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Archive for the ‘Celebration’ Category

I know the world already knows this most likely is new news to anybody reading this, but I wanted this in my blog for posterity purposes.   Today President Obama “officially” supports gay marriage.  Personally I don’t believe he went through an “evolution” in his beliefs (I believe he has privately always supported gay marriage), but rather an evolution of his politics that now is the time to step up to the plate and no longer ho-hum the issue.  This is a GREAT moment in history.

 

 

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It’s been a little while since an update so here goes (and where to start??).  I believe in my last post I had mentioned how I would be soon starting to work for a new dog walking company.  Due to my work related injury (all the way back last December!), this plan got scratched.  In the end, it is so obviously for the best it would have been a committed Mon.-Fri. day job, which would make it difficult to do films, have day rehearsals, and go on many auditions, and many other necessities towards my acting career.  What I WILL be doing instead is freelance babysitting, cat sitting, background work, and doing freelance errands.  I have taken actions towards all of these and have plans and appointments laid out for the weeks ahead, and am excited about doing work I enjoy that also gives me the complete flexibility needed to continue building my acting career.  I won’t be going back to waiting tables as I am physically unable, but even if that were a current possibility, I wouldn’t as I don’t want to ever risk this type of injury through that work again. It has been a LONG 5 months of recovery;  I’ve been going to PT consistently since February, and my physical therapist is GREAT (wonderful positive energy), but quite frankly I’m over it!  I have an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon on the 14th, so I’ll give a further update after that.  I am certainly not bed ridden (by any stretch of the imagination); it’s that certain actions (lifting, carrying, specific range of motion) will still bring pain after a short period of use (or sometimes immediately).  So I keep doing my PT sessions, at home stretches, etc, but I have long mentally and physically moved on to “OK, what can I do with where I am at now.”

 

 

Speaking of, my classes have or are coming to an end (one more Alexander Technique class left for the quarter).  My monologue audition class was fantastic in so many ways, not just with the technique but even more importantly in the details that most don’t think about.  How you walk in the room, when do you say hello, how do you close the door, how you smile, don’t step back at the end when saying “thank you,” etc.  My classmates were/are AWESOME, and with some I have joined a weekly rehearsal group to meet with so that we can get feedback on what we are currently working on, which is SO HELPFUL–and  I especially love supporting these truly wonderful new friends of mine in the same way.  While the class was still in session, it required a fairly large time commitment and so I was selective about what I was submitting for (castings wise).  Now, however, I’m submitting for any and all that I could possibly fit for and interests me, as is Jack.  Last Sunday was particularly great because Jack and I both had 3 auditions each (all of mine were theatre based and his were all film based).  It looks likely that Jack will be doing one of the films, in which case he will be shooting on location in New Jersey for 4 days in June.  One of my auditions  granted me membership into their theatre company, which  does consistent work year round (full plays and one acts, etc); looking forward to working with them and learning a lot!  Jack has also been going on EPAs, which haven’t given him a chance to audition yet, but he is persistent.

 

 

My plan is to join Jack in going to EPAs as soon as I update my headshots;  I asked the advice of an off-Broadway casting director that I know, and they are truly in DIRE need of updating since they just don’t look like I do now.  I want my first impression at the EPAs to be that of a professional who takes my work seriously, thus the waiting until I have the new headshots.  My “official” goal is to have them by September 15th, although I’ve already gotten the ball rolling so it is likely I will have them much sooner.  As they are pretty costly, I am gathering a list of those that are recommended and whose work I like, then setting up appointments for consultations/interviews before making my decision.

