Friday, October 31, 2014

October 31 - Halloween

It is generally the holidays when one misses family and friends who are not nearby. For me, it is today. Halloween.

I love Halloween. Always have. I love dressing up and playing a character for a day. Shocker coming from an actor, right? And in Chicago, my friends and I would always do something, even if it was just dress up and go have a drink at the local bar. I have friends in New York; don't get me wrong. But I haven't found the "hey, let's go get a drink" friends just yet. And just about everyone I know is doing something for Halloween already, including things where I would have had to decide a while ago if I was going or not and since I didn't decide, it's too late. But it's Halloween. I wore a costume to work, and I can't just go home and go to bed. I have to go out and do something. It's Halloween, for crying out loud.

My friend's voice keeps ringing in my head with some advice he gave me about moving. He has moved around quite a bit in his life, and he told me that it is always hard to find your local bar and your local group to hang out with. He told me stories of him going by himself to this place or that place, and just keeping that up until he would eventually meet some people worth hanging on to. So tonight, I think I am going to take his advice. There's a bar I would like to go to more often than I have, and they're playing the Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight. Even if I don't stay late enough for that, I think I'll go and treat myself to a drink. Maybe talk to the people sitting next to me. Who knows? I might find someone fun to chat with for an evening.

I still miss my Chicago friends, though. But I have pictures of them in silly costumes playing in my head, so I'm not totally lonely.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October 30 - Haiku

I got a night off
Chocolate cake and Gilmore Girls
Hooray for Thursday

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 29 - Endings

One of my great aunts passed away late last night/early this morning. We knew it was coming - she was sick and not given a very good prognosis. But she used her time, the last of her time, to properly say good bye to her family and friends and this world. My mother saw her a month or so ago and said that aside from having lost a lot of weight, my great aunt was in fantastic spirits. And not in the "I'm actually sad I'm going to die, but I'm trying to stay positive" way, but in the actual "I'm okay with what is happening to me" way. Because of that, I'm having a little bit of trouble knowing how to feel about her passing. She was wonderful and will be missed. But if she wasn't upset by her passing, should we be?

I think it raises an interesting question about how we, as a society, view death. And yes, there are a lot of people for whom it is terrifying or it happens at a really inopportune time. But my aunt knew it was coming. She knew her prognosis was grim. And she chose to not get bogged down in that. She chose to go out on a high note, so to speak, loving the life that she had and the people around her, instead of focusing on all of the time she wouldn't have. I don't know of many people who have gone out that way. I kind of like the idea of going out that way. If I am given the choice and get some fair warning of how much time I have left, I think I would like to go out that way. Because let's face it - we're all going to die someday. Death is the ultimate end goal of life. So why expend a ridiculous amount of energy a) fighting the inevitable, or b) being pissed off about the inevitable? Why not spend the time that you have being with the people you love and doing the things you enjoy and just loving that part of the equation?

You will be missed, Aunt Fran, but not forgotten. Your intelligence and warmth and grace throughout your life, all the way up to the end, will continue to be an inspiration.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 28 - Weird

I like being weird. Like Moss, it's all I've got. 

I just finished a lovely book called What If? by Randell Munroe, which is a series of silly physics questions answered very honestly and often hysterically by a former NASA physicist who now draws cartoons on the interweb. It is hysterical. 

To me. 

I realized that this was an important distinction - that it's funny to me - when I was describing the book to a woman who didn't seem to find it funny. It either had to be that I was describing it wrong, or other people don't find it funny that if you tried to build a periodic table of elements out of the elements themselves that very bad things would happen. The woman then said to me something along the lines of, "Oh, you're such a cute nerd." And it struck me that it is probably both - I was describing a joke badly that not everyone was going to get anyway. I'm the weird one. And I like being the weird one. 

That being said, we had a discussion in rehearsal the other night wherein we were each encouraged to share something about ourselves that may not come up in regular conversation, as a sort of bonding exercise. Other people talked about their beliefs or sexuality or traumatic experiences. I found myself thinking about seventeen things that I could share, but what came out of my mouth was that I am vegan and I am an introvert. We didn't talk further about the introversion (which I would have liked to talk about), but a few vegan jokes were made. In retrospect, I picked the wrong things to share. 

