Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 In Review

I don't tend to be terribly superstitious, but there are some things that I always do. I always say Break a Leg. Never say MacB's full name in a show. And I have this thing about odd-numbered years vs. even-numbered years. For some reason - maybe it's fate or maybe it's just by chance - odd-numbered years tend to go fairly well, while things go less well in even-numbered years. For example, in past even-numbered years, I've had family members pass away or major breakups, which, in a word, just sucked. By contrast, in many odd-numbered years I've gone on amazing trips or had great learning experiences.

2011 was an odd-numbered year, so for the most part it was pretty awesome. Here's a few highlights of the year...
  • Graduated from college. Some might say this is good, others say it's not-so-good, but I say it was pretty exciting.
  • Left college and went straight into an amazing internship at Cal Shakes, where I learned a lot. I felt like a major part of the theater company, was involved in making some amazing educational work happen, and met a lot of great people. I also started to learn what it means to be an adult - not just in responsibility, since I'd say I'm a fairly responsible, hard-working person in general - but in my relationships with other adults. Since I'm no longer merely a student, I shouldn't feel inferior to others based solely on age. Does that make sense? Basically, I'm learning it's OK to have friends who are adults. It's kind of a new concept for me.
  • Went on an epic family trip to Europe. Spent a lot of time with the family, saw some beautiful cities, ate some delicious food, and had a wonderful time.
  • Started auditioning a lot, and was fairly successful fairly quickly! I did a cabaret of new musical theater in San Francisco, which was a definite learning experience (not as hectic as Spider Baby was, but still a crazy adventure). I had to learn material quickly and on my own, but it was fun to be back onstage again. I auditioned a bunch for local musicals and actually got to turn some projects down. That was definitely a new experience for me, especially coming from USC, where I was frustrated at the lack of stage-time I was getting. But of the first 6 auditions, I was cast/called back/creating a new, good relationship for 5 of them. I think that's a pretty good place to be, 5 months out of college.
  • Got a leading role at a local theater company, whose work I really respect! We have yet to start rehearsals, but come January, I'll be back in full-time rehearsal mode, which I miss. I haven't been in a show that rehearses regularly (as in, more than twice a week) for probably three years. Plus, my part's an awesome one: I'll be playing Natalie/Ed in Foothill Music Theatre's production of All Shook Up. It's a character! With motivations! And some really fun music!
  • Laughed a lot. Fell back in love with reading. Started a significant workout routine and started working on general health and fitness.
 Here's hoping that 2012 breaks the curse of the crummy even-numbered years. It's going to get off on a good foot: got All Shook Up, teaching some classes with PYT, and will be taking a Voice/Speech class at ACT in San Francisco that I'm absolutely thrilled about.

Here's what else I hope will come my way in 2012:
  • Find a day job that I enjoy and that doesn't murder me in the process
  • Strengthen ties with my friends, and develop a greater social circle in the area
  • Continue to work as an actor and musician
  • Complete my goals for my health and fitness - maybe move on to some new goals, and curtail that never-ending sweet tooth in the process!
  • Stay close with the people I love

To all you bloggy readers out there, I hope you enjoy the rest of the holidays, and hope that the curse of the even-numbered years passes you by! Here's to a fantastic 2012!

Monday, October 3, 2011

An Itty-Bitty Update

It's been a while since I've updated this thing... Oops. But there's lots of news to report, so let's get crackin'!

1) I've been cast in a show! It's a cabaret in San Francisco with the theater company Not Quite Opera, which focuses on developing and producing new musical theater. Round One is an evening of songs from new musicals, all composed by local Bay Area composers. There's music for all tastes: some songs are folksy and laid back, others are almost choral in their intricate harmonies and stunning textures. Others are almost Sondheim-esque in the words and thoughts. It's been challenging to learn all this new material, especially since we were cast about a month before the show itself, but I'm really enjoying it. The cast is top-notch and the music is so much fun to sing. It's a real pleasure to be able to make my Bay Area debut in this production!

Obviously this whole paragraph is also an advertisement, so if you're intrigued by this idea of seeing the show, tickets are available here. October 13th and 20th, 8pm, in San Francisco. Half-priced tickets are also available at

2) I'm approaching my final two weeks at Cal Shakes, which is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. I've been working here since the day I've graduated college - almost literally! (I graduated May 13th, drove from USC to Northern California the 14th, and had orientation on the 15th.) At this point most of my internship assignments are dealing with the student matinees that we produce. We've had one already, and four more are coming up the next two weeks. The show this past week was fun and ran smoothly, so hopefully the following shows will be so as well. *Knock on wood*

3) When I'm not interning (which is fairly often, considering I'm only interning 3 days a week nowadays), I'm working in Cal Shakes box office 5 days a week. It's another side of the theater that I've never done before, but I enjoy it a lot! I like the customer service, even despite the occasional cranky person. But it's satisfying to make someone's afternoon by getting them great tickets to the show, or have someone tell them that I was a pleasure to work with. And then I'm at the theater all the time, so I have a better idea of the goings-on, making new friends, and just feeling more in-tune with the Cal Shakes world. It's a good time.

Hard to believe it's almost over...

4) If you're at all local to the Bay Area, you need to see Cal Shakes' Taming of the Shrew. Seriously. It's amazing. Super modern, a surprising and thought-provoking interpretation, talented cast and incredibly accessible to even the Shakespeare-loathers (I know you're out there!). There's some Lady Gaga and Madonna and Kiss Me, Kate music in there too, which makes me happy. And dancing. And intense chemistry. And hilarious costumes. Hilarity in general.

Go ahead. Watch the trailer. You know you want to!

