AHH! I can’t handle how cool this is!
Category Archives: Uncategorized
Medieval Times Knights
I had never been to Medieval Times and didn’t really know what to expect, but I ended up very impressed with these dudes who play the knights in the show! At first I just thought, “Man, this is the ultimate drama nerd job,” but then I started to realize what a crazy amount of work and training there must be. Endless fight choreo, tricks with various weapons, working with/riding on/doing tricks on horses, and the show is about two hours long! It was cray. It must be so exhausting and physically demanding (but I’m sure also really fun). Cheers to them.
The Actors Fund
I heard about The Actors Fund’s services through some friends and went to an orientation to check it out. I was so delightfully surprised to hear about how many free services they offer. They have a huge program devoted to getting day jobs as well as money management and budgeting, therapy services, assistance with health insurance, and so on. Not only that, but the Fund also services anyone who works in the entertainment industry– not just actors. Check them out here.
I adore the Bitter Gertrude blog so so much. Melissa Hillman covers challenging, relevant issues in the arts as well as hilarious theatre nerdery. Many of her posts are incredibly insightful and like well-written academic theses– in the intelligent point of view and explication kind of way, not in the boring kind of way. She wrote a great one a few days ago about the current state of small theatres in America. DEF CHECK HER OUT.
Olallieberry Puff at The Buttery
This is seriously my favorite thing in the entire world and it brings me inexplicable joy. Unfortunately it’s all the way up in Santa Cruz. I could eat this every day of my life.
I spent one of my Fridays in October in the jury duty waiting room (not inspirational), and during my lunch break I was enjoying the sunshine in the nearby park and saw this girl playing the violin (very inspirational!). She was at the exit of Civic Center/Grand Park metro rail station. It brightened by day so much and gave me so many good feels.
She was incredible. I think we miss out on some of these random acts of street performance living in a city/culture that doesn’t opt for public transportation. It absolutely brightened my less than awesome mood. Thank you, Violin Girl!
I had a lovely conversation with Brian Sonia-Wallace in October about theatre. He makes the types of I would love to do if I wasn’t scared– socially-charged, sometimes site-specific, Augusto Boal-influenced… to call it “unconventional theatre” or “avant garde” is to degrade it. We talked about how to make theatre a gift for people by asking what stories do people NEED to be receiving, in a shaman-esque way. I so want to be a shaman for my art. He is so full of joy every time I see him and has so many awesome ideas for new projects that I can’t wait to see come to fruition. His passion for theatre reignites mine, and these kind of convos remind me of being in drama school when everyone’s brains were so full of new ideas and possibilities… I want to hold on to that feeling as much as possible. To follow his projects (which you should!), sign up for his mailing list by clicking here.
Tsujita Ramen Annex
I should really start putting more food on here, because food perfection is incredibly inspirational to me. Food is totally an artform, and I feel a kinship with chefs/restaurateurs. Good food is created from an inspired idea and carefully sourced ingredients– just like good film and theatre. Anyway, it seems like the Annex is a smaller version of the more renowned Tsujita, and daaaaaaaym do they have good ramen. The noodles are more al dente than I’m used to, but I know that’s their jam and maybe it’s actually more legit. The broth is simply phenomenal. Sorry, Santouka. I loved you so, but you have been deliciously replaced.
Walk It Out/Gwen Verdon Mash-Up
One of my favorite things ever that I blissfully rediscovered (and a delight for any musical theatre nerd)– an oldie but a goodie from the mid-2000’s, now housed on Funny or Die:
I was watching tv with composer extraordinaire Alex Williamson the other day and the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie was on. I’d never seen it before and we talked about how a lot of the feedback about the version that came out this summer had been that they don’t like the CGI of the turtles, it’s too much of an action movie, some shit about how the nostrils don’t look right,… anyway, whatever, I don’t really care, BUT, it got me thinking about what Plato has to say about art and if that might be why people are always so grumpy about remakes of classic movies, books, etc.
