Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Gear, New Year


  What would you say if I told you I was starting another picture-a-day for a year blog?

Why would you say that? That's just rude.

  Regardless, I AM starting a new picture-a-day effort, similar to my old "Frame 365" blog. I've since updated all my gear, so the image quality will be even more stellar. This new blog, appropriately titled "Frame 366" (it's a leap year!) will bring you all the joys and heartaches of the original blog, with a whole extra day thrown in for your viewing pleasure. You can find the new blog, which begins posting tomorrow, 1 January 2012, by clicking on the stunning black & white logo in the right hand column of this very page. Please follow, and please feel free to leave comments or feedback on any of the images you see fit. Remember, clicking on any image will show it to you in its full-sized glory.
  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Craziness!



  What a Christmas! It was truly an epic day. After a very early start and presents, it was off to church (after a minor delay with my dead-battery car) then lunch, and then an afternoon of cleaning and cooking before a fantastic Christmas dinner. We had all the usual suspects- turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing, rolls, an amazing new type of coleslaw, and wine. After dinner, we were joined by a whole apartment full of friends for games, Christmas movies, and the sharing of two delicious pies I baked. One was my traditional apple, and the other was a new pie I had never tried before- French Silk. Both were amazing, if I do say so myself, and I think I do. We finished the day very late, and I went to bed exhausted but very happy. Can't remember a Christmas this good in a long time, and that's saying something, considering that I haven't had any income coming in for about a year and a half now. Just goes to show you, it's not the material things that make Christmas great!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

In defense of Christmas, Christians, and Christ


  I am a Christian.

  Still here? Good. That opening statement has come to be so tainted these days that a good majority of the time, it offends people, or at least gives them pause about the nature of your character. Saying that you are Christian or that you go to church is kinda like saying you liked Michael Jackson (before he became cool again). People are hesitant to mention it aloud.

  What a strange, strange irony.

  Being a Christian doesn't mean I'm a whacko. It doesn't mean I'm no fun. It doesn't mean that I judge you for not being a Christian.
  I swear. A lot. I sometimes lie. I'm not very forgiving. Helping people out is sometimes inconvenient and gets me really irritated. I watch violent movies. I have lived with women outside of marriage. I have gay friends that I love dearly. Basically, I've done a lot of things non-Christians would consider "normal." In that, I've also set myself up to be judged by hardcore fundamentalist Christians who would say I have no right to be in church every Sunday.
  These are the very sort that have given Christianity a bad name. The haters. The judgers. I saw an article the other day, posted on Facebook, about something that some terrible church in the south had done against interracial couples. A commenter on the post wrote, "This is why I don't go to church." That's very sad to me. I get it, but it's sad that the church has been marked like that. That's just not how it's supposed to be. LOVE thy neighbor.
  Last night, I was at the Hallmark store buying some cards, and heard a woman tell her husband, "I want to get a Christmas card, but they're all religious." I literally laughed out loud. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. That's like complaining that you want to get ice cream, but you don't want it to be cold.
  I also saw a video clip this week from Bill Maher's show where he talked about the growing atheist movement. His panelists were cheering and saying "It's about fucking time." I understand that people are going to have different opinions, and that's fine. I just don't understand the hatred for the church. Well, I guess I do. Fundamentalism and radical churches like Westboro are driving a giant stake into the heart of Christianity.
  When I posted a while back about getting baptised in the ocean, I had a couple of people tick the comment box labeled "Toilet." That was really hurtful. You look at those pictures- you see the joy on my face- the pure peace- and you call it shit, basically. I don't know if those comments were from people I knew, or people who just happened upon the blog, but they were incredibly hurtful.
  And this is my point, people. Being a Christian is about being an inherently good person. Nobody's perfect, and the church can't hold anybody to that standard. Why would you hate on people who are just trying to be honest and good? At the core, we are all children of the same father, but don't lump all Christians together. Because some white people or black people or Mexican people or Native American people have robbed, killed, raped- does it mean all of them do? Of course not. Give Christians the same leeway. Not all of us want to bash you over the head with our Bibles. Not all of us are going to call you immoral. Not all of us are trying to recruit you or make you put all your money in the collection pot. Rather, a few of us hope that you would see how wonderful it is, become intrigued, and try it for yourself. You might just find something beautiful to fill that empty space inside you.

  Merry Christmas, everyone. May you have the peace of Christ this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Where have all the death and disaster songs gone?



  While listening to some music on my way to the set this week, I heard the old Tom Jones song "Delilah." It's a first person perspective where Jones sings about going to his girlfriend's house and seeing her doing the nasty with some other guy. He waits until morning, watches the guy leave, then confronts her. She laughs at him, and he stabs her to death.

Wow.

