Monthly Archives: April 2011
Just confirmed this very evening that I’m gonna be performing my one-woman show “The Unexpected Variety Show!” at this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Fringe.
So pumped. Cannot wait. This is the show that I started developing during my residency at the Banff Centre, debuted it in its wrinkly newborn from at Calgary Fringe Fest and have since done soooo much rewriting on it that it really is a different baby altogether. But with the same gene pool.
So….right now I’m about to sit down and nut out my rehearsal schedule, not the least of which includes getting myself much fitter. This new version of the show has some very physical segments, including a bit of *shock, gasp, awe* DANCE. I am so pumped, but I know from my experience thus far of solo shows that if you ain’t fit, you’re gonna walk backstage and collapse.
I’m not exaggerating. It happened to me after my very first one.
Anyhoo, excuse me while I get my act sorted.
And at the risk of sounding repetitive…
I was pretty slow to jump on the podcast wagon, much to my own embarrassment. It was one of those things that made me feel like an old person. You know, like I might press the wrong button in itunes, which would subsequently wipe out the entire contents of my hard drive and make me cry pigeon tears.
Anyway, I was suitably sobered to realise that it was quite easy. Search. Click. Plug in the damn podcasting-listening-thingy.
And oh, how life changed. How I could actually ENJOY walking around the block, even if said block was full of emptiness. Or construction sites. Or bogans.
Because in my ears was a portal to an entirely different universe.
So, I thought it might be cool (if nothing else but in the “SEE? I’m not a grandma yet!” kind way), to share the doorways into a few of my personal faves thus far…
1. The Vinyl Cafe with Stuart Maclean.
I was introduced to Stuart and the Vinyl Cafe by my wonderful Canadian friend Sabina in the most awesome way – that being via a double date to see one of his live concerts at the beyond ridiculously fabulous Banff Centre! Specifically, I love that:
a) his writing is so tight and such a great balance of humour and poignancy;
b) he unapologetically adores his country and makes a point of travelling (and then writing in tones of reverence about) almost every square inch of it; and
c) he uses his powers for good, to share the light of his own significant profile some amazing and largely undiscovered musical talent.
Oh how I love Canada. And these feel like a little piece of it is in my ears. Anyhooo…
2. This American Life
My hubby was trying to get me to explain what it is that I love so much about this podcast, and all I could offer was “because they just tell such interesting stories!”
I then proceeded to shove the headphones in his ear and press ‘play’. If I could do that to you likewise through the magic of cyberspace, I would.
3. WTF with Marc Maron
Marc Maron is so forthcoming with exposing the innermost workings of his warts’n'all self, that he seems to inspire similar frankness in his guests. I love it.
Not only do I always feel similarly inspired just to cut the BS and be more real, but this podcast makes me feel like I’ve just managed to overhear a really cool deep and meaningful, between comedians who are talking about the ins and outs of the art, craft and business of comedy, no less.
It’s cemented in my heart. And my inbox.
4. The Improv Resource Center
I am obsessed with this one because I’m a complete and utter improv junkie and it is – while not my crack – like listening to the sound of someone making it. (WHAAAAAAA???? Don’t worry, I’m not sure what I’m on about either.)
Point is, this offers my listening bits some really in-depth and meaty improv talk which thus allows me to geek out at an alarming rate.
The deal is, at their live shows (and in the podcasts), people have to tell a story with the conditions that it is:
b) less than 5 minutes long; and
c) told without notes.
The resulting podcasts are thus snappy (many have just one story per episode) and very, very addictive.
Any other suggestions will be hugely welcome, warmly appreciated and put to good use!
So finally, my blog and my official website have merged, yo!
I’m so stoked, this is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, yet you know how life is. Important things get swept under the rug in favour of the more pressing matters (you know, facebook, twitter…occasionally feeding children…)
Anyhoo, here tis! I shall no doubt be tweaking over the next…well, forever…but in the meantime, please take a peek around, let me know if you have any ideas for additions, improvements etc! I’d appreciate any advice immensely, I am stunningly crap at renovating.
Last night, butterflies fluttered. Tears rolled. And my marriage improved.
