Up-tight!

Posted by Danny

I had to buy tights today for our grand performance in A Christmas Carol.  DJ needed a pair of white tights for her dance number – and, yes, so did I. 

I was a bit embarrassed about buying tights for myself.  I’ve never done that – didn’t know if there were boy tights and girl tights or if they were unisex.  Didn’t know if I needed the more see through boogers or if I needed the thicker ones.  And I wasn’t really excited about telling a sales clerk I needed a pair of white hose.  Something just didn’t feel right about that.

I walked into our regular dance store – it’s small and I didn’t think I’d see any of my buddies there.  The clerk greeted me, “Can I help you?”

“Yes.  I need two pair of tights.”

“OK – what size.”

“My daughter comes to about here on me,” I held my hand up to my nose. 

“How much does she weigh?”

“I have no idea.  Medium.”

“And the other pair?”

“Oh – those are for a man, six feet – 1/2 inches, 172 pounds.  They are for a performance.”

“Does he need a dance belt?”

“I don’t think so. Isn’t there elastic at the top?”

“No.  A dance belt is sort of a thong you wear under the tights for support.”

“No!  He would not be needing a dance belt!  it’s not like that!  He won’t be exposing anything above the knee.  He will be wearing knickers over his tights.  No support is needed!  In fact, I’m pretty sure he’ll be wearing boxers underneath his tights and knickers.  That’s what he wears.”

“Let me go get them out of the back.”

She returned with two pair of tights and headed to the cash register. 

“How much  are those?”

“The men’s are $26.”

“What?”

“$26.”

I’m not sure every sock I own combined cost me $26.  This is a racket!  How can they charge that much for hose?  If I get a run in them, I’m gonna hurt someone.

She entered my phone number in the computer.  “Mr. Tanner, you get a 10% discount.”

“That’s not enough.”

“Mr. Tanner, do you know how to put these on?”  She figured out he was me. 

“I don’t understand the question.”

She put her hands in motion, “You roll the leg of the tight up and place your toes in the bottom.  Then you pull the rest of the tight up your leg.”

“Thank you.”

Did she think I was going to hang them on the door knob and try to jump in?

Earlier today I asked Jesse if he wanted me to pick up a pair for him.  He said “No.  I think I’ll need to try them on.”

Try them on?  You don’t try tights on in the store!  It’s like underwear.  But I didn’t tell him.  I thought it would be pretty funny if he went into a store and told them he wanted to try on some tights!  I can’t wait to ask him how his trip to the dance store went.

A Cape and A Top Hat; top that!

Posted by Danny

I guess that everyone has certain dreams – things they hope to have happen before they depart from this earth.  I have a laundry list.  Some are huge:  winning $100,000,000 (or more) in the lottery, sincere happiness, seeing my girls grow up into successful women.

Some are not so big, like learning to hit the golf ball with a 3-wood (well, that one would be huge).

This weekend, three items on my ‘not so big’ bucket list are coming true – and all in one day!  I’m about to explode with excitement – and I am not the excitable type.

I was afraid that since my A Christmas Carol family was poor, the Candlestick Makers, I’d end up with a tiny beanie of a hat with my costume.  When I went in for my fitting, that’s exactly the direction things were heading.  In fact, the drawer with the little ones was open and the costume lady was reaching in when all of a sudden she glanced up at the counter. 

“We do have these top hats that are a little beat up.  Would you rather have one of those?”

I tried to contain my excitment! 

“I’m flexible…”, but visions of Abraham Lincoln were dancing through my head.  How cool is it to wear a top hat?  That’s not something a man gets to do on a regular basis.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever worn one in public.  Think of Fred Astaire, the Cat in the Hat, frigging Uncle Sam!  And me:  Danny Tanner!

And to top it off, another bucket list item has also come true thanks to my favorite costume designer.  I get to wear a cape!  The only part of my costume I hadn’t seen when I entered the dressing room on Saturday was my outer wear.  When I found a navy cape hanging by my plaid pants and form-fitting vest, I nearly collapsed to my knees in gratefulness. 

I draped it over my shoulders and ran through the lobby as if I were Dracula.  What if guys wore capes these days?  How dandy would it be to walk from the downtown parking deck to the church sanctuary on Sunday morning – top hat and cape to keep you warm (and to keep you cool if you know what I mean).

Jesse actually has a black cape.  Some friend of his made it for him years ago.  I’ve never asked why –

He doesn’t know this, but sometime I put it on when no one else is home and sneak through the house pretending to be a 17th century Russian spy.

And to top it all off, on Saturday, I get to wear my entire costume in the Raleigh Christmas Parade!  I’ll actually walk by my church – so it will kind of be like I’m wearing these duds in my regular life.

