Today AT WORK, doing some tablework with our Midsummer Night's Dream text, going over the more obscure expressions and sayings. Active discussion about Elizabethan language, somebody mentions calling Hippolyta a stale.
Well, you can't do that, I said, since that's calling her a hussy.
Director: (very kindly) No ...I don't think so.
Nobody else thought so. And it was a room full of people who KNOW this stuff.
Really? I said. Am I nuts? Am I now making up Shakespearean meanings of words?
I just looked it up in my personal copy of the linguistically badass Shakespeare's Words by David and Ben Crystal.
WHAT'S DEFINITION No. 3, Y'ALL????????
OH!!! OH I THINK I KNEW IT!
... I can never bring this up, of course.
bus ride from TERMINAL C to TERMINAL A
Plane ride from Newark, NJ to Chicago, ORD
Blue line ride from O'Hare to Grand
Bus ride from Grand to Navy Pier
8 hours of rehearsal which I swear was supposed to be only 6
cab ride from Navy Pier to Andersonville
performance to sold-out house
cab ride from Andersonville to home
home, cat, beer, checks arrived in the mail for me.
the coherent (maybe?) thoughts:
1. Doing tonight's show seemed like an errand I had to run on my way home. Something to take care of that I'd be able to finish up by 9:30
2. Good cab drivers come in waves.
3. Tonight, stuck in Lake Shore Drive traffic as I sweated bullets (and was 45 minutes late for my call), "Sign My Name" by Terrence0 Trent D'Arby came on the radio. My middle-aged Greek cab driver turned it up, shyly. We sat in traffic, singing along quietly and tunelessly together.
4. "Sign My Name" is overplayed as much as the rest of them, but it's really not a bad song.
Grumpy pig voted China's Favorite Animal
It survived May quake, but now 'lazier by the day' and keeps door closed
BEIJING - A pig that survived 36 days buried in the rubble of May's massive Sichuan earthquake has been voted China's favorite animal, but the attention has made him fat, lazy and bad-tempered, state media said.
The hog, trapped in a sty after the 7.9 magnitude quake, was bought by a local businessman who was moved by its ordeal and named "Zhu Jianqiang," or "Strong Pig."
The pig "vividly illustrated the spirit of never giving up," the report cited the webmasters who ran the poll as saying.
People come from all over to see the pig at its new home in a museum, the newspaper said, but it was becoming increasingly spoiled and ungrateful.
"It's gotten fatter and lazier by the day," it quoted staff as saying. "We used to take it out for a walk every morning and afternoon, but it's too lazy — and too fat — to do it."
And the pig is getting fed up with visitors, after initially being quite friendly.
"Now it just blocks the door to its bedroom when there are too many visitors outside. It's been increasingly difficult for us to convince it to open the door," the report said.
this picture is more impressive if you forget for a moment that we live in a basement. Our windows are a foot or so off the ground, though. This is a lot of snow.
Today on an ill-advised but necessary venture to the grocery store, I happily yelled, "I HAVE SNOTSICLES! DO YOU?" to Brandon. Then I wondered, as I frequently do, if I should be more concerned about being at least KIND of sexy to my husband.
I love the chains and keys dangling from her dress.
The sign for them said "angel/ghost." I thought it was a horrible idea at first, so creepy and evil looking, but then I just kept coming back and now I think it's the coolest ornament ever. Who's to say what the difference is between an angel and a ghost, anyway?
I joined facebook. Back in touch with a lot of ghosts.
Me: uh. Oh. I thought I could just ... leave .... a note.
Blog: You went to FOLSOM CALIFORNIA on a BIZARRE ACTING GIG and didn't even want to blog about it? What is wrong with you?
Me: ... later?
Blog: WAS THERE or WAS THERE NOT a middle aged woman who screamed at her son to grab your breast, which happened to be covered with about 40 logoed paper napkins, and that was the one clear moment when you thought, 'well, I'm not entirely sure what my job is, exactly, but this is definitely not a part of it'?
Me: ... that happened.
Me: And then I had a boob of mauled crumpled napkins.
Blog: maybe you want to write about it?
My wonder is rivaled only by my jealousy and an awful knowledge that if I worked harder, I could look like that too.
They were everywhere.
They shared our dressing room.
When we were out on the casino floor, they smiled at us broadly and kindly as we passed each other.
Me: They even SMELL good.
Adam: (in a rush) Thank goodness you said it. I couldn't say it without being creepy.
Turns out the gig I was in California for was a casino opening.
Let me tell you a thing or two about casino openings. I've done two now, so I'm an expert.
- Poor people with serious health problems come for free food, indoor smoking, and penny slots.
- free food and a lot of booze.
- a very unsurprising amount of fender benders in the many parking lots.
So I went back to the blog I had before that and continued it, because even while I had the second blog, I kept thinking of things that pertained the the first blog but wouldn't really fit with the second blog.
Now I'm about on par with my cousin who had a blog for himself, a blog for his wedding, a blog for his rooftop garden and a myspace account for his two cats.
...And I think he added another one when his kid was born.
When I worked as a writer, I was supposed to tag my sketches with a one-liner.
But you can't always think of one-liners.
All of us writers had this problem and kept adding and adding till we eventually were writing 6-liners.
I didn't realize till later that I, at least, was trying to make up for quality with quantity.
But I'm tired, stuffy, and a little concerned that my body isn't going to hold up well to 6 plane rides, 4 climates and 5 time zone changes in a two-week span.
Just got back from 74-degree Texas last night. I'm staring at the lone "7" on my desktop temperature readout and trying to visualize a digit after it. Some digit. Any digit.
I leave for Sacramento at 7am (apparently SOMEONE still has money to hire random performance art bullshit for their holiday party, ...and that someone lives in Sacramento).
Then back to Chicago to do a show then out to Oregon to kick it with the inlaws, then back to Chicago (via NEWARK, wtf) on a REDEYE to start rehearsal that morning for a new play, the biggest play I've done in years.
