A visit to the fabled hotel was so undertaken. It was a dark and stormy night. Lo, the winds did howl, and water fell from the sky in torrents, such as to drown the very will of man.

Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but it was a pretty severe snow/rain/freezing rain combination. A nor’easter decided to visit us all just days after that bitch Sandy. Glamis and I, of course, chose this of all days to attempt to drive all the way in rather than the usual rail travel. Because we’re smart.


Oh well, a little snow is nothing. I was born in snow country. Travel was surprisingly simple. Parking was incredibly available on the street. Ovest was delicious. I dropped my phone in a puddle. I went through the entire rest of the night without a cellphone in my pocket. It was like a horror movie. Oh, wait: I never even noticed. Not once. The very nice folks at Ovest gave me a box of rice and the next day the phone was 100% okay.

Upon entering the McKittrick, the first thing I noticed was the rock stars at coat check. Rob, and I’m not sure who else was working. They are all rock stars, incredibly patient and deserve medals. There were coats and bags and umbrellas and extra bags and people with gloves, and then Glamis and I were finally finished. :) We obtained our keys and off we went.

"Oh, hello Archie! 

"No, no no no, I’m James, I’m James, it’s just a little dark in here. "

-“Oh! Well there’s a fellow here who looks a lot like you, good sir. 

-“My apologies, I didn’t see the red jacket. Hey, wait, why are you here?”

-“There’s something happening with the elevator, it’s on the fritz.”

I had approximately 60 seconds to chat with Calloway and Celeste, I downed the two absinthe shots and away we went.

What they did was interesting. The entry was through the “back” side of Manderley, into the stairwell, and down to the ballroom. I was the first human being in the ballroom that night. It’s quite peaceful when it’s empty. I’ve never been first before. I’ve never been in the room before the witches.

The dance begins. Oh, hello Marla. :)

Haylee’s Lady Macduff, you seem troubled. I should stand here just in case. Dear lady, please don’t trust that woman with the tray, I think she hates you. Oh you shouldn’t drink that! Dear me, you seem to have fallen. I should see you to your chambers. I will go where you go. Including into that tiny little chapel of yours.

Haylee’s LMD is very maternal. She seemed, to me, very consumed with the motherly aspects of her life. Her relationship is crumbling, to be sure, but her instinct when watching her husband stolen away, by witches or duty, is to clutch her pregnant belly. In being alone with her, I felt nothing but maternal concern and love, right up until the moment it turned sour. In watching her all around the hotel, I felt very strongly when she would flit in and out of her dream state. There were moments of peace, almost of joy, but then she would see one of us and this dark pain would fly across her face.

We eventually ended up running - and I do mean running, Haylee is fast - to the lobby. In seeing her in front of the dresser, something else struck me. It was the way Haylee held up that beaded dress. That dress looks quite like the dresses worn by the women who frequent Gallow Green. Is there a connection? Or was it just that I got the same sense of longing from her that I sometimes feel from the women in Gallow Green?

Oh Lady, please just eat your toast and ignore that terrible woman and her horrible beverages.

Now here’s where I meant to stay but my attentions were simply stolen. I was trying to avoid the crowds pushing into the dining room - nothing bad, there were simply a lot of people curious about this scene at the same time - and I went to the outer edge of the crowd. By the phones, I saw Isadora Wolfe in Agnes’ clothes.

Okay, so I’m going with her now.

I followed Agnes for some time, looping around to see as much as I could. I simply love Isadora. My favorite moments were many. Among the best: Elizabeth Romanski’s Hecate harvesting her tears was pretty emotional. And there were tears to collect.

Patrick Ferreri’s J. Fulton turned the desk lamp toward Agnes as she stood across the room. Isadora has a face that should always be lit. In fact it seems to be that way by nature, but throwing a soft light on her is always, always the perfect lighting choice. Such a moment. 

Watching her eye the cash box as Fulton chooses fabric bolts was another brilliant moment. She’d go cold and shoot a look at the cash box while his back was turned. He’d whirl around, all smiles and puppy dog eyes with a new selection of cloth and she’d quickly break into a smile for him, only to drop it the instant he turned again. Loved it.

Around we went. A timid Agnes met a vicious Bruder-portrayed Porter. Phone rings. As Agnes leaves I slide in behind her. She grabbed my hand on the stairs and we went all the way to her apartments like that.

I don’t want to give a lot of details about 1:1s, but I think it’s fairly well known what Agnes says. Isadora’s delivery was so perfectly noir. The moment, everything, the light, the pace, her tone, the accent, it was 100% perfect. It was slightly alluring, mostly melancholy, incredibly tender and filled with broken hope and longing. Perfect.

At another point I ended up back in the ballroom. I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but the witches persisted in teasing and taunting me as the danced by. So yes, okay, I’m going with Marla. We all knew this was going to happen. :)

I haven’t posted about this, but Marla has been messing with me. We all know Glamis is ass-over-tea kettle for Marla Phelan. What we all don’t seem to notice is, so is Cawdor, since he is, well, human. :) So I followed her at the first night of Carnival. I ended up at Agnes’ door three times, and all three times she completely and utterly rejected me.

