Thursday, February 28, 2013

Creative endeavours of the third kind

At the risk of this becoming a food blog...I have done a lot of food things lately. As someone with an incurable sweet tooth life is hard for me sometimes, because treats tend to be more expensive than functional things like eggs and broccoli. I have a supply of flour, sugar, margarine and cinnamon in the cupboard with which I can do basic baking so recently I experimented with a favourite of mine. There's been some apples sitting on our counter for what feels like forever and the other day they started whispering to me 'stew us, stew us you know you want to'. A little cinnamon, a little sugar. Stewed apples, boom. Crumble mixture, boom (ate some of it raw on the way) and, courtesy of Tea and Sympathy (I know it seems like I work for their advertising department but I really don't) Bird's custard, boom. Sweet mini apple crumbley treats - there's a whole video about it and many other things, watch this space.
'I was brought up on Birds' said Daddy.  He actually did tell me that once.
Stewed apples with crumble mix to which I added oats for a little texture and health benefits!

Stewed apples in colourful silicone reusable cake cases

And outside of the kitchen, life has also been productive, in weird and unexpected ways.

I have joined a tap company.  It is very Jewish.  I am not Jewish - this is fine, but just kind of funny.  It's called Ya'el tap and is run by the coolest lady - when I got to the audition last Sunday I was a little freaked because she was really like a taller me - we both had a kind of braidy hairstyle that day, she has a nose ring, blonde, kind of Scandinavian-looking, kooky.  Also looking at her website I saw that at one point she and I had the same shade of green hair.  And she had a great fun energy and talked about the ethos of her company with great passion and honesty, which I trusted.  The deal is her name is Julie, Hebrew name Ya'el, and when she was young she discovered a love for Israeli dance at a summer camp (presumably related to her Jewish heritage).  She decided to fuse her love for tap with her love for Israeli dance.  So now Ya'el creates works based on Jewish themes.  This is not something I would ever have thought of, for obvious reasons.  While it is a little strange that I have found myself involved with a company that is essentially coming from a religious background, and Judaism of all religions, the fact is the girls in it are all so cool and they have a tap company.  I don't have a tap company.  So power to them for making something up for themselves, knowing that nothing out there was catering to what they wanted to do.  I will do that.  I absolutely will, it's impossible for me not to do that because what can I say - there's just too much Tessa for most of what's out there right now:D
Aaanywho...I am joining them! I'm so excited, my first official rehearsal is on Monday and a performance on March 10th.  I did something! I got a job where I will be performing something on a stage for people! I had to audition, get picked, and I did! Wow I haven't let myself get excited about it until just now, YAAAAAY! Tap forever! Tap tap tap!

The other thing I've been doing this week is, well, scamming.  On craigslist I saw a post for 'flier distributors wanted', and went in, and learned that they were hiring people to hand out fliers and get people to sign up for the American Bartenders School.  This seemed easy enough.


It's really hard! You ever gone up to people on the street and tried to engage them and get them to write their details down? Whenever I see those people on the street ahead of me I speed up my already quick walking pace and prepare to say a firm 'nope!' should they try and talk to me.  Knowing that does not help in this job.  Also knowing that this is a ridiculous marketing strategy does not help.  Bartending school, while a perfectly good thing to do - learn a new skill, make yourself more productive - is not something people do on a whim.  It costs money.  The people who might want to be bartenders - students, unemployed actors - cannot afford bartending school.  The people who can afford it - lawyers, doctors, bankers, private school teachers - do not want to go.  They are lawyers, doctors, bankers and private school teachers.  People who go to bartending school have premeditated their decision, they have decided that they can fit it in around classes or their dayjob, they've scheduled it into their lives, saved up.  They do not meet some randomer on the street and decide to drop everything including several hundred dollars on a course that IN NO WAY GUARANTEES A JOB.
Yes, bartenders in NYC can make up to $300 an hour.  They're working in the big bucks places, high end, financial district, where the high rollers go.  Those places will not hire you if you've wandered out of a 2-week bartending course waving a certificate, mm-mm they want years of New York City experience, golden references from other high-end establishments, perfect credentials.  Maybe even the guy at my local college bar makes that much money but it's the same deal - experience, actual experience in an actual bar with actual customers, is valued over any 'training' you may have had. it's my job to convince strangers that everything I've just said is not true.  I am not good at it, in fact I'm terrified of going up to strangers on the street because I imagine they are me and I know what I would do.  This is Noo Yawk Ciddy, kid.  What I am good at is walking 40 minutes over to AMDA and convincing the AMDA family to write on my clipboard.  Bless them, every single person I speak to says yes immediately without knowing what it is for or what will happen, because they just want to help me out.  Whatever NYC may have to throw at me, I will always have a home at AMDA.

