missroserose: (Default)
Given that Brian and I are both big fans of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, I perhaps should not have been surprised to find myself deluged in mailed flyers for their new season - and specifically, for their 30th anniversary season special of $99 for tickets to three shows. The date and seat options were limited, of course, but with some finagling I found a set of dates when we were free, and thus was Brian's Christmas present taken care of.

Last night was our first show, King Charles III, a "future history" of Great Britain; basically a speculative work on what the near future might hold for the British monarchy, written a la Shakespeare (although in truth it hewed closer to the style of his tragedies than his histories). Queen Elizabeth II has just died, and after a lifetime of waiting, Charles III has ascended to the throne, just in time for the passage of a bill by Parliament that would severely restrict freedom of the press. The Prime Minister, knowing Charles' long and contentious relationship with the tabloids and confident in two centuries' worth of precedent, is understandably dumbstruck when Charles refuses to sign the bill into law, thus throwing into question the long-held (but nonetheless relatively recent) tradition of royal political neutrality. Parliament doubles down, the King digs in his heels, and events spiral outward from there, with various family members reflecting on both their duty to Great Britain and the opportunities afforded them by the conflict, even as the people, cleanly split on the issue, grow restive, organizing protests and counter-protests all through the British Empire.

I hugely admired the intelligence of the play; political intrigue is a favorite subject of mine, and both the playwright and the actors did a fabulous job demonstrating the complex (and often conflicting) principles and desires that drive each of the major players to their respective conclusions. I particularly enjoyed the uncertainty around the title character - is he, as he claims, driven purely by his faith in the necessity of a free press to a functioning democracy? Is he secretly enjoying his time in the spotlight, after having played second fiddle for so long? Is his obstinacy truly the result of closely-held belief, or is he also trying to make his mark on history in the relatively short time allowed him on the throne? Even juicier were the reflections on the role of royalty and government in British society. Is it the royal family's place to influence politics? If they refuse to take a stand on important issues, do they serve any purpose other than hollowed-out puppets of Parliament? What about their value as figureheads, standing for the continuation of Britain? What principles are worth the upending of political and social custom to defend? Which is more important in government, principle or stability? Can there be stability in a democratic society? What good is continuation if the country has no integrity left to carry on defending?

To its credit, the play balances its Serious Political Commentary with a healthy dose of humanity - a subplot regarding a love affair of Prince Harry's, and the meticulously drawn character of King Charles and his interactions with various politicians and retainers, bring some much-needed humor to the proceedings. That's not to say that it's perfect; the aforementioned subplot is a little underdeveloped, and (much to my personal annoyance) the female characters are relegated to stock Shakespearean tropes with no real arcs of their own. But even with those frustrations, I appreciated the show; it may hold few solutions for current anxiety-inducing political climate, but it's still reassuring to see that others are asking the same questions. Highly recommended.
missroserose: (Default)
Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, where "fall" is basically a two-week period between "all the trees turn colors overnight" and "the first big windstorm comes along and sweeps all the leaves away", it's interesting to me how comparatively elongated the Midwest version is. Some trees are eager to be the first to show off their bright foliage; but even once they've shed their leaves and begun their winter rest, others are more demurely turning, a few leaves at a time. Even when the wind kicks up a few weeks later, only some of the trees are ready to undress, while others stubbornly cling to their coverage. "Fall" seems an inappropriately staccato word for the season; I think I've started to understand why some people prefer the term "autumn".

Getting home from Washington was a little odd, emotionally. I've been traveling so much of late - I think, of the past four months, I've spent five weeks out of town - that it didn't quite feel real, coming home to my bedroom and my bed and my home, and realizing I didn't have to have plans in place for my next trip. Frankly, my bed almost felt a little alien, like it wasn't really mine; that seems like a good indicator that it's time to let the rest of the world take care of itself, and not rush to fill my calendar with more trips, even though I have so many friends (and places!) I'd like to see.

Besides, now is when I need to be focusing on my career, on building clientele and finding continuing education and generally figuring out how to be the best massage therapist I can be. Immediate plans include getting training in pregnancy massage and finding a good opportunity to learn more in-depth myofascial work; future ideas include looking into that trauma-therapy class [livejournal.com profile] gows recommended, and keeping my eyes open for future opportunities to study physical therapy. (It seems an unlikely path at the moment, as I'd have to finish my bachelor's and then take a two-year course on top of that, none of which comes cheap time- or money-wise. But at one point I thought the same thing about massage school, and I found a way to make it work. So we'll see where my experiences take me.) Additionally, the school director has been talking to me about possibly taking over some of the science classes she's been teaching, which would be awesome experience and a nice way to earn extra money without wearing myself out physically. I can't wait to teach an anatomy class that consists entirely of having the students write a version of "I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major General" about the origins, insertions, and actions of muscles.

And frankly, I'm glad to have the time to enjoy my city; there's so much going on at any given time that I can't possibly make all of it (especially now that I have a schedule to work around), but I've managed to have some awesome experiences nonetheless. Last weekend [livejournal.com profile] gracewanderer and [livejournal.com profile] cyranocyrano came to stay, and we all went to see the closing weekend of the Chicago Shakespeare Company's The Tempest. Brian and I had already seen it at opening and were blown away, as much by the quality of the acting as by the costumes and sets (featuring a delightfully run-down Depression-era circus theme) and the music (which you could tell from basically the first chord was written by Tom Waits, and was sung and played amazingly well by a small band onstage). Plus the onstage magic sequences were just stunning (hardly surprising, as Teller co-directed). But the actors really carried the day; it was one of the few big-budget Shakespeare renditions I'd seen where you didn't awe at the big setpiece sequences...and then settle back to wait for the wordsy parts to be done so you could see the next big impressive thing. I've noticed folks are much pickier about standing ovations in Chicago than they are in the PNW, but these folks got one both times I saw them, and they well deserved it.

I think I'm going to make more of an effort to take in Chicago's amazing theatre and concert scene this winter. It can get tricky, what with working three evenings a week - I had to pass on Vanessa Carlton earlier this month, which made me sad. But I think it'll be good for me to get out of the house more as the months get colder. I'm already working on getting back to my three-plus-times-a-week yoga schedule (as my sore quadriceps attest) and the improvement in sleep quality and focus at work is pretty clear. So here's to being a little more settled -- but not sedentary! -- for the next year or so.
missroserose: (Masquerade)
Got an email from the Neo-Futurists tonight - I haven't been selected for a callback. It was one of the better artistic rejections I've had, though; for one thing, it was prompt, and for another, someone took the time to write a personalized response with (gasp) actual feedback. I know not all organizations have the time or motivation to offer that, but it meant a lot to me nonetheless; thoughtful and honest feedback is both vital and incredibly hard to come by for any aspiring artist.

In the meantime, I have an appointment tomorrow to check out a massage school! There are several options in town, including the Cortiva and Soma Institutes, which appear to be two of the bigger names. But most of the descriptions I've found of the places (admittedly, mostly Yelp reviews from people trying the student clinic) make them sound a bit large and impersonal. Plus, they're not cheap: over $12K and $15K, respectively. But a little more Googling found me the New School for Massage, Bodywork and Healing, a local place with significantly less expensive tuition ($8700 including materials and licensure exam fees, with work-study options available and a pay-in-advance discount), much smaller class sizes, and strong statistics on certification pass rates and job placement. (The fact that the Yelp reviews for the student clinic were much more uniformly positive also seemed like a good sign; they're probably doing something right.) Plus it's convenient to get to on the train or the bus. I RSVP'd to their open house (on the 20th) and shortly after sent an email inquiring about scholarship/work-study options; their response was quick and asked if I could come in to have a personal tour of the school and discuss financial options. So I'm tentatively impressed with their customer service. We'll see how it feels in person tomorrow.

