I hope to go into a little more detail later, because there's so much to explain.
But basically, Steve and I broke up last night.
While he was the one to initiate the conversation, it was definitely a mutual decision. And an amicable one. As far as break-ups go, I'm so thankful that ours was relatively smooth (for lack of better words). It wasn't messy or bitter or mean. Very painful and very sad, yes. But not messy. And I think we were more open with each other than we've ever been. The fact is that the core of our relationship is spending time together, and the distance just grew to be too much. But we love each other and care about each other very much; we still want to be in each others lives, be there for each other, and remain close friends. But we just can't be together. I know everyone says that they want to remain friends as a futile way to make it all sting less. But that's not how this is. I believe that we really will be friends. I have absolutely no idea how to do that after being romantically involved for over two years, but I know I'll figure it out. We'll figure it out.
That doesn't mean I'm not sad, though. I know I'll eventually be okay, but I'm very sad right now. And I wish things could have been different. I'm feeling a million things at once which is why I can really only give headlines right now until I process everything. The only expression that sums all this up right now is I don't know which way is up. Which made me remember exactly how I felt the day I dropped him off at the airport. I realized that the last thing I wrote on that day still applies now, just in a radically different context:
I don't know if you've ever felt both happy and devastated at the same time...but it's very strange. I have no idea which way is up right now, but I know that I'm just following my intuition and entering a new chapter of my life and our relationship.
One of the movies I've been looking forward to seeing this season is Morning Glory. I was worried that it wouldn't be as good as the trailer made it out to be, but OHMAGOD. I'm overjoyed to report that it was SO. DAMN. GOOD. It was hysterical and attention-grabbing and inspiring. I am officially obsessed with Rachel McAdams' character, Becky. She's my new hero. While she's ambitious and hard-working, she's also sort of meek and scattered and awkward. But manages to completely kick ass. She keeps people in line and commands respect, but not in a way that's expected...in that she's in charge but still meek and awkward at the same time. Which is pretty much exactly how I want to be. I honestly liked the movie so much that I almost saw it AGAIN after I got back to Mesa tonight. But ended up feeling pretty worn out from not sleeping well last night and dealing with complete a-holes on the freeway. Plus I desperately wanted to spend some quality time with my kitty. :) So maybe I'll see it again tomorrow instead! (Ooh, and as an added bonus, Patrick Wilson is only a tiny part of the movie. Which is delightful because I CAN'T STAND HIM.)
Being in Tucson for Thanksgiving was nice, but I'm really happy to be back here. It was so great to see my family, especially siblings I hadn't seen in awhile! (Even though I was stupidly antisocial and kind of felt like a deadbeat family member sometimes.) Ooh, and I went through my bookshelves and plucked out a whole bunch of books that I'd bought years ago but either never got around to reading or just gave up on them halfway through. I've been ravenously devouring books recently, and I'm excited to dive into all these. But despite all that, I'm so happy to be back in Mesa. I missed my big bed, the kitties, fast internet, midnight bowls of Cocoa Puffs, and...I don't know, just being HERE. With all my familiar things. And with FREEWAYS. I can't remember how I used to function without freeways. As much as I love Tucson, there's just no way I'd ever be able to move back. Even visits longer than two days feel like moving backward. And I really just want to move forward now.
I feel like I walk around all day with duct tape permanently over my mouth. Then I have recurring dreams where I scream at people.
My always-shut mouth is the one thing that will always keep me from being who I want to be. And no amount of therapy and pill-popping is going to change it. I can't talk, I can't stand up for myself, I can't move forward. I so badly want to say what's on my mind, but something always shuts me up. I don't know if it's insecurity, shyness, or crippling fear. Whatever it is, it has me locked up tight.
After Sweet Charity, I decided to stop choreographing shows for awhile. Until I can stand up to the assholes who make doing my job unnecessarily difficult, there's just no point in working. Every show would just be more and more disastrous. Sweet Charity was the ultimate disaster, and working on an artistic team where no one could fully take control showed me that. I could go on and on about how not everything about disastrous shows was directly my fault...Sure, it's hard to do the best job possible when the constant stress of working with micromanagers or disgustingly megalomaniac board members pretty much renders me creatively empty. But the fact is, the common denominator in every difficult show is ME. If I wasn't so meek, maybe things could have been a little bit different. Because the reality of working in the arts is that there are ALWAYS going to be those assholes who make the job harder. And then there will be assholes who make the former assholes seem downright pleasant in comparison. And so on, ad nauseam. I have to learn how to deal with that. I have to open up my stupid mouth. I have to be brave enough to cut out malignancies instead of allowing them to infect the entire process.
But I just can't.
And it's not just in theater. It's my entire life.
I can't take the quiet anymore. I really can't. But I don't know what to do.
Batsheva Dance Company in Ohad Naharin’s Project 5
The first time I learned about Ohad Naharin and the Batsheva Dance Company was in an article called "A Conversation with Ohad," published in the October 2006 issue of Dance Magazine. It was an in-depth interview between Naharin and Dance Magazine Editor-in-Chief Wendy Perron, which covered his background, his artistic influences, and his work with Batsheva. I remember being intrigued by his signature "Gaga" movement technique, and I was especially drawn to his rejection of using mirrors in dance studios. One thing in particular that he said on that topic really hit home with me:
"Abolish mirrors; break your mirrors in all studios. They spoil the soul and prevent you from getting in touch with the elements and multidimensional movements and abstract thinking, and knowing where you are at all times without looking at yourself. Dance is about sensations, not about an image of yourself."
At the time, I was going through a phase in my dance training where I had pretty much had it with mirrors and began ignoring them whenever possible. After I read that article, and especially that incredible anecdote on mirrors, I knew this man was an artist after my own heart! Since then, I have followed Naharin and the Batsheva Dance Company very closely. Seeing as the company never comes anywhere near Arizona, my only way of experiencing Naharin’s work was through YouTube, magazine articles, and a blog called Dance In Israel written by dance scholar Deborah Friedes. When I found out that Batsheva was going to have an engagement at the Joyce Theater in New York City, I knew that I had to take advantage of this rare opportunity to experience them live!
Project 5, the evening-length work that was brought to the Joyce, originally premiered in 2008. It was initially set on five female dancers to commemorate their promotion from the Batsheva Ensemble to the Batsheva Dance Company, and includes choreography from past Naharin works as well as material created specifically for the five female dancers. This year, Naharin chose to set the piece on a cast of five male dancers as well, and each cast performed on alternate nights. While I would have loved to see both shows, I was only in New York City long enough to see the male cast. But I am indescribably grateful that I was able to go at all, because seeing Project 5 and experiencing the incomparable energy of Naharin’s choreography and his dancers was a truly incredible night of dance that I will never forget.
Five tall, lithe men wearing cropped, high-waisted black trousers with matching black bolero-style cropped blazers walk onto a stripped-down, bare stage and begin to move. Project 5 opens with George & Zalman (2006), set to an audio recording of Batsheva dancer Bobbi Smith reading the Charles Bukowski poem "Making It" laid on top of melancholy music by Arvo Part. The choreography reflects the repetitive, building style of the Bukowski poem. The dancers frequently return to base poses, and repeat the same movement sequences over and over, adding a little bit more on with each pass through. As Bobbi Smith softly tells us to ignore all possible concepts and possibilities – ignore Beethoven, the spider, the damnation of Faust – just make it, babe, make it, the dancers seamlessly move from one extreme movement dynamic to another; going from vibratory rocking, to audible slaps on their abdomens, to moments of unwavering stillness danced with such precise facility that it looked as if some outside being had pressed the PAUSE button. The hypnotizing repetitive structure was interlaced with dynamic solos for each dancer, marked with intricate details and disarming use of focus.
George & Zalman is followed by the captivating duet B/olero (2008). This section was the "only [one] created in 2008 for members of the original Project 5 cast" (Friedes) and is set to a quirky electronic arrangement of Ravel’s Bolero. One of the things that I found myself immediately blown away by was the impeccable timing. The choreography included numerous moments of subtle canon, and was executed with flawless specificity by the dancers. It was incredible to watch! The choreography is also marked by many different dichotomies. The duo would alternate between rhythmic movement that evoked the perfect steadiness of the music, and jarring arrhythmic movement that didn’t match the music at all, yet somehow just made sense anyway. They would repeatedly go from being completely separate and ignorant of each other to having sudden moments of either physical connection or eye contact. Their facial expressions alternated throughout the duet as well, randomly transforming from blank to expressive. These constant switches between various dichotomies, combined with the aforementioned impeccable timing made it impossible for the audience to tear our eyes away from the stage. I saw a vivid story unfold as well; I felt as though I was watching two people caught in an ad nauseam cycle of behaviors and habits, and were both eerily content and completely furious with their situation. I have seen a few different interpretations of this classic Ravel piece, and I was completely underwhelmed and bored by all of them. When I saw B/olero, I wanted to stand up and scream, "THAT!! THAT is how you choreograph to Bolero!"
