Saturday, June 28, 2008

FAFSA: Done!


T-minus two days to the submission of the FAFSA* deadline, and I used this afternoon to complete it. The show I'm running lights for (more on that another time) was sadly called after only two people showed for it. There's another this evening, and we'll probably fair better. But it worked out for me, since I could use the time to do this.

All that's left is the visa, but that can't actually get done till I know where I'm living. So send vibes out for me there.

"Baby steps to the door, baby steps to the door..."

*Incidentally, I've been referring to the FAFSA as FASA, as no one ever seems to pronounce that final "F" in the acronym, and I ran with it. My apologies. Funnily enough, FASA can stand for Freedonian Aeronautics and Space Administration, an RPG company that references Duck Soup in their titleage.<--I didn't know that off hand, I swear! (I'm such a closet geek.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hilarity in the visa process.

Filling out the visa application on-line, I came to a page with these questions, which struck me as pretty amusing. I hope you agree. Ask yourself the following:

  1. In times of either peace or war have you‚ ever been involved in‚ or suspected of involvement in‚ war crimes‚ crimes against humanity or genocide?

  2. Have you ever been involved in‚ supported‚ or encouraged terrorist activities in any country? Have you‚ ever been a member of‚ or given support to an organisation [sic] that has been concerned in terrorism?

  3. Have you ever‚ by any means or medium‚ expressed views that justify or glorify terrorist violence or that may encourage others to terrorist acts or other serious criminal acts?

  4. Have you engaged in any other activities that might indicate that you may not be considered a person of good character?

When in doubt, go back to Odets.

Flipping through a journal I kept last summer, I found this copied out of Clifford Odet's Rocket to the Moon. It's from Cleo's dialogue in Act three:

"Yes, if there's roads, I'll take them. I'll go up all those roads till I find what I want. I want a love that uses me, that needs me. Don't you think there's a world of joyful men and women? Must all men live afraid to laugh and sing? Can't we sing at work and love our work? It's getting late to play at life; I want to live it. Something has to feel real for me, more than both of you. You see? I don't ask for much...I'm a girl, and I want to be a woman, and the man I love must help me be a woman!...None of you can give me what I'm looking for: a whole full world, with all the trimmings!...Experience gives more confidence, you know. I have more confidence than when I came here."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pinter.........................................................(pause)

Reading some Pinter lately, I was reminded of the letter that a woman wrote to him through a newspaper after seeing The Birthday Party for the first time during its 8 performance run when it first opened.

"I would be obliged if you would kindly explain to me the meaning of your play. These are the points which I do not understand:
  1. Who are the two men?
  2. Where did Stanley come from?
  3. Were they all supposed to be normal?
You will appreciate that without the answers to my questions, I cannot fully understand your play."

Pinter's response was printed in the same paper:

"Dear Madam:

I would be obliged if you would kindly explain to me the meaning of your letter. These are the points which I do not understand:
  1. Who are you?
  2. Where do you come from?
  3. Are you supposed to be normal?
You will understand that without the answers to my questions, I cannot fully understand your letter."

I love Pinter for so many reasons, but chief amongst them is this sense of complete lack of apology when it comes to his art. He made this great speech in 1962 about playwriting called "Writing for the Theatre," where he calls into question that need for a past to be shown in order to justify the actions or words that occur on stage.

He also makes a pretty interesting comment about communication later on:

"We have heard many times that tired, grimy phrase: 'Failure of communication'...and this phrase has been fixed to my work quite consistently. I believe the contrary. I think that we communicate only too well, in our silence, in what is unsaid, and that what takes place is a continual evasion, desperate rear-gaurd attempts to keep ourselves to ourselves. Communication is too alarming. To enter into someone else's life is too frightening. To disclose to others the poverty within us is too fearsome a possibility."

I think that idea of communication being alarming, the kind of responsibility that comes with attempting to reach some one while having to expose part of yourself to do it is something that handicaps a lot of actors, including myself. (I'll fess up further: life imitates art more and more these days, if you get my meaning.) In an art form where honesty is prized above everything, and often when artifice is required to tell a story that honesty is meant to illuminate, communication can get muddy. And particularly so when involving the past of a character.

Now, we can't discount the past totally--sometimes it does inform actions of the present. People are habitual, and don't really change. But if we've learned anything from Sarah Kane it's that sometimes events or actions (with her specifically: violence) don't have any reason behind them. They just occur. And then that's it.

So I guess the question now is: how much of my past will inform my life in England? Or how much of it will I let inform me? I'm trying to release my baggage, my demons--all of that--as much as possible before I go, but are there some things you just can't shake?

Surely geography plays a part. Sometimes I feel like being in this city I walk around in my past--associations with places remind me of so many people, many I don't know anymore. Lots of ghosts. And from whatever is attached to them, there comes a hesitation in my own communication-->not only in my art, which has suffered from my cowardice to be sure, but also in my day to day life. And I don't like it. So hopefully a new sense of space will cease some of this. I'll have to be closer to my true self just to understand my surroundings. But then, what's that supposed to be anyway? (My "true self," not my "surroundings," which are still a mystery as I don't know where I'll be living yet...)

Touching on the question of identity again: if I'm a person who thrives on a sense of tempered honesty, not only because of the nature of my chosen profession, but because of how I've let my past sit on my shoulders for so long, what am I? Maybe I should pull a Pinter and just disregard what has happened, because sometimes it's hard to remember your past, even what happened just this morning. Maybe I should disregard these questions for now, as they only keep me from finishing things I really really need to do, like my FASA. And also: having a quarter life crisis on your blog is so...stupid.

So I'm having a little breakdown. I'm trying to work through it, but please excuse these sorts of discussions for a little while longer. I'll get back on track, and finish blogging about Suzuki. Soon. Someday. I promise.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

NY Event Number Twelve: Practicing yoga in Times Square.

About five years ago, the Times Square Alliance decided they would celebrate the more neglected of the two Solstices. The Winter Solstice arrives on December 21st, but is often grouped in with the celebration of various holidays, and of course Times Square's biggest yearly event, New Year's Eve. However, the Summer Solstice, particularly in Western culture, usually goes by unnoticed--presumably because its celebrants were predominately pagan and that just didn't mesh with main-stream Puritanical rule. So any rituals that went along with the day were squelched over time and/or forgotten. The idea was to commemorate the longest day of the year, and give the sun its due for helping sustain our lives. So the TSA founded an event where yoga (the physical practice of which of course includes a linked sequence of asanas called surya namaskar, or "sun salutation") would be practiced throughout the day in order to do just that. At the first year of this event literally one person showed up. This year, at the first class of the day, 8:00AM on a Saturday morning, I practiced on the island in Times Square between 44th and 43rd street, bordered by Broadway and 7th Ave. I was one of 300 people there just for that class.

