i have a question...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Best of 2008

It's time for the 2nd annual, [clever title] Best Of List!

Unfortunately, my wireless internet connection is down at my apartment, so I've been squatting at the local wifi cafe, spending money on food, so I can feel better about sitting here for hours. Last year, I was able to write this list on New Year's Eve. Not sure what I'll be doing that day, so I thought I'd get this done while I know I have time.

Iron Man
Be Kind Rewind
Pineapple Express
Slumdog Millionaire

(I can't believe I didn't see Tropic Thunder, Quantum of Solace, The Wackness, and Rachel Getting Married.)

sTori Telling by Tori Spelling
Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

MUSIC, this year, I've included some of my favorite music videos(!)
Funhouse by Pink
We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. by Jason Mraz
The Odd Couple by Gnarls Barkley
Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends by Coldplay
"Chasing Pavements" from 19, by Adele
"Warwick Avenue" from Rockferry, by Duffy
"4 Minutes" from Hard Candy, by Madonna
"In Love with a Girl" from Gavin DeGraw, by Gavin DeGraw
"Single Ladies" from I Am...Sasha Fierce, by Beyonce
"Housewife" from Unknown, by Jay Brannan
"Winter Song" from The Hotel Cafe Presents Winter Songs, by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson

Unfortunately, I was unable to see ANY New York theater this year...but the travesty of me missing out on seeing The Seagull with Kristin Scott Thomas and Peter Sarsgaard will be made up for when I see In the Heights AND August: Osage County in January.

Thank you all for your continued loyal readership, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Stay tuned next year for
Exciting new grad school developments
News from my summer job
Adventures in Boston and beyond...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Little Bummer Girl

Me: [singing] Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow.
S: Is that really how it goes?
Me: Yeah, they rewrote it for Sinatra, but it's really a sad song. I just read a long article about it. Christmas is SAD, and nobody knows it but me.
S: Yes, Annie, you're the only one who is depressed during the holidays. You're THAT special.
Me: No! I'm just saying, the holidays are sad.
S: Most holiday songs are sad. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is about date rape. "White Christmas" is sad.
Me: No, it's not! Oh wait, yes it is...
S: "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" is sad.

Monday, December 15, 2008

conversations with my teacher, vol. V

My final paper for RM's class, Performance Theatre and Community, is a 10-page culminating essay, combining my application to Emerson, every paper I wrote for RM's class, details from an observation assignment for my Drama as Education class, and a lesson plan I wrote. It's also virtually the first draft of a grant proposal I will one day prepare to request money to start a performing arts center for urban youth, which I am swiftly realizing is my mission, and an attainable goal.

When I spoke with RM about it at today's final meeting, she said that it's easy for me to write academically, but that the personal is more compelling and, since that is what is propelling me toward this goal, I should "embrace the richness my past provides me." She told me I should not consider it "sentiment" but "poetry."

Her final notes on the paper itself were: "I appreciate the broad and personal basis for your proposal, and will be happy to support it however I can."

Maybe she'll serve on the Board of Directors of the organization one day.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

overheard in CVS

Loud and Dumb Girl: So. It's called CVS Convenience Store, right? And "con" in Spanish means "with." But what's "venience"?

Monday, December 1, 2008

it's time for another confession

So. Ahem. Attention please.

Because the male population of my program is approximately...10...and most of them are gay...and the other few are engaged, strangely, and I'm certainly not meeting anyone else in Boston, I have gone and done something I never imagined I'd do.

Yes. It's true. I joined an online dating service.

A good friend of mine met someone she really digs on the site and said I should do it. So, after spending entirely too many hours alone over the weekend, I posted some pictures and wrote uber-witty profile answers and answered some questions and even messaged a few dudes who had written amusing profiles, bound and determined not to be alone for the rest of my life.

And now, I sign on and stare at my empty Inbox and wonder how I could possibly feel rejected by people about whom I know nothing except that they drummed up moderately clever screen names and posted blurry pictures. It just seems wrong.

BUT. I figure, since I feel the best I've felt about myself in quite a while, and I love Boston, I might as well have a little hope that I might snag a good date or two out of this impulse.

And now, you all know.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

things I forgot since the last time I was in school, research paper edition

I've been stressing about my final papers since they were assigned, wondering when I'd find the time to write what adds up to 20 pages, even while realizing that 20 pages isn't all that much.

Then, I counted the days I actually have time to write between today and when they're due, and decided to write 20 pages divided by that amount of days I have time to write. This ends up being a manageable 2 pages each day for all the days I don't have rehearsal late or will be away from Boston.

It occurred to me much later that this is precisely how I wrote long papers the last time I was in school.

brief update as i try to survive the end of the semester

1. Saturday morning (at 7:45 AM, to be precise) will mark the beginning of my Educator Licensure testing--I'm taking the Reading and Writing Subtests first; the theater portion will be taken at a later date.
2. I have a 10-page research paper due in 2 1/2 weeks that I can't seem to crack, and so, I end up staring at the first page and hating my life.
3. I have a 10-page grant proposal due in 2 1/2 weeks that I haven't even started because I am stuck on the aforementioned research paper.
4. The semester is over in 2 1/2 weeks.
5. On the positive sign, I am virtually done with my final work for one of my classes, which will include co-teaching 20 minutes of a class of which we have devised the curriculum. Should be exciting.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

conversations with my teacher, vol. IV

My relationship with my classmate, M, is love-hate. We're like eight-year-olds on a playground, chasing each other and pulling each other's hair and pushing each other down until our knees are skinned, because we love each other.

He works on the same floor as I do and walked by RM's office today. Stopping, he snarked at RM, "I can't believe you have to work with her. They should have paired you with someone better."

I screamed back, "YOU LOVE ME!"

RM intervened, "All I can say is that I could certainly do without her.


pretty much, he's inside my brain

"I couldn't tell whether it was good or bad because it wasn't amazing."-SE

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Barack and Roll

Yesterday was intense. To say the least. On my train to school in the morning, some older guy was speaking loudly about how he'd voted for McCain because of the Pro-Life issue. I laughed out loud and whispered to the woman next to me that he seemed to be speaking to the wrong crowd. She giggled and agreed. I felt like screaming, "Obama!" as I exited the train, in defiance.

As I've mentioned before, my Tuesdays are long. I have class from 9-noon, work from 1-5, and class from 6-10. I told RM I'd be late for work because I had to run back to JP to vote, which went off without a hitch and made me want to celebrate when I was done. I needed a drink at 1 in the afternoon.

Then I spent the hours at work speaking with RM about what a historic moment this was for the USA and how we were both flipping out about it. I'm very grateful that I get to work so closely with her. She's seen a lot and has incredible, insightful stories about a time I didn't experience. She's one of the first people I called when the victory was announced. We couldn't hear each other over the screams of joy in the background.

After my evening class was let out early, I went over to my friend P's house to drink wine and distract ourselves from the results. Neither of us has a TV, so we were just refreshing cnn.com all night.

At about 11, we heard screams from the street. "BARACK!!!!" We screamed back, confused because the page hadn't loaded any definitive results, "DID HE DO IT?!?!" We heard the response, "HE DID IT!!!!!!"

Then I sobbed, called everyone I could think of and was sorely disappointed that most of them didn't pick up. Made some video posts with P, which are hilarious. Cried some more. Jumped up and down a bit. Probably cried more.

I was sure I wasn't going to be able to sleep, got home at 1 AM, after watching Obama's magnificent speech, and woke up an hour early. Reading all the information I could about what exactly happened last night left me covered in goosebumps and welling up with tears.

I literally feel safer now. I feel like I'm on vacation. And I'm grateful that I'm living in a city (and a COUNTRY) that agrees with me.


Friday, October 31, 2008




thought of the moment, 26: Vote, SYTYCD!

Last night, my cousin and I saw So You Think You Can Dance on tour. Which was wildly satisfying, if for no other reason than that they performed the entire Thriller dance break as their encore. Plus, I want to squish Gev. He is so adorable.

But at one point, all I could think was: I hope they're all voting. How will that work? Did they register absentee, as soon as they knew they'd be going on tour, so they'd be able to vote from wherever they are on November 4?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

things I forgot since the last time I was in school, item 6

6. How to write a book report (I literally just Googled "book report").

Saturday, October 25, 2008

for those of you who couldn't be here

Here's a (very) brief glimpse at some of Alice in Wonderland.

More news on the theater front:
I've auditioned twice for shows on campus (Much Ado About Nothing and the mini-musical showcase for the directing class), to no avail.
BUT, I'll be assistant directing my friend's mini-musical, Cradle Will Rock.

thought of the moment, 25: warning

Watching Sarah Palin interview clips before breakfast induces nausea.

Friday, October 17, 2008

conversations with my teacher, vol. III

OK, this isn't exactly a conversation, just a comment left by my acting teacher on one of my weekly reflection papers.

"If all divorced kids are as smart as you, I think that we should require families to bust up . . . okay, that's not really what I mean but you get the point I hope. In order to have the level of openness and compassion that one needs to do the type of work that you would like to do with children, I find it imperative that one is as honest and clear as you are about what your motives are and where in your own life these motives come from. Stay with it. I really think that this program is a good place for you."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

it is because of facebook that..., vol. II

My brother's oldest childhood friend now knows what I've been doing for the past 15 years;
I know that my 8th grade crush still plays music;
I'm in touch with my favorite counselor from summer camp.

the world is very small

At work, I've discovered that the facilitator of one of the classes I attended during my visit to UT Austin is a colleague of RM's. His class was one of the highlights of my trip there, and I was disappointed to hear that he'd be leaving Austin at the end of the year to take up a position in New York.

Now, I regularly get emails from him through RM.

Of course, I shouldn't be surprised. RM knows everyone who's anyone.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

it is because of facebook that...

Today I will see friends from college that I haven't seen in almost 3 years;
I know my high school crush lost a ton of weight and looks amazing;
I discovered my oldest friend in the world lives in Boston.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

i have a confession to make

At 10:12 PM, I finally submitted to the ridiculous amounts of pressure to set-up a Facebook page. (I know the hour and minute because it's taunting me with that information right on my homepage on Facebook.)

After spending an hour making probably 30 friend requests, I'm already experiencing buyer's remorse.

Apparently, I'm not connected enough, even though I have a blog I write on, with devotion and regularity.

