Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Christmas and my iPhone

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas, or a Happy Hanukkah, for all two of my Jewish readers. Here's wishing you all a Happy Happy New Year.

My parents left yesterday. Something about people leaving in a cab...the goodbyes are brutal. You have to rush all the bags in the trunk and then rush all the hugs because the cab is holding up traffic. Then your parents rush into the cab, and the cabbie rushes away. HE doesn't care that you're still waving, or yelling one last "I love you," or telling your dad how to work the credit card machine in the cab. He's just gone. Pedal to the medal. Your parents have vanished.

BUT, the good news is my brother and his wife are still with us. We saw the Nutcracker tonight at Lincoln Center. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I've never seen the Nutcracker like this. Words can't explain. I want to see every single ballet the New York City Ballet puts on from here on out, for the rest of my life.

The other good news is that my parents left me with my Christmas gift: the upgraded iPhone with the fast and furious 3G internet. It's awesome. I've downloaded a free game of Sudoku and have been playing non-stop. I'm an "Expert" now. Record of 38 minutes.

If any of you know my husband, you know that he is a Mac FANATIC. He got his iPhone last year and tried to convince ME to get one, too. But I, the more patient and logical one, said to him, "Nope, nope, nope. I'm waiting till they upgrade. Those suckers always upgrade and you're left with the crappier one if you bought it too soon." My mom and I went to the Apple store to purchase my new prized item. Seth came along. Here's how it went along the way there.

ME: Ready to go to the Apple store, guys?

SETH: Maybe you should just take my iPhone, and I'll get the upgraded one.

ME: Pfshhh. No.

Here's how it went when we got to the Apple store:

MAC GUY is setting up my account. Then he tells me all about my iPhone.

ME: Ok.....Cool.....Ok.....Yeah.....Ok.

SETH: (interrupting MAC GUY with some computer language I don't understand): 110000101 10010010 0100010 001 010100 101010001 iLiberty 01010010 0100 010101 01101 0001 11101. iLiberty 0101 0111101 1111 000101 101 10001 0101 101010101.

MAC GUY: (distracted from helping me. Turns to Seth): Yeah! 0101001 0101 01010 1000010 10111 001 1001 000 11011 111 11 iLiberty 1111 1001 1010101.

SETH: iLiberty...iLiberty....iLiberty.

MAC GUY: 100101 101 1010101 01101 1010101 10100101 0001 10100101 001 101 1011.

SETH: 0111010 1011 1010110 iLiberty--

ME: HEY! Shut up! This is MY iPhone. MINE. MY time.

This is how it went when we got home from the Apple store:

SETH: Hey, can I see your iPhone?

ME: Pfshhh. No.

It's not that I'm selfish. It's that I told him so. And since I told him so, I have no mercy.

If you lived with Seth, you'd understand the glory in an "I told you so." But seeing as you don't, you may all go on believing that I'm selfish, and that I've lost the meaning of Christmas, and so on and so forth. But I'll go on playing Sudoku and pulling up this here blog faster than he can.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Time is Here

My parent's arrived yesterday, after two delayed flights and their luggage lost. The good news is they're here. And Laguardia located their luggage. Laguardia over the holidays is never fun.

My parents are staying at our friends' apartment. Our friends, along with their toddler, left this week to see family, and they offered their home to my parents. Our friends live just a block away from us. It's perfect.

We'll be shlepping around the city like crazy tourists. Macy's and Saks today. The Mac store. (Yessss.) And the musical, White Christmas, tonight. My brother and his wife get here the day after Christmas, and my entire family will come see my show on Sunday.

It finally feels like Christmas.

Merry Christmas, folks!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Umbrella Walking

It snowed yesterday. Quite a bit. All day long. I don't know how many inches, but it was a lot. This is me out in the snow.

Note two things in the picture above. 1) The UGGS. 2) The Umbrella. The UGGS turned up useless by the end of the day because surprisingly and unfortunately, UGGS are not waterproof. My socks spent the latter half of the day drying over the heater in our living room. The Umbrella however (yes, with a capital "U,") was my hero.

Umbrella walking in New York City is not an easy task. It is not a task like crossing the street, which becomes more instinctual with time. Umbrella walking simply sucks. Each time. Every time. It is not fun. It is painful. And it is unfair. All this because people don't give a rat's boohiney about how their umbrellas invade your space, or poke your eye out, or scrape your head, or catch and pull your hair. It's each man for himself. Stay dry no matter the cost.

I have often wondered, why am I the one who always moves my umbrella out of the way for YOU. Why am I always the one who sees the man or woman about to pass me and lifts my umbrella higher than the oncoming traveler's so that the two umbrellas do not interlock and mangle themselves to pieces. Why do I have to get extra wet because I'm avoiding a gazillion little pokey things that could have a detrimental effect on my face.

And fancied friends, I have come up with a solution to my quandary, and the answer lies in that picture you see at the beginning of this post.

See how that Umbrella is very LARGE?

Hmmmm? See it?

That's the solution! That's the answer! You see, before yesterday I was walking around with a rinky dink umbrella that flipped inside out with every gust of wind. It was a mere child's thing! Useless. Weak. UNmenacing. Shrinking back from every bully umbrella that came its way. A disgrace to the umbrella race it was. A disgrace to the umbrella race.

But NOW. I've upgraded. Yesterday I was walking along and all of the sudden a man next to me said, "Woah!" and had to do a Neo (you know, like one of those slow motioned back bends) to avoid my Umbrella. As I walked the block I noticed those around me swerve and duck and dive and maneuver, while I peacefully walked along on the ever so beautiful white winter day.

I returned home with wet feet and both eyes.

My Umbrella. My hero.

Monday, December 15, 2008

That's Entertainment

Warm day today. Like, 64...66 degrees. Very odd for this time of year. But, you don't really care about the weather in New York City. Do you?

Mayor Bloomberg is making budget cuts for all New York City agencies, which includes the Sanitation, Police, and Fire Departments.

A slew of Broadway shows will be closing early 2009, Gypsy being the latest to release its news. Grease, Hairspray, Spamalot, Spring Awakening, 13, Boeing-Boeing, and Young Frankenstein are some of the others joining it in its farewell.

But you don't really want to hear about how the hard economic times are affecting New York City. Do you?

Wouldn't you rather hear about which movies I've watched recently?

Here they are, all fantastic:


Sleepless in Seattle

Fargo (Oh geez, Margie)

27 Dresses (not AS fantastic, but still pretty good)

The Prestige

Sullivan's Travels

Rear Window

Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf

A Streetcar Named Desire

Here's a list of the ones on my Netflix queue, coming up!:

Strangers on a Train

The Birds


Notes on a Scandal

Billy Elliot

A Cry in the Dark

All About Eve


The Philadelphia Story

Anyone got any great movie ideas, old classics or not-so-old classics that I should add to my queue? Or just ones you love?

Those Were the Days

Those were the days when
the china was out
and the rug was new
and the bed in our room
was always a bed.
And suitors came knocking
And buyers came gawking
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
Yes, the dish ran away with the spoon.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Not tired.

Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired.

I'm telling you, this works better than counting sheep.

Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired.

A couple days ago, I picked up a guitar for the first time in ages. To play something OTHER than Coal Miner's Daughter and Delta Dawn, which I played one too many times this summer, and sang with a fake Southern accent while dressed in pigtails.

I'm starting to crave the recording studio again, and singing as myself instead of whoever.