So I'm splurging on a massage this afternoon and I'm not gonna feel bad about it.
Do you like things that are funny?
Do you like to help children who need help?
Come see my play. The TimeOut Chicago blog recommends it. Many do. Come see it.
Monday night at 8pm at the Neo-Futurarium Theater. It is called "That's Weird, Grandma" and it's less than an hour long, very funny, and you get a free prize at the end of the show. I won't be in it much longer, so you should see it soon. Also I have to miss rehearsal Sunday morning, so see me come forget basic things like blocking and intros this week. AND I play the piano for 4 whole stories. Amazing. Come see how truly mediocre 'incidental music' can be. But the whole thing, the whole thing is genius.
It is fun for children who are 5 and over, but mostly adults come to see our shows and leave with their faces hurting from laughing so hard.
I think you'll really enjoy it. Or, as we like to say on our marketing materials, You Will Like It.
Do you have questions? I will answer them in the comments.
Thanks a lot, Carl Finch. I read that sentence 9 years ago and haven't been able to get it out of my head since.
Brandon: why are you second guessing yourself so much lately?Me too. Why so much lately?
Me: I'm doing it more than usual?
Brandon: yeah. I wish I could get you to stop it.
Maybe I've just been thinking about that phrase lately, and it's more accusative than empowering.
Hardly anyone out there is smarter than you.
There. I curse YOU with it.
If you fail to enchant new acquaintances at networking events, book the national voiceover accounts, or blog well enough to garner a huge following, know that other people are achieving those things, and they are no smarter than you. They are just somehow doing it better.
Unfortunately it also promised to involve traveling around in this.
instead of staying home with this.
Tonight was a kind of an Agent Appreciation night.
I'm lucky to have some pretty stellar agents. They are smart and tough. Sometimes I wish they were less tough, because they can be a little spiky sometimes, and I'm sensitive. But after all, if you're going to pay somebody to go out there and be the bad guy and stick up for you, don't you want a pretty tough bad guy?
All in all, they look out for me. And I absolutely owe them an enormous slice of whatever success I can claim in this field.
A lot of people didn't show tonight. It is really nasty out.
I knew I'd be glad I went.
And I'm glad I went.
I think I might be getting better about not trying to make a joke every 5 seconds when I'm nervous.
Which also makes me a lot less obnoxious. And makes me sleep better.
Fox to adapt 9-year-old's self-help book (Reuters)LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Fox is ready to take advice from a 9-year-old.
The studio has acquired the film rights to "How to Talk to Girls," a cute 46-page self-help tome written by Alex Greven, a Colorado fourth-grader.
Greven wrote "Girls" as a handwritten, $3 pamphlet sold at his school book fair; he wrote it after he noticed his peers were having some trouble talking to the ladies, though the book is geared for all ages. Among this advice: Comb your hair and don't wear sweats; control your hyperness and cut down on sugar if necessary; a crush is like a love disease that can drive you mad; it is easy to spot pretty girls because they have big earrings, fancy dresses and all the jewelry but are like cars that need a lot of oil.
I'll just say that last phrase may be truer than you think, in ways that will surprise you greatly.
Why do I always talk about you when I get drunk?
Why do you taunt me with possibilities of wild blogging success, development of writing skills, and the admiration of my peers?
Oh my blog.
You are a harsh mistress.
Everyone hates it.
Except, apparently, my cousin Ricky.
Whose bio we stumbled on last night at a place on the South Side where Brandon was playing.
Angela (teacher AND DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMMING) - 3/4 page bio.
Ricky (teacher) - two pages.
I ridicule him lovingly.
If you bother to read his bio (beyond where he calls himself a "discriminating actor") you'll see a very impressive list of grants, publications, and productions. He's an amazing guy, as illustrated by the fact that you can stumble across some community center you didn't even know existed and learn that your friend works and teaches there (along with a dozen other places like it).
And, given the ridiculous length of that bio, although he sounds totally pompous, he does NOT seem inexperienced.
I have to write mine soon. In fact, it was due a few weeks ago (cough). Standard length in a program is about one paragraph, though it's always hard to know how big the paragraph should be.
Instead of the awake, logical mind groggily waking up, putting on its glasses, and pointing out that no, we are not walking from Kentucky to Chicago so you'll make it to the workshop on time, it has to admit that the awkward and dumb thing DID in fact happen.
All my logical mind can come up with to comfort me is to tell me that it's done now, nothing to do about changing it (you complete moron), go back to the sleep you don't really deserve if you're going to say such stupid things to people.
I lie awake more, cursing my awkwardness, then dream more about not having the right light bulbs to replace the ones I've burned out in my aunt's house.
Blog: YOU'RE GOING.
Me: I don't know.
Blog: YOU GOT INVITED to a big recording studio's holiday party. You want to work at this studio more. You want to know more producers. There will be producers there. And free alcohol. YOU ARE GOING.
Me: I'm going to try to impress people I don't know and end up sounding like a total ass. With a bad voice. A bad voice ass.
Blog: Sounding like an ass is also known as networking.
Me: I don't think this is a good idea.
Blog: There will be cute rock and roll boys from all the bands that record there.
Blog: Who you cannot hit on because you are married.
Blog: You're going.
Me: ... bad voice ass ...
I was invited to be part of a workshop on Saturday led by a fancypants international director WITH HIS OWN WIKIPEDIA ENTRY, LULU BULLSHIT TOWNSEND.
A little background on him - via wikipedia of course. This guy is
an English theatre and opera director, with a reputation for breathing new life into familiar stories.And he's in town with this show:
a multi-lingual production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in India. Although Shakespeare's English remains in key passages, the actors deliver much of the text in their own languages — a mix of seven from India and Sri Lanka (Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi, Sanskrit, Sinhalese). Supple created "a sexy, kinetic production with a circus-like atmosphere" using an "obstacle-course set ... of bamboo scaffolding and ladders, swaths of red fabric and ropes that the agile cast ascend and descend with little regard to anything as prosaic as gravity." The experimental interpretation was considered by some to be the best Midsummer Night's Dream to play at the RSC (Swan Theatre, Stratford).I saw that Midsummer last week.
