Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Death of AnnaMaria

Yesterday during work an old man came up to me, said "may I?" and put a dollar bill in my cleavage. The boys agreed that I should keep that hard-earned tip for myself.

Then later that night we made $73 in tips and sang for Frank Sinatra Jr.

What a last day for AnnaMaria. You see, on Tuesday we switch over to being Dickensian Christmas Carolers for the last three weeks, British accents and everything. I feel a little sad about this, to be honest. I knew it was coming...I just didn't think it would be so soon!

No more endless renditions of Santa Lucia

No more cheesy Italian accent

No more jokes about Cannoli

Well, all good things must come to an end, right? RIP AnnaMaria, you unwitting floozy. May you return to my life again someday.

Any ideas for my Dickens Christmas Caroler character? I could use a few good name suggestions...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Adventures in Canada

Editor's note: Due to sketchy internet connections in Canada and my penchant for international traveling, this post was written on Monday but posted on Thursday. Hey, just be glad you got it!

Greetings from cold and dreary Toronto! This post comes to you from My Hostel Room. Yes, a hostel. I’m getting too old for this shit.

Anyhoodle, I’m fresh off my latest audition triumph. This morning I drove my friend’s car over to the Royal Conservatory of Music at the University of Toronto to audition for Tanglewood. I’m very pleased with how it went. By the end all the auditioners were looking at me, which is a good sign that I managed to catch their attention. After my second piece I got a satisfied-sounding “mmm, thank you!” Always a good sign.

So will I get in? It could go either way. But I did a great job. Frankly, I’m amazed at how great a job I did because things did not go so smoothly in the wee hours of the morning leading up to the audition.

Read on, my friends, read on.

I did not plan this trip out too well. By yesterday morning I still didn’t know where I was going to stay. This turned out to be good because I learned on Saturday morning that some of my friends from Turning Stone were also planning on a trip to Canada on this very same weekend! What are the chances! So early yesterday morning before my long day of lessons I finally booked a hostel for all of us to stay in. I got a quad for them and a single for me.

So I teach my lessons all day (after driving the two hours home from Oneida the night before [after a full day of work] and getting back at 1 in the morning). I have an intense lesson myself in preparation for today’s big event. Then I gather up my things and drive the two hours back to Oneida to pick up the others.

Need I mention that by this point I’m exhausted already?

I pick up the peeps and we finally get on the Road to Canada at about 10 p.m., which means we won’t get into Toronto until about 2. And my audition is at 10:20. Like, I have to be up, showered, breakfasted, dressed, makeuped, transported to a strange and scary place the whereabouts of which I have no idea, and totally prepared to sing opera to the best of my ability by then.

Well, by the time we actually get into Toronto and find our hotel it’s 3:15 (I blame the kilometers-per-hour). We get there, get our keys, and when I open the door to my room someone is sleeping in it! Ah, the joy of hostelling. I go back downstairs and the guy at the front desk, who I’ve already labeled as not-too-bright, can’t find me another room. Oh, he tries and tries, while I stand there silently weeping inside.

We end up bunking all together with one of us on the floor. It was fine, but they wanted to have a giggle-fest sleepover. I told them in the middle of a giggle session that I would murder them. They quieted down after that.

I’m pretty proud for nailing the audition on four hours of sleep with a persistent chest cold that just won’t quit. And for not killing my roommates in cold blood. I'm finally learning to control that temper!

So that’s my audition story. We spent the rest of the day exploring Toronto together. Actually, I should say that we spent the rest of the day eating and drinking our way through Toronto! It was an exhilarating and exciting day.

This brings me to my latest life lesson. Last night as I was leaving my apartment in Oneida I could only think about how tired I was and how I wished I didn’t have to make this trip. But then something rose up inside me that said “what an adventure you’re about to have!” This upbeat voice is strange to me, but it was absolutely right. I could choose to be upset about the scary feelings and great energy expenditure of the trip, or I could choose to see it as the adventure that it really is. What a gift to be able to up and drive to Toronto in the night with friends in order to manifest my destiny. This trip is the end result of my hard work and my dreams.

The moment is here, and I grabbed it and lived it fully for every second.

That’s something to be proud of. Here’s to the adventure!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sex and Consequences Part 2: WTF?!

Editor's Note: Apparently I cannot cut and paste text from Word into this blog. Therefore I will have to re-type this blog that I wrote on Monday night. The things I do for you.

Hey there folks! This post comes to you direct from Au Bon Pain in Port Authority, which, if you've been paying attention, can mean only one thing:

I've officially finished my first big-girl competition in NYC.

It wasn't so bad. I'm pretty proud of myself. There were no unnecessary nerves. I connected to my core and sang for all the reasons I wanted to. I didn't sing so that the people in front of me would like me. I sang for me. There were some pretty big names in there, but I didn't care. My body did betray me with some old bad habits, but I think I accomplished about 75% of what I wanted to.

