Love Legacy

Fiona Sargeant, who moved to South Africa from England to teach ballet, has very little time left fighting cancer, leaving her ballet school, in an extremely poverty-stricken township, shuttered without our help.

The good news: many are doing what they can to help. The tough news: we have a long way to go to make sure her legacy continues.

Our team is #MishaBearsLovesCherryPieBombs in this year’s GISHWHES – What is GISHWHES?

Please donate on here: Crowdrise Change A Life

Here’s a message from some of the dancers: Zolani Dancers call for help to further their education

Another: Misha Collins talks about supporting Fiona Sargeant’s school

If you’re moved & willing to do this, please use the Crowdrise link to donate & you are so amazing.

Thank you.

 

All I Gotta Do Is, Act Naturally

1099375-clipart-movie-camera-filming-over-a-rainbow-splatter-and-film-reelsAt twelve I knew I wanted to act.  It was what I thought I’d be in adulthood.  I guess it was just going to happen naturally because I never had a plan. I failed to position myself for that occupation, relying on the ‘will of the universe’, or ‘fate’, or whatever my idiot mind told itself – so it never happened.

My first foray into Community Theater was in the early 2000’s.  I had auditioned for a play in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s, but didn’t get cast, so I probably told myself I wasn’t ready yet.

I spent the better part of today as an extra in a film, driving over two hours to the set, and riding back home after 10 p.m., exhausted, and probably shouldn’t have been driving, but had I stayed at a motel, I would have spent more than I earned, and had I tried to sleep in a parking lot somewhere I would have been too paranoid to sleep.

This was the fifth movie I’ve been a paid prop in, oops, I mean background work, and I finally realized tonight, after almost getting a featured spot that the director, or the universe, or fate, decided to nix, that chasing acting is trauma re-enactment. I’m still trying to convince those in control that I’m worthy of notice.  I’m so tired of my psyche trying to  reconcile my neglectful past.  It’s not going to happen.

The same cast of characters appears each time, albeit in different physical forms. There are non-protecting bystanders, abusers, and victims.  (Victim is often a loaded word, so hear it un-weighted.)

Rising early, I rush about readying myself for the day’s work, ensuring I have collected all I need and might want, and set out into the dank, murky pre-dawn.  The creeping light flings itself out in eye-searing magnitude just as the crush of rush-hour traffic gathers at the crest of an eastward hill, and I jam on the car’s hazard button, hoping to avoid rear-collision while slamming on the brakes in what appears choreographed timing – as though the traffic were all swimmers breaking the surface one after the other in dizzying succession.

Surviving the first sun-caused hazards, we attempt merging with the big boys and girls zooming along on the super-highway at their break-neck pace: a feat reminiscent of double-dutch jumping  without tangling both jumpers in the ropes – only with higher stakes in the highway metaphor.

Once successfully merged, we soon come to several stand-stills, where many of us frustratingly shift from stopped lane to nearly stopped lane, seeing the traffic gods punish us with every lane but ours beginning to move.

An hour later, fleeing the chaos of four-lanes, for the migraine of two lanes, and a GPS with a shitty sense of humor, or probably just sadistic, I double back to the left turn it told me to take as I was passing it in the wrong lane, and I finally rumble into a bumpy lot, park, and kiss the steering wheel for getting me there without bodily harm or auto damage.

A dozen other, sleepy, hopeful stars ascend the shuttle bus stairs and settle in for our ride to the set.

Once there, we queue up to fill out our pay slip forms, find space to don our costumes, and then stand in the next line for hair, and then one for make-up, and finally find our way into the holding area where there is coffee and juice and cereal and muffins, and why are they feeding us all this crap when we’re trying to stay svelte for when we’re discovered the nineteenth time we cross that street when the director calls: ‘action’? So, I opt for coffee and a banana, and wait for our day’s adventure.

Extra work is similar to traumatic childhood in that we’re never told exactly what is happening that day, and what our role is.  We have to become ‘instant experts’ once we’re schlepped to location and placed.  Then we’re told that we’re excited, or mad, or confused, or disgruntled, or perhaps all of the above, and the day continues with each of us trying to out prop the other.

I swear the women who were behind us who ended up in front of us toward the end of that particular scene were going to end up in the car with the principal actors by the end of the shot.

And here’s the thing:  the principal actors are who matter.  Background is sound and color, and does serve a core purpose, but you wouldn’t know it by the haphazard treatment that I’ve experienced on every set I’ve worked on.

