Archive for May, 2010

Today’s my last day in Brooklyn for about a month. I’ll miss my new home, but I’ve also gotten to missing spanish moss.

New York City: Day 277

Spanish moss and orange groves and road-side fruit stands and all of the family waiting for me in Florida.

This time tomorrow, I’ll be back haunting the 21 square miles of land and the 2 square miles of water that is Lutz. My imminent return to the town where I spent copious amounts of time as a child has me reading about it. Apparently, it was named after an engineer on the Tampa Northern Railroad in 1909. I used to pass the small, wooden depot near the library all the time, but didn’t realize that it was one of the first structures in the city. Apparently, the original post office is still there too, though now it serves as an art gallery.

Also, Lutz was the main filming location of Edward Scissorhands. Huh. Fancy that.

I was thinking about Florida a few days ago while I was walking in the rain. I’d spent the majority of the day in Manhattan. Late in the afternoon, I stopped by the cafe to say hello to The Poet. Midway through my avocado toast, it started to rain. I waited for it to let up. It didn’t, so I made the trek back to Brooklyn, umbrella-less.

It was an embarrassing trip home.

By the time I got to the train, I was drenched. We’d only made one stop by the time I got the hiccups. And when I get hiccups, they are serious and loud and never-ending (or so it feels like). I tried to hold my breath– no use. I pursed my lips together in vain attempts to muffle the loud and silly sound. People just stared at me. I was half-expecting someone to try to scare them out of me, but no such luck.

Once in Brooklyn, it was out into the rain with me again. Still hiccuping, I began the 20ish minute walk home. It would’ve been fine had I not been wearing my silly green slip-on shoes that decide not to stay on my feet when it rains. I lost them at least twice for ever ten steps I took. I lost both almost simultaneously about half-way through McCarren Park and I just started laughing. I must’ve looked ridiculous or drunk or both–a drenched and hiccuping girl not at all able to keep her shoes on her feet. I was too amused with my situation to be frustrated, so I picked up my shoes and enjoyed the walk home in the warm spring rain.

Walking by St. Stanislaus, there was a loud clap of thunder. My first instinct was to run for shelter or lay down in a ditch somewhere– because that’s what they teach you when you grow up in the Lightning Capital of the World (true story). I was suddenly thinking about the rains in Florida when I was a little girl. Growing up in a place that has Hurricane Days instead of Snow Days, where you’re taught to run in a zig-zag path incase you should meet an alligator, where snakes and bugs and oranges abound was pretty magical. As I was mentally locating the nearest ditch, I remembered I was in New York City and there were objects much taller than me to pique the interest of any lightning bolt.

I’m excited to go back to Lutz tomorrow. Excited to see my family and the puppies and the spanish moss.

Hey, New York. Goodbye for a little while. I’ll miss you.

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It’s 5AM and my brain is all a-buzz.

New York City: Day 274

That’s a silly thing for it to be considering sleep only came around about three hours ago. I’m inclined to blame the glass of red wine I was flirting with around midnight. Sneaky little guy, but it happens sometimes. My iTunes library stands as a dark reminder of the night I drank too much red wine and downloaded 17 lessons of “Teach Yourself Croatian”. It wasn’t quite one of those nights, but it wasn’t all together far off, either. Imogen Heap is somewhere in that realm, I think.

Yes. I took this last night. And you're jealous.

As I mentioned in a post yesterday, the good folks over at FREE Williamsburg saw it fit to give me two tickets to last night’s Imogen Heap concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Free tickets were an unexpected and entirely welcome little gem since I’m lacking funds at the moment. Moving recently has left me in Brokelyn. (Get it? Like Brook– ok, nevermind. That was bad.)

Before the show, I spent some time wandering Chelsea exploring my recent, strange, and growing affinity for reflection shots. Please don’t judge me.

Window Woman

Those needs met, I met up with one Mr. John Guari for the festivities. Since Christopher couldn’t be pulled away from the cafe for the evening, John lent his company for the show. A few words about John? I think so. First of all, he’s the beau to my lovely friend Siri Hellerman and what a talented pair they make. She might be the funniest woman alive (and she can sing the face off of just about anything) and John, a musician and composer, was relating stories before the concert about how he’d seen Imogen at the 52nd Annual Grammy’s this year… because he was nominated for one. Yeah. Suffice to say, I was in good company.