But I DO love being imaginary people. The only thing with being an imaginary person is that it takes me a LONG time to wind down after returning to my real self, and now I can't sleep.

Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired.

It's working.

Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired.

I also tried eating graham crackers (they're actually graham cracker sticks) dipped in peanut butter. That may be helping. I hope we don't find out one day that crackers lead to some kind of incurable disease, because I'd be doomed. DOOMED. It used to be Wheat Thins and Triscuits. But after, oh maybe 8 years of those two kinds of crackers being staples in my diet, I've moved on to Kashi 7-grain. They're delicious! And now I'm into these Back to Nature Cinnamon Graham Sticks. Back to Nature also makes a very good cheese cracker. Much like the Cheese Nips or Cheezits or whatever except they're less fat. And all natural. This is just out of control, this cracker business.

Ya know what I think it is? I used to be a cereal connoisseur. Cereal was my go-to snack. But nowadays, cereal is ridiculously expensive, and if I snacked on cereal, I'd eat myself into financial instability. That must be what started this whole economic downfall in the United States. It's the cereal! Nobody could afford their mortgage payments because they ate too much cereal! Well, I am way too responsible for that nonsense and have cut my snacking expenses in half by substituting crackers for cereal. I should write a book on solving the financial crisis. It would be titled: Eat Less Cereal!

Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired.

I've got double shows tomorrow. Matinee and Evening. It's 5:04 AM. This is not good.

Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired. Not tired.

But getting sleepy....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nanny Diaries

The 7-year-old and I have just finished two games of War (the card game.) The 7-year-old lies back, very still, and stares at the ceiling.

ME: Whatcha thinkin' Lincoln?...Huh?

7-YEAR-OLD: (Sigh)...I'm in love with someone!

ME: (laughing, can't help it) You ARE?!?! Who?!?!

7-YEAR-OLD: I'm in love with Eleanor! She kissed me on the LIPS!! I'm going to marry her.

ME: When did she kiss you on the lips?

7-YEAR-OLD: And we even went to dinner and there was a two-seater and we sat at the table by ourselves and it was like we were dating!

ME: Woah!

7-YEAR-OLD: Yes! And we even shared our drink and our food!!!

ME: Wow, that really is like a date!

7-YEAR-OLD: Well, just our food. We had our own drinks. And I got down on my knees and begged and begged her to marry me. I said, (he gets on his knees and puts his hands together in prayer fashion) "Please! Please! Please! MAAAAARRY MEEEEE!"

ME: Did she say yes?

7-YEAR-OLD: Uh-huh!

ME: Did Eleanor kiss you on the lips BEFORE or AFTER you asked her to marry you?

7-YEAR-OLD: (thinking) .....Before. But I think I'll have to kiss her again at the wedding. Won't I?

ME: Yes, you will.

7-YEAR-OLD: Will I HAVE to?

ME: Yes, you have to kiss her at the wedding.

7-YEAR-OLD: Why? Because that's what makes us married, right?

ME: Because it's tradition. Yes you will have to kiss Eleanor at your wedding.

7-YEAR-OLD: (He smiles and flops on the floor and buries his face into the rug.) Oh just thinking about it makes me sweat!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Riddle Me This

A few weeks ago at rehearsal during dinner break, discussing the wonderful-ness of dessert:

ME: My friend owns her own cookie company. She's a baker. And she makes the most AMAZING cookies. I'm serious. Her cookies are the Tom and Jerry's of cookies. Mmmmmm. (I continue eating my dinner, happily remembering my friend's cookies. My actor friends are silent.)


ACTOR FRIEND 1: (Confused) Tom and Jerry's. What's Tom and Jerry's?

ACTOR FRIEND 2: (Confused) Tom and Jerry's is that cartoon with the cat and the mouse.

ACTOR FRIEND 1: Did you mean BEN and Jerry's?

Laugh laugh laugh. Ha ha ha.

ME: Yeah. Ben and Jerry's.

Laugh laugh laugh. Ha ha ha.

ME: Story of my life.


Between shows this weekend, discussing sausage. (Have no idea how and why we were discussing sausage.)

ACTOR FRIEND: I'm not really a sausage link person. I'm more of a patty person.

ME: Yeah. Just give me the James Dean. That's all I want.


ME: .....

ME: Jimmy Dean. Jimmy Dean. Dangit!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Nanny Diaries

Ring! Ring!

7-YEAR-OLD: I'LL GET IT!!! I'll GET IT!!!!!

ME: Say B----- residence.

7-YEAR-OLD: (Picks up phone) B---- residence speaking.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Up and Running!

Oliver officially opened this past Saturday at the Engeman Theater in Northport, NY.

If you're around and would like to see the show, just click on the Engeman link above for tickets.

All is well! The show's going great. Here's a few pics. Hopefully more to come.

Our set.

The boys.

"I'd Do Anything" That's me back there standing with Oliver and Fagin

Me as Bet

Me as a "Buyer"

Opening Night Extravaganza:

Me and Michelle DeJean (Nancy)

Me and the boys, Troy (Dodger), Larry (Charlie), and Jake.

Me and Neal Benari (Fagin)

Me and Steph (Charlotte) and Rob Gallagher (Bill Sykes)

Me and Oliver!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Shall Scream

I learned today in rehearsal that I can scream. I'm a pretty good screamer. I've never had to scream, and I don't recall ever just screaming in real life. I watched a behind the scenes on one of the Indiana Jones movies, where the actress COULDN'T scream, but Stephen Spielberg didn't know that until AFTER he hired her and found out she was an AWFUL screamer. Couldn't scream worth a hoot. And it just so happened that this Indiana Jones movie required her to scream alot. So they had to have her mouth the screams, and then go in and dub over someone else's prerecorded scream into every screaming scene.

And ever since I saw that behind the scenes, I've wondered if I'd be any good at screaming. But I never considered any moment of my life appropriate to just try out a scream.

Well, that moment came today.

My character, Bet, finds Nancy dead at the end of the musical. (Sorry if I ruined it for any of you.) And the director and choreographer had this "brilliant" idea that I should scream when I see Nancy dead.

I got a little nervous about it. Went up to the choreographer while the director worked with the other actors and said, I have NO idea if I can scream. I've never really done it before. And he told me to just go ahead. Try it out. Right then and there.

So I mustered up the courage, opened my mouth, drew in a deep breath, and let it RIP.

Everyone in the whole room jumped or gasped and looked over at me, frozen in fear. It was dead quiet. The choreographer just nodded and said, yeah, you can scream.

I said, sure I can, but I don't think my character would do that.

So he said OK, and I don't have to scream.

I feel better now that I know I can scream. Not that there's anything wrong with NOT being able to scream. I mean, Stephen Spielberg ended up marrying the actress that couldn't scream, so he musta liked her anyways. Not that I want my director to marry me...Oh you know what I mean.

Number of times I wrote the word "scream" in this post: anyone?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wow. I am TIRED tonight. Rehearsals are getting longer and more intense. We've been rehearsing from 10 - 6 here in the city every day, but it goes to 12 hours out in Northport starting Friday. We open the day after Thanksgiving.

My head may even hit the pillow before midnight tonight. Gasp.

I have a hard time blogging during a show because my life becomes so...routine. I'm literally doing the same thing every single day. Same songs, same dance, same lines, same actions. I think actors crave the extreme repetition of a show, because usually, so much else in an actor's life is so inconsistent. Clarity in an imaginary life is consoling. I think that's also why there's an element of sadness when a show closes. That consoling sameness and the community that comes with it is yanked out from underneath you.

