THE GREAT EGRESS – Thoughts from Bo by Bo Gerard

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P.T.Barnum’s American Museum, which hosted 38 million visitors from its opening in 1841 until it burned down in 1865, started getting so crowded that no one else could be admitted. So, he introduced a new attraction – the Egress. Visitors who followed the signs, hoping to see this “Egress” (a new bird, perhaps?), stepped through a door and found they had exited the museum, and they would have to pony up another 25 cents to re-enter. The word “egress” means “exit.”

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True story, and a fitting launching-off point for my thoughts today – which are about an exit strategy. Recently a relative of mine asked if I had an exit strategy, regarding my performing career. He, like me, finds himself in the luxurious position of not really having to work anymore, but not knowing how to stop. Having performed professionally for over 40 years, a great deal of my identity is wrapped up in getting out there and entertaining folks. So, I have been loath to make plans for any sort of exit.

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I have, however, begun turning certain kinds of gigs down; concentrating on quality as opposed to quantity. This past year I have decided to stop taking outdoor gigs. Dealing with wind, rain, heat, and darkness has long been an unpleasant endeavor for me. So, now I only perform indoors. And I am only booking “after-dinner” shows – no more “during-dinner shows”. I have also cut out jobs that look like they’re going to be trouble going in; like strange costuming, odd situations, or gigs that just really are not a good fit for my energy and style. And nowadays a job has got to be pretty darn great, if I’m going to work till midnight.

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This plan has lowered the number of shows I do, but it has greatly increased my overall enjoyment factor. And isn’t that what it’s all about, anyway? This Way To The Egress!!!

I SHOULD BE DEAD! – Guidlines vs Reality by Bo Gerard

According to the National Health Service, I should have shriveled up and died from dehydration long, long ago.

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Their recommendation for a daily amount of fluids is: 5 glasses for 5 to 8-year-olds. 7 glasses for 9 to 12-year-olds., and 8 to 10 glasses for 13+ years. When I was 7 years old, I was lucky if I drank 1 or 2 glasses a day! Even in the summer. And me and my friends weren’t allowed to come running indoors, breaking knick-knacks and dirtying up the floor, just to get a drink of water. We went without, or if we were really desperate, we drank out of the hose in the back alley. In fact, I don’t really remember drinking water from a glass while I was kid growing up. I maybe had a glass of orange juice in the morning, and maybe a glass or two of soda with dinner. That’s it!

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So how have I survived? Got me! I’m guessing that either I have some Camel genes in me, I am some sort of super humanoid, or these “glasses-a-day” rules are merely guidelines. So, this blog is not really about hydration. It’s about living your life by guidelines. Guidelines are a useful tool and can help you lead a relatively healthy and safe life. But sometimes, as a performer, you have to step over the guideline, (or under it) if you want to achieve something unique, something personal, something that connects.

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As a corporate and family performer, I have spent my life flirting with the line. Sometimes stepping over it, only to quickly jump back; and sometimes stepping over and discovering a new path. (or at least a new line of patter or piece of business) One must be safe, but still take chances now and then. That’s life, whether you are a performer or not.

So, once again, guidelines are GOOD! But don’t be afraid to ignore them when inspiration beckons. I raise my glass of water and toast to “Your Adventure!”