Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lateness of the Hour

About the disappearance of my blog, I have merely been lazy. That I can claim. 

Many other things in the universe have been stirring about and thus, my attention has been drawn, focused and laid elsewhere. However, I have many things to say.

I have just finished my third theatre show in 5 months. Since I began my resurgence with theatre in late June, I have officially become an EMC member and am on my way - if I so wish - to becoming Equity. Oh, and I do wish. But I must garner the connections and experience before suddenly joining the union. Such is also said of SAG, but I was DEFINITELY ready to join that. However, the connections are devastatingly important. I'm still trying to establish a name among certain casting directors, but you can imagine such a ongoing task was nearly impossible while away in Sonora. 

I am back in La La to stay, though. Ready to shake ropes, crawl under barbed wire fences, trespass, bullhorn my way around the city. Wait, no, that's not exactly how it works. But there is no exactly, is there? Nope. Especially in the City that Never Texts Back. That is the NY equivalent nickname of Los Angeles, by the way. 

Instead, I have been using my time to understand the manifestations to be called out of the world's energy.  One foot in reality, one foot in idealism / delusion / dreams - and one eye, too. We must measure out the levels of reality with our consciousness. Awareness is key. And those that do not realize that are many. But carry on we do, through conversations, situations, moments and lives while struggling to understand the reality.  It does come to us, but it is within our perception - and that is a filter that must be continuously honed and refined.

My episode of Days of Our Lives has aired. I am auditioning for the Actors' Studio come Sunday. The number 39 is out and about and retaining space in my brain. Theatre ties are strong for a newbie. My reel will soon be getting a facelift and photos, well, photos are waiting to be taken. Not just on Instagram, mind you (but definitely also on Instagram). I have hiked a monster hike in Yosemite. I have made the greatest almond butters of all time. No joke, I was taught to do so and I am now a butter fiend...

Will the city of La La allow me to manifest these great, deep desires? I certainly hope so. Perhaps I will meditate on these urges - though I have an aversion to do so. Why, I do not know. Meditation makes perfect intellectual health sense. And yet, I find myself not taking the time to do it, despite its obvious benefits. I hereby vow to change that.  Since letting go is a giant factor in my life, so should I allow that theme to hold hands with time. 

You should too, if you have fifteen minutes. There's a great Ted talk on it somewhere

Love to you on this night.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Kinky-Haired Scrutiny

Desire, oh, desire.

 Do you find it like you turn over a rock, if you have the courage to do so? Does it already live in the hammock between your heart and mind, rocked by those more curious and prominent breezes and winds - or merely gliding over the negative space round body, skin and crevice?  When I desire something or to be a certain way, I find the resonance is what weights me into that decision - IF we are thinking of it carefully; IF we have practiced and questioned our sureness about what we want, wish to do, must have.  Resonance can be instinctual for some - free, impulsive, and they will run toward it with open arms, teeth flashing and gums salivating. But for myself, it was once instinctual, then sadly obstructed by the wool-pulls of life, and since it has been a careful journey of recognition through my natural introspection. Like navigating an underground Mayan temple, Indiana Jones hat in tow, and finding a beautiful item among the stony passageways. The untempered instinct will wish to pick it up for their possession at once! However, could there be an unseen rig or trap attached to its removal?  Is there a cost for having that thing, that thing we so desire and that so resonates with us at that time?

I admit that I have ruined many a moment by questioning it TOO much, but happily - and in this small mining town in Northern California - the instincts are re-materializing in my core, whole and beautiful. And I merely strengthen the muscle that scans the warm of that resonance so as to make sure it isn't the warmth of radiation instead.

Nurse Kelly - my role in HARVEY - is getting into full hip-swing. It may not be the Joan Holloway hip-swing that I wish it to be, but I am surveying the sex-bomb quality of this character with relish. The nurse uniform doesn't hurt either. Quickly I hit upon a vocal quality that is already transforming me in a direction I like. But does the director like it? I have no clue. He is allowing his actors to play while our blocking evolves with the patience of a spider - albeit one that isn't waiting to PREY per se, but as one who will know when it is time to strike; his many eyes watching over our cast of twelve. This being my (unexpectedly) third show in a row this year, I am keenly aware of the blessing to be on stage.  Live. Different audiences, different moments. Letting all of the factors affect you without completely sweeping you off of your feet. I am digging and deepening into my acting instincts like bare feet into thick, sopping mud right now and I love it.  Most saliently I question: how can you allow somebody else to delegate your creativity when only you hold the key?  Only YOU know what is in that magnificent and infinite box of your imagination and soul. Yes, remain open to that direction, to those new moments of listening, and to the wisdom of fellow actors always, but you have to know your own ground. Especially in the case that those others might be WRONG.

