8.25.2009

my father-in-law



THREE GRIZZLIES?

ARE YOU DEAD?

related,
ARE YOU CRAZY??

Father-in-law, GET OUT OF THERE!



Oh my goodness.

I already waited too long.

Sometimes I think the thing to be dreaded more than dying is outliving everyone and everything, including 75% of your body.

Burying your spouse is one thing; burying all your close friends, one by one, is another. My grandmother was telling me last week that it was just her and a woman I'd always called Turtle Lady left at the church - out of their group of friends who joined in their 20s.

Well, as of this morning, now it's just my grandmother.
I'm visiting this weekend. I had wanted to take my grandmother to the fair to go through the exhibits and hear her talk about everything she did before they could afford to buy meat and tea towels and jam in the store. But my aunt said no,

The fair sure sounds like something you would enjoy but Mimi would not last at all.

8.23.2009

artist questions

When your upstairs neighbor looks in on your cat while you are out of town, do you necessarily need to explain what this is doing in your kitchen windowsill?


Maybe it really seems no stranger than the full-sized skeleton wearing a fez in the living room window. Or the 6-foot tall painting of a rooster in the foyer.

I think we've safely landed in "eccentric" rather than "sociopath."
Yeah, I probably don't need to explain this.

Right?
I will explain it to you, though. Soon. It's exciting.

8.19.2009

sorry, fake women

From a casting notice
SORRY NO ACTORS OR ASPIRING ACTORS/MODELS – THIS IS A CHANCE FOR REAL WOMEN TO BE THE STARS
Well, good, because as a fake woman, I am SO effing tired of being a star.
However, as a working actor, I sure would love to BOOK A STUPID COMMERCIAL SO I COULD PAY MY MORTGAGE.

don't be so hard on yourself

Do you know Found Magazine? It's a wonderful compendium of funny, tragic, and revealing things that have just been FOUND. No explanation.

This one was found many years ago. The title of the piece is "Don't Be So Hard On Yourself," which doesn't really make sense until you read the whole thing.

Don't Be So Hard On Yourself
I tend to use phrasing like that on notes to myself.

I'm totally (f)unemployed now. I didn't even have any auditions this week, YIKES, although I did attend a salon to hobnob and talk up my latest project, finish a first draft of that project, have a few meetings about the next few months, get offered a somewhat lucrative acting job, and I'm teaching a class tonight. I guess it isn't a total wash. But believe me, there are WIDE SWATHS OF UNOCCUPIED TIME.

This spells danger.

If I make lists and buckle down, I can be very productive. If not... I snack and nap. And go to thrift stores and convince myself I've just gotten, like, some reallly INCREDIBLE bargains. And, I get depressed. I cry and can't move. I stay in bed.

But I can AVOID this if I just stay busy.

Here's a post from blogger Felicia Day, who I guess is somewhat famous, via my cousin Larissa's blog. About this question of initiative.
It takes a very brave person to express themselves creatively. I know the paralyzing fear of being bad very well; it’s one of my greatest weaknesses. ... So I did nothing. And I loathed myself for my weakness.

Finally I had a strange realization that time passes whether you’re doing something with it or not. ... So, I got off my butt! It wasn’t easy and I had a lot of lapses (I still do) but the experience of being ruthless with myself was an amazing lesson to learn.
What really sticks with me is the experience of being ruthless with myself.

I frequently yell at myself like a high school football coach.
Then I use the same tone of voice to congratulate myself when I actually did the good thing.
Yadidit. Ya ran three miles, Campbell. Not too fucking shabby. Maybe one of these days your legs will actually be sexy after all. I'm proud of you. Now get in there and email your aunt back! She loves you! Type some small talk, it'll mean a lot to her, you selfish narcissist!
How do you yell at yourself? Do you? Are you gentler?

And, gross, now that I went to her website I'm already really jealous of this Felicia Day character, who is evidently a successful LA actress and smart writer and successful blogger. And to make it worse, she makes this great point at the end of her post that you have to be
willing to suck and start DOING stuff.
I have to go email my aunt back now.

8.17.2009

a big ridiculous circle that hopefully you figure out quickly.

When you start out as an actor, generally, you get an office job while you do projects on your own and wait for acting to turn into a full time job.

This is what my cousin Ben did. Then he got what he wanted and acting turned into a full time job.

Then he quit that full time acting job to have an office job again, and do shows on his own. He told me this tonight. I was impressed. He's 29 and I think that's young to figure that out.

