Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkin and Cookies

When I was about 7 (give or take a year or two), my family carved the first and only pumpkin we would ever carve. I like to think it was because they loved me so much and wanted to give me a proper American Halloween. Though in actuality, it probably had something to do with me begging and begging to have a traditional American Halloween.

So we went out and bought a giant pumpkin and I watched as my dad and my older sister (Thao!), scooped out the pumpkin innards and carved out a traditional looking Jack-O-Lantern. Of course, no one told us the logistics of putting a candle in the pumpkin and lighting it up so we just had a hallowed out pumpkin sitting on the windowsill of the living room. It wasn't quite traditional but it was close enough.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Theater Review: "The 39 Steps" at Syracuse Stage

Gasp. It’s a political scandal. Ohh… It’s an unsolved murder. Ahh… It’s the slow caress of an ankle. Quick! It’s on the run.

It’s (pause for effect) The 39 Steps (cue dramatic music).

Read more at the Newshouse...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Theater Review: "Penelope"

Anyone familiar with Homer's "The Odyssey," will come in familiar with how "Penelope," a new play at St. Ann's Playhouse in Brooklyn, inevitably plays out.

Odysseus comes home, angered to find that his house has been turned into a den of licentious squalor and proceeds to massacre every one of Penelope's paramours.

"Penelope" differs from the traditional story-telling which paints the bachelors as unsympathetic villains. Instead it portrays them as sympathetic, multifaceted and ultimately tragic in their masculine pride. The play is written by Irish playwright Enda Walsh and presented by Druid Theatre Company. It received the first award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. St. Ann's marks the American premiere.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Apparently I'm Fashionable

One of the girls in my program, Avantika, who is also one of my housemate, is a fashion writer from the "mysterious subcontinent of India" (I love "Big Bang Theory") keeps a blog. Because that's the trend these days as a journalist, if you want to be respected, keep a blog. So 'Avantique' is where she photographs fashionable people in Syracuse and assess their outfit, ie: the most probing of critiques because, as any chef knows, presentation is everything.

Well most recently, she has critiqued an outfit from yours truly. And apparently I'm fashionable, who knew?

"Being Formal: Diep style."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

On Being Needy

I was never popular in high school. But it wasn't like I was actively disliked either. It was more like respect with a mixture of coldness. People did not talk to me and I did not talk to them. I went to prom with a clowder of females and I was never that girl the boys usually asked to dance.

So I guess, you can say that I was always a writer.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Weeks in Review

So I'm finally utilizing the hard-earned knowledge that I received in the three days that I'm in making a time-line (using Time Toast, which we used in Web Journalism) of my typical week. Now you, readers, will know how I can be in NYC and Syracuse at the same time!

Here is my typical week, Sunday to Sunday, with kitties!

And to illustrate just how productive I am, here's are some recently published items from "Back Stage."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Theater Review: 'A Little Night Music' and Sex

If "A Little Night Music" could be described in one word it would be this: sex.

Or rather, what sex means to the characters.

For Frederick Egerman (Stephen R. Buntrock), it means re-touching long-lost youth. For Anne Egerman (Ramona Mallory), it's a way of keeping her husband's interest (typical virgin move). For Henrik Egerman (Hunter Ryan Herlicka), it's sinful, dreadfully, excitable sinful (no wonder he's trying to become a priest). For Count Malcolm (Bradley Dean but today it was Ben Davis), it's possession and a sign of ownership (he is a military man after all). For Petra (Leigh Ann Larkin), it's about freedom and free love (because she's a maid, what does she have to lose?).

For Madame Armsfeldt (Elaine Stritch), it's memories of more golden (deliciously wicked) times.

For Desiree Armfeldt (Bernadette Peters)...who knows?

Oh Stephen Sondheim, you dirty dirty man.

Seasons of Mist

When I think of the eastern part of the United States, and this statement applies to before I moved over here and now, one image comes to my mind.