All in the name of this here doco which I picked up for a tidy sum at my local JB Hi-Fi.
Oh my word.
I don’t even know how to start describing the impact this film had on me, other than to share the words of my hubby:
“I’m so glad I watched it with you. I feel like it really helped me understand you better.”
Indeed. I feel like it really helped me understand myself better.
Parts of the film – which tracks Eddie’s journey from struggling but madly passionate artist, to the world-renowned comedic superstar of today (with the gamut of highs and lows we’ve all now come to expect from those who reach even semi-lofty heights) – which particularly struck me:
- the early loss of his mother, or more specifically, how this event massively impacted (to this very day) his life in terms of his desire to perform, attract the love of the audience and his incessant and seemingly unquenchable thirst to overachieve. (Ehem…)
In one of the film’s final scenes, his realisation about the connection between these overachievement tendencies and his connection with his mother hit me so hard, I can’t even tell you. I won’t spoil it for you in case you wish to see it for yourself, but let me just say that I’ve never heard anybody else articulate it like that, let alone somebody in comedy: it pretty much described me exactly. I cried.
- His use of improvisation as a means of creating new material. I loved his commitment to improvising new stuff every week when he started up his own club so he could indeed, MC each and every week. He even had “I will improvise every show” in his project proposal. LOVE.
- The need for good writing. I feel like I have thus far gotten away with a lot of laziness in the writing front. Or sometimes I haven’t (gotten away with it, that is!) This really inspired me to pull my damn finger out and work more on my writing and rewriting. And rewriting some more.
- It also gave me hope that if you work hard and really persevere, then so long as you’re following the path you want to be on, things will happen. I believe Eddie was really struggling (as in, bleeding money into his art) for around fourteen years before he became an “overnight” success.
This movie – as well as really hitting me hard in a personal way – drove home something that I think I’d somehow lost sight of.
That having belief in yourself as you chase those mad dreams – rather than being some sort of mad delusion (as I sometimes think perhaps mine might be) – is in fact, the key to making shit happen.
Of course, Eddie’s story tells it a lot more eloquently than that.
I think I’m gonna watch it again tonight.
Had a suitably lovely time tonight MCing at Livewired at the Powerhouse – I say ‘suitably’ because I feel a real connection with the room, given that it was where I really started getting my comedic ball rolling back when it started around 2006.
Josh Thomas kicked it off, proceeded to MC it weekly and made a point of featuring the best emerging comedic talent in Brizzles, with special guests from all over. This was when it was in the Spark Bar, beautiful, intimate, sometimes noisy, but always a rockin vibe. At one point Josh had the idea that after the first half of the show, the comedians would be given a word of inspiration, from which they had the duration of the break to come up with a 3-minute set, with the audience voting for their favourite offering, sending home the winning comic with…shock, gasp…two drinks!
This quickly became my FAVOURITE part of the show to perform in, namely cos it felt like improv but with a chance to stack the deck in your favour. I almost always created a new comedy song – I don’t remember most of them but I do remember one inspired by “apocalypse” with a line that went something like:
“I can’t believe the only things to survive the apocalypse,
Were a pair of Thorpie’s Speedos and Angelina Jolie’s lips.”
Fast forward five years and Josh is now the hottest thing on TV since hot things on TV, Livewired has now well and truly moved itself into the Turbine Platform, the improv segment of the show is no longer yet in typical “I WILL NOT LET GO OF THE PAST DAMNIT!!!” form I’m still clinging to the idea of making up songs there.
Tonight’s? A love song on guitar dedicated to a couple in the crowd, Jodie and Chris, aptly titled as a tribute to the place where they met and fell for each other:
“Dick Smith Love.”
Hey, you can take the girl out of the improv, but you can’t take the improv out of the girl.
(Note to reader: don’t take that last sentence too seriously, however sorely tempted you may be. At close inspection, it is highly likely to not even make sense.)
The promotional tag-line for Justin Bieber’s new film probably shouldn’t disturb me as much as it does, but you know, neither should Speedos. By which I mean, they shouldn’t disturb me“relative to world events”. Yet they do.