I hated it.
I even thought the staging was lousy! Extraneous prop setups that detracted from the story, some straight up BAD ACTING here and there - look, I looooooove spectacle and acrobatics, but they should SERVE THE STORY, or else you're just doing a stage version of a Hollywood blockbuster. And the mechanicals? Dude. So many great jokes, just completely skimmed over.
I'll stop now. I specifically try never to critique theater in this blog. Of course there were good parts (the end was just beautiful) and some great performances, but after you read that paragraph, don't you expect to have your mind Sri-Lanka-blown? I did. It was not. Well, it was blown the other way.
And on Saturday I'll get to meet him and work with him - which I still think is pretty incredible. And in the grand tradition of love-the-artist-not-the-art, I sort of expect to like him a LOT.
I hope he doesn't think I suck as much as I thought his show sucked.
Oo!! oooooo! Did you see that he did this??
he directed Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench in Coriolanus.Oh man.
How did he handle the scene where King Coriolanus talks to his spirit guide, an EAR OF CORN? I wanna know.
This is what I always get called in for:
Example: Janeane Garofalo. PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR STRONG IMPROV-BASED ACTRESSES WHO CAN BRING MORE TO THE CHARACTER THAN WHAT IS WRITTEN ON THE PAGE! PEOPLE WHO CAN BRING THESE INANIMATE OBJECTS TO LIFE!
Our script sucks and we know it! Get people who will make it sound better than it really is!
I prefer this to the alternative, which is:
WHAT WE WROTE IS GOLD, SOLID GOLD, and if it sounds pathetic and completely lame, it's just your fault for not channeling the pure genius of our words.
"Do you want to know why I like Carmen Electra? I'll tell you why right now."I suppose you could say that an arched-back pose with lace-up jean-shorts hotpants is kind of awesomely campy. Especially if Joe is right and she KNOWS how hilarious this is. I got to play Bianca in Taming of the Shrew twice. Bianca is - okay, CAN BE PLAYED AS - a total hot twit [who turns into a mouthy drunk at her own wedding]. I don't get cast in those parts very often, but when I was playing Bianca, I struck a lot of these poses:
(pauses for effect and to raise a finger in a very didactic pose)
"She did Taco Bell commercials. THAT's why. She knows what a campy celebrity she is and she just GOES with it."
She must have had a spit bag the size of Idaho when she did those Bell commercials.
...Furthermore, after some research that really PROVES how I have too much free time, she does Taco Bell commercials with a freaking WIND MACHINE on her the entire time.
More and more I'm learning about embracing who you are and not apologizing for it.
Especially when that includes lace-up jean-shorts hot pants.
I'm going to be honest, Dean's blog is pretty weird and this is the most coherent post he's possibly ever written. But he is a hell of a photographer (among other things) and did a fascinating job of imagining his life in snapshots in strange towns half a world away.
Anyway, here's what he has to say about his reflections on several months' worth of international performance, travel, and exploration:
I could rattle off self righteous rules about the world that I feel I've discovered, only to, weeks later, regret sharing them as I once again realize how naive I was.Good call, Dean.
Discoveries as such are best kept to oneself. Especially ones that contain words like "Should" or "Try" or "Always".
And I particularly enjoyed this imagined life:
The ghost of Christmas future showed me this. Notice how much money I'm making.
Then I saw the tag that came with it:
Oh, seriously. Who the hell is Lulu Townsend.
I hope to work with you soon!! I'm sure we'll have something coming up.I love her.
You're my fav VO in town.
Let's go buy some shoes.
Say what you will about 2008, but this is the year the U.S. elected a black man president and this also happened:
JAPANESE SCHOOLGIRL SIGNS PRO BASEBALL CONTRACT
A 16-year-old Japanese girl signed with a regional baseball team Tuesday, becoming the country's first female professional baseball player.
Eri Yoshida, a knuckleball pitcher, will play for the Kobe 9 Cruise in a new independent league starting in April 2009. The team selected her last month along with 31 male players in the league draft.
Now I see the importance of embracing your success. Yes, she's playing for a farm team. But you know who else started out playing for farm teams? A LOT OF FREAKING GREAT PLAYERS, that's who.
"I still don't feel like I've really become a pro baseball player, but I want to do my best," Yoshida said at a news conference after signing her contract.
Congratulations, Miss Yoshida.
Success is not always the same thing as happiness.Sure, it's oversimplifying, and sure I still have a lot of questions left over. How genuine is that happiness, for example, and how do you master the art of not caring what other people think (hint: don't check your blog's SiteMeter obsessively).
Happiness is always success.
Everything else is just worrying about what people will think of you. And you could always use more money.
Last night I hung out with my friend, who is the happiest she's ever been now that she's a stay-at-home mom and waitress. Far happier than when she was doing back to back productions at Steppenwolf and world premiere musicals. She's dreading her college reunion and explaining to people why she's chosen this life instead of the other.
I say courage and following her heart. Here's to it.
I'll start up a new blogspot soon enough. If you have any ideas for future themes, lemme know. And really really and truly truly, thanks for reading.
Today, for my audition for a project with Patrick Swayze, my total lines are:
"You look stressed."and
"You're not, are you?"**note - these are separate scenes.
I hope they're impressed that I'm already memorized.
My whinging from that post:
The point of the program is that it's a supportive place for kids who probably don't have many supportive places. A positive place, a place where every idea is a good idea and you can express yourself any way. Kicking someone out is practically an anathema to the entire mission statement.I'm not teaching the afterschool program this year. Different structure, different teachers (read: stronger teachers than me).
But she's back. That student. I talked to one of my friends who is teaching her this year.