  That's pretty heavy material for a song. Can't see anybody trying to release that track nowadays. It got me thinking- there were a lot of songs like that in the 70's. Murder. Death. Disaster. What the Hell was going on in the 70's that made people want to sing about death so much?
  Consider these: Gordon Lightfoot's "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," about a cargo ship that sank in Lake Superior in 1975 with a loss of all hands. Then there's Bobby Gentry's "Ode to Billy Joe," about a young girl whose lover jumps off a bridge to his death. There's also Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John," about a big, tough miner who dies saving his fellow miners in a cave-in. Along those same lines, there's also the Bee Gees' "New York Mining Disaster." Look at pretty much every song that Marty Robbins ever sang, and you'll find a plethora of "death tunes."
  Granted, some of these songs were in the late 60's, but I heard them on the air a lot in the 70's when I was a kid. It seems so odd to hear these kinds of songs now, in an age where we have Colby Caillat singing about how she gets "tinglies in a silly place." It's interesting to see how the times have changed. We certainly have our fair share of death and disaster going on in the world. Why don't people sing about that? I guess it's better to try to have cheerful songs or some kind of escapism, or, in the case of most rap, songs about how much wealth and loose women you have.
  Not a lot of story in that. I guess that's why some music endures, and some is forgotten in a few weeks time.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

From the set!



  Just a quick shout from the set of my first LA project, a short film called "Shark." I'm playing Lester, the lead, who is a scheming bastard jewel thief. What a great set to work on! We wrap tomorrow, and the film should be finished sometime in January. More info on that to come. For now, enjoy a few pics I snapped between takes.






Thursday, October 20, 2011

What's Going On


  Hey, ever more sparse blog followers! I guess it's kinda hard to follow a blog when the blogger only posts once a month or less. Sorry about that. It's kinda hard to blog about things when there really isn't much to put into words.
  The life of an actor is all about the grind. There's a lot of research to be done, a lot of salesmanship, and, hopefully, a lot of auditioning. With those auditions, though, comes a lot of rejection. This is not a business to be in if you have low self esteem or a poor outlook on things. It can be very easy to become discouraged. The best thing an actor can do is go into an audition, rock it to the best of their ability, and then let it go. If the job comes, that's amazing, and you dive in. If it doesn't come, for one of a billion possible reasons, then you're not upset or self destructive. This town will eat you alive otherwise.
  It's been a wonderful period of learning, networking, and auditioning for the last couple of months, and things are really starting to lock in. Every new opportunity leads to another and another. It's amazing to be here in LA, living the dream!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The End is the Beginning


  A couple of weeks ago, when I first learned that my Dad planned to sell his house- my house- our house, I was dumbstruck. I hadn't heard any mention of this plan until the plan was in place. I haven't lived there since 1996, but it will always be my house. My Mom and Dad built that house from the foundation up. That piece of mountain property was bare when they bought it. No plumbing, no electrical.
  Suffice it to say, it's very dear to me. I spent two thirds of my life in that house. When I learned it was going on the market, I couldn't sleep that night because a flood of memories overwhelmed me. Everything about growing up in those mountains suddenly sprang to life. Climbing those trees. Riding my bike down those sunflower lined dirt roads. Learning to drive. Helping my Dad build additions. Filming countless movies there. I could literally write you hundreds of pages. That place was always supposed to be there. It was always supposed to be somewhere I could go. Now, it won't be.
  I'm in Albuquerque now, picking up a car I bought. I'll be leaving in a couple of days to drive it back to LA. Today, I drove out to the house to remove anything that belonged to me as the house is readied for sale.
  The drive up was amazing. I haven't seen the mountains looking so green in years. Wildflowers were everywhere, fields were alive with life. The air even smelled better. It was like taking a trip back in time.
  Dad and I spent the majority of the afternoon working on a couple of mechanical problems with the car, and then I went into the attic to get the last remnants of my personal belongings. I had taken most everything important or practical out of there years ago, and now all that remained were my toys and some other things from my youth. I gathered it all up and put the dusty old boxes in the trunk of my new car.
  My friends know that I like to collect rocks from places I've been. Usually from far away places, famous places, or places I may never get to go back to: Kilimanjaro, St. Helens, Stonehenge. Tonight, I took a rock from the ground outside my old bedroom window.
  And as much as I enjoyed seeing the mountain green and alive again, I also loved being there to watch the sun set, and hear the night come alive with crickets. It's a sound I remember very well from warm summer nights with my bedroom window open.
  I said my goodbyes, closed my trunk and started off down our long, sloping driveway. As I pulled into the road, the first song to come onto my iPod was "In My Room" by the Beach Boys. It was the perfect goodbye.
  Driving down that familiar stretch of dirt road, a thought occurred to me. My greatest dream growing up, and my first love, was to be in film. Now here I was, grown up, and in many respects, leaving home again. I was driving to LA to make my life as an actor. I thought about that little kid, growing up in the mountains with such big dreams.
  And I smiled.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Ago



  I was a newlywed. I was unemployed, having just quit my long career in retail. I lived in a small apartment in Albuquerque, and drove a red Corvette. I had no aspirations of working for the Government, or moving away from New Mexico. I had no formal training as an actor. To say things were different on that early September morning in 2001 is a massive understatement.
  Things were different for everybody, really. For the nation as a whole, I expect. There was an innocence that will never be regained. The night of September 10, 2001, I was at the airport, helping a friend to shoot some footage for a documentary. I went through security, into the boarding area (remember when you could do that?) and then walked down the jetway into a plane. I walked right into the cockpit, and nobody stopped me. None of us knew just how drastically things would change in a few short hours.
  This isn't an entry written to detail that awful morning. Just my own personal ruminations on how incredibly different life is now. My wife and I since divorced; she was remarried and then lost her husband fighting in the very war that attack spawned. I have moved to two other states, worked almost a full decade in Government/Military service, and lived in another country. I have fallen in love, had my heart broken badly, and I have seen things and gone places I never could have imagined.

