Tuesday, July 31, 2007

O Superman

After several wonderful days in Berlin with Rachel, Stephanie, Viktor, and a host of Hungarians and anusaris I am in Kassel.

I am stuffed to the gills with Turkish food, which I enjoyed thoroughly in the company of Julia and Enrico and his mother (who drove to Kassel from a small town in Saxony).

I wandered all over documenta - http://documenta.de - today and had the foruitous opportunity to meet Nedko Solakov - http://nedkosolakov.net/content/index_eng.html - a fantastic artist whose series "Fears" is grabbed me, tickled me, and made me sigh today while I perused the offerings at the Neue Galerie.

It's back to Berlin tomorrow.

(tomate, taschen, fruhstruck, nein)


and, yes, Julia and I are listening to Laurie Anderson. On a *record* player.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

ta ta for now!

The next post, whenever it may occur, will most likely be from somewhere in Germany or Denmark.

Some folks I look forward to seeing on the other side of the Atlantic


It's Jesse.

warms the cockles, he does.


My digital camera broke some time ago and the process of getting it repaired via warranty involved public notaries and affidavits and all kinds of bureaucratic absurdity so I put it off.

I'm about to embark on a journey that I'd love to document and, fortunately, Frank has lent me a camera.

(he is currently sans cast, I'm thrilled to say)

Friday, July 20, 2007

what an astonishingly beautiful night

The webcam located closest to me does nothing to illuminate how stunning an evening it truly is...in fact, the UN webcam could very well be webcasting images of the inside of my sock, the image is just that vivid and exciting.

But outside: it's 69 degrees, clear, and just sensationally lovely

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Heisei Nakamura-Za's Hokaibo @ Lincoln Center

Without a doubt, one of the most amazing things I have ever seen on stage.

Wouldn't it be great if artists in the United States could be recognized as "National Living Treasures"?

The story is disturbing - full of rape, murder, and unfettered greed; but the whole thing is pretty damn marvelous.The performances are unbelievable (vocally, physically, conceptually - everything about it), the comedy so well crafted, there is singing, dancing, acrobatics, exquisite costumes and makeup, severed limb puppets, cherry blossom petals falling from the sky...


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

whirlwind (or words, words, and more words)

A long overdue blog update:

All of my houseguests are gone: the San Franciscans have returned westward and the Rhode Islanders (all in all, a staggering number: Mia and Dan, Enrique, and my brother and some unspecified array of his fraternity brothers, who had been in town for an event at Hooters [they claimed it was the only casual place that would take a reservation for that many people on a Saturday night...I think they were just following some unwritten - or, perhaps written, but written by the very same people who wrote Animal House - rules about fraternity gatherings]) have all zipped to various destinations north and west.

Since then, I've been in Anusara Immersion part 1 at Vira Yoga, taught by two wonderful and inspiring women, Zhenja La Rosa and Dana Covello. I will continue my immersion sequence, somewhat circuitously, with part 3 led by Noah Maze at Shri. Tonight I'm going to crack open The Bhagavad Gita in the Mahabarata as translated by JAB van Buitenen. The NYPL has exactly one copy in circulation and it's now sitting on my bedside table.

On a related note, I really dig this book The key muscles of hatha yoga. It's pretty expensive, but I think I'd like to get my hands on a copy.


Last weekend Enrique I went to the Gotham Girls Roller Derby bout at City College. The event featured the Brooklyn Bombshells versus the Queens of Pain in a kind of drag-show-meets-Incredibly Strange Wrestling-meets-Suicide Girls-meets-serious-athleticism extravaganza. Enrique came so he could see a bunch of lesbians on rollerskates beating each other up. It turned out to be more like a bunch of lesbians on rollerskates bumping into each other and skating really damn quickly. But it was loads of fun anyway. And after the event I met someone extraordinary, whom I look forward to seeing in ...


I will depart on July 26 to convene with Rachel and her sister Stephanie for several days of galavanting followed by arts-related stuff and meeting various people in Berlin and, subsequently, Kassel, where my friend Julia is performing at documenta.

I am not exactly sure what will happen after that, but I plan to be back in New York by August 20 for more training with SITI.