This is the constant problem of La La. An actor is a product, easily categorized and placed into the money-making machine. Unfortunately, we are relying on others' judgements and assessments - many under the guise of "professional" - which may or may not be accurate. Our industry is FOUNDED on people allowing us to go on to the next level because they have deemed so. Someone has to take you there. Someone has to introduce you. Someone has to SEE you.  And most of the time? I find the eyesight of Hollywood to be in desperate need of prescription glasses.

Sonora has told me otherwise. It has told me that I don't have to change myself in any way that helps someone else make sense of me. I alone need to make sense of me. If you know your product, you can tell someone about your product. What roles are you perfect for? What are your strengths as an actor? Use their language to interpret those parts of you that only YOU might know, creatively and marketably.  Often, it seems a game of helping others to visualize what you CAN be, never just what you are. Trust me, I am now tempted to walk into my first CAA meeting with my high-top Levi sneaks, skinny jeans, an oversized shirt and the kinkiest blonde hair this side of the Mississippi. Why not? I'm not like the other gals anyway. And if I know that, I'm ok with that, why can't I walk the line just like that? Acting is about transformation - and THAT I can talk about with abandon.

Be cautious AND live without inhibition. Is that possible? Of course. It is about being wise while also living freely.  Then sit back and watch what life repeats in your face. It might be a word, an animal, a person, an astrological sign, a number, a kind of light, a kind of darkness.  What is speaking to you? What resonates with you? When you find it, offer it your hand and regard its touch.  You don't have to run off into the sunset with it. You can have a moment, let go and move on. You have a choice. Just choose what makes you happiest and adds nicely to YOUR reality.

Oh - and go act your ass off somewhere too. The stagnant pond gets pretty scummy and no brave soul wants to take a dip after awhile.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Look Itsa Pooka!

I'm in a pulitzer prize winning play!

Well, yeah the play was written in 1944 and yeah, its been done a million times and yeah, Jimmy Stewart starred in a movie about it in 1950, BUT I was just hired on for another show with Sierra Rep in the fall. Whoop, Ety, and Doo, folks. 

I'm incredibly excited. A wide sprint closer to Equity status. A paid professional theater job. A chance to continue honing and disciplining skills on which I sorely need to work.  A continued relationship with Sonora, the socially pocked capital of California. A longer time to explore personal, artistic endeavors. More time to ponder the IOOF. More time to explore Yosemite. More time to thrift. More time to read. More time to write. More time to practice yoga on my lonesome which I do often now and love.  More to watch hummingbirds. More yards from which to eat organic tomatoes, plums, peaches, apples. More ponds to ponder near. More cheap Knob Creek at the Iron Horse. More life to live and work to do toward goals I was already churning like butter in LA - and knowing I am near enough to be back soon.  

I feel very patient about everything right now. I don't know why except the change of pace. The stir-crazy feelings that should usually encroach don't because I am working as an actor. Its like my process and energy in rehearsals translates to a swipe of the blood of the Lamb on my front door frame while the Angel of Death floats past toward a different poor soul to envelop. Ten Commandments anyone? Anyone? Charlton Heston? Cecil B. DeMille epic? Oh. Man. Pom-Pom. So good. 

Hey, I know where to get good espresso, a great salmon salad, so-so sushi and I have a simple syrup lil' gym to visit if I want to be surrounded by high schoolers and their funny masks. Yes, we were all like that not long ago and wait, many haven't changed except to evolve their mask, refining them to a tee no one would quite notice because others are either too self-involved or are adept at doing the same thing and bored by yours. What? I didn't say that. Even though you know its true, though I'm not admitting it for a second. 