My goal is for principal actor roles.  My reality is that extra work will never meet that goal.  I need to change my approach, or nothing will ever change.  In life, or on film.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

Full Moon in Wendell Brings A Coffee House

Last Saturday, January 18th, Livingston Taylor played in bucolic Wendell, Massachusetts, at their monthly fund-raising Full Moon Coffee House.  The day had been snowy off and on, my boyfriend and I wondering if the event would be cancelled, or if we should attempt the winding back-road drive in the now heavy-falling snow, but it was so worth the risk getting there and back!

Taylor’s voice is higher toned, although of similar timbre or resonance as his older brother, James’ – but Livingston has a playfulness and sardonic sense that’s evident in his music and story-telling.  He grabs your attention from the start and holds it to the end through his self-effacing stage presence and excellence.  Whatever talent he defers to his older brother, he has himself, regardless of public acclaim differences.

The show opened with Carrie Ferguson playing the piano and singing several of her songs with her lilting, tremolo, vocals and sweet sound.  Taylor took a few moments after her performance saying that’s a tough act to follow, and then continued with ‘notice how I’m standing here, waiting for the memory of what you just heard to fade.  I’ll give it a few minutes more.’

From that opening, to his songs such as Life Is Good, Never Lose Hope, Pajamas, I Will Be In Love With You, Everybody’s Just Like Me, and several more entrancing tunes, he wove stories, and musical history through a magical hour and a half, bringing us snippets of Yip Harburg’s pop song work, who was inspired by Arthur Sullivan and W. S. Gilbert, and Harburg inspired others such as Edward Harrigan and Tony Hart, who also clearly enthralled Livingston Taylor, informing his musicality and love of music history.

Livingston Taylor teaches at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and his performance made me want to take his classes, and become the best musician I can be.  I bought his book: Stage Performance, and asked him to sign it for me, to which he readily obliged.  When asked to whom he should address it, I said ‘to Jerri, and add how wonderful it is to meet me, and what a great time we’ve had…’  His droll smile illuminated his face as he penned: “Wow! What a time!  To Jerri, Livingston Taylor”  I’m most pleased that I made him smile.

Taylor’s performance closed with his sweet rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow, to which we all joined in, and it was a truly lovely ending to a superbly entertaining show.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

DPChallenge: Dystopia, The Musical

Set Present Time. Suburban neighborhood. Backdrop sunny, blue sky, distant hills, but a dark pall hugging charred tree tops, suggesting recent fires, and dank atmosphere.

Act I
Scene I
Chorus in black-hooded robes, heads bowed, arms folded tight to body, hum discordantly – low in front of curtain. Curtain rises on street scene: once beautiful homes graffiti-ed, broken windows, smashed bird bath, broken fountain. The chorus retreats US center, in a crescendo-ing hum, then silence as grey-ish filtered early morning light rises on a disheveled lone female quickly searching through a garbage bin on the sidewalk.
A shot is heard – the female rises erect, alert, looking around for close danger. No one appears. The woman relaxes her stance, continues her search, and finds a torn one-armed rag doll. She stares at the doll a moment, then holds it close, silently weeping as music begins. She wipes her tears as she sings:

 What have we done? What have I become? Is this reality now?
I can’t believe this awful dream, I’ve got to wake somehow.

She puts the doll in her coat pocket.

Enter two children, dirty & hungry, salvaging. They see the woman and turn back.

“No, stop! It’s ok – I won’t hurt you!” The children stop hesitantly.

“I’m looking for food too. We can look together.” They look doubtful. The woman takes the rag doll out of her pocket. “Look, you can have this, if you want it?” She holds out the doll to them.
The boy steps in front of his sister, stopping her from going closer.
“I know you don’t trust me, but I’m really not going to hurt you, or take anything from you. I’d just like to help – and have some company.”

The boy relaxes and lets his sister take the doll.
“If we stick together, we can try to help each other, alright?”
The children nod in expressionless agreement.
“Are your parents alive?” The children look down, unanswering.
“Oh, you don’t know? I’m sorry.” The woman looks toward a fenced compound on a near hill. “Sometimes the Citadel cooks throw out scraps or bones, but you’ve got to get there early and be fast to get anything. Do you want to come with me?”
The children look hungry, but doubtful. “You don’t have to go near, you can wait by the trees, and I’ll try to get what I can – if there is anything today.”
The children follow the woman off SL.

