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Archive for June, 2010

Tonight, I’m home in New York.

New York City: Day 309

On Sunday afternoon, I hopped a flight from Florida back to the city. It welcomed me with heat.

My cozy apartment in Greenpoint saw some additions thanks to my Poet friend while I was away. There is a flower garden on the fire escape that makes me happier than I can say. There are actual pots and pans in the cabinets. There’s a record player on the shelf near the window and on the bookcase, a recording of a Dylan Thomas radio play I fell in love with while I was in Florida, narrated by Richard Burton. Chris bought a plethora of candles at the grocery store near the apartment. Upon further inspection, they may be Jewish mourning candles.

The most noticeable addition to the apartment  and to the city, though, is the heat. The humidity here rivals that of Florida. The fan in the bedroom is getting put to good use, but without AC, most days here are spent sweating. The odd thing is, I don’t mind.

After I dropped of my bags here on Sunday, Chris and I headed up Driggs to Fada for dinner. Though I pass it multiple times every day on my way to the train, I’d never been. After Sunday night’s visit, I’m in love. This little French bistro has live music often, a front facade that can open, and a garden in the back. There was a party of French folk in the garden when we arrived. We drank wine and listened to them sing.

Monday was a day for the Natural History Museum with an obligatory trip to the Hall of Biodiversity. We spent yesterday at The Cloisters.

It’s been a beautiful day. The heat’s gone tonight. A breeze keeps coming in through the open window and threatening to blow out the maybe mourning candles. Tonight, I’m happy to be home.

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Last night, I dreamt I was marching through the woods behind this house with drums and friends.

New York City: Day 295
Lutz, Florida: Day 18

I was half-awakened just before 4am to one of the dogs barking. She wanted water. I filled her bowl from the faucet on the bathtub. She’s blind and stepped in it, spilling water all over my feet. I was fully awake. I was a little girl when we got her as a puppy. I remember the day I got picked up from school and she was in the car. She was small and yellow. They’d chosen her because of her pink nose. For weeks, we had to carry her up the stairs because she was too small to manage them herself. She’s old now and gets shots of insulin every morning and every night.

I let her outside through the front door. The nights are so hot here. I watched the trees in the front yard pulse for a few minutes. I walked around to the back porch and laid down on the warm wood floor waiting for the old dog to find her way back inside. Another dog followed me. He laid down next to me, his head on my stomach. The night beyond the porch was so full. Everything in the yard and in the woods and by the lake was singing with heat coming up from the ground.

I fell asleep on the porch, listening. I dreamt again of friends and drums and marching and the woods behind the house. As the sun came up, I was dreaming of lost brooches embedded in old velvet and of a secret party in a room with high white walls and no ceiling. I was dreaming that I was untangling old sails in the corner of the room when the old dog started barking again. Then I woke up. Here, summer days are so much more quiet than summer nights.

Today, this is making me really happy. Dawn Landes and friends covering “Young Folks”. Listen:

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This is for all of you. But mostly for Katie Consamus and Christopher Hughes.

New York City: Day 292
Lutz, Florida: Day 15

A FAIR FILM: filmed, edited, and directed by Ben Van Hook

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The world feels very big this morning.

New York City: Day 291
Lutz, Florida: Day 14

Often I marvel at how small it seems. I can run into a childhood friend’s ex-boyfriend while we’re in line for an improv comedy show at Upright Citizen’s Brigade. An engaged couple who didn’t meet until their 20′s can find photographs from Disney World proving that their paths crossed when they were toddlers. There are Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. (Lindsey Trout was in Up in the Air with George Clooney who was in The Thin Red Line with Sean Penn who was in Mystic River with Kevin Bacon. Bam!) Sometimes the complexity of all of the connection is just staggering.

Today isn’t one of those days. Stella, my Uncle Greg’s beautiful blue heeler, has been sitting and staring at the garage door for twenty minutes. Greg just left with a suitcase. She knows he’ll be gone for awhile.

