Tuesday, November 29, 2016

We Slayed the competition

Jacob and I went to a Buffy the Vampire Slayer trivia night at a bar called Abbey Tavern and...drumroll please...CAME SECOND

The genuine joy that this achievement brings both of us is a testament to just how much we love that TV series.

And if I achieve nothing else this year, I ran that 10k and I came second at Buffy trivia. We were 8 points behind the winning team - but they were a team of four and we were just two so I think if the teams had been even we would have wiped the floor with them.
We won a $25 voucher for Abbey Tavern so that's a couple of free burgers or something! Fun way to spend an evening with a friend.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Park Power

Well I just ran 10.7k or 6.62 miles.

I mean, yesterday I and everyone else ate a week's worth of food in one sitting so...let's not congratulate me too hard.  This was both penance and necessary! I feel great as a result.  I love the park loop when it's empty, it's very soothing.  It was also a perfect temperature - it's cold but it doesn't have that icy chill that renders me completely useless.  This is a temperature that somehow makes me automatically pace myself perfectly.  I didn't plan on running to the park, around the park and back from the park but when I set out it felt so light and easy that I just kept going.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, which for me means neurotic recipe hunting, baking and of course gathering with some of my nearest and dearest.  I was also on Maverick duty so I did start my day with a big loveable dog which is always something to be thankful for.  I went over there at 9, took him for a walk then went home to start the food part of the day.  
I enjoyed a new Thanksgiving novelty this year - brunch while watching a live stream of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  This was the brainchild of one Carlos Morales, and I applaud his wisdom.  We did the whole thing, French toast and mimosas and fruit and bacon, all delicious.  This kicked off my afternoon of cooking.  I made cranberry sauce (with blueberries and orange and lemon zest), a pumpkin pie (crust from scratch, of course) a huge apple pear cake with a caramel topping (this I am especially proud of because I made the caramel and it came out perfect - not grainy, not burnt, glossy creamy and not too sweet) and a bread and onion stuffing.
After a quick nap (because phew, long day already by 4pm) we packed up our wares and travelled to a tall narrow house with a blue door, where Ali and Ben were our Friendsgiving hosts (as they were last year).
The whole evening was like a big warm bowl of friend soup.  And the table of dishes - some made in house by Ben and Ali, others brought by guests - was heaving and amazing.  There was a beautiful turkey, in addition to which Ben made slow cooked beef and root vegetables cooked in a beer butter.  Sweet potato mash, bread stuffing, rice stuffing, collard greens, green beans, cranberry sauce, gravy, something new I learned about called a hash brown casserole that is potato based and covered with - wait for it - corn flakes.  When this dish was brought out, Natalia, Jamie, Sam and I - foreigners all - gathered around staring in bewilderment, waiting for someone to explain the dish of cornflakes.  It was made by the wonderful Lauren D-C who is from North Carolina and she explained that it is a very typical Southern thing.  (It was very tasty).  Ali also makes a squash casserole that blows my mind, she made it last year and this year she made two to satisfy demand.  I'm very fortunate to be friends with many good cooks.  The dessert bar was also high although less homemade I think - Naty made a sort of cookie-based dulce de leche cheesecake that she invented as she went along, very indulgent.  My cake and pie were amongst another couple of pies including pumpkin and pecan.  I'm happy to report my cake went down well with my gracious host Ben as I was very proud of it.

Ben also had a music playlist based around Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings as per my request...what can I say, we have mutual musical respect so I thought I'd ask and I received.  A Muppet Christmas Carol was on TV in the background, jokes were cracked, small amounts of dancing broke out, wine flowed and it was altogether a feelgood indie movie-worthy scene.

 Parade brunch



My masterpieces!







Of course we ate ourselves silly.  Fortunately, I did have to leave at a relatively early hour to head back to Maverick - I mean, I left at 10 and walked him at 12, taking leftovers with me - this was really for the best because it prevented me from continuing to sneak spoonfuls of squash casserole, also it forced me to move which surely prevented food coma suffering.  

Today funnily enough I haven't had any large meals.  Though I have had a small slice of apple cake and plan on more! 

And long live my reignited running motivation - I hope this wasn't a fluke!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Ah, nice mild AutuOHMYGODWINTERISHERE

It's cold today! After two weeks of 16 degree weather it's suddenly in the 0-5 range. Arp.  I spent the evening baking things that didn't necessarily need baking so I could keep the oven on and stand near it.  Cracking apple crumble though.


