Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Buddha hanging out with us on Memorial Day...

Buddha came over to my boss's party on Memorial day. Here he is chilling at the bar on a bench. These pictures were just too adorable to resist posting...

Sweet Summer Evenings...

Well, as a man of leisure (unemployed actor) I have been enjoying my free evenings. Seldom do I get to experience an evening without having to do a show in the middle of it. Do I miss this? Extremely. Are there good things about not doing a show? Absolutely.

I have been crafting away at my house and backyard, accomplishing projects that were just apples in my eye for months and months, now brought to fruition due to an abundance of free time to carry them out.
I have also been spending some time in my outdoor lounge...by some time I mean lots of time.

As the pavement is made of a conglomerate of pebble and concrete, it is not the most comfortable surface for my beloved son, Buddha to lay on. I was in the market for an outdoor rug for him to lay on, but all of them seem to be around $75! I went to World Market and found a "beach mat" made of bamboo for $10! It is a steal, as it was not really big, but just the right size for the pug-a-lug to lay on, and makes an attractive accent to the "outdoor room" color scheme...(green apple).

Also, this addendum to the lounge...My boss's husband gave me this chaise for the back yard. It was his mother's, who passed away. I added a throw blanket and some pillows. This amazing thing is my new throne. I love it.

So here I have spent my evening after work and house chores...feet up and watching the classic film, Alien. A little slice of heaven under the stars.

Enjoy your summer nights while they are here...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Memorial Day!

I did this 2 days ago. Add a cheap bunting to a white flower planting and a blue planter and you have instant beauty.

Crafty Bastards...50's decor

So, how do you take an ordinary table and make it fabulous?
Well, the 50's are back this summer, and the 50's pastels are in for sure.

So here is the plan...get some black and white contact paper from the drug store.

I painted the whole thing this 50's teal.

I applied the contact paper to the top of the desk, cutting off the excess with my razor.

The devil is in the details...I painted the handles a darker hunter green, and put the same black and white contact paper in the drawers.

I added highlights to the front face of the desk by cutting spaced to fit addendum panels...

I also spray painted the runner boards of the desk the same Hunter Green that I painted the handles of the desk.

Here is the finished 50's desk. I am glad to have shared the process.

Crusty and Slimy

Guy Paul and me.

Ducks in a row..

One of the benefits of going to work early in the morning is that as I walk Buddha, I see things that I would never see later in the day...Buddha is NOT a morning dog, and when I get up early, he snaps to a groggy state of attention and goes out for a zombie walk...I ape his walking style and we are 2 zombies out for a stroll.
One morning before the pool has opened, we saw a duck and her babies swimming in the pool.
Apparently this duck or one like her comes to rear her young every year in our pool.
I had the luck of seeing her train her ducklings. Here are the photos.
This was a magical sighting that I am happy that I got to see.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Go and See This: Ennio at Arena Stage

Matt, J. Fred Shiffman and I went to see Ennio at Arena Stage tonight...
I have to say that at the moment, Arena Stage has the most creative shows imaginable running under their roof. Between the magical Peter and Wendy, and Ennio, I have more food for thought to deal with than the cupboards can hold.
As you may now know, I now work for Ticket place in DC. I sold 12 tickets to Peter and Wendy today, based on my manic ravings about how good it was to strangers who asked for recommendations. I sold 2 tickets to Ennio, based on my desire to see this one man cartoon factory. I am pleased to say that I stand by my recommendations, and will continue to recommend Ennio, with even more fervor.
The show is hard to describe, but it is basically this: An Italian mime and clown has created a roster of about 100 characters of which you see about 40 in one evening. These characters range anywhere from Elvis to the Singing Nun to Peggy Lee to Madonna to Brittany Spears, etc. Name a Pop Culture Icon, and they are rendered here. The trick and key here is how they are rendered. They are rendered in paper and mime.
Ennio makes all of these costumes and wigs from paper, and then impersonates them all to a tee. He lipsinks to their tunes, or lipsinks to a tune that represents the character's life.
Many times the characters switch midway through a sketch; for example Frankenstein turns into Frank Sinatra, who turns into Nancy Sinatra, who at the end of "These Boots are Made for Walkin" finds it as difficult to walk in the huge paper boots as Frankenstein did to begin with.
It is like a drag show for the paper set, but it is not just a drag show, or a mime show....it is almost a quiz and commentary of pop culture, as you rush to identify the icon in question, and see the connection of the next transformation.
This is not just tongue in cheek kitch, but social commentary as well. Observe as Madonna goes from her cone bra stage to her leather stage to naked to ripping off her skin to exhibit all that she possibly can, including her internal organs.
This is a truly word of mouth show, as it is not being hugely marketed. Trust me, I haven't heard an audience laugh and applaud like this in quite some time; go and see it. The tickets are affordable, even more so through Ticket place (while supplies last) if they don't go to Arena's website and get tickets for full price (these still aren't too badly priced).
I promise you that this paper freak show is a miracle of creativity and very much worth your dollar.
I just hope that Mr. Ennio Marchetto recycles.
I leave you with a preview...

