Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Dave's retirement

Chris and I were extremely lucky on Sunday. Despite the odds being so low, we won the ticket lottery to see the 2nd to last episode of The Late Show with David Letterman on Monday, 5/18/15. So, before the show yesterday Alan Kalter is telling us if we WANT to give a standing ovation to Tom Hanks and Eddie Vedder, we should, but we shouldn't give one to Dave. "Dave HATES standing ovations. So, go crazy, applaud, and give him a standing ovation *in your mind*!" Of course, when Dave came out, everyone still gave him one. I tried to resist, but everyone else was. Chris stayed put saying, "He'll like you more if you don't" and I yelled, "But I LOVE HIIIIIIIIMMMMMMMMM!" and rose from my seat, jumping and crying.

I knew in my heart somehow we would be at this taping, because in my heart I knew we HAD to be. I have watched Dave FOREVER. I would ask my parents so many questions about his life history. I remember watching him on Late Night, even though I was only 10 when he moved to CBS. We all watched the first Late Show episode. As a female 10 year-old, my biggest concern was that he would still be able to have the Top Ten lists. I had my mom tell me what happened between him and the Tonight Show. 

I’ve always been very protective of him and his show… if I was reading an article that said Conan was funnier I would stop reading (even though I really like Conan). I had more respect for people who loved him and whenever he really loved someone, I knew they must be really special. Anytime someone said they thought Dave was “over” I knew they didn’t know what they were talking about or were just an idiot. He was always the absolute best.

I haven't always had a TV (and I go to bed pretty early now), so it's not like I watched this show obsessively lately. I always made a point to watch Christmas and Thanksgiving episodes, and of course any time I was with my parents we would watch… but even though I regularly don’t even turn the TV on during the night, knowing he’s not going to be on is really bumming me out. He was the favorite TV “friend” and by far the one I’ve known the longest. 

I frequently walk by the Ed Sullivan Theater to go to Shetler or Nola Studios. Every time I do, I say “Hi, Dave” and look longingly at the marquee. I knew his retirement would be coming eventually, and obviously we’ve known it was going to happen SOON for the last year, but I also knew I could never really be ready. I am so happy to have gotten the opportunity to see the show live, and to have spent my entire 32.5 years watching him.

I will miss you, Dave!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On Robin Williams

I had several favorite teachers throughout school, but one of my absolute favorites was Miss Burke, who taught my 11th grade honor's English class. I loved her. She was one of those teachers that can make you relate to under-appreciated teachers from tv/film. So of course it was she who showed us Dead Poet's Society.

I was 17 and had been involved with the drama club since I was 14, which of course made me (in my mind), an expert on all things theatre. I hated when Neil killed himself because I couldn't possibly understand how that was the only answer. Because there are so many characters in this movie, and they all need their stories told, we only got a glimpse into his life; and yes, he was sad and he was shy and doing this play was the only thing he had felt good about in his life so having it taken away was too much. I didn't understand why he didn't just run away and do the play anyway. Why was suicide the only answer for him?

I was MAD about it because I couldn't understand it. I would never be able to understand it. Because I've never been depressed. I've been sad and I've been angry and I've been devastated, but depression is all of those things and more, and while I've said "Oh, I'm so depressed!" I know it's only a temporary thing, or a dramatic thing, not a life debilitating problem. I can't understand what it's like for people who can't get out of the "constant grayness" that I have experienced while sad, but overcome.

It was watching Robin Williams that I first realized that comedic actors can be serious actors, too, although it must have been before I saw DPS, because I remember thinking about this somewhere around 10-12 years old. This of course would only be reinforced over the years by countless other examples. From Robin Williams to Jim Carrey, Jack Black, Amy Poehler -- I have since never been surprised when someone so funny can be the BEST at being not funny. Even my own husband. Chris gets cast in a lot of goofy roles, a lot of over-the-top characters... but the two roles I loved him most in were Shylock in The Merchant of Venice and Titus's brother, Marcus Andronicus, in Titus Andronicus. Parks and Rec is my favorite television show. What is my favorite moment from my favorite TV show? In the smallest park, when Leslie apologizes to Ben for steam-rolling everything and asks him if they can make their relationship happen for real. I could watch that scene 100 times in a row. What all these people have, what makes them so accessible, is heart.

You can't be a comedian without heart. Ok, you CAN, but not a very good one. Not a legendary one. Comedy is based on truth. Comedy can't succeed without truth. You have to make yourself so vulnerable to expose truth, and you have to have something to back it up, which is the heart. And the same goes for "regular" acting. If there's no heart... who even cares?

You could tell Robin Williams was all heart even when he was playing a ridiculous alien on Mork and Mindy.  He is filled with soul and light, as he always was, in every dramatic or comedic role.