If my raving of the show has convinced you, then tickets can be bought here. And if you buy them and leave them at will-call, there's a chance I'll be there to say hello and give your your tickets! Probably not the main selling point of the show, but it's a fun little perk ;)

I realize now that this whole blog post is pretty much a giant advertisement... but at least they're for projects that are AWESOME and SERIOUSLY WORTH CHECKING OUT. I hate obnoxious spamming, so if I blog it here, it's because I deem it worthy. And I can be a tough critic, so trust me here. ;)

Okeydokey, that's all I got for now! Expect another blog post soon! (Though I will admit, my definition of "soon" may differ from your definition. Some might define "soon" as "within the next week." For me, it's more like "whenever I get some time to decompress and unwind from life's crazy adventures." Let's hope these definitions can merge into one relatively, well, SOON!)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: Top 5 Podcasts

If you know me, you might already know of my fondness—and possibly slight obsession—with podcasts. It all started when I was younger: during long car rides my sister and I pass the time creating our own radio station, Radio KATH, station 99.9. We’d take turns singing songs and having conversations, a la Ryan Seacrest, but with less celebrities. Sometimes I’d have my own special segments in which I was the only host-—no sister to butt in with her juvenile comments. We even had our own Radio KATH theme song. I still remember our fake-radio jingles.

So it’s no wonder that I enjoy podcasts so much these days. They’re FREE portable radio programs, minus the music—but considering most radio stations play the same 40 songs over and over again, missing the music doesn’t mean much. 95% of my driving time is spent listening to podcasts from my iPod. When I’m stuck in the car alone, driving to work or commuting from home, I listen to a podcast or two and it fills the time perfectly. I get engaged in the conversation, and suddenly I realize that it’s been 30 minutes and I’m already home. Being an auditory learner, I also find listening to these podcasts as a handy way to learn something new. I can retain the content I hear easier than with reading articles or books.

I’m currently subscribed to 20 podcasts feeds through iTunes, and have sample episodes from at least 10 other shows. I have 4 days worth of podcasts on my iPod. Yet I find that I tend to return to the same few podcasts over and over. Their content varies: some are news-based, others are about the arts, and many are based in pop culture or technology. But regardless of their stories, my favorite podcasts have the same few qualities: lively hosts with great chemistry, professional sound quality, and moderately clean content. (I say moderate, because some of these podcasts definitely have some R-rated content. But when there is strong language, it’s said with a laugh or in the heat of the moment. It’s not cussing for the sake of cussing nor is there anything sexually overt. Any explicit content is said with a laugh and with passion for the content. But for the most part, I like my audio to be clean and family friendly.)

Now that you know what I look for in a podcast, let’s take a gander at my Top 5 Favorite Podcasts. The shows I look forward to listening to, that I’m always excited to download new episodes, that I might even go back and re-listen to old episodes or archives. The best of the best.

1) The TV Talk Podcast with GMMR and Ducky

First things first: this podcast is HYSTERICAL. (All caps, that’s how seriously funny this show is!) Dan and Kath provide commentary on all things TV and pop culture, with a seriously funny bent. They watch tons of TV shows, everything from So You Think You Can Dance to True Blood to The Good Wife to Raising Hope. I don’t even watch half the shows they talk about, but they discuss the shows in such a way that you don’t need to know the show to enjoy the discussion. Sometimes their conversations are intelligent, and I’ve uncovered a lot about TV editing and directing from listening to this podcast. Sometimes they’re completely unintelligible, but it’s so hysterically funny that it doesn’t matter. This is my #1 favorite podcast, no doubt about it.

Unfortunately they don’t have a regular airing schedule, so new episodes may not come out for weeks at a time. But luckily they tend to run long (2+ hours isn’t uncommon for this podcast), so when you get an episode, there’s plenty to enjoy. But be warned—they definitely can have some mature content (nothing scandalous, more like hilariously accidentally raunchy), so this isn’t something for the whole family to listen to. Unless your family is older than 16 and ready to laugh at some outrageous content. A must listen! (Average runtime: really really long.)

2) Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!

Wait Wait is a downloadable version of the popular NPR news quiz show. Every week Carl Castle and Peter Segal, along with a cast of rotating guest hosts, discuss the week’s news through clever quizzes and limericks. Half the fun is learning what’s going on in the world—I’m not super up-to-date in the world’s news, so Wait Wait is an easy-to-digest form of news in fun packaging. The other half is in the commentary and the hosts. Most of the hosts are comedians, so I constantly find myself laughing aloud at their comments on the week’s news. They’re always making fun of our government, so if you lean right, this podcast may not be the best choice. Otherwise, take a gander and laugh along with Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me! (Average runtime: 45 minutes.)

3) Mouth Off
Mouth Off is my go-to podcast for all things a cappella. Dave Brown and Christopher Diaz get together every week to discuss a cappella news, uncover great new a cappella tracks, and review albums. The sound quality on this podcast can be uneven, especially when they get super-enthusiastic and start screaming (which happens a lot), but their hilarious yet totally serious discussions about the art of vocal singing make it worth listening through the screeching microphones. It’s a great podcast for those currently immersed in the a cappella world, but it’s also great for those who aren’t currently singing. They’ve always got tons of clips to play and intelligent insight on the art form. The other downside is that this podcast gets expensive—not that you have to pay to download, no no no. Instead, you hear a bunch of great clips and suddenly go and spend way too much money on amazing a cappella tracks. It’s an addiction, I tell you! (Average runtime: 50 minutes.)

4) Miss Molly Bell’s Creative Habit
This podcast is a new one (only five episodes as of yet), but it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. Local Bay Area celebrity Molly Bell and her creative partner Daya Curley spend half an hour every other week discussing how to bring creativity to day-to-day life. At least, that’s what their show description says. They tend to go off on tangents (they spent two episodes discussing pretty much nothing but Zappos), but it’s always with intelligence and good intent. They’re a little bit snarky and sarcastic, which I find absolutely hilarious! And even though I’m not sure that they’re always talking about creative habits, I always finish up the podcast with something new to think about and explore.