I've been ruminating a bit on why it is I'm so attracted to the profession, especially given the hits to my pride it's likely to involve. Some of it's what I mentioned earlier, about wanting to make people's lives a little bit better. Some of it's genuine interest in learning how bodies work; one of the things I've been surprised to enjoy as much about yoga as I have is the ongoing lessons in anatomy and alignment. I suspect a good chunk of it is the relatively low level of investment; even if I don't get a work-study position and have to take out a loan for the full amount, thanks to my rather privileged living situation, it'll only take me six months or so of steady work to pay it off, at which point I have the luxury of deciding whether to continue and perhaps save to start my own business, or go do something else and simply have a handy skill-set available so long as I stay in practice. (Given the high-stress nature of both my husband's and my mother's jobs, I doubt I'll have trouble finding someone to practice on.) Some of it's that I've always had a strong empathetic sense and good intuition about what to say and what might feel good to someone; on a mental level this makes me a great agony aunt, but I've noticed it crosses over to physical stuff as well*, and it helps that I have no trouble with nonsexual nudity/touch**, which makes me more than a little unusual in our culture. And a lot of it, I suspect, is the prospect of being able to run my own business if I want to; my mother's prediction when I was a teenager of "I suspect you're going to have trouble in a traditional career because you won't want to work for people you're smarter than" has, sadly, turned out to be true a lot of the time.

In any case, it's an opportunity I feel good about pursuing, even if it isn't artistic per se. And unlike artistic careers, it's something you can make a decent wage doing without it eating your whole life. So we'll see how this opportunity looks.



*A friend of mine confessed to me while visiting last Friday that she loved having her hair brushed; I spent a good twenty minutes brushing her hair for her, which helped keep from freaking out about my upcoming audition, and helped her feel relaxed and happy. I love it when people's needs dovetail so nicely like that. Plus then I got to introduce her to the wonders of a scalp tingler for vagus nerve stimulation. Her response: "This is better than drugs!"

**One of my best friends is someone often in dire need of nonsexual physical contact. Sadly, we live far enough apart that it's not often an option, but when we're together, I love cuddling with her. One of my favorite memories was when we woke up to a decently-strong earthquake; I curled up around her and held her protectively, checking to make sure there wasn't anything likely to fall on us, and just each others' physical presence was enough to be a strong comfort. I miss her.
missroserose: (After the Storm)
I've been reflecting further on the audition experience, now that the adrenaline's worn off and I've been able to look at things with more distance.

One of my acquaintances at yoga today asked me how it went, and after a moment's thought, I realized I was able to say honestly: "It's some of the best work I've done." I was emotionally vulnerable and true, something that's been difficult for me in the past. (I spent the morning, when I wasn't practicing, watching Brené Brown's and Amanda Palmer's TED talks, which I'd been meaning to see for a while and which cover a lot of similar territory when applied to art; I think it helped me feel like I had permission, if that makes any sense.) And I practiced enough that, rather than being certain the emotion would overwhelm my brain and make me forget what I was going to say, I was able to trust that the words would be there when I needed them. And...they were. The words were the signposts, there to define the boundary even when the tide came rushing in.

(Of course, this is all coming from the perspective of the performer, and it's perfectly possible that to the audience, I just made a complete ass of myself, or more likely, was completely unmemorable - they had a lot of people going through very quickly, so it was an in-and-out kind of experience without much feedback. But that's not what my gut says, so I'm going to trust it, since I hear that's what performers do.)

The weirdest part of all of this has been how Zen I've been feeling about all of this. It seems counterintuitive: you would think that, having done what feels like a stellar job, you'd be raring for the recognition, and therefore crushed at the prospect of a rejection. But I feel much the same way I did when I submitted that story back in July; I did the best work I could, and was the best representation of myself I could be; if that's not what they're looking for, that's because of their needs and not a rejection of me personally. Which is kind of a change from the procrastination-filled half-assed efforts I've made in the past, when I was desperate for the affirmation of a positive result despite knowing I hadn't done anywhere near as much as I could to earn it. What a strange paradox.

Meanwhile. I have so much to be thankful for in my life, but I'm taking a moment, here on this blustery and chilly autumn night, to have some special gratefulness tea and really appreciate our condo. I love it here. I love the location, near the train and two major bus lines and two awesome restaurant neighborhoods and a gay bar for dancing or fabulous brunch. I love that it's recently built, with central air and good insulation. I love the big bay windows in the living room that let in lots of afternoon sunlight and overlook our surprisingly quiet street. I love the tall ceilings, which accommodate our whole 9-foot Christmas tree. I love the kitchen, with the giant cupboards and wine rack and island and gas stove (even if it is more of a pain to clean than the flat-top electric style we had in Bisbee). I love that it has two bedrooms, so we can host guests comfortably, and two bathrooms, so we can offer our guests a bit more privacy (and so we don't have to fight over who gets to go first after returning from an outing!). I love that the rent ended up being well under our planned budget, and that our landlord is reasonable and quick in responding to maintenance issues. I especially love that it has a working fireplace, something that I enjoy so much this time of year but didn't even feel I could reasonably hope for when I was searching from Arizona and trying not to feel hopeless at how quick the turnover was.

I doubt we'll be here permanently; even without unforeseen life fluctuations, Brian wants to buy a place eventually, and I think I'd like just a bit more space if we're making that long-term of an investment. But as a place to spend the next five-to-ten years, I'm not sure I can articulate how happy I am here. All the more so because that happiness means we're unlikely to need to move again anytime soon.
missroserose: (Show Your Magic)
It cost me two and a half days of work on my NaNo novel, but the audition is done! Those of you who've known me a while will know what a big deal it is when I say: I genuinely did the best job I could. I didn't let myself procrastinate (much), didn't self-sabotage, and when it came down to it I let go and trusted myself and the moment. So, really, it went better than I had any right to hope for. I have no idea if my performance (and accompanying writing portfolio/questionnaire answers, which were a whole separate exercise in self-examination and honesty) will be what they're looking for, but even if I just get a form rejection I feel like it was a successful exercise in overcoming my fears.

I finally have an appointment to get my broken tooth pulled on Thursday. Good news: between the insurance covering more than I had guessed and deciding to do it awake (see: overcoming my fears), it's looking like it'll only cost us about half the out-of-pocket amount I was originally anticipating. Hopefully the recovery period will be relatively short. I just realized that audition callbacks are next weekend...if they want me to come in again, that could get interesting if I'm still loopy on Percocet. (Maybe that'd be an advantage?)

And now I really need to get back to writing. I'm...*peeks at NaNo website for the first time in days*...about 7000 words short. Grah.
missroserose: (Life = Creation)
Between my NNWM project, my audition preparations, and my normal day-to-day responsibilities, I feel like I'm working full-time again. Which is sort of nice, on the one hand, but would be nicer if I were getting paid for it. :P Some things are suffering - the house is a bit of a mess, I'm falling behind on my usual reading pace, and there's been a basket of laundry sitting by the couch needing to be folded for...three days now. But I'm keeping up on yoga, on managing finances and social calendar, and on civic duties (I was slightly entertained that nearly all the local offices on the ballot have precisely one, Democratic, candidate. Theatrically corrupt, indeed). And in the meantime, Important Art Things are happening.