It's weird that a lot of people around my age are lamenting this as a loss for "their childhood." He affected my life well past Hook or Aladdin or even Good Will Hunting (and don't even get me started on What Dreams May Come which I could never watch without sobbing uncontrollably anyway, but can now probably never even watch again, period). He was an inspiration to anyone you love in entertainment, as well as being, on all accounts, an insanely kind man. This isn't part of your childhood dying -- it's part of the soul of the world, which is why I think that it's so hard and heartbreaking for everyone.

Most people will not be able to understand what he was going through, why he chose to do what he did, or why reaching out for help was not an answer. Along with the heartbreak, it probably makes you angry, because there MUST have been another way, right? You can't possibly understand it because you've never been there. Which is good. But don't criticize what you can't understand.

I didn't have to know him to feel the generosity he had. He gave it to all of us, in every performance. I am so sad that he felt the way he did.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I still have this blog, even though I haven't said anything in 11 months. I'm still around. I guess I just got busy (as if I wasn't busy before).

Let's see. Since I last updated I...

--won a contest to sing on the cast recording of Pippin in the "No Time at All" chorus, and it was so much fun
--got new headshots
--filmed an episode of a web series that will hopefully be premiering SOON and I am so excited that it kills me every day when the episode is not up, yet
(this web series revolves around one of my all-time favorite Broadway performers, so it was literally a dream come true for me)
--performed at the New York Musical Theater Festival with The Water Dream and had a fantastic time
--have been taking Musical Improv, which I loooooooooove so much
--finished (regular) Improv 301 at UCB
--read 4 of the 5 Song of Ice and Fire books
--moved from Astoria to Sunnyside
--bought a new couch
--got pillow covers for the pillows on the couch
--sat on the couch

SO, clearly tons has been happening. I've also been running a LOT because Chris signed us up for a 5K when we're in Disney World next month, and I figured I didn't want to pull a muscle or get a stress fracture or something, so I better train for it.

It feels kind of silly to train for a 5K because it's only just over 3 miles.... but I hadn't run since 2008. So, yeah, I needed to train.

I did 60,000 sit ups last year. Oh! And I had to have a mole removed because it was abnormal. Now I have a scar. FOREVER! Don't ever go tanning. Wear lots of sunscreen. The sun gives you both life and death, so be sun smart!!!

My brother and his wife had a baby, and someday I will meet her (she's in Ohio and I am... not). I look forward to that day.

This winter was the worst winter in the history of time and everyone knows it. I got really depressed and couldn't/didn't want to do anything. Although, now, when it's finally starting to get nicer, there are so many people out on the streets that I miss the days when I didn't have to fight crowds to get into work.

And, of course, most importantly, (like I said above) I am going to Disney World in 34 days and no one has ever been more excited about anything, ever. I saved for 5 years for this trip and it is going to be MIDDLE CLASS EPIC. We still can't afford Deluxe epic. Well, maybe we could have, but we could have only gone for half the time. But, Middle Class Epic is better than Value Epic... and guys. Watch out. Disney World + Alisa = FOREVER

Thursday, April 25, 2013

finally spring

In the past month I have been to the doctor 3 times because I was sick. THREE SEPARATE TIMES IN A MONTH!!! :(  It has been really crappy. Obviously. This last time has been the worst, though. I have had laryngitis for a little over a week, now. I am slowly getting better, but I missed 4 R-a-B classes last week and a couple auditions I wanted to go to. I saved my voice for our concert at City Treehouse, which went really well, but it has been a very slow recovery. And since my voice is my LIFE, it's been really emotionally upsetting, too.

I should be very proud of myself for the auditions I have gone to, though. There was a week where I went to an audition every single day (and with two daytime jobs, that's pretty impressive). I have kept track of everything: who, what, where and when. And sometimes why. One day I had to literally run to make my appointment on time... which was not the best idea since it left me flushed and winded when I actually sang... but at least I went!

Audition season is over, now. I have missed a few lately because I was sick, but I have some important ones coming up, too.

I had my graduation performance for Improv 201. The class was a lot of fun. A couple of us from my 101 class also performed with some of the "professional" team members at a show in March, too. It was fun but REALLY intimidating. I was the only girl on my team and scared out of my mind. I did okay, though. I am going to start taking musical improv as soon as possible and hopefully start 301 before summer.

This Saturday I'm performing with Rock-a-Bay at the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair. There are a lot of awesome things going on, and I'm excited to be a part of it. I am ALSO excited to sing some Led Zeppelin there!!

I am MOST excited about this jar of speculoos that I bought....

