John has worked his way up the food chain at a local stripper club over the years. A big, imposing figure, he started as the custodian/barboy/right-hand man and eventually worked his way up to owning three clubs.
John's demanding and asks a lot from his "girls", mostly Russians from Brooklyn, who get chauffeured in by these Russian men who seem to have their cell phones surgically attached to their ears.
Every Valentine's Day, he orders a singing telegram for his girls at all the clubs and gives them roses. Apparently, it's one of the least-busiest evenings of the year; all the guys are home with their wives or girlfriends and the dancers don't make much money.
So I go in at midnight, stand on stage with them, serenade them in my Red Heart ( after telling them I have a "heart on" for them), grab the dance pole, and distribute roses. And THEY give ME tips!
This past Sunday, March 8th, was International Women's Day, a Holiday in Russia (International Women's Day). It's a cross between Valentine's Day and Mother's Day.
John missed Valentine's Day this year and called me at 6:00 this past Saturday, begging me (yes, he begged me to sing to his naked dancers!) to go to his clubs later that night and once again sing to his girls, recognizing the Russian Holiday, and thanking them for working so hard.
How could I say no?
My wife does insist on one thing; I sing..........and then leave promptly after!
One half-hour apart in terms of delivery time. Both of the deliveries were in Willamsburg, Brooklyn on Saturday night, 2/21. Williamsburg; home to artists, hipsters, old immigrant Italians, Polish, Hispanics, Hasidic Jews..... A true melting pot.
At 11:30 PM, I'm dressed as a clown, delivering a Mazel Tov/Naches congratulatory singing telegram to the Mother of a young bride at her Sheva Brochos. Deceiving apartment; non-descript, typical pre-war building on the outside, and bright, opulent, magnificent grandeur on the inside. A house full of celebrants. Beautiful, smiling women in one room, bewigged in sheitels, dressed to the nines, and serious, pious men in another room in traditional garb, black robes andfur hats ( shtreimel). The Yiddish of these Eastern European Jews flying furiously around the room. My five years of secondary-education German gives me a leg up on what's being said. Lots of pictures, lots of requests to sing it again (sorry, I only sing once!), and taking special care to not touch the women (a big Bozo no-no in this religion!)
I have half-an-hour to get 2 miles north to the other side of the BQE to the hipper, artsier side of Williamsburg, remove the clown make-up and don my priestly garb to sing to a trendy chick who's 40 and equally devout to her "religion", as evidenced by the piercings and the tattooed torso ("running out of skin".. ...I used it to rhyme with the" Siamese twins" she had tattooed on her body, along with Billie Holiday and Josephine Baker!). Joi B. is a published novelist ("Sleeveless"), working on her next novel,and preparing a move to Lawrence, Kansas to move in with her true love, Krysztof N., a pin-up artist (charm-school). I'm hoping they recorded it for YouTube publication. If so, I'll include it on this post at a later date.
Received this e-mail from the client this morning in regard to that second delivery in Williamsburg.
Joi keeps a locked Live Journal that only friends can see, but she's already posted there before bed, so here's that impression:
"OH MY GOD! At midnight plus 10, a man rang my doorbell in the midst of my party and I was like, who the fuck is this IRISH PRIEST and dear god, is he gonna commit me to become a Sister Magdeline or something???? The immediate reaction to a priest ringing your bell when you were raised Catholic is, "Oh SHIT, what have I fucking done NOW?????"
Oh heavens, I done got roasted!!!!!!!! It was insane because it included a singing rendition of my entire life, all inclusive of neurosis and love and hate and THIS IS YOUR LIFE, BITCH !!!!!
JESUS CHRIST !!!
When I am sober and awake, I will include a copy of the whole thing!!!
Kate A. reminded me today that she's been delivering telegrams for me, on and off, for the past ten years. (although Marty holds the record, having worked for me the longest at around 15 years!) I met Kate A. when I was in a production of "Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris".
Great voice, great presence, and a great sense of direction ( can't work for me without one!)
She works for me in-between acting gigs. She did a two-year stint out West as Snow White's Wicked Evil Queen/Hag at Disneyland, and a National Tour of "Mame" as Mame, among other jobs.
