Sunday, November 30, 2008

benefit show pics

Just thought I would post some pics from the benefit show this past Monday night.

These were taken by the awesome Dave Vick.

Not a whole lot going on tonight other than the crushing disappointment of finding out my flight home was cancelled tonight. 

So yeah, I am still in the lovely Toronto. Still missing home.  But I am catching a flight early tomorrow morning...Hopefully the weather is agreeable.  

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I am not a rock star (not yet, anyway), and I really love christmas

    I don't have a ton of things to say. 

    I mean, I could talk about the fact that I had 2 shows today and stayed up until the very rock star hour of 5 am talking to none other than my dear friend Jay.  I could also mention that I was not a rock star today, but instead was a musical theater performer, and therefore acting like a rock star the night before did nothing to help me and everything to leave me utterly and completely exhausted today.  Cause you know what? I am really an 8-10 hour of sleep a night kind of girl; when I get about five, the day feels longer. Or maybe I am just slower.  Ugh.  

  Or I could talk about how lately I have become rather obsessed with Chipotle. They serve these delicious fajita burritos in the warmest and softest tortillas that I have ever had the pleasure of encountering.  Plus, I have really become adventurous in my eating; I mean, I still pick out the onions when I can, but every once in a while they bypass my careful examination and I end up eating one and to my extreme shock the world doesn't end nor do they jump start my gag reflex into action and generally I am okay. Probably even healthier because of it.  So, I am not going to do anything crazy like eat an onion on purpose or anything, but I will say if one happens to go down the hatch, than I guess that's sort of okay.  But just sort of.  

  I could also mention that I have been playing an assortment of Christmas music and I love it, love it, love it.  It paints such a vivid picture of the whole heart of this celebration; of the pointed and powerful thoughts that God has towards us; that knowing that His thoughts are indeed good and helpful and perfect makes life bearable, even wonderful.  I mean, when the angels whispered the secret of heaven to those long ago shepherds, thereby letting us all know once and for all that God had this plan that was motivated by nothing but peace and goodwill towards man--well, the whole universe breathed a collective sigh of relief, because if God wanted that for us, then well, that's what was gonna happen.  

  It's beautiful, isn't it? Simple. But revelatory of an urgent love from a God who is more powerful than a nuclear bomb, bigger than every galaxy, smarter than any Einstein or Da Vinci, but then lays that power aside and becomes small, helpless, even, as he takes the form of a baby born to a simple woman and laying in a crude manger.  What a breathtaking paradox. He's not just God from afar, God who doesn't understand our meager struggles and pathetic attempts at living right; he is now God with us. Infinitesimally Emmanuel. Human, and therefore subject to our conflicts, compatible to our emotions and desires.  

  And yet he chose the right way where we would choose the wrong.  He loves. Always. He's perfect, always.  And that is why he can take all our wrongness, our weakness, the ugly parts about us, the confusing parts about us and make us right. Make sense of us. Make us clean, loving, good.  

 And it all started with God's idea of peace and goodwill towards us. And then this tiny little baby, this Son of God, who grew up and literally took on the world and fixed it.  Fixed me.  

I love Christmas and all the poetry of the story behind it. I love what it means for me.  

So, I guess I found something to say after all.  

Friday, November 28, 2008

that's right, PA

   I have to admit, I am a huge fan of good old Pennsylvania.  I was born there. Specifically, in a little blue house and even more specifically, sound asleep.

Right, so I was raised on 21 acres of land in PA. 

It was perfect.

I am talking, green-rolling-hills, meandering streams, lots of trees for climbing and dirt paths for walking perfect.  

And apparently, I am not the only one who loves PA.  Apparently, somebody else thought that it would be a really good idea to let Canadians know just how awesome of a place it is.  

And the best way to represent the fantastic qualities of PA--I mean, the absolute pin-point portrayal of my favorite state is what else? 

 A bear. A huge bear, walking around with shopping bags in paw. Perfect, right?

  So this humongous billboard is right smack in the middle of Dundas Square, a sort of smaller version of Times Square.  And it's just a simple advertisement for nothing other than the great state of Pennsylvania.  

  And I think it's pretty funny.  So, way to go PA.  I hope you appreciate your shout-out in Canada; I know I sure do.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

had to honor this tradition of giving thanks.

   Happy Thanksgiving!

   Our dear company managers arranged a catered early dinner for us at the King Edward Hotel, American-style, with turkey and cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie and apple cobbler.   
It was absolutely lovely.  Though, we had to show some restraint in the amounts of food we ate considering we did have a show later in the day. And that show involves leotards. And dancing. And preferably not throwing up.

And you don't think I forgot about my pet shark, Bruce, do you?
On the holidays I try to be kind to animals as well, so I let Bruce swim around in his element.
  So, I can tell you what Bruce was thankful for today...
   Since Donna, my head of wardrobe has prohibited him from my shoe box, I try to make it up to him and let him swim around a little...It's the least I can do.

    I sort of forgot about him, though, and left him in the bathtub.  I didn't remember that's where he was until Gabi just recently came out of the bathroom, having just showered, and told me that it's kind of weird to step into the shower and see Bruce grinning up at her with all those teeth.  


   So, I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving day.  Mine didn't feel quite the same; I miss my dear family and Drew so much.  But, I am grateful for the lovely people who I am with. They make me laugh until I can hardly breathe sometimes.  They let me borrow their pointe shoes (uh, thanks, Kevin).  They have perfectly coifed hair (um, Ian). They remind me that they will be holding mandatory weigh-ins in Philly (bring it, John). They stretch my feet (ouch, Brandon).  They brag to everyone they know about how quickly I read the Twilight Series books (what a proud stage mom, Gabi).  And they come back from time to time to hold shabbats (Emily, you cannot stay away, and I am glad!). I am grateful for a lot this year, but right now I will say that I am especially grateful for friends.

  So thank you, God, for all of them. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

this health care is NOT free.

   So much for free health care for all in Canada.

    I am still really mad about this, but I will try to be nice.

    I have been sick now for over a week and I really need my voice to come back in full strength. Last night's show was difficult and I didn't want to hurt my voice further by trying to project on a hoarse voice.  

   So I called out today and decided that I should see a doctor.  You know, to get medicine if that's necessary. To rule out a sinus infection.  To get better so I can go back to work.  

   I call the number of one of the doctors on the city sheet that our company manager gave us.  Perfect, turns out it's only a few blocks from my apartment and they have an opening right now.  

  I get there. The receptionist asks for my Canadian health care card.  I tell her I am American and find out that they don't take American health insurance.  Great.  I ask her how much the cost will be for the visit and she says very nonchalantly, No more than...$300. What? I think. Well, if it's anywhere even near $300, then I should just go because I really can't afford that fee, I say. 

  She looks at me pointedly. You're a performer, right? Yeah, I agree. And you're sick? Yeah, I lost my voice, I say.  Well, at least stay and talk to the doctor; he's very reasonable and we can work something out with you, I am sure.

  So I wait. The doctor walks out, Dr. Hand, which I think is a funny name. I tell him that I am not Canadian and so am not covered and ask how much the fee will be.  He says, Don't you worry about a thing; we can work all that out. We have to make sure that you are better.

