Thursday, April 26, 2007

Who Doesn't Love Puccinni?

La Boheme was grand. Who doesn't love Puccini? Aria after sweeping aria. A local girl sang the supporting role of the coquette, and totally stole the show from the international stars. She was pretty, funny, and had a clarion voice. My favorite moment: at intermission, a live brass band marched through the audience, onto the stage, and then the entire cast paraded out of the Latin Quarter. A decidedly New Orleans flourish.

Lost an entire day yesterday, recovering from the Big Easy Music awards. Damn fine party, but oy, I drank. A lot of drink on a mostly empty stomach. I heard the catering was awesome, but I hardly made my way over to that side of the venue. I was mostly greeting and shaking hands by the entrance. Irma Thomas is very nice. Dr John is a saint, of a sort. Got to talk to my current crush, Mark Mullins, the lead trombonist of Bonerama, an all-brass rock band with four trombones, a tuba, keys, and occasional guitar. Man, the way Mark Mullins plays trombone. It's sex. Bonerama rocks hard, won the Big Easy award for best rock band, and are performing for free today at the Louisiana Music Factory, our locally-owned record store that specializes in local music.

Then the theatre tonight! Rising Water. I did spend a good chunk of time at the music awards conversing with Cristine McMurdo-Wallis, the principle actress. Looking forward, very much, to this play. It's a local sensation. Jon Biguenet interviewed Katrina survivors all over the state and wrote this play about a couple trapped in their attic, working through their relationship issues as the water rises. It's been extended twice.

Tomorrow morning I leave for Short Mountain, Tennessee. It's my first Radical Faerie gathering. I'm told Short Mountain sanctuary is the epicenter of Faerie culture. So I expect a huge turnout by Tuesday, May Day, or Beltane. I want bonfires. A few friends from New Orleans are driving up over the next few days. I'm staying an entire week, Friday to Friday, to watch the folks arrive, the peak night of Beltane, and then watch folks filter out a few more days.

Be back in time for the end of Jazz Fest, plus a short performance I'm doing that Saturday.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Grand Opera

I have opera tickets tonight, La Boheme! The New Orleans Opera is the oldest opera company in the US, and used to perform in the grand French Opera House with multiple balconies and boxes. It was the center of Creole culture in the New World. Sadly, the French Opera House burned down, and then the Mahalia Jackson Hall flooded, so now the New Orleans opera performs at Tulane University.
Tickets are free to me. I've been working for a season-ticket holder, who shared the tix with me because I'm such a good little administrative assistant. Funny, at 40 I've come full circle and returned to admin work. Thought I left that behind, but when you quit high-tech, leave the stock options and fat salary behind, I guess you fall back on older skills. Still hoping to pick up some editing and software teaching instead, but in the short term, this admin job has saved my neck. And it has not been odious, at least not all of the time. Glad it's almost over. Tuesday.
Got free tickets to see a play too, Rising Water, at the Southern Rep. The playwright, Jon Biguenet, teaches in the MFA program at Tulane. I think Biguenet's rather handsome, with his white curls brushed back off his forehead. Married, of course, but handsome nonetheless. Pretty much anything he writes will be staged at Southern Rep. For good reason too. He's a solid writer, well-known in the national literary, small-press world. Need a quote for your new literary journal? Ask Jon Biguenet.
I recently made acquaintance with the principle actress from Rising Water, Cristine McMurdo-Wallis. She liked the Kung Fu Evangelist suit that I wore to the Big Easy Theatre awards. She's coming to the music awards too, and I expect to enjoy her company.
Just need to wrap-up the Music awards party, then I can prepare for Short Mountain. Need camping equipment. All mine is in storage in San Francisco.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Big Easy Theatre Awards

Man, I'm crispy today. So tired. Probably dehydrated too. Big Easy Theatre awards were last night. I drank a lot. Hob-nobbed and shook a lot of hands, smiled a bunch, worked the Kung Fu Evangelist suit. Plus I worked all day on preparations at the Gambit home office, even brought office work to Harrah's theatre, and then worked all night at the event. I'm seriously dragging today.
Swell party. This year is the first with separate events for theater and music. 400 members of the New Orleans theater community showed up at Harrah's theatre in their finery or anti-finery. A number of people recognized me from performances, including Saturday's DramaRama. LOT of good looking guys. Brr-chah!
The production values were much higher than I expected, and I expected a quality event. Not just the video screens, but the videos themselves, produced by Delgado Community College. Entertainment was polished, but honestly, I don't love the musical. It's a form of theatre I just don't click with. I do like opera. Go figure. Oh, I have La Boheme tickets for Sunday!
Now we're running toward the music awards party. Uh Muh Gawd! It's going to kick my ass.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

How Much Actually Happened?

