Archive for November, 2012


The final performance of Questions and Declarations was beautiful. I’m so thankful to have been a part of it– to be in ‘Necropolis,’ which was an excellent experience from start to finish; to perform again after a year and a half; and to be part of another HopeWerks, five years after my own. Mega, mega thanks to N (and also D) for allowing me to be part of something wonderful.

Our final audience was fabulous! Every seat was full (it was a studio showing with 28 chairs, but still!), and they were really engaged in the performance. They seemed to notice (and respond to) all of JAE’s sly puns in ‘Necropolis’ and cracked up at N’s singsongy solo poem “Early Morning Prayer.” They responded well to D in “If No One Ever Marries Me” and “Secrets of the Rebel Spinster,” laughing at all the right places (doesn’t hurt that D is a great performer— really funny, with a perfect sense of timing!). Best of all…my husband came, and he loved it; he said I was amazing and he was proud. ❤

I really enjoyed watching “Family: Leporidae” (I worked the iPod, so i got to see it from the back). Not only is D funny and entertaining, but the two dancers who did solo pieces were incredible! One woman I had performed with before; the other I’d never met. I loved watching both of them!

We had a talk-back after each performance, plus the audience members stayed to chat with the performers/artists afterward. One interesting reaction from people was that the ones who knew me as a dancer were surprised that I could speak so well. Frankly, I was, too!  I was heavily involved in theater through middle and high school– doing several mainstage shows a year and taking acting classes– but it had been a long time. While I was a good little actress at age 13, I wasn’t sure that would be true at age 26, especially being almost ten years out of practice. Turns out all those years of PYT paid off after all.

Another interesting thing was to observe the different ways people pronounce “poem.” There’s “po-em,” “poam,” and “poim;” and I heard all three over this experience.

* * *

After that I … slept. No, really. Aside from ten minutes of work-related phone calls, I spent Monday in bed (I’m really thankful to have Mondays off). It was glorious.

You know how everyone on facebook does those “Today I’m thankful for….” posts every day during November? I never got on the bandwagon; but yesterday– the last day of dance before Thanksgiving break– I was thankful for Five-Hour Energy Extra.

* * *

…and that brings us up to speed. It is now Wednesday, day one of my three-day “vacation,” and in a few hours we’re leaving for Orange, Texas to visit Craig’s family. We’re both looking forward to seeing the ETX family members and to just “getting away” for a few days. That said, I’ve got to make sure the cats are situated (we’re just going to leave them to their own devices for 48 hours and pray the apartment isn’t in shambles when we return), finish packing, shower…I should probably squeeze some exercise in, too, before CalorieFest 2012 (maybe shouldn’t have skipped my morning yoga in favor of blogging)…

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Peace and love.

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Dress rehearsal was Thursday night, and it went well. I finally got to see the other piece on the Hopewerks Bill, “Family: Leporidae.” It’s an interesting piece: two contemporary dance solos, a poem by Laurence Alma-Tadema, and a original monologue by D called “Secrets of the Rebel Spinster.” I really enjoyed it!

We started our run at about 8:30 and it was over at 9:15. It went well– no disasters– and we all headed out around 9:30 to get a good night’s sleep.

* * *

Friday night the crowd was thin (there were several different dance performances this weekend, including a one-night-only concert last night). Still, the room was about half-full (not half-empty), and the audience was appreciative. One of my friends from church came out to see it, as well as a handful of other people I knew from my dancing days.

Opening night I got to see the final element of “Leporidae”– the art dolls. The dolls, made by this fabulous artist, served as a sort of backdrop for the piece, and added to the quirky charming feel of the work. I also learned why it was called “Leporidae”– there was a recurring, yet completely accidental theme of rabbits throughout the piece (each section had some sort of reference to a rabbit, etc). Well, you know, you start with two…

On a personal level, I’m glad we didn’t have very much of an audience that night– it wasn’t my best performance. I felt good about parts of it, of course; but I feel like I “missed” more than I “hit.” Adding minor insult, I got a tickle in my throat at the end of “What (C)remains” that stayed for the rest of the piece, which was really annoying. I went straight home after, since my alarm would be going off at 5:30am.