  But then he asks me if he can leave for like 10 minutes; turns out he needs to see a doctor that can only see him right then.  I find this ironic and say with a half-smile, Are you sick? 

  The irony is lost on him and he just ignores my inquiry. 

   While I am waiting, I keep worrying about the as-of-yet unnamed fee, so I stand up, go to the receptionist and say, Hey, I think I should just leave. I really don't want to pay a ton of money to be told that I just  have a cold...Once again, she assures me, Don't worry--he will work something out with you.  It will be fine. You need to get better right? 

   So I sit back down. And I wait for Dr. Hand to return from his doctor's visit.  

   Finally, he comes back and escorts me into a room.  The first thing he says is, I can tell you are anxious about the cost; don't be, just relax. Fine. I try to relax. I tell him about losing my voice, I tell him that I am afraid it might be a sinus infection; I tell him I've been sick for over a week and need to get better.  See, whenever anything starts effecting my voice, I instantly get this irrational fear that maybe something is really wrong; that maybe my voice will never become normal again.  Stupid, I know; but this doctor unwittingly preyed upon those fears as he says, Let's take a look at your vocal chords.

   Please God, let my vocal chords be okay, I think.  

    Dr. Hand readies this little apparatus that he says will first thread up my nose, then drop down my throat. This will enable him to look at everything closely.  He asks if I've ever had this done before, I tell him no.  He says it won't hurt at all.

   He is wrong.  At least, it is extremely uncomfortable. It feels horrible, all kinds of wrong.  As he drops it down my throat and then makes me start talking, I convulsively start gagging and then coughing. It's a reflex that I can't help.  At this, he dispassionately, if not somewhat patronizingly, says, Please cover your mouth when you cough.

   As if I was just coughing for fun and not trying to refrain from throwing up on Dr. Hand. I mean, given the choice between simply coughing on him or throwing up, I thought I was taking the polite route. But, I immediately cover my mouth with my hand.  And at this point, I know that I don't like him.  

   He tells me my vocal chords look fine.  And I am happy about that.  Also, that I have a virus. Specifically, a Toronto virus, whatever the heck that means. Oh yeah, and he literally writes on a prescription pad for me to "drink hot water with honey."  

   Then he gets down to business. I would normally charge someone 4 to 5 hundred dollars for this visit, but I understand that you think even three hundred is too much.  Yeah, I agree, I can't afford that. Well, he says, You have to understand that this is my living. Of course, I say enthusiastically, I understand that. He goes on, Can you pay 2 hundred? 


   I guess I will pay whatever I have to, I capitulate. Great, then 2 hundred it is, he quickly says, ending the discussion.

   Two. Hundred. dollars. To be told that I have a stupid virus...I walk out to pay the receptionist, literally fighting back tears at this colossal waste of money.  She looks up at me and says in her practiced and honeyed voice, I hope that he helped you. I give her a pointed look and say in a flat, emotionless voice, He told me to drink hot water with honey in it.  

   And I promptly leave the room.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

back to work

   Kristine Urich sounded real pretty tonight. 

   And by real pretty, I mean off-key and hoarse.  Um, nice.

    I guess last night really took a toll on my voice; but I am so grateful that I had it last night that I don't mind so much that there's barely any left now.  I mean, if I had to choose one or the other, that's what I would have picked. Still, one of the things that has always been difficult for me to handle is a hoarse voice; it just irritates me so much to not be able to sing.  You know, simple melodies around the house, while just walking around, or um, while doing your job.  I love singing so much, that to not really be able to do it is very difficult psychologically, even.    

   But my friends on the line thought my voice sounded hilarious tonight.  My pitiful little rendition of Three Blind Mice and Jingle Bells inspired peels of laughter behind me.  Not to mention my bass voice as I sang shower.  

   Good stuff.  I really hope my voice feels better soon.  

   On a good note, Drew and I had such a fun time together these past three days.  I cannot stress how proud I am of him as he played last night; he's so talented, it's stupid.  I said good-bye to him, but it wasn't so bad as good-byes go since I will be seeing him Sunday when he picks me up at the good old Philly airport.  

    And I finally capitulated and gave in to the craze that has been sweeping our cast and read that book, Twilight. I uh, read it in one day.  It's that good of a read.  I am now onto the second book, New Moon, and I look forward to not talking the rest of the night and just diving deeper into that story.  Wow, I love a good book.  Also, this page-turner is a welcome change from the book I have been reading which literally chronicles Michelangelo frescoing the Sistine Chapel. Seriously. And it is text-book dry. No need to try to improve on that exciting story with narrative, character development, or anything close to exciting such as a protagonist, I suppose. Nope, just give the facts of how they made azure out of ground glass and that it was as costly as gold...Okay, so the book is boring, but honestly it is a little bit interesting.  

  Which is why I have continued to read it.  I mean, I wouldn't have known how they made the pigment azure, had I not read it, so there's that.  

   Right, but I am going to read now. And not about anybody frescoing anything, either.

Monday, November 24, 2008

yay--it went well!!!

    The benefit concert went great tonight.  I had a voice (thank you for your prayers!), it wasn't at its best, I suppose, but I am not about to get all overly critical on myself.  I sounded a little more like the raspy vocal stylings of Pink than normal, but oh well. The show was actually great fun, and dear Drew did just about everything but play the kazoo on stage.  

    Seriously, poor guy travels all the way up here and he instantly gets put to work.  He learned all 10 of Clyde's songs--not to mention some of the songs that he didn't know of mine.  He was great; it was so wonderful to be on stage with him. It makes a big difference, just having him nearby as I sing and play--especially when he lends his musical abilities to the mix.  

   Clyde sounded awesome, too.  You wouldn't have known that his band (Drew on bass, Rick on drums, and Clyde--as well as Colt and myself singing some background vocals) only rehearsed for the first time last night. Seriously, they rocked it.  

  And again, the music was for a good cause--people are going to be blessed and helped by the proceeds--so that's that.  

   And on a more personal note, there is nothing like performing music that comes from within.  It's a high unlike any other; a gutsy transparency that, once revealed, leaves you wondering how you could live without sharing your soul like that.  Without telling your story in melody, syntax, and chords.  It's truly amazing and I am changed because of it.

  Also, I really enjoy supporting somebody else's gig.  Like I already said, I did some BG vocals for Clyde's set, as well as played keys for one of his songs.  It is so fun to be a little left of the spotlight as well.  Not nearly as much of the pressure, but a ton of enjoyment in being a part of the band. 

   Anyway, tonight was amazing.  

  My voice hurts, as do my feet (heels, stupid, heels...).  I am so glad it's over and if my voice isn't very strong to play Kristine Urich tomorrow, well no big deal.  I don't know if you've heard, but she can't sing so well, anyway.    

Sunday, November 23, 2008


   Hey guys.  I just wanted to say I appreciate all (or most, haha) of the comments I get here. I love the fact that you stop by and find what I write interesting at all.  Tonight, I would like to just ask for one thing: some good old fashioned prayers!!!

   I have a show tomorrow night of original music that I am doing for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids and well, tonight I lost my voice.  So, I am not talking for the rest of the evening, resting up, steaming, eating chips, drinking tea, doing everything I can think of to get better naturally...But I need some supernatural help too.  I need to wake up tomorrow and be able to sing freely. 

