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 AndrĂ© 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?!?)