Friend: So you had her last year?My friend later said, "I don't have the tools to make her better," and if WE, Barrel of Monkeys don't have those tools, if SHE, badass teacher, doesn't have those tools, I don't know who does.
Me: Yeah. I spent a lot of time with her and went to bat for her a lot. Honestly, I'm surprised we let her back into the program.
Friend: Was she hitting people last year?
Me: ... no.
It makes me blue.
On the upside. First day teaching another residency today. You know what's awesome? Fourth graders. They are awesome.
Kid: You country?
Me: Um, a little bit?
- 1987 Demon Rumm
- 1988 Slow Heat in Heaven
- 1988 Tidings of Great Joy
- 1988 Hawk O'Toole's Hostage
- 1989 Best Kept Secrets
- 1989 Long Time Coming
- 1989 Temperatures Rising
A short selection of novels by New York Times Bestselling Author Sandra Brown.
Sandra Brown, in case you haven't seen her billboards, is one of those mass market authors whose name is always in a font eight times larger than the title of the book. A very commercially successful author - no easy feat.
Does Sandra Brown, anywhere in her heart, give a shit that, as far as the literary world is concerned, she writes nothing but dreck? Does she meet Ann Patchett and Audrey Niffenger at publishing functions and wonder if they're secretly making fun of her? Does she sink into periods where she loathes every book she wrote with "silk" or "whispers" somewhere in the title?
Or does she just cash her checks, pose for the publicity shots, pour a martini and flip off the New York Times Book Review?
My voice-over career is going pretty well. Not full-time income level JUST yet, but it's growing. I feel proud and optimistic. Stage career, not so much.
Am I going to end up a Sandra Brown of Chicago Actors? Would I be okay with that, if I did?
A few months ago I wrote about how my friend Tutaj, after losing an award to a puppet, posited that a good mark of success is earning the respect of people whose work you admire.
Well. One of Larissa's favorite/formative/influential authors, Kelly Link, found a YouTubey music video Larissa made, posted it on HER blog, and loved it for all the world to see.
Larissa. That's boss.
You know what else is boss? The music video. Um, especially at 3:21.
Now somebody tell me if I'm right in picking Jacksonville over Pittsburgh.
Me: (over email) I'm only slightly terrified. Did I mention I've never changed I diaper before?I've been trying to think of how to prepare for this. My best plan is to brush my teeth, floss, and gargle. The baby will surely hate me less if I have fresh breath.
Kate: Dude, I hear you, I had never held a baby before Delia was born. Seriously.
THIS IS A GOOD PLAN.
WINNER: Worst breakfast in AmericaOh, MSNBC, MSNBC, MSNBC.
Bob Evans Stacked and Stuffed Caramel Banana Pecan Hotcakes
1,543 calories 77 g fat (26 g saturated; 9 g trans) 2,259 mg sodium 198 g carbs 109 g sugars
...You say "worst?"
I say "just read the name of it again please, this time so I can close my eyes and imagine the thick caramel and sweet pecans in my mouth even MORE vividly." Worst. Worst phooey. The worst thing about this right here is that they won't serve it after 11am.
Our costumes will continue to be used for years to come. I'm glad. They're comfy and cool.
Brandon really took me to task on why I worked so hard for so little on what was essentially a vanity project. A birthday party for a billionaire.
He is playing a lot of covers with his band lately, some songs he hates. But the practice is good.
Experience is always good, as long as you make sure you're always learning. Don't you think?
Besides, you never know when you're going to have an opportunity to be influenced by something that takes your entire aesthetic to a new level.
Towards the end, they even stepped up the dressing selection with these tasty selections from Kraft. See that Balsamic Vinaigrette in the back? I reached for that one and was stopped cold.
Catering Lady: Uh uh. Those is special.The Eagles were indeed the "surprise headliners" for the party. They started off their set with Hotel California. I wonder if they did that so people would know who they were. The Eagles, playing for their target audience, hedging their bets just to get recognized.
Me: I'm sorry?
Catering Lady: They special. Special dressing.
Me: (looking confused)
Other people in line: (looking confused)
Catering Lady: Special dressing, for special people.
I got 27 results, ranked in order of accordance with my professed beliefs.
Match #1 is definitely high on the random scale... but not a shocker.
1. Liberal Quakers (100%)I was a little disappointed in #2, which my friends who were raised in this faith have alternately called "The Church of Tori Amos" and "The Church of Backrubs."
2. Unitarian Universalism (94%)Some matches were just embarrassing.
And I don't care what you say, they made this one up.
18. New Thought (54%)
So we stood there, a circle of five or six, sharing two challah rolls and a bottle of Nantucket Nectars grape juice as Rachel told us to forget about work, forget about the week, and to just be present, be there, and be grateful. As always happens when I'm around any aspect of Judaism, I was amazed by how calming, how grounding and peaceful the moment was.
I don't know how I can say this without possibly coming off as glib, or flip, or insincere, but if I could pick a religion to be born into, it would hands-down be Judaism.
My religion (pick-a-flavor Southern Christian Protestant) is like a name I just don't like. I've lived with it, given it plenty of chances, tried variations of it, studied it, tried to wait out the feeling that it just isn't right ... and you know what? It just isn't right. But it's such a part of my identity. Like a name. You hear yours and instantly think, that's me; you see it on a list and think, oh, there I am. It's you, you're it.
In related self-obsessed musings, I have legally changed my last name to Brandon's. No more Coil. And it's strange how soon my new name feels so comfortable and right.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama said lawmakers will eventually agree on a bailout plan but said that there needs to be a "sense of urgency for everybody."
someone random from another company shows up, messes with what you're doing, then calls attention to how you did it wrong.
you find yourself in pain and panic due to uninformed decisions by management.
Work is work. Sometimes you're wearing a candelabra hat and sometimes you're wearing a powersuit.
Now, just to make it worse, imagine that those are fully grown dogs meeting their end at the chubby hands of a horrible monster.
