29 October 2004

Be in the moment

Check out this quote my acting teacher sent me:

"Basically, what you are doing out there is you. When it comes down to it, what the people see, what they want to see, is not a role or a character or a piece of work. What they want to see is you: your breath, your thoughts, your laughter, your violence, your pain, all of it. What you have to ask yourself is, Where am I in all of this and how am I going to communicate that? That's when you begin to notice that you flinch, that you duck and pull away from those parts of yourself that you are unwilling to have other people see. But that's where the gravy is, where your talent is, where the life resides. You have to keep going back there, to trust that the terrible has already happened, that you've survived and that you're okay, exactly the way you are. You have to walk toward the demons, not run from them. And you'll find that if you put out your hand, not as a fist, but palm up, you'll go right through them like tissue paper. That's when you can be in the moment, any moment." -- James Cromwell

27 October 2004

pass the salt. . .

Food for thought:

Imagine you are a snail. One day you decide to leave your shell. It's cold and you feel naked. Then, just as you really get going, it starts to rain. Salt.


This is how I'm feeling right now, in relation to singing. I am learning to be vulnerable. Learning to crack open my chest and have everyone see my heart beating. And I'm learning to like it.

Right now, it still feels like salt, stinging. Eventually, it will just feel like cold raindrops. Then, it will feel warm, and the rain will still hit me, but will steam off. No more pain.

This is what it's like to be a performer. (A good one, anyways). Someone who has put their experiences into an aria, a song, and is opening up themselves for everyone to see.
The audience just sees the raw, open character, and is moved. The performer learns to access these emotions/places in their real lives, and uses them on stage. It just takes a little while to get used to doing--to realize that you are not 'reliving' your life, just using those experiences. But at the very beginning of this process, it still feels 'real'. So, that's where I am.

It's funny, too, how life and art imitate each other and bleed into each other. I've been noticing, when I'm feeling vulnerable or really open just in conversation with friends, I find myself curled up tight, wanting to be in my shell. Example: talking to Raina on Monday night, I was sitting at my desk, legs and arms crossed, hunched over, curled in a ball. Talking to Raina, one of my closest friends. I'm becoming aware of myself, I guess, in a different way. It's exciting, scary, and leaves me feeling a little giddy at times.

But it's all good.

So if you see me, and I'm just acting a little different than normal, just know that I've been feeling the salt grains, but that I'm okay. :)

25 October 2004


I don't know if this entry is going to actually make it onto the blog or not.

I keep getting ridiculous errors, and my postings just . . . vanish into cyberspace, never to be seen or heard from again.

My solution so far? Throw my hands up in frustration, hurl invectives at my computer and storm off.

Yeah, that hasn't really solved anything . . . .

22 October 2004


My friend Beth gave me a book for my birthday. It is called "The Journey of Desire, Searching for the Life we've only dreamed of" by John Eldredge. I read it once through a couple of months ago, but I am starting to re-read it. Through my church here in SF, we've started a study called "Dare to Dream" and it's about recapturing God's dream and will for our life.

These two things are causing me to think. I mean really think. I am in a certain circumstance where daring to dream and searching out God's desire for me feels huge. I have been out of school since May, and yet, it is just starting to hit me that I am no longer a student.

I cannot define myself by where I go to school or what I study. Not that I should have been defining myself just by these factors in the first place. But when asked "Oh, and what do you do?", it's very easy to reply, "I'm in XYZ school studying XYZ." Nice, pat, complete and easy to understand.

These days, here is how my answer typically goes:

"So, what do you do?"

"WELLLLLL . . . I am looking for a job. Any kind really, mostly office work. But what I am trained in, and still training to do, is music. Opera, actually. I have a gig in Berkeley in January, and I've had other auditions I'm waiting to hear about. I can also speak French and some Italian, so maybe I can find a job with that. So right now I'm just doing random things . . . "

"Wow. Opera. Sing somethin' for us, why don't cha?"

What is God's desire for me? What are my dreams and desires? And how do these all coincide? I guess I don't really know yet. I know that I have been given certain talents (music, acting) that I need to be a good steward of, and that I enjoy doing. But I feel that I am constantly questioning whether or not I am 'right' for this kind of career.

Am I or can I and do I want to sacrifice a somewhat 'normal' lifestyle for the life of being in the arts? It is not always easy. Granted, I LOVE performing a role--I love the chance to slip into someone else's skin and tell their story. And, I have come this far, spent lots of time, energy, blood, sweat and plenty of tears in the last few years of my training.

