Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Scrolling through deleting texts to make space in my phone -

'What the fuck that I was drunk on a Monday? And that drunk? Omg not cool, awful morning' - anonymous, some time last summer

It's little gems like this that remind me that I am young on days when I feel positively middle-aged.
I realise that mid-week drinking is not to be encouraged.  But once in a while if someone else does it it provides me with a good laugh.

Pilgrim's Progress

A little quiet on the blog front...worry not, no news is good news! Been busy.

Training for a job I may or may not keep - I don't know if a Hampshire country girl can learn the underhand and sharp-elbowed ways of the Times Square restaurant worker.  Or rather, I can learn them but can I carry them out and live with myself? Not sure.

Speaking of Hampshire, I got a small piece of it when I was able to meet up with none other than Richard Taylor, the former Thomas Lord owner and the man who started my whole pub working career - over in NY to visit some friends and celebrate his Birthday managed to find time to meet me for a coffee and catch up.  Absolutely fabulous.



AND...I got some amazing news this morning which I have not properly celebrated but I am so so excited to say that I will be performing in Choreographers Canvas (Google it) WITH Justin Boccitto (Google him) artistic directed by Michael Blevins (Google him!) in a reworked version of Slaughter on Tenth Avenue...

Tessa:

I hope this note finds you having a wonderful day! Congratulations! We'd like you to be a Company Dancer in "Slaughter On Tenth Avenue" that will be featured in GTT's Choreographer's Canvas on May 18th, 2013.

Please see the attached schedule and let us know if you have any conflicts that would prevent you from participating. Please confirm your acceptance by dropping us a note at: info@grouptheatretoo.org before or no later than Wednesday, March 27th at 6PM.

We look forward to working with you! Thanks so much.

Best,

JUSTIN BOCCITTO
Executive Producer
The Group Theatre Too, LLC


For Justin Boccitto, I have no conflicts.

Slaughter on Tenth is an unbelievable piece of dance and music that is associated with so many greats...Rodgers and Hart of course and my number one idol GENE KELLY (In Words and Music, the 1948 Technicolor film biography of Rodgers and Hart, the ballet was danced by Gene Kelly and Vera-Ellen, with a somewhat revised, more tragic storyline, and new choreography by Kelly) and originally danced by another hero Ray Bolger (Scarecrow in Wizard of Oz among others).

It's sort of blowing my mind that I will be involved with this.  It's quite emotional in fact...once you have done all your googling, imagine that you are an early-20s dancer who idolises aforementioned people, AND who longs to be a hoofer, AND who has come from a tiny village in rural Hampshire...you will understand why it's emotional.

When I have a little free time I will blog some more because I would like to share some more things from wondrous New York City life.

 Peace love and dancingxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Friday, March 22, 2013






Some pictures of the tunnel under Lincoln Centre - when I get off the subway at 66th st to walk to school, I always use this tunnel to cut from the station to 61st and Amsterdam.  It's nice shelter on cold or wet or, as in these pics, SNOWY days - it came down like fury out of nowhere earlier this week.  Maite fell down in the snow.  Also, it's just a really cool place to walk - the actual tunnel is the two pictures at the top.  It's like granite or something, and all new and shiny and with Metropolitan Opera and New York Philarmonic ads lining the walls and these cool lights.  And it echoes fantastically.  I have this tiny lightbulb that appears over my head every time I walk through and it's empty, which is often - it would be the BEST place for a tap...thing.  Number, jam, mash-up, performance-art-with-tap piece.  The light and shadows, the acoustics, the fantastic clicky floor that bounces sounds like they're shot out of a cannon.  Guerilla tap project.  Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

I will do brief news bulletin and then I must take a nap because I have much to do later on and have had some very early mornings and late nights this week.

  • Orientation for Jekyll and Hyde today - hmm, yes.  We'll see.
  • Watched some of a Different Place gig last night, via live internet stream! WOW! I couldn't believe I was really seeing Mark, Dave and Dan walking around, setting up and then playing and singing.  Live internet streaming at gigs = gold
  • Met Jodi Jefferson about babysitting the other day.  What a cool lady with two very nice fun sparky and artistic kids who were very keen to show me all kinds of everything and do a fashion show and toys and reading and drawing and dancing and school and spelling.....phew!
  • Me and Sena begin our health kick today because not being in AMDA mad activity mode is not good for our fitness!
  • Great rehearsal with Ya'el Tap yesterday
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz more stuff sometime


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Monday, March 18, 2013

The Strange Case...

More good news!

I have a job.  That is to say, I went to an open call, filled in an application form, was screened, was interviewed and was hired. 

Jekyll and Hyde is essentially a theme restaurant.  There is a location in Greenwich Village which is the original Jekyll and Hyde, it's a bar that does some food and it's quite cool, it has a creepy, Victoriana, doors-hidden-in-bookshelves portraits-with-moving-eyes thing going on. The restaurant version that's pretty newly opened takes it to an entirely new level of tourist kitsch - there's a Sphinx head on the wall, plus some taxidermy, some shrunken heads, a shark, skeleton musician animatronics, a 'reanimation experiment' show done with actors, Greek statues, Egyptian mummies and icons, dark wood, black and red table decor...just about everything.  I don't know how a lot of it fits in with Jekyll and Hyde but why not eh.  Oh and EVERYTHING moves, talks, blasts music, makes spooky noises...actually being interviewed there was hilarious, I was fighting very hard to keep a straight face because the guy was trying to explain something in a very serious way and right next to us a mummy was jerking around and yelling bad jokes in an incongruous hip-hop culture dialect, so my interviewer had to keep raising his voice.  Poor guy, he'd been there all day.