Tomorrow, Lola leaves me for A MONTH.  A MONTH.  This is the longest we have ever been separated since we have known each other and I'm a little freaked out.  More than a little.  A lot.  October 2011, we meet.  Christmas 2011, we both stay in the city.  Summer break 2012, both stay here.  Christmas 2012 - both go home, separated for 2 weeks, that is bad enough, our reunion on the shuttle bus from the airport (that's right, we are such psychic twins that we managed to catch the same shuttle bus without knowing) was emotional.  A MONTH??? Waaah! Where will I be without my Mexican sister!

Luckily I have some extras - some Mexican, some not, all wonderful.  Don't ask about the bedbug - it's a thing we have.

Anyway Lolis will be home soon and we have to enjoy our last evening hanging out before she heads off.  Peace, molto vivace (and Mazeltov, I guess)


nb: this does not mean I am now Jewish.

How to turn some minced beef, onions, garlic, tomato sauce and refried beans into an evening of wacky surprises

Before you begin, make sure you have an Asian flatmate - you will need chopsticks later.

Got yours?


Step 1: Preheat oven.  I don't know what to because I don't know what system of measurement I'm dealing with anymore.  But it's kind of just before the middle.  Just preheat it, it's fine.

Step 2: Take your ingredients.  Chop onions and garlic, mix into beef.  Add refried beans.  Mash.  Add one egg.  Season to taste - I just took whatever was in the cupboard, which was salt, pepper, oregano, tabasco and a little garlic powder because I just love garlic.

Step 3: When your mixture is thoroughly smooshed together, take small portions and form them into balls with your hands.  (I also made a few burger patties.)

Step 4: Grease a baking tray with some olive oil.  Place meatballs spaced apart on tray.  Pour tomato sauce copiously over meatballs making sure they are all surrounded.

Step 5: Place tray into oven.  Wait a few mins.

Step 6: Take tray out of oven, turn over meatballs, redistribute sauce as necessary.

Step 7: Drop tray so that meatballs and sauce go everywhere, into all the nooks and crannies of the bottom of the oven door.  And some up the wall but miraculously none on your slippers.

Step 8: Shriek 'NO, NO!' Take a moment and wonder why your high volume shriek did not bring Jacob (only other person home) running.

Step 9: Stare for a few seconds, then begin working out how to clean up this mess.  Scoop what you can salvage into a pan.  Grab a cloth, any cloth.  This is where you need those chopsticks from earlier, oven doors have a surprising amount of little crevices.

Step 10: Spray it down, wipe it off, repeat.  And repeat.  And repeat.  Think about crying a little.

Step 11: When you have finished cleaning it all up, wash your hands a LOT.  Don't forget to throw the teatowel that got in the line of fire into a basin with warm water and bleach.

Step 12: Finish cooking what you salvaged in a frying pan.  It is now bolognese-type sauce.

Step 13: Pour a gin and orange (that's right) and call it a day.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Quick update

Since I have to dash out the door in a few mins I'll keep this brief - Iiii did a reading at which a Buffy the Vampire Slayer cast member shook my hand and congratulated me.  Not a big deal unless you're a Buffy geek like me.  So, a huge deal for me.  And I am a new member of Ya'el Tap company, rehearsing tonight at 6pm, Pearl Studios. 


More on that later!

Friday, February 22, 2013

She that asks

My dear friend, partner in crime and roommate Lola Arruti has a belief that she shared with me a long time ago. It pretty much goes like this: If you ask the Universe for what you want, the Universe will give it to you. Simple as. It doesn't mean that if I say 'I want a million dollars Universe, ta very much' a million dollars will fall into my lap from nowhere. It's more about the energy that you are putting out there. Like buying stuff from the Universe with energy as currency. (Ok I made that part up that's not what she explained to me). Today I was walking on the Lower East Side and it's a chilly day and I just felt that a really nice cosy independent bakery would be just the thing. And then I thought 'well it is times like this when I do wish I had a smartphone, which isn't very often, cos then I could just look up "bakeries near Norfolk St" and walk where it pointed me'. And THEN I thought 'no, cos walking around you discover things, and serendipity can bloom unhampered by your unshakeable plans and technology blinkers' (see 2 posts ago, if I'd had an iPhone to guide me somewhere else I wouldn't have bumped into Tea and Sympathy and got free Skips and THEN where would I be) And 2 minutes later before me appeared the EXACT EPITOME of what I had been pondering -

Sugar Sweet Sunshine is small, cosy, looks a bit like how my bedrooms in Hinton and in halls used to look,  and has a distinctly homemade vibe going on.  I had the most delicious strawberry cream cheese cupcake.  I couldn't believe how perfectly this place fit the criteria of what I had considered then dismissed as an unlikely dream.  How often does that happen? Not very.  But it really hit me like a feight train that sometimes you're thinking thoughts to yourself that you think are inconsequential and will never come to anything but the Universe is secretly listening in.