Instead, I can be truly concerned with this incredible script by Mary Chase - a woman who is apparently indirectly responsible for the Donnie Darko screenplay (I'm speculating!) because in 1944 she wrote about  an extremely pleasant alcoholic man who is best friends with a six foot (and a half!) tall white rabbit named Harvey, who is a Pooka. What is a Pooka? Here is a Pooka.  It's kind of fascinating. And the fact that Ms. Chase could popularize such subject matter within such a strict era context was pretty groundbreaking.  Reading about the main character, Elwood P. Dowd, I was inspired by his wonderfully lovely demeanor and overall true embodiment of tolerance over all things - specifically people and the handling of life that he is tied to.  It doesn't matter how many options are before us, there are always people pulling us in directions without our approval or consent.  Elwood, despite his alcoholism and constant companionship with a Celtic spirit, added the most truly evolved element to the lives of his loved ones and well, basically all newcomers to his conversation. 

He represents fairness, love, peace and many of the qualities we yearn for our own race on a majority level. Global loveliness. John Lennon-like levels. But this was all in 1944. So I really just want to talk to Mary Chase and understand who she based these people on.

In La-La, time is of the essence. No one is getting any younger. Time is money. In it to win it and all that. All I can say is, I'll be right back after these messages...from the Universe. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Where the Wild You Is...

Welcome to the Afterlife. 

I'm in Sonora, California. It's not heaven, nor is it hell - despite the glowing fires visible last night from a lone Tuolomne cabin burning not so terribly far away, sitting like a vermilion fog across the mountainside. If Mordor was ever a real vision...Truly wild and uncontrollable rage of nature, awakening locals as normally as coffee brewing.  The smell of smoked branches and foliage permeating each household, clamping the hearts of loved ones personally tied to the meek bravery out there among the trees, or what's left of them.  I'm awash with helplessness and little relation to the whole thing save for my current location. Pay your verbal respects, know the containment percentages and buy a firefighter a Blackeye at Starbucks.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light. 

I don't think Dylan was referring to a rim fire, but it is certainly fitting. I sat awestruck on the stroke of midnight, absorbing the orange cloud with my tired eyes and feeling nothing about myself, just wonder at a thing so powerful and so pure yet so foreign.  A sense of guilt lay suspended in the air for having thoughts of beauty tied to such a monstrous, damaging thing. I think I had the same experience with an ex once.  What can I say? Dark needs light and so on.

Earlier today, I claimed a need to be stirred and roused with emotion. I mean in the sense that one can have that uncontrollable, unconstrained wailing release of pure feeling. The dam is breaking. I am seeking a perfect host through which I can wet the dry walls of the well. You know, that Well that lives at your core being. Music has definitely stormed the sea up into a tizzy, but there is no wave yet to upturn the boat and lose oneself to the elements. Danger Mouse, Doves, Norah, Jack, Cass, CocoRosie - the emotional and the strange. I will take it for now despite their lacking crowbar efforts to crack the safe. Pair these things with a winding, rural drive and there is nearly a solution.

Don't get me wrong, it is a blessing to be moved by things.  But it is an intake/outtake issue.  Like Lion's Breath in yoga, one needs to exert as much as take in. The Libra in me screams balance, the Virgo in me seeks urgency and the Scorpio Rising watches with distanced interest how it all might play out.   Release is craved, in so many ways.  I believe the answers lie in the finely combed honeygrass 'cross these California landscapes.  The land may be burning, but it is also calling. 

As I age, the battle against myself to allow feeling, to allow instincts and to trust my own joys, horrors and reactions seems both less daunting and yet far more sensitive. I have been trying to give in to the wild parts as of late. I AM wild in certain parts - even the most conservative countryside has some wild patches here and there. But how will you know who you are if you don't explore these territories? If you let fear keep you on the same path day after day, letting the familiarity not only cloak you - but rob you of fresh air?  Breathe, my darlings, breathe.  Breathe every single day, long glorious breaths - unless there is smoke in the air.  I think therein lies the problem.   I am tumbling through youthful emotional spaces that may or may not have rattlesnakes. I say to all, yes, go, journey, but there are no promises of safety. Belt out a glorious peal of laughter but do not be affected by the emergence of judgement. Don't even give those disrupted humans the time of day. But go, GO into the wild, what's a little poison oak?

