Wednesday, October 29, 2008

So stress decreased in one area of my life just in time to increase in another

Personal life stress has calmed down which is very nice.  I am glad.  Work stress, however has gone crazy.  Mostly in part because of a super easy but massively tedious and time consuming project that took over my desk.  It sucked.  But it is about to be dropped off at the post office forever, never to be seen again--unless I jacked up an address or something. 
My cat is about to be declawed which makes Sam very happy as it ensures the longevity of some of his furniture and that some of it can be recovered or replaced without being destroyed immediately after.  Steve will fucking hate it at first.  He will have to be at the vet overnight, and he hates it there.  Hopefully he won't harm any of the vet technicians.
I am having a Halloween party with new roomie Azar.  Sam and I are going as Charlie Brown and the Little Red Headed Girl (he will of course have a paper bag to put on his head as needed).
Obama is having a giant million people rally in a park downtown here on election day, and I tried to get tickets but failed.  Chris Plummer has some, and he will be going.  It is kind of a bummer to miss that.  Obama will either declare victory or concede from there, but it is also outside at night in Chicago in November which means it will be a cold night, a long cold night likely.  I will just watch it from inside Sam's warm apartment with a kitty, and some wine (or heck champagne) and maybe a few friends.  That will be more comfy.  But if I get tickets I am SO going.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Random thoughts of the stressful day

So my CTA card came in the mail today.  Assuming it works when I try to use it, life is back to normal post wallet losing.
I get irrationally angry at people who stand on very full buses in the morning when there are seats available.  Ok I get it, you like to stand or you don't like the back of the bus that is up the little stairs, but sit your ass down anyway to ease the congestion at the front of the bus where there are considerably less things to hold on to.  Seriously sit the crap down.  You can stand back up as the bus empties out.  The only exception is if we are less than 2 city blocks from your stop.  Then standing is acceptable if you are keeping yourself close to the back door.
My ipod is on the fritz.  Of course it is because I gave my old one to someone else who didn't have one.  So of course mine decides to die.  Although I have BROADLY hinted to the boyfriend that an itouch would be the best Christmas present ever.  And it may just need to be re-whatevered to my itunes or take a little trip to the genius bar.
I have converted my boss to the wonders of ice cold liquor store soda.
The weather has made my coworkers extra whiny although it has somehow made some of the whiny ones quite grateful.  Weird.
Stress has subsided a little mostly because I think I cried it all out yesterday.  Also I feel much better about the memorization of my songs after rehearsing them.
Also back are the nightmares courtesy of my allergy meds.  And I would seriously stop taking them if they didn't make my nostrils and sinuses and head so stinking clear and if they weren't the only ones that do that.  Whatever is missing from the generic store versions is apparently what I need.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Really stressed out right now

Busy, learning a musical, stressing over life just in general.  Everything seems to be getting unecessarily hard.  I think I need more sleep and a vacation, and I am going to file a lot today at work. Filing is soothing.  Filing will be calming.  I want to be calm.  I will be calm.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Performance Art Part Five--the end

Mike Daisey is an amazingly compelling performer. He did a better job than anyone that I have ever seen live at holding a room with a wonderful sense of his story telling and our invovlement as an audience member. Sam's dad loved the show. He was laughing so hard for so much of it. Sam's mom found it very interesting, and Sam was more engaged than I have ever seen him be at a live non-music performance.

I really enjoyed it, and it has been too long since for me to do a very good sort of review, but I would heartily recommend seeing him if you ever have the opportunity.