So I suppose the lesson is - think the thoughts.  Always think the thoughts, however impossible.  It might take a while or it might not always be the exact picture you had in your head, as in today's instance.  But the powers that be will be working.  It also occurs to me that the tiny moment of clarity I had vis a vis technology's role in most people's life today may have had something to do with bringing about my wish.  That sounds a little silly but every day I am aware that I'm one of the few Smartphoneless.  I did have a Blackberry for a while at home.  And yes it's nice to be able to take pictures and Google everything and look up where you are.  But those things are not essential - well in fact they almost are but who came up with that? We did, and we could take it away again.  I mostly notice when I find myself in unfamiliar territory...I think 'ohhh I wish I had an iPhone so I could Googlemap this thing'.  Y'know what? Rubbish.  I went out with Anel last weekend and knew from having looked it up on the map before leaving that we had to head for the Lower East Side, I knew the subway stop and the cross streets.  So once down there I just sort of felt it out, if you know North you're all set.  We set off walking and didn't have to double back or turn around, found it within 5 minutes, because you just know.  If you let yourself look around, actually around not at a screen, you know.
I digress - silly as it may be, to me anyway there is significance to the fact that my brain actively rejected the idea of the smartphone guide and I was then presented with Sugar Sweet Sunshine.
Always think the thoughts and think 'em loud! On a larger scale I suppose you could say that I thought the thought of going to New York City back when I was 16, and I dreamed about city streets and fire escapes and music.  I was also at that point making my first serious wishes to study performing arts and then do it as like, a thing that I do.  That's (shudder) almost 7 years ago (BIG SHUDDER...holy moly why do I still feel like I'm 16? That can't be good) SO 16 year old me thought the thought and now 22-almost-23 year old me is actually doing both those things.  Obviously with a lot of work and trial and error and suffering and succeeding in between but without the thought, the Universe doesn't know what you're getting at when you start trying and erroring.

Big thoughts for a Friday night.  Quick round up - went to a job interview today, officially first New York City job interview's hoping but also here's being realistic.  A music venue called Rockwood, been there since '96 which is a bloody long time for anything in this place, such is the rate of change.  Showcasing up-and-coming, underground, just starting out, new talent.  Very nice venue, three stages ranging from tiny to not that big.  Lovely to be back in a pub-and-gig kind of atmosphere I must say - wood-and-candlewax smell and teeny stage crammed with equipment distinctly reminding me of the Thomas Lord and TLOGs standard set up.  Interviewed by nice young Irish chap, let's pray that the transatlantic connection does the job.  I mean, I genuinely think he'd be a smart guy to hire me because I might not be like a fancy NYC bartender or something but I really do think one of my strengths is handling customers, I'm very comfortable doing it and the TL's cast of colourful characters over the years has certainly made me adept at making conversation with all sorts.  Let's be real, Hedgeman.  Just sayin'.  And dealing with people is obstacle #1 here.  Practical elements of the job, I can be taught.  People skills - well trained already.

So I also did this today - at first glance it may seem that doing fun hairstyles is not a productive use of my time.  I say WRONG - being able to disguise icky hair will be a great skill for anytime that I'm so broke that I can't afford shampoo.  Or if the shower breaks, or something.  Braids hide a multitude of sins, plus it just looks cool.  And takes 5 minutes.  Win!

I will now eat some more of the Tortilla Espanola I made last night.  Aesthetically it's not perfect - could do with being thicker - but the taste is great.  For my second attempt ever in my life I'm ok with it.

Adios, hasta luego

Thursday, February 21, 2013

On a clear day I can see myself for miles

Don't cry for me Hinton Ampner!
Evita audition this morning, up at 5am, dress on, heavy snuggly layers over the top, walk down still-dark street to subway.  I arrived in time to be pretty early on the sign-up list thank goodness - number 55 is respectable.  Lola was even better and was number 15.  It got pretty packed so this is all good news.
The cool thing about casting for Evita is that they don't really just want gorgeous Latina girls (aka all my close friends) they need 'townspeople' types.  And, because we are in Argentina here, the look is not necessarily so traditionally Latin (I learned today that Argentinians are often more European-looking, hence I could get away with it).  Anyway these are my thoughts on how it should go down, who knows what really goes on in their brains.  Happy to report that my voice kicked in at my hour of need, I sang 'Tell me on a Sunday' from Song and Dance, Andrew Lloyd-Webber.  In, job done, out by 10.30am and what to do with the rest of the day? Well it's beautiful outside if freezing cold.  The wind was blowing me towards Battery Park...

