Friday, June 4, 2010

A few of my favorite things...

Here is a list of super fun things that have happened in the past few days

1) I got a new roommate. There are now three of us in the hotel room. Alec, a boy from Taiwan and his girlfriend from Taiwan joined the team. They are great and young. There was huge drama (except not really) in which the director of the program freaked Stuart and I out because our room had a bunch of alcohol in it and was a mess and we were told that Alec freaked out. I had to be lectured three times about the state of our room and how Alec was upset, to find out that he really wasn’t and didn’t care that much…. Go fig.

2) A group of us decided to travel to the top of Paris and visit this museum dedicated entirely to Salvador Dahli. My favorite part of the entire exhibit was a series of ten paintings in which Dahli did a surrealist interpretation of Romeo and Juliet. He thought of some really powerful and great interpretation for the story, and it started me thinking for my final project about using my theatre experience and possibly doing a sort of expressionist interpretation of a classic Shakespeare play or Greek tragedy or something. Also, while in the Dahli museum, we decided as a group to do some dance improv in the middle of the space and take a piece that inspired us and work from there and explore to emotions, feelings, and moments from the observing the pieces and our exploration. The best part? This wasn’t even planned. The group of us were just like, “Hey! Let’s dance in the middle of the museum!” Like, how awesome is that that a bunch of late teens/early twenty-somethings just decided to do a modern dance improv in the middle of a museum?

3) Going to bed early is just not the style of the trip. Last night was the first night that I actually went to bed earlier than 5:30am. Earlier this year I announced that my new years resolution was to make this the Year of the Hot Mess. And I’m taking that resolution to the max. We have gone out to bars every night, I feel like I drink and dance and that really is the extent of my trip… and I don’t mind at all. Artistically, we are having some of the best conversations in the entire world. Its incredible to just be surrounded by a group of really brave, inspirational, initiative-taking people who are passionate about the fine arts. And who want to have a whole heck of a lot of fun in Paris. Haha!

4) After two nights of staying up to the wee hours of the morning and some intense drinking the night before, class was a little hard… Of course extreme movements while dehydrated and possibly a little hung over is not the bee’s knees. And punctuality just seems to float away…

5) Outside the Musee Rodin, we did a sight specific contact improv with a telephone booth as a complete ensemble. A woman afterwards actually came up to us inside the Musee Rodin and asked if we were a professional dance troupe from New York and was completely surprised when we told her we were only a college level ensemble.

6) I’ve seen a bevy of interesting dance performances including the Paris Ballet at the Opera House (beautiful, except the male ensemble was sloppy), Carylon Carlson (great opening sequence to her solo dance in which she incredibly slowly picked things up off a table to use and mysteriously those things disappeared. The lighting design was fantastic including one moment in which the dancer was spinning and the lights seemed to spin out with her.), and Meredith Monk (I hated this performance so much and I know I shouldn’t say that because Meredith Monk is such a huge contributor to modern dance and sound… but I hated it. For real real, not for play play.)

7) We had a guest artist, David Lesser, come in to work with us. David is a sound designer and artist who works with local companies to design sounds for dance performances and theatrical shows. He specializes in sort of an improv thing in which he can work with the dancers live by adding in different sounds and watching the movement and building background music on the spot that works with the movement of the dancers. We did this cool improv in which he played a sort of rain oriented music and at one point in time there was this fantastic moment in which several of us (I was one of them) we in the middle of the space slowly moving, intertwined with another, while there was a circle of people running in a circle around us causing heavy stomping and another outer circle running the opposite direction. The results were phenomenal and in that moment I really felt lifted to a higher place. We had created a perfect abstract idea of watching a thunderstorm through the window. It was fantastic.

