At last! I am deliriously excited to announce Chou Chou and the Imperial Palms is returning to live performances starting September! We’re open for business and accepting bookings!

Behind the scenes, I’m beginning the frenzy of planning, creating, dusting off! I hope you are finding the same enthusiasm I am! What a long haul it’s been! Perhaps moving ahead should involve each of us writing a “What I did during the Pandemic” report, like those summer vacation reports we did in school.

Beyond the predictable clown car of emotions brought on by last eighteen months of existence, I can report I spent most of the long pause in the focus intentional work of keeping us safe, supporting loved ones, paying close attention to the situation, even when it was so horrible and hard, and educating myself. There’s been dark times, yes, but, in my trademark sunny style, I’d like to think of my past year and a half as a sabbatical of sorts. Doc and I have survived and are whole, with love in our hearts. That is more than enough. We’ve grown and changed, become more ourselves in some ways. In my deepest heart space, I shall always keep sacred the memory and awareness of what we’ve all suffered and lost. But enough about that for the moment. Right now, I’m writing about happiness making!

Where to begin? It seems like things went from stop to full speed ahead so fast! In the middle of an optimistically ambitious number of domestic projects, I suddenly find myself sending contracts, helping planners, coordinating and collaborating with audio and tech pros, designing costumes I’ll soon be sewing, digging into the music vault, and the rest. I’m scheduling beloved band members, auditioning and teaching, adding some fresh new talent. I’m doing choreography with reluctant dance muscles, rehearsing songs, lucky to discover the extended vocal rest graced my workhorse used and abused voice with some surprising improvements! Go figure that!

There’s equipment that needs to be moved out of storage. It’s a lot of lifting for little me. Heaven knows, I won’t have Doc do it, not at his age. It’s never been his thing anyway. For whatever reason, and we’ll probable never know, I’ve always just jumped in to do it, because it just needs to be done. Besides, the lifting sure tends to make those costumes fit nicely, so I don’t mind at all!

In the middle of the whole lockdown drama, we were hit with a EF1 tornado. Actually, it jumped right over our little bungalow on the bay, in a rather dramatic way, leaving felled trees and plenty to repair, enough to keep me in band schlepping mode for a while. But now I’m shifting duties fast! I’m wrapping up those home projects at lightening speed, still juggling the pandemic life duties known to all domestic warriors. But I’m picking up again with the duties of a business woman, making artistic choices, beginning the preparations and rehearsal. Things I’ve done for years, and, like any small business owner in the Arts will tell you, means endless tasks, details and hours. One simply can’t do this without a certain passion. I’ve always done it because it makes me thrive inside. The business of making people so happy.

Is it a bit overwhelming? Perhaps, at times. Things will smooth out, as I get adjusted. Bring it all on! I couldn’t be more thrilled, or feel more alive! So I’m doing all the necessary serious work. But there is a little thing I’ll do first. I must remind myself this work of entertaining is, above all, the giving, the sharing, of joyful play. As a band leader and performing artist, it only moves forward when I believe in the magic. The long strange pause called for much stoic strength. None of us were unscathed. We live stage performers, beyond other loses, were mourning the loss of what feeds our souls, a complicated addiction and identity, both. Would it ever return? What if it didn’t? Could we live without it? And just like that, it calls us again. Can we actually come out and make music again? It seems¬† too good to be true! How do we make that big leap? Where do we even begin?

Coco Chanel once said, “If you want something to happen, paint your toes”. Is it silly and trite? Absolutely! I am proudly announcing that’s where I’m starting. painting and smiling at my own cute little tootsies. Maybe I’ll add some little flowers or something. I think that’s as good a place to start as any. I’ll begin feeling playful, down to the tips of my toes, building from there, making all the other playful things happen again. So we can all gather and start celebrating! Profoundly, wisely, both feet on the ground, but with toes reminding me to go ever so lightly. To play in the work. In that lightness, only goodness happens, making it all easy when I know it’s not. Making that thing we know as flow, the sweet spot, the pocket, known to all creatives, movers, and shakers. That’s a lot to ask of a little bit of polish, but not if you believe in show business magic. My heart, my musicians and darling friends! It’s almost time for us to gather again! And I swear by the cute little paint on my toesies, I’m diving into all the new possibilities, playing completely, with joy in my heart, bringing a lifetime of experience onstage and behind, in the pursuit of happiness making! So I’m starting with this one silly little cute thing. That’s all it will take, at least for me. I’m sure you’ll come up with your own possibilities, launching ahead with your own playful way. Maybe planning a party with us! Or dining and dancing at one of our shows. I’ll see you in the music very, very, soon, I hope! And you can bet I’ll be dancing on perfectly painted toes!