I heard about the function last year from Douglass Stewart, an instructor at the studio I work at and one of the teachers I practice under whenever I get the chance. Douglass actually co-founded the event, and after I missed last year I was determined to make it--especially as I don't know when I'll be back here for the Solstice again.

It was a lot of fun. The TSA had a number of sponsors for the day, who all contributed to large yellow goody bags that were stocked with items that included a Solstice t-shirt, Snapple antioxidant water, Fiji water, Body Shop samples, and several SoyJoy bars--and none of which were the dreaded Mango bar, which I find personally disgusting. The first 500 people at the event (of which I was one) also got a free mat from Danskin, which was too slippery to practice on there, but will no doubt break-in after a light vinegar wash.


I did the first class of the day and the final class of the day, greeting the sun coming up (I actually woke up at five that morning, so yes: I literally did this thing) and saying goodbye to it in the evening. The evening class was particularly cool because we started at sunset, and by the time we were done with our meditation and svasana, the sky was lit only by the lights in the Square. (I was actually in my meditation, sensing these flashing lights beyond my closed eyes, and thought I was on the brink of discovering something--but of course it was just an ad for Inspired by The Bible Experience.)


Tranquility is hard to find, no doubt, especially in this city of over eight million people. Yoga is about balance, part of which comes with balancing the mind. Like the second sutra of Patanjali tells us, "The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga," leading us to the third sutra, "Then the Seer [Self] abides in His own nature." It's a challenge to do this at anytime in the city, but like the ad above asks, "Can you find it in Times Square?" And I did. Somehow having everything else going on around me allowed me go into a deeper space of self. Aside from the occasional loss of focus (looking up in trikonasana and seeing what I can look forward to on upcoming episodes of Grey's Anatomy), it was definately one the more enjoyable practices I've had in a while.

I saw a lot of people I knew at the event--teachers, clients, and friends, (and this super model--I am NOT kidding {Boys: do more yoga. You will meet women.}) and I feel blessed to have been able to be a part of this NY yoga community for my time. These individuals have taught me a lot about life and myself, and I hope I can honor those lessons in the time to come, no matter what side of the pond I'm on. Namaste, my friends.

(NOTE: All photos, except for the Solstice ad itself, were taken by Cathy Lilly.)

Friday, June 20, 2008

I still say I'm not a "geek."

(That picture is frakkin' hilarious.)

A request came in from my friend Raz that I blog about the mid-season finale of Battlestar Galactica. I promised to indulge him (and bi-proxy, myself) if he responded to said entry. So for those of you who haven't seen the episode yet--beware! Spoilers below! And for those who watch, please feel free to enter the conversation.

This discussion is partly due to a wonderful e-mail I received from a long distance friend who occasionally discusses the show with me, and brings me these when he visits. (I also have the Classic Colonial Viper, and the Colonial Viper Mark II. Thanks, Enrique!) I'm going to paste in some of his points (which are great) and expound a bit in some places. So hopefully this will be an interesting dialogue for those of us "in the know."

Okay, so a few huge things happened this episode: 1) The four Cylons in the Colonial Fleet were revealed; 2) The Viper that the resurrected Kara Thrace came back in started receiving a radio signal; and 3) The Fleet finally made it to Earth.

Now, it's interesting that they made it to Earth, considering that has been the goal for the past four years--every episode has dealt with this journey on some level (except maybe "Unfinished Business," though I love that one {and YES: it IS because of the Starbuck-Apollo sex, I'm not too proud to admit it}). We really have come to the conclusion, the journey is over. This of course is paralleled by the fact that this is the last season of the show. But I was really expecting them to hold off on Earth for as long as possible, maybe until the last episode even. So now the arch of the show is not just about getting to Earth, but rebuilding a civilization once you've found a place to settle--and apparently peacefully with the Cylons.

But what an Earth.

I have to say, it's totally true to scifi fashion that they show a desolate, post-apocalyptic Earth, and Ron Moore's hinting over the past two years or so that Earth might not be what they're expecting pretty much gave that away. But this was just so visually desolate a place that it was jarring. Below is a panorama someone on the web made up of the long establishing shot taken down on the planet's surface. It's pretty well done, I think:

The whole place hearkens back to that poster of the colonial soldier on his knees in front of the burning Caprica, the one in the pilot's prep room that they'd all touch on their way to the hanger deck. From one desolate wasteland to another...

It will be really interesting to watch them all deal with the reality of Earth. I'm looking forward to how the civies ("civilians" for all you non-military personnel out there) deal with this--will there be some kind of up-rising? Will/Would Tom Zarek have something to do with it? (I still don't trust that guy a 100% of the time...) And how will living peacefully with the Cylons work out, if at all?

Let's talk about the Cylons for a sec. Worst idea that civilization had (silly Natalie) was to give the Centurians free will. I mean, seriously? That's just "aaaasking for traaaagedy" as an old Bostonian friend of mine used to say (hence the extra "aaaaaaaa's"). Will the Centurians want to settle peacefully with the humans? Will they even want to take orders from their Cylon "masters?" Will the skinjobs and the humans end up bonding together in some kind of fight against the Centurian models? Will they remain loyal to the four, in particular, Torey, who has gone all fanatical about "being with [her] people" but dismiss the others?

And speaking of Torey--I'm excited for someone to kill her off. Not as excited as I was when Cally died, who I just couldn't frakin' stand (next one on my list is one of Baltar's harem, the one with the son and that stupid face). No, with Torey I just see her as being REALLY evil. And I don't see any chance for redemption with her--she's made this choice to embrace her "perfection in the eyes of God," totally abandoning where she came from, and hasn't looked back. It's made her...kind of boring to watch, really. Oh well. In any case, an interesting dynamic to look out for will be how she and D'Anna get along during the rest of the season--if D'Anna will defer to her (being that Torey's one of the five, and therefore some kind of leader to the Cylon race), or try some co-leadership, or if they'll end up having a falling out over their own separate ideas of the chosen fate of the Cylons. And is Tyrol ever going to find out that Torey killed Cally, or what?

