Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sounds about right.

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

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Update Triptych

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!)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Current Playlist of Sad Bastard Music

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.

Enjoy. :)

"Raise a glass to mend all the broken hearts
of all my wrecked-up friends."
--Lady Gaga, Speechless

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I don't care how impossible they are, I love the ferry episodes.

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.