Other warm things include dopey retrievers

Catch ups with friends

Breakfast foods at 5pm 

Going to the cinema to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (with cake)
and being really cool by taking pictures with Eddie Redmayne cardboard cutouts wearing matching Harry Potter paraphernalia necklaces



It's Thanksgiving on Thursday which essentially means day off, excuse to bake. 
Generally a quiet week, auditions coming up next week, no clue what's happening in December.  I'd say I'm feeling some of the post-show blues - I know The Unseen has been finished for a while but with all the election furore my PSB got delayed.  When you wrap a show that really set a fire in you, you miss the work and the fulfillment and the people.  So thank goodness for PSB - no PSB means it was probably not worth doing.  

And that's what they call perspective! 
Eating more crumble and doing a crossword while the wind and the white nationalists howl outside.
Oh snap!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Aftershock

Well.

That happened.


................



I'm reeling so I can't even imagine how the American voters feel.  Especially the many friends who have parents who voted against their children.  They voted for a moron, but even aside from the obvious lunacy of someone who can't string a cohesive sentence together being a presidential candidate there is the frightening presence of Mike Pence.  Here's a few of his votes over the past few years


  • Commit to unalienable right to life, including the unborn. (Feb 2008)
  • Voted YES on banning federal health coverage that includes abortion. (May 2011)
  • Voted NO on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Jan 2007)
  • Voted NO on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)
  • Voted YES on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions. (Apr 2005)
  • Voted YES on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime. (Feb 2004)
  • Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life. (Oct 2003)
  • Voted YES on forbidding human cloning for reproduction & medical research. (Feb 2003)
  • Voted YES on funding for health providers who don't provide abortion info. (Sep 2002)
  • Voted YES on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad. (May 2001)
  • Voted YES on federal crime to harm fetus while committing other crimes. (Apr 2001)
  • Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)
  • Rated 100% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-life stance. (Dec 2006)
  • Prohibit transporting minors across state lines for abortion. (Jan 2008)
  • Bar funding for abortion under federal Obamacare plans. (Jul 2010)
  • Ban abortions for sex selection or race selection. (Dec 2011)
  • Prohibit federal funding for abortion. (May 2011)
  • Prohibiting forced abortions by UN Population Fund. (May 2011)
  • Sponsored bill to prohibit fed funding of Planned Parenthood. (Jan 2011)
  • Grant the pre-born equal protection under 14th Amendment. (Jan 2007)
  • Declare preborn as persons under 14th amendment. (Feb 2009)
  • Future of conservatism demands traditional marriage. (Feb 2008)
  • Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation. (Nov 2007)
  • Voted YES on Constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman. (Jul 2006)
  • Voted YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent. (Dec 2005)
  • Voted YES on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Sep 2004)
  • Voted YES on protecting the Pledge of Allegiance. (Sep 2004)
  • Voted YES on constitutional amendment prohibiting flag desecration. (Jun 2003)
  • Supports anti-flag desecration amendment. (Mar 2001)
  • Require "Privacy Impact Statement" on new federal rules. (Apr 2002)
  • Rated 7% by the ACLU, indicating an anti-civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
  • Rated 0% by the HRC, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)
  • Rated 22% by the NAACP, indicating an anti-affirmative-action stance. (Dec 2006)
  • Amend Constitution to define traditional marriage. (Jun 2008)
  • Voted NO on enforcing against anti-gay hate crimes. (Apr 2009)
  • Voted YES on expanding services for offenders' re-entry into society. (Nov 2007)
  • Reduce recidivism by giving offenders a Second Chance. (Mar 2007)