Once down there, I decided to try and find something new because I always go down there and stand at the water's edge and look out over the harbour and the Statue and the ferries coming and going and I love it very dearly, but today felt like a day where if I walked a different way something great would happen.  I was right on the money because I walked to the west side of Manhattan's tip and found a lovely place called Liberty View which is what it sounds like - a big balcony esplanade thing which gives the best view of the Statue.  There is an archway framing the view and a big wooden bench that runs all along the side opposite the view so you can sit back in comfort.  As Lady Luck would have it just as I spotted the sign pointing me up the staircase, a big tourist group descended leaving the whole space empty just for me.  With the sun shining, brisk wind blowing and clear skies, that's just about all the bliss I need to get me through a good long time.  Can never get enough of gazing at that statue.  And I love the whole harbour, it's always bustling and  and the water - much like myself - is always on the move, positively dancing in fact.

I reently read about something that I think is extremely cool.  In a park on Staten Island there is a statue of Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom and sponsor of arts, trade and defence.  The positioning of the statue is such that when you look over her shoulder, you get this view - her hand is raised in greeting mirroring the raised torch of Lady Liberty.  Statue friends!    

Super cool, nuh?

It was cold cold cold today so eventually I had to rouse myself from my beatific stupor and headed to the AMDA library to print out some CVs, chat with the friends who were around, nick some breakfast...that's right, it's orientation week for the new wave of first semesters which means today they laid on breakfast for the parents of arriving students.  Since there were no parents in the studio being used as breakfast room when I arrived, and since there were 3 tables spread with coffee, bagels, pastries and fruit, I felt no qualms about noshing on some free nosh.  Nosh nosh nosh.

I also bumped into Ray Virta who directed my drama showcase and is one of my all-time favourites.  He is a wonderful man and a kindred spirit I feel, though I'm sure everyone feels that way he's so great.
This is Raymond O Virta.  I think we do genuinely have a cool bond because he is madly passionate about a number of British playwrights and the ethos of British theatre in general - when he was teaching us he would reference a lot of things to do with the etiquettes more commonly found in the UK scene.  Also he talked a little about the concept of 'type' which was to say that in a play he did once the actors were given a gift of beautiful Ralph Lauren shirts that they wore for some kind of photoshoot...and while the shirt was beautiful he felt that it didn't work on him at all cos he's the kind of type that looks good standing next to a cow in a plaid shirt.  And I remember thinking 'ah, THAT'S why I feel so strongly that we are going to get along really well'.  We did, I'm proud to say.  He gave me the huge challenge of taking on a scene for my drama showcase from 'Plenty', a beautiful beautiful play by David Hare.  It is filled with so many things - you could read it a hundred times and find something new every time.  It's the hardest thing I did at AMDA including 2nd semester dance workshop and lord knows that was HAAARD.  I was really proud of the work I did in the end though because I felt that I'd learned some really valuable things about the craft of acting and I went through the mill to get it.  Ray had to pull the performance out of me with a harpoon but he got it.

Woah, tangent! Err...ran into Ray, brightened my already bright day.  Someone who's wisdom I trust deeply but who I can talk to on a level.  He asked what I've been up to and I reeled off auditions, job applications, volunteer and intern hopes...he says I'm doing exactly what I should be doing and that I should punch anyone in the face who asks me if I have a job yet.

Speaking of jobs, I do have an interview tomorrow (which I've probably just jinxed because I wrote about it) at a music venue, like a waitress/bar type thing...BUT it's at a venue where performances happen so technically, TECHNICALLY it's related to the performing arts.  Plus I just really wanna work in a music, really.  I would really like to work at the Beacon Theatre but they have no jobs right now.
I'll stop talking about it before I get carried away with young Joni Mitchell working in the coffeehouses of Yorkville fantasies.

Time to make tortilla Espanola - it's delicious, it's cheap and it's delicious!

Oh one more thing
This is the song referenced in today's blog title - it was written by Boy George and featured in the musical Taboo which I came across just before Christmas.  Love this song.

Peace and happiness and coconut oilxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

UK is watching over me

I know that, know how I know? Cos I was strolling down Greenwich Avenue yesterday and Tea and Sympathy popped up before me...I knew it was down there but I hadn't realised it was close by until, bing there it was.  There's actually A Salt and Battery fish and chip shop, then a shop filled with imports, then Tea and Sympathy which is a British-owned cafe/restaraunt where if you felt the craving you could get a bacon sandwich, roast beef and Yorkshire puds, beans on toast, Welsh rarebit, Ribena, Branstons, etc etc you get the idea.  The shop next door sells everything you could think of and a lot of things I couldn't (a cool surprise was sherbet fountains, which were a big favourite of mine as a child) but generally Lyle's Golden Syrup, Bird's custard (got some, had to), Curly Wurlies, Penguins, things from Thorntons, all the teas (American woman entering the shop: 'Hi, is there like an organic PG Tips? Or an organic one that's comparable? It's my favourite black tea' chortle chortle) pickles, jams, Tunnocks teacakes and a host of other classics.  I popped in just to gaze enraptured at all the goodies and when I left the bloke behind the counter said 'hang on, we've got these that are a day past their best before date so we can't sell them, dyu want some' and holds out a box of packets Skips and one of assorted Walkers.  So naturally I piled a couple of handfuls into my bag and went merrily on my way feeling very jammy indeed.

