Somersault

Voltereta (aka Somersault) is an award-winning, wonderful short film I was cast in some years ago. The director was Alexis Morante, just out of film school. But it was clear to me from the audition that he had talent and would be going places.

At the time, I would not normally have agreed to a role that had no lines, but after meeting him and reading the terrific script, I knew I had to be a part of the film. (It was, after all, about an underdog. You know my fondness for underdogs!)

His attention to detail and passion for the script coupled with his respect for actors and crew had me at hello.

It was a great experience, and best of all was watching the seasoned Spanish film actress Maria Alfonsa Rosso at work. As well as Alexis and his cinematographer, Daniel Sosa Segura. The film was produced through 700G Films.

Movie magic.

Lolo is an Andalusian 10-year-old kid who moves to New York City with all his family. The film is set in 1985, and Lolo only knows about America from the movies he watches in his neighborhood cinema: Back to the Future, The Goonies or Karate Kid. Lolo and his grandma decide to go down to their communal swimming pool in New York. But something unexpected will make Lolo, as young as 10 years old, to confront all his fears at a time. Because sometimes a simple decision can change the rest of your life.

I played mom to Mary, a little girl who Lolo finds pretty. I was one of a cast of characters who created the foreign world that Lolo found himself in.

The film won multitudes of awards on the film festival circuit. It really is very special. You can watch it here.

On set in Hoboken.

#TheGetMyWorkOutThereChallenge #DaySeventeen #shortfilm #independentfilm #filmdirector

Dear Body

Dear Body ‘o Mine:

Just a moment of giving thanks to you for housing my soul this go ‘round.

I haven’t always been kind to you. Let’s face it: I have been an abusive partner much of the time.

Somehow I allowed you to become my battlefield, my own social media platform decades before such a thing existed. I expressed my anger and sadness through you by starving or overfeeding you, turning you into a subliminal billboard for my feelings.

I took out my feelings towards myself on you, my friend. Worked out for hours each day, ignored your protests, your needs, your pain.

All you have ever offered me was an exquisitely designed home. A mode of transportation. A portal for expression. A set of systems that keep this spirit of mine, this mind, this heart – alive and upright and capable of using my breath and energy to love, learn, give, share and create.

I have been making a living amends. Since I knew better, I have done better.

Doing better every day.

I just wanted you to know, I love and appreciate you. For everything you are and do. All you have been and will be.

I promise to have more pleasure, more fun, with the time we have left together. I have lots to do yet! I need you by my side.

I will baby you, please you, nourish you, rest you. Move you in ways that feel healthy to keep your systems strong and vibrant.

You are my earth, and I will take good care to cherish you, as you cherish me.

Thank you for surviving my ignorance. Thank you for forgiving my aggressions.

I am listening, now. And sensing.

I get it now. We are in this together

Love,

Me

Image: Nicholas Lamontanaro
Earth Goddess plant sculpture in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

#bodylove #earth #selfcare #thegetmyworkouttherechallenge #daysixteen

In the Meanwhile…

I did a solo cabaret show in 2010. I loved every moment of co-creating it, preparing it, rehearsing it, performing it. Every moment.

Then I recorded five songs from the show, also in incredible experience, though quite different.

Here’s a song from the show and from the CD. (I have copies for sale, but at the time, I was too shy about it to share them, and now, of course, no one buys CDs anymore! But I loved creating it, and I feel like sharing it, so here it is.)

The song is “Hey There” from the 1954 musical Damn Yankees by Richard Adler & Jerry. One of my idols, Rosemary Clooney, made it a huge hit. Here’s a video version of her singing it that includes the song’s verse, which is seldom sung. She’s amazing.

My cover of “Hey There” was recorded with Rick Jensen playing a beautiful grand piano and Mark Wade playing his upright bass in the beautiful Laughing Buddha Studios, NYC.

From the show and CD “In the meanwhile…”
Arrangements & Musical Direction by Rick Jensen
Recorded at: Laughing Buddha Studios, NY, NY 2005
Engineered by: Jim Sweeney, Julio Pena

Photography by Joseph Moran
Graphic Design by Dayna Navarro

#cabaret #thegreatamericansongbook #standards #cover #singer #recording #TheGetMyWorkOutThereChallenge #Day Thirteen

Nothing

I got nothin’ today.

Seriously.

I did go to my acting class, which is something. I have been taking a serious craft class for years, whenever my teacher is here in NYC teaching, which is four times a year, a month at a time.

How does this constitute “getting my work out there?” Does it?

Does working on may craft count? I may not have anything to “show” for my time there, but boy there was a great discussion in class tonight.

The words that jumped out at me were “tolerate”, “risk” and “intimacy”.

Tolerate as in the tolerance of exploring deeply. As in the ability to develop a tolerance for the discomfort that is necessary in the course of exploring deeply. Tolerance is a muscle I can strengthen. And in doing so, I will expand my ability to dig, go to places that plays and characters require of me. I have felt this muscle get stronger in my own journey. But it is very easy to let that muscle get flabby. To get lulled into seeking the comfortable or the known.

Risk-taking as the means for learning, for gaining new information. Re-thinking or reframing what “failure” means in exploration. Full commitment to an idea to explore for a scene, whether it “succeeds” or not, will bring information that cannot be gained by doing nothing or waiting for perfection.

But the greatest thing I heard tonight is this: “Intimacy is transformative.” WOW. The idea that it is the intimacy in art that we respond to. Autobiographical versus personal — that there is no risk in the former as it is factual. But being truly “personal” is intimate. And intimacy in art can create change, shift, connection, association, reflection.

I am reflecting on all of the performances that have moved me, and they all contained intimacy. Whether it was a clown show, or improv or stand up, or a play, or a film, or a song. Or a storyteller.

One of my recent mantras is: Life begins at the end of my comfort zone. I think the Universe is trying to tell me something!

#TheGetMyWorkOutThereChallenge #DayEleven #intimate #art #create #risk #tolerate

 

 

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