Saturday, July 14, 2018

When I took my husband to Jurassic Park

My husband loves dinosaurs. Always has, always will. When our nephews were old enough, he couldn't wait to share the Jurassic Park movies with them. That's how much he loves dinosaurs.

He recently posted this on Facebook, and it made me smile :)

We went to CA a few weeks ago to see an old friend from the PA Renaissance Faire: Kacey Camp. She was our Queen when we were both hired for the Shakespeare troupe at the faire, and we've been friends ever since.

Kacey showed us around Universal Studios, and we had to go on the Jurassic Park ride. My husband suggested I film some segments for my webseries, Laura Loves NY, so we did a special California Edition:

My husband is the one making faces behind Kacey and me in the early part of this vid. He's a big kid and so am I! We keep each other laughing. :)

More vids to come from our CA visit. But for now... onto the next adventure!

Happy Trails!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Laura Loves NY: Pride

I was so honored to have the very talented Russell Kohlmann on my web series, Laura Loves NY.  We had a blast, running around the West Village, singing songs, talking about upcoming films, Kate Bush, sharing advice, and celebrating Pride.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Cabaret, Footage, and a very Full Calendar

June is filling up quick, and I decided to add it all to my Get In Gear calendar, an incredible 100 day program built by Show Biz coach, Bonnie Gillespie:

This is helpful in keeping track of all the footage I've filmed for my web series, Laura Loves NY, as well as setting up days for post-production. I also added the cabaret class I'm teaching with Mary Feinsinger, my Music Director from Hell's Belles the Musical at the 92Y. 

I'm amazed to find myself teaching! I've done round-table musical theatre sessions with other performers where we share recommendations to improve performance, and this class has a similar feel. It's really exciting to see each performer work on music they love, and I enjoy being able to help them make adjustments. It also reinforces what my teachers have taught me. Funny how that works, passing on knowledge. :)

I've been fortunate to craft two of my own cabarets. I performed "Love in 35 Minutes" at The Actors Fund, and I created a mini cabaret to promote Hell's Belles when it was running Off Broadway. I performed it at the legendary Don't Tell Mama, or "Mama's" as most cabaret kids call it.

 I've also got the usual stuff of auditions and working with my acting and voice coaches, and it helps to see how I'm filling my days with so much good stuff!

Hope you are too!

Friday, June 01, 2018

Broadway Bites with the Queen of New Jersey

I met Erin Zapcic a few years ago when she was a wench at Medieval Times. Since my first professional gig was in the Shakespeare troupe for the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, I could relate. We both connected via Self Management For Actors by Bonnie Gillespie, and we did Get In Gear together, which is a unique program that is truly life-changing as well as career-changing.

Erin recently made history as the first queen of Medieval Times, and it took me back to my brief stint as Queen Elizabeth for Penn Ren. My husband said I swaggered like Bette Davis ;)

I invited Erin onto my web series, Laura Loves NY, to hear about some of her adventures. She met me at one of her favorite spots: Broadway Bites:

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Distilling Essential Oils with The Twisted Sisters

When I finished school, one of my first professional acting gigs was part of the Shakespeare troupe for the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. It was a great place to learn and grow and spread my wings. We did improv and kept it in the language of the Renaissance. We didn't do it in verse. Think Shakespeare in Love - that sort of thing - with a lot of "thee" and "thou."

And at the Faire I met my husband, Rob, and made lifelong friends with these two wild women we called, "The Twisted Sisters."

They were hired to run the Herb Shoppe, and they always had great natural remedies for everything.

Fast forward to Now, and The Sisters, Maryanne Schwartz and Tina Sams, run various small businesses, including The Essential Herbal Magazine and Lancaster County Soapworks. Plus Maryanne makes jewelry out of her Torchsong Studio.

I went to see them to learn about Distilling Essential Oils and to interview them for my upcoming web series, Project PrePause, which is about the wild adventures of perimenopause. Since they've both been through it, I wanted to tap into their wisdom, so I can share it with other women going through The Change.

Tina had her distiller all set up, and we a had a lot of fun!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Auditions, Steel Magnolias and Mother's Day

Yesterday, I was up early for an audition, and I ran into a little gal who looked like The Little Mermaid. I kid you not. And she was auditioning for The Little Mermaid, which was just too perfect for words!

It was so easy to chat with her. With some actors, there can be a beautiful flow of conversation, and this was one of those actors who was uncensored and not "in her head" about the anxiety of auditioning, which let's face it, a lot of audition rooms are filled with fear, so I tend to walk out of those holding rooms and find my happy place.

We chatted for about 10 minutes, and then it turned out her audition was in another building, so she had to dash down the block. I wish I would've gotten her name, because she inspired me, and made me think of some of the wonderful women in my life. 

So to all you ladies out there, celebrate yourselves and the women in your lives! We deserve it :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"Aaron's Uber" on Funny or Die!

I recently filmed a fun sketch with my friend, Wayne Henry, whom I've done a ton of work with over the years! He's the genius behind Jaws The Musical in which I played Sally, the love interest of the Great White Shark.

So of course, when Wayne said, "Do you want to do a sketch?" I was totally on board!

