I’m more than a little overdue to post this one.
Four more sold out shows at the wonderful Gulf Coast Exploreum, and I have three separate tales to tell about that trip.
First, the museum did something I’ve never tried before. They staged my show in their IMAX dome theater. It was very much like speaking in a lecture hall (I did that for the Texas A&M Veterinary College Open House a couple of years ago) only with steeper angles. The lighting was a big challenge but the sound system was awesome, and seating was clearly very comfortable for all those present. On the first day, the second show was sold out before the time the first one ended.
Big kudos to the excellent staff of the Museum, who also added a fun element to the experience due to the layout of the theater. Like most IMAX domes, the audience exits out the top, which opens into a large area where I was able to let folks interact with Capone (the big black and white Tegu) and Neon (the big albino Burmese python) and me directly. Nicely done.
A local TV station filmed one of the shows, and while the lighting in that room wasn’t designed for a show on a stage at the bottom, some of the footage is still pretty good. They aired it across the region later.
Second, I was graciously invited to stay at the home of Special Events Coordinator Abigail Reeves, whose house is lovingly referred to by the locals as The Purple Palace. One extremely artistic and creative lady, Abigail has the most outrageously decorated dwelling I have ever seen. Her Scion is a well-known and award-winning “Art Car” and the house is at least that elaborately well done.
In her younger days she saw (and in many cases met) most of the great performers of the age, and her collection of memorabilia alone is amazing. The Beatles, The Doors, The Who – you name ‘em Abigail was there. She weaves all her own rugs and gave me the most incredible snake design picture frame and an artsy “Coexist” light switch cover. Both her own work. She’s one extremely interesting person that I am glad to call my friend. Her neighbors are an extended family and I had the most wonderful evening of true local hospitality when we visited.
The third tale involves a couple of trips across the bay to Orange Beach, to join Dolphin Queen Cruises, under the able command of my friend Captain Lori DeAngelis. On the first day I arrived in the evening after her last cruise and Lori, her hubby and I went back out for a brief trip as the sun was setting. I faced down one of my own little phobias (there was, after all, a jellyfish warning out at the time) and eased into the warm, dark water to float on my back, holding onto a line from the transom. It was absolutely amazing hearing the dolphins clicking away beneath me, echolocating the dimensions of the big floating thing above. Awesome.
Day two, at Capt. Lori’s invite – I became her first mate for an amazing experience, a shrimping trip. A very nice family from up North had booked this very exclusive private two hour cruise which included casting the net, hauling in the catch – and most importantly – tossing the culls overboard. Among the shrimp were small red snapper, drum, little blue crabs and such – which get tossed over the stern – and the dolphins know this very, very well.
They follow the net as it is being towed, converge as it is hauled in, and get right up close to the boat to catch what gets tossed overboard. The other dolphin cruises all move in close to give their passengers a good look, but the really close action is aboard Capt. Lori’s vessel. Very, very memorable. The family gets to keep the shrimp, and this particular catch was pretty impressive.
During a lull in the action I did some magic for them, and now Capt. Lori wants me to do that again on a future trip there. A shrimp, dolphins and magic cruise. Hard to beat.
BTW, please pardon the resolution on the images. I took only video on this trip (helps with the dolphins especially) so all the pics are vidcaps.
I love Mobile. And the surrounding area. Hope to return soon.