I understand how she feels. I’m in Florida. My mother’s in Georgia. My father’s in Texas. My grandparents are in Illinois. My twin sister is in Nicaragua. My boyfriend is Brooklyn. My best girl is in Iowa. Soon, my aunt and uncle will leave for India. While I have no doubt that Connor, Kiernan, Clare, and I will have no trouble holding down the fort here in Lutz, the disconnect and the miles are weighing a little heavy today.

Even for all of the vastness of the world, I’m amazed at the ability of the internet to shrink it all (or a lot of it, anyway) to the neat 13 inches of my MacBook. Last night, I introduced my twin sister, Lauren, to my boyfriend, Christopher (otherwise known as The Poet), via the wonders of Skype. She currently teaches at a Popular Education Center in Nicaragua. She’ll live there until at least December 2011. Chris, on the other hand, has been busy exploring New York City with me and working on his MFA in Poetry. Though they’ve exchanged letters, it seemed wrong that two such important people in my life have never met.  But, Skype is magic. Nicaragua met Brooklyn met Lutz and everything got smaller for a few moments. It was nice.

It’s good to be in awe of all that is sprawling and wide-spread. A healthy dose of fear of the measureless is good, too. But today, I’m looking for the seams. Ones like this: http://www.petapixel.com/2010/06/09/engaged-couple-find-photo-showing-they-crossed-paths-as-toddlers/

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I’ve been on a bit of a puppet kick lately.

New York City: Day 290
Lutz, Florida: Day 13

After studying Mabou Mines in Theatre History via an amazing presentation by Daliya Karnofsky and Siri Hellerman (Truly. It involved orange yarn, bags of jasmine tea, a piggy bank, and absolutely no guarantees. I love graduate school…) I got to reading about one of their productions, Peter and Wendy. The piece features one woman voicing all of the characters in J. M. Barrie’s beloved book. She tells the story on a white stage with stunning puppets reflective of the Japanese bunraku style. It looks eerie and beautiful and heartbreaking. High on my list of things to do when I get back to New York is to take a day trip to the Katonah Museum of Art where the Peter and Wendy puppets currently live.

Because I’m extremely puppet-curious these days,  I thought it might be fun to put on a puppet show with my younger cousins. (Note: Sock puppets. Finger Puppets. Not bunraku-style puppets, but puppets nonetheless.) When I proposed that we try our hand at a lesser-known Brothers Grimm fairy tale, one of the girls immediately got excited, telling me about a story she loved called “The Goose Girl”. It was charming… the way she told it.

Last night, I flipped through the Wordsworth Classics edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales until I found our Goose Girl. I wanted to give the actual story a few good reads so that I could get an idea of what kind of puppets we’d need to make today.

I. was. horrified.

Here’s the real story from those grim, grim brothers:

First line: “There once lived an old queen whose husband had been dead for a long time.” A little morbid, but… alright. This widow queen didn’t really want her young daughter, The Princess, being a burden to her, so she decided to send or off to a far-away land to marry a prince she’d never met. (Again, not something I can jive with, but that’s still sort of par for the course with fairy tales.) Before her daughter leaves, the old queen (for reasons that never quite become clear in the story) cuts her hand, bleeds all over a handkerchief, sticks it in her daughter’s dress and shoves her onto a horse with a name something like Falada. With her, the queen sends a waiting woman.

Now, the first major conflict of the story comes when the princess becomes thirty on the journey and the waiting woman refuses to fetch her golden goblet and retrieve water from the stream for her. And I quote, “And as her thirst was so great, the princess had to get down and stoop to drink the water of the brook and could not have her gold cup to serve her.” (Stoop? To drink sans golden cup?! The poor princess.) Then, after traveling for another hour, Princess asks for another drink because “she had forgotten all that had gone before” what with all the stooping and the drinking. (I’m sorry, this girl is pretty dumb.) Again, the writers make this poor waiting woman out to be a total witch when she responds, “If you want a drink, you may get it yourself. I am not going to be your slave.” That sounds pretty reasonable to me. Also, you’d probably be pretty mad, too, if you were getting sent away from your home and family so that you could wait hand and foot on a woman who has the attention and memory-span of a goldfish.

