Saturday, August 28, 2010

Things I love

Just because.

**Disclaimer: this is not an exhaustive list. ;)

1. Lists (obviously)
2. Rachael Yamagata's "Meet Me By The Water" (I feel instantly sexy)
3. Indian takeout
4. Mangoes and sticky rice
6. Long train rides (provided I have a sweater)
7. New York beaches
8. Vocal jazz
9. Sunshine & lemonade
10. Strawberries & cream
11. Chapstick
12. Chopsticks
13. Running in Central Park
14. Getting funny looks from people as I warm up my voice in subway stations
15. Smelling pretty
16. Shoes (always have, always will)
17. The 19.5 days of music in my iTunes library
18. The smell of a baseball glove
19. Soft pretzels
20. Jeans that make my butt look good
21. Red dresses
22. Red lipstick
23. Red nail polish
24. Dark chocolate
25. Pens that write exceptionally well
26. My friends' blogs
27. My friends, in general 
28. The smell of craft stores
29. Tea
30. Non-fiction (think Greg Mortenson, Tracy Kidder and Half the Sky)
31. The BBC
32. NPR News
33. Flash mobs
34. Being rebellious for a good cause
35. Shaking up the status quo
36. Hugs & kisses
37. Kisses (because they deserve a second mention)
38. Playing dress-up
39. The way my hair bounces after I've set it in hot rollers
40. My giant world map

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Frozen Scared

Sorry.  This may not be very organized and coherent, but I'm just going to get it all out.

I am 22.  And everyone around me is getting married.  Okay, maybe not everyone, but it takes more than two hands for me to count the number of friends who've gotten married since college, and even more since high school.  Everyone is falling in love and saying "I do" and making babies.

But one friend just got divorced.  And she's just a little older than me.  I feel bad for not knowing about all this sooner, but we haven't kept in touch since Whitworth.  So I found out today.  And it really scared me.

I think coming from such a small school where everything seems safe and warm and full of possibility can be dangerous.  Do we trust too much?  Do we make too many concessions for the sake of "showing grace?"  Do we really even know ourselves as well as we think?  We are funny, complex, maddening creations, and I'm afraid we only start to figure that out after college.  But so many of us marry young.

All of these ideas have been stirring around in my head the last few weeks.  I've missed a few weddings, but thanks to Facebook, at least I get to see the pictures and hear the stories.  So now I have more married friends.  And then I saw Eat Pray Love which--despite some of the predictability of the story--got me thinking.  When is divorce good?  Did she just bolt?  Was it anyone's fault?  And then, of course, there are the times when I freak myself out by thinking, Oh my gosh.  What if I'm one of the divorce stories in five or ten years?  It terrifies me to think like that, and yet I do.

I think divorce is a very good thing in dangerous, unhealthy relationships.  Most of the women in my family have been in abusive, smothering relationships, and all of them were brave enough and smart enough to get out.  But being surrounded by all of the hurt makes me worry that somehow, I'll say yes to the wrong man, and we'll end up hurting each other in irreversible ways...

I think I'm a strong, capable person, but I also know how easily I can break.  I learned that the hard way my junior year at Whitworth.  I also try to trust God and know that He'll guide me in the direction I'm supposed to go.  But what if I miss the directions?  What if I'm just too happy or busy or independent or scared or hard-of-hearing?

And why do I always have more questions than answers?

Most of the time, I'm optimistic about finding the man of my dreams and making a beautiful life.  But other times, I'm just frozen scared.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Improv Everywhere Flash Mob: Black Tie Beach

Saturday, August 21

The flash mob is a smash success.  It's "Black Tie Beach" with Improv Everywhere.  Everyone shows up to Coney Island as instructed: in ball gowns and tuxedos.  And then we hit the beach.  Dozens upon dozens of us spread out along the beach to swim, build sand castles, and generally create quite the scene, all in our formal wear.  The beach is swarming with leathery old Russian women who stare at us and snap pictures.  They are a sight to behold: brown and lumpy with peroxide-fried locks; it seems they all have a penchant for bikinis, not matter their body type.  A regular day on the beach would be entertaining enough, and those of us with the IE mission only add to the hilarity.  