One minor downside is that sometimes they talk a lot about their projects without giving context—for example, Molly mentions creative jobs with Netflix but doesn’t tell us what she does. This was a problem with the first few episodes, but it’s definitely getting better as they learn the art of podcasting. With this series it helps to know their projects and their work, but it isn’t necessary. Not to mention the insanely catchy theme song. I highly recommend the podcast and hope to hear many more episodes in the future! (Average runtime: 30 minutes.)

5) Mugglecast
If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, then you’ve probably visited at least once in your life. This podcast is an extension of the site, with bi-weekly (or so) episodes featuring Harry Potter news, book discussions, and occasional interviews and Harry Potter-themed games. I enjoy Harry Potter, but I don’t visit the fansites often or reread the books every year, so I find Mugglecast to be an easy way to stay updated in the Harry Potter community. The podcast has been around for years (currently on episode #238!), so they have the craft of podcasting down with perfection! The hosts vary week to week, but they’re always intelligent and clever. When I listen to Mugglecast, I feel like I’m listening to a bunch of friends talking and laughing over my generation’s biggest phenomenon. And that is exactly what Mugglecast is. (Average runtime: 1-1.5 hours.)

So what do you think of my favorite podcasts? Are you a podcast fan? What do you listen to? Are you inspired to listen to any of these now that I’ve professed my podcast geekdom? I’d love to hear what you think!

Podcast Links (iTunes):
The TV Talk Podcast with GMMR and Ducky
NPR's Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!
Mouth Off
Miss Molly Bell's Creative Habit

Look Ma! I Have a Website!

The title of this post is actually a little bit ironic, because I actually did go "Hey Mom, I'm making a website. Check it out!"

That isn't a direct quotation, but it's pretty darn close.

Then she looked at it. And liked it! And you should do the same. =)

Click here.

More updates coming soon! I haven't blogged much recently, but I will. Things are starting to pile up and hopefully I'll have some exciting new posts soon!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Book Review: Commencement

Commencement, by J. Courtney Sullivan.
From Publisher's Weekly: It isn't quite love at first sight when Celia, Sally, Bree and April meet as first-year hall mates at Smith College in the late 1990s. Sally, whose mother has just died, is too steeped in grief to think about making new friends, and April's radical politics rub against Celia and Bree's more conventional leanings. But as the girls try out their first days of independence together, the group forms an intense bond that grows stronger throughout their college years and is put to the test after graduation. Even as the young women try to support each other through the trials of their early twenties, various milestones—Sally's engagement, Bree's anomalous girlfriend, April's activist career—only seem to breed disagreement. Things come to a head the night before Sally's wedding, when an argument leaves the friends seething and silent; but before long, the women begin to suspect that life without one another might be harder than they thought. Sullivan's novel quickly endears the reader to her cast, though the book never achieves the heft Sullivan seems to be striving for.

Confession time: I tend to be pretty picky with my chick flicks/chick lit selections, because oftentimes I find them too wimpy. If I'm going to invest time in a movie/novel, I don't want to feel my intelligence insulted. I want to go on adventures with characters that are strong and interesting. And while I enjoy goofy girly-adventures, I don't want to laugh at their expense: I want to be laughing with them, not at them.

When I first heard about Commencement, I heard it was a grown-up beach read. A mature chick-lit novel. A mature, good chick-lit novel. I was intrigued, especially since it covers the stories of women who are in college (like me! Well, not anymore... One Happy Kat's officially One-Excited/Terrified-Trojan-Alumna-Kat, lol!), but didn't get around to reading it until I found it for sale on the Amazon Kindle store ($3.99! Yay sales!!), enjoyed the sample, and bought the book. Let me tell you--it was a $3.99 well spent.

The women in Commencement are strong and independent. It's the story of a sisterhood. In a way, it kind of reminded me of a grown-up version of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants story, but with more mature drama. (Side note: after reading this, I want to read Sisterhood Everlasting--the finale of the Traveling Pants series). The four women are all distinct, with unique stories and points of view. They fight, they laugh, they change. The book's set partially at Smith College, and it was amusing to re-live some of the college experience through the book. Not that USC's anything like Smith, but it was still a hoot! For the most part, there isn't one central plot that the book centers around. Instead it tells stories of all four women, and how their stories intersect. Sometimes that format is distracting, but the structure of Commencement was really well done.

I'm not doing a good job of explaining how much I enjoyed this book, but let's put it this way: I finished it in 3 busy days, refusing to read anything else. The book was well-written and completely engrossing. The characters were interesting and honest. They weren't perfect, but I understood why they made the choices they did. I felt like I was part of this circle of friends and I cared about all four of them, even when they did things that drove me crazy!

My only quibble is the third-person voice used to write the book. Sometimes I got confused as to which character was talking. She covers all four women in rotating POVs, always in a third-voice tone, and the characters sometimes got muddled. If I think about it, I remember exactly what makes Bree, Sally, and Celia distinct. But their distinctions weren't always apparent in the writing of the chapters. April was the exception, being the iconic liberal of the book. She was always distinct. The other women--sometimes, not so much. But this minor quibble really didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book! Like I said, I really enjoyed it!

Also, one last confession: one of the twists? I kind of called it. Or rather, I thought it might happen, then didn't, then might...? Not going to tell you what the twist was or when it was, because I don't want to spoil it for you, but talk to me if you read it and I'll tell you which one I figured out.

