Monday, September 15, 2014

Lagging

DAMN YOU JETLAG
WHERE AM I
WHAT TIME IS IT
IS IT NIGHT TIME
THEN WHY AM I AWAKE
NOPE IT IS ACTUALLY MORNING
confuuuuuused.  And also, annoyed.  It's annoying.

And it makes me grumpy.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

All change

One of my new roommates arrived today. The other arrives on Monday. Yep, new roommates. If anyone's keeping track, I have lived with 12 different people since February 2013. Madness.

Summer is winding down. Kids have gone back to school, meaning shorter work days for me. Nobody told the weather though, it is oppressively hot and has been for the last four days, I'm anticipating a thunderstorm.

There's a ton of lists on websites like BuzzFeed called things like '24 biggest New York problems'. The same things come up on the lists all the time - the line at Trader Joe's, complaints about the Metropolitan Transit Authority, tourists, slow walkers. It's all pretty accurate and I like to read them to see if anyone came up with a new one, as myself and my friends frequently do. There's a lot of pride involved in living here and part of that means knowing inside and out everything that's great and everything that sucks and loving it all equally.
Inspired by the list-making frenzy that is sweeping the internet - I've always been a big fan of lists - here's my list of things that make me excellent at living in NYC.

  • I. Walk. Fast. Really fast. I have immense respect for anyone who can keep up with me at full pace, and when I meet other fast walkers they are always impressed that I keep up with them. Included in that walking fast are the skills of dodging and navigating intricate patterns of people scattered in the streets also at high speed, and of doing multiple other things whilst walking and dodging - eating a sandwich, changing your sweatshirt, texting your friends your dinner plans, putting on makeup, drinking coffee. All at the same time. In motion. I'm probably the best person I know at that though I'm sure there are many others.
  • I am tolerant and open-minded about everything except stupidity
  • I actively enjoy the subway - not the MTA which is a shambles, but the subway itself with the tunnels and lights and darkness and noise holds for me a mystery and charm.
  • I can take a nap anywhere. Park. Library. Train. Stone steps. I'll make it work.
  • I love global cuisine and want to try it all
  • Not only do I walk fast, I talk very fast. Luckily so do most of the people in my favourite bagel shop, deli and pizza place.
  • I am an avid reader so in any given situation I can always bury myself in a book. Subway buskers, sirens, crying babies, all tuned out.
  • I have strong arms and legs and big hands - all the better to carry heavy grocery bags, haul laundry around and take long flights of stairs two or three at a time.
  • From my proud nation I was given the gift of heavy sarcasm. This is useful when approached by douchey males who think that making a personal remark about me will get them anywhere.
  • Dogs like me. There are a lot of dogs here and they usually want to say hello to me. Not a skill or really a useful thing but I consider it a win.
Those are the main ones I can think of. I'm very proud of that list, this is a tough place to live so anything that gives you an edge is gold.
With all that in mind I'm going to head out into the concrete jungle with my pals and do some nice things this evening. I hope I won't have to employ my heavy sarcasm, and that my friends can walk fast today. Although perhaps this is one of the rare occasions on which I could slow down - I tend to forget I don't have to keep a blazing pace if I'm at my leisure. I think I will tell them to remind me to walk slower, just because today there is no rush.

Love peace and thunderstormsxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

LET'S DO THIS

HUUUGE post coming up. Here I go.

I went to see King Lear starring John Lithgow at the Delacorte Theatre, part of Shakespeare in the Park an annual series of free outdoor plays and musicals held during the summer in Central Park and run by the Public Theatre. It os entirely open air and we had a flash rainstorm right before curtain up, so over my very classy shift dress and Betsy Johnson espadrilles I wore this attractive and huge red poncho. I went with the marvellous Carlos Morales and we went all out, we had crackers, we had cookies, we had wine in cartoon themed water bottles (mine was Hello Kitty, ideal) we were fancy as all hell. The show was of course beautiful. It rained again just before the end of act I and continued to come down not heavily but steadily for the rest of the show. I felt terrible for the poor actors who were completely exposed on the stage, particularly the actor playing Poor Tom who is wearing only a loinclothy type thing for almost all of act II. And John Lithgow who of course in Lear's descent into madness loss his shoes, his cloak, his head coverage. But a film director couldn't have created a more beautiful and heartbreaking final scene in which Lear carried dead Cordelia out into the now pouring rain making anguished sounds. I shed tears. 