So if I'm boring you'll have to forgive me. I'll do my best to find something worth telling.

See I've even stopped titling my blogs. They just don't seem worthy of titles.

Ahhhh well. I'm off to bed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Did I tell you guys that I saw Julianne Moore at Starbucks the other day? She's real pretty.

I don't have much to talk about. I'm about to go to another voice lesson, but I don't really want to talk about that.

Rehearsals are great, but I don't really want to talk about that either.

I had a matzah ball soup that I liked today! There's something to talk about. It was at a real Jewish deli owned by real Jewish people instead of a silly Manhattan deli owned by silly non-Jewish people. Matzah ball soup tastes just like chicken noodle soup! Except for those two big mushy dumpling like things in the center that don't taste like much of anything. It was good. Not sure why people get crazy about it, but it was good. And cheap. Maybe that's why people love it so much.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nanny Diaries

A conversation with the 7-yr-old boy I babysit as we're watching the end of a New York Rangers hockey game on T.V:

7 YR OLD: I'm actually kind of glad Obama won.

ME: You are?

7 YR OLD: I mean, I'm SAD that McCain lost because I was for him. But I'm actually kind of glad Obama won.

ME: Really. Why's that?

7 YR OLD: Because he's our PRESIDENT!

ME: Well...not yet if you want to be precise.

7 YR OLD: People should really be glad for their president.

ME: Well that's true. Did you guys have a mock election in your class at school or something?

7 YR OLD: (confused) mock?

ME: Oh. I mean a pretend election at school?

7 YR OLD: No.

ME: Oh.

7 YR OLD: Anyways, it's not like the president can tell us what to do or anything. He can't force us to do things.

ME: Hmmm, it's true that we're a free society, and we make our own choices.

7 YR OLD: Right! We make our own choices!

ME: The president can tell our military what to do, though.

7 YR OLD: We're not at war right now.

ME: We are actually. In Iraq.

7 YR OLD: Oh. But not anywhere around here, right?

ME: Right.

7 YR OLD: I hate wars! Wars are stupid. Fighting each other with knives and stuff.

ME: Well, the United States only goes to war if it's to fight for what's help people. (???) it's always better to try to work it out, though. You're right.

7 YR OLD: Yeah! Work it out! Work it out with YOUR WORDS! Geesh.

ME: That's right. Work it out with your words...... Sometimes countries have a harder time working it out with words.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How Not To Think

After a grueling lesson with my voice teacher yesterday, and after a 24 hour period of THINKING how NOT to think, I THINK I've got what he means.

In my lessons, during a vocal exercise, he wants me to simply DO what he says, not process what he says and how it corresponds to my own preconceived understanding of the voice. When he asks me "how does that FEEL", he wants to hear a self-aware answer of how that FELT, not a processed THINKING answer about what I THINK my teacher wants to hear.

Two things: He wants me to be self-aware. He wants me to trust him.

Both are very hard for me.

I've been a "singer" all my life, since the 5th grade spring choir concert where I sang my solo, "Tomorrow", with a navy blue and white polka-dotted bow in my hair, while my friend's dad sat in the audience making funny faces and trying to make us all laugh.

I've studied voice since I was 14 years old. All through high school, studying voice was fun. I knew then that I wanted to sing the rest of my life. But in college, the first time I walked into my new voice teacher's studio surrounded by upperclassmen who were confident and comfortable, with classical voices that could burst my eardrums, I felt uneasy, out of place, scared, and insecure.

Maybe it was how all freshmen felt when entering the world of recitals and music hours and practice rooms, but for me, all through college, it never went away. I dreaded my voice lessons. I dreaded practicing. Don't get me wrong, I loved singing. But I loved singing on my own terms. I loved singing in my musical theater touring ensemble. I loved singing in my 4-person gospel group, through which I made a couple of records, my first professional gig, a living for a few years, and friends for life.

But the trained art to singing: I feared.

I felt inadequate. I later realized that it's the things we really love to do that we're most afraid of, because we're afraid of failing if we try.

I really loved to sing, and I was deathly afraid of failing at it. So, I compared myself to everyone around me and found sure ways of finding the negative about myself. I lost a bunch of weight. Too much. And it might have been around this time, or was it part of me my whole life?, that I began to mold myself on account of pleasing others.

In college, I lost myself. It wasn't until I married Seth that I rediscovered my worth in who I was. Seth's love for me reminded me of the love Christ had for me, for who I was at the core, not who I thought I needed to be to make someone else like me. It was and still is a process.

SO, when I walk into a voice lesson with a voice teacher who has successful students on Broadway and internationally renowned opera students, the fears of acceptance and self-worth rush back and there I am, trying to be what and who HE wants me to be instead of just being.

My voice teacher just wants me to be.

That was the lesson I learned in my voice lesson yesterday. That's what "not thinking" means to him. It's a hard lesson to learn, a lesson I haven't quite mastered, one that is a process. But it's a place that, if I can get there, will be a place where mistakes are OK, where perfection is boring, where my feelings are validated and useful, where I am vulnerable and able to trust, not just others, but myself. A place that allows me to be the best artist I can be.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Day Off

It's my day off today. Rehearsals are going very well. We added in the children's cast this weekend. They are all EXTREMELY talented and well-behaved. I feel very good about this cast on all accounts. Not only are the actors talented, they are inventive, imaginative, and a joy to be with. But honestly, I find that so many actors are a joy to be with. I've not been a part of one single cast that bums me out. There's always the person that you'll never really get along with, but...that's just life.

I always find myself enjoying the rehearsal process before a show opens, sometimes more than the run of the show itself. It's such an exciting time: Finding your character, discovering relationships between characters, and playing with all sorts of ideas. Freedom within boundaries. Your script provides the boundaries, but the freedom lies between the lines, and in making the black and white on paper become color and movement and meaning. By opening night, hopefully, you've solidified enough to be consistent, and then the challenge becomes finding new moments within repetition. But rehearsal is safe. There's no press, no audience, no standard. A clean slate. Who doesn't love a clean slate?

I have a voice lesson today and honestly, I really don't want to go. Voice lessons. Blah. I'll be spending an hour ooohing and ahhhing and eeeehing up and down the octave. See this must be why so many singers run into trouble acting. (None of my fancied friends here, of course.) Too many rules to singing, too much to think about. My voice teacher keeps telling me not to think, but for the life of me I can't figure out how NOT to think. Any suggestions on how not to think?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Nanny Diaries

I babysat tonight after my rehearsal.

FYI: OK, y'all know I'm not a full-time nanny. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just that I'm not. But I DO babysit on a consistent basis for the same family, so I guess you could say I'm the Relief Nanny.

You know the four-letter-word? Not the sort of bad one but the REALLY bad one? The one that rhymes with what hockey players hit. SO, the 7-yr-old asks me at dinner tonight what it means. Some kid said it in school. OK now, I get saying "bagina" in 1st grade, but #*&%? 1st grade? Really?

Cuz when I was in first grade, on the second day of first grade to be precise, a kid told me to say the word "Ship," and I did. Then he told me to say it with a "Z" on the end, and I did (?). Then he told me to say it with a "T" on the end, and I did. And he raised his hand and told the teacher that I said a bad word. And I ran over to the teacher in her pretty yellow dress and swore I didn't mean to, over and over again, and she believed me. That kid was a jerk.

