28 December, 2009

2009 reflections (more)

Great Things about 2009 (new favorites, best of, things learned, things did, etc. etc.)

1. Went to NYC with a suitcase and $900 and stayed for 6 months.

(Patric and I in the midst of one of our 'talks' in Central Park.)

2. Glee.

3. Got off the Merry Go Round.

4. Amazingamazing friends I have made this year. People who I feel like I've known a heck of a lot longer than I actually have.

5. Got to live with/invest time in my Grandma.

6. (500) Days of Summer and Bright Star and Up in the Air.
& Away We Go (Honorable mention)

7. Got to see 13 Broadway shows and 24 live theatre performances.

8. Really got to know my Uncle Mark and Bill for the first time.

9. Figured out a long term plan. (I think...)

10. Learned that I can't keep everyone happy all the time. (I know I'm a little old for this one. Seems obvious, right?)

11. Got to take a musical theatre audition class with a New York casting director.

12. TWITTER.

13. She & Him and Ben Sollee.

14. Kevin Roose and Anne Lamott.

I know 14 things is an awkward list but that's it really.

26 December, 2009

2009 reflections pt. uno

A little over 3 weeks has passed since the last time I wrote and what a 3 weeks it has been. I got to visit the beautiful and majestic state of Colorado and see my constant Patric. Patric and I did the whole IneverthoughtIdactuallydoitbutletsmovetoNewYorkwithno
moneyandnoclue thing. It was fantastic to see him and recount our memories of crazy New York and talk about plans and dreams for the future. (He promised to take me to the Oscar's at least once.)

The past few days have been super warm and fuzzy with fireside talks, cookie decorating (Oh yes, there were 4 twenty-somethings really getting into that. We even voted on which cookie was prettiest. The one with the least votes was eaten first.) lots of eating, and teary gift-giving. (I got a round trip ticket to visit Matt and Ash next year in Scotland.)

With less than a week until the new year I'm obviously surprising no one at all and being reflective. Looking back on the past year I think my biggest accomplishment was the NYC adventure. I learned many lessons: don't live with a couple (unless maybe you have your own shower), don't walk on the grates, don't expect to get seen at Broadway auditions, don't assume your apartment is rat-free. Things like that.

I've noticed over the past year I've been dubbed by many as the 'nomad.' What you maybe didn't know is that I really didn't plan for things to turn out that way. All the moves and changes of scenery that I've experienced resulted from specific unique circumstances. And while throughout the past year I've simultaneously yearned to put down roots and live a life of adventure I have no regrets. I want to squeeze so much out of life and two of those things have been independence and adventure. I have definitely gotten both over the past 2 years--at least one type of independence and one type of adventure.

My varied experiences throughout 2009 have reminded me of one very basic truth that I've known all along.

Relationships are the most important investment in life.

And as a postmodern, postfeminist young woman in the second decade of this century I have no qualms saying that. There is nothing weak about recognizing the humanity in connection and companionship. Work and making money and how we spend our time are absolutely essential to living purposefully and with fulfillment but committing to those things at the expense of investing in people leaves us feeling empty. What good is all the success in the world if you're eating Chipotle alone for dinner, ya know? As tasty and delicious as it is I've done it both ways and Chipotle is definitely better with a real person sitting across the table from you...every single time.

More 2009 reflections to come...

04 December, 2009

Can you listen to this song while you read this? Thanks.



Wednesday I—wait for it—went to the GYM (which reminds me that I need to update you on how Novemberesolutions are coming!)! I accompanied Gram to the JCC where I got moving on the track while she was in her exercise class. I’m one of those people who is kind of useless working out if I don’t have a soundtrack. I love how epic and movie-musical-esque it is listening to an ipod while doing anything out in public. When I lived in NYC and stood out in the frigid February cold waiting to get seen at auditions I had my motivation mix (featuring “Hold On” from the Secret Garden). When I just needed to get some endorphins rolling in I’d listen to “Not For the Life of Me” while gliding (read: attempting to dodge tourists who had eyes to the sky) through Times Square.
Now once again soundtrack in ear I’m listening to the Glee cast recording of “Imagine.” While decidedly not PUMP IT! music all I really need to feel motivated is music I really like. I’ll walk/jog in double time if need be. You may keep ‘Boom Boo Pow’. Thanks. So I’m hustling along the track above the gym at the Jewish Community Center in peace and quiet (all alone in the enormous gymnasium [obviously I had the audacity to sing along to my pod with no one there!]) admiring Lea Michelle’s placement and unusually high palette (I swear her skull is specifically formed for a perfect mix/belt) when the gym is invaded--by 4-year-olds! They come barreling in—running! And by choice! Their zest for life and innocence was so poignant as I was listening to lyrics like “imagine all the people living for today.” So I am listening to this entire song about idyllic peace and I’m watching these children just playing with simple things like a ball or a hoop or blocks. And I’m pondering how we all start like that—really just playing, discovering the world, completely sucking at eye/hand coordination and then somehow some people grow into monsters and inflict genocide…suicide bombings…child pornography.
As someone who really doesn’t understand the concept of senseless violence I wonder why we can’t keep the sweetness we had as children. And that’s when I see Kid 1 choose not to share his ball and Kid 2 take it anyway. Then in tears Kid 1 goes to tell the teacher the upsetting sequence of events. And I’m reminded that we aren’t innately sweet unselfish creatures. We are born looking out for #1 and we have to choose to do unselfish things. As inspiring as it is to simply see children joyfully careening across a gymnasium I’m reminded that we all have to choose to live joyfully as we grow up—and choose to live compassionately. It’s not innately in us to put others’ needs before our own but how much better would the world be if we all did? I mean, imagine.

26 November, 2009

Make it work!

5 more weeks of 2009! I know any time people mention dates it’s immediately followed by “OMG can you believe it?!” etc. etc.
(But seers, can you?)

I can’t help but think about all I’ve learned and experienced this year and how much I’ve grown since this time last year.

Oh also did you notice it’s been like, 2 weeks since I wrote? (I’ll take your silence as a resounding “YES!”) The non-writing is decidedly not me-ish but life has been happening! (and oh how we love when it does!)

I was temping along printing shipping labels at the local marketing department of a dialysis company (glitzy!) listening to “Die! Vampire Die!” from [Title of Show] and thinking wistfully about how there’s so many places in this great country I’ve yet to see. (Why does this package of at home after kidney dialysis information get to go to Tempe and I don’t??) When on a break I had a missed call from a 212 number.

(212 is the area code for New York and we always hope it’s a casting company when there is a missed call and not a Walgreens wondering if I’m ever going to pick up my freaking headshots.)

I listened to the voicemail and discovered that it WAS a casting company and they wanted to see if I’d be available for an audition for a show on Monday.

(This was Friday.)

(I was in Nashville.)

I can’t just skip up to NYC at a moment’s notice! I had to call and politely decline and urge them to call me again next season! And then I went back to printing labels. The end.

PSYCHE.

OBVIOUSLY (being me) I finagled a way to make the thousand mile trek to the Big Apple for the audition. One minute I was printing shipping labels and the next I was shipping out!

I left the next day for Lynchburg where I had a ridiculously horrifying experience. Well, not in Lynchburg proper actually I was on I-81 near Wytheville. (details.) Apparently a crazy man thought I was throwing gumballs at his vehicle and decided to teach me a lesson thereby thoroughly freaking me out for 20 minutes and getting him arrested.
(FYI there were no actual gumballs involved.)
The night ended with me totally safe and him having a psychological examination at the sheriff’s station. I felt scurred for me but worse for my mom and dad who were on the phone with me during the crazy thing. Yuck. All’s certainly well that ends well. So after that I spent the night in my parents' beautiful new home on the Roanoke end of Lynchburg. It’s pretty much out in the country which is determinable by the insane amount of stars one can count from the driveway. BEAUTIFUL. And QUIET.
The next day I was on to DC where I dropped my car (Thanks Supreme Court for the free parking and lack of vandalism!!) and headed on to DC via Megabus (not quite as classy as Boltbus but it was sold out).
Monday it seemed that all stars aligned. I got major props on my darker hair color choice and my audition went very well. It really is a deeply satisfying feeling when you know that you showed the director exactly who you are and what you bring to the role without trying to morph yourself into some other type “See I’m a belter!! Hear my vocal nodes developing!!!”
It’s happened to me a few times and it’s so great.

I had planned to stay only for a day-ish and come back to the south Wednesday but the casting director asked me if I could come to the callback the following Monday. At first I was all, uhhhh really? Wait around a whole week? But then I was all lemmemakeitwork. So I gave away a few shifts, secured a couch to sleep on and learned how to wear the same thing twice in one week (a difficult lesson). While in NYC I got to catch up with 10 or so dear, dear friends, see “Dreamgirls” at the Apollo Theatre, see “Ragtime” at the Neil Simon Theatre and see my friend Melissa star as Rosalyn in “As You Like It” at Marymount Manhattan College! I also got to take a dance class at Broadway Dance Center, eat Crumbs Cupcakes and read a lot.

