Friday, November 27, 2015

Time Traveling Moon: Pt Two

"But you CAN get too caught up in Love! You can, and then you've done nothing for anyone! You must do the work!" Stripes was practically screaming int he middle of Maggie Daley Park. That happens sometimes. She gets overwhelmed with ideas and starts whooping without knowing it.
"But," I barely interrupted. "But, on the other hand--"
Stripes' huge eyes spun on me. "BUT, you can become engulfed in the structure, and then you're devoid of anything real! Your heart is gone! Your purpose is squat!"
We hoof on the silver brick road.
"So how do you balance the two?" I ask.
It's warm for November. I didn't even wear a coat. People are playing frisbee in shorts.

Later Bisque shows us photos of the universe. Galaxies, black holes, all of it. My brain starts shutting off because it's all so unbelievable. We talk about the moon. It's so bright, but it's a rock. We say there is moonlight, but there isn't. There is only sunlight, and the moon filters the good stuff to us who need it. The sun is sending light all over the place, but the moon's structure shows us the shine.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Time Traveling Moon: Pt One

My freshman year of high school there was a lot of to-do around the phrase "Get it." It's hard to know if that particular slang was a widespread phenomenon or if it was akin to other phrases particular to my southside Chicago experience. IE "Salt yourself" means you were acting stupid. Usually the phrase would be accompanied by a faux-brush of salt off one's shoulders. "Treated" I still say, which means kind of, "OH SHE TOLD YOU!"

Anyway, people on the Speech team were always telling each other to get it. Broke to finals? "Get it, Erin!" Made cookies for everyone? "Get it, Mary!" You get it (ha, no pun intended). One night Henne was driving me home from something and it was one of those special "we're young and happy" nights. Perhaps spring was just springing. The moon was big and glowing out the car window. He said, "Get it, moon."

Last night I was taking the brown line from downtown to Old Town. I love when I get to do that because I cross over the Chicago River and generally enjoy watching the city whir by. Henne happened to be texting me about our writing processes, the future, etc. when I noticed the moon. Giant, vibrant. I thought to myself, as I often do, "Get it, moon." Then I told him about this that I have kept in my brain for a decade. I took a picture of the white orb over the skyline and sent it to him. You know what he said? He said, "Get it, moon." And sometimes time has barely passed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Normal in the City

I'm the type of person who never feels like she is doing enough. I feel positive about my first year in Chicago, but I still have a voice nudging me, "You're behind. Giddy-up." And then Stripes visits and asks what I have been writing, and I say, "Pfft. Not enough." But she presses what I did from August 2014 to August 2015, and I wrote two screenplays, three ten-minutes, a musical, and two-full-length plays. Plus a sketch show at SC. Yeah, when I list it, it sounds like a lot, but since only two of those things have been produced so far, it feels like close to nothing.

Yesterday I had a "regular" day. I was taking the bus home thinking I wish I had accomplished more, that I should really carve out some time on this holiday weekend to work, and I cycled back through my day.

6:30 - rise, drink water, brush teeth, wash face, stretch
7:00 - read the news, some spirituality articles, answer a couple emails
8:00 - set off for aerobic step and muscle sculpt class
10:00 - make yogurt parfaits and watch an episode of Portlandia
10:30 - grade English 101 papers
1:00 - have pb&j lunch
1:20 - off to school, listen to an improv podcast on commute
2:00 - teach English 101 (grammar quiz, essay feedback, facilitating discussions)
3:30 - meet with two students struggling for different reasons during office hours
4:15 - scarf some egg salad while watching clips of Mindy Kaling on talk shows
4:30 - scoot out to meet up with TQ for a skillet cookie
6:00 - a Q & A with Aidy Bryant at SC
7:00 - grab a cab to attend my coworker's interactive theatre piece about mushroom caps
9:15 - take a bus home, thinking about my day
10:00 - recap the day with Bisque, send some night emails
10:45 pass out, have a stress dream about auditions

This is a GOOD day, no matter how normal it feels to me. I have to remember that while I am rolling my eyes at someone yelling about mushrooms stroganoff in a a small theatre space, or while I'm clutching my coat tight around me as I walk into work muttering, "why do I live here," or while I nearly gag on my dinner because more students needed time to debrief than expected, I am living a v. cool existence. It would be the highlight of some people's week to do even one of these things! This is why I live in a snowglobe and slush through muck and feel the stress of possibility.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Backseat - The Gaslight Anthem

And in the wild desert sun
we drove straight on through the night.
We rode the fever out of Austin,
dreamed of California lights.

