Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thankful.

I try to do this every year. Last year, life got in the way. I'm hoping this year that we have a simple, quiet Thanksgiving and I can write this list in peace.

100 Things I am Thankful For, In No Particular Order (Except for the First):

Fall at my house

  1. For Travis - for the last year I've had with him and the years to come and the fact that he lived. It was Thanksgiving last year when he had the heart attack. We've come full circle. For being my constant. For being the someone to sit in my chair. For putting up with the insanity that is me, year after year, when really, no one else would.
  2. For the rest of my family, even though I rarely see them, for not needing me to be someone different in order to gain their support, for loving me for who I am and being my family in spite of it. Even if it means we aren't always close.
  3. For Becky, who is the best friend I've ever had and who I *promise* will be dragged kicking and screaming to Hawaii without her kids one of these days.
  4. For Erica, who I canNOT believe I will very soon be able to say I've known for 40 years. I am always so happy and grateful to see you.
  5. For Stacy, who will likely not read this...but I always think of the year we lived together as one where I figured important things out about life, art, and margaritas.
  6. For Maura, also not likely to read this, who always reminds me that life should be simpler and quieter than it is.
  7. For Sarah and Szu-Feng, who remind me that I'm on the right path as an artist and I'm not walking it alone.
  8. For Bryan, Michelle, Mike, Buz, and Chelsea for being my partners on this crazy insane journey we are, for some reason, insisting on taking. And for being my friends beyond that as well.
  9. For the rest of my Tension/Lust friends.
    Last November - I don't have one from this year yet.
  10. For Terami - I am really grateful for our friendship and for how it's grown, and hope it continues that way, and I can't wait to hear more music from you some day.
  11. For Will, Liz, Rob, Beth, Colin, Rachel, Kim, Amanda, Caroline, Connor, Ellie, Lowell, Gris, Jamie, Pat, Ryan, Kat, Aaron, Joseph, Crystal, Judd, Kat, Kelli, Kim, Lisa, Rebecca, Roby, Sarah, Stephanie, and Zac - for being the best thing about Texas and always reminding me where home is (and yes, some of you aren't in Texas anymore, but I'm lumping you in there anyway).
  12. For Chris, Darcy, Bob, Irene, Antoine, Chrissie, Jeff, and the rest of the old friends from New Hampshire we are still in touch with, for always being there, consistently for over 20 years.
  13. For Bob Schmidt and Sandy Stone, for changing my life and continuing to be my friends.
  14. For Torry, for being an amazing friend, a passionate collaborator, and a fierce supporter.
  15. For Mark and Trish, for being our rocks here in Minnesota, and for everything you did for us while Travis was in the hospital.
  16. For Ian, Kate, Steph, Maggie, Justine, Aaron, Anahita, Monty, Victor, Myles, Sydney, Andrew, Laura, Leila, Aizzah, David, Yousiff, Cecilia, and Ellen - did I forget anyone this time? - for being the BEST family and the best part of 2017, I miss you all and Edinburgh so much.
  17. For whatever it was the above people had me drinking in Scotland - because it DIDN'T give me migraines.
  18. For Kaitlin and the rest of the PPAF/Mary Poppins crew - thank you for an exhausting and fun start to my summer!
  19. For Darren and Clint, and all other parties involved, for this amazing, crazy impossible emotional shitstorm of an adventure called The Lust Experience that you've brought into my life this year. 
  20. For all the people in the past week who have given me much needed advice and pep talks - especially Ann and Greg. Without the two of you I'd still be mentally spinning my way into crisis.
  21. For Sam - seriously, I'm really grateful to have connected with you here in the past couple of years. Thank you for listening and giving advice. And teaching me about ethics!
  22. For Dr. Yannopolous, for saving my husband's life, creating this insane experimental procedure and just being brilliant. And putting up with me in the emergency room.
  23. For Mike Croswell and our collaborations this year.
  24. For Kathryn and our conversation at USITT.
  25. For the chance to take my students to USITT last year.
  26. For the chance to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
  27. For all the people who helped me finish my article.
  28. For Karen Maness, for giving me a few basic painting skills this past summer.
    Three days well spent
  29. For Taipei and the adventure there.
  30. For Andrew Schneider and his mindblowing life-changing work YOUARENOWHERE.