The callback Monday went well though I don’t really know (at all) how it will pan out. I really feel peaceful about it though--that if it is the right next step then I’ll get offered the job and if it’s not then I won’t.

So that pretty much sums up what’s been going on with me lately. I have about 3 and a half more weeks in Nashville until I go to Lynchburg for Christmas. At that point it looks like I’ll either be there for a couple of weeks until rehearsals begin in NYC or I’ll be gearing up for a semester of theatre classes. Both sound fantastic to me.

And since I’m finishing up this blog post on Thanksgiving I should say that I’m so thankful today for parents who didn’t screw me up, a sister and close friends who are fiercely loyal, inspire me to be better, and always assume the best, and an art form that so deeply moves my soul. Happy Thanksgiving!

12 November, 2009

Details. (it's a little wordy. just being honest.)

(Warning: there is heavy usage of the words "I" and "My" in this blog. That's a little disgusting to me (oh there I go...oh there I go double!!) but I thought if you are up to the task of reading this you might care what's going on with me. I definitely care about what's going on with you. :-))

Hello big bright beautiful world!

I've been a bit absent from here lately only because the things preoccupying my mind and heart aren't particularly blog ready and/or blog appropriate.

It's strange. As extroverted and open-bookish as I am I just don't want to share all of it with everybody.

Meanwhile, I wish I could write as fast as I type/think. My wrist can't handle the thought speed! (I do love a seat by a window at a golden lit coffee shop in the early evening though. That's where I am now. Well, not now-now. Now as in when I was writing this--not typing. Ahem.)
Fear not though I have been writing a lot. I recently made November Resolutions. Yes that is the thing normal people do in January. Well, Patric and I decided to make June Resolutions over the summer and randomly prioritizing and setting goals really lends itself to giving a span of time some specific direction. So for these last 2 months I have Novemberesolutions. They include things like: finish reading these certain books. And get the hell off of Facebook. Things like that. I'm still poring over Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird" and not only learning things about writing but there's also a ton to be gleaned and applied to acting. Here's an example:

"...each of your characters has an emotional acre that they tend, or don't tend, in certain specific ways. One of the things you want to discover as you start out is what each person's acre looks like. What is the person growing, and what sort of shape is the land in? ...you need to find out as much as possible about the interior life of the people you are working with...you also want to ask yourself how they stand, what they carry in their pockets or purses, what happens in their faces and to their posture when they are thinking, or bored, or afraid. Whom would they have voted for last time? Why should we care about them anyway? What would be the first thing they stopped doing if they found out they had six months to live? Would they start smoking again? Would they keep flossing?"

Good writing--as well as good acting--is in the details.



Coming home to Nashville for a few months has been great for my inner world. I've gotten to reconnect with my inner songwriter, guitarist, indy music lover, voracious reader, aspiring author and sacred music lover. There are many facets to my artist--yours too, I am certain.

I think in order to grow in one area of art we must tend to our other artistic gardens. Reading about writing--and in turn, writing about reading--is certainly making me a more thoughtful (read: better) actor.

In New York there was a certain level of manic urgency to my artistic focus. Specifically every day I was preparing for the audition that was coming up in the next 3 days or less. In Nashville I have been relieved of the constant pressure to prepare urgently. Instead I can prepare for auditions months in advance, finding excellent material, chewing on character choices. I can read a lot, play a lot and generally just enjoy creativity without the urgency. Gratifying for sure.

It really is fulfilling and in no small way life-altering to have a tangible long term goal. I've discovered that I want to get a MFA in acting--no small task to get into a program much less complete it! And it has affected everything. What I think about, what I write about, how I envision my future, how I spend my money--even where I live. The next year and two months will be spent in focused preparation. I have a code to crack--the law of getting into a well-respected MFA program. When it comes to performing I've truly never sought to discover how much I can learn, how much talent I can tap into and how much skill I can develop. Acting is a field many of us think will find us. I am not going to be discovered as I write in my journal at a coffee shop in Hillsboro Village today. (As AWESOME as it would be for a big Broadway producer to waltz in and say: "You! You there! With the dark reddishbrownish curly hair drinking the Rolover! Are you technically Jewish and play guitar and jump rope well? Can you sing an F? You're hired! Tell Playbill.com we've found our star!")

Lots and lots and lots of effort must be exuded. And that's ok. That's good even. So, here goes...

02 November, 2009

A Way Back To Then (a little lesson on good ballads and good performing)

Every now and then I see a performance and notice some things about it. Maybe you'll find it semi-interesting or useful? Or notice something yourself and comment? Or disagree with me and comment?

This is a ballad from the show "[Title of Show]." This musical was written by the actors about the process of writing a show as they entered the show in a musical theatre festival. The show is about the show. Why is that hard for me to effectively describe? Lemme try again...the show within the show is the show the actors are writing in the show. Never mind. Let's jut focus on this one song. That's easier.



Here are things that are great about this song/performance.

--It's a ballad that is really a beautiful monologue penned to music. Great ballads always are.

--Great ballads also have relatable content. For anyone who's had dreams as a child this song definitely connects.

--Heidi makes vocal choices to interpret the song. She doesn't even move her hands. I think sometimes musical theatre performers think they have to add facial expressions and gestures that are not organic at all and we just mimic the way the song is performed by the person who originated the role. We should listen to those recordings less and study the lyrics more.

--Sometimes songs tell the story so effectively we as performers don't have to add that much to it. It's up to us to figure those things out. :)

28 October, 2009

1. Do you like the darker background? I think it's more appropriate for the almost-Novemberness of it all.

2. Not only is my background darker but so is my hair! At some point there will be a picture where you can tell what color it is these days. I like it a lot. (It's still reddish but secretly I feel more Jew[ish] with it darker.)

3. What's going on with me you say? Just work. Working away! Even though my full time office job ended virtually the moment after it began I've been able to do other random things that have been keeping me busy. I'm still at Anthro and lately I've been assisting the visual team in preparation for all the holiday decor. If you've ever set foot in that store you can tell that someone handmade all the decorative flare and right now that someone is me and a bevy of other helpers. I've also recently gotten to do a little styling, babysitting and princessing (Sleeping Beauty & Little Mermaid if you must know all my secrets). It's been fun and busy.

4. I've also been reading some good books lately and thinking some deep thoughts about God and whatnot. I'm currently reading Anne Lamott's book on writing "Bird by Bird." I've barely tipped into the first few chapters but I'm already engrossed in the inspiration. I think I've highlighted and/or underlined approximately 1/2 the book. Whatever. It's how I glean. Ok for a few noteworthy morsels:



"I devoured books like a person taking vitamins, afraid that otherwise I would remain this gelatinous narcissist, with no possibility of ever becoming thoughtful, of ever being taken seriously...I was drawn to oddballs, ethnic people, theater people, poets, radicals, gays and lesbians--and somehow they all helped me become some of those things I wanted so desperately to become: political, intellectual, artistic."

(here's another...)

"...good writing is about telling the truth. We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason they write so very little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out." (ding, ding!! is she in my head??)

(one more!)

"What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die. They are full of all the things that you don't get in real life--wonderful, lyrical language, for instance, right off the bat. And quality of attention: we may notice amazing details during the course of a day but we rarely let ourselves stop and really pay attention. An author makes you notice, makes you pay attention, and this is a great gift. My gratitude for good writing is unbounded; I'm grateful for it the way I'm grateful for the ocean. Aren't you?

19 October, 2009

Well, that was short-lived.

Never mind about the 9-5. I had an awkwardly surprising discussion on Friday in which I was told that they no longer needed me. They’d be replacing me with someone who got laid off from a similar company who has more experience. They also think that my skills and brain are equipped for far more than what the position demands.

I wanted to tell them I was thinking it’d just be temporary too but I don’t think that’s exactly what you tell an employer.

So anyway…

I’m lucky enough that I have other work situations that are panning out presently and I even have a princess party scheduled for this week so things are still rolling along. Not without surprises though! Like today when my car rolled to a stop. I learned in that moment that the light that comes on when I’m low on gas is no longer functioning. I’m just blessed a car that has 175,000 miles on it still works at all. ☺

Additionally I am preparing for changes in life that I am very much looking forward to. Going back to school is pretty much a done deal and I am aching for the knowledge that is coming my way. In the mean time I am attempting to be intentional about making these months in Nashville memorable and make sure the memories of them don’t seep into one big runny not really recallable memory.

Nashville is beautiful right now and I am earnestly thankful to live amidst these four seasons. Something about fall reminds me that I deeply believe in intelligent design. It also reminds me that change is not some strange occurrence but it’s such an intrinsic part of life it’s even exemplified in nature. After summer must come fall. And you can’t get spring without winter. Change is for the best. It is down right healthy.


(Central Park's leaves are changing without me. I hate that!)

