…it’s just something I’ve never thought about. The first thing I always consider in a vacation destination is whether or not there’s an accessible point break with a nice sandy bottom. I also never answer the phone when I even think it might be the bank calling. Because that can never be good news. And up until about a month ago I was a member in good standing of the majority that gets to say “man, I never win anything”.
My bank and the Visa company (sneaky, underhanded institutions that they are) conspired together to enter my name into a draw for a trip to Beijing – to check out some sporting event that is going on over there – every time I used my credit card in June and July, which was a lot, apparently. In fact, I probably accounted for half the slips of paper in the hat that they drew my name out of. And so, I learned a hard lesson in how much I live off my Visa when I accidentally answered the phone and it was Richard-from-the-bank on the other end (who I was a complete dick to and kept demanding that he tell me how much this was going to cost me and what is it that you’re really selling so I can get back to my day. Sorry Richard, you are, in fact, a great man). Richard-from-the-bank was audibly excited to be awarding some dick a free trip to China, and when he had convinced me by getting somebody else in the marketing department to call me and tell me to stop being such a dick and say thank you (not her exact words), it finally sunk in that I was going to a part of the world that I had previously never even considered going to. They don’t have decent surf, but they do have a exploding market in contemporary art, a fierce theatre culture, a proud and ancient history and an oppressive totalitarian government. I briefly wondered how this last one might morally impact my status as a card-carrying member of Amnesty International, but I pretty quickly realized that a country’s government is not its people, and that I’m an artist and experiencing these kinds of situations is sort of the job. Even if it means doing that job in a luxury 5-star hotel that pipes music underwater into the swimming pool. I know, I kinda hate me too.
I’ll be in Beijing for 4 Olympic event and Great Wall-filled days, and then we’re off to Shanghai (the Whore of the Orient, says Lonely Planet) for a week, where I’m probably going to get beaten up for continually forgetting that over there they just call it “food”. To keep the home fires burning here at The Next Stage, I’ve asked a few friends to compose some guest posts for the next couple of weeks, and instead of saying “whatever, Lucky Luckerson, you can write your own damn blog”, they said yes. My friends are another area in which I’m very lucky. Look for their theatre thoughts beginning Monday with the Canadian Blogfather, Ian Mackenzie. Believe me, you do not want to miss that one. My sincerest gratitude to all of my guesters. Can I bring you guys anything from China?
It can’t be anything too expensive though. The Visa that I won the trip with is kind of maxed out.