I have just cleaned our apartment like my life depended on it.  While I am the first to admit that at home I am not the tidiest person in the World, something has stuck somewhere because I am borderline OCD here.  When I clean I really clean, and can't possibly stop til I get the job done.  Which is good cos with 4 people coming going cooking eating and showering, cleaning needs to be a big deal in this place.  Not to mention the stream of visitors - I have fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams to live in a place where people can and do just stop by unexpectedly to say hello or chat or eat something.  More reasons to keep it clean - keeping up with Joneses and all that.  Except that the Joneses are actually Ruth, Charles and Joris and a whole bunch of other people upstairs.
This is Lola, Charles, Ruth and myself in our living room - as I write it is marginally more furnished with the addition of a couple of useful tables and two bar stools to go at our kitchen counter hatch thing.  But yes that is the corner of an airbed serving as a sofa bottom right.  And as to what my hand is doing I...I cannot explain.

Tomorrow is the open call for a non-equity national tour of Evita - we will see how my voice feels like behaving tomorrow, I believe at these auditions there is usually some singing involved.  Nyah.
FYI non-equity is ALWAYS, ALWAYS what we are going for.  As non-citizens we are not eligible to be in Equity productions or receive Equity membership points which go towards eventually getting one's Equity card.  To get an Equity card you also need a green card, basically.  This is fine - there are plenty of great non-Equity opportunities.  Equally there are a ton of fantastic things being done right now that I wish were non-eq.  It's a pretty even balance of advantage and disadvantage.

I've finished my banana custard so, to bed to bed. 
What's new, Buenos Aires? Only tomorrow will tell...


Monday, February 18, 2013


I learned something on Saturday night - my friend Jonah went to the men's audition for Spamalot on Sat.  He said the girls who had been called back from the dance audition were there - and they WERE all 5'11 or thereabouts! Based on how tall he knows he is and how much taller they were. 

It's all a learning curve - I knew all along that that was how that audition would go down but I still had to go and analyse and overthink.  Eventually I hope I'll be able to just breeze on through and skip the overthinking part.

Surround yourself with the greatest people and thrive

After a couple of bleugh days, as usual, everything is looking rosy again.  I have spectacularly lost my voice...I mean, it is gone, yesterday I had a sore throat and could only access my lower range, giving me husky blues voice which is kind of fun for a while but then this morning...nada.  Luckily I have had a mini whiteboard since first semester so I am utilising it now.  Turns out some people are better lip-readers than others - shout out to my good friend Joya Richmond who came over earlier on and was able to translate for everyone from a distance.  Also she can read my handwriting upside down.
So, voice gone - kind of an obstacle, yes.  I am maintaining radio silence until Thursday when there is an audition for something that I very much want to go to, and I'll see how things are on that day.

'Tessa, Hope your throat gets better soon, Love you, from your lovely roommate Sen' found on my bed attached to a big of Ricola, Cold-Eeze lozenges and chocolate
With roommates like this it's perfectly reasonable to expect good things.

The weekend turned unexpectedly fun - impromptu outing with Anel to meet some non-AMDA friends at a bar downtown, a lot of 80s dancing, the tail end of a party.  And a Sunday in which I scored free Insomnia Cookies (Insomnia is a wonderful and dangerous invention...they deliver cookies until 3am) using my feminine wiles, nyaahaha

I also taught a class on Sunday.  Well it would have been a class but turned into a private lesson because ALL MY PEOPLE CANCELLED
Please people, be clear about whether or not you are attending, and if you are bailing give me more than one evening's notice - I know everyone's crazy busy, I know.  But I'm answering to other people, I am technically employed by the Fundamental Theatre Project to teach so when they ask me for a head count, I give one and then noone shows up it sucks to be me.  And them.  Please please!

But kudos to Staci Jo cos I gave her two combos at high speed that aren't that easy - when you're the only person, all the pressure is on you.  Work.

