I am in NYC – and last night I went to see Ga Ga! It was Awesome… But first the past two weeks. 😉
My weekend in Chi- Town was FANTASTIC – no I didn’t tour the city, eat deep dish pizza, or go to a comedy club – but rather spent time catching up with the side of the family I hadn’t seen in about 10 years. It was my great Aunt Shirley’s 80th Surprise Birthday Celebration and my family and I flew up for the festivities. The celebration was exactly that, a giant “to-do” at the Palmer House complete with beautifully set tables, delicious brunch stations, wondrous desert display, and open bar. There was also a jazz ensemble lead by Stanley Paul along with several photogs running around trying to capture each guest upon arrival and every “Kodak moment” – I hope to see these pictures soon. I wore the silk black & white with a hint of red, strapless dress that I wore to the Red Chair Affair – despite my previous comments of most likely never wearing it again… this dress is special because it’s not ‘red’ – and it felt good to have already gotten two uses out of it – economy dress shopping at its finest.
During the party I sang a few songs with the band, the first, “Make Someone Happy” – which I recently sang with my college classmates at our friend Michal’s wedding, seemed appropriate for this milestone celebration. My aunt has done a lot of ‘making people happy’ over the years and I knew she would like the song. I also sang a couple of jazz standards, and butchered “All That Jazz” – note to self – DO NOT attempt to sing something you “think” you know, without proper lead sheets. Fail. Luckily I redeemed myself with “Orange Colored Sky”, one of the few songs I can sing at the drop of hat. The best part of the whole thing was of course the look of surprise mixed with tears of happiness on my aunt’s face when she entered the ballroom where she was greeted by all her family and many friends from over the years – truly magical.
The rest of our weekend consisted of cookouts at the family homes, catching up on life, playing music with my cousins, and just simply enjoying each other’s company. It was awesome to reconnect with my musical cousins, Quinton, Nick, and Jeremy – all of them talented and involved with music in some capacity. Quinton recently recorded an album for his mom– (my great Aunt) and both Jeremy and Nick are involved with bands. Nick also works as music engineer and has offered to master my EP scheduled to release … SOON. You can check out Jeremy’s band, Chelsea Automatic and Nick’s band Danger Silent. My Family is soooo freaking talented!
I returned to a rainy, humid O-Town on Monday evening – Labor Day, not to unwind from my trip, oh no – not even for a moment, but rather to continue working on and finalizing my piece for Creative Mind Experiment 2 (CME 2), which I like to call: CRAZY MIND EXPERIMENT, because let’s face it – everyone involved is a little on the crazy side, including me.
I had actually been working out the lyrics for my piece the week before we left for Chicago, continued working on them while in the Windy City, and finally finished them on the Tuesday night – just in time for the Wednesday night Tech Rehearsal at Cameo Theatre. So as you can probably imagine – I was nowhere near being memorized for my tech rehearsal and got about half way through the number when I completely blanked out and stood there like a deer in headlights – in 1960’s style lingerie. Let me bring you up to speed. The source material for the CME 2 participants was the seduction scene from “The Graduate” – so my initial thought was to do a campy, mid- 1960’s style strip tease to the tune of “Sun-Porch Cha Cha Cha” (the background score from the scene). Of course, because I love a challenge and I didn’t think a strip tease alone would be creative/crazy enough – I decided to write a song (lyrics and vocal melody) to accompany the tune, choreography, and the removal of articles of clothing… pill box hat and long white gloves included. My CME was a short musical scene titled, The Art of Seduction – a man (played by Christopher McCown of 91.5 WPRK and BRIAN FELDMAN’s Roommate – I owe him a HUGE thank you) and a woman (played by yours truly) are out for a drink, there is a lighting shift, and the woman sings the song “The Art of Seduction” (my derivative piece) to the audience as her ‘inner monologue’ – in reality she is doing a mental strip tease – but of course that isn’t nearly as interesting for the audience, so they get the real strip tease… And I did it! Wrote, Choreographed, and Starred in my own little musical piece.
After I blew it during the tech rehearsal – I went into over drive rehearsal mode – I refused to let that happen during a real performance, and I took the whole thing very seriously. I wanted it to come off as polished. And the multiple living room run-throughs paid off. I was featured in the two Friday night performances and my piece won in the category of “Expand your idea into a full-length production – and I will come see it” both times… So I was invited back Saturday night for the Legends Performance – and won it again – best of the best. It felt good – my hard work and freaking out paid off. What did I win? Three Hershey’s bars and the opportunity to expand my idea…. The Art of Seduction the musical? I think I have my work cut out me… maybe a cabaret.
On a quick side note – Saturday was spent shooting the music video for DOG POWERED ROBOT. It was a blast! We shot in front of a giant green screen, and had back up dancers t boot. I cant wait to see the final project, but for now there are a few photos from the shoot, and even a “doctored” photo of me in a fantasy world where rainbows are tangible and unicorns stare at you disapprovingly – courtesy of Evan Miga (see below). I will be appearing in this music video not only as the kick ass DPR singer strutting a cardboard corset but I will be in hologram form. Yes, my childhood fantasy of becoming a Hologram (think Jem and the Holograms) has finally come true.
To celebrate my CME killing er… winning I went out for a drink with my partner in crime – Christopher, and his local celebrity performance artist roommate, Brian Feldman. We hit Washburn Imports (a vintage furniture shop in the Ivanhoe district that also happens to have a bar that serves beer and wine). It was great conversation but I ended up getting a severe upset stomach – that felt like a huge ball of acid growing up into my esophagus – (apparently it was the combination of malbec and the sample of the jalapeño infused cocktail creation, called “Here’s to you Mrs. Robinson”, courtesy of Christina Ruiz’s contribution to CME2) It was so awful I couldn’t finish the wine, ended up eating two pieces of bread at the next bar – and ultimately needed to purchase pepto bismal max at the Walgreens across the way. All the while Brian and Chris were very concerned… They were so concerned that Brian drove my car home, and Chris followed. (I’m not kidding – I wanted to keel over.) We got back to my place – and finally the pepto kicked in – AND like MAGIC, the acid ball disappeared. I felt bad about cutting the evening short so I invited them to come in. For their sake they probably should have gone home at this point because I subjected them to an evening of narcissistic me (I know I’m a little narcissistic – I write a blog about me)… making them listen to my new tracks, showing them old pictures, and worst of all reading aloud one of my blog entries. They were really good sports because I would want to kill me for that. I’m a little embarrassed about it. We stayed up until some un-godly AM hour – but it was cool.
And now… I’m in NY and loving every second of it. but we’ll leave at that for now. I highly recommend going to see GaGa – it was one hell of a spectacle.