Monday, December 31, 2012

i'm giving up my vices

Yep. This is my second New Years' related post that is titled with a Rent lyric. So sue me. (Sue me, what can you do me... apparently when I come home I revert to my musical theatre obsessed 15 year old self. I've strayed).

Yesterday's thoughts were all about recapping 2012 and all of the wild and crazy adventures I had this year. No exaggeration, I think. Just ask any of the participants in "I'm Up for Anything" St. Thomas 2012, "Bitches, Beaches, and Bars" Bermuda Birthday 2012, "Daytona 94" Edisto Island 2012, or "Black and Orange Till I Die" Yay Area 2012. (The only one of those names I just now made up was the last one, BAM).

Or, you could check with any of my partners in theatrical crime from Superstar, Sordid Lives, Misunderstood, Miss Robusta Lays a Bomb, or Welcome to New Yawk!

OR, you could watch me get murdered with a chainsaw on Biography Channel. BOOM.

Or, you could just ask any of the wonderful people who are absolutely batshit insane enough to put up with me who I am lucky enough to call my friends.

Moving right along, today's thoughts revolve around one of my favorite things: New Years' Resolutions!

As you may recall, I kind of suck at keeping them. See the 2012 resolution of being more positive.
Whoops y'all.

BUT, I love making resolutions because I love competition and I love goal setting. And resolutions kind of feel like competitions against myself as a result of the aforementioned goal setting. It's a win win. PLUS, 13 is my lucky number so I have a pretty good feeling about the year 2013.
My next tattoo, natch. Actually, it's a shamrock (hello, Irish) and my lucky number. I'm borderline not kidding.

I actually got so excited about New Years' resolutions that I've been thinking about them for two weeks and probably have too many. But sometimes when I get really really set in my ways about something and decide that they will happen no matter what (see: getting into college, graduating early, moving out of the hood/UES for good) that actually tends to be good. One of these days I'll manage to convince someone/myself that my stubbornness is actually a positive character trait...

And so, without further ado and in no particular order, New Years' Resolutions 2013!

1. Rollover resolution: Continue to work on positivity. Make a commitment to my own happiness. By positivity, I mean not sweating the small stuff and not getting so down on myself when bad things happen - because they're going to, they always will. I'll always be broke or not get that audition or get stiffed or the weather will suck and that's okay. I'm going to make mistakes - I certainly made a lot this year - and that's okay too. Remember that it's how you react and move on from those setbacks and the attitude you carry forward that matter. Sometimes it is easier to wallow in being cranky and miserable, but it feels like shit. So work on the happy, positive person who still lives somewhere deep inside my cold cold lukewarm heart.

2. Be an audition machine. I like to think of myself as a person with drive and work ethic, and to a certain extent that's true. But I can do better. I should be doing better. A coworker called me the hardest working girl in show business recently... it was flattering, but it's not exactly true. This year I'd like to make it true. This is a hard, hard thing I'm pursuing, and I should be putting that much work into it accordingly. I'm not going to set "no skip" months but I am going to set sub-categories like no missing appointments, no skipping open calls for bullshit reasons, and conquer my fear of ECCs and EPAs.

3. Read 100 new books. Just something I want to do this year.
3a. Make at least 10 of them plays. Because really. How self explanatory/necessary is this?
3b. Finish the complete works of Shakespeare? Something I've always wanted to do and it fits in with a and b.

4. Manage my money better. Commit to putting money in savings every month, even if it's only $20. Stop taking unnecessary cabs. Make loan payments on time. Curb unnecessary spending on going out/eating out/take out/shopping and put money away for things I really want, aka big purchases or travel.

5. Run an under 30 minute 5k, run a 10k. I officially love-hate running. In that I don't ever see a marathon in my future, but I taught myself how to learn to like working out and giving myself concrete goals will keep me going in the right direction. Plus, hello, competition.

6. Take 1 dance class a week. I love to dance. I live 3 blocks from BDC. And oh right, I'm trying to pursue a career in musical theatre, aka dance is part of my career plan. This is not that ambitious a goal. I can do this.

7. Be the kind of friend I wish to have. I have some really, really, really amazing fantastic super wonderful incredible people in my life. I am lucky to have them and I know that everyday, and though I like to consider myself a good friend, it's high time I remember that it's not enough to think it. It has to be something that's shown as well.

8. Take better care of my face. This is totally silly and arbitrary but I have a confession to make - I fall asleep with makeup on probably 6/7 days a week. This is something I SHOULD NOT DO! I also sleep in my contacts... let's just say more often than my eye doctor recommends. Eyes are in my face so this totally counts under this resolution to a) not sleep in contacts and b) tryyyyyy to give my eyes a rest day in glasses one day out of every week.

9. Take at least one seminar/class/workshop at Actors' Connection. Y'all this doesn't sound that ambitious given that it's ONE for the whole year, but hear me out. At their cheapest, these shits are like $100 for a 1 hour class. That having been said, opportunities are opportunities and I should be pursuing more of them. This would be one of those worth it to spend money on things.

10. Explore more of New York. I have less than zero intention to ever leave Manhattan as my living borough of choice, but I'm told there are fun things to do in the outer boroughs as well. It's been 5 years, it's about time to have more adventures, right?
Let's hopefully make the "stop lying to yourself" the part where I follow through on these... stay tuned for details.

I feel good about these goals. I think I have more, but I think I'm happy with this list. Can I keep up with everything? Who knows. But I'm sure as shit going to try.

Happy New Year, everyone. Let's make 2013 awesome.

how long till next year? three and a half minutes.

Why hello there, good people of the internet.

Somehow, sneakily and unnoticed by just about everybody hopefully more people than just me, the year is about to end! Wait, what?

I write from my parents house and childhood home in San Jose, California, where I absconded early this week for an extended hiatus to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

By and large, I have accomplished this! I've been doing a lot of eating my dad's cooking, drinking red wine with my mom, going to bed early (YES I'M OLD AND I AM NOT ASHAMED), playing with my puppies, shopping, and catching up with old friends. And in the interim, I've been doing quite a bit a smidge of reflecting on the year that's passed.

