Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Today's our last day on the Cape! I have so much to do - haven't even started repacking or cleaning the house - and yet, all I am doing is sitting here, watching this on repeat, laughing hysterically. My ability to procrastinate is unparalleled.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Last days of beaching it.

Life back on the Cape certainly is a slower pace than what I became accustomed to in San Fran and New York. It's relaxing, but I find myself getting more antsy than I did before I left.

Most things have closed up for the season around here, and although it's gotten pretty chilly - thanks a lot, Atlantic ocean! - it's been a beautiful week. Oh look, I'm writing about the weather. How interesting!

Monday I took Lulu to the dog park, which was completely deserted; that is, until a husky showed up and decided it wanted to play predator & prey...with Lulu playing the part of the prey. We didn't stick around for very long.

We went back again on Thursday, and this time there were 5 or 6 dogs there, all of whom were very well-behaved and played well together. There were 2 young French bulldog sisters that were absolutely hilarious rabble-rousers; they stuck mostly shoulder-to-shoulder and tore around the park, alternately chasing others and getting others to chase them. I was only able to snap a quick picture when one stopped to take a drink. Just look at that face!
Yesterday I went to the Edward Gorey House Museum. I was familiar with his work, but not overly knowledgable, and certainly had no idea how prolific he was! The museum was in the house he occupied for the last few decades of his life, until his death in the year 2000. The museum is set up on the entire first floor of the rather large, early 19th century house, with most of the interior still recognizable as a house but every wall and surface area is absolutely packed with Gorey's drawings, sketchbooks, puppets, sculptures, photos, etc etc etc. It was amazing. One of my favorite pieces was his sketchbook from the "Mystery!" opening sequence. His style is unique, and comes across so strongly even in these quick sketches.
The current main exhibition - set up in what was the living & dining rooms of the house - was Gorey's work in the performing arts. Serendipity! He did illustrations for the New York City ballet, the Metropolitan Opera, Harvard, and even made puppets and performed in local puppet shows!

Since we have just 4 days left here on the Cape before embarking on phase 3 (or is it 4?) of our adventure, we're trying to cram in all the things we meant to do while here, but just didn't. Today was another lovely day so we took Lulu for a quick walk on the beach. Although sunny, it was pretty darn cold, so it was a very quick walk. Oh look, I'm talking about the weather again! 

Happy trails to you.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Post-blizzard sunset.

There was a rare early snowstorm in the Northeast yesterday. My parents and I left NYC early Saturday and managed to miss the worst of the snow, but did see flurries starting on our way through Connecticut. Although we didn't get any snow here on the Cape, we did get freezing rain and 65 mph gusts. Tonight there was the most amazing post-storm sunset.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Puppeteering premiere

So I have been in New York the past two weeks rehearsing a puppet show that we performed last night at the Henson Carriage House on the Upper East Side. Though I think of myself as a "theatre person" I haven't performed onstage in over two years. My sister, by contrast, is a professional puppeteer and puppet builder, and performs regularly as a part of her job (most recently on the Walking With Dinosaurs "arena spectacular" tour - I love that term, and wish I had more opportunity to use it in daily life).

Anyway, in mid-September she called me and said she needed an additional puppeteer for her show - that she wrote and built - going up at the end of October, and would I consider doing it? I considered it. I've never been a puppeteer before. But I had the time (see my current unemployment), it would be an interesting experience, and it would be time to spend with my sister. So, after my exhaustventure in San Fran, I flew to JFK on Monday the 17th and we started rehearsals the next day.

Y'all, puppets is HARD.

I've been attending my sister's performances for years, and they are always thoughtful, elegant, and avant garde. But until I actually put my meat hands on a puppet, I didn't realize how absolutely mind-bendingly difficult it is to make something look real. For the first 4 days we rehearsed for about 3 hours a day, working on both blocking the pieces (the show was a collection of vignettes, tied together by a narrator in the form of a giant elephant head.) as well as ensemble building. Oh right, not only do you have to make the puppets move as if they're real, but you're also manipulating them with 1 to 3 other puppeteers. It takes a lot of concentration, coordination, and rehearsal. SO MUCH REHEARSAL.I became pretty frustrated with myself after a few days, that I wasn't getting it, that I was holding the others back - the others, by the way, who are all professional puppeteers - that I would disappoint my sister and ruin the show. Needless to say, it was a pretty epic pity party.I thought about which would be worse: disappointing my sister by deciding not to do the show at all when she asked me, or disappointing her by doing it as best I could, but not as good as it could be if she had been able to find someone else? I chose the latter, ended my pity party, and got to work.

As of a week ago, we were rehearsing for 8 hours a day, and though it was still mentally and physically exhausting, and it was still hard, it also became fun. I had forgotten how much of a bonding experience doing theatre can be, how having the looming deadline of a show can force some of the best work out of people when they take it seriously, and how absolutely epic the inside jokes become within the cast. I definitely need to find a theatre community when we get to Sydney.

