Sunday, December 21, 2008

Don't Fuck With Muffins


I really hate how muffins have become the new cupcake. I like muffins. Scratch that, I LOVE muffins. But a muffin is no cupcake. Not a cupcake, I say! A muffin should be a delightful bread substitute, often with a delicious swirl of carrots or zucchini, perhaps banana. None of this chocolate chip, frosted fudge whirl. That's dessert shit!

I hate other things. I hate waiting for my free online episodes of Mad Men to buffer. I hate buffering! I hate hangovers. I hate fake girls. I hate salmon. I hate how bad Heroes has gotten.

But I really, really hate the muffin thing! When did this happen? Have they always been a sugary, cuppy cake? At Thanksgiving, I wanted to make carroty wonderful muffins, and my friend said, surprised at my choice for her dinner table, "Muffins? Really?" Yes. Really! REALLY!

You may think I'm ridiculous, but I'm sad at the state this world is in. Muffins are small, muffins are tasty, muffins are without a liner, and muffins are nutritious, depending what you put in them. MUFFINS!

Friday, December 19, 2008

On Coming Home for Christmas

I lapse into old habits.

I eat frozen cookies out of the basement freezer while watching old movies late at night. I snap at my mother. I often leave the discussion at the dining room table to sit alone in my room, silent.

My mother hugs me too much, and tells me adamantly she won't share me with anyone. She doesn't want me to go to New York. She wants to snuggle me until I fuse to her breastplate.

My grandfather laughs at my bad jokes about Franz Ferdinand, and then shakes his head when I talk about books he doesn't like or movies he didn't understand.

The rain sleets across the green lawns like hissing spit. It's almost frozen, but not quite. Once, when I was seven, I sat in front of the tv on a Sunday night, and asked my father what it took for snow to fall. He told me that it had to be 32 degrees, and the clouds must be full of precipitation. I was disappointed. I had wanted him to tell me that he could make the snow fall, if I wanted. I did.

Another time the sky was purple, it was nighttime, and we went outside and made mazes in the frosty street without speaking, and my sister wore her boyfriend's oversized green coat, and my brother was quiet, and I was utterly fulfilled with my life.

The house is warm, because there's a new heater. And a new tv. And a new boat is coming too. Santa is no longer a person, he's actually the internet.

We eat too much, and drink wine at every meal. My grandfather drinks margaritas afterwards, and it knocks him out until 2 am, when I hear him sighing in his sleep, and waking up to pace his room.

Christmas is about these five people. But I'm strung between worlds. I have Pennsylvania health insurance and Pennsylvania plates, but I live far away now. I ran away from them, I think. I didn't mean to. They picked the wrong place to live, twenty-one years ago. It's not my fault.

My brother-in-law hugs me and says, "You really haven't been away that long, you know." So why does it seem like years? I've changed. Can't you see it? No one comments. Maybe I haven't changed that much, or not at all.

It's Christmas, and every year since I was twelve I lit one particular candle on Christmas Eve so I could talk to God on the holiest of holy days: the Present Day. (I didn't mean it that way.) I wanted to believe in Jesus Christ, and one time I even wrote him a note on the computer so Santa could give it to him, and my parents wrote me a note back. My parents the Agnostics played Jesus for me. If that's not the spirit of Christmas, I don't know what is.

This year, I don't have much to give. Sure, it's because I'm poor, but also because I feel empty. I feel like I gave so much away this year, I tried to give myself away too, but I stuck.

Once, my brother and sister and I walked to the church down the street because it was snowing, and we threw some snowballs, and then we lay down in the road, and listened to the snow falling on our faces. It sounded like sugar sifting, or hair freshly cut sweeping past your ears. My sister whispered, "Listen. Isn't that beautiful?"

I must have changed. I think I did.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Persimmon

When I first moved to New York, I trained with a girl from Manhattan Beach, California. Like the island itself, and like the girl who came from there, Manhattan Beach seemed highly exotic to me. I knew, from what she had told me, it was near Los Angeles (Land of Beautiful People) and that is was, indeed, a beach. I daydreamed of white sands and houses filled with overflowing ferns and sundresses year round. I liked the idea of being this girl. She was someone I knew, but not well, and so, of course, it seemed like her life could only ever have been perfect. She was kind, and beautiful. She had long, golden-brown hair, and she wore white boots with mint green tights and a matching coat. She laughed, and men turned. And she ate persimmons.

I'd never seen a persimmon before I watched her eat one. Was it a tomato? Was it a sort of apple? Where do they come from?

I asked her what it tasted like. "Brown sugar," she said.

Years have turned since then. I've moved away from Manhattan, to Los Angeles, closer to the beach, though not into a house right up on the waves. I do wear sundresses year round, even though it is December. I talk to my friend once in a long while. And, today, I bought a persimmon. I think it must be fitting. I want my life to be brown sugar, packed, dense, sweet on my tongue.

I put the persimmon in the refrigerator. It seems very cold. It's a perfect orange-red, with four flat leaves greening its peak. Its the color of tomato soup, when you mix it with cheese, or creme.

Wow. The first bite tastes like nothing. What a letdown.

I won't be stopped. I close my eyes. Still, the second bite tastes like nothing. It's a very mushy fruit inside.

The third bite. Ah, there's a little sweetness. Not much. I am biting more quickly now. Maybe it's a quantity thing? There's a little gravel taste, mixed in with the softness. The stiff leaves are thick, and they're getting in the way. How do you eat this thing?

It's almost gelatinous on the inside. I can taste more of the sweetness, but its not much. This is no peach, no plum at all. This persimmon is an odd duck indeed, not entirely tasteless, but not flaunting itself either. This persimmon holds secrets.

The inside is not one solid color, its a portrait of flushing reds. There are caverns of deep juiciness, and smooth strings of vertical orange. Still, it's no mango. The juice spreads across my mouth. This is no pear, either. No, this is a persimmon, and I couldn't cut it into slices if I wanted to, I couldn't divide it like a clementine easily parts with its sections, I couldn't do anything with this persimmon it didn't want to do.

Hm. I guess that's the end. A little bit of a disappointment. But. I don't feel hungry. I can taste the heavy creme of sweet in my mouth. The leaved core sits a little slumped, used.

I am a Manhattan Beach girl now, I guess. I live in sunshine, I wear dresses that swing, and I eat persimmons. I don't do anything I don't want to do. I laugh, and I don't care who turns. I am exotic.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Little Homesick, A Little Regular Sick


My cold is still hanging on like a persistant itchy booger, and it's making me even less of a productive unemployed actor than ever before. Not that I'm not being productive, because I actually am, but...I just wish I was getting paid for my productivity.

One of the weirdest things about LA is, of course, the weather. It's beautiful. All the time. The reason it's so weird is that because every day is sort of the same, and it hasn't really gotten that much colder since I've gotten here, there is a strange sort of time lapse. What month is it? What day is it? Who am I? It's the WALL-E effect: if every day is the same, you are apt to lapse into a sort of coma in paradise. You eat, you doze, you can't quite look at yourself objectively. You watch a lot of tv. (Although, to be fair, ALL of my tv watching is done on Hulu, so at least I've gotten myself hooked on internet rather than cable.)

I'm trying to find more blogging jobs, because it makes me royally happy. Could you imagine that? A job that pays you AND you love it? I can't do what I've done, and wake up every day to spend 9 hours in Hell, blackmail my soul for a paycheck. I have a varied skill set, but it can be a curse: sure, you want me to what? Okaaaay. Fuck that shit! I don't want to be unhappy anymore. I want to look for joy in everything I can, and I need a job, and I need a job that makes me happy. It's out there somewhere...

The only problem with blogging is that you can't be completely open. What you write will love on in cyberspace, festering in 1's and 0's, and do you really want everything you think to be open for all the world to read forever and ever? Which is why I need the acting. It can be terrifying to do, but sometimes, you get to play a character where you can open up all your dirty little sweaty pores to the world and unleash yourself. I need so much.

I went to this networking event at AFTRA last night with an actor/coach named Scott Mosenson, and he quoted "Franny and Zooey." Franny's boyfriend says, after she says maybe she'll be an actress, "Acting is the business of wanting." It is. I think about that a lot. Sure, it's wanting, wanting, wanting parts, money, agents, casting directors, but it's also about characters' wants and objectives, stories full of wanting passions and hidden needs. It's all a want. How can I turn that into a positive thing? How can I, as Scott says, reframe for the positive?

I miss you guys. I know that there are probably only three people reading this, and it might not be til January til you do, but I miss you. (Brian also might be reading this. What up, Bri.) I wish my heart wasn't always so torn up across wide spaces, but it is, and probably will be for the rest of my life. Reframe: I love you. How lucky to be me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

ROAD TRIP 08: WEDNESDAY

The final day of our cross-country journey. Josh and I will finally pull over at my bff Beth’s apartment in Irvine around dinner, and I can’t wait to see her new home in her new town. The last time we saw each other was Labor Day, right before Beth moved to grad school. It seems like no time at all since I last hugged her and said, “See you on the west coast! See you when our lives are completely different!” And now…they are.

We spent the last two days at the Grand Canyon, an odd mix of natural grandeur, old white Americans, foreign tourists with large cameras and many children, bitter and bored exchange students working the cashiers, and a Disneyified version of camping in the wilderness. Bees swarmed around our car, and the squirrels scurried up to our toes hoping for junk trail mix handouts.