Laura and I bum around on our towels for a bit before joining in on a group sand castle-raising endeavor.  It's a massive hit.  Lots of detail and massive in size, at least compared with anything I managed to build as a kid.  We are Atlantic-Ocean salty and eager as preschoolers. The sand is everywhere: in our hair, on our dresses, and rubbing between our knees (we call it a spa-free exfoliating treatment).  

Every few minutes, a swimsuit-clad beach-goer stops to ask us why we're all dressed up and swimming in our clothes.  We give them our scripted answer, as instructed: "We just like to dress up for the beach."  

"So you're not with a wedding?  You don't know each other?"

"No.  We've never met these people."  Needless to say, they're puzzled.

One man stops to ask me if I am part of a religious group.  "Are you here for a spiritual experience?" he queries.

Spiritual?  Sand castles?  "No, we're just here for fun.  We just happen to be dressed up."  I love being so confounding.  :)   The faces I get are hilarious.  But do you know one of the best parts of the day?  I make it through three hours of hazy cloud-blurred sunshine without any sunscreen.  And no burn.  Success.

After completing our sand castle--which was well-documented by both IE's staff photographers and the Russians--Laura and I head for a late lunch.  We ascribe our allegiance to the famous Nathan's Hot Dogs, buying two all-beef dogs and a jumbo bag of surprisingly-low-grease crinkle-cut fries.  And catchup.  Lots of catchup.

After cleaning up and trashing our Goodwill formals, Laura and I head back out of the park, stopping on the way for cotton candy.  Naturally.  It's gotta be about ten years since I've had that stuff. :)  

Today was my first professionally-organized flash mob.  And it certainly won't be my last.  I already owe it to Ben to do one with him after he gets here in September. :)  What a fun way to spend the day.  And I'm not the only one.  Who knows?  Maybe your office boss was here on vacation and decided to join in.  There were plenty of polished old guys, families, couples, and everyone in between.  It's good to see that everyone still knows how to have fun. :)

Friday, August 20, 2010


Mom is a total trooper.  I spend the first week of August running her into the ground as I power-walk up and down Manhattan.  She's the ultimate audition side-kick, and she insists that she's happy getting an idea of a "day in the life"--it's not the typical tourist experience.  We don't go the the top of the Empire State Building or eat hot dogs on Coney Island.  But we go to American Idol auditions, conquer a massive sandwich at the famous Carnegie Deli, dance in the park with three beautiful kids from Guatemala, survive two callbacks, and get lost more than once.  Some of it is crazy-fun, some of it is boring, and a lot of it is downright ridiculous.  I'm so glad she's mine. :)

While Mom is in town, Tyler is couch-surfing between Teach For America Institute and his job placement.  Poor guy.  He's delegated to the futon, but he doesn't complain. :)

On August 14, I meet my oldest best friend, Laura, at JFK.  Fresh off a five-and-a-half-month tour of Europe and North Africa, she's decided to end her adventure by spending two weeks with me in the city.  Her stories are incredible.  A hot air balloon ride, the cisterns in Istanbul, riding a camel in

I haven't spent Laura's birthday with her in years, but we luck out this time.  Sunday the 15th is a day of Coldstone ice creams, Mexican food, and Eat Pray Love with Julia Roberts.  Couldn't have asked for a better birthday combination, if you ask me. :)

The rest of the week isn't such a winner for auditions.  I audition on Monday for the York Theatre Company which specializes in new musicals.  Perfect.  The audition? So-so.  I felt good about how I sang, but I just couldn't get my audience to engage.  That's a frustrating feeling.  Wednesday's audition, Anything Goes, is a no-go because I have to leave for work before they get to me at #16 on the non-Equity list (if they got that far at all).  And today, I make what I know is a vain attempt at being seen at Telsey + Company for the national tour of South Pacific.  I step into the room and see about eighty other girls already in hair and makeup and looking snappier than me.  Within five seconds, the monitor announces they aren't seeing non-Equity.  And they're typing, anyway.  Those girls will be luck to be seen.  I'd be surprised if they keep a third of the group.

If this week wasn't one of great auditions, at least I have a nice paycheck to look forward to.  And it's been wonderful having Laura around.  I didn't realize how much I missed her. :)

And there's even more fun to come: tomorrow, we're doing a flash mob here in the city...

