Monday, January 30, 2012

welcome to:

when you're in your twenties, every day is a revelation. if this is so, i've been through dozens even in the past few months: the gigantic, albeit whirlwind decision to relocate from chicago to san diego in what can only be described as a failed grad school experiment; the deliberate plot to escape from that same sunny, hazy hell to even sunnier, hazier los angeles; even much broader revelations, like the monogamous, heterosexual partnership in which i've found myself. truly, nothing is the same as it once was.
why one might choose to give up the security of a three-year graduate program to wind up back on the job hunt when most of these infrequent entries have documented the plight of the overworked and underpaid is beyond me. suffice it to say, i'm happier when i'm out in the field than sitting on my ass. january concludes my first month as an out-of-work member of the entertainment industry (which, in LA, is jargon for "human being"), so i thought i would sum it up with some of my favorite experiences from my job search thus far:

first, there was the interview that ended before the actual start time. eager to make a good impression, i showed up to that ill-fated starbucks ten minutes early. i didn't even have time to order a beverage: in between checking her pink iPhone, the "producer" (i use this term loosely) managed to ask me a few industry-related questions, before announcing that we were done. this was just the first time i would find myself asking, "didn't you ask me to meet you?"

next, the oversexed but devilishly handsome british man who wanted me to manage his company (and was clear to inquire as to whether massage therapy was on my list of additional skills). creepiness aside, things were going swimmingly until he offered the job to his brother.

then, trying to scrape any form of income together, i applied for a salon receptionist position. i was shocked to get an interview, having virtually no experience, and had a really charming conversation with the owner about chicago, juggling and, oh yes, the fact that i was not qualified. (again, "didn't you ask me to come in?")

and oh, the job that (almost!) was. assistant at this really top-name commercial company. down to me and two others. the woman was from connecticut! she lauded smith college as a haven for today's most driven intellectuals (this was correct, of course). it looked as though i had it in the bag - until, that is, she moved forward with another applicant.

most ridiculous are the e-mails: "be my manager, i'm a twenty-year-old has-been recording artist (apparently that's a thing here) with several major lawsuits against me, but i want to clear my reputation by going on maury!" "come work for us, but first: take this 100 point questionnaire to see if you fit in with our company (oh yeah, and scientology)." even the sweeter, "we're an up-and-coming theatre company, please help us produce this play and, no, we can't afford to pay you," is getting on my nerves at this point. me, the maven of storefront theatres!

if this is what january had to offer, i'm ready for the shortest month. at least i can take comfort in the arms of my newfound, heteronormative bliss. or take our totally clich├ęd dog for a walk and get back to the real world.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

a revelation

i walked down the street today listening to chopin, nocturne, op. 9 no. 2 in E flat major. you gave that to me two autumns ago. my street was fully bloomed in the colors of the season, and i passed by an old asian man sitting on his stoop, probably in the same position he's sat in for the past twenty years. watching workers, students, families make their way through their lives, from apartment to el stop and back again, never looking up to notice that he exists, with sad eyes and wrinkles deep set in his brow.
i realized when we spoke last week that it might be the last time we speak. you didn't let me say any of the things i wished for so long i could tell you - that i am okay, that i am working so hard to be better, that i have found someone who makes me feel whole: me. now it's become apparent that you'll be coming into town this weekend. i don't know if you made that public knowledge so that it would come to my attention; regardless, i am going about my life. because it is finally mine. neither you nor anyone can ever take that from me again. i wish i could tell you that i forgive you, and that i hope that someday you can forgive me, too. i hope that you are happy, and that you trust that i am, as well, and without you.
i wish i could say that i feel a sense of grief for these recent losses. i feel as if i'm living in some kind of wind tunnel, me and the old asian man sitting together, staring into the world from a distance, not knowing when to step in and when to sit back and observe. i think that i fail to grieve because, in fact, i've been grieving all along. it is only now that i've come to accept. and while you pop into my head from time to time, listening to mika or she&him or, heaven forbid, miley cyrus, it almost seems like a distant memory. like looking through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars, or talking underwater. the basic shapes and sounds are there, but nothing is concrete enough to understand anymore.
don't ask me why a walk on a crisp fall day elicits these kind of feelings in me. perhaps it's the simply terrifying and liberating notion that my life is finally for no one but me. that it is as fragile and tenuous as the cycle of these leaves, year after year, and not worth getting so worked up about. please don't take this as a bitter old goodbye, but rather as a release. a revelation.

no one belongs here more than you.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