13 October, 2009

Paper cuts may be the death of me...

Today I am spending my time at an undisclosed location. Picture white walls, Windows 2000 & paper clips. That's right...the new 9-5! Except j/k. It's more like 7:30-5.

Ouchie.

Maybe because it's Columbus Day or maybe because I-have-no-idea it's quite quiet here. This is day 5 on the job and I think I'm getting the hang of it. The only thing I'm not catching on to is the early to bed early to rise portion of my daily duties. I'll only say it once:

WHY DO WE ALL GET UP AND GO TO WORK WHEN IT'S STILL DARK?!?!? IT'S UNNATURAL!!!!!



That feels better.

I work at a folksy family-owned printing and marketing franchise with approximately 7.5 other people (one guy isn't here half the time.) [but really it would also be cool to work with a 1/2 person. Bet he'd be quiet. Or wouldn't take too many bathroom breaks.]

I work with 2 graphic designers. One is a big-haired southern girl who has 25 lizards and enjoys perusing "Backyard Poultry" during lunch breaks. The other is a Queens native and former manager of "female dancers." (He just told me today!)

Other noteworthies:

I learned how to shrink wrap! Did you know that shrinker gun gets up to 5000 degrees? That is burn your phalanges off hot, my friend.

Also the big news at the office last week was the new copier. Said copier will run you about $70k. WHAT? I mean, charge it?

One more for the cheap seats in the back:
While filing today I noticed a "business" card with a photo of a man in a shower with a logo of a bear printed on it. I guess all kinds of services have their marketing needs...oy. Who knew I would be more shocked at the printing company than I ever was in the theatre? Oh surprises...

09 October, 2009

Beauty



More alike than different, perhaps...

05 October, 2009

Revision to 'if you were a song what would you be?'

La 'Burg

Such a fun time visiting the Burg this weekend but not a lot of pictures to show for it. Ashli has a few that hopefully she will post over at her blog soon. In the mean time please enjoy a couple of pics from the football game Saturday afternoon and our trip back to our first apartments.




Before we were best friends Leslie and I were neighbors in the (crappiest) apartments in Lynchburg. Our rent was $200 a month. Imagine...

30 September, 2009

So excited to see my sis tomorrow!! This is how I feel. :)

29 September, 2009

“We expect anything and everything. We expect the contradictory and impossible. We expect compact cars which are spacious; luxury cars which are economical. We expect to be rich and charitable, powerful and merciful, active and reflective, kind and competitive. We expect to be inspired by mediocre appeals for excellence, to be made literate by illiterate appeals for literacy. We expect to eat and stay thin, to be constantly on the move and ever more neighborly, to go to the ‘church of our choice’ and yet feel its guiding power over us, to revere God and to be God.”
--from Daniel Boorstin's book 'The Image'

26 September, 2009

252! yayuhh!

First, I missed out on celebrating my 250th post last week. That's right. This makes 252. And selfishly I'm really pleased I've committed to write (for the most part) about my (semi) personal life for the past 4 years. Serves as a great little time capsule. One day I'm sure I'll look back on these post with a sigh and have a "Oh, to be young again...such innocence!" sort of a thought about it. But even now some of my old posts are only slightly less shockingly foreign than that hispanic cracked out man was on my first solo subway ride. Isn't it fascinating how we evolve as we grow up?

In other news (pause. I use that phrase too often. Good writers don't use any one phrase all the time.)

Of unrelated interest (that's a different segue. hooray!) It is still September and I have already read the same amount of books I read last year in totale. And that number is embarrasingly low. I blame it on ADD! Or my Treo! Or Facebook (evil of all evils.) No really maybe I blame it on bad habits. Whatever the case, because I lived in New York for 6 months and read on the train I am ahead of where I was last year. Which leads me to ask.

What books do you suggest I read for the duration of 2009?

I just completed Kevin Roose's "Unlikely Disciple" and my mouth is watering at the thought of expressing all the thoughts I've accumulated in reading it. In fact it has only served as further inspiration to actually focus and turn some of these blogs into a manuscript. Anyway, I just realized I have to go. Tada! Moral of the story? Tell me a book to read! And not one I will hate or get bored with. Thanks! :-)

21 September, 2009

20 September, 2009

oh hey 1 am. wish i wasn't seeing you right now...

It is 1 am on Sunday morning and I have to be at work ready to clean my heart out (or rather, Anthro's floors) at 8 am. 8 am!!!! on a Sunday!!!!

I haven't seen 8 am on a Sunday since...ok, that makes my head hurt. I don't know when. A long time!

So naturally since I have to get up early I should be asleep and I can't sleep. Oh yes hello life. that's you!

Meanwhile I've been in Nashville for the better part of a month (5 days gone in the middle but we'll call it a month) and it's been.....um.....not New York?

This calls for a list of things that have made my life great this week. As follows:

1. WICKED. A dear friend of mine from high school snagged a couple of tickets to the national tour of one of my favorite musicals and we went on Wednesday night. Duct tape was useful in keeping my belting to a minimum but nevertheless I was reminded again why I love this beautiful show. Can we make a sublist? Oh yes we can:
a) Stephen Schwartz can write a SONG. I found myself leaning over to Brian multiple times saying "This is probably my favorite song in the show."
b) Poignant moment after poignant moment. Who here can't relate to Glinda at the top of the 2nd Act when she is so desperately trying to convince herself all is well because she got what she wanted? "Because happy is what happens when all your dreams come true. Well, isn't it?"
c) #TruthSunday: I love that Elphaba inspires a guy and in so he falls in love with her. I wanna inspire somebody! (I also want to be inspired. But that's for another post.)
d) It's a show that highlights the female best friend relationship. Truth be told I have seen Wicked one other time. And that time I was in a completely different place in life and I got to see it with a completely different person. I went into the show being mildly afraid it would bring up a bit of lost love wistfulness. The funny thing is that it didn't. If the show made me think about any relationship in my life it is the one I have with my best friend. I really wish I could accurately articulate how fulfilling it is to have a best friend. The relationship between Glinda and Elphaba beautifully illustrates the "iron sharpening iron" relationship that can come from a challenging friendship. I've got that friendship and I couldn't be more grateful.

2. GLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. GLEE. GLEE!!!!
Have you tuned into this stellar new show on Wednesday nights yet?! If not...WHY?! Please just stop reading and go over to Hulu and catch up! This magical series is the first ever show to incorporate music into every episode! It's comedy perfectly aligns with my sense of humor so I just sit with a stupid happy expression on my face the entire hour. You should also probably head over to itunes and purchase their rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'." Lea Michelle and Matthew Morrison are the leads and they also happen to be some of my past Broadway faves. And because of "Glee" they're probably also gonna be superstars. You heard it here kids.



3. Text messages.

4. Catching up with old friends.

5. Epiphanies. Like, 1. I need more inspiring women in my life to admire! Oy! And 2. my passions are performing and writing and also helping others realize what they find fulfilling and helping them figure out how to do it. (And the practical application this epiphany has for my life yet? I dunno. One epiphany at a time people...)

(I forgot about #6! so I'm adding it now!)

6. FINALLY DELETING MYSPACE. Why did I ever have a myspace account? Anyway, it's gone now. :) It feels right.

Also I'm not used to being in one spot geographically and wishing I was somewhere else. Seriously it's weird for me. So I may have to stop that soon...

As they say...

stay tuned. :)

ps-i may be unveiling a 2nd blog soon with a totally different theme. it'd be one where I get to stretch my journalistic muscles a bit more. perhaps in the direction of interviews and profiles on people. telling their stories. thoughts?

08 September, 2009

Currently Reading...



















and can't wait to comment on it!!

04 September, 2009

“We live by revelation, as Christians, as artists, which means that we must be careful never to get set into rigid molds. The minute we begin to think we know all the answers, we forget the questions, and we become smug like the Pharisee who listed all his considerable virtues and thanked God that he was not like other men.”
-Madeleine L'Engle in "Walking on Water: Reflections of Faith and Art"

“This above all—ask yourself in the stillest hour of your night: Must I write?[…]if you may meet this earnest question with a strong and simple ‘I must,’ then build your life according to this necessity; your life even into its most indifferent and slightest hour[…]” -Rainier Maria Rilke in "Letters to a Young Poet"

03 September, 2009

Taylor

I love this little interview!



Taylor popped into Anthropologie last night and I happened to be the person to ring her up. I saw a tall blonde in heels and shorts hovering around the candles but didn't realize it was her until she came right up to me. As a performer (different field, but still entertainment) I spent the rest of the night wondering why I was the one folding sweaters and Taylor Swift was the one recognized everywhere she goes and buying candles at Anthropologie. I don't mean that in a jealous way. Just in a...she's really just another person way...

Anyway. :)

This interview points out 2 things. 1) In the music business being a songwriter sets you apart. It adds credibility and money. And it gets you noticed. 2) The beauty of songwriting is articulating an emotion that alot of people feel. Then that becomes their favorite song. And 3 million records later...the rest is history.

