Tuesday, August 9, 2011


It's 95 degrees here, and I have come down with a cold. Really?

I saw Punchdrunk's Sleep No More last night, and it was an experience. I wondered what the Queen of All Versions of Macbeth (you know who you are) would think about it. I don't think any of you will have a chance to see it, but if you do, I'll try not to say too much. This show takes place at a "hotel," the McKittrick, down in the Chelsea district. It's the Macbeth story as played out in a film noir (1920sish) style. All the audience members wear masks, and you can follow any actor you want (or can catch) during the three hours or so of the performance. I was able to follow Macbeth for a while, and I saw some things. I followed Lady Macduff and was a little sorry that I did. I even tried to follow the doctor. If you go with someone else and get separated (which you will), that person will see something different than you will. You can also touch any of the objects and read any letters, etc., that you happen to find. You can't touch the actors, but they can touch you. I experienced so many of the scenes very intimately, so it's if I were in a film noir movie or something. Very Stanley Kubrick. I wore tennis shoes, thank goodness, because I had to RUN. And push people out of the way, which I didn't hesitate to do. The actors do not speak, except maybe a word here and there, so it's almost like a dumb show. But it's definitely Macbeth. I got blood on my pants. One other audience member was wiped out by one of the murder scenes. I felt so thrilled and compelled by the whole thing. Sometimes I saw the same scene more than once. And then all the audience ends up in a speakeasy afterwards. Also, I didn't necessarily see the show in order, either. I just felt that anything could happen. So exciting. I think I am doing a poor job of explaining this, so I will try to explain it better in person (to those of you who actually see/know me), but it really moved me. I almost don't want to sit in an audience ever again., If I had 80 bucks to go back, I would. Those actors are among the bravest I have ever seen. They included so much incredible physical detail in the their work. So fascinating.

We performed our second scene (The Taming of the Shrew) and are getting our last one today. We talked about language in Romeo and Juliet yesterday morning. I thought I knew that play pretty well, but I'm discovering loads of things I didn't know before.

I'm frustrated because I can't change my password from here, thus I will not be receiving many important emails that I need. Oh well.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I've noticed that sweat is the great equalizer in NYC in the summer. Everyone coming into the theatre is just as sweaty and icky as you are, even if they are better dressed.

Lots has happened since last update. I have been in class for six hours a day. The morning mostly consists of lectures, but I've learned quite a bit about Shakespeare that I didn't know. For those of you who know me, it won't surprise you that the one thing that really stuck in my head is that the plural of "phallus" is "phalloi." What can I say? I'm a twelve-year-old boy disguised as a middle-aged woman. In the afternoons, we do scenework and have already performed from Henry V. I got to be Henry for a while, which would never happen in real life.

The high point of the week, and of the trip, I think, was Friday. All of the scholars were shown some of the rare book collection of the Columbia library, which is considerable. All of the books we viewed were printed in Shakespeare's time or a little after his lifetime, including a copy of the first folio. The first folio. The. First. Folio. And I touched it! And turned the pages! And.....I just couldn't believe it. And surrounded by all those old books, I realized how so much of my past lives in the pages of books, and how much of our historical past lives there. And how my future probably does not. And our future. But I hope I'm wrong.

Me with the first folio

The first folio

The first folio. When I turned the page, it opened to The Tempest

On Friday night, I saw The Neo-Futurists 60 minute show, "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind," which was in this dumpy little theatre in the East Village. I had always wanted to see it but was a bit disappointed. Beforehand we went to The Strand (18 miles of books! Oh my!) and had Ukrainian cuisine at Veselka, including the most delicious borscht ever.

Yesterday, my feet were very swollen, which made a lot of walking difficult and painful, but I tried to keep going. I intended to see a matinee, but lunch took too long, so we ended up in Times Square and went to the Drama Bookshop, which is all plays and theatre-related books, Very cool. We met Julie's friend in Bryant Park and proceded to Park Slope in Brooklyn, where we had some Austrian food (schnitzel and spaetzle) before going to Lear.

