Sunday, September 30, 2007

I'm definitely back in NY

On Saturday evening, my first full night back in the city, I saw my friend Ally's play "The Will of the Cockroach" at Chashama. Then I came home and picked up the mail to discover that this week's Time Out has a special feature on NYC critters and I read the section on cockroaches. Then I went to another room in the apt to look for a shirt and when I turned on the light I heard, "t-k-t-k-t-k" and looked by the dresser to see a positively massive cockroach attempting to hide from the light.

I dug out a pair of black latex gloves (so multi-purpose! though originally purchased for activities deemed inappropriate for blog content by the central authorities at thesbian pulp, I have in the past used these gloves to sterilize small wounds and retrieve fallen jewelry and menstrual cups from the toilet) and the old can of Raid and went to town. I'm glad I didn't pass out. I wish there were something akin to a pooper scooper for picking up dead cockroaches so I wouldn't have to get so close to them and the horrific fumes. I speak from experience when I say that vacuuming a cockroach you've just drowned in poison doesn't work.

Welcome home!

Friday, September 28, 2007

homeward bound

I am enjoying my final few hours in Europe, slurping down a cup of tea I brought with me from Berlin while I see the sun subtly peeking between the clouds over South London. I see the Crystal Palace radio tower, dwarfing a nearby steeple that's infinitely lovelier.

I arrived in London on Wednesday afternoon and headed to Mike and Em's in Brixton for a few hours of relaxation and an afernoon chat. Then I saw A Disappearing Number, the latest Theatre de Complicite show at the Barbican Centre.

Complicite's Mnemonic changed my life. I saw them in my final year at Columbia and wrote an essay about the show for Michael Janeway's superb arts criticism course. Seeing Mnemonic was one of the experiences that instigated my decision to become an actor. It blew my mind and now, several years, time with SITI and foolsFURY and other forays into devised and collaborative theatermaking later, it was such a delight to see and have my breath taken away by another one of their shows. I loved it and managed to get sixth row center seats off the cancellation line. One day I will meet them.

Yesterday I met my friend Jo, a dancer and teacher whom I met in Brazil, for late afternoon lunch and then strolled, tea-ed, and read along the South Bank of the Thames. In the evening I met Caspar and Alexis for sushi before bouncing around at Offline at JAMM, a very relaxed, homey performance night organized by Mike. I heard some entertaining poetry, fun music, and had some highly amusing conversations.

It's back to NY this evening and off to rehearsal for Zen Cabaret tomorrow morning in Williamsburg.

See you all soon, on one continent or another.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


It`s another picture of me and Kajza.

Exhibit A on the left:

Red hair
Red eyes
Big red gums

Exhibit B on the right:

Blond hair
Lavender eyes
No gums


Monday, September 24, 2007

Will this work?

(D and Kajza)

I have covertly (well, not so covertly anymore) joined Facebook so I can look at my friend Anna-Karin's photos of our bizarre all-night adventure two Saturdays ago (culminating in an Eyes Wide Shut-esque party featuring an open bar with Prosecco yay! and minus the sex...except for the two people screwing in the toilets, one of whom was wearing orange shoes).

Here are some photos (for better or worse, not of the aforementioned toilet trysters) - if I can manage to download and upload them successfully.

Is this some kind of misguided attempt at motivating people or an effort to be body-positive?

Since leaving Mitte for Kreuzberg and then Neukölln in early August I have gone almost daily to Elixia, a gym with multiple locations around Germany that is eerily similar to Equinox Fitness in NYC (except in a small number of very significant ways).

The class schedule is way smaller and overall the classes are less rigorous and the trainers/instructors less precise in their instructions (though in their defense it must be noted that vielleicht verstehe ich nicht alles). Also, there are inevitably different levels I, II, and III for each type of class, but I have yet to discern any meaningful difference among the levels.

I have gone several times to the "Hot Iron" class, which, apart from sounding like a cosmetology/hair styling/wafflemaking course (as opposed to the free weight workout it actually is), always has the same soundtrack. The first song on this soundtrack is "Big Girl" by MIKA.

Here are the lyrics:

Walks in to the room
Feels like a big balloon
I said, 'Hey girls you are beautiful'
Diet coke and a pizza please
Diet coke I'm on my knees
Screaming 'Big girls you are beautiful'

You take your skinny girl
Feel like I'm gonna die
'Cause a real woman
Needs a real man here's why

You take your girl
And multiply her by four
Now a whole lotta woman
Needs a whole lot more

Get yourself to the Butterfly Lounge
Find yourself a big lady
Big boy come on around
And they'll be calling you baby

No need to fantasize
Since I was in my braces
A watering hole
With the girls around
And curves in all the right places

Big girls you are beautiful (x4)

repeat xa million

Okay, now everyone in Berlin speaks English, so they can´t use the ole "oh, no one really understand the lyrics anyway" excuse. This means that someone made the very deliberate choice to make this the leading song in an hour long exercise class. What a curious choice...

Mika's official site is here. CLICK AT YOUR OWN RISK. I believe you can even hear the song at the site, but be forewarned, it's an eyesore and it very nearly made my internet cafe computer explode. I don't think Mika has made it big in the States yet, but he's touring to Luxembourg! (okay, and all over Western Europe)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

in Germany fire engines are like English divas

Der Feuerwagen sagt "tatü tata!"

How cute is that?

Tatü tata, darlings!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I once was lost and now I'm lost...

posting from an internet cafe in Wilmersdorf. I think.