We spent yesterday hiking halfway down the canyon on a red dust trail. We made friends along the way from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and spent the return trip heaving and pulling ourselves up like a couple of old smokers. After dinner at the canteen, we crowded onto the lowest observation spot at Mather Point to listen to a Star Talk. You know you can see the Milky Way from the Grand Canyon? They have laws about the light and sound emittance from the park, so even their emergency helicopters are virtually silent. It was an incredible way to end our stay, craning our necks up above, thinking about how little our lives our, and short. Josh questioned the futility of our existence, while I couldn’t stop thinking about how I must remind myself, whether I can see the night sky or not, it is no way worth it to spend my life afraid and worrying. Par example, I spent the first hour of the day worrying about dying on the hike yesterday morning. (Josh is part of the most dangerous demographic who visit the park: 18-30 year old males.) Lo and behold, we survived.

We crossed the Colorado River into California a few hours ago, and shrieked with glee when we saw the “Welcome to California!” sign. I was driving, and Josh put on the ipod Gene Kelly singing, “Singing in the Rain.” That’s when I started crying. I never thought I’d move to the west coast. I never thought I’d want to live near palm trees and Baywatch and the desert. But I watched Gene Kelly, literally, thousands of times. He made me want to be an actor, in the cheesiest of ways. And now, here I am, in my car, with my love, in California. Tomorrow, I’ll be looking at apartments.

I have to remember the Milky Way.

ROAD TRIP 08: MONDAY

Day Four and we’re driving through New Mexico on our way to the Grand Canyon. At this point, I think we both loathe the car a little bit. My sweet little Toyota Matrix is a champ, even though I’m paranoid her tires are going flat, or her engine is making mouse-squeaks, or her alignment is fucked. She’s fine, despite a constant smattering of bug guts on her white exterior. We, however, are starting to go crazy.

I think it really took hold in Texas. Ugh, Texas. The panhandle, at least, sucks. It was both Josh and my first time there, and it was just flat, flat, and more flat. The only good things about Texas: the Free 72 oz. Steak repeatedly and boldly advertised (but only if you eat it in a hour) and the tall, alien windmills spread pell-mell across the horizon. They tried really hard to redeem the landscape.

And then we entered New Mexico, and almost immediately, I felt better. Broad mountains dotted with low-lying trees swept across the sky. Hills dipped the road. Bushes speckled the dusty fields that stretched forever out of sight. We stopped at a gas station in a three building town called Newkirk, where the pumps seem to have been installed in the early 60’s, and a train sped past us for several minutes. An abandoned church, forgotten by everyone (God too?), stood awkwardly beside the road, its front door boarded up and a foot-wide crack bisecting the adobe walls. I was utterly sold on the state when we got to Santa Fe. All the houses are adobe, and there are lush gardens of bright, reaching flowers everywhere. At the first sign of a dreadlocked hippie artist, I felt at home. It’s a liberal, apparently well-moneyed town, and everyone was very polite and welcoming.

And now we’re off again, through these rolling swathes of land, empty and totally silent. A man came up to our window with his small girl and told a long story about his family going through Sky City, and how he lost his wallet. Poor people are everywhere in this world, not all of them homeless, but looking around my car with two ipods, a garmin nuvi, two laptops, cell phones and Bluetooth devices in our pockets, I felt a tiny bit embarrassed. I can’t tell if I’m greedy or normal, but I have an inkling I might still be that desperate kid in elementary school, pleading my mom to take me shopping, to be like the other kids and buy new things, new, newer. I want and I want, and I ask for so much, when all I really need is food, a safe place to live, water, sunshine. That’s one thing I really despise about my career: it encourages you to want and want, and never be satisfied. Good for the ambition, detrimental to the soul.

So, Josh gave this man $5 to feed his daughter, or whatever. Maybe he’s like the New Yorkers, and he just needs to drink, or maybe to gamble, or maybe he does need something to feed his little children. It almost doesn’t matter. He’s doing what all Americans do: we beg for more. For something. We prostrate ourselves at the feet of our government, do this for me, give me my fix of more and more.

We’re crossing Arizona now, and just passed Flagstaff. It’s funny to me, knowing nothing about Flagstaff, I always imagined it as a singularly unattractive town, tan and dusty and treeless, nothing but an oversized American flag in the middle of an unhappy village of very tan old people. Lo and behold, Flagstaff in reality is forested and beautiful, and my imagined counterpart is instead more of an accurate description of Albuquerque. Yuck. A low point in NM’s map.

Arizona’s flag, interestingly, looks like an 80’s t-shirt now being resold for $40 at Urban Outfitters: bright blues, reds, and oranges, exploding out of a center star. Everyone who pastes it onto their car windows are automatically cool.

I heard an NPR interview once with an American Flag representative, who said that the rules for handling flags so specifically were instated because of the worry the flag would be overused, overdisplayed. That seems to have been lost somewhere. We’ve driven through 480 miles today of empty lots of land, sometimes with nothing but a shanty and a flag in the middle of a sea of lonely shrubbery. Signs for “America’s Restaurant,” or “Patriot’s Place” dot the billboards. When there’s nothing else around you, just sky and sagebrush, maybe patriotism for your country and fervent belief in God are the only things to keep you sane, or to keep you from wallowing in an intense and justified loneliness.

Ninety percent of the other billboards today have been for Indian wares: Indian blankets, Indian pottery, Indian polished petrified wood, Indian smokes, Indian food, Indian maps, Indian merchandise of all kinds. When we pulled off at a “Scenic Spot,” which consisted of six plywood shacks, half of which were empty, the other half selling Indian merchandise, I told Josh it reminded me of Jamaica. Jamaica is a frightening place full of restless bodies, a whole country full of displaced people who didn’t ask to be where they are, the ancestors of enslaved workers from another world. The Native Americans, even more recently displaced, have turned their misplacement into the most American activity possible: capitalism. They do what actors do. They are so desperate to survive, they sell the most precious thing they have left: themselves. Their identity is for sale on wide, chipping billboards: REAL INDIANS. Some day long ago, somebody mistook them for someone else, but after persecution and all but annihilation, they turned in their identities. They market the mistake.

It’s hard to believe with all this space, it’s still not enough. Wanting, wanting.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

On the Road: Saturday in Missouri!

Second day of the Road Trip! Yesterday, we spent 13 1/2 hours driving, which wouldn’t be so bad if we were driving through fun America, but we weren’t, we were driving thorugh boring, flat, fielded, America. Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri. Today will be just as bad. No hilariiouis signs, like there were in South Dakota, lots of trucks. I’ve seen no Obama bumper stickers, and only two McCain. That doesn't mean anything. Josh said driving through the midwest makes him understand better why Obama won't win. I could see that too.

We just passed a billboard of a small girl playing, with the italicized command: “Pornography Destroys.” Maybe we’re transitioning into fun sign land. Oh there’s another one, it says simply, “JESUS.” Well, when you say it like that...

This trip is, clearly, special to me, because, duh, I’m moving across the country for the first time. Beyond that, we are driving across America in the final month of a cutthroat presidential election during an economic crisis.

(New sign: “Jesse James Wax Museum: LIVE video of Jesse James!” Now we’re getting somewhere!)

We listened to the presidential debate last night on the radio as we sped through black fields in the last two hours of our first day of traveling. Ignorant of what most people saw last night, we could only hear their tones, their frustrated sighs, how they carefully worded their comebacks and defenses. Here are two intelligent men, wildly ambitious and hopeful, and they resort to exploiting dead soldiers’ bracelets. It reminds me of that acting exercise where each actor has to enter the picture and physically change the stage picture in order to upstage the other person. Look at me! Look at ME! LOOK AT ME!

(“Missouri Hick B-B-Q Next Exit.”)

I think that might be half of a generalized American personality: immediate attention satisfaction. We are stereotypically loud, demanding, selfish, and persistent. The other half, which is in essence the soul of our government in 2008, is about money. This election is about money. The failure of our government is about money. Their arguments are about money. The legacy of the Bush government, if not pathetic before, will be about a loss of money, a destruction of our financial supplies. Our government, whatever size, boils down to a collection of accountants, stewards of our cash. The final and only way to grab the attention of the non-voting, uninterested American population is to collapse their economy and shut down their savings.

(“JESUS.” Is this like a Mad Libs thing? “JESUS poops!” “JESUS in bed!” “JESUS in bed with your mom!”)

This is a trip about me, but this is also a trip about America. I’ve never felt so involved with my own citizenship as I do now. We have driven across five states in one day, safely, and efficiently, and we are listening to a radio station that is playing a song called “Blood of My Freedom” whose lyrics go, “Thank God for the Red, White & Blue/Someone Died that we might be Free.” We value our independence, our freedom to buy, sell, and live how we want, but to do that we find it necessary to damn everyone else. At times, our only similarity between states is roughly the same language and the constant presence of McDonalds.

This is a trip about me, and this is a trip about America. There are local politicians’ signs hammered into the heathery fields next to I-44 W, reminding me it’s almost time to vote.

Ooooh! “Pleasure Zone.” This is getting good…

Thursday, September 25, 2008

In case I'm too sleepy at 7 am tomorrow...

THE ROADTRIP HAS BEGUN!!!!

To be frank, the roadtrip has, in fact, not begun. To be frankly frank, Josh is actually still in an airplane. Over Illinois. Three hours late. Poor boy.

On the bright side: Phases One and Two are complete in Operation Move to LA! My car is stocked, I have Pirate's Booty and Dried Fruit overflowing their bags, sunscreen, camera, maps up the butt...I AM READY. Minus one sweet law student with a big mustache and an ipod stuffed with new music. No matter! The roadtrip is infinitely changeable! Like Poseidon on a good day!

But now...off to the airport! So Josh can turn right around...and hit the road!!!

See you on the west side, lovers!