Back to the tagline: “Find Out What’s Possible If You Never Give Up.”
The thing is, I am DOWN with the message. Really.
Never give up.
I love it.
I believe it.
I try my utmost to live it.
And…I want my kids (at least one of which is very much in the Bieber demographic) to embrace it too.
My concern then, is not the message, it’s the MEDIUM. Because really…Justin Bieber? A kid? Of how many years on this earth? Fourteen? Is the whole moral of his rise to success really one of “never giving up?”
What, cos he had to wait a whole twenty months before Justin Timberlake stumbled across his stuff on youtube?
I’m not denying that the kid has talent. He can sing. He can dance. He can induce palpitations in tween-aged aortic valves around the globe.
But…did he get to where is he through sheer tenacity?
Did he get there by holding on even when every other part of his being was telling him to just bite the bullet and go do something ‘sensible’?
Did he get there by overcoming insurmountable odds, when it felt like the entire world had conspired against him?
Er no. He got there by a combination of luck, and having the package to back it up once it struck.
If we’re gonna talk inspiring role models in terms of “never giving up”, I can think of a few others I’d prefer to look to…
After almost 25 years in the theatre, he finally won international acclaim (and became the first Australian born actor to win his subsequent Oscar) at age 45.
Slugged it out in Hollywood for almost 10 years (ten YEARS!!!! I can get frustrated if my career stalls for ten days!) only to become an “overnight” success when she finally scored the lead in Mullholand Drive. And the rest is history…
And just because I’m apparently on an “Aussie actors make good” tangent…
At the beautifully ripe age of 64, Ms Weaver scored her first Oscar nomination this year for “Animal Kingdom.” One of my favourite moments of the entire awards was seeing her on the red carpet, telling one reporter: “It almost feels like too much, too late.”
As for the Biebs, may he have a long and happy career. But if and when he does so, it will not be due to never giving up. It will be due to a collison of good timing, good fortune and a highly marketable package.
And as for that tag-line, might I most humbly offer this as an alternative?
To Reproduce or Not to Reproduce: that is the question (or: “The Most Dubious Place for a Poll if Ever There Was One”)
Little Miss 8 patted my tummy this week and said this:
“Just look at my old home. There’s probably cobwebs in there by now. And I forgot to make the beds. And the grass needs mowing. You need to get somebody to live in there now!“
Oh dear Lord.
The thing is, I’m not adverse to the idea of having another. I love kids. In fact, I find babies ridiculously more-ish. Kinda like Tim-Tams. (They even make me fat.)
My indecision is not so much based on “if”, but on “when.”
In some ways I think if we really are wanting to go for number four then we should just do it now to get it done. i.e. I’m already at home with the Cass-meister anyway. Plus I don’t really want to be raising children across four decades. Trying to keep up on the popular culture references alone would kill me.
But then on the other hand, I don’t want to disrupt the career momentum, which, since my car crash, I’ve only just begun to get back.
Then again, as I’ve written about here before, that’s probably always gonna be an issue. After all, there ain’t no right time to have a baby.
The thing is, I feel like I’ve got two clocks ticking here: my biological one and my career one.
The biological one for obvious reasons, the career one because, as much as I hate it, the reality is that in entertainment, the opportunities do markedly shift once you’re a female above a certain age. I hate it, but it’s the way things are. Yet, what does that mean in terms of my family planning? Do I just hold off having another baby to focus on getting a career break that may not even happen? Or do I go for it in the trust that family is first and foremost and that if the career stuff happens, it happens and if it doesn’t, that’s okay too?
Well, apparently if you’re me, you do this.
Hmmm. I wonder if this means I’ve been blogging too long.
So I was reading with relish an article in the weekend’s paper about the woman behind “365 Grateful” – a rather spiffy idea whereby you photograph a moment each day in your life for which you are…da da da da…grateful.
Above is my first effort.
Now, I want to point out that I was grateful for this as my little dude put himself to sleep today.
Please ignore the facts that:
a) he put himself to bed on the tiled, hallway floor;
b) for some viewers it may bring to mind images/flash-forwards of my littlest being passed out in the gutter after a big night out of the playpen.
…I shall carry on.