Friday, April 30, 2010

Soldiering Forward...

Well, tech week is almost upon us. For any non-theatre folks, tech week is the week that you move into the theatre and incorporate all your technical cues-- lights, sound, set change, other random stuff. So whether we're ready or not, we open next Thursday. I have to say I'm glad we're almost at opening, even though I am freaking out because I'm not quite where I'd like to be. Because now I can actually see beyond the run of the show to the other stuff I'm going to do this summer.

It's been a learning experience, for sure-- my production management skills were a bit rusty, and there's some things I would be more organized about. Some people I'd think twice about working with again. But I continue onward.

And here's the thing-- I've never been one of those people that others feel the need to "rescue". Which is a good thing, I hate being rescued. But at the same time, I must project the aura of always having everything handled or something. Sometimes, the offer of a little help would be nice. And yes, silly, I do ask for help when I need it. But sometimes being the "oh, I'm sure she's fine" girl is as bad as being the "you poor dear, let me do that for you!" girl.

Anyway. This summer, I'm hoping to do some fun things. And when I saw that Butterick was having their 3-day sale on patterns, I couldn't resist picking up a few things:

Butterick 4790, the infamous "walkaway dress". I've seen it done in one colour and in contrasting fabrics, and I can't decide which I'll make. I am fascinated because of its construction (it's a unique kind of wrap dress).

Butterick 5320, which is not vintage, but is adorable! I love dresses with pockets!

Butterick 5319, also adorable and somehow vintage-y to me.

Butterick 4443, which I've had my eye on for a long time. It's actually quite similar to the silhouette of my wedding dress, and I love the different options. It's supposed to be an easy pattern, so I'm hoping to get a few uses out of this one.

Apologies for the hard-to-see picture of Vogue 1044. It's a vintage re-issue that is adorable, but quite ladylike. Like, gloves-wearing ladylike. I couldn't resist the pintucks in the front, but I don't know if I can pull it off-- it's a little fancy to go to Safeway in!

Vogue 2961 is a vintage re-issue which has optional halter straps and just seems like summer fun to me.

And last but not least, Vogue 2902 is another vintage reissue that seems perfect for summer.
I think I may have to add a crinoline to my list of summer purchases-- nothing crazy dramatic and costume-y, but maybe a little something-something to fill out all those full skirts?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Canada would be perfect if we only had...

Is the Lifetime Channel. Now, this is not to be confused with what was formerly called "Life Channel", which is now "Slice" (as in, of life? I don't know). I mean the Lifetime Movie Network, with its 24 hour movie-of-the-week deliciousness.

I mean, how is it that the networks don't do movies of the week? After the sudden influx of unauthorized movies about tv shows (Three's Company and Different Strokes, I'm looking at you), the only time the networks show a made-for-tv movie, is if it's an "Event", meaning it's going to be about an earthquake, or weather-related-mishaps, or something that will require its stars to jump away from explosions, fireballs or magma.

Last night, I caught the amazing "The Party Never Stops", a cautionary tale about binge drinking at college. While I always loved disease/disability movies (Who can forget Nancy McKeon as an architect who develops schizophrenia? Justine Bateman as a young blind woman learning to live independently?), I think I liked the judgmental boogeyman quality of "issue" movies. For example in The Party Never Stops, the heroine just about throws her future away because of her binge drinking. Fortunately, she manages to stop in time, but her best friend, who never had any real consequences before, DIES.

Isn't there usually a cautionary death in these movies? I remember fondly Kate's Secret (starring Meredith Baxter-Birney, the mom from Family Ties), which was about a housewife trying to hide her bulimia. She manages to survive, but her friend and anorexic roommate (whose name, inexplicably, was Patch)DIES.

And of course, one of my favorites, the classic The Karen Carpenter Story starring Cynthia Gibb, who I idolized because she played Holly on Fame. Who, come to think of it, also had an eating disorder for an episode. Maybe it was that research that helped Cynthia nail the role of Karen Carpenter.

In any case,do you know how maddening it is that there's an entire channel that shows movies with titles like: Deadly Honeymoon, Dying To Belong,and They Shoot Divas, Don't They? (which stars Jennifer Beals and Traci Lords, and sounds so amazingly terrible that I can barely get my head around it.

I know we got HBO Canada, finally. Which is fabulous, if you like well-written, well-acted television. But what about the cheap thrills, the tawdry titillations? What about those of us who indulge in schadenfreude and the cautionary death?