I have another, perhaps equally strong desire. And I have had it as long as I can remember. I want to use my language skills. I want to move (back) to Europe - preferably France or Italy.
In theory these two skills, music and language, fit very nicely together. In fact, I can't think of a better set of skills that I would rather have.

But, there's still so much I need (want, should) do here in the states--as far as music is concerned. I can't just pick up and go. But there just resides that fear within me, that I will never make it (musically, to Europe). In church this week, I wrote these fears down and cast them away, in a conveniently placed trashcan during the service (it was part of the sermon). But yet, those doubts still creep in.

I know the Sunday school answer of, "Well, maybe if you spent more time reading His Word vs. worrying, those doubts wouldn't creep in." Yes. True. But sometimes I fear reading, too, for what if when my doubts are cast away, my desires became confirmed -- were to actually come true!?!

Could I imagine that? And why not? We only have one go at it all (here on earth, anyways). Why not make the best of it, and serve God in the process??! What am I afraid of? I'm afraid of failing at my dreams, but at the same time, afraid that I will succeed. What kind of ridiculousness is that, anyways?

Sometimes, it is just so conflicting to be human. I'm really glad that I don't God's job. I would never get anything accomplished.

20 October 2004

SUCCESS! (and a makeover)

I feel like I am on top of the world! I can do ANYTHING!!!!

What has inspired these feelings, you ask?

Perhaps you noticed the new look to my blog?

After staring at my screen for . . . well, let's just say a while . . . I figured out how to add links to my sidebar! "NO BIG DEAL," you might say.
OH, but it is! I know how to use my computer. I can word process, create spreadsheets, type 70wpm, use outlook and publisher. BUT I haven't ever really used HTML before. This is a first! My original template didn't let me add cool stuff to my sidebar.

But NOW!! OOOOhhh!! The possibilities are endless! Good times!

Thick Tuesday

The Acting for Singers class, led by the unimitable Bobby Weinapple, performed at Thick Tuesday last night. Thick Tuesday is a once/month workshop for cabaret-style performers to try out their new rep. Led and sponsored by the amazing Kitchenettes, Thick Tuesday happens in Potrero Hill, just down the huge hill from Goat Hill Pizza.

Our performances ran the gamut from opera to musical theater and jazz standards to rock ballads. It was a great chance to perform in a neat space. I was glad to put on my jazz shoes (or socks, as it were: the stage was new, and we had to perform shoe-less) in public for the first time in a while and let it all hang out.

Also check out The Purple Onion on Monday nights, where the aforementioned Kitchenettes host an Open Mic. This North Beach venue located under Caffe Macaroni has been home to entertainment legends Phyllis Diller, Woody Allen, and Robin Williams (to name a few).

Check out these websites: www.caffemacaroni.com and www.thekitchenettes.com for upcoming events. The amazing Mr. Weinapples' website is also worth a click at www.robertweinapple.com. As for me, well, I should create a website, too. Maybe that will be my new project.

17 October 2004

Thank you, Billy Ray Cyrus

I love San Francisco. It's got to be one of the greatest cities to live in as a twentysomething. Fun people, places and lots to do. I have one complaint, however.

Where can you go to line dance in this city??!!?!??!

Tonight, I went to a fabulous party. It was called "Blue Moon of Kentucky" and it had a theme. The Derby and Rednecks. You had to come dressed for one or the other. AZ, Tyler and I chose the Redneck theme. AZ and I both wore wigs, denim, and thick accents.

Picture this: Pacific Heights on a somewhat clear and warmish night. You pull up to a beautiful, white house with Christmas lights. From the open door come the sounds of . . . Garth Brooks. Reba McIntyre. Brooks and Dunn. The list goes on and on.

Parked out front of the house? A GINORMOUS pick-up truck filled with hay bales. Why? So you can go on a hayride. Around Pacific Heights. Which we did. It was amazing.

Exit the hayride and enter the house. There are railroad tracks on the floor, with the house divided between the 'right' and 'wrong' sides of the track. On the right: the Kentucky Derby crowd. Elegant dresses, hats, and sport jackets. On the left: denim, cowboy hats, and yes, even a pair of trap-door type pajamas. Lots of 'hicks'and a keg.

In the middle of the house: music! The makeshift dance floor, big enough for approximately 8 people dancing. Two-stepping, line dancing and swing were all done.

The line dancing, however, was pretty much limited to the Electric Slide. No one could really remember any other line dances, even though we all could remember a time in the past where we actually danced true country line dances.