Moving along, I loved the reveal of the four, and all their own separate reactions. Torey's was pretty predictable, though I was surprised she didn't just out them all right there on Galactica's hanger deck. I loved Galen's shrug and smile, and Enrique said it pretty well in that, "He knew he’d get found out sooner or later and seemed glad that his fate was no longer in his own hands." So true. (I love Aaron Douglass so much.) Anders's was great--he loves Kara so much and was so worried about her reaction--which wasn't much, considering what she said to him at the top of the season about shooting him in the head if she found out he was one.

But of course Tigh's was the best. One of the most unsuspecting candidates for being one of the final five, watching him struggle with this has been the most interesting to me. It was just the most human, which is ironic, considering. When he finally gets up the guts to tell Adama that he's a Cylon and there's that smile on his face when he suggests the plan to air lock himself, it's just awesome. He's so happy he's found a way to in the end be the man he wanted to be, that he can help his friend. And Adama's reaction was great (although, I think Eddie was pushing just a little...), that total breakdown--I think some people would frown on that sequence, saying it's completely uncharacteristic of Adama, but never has the character had such fundamental parts of his life come totally unhinged. Imagine finding out a friend that you knew for thirty years is actually the thing you've spent your whole life looking out for and fighting, and what you thought they were fighting too? I can't--though part of that is because I haven't lived thirty years yet to know anyone that long.

On a side note, I'm glad they made that timeline distinction: if the Cylon war was forty years ago, and Tigh and Adama have only known each other thirty years, then there's no way they could have known each other during the first Cylon war and have possibly served together during it. This has been a question that's come up again and again this season amongst my friends, so I'm glad that got cleared up. This also means that Tigh could have been "produced" during the first Cylon war, or shortly there after, and then "released" into human civilization.

On another side note, Michael Hogan should have won an Emmy for season three.

And lest we not forget--Caprica Six is pregnant now. That's a whole Cylon baby. True love? Or only true love because Tigh was thinking of Ellen? Or can the Cylons pro-create with each other, but it only works when a final five is part of the equation? Does that link to the Roslin/Athena/Caprica Six joint vision at all? And the opera house is demolished, so, the location is obviously not meant to be taken overly literally, but now that they're at the sight of the place, need we be more wary?

Let's go back to Earth for a bit. They show a Geiger counter in the final sequence, so we know the planet (or at least this immediate area) has been victim to some nuclear bombing. So other questions follow this: who destroyed this last colony of man? Did this colony develop nuclear technology, or were they discovered by something else that used this weapon against them? How long ago did this occur? And why did this happen? And are there any survivors in this wasteland?

And if Starbuck has been here, why the frak didn't she know about this? This also brings up an interesting discussion between Enrique and I, that Kara Thrace is the actual "dying leader," not Roslin, and he writes rather compellingly:

"I’ve said, and many believe, that title of the dying leader as described in the Scrolls of Pythia, was mistakenly attributed to Laura Roslin and that the true dying leader was in fact, Kara Thrace. If this is true, and the rest of the prophecies and writings are true, the dying leader was supposed to lead the way, but never make it. Much of the religion of the Lords of Kobol, though polytheistic, parallels Mormonism and has a lot of references to Judeo-Christian faith. The prophecy of the dying leader has a lot in common with the story of Moses and the exodus from Egypt, and though Moses led the people to the promised land eventually, he was not allowed in because he doubted God. If the dying leader is not supposed to make it to Earth, and Starbuck is indeed the dying leader, one of two things must be true: 1. This is Earth and the Starbuck we see is not Kara Thrace; or 2. This is Kara Thrace, but we have not arrived at Earth.
"This becomes exceedingly complex when we consider Kara’s “death.” Her connection to the Eye of Jupiter helped the Colonials get as far as the nebula before she died. But her main contributions that directly led to finding Earth happened after her resurrection. That would mean that the fake Starbuck, the fake leader was responsible for leading everyone to earth.
"But perhaps the writings have been misinterpreted. We already believe that have been since the Colonials believed Roslin to be the leader and we believe Starbuck to be. Perhaps “dying” leader has been misconstrued. Perhaps the leader is one who dies, therefore cannot step foot in the promised land, though the resurrected leader may. What if Kara is like Gandalf – Gandalf the Gray would not see the final fall of Sauron, but Gandalf the White would be instrumental in Sauron’s demise. It’s still Gandalf, but not quite. And maybe the writings intend that but the meaning is lost in endless interpretation by the writer’s of history, who as we know in our own world have used religious texts to say what they want about faith. Could Starbuck have been the dying leader where Starbuck the Gray does die and never makes it to Earth while Starbuck the White passes through time and space to lead mankind to the promised land?"

Ten points to Enrique for connecting more scifi/fantasy lineage here, as well as Moses.

But bouncing off of this for a moment, I just want to point out, referencing major event of the episode #2: No one has addressed the frakking Viper. So it shows up, in mint condition with either a hidden message inside of it, or having some kind of higher technology that allows it and only it to receive the coordinates of Earth. On an apparently demolished society, who sent the message to the Viper? Granted, we only saw one part of the planet, so we don't know that the whole thing was destroyed, but it does raise the question of not only who was there before, but also, who may be there now? I wrote to Enrique:

"Okay, so, Starbuck is some kind of prophet/scriptural leader, whatever, I'll take it. I'll take her as the true dying leader, whose born again self can enter paradise (nice Moses connection btw). BUT: that still does not explain the fucking Viper. Who built this thing? Who put a fucking homing device in it? Did whatever civilization that existed on Earth have the technology to send that Viper back, and also build it, AND also find an unconscious resurrected Kara Thrace to put in it? Something is up there, and I think that a lot of clues as to what happened on Earth will be found in that Viper."

Then of course the question of the fifth and final Cylon comes up. Is the fifth there, on Earth, waiting for them? The five have supposedly been to Earth before, so, it would follow. And D'Anna says distinctly "four are in your fleet" not five, so where's the last one? And was it that final Cylon that sent the signal to the Viper's computer? There is an idea that the identity of the fifth deals with characters from the upcoming Caprica, particularly focusing on that first hybrid we see in Razor--apparently he was once a human named Daniel Graystone, the father of the Cylon race, if you will. If this is true, then it goes beyond humans creating Cylons--in a sense, the Cylons have human blood in them. So that's interesting. Enrique thinks Kendra Shaw may be on the table for being the fifth, as the hybrid in Razor calls her his child, and why else would they spend so much time developing a character like that. He wonders if we'll see her again.