Scene II

The woman and children enter in front of the curtain, SR, through a line of trees.
“You wait here. Don’t eat the mushrooms, they’re poisonous.” The woman points to mushrooms growing around and on the trees. “And if you see anyone, pick some and pretend you’re going to eat them, but don’t really put them in your mouth. The juice can make you very sick, especially when you haven’t eaten anything else. They’ll think you’re stupid and won’t bother you because they think you’ll die soon anyway.”

The choir chants low ominous sounds, becoming louder as the curtain opens to reveal barbed wire fencing with a metal prison-door like gate, and security cameras facing all directions. Choir falls silent.

The woman walks up where a window is seen from the fence, her face obscured by a tattered scarf. She searches the ground for scraps and finds none. As she waits, others begin gathering. The woman stands more erect, but does not look at anyone. A figure appears in the window looking out at the gathering crowd, and closes the curtain. Some soft cries and groans are heard among the crowd, the signal that no food will be thrown today. They begin shuffling off stage L&R. The woman and three men remain in hopeful expectancy. One man puts his hands on the fence as the others are too late to warn him. The shock jolts him, and he cries out from the powerful surge.

The window curtain opens slightly, and the figure in the window looks at the remaining few. Two large meaty bones are thrown out over the fence. The woman has drawn a knife and readies for a fight. Choir takes up chant, pantomiming the actors with voice and action in their group. DS man draws a knife and the woman lunges, slashing his arm. He retaliates, narrowly missing her shoulder as the woman ducks and slashes again, missing his leg. US man has grabbed a bone and the woman lunges at her foe’s face with her knife, meeting his shin with her foot, stomping down. Choir finishes tones in triumphant harmony, reforms original stance.

The woman grabs the remaining bone and runs, the man limping after her in pursuit. The choir takes up a crescendo-ing chant for the chase. As the woman nears the line of trees, the man catches her shoulder, but the children rush out screaming and running toward them, the woman using the moment to plunge her knife in through his ribs and twists it in deep. He falls dead. The choir ceases their chanting through rushing expelled air.

Act II
Scene I
Curtain opens on the woman and children sitting around a fire where a pot containing the meaty bone and gathered roots has cooked. They share one cup, sipping the broth. The woman watches the area for intruders, but none come.
The woman speaks: “When I was your age, my parent’s left my sister and me in the care of the Citadel home while they went to look for work – before the Citadel fell to Bolinger. They never returned, and my sister and I tried to find them when I was old enough to travel longer distances on our own. She knew about wild plants – what could be eaten, or used for medicine. Bolinger’s guards found us. My sister died defending me. I had fainted and they left me alone in the woods. I came to next to my sister’s body, and I cried through the night. No one came to help, and I had nothing to bury her with, so I covered her with nettles, leaves, and branches. I wandered through the woods hoping I’d find some help, and came across a family that let me travel with them, probably because I was still young enough that I wasn’t a threat, and acted as a look out for them when they hunted or stole food and things they needed. I learned to steal too, but I never got used to it, and I finally found work washing clothes for food and shelter at the Citadel. I spoke up to Bolinger’s men mistreating an older woman, and was beat and thrown out. I’ve been on my own ever since. I’d like to know what happened to you, if you’re willing to tell me?”

The boy looks at his sister, and back at the woman, and speaks: “We woke up one day last week and our parents were gone, and they haven’t come back”.
“Did you live far from where I first saw you?”
“No, we left our camp trying to find something to eat – and then we met you…”
“It’s OK. I know what it’s like being alone and lost – inside and out.” The woman smiles, and gestures toward his sister. “Does your sister talk?”
“Yes, but not since our mother and father left.”
“I’m sorry. I hope they find you again soon. We can stick together until then.”
“I’d like that.” The boy looks at his sister who has moved closer to him, and he says – “We’d like that.”
“We need to find somewhere to sleep tonight, and maybe I’ll find somewhere to work for food tomorrow.”
“I can work too”, the boy says.
“I think your work is taking care of your sister. It looks like you both could use a washing, so we’ll go to the falls. Have you been?”
“No. My father said to stay away because it’s too dangerous. The rocks are slippery and you could fall and die on the jagged rocks under the falls, and there are bad people who live there that like to eat children.”
“It’s trolls who like to eat children, and they don’t live at the Falls. They live in fairy tales and made up stories. Your father was right that the rocks are slippery, and there are jagged rocks in the water below, but that’s where the sweetest fish are too – when there are any to find.”