I should have said that I am a member of Mensa. Most people know I'm smart, or they figure it out after a while. I'm not sure they know how smart. And I always try to downplay it. Always. Even talking about it here feels distasteful and wrong, like I'm not supposed to brag about this gift I was born with. I memorize things fast. I learn fast. I make connections between things quickly and easily. I'm really good at most of the things I do. I have learned a lot of things in my life and retained a lot of information. But our society and our culture currently hold ignorance and youth in high regard (see Craig Fergason's piece where he claims to know why everything is messed up). So for me to talk about how smart I can be an alienating thing. Something else to make me feel weird and different from those around me. So I don't talk about it much, and when it comes up, I shrug it off or downplay it. 

Well, in the name of enjoying my own weirdness, let me say, "Hi. My name is Kitty and I'm really smart. That's not a bad thing, if for no other reason, because it allowed me to enjoy What If?, which is a really lovely book."

Seriously, find a copy and give it a read. It'll make you feel smart, too. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27 - Geek

I am the only person on this subway car. All I can think is that I really hope Spike shows up looking like Billy Idol, twirling a length of pipe. 

Yes, I'm a geek. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

October 25 - Nap

I took a nap today. About three hours. It was glorious. 

I woke up with a terrible headache, probably because I've not had caffeine today. That was not glorious. 

So I'm treating myself to Chinese food by delivery and a night in doing nothing important. Except reviewing my lines for rehearsal tomorrow. But other than that, nothing important. 

Enjoy your evening!

Friday, October 24, 2014

October 24 - Love

I got a present from my mom and her partner today. Two of the most wonderful people I know made dolls of themselves so they could be with me more often. I love them - the dolls and the people who made them. The human versions give better hugs, but the dolls come close. 

How did I get so lucky?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

October 23 - Haiku

First night off in weeks
Laundry, Gracepoint, food shopping
Night of normalcy

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 22 - Categorization

So, in regard to the play I'm currently working on about transgender people at various points in their transition process, someone asked me if I do or have done a lot of queer theatre, and honestly, that question has been ringing in my head ever since it was asked. It bothered me. At first, I wasn't sure if it was the tone of voice - it was almost condescending, like as a cast member, I would only be valued if I was a crusader for gay rights since I myself do not identify as gay. I don't think that was how the question was intended, though, so I found myself thinking about it more and more and trying to figure out why the question irked me. Here's what I've come up with so far. And keep in mind, I do not identify as gay, so whatever I say here should be taken with a grain of salt. Or at least with the knowledge that it comes from a largely hetero-normative perspective.

First of all, I don't like the word "queer" in this context. To me, "queer" means "strange" or "abnormal" or "odd," and I'm not sure I want to refer to non-heterosexual lifestyles as "strange" or "abnormal" or "odd." That seems counter-intuitive to me. I realize that there is an element of, "Okay, you guys used this word to describe us for a long time, so we're going to take it back and own it," but I still don't like to use the word "queer" in this context. It feels wrong for me personally to use it as someone who hasn't really been on either side of that spat, historically speaking.

But I think the root of the problem I had with being asked if I've done a lot of queer theatre stems from the need to identify queer theatre as something separate from non-queer theatre. And as an extension of that, I don't think I would therefore have a good definition for what makes theatre queer. I was a member of a theatre company that was founded by two drag queens - does that mean everything I did there was queer theatre? My Hamlet was bisexual - does that make that queer theatre? I played a woman who suffered severe head trauma, woke up with amnesia, and fell in love with a woman - was that queer theatre? Our completely cross-gender-cast The Bad Seed: The Musical was adored by the Chicago gay community - was that queer theatre? In many of the shows that I've done, I've been in the minority as a non-homosexual cast or crew member - was that queer theatre? Or is "queer theatre" only used to describe theatre that tries to directly address or advances LGBT issues? Because using one set of criteria, I've done a lot of "queer theatre," but using another, I've not. So I honestly didn't know how to answer the question.

Which then brought me back to another question that came up in the past few days and how much I liked the answer to it. Within the context of a lesbian relationship, I know someone who takes issue with describing one partner as the "butch" and one as the "fem," because not all lesbian relationships are composed of a "butch" and a "fem." Often times, it's two women who fell in love. Each of them might like to wear makeup from time to time, or flannel shirts from time to time. They don't necessarily fall into one category or the other, they fall into the gray area in between, like so many of us do in relation to so many things.

Again: they fall into the gray area in between, like so many of us do in relation to so many things.