You know, I'll take that for my first time out!

Since I won't hear back from them begging me to appear for the semifinal round for a few weeks, I'll return to the title of this blog post. Ah, consequences.

I just got off a fresh conversation with my mother-in-law about boundaries. Men used to invade hers all the time. Since she didn't drive, she'd take the bus and routinely wake up being kissed by some random guy. Unbelievable, I know, but true. She mentioned that this happened a lot less often when she wore pants. But something she did sent out signals to men that this kind of action would be okay.

I think I do this same sort of thing. I've already been hit on by the guy where I bought my pizza and the guy cleaning the floor of Au Bon Pain. And yes, I'm wearing a skirt. But these are nothing compared to what went down at the Casino the other day.

Another of our "friend" couples that we see every week was there for the day. Like most of the rest, they're very nice but make me a little uncomfortable. The first time we met them they were there with their Monseigneur (spelling? I don't even know what this title means, but he was an old guy in their church). Ever since, when we see them once a week the guy has us either leave a message for the Monseigneur or talk to him on the phone.

Weird, right? It sort of felt uncomfortable, but I didn't logically see any reason as to why that should be so, so I did it.

So on this particular day, we're handing out these promotion free-spin thingeys (don't ask). I need to get rid of them, so when I see the man half of this couple sitting in one of the bars I sashay over to him to give him the thing. I guess when I did this I separated myself from the pack, and they continued on without me. The man gets up to greet me and grabs my hands.

He says "uno" and kisses me on one cheek.

He says "due" and kisses me on the other cheek.

Then he says "tre" and tries to kiss me on the mouth. He's holding my face in between his hands and actually pulling my face towards his.

At this point in the story everybody asks "what did you do?" Well, I don't really remember what I did. Perhaps I blacked out in horror. But I do know that I got the fuck out of there.

I felt so violated. It was quite disturbing. Why would this man think that this kind of action is okay on any level? Obviously I need to set some boundaries and tweak my character a bit. There will be no more "harmless" kissing on the cheek for either male or female guests. Also, I think AnnaMaria will suddenly acquire a serious, rather large and jealous boyfriend.

Well, I guess it's a learning experience, right? Excuse me while I quietly vomit. And then change into pants.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sex and Consequences Part 1: Halloween

I swore I'd never be one of those women (and by that I mean most of the women in America) who uses Halloween as an excuse to dress like a male fantasy and slut it up.

Nope. No sexy nurse, sexy cat, or sexy bunny costumes for me.

But that was before I worked for Sex Central, otherwise known as Vegas.

When the costumer and the manager were discussing Halloween costumes for us they actually considered putting me in a showgirl outfit. But not the regular showgirl outfit that they usually wear. No, they wanted to put me in the Halloween version of the showgirl outfit, which involved a G-string and a cape.

My response was "In the first place, no. For another thing, no. No no no no no."

This is what they put me in instead:

(Pay no attention to the beautiful woman next to me. She is taking attention away from me on my very own blog. That's just wrong.)

I wish you could see the short skirt and the black fishnets, but you can't.

It was generic and nonspecific, so I played it up. I got into the spirit of things. I changed my character to give the costume some context. I was mean to everyone. It was great fun.

Apparently, this made me sexy. I didn't think the costume was anything special, but the response I got from my coworkers was pretty extreme. And I'm ashamed to say this, but I enjoyed it. A lot.

Sex is power, and I was powerful for two days. Frankly, it was a nice change.

Now I understand a little more why women dress the way they do on Halloween.

While I was in costume and character we ran into one of the couples that regularly comes to the Casino and talks to us. This ended up being disturbing on several levels. The fact that I was a different character threw them. I didn't drop my new, mean, powerful character when I talked to them. The woman didn't seem to realize too much, and she chattered on about how they wanted our addresses so they could write to us. But the man, who usually asks to get his picture taken with me while he looks at my boobs out of the corner of his eye, wouldn't come near me. I realized then that the fact that I was playing a character was too strange for him to reconcile with. He doesn't realize that when we usually see them I'm still playing a character.

These people think we're really their quaint Italian singing friends. And as I thought this, I registered what the woman was saying about our addresses. In her mind, we're all BFFs that will be pen pals after we've returned to Italy. I bet she has visions of all of us on some sun-drenched Tuscan patio, drinking wine and laughing and singing together.

For the first time I felt bad about lying to these people, because that what it has become. I ran into another of the men that I see regularly after hours in my normal clothes, and I pretended I was still Italian because I had told him I was while I was working. I didn't know what else to do.

There's more on this topic, but that's about all I can do today. Hence the two-part blog entry. I just went through another wedding with another cold, so I'm toast. And I have my first competition in the city tomorrow night. Wait, what am I doing not asleep right now?!

Tomorrow, consequences.