Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Unexpected Happiness

I had a weekend of wonderful compliments, including "have you lost weight" and "you're a good writer!" The latter compliment was from my mother-in-law (hi Carolyn!), who knows her shit when it comes to writing. So I'm very excited about that one! Yay for good compliments!

But back to the present. Last night I drove back up to Oneida, New York for my second week of work at the casino. And let me tell you, I was surprised by my reaction to that. I actually looked forward to coming back up here. When I got here I put my room in order and unpacked, and then reveled in the coziness of it all. I looked forward to seeing my new friends again and spending another week with them. It's not like when I had to return to Syracuse-even though I loved my apartment and roommate I was so burnt-out that the idea of another week of intense labor made me very cranky. But now I regularly get enough sleep and I spend my time learning new music and singing.

So as it turns out, this job makes me very happy. So much for my inner warning system, which was going off like a mofo initially. Of course, it's only been a week, and I am presently well-rested from the weekend. Maybe we should check back in on Saturday...especially a Saturday in mid-November. We'll see. I almost hope that my warning system was indeed correct, because I've been relying on it pret-ty heavily lately, and if it is faulty, well then, I'll have to go back to using logic to make decisions, and that never goes well for me, as I am highly illogical (don't believe me? Ask the hubs. He'll tell you everything you need to know).

So I know many of you out there are asking "What exactly do you DO?" For those of you who haven't received my detailed explanations over the weekend, well, I'll tell you! I dress up in a fancy Renaissance-style dress, put lotsa makeup and false eyelashes on, and then parade through the Casino. There is a segway with cheesy music attached to it that leads the way, and we all-stiltwalkers, clowns, gondoliers, scantily-clad women-follow it waving and blowing kisses. Then the parade stops in various areas and we go around and "do our thing" for the small groups of people that aren't so scared of us walking towards them that they run away. (Seriously. It's emasculating to ask someone if they would like you to sing to them and they emphatically reply "no." It's like living with my sister again.) We do this three times a day, five days a week. At the end of the day I am exhausted. So I sleep for nine hours, work out the next morning, and begin again.

There's so much more to talk about, but I really do have to start my day. I'll leave you with the disturbing question that has been reverberating through my head-my god, why, oh why, does working in a Casino make me happy? What does that say about me?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sex, Drugs, and Rock n' Roll

Okay, it's more like cleavage, pastries, and Italian opera, but it's probably the closest I'll ever get.

So you guys, guess what? Working for Vegas is kind of...awesome.

Where do I start with this saga of the past three days? I suppose a rundown of some highlights is the way to go.

"Yeah, I'm sorry I kept getting in your way in the show on Friday. I kept thinking 'they TOLD you not to go near the stripper poles!'"-spoken by a "little person" when talking to some of the girls in the "Love Kittens" dance troupe.

Rehearsing for two days in a club called "Lava," whose walls are covered with red faux snakeskin and whose windows are covered with red plastic. It's like being in Hell. And, yes, there are stripper poles there too.

Having a roommate who is a "showgirl." Her costume is made out of feathers and a red sequin bikini. Her job is to look pretty and be nice. (Add to this-realizing that showgirls can be smart and passionate and great friends. I have such good luck with roommates!)

Standing in front of the director of the show in a beautiful renaissance-style gown, and having him say that it needs to be sexier and that some of the front has to be cut away. (It has been accomplished. I am now not just an Italian singer-I am a SEXY Italian singer.)

Walking through the floor of the Casino, past rows and rows of slot machines, smelling of smoke, but smiling and waving and laughing and thinking "So thees ees what eet-a feel laike to work een Deesneyland" (ees my fake Eetalian accent dat I tahlk with all-a day and the people, they think I-a real Eetalian)

The director tells us to use "nice, daytime makeup." I do, and it is roundly agreed that it isn't enough. One of the girls literally slaps pounds of makeup on my face. The director loves it. She chirps happily "you're a showgirl now!" I throw up a little bit in my mouth. It's hard to hide cause she's currently applying dark lipstick with a trowel, but I don't think she notices.