We'll see how long this lasts.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

this is why i love my new friend

She is the kind of person who walks in after using the bathroom before class and says, with no shame or apparent irony,
"So, I think I have my tights on backwards."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

a not-so-guilty pleasure

I bought Tori Spelling's memoir sTORI Telling with a gift certificate, started reading it late last night, spent 4 hours finishing it today, and cried at the end.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

another typical day at school

Tuesdays are my long day. I'm on campus from 9 AM to 10 PM, with two hour-long breaks for meals. Yesterday, after working until 5 in the department office, I just headed straight to where my acting class happens at 6 and tried to get some reading done.

Emerson has pretty established BFA programs, in both acting and musical theater. I was sitting in the small, fluorescently-lit hallway for about an hour, surrounded by the cacophonous noise of beginning acting and voice classes: chords of "Tomorrow," followed by the beginning of "Far From the Home I Love," capped off with "Memory." I was unimpressed with the choices. Doesn't anyone sing anything good in those classes?

But it was nothing compared to the screaming coming from the acting class:
"I have a red shirt; YOU have a red shirt!"
"I have my bag; YOU have YOUR bag!"
"I have glue on my hands; YOU HAVE GLUE ON YOUR HANDS!"
(Like the world was ending. Several times in a row. For MINUTES on end.) I can only imagine it was some kind of exercise about objectives in a scene. Or subtext.

But it just made me laugh to myself.

Silly acting students. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

a typical day at school

me: we talk about feelings and shit
C: weird
me: not really
but...all that's sort of inherent to being creative
C: I mean, "not weird."
me: like...blah blah blah, and i felt vulnerable...
and vulnerability is where the work comes from
and then these kids did something and made me cry
and that's my example of art transforming
that was my day

Monday, September 22, 2008

things I forgot since the last time I was in school, item 5

5. How to audition for a play

conversations with my teacher, vol. II

The graduate assistantship Emerson so generously provided me with requires that I work 10 hours a week in the department office. The professor I got paired with--let's call her RM--is also one of the professors I'm taking a class with. She's pretty much a BFD, an Obie award winner, a solo performer, and one of the prominent voices that sprang up from the Black Arts Movement. One of the items on her to-do list is "Contact Anna Deavere Smith re. class visit." (I would die.)

I started work with her last week and when I'm not sifting through the monstrous piles on her desk or filing her 10,000 emails (no joke), we're talking about Lorraine Hansberry or Danny Glover or the complicated issues of race, culture, and how the arts can bridge gaps and give us language.

Today, she introduced me as her new assistant to a colleague. (Her co-workers always look at me with a mix of pity and admiration when they learn my job...like, "Good luck. Boy, are you gonna need it.")

Her colleague said, "Oh! You're a second RM." And I said "...We're so different!" But the colleague said, "I mean in the soul." To which RM replied, "Definitely."

I agreed.

Friday, September 19, 2008

things I forgot since the last time I was in school, items 3 and 4

3. How delicious and amusing it is to procrastinate writing a paper.
4. How satisfying it is to write something I'm proud of that will also be graded.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

things I forgot since the last time I was in school, items 1 and 2

1. How to double-space a paper
2. How easy it is to write 2-3 pages double-spaced

...to be continued...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

conversations with my teacher, vol. I

I imagine this is a topic I will return to throughout my academic life over the next 2 or so years, so let's just commit it to a column today.

Yesterday, after my evening acting class--Principles of Acting, Augusto Boal--I ended up riding the T home with my teacher for about 20 minutes of my 30 minute ride. We chatted animatedly about how I ended up in the program: I told her I was from New York but had spent 8 years in California and graduated from UC Berkeley. I told her I'd moved back to New York after graduation and about my soul-sapping day job. I told her about how I started volunteering and discovered this latent gift with children and how grateful I am for it. I told her about how confident I am in picking the right program and place for myself, after what feels like a long time of feeling lost.

We talked about how the theater education students aren't all performers and how brave I think those who don't classify themselves as performers are. And how taking a class studying Boal is a risky move for people who don't consider themselves performers. I suggested that studying Stanislavsky, which can sometimes be about delving into past experiences and our psyches, might seem more intimidating than a practice of theater that is about the reality of one's situation, the routine of everyday life.

She told me that she had used this work in prisons and how everyone always comments that "that must be so hard." It made me think about the fact that, in this class, we're a group of white students sitting together and talking about oppression. And how my teacher (who is black) working in prisons is drastically different than me working in a prison. Obviously. And how that's such a charged issue.

She said, literally, as she exited the train, "We're attracted to our work because of our 'Stanislavsky.' You found working with children for a reason, and now it's your job to find out why."

I almost burst into tears on the subway.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

proof I've chosen the right program

1. I wasn't nervous at all this morning, even though I've never been in grad school before.
2. It took me only about 25 minutes to get to campus.
3. I almost cried when the President of the school spoke to us about her own mentor and how excited she was to have a new class entering.
4. We played a theater game within the first hour we were all together.
5. There are 2 other people in the program (of only 35 people) from Brooklyn.
6. I ran into two people that were in the theater department at Berkeley with me.
7. My plan of starting a non-profit organization was highlighted as an innovative one at the career planning session.

Friday, August 29, 2008

exciting news from Boston

In which my blog officially factored into my soon-to-be roommate's decision to offer me to move in to an apartment 300 feet from my cousins' house.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Mysteries of the Olympics (first Boston edition!)

I've been watching the Olympics mostly because nothing much else has been on in these last days of summer. I've been given pause several times in the last week or so by what I believe are striking and strange phenomena connected to the games.

1. In the timeline of one's life, at what point does one discover talent in something like pole-vaulting?
2. What are those little towely chamois things that the divers cling to and wring out once they're out of the pool?
3a. Is Michael Phelps part fish?
3b. Is Usain Bolt part cheetah?
4. Why did that Chinese gymnast get a medal in vault when the American gymnast didn't even touch her knees to the mat?
6. How did the USA women's volleyball team manage to win a gold medal in pouring rain while wearing white bikinis and not look like they were just competing in a wet T-shirt contest?
7. Didn't the minimum age of Olympic athletes used to be older than pre-pubescent (see diver Thomas Daley of Great Britain and the Chinese women's gymnastics team)?
8. How come gymnasts are the only people in the world allowed to wear scrunchies?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

here we go again

I take off in about 7 hours. I'm already exhausted in anticipation of being exhausted. I went through a wide gamut of emotions today, from dread to anxiety to brief excitement to shock to denial and back again. Mostly, I'm just tired because I feel like I just did this. But this time, I didn't even really notice my room emptying.

I guess, as K says, it's more like this is the second step in what has been a transitional year than it is another transition on its own.

I feel a little bit like I've traveled so much in 8 months (to SLO, to Austin, to Vegas) that it's just another vacation somewhere. And maybe it'll even feel like that for a little while once I'm there...

My weekend of farewells started with lunch with my co-director, followed by an afternoon o' fun with some kids from Alice. I had promised them Slurpees and talking about life, so that's precisely what we did. Saturday evening, we had a going-away party, and there were even a couple surprise guests. These are people I will definitely be keeping in touch with--I wasn't sure I could make such good friends in such a relatively short time, but I did. (Lesson #428293 of those learned during this reprieve.) And then I know there are also people I've been in touch with here that I will never see again; I'll add those to the very long list of people in my life that I often wonder about.

My only wish for myself, in this "second part of the transition," is that I cling to all I've done and learned here, bring it all with me back to school, settle in, and then promptly take the place over.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In case you didn't know, I'm moving. Again.

I am currently in a swiftly-emptying room. 6 boxes packed and probably 4-5 more to go. Right now is probably the first time I've felt relieved about the packing job all month. I only have books left to conquer, which of course, is the bulk of it. I've gotten rid of 3 bags of clothes and a big box of books, so I think I'm taking to Boston less than what I brought to Cali. Which is good. A fresh start. I got rid of articles of clothing and books that I've been carrying since high school. And I'm sure I'll get to Boston and be like...where IS that? And then I'll curse the fact that I moved again and had to purge again. Like right now, I'm thinking, I totally got rid of that abridged version of Little Women that I've been carrying around for 15 years. And that sucks. But it's also not the entire book, so it's basically less useful to me than I thought it was when I was carting it from Brooklyn to Cambria to Berkeley to Brooklyn to Soho to Brooklyn to San Luis Obispo. Or the red fleece sweater I've been carrying since high school and wore the first couple years of college. The one that I held onto when I got a wardrobe makeover, despite my friends' insensitive protests. It's hung in like 7 closets unnecessarily. But it's still sad to get rid of it. I feel like I need a ceremony.

I hate this part. It's like a very painful shedding of my skin. And it's also the anticipation of mourning parts of my history and childhood when, one day, I'll really want to have some of those artifacts. To reminisce over. To show my kids. Too bad it's so expensive to get that stuff back across the country.

Update: After I wrote this, I went down to the garage and fished out the abridged version of Little Women. Some things just need to be held onto.

Update, #2: The heaviest box I'll pack will be the one with the memento box of programs I've kept from as far back as The Doll's House and She Loves Me, both seen around 1994.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

my name is annie, and i'm a youtube addict

I think I need help.

Look at what time I'm posting, and look at what I'm up watching. It made me cry a little. Is that because it's actually great or because it's so frakking late?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Alice in Wonderland, vol. VII

I think my proudest accomplishment is the fact that the kids are acting in the photos.

I'm prouder of that than the performances in front of our audiences.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Alice in Wonderland, vol. VI

We open tomorrow. Our final tech dress rehearsal is tonight. We have a preview audience coming this evening.

I actually slept past 8 today. This must mean I believe we're ready. (I think we just might be.)

This is also the inevitable time during a production when the director has to let it go. Mistakes will be made--probably the same ones that have been made for weeks--and that's just how it's going to go. The actors need to be prepared for things to go wrong and need to work through those moments alone. It's up to them now. And that's always a relief to me, honestly.

It's amazing how many TINY, TINY details can be worked out in just 5 days of technical rehearsals. AMAZING. I mean, I made decisions this week about things like how many sides of a box need to be painted, what color lipstick needs to be worn, where each set piece needs to go and what color spike tape is needed to mark them, how many seconds of prelude music need to play before the first entrance, which crew member needs to help a large set piece get onstage and on what word. I forget how many hundreds of decisions need to be made, and how many ways a show can go, if you're not organized and if you don't have a clear vision and if you can't make decisions. It's astounding. No wonder I stopped sleeping this week.

Aside from rumors of some backstage bossiness and negative attitudes, things seem to be running pretty smoothly among the kids. They look fantastic, the show sounds great, and I'm pretty confident there's fun being had.

