🎼Say What You Wanna Say, And Let The Words Fall Out, Honestly, I Wanna See You Be Brave…🎶

Hello Gentle Reader!

It has been a great few weeks.

I am having a period of time that I am not fully accustomed to and instead of analyzing it, I am just trying to accept and grow with it.

You know how there are things that you know you can do, but you haven’t had a chance to show people? It feels like I can relax my shoulders more and take bigger breaths for the moment.

For those that haven’t seen the Instagram post, I have been given the opportunity to bring to life the character of John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s classic The Crucible! A dramatic role has been offered to moi? For the last decade and a half I have wanted to have a shot at something serious or even something dark. Aside from the Leading Player in Pippin, I have never had the chance to play with darker moments of shows. Weeelllll, I guess West Side Story… twice… So after I worked for Pear Theatre in their anthology of original works last year, I had a bigger yearning to do something serious because it felt so good to play these characters that felt mature and more solidly grounded (one was an absent father, another was a hurricane survivor trying to rebuild their home with his wife) than what I usually play.

I almost, ALMOST, let my own doubts and fear get to me and keep me from attending the callbacks or round 2 of auditions, for those that aren’t familiar. Not even doubts about my ability to do any of the roles in this play, but doubts about whether it would be a traditionally cast production. The play is about a small town of Puritans in the 1690’s during the Witch Trials near Salem, Massachusetts, so I was debating if it was just going to be a waste of time to go.

I changed my work schedule specifically for this reason so even though one of my doubts was that I would never make it on time to rehearsals, I already had planned for this. Then, I thought about the time that I was offered a really cool role of a Devil by a casting director of a show but had the director say that they were going to split the role into 3 parts and I would play the aspect that was more energetic and movement based. That brought up some bad vibes for a bit but then I thought about how I stood up for myself and agreed that the contract I signed would be broken and I wanted a new one. Since they wouldn’t give me a new contract, they just paid me for the role and released me from the contract as if completed. It was fine by me. I was a little mad at first, but I was paid in full and “won” the “argument.” I didn’t expect to get a check in the mail. LOL. But that was a very important lesson to learn.

But, Dear Reader, I went and did the thing!

And even though I wondered if I made the right choices or strong enough choices to embody the script once I was released from the room, I felt great that I just powered through that fear. I know that I had said a few lines wrong and I think it may have thrown off the actors I was working with. The intent was the same but the wrong cue line is kind of a bummer. So I did feel bad about that. Man, can you imagine? I said “You shall not speak of my wife!” instead of “You shall not speak of Elizabeth!” and the surprise made the other actor not get the part? Oh, I would feel so bad! I hope that didn’t happen.

So, yeah, the thing was done.

The other thing is that I have been working with a vocal coach sporadically. We have a bit of trouble syncing our schedules, but there is a comfortability and a trust that I have with them that makes the sessions feel like all these little light bulbs of knowledge are lighting up. Recently, some shows were announced that I thought, “YES! I want to be a part of that!” So I found an audition song that I think would be fantastic for one of them. My coach usually stops our warm ups at about an A but this song’s ending has a great phrase of just hopping from E to G’s and then popping up higher for the ending. He says “Ok, let’s give this a go” after we worked through any sort of rhythmic or diction issues. So I sing it like I will be singing it at auditions and he just stares at me for a few seconds.

“Where the hell have you been hiding that B? At full voice?!”

He was excited about how easy the E-G phrase was to do and then to blast out that ending made him wide eyed. 😂

He said he is looking forward to the next session because of this new information and we have yet to really dig in to falsetto, so I don’t know how much higher I can actually go.

Kind Reader, I have always been hesitant to say I can sing. I know what I can do, but I feel like my sound is more like a sing in the shower kind of sound. Since I started these sessions, I do feel like I have grown as a vocalist. I still hesitate to say, I’m a singer so I will just say, give me a bucket and I can carry a tune. 😂

With all of this new input and outcomes, I am a little mad at myself for being afraid or for choosing self sabotage (because let’s face it, I did choose it) when I know that these are things that I can do. I started to spiral out thinking about all the chances not taken and what my projects would have looked like and would I have been more confident because of it. However, on the other side of the coin, many of the projects that I did work on are like little treasures to me. Maybe this was the lesson I was supposed to learn?

I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Well, Gentle Reader, I cannot say thank you enough for letting me bend your ear once again. I have already been considering trying a new tactic for helping me associate how I feel about the different characters, but first I have to see if I can match up all of them, then I will let you know how it goes.