8) We took a day trip to Versailles yesterday. The palace is extravagant and the best part was Marie Antoinette’s hamlet in the backgrounds in which she would escape to. While at Versailles and in the Queen’s Garden, we did a flocking exercises (based on how birds flocked, we stood as a group and traveled behind a leader and copied their movements, looking as if we were all moving at the same time and as we turned a new leader seamlessly would take the lead… whoever was in front of the group). The first two times we did the exercise it felt really disconnected and what my friend Victoria called it “precious” in which people were trying too hard to make it artsy and the enjoyment and powerful moments fell flat. The third time we all sort of let loose and moved throughout the garden, incorporating sassy walks, disco moves, and waving while keeping the whole piece extremely abstract. It was when we were able to make fun of ourselves that we started having a really, really good time. I mean birds of a feather flock together, but there needs to be a little humor and humility or its going to be a hell of a long, pretentious flight south… right?

9) This morning was had a master class with Eurudike De Beul, a performance artistic and voice teacher from Brussels. She helped us incorporate breathing, with singing and movements. I was the first person she personally worked with. I sang “I Believe” from Altar Boyz and she helped me work on confidence in singing in which I’m not looking to please the audience but instead having a confidence in myself and relax. She also asked me if I was an opera singer at the end of working with me, which I took as a huge compliment and a little shocking because no one has ever told me that I could have a voice for opera, but I guess she had helped me to relax so much that I just let my voice loose.

Well, those are some awesome highlights from my experience so far. Tonight we are seeing a performance called Orphee at the Theatre de Chaillott and possibly taking a trip to the Eiffel Tower after. Tomorrow I will be spending the day in a seven-hour object theatre workshop with the company Valise Turak. I’m honestly not too familiar with object theatre, but I’m excited to get to explore it!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Drinking & Dancing


I am now entering my third day here in France! Holla!

Remember those fears that I had about not having a good time? Not even a second thought. There are some AWESOME people on this trip that I have already become obsessed with. Its one of the coolest feelings being in the studio for the first time and being asked to explore the sound that our bodies make as we move in different ways during floor work and having 18 dancers go for it 100%.

And the nightlife is pretty fun, too. I can understand why Lindsey Lohan wanted to party all night in Europe as opposed to going back to the U.S. for her court date. I probably would have ‘lost my passport’ too.

First night here, I went out with my roommate and his friend. We met up with several friends of a friend and explored the gay scene in Paris. This is after having dinner with several of the girls from the ensemble and experiencing our first American-loving Parisian man who performed ridiculous charades to try and communicate with us.

Anyway, at the club, I had several really interesting encounters. The first included a man at the club attempting grab my nipples and not stopping until he succeeded. I had to shoo him away and after explaining “No merci!” a few times I got away.

Later in the night I met Grant, a thirty something gentleman from Canada who lives in London who was visiting Paris, and Felix, a 31-year-old hairdresser who performs in a rock band and had been classically vocally trained. They were planning on going home with each but wanted to have a little more fun before. Grant took a liking to the three of us (my roommate, his friend, and myself) and even bought champagne and rounds of tequila shots. He kept mentioning to me who the three of us reminded him of himself when he first moved to Europe and wanted to see how things turned up… I really hit it off with Felix while the other boys found some spikey haired, yellow tank wearing Euro-boys… Felix and I started talking about his tattoos and eventually segued off from the group. We were chatting it up, comparing America to France, talking about our goals in life, having a great time.

Felix asked me how old I was, to which I responded 21 and he had a moment. He quickly responded, “You are a baby! Its illegal me talking to you like this!” We laughed about it and I told him that he’s not that old. He followed up by telling me if he didn’t have a date he would want to be with me. Extremely flattered, I laughed and then he kissed me. To which he immediately started going about how much of a baby I was. I told him not to worry about it, to which he kissed me again. Oo lala!

Another boy at the club, Sen, was standing in line at the bar next to me and we struck up a conversation. We started talking about where we from and introduced ourselves and I kissed him on the cheek. He asked me where I was from and I responded Texas. He then told me that I kissed like a French man and the events proceeded as such:

Sen: This is how French men kiss.

(He kisses me on both my cheeks)

Sen: This is how people in Spain kiss.

(He kisses me on both cheeks twice)

Sen: And this…

(He kisses me on the lips)

Sen: That’s just me.

Like, straight up y’all, if I like was on my own and not living in a hotel room with others and knew my way around Paris, I would have gone home with him. Like, I was a total sucker for that nonsense.