Confession: we were a few minutes late to Lear, and I was mortified. We had to wait. And I was waaaaay up in the balcony and had to take the scary elevator because the stairs were too noisy. But I saw most of it. I just missed the first scene. The Royal Shakespeare Company is pretty amazing, and all of the actors I saw in Winter's Tale were also in Lear, so to see them do completely different roles was a neat opportunity.

Slept in today, and I'm currently trying to decide what to do. I am sort of free today, and it's already into the afternoon. I can go anywhere I want. What to do? Maybe the Metropolitan. Weirdly enough, I don't feel like packing in the shows today. Plus I'm running out of money. Which happens pretty quickly here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Exit Pursued By a Bear

Okay, long post. Lots to catch up on.

On Sunday, I finally made it to The Cloisters, which is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art but located WAY uptown, and I took the hottest, sweatiest, dumbest way I possibly could. I almost gave up several times, but I'm glad I didn't, because it's a fabulous museum. The Cloisters houses medival art, including sculpture and tapestries and has beautiful gardens. The famous Unicorn tapestries reside there, which depict the hunting and slaying of a unicorn in five tapestries. They are well worth the trip. No pictures, because it's very dark in the tapestry room. This is a picture of a 13th century chapter house, where the monks would go for morning prayers. The stones are so fragile that they have "do not touch" signs on them.
Speaking of touching, someone actually touched one of the tapestries and set off the alarm. One of many examples of bad tourist behavior I've witnessed. On Sunday night, we had an opening reception at Sutton Place, which is in midtown, on the rooftop. We could see the entire city from there (pictures at bottom of post).

We've had class the past two days, and in the morning we study source materials and the plays themselves, and in the afternoon, we do acting exercises and scenework. It's been a blast so far, and I've learned a lot of things I didn't know. Last night I went to Chinatown/Little Italy and got lost with my new friend Julie and then walked through questionable areas at night, although most of Manhattan is pretty gentrified by now.
Tonight I saw my first show presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company, A Winter's Tale. The RSC has been to North America before, but this is the first time they've done a residency, and they could never recreate their thrust Stratford theatre, until now. The plays are in the Park Avenue Armory, and it was soooooo cool. A Winter's Tale was very imaginatively staged, and I forgot what a crazy little play it is. Kinda The Tempest Meets Othello. With some other weird stuff thrown in there.
My feet are swollen to twice their normal size, and I don't know why. I feel like I'm walking on stay-puff marshmallows. I'm hoping they will be normal soon, and that this isn't something serious.
To round off a great day, someone vomited on the subway on the way home. Now I feel like a true New Yorker.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Yesterday was a pretty incredible day. I started off by going for a really long walk in Riverside Park, which is just a couple of blocks from my dorm. For those of you who are interested and know the area, I'm at Columbia Teacher's College on W. 121st. I really like the area. How strange is it that I could not make myself get off my zaftig ass all summer and work out, and the first thing I did here was take a long walk? Of course, the walk looked like this:
So maybe that explains it. This is my street:
After walk and breakfast, I met up with one of the other participants who is also a theatre teacher, and we had brunch with a friend of hers. One of the things I was nervous about when I was coming here was spending two weeks with total strangers, but that's been one of the best things so far. Julie and I spent the whole day together and went to two shows, Jerusalem and War Horse. And if I didn't see another show while I was here, I would be perfectly happy, because it doesn't get any better than those two shows.

I think most of the time, when I see an actor, I mostly have at least a little glimmer or insight into what processes the actor used to invoke his performance. But Mark Rylance (Jerusalem) was a complete mystery to me. I don't know what he did to do what did. He was indescribably incredible, and I can't believe that he does that character 8 times a week. Julie and I had the same reaction: we were speechless. This is why I like plays better than musicals. I've yet to see a musical (though I do like them) that has an fraction of the power to move me like that play did.

