Wow, only 3 more to go…

I am such a sap when it comes to closing weekends.

I have spent the last 2 months with a bunch of wonderful people bringing to life this coming of age story.  I am a little sad that it’s now coming to a close.

I have a process that I tend to go through when it comes to Opening and Closing nights.  About a week before the show opens, I have my little panic attacks and butterflies.  Then come Opening Night, I am fine, just excited to get things under way.  Then during the week of Closing, I feel the pangs of sadness hit me.  I get a little sad, because there are people that I probably won’t ever see again.  This always happens though.  You can promise to keep in touch, but eventually things begin to slip, and you just lose track.  So I make sure to say my thank you’s to the cast on Opening Night.  I would be a hot mess if I had to write those cards during the week of Closing.

So while I am living in my verklemptiness,  I look forward to meeting up with those same people on Friday to begin closing out Bless Me, Ultima.

For those of you who have yet to see it, you have  three opportunities to catch this show.  You will laugh, and if you have a heart, you will definitely cry.  The end of Act 1 messes me up, every time.

Get your tickets HERE or go to TeatroVision.Org and click the “Buy Tickets” link.  Showtimes are 8 PM on Friday and Saturday and 2 PM on Sunday.  The theatre is located on the corner of  Alum Rock Ave and King Rd.  Let me know if you can make it so I can look of you in the lobby.

I hope to see you there!!

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Was it good? I dunno…

I was so excited last Wednesday, because we had tickets for a free screening of Sucker Punch.  So I get home from work and the movie doesn’t start until 10.  Cool.   Even better, the tickets are VIP so we don’t have to wait in that long ass line.  Woo hoo.  While I was at work, I get a text from Perry reminding me that the movie begins at 10pm.  After dinner, there’s a little time, so I hop onto the chaise and say that I am going to take a tiny nap.  When I woke up a little later, I ask what time it is, and he says “9;57” as though we didn’t have anything to do.  So I say, “What the hell? Doesn’t the movie start at 10?  Why’d you let me sleep so much?” To which the response was “I forgot.” I was a little bummed that I would be missing the movie.

So today, we watched it.  Kinda mad that I didn’t get to see it for free.

The story was okay.  It’s major characters are patients at a mental institution.  The heroine is Baby Doll, who gets institutionalized by her step father when she accidentally kills her younger sister with a bullet meant for him shortly after her mother died.  Baby Doll’s coping mechanism for being in this place is by escaping into her imagination.   While off in her daydreams, she came up with a plan to escape.  She then enlists the help of 4 other girls.   The twist is that Baby Doll’s story is meant to be tragic, but in turn it makes another girl’s, Sweet Pea, happy.  I love an escapism movie that uses escapism as a tool for pushing the story forward, but it didn’t really make a whole lot of sense.  Why would a girl trying to cope with being a patient in an institution imagine that she was a “go-go” dancer in a place she could never leave? On top of that, why would she then need to imagine that she has to get away from the “club” version of her mind?  Why not just go from the institution to the battle scenes?  Throw in the mix that there wasn’t much character growth built into the script.

I’ve read that Zack Snyder movies, like Tarantino’s, rely heavily on the soundtrack.  While the soundtrack was alright, I found it curious that there were a number of times that the same Bjork song is played through the last half of the movie.  What I didn’t really like was that it was mostly remakes of a few songs that all sounded similar in style and tone.

Visually, in regards to the effects, the movie’s budget was spent in that one area.  The images are incredible and vibrant.  But while the sight of the movie is amazing, it’s nothing that’s very new or unexpected. I love the lushness that was used when he showed people of power.  It was always in some overindulgent kind of way.  For example, the mayor uses a gold plated lighter that has a dragon on it.

Now visually, in regards to style, it’s pretty plain to see that Mr. Snyder has a fondness for long panning shots, and slow motion action sequences that show the audience exactly what’s happening.  But guess what, so does Guy Ritchie.  While there are a few variations between the two, I think that Snyder uses the slo-mo action shots for too long of a period.  Like I said it looks super cool, but it makes those sequences repetitive if you utilize this imagery as often as this movie did.  Taking a look at the costumes, it’s easy to see which focus group this movie was made for.  The costumes are nearly every cliche that has been considered sexy in the last twenty years.

I have to say that  I began to roll my eyes during the fight scenes because every single time there was a girl jumping in the air and landing after an attack, all of the landings were exactly the same: head bowed, one knee down, and one hand placed on the ground.  Every single time! Augh, talk about overdoing it.

Talent: All I am gonna say is that this movie’s acting is on par with the amazing Showgirls.  It felt a little forced.

So I if I had to grade this movie, I’d have to give it a C-.  It did have entertainment value as a fluff movie.  It was visually fantastic. But don’t have high expectations when you go to see it.

