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REPO! Road Tour Diary: New Jersey

by Terrance Zdunich

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We've been telling you all about REPO! The Genetic Opera and the recent REPO! Road Tours. The third tour just wrapped up and REPO star and co-writer Terrance Zdunich (plays Grave Robber) gives us the lowdown! Here is today's entry from New Jersey.

Today, Alexa Vega takes over the role of Repo Road Tour 3 driver- perhaps her most difficult "part" to date. Not because Alexa isn't a great driver. She is. And not because she isn't patient, pleasant, & one hell of a navigator. Alexa's all of these things, and more. But Alexa, poor Alexa, is about to embark on a very long, very stressful car ride in a jeep full of surly REPO! dudes.

January 16, 2009: It's noon. Spooky Dan, Darren Bousman, Alexa, & I, meet downstairs in our hotel's lobby. The snowman from the night before remains, standing tall, just outside of the hotel's doors. It is completely un-melted—in other words, it's still cold outside, really cold. Shivering, the 4 of us load-up our rented car, drive to a local diner for a quick breakfast, then get on the highway for what will end up being a 7-hour drive to Rutherford, New Jersey, the 4th stop on Repo Road Tour 3.

The ride starts out quite pleasantly; last night's successful screening in Foxboro left us all in good spirits, and this, combined with the back-and-forth sharing of nostalgic on-set REPO! stories, makes for a really fun atmosphere. But, as it always happens when there is too much testosterone crammed into a confined space, things become gross…really gross.

It starts off with the sharing of a few disgusting stories (including a really nasty diarrhea "incident" courtesy of Ms. Vega), where each of us attempts to 1-up each other with our personal tales of woe. Darren doubles-down by playing a chapter from an audio book that he swears will make us all sick: "Guts" from Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted.

I've read this book. It was a couple of years ago. I really enjoyed it. But, what sticks with me about this story is not the characters or the premise, but how queasy I became when reading "Guts". I was riding a subway in New York at the time, and literally had to close the book several times during this chapter because I was getting nauseous.

The chapter is written from the 1st person perspective of a chronic masturbator whose ongoing quest to explore new and varied (and always debauched) autoerotic techniques, results in an accident that leaves him disabled. Whether reading or listening to this story, getting through to the end of this chapter is an endurance test.

Since Spooky, Darren, & I are all familiar with the story, we offer Alexa the chance to chicken-out. I'm secretly hoping that she will, sparing me the potential embarrassment of getting sick and being the biggest wuss in the car. No such luck. Alexa is a gross-out trooper.

The story begins. Tame at first. But with each passing stanza, it becomes more and more unbearable. We all squirm in our seats. I discretely crack the car window closest to me, letting in some air. Alexa begins to cover her ears, and then finally says, "Stop!" She's had enough. Phew—I was on the verge of pausing the CD myself, so I'm relieved that she spares me this humiliation.

The minutes crawl by. In spite of Alexa's excellent driving skills, the ride is taking longer than expected. Much longer. At this rate, we'll be lucky to get to the theatre on time, let alone check-in to our hotels, shower, & decompress before tonight's 9:00pm REPO! screening at the Williams Center for the Arts.

It's 5:30pm. We hit gridlocked traffic. For well over an hour, we inch along the highway, barely moving. Everyone is starting to get edgy, including Ms. Vega, who's normally a beacon of Shilo-y sweetness. But not today. Word to the wise: don't cut in traffic in front of a road-raged Spy Kid!

It's 7:30pm. I've been holding in a pee for well over an hour now, as has Alexa. But we can't stop. Not now. We're late, a little lost, & we've already received multiple phone calls from the Williams Center, who are waiting on our arrival to open the theatre's doors. We're told that there's line of disgruntled REPO! fans forming outside in the freezing cold, waiting to be let in.

We arrive at the Williams Center about 15 minutes after 8:00, and enter through the back of the theatre. We set our stuff down, quickly freshen up, & then dash outside to great the line, thanking everyone for braving the weather.

The theatre opens its doors. The crowd files into a balcony/reception area. They mingle. I mingle with them. There are some familiar faces here: a caravan of REPO! fans who were in attendance last night in Foxboro, have carpooled to tonight's Jersey stop. Some of them are following the RRT to Greenbelt and Cincinnati, our next 2 stops, as well, wearing different costumes for each night: Morgan ("hununga") oscillates from Blind Mag to Amber Sweet to Gentern, and Maggie ("Cozy") morphs from Amber Sweet to Pavi to GraveRobber to Henchgirl.

Maegan ("Veela"), a fan rocking a shinny black surgeon's mask and lavender dreads, hands me an impressive knitted REPO! blanket. 

There's also an entire family of REPO! fans, the Fiedlers, who we met last night in Foxboro. All of the children are dressed as REPO! characters, including the youngest son who wins tonight's costume contest with his impressive Repo Man garb. This family is really loving, and so supportive of our project that it makes me want to blush. I definitely blush when the oldest daughter, Shayla ("Shiankra"), who's dressed as GraveRobber, asks me to sign her cleavage. I decline when I look up and see Dad raise a stern, but friendly, eyebrow.

I also get to meet a couple of REPO!'s supporters who until now I've only corresponded with on the telephone and via email: Adam Bloodshy from VampireFreaks.com and Jeff Mach of Wicked Faire. Jeff was kind enough to invite me as a special guest to this year's faire. There, I'll be introducing a shadow cast of REPO! and hanging out all weekend (Feb 20th-22nd), so get your tickets and join me if you can. It will be a blast.

It's 9:15pm. A fan takes the stage and does a pre-show burlesque routine to "Zydrate Anatomy", replete with twirling, razzle-dazzle 'em Z-vials. She finishes. The movie starts.

During the screening, Darren cuts into another fan-made, belated birthday cake—the REPO! barcode logo is glazed in frosting. Following a fun post-screening Q & A, Alexa, Darren, & I, sign autographs and take photographs with fans. Daniel ("dantehoh"), a man in line dressed as Rotti Largo, wows us with his sideshow antics: he hammers a nail up his nostril.

Darren, Spooky, Alexa, & I, hit traffic on our way back to the hotel. We decide to pull over for a late-night diner dinner. Alexa orders a huge steak and eats the whole thing. We contemplate driving through the night to Maryland, our next stop, but resolve to stay the night in Jersey. This decision is based on the flip of a coin. 

Check out Terrance's site for a lot more info!


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