PS McCain is RIDICULOUS. Sarah Palin is RIDICULOUS. I was watching the Simpsons episode where Lisa has a substitute teacher and it's Dustin Hoffman, and Bart runs for class president, and it looked just like my life. Why does our country remind me of an animated 4th grader's campaign? "More asbestos! More asbestos!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

One Small Step. One Big-Ass Roadtrip!

Friends!

I'm dedicating this post to the small, but loyal and loving band of buddies who have been so supportive of this blog. It has been a true joy writing here, and I've discovered (and re-discovered) some wonderful things about myself. For instance, how much I really enjoy writing.

And now I'm absolutely thrilled to say I get to do more of it! On a bigger scale than my humble little tdawg4eva page! Tonight, I published my first post on Backstage.com's blogger section, Unscripted. It took me (no lie) like 3 hours to write 5 paragraphs, but it's a start.

Blogging, and the release it gives me, reminds me that no matter what I do, however down or dejected this business may make me feel, I am an artist and I need the release to give me balance in my life. Furthermore, in the giant shift that's about to occur on Friday, writing gives me hope for myself. If I can keep writing, if I can turn this experience into a story, into an adventure, I don't have to be scared.

So check out Unscripted under "Moving to Los Angeles." I'll be posting three times a week for the next two months, and this scrappy little bug of a blog won't be dying either. Now I can just talk more about my other passion: Loathing Sarah Palin.

Which reminds me! I submitted my short play "Paulette Rudd: Anyone Can Be Me!" to "23 Degrees of Sarah Palin" play festival in Los Angeles. Let's hope all my negative energy gets me some more work!

Aaand on Move News: I have started to tape boxes up, and finished my very last day of work. Josh is thinking about packing something into a bag and has started putting large quantities of music onto his ipod, which is equal to packing. I've started crying at random parts of the day, and doing too many loads of laundry. Randy has offered to teach me to juggle and to tap, and we have tentative plans to go surfing. Beth has agreed to be the recipient of my absentee ballot in CA. I've started having nightmares about driving, none of which involve Sarah Palin.

I love you,
Teresa

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Things


THINGS I WISH SOMEONE HAD TAUGHT ME:
1. How to fold a fitted sheet.
2. How to curl my hair.
3. How to apply stage makeup.
4. How to dive. And not the lame "Ducky Fall into the Water" Dive.
5. How to make a clover with my tongue.
6. How to whistle with my fingers.
7. How to snap.
8. How to surf.
9. How to ski.
10. How to grill. Anything.
11. How to play the piano.
12. How to not feel shame.
13. How to play the violin.
14. How to pray.
15. How to apply eye makeup.
16. How to fish.
17. How to jump double-dutch.
18. How to tap.
19. How to do a keg-stand.
20. How to juggle.

THINGS MY FATHER TAUGHT ME:
1. How to fall asleep.
2. How to cook pancakes.
3. How to measure balance using a hose.
4. How to wash the car.
5. How to mow a lawn.
6. How to do algebra.
7. How to help.
8. How to be polite.
9. How to swim.
10. How to parallel park.
11. How to take care of an apple tree thats fallen over.
12. How to make oatmeal.
13. How to put things together.
14. How to measure oil.
15. How to do my taxes.
16. How to ride a bike.
17. How to wash a dog.
18. How to get rid of a tick.
19. How to keep a fire going.
20. How to jump a car battery.

#20 was today. Everything else I've learned for myself.

Monday, September 22, 2008

How to Fit Your Life Into a Box:



Beats me.

I did just spend an hour with my dad, investigating my car, prodding the tires and fiddling with oil and gauges. Did I tell you I named her Tawanda Jane? Tawanda for the mischievous alter-ego in "Fried Green Tomatoes" and Jane for my great-aunt, whose car it is I've snatched as my own. I love her.

As I lovingly scrubbed the dirt off her sweet alabaster paint, the awareness sunk in that Tawanda Jane will be my real and true companion for this leg of my life. When Josh leaves to go back to Berkeley, whether I've found an apartment or not, it will be me and my car. I gently wiped the pine sap off her wheel well, and thought, "It's you and me, baby. You better not break down in New Mexico!" Ay carumba.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Countdown: 6 Days!!!



Yes, friends, we are now down to less than a week til Pennsylvania is given the big heave-ho in favor of palm trees and movie stars. And, happily, great things are happening in preparation!

1. Got my AAA card. Hot dog, now I can get towed across Texas for up to 200 miles!

2. Just as days are getting colder, boxes are filling up. My biggest problem is paring down the books. ("But I must have three copies of 'Letters to a Young Poet." I MUST!")

3. The big news, indeed! Starting this week, I'll be blogging for Backstage.com on their Unscripted page! You can check out my first columns under the category "From New York to LA." I'm so so excited about writing for them, and happy to be part of a whole host of talented artists on both coasts.

4. Many things are happening in this world. My favorite Pennsylvania regional theater, Theatre Horizon, had a wildly successful fundraiser gala last night, Wall Street has turned to a big pile of steaming poo, and I found a dollar in my pocket. Wa-HOO. I would love to talk more about it all, and maybe through a little jibe in there about the Lady of the Night, the big SP, but I won't, because I'm tired.

I bid you adieu, blogger, and will update soon...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm so confused

Last January, I paid $35 to meet with a cool hip young agent at One on One in New York. One on One is this actor business where you pay agents and casting directors to slightly pay attention to you for 7 minutes. Sometimes, someone will like you. Most times, you're out 40 bucks.

It was a really crappy New York night, pouring snow-rain and frigid. To quote my journal after the meeting, "I just sent a dud missile at him." Yeesh. It was terrible. I did, quite literally, everything wrong I ever possibly could have. He called me in the next day. I think the only reason is because, while wetly launching my spud of a acting career at him, I got really flustered and I just wouldn't shut up. Like, I could not shut my trap if you tied a weight to my upper lip. I just was babbling. He thought it was funny.

Regardless, he called me in. The commercial department said they wanted to freelance with me. They sent me an email to sent up my casting networks page. I never heard from them again. In a big sense, it's my failure completely. I sent them postcards, but never got up the guts to call them. I asked if I could ask him to submit for me, and he said no. I didn't know how to use them as my tool. And they, apparently, just forgot. Who knows? I take this as a lesson, and a warning.

And so, here I am, agentless again, but now...with this casting networks page! Actually, the NY Casting networks page just expired (that was a sad, sad reminder two months ago when I checked it to realize: yes, yes indeed they have forgotten about me. Aw.) but I weirdly have another free page on Now Casting. Where did that come from?! Did they sign me up for two pages? If I spend four hours setting it up, will it disappear next week when they realize I've been orphaned by my agent? Will my non-agent call me up when they realize I'm stealing, curse the day I was born into this world, and vow I'll never work again? Am I too dramatic?

Many questions, have I. Answers only to the last one: YES.

In other news, my nightmares about Sarah Palin have all come true! On Slate.com that is! Check out page two, for yours truly's overactive political imagination.

Monday, September 15, 2008

11 Days and Countiiiiing...

I just typed a whole post about lists. It was a list of lists. THE List of Lists. And I erased it all. I think I have a list addiction. It's starting to hurt my relationships with others. (Picture Elizabeth Berkeley on uppers in the early nineties. "I'm so excited!!!! I'm so excited!!!! I'm so...scared." Where's Zack Morris when you need him?!)

Today is beautiful. Not too warm, like yesterday, just sunshiney and autumny and gorgeous. It's utterly incredible how my mood changes in good weather. I'm a beast in the rain. I think it makes me self-pitying. I need to get off this computer and get outside.

I'm planning my Christmas vacation. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, and I won't be coming home for it. When I was in college, I always was sick and exhausted by Thanksgiving, and I would undoubtedly be unable to come back till the night before. There were always scenes to do, and all the California kids had ditched New York days before. I would come home, and the grass would be frosty and the air would be sharp, and my home would be at the pinnacle of comfy. (My home is best at the holidays. Deep green holly decorations everywhere and oranges from Florida and chocolate overflowing bowls my mother has put on the Thanksgiving table for 35 years.) And for the first time in weeks, I would sleep deeply, in a squeaky old bed with my grandmother's quilts piled high, and I would know I had nothing to do for days except watch parades and eat. This year, it'll be warm outside. I'm not sure where I'll be breaking bread, or sleeping, or anything for that matter. But Christmas, I've decided I will be home for that. I'm afraid I'll be desperate for cold weather by late December.

I don't know why I've been in a overly serious mood lately. I would go five months without seeing my family when I lived in New York, so it's not like I've never done that before. I guess I'm just worried about the turkey.

11 days. I have to remember: I'm not dying. I don't have to do everything in the next week and a half. I should enjoy this afternoon. I wish the leaves had turned more colors by now, but wishes are like fishes. They don't make good pets.

Regardless of my doubts in my own strength, I am excited for this move. Today was the first time I've sat in my car, and sped up my street, and been really, truly excited for the morning I do so with my life packed in the back, and my boyfriend next to me, holding maps of California in his lap.

11 days, friends, and counting.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

On Layering


The past few days I have been in a fuuuuuuunky mood. Like, the funkiest of funks. Just crabby, and irrationally unwilling to cooperate, and stubborn, and wanting to be alone and needy and just all over funky. I didn't even want to be around me. And fine, Big Roadtrip bla bla bla Big Life Change bla bla moving away from everything I've ever known bla bleh. Fine! I get it!

