Helen's Dave-o-rama

Helen's DaveCon 2008 Trip Report

III. The Post-Show Festivities

After the show, the pages herd the audience out the doors as quickly as possible, but as usual we were staying after to shoot an episode of the Tony Mendez Show. So we stayed planted in our seats as long as we could, then finally stood up and moved to the front until Tony and Jay and Walter came out for us. Alan Kalter was re-doing the opening announce, so we had to be quiet and exit the theater.

We shot the TMS mostly in the lobby, and a little bit outside under the marquee. This year's story begins similarly to last year's DaveCon episode of the TMS. We are gathered in the lobby after the show, hoping to meet Dave (as if that would ever happen in a million years). A staffer comes down the stairs and tells us that she's sorry, but Dave's not going to be able to meet with us. Naturally, we are crushed. We ask to see Paul Shaffer (sorry, no), and Alan Kalter (sorry, no). Finally the staffer (I'm completely blanking on her name) tells us she has a special treat for us: the star of the Tony Mendez Show, Tony Mendez, is here. We react with disappointment. The rest of the plot revolves around Tony supposedly being a famous photographer who photographs nudes. He asks us to strip and lie down on the floor. Of course we are all horrified, except for Donz, who volunteers to do it. Supposedly, Donz turns out to be, um, as big as Seabiscuit. (Eeeew.) Tony had a little trouble with the segue from "Sorry, Dave's not here" to I'm-a-Famous-Photographer. Jay and Walter were giving Tony lines something like "You are all here so that I can photograph you" which didn't really make sense, since we were supposedly there hoping to meet Dave. Cheryl came to the rescue, suggesting something like "I know Dave's not here, but I am a famous photographer...." Tony was happy with that, and asked Cheryl for some other line suggestions later on. We shot various horrified reactions to seeing the supposedly naked Donz (believe me, we didn't have to do much acting, just the thought of it was enough), and after we all left for dinner, Don stayed behind to shoot some additional scenes. I haven't seen the finished episode yet, but apparently the rest of it involves Tony's stuffed dog Petey mistaking part of Donz's anatomy for sausages. (Eeeew.)

Donz was a little baffled when he found out he would be the featured performer in this year's DaveCon TMS; he couldn't quite figure out why they chose him, since he would be terribly uncomfortable doing it. I told him (and this was confirmed by Tony Mendez later) that this was probably the whole point, sort of like putting Larry Bud or Gary Mintz on camera. The episode should premiere tomorrow; I look forward to seeing it. I think.

[Note added later: This year's DaveCon TMS, "Fans Gone Wild", premiered on June 25, 2008. We all got our faces on national television during the Act 5 TMS promo on that night's Late Show. You can see our TMS on the Late Show website. Late Show Executive Producer Jude Brennan, who serves as adult supervision for the TMS, made them cut a lot of the footage.]

The big DaveCon dinner was at Cascina Ristorante, an Italian restaurant over on 9th Avenue, the same place as last year. We had the upstairs room to ourselves again, which was really perfect. Good food, good service, good friends. Tony Mendez stopped in for a little while, before heading off to the ballet. It was great hanging out with old friends from past DaveCons (nice especially to see Brad, who didn't attend the taping, but came to the city for the dinner), as well as DaveCon newbies Rod Fernandez and Greg Evans. We passed Traci's cellphone around and everyone said hi to Carl, and a little later the AFL Kazoo Choir serenaded Pat Fleet over the phone with a rousing rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame. We even managed some harmony, not easy on a kazoo.

Around 10:30 p.m., they flashed the lights, our cue to leave the restaurant. Some of the group headed off to a bar, and since I don't drink and absolutely despise bars, I went back to the hotel. I sort of watched the Late Show in bed, but I was whipped by that point and kept dozing off. I did wake up enough to see Teri Garr's entrance; they did a beautiful edit, so that Dave's comment about grabbing her inappropriately still made sense. You could see that he had helped her walk across the stage, but the home audience did not see her nearly fall on the floor. (Needless to say, I turned off the TV when the musical guest came on, and went completely to sleep.)