The performance last night went about as well as I could have hoped. We had a full house - it's a small performance space, so "full" meant about 60 people - and it was well-received. There was a talkback after the performance where she got some great audience feedback. It was such a high, so rewarding, to work so intensively on something and be happy with the results.

I'm incredibly glad I decided to do it and stuck it out, and truly have a better appreciation of what my sister does and how hard she works to achieve the level of success she has. It's truly admirable, and thought-provoking for me. I'd love to be as adept at and passionate about something as she is.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fangirl moment volume 2

Today we had brunch with Gabriel Byrne.
Ok, so we actually had brunch adjacent to Gabriel Byrne. And I didn't talk to him - he was by himself, on the phone, and I decided to play it like a cool New Yorker...well, except for taking this sneaky picture, that is. But still. Thrill!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fangirl moment.

Tonight I met Zach Condon of Beirut on the L train subway platform after rehearsal. The train was running late and the platform was really crowded, but as I walked by I thought "Wow, that guy is so cute." Then I realized I recognized him. And THEN I got super-giggly like a 12-year-old girl, because Beirut is my favorite band right now. I saw them in Portland, ME at the end of July and it was one of the best concerts I've seen in recent memory.
If you haven't heard them before, check them out immediately. They have an amazing sound - very old world, Eastern European, mixed with modern indie rock. 

I knew I had to say something to him - to make sure it really WAS him - with this opportunity staring me right in the face, how could I not? I hemmed and hawed, trying to come up with a good opening line.

And then the train (finally) showed up. 

"Ok," I said to myself, "if we don't make it on this train, and neither does he, then I'll just march myself right over there and say hello." Lo and behold, the train pulled away with us still standing there.

Deep breath, and I walked over. I pulled up the above picture on my phone, tapped him on the shoulder and said "Is this you?". He smiled, and said "Yep". We talked for probably about a minute and a half, we shook hands, and I walked back, as giddy as a schoolgirl and wanting to jump up and down and scream, but trying to play it cool and not make it seem like I was a crazy person. I saved that for after we got off the train.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

There and back.

Whoa. San Fran was a whirlwind. By Friday afternoon I felt like I had already been there for a week. Hannah keeps a pretty fast pace - certainly faster than what I was doing at the Cape (i.e. mostly nothing). But it was incredible! This was my third or fourth trip there, and I feel like I got a lot better sense of the city this time.

Hannah had to work on Friday morning, so I was on my own. It was a beautiful day for adventure, so I set out with a first goal of getting coffee (at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, of course), which was about 2 miles away. Once accomplished, I found a nearby park and meditated on what an amazing day it was, and how content I felt. How could I not? Look at this place!
I then continued on a wandering path, up and over some pretty incredible hills, and wound up at the Golden Gate promenade. It still amazes me to see people swimming at the beach right in the city - I guess that's what a lifetime of living in New England does to you.
Moments after taking the above picture, I turned around and glanced down at the sand - and was staring straight at someone's half-buried car keys. Damn. There was a couple sitting nearby, and I asked if they were theirs, but sadly, they weren't. I looked around, half-shouting "Did anyone lose their car keys?" Although I got some curious looks, no one claimed them. I told the couple that I would try to give them to the information center or the police, in case anyone came by looking for them.

I weaved my way back through the Crissy Field parking lot, randomly hitting the Panic button on the keys, to see if I could locate the car - although, in hindsight, even if I had found the car that way, I'm not sure what I would've done next. I finally found a police officer, who was riding the most enormous horse I've ever seen in my life, and gave them to her. She said they would keep them at the local station, in case anyone called looking for them. I said a silent little message to the universe, hoping that they were found. If I'm ever in that situation, I hope someone does the same for me.

I hiked back towards Hannah's apartment. It had gotten up to about 80 degrees by this point, which was amazing, but it made some of the hills, um, slightly more difficult. Ok, ok, I was sweating like a pig; sweat was dripping into my eyes, stinging them as I huffed and puffed up one of the steepest hills I've had to scale in a while. Here's a photo from where I had to stop halfway up to take a breather:
Like I said, halfway up.

I discovered I really like exploring a city on my own. Though I like to have shared experiences, I'm learning to appreciate time alone, being able to go at my own pace, wander off-track if I feel like it, and just attend to my own wishes.

All told, it was about an 8-mile exploration, which we then followed with an evening of martinis and debauchery at Martunis, a local piano bar. Word to the wise, if you're going to walk 8 miles and then drink martinis, for the love of all that is holy, eat something in between those two activities. I didn't and by midnight I was about to cut a bitch. Thanks to Pizza Zing to Pizza Zoom or Pizza Zomething down the street, I finished the evening without stabbing anyone.

Other weekend activities included more Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf; going to Beauty Bar, a bar in an old Beauty Salon that keeps a manicurist on staff so you can get a vodka tonic & mani; going to the finish line of the Nike Women's Marathon to cheer on the runners; birthday brunch at Brunch Drunk Love; and lawn games in the Panhandle park.

As exhausting at the pace of the weekend was, it was so great, and I can't wait to go back to SF! ...someday...!