Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015: the year I

Starting my year's retrospective a little early - Dec 20th - just in case.
Also honestly it's been a killer year, and I don't want to forget anything.

January - actually January was quiet except that I was really, really ill for the first few days of the year! 

February - tap duet at Peridance

March - moved to Brooklyn, one of the best decisions I made all year because I have flourished there
Performed at famed cabaret stage 54 Below, stage underneath what was Studio 54. Whatever. Performed my own choreography no less.

April - Had a visit from Dad, we saw Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway
Performed in Shakesday with Classics in the Rocks theater co
Turned 25 and celebrated in fine style with friends old and new
Became co-artistic director of Fundamental Theatre Project

May - rehearsed for Merchant of Venice
Got a bike
Tap danced for NBC with Nick Cannon for Red Nose Day
Hung out, in NYC, with my old schoolfriend Lotty Davies

June - Hung out, in NYC, with my even older schoolfriend Katharine Williams
Saw Active Child at Williamsburg Hall of Music
Went to Portland OR

July - performed in Merchant of Venice
Rode my bike a lot

August - had a trip home! Which included a trip to Edinburgh
Em Golborn's wedding
Started running

September - Saw Baeb Rxxth at Cameo Gallery - my friend Devon's band
Went to the Caribbean Day Parade, my friend Chuck's play, watched Lauren sing at Don't Tell Mama cabaret, Bernie Sanders came to New York Town Hall, went to a rollerdisco, met Bobby the black lab pup and saw the lunar eclipse (crikey)

October - by now I'm able to run an easy 5 miles Fundamental Theater Project's first Think Tank in many moons, unofficially run by me
Saw Lissie play at Rough Trade, Mew at Rough Trade and The Growlers at Irving Plaza all in the same weekend
Baeb Rxxth the week after at Rockwood Music Hall
Bought a ticket to see The Cure at Madison Square Garden in March 2016!
Saw Autre Ne Veut live at Bowery Ballroom (October was a really good live music month for me!)

November - Began rehearsals for I Could Never Love Anyone
Sang in Broadway Comes To Bell fundraiser
Saw my friend from Portland, singer songwriter Moorea Masa, perform at Bowery Poetry Club 
Held a free seminar for international actors about immigration and casting
Performed a 15 minute stand-up set (written by me) at The People's Improv Theatre aka The PIT
Celebrated a Friendsgiving in place of Thanksgiving

December - went to my first live team sporting event, became a New York Islanders hockey fan
Went back to ballet classes

Which brings us up to date with right now.  Of course a lot more things happened - I went to auditions that I'm proud of, took part in play readings and workshops, did a lot of writing of songs and bits of stories/plays, choreographed a lot of tap, spent time with friends, saw Dan and The Fine Machines perform multiple times, gained some new very important friendships and deepened some old ones, discovered new and wonderful things to eat and drink, read some fantastic books (This Is How You Lose Her, The Only Words Worth Remembering and Love In The Time Of Cholera are my standouts), read a lot of plays, saw Natalia in two different plays, gone to fun parties, been proud of my friends, made some great salads, made new doggy pals, grown as an artist, grown as a human bean.

And it's not even the end of the year yet! But I'm glad I've done this review now, overall it's been sort of a banner year for me and it's worth remembering this stuff.  



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Home is where the art is

Both my roomies are creative wunderkinds. I brought both of them in to help out with some stuff for our event - Dan was going to provide mad guitar skills, David made us some amazing videos that were to be projected during the staged reading portion of the event.
I got to help a little in the making of some of these and I took pics, it was super fun and I'm in awe of the coolness of the stuff that David and his filmmaking partner Joe made.
The next evening Dan had a gig at Postcrypt Coffeehouse, a venue that has been part of Columbia University since 1894 and was huge in the Greenwich Village folk scene of the 60s so I went to see him and his bandmate Nate play some amazing original songs.

Whirlwind

A lot happened in the last week - some good some bad. In summary, had an event and suspended a lot of other things to work on event then event was cancelled (not my decision) and the lack of interest in using that time to create something made me lose my faith in some people and art in general for a minute there then I remembered the thing I recently wrote a whole blog about which is not everyone must create all the time and I wish they would but they just don't so that's that and I went to another hockey game Islanders beat the New Jersey Devils 4-0 props to goalie Thomas Greiss it was great I definitely had a hangover the next day it wasn't great I was frustrated multiple times with one of my day jobs but it could always be worse and I had some great rehearsals for I Could Never Love Anyone the contemporary dance piece I'm in which provides me with fulfillment and a lot of fun with my two co-dancers Nicky and Matias also we had a board meeting which made me have a lot of feelings and think I need to do some tough evaluation of some stuff...but not right now because it's right before Christmas and I need to finish my cards!
Ahhh.