My NaNo project is going pretty well; four days in, I'm averaging 1800 words a day. Yesterday was so far the worst for the pulling-teeth feeling; today I tried switching to first person, and it feels like it flows better. It still feels like I'm feeling my way through a cave blindfolded, though...I'm having trouble finding the main character's emotional core. I can picture it, can almost feel it in my own heart, but am having difficulty translating that into a voice. Which makes the fact that I've got more than 7500 words written already a little frustrating. But it's more than I've written in months now, so I'm not going to knock it.

The audition preparation, on the other hand, has hit a bit of a wall. It's actually a fairly major undertaking, with several parts: answering a questionnaire, providing a portfolio of work that demonstrates your voice and style, as well as writing and performing a two-minute-or-less monologue in the format of their show. I've at least got the questionnaire down, and suspect I can pull from my blog for much of the portfolio (especially a few pieces under the "culture" and "reviews" tags), but I'm having real trouble with the monologue. I've got a concept, and a place where it ends, and some ideas that all converge on that endpoint, but I'm having the damnedest time figuring out how to fit them together...and whenever I think I've figured out a solution, it just ends up causing six more problems. Augh. At this point I feel like I'm writing three different monologues. Still, even if the audition's unsuccessful, I feel like the introspection and articulation the prep has required is going to stand me in good stead in the future. So at least I'm not afraid I'm wasting my time.
missroserose: (Masquerade)
The past few days, I've been feeling a bit low. A lot of it's been the career-oriented navelgazing; I've been feeling extremely helpless in the face of my usual pattern of fear-based self-sabotage, and that voice asking if it wouldn't make more sense to just let go of this being-an-artist idea now and have done with it, since obviously I don't really want it enough to take hold of opportunities even when they drop themselves in my lap, has been feeling awfully strong. But the thought of giving up entirely still makes me want to curl up and cry, which seems to indicate I'm not ready for that yet. So I've been going back and forth, and generally feeling kind of paralyzed and helpless.

Yesterday, I wake up from a dream, the sort with a particular image that, as you lie there half-awake considering it, unspools naturally until you can see the whole story around it in your head. I go and make some notes, giving it some ballast, and before long I have two main characters with a shared past secret and whole plot/character arcs of their own. The same sort of feeling I had when I wrote that short story I was so proud of. And right in time for November. I start feeling a little hopeful, even though there's a long way between a rough outline and a finished novel.

Last night, since my neighborhood CorePower has canceled all the morning classes I normally attend, I go to an evening class with a teacher I've not seen before. I'm pleasantly surprised at her friendliness and teaching skills, but what sticks with me the most is her parting words: "I challenge each of you to face something that you fear this week."

Today, I get an email back offering me a time slot for an audition I'd inquired about a month ago. Having seen the company's signature show twice, it's occurred to me how neatly their rapid-fire style fits into my need for an environment to learn the artistic skills I'm short on (being vulnerable in front of an audience, getting out of my head and having confidence in my instincts, trusting other cast members, memorizing quickly, writing to a deadline), since the alternative is pretty public humiliation. Probably not coincidentally, It also nestles right in the "huge time commitment" zone (four nights a week, three to six hours a night, plus home time spent on memorization and writing, 38ish weeks a year) that has, in the past, sent me into a hyperventilating panic. But...well, one of the things I've been annoyed at myself about is that I'm not doing a whole lot else with my time at the moment. I'm a little afraid that I'll throw myself into it with every intention of making a go of it, and have a panic attack halfway in and want to pull out; this has happened before. But if I'm not going to have a pressing financial reason to grow as an artist, it seems like the potential for public humiliation/a serious loss of face in the local theatre community isn't a bad secondary choice for negative reinforcement. Plus, it's paid! They're up-front that it's not a living wage, but it's still a bit of extra income I'd be bringing in on weeks I was performing, and it increases with longevity.

So I guess I have a couple of things that terrify me that I can work on this week. I'd be miffed at the world for assigning me double homework, if I hadn't more or less been moping around the house the past few days wishing the world would bestow another chance upon me. :P
missroserose: (Masquerade)
And now, the promised post - impressions from a night at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

My first observation, from the vantage point of the balcony over the lobby as people filtered in, was primarily a self-aimed one: as much as I enjoy playing with the cross-gender look, I'm beginning to think I am fundamentally a femme. I was dressed perfectly properly for the semi-formal occasion - blue sateen tailored suit, button-down shirt over camisole, black shoes, neat hair, assorted sparkly jewelry - but looking at the women in dresses I still felt underdressed. (I suspect, never having held a professional job of the sort that required a suit, pants simply translate in my head as less formal than a dress, no matter their form.) Second was that this was definitely a Midwestern event; there were at least a few folks in jeans and t-shirt, one with a fluorescent windbreaker, and they didn't get anything worse than the occasional sidelong look (and snarky Facebook post from people who have nothing better to do with their time than play Judgey Bear). Third, the opera house is beautiful (it was built in the 1920s just before the Great Depression, and is full of gorgeous Art Deco flourishes and motifs), but the auditorium was pretty clearly built in the days before the Great Widening of American Rears. Brian and I fit okay in our seats but leg/elbow room was Delta Airlines Coach Class levels of limited. I began to see why intermissions are half an hour; you need that long to get circulation back into your legs.

The show, as expected, was awesome. It's pretty amazing to see a world-class set of artists doing what they do best before a huge audience; the orchestra's timing and precision were fabulous, and the singers...oh man. They announced beforehand that the woman singing Donna Anna was feeling under the weather but had agreed to perform anyway; if that's what she sounds like ill I can't imagine how she must sound normally. The strength, clarity, and control she had over her voice astounded me in every one of her arias. She was also, I felt the strongest actor of the leads. Don Ottavio had a similarly impressive tenor, though he could be a bit stiff in the blocking; still, his rendition of "Il mio tesoro" had half the audience in tears. But really, none of the leads were musical slouches at all. Donna Elvira and Leporello had pretty great comic timing as well; during "Madamina, il catalogo è questo", where he's describing to her how Don Giovanni's faithlessness is nothing personal, there were some thoroughly entertaining bits of physical comedy. And the sets and costumes were beyond excellent; I loved the 1920s-gangland-Chicago theme.

Despite the musicianship on display, though, I think it's going to go down in my head as a strong performance rather than an amazing one. I suspect a lot of that's an inherent weakness in the libretto; the Wikipedia summary is one sentence - "Don Giovanni, a young, arrogant, and sexually promiscuous nobleman, abuses and outrages everyone else in the cast, until he encounters something he cannot kill, beat up, dodge, or outwit" - and that's pretty much the entire dramatic arc of the story as written. Judging by the translation they used for the supertitles (my Italian, alas, is not strong enough yet to interpret the lyrics myself), there's not a whole lot of ambiguity; Don Giovanni is an unrepentant psychopath throughout, and spends the entire play running amok until he's literally dragged down to Hell by a vengeful spirit. Morally satisfying, perhaps, but it doesn't do a lot to repair the shattered lives of those left in his wake. And given that what I love about characters and relationships is our rationalizations and ambiguities, the stories we live in our heads versus the stories we live in others', and the effects of our actions both intentional and non, a one-note main character who doesn't have to deal with any of the messy aftereffects of his selfishness doesn't hold a lot of dramatic interest for me.

