Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Things that are cool...

Let's dwell on the positive to get our minds off the "ground zero mosque" controversy. (It's NOT a mosque and it's NOT at ground zero, you idiots! But we're not talking about that right now...)

-I bought all the "Ocean's" movies last night for $10.00. (Those of you who know me know this means I'm skipping two meals this week.)

-Bernadette Peters is going to do "Follies" at the Kennedy Center.

-Once you're no longer a student, the end of summer is not a sad time. It means your TV shows are starting up again.

-I haven't had a Little Caesar's pizza since I moved to California. (This is a big step for me.)

-The place I'm moving into in Washington has a TV on the fridge door. I think. Isn't that cool? I don't think I'll ever use it, but I like to see my rent go to good use like that.

The "ground zero mosque" rant...

I am freaking out about the controversy surrounding this Muslim community center in New York. (Check out,8599,2011400,00.html if you don't know what I'm talking about.)
I don't have anything terribly interesting or original to say about it. In fact, I find it ridiculous that this debate is even happening. (Fair warning: anyone who uses the words "victory mosque" will receive a slap in the face from me.)
What's interesting to me is how passionately I feel about this. Maybe it's because it disrupts the romantic notion I've always had that things like Jim Crow laws and Japanese internment camps were behind us. Maybe it's because I belong to a religious group that has known its share of intolerance in a nation that pretends to believe in religious freedom. Maybe it's because I just finished reading "Fahrenheit 451," a book that makes me feel irate about everything. (Footnote: I dreamed last night that I was being chased by the cops for having a book of Calvin and Hobbes comics. Some people from church in a minivan reported me.) I've been getting increasingly restless over the last few days. Good thing I have a big dramatic move to look forward to or I might do something really outrageous. Like dye my hair blue or eat a whole pizza.
I've decided this sporadic shallow activism has to stop. From now on, apathy about everything. Just kidding. I'm going to become better informed, develop strong opinions about things, and rant about them on this blog. How does that sound?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

May I return to the beginning...

One fateful Saturday, Pat and Lisa Greene told their six-year-old son Matthew they were going to see a play. I liked the word "play" so I went along with the idea of being quiet and still in a strange place. It was "Rumplestiltskin" and I was called up on stage when they asked for a volunteer from the audience. And so it began.
We went back to that little theatre several times and I started doing shows at another community theatre (playing illustrious roles like Stewart Little in..."Stewart Little"). In 1998 Lola Agulair, a family friend, took me and her daughter Alex to see "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at the Sacramento Music Circus. I'd heard about the Music Circus from a number of people, most notably my short-tempered director from numerous productions. The consensus was that I HAD to see a show there. Music Circus WAS (and really still IS) Sacramento theatre.
And so we went. It starred Eric Kunze and Mary Gordon Murray (who had a voice the likes of which I had never heard before)and I was AMAZED. Awed by the talent, delighted by the songs, boyishly in love with Potiphar's wife. If I didn't know it by then, this production clinched it: this was my future.
Fast forward. Double my age. And "Joseph" is back at the Music Circus. I have a degree in theatre and a somewhat impressive (for a 24-year-old recent graduate) resume. I have performed in "Joseph" and many other shows. I have a nametag (three, actually) from Music Circus. I'm on the cast list for two of their shows this summer and listed as an "Artistic Assistant" in all the programs. And I'm back at the same theatre seeing it again.
I know this show backwards and forwards but there are still some surprises. Richard Stafford's direction is whimsical and inventive and Maz Von Essen's "Close Every Door" blows Donny Osmond out of the water and is surprisingly stirring, even to someone like me who things the song is shallow and completely out of place in the show.
Still, my love affair with "Joseph" died out a long time ago. I think it's overdone, indulgent, repetitive, etc. Any "theatre person" has heard the critiques before and anybody else doesn't care. I couldn't help but wonder as I sat there, though, what happened to that bright-eyed kid who thought any professional production was flawless, any professional actor was a demigod or -goddess, and any show with upbeat pop-inspired music was a masterpiece worthy of repeated cast recording listening sessions.
I'm way smarter than I was when I was twelve. I've traveled the world, graduated twice, fallen in love, fallen out, read countless books, seen more theatre than fifty average people combined, and left things like "Joseph" (and "Phantom" and "Peter Pan" and, yes, "Rumplestiltskin") behind me. Way smarter. But happier?
Have I lost something, now that I can't sit transfixed by a sparkly musical? Analytical tendencies and overly-critical attitudes aside, I have to admit that some of the magic is gone. Now it's about creating that magic for others, others who will buy tickets and put food on my table. But to what end? Until they get smart enough not to be fooled anymore?
Not to say I don't love going to the theatre anymore. I'm going tonight. But as the overture began, the house lights went down and the gasp and hush fell over the crowd, I definitely envied the hushers and gaspers their heady anticipation. Half my life ago, I felt the same way, in the same place, with the same show. Now it takes more than colorful costumes and belted power ballads to get my heart racing.
Growing up, huh?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How can you read this? There's no pictures.

This blog is GRAY. How BORING. Here are three pictures. (Or eight, sort of. The combo image really spoke to me.) I keep meaning to use more pictures on here so this is my way of making up for it.


Things are very rarely new. They're improved (VHS --> DVD --> BluRay, which I am NOT on board with, by the way), they're reinvented (the New Beatle, for example), or they're just regurgitated ("Shrek," --> "Shrek" sequels --> "Shrek" the musical --> and on and on). BUT I think there is something my generation has come up with all on their very own. Now, before we start getting excited or proud of our clever selves, wait to see where this is going...The Facebook status.
What is the "good ol' days" equivalent of a Facebook status? I submit there was none. What exactly the Facebook status has done for us? I cannot say. But it's ours and we use it...if not well then at least thoroughly. Here are some currently showing up on my page. (Names have been eliminated to protect privacy.)