Anyway based on my resume I wouldn't be hired but he liked my personality *tosses hair* well y'know.  It's this whole thing of 'do you have experience in a high volume New York place?' No I don't but you can teach me, I'm very clever, look I can hold these plates and walk at the same time.  The fundamentals of waitressing itself are not rocket science - you take the orders, you bring the orders, you take the empty plates away.  But waitressing well is about presentation, manners, being friendly and perceptive - all of which I've had lots of practice at and are aspects of the job that I quite enjoy.  So I'm very grateful to this interviewer who said 'I can train someone to be a great server but I can't train their personality'.  Precisely my friend what I have been saying all along.
This is fairly conditional - being the one with no high-volume NYC experience he was saying they'll start me off with a small section, see how I do, if it doesn't work out it doesn't work out etc.  Fair enough, I say.  The only problem I foresee is scheduling - I still have to go to auditions, I'm supposed to meet with a lady re: babysitting this week and I have Thursday night tap rehearsals with Ya'el. So I'll see how that will figure out at 'orientation'.
The point is for a few weeks at least I will be able to earn some money and have some kind of consistent purpose.  Thank GOODNESS.  Also, my first time working for any kind of corporation - we'll see how that turns out.  Note to self: Bite your tongue!

How I feel today
Our couch, in the middle of 2C, our couch!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

OMGOMGOMG said the fangirl

WOWZEEEWOOWWWWW

I was an extra in a web series today.  It's called 'It Could Be Worse' and is about a struggling actor trying to make it whilst dealing with relationships etc etc - so far, so familiar (except that I have no relationship, hmph). 

Then you learn that everyone featured in it is some kind of star and you have to grab the edge of the sink you're standing in front of because you're suddenly feeling giddy.

Quick reel-off of people I met, spent time with, even made jokes with today -

Robert Creighton who just finished starring on Broadway in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, one of my favourite shows I've ever seen (I got a 'Hurricane ticket' for $20 - Sandy really made things tough for the theatres) because it's all done in the style of English Victorian music-hall with elements of pantomime - the lead male role is done as a 'principal boy' and was played magnificently by original Elphaba in Wicked, Stephanie J Block.  Oh also it's based on the unfinished Charles Dickens novel that gives this musical it's name.  Great show, Mr Creighton was one of my favourite parts of said show, and today I was shut in a bathroom with him for a while as he pretended to...well, we were in a bathroom, I won't bore disgust you with the details.  It's a mad world.

Filming this was Mitchell Jarvis.  Me being a total dunderhead had no idea that he was the original Lonny in the Broadway cast of Rock of Ages, a show that means a lot to me.  Lonny is the narrator of the show.  So aside from starring/originating in a huge show that I love (amongst many other credits), Mitchell Jarvis is a supremely cool being who was dead friendly and like someone I'd enjoy have beers with.

Wesley Taylor plays the lead of this series - he also has a long list of credits,  there's TV series SMASH and also Rock of Ages original cast + more.  He was lying in a bathtub next to me for a bit...it was by his fair hand that I was selected to be 'girl doing makeup in bathroom mirror oblivious to chaos around her' which is what led to the Robert Creighton bathroom exravaganza.

Walking around sometimes - Alison Fraser who I've admired since I saw her in 'In Masks Outrageous and Austere' a world premiere of an adaptation of semi-unfinished Tennessee Williams play that my good friend Sam Underwood was in, alongside Grande Dame of Theatre Shirley Knight.  Ms Fraser is memorable for her eccentric and outrageous performance in that play and doubtless she is equally outrageous in ICBW. 
Also walking around (this, sadly, is the one I got most excited about when I worked out who it was) - Brennan Brown.

Most known to UK audiences as the guy from the Orange ads - you know, you go to the cinema and before the film they show an ad that both promotes Orange Wednesday two-for-one cinema tickets and reminds you to turn off your phone.  And there's always a guy who is like a board exec and his assistant and they are coming up with ad campaigns that are always daft and they generally feature celebrities...well Brennan Brown is the board exec, anyway.  I always loved those ads so I was extremely happy to see him walking around in the flesh.  Mr Brennan of course has many other credits to his name, but I haven't seen any of those and I saw him in the Orange ads every time I went to the cinema for 4 years.

Also doing a small part of a scene today was a guy who was Woof in Hair on Broadway which obviously makes me fantastically excited cos Woof  is the best.


PHEW so as if all that wasn't enough excitement -

I got home and madly googled all this and learned that guest stars who have been or will be appearing in the series include
Audra McDonald - recently Bess in Porgy and Bess at Lincoln Centre, kind of a big deal)
Nick Adams - original cast Priscilla Queen of the Desert and also Cagelle in the revival two years ago when I nannied - I knew him when!
Debra Messing - Will and Grace
Ann Harada - original Christmas Eve in Avenue Q
Christopher Seiber - current Billy Flynn in Broadway's Chicago and my graduation speaker
and more

Blimey.