It's an open secret that 2012 was not my best year. I started that sentence by writing that 2012 was not kind to me, but in truth I think it's more accurate to say I was not the kindest to 2012. For reasons I'm still not quite clear on, 2012 was a year of personal struggles that took more of a toll than I was willing to admit at the time on my self-image, relationships, and general happiness.

You might recall that my one New Years' resolution from 2011 was to be more positive. I think it's safe to say that I failed. It's okay - I've made my peace with it, because I picked back up with that effort in August of this year (listen better late than never okay?) and have been doing reasonably well since then. But I bring it up because it's been emblematic of the really sort of, well, out of character year I've been having, where I've come since then, and most importantly, where I want to go. In short, I've been negative, I've been self-doubting and best and vaguely self-loathing at worst, and in the interim developed some really charming habits to deal with all of that. And none of that sounds like me, nor did it feel like me at the time. It was like spending 8 months on a particularly sucky vacation with the worst version of me. But it taught me a lot, and most importantly looking back, I finally, finally learned that it's okay to not be okay. Because when I realized I wasn't okay was when I had my psuedo-epiphany about how to work on being happy in the middle of the ocean in Edisto (true fact! whee I'm kind of a hippie), and that was kind of awesome.

So without further ado, my year in review! That wasn't supposed to rhyme but I'm totally okay with it that it did.

In January I joined a theatre company, did a concert featuring the music of the Carpenters, and got fired for the first time! After that I realized that I am still ill-equiped to deal with free time. It is what it is.

Funemployment 2012, part 1. That would become a theme this year! (Fortunately, only one such party was mine. But it did ring in the year of the Tortilla Flats Funemployment Party.)

In February, I became the first recipient of what would become known as the "Ellie Rubin Rule" which basically guarantees your friends' support when you make really really fucking stupid decisions with respect to boys. It was a low point. But THEN, it was Caribbean vacation time! My roommate and I decided to wisely flee the grey misery that comprises New York City in February, and we flew to St. Thomas. A highly highly excellent choice, and one I hope to repeat in 2013. The first of my 2012 beach trips. Serious win.

Hey there, paradise. Don't mind if I do.

In March, I got back on the audition train and geared up rehearsing for my first NYC premiere! ANd also fell more and more in love with my crazy Bizarre Noir theatre family. I also re-taught myself to play the guitar and played with turquoise eyeshadow. Heyyy, East Texas in the 90s.

As Bitsy Mae Harling in Del Shores' Sordid Lives. New York City premiere!

I also finally conquered my fear of Broadway Dance Center, and briefly rediscovered pole dance at my former workplace (where I managed. So we're clear). I also searched mostly in vain for a new job, got one, and then learned to listen to my instincts by uh, not taking it. Hey, you live and you learn.

In April, after 22 years I finally visited our nation's capital! And got cast in a reading of a new musical playing a 14 year old gymnast. Totally true to type. And based on P!nk's Missundazstood album (appropriately the show was called Misunderstood the Musical) so that's clearly awesome. And maybe actually did help me channel my inner 14 year old.
Obviously this is from DC... I have no pictures of me from Misunderstood, unfortunately.

In May, Misunderstood performed (the day after Drinko de Mayo), I began rehearsing for summer's Miss Robusta Lays a Bomb with Bizarre Noir and joined the cast of the first stage adaptation of the film Imitation of Life. Miss Robusta of course, ended up being one of the highlights of the summer. Imitation of Life on the other hand ended up being the first and only show whose cast I've ever joined that I did not see the show through to production and left the cast during the rehearsal process. (This didn't happen in May, so my recap is slightly out of order. Sue me.) It felt shitty at the time, but taught me a lesson you'd think would have sunk in by now but still hasn't - trust your instincts. If it doesn't feel right, it's because it's probably not. Also, I got a tattoo. And celebrated my favorite New York holiday, fleet week.

In June, I spent an inordinate amount time at the Manch and even more time daydreaming about my upcoming vacation. At the end of the month, someone very near and dear to me departed our beloved city of New York, and so we got very drunk celebrated/cried a little (or a lot, if you're me) over the end of an era.

In July, the aforementioned vacation and very near and dear person to my life came together as my roommate and I descended upon Bermuda for Bitches, Beaches, and Birthdays: Bermuda 2012. Hooray, using my passport in 2012 and double hooray 2nd beach vacation of the year! And I turned 23 in Bermuda which was pretty freaking great.

Mmm, more beach.

July also saw the performances of Miss Robusta Lays a Bomb, which were all kinds of fantastic, and a great week spent with my family who came out for the show. July also saw some drama come to a head, and began to clue me in to the fact that something had to give... more on that to come.
"On the Verge" from Miss Robusta Lays a Bomb. I continue to impress myself with the myriad ways I incorporate my senior prom dress into my adult life.

In August, I shot my first episode of a TV show on Biography Channel's "Celebrity Ghost Stories" playing a dead college student, and traveled to, of all places, Edisto Island South Carolina for what turned out to be one of the best, most relaxing, most fun vacations of all time. It also was the week that, standing in the ocean, I had a strange moment of revelation about how my life had been going up to the point and the realization that I desperately needed a change. I was reminded of the resolution I made for myself to be more positive... and that I was failing miserably at... and that I was sick and tired of being the sort of volatile, unpleasant, generally unhappy person that I had been living inside of for so long. It was a really, REALLY good feeling to leave so much of that behind quite literally to float away to sea, and was a desperately needed wakeup call inside of a GREAT freaking vacation.

Home sweet Dunworkin.

Mmm, EVEN MORE BEACH. YEP. That makes 3 beach vacations inside of 7 months. Serious, serious win.
Toto, I don't think we're in New York anymore...

In September, I kept my jet-setting streak alive by sneaking home to California for a week of family, puppies, and San Francisco Giants baseball. And then returned and promptly sold my soul to the bar to make up for the summer of running away from my real life responsibilities, and enacted operation get my shit together, aka back to audition-land.
No place like home sweet NorCal.

Which brings us to this fall... October with Mika and Giants baseball and the WORLD SERIES and Hurricane Sandy, November with audition epiphanies DC again and Friendsgiving 2012 and Welcome to New Yawk, and December leading right up to the second to last day of the year. WOAH.