Ok, I haven't done any of those to-do's yet. I've been too busy knocking them dead at DramaRama! Was a great audience last night. I was worried everyone would evacuate the building before my piece, since it was scheduled late and basically shut down the event. But from backstage I could see a steady stream of bodies winding up the spiral staircase. When I stepped out on stage, the place was packed! with folks standing at the back and sides. Yay.
I gave a solid performance. Volume control was strong. I jumped in and out of character voices. I was all over the stage, my body fully engaged. And I love the aspect of eye contact in storytelling, no fourth wall. People in the audience were leaning forward, literally hanging on what I was saying and doing.
People actually *thank* me whenever I perform the Kung Fu Evangelist. It must touch something. Also, I think folks recognize how personal it is, how real the emotions are. Everyone always wants to know "how much of that actually happened?"
About 80 percent.
Liz Zibilich did a wonderful job on tech. She really warmed up to the material and designed an entire lighting scheme, with numerous transitions I was not even consciously aware of, but somehow managed to use. Red for fight scenes, blue for sad soliloquies. Color transitions to indicate scene changes and character changes. She worked with me and my material. I cannot ask for more from a tech person.
Afterwards, folks bought me Jack and Gingers at Le Chat Noir. Then I came home and paced my bedroom until 6am, when I finally passed out from nervous exhaustion. Whew! Welcome home.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Thinning Out the Greens

Glad I made the Faerie potluck tonight. I have crushes on about a third of them, and not just the men. Ya'll know who you are. I arrived in my Kung Fu Evangelist suit, alligator boots and bolo. I had just come from recording a voiceover in the French Quarter, and a dress rehearsal prior to that. Go go.
I need to write a thank you note to that CEO.
I need to pay some portion of my cell bill.
I need to read my friend Brett's novel. I'm in it.
I need to get through DramaRama this Saturday, French Quarter festival, the Big Easy theatre awards, the Big Easy music awards. And then take my rest(?) at Short Mountain.
I need to do some gardening, thinning out the greens.

Friday, April 6, 2007


Tennessee Williams is behind me, and now on to other tasks, like my novel, satisfying my duties as a nomination committee member for the Big Easy theatre awards (need to see a lot of plays this year), and oh, I don't know, getting paid?
Finished another chapter on the novel, chapter 9 or 10, depending on where I decide it falls in the sequence. It's about the Pastor's wife, who falls in love with New Orleans and also makes a friend. Printed two copies, one for the 3-ring binder and another for my writing mentor. I send her chapters as I write them, since there's usually 2 to 4 months (that long?) per chapter. It's a slow process, although I feel consumed in it.
Saw a play last night at the Actors Theatre of New Orleans with my new friend Don McCoy, a fellow (sistuh?) actor from Tennessee Williams. We saw A Piece of My Heart by Shirley Lauro. A fast-paced, well-structured, and moving script. Some strong performances. I cried at the appropriate time. Couple directorial annoyances, but I wouldn't DARE write them here. Ok, more than a couple. But really, I liked the production, and the director added some creative flourishes that I liked. The flashlights, the sticks. A couple actors were good at indicating the passage of time through inflection.
After reading at WRBH today, I'm meeting Glenn Meche, my director from Tennessee Williams and 2 other Marigny Theatre Productions. I like to develop relationships with directors, because I'm drawn to theatre for the collaborative process. Writing is solitary. Acting is community, among many other things. Glenn is coaching me through my material for DramaRama!, a performance art festival at the Contemporary Arts Center.
I'm bringing it. Kung Fu Evangelist material that I've performed in San Francisco numerous times, NUMEROUS, and open mic'd in Seattle (Elliot Bay Book Company) and Portland (Tin House Writers Conference). I'm well rehearsed. I need Glenn to workshop the content with me, and to expand, explore the performance possibilities. This is my New Orleans debut of this material, which is set here, is deeply personal, and emotionally charged. I wonder what the experience will be like for me. Heart in my throat, bringing the work to its home.