A top hat, a cape and a parade – all in one day!  A little Danny Tanner heaven right here on earth.

If you’re there, keep an eye out for me.  I shouldn’t be hard to find.

Sunday Post 43: Fear or Hope

Posted by Danny

Last week was one of the saddest weeks I’ve had in a while.  Who knows why?  It could be any number of things.

When I get into these down moods, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking.  That may be what gets me in trouble.

This week, it has dawned on me that too often I’m choosing a life of fear.  I’m choosing fear over hope.  I’m choosing thanklessness over gratefulness.

I worry about life when the kids grow up versus enjoying them today.  Instead of being grateful for my health, I continue to question why Lisa got cancer.  I dread the holidays – instead of celebrating what they stand for.  My fears can rob me of living today.

I was at practice for A Christmas Carol last week.  The Ghost of Christmas Past is a young girl, about six years old.  She’s adorable. 

In the scene, Scrooge has been exposed to remembrances of Christmases long ago.  And at one point, he realizes that the woman he loved when he was young is now dead.  He says, “It seems just like yesterday that we were together.”  Time has moved on, and yet he has nothing to show for it.

The little spirit finally encourages Scrooge to say Merry Christmas.  He struggles to get the words out of his mouth. 

Her message?  Scrooge is responsible for his own happiness.  Only he can make himself joyful.  And, I guess, only he can rob himself of the same.

Last week, I allowed myself to be Scrooge.  I bah humbugged life.  And life, I know all too well, is short.

So I’m going to choose hope.  And I’m going to be grateful.  Or at least I’m going to try.

Vote Vote Vote!

Posted by Danny 
 
Since we spend a lot of time right now at play practice, I thought I’d share a few pics.  Everybody ought to try this at least once in life.  It’s really a lot of fun!
Stephanie’s in there somewhere…

Learning from the master

I wish this pic had audio!

Prerehearsal antics

 

A preview of my dance moves...

 

Michelle claps for Scrooge, trying to get him in the Christmas spirit!

Theatre in the Park is a small community theater on the edge of North Carolina State University.  The theater has multiple plays throughout the year, but as you can tell, A Christmas Carol is the Tanner family’s favorite.
 
 This year, the theater  has entered a grant with Pepsi for $10,000 to help upgrade it’s computer system.  Pepsi gives out grants each month based on the number of votes each submitted grant receives.  So we need your help in November!
 
 Not everyone who reads this is the voting type of person.  But I know that some of you (mom) spend enough time on your computer to take 30 seconds to visit the Pepsi site to vote.  You can vote once per day – and we really need your support.
 
 If you’re willing, hit this website, http://www.refresheverything.com/leaderboard (look in the $10,000 column and find “Bring our nonprofit theater into the 21st Century, right now we’re number 17), and help us out.  Or, you can text the number 109446 to 73774.  In fact, you can vote on-line and by text once each day.
 
 Help us help Theatre in the Park which has meant so much to our family during this fall season.  And thanks for the backing!

 

 

Crackin’ Knuckles

Posted by Danny

When DJ was young, she went through quite a clingy stage.  She got that from her father.  My mother says I was excited about first grade, until I got home from the first day.  Mrs. Brayboy, my teacher, struck a classmate’s knuckles with a ruler because he was talking when he should have been listening.  Needless to say, after that I did not talk.  My pants could have been on fire and I wouldn’t have spoken in her class. 

I can still see the fury in that lady’s eyes.  She scared the hell out of me.

 The next day my mom shoved me out of the house with my older brother for the one block walk to Glendale Acres Elementary school.  One block from my house was a red fire hydrant.  I grabbed that thing with all of my six-year-old might.  “I’m not going!”, I wailed, my brother pulling on my waist to release my death grip.  What if she got mad at me while holding a stapler, I wondered.  This could be really bad.

 It took my brother, two neighborhood kids and my mom to get me back to her classroom that morning.  As I was towed onto the campus, my yelling immediately stopped.  I feared if she heard me my knuckles would pay the price. 

My protests continued from 3:30 pm until 8 am.  Bottom line, Mrs. Brayboy and I weren’t a good match.  My parents moved me to a private school for the remainder of the year. 

In kindergarten, DJ would hold onto Lisa’s leg each day when they arrived at school and to my knowledge, her teacher did not beat her with school supplies.  I couldn’t drop DJ off, it stirred up too many unpleasant memories for me.

 This insecurity lasted, to some extent, for a couple of years. But that kid had something about her that stood out. Something that let me know the clingys wouldn’t last.  And I was right.

 Not only is DJ in the chorus for A Christmas Carol, but she is also Martha in the Cratchit family.  She has a couple of lines and has to sing a song with the family in front of thousands of people!  Not to mention, she tried out for and was chosen to be one of the dancers in another key scene in the play.  That kid has talent (she gets that from her father).