And that's all I'm allowed to say about that. ;)  

The First Job Offer

On August 2, I audition for a gig with Oceania Cruise Lines (via Gary Musick Productions of Nashville, Tennessee).  They ask me to the callback, and I dance and sing some more.  I don't hear anything, so I write it off and move on to the next audition.  Ten days later, I get a phone call.  The production company offers me a job with Norwegian Cruise Lines as a production singer on the Norwegian Gem.  That was Thursday and Day #57 in the city.

I spend all day Thursday and through the weekend weighing my options.  I swing from one end of the pendulum to the other.

  • At the end of five months, if I spend little to none of my income, I could potentially pay off 30% of my student loan debt.
  • Travel
  • I'd have a single cabin with no roommate
  • My first paying job as a singer/actress
  • Meeting tons of new people from 50+ countries
  • As Patti says, it would be "trial by fire" for my vocal technique, and I'd have to warm up and sing well every time to keep my voice safe--great preparation for the vocal demands of Broadway.
  • I'd have to leave a job in New York that pays well and that I genuinely enjoy
  • I'd have to give up a killer room/board offer from the family I work for 
  • Casting directors aren't impressed by cruise work.  The only credits that carry a lot of clout are those with first or second national tours and reputable regional theatres.
  • The shows on the ship are collections of songs centered around a theme, dressed up, and choreographed.  They're not "real" musicals, and more importantly, they don't challenge me to build my acting chops as a character in a recognized role.
  • I don't really like cruises
  • The ports of call aren't interesting enough to outweigh the negatives of life onboard a ship for five months
  • I'd miss fall in New York which, as I'm told, is absolutely "electric" and the best time to be in town as an actress
  • I'd miss out on New York workshops, voice lessons, and dance classes
  • I'd have to start completely from scratch in March because at this point, important people in the industry hardly know who I am, if they recognize me at all
In the end, I make a phone call on Monday the 16th to turn down the job.  After weighing feedback from a number of trusted sources, I really feel like it's the best move for me.  And as one wise friend advised me, "saying no doesn't burn any bridges.  People will understand that the timing just isn't right.  And there will always be jobs on cruise ships."  She's right.  If I were flat broke, subsisting on peanut butter and carrots, hated New York, and was sick of auditioning with no luck, the cruise job would be a perfect break for me.  But right now, there's too much I don't want to leave, especially for something that may not necessarily fulfill me as an artist or a human being.

It was immensely flattering to get the job offer, and I definitely appreciated the recognition, as well as the boost to my self-confidence.  But I'm staying in New York for as long as I can stand it.  Hopefully, that will be a long time. :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Best/Worst Day Ever

July 24

Saturday starts off with two best-day happenings: my callback for NYMF's Show Choir! The Musical and a free dance concert in Central Park.

Central Park is a pretty fabulous place to be during the summer.  Through sponsorships from several major corporations, the city puts on what's called SummerStage--a lineup of free world-class arts events.  On the calendar for July 24 is the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.  This is one performance I simply cannot miss, especially since it's free.

I'm on the crosstown bus and to Rumsey Playfield a half hour before curtain.  Bad idea.  The place is packed.  I'm a fairly small person, all things considered, and I figure I can just squeeze myself into almost any 3x3 square.  Yeah right.  It's a challenge finding just enough room to sit cross-legged.  But I manage. 

The program is fabulous.  It opens with a blues set, moves into some more contemporary material, and finishes with a set of dances to American spirituals and gospel music.  I can't believe I'm here, seeing all this for free.  Thank you, New York City. :)

On the way home, I jump on the 66 cross-town.  I crack open Greg Mortenson's Stones Into Schools--you MUST read this and Three Cups of Tea--and ride the bus to the last stop.  Only when I look up, I'm on the wrong side of town.  How did I get all the way to the West Side without realizing it sooner?  Sheesh.  I get out and walk down a block to catch the same line back to my side of town.  

After just a minute or two at the bus stop on the corner of 64th Street and West End Avenue, I hear the strangest sound.  It sounds like someone whacked a heavy metal door.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see a minivan slamming the breaks, and for a few seconds, I think the guy has taken out a corner trashcan.  But before I know it, there's a man thrashing about on the ground with a mangled knee.  He's dragging himself around and screaming, "Oh my God!  Oh no! Oh my GOD!"

