The World Turned Upside Down

Yes, I know, I am very late to the Hamilton Party, but those tickets are expensive!!

But last Sunday, I finally caught a matinee with my girl, Tati, in San Francisco.

Well, it ain’t a Playbill, but I’ll take it.

Hamilton2

Last Row in the Mezz!

Hamilton1

For the most part, I loved the show. It was a bit long, causing me to run like a bandit to the bathrooms during intermission (only 5 stalls on the Mezzanine Level, WHAT IS THAT ORPHEUM??).

I was the most impressed with the songwriting and the performers’ ability to know when to catch a breath.  Thomas Jefferson was my favorite in regards to rapping style and King George stole my heart with his comic relief. That’s the role I would want to play.

Most importantly, I was inspired. I miss being inspired. I don’t see many musicals, but this one stuck and of course I had to go home and geek out to the soundtrack on Spotify. But being too much of a cheapskate to subscribe, my playlist keeps getting interrupted with “suggestions”, but that’s a gripe for another blog….

As the songs grew in my heart, I could feel my inner Weird Al coming out and googled “Parody Hamilton” and of course it’s already been done.  This is my fave:

Alfred Matthew Yankovic

Image result for alfred matthew yankovic parody lyrics

I had been procrastinating my own writing, but in my defense, I got sick.  No really, I did. But seeing Hamilton was the pill I needed and even though what I am writing is not a funny musical (wish it was), it’s still my story and yes, I am writing new material about a good Christian girl who finds that her faith in Jesus is not very popular in the Berkeley community.  The latest excerpt will performed on either May 6th or 7th at the Berkeley Marsh Theater. Check back for details.

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And speaking of procrastination, I will leave you with this.  I have been avoiding the dentist for years and am now paying a price. All I know is that between the dentist and the endodontist, my mind is swirling and for the first time in my life, I was prescribed valium for my “two part deep cleaning”.  You know it’s bad when they have to split up your teeth cleaning over two different appointments and when the valium doesn’t work at all.   

teeth1

Peace.

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About Mary Oliver

This post is not about Mary Oliver. I have no thoughts on her. I am not familiar with her work, but this past week, since her death, I have been seeing all sorts of posts on social media paying tribute to her and at first, I just felt left out, but then I realized I was being reminded of something from my past.

I have always been dense when it comes to poetry. I don’t do symbolism or foreshadowing very well-I am more of a literal person, when it comes to writing. I would say I am more of a prose girl with journalistic tendencies, (according to one of my college English teachers).

Which made my 10th grade English class so difficult.

I love writing, but not poetry- at least not the kind that is forced on us in the 10th grade and I had a teacher that year- Mr. McNeely, who had no problem calling his students out if he didn’t think we were paying enough attention.

Because I couldn’t understand the symbolism of the red ball one day. My mind drew a blank. It’s a ball- it’s red, end of story. To which my teacher said to me, “next time Theresa- pay attention!”

But I was paying attention, I just didn’t get it. I didn’t get poems that didn’t rhyme. And if they rhymed, apparently that meant they weren’t deep enough – artsy enough.

Then one day Mr. McNeely started teaching about meter. Now rhythm and meter, I understand. Iambic pentameter? I’m on it. Trochaic? I get it. We would be given homework assignments- to write poems in whatever latest meter we working on and I would see this as a challenge. Never mind what the actual words were- I knew how to rhyme – and quickly. As in I would write a rhyme in the class period before English and still turn my homework assignment in on time.

Then my teacher decided that we would have “poem contests” and he would read each one of our poems out loud in class- (anonymously-he simply assigned our poems each a number). And the class would vote for our top three poems by their number.

And whoever landed in the top 3- would get an automatic “A” – even if the poem, by the teacher’s standards- sucked. And then the winning poems would automatically be submitted for consideration into our school’s literary magazine- “Backroads”.  Backroads was run by a club of artsy fartsy students who wrote and understood “real poetry”.

I won these class poem contests all the time. Not because I knew how to write poetry, but because I knew how to rhyme and make my peers laugh. It got to the point where my teacher would disappointedly say, “And the winner is………………..Theresa. What a surprise.” I may not have not understood symbolism, but I could entertain people. I guess you could say I was a sell-out.   And my teacher would be forced to give me an “A” even if he thought my poem sucked. And he was forced to submit my poems to Backroads where each one of my rhymes was rejected – every time- by the artsy fartsy kids.

So I was beginning to learn I had an audience, even if the audience wasn’t my teacher or the high brow students from Backroads.