Please, tv. Bring back the movie of the week.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Multi-tasking and Stealing Posts From Facebook Messages

Hello, friends and neighbours!
I'm here at work, simultaneously trying to do some rewrites, find some rehearsal space for the days we have none, email production notes, and, of course, sell symphony subscriptions. In my free moments when I'm doing none of those things, I worry about the show and whether it will be brilliant, terrible, or forgettable and mediocre. And every time the phone rings, I want to say "People! Leave me alone! Can't you see I'm trying to run an independent theatre company here?"

But that can only be said in my inside voice. J is away this week, so I sit at home like a crazy woman, trying to make a tiny cardboard house for our poster (don't ask), wondering if I should just get a free photo from Morgefile instead.


I had that workshop last week. And it was... well, I've been telling people who know those involved that it was interesting, and gave me food for thought. But in reality? When I don't have to worry about what I say getting back to anyone else? It was kind of a disaster. Here's some of what I had to say about it in a facebook message to a friend:

April 14 at 10:37am
So, I finally had my workshop on Monday... You may remember I gave "Artistic Director" the one date I was available about 3 weeks ago, and he was trying to work around (actor)'s schedule. So last Thursday, I email "Artistic Director" to ask if we're still doing this, and he says "Sure, who should I ask to be in it?"

What? Oh, you mean aside from the extensive list of actors we had talked about 3 months ago, none of whom are probably available on 3 days' notice?

So, I gave him some suggestions, and of course, no one was available. On Saturday I suggested we postpone rather than do it with random gender-appropriate people, and he said "let's wait till tomorrow to cancel. I hate it when this happens." But he does find some random girl to play (central character of play) at 9pm on Sunday.

So when I arrive, "artistic director"'s late. We eventually start, and it's going ok-ish, and at the act break we're going to the washroom and "artistic director" says to me: "You know, I don't think I've read this."

And I said "What do you mean you haven't read this? How can you have not read this? You're the one who sent me the pdf of the draft and asked me to confirm that this was the one we're using!"

And he didn't seem to think that was a problem. Turns out, he thought my play was the 25 pages or so that was read at "New Play Festival" 2 years ago, and that I'd just given up on it and hadn't worked on it since then. Which begs the question: why are you doing this workshop, are you offering me a production if you HAVEN'T READ THE PLAY?

And not reading the play doesn't exactly prepare you to guide a dramaturgically helpful discussion about said play. Which you haven't read. "Artistic director" just left me twisting in the wind during "feedback". Which was maddening, because
(lengthy paragraph describing the changes the actors insisted were neccessary to satisfy the audience, which would basically just turn the play into an episode of "Murder, She Wrote", followed by discussion of how "artistic director" couldn't help me out because he was so blown away that I'd finished writing the play.)

So naturally I went home feeling rather OUCH. Like I wasn't sure if I'd just wasted the last 3 years writing this, or if I'm wasting my time trying to get people to see my point of view. I really, really think that audiences are capable of so much more than people give them credit for. I think that an "unsatisfying" ending is neccessary sometimes. In fact, I think the ending of the play IS satisfying if you get the point of the play.

And so on. The point is, that really, really, sucked, and I would much rather have taken the day off of work and lounged around watching Days of Our Lives and eating strawberries and bagels with cream cheese.

Now, back to running a theatre company...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Working For The Weekend?

Another exciting Saturday morning where I am at work-- fortunately it is quiet today (too quiet, as they might say in a d-grade horror movie-- what's the universe holding back for us), possibly because of the insane, gale-force winds that have been plaguing us the past few days. I mean, seriously, snow? In April? And what's sad, is that I've seen it snow here in May and August as well. In fact, I think the only month of the year it hasn't ever snowed here is July.

But I'm probably jinxing myself to monthly blizzards for the rest of 2010. Sorry, everyone! My bad!

This weekend, I am working at the box office all day Saturday, followed by a four hour rehearsal that has been relocated to my house. Sunday is a day of standardized patient (you know that thing that Kramer did on Seinfeld where he pretends to be sick for med students? It's very lucrative and requires minimal effort, but does involve getting up ridiculously early on a Sunday and doing something very, very repetitive all day.), followed by another rehearsal at the house. Monday I work half the day, then have what may be a doomed workshop of the Banff play in the afternoon. Sometime between now and then, I also have to put myself on tape for a film audition which is for a pretty decently written horror movie, but the character they have me reading for is "in her forties".

Now, I may not be 20 anymore, but I was pretty confident that I don't look "in my forties" just yet. Does my agent think I look in my forties? Or do I not look in my forties, but that's what my agent keeps submitting me for, and thus I never get work? Or are there not enough women willing to admit to being in their forties so they're just seeing whoever?

