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.