I realized this weekend that the next thing I need to do is start being proud of MYSELF and the work I'VE done. I find it very easy to pass the credit on to others: my co-director, my designers, the actors themselves. And I need to reclaim some of it, even just for myself. I built this show too.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Alice in Wonderland, vol. V

On every show I've ever worked on, there is a point during the process at which I stop sleeping. I was doing incredibly well for weeks and weeks on this show, which seemed miraculous considering the chaos of working with kids and the challenges of co-directing. I was able to, for the most part, leave my work at work...

We open in a week. I will probably spend 26 of the next 48 hours in the theater (crossing my fingers that it's far less than that, but you never know), designing lights, finalizing sound, finishing painting, and having as many dress rehearsals as we can manage, once everything is set.

Needless to say, I think I've stopped sleeping.

We've finally gotten a few full-runs under our belt, which is a relief. Big set pieces are done and being worked with, lines are NEARLY completely memorized, painting has begun, and sound is mostly designed. It's the tiny details, at this point, that keep me up at night. The parts of the process that I, inevitably, need to give up control over eventually. The fact that the show crashes after intermission is something that I hope will change with the next week of rehearsals, but it's also something I'm not positive about. The minutiae of cutting sound tracks to the seconds we want to use to underscore. The scenes that still aren't quite clicking. The blocking mistakes and dropped lines that are always made. It just feels a little bit like a crapshoot in terms of how much of this will actually get ironed out before Friday. I guess it always does.

As S wisely says, every show can benefit from another week of rehearsals, no matter how organize or prepared you've been. But we never get it. And the magical theater fairies always take over and everything seems to work out all of a sudden.

I'm just not sure magical theater fairies visit children's productions in quite the same way.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

thought of the day, 39: collection

Today, the 10 year old girl who is playing Dormouse in Alice in Wonderland gave me a poem she had written in summer school last week. It's an acrostic (remember those?):
Different than normal mice
Outdoors is not their favorite friend
Observe them carefully (We talked about the poem last week and I reminded her that dormouse only has one "o.")
Ranches are where they live
Many different colors
Oddballs they are
Umbrellas are were [sic] they hide
Small and cute
Eagles like to eat them

I realized just now that I have been working with kids long enough, and with enough kids, that I've got a collection of items from them, including all the nametags I made during my work with New York Cares and the "art" I made with the 5 year old daughter of the stagemanager of My Fair Lady. (She had obviously just learned the letters i, s, and t, because those were all she used to "spell out" my favorite foods on neon post-its. I also taught her how to draw a cake and how to write and spell "chocolate.")

I can't even begin to imagine what I'll add to my collection while in school next year.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

thought of the moment, 24: such a teacher

I actually just put the words "she's just a joy" into an email to one of my kids' parents.

5th grade math classes, here I come!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


This made me cry. A lot.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

guilty pleasure #127188

Ever since Deanna picked the right guy on the finale of this season's Bachelorette, I've become mildly obsessed with the show.

Maybe I should make it a point to watch the next season. Those Bachelorettes seem to know how to pick 'em ( remember Trista and Ryan?).

I sort of hate to admit it, but I think this season's couple are pretty cute together.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Alice in Wonderland, vol. IV

We're about three weeks away from tech week, which is a little mind-boggling considering we just walked through Act III yesterday afternoon. Definitely feeling the inevitable crunch of time when you consider 15 kids, the range of ages, and the fact that most of the rest of the play involves our entire cast onstage. Not to mention regular absences and no technical elements yet. (Although, our costume designer and props manager are on board and working hard to get everything done in time.)

I ran a few rehearsals at the end of June without K and then the 4th of July happened, so we're basically playing catch-up from days off and trying to sustain a certain momentum and hoping not to overwhelm the kids, and I'm not sure how successful we've been at any of it. S keeps reminding me that the main thing is these kids have fun, and I think I'm so bogged down by details I can't quite tell if they actually are. Not to mention that their having fun is certainly a key point, but we can't forget that at the end of this process, they're going to be onstage alone 4 times a weekend for 2 weeks. There's a certain urgency to what we're doing too; despite the fun, it's also a ton of work. I'm not positive all the kids realize this or have a sense of the end result being something they have to do all by themselves.

At this point, it's a matter of time-managing to the last minute and giving those that need individual attention their due. I'm finding it difficult to keep a purely positive attitude because at a certain point, the show will just be what it's going to be, and whatever energy I put into it doesn't really change that. Not that I'm not doing my best, just that my best under these circumstances will only result in so much.

All of that aside, the end of the show is going to be striking, I think. Our costumes are going to be fantastic; our props manager is an utter genius; and 3 weeks goes very quickly.

(In other news, I've booked my one-way ticket to Boston for August 19, which is so soon, it makes me die a little on the inside.)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

thought of the day, 38: enough of this could make a person go crazy

I cannot believe I'm on the verge of buying a one-way cross-country plane ticket.

This'll be the third time in as many years.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Whatever Happens in Vegas Stays on the Internet

First, some observations about probably one of the strangest places I've ever visited:
1. Exclaiming about the heat in the desert in June never gets old.
2. The food in Vegas hotels and casinos is not as bad or as good as I expected. In fact, we had good meals at The Venetian (fine pizza and pasta and DRINKS at Canaletto), Treasure Island (good, solid brunch at Coffee Shop), and the champagne brunch at The Bellagio. Bad meals included the Cafe (undercooked sausage), Diablo's Cantina (too expensive, uninspired Mexican food), and Brew Pub (romaine lettuce, egg, and cheese as a "house salad") at the Monte Carlo.
3. Dancing in clubs in Vegas is actually shifting from left to right as people walk by, leaving the dance floor or trying to find a space to move.
4. The fountain show at The Bellagio is the best free show in town.
5. One gets tired of walking the strip quickly.
6. The pool at the Monte Carlo is hilarious and fun but the water tastes like ass.
7. Drinking Prosecco while walking around a mall is probably the most indulgent thing I've ever done and was the highlight of the weekend.
8. The karaoke club at the Imperial Palace is where you will hear some of the absolute worst karaoke of your entire life, but it's also totally worth hearing.

Some choice quotes from the weekend; I'll leave it to you to judge who said what, and keep in mind, we stayed remarkably sober this weekend:
"No picking your nose in Vegas!"
"No stabbing the suede in Vegas!"
"I'm going to be revisiting that beef all weekend!"
"Remember when Mark was going to be my pianist?" "Now he's hers!"
"I like to nuzzle with my pubis."
"There's like salt and sugar on my rim." "It's like a chocolate covered pretzel."
"We can set up boundaries first. But I'll say yes to anything."
"How much is the orange juice?" "$5.25." "Are you cocking me?"
"More squishin' for the pushin'."
"Can I throw you up and pick you?"
"There's no room to have a vibe. There's only room for ass-cock contact."
"There's going to be a lot of cock in my blog."
"I love [Pecorino]. It's like my baby."

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Alice in Wonderland, vol. III and more

One and half weeks in, and we're still on track. We've staged and discussed the entire first act (there are three). Yesterday, K and I split up for a majority of the rehearsal, which was a relief for me, having felt for a few days that dividing and conquering would be the best strategy for getting some of this work up and running.

We're starting every rehearsal with a warm-up and a set of exercises/games. Yesterday, we played a game S and I invented while bored once, in which we all sing a song, one word at a time (S and I mastered "Hit Me Baby One More Time"). The cast and I started with "Twinkle, twinkle, little star." First person sings "Twinkle," next sings "twinkle," next sings "little," etc. It's about keeping the rhythm of the song more than anything and is surprisingly challenging. The kids did well though. Then we explained the idea of playing the opposite, and assigned short phrases to each kid, then gave them an apparently opposite situation to play: saying "I love you" at the end of a long argument with your boyfriend, for instance. These kids love these intention games, which is exciting and gratifying and entertaining.

I worked with Alice and Rabbit on the end of the first act, while K tackled a group song that happens in Act III. Then I specified some blocking in the Mad Tea Party scene. It's pretty complicated, and I found myself trying to do math and then justifying the amount of chairs we'd chosen to put in the scene. I'm not convinced it worked, but it's OK for now.

I hope we'll continue to split up some of the labor, and Monday we're going to work individually with some of the younger kids.

In the meantime, I've registered for my fall semester classes. I'm taking Drama as Education I, which is a core for getting my teaching license, Principles in Acting, with a focus on Augusto Boal, and Performance Theatre and Community, which is a core for my Theatre and Community focus. There are 35 incoming 1st year grad students: 28 women and 7 men.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

body function alert

A couple weeks ago I ate for about 3 1/2 hours straight. It was the middle of tech week on My Fair Lady and I couldn't get full. I ate a bagel with cream cheese, a bowl of cereal with soy milk, 7 or 8 pieces of salami straight out of the bag, handfuls of nuts, and a can of tuna between the hours of 12 and 3:30. It was a kind of nagging hunger that made me uncomfortable and honestly like I was going a little crazy.

That weekend, we went shopping at a place besides Trader Joe's, to buy good produce and snacks and deli meats and bread that I hadn't completely saturated my palate with. I also decided to restart taking vitamins, to supplement whatever might have been missing in my diet.

Now, my pee officially smells like B12.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

thought of the day, 37: CRAZY

I just received an email about registering for classes. I can barely contain my excitement!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Alice in Wonderland, vol. II

We've begun to do some scene work, and it's going more smoothly than I expected. After a bit of a miscommunication hiccup late last week, K and I had a good, productive conversation about sharing the labor and getting in touch at least once a day. It's necessary if we're really co-directing this thing, and K is incredibly overworked at her job, so finding a routine for the two of us is imperative and will keep me sane.

Friday afternoon, we spent the time at rehearsal breaking the scenes down into simple objectives, which, with a group of 15 kids and a huge range of experience, not to mention vocabulary skills, was challenging. My goal was to shed light on the idea that in a scene there are things that you want that other people in the scene keep you from getting and so you must use different tactics to try to get what it is you're seeking. It's a basic acting lesson, but I'm finding that my brain doesn't really run on simple mode and that it's generally difficult for me to break something down into little nuggets of clarity for the younger kids. K is very good at that, but sometimes breaks things down too simply. I want to be sure that the younger kids are not being patronized too: I don't want them to just play "angry." It's a fine balance between clarifying something and dumbing it down. The kids I can use my everyday vocabulary with, my catchphrases with, are the ones I'm gravitating toward. Luckily, our principals are very strong and seem to speak my language.

Yesterday, we started from the beginning of the act and got some good, more specific work done. The biggest challenge is keeping the other kids occupied when I'm working with just a few on a scene. At this point, we've had them watch one rehearsal (which was fine until about 1/2 hour until the end of class) and work together in small groups and then present the scenes they'd worked on. Tomorrow, we're going to hope that they're satisfied with a long warm up, some projection exercises, and then working on their lines, until we get through the end of the act. Then, perhaps they'll be OK with watching while we finetune and run it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Alice in Wonderland, vol. I

We'll see how long this lasts, but I thought I'd give blogging my Alice experiences a shot, while I have the evening totally free.