In "Park," an excerpt from the piece Moshe (1999), three dancers enter upstage, and begin to move downstage gradually and methodically. They move with an indescribable sense of both urgency and hesitation, which elicited an unsettling tone of foreboding. Once they arrived downstage (practically at the edge), microphones were brought on, and the trio used them to rhythmically yell various words and phrases--which I am assuming were in Hebrew. This added another surreal layer to the already surreal atmosphere. At one point, one of the dancers abandoned his microphone, broke out of the line, and began yelling into the audience, seemingly screaming for help before being sucked back into the trio. When they were at their microphones, the choreography consisted primarily of tiny, isolated movement executed with deliberate strength. When they broke away from the microphones and moved further upstage, the choreography was huge, sweeping, pendular, and harshly powerful. Their limbs flew everywhere. They would fall into breathtaking hinges where their shoulders nearly touched the floor and their rib cages practically split open. Watching this alluring trio was nothing short of thrilling!
After a five-minute pause(1), Project 5 came to an end with the haunting and athletic Black Milk (1985). The cast had changed out of their peculiar black suits and into baggy pants made of flowing, off-white linen. One by one, each dancer sits at a silver pail and smears a dark, muddy substance onto their face and chest while pulsing marimba music plays. They move swiftly back and forth across the stage, running and jumping in steady canon. Multiple times throughout Black Milk, the quintet would settle into a rhythmic triplet step in unison; I found myself comforted by this steady, cyclical movement (my boyfriend, on the other hand, said he found it very annoying). The movement, staging, and pace all felt very ritualistic, and it seemed as though the mud they had smeared on themselves gave them a sense of camaraderie and belonging. All of a sudden, one of the dancers rushes back to the silver pail, and frantically washes the mud off of his face and chest with water. And in a chilling turn of events, the remaining four dancers turn on the defector, aggressively attacking and dragging him around. It was slightly disturbing, yet so mesmerizing that I was unable to look away.
Overall, Project 5 seemed to explicitly explore the idea of conformity. Themes of feeling the pressure to conform, feeling both content and frustrated with conforming, and dealing with the consequences of non-conformity were all analyzed in depth throughout the evening. The consistent use of repetition appeared comforting or unsettling (or a surreal combination of the two) depending on the context of each section. It is somewhat ironic that Naharin chose to investigate conformity, since he is one of the most unique contemporary choreographers in the world. His work is anything but conformist! Which made Project 5 all the more fascinating to watch. And I still just can’t get over that genuine originality of Ohad Naharin’s choreography. I honestly don’t think I saw one unoriginal movement throughout the entire piece! Even common steps like leg extensions all had an idiosyncratic twist to them, which turned a seemingly mundane motion into something completely different. Seeing the dancers of Batsheva perform live is totally different from watching them on video! They are fiercely elegant, with an energy that is palpable and infectious. I was so honored to be able to observe artistry at this level, and I can’t wait to have the opportunity to see the company in person again.
As if witnessing the brilliance of Project 5 wasn’t amazing enough, the cherry on top of a perfect evening of dance was spotting Ohad Naharin from across the room in the lobby after the show! I felt like a little kid who had just seen Santa Claus! I would have loved to meet him, but unfortunately he was in the downstairs section of the lobby (which was roped off) and about to head back through the stage door. However, experiencing his ingenious work firsthand and seeing him in the lobby afterward was incredible enough for now--and I just know that I will have the opportunity to learn from him in person someday.
"I think that once you stop concentrating on the choreographed steps and look at human behavior, that’s when the dance touches you."
(1) Footnote: The pause consisted of a pre-recorded video of the dancers lying prostrate on a studio floor before squirming out of the frame was projected onto a screen onstage. A creative way of keeping the audience entertained!
Friedes, Deborah. "Batsheva Dance Company: Ohad Naharin’s Project 5." Web log post. Dance In Israel. 19 Jan. 2010. Web. 03 Nov. 2010. .
Perron, Wendy. "A Conversation With Ohad." Dance Magazine Oct. 2006. Print.
I actually wrote this as soon as I got back last month, but forgot to post it on here, 'cause I fail.
Here's a basic overview of my trip. With some verbose tangents thrown in, because I am me.
Packed up my supercute weekender bag.
Realized upon arriving at the airport that the weekender bag may be supercute, but it's no fun dragging around (it doesn't have wheels or a shoulder strap). However, it's perfect for trips that don't involve air travel. Live and learn. Anytime I fly, I'm sticking with my favorite wheelie suitcases. Had a bit of frustration at security, since it was my first time not checking baggage. I knew about the fluids in 3 oz bottles thing, but I thought putting them all in the same toiletry bag would suffice. Nope. They have to be in a separate plastic bag or some shit. The security guy made me feel like a supreme dumbass. Oh, well. Live and learn, part II.
Red-eye flight to Newark. Of COURSE the only time I'm not out like a light on an airplane is on a red-eye flight! Meh. I think I was just too excited to sleep.
Realized what a bullshit joke airplanes are. I think we've all just slipped into complacency about airplanes, when really we should revolt. Seriously, they're so cramped and uncomfortable and oppressive. And all to squeeze as many people (meaning people's money) on there at once. STUPID. We should have an airplane revolution.
We landed through a huge rainstorm. The rain was horizontal as we flew through it; I've never seen anything like that! Pretty to watch.
Unfortunately, the pretty rain delayed my flight for 3 hours. UGH. Finally started feeling sleepy, so those 3 hours were spent in uncomfortable sleeping positions in the waiting area.
FINALLY took off for Boston in the tiny tin can of a commuter jet. Immediately fell asleep, which was a blessing. The flight was EXTREMELY turbulent, but I was too exhausted to feel scared.
Landed in Boston. My shuttle driver got lost trying to find the Hampton Inn I was staying at. Aghh.
Immediately upon entering my room, I stripped off all my clothes and sank into a tub of hot water while watching Julie & Julia. Bliss. It's easy to forget how hard travel is on your body! This was followed by a long nap.
The cab driver kept misunderstanding everything that came out of my mouth; mistaking "Arrow St" for "Amory St," then misspelling "Arrow" on the GPS. But somehow I made it to the Oberon Theater for...
CABARET!!!! Which was absolutely incredible! After the show I met Steven Mitchell Wright (the choreographer/movement director), and also met AMANDA FUCKING PALMER herself. More on all this soon. I was shaking the whole night.
Took a train from Boston to New York City. The train was so roomy, comfortable and quiet. I slept most of the time, and watched Gilmore Girls on my laptop. The last stop before Penn Station was in New Rochelle! Which made me giggle because I'm a giant nerd, and made Ragtime stuck in my head for a bit.
Met up with Steve at Penn Station!!!! So happyyyyyyy!
We went back to his apartment in Brooklyn. His neighborhood is so pretty, it's practically out of a damn movie! Brownstones and tree-lined sidewalks. Ridiculously pretty.
Batsheva Dance Company at the Joyce Theater! Pretty much a religious experience! I've been obsessed with them for so long, and was so happy to finally see them in person. I totally spotted artistic director/choreographer/BAMF Ohad Naharin from across the room after the show!!!! I couldn't actually meet him, because he was downstairs at the backstage entrance next to the lounge area, and I had spotted him from the lobby upstairs. But that's okay. I know I will meet him someday. But just seeing him from across the room was basically like seeing Santa Claus!!! No joke.
Dinner with Steve at Stuzzicheria, the tiny and delicious Italian restaurant where he works. Our meal was huuuuge and SO SO SO GOOD. Holy delicious. Go there if you're ever in NYC. I got to meet all his co-workers, too, which was nice.
Barhopping at his favorite places after dinner. Tribeca Tavern where they have Delerium Tremons on tap and a really cool bartender named Will, and the Reade Street Pub.
Brunch at Centro Vinoteca, where I got to meet Steve's brother as well as his sister-in-law and adorable baby nephew. It was great--and a little scary--to finally meet some of his family! They were really nice. I hope that they liked me, and I hope that I didn't come off as ditzy. Sometimes when I try to be more outgoing, I tend to just sound like a ditz. Centro Vinoteca had more of a savory brunch menu (is savory the right word? I don't know). I got these perfect poached eggs on top of a delicious beef bolognese sauce and polenta, with a glass of white wine, coffee, and various tasty appetizers.