 I got new these groovy new trainers for the princely sum of... well I forgot actually but it was not more than $20. They are dead comfy. I also got some more hefty running shoes because my one faithful old pair of trainers finally got a hole after about 7 years.


I babysat a LOT and embarrassed the kids by wearing their hats and taking pictures like this in the games console place. We have gone to the park, to the football fields, to the board game cafe, to Barnes and Noble bookshop, to I have combined different families of different kids (up to seven at a time) we have eaten ice cream, I have watched both Guardians of the Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I have also been to two comic book stores, and purchased my first comic book ever. It is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic book. The under-12 influence is strong.

Val Sam Tessa Lauren Maite Carlos Charles
A wee lass called Lauren has a Birthday! Which we celebrated at wonderful Madame Geneva, beats and free Jam cocktails (gin, lemon, a spoonful of jam) courtesy of DJ Devon.


..........................................STORM TROOPER!


I've seen a lot of Bleecker St because it's close to the board game cafe I take the kids to. Normally I see it in bright sunshine...


Because I partied with the mighty Meesh at WestWay on their gay night and later found out that ROBYN the singer who I LOVE was there the whole night next to the DJ. Bah! And I saw Broadway star Gideon Glick.

. Partytimehairandmakeupglamournailsringslipstick

PS none of this is in order...I partied with Michel the night before I took embarrassing hat pictures (that was a rough day) I also left out a big thing  did which was take my boys Itamar and Yahli and their best friends also brother Itamar and Amos to the Bronx Zoo! The Bronx Zoo is AWESOME it's really big and it has a monorail and a tiger and a lion and gorillas and ELEPHANTS and bears and rhinos and flamingos and red pandas and huuuge (horrifying) snakes. Obviously being a Harry Potter child I tried speaking Parseltongue to some snakes and then I noticed a sign that said
DO NOT TAP ON THE GLASS
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF IT BROKE?
Which may be the scariest and most effective zoo sign I've ever seen. Bloody hell, Bronx Zoo! Anyway it was great



 A lazy Sunday in the Washington Square Park fountain



 Look who turned up in NYC!!! One of my all time favourite old pals, I had a blast spending a few hours with Ryan overstuffing ourselves with burgers and strolling in the drizzle and people watching and chatting chatting chatting/me chatting him making fun of everything I said. This guy is the greatest <3 but I'm never telling him that to his face.

  Ari and TehDah which is Ari for Tessa.

 Joris came back from his sojourn in The Netherlands! As snappily dressed as ever. A little more party...
 Who else?

 SNAP


If you're thinking 'that must be it, how can there possibly be more fun and joie de vivre?' HERE'S HOW

Last Sunday I went swing dancing with Lauren, Sam and Valorie. There was a live band, a dance instructor and it was a riot. I got to dance with the instructor and with another guy who was really good - cool thing about being a girl in a swing dance bar, you don't have to know what you're doing as long as your partner does! Although I'm the first to admit that I'm a terrible follower not really being used to partnering.

This weekend, I watched my first full episodes of Dr Who (terrifying, the main reason I haven't watched much before oh gosh now I'm thinking about Weeping Angels and won't get any sleep argh) I ate a LOT of Korean BBQ when I met up with my old AMDA classmate Chuck who has been in LA for two years. Korean BBQ is amazing, you get all the side dishes and kimchi and you have a burner in the middle of the table and they literally bring you a huge plate of raw meat and you cook it at the table. Like, a LOT of raw meat. It's pretty spectacular. And delicious. And you can put onions and kimchi on the burner too.
I also went to Bikram Yoga and suffered a lot but, glad I went thanks to Maite. I spent two delightful evenings just hanging with friends, once at Lauren's place with the requisite ice cream and the special occasion champagne to toast her boyfriend Mark's birthday. Once at Maite and Anel's place with Joris, awaiting the return of Anel from Mexico. I love my many homes away from home.
Today I was in a dance studio with Carlos for like five hours and we have a really fun project to work on. We worked for a while and then we salsa danced because he is great salsa dancer and is actually a salsa teacher so, lucky me I get private lessons. It's hard, not good at following applies here also!