And it was difficult to believe that theatrical experience could be improved upon, but I think War Horse is the best show I've ever seen. Ever. EVER. The best possible combination of spectacle, technology, story-telling, and creative thinking exists so coherently in that production. It was stunning. Beautiful. And I don't often use this word to describe live theatre, but it had incredible imagery. The projections were amazing. Everything. If you don't know about this show, look it up, because it's too complicated for me to try to explain. And then plan a trip to come see it, because you HAVE to see it. So moving. I cried several times, a couple of times because of sheer astonishment.  A play that actually depicts war in a horrifying  and realistic way, in spite of (or perhaps because of) its stylization.  I am so incoherently stunned by trying to describe it that I almost put an apostrophe in the above "its." That's how good it is. It was my T-shirt show.

Oh! I took a picture of dinner because I didn't mind being nerdy in front of Julie. Open smoked salmon sandwich with dill and avocado:
So good. It was a good day. Today: The Cloisters! Finally! And the opening night reception party.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Not In.....

Well. You get the idea.

A few notes about travel:

1.Does everyone feel that indescribable joy when the middle seat is empty on the airplane? The very long flight was much more tolerable because of that.
2.Piercing screams of infants/children are always startling and unpleasant.
3. Mostly everyone on the Denver flight was wearing a sweater or a hoodie. Obvously their weather experiences are different from Wichitans'.
4. Electronic devices just make travel more pleasant, as do podcasts of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.
5. Friends who will drive you to the airport at 5:30 in the morning are invaluable. You know who you are.
6. If you do not tightly turn the cap on your shampoo, it might spill all in your suitcase all over EVERYTHING, necessitating a visit to the laundry room in the first hour of your stay. Not that this happened or anything.

Anyway, I'm here. Shared a cab with two of the other teachers. The Columbia College dorm room is quite nice and bigger and cleaner than some of the hotels I've been in. And here's my view:

So not bad at all. And here's the room:

A bit on the austere side, but the bathroom is quite roomy, and I can sit on the toilet without turning sideways. This is all I ask out of life.

I didn't take a picture of it (I was with people), but dinner was: garlic bread topped with goat cheese, salad with hearts of palm, mango, and goat-cheese stuffed figs,  linguini with lobster tail and shrimp, and pistachio gelato. Also had a lovely pinot that I need to try to find in Wichita. However, due to the expense, I will not be eating anything else.

A can of chicken soup is $3.29 in NYC.

Oh! And there was teacher swag! Pencil bag and jump drive!

I've been up since 3:45am. Gonna read a little Henry V and go to bed.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer Sloth

Woke up this morning in tremendous pain. I guess getting older means I can injure myself even when I am asleep. Owwwwww. Lower back.

I am being a big baby about it, I admit it. It really hurts. The saving grace is that only the cat hears me whine. Wait. Is that a positive thing? I kept wishing I had a significant other to go buy me ibuprofen, because it hurts so much to drive, but I finally did it myself. Naturally, because it's spring, I had to scoop up the dead baby duckling on my steps. WHY do these keep showing up? If a friendly cat is the cause, please stop. I have a squeamish stomach and do not deal well with dead baby animals, maggots, and the like.

I am automatically opposed to any movie that is billed as a "feel-good" film. I just automatically feel I won't like it. Is it because I am stubborn, and when I see the phrase "feel-good comedy," I just decide I won't "feel good?" No, movie. No. There will be no "feeling good" because of your crappy little existence. No. Does this make me a pessimist? Does this just mean I have a bad attitude?

Riverfest is inconvenient. I don't want to go anywhere because of it. Not that I can, due to the parasites of pain in my lower back.

I haven't talked to anyone all day. Thus the incoherent blogging.

I am drinking soy milk, and I enjoy it.

I found a downtown loft for 850. One bedroom and 950 square feet, which is bigger than my current two bedroom. I am tempted. Wouldn't hurt to look. On the other hand, I am not such a social person, so why do I want to move downtown? Do I think that will MAKE me social? I think that I am under the very mistaken impression that it will make me cooler. Which it won't. Still. Tempted.

