Montreal with Cirque – Week 3

Email received:

Thanks for the update! The Conrad I have come to know is a fairly private man and I respect this. I guess when you are dealing with a first class outfit, its first class all the way around.  If I can read between the lines, it looks like they foster a culture that allows all participants to move forward, not feeling compelled to stay in the box. Allowing musicians to create yet move as one.

You are a well traveled man from previous experiences. I suspect much of what you are experiencing is not foreign; different form and culture, but relative to traveling with Freddy and alike. The other things I am curious about are simply the place you are staying, is it an apartment or hotel? How is the food? What is grocery shopping like? I suspect you enjoy dinning out, expensive, a luxury you desire but relish this experience and are trying to take it all in at once. I appreciate the dialogue. Take care.

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Hi all!

I’ve received several emails wondering why I haven’t been posting on my blog much. Believe me, there are so many things I’d love to post about – but trying to remain true to keeping all the details of my current project under wraps.

I’ve been in Montreal for several weeks now at the Cirque Du Soleil headquarters rehearsing for their new show in Macao, China.

We’re staying in the heart of Montreal just a few blocks from St. Catherine street – a central party and shopping district. We each have our own apartment and they are very nice with a gym and swimming pool. I’ve been trying to hit the gym and pool on a regular basis (with varying degrees of success).

Within just a few blocks of us are dozens and dozens of restaurants from a wide variety of nationalities. Tonight we had Indian, a couple nights ago Thai – pretty much anything you can image – it’s very international.

In the downtown area merchants are very accomadating about speaking English – especially in the restaurants. The further away you get from downtown, it gets a little more difficult. But so far I’ve only had one person be outright rude that I wasn’t speaking French. Walking down the street and hearing people talk it seems about 80% French and 20% English.

What amuses me is that people seem to automatically know if you’re English – and will say “Excuse me” instead of speaking in French. (Maybe the Levi jeans are a giveaway and the “New York” winter hat). Black seems the popular color for Montreal winter wear. Seems that EVERYONE is wearing black. Maybe because it’s easier to see against the snow, or maybe everyone is just ultimately cool.

My personal opinion is that the people in Montreal are very easy on the eyes. A very good looking bunch of people. And of course they all seem sophisticated to me because they have French accents. So there you go – my superficial take on Montreal.

There are lots of smaller Mom and Pop type markets where we can buy fresh food to make at the apartment. Many of the normal brands you would see in the states with a little more international variety.

The musicians I’ve heard here are top notch. Last week I heard a band at Bistro JoJo with a guitar player that struck me as an up and coming SRV – and a B3 player that gave an incredible show. And this was just a local bar band. Maybe I got lucky – some local musicians turned me on to the club.

The whole Cirque experience has been very enjoyable so far. I really love my fellow band mates – players from the US, Australia, Sweden and Armenia. A great family to play in China with.

Many of the artists are planning on moving their families to China – and it turns out there were a lot of last minute marriages so people could immigrate their partners to China. Being single, I’m just looking forward to working hard for Cirque and I’ll see where my time and creativity lead me down the road.

Several people have asked me, “Won’t it be hard for you to do the same show night after night?”. Not at all. Every show is a brand new opening night and a chance to give your ultimate focus and passion. What’s greater than that? My interest is in the experience of people in the audience, not my own. I want each person in the audience to experience the opening night magic of Cirque. I would guess that most artists share that passion.

A shout out to my friends in Mount Vernon, WA and Southern California. This sure has been a fun ride so far…

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