I Did It For The Money

You may have noticed that I didn't post yesterday. Or not. Maybe you were off doing fun weekend things. Good for you for getting out and about. Even though I've been feeling like a recluse lately and knew that I could obliterate a funky, nagging bout of lonliness simply by leaving my house and mixing with humanity, the last thing I wanted to do yesterday was an eleven hour emcee gig front-of-house. Front-of-house meaning in the public eye.

My regular emcee gig at Trump Marina Casino is back of house. No one ever sees me. I'm behind the scenes, the 'voice' that announces a winner every ten minutes for six hours. Aside from trying not to butcher the occasional tough name (The 12-letter last name with only one vowel was particulary challenging) it's a cake gig.

Yesterday's gig was at Trump Taj Mahal. I've only emceed there once before. A Slot Tourney last summer. Taj normally employs more modelesque emcees. I only get the call when their regular emcees are unavailable. Given the ageism thing I've been experiencing lately, I really wasn't keen on putting myself in a position where ones physical appearence possibly carries more weight than ones talent. Plus eleven hours is a long time to be 'on'. But then my agent told me what the gig paid. As I have yet to win the lottery or a Stephen King-like contract, I caved.

Even though I suffered pre-gig anxiety and took twice as long as I normally take regarding make-up, hair, and wardrobe, I'm glad I buckled and accepted the job.
The special events and marketing people I dealt with were very kind. I was treated with respect, friendliness, and given more than ample break time. I think it helps that, no matter how I'm feeling on the inside, I approach these jobs and the people in charge with an easy confidence. I've done a billion of these events and I know the general scoop. There isn't much that rattles me. One of my most valuable skills is (are?) my people skills. I can be nice to the nastiest people. *g* Happy to say, I didn't have to deal with any nasty patrons yesterday. Just a few who couldn't comprehend the sweepstakes rules and thus I had to keep repeating myself. Those conversations generally digressed into a 'Who's On First' like exchange. Amusing more than frustrating.

To give you a visual, I was positioned in the main concourse. I stood in front of two spiffy cars that they're giving away today. When the tech first handed me the wireless mic and I glanced over my shoulder at those cars, I flashed back on that CHEERS episode where Rebecca hawks some product at a car trade show. *snicker* At least I was giving away cash, $100,000 total by day's end.

Anyhoo, the extremely packed poker room was directly behind me. Hotel check-in was across the way. The casino floor was to my right. To my left, escalators that lead up to the second floor and also to the self-park garage. To my left and right were entrances to the Arena where 'Shakira' performed to a sold out house. The Taj was PACKED yesterday and I was in a prime position for people watching. I saw and heard it all, let me tell you.

* Strangest gadget: I saw at least two dozen people walking around with a device hooked over their ear. I think it's a phone of sorts. I'm so out of touch. But all I could think was that they looked like characters from Star Trek.

* Most eye-popping outfit: A woman attending the Shakira concert wearing black lace pants with black underwear and a black lace tied-off crop top. I'm pretty sure she wasn't wearing a bra. At least she had the body for it.

* Most eye-rolling conversation between me and a patron:
Patron: "Who won the five o'clock drawing?"
Me: "No one yet. It's only twenty of five."
Patron: "Yes, but who won at five o'clock?"

* Most amusing conversation between me and a security guard:
Guard: "So what do you do when you're not doing this?"
Me: "I write. I'm a published author."
Guard: "Oh, yeah? So what do you write? (smirk) Romance novels?"
Me (smiling): "Actually, yes."
Guard (embarrassed): "Oh, man. My bad. Didn't mean to offend."
Me: "You didn't offend me."
Guard: "I guess being a writer, you have to have thick skin."
Well, yeah. But really, the stigma that goes with 'romance novels' is so cliched. I'm pretty over it. And clearly, he didn't mean harm. In fact we went on to have an interesting conversation about how he (as a single man) viewed women and the dating scene. "One thing I've learned," he said, "Is that you don't let a woman know what you really like. She'll only use it to manipulate you." That floored me. I told him he's been dating the wrong women. We're not all like that. Jeez.

