Quidam Reivew

Quidam is a traveling Cirque Du Soleil show about a young girl named Zoe. Zoe is bored, looking for adventure and something outside of her mundane life. Her parents ignore her and are wrapped up in their own lives. Her Father is lost in the newspaper. Her Mother is distant and consumed in her own thoughts. Zoe becomes lost in her own imagination where she meets new crazy characters who teach her and her family to be free and to become a family again.

Most Cirque story-lines are hard to follow, this one is only slightly easier than most. The acts in Quidam are all fantastic, but also done in Cirque shows we’ve previously seen. Except maybe the jump rope act…I don’t think I’ve seen jumping rope in any other Cirque shows.

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Husband and I arrived to the Bridgestone Arena a few hours after watching the rehearsal (and this time I remembered the correct footwear). Our seats were perfect, minus the guy sitting behind me who felt the need to give everyone around him a play-by-play of the entire show. I loved the show, but Husband was a little tired of the similar acts he has seen several times already. Like the German Wheel…

bridgestone our seats

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And the muscle-bound “statue” act…

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I, on the other hand, can never get over this act! These people must be magicians! How on Earth is anyone really this strong!?!?!

The aerial hoops, the aerial silk contortionists, the diabolos and the hand balancer have also been done before, but they were extra impressive in Quidam. “The Diabolos”, or the Chinese yo-yo, was sooooooo good! I may have like this performer better than the little girls who perform in La Nouba! He was so fast and smooth that I could barely tell he was using the Chinese yo-yo at all.

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The Banquine act is a wild acrobatic routine. These performers build insane pyramids and then proceed to throw the most advanced tricks from one persons hands into another. It kind of looks like Olympic floor routines, crossed with a cheerleading competition with a dash of modern dance.

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The act that surprised me the most was the Clown. The Clown was the funniest act I have ever seen in a Cirque show, and I  don’t even like clowns. He pulled 4 random people from the audience on stage and forced them to perform for a movie he was supposedly filming. I don’t want to give away the story or the jokes, but I will tell you that I was laughing so hard I was in tears.

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Overall, Quidam was not my favorite Cirque show, but it was still a show worth seeing. I’ve never seen a Cirque show I didn’t love. If you are in the Nashville area this weekend then checkout tickets prices here. If you are not in Nashville, then checkout the  tour schedule here. Let me know what you think!

Cheers!

 

 

Backstage at Cirque Du Soleil

Yesterday was a dream come true. Yesterday I got to not only review the traveling Cirque Du Soleil show: Quidam, but I also got to attend rehearsals and interview a couple of cast members!!! I’m walking on clouds right now! I must be one of Cirque’s biggest fans. Husband and I have seen ten different Cirque show since we have been together. They never get old or cease to amaze me. I leave every single show feeling inspired and envious of the incredibly talented and unbelievable strong performers. Seriously, how do they do that?!

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When I arrived to the Bridgestone Arena this afternoon I was so excited and nervous that I actually forgot to put my shoes on, or at least the shoes I meant to wear. See, I left the house in a hurry (big surprise) with some cheap old bright blue flip-flops on, and stilettos in my hand. I planned to change shoes once I arrived. It wasn’t until after my first interview that I realized I still had on my bright blue flip-flops. I immediately blamed Husband for letting me get out of the car like that, but he claims he assumed I was trying to “keep it casual”. Whatever.

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I was the first “reporter” to arrive to rehearsals which means I got to watch the performers up close and have them all to myself. The first group rehearsing was the Spanish web, a group act, who climbs up and down ropes, swing around wildly and basically look death in the face everyday. I could sit and watch them maneuver on the ropes all day. These performers are in such incredible shape. Every move looks so smooth and easy. I can’t even walk in heels as easily as they flip around doing aerial stunts.

rehearsal reviewing upsidedown emptyarena costumes

My first interview was with Andrei Vintilov, one of the Quidam coaches. He was an original members of Quidam in 1995! Andre is from the Ukraine, was an acrobats world champion and has worked with Cirque for almost 20 years! Here’s what he had to say about his job and life in the circus.