Back to Steve's apartment for a post-brunch nap before I got in a cab for JFK and Steve headed to work (he had to cover someone's shift at the last minute). Tears in the cab and began missing him already. Remembered how JFK is basically the worst airport in the history of airports and how I never have pleasant experiences there. Last time I was there a couple years ago, my flight was delayed for 8 hours. So what better place to be kicked while I was down than the unaccommodating overcrowded hellhole known as JFK?? (Tangent Time: I think it's just archaic and stupid for airports to a) charge for wi-fi and b) not provide travelers with a sufficient amount of working outlets or charging stations to charge their phones/laptops, etc. I mean, SERIOUSLY. If Starbucks stopped charging for wi-fi, I think airports can suck it up, too. Such a rip-off, and just ridiculous given the rapidly more technological society we're living in. I honestly equate paying for wi-fi and not being able to charge one's laptop with the archaic-ness of dial-up internet. GET IT TOGETHER, AIRPORTS.)
Long, uneventful flight back to PHX. Felt very bittersweet, given the amazing few days I just had. And I was sad because it went by so fast, and I really have no idea when I'll get to see Steve in person again. :/ But a quick trip is better than no trip at all.
Begrudgingly woke up a teeeeeny bit earlier and therefore had a little bit more time to eat a light breakfast, have tea, and check internet things before getting ready and leaving for class. Of course, I did get kind of caught up in the high of having a little more time and ended up hanging out a bit longer than I should've and was a couple minutes late for class. Ha. But WHATEVA. I actually got there; I didn't sleep through it, or get there so late that I had to sit out and observe, or get there so late that I get too embarrassed to walk in and end up going back home instead. Baby steps.
Had one or two brief moments in class where I actually felt some JOY in moving again. I've been struggling so much all year that I kind of forgot what it feels to genuinely enjoy dancing. Don't get me wrong, I still struggled a LOT in class and I'm nowhere near where I'd like to be. But having those few fleeting moments of enjoyment was a relief.
Found an amazingly adorable weekender bag at Target! I plan on using it for my upcoming whirlwind trip to Boston and New York in a couple of weeks. I know from experience that trains and bulky luggage are the most pain-in-the-ass combination ever, so I've been on the hunt for a weekender bag that's big enough to hold whatever clothes/toiletries I need but is small enough that I can carry it without huffing and puffing and smacking people's ankles. I also wanted it for future short trips to Tucson and (hopefully) New York, since duffles and suitcases are just too much hassle for short trips. And I fiiiinally found one today that I love.
Officially finished planning said whirlwind trip to Boston and New York. I'm taking an overnight flight to Boston on September 30th, seeing the glorious Amanda Palmer in Cabaret at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge on October 1st, taking the train into NYC on October 2nd to meet up with Steve and see the Batsheva Dance Company that night at the Joyce (!!!!!), then flying back to Phoenix on October 3rd (not until 7 PM-ish, so Steve and I can hang out a little more.) Planning this has been irritatingly difficult, but today I finished everything up; I booked my flight back to Phoenix, bought tickets to Batsheva, booked a hotel in Boston, and bought my train ticket from Boston to New York. SUCH a relief to have all that done.
Remembered to start taking a multivitamin and Vitamin D supplement, as per my dietician's suggestion (more on that in a second). I bought one of those weekly pill organizers like a 70 year old woman so I can keep track of what I need to take each day. Along with the vitamins, I also put in the thyroid medication I've recently started on (more on that later, too). And over the next couple weeks to a month or so, I'll probably be adding a couple more medications to my old lady pill organizer as well.
Figured out some kinks on my website that have been making the pages look all wonky. Suck it, iWeb!
Uploaded my updated dance reel to YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. I finished it a million years ago, but kept forgetting to upload it.
Got a picture of Ragnar sleeping with his paws over his eyes! So adorable! I've tried to capture this for ages, but he always moves whenever I reach for my camera. Because he's a jumpy little scaredy cat. But I finally got it!
SCHOOL:It's been hit-or-miss. I'm only taking two classes, one per day, but it's still a challenge for me to find the motivation to actually show up. Last week was particularly miserable and frustrating; I only made it to one class all week and just felt awful, ashamed, and guilty about it. But this week has been better. My Modern class was really tough at first. But after the first week or so, it went from feeling like unbearable hell-on-Earth to a manageable struggle. I have a different teacher (Carley Conder), so it was hard to get used to her style. But it's getting easier. The struggle comes from being out of shape, and being so fatigued. The fatigue is particularly frustrating because it fucks with my focus and memory, making it incredibly difficult to retain choreography. But I'm dealing. I've also kept Carley abreast of the whole health situation. (HA! I've never had an opportunity to use "abreast" in a sentence! I feel so delightfully pompous!)My other class is 3rd Year Seminar, which focuses on Community Dance. It isn't too bad so far. But despite that, it's still a constant challenge to just GET UP AND GO.
HEALTH: Last month I started seeing an endocrinologist, who promptly ordered up lots of extensive blood work. As you probably saw on Facebook or Twitter, I actually passed out twice consecutively after getting one of the tests done! So awful. I got the labs back about a week later. They found a couple things, the main thing being insulin resistance: my blood sugar was normal, but my body was producing HUGE amounts of insulin to keep it normal, ANDthe cells are resistant to absorbing said insulin. They think this is what caused me to gain so much weight over the past year. They had me meet with a dietician to plan out which foods to eat and when, so it'll regulate insulin levels. I'm also considering the option of going on a medication that prevents the liver from producing excess sugar, which should also help regulate things. The dietician said that the only thing that will change the actual physiology of the insulin-resistant cells is by increasing exercise...which I've been wanting to do, but just haven't been able to. The labs also found a slightly underactive thyroid, so I started on some on low-dose medication to fix that. HOWEVER, none of this was severe enough to cause fatigue and depression to the extent that I've been experiencing. Which brings me to...
MENTAL HEALTH: I've decided to try going on antidepressants. In all honesty, they still scare the living daylights out of me. But things have just gotten unbearable (this somewhat pleasant week has been the first in many miserable weeks), and I know I'm NOT going to be able to implement the lifestyle changes my endocrinologist and dietician suggested unless I get some kind of chemical help to alleviate the heaviness a little. My therapist referred me to a psychiatric nurse practitioner who I'm meeting next week to help me start all this antidepressant business. She also recommended that I go back to my primary care physician for an EKG and a sleep study referral to rule out heart issues or narcolepsy as a cause for the ridiculously extreme fatigue I've been experiencing. (We're talking sleeping 12+ hours a day and STILL feeling tired. It's horrible.) The fatigue combined with depression makes so many tasks impossible to do, from going to class or shopping for groceries, to even getting up to go to the damn bathroom. It's incredibly frustrating, particularly because there's nothing in my life that is conducive to me feeling THIS unhappy. So I'm willing to try almost anything to STOP feeling like this.
STEVE: Well, he's 3000 miles away, and that blows. I really hate not having him around. We talk on the phone practically every day, and I just sent him his computer so he'll hopefully be getting Skype soon. But it's just difficult not having him HERE. The Amanda Palmer quote I posted definitely sums things up a little; he really does feel like an idea more than a flesh and blood memory. Things are okay and everything, but I really just don't know how to do this, and hate that he's so far away. I wish there was some kind of manual I could read or something. I recently rewatched the last season of Gilmore Girls for the first time since I finished it awhile ago. It was definitely pretty interesting watching it from the perspective of being in a long-distance relationship. I wrote down some great dialogue from an episode where Rory is struggling with how to actually be in an LDR. I'll definitely post it later, since it describes things way more eloquently than I could. I'm so looking forward to seeing him in NYC soon, even if it's only for like 24 hours. (Stupid school, and stupid me for using up all my excused absences already.) Hopefully I can go back soon after that; probably not for Thanksgiving, but definitely over winter break. OR, hopefully he can come back here to visit.
MISC: I'm thinking of auditioning for Urinetown at Paradise Valley Community College. I lovelovelove that show and have always wanted to do it! Steve was in PVCC's Into the Woods, and they really did an incredible job with the show. The same director and choreographer will be working on Urinetown, too, so hopefully it'll be just as good as Into the Woods was. The only problem is that I'll be out of town the weekend of auditions, so if I schedule an alternate audition time, it will most likely be like NEXT WEEK. So it all depends on whether or not I can get my shit together quickly enough. If I go through with it, I'll probably audition for Little Sally since it'd be a fun role. But I honestly just want an ensemble role more than anything. Ensemble roles are a huuuge part of Urinetown, and that's one of the reasons I love the show so much. The ensemble is always hysterically funny! The only other problem is that PVCC is FAR, like a 45 minute drive (without traffic). But if I feel up to a) preparing audition pieces, b) being in a show, and c) driving all the way out there for rehearsal every day, then I'll do it. Because I freakin love that show!
