Nudists… Reviewed.

This evening, I pleasantly sat down at my computer and googled: “Nudists in Love,” hoping to find some reviews from our opening performance.  I mostly found listings of the show, then I came across a blog called “Fusion on the Fly,” a blog venturing into culinary arts from the perspective of outside inspiration.  Folks, I have been blogged about.  And I have a recipe named for myself and my co-ensemble member Nick.  I should probably mention that the review of the show is not actually very favorable, but I am positively beaming that someone thought to write about me… thanks to Karl for checking out the show and for spreading the word via your love of food!  Check out the blog here.  I’ll have to try out the recipe and see how it goes!

Just another Manic Monday

Yeah.  Hello.   Hi, I’m alive.

Honestly, when I don’t write in this blog, the anticipation of my next entry and the realization that I have more and more to write just builds and builds until I have absolutely no drive to sit down and update this here thing.
But here I am.  
I have got a lot going on these days.  It feels good to be busy.  Looking at my last update, I mentioned that I had just gone to an audition and gotten a callback.  Well, I went to two more auditions and ended up getting a part in the musical. (I actually ran into 50 Cent in the hallway of the audition location – yeah, he was casting for his new movie.)  If you want to check out the website of “Nudists in Love” (my musical – not 50 Cent’s movie), you can read about the show and the awesome people putting it all together.  Rehearsals start tomorrow, and the show goes up in August as a part of the NYC Fringe Festival (one of New York’s finest Scottish imports).  

Which leads me to my Tuesday night conflicts with our rehearsals: my new Tuesday night gig at Upright Citizens Brigade.  Yup, I mentioned it here in my last entry, but since then I have worked two fantastic Harold nights and met some wonderful people at the theater.  The internship translates to two free classes at UCB, which I am using for my Sketch 101, and most likely, Sketch 201 classes.  My job on Tuesday nights entails prepping the theater for the show, selling tickets in the box office, checking tickets as patrons enter the theater, and cleaning it all up just after midnight.  It’s a pretty good gig, considering it also allows me free admission to any show at the theater, even if it’s sold out.  Yeah, it’s tough work (especially after working eight hours during the day), but I feel I’m just putting in my dues before I really make it big.  (Only half joking here.)

In other improv news, our sketch/improv group “The Knife Parade” recently went through an identity crisis and renamed ourselves “The Karate Parade.”  One of our members used to be a knife salesman and is now teaching karate to kids, so our group’s moniker seems to be following his career path.  Henceforward, I will refer to it here as “TKP.”  So, TKP enjoyed a fun show last Saturday, opening up for a group called “Sherpa” with another group called “Kape.”  We had a great turnout and a pretty awesome show, so we are stoked for our next public appearance, this Friday at Gotham City Improv with “Bombardo.”  If you’re in the NYC area, you should check it out: 7/18 10pm, 48 W 21st St., 8th floor, $6, BYOB.
What else is new…. hmm… 

I’m going to be moving down to the East Village next month with my pal, Brooke – though we are still anxiously awaiting confirmation from our management company that our application was accepted.  I have been neglecting covering the topic in my blog for my amateurish fear of jinxing the place.  It’s beautiful.  Great big living space, beautiful exposed brick, a TUB, great neighborhood.  Couldn’t ask for much more.  I’m ready for a change from my current location in the Upper East Side.   Brian will be moving up to a nice apartment in Harlem, to live with his fellow theater friend from Palo Alto.  I think we are both ready to escape the incessant construction, loud traffic, and cheap frat boys that litter our ever-decomposing block.  Wow, do I sound a little jaded?  I think I have just finally found my calling as an East Village punk (see Cyndi Lauper at right.)  Too bad I already let my monroe piercing grow in… I would have fit right in!  I’m having remorse.
Have you ever been to Chelsea Market?  I popped in Saturday afternoon to enjoy some free A/C and feast my eyes on restaurant equipment… but MAN oh man – they have some top quality produce in that joint.  If you’re in need of some veggies and fruits, head over there and spend a fraction of the cost.  You wouldn’t expect the prices to be so affordable, given the ultra modern architecture and factory-turned-trendy interior design, but they had a wide variety of amazingly fresh and organic ingredients for CHEAP.  Check it out.