02 September, 2009

If I Was a Song...

I don't mean my favorite song. I mean, if the essence of my soul and life right. now. was a song it'd be this:

My friend Patric is this:

What is your song?

24 August, 2009

Reflections since no one is awake but me...

August 24th, 2009.

I'm typing in my parents kitchen/living room/spare bedroom/dining room/breakfast room at their 3 bedroom apartment that overlooks the Blueridge Mountains and is actually over an Edible Arrangements on Enterprise Drive.

Strangely (awkwardly?) I don't know what to do with myself because I am the first one awake. This ne ne neeeever happens. Especially when the early to rise (do they even sleep? are they in fact robots?) sister and brother-in-law are in town. But that's neither here nor there. I grew up with a dad that would wake up before the chickens and hens reading his Bible, working out and going to Cracker Barrel all before I did the one-eyed peep at the alarm clock. And here we are in Virginia and not only does my dad work at the university I went to but I'm also the first one awake. Strange dear, but true dear...(name that song!)

Anyway it's double weird because today is the first day of classes for the new academic year at Liberty. And this marks the fall that the kids who were freshmen my senior year are now seniors. Does anyone else get the sense that life does not go on when you leave a place? And then you return to find things have indeed changed and the world goes on without you? I mean, obviously this is something we all know in our heads but can't always grasp when we're delved deep into the next experience. College was not invented for the 4 years I went to it. It's still going, Liberty is ever changing (thank goodness) and the freshmen are the seniors.

That doesn't mean I can't point out that this is all weird to me.

Additionally being back in town on this first day of school--the 3rd that has existed since I finished--it of course provides a great opportunity to reflect on these past 2 years and 1 summer that I've lived post-college. I've lived in 4 cities. Seen the end of my dad's 23 year pastorate. Seen my sister move to Europe. Seen my grandfather slowly losing his battle with dementia. Seen the real end of a merry-go-round relationship. Seen a best friend get engaged. Seen another best friend's office in the White House. Seen the tail of a rodent disappear into my oven in Queens...

It has been an eventful 2.25 years.

I was asked recently by a wistful friend if I ever "miss college so much I could cry." The brief answer to that is "no." Life after college is undoubtedly amazingly more difficult. And I would trade nothing for the 4 years I had in Lynchburg. But there is something satisfying about venturing out on one's own. Growing up. We must always live as if the best days of our life are ahead-not behind. Because they are. L'Chaim!

22 August, 2009

Hey yall!

So lately I’ve been traveling a bit. It’s possible—no, quite likely—that you don’t know what state I’m in right now. Well, I can’t be sure either really. I’m actually on a bus somewhere between New York and Washington D.C. I haven’t been paying close attention to the extent that I would know what state I’m in. So if you do know what state I'm in that's AMAZING. How did you do that?

August has felt a bit like a world tour. I flew to Nashville from New York on August 5th. Stayed for a week. Flew to Orlando for 5 days. Flew back to Nashville. Worked a day at Anthropologie. 36 hours later drove to Lynchburg. Stayed in Lynchburg for approximately 27 hours then drove to DC. Caught a bus to Manhattan. Stayed in Manhattan another 36 hours or so and now I’m headed back to DC. Originally I had planned on staying in Manhattan all weekend but I’m ready for a break from traveling and to see my family and friends. So that all made me wanna hurry back down to VA. So now it’s Saturday morning and well, afternoon now I suppose and I’m back on the bus headed to DC. I’ll spend the next 24ish hours hanging out with Leslie and then I’ll be back to Lynchburg until Tuesday AM. Then I’m in Nashville for 2 weeks. Then back to the Burg to actually get some quality time with the family (since things have been so rushed and random) and then I’ll go to Charlotte for SETC where hopefully I will wow a few directors who want to give me money in return for me singing/acting/dancing.

So ya know…that’s pretty much what’s going on with me.

The next few weeks have me applying for some office-y type jobs in Nashville. I still intend on working at Anthro and princessing at parties but those aren’t the most reliable forms of income so I want a 9 to 5. Also so I can sing this song and do these awesome dance moves every morning:



Meanwhile I’ve been thinking about an MFA in Acting or Musical Theatre for fall 2010…think I may look into admissions requirements. I wish more schools offered this program but there’s really not that many! The few that peek (why do I always spell that wrong? Oh English...) my interest are The Catholic University of America (in DC), UNC Chapel Hill, UVA, University of Central Florida, and of course the more amazing than amazing programs in NYC. Without a BFA it may be all but impossible to get in but it is absolutely worth investigating.

So my world tour is wrapping up on Tuesday and I have to tell you how full it makes my heart to have seen so many scattered friends over the past 3 weeks. I love you guys a lot. Mush mush mush. BYE!

12 August, 2009

You Love It. You Hate It. You Should Read This.

I have had a Facebook account since spring of 2005. I was a sophomore in college. At that time Facebook was only limited to some colleges--pretty much only big state schools and some private schools. When I got Facebook you could upload a profile picture, write a profile description and write on friends’ walls. I think you could send private messages but only to one person at a time.

Fast forward 4 years. Now Facebook is open to anyone with a valid email address. It has far surpassed 100 million users around the world. Not only can you upload thousands of photos but you can tag identifications of your friends. So people who look at your photos can put a face to a name of people they don’t even know! Not only that but you can write private messages to 20 people at a time and you could write back and forth for as long as you like. I haven’t tested that out. There may be a limit to how long a thread of messages can go but I know I’ve had threads go for hundreds of messages at a time. In addition to all these snapshots of life and group conversations you can now post video messages to friends. So now people you don’t know not only know what you look like from photos, they can also identify the sound of your voice and expressions. As if you’re a personal friend or a celebrity they’ve watched on TV.

And society as a whole acts like this is all normal. The word “stalking” no longer elicits fear and nervousness. Now it’s a tongue-in-cheek way to say you’re intrigued by someone you either know (or don’t) and you like to read what they write, see who they talk to, find out what their interests are and peek into their lives to either judge or be impressed. I have found myself clicking through photos of friends’ (I use that term loosely) home renovations, Christmas mornings, positive pregnancy tests, and intimate marriage proposals. And of course some of these people I’m close to and have a vested interest in. But of course, those are the people who in a Facebook-less world would take the time to email me photos of the events. The photos I view on Facebook are rarely of close friends. More often they are of “friends” who I haven’t had a face-to-face conversation with in 3 years or more or they are friends who I’ve met recently and have had little more than a passing conversation with.

We have become a society obsessed with being our own celebrity.

Facebook gives us each an opportunity to be the star of our own reality show. Our profile photo gives out a message: I AM FUN! I AM SEXY! I AM ARTSY! I AM DEEP! I HAVE BIG MUSCLES NOW!

Our “Write Something About Yourself” box gives us an opportunity to show the world how introspective we are. Or spiritual. Or hilaaaarious.

And our photo albums give us the opportunity to show people how exciting our lives are! Or how well off we are. Or how gorgeous the people are who we've chosen to surround us. Or just how gorgeous we are. (Take that jerky guys of high schools past!)

And seriously, I’m only touching on the surface of the ignored weirdness of Facebook. A second level is how strange it is to have a “profile page.” One page of information and images that represents you to the world that knows you. I have roughly 1200 “friends” on Facebook. Let’s be honest, there’s no way I personally know many more people than that in the real world. And of those 1200 probably 20% are people who I have even run into in person within the last year. All the rest only know the adult me (post childhood, post college) through what they see on Facebook. They see I’m single. They see I’ve lived in various places. They see photos of me on stage. Photos at the White House. Photos at Disney World. Photos at bars in New York.

Insert judgmental presumption here.

How utterly strange is it to have 1 representation of who you are to your extended family, long lost childhood friends, first loves, middle school bullies, college sorority sisters, and people you’ve just met through friends within the last 2 weeks!

I submit that we should all do a little self-analysis on our Facebook use. Maybe we should scale back our mindless curious clicking and our diarrhea-like output of personal information. Perhaps we’d be better served to close the laptop and pick up the phone. Have a real conversation with someone who has legitimately invested in your life. Not people who just click on pictures of it.

11 August, 2009

British Lit nerd post--consider yourself forewarned.

I am so. excited. about. this.



John Keats is my favorite poet. His life was so tragic and romantic. Here's one of my favorite poems:

Ode on a Grecian Urn

THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unweari├Ęd,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea-shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul, to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

09 August, 2009

What I (personally) have learned about NYC vol. 1--courtesy of MTA primarily.

I've been back in Nashville for 4 semi-frantic days. A lot of my time here thus far has been devoted to finding THE wedding dress for my best friend Bonnie. The task has been completed. I also attended a handful of social events and 2 auditions. And had dinner with my Grandma. So now it's time to blog...