Now if only life were like in movies and they would call me tomorrow and say 'we loved you, do you want to star in an upcoming feature film opposite ..............? Noone else can do this role'.  Hahahahaha.....still, not every day you bump into and spend time in a room with these people.

Yaaaay for Craigslist where I found out about this thing!

namastexxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

So close yet SO FA

2C has a sofa! We have a sofa! Oh Happy Day...our living room is beginning to look like a civilised person's place of residence.

We also got a big desk which we are using as TV stand and general place to put stuff like internet manual, copies of Backstage magazine, things that are currently cluttering up the windowsills.  This has freed up the small table that used to have the TV on it to be used as a coffee table-type-thing.

New items courtesy of my lovely friend and ex-classmate Jordan's voice teacher (Jordan is here a lot, if there was an organisation called 'Friends of 2C' he would be chairman).  So thanks Jordan, THANKS KYLE GONYEA and also I am so proud of my boys who organised the getting and transporting of these items all by themselves and I didn't have to do anything.  They are growing up so fast.  (Jacob, Jordan, JT and Charles work it out)

Sigh.  Just the bed situation and I'm almost a human being.

COME BACK LOLA WE MISS YOU
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Live updates

England is getting humiliated right now! Come ooooon it's like they gave up as soon as Wales took the lead and now look what's happening! Aaaaargh

*****


Oh it's all over.  Alllll over.

Hmph.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Namaste

Uh oh...I found a website called doyogawithme.com that has an abundance ('what's abundance?' 'a disco in a bakery!') of good yoga videos and a particular sequence that I think I may become addicted to.  I did it last night before bed and had the best night's sleep I've had in a while, no tossing and turning, no nothing.  So there are times when I rue technology and there are times when I praise it to the skies because without it I'd have so many more excuses not to exercise.  Said the dancer.  Worst ever.  I've never been a good work-outer, it has to be disguised as fun - dance, sports, swimming, walking with dogs or fun people.  Like when you have to feed vegetables to children.
I think the chi situation is improving definitely.  It occurred to me that my more cynical and pragmatic pals (...not that I really have any, actually, everyone believes in something)  might think 'oh there goes Tessa again on about chi and flow and chakras and sssshhhh get yourself together' but to be honest just because I'm using the terms of other cultural practices and beliefs doesn't mean what I'm talking about isn't universally applicable.  You might just talk about feeling drained rather than having blocked chi.  Same dealio.

Errr speaking of beliefs real quick - I had a visit today from some missionaries...I want to say Jehovah's Witnesses but I get confused cos they are the ones that come knocking on doors, right? But then they had the Mormon-type white shirts and nametags...or do they all have that? Hang on


Smiley dog entertains you while Tessa googles stuff (isn't it odd how google is a verb in common use now when a few years ago it was just a funny word?)


Ok, I think they were Mormons.  I didn't get a chance to find out because after opening the door I clocked pretty quickly that they were going to tell me about things I felt no need to hear about.  And I felt no qualms about saying 'thank you but, you've got the wrong house' because to do anything else would have been wasting my time and theirs.  That's the first time that's ever happened to me - so now I can tick it off my bucket list (kidding).  I wonder how they got into the building though?

Disney Cruise Line dance call tomorrow - the thing about these are, it's not practical at all for an OPT kid like myself (optional practical training, the thing that all the foreigners get a year of after they finish school here, it allows you to work legally in the US provided it pertains to your field of study)

It's not that practical because you get one year to do work so it's a good idea to get stuff on your resume that is preferably NYC- or maybe LA-based as that is what looks best to the immigration folks when they review your case for an O1 (artists) visa.  If you take off for half of that year on a ship it's kind of a waste.  Nonetheless, Disney are always holding auditions, they come around a lot, and it's good to keep showing up.  Plus if you did book a job with them they are quite good at dealing with visas and stuff, being a huge multinational corporation.
And I'm going to be an extra in a scene for a film on Sunday night - the film has Gideon Glick in it, who I have kind of a thing for since I saw him in Into The Woods in Central Park opposite Donna Murphy, Sarah Stiles and Amy Adams.  That's not why I'm doing it I swear.

My dear friend Kayley just arrived so I will discuss life with her for a while - I came to school to get some work done and naturally found a bunch of people in the same boat as me which is always good.

Library fun!xxxxxxxxx

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Importance of Being Furnished

Chi update: I think it is improved for a walk by the river and some yoga.

I made it to the last standing lighthouse on Manhattan - Jeffrey's Hook lighthouse which I will revisit and take pictures of...it's a lovely thing to go and see.  It's one of those special 'things to do in New York that cost no money but some imagination' gems that few people experience because it's not an obvious place to sightsee.  But it's right on my doorstep, and it's great.

And now a brief home improvements update - addition of fairy lights, always a winner.  That's one of my grandpa's flat caps hanging on the wall...I've had it for years, I don't think he knows I've got it :D
George Michael the panda is eyeing you suspiciously from the windowsill.  And the beautiful parasol hanging mobile given to me by Ellie is temporarily over the window.


Made some collage boards - cards, notes, photos, mementos that all used to be all over my walls are now tidily arranged in thrift store frames.