So I think what bothered me about being asked if I've done a lot of "queer theatre" was the need to categorize what I do and what I've done. I understand that labels and categorizations are comforting for a lot of people. They give a point of reference for how to relate to the world around us. I'm getting tired of categorizations, though. I'm starting to feel like they separate us more than they bring us together. If you're gay and I'm not, does that mean we can't interact? If you're a boy and I'm a girl, does that mean we can't geek out over Doctor Who together? If I'm American and you're French, does that mean we can't be great dance partners? For me, the answer to all of those questions is "no." And I like having a diverse circle of friends (or at the very least, a diverse circle of acquaintances). And I like having a diverse group of life experiences, meaning I like to do straight theatre, queer theatre, classical theatre, contemporary theatre, theatre written by playwrights from all over the world. I like to do theatre. I like to tell stories of all sorts. I'm just as thrilled to be a part of a production that is topical and designed to raise awareness as I am to be part of a Shakespearean production of a play that has been produced thousands of times before. I don't feel the need to concentrate my efforts on one type of theatre or another, as I think they're all valid and fun and vibrant.

Is that wrong?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 21 - Toxicity

I've been trying really hard while I've been in New York to stay positive. I would love it if people leave interactions with me thinking, "She's a nice person." And so many of the things that were making me an inherently angry person in Chicago are no longer part of my life, so it honestly hasn't been too much of a struggle to stay positive and optimistic. Let's be honest - my first seven weeks here have been pretty darn amazing.

But then I get the response from the moving company to my Better Business Bureau complaint and it just pisses me off. I'm not going to go into too much detail here - I'll post the facts somewhere else later - but suffice it to say, I have very little faith in the humanity of that moving company. They have responded completely distastefully at every opportunity and have refused to take any sort of responsibility for the debacle that was my move to New York. I find myself wondering, though, if it is worth it to continue spewing my negative energy and my negative feelings at them through this medium. I do still need to work on the full factual account (with no commentary) of the whole process which will go up somewhere, but do I need to keep responding to the brick wall they have set up around themselves in regard to the BBB complaint?

I am taking some solace in the knowledge that my friends and family know how terrible the experience was, and that the whole thing is over. I just don't know how much time I want to spend fighting those who will not so much as offer up an apology for any of it (for their representatives not letting me finish speaking on the phone, for breaking my stuff, for delaying my shipment, for being rude) when there is so much in my life to be happy about right now. Which I'll tell you about later.

Because honestly, I have a lot to be happy about right now. And I'm kind of enjoying learning what being happy feels like.

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20 - Solo

I remember learning how to eat in a restaurant by myself when I was in Australia. The tip I can offer is to just not care that you're eating alone. Because seriously, everyone has to eat and just because there isn't someone there with you doesn't mean you can't splurge on something fancy from time to time. 

Tonight, I treated myself to a fancy Korean vegan restaurant experience. Well, Asian, anyway. They have everything from vegan sushi to pho to pad Thai. But it is very dimly lit and slightly higher priced than the sammiches I've been grabbing for a quick dinner. And I'm eating with a napkin on my lap instead of balled up in my fist. It's been nice. It's been fun. A little something nice just for me. And even though I feel a little odd with the servers standing so close to my table, practically watching me eat, I would do it again. 

Oh, and one more tip: when eating solo, tip well. Any weirdness that the servers may have felt about you goes away once they know you're a generous and polite diner. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October 19 - Finishing

My first show in New York closed today. I will never have another first show in New York; that one is done. I still have my first off-Broadway show, and my first Broadway show to look forward to, but my first ever show in New York is done. I am officially a New York actor now. 

I have also finished my first class in New York. And finished putting my stuff that didn't fit in the apartment into a storage space. I've only been here seven weeks, and I've opened and closed a show, taken a class, and settled in. I've made friends. I've made connections. I've made good impressions. It doesn't feel like I have been here long enough to have done all of that. My introvert self is flabbergasted by what I've accomplished in seven weeks. 

Though perhaps the best part is that I'm not done yet. I've only been here seven weeks of the three-year trial period I was going to give my New York adventure. Let's see what happens in the next 149 weeks. I can't wait to find out. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

October 18 - So Close, Yet So Far

When Tom Hiddleston was doing Coriolanus in London, they released a video on YouTube that showed part of the preshow ritual - getting into costume, getting calls from the stage manager, the cast doing warm-ups on stage including Zip Zap Zop because that game exists everywhere, and for the second time in my life, I got a really strange warm fuzzy feeling about theatre outside of Chicago. The first time was when I was in Milan and I visited the La Scala Opera House during a tech rehearsal and I was able to see that theatre is theatre where ever it happens. We all warm up before the show, often with the same games. Tech is a tedious but necessary process. It was just a glorious feeling that since I am a theatre artist, the skills I have studied and honed in storefront theatres will translate to other stages. And that no matter how big the stage, I will find a home there. 