As I mentioned in a post many weeks ago, I've been hired at the San Luis Obispo Little Theater to direct their annual summer children's production. I'm co-teaching with the theater's Production Manager (let's call her K), who is an incredibly hardworking young woman. She and I are virtually always on the same page and, kudos to her, she's really great at letting me lead while also totally supporting me and helping out when I need another brain on the job. I was initially apprehensive about working with someone so closely, and I'm sure it won't always be sunshine and roses, but so far, we're cooperating with great success.

K and I spent about 3 days in mid-April auditioning these remarkable kids. Subsequently, we've also had to recast the show probably 8 times (I kid you not). Scheduling conflicts and other opportunities coming up and flaky parents; what can you do? I've been surprised at my ability to hunker down and problem solve in those cases though and impressed at my ability to keep a level head.

A few weeks ago, we gathered our final group (15 kids, ages 8-17) for a meet and greet that went so much better than I expected. K and I laid down the rules, explained our mentoring system (pairing SLOLT vets with newer and younger kids), went over our discipline policy (3 Strikes), and then played games for about an hour. At the end of the afternoon, the feedback I got from the kids, during our reflection time, which we're planning on doing every night, was AMAZING. Several new kids asserted that they were confident they'd feel comfortable, even in this new environment, and the shyest cast member proclaimed she realized she didn't need to be shy with us. (I wasn't even nervous, going into the session, and I'm ALWAYS nervous.)

Yesterday afternoon was our first official rehearsal. We spent about 15 minutes re-introducing ourselves and then read through the script, which proved to be more difficult for some kids than I expected. (We'll have to do some serious problem solving for the youngest kids...) We ended the afternoon with some concentration, timing, and character games, and I was again completely encouraged and impressed by how dedicated and focused the group was, and also at what they all came up with.

I pitched this idea with the hope that I'd be able to really explore improvisation with the cast, and I'm growing more and more confident that I'll be able to really go forward with that idea. The text itself is pretty silly and hard to follow, so what we all come up with as a group will be what makes the show really shine.

One of the oldest students told us, in reflection yesterday, that he was really excited because he's always dreaded readthroughs--feared reading his own lines and was bored waiting until the next time he spoke--but that yesterday's made him very excited. Of course, I left the rehearsal with a bit of a sinking feeling about all the work we would have to do to get the kids audience-ready, but I'm grateful I have a partner on the project. I can't imagine dealing with 15 kids 3 times a week for 2 hours each day alone. I'd lose my mind.

After being in My Fair Lady brain for months, I'm finding myself slow to warm to this project, both in really realizing how much work it will be and wrapping my brain around the fact that it should be fun. I'm sure I'll come around at some point. And, even if I don't, I'm still getting paid in a month.

We jump into Act I tomorrow. Eep.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

thought of the day, 36: i guess i am excited he won

I just purchased the first David Cook single, even though I don't think it's very good.

AI Finale

Here we go, everyone! The Battle of the Davids! Are you ready? I AM! I’ve even avoided the internet since I got home, so we can get started right away, blissfully ignorant!

Everyone’s so excited! 97.5 million votes worth of excitement, in fact! 56% for one contestant and 44% for the other is a big margin! I also notice, everyone in Utah is blonde.

I’m even more excited about So You Think You Can Dance than about tonight’s results! I forgot about some of the Top 12: anyone remember David Hernandez?

But wait, we don’t want David Cook to make a record like Nickleback! NO! I heart David harmony. I’m glad they’re both such good singers for moments like this. They should do a single together! (David Cook looks super hot in his jeans and leather, btw.)

Who else sort of resents The Love Guru plug? Raise your hand o/ That is until they actually met Mike Myers: MARISKA HARGITAY, BOOM BOOM IN YOUR PULL-UPS! And Archie caught the shaving cream! Oh man. Priceless.

Syesha is back singing “Waiting For You” with SEAL(!), and she looks real pretty. This isn’t very exciting to me though. Or very good. Gotta say. And Jason’s back singing “Hallelujah.” I hope he’s having a good time, for once.

(I always love the nostalgiac Ford ads the best.) Didn’t the boys watch last year’s results show? We know they win cars.

The Top 6 girls are singing a Donna Summer medley. I wonder how Amanda feels about singing these songs. I also wonder if Carly is wearing black tights because she’s so very pale. Donna Summer needs a new weave or wig or whatever that is. Ryan breaking is the highlight of the show for me, so far. I still remain unmoved by the show in general.

Carly and Michael are singing TOGETHER. They’re totally besties. (MY best friend wanted the finale to be between Carly and David Cook, so that it could be Battle of the Belters, instead of Battle of the Davids. That WOULD have been fun!) These two should totally start an act together, and they were officially both eliminated far before they should have been. But hey, they’re the Un-American Idols, so what can you do?

Jimmy Kimmel is out to provide commentary on the season. (Things I actually laughed at: Rosemary and Satan Cowell and the Simon montage).

Top 6 guys are up to sing some Bryan Adams songs. I MISS CHIKEZIE! I like this; I think it’s going to be a good tour with all these kids! And also, David Cook is handsy—his big mitt was all up on Bryan Adams’s shoulder.

David Cook and ZZ Top singing “Sharp Dressed Man.” Excellent. Cook totally has guyliner on tonight, and I love him for it. Blake Lewis is a Cook fan, and I think he lost some weight. I can only imagine what Archuleta will be singing tonight and with whom. What’ll you bet it’s some Phil Collins business or like Celine Dion?

Brooke White and Graham Nash? Good for her! That’s got to feel good. But maybe not as good as being barefoot while she sings with him. This wins for best moment of the night, so far, and I’m not even crying.


I’m too old to really know who the Jonas Brothers are. Isn’t that sad? And so, we’re fastforwarding through their performance. Sorry.

And then there’s the obligatory reel of highlights and low lights from the audition rounds. Let’s move on. Although, we do still laugh about the guy who sang about letting his people go. Like once a week. I also sort of love and hate that the USC marching band have joined Renaldo onstage. (I also sort of generally loved and hated this entire season; my relationship with the show is very complicated. I think we’re fizzling.)

This One Republic song is ALL OVER THE PLACE. Ooh, this is a good one! Much better than Archie singing with Phil Collins or Celine Dion. I’m glad. (He’s such a better singer than the lead singer.)

And Jordin Sparks is back and still fake as ever! Who cares? Not me! Those back-up singers better get good money for their work; they’re pretty solid, always singing, and they rarely get any thanks.

Oh my God, Robert Downey Jr. can MOVE! I had no idea! (I did know that Jack Black was a dancer.) I’m totally seeing Tropic Thunder. Who’s with me? 2/3 of that group are my boyfriends, fyi. I’ll leave it to you to guess which ones they are.

Carrie Underwood was voted the favorite American Idol winner of all time on an AOL poll. I don’t like her outfit. She’s become an impressive wailer. That is all.


The Top 12 are back, singing George Michael songs! I completely approve of the songs that have been sung tonight, and I think it’s been a pretty entertaining show! (I’ve found myself singing outloud on several occasions, and I’m pretty sure it’s not just the red wine.) Every man looks better in a hot black suit. Period. It’s a pretty attractive bunch in general this year, isn’t it?

Who’s ready for some results? DVR is totally going to cut this broadcast off, and I’m going to have to look up the winner online. We don’t care who wins, either, Simon! They’re both great.

I’m pissed. I’m never watching DVR again. “The winner of American Idol 2008 is David.” Literally. I had to look it up on Google.

The end.

P.S. Don't know how I feel about all this. Certainly an anticlimactic end to a strange season. I'm glad he won, I guess, and surprised. I wish I could have seen it. I hope he makes a good record. I wish him all the best. I hate DVR.

P.S.S. Just watched a crappy quality Youtube video of the win. Everyone was so HAPPY! The judges were ecstatic! I love that! I think David Cook will be one of the most successful Idols of all time. (He's close to my favorite AI contestant of AI history.) If he sticks to his guns and gets to be as creative as we've seen him be, he'll be just fine! OK, now I'll be able to sleep tonight. Fewf!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

AI Top 2

Oy vey. I really don’t know how this is all going to pan out. Obviously, my favorite is David Cook (he’s been my favorite six nights this season, while Archuleta has only risen to the top twice for me; further, I’ve actually spent $5 on Cook’s singles on iTunes and only $1 on Archuleta’s), but I’m seriously nervous about tomorrow’s results for several reasons:
1. I don’t want him to get stuck singing “This Is My Moment; Now, I Believe,” or whatever dreck they’re going to saddle these kids with;
2. I’m not sure I want him to get stuck with a 19 Entertainment production deal;
3. Archuleta IS the demographic of this show, and we know his intense fans will show up in droves to vote for him.
Although, the lovely people from Entertainment Weekly think that the rabid fans of Michael Johns, Carly, Brooke, Jason, and Syesha will all turn toward David Cook and, thus, crown him the winner.

Still, I just participated in this poll, and I think, in terms of my favorites all season long, it’s a pretty tight race! Archuleta was so great in the very beginning, and it took a few weeks for Cook to really stand out. And every time Cook was allowed to pick his own song, those performances were weak. This is definitely going to be an interesting night; that’s about all I know.

I’m not even going to comment on Vince McMahon. [Correction: I guess that guy's name is Michael Buffer. But then, who's Vince McMahon.] Seriously. (It is kind of crazy that they’re both named David though.) Cook used the word trite. I heart him. And he’s poised and gracious. GO COOK!

First round are songs chosen by Clive Davis. Cook will be singing U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” And Archuleta will be singing “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” Great choices!!

I can’t even write about Cook; he’s so good. It looks like he’s already headlining his tour and sounds like it too. I think he is saving some cards to be thrown on the table later in the game. It was a very solid, reserved performance. (Randy, it’s 2008. And also, I think David Cook has junk in the trunk. Boy’s got a booty. Anyone else notice?)

I love this song. This is great too. They’re just SO different! It’s so fascinating. Archuleta is coming out swinging. He’s fighting for this, and good for him for that. Whoa. (We’re totally cheering equally for both these guys in this house. Honestly, I wouldn’t be upset if either won. Although, Archuleta looks like he’s about to break.)