Friday, October 17, 2008

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished (sort of)

So, Wednesday I lfet work early by a few hours to help Jamie get her car untowed because the first time she went to the scary towlot to do it, they disbelieved her registration.  She was a little sleep deprived and hungry and angry and wet and IM'd me kind of hysterical, and I said I would help her.  So, I got off work and rented a zip car in order to pick her up take her half way to Wisconsin (it felt like) to the DMV and then down into the heart of scary industrial ghetto to get her car.  Once she called me with news that car was going to be hers, I went home.  I had planned to nap that day after work, but instead I had a four hour adventure!  Then I had a late rehearsal that was way up north and only an hour long (so it took me slightly more time in transit than in rehearsal). 
On the bus ride home I got very paranoid that I had dropped/lost my brand new and exciting digital voice recorder, so I pulled everything out of my purse to make sure I found it and then put them back in.  The next morning I went to catch the bus (with my bus stop moved by one stop because they closed the freaking sidewalk where my stop was), but once on the bus I couldn't find my wallet in my purse.  So I got off, assuming I had taken it out when I got home the night before because well I paid a few bills online (it was mid-month and payday--like you do!).  Then I called Sam and woke him up and had him look for it on the couch and the coffee table, but no.  I get back to his house, and I look for it and no.  It is not there.  Then I remember pulling everything out!  Was I smart and putting them on the empty seat between me and the wall?  Of course not.  I put them on the seat between me and the aisle.  The bus was pretty empty, but somebody could well have just snatched it as they passed if they really wanted (although we were going express at a fast speed down Lakeshore).  Or it could've fallen on the floor and then picked up later by anyone on earth.
So I log onto my bank account to see if there was any activity on my debit card (which was of course in the wallet), but nothing has happened, and it was payday so there was actual money that they could take.  But nothing-weird (and amazing!).  So, I borrow some money from Sam to take the bus to work and stop at my bank before I head all the way into work (way late at this point).  They of course cannot do anything because I have no ID or debit card or pin to prove that I am me.  So I take the customer service number and head into work.  Once there I decide I will call CTA's lost and found.  Becuase well, it was an empty bus, it was late at night, and probably that one was headed back to the garage pretty dang soon.  Who knows, maybe the cleaning crew found it and turned it in and all is well?
I call, I am on hold for a few minutes.  The woman who answers asks me what bus I was on.  That bus goes to the NorthPark Garage, she tells me and gives me there number before transferring me to them directly.  The woman at the garage asks me what my name is and what color my wallet is and puts me on hold.  I am just waiting to hear confirmed that my wallet is gone FOREVER when she comes back on the line and says, "Yes, we have it."  I am shocked.  I didn't have a contigency plan for actually getting my wallet back.  They tell me it is item #44 and that I can come in between 7am and 7pm in the next 30 days to get it.  The garage is of course halfway to Madison, Wisconsin.  It would take me over an hour on multiple buses and trains to get there from work, and oh yeah my CTA card was in the wallet which is now there.  So I call Jamie because I responded to her thanks with the statement that she would do it for me, although at the time I did not intend it as a threat.  Whoops!  In a car, it is a short trip for her.  So she went, picked it up for me and brought it to me downtown where we went out to lunch. 
The best part is that virtually everything was still in it.  I was missing about $2 in change that was in it when it went AWOL, and I was missing my CTA card.  Everything else seemed to be untouched.  Wallet returned.  Everything fine.  I am still very closely monitoring my bank account to see if anything happens there, but it looks like I managed to be very lucky.  Although this may have depleted my good Karma for months at least!
Later this weekend:  Last part of the performance art series, I will accept the tagging Sally gave me, and reunited with an old friend in our new town

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Performance Art Part 4 Workshop

It was great. Most of the people (basically all of the people) in the workshop had some sort of acting/performing training or experience, so it was like we were all reasonably on the same page. There were only about ten of us. It was awesome.

He had a very concise handout with three groupings of four things that must be remembered to create art like this. Kind of like a very basic how to guide. He went over them, we asked questions throughout, he was funny and warm and totally unpretentious and generally really concerned about helping people learn this artform he very clearly loves. I guess that shouldn't be surprising, but because so often that has not been the case (especially the pretentious part) in master classes I have gone to for acting and theatre. Although perhaps that is the difference between master class and workshop? Or for sure between someone who would bill their class as one versus the other.

Anyway, really looking forward for the show tonight. Especially hearing a little more about the nuclear component to it, yeah that's right I am from the greater Hanford area, and I know a ridiculous amount about nuclear energy and their reactors as a result. Because growing up their you take field trips to nuclear reactors where they made the Plutonium that they dropped on Nagasaki (well the control room of said reactor not actually inside).