We stayed out until about six in the morning and drunkenly took a taxi and then walked home from the club. It was an absolute blast.

The next day we saw our first show; the production consisted of modern dancers working on stage with birds. We reflected on this later in class, but the most thrilling thing about the entire piece was that the birds were not necessarily going to always do what needed to be done. Improvisation was an extremely important part of the entire performance as the dancers would receive and pass on the birds from one another at undetermined times.

It was cool. Honestly, I thought if you paused the show and took picture of it, it looked great. But the actual intention and work was lackluster with the birds becoming the focus as opposed to the relationship between the birds and the dancers as the focal point.

We followed the performance with a trip pass the Eiffel Tower, a falafel dinner, and our first class in which we explored floor work and how our bodies create sound.

That evening we went out to another gay club, this one called Le Queen. And we danced the night away. Once again, coming in a five o’clock in the morning…

The only exciting boy adventure I had there (I really was just there to dance with my girlfriends in the group), was when I bounded with a boy when we both were singing “Bad Romance”. He couldn’t speak much English but we ended up having a lot of fun and lip syncing along to the songs. Sadly, I got pulled away from him when the group decided to move, but he did blow me a kiss as we left. I should have dragged him along or just stayed. Oh well, next time!

Oh, and this creepy older guy decided he was going to dance up on all four girls in the group and me. It was weird and strange. He had a friend with him who we couldn’t decide if the guy was gay or straight, because he was lovin’ up on one of the girls Jess like hardcore, but we also thought he may be with other creepy older guy. It was just a whole lot of creepy.

But the drag queens and lights there were fantastic, though. J

Saturday, May 29, 2010

New Arrival

"Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars? I could really use a wish right now..."
~ "Airplanes" by B.o.B. and the chick from Paramore

Ok, so here's how my plane flight when down:
There was a billion college students about to head out to study abroad on the plane. Like a billion. The chances of me sitting next to one were inevitable. Like, I was going to be set cuz I could make friends with some fun chick or some hot dude and enjoy my nine hour flight.

But... this is my ridiculous life and of course I would get the seat next to the four month old. His name was Van, and while one of the most adorable babes I have ever seen... dude, that kid can scream. And chose to do so for a pretty good portion of the flight.

I talked to his mom for a bit and explained to her why I was traveling to France, and of course asked her story. Which was interesting. She had had Van through artificial insemination and was taking him to meet his birth father in France. She didn't have a ring on her finger and was traveling alone (the older british man sitting on the other side of her was definitely NOT related).

So this interesting story (mixed with my re-reading of the Sex and the City novel during the plane flight instead of doing my pre-France assignment), got me thinking: In my head, this unmarried, single woman who was probably in her 30s, had decided to cut the man out of the picture and have a child on her own. Her biological clock went off and instead of hitting the snooze button, she decided wake up and face this morning head on.

When do we take our lives into our own hands? When do we decide that its time to lead the lives we want to lead regardless of what stipulations the world around have forced upon us?

I guess that's going to be my mantra or sorts for this France trip. Instead of just being scared of not fitting in or not enjoying myself, I'm just going to take this trip into my own hands and enjoy as much as I want it to be. Straight up.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A new world...

“A new world calls across the ocean, a new world calls across the sky, a new world whispers in the shadows… Time to fly.”

~ “Opening: The New World” from Songs for a New World

Location: airport

I am so disgustingly nervous its ridiculous. I feel like a small town boy about to step into a huge, electric, large, strange world. But… I’m not a small town boy. I grew up in the Woodlands, I live in St. Louis, I’ve been to Europe twice before and have traveled all through Central America…

I keep singing to myself that little verse in Annie… the one where the Star-to-Be appears on stage during “N.Y.C.” and singing about how she just got there this morning. I don’t know if it’s the most accurate musical comparison but I think the intention/fear in both situations are similar. Everyone in this airport has someone with them. They are in groups traveling together or if they are alone, they are much, much older than me and look like they are well versed in the travel world.