 My favourite find from Goodwill (charity shop).  It kind of looks like a floodlight or something.  And it cost me a princely $5.00.


Yes I realise that I've become obsessed with interiors.

Chi

I have a new project to begin.

Since graduating from AMDA it has been an interesting and at times pretty tough ride.  There's the audition process which can be brutal - getting up before dawn to ride down to midtown to wait for hours and then get rejected based on a quick glance from a director.  There's the house - as the most hygiene-conscious person in this house I get a little OCD sometimes and surfaces left uncleaned or dishes left in the sink for more than 24 hours make me crazy.  Plus dealing with bills, the internet people right now are being crap and not fixing something we need fixed and of course still billing us.  Sleeping on an air mattress, long-term - harder than it sounds.  Especially one that deflates gradually. 

All this is minor stuff, really - I'm dead lucky, got nice roommates, a lovely apartment with plenty of space, surrounded by friends, the ability to make and feed myself nourishing sustenance, a working body, some nice pairs of shoes and I live in New York.

Nonetheless - this past week I'm getting the feeling that something is not right.  I'm having to force myself to go audition hunting and email submissions to casting notices, which a few weeks ago was all I ever wanted to do.  I spend most of my days dressed in some kind of exercise clothes or jeans and a t-shirt - for someone who went the whole of sixth form college without once repeating an outfit, this is not right.  I haven't been inspired to cook something awesome for a couple of weeks and have let my diet get boring - still good, but boring.  And yesterday I felt drained, exhausted and just done, for no real reason having had a good night's sleep and an iron-and-protein rich breakfast.

I have no expertise in Chinese medicine but I believe in certain principles of it.  For example, chi.
Chi (or Qi in Japan) is life-force energy.  In India it's Prana and is intersected in our bodies by chakras, points of spinning energy that yoga postures connect to and regulate.

Everything in creation is made up of electromagnetic energy vibrating at different frequencies that correspond to sound, light and color. The existence of electromagnetic fields around every object in the world, known as an Aura, is a scientifically proven fact. The Chinese refer to this energy as 'Chi' (pronounced Chee), the vital life force energy of the Universe, present within every living thing.


So I'm thinking my chi is blocked and I need to do something about it.
Sena has a little knowledge of Chinese medicine as I believe she had to study a little of it during her time gaining her voice degree.  And Charles downstairs is an avid fan of Tai Chi which obviously is designed specifically to keep chi moving.  So my first ports of call are my two friends.

Second is go to a yoga class.  There is a great organisation called Yoga To The People which offers really cheap i.e. $5-8 classes in vinyasa and hot yoga.  I love hot yoga, it is fantastically hard but also fantastically cleansing, energising and empowering.  Those are three things that I seem to be in need of so, later on today I should get me down to 26th St.

Acupuncture is of course the most widely-known technique used in the west and alongside Western medicine - I am a believer, as I had a few sessions a while back when I was suffering some pain in my ribs and my knees (rib pain, weird I know but it was there!) and they really helped not only alleviate the pain but relax my mind and yes, get my energy flowing.

The other thing I just thought of is going down to Chinatown where I could probably find any number of aucpuncture, massage, herbal and reflexology practitioners at varying levels of shady.  I could walk into any medicine shop and just ask them, and they'll give me what I need.  I would be really interested to try that.  Maybe take Charles with me, get some delicious rice bread dumplings while we're down there.  (My new favourite foreign delicacy: steamed rice break dumplings dipped in condensed milk).

So, I am going to begin my experiment, starting with today a yoga class.  And some other, little things - make sure no sharp corners are pointing at my bed.  Eating 'cold' foods - not as in temperature as in yin and yang.
'Yin is damaged by overconsumption of heating, stimulating foods such as coffee, strong spices, lamb, ginger, mustard etc. These will also make you feel more agitated and shaky. In contrast, cooling Yin building foods include things like asparagus, apple, lemon, pear, seaweed. make sure you drink plenty of water too.'
I have apples, I have seaweed!

Operation unblock chi commencing.

(In other news I went to a Chorus Line open call yesterday where I saw one of the Cagelles - when I was here nannying two years ago my boss was the choreographer of Tony-award winning revival on Broadway of La Cage aux Folles.  Cagelles are the ensemble of La Cage - cross-dressed, all-singing all-dancing chorus girls.  They became a pretty big deal on their own from this revival, these Cagelles had a good few TV appearances and quite a following - and there was one, standing in line near me the lowly nanny at an open call for a not even off-Broadway show.  Life is a circle game, as Joni would say.)

Peace love and flowing energyxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


 
 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bare bones

I'd like to share this thing what I maked

It's the bare bones of a mashup kind of thing - it's made up of 4ish songs by Robyn, Swedish electropop artist who I LOVE LOVE LOVE

I made it up ages ago actually and just now managed to get it down.  It's far from perfect - I can hear how phrases slot together but when I'm trying to sing one part and hear the other part in my head simultaneously sometimes it gets a little skewed.  So this is rough rough draft.  One part (the distorted part - it sounds that way because I recorded it on my digital voice recorder and I kind of love it) is made up of songs that talk about the end of a relationship.  And the other part is all from the song 'Call Your Girlfriend' - a girl saying 'you're with me now so you have to tell her that it's over'.  I thought it was cool how the songs from the distorted part are like the words of the victim of that breakup...if you get me.  Like, one girl is losing her man to the other girl...and this is what they both say to said man from their respective perspectives.  Respective perspectives, there's a good one.
Don't ask me why it says September 5th 2012, I didn't do that.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Momentous day

Celebrate with me, loved ones -

There is a first time for everything.