As the woman and children walk through the woods, the chorus begins a low hum and appear in staggered relief in the woods. They cease humming as forest dwellers who have been watching the woman and children’s progress step out to confront them.
A man speaks: “Where do you think you’re going?”
The woman says: “We mean you no harm. I am bringing my children to safe sleep for the night, and then we’re on our way out of these woods.”
“There is payment required for safe passage.”
“But we have no coin or goods to offer.”
“Then you’ll turn back the way you came, and hurry through, or you may not make it out at all.”
The girl holds out the rag doll which the man takes and rips off the other arm, throwing the doll roughly back at the girl.  The men laugh coarsely.
“That was all we possessed.” The woman picks up the doll putting it in her pocket, takes the girl and boy by the hand and turns back the way they came.  She speaks quietly and urgently to the children: “Don’t look back, and walk quickly. They’ll leave us alone if we don’t stop.”

Scene II
The sound of a waterfall is heard as the woman and children walk in front of curtain. Two of the forest-dweller men trail them at a distance. The woman turns to pick up the girl to quicken their pace, and glimpses one of the men. She pretends not to notice as the curtain rises revealing jagged looking rocks and cascading water. The choir appears on an US riser, intoning rising cacophonous sounds as the men move in for the kill. The woman lifts the girl to a higher rock, telling the boy: “Take your sister over these rocks staying as far from the water as you can. You can make it, but you must not stop, no matter what. There is a Citadel corn field down below that you can hide in and wait for me. Now go!”
As the children disappear over the ridge, the woman takes the opposite, more treacherous path by the water, slipping toward the edge of the falls, but finding crevices for her hands and feet as she goes. She finds the opening she once knew under the falls which the men do not see, and comes out onto the opposite side, stepping out onto a rock where the men will see her. She mimes difficulty ascending as the men leer at her and begin climbing to reach her. One of the men grabs hold of a rock protruding from the Falls, assuming that was the woman’s path, and loses his footing, falling to his death on the rocks below. The other man looks for an alternate route, and slips onto a jagged rock, lying there in obvious pain as the woman expertly climbs her way over the outcrop of rock and disappears over the other side. The choir has been rising and falling throughout, emphasizing the man’s demise, and the woman’s triumph. Close curtain.

Scene III
The children huddle at the edge of the cornfield below the stage, anticipating the woman’s arrival. Unfamiliar sounds, an owl hoot, or coyote howl, are heard in the distance, causing fearful reactions as they wait. The woman, scratched and hurt, limps toward the cornfield in front of the curtain, checking around her as she goes. As she comes offstage toward the cornfield, she spots the children and reunites.
“Are you alright?”

The children nod yes, but the woman sees a gash on the boy’s arm. “We’ll have to get that cleaned out so you don’t get infected. We can’t stay here because Bolinger’s guards will soon pass by, if they haven’t already. Did you see anyone since you’ve been here?”
“No one has gone by since we got here. I was afraid you wouldn’t find us.”
“I was afraid too, but we’re OK now.  We can rest for the night in Fairwoods – it’s near the brook where we can wash up, and if my old mistress is in her cottage, we might have something hot to eat.”

Exit SL

Scene IV

The woman and children are seated DS, the wooded area behind them, their faces are clean, and they are eating stew from an old chipped porcelain bowl.

“You’ll clean the bowl in the brook when you’re finished.  I’m going to try to catch some fish and we’ll leave it at my old mistresses door for feeding us such good rabbit stew.”  As the woman walks toward the brook the Chorus enters with low, ominous chants.  A lightning storm stirs up and thunder crashes as the Chorus chants the louder, urgent cacophonous tones as a bruised and limping man brandishing a machete lunges toward the woman from SR.  The boy sees the man and picks up a large rock, coming DSR, throwing it and connecting with the man’s head, just as the man has slashed the woman’s shoulder and arm with the machete.  She cries out, badly hurt. The man has fallen, unconscious.  The girl cowers US with the doll in her hands as the boy does what he can to help the woman USC and helps her sit.  He takes the shirt off the man and tries to staunch the woman’s wounds, but the woman is fading.

