Friday, June 27, 2014

This Is Our Youth, Steppenwolf 2014

Yesterday night I treated myself to a date at Steppenwolf theatre. I had snagged a student rush ticket at box office open. I had a big tomato for dinner. I walked the dimming Chicago streets in my white lace flats. This Is Our Youth was good.
Here are some things I experienced and thought about:
-I chose to walk up the four flights to the Upstairs Alley space instead of taking the elevator. I saw posters from previous blockbusters. Historic. Legacy is important.
-Michael Cera basically played the same person he always does. So, not like a fat impressive feat, but he was really really good. And that's nice. If film/TV people have to be shoed onto Broadway, at least they're good.
-The play was enjoyable and interesting. It was also a very typical American drama. It affected me, but not in a way that is particularly new to me.
-The play was written in 1996, set in 1982, and completely applicable in 2014. I applaud the playwright for making something timeless. Besides the convention of the landline telephone, these kids could be having the same conversations today.
-In the talkback a woman commented she didn't think the 80s vibe came through. Yeah, there was a record player, but the verbiage and dress and feeeeel weren't that of her youth. I would have to agree...but it was written in '96, so no one can accuse the playwright of making it too current.
-In the talkback some people discussed the characters as real people, others described the play as art, a high school girl in the front row squirmed and said "like" every other word. Usually she might seem like a stupid too-young culture-attempting child--but we had just seen high schoolers for two hours stumble their "likes" and still maintain importance, heart. Tonight, the theatre sort of belonged to this teen more than anyone else.
-There were a few other criticisms of the play. In fact, I would say half of the comments bent negative. Wow. This play is friggin going to Broadway and schmucks off the street are still badmouthing it half-heartedly. You're just not gonna please everyone. This was important to experience as a playwright.
-Live theatre IS special. There were two times the entire audience gasped. It felt so good, so magnetic, to grasp in my hands. I will never forget those two moments. One was more surprise, and one came from our collective gut.
-At the very beginning of the talkback a woman raised her hand and said, "We didn't get it. Four women, all educated adults, we didn't get it." The moderator opened it up to the audience and a couple people sort of said what they got out of the play. I got something out of the play. Maybe not something I learned, but the play helped me solidified something I have thought before. But I wouldn't say that's what the play meant in general. I wanted to explain, "Sometimes the playwright doesn't give you a clear message, but then it's your duty to take home the themes and live your life differently because of how you interpreted them." But that would have sounded oh so pretentious. And then I was just really grateful for my literature education. How terrible to think there is a right way to experience a play.
-It was a three-person cast. All v good. In the talkback everyone kept referring to the one female character as "the girl." This is partially the audience's fault for remembering the two male names and not having the courtesy to remember JESSICA. But. Also. The first, like 40 minutes of the play involves the two guys talking about the cute girl, the cute girl Jessica, etc. So, she is just a girl. And then when she's literally the only appearing girl in the world of the play, she's just "the girl." Perhaps you might argue this is part of the atheistic of a play with two main young male protagonists--Jessica IS just "the girl." Ya know? Anyhoo, why not sidestep the whole thing and just write more than one woman or make her more important? I mean, yeah, I get it. I'm not gonna be the woman in the talkback insisting there be a woman in the one-man show about a man and his grandfather (true story of something I experienced once)--just something to consider.

My Personal Interpretation of the Play's Thesis:
-Do not offer things you do not want to give to make other people happy. You are not making them happy. You are not making you happy. Keep the cap.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Busty Women Running Are Actually Americas Greatest Heroes

If you think about it, there's really nothing more heroic.

-Moms that pick up cars because their babies are under them, yes, amazing, but that's a reaction born of instinct. And duh you don't want a baby squash.
-Firefighters. Pretty heroic, but it's also their job. That's what they do for money. To pay da bills. When it comes time to jump in the smoked out condo, they don't have a choice.
-Soldiers. Similar to firefighters.
-Whistleblowers at shady companies. It's probably more likely you'll get a movie made about you than have your life ruined.
-People without appendages who compete in Special Olympics. You gotta do this if you're gonna not be a sad sack with no legs. Like, you just gotta.

Which brings us back to my original thesis. If you're a busty lady, A you didn't choose it and you can't really unchoose it. It's not your job. You might get a benefit here and there but I would guess the cons grossly outweigh. (Buttoning up shirts, cat calls, shopping crises.)

B you don't have to work out. You don't. Because no one HAS to work out and a lot of people don't. But you are doin it. You're out there on the Lake Michigan Trail plodding along tryna stay in some kinda shape just because it's good for you and you want to be healthy for yourself, friends, and family.