----- what the hell is going on tonight PEOPLE!!!!
This alarms me. I assume this guy is just excited for his Thursday night and wants to see what festivities his friends have prepared for him. But, really? Four exclamation points? And let's think for a minute about the use of uppercase vs. lowercase letters. I really hope someone hangs out with him; it might be dangerous not to.

----- anyone want to go to a pub and learn about Narwhals with me next Tues at 7?
Wow. Huh. Okay. Congratulations, your life is more interesting than mine.

----- the vinegar is bitter.
Sometimes ambiguity is a great way to get attention. You'll find yourself alone at home on a Friday night posting something like "and there it goes" or "but it really was a giant panther" to make people wonder what's going on and, thus, remember you exist.

----- Needs to pack....!
What really puzzles me is the punctuation here. I have personally used "...?" many times, but "....!" was a mystery to me. The elipses seem to negate the exclamation point. After much consideration I decided it denotes someone falling off a cliff, their voice trailing off, followed by a crash/thud/splat at the bottom. In which case, I don't think this girl will be packing anything any time soon.

----- 29 days til my birthday!!
You just want to cry for these people.
(By the way, mine is in ten. Days. My birthday.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The story of "A"

As the dense fog of night abated, Natalie awoke to find that someone had absconded with her stamp collection. Though she typically abstained from alcohol, Natalie had made an exception the night before. Perhaps it was the surreal hovering mist, perhaps the veritable abyss of heartbreak and self-pity she seemed to be falling into. Dominic, her only companion for the evening, had laughed as she adulterated her vodka with water, assuming the role of advocate for moral irresponsibility.
Dominick, of course, was the most plausible suspect, he having been fascinated with the aesthetic of vintage American stamps since the fateful night she shared her obsession with him. The collection aggrandized her in his eyes and he had come by more frequently ever since. But Dominick was no thief and he had fallen asleep at the kitchen table after the previous night's binging had done nothing to alleviate his headache.
Precious stamp collections and wild drinking binges were a dangerous amalgamation but there was nothing ambiguous about what had happened between Natalie and her loyal downstairs neighbor. Maybe finding the stamps would ameliorate what was destined to be a painful morning anyway, the morning she would have to break her neighbor's heart.
His Chuck Taylors were charmingly anachronistic in her sleek modern kitchen and for a moment she considered letting him sleep. Waking him now seemed analogous to a stewardess rousing a slumbering passenger only to let him know there was turbulence ahead. Maybe last night was just an anomaly and he hadn't meant what he said; maybe the turbulence was past.
Deciding she wasn't ready to antagonize the only man who was yet to let her down, she resumed her search. Maybe it had been Esther, Natalie's elderly neighbor whose antipathy for everyone in the building could quite possibly lead her to break and enter and steal a valuable collection. Natalie suspected the doorman for a moment but realized his characteristic apathy would quench any inkling toward criminal activity. No, not the doorman, though she would keep him in mind if anyone needed to arbitrate a dispute between Natalie and Esther.
Dominic looked embarrassed as he woke up, his archaic ideal of chivalry having been broached by his unsolicited sleepover. She remembered the ardor with which Dominic had assured her she deserved much more than her ex-boyfriend could offer her. She remembered how he had searched for words to articulate how he felt about her, how he tried to assuage the shock with nervous smiles and shrugs.
"Good morning." Now it was Natalie's turn to smile nervously to attenuate what she was sure was a fierce hangover and fiercer embarrassment. Then, audatiously, "There's something I have to tell you."
He looked at her with an austerity she had never seen. "Is it about your stamps? Because I threw them out the window when I realized you could never love me."

(This story brought to you by the letter A. Yes, all of the GRE words in my book that start with A. Can you find them all?)

To review...

CAPRICIOUS: changing one's mind quickly and often.
As in...The very fact that Matthew resumed studying GRE words after we all thought he had decided against graduate school demonstrates just how capricious he can be.

Let's get one thing straight: I have NOT decided to go to grad school. I can only say that there is ONE PROGRAM which really appeals to me, a program that requires the GRE for application. (This program would not require any student loans and would actually pay me to be a student so I don't consider it in the same category as the stuff I railed against in my last post.) Obviously, this is different from preparing for and applying to numerous schools, bent on getting accepted to and getting a degree from one program or another. I would be excited to go to this particular program because I think it would be good for me. And if I happen to get an advanced degree in the process, okay.

AMELIORATE: to make better; to improve
As in...Matthew looked forward to his upcoming move to Washington DC, certain that the change would ameliorate his situation.

I know, I know...Circumstances can't make you happy. In my defense, though, I am happy now in spite of some circumstances. It's not that I'm waiting to be happy again. I'm just recognizing that my situation could be better, NEEDS to be better, in fact. Much longer in Sacramento and I'll be stuck spinning my wheels and, consequently, miserable. So, eastward I go!

GREGARIOUS: outgoing, sociable
As in...Matthew, at times, has been known to be quite gregarious, but his social life has deteriorated significantly as of late.

Why does every social gathering available to me sounds so unappealing and painful? You mean I'm going to introduce myself fifty different times to fifty different people and regurgitate personal information they don't care about for an entire evening? You mean we're all going to take our shirts off and jump off a waterfall (honestly, how many opportunities to be emasculated could I possibly squeeze into one afternoon)? Does anyone think I'll give up a house to myself and a refrigerator full of string cheese for any of that? Yikes.