Round Sonora, I drive from town to town, county to county, location to location, rehearsal to rehearsal. I often pass the IOOF, it's proud electric pink lettering mockingly reminding me to enter on the side door. I'm not a man, so I'm not allowed (though I may be an odd fellow, I'll give myself that).  But as I steer away from the main strip, my headlights catch what appears to be a cat playing furiously by the sidewalk in the dark street, easily in harm's way. I wonder all at once if he is feral or a kitten or if he needs a home or has caught a rat. I park instantly around the corner and walk back to see if I might rescue the thing or at least absolve my curiosity.  On approach, the little beast is revealed to be motionless in a pool of blood. The witness of such wild writhing was actually of his last moments in death, a mere... ten seconds ago. I stand still, mouth covered by hand, and imagine the wealth of pain. Again, beauty in the horror. Or is it horror in the beauty? This strange portrait experience seems related to so many planes of the day and of Sonora in general. Equal parts terrible, true, lovely and pungent.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light. 

Perhaps this is all too cryptic for you today. Perhaps my head is so chock full of things from a lack of blogging and lack of release that things are thick as coconut oil been sittin' in the fridge too lawng. Perhaps being out of urban territory has inspired way more synapses firing than I ever dreamed.  

I don't know, darlings. But have a beautiful day, won't you?

(PS, I took a photo of this door in Sonora four days before this event. It not only happens to be the very street on which my ill-fated stray died, its body was lying directly in before it.)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Go North, Young Man

Fool's gold. You might say that one finds alotta that stuff in La La. If you pan the creek day after day (mostly because you don't have access to the A-List Ocean and also because doing extra work really isn't that different of a task), you're bound to find bits and pieces of something perhaps worthy. At least, that's a little of what it was like moving here in the first place, not knowing really anyone, growing up outside of the industry, searching for scraps - scouting - hutning. I always say that and imagine growing up on the outside of great, incredible wall that encases some glorious, inaccessible city.  How to find a way in and survive in the meantime?

Of course, you're always a bit like Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters looking for the Gatekeeper; glasses askew, shirt untucked and heaving forth with an air of desperation and also unpolished debate.  Why are you worthy to go inside? These answers develop over time - as one gets to know oneself.   I think many actors' problems have exactly to do with that; being unsure what they are capable of, where their limits are and how they fit in now and perhaps later. I find pitching myself to be exhausting, so lately I've been letting the work speak for itself.  Someone once communicated the sound argument that if you include, by practice and other means, your art in everyday life, like a true fusion of your mentality/physicality with said art, the work we desire will be drawn like to a magnet.

This makes sense to me, except that waking up with the concept of acting is not so simple. There are plays to be read, workouts to be planned (and executed!), lines to be memorized, places to rehearse, diction to be perfected, movies to be seen, creativity to be tapped, people to meet, people to stay in touch with, people to run away screaming from, auditions to attend, hair to be done, checkbooks to balance, jobs to be found, and fool's gold to be panned for - among other things.  To incorporate the acting life is very much like stretching all the muscles of the body, as in yoga.  We breathe and flex for further progression into each category, all while trying to remain calm and focused.  The latter is much harder than it seems - Worry & Concern are terrible twins that tirelessly threaten to bully and mar the day. 

I have been proud of my progression this summer. Yes, I'll claim that statement! I have shot a national commercial, a guest spot on Days of Our Lives, a gun into the air as Annabella Schmidt in The 39 Steps, and soon I'll be heading up north near Yosemite to do Don't Dress for Dinner in the role of "Suzette", a French caterer and opportunist (Hey, I can play a caterer!! I can do that really REALLY well!!!).  I'll be working toward Equity status under this show as well as having a much needed vacay from La La. Don't get me wrong, love this town, but I need to TRAVEL, my friend. See some overgrown trees and squirrels, marvel at a cactus somewhere, move to a gold rush town in the middle of the northern state. Yes, let's do that. Oh, and I can't wait to attack their only thrift store.

More later on future endeavors. I've got other projects up my sleeve but they are in liquid form. I'll call you when they solidify. 