First time I went on a plane alone - summer of 2007

First Beatles record I fell in love with - Lucy in the Sky

First time I had Chinese food - Lois Lacey's Birthday, we were 9

First shopping trip to Winchester without our mums - I bought a jacket from New Look

First tattoo - Bleecker St, February 2010

First money I ever earned - Tim Richardson gave me £1 for watching his baby when I was 7 during a TLO rehearsal.





Today was my first callback at a New York City audition!

I am dog tired, as my day began at 5am and did not stop.  What a great day though.
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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Late observation

Ha - only just noticed that I have comments on this blog! I would like to take this moment to thank the commenter and acknowledge that I miss her! I went to a party last night and for the first time in a looong time I had a bit too much to drink as the party throwers had made a magical punch that really disguised it's alcohol content dangerously well.  So when I attempted to sit up for the first time this morning my first thought was 'oh dear lord I wish Lola was here she could bring me a cup of tea'

:D Miss you!

Rainy London Town

Cabinet found on the street

Thrift store and ebay decor

Raindrop wall

Now it is always England in my room

Friday, March 8, 2013

Homemade happiness



 For last night's Senabration (I will be copyrighting that phrase) I got crafty. 

People ask me about this stuff a lot lately.  It's kind of funny to me because although I'm no seasoned DIYer, making things and projects are second nature to me.  Homemade Birthdays are the best - I always remember once being in a campsite in France, and a Birthday was celebrated with banner letters cut from newspapers and an improvised special meal.  I can literally picture it like it was yesterday.  It's a big point of pride for me that I grew up with the idea of making things yourself although I think it's only just starting to really come out in me.  Maybe I've spent 22 almost 23 years absorbing and learning through osmosis.  Anyway, lucky me that I had people to learn FROM - not everybody does.

 So with short-notice news that it was Sena's Birthday I had to come up with something that would suit - Sena is sweet, sophisticated, a little mischevious and very stylish so challenge on.

I made this bunting string out of magazine page cut-outs - you can't really tell what's on them but mostly perfume and lipstick ads serve this purpose well as they are colourful and often floral.



Sena has had a jar of Nutella in the fridge forever so with that as inspiration I made these cupcake-brownie Nutella-loaded treats.  It was actually a regular chocolate sponge recipe, baked in my favourite silicone reusable cake cases.  Once I made the cake mix I added Nutella which meant that when they were baked they were a little densier, fudgier and chewier like a brownie...mmmmmmmm.  The cool thing about Nutella is, it's three of the ingedients already in a cake mix - fat, sugar and in this case cocoa so it just added extras of all those things plus hazelnut goodness.  I then put a blob of Nutella on top of each cake, and THEN added a decorative dab of hand-whipped Nutella cream.


To further party-ready the living room I covered the table with a charity shop pink scarf that I used to use as a wall drape and we had a snack table of crisps and dips and drinks.  I did a couple of drape things with some cool sparkly fabrics that Granny and Poppa sent me ages ago that I was very happy to put to good use.

This was my favourite piece of decorative inspiration...I've had these diamondy things hanging around forever, I think they are supposed to be sort of scattered decoratively on fancy dinner tables.  But if you put them in a clean glass jar on some foil and surround them with candles you get nice reflections and glows and atmospheric prettiness.  The gold wrapping paper hearts around it are just for added fun and cute factor.

With all this in place all we needed was some K-Pop (that's Korean Pop, I will probably post about it soon because it's becoming a growing obsession) some guests and the Birthday girl.

When she got home and I let her in, she actually stood outside the door for 5 minutes making this strange howling noise...this is Sena's way of being quite overcome, I think, but I was really confused and Jacob had to kind of guide her through the door.  But then she got over it and disappeared to her room and came back wearing a tiara.  Of course.

We have guests on tap thanks to the neighbours so all we have to do is knock on doors and 2 minutes later they show up - Ruth bearing flowers and some leftover sweet stuff from an event at the Bohemian National Hall where she works (a Czech arts organisation).  And Charles bearing a cupcake for meeee! We had a lovely evening catching up with friends and enjoying Sena and her friend Gena's inspired performance of 'Gee Gee Gee Gee', a K-Pop song by girlgroup Girls Generation.  And we played charades, natch...everyone starts out saying 'no no, I can't play I don't know any movies/books, I suck at this game' and before they know it they are swept up into the excitement and the adrenaline...everyone succumbs eventually.

Party people! I so enjoyed the first party of our apartment and am proud to say Nutella treats went down very well (especially with the Birthday girl who was still eating them this morning) and I received nice compliments for my decorative efforts. 

Project time continues today - I was supposed to be in this dance event flashmob thing today but it is snowing...in March...in a weird cold wet horrible way...so because said flashmob was outdoors it was called off leaving me with an unexpected totally free day.  Ok I'll take it!

