Sunday, May 31, 2009

Theater and Politics Collide

President and Mrs. Obama took the night off to go see a show on Broadway. Full story here.

I'm especially proud that they chose a night at the theater for their date, and that they chose to see Joe Turner's Come and Gone, a show that my good buddy Mike Zaleski is currently working!

Hope they liked the show, and I hope they inspired people who wouldn't normally chose to go to the theater to consider it for their next date night!

And on a similar politics/theater note, the state of Texas has passed a really stupid law that essentially outlaws all theatrical lighting designers currently working. Full story here.

Texas, it's time to think before we legislate.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Melanie's Swell Sock Hop

As promised, here is a small photographic sample from our rockin' sock hop. It was a great party. Many thanks to everyone who came, who dressed up, and who made Melanie's birthday really awesome this year!

I haven't stocked a fridge like this since college. I did 2 kinds of jello shots this year: cherry jello with vanilla vodka & cream and lime jello with tequila. Both delicious, but I preferred the lime myself:

This beer cozy was a Christmas present from my mother:

Amanda McKenna, always stylish and always double-fisting:

Alison and the birthday girl relax on our porch:

We even played Pin the Tail on the Donkey! Look how close I got!

The girls (l-r: Amanda, Kelley, Melanie, Alison, Deb, Sara, me):

The boys plus Deb (l-r: AJ, Steve, John, Deb):
See you next year, daddy-o's!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Load of Whites

Blindly pointing my camera this morning did yield some decent garden photos... hard to believe this is my first garden update of the season!

Laundry on the line:
A whole line full of undershirts.

My garden wouldn't be complete without geraniums-- they're just so cheerful!

Not at all arranged in a pretty manner, but currently growing: green beans, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, eggplants, strawberries, morning glories, wild flowers, and herbs.

The herb section of the garden. Top row: thyme. Middle row: catnip (growing like a weed!) and cilantro. Bottom row: basil.

First on our agenda for tomorrow morning in preparation for the party is to clean and arrange the deck. It's about half the size of our old deck, and covered with pigeon shit (eeesw!) but nonetheless a wonderful outdoor space with tons of potential.
Pictures of the party to come very soon!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

or Yes My Camera Does Still Take Pictures.

My sandals take a break from my feet at the park:

How are you enjoying your Memorial Day weekend? Awesome.

I'm working both weekend days, as per usual, while the rest of you jerks sit on the beach and eat grilled food and drink beers.

Yeah, I'm a little jealous.

But I'm trying to be a big girl about it by doing little fun things in my spare time, like having dinner in the park. It's almost as good as a three day weekend.


Friday, May 22, 2009


Deb and I are deep in preparation for Melanie's birthday party, which we're hosting at our house on Monday. It will be the first party at the new place, which is a huge motivator to, you know, finish unpacking.

It's been a crazy spring, with this colossal move on top of some monstrous shows. We're almost settled in, though.

I realize I haven't been posting as often, and certainly not posting pictures. There are several reasons for this-- firstly, we've been super busy, as I mention in every blog. Secondly, I packed my camera battery and only today unearthed it. (Shut up. Did I tell you we'd been busy?) Thirdly, after I charged the battery today I discovered that the viewfinder in my camera was completely cracked and broken. As far as I know, the camera still takes pictures, I just can't see them until I upload them. Boo.

Anyway, excuses aside, I promise lots of pictures of the party and for those of you who are long distance, some pictures of the apartment, finally.

Here's one-- I was trying to capture the awesome natural light in our bathroom with a self portrait. Don't know the date on this one. It must have been right after we moved and just before the camera battery died. Note the dark circles under my eyes.

More to come. I've planted the container garden and I can't wait to brag about it photographically!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Something to Make You Smile

Makes me happy!

Happy opening night to the cast and crew (including my beautiful girlfriend) of The Producers!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Local Theater Feature...

I've been thinking a lot lately about the theater business in this weird and wacky economy. Of course any not-for-profit arts organization is going to be hit hard by this downturn, but the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that those of us in the arts community really need to band together and support each other.

Theater is more than just my job, it's my life and it's my world. I've never seriously wanted to do anything else. When times are tough, when things are going badly at work, I fantasize about quitting the business and becoming a chef or a photographer or a writer or whatever profession seems equally glamorous and less stressful than theater. But seriously considering other career options sends me into a panic. Something about theater fulfills me and makes me who I am. The thought of leaving this world provokes questions like "But I won't get to be a part of opening nights!" "But how could I work with people who don't understand theater?" "But how will I get that magical feeling when a production comes together and becomes something amazing?"

