Monday, November 24, 2008

The Wind at my Back

There was an interesting moment this morning when it felt as if the wind was behind me, gently pushing me along, and I was reminded of that expression, "the wind at your back."

I googled the phrase and found a cool article on The Sweet Spot about marketing during a recession. Really interesting stuff, because as an actor, you also have to be savvy about marketing your career.

Bonnie Gillespie writes about this all the time on The Actors Voice, knowing your product and your market. It's one of those essential ingredients to understanding the business of show business, and I've become more and more aware of it as I've been getting clearer on my type and the type of work I want to do. Clarity is good! :)

Anyway, that feeling of the wind at my back, and all of these little signs that have sprung up today - like hearing from new people associated with my biz in different and interesting ways - it just makes me feel like I'm on the right path. And the wind is blowing me gently on my way.

Very cool.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Giving thanks

Can you believe next week is Thanksgiving?

Now that the winter winds have blown into Manhattan and the stores are playing Christmas music, "it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas." And I don't mind that Christmas seems to be coming upon us so quickly. I love it. I love all the lights on the trees that line the streets. The ones in front of the Time Warner building across from Central Park are this bright silver blue, which is so pretty. And with the sun disappearing at 5 PM, we need some sparkle in our lives.

But first - Thanksgiving.
I love this time of year. Even though it's cold outside, hearts are warm with thoughts of family and friends. There is the sense of enjoying the harvest, and being grateful for it all!

I look back at this year of great change and am so thankful to the people who've helped to transform my life and my world: my sweetheart (now fiance), my "soul siblings" (friends who are like family) and family who are like friends (my brother is the coolest dude there is), teachers, guides, directors, casting directors, writers, producers, costumers, actors, artists, totally awesome techies, the co-workers at my day job who make me laugh and are so supportive of my acting work, doctors, dentists, masseuses, anyone who's taken time to make a compassionate connection. It's been a wild ride and I thank you all for sharing it with me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A rainy afternoon with Charles Busch

You know how everyone says they like to curl up with a good book on a rainy day? It's because no one can bring such vivid color to a gray day like a favorite author.

Well, today, that writer for me was Charles Busch. He's a brilliant playwright and performer whom I first encountered via the classic "camp" movie, Psycho Beach Party. That style of "old Hollywood" meets the hipsters of today with a blast of one fabulous drag queen poured into several fabulous gowns... what more could you ask for? ;)

Today I got to read for a role in his new play, The Third Story. It was such a fun romp! To get to play with that style - that sense of high drama mixed with crazy comedy (sounds like a fun cocktail, doesn't it?) - was such a pleasure to embrace! To enter the "worlds" he creates, and to get to perform his work - even for 2 minutes - is such a treat! :)

The interesting side note is that I've been working on some pictures from his play, Die Mommie Die! for my friend, Brian Swasey's website. I'm a designer on the side, and Brian was Assistant Director for the recent Off Broadway production, Die Mommie Die! which Charles wrote and starred in. Brian was also my director for the Off-Off Broadway revival of the musical Lucky Stiff, so I just find this whole thing rather cool and serendipitous.
Here's to adding some humor, color and glamor to your day! :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Food for the soul

One of my favorite lessons that an acting coach gave me was to "work, play, and rest." Some people might think that the work actors do is really just play, but it's actually A LOT of work. There's research, keeping in shape (physically, artistically, emotionally), memorization, studying voice, movement, music if you're a singer, there's a lot of cultivation that has to happen on a daily basis. And that's not even going into the business aspect of show business, which includes updating pictures, resumes, electronic submissions, job searches, auditions, postcards, letters, promotions, web-updates, marketing, all that stuff.

Then comes the PLAY part, freeing up the body, mind and spirit to let the art flow, and that's the fun part, though one of my favorite writers argues that ALL of it can be fun, and I agree. I love the work that goes into the play. :)

Coming off of doing 3 shows since July, I'm in the cultivation process of working on monologues, taking classes, going to the gym, hitting auditions.... I'm also taking time to just SAVOR the city.
I went to Central Park on Saturday and though it was rainy, I loved it so much that I vowed to return the next day, camera in hand. And boy, am I glad I did! Isn't it beautiful? I walked about with the tourists and other New Yorkers who'd come to enjoy Autumn in Bloom. It was such a revitalization for my spirit, a harvest for the soul.

So I hope you too are getting to stop and smell the roses in the midst of your work and play.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Into the Light

I read this term yesterday in conjunction with the Suffragettes, and I heard it mentioned again last night and this morning with this historic election: Hope that we will be guided out of these dark times "Into the Light."

"To all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

"That's the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we've already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

"This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can."
- Barack Obama, 44th President-elect of the United States

Blessed be!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Casting the Vote

At 5:35 this morning, my sweetie got me up to vote. God bless him, he's an early riser, and the time change is especially hard on his internal time clock. But in this case it was a benefit, because by the time we got to Fordham Law School, there was already a line!

What a difference 4 years can make! 4 years ago, there were maybe 10 people up with us at the crack of dawn to vote. But today the line stretched down the street! I LOVE that people want their voices heard!

We were close enough to the front that by the time we got in, I could see that the first person to cast today's vote (in our area of Manhattan) was an elderly woman, and I tell you, I wanted to salute her.

It wasn't even 100 years ago that women were awarded the right to vote. They had been considered insane because they wanted the same freedom as men. Who exactly was insane in that scenario, eh?

On March 3, 1913, Lawyer Inez Milholland Boissevain led the National American Woman Suffrage Association parade in Washington, D.C., under a banner that read “Into the Light.” It was a hard battle and the women who fought for our right to vote were treated horrifically.

The Nineteenth Amendment was finally passed by Congress June 4, 1919 (ratified August 18, 1920).

Section 1: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

So get out there and vote, everyone!

One voice can make a difference, inspiring countless others.

Monday, November 03, 2008

To Lift the Spirits

This weekend we were surrounded by friends and family, sharing Halloween over a hearth here in Manhattan, then traveling to PA to share love and hugs with my in-laws, mourning the loss of Billy Koch, an uncle-brother-father-husband-grandfather... a character straight out of Characterville.(pictured: Mary and Billy Koch)

As we drove through the Autumn leaves of PA, engulfed in fiery golden hues, Robbie and I filled the car with music and found ourselves lifting our spirits by lifting our voices in song. Music can definitely heal the spirit!

Sunday I watched the NY City Marathon while working out at the gym. I've been to the race before and its incredible, but there was something amazing about doing my own workout while watching the first 3 women to win the race, all of us pressing on, moving towards our goals...

It was really cool to see Kara Goucher from Queens clock the fastest time for an American ever, finishing 3rd in 2 hours, 25 minutes, 53 seconds. Her story was amazing! And actually, I have to give kudos to all the women and men who simply ran the marathon. That is a major feat!

This is such an incredibly historic time. With the election tomorrow, I wanted to share this piece with you from Maya Angelou. May it serve as inspiration!

"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. You will be changed, events will change you, but you have to decide not to be reduced....You have to continue to prepare yourself, continue to build yourself, continue to elevate yourself and be a benefit, be a blessing rather than a curse, and things will get better.

"You need to know that you can go somewhere. You're not just like grass growing on the street. You're like trees, you have roots, and they've done wonderful things, and you need to know that, and by knowing that, you see how outfitted you are for these times. And that you really owe it to those who went before so that you can add to them for those who are yet to come.

"You need to know that you are in a continuum, and if you understand that, you realize that you are worthwhile." - Maya Angelou