 I sure am a proud, proud daddy!

Sunday Post 41: The Tag

Posted by Danny

On Tuesday, I took Stephanie and Michelle over to Theater in the Park for their costume fitting.  The head costume designer is a wonderfully talented woman who has been working with A Christmas Carol for years.  She is warm and friendly and you can just tell how much she cares about the folks she works with.

The girls tried on their outfits, Michelle really loved her skirt with the bloomers that show underneath.  When they were putting their regular clothes back on, the designer pulled me aside and pulled out a small square of material.  There was a tiny clothes pin at the top.  As she put it in my hand, I noticed a familiar name hand written in ink;  it was my wife’s.

My eyes welled up. 

“I found this tag pinned in a dress I was working on this week and thought you’d want it.  It was on the collar of the one on the end of the rack.”  She pointed me toward an outfit that I’d seen before.  On our bookshelf is a picture of Jesse and Lisa in full Dicken’s regalia at the 2007 Raleigh Christmas Parade.  And on Lisa, that dress.

When I got home, I immediately attached the tag to the cardboard frame that held this important photograph.

It’s interesting that it’s been five years since Lisawas in the play, and yet it was just last week that the tag was discovered. 

Sometimes it feels like she’s sending messages – all can be explained, possibly just coincidence, but they are comforting nonetheless.

Maybe she’s proud of us.  Maybe she’s happy that we’re following in her footsteps.  Maybe she wants us to know she approves.

A Christmas Carol, Week 2: A Performer In the Making

Posted by Danny

Week two is complete, but I made a couple of snafus.

There’s a lot to keep in mind when you’re a star…

At my age, learning that many words to that many songs is a significant challenge.  It took me three months to commit to memory the name of the woman at the front desk at work.  We’d had so many float through there, I didn’t even ask what her name was until she’d been there six weeks.  I don’t have space in my brain to memorize the names of temporary employees.  I think my head holds 542 names.  If one comes in, one must go out.  So I choose wisely.

Because I can’t quite remember every word, I have been one of only a few cast members walking through practice with the musical score (note: a lot of the cast are returners).  That’s OK, except twice this week I’ve had my nose in the book, reading my music, and forgotten to leave the stage on cue.  When I finally looked up, there I was, center stage…with Scrooge.  I know the man thinks I’m a fool or trying to horn in on his act.  Fortunately, he’s more patient in rehearsals than his character in the performance. 

Shuffle/Ball/Change is apparently a dance move.  At first I thought I was golden:  Cards/Sports/Money.  That was not what she meant.  I’m gonna master that move – been practicing in the kitchen, and the bedroom, and…the office.  Got caught near the copier the other day by a coworker.  Told her I saw a roach.  I’m not going to do that any more. 

My strategy for now is to stand in the back of the stage (that’s actually called upstage for you audience lubbers), behind Jesse – he’s pretty tall.

Some things I do well.  I think Scrooge is impressed with my circular hip swerve when we sing “Daylight Come and Me Want To Go  Home” (some of you are surprised that tune is in Charles Dickens – you should come see, it’s quite interesting!)  I did win the soul train line talent show in 6th grade because of a couple of mighty hip thrusts.  I’m Elvisish.

Other than the wonderful people and just plain old fun, I think what I’m enjoying the most about A Christmas Carol  is laughing with my girls.  We’re driving down the street listening to the CD and singing our parts.  The other day Michelle was singing a Christmas Carol tune to me in a restaurant.  We’ve practiced dance moves together.  They’ve told me I was pathetic after watching me wander around the stage in oblivion.

At our break on Thursday night, Michelle and Stephanie made it a point to find me to tell me I had gone the wrong way during the Tango number.  I quickly informed them that I figured that out all on my own.  It was obvious when fifty-nine people went to the right and I went left.  But I’m making progress, I didn’t run into anyone this time.

Smart alec kids.  I don’t point out every time they make a mistake, why must they?

We sure are having fun!

A Christmas Carol, Day 1

Posted by Danny

Tanner family quotes from the first night of A Christmas Carol rehearsals.