  Wonder what the next ten will bring?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Adventures in GPSing



  Driving home from way downtown this morning, my GPS decided that traffic on the 405 was a bit backed up (I know, I was shocked, too) so I was re-routed. Via the magic of crazy satellite technology, our GPS units have become almost self-aware, and sometimes they frighten me. I was taken on such a ridiculous route, that sometimes I wondered if the thing was just messing with my head. How much should we trust these damned things? Will they take over the planet one day? Here's a typical drive home for me:

GPS: Keep right ahead.
ME: But the freeway is to the left. That's strange.
GPS: Now, turn right, then turn immediate left.
ME: Uh, okay. This is a residential area. Sure the freeway's not faster?
GPS: Turn right in 20 feet, then-
ME: That's a parking lot.
GPS: Please don't interrupt me when I'm speaking.
ME: Uh...okay.
GPS: Continue through the parking lot and enter the Arby's drive through. You look hungry.
ME: Actually, I just ate.
GPS: Arby's.
ME: Okay. Uh, do you...do you want anything?
GPS: I'm a GPS, moron. After you finish your curly fries, turn left and proceed through the field for one quarter mile, then turn right.
ME: Pretty sure that's just illegal.
GPS: Do you want to get home or not?

  Technology, people. Be cautious.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I'm a Deviant.


  But we've all known that for years, haven't we?

  Truth is, I am a deviant, meaning I now have an account at DeviantArt. What is it, you may ask? Why, it's a site where artists can upload their works, be it photography, illustration, or digital brickabrack. On the site, folks can also purchase prints of these works (for which I get a small cut). I don't have any aspirations of becoming a paid artist, but it couldn't hurt, right? Please check out my gallery by clicking this link .

  I'm also putting a link to the gallery in the right hand column of this blog. Feel free to check in from time to time for new works!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Saved



   Saturday, shortly after 11:00 am, I was baptised.

   I was raised in a believing household, but we never really went to church. God was feared, the Bible respected. As I got older, I became a little more jaded, and a little more distant from God. Eventually, that grew into being agnostic, and finally, athiest.
  I ended up meeting some wonderful people along the way who shepherded me back toward my faith. In Spokane, I started going to church again and my beliefs were slowly but surely re-avowed. For the last few years, I've been attending church, and have met MORE wonderful people who have brought me still closer to God. This weekend, I completed that journey of faith and was one of four people that our church baptised. It was a fantastic experience.





Saturday, July 30, 2011

Life remains busy


  No, no cool picture. No fun adventure story. Truthfully, life out here IS an adventure- just not the kind I'm used to. I stay so very busy, and yet nothing seems to be moving. Yet. That YET is a very big yet.
  As expected, the life of an actor is difficult. Especially when you're in competition with the whole damned city. You better hope you've got a little something extra, or you better hope you network with the right people, or you hope that a break- even a tiny one- comes your way. Again, none of this is surprising.
  I've hit a couple of workshops, attended some free previews for classes, and I did get the chance to read with a network casting agent. I'm meeting some good people and slowly starting to make some inroads. It takes time.
  Tomorrow, I'm singing in my church choir for the first time, and I'm a bit worked up about that. Worked up in a good way, because it's a fantastic opportunity, and it will help me develop my voice even further. Worked up in a bad way because it's the first time and I've got the jitters about it. Once the first time's out of the way, the rest is easy, right? Right? Hello?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The beginnings of legitimacy


  As promised, here's an update from my new home on the West Coast.

  It's been a couple of weeks now, and things are finally starting to settle in. I'm registered with a couple of good solid casting agencies, I'm listed on IMDB and the casting notices are pouring in. I was invited to come to a meeting at CBS yesterday, but had to turn it down because it was a project I wasn't at all interested in. It's a good feeling though, to see all these listings and auditions filling my inbox. It's a bit scary taking such a leap in life and trying to find enough faith in yourself to know that you can make it. I've come this far, though, so I know I'm doing something right.
  Hope to bring you much more exciting news soon!
  Also note the new Twitter link in the right hand column. Not a fan of it, personally, but I was advised to use it as a networking tool. Follow me!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I'm not dead


  