Oh also I spent Saturday night taking care of Bobby, Lauren came over and we watched the Vicar of Dibley Christmas episodes in bed and I made about 50 cookies. The next day it was nearly 70 degrees farenheit aka tshirt weather. What???

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Let's Go Islanders (Friday Dec 4th)

Last night Jacob and I went to our FIRST EVER HOCKEY GAME!
And my first ever major professional team sports event.

New York Islanders beat St Louis Blues 2-1 in a shoot out after the game was tied 1-1 by the time the final buzzer went. Goali Thomas Greiss brought his A game and saved both Blues penalty shots. Because Blues are a bunch of whiny entitled man children who deserve to be taken dooown!

It was so much fun, we had beer and hot dogs and at first we were mostly giggling at our complete naiveté about the whole thing and not knowing what was going on but by the end of the first quarter my inner loud hockey fan had risen from within and I got really invested. It's a pretty spectacular thing to be in a space that large watching players go so fast. I can confirm what I've been told by many that ice hockey is a really fun sport to watch live - think about it, even if it was kind of a shit game with no shots taken or no great saves it's still amazing to watch them skate with so much skill and speed while handling a stick and a puck also at high speed.

No fights broke out...I'm generally not for violence but just once so I'd have the experience I wouldn't mind seeing a hockey fight. After all this sport is kind of famous for fisticuffs.

The feeling of walking out of a stadium at which the home team just pulled off a great victory with a tide of joyous home team fans is pretty great too. Hockey, I am officially on board.

Unrelated - earlier this week I took my first full ballet class in... a while. I'm gonna say maybe 2 years? It was wonderful and I'm happy to say it's all still there - you don't get drilled by Vanessa and Victoria for most of your life and just forget about it. Any situation like this makes me really proud to be a Vanessa girl because as I've said before we are not flashy, we are not commercial, we are not dealing in spectacle it's just good, consistent, solid classical training and it stands the test of time and is responsible for my versatility in styles. I was never born to be a ballerina, don't have the legs feet or build for it, but I understand the technique and requirements inside out and can push to get as close to them as I can anyway.

But also it is now 3 days later and my calves are still burning ow.

Let's Go Islanders (Friday Dec 4th)

Last night Jacob and I went to our FIRST EVER HOCKEY GAME!
And my first ever major professional team sports event.

New York Islanders beat St Louis Blues 2-1 in a shoot out after the game was tied 1-1 by the time the final buzzer went. Goali Thomas Greiss brought his A game and saved both Blues penalty shots. Because Blues are a bunch of whiny entitled man children who deserve to be taken dooown!

It was so much fun, we had beer and hot dogs and at first we were mostly giggling at our complete naiveté about the whole thing and not knowing what was going on but by the end of the first quarter my inner loud hockey fan had risen from within and I got really invested. It's a pretty spectacular thing to be in a space that large watching players go so fast. I can confirm what I've been told by many that ice hockey is a really fun sport to watch live - think about it, even if it was kind of a shit game with no shots taken or no great saves it's still amazing to watch them skate with so much skill and speed while handling a stick and a puck also at high speed.

No fights broke out...I'm generally not for violence but just once so I'd have the experience I wouldn't mind seeing a hockey fight. After all this sport is kind of famous for fisticuffs.

The feeling of walking out of a stadium at which the home team just pulled off a great victory with a tide of joyous home team fans is pretty great too. Hockey, I am officially on board.

Unrelated - earlier this week I took my first full ballet class in... a while. I'm gonna say maybe 2 years? It was wonderful and I'm happy to say it's all still there - you don't get drilled by Vanessa and Victoria for most of your life and just forget about it. Any situation like this makes me really proud to be a Vanessa girl because as I've said before we are not flashy, we are not commercial, we are not dealing in spectacle it's just good, consistent, solid classical training and it stands the test of time and is responsible for my versatility in styles. I was never born to be a ballerina, don't have the legs feet or build for it, but I understand the technique and requirements inside out and can push to get as close to them as I can anyway.

But also it is now 3 days later and my calves are still burning ow.

Ode to a stalwart friend/musings

I'm gonna spoil things now, it's not a human friend its a coffee place/deli.

Oh Guy and Gallard on 28th and 7th how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Your staff are all polite and friendly with genuine warmth and character not corporate roboticism.

You have the best possible coffee set up - a row of large urns from which one can serve oneself and choose from a variety of roasts and flavours ensuring me the perfect amount of room for milk and combination of vanilla and hazelnut coffee.

You have multiple jugs of whole, skimmed, semi skimmed and soy milk so I never have to hover awkwardly near the counter waiting for someone to have a free second to pass me a carton of soy milk or whatever they've run out of out front.