   So, please say a prayer--or prayers--for me. Thanks!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

first impressions

    Drew's here. I told him to meet me under the Christmas tree in the middle of Dundas Square. Just like a movie. And just like a movie, he was there, waiting for me after my show, with a huge bass guitar, a computer, and a tiny carry-on that looked like it fit about two pair of underwear and that's it.  It's amazing how little men can get by on.  

    We went to a diner for a late dinner and the waitress commented on all of Drew's stuff, saying, You sure don't travel light, huh? I thought about my myriad of bags, my huge roller suitcase, and my trunk that could fit Rhode Island inside and thought, You have no idea...

   We got home to an empty apartment, which was nice.  I had two shows worth of filth on me; Drew had only God knows what worth of filth on him...So, we decided to shower.  In this apartment, there has been an unlocked door policy in the bathroom, that way someone could use the toilet, brush their teeth or whatever, while someone else is showering. No big deal, right?

  But the open door policy wasn't exactly what I had in mind when Drew was with me. I'm just saying.

  Well, so we are showering and um, we hear this really loud knock on the door.  I hesitantly say, Uh, someone's in here (duh, they know that--because surprisingly enough the door was locked. Which is why they knocked.).

   Gabi says, I am sorry but there are a few of us and we really need to use the toilet.
   I say, ...Okay...Well, Drew's in here, too. 


    We think they leave...But then we hear one more slight knock.  It's Amos, one of the guys who has recently joined the tour.  He says, The others went downstairs, but well, I didn't and I do really need the toilet...

   I look at Drew, he says, No big deal, Jess, this curtain isn't going anywhere.

   Amos walks in. He uses the toilet. Drew and I are in the shower.  Amos tells Drew how happy he is to meet him, Drew reciprocates.  I try not to laugh because honestly, I never thought Drew would meet one of my friends this way. Ever.

  Fast-forward, Drew finally meets Amos face-to-face. He tells him that it is nice to put a face with the voice. We all laugh.  And that is how Drew met Amos and the toilet and the shower were the scenery.  Only on tour, I think.     

Friday, November 21, 2008


  SHHHHHHHH! Please don't talk too loudly right now, it's 12:51 and almost everyone in my apartment is asleep.  So, don't slam doors, don't walk on the squeaky boards, and don't do dishes...Cause remember? It's 12:51!!!!

  Um, that's 12:51 p.m., by the way. Not a.m.  

  Welcome to the glamorous life of theater.  We stay up late, eat dinner past midnight usually, and hardly ever see morning. Unless we have a matinee, and then it feels like a 2 o'clock show is at the first light of dawn for us.

   The other day, I had to go down to the super's office in order to ask them something about a refund they owe me.  She didn't have the pertinent information at the time, so asked when she could call me in the morning, aka, what time do I wake up?  

   I pause and think for a moment, do not have the courage to tell her the real time I wake up, and so say, Uh, about 10:30...

   At hearing me say 10:30 (which is earlier than I usually wake up, to be honest), she stifles laughter and I immediately feel the need to explain that I work at night and therefore end up sleeping later than normal blah blah blah...She doesn't really care and to be honest it isn't a big deal and I don't have to explain it to her.

   But I still did.  
   I guess I realize that most of the world is up and working much earlier than me... 

   But back to the point, please be very very quiet right now, because it's almost 1 o'clock and all my roommates are sleeping...;-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

          Today the snow started falling and after our first show of the day I was pleasantly surprised to find that it still hadn't stopped.  Nor had it even stopped after our second show of the day...

   Do you see the big blue Christmas tree behind us?  Our theater is right at the Times-Square-ish sort of place here in Toronto. I love where it is--especially now that it's the Christmas season and everything is made to look better with greens and bows and sparkles and lights.  And here, instead of the famous window dressing that Macy's has every year in NYC, the Hudson Bay Company (est. in the 1500's, I am pretty sure!) bedazzles us with beautiful windows that depict some sort of fairy-tale that looks absolutely enchanting.  
    Don't you love the snowflakes? I stopped for a small bag of fries at McDonalds to eat on my walk from the subway to my home; not exactly hot cocoa and marshmallows, but hey, it was hot, at least, and delicious!
  I have always, for as long as I can remember, hoped hoped hoped for snow during the winter months. Being in snowy Toronto right now does something good to my soul.
   An awesome random fact: did you know that when ordering hot chocolate from Starbucks you can get a tall size, but ask for it in a Verdi cup?  That way, if you happen to LOVE whipped cream like I do, then they can put even more of it on top...My friend Ian had them do that for me the other night (cause he knows how much I love whipped cream, I guess) and it was a positively brilliant idea!

  Also, since starting to collect money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids last Friday night, our company has taken in over $20,000!!! Woo-hoo! I have stood at the door twice now, with upside down top hat in hand to collect donations, and have been so overcome by peoples' generosity.  Not just monetarily, either; the patrons have very kind things to say as well.  Tonight, while one of my castmates was collecting the donations, a little old lady who had to be 90 if she was a day rolled up to her in her automatic wheelchair, leaned in close, and said, I watched the whole show, and didn't see one pair of chubby legs--not ONE pair!  You tell the other ladies I said that; no chubby legs!!!!

   When she informed me of this, I couldn't help but crack up, while still feeling grateful for the compliment. We both agreed that she probably had a fine pair of gams in her day.

    Anyway, that's all I have to say tonight. Enjoy the pictures of snow and hopefully you'll wake up to a winter wonderland before too long (that is, if you enjoy the snow like I do)!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

egg on my face

       Leave it to me to get a music note in the alternative scene at the end of the show.

        The, ah, scene that has no singing. No harmonizing. No nothing that has anything to do with music at all...

       But, our music director pokes his head into my dressing room at about 15 minutes till curtain and says, Jess, after Connie's line and before you're line there is a musical button that you need to wait for before you speak.

                 There is? I say, since I have been doing this for a long time now and have never even heard about it before. Yeah, he says, I've been meaning to tell you for...six months now. 

                   Um, ok, I say.

                 So, it's the end of the show.  We are seriously discussing what we would do if we couldn't dance anymore.  Connie says her line, and I am wondering what the heck that musical button sounds like, hoping I'll know it when I hear it...She finishes her line, wait for it, wait for it...I hear something from the pit...And then I jump forward and finally say my line.


                And meanwhile Connie has turned around and is waiting for me to talk, pointedly looking at me, wondering why I haven't yet, and the rest of the cast thinks that I just dropped my line.

                Thanks for that note...

                I spoke to my stage manager tonight and politely told him that I would no longer be waiting for that obscure musical cue and therefore looking like an idiot before I say my line in the alternative scene.  

                And like I said--leave it to me to get a music note in an acting scene.  

Monday, November 17, 2008


   Lately, I have been making cards.  Maybe it's a girl thing (at least, there aren't many guys I know who love cards as much as I do), or maybe it's just a me thing. But the thing is, stationary shops are some of my favorite places; I could and have spent hours in them, picking out just the right card for somebody.  