But what was also frustrating was I could see parts where this could have been mitigated by better acting. Giovanni is of a privileged class, yes, and obviously handsome, but he has to have some charisma, or else it makes no sense that he can seduce all of these women and convince Leporello to stay with him despite the indignities of the position. And while this Giovanni was certainly musically strong, I didn't feel like he really had the strength as an actor to be charismatic as well as snaky. So I ended up just suspending my disbelief whenever he was persuading someone, which was…most of his scenes, really. I couldn’t deny the dramatic effectiveness of the big climactic scene where he gets his comeuppance; I just wasn’t entirely convinced it was enough payoff to be worth the wait.

Still! It was an impressive production nonetheless, in a beautiful setting, and even up on the highest balcony as we were the acoustics were crazy-impressive - none of the singers are miked, but I had no trouble making out 95% of the lyrics. If this is indicative of the general quality of their shows, I’m more than looking forward to the rest of the season.
missroserose: (Inspire)
This evening I went to a play. Or, really, thirty plays in one hour, performed in random order. Most were funny, if only in their absurdity. Several were insightful. A few were banal, or simply mystifying. But one in particular, titled "Apex", managed to fulfill the actors' stated goal of absolute truth.

The performer, a young black man, sat at an improvised table with a large chef's knife and fork. He talked, with obvious fondness, about how his young son loved animals, even though at two years old he wasn't able to grasp much about them aside from shapes and sounds. Certainly his son had little idea of how ecological systems worked, the performer said as he removed a bloody steak from a box; how the strong preyed upon the weak, how animals struggled and fought for their very existence, either by defending themselves from predators or by growing more effective teeth and talons to kill their prey. And, as yet, his young son had no idea how humans, with no natural predators, could get so bored with their position as apex predators as turn upon each other. To concoct systems of rules and competing priorities so labyrinthine as to produce horrible effects. To stand over the corpse of a six-year-old child and truly believe that this was a price worth paying to protect a 'liberty' enshrined in law more than two hundred years ago by people with perhaps more optimism than understanding of human nature. He did not know how he would explain this to his son. But it is the way things are, the dish we have set before ourselves, and he would do his best to swallow it.

I felt the way I did once as a child, when I slipped off a swing that moments before had been safely carrying me through the air, only to land on my back with shock-deflated lungs, unable, for a few terrifying moments, to remember how to breathe.

My feelings around this topic are a swirl as chaotic as the show that spawned this rumination. Horror, at the undeniability of this truth. Frustration melting toxically into impotent rage, at my perceived powerlessness to change it. Anger, at the majority world that turns a blind eye to such facts, because that's the easiest answer. Guilt, because I often do the same, and am afforded a position of such privilege where I am able to do so nearly constantly. But beneath it all, a horrible, empty sadness, because if it feels a terrible inevitability to me, it almost certainly does to everyone else. And our collective belief will indeed make it so.

I do not know how to fix this problem. I have no idea where, amongst the decades of tradition and the reflexive responses and the engrained paranoia and the entrenched cultural fear and anger, one might even start. But it is, indeed, the dish we have set before ourselves. And every day that I do nothing, I fear I partake of it as well.
missroserose: (Masquerade)
{I've started writing this blog post about a hundred and eighty-six times already. Every time I quit because it was becoming too rambly and unfocused, or too personal, or (more honestly) too uncomfortable. But I feel it needs to be said - if I'm going to crow about my successes, I need to account for my failures, too. So be warned: the following is the result of some intensely personal soul-searching, and may be rather emotionally raw, and probably a bit disorganized, to boot. Those of you who know me well probably won't mind, and those who don't know me at all probably won't care. But if we're still in that awkward midway getting-to-know-you phase where we've met, maybe even see each other regularly, but aren't yet at the "comfortable silences" stage of the friendship, you might want to skip this post. Or you might not - I won't think less of you either way.}



I honestly don't know if I'm cut out for an artistic career.

It's odd, the feelings that come up just from typing that statement. Frustration, anger, hurt, disappointment, relief. Especially relief; it feels as if I've been perpetrating a fraud for so long, lying to people about who and what I am. Just putting that statement out there is a weight off, akin to the climactic moment in the after-school special when the twelve-year-old boy admits that his father isn't a CIA agent, or a movie star, or a Tarzan-like jungle dweller, and is in fact simply a deadbeat who ran out on his family.

But there's also a sense of betrayal, as well. I've always been artistic, always done creative things. I've always had people, impressed with my talents, tell me they expected great things from me. And, as I've gotten older, I've noticed the truth (and the rarity in artistic circles) of something my mother used to comment on a lot - that I have a good head on my shoulders, that I instinctively understand finances and the economics of running a business. Plus I'm good at reading people, at networking and making connections, at maintaining genuine friendships past the necessity of 'contacts'. And I have a darling husband who doesn't mind working full-time to support me. With that kind of setup, and given what other people have done with much much less, what right have I to fail at this?

The part that people don't see, that I don't want to admit to but have been lately forced to confront, is this: I don't have the drive. It might be a quirk of my personality, or it might be a result of that suspiciously-long list of positive factors (the classic "talented kid never learns to work hard to achieve long-term success" narrative), but whatever the cause, it's become increasingly obvious. In every single one of my artistic pursuits, I've followed the same pattern: pick it up, amaze everyone with how quickly I learned it, do it hyper-intensively for a while, then - when faced with the next step, be it learning more advanced forms of the art, or buckling down and setting goals to turn it into something long-term viable and profitable - freeze up, drop it, and dash off to do something else. My childhood was littered with abandoned projects - cross-stitch, beadwork, sewing, drawing, painting, writing. My Google Docs and Yarny accounts both are equally littered with half-formed ideas and unfinished manuscripts.

I know that this is not an unusual pattern for an artist. Show me a successful writer/sculptor/painter, and I'll show you a trail of rejected manuscripts/broken pieces/ruined canvases. Failure is how we get better. And art especially is a difficult career choice, because it's a literal labyrinth - the process of creation is never a straight line from point A to point B. The only difference between a successful artist and an unsuccessful artist is that the latter gave up and the former didn't. It takes as long as it takes. Et cetera, et cetera. Believe me, I understand all that.

The problem is...well. It ties into what I said earlier, about not having the drive. See, the reason for the aforementioned pattern, about picking things up and learning them just enough to impress everyone before abandoning them, it's partly tied into the talented-kid narrative. There's also social recognition - something that tends to be in short supply at in the early stages of an artistic career. But really, what it comes down to, is drive versus fear.

And I have so very, very much fear about my creativity. I don't want people to expect things from me. I don't want there to be deadlines and disappointments. It's not the concept of hard work that bothers me, exactly. It's the inevitable consistency of it, the idea that I might end up hating this activity that I love so passionately now. So instead I want to perpetually be the prodigy who drops in and amazes everyone with their talent. The one whose quiet confidence and amazing abilities upset the social balance and turn everyone's world upside-down before they die or quietly disappear again, to be remembered forever by the whole community. (You know the story, you've seen it in a hundred movies - Mary Poppins, Phenomenon, ET, arguably even Contact.)