And that's about it for now. I'll keep you updated on everything.
"neil is coming today.
i’ve missed him a lot. he gets less real when he’s not around.
we’ve determined that after a certain point, we become theoretical lovers instead of real ones - ideas to each other instead of flesh and blood memories.
zoë keating, cellist road warrior, claims that the theoretical-lover threshold is 3 weeks. i think she’s just about right."
--From Amanda Palmer's Blog
This was my horoscope from Free Will Astrology last week. I think it kind of sums things up.
CANCER (June 21st-July 22nd) This would be an excellent time for you to get aggressively inventive about your education. It wouldn't be too crazy, in my opinion, to launch your own school, with you as the only student. You could design your own course curriculum for the coming years. Decide who your teachers will be. Think about where you can get the stuff you'll need to expand your mind, enhance your skills, and just plain increase your intelligence. You could call your center of higher learning the University of Wily Exuberance or the Academy of Astonishing Grace or the Institute of Getting Down to Business.
On a completely different note, here is a random sampling of my Irrational Thinking/Rampant Imagination:
I came home earlier and saw that some of the lights were on. Which always makes me feel like all is not right in Whoville, since Jonathan (roommate) always turns all the lights off even when he's home. But his car wasn't in the driveway AND the door was locked, so I assumed he was probably out somewhere (it is Friday night, after all) and just didn't turn the lights off or something. Now, a normal person would just stop at that logical conclusion. But my imagination tends to run wild. SO, I'm still half-convinced that I'm going to find Jonathan murdered and stuffed in a closet, and the reason his car is gone is that the killer stole it. The kitties have the crazies right now, which only creeps me out even more, like they're trying to tell me something.
Shut up, brain.
"I've lost Hunt and Torres. See, I sent them to get Shepherd and I never heard from them again. See, I was trying to solve the Shepherd situation for you, Sir, but, It appears I've somehow made it three times worse. So...I'm telling you, and my next move I believe is that I'm gonna call the police. Because...I'm half-convinced they're all dead. On a spit. With a one-armed man turning them into shishkebabs. Sir. It's my mind. It just goes there."
--Dr. Bailey, Grey's Anatomy #5.18: "Stand By Me"
7:45 AM - Alarm goes off. Hit snooze.
8:45 AM - Finally get up. Think I have enough time for everything.
8:55 AM - Make tea, put Poptarts in the toaster, wash an apple. Feed Ragnar the last handful of food in the bag and pray that my new credit card comes in the mail ASAP because I can't afford to buy him a new bag of food otherwise.
9:15 AM - Realize that I'm seriously running late, and WHY didn't my brain put that together when my alarm went off. Gulp down tea, pack apple to go. Throw on dance clothes that I'd set out the night before, do hair, brush teeth at warp speed.
9:25 AM - Speed out the door, heart sinks when I remember that I emptied my gas tank last night. Pray that I have enough left to get to school. Start eating the apple, which tastes sour. Make mental note to throw out the rest of the apples in the fridge later. Throw out the Poptarts because I'm not hungry anymore.
9:40 AM - Turn onto Rural Road. Class starts in five minutes.
9:45 to 9:50 AM - Get to the Rural garage, try to find a parking space. Realize that this is stupid, that by the time I get to class I'll be something like 20 minutes late. Instantly regret staying up a little later than I should have to sew elastic on my ballet shoes. Stomach sinks because I realize my name is still on the stupid ballet roster, am embarrassed that my classmates will witness me missing another class for the millionth time.
9:50 AM - Drive out of the Rural garage and head back to Baseline Rd. Wonder why I questioned dropping ballet in the first place. Send Steve multiple texts since he's in training at his new job and can't pick up the phone. Call my Mom multiple times; get voice mail. Can't fucking believe she isn't home the one time I actually need to talk. Leave a message telling her I'm dropping ballet and not sure why I thought I could do this in the first place. Mind is racing.
9:55 AM - Pull into QuikTrip and get $6 worth of gas. I now have $5 left in my bank account.
10:10 AM - Get home. Slam doors.
10:20 AM - Drop ballet. Wishing I could punch walls like an emotionally repressed boy.
Despite my dramatic existential crisis with school, stressful health issues, Steve being gone and more friends moving (it's the great Mass Exodus of 2010), there are some simple pleasures that I've been immersing myself in. So I made a list.
1. TEA before bed, Tea any time, Tea in general!
2. Snuggling with Ragnar kitty for hours. I swear he knows when I'm sad because he always shoves his face into mine and gives me a nuzzle exactly when I need it.
3. My nightie with the stars on it, so soft and comfy.
4. Styling my hair in soft summery curls, à la Rachel McAdams in The Notebook.
5. My silly Converse boots. So ridiculous.
6. Tea Tree Oil shampoo and conditioner. Smells SO GOOD and feels all great and tingly. (Good call, Kay!)
7. The pretty blogs I read, even if their pretty lives frustrate me sometimes. (That's a whole other entry.)
8. Looking at European apartments on Craigslist. Not being able to go may be frustrating, but at least knowing these pretty places exist is very comforting.
9. Hilary Duff movies! Ooh, and Miami Ink on streaming Netflix.
10. THE CHIEFTAINS.
11. My new organic tinted moisturizer and Urban Decay lipstick that I picked up yesterday at Ulta with my makeup liason, Kay.
12. Writing in a paper journal again.
13. Lovely reading in my bag: Real Simple Magazine, and Memoirs of Montparnasse by John Glassco (he was such a brat!). I also have a book all about the making of Breakfast at Tiffany's, but haven't started it yet.
14. And of course, daily phone calls from Steve.
I really can't be 100% sure about this until classes actually start on Thursday, but I have a feeling that graduating college is something that is just not going to happen for me. Part of me is still fiercely hanging onto the idea of staying in school even though it makes me miserable most of the time. I'm waiting for that part to let go. I'm also waiting for the day when I can forgive myself for feeling like this, because right now all I feel is guilt. So much money wasted--both on tuition at the UA and ASU, and for many flights/hotel stays during BFA auditions...so much money, it's disgusting. And so much time wasted; my time, my teachers' time. Again, I can't be 100% sure about this until I see how this semester feels and I talk to some people. But I went to ASU today for an advising session and have another one tomorrow; it's not looking good. I just don't think it's going to happen.
"Let me know...
Do I still got time to grow?
Things ain't always set in stone.
That be known, let me know. Let me--
Seems like streetlights, glowing,
happen to be just like
moments passing in front of me
so I hopped in the cab and,
I paid my fare;
See, I know my destination,
But I'm just not there..."
--Street Lights, Kanye West
(I actually wrote this earrrly this morning--Steve's flight was at 7:00 AM--but I didn't really have the energy to post it anywhere but my LiveJournal.)
I just dropped Steve off at the airport...
And after all the hell I put myself through trying to wrap my mind around the idea of breaking up, we actually decided to stay together and try the long distance thing. I honestly have no idea where things will go, particularly because I don't have plans to move anytime soon (nor am I sure I'll ultimately end up in NYC; I'm interested in a few other cities). But breaking up just didn't feel right at all. We both felt like this isn't the end. And even though it's going to be difficult and neither of us really know how to do this, we want to be together and in each others lives.
But at the same time, I feel this huge void. We're still together, but he's not here. That really knocked the wind out of me when I was walking back to my car after seeing him off. He's not here. Things are different. And that void feels so huge that I want nothing more than to jump on a plane to New York immediately just to have a movie night over Pacificos with lime, fall asleep next to him, and go to brunch in the morning. I'm not sure how to deal with this, and it's going to be a huge adjustment. I'm lucky to have a Dad with billions of frequent flyer miles and a brother-in-law who works for an airline; meaning that visits won't be too difficult or expensive to arrange.
Basically, I can't believe he isn't here. But I am so happy that we're still together, and I love the feeling that I can still call him and tell him about my day.
I don't know if you've ever felt both happy and devastated at the same time...but it's very strange. I have no idea which way is up right now, but I know that I'm just following my intuition and entering a new chapter of my life and our relationship.
Yesterday was a fun music day. Here's some of the stuff I was listening to...
I started with Jane Monheit, badass jazz babe. I had to wake up super early (5:45 AM) to take Steve to work. (Long story.) I was mildly hungover from 4th of July festivities, so I chose Jane Monheit because she's nice and mellow and gorgeous and didn't hurt my pounding head:
Started with Over the Rainbow, Then Waters of March, per Steve's request. It's his favorite Jane song. I ended the drive with Hit the Road to Dreamland.