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Me: When you were in Quidam in 1995, what was your role?

Andre: I did banquine, an acrobatics number with lots of human pyramids.

Me: What did you do after starting in Quidam?

Andrei: I started here for three years doing Quidam. Then I did Saltimbanco with my first wife and my children. After Saltimbanco, I moved to Zed. I did four years with Zed, from the creation to the close. Then I did a couple of months doing Iris in Los Angeles.I took a year break and now I am back working with Quidam.

Me: I’ve seen Zed about four years ago, in Tokyo!

Andrei: I was definitely there.

Me: Hey, we go way back! So when did you get involved with acrobats and this sort of artistry?

Andrei: When I was seven years old I did gymnastics then moved on to sport acrobatics when I was 15. In 1989 I was the European world champion of sport acrobatics, but you cannot make money doing acrobatics so I had to move to the circus. I joined the Moscow Circus. I was in Tokyo actually, performing with the Moscow Circus when I first saw Cirque Du Soleil. One year later I began working for Quidam.

Me: How long does it take to train for one Cirque show?

Andrei: It takes about 8 to 9 months during the creation of a show, but it also depends on the director. For example, after Quidam I said I would never do the creation of a show again. I was always exhausted. Franco, the director sees the entire world upside down and everything is crazy. The director of Zed was a movie director so his creation was smooth and easy. But, even though Franco was crazy, the show, for me…yes I was tired… but it was a more interesting experience working with Franco.

For example, the opening number is the German Wheel and there is Ukranian music and a Ukrainian dance. I created the dance because Franco said, “Where are you from? Do you know how to do a Ukranian dance?” I started to show him and I danced for two hours non-stop. I was sweating, tired, felt like shit and when I stopped he said “No. No, continue.” The next day the Ukranian dance was on the schedule for everyone!

We also learned the Brazilian drums for 9 months, 4 times a week, 2 hours every lesson. There is only 20 seconds of Brazilian drums in the show.

Me: Wow, that’s intense. What’s your favorite part of the show?

Andrei: I don’t know… maybe the Ukrainian dance because it is of my heart.

My next interview was with a young girl from Florida named Mei. Mei began dancing at eleven years old. One day an aerial artist came to her studio to teach, and Mei immediately fell in love with this new artistry. She began taking more and more classes in aerial work, and eventually auditioned with La Nouba in Orlando (Yay! La Nouba!).

Me: How long have you been working in Quidam?

Mei: I’ve been performing in Quidam for two years.

Me: What is life like being on tour with Cirque for two years?

Mei: Great! We travel as a big family and we do everything together. We have a lot of fun!

Me: Do you ever get time to explore the cities you travel through?

Mei: Yes! We actually get every Monday and Tuesday off. This week we went down Broadway, listened to live music, ate Mexican food with margaritas and I bought a pair of cowboy boots. We have plans to go line dancing at the  Wild Horse Saloon before we leave too!

My interview with Mei was short and sweet because she was quickly called to rehearse a jump rope number. I took the rest of the time to explore the backstage area where the props are stored and the cast warms up.

backstage stretching hatsandwigs handbalance

Before we left, we got to see this woman practicing her hand balancing routine. After a run-through she slumped over to her coach and said…”I don’t know what’s wrong with me. It’s not that I’m tired. I just feel off. It’s like I have no muscle”.

no muscle

This lady with “no muscle” then went back to work and did this…

 

 

strong girl

 

I mean, seriously, the girl should probably start working out.

I loved my time at rehearsal and backstage. Huge thank you to Jessica, Katie, Andrei and Mei-Mei for this experience. Can’t wait to get the review of the show up!

Cheers!