I don't remember when I learned what it meant.

But THIS four letter word? In 1st grade? Private boys school first grade. Yep.

I told him it was a naughty word and that we don't say it. What was I supposed to say? Seriously, do you TELL a first grader what that MEANS?

Seth swears I'm in training. I'm starting to believe him.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rehearsal: Day One

Election Day!

But on a less stressful note, guess who I'm singing duets with in Oliver?

Her name's Michelle, and she's Roxy in the musical, Chicago on Broadway. Or she was until she took time off to be in this show. Where I'm singing DUETS with her.

How cool is that?

OK, geek moment over.

Our first rehearsal was good today. I'm gettin','ing my Cockney accent on.

Our Oliver and Dodger are the cutest little guys you ever saw with really great voices and really great hair.

I met a guy named Neil, who is our Fagin, and when he introduced himself to me, I didn't know whether he'd been on B'way or not. Since he was Fagin, one of the LEADS, I figured: probably. But when I started to ask him, I thought twice about it because what if I asked, "So what Broadway show did you just finish?" and then what if he said, "Uh...never been on Broadway." I would feel awful for making him say that, so what happened kind of went like this.

Neil: Hello. You're our Bet?

Me: Yes! Hi, I'm Amber.

Neil: Hi. Neil.

Me: So...what...uh...(and here is where I thought twice)...brings..... Uh.

NEIL: What brings me here?

ME: Haha. Probably the same thing that brought me here.... Yeah.

He kind of laughed.

ME: So...wherrrre...arrrre you from, Neil?

NEIL: New York.

ME: Grew up here?

NEIL: Yep. Born and raised.

ME: Great! (And I'm thinking, Dangit. He's probably this big Broadway star and I should know who he is and I don't and I've insulted him. I should have just asked what Broadway show he did. Change the subject, dufus.) I really like your glasses.

Ugh. That was stupidly painful.

But yeah, he's done a few things here or there.

Anyways, rehearsal was fun.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Vow to Blog Land

OK. I'm not gonna do this. I'm not gonna drop off the face of the earth when rehearsals start tomorrow.

Not not not gonna do it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Trip to Origins

Last weekend, Mom and I went to Origins to buy some make-up. I needed some new foundation and mascara. (LOVE their foundation and exfoliating creme, and certain other essentials) So I ask the lady about it, she pulls up my info on the computer, and goes to work finding product for me.

But on this certain day, she's not interested in only finding the product I want, she's interested in selling me MORE.

I've worked retail before. I know how to sell. I've also been putting on make-up for half of my life. I know what I want, and if I don't then I'll ask you, and THEN you can sell me something.

She tells me she thinks I should go a shade darker with my foundation. I say, hmmm...ok let's try it.

LADY: How do you apply your foundation?

ME: (I act like I don't care about applying foundation because I can tell she's smelled meat and is after the kill) (shrug) Oh I just use a make-up sponge. I don't even wear foundation every day. (which is true)

LADY: Well! You should really use a Q-tip to first dab it to your face and then a foundation brush to even it out. Your foundation will last you longer that way. The make-up sponge soaks up too much foundation.

ME: Oh yeah, well I use a brush for my heavier foundation for the stage, but I just don't wear this Origins foundation enough to really care....

LADY: Well! Our brush that I'm using here is nicely-

ME: I have a brush.

LADY: Oh! You have one! Oh ok.

So she applies the darker foundation, which I liked, and then moves onto the mascara.

LADY: Now. You use the "Fringe Benefits" mascara? Because I'll tell ya, I'll really like the "Stay All Day" mascara. The "Fringe Benefits" is really a very light texture and-

ME: Yes that's actually why I like the "Fringe Benefits." My eyelashes are on the longer side and they have a tendency to stick together or go crazy if the mascara's too heavy.

LADY: Oh! Well have you tried our "Underwear for Lashes?" It really works well with the "Fringe Benefits" mascara.

ME: Yeah, I have and it makes my eyelashes stick together.

LADY: Would you like to try it again?

ME: (Big sigh) Sure.

I apply one eye with the "Underwear for Lashes" and one eye without.

ME: I can't really see a difference.

LADY: Hm. well. hm. no. i guess not.


LADY: Now. Do you have break-outs?

ME: Uh. No not really. I mean sure a little. Every now and then.

LADY: Like at that time of the month?

ME: ......

LADY: What do you wash your face with?

ME: I use Proactive.

LADY: Hm. Because I'm thinking. You have nice skin. You may not need Proactive.

ME: Well maybe I have nice skin because I use Proactive.

LADY: .....

LADY: Oh. Because I was going to mention: We have a new line of organic skin care you might be interested in.

ME: Nope. NOOOOPE. No thanks! NO! NO! NO! NOOOOOOOO!

I wish. That last line was the "me" screaming inside of me.

Leave me alone, Origins. Leave me be. I'm happy. I'm content.

I don't need you.

So....uh...anyone tried that new organic line at Origins?

Friday, October 31, 2008

He Likes It!

Happy Halloween.

And Happy Birthday to my hunk of a husband.

I gave Seth his birthday gift(s) 36 minutes ago, and for 36 minutes we haven't spoken. You know a husband likes a birthday present when, after you give it to him, he is so enthralled with it that when you begin a story and then stop MID-story, MID-sentence, MID-word, and he doesn't acknowledge you even started a story. Sethie likes it! He likes it!

It's a book about Star Wars.

Go figure.

Hasn't looked up once since he pulled it out of the bag.

Not once.

You know how they say men are like children?...

OHP!! He just spoke.

Seth: Cool. Did you know the phrase "May the force be with you" was derived from the Christian phrase "May the Lord be with you and your spirit" which St. Paul sometimes uses as the end of his letters?

Me: How do you know that's true?

Seth: Cuz it says here in the book.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's New

I have good news.

I booked a show!: the musical, Oliver. Guess all that 6 in the morning stuff pays off. I start rehearsals on Tuesday. I'm playing Bet, and the show's in New York. Which is maybe the best news of all, because I sure like doing shows and sleeping in my own bed at night.

It's the same theater I worked at last year, the one that the New York Times reviewed. It's in Long Island in a town called Northport, so it's a ways out. The theater provides travel, through train or van. But we rehearse at a studio in Manhattan.

My cousin's wedding was beautiful. I'm back home. I'm really tired. The whole extended family went to a karaoke bar AFTER the reception on Saturday, and I'm not sure I've fully recovered. Have you ever been to a karaoke bar with your aunts and uncles and cousins and MOM and DAD? It's kinda weird. I have stories to tell about my weekend, but I'm just so tired.

We're 6 days away from election day.

Seth's birthday is on Friday, and we're celebrating at a friend's house with Halloween cupcakes. Seth and I are going to our very favorite restaurant in NYC on Saturday. TABOON. Mmmmm. Ooh I need to get reservations for that.

I'm behind on laundry, and cleaning, and errands, and my dry cleaning has been at the cleaners for a week now cuz I keep forgetting to pick it up.

The other day, the 7 yr old boy I babysit asked me what a "bagina" was. (Yep, that's how he said it: with a "b") After saying WHAT?? I asked him where he heard that word. He said at school, and that his friend said it was girls' underwear. I said...mmm wellll I think that's a good question for your parents. He asked why he had to ask his parents. I said just because.

That's what's new with me. Getting ready for a new show and discussing the word "bagina."