Until next time, stay safe and alert and be kind to yourself and those around you.

❤️

🎼I Hope You’re Happy, But Don’t Be Happier … 🎶

Hello Gentle Reader!

This past Sunday was the annual broadcast of the Oscar Awards. Celebrities dressed in their fancy clothes and strutted across a red carpet and were pampered and adored by the press and fans worldwide.

Did you watch them? I watched them and found them to be much more interesting and surprising than years’ past. I was entertained by most of the performances and Jimmy Kimmel’s bits. There were a couple of moments I used the fast forward feature on the DVR. 😄

Something has come out of this year’s award show that is sad and frankly, in my opinion, childish. Creating yet another tarnish on this night that is supposed to be a celebration. 💔

What happened to the days of “It is an honor just being nominated” and putting on a fake smile or genuine I am not judging (because let’s face it, most people don’t get into acting for the awards, those are just a bonus).

There is a a whole bunch of people having temper tantrums because Jamie Lee Curtis took home the trophy instead of Angela Bassett or Stephanie Hsu. 😔

Don’t mistake me, I LOVE and ADORE Angela Bassett as much as I do JLC. I enjoyed both of them in their respective roles and throughout their amazing careers. I also really enjoyed Stephanie Hsu in her role.

I completely understand Ms. Bassett’s reaction at not winning the trophy. Personally, I think she should have won for “What’s Love Got To Do With It” but Holly Hunter took the trophy that year for “The Piano.” It is a little disappointing to lose awards especially when you feel like you put everything into your role.

The thing about these awards is that to get nominated is a big deal. It is an endorsement of the work that was done. Dear Reader, I can feel you thinking “Duh! We all know that,” but being a nominee also means that each of these people are deserving of the award. Just because the person that takes the award wasn’t someone that everyone was expecting or hoping for, doesn’t mean we should try and discredit the win.

Some people cry that JLC didn’t have as much screen time as Stephanie Hsu, so that would make her less worthy. Anne Hathaway won her Best Supporting for Les Miserables and she was only in the movie for 15 minutes. 15 MINUTES!

It isn’t about the amount of time the person is on the screen. What is more important to consider is how important the character is to the plot.

There are others that are saying because Angela Bassett had to also battle through the grief of Chadwick Boseman’s death while filming. It is heartbreaking to think about and moving and they do a remarkable job paying tribute to him, but what if he hadn’t died and the script was still the same? Would this make her performance less worthy? Hell no, because this is Angela friggin Bassett! However, this also does not mean that she is the shoe in for the award.

If you look at the entirety of the season, all the awards have been scattered among the people showing how great all of these performances were. Not only were the performances great, but they were so varied as well.

The BAFTA went to Kerry Condon for “Banshees of Inisherin”

The Golden Globe went to Angela Bassett for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

The SAG went to Jamie Lee Curtis for “Everything, Everywhere All At Once”

The Critic’s Choice went to Angela Bassett for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

The only sure bet, I feel, was Ke Huy Quan for “Everything Everywhere All At Once” which YAY!!! So happy for him. 💓

Can we please put to bed the terrible hashtag that Angela Bassett was robbed? Did she win, no. Did she deserve to win? Yes. BUT so did Jamie Lee Curtis. That is why they were nominated!

Regardless of what happens to their careers in the future, one thing I know is that I will still happily watch their work because I think they are so talented. 👏👏👏

With that, Dear Reader, I shall step off of my soap box now. Thank you for letting me bend your ear. What are your thoughts on this whole issue?

Thank you for reading this rant. Until next time, I will have some news about a new project that I can’t announce the cast for yet… Stay safe and alert and be kind to yourself and those around you.

❤️

🎼 Baa Baa Black Sheep, Have You Any Wool?…🎶

Gentle Reader, 

While scrolling through my Instagram feed, I came across a post that made me catch my breath in the most unexpected way. It was just a simple video of a man in the woods talking about his favorite description of the “black sheep and family.” 

It is as follows:

“The so-called Black Sheep in the family are, in fact, seekers of liberation roads for the family tree.

Those members of the tree who do not adapt to the rules or traditions of the family system, those who are constantly seeking to revolutionize beliefs going in contrast to the roads marked by family traditions, those criticized, tried, and even rejected.

They are called to release the tree of repetitive stories that frustrate entire generations. 

The Black Sheep, those who do not adapt, those who scream, rebel, repair, and detoxify, create a new and blooming branch. 

Countless unfulfilled desires, unfulfilled dreams and frustrated talents of our ancestors manifest themselves in the Black Sheep’s rebellion looking to take place.