   Drew is not a great lover of cards, but for my sake, he has (mostly) remembered to pick out a special card for me when the occasion calls for it.  In fact, the last two anniversaries we celebrated ended up with me receiving the exact same card from him. Both times.  The second time I opened the card, I still really liked it. I read it, exclaimed over how pretty is was, and then told him that I liked it even better than the last time he gave it to me.  Huh? he said.  So I proceeded to go to my drawer and pull out an identical, pale green card that says wife in a tiny circle in the center so that I could show it to him.

   We both had a good laugh over it.  

    Anyway, I thought I would share the captions for the cards I've recently made for some very special people.  Bear in mind, they generally accompany a picture of some sort, so you'll have to use your imagination...

      But I thought lightning never strikes twice in the same place, said the girl. Well, said the fairy, that is only partly true. If it is the good kind of lightning--the kind that makes life brighter, more vibrant, and burns away the bad stuff--then you keep watching. Because it will certainly strike again.

     Looking ahead at the bend in the road, he wondered if he was on the right path. But then he remembered how a straight road is everything that he's not--boring and predictable--and he decided right then and there that this next surprise would be good.

     She saw how the flower bravely unfurled and realized she could do it too.

     Seeing the tree with its roots deep in the ground and its limbs daring to touch the heavens made him stand a little taller and bravely speak his dreams aloud for the first time.

      He thought about Batman a lot and often asked his mom what he could do to help make the world a better place. She said the same thing every time, That's easy. You just keep singing.

      She quietly stepped into the spotlight sensing their expectations with her own trepidation. But all she had to do was start to dance, because then she knew she had all the grace and beauty that she needed.       

      So, there you go.  I had a really fun time making them, and plan to make more.  I even bought some construction paper, some markers (awesomely called pip-squeeks), and was given some glue from a friend to aid in the process.  Hopefully the cards will become more sophisticated than construction paper at some point, but you gotta start somewhere, I guess.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

sunday. and hamburgers.

    My apartment is really cold, and at its coldest for some reason in my room. This leads me to the conclusion that buying my travel fan/heater was one of the best purchases I have made to date.  

     I was up really late last night. I kept feeling hungry, but when I would get up to eat, as soon as I got back into bed my stomach immediately felt empty again, like a strange sort of magic was at work.  Or maybe I just didn't eat enough.  By the time 5 am rolled around, I was struck by a muse to write lyrics for a new song, and decided to turn the light on and just go with it.  The song is a sad one, so it made me cry. I haven't looked at the lyrics today yet; I wonder if they are half good. 

    I didn't get to the theater until 1:15, which is late for me when we have a 2 o'clock matinee.  It's funny, having only one show on Sunday almost feels like I don't have to work at all.  Maybe that kind of thinking was what led me to getting to the theater later than normal.  And not warming up as thoroughly as usual.  And my hair sticking up.  Wait, no--that was because I went to bed with it wet last night...  

   After the show, a bunch of us went to a farewell dinner for our latest Paul replacement, Bryan (Kevin, who is usually our Paul had an appendectomy a month ago and has been recovering ever since, but will be back in the show on Tuesday).  The thing about me that is very important--and if you forget everything I've ever told you about myself but this, that'd probably be okay considering this might be the most important factor anyway...Right, which is that I HATE MAYONNAISE.  Hate it.  It ruins any perfectly good sandwich or hamburger or day.  

   So as I said before, I had been hungry all night, had only eaten cereal upon getting up, had done a matinee and was so famished by this point that I was ready for the word's biggest hamburger--ordered of course without mayonnaise (ew, barf). I waited patiently for it to come out, but when it finally did, saw with unchecked disappointment that it was slathered in mayo (ew, barf).  I politely asked the server for a new bun, which he brought in a jiff, and then told me that I could order any desert--on the house--because of his faux pas.  Well, awesome.  So, I ate the burger in less time than it took me to type this paragraph and got to ordering a huge cookie topped with ice cream and fudge or some such decadent accoutrement.  I guess that the waiter had to pretend it was my birthday, though, in order to give it to me pro bono because as he brought it out, it was lit with a sparkler and he made a huge spectacle of saying happy birthday over and over again with a twinkle in his eye; the cast caught on and before I knew it, 20 people were singing happy birthday to me.

    In November. And my birthday is in June. Lol.

    Even the guy sitting behind us who was only trying to eat a burger and watch some football in peace told me happy birthday before the evening was over.  Lol again, I guess.  

   Then Gabi and I went to church.  We found a 6 o'clock service downtown--Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship Central, is what it is called (not the most romantic name for a gathering of worshippers, but it will do, I suppose), and it was a young adult service.  

   Well, it made me really happy and nostalgic all at once.  It was so wonderful to be in such a sweet atmosphere of worship; there was so much freedom in the room, so much grace.  Really, this kind of church was very non-traditional--one guy's act of worship was eating a hamburger as he sat cross-legged in the corner of the room. Hmm, it occurs to me that this is the third reference I have made to hamburgers in this post--hamburger is a recurring theme for me today, I guess.  As themes go, not an altogether bad one, I suppose; though, I guess if one were a cow, they would have to disagree.

   But back to church.  Alhough it was non-traditional, it was wholly centered on God; loving Him, being loved by Him. The band had a hard time deciding what key to be in sometimes, though. At one point, the worship leader even said, Come on, you guys! And I am pretty sure she wasn't talking to us.  The message was good--all about God the Father and how we can have wrong ideas of who He is. How he isn't angry at us, isn't waiting for us to screw up;  He invites conversation with us, is for us and how that makes all the difference in our perspective, and I am going to go so far as to say that it even makes a difference in the world.  Knowing that you are absolutely, can't-do-a-darn-thing-to-change-it loved by a perfect, powerful, kind, and supreme Person softens the heart with hope for good things.  And people who have hope in their hearts become better people, making the world a better place, right?  

   Honestly, I miss getting to go to church regularly.  It is a very special place.  But what is really special is my church and all the beautiful people who make it what it is.  I can't wait to go back soon...

  It is Sunday night and still early by my count.  I have a day off tomorrow. This is very good news, indeed. 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

on my mind.

  Okay, I go through seasons of being, um...slightly...shall we say, occupied with certain things. Not obsessed, per se. Well, maybe just slightly obsessed. Lately, the things that have been the regulars inside my mind include:

  • The color yellow. I love the lightness of it, how cheerful it is, how striking. When I shop--which isn't much at all recently, because I have been trying to keep some loonies and toonies in the bank--I am inevitably drawn to anything that is yellow.  So much so, in fact, that I usually have to touch it. Hmm. Now you probably think I am a little weird.
  • The music from a band called The Casting Out (darby, my sister-in-law, used to be in this band and plays and sings in their music that I have on my ipod; my brother Josh also is involved with them). Anyway, I have been listening to the five songs that I have of theirs a ton lately. 
  • Pirouettes.  These are turns. For some reason, I think about them a lot right now.  I think about doing them, and I often have to refrain from just busting one out wherever I am.  But sometimes I don't even refrain; I just turn cause if not, I'll keep thinking about it. 
  • The very best way to sound off-key when I sing three blind mice during the show.  Really, I often sing it under my breath, trying to sound tone-deaf, trying to sound believable, trying to sound funny.  Um, really really trying.  It's a little crazy.  
  • Brick-breaker. It's a game that is on my blackberry--actually, the only game that is on my blackberry.  I play it on the subway.  My subway trip to the theater is 8 minutes, meaning that I play about 16 minutes of brick-breaker a day.  It's a fun, frustrating game and just today I got a new high score...So, I'm pretty much awesome.  Until tomorrow when I die in like the 1st round. 
   Well, that's the list for right now.  Believe me, this list is not exhaustive; but these are the repeats. Oh, and I will leave you with this image:

         Me. Wearing a child's robot sweatshirt from Walmart (sold out guys, sorry).  Sweet, I know.
*robot sweatshirt courtesy of Kevin Santos*

Friday, November 14, 2008

this really is a short post (and you thought it couldn't happen).