So far I have made one thing - my own version of 'shakshouka', a North African (?) dish that is popular in Israel - I discovered it via my friend Sivan at an Israeli coffee and sandwich chain.  She loves to have it for breakfast.  I did a somewhat westernised, mediterraneanised version with peppers and onions since that's what I had lots of but it came out pretty well and is a really healthy and tasty breakfast.


Home improvements are GO
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

The object of art is to give life a shape.

 If you can read this...I urge you to go to www.theodorasutton.co.uk.  This is the website of my extremely talented friend Thee.  She makes beautiful, enigmatic and thought-provoking pieces of art most of which are based around the effects of technology on the individual, how we are able to reduce ourselves, innermost thoughts and feelings, to data on the internet...I can't explain it as well as she does.  Anyway every time it's been a while since I looked at her website or blog I am newly blown away by how much I love what she makes.  And I don't just say that because we're friends...rather, I think we are friends because I am blown away by the kind of stuff that comes out of her brain.  That's two minds that are just supposed to get along.  I also just love her for turning something incredibly painful and devastating into something cool and beautiful, thus making it okay. 
Just...go look, please, and tell me that's not amazing art.

We have art so that we shall not die of reality.

House of Tess

This title is a play on the title of, well, a play called House of Yes which I believe was made into a film...I remain confused about why the film is marketed as a light-hearted madcap romp when the play is about the dark and horrible secrets of a screwed up family.

House of Tess because noone is home, it's just me.  It's been just me all day - no headshots = no auditions.  No auditions = got to do something productive with my day.  Tomorrow is apartment inspection day, so I have CLEANED like a mofo.  Seriously.  I am really good.  It's the borderline severe obsessive compulsive disorder in me.  For a place with no furniture to speak of, little in the way of decor and 4 actors in their 20s living here it looks pretty darn good.

I also spent a good chunk of hours trawling playbill.com, Backstage magazine, craigslist, audition blogs and other resources at my disposal, lining up next week's round of auditions.  Tomorrow I watch my ridiculously, fantastically talented friend and acting husband and dance partner AND neighbour Charles Pang in his professional debut Pornography for the People
He is playing a blogger posing as a prostitute, or something...I know there is a negligee involved.  I am very excited because Charles is really a gem,  he's a special human being being boundlessly generous and caring, hard working, poised, dignified, talent to spare.  If anyone deserves a great first job, he does and he will have the full support of the AMDA crew behind him, we're all going.  Then Sunday I'm back teaching a class, thank goodness - it's been 3 weeks since I did a real one what with graduation and auditions and just stuff. 

As in this mornings' post, Lola is officially gone now, I imagine she's made it to Mexico by now even if not Yucatan.  It's far, man.  I am sure the month will fly by - they always do, except when we're waiting for paychecks - but until I've got used to it it's going to be a weird few days without her around.  I won't hear quesadillas mentioned every single day til April.

**Update**

One day later...
We had our apartment inspected yesterday - yearly thing, happened to be yesterday.  I was told 'this is not a frathouse' to which I responded (in my head, not out loud) 'Well that's lucky since we are 75% girls and also 75% in our twenties, too old to be in a fraternity or sorority.' Alternative sarky response: 'Oh NO, I'll have to cancel tonight's keg party and tell all these drunk college girls to go home then'.  Even more amusingly the first reference she made to this was when she stepped into me and Lola's shared room, where thanks to my bedding there is a definite presence of pink and we have pretty things hanging on the walls, photos of her nephew, books, perfume.  That morning I had been doing some filing so there is a pile of papers on the floor next to Lola's bed - other than that the room is tidy.  'Whos frat house is this?' she exclaims, entering.  Imagine my alarm on hearing that what me and Lola all this time thought was our bedroom was actually the residence halls of some kind of fraternity organisaton! How embarassing! Grr, seethe.
I was most offended by the assumption that because we are four young people living together, we are some sort of uncouth slobs.  There are dried flowers on our table.  The floor is swept, the surfaces are cleaned, wiped and antibacterial sprayed.  Bowl of fruit.  Shoes neatly lined up on mats.  I was wearing polka dot leggings and flowery slippers.  It could not be more the opposite of what was implied by her 'frat house' comment.  Unimpressed.  I am of the understanding that because a lot of young people moved into the building around the same time they are making sure to crack down early and stop any debauchery that the youth presence might incur.  I get it - incidents happen, the building management doesn't want that on their hands.  But while I can't speak for everyone in the building, at least the AMDA crew that is here are not having raucous parties every week, are not defacing the building, being drunk and disorderly, none of it.  In fact everyone in the building seems very nice, friendly neighbours, noise is never a problem.  I just don't think it's fair to generalise.  The landlady continued to tell me that, as 'head of the house' (...ok??) the onus was on me if there was any trouble.  Meanwhile sweet lovely trouble-free Jacob is standing by listening, utterly bewildered as to why we should be causing trouble, and two friends who came to visit in the morning are also standing there awkwardly thinking 'we don't live here...' She went on in this vein for a short while and then said they were organising a meeting for all the young people who had moved in recently.  So for us that will just be known as a school reunion then since we already know each other.  Perhaps it sounds silly that I took her lecture so much to heart but I really was quite offended.  (Internally.)
We are young, we are broke, we are actors - but we are not heathens. 