  31. For Theatre Conspiracy and their amazing show Foreign Radical.
  32. For Scotland, absolutely everything about my entire time there.
  33. For the team of the upcoming Ireland project.
  34. For my FYC, and all the adventures seeing theatre together.
  35. For my students in general - there are days when you are the reason I get out of bed.
  36. For The Cherry Orchard, and especially all the amazing seniors involved.
  37. For my kitties, for god only knows what. Being living alarm clocks and not being around when they're wanted and being pains in the ass and acting really weird and throwing up a lot.
  38. For knowing that even if things go south we are pretty ok for the near future.
  39. For a year that included design work abroad, and an upcoming year with more design work abroad.
  40. For knowing what I'm passionate about and not being afraid to pursue it.
  41. For teaching my first year students writing this semester, which in turn has had the effect of teaching ME more about writing than I knew before.
  42. For exciting new collaborations just peaking over the horizon.
  43. For generic Relpax! Finally!!
  44. For hot water with lemon and honey when you're sick with an awful cough.
  45. For hot baths with Aura Cacia bath salts and Beth Orton playing on Spotify.
  46. For the new down comforter that Shitty Third Cat hasn't destroyed yet, and knowing how AMAZING it's are going to feel to get into once it's 30 below.
  47. For the holiday season starting this weekend.
  48. For apple pie and pumpkin muffins.
  49. For having a car that isn't going to die this winter. Or next.
  50. For Mr. Robot. Seriously.
  51. For the beautiful piece of pottery I bought in Dihua Street in Taipei.
  52. For still being able to play the piano, even if it's only a little.
  53. For scallops bought from the seafood place on Snelling.
  54. For game night with the Vaillancourts.
  55. For the night in Edinburgh over pizza when I realized I was sitting with a bunch of theatre artists who were just as excited about immersive theatre and gamification as I was.
  56. For everyone who puts up with me when I'm drunk. And for Chelsea for taking my phone away last time.
  57. For the Kelpies.
    So glad we made this journey.
  58. For people who have known me so long I don't have to explain anything to them. 
  59. For Austin, and the rest of Texas.
  60. For the smell of honeysuckle.
  61. For having the ability and opportunities to travel for my work.
  62. For the Hadestown live recording.
  63. For paneer tikka masala and kheer from India House.
  64. For running.
  65. For Penumbra's production of Wedding Band.
  66. For Christmas Cookie scented candles from Yankee Candle.
  67. For books that Chelsea makes me buy.
  68. For grants that fund upcoming trips.
  69. For Hidden Room Theatre & the phone call I had with Beth the other night.
  70. For evenings when I actually do yoga before bed.
  71. For days spent unplugged.
  72. For finding good massage therapists when out of town.
  73. For the people in my life who don't doubt that I can handle myself.
  74. For the day when I introduced Steph to putting cream in her coffee.
  75. For jokes about whips that will never, ever die.
  76. For possibly going to the Under the Radar festival and the dress rehearsal of Andrew Schneider's new piece in January.
  77. For gratitude journals. Yeah I do it, shut up.
  78. For Jim Halvorson at Cajah Salon.
  79. For actually good Mexican food, when I get to have it.
    She couldn't finish it.
  80. For 4 years of keeping the 50+ pounds off!
  81. For everything that David Bowie has ever made.
  82. For a night with Maggie, Ellen, Laura, and Steph and a video we made.
  83. For Ontroerend Goed's LIES.
  84. For the visit with Jamie in Moorhead.
  85. For playing Settlers of Catan with the Transmission crew.
  86. For the pieces of design-driven performance I saw at World Stage Design 2017.
  87. For coffee.
  88. For flowers from students after the closing of a show.
  89. For getting to be a part of Swim Pony's The End this year.
  90. For Max the cat following me to class.
  91. For Catherine, who I clicked with the very first week I was here at Mac.
  92. For all the women lighting designers who make up that 20%.
  93. For the Spider Web ARG group.
  94. For the way the sun hits the trees in my neighborhood during sunset in the summer.
  95. For middle of the night focuses in Portsmouth by the ocean.
  96. For cats named Steve.
  97. For Yoga with Adriene.
  98. For the Fusebox Festival, even though I haven't been in awhile.
  99. For the graffiti on the bridge over Town Lake.
  100. For Jacob's Well and dreams of swimming there soon.
    Next summer?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Five Things: Notes from "The Cherry Orchard" Tech