So summed up my overexcited, overextended thoughts just abooooooout 2.5 seconds before I burst hysterically into tears. You would have thought a Capulet had just died, I was crying that hard. Flung out all over my bed, my nose spewing snotty liquids on my pillows, surrounded by the messy unorganized shitpile that make up my belongings. I tried to get a hold of myself, I did. I tried to breathe. I thought about God. Then I thought about what a brat I am. Then I quite literally thought, "I have nothing. NOOOOOTHING!!!!" Then I did a rundown on my life, in defense of my brattiness: no apartment, no roommate, no job, no life plans, no friends nearby, boyfriend far away, a little nest of money that will quickly be dispersed on gas, insurance, acting classes, and, please please, a deposit on an apartment. I HAVE NOTHING!!!!

Then I caught my breath, and sat down to the write this post. Then I started sobbing again. Oooooh the misery! Ooooh the suffering of the overwhelmed girl in a almost-quarter life crisis.

Then I walked into the kitchen, burbled something unintelligable to my mother, and burst into tears on my parents' shoulders, like the small child I am, and they proceeded to calm me down and reassure me I didn't have to move. Which was not what I wanted to hear. I don't not want to move. I do. I'm just not ready. Which is to say, I will never be ready. I'm driving myself off the fucking shoddy wall trying to prepare myself for every possible thing that could ever happen to me in LA. (Last night, I caught myself daydreaming about making a playlist on my ipod for every situation I might find myself: lonely, peppy, angry, feeling poor, feeling fat, feeling self-destructive, and then I imagined going up to the Apple genius bar saying, "Um, I think my low self esteem broke my ipod. It's still smoking, a little." At which point Bill Gates puts me in technology jail.) Do you ever just wish you could go to sleep for four months, and then wake up, and most of your problems are, if not totally solved, at least mildly unimportant? I just want to get through these next weeks and months, through the move, and the probably heinous apartment search, and the decorating, and the first shitty auditions, through my first Thanksgiving not at home, through Christmas which might ultimately suck, and then right through to 2009, when things, please please, will all be better. A (anxiety-ridden) girl can hope...

I apologize if this blog has become whiner central. I apologize to everyone if I've become lame. (Especially Josh.) I can't help it. I want to go, I can't stay here, that's for sure, but I can't go back, and I have no idea how to go forward. What's worse is that I feel like everyone I talk to, I put up this faux confidence and am all like, "Oh yeah, so I have no plans, whatever...it's all an adventure! If it works, great, if not, oh well! Ah ha! Ha ha ha cha cha!" Ugh.

I apologize. Again. This post needs to end.

In one of my favorite books of the Chroni(what)cles of Narnia, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," there is a scene where snotty cousin Eustace selfishly takes a golden bracelet from a dead dragon, transforming him into (what else)a dragon. His scaly arm swells, so he can't take off the bracelet, and he can't talk, and no one knows that he isn't a little British boy anymore. No one really cares anyway, he's so snotty. And then Aslan comes to him, and leads him to a beautiful garden (an Eden, you might say) where there is a beautiful pool. He dips himself in this steaming water, and his dragon skin starts to peel off. Layer after layer, he keeps ripping off these old shells of his old self, the dead scales and the meanness and self-absorption and the fears. But there's so much to it, he can't get it all. So Aslan jumps him, and digs his claws into his back, and just slashes the rest off. And then he's a boy again.

I guess I just want that. I want this move to be the slash.

Or maybe, it's just a move. And dragons and talking lions aren't involved at all.

Darn.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Change: The Blog


This blog is about to Change.

As the wise and introspective Garth Algar said memorably in the 1992 film, Wayne's World, "We fear change."

I certainly resist it. My parents were always renovating something in the house I grew up in, and I would constantly be adding on to this list I had made of all the things that had been changed in the house since we moved in. The carpets, the back door, the new addition to the kitchen, the trees cut down. It might not have been better, but the past was always safer. I knew where I had been.

Not to say I don't yearn for it as much as anyone. (This is the only time I'll plug Obama in this post, I promise. OBAMA! Aaaand, if you find yourself captivated by Sarah Palin's speaking voice to the extent you aren't actually listening to her words, go here, my friends, whether you're a woman or not.) That's why I'm moving to LA: I want to change my career, my life. I want to change how I do business with myself, I want to work and be challenged, and I have lost that here in the Northeast. I'm moving because movement fosters change, big change, that's for freaking sure! I realized this morning that nothing in my life is going to be staying the same. Terrifying! Exciting.

Last night was the closing performance of my Fringe Play. Not our best performance, but to give an offering to the people of 9/11 on the anniversary was truly stunning for me. Regardless. What's notable here is that when I came out to greet my parents, they were talking to a woman who is the mother of one of my earliest childhood friends. (We'll call her Mrs. Lee.) She just happened to be there at the performance, and recognized me midway through the show. Huh. I immediately shut off. I could feel myself revolting against this situation. I haven't seen this woman in a decade. I haven't seen her daughter in just as long. They were never unkind to me (except that one time when I was 11 when they left me in a rainstorm alone after a softball game when she was supposed to drive me home. whatever. Tdawg don't carry grudges. Usually.) but the Lees represent this horrible feeling of judgement that comes from the awkwardness of growing up with ambitious and fiercely defensive people.

Mrs. Lee: "So....you're REALLY moving to LA?" *Concerned face*
Me: "Yeeeeees."
Mrs. Lee: "Oh." PAUSE. "But what are you going to DO there?" *Overly concerned face*
Me: "The same thing I did in New York. Work." At this point the conversation ended for me.

This is why actors feel embarassed to tell people what they do. If you're lucky, you get the "God-I-hope-you-get-famous-so-you-can-help-me-meet-Oprah" response, but more than likely you'll get the "You know, a lot of people TRY to be famous" or even better, my personal favorite "You know, that's a really hard job, don't you? Not everybody is like Lindsay Lohan, Teresa." Like I just want someone to take pictures of me while I get drunk. (Um, hello, I have friends for that.) And PS, they only use your name when it's utilized in a condescending manner. It's like, you are so small, I'm going to say your name like you are a preschooler, or a little dog weeing on the sham.

Why do people do this? Because they don't want you to change. They want you to be a weeing dog, in a nice neat little category: Small, Strange, Struggling Artist. Let's add successful to that list, people, because I am changing to succeed in my life. I refuse to stay little, or stay home, or stay unhappy because I'm afraid. It's not worth it, because, in the end, what am I afraid of?

Poverty? Check that off, I've already done the poor thing.
Rejection? Done that too, bitches.
Loneliness? Who isn't lonely? I won't be codependent because I'm scared to be alone.
Scammed? Robbed? Swindled? Well, I've already done 1/3 of those things. And we'll refer back to the first thing, which was poverty, so do your best, suckers!
Failure? Yes, well...I guess that's up to me to define that. And I don't think I'll ever feel like I've truly got everything I want so...I guess you could say I've already done that too!

In the end, there's nothing to be afraid of. Look what happened to Garth. He changed, and things sucked for a while, but in the end, he got a foxy lady. And so did Wayne. Change is good.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I'm a Celebrity! On Public Access!


What are you doing at 5:57 PM on Thursday September 11, 2008? Paying respects to our country? Saluting heroes? Going to see my show "9/11: A Day in the Life of a People?" No! Watching me be interviewed on "Vikings Come Home" on the Viking Channel? Yes, you are!

So today was my interview about (haha. hahaaaaaa!) my career with my high school french teacher in our township television channel studio. It was incredible. I laughed, I advised, I sang. Yes, that's right. After grilling me about every show I ever did 5th-12th grade and the grading system of NYU (what? I don't know, I just took the easy classes and some stage combat, sheesh)she ended the 63 minute long interview by asking me what advice I had for young people. (Deeeerrrrr...if there's anything else you could possibly do besides acting do that? Follow your bliss? Leaves of three let them be, leaves of four eat some more? Beats me! The best advice I ever got was, "You might want to stop eating so many of those sugar-free gummi bears, it'll give you the runs.") THEN she topped it off by asking me to sing something from "The Sound of Music." The show I did 9 years ago. When I was fifteen. Dear lord.

Anyhoo, I decided that instead of looking at this experience as mindnumbingly unentertaining to watch (I apologize to the residents of Montgomery County for my rant about vocal folds) or extraordinarily embarassing ("So why did you quit doing musical theater? I always wanted to ask you that.") I should look at this in a positive light. After talking for 63 long minutes about my struggling little career, gasping for breath like a baby fish on a sunny dock, what are my goals/dreams/aspirations? What am I most proud of? What do I wish I was doing better/more of/less of? Why can you be unequivocally untalented and still be successful?

You'll have to watch the interview.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

This one's for You.

Hrm.

Blogging is a difficult task, and, ultimately, as satisfying as it is, it does not solve any problems. Sometimes it makes things clearer, or releases some pent-up emotions. But fix things it does not. Like a diary, it will never respond to me. Or love me. It just accepts my bad typing. And then: bloop. Posted.

I feel like EVE in "Wall-E," when she blows up those oil tankers out of frustration, and sadness. "Where are the f*&cking plants?!!" Little does she know...beep beep beep beep! Love is right behind that garbage heap!

So. I musn't just use my blog to blow things up. I must use it for good.

So here's what I'm ending with tonight: 9/11 Play in State College went well overall. Today was the best performance yet, and I'm so glad to have gotten this opportunity. Besides the acting itself, I love my Super Director and my castmates, and, going further, I've realized some important things about myself. This is the most intense play I've ever done. Mostly because we as Americans have open wounds we carefully placed band-aids over, and I just realized mine are barely pusing over. I'm scared of dying. I'm terrified of my loved ones dying. I'm terrified of painful deaths, and of painful choices. This whole weekend I've felt nauseaus and ill during the shows. This is a true challenge, and for the first time, I feel real stage fright knowing I have to go onstage to die. One more on Thursday, on the day itself.

