Friday, September 30, 2011

This is how I feel...

...About being back in Edinburgh and back in my room! Hallelujah for the return of normalcy (or at least some semblance of it!) to my life. I might write in my comfy bed all weekend. Happy Friday, everyone! Here's a song. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I don't really know what day it is links

What day is it, you guys? Thursday? What a weird week. Being back in St Andrews, but approximately 90% of everyone I knew is gone now. Town as beautiful as ever, except now, I feel even older and I'm officially a phd candidate. A phd candidate who slept in my office two nights in a row. Sigh. 

Here's what been going 'round the internets and entertaining me in the wee hours of the morning when I can't sleep because I'm trying to get comfortable in a chair. 

- Very pleased about the most-excellent Ben Walker's casting in my pal Dunc's American Psycho musical. Good decision-making ya'll. For an extremely tall person, I dig that Ben Walker (also his wife and mother-in-law, Meryl Streep. Last time I was in NYC, Mamie chatted us up in the West Village. Sigh.)

- Speaking of sigh, and tall dreamy people, this blog about Ryan Gosling is as hysterical as it is true. Other than being a Scorpio male (scary!) RG is pretty much perfect. 

- A fun, nerdy website discussing my obsession, Downton Abbey. I'm scouring the internet for any leaks about what Lavinia's secret might be. I'm not into her. I hope she's bad and she gets ditched. 

- If you're supposedly "job creators" how come you keep laying people off while you get richer and richer? Sorry, but I just don't think I'm every going to be sympathetic to the cause of the super rich. Don't start wars if you don't want to pay for them. 

- Yay, Google isn't making us stupid!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Last Corrida in Catalonia

These are some pretty revealing photos of the last bullfight held in Plaza Monumental de Barcelona on September 25. Oddly enough, this collection by several photographers came to me via my google alert on David Mora and is actually posted in the Denver Post

I was saddened to learn when I started to look at the photos that it was Juan Mora and not David Mora in this corrida, but the pictures were moving nonetheless. I have kind of a deal with "the last ever" of anything. That mash-up of emotions that makes the corrida fascinating to me in the first place. Is there a name for that? Something about that last roll of Kodachrome film broke my heart and I think the Indigo Girls song Winthrop is probably the saddest song I've ever heard. "And for someone, there is something, never coming back."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You should really read The Submission

So... after listening to the NPR story about Amy Waldman's debut novel, The Submission, being the first legit amazing piece of literature about 9/11, I sent a sample to my kindle. It didn't even take me until the end of the three chapters they provided me to go and buy the whole thing. I then proceeded to plow through almost all of it on my horrific 28 hour long trip back to Scotland and now, I simply do not want it to end. 

You guys should seriously just all read this book. Even more encouraging because it's a debut novel. Though-- Amy was a bureau chief at the NYTimes for a long time, so it's not like she just fell of the turnip truck and decided to write a book. 

I say it's about 9/11-- and it is and it isn't. It centers around those involved with the anonymous architectural selection of the design for the World Trade Center Memorial site. The jury is divided, but finally they agree on the more hopeful of the two remaining finalists, The Garden (This is as opposed to the other choice, The Void. I mean, I'd pick the Garden too.) Then the jury president calls to reveal the name of the architect and it's a super fun Mohammad Khan. I'm sure you can imagine the kind of political bullshit that ensues. 

And while it's a very honest, astute, and brutal rendering of the kind of behavior that came out in Americans after 9/11, Waldman's work still has me empathizing with all of the sides. Even if some of them are just really wrong, I see the humanity and legitimate concern in each of their stances. 

I read a lot, but only every now and then do I really push stuff at people. (Remember Freedom & The Passage & The Imperfectionists last year? Last year was a big year.) Well this is the one for this year. (Okay, also A Visit From the Goon Squad, but technically that was last year too.) Read it

Monday, September 26, 2011

The most important possible thing is do a lot of work

Most everyone I know who's creative can testify to an experience like this. Lord knows I can. Thanks for this, Ira Glass. I miss your show. And thanks to Corinne and my favorite (recently reestablished!) blog on the internet, everything does not suck. She has good taste. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Reunited with Downton Abbey

Even though I'm essentially in a vegetative state from jetlag and about 35645728943657 flight snafus the one thing I've managed to do today is watch the series 2 premiere of my favorite show, Downton Abbey. This shnat is fo real this season, you guys. The only other thing I feel capable of doing before I fall soundly asleep is watch the second episode! Happy Sunday to you all. PS- Scala & Kolacny, the Belgian girls' choir covering "With or Without you" is pretty stellar. They've got a lot of cool arrangements you might recognize. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Living Donors

Thought it was about time to reveal some of what I was working on (and what was doing a number on me) this summer. It's an excerpt from the title story of my novel in short stories, Living Donors. Here's the copy about the collection and the story starts after the jump. 

