Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

 

Brushes and Bars

This is a view from one of the windows in the Gilroy Arts Alliance.  Wonderful little place and home to the fabulous Limelight Actor’s Theater.

Dear Gentle Reader,

I have been trying to write this post for the last week and couldn’t quite figure out how to say what I want to in the shortest way.  So “Delete” has been my BFF for a while now.  😄 In a way, I felt a prisoner to my desire to live in the world of theatre as much as possible. I spent hours upon hours in commutes up and down the Bay Area from San Francisco to Hollister and many places in between.

At the beginning of the year, I was tapped to do the “Tango Tragique” for She Loves Me at Foothill Music Theatre, which opened in February.  I ain’t never done a tango before.  Not only that, my partner and I had to build this S & M-esque relationship with each other and the music for the number to be seen in the right way.  Luckily, I had a wonderful partner and choreographer to show me all of the movement, but creating that relationship was a little more challenging because the two of us dancing this number were big ol’ goofballs. There was so much giggling or “oh, shit! Sorry”s cuz one of us would do something that wasn’t quite right. It was way fun, but too short. LOL! Of course it didn’t hurt that the show has some great numbers brought to life by a fabulous cast.

In March, I opened The Subject Is Love, and I wrote all about that here, so if you’d like to read more about that one, just click the link. I will say that I loved that little show and thought we could have easily went on to do another 2 weekends.

In April, I was asked to jump into a role for the western regional premier of The Boy From Oz as Chris Allen.  He was the other half of The Allen Brothers with Peter Allen.  I had to destroy an Australian accent.  Wait, I had to use an accent.  Destroy is just what ended up happening to it.  HA! It was an interesting experience? There were some good things but many things that didn’t go as planned. The first was being added to many numbers that I wasn’t originally supposed to do. Not that I minded, but I had to add those things on top of the stuff I was supposed to learn.  I had 5, (5!) rehearsals to get everything down, and never actually got to run the entire show until preview, which started 2 hours late because that theatre was friggin’ haunted.  That’s my story and I am stickin’ to it. There were a LOT of unfortunate mishaps during the run of the production, but the cast was always solid.  I will say that the one thing I learned from the experience was to look into the company.  See what the reputation is before jumping in.  It is a lesson I wish I had learned sooner, but had that been the case, I would not be friends with some truly amazing performers.

May brought the opening of Cahoots!  I know, I know.  WTF is Cahoots? Trust, kids, I said the same thing. It is the story of a dinner party gone wrong.  For the first time, I got to play someone that wasn’t cheery or upbeat. My character (Al) was on a mission at trying to get people to buy into what some would call a paranoid mindset because his brother was murdered nearly a year ago.  Al has this huge monologue addressing this perceived threat and baits the others into a debate that ends badly for poor Al.  I loved the audience’s response to Al.  They wanted to hate him, but couldn’t completely because they understood that under this need was still unresolved sorrow and his desperation stems from the belief that no one is taking him seriously. In an unexpected turn, the company’s season ticket holders voted Al Best Supporting Character.  So (according to one theatre goer) “this charming A-hole” was totally worth playing. Bonus points: no accent.  😂

So, this brings us to good old June!  The beginning of Summer, my least favorite season.  I am sure that I mentioned somewhere that the Sun and I have a hate/hate relationship. But… let’s talk about that some other time.

June… I open as Max in Lend Me A Tenor! This was the craziest part of the whole ride.  Not only was it a wonderful feeling to be a part of a fundraiser for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, but it was incredibly challenging.  I mean incredibly. Now bear in mind: this is just my ego talking here.  Every show an actor goes into requires preparation. Who is this person you are portraying? Why are they doing that (pretty much every action they do in the show)? What is underneath that reason? As the rehearsals progressed, I found myself becoming frustrated.  I felt like my prep was pointless as I kept hearing “don’t do that” or “say it like this” more than I thought was possible. Now, this was just because the directors had a very clear idea of what they wanted and I was off the mark. I try to be as trusting as possible with all the people I work on a project with, because A. you are all striving to create the best thing; and B. no one likes creating in an uncomfortable environment. Besides, it is always the right thing to do.  After the third or fourth week though, I had to simply stop saying, “sure, no problem” or “sounds good” so that I can ask “why.”  It wasn’t just that I needed clarification of why I wasn’t allowed to do something, but so I had a chance to explain why I was and if my motivation wasn’t clear then maybe I would be offered suggestions.  Everyone does something for a reason, now let me explain why I think Max would do this motion.  Now, every person has a different interpretation of a role based on their life.  My Max wasn’t going to be the same as anyone else’s and I kept feeling like I was being allowed less and less to be my Max.  By opening night, I just wanted to complete my job then go straight home. While I had time to sort through all of the events leading up to that night, I realized that I was failing to do my best for these wonderful people with whom I get to share the stage.  So the next performance, I said “fuck it all” and let go of all the personal feelings I was having and just focus on playing with the cast.  I did what I was asked to do. That’s when the show began to solidify for me. I was disappointed in myself that it took so long for me to be able to understand this.  No show was ever the same exactly.  New small things were tried every night, mostly in the line delivery. Not only was the cast a heaping ton of fun on stage but they were just as awesome backstage too.  The overall experience was great as usual, but it was still a challenge.  And of course, one only grows by such challenges. Behind the scenes, the producers were spectacular. By the way, Italian accent needed and it was ok.  Not great, but ok.  And I was ok with that.  Because Max wasn’t Italian, just pretending to be.