 

 

Let’s see, what else??…the steriods I was on for my herniated disc added a nice (not-so-nice) sack of potatoes weight to my body, so I am working out on a regular basis now.  Regular means at least 5 times a week at the gym, and on non-gym days, at least a 30 minute walk. At the gym I am only doing the elliptical as it provides a good cardio workout but is also low-impact on my body and so doesn’t effect herniated disc.  The Alexander Technique work I’ve been doing has helped a LOT in this regard, too, because I am constantly checking in with my body:  where am I touching the earth, am I holding my breath, is there any tension in my body, where is the back of my head (critical for me as it helps me to allow it to go back rather than forward, which puts strain on my neck and shoulders); release, soften, head up an out, etc.  The exercise has been GREAT for my spirit and daily perspective.  Jack and I are both focusing on eating *mostly* vegetarian (he has actually swayed this way by no prompting by me), although there have been a few rare exceptions but only with “organic, humanely raised (MOST important!), properly fed, hormone and antibiotic free” eggs and beef.  Mainly dark green leafy vegetables and multi-colored produce remains the goal.

 

 

We are currently in our last three months in this apartment!  Seems strange although I am READY for us to finally have our OWN place, where we will not move again for quite a while.  I’m ready to paint and decorate and build our own home.  We will stay in Astoria although we are flexible as to what exact street/area.  I would kind of prefer Ditmars as it seems a bit quieter, plus the trains are always running there (whereas there has been a lot of construction and rerouting at our current stop).   I’ve been periodically keeping a lookout, although we won’t start seriously looking until probably the middle of June.  We would LIKE to avoid using a broker, but are not limiting ourselves to owner-rented only, as we have pretty specific desires for what we want and thus want to have access to all of the options possible.

 

 

Alright, that’s the update!  Kind of an informal post (I’m not going to go back to reread and edit), but it’s been a while so I wanted to just get it out.   Maybe for June I will do another 30 day challenge where I post at least once a day…the last time I did that in January, it really inspired me and evoked a lot of big changes and positive action that were REALLY good for me and my life.:)

 

 

OK I will send you off with a couple of pictures from Jack’s 46th birthday dinner in April!  We ate at this beautiful little place called Locale in Astoria.  Amazingly delicious food and surprisingly inexpensive (another good reason to live in Astoria!).

 

 

PS–I lied, I had to edit (or actually add to) this post!  I completely forgot to share about the theatre AWESOMENESS that I have been so blessed to see lately!  First, we saw War Horse the day after Jack’s birthday (it was a gift that I had bought tickets for back in December).  The crazy thing about that show was that I bought first row mezzanine…like that is what I specifically selected and paid for.  I don’t know what the heck happened, but we ended up in our own personal row, FIRST row (as in FIRST first) center!!!! We literally had THE best seats in the entire theatre (even one of the ushers commented on it).   I cannot do this show justice by even attempting to give it a review, so I will just say that it was worth EVERY single penny.  I also get offers for free shows when I am registered at ESPA, and so I got to see Primary Stages, “Morini Strad,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” at the Neil Simon Theatre, and Second Stage’s, “Lonely I’m Not” thanks to ESPA.  My absolute favorite out of all of those (that I just saw last night in fact) was “Lonely I’m Not.”  I’m so impressed and inspired with everything that I’ve seen Second Stage put up.  In addition to being a member of TDF (through which I can get discount tickets), a lot of my acting friends have been sharing other resources, one of which gets me tickets almost for free.  Thanks to this particularly awesome resource, I got to see Tennessee Williams, “In Masks Outrageous and Austere” at the Culture Project in the Village.  Only in NYC can I see 3 shows in one week for almost nothing, one of them being a Tennessee Williams world premiere!  How incredible is my life!  Not only that, but my seats for both “In Masks” and “Lonely I’m Not” were BOTH 2nd row!!!  Hot damn, knock on wood, I’ve got some serious theater seat karma lately…maybe I should play the lottery!

Happy Birthday, Jackie!

My incredible pasta dinner–that’s a beet sauce!

Dylan says, “Chow!”

