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You Don't Look a Day Over 220!
Written on 2002-07-04, at 3:41 p.m.
dizboy's disturbing daily diet...

2 Glasses Orange Juice

1 Order Scrambled Eggs

2 Sausage Patties

5 Pieces Bacon

1 Cheese Danish

And I'll soon be eating an assload of bar-b-que.

Mmm...assload of bar-b-que...


John Live*

There's red...There's white...and being burned makes me blue.

Notice the stylish white line across the middle, confirming the location of the lanyard holding my event credentials.

*Not at all live...HAPPY BIRTHDAY GERALDO RIVERA!!!

Oh, and America...you too.

America is now 226 years old.

Two hundred and twenty six.

She looks pretty good for her age.

Well, she could use juuuuust a little Botox around the Plains regions, but other than that...


Well, Red, Hot, and Boom! went off so smoothly yesterday that it just didn't seem right.

For the most part, at least.

Despite a few dramatic moments when one or two vendors had no power delivered, no tents set up, no Department of Health License...

You know, tiny things.

When the Orlando Optimists Club ran into one of these little snags, it thankfully wasn't our fault...they had forgotten to pick up buns for their hot dogs, or something.

When asked whether or not they'd have to close up shop before the event even began prompted this quote, which I didn't even mean to be funny...

"Well, it doesn't look good for the Optimists..."

Seconds later, I erupted into uncontrollable laughter, realizing the irony of what I had said.

The redneck (I'm one to talk today...) stagehand didn't seen to understand what was so funny about that, and walked away, leaving me to my mirth.

As the day wore on, I noticed something strange.

Something unnatural.

Something perversely wrong.

No, not Aaron Carter...

It wasn't raining.

At all.

Not even a dark cloud in the sky.

It had been raining constantly here for over three weeks, and on this day, during one of the biggest events in Central Florida...No rain.

It was like some sort of sign..."Hey, it's not all that bad..."

Around five o'clock the bands started performing.

The acts were:

O-Town
Aaron Carter
Soluna
LMNT
Bad Mood Mike
a1
Avril Lavigne
Bayje
Criss
Alanna

Three of whom I had heard of.

Everyone knows O-Town, and Aaron Carter, and most people who aren't American know who a1 are.

But the rest were lost to me.

Until I heard them, and said...

"Oh, that's their song?"

LMNT (Pronounced "element") sings the "Hey Juliet" song, Bad Mood Mike is just Rich Cronin, the former lead singer of LFO, singing LFO's old songs with new people, and Avril Lavigne is the girl who sound like Alanis Morissette with the song "Complicated".

The others were just people I had never heard of, both in name and music.

The stage area was a mob scene...well, the area on land anyhow.

You see, Crane's Roost Park, where we had the event, has a floating stage.

It's a giant canopied barge that can be floated out to the middle of the lake for performances.

This was good in the fact that it made the music audible to the 150,000 people surrounding the lake.

But moreover, it kept the thousands of pop-crazed teenyboppers at a safe distance.

And let me tell you, they're vicious.

At one point, I had to get a fire extinguisher to the sound booth at the stage, just because they're supposed to have one when dealing with that much equipment, and, well...they didn't.

Arriving at the dock, I had to fight tooth-and-nail to make my way to the gate which lead to the boardwalk down to the staging area.

Once I got to the gate, two heavily armed law enforcement officers opened the gate and let me through, bringing forth numerous angry comments directed at my being allowed past the gate.

All despite, or course, the fact that I was adorned with a candy apple red shirt bearing the event logo with giant black letters across the back reading "EVENT STAFF", bright orange credentials saying the same thing, and carrying a very large fire extinguisher.

Did I mention the people who were the angriest were the mothers?

Though, I wasn't called a faggot, queer, or homo even once during the entire event.

Usually, when I've worked large scale events like that, where I have to be an authority figure, I warrant at least one "Fuck off, faggot..." from someone who doesn't like what I'm telling them.

But not a one this year.

I suppose everyone was just filled with the spirit of patriotism to care.

Or, Miller Lite...yes, I think it was Miller Lite.

Speaking of being an authority figure, we had a huge problem with unauthorized vendors trying to sneak in and peddle their wares.

The vendors are approved by the City of Altamonte Springs, which is sort of a suburb of Orlando, and the actual client that hires the production company(ies) to execute the event.

And they're pretty picky about who is selected to sell on the site.