The point I'm making, mostly for myself here, is that while I thought of it as kind of a shitty year - and it was, in the emotional/spiritual sense - I did and saw and experienced a lot of incredible things this year, both personally and professionally and in spite of all the aforementioned emotional/spiritual bullshit, I would not have traded anything in my 2012 for a year that I ultimately came through healthier, stronger, and certainly a lot happier.

Cheers, 2012. We did not see eye to eye, and yet in a way I'm still a little sad to see you go. Thanks for the memories.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A week of personal firsts

As of Friday, I had a very different blog post planned. My heart still hurts for Newton, CT, for the lives those kids will never have, for the empty chair at their Christmas, and for the fact that it is ABSOLUTELY indefensible that we as Americans STILL can't seem to face the fact that we need to have a new conversation about gun control in this country. There is nothing okay about the fact that we are quicker to defend the right to bear arms than any given kindergarteners' right to not get gunned down in the classroom.

That having been said, life goes on. And so though that was Friday, it's the other, less horribly depressing events of my week that have brought me here.

Kicked off last week with an audition for the Texas Shakespeare Festival and committed the deeply embarrassing faux pas of forgetting my headshot and thus ended up almost 40 minutes late for my appointment. Though I felt pretty good about it, it was not a terribly auspicious start to the audition week. Tuesday I had an appointment for Let My People Come, a musical about sex... and my first foray into auditioning for shows with nudity. In spite of it being a 9 am audition in Morningside Heights at a bar, it went surprisingly well and I was brought back for the "dance" call the following morning.

If you look closely, you'll see the people on this album cover are in various levels of undress. More to come (pun intended) on that...

"Dance" call, you might be wondering? Well. I'll tell you. I arrive dressed to dance, as do the about two dozen other girls that are called back in my time frame. Then all of a sudden, the producer comes out to tell us that we'll be following Equity protocol and there will be a woman in the room at any time there will be nudity.

Sorry, wait? Hold the phone. I knew there was nudity in the show but nobody told me I was getting naked at the callback today. I had an inkling of suspicion on the train, but surely they would have notified us, right? WRONG.

They brought us in to learn a part of a song from the show, and then began bringing us in in small groups to perform. I had the (mis?) fortune to be in the last group, so it became abundantly clear rather quickly that yes. Yes, nudity was in the cards today. First time through, we sang the song, second time, we sang in our underwear, and the third time through we sang in whatever level of undress we were comfortable with.

So I sat, and I deliberated, and I made awkward audition small talk... and then the moment came. In we went, and we started off for round one. Sangin. Okay. That'll work. Round two, underwear singing. Let's face it, I was basically in my underwear in all my costumes from Miss Robusta Lays a Bomb this summer, and I did my first scantily clad photoshoot in college for Move Over Mrs. Markham, so that's a comfort level I can safely say I have actually reached. Was thrown for a brief loop when we all got to solo - in our underwear - but hey. Go with the flow.

And then the moment came. Until this point, I was firm on the fact that I intended to get topless, but the undies were staying on. But then we all started singing, and somehow... I decided to go for it! Naked. Singing. No, there are no photos of that. You're welcome. Was it weird? Yes. Did I immediately come home and have a two mimosas? Yes. But I did it.

While talking to a friend as we waited, I mentioned that two years ago had someone asked me to do this, there's no way I would have been comfortable enough to do this. She said the opposite, mentioning that she had been much thinner then. Ironically, so was I, but also so much less sure of myself and my body. It was wild and unsettling and crazy to get naked and sing and dance in an audition setting, but it was also really really freeing. I felt safe and why not? Here's to realizing what you can do. I didn't get the show, but it was a good experience to realize I was okay with that.

The rest of the week flew by, and before I knew it it was d-day - race day! I went to The Running Company after work Friday night to pick up my bib and free mug. It was really happening.

That's me! Number 1210 and now the proud owner of a Roosevelt Island 5K/10K mug. Eeee!

Saturday flew crawled by in a blur of Santa Con related horror and misery, and before I knew it it was 12:45 and I was able to sneak out of the bar a little early to pass out in my bed after twelve hours of serving shots to drunk people dressed as a coterie of Christmas related evil. Now as luck would have it, as with every time I have an early morning obligation, I slept nervously and not very well, but nonetheless at 8 am my alarm went off and I popped out of bed bleary eyed bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to head to Roosevelt Island to meet up with my dear friend Kati who I conned into running this with me.

Actually I'm joking, Kati has already run a half-marathon. Silly.

Pre-race. Eeeee this is happening! I really think I'm ready... I might actually be ready... I'm probably not ready. But I'm gonna run!

And the post race! I did it! I really did it! Kati at this point suggested that we run another lap. I laughed and enjoyed my free hot chocolate. But the point is I did it! And even a little faster than I expected!

32:34 seconds, for an average pace of 10:30/mile. Is it super fast? No. Is it even that far a distance? No. But coming from a girl who used to say she could only run on the treadmill because it wouldn't let me stop, from a girl who used to cry when she had to do the mile run in middle school, and a girl who wouldn't have EVER imagined herself signing up for a race for fun six months ago, this was a pretty freaking big deal. And I'm pretty proud of myself for going through with it.

And hey, I even kind of enjoyed it. And I may or may not be looking up next ones I can do.

All told, not a bad week for pushing my boundaries and really seeing what my own limits are. I think I did pretty well, actually.

Now it's t-1 week until California, and it's going to fly by with work, holiday parties, my roommate's birthday, and the potential end of the world. BRING IT, this week.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Where did November go?

Aww, I was on such a good stretch with the whole blogging thing.


So it's December - almost mid December - and I can't seem to quite figure out where the time went. In the blink of an eye passed Welcome to New Yawk, Thanksgiving, and the usual attendant cadre of shenanigans that are my life, leaving me with just under a week to my first 5K and just over two weeks till Christmas. WHAT? 2013 is right around the corner, assuming that the world doesn't end, and I've barely had time to process that it's no longer October.