The family tree by inertia will want to continue to maintain the castrating and toxic course of its trunk which makes the Black Sheep’s task difficult and conflicting. 

Let no one make you doubt, take care of your rarity as the most precious flower of your tree. 

You are the dream of all of your ancestors. “

  • Bert Hellinger

I have never heard the idea put so beautifully. It is hopeful and profound. It brings me to tears.  I don’t know how many of you are fellow Black Sheep but if you are, let me know in the comments and welcome.  I send you hugs!

I am not writing this to be critical of my family.  I do love them, of course. However, as I am going through this journey, I find that some of the things that pop up and that resonate with me are because of negative things that happened in the past. But, we all know that childhood setbacks (personally, I feel like traumas are for something more terrible that what I went through so I will just say setbacks) have long and far reaching effects.

Kind Reader, I am certain that a lot, if not all, of my hangups and self doubts are from being the Black Sheep. I used to think that I had to dissect and analyze these feelings because that was the only way I  was going to be able to make peace with them. Yet, if I were to look at this through the lens of this new description of a Black Sheep, I can see it all from a new perspective. One view of empathy and celebration as opposed to hurt and self-criticism; as if there was something wrong or bad that I am doing/had done. All the things that created these doubts exist because they were trying to protect what they thought was the prime directive.  However, we know that change is constant and, at least by this description, that is what the Black Sheep forces traditions to face. 

I don’t want to start spinning my own wool, but that is so on brand for me. 😂 I don’t care much for traditions. If it is something goofy or fun, like Friendsgiving, sure count me in. The only good traditions are the ones that don’t take themselves too seriously in my opinion. Also, did you catch that yarn reference? HA!  I’m a dork and will fully admit it. 

I have always felt that I was the Black Sheep in my family, Dear Reader.  Even to this day, while things are much better between myself and my family, I still feel like I am on the outside looking in. Oddly, sometimes it is by choice… and self preservation.

I am the middle child. As such, it is easy to get lost in the shuffle. I cannot recall any childhood achievement ever acknowledged; straight A report cards, school plays, perfect attendance awards, class treasurer and so on. Even my birthday is in the middle of my eldest sister and younger brother. Within 9 days, there are 3 birthdays. It was always celebrated as a group. Never distinctly any one of ours as it was more cost effective to do it this way. I think this is why I don’t really celebrate it now. As recently as few years ago, like 2-3 maybe, I got a text asking “Hey, Are you coming over?”  I said that I was already doing something else and I asked why. My sister said, “Oh we are having a birthday party for you guys and we have a cake for you.” No one had ever mentioned at any time previous that there was a plan of a party. 😳😂

In my family, we have that “if we don’t like you, we wouldn’t pick on you” kind of thing. However, there are times when it can go too far, even though we are all laughing like hyenas. We are pretty ruthless. Another attribute that I have, that others in my family don’t, is that I tan so dark in the sun that I look like I am from a different nationality as well as a different family.  🤭 You can imagine the jokes.

Then there’s the whole thing about being gay. Oh, and I am the only one of my siblings that was “asked” to move out.  I am not going to say that the 2 are related, but I will say the proximity between them is quite coincidental…

I love and pursue all creative endeavors. I have always been told that I wasn’t any good at any of them. Out of the nearly 70 shows that I have done, I can count on one hand how many times my family has come to offer support. I don’t say this to complain, I just know that what I love to do isn’t something they enjoy. It’s a bummer, but I get it.

I think because of all this, I always had my own things going on.  I have always been curious about everything, with a focus being anything that would be deemed creative or crafty. I am a maker. I want to know everything that is expressible. I want be everything and nothing at the same time. I need to know why people react. I want to physically hold my chakras. I have to feel all of the feelings that humanity can ever feel. I want to live other lives. I want to travel to other star systems. I want to find Atlantis. I want to go whale watching and see Moby Dick. I want to see a nucleus from the inside. I want to have deep heart felt conversations with the new moon. I want to know what it is like to be beautiful. I want to jump into a black hole. I want to swim through an aurora borealis. I want to walk across Antarctica before it thaws. The closest thing that comes to all of this for me is Theatre and what playwrights bring to a page.

I don’t know anyone else in my living family, even the recently deceased, that have this need to go through this avenue of life or have dealt with these wants. So far, I think my cobbled together life represents this well, but I want more of it. So much more of it. I have also noticed that being the Black Sheep is not for the faint of heart. It can be lonely, sad or even build resentment, but we are fighters and survivors and must decide for ourselves how we let this define us. With this new outlook, I choose to celebrate it. I choose to blossom and bloom and perfume the room with love.