Friday, October 24, 2008

Riddle Me This

As I'm getting ready to leave this morning (I'm in Oklahoma for a cousin's wedding), I say to Seth:

Me: Well hun, I'm glad you'll have the weekend for your dissertation. You can really, ya know, bite the bullet.

Seth: Awww, that doesn't sound good.

Me: What?

Seth: Bite the bullet means like, to die.

Me: It DOES?!?! No way! I thought it meant to like, ya know, suffer through it. Get it done.

Seth: No, I think it means to die.

Oh SE-eth. I have a little something to SHOWWW YOUUUU!

Please click here. Hurry! Now! Everyone! Click!

Change of subject. Before I go on, I must insert here: I don't know a lot about designer stuff. Really, I don't. I don't go out and try to buy the best brand names, because I've never cared, and anytime anyone's said to me, Oh my gosh, this handbag I saw was amazing. It was (insert designer brand name here), I think: I have no idea what that means.

Now, along with hand-me-down clothes, I recently got a hand-me-down handbag. Designer. Louis Vuitton.

More on this later. But I had to preface for this next section here.

OK, so after I laugh about the phrase I THOUGHT I'd botched and ask Seth to please not tell anyone, it's time to go. I pick up my sheek Louis Vuitton designer handbag, realizing fully the unprecedented moment, and with renewed vigor SAY:

Me: WELL! Me and Vidal are outa here.

Seth let me get all the way to the door before correcting me.

Oh, and Seth? I think you meant: Bite the dust.

HA! Take THAT oh power in the universe that jumbles up all my phrases of good intent! haHA!! One point: FancyPants.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Confession: Nanny No-No

What's wrong with me?

I'm babysitting my friend's little boy this week, remember - the heart stealer?. He and I were running errands yesterday, after undergoing the painful process of getting a one-year-old AND his stroller down a flight of stairs in a walk-up building, out two heavy doors, and down another mini-flight of stairs outside.

When we came to a corner and waited for the street light to change at the crosswalk (my rulebook for walking in NYC is modified with babies in my care), a guy sitting on a fire hydrant (couldn't tell you why he was sitting on a fire hydrant) says hi to my friend's curly haired, blue eyed toddler.

He says in a manner much to personal for strangers on the streets of New York City, "Hey little guy! Hi! Ohhhh...WOW!...what beautiful eyes!"

Then the stranger looks at me and says, "WOW! Congratulations!"

Now, aside from the fact that that is the weirdest way to say somebody's baby is cute, like the parents have won some providential prize or something, overlooking that fact, I say with a sheepish grin,


The light changed. I got my white walking man. I crossed the street.

THANKS? Thanks. THANKS! What? Now why in the world did I take credit for a baby that's not mine?!?! I've been thinking about this long and hard since yesterday, because the second I said thanks and crossed the street, I debated turning around and saying, Ummm...actually.... And though I myself KNOW I am not in any way, shape, or form a nut nanny, I can't help but think: Hand That Rocks the Cradle.

I realize I committed the biggest babysitter crime EVER.

So it's necessary I evaluate the possible reasons I would commit such a hanus crime, and here's what I've come up with.

I'm either

A) A nut nanny

B) A woman whose biological clock is ticking's about. that. time.


C) A suspicious New Yorker who just wanted to get across the street without telling a strange man her life story.

I'm gonna go with C.

That has to be it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Switching Wardrobes

I switched out wardrobes yesterday, which took way longer than I thought and usurped my previous plans of getting much more done. Sweaters, naturally, take up way more space than rinky dink sleeveless summerwear, and the dilemma caused me to overthrow Seth's claim to his side of the closet.

Poor Seth now has a foot or so at the end for his jeans.

But no worries. I also gave him a drawer all to himself.

I know, I know. It sounds heartless. But really, fancied friends, if you knew how long it took me to organize all our winter wear into our eensy teensy living space, you'd be proud. It was hard. DANG hard. I had to CONTINOUSLY take things out of the closet and say, Nope- won't wear that. It's gone. Nope. Nope. Nope. Ehhhhh, well if I lose some poundage I could fit back into that. Maaaaaybe I should keep it....Nope.

And on top of all that, my friend's neighbor downstairs from her cleaned out HER closet and got rid of HER clothes, and she has REALLY awesome clothes, which she gave to my friend, who in turn gave them to me. We're talking designer brand here, people. Brands I would NEVER buy because the the cost of the tag alone equals my closet's entire holdings. I mean, you can't TURN DOWN free clothes like that! No, you GIVE AWAY clothes you have to fit THOSE clothes into your closet.

Hand-me-downs are awesome. Thank you, friend's friend with impeccable style. I thank you. Once Seth gets used to the new living arrangements, he'll thank you, too.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Picking Apples and a Pumpkin Patch

This past weekend we went to a farm in New Jersey with some friends for a fall kickoff. Hot dogs, cider and donuts, pumpkins, apple orchard. Fall's here. There's no turning back now.

This is our friends' one-year-old.

Watch out, Seth. This little guy might steal my heart.

One thing's for sure. As of Saturday, I am all about fall.

I'm wondering what that guy behind me's all about.

The only apples available for picking were WAY high up in the trees. So my friend, V, and I shimmied on up and took matters into our own hands.

We ate the apples right off the trees. Mmmmm they were delicious.

This little guy thought so, too.

See what I mean? Heart stealer.

Happy fall, y'all.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

City Sights

I don't have pictures for some of these:

**A woman in a bright pink button down blouse and white dress pants with a large white "Coach" or something of the sort handbag, lying on the ground, face down in the flowers that are sold on the side of the corner mart. She lifts her head, clearly drunk, and tells us over and over how her husband is such a jerk. Her well-to-do husband comes out of the corner store, sees his wife, shakes his head, and exclaims in a heavy New York accent, "What's wrong with you?!?!"

**A man in the back seat of a cab with its window rolled down yells to the driver, "STOP HERE. HERE!!! YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING!!...YES I DO! OH I'LL TELL YOU WHY!!! BECAUSE I'M AN AMERICAN, THAT'S WHY!!!" He gets out of the cab and storms away.

I saw this guy, from the TV show House, crossing the street. Love that show.

And this guy, going into a gym.

This nifty little Smart Car, which I absolutely love.

And as I was shlepping across town for auditions the other day, I caught a glimpse of myself in one of the the shiny windows. It was the first cool day we had, on the windy side, and I forgot that on days like those you need a scarf. I improvised.

Confession: Walk Rage

As of today, I am a true New Yorker.

A while back I wrote about the different ways of crossing the street in New York City.
Today, I followed #7 in the rule book: Walk Rage.

As I crossed the street WITH THE RIGHT-OF-WAY (oh yes, I had the white walking man), a big white van took a right turn, right into me. Now when this happens, because believe it or not, it happens a lot, what ensues resembles a game of "Chicken." Who will give first? The walker has the right-of-way, but the driver , because he's turning right on a green light, doesn't want to wait on the walker, and consequently "fakes" driving right into the walker, attempting to scare the walker into stopping and letting the car pass, EVEN THOUGH THE WALKER HAS THE RIGHT-OF-WAY.

Now, see, when a driver does this to ME, I ALWAYS win. Because I take #7 in my cross walk rule book seriously. If I have the right-of-way, then I have the right-of-way. That's all there is to it, and they can wait. You might be thinking, hmmm...that's a bit severe considering she could get run over. But the thing is, if you keep walking, the driver has no choice but to stop, because surely they won't run you over.