I no longer expect or want to make my living doing theater. Not ACTING, theater. The work that pays is often lame (farces and rehashed musicals are safe bets that will return investors' money), always short-lived (anything longer than a 5-month contract is almost unheard of), and never pays you enough to live responsibly* on (see footnote).

So you do bad art that takes all your time and energy for no money.
Tempting, I know.

I'll officially only do it for fun from now on. Thank goodness for commercial work and occasional fancy parties where I can dress in napkins.

*I define living responsibly as being able to meet a housing payment and pay all reasonable utilities, pay for your independent health insurance, afford a modest annual vacation, and saving for retirement. I don't know any full-time theater people who could meet that, much less adding something exorbitant to the equation like "car payment" or "child care."

8.10.2009

languagequest

The Chicago Public Library is very helpful when you want to learn other languages.

Conversations I will soon be able to have in Lao.

Man, Kham really wants to see Chit's father. I wonder what's going on?

Technically they're "language exercises," but I think I've stumbled upon a fascinating Lao soap opera.

I bet you'll rent it out ... TO KHAM and CHIT'S DAD!


...IN THE RICE-FIELD!!!!



(this post is a very good exercise in how something that seems SO DAMN FUNNY at 2am when you can't sleep and you're trying to learn Lao is actually ... not really terribly funny the next day.)

8.09.2009

it's going around.

Something's gotta change.
My cousin, who is totally one of those annoying triple-threats* you hear about, with a career I admire to high heaven, posted this right-on-the-money post on her postin spot. And I'm re-posting here because
  1. I couldn't say it any better myself, and
  2. it shows that I'm not alone, and
  3. this coming from HER means that I'm not just being a sore loser.
*I originally typed this as tripe-threat. I think tripe is probably threatened by her too. She's that good. You should hear her sing. And she's just so pretty.

So I think I've been going about this theater thing all wrong...

I've been putting theater on this pedestal where talented people are rewarded and people of all shapes and sizes, as long as they're willing and desiring to make a contribution can and will. Not at all like that other form of performance involving cameras. That shallow, looks-based, unimportant and unartful, dirty medium that only sometimes reaches what theater constantly perfects. Ugh.

Aside from my unfair treatment of film and television due, in part, to my inability to...um...do...it...this romanticizing of the stage is not only silly. It's downright unhealthy. Because with every moment that I'm proven wrong, with every brilliant actor who is turned down because the role went to someone with the right freckle count or hair color, with every show with disappointing performances I see, I die a little.

Over dramatic? M'yeah. I only mean that part of me that fell in love with this world in the first place dies. And I'll be honest. I'm scared that if any more of it leaves me that I'll be left selling high heeled shoes to women who actually need orthopedics for the rest of my life.

Don't get me wrong. I'm still in love with this world. With the people that I learn from in this world. With the work that challenges me and propels me to do better and crave to create. But I'm afraid of learning any more about this world than I have in the past year. I'm afraid of where I'll find myself a year from now.

I'm eons away from that college sophomore who wanted to start a theater company in the Bath House Theatre on Green Lake in Seattle. That girl was naive and unrealistic.

This girl just hopes to find herself still in love with this world, even after the romance has gone.
Something's gotta change for me to stay in love with it too, I guess.
The wonderful thing is that as I keep taking these steps to make theater the way I want to make it, (2 meetings this week! script and images forming more every day!), now i know that she's one more incredibly talented person I know who might just want to come along.

Now more than ever, I feel like I'm in good company.

Tripe: Does this mean I'm out? It does, doesn't it? You like her better! I can tell!
Me: Tripe, I'm really sorry, but you are so fucking disgusting I can't handle it.
Tripe: Oh, yeah? Well take THIS!!!!!

Tripe: LOOOK AT MEEEEEEE!!!!!!! COW STOMACH LINING!
Me: This is why I like her better.

8.07.2009

Oh dear. Well THIS is awkward.

One of those things that happens all the time:

You audition for a show.
You don't get cast in this show.
You do your best to forget about the rejection, which is the only way to survive being an actor.

Then some time passes.

Then the show opens and because you're on their stupid email list, you get the email saying
COME SEE OUR AWESOME SHOW!
THAT DOESN'T HAVE YOU IN IT!!!!

