Storm Watch

And Mistress Sandy is sweeping closer. Pushing up waves and winds before her, she comes inexorably closer with utter disregard for those scrambling in her way. I want to share what Stepan said on the subject:

“So it looks like the storm is indeed coming our way. The New Yorker sent you a “warning” and the emergency procedures few days ago, and I urge you to read them carefully. According to all the news, the storm is going to be a BIG one – perhaps the biggest ever to hit New York, and it may get pretty bad here – electricity outages, flooding, high winds that will knock things over, etc… Please don’t do anything stupid, try to stay indoors (things may be flying all over the place outside including on your heads), and in general stay safe. Also charge your phones and computers since it is possible, if unlikely,  that we will be without power for a day or more.

I thought that was entertaining. Warning us to protect our heads against flying objects is, I feel, the mark of a good leader. The subways shut down at seven tonight and are not scheduled to reopen until “the storm has passed and it has been deemed safe to do so.” My roommate Andrea and I went shopping today for non perishable goods and the stores had more people than normal in them but less food. Everyone is stocking up, and walking around the city earlier nearly every conversation I overheard had to do with the approaching storm.

Andrea is definitely anxious about the situation, while my other roommate Erin is fairly mellow. I am pretty unfazed. I think I am so nonchalant because usually when I worry about weather its when I am out sailing. Being on a 40 ft sailboat in a storm, one that is being directly affected by the wind and waves and that you have no way to leave, and factor in that there is the possibility that the boat could sink or you could fall over board on watch at night… and your sea sick and its dark out and in sketchy Mexican waters with no essentially no coast guard and no one in radio range except some shrimp boats…   Well, some rain and maybe the utilities and electricity going out just aren’t bothering me that much. (I just knocked on wood). Honestly, though,  after all of this hype I hope something happens. I want to get a story out of this!

In addition to the latest excitement about the storm, it has been a pretty crazy weekend. Friday night I was working my play and had to miss seeing the Wooster Group’s production of Hamlet– its the first program play that I’ve missed, I was bummed. I got back to the room at the same time as my roommates and they told me that they were off to a club and if I wanted to come I had to be in a costume and ready to go in twenty minuets. It was nearly midnight, and I had to be up for rehearsal by 7:00 am the next morning… I dithered for about a second before throwing practicality out the window and adopting the mindset of you only live once! I didn’t have a costume prepared, so I threw on heavy makeup and weird clothes and looked faintly jesterish. We– Catlin from the program came also– went to Webster Hall, down in the east village. Right near NYU, it was packed with NYU students, all in halloween finery. OK, halloween is a serious holiday here. The last few nights after 6pm the streets and subways are beset by raucous partiers in outrages costumes. (oh, funny story; last night I got fro-yo and the lady thought I was dressed up as Katniss Everdeen. Nope, I just wear hiking boots and my braid over my shoulder. It was weird, though, because a few weeks ago an actor at my theater told me I looked like Jennifer Lawrence… it must be the braid. Anyway, obviously I should just go get a bow for Halloween and Im set. Oh wait, the city will be underwater. *sigh). Anyway, it was a crazy party. The venue had three different dance floors, like fours bars, fours levels, and was absolutely packed with costumed college kids (it was a 19+ event). We danced until three in the morning on a disgusting sea of alcohol, sweat, glow sticks and plastic cups, pressed in all around by cowboys and hippies, stripes and masks, wigs and capes. It was craziness.

And then the next day on two 1/2 hours of sleep I went and rehearsed with Terry. I was fine all day until I got to work last night, and then I started crashing. Sitting backstage in the dark I just kept thinking about how nice it would be to lie down… But guess who was at the show? Who came out to the little Bushwick Starr in Brooklyn, and who we used the fright elevator to bypass the stairs for, and who I got to see!?!?! Edward Albee! He is a very tiny old man. It is very cool that he made it out to my (“my” lol) theater and saw the play that I am working. Very exciting.

Ok, I am exhausted and have a storm to catch up on sleep for. Wouldn’t want to miss it!



Sunshine in October eclipses modern art.

Yesterday we went to Dia Beacon. Beacon is a small town about an hour north of the city along the Hudson River, and Dia is a large modern art museum in the town.

We have been seeing a lot of modern art on this trip– I am kind of modern-arted out– and while there were plenty of installations at Dia that I did not give more than a cursory glance to– such as the blank white canvases–, there were a few installations that were really engaging. There were a few huge Richard Serra pieces that we could go inside of, and I was struck by those, especially because a few weeks ago we learned about Tilted Arc, a piece of his that was installed in a public square near Wallstreet and became extremely controversial because the public hated it. The piece, which had been site specific and and no end date, was eventually removed. While his pieces were large in an inspiring way in the museum, I can maybe see why people hadn’t liked Tilted Arc in their square… a hard decision! There was another artist, Sol LeWitt, who had an incredible installation that was a series of grids drawn directly on the wall. He uses mathematical  exactness to create patterns and shapes that are both calculated and oddly beautiful, layering lines and colors to create repetitious designs that catch and hold the viewers eye. In the basement there was an old film exhibit, and I watched a home video of a party thrown by Yoko Ono and John Lennon for almost twenty minuets.