* * *

Saturday was the second showing, and– drumroll!– the poet was there (we knew in advance that she was coming Saturday night). I was excited to perform her work for her, but also nervous– would she approve of the voice I gave her words? Would she feel I had done them the proper justice?

The performance went really, really well! The audience (bigger this time) laughed at all the funnier parts, and seemed to be having a very good time. They loved N’s sing-song “Early morning prayer” and the Alma-Tadema poem.

I felt strong, especially in my two poems.I finally felt like I nailed “What (C)remains” (and no throat-tickle this time, thank goodness)…

…and later found out from the audience– and from poet Jill Alexander Essbaum herself– that I did exactly that! =D I learned that I made at least two people cry (which is an odd thing to brag about, granted, but it’s a sign of an effective performance). One of the audience members (who goes to pretty much every performance, and has seen me perform in things since I first moved here), commented that I seemed very comfortable performing spoken word, and that I should perform more often. I told him I’ll try. 😉

I got to talk to Jill after the crowd thinned down a bit. She told me that I had performed “Interoit” almost exactly as she read it at readings; she had written the poem at a time when she took lots of early-early morning walks.  And what do you know– years ago I went through a phase with lots of introspective pre-dawn walks around my neighborhood (you can do that when you live in River Oaks), and I’ve been re-living those walks in “Interoit.” All in all, Jill was very appreciative of my performance– I “nailed it out of the ballpark” (yes!) and made her cry.


It was a great night.

* * *

It’s now Sunday. Last night was great, but I can’t “rest on laurels”– we have one more performance to go! I’m laying low and resting up in the meantime, though. And laundry– I must fold laundry. I managed to get clothes washed and dried all week, but I lacked the time to actually sit down and fold things, and the clean-laundry basket went beyond full and into Mountain Mode. My wonderful husband let me sleep late this morning and got started on it, he’s at least leveled off the “mountain” part of it. I better go fold the rest before a cat decides to climb into the basket.


Too late.

* * *

Wish us merde for a great closing night!

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We had our last pre-dress-rehearsal rehearsal Monday night. It went well– we ran through it three times, and felt pretty good about it afterwards.

I’d been playing with “Interoit”– the opening selection, which I perform as a monologue. The poem, which begins with the words “I was dead, and I went for a walk this morning,” is a reflection on a life; with moments of anxiety and moments of wry honesty. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I like how I perform it, although I’m still tinkering with the delivery of certain lines (and the word “unaccommodating,” which for some reason sounds odd in my voice).

I”What (c)remains” is another poem that I perform mostly alone, and I’m having the opposite experience with it– a few weeks ago I liked how I did that piece, and was confident about it. I the last few rehearsals, however, I’ve failed to get “there”– each time I’ve felt like I didn’t hit all the right notes. It’s frustrating. Before tonight’s dress rehearsal I am going to do some meditations on it and try it a few more times.

As much as I want tonight’s rehearsal to go well, the superstitious part of me has always found “a bad dress rehearsal means a good performance” to be true. Either, I think we’ll be swell, we’ll be great, gonna have the whole world on a … where was I? Oh, right. Dress rehearsal is tonight, three performances this weekend. I think we’re going to be just fine.

Still, wish us “merde!”

* * *

You can read more of my thoughts on the ‘Necropolis’ process here.

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Rehearsals and projects

Oh. Hey! I guess I got pretty quiet (again) after the election results were announced. Sorry– been busy. Also, I’ve decided I’m going to take a brief break from the social/political ranting here on the blog– I think I did enough of that last week to last a while. In the meantime,   I’ll stick to the real purpose of blogging: describing the dull minutiae of my mundane life what I’ve been up to lately!

For the last month or two I’ve been rehearsing for a piece in Questions and Declarations, the upcoming HopeWerks showing.For those of you outside of Houston, HopeWerks is a space grant that Hope Stone offers to emerging artists: You get a few months of free rehearsal space; at the end you do a public showing of your work (I was the first HopeWerks recipient back in 2007). Questions and Declarations is made up of two pieces by two artists: D’s ‘Family: Leporidae’ and N’s ‘Necropolis.’