The last note I will end with today (though I have SO much more to cover) are some thoughts on my new Sketch class at Upright Citizens Brigade.  I’m currently in the second week of 101 with Dominic Dierkes (he’s got some fantastically funny videos with his sketch group Derrick).  My most recent sketch involved a heterosexual man’s experience of “coming out” to his gay Dads, and was pretty well received by my teacher and the rest of the class.  This week, our assignment is to write a “character” sketch, or an SNL-type sketch which utilizes the funny philosophy or “game” of a character in any given situation.  Think Chris Farley as the “Motivational Speaker”  (in a van down by the river!)  So if you have any brilliant ideas for a character you’d like to see incorporated into a sketch, please be my muse and comment!
Peace out – enjoy the sun and humidity, NYC.

Pardon the inter- ruption… I don’t mean to interfere with your plans for the day, but I… I have something to say.  Oh, and check out the art to the right…. love it.

  1. Walking around with a four-month old kitten in a knapsack on your person is not generally regarded as “normal” by Upper East Siders.
  2. Upright Citizens Brigade trumps all other improv comedy schools.   
  3. The Ritz (well I’ve only seen the first half so far) is extremely funny and entertaining, and would be even better if I were a 50-year-old gay man.
  4. I have gotten pretty good at making auditors laugh (with me, not at me) – while still not getting a job in a show.
  5. New York gets kind of cold in November.  What will January be like?
  6. It is not as easy as I thought it would be do wash all of my clothes in one day.
  7. Like I said, UCB trumps all others, and one reason is this, which talks about the SNL performance at the UCB theater last night, which raised money for the Writers Guild Strike Fund and figuratively smashed poo in the producers’ faces. 
  8. The Lower East Side has some very interesting live music venues.  Some notable names include “The Living Room” and “Arlene’s Grocery.”  Good times. 
  9. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is an outstanding piece of literature, but according to my roommate, not a very good Broadway musical. (This is not to be confused with Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein, which is reportedly the best musical in the history of musicals.  I have tickets for the December 30th matinee!)
  10. When you find a good pair of boots at Steve Madden for 20% off, you should buy them in two colors.  I know I did.
  11. Another reason to defend UCB’s superiority is the fact that there will be a (and you are soooo lucky to know about this before the fact) live performance of NBC’s Emmy-winning TV show 30 Rock tomorrow evening, also at the UCB theater to raise money for the writers who struck out, I mean – are striking.  Check out this desperate craigslist post.
  12. I learned how to do links today.
  13. In an effort to emphasize how amazing UCB is, I will inform you that I signed up for “201”, the next course in the series of classes formed by some of NYC’s best comics.  I love these classes, and hopefully one day, can show you- whoever you are- that I am funny.
13 is my lucky number.  That’s all folks.  
Oh, here’s something cool you should watch if you like indie rock – an awesome artist named Levi Weaver, who I saw last year at the Imogen Heap concert and is coming to my town next month.  And yes, we are myspace buddies – and we message back and forth like BFFs.  For ser.