***ADDENDUM***

This is why I really need to start taking notebooks with me when I see movies…

I did love some of, what I believe is, the symbology in the movie.  The whole thing takes in the moment right before Baby Doll get that final lobotomizing tap from the doctor.  During the fight sequences, Snyder combines things that aren’t part of the same era.  In the first fight, he had a samurai using a rocket launcher and a machine gun.  I feel like the samurai represents tradition but the use of the machine gun bastardizes the culture itself, much in the same way that the institution is supposed to help people with their problems but turns out that a bad seed in the place makes the integrity level plummet.  There’s also phallic shaped dirigibles that get shot down. There’s a lot to read into for this movie which is why it isn’t a complete fail, but the script needs some work.

This is dedicated to the one I love…

The average length of time is for a “first” marriage is 7.8 years for men and 7.9 for women.  The average length for the “second” marriage is 7.3 for men and 6.8 for women.  The average length of time that a person waits to remarry is 3 years.  This information was available courtesy of Yahoo Answers.

Today, I am celebrating my 15 year anniversary.  Yeah, you read that right! 15 years.

There’s been tough times, and lawd knows there’s been tough times.  It’s a lot of compromise, and a lot of yelling.  Sometimes you have to be flexible and willing to listen and admit when you’re wrong.  For me, it’s pretty often that I don’t listen, but not so much when it comes to being wrong. Hahaha.   Although, with him in his high horse, it doesn’t really make a difference.  I’ve had to forgive a few big problems, but he’s had to forgive weekly tiny, tiny things.  Due, of course, to the whole not listening (but really it’s more not remembering) thing.

Even though there have been tough times, there have been SO many good times and things that I will always be grateful for.  I’ve never had someone cheer for me as much as he does.  I’ve also never had someone love  me and all my nuttiness so wholeheartedly.  I have to admit that it’s kinda nice.

Kidding.

There’s no better feeling.

We’ve never really felt that it was important to be “married.”  But seeing that this is such an important issue for couples who are in love and cannot get married that really want to, I feel it’s only right to state that Equal Rights need to be addressed.  I personally don’t care what it’s called as long as the EXACT same privileges are given to same sex couples as heterosexual couples.  But even what it’s called is a touchy subject.  People are griping about religion and all that hokey pokey stuff, but I have to ask if it’s not called marriage but the benefits are the same, is god gonna give a frack? Additionally, those benefits are government given not god given, so what about church keeping it’s beak out of business?

While I haven’t been a big supporter of the pres, because it’s basically been the same bullshit in the office that was happening before, I do have to say FINALLY, he’s doing something different.  I have to say good for you pres for no longer defending DOMA.

There’s nothing wrong with love.  Nothing.  Love who you want and love who you are.  One day people will be equal, and this shameful issue will be history.

You can find info at the following sites: Human Rights Campaign

What do you support?

Can’t believe I’m saying this…

After doing 6 shows this weekend, I am SO glad that Monday is right around the corner!

With the major bulk of the play performances now over, I am starting to feel both a little sad and a little relieved.  Sad because I know that a lot of the wonderful people that I am now surrounded with will move on to the next thing, as will I.  Relieved because I am just a wee bit tired.

Now that I have been talking more to the crew, I am kind of wishing for just a little longer of a run.  I always feel bad that I hardly ever get to learn about the crew people the way, I learn about the cast.  Since we only have a 3 person crew, it’s a little easier, but because we were so focused on getting the show right and tightening up the shifts, there wasn’t much time to chat.  As things come together,  I have really enjoyed truly meeting Hugo, Rodrigo, and Hilda.  Hilda was in the booth, while the boys worked the fly rail and move the sets.

At first, I was a little hesitant because they spoke in such rapid spanish with not only one another, but with other members of the cast, that I wouldn’t be able to keep up.  However, I’ve picked up some stuff from them as well as a whole lot of laughs that I am grateful for.  I still have to ask for A LOT of translation. Luckily, there are many people in the cast who take pity on me and help me out.

Muahahahahaha…

In light of yesterday’s post, I got a loverly comment from Anna, who owns my favorite comic book store: Illusive Comics.  She said, to paraphrase, “Why don’t you just change your mindset?”

So that, my dearies, is exactly what I did tonight.  I took the hour before the show to get into what I am gonna call the Pennywise motto…

Have you see the amazing TV movie “Stephen King’s IT“?  Yeah, the ending is a little on the weak side, but it’s still a great movie.  Definitely one of THE most evil characters ever portrayed on TV.  There is a part during the second half of the movie where the bully, Henry Bowers escapes from jail after seeing Pennywise in the moon.   The clown tells him to “Kill them all! Kill them all!”  In the quiet of my car, I ran that quote through my mind over and over and over.

Every word that I said tonight had that message behind it.  I even had a cockiness in the Juan Blas character that I never considered adding before.  I don’t know how it read on the stage, but man it felt good.  There was some evil chuckling added in there too.  At one point, I almost circled one of the actors, Jay Vera, as though I was looking for his weakness, but something said not to do it.

I relished instigating (thank you, Luis!) the death of Lupito  (Sam Valenzuela), taunting Ultima (Rosa Escalante).  I think that sort of evilness is what I needed to get back into things.