So that's it. It's a nice deal-free food, free housing, lots of singing. I'm sure there's a lot more I could talk about, but frankly I'm exhausted from my first day of work. Don't worry, I'll have lots more stories about this strange world for you!

Oh, and the pastries part? There's this amazing confectionary there in the Casino that sells huge slabs of sugary things, and I can get as much as I want-for free.

Both Heaven and Hell, in one place! And that place is Vegas.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Another room, another roommate

So here I sit, hours away from home, in a strange apartment, in a strange bed, with a new roommate.


This life is not for the faint of heart.

And my roommate is very nice, but I'm looking at the music I have to sing for the next three months, and I can't help but feel that I've made a big mistake.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Probably not really, but in my little world it sure feels like one.

Here's the story: two weeks ago I auditioned for what I thought was a two-day strolling gondolier gig. It turned out to be some sort of five-day-a-week every week thing, but I never got more details about it because they passed on me.

Then yesterday I came home to a barrage of emails asking if I would be available to start the gig TOMORROW (that's today). I said no. I had a shift at the restaurant and, besides that, woah! Too fast!

But they were pressing me for a commitment, so I said yes. They have an apartment waiting for me up at Turning Stone Casino, and I will be working there five days a week, Tuesday through Sunday, for lotsa cash and meals.

Sounds good, right?

Well, the problem is, it doesn't feel good.

First of all, I don't want to move away from my husband again, plain and simple. I don't want to uproot my life again. It's all so sudden and jarring. I have to stop my beloved acting classes (that I already paid for). I have to pack again. And again. And again. Just like the last two years.

Plus, they want me to start tomorrow. I told them I needed more time (truly, one more day is all that I need to get things in order), and that it wasn't right to just drop my job, but they put the pressure on. I stood firm, but apparently they aren't so happy with me now, even though they still want me. What a load of crap. They wouldn't want me to do that to them, so why do they feel it's okay for me to do that to someone else (I even said that to them)?

It feels sort of slimy. They think I'm not being serious about this job, when I'm just being responsible. That should be a plus for them, but somehow it's not. And I'm not thrilled about working in a Casino. Casinos make me sad. They're horrible places. But the money is good, and I get to sing.

So I'm taking the extra day and putting things in order here in Ithaca before I drive up tomorrow night. But I don't feel great. It doesn't feel right. But maybe I'm just scared or something. I simply don't trust my feelings yet, even though everything inside me seems to be screaming. But is it screaming for the right reasons? Or is it just screaming because I'm afraid or something?

And frankly, if I don't like this job after a couple of weeks, I'll just treat them the way they expect me to treat others. I'll give them two days notice.

Probably not, cause I'm better than that.

Monday, September 14, 2009

There's no place like home

I know what I want! I know what I want! I'm so excited, I can't wait to tell the whole world. Finally, finally, I've relaxed and meditated and realized that I've been cut off from myself for so, so long. I've been so afraid of what the truth is that I've shut down the true part of myself that I've been fighting and raging against all these years.

The truth is so simple, I could laugh and cry with joy.

What I want is peace and happiness. I want children and pets and home and knitting and husband. I want family. I've been fighting, fighting with it for all these years. All these things have been grouped in with failure to me. But suddenly, it's okay. It's okay to want these things. It's not failure. It's my true heart and soul.

Yes, I do want to sing, but I want to sing from my soul. I don't want to sing from fear anymore. I want to sing because I love it and it's a part of me. I'll still work on my career, but I want each opportunity, each practice session, each competition, to be a time to free my inner soul from the bonds that I've wrapped it in so tightly. I've rarely accessed this place when I sing, I've only sung from my head and my fear, but I want to get there each time I make a sound. It's a place of power and joy, and I want it.

And whatever happens, happens. Really, truly. I cannot fail because happiness is the only goal, and I already have it. My happiness will only grow, and singing professionally will either be a part of it, or it won't. It's that simple. It's been there the whole time.