Oh my God.  I can only echo him.  That’s not a trash can.  I sprint to the corner where, already, people are gathering.  The driver of the minivan paces in shock.  My brain registers the scene in fragments--snapshots, really.  Motorcycle.  Screaming man.  Glass.  Blood.  Woman.  Oh my God.  Echo.  Oh my God.  Oh dear God.  In the middle of the street is a woman, sprawled on her back.  The screaming man—the driver of the motorcycle—is at her head, crying and screaming for help.  The woman hardly blinks, and I know she’s going to be unconscious in a matter of seconds.    All of this has happened in what must be less than a minute, but she’s bleeding like nothing I’ve ever seen.  There’s blood gushing from her mouth and nose.  I half-pray to God that I’m in a movie or something.  This is just too surreal.  This can’t be happening.  Frozen with shock, I don’t react until I see that there’s another man already giving the woman CPR.  I’m certified, but there’s nothing I can do if someone is already doing the job.  Suddenly, I panic.  What if no one has called 911?  Oh my God.  I have to call.  It’s the first time I’ve ever called 911.  

By this point, I’m pacing the sidewalk and sobbing.  The woman on the other end of the line seems to take my call in slow motion.  I have to repeat the location three times before she gets it.  "64th Street and West End Avenue!  Oh my God!  This woman is in horrible shape.  She’s gushing blood.  Please send someone now!"  I'm told that ambulances are on the way.  And all I can do is wait.  

There's no way to describe how slowly time moves in the midst of a life-and-death crisis.  I feel completely helpless to do anything.  The man with the mangled knee is alert and still shouting, so I know he's nowhere near critical condition.  But the Good Samaritan administering CPR rolls the woman over to empty her airway of the blood that is surely choking her to death.  Beneath her is a pool of blood.  I feel like I'm staring into the face of death.  No one should be able to lose this much blood.  Oh my God.  She's going to die.  Please God, please.  Don't let her die.  Don't let her die, God.  PLEASE!  God, please don't let her die...

I'm not supposed to be here.  I'm not supposed to be here.  I should be at the corner of York and 67th, walking home.  But I'm here.  And the only thing I feel halfway capable of is prayer.  I call Mom, sobbing to the point of hyperventilating.  I sit curled up on the edge of the curb, rocking back and forth, as Mom prays for this woman's life.  She's at a church potluck, and back on the west coast, there's a kitchen full of women praying with us.  Seconds seem like years, and I get angrier and angrier as they tick by without the arrival of any ambulance.  I'm cursing under my breath and pacing and wringing my hands and wiping my salty-wet face.  "Where the hell are they?  Oh my God.  There's no reason it should take this long.  She's going to die."  She can't die.  This wasn't supposed to happen.  Oh God, don't let her die.  The pool of blood only gets bigger, glaring in the lamplight, as horrified faces look on from the curbside.  "This is bullshit!  Where is the ambulance.  Where ARE they?  Oh my God.  This is taking too long.  Where are they?  Fuck!"

I probably sound like a hypocrite, simultaneously praying and cursing.  But I don't even feel like I'm in my own body.  Who am I?  Where am I?  This can't be happening.  This kind of out-of-body experience is the most terrifying, existence-rattling phenomenon imaginable.  No one should ever feel like this.  I'm not afraid of death, but tonight, I realize I fear death for the sake of others.  She's 39, the broken man tells us.  She's 39, and I'm afraid she might be a mother and a sister.  Either way, she's someone's daughter, and 39 is too young to die.

The ambulance finally arrives after twelve excruciating minutes.  I'm livid.  The cop who asks me for a report repeatedly tells me, "Just calm down.  Relax.  Try not to be so emotional." I want to throttle him.  "Stop telling me to calm down!" I rail.  "I'm completely lucid!  My brain is fine, I'm just having a very gut-level reaction to what's going on here!"  Calm down?!?  Bullshit!  You may see people die like this every week, but I'm not supposed to be here.  I'm not supposed to see this, and she's not supposed to die.