  So where've I've been for the past month and a half? Lots of places, friend. To say it's been hectic, stressful, and unpredictable would be a tremendous understatement. Nevertheless, here we are. I'll blog soon about where I'm living now (Los Angeles!) and what I'm up to, but first, I'd like to take things back a few weeks to an amazing adventure I had with my Dad.
  It started with a picture I recently saw that featured a three-year-old me sitting on top of a rock that appeared to have petroglyphs carved into it.
  I assumed, judging by the type of rock and surrounding trees, that it was taken somewhere up on the hill behind our house in the mountains. I asked my Dad about it, and he informed me that the rock was, in fact, near HIS childhood home near Taos, New Mexico. It's about a three-hour-plus drive North of Albuquerque, for those of you unfamiliar with southwestern geography.
  I told him I would love to see the rock in person if he had time while I was still in town, and we agreed to make a father/son adventure day out of it. It had been thirty four years since he had seen it, and before that probably another twenty or so. He and some friends had stumbled upon the archeological curiosity when they were children growing up in a nearby logging camp.
  Well, a couple of days before I blew town, Dad and I finally got our day. We left Albuquerque early and headed toward Taos. Along the way, I got a fantastic tour of history from my Pops, talking all about when he was a boy taking trips around the area with my grandfather, who drove a log truck.
  I had been to the old logging camp with my parents many years before, and was, as a kid often is, unimpressed by the boring patch of empty forest land. This time was different, though, and I really appreciated the fact that my dad grew up there. This was his home. All the cabins and the logging equipment had long since been cleared out by the Forest Service, and all that remained were trees and empty plots.

Click any pic to see full size

Dad was still able to point out where his house had been and areas that he and his friends had played in.
  To my chagrin, we were able to find quite a few relics buried in the dirt where Dad's house once stood: old radio parts, car parts, medicine bottles, and even part of my Dad's old fossil collection.

The logging camp

  We checked out the adjacent logging area next, looking for signs of the saws, the burners, the equipment that these men used to process the bajillion logs they hauled out of these mountains. Blood, sweat and tears. Men had died here. Now, there was no trace of it, save for some dark ash mixed into the topsoil. Not a sawtooth to be found, unfortunately.

The creek

  We took our lunch down to the creek and sat under a giant shade tree, fueling up for our afternoon hike. Dad was still pretty unsure of where the petroglyph rock was, but I had high hopes we'd find it.


  Finally, we grabbed our gear and headed up the mountain in the general area we believed we'd find our rock. The sun was hot on our necks, and our water bottles began to empty quickly.

Searching for clues

  Part way up, we ran across these crossbones. Either some smartass camper had come up this way, or there was a bear with a good sense of humor nearby. Either way, it was of no help to us.

Do not pass

  Toward the top of the ridge, we found an interesting rock formation, but no sign of our petroglyphs, or the old road my Dad said bordered them. He claimed the road was even very old when he was a kid, so it might not even be distinguishable as a road now. We decided to press on further along the ridge.


  We did find a road, but there was something not right about it, Dad thought, so we decided to head back down the mountain a bit and cross to another ridge.


  During this cross, we got into some much denser forest, and climbing in and out of the valleys was difficult. My old man made ME feel like the old man, though, as I was the one who kept stopping for water and rest. We slogged on, finding nothing. At this point, I felt it was right to say, "Look, even if we don't find it, this has been a great day."
  My hopes were raised soon enough, when we found an old road we hadn't seen before. After investigating further, though, my hopes were just as quickly dashed. We decided to backtrack then, and take one last stab at the mountain.


  Here, my Dad and I split up for some stupid reason, and I headed up a large rock gulley on my own. I say stupid, because the wind had kicked up, and soon, I was out of sight of my father, and couldn't hear anything. With no way of communicating, we could easily have lost each other. A few minutes later, over the wind, I heard the faint cry of my name.


  Making my way toward the sound, I soon encountered what my Dad would later explain was a very old logging road, now barely recognizable.

A road?

I called out "Did you find it?" Dad yelled back, "Yep!" Sure enough, I walked to where he was standing, and his hand was resting on a large grey stone with a bunch of petroglyphs carved into it. They were likely made by the Pueblo Indians who lived in the area hundreds of years ago.

Victory!

Close up of the petroglyphs

Petroglyphs highlighted in red

  We grabbed a few photos, including an updated version of 37-year-old me sitting on top of the rock. We lamented the fact that we didn't have a GPS with us so we could mark the spot. I mentioned that it would be great to share the coordinates with a university or somebody that could come up here and study the rock and find out what the drawings say or who made them. That's going to be an adventure for another day, I suppose. For now, it remains the knowledge of these two men.

  Since the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge was nearby, we decided to cap the day off by paying it a visit. We'd been to the bridge before, but not in quite a while. Back when Dad was a pilot, he used to fly over the gorge and saw some spectacular views, I'm sure.


  For those of you who've never been, it's kinda like New Mexico's mini Grand Canyon. The Moderate Canyon, if you will.



  After taking a few pictures and trying not to get blown off the bridge by the extremely gusty winds, we headed back to Albuquerque. What a fantastic day of adventure and discovery! It was a great way to spend some quality time with my Dad, too, which we hadn't done in a long time. I'm sure he also enjoyed seeing his old stomping grounds and reliving some memories.
  Here are a couple of pictures of some artifacts I brought back from our expedition.

Fossilized Cryo-stems


Arrowhead

  Sorry again that I've been away from the blog so long. Uprooting your life has that effect. I promise many more entries much more often as I embark on this exciting new chapter. Watch out, Hollywood, I'm here at last!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

From 32,000 Feet



  Yeah, as I type this, I am soaring through the skies at 32,000 feet. It's the first time I've blogged while not connected to the earth, and it's kind of an odd and kind of an awesome feeling. I have the entire row to myself, so I'm just sort of turned sideways here, lounging and cruising the internet via the miracle of wi-fi. I took this picture with my iPhone and then uploaded it. I love technology.
  Heading down to our nation's capitol for a quick two night trip to basically loot my storage unit before flying back to London. Grabbing the bare essentials: PS3 unit, DVD's, cookbooks. You know, the absolute must-haves for survival. Oh, and I'll probably see those pesky DC actor friends of mine and maybe an old co-worker or two. Peace in the skies!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

New pics up!