By the way, Breaking Bad is in four days. Four. August 11th. You haven't seen it? What is wrong with you? Get out your Netflix. Now.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Like a Rolling Hourglass...

My LA TV debut is a long time coming. Boy oh boy, I tell ya.

I got the good news this afternoon from my agent about booking a role on a very famous soap opera that I am wary to mention. Quick, lend me your tv guide articles! 
 (Who gets those anymore?)  Anyway, I auditioned for Marnie Saitta in February when I was dog-ass sick with the flu, BUT nevertheless very, very skinny - thanks, Flu!  I did my scene and Marnie just flat out told me that I'd never get cast in this role, or probably any role, because I look too much like one of their main stars. I didn't know who she was talking about, but I appreciated her candor. Hey, no skin off my toenail.

Suddenly last week I get a breakdown for a lookalike to this exact star for DoOL. I just realized that nobody probably ever abbreviates that title due to this outcome. Yikes. Anyway, COOL - Marnie remembers that I look like this woman and is calling me in! Mah-velous, dah-ling.

I was in the final throes of tech week for my play The 39 Steps when I received the audition.  There was a bout of confusion on Saturday (the audition being Monday) when I finally had a moment to open the sides. They were for a 17-year-old high school girl named Kira. And I thought: surely, they don't want me to play a 17-year-old version of this woman. Is this a flashback to her high school days moving forward into her...ahem, late twenties? How odd!  I finally deciphered that these are probably the wrong sides. So I received the right ones in the nick of time and ran to 3400 West Olive.

Bada-bing bada-boom. My only question thus far is, if this role is indeed an "Addict" (which that IS the name of the role and she is certainly high as a kite in the scene), then what drug is she using? I have to do some Youtube  research....or I could just knock on the gypsies' motor home door up the street and ask them if I can observe for a while. In exchange for a side table and some unwanted clothes, of course. Maybe a discman.

Anyway - I shoot next Tuesday. I do the show tomorrow night starting our second weekend of performances in Glendale. Oh yeah and I just shot a commercial for American Standard with a bad ass director in the shortest amount of crunched, stressed out time for a crew EVER. His work is here: Albert Kodagolian.

I leave you with a montage for THE 39 STEPS because its fun and you'll see a bit of what it might be about...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The 39 Steps

Or..."Ze Serty-Nine Shteps" as my German spy character, Annabella, would say.

This just a blog of self congratulations. I saw a notice of audition for this play. I bought said play. I made an audition appointment for said play. I rehearsed German, British and Scottish dialects for said play. I attended TWO callbacks for said play. Now I have BOOKED said play! Hoorah and hooray! Huzzah and kazoo.

I'm most looking forward to the following spokes in the wheel:

1. It is an intimate cast with only four folks - I play three characters within the play - all love interests, fleeting to slightly more involved. The main squeeze, Richard, stays himself throughout. The other two guys  tackle a whopping 150 roles combined filling in every other character in the show - at points they are playing two to three characters within a single scene.

2. Physical comedy in the round - this play moves FAST because our  hero, Richard, is running AND pursuing AND just going going going until the end. There is little room for a moment of boredom, even for the cotton-candy-haired.  Time to pull out some heroes of physical comedy and get a-studyin'. 

3. Dialects! Yeah, I know, I won't shut up about them. Well, I LOVE THEM DADDY! I LOVE THEM AND YOU CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT! (Runs away sobbing to bedroom, slams door.) Other languages can not only be fascinating but hilarious. The mouth is a keyhole, the voice a key, and suddenly there you are unlocking perfectly wild characters from inside you. 

4. I haven't done a play in over 4 years!  Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? That is absolute craziness. I miss live theatre horribly - oh, the stage! - and I have a feeling this will sort of purify my acting spirit.  All that distracting stuff floating around inside my head and chest? It will be shaken out and the good stuff will compress at the bottom near the diaphragm. That's where it needs to live. 

Of course I will remind everyone when this show is going up and I will personally strangle anyone that doesn't show in what will be a 5 weekend run. We open JULY 13th at the Glendale Centre Theater and run until August 17th. Very much excite! 

Here is a fun history of the theater if you are so inclined. A long-standing staple of La La and Glen-Glen.

Also, here is the entire film of the same title on which this play is based, an early Hitchcock endeavor.