News tidbits -

  • Today all the new 4th semesters began, including my sisters from another mista Anel and Maite.  I pray for them, and I am essited to see their showcases!
  • Extreme cooking should be a sport and me, Lola and Sena should be contestants, we pack three of us in at a time cooking three different cuisines and our kitchen is not big
  • Jacob brought a flower home for each of his roommates last night
  • In our apartment it never rains but it pours - either noone comes over or everyone does.  I am so ok with that - having visitors show up unexpectedly whilst I am being domestic in the kitchen makes me feel a bit like it's the 50s (also Chris upstairs came last week to borrow a cup of milk.  Unbridled joy!)
  • Coconut oil is really tasty - I should not eat it from the jar with a spoon but I do.  The other Lola in my life, Lola Kennedy (centre) is a bit of a healing maven and good with things like this - she told me about adding apple cider vinegar to honey and lemon for extra anti-bacterial and cleansing properties and now she told me about oil pulling for a bad throat.  As somone who believes thoroughly in the power of natural things to heal, this kind of advice is right up my street  - Oil pulling or oil swishing is a traditional Indian folk remedy that involves swishing oil in the mouth. It is mentioned in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita, where it is called Kavala Gandoosha or Kavala Graha. Ayurvedic literature describes oil pulling as capable of both improving oral health and treating systemic diseases such as diabetes mellitus or asthma.[1] While scientific evidence is lacking to support any systemic benefits of oil pulling, some studies have suggested that it may reduce oral plaque, halitosis, and gingivitis

    And that's Teresa on the right.  She is a registered between these two, plus Sena and her Chinese medicine knowledge, and Charles downstairs with his tai chi and massage skills - I'm golden!

    • I am auditioning for an Israeli tap company based in Brooklyn on Sunday and couldn't be more excited.  Whether I get it or not, I'm sure to meet some good people
     Soon I hope to get some apartment pictures going and extrapolate on our creative ways of living on the cheap cos if I say so myself I'm bloody good at it.  And we have a set of drawers that came from the street.  Don't worry, we disinfected the crap out of them.  And I built a storage unit out of cardboard boxes.  You'll see - it's all quite something!

    For now, 2C residents are watching Family Guy and enjoying peace.  So,


    Saturday, February 16, 2013


    I am convulsing with laughter.

    This is wonderful because 5 minutes ago I was not feeling so jovial - another day, another audition - no actual rejection today, callbacks aren't til March so they will let us know.  They will. Let. Me. Know.  Today went well and the people running the audition were dead nice.  However they asked only certain people to stay and tap and I was sad to not be one.  This audition was casting for a season of shows which will include Legally Blonde, Cats, Singing in the Rain, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and a bunch of others.  So, when I think about it I suppose Singing in the Rain only has one tapping female role, and I'm not really a Kathy Selden type so why would they ask to see me tap...but still, I have such strong feelings about that musical, I am very protective of it so if whoever they cast isn't amazing I'll be very unhappy!

    So, feeling a bit meh, wondering what to do.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I turned on the TV to see...



    Friday, February 15, 2013

    One of those days

    Today was one.  It could've gone either way, and sadly it went the one way not the other way.

    I went to an audition for Spamalot - a production being directed by Casey Colgan who is a very accomplished former dancer and singer, he played great toles in many esteemed productions including the European tour of A Chorus Line, and he now teaches at AMDA - he is responsible for whipping me thoroughly into shape in my third semester.

    The casting breakdown specified the height minimum as 5'6" - me!
    Cheerleader/showgirl type - me! (Surprised? Yes, actually this type fits me quite well, with the right accoutrements and hairdo!)
    And it didn't actually say this but anyone clever enough to look up online what the ensemble girls in Spamalot do would know that there is another requirement - muscle tone.  Me = clever enough to look it up online and I'm no Beyonce or Gisele Bundchen or whoever but I do have abs!

    So, there's 3 things that I fit quite nicely.  Then there's the actual audition.  We step forward, we say our names, we give them a classical double pirouette and two triple timesteps. 

    Wellll, I'm just going to do the thing you're not supposed to do - analyse the process.  Number of girls who understand what is meant by a classical double pirouette - few.  C-l-a-s-s-i-c-a-l, that's not parallel nor is it on a flat foot nor is it in plie nor does it feature ostentatious flicky hands in the preparation.
    A triple timestep does not require you to smash through the floor, it does not require you to try and fit all the beats into 5 seconds.  And ladies, ladies ladies...pirouette and timestep.  Not pirouette-timestep combined step.  Take a break, finish one then start the other.  As far as I know there is no step that uses a pirouette and a timestep almost simultaneously.  Because that would be stupid.  And the other thing that a couple of girls should really, really remember - when you have finished your presentation, you acknowledge the panel in a pleasant manner, and step back into line.  You do not smirk, toss your hair, turn around and flick your foot behind you as if to say 'and that's how it's done, bitcheees' - especially when that is in fact NOT how it's done.  I couldn't believe how many people ended their turn with a big blast of I'm-the-best bratty attitude.  Nasty.  Where did they learn that?