The issues with that model in the real world, of course, being self-evident. (It's probably no surprise, I realize upon writing this, that one of my favorite movies is in part about the problems with this exact narrative.) Eventually you run out of audiences, and have to plant your roots somewhere - and familiarity breedeth, if not always contempt, then certainly expectation, which leads to disappointment, and I'm back to square one.

As an attempt to overcome this fear, for a little more than six months now, I've been practicing claiming that title - telling people that I am a writer/singer/musician/artist. (And to their credit, when they follow it up with "Oh, cool! Anything I might have heard of?", and I admit that I have not, as yet, published anything, none of them have responded condescendingly, as I sort of expected.) And yet, after my usual initial burst of enthusiasm, I've steadfastly refused to take even the smallest steps towards doing anything that might make that a viable long-term pursuit.* I poked a bit at Amazon's self-publishing platform, and then never went back. I took some shots of signs around town advertising for local musicians/open mic nights, and then never contacted anyone, or even tried to draw up a set list. I (finally, weeks after meeting people and long after they'd likely all forgotten me) emailed BoHo Theatre's volunteer coordinator with a resume and an offer of services, and then didn't press any further when I didn't get a response. It feels like any time I overcome my fears enough to get any traction at all, something happens that costs me a bit of momentum, I freeze up, and suddenly I'm farther back than when I started.

In truth? It's gotten so bad that for nearly four weeks now I haven't written a word and have barely picked up my guitar. My internal monologue seems to go something like this: If I don't continue, well, I'm a failure, and that sucks, but I'll live with it - there are plenty of normal jobs out there that would be fulfilling and worthwhile. But if I keep playing at being an artist, keep claiming that as my identity, but refuse to actually Go Out And Do Anything with it? With all the advantages I have? Then I'm a traitor to Truth and Beauty and Art. And that's worse.

I don't know what the answer is here. I don't want to stop creating - I get moody and miserable and depressed and full of self-hatred when I do that. But apparently I have this internal timeline of How Being An Artist Goes. So if I start creating regularly, it's great for a while - until I miss a step on that timeline, and then I'm falling behind, and I get discouraged, and I stop trying, and then I feel like a failure, and it all snowballs until I can't bear to even think about trying again. And then I'm moody and miserable anyway. Is this what people mean about 'having an artistic temperament'? Because let me tell you, it stinks.

So this brings me back to the initial statement. I honestly don't know if I'm cut out for an artistic career. And maybe it's just time to come to terms with that, and find myself a worthwhile Normal Job, so that my whole sense of identity isn't based on creativity. And then maybe I can just enjoy making whatever art I manage for its own sake.



*I had originally written "a viable career path" here, and followed it up with a couple paragraphs here about the lack of monetary recompense involved in an artistic career, and how in our culture that equates to a lack of identity as well - which is a very real problem! But as I wrote I realized that it wasn't the problem I was dealing with - I would have no problem identifying myself as an artist if I managed to make art regularly, whether or not I ever got paid for it. Unfortunately, I seem incapable of hitting even that low bar.
missroserose: (Hello Grumpy)
What the heck is it with Midwest colds travelling in packs? This is the second time I've gotten ill since moving here, and both times I've had a weeklong bug, followed by a few days of feeling better, followed by another bug - this one Brian brought back with him from Indianapolis.

Needless to say, I've not gotten a lot done this past week; Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday were mostly sleeping and reading and sucking down Breathe Deep tea at a rate to keep Yogi Teas in business single-handedly. I have made it to yoga three times this week, which I'm pleased about - Monday I was feeling fine and went to the evening class, Wednesday I went to the morning class despite having very low energy, figuring I could always take child's pose if it got to be too intense. Somewhat to my surprise, I made it all the way through without hardly having to struggle; I certainly wasn't all the way there mentally but I'm familiar enough with all the poses that I didn't have to think much as we moved, and I guess I'm stronger than I realized. I'm definitely starting to acquire a bit of upper-body and core strength - I can do side plank without wobbling, even on my historically-weaker many-times-broken left arm. And the dozen-odd chatauranga flows (plank to low-plank to upward-dog to downward-dog) they have us do each class are getting notably easier.

I'm less pleased about my artistic output, or lack thereof. I've barely been playing guitar or writing anything at all. Nor have I managed to get an acting resume put together for the folks at BoHo. (When I took Brian to see Amadeus yesterday, the company secretary accosted me on the way out and kindly told me how much she was looking forward to receiving my information. Agh, guilt.) Some of that's attributable to the fact that I've been recovering, true, but I also feel like I'm losing momentum. I need to find some way to kickstart myself, I think. I envy Miles Vorkosigan, some days - it's all about keeping the momentum going. The minute you slow down, your fears and self-consciousness and depression all catch up. Would that I were as driven to do so as he is.
missroserose: (Balloons and Ocean)
Hello, lovely, warm, pleasant-breezed, fifty-degree Chicago! With birds twittering in the trees outside! We've sure missed you around these parts!

Having already been so kind as to bring pleasant weather with her, Robs has gone to the further effort of being a delightful guest, accompanying me all about town (to the speculative/appreciative looks of more than a few, especially in the gayborhoods). We took advantage of the nice weather to visit the Baha'i House of Worship, which she appeared to be as awed by as I was; we went to the Redhead for some music and Kopi for some warm drinks of a chillier evening.

We also went to both branches of Brown Elephant; at one of them, we found me a pair of jeans that actually fit and her the most awesome fur-lined leather coat; at the other, I found a couple blouses, a couple sweaters, another professional-looking button-down shirt, and a gorgeously made Calvin Klein pencil dress that looks amazing. (I could tell that it wasn't just me thinking that when I was examining my reflection in the dressing room mirror and I saw another woman walk by behind me and her head snap around to look. Hee! Gayborhood thrift shopping.) I was especially pleased by one of the blouses (an extremely flattering/high quality one in a color I've been looking for for a while) and the button-down shirt; I've been actively trying to improve the quality of my wardrobe, which for a long time has been variations on "jeans and t-shirts plus hoodies for winter and tank tops for summer". I think now I'm up to maybe four or five nice shirts, two semi-formal dresses, and two or three whole outfits I could wear in a professional setting and not be embarrassed! Go go Project Improve Rose's Wardrobe!

Even aside from being game for being dragged all over the city, Robs has been good company. We've known each other online for close to a decade, so even though this is technically the first time we've met, we've been pleasantly comfortable with each other in that wonderful worn-in long-time friends sort of way. It's been lovely having her around, especially as even though he got home okay, Brian's been basically in bed fighting off that nasty cold all weekend.

As a result, I ended up taking her to Amadeus; it was a phenomenal show, and we both were a little shell-shocked by it. (Me: "I feel so emotionally wrung out. Like I've been to a wedding, or a funeral." Her: "Except it couldn't have been either of those, because it was actually interesting.") I promptly went around after the show and introduced myself to people: "Hi! Your show was amazing! I would like to help you make more shows!" And gave them my card. And went home and bought tickets to take Brian on Friday. I'll have to send them my resume as well this week.

