5 Good Ways to Begin a Tour

1) Have it All Pan Out in San Fran

There’s a lot of trust involved in setting off with all your goods & chattels bagged up in the hope of getting to a precise spot thousands of miles away and performing a show. Even if it’s a show that’s been on the road for nearly four years already. There’s brand new, as-yet-untested bits of kit here, remember.

Almost all our bags arrived at the same time as we did.

Well, we reached San Francisco at night on 8th Feb after a super-long voyage. Elspeth’s suitcase showed up a day or so late, but sometimes it’s nice to discover that there’s zero option about what to wear. And on this leg of the trip, we were not stung for excess baggage either.

For our day in San Fran the sun shone and we saw as much as we could in a short space of time.

The view across the Golden Gate Bridge from Vista Point
Painted Ladies
San Francisco Skyline with 'Painted Ladies'
Great Thai food. But what they call 'medium spicy' is HOT!

We were pleased to pick up a shiny red hire car into which everything fits beautifully. It’s a Dodge Grand Caravan.

Richard with the Dodge Grand Caravan
The car hire woman said Richard looked like a grown-up version of Harry Potter!

And the GPS/sat nav thingy guided us like magic to our first venue.

2) Reside At Your First Venue (Which Should Be Beautiful and Scenic)

Montalvo Arts Center is a beautiful place. The Carriage House Theater is part of Montalvo Villa which was built in 1912 by California’s first elected Senator, James Phelan.

Carriage House
Carriage House Theater, Montalvo Arts Center
Lucas Artist Residencies
These are the two artist residencies where Rick, Richard & Elspeth stayed at Montalvo

3) Have a Hassle-Free Set-Up and Great Audiences

Neat Workshop
You've gotta love an organised workshop space when there's things to glue and stick.
And nothing gets creases out of hessian/burlap better than - or cheers up a stage manger like - a steamer!
The Man Who Planted Trees - Stage shot
Four performances with great audiences, hoots of laughter and pin-drop silences.
Dog in basket after the shows
Dog, relaxing post-show, is pleased with how it went.

4) Hang Out With Very Cool Artists

The Lucas Artist Residency Program at Montalvo means that there are a bunch of very cool, accomplished artists living here and we really enjoyed spending time with them. Particularly cool is the fact that there’s a ‘Culinary Fellow’ here – Michelle Fuerst – who cooks aMAzing meals for the artists. So there are three composers at the moment: Christian Muthspiel, Richard Marriott and Eve Beglarian. Nicole Schmoelzer is a visual artist who’s our next door neighbour here in the leafy glen – her and her amazing canvases drying in the sunshine. And Violet Juno is a performance artist who has shared her work with us during highly entertaining evenings of food and laughter.

Eve Beglarian
Eve in her studio. Thanks for the coffee!
Rick post-show
Rick with Nicole, Richard and Violet after a show

We’re sad to leave and hope to keep in touch with all these guys!

5) Extraneous Adventures in the Neighbourhood

Before we left, everyone was saying ‘You’re going to California, how exciting!’. Rick had been here before but Richard and Elspeth hadn’t and were withholding judgment until we saw what it was like. Well – it’s fantastic! We’ve enjoyed the quaint, kooky delights of local Los Gatos and took a trip up the coast past Ano Nuevo up to Half Moon Bay. Rick had a quick dip in the ocean and luckily got out before the rip tide dragged him away. Richard fell in love with a sleek, vintage Volvo – and the pelicans. And Elspeth accidentally stood on a dead seal.

Redwood Bay
Rick's dip
Rick's Heroic Dip in the Ocean
Elspeth silhouette
Elspeth getting over the dead seal experience

Rick, Elspeth, Richard

Onwards now towards Orange County. With a stop-off at Carmel by the Sea. More swimming? We’ll see!