http://www.youtube.com/v/zArJiI2x4vw&rel=1&border=0

Artsy Fartsy Week

All it took was a great piece of advice: 50 mg of Benedryl, a glass of milk, and early to bed. Got this from both my mother and my Aunt Ingrid, and THANK GOD… Monday night was the most solid night of sleep I have had in a quite a while. Thankfully, I awoke Tuesday morning feeling rested and “ready for my close-up.” It was the big day: headshots. The one thing in an actor’s career that can define her, display her, and get her cast (or not). With the help of Roberto and Carol, my headshots turned out great! Now, I just have to pick up the CD, pick my favorite pictures, make any necessary touch-ups, and print print print! I will hopefully have all this done in time for the open call I’m hoping to attend in mid-October. To celebrate the completion of my much-dreaded photo shoot, Brian and I went to see Julie Taymore’s “Across the Universe,” the artsy fartsy, acid-tripping, glorious Beatles movie-musical studded with cameos from Bono, Salma Hayek, and the likes… I had read reviews of the movie that just knocked it down – but… I LOVED IT! I felt that it is the type of movie that appeals to a wide variety of people. It is my personal observation that singing in movies makes certain viewers feel uncomfortable or awkward, but the familiarity of these songs makes the show completely accessible to all. I mean, who doesn’t like The Beatles? Most notably, the scene of “Strawberry Fields” was enchanting. Julie Taymor’s vision whisks the audience away to a special place for just over two hours – simply fantastic! I would love to see it again, especially after Brian discovered the cast is packed with Broadway stars! And speaking of Broadway, last night we went to see “The Color Purple,” starring Fantasia. Though our seats were in the very last row of the theater, the stunning music and beautifully conceived visuals effectively translated Alice Walker’s literary masterpiece to the stage. Despite Fantasia’s breathy and croaky speaking voice, her character seemed well-developed and the singing (especially at the end of the show) was quite well received by the (very) enthusiastic audience. But I think my favorite performance was Sofia’s empowering solo, “Hell No!” Next on our list of Broadway shows to attend is the Broadway revival of “The Ritz,” playing in previews at Studio 54. I just love love love living with someone who not only knows all the best shows out there – he knows how to get the cheapest possible tickets! As for this weekend, not quite sure what is in store… maybe some piano bar lounging, or some painting, reading, strolling through the park… whatever I do – I am quite content being in greatest city in the world.

Just another New Yorker

So I guess I’m not as good at updating this thing as I would like to think… It’s a funny thing how I have all these ideas of what I want to write, but then I think about writing and I feel too tired, so then I wait until the next day but then I have twice as much to write, so I proscrasinate further… and so on and so forth. Well, my New York State Identification Card arrived in the mail today. Not the best photograph I have ever taken. Oh well. The IDs are so much different – flimsy, muted blue and red tones, a crazy hologram that gleams across the front. I haven’t even put it into my wallet yet, because it still doesn’t feel like it’s mine. I’m a “New Yorker” now. Something about that expiration date of 06-19-16 that makes me freak out a little. What does the future have in store for me? The ancient Mayans predicted that the world will come to an end in 2012. Will I still be living in New York? Because I think I would rather my last days were spent in a nice little cottage on the coast of California.

And scene.

I signed up for an Improv class at “Upright Citizens Brigade” – The Chicago-style improvisation theatre group founded by Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh. You can find a lot of funny YouTube videos filmed this Midtown West venue, featuring SNL regulars. Thanks to Jenson for entertaining us royally in her Improv 101 class’s final performance last weekend – it’s the very thing that inspired me to go the extra step! In other news (of how I’m draining my bank account), I’m taking a theatre dance class at Broadway Dance Center. It just started last Sunday night, and although I feel I am too advanced for the “Absolute Beginner’s Workshop,” it’s still fun to prance around with middle aged men, post-pregnancy moms, 50 year old primaballerinas, and newly-out flamboyant faires (well, I guess there was just one). I really enjoy the dancing in this class, though it’s quite simple right now. Having just seen “A Chorus Line” last week, it’s so fun to hop and skip around the bare floors, pretending it’s as elaborate as consecutive high-kicks. Gosh… that cast can DANCE. When I saw that show, it really inspired me to put myself out there and go for it! In the midst of this positive attitude, I scheduled an appointment for headshots, to be taken next week. I really scored an awesome deal with this photographer, so get excited for some new pictures! There’s an open casting call for Broadway shows in October, so I’m just hoping I can get my shots, a resume, and 32 bars together in time for the big day. Which reminds me… I really need to go out and buy something to wear in my pictures – I have nothing that really works! Well, I have to get into bed – work has been really busy this week, and I have a lot to do tomorrow. After work, it’s helping Jenson and Jess move their new couch several blocks (then being rewarded for my gallant efforts), and Saturday will hopefully yield good shopping weather, followed by a spectacular night at the “Super Diamond” concert (a Neil Diamond cover band)!