Can Never Get Enough Cirque

Since we began dating in 2005, Husband and I have been to nine Cirque Du Soleil shows. We are BIG fans. The last Cirque show I went to was the traveling Michael Jackson show, phenomenal BTW, but almost a year ago! I was beyond thrilled when I got the opportunity last week to review the latest traveling Cirque show to land in NYC…Totem!

program

In the midst of my flu, Husband and I trudged to the outskirts of Queens to the parking lot of the Mets stadium. I was a little surprised to see actual circus tents set up in the parking lot… Every single Cirque show I have been to has been inside it’s own building or a very large convention center. I was a little concerned that the quality would be less than par, but also felt a little like I was walking onto the set of Worlds Away.

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Inside the tents was like…well, it was like a circus. There were hundreds of people buying snacks and sodas, bars, souvenirs, photographers and big screen TV’s.

inside

Most everything was great, everything but the bathrooms. The bathrooms were completely outside, teeny tiny and boys and girls had to share them. These itsy bitsy freezing stalls were obviously created by a man who has never had to sit or handle a tampon.

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We had the best seats, but honestly most seats looked like great seats. When the show began we were overwhelmed with the set and the stage. The stage transforms to oceans, the sky, swamps, outer space and a volcanic island. It was phenomenal and the most realistic Cirque setting I have ever seen. The water was projected onto the stage, but rippled and waved when the characters stepped. It was all so magical.

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The theme of Totem is “The evolution of man” and begins with amphibians and ends with people in flight. With acrobats, dancers, singers and clowns we got to follow a story that seemed to connect mankind with nature, dreams and wild and crazy talents. The entire show was astonishing and kept us thinking “Holy Crap! That is NOT possible! No way Jose!”

My favorite performers
My favorite performers
These women were phenomenal
These women were phenomenal

There were a couple of skaters (who I’m convinced are in love) that did such insane tricks everyone around us couldn’t hold back their “ooh’s”, “aww’s” and “OMG’s”. The girl in front of me was covering her eyes and holding her breath. She was convinced the girl skater was not going to come out of her stunt in one piece.

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Like every Cirque show I’ve seen I got the overwhelming feeling to workout and start honing my talents. If these people can juggle upside with one foot while  carrying their friend on the other foot I can at least start jogging in the morning!

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The most impressive part of the show is the musicians. The entire show is done with live musicians who play and sing as the performers perform. If the acrobats are early or late or right on time the musicians have to keep their tempo exactly in time with them. I don’t know how they do it, but it all seemed flawless.

Totem is in NYC until May 12th and I promise you it’s a show you do NOT want to miss! Get your tickets here (and go to the bathroom beforehand!)If you live too far to see the show in the city then check the schedule here to see when it will be near you.

Cheers!

Lost My Voice

Throughout this 8-day flu epidemic, I have tried to make the best of my situation, be positive and all that. So, when I had to sit at home I watched lots of Gilmore Girls, old movies, and finally got watch Girls! Now, I know why everyone is so obsessed with this show!

I also tested Husband’s nursing skills. He was AMAZING! No matter the hour he has made me tea, bought me medicine, handed me the tissues, let me watch anything want, and hasn’t complained a bit. Being taken care of is the best feeling; it’s true love.

We have had family visiting for the last 4 days, and I haven’t been able to spend the amount of time I want with them, but I still managed to meet up for at least a meal once a day…not bad.

I have felt frustrated and a little depressed thinking, “Will this ever go away!?”, but when I get sad I just get another popsicle and watch Lorelei drink too much coffee. Yesterday was the toughest day though; yesterday I lost my voice.

Husband and I went to see Cirque Du Soleil last night (review coming soon!), and it was pure torture to watch such an astonishing show and not be able to talk about it! Thank God I have very expressive face and am used to talking with my hands.

In the spirit of turning lemons into lemonade I made a list of “Things I Learned While Being Mute”.