And the unification of two peoples, watching the Cylons and humans need eachother in order to both arrive at Earth, even Starbuck remarking that whoever is sending the signal to the Viper wants the humans to find Earth with the Cylons, is a really interesting theme, and I'm wondering how that will fall together with the show's mythology.

There's a lot more to talk about, but this has already taken about two and a half hours to write, so I'm a bit spent.

An overall criticism of the episode is that I felt it was rushed, that it could have been done in two hours. But because of the writer's strike, I believe that held up its development process, and had the strike gone on any longer I believe the episode was to have actually to have been the show's finale, not just the midway point of a very drawn out season (no new episodes till at least January 1st, 2009--it's going to be an eternity!). That said, I'm glad it's not the end--I was kind of worried Ron Moore would dump them on the planet, show that it was imperfect, and be like, "Well. That's it!" That would have sucked.

I'll be back in the states briefly this winter, so I may catch the first couple episodes over here, but the majority of time I'll be watching in England, however they do it over there. I hope I can find BSG enthusiasts over seas, which I don't think will be too difficult. But it won't match watching it with my friends over here. So guys, please raise your drinks and wish me well next year on your Friday nights, and I'll raise mine to you--give or take five hours.

So say we all!*

(*PS: Did you know that Edward James Olmos ad libbed that line in the mini-series during that final scene, just started yelling it and expecting people to join in {because he IS the commander of the fleet, after all} and then they did? And now it's in every sacred text, every formal toast, every rallying cry of the show. God I love actors.)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

"...and I realized as I was talking, that I was boring myself."

That title is a phrase I have sadly uttered when recounting a couple bad dates to friends afterwards, where I realized I had been going on and on and on because the guy wasn't offering anything up, so I just kept talking, and at some point realized that I was even boring myself working so hard for a reaction. This is one of the many reasons why I never date.

After blogging CRAZY consistently at the beginning of this month, I went on a brief hiatis. Part of it had to do with my schedule, which did not allot for enough time to make a thoughtful blog entry, which I try to achieve when writing here. But another, larger part was:

Blogging about Suzuki bores me.

Now, don't get me wrong: Suzuki itself does not bore me. Not in the least. But the specificity it was taking to discuss the method made writing the entries not only remarkably time consuming, but also really really dull for me to write. I like discussing the theatre, I like discussing performance method, I like sharing what I learned, but these things I like doing IN PERSON. To put it here, to do it so much and in such a detailed, crazy way just makes me lose interest. I may go back and blog specific stuff, but not today, not right now, and maybe not ever. So don't hold your breath. But here's an overview of what I've been up to whilst away.

One: I bought my plane ticket. It actually cost about $120 less than I had anticipated, partly because I bought it through STA Travel, and acquired the below card, which is meant to get me discounted rates for various travel-type things. (And 10% off at the Mac store.)

Not the most fetching picture of me, true, but I was unaware that they'd be making the card up right then and there and had no other picture to give them.

I was so happy about the plane ticket being so cheap that I went to Forbidden Planet and bought this:

I still say I'm not a nerd, but probably just a fangirl. And it was only $6.99-->I needed it!

It also turns out that I will be able to go to my bff's wedding ceremony, but will need to leave IMMEDIATELY after pictures are taken, and go straight to the airport to make my flight. Intense.

Two: I cut Suzuki Monday night to do a scene for my roommate's directing class at HB Studios. I haven't acted in a while, despite my prowess as a GPS unit, and it was both fun and foreign to go back to a script and try to build a character and whatnot. It was the first scene in Proof, a play I love and would kill to be in. I actually played Catherine in another friend's scene in college, so it was fun to revisit her in a different place. Maybe someday I'll play the whole thing...

Three: I did more Suzuki. Tuesday and Thursday night, I was back, marching, slow tempo-ing, and learning a dance that dealt very interestingly with focus. I will try to backlog these later, but again: I just don't feel like doing it right now.

Four: I talked to someone who knows better. I went to see Hamlet this past Saturday, and after being rescued by my friend Tim, an electrician at the Public who brought me to the electrician's office to wait out the rain, he invited me to go for drinks with the crew once the show was called. An older actor in the cast, who's pretty successful on the NY boards but who will remain nameless here because name dropping annoying, stopped into the bar where we were at and sat next to us. Tim introduced me, mentioned I had gotten into Central, and the actor congratulated me and started to give me advice on what to look at in terms of British acting when I was in England. It was a great chat, he was a super cool guy, and I felt reassured in a way I haven't been in months to go on this adventure. It was totally needed, and I feel really lucky to have friends who garner me the chance to have these opportunities. So, thanks Tim and Heidi.

Five: I found someone else going to England for grad school this fall. We had gone to HS together, and had known each other, despite the fact that she is two years older than me. She already knows where she's going to live, and pointed me in a couple directions, which was great. I happy to know someone else going over, to maybe bounce travel ideas off of, and to have as a "safe person" if trouble happens overseas. And I could always use another Facebook friend, which is where she located me. So here we go, Liza.

In my spare time, I've also been seeing some friends, giving feedback on some one's play (like a good little dramaturge), wondering about BSG, trying to figure out who would be reading my blog in Austria (I see you, thanks to Google Analytics) and trying to make myself read Pinter. Could I really do all these things and sleep, and write about Suzuki with such specificity while at work?

I don't think so.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Yoga Certification Progress: Anatomy Done! (Maybe.)

(ABOVE: Diagram of Jason Brown, labeled with anatomy; BELOW AT LEFT: A doodle)

Well, probably. Most of it, at least. I must admit, I went a little crazy trying to make up hours of the anatomy intensive that I missed the last time around--I had a table reading of Much Ado one day, and rehearsal for The Accommodation the other, cutting both of my six hour days short by about three each day. So I went Saturday, determined to get through the whole weekend with and open mind and excitement about the human body.

I failed.

By the four hour mark of the first day, I was falling asleep, and bailed to go home and take a cat nap before seeing my friend Melissa's dance show. Today I couldn't bare it almost at all, and after two hours headed out.

Part of it is the heat--NY is especially oppressive lately, and even an early morning jog feels like moving through butter. Part of it is the repetitiveness--having done part of this before, there was a bit of information I was already familiar with some of what Jason (anatomy & yoga teacher extraordinarie!) was discussing, so it was easy to zone out. And another part is being back in the classroom after so long, I've yet to build up the tolerance for these kind of situations. I also have a habit I developed my senior year in college of walking out of classes I don't find interesting, wandering around for about a half and hour, maybe getting a snack, maybe checking my e-mail, and then meandering back in at some later time. And anatomy, to me, is only so fascinating, unless it involves the use of this book, which is awesome.