Final grade: A-

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday. (Well, technically it was yesterday. It ended 50 short minutes ago.) For the longest time, I believed that birthdays were supposed to be the best day of the year. A holiday that's all about YOU. Everything's supposed to go perfectly, you get everything you want, and you fall asleep feeling older, smarter, and happier.

Clearly, over the last 22(!) years, I've learned some things. Mainly, not to have such insanely high expectations. I figured it'd be essentially a normal day, with some fun stuff thrown in (seeing Billy Elliot in San Francisco! And bringing some ice cream in for lunch :D). I hoped a few people might see me in the hall and wish me a happy birthday, but didn't expect a cake or anything like that. It's not that I had low expectations--that implies that I assumed the worst. Instead, I tried to have no expectations at all.

As a result, I ended up having a really pleasant day! Not fantastic, but not terrible either. Work was good, as normal, and I got to leave early because we ran out of things to do. I was pleasantly surprised to get oodles of Happy Birthdays on Facebook--80 people! It's a silly thing, Facebook-Happy-Birthdays, but it made me happy nonetheless. Had a surprisingly delicious dinner with the family: pad see ew from a food court Thai place! If you're going to eat a cheap, quick meal, head downstairs in the San Francisco Westfield Shopping Center. Lots of interesting, non-traditional options. Even had some yummy chocolate chip cookies from Mrs. Fields, which might be one of my favorite cookie-shops ever. And then Billy Elliot in San Francisco, which was a lot of fun. Darker than I expected--not as happy and joyful as my favorite Broadway musicals, but enjoyable all the same. And a few presents too: lots of pretty new clothes to wear! Which is good, because I've got to do some laundry soon.

But now, I give a few online presents to YOU, dear e-readers. First, a blog post that I wrote for my internship at Cal Shakes. I'm interning in their Professional Immersion Program--it's an awesome, intensive internship, far more engrossing than ones I've done before. I'm there everyday and get to experience many of the different aspects of running theatre. I'm working as an Education Management intern, so I'm focused on the educational programs in particular. But enough of that here, go read the actual blog post online:

Dancing Doors and Gossiping Trees at Two Week Summer Shakespeare Conservatory

Next, a few videos to enjoy. They're from my final performances in my musical theatre workshop class. It was the end of my 4th semester with the professor, and the seniors were instructed to create an "audition showcase." It was comprised of 4 songs, each about a minute long, perfected for upcoming auditions. I've yet to use any of these in auditions, but I imagine I will soon. The first video is the full showcase, the second is an extended version of one of the numbers.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Beginning of the End

I suppose technically, the beginning of the end was the beginning of this semester, but for the sake of having a fun title of the blog post, we'll keep it. Anyway, this has been an amazing week. I graduate in 10 days (!!!) so my goal is to fit in as much fun and friends before I leave Los Angeles for the foreseeable future. So here's a mini-break down of the last few days.

Last day of real classes. They went well, weren't anything special--mostly just finishing up the material before it's too late. The evening was going to be laid-back and boring, but I ended up hanging up with a bunch of KP members for a few hours which was a blast. I don't see them enough anymore!!

Last actual day of class! My Theatre for Youth class went into a 7th grade classroom and practiced teaching theatre games to them. It was seriously challenging to get them to engage, and it was fascinating to see a LAUSD classroom, notoriously low-performing, in person. I think I did alright with my activity--it seemed to wake them up a bit. After the classroom visit I came back home and took a long nap: three or four hours!! I was super tired, so I needed it! Then I went to Culver City and met with a friend that I met at CAP21. We went out for dinner at Rush Street. I got steak, which I never order, and it was delicious! Then we went to a wine bar and I finally found a wine I like! I've been 21 for almost a year (woah... that's weird) and finally found one I'm happy to drink. It doesn't taste like wine--tastes like soda. That's why I like it! ;) It was great to catch up with her and I had a blast.

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books was at USC this year, so I walked over to the gigantic book fair and wandered for few hours. I got a t-shirt that says "Write On" with the USC Fight On hand, and a "translation" of Romeo and Juliet geared to middle-school students. That evening was the TSA Awards (TSA=Theatre Students Association), an awards ceremony for all the shows done this year. I wore a pretty dress =) After I got dessert with a friend and we hung out a few hours, which was great. So good to catch up with my favorite friends!

DISNEYLAND DASH!! Basically, it was a massive scavenger hunt (Amazing Race-style), put on by a couple of USC students. My team didn't do very well but it was so much fun!! Definitely was experiencing Disneyland in a whole new way. And it was great to meet a couple of new people. SO much fun! I'd explain it in further detail, but it deserves its own post. So ask me about it if you're curious! After the dash itself, a few of us grabbed dinner at the House of Blues in Downtown Disney, which was quite yummy. Got back around 11pm. I'd originally planned on going to Drom (Drama-Prom), the biggest theatre party of the semester, but I was beyond exhausted so I just went to bed.

Errands day. Not quite as fun, but productive at least. Got a bunch of errands done. Then I went to see a bunch of USC students in a Diversity Showcase. A showcase is a presentation of scenes and monologues performed for agents, managers, casting directors, and other industry professionals to showcase the actors' talent. I went to see their dress rehearsal, a Friends and Family performance. It was interesting to see what my friends could do outside of class or individual shows. Their actual showcase performance was tonight and I'm hoping things pan out for them! After the showcase I came home and watched TV. I watched The Voice on NBC, and I really liked it!! I love the coaches and appreciated the fact that they're showcasing singers, not just individual drama. I'm hoping it'll continue to be good.

Got up and saw the Dalai Lama speak at USC! It was hard to hear because of terrible acoustics, which was frustrating, but it was really cool to see him in person and watch him talk. Plus, he was wearing a USC baseball cap (which matched his robes perfectly), which made it just that much better. There were a few things I could hear him say that I remember, which I really appreciated:

Kindness is my religion.
When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad.

