Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Art, Fences, Dancing, Movies, and Rebels

Although I'm currently on a high induced by the raging success of our first 100 Movies in 1 Hour show, I feel I should, for the benefit of the reader and any future biographers, go back in time and report the previous 2 weeks in chronological order.

Dec 4--Danni's birthday party. Extremely astute readers may remember Danni as a member of the trip to Macau now fondly known as "The Great Deportation" (she jumped off the tower, we all slept in pods). True to her unique form, we didn't have a normal dinner/drinks, but 25 of us monopolized a studio called Art Jam. They provide a canvas, brushes, and unlimited paints:

Including my favorite color:

I'm not a visual artist, and to know that some of my readers are gives me pause to post what I came up with...Let's just say, everyone else had 4 hours, but due to a Tom Sawyer rehearsal, I had only 1 hour 15 minutes. Enough excuses, here I am with Danni the birthday girl and my nearly completed masterpiece:

I have mounted my creation in the keyboard room of my apartment. It really livens the place up.

Tom Sawyer--9 performances total, including 3 in one day--went very well. Albert gave us a photo CD with over 1,000 photos, so when I have a chance, I'll sort through and post some. I have one from my camera:

Aaron (L) played the preacher. The handsome bloke in the middle is Mike Brooks (no relation to Mel). Mike is one of my new favorites--very dry and sarcastic sense of humor. He's an actor for Dramatic English's rival company, Chunky Onion, but we put that battle aside for the sake of this show, considered neutral ground. We may even work together on a future comedy sketch project.
You might notice some new facial hair on me. Shiona (the lovely star playing Aunt Polly) cut some hair from Injun Joe's wig, covered it in spirit gum and stuck it to my face. It was a "bold move" according to fellow cast mates--and it definitely made the kids react more violently.

Friend support was again at a high for Tom Sawyer--nearly everyone in "The Odd Couple" cast came out. Meaghan and David came--each vying for the title of my "biggest fan"--Grandma's in 3rd row center for every show, so she's still in the lead. Many "Millie" friends came; Nicole, Shayin, Sky (stage manager) and I after an evening performance:

I made it out to an amazingly soulful event called "Urban Dance Festival." I went to support Nicole, Shayin, and Miguel as they danced through office buildings, up escalators, and in the street. It made me feel the soul that permeates NYC, but seems to be lacking in HK--so refreshing.

I walked around the event with my new friend Eden (a guy named after the Garden), Ken (crew for Tom Sawyer), Vanessa (of Millie), and two ladies from my gym--all at different times and all serendipitously, as I attended the event, which was within a 10 minute walk from my apartment, alone. Nicole and Shayin's moms found me and invited me to sit with them. They really enjoy my attempts at speaking Cantonese and showed me off to Nicole's grandmother. They also enjoy giving me dating advice and hearing about cultural "misunderstandings" I've encountered (oh, yes, I mentioned the fewer chins).

Back to work this week (Tom Sawyer conflicted with Wed and Thurs afternoon and all day Friday), we had a Penguin show on Tuesday at an all girls school. When we arrived, I glanced at the name of the school and it said something about the Virgin Mary and a Convent. The stage was quite small and I noticed that the seats were set very far from the stage. Shortly before we were to go on, Olaf informed us that this was a "different" school--apparently for girls who have had some trouble with the law. The seats were placed far away in case the girls wanted to fight us. It gives the teachers time to interfere. I wasn't worried--I'm enclosed in some seriously thick Penguin foam. The only way they could have gotten me is if they tipped me over; I can't stand up in that thing.
There were some frantic antics before we began--"should we go into the audience for the interactive part?" yada yada yada. It was around this time that I realized how similar the words "convent" and "convict" are. All went well--they were definitely a reactive audience. I'd like to go back there for our Movie show.
At last, we arrive at the present. Our first movie show was an absolute SMASH! I can't even describe it fully. Another all girls school--900 girls in attendance. Part of our shtick is that we're filming a movie tribute and the audience are the extras. Occasionally, we need to bump the extras up to roles such as Marilyn Monroe, a sound effects team, silent movie actors, and Edward and Bella in Twilight. I was a bit worried that I would have issues getting students on stage, but I actually had the opposite problem--too many students wanted to come up. It was excellent. Despite some "interesting" costume change issues (we do a Movie Musical Medley with changes needed almost instantaneously), we put on the best show I've been a part of for DE--student reaction was unbelievably high and teachers were lining up to thank and congratulate us.