  • Voted YES on reauthorizing the DC opportunity scholarship program. (Mar 2011)
  • Voted NO on $40B for green public schools. (May 2009)
  • Voted NO on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects. (Nov 2007)
  • Voted NO on allowing Courts to decide on "God" in Pledge of Allegiance. (Jul 2006)
  • Voted NO on $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges. (Mar 2006)
  • Voted YES on allowing school prayer during the War on Terror. (Nov 2001)
  • Voted NO on requiring states to test students. (May 2001)
  • Let schools display the words "God Bless America". (Oct 2001)
  • Rated 17% by the NEA, indicating anti-public education votes. (Dec 2003)
  • Constitutionally guarantee parent's right to educate kids. (Jan 2011)
  • Voted YES on opening Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling. (May 2011)
  • Voted YES on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. (Apr 2011)
  • Voted NO on enforcing limits on CO2 global warming pollution. (Jun 2009)
  • Voted NO on tax credits for renewable electricity, with PAYGO offsets. (Sep 2008)
  • Voted NO on tax incentives for energy production and conservation. (May 2008)
  • Voted NO on tax incentives for renewable energy. (Feb 2008)
  • Voted NO on investing in homegrown biofuel. (Aug 2007)
  • Voted NO on criminalizing oil cartels like OPEC. (May 2007)
  • Voted NO on removing oil & gas exploration subsidies. (Jan 2007)
  • Voted NO on keeping moratorium on drilling for oil offshore. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted YES on scheduling permitting for new oil refinieries. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted YES on authorizing construction of new oil refineries. (Oct 2005)
  • Voted YES on passage of the Bush Administration national energy policy. (Jun 2004)
  • Voted YES on implementing Bush-Cheney national energy policy. (Nov 2003)
  • Voted NO on raising CAFE standards; incentives for alternative fuels. (Aug 2001)
  • Voted NO on prohibiting oil drilling & development in ANWR. (Aug 2001)
  • Rated 0% by the CAF, indicating opposition to energy independence. (Dec 2006)
  • Bar greenhouse gases from Clean Air Act rules. (Jan 2009)
  • Signed the No Climate Tax Pledge by AFP. (Nov 2010)
  • No EPA regulation of greenhouse gases. (Jan 2011)
  • Drill the Outer Continental Shelf; & license new nuke plants. (Mar 2011)
  • Set goal of 25% renewable energy by 2025. (Jan 2007)
  • Voted NO on $2 billion more for Cash for Clunkers program. (Jul 2009)
  • Voted NO on protecting free-roaming horses and burros. (Jul 2009)
  • Voted NO on $9.7B for Amtrak improvements and operation thru 2013. (Jun 2008)
  • Voted NO on increasing AMTRAK funding by adding $214M to $900M. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted NO on barring website promoting Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump. (May 2006)
  • Voted YES on deauthorizing "critical habitat" for endangered species. (Sep 2005)
  • Voted YES on speeding up approval of forest thinning projects. (Nov 2003)
  • Rated 10% by the LCV, indicating anti-environment votes. (Dec 2003)
  • Stop considering manure as pollutant or hazardous. (Sep 2011)
  • Rated 0% by HSLF, indicating an anti-animal welfare voting record. (Jan 2012)
  • Strengthen prohibitions against animal fighting. (Jan 2007)

You know, I don't want to be one of the many left wing women who are calling for impeachment and protests and generally reacting in a really dramatic way to this undeniable shock.  I understand that this is how a democratic voting process works (altough...hardly, since the electoral college system here in the US means the popular vote actually means nothing in the end) but you know, it was a peaceful day of people of all genders and demographics being able to cast their vote.  That's great.
Having a Vice President who stridently inserts his Evangelical beliefs into his work as a political is not great.  He's anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ rights, pro-fossil fuel industry, and a lot of his votes (like the one prohibiting legal action against food providers) suggest a pro-corporate stance too.
He doesn;t want to help workers who lose jobs as a result of globalization, he didn't want to give grants to black and Hispanic colleges, he voted against protecting free roaming horses??? What did they ever do to him??
Oh, he also doesn't want to increase gun regulation measures such as trigger lock law and gun registration.  He wants to increase military spending - in fact he wants to just have money lying around so that whenever they feel like it the US has the resources to go to war.  Like, if there's nothing good on TV, or something.
Opposed to church-state separation.  Anti-union and anti-senior voting record.
Wants to designate first weekend in May as Ten Commandments weekend...
whut

I know.  I know everyone is a three-dimensional entity.  Some of his economic stances seem reasonable.  He's a seasoned pro, he's held office for many years.

But because an Evangelical Catholic who uses his faith as an excuse to repress socioeconomic groups is now Vice President of the United States of America, a gateway has been opened.

After Brexit, the people who were shouting that everyone who voted for Brexit was a racist and a fascist were wrong.  That wasn't the case.  Plenty of them were I'm sure but plenty of others based their vote on economic reasons.  Plenty more just didn't know any better, were uninformed enough to let propaganda sway them and never investigate any further.

But because what they wanted came true, the racist faction felt their ideologies validated in some way.  Which gave them the confidence to come out of the woodwork with an agenda of damaging discrimination.  And that is the true horror here now.  
The KKK is still active.  White supremacists are a real thing here.  And they all came crawling out the woodwork during Trump's campaign and now they feel that their ideologies have been validated, because never in his campaign did he tell his supporters 'hey, no, that's what what I'm about'.  So they are feeling pretty confident now, and I ache for my many close friends who would be their direct targets if they weren't in liberal, bleeding-blue NYC.  

That's all I have for now.  New York is a weird place today.  It's raining, and everyone is quiet and stone faced.  

Friday, November 4, 2016

Bulletin

I'm very very tired so this will be neither big nor clever

The Unseen has three additional performances Sunday Monday and Tuesday because, well, because we can! We don't have to hire studio space to do it! Ha!
The last couple of shows were really well attended and my dear friends Ali, Ben, Sam, Val, Rosi, Lauren and Jacob all turned out to see it and I'm delighted by how much they not only enjoyed it but appreciated the work, careful crafting and vision that went into it.