Zadie is trying to remember a time before she feared dogs; her father, the last time he genuinely enjoyed a meal, and Debbie, the exact way she felt the day she looked into a mirrored ball and saw her future.

Living Donors traces interlocking stories through three generations of a new kind of family as they try, fail, and cross over their own boundaries in parenthood, joy, and satisfaction. On a kind of nomadic childhood, the thing that stays constant for Zadie is her bright inner world—a kind of compass that cannot be skewed. Despite neglect and jealousy from her mother and stepmother, Zadie navigates the channels towards adulthood in a style all her own. Zadie learns when to break allegiances and seek surrogate nurturing. With help from her father & friends, ancient stories from relatives, and her humorous imagination, Zadie finds a sense of home in the world of families who count her as their own. But at what cost?

Stories of hope, the loss of it, loyalty and violence, Living Donors looks towards the moments when the magic of youth can sour into shame, tragedy, or worse-- resignation. And the pound of flesh we owe to be a member of any family. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Jane Austen's Fight Club

This is so ridiculous, I just couldn't resist. One of the most wonderful things about Las Vegas is that it manages to somehow always stay in the 90s. That's the music on the radio, the feeling in the air-- it feels like one of the best American decades here-- forever. There are a lot of great movies that encapsulate the 90s, but Fight Club is probably my favorite. I laughed a lot at this. Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Baby Loves Bieber

It's been ages since I've hit you with some giggles from the TL monster. Oh man, she's cute these days. She sings and dances and has whole conversations with you that she thinks make sense, but really don't. And when she does speak English, she's singing Happy Birthday or telling you who her boyfriend is and singing one of his biggest hits. Carley Nunn and Kristen Delbosque, I have a feeling the following might appeal to you. 

This kid is just pure joy. I dare you to resist her charms. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

And I could see for miles, miles, miles

Newsies on The View, Duncan has a new video for one of his 80s remixes and other vid links! I've decided to stay in pajamas today. I am exhausted. I have a couple of books I'm ready to delve into before I head back to academia land. I promise I'm going to stop posting videos and write some real stuff for you guys this week. Happy Tuesday!

- An interesting TED talk with Niall Ferguson about wealth disparity. I love when he says, "And it must be right because a Scotsman said it."
- The trailer for J. Edgar is finally out. I can't wait!
- Finally watched the video for this bad boy. I wore this album OUT earlier this year, but I still love it. You put some children in videos, I'm gonna love it. 

So Alive from Duncan Sheik on Vimeo.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Memories from an unbelievable weekend

Steven and I will be enjoying a post-show debriefing brunch this morning before I fly back to Vegas today. I'm hoping for bottomless mimosas and some good laughs reliving the highlights. It's rare that theatre is truly thrilling and I didn't expect to ever be truly thrilled by our own show, especially since I've seen it sooooo many times. But every time I think of some of those numbers-- Hands of a Surgeon, Ambition, Diva Prez, the whole end of the show-- and remember how I felt, the audience, I'm thinking... let's go on tour! 

Can't wait to see what happens next. For now, it's all about my phd work. A week from today, I'll have my first meeting with all my advisors. Let's delve into Skye, mental illness, creative cruelty and copyright battles! WOO!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

There's a lot to be thankful for today

Feeling pretty exhausted, but there's a lot to be really joyful about these days. Our sold out run. The joy I felt from each and every bright face of those baby birdies in the show (they started to CRY during the closing number...and you know that made me cry). In the last 24 hours, I've enjoyed Moet Chandon and and a filet mignon and wonderful company. I had a beef brisket sandwich on jalapeno bread with St Arnold Root Beer. And Dill pickles. I had creamy jalapeno dip at Chuys. I watched Bill Mahr. Downton Abbey and Maggie Smith won Emmy's. The Second series started tonight. 

- I was compared to a honey badger by my writing partner
- The world is giving star Jeremy Jordan his fair amount of spotlight
- SO much lovely coverage of VOTE!
- The movie Drive inspires Schu Schu to blog again
- You can buy the Downton cast album!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

And almost as soon as it starts, it comes to an end

Hard to believe today is the last day of this amazing production. We have two last shows today, at 1:30 and 7:30 PM. This has been an experience like no other and to quote Ms Fowler, any hard work is worth doing for the children. When I think of all the glowy people who have come into my life because of this show, I can scarcely breathe. 