I am also very excited to just fucking do some of the things we looked at learned about today. I am probably going to start hosting a story telling night like once a month or so with friends who are also interested in this, just to see what happens. I am also glad that I do not edit my blog really since that seems to be something I need to encourage in my speech as I do this style of performance.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Performance art update part the third update

I took notes in a little journal when I was at the round table.  Basically I was blogging for later to put up here, but I didn't have it at work until today.  PS I really can't wait until the workshop on Saturday!  So at the "How Theatre Failed America" Round table at the MCA--here were my thoughts in the theatre:
Mike Daisey was actually at the round table!  He spoke as did many of the the other theatre artists, but he struck me as passionate, empathetic, and humble.  Listening to this was very interesting, but I wanted to speak too (as I bet did many other audience members).  Especially when it came to the question of would you invite the business-y staff to speak to the artists on the art itself.  Like would/should they have the perogative or ability to give notes?  The Chicago area artists seemed to be saying well of course not.  I disagree.  Why couldn't, why shouldn't the staff comment on the art?  Yes, true they don't have the specific training and vocabulary.  But they CAN speak with their heats to what the see, saw, felt or experienced.  I think they should speak, and I think the artists should consider their thoughts.  I mena obviously this is criticism and commentary that should be weighted and looked at in context as an audience response rather than a fellow professional response.  But, yes consider it, yes open a dialogue.  Criticism is not and should not be the word of God or something.  It should be, it is food for thought.  Something for the brains of the artists to chew on.  Some sort of mirror to reflect back what they are doing.  Ok maybe sometimes it is a funhouse mirror, but just because it may not be an "accurate" perspective or a photo-real perspecitve does not make it useless.  It makes it useful in a different way from the professional opinions.  Processing it can lead to revelations of value, even if they are not those intended by the amateur who was responding from their lack of highly involved theatrical knowledge. 
I say this because my family knows very little about theatre, and they have been the bearers of the most useful and the most useless criticsms I have ever received.  Useless when I cannot get them to understand that The Rivals was a way better show, but useful when their naivety about theatre causes the to consider a path or a problem from a perspective I would overlook because my expertise has gotten in the way of having a truly open mind.  So yeah, sometimes what they say may well be ridiculous, but shutting them out without a consideration can shut out something you might need.  So why create any false wall before their art.  I would imagine the businessy people who choose to work in the arts (as opposed to more lucrative business worlds) understand that they do not operate on the same artistic level as the artists, but they participate in the art as audience and they choose that line of work (I hope) out of a love of being an audience member.  And feeling connected to the work is what brings audience members back, so connect your first audience, really connect them.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Performance Art part two (definitely even if I miscounted, this is the new count--this isn't the wire if I am wrong no one has to drop a body)

Ummm, so I have been watching the blog of the person who's show I am watching this weekend and who's workshop I am very excited to attend because well he puts interesting stuff up and I check it off and on, like so many blogs I monitor.  Anyway, so yesterday, this (my) blog or a snippet of it appeared on that blog.  I am not mentioning it by name because I do not want a web crawler to find it and put it on that blog again.  It kind of freaked me out, but it mostly made me wish I hadn't dashed off what I wrote and maybe edited and reread because I don't really do that here (I know none of you would have ever guessed).  But it was very odd to see my blog on his blog.
That really is the whole part there.  But on a side note: I totally saw Steven from Season 4 of Project Runway (last season with Christian as the winner not this one) standing on Michigan Avenue and smoking!  It was insane.  Also insane, possibly my brother Tom because he is all in lurve and (well not to say he isn't but this all seems very sudden) wants to get married like tomorrow or something.  I am worried.  Quite worried because it just doesn't seem like he is giving much thought to the (very) long term possible consequences of his actions.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Performance art update volume one (or two, no one yeah one)

