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.



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.


Workin’ for a living…

just livin’ and a workin’.  I’m takin’ what their giving cause I’m workin’ for a living.”

When I do my checkbook, I get what I like to call the “Moneytime Blues.”  Unfortunately, it’s not a good tune.  It’s a slow lethargic melody that paints a picture of me dragging a giant canvas bag through a swamp or a bog. The bag is constantly getting snagged on the reeds as the mud sucks at the shoes on my feet and the dirty water stains the legs of my jeans.

I wish there was a way to figure out how to stop making the ends barely meet, but to actually attach the ends to one another.  I would love to be able to just focus on theatre and live.

There’s a feeling of responsibility though to make sure that there is always a roof over our head, so I work because of the stability.  What would really be amazing is to have a work from home style job that isn’t a gimmick.  Those never seem to be a real thing though.


No going back now!!!

I'm gonna do this!!!

When I was in 8th grade, the AIDS epidemic was still a major topic. Nearly 10 years that it had been announced as a major killer of so many people, schools began to talk about safe sex with their sex education lessons.  I don’t know how many schools had this, but I was lucky enough that mine did.  While I don’t actually recall the name of the program, I spent most of my 8th Grade year talking to other students about safer sex.  The program was saying that there was really no such thing as “safe” sex, because there’s always a risk.  I even got to go to a conference with other students.

The Aids LifeCycle is a 540+ mile bike ride that begins in San Francisco and ends in L.A.  It’s all done in 7 days.  It’s all along the coast, so the ride should be beautiful, provided the weather is good.  See for yourself what the route is like.

Now that I finally have a bike, I am so excited to finally do this.  I supposed I could have asked around to borrow a bike, but I know that I already am going to have to ask around for a tent.  So I just want to give you all a heads up that I will soon be hitting all of you up for donations for the ride.  BUT here’s the good news: It’s not until next year.  Next June, the coast will be MINE!!! Muahahahahaha!!!

I really wanted to do this year’s ride, but I was just 2 months too late.  Shucks.  It’d be nice to finally do more than to just give a few bucks here and there.

Just in case your wondering what it’ll be like, check out the documentary that was made a few years back about a group of riders in one of the past events.  You can find it on Netflix!

It’s raining, It’s pouring…

Sometimes, especially this week, I wonder if we as Californians are spoiled when it comes to the weather.

Here the sun is often shining, and usually the temperatures are pretty moderate.  Unless of course we are talking about summertime.  Jeez! It’s been super hot here the last two years.

Now that I am working in the nursery, I do pay a little more attention to the weather and the seasons.  It’s such an impact on the industry that it’s impossible to avoid.

I enjoy the cold with a happiness that most people in California, can’t seem to understand.  There’s something about it that makes me feel like I am fragile yet strong and part of the elements.

I love to walk in the rain, when I am prepared for it.  I don’t often use an umbrella, but I do need my ipod or something.  I also love to have gloves.  Other than that, I prefer to just feel what it’s like to have the drops land on my head.  To soak my hair.  To run down my face.  Sometimes the drops are stinging and freezing cold and other times like in the summer, in Nevada, they are heavy and warm.

So you may be asking, “Jery, why in the hell are you talking about walking in the rain?” The answer, dear friends, is simple.  While the rest of the country nearly froze back in January, we here in the Bay Area, enjoyed a gorgeous month.  So we had what seemed like a very, very brief winter.  February came and it was mild.  A little rain here, some warm breezy days there.  All in all, it was a nice month.

Then at work we had a presentation at work about rain harvesting.  It was a company called Bushman’s.  He continued to tell us about the seriousness of drought and what the people of Australia have had to deal with.  People are so strict about their water usage that there are even calls to the police!

It’s a pretty alarming scenario, especially when you realize how precious water is.  People are trying to privatize water in other countries and it’s angering! What right have these companies to deny water (which is frackin’ FREE) from villages of people?

Please watch FLOW: For the Love Of Water or This from the History Channel.  Please!  You will find it so hard to pay 3 bucks for “fresh” water that a company got for pennies from land that isn’t theirs. Did  you know that there is LESS regulation for bottle water companies than the company that filters your tap water?   There have been things like arsenic in bottled water, just to name one item.

Without all this rain to replenish at least some of the drinking water that we use to do things like water lawns or clean off the car, we, my friends, may be prone to similar actions of other drought stricken countries.

What will we do when all the fresh water has been depleted?  Will we have to resort to drinking recycled water, like other countries?  What happens when the water in the States becomes privatized?  What happens when the fighting begins for control of what’s left of the drinkable water?  Water will be the new oil.

Embrace the rain my fellow, Californians.  It’s helping to keep your gardens gorgeous, grow your sustainable foods, and water your lawn.  Consider harvesting rain water for future use in your garden.  Save the drinking water for consumption.