Thursday, September 25, 2008

It is ordinary to be an artist, Stephen Harper.

In light of our Prime Minister's comments about rich artists attending galas and whining about their grants, I would like to share the following thoughts:

1) In my previous post I mentioned that I'll be going to the SOM gala. Just to be clear, I almost never go to galas, and this one I feel is well-deserved as I wasn't paid to be on the Maria show. Most artists do a lot for very little (and sometimes nothing at all). I may not enjoy that one free glass of cheap white wine, but by God I will drink it.

2) Who are these rich artists that Stephen Harper is talking about? I'm not one of them, nor are my hundreds of artistic friends.

3) The $45M that Harper is cutting from the arts budget isn't as scary to me as his comments that indicate he finds no value in the arts at all. What will this mean for the future of the arts in our country?

I've joined this group on Facebook. It is a fast-growing hub of "ordinary people" (some of them artists - imagine!) where you can find informative articles and letters to Stephen Harper, like this one written by Wajdi Mouawad, Artistic Director of the French Theatre at the NAC. Some people in the group argue for the economic value of the arts, which is likely the only way the Republicans...I mean the Conservatives... will understand their relevance.

A Fun Craft
Get out your $20 bills and highlight the Gabrielle Roy quote on the back that says, "How could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The hills are almost alive.

The Sound of Music starts on October 3rd, though I'm pretty sure the first week or so is just preview performances. Check out the official site. I ran into Elicia a couple of weeks ago and she said things have been going very well at rehearsal. She's been run off her feet with long rehearsal days as well as a bunch of media commitments. Janna says the cast is awesome and it's gonna be a great show, so I'm thrilled to be going to the official opening night gala on October 15th. I'm gonna dress up all fancy-like and say things like, "darling, fetch me some more champagne, won't you?"

Here's a photo of Elicia in rehearsal with the Von Trapp kids. I love behind-the-scenes photos.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A little bit about Michael Moore and a little bit about me.

I just watched the new Michael Moore documentary called Slacker Uprising. It follows him in his quest in the months before the 2004 election to get University students off their butts and to the polling stations. He's releasing it now for free* in order to get Americans rallied for this November. Check it out here. My brief review: Really liked it, but could have done with less Roseanne Barr.

Tonight I'm shooting a commercial in the middle of the night (midnight till 3am) and in it I have to do something kind of embarrassing. More embarrassing than running in a bikini. But probably not as embarrassing as singing I'm Every Woman with no microphone on live national television. So. I'll let you know how it goes!

*I love that word, especially when it's followed by "food".

Monday, September 22, 2008

'ello, 'ow are oo?

I booked a couple of commercials that will shoot this week, and I have to do a British accent in one of them. I've been brushing up on it, which reminded me of that scene in Waiting for Guffman where Corky (Christopher Guest) is preparing for his My Fair Lady audition. Check it out here, and watch from 5:30 on.

I love that man. If you haven't seen Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show and A Mighty Wind you are missing out on some brilliant comedic acting. A friend of mine gave me the trilogy for Christmas, and I think that goes down as my favourite present of all time, next to the nail files my mom puts in my stocking every year.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An audition that made me smile.

Yesterday I had one of those feel-good auditions for a theatre company that I really want to work for. Though I was only asked to prepare one song, they asked for two more and a monologue so they could truly get a sense of what I have to offer. The AD was friendly and engaged, the accompanist was great, and everyone in the room really seemed to care about creating a positive experience for me. It was the kind of audition that makes it all seem worthwhile: the temping, the acting classes, the expensive headshots, the instability, the self-doubt, the rejection and on and on.

I'm glad I can still feel that way, 7 years into this career. With age I've gained cynicism and maybe a touch of bitterness, but that 23 year old who was just giddy to land her first professional role in Lettice & Loveage with Theatre & Company (never mind that the pay was minimal, as was the stage time) is still in there somewhere and resurfaces when she books a commercial, lands a role in a play, or has a great audition. Amid my worries about money and all those things I "should" be doing "at my age", I'm happy to be where I am.

I have taken risks.
I have followed my dream.
And it has been really hard sometimes.

Sometimes I dream of getting a "real" job; of having a health plan; of paying into a pension. Sometimes I wonder what's wrong with me that I haven't "grown up" yet. Sometimes I worry I'm "using" too many "quotation marks" to "emphasize my point". Y'know?

But you know what makes me feel better? Everyone experiences self-doubt. Everyone. We trick ourselves into thinking that everyone else has things figured out, but nobody does.

I find myself wondering where I'd be if I'd chosen an alternate road for my career. Maybe I'd be a neurosurgeon? But I know someday I'd be operating on someone's brain and I'd think, "God, I wish I was doing non-union, summerstock theatre right now" and I'd get all distracted and the big machine in the corner would start making that sustained beeping sound that indicates that the patient is dying, and I would be all like "oh crap, where was I?" and that is why I feel I made the right career choice.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Nobody wants me to get rats.

The following is a list of responses I've received to my saying, "I might get rats":

1) What?!?
2) Okkaaaaaaaay...
3) Well, that will make you popular.
4) Why?

I think the problem here is that people are thinking I'm going to get this kind of rat:

...while I'm actually thinking more along the lines of this:

See? Totally different things. It just goes to show you that beauty is the most important thing in the world, next to popularity.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

VIDEO BLOG - New Song.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I might get rats.

On a shoot yesterday I met Peter Church. 

Peter has rats in his house. On purpose. 

He brought them to the shoot because our scene was set in post-apocalyptic ruins (a.k.a. a scrapyard in Hamilton) and he thought his pets might add some colour.

We didn't end up using them, but they were so cute I don't think they looked the part anyway. I'm sure they're fine performers; they just weren't scary enough to play movie rats.

So Peter and I hung out all day, which meant I was also hanging out with his rats and they were making me go into this weird high-pitched, baby talk thing because of the cuteness overload. I'm not sure if this means I definitely should get rats, or definitely should not. Hmmm.

This morning I looked at the one area of my apartment that is free of clutter and thought, "I could put the cage there..."

Stay tuned.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A fun end-of-the-week treat (for me, not you).

Wheee! Nancy just called to say I booked a Leon's commercial. Let me tell you why commercials rock:

1) They give your parents visual proof that you are working.
2) You get to spend the day honing your craft.
3) You have your hair styled and makeup applied by a professional.
4) You get paid to make funny reactions to stuff.

Again, wheee!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Open Mics.

Sometimes I sing at open mic nights. They usually provide a safe, fun atmosphere in which to try out new material. They also encourage self-indulgence. If you ever want to hear a painfully long song that repeats the chorus, like, 40 times and doesn't really say anything new after the second verse, you should go to an open mic night. If you want to sing like you're alone in your apartment and no one is listening, perform at an open mic night. If you want to see a colourful mix of Tori Amos-esque chicks, 70-yr-old ex-hippies, random crazy people, and new musical theatre grads from Sheridan College, an open mic is the place to be.

They're fun. And painful. And beautiful. And long. But most of all, they're open.