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To post something like this is normally so opposite of what I would ever do, but…but–not since the death of Heath Ledger (who’s artistic work effected me just as greatly, although it wasn’t as long of an affair as this) have I felt so gutted by the death of a celebrity.  My childhood household was a strict one, and I remember sneaking to watch MTV (when I was supposed to be doing homework) on the downstairs television, sound turned down as low as possible but where I could still enjoy it, in order to see the video for Hey Ladies just one more time.  Years later, at 19, my roommates, “Nice Guys” Tom and Joey, would blast Check Your Head and this would be when and how I learned that some albums were just so obviously made to be listened to with a little green.  That album basically proved it to be a SCIENTIFIC FACT.

 

Four years later, I’m in Denver, Colorado, in some hole-in-the-wall dive bar that the nice clerk at the downtown 24-hour Kinkos recommended.  My friend, Carri, and I are half-way through our drive across country to move to Seattle (me from Virginia, her from Indiana) and enjoying a couple of beers at  this bar near our overnight motel stop.   Some old drunk lady had apparently done or said the wrong thing and was being heaved out the backdoor by a body guard three times her size.  Suddenly and simultaneously the jukebox begins to blare, “NO SLEEP TIL…” followed by that infamous guitar riff.  And then Carri and I are “singing” along (in the loosest definition of “singing” as possible), substituting our next major destination, “Boise” for “Brooklyn” in the lyrics.  (Little did I know it was much more prophetic than I ever could have imagined, as I would end up very unexpectedly moving to Brooklyn 12 years later.)  No relation to the song, but to complete the story of the night,  a couple of hours later I would be hit in the back of the head by the side-view mirror of a city metro bus, the driver of which would give no effs and keep going.  (As you can probably guess, I survived.)

 

In Seattle, I would end up working at The Hurricane (formerly known as The Dog House), a greasy (and I do mean greasy) spoon 24 hour cafe, where the busiest part of the night would be right at bar rush, while Intergalactic played on the jukebox at least five times (extremely conservative estimate) a night.

 

The Beastie Boys last album, Hot Sauce Committee part 2, was released right around this time last year. When the upcoming release was officially announced, I was like a kid at Christmas;  it had been a LONG time since I had been that excited about a new CD coming out.  As soon as it was available I immediately downloaded the entire album (the only full album on my ipod to this day) and proceeded to wear that nonsense out every single dang day (in reality, like all of their music, in never wore out but rather got better and better with each listen).

 

The news of Adam Yauch’s death today literally felt like a punch to the stomach.  So much of my life and experiences and memories are intertwined with their music.  Every time I tried to buy concert tickets, they were sold out in MINUTES (I’m talking like three minutes most of the time).  Now I’ll never get that chance; first world problems, right?  When I was in the 7th grade, a rumor spread like wildfire (which I caught wind of in my math class) that all of the Beastie Boys had died from drinking Draino (or some other similar household cleaning product).  I always associate that memory with Barbara Simms, who was also in that math class (maybe she was the one who told me? I can’t recall now…), who had an untimely death from a freak car accident after a football game during our senior year 5 years later.  Every single one of the Beastie Boys’ songs I can relate to a memory, person, emotion, environment, what I was wearing etc.  Adam “MCA” Yauch‘s way-too-early death marks a sad, sad for many.  Thank you MCA for a lifetime of incredible music, film and art, good old nostalgic memories, and the never ending generosity of your spirit. What a gift your life was.

 

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I’m sure many of you have seen this by now.  THIS is the power of passion and vision.  9 year old Cain knows what he loves and what drives him, and seeming limit in resources and lack of interest from other people had nothing to do with following what he knew was his to do.  He just created for the love of creating and he used what he had right in front of him and the power of his heart and mind to do it.  Beautiful beautiful beautiful.

 

I’ve mentioned in the past my love-hate relationship with social media;  THIS is where its power and value is and I could absolutely get on board with something like this.  LOVE LOVE LOVE this!

 

You can also go here to contribute to Caine’s college scholarship fund.

 

So if you haven’t seen it yet, without further ado…

 

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Dylan has it all figured out. His goal in life is to feel good. Here he is showing me he’s ready for some belly rubs. (Warning: might want to turn your sound down, my voice is pretty high and loud in this).

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“To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.”

