I Feel Lucky

I went to Greece this past August to reclaim a love of mine: cabaret singing.

If you’ve never been exposed to this incredible art form, I recommend you explore some. You will find many spectacular performers in all areas who also perform cabaret, especially in the major cities such as NYC, LA, Chicago, St. Louis.

A cabaret show (of the singing variety – not the topless kind) is a very intimate experience. There’s no “fourth wall” as exists in many other art forms. The cabaret singer is singing straight from their heart using their voice, body, guts and intelligence. Whether they sing with a pianist or there are other instruments added in, there is a deep connection between the musicians and the singer that is palpable. When it is done right, it is an improvised dance happening in the moment – between the audience, the singer, the musicians and the song. It can be hilarious, moving, exciting, thought-provoking, entertaining, heart-breaking. A great cabaret show will be all of that and then some.

Today I am getting my work out there by posting a clip from one of the songs I performed in Greece after an incredible week-long cabaret workshop that was taught under the direction of master teachers Lina Koutrakos and Beckie Menzie.

The week culminated in a casual show in a hotel lobby with a very-old-and-in-need-of-tuning-and-repair-but-charming-upright piano, a so-so microphone and our hearts and souls. It was wonderful, the audience was wonderful, the other singers were outstanding, and I? Well, I was in heaven, once again, singing cabaret style. (I sang “I Feel Lucky,” written by the incomparable Mary Chapin Carpenter, arranged by Rick Jensen with Beckie Menzie at piano adding her own special magic and flare.

It has been 15 years since my NYC debut solo cabaret show, “In the meanwhile…” I loved making that show, directed by Lina Koutrakos, arranged and played by Rick Jensen at piano and Mark Wade on bass. After having been around the scene for several years, and singing in several terrific trio and group shows, I put together my own solo show. It was to be the official beginning of my cabaret life. But other parts of my life went in other directions shortly after that show, and for many reasons, so did my creative focus.

My heart has yearned for it over these years. I made a few brief visits back for various performances. But for the most part, I was outside of the cabaret world, sending love to the many people I know and who I admire who have been and continue to carry the tradition forward these fifteen years. I was doing many other fulfilling and creative things, but a part of me was dormant and aching.

But finally my heart said, “It is time, already!” And so I said yes to Greece, yes to the workshop and yes to singing cabaret again. And I am so glad I did.

Look out, Cabaret. I’m back! This time, for good.

#TheGetMyWorkOutThereChallenge #DayFifteen #cabaret #passion #cabaretsinging #MaryChapinCarpenter #IFeelLucky #Iamlucky #linakoutrakos #beckiemenzie

Featured Image by Diane D’Angelo (who also happens to be an amazing cabaret performer!)

Beach Daze

Nothing but blue skies…

Yesterday got away from me. (I am on a brief vacation/birthday trip.) So day ten of my challenge has moved to today. Progress not perfection!

I did get my work out there, though. Our modern world allows every opportunity to virtually audition.

I can upload audition tapes for specific auditions that have requested me to do so through my reps or for jobs I have submitted myself for.

And no matter where I am, at any given moment, I can create a short filmed audition and send it off in an instant. How cool is that?

I have a small filming kit that has been with me to Greece, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, and all over the US. Only challenging part is finding a “reader”, someone to read the off-screen other characters. But even that can be arranged virtually, so never a true issue.

I cannot post yesterday’s audition due to a non-disclosure agreement, but it was a fun one!

Today and tomorrow are the weekend, but I will still be getting my work out there, through submissions.

(In-between naps and dips into the ocean, of course.)

#TheGetYourMyOutThereChallenge #auditiontapes #createdaily

The Party Bus

I love working on my birthday. I know, strange.

One of my favorite working birthday memories was some years ago while on tour with the zany musical, “Church Basement Ladies.”

I loved doing the show, and being on tour was a welcome distraction from the grieving life had brought me to following my mother’s death earlier that year. It was autumn and we were in the Blue Ridge Mountain area. The foliage was breathtaking.

On the day of my birth this particular year, it was a “two-show day,” meaning we had matinee and evening shows. We’d been in this small city for a day already, and earlier in the week I had hatched a plan for celebrating my big day.

So when we got to this city, I found a bakery nearby and ordered myself a huge decorated sheet cake – my own birthday cake – the day before. I told no one.

On the day, in-between shows, I did laundry, and walked a few miles to find some booze for the cast and crew. I was throwing myself a surprise party that night after load-out! I didn’t drink, but the cast and crew highly valued a drink once we were all packed up onto the bus and on the road again, headed to a new stage, a new city.

