Thursday, March 29, 2007

UK Virgin Radio Rocks!

So, one day at work, I couldn't keep my eyes open. I tried massive amounts of coffee and getting up and walking around every few minutes. Didn't work.

Now, I like my job. Yes, a lot of the tasks are mundane and mind-numbing. Very repetitive. Probably why I couldn't keep awake that day. (Very interesting side-note: doing crafts, creating, there are some mundane things when doing that, but yet I never get bored or sleepy - it becomes meditative. Guess it is true - doesn't matter how mundane, if you are creating, it keeps you awake. But, pushing paper and electrons, just doesn't cut it.)

So, I tried to figure out a way to keep awake - MUSIC. Of course. Now, I have an Ipod, but I ever so often get sick of the songs it picks, so I wanted something more random. So, I updated my RealPlayer and went to the radio section.

I used to listen to Virgin when I got sick of my CD's at work back in the day. But, I forgot how much I loved it. Not only do they play popular music, but some older music, and some of the cool alternative bands that we all used to listen too and think we were the "cool" ones. Also, it is just interesting to hear news from there, and the fact that I get the Friday night party hits at 4pm.

So, where I am going with this, I am hoping to shed some light into the music I am listening to. And, for all you music buffs, you may want to check some of these guys out or maybe even download a couple, in your own fashion.

Here are the first eight that caught my ear:
1. Paolo Nutini – "New Shoes" (definitely a song about not having anything, life is not going well and getting a pair of new shoes to take away the blues. sung by a man? weird. makes me want to go shopping! i did check out the rest of his album - not as good as this song. he is very bluesy, but really white man blues. good chill out music.)
2. Talking Heads - "On a Road To Nowhere" (the beginning of this song is great! harmonies, no instruments, then it just opens up. it was a nice surprise. totally forgot about this one. good traveling song. i mean, isn't not knowing where you are going 1/2 the fun? sort of?)
3. Scissor Sisters - "Take Your Mama Out" (i have loved this song since the first time i heard it - which i think was on virgin radio. ever so often they play it, mostly on the drive home-which again, is at like 11am or so. god, it is great! brings a smile and a little jump in my step. and, you will want to sing it all day. to the annoyance of all of your friends.)
4. The Fratelli's - "Chelsea Dagger" (just a really up song. makes you wanna dance. go ahead, you know you want to. they have another song which is very different. has a country swing beat. and, they are already on wikipedia. but then again, who isn't?)
5. The Fray - "How to Save a Life" (still a favorite, but it is starting to wear on my nerves at little. overplayed - gotta hate that. but, i think it will be a song that 5 years down the road, it will come on and a warm sad feeling will come over me.)
6. Mika - "Grace Kelly" (this song has also hit the states. which was weird to hear on a u.s. radio station. he talks about wanting to be like Grace Kelly and then says he tries a little Freddie, but this song is definitely all about Queen. such a queen sound, that I think, somebody is going to sue someone. ;) )
7. My Chemical Romance - "I Don't Love You" (they are definitely one of my little guilty pleasures. upon another listening, it actually is a good song and has a disturbing abuse second chorus. good job guys.)
8. John Spencer Group - "Keep On Running" (why didn't they play this at some point in Studio 60? for jordan and Danny. it would have been perfect. even as a cute parody. or he could have been serenading her with it. it might have been a little creepy stalker, but weren't they already going into that territory?)

Hope you get a chance to listen or have heard some of the above. More next week!

Friday, March 16, 2007

It's My Birthday!!!!

It doesn't matter what is going on in my life - I am always excited about my birthday. Not sure why. I know a lot of people, when bad things are going on in their lives, their birthdays come around and they crawl into their shells. And, as we good friends should do, pull them out, kicking and screaming to say, "Come On - It's Your Birthday - Let's Party!" Then again, it could be the inner alcoholic who is just needing a reason to go out for a drink. I hope it is the first one.

I usually am counting down my birthday for days, sometimes weeks. This year however, I only counted down the last few hours. This is actually going to be a hard birthday for me. I hope to be able to write about what all that entails soon, but not quite yet.

But, back to my birthday. So, today, I am concentrating on the excitement of my birthday and being born (I mean, come one, think about it. Being in a warm safe place for 9 months, then all of the sudden being jettisoned in the dark down a long tube and squeezed out. For a horror movie buff and roller coaster junkie - that sounds pretty darn exciting). And, at 4:25pm today, EST (I had to do a lot of math, b/c I was born in NM and it was not day light savings time) I will be letting out a large squeal in celebration of the time my little head came out and screamed at the world.