The round table was not very lively.  Interesting but not lively.  AND MIKE DAISEY was there.  I am kind of a stalker, and I was really excited that he was there.  I really like a lot of his points, but I actually think this discussion wasn't very lively because many of the biggest theatres in Chicago are more artist driven ensemble places than exist in other cities.  Steppenwolf is a place where a lot of its artists can live a nice life off the work they get there.  Many of its most present and ivolved artists live and work here, and they don't really bring in out of town talent to dazzle--unless you count their own ensemble members for whom Steppenwolf is heading back to their artistic home and not a star turn.  They are not the odd company out here either.  Here ensembles and artists make their own work--however supporting Daisey's hypothesis a lot of them do it while making their money other ways.
I also commed the Writer's Theatre for having a person from the office-y side of their business (I am not sure if she was their marketing director or their CFO or Development Head or what) come and speak to the artists.  Because let's face it those are the people who live really comfortably and get paid a ton and are not artists (well most frequently are not artists).  She spoke about why (well kind of about why) she and her like get paid more than actors.  She spoke about how she doesn't even like to compare the two, and how it makes her uncomfortable to speak about it.  She was uncomfortable opening herself up to questions from a roomful of artists, but she very bravely did it.  Go her!
The only really exciting moment was when Mike Daisey talked about how part of the state of the liveliness of the art can be seen in the posters for local arts scene (galleries, bands, concerts, plays, etc) on the wall of local restaurants and cafes.  He travels a lot and says that usually the theatre posters (in that whole wall) are the lamest.  And I am inclined to agree with him.  This was the only thing that ruffled the hackles of the artistic directors (yeah I mixed my metaphors whatever I do it).  They all got kind of quiet and defensive.  It was very interesting.
Very interesting.  Also makes me terribly excited to take my workshop on Saturday!!!!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

perfromance art the beginning of the results

So, I am not going to get to see Tim Miller and Alistair McCartney.  BUT. . .I will be in Mike Daisey's workshop on Saturday (so excited!) and tonight I go to the roundtable discussion which if it gets too boring I am going to go back to Sam's and watch the debate.  Hopefully it won't be boring at all.  And on Saturday night Sam and I are taking his parents to see Mike Daisey's performance.  Yeah that's right his parents are going and they want to and they picked it!  I got him to email his mom the links of the choices (because Sam wanted to take them to see "Jersey Boys"), and her response was Mike Daisey sounds fun and then she dismissed Jersey Boys (and the Four Seasons in general) quite out of hand.  She lived through it she said, and she didn't need to do it again.
I am stoked!  There is no way given the same choice my parents would have picked Mike Daisey.  They would've gone for Jersey Boys (although I suspect my dad actually would have liked Mike Daisey more).  Although my parents have years and years of being dragged along to weird theatrical events that I reccomended, so they may just be wary of everything that I picked (I was in Eastern Washington ok there just isn't that much weird theatre there that isn't also REALLY bad theatre).  Although on the other hand, one summer I did a great fast, short, spare cutting of The Rivals and the world's least funny production of You Can't Take it With You (which is a show that is hard to destroy the comedy in as much as we in fact did), and they just shrugged at The Rivals and LOVED YCTIWY.  The Russian they said (ok Childers was pretty funny) and the actor lady (no, no, no that woman was not funny, she was just pushy not the same thing at all) so funny!  They couldn't get over it.
Anyway, I will keep you posted on how things go!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

All performance art all the time

Well not really.  But kind of.  Two of my faves will be in Chicago next weekend.  Mike Daisey will be doing a three-day stint at the MCA with "If You See Something Say Something" which I am trying to get Sam and his parents to go see with me.  His parents I think will like it much more than he will, but I think I may go no matter what.  I really shouldn't spend money on this this month, especially since Renee owes me $200, but this is not something I get the opportunity to do often.  Even better, he is teaching an extemporaneous performance class, and I want!  I am going to sign up for it and work on mining the Kinion family memories vault to bring those to fruition.  There is also a roundtable discussion with lots of the regional theatre bigwigs here in Chicago reacting to his other performance piece "How Theatre Failed America" but I really hope it isn't just whining.  On the Monday after this all happens, Tim Miller is back in town with his partner and they are both doing pieces.  It would be great to go see him again, but there is only so much money I shouldn't spend that I am can even pretend to afford to spend in one weekend, and I have seen Tim Miller perform whereas I have not seen Mike Daisey.