    Luckily for me AMDA drills into each of its students the best way to deal with this kind of thing.  We know to take our time, to breathe, to speak slowly and be heard, take pauses.  We know to separate individual things.  We know to acknowledge the panel, we know not to put an invisible question mark at the end of our name with an upward inflection.  Kudos to all the AMDA gals who represented today. 

    So, analysis over - we had that part, and they made a cut, which I made it through.  They then called groups back in to learn a combo.
    Ok I lied analysis is not over.  I was very happy with how I did the combo, it required a lot of style and detail and was in a style that I am well-versed in thanks to my home training where the concept of style in dance has greater importance than flashy tricks and showboating.  So it goes great, years of ballet jazz and tap exams have made using my face when dancing second nature, doin' all the right stuff, happy with myself.

    They kept really tall girls and the few very small girls who showed up (by my logic in accordance with the casting breakdown I should have been the shortest person there as I'm just skimming the bottom end of 5'6)

    And that's that! I could have given an award-winning performance, I could be exactly the face they had in mind, I could have been wearing the choreographers' favourite colour - all those things might have been true for me today.
    But I was not what they went for in the end.  And this is something that I'm ok with - I'm always prepared for the notion that today just not the day that I am what they go with.  Maybe there were not 3 other girls my height to make up an ensemble of four that they liked.  Maybe they just thought that in the end girls who are all 5'11 would look better on stage.

    Who knows.  It's awful to overthink these things and I've been told time and again not to go there, but sometimes you just have to y'know.  But no more - every time it's another step closer.

    All this would've been ok except there is a huge party going on in Brooklyn that I wanted to go to and was very excited about...but now I have an audition tomorrow morning and no way can I combine the two.  Especially since this party is like an hour's journey.  And will be crazy.  I am most disgruntled with life - coming home a little down after an unsuccessful audition only to remain at home while all of my friends are out doing fun things makes me a sad Tessa.

    Audition tomorrow, cross fingers and knock wood.

    And teaching a class on Sunday.  Not sure what else my weekend will bring - probably sewing projects, writing letters, and hopefully some neighbourhood exploration which I have yet to do.  Now I'll just let this bleugh day be over.

    Just to make myself feel better - showgirl THIS!

    Thursday, February 14, 2013

    Graduation photo splurge!

    All the UK crew - Lauren (Dunbarton Scotland) Xalvador (York) Francesca (Canterbury) Adam (Londonish) and me!

    The residents of 2C in all our glory.  This one's going on the living room wall!

    More transatlantic love

    The surviving members of my first group at AMDA, the D1s - last ones standing!

    Three of the amigas, Lola me and Cristi - these gorgeous girls
    Me Lola and Isabel being very very pretty

    Last one of Team GB - what can I say, I'm so happy we managed to get a picture all together

    A few floating heads - you know Lola by now, you should know Joris, we also have Jenessa above me and Brionn up right

    My boss for the last 4 semesters - the best ever, mighty Stefani Miller

    My third semester group, D3s always + Stefani

    Fearless fabulous fun Kayley, one of the greatest people you will ever meet

    The UK girls north and south.  EVERYONE loves Lauren, she's a joy to be around

    Me and my AMDA husband Joseph Spitale.  We were in the same group every single semester and even the same subsection when the class was divided in two for fourth semester.  He was my first ever acting partner in our first week and he was also my last ever acting partner in the penultimate scene of our drama showcase.  Because the chances of that happening are really slim but it did happen to us, we are pretty sure we were the valedictorians of our graduating class.

    Was in class with Adam 3 semesters in a row, he's like the bitchy and hilarious big sister I never had.  Thank goodness there was someone around to make Brit jokes with.

    Grads lining up in the Church, getting ready to walk.  (Cristina is near the front in the white shoes.)

    Hollis, a bigger fan of Dr Who et al than I have ever been - the only American with whom I can hold long discussions about Never Mind the Buzzcocks.  In fact she came to see Simon Amstell live with me.

    And that's it...except look what I woke up to the next day! 'Congratulations Graduate daughter love Mum and Dad'.  Well lord knows I couldn't have done it without them! 

    And here we go

    February 2013, the Kasbah

    This is the moment it all starts.

    This blog, I mean.

    Yes - for over a year now I have been meaning to start one up to share the joys of my New York life, document my adventures, post smile-inducing pictures, reflect on what I learn each and every day...but then it just never really happened.  And so, with graduation from AMDA a distant memory, of four days ago, a new apartment and the future opening up before me like an infinite chasm into which I will be unceremoniously shoved and fall down, down...down...oh shit.  Where was I? Yes, future, new beginnings, new digs = NEW BLOG

    So, let's play catch up.