A quick pictorial tour of what I've been up to:
Thanksgiving day brunch action - a few several mimosas, spinach artichoke dip, and a sensible cheese plate. Otherwise known as the mid-afternoon Mean Girls drinking game and why we didn't start cooking anything besides turkey until 6 pm. And yes, that is peach flavored André in the background. Hey, it was $4 and we had already spent almost $80 on cabs because of an unfortunate lock-out incident with food in the oven.

Wouldn't be a New York holiday without some fire escape action. Little scenic action of Washington Heights.

Friendsgiving 2012. Or that time that I channeled my inner Paula Deen and put eight thousand sticks of butter in everything. (No but really).

December 1st is Christmas decoration day at home! Came home from work to discover the Christmas fairy had arrived in my apartment. Much more homey with the tree up!

Trying to balance the whole job and career things with a little line learning action behind the bar. I multitask like a champ. Happy hour is until 9 pm.

Last rehearsal for Welcome to New Yawk with MuSE at the Secret Theatre in Queens. This is the finale number of the sparkly glittery puff ball of awesome that was "The Staten Island Fairy."

In the midst of this all, I tried to remember that I committed myself to running a 5K... and that it's fucking COLD running outdoors in December. So I bought real running gear for the outdoors. The fluorescent pink goodness of this jacket kept me warm but did nothing for my motivation totally made me PSYCHED about running as you can obviously tell by my face.

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style...

Sangin. "Going Back to Staten Island." Hey I kinda look like I know what I'm doing here, don't I? Thanks, production photos!

This one time, I heard "exteriors" and "evening" and these were not immediate dealbreakers for extra work. This was potentially the mistake of a lifetime. Mardi Gras in December in Yonkers working background on "The Following." Hey, at least now I'm only 1 degree of separation from Kevin Bacon.

As my reward for my new Bacon number, a bacon Bloody Mary. Yep. That happened.

In audition land, things are getting a little... eh. I got called in for SkippyJon Jones at Theatreworks, which I've been seen for twice already. Though it's nice that they keep bringing me in, I've (for the first time) reached the point where I'd reeeeally like them to just book me. Though it's nice to be at that point, it's also somewhat incredibly frustrating. Found out Friday that I didn't get an appointment for this year's StrawHat auditions. Though last years' audition was sick, underprepared, and a general trainwreck, it's still discouraging to know I don't even have an appointment. For one, this dooms me to a winter of open call hell during what's known as "Summerstock Hell Week" and for two, it frankly just sucks since I submitted my paperwork even EARLIER this year than I did last year when I got an appointment.

It's bizarre, isn't it? I can finish a show, be in rehearsal for the next, and have lined up a contact for something after that (one of our regulars at the bar is a playwright) and still feel like I'm not doing enough. Maybe that's my way of reminding myself that I care and of checking in with my real work ethic, but it still fucking sucks that I can have all this going and still feel like I'm on an audition/career/theatrical losing streak. I'm not... discouraged the way I've been in the past but I just feel down about acting lately. It's not that I've stopped caring or stopped believing in myself but it's just hard to rally optimism as of right now. Nonetheless, I have another appointment tomorrow morning and one Thursday night, so we'll keep right on rolling along.

In the meantime, I'm officially in dead week for this race thing and... I kind of almost maybe don't hate running anymore! I kind of almost maybe feel ready! Okay. That's a lie. But I roped someone into doing the race with me so even if I collapse or cry or want to give up and walk at least I have a built in cheerleader (who already ran a half marathon... you know, because that's no big deal). And even though I'm starting to get nervous about this, part of me is already gearing up to do another one... and then maybe even a 10K. Who knows. I'm getting crazy, kids.

And as always, life goes on. Life, work, boys, New Years', Christmas shopping... the usual. I just keep rolling along. Here's to the last 21 days of the year!

(YIKES really though how did that happen?!?)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Picking up the pieces wherever they fall

First things first, remember that audition where I said that it seemed like maybe I was starting to get it? I got that show! I am very proud to announce that I will be joining Multicultural Sonic Evolution in Welcome to New Yawk! A Five-Borough Musical Tour. I play Shana in the Manhattan piece "Stay Away from the Cave Man," and Woman in "Staten Island Fairy" (which is about Queens, obviously...).

Our flyer!

It feels REALLY good to be in rehearsal again, and the pieces are super fun and silly. It's gonna be a good time.

To celebrate (not really, but the news coincided!) I went to DC last weekend to drink heavily to visit one of my dearest friends from highschool/recipient of frequent asinine texts about the absurdity that is my life.
Casually chilling with the president. Sup Obama! Happy 2nd term to you sir.

Julia and I are best and most accurately represented by St. Patrick's Day... or one of the really awkward photos of us from high school show choir. Not sharing those.

 I went to DC in April this year to do all the sightseeing and touristing, so it seemed appropriate that this time I would focus on what's really important... visiting all of our nation's capitals bars. Okay, maybe not all of them, but quite a few. And unlimited mimosas, natch.

In other news... I've been slacking. Last Monday I had an audition for Double Falsehood at The Secret Theatre, which I was bummed to learn I did not book as 1) I loooove me some only recently canon-ized Shakespeare and 2) I just felt really good about the audition and it's been a long ass time since I've done Shakespeare. Tuesday I dragged myself out of bed for open calls for ArtsPower and with the intention of going to Theatre Under the Stars' Man of La Mancha call... 

My roommate and I divided and conquered to put up a pretty respectable numbers 15 and 16 on the list at ArtsPower... and 93 and 94 at TUtS. Eh. Could be worse. Being so much lower on the list made us trek from Ripley back up to Nola to do ArtsPower first, and both of us put up pretty lackluster performances. After a quick conference, we realized that it probably just wasn't worth it to go back to Man of La Mancha, and we called it a day to go home and take naps. 

Audition calendar is looking a little thin this week, though I do have an appointment for a new play and a workshop with a Shakespeare company on Tuesday that should be fun.

In the meantime, I have realized that my race is only a month away and I'm starting to realize I'm woefully unprepared. By which I mean I have still only run like 2.5 miles at a time... and I'm doing it sloooooow. And I only went running once this week. And didn't go to the gym at all. Basically it was a fat week, is the point of all of this. Might need to make myself a workout schedule for this week... which has Thanksgiving sandwiched in the middle. Totally gonna happen. Yep. Let's just keep telling myself that.
That's my "I really love exercise and I can totally handle making a workout schedule for myself" face. It's gonna be awesome. 3.1 miles let's do this.

