Walking Into 2015 With Nothing But Optimism…

Image from SunSigns.com
Image from SunSigns.com

So far everything that I have read for the Chinese Zodiac Dragon and for the astrological sign of Cancer have been about 85% positive! There are some things to heed during the later part of the year, but isn’t that always the case?

I am truly looking forward to the upcoming year, but you can’t look forward without looking back.

Thank you to the many, many people that helped to make 2014 so incredible.

First, thank you to the amazing cast and fellow staff for Jesus Christ Superstar!!  You were so wonderful to work for.  You thought me so much about myself and what I still need to learn.  You were fun and I loved watching you shine on stage.

Thank you to my WVLOMT family that always makes me feel welcome whether it is as a staff or cast member.

Thank you to Bill Starr.  You are such a great person to work with.  I adore you and thank you for all of your encouragement, advice, and friendship.  Thank you for the opportunity to bring your vision of Bobby Child to life.

Thank you to the cast and staff of Crazy for You! When I felt like it was too much for me, watching you all work so hard made me dig deeper because I didn’t want to let you down.  I hope to work with all of you again and again and again.

Thank you to Jen Maggio and Myra Diamond for allowing me to be a part of A Chorus Line even though I missed auditions. It was another fantastic experience working for both of you.

Thank you to the cast of A Chorus Line! You are such beautiful wonderful souls and I was very lucky to share the stage with you.  I am so glad no one actually got a case of the sexy ebola.

Thank you to James Kopp and the cast of Super Villain! I have never laughed so hard during the process of putting a show on its feet.  It was a joy to get to do another play.  I hope I get to do more.  Like James is always saying, “I ain’t in my 20’s anymore.”  To you young’uns like, Haley and Gaby, thank you for always pretending I am! hahahahahaha!!

Special Thank You’s to Aaron Weisberg, Kevin Brownstein, Valerie Valenzuela-Misra, Ronnie Misra, Judy Steinle, Mike Brothers, Andrea Furtado, Michelle Elrick, Ms. Rhona McFayden, David Lamcke, Amanda Vogel, Emily Goes, Gabby Au, Susanna Wagner, Elizabeth Lawrence, Nancy Kwong, Cameron Kwong, Riley Kwong, Emily Pye  Christine Ormseth, Amy Root, Samantha Carson, and Tammy Mackenzie.  You have all offered help and support throughout the year and it meant the world to me.  There’s no particular order, so don’t read into it. LOL!

Most importantly, Thank you to my munster and my BFF’s (the T.P.B. and J.S.)  for never making me feel worse that I never had time to hang out.  You are the other half of my life that keeps me going.  So much of my heart belongs to you all for keeping me sane and grounded and well rounded. Without you fabulous people, I would be lost. I love you.

So 2015, bring on Life! I have my arms open ready to hug the hell out of you.  I am excited for what’s to come.  I don’t make resolutions.  I feel like when I need to change something about myself, I don’t need to wait til the beginning of a new year.  I just want to continue carrying on like I have the past three years.  Theatre and friends! That is all I need.

May you all have SAFE and fun and wonderful New Year celebrations.

For the world, I shall still wish for peace and coexistence. It is the same wish every year. I will still hope that mankind will finally open its eyes and hearts to one another.

I wish you everything you want in 2015.

Now let’s go get it!

Image courtesy of Sunsigns.com
Image courtesy of Sunsigns.com

There I sat in rapt attention…

Before I say anything, I have to give a gigantic THANK YOU to my boss, Ms. Amy Root!!! If it wasn’t for her radicalness, I would have not been able to catch the whole evening whilst looking shockingly presentable.  There’s pictures of me floating around somewhere.  🙂

Friday night,  Teatro Vision held a little fundraiser to help cover the cost of sending two Teatro Vision representatives to the National Theater Communications Group Conference.  Typically, this conference is held in the East Coast, but this year, it’s happening in the City of Angeles.  The TCG is focused on how to keep the Arts alive and changing with the times.  On their site, they say that the theme of the conference is “What if…” I think it’s a brilliant theme and I loved some of the questions they posed on the page.  You should check it out!