But back to the more sublime:
A pristine white school gymnasium ceiling lit up magnificently in a dark and sleeping neighborhood.
The shaggy, gray-haired drunk walking past the Philadelphia Church who paused in the middle of the sidewalk, spread his legs and raised his arms in a batter's stance, and waited for an imaginary pitch. It came and he hit it, then stood and watched it soar as I whirred past. The unseen witness.
I think all these things are just as present all day long in a city - they just fling themselves at you all at once, all the time. At night they slow down. You can stop and look and marvel at each one as it slowly passes you, or you slowly pass it. Depending on if you're the one on the bike.
12:02-1:02. I see wondrous sights on the dark streets of Chicago. Most of them are: people sitting on the curb with their legs in the street, waiting for night owl buses, people sitting on the curb and staring at the building across the street, very very drunk, and finally the big half moon rising in the east.
Oh, and also, one man shitting himself outside Carol's. If you know Carol's, this will not come as much of a surprise. I was mostly surprised by the sound it made.
1:02. I get home and drink a beer as I shower. I do not shit myself.
2:00. I go to bed. (also not shitting myself)
7:00. Alarm 1 goes off. I listen only for news of Barack Obama doing something great or Sarah Palin disgracing herself further.
7:30. Alarm 2 (the one I said I'd get up at). Brandon actually gets up and I get a second pillow.
8:00. Brandon is genuinely distressed that I'm not up yet. Brandon was a stage manager. Brandon likes to be on time. Unfortunately this also means he likes me to get up on time.
8:10. I get up, mostly because Brandon has moved my legs to the floor.
8:20. I am ready to go, 10 minutes early, and explain to Brandon why he should have let me sleep this 10 minutes. He is unimpressed.
8:30. We get on the train. I teach him a really ridiculous chant. That's right, a chant. About apartments. We say "yay" and "green design yay" to a specific beat.
9:30. We get to the Merchandise Mart and find a bunch of people from the theater company grouping outside. We all go in and take the elevator to an empty office on the 7th floor, where we rehearse this same chant with 3 drummers. Brandon thinks one of them is the drummer from Califone, a band he really likes and has been listening to nonstop lately. He doesn't say anything though. I try to stay awake.
10: 30. We get into our brand new Steampunk costumes. Don't worry, I'll have pictures very soon. We smear on a little whiteface. I lie down on the ground and try to sleep, then have to get up so the crew can tie three white balloons tied to both my wrists. We rehearse the chant with the drummers several more times. The drummers are great. The other people in the room are our friends. It's fun. Tired tired fun.
11:00. We ride the elevator downstairs, and with the drummers playing, all 8 or 9 of us walk fluidly, elegantly, and with an anticipitory air through a crowd of realtors who have shown up for a late breakfast/brunch at an otherwise closed restaurant. We ring bells and hold balloons and try to look very artsy. I try not to stare at the platters of salmon, which look great. Why the hell didn't anyone eat the salmon? I want that salmon. Shit! Walk artsy! WALK ARTSY!
We lead the procession across the street to the site of a groundbreaking for a new downtown apartment. We say our chant with the drums about green design and yay.
We walk back across the street and get back in the elevators and change back into our clothes. This will pay 25% of our mortgage for the month.
2:00. I have a voice-over audition. It is ridiculously terrible. Seriously, seriously. Who drinks MGD64? John Cleese: American light beer is like having sex in a canoe: it's fucking close to water. But, it's kind of fun being as cheesy as they want me to be. My agent is too busy to talk to me. She is brusque and dismissive. It's neither personal nor pleasant.
4:00. Nap with purring cat.
5:00. Phone call to confirm voiceover session tomorrow with Sue Scott from A Prairie Home Companion.
7:00. Rehearsal. My friend Jesse and I use bicycle gears to power a steel and plywood cart that carries 3 full drum sets and 4 slightly paunchy amd exceptionally talented drummers over a gravel floor. In the middle of a particularly difficult turn, I wonder if women can get hernias. Repeat for the next 5 hours with minor variations.
11:42. Released from rehearsal.
I love my job, my friends, and this glass of port.
I am very tired. Unfortunately I'm also wound up after 5 hours of very physical rehearsal.
I knew this week would be hard. I love it, though. I love it.
I only have 2 months left on this blog, and while I'm feeling lacking in humor and overflowing with fatigue, I gotta say, this day felt great.
Also, I have gone yet another 24 hours without shitting myself, and that can't be anything BUT successful.
2. I think FANCY MULTIMILLIONDOLLAR THEATER COMPANY is going to break up with me instead of asking me to be its ladyfriend. They told me I didn:t need to come in for a callback, then they told me I did.
And so I did.
It didn:t go that great.
I forget how absolutely, how stupidly, you LIVE OR DIE by one person:s opinion when you:re auditioning.
Did she smile? Did she laugh? Was it a pity laugh or was it real? What did she mean when she said, *how did that feel?* She didn:t look up when I left. What does that mean? When she said *thanks Lacy* was the underlying tone more *I am so disappointed in you Lacy* or more *that was terrible but you are unfortunately still my best option at this point Lacy*?
And why, exactly, do I want this low-paying job again, remounting a cash cow production for rich north shore high school kids? I confuse me.
One of the reasons I was excited to take on this [grueling and exhausting] project is because I knew I'd be working with some freaking amazing artists.
Over the past year I decided that I want to be able to separate myself from my job. I want to have an outside life and things to talk about BESIDES theater and acting.
But these people I admire so much... they don't separate themselves. They live breathe eat and sleep their work, and as a result, that work is incredible.
Maybe I need to rethink this?
Maybe this is just the tradeoff? Balanced person or brilliant artist?
Ron Santo used to play for the Cubs. Ron Santo loves the Cubs. Ron Santo's emotional connection to the Cubs often renders him incapable of forming coherent sentences, speaking, or at times, doing anything other than plaintively wailing while his cohost attempts to drown him out with statistics and interesting tidbits about Wrigley Field.