Today, the white van almost ran me over. We played our little game of Chicken, and he didn't stop, and NOT ONLY did he not stop, he and his Hispanic friend in the passenger seat laughed at me and waved. This I clearly saw, since their windshield was a foot away from my face.

I stopped. I raised my hands in the air. I...(oh c'mon now, don't judge me)...cursed. And as I lowered my hands and the white van passed me, just inches away from my toes, a series of thoughts went through my head in a split second.

That *&#$^ almost killed me.

I had the right-of-way.

How dare they laugh.


instead of bringing my right arm down to my side as I did my left, my right arm suddenly acquired a will of its own. And....

I hit that van.

Really hard, with my right hand.

Right on its fat white side.

And man, did that feel good.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bailout or No? What do YOU think?

The DOW closed down 770 points today, 7 %. NASDAQ closed down almost 200 points, 9.1%

The Bush administration's $700B bailout plan failed to pass the House vote. 228 against. 205 for. Only 66 Republicans backed Bush's plan. 132 Republican House members voted against it.

What do YOU think? Should the government provide a bailout at all? Or can the the credit crisis and the market recover on its own?

Anyone wanna talk about it?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Actor's Equity: Good or Bad?

There are those who would say it's union or die. And some who would pass on the opportunity to join. From the little I know, I'll try to explain the advantages and disadvantages of being an Equity member, and from there I think the advantages and disadvantages of being a non-Union actor will become clear.

An Equity member has the advantage, first and most obviously, of the support of a union: contracts termed by AEA that producers must negotiate with actors. They include a base salary, health care, worker's comp, and appropriate working condition. Thus, the actor is protected. It's not that every Non-Eq theater pays crap, overworks their actors, or wouldn't provide worker's comp, It's just that some do and wouldn't, and that's enough. In Kentucky, I worked for a non-Union theater that required their actors to rehearse 12 hour days for 42 days straight (no day off), with a show tagged on to the end of the day for more than half that time. While the producer of that theater is a good man, whom I like very much, an Equity theater would never allow such a schedule, and that's why you'll rarely (if ever?) find an Equity theater that produces three shows in rotating rep over the span of 2 and a half months.

Another advantage of being an Equity member is the manageable audition process. Right now, as a non-Union actor, I spend half, and sometimes all, of my day waiting to be seen, because Equity members receive priority. And rightly so. I wouldn't mind so much being able to have a day job, and sign up for an audition time. That sounds heavenly.

And third, for the most part, and I say this timidly and with hesitation, many Equity productions are better quality productions. Some will disagree with me, but in my experience, this is true. (Let me insert here that I know many non-Union theaters across the U.S. that put on outstanding productions, but as a whole, this is what I see.) It's mostly because there's more money in Equity productions, as well as a more experienced team: from producer, to director, to stage manager, design, crew, and cast. All Broadway shows are Equity shows. An actor cannot be on Broadway and be non-Union. Off-Broadway...maybe. Off-off-Broadway, sure.

Disadvantages to being Equity: Well, there's the dues. You gotta pay. There's an initial fee plus a yearly smaller fee, and then working dues, which are a small percentage of each paycheck. There's the fact that once you're Equity, you cannot, or at least shouldn't, perform in a non-Union house. Doing so puts you at risk of losing membership.

Truthfully, there are quite a few disgruntled Equity members in the city these days. They say that non-Union jobs are taking jobs away from them. One example is the touring circuit. Once a Broadway show has been up and running for a certain amount of time, it goes out on tour. Used to be that these tours would all be Equity tours. Now, many are being taken out on tour by non-Union touring companies. Not all, but many. Why? It costs less. And less rules, I'm sure, has something to do with it. But primarily, it costs less. So, consequently, jobs that were previously given to Union actors are given to non-Union actors. Some theaters are also doing an Equity/non-Equity thing, where they hire Equity principals and a non-Union chorus. In many cases, this is how non-Union members earn points toward Equity. And then, there are the infamous reality shows, who hire whoever they want, who cares, as long as it makes good T.V. And non-Union members somehow end up making better T.V.

There are also those who caution an actor of becoming Equity too soon in one's career. They say that once you become Equity you're in a league with the big boys. You're up against the big names, the celebrities, the favorites, the experienced and well-known. Whether that's a disadvantage or just a fact, I don't know. I'd say it depends on the actor and what their path holds. It's hard to say. Non-union actors have gotten big roles in the non-Union houses and are afraid of not working again for a long time if they unionize. And sometimes that happens. But it all depends on one's goals, and if the actor is OK with playing big roles in the non-Union houses, or if they live in a city that holds a lot of non-Union theaters, then by all means, save your money and don't pay the dues. But if you want to work in New York City, and if, dare we say, you want to work on Broadway, well, then, take the plunge. Dive in. It doesn't get any easier. Just go for it!

That's what I know in a nutshell. I don't know much. I'm still learning, and I'm sure there's much more to learn from a producer's side of things, but this is how it looks from where I sit. You can probably see my opinion on the whole thing. I'm all for being an Equity member. I'm ready. But one thing's for sure. I'll read a lot less as an Equity member. I've never had so much time to read in my entire life, and that's not such a bad thing. But reading books, unfortunately, doesn't pay bills. And bills must be paid. The goal is to get them paid by doing shows here in New York City. That's the goal.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What is Equity?

The Actor's Equity Association defines itself in this way:

Actors' Equity Association ("AEA" or "Equity"), founded in 1913, is the labor union that represents more than 45,000 Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. Equity seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions and provides a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans, for its members. Actors' Equity is a member of the AFL-CIO, and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions.

Let me tell you what else Equity does and how it operates. If a theater is Equity, which many many here in NYC and around the US are, (and all are on Broadway), there are rules set up by the Union that it must follow. Such rules as...the amount of rehearsal hours it can require of its actors and crew, how many breaks the actor and crew receives in a given amount of hours, even small details such as what is required for the actor in the dressing room, and most importantly, wages. There are different levels of contracts that determine the pay scale for particular theaters. The differences in pay spread throughout a wide range, depending on things I don't much about. An Equity contract will sometimes pay more than a non-Equity contract, but in many cases, that doesn't hold true.

Another perk that Equity members receive is a more organized and managable audition process. When an Equity theater is casting for a show, there are two types of "open calls" they can hold, after they have held appointments for those actors with agents and whatnot. The first type is an EPA: Equity Principle Audition. This is a call that seeks principle performers, i.e. the leads, the supporting actors... At an EPA, the Equity member arrives early to form a line. At one hour before the call opens, the line of Equity members files through to the monitor to get an audition appointment. The actor picks which time they'd like to audition, and the monitor hands them a card with that time, then writes their name down in that time slot. The Equity actor then comes back at least ten minutes before their time to check in, is seen, and is done. The other time of call is the ECC: Equity Chorus Call. This call is for, you guessed it, the chorus. Singers, dancers, understudies, small cameo parts. But of course, the theater could cast principles or chorus from either call. There are two types of ECC's. 1) For singers. 2) For dancers. At an ECC, the Equity member signs up a week before the audition on a sign up sheet at the Equity building in Manhattan. They arrive 30 minutes before the call begins, and the monitor calls off the list in the order they are written. He gives the actors a card with a number on it 1 - however many there are. The actor waits for his number to be called to audition.