    522 W 157th St, New York, NY 10032
    I live here.  522 West 157th St, Apartment 2C

    With these two beauty queens

    L Sena Lee, South Korea  R Lola Arruti, Mexico

    AND this charming young man

    Jacob Matheny, Texas

      Love and friendship of 2C!

    Joris (centre) does not live with us but we love him and he will be our downstairs neighbour!
    So much love.

    I graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy on Monday the 11th of Feb 2013.  It was if I'm honest a little weird - for some people I'm sure it was an emotional day, for me it was just lovely to be around my whole semester all dressed up and looking nice, then it got weird when the guest speaker did his thing and made a bunch of Pope-resigned jokes.  Our ceremony was held in the church of St Paul the Apostle.  Guest speaker also did a good job of undoing everything that we've been taught 'oh, I'm on Broadway tonight, I'm gonna be late...what are they gonna do, fire me? Snigger snigger' soo instead of trying to glean meaning and wisdom from him I was happy to just gaze on open-mouthed and share looks with one Ruth Horackova who was reading my mind and equally incredulous.  After it got weird with guest speaker Christopher Seiber currently on Broadway as Billy Flynn in Chicago (yup, busted) it got lovely again when we all did 'the walk' - i.e. across the stage to shake hands with the school directors and receive our snazzy AMDA folder diploma holder thing.  Sad that some people weren't at graduation since it was originally supposed to be on Saturday morning but the snowstorm got it postponed and some people just couldn't make Monday night - work, travel plans, etc.  Great though to cheer for my friends and be cheered by them when it was my turn
    And let's just acknowledge this piece of amazing

    My namecard with pronounciation hint - everyone had one, mine just happens to be the best!

    I will do an entire separate graduation picture post cos there's some great ones.

    To pick up where I left off, it was lovely and then after the ceremony I had some great moments with great teachers, I was very happy that many of my all-time favourites made it in to see us and it was honour to have them congratulate me - these are quite seriously heroes of mine.

    And then it got massively awkward, to my great amusement.  My dear friend Anel Carmona came to the ceremony, and Lola had a friend from Mexico visiting to see her graduate, but other than that we were pretty much riding solo since our families are smart and didn't travel hundreds/thousands of miles for a thing that lasted all of 90 minutes.  There was a reception being held in the basement event room of the church so down we all trooped (divested of high heels, swapped mine for my zebra Doc Martens, natch) and I made a beeline for the food - if it's free, YOU EAT IT student life in New York City lesson #1
    Lola and her friend went downtown to have a celebratory dinner at one of our favourite restaurants, The Jane - highly recommended if you come to the city and have some cash to splash for a special occasion.  NB I've only been there when Joris' parents came to town and took us all out for dinner.  My budget is not friends with Jane, though for an upscale place with fantastic food it's very reasonable.
     So Lola's gone, Anel is hunting for our other amiga Cristina who is nowhere to be found, I'm standing alone in the middle of this room trying to eat lasagna from a paper plate in a fancy dress surrounded by families of my peers...was quite happy with that scenario, then people started introducing me to said families.  Oh no no no, don't do that.  I feel terrible thinking about it but really, honestly, there's no need, they don't care, they are busy lavishing praise on their darling angels about how well they've done and how beautiful they are and making horrendous small talk with the parents of their child's roommate, classmate etc etc.  I think it's lovely that they can do that but I am a Fairey and we do not do that.  I had to laugh to myself thinking what would've happened if my parents HAD been there.  Well first I shuddered then I laughed.  They would have taken one look and scarpered.  WOULDN'T YOU!!??
    I awkwarded around the room for a while - I was actually waiting for my long-term classmate Joseph to go with him and his fam and our ex-AMDA classmate Teresa and her other half Mark (phew) to get dessert/drinks.  Waited a looong while.  Chatted to a few people...met more parents.  Sought refuge amongst the also parent-free other Brits (see, smart people).  Ate a heaped plate of cookies.  Bopped around a bit.  Oh looorrrr.  Finally, finally I bailed out and Teresa and Mark found me on the corner of 59th and took me to the diner where eventually the Spitale clan (big group of Italian Canadians) joined us.  We ate, we drank, we yapped.  I hopped on the 1 train to go home and then this happened

    I'm sleeping on an airbed lent to us by our upstairs neighbour and AMDA peer Drew.  We discovered that upside down, it's sort of divided into two sections and we're pretty convinced it's meant to be an airbed/boat.
    Let others party, let them drink, cry, swear their undying love for their friends and classmates, let them hug and sob and learn and grow.  Us? We are sailing.