“Go and tell my old mistress – that I am done for, and you will work – for her – if she can take you.  Help – your – sister.”  The woman dies.  The girl cries and hugs the woman, and keeps crying as her brother puts his arm around her, pulling her away, and leads her off SL.  Curtain closes.

Scene V

The boy enters SR, a rough shack is USL, in a wooded area.  The boy has a large fish that hangs partially over in the chipped porcelain bowl.  He goes to the shack and knocks, but gets no reply.  After a few knocks with no response, he leaves the fish in the bowl in front of the door, and turns to leave with his sister.  A window curtain is slowly pulled aside in the shack and we see an older woman peering out at the backs of the children, and she closes the window curtain again.  The Chorus has been chanting slow, quiet, tones, and stops as the light fades on the shack and comes up diffusely focusing on the girl who has dropped her doll and stoops to pick it up.  The boy has stopped to wait for her.

The girl sings, with a quiet echo of the woman’s voice in the air:

What have we done? What have I become? Is this reality now?
I can’t believe this awful dream, I’ve got to wake somehow.

The children exit SL.

End.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Daily Prompt: Musical

Michelle W. posted this prompt yesterday, January 26, 2013:

What role does music play in your life?

Having sung since I can remember (and far before that, my mother tells me), music and song are inextricable from my life.  It’s no happy accident that movies are scored, and that specific tones evoke or heighten emotion.  Music has helped me survive loss, and hurt.  Music bolsters my courage, energizes me, and connects me to others.

When I sing, I feel like a separate entity is within me, making beautiful sound come out of me – especially wonderful if I’m feeling ugly in any sense of that word.  Music is that in which the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

I am definitely a rock-n-roll woman, TrainWreck Sept. 22, 2012

although I appreciate many musical genres, and instrumentation.  While I can’t listen endlessly to certain genres, cultural influences, whether regional or global, enthrall me.  Music through the ages and across cultures fascinates me with its many variations and combinations of sound and style.  If you’ve been exposed to music from around the world, you can listen to a piece and likely know what part of the world it’s from, and I find that astonishing.  We bend and re-shape genres more and more these days, mixing old world in with new, in ever-expanding creative expression.

I can be moved to tears, called to action, and filled near bursting with joy – all from one song!  My inner homeland soundtrack includes: America The Beautiful, The Star-Spangled Banner, This Land Is Your Land, and dozens of others, while other country’s anthems and signature songs connect me to people and places I might not otherwise feel any affinity toward.

Music helps us learn, and moves uniquely through our brain.  A fascinating look at this can be found here: This Is Your Brain On Music.  The academic writing and science made it difficult for me to follow some of it because of my learning deficits, but it’s remarkable material and well worth reading.

Beyond the scientific data, we know that music touches us as few other things do.  I find it incomprehensible that there once was a movement to banish music, and some people still believe that music is somehow ‘evil’, and responsible for humanity’s downfall.  Yes, emotions are heightened, but the same thing can be said about prayer, and anytime people gather for a common purpose – with or without music.

To me, music is life.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Streetcar Dreams

I brought a new character into the play, in my dream, last night – a child.  In the beginning of the dream, the child wasn’t known to me, but later she was a girl I have worked with on a couple of other shows.  She threw up in the rehearsal space/apartment the cast was staying at, and she threw up on the stage.  No one was cleaning it up, and I couldn’t find anything to mop it up myself.  I was so anxious about not stepping in it, and of getting it cleaned up before we would be performing that evening.

An old boyfriend of mine was outside in a parking lot, perhaps of the theater we were bringing the show to.  He was taller and broader than I remembered him, and was aged several years, as he would be, and I thought, ‘oh, maybe we’ll get back together!’, but when I said hello to him, and asked about his life, he looked somewhat disdainfully at me and told me he’s married, and works for himself.

Houses represent the self, so perhaps this show is helping my ‘inner child’ purge the emotional vestiges from my young life, or perhaps the opposite is true and I need to purge Blanche’s character out of me.  No matter what the similarities are, we are not the same.  I have options, and I am availing myself of those options.

This has been a lonely experience, but also a gratifying one in learning the lines, and being present to the other actors as best I can, bringing an excellent production to the community.  We have two more shows before the run is through, and I am looking forward to re-organizing my life once the play closes.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

First Show Weekend Done

The intensity of playing Blanche DuBois is slowly receding, but we have a pick-up rehearsal on Thursday, and then the last shows over next weekend.  I’ve been sad that we’ve had a sparse audience, but happy that we’ve got a great show – well worth the $12 dollar ticket price.