I wanted this to be a top 10 list. or top 15. something divisible by 5 but alas it's a top 7. talk about lame. whatever. atleast it's God's number. here's some random things I picked up on and wrote down when I noticed them while living in New York. :)

1. (Regarding subway stations) Rats on the tracks may be kind of entertaining to watch but truly you don't want them there because the next step is them on the platform and the next step is them on the 6 train.

2. In NYC being called "Miss" is more flattering than "Maam." It is not curt and it implies that you are young and vibrant.

3. Existing in New York is forfeiting the right to personal space in public places. No table for 1 at Starbucks and no empty seat between you and Jose on the red line.

4. People outside of my age group/economic level/origins exist. I'm reminded daily. We brush arms.

5. New Yorkers know the hand signals on the roads are mere suggestions for pedestrians. If there is not a car coming, you walk. And if you dont--well, you'll never get anywhere nearly as fast. And you'll never get those 15 seconds back.

6. Avoiding the grates on sidewalks is what New Yorkers do. Why? 1) Hot air--yuck. 2) Smelly--gross. 3) What are you thinking?! You could fall down there! And then you'd REALLY be late.

7. There's a reminder of humanity every time I see someone dash for a train that is about to leave or stumble as a train comes to a stop. Truly we're all just people and we're really not that in control of anything.

26 July, 2009

Kicking and Screaming...

Well it's 9 days away so I guess now is as good a time as any to let you know...

I'm leaving New York.

Hopefully not foreeeever but atleast for the next chunk.

I'm splitting my time in August between New York for the first 5 days, then Nashville for 2 weeks, then 5 days in Orlando, then wrapping the month up in Lynchburg. I know that sounds a little psychotic.

My sublease in Astoria ends August 1st but there are still a few auditions I want to attend here the first week of August. Bonnie, the lifelong best friend of like, 22 years got engaged a few months back and I have 1) yet to see the ring and 2) communicated to her that if she chose a wedding dress without me present I might DIE. So we are meeting up in Nashville to shop. :) I also haven't been back to the Music City since February and I'm pretty sure it's the longest I've been gone...ever! Weird. Nashville has gone through so many changes! No more Suttons, a new Urban Outfitters. It's weird stuff folks. I need to check it out. It will be the strangest phenomenon not to go back to Brandywine Pointe Blvd. I'm still not used to all this. Wonder when I will be?

For those of you who I talk to on a more regular basis you're probably not shocked by my decision to leave. Or you might be. Just 6 weeks ago I was loving living in Astoria, definitely staying in New York til the end of the year if not the next 5 years. But finances with several part-time jobs has proved to not add up to what I need to stay here and no great roommate possibilities have come knocking. Call me human but I'm just sick of living with strangers. I want a home! I want MY furniture! MY pictures on the wall! MY friend living in the other room! So those 2 factors helped me decide that the fall will be a great time to save money so I'm never destitute again. It's not cute having to choose between buying conditioner and hair gel. I need to do the non-exciting thing and do the smart thing. Save up and be on my feet for 2010.

So where will I be the rest of the year beyond my August travel? It's yet to be determined. I love Nashville and Lynchburg and could be happy in either locale. During my August trips I'm going to investigate the job possibilities and see what looks more advantageous. If I go to Nashville there will definitely be more princess parties. And I do love that. :)

I'm finishing up reading a thought-provoking piece of non-fiction by Malcolm Gladwell called "The Outliers." The book details the stories of various groups of people who became very successful. Reading it has reminded me how important it is to do meaningful work. I've been trying to figure out what I want my life to look like down the road and how to get there. I think the first step for me is to really commit and get plugged into one community. One community socially, spiritually and theatrically. I also want to focus more on writing. So, ya know, yay for that.

As always...more to come...

23 July, 2009

Top 10

I'm in a listy (not to be confused with lusty) mood so I thought I'd forward to you 10 of the most novel, interesting, useful or visited websites I frequent. Ch Ch check it out...

1. Freetranslation.com is amazing because if you're like me and you do the occasional international travel or travel writing or have an inkling to write something in Finnish on Facebook this website is an easy go to.

2. Pianofiles.com has undoubtedly been one of the most useful websites for me. It is a networking site where every user's page consists of a list of the digital sheet music they own. Some people have entire scores of movies and musicals. Any song you may need is possible to find. I have traded sheet music so far with about 10 people. And I've acquired the sheet music for songs I need for auditions. Ordinarily I'd fork out $5 for each piece. So survey says, I'm saving a lot of money. And for a career that forces you to spend so much on the job interview (headshots, resumes, dress, makeup, heels, sheet music) it's nice to have something to ease the pain throbbing in my pockets.

3. Twitter! I tend to be that guy who is wary of the new social networking craze. I was last on the myspace bandwagon back in the 80's and I joined Twitter well after all my techy cult apple pals. But I quickly realized upon joining that Twitter for me was like a really enjoyable way to group-text. I've chosen to limit my Twitter "friends" to people who I am really good friends with so any update I receive is of particular interest to me. Somehow while I'm waiting for the train to arrive I can learn that Ashli and Matt just had a delightful dinner on the Seine, Dad just completed his 501 syllabus, my friend Lindsay is en route to Texas and Meagan is studying for an intense exam. That's the kind of connecting I like.

4. Mint.com falls into the category of useful. I am a person who loves things being concise and organized. I use iCal daily (oh that color-coding). In the same vein Mint.com is a website that keeps up with bank accounts, credit cards and 401k's in one happy, organized place. I personally have accounts with 2 different banks so Mint converges all my spending and shows me how much I spent last year on food and even provides a way for me to see a pie graph of where my money is going. And as a visually oriented person I just love that. I can also budget through the website and they text me when they think an account is "dangerously low." It's a thoughtful little site.

5. Ashlielizabeth.blogspot.com is one of my very FAVORITE websites. In part because it is written by my sister. :-) Ashli and her husband Matt live in Edinburgh, Scotland and are spending the summer in Paris. She posts dreamy photos daily and gives detailed descriptions of ex-pat life. Totally recommend!

6. Hopstop.com is THE way I got around when I first moved to New York. It's a thoughtful mapquest for subway lines that takes note of rush hour and lines being down due to maintenance (which happens always.) Useful!

7. The Producer's Perspective Ken Davenport is a real live Broadway producer and provides candid analysis of the happenings on the Great White Way. I have a lot of interaction with directors, choreographers, and even quite a bit with writers but on a personal level I don't interact with producers often so Ken's blog is an interesting and rarely heard voice.

8. Playbill.com The Drudge of the theatre world. Much easier on the eyes than Broadwayworld and it even has a section for audition and job postings. I check this site multiple times daily.

9. Facebook.com You know it, you love it, you've wasted days of your life on it. My favorite part of Facebook is the messaging. I have one email chain through Facebook with friends that I've had for 2 years. It's quite useful for keeping in touch with all the people that you don't have time to call all the time. It's a way to spend less time on the phone but stay connected. Losing touch is soooo 1999.

10. Smartprettyandawkward.com This little site is satisfying like a jolly rancher. Small, tart and puts a little gleam in your eye. It also comes with quotes and you know how a girl likes her quotes...

21 July, 2009

15 Books

Have you guys seen that trend on facebook where you're supposed to make a list of 15 influential books in your life and give virtually no thought to what comes to mind? Well I made one just now and I'm posting it here instead. :-)

1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
4. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
5. Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner
6. A Little Bit Wicked by Kristin Chenoweth
7. On Writing Well by William K. Zinsser
8. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
9. Walking on Water by Madelein L'Engle
10. Tess of the D'urbevilles by Thomas Hardy
11. The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
12. Failing Forward by John Maxwell
13. The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews
14. Sacred Marriage by Gary L. Thomas
15. I Married Adventure by Luci Swindoll

10 July, 2009

A really good day.


Tuesday night I had one of the best theatrical experiences of my life. I know, I know I love shows. I love 90% of what I've seen in the theatre since moving to New York so I'm not what one would call a "tough critic" (except if you get me on the topic of City Center's 'The Wiz' YIKES!) but the performance of 'Twelfth Night' produced by the Public Theatre in Central Park was one of the most enchanting delightful theatrical experiences I've ever had. Ahhhh. Let me just start from the beginning. (a very good place to start.)

Every summer the Public sponsors FREE shows in an outdoor theatre in Central Park. Sounds great until you realize tickets are limited and first come first serve and those first served, well, usually arrive around 3 AM. (hard core.) I got a tad suspicious when the dudes at the front of the line looked quite comfortable chilling out in Central Park...as if they lived there...but seriously, if I had $50 and felt good in my heart about having a hobo save my spot in line I might've done it too. Anyway...neither here nor there.

