Scout the Web

Scout the Amazon

Friday, October 31, 2008

World Champion BOYZ and WWS Indians Make Magic

The article below is a rough English translation of an article published "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show," a blog written in French about our show:

The "BOYZ", a group of Native Americans singers/musicians from Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA, were recently in Paris to participate in "The American Festival" in Vincennes, a suburb of Paris. They took advantage of their visit to come see Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill), in Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort France on September 29, 2008, and meet some of the Wild West Show "Indians". The BOYZ are two-time world champions among Native American groups who sing with drums. They performed 26-28 September and 30 September for the United Nations.

The BOYZ are: Lakota "Hokie" Claimont, Everet Moore, Quanh Larose, Mervel Larose, Michael Sinette, James"Bud" Day, Jerome "Rocky" Morin, and Floyd Old Bull. They are joined in the photo above by Wild West Show Native Americans Wiley, Byron, Kave, Tuffy, and Darcy, and adopted Native American P'tit Loup. During their visit, the BOYZ and WWS "Indians" gathered backstage around a traditional drum and sang two songs. It was a magical moment.

Supporting Actor is Offended by Article

I have offended one of the Supporting Actors in our show (although I'm not sure who) in observations I made in the article Christian Starr Featured on ESPN. Unfortunately, before I learned I had offended someone, I revised the original article because I didn't like the wording. Now we can't refer to what might have been the offensive material. Frustratingly, the offended person hasn't yet identified himself or left a comment on the blog so I must rely on hearsay to understand what was offensive, which probably is what got me into trouble in the first place.

Nonetheless I'll try to simply clarify a few things:

-- I started as a member of the Stunt Team (now officially called "The Supporting Actors" but I'll call them "The Comedy Team" to differentiate) so I fully understand and respect the team's contribution to each show.

-- I agree the members of the Comedy Team are Supporting Actors, but I argue that so are the Cowboys, Indians, and Musicians; just not everyone has text (including one member of the Comedy Team).

-- That the Cowboys and Indians don't have text does not reduce them to "Extras", which would be the next level down on the so-called theatrical hierarchy of roles. They are Stunt Men and Supporting Actors like the Comedy Team but with non-speaking roles.

-- At various moments each of the above groups of Supporting Actors transcend "Supporting Actors" to become starring actors, with spotlights and all eyes focused on them. Thus on a practical level "Supporting Actors" doesn't really differentiate the Comedy Team from the rest of the non-Principal actors much better than does "Stunt Team".

-- I strongly disagree that "Comedic Actors" and "Comedy Team" are derogatory terms. (The Artistic Coordinator hinted this evening that the offended person(s) felt I was diminishing their status by suggesting they be called "The Comedy Team" or "The Wired Ones" - a comedic name for the Comedy Team.) Up until I became Buffalo Bill I only played comedic parts and even now I lean towards comedic moments. I take issue with anyone who feels comedic acting is somehow not distinguished, as I'm sure would many actors.

-- I agree that being comedic does not necessarily mean acting like a blathering fool, though in rare cases that's the perfect choice. Good comedy is much more difficult than just acting silly. It involves understanding human nature, empathic listening, being emotionally accessible and responsive, having an excellent sense of timing, being willing to play the straight man, empathic listening (it's worth mentioning twice), having a strong sense of character and scene structure, etc.

-- Comedy is tough. Distinguished comedic actor Desi Arnaz writes "An actor who is good at comedy can also be very good at drama, but not necessarily vice versa." Ben Stiller said, "I don't devalue comedy as compared to drama. Not one bit."

-- The Comedy Team has an important responsibility and as such is a highly distinguished team in my view. Being part of The Comedy Team should be considered an honor in my opinion.

As an example of how difficult comedy is, the sideline comments I made in Christian Starr Featured on ESPN were meant to be light-hearted, fun, and even comedic. Obviously that didn't translate universally. Any offense given was unintentional.

Keep in mind that you can leave comments, anonymously if you like, by clicking on "Comments" below an article. It's a very efficient means of expressing discontent or disagreement, or agreement, with things I write.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

NOW is the Time for ex-BBill's New Book

Ex-Buffalo Bill Jim McMullan (that's not him in the video below) has just announced the release of his latest creative endeavor, the "Do It Now! Book and Clock Set" - just in time for Christmas. The book's website says,
"This collection of quotations from such luminaries as Ernest Hemingway, Eckhart Tolle, and Goethe teaches us to live in the NOW—not in the past or future, but the present. Their wit and wisdom will help center the mind and give the NOW all of your attention. Just as Eleanor Roosevelt once said, 'Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that’s why they call it the present.'"

This is a fine quote and I'm sure reflects the contents very well, but the video recommendation below is better entertainment:

Those who know Jim know he has a great sense of humor which is reflected in the video above and which is likely reflected in some way in the book/clock set. It sounds like a great gift!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Code of the West Revealed

France has many wonderful qualities including a temperate climate, good food, and affordable health care, but last night I was commiserating with a French colleague on a perceived attitude difference between the French and Americans. Many have observed that Americans seem more likely than the French to accept responsibility for their mistakes, consider errors as learning opportunities, and graciously forgive others for mistakes made. Of course this is far from universal; I know plenty from both cultures who do not fit the profiles above (including a French performer who just the other night winged a Medicine Ball as hard as he could from half-way up the Blue Moon Ranch and accidentally beaned me in the head, nearly knocking me over, then subsequently claimed responsibility and apologized sincerely) but this seems to be more or less a fair generalization. For those who wish to better understand the gist of the stereotypical American attitude towards social responsibility, I offer the following from a guy named Jim Boyd who I don't know. I pasted this from an email I recently received from an American friend.