It’s been an interesting journey, and I have much more confidence that I can tackle most anything now.  I understand Blanche the way I was always going to understand her, but more deeply now.  She has much more depth, and even strength, than I’ve heard most people attribute to her, but Blanche is doomed, no matter what.

My dreams keep writing Blanche’s character differently.  She has more to say, and isn’t alright with her fate as written.  That’s good news, isn’t it?  My psyche isn’t willing to resign her to what’s been told.  In my mind, she heals in the institution.  Her psychotic break isn’t permanent.  The beauty of that ending is that I know it happens.  People go through horrific things and continue on, relatively intact.

I gave my best performances, and will continue to.  I have enjoyed evolving through each night.  I find a different nuance to Blanche’s character, or a better way to interact with the other characters.  Theater is beautiful because unlike life, you get to do the same thing over and over, and maybe not create different results, but bring something more to each performance.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy

Finding this balloon made me happy.  I found it on the ground near the back door of my apartment the morning after my birthday last month.  There was tape on the back of the balloon, so it had probably been stuck to my back door, but there was no accompanying note, or card, nor was the balloon signed.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Post Show Day

My desktop computer died yesterday and I have a bunch of important files on the hard drive.  I had been migrating files over to a separate hard drive, but hadn’t gotten all of them, and not the most recent ones.  The desktop PC was my work computer while the laptop computer I’m typing from was my travel computer.  Now I’m super paranoid that this one is going to fail me too.

I had my internet speed reduced, thereby reducing my monthly bill by half, but webpage access is much slower, and download times are close to dial-up.  I think I’ll have to go to a library, or some other public venue when I want to download something so it won’t take half a day, and I can work on other stuff at the same time.

My band had our first job at a local nightclub, and it was so fun.  I wish I had given a perfect performance, but I’m so good at screwing up I decided to make it a regular feature in my work, besides, our band name is Trainwreck, so you could say I was obliging our name. 😉  I could pretend I’m like those people who mess things up on purpose because they feel that only ‘god’ should do things perfectly (twisted logic, but I suppose it works for them).

Here’s a link to a short video clip one of my friends took of me singing some of Wild Horses:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6CsU6yJEdQ

Two of my friends were dancing silly and they cracked me up while I was singing, which you’ll hear, but I have to get used to not reacting to that kind of stuff!  The song was recorded at the end of the night and I think you can hear that in my voice as well, but some of you have asked me to post clips when I had them, so there you go!  There might be more coming because another friend was shooting some video of the gig last night too.

Now that the pressure’s off, I’m hoping I’ll sleep better tonight.  Cheers!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Fair Days

Our fall harvest festival, The Franklin County Agricultural Fair, is here again.  I had wanted to enter some photography in their annual contest this year, but I always miss the deadline.  I also think there’s an entry fee, but I’m sure it’s not that much.

A dear friend gave me entrance tickets, and I’ll bring a sandwich, and my water canteen with me.  I don’t need to spend money on any attractions or food.  Just seeing so many people I know, and all the fair exhibits, is interesting enough for an afternoon.  It’s only a mile away from where I live, so I can even walk there.  Having no money doesn’t equal having no fun!

I look forward to seeing all the cows, sheep, goats, chicks, and ducks, and geese… and the surrey with the fringe on top!  Oh, sorry, I was in Oklahoma for a minute.  Maybe I’ll even find my very own Curly McLain there!  I played Ado Annie Carnes in The Country Players‘ 2008 production, and she is a far more interesting character than Laurey Williams is, even though Laurey is one of the main characters.  Ado Annie is the comic relief minor character, and it was so much fun to play that role.  As long as I don’t meet a Jud Fry at the fair, it’ll be a good day.  (I just realized I starting reading the words as I typed them in a mid-western accent.)

Maybe I’ll go around the fair using my Oklahoma accent and then switch to the English Country dialect I used for the Mutton & Mead Medieval Festival!  Well, the skies aren’t looking too friendly just now, so I better git while the gittin’s good!  Cheers!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Goodbye Again, Norma Jean

Marilyn Monroe fascinated me as much as anyone else, I suppose.  As an American, she’s one of our iconic own, but she belonged to none of us.  I’m not sure she even belonged to herself.  I’ve read, or heard, so much about her from the time I was a child.  Ms. Monroe was a few years older than my father, who thought she was amazing – as I’m sure many men of his generation did.  I don’t remember hearing praise about her from my mother.