  Well, mostly new. On my Flickr page, which you can access by clicking on the Flickr logo there on the right side of this page, you will find two new folders: England 2010/11 and Utah 2005. Yeah, 2005 was a ways back. I just rediscovered these pics and thought I'd share. The England album is a culmination of most everything I've seen in the UK since moving there last year. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The 'Burque!



  A stolen iPhone. A stolen rental car. No time at the beach. No bites from the Networks. Stinky hotel room next to an airport. Yeah, LA kinda sucked a little bit.
  On the plus side, I did enjoy my first crab legs, lots of fun at Disneyland, my first Madame Toussaud's, and some last good hurrahs with the D-Family of LAMDA.
  We've all gone our separate ways now, and I'm back in my hometown of Albuquerque for a month before I head back to London, where I'll be living and (hopefully very soon) working. It'll be a good chance to relax a bit, see the fam and some good friends, and enjoy the sunshine and the mountains. When I got here, it was in the eighties.
  Today it snowed.
  That's New Mexico for ya. Blog ya soon!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

City of Angels



  I meant to put up a post about Los Angeles as soon as we arrived, in keeping with my current scheme of up-to-date blogging, but I failed. Sitting here now, writing this, the LA showcases are already done! We just concluded them about an hour ago, actually. I'm now waiting to join everybody for drinks to celebrate.
  Turnout was really pretty good, and I think all the scenes went very well. Yesterday, during rehearsal at the theatre, I was sitting outside with my scene partner, going over lines, when Garry Marshall happened to stroll by. He smiled and said hello, and... I didn't recognize him. I thought he was just a friendly old man. A minute later, when somebody said, "Did you see who just walked in?" I felt kinda dumb. Guy is a legend in TV. We had a fantastic character actor show up with some of the industry pros today to watch one of our three showcases- a man named Michael Ensign. Google him, and you'll recognize him from just about every movie and show ever made. Total class act, and he stayed behind to talk to us for about twenty minutes about the biz. Awesome.
  So, now, we'll hang here in LA for a few days, go to the beach, drive up PCH1 to San Francisco- just basically enjoy California, and hopefully have a few meetings with agents or casting folks. Pilot season has ended, unfortunately, so the chances of being put into any tv work right now are slim. Still a damn good opportunity to be seen. I'll keep you posted, as always. Cheers!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Everything Goes



  With business here in New York nearly finished, we took a break last night and headed down Broadway to take in the brand-spanking new revival of "Anything Goes" playing at the Stephen Sondheim theatre. On the way over, we were walking down 7th Avenue when I brushed elbows with a guy walking by who had a kid sitting atop his shoulders. At the same time that I recognized his voice, I recognized his face. It was Hugh Jackman. Kinda crazy just running into him on the street like that. New York!
  "Anything Goes" was spectacular. I loved the production design, and the lead, Sutton Foster, was, unsurprisingly, absolutely amazing- truly a triple threat. Others in the cast were great as well, including Joel Gray, and in a small part, Jessica Walter (the Mom on Arrested Development).
  Through a friend, I was able to meet Laura Osnes, one of the other main stars of the show. She was very sweet and warm, and was gracious enough to take us backstage and even let us walk out onto the main stage and take a look at the set. Standing on that Broadway stage and looking out into the audience was pretty amazing. What a fantastic night!
  So, today's our last day in New York. Tomorrow, it's on to Los Angeles and more showcases. Here we come, west coast!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Reporting from the front


  Just throwing a quick blog up here for the loyal 'bucklers. My two New York showcases are done! They went very well, and we had some great folks show up to peek at us. Some of us got immediate contacts from agencies, and that's very encouraging. All of us were asked to send our headshots and C/V's to a major player I won't name here for understandable reasons. Very exciting.
  Now it's time to enjoy NY for a few days and then head on to the west coast for more. Tally ho!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

In a New York minute (or week)