After what seems like forever, the paramedics drive away with her.  I'm told I can go home, but I'm so shaken up, I don't even know how to find the bus.  It's probably been re-routed anyway.  I walk a few blocks east to Lincoln Center and wait for the bus there.  I feel the eyes of the people standing there with me.  I must look like hell.  But I've seen hell.  

I walk home, numb and still crying.  It all took too long.  There's no way she made it.  I'm a pretty positive person, but in this moment, right now, I feel completely hopeless.

It's close to midnight, but sleep is out of the question.  I clean the apartment, alternating between phone calls and google searches as I try to figure out where they might have taken this woman.  Because I'm not family, no emergency room is going to give me any information. And the police department's non-emergency line abandons me to automated messages and an endless wait.

At 3am, I try to fall asleep.  It takes a long time.

Two days later, I get up the courage to do an online search about the accident.  There are a few brief articles.  The broken man is alive.  But a motorcycle is no match for a minivan.  She was pronounced dead on arrival.  

Her name was Lisa.

I cringe every time I hear sirens and daily curse the New Yorkers who get in the way of ambulances as they race across town.  

Life is fragile.  Never ride a motorcycle.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

American Idol

August has been the month of visitors.  And it started with Mom. :)

Mom has been begging me for the better part of a decade to audition for American Idol.  So when I found out that there would be auditions in New Jersey this year, I gave Mom the ultimatum: come out to visit me in New York, and I'll audition for American Idol.  How could she say no?

Mom flew in on July 31st, and the next morning, we set out on our adventure.

Getting to the Izod Center in East Rutherford shouldn't be much of a hassle; it's only seven miles from Manhattan.  But transportation early on a Sunday morning is never simple, especially when it involves New Jersey Transit.  After a bunch of running around, Mom and I finally got in line outside the Izod Center around 10am.  Within two hours, we had our wristbands and tickets which were our golden tickets to the auditions the following Tuesday.

Mom and I left the apartment at 3am on Tuesday and were in line at the Izod Center by 5am.  Never in my life have I seen so many people in a line at 5am.  I wasn't one of those girls who obsessed over N'Sync or the Backstreet Boys, so this sort of waiting in line with the masses was totally foreign to me.  

And for anyone who thinks that the crazies they see on the show are hired actors, let me tell you!  They're for real!  After singing Queen with Constantine Maroulis and letting Ryan Seacrest be our cheerleader for "filler" crowd shots, the zanies came out.  There was a girl in a Supergirl outfit--glorified blue spankies and a red cape--along with a lady in little more than foil pasties.  There was also a Heath Ledger-inspired Joker, somebody in a furry fuchsia robe and matching slippers, and half a dozen other attention-getters.  Some of them are completely delusional, others are very lucid about the matter, using the publicity stunt as a way to get past the first few sets of producer-judges.

I came with no gimmicks.  Around 3:15pm, I sang "At Last."  After waiting for ten hours and singing my heart out, I listened to the two expressionless faces behind the table thank me and the three others in my group for auditioning and taking the time and yada-yada-yada.  "Unfortunately, your voices just aren't strong enough for this year's season of American Idol."  Cop-out.  I consider myself a fairly humble person, but I was unquestionably stronger than the three others I sang with.  One girl was brassy and gutsy but annoying as all get-out.  The other two were timid, quiet, and uninteresting.  I would have appreciated a simple, "thank you, but no."  To say that we, collectively, didn't have strong enough voices was a ridiculously broad statement.  

I wouldn't change anything about my performance.  I felt great about it.  And while waiting for the bus back to the city, one fellow auditioner, jovial and warm as can be, walked up to me with a great--albeit colorful--compliment: "Hey, I heard you singing at the table next to mine, and those judges are crazy.  You sang the fucking roof off of that shit!  It was awesome!"  I laughed.  "Thank you very much!  That's great to hear.  I really appreciate it."  So the guy probably isn't a vocal expert.  And his vocabulary probably made Mom blink once or twice.  But he made my day. :)  

Sometimes I wonder if God doesn't send off-color angels just to shake things up a bit and help us let down our guard.  I wouldn't be surprised if He did.