Halfway through Over the Rainbow, my headache started easing up. Jane Monheit cured my hangover. This is one of many reasons why I love her.
Later on, I had a doctors appointment. I always get nervous when I have to go to the doctor, so I needed something peppy to cheer me up. Clearly, I needed Janelle Monae:
Her adorable tiny fierceness helped me be less nervous. :)
I decided to reward myself for going to the doctor by going shopping. Janelle Monae got me in a sassy mood, so I switched over to Lady Gaga:
Started with Teeth! Ohh I do love this song. "Take a bite of my baaaad girl meat!" Then listened to Bad Romance since I hadn't listened to it in awhile. I belted Poker Face on the 101 driving home. I used to really hate this song, but now it's a guilty pleasure. And a perfect for the freeway. I listened to part of Eh Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say) in my driveway while I was trying to figure out my surprisingly confusing shade thing for my windshield. Normally I skip over this song, but I rediscovered it today.
And that's about it. I love fun music days!
I actually fell asleep at like 8 or 9 PM last night, because I'd gotten up early. CRAZY. It's nice having a reason to get up early, but I'm predicting this will only last for a few days before I'll be back to my vampire schedule. Eh.
I've slept most of this week. I just haven't felt like staying awake...Or, it's more like I can't drum up the energy to stay awake. And I would definitely love to stay awake, seeing as 99% of my dreams are vividly unsettling or full-blown nightmares (like the one I had last night where Aaron Echolls was chasing me. Unnnnsettling. Most likely brought on from re-watching season one of Veronica Mars with Steve, who had never seen it. Aaron Echolls is a scary man.) Anyway. The point is, I'm sleeping too much. And am kind of trapped in a vicious sleep circle--the more I sleep, the more weak/exhausted I feel; yet I don't have enough energy or motivation to fight through it and wake up. It's annoying.
So I'm up in the middle of the night right now, doing one of my favorite insomniac activities: reading The Pioneer Woman. Of course, I really don't cook. I have sparse cooking skills and my impatience with it overwhelms my desire to get better at it. But I inexplicably love reading food blogs like Pioneer Woman. I think in the back of my mind I know I'll eventually start cooking a little more in the future and probably still won't be that great at it, but will be better than I am now. Anyway. I'm reading her recipe for Decadent Chocolate Milk right now, but had to stop temporarily when I got to the part where she mentions semi-sweet chocolate. Because it triggered a series of totally random childhood memories.
When I wasn't at home, I spent the majority of my childhood hanging out with my oldest friends, Justine and Lanie. I met them when I randomly walked out of my house at age three or so, and toddled over to their house out of all the houses in our neighborhood. I remember I was wearing my white Mary Jane shoes that had the little hole punch pattern on the toe. Remember those kinds of shoes? I wandered over to their house, knocked on the door, and met their Mama (her name is June) and met Justine. Little Lanie was asleep in her crib, so we all had to whisper and tip-toe. June called my Mama who was frantic with worry by then, and I was returned to my house. That was pretty much the catalyst for a lifelong friendship, as I continued to stay friends with Justine and Lanie while my Mama continued to stay friends with their Mama.
Some of the most vivid memories I have of summer afternoons spent at their house revolve around food. We ate a lot of random things. June would make us "Dunkers," soft-boiled eggs which we ate with strips of toast. Or we would take out the tub of Nutella, and dip spoonfuls of it into Rice Krispies before eating it. I remember dreading when June would make us PB&J, because she made it with refrigerated bread, which I've always hated the taste of (and still hate to this day). But I never liked to complain when I was a guest in someone's house, so I ate it anyway. In terms of more decadent, ridiculous snacks, I remember Justine loved eating sweetened condensed milk right out of the can. I never really liked that. But we all loved the gluttonous joy of eating entire cans of cherry pie filling with a spoon! We usually had to do it secretly, because ohhh how our Moms hated that! A few years later, their stepdad John, who is from Brazil, would cook Brazilian meals for us. There is nothing more orgasmic than Brazilian steak, or that really delicious rice with the powdery stuff on top (I forgot the name). June's best friend, Mary Beth, who Justine and Lanie referred to as "Auntie," was the proprietor and cake chef at Maribelle Cakery. We loved visiting the kitchen and stealing spoonfuls of frosting, or sampling her latest recipe. Whenever Justine and Lanie had a birthday, we always had a deliciously outrageous cake from Maribelle to eat.
Oddly enough, one of my favorite snacks was the most simple: semi-sweet chocolate chips. We'd pour them into the dainty little glasses that June usually used for Dunkers. But Justine, Lanie and I would use them for eating cupfuls of semi-sweet chocolate chips while watching TV shows after school or during the summer. Every time I eat a semi-sweet chocolate chip, I definitely taste those childhood afternoons. And remember all the other random and delicious food we ate growing up. I just bought a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips from the grocery store for exactly this reason. All I need are some soft-boiled egg glasses to eat them out of.
"Go where you're celebrated, not where you're tolerated."
A girl I vaguely knew in high school but am now Facebook friends with had this as her status today. I think it may be my new philosophy on life, at least career-wise. It's interesting how some of my former-acquaintances-turned-Facebook-friends have some of the best status updates.
My sleep schedule is once again messed up. Today was yet another attempt to stabilize it, and in doing so, happened to have an obscenely productive day. (In my opinion, anyway.) Once in a Blue Moon, I get bursts of GET-THIS-SHIT-DONE motivation, so I try my best to take advantage of them when they seldom appear. I did so much stuff today that I decided to document it in photos! Also, forgive any slap-happy writing ahead. I am, as you can tell, on no sleep.
At around 7:00 AM, I started my day by hanging some posters. The Amelie has been up for awhile, but the other posters went up today. The walls are still a work-in-progress, as I have many more things I plan to hang. But I got a great start. Can you spot Kaylene's face in there?
Then, I sat down and completed the task that has evaded me for at least a year: I finished Steve's mixes. I've been gathering songs since we started dating, and the list grew so overwhelming that I basically scrapped most of the original playlists and just went to town. And finally finished the damn things! Even though these songs were definitely custom picked for Steve, they do definitely sum up my music taste pretty well. There are definitely some songs I forgot to add, but I could always burn him another CD before he leaves.
1) Dntel--"Rock My Boat"
2) Ingrid Michaelson--"Creep" (Radiohead cover...with her and her ukulele!)
3) Amanda Palmer--"Oasis"
4) Rosemary Clooney--"Botch-A-Me"
5) Scissor Sisters--"I Can't Decide"
6) Nelly Furtado--"Hey Man!"
7) David Byrne w/ Rufus Wainwright--"Au Fond Du Temple Saint"
8) The Decemberists--"A Record Year For Rainfall"
9) Regina Spektor--"Blue Lips (Live)"
10) Madeleine Peyroux--"Between the Bars" (Elliot Smith cover)
11) Christina Aguilera--"Mercy On Me"
12) Ani Difranco--"Shameless"
13) Kate Nash--"Mariella"
14) The Decemberists--"A Cautionary Song"
15) Yann Tiersen--"Rue des Cascades"
16) Ingrid Michaelson--"The Chain"
17) The Bird & The Bee--"My Love"
18) Taken By Trees--"Sweet Child O' Mine" (Guns 'N' Roses cover)
19) Regina Spektor--"On the Radio"
20) Rosemary Clooney--"In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" (That is the ultimate summer song, by the way.)
1) Jace Everett--"Bad Things"
2) Kiki & Herb--"No Children/Rainbow Connection" (I smooshed these songs together on Garage Band since they're both awesome.)
3) Ella Fitzgerald--"Airmail Special"
4) Roisin Murphy--"Night of the Dancing Flame"
5) Yael Naim--"New Soul"
6) Amy Winehouse--"Back to Black"
7) Fiona Apple--"Extraordinary Machine"
8) Exit 245--"Fix You" (Coldplay cover and Collegiate a cappella JACKPOT...Don't tell Coldplay, but I think I like this version better!)
9) Tori Amos--"Bells For Her"
10) Alison Krauss & Robert Plant--"Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us" (Sam Phillips cover)
11) The Decemberists--"Won't Want For Love"
12) Cyndi Lauper--"You've Really Got A Hold On Me"
13) David Byrne--"Glass, Concrete & Stone"
14) Adele--"Right As Rain"
15) Indigo Girls--"Ozilline"
16) Margaret Whiting--"Time After Time"
1) The Chieftains & Nickel Creek--"The Raggle Taggle Gypsy"
2) Pink Martini--"Do Svedanya, Mio Bambino"
3) Lulu--"Stealing My Love From Me"
4) April March--"Chick Habit"
5) Ani Difranco--"Here For Now"
6) Lady Gaga--"Speechless"
7) Rolling Stones--"Laugh, I Nearly Died"
8) Nickel Creek--"The Lighthouse's Tale"
9) Alexi Murdoch--"Orange Sky"
10) Inara George--"Mistress"
11) Neutral Milk Hotel--"In the Aeroplane Over the Sea"
12) The Cinematic Orchestra--"To Build A Home"
13) Martha Wainwright--"Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole" (No bitter why-do-you-have-to-move subtext here, trust me! It's just one of my all-time favorite songs.)