1.  Oh The Cherry Orchard. The stars of the show are the dog, Lynn Farrington's costumes, and the seniors who are just doing incredible work in the lead roles. I've been busting my ass and hopefully the lights and projections are keeping up with them. My friend Patrick Lord and I commiserated earlier this week about the insanity of lumping in projection design with any other element and if at any point in this process I'd been ONLY the lighting designer I think I would have slept 50% more. It really makes me question why I purposefully want to be designing more than one element at once. But I do.


2. As soon as I get a moment I need to write and submit a grant application for travel in April to Dublin. I'm incredibly excited about this project, the collaborators I'll be working with and the space we've booked, and as soon as I feel better about publicly sharing details I'll be writing a TON about it and the process of developing it. April will be our workshop, the performance will be in June. This will be the first time I've been to Ireland (I don't count stopping in an airport). It's a country I've wanted to visit my entire life. I'll be spending most of June there making immersive theatre.

3.  I am part of a group of artists/academics/game developers who have submitted a "paper" to a special issue of Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology. Note the quotes - yes it's an actual paper but it's fiction and really it's a rabbit hole for a short ARG, and while it's unlikely that anyone will ever actually find it since its obscure, that is me in the ending video. My first and hopefully last ever performance. I can't act. Now we wait and see what happens next with this project.

4. Last Thursday Travis and I went to see Zhauna Franks' The Dream Channel - Episode 3 (in 3D) at Open Eye Figure Theatre. I was thrilled to see this piece in Minneapolis - I have not had much luck finding experimental, surreal, or immersive work here. This piece was truly beautiful and if it had had a longer run I would have gone back to see another "path" - there were four completely separate shows, not four of the same shows but in different orders. The scenes that Travis saw were not what I saw. There were parts that didn't quite land for me and I think our group walked into the final scene after it had already begun, which felt kind of strange, but I hope Franks does more work like this with her company, Strange Loop Projects, I hope that at some point we can work together on something, and I hope that this spreads to the rest of Minneapolis.


5. I have gone back and forth repeatedly about The Lust Experience and writing about my personal journey with it this year - last year my involvement in Tension was somewhat limited, and even though I expected the same this year that's not the case. This is...not last year. I am more involved, and am not sure how to write about it, or if I should at the moment, or even where to do so. And in the past four years I've discovered that I really love writing, and feel compelled to write about this and other pieces of art that affect me on this level (well, very few do, so let's just say other pieces of art that are good).

(Dear god. I just used "affect" when I meant "effect.")

Everything I write here now is written with one eye looking through the lens of my job. Why is there a need to publicly process things that we go through? That wasn't the case pre-2000. But I am sitting here lately feeling unable to do just that, when the truth is I can write about it, I just can't do so and post it. Is it just because this piece of art is affecting me (did it correctly that time) that much and that's what this blog is for - but the subjects it touches on are too personal and intimate to discuss openly?

One thing I can say for certainty is that - just like last year - this is highlighting how "other" I am. How much I don't interface with the world in the same way that others do. That's a lot to think about this week; the events and circumstances that made me who I am probably also made that part of me.

What would you change if you could?

Image: Dave Senesac, 2007

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