The venue was one I was excited to visit– an opera house built at the turn-of-the century (hello, lovely acoustics) only to spend short stints as a vaudeville house, a Freemason temple, and a union hall. Abandoned some forty-odd years ago, it’s been restored beautifully and the frescos on the ceiling are still quite lovely.

The evening was just as I’d described in the few words on a Facebook status that won me the tickets– something about a warm and cozy patchwork quilt of electronic I’d like to wrap myself in. It was warm and it was cozy and I could feel the bass in the my chest and that has a coziness all its own, doesn’t it?

Imogen was supported by two opening acts who later served in her band– I thought the sounds of all of the bands where quite complimentary. The first group to take the stage was a band from London called Geese featuring a fellow on drums and a man and woman each rocking out on the violin. Ben Christophers was the next act. Also English. (As John said, this show was “…hella British”.) Also silly talented. If my ever-dwindling bank account had allowed it, I would’ve marched straight home and purchased both of their albums. You should– Geese and Ben Christophers. Good stuff, my friends.


Speaking of albums, I was thrilled with the work off of Imogen’s new album, Ellipse. Though there were only a handful of people in my pocket of the audience who seemed really familiar with the newer music, there was a collective riot when she began some of her old-school favorites like “Let Go” and “Just for Now”– which, I’d like to say, the audience did a beautiful job accompanying her on vocally. I’m always impressed by an artist’s ability to get masses of people to sing in three and four part harmonies. Never underestimate the power of splitting people into groups and giving directions. I’d made a sheep joke… but I won’t.

I snagged a nice little stage-side spot.

I took some awesome video that somehow wound up mistaken for a pictures I wasn’t happy with and was deleted from my camera late last night. Darn it all. Though my recording of it has been lost to the abyss, the highlight of my evening was perhaps hearing “Swoon” live. Or maybe it was when she played water glasses (a la Miss Congeniality) on her wrist-mics. Or maybe it was when the audience got to pick a key and a tempo (let it be known that New York city favors C sharp minor and tempos on the quicker side) and Ms. Heap improvised a haunting little song that will be available on her website for a $1 download– all proceeds benefitting the Lower East Side Ecology Center. Neat and beautiful night.

After the concert, I wandered on over the cafe to visit The Poet and my friend, the wall-mounted alligator.

And now, because I can, I’m going to slip back into bed still all Red Wine and Imogen Heap Happy. Thank you, FREEwilliamsburg.

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Let me count the ways this morning has been good to me.

New York City: Day 273

-It’s a beautiful Tuesday in Brooklyn.
-I can hear the kids of PS 110 enjoying their recess in the park.
-This morning was spent drinking coffee and talking to The Poet while we listened to Leonard Cohen: Live in London on repeat over the speakers in our small apartment.
-I’m in the process of compiling an epic list of NYC Summer activities to complete upon my return to the city after my jaunt down to Florida. I’m not messing around with this list. It is amazing. Even more amazing, most of it is free.
-Yesterday, I entered a contest to win two free tickets to the Imogen Heap concert tonight at the Hammerstein Ballroom. I described my favorite song of hers in a few words– something about a cozy, electronic patchwork quilt that I like to wrap myself in. This morning, I won. See you tonight, Imogen.
-I just realized that this is my 100th blog post. Happy 100th, blog. That’s something to celebrate, I think.

Now, I get to sit down and work on a project that I’m very excited about. Happy Tuesday.

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Loneliness in Brooklyn is different than loneliness in Manhattan.

New York City: Day 271

I could sense it yesterday. There was something a little bit unsettling that I couldn’t put my finger on. At first I chalked it up to the fact that I’d been reading (why, why, why?) House of Leaves in the middle of the day. (Never again.) Then, in the late afternoon as I was thinking about what to make for dinner, I realized I was lonely. With my classes ending last week, I’ve gone from spending every single one of my days surrounded by people to… not. All of my friends have either left the city for summer gigs or they have, you know… jobs. I tried to procure employment for my short time in the city, but (understandably) nobody wants me working for just a week since I leave for Florida in seven days. The burden of unemployment makes loneliness all the heavier. My friends are all busy waiting tables and instructing yoga and playing with little babies and doing that actor thing. I feel flat out useless.