That's not even all of it, honestly. And all that is just August. Today was 'Labor Day' which here marks the official end of summer and, confusingly, is a day on which people don't work. Like bank holiday. Except with a misleading name.

My world has been somewhat rocked of late and I wanted to do this huge post celebrating all the wonderful things I have been able to do and all the spectacular, incomparable people I have been able to do them with and even those I haven't been with who are present always in my life. I'm at a point of uncertainty. I'm looking into the chasm. I reckon when you don't know quite what you're looking ahead to you should certainly make the absolute most of what you know to be true at the moment and in my case that is that I'm healthy and happy in the greatest city with the greatest comrades. What's life for if not living???

CARPE DIEM
SEIZE THE CARP!!!



Monday, August 11, 2014

TAP POWER

I just did the most fantastic workout and I'm REALLY BUZZED! It was an open class that was serving as an audition for CardioTap teachers. I would love to get paid to do that class but if that doesn't happen I will still poster them, offer to assist in exchange for class, everything. A wonderful, high-cardio workout to golden oldies (Great Balls of Fire, Rock Around the Clock) that makes you SWEAT but because it's tapping tapping tapping my spirits were through the roof from start to finish and took my energy levels with them. Can't sing enough praises. The teachers were fun, laid-back and bringing their own energy and the company co-owner is my new favourite person, she made the whole thing feel like instead of trying out for a job we were joining an ensemble. My endorphins are going bananas right now.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Confessions

Although infrequent, my blog posts of late have been consistent in their content - mostly chronicling the happenings of my life, a pretty solid journal. Today I feel like sharing some alternative things.

I'm a big fan of YouTube star Jenna Marbles (yes yes I know my generation. YouTube stars, what is this world that we live in) who basically makes short videos detailing not just the ins and outs of her life but things like 'what I learned from video games' and 'how to trick people into thinking you're good looking' PS she is a comedienne these are all for entertainment and not to be taken too seriously
So I'm partially inspired by the variety of content she puts up and also her bold frankness. Here goes...

Sometimes when I've eaten and there are meal remnants on my plate/in the takeaway container and I'm tired and don't feel like doing dishes, I will just cover it and put it in the fridge and deal with it in the morning.

When I babysit, the kids sometimes watch a show called Kickin' It on the Disney Channel about a group of incredibly well-dressed kids who do karate. When I babysit them at night after they've gone to bed I usually put the TV on. And last time I did, I watched multiple episodes of Kickin' It. Alone. The kids had gone to bed.

Rather than buy makeup for when I have to doll up for auditions, I will just go early to Sephora the huge cosmetics shop and put on a full face using free samples.

I'm weirdly obsessed with collecting glass jars. I never throw them out, instead I wash them and put them in a cupboard. And eventually I put things in them that don't need to be put in glass jars at all I just really want to use my glass jars.

Never have I, do I or will I want anything to do with Star Wars.

Offensive heckling from men in the street is a hot topic for women all over social media at the moment with articles and opinion pieces about how many times women are faced with objectification per day. The guys who hang out on my street all the time say 'I like your sunglasses' 'need help with those bags?' or 'have a nice evening' and it gives me weird survivor's guilt.

This one is known by some but not all: Two years ago I stole a miniature milk jug from Alice's Tea Cup, a cafe on the Upper West Side, because it's pretty. It now sits on my kitchen counter with a prop flower in it. For this I am sorry.