Oh god. The New Song Contestant’s Choice. At least they’re letting them pick which ones they want to sing tonight. Cook will be tackling “Dream Big” by Emily Shackleton, and Archuleta will be dealing with “In This Moment” by Ryan Gilmore. I’m scared.

Cook is making this nearly palatable, but I hope he doesn’t make an entire record like this when he’s hugely successful and even more famous than he is now. His hair looks fantastic tonight though. The best it’s looked all season, IMHO. (Simon has said several times that he thinks Cook will take it tomorrow night. Just sayin.)

I hate these songs. SNOOZE!! Archuleta could totally have a hit with this song though. It’s exactly the kind of song I imagine his controlling father will force him to sing when he’s making a record. (Who thinks if Archuleta wins he’ll have a breakdown at some point and eventually become a recluse and then something quiet and established like a veterinarian? Raise your hand. o/)

Round 3 is contestants’ choice. Cook has chosen “The World I Know” by Collective Soul. Archuleta will be singing “Imagine” by John Lennon.

I love the red tie on Cook. This is beautiful. This is the kind of record he should make. I always admire the contestants who choose to perform a song they haven’t sung during the season yet. I think it’s always braver than revisiting something we’ve heard. (Maybe Simon doesn’t want David Cook to win, so he’ll actually be successful.)

(For the record, my mother has been voting for Cook about every 20 seconds all hour.)

I mean, it’s beautiful again, Archuleta, but we’ve heard it before. Almost exactly the same way. I think he’ll win anyway. I guess I’m putting it on the record. I’ll be back tomorrow to write about the finale. Stay tuned!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

thought of the moment, 23: secret single behavior

Watching Sex and the City alone at 2 in the morning is about the only activity that makes me miss New York.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

AI Top 3

First of all, I can’t QUITE believe we’re only a week from the finale. It’s a little hard to imagine. Secondly, I don’t even really want to put it out into the cosmos, but I feel like everyone stating so emphatically that Syesha doesn’t have a chance to crack the top 2 is a little presumptuous, and I believe anything can happen tonight. Especially since it’s judge’s choice, producer’s choice, and contestants’ choice tonight. We lost Elliott on this night two seasons ago and Melinda on this night last year, and they were, arguably, the best singers of their seasons. David Cook, I’m praying for you. (And how HOTT would it be if he busted out with Rhianna’s Umbrella? That’s what Entertainment Weekly thinks he should sing tonight; that or Hoobastank’s The Reason. They also suggest Syesha sing En Vogue, Sade, or DeeLite, and that Archuleta sing Coldplay or Jackie Wilson.)

David Archuleta is up first with “And So It Goes” by Billy Joel, chosen by Paula. She pronounced “timbre” right. I’m impressed. This is Archuleta as we all loved him initially. Simple and lovely, even though I agree with Simon that it was a bit predictable. Everyone is wondering how he’ll do now that his dad has been banned from helping him backstage. I hope he won’t flounder.

Syesha is up next with Randy’s choice, “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys. Her dress is almost fabulous, but I still don’t like her. My conclusion is I think she’s dumb.

David Cook gets Simon’s choice! Yay! He’s singing Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” Whoa. Where did this RANGE come from? Holy moly! Oh my god, Simon was totally just clapping in the audience! When do we ever see him do ANYTHING engaging as a viewer? And now we know that he’ll get the mom vote.

Archuleta’s choice is Chris Brown’s “With You.” Good for him for singing something modern! They better call him on forgetting that lyric. I think it’s interesting that he’s pulling out something SO contemporary after establishing himself as sort of classics singer. I’m not buying it. (HOW COME NO ONE EVER CALLS HIM ON FORGETTING THE LYRIC?!) It looks like he had fun, at least.

Syesha’s choice is singing Peggy Lee’s “Fever.” Good choice! (Why is she suddenly speaking with a Southern accent?) She’s certainly fighting to stay tonight, isn’t she? I think this may be her best performance all season. That was certainly better than Archuleta’s last song. I disagree with the judges!

Cook’s choice is “Dare You to Move” by Switchfoot, whatever that means. Um. I’m not sure about that. It felt a little abrupt and awkward.

Archuleta’s up again with Jon Fogelberg’s “Longer.” Dude, unbutton your shirt. Relax. Cheesy but fine. I wonder how the producers make these choices.

Syesha’s final song is “Hit Me Up” by Gia Farrell. Horrible. But I like her top. Paula doesn’t think she did enough to get to the finals. And I guess it’s too bad that the producers gave her such a crap song. They end up wielding a lot of power at the end of the season, don’t they?

Cook’s last with Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” I wonder how he feels about singing this song, honestly. At least he was able to leave it all on the stage with that one.

Favorite of the Night: David Cook

Monday, May 12, 2008

thought of the moment, 22: but seriously

I think America's Next Top Model is the ONLY show I can watch whenever it's on, no matter what episode.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

AI Top 4

Is it just me or has the momentum gone down on this season of AI? Don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t a diehard Brooke fan, or even a diehard Michael Johns or Carly fan. But I can’t believe they’re all gone and we’re still stuck with Funny Faces Castro and Super-Ready-Actress Smile Mercado. Something is wrong with that, and it’s sort of taken the wind out of my everlovin’ AI sails.

(My secret is Mom skipped the DVR ahead so she could vote for David Cook before the time was up. Usually, we miss the window.)

He’s up first with “Hungry Like the Wolf.” Hott. Honestly, I don’t care about anyone in this stupid competition except him. I think it was just an “aight” song choice, but he sang pretty much perfectly on-pitch.

Syesha is wearing a fantastic sparkly dress. She’s singing “Proud Mary.” I knew it! As soon as they mentioned Ike in the montage, I knew she was going to sing this song. It’s very…how should I say…obvious of her. Others have done it better is about all I can think to write.

Jason is next with “I Shot the Sheriff.” Oh my God. He’s such a stoner. Hilarious. He’s feeling this, I can tell. This is the most animated we’ve ever seen him. The judges want Jason off; maybe they’ve heard that he’s “ready to go home.”

David Archuleta is singing “Stand by Me.” Lovely choice. He’s feeling this too. That was excellent. Back to true Archuleta form; I’ve missed him.

David Cook is back with “Baba O'Riley.” (I always thought that song was called "Bob O'Reilly.") I swear to God I fall a little bit in love with him every time he sings on this show. He’s a brilliant, brilliant musician, first and foremost, I think. So hot. I loved it.

Syesha is up once again with “A Change is Gonna Come.” I was almost moved by it. She certainly was. Well, she’s safe for another week, isn’t she?

Jason is up next with “Mr. Tamborine Man.” It ALMOST sounds like he flubbed that lyric on purpose, honestly. Jason’s not in the zone because Jason wants to go home. He’s overwhelmed by the 150 balloons that got sent to him when he was sick.

David Archuleta is last with “Love Me Tender.” I think he’s done the best this week with song choice, although that wasn’t a perfect performance by any means. The two Davids finale that is nearly inevitable will certainly be a battle of opposites, won’t it?

Favorite of the Night: David Cook
On the Way Out: Jason

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

thought of the day, 35: slug-a-bed

Don't hate me, but today is the first day in probably 3 weeks that I woke up before 10 AM.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

AI Top 5

We’re getting down to the wire on this season; I can’t believe there are only five contestants left! Entertainment Weekly has a theory that the contestants that will be left standing will all play instruments, and that that’s part of the reason Mr. Johns and Ms. Smithson are no longer with us, although this article states a different theory for Carly’s elimination. In any case, time may officially be up for Ms. Mercado. (A girl can dream anyway.)

I’m not quivering with excitement about tonight’s mentor, but I had no idea Neil Diamond wrote “Red, Red Wine,” “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman,” and “I’m a Believer.” EW says Jason Castro should sing the first, David Cook the second, and David Archuleta the third. Just, please. No one sing “Sweet Caroline.” Please.

Who’s reeling about Carly? I’m not reeling. They’re singing TWO songs each tonight? Whoa.

Jason is up first and is playing a guitar. He’s singing “Forever in Blue Jeans” and “September Morn.” He forgot the words in rehearsal…oopsies. I like this first song. He seems confident tonight, which is refreshing. I can’t really watch his face when he sings though.

David Cook is up next and I adore that he flipped the switch on Ryan and asked him how he prepared for Neil Diamond week. He’s singing “I’m Alive” and “All I Really Need is You.” He gave Diamond goosebumps. Man, he’s such a star. He’s making “I’m Alive,” a ridiculously cheesy song, an absolute arena anthem, ready for radio.

Brooke is next and she’s playing guitar and piano, on “I’m a Believer” and “I Am, I Said,” respectively. She looks terrified and uncomfortable. It’s too bad “I’m a Believer” just makes me think of Shrek.

David Archuleta is singing “Sweet Caroline” and “America.” Oy. I can’t be objective about a 17-year-old singing “Sweet Caroline.” It pains me a little that he is at all.

Syesha is singing “Hello Again” and “Thank the Lord for the Nighttime.” I’m cringing and it’s not because she’s singing “Hello Again” badly.

[The votes this week are going to be wonky, I think. These judgments are weird, chaotic and not helping anybody. Also, the So You Think You Can Dance ads make me want Idol to be over. It’s such a better show.]

Jason’s up again with “September Morn.” I imagine it’s hard to make Neil Diamond songs NOT sound like karaoke. That was weak, but he is very cute.

Back to David Cook; this time with “All I Really Need.” His first three notes and he’s already blown everybody else out of the water. He better win this competition.

Brooke’s up again; this time with “I Am, I Said,” accompanying herself on piano. This is pretty; she’s so much more comfortable behind her piano. She’s able to make her performances feel much more intimate and personal. I think she might have just saved herself…

David Archuleta is now singing “America.” Sadly, his song choices have probably guaranteed him a spot on next week’s show, but if all of America was like me, he’d be voted off. He’s totally going to release this as a single one day soon though.

Syesha is back with “Thank the Lord for the Nighttime.” She’s having fun with this one, and I am also a fan of the clapping. But, Simon, she sang last! I always wonder if he’s saying that so that people WILL vote.

Favorite of the Night: David Cook
On the Way Out: Jason or Brooke; although, if EW’s theory is right, it’ll be Syesha.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

thought of the day, 34: getting well

It's amazing how productive one can feel by doing something as simple as getting dressed before 5 pm, even if, technically, all one does after that is stay in bed.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

AI Top 6

The thing about Andrew Lloyd Webber night is that it could just be an outright disaster. Who wants to hear Syesha sing “Memory” or “Think of Me”? NOT ME! In fact, I’m putting it on record that she is officially dead to me if she does sing “Memory.” The other thing about Andrew Lloyd Webber night is that it could just end up being an outright disaster for one or two contestants because the skillful, original ones (and we all know who I’m talking about) may have a chance to do something astounding tonight…Also, I predict I won’t recognize all the songs; I think they should do Sondheim night next season; and I think Carly should sing “Tell Me on a Sunday.”