And now I should probably get a shower and help Robs get ready to head out. Even if I am tempted to handcuff her to my wrist so she doesn't leave. <3
missroserose: (Warrior III)
A week or so after getting back from Anchorage, when I was sure I could feel my rib cage collapsing in on itself again, I went and signed up for my free week at CorePower Yoga. I went to their evening mid-level class two days in a row, felt great, was on the verge of making a couple of yoga buddies, and promptly fell ill with a nasty cold that pretty well took me out of the running for a week-plus. This morning I went back, gave them my Groupon, and asked sweetly if I could maybe have a few days extra since I enjoyed my first week so much but couldn't use most of it. He gave me an extra free week on top of my Groupon. So that was pretty awesome.

I'm of slightly mixed feelings about the studio itself. It's a convenient location (a mile away, easily walkable or right on the Broadway bus route), and it's nice enough - well-appointed, if a little blandly-corporate feeling in its decor. Actually, "corporate feeling" wouldn't be a bad description on several levels - in decor, in the teachers' uniforms/teaching styles, in the "no talking in studios" rule, in the way they nickel and dime you on everything (which I wouldn't normally really mind, but, seriously? $150 a month for membership and then you're going to charge me $2 to borrow a mat or for a bottle of water?). None of it feels super-friendly or personalized. Which is fine, I wasn't really expecting that - one of their big selling points is that your membership is good anywhere they have a studio, so it makes sense that they'd want to keep the experience consistent.

That said, the experience is pretty darn cool. I've only been to the mid-level class a few times now, but I like it a lot - it's enough of a challenge to feel like I'm really making an effort (especially in upper-arm strength), but not so much as to be frustrating. And I'm rapidly discovering that, while I don't seem to be someone who gets runner's high (or, not being much of a runner, maybe I've just never pushed myself long enough to get there), I totally get power-yoga high. I kind of dig the heated (90 degree) room, although I'm not super-eager to try their advanced class because it's even warmer and I think that might be past my heat tolerance. Plus it seems like it's just asking for an overextension injury.

Once my Groupon (and extra week) are over, I'm not sure if I'll keep going - even if my mother's helping fund it, that's an awful lot for membership - and, at the moment, I'm just not mobile enough for the multi-location studio to be advantageous. I think I might look around the neighborhood and see what else is available. I know there's at least one place over on Clark Street, they might have a power-yoga class.

As for other things to do with my time: Seeing my friend Carl in that awesome production of Charley's Aunt has renewed my determination to quit being afraid of theatre and go out and, y'know, do some. I was ruminating over this, and trying to decide where to start, when I happened to notice a billboard at one of the L stations for BoHo Theatre's production of Amadeus. (Which, given how much I love tales about obsession and about the power of art, is totally not one of my all-time favorite stories ever. Ahem.) I looked up some of the reviews, and they were uniformly glowing, so I went ahead and bought tickets. (And then had to promptly exchange them for this Saturday, rather than last, because of the aforementioned cold.) And then, while I was surfing through their website to see what else they'd done, I came across this quote on their "Our Guiding Principles" page:

BoHo Theatre's mission is to create bold theatre that challenges convention through innovative storytelling and unites artist and audience in the examination of truth, beauty, freedom and love through the lens of human relationships.

So...assuming the Chicago critics aren't all taking hits off the same bong and the production is as good as advertised, I suspect I'll be sending them a couple of resumes. They're looking for a volunteer office person, and I just happen to know somebody with a lot of office experience. I'll have to do up a proper photo resume with my acting experience, too.

Meantime, my friend Robs is coming to visit! It was something of a spur-of-the-moment thing - she lost her job and was feeling sort of at loose ends, and I've got another couple days until Brian gets back from his business trip to Indianapolis. So I'm going to dye her hair and take her out on the town and for some awesome food and maybe to Amadeus too if she wants to go (and if they still have tickets). She should be showing up in the next hour or so, and I've got the house all clean, so now it's just a matter of quelling the urge to get up and check out the window every three minutes.
missroserose: (Masquerade)
Tonight, Brian and I went to Cabaret De Los Muertos, a variety show of local talent. Among other things, I finally discovered a use for dubstep - the trademark "wub-wub-wub-wub" sound works very well with the shimmying movements in bellydance. So apparently you *can* dance to dubstep - if you're a bellydancer, anyway.

Aside from the (plentiful, cute, and quite skilled) bellydance acts, there were some standouts on both ends of the scale:

The "Good Concept But Needed More Work" award went to a couple dressed as a devil and a Dia De Los Muertos skeleton, doing a tango of sorts. You could see the act that it was meant to be, and there were moments that were close, but the female dancer especially seemed a little too uncertain of her role to really pull it off.

The "Holy Shit Core Strength" award goes to Tiana, the organizer and lead bellydancer. She can backbend nearly parallel to the floor, slowly let herself down and drop to her knees, all the while waving her arms about in the air. I could...probably do that if I practiced. A lot. And didn't end up wrenching my knees in the drop.

Shortly after intermission came the "Well, At Least You Made Your Colleagues Look Good In Comparison" award, for the half-baked dude who tried very hard to do a half-baked standup act. Unfortunately, his half-baked rambling really wasn't that funny, though a couple of jokes about high fructose corn syrup got some laughs. Ah, Bisbee.

The "Capability But No Theatricality" award went to the girl who sang "Black Swan". Points to her for trying - that is not an easy song to sing, what with the dissonances and odd rhythms going every which way. Unfortunately, the sound system really wasn't set up for voice, so it was difficult to make out the words; and since she was focusing so much on the song, it left the performance feeling a little lacking. Still, she had a lovely voice and gave a memorable operatic-style rendition.

Shortly thereafter came the "Less Capability But Oodles of Theatricality" award winners, a group of genderbending performers calling themselves "Dance Matrix". They did a very Broadway-style dance to what had to be a Meatloaf song; none of them were what you'd call great dancers, but they understood that if you're going to perform to Meatloaf, you have to go all the fucking way or it just doesn't work. And I'll be damned if they didn't do exactly that. Frankly, they alone were worth the ticket price.

Unfortunately, Brian's getting over the latest bug that's been going around the County, so we went home after the show rather than going to any of the street parties or dances taking place. But as Halloween celebrations go, I can definitely think of worse ones.
missroserose: (Masquerade)
Tonight, Brian and I went to Cabaret De Los Muertos, a variety show of local talent. Among other things, I finally discovered a use for dubstep - the trademark "wub-wub-wub-wub" sound works very well with the shimmying movements in bellydance. So apparently you *can* dance to dubstep - if you're a bellydancer, anyway.

Aside from the (plentiful, cute, and quite skilled) bellydance acts, there were some standouts on both ends of the scale:

The "Good Concept But Needed More Work" award went to a couple dressed as a devil and a Dia De Los Muertos skeleton, doing a tango of sorts. You could see the act that it was meant to be, and there were moments that were close, but the female dancer especially seemed a little too uncertain of her role to really pull it off.

The "Holy Shit Core Strength" award goes to Tiana, the organizer and lead bellydancer. She can backbend nearly parallel to the floor, slowly let herself down and drop to her knees, all the while waving her arms about in the air. I could...probably do that if I practiced. A lot. And didn't end up wrenching my knees in the drop.

Shortly after intermission came the "Well, At Least You Made Your Colleagues Look Good In Comparison" award, for the half-baked dude who tried very hard to do a half-baked standup act. Unfortunately, his half-baked rambling really wasn't that funny, though a couple of jokes about high fructose corn syrup got some laughs. Ah, Bisbee.