Robbing internet from your neighbors is so outrageously fun…

Side note: This was written two nights ago… It has been far too long since my last real update. I’m currently sitting in my brand-new (to me) New York City – Upper East Side apartment, without internet access, typing this to prepare for the moment I get the Time Warner technician to activate my internet tomorrow morning. Believe you me; I have been looking forward to writing this for the last week. I am completely prepped for the next hour or so it takes to finish this: got my candles lit, the lights dimmed, Sara Bareilles’ voluptuous vocals streaming through my speakers, oatmeal raisin cookies hot out of the oven, and a big glass of milk. I suggest you do the same. Where did I last leave off? I think it was in Virginia… I’m so glad to be out of Virginia. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful state – I’m just not so sure how well I handle the people there. When we crossed into D.C., it was like a breath of fresh air. What astounded me most was the proximity between two completely different lifestyle attitudes. One moment we saw rednecks waving Confederate flags, sporting mullets, and driving vehicles with stickers advertising the Bush administration, the National Rifle Association, and “Jesus is the only way you filthy sinner…” Okay, overstatement. But travel only 20 miles Northeast and you see non-obese happy, friendly people, gay couples holding hands, young women and men prancing the streets in suits with briefcases, and plenty of anti-war protests. This country is amazing – so many different people in so many places. I don’t think you can really appreciate how huge this place is until you complete the drive across the continent. It was an amazing experience, and a cultural shake-up in many ways. It was so lovely to spend so much time with my mom, and I swear that neither one of us had the inclination to kill one other – even with the limited seating space in our over-packed Hertz-rental Suburban. By the way, thank God for GPS… and Sex and the City. We finally arrived in Manhattan last Sunday afternoon (eight days ago). Upon our arrival, I was greeted by the smiling faces of Brian, Natalie and Jess. The five of us managed to clear out the vehicle of all my belongings, up the five flights of stairs, to my future home. It was so strange to finally be here after so much anticipation. What’s more, the apartment immediately seemed like home. Despite the tiny size and the whole “sixth-floor walkup” aspect, the apartment is quite wonderful. We are in an amazing neighborhood, and it seems like most of the inhabitants are in our post-collegiate age group. Within walking distance are several markets, bagel shops, various ethnic restaurants, drugstores, bars – you name it! Only two blocks East is the East River, and three blocks West is Central Park. I really think we landed in a great location! After we unpacked everything, the next few days of “city-life” were just a whirlwind of activity. My mom and I made numerous trips to Home Depot, which is nothing like any HD I have ever seen! After painting my room and setting up my first big purchase of the week, a new bed, my room finally felt like me. On Wednesday, we attempted to have some fun in the city, and ended up walking all over! We visited my local library branch, tried to find Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment, made it to Rockefeller Center and Trinity Cathedral, visited Times Square, ate at Carnegie Deli, and saw a Broadway show! We were able to meet up with Brian, and we won the raffle for front row seats to watch “Drowsy Chaperone.” I had seen ads for the show, but didn’t know much about it – and therefore had no expectations. Well, it was hilarious, short and sweet, entertaining, and included some astounding physical feats. Thursday morning was bittersweet as my Mom and I visited Central Park and walked through the lush greens around the Jackie Onassis Reservoir, the Great Lawn, and through the butterfly-inhabited Shakespeare Gardens. (Yes, Ingrid, I can now tolerate butterflies.) Central Park is so perfectly serene and peaceful. It is such a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. After our nature walkabout, we packed up her suitcases and headed for JFK. After she barely made it to the security checkpoint in time for the flight, we had a brief goodbye that didn’t allow time for tears or sad emotions. Probably better that way – I think this