But in any regard, it's over now (I think--there may be a stray hour I need to account for), so I'm a touch closer to having my yoga diploma.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

NY Event Number Eleven: Finally seeing modern dance again.

My friend and yoga cohort Melissa is a dancer and relatively new to New York (that's her, above). She's been here since September, and after a few frustrating months things are starting to come together in terms of her career. On top of her three jobs, she also takes class, rehearses for the couple shows she's in, and even occasionally goes to yoga. Whenever I get upset about my schedule, I think about her, and my life suddenly seems just a little bit easier. After months of promising her I'd catch her work, I finally made good and caught her show Hearsay at Dance New Amsterdam this weekend.

I know almost nothing about dance, and actually have some personal baggage regarding modern dance so this won't be any kind of review, or even an informed reflection really, but I would like to identify the elements I really loved about the work, the same elements I'm going to try and include in my own work as I go on with my life.

One of the interesting things about a lot of dance work is the use of space. Many choreographers seem to have an understanding of seeing the whole space, and they don't isolate movement to one specific area, unless very much intended. This is harder to do with intricacy in a dance show than with staging a play, which can be made easier through the usually realistic movement of the actors, and an understanding of their motivations: "He would move away here because she said something nasty and he became intimidated." That sort of thing. An idea of shape does come into play, but not nearly as much as it does for dancers, who are constantly creating it--in the scope of their movement through the space as well as, of course, within their own bodies. What's also interesting about the use of space is how you can create little pictures--groupings of people doing different specific actions, put together to make one larger picture, noticing how those actions compliment, inform the others. Anyone who's ever seen a musical's opening number probably has an understanding of this visual. But here it was terribly apparent, due to the abstractness of the gesture and movement involved. And very interesting.

The director/choreographer used sound in voice overs and pre-recorded lesson plans of tips on how to get through your business day. I thought that was pretty interesting, and hearkened back to an idea I had had about my grad school auditioned piece that I didn't fully realize. I hope to go back to it in the future. (<--is that phrase oxymoronic: "back to it in the future"? Or just ironic?) However, she did have the dancers speak a couple times, and I was reminded that this is an art form that does not usually train a person how to speak on stage. Conclusion: Dancers probably shouldn't talk. (At least, not on stage.)

The lighting was great--oh, the power of gobos! And predominately from the side, like any good dance show. (General lighting rule: When you light the body, light from the side; when you light the face, light from the front and above.)

Another aspect of movement that was terribly affective and aesthetically interesting was having the dancers do small gestures en masse. This is something else I want to play with, particularly with a piece I'm currently working out in my head, set to Muse's "Map of the Problematique." Having a group of people do one small gesture all at once gives that gesture added value and brings focus to it. That's what I got from it, anyway.

Lastly, I was reminded of the overall bodily control of a dancer, and was reminded of my personal awe of it. It made me miss working out and all the yoga I used to do when I had a consistent practice (I was in killer shape last summer), and it also made me want to take a dance class. It also reminded me how important this kind of thing is to me now, as an artist, in terms of trying to use it as a means of expression. Which is good when you're going to grad school for physical theatre.

So thanks for letting me in on the not-so-secret, Melissa. Merde!

I just can't get expelled from Hogwarts...

At least if things don't work out in England, I can always move to Orlando.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Suzuki: Day Three

Long marching session today, and I was actually picked out with a bunch of other students who had previous experience with the form to actually demonstrate for the newer ones. I had a lot of pride in being selected, though it caught up with me right away--> I lost my focus, which is never stronger than when I'm doing this work, because I got concerned with looking good, and consequently made it harder on myself, caused me to mess up my footing in one of the marches, and in the combination during the recitation of "O splendour." I should explain: there are a series of movements we do while counting to three in Japanese, and after specific points we freeze and recite this piece of text.

O splendour of sunburst breaking forth this day
Whereon I lay my hands once more on Helen my wife. (breath)
And yet it is not so much as men think
For the woman's sake I came to Troy, (breath)
But against that guest, proved treacherous,
Who, like a robber, carried the woman from my House.
(Excerpted from Menelaus's Trojan Women)


We also work on moving slowly from a squat position to a standing position using that text, or instead replacing it with the second piece:

O that my tongue were in the thunder's mouth! (breath)
Then with a passion would I shake the world,
And rouse from sleep that fell anatomy (breath)
Which cannot hear a lady's feeble voice, (short breath)
Which scorns a modern invocation.
(Excerpted from King John, Constance, 3.4)


So yes, my ego got the best of me, and I screwed up some of the movement. But when we were working with the Constance line, I found a breakthrough with my breath that I had been looking for--we'd just been working the "O splendor" line lately, and I always feel bombastic when I do it. Volume is my strong point, and is one of my tricks. I'm trying to work away from it, without abandoning it, use it but not be dependent. It's a hard balance to find, especially given who I am in life: usually a very loud person. So it was nice to finally find where the breath was supposed to be, properly supported, and not taxing my voice. It was, as I like to say, "a small grace."

We also need to have learned by now a song in Japanese, "Suteki Da Ne," which, along with seemingly everything else in my life, I have put off in really getting to. Hopefully this weekend. At some point. Someday.

My group worked with Robyn tonight on slow tempo. Slow tempo is not slow motion--usually in slow motion there's an idea of restrain in order to create movement of that quality, and also that when you are doing slow motion you are seeing something that is slowed down from our normal sense of time. In slow tempo, you are actually respecting a different idea of time all together: what you can accomplish in one minute of slow tempo time takes ten minutes of real time to show--if "real time" even existed to be gauged against. But the idea is that it doesn't. I saw a production of The Water Station some years ago, done by Robyn and Steve's company, which utilized slow tempo for essentially the whole show. It takes a little getting used to, if only because an audience's sensibility is so geared towards realism these days that anything from the norm takes about 15 minutes to even accept. But in the end, I was really affected by the form and it heightened my relationship with the whole piece. I can honestly say if that had been done in "real time," I would have cared much less about the whole evening.

