Classics are classic for a reason

October 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

It’s been longer between blog posts than I would’ve preferred owing, primarily, to the following three things:

  1. I’m performing in Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind through this weekend (Oct 29 & 30)
  2. The New York Neo-Futurists are having a benefit on November 8 and I am at the top of the planning pyramid.  Please come, by the way.  It would mean a lot to me.
  3. The Neo-Futurists also have a full-length show running right now called (un)afraid.  I’m not working on it directly, but as an ensemble member part of my job is to help support the show by seeing it and selling it.  It’s very strong and interestingly both the same as and different from the, perhaps more-familiar, Too Much Light fare . . . check it out if you have time.  If you let me know when you’re going, I’ll probably be your date.  Unless you don’t want that.

Life is great but I’m feeling a bit frayed and fatigued of late with all of the above plus the independent and serious pursuit of a regular acting career (submissions, auditions, gym) so when these videos came across my computer as I was enjoying my breakfast, they were just what I needed.  I’d rather think of these as “the new vaudeville” than the burlesque* and side/variety-show type acts I’ve seen carrying that moniker.  I also think these videos are a nice reminder that, while bells and whistles are great, an absence of bells and whistles can be just as effective, entertaining and, certainly, funny.  Enjoy.

*It should be noted that Eliza Skinner blogged my feelings about burlesque before I even had a blog.  If you don’t read hers, you should.

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Long-time favorite

October 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks and I’ve been collecting ideas for blogs to share with you.  In the meantime, please enjoy this video which is one of my long-time favorites:

Now check out the Arlo video and the Liam Lynch Podcast.  I’ll be back soon enough . . .

Aquabib

October 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Remember this AWESOME adopt-a-word website?  (I blogged about it a little while ago)

Well, I just adopted another word: Aquabib.

It means “water-drinker” and since I am trying to be more of an aquabib it seemed both useful and a propos.

Aquabib also has a great example sentence: “aqua-bib by day, alcoholic by night – that’s your grandfather.”  Oh, snap!

Feel free to send me any words you discover that mean “naturally gifted in Pilates,” “blessed with hair that is perfectly coiffed without styling,” “completely immune to the Siren-song of popular television shows like ‘Glee’,” or “rises, fully rested, with the dawn” so that I can get to work on those aspirations as well . . .

Art: it isn’t just for fun (an editorial)

October 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

Last night, I attended a fund-raiser for the Southern Center for Human Rights (SCHR) which is an organization that “provides legal representation to people facing the death penalty, challenges human rights violations in prisons and jails, seeks through litigation and advocacy to improve legal representation for poor people accused of crimes, and advocates for criminal justice system reforms on behalf of those affected by the system in the Southern United States.”

Basically, they do good work for a lot of people who don’t have the means or the wherewithal to stick up for themselves.  At the event, people told stories about individuals sentenced to the death penalty who had been egregiously non-defended by the lawyers assigned to them; stories about people put in jail for minor crimes like loitering sitting in jails because, after the charges against them had been dropped, no one had bothered to tell the prison that they could be released; a story about a woman who got caught performing oral sex on her boyfriend in high school who, years later as an adult, was retroactively added to the sexual offender registry so that she could no longer live in the home she owned with her husband or work at her job because of the restrictions the registry imposed on her.  SCHR defends people who can’t afford to defend themselves and they’re not well-supported in the South, essentially, because they are a liberal organization working in a conservative part of the country.  Probably, you should consider making a donation to them.

All of the above got me thinking about the director Peter Sellars – about something he said.

Early this past summer, at the Americans For The Arts Half-Century Summit (where I was honored, along with other Neo-Futurists, to attend and perform at the summit as an Artist in Residence), I heard Mr. Sellars speak as part of a small panel (including the incomparable Liz Lerman) on the topic of The Role of the Artist In Society.  I can’t recall what, specifically, kicked off the tangent, but he got to talking about this girls’ prison he’d been to or learned about.  The strictest rules and most draconian punishments were imposed on these teen-aged girls including seemingly arbitrary rules like “you have to sleep on your back,” “you can’t cover your face/head while you’re sleeping,” “no mirrors.”

They were affecting and startling stories – in that respect, not unlike the ones I heard last night – and Mr. Sellars was clearly affected.  He asked (I’m paraphrasing) “what if all of the artists decided to make art about the prison system for a year? what would that do for awareness? to change the situation?” (He asked it better in real life than I’m asking it here, but hopefully you get the gist.)

It’s a question I’ve been thinking about ever since, and it came back to me last night: “what if all of the artists – or even just a fraction of all of the artists – decided to make art about the death penalty? or about the economy? or about the environment?”  What if just all of the artists in Atlanta – where SCHR has their offices – decided to make art about the issues SCHR is grappling with.  Would they find more community support?  Maybe just a more informed and literate dialogue about the issues at hand?

I don’t imagine that everything would – poof! – get better, much as I realize that the death penalty, sexual offender registries, and juvenile offenders are complicated issues, not easily sorted out like so many misunderstandings.  Still, it seems to me that artists could have a role – a significant one – in bringing a better, and perhaps more nuanced understanding of these (and other) issues into the conversation that we – collectively, in our communities – are having about them.

To paraphrase Rogers & Hammerstein (in Oklahoma!): the artist and the activist should be friends.

This week in (my) art . . .

October 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

Here is what’s on the creative docket this week:

  • prepare a scene from the play “dead man’s cell phone” for my acting class
  • create a syllabus for a year-long after school class called “from page to stage” (which I signed on to teach just last week) and then start teaching that class (!)
  • write two site-specific short audio-plays for a cool project the Neo-Futurists are doing with this app that uses geo location to connect you to content (more on that down the road)
  • go on some auditions (?)
  • take my second ever Pilates class (I liked the first one)
  • start thinking about going back into Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind next week (weekend of Oct 15/16)

Otherwise i get to:

  • buy baby gifts
  • go to the gym (X5)
  • deliver invites to the Neo-Futurists’ benefit to the hands of our board, host committee and ensemble.
  • attend a benefit (not for a theater company)

Additionally I hope to:

  • cook some dinners
  • eat some pinkberry
  • watch something I like on TV
  • read my new book

I’m excited about this week!

Free Drawing Lessons

October 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

I very recently stumbled across drawing lessons on the New York Times’ website.  They’re in the blogs section.

This seems to be the first, and this seems to be the second lesson in a series of . . . who knows how many.

During my senior year of college, I took a year-long “Basic Drawing” class which has, ever since, informed and enriched the way that I view fine art (going to museums and galleries being one of the things I most enjoy doing, by the way). More recently, I’ve been participating in a dance class that has opened up my ideas about and perceptions of movement more generally and which, I feel, much like my drawing class, simply helps my brain to be stronger (or maybe more flexible) by asking it to work in new and different ways.

So . . . I’m not saying that I’m going to draw along with the Times blog . . . but I’m thinking about it . . .

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