And, just for jollies here is my horoscope for today. May all of you have a wonderful day and you should b/c - IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!

(Brought to you by
Today's Outlook for Friday March 16, 2007
The intelligent Aquarius Moon joins dreamy Neptune while highlighting an exact trine between expansive Jupiter and constrictive Saturn, a great time to set realistic goals. Today's second configuration involves Mercury supporting a passionate Venus-Pluto trine, giving us the ability to talk about our deepest desires. Together, these two separate powerful planetary pictures indicate an important day, but it's up to us to turn it into something special.

Today for Pisces:
Your intuition can get you out of a difficult place today, for you will simply know what to do as long as you don't try to figure out the source of your knowledge. This is not about book learning, nor is it about facts. Somehow you are receiving vital information directly off the airwaves, as if you were a radio tuned to a station that's broadcasting the answers. Listen carefully and act without questioning.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I Wish I Could See What I Look Like When I Talk…

I have been trying to see myself lately. I think the next step in my life, to really find myself, is to look outside of my life and really take a look at me. From the way I act and reactions to what the hell I physically look like when I am explaining something or laughing or talking about something I am passionate about.

I have caught glimpses of myself in the reflections of windows or other mirrored objects when talking to people. Only recently, I have really started looking at them and not trying to change what I look like. You know, you see yourself, your real self in the reflection, and you change the look on your face to look more natural or attractive or just adjust your hair.

I did this with a recent conversation then went back later and remembered what I looked like when I was talking to this person. We were having a serious conversation, then there was a funny moment and there was a moment of wow, do I really look like that. It wasn’t bad, but a real seeing of myself. It was a good reflective moment. Later, this lead me to thinking about acting and an experience I had when I was in the conservatory.

I do not have one specific method or practice of acting that I follow. I have a lot of different texts on acting and have worked with people who follow a different method. I like having a hodge podge of experience and different methods I can draw from.

So, when I was back in AMDA, (prior to this I had a BA in Theatre and Music and was on my way to a BFA in Musical theatre before I graduated) funny enough, I had never really dissected a musical theatre piece (song) to perform. All the time I was directed, it was a generalized notes given from the director. And, some directors were more worried about the movement than the actual emotional interpretation.

I wasn’t a huge musical theatre junkie and one of the reasons was the show would stop, the person would sing and then we would go back into the piece. I didn’t see a lot of performers make the connection from the story to song. And, in some cases, not the performers fault, but the pieces themselves. But, when I did see that rare moment of connection, with the story to song to the emotional elements of the song performed, it was magic.

I had a hard time when I first really began to dissect pieces for the action and emotions for each line. Not with finding the emotion, but with the showing of it. especially with showing sadness. How do you do that, not cry, and stay on key? Then, how do I show longing without looking like I was doing the “floating away” head or the “nothing in that head” puppy dog eyes?

I remember this one girl in my group who was amazing. At the end of it all, she was the top girl in my group, got to do the solo performance in front of the agents and head of the school, etc.

I wanted to know how she did it. Did she just have some amazing life experience to draw from? Did she just have an amazing imagination? What? How did she bring across these feelings in her songs and make it look so effortless? She didn’t do a lot of hand gestures or over choreograph. It was all natural movement. She was very subtle and she was really connected to the piece.

I asked her one night when we were hanging out – what was her method to practice/act a song. I remember her looking at me sideways – like the answer was just so obvious and then she told me what she did. “I practice every song in the mirror. While I am learning the music, I practice in front of the mirror and perfect my facial and body movement. I know what sadness looks on my face. I know what anger looks like – how my body is, what muscles tense where. And, just like dance, you want to get it into muscle memory. I do it all at once so that I don’t get stuck feeling a note with a certain look on my face or my body in a certain position.”

Honestly, I was a little heartbroken at the time. I thought she drew from her experience and just felt these pieces from somewhere in the depth of her soul. But, in looking back, it makes a lot of sense. I knew then why I had such a problem with musical theatre and with my own musical theatre performances.

And, it does make a lot of sense. When I get angry, what muscles tighten up? When I cry, what does my mouth do? When I am happy, how do I stand? If you do these physical sides, the brain will associate that physical characteristic with the emotion.

I ended up using some of this method when I was in a musical a few years ago. I ended up feeling very connected with each piece of music. I believe I made the transition from speaking to song fluid. And, from what my audience and fellow cast members said, I did an amazing job.

There, hopefully I have put a feather in your cap and gave you something to think about – all you musical theatre actors out there. Of course, this has been stated in some way in acting books, so not really saying anything completely new here. Or, you think I am absolutely wrong – in which I look forward to your comments.