Sunday, August 16, 2009

90 Days of Summer

90 Days of Summer.

I realized with the last post I didn’t talk much about where I am and what I’m doing. So here we go……

In June State of the Re:Union hosted it’s first live event in Jacksonville Fl. It was a great little event. We got about 300 people to come out and check out the show. This was somewhat of a premier for the Jacksonville episode of SOTRU, we had three guest, and as we showed the multimedia clips we created, the audience was able to ask the guests questions about the show, the stories, and our process. Good stuff, and this event created a prototype of how we want to do live shows in the future.

In July SOTRU went to Des Moines for the next episode. Taki Telonidis, Zak Rosen, and I went to the heartland to work on the episode while our crew in Jacksonville provided logistical support. We came home with a ton of material and a lot of work to do to create an episode.

Coming up in late August Players by the Sea will be doing a reading of my new play Crumbs. The piece is in decent shape. But I’m still writing it. Tricky, cause I love the story, but the style is a little different then what I normally do. Which is what I want. I always want to challenge myself, and this piece fits that category. So all August I’ve been working this new play getting ready for the reading.

In early August I performed my solo show Summer in Sanctuary at the Abingdon Theatre. But to tell this story we need to rewind a bit. In April I applied for a grant from the Community Foundation. I applied to get money to fund a workshop performance of the play. The idea was to find a good director that could help me as an actor, writer, but also help push the play into theatres and production companies, someone with a track record and connections. I was fortunate that my friend StacyAnn Chin directed me to a director that she worked with on her solo show. The director Rob is incredible, everything I’ve been looking for. I’ve worked with a handful of great directors, and Rob is definitely in that category. The difference between him and the others is that he’s a director that lives and works in NYC, so he’s got the connections to the places I’d like to have my work performed.

When I got the grant Rob went into action and booked the theatre, and along with my friend/confidant/sorta-manager Bobby, and myself we put up the show for one night. Two performances free to the public. The goal was to get people out that could help move the play forward. Rob and I worked on the script for a couple weeks we did rewrites, rethinking, and blocking. It was a really great experience for me, because having someone from the outside look at the work, and help me clarify points of the story was invaluable. We were able to make tough cuts that moved the play forward faster, and in a solo show, that’s extremely important.

In the meantime, my group, Griot 3 was invited to perform as a part of the Lincoln Center Out of Doors “La Casita Festival” a traveling festival that goes around NYC with artist who perform the spoken word and musicians. It was an honor, seriously, an honor to be invited by the Lincoln Center. Years ago my good friend Jimmy introduced me to Bill Bragin, who’s now at the Lincoln Center, and Bill introduced the curators to our work, and we got the gigs, four dates in one week.

Here’s where it gets tricky. I had La Casita, Summer in Sanctuary, writing Crumbs, plus finishing the vocals (an editing a story) for the next SOTRU installment, “Heart of the Heartland” all in the same week.

The last three weeks have been non-stop work. I would wake up start working on the radio stuff, then switch over to working on the Sanctuary script, then switch over to the Crumbs script, then go to rehearsal for SIS with Rob. I’d leave there, get something to eat then go back to working on radio, and scripts. Through all of this, I averaged about 5 hours of sleep a night. I was in NYC for two weeks before Larry and David joined me for the La Casita gig. Once they got there, I had to do the same stuff as before, but now I had to do gigs as well. On the day I performed SIS, @ the Abingdon, I also had a performance for La Casita. So on that day I performed 3 times. Crazy, but actually fun.

If I’m honest there where times when I wanted to quit. When I laid in bed and thought, “God if you want me, I’m cool, you can come get me tonight.” LOL, Like I have a choice in the matter or he needs my permission. I have a great support network, they all think I’m crazy for taking on so much, but they also help me through it. Without the good Lord looking over me and Ian, Stacie, Taki, Larry, and David I have no idea how I would have got through those weeks. But I did.

The results better then expected. SIS was a success at the Abingdon. I can’t talk specifics, but if things work out, the show might be off-broadway in the future. The La Casita, were great performances, we rocked every crowd we saw and I’m pretty sure the Lincoln Center was pleased. While I was in NYC I found out that SOTRU had passed a significant hurdle in it’s quest for future funding. Nothing in stone, but we are almost there. “Heart of the Heartland” will be the best episode of SOTRU yet. Hands down. I finished the vocals in my hotel room. Recording them under the comforter on the bed to get the best sound. Taki was able to take the audio and make it work. As I write this I’m tired, tired, tired. But I feel like this was all for something. It was all worth it and I’d do it again, and again, and again. In the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” Will Smith says to his son. “You want something? Go get it. Period.” I’m going to get it. Period.

After I came back from New York in Feb from the reading of JX. I felt like I’d failed. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. Either way, it was good for me to feel that, cause for me, that emotion just pushes me hard. Makes me get up and work longer. Because there maybe people who are more talented, smarter, prettier, but no one is going to work harder then me. I’m never going to settle for a loss. I’ll take it, and learn from it and then watch out, cause I’m going to get it.

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