You have BOTH kinds of coffee lids so that people like me who are driven mad by the flimsier ones that are completely flat and have a little flap that can be snapped closed over the drinking spout have the option of the sturdier, duplex-style lid without a fiddly flap.

You have all the bagel types - you have GARLIC bagels. Noone else has garlic bagels and they are amazing. Also they always toast the bagel the perfect amount and put the ideal slathering of cream cheese - not so much it makes it soggy if you have it to go, but enough that you get a good gobful of delicious creamy goodness every bite.

They can keep their Starbucks, their Think their Birch and their Grumpy. Have Konditori, have Caffe Bene even...and it pains me to say this even Momofuku Milk Bar home of the pastrami and sauerkraut- stuffed roll...ow.

G&G you're the one for me, brightening my Wednesday and Thursday mornings cos that's when I work in Chelsea one block south of you.
Small things like this are what make life really wonderful.

Also making life wonderful:
Woman in Chains by Tears for Fears ft. Oleta Adams. I meeeaaan come ON is there a greater yearning ballad than this? I've listened to it on repeat since yesterday evening.

I just came from dance rehearsal for I Could Never Love Anyone, the dance piece in which I play a facet of the protagonists' many addictions. It's a based-on-real-story piece that explores how addiction affects and individual and those around the individual and represents it as more than a simple 'person with problem' struggle by addressing that there are different types, different stages, different motivations. It gets pretty dark but has some moments of redemption. It's choreographed by my friend Katie Pettit who I've danced for and with several times now and I've mentioned before on this blog how I enjoy dancing her choreo because she really utilises pedestrian movements and non-genre specific steps which allow her dancers to infuse them with our own unique styles. Everything isn't 'look I'm daaaahncing' which can so easily be one-note. It can be spectacular but still one note. Like how a singer belting to the rafters and riffing every single note can be breathtaking but after a while can leave you a bit cold and longing for a slightly more real, human moment. I like to think that we are trying to be the real human moments in are world where spectacle often comes first.
Plus this piece has existed for a while but it's being expanded and it feels really good to be participating in the creation of art from the ground up.

I've been thinking a lot about that recently - about the notion of myself as an artist.
It's something I've been reluctant to adopt as a label pretty much forever. I don't know if that's my rough and tumble salt of the earth upbringing or some insecurity I've developed since being here but I can't remember ever being like 'oh yes I am an artist' and not feeling like it was pretentious in some way. I think maybe it's because I didn't feel I'd earned it.

My dear friend Jess is an artist - there is concrete (well, steel) proof of that in the welded sculptures her house is filled with and before those came along there were her paintings and drawings of her various animals among other things and her musical gifts. Theodora has been studying digital anthropology for some time now but I'd still call her an artist before I'd call myself one. You can also see her beautiful sculptures, drawings, cartoons and songwriting if you care to look. Both my roommates are clearly artists first - the art forms they engage with are their second language and as much a part of their identity as their names, more so than any job.

For some reason this is a recent revelation but...I make art ALL THE TIME. I have so many creative outlets that I really need. This is not to say I am proficient in every form of art there is, far from it. But without my guitar to play around on and make music, my craft box to make collages and cards and posters and designs, this blog, my rotation of about 6 different notebooks in which I jot down songs, poems, essays and stories...hell without my wardrobe, which I use as one more forum to be creative and artistic...I don't really know who I'd be. And that's all the stuff that comes in my spare time outside of dance rehearsals and theater company meetings and singing in concerts. So I should stop being a dickhead and admit to being quite clearly an artist without shame. If anyone were to call me out on it - and there's no reason why they should but this is the weird insecurity that stops me from saying it proudly - it's not like I'm lying!
I know also that I have always done all of these things. Having art supplies and tinkering with music and writing for fun are second nature to me. Thanks, entire family of multi-talented creative people who don't necessarily identify as artists but clearly are! From that I realised that just because my experience of life has only been filled from the start with art doesn't mean everyone's has, even people who are currently engaged in creative pursuits i.e. acting.  That might be the only for of art in which they are involved.

It sounds really silly but this really has come as a surprise to me - of course I know there are people who don't identify as creative or artistic, I know they exist buy I don't know any of them...turns out I do. Plenty of people did not grow up drawing and singing and writing poems and dressing up in costumes and pretty much I have to be better at embracing that and having patience that everyone doesn't care about handmade cards and decorations or other things that are really important to me. Huh. I have genuinely been frustrated over a lack of creativity in others before which is just so stupid and I'm sure those same people are frustrated at my lack of logic or something. To say someone is not creative is not derogatory and vice versa it's just different, and it has taken me 25 years to understand that not everyone is an artist but I am one and that's just great.
Weird musings!