How does one become Equity if one so chooses, you might ask. What you canNOT do, is simply decide you want to become Equity, and therefore pay your dues to a man in an Equity coat (no, the coats don't really exist) and be a member. There are two ways of becoming an Equity member. One is a point system. A non-Eq member "crashes" an Equity audition, or the theater holds a separate call for non-Eq because that particular theater is allowed to offer non-Eq contracts. A non-Eq member works for an Equity theater and for every week worked, receives a point. 50 points equals an Equity card, at which time the actor can pay his dues and join the Union. The second way is for non-Equity members to "crash" an Equity audition and get cast even though they are non-Equity, and are therefore "given" their card no matter how many points they have, if any. The actor then has the opportunity to pay their dues and become an Equity member.

Any questions?

There are good things to being an Equity member, and then some not-so-good things. And there are good thing to being a non-Union actor, and then some not-so-good things.

I am currently a non-union actor.

And since I've bored some of you for entirely too long, and since I've got to work not too long from now, I'll explain the advantages and disadvantages to each in my next post. Till then...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It was a 6 AM day today. Right now it's 7:22 AM, and I'm almost out the door. I have to sign up for an audition downtown and then zip further downtown for a voice lesson at 9 AM, then back to the audition. Let's hope I get seen. Maybe if we all hope hard enough. I really want to sing this particular song today.

Who has a voice lesson at 9 AM?

Apparently I do, and I'm insane.

Have a great day, folks.


Update: 2:30 PM:

Well you all must've hoped real hard, cuz I got seen right around noon, and it went very well. Hooray for good auditions. Woo hoo!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gettin' Myself Back in Shape

I should mean back in physical shape. Like...I should be doing lots of yoga...and running...and sit-ups and all that stuff...and dance class.

But I mean back in sleep shape.

It's all about baby steps, see.

My work out plan is simple yet oh so hard: Go to bed fifteen minutes earlier every night. Get up fifteen minutes earlier every morning. Get at least 7 hours of sleep. Until I hit the perfect bed time, which I'm not really sure what that is yet, but I'm thinking lights out, 1 AM is a realistic expectation. That's the goal.

This of course applies to the days I don't HAVE to get up at 6 AM for auditions. Because of course on audition days my eyelids are extra sore since I have no choice in when I get up, and there's no possible way I could go to bed at 11 PM. So on those days I'll just have to set a midnight goal and deal with the 6 hours. Or 5 hours if I can't do it.

See, right now it's 1:05 AM, and I'm already getting tired. This is a good sign, people. It means my hard work is paying off, and I can once again join the healthy happy Early Risers of America who enjoy the benefits of Vitamin D3 consumption. Just look at all the benefits of Vitamin D and the dangers in its deficiency.

I'm well on my way to a happy, healthier lifestyle.


(That was the glint from the sun's rays bouncing off my pearly whites in their morning glory)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Quotes for the Bathroom Mirror

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."

--Thomas Edison

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Can't Sleep

Somebody remind me to never take a Mucinex ever again. I'm telling you, they kill me. 4 hours ago I was stoned, as Seth put it, and now I'm wide awake at 5 AM, and not a lick of sleep. My brain won't stop. My heart's pounding. I'm hungry. So, I'm assuming that would be the other half of that big honkin' pill I took. The white half, maybe. Not the expectorant half, the other half, the half that's a few chemicals shy of crack. I actually took two pills.

I've got a continual and conscious narration of my thoughts going on inside my head. It doesn't help that, with my new reading companion, Wuthering Heights, (which I read right before bed) I'm thinking with a British accent and inflection. Which is both interesting and amusing all in itself: One part of my consciousness listening to the other part speak in proper British form.

Anyway, I've got a dang cold.

Or shall I say...A temporary illness led on by winds of misfortune has befallen me, and I dare say I must take necessary precautions to beseech its retreat. Retreat, I say! Retreat, unwanted ghoul of nature. Ahhh, retreat unto the far reaches of origin that you might sink back into nonexistance and disturb one's slumber no more.

Yeah, so....can't sleep.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Hate Politics

I hate them. I hate how the media pushes their way into people's homes with their biased opinions and rude interviews. I hate that it's a big fat game. I hate that Americans don't really know the issues in their entirety. That we have to decipher what we think's going on in the White House from what we hear on T.V. or read in a newspaper or hear on talk radio. I hate that the media thinks we're too stupid to sift through their B.S. I hate that every American thinks they know how to run this country, when they have absolutely no access to intelligence or a cabinet or anything useful but a T.V. and w-w-w dot Yahoo dot com.

I'm not saying we shouldn't vote. Sure, we should vote. We know enough to vote. We know differences in parties and voting records and ethics and personalities. But don't vote on Sarah Palin's speech at the Republican National Pep Rally. Don't vote on Obama's promise to "change." Don't vote on words and ideals. Don't vote because you feel sorry that McCain can't raise his arms above his shoulders. Don't vote because Obama's black. Don't vote because Palin's a woman.

So I'm curious. What's the most important thing to you in choosing a president? What do you look at among the candidates to decide on your pick? Not necessarily, what you look for. I'm not so interested in if you look for pro-life, pro-choice, government regulation or tax cuts. I don't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican. More...if you think voting ethics is most important, or do you look at experience, record...foreign What seals the deal for you in your vote?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Studying Voice

You told me not to think.
Just feel.
What did that feel like?

And I said I was sorry.
For what, you said.
And I said,

for thinking

And you said,

Very good lesson.
Good concentration.

And I thought, Well I guess I'm not sorry then.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Honor of Victims and Their Loved Ones

Conversation tonight with a 7-year old boy in New York City:

He turns 7 on Saturday, Sept 13.

The 7-year-old boy I babysit for had just been put to bed. I see his little frame in the doorway to the kitchen, holding his stuffed rabbit and rubbing his eyes. He hears something in his room, some kind of creaking, he says. We go listen. Nothing. I explain the nature of the walls in New York, how sometimes you can hear the plumbing from the person above... I tuck him back into bed. He says:

7 yr old: Today's a sad day.

Me: What?

7 yr old: Today's a sad day. I saw it on the T.V. in the taxi.

Me: .....You're right.... Today's a sad day.

7 yr old: What were those called?

Me: What were what called?

7 yr old: Those buildings. They were called....ummm.

Me: The twin towers?

7 yr old: No, what was the building called?

Me: The World Trade Center?

7 yr old: Yeah! The World Trade Center! It fell to the ground. What made it fall to the ground? Was it like an asteroid?!?!

Me: .....Well...kind of like that.

7 yr old: Maybe the sun! Maybe the sun CAME DOWN! And CRASHED into those buildings!

Me: ....You know what? This isn't a nice thing to think about right before bed. You need to think happy thoughts before bedtime.

7 yr old: Yeah... Cuz nothing like that would ever happen around here.

Me: Right... Nothing like that.

7 yr old: Was that like....a REALLY long time ago?

Me: That was seven years ago.

7 yr old: Is that a really long time ago?

Me: That was, like, right before you were born.

7 yr old: Oh man. I wouldn't have wanted to be born when that happened.

Me: Yeah.

7 yr old: But that wouldn't happen anywhere around here, right.

Me: Right.... But you shouldn't be thinking of sad things right before bed. Just happy things. Think about happy things.

7 yr old: Yeah. OK. Happy things... Love you. G'night.

Me: Love you, too. G'night buddy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Quotes for the Bathroom Mirror

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

--Thomas Edison

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Let it Be Known....

that I woke up at 6 AM every day this week. That's right 6 AM!!! I got seen four times this week. Four times is good.