Tuesday is also election day in the USA so everyone grab a puppy or a deity or a bottle, whatever works.  I'll be with friends at FTP's Raucous Caucus open mic party.

Monday and Tuesday are also days on which a couple of super interesting auditions are happening so think good thoughts for Tessa and her contemporary dancer friends.

Aside from general busy and tiredness it's been a lovely week of seeing excellent people and some more Mav-sitting which of course is always a ray of sunshine no matter what fatigue is dragging you down.

Babysitting at 7.30 in the morning tomorrow - eep! I hope no-one will judge me if I just feed them cake disguised as breakfast food while watching childrens TV with them for three hours. I know they won't.
Yahli turned ten last weekend. Yipes.

I'm going to have a quick drink close to home tonight to celebrate my evening off then get rapidly to bed. Toodle pip

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Unseen part 2

We have had three performances so far. Unfortunately we've been rained out twice but we have been able to add dates and extend the run - the many benefits of a small cast, self-contained show where the company producers directors and supporters are all tightly intermingled. Also, the benefits of performing in a park - the space is always available to us and it costs zero money!
The three so far have been, from my p.o.v at least, been successful and we've had excellent audience feedback. No technical issues to speak of - or none that anyone but us would know about - and we've even been picking up stragglers: two nights I looked out directly at the audience at appointed moments and noticed new faces that hadn't been there when I initially stared them down at the beginning (during the Seance - I make my appearance in the centre of the circle and walk around the whole circumference making close eye contact with everyone in it. It's really fun to see how different people handle it - some giggle, some hold my gaze earnestly, some look nervous, some smile encouragingly) anyway so one night I looked up and there was a man taking pictures and he must have some very cool pictures because he caught us in tableau with the wind blowing our long skirts, and he found us at the end to ask what we were doing. And last night a man who was walking his dogs almost caused chaos when one of them ran over, obviously curious about the white billowy figures walking down the hill but the man spotted it in time, called his dogs and went to join the audience. It's fun and unpredictable, this site specific lark!
Rained out tonight unfortunately but a productive company meeting to add new dates and have dinner together (on our dirctor's parents, thank you Slack family).

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Unseen

It's show week!
I'm headed up to invited dress rehearsal now. Natalia will be attending and will be valuable in lending her keen physical theatre eye to any last minute adjustments we can make.

I'm going to attempt to give a sense of what this show involves since so few will be able to see it and it really is something special.

I'll start with a plot summary.