–Pearl S. Buck

Jack and I have had a pretty fun full week!  Above is him in costume (before make-up) as a Texas cowboy for his Nokian Tires commercial shoot in Burlington, VT.  He had a blast and said that the cast and crew he worked with were all really great and that they said they definitely want to use him again in the future.  This was Jack’s first visit to Vermont (I’ve never been, either); he said the town was absolutely stunning and, according to the ad agency he worked with, when you plan a trip (as opposed to last minute flights), it is extremely affordable to visit.  Looks like perhaps a little get-away may be in our future!

Below are a couple of pictures he had taken during his time there.  The one in the bar was at the lodge where they did the shoot.  The next picture is him in front of the lodge, and the last is him exploring downtown Burlington shortly after arriving.

 

In other good news, I booked the Epix Cable promo!  I’ve been very selectively submitting right now because I have 4-5 weeks left of classes that I want to be fully committing to;  however a casting call came up looking for someone who knew Sign Language, and being that that really doesn’t happen very often, I really couldn’t pass it up.  I went for the quick audition on Friday afternoon and then got the call that I had been cast on Monday night.  So yesterday I spent all day in what felt like an awesome rendition of the Howard Stern Show.  The promo is going to be for the comedian Jim Norton who, if you know any of his work, can be pretty raunchy and over the top in a no holds barred kind of way.  It was a ridiculously fun shoot, Jim was super nice,  and it was  just a really great group of people  over all to spend the day with.  The crew was incredibly nice and fantastic to work with and I met some really interesting and fun actors and learned a lot.  Bonus that it was a paid job, my first paid gig in NYC (I previously did a PSA that was deferred payment, but that didn’t pan out).  I just have to add,too–since I’m such a foodie– that the catered food was really good; my favorite item they had on the buffet was the artichoke, potato and leeks soup–YUMMM!

Last little update; my neck and back have flared up a bit during the past week and I haven’t completely figured out what is causing it.  It started last week, but then seemed to improve, and then, for some unknown reason, came back again with a vengeance Saturday night.   I had so much fun during the shoot yesterday but my body was DONE by the end of it. The only thing I can think of is that my normal Physical Therapist has been out of town (he got a 2 week gig working with the Olympics team in California), and so it’s basically been the assistants that have been working with me.  Which means I haven’t had my normal traction, and to be honest I’m not very confident that they(the assistants) fully know what they’re doing. I think he is back today-I really really hope so!  I also saw my orthopedic surgeon  this past Monday and we decided the next step is cortisone (oral, not injections).  Currently I am on a 6 day pill pack  (I took 6 pills throughout the day yesterday, today will be 5, tomorrow 4, and so on).  My doctor said I should be feeling a lot better pretty quickly with these and I go back to see him again in 6 weeks.   My neck/shoulders/upper back area basically feel just really constricted and compacted and what I really wish is that I could get done is some good chiropractic sessions.  I may look into seeing if workman’s comp pays for this kind of treatment and if not I may just go out-of-pocket and make a few appointments to see if that helps to speed the recovery along more.  I’m also keeping track of my overall daily routine (what I eat, certain stresses, exercises, stretches, etc) to see what might be contributing to flare ups and what calms them down and creates openness and flexibility for my body.  I’m determined to keep moving forward and to be, in the not-so-distant-future, completely pain free.

 “You could stand here sick with ten illnesses today, and tomorrow have no evidence of any of them. Your body has the ability to replenish itself that fast. But most of you do not have the ability to change your thoughts that fast. So the amount of time that it takes between sickness and wellness is only the amount of time that it takes for me to figure out how to let it in — for me to figure out how to feel good, when I’m looking at something that makes me feel bad.”

–Abraham Hicks (quote of the day….fitting!)