The "Capability But No Theatricality" award went to the girl who sang "Black Swan". Points to her for trying - that is not an easy song to sing, what with the dissonances and odd rhythms going every which way. Unfortunately, the sound system really wasn't set up for voice, so it was difficult to make out the words; and since she was focusing so much on the song, it left the performance feeling a little lacking. Still, she had a lovely voice and gave a memorable operatic-style rendition.

Shortly thereafter came the "Less Capability But Oodles of Theatricality" award winners, a group of genderbending performers calling themselves "Dance Matrix". They did a very Broadway-style dance to what had to be a Meatloaf song; none of them were what you'd call great dancers, but they understood that if you're going to perform to Meatloaf, you have to go all the fucking way or it just doesn't work. And I'll be damned if they didn't do exactly that. Frankly, they alone were worth the ticket price.

Unfortunately, Brian's getting over the latest bug that's been going around the County, so we went home after the show rather than going to any of the street parties or dances taking place. But as Halloween celebrations go, I can definitely think of worse ones.
missroserose: (Book Love)
Somewhere in the depths of the many, many scenes that comprise O Lovely Glowworm, there exists a beautiful and heart-rending story of a taxidermied goat. Still conscious on some level, and in terrible pain, the goat constructs "scenes of exquisite beauty", based on the little variety of experience he had in his miserable life (discarded advertisements and news stories in the rubbish heap, arguments between the mother and son who owned him, songs and commercials from their radio that he hears through the walls). Throughout his time spent in this inner world, he tries to convince himself that in life he was not, in fact, a miserable goat - perhaps a sick mother, perhaps a mermaid on a rock, perhaps even a unicorn! - but as the characters populating his inner world take on a life and story of their own, he comes to the realization that there was nothing awful or shameful about being a goat, and perhaps he had his place in the world after all. Entwined in this realization is some achingly lovely use of religious symbolism, and perhaps even shades of some Universal Human Truth.

As I said, somewhere in Glowworm, like the shadow of a once-beautiful but long-neglected flowerbed, that lovely and touching and instantly-identifiable story exists. Even in its present form, there are occasional moments of beauty - moments that cause you to sit up and lean forward slightly, moments that make you think perhaps its all going somewhere and the pattern will soon emerge. But alas, these moments are all too brief and few, and soon lost in the morass of words and scenes that serve no purpose and inspire no reaction.

Or, as Philip put it, "It's like this guy got stoned one day and thought, "What if Kafka had written a play about love, starring The Three Stooges, and narrated by a dead goat?"

As you might gather, I didn't find much to love in Glen Berger's O Lovely Glowworm. The frame of a good story was there, but the script was so incredibly overlong (three and a half hours!) and so badly in need of an editor that for much of it I ended up shifting around in my seat and thinking about how it *could* have been so much better - if only we actually cared about the characters, if only there seemed to be some connection between the various images we were presented with, if only events felt like they grew out of each other naturally rather than happening because the script said so.

That said, at the end there were numerous people cheering and applauding, so perhaps I'm not the intended audience for this particular show. But really - when I go to a play, is it really so difficult to ask that someone give me a story, and not a series of disjointed scenes that might possibly be related in some way but that I never have a reason to care about?

To be a bit more positive for a moment, I'd like to offer my congratulations to the Perseverance cast. They all did a fantastic job with the script they were given, and the strength of their performances was almost - almost - enough to carry the material. It's not their fault that whenever the story started to gain some momentum, it got bogged down in its own pretension again. Let's just hope that the folks in charge of selecting shows for next season give them better material to work with. C-
missroserose: (Book Love)
Somewhere in the depths of the many, many scenes that comprise O Lovely Glowworm, there exists a beautiful and heart-rending story of a taxidermied goat. Still conscious on some level, and in terrible pain, the goat constructs "scenes of exquisite beauty", based on the little variety of experience he had in his miserable life (discarded advertisements and news stories in the rubbish heap, arguments between the mother and son who owned him, songs and commercials from their radio that he hears through the walls). Throughout his time spent in this inner world, he tries to convince himself that in life he was not, in fact, a miserable goat - perhaps a sick mother, perhaps a mermaid on a rock, perhaps even a unicorn! - but as the characters populating his inner world take on a life and story of their own, he comes to the realization that there was nothing awful or shameful about being a goat, and perhaps he had his place in the world after all. Entwined in this realization is some achingly lovely use of religious symbolism, and perhaps even shades of some Universal Human Truth.

As I said, somewhere in Glowworm, like the shadow of a once-beautiful but long-neglected flowerbed, that lovely and touching and instantly-identifiable story exists. Even in its present form, there are occasional moments of beauty - moments that cause you to sit up and lean forward slightly, moments that make you think perhaps its all going somewhere and the pattern will soon emerge. But alas, these moments are all too brief and few, and soon lost in the morass of words and scenes that serve no purpose and inspire no reaction.

Or, as Philip put it, "It's like this guy got stoned one day and thought, "What if Kafka had written a play about love, starring The Three Stooges, and narrated by a dead goat?"

As you might gather, I didn't find much to love in Glen Berger's O Lovely Glowworm. The frame of a good story was there, but the script was so incredibly overlong (three and a half hours!) and so badly in need of an editor that for much of it I ended up shifting around in my seat and thinking about how it *could* have been so much better - if only we actually cared about the characters, if only there seemed to be some connection between the various images we were presented with, if only events felt like they grew out of each other naturally rather than happening because the script said so.

That said, at the end there were numerous people cheering and applauding, so perhaps I'm not the intended audience for this particular show. But really - when I go to a play, is it really so difficult to ask that someone give me a story, and not a series of disjointed scenes that might possibly be related in some way but that I never have a reason to care about?

To be a bit more positive for a moment, I'd like to offer my congratulations to the Perseverance cast. They all did a fantastic job with the script they were given, and the strength of their performances was almost - almost - enough to carry the material. It's not their fault that whenever the story started to gain some momentum, it got bogged down in its own pretension again. Let's just hope that the folks in charge of selecting shows for next season give them better material to work with. C-
missroserose: (Default)
Christmas has been altogether lovely, with some excellent presents both given and received. Favorite present-opening moments: Taktuk opening a set of unlabeled brushed stainless steel polyhedral dice and being able to identify material, size, and store of origin; Brian tearing the wrapping off a box from my mother, seeing it labeled "L. Ron Hubbard Books" and looking sort of traumatized, only to open the box and find an amazingly awesome Chinese-style teapot inside and go from looking traumatized to (pleasantly) stunned; spending half the morning amusing ourselves with little Mario-sound-noisemakers that Brian got for our stockings (I got the 1up sound! ...and yes, we are very easily amused pre-coffee). And, of course, giving Chris the custom super-powerful Torch flashlight made out of the NASCAR Mag-Lite that Brian and Jeanne and I chipped in and bought him months ago. It was expensive (not in the least because its previous owner shipped it from Belgium), but seeing his reaction was more than worth it - I don't think I've ever seen him get that happily excited.

Nifty swag received: The second volume of Absolute Sandman; a copy of Odin Sphere (which I will hopefully get around to playing now that the show's over and I have something resembling free time again, though I've got quite a backlog between the rest of Eternal Sonata, Mass Effect and BioShock); and an espresso maker from my mother, so we can add some variety to our morning coffee ritual. Also, we got the kitties a Ski Slope catnip-laced cardboard scratching post with a little dangly mouse that they pretty much went nuts over. So all around it's been an excellent Christmas.