I have two major fears for this trip:

1) I’m going to have a terrible time and be miserable the whole while. In the car on the drive, Jessica and I were joking about how when I get off the plane in Paris I should start singing Beauty and the Beast. I mean, they’re both set in France, right? I would walk off the plane and in a great musical opener I would start singing the “Bonjour! Bonjour!” part of the “Belle.” While Jessica and I giggled about that, my mother made a comment about how I am going to have a great time no matter what because I’ll be around theatre people who would understand the constant lust to burst into showstoppers, etc… To which Jessica and I both responded… I’m not going to be with theatre people, I’m going to be with dancers, and they are a completely different breed. And in all honesty, I haven’t spent an enormous amount of time with strictly dancers… It’s something completely new, something completely scary. Will they understand my ridiculous theatre references? Hopefully they’ll get my constant need to wax poetic when its comes to art and movement and theatre… But what if they don’t? What if they don’t get me at all? And honestly, I’m not really a dancer. I can dance and have danced before. I choreography, but in terms of technical training I am not a dancer. I am a dancer in the sense that I believe in movement and the body to express and create. I believe in using the body to tell a story. I hope that counts…

2) I’m going to the absolute time of my life and when I get back to the real world, the not creative artsy French world… I’m going to regret every coming back and feel even more restless and stuck than I have ever felt before. This is actually the fear that I’m leaning towards.

I just don’t want to be any more bored with life than I already am. And there’s a major possibility that after living in France for over a month, coming home to little old Texas or St. Louis is going to just… suck. More so going back to St. Louis. I will always love going back to Texas and The Woodlands, because that’s where my family and the people I grew up with are going to be. And being with them could never be boring. Now, St. Louis… We’ll see.

I keep playing “Opening: The New World” from Songs for a New World on repeat as I type this. I can really relate to it. Yes, France is not literally a new world for me to be in, but this feeling of being a young adult, being 21 years old and going off into the world for the first by myself into a country where no one speaks my language to be with people I don’t know and do something that I’m not even sure if I’m really any good at…

I haven’t been this nervous since my first day of college.

There’s a group of kids my age sitting two rows behind me at the gate. They seem like they’re having fun. I tried to sit close to them so I could eavesdrop slash not look like a fish out of water all by myself (I feel like people can see how insecure and nervous I am right now, and I feel like by camouflaging myself into a group of other 20 somethings that it would mask my ferocious, blinding insecurity), but alas apparently I took one of their friends seat and was banished to two rows away from them. Piss.

The woman sitting next to me now is speaking Spanish. I can’t even eavesdrop on her. I’m in a gate lobby full of people and my people watching/eavesdropping is extremely unsuccessful.

I just wish I had a friend here with me right now…. It would make this journey to this new world a little less frightening…

I’ve changed songs from “Opening: The New World” to Robyn’s new single, “Dancing On My Own”… while not quite a literal representation of how I am feeling right now… (I’m not staring at the love of my life making out with someone else on the dancefloor… or am I?) The sentiment is there. I’m dancing on my own right now.

I’m boarding. Wish me luck.

Au revoir, America! Bonjour, France!!

"We made a deal ages ago... men, babies, doesn't matter... we're soulmates."
~ Samantha, Sex and the City 2

Long time, no see, blog world!

I felt it was about time for a return. I know I keep saying that I'm going to make a fantastic comeback to this blog... but I suck and haven't.

To be honest, there just hasn't been a lot that I can openly talk about on the blog. Or a lot that isn't just me moping about things. Because I've become really good at that: moping. And as Hamlet once asked, "To mope or not to mope? That is the question"... and I chose the latter.

But, why I return now, is I'm about to embark on a really great adventure. For the next five weeks I will be living in France. I was accepted into a dance program called MADE in France earlier this year and now will get the opportunity to travel to France. I will spend the first few weeks in Paris, doing research and taking technique classes and then travel to Melisey and continue work on a final project that will have a public showing at the end of my adventures.

I feel like Carrie in the series finale of Sex and the City... except I'm not going off to meet The Russian nor am I expecting my Big to race halfway across the world to tell me how much he loves me... but I am expecting a whirlwind adventure in one of the greatest cities on Earth and one of the most beautiful countries... and I the entire time? I get to dance. Yep. I'm going to dance in France. I can already feel my creative juices coming alive and the electricity about to pour out.