I’ve realized that the arcs that my characters of Andrew and Juan Blas, even though I tried to make them as physically different as possible, are almost identical.  They both have a scene that’s full of emotion one right after the other, so I can’t feel the difference in the scenes.

If you have never seen this movie, I HIGHLY recommend it.  Especially if you have a fear of clowns.  Muahahahah…

And remember, “They all float down here!”

Shame on me…

I am experiencing the strangest, um, cycle…no.  That isn’t the right word for it.  Sadly, I don’t have the proper way to say it concisely.  With that in mind…Lemme tell you a story.

So when I began working on this show, I was elated. I was joyous.  Over the moon, even.  During the six week rehearsal process, from staging to building the characters, from rehearsing in an echo-y room to finally getting to the theatre, from playing with my fellow actors to venting with them, I have seem to come to a point where I feel stagnant.  And I am absolutely ashamed to say it.

I don’t know what it is about this particular play, but right after Opening, I’ve just been feeling like I am in the middle of the road.  The preview shows were fun as was Opening Night. However, since then while I am energetic and enthusiastic off stage, I personally feel like what I am putting forth is stale.

But if I were truly in “the moment” how in the hell, could find myself in the situation I am in?  I don’t believe that I have ever played the same scene twice in a row.  I am sure that it’s for selfish reasons, because I think I’ve played the way I have to illicit different responses from my cast mates.

I actually felt bad when I walked out to thank the audience for seeing the show.  I hung out in the far back of the group, trying to not be seen.  I wish I didn’t even go out there, but Rosa herded everyone out into the lobby, so I got stuck in the group.  Even meeting Luis Valdez, the father of Chicano Theatre and author of Zoot Suit, was super cool, but I didn’t feel worthy of his compliment.  I ducked out of the lobby very shortly after that.  I was in my regular clothes and in my car before the rest of the cast even came back to the dressing rooms.

What makes you feel like you’ve stalled in the middle of your momentum?  How do you overcome this obstacle?  More importantly, once you figure it out, how do you prevent it from happening all over again?

Let me know what you find that works for you.

Cheers!

 

Double, double it up!

I think this may be a picture from the forthcoming movie version of "Bless Me, Ultima"

One of the things that I love about Teatro Vision is that they truly are a company that wants to give the youth a theatre experience.

Tomorrow marks the first of our two student matinees.  The other being on Friday.  I have worked with a couple of companies in the area, and this is the only one that I’ve had the privilege of doing this with.  I wish more of them did student matinees, or even opened up their final tech rehearsal to a couple of classrooms from neighboring schools.  I think it’s really important for this one though. Who better to raise questions in than the younger generation?  People who haven’t yet become set in their ways.  People who are still in the process of learning.

I find this particular play important because it challenges a lot things and because of these challenges, people have banned the book from school libraries and from teachers’ reading lists.  Often times, the people who are all high and mighty about doing this haven’t even read the book.  For example in Lafayette, AR, there’s a lady who claims that “Bless Me, Ultima” is one of the 50+ books that she, as the voice of Parents Protecting the Minds of Children, says promote homosexuality and casual sex and wants to have removed from school library shelves.  She  has readily admitted she has not read all of the books and found many of the excerpts on various Web sites. “I don’t have to read an entire book to decide if the book is pornographic to me,” she said during the organizational meeting of the parents group.

Now call me crazy, but I wonder if she realizes that she may have read something that was edited to sound objectionable.  As someone who has recently read this book, I think it’s utterly ridiculous to say that there is anything pornographic in nature written within it’s pages.  There is mention of  a place that is a brothel, but Rudolfo Anaya didn’t go into any detail about the deeds that happen there.

In 2005, a Colorado superintendent, based on a single complaint took the school’s copies and allowed the complainees to take them home and toss them in the trash.  The reason for the complaint: It had profane language in the book.  The class that was supposed to read it were 9th Graders, and I am pretty damn sure that they have said those same words on the school yard.  The only difference is the words on the pager are in spanish.

Not only has the book been banned for language and supposed sexual situations, but also because it talks about the old traditional ways of the Native people of America.  The right wingers take issue that the book doesn’t simply erase the part of the family where traditional Native practices are just as important and walking into a building and bowing down to two planks of wood attached together.  Why shouldn’t  people know that there were people in the 1940’s and 50’s that still practiced a religion that is older than Christianity and Catholicism? After all, those religions stole what it could make useful and demonized that which it couldn’t from the Pagans and other polytheistic cultures like the Greeks.   I mean why does the incarnation of God look exactly like Zeus?  But that’s not what this post is about.

The topic is that Teatro Vision tries very hard to give to the community.  The first Sunday of every production is a free performance so those that can’t afford tickets to a show can share this experience.  It actively invites students to come to the dress rehearsals by offering super steep discounts.  And of course the student matinees.  The student matinees are always awesome because when I was in school the only way I ever got to see plays were on field trips to the San Jose Center of Performing Arts.  Those trips are part of why I have this intense love of theatre.  I hope that somehow there’s someone in the audience tomorrow or Friday morning that has that same feeling.