Jumping back a bit, I also had the pleasure of seeing Fables de La Fontaine at the Lincoln Center Festival (where later this week I will see kabuki ensemble Heisei Nakamura-za). Now I can finally say that I've seen something directed by Robert Wilson and, moreover, that I liked it. Really outstanding, in some cases, breathtaking performances and some highly entertaining and charming vignettes. And poignant, sure, but in a sort of mellow, gentle way, even at their most assertive.

Last night Larry and I went to hear The Decemberists perform at the Central Park Summerstage. In addition to Red Right Ankle, they played Sons and Daughters near the end of the show.

Here are some lyrics:

When we arrive, sons & daughters
We'll make our homes on the water
We'll build our walls of aluminum
We'll fill our mouths with cinnamon now

These currents pull us 'cross the border
Steady your boats, arms to shoulder
'Til tides are pulled our hull aground
Making this calm harbor now home

Take up your arms, sons and daughters
We will arise from the bunkers
By land, by sea, by dirigible
We'll leave our tracks untraceable now

When we arrive, sons & daughters
We'll make our homes on the water
We'll build our walls of aluminum
We'll fill our mouths with cinnamon now

Hear all the bombs, they fade away

And suddenly, standing near the back of a throng at a concert where my bicycle helmet had been confiscated by security guards because "it might be used as a weapon", I realized where I was and what was happening. Hundreds of people singing "hear all the bombs, they fade away" - I was standing in a heaving, swaying, singing mass of people underneath a clear night sky in the park. And we were celebrating. And, as I do, I cried...because it was really, quite strikingly beautiful.

And here's Red Right Ankle, just because I love it:

This is the story of your red right ankle
And how it came to meet your leg
And how the muscle, bone, and sinews tangled
And how the skin was softly shed

And how it whispered “Oh, adhere to me
For we are bound by symmetry
And whatever differences our lives have been
We together make a limb.”
This is the story of your red right ankle.

This is the story of your gypsy uncle
You never knew ‘cause he was dead
And how his face was carved and rift with wrinkles
In the picture in your head.

And remember how you found the key
To his hide-out in the Pyrenees
But you wanted to keep his secret safe
So you threw the key away.
This is the story of your gypsy uncle.

This is the story of the boys who loved you
Who love you now and loved you then
And some were sweet, some were cold and snuffed you
And some just laid around in bed.

Some had crumbled you straight to your knees
Did it cruel, did it tenderly
Some had crawled their way into your heart
To rend your ventricles apart
This is the story of the boys who loved you
This is the story of your red right ankle.


And now I'm here, listening to the whir of electronics, eating egg whites at midnight and sipping iced Roastaroma tea.

It sure is summer.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

it just don't stop

Joseph and Jesse have left. Enrique arrives tonight.

Brian, Deborah, Ben, Larry, and I just returned from a spectacular visit with NaCl, the North American Cultural Laboratory, in the Catskills.

I am a little bit tired, a little bit overfed (hours of discussion about the nature and future and essence of foolsFURY Theater Company over an extraordinary meal at Hangawi restaurant), a intoxicated with life.

yes, please.


thank you.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

You Can Always Be With Me

I'm supposed to be working on my audition monologue, but I can't. I'm sitting next to Jesse, stuffed to the gills with Italian food (we dined at Piccolo Angolo). And I'm in the loveliest cafe on the loveliest of corners in the West Village. And I think I am blessed (perhaps also touched-with-a-capital-T, but certainly blessed). I am lucky.

I am also wondering when I am expelled from my heavenly Manhattan Co-Op Board Hell, whom do I have to kill to get an apartment in the West Village? (I would say "fuck", but historically, that wouldn't get me very far in this neighborhood...though the demographics certainly have changed).

I had a long embrace with Frank and Jesse. Just to be in conversation with them, just to be in their presence, it's like...no, it IS love.

Maybe we should just go get gay-married or civil-unioned or non-heteronormatively-affirmed-in-our-love-and-commitment-to-each-other or whatever the three of us can do and have kids and take over the world. Or, if not that, at least we know we can always meet each other for dinner and laughs.

And there is great music playing in the cafe. And I am happy. I have goosebumps. It is warm, but not too warm. It is my first summer in New York in years.

And here it is. And here I am. And here are two people who have changed my life immeasurably for the better. Two people whose continued presence in it helps to ensure that my life continues to be an adventure, a giant love affair, a dance on a
precipice overlooking a valley full of wild plants and trampolines and cushions and different colored lights and tiramisu with music playing and rivers made of tea and coconut water.

