And now to catch up on the happy memories of the year in no particular order:
The Powdered Wig Ball
Teresa and I (with help from my brother Eric) built six 8’×4′ black platforms, which we painted black. When pieced together, they make a dance floor. We invited friends and threw a lovely ball. There was only one expectation: everyone had to wear a powdered wig. But what am I gabbing for? The videos says it all:
After taking a several year hiatus from theater, playing across from my dear, my darling wife at the SCERA theater was a splendor. There’s something about the low-lighting of backstage that’s extra romantic. In my opinion, community theater in general is as close to Zion as we get. The volunteer nature, the dedication, the sense of community and camaraderie, the love of art … Zion.
The Scarlet Pimpernel
Who wouldn’t want to play the swashbuckling hero in front of adoring crowds? The best part was that I got to experience the sensation of being guillotined, night after night. The show played at both the SCERA shell and the Dejong Concert Hall at BYU. Between Hello Dolly and The Scarlet Pimpernel, Teresa and I made many unforgettable friends. When, in October, the composer of The Scarlet Pimpernel, Frank Wildhorn, came to visit BYU, I tried to arrange a lunch with him (as a little known fact about me is that my ultimate career ambition is to write musicals). Unfortunately, it turned out that my having played Percy didn’t get me any special ins.
Storytelling and Puppetry Performances
Teresa and I told scary stories at the Timpanogos Storytelling Hauntings Contest. I told the African-American folktale “Mr. Walker’s Liver,” and Teresa told an original story with original music called “Wish Upon a Grave.” Yes, I’m biased, but hers was the most enchanting. I won the “Audience Choice Award,” though I didn’t place with the judges. I guess I’d rather be a crowd pleaser than a judge pleaser. We heard from the management that Teresa had the second-highest popular vote. Thus, if they acknowledge it, she would have won the 2nd place Audience Choice Award. The bottom line is, we were the best.
Inspired by my friend Enoch’s retelling of the story, I studied the french poet Chretien de Troyes’s story “The Knight of the Cart” and told a half hour story at the Utah Valley Renaissance Faire and a forty-five minute story at the Orem Library.
I was a featured teller at the Weber State Storytelling Festival, in which I also told Celtic fairy tales.
I performed a show at the Provo Library in which I told Celtic Fairy Tales and my cross-dressing story. All of these storytelling experiences were well-attended and well-received. I feel that I’m getting closer to my goal of making storytelling my career.
As far as puppet shows, Teresa and I performed a Doctor Seuss show at the Spanish Fork Library, an Irish show at the Scera Center for the Arts, Teresa performed a solo show at the Brigham City Puppets in the Park, we did a review of some of our old shows at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, we performed “folktales from around the world” at Columbia Elementary School, and we did a Christmas show at the Davis County South Branch Library.
The Ariah Show
My five-year-old daughter Ariah has had so many wonderful pictures to draw and stories to tell that I decided she needed her own TV Show. We created three tiny, little episodes of her show and hope to make more. Click here to watch The Ariah Show. Lately, our two-year-old Aspen has been telling us that we need to make an Aspen Show.
Other Family Events
One Sunday afternoon in the early Spring, I was feeling depressed at the lack of adventure in our lives, so I took my family up Spanish Fork Canyon, where we slept on top of a mountain. It was one of the coldest experiences of our lives.
I took Ariah to the BYU Museum of Fine Art for a “daddy-daughter date.” There was a trippy exhibit featuring a video about the forsaken Super Mario, who lives inside of an aging NES cartridge, and the psychedelic disintegration of his 8-bit world. It was moving.
Ariah took ice skating lessons. She passed level 1 and failed level 2 :-). For Aspen’s second birthday, we went to the Hogle Zoo. For Ariah’s fifth birthday party, we threw an epic space simulation in our living room. I dressed up as an android and led the kids on a treasure hunt throughout the solar system.
Teresa and I were invited to perform our music at a Valentines dance at the “Life, the Universe, and Everything” Science Fiction and Fantasy symposium, which was hosted at the Marriott Courtyard. This was the motivation I needed to pull together many of the unfinished recordings that had been sitting on my computer for years and create a bona fide album. I also created the website http://thegashlers.com to showcase Teresa and I as artists. Joining us at the concert were my friend Berin on the saxophone and my brother Brian on the guitar. It wasn’t the most breathtaking event, but for our first full-length concert, it wasn’t bad.
Prisoner of the Molepeople
I finished my novel I’d been working on for several years in the early Spring. In December, I finally got around to doing something with it, designing a cover and self-publishing it for eBooks and print. Check it out at Amazon.com. The launch party is scheduled for December 21st. All are welcome!
When I got laid off, back in June, I knew that I could have easily taken another job in the corporate world, but I had no interest in doing so. Instead, Teresa and I busied ourselves (for the rest of the year) in starting several businesses. One of them was to market ourselves as puppeteers to schools. We got a couple of gigs out of it. Another was 25dollarportraits.com, a low-cost photography studio in our basement.
Another business was deadlyparties.com, an online store for murder mystery party games written by Teresa and I. We’ve had a great time with friends testing out the games on Saturday nights. If you’re into games like these (and why wouldn’t you be? they’re a blast), then you won’t find better deals. We created yet another business, but I won’t bore you with the details.
Trip to Arizona
For my friend Dave’s wedding, Teresa, my friend Nefi, and I drove to Mesa Arizona. The best part about the trip was when we showed up at Teresa’s Uncle’s house at midnight, their house was totally dark, and it turned out that they had no idea we were coming. So we spent the night bumming around Mesa, Teresa’s initiation into the magical world of bumming.