Those are all I can think of right now, but it's kind of fun to come up with them so maybe more to come. Now to balance things and in the spirit of self-improvement, some things that I used to be terrible at but am now ok at:

Asking customer service people for assistance: whether it's calling a helpline, asking a shop assistant where something is or having waiters correct mistakes to my order, I am far better these days at responding 'yes' to the question 'can I help you?' instead of going 'no I'm fine thanks and instantly regretting it but being too scared to ask them to come back.

Waking up in the morning, stay with me on this one: I still consider myself pretty night owlish but that doesn't mean when I have to I can't be up and out the door in half an hour. As opposed to needing an hour just to wake up and another to get ready.

Putting on my shoes without screwing them up, by which I mean untying the laces instead of just jamming my foot in and squashing the backs of the shoes down. Still working on this but vastly improved.

Doing my hair - yes this is the light fare of my improvements but it's important to me because I really never used to be able to do hair very well despite always wanting and finally having and loving long hair. Over the years I've gradually improved and now I actually give myself a hairstyle sometimes rather than just putting it in a ponytail or leaving it to do whatever it wants. No it's not rocket science but it's something I can do now that I couldn't do before, ok!

And finally a double-sided confession/point of pride: I am terrible at painting my own nails - left hand goes ok, right hand no because I'm not ambidextrous enough and even if I have managed to make an ok job of it I always without fail manage to smudge it before it's dry even if I sit perfectly still for 20 minutes post-paint. I am very envious of my friends who do it in five minutes flat and always have great looking nails and wonder how they do it. Once a while I think, 'why don't I have this fundamental girl skill, where was I when they handed out nail painting talent' and more than once its been a source of humour for my gal pals.
Flip side: the man in the newsagents that I used to stop by every day with my young charges after school was very friendly and gave me free gum and sometimes a magazine and always liked to ask how I was. He shook my hand once and remarked on what a big strong hand I had, to which I laughingly replied 'you know, farmer's daughter'. One day when I went there with the kids including the baby this man bent down to the baby and said 'you know who that is don't you? That is the farmer's daughter, the warrior woman'. Which is possibly the greatest compliment I've ever received, and all based on a handshake (unless he's seen me fighting Gladiators in the Circus Maximus and I never spotted him in the crowd) So, since then I've not once worried about my complete inability to handle a small pot of nail varnish without making a mess because who needs pretty nails when apparently your hands can make an impression in their normal state?
Nice to remind yourself sometimes of those little unexpected things.

For the record, my week off began yesterday Wahoo!

Yesterday we also wished a Happy 22nd Birthday to the bonniest of lasses Miss Lauren Downie, celebrated with cocktails laughs and dancing on Bleecker Street.

Jacob and I have the apartment to ourselves for a short while due to people being off and away places which is rather luxurious.

And final confession, today I got out of bed at 1pm. Just because I could. And nobody needed me to be anywhere. I made up for it by doing a LOT of cleaning and household improvements for the next four hours though.

Tessa out, peace love safety and congratulations to everyone who needs any combination thereof
Xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Life is a carnival

Stuff what I done:

1) Vegan pop-up market which happens once a month at a venue in, where else, Brooklyn. I've been twice before and its a definite favourite because I can go for broke with indulgences without being a big cheat! I'm talking loaded hot dogs, brownies, I had a freakin Maker's Mark vanilla doughnut, macaroons, empanadas, they come up with everything. And I eat it all.

...later that day...

Dinosaur Jr!
South Street Seaport has a free musical festival once a year and headlining this year was Dinosaur Jr. I loved seeing them they were so laid back and gave zero Fs about anything and sounded the way some bands just should sound live, tight and strong but rough around the edges. A drunk crowd member decided to stick it to the man by ambushing the gazebo that was sheltering the sound guys and shaking its supporting poles whilst yelling 'f*** this tent!' so that was super duper rock n roll... yeah.

...later later that day...

Checked out a bar I've been meaning to go to for the longest time because it has a rooftop terrace. Verdict: two very enthusiastic thumbs up. Then to The Ritz (misleading, not a hotel, a bar in He.o's Kitchen) to join my friends, Michel has recently got into the drag scene and it's  going well for him. The Ritz is definitely a homebase for drag performers starting out in the city so he was doing some mingling and getting himself out there.