I love Ron Santo.
Today the pitcher made a really dumb move as they Cubs were losing, 2-6, in the top of the 9th.
Pat Hughes: (calls the play with slight alarm and surprise in his voice)
Ron Santo: What!?!?!
Pat Hughes: (explains the dumb play to those of us listening at home)
Crowd: (booes furiously
Ron Santo: What?!?! NO! No!
Pat Hughes: (tells us the name of next batter up to hit)
Ron Santo: NO!!! NO! WHY would you ...? WHY would you DO ...?
Pat Hughes: (tells us what the first pitch was, and if the batter swung or not)
Ron Santo: WHY?????? WHYYYY????????
Sometimes I wonder if the engineer has an easily accessible mute switch on Ron Santo's mic.
Moments later, get this, BOTTOM OF THE 9TH, Cubs have 2 outs and I am about to switch the station in disgust when they SCORE 4 POINTS ON THEIR LAST OUT to tie the game! What!?!? What?
Ron Santo: (howls of unabashed glee)
What the hell is this, and why do I think it's utterly hilarious at 2 in the morning after 5 hours of powering a 900-lb. cart in a bizarre performance art THING on the South Side wherein, no joking, 2 aerial artists gracefully hump on a ladder 30 feet in the air?
Why did I spend 2 hours carrying a bronzed rat on my shoulders tonight, after giving up on carrying the alligator and the ostrich?
What is this thing? Why do I love it?
Diary: It is entitled "A discussion with Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the United States Federal Reserve."
Me: Oh diary, there is so much I don't understand.
Diary: I know.
Me: How do you know?
Diary: I'm a magician, Lacy.
But it's important, right? This is important.
And it's done.
So now go audition for a really bad commercial.
I like to wait 24 hours and reread before I send important emails.
My aunt is sort of a shut-in. With no friends other than my grandmother, who she's lived with her whole life. [imagine a long period of me writing, then deleting, then writing, then deleting. For about 20 minutes] UGH.
I wish I could explain away racism. From someone I love. But I can't. Because at the end of the day, it's dumb. It's just plain dumb. And if you live in the US, and ESPECIALLY if you own a computer, I just can't accept the argument of ignorance. Maybe this makes me intolerant and bigoted. Shit. This is really upsetting me.
MY AUNT HAS NEVER SAID ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE.
So here's what I am thinking may be my response.
As far as what you said about the garage sale... it really made me feel sad when you said you had mixed feelings about having a garage sale because so many Mexicans come. As you know, many of my friends and coworkers are Latino, some even specifically from Mexican families. It really upsets me that you feel this way. I don't believe that 'Mexicans are criminals' any more than I believe that 'men are smarter than women,' or that 'Southerners are lazy and stupid' - also things I've heard plenty of. I feel very strongly that racist statements like these are not only absolutely wrong, but also hurtful, degrading, and most of all, unchristian.Me: What would you do?
Obviously you have a right to whatever opinions or beliefs you hold. And obviously I love you very, very, very much and you mean the world to me, and I love getting your emails. However, I do not share this particular opinion. I would really appreciate it if you didn't bring it up around me anymore. I hope you respect that, and that it's okay with you.
Brandon: I don't know... my family just isn't LIKE that.
Me: I know. Your family is loving and accepting and liberal and amazing - which I hope this makes you totally appreciate - but if you were in my shoes, what would you say?
Brandon: I don't know. (pause) How much are you really going to change her mind?
Oh FUCK. I sent it accidentally. So used to hitting 'send' instead of 'save as draft.'
Her response. If you're following along.
I am very very sorry about that I feel the same way you do I work with some wonderful people here and we have new neighbors and they are nice people but that is what I keep hearing from your Mom in every e-mail I get about the sale I do agree with you and I will never repeat what is told to me just my own opinion.
Have you talked to your Mom and has she said anything about Mimi having a [garage] sale because she sure doesn’t want us too and I really have mixed feelings about having one because so many Mexicans come and sure don’t want people to know just 2 women live thereDo you just let it go?
Do you gently explain that's RACIST AND JUST STUPID AND HOW CAN YOU --?!
Do you SORT OF PLAYFULLY suggest she go ahead with a whites-only garage sale?
When my grandfather says such things (personal favorite: "You know... I do think the pickaninnies are awfully cute") ...I can nod and know he'll die before too long, and his beliefs will die with him, and all that will be left of him on earth is me, and I have a very different view and am slowly pushing the world in a different direction.
It feels different with my aunt somehow. Maybe because she's younger ? I don't know.
How do you deal with this?
An actor gets a big audition. The kind of opportunity that calls your bluff on all your dreams and ambitions.
And then that actor, who would normally die for just the chance, seems not to have even prepared for the audition. They barely even show up. As if they just forfeited the game.
Dreams coming true are terrifying. Realizing that you might have the chance to MAKE your dream come true, and find that your best just isn't good enough, that is probably terrifying too.
But I wonder how much you would realize that as you were in the middle of it.
She talked about this Italian director, Romeo Castalucci, whose work she absolutely loved. She described his work, and in response, I tried not to react like a midwestern housewife with serious opinions on performance art and downhome american decency.
I looked it up on YouTube. I'd say it's exactly as she described it, except that each little clip apparently happens live and goes on for about 10 minutes.
Oh, and look out. There are naked boobs if you're still watching, like, 2 minutes into this. Which you may or may not be. Especially now that I've told you.
Is this interesting to you? Would you go see this? Or does this just fall into the category of TOO FREAKING ARTSY (which I consider a valid category, probably a subset of TOO SELF-INDULGENT)?
To me, the images are totally unforgettable and arresting, and it's a definitely a new way of thinking about live theater. But ...I'm not sure I LIKE it. Or maybe I'm more conservative at heart than I realize. If you actually watched the thing and you feel like it, I'd really love to read any comments about it.
Are you serious?