Slow tempo is hard, especially when living in a city that is so geared around goinggoingoing, and is pretty physically taxing in its way. I will feel it tomorrow no doubt. But there is a sense of serenity when entering it, and maintaining it is almost a form of meditation. Again, though, it's something as a performer you miss, when really focused on the doing of it, as most of our work is. Which is sad sometimes.

Next Monday's class will be cut short for me, as I am doing Heidi's scene for her directing class, the first exchange between Catherine and Hal from Proof. I'll be sad to miss, but it will be nice to do a scene after such a long absence from formal acting.

"You used to be alright/What happened?"



Okay, this blog has gotten a little off topic, what with the Suzuki notes and the comic book conventions, so I figured now would be a good time for a little check-in* regarding where I am with the school process, etc. So here we go.
  • I'm not excited, no. Please stop asking. The question comes up a lot, with knowing and expectant smiles on people's faces. But aside from my classmates who recognized the school's name at my Suzuki intensive the other day which brought out a bit of pride ("Here are people who really get where I'm going"), I have to say normally my reaction is a polite "yes," but inside I'm all, "not really." It's still too distant and too much of an unreality to be exciting, aided in part by the list below.
  • I have not filled out my FASA yet. My room is jumbled mess, and somewhere, underneath the sizable dumping ground at the foot of my bed, in front of my dresser, in the great bosom of dirty clothing and discarded stuff (all sorts) buried, is my tax folder that I need to fill out my FASA. I haven't cleaned my room in almost a month, so I've not yet unearthed the paperwork. Filling out a FASA also requires a sizable amount of time, and that I just do not seem to have. Ever.
  • I have not applied for my Visa yet. This costs $200, and I don't have it to spare, so I'm putting it off and putting it off and putting it off, while not putting away they monies I need to pay for it. (Lack of discipline regarding money is pretty flagrant with me, and has kind of been a life long problem. I was hoping I would be more responsible by now, and that it wouldn't follow me through this process. It has.)
  • I still have no idea where I'm going to live. Which is troubling. The school is associated with the University of London, and while student housing is somewhat available for grad students, you have to make an appointment to see the space you'd be living in beforehand, and sign off on a paper saying you're okay with it. I am not able to travel to London before term (I'll be getting in literally a day before school starts) and so have no opportunity to do this. There is some kind of list serve that current students use to post available rooms for other students, but that's also with my acceptance paperwork, again lost in the room somewhere, so I haven't gotten onto the board. Also I'm in denial, and that's done it's fair share of keeping me away from actualizing anything like this.
  • I'm still not technically a yoga teacher. Here we come into the "unfinished business" category. Besides having some loose ends with certain individuals in my life, there are some logistical things that need sorting out. One of these is my yoga teacher certification. I did a teacher training intensive in January, and due to my insane schedule that month (8 hours of training for five days a week, working part time three-four days a week, rehearsing two plays...the mind boggles) I opted to not do any of my homework, since we can hand it in late. I also, however, did not do my take home test. Part of getting ready is to secure my diploma from Yoga Works, so when I get over to England, I can try to get a job teaching, or maybe have the opportunity to teach privates (under the table=no British taxes!). But getting the diploma involves me sitting down and doing a month's work of homework, and a test that takes about two weeks to finish. And I'd have to pass it. I'm daunted by the paperwork (again: PAPERS!!!) and trying to excite myself to do it is hard, hard work.
Have I become, as I feared, one of those people who list out all of their problems on their blog and take no action in their life to affect the change necessary?

Maybe.

(Shit.)

But instead of that, I will try to use this as a check list for what has yet to be done, and hopefully it will help me step up and take some responsibility, once and for all!

That's what adulthood is about, isn't it?


*For the record, I hate the phrase, "Check-in." Saying "just checking in," however, seems acceptable, and has a lovely place in my heart, left over from a year of driving up to my friend Amanda's house and calling up to her window from the drive way, "Just checking in!" and then staying for dinner. Double standard, I know. I don't care.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Suzuki: Day Two

(This entry is going to be more note-like, as I'm basing it off the ones I took this evening.)

More feeling old, but today it seemed less obnoxious.

The girl who was working hard to really work is still doing it, and it's almost distracting. It's also affecting her work--her statues are predictable, you can tell she's pre-planning them in her "ready" position. In this same vein, I am working so hard to just let myself be: stop worrying what Robyn, Steve, and Peter think of my work; stop worrying about being "right"; let go of whatever ideas I have about where I'm supposed to be since I'm older and have done this before. Like yoga, Suzuki is meant to be constantly learned, never mastered. I'm trying to remind myself of that, and shut off those hyper-perfectionist urges.<--They're going to get me in trouble in grad school, more in the realm of making me remarkably unhappy than anything else (I am also super competitive, so these kind of things are hard).

Thought of the night from Steve: Your exit from stage is just as important, if not more important, than your entrance. True in acting and true in life.

The girl pre-occupied with her appearance came with her hair down in cascading waves. I wonder how much longer that will last.

There's one girl, Kelly, whose work I Really like. You know she's just finding things as she goes, and she's letting herself experience the work while doing it. She's fully present and invested--but not Overly invested. She also has a killer yoga practice.

Peter worked with my sub-group today, discussing the value of space. While the focus can fall greatly on the architecture of the space you're working in, we also looked at creating value of negative space by using a partner to sculpt an image. We worked with a partner, one person doing the manipulating of the image for a time, and then switching. The key here was that the manipulator had to use their body fully to create the shape with the other person. When they stepped away from the space they had been taking up, displayed by the shape maintained by the clay-like partner, that space would have value because you knew something used to be there. But you couldn't just move your partner's body around with your arms. If you used your whole body, you were really partnering with them, rather than just applying a shape. You were, in effect, dancing with them. I really liked this exercise, even though I don't think I did it all that well--I got stuck taking my partner into the same places, and felt a little embarrassed of some of the shapes I got her in. When you're working with people you barely know, and suddenly you have to have contact with them, you find out pretty quick how much of a prude you still are. At least this is my experience. So anytime a pose felt intimate for whatever reason, I got worried, "Is she cool with this? Is she uncomfortable? I hope she's not." Hopefully, she wasn't.

At the end of today, I mentioned my school to someone and a couple of the kids piped up--they had heard of it and congratulated me. It was really rewarding to have people recognize the school (so few people actually know about it here, which still surprises me every time) and to also be impressed by my admittance. I'm proud of having gotten in, but usually downplay this pride because I worry about coming off like a jerk. So it was nice to have some validation, and from a truly unexpected source.