Tonight, there was a massive party with a DJ in the room adjacent to our performance space. Our dressing room door doesn't lock, and there really aren't good lights or mirrors for putting on make up. There is a man who lives upstairs in the space who will stumble drunkenly into our dressing room during performances. The off-stage left area smells like cat pee. 

But we still show up every night, and we do our warm-ups and check our props, and go through our rituals. It is not glamorous, but it is theatre. And we do it because we love it. We do it because the thought of not doing theatre makes our hearts ache and our souls sink. We do theatre because we can't not. 

All the same, we dream of the days when our dressing rooms have mirrors and locks on the doors. We dream of spaces with fuses that don't blow and where we can control the sound. We dream of performing with Tom Hiddleston. We dream. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

October 17 - Love

I know it's rather distasteful to say, but I'm still sort of in the honeymoon period of my relationship with New York so I just want to talk about the city. I walked through Central Park today to get from work to the theatre and I was smiling like an idiot pretty much the whole way. I get to live here, guys. How cool is that?

I love the faces. So many different faces in New York, and every one of them has a story, and every one of them is fantastic. 

I love the dogs. The ones out frolicking and sniffing everything while their humans try to maintain some sort of control and the perfectly quaffed puppies strutting down Madison Avenue watching the people go by, as if they were human themselves. 

I love the activity. Everyone is going somewhere for a reason. Or stopping for a reason. Or participating in something for a reason. Everyone is doing something and it is so much fun to build stories around their lives. 

I love the life. Not the Life, but the fact that everything is so alive. People just doing their thing. Rats doing what they do. Cats doing what they do. Dogs, people, birds, squirrels all doing what they do. Everyone and everything just living. It's gorgeous. 

This city is huge and fantastic and there is so much more for me to discover here. I hope I don't tire of this place too soon, and I hope I don't stop noticing things, like the covered bridge in the park or the tree with a trunk shaped like a sweetheart love seat. I do miss my family and my friends in Chicago. A lot. But I'm so happy here. I'm really glad I made the move to New York. However long I end up staying, I will not regret this adventure. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 16 - Fall Challenge

I have to say, I'm loving that New York is staying warmer than Chicago is, a little later into the season. I didn't wear a jacket when I left the apartment yesterday, nor did I miss having one. That was nice. But I will also say this: dressing for New York weather is neigh on impossible, especially when one is consistently putting in fifteen to sixteen hour days. I leave the apartment at about 7:30 in the morning and am usually not home until 10:30 or 11:00 at night on a good night. Sometimes, I'm not home until after midnight. That is a) a long time to be away from home on a daily basis and b) a long period of time wherein weather can change a lot. Case in point:

When I left my apartment yesterday morning, it was sunny-ish, with a forecast for 70-degree temperatures and possible showers later in the day. I had an umbrella in my backpack (it has become a permanent resident there), I didn't bring a jacket, and I wore sneakers. For most of the day, I was fine. Even when the deluge hit at about 6:00 pm, I was nearly at the theatre and was able to stay mostly protected under construction scaffoldings and whatnot. It rained while our play was happening, creating a nice puddle on the floor off-stage left where the roof could use some work, but was then clear-ish when I left the theatre. Getting off of the train to walk back to my apartment, though, everyone had to pull out umbrellas again for deluge number two. By the time I got home, my feet were soaked. So this morning, seeing a forecast for rain showers most of the day, I again had my umbrella with me and chose rain boots for my out-and-about-walking footwear. It was hazy and cloudy and drizzly all morning, but has now cleared up and is sunny and gorgeous. So I'm going to look silly on my way to the theatre wearing rain boots, and again on my way home.

There are only two real solutions I can think of for the constantly changing weather here, given the fact that my sixteen-hour days are not going to be ending any time soon. One: start carrying around a suitcase that has emergency rain gear including a slicker, boots, and a change of clothes so I'm prepared in the event I get caught somewhere with inappropriate footwear. Or two: deal with the fact that I'm going to look silly and inappropriately dressed about half of the time.