I'm sure other professions have those magical moments. But I really don't want to find out. I'm quite happy being a theater person, even in this economy, even when it's really hard, even when I hate everything about a particular production. (Note: I'm not referring to my current production, Forbidden Broadway. It's an awesome show and the cast is amazing. I'm having a great summer. Come and see it!)

Now theater artists are often under-paid, and therefore notoriously cheap. It's not a character flaw necessarily, but a survival tactic. So whenever we open a new show, I'm usually flooded with requests from fellow actors, technicians and designers for me to get them comp (free) tickets to the show.

With all due respect and much love to my fellow poor artists, I think it's time we all take some responsibility and start paying to see theater. Sure, you think to yourself: I work in theater, why should I pay for it? Because it's a tough economic time and our industry needs your support. Because paying for theater lets everyone involved in that production know that you support them. Because your ticket money will help to insure that the theater company will go on to produce more great shows. Because when you're working on a show, you want people to support you too. Because most theater companies know theater artists are poor and often offer discounts or industry nights or standby or day-of tickets.

All that being said, I would like to present you with an excellent company to support: 11th Hour Theatre Company. Now I don't work for them and I never have worked for them, but I've seen a bunch of their excellent productions and am good friends with the people who run the company.

They're currently producing Avenue X, an A Capella musical set in the 60's dealing with race, friendship and a healthy heaping of do-wop music. I'm going on industry night. Hope to see you there!

Until then, check out this hilarious advertisement for the show:

And if you're not in Philly, I encourage you to find a local theater company to support. Theater makes the world a better place, and I think you'll find it makes you a better person as well.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rock Steady

Thanks to my Netflix subscription, I've found a new favorite TV show: 30 Rock.

I just can't stop myself. I find myself watching episode after hilarious episode, often consuming large quantities of cinnamon red hots in the process. (The delicious spicy/sweetness is almost worth the heartburn)

I'll say what many others have said before: Tina Fey is brilliant. And Alec Baldwin has me rolling! They are a great comic team.

Who needs a social life when I can watch 30 Rock?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Cookie Cutter

As our wedding plans come more into focus, I've decided to start my wedding research. On a whim, I bought a bridal magazine, picked off the rack specifically because it looked the most modern and the least frou-frou.

I was in for a shock. Never having been one of those girls who started planning her wedding at a tender age, I was not prepared to be overwhelmed by the rampant consumerism and the complete banality presented on every page.

Now I'm a realist-- I certainly didn't expect any mention of same-sex marriage in this mainstream publication. But I did expect to see a slightly more realistic depiction of modern people getting married. According to this magazine, the only people getting married were slender white people in their 20's, who could afford sumptuous gowns, elaborate florals, lavish receptions and honeymoons in exotic and pricey locals.

There was no mention of interracial marriage, marriage between older people, couples who had children together already, blended families, couples who didn't have a lot of money... all things that are increasingly more common than the wealthy, slender white couples.

And the consumerism! Page after page of advertisements, most for things I'd never considered "essential" for a wedding, as they all claimed to be. Wedding gowns that cost tens of thousands of dollars. There was an article for a "budget" reception-- it will only cost you $15,000! A wedding band stacked with so many diamonds that I wouldn't leave the house wearing, for fear I would be instantly mugged for the thousands of dollars I was sporting on just one finger. Exotic flowers! Pricey bridesmaids gifts! Spa packages! Cakes that look like pieces of architecture!

And for what? What is the point of all of this? Certainly a wedding is a grand occasion to celebrate the love and commitment of a couple. And although I know there are people out there who have the money for this kind of lavish affair, most do not. These magazines only reinforce that the ONLY way to get married is in this over-the-top manner, which I think is just plain tacky.

The point of making a commitment is to be married, hopefully for a very long time. The wedding is just one day. Why waste all of your time and resources on one day, when you have the rest of your lives together?

Not to mention that although in the real world, the concept and definition of marriage has changed drastically. Everyone knows that a marriage used to be an exchange of property: a woman's father would give her to her new husband, thus taking the financial burden of caring for her off of her father's shoulders and onto her new husband's. The husband would get a handsome dowry in exchange for this act, and after the wedding, the main goal of the marriage was procreation.