With that, Gentle Reader, I feel like a massive boulder has been slid out of the way so that I can see the road ahead more clearly.  Thank you for letting me bend your ear. Especially today. This was a long post. Thanks for sticking through it.

Stay safe and alert.  Take care of yourself and those you care about. 

Until next time…

❤️

🎼You Gotta Get It Right While You Got The Time, Cuz When You Close Your Heart, Then You Close Your Mind…🎶

Hello Gentle Reader!

This a post that isn’t as fully formed as I was hoping as I rushed to get my thoughts in place. The post that was supposed to be uploaded had references to the Golden Globes and with the passing of Lisa Marie Presley, I felt like it wasn’t the right time to post it.💔

I am currently in rehearsal for a staged reading of a new play called La Lechuza or The Owl Witch. It is a really neat opportunity to see a play evolve and morph into a more matured version of itself. I am loving the conversation we are having during our time together.

In a previous post, I had expressed a want to figure out myself to try and find that elusive self love that we are always hearing about. One of the biggest blank spaces I have in regards to my sense of self is culture 🇲🇽 and what it means for me and how I can embrace it and be more comfortable in my milk chocolatey colored outer candy shell.

Last spring/summer, while I was involved with The Pear Theatre’s Pear Slices performances, I had a back and forth email conversation with one of the playwrights, Linda Amayo-Hassan who is writing my current project.

Growing up, I had always known where I should be. The silly tests like “what job would you be suited for” and the like all said the same thing and it was what I had already known. Entertainment. Yet, when I think back at all the shows that I watched, I didn’t see people like me in the roles that weren’t thugs or criminals of some kind, if they were in the show or movie at all. There were a handful of Latinx people on TV, but those were in dramas and I wasn’t keen on those as a kid. I stopped associating with anything that was culturally focused. I thought that I would be looked at as lesser than by theatre directors if I was more proud of it. 

In my neighborhood and in schools I attended, so many of the mocha colored kids, like myself, were a part of gangs or misbehaving in some other way. Of course, that just isn’t my personality, Dear Reader. Eventually, I just made it through life believing that culture and race didn’t matter, that you just had to be a good person. 

In an old job at Nordstrom, I used to work with this amazing lady name Mebrat. She was from Eritrea, a small country in Northern Africa. I swear that every day, as she watched people coming or going, she would say at least once “I wonder where s/he is from?” Finally, after weeks of this, I asked her why is that so important? Isn’t it more important that the person is kind and compassionate? I didn’t yell this or anything, mind you, Kind Reader, I respected her so much and we had some of my favorite conversations. I was truly curious because that was how my perspective was focused. She told me that she wanted to know what similarities were shared, what did they enjoy about their lives, did they emigrate here, were they second or third or more generation “American.” She was a lot like me, full of curiosity. Where we differed was that she was curious about people and I was curious about things and creating things. Her questions were “who are they?” and mine were “how did they do that?” While she did teach me to be curious about people, it wasn’t to the point that I needed to know where they were from and how that informed their view of the world. 🌍

It wasn’t until as recently as 3 or 4 years when I began to appreciate more movies from other cultures that shared their traditions and joys, and of course the terrible racist events around the country, that are still happening TO THIS DAY, that I began to want to know more about my own. And it sort of showed me a hole that had been falsely covered like some sort of hunting trap that one falls in because they weren’t looking where they were going.

Ms. Amayo-Hassan’s piece in the Pear Slices was about a Puerto Rican family who had lost their home on the island due to Hurricane Katrina, and the lack of help that followed. It was a beautiful piece because even while surrounded by this profound amount of death and loss, the parents still had hope and still were able to make one another smile. In it, the father questions if the government would have stepped in faster if this happened on the mainland. While Puerto Ricans are considered U.S. citizens, this government dragged their feet getting any sort of assistance to the island to help rescue and rebuild. So he wondered if they are really citizens and asks why would they let “their people”suffer? Why would the government not help as it should? While I worked on this short play, I was finding all of these little questions in his motivations, his reactions and his silence. When I first started the play, I took it rather fairly straightforward with the upbeat parts being upbeat and the serious parts being more reserved. Then, as we got to walk through the piece more and more, I was finding things that felt like little betrayals, or small prayers for the dead, or at one point just fury.