I was supposed to meet Conor and Melissa to get in line at 7:30 AM. I had heard that was a reasonable hour to attend so we made that the plan. I hadn't slept well the night before and each person who arrives can get up to 2 tickets so when 6:30 rolled around I felt no hesitation to text them and let them know I was running a bit late. I texted. I rolled over. The next thing I knew it was 8 AM. I called Conor and no answer. It made me a tad uneasy since when one is waiting in line for something for hours on end a phone call is welcomed entertainment. I decided to throw on some tennis shoes and dash down to the park. Conor's alarm didn't go off and Melissa had gotten sick in the night so there was nobody holding our precious spot in line! I arrived after about 600 of my closest pals. My friend Lacey (the flight attendant chum who had come in to town the week before to see the show) had waited all day---i mean from about 9 am until 8 pm and got to see the show so I was prepared to set up camp all day. Conor arrived about an hour and a half after I did and we made a plan. She'd hold our spot til 1 pm. I'd come back and wait with her for an hour or two then she'd leave, Melissa would get there for a while and we'd hope for the best. Tickets would start being handed out at 1 pm. The line started moving and a guy and girl (presumably a couple) walked down the line from the beginning to the end looking slightly bewildered carrying camping gear (sleeping bags, etc). I happened to make eye contact with the girl and they came over to us and asked us if there were "Only two of us." And we go "Yeah" and they said "Our friends aren't going to be able to come so would you guys like these tickets?" These nice kids had arrived at 5:30 AM and were GIVING us their extra tickets. It seemed a little too easy. We stood there tickets in hand bewildered for a solid 10 minutes. It was only 2:00! I thought we'd be waiting in the "stand by" line for 6 more hours! Whaaaaaa?

So in lieu of camping out in Central Park all day I decided to walk from the upper east side down to Times Square. I spent a satisfying hour in Drama Books reading and then made my way up to the Upper West Side. I got to the theatre a bit early and sat down on a bench. It was there that I met Lewis.

I was gazing at my ticket when Lewis took a looksy over and informed me that I had a good seat. Better than his he pointed out. The senior seats are all the way on the side. Close but all the way on the side. My seat was closer to the center. I told him I was just happy to have a ticket and I told him I brought cookies for our generous new friends. He said that he had arrived at the park at 6 AM to get a ticket. He also said that it was probably the last year he'd be doing that because waiting in line for 7 hours outside made him a little sick. He said he's the type to do what he wants to do though. He doesn't usually let things like that stop him. Lewis and I went on to discuss theatre. He's lived on the 6th floor of a walk up apartment building on the Upper East Side for more than 50 years. A native New Yorker he has seen MANY Broadway shows and says they don't make 'em like they used to. He said he was pleasantly surprised by the "South Pacific" revival though. Lewis loves dogs and made a point at talking to each one that strolled by and calling them "My Deahhhh" just the way it sounds. His wife and his own dog passed about 3 years ago. He doesn't think dogs should go without 2 to 3 walks a day so he hasn't bought another. And being 83 he doesn't exactly want to walk up and down those stairs more than twice a day. I told him I have a vested interest in the theatre in that I'm an actress. He loved that. HE said he's met alot of actresses--and living in New York all his life I'm sure he has.I tried to brag a little and told him I saw Jeff Daniels walking in the park earlier (he's currently starring in the Broadway play 'God of Carnage' and he had a small role in Sam Mendes' new movie 'Away We Go' which i just saw on Friday night.) Lewis was none too impressed. He's walked by celebrities and brilliant actors on the street all his life. He's seen Meryl Streep and Katherine Hepburn perform live in plays. Vivian Leigh too! After chatting for about 30 minutes he decided to embark into the theatre and he looked me dead in the eye. He said, "I just have one thing to say to you. Work hard. Tons of actresses come to this city to make it. Don't get distracted. Work hard."

I gulped to myself. Looked him back dead in the eye and said "I will."

We got to our seats just as the sun was setting. The stage was a beautiful large patch of green grass with a few rolling hills. I couldn't imagine a whole play on this small simple set but what the director did with it was pure magic. I have to be honest here and admit that i was a little nervous about seeing Shakespeare. I've never seen a professional production of Shakespeare and the college productions I have seen have left me...how should I say...bored...unaffected...texting?

I knew this was the make or break moment. If I'm one of those people who can't really appreciate Shakespeare then I respect myself juuuust a little bit less.

The lights on the stage came up and Anne Hatheway made her first entrance. Viola has just rolled onto the beach of Illyria after a shipwreck where she has lost her brother. For Shakespearean reasons she decides to disguise herself as a man to be a servant to the local duke. To make a long story short the Duke is in love with Olivia, Olivia falls in love with Anne (who she thinks is a dude) and Anne is in love with the Duke.

The acting in this play was none like I've ever seen in person. Every actor on the stage was every bit as committed as actors in an Oscar winning film even though there was virtually no set and the actors can turn their heads to the left and SEE the audience.

I wish I could adequately express how seeing this affected me. Let me really focus and try. I knew I was watching people who are some of the most skilled actors in New York. The creativity in their acting made Shakespeare's words fresh and relevant. It inspired me to be that creative on stage. To not say lines or lyrics like they've always been said. I was also so inspired by Anne Hatheway's commitment to her character. In her monologue in the last act about how she aches for the Duke I was so moved. And when she discovers that her brother is indeed not dead you can see in her face the process of choices she made as an actress. In spite of the play being a comedy Anne brings an immense amount of vulnerability and honesty to her role. I hope every actor who got the opportunity to watch her perform were inspired to take their commitment to roles up a few notches. Cause if anyone can get by on a name and charm it's Anne Hatheway.

I'm learning in my audition class how important vulnerability is on stage and how the clearest avenue of expressing it is through one's eyes. My first acting professor Neal Brasher told us in class (I'll never forget it) it doesn't matter how much you as an actor FEEL the moment on stage is real-if the person in the back row doesn't feel it, it doens't matter. Acting isn't about having such a huge imagination that you can convince yourself you see pink clouds. The audience has to see the pink clouds. And if they do, then you've done your job.

So Twelfth Night in Central Park under the stars was one of the best nights I've had in the theatre. I hope one day I can inspire someone to be better the way Anne Hatheway inspired me. At the end of the play the whole cast sang the lyric "Our play is done and we'll strive to please you everyday." To bring a bit of hope and joy to a world that's full of hard moments daily...that's really what theatre is about...we'll strive to please you everyday...

01 July, 2009

"Dont Suck."

Hi friends :)

Tonight I'm writing from a warm and surprisingly quiet apartment on the Upper West Side. All of a sudden around June 28th New York finally remembered that it's summer and I've been adjusting accordingly. I'm so NOT used to a/c units in windows as opposed to central heating and air. My sleep pattern is totally thrown off by the night sweats but being the cheap broke actor that I am I can't bear to turn the air up to a level in which I'm actually comfortable enough to doze off. Ha. My life is so glamorous glamorous. (flossy. flossy.)

June in the city has been great! I've gotten to work alot less at Anthropologie which is good for my soul and my career. I've had more time to put into auditions and whaddyaknow I'm getting better feedback/callbacks! I'm also really enjoying spending time with Rufus: my 5 year old 2nd cousin (we have the same great-grandmother [my mom's dad and rufus' grandpa are brothers.]). Rufus is amazingly inquisitive and funny and is gearing up for kindergarten in the fall. He is itching to learn how to read. And he's got a pretty big vocabulary. He's already tossed out "cap-sized" and "diarrhea." Proud. Also, Rufus' mom Cory, who is my ehh..2nd cousin by marriage? whatever. is a HILARIOUS comic and you should definitely check out her stuff. Her website is HERE So far I've only spent time with her in 15 minute intervals but I am looking forward to picking her brain about being a female stand-up comic. Also for the record she said Craig Ferguson is totally nice. She's been on his show 3 times and she showed me a card he left in her dressing room. On the inside it read:

"DONT SUCK. -CRAIG"

Just a gem.

Other than that I've started an audition class with a casting director. We've only met for class once so far but I'm already gleaning tons. I'm also still holding my breath about a certain callback that I got for a certain show at a certain disneyworld where I would play a fish (rhymes with Fabio). It would be a dream come true. If I get it I'll hear some time this month.

I'm also trying to figure out if I want to be here in New York long term or not. I love the city but it can be a lonely place to try and conquer alone-ish. My heart really wants to put some roots down somewhere and I want it to be near at least 1 or 2 of my nearest and dearest. I'd love to go away and return a bit down the road with a buddy (re: sig other? tmi?) We'll see. :-) Where there is routine there can still be adventure. That is what I'm trying to tell myself anyway...until next time yall...

16 June, 2009

So, by the way, if you like reading my blogs maybe you would like my microblogs too? You can follow them at twitter.com/hilarysutton. Word!

15 June, 2009

Am I really capable of being this tech-savvy? I recorded this today. Don't get too excited-it's just an audio file (with a picture of a Christmas tree). I think I would feel awkward serenading a camera on my macbook anyway. No editing (obviously. ha!) This is from the show Avenue Q. I'm auditioning for the new national tour next week. :) I hope you enjoy!

i guess i've got chutzpah.