I think for the future I'm going to stop calling them "kids" and start calling them "classmates." I'll make an effort anyway.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Suzuki: Day One

(WARNING: These entries will end up being more personal. Unavoidable.)

Got into the space and felt Old. So OLD. And that seems silly at twenty-three years and almost-but-not-quite eight months. All these undergrad students, most it looked like hadn't gotten past twenty yet, all friends, all these familiar greetings ("There she is!") that I remember when I took the intensive with my friends three years earlier. The sense of solitude hints at my feelings about grad school a little too well. I'm the only one from that session to return, and know no one, save the instructors, who I was flattered to discover actually remembered me--one teacher came over and greeted me, and it made me feel much more at home in what is now a foreign environment.

The work was the same, but getting my body used to moving that way again is just as difficult as it was three years ago, though I like to think the yoga experience has actually helped in at least understanding balance a little more, specifically the work the whole body is doing in order to maintain it. But my habits are still my habits, and I'm still working on them: letting go of the tension in my jaw, working but not WORKING!!!, maintaining a far focus (which I find harder as time goes by and the nearsightedness gets worse {still no glasses or contacts}), and ceasing judgment of myself and others (fucking judgmental mind...).

Last night we did a warm up, kind of a dancey-yoga, and then worked on marching as a whole, and then split into three separate groups. My group gathered in an upstairs rehearsal space that is separate from the large hall where we start the evening, and worked on extending ki, weight on the underside, and relaxation. Let me try to explain for those not familiar, and for the sake of myself:

  1. Extending ki is essentially taking the focus off one's self and extending energy outward. Steve, one of the teachers, said this great thing: "Seeing in successful looking." We experiment with this by standing, just standing, and having some one push us slightly. Usually a person just standing will waiver. But the next step is to take a focus, look across the room, see some small detail--the dust on or shape of a pipe, whatever. Some one tries to push you again, and suddenly you barely move. Because your focus is off yourself, you're more actively engaged, and instantly you're grounded. This is obviously something you need as an actor, and as Steve reminded us in class, the other person in the scene is usually the most important. We do the same exercise by holding one arm palm up, extended straight out and having someone try to bend it, or palm facing the ground with a person trying to push it down. Your focus is usually coming from a sense of center, and sending energy up from that place, passing through the arm, extending to the point you are seeing. Here we often experimented by having the subject (arm-holder-upper) focus on a person standing across from them. See a specific detail about their neck, and you can keep your arm straight. See how they're noticing your hair, and suddenly with the focus back on yourself, your arm bends. It just happens. (Unless you're really good: There's actually one student older than me, Heath, probably in his late thirties, early forties, who has actually taught Suzuki. We are in the same group and he was my partner {the two fogeys}, and he was good even when he was supposed to be bad. In those instances, he would work to stand "STRONGLY," and that effort usually worked to unground him enough that he would waiver.)
  2. Weight on the underside works on grounding and balance. Have some one focus their weight on their heels, push them, and they'll start to fall over. Have them readjust their focus to distributing their weight to the center of the foot closer to the ball, and they'll be steady. With the same idea, have some one sit on the ground, have them focus on the tops of their legs, and when you push them they'll move. Have them stay in that same position, but think about the place where their thigh touches the ground, and they're steady. Same thing works on a chair, or in variations from moving from standing to sitting, or sitting to standing. This is actually the place where the yoga has helped me the most, as we often have to move one part of the body while keeping another part stationary, maintaining a wide, steady balance the whole time, making that action possible. So being aware of where your weight is in order to do that helps in this exercise.
  3. Relaxation is not about releasing entirely, but maintaining energy that isn't taxing or restrained. If you release entirely, that's just flaccidity, and nobody ever seems to want that. Steve's example: "Relaxing entirely on stage is essentially this (falls on floor in jumbled heap)." You can't act like that. But it's important to know where you're holding tension in your body so you can release it and make yourself more available to act/produce an action. It also frees up your body to do character work--there are only so many physical choices and shapes you can make with your shoulders up to your ears, or pushed down as far as they can go, for that matter. And of course, a relaxed body makes breath more available.

The three ideas are linked, in that if one works they all will: if you extend ki, you'll relax and have your weight where it needs to go, and so on. So if you can just do one, you're still doing a lot.

Aside from watching myself work last night and marveling how far I've come and not come, I mostly found myself noticing the kids, and laughing at what I saw--not in mockery, but in familiarity. There's this one girl who was decked out in Lululemon. I didn't notice her really speaking to other people, and in all of her work, you could tell she was trying Real Hard. She reminded me of myself in a way, and it made me both smile and feel a little sad. "Let up a little!" I wanted to say. "Find friends here!" Another girl was obviously there more concerned about how she looked, moving with intended body language, but I couldn't figure out who she was putting on the show for. This girl bothered me--"Don't focus on that! It's not important and it doesn't last, and here is not the place!"

And then there's this third kid, Jake. Jake is not the same as my friend Jake who did the GPS play with me, but one of the many MMC undergrads at this function. He seems like a pretty cool kid. We're in the same sub-group, and had a chance to work together. Every time something clicked for him, his entire face just lit up, like it was the coolest thing he'd ever experienced. You could see him gaining the confidence and the wonder all at once. And it was totally infectious. No wonder older people are often attracted to younger ones: watching their discoveries is wonderful and reminds you just what is happening around you and how lucky you are to be a part of it. It's like really seeing again, instead of just looking. And there's something about the lack of fear and self-censorship about Jake having that reaction--I'm totally guilty of always trying to come off professional and end up having very cerebral reactions to what happens to me in art and discovery (this blog could make that argument all on its own). But here is some one who can just celebrate the really amazing change you experience in discovering this work, and really enjoy it. I miss that--just letting myself enjoy something, not having to qualify it by examining WHY I like it. That's what my therapist is for, anyway.

Being around these kids (I keep calling them that, but it's really because I feel SO OLD, not because of any pretension {at least not conscious pretension...}) makes me also think about how I had wanted to teach at one point, and think I still do...someday. There is something, though, the responsibility that comes with teaching that I'm afraid of. What if I get it wrong? What if my students hate me? What if I become one of those teachers I hated, who got into it only to hear themselves talk, not because they wanted to help minds develop? How to be sure? I guess you never can be. But I might risk it for a student like Jake. Maybe.

He also complimented my mis-matched socks, which gives him another point in my book.

