Dumbass Move of the Day

om’gerd.

My friend is in a show, so I went online today to purchase tickets. While there, I decided to find out who, exactly, was directing the show I auditioned for 3 and 1/2 weeks ago, to no reply. I’ve not been called back to as many auditions as I have, but never in my life have I just not heard. Community or professional, good or bad, you always hear back.

I was offended. Not only did he deny me the basic courtesy of a response to the effort and time I gave him, he said he’d let me know. “Callbacks are Friday,” he promised, “so you’ll hear by Thursday.” Nothing.

Dude, that’s your word. Don’t say it if you’re not gonna do it. So now I’m righteous, as well as ego-bruised. I was pissed.

I decided, after buying my tix, to get the guy’s name to file away in the Do Not Audition bin. That’s not a place I want to invest my time, dedication, and talent.

As I’m scrolling down for his name, something jumps out at me: My own! On a callback list posted just when he said it would be!

Oh. My. God.

I’m such an ass! And now I’ve no-showed for an audition. I’m the unprofessional!

I will say, it’s the first time I haven’t received the reply to my email or phone, and they didn’t tell me to check the website for the posting, but why the hell didn’t I think of it?!

Hahahahha!

Man, I’m old. Any 20something would have looked there as naturally as brushing her hair. Guuuurl, check yourself!

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Dreaming of Wherever…

It has to be a city, or even just a big town. A college town. Not for youth, but for Community Ed, and… feel.

Just the other day, Boise occurred to me. It would be really easy, not far at all. I’ve been a little overwhelmed by the drive alone, with those old lady cats of mine. I never considered Boise, because of the trauma I experienced there.

I swear to God! What is that?!

I look at patterns. If it keeps happening to me, then I’m the common denominator. It’s on me to figure out what I’m doing to attract, create, permit, or aggravate… whatever. But I had nothing to do with a random Boise State housing assignment to a coed apartment inhabited by, among others, a pervert who tried to kill me!

The fuck? How does this keep happening to me?

I’ve accepted that the chaos of my childhood has kept me glued to chaos as a kind of touchstone. I simply don’t understand it if it doesn’t hurt. It’s my job to divorce myself from that connection. If I don’t, I won’t stop repeating it. But I had nothing to do with meeting Roger T. Black, or with putting him in prison. He did that.

I’m also not responsible for a sexist institution that dismissed me and ignored reasonable complaints of alarming, disturbing behavior. “Histrionics of a woman” is such an unbearable insult. (The word itself! Hyster  – Greek – “Of the womb” = hysteria.)

“Oh, go on now. Silly, dramatic girl,” Boise State “said” to me, practically patting my pretty little head. That mentality pisses OFF!

I don’t think about it often. Almost never. When I do, I’m mad all over again that my parents didn’t direct me to sue that fucking school. Boise State endangered me, for real. I cannot believe I took out student loans for the privilege! Then I flunked out! I’m an A student, if you hadn’t guessed. If I’m doing it, I’m doing it well.

Fuck Boise State! I should have been compensated for the crime they committed against me.  They permitted that man to live with students and then took and hid the proof I gave them that he was a sexual predator!

Roger T. Black was a obese, gangrenous diabetic in his 50s (You could smell his dying flesh!) He rode around barefoot in a jazzy power chair and probably died in prison. (In fact, I’m sure he got better care in the hoosegow than he provided himself.) (And he only got 3 years for Disturbing the Peace, because he didn’t actually pull the trigger, just told the neighbor he was going to. When the police broke down his door and hauled him off, they found an arsenal of weapons and ammunition, and detailed plans of my murder drawn up in his room. As well as buckets full of his waste. He only used the girls bathroom to masturbate in, leaving a pile of cigarette ash to identify the deposit as his. Oh, he almost burned down the building, too. There were holes burned into his carpet from the many times he passed out smoking. Thanks, Boise State, for checking up on me after months of abuse and weeks of reports, evidence, and complaints.)

How did he even get near campus? He was a sexual predator, using his GI Bill – still – to “go to school,” with its endless bevy of victims. Hell, Housing will serve them up, right across the hall. BSU didn’t skip due diligence; they didn’t do any! Then they humored me when I brought aggressive, dangerous harassment to their attention, until Roger T. Black nearly killed me! Actually almost killed me. As in, he had a plan to kill me.