I have to say though, that cool as the art was, just being out of the city on a beautiful day eclipsed the art viewing pretty substantially. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the leaves were all showing their fall fire, and there were barely any cars and fewer people, and what people there were were laid back and friendly!!! –it was great to get out of the city. We walked the quaint main street and got fish and chips for lunch– that was my fried food quota for the trip, no joke. After the museum I and four of the other girls from the program decided to take the later train, and spent an enjoyable hour down by the water taking artsy pictures in front of the setting sun. The Hudson was beautiful– there were sailboats out on the water, and I would have liked nothing better than to pirate one and go sailing. (My family owns a sailboat so it was a semi realistic urge in that if I somehow ended up on one of the boats I would have been able to sail it… Anyway, didn’t happen. )

In the evening my roommate Andrea and I watched The Dark Knight, which I hadn’t seen. And yes, it was pretty much all it was talked up to be. Heath Ledger was basically amazing. Huh, also, I just almost remembered my dreams last night– they were really weird, and I bet the movie had something to do with it… hmmm.

Enjoy the sunshine everybody!

The Misbegotten Adventures of Terry and Shanan on their Quest to Create Art

Sooooo, Terry and I got kicked out of my hotel the other day for daring to rehearse on sacred Council Room ground. To de-aggerate my exaggeration: we had been furtively exploring the other floors of my hotel in search of rehearsal space as the weather got colder and parks became less attractive. However, students living here– and Terry isn’t even that– are strictly not allowed on any floors except the student housing floors, the lobby, and the basement which has the gym and laundry room. But the hotel has four levels of conference rooms, full of nice open spaces, and they are almost never used in the evening… We had gotten away with it a couple of times last week, sketchily rehearsing in the hallways down on those floors– most of the staff that wandered through thought we were a hoot, actually, but one guy had told us to get out of there so we had–  Anyway, the other day we found a conference room with the door open, and we checked the schedule and it had already been used for the evening, so, furtively checking for cameras all the while, we went in and started rehearsing. After about five minutes the same to-good-at-his-job guy came in and in an annoyed-approching-pissed-off voice told us we were not allowed to be there, and he had already told us that…. So we left fast before he called security and found that Terry was not even allowed to be in the hotel at all (I sneak him in through the service stairs– foolproof!).

Foiled out of our cozy hotel plan, we wandered through the surprisingly warm October night until we found a nice park. We did the first full run-through of the first half of our piece in this possibly private park at night– when the security guard walked towards us I thought he had seen Terry knock me to the ground (he was just doing rounds), and a couple got seriously alarmed when I had my panic attack. Ohhh public theater.

We realized that the first third/half (somewhere in there) of our piece is over 75% silence, and of what speech there is over half of it is recorded. I fall twice– we have been rehearsing on sidewalks; I have all of the nice scrapes–, have a panic attack, and talk to my soup. There is an extremely uncoordinated dance section, and an extremely coordinated subway section. Its “rul wiurd,” we decided; much more stylized than we envisioned. We are both happy with where it is at though, so power ahead!

Im considering just asking the hotel for permission to use those rooms when they are not in use. The worst they can do is say no, right? Shame I probably would not book it though the security guys, though. I’ve made friends with all of them in a carefully orchestrated campaign to get them to know me: everyone has to show their cards when they go into the elevators, and for most people its a habit, but I just don’t get my card out unless they specifically ask for it, and as the weeks have gone by they have less and less. And they all know me as the crazy girl who takes the stairs, and I make a point to chat with them briefly when I have time. Anyway, there has got to be a way of putting all of this ingratiating to good use!

Though tis never easy, we must valiantly plunge ahead, into the rapids, onto the ramparts, under the “keep out” signs, to fulfill those deepest needs and desires that come upon us: to create that most magnificent of art forms, to create theatre. Keep doing.

Fall Is Showing

Suddenly it is chilly here. We need more than sweatshirts if we are outside for any amount of time, and hats and gloves are starting to appear. I bought a pair of second hand Ugg boots a few days ago, though, so I’m ready! Bring it on, winter!

My birthday was Sunday. I spend it mostly in rehearsal with my friend Terry Fletcher. Since he is very busy during the week we have to cram on the weekends– its fun! We started off in Central Park– he made me fall backwards and then scramble on my butt during character work, and when I got back up and broke character I realized he had had me fall in the only dirt/mud patch in the whole grassy area. Jerk. It started raining harder so we re-located to my hotel, where we broke all of the rules and explored the floors I’m not supposed to be on. The ball room was empty, so we had a great few hours of rehearsal in there. Staff members came through a few times, but far from kicking us out they were enthusiastic and then would try and make me break character by commenting. Ahhh rehearsal in public spaces! Finally in the evening we got a few hours in at the rehearsal space at the Bushwick Starr, my theater, which we are welcome to use any time its not in use… its just almost never open. Anyway, the piece is coming along excitingly– the first part is a lot more abstract than we first envisioned it; beyond a few obscure monologues it is almost all choreography. We have a whole subway routine… and we practice it sometimes on subways… it is very amusing.