move is the most earth-shaking thing I have done in my entire life. Okay, Sara Bareilles just ended, so I’ve moved onto Laura Jansen – thanks Julia for introducing her to my iTunes library. It was really weird to finally be on my own in the city. I am an independent person with strong convictions and an aura of confidence, but it’s still strange to say goodbye and realize you will be 3000 miles away from your family and many of your friends. My first few days alone were still very busy in the apartment and around town. I found a running route I really like, around the reservoir in the park, and have even discovered my favorite bagel place in the neighborhood – H & H Bagels. I spent some time trotting the aisles of the Food Emporium, and found a cheap art supply store in Noho. After all my stuff was finally put away, I celebrated by meeting up with Jess and Jenson in Brooklyn – we went to this bar called “Fulton” and enjoyed Brooklyn Lager and Bocce Ball, a great evening. On Friday, I met up with Jess again, and we headed to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for their free-admission Fridays. The place is so amazing, but simply exhausting. It is made up of six overwhelming floors, filled with twists, turns, and extraordinary art. By the time we got to the fourth floor, we were completely spent. We parted ways and agreed to meet up later for the free Camera Obscura concert at South Seaport, but later agreed that we were too tired for any more excitement that night. My evening concluded with an Absolut Citron martini at Ray’s Piano Bar with Brian. I forced him to go out since it was our first Friday night in our apartment. After one strong drink, several singing flamboyant gentlemen, and flirtatious glances at my roommate from one particularly gorgeous crooning bartender, we agreed to head back home to rest up for our impending doom: a trip to Ikea… New Jersey. Blue & Yellow. Madness. Anxiety. Hot Dogs. Lines. Credit Cards. Indecision. Sore arms. Public Transportation. Evil Glares. Yeah, that basically sums up Saturday. Our Ikea day was like nothing I could ever imagine. Take whatever experience you may have had at Ikea – multiply the number of people by five, turn up the heat a few degrees, pretend you’re buying more then you ever have before, and… you have no car. Though the day was almost mentally scarring, we ended up with some great purchases. (Our couch is being delivered on Wednesday!) We decided to give our living room a black, red, and beige color scheme – and it looks fabulous so far. Yesterday we hit up Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond, and finished the weekend with acquiring a free bookshelf from the street. To celebrate our progress, I was finally able to actually cook in our kitchen: seared cod with coconut sweet pea basmati rice, and a mint-cilantro-ginger-cumin chutney. Yum! Today I was able to explore a few things I was looking forward to – I got my public library card and checked out some reading material and some reference material (on auditioning for theater), then I headed to the performing arts library across town and checked out some sheet music – for free! Love libraries. I really think that people forget how spectacular they are: free internet, a world of literature, peaceful environment, and like-minded patrons cruising the aisles. Forget Blockbuster or Borders – everything you could rent or buy, from books to CDs to DVDs, is available at the library at no charge! After returning home, I went with Brian to pick up our new Craigslist coffee table (A GREAT DEAL!), and we (I mean he) hauled it 21 blocks back to our place. After two episodes of Heroes and my nightcap of cookies, I’m finally ready to hit the hay and prepare for my first day back working. Tomorrow I will start up again with The Nilson Report and finally start earning a paycheck again! Watch out, execs of Visa and Amex, because Ms. Harrell is back at it! My bed is calling my name – thanks for tuning in. Oh, and one slightly sad personal note: after much deliberation, I decided today to take out my “Monroe” piercing… I loved loved LOVED having it, but decided that it’s not the sort of thing that will work out for my career in music. But now I have a cute little scar healing – like Marilyn’s mole? Still don’t have my internet working – thanks to “levi” for the free connection tonight! In other news, our new couch was delivered today and I painted the coffee table… Isn’t that exciting?