'til we run out of road

i remember about this time last year, but in late late july, when bonnie, my father and i moved me from my apartment on south street to hathaway farms when my lease ran out early. as we pulled up to the cul de sac to unload, it began to rain. we camped out inside the truck for a bit, waiting for the storm to pass. once my belongings made it in alright and dad left, bonnie and i got caught in the middle of an even greater thunderstorm. it was the kind of downpour where you hike up your clothes and go dance in the middle of the street, begging the storm gods to cease so your car doesn't float away. we braved the flood waters, still sticky from our moving efforts, and danced and sang in the middle of that cul de sac like two little girls afraid to go home and face their mothers. we sat down in the puddles, laughing and discussing all of Life's Important Matters, like which foreign countries to explore, whether it made sense to pack up and leave everything behind, and why she wouldn't get on board with taylor swift. in that moment, with all my belongings in boxes, i saw what lay before me, and i was not afraid. i had a compatriot, a cheerleader, and someone who believed in me.

today i started the slow and mundane process of moving everything from my current third floor walkup to the new third floor walkup down the street. i was the first one in the apartment, and immediately began cleaning. my bathroom, bedroom, the living room and kitchen are all spotless. i hauled over the majority of my clothes (which leaves not that much?) and single-handedly transported huge pieces of furniture left by the tenants across the apartment. i had a good soundtrack, a bottle of ice water, and not much else. lauren will be joining me later today when she gets off work, so that will make the process simpler and more enjoyable. however, the solitude left me thinking - i've been here for an entire year, and i'm left to make this move by myself. i asked around, don't get me wrong, and i did have volunteers (albeit, ones who backed out on me), but i found myself alone in this.

my three best friends from chicago have all left the city. i know that this year will open even more doors, blah blah blah, but i can't help but wonder whether it's me or the city that's holding me back. i am open and engaged and friendly with everyone i meet, personally or professionally. i am also myself, so there's a good touch of cynicism and morbidity in there, but not enough to throw anyone off a huge amount. i can't help but think of all the people i love and how they all deliver that passion and loyalty i so value - i know it's not impossible to find. i recall last summer, and that rain dance of love and trust and friendship and goodbyes. i know it's there. i'm not going to settle. but it does get lonely, looking out.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

find out how much love the world can hold

we're entering the final days of summer, and the countdown until i return to new england for a luxurious twelve-day stay has commenced. i'm wrapping up the circus show (my god what a true testament to my strength of character) and am enjoying some long overdue lounging and packing, waiting both for my move (to an apartment one block east) and for the gig at steppenwolf to begin. it's been a summer of exploration and revelation. i think i've learned - or rediscovered - more about myself in the past three months than in the past three years.

i guess i'm looking for these next steps now, these follow throughs, to make everything stick. to recognize intense emotions after years of running away, to painfully stare them in the face, only to have everything crumble around you - that is only the first step. to rise above those remains and keep going, without shutting down again - that is the goal. there has been so much that i have been afraid of feeling for so long, and it all smacked me in the face this summer. i've learned that i can be truly awful at figuring out who to trust and that, in spite of all these defenses i put in place, i sometimes let in the unworthiest of choices.

no one's been quite as fast since you but still i have a good time

i've realized that idealism in a relationship pales in comparison to reliability and trust. that flowery words will only take you so far and that underneath it all that foundation had better be solid. i spent so long banking on the notion that there was one perfect person destined for everyone - two halves of one whole. in some ways i feel ridiculous admitting that over the age of 8, but it's not to say that i think we should settle for a safety net. i think the passion that lives in trusting another with your dreams and your heart and your fears is far deeper than that notion of a soulmate.

most importantly, i'm starting to trust my gut. if it doesn't feel right, chances are it's not. at the same time, if there's no huge red flag waving, maybe it's okay to let some people in. and most of all, i can trust that those dear friends&family who've proved themselves time and again are here to stay. it's hard to let go and accept that, especially when it seems like the world is moving so fast.

so, in short. i may not be able to throw a punch. it turns out that club owners and circusfolk make bad bosses and even worse lovers. if there is a strange illness going around a city, i'm more than likely to catch it. this does not, however, mean that i will stay away from the dog beach. maybe moving a block down really means that i like the neighborhood, not that i hate change. or maybe it means both, and that's okay. it's time i wrote angrier songs again. there's a lot to fight for, so many people to defend. and perhaps i should put myself first on that list. because, damnit, i deserve it after this long.