I’m in ‘Necropolis‘, which is a performance piece of eights poems by Jill Alexander Essbaum (from her collection of the same name). The poems deal with the subject of death; both on a personal level and in relation to the death and resurrection of Jesus. I particularly like the poems dealing with the death and subsequent un-death of Jesus– while most art inspired by the subject is joyful and romantic (“Hallelujah!/He is risen!” and etc etc etc), these poems depict a more realistic horror: the post-traumatic shock of having experienced torture, death, and hell. The other poems deal with loss on a much more personal level: loneliness, shame, disbelief.

I’ll elaborate more abut this later–in the meantime, you can read more abut the process at ortsperformance.blogspot.com. There’s also a few words from D about her experience with the piece, and soon there ill be a blurb from me as well. 🙂

* * *

Even though Christmas is still over a month away, I’ve been working on Christmas choreography for over a month!

The intermediate and advanced dancers at the studio were invited  perform in a big annual Christmas pageant that a local church hosts. I choreographed the ballet piece for my intermediate students, using some music selected by the church (a very upbeat, folksy, sort of song). It’s a big group– something like thirteen or fourteen kids– and the choreography had to be re-worked and re-tooled a few times just to fit everyone onstage comfortably (it’s not a very space). The process of setting the dance was very challenging in that regard– not just in re-working the spacing for all those kids, but in working with all-those-kids…who are at the age where they get very chatty, and where lessons about proper rehearsal etiquette haven’t fully sunk in yet.

However, after some rough rehearsals (and some yelling), the dance got set and the dancers started to learn what I expect from them, and it’s been pretty smooth sailing since then. The dance is looking nice, and the parents (and studio owner!) have comlimented the choreography. All’s well that ends well!

* * *

There is more to write, but I must go forth and answer the call of rehearsal.


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8:15 P.M.: My mom texted me after work to tell me Obama won my hometown. Then again, in a town of 365 that’s not hard to do. 😉

8:22 P.M.: And now all of Pennsylvania is blue! I’m proud of my home state right now.

Texas, no surprise, is red. I wonder what “color” Houston itself was (Obama won Houston last time around).

8:34 P.M.: Ted Cruz wins Texas. I know I balked about him earlier, but he’s really not bad; and I’m glad for the guy– he is the first Hispanic Senator from Texas. He’s a good speaker, too (but I don’t care for his position on ObamaCare, or his slightly-creepy TV ads). Congrats, Senator Cruz.

Also, Elizabeth Warren is Massachusetts senator. Hooray! What an inspiring, badass woman. Loved her speech at the National Convention.

8:42 P.M.: I need to shower (or do something other than bite my nails and pace). What do you want to bet they announce the winner when I’m in the shower?

* * *

9:00 P.M.: ….and, that’s a no. I should have known it wouldn’t be this soon.

9:11 P.M. This is going to be a long night, isn’t it?

9:14 P.M. Romney takes Utah…and apparently is in the lead now with electoral votes (163 versus Obama’s 57).

Barbara Walters is on TV right now, saying that if Romney loses tonight this will be the literal end of his political career– he would retire after tonight. This comes at the urging of his wife, who is exhausted from being his manager/adviser/personal cheerleader on top of having multiple sclerosis (that poor woman!). She was limping in a recent appearance. I bet four years of being first lady would be ever more exhausting for her (yet another reason I want Obama to win, I guess).

Okay, I need to take a break. I’m going to peel myself away from the laptop and make myself a burrito. And wine. Wine would be good right now.

* * *

9:39: Holy shit. It’s neck and neck in the electoral votes right now: 163 and 163. Wow.

(Come on, undecided states! Vote blue!)

9:41: According to Fox (local Fox, not Fox News- Fox), there is “no clear winner right now,” but it’s very close– like, hinging-on-recount-territory close.