“I don’t see how you stay so optimistic. Going to auditions every day. Not getting gigs every day...I couldn’t do it!”

“I’m optimistic because…I have to be.”

Pounding the pavement auditioning almost daily is not an easy task. Every show calls for you to express something slightly different to show the casting directors that you are a good fit for the character. That means knowing 16 bars of songs that would be right for every character in every show out there that you think you’re a match for. Oh and it can’t actually be from that show so you have to find a similar character in a different show with a similar range and style and personality and age range and motive.

And you need to have it memorized. And it better be in the right key and clearly marked for the pianist. And don’t forget your headshot and resume and perfect audition dress. And pantyhose! You’ll probably have to stop and buy some since they rip after 3 wears. And you better straighten your hair if you’re not auditioning for “Hair” or “Jane Eyre” because your kind of hair really only fits for hippy roles and women from the 19th century. And you have to make it easy for the casting director to envision you in this role that has been played by countless numbers of people so you have to be a bit generic but not too generic that you’re forgettable.

And you better get to that studio wicked early because if you don’t you risk doing all that work and preparation and sitting and waiting and not even getting seen at all. And then you’ll just be pissed off at yourself all night at work thinking “If I had just gotten up when my alarm went off I wouldn’t have missed what obviously would have been my big break!”

But if you didn’t get seen that day because you’re not in the Actors union and its truly not your fault you’ll have to spin it in a different way so you don’t think about all the things you could have been doing in glorious New York City that day while instead you were a shut-in with 300 girls who look just like you humming annoying songs and dying of boredom.

This whole audition scene is a mind game. You have to be smarter than your mind because your mind will drive you crazy. You have to decide that no matter what happens at the audition that day…you don’t get seen, you get seen but you forget the words, you get seen but you go flat, you get seen but the director is a total tool, you get seen and you do AWESOME, you get seen and you do awesome but you don’t get a callback, you get seen and you get a callback…

That it doesn’t affect whether it’s a good day or not. Because ultimately you don’t control how you’re received. You control what you’re giving and you control your outlook. As long as I remember each day is a gift and there are a million reasons to smile and LIVE I can keep going into that audition room and hoping today’s the day.

06 June, 2009

Tony Tony Tony!


YALL.

I have never been so excited about the Tony Awards.

But since I've sat in a Broadway audience no less than 10 times this season I can't hannndle the excitement. I feel personally involved! These are shows I saw with my own eyes! Actors I met! Songs that moved me!

I hope you'll join me in rooting for Karen Olivio (who played Anita in West Side Story) and Alice Ripley (who played Dianah in Next to Normal.)

Also root for the Title of Show guys and look up there youtube show! It's hilarious. They literally wrote a show about writing a show. It's witty.

The Tony's air tomorrow night and I'm going to be watching with my beloved Uncle Mark and Bill. Pizza included.

This year I'll be watching from Astoria. Next year...?

05 June, 2009


Hi everyone!

First I’d like to point out that I realize it’s been a coon’s age since I’ve written. Has it been a month or something like that? It’s not good for me and it’s not good for you so let’s start fresh.

Hi, I’m Hilary. I like to write and sing showtunes. I live in New York and I’m from the south. I’m a preacher’s kid and I’m a little jew(ish). I have red curly hair and people are what I value most in life. Oh and I also like brownies.

May was a whirlwind month. I had guests for a week. I had 10 auditions in 5 days (don’t worry. I only made it into the audition room for a fraction of them.) I went to Florida for a week. Then my parents were in the City for a week. Bim bam boom. MAY.

This past weekend I moved. Yes, you read that right. I moved. again. My sublease on the upper east side was just a 6 weeker so I’ve now upgraded in a thousand ways to a beautiful little apartment in Astoria. For you non-New Yorkers lemme break it down. New York is split up into 5 boroughs. There’s Manhattan which is the actual island. Then you have the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. Astoria is within Queens. It takes me approximately 20 minutes to get to Times Square which ironically is shorter than it did when I lived in Manhattan. I also pay $100 less each month for rent and have a muuucchhhh nicer apartment. All because I don’t live “in Manhattan.” And to that I say “who cares?!”

This week has been great. I started my new parttime nannying gig with (a week shy of) 5 year old Rufus. It relieves me from being at Anthropologie 6 nights a week and it is an improvement in income. This week I have also had no auditions which has been really nice. After so many visitors and vacations I needed a little downtime to collect myself and prepare for the auditions coming up later in the month. I went to Colony music and got some new books and I’m meeting with my friend Chris to go over some new songs today actually. Other than that I’ve been reconnecting with friends I haven’t seen in a month and trying to eat healthier. New York has not been good for my girlish figure so we’re cutting out the obvious bad stuff until further notice.

I’ve also just signed up for an audition class that will meet once a week for 6 weeks. I’m really, really REALLY stoked about it. It’s actually a birthday gift from my parents. Thanks Mom and Dad!! Since I’ve had very very little actual performance education I think I will learn a lot and eat it up. I’ll report back on that after awhile. Classes begin June 18th.

Beyond all of the every day happenings I’m toiling with plans for the fall. I’m only tied down in this apartment til the end of July. Beyond that I’m really trying to think big picture and smart. So if you pray (and I hope that you do) maybe you could remember to mention some wisdom and clarity for me as I’m making “life decisions.”

PS and Sidenote: When Mom and Dad were here we saw the new show “Next to Normal” and it was incredible. Musically brilliant. The book was brilliant. And Alice Ripley was the most inspiring actress I’ve seen on a stage. When you’re in New York I wholeheartedly recommend seeing it.

That’s all for now!

16 May, 2009

Airport reflections

Today I’m writing from a nook in the corner of the “National Airport” (as it was referred to by the flight attendant though I always heard it called ‘Reagan’) I’m ½ way to my destination of one of my 4 towns: Orlando, FL!

Orlando is where I lived for 6 months in 2007 after I finished at Liberty. My final year at Liberty was filled with classes, shows, socializing and dreaming about my next adventure. The first day of classes that fall of 2006 (my senior year) I turned to my best (Liberty) friend Leslie and said “I look around this campus and the other kids just look so much younger than me.” I was ready to discover the new, feel challenged and have my senses sharpened by fresh experiences. So when Josh suggested I come down to Orlando and audition at Disney (I could maybe possibly pass for one of the Ariel girls) my heart skipped at the adventure. Then my friend Katie asked me to stay with her at a lake house she’d be babysitting for the summer. What? Ok, dream scenario I will live you.

During that 6 months I lived on my own for the first time (I paid my own rent! Thanks Anthropologie! And Disney World! And Starlight Dinner Theatre! [RIP]) Orlando is special to me for a number of reasons. I was always totally enchanted with Disney as a child (ask my parents—the ones who didn’t have the right to keep walking when we passed the Disney store at the mall in Birmingham on our annual pilgrimage to Mobile.)

I remember our trips to Disney World as a child. Unlike some performers I never felt the impulse to one day work there. Because in my totally-buying-in-hook-line-and-sinker mind no one there was at work. They were princesses and dancers who lived in the magical place. There was only 1 Mickey Mouse and he was the boss and AWESOME. So fast forward to Hil at 22. Free and dreamy. Why not move to Orlando with Katie where rent is free and a magical land is but a stone's throw away? Yes, please.

So my 6 months in Orlando were filled with my first professional theatre gig (not associated or attained through being a Liberty student), my first dip into the world outside of the Christian bubble and out of the Bible belt. I made friends who spoke Spanish as well as English. And found my belt. Alexis Kramer did magic on my vocal cords and opened up a new world of songs and sounds. I always knew the possibilities were there but I had never been taught what to do. Oh how even now I feel like I am capable of things that I know not of simply because I haven’t been taught them. (These things are not the splits or pirouettes though. Honey we know our limitations.)

Fast forward a year and a half later and I’m sitting at a Juan Valdez in Times Square with my friends Maura and Lacey. Lacey was one of my first friends in college. I was a lowly freshman in Concert Choir where snobbery ruled. I knew these people would want to be my friend if they’d notice I was there. But whatever, I was ready to get out and move on to the Chamber Singers anyway (the more elite, smaller group that got to perform more challenging music.) Anyway, Lacey was the sophomore who actually smiled at me and noticed I was there! When the choir traveled to Roanoke to sing with the symphony Lacey was my saving grace. A friend to laugh with and smile back at me (not unlike my friend Kara at Anthropologie in Soho—a lot of those girls had trouble finding the time to smile back at me at first too!) Anyway, Lacey had always dreamed of being a flight attendant and being beautiful and flying cross country all the time. Now its 2 years post graduation and she’s doing it! And she’s in New York for a day and meets Maura and I for coffee. Somehow we get to talking about how Lacey has never been to Disney. Wait, what WHAT?! You, Lacey?! You’re like, the epitome of Disney! Ya know in personality and looks or something. I tell her if she can hook me up with a flight I can hook her up with free days at Disney. Thus this trip was born.