What a boring little entry. Summer is.....lonely. I like it, but.....yeah.

I just typed...

...a whole entry and Blogger erased it. I am NOT doing it again. Irritated.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

So many thoughts....

...that I cannot really blog about. I need a private diary, I guess. I can blog about these thoughts in rather obscure terms, I suppose, so that no one can identify the events or people about which I'm blogging.

One of the things that is bothering me greatly: At some point, I seem to have decided to exchange any hope of long-term happiness or contentment for brief pockets of happiness. I know that these tiny glimpses of joy are unsustainable, yet I keep sacrificing chances for long-term contentment for the short term stuff. At what point did I decide that I was not worthy or able to sustain long-term contentment? At what point did I decide this was a fair exchange? This is all serious food for thought. I cannot stop making self-destructive decisions (no, not drugs, drink or anything like that. It's emotional stuff). So the question is--why? And do I want to stop? And if I want to stop, shouldn't I be able to do so? Where do I go from right here? I try not to dwell too much on this same time last year, but when I do think about it--I was in much better spirits then. I guess the thing to do is to not try to get back to that place, but to try to figure out a better, different frame of mine to achieve.

I have other stuff to say but too emotionally tapped to write about it. Bleh.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Girly Girl....

Which I definitely am NOT, I guess. Just got a pedicure/manicure for the first time today. It looks great, but I can't type with these french tips. But I don't think I'm a tomboy either.

I should write more. I see it's been more than a month since my last post. But everything I would write about involves whining pathetically. And that's just not attractive.

I think I don't understand how things work, most of the time. And by "things," I guess I mean relationships. I don't know if I'm unbelievably naive or incredibly stupid or sadly hopeful or maybe all of these things.

These nail tips suck. Can't type. Wonder if I'll get used to it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Needles and Pins-uh

Getting back in touch with the early sixties vibe and trying to remember the songs I listened to when I was into that. Could NOT for the life of me remember the name of the above song by The Searchers. I could only remember the "pins-uh." They put the "uh" sound on the end of pins. And that's it. Luckily, I was listening to my beautiful, sparkling, lovely XM satellite radio on the way home and the channel "60's on 6" played it! Yes! "Last night, I saw her face, it was the face I loved, and I knew I had to run away....and get down on my knees and pray...that they'd go away...that's how it begins-uh. Needles and pins-uh." YES! Oh. And the reason I'm trying to get in touch with early sixties is to put together the best house music ever for my show.

This is why I like having a blog because NO WAY would any of my friends or colleagues have sat still for that story. Yay bloggy blog blog.

And then one great song after another, including one by the Serendipity Singers (anyone? anyone?) that is PERFECT for the show. Yes. And then "I Only Want to Be With You" by Dusty Springfield. Was anyone better at singing that shit than Dusty?? Nope. And my favorite girl group, the Shangri-las. I plan to play the only cheerful song (okay, not the ONLY one, but one of the very few) "Give Him a Great Big Kiss." I love the Shangri-las. All the other girl groups were singing about their loves in a bubble gum way, but to the Shangri-las, love was from a dark and dangerous place, across the railroad tracks and under a dim streetlight. It usually ended in death. I find that appealing. Probably because I am weird. Or "emo." Hehehehe. But I love the dialogue in their songs. Of course it's contrived, but it's effective and sincere. And so melodramatic. One song, "Past, Present, and Future" is entirely spoken with a creepy piano playing in the background, and it alludes to rape, something that certainly wasn't talked about much in the popular songs of the time. The Shangri-las were way ahead of their time. Or maybe it was Shadow Morton that was way ahead of his time.

I also like my blog because I can write in all caps as much as I want. YES. I like my blog because I can go ON and ON about the Shangri-las.

I'm glad I have my blog because according to the "Mailbag" column in People, only women who have husbands and children are important, significant, or contribute in any way to society. This was a response to Jennifer Aniston's assertion that she is happy. So in my blog I can say, "WTF, Adriane from Pheonix???"