In all honesty, however, I think my lack of physical activity goes a long way towards accounting towards the sort of... off color attitude I've had all week. Nothing is "wrong" in my life, per say, but I've noticed myself getting snippy and short with people who don't deserve it and generally starting to backslide into a negative headspace I've been consciously working really hard to get out of.

I had a small but very real slap in the face of "oh right, your life is kind of charmed" this morning afternoon when, after complaining via text message about wanting brunch, friends who had already eaten agreed to sit with me so I could indulge my brunch craving. Silly? Absolutely. But it was the kind of thing that reminded me that I'm very lucky to have the people I have in my life and I would be wise to focus on that, rather than sweating the small stuff.

This was particularly fortunate as my roommate - one of the aforementioned friends - did this for me anyway after witnessing a very real (if drunken) deluge of my insanity last night and chose to (pretend to) not judge me after I made a somewhat foolish/dignity forfeiting decision somewhere in the wee small hours of this morning.

The truth of it is that while nothing is "wrong," I'm spending a wee bit too much time dwelling in Last November right now - today is the one year anniversary of moving to this apartment and while I'm happy to have HIT a year in one place with no immediate moving plans, as I've discussed a few times, this time last year was not a walk in the park for me. A friend and I discussed it at lunch, and apparently we're deciding that October/November is annually when I do shows about New York and work myself into complicated situations with boys (more on that most likely never some other time). Yikes.

Okay and yes. I actually know how to fix my current complicated boy situation, I'm just... well... not doing it. Learn from your mistakes much, Stevenson? No? Okay great. Carry on. Proceed blindly off the cliff.

Realizing that I'm heading down this road is about as much as I can hope for right now - if I can recognize that I'm about to go off the psycho bitch deep end, I can reasonably hope to put in a little more swimming effort to stay in the shallow end of the crazy pool. That was a really poorly constructed metaphor, but it's what I've got.

So I'm going to take it one day at a time, I'm going to get my ass on the treadmill/pounding the pavement because shockingly, the whole physical activity thing really does help, and keep picking up the pieces wherever they fall.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Starting to finally, maybe, a little bit get it right

Before we begin, WAY TO GET IT RIGHT, AMERICA! So very proud to be an American in the wake of four more years with Obama in the White House. Are we a flawless America at present? Of course not. But I believe in my president and I believe in my country and I am giddy with relief and excitement that Obama gets another term.

Classiest post election photo? Perhaps not. Most hilarious? Yes.

Moving right along, today was a three audition day! This is big, considering I haven't been to an audition at all in over a week. I (mostly) blame Sandy. There is of course, the tiny snag that I was supposed to go to Disney on Monday but my disgusting cold has not entirely left the building and I was phlegmy and coughing and it just wasn't happening in the singing department, folks.

Because apparently the weather gods hate the northeast right now, after last week's run-in with Hurricane Sandy, last night we got treated to winter storm somethingorother. It had a name but I've already forgotten it.
This was my block last night on my way home from ballet. It's NOVEMBER.

I wasn't positive auditions were even going to happen today - curse you, weather! - but a quick search around Playbill/Backstage/Actors Access/Audition Update proved that we were still on track in open call land, which means No Skip November would win out. I tried grudgingly to remind myself that crappy weather is usually a benefit, because it means that less people will show up for auditions. It didn't make my impending wakeup call seem any less crappy.

Nevertheless, I dragged myself out of bed at 7:15 with a RAGING headache, which I thought was extremely rude since it's not like I did the drinking to deserve it. Made it to Pearl by about 8:30 for The Family Theatre Company's In the Heights and found that I was only number 10 on the list. Success! I had an appointment across the street for a new play called Confessions of Poverty at 10 am, though, so I was like ahhh this is confusing because I will be in (wait for it) group 1 at ITH and then how will I multitask ahhhh morning ahhh brainexplodes ahhhh auditions. So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I ran into the monitor, my lovely friend Vincent, on the street! He had my back. It was great.

Confessions of Poverty was meh. I should have read the whole play - which they sent me on Tuesday - instead of only making it to page 30, so that's on me. My reading was solid, I think, but also not exactly right for the way the character was written. There's something to be said for making it your own, but there's something to be said for it not clicking because it's not the best interpretation of the material. Nonetheless, when the author questioned me on my thoughts on the piece I was able to offer some reasonably not bullshit-sounding interpretation and I think overall he liked me. We'll see if anything comes of that.

Went back to ITH and was called literally immediately upon arrival. Win! Decided on the line what I was singing though, which is a habit I desperately have to get out of. It was at this time that I decided to try a new thing - singing from the show!

I was always told this was frowned upon, but I'm beginning to see that in the professional world that's not really true. I've sung "Breathe" on countless occasions in class, concerts, etc. - you can read about my relationship to In the Heights and the song in this post from last January - but I've never once thought to sing it in an audition. Which is silly, right? So decide I did, sing I did, and it felt GREAT. I have sung it so many times I really didn't have to worry about it, and because of that it was also one of the most solid acting performances I've had in an audition in a long time.

They didn't ask me to dance, which means I didn't get called back. And while that sucks, it's been a while since I've walked out of the audition and been like "I feel good about what I left up there."

This evening, much later, I had an audition for a collection of new short musicals about New York. I got home from ITH at 11:30... and this audition wasn't until 9:05. This is not exactly great for garnering momentum, so it was slow going dragging myself back out of the house into the 40 degree feels like 35 degree weather. 

I sang "You Can Always Count on Me" from City of Angels (AND didn't forget the words!) followed by Sara Bareilles' "Between the Lines" and a monologue from Nicky Silver's Food Chain. And everything went over really well! They were verbally responsive to both songs and I got huge laughs on my monologue which is reasonably rare. Afterwards, as I was wrapping up and getting ready to go, one of the panel said that he was really impressed to see somebody who made such smart choices of material and who clearly knew who they were as an actor come in the room.




