officially, official until they show up on the tour website and/or

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Week Of Many Firsts

In addition to getting magnets from every city, I've also been taking pictures of the outside of each arena we perform in. For the first time, I wasn't able to take a picture of the outside of our arena. We were in Atlanta, well, actually Duluth, Ga; performing at Gwenette Place and I failed to take a pic.

Speaking of magnets, I have a feeling I wont be getting one for our shows in Pensacola. Which leads me to my next set of firsts...this week we're trying something new with our show schedule. We're usually in one city each week. Monday is travel day, Tuesday is load in and shows are Wed - Sun, then we start all over again. This week we're splitting it between Pensacola and Baton Rouge. Sunday night the crew loaded out and traveled overnight on sleeper buses, then awoke in Pensacola and began loading in. Today, Tuesday, (the usual load in day and the performers day off) they are finishing up the load in, we're doing the tech run of the show and the opening performance this evening. We have two performances tomorrow, with the crew then loading out and traveling over night again to Baton Rouge. Thursday, while the crew is loading in, we'll be traveling by bus to Baton Rouge. We'll do a tech run Friday afternoon and open that night, with 3 shows on Saturday, & 2 on Sunday before loading out again! WHEW!! So since our time in Pensacola is so short, and Im not in any airports or anywhere that remotely looks like they'd have souvenirs, I don't think I'll be getting any magnets this week.

Also, this week, for the first time, I'll be on my own. I mentioned that I was taking over as Lead Voodoo for Platy, Allo and Anky. My rehearsals are done and Paul, who helped teach me the role and gave me constant guidance and advice during the process, has left the tour. It's all me now. It's both exciting and scary...but Im up to the challenge.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Just another manic Monday

We finally made it to the hotel at 10pm. Our flight leaving Hartford was over an hour late. I over heard something about the plane having an oil leak. On our way to Detroit, we had no idea if we'd make our connecting flight. We were supposed to have an hour layover, and we were already running over an hour behind. There went my plans of grabbing dinner.

Luckily, when we landed, we were told that they were holding the other plane for us. yay! Gate C26. We were currently at Gate A9. Boooo! Luckily, there was a tram. yay! It only went the length of the A Gates. Boooo!

It had been a while since I was last at the Detroit airport. I didn't remember it being this big! To get to the C gates we had to go down a series of escalators and across more moving walkways than I've ever been on. I immediately decided that on travel days, I needed to lighten up my carry ons and wear more comfortable shoes, in case this happens again, which Im sure it will.

Nearly out of breath and sweating, we all made it to the plane. Now I know why they held it. The 17 of us were more than half of the passengers - it was a tiny prop plane! (17 you say? I thought there were over 70 people on the tour. Yes there are, Im glad you've been paying attention. On travel days, it's typical for them to schedule the flights into 2 or 3 groups.)

The entire flight was only about 30min long, if that. All of our luggage made it, we all made it through customs without incident, and our bus to take us to the hotel was right out side.

I think I was spoiled the first few weeks on tour. Travel days went by quickly. We'd have an early flight, rarely any connections, and be in the next location before 2pm, leaving a half day for exploring. As of late, the travel days have been 10-12 hrs long, and in airports with no free wifi. By the time I get into my hotel room, all I want to do is order some food and go to sleep. Which is exactly what I did last night!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Playing Catch-up

There's a lot that's been going on. As a result, I have yet again been neglecting this blog. I've always told people that Im a horrible pen-pal, turns out Im horrible at keeping up a blog too.

Im writing this from the airport in Hartford. I figured I might as well take advantage of the free wi-fi and the extra time being forced upon me. Our flight out of Hartford and into Detroit has been delayed and it looks like it'll affect our connection into London, Ontario. Not sure what's going to be happening just yet, but it's not looking good.

So let's see...updates....a handfull of the show's Producers and Creators came out for a visit this week and they brought gifts. We all received Walking With Dinosaurs tour jackets and the news that the tour is booked into the middle of 2011. Looks like I'll be employed for another 2 years! yay!

There are some changes on the way to the production. Some purely cosmetic, some the audience won't even know about and one that greatly affects me. I'm learning a new roll in the show soon. My current roll is as an Auxiliary Voodoo Puppeteer and I'll be moving up to Lead Voodoo for the same set of dinos that I currently provide the roars to. This time, I'll be manning the mechanical Voodoo rig and literally calling the shots for my dinos. It's also the first time that there will be a female lead on the tour. I'm really excited about that.

Just received word that our flight to Detroit has arrived and we're going to try and make our connection. If we miss it, they're going to book us a charter bus or something & drive us to London, Ontario from Detroit. Stay tuned....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mixed Media

Yesterday I had my second go at media. This time it was a radio interview called a 'phoner'. It's exactly what it sounds like, an interview over the phone as opposed to in studio. I was to expect a phone call from the station at 8:15am. All I knew was that someone named Chester was the host. I did a little research and found out that the station was an AM talk station, but not just any talk, international and bi-lingual talk. I started to panic a bit. I can only speak English, sometimes loosely at best. This morning show was centered, more specifically around the goings ons of the Philippines ~ panic dug it's fingers in a little deeper. Would anyone concerned about the Philippines care about Walking With Dinosaurs, much less care enough to listen to ME talk about it? Was there going to be a translator? Would I understand what was going on?

Just before 8:15 my phone rang. It was Chester (a traditional Filipino name, I can only assume). He had an interesting mix a strong Asian and Canadian accents and he sounded very happy. I was instantly at ease. He went over with me briefly about the station (who knew there were over 60,000 Filipinos in Winnipeg?) and how the interview was going to be conducted. Then we went live and it was all over in a flash. I felt good about it and felt even better when the host complimented me as one the best and most interesting guests he's had. No matter the size of the station, that's a great compliment to get!

About 10min later my phone rings again. I pick up the receiver and it instantly flies out of my hand and bounces across the desk and dangles over the side. Once I finally wrestle it back into my hands, I answer "Good morning, this is Kari, where I apparently answer the phone by throwing it across the room.", figuring it was someone from the cast calling about grabbing breakfast or something. I hear a chuckle on the other end followed by "This is Moose and Julie in the Morning and we're looking for Jack Stone". *gulp* It was the other radio station that our show's "Huxley" (narrator) was to be doing an interview with. They were somehow given my room number to call instead of his. Luckily, I had the rooming list handy and was able to get them in the right direction. "Since we've got you on the phone, what do you do with the show?" and from there started my impromptu interview with Moose and Julie from a Winnipeg FM country station. We chatted for quite awhile, it was wacky, face paced, and a lot of fun. I think I could get used to this.