The lake is an essential part of the image.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Theater Review: 'A Chorus Line'

Difficulties in the Tuesday performance of A Chorus Line, presented by the Famous Artist Broadway Theater Series and playing at the Oncenter, proved that a chorus line is only as strong as the performers within it.

First the show was delayed by 25 minutes when a lead actor had to be replaced at the last minute (by SU alumnus Nick Nerio). Then, during the show, sound glitches could be heard in two key numbers, one where the music overpowering the singers, and static in parts of one song.

Such things are unavoidable sometimes and the only thing then that can be done is to continue singing and dancing. And dance they did, in stirring synchronicity. But when it came to the overall performances, the show was a mixed bag.


Live in HD: "Das Rheingold"

If you love opera & Star Trek (and maybe Meatloaf), click on the photo!

The world begins with one note: an E flat.

One note and a horizontal, undulating beam of blue light begins "Das Rheingold," the first installment in Richard Wagner's epic "Ring" cycle. The prelude, or "Vorspiel," is my favorite opening piece of music, a gradual accumulation of strings bubbling steadily upwards, reaching a fevered pitch that can then only be reigned by the crystal-clear voices of three mermaids, swimming in mid-air, bubbles coming from their lips.

Confused yet?

Think "Lord of the Rings," but with gods, and devils and people singing in German.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Le Jazz Hot! and Glee!

I now have a theory.

Chris Colfer, Kurt/Ryan Murphy's doppelganger from "Glee," was probably a Broadway diva in another life.

Perhaps Ethel Merman was reborn into this life as a gay man. Or he's where Julie Andrew's lost voice went.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Impossible Dream at ActorFest 2010

In the musical "Man of La Mancha," Don Quixote, while standing beside a suit of armor, responds to a query of why he continues with his, seemingly impossible, quest. Naturally, since this is a musical and what theater professors would call the "major dramatic question," he responds in song.
"To dream ... the impossible dream ...
To fight ... the unbeatable foe ...
To bear ... with unbearable sorrow ...
To run ... where the brave dare not go ..."
And so on and so forth. Brian Stokes Mitchell (one of the sexiest bass voices on Broadway) sings a beautiful version of this song.

His voice was running through my head as I was standing looking at actors scurry back and forth at ActorFest, a convention for actors to mingle with industry professionals and hopefully make an impression.

I was guarding a door to a workshop, one that cost $36 and was about how to audition for commercials. I had a view of the convention floor since I was standing on the first balcony. 5,100 hundred had pre-registered. There were more that had not. And all looked like insects on that floor, scurrying back and forth, a cacophony of voices and nerves that seemed to permeate the air with anxiety and neurosis.

Theater Review: "Dramatis Personae"

Fiction writing has never been as painful as it is in “Dramatic Personae,” where characters come to life, haunt, sometimes even threaten to stab the author until they finish writing.

That is the situation that the writers within “Dramatic Personae” find themselves in. Written by Peruvian playwright Gonzalo Rodriguez Risco’s and funded by the Playwright's Realm (which produces one work a year from up-and-coming playwrights), the play made its premiere Off Broadway at the Cherry Lane Studio on Oct. 1.

The play follow three writers - Lucas (Felix Solis), Ben (Gerardo Rodriquez) and Marla (Liza Fernandez) - as they try and transform their slivers of ideas into stories, holding weekly meetings to try and develop those ideas, all the while asking the eternal question of any writer: "Where does inspiration come from?" Real life? Some dark recesses of the mind?

This all occurs during the Peru’s political conflict of the early 1990’s, which happens in the background and the audience never sees it, save for the occasional explosion which is treated as a nuisance rather than a catastrophe.

There is a semblance of something achingly like conflict. Yet the title “Dramatis Personae” acts as its own plot summary. It is not a political drama.

Friday, October 1, 2010

In Which Writing Invades My Life

The worst, and maybe the best thing about being a writer are that ideas come from everywhere. They come from the things you do, the people you meet, that piece of gum lying on the sidewalk that sticks to your shoe. It seeps in from every direction and you never know when it might hit. That's the best thing, everything is inspiration.

And that's also the worst, EVERYTHING is inspiration.