Stay with me here, but do you remember Plato’s Republic and the rant about chairs? Drama nerds and lit/humanities students will know what I’m talking about. There’s a section where Plato discusses art versus truth, and explains that art is extremely untruthful because it’s so far from it’s original truth of the concept which the art is about. With the chair example, here would be the hierarchy (from most truthful to least truthful):
- The idea of “chair” (purest form of chair)
- An actual physical chair (twice removed from chair-ness)
- The absolute WORST = some sort of art about a chair– a drawing, poem, etc. Bleh! He says that this is the worst level of imitation (his antithesis of truth) because it is a “copy of a copy.”
Of course most of what Plato has to say about art here in Republic is cray (like the idea that art is terrible and worthless because of it’s imitative-ness, WHICH, is awkward because Republic is merely words written down that are an imitation of his actual ideas… but anyway, that’s a diatribe for another day), but the apparent TNMT disappointment got me thinking about these concepts of imitation and truth and how people are almost always disappointed by remakes. So many movie-goers (myself included) are tired of seeing a bajillion sequels and remakes all the time rather than getting new, fresh, interesting stories. Not only that, but there’s an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” situation with a lot of these classics being remade– making a reboot that’s less than can desecrate the original. Is this because these copies of copies are getting at our inner Plato spirit? That these remakes and sequels are taking us further and further away from the “true” story? I’m sure Plato would not be down with the blockbuster schedules for the next few summers.
Plato was not a fan of the arts in general, but I think I have to agree with him on some level about this. Let’s treasure our originals and go make some kick-ass new stuff.
I already talked about it last month, but now it is actually open (as of last night!) and if you are in Los Angeles, you should treat yo self to this incredible drama. I worked on the AD team and marketing team for this show and love supporting Mr. Vince Melocchi and new works in general. As I mentioned last month, working on this has been so incredible because everyone who worked on this show gives a shit SO MUCH about making good theatre, and that makes me want to explode with love. Our official blurb is: “As the economy falls apart, military recruiters are offering paychecks and school tuition with the promise of a better life. But at what cost? Nice Things explores the changing and diminishing options now available for young men and women in small town America.”
Since my month was very busy getting this amazing play off the ground, it was my big, month-long inspiration. But, I will leave you with this, which is inspiring in it’s own way:
This Buzzfeed article:
I totally cried while watching these. Not from being sad, but from the sheer joy and gratitude that there are people out there working in musical theatre who are so profoundly talented (and I know perfect is an ugly word, but, seriously, perfect):
If you haven’t seen Cheyenne Jackson in action, you must do so immediately.
Hollyshorts Film Festival:
Film festival season! I volunteered for the Hollyshorts Film Festival in Hollywood in August and got to see a bunch of great shorts. A few I really liked were The Council and Interstate. The Council is by AFI alumni Beau McCombs and Nich Musco and had great visuals and a wonderful, charming story. IMDB does a better job of explaining it: “While talking to the girl of his dreams, Theo gets an Idea for a joke. At this moment we go INSIDE Theo’s brain and follow this Bright Idea as he fights past Insecurities to get to The Council Chamber so he may be approved to be said out loud.” It’s super cute. They took such a great idea and executed it perfectly. And, my fellow B-Lo native, Michael Beardsley, makes an appearance! You can see a trailer of The Council here. I also really enjoyed Interstate by Camille Stochitch, which is about a driving instructor who helps illegal immigrants get licenses and is put in a compromising situation where… well, why don’t you just see it for yourself. 🙂 It was sweet yet heart-wrenching yet topical story that was very well done.
The Pet Matchmaker:
Through a panel at the Hollyshort Festival I became aware of Elaine Hendrix’s foundation, The Pet Matchmaker. If you’re from my generation, you’ve surely seen Elaine in gems like the reboot of The Parent Trap and, one of my personal favorites, Superstar (which I totally own on VHS). The Pet Matchmaker is a non-profit whose mission is, “to foster happy, healthy relationships between people and their rescue pets.” I love animals and have a rescue kitty myself, so I am very passionate about this organization. If you’ve been thinking about adopting, check them out now!