Amy is a graduate student at Columbia getting her Master's in sociology. She's dealing with some personal stuff that has been holding her back and keeping her from finishing in the alotted year.
The other day while walking in midtown, her friend convinced her to get a reading from one of many $5 street psychics. She does so for the fun of it but is surprised to find that the psychic has insight into things about herself that she's never told anyone. She could have dismissed it if the psychic hadn't also told her that she should get in touch with the past to understand her present - and Amy recently discovered, while procrastinating in her studies, that an ancestor of hers implicated someone in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, leading to the hanging of the girl she accused. Deciding that the discovery of a significant ancestor and the psychics' words were maybe some kind of synergy, Amy was relunctantly convinced to gather a group of people to conduct a seance to contact her ancestor, Laura Booth.
She chooses Fort Tryon Park around Halloween as the time and place for the seance and the psychic gives her a pre-recorded guided seance to take her through its initiation.
The group forms a circle, joins hands and begins to repeat a chant as instructed when a new voice shouts 'open your eyes!' interrupting the recording. Amy does, startled, and finds herself face to face with a young woman in Puritan dress. Amy is terrified but realises this could be the Laura she was hoping to summon. The apparition tells her 'do you really want to know what happened? Then don't blink. Don't look away'.
Laura performs a movemeny ritual that awakens the spirits of three other young women and a Reverend. They all walk away and Laura beckons Amy (and the group, though she can only communicate with Amy) to follow.
They are lead to a church where the Reverend preaches about the inherent sin of women and how the town must extra vigilant in light of goings on in nearby Salem. After his sermon the young women show the group a glimpse into their inner life - they are well-behaved good Puritan girls but impulses and feelings pulse inside for which they have no outlet or explanation, and to question them would mean severe punishment.
After church the four of them leave to go home. Laura, the unruly ringleader of the group, instead initiates a game of catch with the Bible that the Reverend (who is new in town and about whom little is known) pressed into her hands at the end of the service. She proceeds to run away with it, tearing out pages and scattering them. Her best friend Mary laughs, the new girl in town Sarah smirks and encourages her and Elizabeth, the most God-fearing, tries in horror to put the pages back. The girls continue on their path home.
Laura steps out of the story to communicate with Amy who asks why she is being shown this and who the other girls are. Laura explains that it was her idea to not go home, to run off and dance in the woods instead and that although the girls looked young, in truth they were all caught on the brink of adulthood with no way to navigate or control it.
Laura returns to the story to show Amy and the group what happened next. The girls dance and play and begin to run deeper into the woods, but Mary stays behind. Laura goes to find out why, and they dance together in the trees. Something changes between them as they do and Mary kisses Laura, an action so bold and unheard of that Laura is shocked. Mary runs away frightened and Laura turns to see Sarah approaching - she has seen it all, and Laura knows it. Elizabeth runs over to warn them that someone is coming. It's the Reverend, who is displeased that they are out in the woods at night instead of at home as nice pure girls should be. He blames Laura for the transgression but Sarah sees an opportunity to get Laura under her thumb and deflects the blame to Mary. The accusation escalates quickly and the Reverend fears they have been witches. Laura doesn't want to implicate her friend but she is terrified of what will happen to her if Sarah tells the Reverend who's idea it was and what she witnessed before he arrived. She agrees that it was Mary and they all set off to find her.
Elizabeth is afraid and decides to slip away and go home. She encounters Mary hiding, and tells her she can't talk to her or look at her because she's a witch and everyone will know it soon. Mary doesn't know what she's talking about and tries to get the truth but poor scared Elizabeth really believes that she is a witch and will not help her.
Meanwhile the Reverend, Sarah and Laura are searching. Sarah is subtly manipulating the situation by pretending to be concerned while shooting warning looks at Laura - she is enjoying finally being top dog. She persuades the Reverend to let them sit down for a while. Her new found power has started to go to her head and she begins trying to manipulate the Reverend too, taking his lantern and eventually touching his arm which sets in motion a game that she is too naive to play with a grown man. Laura witnesses, at first trying to play too but very soon trying to stop Sarah, knowing that this has gone too far. She can only look on in horror as the Reverend pulls Sarah in and kisses her - before getting up and running away, in spite of her fear being alone deep in the woods.
She leads Amy and the group up through the woods, her desperation becoming clearer as she realises what she has done by going along with Sarah's story and by starting the whole night in the first place.
Finally she comes across Mary, who demands that Laura look at her and acknowledge both what she has done and also that Laura was the only one brave enough to give them any sense of self or freedom.
They confront each other and eventually reconcile. Laura tells Mary to run, get out of town - but it's too late. The Reverend, along with Sarah and Elizabeth, has found them and Mary turns to meet her fate.
Amy is pulled into the story, taking the place of Laura as she said goodbye to Mary. Mary is taken away by the others, and the story freezes.
Laura asks Amy 'did you blink? Could you forgive me after what you have seen?' Amy asks if everything will be ok - she understands that to move forward in her life she needs to accept the part of her that she has been hiding and repressing. Laura tells her 'not for us, but we made our choices long ago. It's in your hands' before walking away into the darkness.

The End
I play Laura. Its pretty cool.
The whole show - soundtrack and interspersed dialogue scenes - is recorded and playing from iPhones using an app that syncs everyone perfectly. The cast all have Bluetooth wireless headphones (hidden under bonnets/Puritan hats!) And the audience all have their own set of headphones and a device playing the soundtrack. Because nothing is live it's more as though Laura, the conduit for this story, is beaming it physically or magically directly into the heads of those seeing it. It also means that anyone without the device or the headphones can't hear anything so passers by and dog walkers just see us dancing in silence which is quite funny to think about.

Next in the series, location photos and soundtrack!

Zombie (last week's state of mind)

I'm running on not enough sleep...so many coffees SO MANY COFFEES THIS WEEK, living out of a bag except I had to leave the big bag at work to pick up later because I can only take the small bag to rehearsal because we will travel all over a park and we do not have a stage manager who is also a donkey...that would be awesome maybe I should suggest to the directors that they invest in a show donkey...also, cute...SO one bag will be somewhere I will be elsewhere I will have to pick it up on the way home at 11ish tonight which will get me home at 12 then tomorrow I need to leave at 9 for rehearsal at 11 then go straight to babysitting then go and walk a dog then go to Williamsburg for a surprise party then go back to Manhattan for not a surprise party - it is an unsurprising party - then get home because it is my roommates birthday and then the day will be done and by then it will be December! Right? Where will my bags of various sizes be throughout the quest that is my day? I have NO clue maybe I should borrow the show donkey to help me carry all the things I need for all the things.
Whew! I'm the kind of tired where you get completely doollally and everything feels a bit like you're dreaming, but I'm still in the 'I'm going gaga but I think it's quite funny' stage. I anticipate reaching the 'basic tasks and functions like swiping a subway card or operating keys are insurmountable challenges and I can see no hope for the future' stage by 10on, after rehearsal.
Wheeeeeeeeeee! Rehearsal will be great though, these people are fantastic.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Buckle up this got really pensive and I wasn't planning that

