Uncovered -Queen & Bowie

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So tired I feel like I’m practically blind today, but it was definitely worth it!

Last night I had the good fortune of attending the closing night performance of Acting Up Stage’s annual Uncovered show. This year, an impressive assembly of Canadian talent performed selections from the musical libraries of David Bowie and Queen, and included a pair of actors who basically channelled the ghosts of Bowie and Freddie Mercury as they tackled a variety of quotes from over the course of each legend’s career. The whole evening turned into a somewhat intimate affair, as our Bowie and Mercury held a dialogue on stage in between the amazing musical numbers throughout.

My more-or-less-friend-now, the lovely and obscenely talented Melissa O’Neil, had given me a heads up some time ago that she would be a part of this show, and I marked it on my calendar right away, as I fully intend to just support her and her career whenever possible. I looked up the show online and thought it looked pretty cool, but still really had no idea what to expect. Even figuring out that another insanely talented friend, Gabe Grey, would be playing Freddie, didn’t change how much of a happy surprise the evening ended up being!

It made me sad that I’ve missed the other 9 years of this Uncovered show, but determined that this won’t have been my last. So much fun, guys!

I stopped watching Gabe pretty early on, because he was so good that, in my mind, he pretty much morphed into Freddie Mercury. For those few hours, my friend wasn’t on stage at all. He had transcended himself. And the woman playing Bowie? Holy Hannah! Applause greeted her first words, but from that moment on, she was David Bowie. She had every mannerism and movement down to the point where it just seemed natural. She was he.

Watching Melissa O’Neil sing – especially when she is obviously really enjoying herself – is an absolute joy. I woke up with her version of Let’s Dance in my head this morning, and every time I think about seeing her last night, a giant stupid grin appears on my face. I think that’s how I looked the whole time she was on stage, actually, so it’s a good thing it was dark in there. I realized after that it was also the first time I’d gotten to see her perform live. I’ll need to make sure it’s not the last time for that, either, ’cause damn. I adore that woman to no end, and this show just cemented that feeling all the more.

I loved every single performer last night, and there were several I hadn’t known of prior to taking my seat and pouring over the programme. I can’t count the number of times I was given goosebumps throughout the night, or driven into bouts of gleeful cheers and applause. I was crushing on all the ladies of the stage, including the wicked talented woman rocking the violin. But it was one incredibly talented performer who pulled tears from my eyes not once but twice, just due to how stunningly beautiful her renditions were. Divine Brown rocked my world and broke my heart and put it back together again. She’s seriously, like, not of this earth, guys. Just whoa.

She turned me into Wes Bentley watching a plastic bag floating on the breeze in American Beauty. So, so beautiful.

My whole evening would not have been possible were it not for my friend, Sarah, who snagged our tickets AND managed to pick up some flowers for Mel when I had not the time nor the cash flow after my work day ended, AND still beat me to the subway on our way back downtown. So eternal thanks to that woman! I suspect it won’t be her last night out to support these crazy talented folks, now, either!

Go check out Acting Up Stage Company’s website here. They do amazing work in the world of musical theatre, and have an impressive line-up of content coming all year long!

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Over Everything Brain

Oh, 2am anxiety and your devilish sleep-stealing-ness. I’ve not had a chance to miss you yet! Perhaps try staying away for longer next time?

So freaking tired today, but still upbeat, because after this I am of for the rest of the week. The construction guys were louder than usual this morning, so I don’t anticipate being able to sleep in tomorrow or Friday, but we’ll see. I have some things on the go that I will probably do better getting up early for, anyway.

Met up with a friend for catch-up drinks last night after work. So much fun! And really nice – I feel like our conversation covered a lot of territory in a relatively short period of time, and that’s always a good thing when it happens. Hopefully we’ll do it a tad more regularly now that the weather is nicer, so that we have less catching up to do next time!

Sucks that my brain wouldn’t give me a break in the wee hours this morning, though. I hate not having a place to go to in my mind when stuff like that happens. It makes everything more difficult, really. I’ll have to figure out a new one soon, I guess. It’s like my subconscious knew the whole time when I lost my usual go-to…maybe even before I realized it myself…and now it’s toying with me at every opportunity. Lame brain.