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Arrrg, so much to update, so little time!  Been writing, classing it, auditioning nonstop.  Actually got to put my Sign Language skills to good use during an audition today which was pretty fun…more like riding a bicycle than I expected.  Jack and I are no longer associated with the theatre company, UA;  there’s no purpose or value in elaborating on the subject, so I won’t.  Onward and upward!  And we definitely are.  Jack’s been submitting and auditioning just as much, and in fact he flies out to Vermont this Sunday to shoot a commercial for Nokian Tires.  Because of the long distance, he had to submit his audition through video, so I taped him last Sunday (two separate takes, second with added direction) with my phone and we sent them in.  If you know me personally and would like to see either of these awesome HIGHlarious audition submissions (and haven’t already), email me and I will send you the private link.   The second submission he went for it so hard that I had to stop twice and restart because I couldn’t help laughing.

 

Quick summed-up update:  Regarding my herniated disc injury, I’m still in PT, have 5+ more weeks at least.  Improving, kind of the two steps forward, one step back kind of deal.  BUT when I go back to work, I already have the most amazing job lined up: I will be working for this incredible, innovative start-up dog walking company(the company itself has been around for a few years, but with this particular focus for 8 months).  Super great, young, motivated energy and forward thinking company that uses new ideas and modern technology to provide top notch service to dog owners.  And I will be doing a flash mob (my first ever!) with them!  We’re going to be participating in a huge adopt-a-dog event where we’ll be breaking out our mad skills.  In addition to dog walking, I’m going to be doing freelance babysitting and maaaaaaaaaaybe working with a company that specializes in kids parties. I have specific companies I can work with, but am also going to focus on getting jobs on my own, starting with giving 3 families in my building a “free night of babysitting” (up to 4 hours).  The exchange will be that they can see if they like me, and then if so allow me to use them as a local reference.  I’m thinking of also doing a referral program where for each new unique referral someone gives me, I’ll give them a free hour of babysitting service.  Or something like that.   I think I might have enough work without all of this, but summer is right around the corner, so we’ll see, and if it seems not then I might add on the kids birthday parties work.  I’ve been getting called in for a lot of auditions (including for paid gigs), and acting’s what I’m here for, so I want to leave plenty of open time to allow for those opportunities.  But I AM totally freaking PSYCHED to soon be working with doggies!!!!!!  Seriously you guys, I can’t wait.

 

Speaking of acting, my classes have been A-mazing.  I did a Viewpoints Composition weekend workshop a couple of weekends ago that BLEW MY MIND and opened up my world and took my mind down the rabbit hole with regards to acting and art in new ways I never knew were possible. LOVED it.  I’ve also been studying dialects (Spanish and British RP so far, Scottish starts next week) and while I still definitely need practice, practice, practice, I am not nearly as intimidated by it all as I used to be.  In fact I actually (if you can believe it) find it all really fascinating and fun.  Definite props to my talented and passionate instructor.   My solo performance class has one more week to go, and I’ve hit some highs and some blocks, but I just keep going (because what else can I do?…I’m in a current block with it, can ya’ tell??).  I have a good foundation and will continue working on it long after the class is finished.  Lastly, I’m taking a new Monologues Audition class (taught by Karen Kohlhaas) that a good friend recommended and I am already completely in love with.  As in…maybe…possibly…just perhaps…working and doing monologues auditions could actually be…fun.  No really ya’ll. NO. REALLY.

 

Speaking of all this work, I have to get back to it, sooooo…I’ll do one more quick post after this to upload some recent photos.  I’ll try my best not to be so long in between future blog posts! One photo teaser; this is what makes me officially now a New Yorker (MY GRANNY CART):

 

 

And noooooooow… why I actually signed in tonight, to quickly post (then felt guilty for not updating, so there you go) this video below that a friend of mine from my Alexander Technique sent me yesterday, which is absolutely freaking ridiculously  INCREDIBLE.  This is especially for all  of you actors out there, but really for anyone who is pursuing the arts and/or creative field.