Luv, SGS

In Honor of National Tap Dancing Day (which is today)...

Please feel free to shuffle step ball change down the hall at work...

Why haven't you seen this show?

I saw Peter and Wendy at Arena Stage last night, and the title of this post is directed at those of you who have not. This was a theatrical event. I have heard many say that it is for "children at heart" and none other. I am proud to count myself among that number, for I was enthralled by it. I know that tickets are expensive, but check out ticket place for half price tickets...they are available.
This show is the most amazing show that I have seen in quite some time, and if you have not seen it, why not? You will not see the inventive style of this production anywhere.
It fuses Celtic music with Japanese puppetry and modern dance.

Karen Kandel is an inspiration. Every once in awhile you see a show as a performer which reminds you why you do what you do for no money. This was it for me. Karen was the show. It is her show.

I have been made aware of some people who did not like this show because they felt above it. I think that the people who like this show and do not are divided into 2 categories: 1) those too jaded to see back into their childhood and the magic of imagination 2) Those who can.
I was part of number 2. I cried at the end of the show, though I tried to hide it.
This show is about the loss of innocence and ascension into adulthood where innocence is too painful to suffer anymore.

I loved this piece's imagination. Sheets became masts of a ship. A carpet became a ship. The puppetry was ingenious. The Celtic music was gorgeous.
Why haven't you seen this magical event?
You won't see something like this here in DC for awhile.
Go and see it now.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

On Tidy Endings...MJD

(Left to Right: Amy McWilliams, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Danielle Eden, Channez McQuay, Suzanne Briar, and Eleasha Gamble)
MJD closed this past Sunday, and I am just coming back into the real world today. After closing, Matty and I had a lovely visit by Lynn Filusch and her husband, Ivan Sherry, and their beloved dog, Sadie, who had spent the previous week with us. Lynn just left this morning, and I had a full day of work yesterday with Happy Hounds, and today with Ticketplace, my new part time job.
I have not really had time to post since, so forgive me.
Here are some great photos of MJD closing. The above should be entitled, "Girl Gang". All they need is a few Tommy Guns and they would be good to go. The brick background makes the picture: beauty juxtaposed against city grit. Grrrr...

It had come to Beany's attention that certain rumors about his sexual orientation had started to circle around the New American Times office, due to his wispy and submissive nature...let this picture end the discussion on that subject.

(Left to Right: Edilma Batista, Marcus Hobson, Rica, and Marlene Webster)
Unbeknownst to the cast, Beany and the wardrobe crew would have an offstage dance party during "Page 8 at the Top".

Channez McQuay and I trying to take a nap between shows, but alas, the paparazzi interferes...

(Photo by Mark Ramont)
Should we but journey through time to late February, when we had our first rehearsal for MJD, you see me here, I'm sure trying to wrap my head around the character of Beany, who started as one thing, but ended as something totally different.

I had great guidance along the way, but on this first day remember being a bit at sea as to how to voice and physicalize him...in short, how to be this rat in a way that was inventive and unexpected...I don't know if I suceeded or not, but it was a fun go at it these past few months.
Beany was most surely OCD. He relentlessly made lists and lived by them. I doubt that he ate or used the restroom if it was not noteated on his list. He navigated his day by scratching off all of his tasks as the day went on.

Beany fixed his hair about 30 times a day, and would sooner cut off a stray hair than recomb it. While I didn't try to play Beany as neccisarily gay, his sexuality was something of a neutral factor. He seemed to gain more masculinity as he gained more status, money, and power in the show. He was the most effeminate and submissive in the first act of the show. The things that you have to draw up in your head to make a life history of someone is always funny to me. No one ever knows or cares but you. All of this was just information that lived in my little head, that was in this show, that was at Ford's Theatre.

After the final show, we had a cast party at Bistro D'OC.
It was great fun, and bittersweet as all closing parties are. I joked as I walked into the restaurant that "They better have French Fries at this French restaurant...minutes later the ladies who lunch (Chan McQuay, Eleasha Gamble, and Amy McWilliams) conspired to get me a bowl of french fries. Funny. They also had the TO DIE FOR ham and cheese in a croissant melted goodness things. I had four. (They were smallish).

I said my goodbyes to Miss Edilma, who danced with me most nights backstage as the cast onstage executed their precision newspaperography. I adored her, and will miss her dearly...

Heidi Blickenstaff is a force of nature, and she knows it. She (as Ann Mitchell) would beat me all around the stage every night, and I loved it. She would apologize backstage every night for "Ann's" actions, explaining that it wasn't her. "She's a bitch, that Ann Mitchell", she would say shaking her head.

I would liken her to the character of "Ann Bomont" form Psycho Beach Party, and thus became her nickname. She loved it. "Ann Bomont took hold of Heidi, and she would beat and shove me around the stage without mercy.