This afternoon my roommates and I spent some time in Washington Park, a small park in the Villages. There was a clown-type-performer/possibly just insane man in a red and white stripped man’s one-piece bathing suit type thing running around with his props, which was entertaining for a while, and then I caught on that part of the reason he wasn’t freezing was that he was being extremely active, so I got really hyper and started running and dancing and cartwheeling around the empty fountain– its both much more fun and warmer being the person everyone else is looking at than one of the lookers! Cheers to being a performer.

I have worked as a figure drawing model before, and when I met LC theater major graduate Heather and she mentioned she does modeling in the city, I jumped on her for contacts. It would be a great resume builder and also… you get payed very well! Anyhow, I contacted a few artists. Two of them I haven’t heard back from, but Blue Sky Studios– the producers of Ice Age– got back to me right away. They were all set to book me for January or December, as their fall slots are already all filled up… and I had to break the news that I’m only here until November. If they have any cancelations they will contact me though. But yeah, producers of Ice Age… no big deal!

I also met with Stepan on Wednesday. I want to do more acting while I am here, and Stepan and I are both currently in New York and I, at least, am less busy than I ever am at school… so I asked him to coach me, and he said yes. So we met on Wednesday at the rehearsal space at my theater. He had me read Sonnet 73 about fifty times, but at the end of it he said I had “made progress.” Three cheers! We also worked on a monologue from Rosencrants and Guildenstern are Dead, and now I have memorization homework for next week, which I generally do on the subway because I am trying to fit in with everyone else who is dismissed as either crazy or a theater person in this city!

My roommates and I just saw Chicago. We went to the box office earlier today and got “standing tickets” (we literally stood at the back of the orchestra section) for $27. It was freaking amazing! I am in a state of being totally blown away by the dancing. I danced my way back through the subway station, with timely “And all that Jazz”s thrown in at appropriate intervals.

Hitting the big time!


forever and a day

Thank you Friday for appearing at last! The last week has been crazy, I almost felt like I was back on an LC schedule. It was kind of fun being that busy again, actually, but when Friday afternoon happens, and you realize all of your essays have been turned in and you have a nearly free weekend… its a good feeling. And yes, we actually had mini essays due in each of our classes last week! We have to write ten journal entries on plays we have seen for Stepan over the course of the semester, as well as three more formal reviews. Of the nine plays we have seen, I have written journal entries for six, and not done any reviews yet. I’m feeling pretty good about where I am though. In art we have to write a summary/response to each week’s class and related reading, and then write two more formal art reviews (one of which was due yesterday). And finally in architecture we have to write two essays, one of which was due Thursday. (And by essays, I mean the first one was a 750 word, mainly observation based paper… so, ya know, not to rough…) But yes, homework that wasn’t reading was a thing again.

The show that I’ve been working on, Blood Play, opened last night. I got promoted to assistant costume/crew position for it, but I am sharing the job with one of the other interns so we can both have evening lives at least some of the time. Yay resume builders! I can now say that I am an assistant costume/crew for the Debate Society, and an intern at Bushwick Starr, and the two are essentially one and the same.

We went to a baseball game Monday night– my first one. I am now a real American: cap, hotdog, and all. It was a Yankee vs. Red Socks game, and it was rather dull as the Yankees won without breaking a sweat… but Stepan got up on the big screen! It was crazy!

There was the New York 2012 Black and Orange Alumni Party a few nights ago. Since we were in the area, my group was invited to crash it. We spent a very pleasant evening in an upstairs reserved room of a bar, eating free fried food and mingling with Lewis & Clark alums. The oldest alum I talked to was class of ’65, while many there, including my friend Terry, I knew as they had only just graduated last year. It was a surprisingly fun event– chatting with these total strangers but bonded by the experience of going/having gone to LC. Apparently we used to be on a trimester; I had no idea. And I got to wax eloquent six different times about the new dorm, Holmes, of which the alums had been getting emails about but obviously never seen.

The weather is holding up! Yesterday it was in the high seventies, and today it looks sunny as well. I am planning on a sun filled afternoon of doing absolutely nothing in Central Park later. Yesterday after art class got out, my roommate and I decided to walk from the lower west side of Manhattan to Brooklyn. Starting near the twin towers site, we wove our way through the financial district, stopped and watched some street performers, and then headed over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was on the bucket list for the trip, so now we can check that off, although I wouldn’t be opposed to doing it again. Aside from the fact that like half of New York’s tourists seemed to have the same idea it was absolutely lovely. I should make it down to the financial district more often– the water front is beautiful, and just being able to see over the water for a few miles lets you get out of the city a little. Anyway, once in Brooklyn we went to the Middle Eastern section and I spend way to much money on baclava and halva and things. SO GOOD. I’ve been spending way under the budget the trip allotted us in general, though, so I feel okay indulging once in a while.

So long, all ye readers of the words! Cheers and thanks