It is so easy to not work out. You can be halfway out the door for a jog and then hear an episode of Fraiser coming on and it's curtains for those calories. But you, you busty lady you, you have strength I do not have. You got around all of life's usual distraction AND your own massive enemies. If I was gearing up and part of my outfit was a steel-cut brassiere that is still gonna give way to my unbearable chest, practically breaking my back with every hop but simultaneously cutting into my mid-waist fat because it's trying to hold things together, I would straight up never ever workout.

So cheers, ma'ams. You are my heroes.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Shots Shots ShotsShotsShotsShots (Everybody!)

I heard someone die on Sunday. My mom and I were in the living room of her condo on the south side watching The Artist (which I had never seen and enjoyed, A-) when we heard gunshots.

"Hmm." I said.
"Fireworks?" She asked. We kept watching the black and white actors.Then sirens a bit later. Out the window eight cop cars. We peered out but nothing was happening presently.

Anyway, in the morning the front desk guy explained it was the head of one group and his brother. They were both shot by someone yet to be caught. We say "group" here because no one likes to live in gangland (although if you live in Chicago, you do).

I had done sprints at the exact spot of killing that morning and did them again Monday. And yesterday. People power walk and bike on by. There's clover and Alice Sr and I even jumped in Lake Michigan. From the still glassy water I could see the white brick where it went down.

I don't feel particularly unsafe as a non-member of any groups. But the couple blocks from the bus to the door at midnight I don't prefer. There's just a bed of fear we all have to lie in. And that makes me really mad, actually.

No guns. No guns. No guns please. I cannot die from a stray knife wound. But bullets fly. And having my own would not save me.

Maybe guns will always exist, but come on, make them harder to buy. Scarier to own. More expensive. Tax the heck out of them. We don't need them. And generation by generation we can sort some of these issues out. Slavery was really important to us at one point, but when it was time for that to end, if was time for that to end. Don't be the jerk who was like, "We've already built our whole culture around having slaves! Whoopsy can't change it now!"

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Man Crush Sunday

Shortly after PixieGate 2014.
This was a sunny Sunday in February. I came home from my weekend girl's getaway with Bex. My hair did not. "I'm already used to it," he said. We hopped on our bikes and pedaled downhill to the student-run theatre. The show was luke warm, but we sat in the back row tittering much like those judgey eagles in the Muppets.

"I have so much homework to do," I said, "but I also want Taco Bell." And so we pedaled down the lazy streets of AZ for crunchwraps. We laughed our nachos off, especially after a homeless man asked to borrow my cell phone and then wiped the screen, like I'm the scumbag. I mean.

We traveled through the windy suburbia-oasis. Stopped at the cross section of our homes. Kissed goodbye thirty-seven times. Took this photo. I sang home alone, papers waiting. At my front door I looked at my phone. It was a photo of the sunset and excitement for a new day together.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Million Things Inbetween

A year ago I was in Vegas having the time of my life (AKA seeing David Copperfield and inhaling everything at the dessert buffet, shout out to my home girl lemon squares! Y'all a powdery hero of our culture!)
Stratosphere with Cager.
It seems like I lived an entire life between then and now. Thesis, graduation, Italian getaway, teaching, teaching, teaching, South Carolina beach, girl's getaway haircut, snowy Boston, trolleyride in Virginia, the nights it was funny to be up on the toilet, the long stretch of cobblestone it wasn't, my friends hanging banners, my friends with donuts, my friends with wet hair in rainbow lights. I found a page in the back of my planner last night. A pro con list of flying out here for Thanksgiving to audition for The Program. All the realities were once pro and con lists in pencil.

I want to say once you choose, you choose, and the process dissipates. But that's not quite true. Sometimes maybe, but sometimes that one flick of a comment during the grunt work haunts you forever, or you have to consult your high school diary to know what it felt like to win the big meet.

I suppose each day is the important day. It doesn't seem we get the privilege of controlling what will stick, so make it all something you don't mind being stuck to.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


The world is big. There are craters and skies. There are wood roaches and clover. It doesn't really matter that much what you do. For what?
Mom and me at Meteor Crater in AZ
I bought a map of the moon.
There's a crater with my name on it
and a really good view.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Place