Long story short, the waiting woman “ordered the princess with many hard words” to trade clothes with her so that when they finally reached the kingdom of her betrothed, the waiting woman would be mistaken for the princess. Sure enough, they get there and Little Lord Fauntleroy marries the wrong girl. I’m sorry. If the princess was talked out of her dress and then just stood there mute instead of saying, “Hey. Guys. I’m actually the princess here,” she kind of deserved it, dumb bunny that she is. So, the king gives her the task of tending the geese.

Here’s where stuff gets even more weird. Impostor Queen asks that the horse she and her dim-witted pal rode in on be killed… because she’s afraid he’ll talk. (Ok, maybe everyone in the story’s just a little off.) But the little Goose Girl asks that the head of her horse be nailed up in the town where she can see if every day. So, they nail her horse’s head to a wall. (Brothers Grimm: what the hell…) Every day when she walks by, the little Goose Girl says, “O Falada, dost thou hang there?” (Um, yeah. You had my head nailed up, remember? Oh, wait. Of course you don’t…)

And the horse (or his dismembered head) responds, “If thy mother knew they pain, her heart would surely break in twain.” The king overhears this one day and presses the girl to tell him what would make her mother so sad (other than that she talks to dead animals) but the girl won’t answer. Because she won’t (because she’s dumb) the kind makes her climb into an iron oven. And she does and she’s crying her head off saying, “I’m a king’s daughter!”

So, the old king calls his son and proves to him that the woman he’s happily married to is “only a waiting woman”. (The horror!) At dinner that night, the kind asks the Impostor Queen what should happen to a servant who deceives her masters. The woman says this (I kid you not), “She should be put into a barrel studded inside with sharp nails and be dragged along in it by two horses from street to street until she be dead.” And that’s what they do. And when she’s dead, the prince marries the “true bride” and they rule their kingdom “in peace”.

………..

Is anyone else as disturbed as I am? What kind of twisted messages is a story like that sending to young girls? I was already disturbed enough after flipping through one of my younger cousins’ Girl Talk magazines yesterday to find that they listed “having lunch by yourself” as one of the most embarrassing things that could possibly happen to you. It’s exactly that kind of mentality that had me retreating to the library during lunch period for the majority of my freshman year of high school. Hey, Cousins. If you’re reading this, I often like having lunch by myself. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a cup of coffee and a book and enjoying some solitude. And there’s nothing embarrassing about it, either.

In an effort to make myself less disturbed, I’m going to go tweak this story a bit and put together a script with a strong, smart, and capable woman who can do things for herself, own who she is, and who (on good days) can remember what she had for breakfast five minutes ago. She can still talk to dead animals if she’s into that, but I hope she won’t be. Pictures and puppets and updates to follow.

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It’s amazing how much time I spent lost in thought when I was a little girl.

New York City: Day 288
Lutz, Florida: Day 11

There’s an art to daydreaming, I’m sure, and I used to be a master. Being back in a home where I spent a lot of time as a child, I’m confronted with a lot of memories, most of which aren’t totally real.

– I used to walk in the woods that surround the lake and pretend to set up camp incase some misunderstood runaway should happen upon it and need a place to stay for the night.

– When my aunt bought me a book full of blank sheet music, I’d sit at the piano for hours “composing”, pretending I was a great concert pianist.

– There used to be an old sleigh bed in one of the guest rooms. I loved sleeping in that bed. I’d always imagine that it came from Russia and once belonged to a czar long before he was in charge of the affairs of the country.

– When they came back from their honeymoon in Ireland, my aunt and uncle brought a quilt with them. I used to daydream that if you closed your eyes and touched it, you’d turn into a seal until sundown.