Personally, I blame the city of San Francisco for not having a local country-western dance hall. It's not like there is not a demand for it. Just a couple weeks ago, TONS of people turned up in GG Park for the Bluegrass festival. The desire is there. The dancers are ready and willing.
We just need a barn to storm.

16 October 2004

Outgoing (E) 51.22% Withdrawn (I) 48.78%
Realistic (S) 52.5% Imaginative (N) 47.5%
Emotional (F) 63.16% Intellectual (T) 36.84%
Organized (J) 55.56% Improvised (P) 44.44%
Your type is: ESFJ
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08 October 2004

Raindrops on Roses . . . .

I know I KNOW! Some of you might find this boring. But, you know what? I don't care. I am writing this for the sake of just letting it out. So...yeah....

A few of my favorite things:

1. ummm.....soy

2. hmmm.....U2

3. ace bandages

4. ah, screw it. I'm going to bed.

5. my bed!

Thank you, VH-1

Best week EVER.
I have had an excellent week. Now that I am no longer a student chained to the Conservatory 24/7, I feel like I can really take advantage of what this city has to offer.
A brief run-down:

Monday: Totally sweet concert (Jaime Cullum) at the Fillmore.

Tuesday: Sign up at the Temp agency (great!), but what really made it worth it was stopping at two of my favorite places in the city right around the corner from the temp place: Cafe de la Presse and Avant Card. Tuesday night was acting class in the theater district.

Wednesday: Italian group in North Beach, at this amazing home on telegraph hill. With rooftop access, there was a gorgeous view. Followed by a late-night romp in the Mission at Amnesia to check out some live jazz. This will be a monthly pilgrimage, because you can just jam out (and yes, they even let us singers participate!)

Thursday: Chillin' in Oaktown and the Suset, but also feeling the sunshine downtown on Market. And, as always, bonding with AZ over the Apprentice (it's The Donald's hair that keeps me interested). Had the pleasure of getting to catch-up with my roommate for the first time since Sunday. Although it has been a good week, it's also been a "two-ships-passing-in-the-night" kinda week.

Friday: The possibilities are endless. But there is the possibility of seeing some composer friends do their thing in Berkeley, followed by a birthday house party in the Sunset.

Weekend: Hello! It's Columbus Day! Did someone say parade? In North Beach (the coolest place ever??!!) Not to mention totally sweet salsa dancing at the canvas cafe, for 10 bucks (includes lesson!). I'm in.

Ooh, not to mention I bought (finally) my plane tickets for SMU Homecoming!!
I can't wait!!

06 October 2004

Leaving my heart in San Francisco

This is my favorite time of year in the city. The months of September and October are chock full of concerts, festivals and parades, most of them free (or at least under $10 bucks).

Let me give you an idea of what I mean.

This weekend in GG Park, there was the fourth annual "Hardly Strictly Bluegrass" Festival. It had four stages and Emmylou Harris was the headliner of this 3 day affair. I went Saturday. Well, I tried to go Saturday morning, and got myself sufficiently displaced in the park (easy to do -- it's a big place), but AZ and I finally managed to get our butts to the Speedway just in time to see some killer clogging. You know why I love Bluegrass? Not just because I lived in North Carolina for a few months. I love Bluegrass because it is happy hippy music. Case in point: at this free festival, where there were TONS of people, there was basically NO security. No one had to wait in line and get patted down, nor have their bags checked. Why? Because happy hippies would never hurt anyone. They just want to groove, man, and groove they did!

On this same weekend in the park, I saw signs for an Arab culture fest, the orchid fest and the reggae festival. All in one day.

Sunday, was the 28th annual Bridge-to-Bridge run/walk. I opted for the walk, as running is not really my forte. I tried to get some friends to come, but no one seemed to be interested. So I said to my self, "Self, this is for a good cause (special olympics), so why not just go anyways." So, I took my good friend Justin (Timbaland) with me, and made my way down the most beautiful race in the country.
Me and my closest 1000s of friends. It was great. And at the end, lots of people giving away free water, energy drinks and bars, and cool gels/creams/ointments for sporting minded people. Beer and garlic fries were available for purchase.

But the best yet was the free concert for all of the race participants.

Mind you, it was like 10 in the morning. The band (who had to get up early for such a gig) was Ozomatli. They were amazing!!! A mix of salsa, rap, reggae, rock and funk like no other. I was standing 10 feet from the stage; I could feel the energy from the band bouncing off of me. And all around, people dancing. People who had just completed a 7- or 12K race were dancing like crazy.

It was fabulous.