Last night, we had a sold out house and an amazing audience. It's the kind of thing you wish you could live everyday. Which is why it's all the more important to keep reminding yourself to soak it up. All the time. Like the man Ferris said, "Life moves pretty fast sometimes. If you don't stop and take a look around, you could miss it." 

Well I'm taking this last day with the cherubs, the hard-working folks at TUTS, my family and friends, and most especially the person I get to share this great ride with, my show husband, who for some reason still likes working with me after ten years, who almost always reads my mind and who I wouldn't trade for any TONY, Oscar or Emmy in the world. That was a run on sentence. And I don't care. Hope to see you at the Hobby Center for some of this business. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Opening Night Lolz

It's opening night! If you were one of the lucky peeps to get tickets before we sold out, see you at the Hobby Center. Everyone else, get your tix now before both of tomorrow's performances sell out!

In the mean time, I leave you with this. I love hanging out with teenagers. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rice Day at Vote!

Tonight only, Rice Alums and students can get $20 tix to our show. Some of the best and most formative (especially as a writer!) days were spent at Rice and I'm really excited and proud to share it with my fellow owls tonight. Please come on down to the Hobby Center! Based on what I saw last night, there's no way you'll be disappointed. I have three words for you: solid. gold. dancers. 

Also, the baby birdies are clearly excited and my pal Liam has been making cute little blogs. Here's the one he made last night. Hope to see you tonight, everyone!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Houston Bound

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Back to Houston for the first time in over five years. Other than friends and, ya know, seeing VOTE! all I can really think about Houston is food. I just want to eat at all my old favorite restaurants. I think it's going to be a big weekend for Mexican and Thai Food and Barbecue. Oh my god, I gotta stop thinking about Ninfa's and Nit Noi and Kolaches and Demeris and oh wow, I gotta go to sleep. While I fly, enjoy this vid of the baby birdies on ABC in Houston! 

UK'ers, hope they don't block this! Also, UK'ers, anyone wanna tell me if the new VOTE! cast album is actually available for purchase on UK itunes?

Also, talked to the one and only real live Ms Fowler via email today. An inspiration as always. Thanking Green Valley High School and Rice this week for my education.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Houston Cast Album on itunes!

Hey guys, you can now buy the cast album produced by all the Houston folks on itunes. Those kids are cute! Cool features: Two songs you've never heard before 1. Diva President 2. Be Aggressive. You can also buy the physical CD or a production t-shirt in the TUTS store. Enjoy!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Links

Houston Houston Houston. Can't stop thinking about Houston. Can't stop thinking about how fast this fall is going to go by. How much stuff is going on and hoping I'm going to pull it all off. Basically, this is what I say every fall. I'm living in about eight worlds. Wish me luck. Here are some of those worlds. 

- Rice folks, there's a special performance of VOTE! just for you!
- Very much on my mind, an interesting article about addiction
- I'd like this Catcher in the Rye iphone case if it didn't cost like $40!
- New cute blog alert
- The elusive big idea
- Julian Fellowes chats with the NYTimes. Julian Fellowes!! New season of Downton!
- We've talked a lot about art that addressed 9/11 in my program. But what about this new Amy Waldman novel The Submission?
- Child's eye view of NYC
- Don't you hurt my Scotland, Hurricane Katia

Sunday, September 11, 2011

One Hand in the Air for the Big City

Every year, I feel a lot on this day. Every year, there's a lot I want to say. Thinking about my friends I lost that day. How most of the day, and even days later, I still didn't know they were gone. I was in Houston, which is where I'll be again next week. It just wasn't computing that day and I couldn't think of what to do. The only thing I could think was that I wanted to talk about art, so I went to Chipotle with my friend Jason Pallas, who was the person I liked talking about art with the best. I had no idea my friends were gone. 

I think about David Aoyama the most, every year on this day. My Buddhist practice has lulled a bit these last few years, but I always feel comfort knowing David was on flight 11 as it hit the first tower chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo-- all the way-- for those around him, and for us all. 

And when I start to tally up our mistakes since that day, ten years ago-- there's so many--  instead, I try to think about things like this. Kids singing. And kids singing in the invincible spirit of New York. It's actually my favorite thing about VOTE! Maybe even why I wrote it. Definitely why I wrote the title number. I'd allow a lot of criticisms of where I'm from, but our spirit isn't one of them.