After hearing him speak, I went to another of my friend's apartment and had yummy lunch with him and a few of his friends. Watched a lot of TV and vegged out. It's been insanely warm these last few days, and I just didn't have the energy to do much more. In fact, when I got back home I ended up taking a two hour nap. After that I got up, ate some dinner and went to visit a couple of my Spider Baby ladies. I wanted to make sure I saw them before moving out, and it was really nice to just hang out and chat. I got back an hour ago. Now it's midnight. I could either go to bed, like a normal human being would, watch tonight's episode of The Voice or Glee, or read a while. I'm pretty tired, but I'm also really bad at just forcing myself to go to bed, so it's equally likely for any of those three to happen.

Tomorrow I have to actually start studying. I keep forgetting that I'm not actually done with school--I still need to pass my finals!! I have one on Thursday that I'm feeling pretty decent about, but I still need to review before I take that final. I also should start packing, see if I need more boxes or space. And I still want to fit in more meeting-up with friends and fun stuff like that. I need to fit in a good number of good-byes. I hate saying good-bye... So I say "bye for now."

And now I say it to you: bye for now, bloggiereader!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Amazing Weekend

This'll be a short post, because I still have things to do tonight before sleeping, but I just wanted to write about the awesome-ness that has been my weekend.

Yesterday: slept in, yummy home-made meals, delightful reading in the perfect weather at Griffith Park. You know that already. But then last night, I spent from 7pm until midnight working on a digital album from a trip I took to Europe in 2006. Yes, it took me 5 years to finish it, but it's DONE! It feels so good to have everything typed up (I typed up my journal from the trip, and sometimes I get really wordy!) and all the pictures in place. LOL I forgot where some of those pictures were taken, or I didn't have copies of the places anymore, so for some of the pictures I found images from the internet and just put them in. They're sights I remember seeing, so it's only cheating a little! But it feels SO GOOD to be done with it! Then some chatting with the roomies and a little more reading before sleep.

Today, I slept in again =) and then had lunch/finished watching Avatar: The Last Airbender with a few of my friends. We started watching it a week before spring break but didn't get through to the finale until just today. But it was satisfying and an excellent way to see the whole series. Lots of fun! Then I came home, ordered myself a copy of my beautiful Europe photo album, and then went over for a Passover sedar with the Los Angeles contingent of my family. It was also a lot of fun to see them all again--I don't give myself enough time to spend with my family. Lots of good laughs and happy times. And yummy food, much of which came home with me! =)

So the weekend was the perfect combination of alone time and social time, family and friends, fun and productivity. Technically speaking this weekend was nothing special... but that's why I liked it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Simple Things

It's so easy to get caught up in the insanity that is life. In my case, it's the craziness that is classes, trying to figure out opportunities post-graduation (less than a month away!!!), various class activities and rehearsals, making time to hang with friends... It's a lot, and I don't mind it, but it's just too easy to get caught up in it all.

So today I didn't let myself. I didn't set an alarm clock and woke up at noon feeling seriously refreshed. Read for a couple hours, then made some lunch. I went grocery shopping yesterday so I actually have food to eat! Hooray!! Watched a little TV, then drove to Griffith Park with juice/Pringles in one hand and a big stack of books in the other. And it was just beautiful.

The sun was shining and it was late enough in the day that it wasn't incredibly hot, but just warm enough, especially when coupled with a gentle breeze in the shady tree. I found a hill to sit on and used my book bag as a pillow, with just the right angle for reading. I finished one book that my roommate lent me (wasn't crazy about it, but I was determined to finish it!), read a little bit of the library book I borrowed yesterday (it's all in emails, which I love. The epistolary novels are always favorites of mine), and continued reading on a Kindle book. Unfortunately with that one, somehow the e-reader had gotten to the end of the book. So it looked like I was almost done with it, while in fact I wasn't even half-way through it. It took me a couple of chapters of reading to notice what had happened. Oops! But I went back and found my old spot. Sometimes technology likes to mess with me. =)

And now I'm home again. Going to continue my relaxing day with some dinner, maybe a Netflix movie or more TV, and probably continue to read. A nice, quiet break from the craziness that life has been lately.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Stage Managing

It's been a while since I've been in the rehearsal hall. For Spider Baby, sure, but once we opened mid-October we stopped rehearsing. And I've had rehearsals for choirs and for class scenes, but those don't feel the same as rehearsal for a musical or a play.

So I decided to offer to stage manage Take Back the Night at USC. TBTN is an organization dedicated to bring awareness to and hopefully end sexual violence, and the play I'm stage managing is a series of short scenes examining these sorts of situations. It's not a happy topic, but it's an important one, so I'm glad to be there working on the show.

It's definitely an interesting experience, being on the other side of the table. I've done it before--ASM'd and assistant directed various shows and I've been at a ton of auditions for a cappella--but this one's a little different. I don't have a ton of things to do because we aren't in an actual theatre--more like a classroom. So for the performances, I run the lights, which are a little wonky because we don't have the ability to just light up the stage. So the audience will be lit all throughout the show. That's OK, they can read their programs and see all the little names... I guess. I find it annoying, but there are limits to what we're able to do and we don't have the time/resources to make other drastic choices.

During the runthrough today, since we weren't even in the actual space, I led warm-ups (I think they thought I was crazy because I was having them do random dance moves... but that's OK. I am crazy!) and then yelled out "blackout" or "lights up" in-between the scenes. I also ran half of the fight call, which is fine and dandy except for the fact that I have no experience in stage combat. Other than the Spider Baby fighting, which took forever to learn. So for the rest of rehearsal I worked on cover letters and resumes. I actually got a lot done, which is good. I'm just ready to be done with it all.