I was so excited about my surprise “party”! I just felt so good, I wanted to share the feeling.

I think they were a bit stunned, and who knows what they really thought about it, but I loved it.

(Especially the cake.)

I look back and see that that was a key birthday for me. I was beginning to get something…that I didn’t have to wait around for someone to throw me a party. I had full license to make my own joy, however and wherever I could.

What a beautiful lesson and gift.

For day eight of my Get My Work Out There Challenge, on this day of my birth, I am working, and glad for it.

Here’s a press clip from that show – so fun. William Christopher played the pastor (remember him, from M*A*S*H?), and the cast and crew were so talented. I made some good friends on that tour, and got my Equity card. The musical was funny and touching, and the music and harmonies and dancing were just pure joy.

Today I celebrate my life, my art, my joy, my ability to make life a surprise party.

What do you celebrate today?

#TheGetMyWorkOutThereChallenge #DayEight #celebrate #tour #actress #ontheroad #birthdayparty

 

Done is Better Than Perfect

Yep. This mantra has been life-changing for me over the past few years.

As a recovering perfectionist, I can go at something a zillion times to try to get it “ready enough.” I am all for high standards for oneself, but not when it becomes prohibitive to sharing my work. Not anymore.

Today’s blog post was another video I made. This one from day two. Again, not sent.

But today, it’s message applies as I was in a similar situation. I was asked to take on more and I said “Yes!” I am so glad I did. Stretching doesn’t always feel good in the moment, but over time, the benefits outweigh the discomfort.

And in the spirit of following through – of not holding on to something I made just because it isn’t perfect or I am not “made up enough” or I am second-guessing it because it is a week late (who do I think is coming, the internet police?), I am posting it today.

What will you say yes to today? How will you stretch tomorrow? Anything you are sitting on that it is time to let go of, let it fly into the world?

#TheGetMyWorkOutThereChallenge #DaySeven #DoneisBetterThanPerfect #SayYes #daretogobare

HeartSpace

My post today was inspired by an incredible poem quoted by the incredible Erin Stutland in one of her meditations. [Erin’s work is amazing: check out her book “Mantras in Motion” and her app The Movement.] Dorothy Hunt’s work is also amazing. Both women’s creativity and lives inspire me to follow my own creativity in my own life.

Peace is This Moment Without Judgment
by Dorothy Hunt

Do you think peace requires an end to war?
Or tigers eating only vegetables?
Does peace require an absence from
your boss, your spouse, yourself? …
Do you think peace will come some other place than here?
Some other time than Now?
In some other heart than yours?Peace is this moment without judgment.
That is all. This moment in the Heart-space
where everything that is is welcome.
Peace is this moment without thinking
that it should be some other way,
that you should feel some other thing,
that your life should unfold according to your plans.Peace is this moment without judgment,
this moment in the heart-space where
everything that is is welcome.

HeartSpace

Somewhere deep in the recesses of my heart

There lies a nook that houses secret things

Like a child’s hiding place of special tokens

In a treehouse or the back of a closet, where

Treasures and other things of import reside

Become forgotten in the process of growing up.

I found that nook, I unearthed what it held

The hurts from being bullied, the times I never told

The part of me that broke apart when I didn’t get picked

to be in Drama Club, that sorority, a date for the dance

The times I was terrified I was losing my mind, felt so alone,

When really, I was finding my sanity, waking up from a coma.

I found these things and so much more – and I dusted them off

I found a prominent shelf in the middle of my heart

And placed them upon it, one by one, with a kiss and a caress.

I have inventoried and know my parts intimately now

Nothing’s in shadow, I shine the light on all I am

Nothing more to be hidden for I am a child no more.

 

#TheGetMyWorkOutThereChallenge #DaySix #truth #heart #dorothyhunt #erinstutland

 

 

 

 

 

The Get My Work Out There Challenge

So it is officially Day Five of my Get My Work Out There Challenge.

And today, I am really gonna go out on a limb.

You see, I made a little video for day one on day one, but then I did not use it.

Why? Well, because of the very things that I am attempting to push through doing this challenge! Fear of being “too much”, too “self-centered.” Perfectionism. Concern that others will think it (aka “I”) am “stupid.” Just writing that makes it seem ridiculous. But trust me, these have held me back more times than I care to admit. But no more.

So I am posting it, on Day Five. Shocking, I know! Will the world stop turning on its axis?

It is NOT perfect. But I am GETTING IT OUT THERE!

What have you been sitting on? Come on, get it out there!! I double-dog dare ya!

#TheGetYourWorkOutThereChallenge #antiperfectionism #courage #createdaily