*Most welcome surprise: My friend Krissy (a former fellow 'Chili Chick' was performing in the lounge so I got to hear and visit a bit with her. Then later my entertainment agent and his wife Lori (also a friend, singer, and former 'Chili Chick') dropped in to hear Krissy's band. It was the first time I'd seen both of these friends in quite some time. Major bonus and a reminder that I need to get out more and connect with friends in person!

Okay. I've rambled long enough. Just wanted to give you a peek into a day on an entertainment job. I did it for the money but was rewarded with eleven hours of enjoyable interaction. If you have any questions, fire away! Otherwise have a great weekend!

Comments

Tori Lennox said…
I, for one, missed you yesterday. :) But it sounds like you had an interesting day. LOL at the person who couldn't tell time. *g*
Bruno Amato said…
Beth, Being "ON" for all that time....that couldn't have been too easy:)Being in a casino, I know you meet the widest array of people...too funny about the person who wanted to know who won the 5PM drawing at 4:40PM :) LOL
Beth Ciotta said…
Hey, Tori. Bless your heart. It's nice to be missed. :)

Bruno, the only thing that suffered much was my feet. LOL

As for the person who couldn't tell time, I had a worse/better one years ago when I was working a sweepstakes at Tropicana. I'll never forget it. Drawings were scheduled every hour. A patron looked at me and in all seriousnes said, "When do you do the 1:00 drawing?"

*g*
Tori Lennox said…
looked at me and in all seriousnes said, "When do you do the 1:00 drawing?"

ROFL!!! People are very strange. *g*
T-Lo said…
Beth, sounds like you had more fun on the job than expected. That's good to hear. Did you say Shakira preformed?! Wow, I would've liked to see that show. Could you hear her singing?

I'm getting off-topic here, sorry. Anyway, I think it your convo between you and the guard was heartfelt and funny. It's weird how people connect sometimes.
Brooks said…
Ahhh! The memories. Thanks for bringing it all back.

BTW, the 1:00 drawing will be at 3pm.

Oh, Oh, - "Do I have to put my tickets in the drum to win?"
Beth Ciotta said…
T-lo, Yes, I could hear bits of Shakira. She was rocking the house. :)

Brooks, yup. Just like old times. No, drum though. And no hard copy entry forms. These days every thing is done virtually and winners are chosen at random by a computer. Not so popular with a few patrons who prefer the old 'a real person drawing the winner from a drum' way. Those were the days. :)
Anna Lucia said…
That sounds great, Beth! To get a well-paid gig and then the bonus of some fun and research, too. ;-)

We were in Edinburgh, at the Castle, where the famed "one o clock gun" fires every day (http://www.rampantscotland.com/visit/blvisitoneoclock.htm). It's a big tourist attraction and a crowd always gathers.

As we're waiting, all huddled together, a loud, clear voice in, I regret to say, an American accent said, "what time does the one o clock gun fire?"

The same woman was responsible for this comment on Mons Meg, a 15th century seige weapon (cannon) (http://www.rampantscotland.com/edinburgh/bledin_meg.htm). "But how do you push the bullets out?"

Ah, bless.
Beth Ciotta said…
Hi, Anna. Yup. The ig proved a double bonus. :) Love, love, LOVE your 'what time is it' story. :) Alsothanks for providing those links. Edinburgh is on my wish list of places I'd like to visit withing the next five years!
Roni said…
Wow, you had an interesting day Beth! I bet some of these incidents show up in a future book! That's what's great about a job like that--besides money, it's also research for the future!
Writing can be a solitary job, and it's good to connect with people, and working other jobs generates ideas!
Beth Ciotta said…
Roni, you're right. Amazing how many of the experiences I have while on gigs wiggle their way into my writing. Does this make me a method writer? *g*

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