29 September 2004

Acting for Singers, or "How I learned to love group therapy"

So I'm in this acting class. Basically, the teacher (who is awesome) helps me, as a singing actor, discover what my strengths and weaknesses are on stage. The strengths are pointed out, and then quickly 'put away.' That is, they are already strong, so they don't need to be practiced. The weak areas are then drawn out into the open, and I am forced to work on them week in and week out. It is the equivalent of having a really really blistered sunburn and having someone slap it really really hard. Over and over and over. But eventually, it heals, and you realize that the pain didn't kill you like you thought it would.

The class is comprised of about a dozen performers. We meet for 4-4.5 hours every Tuesday in a nifty little playhouse in the theater district. We are of mixed gender, race and upbringing. Yet, we are all so human. One person learns to be vulnerable, while another works on being manipulative. We all have our walls and we all have emotions that are second nature to us.

The thing with acting is, especially in a scene that makes us feel uncomfortable, is that the brain doesn't know that it's fake. It still feels real and scary. But, with practice, your brain and body get to realize that they are not in mortal danger. For example: it is hard for me to play really vulnerable roles. I think that this is because I am 1. not used to it and 2. It is an area in my personal life that I don't let too many people see. Therefore, to have to open my heart and guts up on stage, literally makes me feel like I am going to die. It can be that painful...or at least, used to feel that painful. It is an acting color that I am getting better at accessing.

What makes good actors? I think that good 'acting' happens when an actor acknowledges the part of them that is part of their character. I mean, as humans, we are capable of any and every emotion and action that is in any play, movie, song or tale. Why is Anthony Hopkins sooo convincing, scary and creepy as Hannibal Lector? It is because he has found, deep down, the part of himself that enjoys being a cannibal. We all have access to all of these emotions...and we all have the capacity to enjoy them all. That's what makes good acting, is being able to access these. Because of our lives, upbringings, experiences, some emotions are just easier to call up than others. But, in reality, they are all there.

I love playing 'mad' or 'crazy' people. Drunken fortune tellers, old maids, and greedy aunts come easy to me. What is difficult is someone who, in reality, is closer to my own self. Why? Because my brain can't tell the difference between my life and the life on stage. Not yet, anyways. But the times, they are a changin'.

22 September 2004

Friendster, aka, making out with your friends

So, because I am an insomniac at times (shouldn't have had that last cup of coffee), and because my roommate is already asleep (and I don't wish to rouse him), I am on the net. I have recently re-introduced myself to my friendster account, after a long hiatus. Friendster is fascinating. It's the whole 'Kevin Bacon 6 degrees of separation" thing, but with normal, non-celebrity people. I have found old friends, current friends, and maybe even some new friends. In this respect, "Friend"ster lives up to its name.

It's kind of strange, though, when you find your current friends on this thing. It's like you get to see a secret side to them. It would be similar to, say, reading their personal ad on Match.com or something. Perhaps their name even came up as a match for you, and you're thinking "No way! But we're just friends! Could we really be . . . lovers?" (Much gnashing of teeth and kissing of pillow quickly follow). A little strange, perhaps, but let's be realistic. The whole 'harry meeting sally' thing. You're lying to yourself if you say that you've not thought about making out with your 'platonic' friends. We're just wired that way.


I didn't end up eating a real dinner tonight. I ate lunch at around 3:30pm. I'm usually not around weekday nights, for various and sundry reasons, but tonight I was. My roomie came home and was all "wow. we're actually home at the same time." We ended up spending an enjoyable evening watching the Giants beat the tar out of the Astros. I normally don't enjoy watching baseball on tv, but since I am a newly gung-ho giants fan, and because I have an awesome espn-worthy announcer who just happens to live in the second bedroom, I have to admit I had fun watching tonight. Dinner consisted of beer (A guinness for me, 3 "censored" ales for him) and a few bites of trail mix. Perhaps not the healthiest of dinners, but definately aided our conversation. As far as I'm concerned, he's the the bomb.

Tomorrow, I'm off to an Italian dinner. I can't wait to speak Italian. It's been far too long.

21 September 2004

pour que tu m'aimes encore

de temps en temps, je trouve qu'il est necessaire pour moi d'ecrire en francais. pour les raisons non specifie, c'est plus facile pour moi de m'exprimer moi-meme en francais qu'en anglais. le francais a un certain 'je ne sais quoi' pour moi. si tu es entrain de lire ce 'blog' il faut que tu m'excuse, parce qu'il n'exist pas des accents sur ce site. alors, sa cree les fautes de la grammaire. tant pis.

je cherche quelqu'un. je cherche quelqu'un avec lequel je peux rire, parler, danser, embrasser. c pas une demande trop difficile, n'est-ce pas? pourquoi donc c'est si difficile a trouver? peut-etre c'est la ville de SF? ou parce que je ne merite pas un homme? non, ce n'est pas ces choses la. pour moi, il existe une personne qui m'attends, mais nous ne nous etendons pas (pas encores).

helas. que dois-je fasse? j'ai aucune idee, mais je suis fatigue en attendant ce monsieur. alors. on verra. un jour, je gagnerai, je le sais. mais avant ca, j'essaye d'etre content avec ma vie, mes amis et ma famille. Dieu me donne la patience duquel j'en ai besoin.