    This will be short, I promise (I know, I know, you'll believe it when you see it...).

    Just wanted to say that there were two really good things that happened at the show tonight:

  • ACL started collecting donations towards Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids immediately following the show.  The lights come up after our endless amounts of kicks, and we give a cute little speech about the good any money they give could do and if everyone would give just one dollar, we could raise $2000 tonight alone; then, four of us go to the exits in our bedazzling costumes, gold hat in hand (turned upside down, of course), and collect for a good cause. It's awesome.
  • Okay, so maybe this is slightly selfish, but the fact that we stay onstage when the lights come back up to talk about what we are doing gives the audience a chance to applaud us.  I guess they think that it is a real curtain call or something (if you've never seen the show, we don't really have a curtain call, just a final chorus line in which we kick till the lights fade to black so a lot of times audiences don't really know it's their last chance to clap). Anyway, tonight when the lights came back up and we were all standing on stage smiling the audience literally jumped to their feet and started clapping.  It was so nice to see how much they appreciated the show...
  • Oh and one more thing (I guess I had three awesome things happen, but this wasn't at the show, so I was right in the first place): I finally saw School of Rock and it was a great film.  Jack Black is such a talented actor/musician/singer and I can't think of many other actors who could play that role so fantastically.  Anyway, I loved it.  
       That's all.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

blue suede shoes

        My heart is so full, so inspired right now, I barely even know where to start.  Do you ever just have those moments when life makes sense?  When you are perfectly content to just be in the moment?  You forget to look around to see what everybody else is doing because you are just listening, taking it in, letting your carefully placed guard down so that your heart can be left with a clear impression. 

        Because you don't want to miss a thing.  

        And you become soft, vulnerable, and before you know it, something good has gotten in you and your life is bigger because of it.  Or maybe you just feel smaller from the weight of it, but whatever it is, it's good.  And you're changed.

         See, I just spent three hours listening to some incredible live jazz.  

          I mean sweating, no holds barred, jazz musicians just playing for their lives. I could have watched the different piano players all night long, especially when it came time for a solo (which happened about every other minute, I'd say) and every one of their 10 fingers danced deftly over those keys (the sad thing about that last sentence is that I really had to pause for a second because I couldn't remember if we have 10 or 20's late, friends, please be kind...).  When the music is perfect, when the rhythms are locked in a pace that you've been waiting for, and there's an individual freedom that exists despite the fact that there's a strong commitment in place to a certain key, there's a visceral part of me that responds.  I can't help but move a little--sometimes a lot--and it's in these moments that I know that dance isn't necessarily or strictly an art form; it is sometimes, simply stated, the only appropriate response that exists to the kind of music that speaks to the soul.  

          There is a vivid scene from C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia in which Aslan is creating the world of Narnia through song.  He sits over a vast emptiness and simply starts to sing this inspired, creative song, and the land, in utter response to this permeating music, grows; water divides from land, trees differentiate from grass, and the animals start to form. It is beautiful and so right in that I think Lewis got the importance of music and how it grows good things, how it takes a void and fills it. 

        And we need only respond.  

         I did my fair share of dancing tonight, too.  One guy I danced with kept calling me slinky, which, the more I thought about it, the more I realized is just a really weird word and by maybe the third or fourth time he called me slinky, I was sure I didn't want to dance with him anymore.  So I didn't.  Oh, and I danced in my, ah, high-tops since I did not realize that I was going to be visiting this jazz club before I left for the theater tonight.  But who cares, really?  I dance enough in heels as it is.

         Another favorite moment of the night was while I was on the dance floor: I glance over and see a couple who look to be somewhere in their eighties, probably with a hobbit or two far back in their respective family trees, judging from their stature.  He was wearing a very respectable suit, she had on a nice dress with a belt smartly cinched around a waist that had thickened through the years.  She was slightly taller than him, but it could have been the heels, now that I think about it.  Anyway, they were whirling around, dancing, becoming younger with each step to the music, each rotation completed in each other's arms.  
          I could only imagine how many times they had done exactly what they were doing right then. And it sure seemed like it never got old for them; it sure seemed like their love hadn't dissipated through the years, either. 

           Tonight was really special.  Music. Dance. Friends. A very old couple.  It gets better sometimes, I guess, but not so often.  


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

that's rude

   I think the older I get, the more, ahem, bold I get.

   Like, I don't just sit back and let people be rude. Or at least, I try not to.  And when I am appalled at how another behaves, and if it is in any way directed towards me, then I will say something.  Hopefully, with kindness as the intent...

  For instance, I was at the gym yesterday, you know, minding my own business at the free weights, just standing in front of the mirror doing curls. This lady walks up, positions herself directly behind me and is about to start doing her own curls.  She hesitates and pointedly looks at me.  I continue to work out. She continues to stare.  Then, her staring progresses into something else as she takes her hand, and with an annoyed look fixed on her features, proceeds to start shooing me away.


   She is now definitively gesturing that I should move, because she can't see herself, because she parked herself behind me in the first place.  I wish, though, that you could see the look that was on her face, because it really did speak volumes; it was somewhere between smug and condescending, but smack in the middle of rude.  

   So I turn around and gaze at her with a huge question mark on my face.  Truly, you couldn't mistake my look.  At her continued gesturing, I finally say, Excuse me?  

    Well, I didn't know if you wanted to move so that I wouldn't hit you, she states.
    Well, I didn't know if you wanted to use words and actually ask me to move and say please, as well, I answer.  

    At this, she simply says, I didn't know if you could hear me because of your headphones...
    I can hear just fine, I say, very deliberately.  

    And with that, I move over for her to have the space that she so obviously wants.  

     But honestly, some people are just so rude.  Now, had that lady come up and maybe tapped me on the shoulder to get my attention (since she was so positive that I couldn't hear), and when she had it, simply said, Would you mind moving over, please? I would have moved in a heartbeat.  But her rude gestures, as if I were a dog, simply put, burned me up.

    And yes, I said something.  Apparently it is not just 3 year olds who need to be reminded to use their words and say please.  Hopefully the next time she wants someone to move, she will get her way in a less obnoxious manner.  I mean, whatever happened to good manners? Being polite? Using words, for goodness' sake?!

   Okay, just had to share.  As my nephew Ollie would say, that's it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


    Sometimes you need to look at something beautiful. Let it be new.  Become surprised by life again, by the subtle way colors change in nature, reminding you that maybe you aren't done yet, either; that maybe there are some good changes that are ruminating within, just on the brink of a metamorphosis.  