I feel such joy and freedom! I feel like Dorothy when she realized that her true happiness and love was right in her backyard all the time, she just needed to see it. Now all I need to do is click my heels together and allow it all to happen.

How amazing!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The fire of Frida

I just love my life.

I wrote this the other night as I sat in rehearsal during the break between Acts I and II of Frida:

I'm sitting in the corner of a dance studio walled with cinderblocks. In the center of the studio, the choreographer works with one of the dancers. Other performers mill about, talking, laughing, memorizing lines, studying their scores. The walls of the room are crowded with tables holding endless props: a flask, flowers, lanterns, sombreros, paintings, pitchers, bowls. scissors. The conductor sits with the pianist on her small bench, going over musical details. A grown man, my compatriot, walks around wearing only tights, a black shirt, and a skull mask. Another little boy, four years old at the most, wanders around aimlessly with another skull mask on, stopping in the middle of the dancers that are rehearsing to gaze at himself in the mirrors lining one of the walls. The dancers have to stop so they don't trip over him. I am blissfully, completely happy. All these people together, paid and unpaid, to pay homage to what we love. The music, the story, the emotions. All come together to create a truth that is greater than anything we could create individually.

Each performance and production is like fire. It blazes with intensity on both a large and a small scale. Each time you step on stage it leaps up hotly and sears your belly. Each time the piece is performed from start to finish it blazes hotter and hotter until its ending, and then it smolders and dies as adrenaline levels return to normal. Each production, over its weeks, does the same.

And we performers, we live for the fire. We live for the flames of adrenaline, beauty, and exhilaration that each moment, each performance, each production creates. The fire is love, a love that each of us are sure of in the very core of our beings. It is creation and humanity and the life experience that draws us all together for this one brief moment.

Underneath each performance and production lies a certain sadness. The sadness comes from the knowledge that this particular fire will come to an end. They all must. But if you're very lucky there will be a next production coming up, and a different fire to warm your belly.

I hadn't expected to be so introspective and esoteric in this post, but there it is. A tribute to this Frida fire, and then to the next, and the next, and the next! Viva la vida!

P.S. The picture at the top is of my character, a Calavera. I am having so much fun being a nasty demon!
P.P.S. Come see Frida this Friday and Saturday in the Civic Center in Syracuse. Each performance is at 8:00 in the Carrier Theater. Tix are $15/$12 for students and seniors. You won't be sorry!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Random Musings and Updates

I realize that I haven't posted anything in quite a while. Well, that's because I've got nothing going on. Really, nothing. I haven't had any lessons because after school loans, health insurance, gas, and groceries, well, there's just not enough left over. So here's a few choice examples of what I've been doing with my time:


I finally deigned to go on icanhazcheesburger.com, and have since spent many an hour wading through the crap to get to the truly brillant. Take, for example, this gem, which makes me laugh and laugh every time.

I will be posting more of my favorites, whether you like it or not. Hey, I've spent a lot of time choosing these masterpieces. You might as well see what I've been working on.

2. Twilight

These characters are, in general, idiots. I mean c'mon Edward, even though you're trapped in a seventeen-year-old's body you have, like, a century of wisdom behind you, right? So why are you such a moron? The rest of them are no better. Apparently, in Forks, Washington, nobody knows how to use their brains. I hate them all.

And yet...and yet...I can't stop reading...and, dare I say, caring.

This is what happens when you're a grown woman and make the conscious decision to read teen fiction. It's a mistake.

3.YouTube and Hulu

my current favorite on Hulu:

And this beauty that my sister just sent me. Listen to the first link while you watch the second. Believe me, it ups the enjoyment level 73%

That's about it. I'm auditioning this weekend for this strange two-day strolling Gondolier job up near Syracuse. That's really all I know about it. It might be crap. But you never know till you go out for the audition, do you? And rehearsals for Frida, also up in Syracuse, start in earnest for me this Sunday. A week of no Moosewood and pure Opera (with friends-bonus!) is coming up, and I'm ready!

And speaking of Moosewood and Frida, tonight I had the pleasure of waiting on our Maestro. Worlds collided, my friends. Worlds collided.