I used to want to be some kind of detective when I grew up. Not like a cop, exactly, but more like Nancy Drew. I read a bunch of Nancy Drew as a kid. Maybe all of it. I had a library card and my mom and I would go to the library quite regularly and I’d sit on the creaky wooden floor in the children’s area and pore over all the yellow-spines of the Nancy Drew hard-covered series and try to figure out which ones I hadn’t read yet. It smelled like books in there. I still love that smell.

When I’m rich and famous and design my own house, there will be a library and a movie theatre, and I’ll collect old books so as to always have that smell when I want it, and I’ll have a big air-popper for perfect theatre-style popcorn and hire someone else to clean that mess ’cause I ain’t doing it. There will also be an observatory – perhaps in some kind of tower – and a huge plot of land for all the animals I rescue.

Indoor/outdoor pool, hot tub, sauna, small private gym that I almost never use but when I do it plays 80’s music a lot of the time.

You guys can come over and visit sometimes, and we’ll have full scale murder mysteries to play when we’re feeling particularly feisty. There will, of course, be secret passages and the like, as well.

It’ll probably be on an island (which I’ll also own), but I’ll charter various modes of transportation so you can get there easily, don’t worry.

What was I talking about? Ah yes, detectiving.

I liked all that cool mystery stuff – invisible ink, puzzles, codes, fingerprints, and a trail of clues to follow. I used to try and make up mysteries for myself to solve (this was way before the interwebs, kids, so I couldn’t just Google shit; I had to use my imagination) using old photos and documents and…just anything laying around. I liked calculator watches and anything with hidden compartments. I mean, even now, the deluxe Lost DVD complete series collection boxed set is one of the coolest things I own. I still haven’t discovered all the goodies hidden inside that beauty!

‘Cause therein lies the problem with my career as a private detective. I suck at it.

My brain just doesn’t work that way. I either don’t dig deep enough or, more often, I over-complicate everything. Over-think. Over-analyze. All the overs.

I love, love, love whodunits…wow. My maternal grandmother did, too. That just hit me. She was always reading murder mysteries and such. I never made that connection between her and I until literally just now, as I was typing “whodunits”. In my mind, I was thinking of TV shows and movies more than books, but as soon as I typed that word, I had a vivid recollection of her bookshelves and the jokes about how such a nice, tiny, elderly lady could love reading about such grisly subjects. Nothing to do with whatever I thought I was going to say. Just a sudden link between her and I.

Aww…I miss you, Nanny. ❤

I’m sorry about the stuff I lost. I know you know that, but I also know you know that knowing you know doesn’t make me less sorry.

Anyway. Mysteries. I love immersing myself in them; suck at solving them. That’s kind of why I like the TV series Motive so much, too. It tells you who the victim and killer are right at the beginning, and then it’s all about learning the how and, most importantly, the why. Also, I’m not sure I could love actress Kristin Lehman more than I do already, but you never know. I guess anything is possible.

As I got older and ran out of classic Nancy Drew to read, I spent some time with The Three Investigators, though only in book form. I of course watched Pamela Sue Martin as the girl detective as much as possible…and I think I still have a book at home called Susan Super Sleuth, now that I think about it…Sue is such a good detective name, and yet…I fail. At any rate, I’ve hosted a couple of boxed murder mysteries in my day, and was blessed to have friends get completely into their roles each time. I loooooved all the Carmen Sandiego games, both on the computer and that TV game show thingy. I really want to check out some of the city’s escape rooms someday, too, though I will probably suck at those, too. The brain, the braaaain! The over everything braaaaain.

So long as there aren’t actual lives on the line, or anything, though, puzzling through various types of mysteries is really very fun for me. Be it a book, TV show, film, or something more personally and/or physically involving like murder mystery dinners or escape room puzzles – even games like Clue or those insane word puzzles that I always have to draw a chart for in order to figure out. I love all that stuff, even as I fail at it most of the time. It’s the puzzle, the questions, the awesome gadgets (I love gadgets), and that rare sense of utter victory when you actually figure it out without being told.

I guess that might be part of what makes me a good detective at my job, too. Even with this new system in place, the things I can do can’t really be taught. It’s kind of impressive. My talent in that area only exists here and holds no value in the real world, of course, but at least it exists. I’m feel accomplished – extremely gratified – when I’ve solved one of our little mysteries and sorted everything out.

Then I usually write a lengthy email to document and share my own brilliance, but that usually falls a bit flat. Nevertheless – I know when I rocked something, and I know when I’m one of the only people who could.