I forget how different these auditions are than anything else I've experienced in the music business. Not just because you sing for 1 minute and that's the end of it, but mostly because of the possibility of such negative energy in the room that could eradicate the smile off the face of Richard Simmons. It's always nice to get a cheery "Hi" when I walk into the room. A glance up from the papers on the table is good. A double-take, even better. The best is complete, unbroken attention from the man or woman behind the table. A smile goes a long way. Smiles are good. I like casting directors that smile. They're few and far between.

But that may not be so bad, really. If every casting director smiled at every auditionee that walked into the room, there'd be a whole lot of girls in stiletto heels and bouncy hair that get their feelings hurt when they don't get a phone call.

I find myself sitting AWAY from those girls in stiletto heels and bouncy hair. Not that there's anything wrong with stiletto heels. I like the heels. Just not the conversation. I really don't. I don't want to know the girl's resume and how she knows this director and thinks so and so on Broadway has the worst voice ever and if that girl can get on Broadway, surely she could. I don't want to talk about what song I'm singing or what song she's singing or how she heard the principals were already cast. How she thinks they're not really looking for anyone, they just have to hold the call. I don't want to waste my energy mustering up fake interest, raising my eyebrows, nodding my head, pretending like I care while she throws her weight around.

So now I just sit as far away as I can and read.

But today I didn't get up at 6 AM. Today I went to my friend's surprise 30th birthday party, after I watched Federer beat Djokovic, and Nadal and Murray's match get postponed because of the rain. It was weird that the rain postponing the match on T.V. was the same rain that made puddles on my deck. That was pretty cool.

Tomorrow I'm making my vision board.

This guy...

is a big fat baby....

if you ask me.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to Work

Well...I'm off to my first day back of auditions in the Big Apple. It's 7:14 AM as I type. I woke up at 6 AM. For all of you who know me, you know that's way too early. But I did it. And here I go.

I'm trying to look at this like I'm lucky for the opportunity to live in this wonderful city and audition for Broadway. That I would hate for one beautiful day to go by without me thankful for being in it.

That's how I'm trying to look at today.

The other side of me wants to crawl back in bed and refuse to once again be the little fish swimming in this great big ocean, and instead walk the park, eat ice cream, and watch tennis. need to DVR that today.

But I'm up, and it's a beautiful day.

Wish me luck, folks.

***Update: 3:01 PM

Didn't get seen at three different auditions today. Crazy Equity people decided to get out of bed, too. See, the way it works for us non-union folk, get up early, stand in line, and sign up on a piece of paper. That piece of paper is incredibly important, and the number you are on the list is incredibly important as well. Once all the Equity members have been seen at the audition, the monitor starts calling off the non-Eq list. If you're gone when you're name is called, you go to the end of the list. So best stay put and read a book or jibber jabber with a friend. Today there were tons of Equity people, and I signed up and waited, but didn't get an audition. It happens. And the sucky part is that when the auditions are at the Equity building, like they were today, you have to wait in the lobby outside the Equity lounge. They don't even let you go through to use the restroom. Only if you're name is called off the list can you enter the Equity chamber. And use the bathroom. Otherwise, it's the McDonald's on Broadway and 46th. Suckers.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Just a list

A list of things I've done in the past two weeks:

Sat in the living room with the in-laws
Slept late
Sat outside and watched the hummingbirds
Sat with my best friend right before and right after she gave birth...for the first time
Held a newborn
Loaded pics into Facebook
Beat my parents in Spades TWO TIMES out of three which makes Seth and I the champions
Played tennis
Watched tennis
Played tennis again
And again
Watched No Country for Old Men, what's up with that title anyway?
Watched I Am Legend
Helped Mom cook
Watched a movie I've never heard of before from the 80's with Martin Sheen called Believers.
Watched the end of River Wild. Love that movie
Played Apples to Apples with my family.
Made Appletini's for the first time ever. Think I made 'em a little strong...
Held my dog
Read the newspaper
Drank lots of coffee
Packed three months into two bags
Cleaned out my purse
Talked to my brother and his wife about their calling to be missionaries. They leave next year.
Got a spa pedicure with mom and my sister-in-law
Talked to my in-laws about politics
Made brownies...twice.
Ate mint chocolate chip ice cream...more than twice.

And now we leave for New York. And I feel really sad. And really excited.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Honky Tonk Angels

Last but not least...

Honky Tonk Angels is the story of three women, strangers at the time, who leave home to pursue their dreams in Nashville, TN. Fate has it they meet on the bus along the way, and the three women, quickly becoming the best of friends, form a singing group: The Honky Tonk Angels. The show is a country music review, loaded with classics, primarily those of three country stars, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn, who once released an album together, "Honky Tonk Angels," in 1993. Instead of making it a review only, the playwrite highlights the music using the stories of three fictional characters: Darlene Purvis, Angela Bodine, and Sue Ellen Smith Barney Fife.

To be honest, I was looking forward to this show the least because I didn't like the script. But once I heard the music, signature classic country music (and I'm not much of a country music fan), and once we got the show on its feet, it quickly became the highlight of my summer. It became my happy place. Maybe it was the familiarity of it. The three of us arrived first for rehearsal and became really close. With only three in the cast, the content and responsibility belonging to each one of us was weighty. A lot of pressure. A lot of work. We pulled together, helped each other out, and through the demands and trials of the show, I think developed a special bond.

Or maybe it's because it's such a fun show. Hilarious, really. And with a rockin' band led by my stud husband, performing those songs each night was a treat.

I don't have performance pics of this one, but here's a few backstage. (I'm Darlene.) And I'm still trying to get my hands on a few clips...

From left to right, Sue Ellen, Darlene, and Angela

Ladies and gentlemen! The Honky Tonk....ANGELS!!!" (Lord help that hair.)

And the real Honky Tonk girls.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Chorus Line

A Chorus Line is a musical about a Broadway audition. Specifically an audition for the chorus of a Broadway musical. The show uses a montage technique to glance into the lives of about 16 auditionees, each person based off of a real live actor/dancer from the 70's, since the show was written in the 70's. Due to its innovative story telling approach and rockin' 70's choreography, A Chorus Line was a huge hit at the time. The revival, however, has suffered poor reviews, and it's leaving Broadway at the end of August, I believe.

At Jenny Wiley, I was supposed to be a cut dancer in Chorus Line. That means I was supposed to be in the beginning "audition" sequence, dance the routine, and get cut. But the girl playing Diana Morales was also a featured dancer in Wizard of Oz. At the end of the first week of Chorus Line rehearsals, which was also the first week of Wizard shows, she came down from a lift in Wizard and in doing so, tore her ACL, which is basically a screwed up knee (known to end careers) the very same injury that happens to the character, Paul, in the story line of A Chorus Line. Interestingly enough, the accident happened in real life to her the same day she rehearsed the pretend scene in A Chorus Line.

Long story short, I was swinging about four roles in the show, which is a fancy way of saying I was supposed to be learning all four parts in case something happened... Obviously it did. I stepped into the Morales role, having to learn it in about two days, and then went straight into designer runs and techs. And it was a blast. I never thought I'd be playing this Latino spitfire from the Bronx who can dance her hynie off, but I'm thankful for the opportunity. Morales sings the tune "Nothing," and the well-known "What I Did for Love." Some see her as the heart and soul of the show...such an uplifting, energizing, positive character. I loved her.

So here we are, dancing our hynies off.