  No, there's not snow on the ground here in New York. I took this picture the LAST time I was in the Big Apple, which, funny enough, was when I was auditioning for LAMDA in February of last year. Now, I've got a diploma in my hand from that institution, and I'm here to show industry professionals why they should hire me and pay me money.
  My fellow grads and I will be here for about a week before moving on to the west coast where we will thoroughly entertain professionals in Los Angeles. We have two performances here in NY and three in LA. My goal is to one day guest star on one of the three hundred versions of Law & Order now running on network television.
  So, LAMDA. All done. Can't quite believe it. The time went by so quickly. We learned so much, and we were all put through an insanely intense courseload. We all grew though, through our ups and downs, our triumphs and failures, and I came out of it all with a renewed purpose and confidence. Now it's up to me to not let that momentum die. Gotta keep going, keep pushing; because if I don't, then I don't have a chance in Hell of making it. No pressure, right?
  Thursday was our performance of "A Winter's Tale," and it went quite well. We had a packed audience, and people seemed to enjoy the show for the most part. It's not the most entertaining of Shakespeare's works, but we had some really great performances.
  Friday, we hit school early to rehearse our medley of Noel Coward songs, our showcase material, and our big dance number. 15 minutes after rehearsals ended, we performed all three of those back to back for the Principal of LAMDA, the head of the drama department, our instructors and a few invited guests. The songs went beautifully, and the showcase material went off without a hitch. During my duologue with Laurine, she threw a remote control at me, which struck me in the knee and exploded all over the stage. It was pretty epic, and I had to fight really hard to not laugh.
  Finally, it was time to close our performance with the big 10 minute dance number "The Liberty of Norton Folgate." The lights went down, and we filed onto the stage, placed ourselves and held. I looked up and saw my classmate Liza, who was positioned with her back to the audience. She smiled at me and I winked back. She grinned and the stage lights blasted on, the music coming in right on top of them. We tore the dance up pretty good, and surprisingly, it was my best performance of it. I say surprisingly, because when we originally performed it, weeks ago, I had a lot more rehearsal, but made quite a few mistakes. Strange how that works. Overall, we had a great time, and I think the faculty was really pleased.
  At the end of the performance, we were called up to the stage one at a time to recieve our diplomas, and then we spent the afternoon in tutorials with some of the instructors, hearing about our progress over the two terms and what was good and what needed improving. We concluded the day with a big party at Hogwarts (the nickname for room V1, which looks straight out of Harry Potter). There was quite an array of food and drink. We laughed, we cried, said goodbye to our non-American friends who wouldn't be joining us on the American showcase. It was a bittersweet evening.
  And that brings us up to this moment. Sitting here in a hotel in NYC, capitol of the world. Tomorrow morning, we rehearse our showcase, and then run it for the bigwigs on Tuesday. Then, the rest of our time will be spent enjoying the city and hopefully taking some meetings with agents. I'll blog more as we go. Catch you on the flip-flop!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Of High-teas and Finales


  Here we are at the (almost) last. Tomorrow marks the beginning of our last week at LAMDA. It's hard to believe our two short terms are already up and we're graduating. It's been one hell of a ride in every since of the word. There's been a lot of hard work and a lot of wins and losses. I couldn't begin to sum it all up here. Maybe in a month, when I've had time to decompress a bit.
  Today, we all went out to high tea together to celebrate and have one more family get together. It was wonderful and delicious, and I could see the fatigue and apprehension and sadness in a few eyes.
  Saturday, we'll all be flying to New York, where we'll perform our showcase for Agents and the like. We'll be around the area for meetings for about a week before we move on to Los Angeles and repeat the process. Then, we'll all go our separate ways. I'll be returning to Albuquerque for about a month before moving back here to fair London. I've earned my Equity card here in the UK now, and I'm more than anxious to start work. I am chuffed to bits at the thought of living and working in this wonderful corner of the world.
  But make no mistake, this week is no coasting free-ride. We have Shakespeare's "A Winter's Tale" to perform Friday, in addition to our 10 minute dance piece "The Liberty of Norton Folgate," a musical medley of Noel Coward songs, and a performance of our showcase material. I still have a lot of lines to learn, and a lot of rehearsals to go. This week, like this time at LAMDA, will be gone in the blink of an eye.
  Can't wait for what's next!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stratford-upon-Avon-upon-Brussels




  Again I'm terribly behind with the posting! A couple of weeks ago, around the...14th of the month, I think, there was a class trip up to Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of one William Shakespeare. The trip was two days long, and actually pretty entertaining. Stratford is a charming little town, and is also the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).
  While in Stratford, my fellow acting students and I enjoyed the sites, the pubs, and a couple of productions at the RSC- King Lear, and Romeo & Juliet. Lear was a bit on the dull and overly-long side, but R&J was fantastic. Both productions were elaborately staged and had some very bold choices, especially R&J. It was amazing seeing the RSC perform.
  After returning to London for a night, I was back to my old routine of weekend trippery. This time, we boarded the Eurostar and headed over to Brussels, Belgium.
  Brussels was beautiful, and had amazing food EVERYWHERE. It's one of those spots that would fatten me up something fierce if I lived there. The sights were amazing, my favorite being the Grand Place. Funny enough, we ate a lot of sushi there, because we found an amazing sushi bar. Besides the good quality of the food, I also very much enjoyed having my food brought to me on the freight cars of a model train that ran around the length of the bar. Yes, I am ten years old.