I didn't say a formal goodbye to my graduate university. I wasn't really sure when it was the last day. I kept remembering teeny reasons to go to campus--more annoying than sweet (return this key, drop off that book). And then suddenly I was moving, and I wasn't going back. But the day before I drove out of the desert I went to throw away my v old tennies and remembered the shoe recycling program in the gym. I had long cleaned out my locker, but I swung by, less than a day left in the state, just to drop the old soles into the bin. And then I almost cried. I got a theatre degree, and yet, I will miss that gym a dozen times more than any black box. This is the place I trained for marathon number two and where I spent hours on bikes reading Atlas Shrugged before classes started when I had no homework or friends.  This is every 6 AM my first spring before I had an iPad when I had to settle for closed captioning of that dumb Amanda Bynes sit-com. Backstroke with palm trees smiling down. Step class that launched me into graduation. Midday showers on the hottest of hot full days. Every Wednesday on ellipticals reading my peers' plays. Those Saturday nights when I was a single girl trying to get a lift workout in before close. Those Sunday mornings ramping up adrenaline before improv rehearsal. I swallowed because I had so much more packing left and I'd been doing pretty well not crying.
Open road, leaving AZ.
Sometimes I find myself shakin' in the middle in the night
and then it hits me and I can't even believe this is my life.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Hop off the bus from elementary school. Dig out my felt Woodsy Owl keychain. Unlock the door. I had trouble learning to unlock our front door because you had to turn a little to the right, press the handle, and shove in with a shoulder. The three step process was too much when I was eight. My dad drew a tiny arrow directing the key with pencil right above the keyhole.

I'd finally get it, open the screen door and hear:
-The abrupt stop of keys typing at a computer.
-The creak of an office chair.
-My dad's voice building, "'s...Alice!"

I might have sighed, but I liked that great booming welcome from my great booming dad. And slowly I'm sure it built up in me. My entrance is to be celebrated. I'm loved, I'm home.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Binders of Tony Women

Obligatory blog post about the lack of female representation at the 2014 Tonys. I didn't watch The Tonys, mainly because I don't have TV and secondly because I didn't hear about literally anything that even piqued my interest on Broadway this year. So I just read the results the next morning. Of course the lack of women was obvious. Like, where the woman at? Especially playwrights. Especially because the Pulitzers were female playwright bonanza.

A positive outcome from the whole kerfuffel is how many people are cognizant of the inequality. Jason Robert Brown publicly dissed Broadway, the internet exploded etc. etc. But I'm just so tired of women being counted all the time. One one hand, apparently we have to keep doing it. Because there aren't women in things women need to be in. You know, little things like Congress and national artistic awards. But, like, EVERY TIME  thing of importance happens I feel like these really imporant (and rare) ladies are just numbers. (Only one woman in this category, only one previous winner in this category, this many seats in the House, and so on). So, like, yeah, since it;s ridiculous, we need to keep reminding people women are supes underrepresented. But on the other hand what kind of solution does that really inspire? Vote for for women based on the fact we're missing women? I'm annoyed there aren't many women on Broadway, but what can I do about that? Producers can certainly from now on feel they must at LEAST nominate a woman in each category every year, but then it's sort of a pity game instead of a talent game. Or at least it can feel that way.

What are the actual answers to these unfair numbers? I can't accept the answer is simply repeating the numbers over and over and pretending that's part of a solution or even the most useful data. Everyone laughed forever at Mitt Romney's "binder full of women" slip-up, but actually what he was even saying was highly idiotic. (Not trying to rip on Romney here, the most progressive people do this stuff.) Someone questioned his gender equality, so his first attempted answer is "All is good, a employ so many women." AKA Look at these numbers! I'm fulfilling the numbers!

I don't know how many college ads are based on the concept, "You're not a number here at Blerg Blagh University. You're a name/student/person/Chia Pet!" And yet, all of humanity cannot stop treating women as numbers alone. I am not a number!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Heartbreak in Amarillo

Just stepped outside the hotel after running at the gym (called "Zach's Club 54" by the way...come on Fairfield Inn, what are you trying to prove?). I saw green. Lush grass surrounding the parking lot. More green than one would know what to do with. My heart imploded. Goodbye, desert. Goodbye.

Entering Texas.
Will be in the Midwest by tonight. Will dream of:
Last night in AZ. No filter.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


My sister sort of harps on this idea of sloth from time to time that I'll paraphrase here:
We all think sloth means being lazy like not working or sleeping a lot, but it means a lot more. There's mental sloth. There's knowing you don't like your job and not trying to change it. Or not telling the friend the thing they should know. Or not finishing that thought you had about why or why not you thought the film was good. Even in your own head.

Perhaps because I am moving and have a forced sense of freedom, or perhaps because I'm out of school for the first time in two decades or just because this season of Breaking Bad has been very good and Dunkin has an iced coffee for 99 cents deal on, but lately I have been doing things I want to do. Case in point--the waterpark on Friday. But there has been so much more. I get bored with sorting papers, so I read. Or I mention wanting to experience The Rainforest Cafe as an adult half-jokingly and Bisque takes me on a date there for volcano cake. At summer camp I love playing Mafia with kiddos, so why not get a bunch of friends together on a Thursday and play, offering up the last beers in the fridge and the Thin Mints I have been saving in my freezer since January of last year. Any day can be a rainy day. In the good way I mean.