Never leave home without your jazz shoes

A couple of weeks ago, I registered for an open call for NYMF (New York Musical Theatre Festival).  It's a really big deal here.  For the first time ever, the casting agency in charge of the entire festival opted for an online registration process.  Last year, about 285 people showed up to the open call, so they made time for 300 auditions this year.  Little did they know that over 4,000 people would register with the online site and vie for those 300 slots.  This resulted in 700 clicks per second.  Needless to say, we almost crashed the casting agency's server.  I was one of the lucky 300 to get in, and my 9:45 audition that Friday went wonderfully.  I sang a cut from "Astonishing" for the first time in an audition.  I just felt like that was the time to do it, and I'm glad I went with my gut.

The next day,  I got a call from one of the NYMF casting associates, inviting me to a callback on August 6 for Show Choir! The Musical.  I was over the moon.  A next-day callback is an even bigger deal than a same-day callback in my book.  

Between the NYMF open call and the callback, I auditioned for Oceania, a super-luxury cruise line catering to the richest of rich.  I sang "I'm Not Afraid of Anything" and "At Last."  And of course, the day I forget my jazz shoes at home would be the day I get a callback.  Thankfully, Mom was in town and with me at the audition.  I left all my stuff with her and raced home to get my dance gear.  Two taxis and a bus later, I barely made it to the same-day callback.  I rounded the corner in Ripley Grier to find Mom ready to get me into the room.  They had just started.  Thank heavens I'd put on my tights and spankies back at the apartment.  I had to act fast.  "Mama, please forgive me for this," I said and pulled me dress up over my head, right there in the hallway.  I didn't care if I had an audience.  I just wanted to get in that room.  And I did---in my black cami, tights, spankies, and jazz shoes which, as luck would have it, I didn't really need after all.  "I don't care what you have on your feet," the choreographer told us.  "I care about how you move."  Well.  That's the last time I'm EVER leaving my jazz shoes at home.

The NYMF callback last Friday was fantastic.  Originally,  I planned to sing a cut from a song that would show off my high notes, but at the last minute I went with my gut and changed my mind.  I sang a different cut of "Astonishing" first.  The music director asked to hear something else.  

"I have 'I'm Not Afraid of Anything,' 'Don't Rain on My Parade,' and 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough,'" I told him.  

"Okay, so we've got Jason Robert Brown and the Supremes...Do you have something more legit?"  

"Absolutely!  Is Rodgers and Hammerstein alright?  I can sing 'If I Loved You'..."  


They cut me off before I finished "If I Loved You" and asked me if I could come back for the dance callback the next day at noon.   I was already thrilled at hearing that, but then the musical director tossed in one of the biggest compliments I've ever gotten as an artist: "You know, I liked your version of 'Astonishing' better than Sutton Foster's.  And I wouldn't say that if I didn't mean it."

Sutton Foster is a Tony winner.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.

The dance callbacks for both Oceania and Show Choir went okay.  I didn't nail either one, and it didn't help matters that with Show Choir, my group was the last to dance that day, almost three hours after we'd learned the routine.  I'm being good to myself and trying not to be negative, but I know I need to improve here.  I'm slow to pick up the combinations, sticky in the transitions, and not as solid as I should be with my technique.  Plainly put: I need dance classes.

So that's the next thing on my list.  As soon as I know I'm set budget-wise for my transition from Taryn's apartment to the place in TriBeCa, I'm going to invest in a dance card.  Can't wait to get started.

Blessings with a Capital B

Now for the part about the blessings.

Three weeks ago, I interviewed for a second nannying job.  Gary and Ellora live in TriBeCa and have three kids, all of them adopted from Guatemala and all just shy of three years old.  I arrived at their apartment on a Saturday afternoon to a warm welcome from Gary and the two family dogs.  I met the kids and Ellora, and we sat down to the interview.  

After swapping stories about family, New York, and theatre (Ellora is an actress), they aked me to stay for a couple hours and test out the water.  We hit it off, and Ellora scheduled me to start work the following Monday.

I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity.  The job pays wonderfully, the hours are great, and  I love those kids.  Once I finish out my summer in Taryn's apartment, I'll most likely move in with them.  They have a separate living space in the basement, so I'd even have my own entrance.  The neighborhood is fantastic, and being on the West Side just minutes from the both the 1 and A trains means that all of my auditions are much more accessible now.  It's been almost a month, and I'm still in awe that the job is actually mine.  I did hardly anything to get it--just a nannying website, a few emails, and an interview.  God just keeps showering me with blessings, and I'm not even asking for them!  It's an immensely humbling and freeing feeling, let me tell you.