How could I not want to help a local company, that has given me so many opportunities, travel to something this important?  With this in mind, I accepted the invitation to the get together and was granted permission by Elisa to take photographs of the night.  Since I didn’t want to distract the performers, I didn’t use the flash, so there is a kind of 70’s looking graininess to them that I kind of like.  But I really did want some clear shots especially for the dancers.
The night’s hosts Rodrigo and Elisa made everyone feel welcome and thanked the crowd many times over.  Rodrigo was the emcee and he was incredibly charming behind the mic.  He spoke of the hope that this event may be something that Teatro will host every few months to have a chance to reconnect with each other.  It was a small gathering, but he said we were all familia.  That’s one of the great things about Teatro Vision that keeps me wanting to go back again and again.
First up to perform was Cristal Gonzalez.  She performed a monologue titled Hero & Saints.  This multi-character scene began with an Erin Brockovich type reporter bringing to light the toxic water supply in a California city and the citizens struggle with governmental assistance.  The reporter shifts into a gossipy neighbor, then into a mother and grandmother of a child dying from the water.  It was a lovely piece that makes me want to know the rest of the story.
Next up was Sarita Ocon.
Sarita performed an original piece called “Compromise.”  This performance was also uses a monologue from the play “References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot.”  While speaking with her, I found out that it’s an exaggeration on an experience that happened to her at an audition once.  She slates as one would at any audition, then begins to launch into her monologue.  She is repeatedly interrupted by the director who is constantly trying to make her more feminine or more “Latina” I cannot explain how fascinating this was to watch.  I just knew that I was watching someone incredibly special.  I mean, I have NEVER paid so much attention to how someone rolls up their sleeves.  I was completely enthralled and did not ever want it to end.  Her transformations were marvelous.  You could see, after she was “directed,” she took time to change her attack and she showed you without a word and without making it a long drawn out thing.
Not only was her performance mesmerizing, but her story was so full and complete that it wasn’t until after I got home that I realized the song that lead into her piece was a perfect choice.  I don’t know if she requested to be brought onto the stage to the tune of “I’m Your Puppet” by James and Bobby Purify, but it fit with the idea that she had to do the things that the director wanted.
By the time she was done, she was the complete opposite than what she started and was so much more intense that when she left the stage, the room exploded with applause.  Truly an amazing and gifted artist, and I would LOVE to work with her.
The next performer was a shock to me for two reasons. The first was that this is a Latino function and there’s so much machismo in this culture that I didn’t expect it.  The second was the audience reaction.  I feel bad because I couldn’t quite catch the name, but we were treated to a fun three song set of a drag performance.
Her heels must have been at least 3.5 inches so I don’t know how she did all that she did in them.  Props to her for that alone!!  She worked the crowd and they loved it.  I wish I could tell you the songs she used, but they were in spanish and I was just lost.  So I focused on the beat and the dancing.  She was all kindsa sassy!  So fun though.
Closing out the show would be my first folklorico dances since I truly began to appreciate dance.  My friend the beautiful Anees Guillen and her dance partner Alex Morales delighted the crowd with a three song set as well.  It was stunning.  I couldn’t help but to be drawn to the way she would work that dress!! It just moved to well.  They had asked me to make these little calls or yelps to cheer them on, so when I tried it, I felt like I wasn’t doing it right.  I didn’t do them very loud, but I tried.  
While it was the end of the performances, the night was still young, so I hung around and danced my first line dance! When I told Perry and one of my other friends this, their reaction was the same: Me: I danced my first line dance.  Them: Ugh!  Me: It was to Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy-Breaky Heart.  Them: UUgh!  Me: In Spanish.  Them:  UUUGH!!
But it was super fun.  I got a little sweaty thanks to the tunes of our playlist iDJ, Hugo, who was also very active in getting everyone into the line.  I think in all there were four songs that had a line dance type of movement to them.
In the MACLA gallery, I was greeted by the works of Elizabeth Gomez.  She works with mixed media to create images of nature/animals that are adapting to human habitats mixed with religious iconography.  One of my favorites called “Crow”  is a large beautiful piece of blues with little faux flowers that looked to be painted to match the canvas settings.  It’s a charming and lovely piece that would look perfect in my blues filled living room.
One of her other pieces was of a mountain lion that had been shot by Animal Control, I believe it was.  I don’t know if you remember the mountain lion that was found in the backyard of a Redwood City home and was shot rather than captured and released that happened a while back.  Thanks to, for lack of a properly respectful term, Ms. Gomez’s love of nature, her sorrow for this pointless killing inspired her to create a stuffed toy replica of the lion and underneath is scarlet red fabric. There are three deep indentations with that same scarlet fabric sewn into them with ribbons of it flowing out the “wounds.”  I am sure that my likemindedness regarding nature and destroying other creatures homes for humanity’s benefit allowed me to connect with this image and made me feel what I guess is the same sorrow that she felt.  The hanging flowers over the body offer a touching element representing that love of nature.   I was so caught up in looking at the lion and the other works that Ms. Gomez created that I didn’t even realize the doors opened and people were filing in.
All in all, it was a wonderful night! I got to hang out with my buddies Hugo,  Rodrigo, Anees,  and Elisa.  I got to meet some cool new people like Alex and Sarita.  And I was blessed with inspiration.  What more could I hope for?