(Photo by Mark Ramont)
Speaking of nicknames, Guy Paul, portraying Connell, the editor of the New American Times, earned quite a few from me.
1) "HBC" from a self reference that he made in act two where he said, "Me...Old Hard Boiled Connell". Everytime that Guy would be walking up the alley of Ford's as I smoked and drank Red Bull before the show, I would spot him and say, "Well...if it isn't my old nemesis, Hard Boiled Connell". This was quickly shortened to "HBC".
2) "Crusty"....this was a late nickname that stuck hard. When we got our review packet, that hardly any of us read till after...kind of...I spotted a great one word description of Guy in the show..."The Crusty Guy Paul". This made me scream laugh, and I had to share it with him...he thought that it was just as funny, and found a good one in the packet for me, "The Slimy Stephen Gregory Smith". We called each other "Crusty" and "Slimy", respectively all closing weekend.
3) "The Drunk"...this comes from a story that Guy told. He was walking on the street and was recognized by a passerby who said, "Hey-you were in Meet John Doe, weren't you? Yeah, you played the drunk!". I reminded him of this every night as he loaded his raincoat with beer bottles and shot glasses before he did the song "Lighthouses".

Which brings me to a sad goodbye. Uncle Jokey, AKA The Colonel, AKA Joel Blum. Joel and I were each other's nemeses in MJD, but off stage, we became surprisingly close. Once we started to create together, along with Karma Camp, we found our vocabulary together, and since have understood how each other ticks on many levels. I adore this man. I bought a fart machine that I would punctuate sentences with during dressing room conversations. He was always my captive audience, giggling like a 10 year old every time that I hit the button. I will truly miss him, but feel faithful that this is not a goodbye to him, but just the start of a friendship that will travel on.

What is stranger still is being at my new job, and being within blocks of Ford's, yet knowing that my things are no longer there and that I can no longer get back stage to my dressing room. I enjoyed working there so much, and all of the employees and crew so much that it is weird to think that they are temporarily out of my day to day. I will miss them all and look forward to the day that we play together again. Doing MJD at Ford's Theatre has been a highlight of my acting career. The history in that building is present always, and it has been wonderfull adding my own to the aging walls of that amazing building. I rested my hands on the wall where so many before me had done the same, and you could feel the energy past present and future everytime.
Till we meet again, here's lookin' at you, Ford's.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Barbie : Zen Warrior

Barbie meets Buddha in the newest installment of:
Barbie in Trouble

Stay tuned, as Barbie in Trouble's series finale is this weekend! There will be several more episodes between now and then, but it must end by Sunday morning!
Don't touch that dial!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Speaking of Birthdays...

...have I ever shared this photo with the class? I took this photo of a woman at Capitol City celebrating her birthday, apparently. In all fairness, she was accompanied by a group of about 10, who all decorated her from head to toe with embarrassing blinking light tiaras and what not. The balloon hat was one of the last things that adorned her by about last call. Here is a lesson to you, folks. Don't get drunk and dress up or let your friends dress you up like an idiot on your birthday, or some smart ass like me might take your picture!

Happy Birthday, Donna!

Happy Birthday to a true character! :)
Hope you have a great evening.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Crafty Bastards...curtains and pendant lamps

I looked in the closet and found my winter curtains that I will replace with new ones come fall. I decided to make them my corner drapes of the tent. I attached them to the bars of the tent by piercing them with paper clips in three places (left end, middle, right end) and bent the clips around the tent metal. I secured them with clear duct tape (which I did did not think existed until I stumbled across it at the Rite Aid yesterday...brilliant invention!). I know that this sounds crude, but it did the trick and you can't really see the nuts and bolts of it with the curtains up.
I dug into my box of ribbon remnants (purchased at AC Moore craft store for $1.00, and a must for any crafter. You can always use bits of random color and pattern ribbon) I cinched the curtains on the left side with a contrasting pattern ribbon (black and white hounds tooth), and the ones on the right with a different ribbon (green apple to tie in to the chairs.)
I dug out my pendant lamp that I purchased at World Market last year and rigged up a lantern light to it, hanging it in the center of the tent. It is light green, yet again tying in the green theme. I do agree that maroon and Green apple might be a strange color palette to mix, but somehow it works and looks fun, colorful and cute.
I painted a small plate hunter green to tie in another green color of a deeper value, and placed it in the center of the table, putting a potted plant (yellow) in a green apple basket at the center.

From everything that I have read in various design magazines, color is in big time...mainly pastels of the 50's variety...(pink pastel, green apple, baby blue, lavender), and thought I never thought that I would go for such "girly" colors, as I prefer deep and rich textured hues, I have to say that the lightness of it is quite inviting. I have balanced out the lightness of the pastel with the dark maroon, and that is the key to a healthy balance of pastels. Balance it with a different hue with rich texture and you won't feel like you are living on the set of "My Pretty Pony".
Green Apple is the new it color this summer, and it or any of it's companion colors in the pastel market of 50's nostalgia kitch would be a welcome additive to your home or garden.
Peace out,