I am excited about the strings on the stage. I wonder if I’ll cry tonight. Oh crap. They’re all going to sing Phantom songs because of that frickin movie. Btw, I adore and appreciate what Webber said about being there to make sure the contestants sound their best.

Uh oh. Syesha is first; she’s out. What the heck is “One Rockin’ Road”? A quick internet search reveals it’s from Starlight Express. How does one manage to be simultaneously “animated” and boring? But at least she didn’t sing “Memory.” She may have brought the house down, but she also sang first.

Jason Castro is up next with “Memory.” Uh oh. I don’t think this bodes well. BUT WAIT! This is precious. And I also don’t hate him for picking the song in the first place. It wasn’t the most dynamic performance I’ve ever seen or heard, but it wasn’t a train wreck, and I appreciate that. (I wrote “train wreck” before Randy said it.) Mom says he didn’t know it well enough to oversing it and that it was sweet. I agree.

Brooke White is singing “You Must Love Me,” from the Evita movie. I love that Webber is explaining the stories of these songs, so they’re all forced to really connect with the lyrics. I think it’s kickass that Brooke is confident enough to ask to start over when she knows she has to. She could make the Top 4 with this performance, I think, even though she’s doing the lip quiver. I completely don’t agree with the judges tonight! I think it’s incredible that she started over because she knew it would have been a complete mess if she hadn’t. I must be hearing something they didn’t. I’m seriously confused.

David Archuleta is singing “Think of Me.” Eh. I’m not sure I can endorse this song as a pop hit, even though he has a beautiful voice. I’m sure millions of pubescent girls will disagree with me, but I found it cloying.

Carly is singing “Jesus Christ Superstar,” on Webber’s suggestion, which is brilliant and what Entertainment Weekly hoped she’d sing. She’s singing sharp the whole song! I’m glad she’s having fun though, I guess. I wonder if she’s guaranteed a spot on next week’s show because she sang a song with the words Jesus and Christ in it.

David Cook is last and he’s singing “Music of the Night,” which is the one Michael Johns was going to have sung. Oh my God, he’s so hot. There are clips of David Cook singing in his high school play on Youtube. He’s a seasoned musical theater nerd. And he’s totally kicking this song’s ass. I can’t stop grinning. That performance could win him the whole competition, even if he did call Webber Lord Andrew.

Favorite of the Night: David Cook
On the Way Out: Syesha or Jason

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

thought of the moment, 21: let's do it

When's the last time you played a really great game of Hide and Seek?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

AI Top 7

Watching this episode of EW.com’s Idolatry, I actually got REALLY excited about tonight’s theme. Mariah Carey may have lost some of her luster and undoubtedly a few brain cells in her illustrious career, but her first few albums…all the way through Butterfly are just iconic. Not to mention that they totally remind me of middle school dances, high school dances, and college dance parties. I hope she says something mildly coherent to our contestants. And I hope Syesha doesn’t sing “Hero” or “Without You”. In fact, nobody touch those. Their Mariah’s.

And in case you get bored, watch these videos of MC in her heyday.
Vision of Love
Anytime You Need a Friend
All I Want for Christmas is You
One Sweet Day

It looks like such a small group of people tonight! They all look real pretty. Things I’ve learned this week: David Cook’s brother who has brain cancer is in the audience, and American Idol fans don’t know how to dial the right numbers and Clay Aiken might have won season 2, if they did.

David Archuleta is singing “When You Believe,” which is a song I LOVE! My secret is I saw Prince of Egypt twice in one night when I was in high school. And sang through the soundtrack countless times with my best friend. Archie is wearing leather pants; did anyone else notice? Good for him for singing in his falsetto, like Mariah told him to. This wasn’t a performance I’ll note as a stand-out, but it was solid. He is singing first, and we know what happens to those who do that on this show. I agree with Simon that the girls will risk being compared to Mariah tonight, and the boys will have a bit more freedom to take risks.

Carly is up next and is bored without Michael Johns. She’s singing “Without You.” Lame. This is the first time she’s not pushing too hard, which is refreshing. She seems incredibly comfortable with this song, which is also refreshing after a few weeks of her WORKING. SO. HARD. Telling her over and over that she needs to let go and believe that she can do it doesn’t seem like it would work.

Syesha is still in last place on the EW.com Power List. She’s singing “Vanishing,” and Mariah is giving her specific notes. Literally. She’s fighting, but I still don’t like her. Plus, she was sharp. But, yes, props to her for singing a less well-known song, for once.

Brooke White is singing “Hero.” Lame. You can’t top Mariah. I’m not sure I can be objective about this performance. I guess the bottom line is I’m not impressed aside from how beautiful the song itself is.

Kristy Lee is singing “Forever,” which is another song I LOVE! Good choice. Has she gotten voice lessons in the last few weeks? She’s so much better these days! Impressive. I liked it better than the judges did.

David Cook is next with “Always Be My Baby,” which is one of my favorite Mariah Carey songs. It makes me think of my 6th grade boyfriend. We were together for a day. David moves me. Seriously, this is bringing tears to my eyes. And that’s beside the fact that I know his brother is in the audience. I swear.

I voted for the Songwriter Idol. As they did last year, they all suck.

Jason Castro is last, singing “I Don’t Wanna Cry.” Another nice choice. Mariah, these songs are so great! I think Jason needs to work more on connecting with the music. He never quite looks like he’s taking any of it seriously.

Favorite of the Night: David Cook
On the Way Out: Brooke (or Syesha)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

thought of the moment, 20: summer?

My slippers have been retired to the closet and replaced with my house flipflops. It's SO HOT!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

AI Top 8

It’s the evening of inspirational songs on Idol, and of course, I am bracing myself for some cheese. I fully intend on crying during tomorrow’s Idol Gives Back event, but I hope tonight isn’t just a cringe-fest. (In fact, how hot would it be if David Cook actually DID sing Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama” or if Syesha took a risk and busted out with En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind”, like EW.com suggests?) And let’s all hope that David Archuleta doesn’t perform “The Greatest Love of All.”

Oh! They switched up the format this year, so the charity event is its own thing, and Thursday, we’ll get an elimination. I think that’s smart.

Michael Johns is up first with “Dream On” by Aerosmith. Good choice, I think, because it’s not something one might have predicted would be sung tonight. I like this. I think he’s finally hitting his stride. Excellent ending, Michael! Randy doesn’t think it was an appropriate choice, but I disagree. And, hold up, how is American Idol NOT about dreams? He sang first, so who knows if he’s guaranteed a spot in the Top 7?

Syesha doesn’t get to talk about herself; she has to talk about Ramiele. That can’t bode well. She’s singing “I Believe” by Fantasia. Another totally obvious, not thought-out choice. She is just uneducated about music, I think, and that ain’t an Idol. (Remember when last year when LaKisha sang a Carrie Underwood song and then a Fantasia song? That was dumb.) She is tied with Kristy Lee for last place on the Power List poll on EW.com (with 1% each as favorite Idol contestant). This song is pretty, but I’m pissed at her choice. I didn’t even watch the season Fantasia won, and I know she sang it better. I’m not even watching this critique; I’ve youtubed Fantasia’s performance.

Jason Castro is singing “Over the Rainbow” a la Israel Kamakawiwo Ole. Lovely choice; lovely performance. And I liked the shot from upstage of the audience. His schtick is solid, but he’s still not winning the competition.

Kristy Lee Cook’s whole story on this show has become about her being or not being in the bottom three. She’s singing “Anyway” by Martina McBride. So far, I’ve been generally impressed with the less obvious choices the contestants have made to sing. I think she is actually improving. Spoke too soon; I think she gets unfocused or something mid-song because the beginning wasn’t bad at all. That wasn’t horrible. I honestly liked it better than Syesha’s performance because at least she thought through her song choice. She’s really strategizing to stay on this show, and I think she can’t be anything but admired for her gumption.

David Cook is still hot. He’s singing “Innocent” by his favorite band Our Lady Peace. The inevitable fall from grace has occurred. It’s in the wrong key for him or something. Not a good song choice. The choir is working real hard though. David knows it wasn’t his best, but Simon agrees that putting “give back” on his hand was a nice thing to do. Funny.

Carly is singing “The Show Must Go On” by Queen. Her makeup looks pretty tonight. She needs to calm down. Simplify. She’s just WORKING. SO. HARD. every week. She lost her way at the end. This could spell disaster for her. (And I typed that before Simon said it. I swear.)

David Archuleta is still cute. He’s singing “Angels” by Robbie Williams at the piano with a steam machine behind him. Is it just me or was he slightly flat the entire intro? The chorus is strong, as is the ending, but I won’t remember this performance as his best.

Brooke is last and she’s singing “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King. An obvious choice that I didn’t even consider. Ha. This is boring and unmoving. Does that make me seem coldhearted?

Favorite of the Night: Honestly, it was Kristy Lee.
On the Way Out: Syesha or Carly, perhaps joined in the bottom three by Michael, just for singing first.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

thought of the moment, 19: poor East Coast girl

S: oh
is that warm? i forget.

AI Top 9

So Kristy Lee Cook is still with us, but we lost Chikezie? What the…? And it’s Dolly Parton week, which I predict means Miss Cook is probably safe. I mean, she hasn’t even been in the bottom three recently.

EW’s Power List has the other Cook FAR ahead of the rest of the contestants this week, which I’m sure doesn’t surprise any of us. I agree with EW that no one should sing “I Will Always Love You” or “9 to 5” tonight. But I’m nearly positive that we’ll hear both.

I love Dolly. Admittedly, I don’t know her catalog that well, but she’s just so lovely; she’s makes me a little weepy.

Brooke White is up first with “Jolene,” which is what EW thought she should sing. Dolly likes her honesty, and I like the fiddle. And Brooke. I think she’s solid. I’m still surprised to hear that husky voice come out of that pretty face every week. My mom agrees with Simon, though, that the performance was flat.

OMG. David Cook cut the hair. I love it. Good for David for giving props where they’re due about all the arrangements he’s performed. He’s doing his own arrangement this week of “Little Sparrow,” and Dolly loves his voice. I can’t even write about this; I think he’s so good. He’s showing a fantastic vocal range, and I think it’s another really smart choice.

