Thursday, May 23, 2013

All quiet on the Bloggern front.

Busy busy busy.

Ho hum, where to begin?

Well, I continue to work at the AMDA store, where I mostly have a great time.  It's a very sociable job - this week, all three shifts I have done so far have featured visits from all my closest friends.  If I so chose I would just never need to go anywhere except for my apartment and school because everything I need and everyone I want to see are in those two places.
However I realise that New York City is a big place with a lot of other stuff in it so, I will continue to go elsewhere.
So, work is good.

I danced last weekend in Choreographer's Canvas.  It went very well and was a good time.  As I was getting up the next morning fairly early I couldn't stick around to see the other pieces in the show but I saw a few during tech rehearsal and everything was really impressive.
I received a nice compliment from our producer/lead dancer on my costume hair and makeup.

Hahaaaa that's because it took me like 2 hours!

Many of my fellow ensemble members made little to no effort with theirs, which I was very surprised at...I figure, when you have a chance to take responsibility for your own costume that's kind of a golden opportunity to really make it fantastic.  When there is a wardrobe mistress in charge of everything you wear, you can sometimes end up with costumes that you're not so keen on.  Plus, if your director says '1940s New Yorkers, all black, put a costume together' you go 'aha this is a chance to show them how professional I am, how much I pay attention to details and how much effort I am prepared to make for my job'.  If you show up  in a miniskirt, or with a backless salsa dress or a pencil skirt that you can't possibly dance in, if I was that director I would think 'what these people don't know how to use Google to research something?' Even if you didn't spend a semester at your school working on pre-60s material and having to dress the part for every musical theatre class as I did, there is no excuse these days for not getting something like this right.  Google images and a thrift store is all it takes.  I suppose I'm lucky to be a combination of AMDA grad, borderline OCD about clothes and someone who spent their childhood in a dressing up box doing just this - putting costumes together.
Ok rant over, it is surprising how little effort people will make though.

Other news, other news...well, I met up with Grace AND Beth last week.  I still can't believe I managed to get in two Vanessa Golborn girls in the same week, in New York.
With Grace and her boyfriend I had some wine on the upper west side and then a very delicious dinner and of course a huge catch up.  They had been in Texas visiting his brother who lives there so they weren't in the city long, it was just a few days to round off their USA trip.  AND, lucky gits, they went to Madison Square Garden to see a Knicks game the night before they flew home - so jealous.  I have always wanted to do that.
And then Beth and I had a really yummy brunch on Sunday - I ate a LOT at this place called Back Forty on the lower east side - I highly recommend it to anyone.  Their prices are good and the food is delicious.  Of course we also had a lot of catching up to do so we were sitting there for some hours yapping away.  
Next Sunday I am meeting Michelle and the weekend after THAT Julia is visiting! Some kind of exodus is happening.

That's all good news so I must relate the sad, sad news that knocked us all for six this week.

On Monday, our dear Maite learned that her father is very very sick, so she flew home to Spain on Tuesday at 7pm.  It is two weeks until graduation so if necessary I will march on AMDA to make sure they allow her to graduate even though she's had to leave early.  We had a farewell dinner (we the bedbugs - me, Cristi, Anel, Lola, Joris, Maite) on Monday night and all feel very sad that Maite has to go through this and that she had to leave New York.  She will come back, she just has no idea when.  Until then, we will miss her terribly.

News from Spain is positive so far, continue to hope and pray and send our love and support.

I will end on good news and a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY FELIZ CUMPLEANOS to Maman! The Fairey Birthday season is upon us.  As always, things in the post that will arrive delayed - think of it as extended Birthday not delayed.
Lots of love to the Birthday girl!

And now my busy life must go on - there is cleaning to do and class to take.  Here I go again!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tessa and the Two-month old

Two months!!!

Officially the youngest baby I've ever taken care of - and for the longest period of time, too.  My friend Sivan babysits for this family who live on West End Avenue and 100th St and she called me to ask if I could sub in for her on Saturday night.  This was odd to me because New York parents have high standards and tend to want to carefully vet everyone who will be setting foot in their house or spending time with their children.  Babysitting at home I'm used to showing up on the day on a friend's recommendation - you know and trust one mid-Hants local village girl, why wouldn't you the next one? (Thanks Ellie:D) So I was a little surprised but very pleased, I talked to mum Yael on the phone and she informed me that her kids (9, 6 and 2 months) were very easy going and the oldest would be at a friend's anyway. 