My Berlin stadtplan fell apart and I basically lost the Western half of the city. Normally, this presents kein problem, aber heute musse ich nach Charlottenburg und Wilmersdorf von Mitte gehen und Neukölln züruckgehen. I have no idea if I said that correctly. But anyway, the point is, I have gotten fantastically lost. I had planned to go the gym in Wilmersdorf and it's possible that I'll still make it if I ever find my way back to Hermannplatz.

I am actually pretty confident that I know the most direct route back to Hermannplatz - I am on a street that should eventually turn into Yorckstraße and subsequently Gneisenau and Hasenheide...and then I am at the gym. But it's more spannend if I pretend I have no idea.

But this is the first time I've gotten disoriented in Berlin and it's delightful. Fortunately, it's not raining anymore.

I just tried and failed to document this historic moment with the nearby webcam.

I am not far from here/hier, in any case.

And the "da da da" (ich lieb dich nicht du liebst mich nicht) song by Trio (you know, the one from the Volkswagen commercial) is playing on the radio.

bis später

I am still in Berlin. No surprise there, really, as my friend and colleague, dramaturg Laura Berman, can attest. Laura and I worked together three years ago at the San Francisco Opera under the direction of Thomas Langhoff in Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust.

Here is a rather comically unflattering review of the production. I was part of the "corp de bondage" among other things.

and another (comedy orgy! yay!)

But I didn't write this post just to unearth critical reviews of a four-year-old opera during which, it must be said, I only got to perform in ... one or two public performances because of my little ACL incident...

Here's what I want to say: Laura predicted then that I would move to Europe. You're only 23, she said, but you'll figure it out, you belong (t)here. And (t)here I am with her, four years later, contemplating whether I will turn up on her doorstep when I have to start paying rent in NYC.

Many, many projects are in the works here. I will wait a bit before publicly scribbling about them on the internet.

In the meantime, I have seen a lot of performance. I saw several shows in the Tanz im August festival, Georg Tabori's final, profoundly Beckett-like production at the Berliner Ensemble, Ein Sommernachtstraum and Emilia Galotti at the Deutsches Theater, Luc Peceval's Moliere at the Schaubühne, and the German premiere of the gorgeous, wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am Medea directed by Sasha Waltz at the Staatsoper. I'm looking forward to Jess Curtis's upcoming show in Berlin and the Robert Wilson Dreigroschenoper at the Berliner Ensemble.

I have begun to identify some of the cliches of contemporary institutional German theater ... much of which is evidently a lot less formalistic than its predecessors (though to most Americans, I suspect, it would appear highly stylized and non-naturalistic). There is always a point, for instance, when actors start to shout at the top of their lungs...unfortunately, that is also often the point when previous attention to physical specificity seems to fly out the window or down the trap and it becomes virtually impossible to hear and understand what they're actually saying (such as I can understand things anyway...I estimate my verbal comprehension at somewhere around 20-30%). There may be an effort to adhere to a very strict tempo of line delivery or a certain technical device or repetition of gestures, there is often a very dramatic, forced-perspective, raked stage, a kind of box within the proscenium (which means, incidentally, if you happen to sit at orchestra/ "parkett" level and you're on the side, you're pretty well and truly fucked for anything that happens upstage on that Emilia Galotti, for instance, I couldn't see a single entrance or exit, which I suspect in this show were pretty exciting). This sort of design was pioneered in part by Jürgen Rose, the designer for the Faust production at the SFO.

In any case, I can understand how many of these conventions become tedious...just as all cliches become tiresome...but I think they are, by and large, far more desirable than their American analogs because they all start from the notion that theater is something other than every day that the fallback may be contrived, bizarre, extreme, or even quite cold and dead; but what it seems quite infrequently to be is a fallback to naturalism or familiarity...

And I've been blessed to attend many of these performances with Enrico, Alec, and Netti - three fabulous young German actors, all working in different contexts (Enrico is newly arrived in Berlin after several years in the stadttheater system, Alec is currently working at the stadttheater in Heilbronn, and Netti is working on a new ER-style television series).

I've been dancing - ballet and samba at Tangara Studio near Hermannplatz - and practicing yoga at City Yoga Berlin and Spirit Yoga in Mitte, and an Iyengar studio near Oranienplatz. There are some contemporary classes at Marameo that I want to check out when I return to Berlin. I found a super posh gym with a discounted membership near my flat in Neukölln. It didn't take long for me to figure out how and where I needed to be here to keep myself in shape and receptive. I also found a phenomenal massage therapist, by accident, when I was eating Vietnamese food one day and having my daily Grammatikskampf (grammar struggle), poring over a rather lackluster German textbook.

I've had one audition, many wonderful discussions, and a fantastic time.

I will return to NY on the 28th and prepare to perform in Zen Cabaret in the New York International Clown Theatre Festival at The Brick in Williamsburg.

Performance Dates: Sat., Oct. 6th 2pm, Sun., Oct. 7th 7pm, Thurs., Oct. 11th, 7pm, Sun., Oct. 14th 8:30pm

I am looking forward to my return to NY. And I am also looking forward to my return to Berlin.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

more photos from Odin

Why are all the Hungarians I meet so outrageously sexy?

I met Gergö at Odin Teatret. He lives in Debrecen, the second largest city in Hungary (though much smaller than Budapest). He's the bee's knees.

Sara and I walking in downtown Holstebro.

Thanks to the lovely Andrea (with Maria in the background) for these and other forthcoming photos.

a beach in Western Denmark, August 2007

Turn your head (or computer) to the side, please.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I am so backblogged!