Let's buy Frank a teapot.
Let's plan a trip to Miami.
Let's always be together, even when we are apart.

And now Jeff Buckley is playing. And it's a perfect, breezy night.

You can always be with me.

You can always be with me
the way you are with Bleecker Street
or Bank Street
Broadway south of Houston
those shop windows
Fanelli's on the corner of Prince and Mercer
the little store nearby where you can find
star fish
butterflies in little boxes
and in the antiques store
the things from Asia
inlaid wood
a thousand little drawers
you have a good sense of mortality
in these streets
stopping in the cafes
looking at the light on the buildings
in the late afternoon
when it is already nighttime down below
lights coming on in the shops
and still afternoon in the sky above
this is how I spend my time
I can see it again and again
and never grow tired of it.

I love to quote Chuck Mee (above from Hotel Cassiopeia).

And I look over and see some guy in front of his laptop bobbing his head and mouthing the words. And I am quietly singing along. And this is the moment when we would - all of us in the cafe - start singing together if we were in a play about love or people in New York City or loss or some other heightened, epic thing in a contemporary, urban, vaguely hip setting. Like the "Bridge Over Troubled Water" section of The Devil On All Sides (except we're not in the middle of a war and we're not in the former Yugoslavia and this play would already be really maudlin, I fear). And thank goodness for that impossibly long "oooooh" at the end of "Hallelujah" - just long enough for me to finish scribbling this paragraph.

crack the blogwhip

I have been a really inconsistent blogger lately, which is funny because I think I've been particularly reflective and ponderous as well - but I just haven't felt the desire to express any of those thoughts in this particular medium.

Let's see, here's what's of interest (at least to me), in no particular (but something roughly approximating chronological, by default) order:

1) the foolsFURYans are still here; but the run of The Devil on All Sides ends today.

It's been an interesting experience to play this sort of tangential, support role. The show has been fairly successful in terms of audience, press, and so forth; and certainly successful in terms of raising the company's profile on the east coast. Perhaps all my foolsFURY credits will be a bit more recognizable to people in NYC now? I hope that Devil is the first of many foolsFURY shows to be produced on this side of the country (and beyond? cue dramatic music).

Ben, Deborah, Brian, and I may take a little excursion to the Catskills this week to hang with the folks at North American Cultural Laboratory in Highland Lake.

This jaunt would fulfill a great many desires:

1) to meet the NACL folks, about whom I've heard and read a good deal
2) to have some more hang-time with my fF family before they return to SF
3) to get me back upstate (I had a callback for, but then didn't book, the US premiere of Byrony Lavery's A Wedding Story at Hudson Stageworks in Hudson, NY - I had such wild and marvelous fantasies of spending the summer riding my bike, doing yoga, and performing in a converted warehouse in the country)
---> the article in this week's Time Out about whitewater rafting in the Adirondacks has only added to my urge to frolic in the woods

2) I recently took a fantastic class with the positively, inestimably talented and generous Vicki Clark. The class was extraordinary - she really helped me to assess (and re-assess*!) my voice - what roles I'm capable of singing now, where I am technically, what I want to cultivate. *And, much like Connie Lisec from the North Bay Opera said to me during my Sweeney Todd run, Vicki doesn't think I'm a mezzo. I may make a career out of singing mezzo character roles; but, if anything, I'm a lyric mezzo or more likely, a lyric coloratura. So we've been working my soprano a lot and making sure that no matter how much Adelaide/Gooch/fill-in-the-blank I sing, I'm still nourishing my entire voice. And it's just so great and vulnerable and joyous and scary all at the same time to be singing so high!

The other people in the class were wonderful to learn from and with, especially my friend Liz Stanton (whom I met through the SITI Co), who is returning to musical theater after focusing her energies and numerous talents elsewhere for a while.

I've also learned the Vicki will be performing with Tom Nelis (of SITI) in Iphigenia 2.0 at the The Signature Theatre, the first in the season of plays by Chuck Mee. Kim Weild, who directed one of the pieces in the Women's Project commission at the World Financial Center, and recently graduated from Columbia is ADing with Tina Landau directing. I am very excited to see this show.

3) I had a blast meeting with Sheila Callaghan to work with her, Daniella Topol, and William Cusick on Water at HERE Arts.