I’m not throwing myself a pity party. I just found it interesting– the difference in Manhattan Loneliness and Brooklyn Loneliness. I felt it in Manhattan during the winter. Bundled up and staring at the sidewalk for months left me feeling a little isolated, but it felt almost natural. Feeling lonely on the island almost feels like a normal state of being, as sad of a thing as that is to say. There are so many people, so few of whom one actually knows, that being alone in the masses is just the status quo, often. But I’m in Brooklyn now– in a neighborhood of Brooklyn– in Greenpoint. There’s a school next door and a little grocery store across the street from the park. I have neighbors who have BBQs. This morning, a little girl handed me an amazing handmade flyer for her school’s upcoming production of Beauty and the Beast. She asked if I would be their guest. (Really. It was absolutely adorable. I can’t go because I’ll be in Florida, but if any of you theatre folks are in town, you should go support these kids– contact me for details.) The neighbors are dancing to “Twist and Shout” on their balcony. It’s just not the type of place that one is supposed to feel lonely. It doesn’t have the inevitable feel that it did in Manhattan. Here, it’s just a little sad.

They’re just different, here and there.

That said, it’s also a little refreshing. A good dose of loneliness is healthy every now and again, I think. I’d certainly begun to under-appreciate my friends at the School for Drama, mostly because they’d become more like siblings than friends. You don’t appreciate your siblings until they’ve been gone for awhile and you realize you miss their antics. (I should know. My sister lives in Nicaragua.) And my Poet Friend has been working ridiculous hours at the cafe. He hasn’t been much a presence here at the apartment in Greenpoint for the past few days, which makes me realize how much I truly enjoy spending time with him. Whether we’re watching a movie, book-shop hopping, wandering museums, reading in Abingdon Square, eating lunch by the river, walking together, or just talking over our coffee, it’s incredible how happy being near him makes me. I like the way my mind works around him. And I love that our relationship is a laughter-filled one. When the cafe steals him for days at a time, he is missed. Plain and simple. He’s missed now and he will be missed greatly during my month in Florida.

I have to admit, though, alone time is much-needed after nine months of Drama. It’s much needed and, I get to be selfish. I have ample amounts of time to read and write and wander the city and explore this and that and the other. To do whatever I want. Right? Right. As soon as I wrap up this blog entry, in fact, I have big plans to get to work on the ever-looming book again. A good dose of loneliness every now and then is probably healthy. Right? Right.

Also healthy: crafts.

This morning, I skipped down Driggs to The Warsaw and made by way to Bust Magazine’s Spring Craftacular. (Yup.) It featured 50 of the coolest vendors from across the country, a straight-up lemonade stand from the good folks at ModCloth, DJs and drinks, fancy photographers dressed in black, and handmade jewelry, apparel, gadgets and gizmos aplenty, and enough trendy tattooed people to make me want to go back to Georgia. I stuck a linen flower in my hair before I went over to try to trick them into thinking I was hip. It worked and I let with a free goodie-bag and SWAG in the way of a green tote featuring rabbits playing crochet, a bunch of yarn in the shade of Beach Glass, glow-in-the-dark temporary tattoos, a pink t-shirt from Bust, and enough pins, bracelets, and stickers to keep my 6-year-old self happy for days.

It was a pleasant morning. But, this is today:

Sometimes you’re just alone in your Brooklyn apartment taking pictures of your feet. And that’s ok.

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The next-door neighbors have a bit of a backyard. At the moment, there is some serious BBQ action taking place. Right under my nose.

New York City: Day 270

I am jealous.

It’s summer and I’m thinking of St. Louis. There are few places I’d rather be in the months of June and July than St. Louis, Missouri. Baseball season is in full swing. There’s many a park to haunt. One can always count on free music somewhere in the city. There’s Shakespeare every night in Forest Park– I have to say, I’m very sad to be missing this year’s Hamlet.