He tricked me into seeing Edge of Tomorrow after, but that's okay.
Mafia night in my living room.
It could be easier said than done, but oh well, just try.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Wet 'n' Waffled

All week the head Speech coach has been harping to the kiddos on the Nationals team, "You want to know once you get to the tournament that you did everything you possibly could during these practices." I drove my roommates car home blasting "All Night," sort of enjoying the skin graft feel of being inside a a black car that's 110 degrees. As a coach, I feel like I did everything I could to serve those kids, and that feels good, that feels light and right.

There's a waterpark visible from the freeway I've wanted to experience since I moved here. Last night I finally went! Wave pool, lazy river, slides and singing in lines for tube slides. Six little friendos from all walks of life: bartender, soon-to-be married man, social worker, goober, boyfriend, that chicklet with the neck-back laugh, a girl who is about to move away to Chicago to pursue something undefined for who knows how long. We kept seeing people carrying these mega four-person tubes for a fat bowl slide. They were squares and looked like huge yellow waffles. The more we said "waffles" the more we wanted them, so when the night was done, we went, wet and cold to IHOP for a midnight meal.

Waterparks are gross. Not just the snot and astroturf, assumed urine water. Mainly the teenage groping. So many teenagers, set loose in bikinis and holding each other in still lines. "Ugh," we comment. "Ugh."But this is huge for them. This is the night to write about in diaries. "The night me and X had the universe to ourselves and held hands in an inner-tube." 20somethings are ancient in the land of Dippin' Dots and locker rentals.

But it feels like another day, another year. Things change, but a waterpark can be fun for a long time. A group of educated rent-paying humans can discuss the best pancake option for half an hour.

We always dreamed about a better life, this better life.
We always felt it coming all along, yeah, all along.
We got the keys to open paradise, yeah, paradise.
Now let's go walking hand in hand.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Lesson in Yessin'

I hadn't seen Leggo in a year, not since our final improv show. He texted me because he heard I was moving and we started riffing about double dating. It's a little strange to think we made plans just because I'm about to move since based on our track record, if I were staying here, I would never see him again.

For some reason the plans were complicated. Bisque wanted shaved ice, Leggo's gf wanted soy milkshakes, I felt like a receptionist throwing out times and dates. But, after some shuffling we settled on yesterday at 5:30 out in a boonie for the aforementioned icy treat. We were all traveling separate. Twenty minutes before meet-up (I was early) Leggo texted saying they'd be late. Then he called saying his gf ditched. I completely understood and thought I was more than accommodating: "We can reschedule, or not, or I can come see you somewhere else later, or--" he interrupted, "No, I'll just see you there." I asked if he was sure. "It's that or go home, so I might as well come meet you!"

It was a surprise because I don't think, in Leggo's shoes, I would have driven the forty minutes in traffic to be a third wheel and have a glorified slushy. But that was the plan, and he stuck to it. And you know what? We had a really good time. We sat for, like, two hours hanging out in that shop, cracking jokes and diddling with our tiny parasols until they broke. Beyond that, we all discussed our potential artistic futures and realized Hey! We might actually be good connections for one another! It really didn't matter, once we sat, bellies full of blue sugar and laughs, the insecurity with which the whole thing went down.
Buck wild.
Improvisers harp on "Yes And!" so stinkin' much, but, it's for good reason. You just say Yes. You just say Yes and things happen. We all (myself included) are so quick to drop plans, concepts, projects when something blots what we envisioned. It's not a habit. Life is made up of blots. I think Shakespeare said that. "All the world's a blot"? Or, am I thinking of "out damn blot"?

Point is Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes begets Yes and Yes shall reign forever. Hallelujah.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

To Hiding Behind Ice Cream Cones

We pick up way more about others than we assume they are picking up about us.

A Bisque in Rome.
So tell me what you want to hear/
something that will light those ears.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


I am very. I wake up early and coach the speech kids going to Nationals. I spent the weekend at Maf's--the first place I stayed when I moved here. I showed her the pine prickles in my hand from the cactus I hit that first Arizona day. The bumps remain.

I walk slowly and lay on the couch for too long plotting, re-plotting all the moving details. This much money, that email about the one job--waiting, cutting up the strawberries, too tired to pick a show on Hulu, tired. It's one-hundred all the time and I have no mode of transit. Bike--sold. Scooter--sold. I expected to cry when she was wheeled into that stranger's garage, but I didn't. There has been too much to do. I have been so slow in doing it.
Jerome, Arizona.
I'm tired, so tired.