I started weeping quietly at the first mention of the R- word. I was only 14 when the 2000 Florida Recount trainwreck went down, but it taught me a very irritating lesson about American politics (they’re not always fair, and can be downright mind-bendingly, head-explodingly stupid).

* * *

10:07: I’m signing off for now. I’m tired, I’m still getting over this awful upper- respiratory death-blarg thing, it’s been a long day.

I’m going to stretch out in front of the TV. If I zonk out, wake me up when they crown the victor…

* * *

10:16 P.M.: Wow, that was quick.

On NBC this moment: Barack Obama ELECTED.

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Because I need to put my election thoughts somewhere, and my Facebook friends are probably sick of me. Just for fun, compare this to the post I did four years ago!

1. Once again, I brought a book with me to my polling place, expecting a long wait. Once again I did not need it. I think that’s Murphy’s law– if I don’t bring a book the next time I vote, I’ll be in line for hours.

2. I’ve fired up the poll tracker and am glued to it. Last time I had an app for my phone that I checked in between classes all evening. Now, my Android isn’t letting me download apps (what GIVES?), and I’m trying to load up the page on my phone’s browser. Why can’t we have nice things?

3. Just like last time, I’ll be teaching during the last hours of polling. This is a welcome distraction; because by late afternoon I’m usually going a bit nuts.

4. I didn’t vote straight-ticket this time. Probably won’t again. We’ll see.

5. To continue the tradition of rhyming slogans for election day, I texted my mother with “You’ll be cryin’ if you vote Romney/Ryan!”

6. Currently Obama is up by 0.7%. Insert tawdry Rush Limbaugh joke about Obama leading until the Republicans get out of work (and picture me rolling my eyes and making a “wanking” gesture).

7. It’s too early to start making up a victory dance, but I’ve got one planned in my head.

8. While I waited to vote, I noticed a lot of people in line were also wearing blue. I wondered if it was a coincidence, or if they–like me– were quietly showing their support for the liberal side (this is Texas, so probably not). **I moved this over from my last post– it fits better here

9. My polling place didn’t give out “I voted” stickers, so I cannot– as Amalah and INTERNET LAW dictate— post a smug-looking self portrait wearing an “I Voted” sticker. Boo.

(But I voted! I did! See?)

10. Speaking of those little voting access codes/receipts, remember in 2008 you could show yours and get free coffee at Starbucks/tacos at Taco Bell/ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s? Not that we should be bribed to do our civic duty, but free tacos are always nice.

11. Ted Cruz is in the lead for Senator, which isn’t surprising. Not encouraging, but not surprising.

12. It’s almost 2:30. Time to  stop obsessing, put my leotard on, and go to work. When  get done at 7:30, the polls will have started closing on the East Coast. I’m going to cross my fingers and say a prayer that we get four more years of progress.

Peace out, go vote.

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Election Day Thanks

There’s something exciting about Election Day. All across the country, the air is thick with anticipation as everybody casts their vote and waits on pins and needles for the result.

Despite being under the weather for over a WEEK, I sprang out of bed at 6:45 this morning, so I could vote when the polls opened at 7:30.

There wasn’t much of a line, so I waited about 5 minutes before I got to a machine. I smiled as I went though each page: turn the little wheel, hit enter, (sniffle,) (GAH) turn the little wheel, hit enter.

I had to supress a little squeal as I hit “Cast Ballot,” and walked out the door with a smile on my face, having done my duty as a citizen and participated in the Democratic process. There’s something so satisfying about it; lending your voice to the biggest decision in your nation.

…but if I’d lived 100 years ago, I wouldn’t have that satisfaction; because I would not have been allowed to vote. A century ago, I would have been my husband’s chattel, unwillingly attached to whatever his political position is (which would have been very bad for me, as my husband is a staunch conservative). I can’t tell you how thankful I am for the women who have gone before me– the ones who worked, marched, picketed, and even got sent to jail for it– who gave us this right to vote.

We salute you, suffragettes.

“Our daughter’s daughters will adore us, and they’ll sing in grateful chorus, ‘Well done, sister suffragette!'”

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