i have a question...

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.

Monday, February 25, 2008

thought of the day, 31: seriously planning ahead

I head off to Austin in a couple hours and the thought occurred to me last night that if my luggage doesn't reach me in Austin, I'd be totally S.O.L.

So I just packed a very full carry-on bag, with a set of interview-appropriate clothes, almost all my toiletries, my resumes, magazine, and book.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

AI Top 24: Ladies

I wasn't particularly blown away by anyone tonight. And yet, here are the ladies' performances, in order of my preference:

Syesha Mercado--up until her last note or two, "Tobacco Road" was fun and consistent. I didn't cringe during it, at least.
Carly Smithson--is a very close 2nd, with "The Shadow of Your Smile."
Alexandrea Lushington--surprised me with "What Goes Up." She seemed confident and sang well, despite obvious illness.
Alaina Whitaker--also blasted through us not knowing her at all from auditions with a very solid "More Today than Yesterday."
Ramiele Malubay's "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" was not as good as I wanted it to be.
Asia'H Epperson sang "Piece of my Heart" with confidence but something about how she pronounced the words irked me, and she struck me as potentially inconsistent.
Brooke White is lovely and did a fine "Happy Together."
Amanda Overmeyer sticks out like a sore thumb, but I hope we see more of her, after her odd but on-pitch "Baby, Please Don't Go."
Joanne Borgella is beautiful and I wanted her to bust out, but her "Say a Little Prayer" left me unmoved.
Another three-way tie for last place with Kristy Lee Cook's "Rescue Me," which was sung solidly but unimpressively, Kady Malloy's horribly flat "Groovy Kind of Love," and Amy Davis's disastrous "Where the Boys Are." In fact, I left the room during Amy's song...

My predictions for eliminations are Kady, Amy (although she might get votes for being pretty), Jason, and Garrett.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Unending Joys of Youtubing

This is why I love Sesame Street.

some notes on tonight's AI

Because it was requested and I do have time tonight, here are my thoughts on the first performances of Season 7 of Idol. (Not sure how often I'll be able to do this; next week, I'll be in Austin, so I won't be posting. Then, rehearsals start. Etc.)

BUT, these are the performances, in order of my preference:
David Archuleta--with "Shop Around." He has such control; I think he's going to go very far. And goodness, he's adorable, isn't he?
Jason Castro--we haven't seen him at all in the audition footage, but his lovely version of "Daydream" was definitely memorable and would have been even if he had sung earlier in the show.
Michael Johns--certainly wins the Hottie of the Season Award. Good solid "Light My Fire," albeit nothing special per se.
David Hernandez--was burdened with singing first and I initially had him much lower on my list. But this was a solid, controlled version of "Wait Till the Midnight Hour."
David Cook--I just dig this guy's vibe. He did well with "Happy Together," and his smile kills me a little.
Danny Noriega--his "Jailhouse Rock" was OK. Honestly, I'm not sure how well a contestant who is so fey will do in the competition.
Robbie Carrico--did fine with "One." I think he has a good ear, but I wasn't particularly moved.
Colton Berry--a fair "Suspicious Minds."
Chikezie--is a cutie, but I heartily agreed that his version of "More Today than Yesterday" was far too old-fashioned.
I think it's a three-way tie between Jason Yeager's "Moon River," which was just cheesy, Luke Menard's weak whatever it was he sang, and Garrett Haley's pretty pathetic version of "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" for worst of the night.

I'm eager to hear the girls.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I am a Pop Culture Genius, Vol. VI: The Deadwood Edition

This weekend, K came to visit and brought the entire first season of Deadwood. Aside from being one of the best acted and written series I've seen in a long time, it was pretty much a jackpot for use of my useless trivia. I think every male character actor that anyone has ever had a hard time placing makes an appearance in the series.

I recognized the actor playing Dan as Warren from There's Something about Mary; a tiny cameo by the guy who played the superintendent on Friends; another tiny cameo by the guy who played Joey Potter's dad on Dawson's Creek; a two-episode plotline featured Veronica Mars herself; the dad from Boy Meets World plays Alma's father in a couple episodes; and this guy is all over the place, but I still always recognize him from Square One TV. Anyone else remember THAT show?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

first taste of Idol this year

For those of you who are already watching and are, like me, anticipating a great season of Idol this year, please check out more from one of the cutest contenders for the top 24: David Archuleta.

Watch all the clips. Or at least the first one. And the fourth. Incredible.

Keep a look out for my recaps, starting with the top 12.

Friday, February 8, 2008

i'm famous!

As most of you know, I'm a pretty devoted reader of EW.com. I especially enjoy their Popwatch Blog, and the writing on the internet magazine has greatly influenced this blog, especially my American Idol writings.

There is a column on the Popwatch Blog called Popwatch Confessions, in which readers are challenged with questions and asked for their own theories, embarrassing stories, lists of favorites, etc. I comment on this column now and then, and my first official comment has been published in one of their Readers 'Fess Up Photo Galleries!!

Check it out!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

the subject was "pleased to inform you"

I've officially been offered an interview at UT Austin. 26 applicants, and only 8 have been called for an interview.

Apparently, the faculty unanimously agreed I should meet with them.


Friday, February 1, 2008

newsy news

Here is a brief but thorough update of recent happenings in my California life:

1. I have officially lost 10 pounds since the doctor I went to in August told me to.
2. I have also recently joined the gym.
3. I have postponed trying to find a day job, in anticipation of the serious projects on my horizon: mostly dialect coaching My Fair Lady.
4. I recently interviewed for a director position at the theater--I would be in charge of running the Academy of Creative Theater production class, which is a 10-week class for 20 kids, ages 6-16, culminating in a 2-weekend run at the end of the summer. I proposed working on The Little Prince, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and The Little Princess.
5. I also expressed interest in teaching one or more of the conservatory classes at the theater this summer.
6. Tech for the play I'm dialect coaching right now starts tomorrow. I have yet to figure out if I'm needed there.
7. I've become an unofficial TA in the musical theater classes my mother is running--grades 2-4 are working on "Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead," and grades 6-8 are working on the theme song from Fame.