20 September 2004

weekend mix part 2

wow. i have had an awesome weekend, full of music, culture and laughter. so, friday i got to hang out with my friend sylvia, who is from germany. we had some dinner and rented the movie 'das experiment' which was freaky...and apparantly based on a true story? not sure...but it was an experiment in human behavior...and things went terribly wrong. i suggest you rent it, if you're in the mood to be weirded out.
but, it was cool to hang w/sylvia and talk about differences in german and american culture. that is always fun to connect with people from far lands..hee.
saturday, i explored uc berkeley w/my friend beth. it was beautiful! i can't believe i had never been. we stumbled upon the botanical gardens. they are amazing! if beth wasn't married, and if i were gay, then it would have been the perfect date! gorgeous flowers from all over the world, a cloudless warm day, and the berkeley hills all added up to the perfect atmosphere for a date (future suitors, take note that it only cost us $8, total, for entrance and parking).
then, saturday night, i went to the Greek Festival down on Valencia street. wow. greek men are very nice to look at. i had so much fun at the festival...i really hadn't know what it was going to be like. there was food, wine, dancing. the dancing was fabulous...everyone in circles holding hands or shoulders doing these intricate grapevine like dances. my friend az and i just hopped on in, managing to nail the steps just as that particular song come to an end. it was the most fun i've had in a looooong time.
then, finally, today was now and zen. a late summer institution here in the city, and always a good time. howie day, dashboard confessional, and tears for fears! hello...they are still amazing after all those years. morrisey had to cancel last minute, due to illness, but really, that was fine with me. although, we met this cool guy named jon, who had driven with 4 friends all the way from sacramento to see morrisey, and when M cancelled, jon's friends all demanded a refund, ane elected to spend the day touring the city. meanwhile, jon decided to stay, alone, at the concert. we invited him to share our blanket, and continued to rock-out the rest of the afternoon. it was great.

17 September 2004


i am diva.

hear me roar.

like a peacock, i primp.

like a lion, i strut.

and like a lamb, i quiver.

but like an elephant, i remember.

and like a hyena, i laugh.

it's a jungle out there!

the aria

so i'm working on this aria for an audition, and i'm just hitting a wall with it all. it's about a young girl in russia, living with her psycho aunt and trapped in this big mansion during the winter months with nothing to do but soak and lie in her misery.

i'm having trouble connecting with her character.

or, at least, part of it. i live in CA...none of those frozen russian winters. and, my aunt isn't certifiable.

what i can understand and connect to, though, frightens me. and because of the fear, i hold it even farther away from me, until i can't connect to it. and this is frustrating, because i want to break through that wall as an actor. but my mind and body do not yet understand the concept that it would be acting, not really happening, therefore it all feels to real and i 'could get hurt'


so, what am i afraid of? i'm afraid that i am going to turn into that crazy old woman, who has been waiting for 40 years for her lover to return to her. only to have his son return, impregnate my niece and run off with me anyways. (well, that last sentence is a stretch....)

seriously. i don't want to be an old maid. i don't want the winter to come so soon. i already feel it happening, to some extent. i just can't fight off the feeling that i am alone.

you know babies that don't get enough affection? that aren't held enough or patted or loved on? that's what i feel like. i mean, i know that my family loves me, and i have awesome friends here. but, my family is far away. most of my friends here are not 'touchy feely' types. i just would like a hug every now and then, is that too much to ask?

there is nothing more comforting than a good hug. it can ease stress faster than you can say 'bikram yoga.' but, can one really solicit hugs? maybe with certain people. i have some people i could do that with, but they live in 30 minutes to an hour away.
and my roommate is awesome, but we are newly coed roommates, in a platonic way, and we don't really do that. maybe one day....but how pathetic....'uh..dude, could i have a hug?' and have him scream, run off out the door 'cause he thinks his roommate is freaking out on him. i don't think that's gonna happen, but you never know.

so, here is my advice to all of you crazy people reading this. go hug your roommates, friends, parents, pets, or heck, even a stranger if that floats your boat. i guarantee it will make their day.

the art of procrastination

so, here it is...that blessed hour between 11 pm and midnight when i think to myself, "wow, it's only 11. I have a good hour left before i'll get really tired'. so, what am i doing with that time. i am sitting here writing a blog. not just any blog. but a procrastination blog.

what i should be doing is cleaning up my room. it has reached a level of messy that can only be described as 'post-hurricaine ivan' messy. why? have i been extremely busy? no. not particularly. the problem is that i am ''looking for a job''. and since i have nothing i really have to do i just don't get anything done.

so, i create stacks. and stacks within and upon stacks. until the stacks just fall over and become landfills, filling the space under my desk, between my bed and my nightstand, and spilling out onto the kitchen table.

the best part is that i can pretty much just shut my door and forget about it. the worst part is, when i want to go to bed, i just move the stacks off the bed back onto my floor, only to replace them in the morning.

what kind of existence IS this, anyways? i don't want to be a stack person for the rest of my life. i don't want to marry a stack person, either. i mean, can you imagine the chaos that would breed? helllllll no!!!

anywho. i suppose i should go shift some stacks around. maybe i'll even try to put stuff away. now there's a novel thought.