"Know These Things: Shouldn't You"

Today I head back to my alma mater after a couple years of self-imposed exile in order to begin a Suzuki workshop. Suzuki, for those of you who don't know, is a form of movement that falls under the heading "physical theatre" in that it largely tries to produce a story and evoke a reaction from an audience using some form of stylized (though not always standardized) movement--something that isn't quite dance, and is definitely not realism. And it's usually light on dialogue. For an overview of Tadashi Suzuki, developer of the method, and his theory of practice go here.

I have done an intensive like this before with the same instructors actually, and am eager to re-examine it after some time away, and especially before I go overseas to study other forms of "physical theatre." I thought it would be a nice send off, and a good way to stay focused while I'm not actually acting in anything, which always makes a performer a little depressed: you're not doing what you're pretty sure you're meant for, so you stop seeing the point. In anything.

I don't think tonight is going to be easy, and those who know about the style may join me in lamenting the pain of one's quadriceps during the process of conducting it (if you don't know, you just have to trust me). I'm hoping I can hold my own amongst all the kids--a lot of the students will still be earning their undergrad, and despite our near proximity in age, I have a real feeling I'm going to feel like the old fogey in the back. And at twenty-three and eight months, that says a lot. Maybe only about my more neurotic tendencies...

But I'll try to make an effort to work past my age paranoia, and blog about this as much as I can, with any thoughts I think will be useful and hopefully lasting in my work in the future.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

"You fuckers think just 'cause a guy reads comics he can't start some shit?"



This title is a little misleading and obviously profane, but I love the movie, and it's not completely inappropriate.

Today I went to Philadelphia (the city with the strangest layout EVER) to a Wizard World convention. Wizard World is basically a company that runs a series of conventions for a mish mash of sci-fi, comic, fantasy and the like. I'm not really hooked into the convention circuit (I'd never actually been to one till now, and this one wasn't all that huge), but a friend of mine and fellow Battlestar Galactica enthusiast Logan, who follows this blog, found out that there was a very special BSG guest working the VIP section of the convention this weekend: Katee Sackhoff.

Sackhoff plays Kara "Starbuck" Thrace on Battlestar Galactica, and apart from being a really great actress (who also has the benefit of working with really great writing, it must be said), her character is totally bad ass, complicated, the lead gun of the Viper pilots, and generally fucked up in the best way possible (except for this season, where she's borderline psychotic, which is troubling). In short: I think she is the coolest, and after Princess Leia, she is next on the list of "Scifi Characters Who I Would Like to Emulate in My Life." She's even above Xena--that's how you know it's serious.

In any case, she was reason enough to get me out to the capital of my least favorite state (I'm from New Jersey, this kind of prejudice happens) and finally attend a convention. Other great attractions were Garth Ennis, writer/co-creator of Preacher, lots of random fandom merchandise, and PA Jedi, that demonstrated their own choreographed lightsaber fights and drills, and offered up maybe the one redeeming quality of the state that you never visit, you just have to drive through it to get somewhere else. I have to tell you, the fights really weren't bad, and I enjoyed the fact that they took themselves so seriously.


(The bottom picture was a pre-choreographed fight, being done by people who I believe were Not associated with PA Jedi. The best part was right before the "kill" was going to happen, the little boy on the left there {see him?} ran in with his light saber and stabbed at the attacker. Cutest. Thing. Ever.)

I'm a dork, borderline geek. It's something I keep pretty close to my chest, but those who know me know that it's true. I'm not a HUGE geek, and far from the designation of "nerd," which seems to require an extra level of dedication and girth of knowledge that is beyond the circumference of my cranium and my patience, and I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. There was a bit of shaming in elementary and middle school from my friends regarding my dork/geek interests--I learned early on that Star Trek: The Next Generation ("TNG," as we call it, in the circles I barely frequent) was not going to make me any more popular or any less awkward, but I still see my enjoyment of it as a real release and important in my personal development at that time in my life. But due to the initial shaming, I never really let myself develop my geeky side fully, or made it develop it in more acceptable ways: musical theater, an innate knowledge of Shakespeare, etc. (Reading that back, neither of those is actually any more "acceptable" are they?) So now, when I'm in a room full of true geeks and nerds, I get intimidated. I've never played Dungeons and Dragons. I cannot program HTML. I do not LARP. I tried reading comics when I was younger, but found I was too overwhelmed by how much I didn't know, the mythologies so vast and had been going on for so many years before I was even born, and I kind of shut down on the idea. I fear math. Essentially, I hide my dorkiness and geek tendencies because, quite frankly: I feel like a fake. I haven't the pedigree. Or the balls.

And on that note, there's also something about being a girl in that kind of environment. Women always have to reach a hypothetical bar set by men, it seems, and here it is no different. In dork/geek/nerd society, two ideas seem to exist about women:

  1. That they have koodies and know nothing about the world, such as why it is so important the Federation crack down on violators of the Prime Directive; and
  2. That they are massive sex pots, with HUGE breasts, that go around hunting prey in form of animal/man/beast/alien/living dead/what-have-you, in a chain metal bikini with nothing but a sly remark and maybe a claymore to hold that material up. (And let's face it: the costume is already too small.)
Both views seem pretty sexist, pretty immature, and the latter one pretty...hopeful? But in either case, it sets up a precarious set of ideas that makes it hard to infiltrate geek society and still be respected. And still be recognized as a woman. And as it happens in my case, also as a straight woman. Which is probably why I love Starbuck so much--because her character can do all of these things.

But getting back to what is supposed to matter in this blog, what does any of this have to do with art or me? Well, here is a whole sub culture of people who gather because of their common interest in a specific kind of art. They decide what is acceptable, what is cool, and what is not. They show, in an unapologetic way, the force of an audience. And that force is something that any artist who wants to make a connection and any kind of commercial progression in their career has to tap into. This is also why I think crowd psychology should be studied in theatre school.

And again, as addressed earlier in this blog, the identity issue: a chief reason people enjoy art is because they identify with characters. They can see themselves (or would like to see themselves) making those choices, winning those battles, getting the girl to take off her chain metal bikini. And in no subculture is this more blatantly prevalent than the dork/geek/nerd one. (We'll save a larger discussion on LARPing for another time, but you follow me so far.) The same thing that happens on stage happens between a boy and his comic book. Or so we hope.

I admit the end of this entry is a bit ramblesome, but it was just a really cool day, and I wanted to share it with you all. Now grab your gun and bring in the cat!

That was a Battlestar Galactica reference right there.