Joined: Sep 2014
I will also post it here. Here is a report from Bilbao writtent by Dixie. Here is her post on Live Journal.
Last week I once again ventured to Bilbao, Spain for the fourth and hopefully last Zarata Event held there. This was for the Gale Fan Meet with Special Guest Randy Harrison.
Friday began with registration and then a special Cabaret panel with Randy that I attended since I had seen the play though most of the Meet attendees were European and had not. It consisted of six fans and Randy sitting around a table. Randy talked with enthusiasm about his experience of traveling the country performing in so many cities. The cast generally flies on the same plane but can get a chit for the amount of the airfare and travel on their own.
He was on a two week hiatus before traveling to Tempe, AZ which was his next stop. He is definitely leaving the tour after Toronto next February. There has been some recent cast changes and sometimes there are significant changes when this happens. He loves his freedom in the role and his take on it is different from others due to his personality and sexuality. When he goes into the audience for the Entr'Acte, he tries not to pick someone who looks terrified or miserable. One person fell over a row of seats to get to him, one spilled wine all over the stage and another one shattered one of the lights. He will take a drink of whatever someone has. He said one guy grabbed his ass a bunch. Who can blame him! If someone gives him an attitude, he fires back in kind as his character can be aggressive and mean. As a joke, some of the crew members made masks of Randy’s face at age 15 and wore them when he went off stage for a quick change.
We got to see a short video on a large screen of his performance of Money and then an extended scene of him applying his makeup which he starts himself and then is assisted for the finishing touches. He said it was the first time he saw himself singing Money. As a gift, we received a framed photo of Randy in his Cabaret costume which he signed for each of us.
The Cabaret panel was followed by a photo session with Randy and later that evening there was another surprise Gale and Randy event which they added less than a week before the Meet which I chose not to attend since I was rather pissed that they were still trying to get more money. It turned out to be a visit to a sculpture museum. This was where Gale and Randy met up for the first time and the fans got to see Gale with his right arm wrapped and in a sling. According to someone I asked, he explained to those attending that on Sunday the water circulator on the pump of his pond blew up in his face and he put his arm up to protect his eyes. He received 2nd degree burns from the steam and said his arm looked like barbeque. Later we heard that he was child sitting for a friend and did not go to the emergency room that day nor seek actual medical attention until Tuesday since Monday was a holiday. I guess he cleaned and wrapped it himself until then. Everyone was suitably shocked to hear that.
Both Saturday and Sunday began with 30 minute breakfasts, a duo on Saturday and one with Gale on Sunday. I chose not to attend these as I had coffee breaks and meet and greets which are basically the same. After Saturday’s breakfast, there was a short opening and then it was either a photo op with Gale or a Randy coffee break. I got a picture with Gale and then there was a Randy panel followed by a coffee duo that I attended and then more photos with Randy. Then there was a panel with Gale. Next was the VIP lunch with Randy attended by about 15. The menu consisted of a Caesar salad, and then a mozzarella, tomato and eggplant appetizer. There were two entrees and both were served to all. One was grilled salmon and basmati rice and green curry and the other was a grilled chicken roll with mushrooms but I believe it was pork not chicken. The dessert was vanilla ice cream with freeze-dried red berries and served with coffee. Wine or soft drinks were served during the meal. This meal was better than the fare served in the hotel’s restaurant and I enjoyed it all.
After lunch, there was a panel duo and then duo photos. I got one with Gale and Randy and one with Gale, Randy and three of my friends Jule, Pam and Nadia for a group shot. An autograph session followed and though Gale could not personalize his, he did sign GHIII which he seemed to be able to do without too much pain though throughout the three days, he alternated between wearing a sling and going without and sometimes holding his arm. He was on medication and you could still see that he was experiencing periodic pain but he soldiered on. After autographs there was a mix drink session for 30 minutes which I did not attend and that evening was the cocktail party which is always a treat because of the continuous wine and many plates of various hors d’oeuvres. Gale and Randy visited each table for awhile and then the party continued on for those of us who stayed until they closed the room a few hours later. Randy’s participation ended with the cocktail party and the following day was devoted to Gale.
On Sunday, there was another breakfast with Gale and then an auction of two of Gale’s tee shirts. The proceeds went to 826 National Writing Publishing Tutoring, a charity that Gale supports. They started the first auction with 50 euros and went up in 50e increments. For the second they decided to go up in 10e increments after the initial 50 and it went for much higher.