Well I took two dance classes on Friday and my hamstrings are still pretty shredded.
This is upsetting because contemporary and hip hop were both hard work but not especially advanced or intense so should be well within the capacity of anyone calling themselves a dancer. They were, except for the fact that I have to modify so much of just the warm up to get through without really injuring myself due to my uncooperative legs. And even though I modified, I still ended up mad hamstring pain. This is in part due to many years of overstretching and reading muscle fibres because I wanted to - to quote an AMDA teacher - 'be a hero'. I unfortunately learned too late that being a hero in dance class - pushing your body beyond its actual physical capacity - actually benefits no-one least of all you. The compulsion is always there, though - to not push beyond limits feels like admitting defeat, and in dance world it's like an unwritten rule that unless you have an actual broken bone level injury you do not stop, unless you want to be known as a whiny little b****. For girls, as with just about everything, it is far worse. This is also an unwritten rule perpetuated by dancers - your teacher won't tell you to carry on if you're in pain (at least I've been lucky to never have a teacher who did).
The two classes I took on Friday were a solid reminder of all that but it's something I haven't had to contemplate for a while because I haven't put myself in a position where it's an issue.
I had to recently explain to someone why I was rejecting an audition they told me about. It was for a dance company called ALMA. I saw their website, I looked at their videos. I was a frustration combination of jealous and humiliated. I had to explain to this person that I would not get into that company because, as I can see from their videos, they want showgirl-type dancers with long legs and perfect hip rotation to allow them to kick high in any direction. A lot of the pieces were done in character heels - literally dance shoes with a 3 inch heel.  I've learned the hard way too many times how much my knees hurt after just a few minutes dancing in heels.
I had to explain to this person who has actually known me for five years that I can't do that. They said 'you're telling yourself no, why don't you try it and find out, I think it would be great for you'. While it is important to take leaps of faith it's also important to protect yourself emotionally and physically. If I had gone to that audition I would have been a fish out of water - as much as if I'd gone to an audition for an acrobatic dance company. And if by some miracle I'd been accepted, I would have put my physical well being and safety in jeopardy.
It's hard to convince people that sometimes it's ok to know your limits and protect yourself.
It was a weird moment and something I'm clearly still mulling over, don't quite have the answer yet.
But meanwhile the project I'm rehearsing for, 'The Unseen' is giving me wings. That is a company where I absolutely fit - even better, fit and then expand with them.

So I suppose what's so strange about feeling bad about an audition I'm completely wrong for is that there's no need because I'm quite happy where I am. I think this means that while I am finally starting to learn where I do fit in the dance world (for the first time) it will take a bit longer before I can quite let go of the part of me that wants to be a standard conventional chorus line-y type.

Ah growth.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Green pastures

Today I danced in a beautiful park overlooking a river.  I also spent time at Tea and Sympathy enjoying chocolate cake, scones and a cuppa.  I lit a candle at home and spent some time in quiet reflection.
Now I'm watching The Vicar of Dibley, which for all its silliness will always feel familiar and not just as nostalgic entertainment.
These things all give bond me in some way to my home and loved ones who I'm thinking of every day.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

PR - Pancake Riot

Just wanted to share my terribly indulgent breakfast - coconut and chocolate pancakes with coconut cream and maple glazed banana.
And yesterday basically all I ate were pastries. Mmmm pastries.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Shark

No this is not a blog about a sea creature encounter in Puerto Rico (sadly, I would've loved to meet a shark)
That blog is imminent fear not. I took mad pics and being a sentimental type I'm having trouble choosing the best out of the multiple shots I took of, well, everything.

This week, I am a shark. Sharks don't stop moving, they are constantly forging ahead. This is good and bad.
Good: I'm getting things done.
This week I went to an audition, worked on an extra project I've been assigned by Troy, dogsat, finished reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, returned to reading Blood Meridian, submitted for auditions, rode my bike to the library and took out three books, began an art project, filmed a short improvised dance in a cool location, took tap class and worked my two usual jobs.

Bad: I'm not actually a shark so this may not be sustainable long term. I just have the strong feeling that to stop now will be to sink. It's daunting.

