Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A quick, casual survey

Hello all! I've been meaning to write this big blog about trust, but there just seems to be no time to actually do it. Between my busy social schedule, my generous sleep schedule, and my fun-time trips to New Jersey, there just don't seem to be enough hours in the day!

So I will get to this when I can find a chunk of time, but until then I'd like to ask anyone out there in cyberspace reading this if they have a piano. Specifically, I'd like to know if anyone here in Ithaca has a piano. I've been dying to put on an "Aria Abend" with my friends, for my friends, here in Ithaca, but I don't know of any free performance spaces. If someone out there has a piano and is willing to donate their living room to a night of classy fun, let me know!

I'd like to make one more request to you loyal readers out there: is anyone interested in donating their services as a campaign manager of sorts for me? I'd like to earn some funds for the auditioning expenses I will incur this fall, but I need help! This person would be sort of a spokesperson and advocate, and hopefully will help me start to! I of course am willing to barter skills for help...too bad my only skills are opera singing...I can make a mean pan of brownies, though, and I do teach voice lessons. I also have knowledge of fine wines and have been known to purchase a bottle or two for friends...

Okay, that's all the requests for now, thanks for listening! More later, I promise.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oh, so THIS is how it's gonna be.

On Friday I finally got a job! I'm gonna be a waitress at the most famous restaurant in all of Ithaca, the Moosewood restaurant. Apparently, it's the Mecca of vegetarianism. I'm really excited to make money, cause things are in dire straits here at the Gibson household, but I do have a few reservations.

The last time I was a waitress it didn't go so well. It was at this fancy-schmancy restaurant, which would have been great for tips had I stuck it out. Unfortunately, the management attitude there left something to be desired. I knew for sure that I was outie when I couldn't find the ramekins in the back room, and one of the owners sneered at me, showed me where they were, and actually said "well, I guess they didn't teach you that in college." I'm not even kidding. You know, I must have missed the "Where to find everything in Cafe Gallery in Burlington, NJ 101" course.

Also, I'm not great at multitasking. I have a unique ability to forget something as soon as someone says it to me (this manifests itself especially when it comes to people's names). But I was hired on the spot after my interview, so I'm hoping that they like me enough to overlook these small issues. At least until everyone in my section is screaming little things like "where is my water" and "we've been here for three hours and haven't even seen our waitress yet."

Then, yesterday, I got an email from Neva Pilgrim of the New Music Society up in Syracuse asking me to perform a role in an opera. Some backstory: I just went to one of their concerts on Wednesday and was re-introduced to her. I asked my friends how to get involved in this society and got the reply that it was hard, that you had to ask her for work because she didn't really approach people. And then I got the email three days later. Do I dare to believe that she liked some of the performances I gave so much that she actually contacted me? Regardless, this is not an opportunity to pass up. It's an all-important role for my resume, and a foot in the door with this society, and possibly other musical societies in the area. Rehearsals start at the end of the month and continue into August.

My new job stipulates that I have to be fully available during the month of August, their busiest month of the year.


So THIS is how it's gonna be as a singer.

I get it now.

I must make this work out, but I'm not sure how to do that yet. I'll have to use the old noodle and try to exploit the fact that I'm pretty sure the Moosewood manager loves me.

It should be interesting. I'll keep y'all updated. And if anyone knows of any good exploitation tactics, go ahead and send them my way.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Real-World issues

I just smashed my French Press and burst into tears. The tears were partly because of my beloved French Press, giver of life in mornings and afternoons, but also partly because I just got back from applying to jobs at Moosewood restaurant and Starbucks, but my hopes are not high. I've been applying to about five jobs a day, with no results. I am fast running out of money, with nothing on the horizon. Ergo, I am freaking out.

I spent the last few weeks relaxing a little bit more because when I didn't, I got panic attacks. It was great. But now I realize that my relaxing has left me shit up a creek without a paddle, as the saying goes (and thankfully did not happen on the night of 6/19. Thanks, Brian!). It's hard to focus on the big picture when you don't know how you're going to pay for food for yourself and your freakishly-metabolic husband. That guy could eat a steak a night if you'd let him. Seriously.
And so far the only gigs I've gotten is singing for retirement homes. For which I have to find an accompanist and pay for. So I'm paying for singing at retirement homes. And where is this money going to come from, as well?

It's enough to sent you straight to the couch with a bottle of wine. The real world looms, and I am not equipped yet to make money as a singer in it, which is the worst position ever to be in. I need to up my game right now if I'm going to make this work, because I'm out of options. I just have to figure out how to do that without money.

Speaking of the real world, we met up with college friends of ours this weekend. They had a baby almost two years ago, and were asking us when we were planning to have one. I realized then with horror that we're actually regressing. Two years ago I had a job with regular hours and could have supported a baby. Now, I prance around singing when I want and taking acting classes, for chrissake, without the pressures of an actual job. It's like that Benjamin Button story. At this point I'll be throwing tantrums and hurling bowls of Cheerios through the air any day now.