As if a fantastic family, great location, and solid pay isn't enough, I also get to travel.  Two weeks ago, Gary, Ellora, and the kids spent the week in the Hamptons.  They brought me out on the train (Long Island Rail Road) to join them for the weekend and help out with the kids.  Sag Harbor was gorgeous, and getting in some time at the beach is always a blast.  We built sand castles, played on the swings, and got sand in our pants.  Fabulous. :)  The last three pictures here were all taken in or around Sag Harbor.

If I don't book work that takes me away from the city this winter, I'll probably spend most of January with the family in Arizona and Hawaii.  And after having spent two weeks here in January 2008, I'm eager to escape the crummiest, most bitter month of the New York winter.

Whatever happens, I'm just glad I have work right now and that I have some security to keep me through at least the New Year.  That's the plan for now.  It could all change if I'm suddenly offered an acting gig I just can't refuse, but as of now, I'm doing a pretty good job of juggling auditions, nannying, and paying the bills.

So I guess I'm not moving home in September like I thought.  I really like New York, even if the humidity sucks right now, and I want to give it my best shot.  And that means staying put for as long as possible.  Don't worry, girls.  I'll do everything I can to be in Colorado at the end of September, and I don't plan on missing the wedding in October.  Or the amazing choreography of a certain Jess Liles. ;)  I'm gonna try to make it all work.  God willing. :)

4 for 4 at AEA

The last month has been a whirlwind of auditions, visiting friends and family, travel, and--above all--blessings. 

The second week of July was a real winner.  I went 4 for 4 with auditions in the AEA building--two for the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera; one for the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and one for the Virginia State Company.  I couldn't believe I was seen for all four calls, in the AEA building no less. :)  And to top it all off, the accompanist for the ART call didn't show up, so they were only seeing monologues that day.  Preferably classical ones, they said.  Lo and behold!  Just the night before,  I'd remembered an Antigone monologue I used in college.  I pulled it up for a little refreshing, not knowing I'd need it the very next day.  Here's how it went down.

The casting director in the room responds well to my reading of Ismene.  "I really liked your reading of that.  Could you do it for me again, this time, more from the loins?"  Oh, Diana!  If you could see me now!  So I bust out my Shakespeare muscles and give it my best.  And for once in my life, I'm glad I had to audition with a monologue instead of a song.  :)

The Phantom auditions--an EPA and then an ECC--are also fantastic.  I sing "No One Is Alone" at the EPA the first day.  Afterward, the casting director stops to talk with me.  "Really beautiful.  You have a nice, resonant sound."  I thank him, and we chat a little.  I tell him I just moved to the city, and he asks about Whitworth.  "It's small, but great," I tell him.  He definitely doesn't mind the small-school bit.  "I went to a small college, too," he reassures me.  Well, as casting director for Phantom, he seems to have done well for himself.  Besides, it's not where you've been that matters to the people behind the table; it's what you bring.  On the way out, he thanks me for auditioning.  "Keep showing up," he tells me.  "Oh, I will!"  

The next day, I sing for the same casting director and his associate at the ECC.  He remembers me.  "Back again?"  As if he expected me to skip out on this one!  "Well, you told me to keep showing up.  So I am."

Okay, so I may come off as a little over-eager, but I think that's to be expected from someone as new to all this as I am.  If nothing else, I'm sure the guy gets a nice chuckle out of kids like me. 


I am far too deliberate about how I organize my life.  This includes my blog.  I just spent the last five minutes catching up on the musings of my lovely and artful friend, Jess, and this is the conclusion I have come to: less is more.  Her updates are constantly fresh and spontaneous.  I obsess about the chronology of my blog.  And I can spend forever ruminating on a single sentence.  Like this one.  I actually looked up 'ruminating' to make sure I was using it correctly in said sentence.  All of this uppity, bloggity lolly-gagging is useless, and it keeps my friends out of the loop for much too long.

So I say screw it.  No more getting bogged down in the daily details.  Highlights are enough.  And probably much more fun to read. :)

Ready for the last month in a nutshell? ;) GO!