Most of the daydreaming I did in and around this house was centered on a tree near the front of the property. There’s a beautiful old oak and an orange tree that have gotten themselves tangled together. I must’ve been reading about Baucis and Philemon when I first saw it. In Greek mythology, they were an old married couple who gave shelter to the gods when they were disguised as peasants (tricky, tricky deities). The gods granted them a wish in return for their hospitality. Baucis and Philemon asked that when it came time for them to die, they would stay together for all of eternity, entwined as trees— she, as a linden; he, as an oak. I’ve always been particularly fond of this story, partly because one of the trees is my namesake (Lindsey means “linden trees near the water”) and partly because of the oak and orange tree entwined near this house. I always thought it must be the souls of a couple who were very much in love. When I was very little, even before construction on the house was complete, I’d convinced myself that eating the oranges from the tree would ensure a happy marriage. They were sour. I ate them anyway.

I wish I still daydreamed like that. The closest I’ve come lately has been in my Michael Chekhov classes. My professor, the effervescent Ragnar Freidank, says to the group, “Why don’t we take a walk…” At the end of the class period, sure enough someone has been to their childhood home, someone else has been swimming for days, someone else has been touching the skin of their great-grandmother, someone else has been walking in woods that don’t exist and we’ve all been moving in and out of the images in each other’s minds. My mind usually wants to visit my future self who is often busy on riverbanks and in apple orchards or among wildflowers. And after every walk I take with Ragnar and my classmates, my mind is just a little bit more sharp, my heart just a little bit more full.

I won’t have classes with Ragnar next year and I won’t be around my childhood haunts to remind me of the importance of some good, old-fashioned mind wandering. Soon enough I’ll be back in Brooklyn worrying about work and school and student loan payments and “the business” of being an actor. Nevertheless, as an artist I need to cultivate that piece of me that was so active when I was a little girl. So, I vow to set aside a few minutes a day to stretch my imagination and take it out for a little walk. Or run. Or flight. It’ll do what it wants to.

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In this installment of Lindsey is Away from NYC for the Month of June…

New York City: Day 286
Lutz, Florida: Day 9

I’m a lucky girl. In my first year playing the I Live in New York game, I’ve met some lovely people. One such lovely person is Daliya Karnofsky.  This girl is a stellar actress, talented writer, fearsome yoga instructor, has the most amazing legs you will ever see, bakes like a fiend, and is really, dangerously good at playing with other people’s hair. In a nutshell: she’s awesome.

Yup. You, Daliya!

Last month, a few of my New School for Drama pals and I went to go see Ms. Karnofsky in a dress rehearsal for her show at the SoHo Playhouse, Naked in a Fishbowl– a group of women in an evening of hilarious (and often touching) unscripted theatre. Behind the brilliant pieces of back story and the beautiful relationships at work, there are a group of women (and a man– it’s directed by Hugh Sinclair) behind it all who know how to tell a damn good story.

Well, check it. The fourth season of Naked in a Fishbowl opens tonight! It all goes down at the SoHo Playhouse (a space I really love and hope to work in someday) located at 15 Vandam Street. Shows are every Monday night at 7PM all summer long through August 9th.

Check out their website: http://www.nakedinafishbowl.com/ There’s a link on their homepage where you can buy tickets and I certainly recommend that you do. (There’s even a possibility that Karnofsky will bring baked goods– her character owns a fair-trade, late night, organic, BYOB bakery, so why not?)

I really want to be there tonight. Let me live vicariously through you all– go, see, experience, enjoy. These ladies are offering a witty, heartfelt, and funny examination of what it means to be a friend, wife, mother, girlfriend and woman in New York City. Don’t miss out.

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I should like to make a slight differentiation between the word cheerful and just plain giddy irresponsibility.

New York City: Day 285
Lutz, Florida: Day 8

Well, I wouldn’t, but Mr. Banks would.

Yesterday afternoon, the family went to go see the matinée of Mary Poppins at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center to celebrate the 13th birthday of my twin cousins. Oh, do I ever have memories of the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. There, two decades-ish ago, my sister and I paraded around in ridiculous sequined and feathered costumes after months of dance lessons only to watch (and poorly mimic) our dance teacher who was gettin’ on down in the wings. Thanks, Mom! I also saw a play for the very first time at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. I was three-years-old. The play was Cats. Cats. I knew every word to every song and somehow, I’ve managed to make it through to young adulthood relatively unscathed.