Too bad that probably won't happen anytime soon, unless I miraculously get a dream job out of nowhere. Or even just a job out of nowhere. On the plus side, the show ends this weekend and I'll have a little more free time to relax. Not that I want the show to be over--I'm enjoying being in the creative space, even if I'm not being so creative myself--but I've been super busy these last few weeks and it's a little overwhelming. Honestly, once I get through this weekend I should be OK. It's just getting through to the weekend that's the hard part. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday, Friday...

How is it Friday already? This week has just flown by. You'd think the week after spring break would drag endlessly, but I just got back in the crazy swing of things and BOOM already am at the end of the week, with a ton of work to do and a very full weekend ahead of me.

Just for kicks, here's a schedule of the week I've had:

-1st Recital Choir rehearsal
-Catching up on sleep!! Hello jet lag!

-4 classes
-Lots of networking and making plans

-One class
-Met with an acting professor to discuss life post-graduation
-Voice lesson
-Saw Beauty and the Beast at the Pantages!
-Took TWO HOURS to drive from USC to the Pantages... LA drivers just can't handle rain.

-Interviewed someone for HerCampus
-Four classes
-One midterm
-Rehearsal for class
-Rehearsal for a show I'm working on

-JEP teaching
-2nd recital choir rehearsal
-Recording music for film I'm working on
-Seeing Much Ado About Nothing at USC

-JEP Training
-Building props and stuff for my Theatre for Youth class/show

-An audition

Ok, so listed out, that doesn't sound too terrible. But if I were to list out the timetables and the hours I spent at each various thing... It'd just be a completely different story.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Getting Sick Sucks

I'm not a fan of being sick. Usually I get sick once a semester, but only a cold. A cough that lingers for a week or two and then it's gone. Last semester, I got sick over the course of three weeks. Thick coughs and sore throats. Frustrating, considering that it was right in the middle of the eight-week Spider Baby run.

Well, this time I got sick, but it was in the middle of nothing. No shows, no concerts, just normal life. But instead of being a cough (frustrating, but something I deal with as I go throughout my day), it was much, MUCH worse. Extreme exhaustion. Congestion. Sneezing. And yes, a cough. Not a thick one, but still a pain. And then a bit more exhaustion! Seriously, I've never been so bed-ridden in my entire life. I managed to make it to about half of my classes and other plans, but I spent a lot of time napping and watching TV in bed.

But I'm definitely getting better. I made it through this weekend, at least, without wearing myself out. Didn't do everything I wanted to, but I was there for my commitments. And this morning I shot a scene for my first "talkie!"

Going to USC, which has a huge film program, I've done a bunch of student films. But for some strange reason, they've all been silent films! Even the films that weren't required to be silent (for film festivals or grad programs) just happened to not have any dialogue. But this time I was talking. Which meant I had lines to memorize.

I'm not intimidated by memorizing lines, and this scene wasn't even terribly long. But my favorite way to memorize is through rehearsal, and obviously that wasn't going to happen--we rehearsed for 10 minutes, then began shooting the scene. I knew that going in, so I had to memorize on my own. I made an audio file of me reading all the lines in the scene (both mine and the other actor's), and listened to it on repeat all of yesterday. So I was pretty good, though I messed up here and there. But that's OK, because that's why we take so many takes! Right? Right?

I've been in a lot of rehearsal halls, but not on a whole lot of film sets, especially not working with other more seasoned actors, so I had a lot of fun observing how the other actress interacted with our director and crew. It was a lot of fun period--everyone was friendly and I'm already good friends with the director. The other actress was hilarious and we got to spend some time playing around and trying new things out.

And did I mention that I'm playing a high school student from a Catholic college prep school? I was all decked out in the classic high school uniform, complete with blue tights (which I got ages ago from Macy's on sale--$2 tights for the win!) and a plaid skort! It was fun to be in a legit costume. Definitely more uniform-y than my blue polo and random gray skirt that I'd worn in rehearsal.

Next we film another scene with an especially awesome group of girls (I love the other actresses, they're so fun and hilarious!), then we shoot the musical number! I'm so excited and having lots of fun. Can't wait to see how it all turns out!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


It's late, and I should be going to bed, but I felt like writing a quick update before heading to the land of counting sheep. (That... didn't make much sense.)

Admittedly, it's not really that late, but I've got an early(ish) call time tomorrow so I need to get some sleep!

That's right. Early call time. As in, Katherine needs to get on a set to ACT tomorrow! Granted, the set is a random field on USC's campus, the film is for an introduction to film class, and I won't be speaking anything in this silent film, but who cares? I can't complain.

That's a lie. I'll complain a little. But only that the call time is 9am. Which really isn't that early, but on a Saturday morning, it's rather unfortunate. My roommate told me that I'd be getting karma points for doing the film.

I said I didn't want karma points, I'd rather have sleep.

But despite my whining, I really am excited. I'm going to be a goth girl, which should be fun. Also means I need to go through my closet before I go to sleep and find my black clothes. Which are all CLEAN!

Yes. It's true. Five weeks into her last semester in college, Katherine did her first load of laundry of the year. Yep. I'm not what that means about me--I never thought I had that many clothes, but clearly I was wrong. I put it off for as long as humanly possible, but it got to the point where I literally had nothing to wear. But now I do.

Guess what other annoying task I completed today? That's right, grocery shopping. This I've had to do multiple times this year--I'm not quite as skilled at putting off this particular task--but I'll say it's because I eat food far more often than I change clothes. Which is true. I change twice a day minimum, while I eat... actually, I don't know exactly how many times in a day. Two/three meals (though usually I skip breakfast) and oodles of snacks. And now I have food to eat! I love food. I'd die without it. (Literally.)