We had our final "Odd Couple" rehearsal before our holiday break, complete with cupcakes, theatre games, and a Secret Santa gift exchange. The next few days have much less stress (I was stressed about the movie show...), albeit several Penguin shows (those are annoying, but not too stressful). Then I fly to LA very late Tuesday night, South Dakota the next day until New York for New Years. Feeling gooooood.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Run, Gum Ba, Run

A man stopped me on the street and asked, "Are you dancing?" I thought to myself, "I wish I were dancing," so I said, "Yes." Then the man handed me a flier for a dance studio nearby. The problem is that it was all in Chinese, so I'm afraid I would accidentally go to a ballet class for children under 5.
East Asian Games begin on Saturday. M & D, the swimming and diving events will be held in the park where I made you wait for 4 hours while I worked. Little did you know how close to athletic greatness you were.
Speaking of athletic greatness, I completed my first 10k race on Sunday. Full coverage of the event will appear in an upcoming edition of Jacksonville's The Source newspaper. For the benefit of my readership beyond the circulation of that publication, I will briefly summarize the story.
About 8,000 runners participated in UNICEF's Race for Children. Everyone knows how much I enjoy racing for children--or is that racing away from children? I can never remember. Either way, I did it and give myself 3 stars. One for getting out of bed at 5am. One for not needing medical assistance. And one for not getting thrown in the Slow Van. If you didn't reach a certain point in the race by a certain time, a special van would come by and drive you to the finish line.
At the starting line, in the middle of a huge pack, I talked to my new friend, Michelle about how I planned to come in last place, in order to make everyone else feel better about themselves. She said that coming in last would be impossible, and I shook my head at her disbelief in me. The start of the race was unusual. Michelle is a beauty consultant, so I tried to consult her. As the starting horn sounded, we were talking about how I should permanently darken my eyelashes to eliminate the need for mascara. Also near the start, Goofy was off to the side. Hundreds of runners took the opportunity for a photo-op. Many runners took photos throughout the race, which seemed ridiculous to me, but I'm not a serious runner. I can't even hydrate properly. You're supposed to hurl the water into your mouth and throw the cup down on the street like you're too cool for trash cans. I've never been too cool for a can. This is really standing between me and a serious career in running. That and motivation. I also need to interject that there was a runner dressed as Santa Claus.
After the race, feeling exhilarated, Michelle, Derek and I:

The Mother and Paloma, you may remember Derek as the guitar player from the wine bar. He's multi-talented and finished the 10k with a very fast time.

In other news, Tom Sawyer opens in one week. It's going to be miraculous!
Tickets to South Dakota and NYC have been booked. We have our first Movie Show in 2 weeks. I've founded a book club with my friend Patrick, but we don't want to invite other people into it because we assume then they would want to choose books and it might get ugly like on The View. Also reading Henry James' Washington Square concurrently with The, Dad. We call it The Dork Olympics. Other family members may or may not choose to participate in the events, which include weekly discussions/debriefings and dictionary searches for unknown vocabulary.
I don't know how anyone would NOT want to participate.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Millie. Again...

Albert has posted some "Millie" videos on youtube. It really is your lucky day!

I may need to explain to the parental units...copy the URL address below and paste it into that long white box near the top of the computer screen. Hit "Enter" and it should take you to the right video. If all else fails, you appear to understand the concept of a google search, so go to and put my full name in the search engine and Forget About the Boy will come up. Perhaps I'll do a phone conference to explain further, so as to relieve other readers

The Speed Test

Forget About the Boy

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanks A Lot

The Second Annual Hong Kong Style Thanksgiving Dinner has taken place. This year, we gathered at Aaron's apartment to enjoy a potluck meal. Aaron cooked an actual turkey in an oven! I didn't know there were turkeys or ovens in HK, so this was a very enlightening evening. He also made stuffing and cranberry sauce from scratch, which shamed my Betty Crocker potato buds.
The cornucopia:

Aaron's famous stuffed peppers:

Because it's not Thanksgiving without squid potatoes:

At the table--Scott, who was the musical director of "Thoroughly Modern Mille" said he hadn't been to a Thanksgiving dinner since 1973, when he was hitch-hiking in Maryland and someone picked them up on the way to one.