A couple of days later foolsFURY met with Sheila at New Dramatists to begin the process of collaborating on a new piece for the company.

4) Continuing the theme of merging my SF and NY worlds, I had a massive party sponsored by the letter "M". The party was a reminder of how rad my friends are and how full of absolute garbage (in this case, quite literally, as truly epic quantities of alcohol and food were consumed) Manhattan co-op boards can be. The Manhattan Co-Cop Board is the most oxymoronic, ass-backwards manifestation of the notion of "cooperative living" I've ever encountered.

5) A couple of days in Miami to visit my family and catch, by fiat, Miami City Theatre's Summer Shorts Festival in a cavernous, beautifully equipped performing arts complex, gradually going bankrupt, in deserted downtown Miami.

I saw program A:

96 Stitches by Sarah Hammond
What I Learned From Grizzly Bears by Jessica Lind
Ron Bobby Had Too Big A Heart by Rolin Jones
Suspension by William Orem
The Sons of Mickey by Jim Fitzmorris
Uprising by Susan Westfall
Foul Territory by Craig Wright

except I DIDN'T get to see 96 Stitches, to my great disappointment, due to a snafu involving my friend's car and the fact that the theater, astonishingly, actually started on time (if not early). This level of punctuality (we were there at 3:01 for a 3 pm curtain) is remarkable in any context, but especially so in Miami where everyone is late and old (or young and hungover). There were a good 10 or so other people who weren't admitted to the theater until after the first play had ended. My friend and I, as well as several other people, were actually on line picking up our tickets when the show began (without any announcement or, more expectedly, holding the curtain). I was bummed to have missed 96 Stitches because Sarah Hammond is a friend of Enrique and she and I had met several days earlier at the launch party for issue 3 of Play, a Journal of Plays, where I volunteered to be charming and sell things. Plus, I wore a really fierce black and gold ensemble to match the evening's theme. Never mind the plays, right, just look at the actor and her clothes. *cough*

6) I do not understand how I have lived this long without having seen The Civilians' work. Okay, actually, I do: they were founded in 2001, which is the same year I left NYC. I saw GONE MISSING at the Barrow Street on Friday. Oh. My. God. I don't know if I could possibly have loved it more.

7) I also saw Grey Gardens this weekend. So that's two shows this weekend during which I cried through the curtain calls. Not because I was particularly sad; but because I was blown away. Without any other appropriate means to experience the depth of my awe, excitement, the extent to which I had been awakened by what I just saw - no other means but tears, laughter, the desire to launch myself out of my seat, thank every person connected to realizing the theater I'd just experienced, and have that feeling - the feeling that I cannot precisely articulate - that I was having never end.

Unfortunately, after Grey Gardens I had to ride home through Times Square and someone stepped off the curb in my path without looking first and I found myself shouting, "Excuse me, excuse me, HELLO! MOVE!" which took me out of my seemingly transcendent bliss. But only for, like, 30 seconds. Then I was back. Back to remember why I am here, why I am in NY right now. Why I am doing what I am doing. Why I cannot be casual or dilletantish or impatient about it.

I am going to quote from And Then, You Act, Anne Bogart's latest book that has become like a seventh limb (you know, counting the tail and head) for me. I lent it to Brian, but I keep needing to refer to it and demanding it back from him.

It may be true that everyone needs a person in the world to model him- or herself after. As a director, Ariane Mnouckine has been this person for me. For years I attended her productions, usually at the immense Cartoucherie in Vincennes just outside Paris. Her international company is an inspiration to me, her collaborative methods instructive, and her international reach remarkable. I could always look to Mnouchkine for encouragement, simply by example. Her productions are often very long, engulfing an entire evening or sometimes several days. The plays are investigations into subjects that clearly intrigue her and her company. I always manage to find Mnouchkine somewhere in the theater at intermissions. I walk up to her, grasp her hand, and thank her. What I mean to say is, "That you for years of inspiration. Thank you for being the person I think about when I lose courage. Thank you for giving me courage by example." But all that I usually manage is a simple "thank you."

Add being a blubbering mess to that description and you have me in the face of a growing handful of artists and teachers who have blessed my life with their presence and work.

Now, I've got to go because I'm going to hear my college friend (and co-founder with me of The New York Abortion Access Fund), Lauren, sing in a concert version of Gounod's Faust.

What a weekend.