Oh wait, I already throw tantrums. Bring on the Cheerios!

But seriously, I could use a little perspecive. It's not my forte.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hollywood, here I come

These days, part of me wants to ditch this opera-singing stuff and just become an actress. I would model my career after America Ferrera, who has the worst name but is the best actress. I'd start out my career with a movie about "real women" who "have curves," and my performance would be so unforgettably magnetic, so raw and real, that the offers would come flying in for non-ingenue roles for the larger lady. I even think it's this weird fantasy that finally has me getting more serious about losing weight. I'd like to try out for the Ithaca College films this fall, and I want to look decent in them. Who knew acting would finally be the ultimate motivator?

But seriously, acting rocks, and I'm pretty good at it. Where else can you scream at someone that you hate them and mean it with all your heart? Where else can you sob uncontrollably and be admired for it?! (P.S. Crying is my secret superhero power [utilized often and with great success by Panic-Attack girl], and with acting I'm learning how to control it so I don't randomly burn people on the street with it. Talk to my family about THAT)

So let's bring this back to my real life and the subject of this blog, which is The Singing. I admitted to Yuki the other day that it was annoying that I had to sing in all these foreign languages, now that I knew how powerful the English language can be on stage. How can I possibly get across the same emotion when I'm singing in French, German, or Italian? How can I show it when I can't scream or sob, but have to sing pretty? Plus, when you sing opera you can't actually look at the other person, heaven forbid, because your precious sound will go into the wings and be wasted. I love opera for its drama and tragedy, and so many of the stories are so powerful. The drama is the reason I went into this field. But how do I reconcile the skills I've learned in acting with the restraint I need for singing?

After I admitted my new quandry to Yuki, a realization came over me. I don't have to know how to do this right now. I always freak out when I discover the next thing that I'm lacking as an artist (because there's always more out there that you're not doing well enough. It's just how it is here). But for the first time I felt "the journey." What I mean is, there's so much emphasis in the field today about becoming successful when you're in your twenties. These days, if you hit 30 and aren't working, you're dead in the water. Prime breeding ground for panic attacks when you're 29 and just starting out (again), right? But for the first time I felt past all that. Becoming an artist is a process that takes aging. Experience will teach me how to do all the things I want to do, and I really am just at the beginning of the process. My work is getting richer every day, but when I look at it through the magnifying glass of my day-to-day routine it's impossible to see. I'm doing things today that it would have been impossible for me to do six years ago, for various reasons.

And if they don't like what I have to offer, they can suck it, because the process is what counts, regardless of the outcome. But I think they will like what I have to offer. Cause I have a lot of work to do, but I'm becoming an awesome actress, and that's what's important to me.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Whoops! The world doesn't operate on singer time

I had big plans today, people. Big plans. I've been sitting on my ass reading Fahrenheit 451 since Monday, and I finally got to the place yesterday where I realized I just HAD to get some work done. I had plans to drive to Syracuse today to keep my ex-roommate-now-bff's cat company while she's in Boston doing granddaughterly duties. So I thought "Hey, this is a great opportunity to get some work done in Syracuse!"

I called the Music Office to request a nice big room to practice in (since I haven't started to put the exercises given to me by the Goddess into practice yet-yikes!). Nobody answered the phone, and as I was leaving a message it dawned on me...the reason nobody had answered the phone is because nobody is there. It's July 3rd, and offices are closed. I left a lengthy reiteration of my thought process in action on the message machine for all to hear, and then moved on.

I then thought "Ok, so I'll go to the library and get some scores and CDs that I need to check out. It won't be a total washout!" Got in the car (just barely remembering my friend's keys to her apartment-now that would have been nasty) and drove up to Syracuse doo-dee-doo-dee-doo. Got to the library, hoisted my pile of books into my arms that I need to return, and found out that the library was closed too. Hm. I guess this makes sense, but why hadn't I thought of that? And why does it piss me off that just when I'm ready to work, the world decides to take a vacation? I've got stuff to do, people! Nevermind that I could have done it any of the three preceeding days! Cater to me!

So here I am in my friend's apartment trying to keep the cat happy with a variety of stringlike/fuzzy toys. I guess I'll try to practice here, and it should work out because, let's face it, I'll never see these people again, and if they have complaints I'll be long-gone and in sunny Mexico before they knew what hit them! Oops, wait, that's the end of a different plan. But at any rate, I won't have to deal with the consequences, my ex-roommate-now-bff will. So let's do it! It should make the cat's life more interesting, at least.

And speaking of which, I think this cat needs to get laid. He's way stressed-out. Like me when I try to get work done. Yes, make the connection if you want to.