i have a question...

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.