So. Mary Poppins. The musical pulls heavily from material published in the original books from the 1930′s, much of which the 1964 Disney film leaves out. I wish they’d included the bit where the Banks children attend a dance party with their own shadows, but alas– no such luck. One thing I do find odd is that in the transition from books to film and again in the transition from film to stage, Mr. and Mrs. Banks somehow manage to lose a set of twins and a baby girl. That’s right. Jane and Michael have three other siblings: John, Barbara, and Annabel. They’re probably kept in the same closet/gateway to hell that Mary Poppins banishes Miss Andrews to in the play. Sorry, kids.

What was even more disturbing for me than the absence of three small children was seeing Bert lurking in the shadows with his broom and watching as the marital problems of Winifred and George Banks unfolded before him. With a smirk on his face, no less. Creep much, Bert? Anyway, that got me to thinking about this:

Oh, Mary Poppins. Who knew umbrella travel could be so frightening? In the second book, she descends with Michael’s kite which has disappeared into a cloud, and in the third book, she makes her entrance with fireworks. But always with the wind. The woman sure knows how to come and go. On that note…

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It’s my fourth day in Florida. While I’m reveling in the break from the constant hustle and bustle of life in the big city, I have to admit… a part of me misses my postage-stamp apartment and all of the goings-on of the New York summer. So, I’ve decided that while I’m away this month, I’ll include lists of activities I’d be participating in were I in Brooklyn. Go, see, experience, enjoy.

New York City: Day 281
Lutz, Florida: Day 4

This doesn’t start until next weekend, but everyone in the area should check out Poliglot Theatre’s NEITHER HEAVEN NOR EARTH. I hear that the majority of the script comes from interviews done in Israel and the West Bank and focuses on life under occupation.

The cast contains multiple students and graduates of The New School for Drama– notably my dear friend and rising 3rd Year Actor Gokcen Gokcebag and recently graduated Ema Lakovic, who joined my class every Tuesday morning for Neutral American Speech. Both are fantastic, as are the other NSD kids involved with the show. I so wish I was in town to see this, but you should go! Tickets can be purchased here: http://www.smarttix.com/show.aspx?showcode=NEI5 The show runs June 11th – 26th at our very own theatre at The New School for Drama– 151 Bank Street, 3rd Floor.

Tonight, were I in New York, I’d be checking out the sneak preview of The Neistat Brothers, a series of short experimental films made my brothers of the same name. It’s going down tonight at 8 at the Pier at Solar One– East 23rd Street on the East River. Check out the official site: http://rooftopfilms.com/blog/2010/05/neistat-brothers-sneak-preview.html

So. You in New York City. Check these things out. Because I can’t. You should check this out, too because it’s a bit of advertising genius. And it’s beautiful. And Walt Whitman is pretty cool. Just watch:

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Well. I can’t throw well under pressure.

New York City: Day 280
Lutz, Florida: Day 3

I’ve learned that today. In the face of giant wolf spiders, my game is especially off. This is what happens when my aunt and uncle leave town for the week and when my grandparents decide to go out for dinner, leaving their four granddaughters at home. (Feeling guilty yet, Grandma?)

I was in the kitchen trying to decide whether it was an egg roll or hot dog (or both) kind of night when I heard my cousin Clare saying, “Lindsey… I think you should come here…” She was standing in the living room, looking up at the wall. This is what happened next:

Yeah. I spent a post earlier today singing the praises of this place. I’d forgotten how much I loved the lake and the oranges and the spanish moss and blah blah blah blah blah…. Yeah. I’d also forgotten how massive and plentiful the insects are. Insects and reptiles. Spiders and mosquitos and ants and flies and lizards and frogs and turtles and more lizards and more mosquitos. And still more spiders.

I know the screaming was a little ridiculous. And I know my attempt at hitting the spider was downright embarrassing. But… Holy Mammoth Spider, Batman! That thing was huge. How long until I’m back in Brooklyn?

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