Ramiele better not sing “I Will Always Love You.” That’s all I gotta say. OK, good. She’s singing “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind,” but she needs to get kicked off anyway. I just don’t think she’s that good. It was a mostly off-pitch performance. The judges are being more forgiving than I’d be.

Jason Castro is up with “Travelin’ Through,” and he’s singing harmony with Dolly Parton! On her own song! I like Jason; he’s just not going to win this competition. Even though he is super cute. I’m glad he showed a little bit of an edgier sound toward the middle of the song too. (I think Simon’s cranky tonight.)

Carly’s next with “Here You Come Again,” and Dolly actually says that hers was the kind of voice the song was written for. I think she sounds like Celine, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing or not. She’s not moving me anymore and hasn’t for a few weeks, even though it was technically well-sung.

David Archuleta’s up with “Smoky Mountain Memories.” He makes both me and Dolly cry. He is CERTAINLY feeling this song tonight. And we’ve heard passion from him so many times before. Loved it.

Kristy Lee is singing “Coat of Many Colors.” I think she must sense her days are numbered; she was downright disappointed by Dolly’s comment that her mother would be proud of her. This is boring. I wonder if she’s getting votes because she’s pretty. Or does that just work for the boys on this show?

Oh Lord. Syesha’s singing “I Will Always Love You.” She gets so many points against her for picking this song. Bleh. It should be retired from the American Idol catalog forever. Good for her though for not just mimicking Whitney. But this girl has sung both “Yesterday” and this one, so she’s on thin ice for me.

Michael Johns is last this week. Dolly Parton was the first person he ever saw in concert in 1986. Precious. He’s singing “It’s All Wrong, But It’s All Right.” I dig that he’s doing a real bluesy song, and I think this really works for him.

Favorite of the Night: David Archuleta
On the Way Out: Ramiele, for singing the earliest of the weakest singers. I’d be fine if Kristy Lee or Syesha were in danger too.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

AI Top 10

Here’s the scoop for tonight’s “sing a song from the year you were born” show, according to Entertainment Weekly. They don’t want Carly Smithson to sing “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” and they don’t want David Archuleta to sing any Michael Bolton. David Cook is officially first on the Power List audience vote, and “Other” is #3, after David Archuleta. I’m assuming that’s Jason Castro. (Syesha is last.)

Ramiele’s first, which, as we know, means she’s in danger. Carly already sang Heart’s“Alone.” So did Carrie Underwood. Don’t mess. Simon thinks she’s safe. He’s usually right, but I wouldn’t be so sure. Her use of the phrase “went bye bye” on national TV is reason enough for her to be kicked off.

Jason Castro’s baby pictures make me die. He’s singing Sting’s “Fragile”; he’s just so talented. It’s not the best he’s done, but I find him magnetic when he performs. Simon says he sounded like a busker, which I can agree with, but I think he’s certainly safe. I wonder just how overwhelmed he is, though, and how that will continue to affect him for the next 10 weeks.

Syesha’s singing “If I Were Your Woman.” As a side note, I love this song. This is her best performance all season, in my opinion.

Chikezie is up next with “If Only for One Night.” His baby pictures also make me die. I think he needs to break out of the ballad niche, considering that the one night I really noticed him was when he sang “She’s a Woman” and took such a big risk. This is fine, but it’s forgettable. Too old-fashioned, as Randy attests; not original enough, according to Simon. I agree with both.

Brooke White is next with The Police’s “Every Breath You Take.” Her parents look fantastic for having children 25 years old and older. She began and had to start over, but this is a great song choice for her, and I think her piano schtick is serving her nicely. She’s not the most technically great singer in the competition, but I really believe her when she’s singing. She also seems to have learned how to not blab back to the judges. We love that.

Michael Johns is almost 30 and looks exactly like his mother. Entertainment Weekly wanted him to sing Queen! I love when they’re right. Good for him for knowing to return to his star turn during Hollywood Week. He seems back in true form.

Carly Smithson and straightens her hair. She’s singing “Total Eclipse of the Heart”! She’d better kill it. I think she did very well, but there is something about her that just hasn’t sent me the way it did during auditions. I think Simon calling her on being uptight is right on. There is a desperation to her performances that isn’t appealing. She’s good; she needs to relax.

David Archuleta might miss prom because of American Idol. He was born in 1990. That makes me feel 850. He’s singing “You’re the Voice,” which I’ve never even heard of. He’s fine and safe, but this is a weak song choice.

Kristy Lee Cook’s parents look old; I’m confused. She’s singing “God Bless the USA,” and I really don’t think she’s going home this week. I think it was a brilliant and manipulative song choice and she’s certainly sung worse.

David Cook is up last, and I am officially dead from the cuteness of the baby pictures. His mom looks great. He’s singing Chris Cornell’s version of “Billie Jean,” and I just love him for all these alternative versions of classics. I think he’s so smart for doing them week after week! So solid. He might just have a chance of taking that frontrunner status from David A.

Favorite of the Night: David Cook
On the Way Out: Ramiele or maybe Chikezie

Saturday, March 22, 2008

newsy news, vol. II

Today was a huge day:
1. I got bangs for the first time in I-can't-remember-how-many years.
2. I signed a contract to direct the children's production of Alice in Wonderland at the theater this summer. I'm not getting paid as much as I thought I was going to, but I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that this will be a great experience and not the way to make a ton of money. I think I'm OK with that.
3. I'm also teaching an improvisation class to 2nd and 3rd graders starting at the end of March.
4. My Fair Lady is going smashingly well. Most of my students are reading the International Phonetic Alphabet, which is a success in itself.
5. I got a large package from Emerson College, telling me they'd accepted me. It was great news, to say the least after two rejection letters, and I'm very excited by it, albeit slightly anxious about another cross-country move and another new beginning.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

thoughts of the day, 32 and 33: moments from musical theater class

It's always a sign of friendship when people start calling me by my full name, as a nickname.

Hannah Montana is the favorite rock star of a room of 10 year olds. They all answered unanimously when asked.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

AI Top 11

Simon Cowell was on Oprah yesterday. I don’t know how long ago the taping was, but when prodded for his predictions, he said, “The frontrunner is David Archuleta right now, but keep your eyes on Jason Castro, David Cook, and Brooke White.” Lo and behold, when I checked EW.com’s Power List, David Archuleta and Jason Castro were tied, with David Cook and Brooke White very close behind them, in the viewer poll. That Simon is downright psychic…or he’s just really good at his job…or it’s all part of his evil world-domination scheme. Probably all three.

I do enjoy the new opening sequence, I must say. And I love how the globe is shown in that final shot, to instill the idea that the winner will end up conquering the WHOLE WORLD!

Oh god. Kristy Lee Cook is still on this show? I completely forgot about her.

Does anyone really believe there are any “new friends” watching? Doesn’t everyone in the WHOLE WORLD watch this show?

This week they get to sing from the ENTIRE Beatles songbook? How does one even begin to pick?

Amanda Overmeyer is first tonight, and she’s singing “Back in the USSR.” This is the first time it’s sounding like not-great karaoke to me, and I think the fact that she’s singing first is also not boding well for her. In the wise words of Mr. Jackson, it was “just aight fo’me.” I wonder if the truth is that Ms. Overmeyer just doesn’t really want to be there.

Something’s funny with Kristy Lee’s makeup tonight. She looka like a man. Tonight, she’s singing “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” and she admits that she didn’t know it before this competition. Oy. This isn’t horrendous. OK, the beginning wasn’t horrendous. The rest was nigh that. I think she just got unfocused after that first verse because the beginning wasn’t THAT bad. Ryan, speak for yourself. We don’t want you to stick around.

Ohhhh, David Archuleta. He is just too cute. He’s singing “The Long and Winding Road.” It’s unfortunate that he’s pigeon-holing himself to sing these slow, sad songs. I do agree with that previous Simon critique. This is really lovely though. Glad that’s out of the way; I was nervous. He looks relieved too.

(Oh, btw, I tried to buy Carly’s version of “Come Together” from last week on iTunes, under the false understanding that it was her live performance. Those versions aren’t live, and they don’t sound it. Lame.)

Michael Johns is doing “A Day in the Life,” which should be interesting. He just doesn’t move me. And a truncated version of this song doesn’t work either. This feels like a downright bastardization of this song, actually. I bet he’ll get votes for being hot for a few more weeks though.

Brooke White is singing “Here Comes the Sun”? I bet NONE of us could have predicted THAT. I like that the sound of her voice isn’t necessarily what one would expect coming out of that face, but this particular performance isn’t nearly as magical as last week’s. Awkward is the right word. My mom is such a cynic. She’s to the right of me blowing raspberries and calling this crappy. Brooke’s going to have a hard time with some of the themes coming up, I predict.

David Cook’s up next with “Day Tripper,” a la Whitesnake. I love him. He just knows what he’s doing. And he looks sexy as hell doing it. Oh my god, busting out the effects THIS early in the show. Good for him.

Carly Smithson is next with “Blackbird.” She’s good. I honestly have nothing else to write; I didn’t find it moving at all, but I think it was technically well sung. (BTW, Carly was down at #5 or 6 on the EW.com poll. I don’t think she’s all that likeable.) Did Simon just pinch his nipples as he announced he was uncomfortable?

Jason Castro is singing “Michelle,” which EW.com predicted he should sing, so that he will secure his spot as this season’s heartthrob. Good for them. I like this, and his French singing is pretty good too! He just makes funny faces when he sings sometimes.

Syesha should get kicked off the show just because she’s singing “Yesterday.” Seriously. We went through two weeks without hearing it, and now that’s ruined. Her solid voice is overshadowed by the cliché, in my opinion.

Chikezie is singing “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” and he’s playing the harmonica. Cute. But he’s trying to recreate last week, and it just can’t be done.

Ramiele is up last with “I Should Have Known Better.” She’s becoming more forgettable as the competition goes on.

Favorite of the Night: David A.
On the Way Out: Kristy Lee, please, or Ramiele (I imagine Amanda and/or Michael might also be at risk).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

gives me pause

This is just wrong.

AI Top 12

OK ladies and gents (or lydees and jints, since I just came from a rehearsal at which I taught the Cockney dialect), here we go again. The 2nd annual American Idol live-blogging. Of course, don’t tell anyone, but I’m actually watching a DVR recording of the show. I would do this tomorrow, after sleeping, but I know that would disappoint my loyal fanbase.

Who’s excited about the Lennon-McCartney songbook being available to the contestants tonight? I AM! But does that mean that no one can sing “Here Comes the Sun” or “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” because George Harrison wrote those?

