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.
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.
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 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
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!