   Aren't the colors of these leaves just startling? 

   You think you have life all figured out, that you have a good idea of what fall is like, and if asked, you could say something like, It's when the air turns a little sharper, a little cooler, the leaves change color and start to fall while the days become shorter...And you would answer correctly, but then, you see it and realize you completely forgot the magic of fall.  

   And it's been a whole year since last you'd seen it. Though honestly, the moment you are struck anew by the change all around, you look and look at it with eyes as wide as a child's, with eyes that for all purposes, might have never seen this season, this brilliance before, because it's that new.  

   And you fall in love with life again.  You draw comfort from the fact that God is not simply utilitarian, not just pragmatic in his thinking and his designs; no, he is the first Romantic, the ultimate Dreamer, the Poet that wrote your existence and somehow finds cadence in yesterday, bringing them into some kind of rhythm with today, even making it rhyme with tomorrow, as difficult as that can be to believe.  

   He doesn't just decide that the leaves should fall, that the trees should become barren before the long winter, He colors them first, creating strokes of brilliance as we walk to work, to meet a friend, to get in our car and drive far from our homes.  He creates beauty all around us, and most especially, within us.  

  And I am struck by it.  I hope to never grow used to beauty, never feel like I've seen it all. I hope that, no matter how many days I am gifted on this earth, I will be surprised by the beauty of the day...

*picture was taken outside our home here in Toronto by Gabi Ruiz*

Monday, November 10, 2008

Toronto: the good vs. the bad

Things That Are Awesome About Toronto So Far:

  • I feel safe walking home.
  • the subway comes very often, there's a video screen that reports how many minutes until the next train arrives (it's never been more than 4), and it's so clean.
  • I heard an announcement today concerning the buses: From the time of 9pm until 5am, women traveling alone can request that the bus driver stop between stops. Awesome way to take care of women, if you ask me.
  • Whirlyball.  I went tonight with ACL as well as the Jersey Boys cast (though the Jersey Boy from the elevator was not there) and it's this great amalgamation of bumper cars and lacrosse.  I had a blast, actually, and even scored a goal or two.  We also played one round of laser tag; I wore a vest and felt like Jack Bauer as I ran through the course shooting everything that moved.  The only downside is that I wore a white t-shirt that shone like the noon day sun under the black light...Oh, and there are only two places in the states that has whirlyball--not sure where they are, though.
  • There is a piano in my apartment building.
  • The American dollar is worth about 20% more than the Canadian dollar.  So going to, say, the apple store is great because their computers are still the same price as in the states, making it so that if you buy a mac here you get a 20% discount.
  • A lot of the food stuffs at the grocery stores here are written in french, making it very interesting and making you feel worldly-wise.

   Things that Are Not Awesome About Toronto So Far:

  • While on the subway the other day, there was a 10 year old boy who was hard at work picking his nose and eating his findings.  Seriously.  The thing that surprised me was that his dad was right across from him, talking with him about the Toronto Maple Leafs and everything, and didn't even mention to his son that he might want to spare the rest of us the sight of snot stringing from his nose to his finger and landing eventually in his mouth.  And when the boy started trying to wipe it on his little brother, making the little brother visibly and understandably upset, the dad simply said (to the little brother), Well, you don't have to sit there...I understand that this could very well have happened anywhere on the map, but the fact is that it happened in Toronto, in front of me, and was not awesome.  I started feeling a little sick to my stomach, actually.
  • Toronto taxes their consumers out the wazoo. Really, because Canada has socialized healthcare, they tax on every little thing possible, making it so that when you order a $5 hamburger, the bill ends up being quite a bit more than anticipated because of all the little taxes that show up on the receipt.  And the thing that stinks for us is that we are not reaping the benefits of their socialized healthcare, rather just helping to pay for it. So Canadians, I hope you are enjoying your visits to the doctor; Merry Christmas.
  • A lot of the food stuffs at the grocery stores here are written in french, making it difficult to understand what, exactly, they are describing, as well as making you realize that you aren't that worldy-wise.
    The truth is that we are all loving Toronto and having a blast here. It's a beautiful city, supportive of the arts, and very tolerant of all different types of people.  It's a lovely place, truly.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

hmmmm. game night.

       This picture is the result of a game night that started out normal...

  But morphed into something well, 80's style, I suppose.  It all started because Hollie (on the left) changed from her dress into a large off-the-shoulder sweatshirt over tights with sneakers, in order to maneuver better during the games, and someone made the off-hand remark (I think it was me) that she was dressed so 80's.  Well it takes just a spark to start a fire, right? Because next thing I knew, she was rocking a side pony tail and looking for pink lipstick and some headbands.  Then Derek needed to borrow a t-shirt (because he was wearing a button down shirt that was not conducive to basketball), so Colt found him the most 80's t-shirt for him from his own closet.  Hollie was still rummaging, and besides finding the headbands for us, she found some bangle bracelets and threw out a shirt for me to don.  Colt made headbands for he and Derek out of, from what I understand,  an old, yellow-arm-pit stained t-shirt and I was instantly grateful for the never-been-close-t0-an-arm-pit headband from Hollie that I was wearing.  I pulled out my oversized perfectly orange sun glasses that I recently bought that happens to be perfect for this moment (perfect for any moment, really) and the boys took off their pants.

   Wait, what?

   I quietly asked, Um, why are boxer briefs considered 80's? I mean, isn't underwear sort of a...timeless thing? Not just specific to the 80's?

   Without a moment's hesitation, Colt said, Well, really short shorts are 80's and we don't have those, so this is the best that we could come up with, under the circumstances...

   Okay.  Fair enough.

   We proceeded to go down to the game room and play ping-pong (at which I dominated; I am a Latshaw, after all), pool, darts, and basketball looking like that. 

    Never a dull moment, friends; never a dull moment.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

not an impingement!

      Does the word impingement mean anything to you? Really, anything at all? Cause it didn't to me. Well, before today, that is.

      See, for the last few days my shoulder has been hurting. And then today, it started really feeling badly--hurting to lift my arm anywhere above shoulder height.  And I lift my arm above shoulder height a lot during the show...So, I decided to go see the physical therapist and she told me:

  •      I have a deltoid strain
  •      I have an impingement in my...uh, shoulder (?) now that I think about it, I can't quite          remember where she said the impingement is...oops...I know it's somewhere around          there!
  •      And I have enough knots in my shoulder to impress even a boy scout, I should say.
  •      Oh wait, she also said I should ice it...
    *walks off to get some ice*

     Got the ice and it's kind of awkward trying to balance it as I type...But a silly little bag of ice can't keep a good blogger down, right?

           What else?  Oh, between shows today I signed five hundred posters.

            Yeah, that's not a typo--500.

           We are raising more money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids and so we are auctioning off signed posters with all the proceeds going to the above.  It did not take as long as I had anticipated, but it's during those multiple signings that you start to get envious of people whose parents' named them Jo Eck.