On a happier note, I went to see Charles in his professional debut.  I am honoured to be able to say that because he absolutely blew it out of the water, he delivered a jawdroppingly great performance.  Also gave me some pride that the other male principal was an English chap who was the other (for me anway) standout in the cast - totally natural, subtle, specific, clearly characterised, detailed, thoughtful performance.  I learned a lot watching.  The play itself was also great - the main theme it dealt with was internet censorship in China from the perspective of 4 characters somehow connected to 'pornography' - a young woman who found both fame and infamy as a sex blogger, a magazine editor Mr Lin who wrote a blog as a female prostitute and unintentionally exposed public figures, landing him in a shitload of trouble with the authorities (Charles!), a girl from the country who was raped as a young girl and is now a purveyor of homemade sex tapes, and an English journalist researching the stories of these people.  There were three more cast members who multi-roled as characters like Mrs Lin, Mr Lin's interrogator, the paparazzi.  They also had a couple of really interesting scenes where they played characters who were physical embodiments of what is called the 'Green Dam Youth Escort' a filtering system that all computers in China are required to have pre-installed or be distributed with the software as an accompanying CD.  There is a character created by internet citizens or netizens in China called the Green Dam Girl, which slightly pokes fun at the notion of the GDYE.  There are a lot of versions but she generally looks something like this - she has a river crab hat, a rabbit somewhere about her person, wears green and and armband with 'discipline' on it.
'The “crab” logo in the pictures refers to “harmonize”, a term directly derived from President Hu Jintao’s regular exhortations for Chinese citizens to create a harmonious society. In spoken Chinese, “river crab” sounds very much like “harmony”, which in China’s cyberspace has become a synonym for censorship.'

So at one point one of the actors, a fantastic Japanese girl with great comedic timing, was the Green Dam Girl speaking on behalf of the Green Dam Youth Escort.  She delivered a speech about how the filtering system was nothing like spying although it can see everything that you search for on the internet using your personal computer, all in the manner of a teacher telling five year olds why they shouldn't run in the classroom, and rounded off each serious point with 'hooraaaay!' like a demented cheerleader.  It was great, it was very pointed fun-poking, and it all set me thinking.

Since I saw the play I've been madly trying to read more and more about this whole thing because obviously it's an issue of huge controversy and endless discussion especially alongside SOPA here in the US, where 'some opponents of the Stop Online Piracy Act state that requiring search engines to delete domain names violates the First Amendment and could begin a worldwide arms race of unprecedented Internet censorship

I intend to fully inform myself so that I can continue to consider the many facets of 'Pornography for the People', because although I was aware that, for example, Facebook and Twitter were banned in China, I didn't know the full extent and it would be interested to know how much of the play was imagined, how much exaggerrated and how much actually dead on, however controversial.

I will just mention the ending, which was brilliant - the actors come out, they bow, we applaud madly, they bow again then suddenly we hear a robotic female voice saying 'this play was against policy...we apologise to the audience...pretend you never saw this play...we apologise to the actors...this play was not filtered...' and words to that effect.  It was a nice touch, and actually addressed something that I'd been wondering - what would happen if you tried to put this play on in China? During the Q&A session afterwards the playwright mentioned that the events in the play had been based on real stories she had found while researching - or rather snippets of stories.  She found a small article on the real version of the Mr Lin character and what he had done, so his actions were real but when she tried to find out what happened to him, the trail went dead so she had to imagine the consequences and their (pretty high) severity.

There is so much more depth I could go into on this subject, now that I've started it's hard to stop digging, but I have to do other things like eat and sleep so for now,

再见

That's goobye in Mandarin.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Laura

Just wanted to share a couple of things that I've fallen in love with

Laura Nyro, my new musical obsession.  I realise she's not new but to me she is.  She was the only female musician that Joni Mitchell respected as a peer.  I have this book called Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller.  If you've ever met me you will have at some point seen it poking out of my bag, I've read it over and over.  It is a comfort, an inspiration, a bible, a guidebook and all kinds of other great things for me.  Although it's about the sometimes interweaving journeys of Joni Mitchell, Carol King and Carly Simon and the changes of their generation, other figures such as James Taylor, Graham Nash, Gerry Goffin, Judy Collins and Miss Nyro pop up a lot.  She kind of blows my mind.
(Since I touched on the subject, a brief word about that book and its female heroines - I am grateful that the book was written because from it I have learned many things about those three badass ladies that are as I said before a comfort and an inspiration.  Joni Mitchell travelled far from home to New York City by herself and had to go through hell before doing so in giving up her out-of-wedlock child.  Carol King was living the life of a 35 year old by the time she was my age, with 2 kids and mah jong games and estate cars - and a drug-addled husband.  Carly Simon (this is for me the most relatable) suffered severe anxiety with panic attacks that so prevented her from doing what she wanted to do that she would be sunk in a depression for long periods of time.  If those ladies could deal with all that, in the 60s when although change was beginning for women it had a loooong way to go, then goodness knows I can handle whatever life throws at me.)


...are you kidding me??? Wow.