I arrived at 6.30pm last night (half an hour early for some introductions, etc) and met Yael, son Yahli and Yahli's friend Leia who was sleeping over.  Baby Ari I met a little later as he was sleeping when I arrived.
Yahli and Leira were a dream, they are both only 6 but they are really good friends and it was very sweet how they played together without a single bicker, no competition, no bad manners.  And worked together to help me figure out the TV so they could watch their pre-planned sleepover film - worst member of my generation, I should be kicked out.  AND they both ate all their rice and meatballs without complaining or being picky about how much they got or the amount of sauce, AND they got into their PJs without any resistance, brushed their teeth, everything - honestly those two needed a babysitter only because it's frowned upon to leave 6 year olds home alone.  But, fact of the day, not illegal.  I just looked it up. 
Baby Ari was a different matter.  First off, what a cute baby.  Also, what a chilled out baby who seemed to have no problem with the fact that I was neither a member of his family or Sivan.  He had to be fed just before the parents left so he was awake and hanging out with us in the living room during dinner.  And Yahli and Leia were happy in front of their movie so I took Ari into the bedroom to see how he felt about falling asleep.  The answer was...indecisive.  Yael has an exercise ball that comes in very handy as a bouncing tool - instead of walking around and bouncing causing untold stress to the knees, sit on exercise ball holding baby and just go nuts.  So I'm bouncing, humming the tune of 'Spandex' from my friend Joseph's show (of which more later) Ari's nodding off.  Naturally as soon as he was absolutely out and I went to put him down he woke up - didn't wake up and cry, but woke up.  And so it went on, for a good long while - he was pretty happy most of the time so he was alright being left in bed to just chill and be interested in the ceiling so that I could clear up the kitchen etc.  But now and then I'd hear very distressed little yells and have to go and repeat the whole cycle for a looong time - when he did start crying he was pretty determined about it.  He did go back to sleep for a few hours and woke up again just before mum and dad got home so I'd just given him a bottle and he had zonked out completely this time when they arrived - he stayed zonked whilst being passed around from me to Yael to her husband back to Yael - pheeew. 
Not gonna lie - it's a little scary when a two-month old who you've just met is crying for a fairly long period of time.  I was texting Sivan and she was asking how it was going.  I told her Ari was awake, again, and she said 'yeah it's a little scary when he won't stop crying'.  Always good to have an empathetic cheerleader in these situations.  Luckily none of Ari's crying was the red-faced screaming oh-my-gosh-this-baby-is-going-to-explode kind, he had a sort of 10 seconds on, 10 seconds off pattern going.
He was asleep when the parents came home and Yael said Leia's mum wanted me to babysit for her oldest daughter on Friday.  So, I call that a successful night.  Loving the relaxed and warm style of the Upper West Side Hebrew parents contingent.  I really hope I can work for this family again sometime when Sivan can't make it.  If I babysat twice a week for the minimum I'm likely to make in one session I could pay 85% of my rent.  Meaning that a decent proportion of my AMDA store earnings would be free to be saved for other things like say new dance shoes (I officially do not have a single good pair) or a great leotard or...dundundunnnn...a real mattress! DREAM BIG


This is Joseph Spitale.  He and I were together in class every single semester at AMDA.  We have cooked meals together with other friends, salsa danced together, partied together, rehearsed together, sang together and last weekend we shopped together. 

He is currently appearing as 'Yuri' and a couple of smaller roles + ensemble in the off-Broadway show Spandex the Musical.  I went with Joris to see it yesterday afternoon - comp ticket thank you very much - and had a great time. 
Spandex is set in the time and place of legwarmers, giant mobile phones and most importantly aerobics.  There is a story, although this is one of those shows where you're having so much fun watching the crazy energetic aerobicise-style choreography, tumbling, twirling and funny characters that you don't mind too much about the plot.  However there's one involving a pair of former gymnasts, the one who won bronze 10 years ago has built an aerobics empire and never lets anyone forget that he won bronze (main antagonist) and the other fell from the balance beam disgracing herself and ending her career, she is now his best aerobics instructor (main protagonist).  There are also an ex-Israeli army pair, one of which is Joseph's role Yuri, who decide to use their army training to come to the USA and capitalise on the booming fitness market.  This resulted in my favourite production number featuring all the men in the cast and led by Joseph and his fellow Israeli character doing a very well-choreographed number with tumbling, stunts, press-ups and rifle twirling.  The third storyline is about a mother who decided to take her life back by joining an aerobics class at 'Bronze Bodies' and ends up competing and winning at the Crystal Light national aerobics championship women's solo events.  Cos y'know, that's a thing.
As I said, storylines - fairly inconsequential when there are so many fabulous 80s workout outfits to marvel at.  I have to give my main snaps to the ensemble all of whom had a small role and a character name but other than that not much story, but each one of them had fleshed out their character to the point where sometimes I was more interested in them than the main storyline.  Stellar turns by all in the vocals and dance department and by mostly all in the comedy department, some (Joseph included) to the point where me and Joris garnered a few looks from other audience members because we couldn't stop giggling.
I hope Spandex can do well on it's off-Broadway stint, iron out the kinks and be moved to a bigger space because they had to fit all these fun production numbers and set pieces featuring swathes of turquoise spandex fabric encircling the entire cast onto a very small stage.  I am very proud to have seen my friend in such a fun show and also very impressed with how buff he got - Joey's very slight, he's taller than me but he's always been annoyingly skinnier (there's a reason he played a deer in our drama showcase) but he has been working hard and has packed on some serious guns.
After seeing a show filled with super-fit people singing WHILST doing full aerobics routines, naturally all Joris and I could think about was going to Magnolia and mainlining cake.