  • “I cannot believe it is 5:30 and you have not started your homework!  What have you been doing all afternoon?”  “Watching TV.”  “Unbelieveable!  Just unbelievable.  You’ve got thirty minutes!  Get to work!”
  • “Eat quicker!”
  • “Fifty-five nights!  I have lost my mind.”
  • “Dad, am I an alto, soprano or second soprano?  BTW, what is a second soprano?”
  • “Dad, you backed into a tree.”
  • “&%$#.  I was in a hurry!”
  • “I need to sit by someone who can sing well.”
  • “Danny, is Jesse coming to rehearsal tonight?”  “I’m only his brother-in-law.  I do not know.”
  • “Uncle Jesse sure is cranky.”
  • “I haven’t sung since 1983.”
  • “Is that the tenor part?”  “I just made that up.  I do that when I don’t know what we’re supposed to be singing.”
  • “When they split us up into our stage families, I need to be in a gay marriage and my partner needs to be a tenor.”
  • “What if they put us all in one stage family?  That would be so embarrassing.”
  • “Dad, they’re going to put Michelle in your stage family because she cried at tryouts.”
  • “Lisa is looking down laughing her butt off.”
  • “It’s harder to sing standing.”
  • “Dad, you’d be a good Scrooge.”
  • “This was really fun!  I can’t wait for tomorrow.”

Sunday Post 36: Something New

Last year my grief counselor told me that I needed to begin to develop some new interests.  She gave me an example of a woman who lost her husband some years ago.  In trying to fill her time and develop her new identity, she began taking salsa dance lessons. 

I told her it just wasn’t me. 

Before Lisa died, I really didn’t need a lot of outside interests – or at least I didn’t think I did.  I was interested in her!  In looking back on it, that was a mistake.  Because I didn’t have other ways to focus my time, filling the void she left was that much harder.

Fortunately I’ve sort of stumbled into writing.  It’s something I enjoy and I can do as much or as little as I want.  The Christmas Carol tryout wwas a different story.  It was a leap – out of the comfort zone.  A new adventure.  And I’m excited we’ve gone out on a limb to do something really new to us.

I wish I would not have waited for a significant life change to stick my neck out an try some new things.  Throwing caution to the wind, taking a litte risk, can make your life richer.  A good lesson for me to learn.

A Christmas Carol – Starring…

Posted by Danny

Ira David Wood and co-Starring (well, “starring” might be a strong word but if you bring a strong pair of binoculars, you might be able to see us in the background)…

The Tanner Family!!!

Jesse Katsopolis – Ironically, started his acting career at the age of six as Tiny Tim in Theater in the Park’s A Christmas Carol.  Was a standout in the Broughton High School award-winning Show Choir.  Pink sparkly vests are no stranger to this performer.  An avid piano player, he’s often caught singing at the top of his lungs as family members enter into the house.  Occasionally mistaken at weddings as a paid professional dancer, Christmas Carol moves will be a cinch.  Won Stunt and Talent night on multiple occasions while a camper and counselor at Camp Sea Gull.

Danny Tanner:  Most often heard singing on the I 440 beltline with the windows open or in the shower where he mesmerizes himself with the amazing echo.  Once played in a handbell quartet, his ability to read music is uncanny.  In 5th grade, won the talent show with a classic hip thrust in the class Soul Train line.   Starred in the play David and Lisa in high school and won the respect of his teacher and classmates for learning to play You Can’t Hide Your Lying Eyes on the guitar, an instrument he’d never picked up before.  Also got extra credit for being only one of three students who actually memorized his lines.

DJ Tanner:  Only one of two Tanner family members with previous A Christmas Carol experience.  She said her favorite part of the play was trying to teach her on-stage father the dance moves and dancing across the onstage bridge (she may be teaching her REAL father dance moves this go round).  She was robbed the part of Mary in her elementary school Christmas pageant but found her sweet revenge when standing on stage with Scrooge.  She did admit that each night when they rolled a cannon on stage and the huge “bang” rang out, she hid backstage in the bathroom.

Stephanie Tanner:  Actually did play Mary in the elementary school Christmas pageant but DJ said it was just because she had brown hair.  She’s good at acting.  About twice a week she acts like I should ignore the fact that she has once again forgotten to bring home a school assignment.  Her older sister says she’s good at fake crying to get her father’s attention.  Stood by the guy who played the whale in Jonah, the church kids musical, four years ago.  Has actually performed multiple solos in the school chorus and even sang in the State Capital Rotunda last Christmas.  Beautiful voice!

Michelle Tanner:  Has a powerful voice but when singing alone away from Dellwood Drive it is difficult to hear it over her sobbing.  Has a standing role as Zeila the Fortune Teller (shows most Saturday afternoons, Dellwood Drive).  Most recently performed a ventriloquist act in the family den by taping a huge stuffed bunny rabbit to her back and entering the room in reverse.  Writes her own songs, they just don’t make any sense to anyone but her.

 

 

It is a great show and a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season–we’ll be doing our best to blend in with the truly talented folks who make up the cast. If you’ve never seen it, or you really just want to check out Jesse and me in tights, you can visit Theatre in the Park’s A Christmas Carol website here.

Our performance this year is dedicated to the woman who taught us how to sing, shared a love for musicals, and always had the guts to try something new.  May we make her proud.

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