 

Susan:
There are some people in the world who say that writing stories,
or composing music or dancing sparkly dances is easy for them.
Nothing interferes with their ability to create.
While I celebrate their creative freedom,
a little part of me just wants to punch those motherfuckers in the teeth.
This song, I sing this song for you guys and for all the rest of us. Help me out y’all
Backup:
We’ll sing backup
Susan:
You have a story to tell, a novel you keep in a drawer.
Backup:
Old sock drawer!
Susan:
You have a painting to paint, but you lazy like an old French whore
Backup:
Je suis whore
Susan:
You have a movie to make, Shrinky Dinks you can bake
but you best grab a stake, cause,
in sweep the vampires, in creep the vampires, knee deep in vampires,
Filling you with doubt. Insecurity, ’bout what you art should be
in sweep the vampires
All:
Die vampire
Susan:
You sketched that turtle you saw in an ad on late-night cable TV
Backup:
Tippy Turtle!
Susan:
But your fourth grade teacher said
Female Backup:
You can’t draw
Susan:
Aww, those vampires just won’t let you be
Backup:
Fuck you Ms. Johnson, Word!
Susan:
And when they come run like hell, see those bats in your belfry, then call on Van Helsing.
Susan:
In swoosh
Backup:
Ooh, the vampires
Susan:
in a whoosh
Backup:
ooh, the vampires,
Susan:
Babaganoosh
Backup:
ooh, all the vampires
Susan:
Filling you with thoughts of
Backup:
Self consciousness
Susan:
Feelings of
Backup:
Worthlessness
Susan:
They’ll make you
Backup:
Second guess
Die vam-
All:
-pire!
There are so many vampires, inside, outside, and nationwide,
it helps to recognize them with this vampire hunting guide!
Listen closely,
a vampire is any person or thought or feeling
that stands between you and your creative self expression,
but they can assume many seductive forms.
Here’s a few of them!
Backup:
Tell us Susan!
Susan:
First up are you pigmy vampires.
They’ll swarm around you head like gnats and say things like:
Male Backup:
Your teeth need whitening
Female Backup:
You went to state school?
Male Backup:
You sound weird
All:
Shakespeare, Sondheim, Sedaris
Susan:
Did it before you and better than you, or they might say that you cannot
sing good enough to be in a musical, or they might say:
Backup:
Ooh, your song’s derivative,
Ooh, your song’s derivative,
Ooh, your song’s derivative,

Susan:
To keep that song from you! Just tell them:
Backup:
Die vampire, die!
Susan:
Brothers and sisters, next up is the air freshener vampire,
she might look like you mama, or your old fat-ass, fat aunt Fanny.
She smells something unpleasant in what you’re creating.
She’ll urge you to:
Backup:
(Spraying sound)
Susan:
It with some pine fresh smell ’em ups.
The air freshener vampire doesn’t want you to write about
Backup:
bad language, blood, or blow jobs
Susan:
She wants you to clean it up and clean it out.
Which will leave your work toothless, gutless, and crotchless
but, you’ll be left with two tight paragraphs,
All kittens that your grandma would be so proud of.
You look at that air freshener vampire in her fat ass, fat old fuckin’ face and you say
All:
(Chanting)
Susan:
The last vampire is the mother of all vampires and that is the vampire of despair.
It’ll wake you up at 4am to say things like:
Backup:
Who do you think you’re kidding?
You look like a fool.
No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be good enough
Susan:
Why is it that if some dude walked up to me on the subway platform
and said these things, I’d think he was a mentally ill asshole,
but if the vampire inside my head says it,
It’s the voice of reason.
Backup:
You have a story to tell, pull your novel out of that sock drawer!
You have a painting to paint, you best paint it and then paint some more!

Susan:
Oh baby, you must escape and grab it by the nape of its neck, by the trachea
fuckin’ break it, go on drive a stake in,
Yeah there’s no mistaking, now you’re shake and bakin’
All:
Die, vampire
I said, “Die, vampire”
I said, “Now die vam-pi-re, die!”
All:
In fly the vampires, oh my the vampires, then die the vampires,
filling you with life, creativity, all that you heart should be, out go the vampires
Die vampire, die vampire, die vampire, die!

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