I have been given the gift of a free day that I didn't expect to be free - yipee! What to do, what to do.  Drink coffee, ponder some more


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Rage against the machine

Whew, life is busy.  In all good ways.  However, tonight I am feeling frustrated because I was defeated by a till.  I am meeting Beth tomorrow however which is of course a wonderful thing - no machines to mess with me there! Let's hope I didn't just jinx the subways.  Babysitting, school store-ing, rehearsing, interviewing, hunting, etc etc etc - alive and well, in short! Going to drown my sorrows in some sorbet and one of the greatest vocal performances ever

(shame about the silly Victoria's Secret ad that plays beforehand - did when I watched it anyway - which embodies NONE of the Janis Joplin ethos)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

This. Is. Incredible.

This What an amazing thing. So much about this is incredible. Specifically what I find incredible about this man is his absolutely humble account of his heroism...he completely skims over the part where he kicks in a door. And ends with a joke. And also, as one Twitterer following the story put it, 'Who has the courage of Charles Ramsey? Living life, enjoying a Big Mac and a Coke, ready to kick in a door when someone screams for help.' Where many would question, he just acted. I hope they reward him as he deserves, but I also hope they don't turn it into a media circus with talk show appearances and McDonalds ads. It would ruin the total honest humanity he display in this interview, in my opinion. And I hope people don't get so caught up in the entertainment value of his cracking interview style that the kidnapped women get overlooked - they survived an ordeal that no person should ever have to go through which I think shows a kind of bravery that goes above and beyond and then had the courage to draw enough attention to themselves to get rescued, possibly at their very real peril. Many thoughts. Initially, WOW.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

More hunting!

This is Sena's 'we miss Jacob' face - we are missing our token boy so we borrowed Joris instead.

Happy days, I have another performing job.  I am going to play The Huntress in 'Tauris', a new short play being featured in a new works festival.  It's a dystopian future kind of thing in which my character is an Artemis-type figure who defends the environment on behalf of Earth.  I'm ok with that! Seems fairly appropriate, I think.

Off to enjoy some sunshine before babysitting later


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Renunion's a-comin'

Well hallo thar.

Fantastic news - I am expecting not one, not two, but THREE maybe even four Vanessa Golborn School of Dance alums visiting NYC soon!

Beth told me a while ago that she'd be here in May and her sister Kate too - they have family here and Beth is interested in checking out the film and TV scene here I think.  Then yesterday Grace messaged me to say she was coming over and then just now Michelle told me she's going to be here a few months for work and Julia might visit her! I can't believe they're all coming, so looking forward to seeing old friends and catching up/talking about the New York dance scene etc etc.  Lucky me!

Other news - I had my training shifts at the student store today.  It's almost too much fun working there.  I like the people I work with, I like being the person that smiles and says hello when I know from personal experience that some days at AMDA can be hellish and you just need a friendly face.  I also like the free sandwich and drink I get as my shift meal.  Tomorrow I have the entire closing shift by myself for the first time, wish me luck!

Lola also was blessed in the employment department this week - she will be working at a daycare (she was a teacher in Mexico for a long time teaching English to ickle people so she's supremely qualified) and also at Foxwoods Theatre as an usher at the Broadway show 'Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark'.
We are officially an all-girl apartment until next Wednesday as Jacob has gone home for a week to Texas where he will enjoy seeing his mum, dad, brother and sister and also he's going to see a show featuring our friend and AMDA classmate, America Barcenas who coincidentally was the first person I met on orientation day and the first AMDA friend I made.  Break legs America, I'm glad one of us is able to see her be wonderful on stage.

I continue to have lovely rehearsals with SOTA - at the end of Wednesday's, Justin (producer, star) said that he and choreographer Michael are hoping to continue after the show with a new company.  He also mentioned his tap company which I will of course do my damndest to get involved with - the people in the current company are great and Justin and Michael are really something.  Not only do I really like the work they have produced but the fact that they know everyone in the cast, they joke around with us and are encouraging and clear in their instructions and what they want.  That's my kinda creative team.

I inadvertently found myself rereading old blogs, in particular my first one from the first time I landed in this mad magical city.  It was awesome to read some things and served as a great reminder as to why I put myself on this crazytrain in the first place.  THIS is why you blog, people, this is why! It's like my own personal time capsule.  And since I have one from the year before too, I can see my own journey right there on the screen.  It's a good journey.

And it continues tomorrow with more store fun and a hunt for a classical monologue.

Oh gosh, the shouting man has begun - if we forget to close a window before a certain time, we here an arguing couple that mostly consists of a loud, sonorous, resonant male voice.  No distinct words but myyy is he noisy.
Know what? At the Strat there was a resident (one of the old folks that was living there since before AMDA had the building who by NY law were not allowed to be rehoused) who was in a not dangerous but very annoying way off his head and lived opposite me and yelled every night, very late, for a long time, sometimes at me - he did NOOOT like AMDA students and I swear he had a personal vendetta against me.  So I'll take arguing couple any day!

Good will and goodnightxxxxxxxxx