Also had an audition for a dance-company today, which was definitely an experience. I've never auditioned for a show without doing any sort of speaking, but we were silent. It was actually an interesting little learning experience. Right now, I'm treating each audition as a chance to learn a little more. Doing auditions that aren't for school but are for other things is refreshing. Don't see the same people, don't worry about having repeated material, and learning from each experience. It's fun! And if I get a callback, awesome. If not, I'm not sweating it.

(It's true! For once, I'm not checking the phone every ten seconds to see if they call. Mostly because I don't feel like I was a good fit, and I don't see myself fitting into the styles that these various shows are looking for. For once, I'm looking at what they're looking for and starting to be able to see objectively whether I'd be the right type for each particular project. I'm not sure I was able to make these kinds of judgments a year ago.)

Then tonight, I joined my roommate in watching the third season of Secret Diary of a Call Girl. I've never seen the show before but heard it was good. And I enjoyed it! Clearly, since we managed to finish the entire season in one evening. (OK, OK--the season's only 8 episodes long. And they're 24-minute episodes. Your point??) It was fun and clever and cute and a teeny-bit scandalous (and by teeny-bit, I mean a LOT bit), and it was nice to hang out and just relax. I feel like it's been a while since I've been able to do that.

And I won't be able to in the next few days either. Tomorrow's filming the student film, and an audition in the evening. Sunday I'm spending the day watching the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice for Valentine's Day, and maybe finishing the filming if we don't finish it Saturday. And I have a sonnet to analyze and learn for Shakespeare class, a play to read for class, a scene to read over and work on for another friend's film, need to work on finding a place to print/retouch headshots, reading for two other science-based classes, and I just got some new Netflix DVDs that I want to see (RED and the first 4 episodes of Castle, season 1).

Actually, maybe it's a good thing I have an early call time tomorrow. Means I'll probably be able to get more done!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Movie Review Post

I've been watching a lot of movies lately. Now, let me quickly mention that my definition of "a lot of movies" is significantly different than the normal's person's definition. Please note: I'm the girl who's never seen Godfather. Avatar. Fight Club. Citizen Kane. The list goes on and on. So for me, having seen four movies within the span of a week is something rather noteworthy.

So last week I watched The Time Traveler's Wife, which I already mentioned in the last blog post. I loved that film--I thought it was incredibly sweet and romantic, without resorting to any of those obnoxious cliches that are so abundant in chick flicks. It had an element of artsy-ness, but it wasn't simply artsy for the sake of being artsy. Instead, it was absolutely beautiful. I thought it actually did a better job explaining the premise of a time-traveler better than the book did, possibly because it's easier to see the time-traveling than it is to read about it. But it's been years since I've read the book, and I didn't particularly care for the book when I read it. I feel like I might enjoy it better now, since I'm older and have a better appreciation for these kinds of stories.

Last night I watched Shakespeare Behind Bars, a documentary about a drama program at Kentucky's maximum-security Luther Luckett Correctional Complex. I didn't know what to expect when I popped it into my computer: I figured I'd be watching a lot of punks mess around with Shakespeare. But I was so wrong. I watched these people struggle to find the truth of Shakespeare's characters. They were performing The Tempest, a play that deals a lot with redemption and forgiveness. Appropriate for this group of actors, no?

It was fascinating to see these men struggle with the kinds of issues that "real" actors struggle with, especially since these men aren't actors--most of these men looked like normal people! The real eye-opener for me was the parts of the interviews where the prisoners discussed why they had been put into prison to begin with: truly horrible things, heinous crimes. Yet they spoke and acted like normal people. It made me realize how complex people are, how there truly is no such thing as black and white... I am still constantly amazed at how little I understand the human condition. I sometimes tend to see people as either good or bad, even though I know that isn't the case. Watching this documentary in some ways was a struggle, because I wanted to believe they were good people. Then I learned what they did, and that information changed my mind--for a bit. But at the end of the film, I still wanted to believe they were good people. So all in all, very very fascinating film.

Also, I'll add this--in the past, I've never been particularly interested in the justice system. I'm not sure why--it just never sparked my interest. But in seeing the film, I'm definitely a little more curious. Also, before watching the film I'd only been interested in theatre in education as a tool for youth, but seeing how Shakespeare effected these fully-grown men, I'm starting to rethink that thought.

Today, I saw two movies. The first was No Strings Attached, starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. It was a romantic comedy, and I loved it! It was cute and funny and sweet! And unlike most romantic comedies that I've seen, it didn't seem to have an excessive number of cringe-worthy moments. That's why I usually am skeptical of romantic comedies: they're ridiculous, the main characters act foolish, and the situations are so ludicrous that it makes me roll my eyes. But this movie? Not so much. I thought it was hilarious and it just made me happy! The main characters had excellent chemistry and a fun bantering way about them, which I love in movies. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not as thought-provoking as Shakespeare Behind Bars, but way more fun.

The second movie I saw was Life After Tomorrow, a documentary about girls who have played Annie or Orphans in Annie on Broadway or in the National Touring Casts. I thought this was going to be really interesting, but it failed to capture my attention after a while. It consisted of a bunch of interviews with various actresses. They talked about their experiences performing in the show, about growing up as an actor, about stage-moms, coming home after the show... It was all interesting information, but it was rather dry. There were some clips from the original productions, which were probably my favorite part. But other than that, it mostly consisted of a bunch of talking heads. It probably could have worked just as well as a book.

And that concludes the movies I've seen this week! Two romantic films, two documentaries. All enjoyable, but only one (maybe two) that I'll go out and purchase.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Late-Night Recap

It's late and I need to be up early tomorrow morning for a 10am training session (gonna learn how to teach kidlets about yoga and stress management! yay!), but today was awesome and I want to write it all down really quick.