I'm leaning toward option number two.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October 14 - Disinterested

It didn't occur to me until after I picked today's blog topic, but today would have been my parents' wedding anniversary. Which will be funnier to you when you know what I want to talk about today. 

I think I may have given up on the desire to be in a romantic relationship. 

This is not a sad thing to me, nor a loss. I actually find it kind of freeing to honestly not care about actively pursuing a relationship. Now, it's true that this feeling may change over time and I may once again find myself pining for an imaginary boyfriend. But right now, I really don't want one and I am very happy not having one. 

If we think about this, it makes a lot of sense. I'm always miserable in relationships and find myself looking for a way out as quick as I found a way in. I always pursue the wrong sort of guy. Romantic relationships just aren't my thing. Never have been. So why do I keep trying to force myself into one?

There is also the fact that I am insanely busy. I have a lot on my plate as I've just gone through a very big life change and I'm still adjusting to my new life in a lot of ways. Looking for a relationship on top of everything else is just too much. A stress I don't need or want. And as odd as it may sound, I'm fine with removing that stress from my plate entirely. 

The lovely side effect of deciding I don't need or want a relationship, though, is being able to interact with everyone around me on a very human level. I'm not flirting with an endgame in mind, I'm just talking. I'm not playing the game of "should I call or should I text," I'm just talking. I'm not secretly sizing people up to see if they'd be a suitable partner, I'm just getting to know people. It's wonderful. Wooooon-derful, as my mom and her family would say. 

So yeah. I've given up wanting a romantic relationship and I am thrilled with this decision. 

Which means I will probably meet my life partner in the next two weeks. Such is life. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13 - Opening Night

Tonight is opening night for my first show in New York City.

I moved here forty-three days ago, and tonight, I am opening a show in New York City.

Let me say that again: I moved here forty-three days ago and tonight, I am opening a show in New York City.

I realize that my entire acting career will not go like this. I realize that there will still be shows that I love more than others, casts I treasure and casts that fade into memory over time. There will be dry spells and moments of desperation and moments of doubt when I find myself wondering if I made the right choice moving 1000 miles away from everything familiar to try to pursue my dreams.

But right now, in today, I'm going to enjoy the fact that I moved here forty-three days ago and I am opening a show tonight. I am going to enjoy my fellow cast members on stage, I am going to enjoy the language and the accents. I am going to go to the theatre tonight after work to do the thing I that I do, and I am going to let myself be completely giddy in the knowledge that I get to do what I love.

Next week I will think about how strange it feels to only be working on two plays at the same time instead of three...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Saturday, October 11, 2014

October 11 - Hypothetical

Let's pretend you own a restaurant in a busy urban area. You've noticed that vegetarianism and veganism is in the rise in your area, so you decide to add some vegetarian and/or vegan options to your menu. Do you have people taste your new dishes before you add them to the menu? If so, who?

Let me preface this next section by saying I appreciate the fact that some places are trying to accommodate those with alternative dietary requests. I do sometimes wish a bit more thought was put into these dishes, though. Seasoning. Flavor. Oomph. It would be nice to find these things in prefab vegan dishes, instead of just a list of ingredients that are popular at the moment whether or not they actually work together. 

So back to our hypothetical where you own a restaurant. Yes, please have people actually taste the new dishes before putting them on the menu. And I would suggest having both vegans and non-vegans taste them. If the non-vegans like the food, then it likely just plain tastes good. If the vegans like it, other vegans will likely buy it. If the vegans don't like it, the non-vegans are probably lying about it tasting good because they have a really weird perception of what vegan food should be. Vegan food is just food. Honestly, I would have given up on veganism a long time ago if the food was not good. There is no reason why in this day and age, in a large urban area, the vegan options can't be just as tasty as the non. 

Anyway. Moving on. Enjoy your evening. And make delicious vegan food. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

October 10 - Short

Just saying hi. I'm having a quiet night (for once) and will write something interesting tomorrow. So just hi for now. And Peter Capaldi is awesome as the Doctor. 

Thursday, October 09, 2014

October 9 - Tired

I'm so tired I can barely see straight, but in addition to everything else I've had going on, I started learning a graphic design software today and did pretty well with it. Out of necessity, not curiosity, but still. Not too bad. 

Now, please let Owen sleep through the night so I can, too. 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

October 8 - Learning Curve

I've realized that I'm not good at not being good at things. I've also realized that making that statement makes me sound extraordinarily pretentious. I hope you guys know by now that I'm not overly pretentious and I am, in fact, terrible at tooting my own horn. But it is a very important realization for me to be able to admit that I am not good at not being good at things.