Come July, we'll ride the ferris wheel--
go 'round and 'round and 'round--
and if you never let me go,
well, I will never let you down.

And you know the summer always brought in
all those wild and reckless breezes,
and in the backseats we just tried to find
some room for our knees.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Best Chicago Theatre I've Seen in 2015

1. Grand Concourse - Steppenwolf
2. Book of Mormon - Bank of America Theatre
3. Rapture, Blister, Burn - The Goodman
4. Improvised Shakespeare - iO
5. Little Foxes - The Goodman
6. Soul Brother Where Art Thou? - The Second City
7. Trust Us (Screw You) - The Neo-Futurists
8. Ride the Cyclone - Chicago Shakes
9. Mr. Burns - Theatre Wit
10. Yellow Dress - Silk Road Rising

Monday, November 9, 2015

Not Helping Feminism?/Submitting to Misogyny

A couple years ago many of my Arizona comedy pals had a mass exodus of our improv group. It was time for me to go too. I knew my final year of grad school should be spent focusing on my thesis, and the group was getting younger anyway. The director put together a final send-off show on a Sunday night. It was pretty packed, and it was a great night for all of us. We bowed, and I felt a bittersweet twinge for these four other guys who were moving on. And then something "organic" happened. The director took the mic and thanked the huge crowd for coming out. But then he went on to say how much the group meant to him. Hm. And then he rambled about the legacy of the group. (At this point the audience started squirming a little. They just watched an hour plus of improv and were kinda ready to scoot.) Then the director starting giving personal shout-outs to guys who had been in the group when he was just starting. Then he gave little speeches about each of the guys leaving on stage. He said something like, "These guys are the funniest people and my best friends, and the ladies are lovely as well." It was pretty embarrassing. I was hurt too--I considered this person my friend. Oh well, it was almost over. NOPE, PSYCH. He handed the mic to someone else onstage. The audience let out a collective discomforted sigh and waited while three other dudes gave basically the same speech calling out the same dudes from previous generations. Not a single guy recognized the female director who had cast most of them initially. Not a single one called out any of the women who had been on teams with them. My female teammate took the mic and gave gratitude this is how she met her boyfriend, an ex-cast member. The whole goo-fest was probably fifteen minutes strong when I got the mic last. I, again, was feeling bad for the audience who was listening to this pretty self-referential sludge, so gave a polite shake of my head and the night was over. I had been thinking about what the group meant to me though. I just chose to appropriately tell the important people I met in-person, not assuming a crowd of strangers wanted to hear about it.

Some of those important people (specifically three other girls I formed an independent group with) were in the audience that night. I hugged them and told them why they meant so much to me. "But you didn't say it onstage!" Kale said. It was such a trap, I realized. I wasn't egotistical enough to sing my own squad's praises, and therefore, they went unsung. I didn't mean to submit to misogyny. I didn't mean to quiet the very few and underrepped female voices in comedy. I acted rationally as a person regardless of gender, but.
Shellz and I writing sketch comedy years ago.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Picking Up A Winterfresh Wrapper

Yesterday a Winterfresh wrapper flew out of a girl's bag about ten paces ahead of me on my walk home from the el. I could see my apartment window. The one I put the little ghost in. I guess I need to take that down now. The wrapper flew out and bounced in the wind a moment. I had about twenty seconds to decide what to do. My first instinct was to pick it up because litter. Then I wondered, "Why should I?" After all, it wasn't my trash. After all, I am a pretty good eco citizen. Then I wondered if anyone was watching me and if possibly I might make some money. (This is a very common irrational thought I have potentially spurred by my dad's staple bedtime stories coming from The Children's Book of Virtues. In those stories, good is always rewarded--even tiny good. In fact, it almost seems as thought the more inconsequential good deed bears the most fruit. Like, there were at least four stories about a little sweetheart helping a mouse in the forest and then the mouse gives the chick, like, a million diamonds. Idk it's more complicated than that, but regardless, there is a small part of my brain reserved for impossible possibilities like leprechauns popping and giving me a pot of gold as soon as my hand touched the discarded plastic.) THEN, I wondered if I would have to split my fortune with litterbug up there. After all, she's a big reason why I got to be so rich. Drat. That's obnoxious.

So I picked up the wrapper. Nothing happened. I stuffed it in my pocket and threw it away in my kitchen. I understand the sudden buck at cleaning up after others. We like to think, "But I clean up after myself!" And, sure, most of the time that is true. I don't think I've ever flat-out littered. But, what do I know?! The girl in front of me didn't know.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Back Pocket

Everyone knows there are things money can't buy,
but there are also things success can't give you.
There's always the back pocket plan.
Friends since 1999.