  Come on. That's f'in awesome. I want all my meals brought to me on model trains from now on.
  As is the problem with me not getting to the blogs quick enough- I have glossed over many, many amazing details and fantastic stories of things I experienced and saw. Simply put, dear reader, there just isn't time to go into it. I'm just not able to find time in this insanely busy schedule to expand on the details of these trips as I would like. For now, you'll just have to settle for pictures and let them speak for me.
  You can find pictures of the Stratford-upon-Avon trip HERE and pictures of Brussels HERE. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rome, if you want to



  Last weekend, we went to Rome (that's in Italy, geography dummies) and fought with the lions and gladiators. Okay, I made the last part up, but the Rome part is true, and so is the Italy part, and so is the going there part.
  It was a quick weekender again, but there was a LOT of sightseeing and delicious food. The food was so amazingly good that I'm starting to doubt that the folks back in the United States know how to make any kind of food at all. Europe is spoiling me with all its fine cuisine. Yep, you can say it. I'm becoming a Euro-snob. Trust me, it's easy.
  Having never been to Rome, I only had an inkling in my brain of what to expect, and I was totally blown away. As with Paris, I was amazed at what a beautiful city it was. Granted, there were trashy things about it, as there are in a lot of European destinations- but the architechture, the history, the visual feast- it was overwhelming. Stepping out of the Metro and seeing the Roman Colosseum right in front of me was breathtaking.
  We put in quite a lot of walking time, and rushed from destination to destination but still missed a lot. Though we visited Vatican City, we missed the Sistine Chapel! We did get to go up in St. Peter's Basilica, though, which was indescribably beautiful. I took pictures, but they will never do it justice. The immense scale of the place and the ornate and intricate beauty of it all has to be experienced first hand. If you're ever in Rome, drop by.
  So, yeah, there will likely be a return trip, though I think the next planned Italian destination will likely be Venice. We are also taking a trip back to France soon, so stay tuned for that.
  School? What school? Yeah, there are a TON of things I could blog about school. There have been some amazing projects I've worked on: dance pieces, musical theatre performances. Material for the upcoming showcases in New York and Los Angeles. Working on "Where I Want to Be" from Chess for my singing rep. There's a lot going on. I have just been much more apt to blog about all the amazing weekend travels I've been experiencing. That's much more interesting, gentle reader, is it not?
  Please click HERE to go to my FLICKR page and check out some photos of ye olde Rome. Beauty, beauty.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Scotland!



  Yes, yes, this blog entry is very late. The insanities of a drama school schedule will do that to you.
  About three weeks ago, a couple of LAMDA lovelies and myself took a weekend trip to Edinburg, Scotland and had a hoot of a time. Edinburg was a beautiful city; very picturesque and charming, and full of friendly folk with awesome accents that I wanted to just sit and listen to over and over. Bagpipers played on practically every other block, so the air was always full of that cultural sound. In one pub, we friended a couple of locals, one of whom bore a crazy resemblance to Sean Connery. He and I had a long talk about acting/performing over a couple of glasses of wine. Meanwhile, his buddy charmed my two companions over a flask of whisky. Devilish!
  We took a tour of the "Real Mary King's Close," which was a walk into the old underground sections of the city. Super creepy and claustrophobic. One of the facts about it that stands out in my mind was the fact that some of the walls were constructed of human cremation ash and horse hair. Outdo THAT, Bob Villa.
  We also took a brief tour called the "Whisky Scotch Experience," where we learned all about the makings of that beverage and then got to sample a few varieties. For the second time in my life, I was exposed to whisky, and for the second time, it didn't agree with my palette. Sorry, Whisky. The thousands-of-bottles collection on display was really impressive though, and we had a great time taking pictures on the rather kitschy Disney-esque ride through the "factory."
  We crammed a lot into our two days, including the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, The Grass Market, a late night half-mountain climb of Holyrood, and quite a bit of good food and drink. One of the highlights of the trip was our first night there when we were having trouble finding any food after arriving so late. We eventually stumbled across a Chinese takeaway place and ordered a metric ton of grub, but had nowhere to eat it. Back at the hotel, there was nowhere to go except our rooms. I tried my room key in the lock of the hotel's dining room door, and we gained access. Being the late-night-dinner rebels that we were, we broke into the dining area and used one of the tables (which were already set for tomorrow's breakfast service), in the dark, to eat our feast. The next morning, we came down to breakfast and ate at the same table. One of the hotel's owners, a grey mop-haired lady with a thick Scottish brogue asked us, "So, did you finally find something to eat last night?" I'm sure the guilt was all over our faces.
  We had an amazing time and laughed the entire weekend, even though we were continually stalked by Fluffy McFluffers, Scotland's leading cat private-eye. You can't prove anything, McFluffers.

Click HERE to be whisked away to my FLICKR page, where you can view a few photos of the trip. Enjoy!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Placeholder.


  Ridiculous.

  I haven't posted in so long, and I've done and seen SO much. Now I'm going to give you this post, and not talk about any of it, or post any pictures. This entry will just have to serve as a placeholder, because I'm getting hit on all sides for "Show us pictures!" "We want to hear about *blank*!"
  The last few weeks have been amazing! I had a fantastic trip to Edinburg, Scotland, performed in a massive 10 minute company dance number, and then today performed in an hourlong Noel Coward musical doing company songs, a solo, and a duet. Tomorrow I'm off to Rome for the weekend. It has been an amazing, exciting time, and, as always, I feel truly blessed and thankful for so many opportunities. I promise I will share pictures and details soon. Things are just insanely busy at the moment. Stay tuned for multiple rapid-fire blogs!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The London Symphony Orchestra