Hrm. Hrrrrrrm. "WHERE ARE THOSE F*CKING PLANTS?????!"

On the upside, I'm being interviewed Tuesday for my local cable access channel by my high school French teacher about my career. HAHAHAAAAAAAAA!!!! HAA!!!!

Oh God. HAAAAAAHAHAHAAAA!

Oh God. Even the oil tankers are laughing.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Oh Poo, Tears Again.

I finally added that last post 7 hours after I wrote it (faulty coffee shop wi-fi, damn you!) and now I'm on to a new one before I conk out. Tdawg is ti-ti, ladies and gentlemen. (As in rhymes with "mai-tai", no dirty thoughts just because I'm in frat land.) Translation: I'M TIRED.

This freaking show gets me in a new way every time. Tonight I had a full on freak out after my last speech in the first act, right before I die. I went offstage, and my hands and legs were tingling, and then lost feeling, then I got dizzy so I got down on the floor in Child's Pose while tears just started streaming out. I don't know what specifically will set me off sometimes more than others in this show. Tonight I definitely lost some breath when the actor who plays the farmer (a dear, sweet man named Lloyd who was a Jesuit priest 1960-69, and then dropped out and had four kids, all of whom go to Penn State) talked about the plane that crashed into Pennsylvania, and how people were calling their loved ones to tell them what they were trying to do. How they were trying to save some people on the ground. More on that in a paragraph...

Usually, I always leak a tear or two when the waiter does his second speech about having to choose between the window or the fire in Tower One, and how when he got up that morning he never thought he'd be thinking of suicide. At that point, they flash this absolutely horrifying slide behind us of a man freefalling out of the Twin Towers. His arms and legs are splayed in the air as the pressure pins his body against gravity. But tonight, I just couldn't get my breath back. And then I have to get up and speak, alone, to this audience I can barely see past the blinding lights, and jump off a building myself as I tell them about mangled and charred body parts on Church Street, and then describe looking up at the sky while a skyscraper topples down. That's it. That's my death scene. I walk off, and everyone keeps talking, and I just lose it. I lose my shit, alone, backstage.

So. I do have some idea why the farmer got to me. Yesterday afternoon, right before I left Philly to come here, I had a discussion with my mother about the movie "United 93," and how she thought it was great, and how I had zero interest in seeing it. Truly, I have not had one desire to watch that movie. So then she says to me, "Oh, but there is this one part, where this young, 22 year old girl calls her mother and says she doesn't think she'll make it, and her mother just says, 'Just stay on the phone with me,' and she stays there, talking to her daughter, watching out the window at the children playing outside." And my mother and I just stared at each other for a second, and I think the meaning of that hit both of us. Ugh, I'm crying right now. In one sense, that's amazing, because she could be there for her daughter when she was facing her own death. But then I think, that woman had to listen, and then be there when the phone went dead, and then had to keep breathing and living after that. How do you go through something like that? How do you listen to your child die? I'm not sure who I'm weeping for, me or that girl. Or her mother.

What's interesting about this show is how it has rocked my world in such unexpected ways. I had no idea I had such a well of emotion thinking of death, mine, or my loved ones, or thinking about my country, about war and children and the future and the clear lineage of 9/11, about our connection as human beings. By far, what's been shocking to me is how difficult it is as a performer to keep doing your job when you are terrified on stage. These are issues I buried so deep inside me, I didn't know they existed. Once I get onstage and my buttnaked emotions flash themselves like sunfish with machetes for fins, I have these full-on flip-out sessions once I exit. Because when I'm onstage, I can barely hold it together. Fine, I know that my good old acting teachers would be like, "That's what's interesting, Teresa. Act THAT." Bullshit. I'm trying to act that, but there are sunfish everywhere! With MACHETE-FINS!!!I wonder how anyone could do a run like this long-term. I don't know if I could. I guess I'd have to get some therapy first.

One final thought. My senior year, I did a NYU School of Ed production of "I Never Saw Another Butterfly." It's based on the true story of one of the few survivors of a children's concentration camp outside of Prague. Similar writing style to 9/11 Fringe Play. I could not eke out a tear for the life of me in that show. I couldn't get involved. I did research. I assigned sad songs to scenes. I analyzed and over-analyzed. I did movement exercises. I painted watercolor word-associations. NOTHING. But for this...I couldn't stop the overflow of pain and fear if I wanted to. Maybe it's because "Butterfly" issues were never my fears, and jumping out of buildings and loving my mother so much I can't deal with it are. (PS I'm crying AGAIN.) I've never been persecuted. My childhood was happy, and safe. There is so much suffering in this world, but, as an actor, I don't know how to talk about them all yet.

From Beaver Ave, On Banning Books


Saturday brings me to the aptly (and/or ironically) named Happy Valley to perform the 9/11 Fringe Play for two nights in the heart of Penn State's campus. Unfortunately, it's also a game weekend here, so...attendance for our little show shall be low. Hrm. We actually drove in late last night, and at every stop sign our van was swarmed with scantily dressed undergrads prepping to get sloshed, make out, and watch some football. It's so interesting to me, since my college experience at NYU consisted of going to red wine parties in lofts and stalking Rufus Wainwright's East Village neighborhood. The only rushing I did was to see "Wicked" on a Tuesday night. (PS um, who knew frat houses are palaces?!)

The upside of this experience is that A) I've never been to Penn State before B) I've never been to a frat town on a game weekend B) we're performing in a pretty theater. It's newly renovated, with beautiful new dressing rooms, gorgeous seats, and a really sweet little stage. Plus, they put up signs everywhere for us: "Welcome 9/11 Play!" I'm not kidding. So sweet. It's been very fun so far.

So what if no one will be in the audience tonight? Just because this is a play about real people, does that mean a whole truckload of real people need to witness it? Or, in this particular case, as it is a quasi-workshop, is this particular performance just a step in the play's longer life, not necessitating a large reception? It brings me to my old wondering about whether great art is measured by its audience. Just because Sean Penn was seen on millions of giant movie screens flipping his shit in "Mystic River," does that make his performance any better than a 17 year old flipping his shit in his college acting class, seen by 10 other people? Some of the best acting I've ever done was in my bedroom, reciting Antigone soliliquoys to the darkness. ("O Thebes! My own flesh and blood—dear sister, dear Ismene!") Furthermore, my Super Director doesn't seem to be too worried about the turnout. I get this sense from him that whoever is meant to see it will be there. Which is beautiful. But, maybe not practical? I guess it comes down to whether you believe the art is about the audience or about the acting. Or the money.

Speaking of Super Director, he and his wonderful wife/co-producer cooked us this amazing feast for lunch, before they ran off to the game. (I find this hilarious. This town is craaaaazy! I'm slightly jealous. I wish sometimes I'd gone to a football school. Then I realized I just want to be in "The Prince & Me." Then I realized I just want to be Julia Stiles. Then I realized I just miss Heath Ledger.) And all over their walls were framed posters of all of the shows they've produced, directed, performed in. Next to those pictures were the pictures of their children, their friends, people important to their heritage, They are such loving, open, honest people. Maybe our show is about none of the things I thought it was about. Or all of them, actually. It's about the people who happen to be in the dark, and the people who happen to be in the light, and a common story we all share. We do, actually. We all end up thinking, "Where was I on September 11th? What am I scared of? Would I pick the fire or the window? Would I go in to save strangers or would I run run away?" It's definitely not about money. Heath would have liked it, I think.

A few more hours til call...I think I'll do some work on Roadtrip 2008. Plans are being planned, my friends! Twenty more days. I think I'll leave you with a link to Anne Kilkenny's words about her neighbor Sarah Palin. Just click on the quote below, spoken with dignity in grace by your favorite and mine, Sean Connery, as the wise and true Professor Henry Jones in "Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade."

Yours in Happy Valley,

Teresa Claire

Professor Henry Jones: It tells me, that goose-stepping morons like yourself should try *reading* books instead of *burning* them!

Friday, September 5, 2008

I Poke you with my Leadership Stick! (ow.)

I've been debating whether or not I should tone down my political rants on this blog, as it is primarily in existence to reflect upon...my Acting Career. (Said in snooty faux-Brit voice. Ah, yes. Ah-cting!)Because, what I really want to do right now is explode with frustration and disappointment over three days of watching Republicans talk me down, pick apart my needs and desires for my country, and insult my femininity by parading around a woman who has experience assembling molecules into babies and is familiar with the workings of Ebay and wishes good lives for embryos but not Islamists. Right, toning down the rants... Am I too angry? Am I not utlizing this space for my art?

And then I read (of course, my well of inspiration) Ming Ming on Backstage.com, and here's what the lady said:

"...how lucky we are to do what we do and live where we live. Of course everything's got pros and cons, and certainly our road is not the easiest one to travel. But anyone who's able to identify something that excites them and actually do it is a lucky bastard. The trick is staying excited and continuing to find opportunities to actually do it of course. In any case, regardless of what anyone does, if they are able to find joy in the present no matter what or where or with whom, they are pretty blessed...Having no idea how many people actually read this thing, or how many people can actually stand reading mine, if you're still there, Dear Reader, at the risk of sounding fruity or cheesy or gooey or sticky like coconut rice, know that you and only you determine your worth and your value. It's got nothing to do with getting an agent, scoring an audition, or booking a job. I believe that as soon as you figure out exactly why you are pursuing what you are pursuing and genuinely feel good about that, and you realize that everything about you as you are right now in this very moment is absolutely perfect and as it should be, it'll straighten out your confidence and that's the single most important thing to get you where you want to go...Now I could continue going off on random tangents. Or I could get back to working on my ridiculously long sides. Or I could take a photo of McCain and Palin and draw devil horns and goatees on their faces and pray to the Lord Almighty that the good people of our country are intelligent enough to see that they are useless, ignorant, lying hand puppets.