And the other thing I am loving today is my new (old) white wooden cabinet with 3 shelves and two doors with glass panels in them.  It was on the street when I arrived home today.  I have scrubbed it down with antibacterial cleaner and sprayed it all over with disinfectant and I'll need to sand a couple of edges and reinforce the back a little but it's in good shape otherwise.  I have filled it already, one shelf for books one for binders and one for trinkets, bits and pieces, notebooks.  So my homemade cardboard storage unit is now 50% smaller.  Today was a moody day spent frantically applying for jobs, student films and other casting calls, one of those days when you just wish something great would happen to change your negative perception of life.  And it does, it does! Oh New York City, living here is always a little schizophrenic, what she giveth she taketh away and thankfully vice versa, or just replaceth with something better.

Tomorrow is Sena's Birthday which we will be celebrating in a modest fashion with pizza on the floor with good company and some sort of decorations, which I will be inventing around 6pm.  Wish me luck.




Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Auditioning

Rock of Ages non-equity national tour today.

A little insight into my own personal audition process...on a good day anyway.  It doesn't always go down this well.

It begins with getting home from rehearsal last night at 11ish, deciding it was too late to eat a meal but having some delicious and soothing chai.  Then getting everything prepped for audition - headshots and resumes, cut to size and stapled back to back, in my music binder.  Music binder equipped with: choice of three 80s rock/pop songs plus my regular audition repertoire of go-to songs which includes Kander and Ebb, Noel Coward, a little Cabaret, a couple of contemporary ballads, Easy To Be Hard from Hair, Skylark by Hoagy Carmichael and my tour-de-force, Screw Loose from Cry Baby.  It's good to have one absolute go-to song, but you also need a decent variety of pre-60s material, traditional Broadway, pop, rock, ballad, comedy, patter, it's not a bad idea to have some Disney in there...a lot of stuff.  So my book is well-stocked for now, I'll need to do an edit soon as I find new material. 
Into the wheely bag goes the binder, plus character heels, tights, shorts, a couple of different dancewear options, jeans, high heeled boots, hair curlers, hairspray, makeup, water, an apple, current reading material, painkillers, emergency support bandage. 

I jump into bed by midnight and attempt to get some shut-eye.  Alarm is set for 4.30 and I have a fairly restless few hours before I roll back out of bed and dive straight into the shower.  Post-shower routine is get dressed in the basic layer of my dancewear for the day, leggings and a pink top over which goes the nice blouse I may or may not need if I have to sing (sometimes they say stay in dance clothes but you just never know) plus my Guns n Roses tshirt for luck - this is Rock of Ages after all - and a multitude of other layers cos it's cooold out today.  Trackie bottoms, trainers and I'm ready to be comfy on my early morning journey.
The deal is that for any audition, there is a sign-up process.  At most of them, there will be an 'unnofficial list' that gets started by whoever is there first.  Unnofficial lists are wonderful things because there is a universally accepted unwritten law that states he or she who signs the unnofficial list is free to leave after having done so until the audition start time.  This means that if you get there at 5am you can be number 1 on the list and go back to bed for a couple of hours because the audition won't be starting til 10, usually.  Or, if you don't make it there at the crack of dawn, you will be higher up on the list so say you end up as number 150, you know that you won't be seen until at least 1 because they'll be seeing groups of 30 every hour. 
Most of the time, the people running the audition will take the unnofficial list - it makes everyone's life easier.  But occasionally a casting notice will say 'no unofficial list will be accepted.'  Then we all groan and haul ourselves down there prepared to wait around a LOT.

Today however is a good day and there is a list on which I am number 9, having made it to the studio (coincidentally on the street where I lived whilst nannying - oh to live there still, I could've rolled out still in my PJs at 3am, been number 1 and gone back to bed for 5 hours) at a respectable 6am. 
I like to do my makeup before I leave the house - sure, sometimes that's impractical, but today I gave myself plenty of time.  A lot of girls arrive at auditions in basically their pyjamas, and change and primp and makeup after they've signed up when they know they have 3 hours to wait around at the studio for the audition to start.  I definitely see the logic but number 1 I do not wake up glowing with radiance as some people seem to and number 2 I always have this feeling that one day I'd be sitting there in some studio hallway looking like death warmed up and the casting directors will walk by, or an idol of mine, or someone who is significant or influential in whatever way.  I don't want to take that risk so I arrive prepared.
Makeup done, instant oatmeal consumed, coat on, out the door.  At the subway I met a pile of other AMDA students headed the same way which is always nice - it made for a much more fun journey.
Because we got down there at a good time we are all signed up and I was left with 4 hours to spare.  So I decided to come home and re-prep, because hey - I can.  There were a couple of other auditions happening at the same studios which I decided to sign up for, so coming home means I can grab a dress and pair of shoes that will work for those auditions.  Plus I've just proteined up with a delicious breakfast, drank lots of water, and now I can do my hair in the comfort of my home rather than a crowded holding room.

So that's my day so far, already 4 hours in! And now we just hope that the rest of it goes as well.

I'm wante-e-ed...DEAD or ALIVE

is one of the songs in Rock of Ages and a little bit how this actor biz can make you feel.  But today, alive it is.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Na Zdorovie

So I have a whole post about my friend Charles' play and about our apartment inspection and just life...but let's just talk about Russia for a second.  Russia is huge.  It takes up more than one 8th of the world's populated land (although I want to know how that works because I just looked at a population density map and it is vast spaces of unpopulated land...I dunno).  It has NINE time zones.  It practically joins Europe to America.

I...I can't.  It's giving me anxiety.