Part of this is that I learn very quickly. There are instances wherein I am an auditory learner, those in which I am a visual learner, and those in which I am a physical learner. I think that adaptability, when coupled with my intellect, allows me to learn most things really fast. I've also wondered from time to time if I have a partially eidetic memory, because I know that (specifically) when I'm memorizing lines for a play, I can see in my mind's eye where they land on the page and how long my line is and how big the space is before I speak again. That kind of thing. It is really helpful in memorization to be able to picture what you're memorizing, let me tell you, and it helps me learn my lines quickly. So I've wondered. But I do know that the end result is that I learn things very fast. It's just how I am.

The thing is, there are some things that I don't pick up as quickly or don't pick up at all. If I try something and don't get it right away, I do have a tendency to just plain stop doing it so I don't have to deal with not being good at it. But if it is something I'm passionate about, or a skill I know I will need later, there is this period of time where I have to deal with the fact that I'm not good at something. I know I will get better, but in the moment, I'm not good at something and I don't have a good mechanism for dealing with that.

For example, in my class last night, the teacher wanted to stretch my abilities and see if I could do something different than what I have been doing. I'm grateful that he threw me curveball because it is only through trying new things that I can learn and grow. But I left frustrated because I don't think I did very well with the curveball. I was not happy with the work that I did, even if the end result was what it should be. I didn't get it right away, and that frustrated me. And then I found myself frustrated with my frustration. It's a freakin' class, for crying out loud. If I'm going to fail or fall flat on my face or screw up and do something horribly, that's the place to do it. And it's not like I haven't done it before. In that specific class, too. But it bothered me. And the only reason I've been able to pinpoint for why it bothered me is that I am not good at not being good at things. It's totally my issue, stuff in my head. And I need to figure out a way to deal with it.

So I think I may just need to cut myself some slack. I am still in process, not a finished product. Things, in general, have been going so well for me, it should not be surprising that something didn't go perfectly. That I wasn't perfect. And it is okay that I wasn't perfect. It is more than okay that I wasn't perfect. I am learning. I am trying. I am growing. I think I just need to stay more open to the fact that I will not get everything exactly right on the first try and that is okay.

I'll get it right the second time.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

October 7 - Fandom

In my time in New York (has it been five weeks now?), I've walked past several photo shoots in progress and a couple of situations where I'm pretty sure they were setting up for a film or television premiere. I even walked past the hotel where the President was staying when he was in town a couple of weeks ago, in large part because it was across the street from where I'm working. Which is to say, I have been geographically near fame several times since I got here, much more frequently than I was in Chicago. And the sort of fun thing about seeing these things in New York is that for the most part, they're not that big of a deal. I've seen two women from Orange is the New Black on the train and nobody batted an eyelash at them. And more New Yorkers were annoyed by the traffic pattern disruptions caused by the President's visit than we're excited to try to see him. 

But I did see one insane display of fandom a few days ago. I was walking from work to (probably) rehearsal, and found myself navigating through a swarm of people who were sprinting in the opposite direction. It wasn't until I noticed that a lot of them were also screaming and almost none of them were dressed for running that I realized this was not a running club or a police cadet training exercise or anything like that. It was a group of largely teenage girls running after the car that was carrying the members of a band they like (of whom I've never heard) from a late night talk show taping to their hotel. Some were sprinting through intersections at rush hour against the light to try to keep up with the vehicle. Three blocks later, I found stragglers who, as much as they would have liked to keep up, had given up on their dreams of being runners. I asked one of them who they were running after, which is when I found out the name of the band which I then promptly forgot. But there were hundreds of them. Hundreds of screaming teenagers sprinting through midtown Manhattan to try to catch a glimpse of some musicians they like. 

I was joking about fame with one of my fellow actors the other day, talking about when we're rich and famous. The thing is, it is entirely possible that any one (or more) of the people I'm working with right now could be huge someday. Even me. And to be totally honest, if hundreds of screaming fans were running after my vehicle to try to get a glimpse of me, I would laugh my ass off. What a bizarre thing to do. I'm just a person - why risk life and limb to see me? Not to mention the fact that while it may mean so much to someone to meet me that they are rendered speechless in my presence, the fan who has the most rewarding interaction with me will most likely be the one who just talks to me as if I was anyone else. Because I am just like anyone else in that respect. Tell me you are a huge fan and all I can really say is thank you. Ask me what I think of Capaldi as the Doctor and we'll chat for hours. 