So now I’m on my way to Orlando. US Airways doesn’t fly direct to Orlando so I’m in DC for an hour and a half. Feeling reflective as I oh, always do when I’m traveling and alone. (which I do most of the time.)

This week has been all work and auditions and trying to find sleep in between. Monday I had those 2 cruiseline auditions, had dinner with Mark and Bill in Astoria (I ate Thai food! And I liked it! I’m branching!) then went to Gerard’s to look at his apartment (a potential summer sublease) and go over callback music with him (who knew a noticeably wrong interval in “Someday My Prince Will Come” had been severely ingrained into my brain for the last 24 years? Oops. Good thing I had Gerard’s help!)

I have to stop in this moment and ask WHY THE HECK IS THERE A BIRD IN THE AIRPORT RIGHT NOW? ANNNDDD WHY DOES IT FEEL INCLINED TO BE FLAPPING AROUND NEAR ME? Don’t these birds sense my bad energy?!
Tuesday I had lunch in Bryant Park and so did some pigeons. Stupid, stupid pigeons. I guess they were hovering looking for dropped crumbs and such. And in my stupidity I dropped a chip and a pigeon pounced (Who doesn’t love that salty goodness? I can’t blame the pee-brained pigeon.) But he pounced too suddenly and threw me off and I gracefully succeeded to fall OUT of my chair. To the chagrin of the businessmen (and assorted extras) who stared at me accusingly when I stumbled up. “The pigeon startled me” I muttered at the important people. They didn’t buy it.

*A pigeon-phobia is not warmly received while dining in the park. Note taken.

Anyway.

Tuesday I had my audition for Beauty & the Beast (it went kinda meh. Whatever. To be awkwardly transparent I have no emotional attachment to that show. I actually have a bit of loathe. I don’t want to be a spoon. Sorry. [There are many shows in which I wouldn’t mind being hobo in the back {Les Mis! Ragtime! Wicked! Legally Blonde!} But not Beauty&theBeast.]) The callback for Disney went well I guess (you really alwaysnever know.) Then went straight to work then went to bed then went to auditions (didn’t get seen) then went to work then went to bed then went to auditions (didn’t get seen again) then went to work then went to bed then went to auditions today and DID get seen! I got to audition for the new Broadway revival of A Little Night Music and thanks to some encouraging coaching from my friend Hanley (who has been taking classes from the bigwigs) I think I found a better, more connected level of acting in my audition today than I have…ever. Not trying to be dramatic but yeah. Seriously.

That was a great way to finish off a really hard, exhausting full week. Now I’m going to enjoy seeing friends in Florida, going to the beach, sleeping, shopping (prudently), watching shows and taking Lacey to Disney World for the first time. Happy weekend to those of you who actually have “weekends” and “weekdays.” ☺

I’ll leave you with a little excerpt from Kristin Chenoweth’s memoir. I promised a snippet a while back. At this point Kristin has just lost a beauty pageant while in college. Her goal is to go to Miss America and compete so she can be on tv and get an agent. When she loses her acting coach gives her a bit of a pep talk.

“You nailed it, Kristi. But sometimes you nail it—sometimes you’re the best—and you still don’t get it. Whatever you do as a performer, you have to do it for the performance. You can’t do anything with the expectation of winning an award. It’s best if you learn that now.”

I got used to getting up in front of people, getting judged, getting rejected. And I discovered an untouchable kernel of confidence instilled in me by my mom when I was too little to know or care about any other point of view. You do your best out of respect for yourself, not to make someone else feel less, and when you know you’ve done well, no one can take that away from you. At an audition now, I never compare myself to other girls. It’s me and the character. Do we fit? Another girl’s performance doesn’t change the answer to that question.

11 May, 2009

Update! (Brilliant title.)

Hello friends, family and people I don't actually know,

It has been a couple of weeks since I’ve written which is lame but as I always point out things here are busy busy busy! Since I last wrote I went on a Broadway SPREE seeing everything though paying no more than $36.50 per ticket. I actually saw 4 Broadway shows and spent $110. And I had excellent seats for ALL of them. (West Side Story, Shrek, Hair, 9 to 5 and Guys & Dolls) There are tricks to seeing Broadway shows on the cheap. And boy did we turn tricks! The first show I saw on Broadway since moving to New York—West Side Story—(which I saw from horrible standing room seats in the back of mezzanine in February—don’t do it!) I got to see again from the perfect lottery seats on the FRONT row. It was really like seeing a different production. My other favorite show that I saw this week was (I can’t believe it) SHREK! I went to the performance with the lowest expectations and was blown away by the music, staging, costuming, production creativity and performances by the leads. A little tip—go see shows RIGHT before the Tony nominations are announced in May because every performance is stellar top notch. We saw a Sunday matinee of Shrek (which is historically the most wah-wah performance of the week) and it was FABULOUS! Please go see this heart-warming show. I dare say Shrek could make you cry. He made me cry. So touching. And the anthem of the show is “Let your freak flag fly!” Who doesn’t love that?

This week while Josh was here we also traveled down to DC to attend another audition I had been invited to from when I went to the Washington Unified auditions earlier this year. I actually got to introduce my twin cousins (My dad’s twin’s twins. Who knew that happens?) to Josh and Leslie. Everyone loved life and the delicious chicken and fries we munched on.

In other news! Sunday night we saw Hair which was great music and great performing though I didn’t really connect with the disjointed plot. I think Hair is just one of those shows you either love and totally get or you’re like…hmm…the music is good but why are they dancing on the audience members? The greatness of Hair though is that after the show we went to the stage door to meet some castmembers and one of my Broadway heroes—Audra McDonald—was chilling, waiting for a friend. You’d probably recognize her from “Private Practice” on ABC. She’s truly one of the best vocalists out there and really was the face of color blind casting that waved in during the 90’s. Audra is phenomenal. And she starred in one of my favorite musicals of all time “Ragtime.” So I got a photo op with Audra and Josh got a photo op with his bway hero Gavin Creel (the original “Jimmy” in “Thoroughly Modern Millie”)

There were also a thousand other brilliant highlights of Josh and Leslie’s weekend in the City including strolls through Central Park, a carbide home in a hummer limo, cupcakes, Grey Dog brunch, and lots of rooftop chilling. And laughter. Laughter. Laugh.ter.

The great thing about having a job that is technically “part time” is that I can request off and arrange my work schedule around my life. So basically I put my two “weekends” together and was able to take off 6 days of work. Now is kind of intense because I have 8 days of work straight but the payoff of taking off during friends vacations is just fabulously worth it.

Other excitement: I nailed down a part time nannying gig for the summer watching my 2nd cousin Rufus. This is great on a variety of levels: fun cause Rufus is hilarious, helping out family feels good, money is better, consistent schedule is fab and I’ll be getting off by 9 pm so I’ll be able to get a decent night’s sleep for early auditions the next morning! Major yays.

Audition update: this week I am making efforts to attend (brace yourself) 11 auditions. They are as follows: Gary Musick company (they cast for various cruiselines), the Disney Cruiseline, the Beauty & the Beast national tour, A Little Night Music (broadway revival), the Cincinatti Playhouse (they’re doing the Fantasticks), Long Wharf Theatre (also doing the Fantasticks) South Pacific (Broadway) chorus call, the Sound of Music at the North Carolina Theatre, Georgia Love (a play about Georgians—I think.) a chorus call for Wicked (Broadway and tours too I’m guessing) and a chorus call for Molly Maguires a new work that is going to be performed in Pennsylvania and broadcast on public television!

Now I will inevitably not be able to be seen for all 11 of these auditions. With auditions in New York there is SO MUCH to go to you have to prioritize, figure out which roles you’d be most right for, which roles you’d be most likely to book, which auditions are in the same locations that you can hit at once and which ones are equity/non-equity and play the guessing game of if you will get seen or not. It takes a lot of plotting—that’s for sure.

All the while this week I have to begin (can you believe it?) looking for another sublease. I have leads on 3 places through friends (which I definitely prefer) so hopefully I won’t have to Craigslist my way all over town. Although, the place I am in now (a Craigslist find) has turned out to be perfect. But this next go around I’m looking for more: a bed included, cheaper rent and closer to a Starbucks. You know, the important things.

Oh one more highlight of this past week was getting to meet a slew of my 2nd cousins at a brunch on Saturday! I met my mom’s first cousins Lisann, Rick and Ken and their families. All New Yorkers. It’s kinda crazy to think that if my grandfather had not left New York on military service and settled in the south I could’ve grown up Jewish in Manhattan. What a different life that would’ve been…ya know, I quite like my mix of musical theatre singing Baptist Jew. I think it fits me. ☺

Addendum added tonight: I got a callback for some roles on the Disney Cruiseline! Think glass slippers and 7 little guys and you’ll figure out which roles. ;-) Hooray for a victory! As they say a dream is a wish your heart makes...