Friday, June 25, 2010

baby, i'm an anarchist

so, we're going to just gloss right over the last post date on this thing and jump right into life as i know it now.

things have been absolutely crazy the past few months here in chitown. there was a good long while where i was completely unsure of whether i'd stay, and woke up every morning literally in tears, missing the east coast. those mornings are more seldom now (down to maybe just once a week!) and, in spite of headache and heartbreak, i am moving forward here in the windy city.

i'm finishing up stage managing a show down at the dca storefront theater, dead letter office, which opened to less-than-stellar reviews but is nonetheless filled with good people (can't all be five-star shows like punkplay). the run ends july 18th, after which i dive headfirst into another opening. i got an e-mail a week ago for a PSM postion that pays over double what dog & pony is paying me for dead letter. after interviewing and getting the gig, i quit my job - the next day. i'd been moonlighting once again as a head cashier at the barn, slave to member cards and conversion rates - but no longer! i resigned without fully knowing what i was getting myself into with this new show (if we can call it that...), but i was determined to make it as a freelance stage manager! living the dream here, folks.

the show is a literal circus. i'm working under the big top, complete with clowns, sideshow acts and circus freaks. night number 2 of rehearsal, and i've already auditioned a woman named Ammo (short for Ammunition, obviously), who came in wearing some bondage gear, with sleeves full of tattoos, multiple piercings, stripper heels, a shaved head and, of course, a red crinoline skirt. actually, she kind of looked like me in high school. Ammo's talents include fire-breathing, suspension (you know, where you put hooks in your back and hang from the ceiling) and - wait for it - grinding. what is grinding, you dare to ask? well, in case you're not up on your sideshow terminology, it is (by Ammo's definition) when a performer wears a piece of metal over the crotch-area and then grinds a power tool onto that metal, emitting sparks for the crowd's delight. sometimes the performer misses, however, which is how Ammo ended up with scars on her upper thighs (we got to see those during her burlesque number, where she stripped down to just her tassels). what fun! sitting there in my banana republic button down and minnetonka moccasins (thanks, laura!), i felt like i fit right in.

at the end of this show (sept 1) i'll be headed back east for a couple of weeks before steppenwolf starts. that's right, bitches, i'm ASMing at the 'wolf. until then, i'm enjoying my mostly free days and working on my art and on my health. today i tried yoga. one of those bargain kits was on clearance at work, and i felt inspired to renew both my inner and outer self. it's a beginner tape, yoga class with gary bromley. that man is a fucking sadist. he lured me in by helping me to breathe deeply and connect with my navel. he even got me to stretch my neck out and bounce around on the balls of my feet a little bit. we were having fun. then he dove headfirst into sequences of stretching and squats, and some sick chauvinistic pose wherein my ass was right in the air while he watched gleefully from his little blue mat. i turned off the tape a quarter of the way through and went back to real housewives with a tub of ice cream in hand. it's inner beauty that counts, anyway.

well, it's 2 pm and the freelancer in me says it's time for a margarita on the back porch. my friend just texted asking if i want to go see a free burlesque show tonight. i wonder if i'll see any familiar faces.

Monday, October 5, 2009

let's just run away tonight

the sun is shining and starting to fade over the rooftops. i'm out on the back porch in between editing the audio tour. a couple in the building next door was arguing, before they dissolved into laughter. the light through the leaves that are stubbornly clinging to the trees is pure gold; they look like they're on fire.

i had to go into work for 7 again - the moon was still out on my drive in. i feel that this is somehow inappropriate. tonight is another big ol' lesbian playreading in andersonville. what have i gotten myself into?

just wanted to jot a note because i think i need to remember those times where it's all fitting together, and i really am happy. also, a quick music suggestion: heard matt hires today at b&n and came home and downloaded it. wonderful, kind of like matt nathanson, mixed with... snow patrol on a good day.

love, love, love.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

soon we'll be found

i seriously need to invest in an umbrella. and a dining room table.

it's been an incredibly busy week. i've been working on the podcasts for About Face, conducting interviews and learning sound editing. i also started at b&n, which is going to be a little challenging. i'm not used to being a regular bookseller and not having codes, or to being in a store that's a little more serious. it's only twenty hours a week, though, just enough to get me health insurance. perhaps most importantly, i sent in a very lengthy application for this american life this week for their internship position. if i do get it (i'll find out by november 1), i'll be moving to new york for at least six months to work on production there. it's a long shot, but i can't express how much i want it to work out.

i'm also seeing more theatre now that i'm settled in. on wednesday AFT hosted the opening workshop for teatro luna's new piece, half. TL is chicago's only latina theatre company, and their piece is going to explore what it means to be "half" of something - of a race, gender, religion. a bunch of AFT company members went and we all participated in the workshop through writing, dialogue and exercises. it was so great to see the beginnings of a piece (it's set to open in fall of 2010) and also to interact with another company and see their style. then last night, i went to see a piece called the darkest pit at the prop thtr. the writing was great, but the production left a little to be desired. it was a really interesting story about a school shooting, that took place inside a classroom during the shooting itself. it was good to get out and see what kinds of works are being produced, and to what degrees. tonight i'm going to see float, which about face is producing in uptown.

i thought i would include some pictures of the apartment that i took when we were in chicago in july. obviously, it's not furnished here, but the apartment is far too messy right now to put up current pictures... enjoy!

there's the sunroom, living room, dining room and kitchen.

also, i'll send out an e-mail with the address for my apartment. let me know if you want it! keep me posted on the goings-on back east.