           *uh-oh, ice just fell...and I thought I sealed the baggie, but apparently I didn't because the ice is now all over the floor*

        Okay, ice is back in the bag and back on my shoulder so you can all breathe a collective sigh of relief.  Oh, and so I probably wouldn't really want my name to be Jo Eck, but that is a heck of a lot easier to sign than Jessica Latshaw.  Although if you saw my signature, you would see a clear J followed by a scribbly line and a clear L followed by another scribbly line, so it really isn't that hard to do.  However, we had a signing party and made a huge circle, assembly line style, and if you happened to get stuck behind some people who fancied themselves Van Gogh when it comes to perfecting their signatures, adding onto that the fact that they have three names, well then, you find yourself waiting to write your own J, scribble, L scribble, and getting just a little impatient about it...And something else that I am getting impatient about is that the ice has fallen off my shoulder three times since I started this paragraph, but I just didn't want to mention it. Until now, I guess.  

    Oh, and I am not calling myself a saint or anything, but I did sign all 500 posters with the impingement and the strained deltoid...And I am not gonna lie; I mentioned it at least once or five times during the process...

    One more thing: tonight I saw a really good movie, Ghost Town. It was funny--that kind of awkward British humor that I really enjoy--plus, it was really moving at points.  I laughed a ton and actually cried.  But after describing last Sunday's show to you, you probably figure that's no big feat--to make me cry, that is. 

   Okay, going to bed now. Those of you who pray, I wouldn't mind you figuring in my impingement and strained deltoid the next time you talk to God.

    And because I just realized I did not explain this before, an impingement is just a fancy word for pinch; but really, who wants to be constantly pinched?  Not me.

Friday, November 7, 2008

tonight. whatever.

    I think I need to get better at pretending I am fine.  I am tired of people seeing right through me, of wearing my proverbial heart on my sleeve. 


     Tonight I walked home in the rain.  It was fitting, actually.  I didn't mind getting wet, didn't mind being chilly; it sort of worked for me, considering tonight was not my night.

    For reasons I don't care to get into too specifically, things just felt bad tonight.  My foot hurts. I feel like I get tons of notes for a song that I. DON'T. EVEN. SING. But really, I am not upset about that...most of the time...I am frustrated by well...something else, too...Can't really get into it.  But anyway.

   So I walked into my apartment building out of the rain, and was waiting for what seemed to be maybe the Guinness book of world record's longest wait for any elevator to date, when two very jovial gentlemen walked in.  

   Their apparent cheer only made me more annoyed, unfortunately; you know, misery loves company and all that.  I got into the elevator and I was lucky enough to have one of Pleasantville's own citizen's join me.  I asked, What floor? 4, he said.  Great, I thought (and yes, it is possible to think sarcastically), me too...He turns towards me and asks, How are you tonight? 

   I shrug my shoulders noncommittally and say, I'm...okay...
    Just okay? he asks, Why just okay?
   Perfect, I think, So he fancies himself Freud...But I say, Oh, I'm really fine. I even give a smile to prove the point.
   No, your not fine. What's wrong? he persists.
   Uh, nothing, I say.
   Not to be deterred, he presses, Come on, what's wrong?
   Relenting just a little, thinking maybe he will be satisfied with a slight admission, I say, I'm just...frustrated...
   With what? he asks, but I don't really answer, so he takes me by surprise by asking, Are you in A Chorus Line?
   Yeah, I reply, in shock (then I remember that I have an A Chorus Line bag strapped on...right...). 
   He points to the Jersey Boys logo on his bag and says, I'm in Jersey Boys.
   At that point, we'd gotten out of the elevator and he tells me, I'm going to put my stuff down and come knock on your door and we can talk.

   Uh-oh.  No, I don't think that would be a good idea, so I say, No, really, you're so kind to be concerned, but I am truly fine.  Really.
   He asks me how many shows I have on Sunday, I say one, he ends the conversation by telling me, Sunday night, I  will be knocking on your door...
    I pointedly do not respond to his statement and simply say, It was nice to meet you; have a good night. I say it kindly, though, because I do believe that he wanted to help me...

   It was kind of awkward, to tell you the truth.  And if I've learned anything at all, it is to not ever--no matter if they happen to be in a great broadway show--let a strange man into your apartment, especially when you are alone.  

   I also, from time to time, can find myself in a little bit of a dilemma concerning how clear I should be about my married status up front.  I am not sure that this guy would be knocking on my door if he knew there was no chance of anything more than a friendly conversation; at the same time, I don't want to assume that just because a guy wants to knock on my door that he is hitting on me.
   He very well could just be looking for conversation.  And I don't want to be vain in assuming that a guy would want more...

   Whatever. There are worse things in life, like the frustrating thing to which I alluded earlier in the post...
   But I think I will be practicing a nice firm, I am doing well to say to people who ask after me.  

   Even if I'm not, cause not everyone has to know.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

don't be like the dishwasher

    Well, the good thing is that my apartment now smells like the 4th of July.

     How did I accomplish that, you may wonder? Did I light a sparkler?  Well, no--it's not so easy to find one this time of year, not to mention the fact that I am in Canada, so I wouldn't even know where to look.  What I did do is way easier: I simply grabbed a stick of still-wrapped-in-tin-foil butter, stuck it in the microwave, pressed start, and voila!  You not only have a spark; you get your own fire. Not too mention some very soft, spreadable (slightly ahem blackened) butter...

   And then it smells just like you had lit a ton of sparklers! Forget 4th of July candles from Yankee Candles--who needs em?

   I know, I know, you are all jealous that you didn't come up with it on your own.  Don't feel so bad, not everyone can be as good as me in the kitchen.  

   But that's not what I was going to write about tonight--at least, not until it happened.

    What I was going to talk about was something that, when the occasion calls for it, Drew and I tell each other, Don't be like the dishwasher.

    Yeah, I know, it's not exactly an idiom that you have probably heard before, so let me explain.  
    The other day, I was talking with Emily in the dressing room.  We were going over our usual recounts of the day up till we had to go to work and she said something like, My day was so fabulous; it was just full of relaxing and resting.

    Well, my day had been different--quite the opposite actually, since we had been rehearsing with the new cast all day, and I said, It feels like we are being punished or something, having to rehearse all the time, and we are the ones who decided to extend, making it easier for the company!

    Well, as soon as I said it, I had that niggling guilty feeling that comes when you know you are in the wrong.  And then I remembered, Don't be like the dishwasher. 

   Right. So, the dishwasher.  

    You might not know this, but I enjoyed (for lack of a better word) a career as a waitress at a pizza place in Delaware, called Grotto Pizza. It was perhaps not the most illustrious or long-lived career in the history of careers, seeing as I worked there for approximately two days, but still I learned a valuable lesson from the dishwasher.  

   To keep the turnover of clean dishes going strong, Grotto Pizza employed a young man to do one thing: wash dishes.  Let me just make this clear: he had no other purpose to be there, no other reason for his paycheck but. wash. dishes. That was his sole calling at this restaurant.  Thus, he was called the dishwasher.