  1. I correct my Husband a lot. He has mentioned this to me before, and I never took him seriously, but I cannot tell you how many times he said something wrong and ALL I wanted to do was correct him! Not in a mean “I’m right! You’re Wrong!” sort of way, but in a, “I want you to be correctly informed” sort of way.
  2. I say, “excuse me” 1,000 times on any given day in NYC. I didn’t realize how necessary these two words are to my vocabulary until I could no longer vocalize them.
  3. Husband is vengeful. I thought he was perfectly happy to wait on me hand and foot, maybe even enjoyed caring for me, but I was wrong. I know this now, because he paid me back by teasing and peeving me nonstop knowing I could say nothing to fend myself.
  4. I have A LOT to say. Husband, I am sorry, but you missed out on a lot of witty comments, entertaining stories, hilarious anecdotes and general good conversation last night.
  5. Cell phones are life savers in so many ways. When all else failed, I could take out my phone and explain myself through the magic of text.
  6. Whispering sucks, no one can hear you.
  7. Sometimes it’s more painful to not talk, than it is to talk when you lose your voice.

Thank God my voice is mostly back today! I’ll never it take it for granted again.

Cheers!

FNO Part 2

After leaving Sak’s last night we were on a glamorous-fashion high. I was so excited to get to the next big event that I basically ran the 7 blocks up to Henri Bendel. Henri Bendel is another large department store on 5th Avenue. This store was scheduled to have Cirque Du Soleil performers entertaining throughout their store all night!

Before we even entered the doors we were greeted by a beautiful (and kind of creepy) lady in the store’s window. She had a microphone and could communicate with all the people passing by on the sidewalk as she gracefully moved side to side in the storefront. Once we entered the store, we were surround by Cirque performers dressed in outrageous costumes, handing out samples, walking from room to room, and some even performing on platforms 20 feet in the air.

We were able to pick up some free cocktails as we roamed from floor to floor, searching for more Cirque characters. Henri Bendel is always decked out with beautiful accessories, bright and colorful décor, and creative displays, so the Cirque demonstrations fit in perfectly.

After the mini-Cirque show we walked to the lovely Bergdorf Goodman’s. Bergdorf’s is celebrating its 111th Birthday. To celebrate they decked out the place in purple. There was a giant purple cake, purple party hats, purple shoes, purple banners, purple displays, and even purple light bulbs in their elegant chandeliers. There was also a new book being released on the third floor.

Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’ Goodmans is a companion book to an upcoming documentary, which goes by the same name and comes out in two weeks. The author, Sara James Mnookin, was selling copies and signing autographs on the third floor. I was intrigued by this book the second I heard the title, and the more I learned about it, the better it sounded. It’s a book full of humorous and fabulous anecdotes from famous shoppers, infamous customers, employees, and designers. The author interviewed hundreds of these “Bergdorf” people to put her story together.

While chatting with her I mentioned that this book is the first thing I have been able to afford at Bergdorfs. She signed my book For Hilarie, and all your BG memories! (The First of many purchases at BG!) …. I hope she’s right.

We left BG’s and walked a few blocks over to Bloomingdales. By the time we arrived the celebrities and singers that had been performing were already gone. We roamed around anyways and found a super cool video game type thingy that allows you to dress yourself in clothes and accessories found at Bloomingdale’s.

Zoey tried it, and it was unbelievable how well it worked! She was able to choose any type of clothing, accessories to match, and virtually try everything on as she walked around and modeled on the giant TV screen. It was such a fun way to try on clothes, without actually having to try on clothes.

When we left Bloomingdales, we decided to walk back down 5th to take in a few more sights before the night ended. By 10pm most of the stores were closing, the celebrities were already boarding their private jets to their next glamorous destination, and stunned shoppers were tipsily walking out of stores with arms full of bags.

For years my second favorite holiday has been Black Friday, (my Birthday is first) but FNO is quickly working it’s way up the list. It’s at least in the top 5 now. Can’t wait to see what retailers have in store for the 5th annual celebration, only 363 days to go!

Cheers!