All good things I needed to read! Sure, I may not have a job right now. Sure, I may be terrified of my life in one month, but I'm also terrified of my country in two. What if we lose again? I believe in America because I believe that there must be a place where safety exists among chaos, where choices are fair and equal, where people actually have the freedom to protect themselves and their children, and where we all have the opportunity to work as hard as we choose. I don't think we can do that on our own, I think we need a government to help guide us, because large groups of people are stupid, scared, and mean. Just like small groups of people. Or just people. Which is why it is forever frustrating to meet people who do not VOTE. Every single thing the candidates talk about in their rounds of the USA are meaningful and relevant to me. And to you. Yes, you, silly!

Maybe why I'm fixating on government and politics here is because I tend to feel there is no rhyme or reason to the acting business. You can work and work and be talented up the butt, but if you're not at the right place at the right time, if you're not exactly in the right light with the right people and happen upon some magic showbiz fairy dust, you might get nowhere. There are no rules, there are no bylaws or protective codes. Sure, in the unions maybe, but you have to sell your soul just to have basic basic human rights as an actor! I have endlessly talented friends, but all of us get passed over at some time or another for some uglier, stupider person. Kind of like the past 2 national elections...And this time, goddamnit, I want my candidate to be cast! Because he's right for it, he's so good for this job, and we need him! (I hesitate to go further, because I don't want any more "he's a celebrity" fodder, and I'm sure every political news site will be looking at my blog for quotes.)

Regardless. I move to LA in 21 days. That's like saying, "There's a tax cutter on the loose! It's JOHN MCCAIN!!!!" IE I'm scared. (Because he's not really going to cut our taxes, people...Be forewarned!)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Western

To celebrate my first (and overdue) conference call with Josh to plan our Roadtrip to LA 2008, please enjoy some YouTube loving.

GUY DRIVING ACROSS AMERICA

Monday, September 1, 2008

Crushered!



Okay. Try not to get too excited. But I just found Wil Wheaton's blog.

Wil Wheaton says, "Don't be a dick."

That's right, Trekkers and Geekies! WESLEY CRUSHER! Speaking of crushe(r)s, that little man-child had a maroon saddlepant license on my heart. For serious, what could be hotter than making out with a teenage genius in outer space?! NOTHING. Let's get trashed in Ten-Forward and warp drive to my intergalactic fantasy, Number One!

He even has a little FAQ's section for aspiring actors:


I want to be an actor. Do you have any advice?
My immediate advice is: study, study, study. Read the classic plays and see the great movies. And for the love of Bob, study! And read Backstage. Get yourself into some sort of acting program or workshop. Just avoid anything that tells you they'll give you a free book by L.Ron Hubbard. It's a scheme to recruit you into Scientology.


Done, Ensign Crusher. I was thinking about joining up, see if L. Ron could boost the old Tdawgydawg's star status, but you are the captain of my career, the Worf to my Tasha Yar.

Ah. In other news, I love Backstage bloggers. It's like they read my mind. Stacey Jackson is one of my favorites to read, and she's adorable to boot. I want to steal her wardrobe. Read all about the things she should have done when she moved to LA here: Things I Wish I'd Done.

Okay. I now have to go simmer down and watch the GOP convention and then get all riled up again. Oh man. Oh man oh man!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Oh for Palin's Sake!

So first up, let's all take a moment and appreciate my friend Lee's blog Cupcake Monster, highlighted on CNN.com today due to her witty and spot-on take on Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin:

Cupcake Monster!
"According to Dana Perino, the White House is "energized" by the Palin pick. Yeah, you get pretty energized running around screaming "WTF."


Aaaaand...last night was our opening night of Fringe Play, which was actually a dress rehearsal/first read/tech rehearsal. It went off okay. Although, talking about 9/11 for 6 hours is exhausting.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Naked & Fringed

So Fringe Play opens tonight. It might be scary, given that we've never had a full cast rehearse together. Or that I've never met several of the cast at all. Or the costumer designer. Or had tech. Hm. But Super Director/Writer/Actor Charles gave us a pep talk last night before we started a run, and he reminded us this is a workshop. It's a play in progress, and what matters is that we are true to the characters. So what if there's no blocking in the last scene? So what if we have new pages of monologues a day before the show? So what? An interesting experience, no doubt. But a challenging one, and, fittingly, a scary one. True enough.

We fling around the term 9/11 like dirty laundry. We use it every day. Cars wear "Never Forget" bumper stickers like elitist band-aids. (I loathe those bumper stickers. You think your peice of sticky plastic on your ugly truck is going to jog my memory? I seem to remember...oh, that's right, I remember all about it just fine without your egotistical help.) I think the problem is (and one which I had forgotten until rehearsals started)that we wall ourselves over in order to toss around our dirty laundry memories. It's human instinct.

Super D/W/A Charles sent out some videos yesterday of the initial news reports on September 11th. I had 15 minutes between work and my commute to Philly, so I started watching, thinking this will be good to see some of those news reports I hadn't looked at in years. Usually, I don't do a huge amount of research, relying instead on that Mamet-ian thinking that what is essential is the analysis of the scene, the understanding of the character's objective rather than what kind of bacon she ate for breakfast. (Organic. Pleeeease.) So, in a rather stupid move, I watched these two little videos, and I immediately started to freak out. I think what I did forget, instead of the general idea of 9/11 itself, an idea that can only be eloquently illuminated by a cheap-ass bumper sticker, is how terrified I was that day that we were all going to die. I was a senior at Upper Merion High School in King of Prussia, PA, in acting class of all places, when the first plane hit and we turned on the television. At first, it was a horrible accident, smoky and so strange, and sad. But when the second plane hit, suddenly the world started to cave in on itself. Were all the planes going to start falling from the clouds? Would all the buildings start collapsing into their roots out of terror? When Flight 93 crashed into that field in Pennsylvania, looking at my own mortality, even sitting at my faux-wood desk in Room 909, was my only option.

So. I watched those videos. Drove to rehearsal. Found a fantastic parking space. (Thank you, Julie, for your excellent karma.) Got to rehearsal. Ate a yogurt. Started the run. Listened to my castmate Michael's speech about making a decision between burning to death in a fire or jumping out of the 99th floor window. And I lost it. I started shaking. I was listening to the other speeches, and when I got up to do my 2nd monologue, I thought I was going to pass out. At the end of my speech, my character dies. I barely finished it. I kind of sped off stage. Which, fine, as an actor, what I should have probably done was lived in that moment, and breathed it in, and shared it with my castmates, and let it be what it was. And I did, for the most part. But in popped that human instinct, to shut it off, to hide yourself when you're vulnerable. So I ran offstage, huddled in the dark, and sobbed.

When you're onstage, and you find yourself finally tiptoeing into the picture, and you yourself are poking your timid little feelings out into the light, it can be utterly debilitating. It's not anybody's natural state to let it all out. Except for crazy people. Which is why crazy people are usually great actors. The trick is finding the balance between crazy and socially existent. (All my actor friends are nodding.)

It's exactly like being in a romantic relationship. How much do you let out in the first month of love? How much can you let out to your partner when you want to marry them? How much can you let out at all? What if they stop loving you? The goal, I guess, onstage, and in life, is to keep no secrets at all. To be truthful and to be naked. In this case, I actually I had no idea I was covering anything up at all. But crouching in the black backstage, once I let out some tears over my freakout feelings about 9/11, suddenly I got this rush of freakout feelings about a whole buttload of issues. I hate planes. I hate heights. I love New York, I hate New York. I believe in Obama so much. What if Obama doesn't win? I hate this war. I protested this war. I held up the sign with my brother and sister at the front of the March 17th March in Philadelphia on the 1st anniversary of the war, and screamed, "What do we want?! Peace! When do we want it?! NOW!" until my voice was gone and tears were streaking my cold face. My grandfather walked beside me in the January march on DC in 2004, and he started to cry when he realized he'd fought in WWII because he thought it would be the very last war. Oh look...it's 2008.

Doing a play about 9/11 is doing a play about today. Literally, I'm speaking lines about my life. I didn't know that when I signed up for this shindig. I thought, "Ah. Fringe. Another goal for the summer checked off!" It breaks my heart to think about the what if. What if Al Gore had won in 2000? What if we had protested the war more? What if I'd given up my artistic life and become a soldier? The day John Kerry relinquished the election to George Bush, the only person I could reach was my brother, Michael. He told me that we had to keep working for the America we were raised to believe in. Even if it doesn't exist, we have to keep believing that dream is possible. Even when bad things happen, and planes fall out of the sky, and our cities change, and our fears are released into the world, and we crack open our chests like dusty attic trunks, we have to keep believing in the possibilities of hope, and change, and America. That's the best part about Obama. He's not the keeper of hope, he's just a person who reminded us it's okay if we each have some.

I'm a little scared about our opening night. I'm a little nervous about how I'm going to react. It is my story, after all. And you know, this reminds me that I truly look forward to my drive across America in a month. I like looking at my country. I'll put on a bumper sticker that says, "Obama Biden 2008."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pros

Now that my Hell Job has entered a new era, I'm hoping that I will be able to settle down for my remaining weeks in King of Prussia before I head out west. (EEEEE!!!! That's my happy/scared/excited/peeing in my pants noise that erupts out of my throat when I talk about LA. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEee!)