2) American Hustle at Riverside Park. I love outdoor films especially ones that have sunset over the Hudson as a backdrop.

3) Mister Sunday







At which we drink sangria, we eat tostada and pizza, we sit in the sunshine enjoying being in our twenties and we dance dance dance! And get very hot and sweaty. SO WORTH IT.

4) My visitor! Ellie is here, she came last weekend and left after a couple of days to go and do the work part of her trip and now she's back to do the tourist part. She has a New York pass so she has access to all the big attractions and destinations, and has already got a fair few under her belt.  Last night we helped out at a Yael Tap show serving drinks, not the most exciting way for a New York visitor to spend her evening but nice to spend time with her in a 'this is normal life just I live in New York now' kind of way.

5) This

Clap Along

I have made some major oversights in my summer updates... maybe because I've been LIVING LIFE LIKE A BOSS aka making good use of the opportunities afforded me by the New York City summer.

This is a great city during the months of clement weather - outdoor concerts and plays, free events, food festivals, dance parties... and I've been to a bunch of 'em! I have also been babysitting a lot, summer also equals kids who need stuff to do all day. A major oversight was detailing my first ever overnight babysit which was on the Fourth of July which was a while ago now! I took care of Amosi Pres. The Pres family are the good friends of the Evens, my usual family and the parents went away for a night for the mum's Birthday so I stayed over. It was good fun because they were quite happy for me to treat it as a special day for Amos, no parents n all. So I went for broke, we ate chocolate, we bought balloons, Yahli came over for a sleepover and we stayed up late to watch the Fourth of July fireworks on TV, the next day they built a huge fort den in the parents bedroom, I ordered pancakes AND HAD THEM DELIVERED, that's right... it was pretty rad. And when Noga and Zwika got back they invited me to stay and watch the World Cup Game that was on at the time which was very sweet because I really didn't want to miss it.

So that happened... and then I had a bunch of fun. Here's the thing: audition time is a little dead at the moment as often happens in the summer. Summer summer summer, let's count how many times I've written summer so far.
Audition time a little dead, lucky me I'm attached to this great choreographer Ms Katie Pettit who assistant directed Supersoldier last year and tapped with me in it.  I did this workshop with her for a new musical by Jay Zimmerman,  a deaf composer who made a musical called Roboticus inspired by his decision to refuse a cochlear implant so he wrote a musical about a guy who has the chance to make technological improvements to himself and the implications of that...so I went to be a robot for Katie which was fun. And last week (this is not a chronological blog) I did a performance again related to a new musical, this time based on Orpheus and Eurydice, which had five choreographers working with the same music. The idea was to a) see what happened when you do that and b) let the composer see his piece 'on it's feet' for the first time ever. I loved working on the piece that we did, Katie is very much my kind of choreographers, she doesn't use 'tricks' or rely on crazy extensions, or just link leaps to turns and call it choreography. She uses expressive pedestrian movements combined with more 'dancey' fluid motions and mixes 'ugly' with 'pretty' - all original and all in the name of having something to say and a story to tell, not in the name of showing off impressive but irrelevant skills. Love it! Because of her mad skills the composer loved her work and I'm positive is going to ask her to work more with him on the rest of the show, and since I'm a committed disciple I hope I'mwill too. We've also recently heard about next steps for Roboticus which is very exciting and I look forward to also hanging with Jay again, not only a great composer but a wonderful person.

That was basically an entire paragraph of disclaimer, to ensure everyone that I am doing productive and useful things not just having a blast with SUMMER fun
Now that it's out of the way I can talk about the great stuff I've enjoyed lately! Um...I have overwhelmed myself with the amount of typing...I will have to do this in more bitesize chunks.
Also to celebrate my one day off this week I'm pretty much just chilling at home doing domestic stuff. And relaxing. Part of which involved a shower beer. That's drinking a beer in the shower. I got given a case of beer ok, no judgments.

I'll be back! Xxxxxxxxx