Yes. I read People magazine. Since I was a teen-ager. Don't judge.

'Cause that's how it begins-uh.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Made Summer Sun

"Keen" is also a noun and an adjective. Here are some "keen" things:

1. I wrote my paper! It's really shitty! But I'm happy!
2. Kinda have a crush on Richard III. Okay, so...he's got the hunchback and he murders some people, but....totally redeemable, right? It's not like he's living in his mother's basement or anything. He's just so much smarter than everyone else. Especially if he's played by Al Pacino. He can woo me over a casket any day.
3. Writing an application essay for an NEH grant. This might be harder than the Shakespeare paper, because I have to talk about how great I am, or the great things I have done. It's not any false sense of modesty when I say I just don't think I'm that great or that I've done anything great. I've done....okay. I feel okay about myself and my work, but there's room for improvement, always. I don't think I'll get an NEH grant on "room for improvement." Big 'ol sigh.
4. The movie "Roxanne" is on. Love Steve Martin in this and in everything. I like the big nose...hmmm, big noses, hunchbacks....what's the deal here?
5. I listen to this group called The Jayhawks and "Smile" is my favorite album, but this song "Broken Harpoon" came on, which is a very slow and kind of sad song that I really don't know the lyrics to. And I started giggling at the connotation of "harpoon" and its being broken....tee hee hee. Never occurred to me before.
6. Still have a bunch of work to do and this is my last weekend off for a long time. Ick city. But almost three terms down now. I sort of dread summers because there's too much time to brood, but maybe I can make something good out of it this time.
7. All kinds of crappy romantic movies on today that I usually hate, but they were good background for the writing of the paper: Legally Blonde, Dirty Dancing, and Titanic. I do like to watch the ship sink.
8. No Pudge brownie mix. MMMMMMMMM. And low calorie. Unless you have three of them a day. Probably not so good. But better than three real brownies. Right? Right?


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Melancholy Baby

KEEN \ˈkēn\ (verb)

1. to make a long and loud cry of sorrow: to lament.
2. to lament, mourn or complain loudly

I love this word and the action. If more of us keened when grieving, we'd probably all feel a lot better. Something about keep grief to oneself makes it fester, infect, poison. Keening regularly--wailing, crying, rocking--would open wounds and let them drain.

Lately I have keened, sometimes unexpectedly. I think it does help, but grief is such a strange entity. I have old and new grief. The old grief surfaces at odd moments, almost like a lost treasure. When it hits, it's more surprising than painful, I think. Sometimes I don't even realize I'm grieving over a particular event or person until it slams into me.  Other grief is newer, fresher, harder, more persistent and tenuous, in part because I can't quite convince myself of the actual loss. I still think I can dive down into the depths and dig and salvage, even though as I do so, I am drowning and gasping. So it is definitely time to let go and to grieve. To keen. Except to do that means letting go completely of a dream, an idea, a longing. I am having trouble with this currently, which is strange to me, because my whole life has been about saying goodbye to people and letting go.

As a military child, I was always saying goodbye. I learned to treasure my library and my toys, which were portable friends. Real live friends were always harder to acquire, and once I got comfortable, I would have to leave them anyway. I think I got pretty good at leaving. And even though I've been stationary (more or less) for the past 16 years, I can generally say goodbye and mean it and move on, although of course I have regrets and sadness. But now...I am having trouble. I don't want to continue to leave people, either physically or emotionally. I want to stick around. I want them to stick around.  I have no one in my life that I knew from elementary school. Or high school. Or college, even. The longest friendships I have only go back around ten years. No one has witnessed my steps; my footprints have barely indented the sand. So I have only my memory of beautiful moments to sustain me--the ones who shared those beautiful memories have long since moved on. This sometimes seems unbearably sad to me.

So I keen. To lament, mourn, or complain loudly.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Kind of a deep blue. With a purple tint. Yeah. Plus it's Sunday night. And Sunday nights suck. So. Blue. Kind of a deep blue...