Having thrown myself into so many productions that were constantly overlapping, I found it exhilarating. Now that things have calmed back down, I feel that the realization of being able to juggle this number of projects has opened me up to new ideas about myself.  I will have to think on them a bit more before I can fully write about them.

In the mean time, I still have one more show to complete before the year is out:  ASSASSINS.

Have you ever pushed yourself further than you thought you could?  Was it something you loved?  What did you find out? Maybe you can help me put into words what I am feeling.

Until next time, dear reader, I hope you continue to find things that you enjoy and do them with love.  I promise I won’t forget to write much sooner next time.

 

That’s right.  From my weekend, not for.  From.

Thanks to some wonderful incredible and generous people at work, I was able to get a  couple of days off to attend a seminar called “Acting Success Now.”

The hosts, Michelle and Bobby Colt, have been giving this workshop for the last 7 years and this weekend’s was the very first in San Francisco.   They do plan on coming again just before Thanksgiving. It’s’ so weird to say this, but it wasn’t at all what I expected, but at the same time it was.  Lemme break that down, cuz it’s a little whack.

I was thinking it was going to be like an “acting class” where you work with partners and move around and “perform” little skits in order to practice a lesson or exercise.  It was actually the opposite.  It was more of a lecture and the exercises were mostly individual and internal in our seats.  A lot of what is worked on is our personal relationships with emotions and beliefs and such, there’s a list below.   So sitting for 7 hours for 3 days in a darkish room with no natural light was quite the chore.  Not only that, the chairs got uncomfortable after a while (which is probably the purpose so no one falls asleep) and I kept having to shift weight, cross and uncross my legs, etc.

It did help me find out things about myself as a person and not only a performer that will forever adjust my thinking.  That’s what I expected.  Also, that I would like what I learned, and I did.

On Saturday night when my friends asked me what the workshop was about, I couldn’t really put it into words in a good way since I was still digesting ALL the things that had happened for the last two days. So I am going to try and boil it down for you: Now this workshop is so individualistic that how I interpret it may not be the same way another person would.

The tagline for this seminar is “Getting Out of Your Own Way” and they mean it on the most subatomic level!

There are 5 levels that keep us locked into who we are and all of them are given to us for our “survival.”  I will do a podcast featuring the 5 levels but I am still readjusting my notes and recordings so that it can truly sink in. And maybe I can find something that I didn’t catch before.

But the 5 levels are 1. The Brain and Nervous System   2. Thinking Level   3. Emotional Level   4. Biological Level   and 5. External Level

All of these levels are given to us by our environment and society, but the great thing is that it can be overridden.

But that’s another topic.

Here’s a quick example: When you’re a baby, how do you breathe?  You breathe from your stomach as well as your diaphragm.  People don’t do that anymore because everyone is trying to look skinny.  That’s not good.

When you’re a baby, when do you sleep?  Whenever you’re sleepy!  As we get older, we are told when to sleep and that becomes our habit.

When you’re a baby, when do you eat?  When you’re hungry!  Again, as we get older, the parents make you eat when it’s dinner time even if you aren’t hungry.

Do you see the things that we hold on to?  There’s so much more than just these, but these are the questions that stuck with me the most.  Those are some of the biological questions.  The others are equally fascinating.

Until next time…

“I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit.”    –     Dawna Markova

A friend of mine once told me, even after I’ve read it in other places, “If you want it bad enough, just give it to the universe.  It will help you.”  I wish it was that easy.  But it’s not.  Shucks!  You have to help move the process along.

I’ve finally dug my heels into the ground and have signed up for my first acting seminar up in San Francisco!  It’s quite exciting.  A lot of useful information can be learned but here’s the catch, it’s a one hour introductory seminar.  Still, I will be moving in the right direction and I have to walk before I can run, right?  And what might I be running to? Well, dear reader, my goal is to have some sort of representation by July of 2012.

So I’m “giving it to the Universe.”

In addition to the seminar tonight (7/21), I am hopefully going to score some tickets to the City Lights “Nine” preview that will have some opportunities for networking.  I am a horrible schmoozer, so I can’t quite say I am excited for the show, but *cheerleader kick to the front and raise hand overhead* “Goooo…get’em!!”  Aww man, the jittery hands are already starting.  I hate it when I freak myself out!

Okay, Mr. Universe, you and me are gonna make it happen!  Not the bodybuilder guy.  blech!!

Here goes everything.

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!

I wish that I could do one! But I can’t think of a reason at the moment, so this will have to do.  When you watch these, look at the faces of the people watching.  After the moment of confusion, there are smiles all over the place.  How could you not love a Flash Mob.

This was on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution a few weeks back.  I am just catching up on all my DVR stuff, so I think I am like 3 weeks back.

Michael Jackson Dance Tribute in Stockholm

BouncE Flash Mob at Grona Lund

Pinball Wizard Flash Mob in SF!!

It’s not as seemingly organized as some of the others. But still fun.

Speaking of fun, how’s about a little Hamma!

While this one isn’t dancey, it’s definately fun and creative.

Bollywood Hero Flash in New York!

What better place for an incredible dance form to do this than in the great NYC

In York, PA  these folks aren’t pro dancers, but it’s a great lesson to what life is all about.

Don’t take yourself too seriously, and help make the world a happier place.

Aside from the “Sound of Music” dances in the train station, I think this is my other favorite.

A costume change? That’s awesome!

This one is also on the fave list.

Sometimes, they are just madness! Like this one at UC Berkley

Have to admit that this one was cool.  Even though I HATE this song.  It would have been awesome if just some random man jumped in!

And if you haven’t seen the Sound of Music one, here you go!  It’s the first one that I had ever seen and while I am not a fan of the show or movie, this was Epic!