My To Do Lists are overwhelming. I like to categorize them, type them up, print them out, and paste them in books. The most organized TD I've ever worked with would carefully handprint every single one of his lists and put a tiny little box next to each item, so that he could carefully X it when he had completed his task. I like doing that too. I looooooove X-ing out To Do tasks. It's because it rarely happens.

Which is why my lists are overwhelming! I have my "To Do for LA" list, my "To Do for LA Before I leave PA" list, my "To Buy in PA for LA" list, my "To Buy in LA" list which is attached to my "To Buy in PA for LA Roadtrip," list, my "To Stay in PA" and "To Bring to LA" book lists, and my "What to Do in LA When I'm Poor, Sad, Hungry, And/Or Unemployed and Miss PA" list.

EEEEEeeeeeeSPLAT!

However, last night I stumbled onto Nicole J. Butler's blog on Backstage.com's Unscripted section. She's celebrating her 10th Anniversary of moving to LA. I particularly felt it when she said, "I arrived as an artist, and along the way I discovered that I needed to become a business woman as well." And she so neatly broke it down into this handy equation: "Success = Preparation + Opportunity." (I love blogging.) I feel like this is a reminder from some higher power that I'm not going to die. Just because I have NO CLUE what I'm doing, doesn't mean I'm going to move west and fall down dead. I do know what I'm doing. Roughly. Hey! I've made lists! Many, MANY lists!

In other news, I got a $300 check for my contract buyout from the Indie Film. Money!

Aaaand...9/11 Fringe Show is moving along. Kind of. I will literally be going into our opening night performance with 12 hours of rehearsal MAX. We won't even have the entire cast until our first performance. Last night I was done 1/4 of the way through the rehearsal, and tonight's rehearsal was cancelled. The writer/director is adding lines/scenes/monologues (uh, when am I getting that new scene? Um, okay...) and rewriting old ones. The twelve actors are all sort of rolling with it, because he is so calm, so not worried. Maybe it's because it's the Fringe, and it's low stress, or maybe because this is the truest Work in Progress ever. Every year we'll have a 9/11 anniversary, and every year he'll do this play, in new and varying forms. Last night he even said, "We're not going to do it this way this time, but next time I'm doing this and this..." Uh. Okay....Other than that, it's great! Everybody's very nice, of all different backgrounds, and I'm really enjoying just jumping in to a little adventure. I've worked with so many crazy people at this point in my life, and there really aren't crazies in this. Maybe it's because everybody's so damn professional, so desperate to do this play and this story some kind of justice, that even though no one knows which way is up, we're rolling with it like pros, letting the crap roll of our backs. And I'm looking forward to a free trip to Penn State on a game weekend...

So. Time to tackle some lists. Bah. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Where Fantasy RULES!

Call me a psychic, but as soon as I finished my last post, lo and behold I had the shittiest of shit days. This was followed directly by another shit day. Moral of the story: Procrastination is useless. When working for Hell Bosses, shit days are predictable and constant. Stop working for Hell Bosses.

Howeveeeeeer....this is not what this post is about. Nay, my friends! This post is about:

THE NEW YORK RENAISSANCE FAIRE!

Huzzah and Hallelujah, today was the annual trip to the Renaissance Faire to see our friend Seth prance about in tights and sling faux Elizabethan insults at similarly dressed thespians in Tuxedo, New York. One of the happiest and most ridiculous days of the year. This year I was again accompanied by my friends Beth, Randy, Gillian, and Teddy, all of whom are actors as well, none of whom have acted in a Renaissance Faire.

(For all you Ren Faire virgins, let me set the scene for you: Picture a forest in modern-day suburbia, where a small village of squat, thatch-roofed cottages (If you just sang out the word "Burninating," you just got an extra ten points. All others, please refer to Strongbad.) lie nestled around several mossy ponds, the green waters rippling with paddle boats and a floating dragon head. There is a maypole, a human chess board, stocks, pony rides and knife-throwing games, several taverns advertising "mead" and "steak on a stake," as well as a real-life sword in a stone. Wizards wander around and buxom young wenches cry out as they sell their wares, items that range from roses to elf ears to broadswords. Food tents offer such delicacies as "The Cone of Cookies," "Spycey Potatoes," "Flavored Snow," and turkey legs the size of a small dog. There are flush privies for those who prefer to not use the Port-a-Potty, and Ye Olde ATM for those who have forgotten to pack all their dubloons. This is not a place for the normal.)

There are several things that fascinate me about the Ren Faire, first of which are the actors themselves. These are people who dress up in leather and canvas in the thick of summer, and force generalized British accents through their modern American lips. They perform for 9 hours a day, and not only "onstage" as they perform huge amounts of stage combat in sweltering heat and pounding rain. They perform whole Shakespearan plays in an outdoor theater, fast, intense scenes on bridges and in wooded glens that further the plot of the entire day's overarching theme, but they also are consistently improvising as they move constantly through the audience. Most importantly, they work diligently and genuinely to create a magical foundation for their audience: Yes, you did stumble onto a lost Tudor age in upstate New York. Yes, we do all exist simultaneously in a mish-mash of history, including all of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, Elizabeth I's entire court throughout her entire life, as well as a hodgepodge of other cast members such as Ivanhoe, Sir Ulrich Von Lichtenstein (which I'm fairly sure is the name of Heath Ledger's character in "A Knight's Tale,") Lucrecia Borge, Anne the Pirate Queen, and Mary, Queen of Scots. Yes, we do use a strange perversion of Elizabethan language. (Par example: "I thank thee, milady," "Where art mine mead mug, thou lump-headed dog?" "Thou shalt be mine champion at the joust, Robin of the Hood, at 4 of the Clock!") Yes, we do invite our audience to interact freely with us, onstage and off. Yes, we do invite the exploration of the bawdy side of England's court life by showcasing our breasts and making jokes with a really-not-so-vague sexual innuendo punchline. Yes, we do encourage you to wear your own homemade armour.

Whaaaaat?! Who makes homemade armour?! This audience does. Oh yes.

Second to speaketh about, my lords and ladies: the audience. It's as if the Ren Faire banners proclaim: "Bring me your oversexed dorks, your hopeless medievel fanatics who polish their own dagger collections, Bring me your crazies who own their own doublets, plaid hoop skirts, farthingales, petticoats, partlets and bumrolls, fairy wings, thigh-high leather boots, and corsets meant to be worn over top of your smock (your shirt, you 21st century loser)." These are men who grow their hair long so they can braid it like a "Scotsman." These are families who dress up their babies like pixies, shove their boobies into small strips of woven cloth, and whip out their handmade metal as decorative clothing pieces. They do not work at the faire. They come, they drink a ton of mead, they make lewd jokes. It's a strange, safe world, here at the Ren Faire, where anybody can be anybody. A tall, thin girl with too much acne can be a princess. A large man with copious amounts of hair can be a Celtic God. Couples come and dress in matching belted & tied fashion get turned on by the overwhelming amounts of cowhide and copper. Within the Ren Faire's thatched and paper mache walls, whatever we want to be is not only welcome, but stronger. Even if it is a wizard. It's a wizard with confidence. This is the place where you, my friend, are the coolest.

Third, I must clarify, I LOVETH THE REN FAIRE. I don't know what it is, whether it's being aware of the incredible acting challenge these people work through valiantly and energetically, whether it is observing a truly involved and passionate audience, or whether it's the knowledge that I am one of those people who so desperately want to believe in that strange, safe world where magic IS possible, where heroes DO fight tirelessly for love with swords and bare fists if necessary, where food is plentiful and entertainment is constant, and everything is tinged with sex and humor. We all belong, all children, all adults, all the weirdos, all the fatties, all the shy, all the brave. There are no boundaries. Fancy is free, and we are all part of the story.

They say in acting that when you go to a play, you are watching the action occur because an ordinary character is placed in an extraordinary circumstance. You are watching the normal within an urgent and dangerous abnormal. You go to see yourself be brave. You go to see yourself feel something. Hopefully, it'll rub off a little. We can hope. And here, at the Ren Faire, you are so a part of it, you can't help but feel that this urgent story they are telling is one which could not exist without your presence. You help the story along, by standing next to the actors while they cry their lines into the sky as they run through the town square, by cheering them on when they need you as they battle for the crown. We offer them advice as we pass by them, and while they can't change their scripts, they can hear us, react to us. The heroes themselves are so familiar: Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Little John, Queen Elizabeth. The villians are more varied: the Duke of Northumberland, of Percy, of Norfolk, the Sheriff of Nottingham. The prize is one that none of us have ever fought for in our lifetime: the throne of England. These are old stories that we tell and retell, embellish and choke. Shakespeare himself did the same thing, he stole old stories, well-known stories, and retold them. It's not the story itself that's important, but the retelling, because it gives us another opportunity, as audience and, in this case, as partners, to change the ending. I always thought I could save Romeo, could stop Juliet, but every time I watch it, even when I act it, no matter how I cry, they always die.

So, what is the Moral of Today? To seek out loving, passionate audiences who need you as much as you need them? To always tell a story in a new way? To foster safe spaces to tell the stories? To get archery lessons because I suck at shooting a bow-and-arrow? True, true, but without a doubt, I know the Renaissance Faire is beautiful and necessary, because we all need a place where fantasy rules (that's their motto, btw). Sure, it's not historically accurate, or even relevant. Sure, it's Six Flags on crack, with dragons instead of rollercoasters. Sure, I will never dress up like a wench to get a discount when I go there, but I will always always enjoy myself. I will always always cheer on the Queen's Champion when he gallops his horse down the jousting field. And I will always always wish I was dressed up in my own petticoat, calling out, "What ye olde fun we art having!"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I hate to say it...but this is another Procrastination Post

I don't want to go to work! So I'm writing this post. Good things happened today! (Maybe deep down I'm worried once I start working, all the good things will be erased by bad, bad things. A viable outcome.)