From the MSNBC article:
- Time Magazine named "Infinite Jest" in its issue of the "100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005."
- Wallace received a "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation in 1997.
- Wallace's short fiction was published in Esquire, GQ, Harper's, The New Yorker and the Paris Review.
I've never had such a knee-jerk reaction of impatient disgust with a suicide before - WHICH I AM QUELLING, don't worry, I am now feeling just horrible for this poor idiot, who had the accolades, skill, and success that a thousand writers would kill for. Just ...not themselves.
But quit pussing out and picking multiple horse trailer players of the game. For real.
Man up and pick one dude already.
Mad congrats to my friends whose Wendy's commercials are running nonstop during all games. I'm like, dude! That's Paul! And that guy who used to date that girl I used to work with and sometimes I see him at auditions and we're like, hey, this is awkward!
(update: oh, no, it's not that guy, it's another guy who LOOKS like that guy, but I sort of know that guy too and his current storefront production of Glass Menagerie got a great review, so that guy must be on fire right now! Way to go, that guy!)
Well. You should notice how expensive groceries are, and with a heavy heart switch to margarine, but also, YOU SHOULD MAKE SOUPS.
- You should make this badass minestrone and discover kale for the first time in your life. Holy shit you guys! KALE IS DELICIOUS!
- You should make this Indian Spiced Carrot soup with Ginger, then try not to snort it directly up your nose because you want it all, bad, NOW.
- You should make this French Red Onion Soup, but don't buy that kind of cheese because the cheese they recommend COSTS MORE THAN QUADRUPLING THE RECIPE. You SHOULD possibly quadruple the recipe, though, because that shit is TASTY. Also, it calls for 1/2 cup of red wine. What should you do with the rest of the bottle?
I've had bit parts in a major tv show and a major feature film. I've had principal roles in major national ad campaigns. But I've never, never been a main character on a real shoot. I've never acted out a full story. With a character other than "Tampax Girl."
So today I got that.
By 4:00 two things had happened:
which actually got even worse.
Finally we couldn't keep the generator dry to power the lights outside that we needed to stream through the window in the bedroom where we were shooting.
AND the basement of the house where we were shooting was straight up flooded.
So, although no one - cast, crew, creatives - had ever experienced this before, the entire 2-day shoot got cancelled.
Hopefully, to be resumed at a later and undetermined date. But nearly everyone was volunteering their time, which means everyone has to find a time when they have nothing better to do. The production coordinator fought tears as she made the announcement over the walkie. Everyone had done so much work. This was a real freaking production: art department, gaffers, grips, DP - the full works.
Everyone gave up and went home.
I'm home now.
I guess I'm going to go watch Law & Order and have a cocktail.
Okay ANOTHER cocktail, sheesh, back off.
All we know is that:
- holy fuck, this party costs MILLIONS OF DOLLARS
- past Big Acts have included Paul Simon, Elton John, Bette Midler.
Until it came out in the Sun Times today. Oops. Leaked.
In the next 2 weeks, we'll be filling this space (about a fourth of it pictured here)
with objects like this
and figuring out cool ways to play with/on/around them, with dozens of other artists making things like this
and tricking out the stage with handcut and laboriously painted woodwork to look like this
and I'm fairly sure this is just the beginning, because I've seen pieces of a 50-foot papier-mache tree under tarps outside.
A few years ago, the Reader did an article on this party (it happens every 2 years) as lavish and wasteful. I like to think of it as working for the Medici family. We get paid well, and given a pretty damn free rein to create whatever we think is cool.
I found out today, my friends got much, much further into the process than I'd realized. In fact, turns out that the final round of auditioners were nearly all people I know and work with. They had actually offered a contract to this friend/colleague I mentioned a few months ago... for two years in China.
She declined. Two years half a world away from her family and fiance for a show she doesn't even really like that much anyway. I was, am, impressed as hell at her skill and her conviction.
At our meeting in May, she told me that I was a very funny, cerebral performer, but not very immediate or instinctive. Brains over heart, in other words.
That isn't a BAD thing to be, of course. But being around her and other heart-over-brains performers makes me wish I could be both.
Maybe with enough work I can be?
Maybe I should embrace who I am and be the best me I can be?
Someone point me to the right junior high motivational poster, fer crying out loud in a bucket.
I made HIM laugh!
That guy who makes everyone ELSE laugh!
Ohhhhh, that felt really nice.
That's one that I can honestly say, callback or no, job or no, that was a really great audition and I'm so glad it was part of my life.
I certainly know how to spend an hour and $5, and that's in a cheap bar with a glass of cheap beer. The place was empty except for the bartender, another dude and me when Ronnie Woo Woo walked in.
Bartender: (shooting him a look) YOU. Don't talk to me.Everyone knows: The Cubs are in first place. However, their playing taken a sharp dive lately.
Ronnie Woo Woo: What place they in?
Bartender: I don't want to talk about it.Hell if I know how we got onto this, but as Ronnie got up to leave, he turned to me and started talking to me about the importance of being nice. "Don't cost nothing to be nice," he kept saying. "You just got to have fun, and if you can make people smile, that's all you gotta do." I listened to him talk for a while about being nice, and having fun, and making other people smile. In a way that probably should have felt hedonistic or trite, but really just reminded me to be nice, and listen to strangers.
Ronnie Woo Woo: What place they in?
Bartender: You want your cranberry juice?
Ronnie told me I brightened his day, and then he gave me a t-shirt. I took a high-quality, journalistic style cell phone picture of us. I told him he brightened mine too.
On his way out:
Other Dude at Bar: Hey, who's pitching tonight?
Ronnie Woo Woo: Ronnie Woo Woo!
- a director specifically TELLS YOU to do something in a scene
- and so you do it
- and then that director somehow miraculously forgets that they not only sanctioned, but in fact ORDERED this choice
- and then calls you out in front of the rest of your cast and, sometimes, production crew. At times asking you, point-blank, why you made such a lame choice onstage.