I was dumbstruck with shock. And (here it comes again) gratitude. And maybe even awe. Because most days I'm not sure who I am as a person, let alone as an actor.

And yet... I think maybe I'm starting to get it. I know how to make the choices that make me feel comfortable and show me off, know how to find and present the material I really connect with that do show me off as a person and an actress. It was a GREAT feeling and I pretty much walked home on air. Who knows if I'll book it - I hope that I do - but that was a hell of a compliment to get today.

Son of a bitch I guess I'm doing something right - I finally got something right.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hurricane Sandy, gratitude, weekend morning running... And a side of everything else.

Hey there, blogosphere.

As some of you living in America (and Kitty Kat) may or may not know, we here in New York just weathered a hurricane. My neighborhood was UNBELIEVABLY fortunate - Hell's Kitchen suffered now power outages, no flooding, no downed trees, no damage of any kind.

I have to be honest - in the wake of what I remain referring to as Fauxrricane Irene, I didn't prepare for Sandy AT ALL. I battoned down the hatches, taped the windows, filled the tupperware, stocked the dry goods, watched the news and waited through Irene, which in New York city turned out to be a glorified heavy rainstorm that passed by 10 am the following day.

Sandy, on the other hand, turned out to be decidedly NOT that kind of hurricane.

What in the wee hours of the morning would become the most iconic Manhattan image of Hurricane Sandy.

This photo was taken at Avenue C and 8th Street, in lower Manhattan, on Monday night. Shown this photo before last week, I would have assumed it was taken circa several years ago somewhere in Louisiana or Florida. I could share countless more, but you, like me, have the internet and can find the images just as easily as I can. I'd show you a picture of my neighborhood but if you look at this last post
you'll find a picture of Hell's Kitchen and it looks EXACTLY like that post-Sandy.

My hurricane consisted of a very ordinary Monday at work - actually, a very BUSY Monday at work for people looking for an open spot to drink, concocting a DIY Hurricane Cocktail, and partying through the storm with friends. Looking back, this was irresponsible at best and downright dangerous and disrespectful at worst.
I still find this image HILARIOUS, but in the wake of what turned out to not be bullshit the way Irene was, it's also a little embarrassing how much and how closely I identified with this as I did literally all of those things except the cigarettes.

Throughout the week I've heard more and more stories of the devastation of this hurricane of a scale I frankly couldn't have ever expected here in the Northeast. Many of my friends were without power for the last 6 days, most could not work nor get into Manhattan, and I talked to DOZENS of people at the bar whose lives were COMPLETELY changed by Sandy, including an older couple who lives in the building I pictured above. Even friends lucky enough to live in neighborhoods untouched were stuck without being able to go to work and earn paychecks this week because their offices or restaurants were at best powerless, at worst flooded and beyond repair. I watched the news this week with a blank horror I rarely feel, and a powerlessness I have never really known in the face of nature.

Previously, the term "hurricane" hit closer to home for me than many other natural disasters as I had relatives live through Hurricane Andrew in Florida and Katrina in Louisiana. Those relatives checked in early and often, both last year for Irene and this year for Sandy, and their concern made me feel guilty for my own lack of preparation. And made me realize how naive I was to be so cavalier about something like this. It's NOTHING but lucky that I live in midtown instead of the East Village or Battery Park City and that I work in a neighborhood that also never lost power. I didn't deserve to get this lucky and my earlier cavalier attitude is coming back to bite me in the ass with a sense of proverbial Catholic guilt I never knew I possessed.

I grew up in reasonably idyllic California in the 2000s and didn't live in New York for 9/11 or any of its ensuing crises. At the risk of sounding cliché, this was my first real wake-up that things like this REALLY DO happen where I live, to people I know, to people I care about, and maybe probably someday, to me. There are dozens of ways to help and I will be finding them - this is too big a lesson to not act on.

The reason I say this is because yesterday morning and today, I went for runs that took me down the Hudson River to the west village, and it was AMAZING the difference between yesterday morning and Wednesday (my last outdoor run, when the power was still out). And the spirit of New Yorkers hell bent and determined to return to their routine was awe inspiring. This is a RESILIENT fucking city. That's something I hadn't exactly hoped to experience first hand, but it's been pretty amazing to see.

This morning in particular, I ran with what must have been dozens of folks here for the marathon, which was cancelled in the wake of widespread controversy about going on with it in spite of the hurricane. Though the marathon's cancellation is something with which I agreed wholeheartedly, the amount of people out and about to make the best of it was pretty great. I've heard many ran the distance today in Central Park anyway, a lot of whom did so to fundraise for relief efforts. OBVIOUSLY I'm not a marathoner (hi the two miles I did Wednesday, yesterday, and today were killer enough for me so 26.2 is not in the cards for this girl anytime soon) but it's still something I can respect.

I have spent the week telling people that my hurricane was "uneventful" and reiterating how lucky I have been, but it's only recently been sinking in how much worse it could have - and by rights maybe should have - been. I live two blocks from a river and ON AN ISLAND, for fuck's sake. It doesn't get much luckier than having no damage in that situation. To be frank, I've never felt more blessed.

In other news, life goes on, both in New York on the whole and in my life. Pre-Sandy, my beloved San Francisco Giants WON THE WORLD SERIES!

Just after striking out the alleged best player in baseball for the final out for the win. Storming the field. Picture me in a bar screaming and jumping up and down and maaaaaybe crying a little.

Me and one of my best friends JUST after the win and we both called to gush with our moms. This shit-eating grin stayed plastered to my face alllllll night and I'm pretty positive I woke up with it in the morning.

The hurricane hit the following day, and if you want my recap there scroll up or read the goddamn news.

In audition-land, everything was (unsurprisingly) cancelled owing to the hurricane and rescheduled for this week. Tomorrow I have Hong Kong Disney on tap before work, with In the Heights and an appointment for a new musical appropriately about New York Thursday. Back to Backstage, back to Actors Access, back to Playbill... back to life, back to reality.

I also have a real idea for a creative project... it involves Shakespeare, the High Line, site-specific theatre, and me actually really doing some work for the good of my own career. I'm excited and kind of terrified and we'll see what happens. More details to come when I have them. If I can pull this off it's going to be awesome... and if I can't, I will at the very least know I tried.