Making Your Life as an Artist:
I came across this amazing e-book called “Making Your Life as an Artist” by Andrew Simonet. The PDF is FREE to download at www.artistsu.org/making. OMG. This made my heart so happy. I highly, highly recommend this for any and all people who have chosen to devote their lives to something creative. This is all stuff we really need to hear because it reminds us of how important we are to the world and helps right some really rampant and unhelpful mindset issues.
Lastly I just want to give a shout-out to Rogue Machine and give some love to the theatre. I love theatre. I will always love theatre. Right now I’m fortunate to be assistant directing/helping with producing for Nice Things by Vince Melocchi at Rogue Machine Theatre. This whole process just reminds me why I LOVE working on new works so much and how crazy satisfying and energizing it is to be all working together towards the goal of telling a story in the best way possible. We have fun, but everyone takes it really seriously, and I love that. I’ve been in a mishmash of theatre out here and it feels so incredible to work with people who have SOOOOO much respect for the artform. You best check it out. I have a feeling this show will be on my list next month. 🙂 Tickets available soon at www.roguemachinetheatre.com.
Bernstein and Gershwin at the Hollywood Bowl
Lovely concert of the LA Philharmonic doing songs of Bernstein and Gershwin. This hit such a sweet spot in my musical theatre girl heart. I am such a nerd for both of those composers. There was a great surprise performance by Alysha Umphress, who’s apparently going to be in a Broadway production of On the Town soon, of “I Can Cook, Too.” She was just great. What an excellent job. Watch out for her. I am so picky about musical theatre singers (well, probably just singers in general, too 😉 ) and she just does it right. SUCH great control. Anyway, yes, the rest of the music was lovely as well! Bramwell Tovey was incredibly charming and confident as the conductor. It felt amazing to be in the presence of someone with such immense respect for this music. Hearing “Rhapsody in Blue” performed live was definitely a bucket list thing for me and made me cry a lot with tears of overwhelm for the beauty and the drama of it all.
I started watching this show in July and now am completely obsessed. Tatiana Maslany is the bomb dot com. Absolute baller hall of fame. Check it out on Amazon Prime immediately.
I wasn’t always sure about what was going on during Rogue Machine’s production of Penelope by Enda Walsh, but as usual the Rogues do not let me down when it comes to top notch actors. Hanging around theatres like this inspire me because it aligns with my career goal, which is to be a working actor in both theatre AND film/tv. Brian Letscher, who is on Scandal, was one of the main characters in this play, and in the talkback spoke on acting in both mediums and how he’s drawn to doing theatre even if he has a paying gig because it’s such fun work and so rewarding. Also, he tweeted me right back after I tweeted that he did a great job in the show, so… I have a crush on him now.
I am fortunate to be an Associate Member of the Theatre Producers League of Los Angeles, and to be a part of conversations about strengthening the Los Angeles theatre community, the theatre we make, and how we represent ourselves. In July we had a member meeting to discuss some committees and initiatives we want to work on and some standards and best practices we want to put into place for companies in Los Angeles. It was so exciting to be in a room with so many talented, conscientious, passionate theatre-makers. You can find out more about us here: www.tpl-la.com
The Blind Date Project
Produced by Andrew Carlberg and starring Bojana Novakovic. This is (kind of) site-specific theatre where the show is in a bar and Bojana and a select, handsome, known-ish actor (different guy very show) meet to have an improvised blind date in front of the audience. The fact that Bojana creates a completely different character for every show is amazing. It’s very intense to watch (definitely exciting and sometimes stressful!) and is a WORKOUT for those actors. I would absolutely recommend that any and all LA actors go see this because it is such a lesson in listening, being in the moment, not getting in your own way, and basically everything you need to learn as an actor. They have shows most Wednesdays at the Three Clubs in Hollywood. More details about it on their Facebook page.
What did you see/do in July that inspired you?