14) Lisbeth Scott--"Take Me Home"
15) Jason Mraz--"After An Afternoon"
16) The Decemberists--"Sons & Daughters"
17) Van Morrison--"Sweet Thing" (This is our song.)
18) Kiki & Herb--"Running Up That Hill"
Now I don't mess around when I make people mixes. That's one of the reasons it took me so long to get this done; because I am not only meticulous about the mix itself, but also about the track list. I typically use funky postcards (I used the Photobooth series for these), and cover the front with lyrics. I love the Photobooth postcards because I get to draw in thought/dialogue bubbles around the lyrics for an extra silly touch. I also give a bit of commentary on each song. It's a long process, but it's how I like to do it.
The complete track list set. The actual tracks and commentary are all on the back.
Disc One track list. Lyrics: "Botch-A-Me" by Rosemary Clooney.
Disc One (continued) track list. Lyrics: "On the Radio" by Regina Spektor (this is probably my favorite stanza of all time.)
Disc Two track list. Lyrics: "Bad Things" by Jace Everett.
Disc Two (continued) & Disc Three track list. Lyrics: "Laugh, I Nearly Died" by the Rolling Stones.
Disc Three (continued) track list. Lyrics: "Running Up That Hill," originally by Kate Bush but covered on the mix by Kiki & Herb.
I also burned him a bunch of other music I've been meaning to give him: Adele's 19, Amanda Palmer's Who Killed Amanda Palmer? + the free track she recently released, Kiki & Herb's Will Die For You: Live from Carnegie Hall, Evelyn Evelyn's Evelyn Evelyn, Rufus Wainwright's All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu, A mix of my favorite Yeah Yeah Yeahs songs, and a mix of my favorite Dresden Dolls songs. I also made track lists on index cards; since they weren't custom made mixes, the track lists were simple and without any extra commentary.
There's the full stack of CDs, including the track list set for the mix. WHEW.
Then I went out to Target and Michael's to get supplies for my next project: a ridiculously fabulous idea for organizing earrings that I saw in Real Simple magazine (which I am currently obsessed with). They had an article with DIY organization projects according to whether you're a Right Brain or Left Brain person. I am most definitely Right Brained, and this nifty earring project is the perfect solution to the pile of sad, tangled earrings in my bathroom. I cut out an 11x14 piece of foam core, covered it in Disney Princess wrapping paper, and put it into a blank frame from Michael's (one with no glass or back to it; just the frame). I'm attaching it to my bathroom wall with velcro, so I'm giving the adhesive 24 hours to fully bond before I hang the frame and attach my earrings with dressmaker pins. I love the way it turned out! And it was so easy, too.
Then I packed up Derek's late birthday present (The Worst Case Scenario Survival Guide: Man Skills) and got it ready to ship to Seattle.
I also started an Audition binder, where I can keep all my sheet music, copies of my headshot/resume, and articles on auditioning that I've saved over the years.
Then I repaired one of my fleur de lis bookends that Derek got me for Christmas. A piece had fallen off, so I reattached it with Krazy Glue. Good as new!
Annnnd now I'm here, writing and uploading photos. I have so many more fun projects that I want to do (I started a list), so I'm hoping my sleep schedule can stabilize and bursts of motivation keep coming so I can have more days like this. I've been so preoccupied with everything that haven't even eaten anything today (except for drinking 3 Red Bulls to keep me awake). So I'm going to go grab some food, see what Steve is up to, and crash early. Whaaat a day.
CANCER (June 21st-July 22nd)
I suspect you're going to feel a bit constrained in the coming weeks, Cancerian -- maybe even imprisoned. I suggest you make the best of it. Rather than feeling sorry for yourself and spiraling down into a dark night of the soul, try this: Imagine that you're a resourceful hermit who's temporarily under house arrest in an elegant chalet with all the amenities. Regard this "incarceration" as a chance to start work on a masterpiece, or upgrade your meditation practice, or read a book you've needed an excuse to lose yourself in. Believe it or not, your "deprivation" could be one of the best things that has happened to you in a while.
--Free Will Astrology
I finally started seeing a therapist. I was really anxious about my first appointment because I was worried she wouldn't "feel right" and I'd have to keep searching for another one, but luckily I instantly felt at ease with her. (Heh, it sounds like we're dating or something. We're not.) And it sounds silly, but she looks a lot like Judy Greer, which I find very comforting because Judy Greer is one of my favorite actresses. Also, she worked at ASU for years, so she has a lot of experience working with college students (she's even seen a lot of dancers) AND she knows her way around all the bureaucratic stuff there and is going to help me get a medical withdrawal. I honestly didn't think that I'd qualify for one, but apparently I do. It's a relief having a therapist who knows the system and has worked with a lot of people my age.
I've been going to her for almost a month, and I'm learning a lot. And verrrry slowly progressing, which is difficult because I'm impatient and hate baby steps. The sessions surprisingly always feel wayyy too short. I'm constantly feeling like I have so much more that I want to talk about than we have time for, and wish we could just talk for like six hours over a pint of Haagen-Dazs. Buuut we can't. So I'm learning to just take things slowly. She had me bring in some photos the other day, and it was really interesting to hear an outside perspective on all of them. I was pretty blown away by what she saw.
The subject of medication has come up, of course, but I'm really wary about it. I'm terrified of the side-effects, particularly with SSRIs, because they even have side-effects when you STOP taking it. Agh. But I'm thinking about it, because even though I'm learning a lot, the heaviness I feel is making it incredibly difficult to do a lot of the things I need to do. So I would love some perspective on SSRIs, pleeeease! You can message me on FB if you don't feel comfortable commenting on it here.
Even though progress is slow, I still feel a lot of relief just from starting therapy. I just wish I'd taken care of this years ago, before it wreaked this much havoc on my life.
I'm auditioning for Phoenix Theater on May 23rd, and am so nervous! I've never really done season auditions before and feel really green. I desperately want in on these shows. I'm auditioning for Saraghina in Nine, obviously, because I want to play that role so badly it hurts! And I feel like I have a decent shot at it, even though I'm sure I'll be competing against every big curvy belter in Phoenix. Even if I don't get the role, I have a feeling another opportunity will pop up eventually. I'm also auditioning for Hairspray! I originally just wanted an ensemble role, but I'm shooting for Tracy. I thought I was too thin for the role (Ha! I don't think I've ever been able to say that before!), but everyone I've talked to says that they usually pad the actress even if she's already the right body type. Plus, I sang through the show on the way to Tucson the other day to make sure I could handle the role vocally, and I totally CAN. So, what the hell! I don't have anything to lose auditioning for Tracy, because I desperately just want to BE IN THE SHOW no matter what role!!!! Hairsprayyyy!
We have to prepare 16 bars of a ballad and 16 bars of an uptempo song, as well as a monologue. My dear friend JP, who directed Man of La Mancha, introduced me to "The Miller's Son" from A Little Night Music awhile ago and I instantly fell in love with it. So I'm singing that as my ballad (even if accompanists have trouble sightreading Sondheim...eek). And definitely adding Petra to my list of dream roles! I've finally decided on "Always True to You (In My Fashion)" from Kiss Me Kate as my uptempo song. I really wanted to do "A Trip to the Library" from She Loves Me, but I can't find the damn sheet music anywhere. But "Always True to You" is a little more upbeat, anyway, plus it shows off my range a little more. I chose a monologue from Catholic Schoolgirls, and am totally going to channel my 7 year old niece, Bryn. Because it's all stuff that she would totally say. I really need to get memorizing. Gahh. I'M NERVOUS! But excited. I'm hoping that I'll at least make it to the dance callback just based on my dance experience alone?
I'm also hoping to audition for Southwest Shakespeare that same weekend, if I can memorize two classical monologues in time. IT IS GOING TO BE ONE CRAZY WEEKEND. They're doing A Midsummer Night's Dream, which is my absolute favorite Shakespeare play. I've been in it several times as a kid, and would love to do it again. I think I'll shoot for Helena. Which is kind of funny, because I just played Helene in Sweet Charity. Helene to Helena! But, like with Hairspray, I'd be happy with any role. I just love that show and it's been way too long since I've done any Shakespeare.