Her very first delivery for me was on Valentine's Day around 1999 or 2000. She delivered to Charlie in Brooklyn.
Apparently Charlie was messing around on his wife and wasn't keeping his promises to his girlfriend. Clever girlfriend thought she'd move things along a little quicker by sending him a singing red heart on Valentine's Day.........to his house.........while his wife was there!
Now, I'm not the kind of guy who will take any order just to get the order. I have a system of checks and balances that should ensure all deliveries are legit. And after 27 years, a few sneak through the cracks...very few! And since I deliver, as well, I'm very protective of my messengers. These telegrams are supposed to be for HAPPY occasions. I didn't see this coming. I prefer to think people have good intentions.
Clever girlfriend was crafty, though. Most of the information was innocuous and there was no hint of an ulterior motive in her voice. She just wanted me to mention all the good times, and all the fond memories, the places they'd been etc. What's not to suspect on Valentine's Day?
So Kate A. arrives early in the morning, Charlie's brother-in-law greets her at the door and invites her in. Charlie's wife is standing in the kitchen, with the frying pan, ready to cook him breakfast. Charlie is sitting on the couch, motionless, deer-in-headlights look on his face.
Kate begins to sing. She knew something was wrong, when he sat bolt upright and shot a glance to his wife at a specific point in the song. Kate decided she had sung enough, cut the song short, threw the balloons and chocolates at Charlie, and mumbled a hasty "Happy Valentine's Day" as Charlie's brother-in-law ushered her out, leaving Charlie's wife standing there............with the frying pan in her hand! All Kate could hear on her way back to her car was Charlie and his wife screaming obscenities at each another.
Maybe Kate A. attracts these kind of deliveries. Another Valentine's Day, she sang to a Dominatrix early in the morning. She learned a valuable lesson: Never wake up a Dominatrix early in the morning!
Here we go again! My favorite time of the year! Valentine's Day.
This will be my 27th Valentine's Day of personalized "Be My Valentine" singing telegrams.
Fondest memory? February 1995. My wife got pregnant around June of 1994 and the first thing we did after we found out was run to look at the calendar to see the due date: March 21st, the first day of Spring. Whew! We dodged that bullet. After all, can you imagine having a Valentine's Day baby on Daddy's busiest day of the year?
Well, as "luck" would have it, in January my wife developed pre-eclampsia and had to be on bed rest and hospitalized for the remainder of her pregnancy. The doctor decided that he wasn't going to wait for her March due date, but induce her instead.
"How'd you like to have a Valentine's Day baby?", he asked.
"Don't even think of it", she replied, "My husband would kill me!"
(The doctor later commented that that was the last thing he ever expected to hear!).
"OK, OK", he said, "We'll wait a few days and then we'll induce." (My Birthday is on the 18th of February and I didn't have a problem with sharing my Birthday with my child.)
But my daughter had other plans. She was coming when she wanted to and didn't care about Dad's business. So on Valentine's Day, February 14th, after a long day of delivering 79 telegrams, guess who goes into labor all on her own?
Molly was born at around 6 AM the next morning on the 15th; five weeks premature.
I'm an analog guy in a digital world, so I'm a little late to the Blog Party!
This blog will highlight the "Telegram of the Week" or "Memorable Telegrams From the Past" or "Most Unusual Request" and keep you up-to-date with the goings on around Preppygrams Singing Telegrams. Costumes added, messengers coming, messengers going (Goodbye Haseena, enjoy Hawaii.....I'll miss you!) etc., etc., etc.
What it won't be is political ( at least for the time being). I'm not here to alienate my customers. There's no place for that on a business site.
I'll give an occasional "shout out" to those who deserve it. Like my webmaster, Scott at www.artwebsites.net who is very supportive of artists, by the way.
Most of all, remember Mom's advice -- "if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all!" Please be respectful and nice when leaving a comment. I'd like a world with a little less negativity in it.
After all, this is the happiest job one could ever have. A singing telegram is always ordered for a happy event; Birthdays, Anniversarys, I Love You, Marry Me, Congratulations, New Baby, etc.
People will forget what you said, and people will forget what you did, but people never forget how you made them feel.