   However, every time I bused a table and brought dirty dishes to the dishwasher, he would not only complain and bellyache so much that one would think I was asking him to stand on his hands and wash the dishes with his toes, but he would act utterly shocked that I would dare to have another dirty dish for him to wash.  So each time I went back there (and it happened a lot; it was a restaurant, after all), we would have a conversation that went something like this:

   Me: Got some more dishes here.
   Dishwasher: What?!?! Another dish?!
   Me: (trying to break it gently, now) Well, yeah, I mean it's probably gonna keep happening...
   Dishwasher: (loud sigh precedes) Ugh. (motioning to the sink in which one does indeed wash dishes) I guess you can just put them right there (he completes this with a total defeatist tone).
   Me: Um, okay, thanks. And ah, sorry about the dishes...

   And with that, the dishwasher would get to work, albeit reluctantly.  

    So, whenever Drew or I find ourselves complaining about something that is an inevitable part of life; something that we fully understood when we signed up for it--like the size of a paycheck, or rehearsals, or you know, going to work and actually working (shocking, I know)--then we tell each other:

   Don't be like the dishwasher.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

news! and images...

*editor's update* I would like to give credit where credit is due: the last picture in the blog (me with the guitar) was taken by the lovely and uber talented deana marie kirsch--thanks, deana!!!

   Okay, so I have some good news...drum roll, please...

   Drew will be coming out to Toronto to play some of my friend, Clyde Alves,' music with him during the benefit we are hosting for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids on the 24th of this month.

   I am so excited about this, for many different reasons:
  • Drew comes to visit. Enough said.
  • Drew gets to play bass with a band (and I know he really misses playing with his band that is currently on hiatus, The Look Machine).
  • Drew gets to be a part of my world; it's a meeting of two different parts of my life that I love. Drew gets to hang out with my tour friends, even play music with a few of them..
    And if you happen to read this and are anywhere near the area, the benefit show is Monday, November 24th, at the Gladstone Hotel at 8pm.  Come on out and support a good thing!!!
Now, here are a few images that I like and wanted to share...

    This one is a picture I took while walking to the subway on just a perfect fall day.  Bits of sunlight were streaming through the clouds, brightening the majestic colors of the leaves, and lighting the way for amiable dogs who kindly allowed their owners to tag along on a rambling walk...
  I wish I had a better camera; I wish I were a better photographer, in general, but here is just a glimpse of the peaceful suburbia where I am currently living.
  However, don't tell somebody here that this is the suburbs.  I made the mistake of telling a woman staying in my building how much I enjoy these suburbs.  She immediately stiffened a little and told me, This is not the suburbs; I can show you the suburbs. This is midtown.

  Oh, sorry...My real point was just that I liked it here; I hope she got that, despite my apparently insulting reference to it as being suburban.

  Sheesh. You really gotta be careful about what you say when talking about cities...;-)

    Oh, and here's just a black and white shot of us on the line...Before the change over:
   And this is a shot that makes me look like I can rock out any Indigo Girls song you can throw at me on the guitar.  The truth is I can't; but I sure do enjoy playing the 5 chords I know...

That's all tonight!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

he won!!!

     America, America--

      God shed His grace on thee
     And crown thy good with brotherhood
      From sea to shining sea!

      What a proud, noble time to be an American. I understand that not everyone might agree with Obama's policies, but still, THIS is history.  A country that first enslaved African-Americans, then told them they weren't allowed to vote, then made sure that their vote counted for only 3/5's of one vote, has now elected an African-American to be our Commander in Chief.


     It gives me hope for us; gives me hope to see that people can shed their prejudices as they realize that more than not, we are the same.  I feel like it's going to be one of those times that you never forget where you were when you heard the news...

     Because I don't believe that anyone can disagree with me when I say that this dear country of ours needs to veer off the path it has been on for a while now.  I pray that Obama does this for us; that we become a true help to the nations that crowd this earth of ours, rather than being seen as a tyrant abroad.  

    Here's to taking care of our resources, protecting what has been entrusted to us so that our children's children do not need to visit the museum of natural history in order to see a forrest; here's to the arts being elevated and encouraged in our schools; here's to education being revered and respected, our teachers being treated well and given all of the necessary resources; here's to a plan to get out of Iraq in a responsible and expedient way; here's to an economy that will turn around, that will stabilize under a new leadership...

  And here's to (this is a good one) a well-spoken leader of the free world!

   Let's all pray for Obama as he rises to this challenge...cause let's be honest, that job is no walk in the park!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

you're great! no, you're terrible...

      I know that some actors, as a rule, just don't read reviews. Period.  I, however, do find them very interesting.  Especially when they are so contrasting--I mean, who is correct?

      Probably the person who thought you were great, right?


      Anyway, I read this review from a blog called Rave and Pan today, and literally laughed out loud:

      "The comical song, "Sing!" is burdened by a Kristine (Jessica Latshaw) and Al (Colt Prattes) who try a bit too hard to exude the vibe of lovers and who don't quite master the fast-paced snap required by their duet."  

      I particularly enjoy the line, exude the vibe of lovers--I mean, we don't have any sort of romantic scene between each other, anyway; what exactly did she see us doing (and trying too hard at, to boot!) during an audition to prove that we are, indeed, lovers?!?!

     And as to us not mastering the fast-paced snap required by our duet, well, maybe she came to the show in which Colt forgot to sing the word wing and I started scatting unintelligibly.  If so, then I would have to completely agree with the assessment...

    But for every bad review, there is a good one. I found this from Cleveland's Star Reporter:

    "Finally, Jessica Latshaw was hilarious as Kristine, the tone-deaf chorus girl.  Throughout her song, "Sing," I couldn't help but picture Pierce Brosnan being in the same situation when he sang in the movie, "Mamma Mia!" Ms. Latshaw is a very talented dancer and provided great comic relief.  And I'm sure she really is a wonderful singer."

   See, what'd I tell you about Cleveland having some truly wonderful people?!?! And how kind of her so say that I am a wonderful singer, on good faith, no less (since I can guarantee you she didn't actually hear it!).  

    Anyway, like I said, you can't really pay too much attention to reviews because they always seem to contradict each other and you could get your brain in a knot trying to decide which one is right...

    But still, it is so nice to hear a kind word:
            "Oh, but when it's good, it's great. High energy numbers like "Sing!" and "Dance: Ten: Looks: Three" are sung and acted with huge amounts of appeal and vivacity by Jessica Latshaw, Colt Prattes, and Natalie Elise Hall, and stay with the audience long after the next performers have taken center stage."

   So, according to that guy, who reviewed us on the Broadwayworld. com message boards, I guess our duet wasn't lacking the snap that its fast-pace required. 

   I'm just saying.

   But then on that same message board, another guy writes this:

   "That whole entire A Chorus Line tour is a wreck. Nikki Snelson is pretty much the only redeemable quality from the cast. Here's to hoping they get people who can actually keep the steps when they replace the others."

   Ouch.  A whole group of hard-working professionals easily dismissed with a few strokes of a keyboard, just like that.  And come on now, we really can't even keep the steps?!?!

   Uh-oh, my parents aren't going to be too happy about paying for all those dance lessons if, years later, I still can't keep steps...;-)
   So, my conclusion is this: everybody has an opinion to which they are entitled, and it just so happens that some people's opinions get published as fact when the real fact is that they are still just opinions.  

   There's not so much of a science to measure good art, anyway, since it is so subjective and differs according to the eye of the beholder.

    But still, at the end of the day, it is so nice to hear a kind word. And when it's not especially kind, it can still be entertaining...