In GREAT news, I got the release date wrong - episode one of Keplers Ark by Ben Holbrook is OUT TODAY for your listening pleasure!
You can download and listen free from keplersark.com

If you're not entirely sure what's going on by the end of the first episode, good. It was pretty mysterious to me first time through as well.

If you want to hear me sound tense and stressed, be annoyed with people and ask questions in an incredulous tone, listen to this podcast!
Or, you know, call me on the phone.

Ha

Anyway I just listened and its super fun to hear everything mixed and edited with sound FX and music added. 

Here is a picture of me doing what's known as 'serving up some face' post-audition - it didn't go as I wished so a defiant mirror selfie in the next studio over seemed as good a coping method as any.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Step into my booth

Recorded a podcast this week! It's a sci fi series and this week we recorded the first 9 episodes of an 18 episode season.
I had so much fun doing this. For one thing the cast and crew are fun, relaxed and talented so I spent much of the week in stitches. For another, my character is a stone cold badass who digs major weaponry, dominating in hand to hand combat and eating huge plates of meat.
Oh yeeeaaah. More of this please.
Also I don't know what happens next and I really want to find out.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Viva PR

Me voy escribir en español porque yo quiero mas practicar.  Me voy a Puerto Rico en 6 días!!! Y estoy muy contente y excitado.

Tengo un amigo de Puerto Rico y el esta mi guía turística.    Quiero visitar las playas, El Yunque (la selva tropical) y los pueblos pequeños.


I am going to write in Spanish because I want more practice.  I'm going to Puerto Rico in 6 days!!! And I'm very happy and excited.

I have a friend from Puerto Rico and he is my tour guide.  I want to visit the beaches, El Yunque (the tropical rainforest) and the small towns.


Also today I made really delicious chili with sweet potato, black beans and quinoa, did laundry, rode my bike, read, brainstormed some ideas, cleaned, replied to emails and booked a dance studio for Monday morning.  And I'm about to watch The Crucible (with Daniel Day Lewis and Winona Ryder) for essential research for dance theatre piece.  Productive or what!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Two weekends

Just some nice things I did over my last couple of Saturdays and Sundays. Significant because I haven't had a weekend in New York to myself with no commitments or responsibilities since...err...early June.

Last weekend I took myself out for breakfast and enjoyed a quiet hour listening to a podcast while eating. I spent time at home cleaning and tidying and then a bit of lolling around. In the evening I went to the cinema with Rosi and Jeff to see Captain Fantastic with Viggo Mortensen - I liked it a lot, recommend. We went for a frozen margarita afterwards at a great place with a huge outdoor seating area.

Over the last couple of weeks the daytime temperature has been between 85 and 93 degrees Farenheit although I suspect it was actually much higher in some areas. 

Sunday I met Sam, Val and a friend of theirs from L.A. for brunch and a really nice catch up. We ate near their place and I chose to enjoy the sun and walk most of the way back to mine, crossing the park as I did so. I went home to sit on the sofa eating frozen pineapple (my new sweltering heat snack of choice - trust me it's genius) before cleaning myself out to go and meet Natalia and Lauren for a long overdue catch up over some drinks in a Cuban diner and then on the roof of some guy Naty works with. A very pleasant way to spend time with my friends.

During the week inbetween I worked, babysat, chatted with roommates. Also had the second rehearsal for the podcast play written by mighty Ben Holbrook - it's so much fun and I can't wait to hear them once they've been recorded and sound edited. Love my job. I'm also really excited to start work on an immersive dance theatre piece with a choreographer I've been dying to work with for months, not to mention dancers I'm really happy to be in a cast with. Watch this space, we go up in late October.

So this weekend I had a morning at home doing more cleaning and tidying things before going to watch 'Sinners on a Southbound Bus' also by mighty Ben Holbrook which was selected for the New York Fringe Festival. It, like everything he does, is fantastic. Super cool to see his work being fully produced and viewed by so many people, we are proud.
Then I went home and was joined shortly after by David and we enjoyed some chit chat aroind the kitchen table before retiring for the night.

Today (Sunday) I woke up unexpectedly early and got going with all kinds of things. Scheduling my life for the next two weeks, working in dance classes and studio space around work and rehearsals. I ticked a few things off my to-do list the biggest of which was 'retrieve my bike'. I chose - perhaps a little unwisely - to run to Sam's. I should say I haven't done a long run since about mid-June so I was a bit apprehensive. Full disclosure I didn't run the full way - I took a walk break. In fairness it was about 90 Fahrenheit and its nearly 6 miles. But I arrived at his front door running. I hung out with Bobby and Bitbit for a little while, both because I miss them and to catch my breath/cool off before finally rescuing Frances and heading back across Brooklyn.
After a quick clean up and turnaround I'm now on my way to Anel's house because she decided, unprompted, not long ago to cook brunch for a group of friends. Thanks Anel!
After that I will head to the first rehearsal for the new dance project - I'm really looking forward to being in a room with this group of people for the first time.
I'm out!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Make Room