Enter "Aaron's Uber," written by the hilarious Brad Heller. He's a UCB alum who totally reminds me of a young Jerry Seinfeld.

I play a country gal who has no problem squeezing into an already packed Uber:

And we're on Funny or Die! How fun!

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

The First Flush of Inspiration

I'm doing Masterclass with Helen Mirren, and one of the questions that's asked is, What was your first flush of inspiration? What was the first play or film you saw that inspired you?

When I was little, my folks couldn't afford a babysitter so they took me to all the movies they saw. I feel like I grew up at the movies.

I have vague memories of the film, Network, with some angry little man yelling vehemently. Even though I was too little to "get it," something about that film is ingrained in my memory, and I know I need to revisit it as an adult. As put it, "It's the 40 year old film that predicted the future." Way too timely!

As a kid, of course, I resonated with Disney movies. They had a big impact on me, because they were all about imagination! In fact, the first play I did was in first grade: The Three Little Pigs. I played The Big Bad Wolf, and I loved it! Being onstage, dressed in a costume made by my mother - all black! - I was probably the tiniest Big Bad Wolf in history, and I was FIERCE!

I didn't have any idea that I was the villain of the piece. What villain does? I was excited because I got to huff and puff and blow their houses down! I accomplished this by hurling myself into the cardboard boxes that represented The Houses of Straw and Sticks. I was terribly bummed that I couldn't destroy the Brick House, but that was part of the story, so I had to act defeated. Ha!

I loved the whole communal aspect of the experience, sharing a story with an audience, hearing them gasp when I destroyed the houses, hearing them laugh, hearing them cheer. I felt like I was part of something BIG, some place where I could be BIG too! And everything pulsed with life!

That's why I love working in theatre and films - a film set is just as thrilling! - and that's why I love creating to this day.

Bad Girls

It never ceases to amaze me how often I'm cast as the "bad girl." I think it's because I don't look like a villain, but have a wild-card rollercoaster kind of energy which can work for the villain. Add to that a wicked sense of humor, cultivated by living with a humorous husband, and voila! As Daffy Duck says, "Despicable!"

I recently revisited some fearsome characters I've played, everything from The Big Bad Wolf when I was 6 to Annie Richmond, a sinful Southern belle who was trying to drive Edgar Allan Poe mad in "Poe Evermore." I especially thought of Annie when I was running around Washington Square Park. She would've given The Heiress a run for her money!

And now I'm pouring over a script with a character right out of the Wicked Stepmother realm.

The writer told me, "Have fun!" You know I will!

Friday, March 30, 2018

The March For Our Lives

Last weekend felt like the whole city of New York showed up to March for Our Lives. I knew so many friends and colleagues who were going, including people who were heading down to DC, and I wasn't going to miss it! If there's anything I've learned from people who've marched before me, it's that we must make a stand. I did it for the Women's March, and I was definitely marching for the kids.

I sprained my ankle a few days before, so I could only get so far. But I ran into my friend, Marta, and walked with her for 20 blocks. I took lots of pix, and marveled at the masses of people who kept moving towards the March. This was miles upon miles of people, and I couldn't get the song, "Found Tonight" out of my head.

My favorites were the Bubbes (Yiddish for Grandmothers). I heard one woman say, "I was out of town for the Women's March, so I couldn't miss this one!"

As I went home, I saw an old man with a cane. He was walking by a young man - his son? his grandson? - and he said, "See what people can do when they put their minds to it?"

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Laura Loves NY - Snow Day!!!!

It's been a leonine March. "In like a lion, out like a lamb," they say, but March is almost over, and we're seeing lots of stormy weather.

Still, there's something about a Snow Day that just totally appeals to me. I grew up in the CA desert, so snow always seems so magical.

Adding Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett to my groove helped me get through the pelting icicles.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Making Movies

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with my grandpa's movie camera. My mom inherited it, and my Dad started using it to film home movies. Me being an actor, I kept asking if we could "make REAL movies" with it, but film was expensive so I only got to make one. It was called, "The Seasons," and it starred me and my neighborhood friends, including Kara Herold, who went on to make documentaries about the female experience.

Flash forward to this February when I did a 6 day film challenge led by Ela Thier, who teaches at the Independent Film School. I had a BLAST! Each day had a different focal point, and it made me look at my world - and hear it! - with different eyes and ears. It also gave me a chance to explore editing and all the cool things I can do with iMovie. My final film, incidentally, was called, The Seasons:

I enjoyed this so much that I created a YouTube channel called, Laura Loves NY.  I'm a Southern CA girl who's always loved NY, so I've decided to show you around "my" New York.

Last month, I visited The City Bakery, which does a yummy hot chocolate fest in February:

And I'm going to keep on running around the island. If there's any place you'd like to see, let me know!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Strange Days

How is February almost over? This year has been flying! Between visits to CA, recording a podcast in NJ, catching the tail end of the Women's March in NY (because I was recording a podcast in NJ), and running around Manhattan doing a short film challenge, it's been a busy, creative time!

It's also been heart-breaking, seeing what happened in Parkland, FLA. My heart catches in my throat every time I think of it, and I look at those kids who are stepping up and speaking out, and I admire their undeniable bravery.

It makes me look at the world with wonder and appreciate every moment. I hope you do too.