TEDx Salt Lake City

Look what I found!

Africa Heartwood Drum & Dance Ensemble performed at TEDx on Sept. 20th. Of course, I can hear myself and immediately begin finding fault, but I just have to remember that day. I love Africa Heartwood Project. I’m so honored to be a part of it. I love the music. I love the community. I love African drum and dance! It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for me.

This was so exciting and nerve-wracking. You might perceive, also, that as an ensemble we’d never heard the last song of our show before we took to the stage, haha! Andy’s… inspiring like that. 🙂

(Ooh, get up on that note! I remember thinking, “Oh my, they started a little high.” Oy!)

(Funny side-note: I’m told I clapped for myself after my first performance at 3 years of age, as well. It was my premiere audience and I suppose I thought, “Oh, this is what we’re doing now. How lovely, yes!” I’m still at it, it seems, only these days I have a percussive rattle. I clap at the end of my shows, too. I love the actors I work with, and I really love the audience. Live music, theatre, and dance are special. Even if it’s not the best, there’s something beautiful about the symbiotic relationship we create together. It can’t be duplicated. It’s fleeting and sacred, and exists only because of every person in the room.)

The Bill Hodson Band

bill hodson band
That was an awesome run! Last Thursday during our show, Kelly from Unusual Suspects, with whom we play, walked up between songs with a cake for Bill, announcing that this was the last day he’d be orchestrating Thursday nights at Millcreek. I’m sad about it. I loved singing there. But Bill wants paying gigs, and, well, I’m not gonna complain about that.

Marko and Ray came to every performance! So did my co-worker, Jo, which worked out for all my male friends who are clamoring for her attention. Keith from “How To Succeed” came twice and snapped the only shot of me singin’ with my band. My last show – how fortuitous! – I finally put the call out to my people to populate the audience, and they did! Mama Chris and Mama Pam, my bestie – a real treat, since it’s hard to get away from her 5 month old baby girl – Marko, Ray, Jo, Rusty, Theron, Pericles and his son.

I’m blessed. I’m supported. I’m loved! I’m surrounded by joy, laughter, and music. I love my urban family. Mama Chris calls us “Chosen Family.” I may adopt her term. It more accurately captures the warmth and gratitude I feel for the people who share my life. I can’t believe 40 is in the final stretch, and I can’t believe how truly wonderful a year it has been!

(This photo is from a benefit for Heart & Soul, a non-profit here in Salt Lake that brings music and the performing arts to those who can’t get out to see it. We played for a nursing facility, just over a week ago. It was nice to be back in that atmosphere. I miss volunteering for hospice.) https://wildwesterngirl.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/christmas-miracle/

Open The Door

… and walk through!


Yesterday before work I got a call from Wild Bill, who told me we’re performing on Sunday at Sugarhouse Coffee. “It’ll be a chance for you to meet the band and work you into the act.” (Thursday was just Bill on keyboard and a bassist.)

“So this is what we’re doing now,” I thought. “Rehearsing songs I don’t know live!”

I said yes.

I was buzzing with synchronicity at work, excited to push my comfort level, blessed to have met such an ambitious man. I’m an idea person more than an action gal. I’d like to change that, but… I don’t.

Be careful what you wish for.

Bill walked into my work with his guitar and started throwing songs at me. “Do you know this? Do you know this?” They’re from the Great American Songbook; I know snippets of most. We sang a bit and I added them to my list to learn.

“Look,” Bill continued. “I want to put an act together and I’m talking days, not weeks.”

I agreed.

I needed someone to push me and I found him! Seems I’m the singer for a band.

Not Bad

Not bad at all!

Marko and I pulled into Millcreek Bar and Grill, and I freaked out. “Why is it packed on a Thursday night?!”

It’s strange how the nerves never lessen.

Thankfully, by the time I sang I’d had two beers and the main dinner crowd had gone home. The remainder was a room full of mainly gratis musicians and their friends, and they beamed at me. What a wonderful place to push through fear. This is the best audition practice I could have hoped for! (March 22nd, “Children of Eden”… Wish me luck!)

Speaking of musical theatre, a friend from “How to Succeed” came to see me! I had posted on Facebook, of course, mostly just to congratulate myself on being brave and awesome, and Keith, who played Biggley in the other cast, showed up! Biggley was my “romantic” (wealthy) lead. (Hedy was a gold-digger with a heart of gold. 🙂 ) Keith and I performed together twice, my opening night and his closing. I was touched beyond words. I didn’t expect (or really even want) anyone to show up (yet), and I certainly wouldn’t have expected someone I only met in a show months and months ago. How kind!