And that's why I return to my blog! To talk about my awesome adventures overseas.

It's interesting how Sex and the City always seems to nails me so well (Sex and the City/nailing pun too tacky? I'm trying to get back in my Carrie Bradshaw groove. I'll work on it). The reason I am most excited for France is that lately... I feel boring. I feel like my life has kind of hit this repetitive state of the same old, same old. I'm restless. I'm ready to escape and achieve something greater but keep running around in circles and drowning in disappointments. Sex and the City 2 premiered this week, and my girl Carrie is going through the same problems with Big. She is worried about becoming that old couple that sits around and watches TV... she's worried about compromising her exciting life and... settling. And to figure things out she goes to Abu Dabi. I guess France will just have to be my equivalent.

That's become my biggest fear as of late. Settling. In my career, in my love life... just in general. So what do I do? I runaway. I runaway from all the mundanity that is surrounding me and I escape to France for five weeks. And hopefully, through my art... through my exploration of sound and movement, I can find a fabulousness and sense of quest that will keep driving me forward. Maybe... I'll find what I'm looking for... or at least figure out what I'm looking for...

So, I've got my copy of Sex and the City and the newly released The Carrie Diaries to read on the plane flight, I've got my Macbook (ready to ingest all my fantastic, French stories), and I've got a feeling that this trip is exactly what I need to revitalize myself. Maybe I'll finally find myself on this trip.

I'm ready for a new world. A new environment with new people and new stories. I'm ready to swish things up.

In other news, I've been recording an album. Kind of. It started off as a joke where I just wrote a bunch of pop songs and put in a bunch of pop music cliches, and then people started really enjoying the music... so with my garageband I've recording a pop/comedy album called Year of the Cougar. I just wanted to record a bunch of really terrible, but fun pop songs and people wanted to hear it so... it's on iTunes! So. If you can spare 99 cents click the link below and purchase my debut song, "Drop Dead Gorgeous."

Now the songs are supposed to be funny so don't be afraid to laugh, but also don't be afraid to make them your number one guilty pleasure... after all, being a guilty pleasure is more or less the purpose of terrible pop songs... Well, now that terrible pop songs have a purpose, it's time to find mine. Here I come, France!!

"Drop Dead Gorgeous" on iTunes:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

You know what I hate?
At least at this moment.
Doing the right thing.

Yes, I hate doing the right thing.
I hate being mature about situations.
And knowing the right thing to do.

And telling someone I don't want to be with them.
I need sometime to figure myself out.
Because I know if I didn't do that I would just ruin the relationship forever.

Oh, and finally the time comes around when my electron
My electron is screaming out, I'm ready to bond with you!! I'm ready!
You're the one! You're the one I'm supposed to be bonding with! We complete each other!
And you've both always known it, you've known since the moment you met

And as your electron screams that out, its broken free of any previous bonds...
That other electron. The perfect one that could complete you.
Is bonding with someone else.
And you feel absolutely miserable
Because you've missed your chance.
And in the moment, it hurts so much,
why? here's why...

Because. Because the electron they're bonding with is not deformed or ugly or disgusting... no, that electron is awesome. And they deserve an awesome electron. And they're happy.

And in the end that's all you want them to be. Happy.
And worst of all,
the reason you missed your chance
wasn't because they were being dumb
or because some tragic event happened
it was because you made a choice to say,
No. I actually need more time than this.
I need to figure this out to be able to make things work.

I wish I was stupid and irrational and just had never tried to do what's best.
All I keep thinking to myself is
"My God, I could have probably been engaged by now."
Isn't that crazy? But I wouldn't have been. And me and aforementioned perfect electron would have just fizzled and combusted because I wasn't ready. I wasn't ready to let go of something that was never going to work out.

I missed out and I feel dumb.
I missed out because I made a mature choice and now I'm paying for it.
Fuck maturity. I'm over it.

Thank you blog world for listening to my rant. After all, these are my confessions. Suck it.