The Code of the West

1. Live each day with courage
2. Take pride in your work
3. Always finish what you start
4. Do what has to be done
5. Be tough, Be fair
6. When you make a promise, Keep it
7. Ride for the brand
8. Talk less and Say more
9. Know where to draw the line
10.Remember that some things aren't for sale

Thursday, October 23, 2008

(Revised) Christian Starr Featured on ESPN

Christian Starr, one of the newest members of what used to be called the "Stunt Team" (now called "The Supporting Actors") has returned to the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill, Disney Village, Disneyland Paris France) following several months spent back in the states waiting for his working papers to be processed. While in the states, Christianfeatured in an ESPN lead-in to a big college game in Colorado. Here is the video captured from the ESPN feed.

Watch Christian's Tempest on ESPN in Funny Videos, Celebrity Videos, and Entertainment Videos View More Free Videos Online at

On a side-note, I agree that perhaps "Stunt Team" may not be the most differentiating description of the team to which Christian belongs. Most Wild West Show performers engage in stunts -- in many cases more dangerous stunts than the "Stunt Team. " However "Supporting Actor" differentiates even less since virtually all non-principal performers are Supporting Actors, whether or not they have audible lines of text. Moreover, excluding the cowboys and Indians from the category of "Supporting Actors" risks having the effect of making them feel that management respects less their contribution. This serves no purpose but to lower morale. Cowboys, Indians, Stunts, and arguably Musicians, are all supporting actors in the show.

In my view at least two things differentiate the team to which Christian belongs:
1) three among the team have microphone-enhanced text which drives the show forward in the text-based scenes where no principal actor is present and
2) every intentionally comedic moment in the show is performed by the "Stunt Team"

So if "Stunt Team" is to be discarded, I think this team should be called "The Comedy Team" or "The Comedians" or, to highlight the fact three of four are wired with microphones on any given night "The Wired Team". Then if Jason ever came back again, considering he's dyslexic, we could call it "The Weird Team". When he's here, it fits so nicely..

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Reader Claims Disneyland Paris Owned by Accord Group

One of my rare and much-beloved Casual Reporter readers posted an anonymous comment on Cowboys & Indians Must Learn French or Die stating that Disneyland Paris Resort is owned by the Accord Group and expressed his or her thoughts regarding foreign workers in France learning French and U.S. immigrant workers speaking English. I posted a couple comments in reply. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cowboys & Indians Must Learn French or Die

Americans playing Cowboy or Indian in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill,Disney Village, Disneyland Paris France) must know enough French to obtain a Diplome Initial de Langue Franciase (DILF) according to new French Immigration Laws, or they will die. Well, not really, but they might not be able to get their 10 years-valid Carte de Resident, and therefore could theoretically be asked to leave once their 3-year Carte de Sejour expires. (As far as I can tell, 1 and 3 year Carte de Sejour applicants aren't required to know French.) For those who don't know enough French to obtain a DILF, the French government provides 400 hours of French courses. Free French lessons may sound great to some, but at least one of the Cowboys in our show who is required take 6 months of lessons, 3 hours per day, 3 days per week expresses frustration that despite his best efforts he doesn't feel he's learning anything. As someone hired as an American to play an American in an American show for an American company, albeit in France, speaking French was never a requirement for the job; since learning French was never a desire otherewise, this particular cowboy doesn't know a lick of it. Well, after three years maybe a lick but that's about it. The French classes so generously offered through Disneyland Paris Resort apparently require students to understand far more than just a lick from the outset. That means the cowboy, although a great guy and a hell of a good hand in the show, is sweating his job because he may not be able to learn enough French in time to renew his work papers. Whatever happened to the Wild West?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Buffalo Bill Horse Dies Unexpectedly

Mochilero died unexpectedly earlier this week of cholic. Mochilero was the horse ridden by Jeffrey Concklin, one of two actors who exclusively play the role of Buffalo Bill in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill) Disney Village, Disneyland Paris Resort France. Concklin reports that "Mochi" was moving restlessly in his stall before the show, and during the show would not hold still when he was supposed to but wouldn't go when he was asked to. At first the horse team thought Mochi was suffering from allergies, which he has suffered from before, but after the first entrance of the second show, they realized it was more serious. Concklin finished the second show on Paco, the other Buffalo Bill horse, while the Veterinarian was called to diagnose Mochi's illness. The veterinarian quickly recognized that Mochi had cholic and ordered an emergency operation. Mochi seemed to recover somewhat, but after a couple days his health declined and he passed away. Our hearts go out to Mochi's parents, wherever they are. He was a celibate bachelor, and so has no surviving spouse. No children survive Mochi, since he was gelded years ago.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ex-Cast Update: Scott Bramble

Scott Bramble, who played the Stunt position at Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill) Disney Village, Disneyland Paris in the late 90's, is now Director of Post Production at BASE Productions in Los Angeles, according to my latest web research. Prior to that he was a Post Supervisor for GRB Entertainment where he worked on A&E's Intervention, Post Supervisor at VBP Productions, and Assistant Editor at Aardvark Post. Those who have seen Intervention give it high reviews. Now that he's a Director we can all anticipate seeing his name more often in the trades papers.