It was a great night. I was calm up there! I remember thinking at one point, “Wow, my arms aren’t giving me any fits at all.” Haha! I seemed self-assured and very comfortable. My voice quivered a time or two and I hit one sour note, but it was a quick one and disappeared nicely behind the ending crescendo, which we nailed before bursting out laughing to great applause.

I have walked into something rare, indeed.

See you next week!

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy or… ?

… is life really just better after 40!

I ship musical instruments that my friend invented. http://www.didjbox.wordpress.com/ I call him My Man Marko. We met at Burning Man in 2007. He’s an original psychedelic-trippin’ 60s kid, owned a hip shop here in town and enjoyed his frequent, “altered” trips to San Fran for supplies. He brought the Grateful Dead to Salt Lake for the first time.

Marko makes drums, too, and yesterday he put me to work in that trade. It was one of those lovely first-day-of-almost-Spring afternoons of delicious outdoor freedom, dyeing hides and stringing them taut to accompaniment of squirrels and birds. Marko’s house and yard are a collection of a lifetime of subcultural eye candy, and the music ain’t bad either.

drum(I crocheted mallet drumstick covers, too.)

The best part? Before we began, we went out to lunch and ran into an old buddy of Marko’s, whom I immediately named Wild Bill. Marko introduced me as a singer and Bill conscripted me to perform with his band on Thursday night. “We’re terrible, just terrible,” he beamed.

How could I decline?

Bill asked to record our conversation and told me after we’d begun that we were streaming live.

“Do you think you might have mentioned that, Bill?” I scolded him. “I might have declined an interview, had I the facts!”

“So come hear Christie sing,” he ignored me, “Thursday night at the Millcreek Bar & Grill. She’s wonderful!”

“You might lie to me, Bill,” I snapped, “but don’t you deceive the good people! We’re terrible, just terrible!”

Apparently, at 40 I became a lounge singer.

Red Hedy

Since our show is divided into 2 casts (I perform Monday/ Wednesday/ Friday), my crew has taken to calling me Red Hedy. The originator rather sheepishly asked during Hell Week if that was okay with me. I couldn’t be more delighted! I learned that she’d named me before we even knew which cast was which, when she expressed to friends, “I hope we get Red Hedy!” That’s a huge compliment and a great laugh! Only a ginger can call another ginger ginger! 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVN_0qvuhhw

And here I am. And here he is. I have a huge chin and cheesy-ass grin, but every girl deserves to have a boy look at her like that. dave n me

Hedy Blossoms

Last night, I got a ride home from rehearsal. My castmate paid me a great compliment when he said, “You play Hedy very real.”

That’s exactly what I was going for! I think Hedy’s charm and beauty, and her humor, lie in the fact that she just plain means it. She’s just plain ditzy. She’s just plain sexy. She’s just plain gonna pull a few shrewd (harmless) punches to get what she wants. She’s darling! I’ve fallen in love with her. She’s sincere. I don’t want her to be a caricature.

It’s the last thing I wrote in my journal 8 days ago. I never write there anymore. You are my journal, Virtual Faceless Public. That’s just a food tracker these days.

“It’s so easy to play for laughs,” I wrote. “I’ve always wanted to be seen as funny. But honest is funny. Hedy doesn’t mean to be funny. She means it! And that’s funny.”

So… Now that I’ve succeeded in establishing that piece of this beautiful girl I love, I get to PLAY!!! I get to add character. I’ll continue to do my homework and get her accent as close to authentic something-outta-New-York as I can (I’ve never even been back East), but let’s face it: It’s suburban Utah. A caricature-ish version of Brooklynese will serve. What I most look forward to playing with are her juicy layers! All of her reasons, her fears. I will live her laughs large, but never milk them to the point of pulling focus or being anything other than the wonderful, outrageous, hilarious, sensuous, ambitious girl she is!

Remember when I was an ungrateful twenty year-old tired of the same old part? (Boo hoo, pretty ingenue.) Hedy is why! She’s so fun! I love worrying about her. I feel alive again. “Ugh,” I complained sixteen years ago when I turned my back on show. “Maybe I’ll get back into theatre when I’m forty and the parts are interesting.” (Yeah, I wanna smack that kid, too, bless her heart.) Forty Fabulous Forty!

Hedy blossoms elsewhere, too.hedy blossoms 1anerf cups39,22,38Well, if a drag queen can do it…