Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Five Things: Updates from Guapa Tech

1. I'm really, really proud to say that my work on "Bethany" this past May was nominated for a B. Iden Payne award. There have been times in the past where I have thought, why are they recognizing this show? or, Why are they NOT recognizing this show? I don't this time. I feel that between "Sila," "Bethany," the remount of "Orchid Flotilla," "Still Now," and the current "Guapa," I've grown a ton as a designer this year and figured some things out that have in the past eluded me. It's also great to see friends and collaborators also nominated, including Glass Half Full and Trouble Puppet.

2. I am once again sick during a tech. This is the third time this has happened this year and HOPEFULLY (gives self stern look) I'll actually change a few things about my lifestyle now. While on the cruise I tried acupuncture for the first time, in order to stave off a headache that I had on day 1 (my headaches can actually go on for days). It was a pretty awesome experience. And it came with a free lecture on how I need to sleep more often and take time for myself every day. It would be great if I could figure out these things before December, the next time I have a show. The acupuncture experience was so great that I'm actually going to try to go regularly (as regularly as I can afford).

3. Jeff Vandermeer's "Southern Reach Trilogy" - I don't really know how to talk about these books without giving away so much of their disturbing nature. I'm only 20 pages or so into the third book at the moment, but my gut reaction so far is that this is the way nature might react to the damage caused by humans, if nature developed sentience. LOST meets Lovecraft. I am loving them.

4. This morning felt like the first day that fall arrives in Texas - this doesn't always coincide with actual fall starting. It's that great moment when you step outside your house and think - wait, do I need a jacket? Where IS my jacket? I'm about to head outside and find a spot to read so we'll see if it stuck.

5. I recently discovered the blog We Hunted the Mammoth. It's great, but I do need to limit my exposure as most of the posts make me pretty angry. Like this one. I honestly have to repeat to myself over and over that the people making noise like this, threatening women, being hostile, being hateful, whether it's with celebrities and their privacy or with gaming or with general feelings of entitlement and rejection, are a "vocal minority." That the internet fuels their anger and makes their voices louder. And anger is so addictive - that rush that you feel when you're in a rage and you're certain that you are right, and you want MORE of the rush so you continue to confirm your anger by reading or watching more. The internet feeds that. I don't think that it does in a manufactured way, like Fox News, which I'm pretty sure purposefully makes its viewers angry to keep them coming back to buy into a specific narrative that they are creating. I think instead it's just that by its definition the internet provides places for like-minded people to meet, talk, and be angry together. Anger fuels anger, they fuel each other, no one takes a step back to actually analyze their own reactions (or maybe in some/most cases aren't mature enough to do so), and it escalates until there are actual real harmful consequences. How do we combat that? I try, purposefully, to avoid cable news that skews towards the left because it does the exact same thing to me; and I try to not click on every single link that's going to tell me the latest news from the completely awful MRA world. My anger isn't going to defeat their anger and it doesn't improve the quality of my life one bit. But I do worry about how far this anger is going to take its addicts.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Five Things: Updates from Still Now Tech

1. I'm still waiting to get pics from the remount of "The Orchid Flotilla" up on my site, but in the meantime we've gotten a couple of really great reviews, and even mentions of the lighting design!

From Broadway World: "THE ORCHID FLOTILLA unfolds in five parts that go from sunrise to sunset and spans 13 years of the woman's life. The performers/puppeteers are Caroline Reck and Gricelda Silva and they are both glorious storytellers. There may be no dialogue, but they say far more than words can with expression and movement. Underscoring the evening is a beautiful score by Adam Sultan and an exceptional sound design by K. Eliot Haynes. There is also a stunning lighting design by Megan Reilly. Each of the parts of this production shares an equal importance in telling this stunning, moving, ephemeral dream-story."

From Austin360.com: "K. Eliot Haynes’ lovely sound design pairs with Megan Reilly’s dynamic lighting to create a world for the play that runs the gamut of playful, serene, and sad. These production elements saturate the performance with atmosphere and serve as profound backdrop for Reck’s movements."

 
We did this show in 2012 and it's been a favorite project of mine since, a piece that I love with all of my heart and hope as many people as possible get to experience. If you're in/around Austin, come see it before it closes September 20.

2. One year ago this week we brought Ygritte inside to live with us and forever torment Sansa and Asha. We found her living under our deck last summer, 4 or 5 months old. She is hysterical, sweet, and demonic. She drives everyone crazy and runs the whole house, and I'm pretty sure that Sansa still holds a grudge against me for bringing her inside.
Much less whiny after we got the cat tree.
3. I have become seriously addicted to American Ninja Warrior. Ever since I started getting in shape and trying to live a healthier lifestyle, I've been into the whole obstacle course race thing. I used to think that people who ran the Warrior Dash were insane, and I've now done it twice and am hoping to do the Tough Mudder in May. I didn't even know about ANW until Kacy Catanzaro's Dallas finals run went viral. Travis and I then caught up on every single run so far from the season and last night started watching stage two of the Las Vegas finals. (Do. Not. Tell. Me. Anything. I'm behind because of tech.) It's one of the most inspiring things I have ever seen, to be honest. This year for the first time, three women managed to complete the qualifying course; the fact that none of them made it to stage two of the finals is irrelevant. There is true support among these athletes, the positive energy is palpable through my television. They REALLY want to see each other succeed, and it has nothing to do with gender, height, age, or any other factor, though there may be MORE excitement when someone who seems disadvantages completes it. They regard each other as equals, no questions asked. It really does demonstrate almost everything I believe about feminism and equality: no, it's not fair. But women CAN do it, SHOULD train for it, and beat it ON ITS OWN TERMS. Watching Catanzaro, Meagan Martin and Michelle Warnky run makes me think about my own fitness and training, and whether the idea that women "can't" do this because of blah blah upper body strength is in fact a product of our culture convincing women NOT to work out. I'm involved in a fitness program at my job and have been for two years. One of the first things they told us was to get over the idea that if we, as women, went to the weight room we'd end up with huge ugly muscles. It actually irritates me that there has been some question of "fairness" involved since Catanzaro's run ended. I don't want more fairness in something like this, I want women to beat the game in front of them because they can.


4. I am pretty sure I saw some of the worst in humanity these past couple of weeks on the internet. I have been following #GamerGate and while I knew that the gamer community was misogynistic I didn't know HOW BAD until this occurred. And the one thing that I walk away from it feeling is that art has to stand up to criticism and discussion, and it's unreasonable to ask that games be taken seriously without it. And that's what I've seen - people who insist that games be taken seriously, usually as an art form (which I believe they are), are now harassing those that TRY to take them seriously. If you never want something that you love to face deconstruction and dissection and scrutiny from people in circles outside of your own, don't make it a THING. Keep it quiet, keep it to yourself. The second that art is shown to the public, the public (including critics, reviewers, writers and even (gasp) women) are going to respond. That's the point.

5. Tomorrow night, Shrewd Productions' "Still Now" opens at City Theater. The next day, Travis, Will and I are driving to Galveston to leave on a cruise for a few days. The cruise is sandwiched in between two techs for me. I plan to spend most of those five days sitting by a pool, reading Jeff Vandermeer's Southern Reach Trilogy, and drinking margaritas. See also: my first time trying SCUBA diving and hiking Mayan pyramids. The day after we return, I focus "Guapa."