Saturday, January 8, 2011


So...I don't really do New Year's Resolutions. And if I do, they always revolve around my weight. So for the last fifteen, twenty years it seems I've been trying to lose this weight. And then I eat Chinese food. Which sounds really good right now, especially if it comes from Great Wall. Curry chicken, mmmmmmmm.

But that being said, I do have some things I'd like to change. And I mean real change, which is so hard to do.

I guess an all-encompassing goal is improve the quality of my life. This includes:

1. Yes. Going on a diet. Or "healthy eating plan," as I like to put it. I'm doing quite well. However, Nutrisystem says to maximize results, one shouldn't drink alcohol while on the plan. This is unreasonable and unfair. But I'm doing it their way. No wonder I've been cranky. No sweet and sour pork. No alcohol. No fried things. Are these things not the very essence of life?

And the exercise part. A struggle.

2. Finding a damn hobby.I'm working on this. Something that does NOT have anything to do with the theatre. I think I've decided to learn to play the bass guitar. Now I have to buy one. And learn to play it. Unfortunately this costs...

3. Money. Finances are the bane of my life. And now that I am in my fourth decade, I need to be thinking about retirement. I'm doing better, but it just seems that lately my expenses are outstripping my income, and I haven't been able to save the way I need to. I probably should find a cheaper place to live, but it's nice to not have to worry about getting murdered in the parking lot. I mean, I suppose it could still happen, but less likely here than it was at Silver Springs. Plus there's a nice lake here. With ducks. Yeah.

4. Love. I feel like I have a lot of "lost" loves out there wandering around, more than the average woman. I know that I have to be responsible for part of that. It can't be all the fault of the men. So...what choices do I need to make to have a permanent love? And do I even want that? I do think it would improve the quality of my life to be with the right person. Something that keeps happening is that I seem to be the "training wheels" for some of my boyfriends. They go on to have successful relationships/marriages. Just not with me. I try to find this interesting rather than frustrating.

I can't get the bass line to "Add It Up" by the Violent Femmes out of my head. I guess I'll go online and look for a good bass guitar.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Fawkes the Phoenix from the H.P books has always fascinated me. He reaches his full plumage, molts a bit, then goes up in glorious flames to be reborn again--naked, featherless, and helpless, picking his way through the ashes of his former glory. He does all this seemingly without upheaval, fuss or any sort of emotional or physical pain. Everyone around him (unless it's Harry, seeing it for the first time) takes it for granted this bird will destroy itself and rise again.

I have had times in my life when I have been on the precipice of feeling really good. I have felt I was reaching a critical turning point where I was going to make a real change, or experience a long-lasting feeling of well-being, or on the edge of truly experiencing good emotional health. Sometimes it's because I'm in counseling, or doing okay on medications, or both. And then something happens. It usually involves an unhealthy choice or series of unhealthy choices on my part. Of course, the choice doesn't look unhealthy at the time--it glitters and gleams and excites and ignites. It surges through me, making me feel truly alive and vibrant and invulnerable. I am in my full plumage, and I believe that I am going to stay that way. Of course, all the glitter is just an illusion--the fire that attracts is the same fire that destroys. And contrary to Fawkes' sangfroid, it hurts. It hurts like hell, down to the core, and the fire sweeps from within and destroys all the well-being, the health, the optimism. I am a ruin. And I know I am to blame for it. I cannot shove that responsibility over to someone else. I am the chaser of rainbows. I tilt at windmills. I follow the primrose path. Even when I know (as I usually do) that it will end in total consumption and destruction. But the fire feels so good at first, I believe it will be worth it. And then I always retain the hope that I will survive with plumage intact. I am arrogant in my naivete.

But once again, I find myself naked, defenseless, picking my way through the ashes. I shiver. No plumage to protect me. I am vulnerable. But I am not without hope that I can change. I still believe in my power to make healthy choices, and to perhaps learn, finally, to stay away from shiny things. And become flame-resistant. I hope. I hope. I hope.....

Hehehe. Dramatic much? You bet. Goes with the territory.