When I think about it, most of my favorite summers have been spent there. When I was a little girl, my sister and I used to visit my grandparents in Illinois during the summer months. Not only were we spoiled rotten, but we were often taken to baseball games (just as much a treat for my Grandpa as it was for us) and out for ice cream afterwards. I have really fantastic memories of playing the in the park and picking ears of corn that weren’t ours with my Grandmother. In high school, I started coming back again, this time for YSP or… (wait for it)… Catholic Musical Theatre Camp. (I’m not making this up.) Oh, the fun we had. One day every week, we’d take a break from our busy and spirit-filled rehearsal schedule to take a trip into the city. We’d visit the St. Louis Zoo, the Science Center, or you know… the mall.

Once, we took a backstage tour at the MUNY– the world’s largest outdoor theatre located in beautiful Forest Park. Little did I know that I’d be back at the MUNY again in a few short years on different terms. In the early days of my undergraduate career at Saint Louis University, I somehow got to roped into a late-night jaunt through Forest Park. A car full of theatre kids ended up at the gates of the MUNY. Fences may or may not have been hopped. The massive, tree-lined stage may or may not have been taken around 2AM. We may not have run for our lives when we heard security guards yelling.

Summers in St. Louis during college were pretty magical. My first summer there, I was a SLU 101 Leader. I hosted Orientation, basically. Make fun all you want, but the group of us worked three days a week, got paid to spend time with incoming freshman, and spend the rest of our time at the pool, at the park, going to see shows at the MUNY or Stages, and having BBQ’s in the Village. The next summer, I worked as the Children’s Area Activities Coordinator for the Shakespeare Festival of Saint Louis. I ran a craft area and led small children on a parade and got to watch some awesome Shakespeare every night. The summer after that, I did shows back-to-back staring with Night of the Iguana with Muddy Waters right up into King Lear with St. Louis Shakespeare. I was living with one of my best friends and spent too much time at Beale on Broadway watching Kim Massie sing. Otherwise, I could be found drinking black coffee or laying on a blanket in Forest Park with Katie Consamus. Those were beautiful summers.

Though I’m missing St. Louis at the moment, I’m very much looking forward to the summer I have ahead of me. Another week here in New York, and then I’ll be in Florida for a month, back child/dog/house sitting and spending time with my family. Back to the birthplace of this blog, in fact. I was doing the same thing last summer when the blog bug bit. (Hello, alliteration.) July and August will find me back in New York, hopefully waiting tables, writing, and auditioning. There are a few collaborations in the works–one with The Poet, another with 3rd Years Tristan and Julie. There’s so much work to do and so much necessary rest before my second year as an MFA Acting Candidate comes at me swinging in August.

It’s hard to believe First Year is done. We all celebrated a wonderful academic year together at The New School for Drama on Tuesday night. Drama Proma was held at Union Bar this year and it was fun. Fun, fun, fun. I suppose there isn’t much more that can be said on that front. A few photos? I think so:

Pre-Proma with The Poet

With Lady Friends Siri and Alex

Expect a First Year wrap-up post soon. I have things to say. I’m just lacking the energy to say them at the moment. Smells of BBQ and the sight of smoke rising outside my window are very seriously distracting me from my various tasks. It’s getting me excited about my first summer in Brooklyn: free concerts, flea markets, fairs, farmer’s markets, lazy afternoon in McCarren Park. Mmmm. With that, I’m off. Happy summer, all.

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I promised pictures of the new Greenpoint digs.

New York City: Day 263

Here they are.

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I might burst.

New York City: Day 262

I’m swelling with… I’m not sure what, to tell you the truth. Pride, stress, tears, happiness, accomplishment, utter fatigue. Pick one. The afternoon just finds me filled to the brim with many, many things.

I just came home from my final class as a first year MFA Acting Candidate. I still have a Theatre History final that I need to come to terms with on Monday morning and a certain Drama Prama to attend on Tuesday night, but all of my classes are officially done.