- gently rebut with, 'Because YOU TOLD ME TO, ASS HAT,' thereby pissing off the director, looking like a defensive ass hat yourself, and keeping everyone else there while you argue with your director in an ass hat-off
- nod/shrug, utterly mystified by the bad choice you independently made, and agree with the director that you should REALLY do something else.
It is so infuriating and humiliating. But you have to suck it up.
It is good for your humility.
I have worked with some directors who will say things like, 'that was exactly what I asked you to do, and it was horrible. That was a bad idea. Let's figure out something else.'
I love those directors. They are great.
Turkey Vulture 1: Hey. HEY. YOU. LACY. Look at this cool thing I'm doing.
Turkey Vulture 2: WEEEE're doing. I'm doing it too. WE'RE BOTH DOING THIS COOL THING. AT THE SAME TIME.
Turkey Vulture 1: It's a visual gift from Wisconsin. Take it and don't get cranky during the week when you have 9 hours of rehearsal and two fruitless meetings in one day.
Wisconsin gets my award for Best Midwestern State. Because, in no particular order,
- cheese curds
- cheese curds
- the Packers
- eating cheese curds while camping and/or watching the Packers.
Sunday they woke up to a crisp fall morning and the owner of the company outside on the patio, bundled up and scrambling around 2 dozen eggs next to a firepit. A ton of friends and family showed up to eat brunch, drink beer, throw a football around and watch the Packers. Apparently it was a weekly ritual.
Since Brandon told me about this, YEARS ago, this has been my dream.
Okay, a dream.
Maybe I have a few dreams. Like owning a late 80s Jeep Grand Wagoneer with simulated wood paneling. BUT this one is seriously up there.
Because, in no particular order,
- scrambled eggs
- I imagine that there are cheese curds in this equation somewhere.
Since I've been back - well, it's now 24.
Eesh. (invisible yank on shirt collar)
So, this blog must be getting worse.
I thought about asking my friend who's getting her masters in writing to litcrit my blog, but come on. I mean. It seems a little self serving, right? Well, at least I'm not passively aggressively asking her to by posting this.
JOKING! Rachel! JOKINGGGG!!!!! if you have any suggestions that's totally cool BUT I WAS JOOOKIINNNGGGG!!!!!! anyone else too, seriously, I don't want to suck
I'll be getting busier, so hopefully my quality level will improve.
For those of you still reading, I very meekly thank you.
I never listen to podcasts. Do you? Can you recommend any?
Any recommendations AND/oR thoughts on what makes a podcast successful/not successful would be very appreciated.
It was like suddenly living with unicorns. I put their calls through with glee and reverence.
They seemed so incredibly successful - so it totally shocked me when I was chatting with one of them and she mentioned how she really needed to find a day job. Record scratch! What!? My hero needed a day job. It was the first time I really GOT how there's no career ladder in this field, it's a career Krazy Straw. This girl was an established freaking professional, and was still stressing over paying rent the same way I was. It took some pressure off, to be honest, but it was also pretty depressing.
Flash forward a few years.
She did some more shows.
She stopped needing a day job.
One of her shows went to New York and did really well.
I saw her last night and was excited she was back in town. She was GLOWING as she sheepishly mentioned she was heading back to New York. Yes, for work. Yes, she's excited about it. Yes, it's a good show. Um, she's going to be in August: Osage County. On Broadway.
My hero, the unicorn.
I love all kinds of acting work, all the kinds of jobs, no matter how silly or ridiculous.
I hate trade shows.
I hate them hate them hate them. Working them. I hate it.
I also need to take every job I can get.
I also don't believe in having a job that makes you miserable.
Hoping for a spontaneous bloody nose or maybe a building fire.
It's also just for 3 days.
It's also not the GREATEST pay.
It's also more pay than I'd be making otherwise.
And every day can't be wacky comedic bits and Shakespearean verse. Sometimes you have to do the dirty work.
He talked about the last time Warren Zevon was on Late Night, shortly before he died of cancer in 2003. They were in the dressing room after the show. Chatting.
Warren Zevon. Was dropped from his record labels again and again and again as critically acclaimed albums were commercial failures.
"Here's a guy who had months to live and we're making small talk. And as we're talking, he's taking his guitar strap and hooking it, wrapping it around, then he puts the guitar into the case and he flips the snaps on the case and says, `Here, I want you to have this, take good care of it.' And I just started sobbing."He was giving me the guitar that he always used on the show. I felt like, `I can't be in this movie, I didn't get my lines.' That was very tough," Letterman said.
Yet he kept making more and more amazing music.
And had such amazing friends.
And did not seem to be a douche.
How did he not get discouraged and turn into a bitter ass?
I get so discouraged sometimes. How do I not turn into a bitter ass?
Unless you are like me and looooove raccoons, you can ditch out after about 35 seconds.
that thing is f'ing huge.
and it is AFTER the muffin tin.
weddings = fun
new goal = ease up on the whole 'insisting on telling really boring stories about myself' thing when drunk.
strapless dresses = no, Lacy. No.
My friend Rachel was talking about how, in L.A., it's very hard to get people to go out. That almost every social outing is with other industry people and therefore industry-related, and because of that, it's stressful and draining - so people just tend to stay home in their highrise apartment caves.
Cripes, that makes PERFECT sense to me. After a day of Sisyphean careerbuilding, do you really want to spend your off time being reminded of hills and boulders?
Going out is good for you.
I have to remember this.
Going out is good for you.
Staying out is good for you.
Having to talk to other people who scare you even though they are your friends is good for you.
No turning into a grownup home schooler.
Is it just me, or does Tony Perkins look perhaps a little... pleasantly distracted by this news?
Perhaps he's looking off into the distance, thinking of ...LOTS AND LOTS OF ABSTINENCE.
Sweet, sweet, 17-year-old abstinence.
YES. That is it.
Tony, what are you doing with that pen?