Gentle Reader, I slowly began to realize that I had more in common with this character than I thought. I noticed that I was really hitting on some inner hurts that I had inflicted on myself thinking I was merely “American.” Finding all these gems of pain and sadness and betrayal even that Ricardo, the father character, felt helped to fill that hole I was feeling a little. 

This new play, La Lechuza, is helping me learn a little more about the culture from my cast mates and I am doing my best to absorb everything that they are saying. It is also helping my pronunciation of the language. I would say this is a pretty good start on the self discovery path. This project is a staged reading for More Más Marami Arts in March, I believe. I will keep you posted as details get finalized.

Well, I hope this wasn’t too much of a jumbled mess of a post. As I mentioned before, it was a bit of a rush job to get this idea mostly formulated. I didn’t know how it was going to go because I know I had to give you a lot of backstory to get to the point. I just hope I got to it. 😂

Thank you, Dear Reader, for joining along in my rambles as I try to figure out my messy brain and all around self so that I can be my best when I step on to the stage. I always appreciate the chance to bend your ear. 

Until next time, stay safe and alert. Be kind and take care of yourself and those you care about. 

❤️

🎼 And I Wish You Joy and Happiness, But Above All This, I Wish You Love… 🎶

Hello Gentle Reader!

Happy New Year! We are one week into 2023 and I am hoping you are all doing things that you enjoy. I have been working from home this week, so I have had the chance to catch some shows while answering emails. I have been watching a lot of the charming show, We’re Here and getting such a kick out of watching Hot Ones. And I have been loving them enough to watch more than one episode at a time. I don’t normally binge anything because I get antsy and NEED to do something or grab a yarn project to work on to pull my attention away cuz I get bored. It is crazy. With so much stuff to watch and enjoy, I get bored. I don’t think I know any other actors who say they are bored with an outlet of their craft. I should shut up before I get in trouble. 🤭 I really think it is an attention thing, but that is just a guess.

But, back to the topic at hand. Whenever I work on building a character and look to find my motivations I always try to base every decision from the perspective of love. I do this because I honestly, personally, believe in life, there is nothing worth fighting for more than love. It doesn’t have to be physical love; it could be anything.

I know I have mentioned this before in a past post. I just can’t remember how far back or how often (I try not to be too repetitive, let me know if I am, ok?)

I love my life. With all its hardships and challenges and chaos, it is pretty good. The problem that I am struggling with, Kind Reader, is that I can’t look in the mirror and say that I love myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I have accepted myself in all my flawed glory, from the dried skin on the heel of my left foot to my bum knee to my slightly lazy right eye to the annoying frizzy greying hair on my head to my tendency to obsessively worry about thing to my battles with memory. I don’t mind these things about myself, but I do wish that I didn’t have the worry and memory issues. So I continue my journey on figuring out the best way to get better at adapting to them.

Please don’t think this is a New Year’s resolution post. I don’t believe in them and hold them in the same low regard as Thanksgiving. I know that people often say ‘it a time for giving thanks for what you have and your friends and family.’ Shut up. Just stop it with that nonsense. If you aren’t grateful every single day of the year for what you have and the amazing people in your life, you need to rethink that life right now, Resolutions are the same, why do you need to wait until the start of a new year to put all of this pressure on your shoulders? ‘But it is a clean slate… blah blah blah’ If you really want to do it, why wait? You have the motivation now, why wait until January 1, every day is a clean slate as is the beginning of every week, month and heck hour if you really wanna get into it. Not to judge anyone’s decisions, but those ideas that society holds up is so limiting and should be thrown out like trash. But I digress…

One of the things that I did happen to watch was the Lizzo concert for her latest album “Special.” I had the biggest smile on my face the whole time and was in the best mood after. As a fan of her music, I was just happy to be hearing the music, but to watch her and see the joy she has sharing her creations with the audience was a bonus. Not only that, there were a couple of times where you can see that moment where she is still grateful for these moments. Her music is filled with positivity and encouragement to love yourself and sometimes a it can be a little therapeutic. 😂 The inclusivity she brings to the table is a breath of fresh air and her audacious notion that being in love with yourself is the best kind of love because then your are unstoppable. This idea is beautiful. I love it. I am fascinated by it. I am intrigued by it. I want to know if she is right.

So I am going to use my curiosity and try and find the answer. I will keep you posted on what I find. Who know? Maybe I will even end up actually loving myself and to quote the singer “it’s about damn time!”

Thank you, Dear Reader, for continuing to follow along on this journey with me. I always appreciate the chance to bend your ear.

Until next time, stay safe and alert. Be kind and take care of yourself and those you care about.

❤️