In fitness land, as I said, I went on three outdoor runs today. I have no idea if my gym was even open, because I was determined to be outdoors... and also because it's time to stop fucking around and getting my body used to how much harder that is than the treadmill (and because it's gotten really cold, and I signed up for a December race like an idiot). In my C25K training, I ran my first 20 minutes without stopping this week! It's not that much, I know... but my cardiovascular fitness has always been more dance oriented. And for someone who still remembers being made fun of for not being able to run one mile without stopping in middle school, it feels pretty damn good to look back at the fact that this week alone I have run six. I WILL get a series card at BDC this week and I WILL be dancing.

I also have to be honest - this post almost didn't happen because I woke up feeling shitty and cranky and angry today after going to bed feeling shitty and cranky and angry last night. Not all of it is resolved, but a lot was a much simpler fix than I thought... and it feels good, at the very least, to know that. Some of it probably stems from bigger issues, but I'm working on it. It also feels really good to know that whatever my (many) flaws, I've come a long way from where I was even this July where I would have bottled this up and lashed out inappropriately rather than accept how I felt and motivate myself to feel better and deal with it. Baby steps towards maturity, baby steps towards gratitude, baby steps towards a better me.

Where I've been running. New York's pretty fucking gorgeous sometimes, right? Here's to rebuilding, and here's to inspiration.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On staying put for once

Greetings readers! I know you've missed me... I spoiled you with my three updates in an almost timely fashion. I had to go back to the old Siobhan you know and love.

Very little to report on the audition front, I'm afraid. The intention this week was to hit up Broward Stage Door Theatre on Monday and Literally Alive Theatre Company's A Christmas Carol this Monday and Tuesday, but unfortunately I have been sidelined by a really cute completely disgusting cold. I rarely get sick and therefore I handle it super well, by which I basically mean acting like a huge baby. Regardless, singing is REALLY out of the question at present.

I did audition last night for Monsterpiece Theatre Collective's all-female Richard III - it was just okay. I used a monologue I haven't done in a while and though I felt fine about it, I felt... fine. Nothing special. It was, if I'm being honest, a little one note. Though they kept me in the room for a while to talk about my resume and my training, they didn't ask me to read anything else. I think their callbacks are next week, so I suppose we'll wait and see but frankly I'm not holding my breath. Got five on the schedule for next week though - all open calls but one (boo) - so keep your fingers crossed for me that the all orange juice diet I'm about to embark on makes me actually healthy again.

In healthy living news, I'm getting back serious about the whole gym thing AND I decided to give myself a deadline! Aka, I registered for a race. Roosevelt Island Hot Chocolate 5K here I come. It's in December. I'm probably insane. You should all probably be there to watch me cross the finish line and pass out.
Eeee! Here goes nothing.

Now needless to say, because of the aforementioned really gross cold, today's gym adventure took the backseat but never fear. Still on track for tomorrow. And still clocking in at 7.5 miles so far this week... so I think I can give myself a liiiiittle credit.

In the meantime, it's October. Which for the past three years has meant moving time in this household. And yet for the first time in a long time, this nomad finally gets to stay put. It's an odd notion. Perhaps my constant schedule of New Apartment October is what makes me inclined, as I mentioned in the past, to feel as though fall - rather than January - is the real start of a new year.

The trajectory of having to move in October is also a somewhat unsettling one. See, once upon a time in first grown up apartment land, four little girls from NYU decided that living in a depressing prison cell of a two bedroom apartment with bunk beds was NOT worth $1600/month (give or take) per person, and they ventured off into the exciting world of Manhattan real estate. After looking at what felt like a thousand  twenty or so apartments, they settled on living here:

Ah, the glamorous life. Sure, they still had two bedrooms for four people, but they had a doorman and a patio and a schmancy Murray Hill address! What could go wrong?

Wellll... it doesn't work out quite so nicely in person as it does on paper when you run afoul of your next door dwelling super who has a vendetta against you and you aren't EXACTLY within the technically legal limits of your lease. One thing led to another and the super found out that management didn't know four of us lived there and well... bye bye Murray Hill, hello Harlem. And so began the first October moving month.

Meet my next home, the Miles in East Harlem.
Aww, look how much it looks like the luxury high rise it pretends to be from the outside. I've got your number, Miles, and so does every other tenant who's EVER lived there.

Pros: the biggest apartment I will likely EVER live in. The Cons: well... just about everything else. Where do I begin. From the 1 working elevator (of 4) for a building with around 1000 tenants (not an exaggeration) to the frequent police raids to the teenaged potheads in my hallway to the roaches to the mice to the neighborhood, suffice it to say that living here was an... experience. If you don't believe me you can google this monstrosity. Or read any number of scathing reviews on Yelp. (Ugh but the apartment itself... how I miss it). New October, new appointments. Life goes on.
Third apartment complex inside of two and a half years. We have a knack for picking the idyllic LOOKING ones that quickly turn to shit.

After a string of unsuccessful viewings up near City College, determined as we were to leave East Harlem we eventually settled in the no-man's-land known as upper Yorkville. Technically the border of Harlem and the UES, this was a paradise for us. Things delivered, there were (gasp) actual bars (borderline) walking distance away, and best of all, ALL OF THE ELEVATORS WORKED. Soon enough, however, we'd realize we were in another property managed by the same company. And sooner than that, some of us - namely me - would realize what a huge pain in the ass it is to live 45 minutes from everywhere you ever need to go. I need hardly tell you that October rolled around and boom... It was moving season again.

Home sweet Hell's Kitchen, where a little nomad girl can stay put for a while at last.

Which brings me to today. Moving round 4 in 3.5 years was nearly the straw that broke the camels back. Collectively, in that time, I have seen somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 apartments from the West 155th Street all the way to Crown Heights, Brooklyn. I have seen the good, the bad, the horrific, the way over-priced, the gorgeous but inconvenient, the walk through, the "but it's such a good renovation," and the dream apartments I could never have. I am, in short, basically qualified to be a real-estate broker but I'm pretty sure that to do so, you have to sell your soul to the devil. Clearly I'm not going to show you a photo of where I live now because this is the internet and I'd like not to get stalked. But give or take about a block, the above photo is where I live (not in that high rise, sadly).