On a theatre-type note, I'm having a hard time absorbing the concept of this whole "show is over" thing. Every other show I've been in it's been sort of a relief - I mean, you have fun doing it, but then when it's done it's nice to have your life back. Maybe I've just had a lot more fun with this one, or maybe it's that it's my first real role in a real show (in King Island Christmas I was just in the chorus, and Landscape of the Body was a school thing in addition to being kind of stressful what with school and work on top of it). And it's not like I didn't have closure or anything - I helped strike the set (and got rather amusingly covered with black paint splatter when we repainted the walls). But I keep having this sort of hollow feeling in my solar plexus when I start to think "Oh, I'll probably be going to the theatre after work tomorrow" and then have to correct myself. Maybe it's because I had the most fun at the last show - I felt like I really gave my best performance then.

I did talk to David Charles (who taught two of the acting classes I've attended, in addition to just being one of the sweetest people I know) after the last show, and he said they'd probably call me to read for something else on the second stage later this season. So hopefully I'm not done yet. I just have to figure out what to do with all this spare time in the interim. Maybe I actually will start going to the gym again...
missroserose: (Default)
Christmas has been altogether lovely, with some excellent presents both given and received. Favorite present-opening moments: Taktuk opening a set of unlabeled brushed stainless steel polyhedral dice and being able to identify material, size, and store of origin; Brian tearing the wrapping off a box from my mother, seeing it labeled "L. Ron Hubbard Books" and looking sort of traumatized, only to open the box and find an amazingly awesome Chinese-style teapot inside and go from looking traumatized to (pleasantly) stunned; spending half the morning amusing ourselves with little Mario-sound-noisemakers that Brian got for our stockings (I got the 1up sound! ...and yes, we are very easily amused pre-coffee). And, of course, giving Chris the custom super-powerful Torch flashlight made out of the NASCAR Mag-Lite that Brian and Jeanne and I chipped in and bought him months ago. It was expensive (not in the least because its previous owner shipped it from Belgium), but seeing his reaction was more than worth it - I don't think I've ever seen him get that happily excited.

Nifty swag received: The second volume of Absolute Sandman; a copy of Odin Sphere (which I will hopefully get around to playing now that the show's over and I have something resembling free time again, though I've got quite a backlog between the rest of Eternal Sonata, Mass Effect and BioShock); and an espresso maker from my mother, so we can add some variety to our morning coffee ritual. Also, we got the kitties a Ski Slope catnip-laced cardboard scratching post with a little dangly mouse that they pretty much went nuts over. So all around it's been an excellent Christmas.

On a theatre-type note, I'm having a hard time absorbing the concept of this whole "show is over" thing. Every other show I've been in it's been sort of a relief - I mean, you have fun doing it, but then when it's done it's nice to have your life back. Maybe I've just had a lot more fun with this one, or maybe it's that it's my first real role in a real show (in King Island Christmas I was just in the chorus, and Landscape of the Body was a school thing in addition to being kind of stressful what with school and work on top of it). And it's not like I didn't have closure or anything - I helped strike the set (and got rather amusingly covered with black paint splatter when we repainted the walls). But I keep having this sort of hollow feeling in my solar plexus when I start to think "Oh, I'll probably be going to the theatre after work tomorrow" and then have to correct myself. Maybe it's because I had the most fun at the last show - I felt like I really gave my best performance then.

I did talk to David Charles (who taught two of the acting classes I've attended, in addition to just being one of the sweetest people I know) after the last show, and he said they'd probably call me to read for something else on the second stage later this season. So hopefully I'm not done yet. I just have to figure out what to do with all this spare time in the interim. Maybe I actually will start going to the gym again...
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Given the structure of The Eight, which is basically a series of eight monologues (not that you'd guess that from the title or anything), I've ended up with some spare time to kill in between the opening dance number (Alicia, our director, has a very strange sense of humor) and my turn, and then again between my turn and the closing bow. So I've been reading Cherie Priest's Four and Twenty Blackbirds, which was a Totally Non-Denominational Holiday present from [livejournal.com profile] flewellyn.

I'll admit to a bit of skepticism when I first received it ("You should read this! It's by a friend of mine!" recommendations haven't always turned out well, in my experience), but I've been pretty pleasantly surprised. Ms. Priest has a far-above-average talent for both vivid imagery and creepy atmosphere, the two major components in any good ghost story. The pacing (which seems to be the downfall of many otherwise-good authors) has also been pretty good through the first half, and the beginning was quite engrossing. So the only real obstacle that remains is the ending, something that's always tricky in storytelling, and doubly so when it's a story of people coming in contact with the supernatural. But the first half of the novel has given me high hopes. I just hope it doesn't end up like Twilight...

Anyway, I'll be sure to post my thoughts when I've finished it. Because I'm sure everyone here knows how hard it is for me to remember to give my opinions on something. =D

While on the subject of The Eight, I actually had a very nice middle-aged woman I didn't know stop me on the way out of the dressing room last night and tell me she really enjoyed my performance. I was sort of surprised - Blitzen's monologue is funny, but not nearly so much as a couple of the others - but pleased nonetheless. She said that she'd like to see me on stage again, so I told her I'd mention that to whomever I auditioned for next. So, yay - I guess I have my first fan. (Though I suppose there's a good chance she said that to everyone, and I just didn't see...)

In other news, it looks like I'm scaling back my new-computer plans some. My computer here at home has been well into old age for some time now, and has reached the point where it's very close to unusability. Of course, it would do this at the least convenient time, i.e. just after I've bought everyone's Christmas presents, but whatever. Anyway, instead of the $2500 MacBook Pro that I'd really love but probably only occasionally fully use, I'm thinking I'll just get one of the nifty black MacBooks. The main things that turned me off of them were the smaller screen - my current computer has a 15" screen, which made the 13.3" screens on the MacBooks feel positively claustrophobic. They're nice for all that, though, and since I'm no longer using my computer as my main entertainment system anymore (yay for being out of college!), it'll work just fine for plain ol' Internet, email, blogging, instant messaging, etc. - as well as paper-writing and such if I do end up re-enrolling in college.

So the main question is how I'm going to pay for it. I have roughly $500 in savings that isn't spoken for, but I'd prefer to leave that there as a cushion. The Apple Store is running a special where if you sign up for their Visa card and buy something over $1000 on it, you get six months with no interest; that's tempting, but I really prefer not to have any more credit cards than the two I already have, and I hate the idea of using credit for something that's essentially a luxury item. Of course, I could just wait and not have a computer at home until I've saved enough, which would probably be the most reasonable thing to do, but I admit to being distinctly in the tech generation - to quote a friend, I am a computer-using person in the same way I am an air-breathing person, and I have a really hard time when I don't have on-demand access to the Internet. But at the same time, I know that I can live without a computer, which means that it's not a necessity.

A final alternative, and probably the most attractive to me at this point, would be to dip into Brian's and my joint savings account to buy it, and then simply make payments back to it. Brian's already said that he's cool with the idea, and we'd still have a fair chunk of change in it even after buying a MacBook, but I'm sort of hesitant, simply because that's our moving-away-from-Juneau fund. But then, we're not planning on moving for a year or two yet anyway, and I know I could pay it back if I simply disciplined myself, so...yeah. No living without computer for six months = happy!Rose. Plus 1500 airline miles from my Visa card. I can live with that.

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Rose

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