I didn’t like Ms. Monroe when I was young, or as I grew up.  She seemed like a poseur to me, even when I was no more than seven or eight.  Maybe that was because I knew my father liked her, or idolized her, when he was so horrible to my mother, but I might have been savvy enough to see through the façade of Norma Jean Mortenson without extra help.

Even into my twenties I had a disdainful-yet-envious fascination of her, and continued to judge her foibles harshly.  It wasn’t until the last decade or so that I began to have more compassion for Ms. Monroe and what it must have been like to live a life like hers – chosen or not.  I think the fame that Ms. Monroe sought and achieved wasn’t what she had expected.  How could it have been?  How can any of us know what it’s like being somewhere other than where we are?  I doubt that she would have planned for how her life unfolded, or that she conceived of being overwhelmed by her fame.  Even if she had thought of the potential consequences of fame, imagination rarely duplicates reality.

I remember reading that it took Ms. Mortenson four hours to ‘become Marilyn Monroe’.  It’s surprising how much I soaked up about a woman I claimed to not have much interest in.  Her mystique lives on today – although probably quite diminished from what it had been in her heyday.

An interview with some expert on Marilyn Monroe and her life was on NPR this morning, and the man went on about how smart she actually was, even though she typically ‘played dumb’, and what great comic timing she had – and some of my old envy came back as I listened and found myself deriding that guy’s assessment because, clearly, being male automatically exempts him from speaking neutrally about Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn Monroe belongs to the realm of Hollywood mythology now, her off-screen self forever marred because of her onscreen legend (deserved and accurate – or not).

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Thoughts On The Go

Publicity photo of Andy Griffith, Don Knotts a...
Publicity photo of Andy Griffith, Don Knotts and Jim Nabors from The Andy Griffith Show. Andy tries to help out the town band, but Barney and Gomer aren’t so sure he’s helping them. The episode is “The Sermon for Today”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been traveling the last few days and haven’t had computer access for more than a couple of minutes.  I got to spend some time with old friends in Maine, and another friend outside of Boston, and now I’m going to visit family in Rhode Island.

I was quite sad to hear that Andy Griffith died – as well as Ernest Borgnine.  Andy Griffith helped me through my childhood by representing the father I wish I had, and by remaining on television through specials and through his Matlock series.  I never watched Matlock more than once or twice, but just knowing he was still around was comforting to me.

Ernest Borgnine didn’t elicit the same kind of emotional response in me that Andy Griffith did, but I found him entertaining and funny (unless he was performing in a serious role, of course).

Time is moving on.  With every person from my parents’ generation that passes away, I feel pulled that much closer to the end of my life’s track as well.  I know I’m still pretty much in the middle of my life – and if I weren’t so tired, I’d celebrate that…

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused

I went with a friend to see Cyndi Lauper in concert.  My friend and I both took pictures, but hers came out better than mine.  Although the photograph isn’t focused, I like how Cyndi’s brightly colored hair shines through, even though they aren’t her true colors…

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Regret

One of my deepest regrets is not getting to sing with Hans Sven Poulsen again after he visited the commune/cult and recorded “The Wonderchild Family” album with a group of us kids.

Hans had invited me to come sing with him in a benefit he was going to do for the Children’s Hospital in Boston after he finished his recordings with us.  I wasn’t able to get to Boston, and a few months later, Hans found out he had cancer and began treatment for that, eventually leaving for the West coast, and then back home to Australia.

In June of 2000, my son and I went to Australia to meet and stay with my pen-pal whom I’d been writing to since I was twelve.  I managed to track down Hans and got in touch with him so my son and I got to visit him and his wife in Melbourne a few days before our flight back to the U.S.  He had suffered a stroke back in the 1990’s, but had done much to rehabilitate, and was again playing music and working as a music therapist.

Perhaps everything unfolded perfectly, or maybe my desire wasn’t stronger than my fear, but I’ve always thought that if I had sung with him at the benefit concert I would have ‘been discovered’ or somehow made connections to start my singing career.

If getting the life I wanted when I wanted it meant that I wouldn’t have had my son, then I’m less remorseful, and seeing as there is no way I can know that, I choose to believe that having my son was the best opportunity I took.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hidden

Zombified 2011

Ok, it might be considered cheating to post this for the ‘Hidden’ Photo Challenge, but as a nod to Hallowe’en, and my post theme this week, I think a mask is a perfect angle on being hidden, even if it’s only make-up I’m hiding behind.