Preparing for PT auditions has made me realize how much more of a range I have. I really thought I was just a solid alto, but I've been working a lot on my belt and can surprisingly hit much higher notes with it than I thought I could. And I know I could develop more control once I start taking voice lessons (the potential teacher I'm interested in hasn't emailed me back, meh). It's just been a constant surprise discovering this whole new part of myself. I almost feel like I could qualify as a mezzo-soprano (in the musical theater sense, not opera obviously), but I'm not sure. It does make me very happy, though!
I'm going to Tucson today for Kay's graduation tonight, and Justine's graduation dinner tomorrow. My girls are all grown up! Justine just got a job offer in San Francisco and is apparently moving there in like five seconds. It makes me really sad, especially because I've been disgustingly out of touch with her recently (my fault), but I'm so happy for her of course. And happy to have a place to stay in San Francisco! I'm so excited to see two of my favorite ladies, and especially see them graduate. Buncha badasses.
And that's pretty much what's been going on in my life recently. Apologies for the verboseness.
P.S. I forgot to mention that we might be getting kitties. :D All I need to do is call up my friend Nathan who has them. Except that I HATE talking on the phone and am too nervous. (But I want kitties!)
I first heard the term "Sad Bastard Music" from Kay, by way of Jack Black in High Fidelity. It's such a perfect description of my favorite weepy, melancholy songs that it's become part of my permanent lexicon ever since. While I have an incredibly vast collection of Sad Bastard Music, these are the songs I've been listening to recently; in the past week or so. I think I'll definitely do another post at some point that documents my all-time favorite Sad Bastard songs another day, because some songs are just must-haves. Below the batch of videos is my commentary on each song.
So here we go...
Katy's CURRENT Playlist of Sad Bastard Music, in no particular order:
1) Lady Gaga--"Speechless"
Not only is this a current favorite Sad Bastard song, it's also currently one of my favorite songs to belt in the car. I usually sing it at least once a day...if only I could use it as an audition song! This particular version is my absolute favorite live performance of it. First of all, I think she looks so beautiful here. Her dress is incredible, her makeup is classic and flawless, and she's wearing my favorite version of her hair bow. It's like a perfect balance of classic glamour and her signature outrageous, avant garde style. And secondly, I love the stripped down, raw way she sings the song. "Speechless" is a great example of how talented Lady Gaga actually is, because she's great at campy ballads as well as catchy pop/dance songs. I really wish she'd put out an album of just her on solo piano, that would make my life! Other great performances of "Speechless," in my opinion, include her performance on Ellen and the one from the AMAs where she breaks bottles (both of these performances can be found on YouTube as well).
2) Ingrid Michaelson--"Turn to Stone"
I bought this song off of iTunes a long time ago, but forgot about it until I rewatched season 5 of Grey's Anatomy this week and now I'm obsessed. (It's featured in episode #5.21: "What A Difference A Day Makes.") Ingrid Michaelson writes beautiful ballads, and this one is a perfect mix of simple, beautiful piano lilting which builds into epic explosions of rich sound. Sighhh.
3) Dresden Dolls--"Delilah" (Performed in this video by Amanda Palmer only.)
WOW. Talk about a song that makes me dissolve within seconds of the opening lines. Devastating lyrics, vocals, music, everything...I cry like a little girl. "And you thought you could change his mind / by changing your perfume / to the kind his mother wore..." AHH. Really, Amanda Palmer? Why don't you just stab me in the heart. I would really love to choreograph a solo to it using the whole song, but I can't figure out any movement that's good enough for it.
4) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club--"Feel It Now"
I first heard this song a long time ago in an episode of Bones from season one (#1.12: "The Superhero in the Alley"). I recently rediscovered it when listening to an old mix a couple weeks ago. I love the sad, simple lyrics, gorgeous piano, and his neo-classic rock voice. "I turn myself into an angel, I run myself into the ground." Gahh.
5) Evelyn Evelyn--"Evelyn Evelyn"
There's all this controversy surrounding Evelyn Evelyn, the side project with Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley, but my response to that is a whole other entry. The point is: I love them and I love love love this song. It's extremely intense but sort of airy and ethereal at the same time, with this underlying creepy music box/circus vibe to it. Lovvve.
6) Lady Gaga--"Brown Eyes"
Another great example of Lady Gaga's talent for soulful ballads and passionate vocals.
7) Rufus Wainwright--"Zebulon"
"I'm in love, but let's not talk about it..." Oh, Rufus. No one does morose quite like him. His newest album, All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu, is just him and his piano and is SO beautiful that it doesn't even seem real. I saw him live last fall (and MET him!) and felt the same way about his concert, which was just him and a piano. Indescribably beautiful. This song is absolutely devastating, as are my other favorites from the album which I couldn't find video for: "Sad With What I Have" and "Who Are You, New York?" Seriously, just buy the album. You won't be disappointed.
8) Jane Monheit--"A Case of You"
Steve got me into Jane Monheit when we first started dating. She is so ridiculously talented, it's absurd. Of course I love the original Joni version of "A Case of You," but I have an obsession with cover songs and collect them. Especially when they're flawless like this one. K.d. Lang also does an incredible cover of it on her Hymns of the 49th Parallel album and I've been listening to her version a lot recently as well. Another Jane Monheit song that's on my current Sad Bastard playlist is her rendition of "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most." It's perfect.
9) Susanna and the Magical Orchestra--"Love Will Tear Us Apart"
When it comes to Sad Bastard Music, you can't go wrong with "Love Will Tear Us Apart," which is why there are two different covers of it on my current playlist. I mentioned Susanna and the Magical Orchestra in my last entry, and here's an example of her epic moroseness! I've also been listening to her equally morose, melodic covers of "These Days" and "Enjoy the Silence." Once I get sick of these covers, I definitely want to hear more of her original songs.
10) Evelyn Evelyn--"Love Will Tear Us Apart"
When I first heard this, I honestly didn't recognize Amanda Palmer's voice and thought that it was a guest vocalist. I'd never heard her go this whispery and subdued before! But I love it. Jason Webley is equally gorgeous on this cover as well. And they accompany themselves on a damn ukulele! I love morose songs that are combined with calm ukulele strumming; it adds this perfect bit of camp to it (another great example of this is Ingrid Michaelson's cover of "Creep" in which she uses a ukulele as well).
11) Lisbeth Scott w/ Nathan Barr--"Take Me Home (Pie Cry Remix)"
Ho-ly Hell. What an incredible song! I recently rewatched season one of True Blood, and couldn't believe that I didn't own this song already. It is so, so, so beautiful I can't even take it! And of course this scene is just devastating if you've seen it in the context of the show, which adds to the song's sad beauty. I'm dying to choreograph to this. I can just see dancers all in white.
12) Sara Melson--"Feel It Coming"
This song is a little more upbeat, but still has that great Sad Bastard lyrical quality that I love. Plus it's played at the very end of a particularly sad Grey's Anatomy episode (#4.10: "Crash Into Me, Part II") so I associate it with that. But it also makes me smile, too, because I think of Meredith, Cristina and Lexie's nerdy drunken dance party. (See the scene HERE. It doesn't really contain any major spoilers.) I'm curious to hear more from Sara Melson.
"Raise a glass to mend all the broken hearts
of all my wrecked-up friends."
--Lady Gaga, Speechless
Meredith: I was swimming. I was fighting. And then I thought...just for a second, I thought, "What's the point?" And I let go. I stopped fighting. Don't tell anybody... Denny: Okay.
--Grey's Anatomy #3.17: "Some Kind of Miracle"
That's all for now. Update soon, I hope. I haven't really felt much like writing recently, even though there's been much on my mind.
One notable thing from today, though, is that I finally withdrew from my last class. I hate that complete withdrawals have to be done in person, mostly because I can barely bring myself to leave the house during the day. But I finally dragged myself down there because the deadline is tomorrow. I wasn't sure if I felt relieved or gloomy afterward, but now I guess I feel a combination of both. Glad I got it out of the way, but just gloomy about how everything has turned out. My classmates have been posting videos of their final projects on Facebook. I can't bring myself to watch them, but just seeing them pop up on my news feed literally makes my heart hurt. That's the only way to describe it. My heart hurts. And it spreads through my entire body until I just hurt all over. I wish I could've at least been able to make it through the rest of the semester, then I could take next semester off instead. But I knew I couldn't continue. There was absolutely no way. Doesn't stop my heart from hurting, though.
But at least I have weepy Grey's Anatomy episodes, ice cream, and sad bastard music to keep me company while I wallow for a bit and start trying to figure things out. I discovered this extremely morose band yesterday called Susanna and the Magical Orchestra; they cover songs that are already quite morose and make them even MORE morose. Excellent.
