Saturday, June 25, 2011

My First Byline in Time Out New York: "Batz"

At the behest of a fellow journalism alumni, I was given the name of the theater editor at Time Out New York, David Cote, who was looking for some new theater critics. And as of now (I just mailed in the contract today), I am a freelance theater reviewer for "Time Out New York." It's amazing to think that I am now published in two New York City magazines.

So here's another lesson for those wanting to break into communications, relationships are everything in this business. Journalism is not for the anti-social types. Network!

Read my review at Time Out New York.

And this one, I'm actually paid for it. Which led me to promptly jump around my room shouting, "I'm a writer! I'm a writer!" Not that I had not been a writer prior to "Time Out," but this was the first time I have actually gotten paid in cash (instead of school credits) for my writing. To say it's a surreal experience would be understating it. I feel like my career is actually starting...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Real World (Not Like the TV Show)

I'm no longer a student. For anyone who has been a student at university, especially those with advanced degrees, you feel like you are never going to stop being a student. Before graduation, I could never see past the cap and gown hour.

I have been a real adult for approximately one week and two days. I moved into my New York City apartment four days after coming back from covering the Spoleto Festival.

How does it feel?

Adulthood is like being on summer vacation though with an added dose of anxiety because I am, presently, unemployed. Not without trying to be employed. Here's a handy piece of advice about the communications industry (excluding PR), they hire as needed so if you have not graduated yet or, like me, will be truly finished after graduation, chances are (75%) you will be spending a month or two unemployed.

So for the first time in my entire life, or at least my life after 18, I do not have a laid-out plan. I have a plan of attack (and a couple of months worth of savings to pay the rent) that I am using to hopefully score a job. But ask me what I'm doing one month, two months, six months from now, my answer will be... "Working?" Working on getting a job. Working at a job. Working on something... It's an endless question mark at the moment.

My sister says that's part of life. The alumni's from Newhouse said that I'm doing the right thing by moving to New York City and trying to find a job. I can tell you that a year ago, I would have moved back to California rather than risk going someplace new without a job. After all, there are worst things in life than moving back to Orange County. At least I won't have to deal with snow anymore.

But there are things you should do and things you want to do. 8 times out of 10, the things you want to do win out. Because those are the things that bring you joy. So for now, I'm comfortable with my question mark of a future plan. There are worst things than spending summer in New York City.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sarah Jarosz, or, How a 20 year old made me feel like an underachiever

Bluegrass singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz
I've been in Charleston covering the Spoleto Festival for the "Post and Courier" for about two weeks now. I got in on May 12 and the days have the flowing by like molasses. Not to say that I have not been working. My days begin at 10 a.m. and end sometime after midnight (depending on if I have to submit an overnight review). I've written a feature story, I've done three multimedia videos, five overnight reviews, and five blog posts/reviews for the "Theater Talk" blog. And in my spare time, I either catch up on news or I go see shows. I may or may not review those productions for this blog. So not exactly slacking.

And then I went to a concert by 20-year-old singer/songwriter Sarah Jarosz and all such feelings of productivity flew out of the window. She has two albums out, plays multiple instruments (including banjo and guitar), and she writes lyrics so poetic, I was placed into a haze. And then brought out of when I realized that no matter how hard I try, I'll probably won't be able to write anything quite as beautiful as:

I peruse and conjure
Sit and ponder
Then go under
The blanket of your words
The way I feel
The things I sing
The songs I write
The joy you bring
To me my muse
That song placed me into a haze, which only intensified when she played this piece, one she wrote based on an experience in an NYC subway. I was close to crying, perhaps because I wanted to be in that city but also, because of how hopeful it made me. It was like all of the worries I had - about jobs, about money, about entering adulthood - disappeared in that moment. It was like I was floating in a sea of guitar strings, playing a reassuring refrain, everything was going to be all right.

That's what I love about the arts, how it can transport you to more beautiful, tranquil places. It calms you down and untangles all of the worries you previously had. Though other than those feelings, it was a perfect summer night in the South and I felt peaceful in a way that I had not felt in quite some months. 

The concert, at the beautiful tree-covered backdrop of the College of Charleston

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Theater Review (Spoleto Edition): "Impromptu Splendor"

What happens when you take David Mamet, add some references to a certain cheating Governator and leave it out in the Charleston sun? You would have “Unemployed Heat,” a play NOT written by David Mamet. But it very well could have been, provided Mamet wrote it while drunk on scotch.

At “Impromptu Splendor,” presented by the National Theatre of the World (who are actually just from Canada), that’s the idea. The trio – made up of co-artistic directors Ronald Pederson, Naomi Sniekus and Matt Baram – choose a well-known playwright, takes some ideas from the audience and builds a fully improvised one-act play.

Read the rest at the Post and