I don’t mean she just picked someone else. I mean she eyeballed me, laughed and reached around me. I mean she walked right up to me, smiled hugely and reached for the person next to me while looking at me the whole time. I mean she sashayed to me, gave me what can only be called a haughty laugh and reached over my shoulder for someone else. That last one left me walking away laughing out loud. I’ve never done that in the hotel before, but it was genuinely funny to me. She pulled me in all night, essentially daring me to follow her, and BAM: rejected every time.  I don’t know if it comes across writing about it, but in the moments, it was entirely playful and fun.

Turns out it was 100% on purpose, so as not to ruffle Glamis’ tender heart and feathers. As I was told later “I was keeping it just for us girls!”

Oh hells no! I’m gonna make you turn me down again, woman. So on this night, I did what I swore I would never, ever do; I camped it.

I watched her poison a man. I slipped away a moment early and put myself under the lamp outside Agnes’ door so there could be no doubt why I was here. I stared a hole through her as she rounded the corner. She stared one right back at me. I slipped in directly behind her as she came through the doorway. The only way I could have been closer would be if I was the dress she was almost wearing.

Stare. Wry smile. My thought “Okay. I can probably make it back third loop and do this again, it’ll be fun.” And then she took my hand. 

I genuinely did not expect it. I seriously thought 100% that the game was afoot. Which, in retrospect, was probably part of the game. She’s good, and oh my Gods and Goddesses will I miss Marla Phelan in this show when she leaves.

The experience was, in a word, intense. I’ve been in the closet with Marla once before. This was like that, only times eleven.

I did have an interesting thought as we rushed into the morgue. You know who I think has the power to be all smoldering and sexy and just burn with fire as she walks and dances around? Emily Terndrup. I’d love to see her take on the role of Sexy Witch.

Spent some time on 5 chasing Careena’s Matron. She’s the fastest human being alive in that maze. Which is weird when you consider that she uses these tiny shuffling baby steps to get around. 

Okay. I’ve chased LMD, Agnes, Matron and Sexy around this building and I need a drink. Off to Manderley, and some delightful Annabella time. Gifts from the mystic: a black feather for a crow, and a Goddess stone for Glamis. Good discussions about the things we discuss. Some personal, some about others. Some spoken in code, because we’re in a strange time warp.

There was a beautiful moment with Mia’s Celeste. Have you ever seen a person truly light up? I have. In fact I saw two: Calloway got another stone for his collection from me as well. WHY DO I KEEP GIVING HIM THINGS? My things. These are not gifts I obtain/create for William Popp. These are my personal things that Calloway somehow gets from me. The man has powers.

Annabella introduced me to Vera, who is utterly delightful. I was told she’s a good singer. I decided to stick around and find out. The verdict?

Wow. She’s not good, she’s great. I hope I get to see her again.

Back into the hotel. I wandered, a bit lost for what to do. Wandered into the Speakeasy. Seems that no one could win David Botana’s card games, so eventually he just showed me two cards, made a big exaggerated face like “Jesus, can you fucking pick the card already?” and basically forced me to win. :) Took a shot with the Speakeasy barkeep. Then I saw something else I’ve never ever seen before:

David Botana intentionally buttoned up his shirt and tucked it in!

The running joke I’ve been saying for awhile now is “Why is Botana incapable of buttoning a shirt, like, ever?” Turns out he can totally do it. I saw it! It’s real! ;)

A little more wandering, looking for the Zachxidermist who was already gone for the night, and the next thing I know I’m with one other guest in the funeral home with Patrick’s Cunning Man. I know it’s getting late, so I just sort of watched him for a minute, figuring it was getting to be time to head to the ballroom. He motioned the two of us out. The other guest left and I followed, but I turned at the door. Why? I don’t know. Patrick closed the door. Then, a moment later, Fulton re-opened it and took my hand.

OH MY GOD, AFTER ALL THIS TIME. I’ve looped Fulton about a dozen times all told. I’ve never, ever been fortunate enough to spend time with him alone like that. In fact, I’ve only ever seen two others be taken in all the times I’ve been around at that moment. I was starting to think that the stories of Cunning Man having a private moment were a myth. But like David Botana buttoning a shirt, it was all real.

It was wonderful. We prayed. We fortified ourselves against the growing dark. Patrick’s Fulton is stern, and pious, but not dramatically so. He has this core of decency to him. A good man in bad times. Patrick himself is an imposing figure in the suit. It was all very spiritual. And then he took me all the way to the first floow. We stopped at the mezzanine and watched the banquet tableau until the murder faces came around, and then he led me down and around the crowd to the front. He of course was trying to move the crowd back, but he also never let go of me. Then he put me in front of him and we watched Macbeth get his due. I have to say, Patrick gave me a legitimate, well-appreciated neck and shoulder rub throughout. A real one, actually working a knot right out. All kidding aside, it was exactly what my neck needed at the end of the night! As the rope snapped, his hands disappeared and so did he.

We hung out for awhile in the Manderley, saying hello to familiar faces and dreading the storm. Saw a couple of special audience members. Watched Calloway singing about love (and dolls!) again. I was entrusted with the care of something incredibly special. The night broke up early due to weather, so we skidded and slid our way back home. It was nice to not worry about a cab and trains and so forth. Not so nice to continually lose control of the vehicle while going 30 miles an hour on the highway, but we made it.

Oh, Mr. McKittrick. Why does your hotel tempt me to risk life and limb? But it does, good sir. It does.

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