I went early to Aaron's to help prepare. I tried to cube the yams, but my technique was so terrible, he insisted I let him do it while I went to the store to buy marshmallows.

I haven't seen Fewer Chins guy this week, which may be due to the fact that I made puppy chow for Thanksgiving, possibly resulting in the return of one or more chins. No work on Monday or Tuesday. Typically, I would have travelled over a 4-day weekend, but with rehearsals and "training" (I'm running a 10k next week) I stayed here. Hiking with Tom Sawyer tomorrow should result in better pictures for the next post. Another goal is to make my apartment not look like a frat house anymore. I say that to myself every week, but this time, I'm sure I mean it.

Monday, November 16, 2009 many did I have?

On the Carpenter parental units' trip to Hong Kong, the paternal unit expressed interest in the job of this person:

The job is to throw a giant rope from the ferry to the dock. We agreed that with this job, between the rope throwing, one could accomplish much reading, if one desired.

Since we perform at schools in the far reaches of Hong Kong, we are frequently graced with non-touristy scenes. Thanks to a GREAT suggestion from AliC, I've started taking photos of some of these scenes. More to come, but for now... Line drying on a public railing:

Man with a bird cage:

We still use the camera in the show. This was the first time the student was really into it:

Also, everyone knows about the East Asian Games coming to Hong Kong in a couple weeks. Every country represented at the games gets to have a giant illuminated structure. This is in TST, by the clock tower. I took a photo of the Mongolian one--just for you, Caitlin.
Does this look like your ger?:

I went on a date the other night with a guy I've known for several months...he told me I'm much more beautiful now that I have fewer chins. HAHAHAHAHA!!! No American would ever say that. Fortunately, I'm beyond taking offense to just about anything.
We had our first rehearsal for "The Odd Couple" on Saturday morning--a read through/brunch at the 24-hour breakfast diner. This cast is incredible. One woman is named "Shirley" so I look forward to asking if she's serious. "Tom Sawyer" is going strong. We had our first full run-through tonight and we open in about 3 and a half weeks. Tonight, the guy playing Tom told me that he begged and pleaded with the director of "The Odd Couple" to have something to do with the production, since the cast is all the "big names". I denied being such, but nonetheless look forward to having him as deputy stage manager.
Jodi (director of "Tom Sawyer") and I went to a great production of "The Merchant of Venice"--planning to go on a hike with "fewer chins" guy tomorrow, barring a weather-related cancellation. This entry contains an excessive use of quotation marks. I'll try to keep that in check next time.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Force

I've been on a bit of a blog sabbatical, much to the disappointment of my parental units and Keith Bradbury, I'm sure. Usually, on a sabbatical, one refreshes and educates oneself. As you can see, I have done just that:

Important note: This is NOT from Halloween. We did schedule our movie shoot for immediately after Halloween in order to get a good deal on a Darth Vader costume rental. This is part of our "100 Movies" show. The plan is that the students will watch the short film and provide the necessary sound effects. Basically, it's Superman's quotidian morning routine, which involves encounters with Cat Woman, Gollum, The Joker, and an epic battle with Darth Vader.

We celebrated my birthday...again. If age went with birthday celebrations, I'd be floating around mid-thirties by now. This one was with DE staff and included Nicole's birthday, too. I enjoy how on the cake, my name is in Chinese and hers is in English:

David's birthday called for a grand celebration as well (anyone who read my Source article may now see the source of that inspiration). He had a Turtle cake:

Also at David's party, I witnessed a marriage proposal for the first time in my life. Thank goodness, I wasn't directly involved in it, but congratulations to Teddy, who kept apologizing after said proposal:

For the benefit of my parental units, here is a recent photo of Sky and Aaron (and myself):

I talk about them frequently, so I thought you might like to put faces to the names. They were both in "Millie" and Aaron is playing the Preacher in "Tom Sawyer".
AliC-message received and indeed, I will begin to take more pictures of daily Hong Kong life.
Going to see "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All for You" tonight. I read it in American Drama in college and definitely look forward to seeing it! (Is that enough pimping, McG?--sorry, it's on the last day and I know you're sold out anyway...)
STILL haven't heard from "The Odd Couple" so maybe it's about time to give up. On that note, I just remembered that I have a great picture for AliC:

It's a traditional Chinese Junk. People can rent these and take them out for parties on the ocean. I went on one a couple of nights ago with the director of "Tom Sawyer", American Indian Joe (this is my own personal adjustment of Twain's character name), and several other interesting people.
With that, I hope that's a long enough post to suffice for a week or two...I broke my internet stick, so I'm back at the cafe! They have missed me terribly, I'm sure.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Please Read With Alacrity

I've started studying GRE vocabulary, so I may throw some gems into the blog to help solidify definitions in my brain. However, my study guide is in alphabetical order, so any $10,000 words will likely begin with "A"...possibly "B" by next week.

Steven Varble arrived last week, left on Friday and will come back again tomorrow night en route back to the US. If his train is early enough, he will have the good fortune to attend our public performance of the Penguin show. We had long two rehearsals today, with a quick rehearsal for "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" for me in between (I had to abscond from that one to get back for Penguin rehearsal part 2)

Jodi, an ensemble member of "Millie" asked me to be in her Tom Sawyer cast. Performance is in December, for those looking to travel to HK. Tom is played by one of my favorite backstage crew of "Millie," and since I'm the teacher, most of my scenes are with him.

At long last, I had a day off for a hike. David, his friend Pierra, and I went on a very "steppy" hike in the New Territories, seeking waterfalls.

Top Falls:

Along the way:

A small settlement near the start of the trail:

Fortunately, there was a gaggle of HK teens there, ready and willing to take a group picture for us:

Last weekend, Michael and I sang "A Little Fall of Rain" at a fundraiser for the HK Breast Cancer Research Society. Thanks to Rita for the picture!:

We've been busily finishing the new "100 Movies" script and preparing the technical elements for that show. Also on my mind lately is the incredible news that Mika will be stopping in HK on his quick Asian tour. This news is analogous to...well, to something that would make the peasants rejoice. The thing with Mika is that concert goers typically wear costumes from his album covers. I take this opportunity in a public forum to ask my mom if she can make a Mika costume for me. (?) The concert is November 26, which leaves little time. I'll email pictures of possible costumes post haste. Thanks in advance! My friends think you're cool and so do I!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Picture DUMP!

Look David, you made the blog! Your dreams have come true. Above is my friend David and I after a performance of Millie. Friend support for this was incredible! Elvis even came back to life. I had someone there for every performance, in addition to my grandma who sits in 3rd row center for all my shows.
My maternal unit has requested "more pictures" from Millie. Ask and ye shall receive. I can't see what most of these are, so you are spared inane captions.

For the sleazy scene, which didn't require much acting, right, Devon?:

Finally, a picture with Arvin, leading man of the show and my heart, but let's not tell him I said that:

Rita is here! She attended Michael's and my performance tonight as part of an eventful day of Hong Kong activities. Rents--we went to that noodle shop where the guy likes to write random English words on bits of paper and put them on our table. Today, we got "belonged" and "appeared". He's getting more advanced. We had a great, albeit tiring, day. Macau tomorrow. I'll try really hard not to get deported this time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Everything Today is Thoroughly Modern...this is where I've been.

Despite the lack of a tech and or dress rehearsal, "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (except for a hellish opening night) went GREAT!! Again, I can't see what pictures I have on here, so I'll take an educated guess. One is a bunch of girls in 20s flapperish gear. Note the wig. I wore the wig to differentiate myself from my character, Miss Flannery, also likely shown below.
I know you won't believe me (Devon) but I designed and created my hairdo all by myself after several failed attempts to locate an appropriate wig.
There should be another photo below of the Speed Test. We're all stenogs who use tap dancing to simulate the sounds of typing in an office. It's just like real life.

I don't have any of my photos uploaded yet (I'm currently on a different computer and just lifted some friends' photos off the facebook)
Someday, when I feel like it, I'll get on my computer and put up some other doozies.

So yes, Millie basically took up my life for about 2 weeks solid, not to mention the half of my life it took up for the 2 to 3 months prior. Good experience over all. I had a scene involving elbows which the audience found so hilarious that the other actor and I often had to hold for laughter after EVERY LINE. And uproarious applause on my exit! It was's not all about that, but I really worked intensely on this character and it was nice that the audience appreciated her.