I spent the last week of July living in my own home again - yay
Working
And taking the ferry to Governor's Island to create and rehearse a piece of immersive dance theatre under the direction of my lovely friend Roseanna Bell.  
She applied for and received a week long residency in an empty house of Governor's Island as part of a program called 'Make Room', produced by a company called Barton Booth which is all about giving artists quite literally the space they need to produce work.  For dancers especially this is often the hardest thing about creative endeavours - to rehearse a play you could in a pinch make do in an apartment, or a small rehearsal space.  To rehearse a piece of choreography or to improvise or hold a dance class you kind of need a decent amount of space.  And that doesn't come cheap and the demand  often outstrips the supply.
So this program is a wonderful thing and wonderful use of the large empty former officer's houses on GI.

It was a hot week.  The kind of hot where everything seems burnished.  I do well in the heat.  Also because we were going to dancing, sweating, rolling around on a dusty floor anyway the thing that often makes city heat the toughest - trying to maintain any level of composure and presentability - was a non-issue.  Dance clothes, every day.  

Ross wanted to create a piece that was inspired by the struggles of creating a piece.  I know right.  So meta.  She had that as a jumping off point and once we were in the house we were able to expand on that, taking further inspiration from our physical surroundings (this bannister is inviting me to utilise it in some improv, this room is very live and conducive to percussive movement, this glass door could pretend to be a mirror).  We used every space except the kitchen which acted as backstage, including the staircase and the porch terrace that wrapped around two sides of the house.  

Along the way we also picked up a Southern/Colonial vibe thanks to the architectural style, which ultimately contributed to the costuming and the choice of music for the finale.  Apart from that we had no sound other than that which we created ourselves - some vocally, some with breath, some with clapping, stomping and in my case banging on the walls.

The piece had five dancers and each of us had a different journey throughout the house - there were rooms that were never entered by certain people, or certain dancers who never interacted until the very end.  I can't speak for everyone but I really enjoyed giving myself a character and giving that character a specific journey - this was very much a piece of dance theatre not just choreographed dance, with an element of improv and storytelling so Rosi gave us reasons for why certain moments happened and allowed us to find our own reasons for certain others.  Why do they run up the stairs? Why does she shout? Why does this stretch of wall hold fascination? What does she see in the mirror? 
It was a kind of creative freedom and energy that I wish I had more of in my life - the whole week made my spirit soar and I was positively vibrating with ideas and creative impulses by the end of every day.  I'm so grateful to Rosi for having me be a part of it and for allowing me to contribute where I could, and making it such a collaborative and affirming process.  We were really proud of the end result and had some great reactions from audience members - I also learned a lot about how immersive pieces can work.  It helps to have at least a couple of people who understand the conventions of that type of theatre because they know to follow the performers without getting in the way, and to take their cues with as little guidance from us as possible.  There were a number of people we encountered who had never experienced anything along these lines - during one performance I finished a vignette in a room alone, the other dancer having finished hers and moved on to her next space.  Some audiences followed her out leaving me to finish unwatched, but this particular group waited for me to finish and then continued watching me.  I silently gestured towards the door.  Nothing. I made eye contact with several then looked pointedly at the door.  Nothing.  I moved behind them and held my arms akimbo while walking slowly toward them.  Nothing.  I went to the door and gestured one more time.  Still nobody moved...so I left the room and shut the door.  My next moment was meeting Rosi in the hallway and moving together into the next room to join the others. Before we did that, she opened the door I'd just closed - they had finally got the message because they all streamed out and went down the hallway.
Come on guys.

It is an amazing feeling to dedicate almost all your time (I still worked for Troy in the mornings) to doing the thing you live for, and it only gets better when you add a ferry ride, free run of a huge space, sunny days and working with good friends.








Mystery bruise sustained some time while wrestling my bike up the steps to Sam's building while simultaneously trying to hold the heavy outward-opening door open - it's a very poorly planned situation.














Friday, August 19, 2016

The Illustrated Adventures of Red Hook


My furry alarm clock





Siblings playfighting



Bobby on the bed




Bobby is tired: the series





D'aww









Sunset at  Valentino Pier, part I

Mighty Frances


Bobby watches Game of Thrones


And now presenting Tessa and Lauren's Sundae Funday






















The End





Sunsets part II



Where's Bobby?


DERP


HAY GUYS


Bobby is tired cont'd





Human sunbathing





Synchronised CatDog sunbathing