In my six years as an independent theatre producer, I threw many a fundraising event. For the most part, they were successful. I’m lucky to be able to say that only one was a flop. And then there was the fundraiser that was highly successful despite a string of pretty ridiculous circumstances…
It was all going down in the upper level of a weird, kind of old-fashioned pub here in my hometown. The space was nice and big, but it’s important to note that we were upstairs because we were having a heatwave and the air conditioning system had broken down “that morning.”
SIDENOTE: I put that in quotes because the pub was run by a bunch of assholes who lied to me about many, many things that day. I will never set foot in that shithole again. But hey, water under the bridge.*
So it was sweltering hot. When I say sweltering, I mean it. As part of our fundraiser, we were selling handmade cupcakes, and about 10 minutes into the evening, they had all melted all over the fucking place. I’m so grateful people still bought them because they were delicious, if no longer beautiful to look at .
It was so sweltering that nobody was even ordering drinks, because we all felt sick and dehydrated. So my crowd was guzzling ice water and sweating profusely. The pub was not happy about that, but you know what? That was their own damn fault.
Water under the bridge!*
Still, I have to say that everyone was being a good sport about it. Despite the setbacks, the crowd of supporters was positive and upbeat, and our entertainment rocked the house. We had a very successful silent auction, stand-up comedy, a wicked live band, games, and then my BFF Louise DJed the night away.
SIDENOTE: The “DJ Booth” was “under construction.” God love Louise, who stood inside a sketchy ass cave-in-the-wall, held together with scary, splintery, unpainted plywood, and balanced all of her equipment on more of the same. Knowing Louise, I feel like she has at least 20 stories of worse places she had DJed, but I still commend her for putting up with that shit.
SIDENOTE TO THE SIDENOTE: God, that pub is the fucking bane of my existence…
Not long into the dance party, the crowd became a bit frantic.
In Louise’s words: “I looked up and saw people dancing as far as the eye can see. Really, passionately dancing. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, Casemore, you’re really killing it tonight.'”
But back on my side of the story, I was already all too well aware of why people were passionately “dancing.” Because I was already trying to get someone who worked at the pub to help me with the m’f’ing BAT that was flying around the room and into people’s faces.
Yes. A BAT.
One of these guys:
I would just like to say that I don’t have a problem with bats. I actually think they’re both cute and cool. But when they’re flying ALL OVER THE PLACE because they are PANICKING because they are INDOORS and they are making EVERYBODY FREAK OUT, then, you know, I’m not the biggest fan.
Turns out the geniuses at the pub had made the executive decision to leave the back door – which was connected to a long stairway that led to the dark, creepy alley – wide open. To cool the place off.
It wasn’t helping the temperature at all. And now we had a special guest at our party!
“Can someone please do something?” I asked, trying to remain calm, “There’s a bat flying around. It’s kind of freaking people out? I don’t want it to get hurt, or hurt anybody, or, say, destroy my evening.”
The pub people looked at me and shrugged.
“What do you want us to do?”
“Like, I don’t know, catch it? And then put it outside?”
Then I got a little upset.
“Are you fucking kidding me with this right now? There’s a bat flying around! People are freaking out! You need to do something!”
Then I got more upset.
“Okay, great. DO NOTHING. I guess I’ll deal with it since you’re all so capable. [under my breath] I fucking hate you people.”
So I had to catch a bat that night. Luckily I had a little bit of help, and eventually, we managed to wrap it up in a tablecloth and release it.
Only after a lot of screaming and straight up anxiety attacks from a number of my guests. My one friend’s mom – bless her heart – is a bit of an animal freak like me. She kept screaming, “OH MY GOD! DON’T HURT IT! DON’T HURT IT!” over and over again while we tried our best to catch it. That was calming.
The party sort of wound down after that. People were “tired,” I’m sure.
That was the day I learned that bats are real party poopers.
I feel like I need a drink just thinking about it.
P.S. For the record, Louise did kill it. That girl know how to DJ. Also, she has this like, DJ dance/swagger that makes anyone and everyone want to sleep with her. It’s magical.
*Jk, jk, I will never let go of this grudge.