But I still didn’t get “real poetry” so you can imagine my fear when I found out during my 12th grade senior English exam, that we had two hours to write an essay on some artsy fartsy poem. It could have been Shakespeare- I don’t recall. I just knew that the dreamy language put me to sleep and panic set in. I have to write about this poem for my final exam?

I got angry. I felt as though I was being punished because my brain was wired differently than people who love poetry. So then I started writing about my anger towards the poem and why I thought it sucked and why I didn’t get it and two hours later I turned my paper in. As I was walking out of class, I overheard one of the smartest kids in class say to the teacher “finally, a poem I like!”

My heart sank. If one of the smartest kids in the class liked it- then what does that say about me?

The next week, my teacher handed back our papers and to my surprise- I got an A!  She told me, “You will do really well in college, because you know how to think for yourself.”

I was stunned. You mean I was allowed to think for myself? You mean I don’t have to agree with the teacher or the artsy kids in order to get an “A” or succeed in life?

I’ve been honing my own voice ever since. Using humor whenever I feel left out of the cool artsy fartsy conversation.

And I still have no thoughts on Mary Oliver.

And that’s okay.

 

 

 

 

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God is in the Wind

Last night, while cat sitting in the Oakland Hills, I had a good view to catch the NYE fireworks that were happening in San Francisco. For the first time, in a long time, I could see the fireworks clearly because the wind had blown the fog away. It’s rare that this happens in the Bay Area and I couldn’t help but think that God was trying to tell me something about how even though I don’t like wind (it’s messy, annoying, uncomfortable, unpredictable) it’s sometimes necessary because it blows away what is blurring my vision, so I can see more clearly what’s really going on.  God is in the wind.

I’m not one for making New Years Resolutions, and I know I say that every year. But I always feel like I need to write something down so I can look back at it a year from now and see how far I have come.

2018 was a busy year for me- performance wise. I know that’s a good thing, but I also noticed how tired I was for much of the time. I wish I had an endless supply of energy. I wish performing only gave me more energy- but I’m an introvert, so being on stage doing solo performance actually wipes me out.

Then why do it?  I wish I knew.  I think Steve Martin recently said something to the effect of “doing a show with Marty” (Martin Short) made him realize it was the first time he wanted to perform, verses having to perform.

I am assuming he felt like he could maybe relax more on stage and enjoy the ride because not everything was riding on his shoulders because he was no longer the only one on the stage.  If that’s the case, then I totally get it. For the most part, I usually perform because I feel like I have to- like it’s this itch I must scratch, but I don’t necessarily want to.  And yes, being on stage with other people definitely takes the pressure off. I get it. This is the part where I say something cheesy like “but how do I share the stage with God so I don’t feel like all the pressure is on me?”  I don’t know.

Then there are other solo performers who do not want to share the stage because they do not want to share the attention.  I don’t mind sharing.

2018 brought comedian Hannah Gadsby to the forefront with her solo show “Nanette” on Netflix.  It was part stand up, but then it really veered into more of a one woman show with powerful vulnerability and honesty that I found inspiring.  Then she would bring the humor back. Amazing skills.  Not easy to do.

Then this morning I woke up and watched a video of comedian Tiffany Haddish “bomb” (by stand- up standards) at her New Years Eve show last night. But watching her weed through the rubble of her fresh material, (I think she was working out some personal issues out that weren’t ready for the stage yet), I enjoyed watching her creative process-turning pain into jokes.  Not that the pain isn’t to be taken seriously- humor is just another way to communicate the pain.  Again, it was inspiring.

I don’t have a point to this post. I am just hoping I “catch wind” (wah wah) of what God is doing for 2019 in my life.

Happy New Year!

This how crazy the wind was last night in San Francisco. The one newscast on Channel 4 that showed our fireworks!

NYE 2018a

NYE Cat Sitter Selfie

NYE 2018-1

 

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People, People Who Need People…

I have my final performance of 2018 tonight (unless I get some last minute invitation to perform on NYE-but I am not holding my breath).  Information at bottom of post.

I try to take the day off of work when I have a show that night.  I haven’t figured out how to conserve enough energy to do both.  There are some extroverted performers who can just go and go and go- but I am not one of them.  I need a ridiculous amount of alone time when prepping for a performance. Even when it’s only 20 minutes.