Granted, I am not famous and have no experience with being mobbed like that so I should probably shut up. But I would just like to entertain the notion that celebrities are people, too, and maybe if we approached our heroes as human beings instead of superheroes, we wouldn't need the cliche that says meeting your hero is always a disappointment. 

Just a thought. 

Monday, October 06, 2014

October 6 - Question

I honestly have nothing interesting to say today. But I do have a question for you. 

Back in the day, my blog posts would focus on general observations or thoughts about life and whatnot. If not all of the time, then a lot of the time. I feel like lately, I've been writing about more concrete things - things that have happened to me, what I'm doing, observations on this new world in which I'm living. I feel like the latter is kind of dull. 

I could be completely wrong in this - maybe you like more journaling and less theorizing. But I'm wondering, do you, my six readers, get bored reading about the concrete? Do I need to widen my pool of subject matter and get more abstract again?

Of course, tomorrow, this will probably not bother me in the slightest so I'll be able to go on posting about things like the man on the subway yesterday who had a shopping cart full to overflowing with empty cans and bottles he was taking to recycle, some of which were dripping beer out of the garbage bags. And when I say "overflowing," I mean six jumbo-sized 60-gallon trash bags full of cans and bottles tied onto the cart, in addition to the body of the cart being full. Were it not so fragrant and juicy, it could have been an art installation. On the up side, he was at least conscious of how much space he was occupying (the entire area between doors) and did his best to move the cart to let passengers off the train. So he had that going for him. But still. 

Anyway. Are you bored? 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

October 5 - People

I found myself wondering if we, as actors, do ourselves a disservice by using the word "character," as in, "I'm playing a character on stage." I wonder if it wouldn't make more sense to think of them as people. "I'm playing a person in this play."

Quick caveat: I understand for a lot of people, it may be important to call them characters so they can be easily distinguished from the actor. If you are one of those actors, please continue to use the word. 

If you are the sort who can handle the difference between on-stage and off-stage, I'd like to propose a change in verbiage. I think we sometimes get caught up in the word "character," and it makes us think we have to start from scratch to build this persona and depending on how much rehearsal time we have, that is how fully fleshed out this character will become. We have to remind ourselves to have reactions to the things around us, we have to remind ourselves to develop mannerisms. Some people are very good at this and do these things naturally. Some need to be reminded by their directors. 

But I wonder, if we said we were playing a person in this play if maybe it would remind us naturally that we can use ourselves as a starting point and build from there. Maybe this person picks at their fingernails like I do, or maybe they don't. Maybe she walks like I do or maybe she doesn't. But I think remembering things like this, or taking note of things like this, might free us up to react naturally or move freely and follow our impulses while we're on stage. Because I think it is our job to be people up there. People who interact like people do, people who react like people do, people who maybe even scratch their noses while up on stage. Just people who happen to be saying words that someone else already picked out for them. 

I'd like to think that my performances are what they are because I am first and foremost a person when I am on stage. The script and the director help shape me into the kind of person best suited for the show, but I'm still just a person up there - living, breathing, thinking, and saying someone else's words. It may be a minor semantic difference, but it struck me today as a rather important one for doing what I do and for doing it well. 

Saturday, October 04, 2014

October 4 - Exploring

One of my favorite things to do when I have the time on my home from somewhere, is to walk a couple of train stations farther away from the closest stop. It means I am seldom taking the same way home that I took on the way out in the morning, but I love it. Partially for the exercise, I'm not going to lie. But partially also so that I can see more of the city. The shows I'm in and some of the auditions I've been on and some of my social engagements have taken me to the Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, Mdtown East, Midtown West, Times Square, Hell's Kitchen, NoHo, and the Financial District. It would be very easy, I think, to stay in my own neighborhood and only venture out when I have somewhere specific to go. But in taking the long way home, I'm getting to see so much more of the city. I'm getting ideas about where I might like to find my next apartment. Places I'd like to get dinner sometime. Places I'd like to just come back and  see when I have more time to spend. And I'm still in the phase where I'm noticing things. ALL the things. I feel like it is really allowing me to fall in love with the whole city, not just my own backyard. 

That is not to poo-poo my own backyard. I really like Brooklyn. But just like tourists who dismiss New York as too crowded after two hours in Times Square, I think I need to get a wider view of the city as a whole before I can really build a life and a future here. Before I can really call myself a New Yorker. 