Next was a Meet and Greet with Gale and then a Special Panel which consisted of two games. The first was trying to guess the names and/or artists of about 5 songs chosen by Gale. This wasn’t exactly an easy task but someone eventually guessed each one and received a prize from Gale. He seemed to enjoy playing his songs. For the next game, a volunteer was given 5 pictures and had to make up a story that included them. Two brave souls did this and the stories were pretty clever. Then they passed out about 15 pictures and did a running story in which each person with a picture gave part of the story using their picture and the ending of the tale was supplied by Gale. This was lots of fun for the participants and the spectators. Afterward Gale gave us all a small magnet with his photo and tried to find metal on us as he presented it.
After the Special Panel, there was a coffee break with Gale and then another photo op. I got a picture with Gale and my friend Jule. The VIP lunch with Gale was next and once again it was a better meal than served in the restaurant. This time the starters were grilled prawns and then a salmon salad. Only one choice of entrée was served. You could have either grilled sea bass and vegetable wok or roasted beef filet with grilled potatoes. I chose the beef. The dessert was chocolate cake with hazelnut.
Following lunch, there was a final autograph session and then at 5 p.m. we had the Close Up which was a guided walk along the beach in Getxo in the Basque country and a climb to the top of the area. After the climb, Gale was feeling pretty tired so he said goodbye to us and we stayed in the area for a drink before heading back to the hotel. Considering how he felt, we were lucky to get to spend so much time with him. He was a real trooper.
Now for some of the information I gleaned from all the panels, M&G’s coffee breaks, etc.
Randy’s cat Ella is 20 years old and has suffered from a kidney insufficiency since she was 18. Randy gives her IV fluids every other day. She visited him on the road for awhile and did very well in the hotel. She is now back home. He hopes to someday be financially stable and have a warm and inviting home. He values authenticity in a person.
Gale’s biggest dream is to have consistent peace of mind and do work that he is proud of. He is writing some scripts right now. He said if he were still alive in 50 years he would like to see if there is any water left.
Gale says he loves the internet, Facebook, twitter, Instagram and podcasts. Even so, he asked that we do not post a lot of pictures on the internet and requested that only a few pictures be taken at the beginning of the panels and then to please refrain from taking more while he talked. He said being too exposed is not good for his psyche and peace of mind and he tries to protect himself from the effects of it.
Randy says he doesn’t read or care about the reviews (even though we told him most are glowing) because it only matters what his friends think.
When asked the best and worst things about him, Gale said the best is that he seems to have nine lives and the worst is that he seems to be using them up.
Gale loves the hillsides, the architecture and weather in Bilbao. He particularly likes the big spider in front of the Guggenheim. So do I.
He liked working with Leisha Hailey in Fertile Ground and they went to a bar one night and took some great shots with her Leica camera.
His most emotional scene to play was with Steve Harris in The Unseen because of the brutal confrontation between them. He likes female directors because they have a pronounced sense of sensitivity and feeling and they don’t have the same ego problems as men.
Randy went to a costume party as Sia and loved it because his face was covered.
Randy likes films that make him cry. He cried in Grandma.
Some heroes growing up. Randy – anybody who was out. James Cameron Mitchell, Armistead Maupin, Larry Kramer, Randy Shilts and Tony Kushner. Gale – Jack London, James Brown, George Clinton, Iggy Pop, Barbara Walters and Edgar Allan Poe.
When asked who in history they would like to be, Randy said he wanted to be a stowaway on a ship and Gale would like to be Jim in Treasure Island.
Gale likes the movie Captain Fantastic, Real Time with Bill Maher and Viggo Mortensen. He encouraged us to see Some Came Running if we hadn’t seen it.
Song played at his funeral: Randy – Perfect Day, Gale - Dream On by Aerosmith.
Gale would like to work with David Cronenberg and David McKenzie.
Randy said New York is Dead should be out in the spring.
Randy would like to be remembered as someone who provided some relief to the people he loves by co-existing with them.
Gale would like to live in San Francisco, Rome or London. He mentioned Hamletmachine, a play by Heiner Muller and I think he would like to be in it someday.
I took lots of notes over the three days and some I can’t decipher or remember exactly what the context was but these are the things I can recall.
Once again I thought this was a successful gathering of Gale and Randy and the fans and each time I think it is the last one I will attend, I somehow get sucked back in. I only hope that if Zarata Events holds another one it will be in Barcelona or Madrid. I have seen enough of Bilbao.
"Don't forget who your heroes are, what they mean to you, and why they mean that to you." Gale Harold.