  Meant to blog this last weekend when it actually happened, but I've been crazy busy.
  After being robbed of most of my weekend with an acting workshop, I had to use the evenings to hit the town. Saturday, I got some uh-mazing sushi/sashimi at Pham Sushi (highly recommended, Londoners), then followed it up with a delicious dessert at a very interesting pub I tripped across down the block.
  Sunday night, when our work was done, I scampered off to the London Symphony Orchestra and their performance of Elgar's "The Kingdom." Absolutely breathtaking. I love the symphony, and getting to see LSO was a fantastic treat. For this concert, there was the full orchestra, the London Symphony Chorus (huge) and then four soloists. Right from the opening notes, I was captivated. Hearing the orchestra cut loose with the full chorus all rattling the hall was indescribable. There were also some incredible quiet moments, and the soprano soloist had a piece that really showed the tremendous control and beauty of her voice. Amazing.
  So, yeah, great weekend, even with all the work. Next weekend, travelling to Edinburgh, Scotland. Blog to follow!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bonjour, Paris!


  Paris, in a word: AMAZING. Just using one word to describe Paris does it a disservice, though. It's a beautiful, romantic, amazing city, and I already want to go back.
  It was a really short trip, of course, because we only had the weekend, but we really packed in a lot. My three friends and I arrived on the Eurostar early on Saturday morning, checked into our hotel, and then hit the streets.
  Our first stop (after we enjoyed a fine Parisian breakfast, of course) were the catacombs. It's where all the exhumed plague-ridden remains were taken in the late 1700's. The passageways go on forever, and I can't even guess how many hundreds of thousands of humain remains are there. We were down there so long that the poor air quality eventually got to the four of us and a bit of headaches and nausea set in. It was unfortunate, but still didn't detract from the experience.
  We spent the rest of the day wandering and eating, and in the evening, we wandered and ate some more. We had delicious food and fantastic champagnes, and I had a chocolate mousse that was so good I proposed marriage to it.
  Eventually, we made our way across the Seine to Notre Dame cathedral, which was a sight to behold, inside and out. The stunning interior was bathed in very soft light and many prayer candles. Images of the life of Christ were being projected onto a large screen at the rear of the altar, and gothic music was playing softly. It was quite reverent and very moving.
  After that, we continued walking, exploring the city at night, and eventually took a very long walk back up the Seine toward our hotel. The Eiffel tower was shining a revolving light out into the foggy sky, making for quite an unbelievable sight. I'll never forget it. Though the walk was incredible, we eventually got tired and took a cab the rest of the way back, getting in very late.
  The next day, the group split in two, and I spent the day at the Louvre. We saw indescribable beauty in the art there, and I won't even go into it all, because I'd never shut up about it. The paintings, sculptures and artifacts there were breathtaking. Interestingly enough, the most famous works- the Mona Lisa, the Venus De Milo- were some of the least interesting things I saw. There was a sculpture of Cupid and Psyche that completely stole the show. Just stunning.
  That evening, we all met back up, and before we knew it, we were back on the Eurostar to London. Short, but sweet.
  Better than my words are some pictures I took, which you can find by clicking THIS LINK TO MY FLICKR PAGE.

  Merci beaucoup, Paris!

Friday, January 14, 2011

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!



  Today is going to rock. The next couple of days are going to rock, in fact. Today, I've got High Comedy class in the morning, Restoration class in the afternoon with the hilariously entertaining John Baxter, and then tonight, all my fellow actors and friends are going out for Thai food and drinks. But wait- there's more!
  Tomorrow, I board the Eurostar early in the morning and head for a weekend in Paris! My hotel is RIGHT next to the Eiffel Tower. In fact, my very swank suite has a balcony that overlooks that famous landmark. My friends and I will tour the catacombs, check out the Louvre, eat a bunch of delicious food and drink fantastic wines- just do up the city. It's going to be amazing.
  So, yeah, you might say my mood is good. Pictures soon to come. Thanks for all the birthday well wishes in email, on Facebook, via text, and in person. I feel loved and blessed!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas remnants




  WHAT?!? Christmas is over!

  Nay, I say! Since I completely forgot to post any pictures of the D Group's Christmas extravaganza at Laurine's place, here they are, a couple of weeks late. It was a festive, drunken time with good eats, good friends, and a yankee swap gift exchange that left a lot of people scratching their heads. The price limit was 5 pounds sterling, and there was quite the array of bizarre presentry. I initially got a pretty cool present, but traded it for a creepy baby doll that crawled around on the floor and had orange light-up eyes. How could I pass that up? Without further ado, here are a few collected images from the night, captioned for your caption reading pleasure. My personal faves are the two Christmas cards with classmate Erika. Can't stop laughing over them.

Music, food, drink


Home Alone face strikes 50% of Holidayists


Kitchenistas


Nick is serious about Christmas


P-Dog and Lori


Nick lays down the rules of Yankee Swap



Vittoria tries to figure out what a jock strap is


Happy and dumbfounded about "Undercover Cat"


Putting batteries in the demon baby's butt


Christmas Card Option One


Christmas Card Option Two


Our lovely hostess Laurine


Christmas nerd Lori


Ambushed by Liza and photobombed by a reindeer on my way out



  **Special thanks to Laurine for some of these photos