This week was hard. And that is a ridiculous understatement. I had seven rehearsals in a four day period, massive papers due, too many final performances, evaluations, and conferences to count, and the usual nearly 30 hours of class– 30 hours of class in which you’re being asked to lay your soul bare on the floor, mind you. All of this in the midst of moving to Brooklyn and running on very, very little sleep. On Tuesday night, I got home from rehearsal knowing I had a paper to write for Script Analysis and I just laid down on my bed and cried for half an hour. I wasn’t sad. Just utterly exhausted.

Daliya felt it, too.

I was running on empty. Today, I was reminded of why we do this. I was reminded of why I love the theatre, why my heart belongs there.

This morning, my class– who I am so incredibly proud of– presented the culmination of our work together this semester in Co-Lab: The Neruda Plays. I’ve written about the project a few times, but to recap… our entire class (actors, directors, and playwrights) all read Pablo Neruda’s The Captain’s Verses over our winter break. On our first day of classes in January, each of the actors performed an original solo piece based on what spoke to them in the book. The the playwrights, inspired by the actors, formed a very loose idea for a play that they then pitched to the directors. Directors and playwrights paired off and, based on their joint pitches, actors chose which piece they wanted to work on. We’ve all spent the last few months heavily improvising and mining texts from the improvs. The playwrights found our stories and gave them beautiful arcs. The directors sculpted. And this morning, we performed. From start to finish, I was just in awe of my classmates– the talent, the energy, the fearlessness, the trust, the heart.

Pre-show light-check for BOUNDLESS

I want to honor the pieces by putting them with their rightful names. Humor me.

LA TORMENTA (The Storm) by D.L. Siegel, directed by Gamaliel Valle
Isobel—Bethany Geraghty
Erik—Arisael Rivera
Molly—Michelle Trester
James—Jeff Gonzalez
Andres–Atseko Factor

BEDTIME STORY by Jessica Simendinger, directed by Karen Raphaeli
Sam and Lane played by—
Lekethia Dalcoe
Daliya Karnofsky
Isreal Scott
Ashley Noelle Stewear

BOUNDLESS by Becca Schlossberg, directed by Melissa Crespo
Connor—Andreas Damm
Ana— Angie Fontaine
The Man—Jeff Leshansky
Grace—Iris McQuillan-Grace
Jonah—Jacon Sebastian-Phillips

THE NINTH STEP by Daniel Welser Carroll, directed by Jeremy Pape
Rebecca— Lindsey Trout (Oh, hey.)
Stewart— Jason Wilson
Marshall— Mackenzie Knapp
Elle— Mariah Freda
Mary— Catherine Meringolo

ALONE UPON THE EARTH: A LOVE SONG, book and music by Daniel Pearle, directed by Alexandra Kuelchler-Caffall
Avis— Siri Hellerman
Hannah— Erika Lee
Jeb— Chris Payseur
Mona— Jacquelyn J. Revere
Evie— Jessica Ranville

That’s us. The New School for Drama, Class of 2012– a group of actors, directors, and playwrights that I am so honored to count myself among. I saw such beautiful and committed work in that theatre today. It fills me. It makes me so happy. We took big issues and ambitious concepts and tackled them– bravely, I think.

Speaking of brave, I have to share this. In the photo below is Al Pacino in rehearsal for The Merchant of Venice for Shakespeare in the Park. The shadowy fellow behind him is my friend, Second Year actor Tyler Caffall, husband of badass First Year director Alexandra Kuechler-Caffall. Yeah. That’s pretty cool.

My first year went by so quickly. I’m often tired, but I so cherish my time here with my classmates and my amazing professors. A vocal improv in my movement class this afternoon led to Siri, Chris, and I laying on the floor and singing the lines, “Young today. One by one, our hair turns white…” repeatedly. Where does the time go? Summer hasn’t yet begun, but I already feel Second Year quickly approaching. While I’m a bit heartbroken to be leaving Kathy Rossetter’s sage guidance in my acting class, I’ve been placed in Arthur Storch’s acting class next year, which I am utterly thrilled about. Please check out his explanation of the significance of the number 100 on Conan O’Brien. It’s about three minutes into the clip:

There’s much to think about, much to write about, much to be getting ready for. But for the moment, I just need to breathe. And listen to the Fleet Foxes. Yes, I think so.

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