Papa John's was the official food distributor this year, making it that much more annoying when Domino's sent people to sneak on site, and give out FREE slices.

We found them, and kicked them out.

They came back.

We kicked them out again.

They came back, we called Park Ranger Bill (I swear, that's what he wanted to be called), and he and the Orlando Police Department picked up the guy, and went and had a little chat with the slow-witted pizza chain's management.

The hardest part of the day came when I had to make an intensely personal ethical decision, which conflicted with most all the things in life that I hold faith in.

Do I kick Cinnabon out?

I noticed out of the corner of my eye, some kid in a Cinnabon uniform, with a small cooler, and a big piece of cardboard with "BOTTLED WATER : $2.00" scrawled across it in poor script.

Knowing my vendors cold, I recognized immediately that Cinnabon was not one of them.

But...it's Cinnabon...

After a deeply painful internal battle, some Zen meditation, and more than one mental scenario where I made an under-the-table agreement which allowed him to stay, and allowed me all the Cinnabons I could eat, I knew I had to do the right thing.

I decided to be as callous and frightening as possible, as to not leave any room for bargaining to begin.

The kid couldn't have been older than 16, and I think I scared him a little too much, as he turned tail and scurried back to the adjacent mall.

I then had to take care of the Hooters girls, who were passing out flyers on site...another thing not allowed.

They were trying to be sneaky though...they would just stand on the sidewalk, and wait for someone to walk up to talk to them, and then they'd give out the flyer.

I told them they needed to leave, and they played dumb, telling me that they were just standing there, and not distributing one-way tickets to their boobie-brothel.

At least, I think they were playing dumb...Hooters girls, you know.

Not long after dark, I had to do a "TP Run" to the North side of the park.

A "TP Run" is a nice way of saying "The port-o-johns need more paper".

So dusk found me with a large garbage bag over my shoulder filled with toilet paper, handing it out to the next person in line at each portable toilet like some sanitary Santa, explaining to them that they need do nothing more than place it on the shelf inside.

Yes folks, the ultra-glamorous world of production management.

Aaron Carter took the stage shortly after 9:00pm, which was my cue that fireworks were immanent.

So I made my way to the VIP viewing area, where I could watch the display without having to deal with the unwashed masses.

Aaron finished, the clock struck 9:30, and the show commenced.

The fireworks show was spectacular...everything looked just great.

The company that we used has special patents for fireworks that look like things.

Which is the worst possible description I could have given.

Ok, they have fireworks that burst into smiley faces, complete with eyes and a smile, some that burst into pink hearts, and others that turn into a blooming flower.

I'm not sure if it was the music, or the atmosphere, or the pyro fallout drifting into my eyes, but I got very emotional...

The music was, as I'm sure every show this year will be, very Americana.

They played "Proud to be an American", and much more patriotic music with portions of President Bush's post 9/11 address to America, as well as other people talking about September 11th dubbed in, and I had to fight not to lose it, since I was in a crowd of VIP's with my staff identifications on.

Then, Avril Lavigne sang "God Bless America" live, and I did.

Lose it, that is.

And yes, I'm aware of the irony that she's Canadian, as well as the fact that the members of a1 are British.

Still, it really made me feel a sense of pride, and patriotism, which I know sounds so cliché at this time of the year, but there you have it.

I also felt a little twinge of sadness for all the drivers on Interstate 4.

You see, I-4 runs right across Crane's Roost Lake, and with all the smoke from the show, the police had to nearly shut the road down for about twenty minutes.

Then, I thought of what traffic was going to be like with 150,000 people trying to leave this place at once, and changed that twinge of sadness to one of happiness to know that while that was happening, I'd be sitting back in the Production Trailer with a few cold drinks.

The show ended with Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever", and a good five minutes of solid, firework-filled sky.

At that time, I realized I was about to see just what that kind of mass exodus was going to look like, as I was on the farthest point in the park away from the trailer.

I was on the north side of the lake, and was about to learn to empathize with salmon, moving against a raging current of people.

I eventually returned to the trailer, where I noticed that I was the last one to make it back.

Oh well, I had a better spot anyway.

I...think.


I'm now off to the something-th annual "Big, Gay, Disney Bar-B-Que" at my friends home, so everyone have a wonderful, safe holiday...

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

Be well...

-JOHN-


Your Host and Emcee...dizboy.

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