Monday, March 04, 2013

stupid Smarch weather

February got weird after my last update. My callback went effing GREAT and although I didn't get cast, I can honestly say that it had nothing to do with ME, because I killed it. Somehow the sides I ended up doing were the only sides I DIDN'T get before the callback, but I spent some time with them and the scene went great, my accent was great and I sing that song all the time, so it was great, too. I said to myself before I went in, "No matter what, I get to be Audrey TODAY." So, it was nice to "be" her for 5 minutes.

Later that week I got the flu. During the blizzard. Which was kind of ok because there was nothing I had planned on going to the next week anyway. As soon as I got over the flu, I had a cold for like 2 weeks, but I still went to auditions (including an EPA where I had to work the whole day and I ran in during the last 40 minutes and ended up still being seen as the last alternate). I also had my Improv 101 graduation performance which went GREAT. I was happy with everything I did. I started Improv 201 this last week and I am excited to keep spending time doing this.

Last week I squeezed in 3 auditions on top of 25 hours of work-work, 7 Rock-a-baby classes, the Improv performance, improv class, choir rehearsal and our tax appointment. I would have liked to have gone to more than one of that day of crazy auditions, but unfortunately everything was up to like the 70th alternate by the time I got done with my class (and then I had to go to work). This week is much easier for me since there's nothing I am really right for, but next week it'll be back to the crazy with at least 5 auditions I'd like to go to.

Right now I am just excited for winter to end, because I only like winter during Christmas, and I am looking forward to start looking for a new apartment. Chris and I just hung up a bunch of pictures on the wall today, even though we plan on being out of here before August (and hopefully much sooner), but we'll have SOME time with them. Also, when I say "Chris and I hung them up" I really just mean that he alone hung them up. I did offer some guidance... but even that was minimal.

I have been listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin lately. They're so good they make me crazy. I just don't understand how they are only FOUR PEOPLE, only two of whom are playing melodic instruments. They have so much sound. We've seen the Monkees 3 times, and they had like 10 people in their band on stage... and they didn't make as much sound as those 4 men. It's amazing.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

groundhog day

I'm still going! God, it's pathetic that I'm excited to be going to EPAs. I should have been going all along. I admit, it hasn't been easy to get up ANY morning, but I am always happy when I go, even if nothing happens. It's just a good idea.

However, something good DID happen. I got called back for Audrey in "Little Shop of Horrors" which is a role I've wanted to play for a long time, but I always thought it would be really hard to be considered for. I don't "look like Audrey" and I figured if I ever was considered for the role, it would be by a director who already knew me. I am thrilled to be called back but even more thrilled that the director looked outside of the Blonde Girl Box. She is such a great, underrated character and I am excited to give it my all at the callback.

So, it was awesome to feel validated and it has given me motivation to keep going. I also decided this would be the perfect time to start going back to dance class. I will never be a dancer, but it will obviously help me to be dancing again.

Improv is still going great and I am already looking forward to taking 201. I have a busy week with a couple auditions, choir rehearsal, my callback, Rock-a-Baby classes on 3 days, improv and the new dance class. We're also going to see ASSSSSCat instead of watching the super bowl tomorrow. How very nerdy of us.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mid-January update

So far, so good. I tried to go to 3 auditions thus far this year, I actually auditioned for 2 (67th alternate for Les Mis. UGH). After I went to an actual audition today, I went home and decided to see if I could find out on the internet if the Les Mis alternate list was being used. Which it was. And my number was called a long time ago (oh well). HOWEVER, what's even better than getting to audition is that I found the Audition Update website, so now I should never have this problem again. Or, if I do, it won't be as extreme.

I also found this hilarious quote about 16 bars in an audition:
So, the "bars" thing is tricky; it harkens back to a day when songs were generally written in 3/4 or 4/4, had nice 16 bar intros, 16 bar verses, 16 bar choruses, 8 bar bridges. Music has gotten more complex, thankfully, but the adherence to bars has not evolved. These are my views on what they "really" mean when they say "x bars":

32 bars- 60-75 seconds, or verse and a chorus. Show a full journey, going from point A to point B.

16 bars- 30-45 seconds, or just a chorus. Show emotional and vocal range if not a whole journey.

8 bars- 15 seconds, half a chorus. I can duz high note? kthxbai.

If they ask for 8 bars, they don't really care about the semantics of it; 4 bars or 12 bars, it doesn't really matter as long as you're in and out and that what you sing *feels* like two short four-bar phrases. I'd personally advise against focusing on the letter of the law (i.e. altering your music so it's a "strict" 8 bars) and focus instead on keeping your cut around 15 seconds.

Also, my improv classes are hilarious and so much fun. I start choir rehearsals again tonight, too. I am busy all the time, but I guess it's good. It gives me "something to live for" in these cold, dark months.