I could have sued them for millions, and I should have. I will never not be pissed about that. Fuck not being litigious as a sort of religious moral stance. I’m your daughter!

That said, Boise’s lovely. 🙂

The weather is similar to Salt Lake without the inversion. There’s a huge Burner community, so I can find like-minded artistic weirdos, and I’m still close enough to attend Utah events. Huge belly dance community. Several troupes commute here twice a year to perform in Salt Lake’s biannual festivals. Huge African Drum & Dance Corp. They come to our annual camp every year and invite us to their events. And Boise is probably Idaho’s only southern town not completely right-wing zombified. At least no more than I’m used to.

Boise is an hour-and-twenty from mom (and my darling toddler nephews). There are some former-Mormon high school friends in Boise to meet up with. I can visit Marko for blank drums and didgeridoo fests and general laughs. Hell, I’ll see all my Salt Lake friends more often if a visit is an occasion. It always works out that way.

Boise??? Wow! Why not!?

Spokane? Pueblo, Colorado, popped up. (?) New Mexico? (Close to Texas.)

Speaking of Texas, flights were too expensive to visit my bestie during Christmas, so I’m headed down there for a week on Jan. 10. I’m so excited to see that baby!!! She’ll be 4-and-a-half months then. She belly laughs and chatters, and holds such enchanting attention. Her 4-yr-old sister is in love with her, and interprets her coos.

I was laughing yesterday, because I sent all of my childhood Strawberry Shortcake dolls to my best friend’s daughter for Christmas. It was a little hard to do. I’ve saved them for almost 40 years! They were intended for my kids, but even when it became clear that I wasn’t having any of those… oh, my dolls! I’ve had them my whole life! The care that went into that collection! They’re pristine. They are loved, still.

Yesterday, I Googled “vintage Strawberry Shortcake coloring books,” because the 4-yr-old doesn’t even know their names. (Shame on my best friend!) This was another reason I struggled with what had already been a difficult decision to part with those ever-loving dolls. I knew my bestie, who played with them just as I did in the 80s, wouldn’t remember anything about them (much less everything). I know her little daughter has far too many toys for one child (or 10) and my dolls have already been lost in the mix. They are not being valued properly! (I loved them.) But I had them in a box, in a box. Packed away in my cedar chest for decades, bringing no one even a moment’s joy. They are more valuable being played with by a 4-yr-old I love, even when they’re forgotten by her tomorrow.

So, I thought she and I could have all sorts of fun with a naming ceremony, and meet all the other friends that aren’t in my collection, by coloring together. What I found instead were sales of nearly $40 on dolls in worse shape than the ones I passed down. I had to laugh. A play date with a little girl in Texas has more value than a dollar sign.

I’ll keep telling myself that until it’s true, haha!

Merry Xmas! Love, Xie

****

I’m looking forward to 2018. I didn’t think it was possible for anything to suck harder than 2016, after Dump’s election win (God, that hurt!), but a whole year of that man is too terrible to imagine. I mean it when I describe his presidency as an exercise in imagination. Doesn’t it feel that way to you? Like a bleak dystopian novel that can’t be real? We’ve all had to go numb just to get up in the morning! It does scare me a little to inure myself so completely. I mean, that’s how the apocryphal “it” happens. But, worst case scenario, he’s out in 3 years. (I still describe that election cycle as akin to an abusive relationship. And it’s the new normal!)

I gotta say, I never dreamed I’d be the old lady who said, “The world was too terrible a place to bring a child into,” but I feel it. Not just environmental catastrophe, disregard for human rights, indifference to rape, and near-daily mass shootings. How do we explain the dissonance between the way we ask our children to behave and the cruelty and deceit of our own nation’s leaders?

Not even those horrifying things. Parenting in the cyber age is beyond my imagination and emotional endurance. That alone. You cannot undo what gets online. The bullying there transcends my ability to understand, and I wouldn’t want to face sexting with my pre-teen. Every modern parent will. I’m out, and I’m relieved.

As a childless woman, I will never cry the tears of the damned. Worry and pain for your children is worse than anything we soloists endure alone. I can get through anything. Motherhood is its own brand of terror and heartache. I’m not sorry to avoid it.

That’s not to say that fighting against the final slamming shut of that door didn’t hurt like hell. It was hell to finally learn the plot to that story. I’m nobody’s mother. Ouch.