When I start to get angry about why it took so long to rebuild anything down there, to fill those gaping wounds in my favorite-- the best-- city in the world, I try to remind myself that in the year since I've left, they've managed to build the section of the memorial I liked best: twin rectangular waterfalls that flow into the void of where the buildings used to stand. Reminding us what we lost. Reminding us to keep going. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Today Feels Like This- Our Deal

A desert gloomy day feels completely different than a Scottish gloomy day. I'm spending this grey day working and still trying to figure out my visa situation so I can return to Scotland on time to start my first phd year. As much as Vegas changes, it still feels the same every time I'm here. A kind of teen angst and longing to do more than I'm doing. Only assuaged by time with Dad and time with Emily. 

That's why I'm feeling this little bit of West Side Story/Grease homage action from Best Coast and Drew Barrymore

Friday, September 9, 2011

One Week! And why I'm so jealous of Steven

Because Steven is already there with the baby birdies as we speak! And he got to watch a run through. Jeal-ous. The show opens a week from today you guys and I have the feeling I'm going to be as proud as I've ever been of our show. Houstonians, former Rice classmates, and anyone else who will listen, I implore you to come see the show. Chances are, this is what I'll ask you to come to instead of any wedding or child being born type situation, so I hope you'll understand and come check it out!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Melancholia with my twin and ASkars

As a general rule, I try to avoid ever quoting Perez Hilton. But on this, I can't help feeling, "my sentiments exactly" when he posted about the new movie, Melancholia. "Still don't know what this movie is about, but you had me at ASkars." I could just watch him all day everyday. And this will be like a filmed wedding of ME and Alexander Skarsgard! Thanks, Lars Von Trier!

Okay, okay, it's about the end of the world. I can deal. Plus, I'll always take some footage of my twin, Kirsten Dunst for... colliding planets! Ophelia-style floating down a river! Crazy supernatural stuff?? Charlotte Gainsbourg!

Someone in the comments on the trailer called it "the most horrifying movie ever. I couldn't speak for an hour afterwards." In a good way? Well, makes sense coming from that crazy Lars Von Trier. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

From the mouths of babes

This is why the baby birdies in our cast think you should buy tickets to see VOTE! in Houston next week (did I just say next week??!! AH!!) Get your tickets here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel

You leave the United States for ONE YEAR and you miss something like this! In commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the greatest novel ever written, Georgia Public Broadcasting made this feature on the life of my dear, esteemed Margaret Munnerlin Mitchell Upshaw Marsh. Sigh. Who DVR'ed this? Help me!

Annoyingly, the site won't let me embed these videos, except the one "newsreel"y one below. But (aside from some not-very-well-written voice-over copy on them) they're pretty good and worth watching. Especially this one.

Oh, girl. Ever since I was about ten years old, I've just felt like I understood her. In fact, for several long tracts of my adolescent years, I was thought I might be the reincarnation of the GWTW author. (I was very precocious. Obviously.) "Very volatile. Emotionally and psychologically." Ha. 

If you're like me and must feed your obsession (McCleskey. Dena.) you can check out the press kit too. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Gainsbourg Biopic

How did I miss this? Was it only out in France? Laetitia Casta as Brigitte Bardot seems like a good call. Man, I'm a sucker for a good biopic. Though I'm still reeling from when they cast Shannen Doherty as Margaret Mitchell in the made-for-tv biopic of my favorite lady. (It hurt me. Deeply.) What's your favorite biopic?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Childhood Dreams Come True

Not only is the Newsies musical finally happening soon... but it's starring two of my all-time favorite actors and collaborators, Jeremy Jordan and Andrew Keenan-Bolger. I just could not love these guys more. The show looks fantastic, so here's hoping I'll ever get to see the two of them in it. Isn't Jeremy's voice just to die for?? If he sounds familiar to you, dear readers, it's because he's the voice of Nicholas on "In Your Name" from Nicholas & Alexandra!

photos via BroadwayWorld. (Ps- Congrats on getting married, Mr. Rob Diamond!)
Another video here too

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Paper Planes in Seattle

The nice folks at Contemporary Classics/ New Voices have been really great at featuring me and Steven's songs. At their New Voices 9 concert, there was a lil' bit 'o "Love Will Stay" and at their most recent, New Voices 11, in August, Kasey Nusbickel sang "Paper Planes"from VOTE! (Houstonians, have you bought your tickets, yet?) I always love hearing some fleshed out orchestrations, especially on this song! Thanks for all the love, Contemporary Classics! Keep on Keepin' on, Baby Birdies. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

One Hundred Years, One Hundred Years

And I feel 100 years old. Here's not quite 100 links. Happy weekend, everyone. And Happy Birthday to one of my oldest and dearest friends, Brandon Blackwell. Wherever you are, out there. 

-News about the baby birdies and the cast album here and here

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Why Stop Now?

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