1) Theater for Youth class went really well. I managed to stay awake and functional for the class, which doesn't always happen 9am on a Friday. We had to bring in adaptations of stories/poems/etc. I wrote up a script adaptation of a poem I've discovered and it was well received! Got ideas for edits, and I'm really excited to fix it up and make it work even better. I forget sometimes how much I enjoy writing, especially writing creatively. Paper-writing doesn't count!

2) Lunch with a friend, which was very fun. I gave her a present and she loved it! See, she's in the play Anna Karenina this semester. I have a book called "Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don't Float," which gives Facebook-style synopsis's of classic literature, and one of the books in there is Anna Karenina. So I photocopied those pages and gave them over. She loved it. It was awesome.

3) Watched a bit of an improv show. Haven't watched those since freshman year! They were very funny. And it was amazing to see the changes in the group since freshman year. I mean, obviously, it's been three years. But it was fun. And then I decided to enjoy a watermelon-flavored Popsicle, which I haven't had since teaching Theatre in the Park the summer before last. But it was so warm and sunny! Popsicle was an excellent choice.

4) Took a nap and went to the gym. Not the most exciting, but refreshing and healthy.

5) Got student rush tickets to see Noises Off at A Noise Within, a classical theatre company in Glendale. The show was hilarious! I've tried to read the play before but it didn't make sense to me. Seeing it was a totally different experience: it's a farce, so it was very physical and ridiculous. I sometimes have a hard time watching farces--I actually get mentally exhausted from laughing! But I didn't have an issue with Noises Off. And the second act was absolutely brilliant. It's stunning how much of a story you can tell without dialogue.

Noises Off, just so you know, is a show-within-a-show. The first act is the show's last dress rehearsal before opening, act two is backstage at one of the performances, and act three is the actual performance of the show late in its run. It was hilarious to see the "actors" and watch the performance process crumble. And for act two, they completely turned the set around so it really looked as though it was backstage! It was incredibly cool. I had a lot of fun. And only $20, which is always a plus.

6) A Noise Within is in the Glendale Americana, which seems to be a huge outdoor mall, much like The Grove--outdoors, spacious, great selections of stores and really beautiful. They have a Barnes and Noble! I love bookstores! I didn't stop by though--it was getting too late. I did, however, buy a couple of cupcakes from Crumbs! So yummy....

7) I ate the cupcakes when I got home and popped in an old Netflix DVD. It's taken me two months, but I finally got around to watching The Time Traveler's Wife! I loved it. Ironic, because I didn't much care for the book, but now I really want to read it again. I thought it told the story beautifully, it was sweet and romantic, and was absolutely captivating. Sometimes I have a short attention span with movies, but this movie flew right by. I definitely recommend it!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Bad News:
Katherine was not cast in any shows at USC this semester. Well, technically she's still waiting on one, but the assumption is that she isn't in that one either.

Good News:
Not-being-cast has kicked her butt into gear for the next step! In one night, she re-subscribed to (AKA the mecca for finding theatre auditions!), found three auditions to try to attend, ordered headshots, sent emails inquiring on how to audition for a musical group, sent emails asking for audition feedback, AND baked cookies!

The cookies don't have anything to do with anything. Except for the fact that they're yummy. And chocolate. Which always makes things better!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy New Year!

Hello blogosphere! Long time no see! I've been rather busy this past month: winter break provided a seriously needed chance to rest and recoup from the insanity of last semester. I went into the fall semester wanting to busy and constantly distracted. Well, clearly I got what I wished for! Having work to do all day every day was great, but I was ready for a break. Now classes have begun, and I'm feeling refreshed and ready to squeeze in as much learning as possible before my life as a college student ends! Because, come May 13, 2011, I will officially be a college graduate! So crazy!

But in the meantime, I've got a lot of work to do. Classwork, obviously, but research, networking, and getting myself ready for the next big step. It's intimidating but I'm keeping optimistic. That's the only way to go!

I've never been one for New Year's resolutions--if there are changes that need to be made, I just make them whenever. But for this year, I've made a number of goals. Not traditional resolutions, exactly, but changes I want to make to live a more fulfilling life:

1) Value my time more and use it better. I'm tired of wasting my time on pointless activities (IE: excessive amounts of time on the computer!) or participating in organizations that don't value my time as much as I do (IE: many of the performance-related activities I've been part of). Time is money. I want to use it more productively, give myself the opportunity to get more sleep, and end each day feeling accomplished. It's only been a week since I've been at school, but so far I've kept it up fairly well. We shall see if this continues as the semester progresses.
2) Write more. For example, blog posts. I am a decent writer, but I shall certainly lose all writing skills if I don't write at all! Of course, blog-writing is far and away a different type of writing than analytical or article-writing, but it's something. So (hopefully) expect more posts on a regular basis, and a larger variety of posts: anything from mini-editorials to reviews to short stories! (I shall try to post a couple of times a week, but I make no promises. Yes, Mom, that one's for you ;).)
3) Don't sweat the small stuff. I do a decent job at that, but there are certain aspects of life that drive me crazy--and it shouldn't! So I'm attempting to not let it bug me as much, and be more assertive when it does.
4) Have more confidence! This is a big one, especially for anyone in the acting field. I'm tired of walking into class/party/etc feeling weak and stupid. It is something I worked a lot on last semester, and I've improved a lot over the last six months, but there's always room to grow. So my new mantra that I'm trying out is "Act the way you want to feel. Eventually, you'll start feeling it for real." Good mantra, right? Plus it rhymes! Always a plus! :) So we shall see how that goes.
5) ...and then a bunch of other little goals, like go to dance classes, watch more movies, etc. Not worth listing out now.

So what kinds of resolutions do you have for the new year? What kinds of goals do you have to make 2011 great?