Or
Maybe it's a fancy mailing that comes in the mail with beautiful photographs, which hurts a little more because it's so fancy. You wish you were in fancy show. Too bad you weren't good enough.
Or
MAYBE it's a fancy mailing FEATURING a gorgeous photo of the character you auditioned for, which really makes you feel like a schmuck, because that could have been YOUR face, except you suck and that's why you didn't get the job.

I don't like getting those mailings.
It's like seeing an ex-boyfriend (who dumped YOU, by the way, let's be very clear about that) and him inviting you to meet his new girlfriend, who is SO GREAT and they're REALLY EXCITED about this GREAT RELATIONSHIP they're opening, I mean THE BUZZ IS REALLY GOOD.

Part of me wants my ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend to be really happy together. I want to take the high road. I do. This is usually my very natural reaction if I have friends in the show.

But part of me wants that relationship to crash and burn, bitches, and see those awful reviews so I can tell my supportive girlfriends that phew, what a trainwreck, I'm glad I dodged THAT bullet.

How To Make Money as an Actor


Wear a blonde wig and a dress made out of napkins at ritzy parties as an "environmental performer."

Act coy and flirtatious. Speak to no one because you're too cool for school. People can take a napkin and gradually it will be revealed that you're wearing a 50's-style swimsuit underneath.

Here's the important part: Rich people at ritzy parties will love it.

That's it. That's how you do it.

8.05.2009

encouragement, and dumb struck.

Please. Please tell me that if THIS person can score a job as an ad copywriter, surely I'd be able to if I ever felt so inclined.


Now if you'll pardon me, I'm going to practice conveying "dumb" with my voice.

8.03.2009

messages redux

Following your dreams requires going out on a limb and doing something that, most likely, the rest of the world things is a horrible idea. But you have to believe in yourself and what you're doing and do it anyway.

For example.
If you think a farm-themed television show that teaches kids about yoga is a great idea.
It might turn into this.

PEOPLE.
(and by "people" I mean "Lacy")
NEVER FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS.
among other things, you will turn into David Bowie's horrifying plastic surgery-addicted brother.

vodka cognac and fruit and the girls spells trouble to me.

oh facebook. you and your ad wizardry.

Perfect Girls Night Mix:
It's what happens when vodka, cognac and fruit go out with the girls.

Really? Because I'm pretty sure that's called a horrible hangover, and most likely some vomiting.
If not a perfectly cute top ruined.

Is this a reflection on my maturity in terms of drink selection, or my choice of friends?

starts

I have an etsy store.
As my cousin Laura says: Don't try to pretend you're not impressed. (with sly roof-raising hand gestures)

You don't have to follow the link if you don't feel like it. I know you're busy. Here's what I made and what I'm a-sellin.

You put your wine bottle in it, and it's pretty! Like a present for your host! Or to a picnic! Or to a byob place to eat!

Now, to actually list more than one item. Come on, week of unemployment! Let's put you to good use!

messages

I emailed my friend that I am on an artistic renaissance lately. I haven't felt one for a long time and now I feel it coming. The last time I felt one, I was still acting but I started publicly showing my art and I made a silly invention-toy that actually sold in stores. Okay, one store. It was a magnetic playwriting kit. Twenty-five pieces that said:
Man:
and twenty-five that said:
Woman:
Then dozens and dozens of mix-and-match assorted ones that said things like
I
you
never thought you
hate the
baby
Do you
most want to
shoot a homeless man
love you
and so on and so on. One store: the one theater book store. Which went out of business. But I made it and people bought it!

I think these things are like waves, in that you have to catch them. People I love and admire are reaching similar places where they want to work with me and I want to work with them. I'm opening my store on etsy and selling crafts on ebay. I don't feel bad for not coming up with all my best ideas when I was 23. I'm trying to be open to messages of encouragement from the universe. Like this one that my cousin Elizabeth sent out, which is a lovely blog post by a far better blogger than me.

This isn't my best post, but there's a secret to getting your work out first and then judging it later.

8.02.2009

psst

Guess where we're going next summer:

Laos
and

Cambodia.

oh boy oh boy. June 25.

I'm learning Lao. I've got "hello" and "thank you" so far.
Soon I will advance, thanks to these kids:

8.01.2009

this is a good sign

I have officially stopped caring if I get cast in your next Fancypants Mainstage enough to do what I think is hilarious and profound instead of what is safe and correct.

Interested Persons should email a headshot and resume and a statement about why you are interested in this project. If you are selected for an audition, we will contact you. Thank you.