I hit the hotel gym the next morning, then walked over to a pie shop that Cheryl had recommended, where Traci, Greg Evans, and I, and possibly Keith and Brady, had arranged to meet for pie-as-lunch. (It's a meal in itself, no matter what Brady says.) I got there maybe two or three minutes after the appointed time, and didn't see any of the others there yet. I thought I was the first to arrive, but found out later that Keith had come early and already left. The problem? There was a notice on the door that the pie shop was closed down by the Board of Health, effective the day before. Nice job on the recommendation, Cheryl! I called Traci, who was about a block away, and she just cracked up. Traci didn't think Brady was coming. (He's yella.) Greg had called to say he was running very late, and Traci had no way to call him back (his number was blocked), so Traci and I headed over to a nearby diner we both remembered walking by, and hoped that Greg would eventually call back when he got to the closed pie shop. (He did.)

The pie at the diner was great. Brady, you should have been there. It was a meal in itself. For those scoring at home, Traci had the banana cream pie, I had chocolate cream pie, Greg had blueberry pie, and Greg's sister had the chocolate cream pie.

After lunch (pie), I had the afternoon to kill. I had considered going to the Natural History Museum (one of my all time favorite museums), but Traci didn't think there was much new there since my last visit, so I decided to go to the Museum of Modern Art, which was close to my hotel. I had forgotten, though, that the American Folk Art Museum is right next door to MoMA, and since I'd been to MoMA but not the Folk Art Museum, I opted for the latter. It was very enjoyable. They had folk art paintings and so forth, and I really enjoyed the utilitarian items. It always amazes me how people will make say, a water jug, and go to great lengths to decorate it and make it look cool. The featured exhibit was "Dargerism: Contemporary Artists and Henry Darger" which was interesting and thought provoking and a little odd.

After the museum, I grabbed a quick supper at a nearby deli / cafe type place (which was OK, nothing to write home about), only to realize afterward that the Stage Deli was a half block away. Doh! Well, maybe next year. Then, it was off to Avery Fisher Hall, to hear the New York Philharmonic perform Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 8, under the baton of Lorin Maazel. I was particularly excited to hear this performance because three friends and I recently peformed the Wagner tuba parts in a Bruckner symphony (the 7th), on a set of Wagner tubas that we borrowed from the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It would have been even better if the NY Phil. was playing Bruckner's 7th, but the 8th is also a great piece, and also calls for Wagner tubas, so I was all over it. And since I was going to the concert by myself (nobody else from DaveCon was interested), I sprung for an excellent seat, in one of the First Tier boxes near the front.

The concert was great, and I had an excellent view of the horn section. (The Bruckner 8th calls for 8 horns, with 4 of them doubling on Wagner tuba, and they also had an assistant principal horn, so 9 horn players total.) One thing I found a little alarming was that the Wagner tubas were wrapped so that the bells aimed the wrong way (to the player's left, instead of to the right like "our" Wagner tubas). I wonder how common that is; I've only ever seen them pointing to the right. I got a kick out of watching the Wagner tuba players scramble to set one instrument on the floor and quickly pick up the other when they had to switch between horn and Wagner tuba; I thought they would have fancy shmancy stands for the instruments, but nope, they just stuck them on the floor the same way we did when we played the 7th. Lorin Maazel, by the way, conducted the entire piece (which is about 75 minutes long) from memory, with no score in front of him. Show-off :-).

And so ends another DaveCon. A big thanks to Traci and Renee for all their hard work putting it together, and to Keith for arranging the dinner. Thank you to all the Late Show staff and crew for making us feel welcome. Thanks as always to Tony Mendez, Jay Johnson and Walter Kim, for putting us on the Tony Mendez Show, and to Tony especially for being so unbelievably kind and generous with his time. And of course, thanks to Mr. David Letterman, for putting the Dave in DaveCon.

See you all next year, you low riding punks!

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