Now of course people marry for love, sometimes don't have children, often divorce and re-marry and basically pursue their own happiness. Women aren't property any more, thank goodness.

But you wouldn't know this from the magazines, with their obsession with the Victorian image of a bride, in her white dress and long, modest veil. Seriously, this image hasn't changed much in a CENTURY.

Check it out. A Victorian bride gets ready for her nuptials:

A "modern" bride:
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking anyone who had a traditional wedding or who wants one. People should be free to marry whoever and however they like. I'm knocking the industry for reinforcing the notion that the ONLY way to properly get married is this traditional (and expensive!) form. It seems to me that it's becoming less and less about the meaning of marriage and more and more just a consumerist grab.

Okay, my wedding rant is over. And now for the big news. Deb and I will be tying the knot in a very, very, very small ceremony August 2010. We are going to forgo a reception and have a sit-down dinner at a nice restaurant after the ceremony. Right now we're really leaning towards James, but this may change, of course. Certainly we aren't able to have a large and lavish wedding for financial reasons, but more importantly, we don't want one. We want to make a commitment to each other surrounded by our family and a few old friends, and that's about it.

Our plan is to have an extremely small wedding, so please don't feel slighted if you don't receive an invitation. We love you all very much, and there will be a giant post-wedding barbeque for everyone to come and drink and celebrate.

Now according to those magazines I'm supposed to start some type of bridal countdown... more details to follow soon.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Maine Event

Today the great state of Maine legalized same sex marriages! Full story here.

Not only is Maine a beautiful state, but I feel I have a personal connection to the place because my mother's family actually lived in Maine for many generations. (My mother spent the first 8 years of her life in Presque Isle before her family moved to Central New York)

Plus of course Deb worked for 7 summers at Maine State Music Theatre in Brunswick, ME and really fell in love with the state, it's people and the wonderful experiences she had at summer stock.

And my Uncle Joel and Aunt Donna live in Brunswick... and a lot of my more distant relatives are still kicking around in Northern Maine.

So my good school chum Leah McVeigh (who hails from Portland, ME) was right: Maine just might be the best place on earth.

Congratulations, Mainers!

And in other marriage news: Deb and I have finally settled on a date to tie the knot ourselves. More info to come, very soon...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What We Did For Laughs

Our first preview of Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits is tonight and let me tell you, this is not a show to be missed. We have an incredibly talented and screamingly funny cast who seamlessly transition from spoofing one major Broadway show to the next. Of course they get a lot of help backstage from my apprentice, Melissa Buffaloe, and from our second dresser, Kate Sabato. (With lots of help from Allison Dillard and Rachel Brown as well!)

Here are some pictures to tease you with-- but keep in mind, I'm only putting up a few. You'll have to come and see the show yourself for some of our REALLY funny gags.

The cast, from back to front: Ellie Mooney, Marcus Stevens, Sonny Leo & Jennie Eisenhower.

Jennie as Annie Warbucks, singing "I'm 30 Years Old Tomorrow":

Ellie Mooney as Bebe Neuwirth dances with her Fosse boys Sonny and Marcus in "Glossy Fosse":
All photos were taken by Mark Garvin.

Don't miss this show-- you'll laugh, you'll cry, it's better than Cats! I'm super proud of our little Studio space doing such a big show so incredibly well. Go here for ticket information.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Oh..... *blush*

Apparently that zombie swine flu strain story is a fake.


(It's my abject terror of zombies that makes me very susceptible to these things...)


Full story about the fake story here.

Still, keep those hands washed, kids. Everyone stay healthy, and as for the dead? Well, they should continue to stay that way.

Holy Crap...

According to the BBC, there has been a mutation in some strains of the swine flu virus which causes the affected person, once dead, to reanimate some hours later and behave in a violent manner.

Here's my favorite part of the article, listed under the "Symptoms: What to Do" section:

"If you feel yourself passing away, then notice your strength and vigor returning at an alarming rate, please attempt to restrain yourself to prevent infection and harm to others."

Jesus, isn't the swine flu scary enough? Now we have to worry about motherfuckin' ZOMBIES??!!

So keep those hands washed, kids. And a sharp stake around too, just in case... remember to aim for the head. These are things I've learned from all the zombie movies I've watched.

Full story here.

Friday, May 1, 2009

It's Mad, It's Gay...

In honor of my personal holiday (plus something that's really been on my mind lately):

Happy May Day, everyone! And to my Arthur: I'm thinking about you and your family on this tough day.