Ryan’s hair sure looks cute. Ooh, it’s a new opening sequence! Fancy! Wow! The band is up top; that’s fun! Mom says it looks like a theme park. It’s like they’re performing at Epcot every night. But mostly, I like Ryan’s hair.

Oh my God. Look at David Archuleta’s face as he walks toward his adoring crowd! I wanna squish him.

Hold up. Are they not even mentioning the other Beatles? That’s a little lame.

Please, just no one sing “Yesterday.”

Syesha’s up first and her family photos are darned cute. She’s singing “Got to Get You Into My Life,” and she’s nervous. But I like the brass and her hair. Just not her flat notes. 2nd verse was almost better; I think she mostly needs to relax. She ended pretty big, but I always guess that singing first is the kiss of death. Mom says “she’s cute but not that solid.” I agree. Simon saw the nerves too. I love when he and I notice the same thing.

Chikezie is up next and I heart his argyle vest and lime green tie. Apprently, Paula is very good at the airport. I believe that. Chikezie is a sweetheart. The end. He’s singing “She’s a Woman,” and what a departure for him. This is fascinating. I loved the beginning a lot; then I got confused. He seems relaxed though and I’m kind of mesmerized. I’m glad Simon liked it too; I’ve got to admit I was nervous. SHOW ME THE MONEY, ANYONE?

How does Ramiele follow that? I’m glad she’s not singing “Yesterday.” I bet that shout-out before “In My Life” was for Danny. She’s good, but I think she sounds like a Disney character, and it bores me. She gets points for picking one of the most beautiful Lennon-McCartney songs ever. Coherent advice from Paula, for once, and Simon thinks she can do better.

Jason Castro is so pretty, and he’s singing “If I Fell.” Everyone keeps talking about “Yesterday,” and I keep getting scared they’re all going to sing it. I wonder how far he’ll go on this soft-spoken, guitar strumming schtick. I generally like it, but I’m not sure it’ll win him the competition. And also, he makes funny faces when he sings high notes. I love it when Simon is both complimentary and constructive. It’s the best.

Carly is next. She’s one of my top two favorites, but I sense a bit of a diva in her. I dig “Come Together” for her, and I like her story and her fancy accent. Oh man, she’s great. I got a little teary and a little bit chilled. That’s the first time this season that’s happened, I think. (Part of that is because I watched David A.’s performance of “Imagine” on YouTube.)

David Cook is singing “Eleanor Rigby” next. Remember how Blake Lewis made my ankles sweat last year? This year, it’s David C. AND HE WEARS SPARKLY BLUE NAIL POLISH. Even better. I’m not sure this song should be messed with; it’s just not an arena anthem. I don’t think it was the best choice for him tonight. I miss the violins. All the judges appreciated the rock edge, but it didn’t sit right with me.

Brooke White is up, and she’s singing “Let it Be,” while playing the piano. This is lovely. Simple, pretty, solid (for the most part). And she’s crying, which we all know will get her votes. How much do we love Ryan for grabbing her shoes from under the piano?

David Hernandez was a stripper at a male club, in case you haven’t heard. He didn’t mention that in his interview though. He’s singing “I Saw Her Standing There.” This isn’t doing anything for me. His big notes are good, but something about him isn’t moving me. In short, meh.

Amanda is next. I like that we’re getting a better sense of the contestants in interviews this week. She’s singing “You Can’t Do That,” which I don’t believe I’ve ever heard. (Entertainment Weekly wanted her to sing “I Want You.” Wouldn’t that have been hot?) I secretly really like Amanda. I think her chill vibe is a refreshing factor to this whole phenomenon and she’s totally true to herself every week. Plus, I think she’s just a good musician. She’s downright GRINNING this week. We haven’t seen that yet. (Everyone, just stop fighting all the time. Jeez.)

Michael Johns is hot but in a really generic unmoving way. He’s singing “Across the Universe,” which I think is a brilliant choice. He’s a pro. This is my favorite performance of his so far this season. The great song probably helps. Randy said “tooken.” That upsets me. And Simon didn’t remember Carly’s name. Equally upsetting.

Kristy kickboxes. She’s also pretty and changing “Eight Days a Week” into a country song. Snooze. Mom says, “I haven’t liked her from the first week.” I hope she’s out. The judges weren’t down with it either.

That means David Archuleta is next and last. Cross your fingers he doesn’t sing “Yesterday.” (He’s the other of my top two favorites, in case you hadn’t guessed.) He only knows Stevie’s version of “We Can Work It Out.” Three cheers for no one singing “Yesterday”! OH NO! He forgot the WORDS! MORE THAN ONCE! I think his nerves have overwhelmed him. Oh man. I had a feeling he would lose his foothold a bit. It was inevitable. That is so sad!

Favorite of the Night: Carly, closely followed by Chikezie
On the Way Out: I hope it’s Kristy AND NOT DAVID A. Wouldn’t be surprised if it was Syesha or Ramiele though.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Saturday, March 8, 2008

fo shiz ma niz

Snoop Dogg's reality TV show Father Hood was playing on one of the TVs in front of the treadmills at the gym this morning. I watched most of an episode on Closed Captioning and found myself spontaneously laughing out loud more than once.

First, Snoop's maid quit and he demanded that his three kids clean up their own mess. His oldest son, Cordell, said he'd clean if his dad beat him at a push-up challenge. Cordell did 19; Snoop determinedly did 22 and then looked like he was about to pass out.

The rest of the episode followed Snoop as he tried to figure out how to stop being so stressed out. He even went to the doctor, which he admittedly hates and fears, and proceeded to completely wimp out when the prospect of getting blood drawn was introduced. Then, he and his huge (and tiny-voiced) body guard went to a yoga class(!) It was around here that I started laughing out loud in the gym. Oh man.

I left the treadmills as Snoop was about to get acupuncture from a blind doctor.

I might have to check this show out again.

Monday, March 3, 2008

thought of the moment, 18: out of practice

I have more anxiety about driving to it than about the presentation itself.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

this is special

She ended up runner-up.

thought of the moment, 17: irony

"Rejected" comes out "Selected" in T9 mode on my cell phone.

it's a negatory

I've officially been rejected by the Berkeley Ph.D. program. I was fully expecting this, having not heard a peep from them since they got my application packet in December, and realizing that my application and proposals would have demanded an awful lot of departmental support that they may not have been able to provide.

They filled 5 spots, after 89 applied, so I'm sure I was among good applicants that got rejected.

That certainly narrows the field, even though I didn't expect to be accepted.

Friday, February 29, 2008

i shouldn't complain

I just watched an episode of Jon and Kate Plus 8 about their plane trip to Utah. My 5 hour delays are nothing compared to the nightmare they endured--a 14-hour trip from Pennsylvania to Salt Lake: a re-route to Boise, Idaho when the Salt Lake airport was closed twice, traveling with two 7-year-olds and six 3 1/2-year-olds.

I got nothing on that.

Exhaustin' Austin

It was a jam-packed couple of days. I was on campus from 9-5 both days, had 5 interviews, and sat in on probably 6 or 8 classes, all of which I really loved. I was particularly affected by a class called Application to Improv, where the teacher really just sort of let the class run on its own. She admitted she had no idea where it would have gone that day, and I was genuinely moved by that and where, in the end, the class ended up going. Plus, then we sat around in a circle and TALKED about what we liked and didn't like about what we had just done. No judgement. It felt novel and special, and it had just been such a long time since I was in a classroom like that. I also got to sit in on two classes taught by current MFA third-year students, both of which were acting classes for undergraduate non-majors. Again, I was struck by the game-ness of the students and the care of the teachers. It seems to be an incredibly supportive and productive environment, and that was exciting for me.

It's never easy to tell how you're doing in an interview. The faculty I talked to seemed perplexed by my choice of applying to the school, so that makes me wary. Apparently, I'll hear about acceptance within the next week(!)

Other than my experiences on campus, it was an odd couple of days. I stayed in a pretty crummy motel, off I-35, within about 20 minutes of campus on foot. It was definitely nice to be able to walk to and from where I was staying, but every time I came back to the hotel, there seemed to be more and more furniture in the parking lot. Literally, armoires and TVs and mirrors, like they must have been gutting the rooms. I kept expecting all my stuff to be gone when I got back to mine.

Tuesday night, I was exhausted and ordered food in for dinner. It took 1 1/2 hours for it to arrive and, when it finally did, I ended up having to eat my minestrone soup with a fork. It did feel particularly indulgent to be in bed at 8 and eating pizza. Almost like I was on vacation. I discovered that I didn't have FOX, so I missed both days of American Idol and ended up really bottom-feeding by watching The Salt N' Pepa Show, Celebrity Rehab, and The Rock of Love 2 with Bret Michaels. Even I felt kind of guilty about that. Oh, I also woke up on Wednesday, mysteriously chewed up by some kind of insect.

Texas TV is funny. I happened upon a show called Seniorcise (I kid you not), where an old woman was leaning on a chair, calling out calisthenics, in her Southern accent. I had to watch for a while, I found it so fascinating. And Brangelina visiting some TX county made the nightly news.

Wednesday night, I was able to explore the nightlife a little more, with the help of a buddy from NYC and his cousin. We had Mexican food and then parked it at a local bar for hours. The toy vending machines at the restaurant sold things like Jesus Christ tattoos and Glow Crosses on strings. I had to have a cross, naturally.

My travel day yesterday was pretty much a disaster. I was woken up before my alarm at 530 AM and told that my flight had been canceled but that I was booked on a later flight on a different airline. All fine. Got to the airport early, finally boarded, and sat on the tarmac for 1 1/2 hours. There was a computer issue on the plane and instead of just giving us another one, they canceled THIS flight. Luckily, most of us were able to get on the very next flight out, but I had a 2 1/2 hour layover in LA (where I consumed Burger King for the first time in probably more than 10 years and felt horrible about it). It took me 5 more hours than it should have to get home. And this was on about 3 hours of sleep. Oh, plus, I got secondarily screened in Austin. Frisked and everything, and they went through my very exciting backpack, full of sordid items like a book, a journal, and a magazine. Even the attendants were like...is this all you have? Ha. I expected I would sleep most of the flight from LA to SLO, but I couldn't keep my eyes off the cloud cover in Southern California. It seriously looked like hills of snow, and once in a while, I'd see really shimmery sections of clouds and couldn't figure out what they were--maybe rain? Of course, we continued to fly north, and the shimmery parts were ocean water. It was a seriously stunning optical illusion.

I'm happy to be back in Cali. And I think the trip, in general, went well. I was struck particularly by the students, who all seemed content to be there and really bright. They felt like Berkeley students, frankly, and I think I could probably have fit right in to the group.

We shall see in a week or so.