Now life was supposed to go back to normal, but the Hong Kong theatre scene has proven addictive. I'm auditioning for "The Odd Couple" (female version) tonight and on Saturday, Michael and I (plus another 39 couples) will be singing at a "Night of Broadway Duets" to benefit a breast cancer research organization.

I'm also looking very much forward to two visitors in the coming days: Rita, originally from Spain and currently residing in Beijing, will be here Friday night until Sunday night. Steven Varble, famous Jacksonville resident will arrive Monday night for nearly a week of mayhem and a quest for wonders!

And of course, I still have my day job. We're working on finishing the script for the "100 Movies" show and we're cutting down our 1-hour Penguin show to 30 minutes to offer a cheaper alternative to primary schools. Today we filmed some footage to be put up on our new TIE website, the address of which I will disclose in due time. Like, when I know what it is.

Birthday was fabulous--2 Millie shows and a cast party! What could be better?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

So, is that a real bayonet?

Today may have been the most bizarre day of my Hong Kong life...and I've worn a clown costume and rolled a giant inflatable ball down a street shouting Happy New Year in Cantonese to the thousands in attendance. And I regularly don a full-body penguin suit and tap dance on a stage in front of hundreds of students in surgical masks.
Today a group from the Thoroughly Modern Millie cast went to Stone Cutter's Island (which, confusedly, is no longer an island, but a peninsula). This is the place where the Chinese military goes (and are not allowed to leave) for at least two years of training. Since they don't allow the soldiers to go anywhere, they have an annual event where they bring in dozens of celebrities (and apparently cast members of a local musical) to provide entertainment for the troops. Kind of like what Bob Hope used to do, but with more neon lighting.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take pictures of the stage/theatre. However the several descriptors which come to mind may paint a decent picture: glitter, pink, reflective white floor, and dry ice. I was, however, able to take several pictures of the various uniformed gentlemen and Canto stars.
First up, the army band:

Ines definitely had a good time. She speaks Mandarin, which increased her popularity with many of the soldiers, since most come from the Mainland:

I made friends with these kung fu warriors:

One of the celebrities, known only as "Jonathan" became my friend, too. He has only one name (like Madonna) or he didn't tell me his surname for fear of an internet stalk. I approached him, due to his good looks, and spoke Cantonese to him, only to receive a response in perfect English with an American accent. He was really tricky, though, because after his segment, he ran away from me in different clothes. I was searching for the red clothes, but he had apparently ripped them off during his performance, to reveal hipster attire. Then he got in his special white van and drove off with the curtains pulled. But before he knew I was planning to stalk him, he agreed to a photo:

You might notice my new look.

These people shared our holding room. They are back up dancers for a very famous singer:

I saw Janice and Fiona, who are incredibly I am told. The whole thing was on TV, but someone said it aired only in China.

Surely every station around the world broadcasted the Chinese National Day parade. Wasn't it incredible? It was comparable to the Olympics opening ceremony, but more specifically Chinese. I had rehearsal all day (since no one works, let's have a 6 hour rehearsal!) But we started out with a yam cha (aka 'dim sum', Dad).

First the group:

Miguel, Aaron, Sky, and Vanessa.

This is one of the few restaurants left that serves yam cha in the original manner--patrons take dishes directly off the carts:

I didn't eat any of these, but if you were fortunate enough to get a copy of my first go at journalism in Jacksonville's hometown weekly publication "The Source," then you will appreciate the significance of this discovery:

Saturday was the mid-autumn/moon festival. I ate a homemade mooncake from Angel, but I didn't stay out late for the lantern festivities since I had to get up at 6:30am to go to the army thing. However, I did meet with Patrick in a newly opened part of HK that has a colonial feel, which may not make sense considering it's new and the colonial period has been done for over a decade. But anyway, photographic evidence:

So ends a purposefully long post, as I will not have time this week to devote here. "Millie" opens in 2 days and I have shows for work 3 days this week, plus recording sessions for the radio version of the penguin show. I may not even have time to call my family so they can wish me a happy birthday until a few days after the fact, but I know they'll still mean it.