I could go on. But instead I'll just say I have an insanely busy weekend and am actually looking forward to Tuesday when all I have to do is work a 12-8. Well, and some other stuff. OK, June 4, that is my new date where there is nothing to do. I resolve to spend it drinking girly drinks and reading trashy novels/watching trash television, snacking on crustless sandwiches and exotic fruits.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Confession: Style-Challenged

The last couple of items on my list got me to thinking. And thinking got me headed towards a harsh truth. And that truth is that I really don't know how to dress myself.

I mean, I don't think it's What Not To Wear time here, I don't wear acid wash or tapered jeans or horribly age-inappropriate clothing. But I certainly do dress in a boring, generic, somewhat blah and ill-fitting manner.

I think part of it was getting stuck in the "interim clothes while I lose weight" trap, and then plateauing. Because now all my clothes are either way too big or don't fit quite right, but I didn't want to spend any more money until I could buy a smaller size, and so on and so on. So I think I need to suck it up and buy some new clothes. Probably Value Village clothes, but clothes that fit me.

I also don't think I know very much about style. I mean, I know when other people are stylish, but I get overwhelmed trying to figure out how to put things together and what might look good on me.

Any recommendations on blogs/online thingies, magazines I should read? Here's what I like/have realized:
1) I appreciate it when curvier girls rock it out, and would like to learn how to do that.
2) Not everyone who's a size 2 looks good. Not everyone who looks good is a size 2.
3) I love vintage styles, but not looking like I'm wearing a costume
4) I love colours and bold prints
5) I need to learn how to accessorize
6) I love clothes that are a little quirky, or that stand out without looking like they're trying too hard
7) I don't own nearly enough shoes

So I think I'm basically trying to build a wardrobe from scratch. Hopefully my sewing escapades can help with this. But I feel lost.

And can we talk about makeup? I have no lipsticks. Well, I have lipsticks, but none that I wear regularly. I got stuck on the idea that with my big eyes, strong lips make me look a little clownish. Whether or not that's true, now when I wear lipstick, it's all I can see, so I don't know if it looks good or not. I'm pretty unskilled at makeup application to begin with, but am determined to learn.

I want to look pretty, dammit! Anyone have any suggestions on where to begin?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Stuff to Do At Some Point...

Confession: I am an ambitious person by nature. Maybe not always in the healthiest sense, I mean, I have been guilty of putting far too much stock into achievements and accomplishments. But I can't help it, I feel validated by ticking off items on a to-do list. And although I have mucho things to do until the beginning of June, I thought it would be fun to come up with a list of things to accomplish in my much-anticipated spare time.

And then it wasn't enough to come up with things to do over the summer, I wanted to make a list of things I wanted to do over the next, oh, say, year or so. Because January goal-setting is too much pressure. Or maybe I already set some goals, but they've been erased in a cascade of shame and failure. Or I'm too lazy to check previous posts. Whatever.

In any case, here are some things I plan to do sometime in the next 365 days. I'll add to it as I think of it.

1) run a 5k
2) learn to play the ukulele
3) sew a vintage pattern
4) sing for people. publicly, like.
5) drive with confidence
6) develop some mad skillz re: pin curls and victory rolls
7) bake more
8) learn to dress better
9) get clothes that fittt
10) learn to wear lipstick. and makeup in general, for that matter.

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Desmokening... Part 84

Or however many times I have tried to quit smoking thus far. Yes, friends, today is day 1. Day 1, which fills me with such a sense of loathing and bitterness, that I always vow never to have to live through it again, but, well, here we are. I've just passed hour 12 since my last cigarette. Challenges tonight include a production meeting with smoker who's always been more than willing to bum me a ciggie in my time of need. But it's time.

Jesus, listen to me. You'd think Candy Finnegan or Jeff VonVondervonvon were going to ambush me at the bus stop on my way home. Quitting sucks.

But doesn't smoking suck? Yes, in the global picture, smoking does suck, and it is gross and isn't a terribly vegetarian thing to do, and so on and so on. But I have to admit, I kind of like the physical act of smoking. I like having a prop. I like having an "out" to take a break from conversations or stressful situations. I like the secret society of smokers, we who are outcasts from healthy, intelligent society.

Still, I'm doing my best to quit. Can I guarantee that I won't ever have a single cigarette again? Probably not. I would love to be the three-times a year kind of smoker, but I don't know that I can be. In any case, I'm just trying to get through the next 12 hours without (a) bursting into tears (b) murdering someone because everyone is just so goddamned irritating! or (c) eat my weight in reduced-to-clear easter chocolate.