1. Aetna loves me! Finally! I have health insurance! The only problem...I kind of lied on my application AND on my phone interview. And I'm afraid they're going to find out and kill me. Or not kill, but let me slowly, painfully die and not pay for any of it. Aetna hates me! Still!

2. The sweet IRS man fixed my economic stimulus payment! FREE MONEY!!!! Plus, it turns out I still had more of a refund coming to me, so that means: FREE MONEY + MORE FREE MONEY!!!! (that was actually my money before it was free. hm.) PS who knew the IRS actually had offices?! I just figured there was some windowless building in iowa that you could only reach by telephone.

3. Sweet yoga class that consisted of: ME! $15 bought me my own private session huzZAH! I'm going to be sore tomorrow though. And it turns out, I rely way too much on the other people around me to copy off of. Yeesh. I'm a yoga sham. Then, on my way out, while talking to the owner and my yoga teacher, I made a joke about how I was really just moving to LA to get rich, and they kind of stared at me and then I realized these zen people thought I was the devil and then I quickly left.

4. Almost done my friend Amy's wedding present! Even though the wedding was a week ago...

5. Drinking with the Theatre Horizon theater teachers tonight! woooooo!

6. Took my favorite puppy for a walk this morning. He's a dream.

7. Okay. Time to go to work. Shucks.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

IMDB stands for I'M the goshDarn Best!!!!

Well what the fuck, people, I made it on to IMDB!!!! Maybe this shouldn't be quite as monumentally exciting as it is...but....IT IS! IT IS!

Ah. AAAAAHHHHHHH. I feel happy! I feel pleasantly surprised. Shit, I'm ecstatic! Elated! Go look at my IMDB profile here, motherfuckers: I ROCK.

"Why?" You might ask. You might shake me while you ask, as I bounce around the room, giggling. (Then you tell me to "take a chill pill," at which point I mime tossing an entire bottle down my throat. You know what that was? MAD ACTING SKILLS.) "Big whoop. IMDBoring."

To which I reply, "Too often have I turned to IMDB to compare myself to my other more successful friends. Too often have I turned to IMDB to scan a celebrity's backstory, in hopes it resembles mine. TOO OFTEN have I turned to IMDB out of procrastination, out of loneliness, wishing I too could be profiled and, in turn, stalked. And now, now my friends, I can be stalked with the best of them. Because I was in A MOVIE! Mwahahahahaaaaaa!"

Ah. Not only that, I'm listed as a lead. For being in one scene, and standing in the background of another. I loved Happy Indie Movie. Loved it. AH. I'm so content right now. Speaking of Happy Indie Movie, last week I was talking to one of my wee small campers about swimming, and she confided to me how much she loved hot tubs, to which I responded, "Oh God, I hate hot tubs now, because I was just in this movie and I had to sit in this hot tub with a bunch of other people for, like, seven hours all night long. Oh god, we had a great time...." Immediately thereafter I realized this small child was going to think I was filming a porn. Sweet. What an awesome teacher I am.

In other news...hm. No other news. I'm happy to be forcing myself to write here again. I missed it. I'm starting to panic a little bit about the impending move (Josh bought his plane tickets today to come help me move! aiee!) and once I get out there I'm going to freak out and just write in my blog whenever I get scared, which will be all day long.

Still waiting to hear about my healthcare. I have a feeling Aetna will be rejecting me again. How upsetting. I have a bump on my knee and I'm trying not to assume it's cancer. I miss New York. I miss Pinkberry. And walking everywhere. I miss my friends. Aw, now I'm getting sad. Think of IMDB! Think of IMDB!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ah. Happy again.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

All Things Grow, All Things Go


As far as music goes, I'm a repeater. I listen to the same song over and over and over again, until the words are so ingrained in my brain I want to throw up. Bile has threatened to rise with "Viva la Vida," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "SOS" (ABBA and Rihanna, woah) and that large Hawaiian man's version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Right now, it's "Chicago" by Sufjan Stevens, which has as much to do with the fact that I have only two cds in my car (which I currently live in) as it does with the fact that the song ROCKS. Hence the title. Which are the lyrics.


Anyway!


Good things happening lately. Not pee-your-pants-thrilling things, but exciting nonetheless! Number One, I had an uber stressful audition experience last week that evolved into a part in Charles Dumas' "9/11: A Day in the Life of the People," which is good, since most uber stressful auditions just end in either brownies or booze. This one ended in a Philly Fringe Fest show, waHOO! I'm so excited, because it's at the pretty pretty Painted Bride Arts Center on Vine Street, and because Charles is possibly the nicest man ever, and because we get to perform at Penn State, and because everyone is wonderful. Our first rehearsal was yesterday, and even though the rehearsal period is painfully short (like, four days short, yikes) the play is this real living, growing, breathing creation, and the people who are in it are bringing their honest, scary and painful feelings about 9/11 into the room. And frankly, I forgot I myself had them.


Number two, I have a job. It's a crazy, busy, exhausting job, and I am covered in bruises, and I find myself waking up from nightmares about it, but, sadly, it is one of the easiest and least upsetting jobs I've had. And on top of it all, it pays well. Well, thank God! And, fine, I was kind of falling asleep in our first read thru because of said "least upsetting" job, but really, it's been good. It's rather flexible, and I'm working in a beautiful house for a kind family, and I feel like I'm actually pretty good at it. I realized on my way home today that I will always always hate my rent jobs. I won't ever like what I'm doing to pay my bills, because it's not what I actually want to be doing. But this one...at least it's creative. At least it's not demeaning. Ahem. Like others...


Number three. Fun audition tonight! I was totally wrong for the part, and even if I wasn't I wouldn't be able to do it, but the audition came up, and I just made it happen. And I was so so soooo tired going into it, which is maybe why it was effortless to make choices ("Get out of my way, you!!! Oh wait...it's just me. Aw crap.") and I found myself laughing with the director, and being really really proud of myself when he thanked me for a "really great read." Hm. Nice. I feel good.


Number four. I'm having a good summer. I'm saving saving! Fine, I don't have a social life at all. (Aforementioned fun/exhausting/creative/stressful job has sucked up my time, life, and energy. I even sleep there. I'm still billing them for that, though...) But I'm working. And I'm working in theater too! I've done two shows and one film in two months. That's ten times better than the last 9 months in New York. And I feel so much more relaxed than I did there. Why is that? Because I don't have to pay rent right now? Because I don't have time to get caught up in all my friends' bullshit? Because my pond has gotten smaller and I've gotten to be a bigger fish because of that? Because I don't do anything fun? Or buy anything? Or have any time to sit around and worry myself into vomiting over music?


I saw some friends from New York this weekend, and in between the friends and the working, I listed to Sufjan sing over and over again, "All things grow, all things grow/All things go, All things go," and felt like that was my summer right there. I guess, my whole life. You fall in love, you make mistakes, you cry, and you fall in love again. I'll always be driving to new cities with new hopes glittering through my windshield, and I'll always get sad, and I'll always get happy again.


This has become a post for a friend, because when I hear the song I think of her, and I imagine it on a stage with a cast of thousands, because we all get scared, and we all get hurt, and then we fall in love again, and we grow, and we go.



I drove to New York in a van,

with my friend

we slept in parking lots

I don't mind, I don't mind

I was in love with the place

in my mind, in my mind

I made a lot of mistakes

in my mind, in my mind


if I was crying in the van,

with my friend

it was for freedom

from myself and from the land

I made a lot of mistakes

I made a lot of mistakes

I made a lot of mistakes

I made a lot of mistakes

Saturday, August 16, 2008

NO!

So, a lot has happened in the two weeks since I've last posted (eep! two weeks!) but I'll just say this: I'm exhausted. The first thing that goes when I'm stressed and working hard is sleep. I have nightmares, I wake up every hour, I can't sleep later than 7. Right now is one of those times.

I've been teaching two theater camps during the day, the last one which was literal Hell on Earth. Like, very nearly the 7th circle of Hell. Like, some diety loathes me right now. 25 kids, 5 days, three with learning disabilities if not all on the autism spectrum, two others with serious attitude problems that resulted in a lot of emotional and physical injury, and a bunch of other crazies in between. Whatever. It's over.

At night, and all day on weekends, I've been assisting for this old money family on the Main Line, which just barely is better than the teaching. (It only loses out on being Number One Current Suckiest Job because it pays well. And under the table ha cha chaaaa!) That whole situation is too much to be posted now. I'm too tired.

I will say this. Because I've been spent 2 weeks repeating "Say 'Yes, and...' to your castmates" to thirty-eight unruly little beasts of children, somehow it got lodged way into my brain and Teresa the Optimist Perfectionist Who's Afraid of Conflict dug herself into a big fat Mansion-shaped hole. You know, "Yes, And...". It's that thing we do in improv, and as theater professionals. We find ourselves faced with unbearable obstacles, or even more often, unbearable castmates who create unbearable obstacles, and we grit our teeth and say, "Yes. I will help you correct your terrible foresight and will change my plans so you can completely change my rehearsal schedule. AND, I'll even help you out by referring you to my friend the TD because you suck ass and your own terrible TD quit on you." Or whatever. The idea is that you connect optimism and obstacles.

And here I am. Fucked over by Yes, And...