Here’s another photo that more closely exemplifies this week’s photo challenge.  Do you see what’s hidden in this photo?:

Can you spot the hidden object?

Update:

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Hidden bottle cap

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Thrill The World

I took part in thrilltheworld this morning, a yearly event seeking to break the Guinness World Record for the most people dancing simultaneously to Thriller around the globeThere is a morning dance slot and an evening one, but with the forecast for snow, and various other Hallowe’en-related events, the morning slot was the best option for me and my friend.

I got up at 6:30 to drive to my friend’s house so we could ride together to Great Barrington, about another hour from her house.  Check-in ended at 9am, and the official dance time began at 10am.

It was freezing out!  The forecast was for snow later today, and I think it was about 30°F when I got to my friend’s house, and probably a bit warmer by the time we got to the school where the dance took place.  I didn’t realize we would be dancing outside!  I thought they’d hold it in the school’s gym.

There were a lot of teenagers and younger kids there, but also a good showing of older people too.

I had learned and practiced the dance yesterday, so I was a half-step or more behind the rest of the group, but that’s why I stayed in the back.  My favorite part was getting Zombified:

We all warmed up and ran-through the dance on the track, but the official dance took place on the field.  We started out by lying down on the cold, wet grass for about a twenty-second count, and then began our rise as zombies until the music cue that starts the dance steps.  It was so fantastic to see such a variety of people who all knew the moves, and were dressed either typically, or in costume with full Zombie make-up.

I had brought a white Zombie outfit that I put together last night, but it was way too cold to wear it, so I stayed in my street clothes.  I’m glad I wore my ‘Spooky’ graphic-T-shirt today, so at least I had something apropos on.

Despite the bone-chilling cold, we had a fantastic time.  On my drive home, it started to snow, and there’s about two or three inches of accumulation already.  I think the forecast was calling for eight to ten inches of snow, but I hope the weather report is wrong…  I can’t remember the last time it snowed this much in October.  It’s too bad because I really wanted to go to a Hallowe’en party tonight, but I guess it’s a movie and hot chocolate evening instead.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

One Of My Obsessions

kristin.eonline.com - "Monk: 100 Episodes...
Image via Wikipedia

Tony Shalhoub won’t leave me alone.  O.k., he doesn’t know me, but the guy keeps appearing in my dreams, and pops into my head at random moments.  And, to be fair, it’s not Mr. Shalhoub himself, but his character as he appeared in Monk.  Watching that show actually prepared me somewhat for my current job with a persnickety boss.

The office needs to be prepared to be opened in the way my boss, who is also a practitioner of mine, expects.  When I was trained to work there, I learned that everything is set up in a particular way, with items set in an exact position, and an atmosphere is established.

I understand that on a practical level and accept it, but I also see where it’s very high maintenance.  I don’t care because I’m not a full-time employee, nor am I all that invested in my part-time job there, but I’ve also dealt with a megalomaniac cult leader, and his followers, so my boss is a piece of cake.  I want to laugh whenever one of my office mates tries to soften my boss’s peculiarities with facial gestures and other body language because I’ve seen so much worse in my life.  My boss’s requirements at least make sense.

Part of me wants to tell the other workers that not only am I perceptive, I also don’t judge or begrudge my boss his standards and requirements.  My job is to do what I’m asked, as long as it doesn’t compromise my integrity in any way.

Anyway, back to Mr. Shalhoub: I think he’s one of the best actors I’ve ever watched, and his comic timing is impeccable.  I am so jealous of his talent and skill, and just want to meet him and hang out with him, hoping that some of his genius rubs off on me.  His wife, Brooke Adams, is also a wonderful actor, and I met her briefly when I was a kid and she was filming a few scenes in a movie that I can’t even remember the name of, and doesn’t seem to be listed anywhere online, but the scene I watched was of her getting in a car and driving several hundred feet and getting out.  She had to do the scene over quite a few times.  It was my first exposure to film-making, and I was absolutely enamored with it.  I knew I wanted to be an actor since I was about ten, so it was a special thrill to see part of a movie being made locally.

Maybe I’ll meet Mr. Shalhoub one of these days, but I think it’s cool that his work has impacted me regardless of whether I ever know him or not.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.