My first year here did not get off to an auspicious start. After an extremely hectic but ultimately successful move in day turned pizza party turned drunken shenanigans, this went down, my roommates went home for Thanksgiving leaving me alone in a still-boxed apartment, my job took a turn for the worse, and I was left feeling... generally adrift. Though I had a new apartment in my dream neighborhood, things were not exactly going according to plan. I felt impotent, and out of control which I really hate... but I did not go shopping, a la Cher Horowitz.
This is not in New York. And so I did not go there to find sanctuary in a place where I could gather my thoughts. And no, I didn't need to look up that quote. I'm just THAT cool. It's fine, I know you're jealous.

Instead, just like any moving year... you adapt. You make a new home. And I'm proud to say that for the first time since 2009, I will be STAYING here for another year. Yep. You heard right. No boxes, no appointments, no brokers, no UHaul, no packing, no security deposits, no Ikea (actually that one's kind of a bummer). Just me, my roommates, and my first ever lease renewal. Yes, this apartment's kind of (really) small, and yes there are issues, but this time we're not cutting and running at the first sign of trouble. And besides, this neighborhood fucking rocks.

...Perhaps my relationship to my apartments could be construed as an extended metaphor with my relationship to commitment. Things to ponder for another time. Is this what adulthood feels like?

So in spite of my couchbed potato sickness day today and the generally crappy weather we've been having, I'm feeling pretty damn good about this October.

Here's to new-old beginnings.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

No giving up when you're young and you want some

This post will decidedly focus more on the "madness ensues" part of this blog. It happens.

See, it all started two Wednesdays ago. What was supposed to be "go watch baseball" and have an early night turned into go watch baseball, then go to one's workplace (alllllllways a bad idea after a few drinks since it's not like you're going to end up paying for anything), decide to go home, get sidetracked by a mission for pizza, and end up in one's former local haunt. I blame the half day at work I knew I was having on Thursday.

So I'm not rock solid sure what my excuse for dance party Thursday before my Friday double shift was, but alas, c'est la vie. And then it was a baseball playoff weekend and then... well... the ball was rolling.
I blame the Giants entirely for the decline in my productivity and increase in time spent in bars.

Very little to report by way of auditions except for the Cabaret recap. I sang "You Can Always Count on Me" from City of Angels and in spite of the fact that I've literally been singing it since I was a freshman in college, I have this very bad habit of forgetting the words in audition settings. Or cabaret settings. (I'll refrain from the self aggrandizing inclusion of that video). It's embarrassing, particularly given that 3 years ago this ranked on like EVERY list of overdone songs. I think know I sang the crap out of it at Cabaret auditions, but this little kink doesn't seem to bode well for me and so it was a callback-less audition once again. Once again I was sort of pissed.

It is what it is. Had a full line-up for last Tuesday, but a last minute shift switch Monday night kept me at work until 3 am which rendered getting up at 7 DECIDEDLY out of the question. Weirdly there just hasn't been a whole lot going on, and not just because I've been less than responsible as of late. Have some appointments lined up though and throwing more things on my calendar. Focusing on trying to get Shakespeare Festival auditions as it appears to be that time of year again, and as we all know I love Shakespeare.
Idk, my bff Bill?

Friday night kicked off an eventful weekend, as I reunited with the some of my fellow NYU Cleftomaniacs alumnae (alumna? alumni? I always get confused on the pluralization of this word) and saw Pitch Perfect.
Cleftolove forever. This was taken at my senior concert - literally MOMENTS before it's taking I had been sobbing hysterically. Some of you people have sororities, all of us had acapella. The affectionate joke caption of this photo has since become Phi Beta Clefto.

Alarmingly accurate to my college experience. We all agreed.

Both the reunion and the movie were FANTASTIC. I know I sing all the time at auditions/in my apartment/under my breath at work when I get bored/with Bizarre Noir, but I miss singing in a group a lot of the time, and I really miss being a part of an acapella group sometimes. Anyway, the whole thing was decidedly dorky and fabulous, and much though I love my other friends I was glad to experience this movie with other acapella nerds. Following this was my dear friends' 25th birthday party, which degenerated into an appropriate level of shenanigans and post-mortem brunch the following day. Work, relaxation, and baseball rounded out the weekend - the Giants playing game one of the NLCS on Sunday evening.

On a whim Monday night a friend and I - while watching Giants NLCS game 2 - heard that Mika was playing a show at Webster Hall Tuesday and immediately knew we HAD to get tickets. In fitting with the acapella theme, I was introduced to Mika when we sang "Happy Ending" my freshman year - I purchased his first album that day and it became one of my most played for the next year.
Hey yo Mika - what's the big idea?

The show was AMAZING. I don't really go to a lot of concerts but of my limited experience this was BY FAR the most fun. A perfect mixture of songs from Life in Cartoon Motion, The Boy Who Knew Too Much, and the new album, The Origin of Love. Which I literally purchased on my phone as we left the concert venue. I've been on a Mika binge all day and my love of this artist is totally renewed. And I pretty much lost it when he played "Happy Ending." I tried to stop singing so I wouldn't hear myself on the video, but I kind of couldn't be contained.
Ignore me singing and the less than awesome camera work. "This is the way you left me, I'm not pretending..."

In the last two weeks I've managed to hit the gym approximately three times... epic fail. But I managed to make it today and kick my own butt a little, and I'm re-doing a week of my training plan. It's kind of nice to know that I am making strides (hah. pun not intended) even with my intermittent schedule; I'm still not the future marathoner of my dreams (hahaha. joke) but my endurance is definitely growing and I can feel myself getting stronger.

My tentative goal is to find a race to run in late November, before it gets SERIOUSLY cold in New York. I also MUST get to BDC to get a new club card so I can start dancing again.

Next week I have two A Christmas Carol auditions on the calendar (ah, October), an all-female Julius Caesar (uh. fun!), and hopefully a bunch more things besides when people start responding to my emails. In the mean time, I'll continue to try to have a balanced approach to the fun and living like an adult. We'll see how that goes.