My background is theater, which means I prefer to not talk to anyone at all until after my show is over- because it can throw me off mentally and emotionally.  The problem is- that kind of solitude is not possible in real life.  I have to take public transportation to the theater.  There are people on the train.  I have to run a quick tech rehearsal before a show- again, more people.  I have to sit backstage with other performers before the show begins.  Even more people!  And no, I do not like listening to music with ear buds on.  I prefer silence.  But I don’t get that luxury in theater life.

I think this is partly why I love going on first when there are multiple people on the bill. Tonight I go on first out of five performers.   I get it done and over with, then I can relax and enjoy the rest of the performers!

I will be doing a 20 minute excerpt of my current one woman show “Born Again in Berkeley” at the Marsh Theater tonight.  So come on out on a Monday night in the Mission District in the beautiful city of San Francisco.  And be part of the people that I actually need in order to have a show!

Tickets:

Monday Night Marsh
December  17th
The Marsh Theater
1062 Valencia Street, San Francisco (near 24th Street BART station)
Show Info:
Time: Doors open at 7:00pm | Performances start at 7:30pm
Tickets Online: $8 – $15 sliding scale
Tickets At the Door: $10 – $15 sliding scale
All seating for these performances are first-come, first-served.
Performances take place in the Main Stage Theater in San Francisco

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Short Term Memory Loss+ 2 Shows!!

Today is my birthday.  Current mood:

Image result for joey friends meme, why god why

I can’t possibly be 48 years old today.  Wasn’t I just 28 years old a minute ago?

Today is the first birthday I have ever had where I woke up and forgot it was my birthday.  Only for a few minutes.  And then I saw all the Happy Birthday FB posts and texts from loved ones.  Getting older is a trip.  My short term memory is not what it once was.

There is good and bad with short term memory loss.  The bad is- I forget I have food in my refrigerator and go grocery shopping instead.  The good is- I forget to worry about things I used to worry about.  It’s like not only do I not have the energy to worry anymore, I simply forget to.  I count that as a win.

Speaking of poor memory- I keep forgetting to tell people I have two performances coming up.  I will be doing a 20 minute excerpt of my current one woman show “Born Again in Berkeley” at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco next month.  I will performing alongside four other solo performers.  So come on out on a Monday night in the Mission District in the beautiful city of San Francisco:

The ticket link should be up soon.  Keep trying here for December ticket dates:

Monday Night Marsh

December 3rd and 17th

The Marsh Theater

1062 Valencia Street, San Francisco (near 24th Street BART station)

Show Info:

Time: Doors open at 7:00pm | Performances start at 7:30pm
Tickets Online: $8 – $15 sliding scale
Tickets At the Door: $10 – $15 sliding scale
All seating for these performances are first-come, first-served.
Performances take place in the Main Stage Theater in San Francisco

 

 

 

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It’s a Scream Baby!

So there I was in 1996, standing in for Neve Campbell (whose name I mispronounced  during my job interview) in this obscure film titled “Scary Movie” filming out in the middle of nowhere in Northern California.  It was maybe my third time I had been on a movie set, so I was pretty green.  I had to learn quickly “on the job” what the heck I was doing there.

I just knew that this movie was listed in the back pages of the Hollywood Reporter as “Comedy/Horror“, and that it was being directed by Wes Craven, and  that the Fonz was in it- (plus a bunch of up and coming young actors, who I was not familiar with).

I could not have foreseen this “little movie that could” would gross over $200 million dollars and spawn a four movie franchise.  Say what? When it originally opened in limited release to theaters in my area, it was playing at a $2 movie house and there was hardly anyone in the theater the first time I saw it.

The first time I saw “Scream“, I laughed. I laughed through the whole movie. It wasn’t scary to me at all. I already knew what was going to happen. I was just impressed that the jokes really landed.  But then something weird happened.  It started picking up steam, gained a following, went into wide release and then the rest is history.

I haven’t been back at the location where the huge party scene took place in years, but tomorrow, I get to return to the scene of the crimes, as a special guest, for this event. Join me if you dare:

https://www.screamcomeshome.com/

Scream

wrapparty

 

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OCTOBER FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE!

I am performing a 40 minute version of my latest solo show “Born Again in Berkeley” at the Times Unseen Festival at the Marsh Theater this month! Half of it will be brand new material, so I am freaking out a little.

DATES:

Saturday, October 20th, 8:30pm

Sunday, October 21st, 4:30pm

BUY TICKETS HERE

There are 15 performances in 3 days, so stick around and catch as many shows as possible! Hope to see you at a show!

TimesUnseen-1

 

 

 

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