Jax was my attempt to slip a sperm past that gate, and that recalls Jax ‘n’ Carrie, the real reason 2017 can suck it. They nearly killed me, and they knew it. It was obvious how sick I was. I confessed as much the innumerable times I begged to be left alone – begged – and Jax was there when I swallowed a bunch of pills. I haven’t been that close to suicide since my 20s. I wouldn’t have survived them then.

Oh. That was awful. It makes me sad to remember, and I remain incredulous.

Thank god for Guys & Dolls! Praise my courage and tenacity! And talent, and beauty, and vision. I really like about me that I can find worth and beauty in damn near everything. So I keep finding it.

2018 is a true new beginning. Everything I look at and touch will be new. I’m terrified, and so excited. 2018 is the year I trust my strength, stop testing it [in unhealthy ways], and enjoy my fucking awesome life!

Happy New Year. It’s a good one this year. I hope yours is, too.

****

Oh! I forgot a photo of my most recent drum, and a whole new direction that I love!
drum
12″ on wood frame with mallet
details

One Big Union

one big union.jpg

So excited to see this show today! Joe Hill was a labor activist and musician who was executed 100 years ago for a murder he may or may not have committed. This Plan-B Theatre original play contains Hill’s own songs, recently released to the public domain, and also highlights his work with Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who visited him in jail here in Salt Lake, and went on to co-found the ACLU.

rebel-girl

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was the inspiration for this 1915 battle hymn.

Plan-B is the only theater in the United States that produces entire seasons of original works by local playwrights, with emphasis on socially conscious themes and issues. It’s owned by one of my dearest friends and his husband. http://planbtheatre.org/

It’s a relevant stage experience, following a week that has seen boys at a local football game chanting, “Grab her by the p*ssy!” and a white van trolling Rose Park, a Salt Lake City neighborhood rich with immigrants, screaming, “Trump is President! Build the wall!”

Don’t mourn… ORGANIZE!
joe-hill

*****

It was amazing! Very emotional at times, as they were describing precisely what we’ve been living with this week and for the last 18 months.

I have to go to more shows at Plan-B! I’m so cheap. I always say, “Next time,” and next time never comes. If nothing else, I should be supporting my friends. The real reason, of course, is that theater transforms us! It makes us think, laugh. It gives us a break from everyday and all that that entails, but it can also light the fire of our own creativity. Above all, theater connects us. This was wonderful.organize

Soli for Solstice!

solstice 2

We started a new session today. 2 new things happened. First, I could not get my part. I don’t prefer to play any of the 3 drums in dunun. I’m not very good at it and I’d rather do djembe, but, struggle though I may, I always eventually get it. Not today. We ended the segment before I ever found my “on” switch, you know? That’s a little frustrating. It’s very frustrating, actually, because the rhythm wasn’t that hard! It was simple, conceptually, but I just couldn’t put the 2 hands together. Yet. I will. So, there’s that. No biggie.

Next, oh man! I rolled for the first time today. Ha! Quinn taught us an arrangement with rolls. That was intimidating! I got it, but not consistently. It’s very exciting to imagine how far he’s gonna push me this time. Wow!

No longer do we brush-up on mechanics and technique. We warm up with a rhythm we already know, and jump straight into something unfamiliar. Quinn called today’s accompaniment “the building blocks of solo work.” What?! No way! I don’t see myself ever tearing it up freestyle with a steady chorus backing me up – except in musical theatre, hehe. Maybe I should. Maybe I should start to imagine myself as a bad-ass drummer.

What an awesome class. It pays me back again and again and again. I love djembe!

Speaking of theatre, today this quiet girl teased me (a great drummer with killer rhythm). It doesn’t take long for me to let loose, and I’m used to these people now. I have no idea what I said, but she laughed and laughed. “That was so dramatic!”

Oh. That.

I know I’m theatrical, but every once in awhile it surprises even me how over-the-top I must be. I don’t think I’m that animated, verbose, outrageous, but… people do. 🙂

I love these people. I love djembe!
_____

Soli is Malinke, from Guinea, played for male initiation.
solstice

9 to 5, The Musical

Remember last year when I wanted to play a dancing secretary, then got cast in a completely non-dancing supporting lead? Well, now I’m a dancing secretary! I just accepted a position in “9 – 5, The Musical.” I’m in the ensemble, which sings every number but 4, and I get to dance to that glorious 80s anthem! What could be more fun and funky? I may not work 9 – 5, but I’ll be in a musical about it!

