The Casual Reporter: January 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ex-WWS Cowboy Wins Golden Globe Award

Ryan Bingham won the 2009 'Best Original Song' Golden Globe award for The Weary Kind (The Theme From Crazy Heart) which he wrote with T Bone Burnett. Ryan played the role of Cowboy for a few months several years back in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill) and remains good friends with several members of the cast, especially Lucas, who helped him get the job. Unfortunately, Ryan wasn't present to receive his Golden Globe award.
One might be forgiven for thinking he was on tour, or in the middle of a recording session, or had some other obligation that prevented him from being present, but in fact he was at the ceremony.

At the bar. Having a beer. With a friend. How's that for unassuming?
Crazyheart also won the Best Actor Golden Globe award for Jeff Bridges' performance.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jean-Philippe Directs an Opera

Jean-Philippe Delavault, the advising Artistic Director for Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, Disney Village, Disneyland Paris, France and Artistic Coordinator for Theatre Chatelet in Paris, recently directed Rossini's opera Tancrede at the Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing in Tourcoing, France. Opera Magazine gave Jean-Philippe's directorial vision a complimentary review.

Chris K's Son Taekwondo Champion of France

Chris Knecht's 12 year old son Thibault is the new taekwondo champion of France in the category "cadets" under 45kg.  Chris, the "Lead" Cowboy in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), Disney Village, Disneyland Paris, France is a dual citizen of France and the USA and has been with the show for about 14 years. Thibault won second in the department, 1st in the region, and then 1st in France at the national tournament in Orleans. Further training and competitions will be required to find the youth who will participate in the European championship. Thibault's ultimate goal is to go to the Olympics.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wyoming Weather: A Poem

This year France has seen more snowfall than I've known in the 14+ years I've been here, but it's nothing compared to the severe winters of Wyoming. Sometimes I pine for those sub-zero mornings when crystals as long as fingers grow on every surface and the icy thick air  amplifies the crunch of snow underfoot. My dad sent this poem, which has helped alleviate my nostalgia.

Wyoming Poem

It’s winter in Wyoming,
And the gentle breezes blow,
Seventy miles an hour,
At twenty-five below.
Oh, how I love Wyoming,
When the snow’s up to your butt,
You take a breath of winter,
And your nose gets frozen shut.
Yes, the weather here is wonderful,
So I guess I’ll stick around,
I could never leave Wyoming,
“cause I’m frozen to the ground!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Trent Features in Wyoming's "Casper Star Tribune"

I was recently interviewed by Margaret Matray for a feature article in The Casper Star Tribune, Wyoming's premier state-wide newspaper. I think she did a great job. Here's the link to the web version of the article: La Legende de Buffalo Bill.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Trent, Kave, Wiley, Shawn, and Carlos Perform in Fontainebleau

Kave, Wiley, Shawn, Carlos, and I performed at the Theatre Municipale de Fontainebleau in Fontainebleau, France on December 17, 2009 in a show I put together for the kids who attend my son Zachary's school. We recently moved to the area for the school so, eager to be an "involved parent," I attended a meeting for the association of parents (who organize social events etc for the kids) and volunteered my friends' talents if for some reason they might be useful. At a different school, Kave and Shawn gave a presentation of their impressive native singing and dancing skills, which is what I had in mind when I volunteering them here.

A couple months later the President of the parents' association called to say they had met and decided they wanted to take me up on my offer. I was delighted. When they said our "show" was going to be THE end-of-the-year show for all 400 kids plus several teachers and parent chaperons, I got a bit nervous because, well, THERE WAS NO SHOW! My friends danced and sang, but it wasn't a SHOW, just incredible talent. The parents' association said they only needed to secure a venue. I was thinking a gymnasium or cafeteria or something, but the Mayor of Fontainebleau donated the use of the Theatre Municipale for an afternoon.

Realizing I needed to throw together an actual show of some kind, I arranged to meet the theatre manager to better understand what my options were. I was completely bowled over by the delightful charm of the space. It's literally across the street from the Fontainebleau Castle, Napoleon's old digs. The theatre started construction in 1905, the same year Buffalo Bill toured 120 villages in France, and was inaugurated in 1912, the year he borrowed $20,000 from Harry Tammen in Denver - a loan that would eventually force Cody to sell his show and work for Tammen in the Sells Floto Circus.

The theatre is built in the Louis XIII style and is "one of a rare specimen of Italian theatres and one of the most beautiful in the Paris area" according the the theatre's website. It's like the ones you see in period films, with seats at floor-level and then 3 levels that seem to climbing up the walls of the auditorium. Yet it's very intimate. The audience feels within arms' reach. I absolutely fell in love with it, and realized immediately that I needed to create a great show for such a great venue.

With the help of my wife and friends, I did. Fortunately I had a rare theme for this area: real cowboys and Indians, and some of the most talented people I know helping me: Kave, Shawn, Wiley, and Carlos. And of course my wife Susan. I cut a few video montages to project on the video screen behind us at certain moments and wrote a song for me to sing. Two moms dressed up like Saloon Girls to give out hats from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, which were used interactively in the show.

But not all went smoothly. On the night before the show, one of the biggest snowstorms we've had in years hit, which meant my talented friends had to travel at a snail's pace for 1 1/2 hours and when I had a technical problem and had to go back home it took me an hour and a half instead of a half hour. I was still booting my computer when the kids arrived. I had to tell my friend Chris, who had also volunteered to help, to just figure out the Video-rich Powerpoint Presentation himself because I didn't have time to explain it. So it was a close call getting the show going at all, but it turned out brilliantly. The kids were delighted, as were the teachers and parents who attended. And it was fun for me to do something new for a change. I'll post the video montages shortly.