If I ever will. I do love Chicago, too, and miss it. But I have to say, I love the vibrant diversity in New York, and the ability to be completely anonymous in a crowd of millions. New York, you're pretty awesome. I can't wait to explore more. 

Friday, October 03, 2014

October 3 - Theatre District

New York's theatre district is actually quite marvelous. I'm excited to get to know it better. 

Thursday, October 02, 2014

October 2 - Side Effects

The other sort of fun side effect of living in New York is that in my first month here, I've lost about eight pounds. Granted, I didn't weigh myself right exactly before I left Chicago, so that number may be off a little bit, but I am officially in the "average BMI" category, instead of just over into "overweight." I can just barely remember the last time I was of a normal BMI. And I know that BMI is not necessarily the best way to gauge a person's health, either, but it is one of those things that doctors look at, and the last time I went to my doctor in Chicago, she said I could stand to lose about five pounds. Done and done.

I also don't know that my current eating/exercising routine is one that I should pass along to other people, because it is probably not the healthiest regimen in the world. A lot of this weight loss has to do with the fact that I am significantly more active than I used to be. In Chicago, I was walking maybe a mile a day. Here, my best guess would be that I'm averaging three to four miles per day. Hell, I walk about two miles just getting to and from work every day. And then there are the days when I walk down to rehearsal instead of taking the train, or go the wrong way when I come up from the subway and end up going around an extra block. I think it would be safe to say I'm averaging three to four miles per day. And I'm still unpacking, which means moving things around and lifting heavy boxes and so on and so forth. So I am significantly more active recently than I was in Chicago. Which is a good thing. I like being active without feeling like I'm EXERCISING. Taking time to exercise is boring. Playing Rush Hour Sidewalk Slalom in midtown Manhattan is a skill.

But what is starting to cause me a little bit of concern is my eating pattern since I have been here. I am eating three meals a day. I don't skip breakfast, I take a lunch break at work, and I usually stop somewhere for dinner before rehearsal. I even sometimes have a snack when I get home from rehearsal. But I guess I'm just not eating as much as I used to. I find myself eating half of a sandwich and saving the rest for later. I don't have as many snacks in the apartment on which I can mindlessly binge. And, I'm not in the apartment very much during which time I would or could mindlessly binge. I'm doing a lot more grab-and-go meals instead of cooking healthy food at home for three reasons: 1) time constraints, 2) the kitchen and refrigerator in my apartment are tiny, and 3) my roommates like to fry things and aren't always mindful of cleaning up the grease spatters afterward so the kitchen can sometimes just plain feel greasy. I don't want to prepare food in there. So I'm picking up a sandwich or a wrap here and there, or stopping at the store for a single serving hummus and pretzels pack with some grapes for dinner. That kind of thing. I'm still eating healthy foods, just not as much food. Which wouldn't be a concern, except the other day, I had gone long enough without eating anything and had done so much running around getting from rehearsal to rehearsal that I actually felt light-headed. I scarfed down a Chipotle burrito bowl to counter that and felt okay afterward, but it was a bit of a reminder. As much as I'm enjoying the weight loss, and as much as it is making me feel great to be in my skin to know that I am in the "normal" range, I do not need and do not want to sacrifice my health to do so.

Today, I have a leftover half-sandwich from lunch yesterday, and I brought in a soy yogurt to augment it. And I have enough time between work and rehearsal tonight that I could go somewhere and get an actual meal instead of a sandwich I scarf on the subway. So I think I'm going to do a very grown-up New Yorker thing and treat myself to a nice dinner out. Somewhere with lots of lovely protein and veggies and maybe some rice. It feels good to lose weight, but it feels even better to take care of myself.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

October 1 - Stuff

So many things to do today, and I think I did a pretty good job of doing them. Laundry, updating the BBB complaint (the movers responded by saying they delivered on time), repositioning my car for alternate side parking, getting the air conditioners/heaters fixed, sweeping the apartment, watching my nieces do handstands on the couch via FaceTime, you know, important life things. And I found my backup contact lenses because today was supposed to be new contact lens day but I couldn't remember where I packed my remaining supply. I got a lot done today. 

And now, it is time to sit back, relax, and revel in the fact that all of Gilmore Girls is now streaming on Netflix. I will not have a productive day like this again as long as there is GG to watch, so it's good that I got so much done today.