What about me and my life right now made it seem like I could possibly handle any more problems?? Can't you see that I am BARELY HANGING ON HERE???? Barely hanging on. I mean, is this some kind of joke? Because I've had enough of these fucking cosmic jokes. I'm so tired of having everything go wrong at once and feeling like it can't possibly get any worse, only to wake up to another huge bombshell or three or four. And why NOW? Why do I get to deal with yet another problem when I'm already at my lowest emotional point?? I'm so completely drained and I have nothing more to give so just STOP PILING IT ALL ON. I'm drowning and I have no more fight left in me. None. I'm not even sure I have the strength to fix anything that's gone wrong. I just want one damn thing to fix itself. Somebody to just give me a fucking break. I'm sure anyone else could be strong enough to be an adult and take care of things. But I can't.
And I'm sorry that I can't go into more detail about what's happening.
(I wrote this earlier tonight. Eclipse was posted to give you some background if you need it.)
One day when I was in elementary school, Christine took me out to buy a piñata for my upcoming birthday party. We went to Sonic for lunch. After we ordered, we waited and waited for nearly an hour but our food didn't come. I began to get silly and pushed the button, not thinking they could hear me. I jokingly said, "Look, BUSTER!! If you don't bring us our food right now, we're just gonna LEAVE!" Then we collapsed into laughter. Literally ten seconds later, a Sonic employee came running out the door to our car. He didn't say anything or apologize, just sheepishly handed us our burgers. I think about that every time I go to Sonic.
Christine spoke Spanish. She taught me all the Spanish colors when I was really little. I could say them expertly. Rojo, azul, morado, blanco, naranja, negro, amarillo, rosa. I liked saying amarillo the most. She taught me other words, too. I speak six languages now.
I remember spending the majority of my childhood driving around with Christine and Margie. I remember one time, I rolled down my window and smiled flirtatiously at high school boys in jeeps while the Gin Blossoms sang "Hey Jealousy" on the radio. I was obsessed with "Stay" by Lisa Loeb and "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison. I had dark brown eyes growing up and I thought he had written that song about me. My sisters had the songs on cassette tapes, and I would play them over and over again in the car. There was a button on the stereo of Christine's off-white 1991 Infiniti that would rewind the tape backward just one song. I would hit that button every time my songs ended. Loud music, laughter, a six year old fluttering her eyelashes at high school boys, my sisters asking "AGAIN?" in disbelief as I reached for the rewind button. Yes, again.
NOTE: This is a narrative I wrote in 2005 about my sister, Christine. I will occasionally reference her in my writing or entries, so here is background on who she is.
Usually reunions in the airport are a joyous event. There are hugs, laughs, stories of travel. But on one particular day, there was a family waiting for someone. They were all crying. The entrance of the person they were waiting for only brought on more tears. And they were not tears of happiness; they were tears of unexplainable grief.
* * * * * * * *
I was just a little girl, nine years old, playing marbles in my blue gingham-print dress at recess. I admired my fourth grade teacher because she always reminded me of Miss Honey from Matilda. I played on the playground; elaborations on the game of tag--giggling with my friends as each of us had a turn being “It.” Math lessons were a time for zoning out, for making elaborate designs with markers on the pages of my notebook. I realize now that there was nothing but happiness in the simplicity of my fourth grade life.
On the night of September 27th, 1996, there was a lunar eclipse. My older sister, Mary Beth, and I had spent most of the evening on the lawn outside of the planetarium. We looked up at the sky, feeling autumn in our hair. She dropped me back off at our house just in time to watch my favorite program at the time: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I put on my pajamas and flicked on the TV in my room; he was in the middle of his monologue. I sat down on the floor to watch, laughing with the audience whether I understood his jokes or not--doing so made me feel intellectual and adult like my six older siblings.
The phone rang.
I was used to these late night phone calls since my Dad is a pediatrician and almost always on call. I thought nothing of it.
I was highlighting things in the American Girl catalog for my Christmas list when my Dad came running down the hallway in a panic, wearing the same pinstripe pajamas that he’s worn for years. He woke up my mother, and I glanced out the open door, annoyed at the ruckus. I don’t remember exactly what he said to my Mom, but I know it ended with this, in a shaky tear-stained tone that I’d never heard out of him before:
Chrissy. Christine. Christine Anne Callie. My second mother; my twenty-year-old sister. The only one who smoothed back my hair with her perfect fingernails, singing Tears in Heaven, Fields of Gold, or Under the Bridge off-key. The only one who would hold my hand at night when I awoke from a bad dream and was too scared to go back to sleep. She spoke nearly fluent Spanish and was spending her junior year at Colby College abroad in Salamanca, Spain. We found out later exactly what happened to her: she collapsed and died of cardiac arrhythmia. It didn’t make any sense--a healthy twenty-year-old’s lungs just randomly filling up with fluid--but that was the reality we had to face.
Three months before my American Girl reverie was interrupted with news of an unthinkable loss, I saw her for the last time, boarding her flight back to Spain at Tucson International Airport. I was the last person she touched before getting on the plane. After the flight attendants closed the heavy doors and the plane took off, I cried uncontrollably and couldn’t stop. When my Mom asked me what was wrong, I told the truth.
“She’s never coming back,” I sobbed.
“What are you talking about? Of course she’s coming back, don’t be silly.” My Mom told me. I wasn’t convinced. “Before you know it, she’ll be home for Christmas,” she continued.
Unfortunately, Chrissy never made it home for Christmas. And the calm voice of reason that tried to comfort me at the airport that day was now replaced with a painful sob that only a mother whose child has died could make.
One by one, the rest of our family showed up at our house. Albert, Trina, Mary Beth, John and his girlfriend Violette. Margie was beginning her freshman year at Holy Cross College in Massachusetts. She would fly home a few days later. That night is a blur of ad nauseam hugs, tears, frowns, cries of disbelief, horrible sobs whose sound I’ve repressed over the years. John didn’t want to believe it, and kept asking for an autopsy report. Violette held me as I stopped crying but entered a daze of grief and disbelief. My little brother, James, was only three at the time--he didn’t understand. The only thing that I remember vividly is my Mom’s futile attempts to talk to Chrissy’s host family, but the language barrier only created confusion. She would hysterically repeat broken atrocious mixtures of Spanish and English until she gave up. No one knew what was going to happen. All we knew was that our family had lost one member, and grief began to ravenously and mercilessly consume us whole.
The night of the funeral, Margie came and picked me up early from Girl Scouts. We were in the middle of a game, so I was angry to have to leave. Upon returning home, there was a flurry of activity--everyone was rushing, putting in earrings, drying their hair. I was told to put on a nice dress and comb my hair, and my Mom clasped a gold crucifix around my neck. I had no idea what was going on because no one told me that we were getting ready to attend Chrissy’s funeral. When they finally told me, I went downstairs by myself and danced to Sarah McLachlan’s Angel until it was time to go.
My heart nearly stopped upon entering the church--I don’t remember anyone ever explaining to me what a “viewing” was; that my sister would be in the room with us in an open casket made of bronze and surrounded by bouquets of flowers. I got more and more nervous as we approached her casket, and I barely recognized her. Her nose was crooked from when she collapsed on it, and her skin was deathly pale. I reached out, shaking, to touch the hand that once held mine, but I abruptly gasped and yanked it back when I felt her cold, waxy, stiff skin. Our family sat in the first few pews; I sat in my Mom’s lap. A single tear fell off my face and onto her hand. The evening was a slow haze of eulogizers and tacky songs, and the murmur of the ten Hail Mary’s--a Catholic funeral tradition.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee,
Blessed art thou among women
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
Holy Mary, mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death.
I can honestly say that my family was never the same after Chrissy died. She’s not even “Chrissy” to me anymore, she’s “Christine.” Her room is thick with haunted silence, and I don’t like to go in there. Sure, we got over the grief eventually, but it was never the same. Oddly enough, this loss only strengthened my parents’ faith in God and Catholicism. I, on the other hand, wanted to sever all ties with the higher power that had taken my sister away. My faith in God has recovered a little since then, but not much. My Dad has never really recovered. He still cries at the mere sound of her name. I became, and still am, extremely bitter about it. I don’t like to reminisce, and I inwardly roll my eyes at his tears.
I’m pretty close with my siblings, but I’ve never shared a bond with any of them that was as close and deep as the bond between Christine and I. That’s probably why I’m so bitter about the whole thing--no one ever smoothed back my hair or sang to me like she did. That void has never truly been filled. Our family, I’ve grown to realize, is not defined by religion or customs or holiday traditions--we’re defined by Christine’s death, by that late night phone call from seven years ago.