It was a real honor, because I didn’t even audition. Maurie, who directed me last year in How To Succeed, called and invited me personally. It’s such a compliment to have your work ethic recognized. I feel like I earned it, and that’s not something I could have said in my twenties. I worked hard, but was unable to enjoy it and made myself (and others) miserable. Falling short in my performance made me endlessly unsatisfied. Not anymore! Don’t think for a moment that there aren’t things I wish I’d done with Hedy LaRue – I’m still thinking about her a year later – but I’m happy with my performance. I like the Hedy that I created. I’m proud of myself, and I’m so excited!

Already, I’m thinking of external things I want to do to distinguish my ensemble character from my small speaking role. For one thing, I need a wig. The only redhead in the show won’t blend. And I’m changing bras, haha! For regular stage life I have an industrial, padded costume bra, looks great from stage and I don’t appear… inverted, if not the promised C on the tag. I’m wearing a regular, padding-free brassiere to play Hart’s wife (Dabney Coleman, you know, the worm). What better way to juxtapose his lust for Doralee? (Our Dolly Parton character is equally busty, bam! and gorgeous.) From there, I immediately saw Missy as this fussy mother-type he goes home to every night, while Doralee is the bombshell he spends his days and dreams with. I’m going to spit-clean his face in our scene together!

I love the creative process! Give me any part, and I immediately begin sculpting her, feeling her, envisioning her, becoming her. I haven’t even seen the script! I love theatre. There’s something about the stage that’s different from all of my other creative pursuits.

I’m so excited for this show! It wasn’t on my radar at all, and it feels like a gift.

______

Here’s how Missy and Frank ended up:mr and mrs franklin hart jr
In the program, I was described as “the bubble-headed wife of Franklin Hart, Jr.” I’m starting to notice a trend. Do I think I’m smart, but everyone else sees a ding dong?

War Horse

war horseAn acquaintance is in the National Touring Company of War Horse and got me a ticket the week they were in Salt Lake. Last week, my birthday. It was a great present. I still can hardly speak about the impact this production had on me. It’s the best thing I’ve ever seen. Just amazing! It’s truly unbelievable what they accomplished on that stage. I’m still thinking about what I saw and felt.

Since I am yet monosyllabic about the fact that puppets were breathing, I will talk about a life-altering moment I had regarding munitions. In one scene, the English cavalry gallops into enemy lines and is mowed down by machine gun fire. In WWI this was new technology! I’d never thought of that. It never once occurred to me what it meant the day the military advanced that way and, worse, the day it was introduced in battle. Horses and men with swords charged a fortified wall of automatic weaponry! There was a moment that I was completely transported from the present day. “Oh my god, the world just changed.” Right before my eyes.

Image by Shaun Anders

SONY DSChttp://imagebyshaunanders.com/

I didn’t mean to have my hair in a ponytail, but it’s the one I like best. By a long shot. He asked if I had an elastic almost like an afterthought and said, “Pull your hair up for ‘Soccer Mom,’ and we’ll do a couple more.”

“Oh good,” I thought, “we’re done,” having no expectation of a haphazard up-do for my headshot. I guess that’s what it takes. Convince yourself it doesn’t matter, and get the pic. Photoshoots are, for me, as bad as auditioning. Worse, maybe. Auditions are over in 30 seconds. Photoshoots take hours! With that lens, always that lens finding every flaw.

This was among the last ten, I’d say. I think it took all that time to bloody relax.

(P.S. Shaun was great to work with, I have to say. This was the least painful photoshoot I’ve ever done. In fact, there were several other shots that were flattering, expressive, interesting, and/or evocative. The truth is, my hair was ghastly! Blerg. I cut off 3-plus inches a week later, which won’t affect the relevance of my headshot, as the ponytail looks relatively the same. I’ve been resisting/pretending, but I acquiesce: I don’t get to have long hair anymore. Mid-length at midlife for this old broad! That sad truth aside, Shaun gave great tips on how to beat the nerves, and helped me understand angles, mood, even the market, what’s current. He knows his shit. It was… fun. Almost.)