In other news, I’ve lost just over 15lbs in just under 4 months, and that ain’t bad. It at least explains why it seemed so much faster than picture memories on Facebook would have me believe.

So that’s good.

Edited to add: I just found this. OMG. The 8-year-old me is squeeing her 8-year-old squee.

Missing The Movie Theatre Experience

It’s super busy at work today so I’m taking a shorter lunch and leaping back into the fray when I am done eating, so instead of writing about what I’d been planning to this afternoon, I’ll write about something less involved, instead.

I miss going to movies. I can’t remember when the last time I was at a theatre was, but it feels like a long time ago, for me, anyway.

I remember a former roomate and I challenged ourselves to see one movie a week in the theatre for a year, not including film festival time, and the like. I can’t remember how we actually did, but it was definitely fun! These days, I have two theatres down the street from my apartment, so every time I get a hankering, I usually just head to one of those and see whatever I’m in the mood for.

I’m not sure if I have seen anything yet this year…which would be ridiculous, but…I of course saw Star Wars a few times. And Mockingjay. But yeah…I can’t think of anything since, and those were both out in December. Maybe I saw either or both after New Years, but still. Sad!

Growing up, movies were a treat, especially the ones in movie theatres or – even more so – the drive-in. The closest theatre was a half hour drive away. The Gayety in Collingwood. They eventually opened the comparatively huge Cinema 4, and there were a few theatres available in Barrie, as well, but it was a further drive. When we leaped into the 80’s and got a VCR, going to the theatre became less of an option, reserved for when there was more time and/or money to go around, since we could rent a video (or several) for a fraction of the price.

My decision to move to Toronto was, in a small way, determined by movie theatres, and having access to movies the first day they were released. No longer would I have to wait a week or more for something to be released in a theatre near me. Here, it felt like all the theatres were near me! I even started off in a neighbourhood with a theatre, a Future Shop, a Silver Snail and a Toys R Us. And my doctor, at the time. Basically everything I need to live. Even my first job was in the area.

Things changed – I moved around the city, held different jobs, and while I now live back in that same area, much has changed. I now have two huge theatres to choose from, Future Shop is now a Best Buy, my doctor no longer practices – but I have a dentist in the same building now. Toys R US is still there, but the Silver Snail moved out long ago. Still, though, a lot of Sue necessities. Plus, the area has felt like home pretty much from the get-go, even when I didn’t live near it.

Since I moved back, I’ve been known to go to the movies just so I can have popcorn for breakfast. There’s just something about movie theatre popcorn that can’t be replicated (though John in Colorado does a damn fine job when he makes it at home, I gotta say!), and the same goes for fountain soda. So ridiculous, but sometimes I just have a hankering for that delicious syrup and water in an overly-large, ice-filled cup.

I’m a weirdo.

But going to a movie theatre is kind of my jam. I prefer it to watching something at home sometimes. There are things I prefer to watch at home, of course (ie anything that makes me cry; not porn if that’s what you’re thinking), but often I get an urge to sit in the dark with strangers (either a bunch or a few, I don’t care, because I forget about them, anyway), eat popcorn in a way which suggests I’d starve to death otherwise, drink my fountain pop, and just let someone else’s mind take me away for awhile. There are very few distractions, and I can just be somewhere else for a couple of hours.

And previews! I love previews! I’m actually glad for the initial commercials because I am of course often late for movie screening times, too! So the commercials give me a buffer, without worrying about missing my beloved previews.

They often help my plan my next trip to the theatre, after all!

Okay…that’s about all the time I have. But I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention how much I now miss my current movie dates with Kristi – layered butter on the popcorn, whatever tasty treat we get with our combo, and taking turns between tickets and treats for two! I don’t even care what we see, lady – we have to go soon! 😉 ❤

Watch Your Eyes

To say I am exhausted today would be an understatement. Still worth it (my part in it, at least), but yeah…definitely struggling today. It’s rainy, it’s the Monday after the time change (which is worse than the first day after, I find), I’ve had very little sleep over the past few weeks, I’m sick, and there’s always the same old MS fatigue that I get to walk around with every day.

However, the factor that tipped the scale today would have to be the biog broadcast gala of the Canadian Screen Awards that Tim and I covered from start to finish last night! For the first time ever, we checked in as media in the middle of the afternoon, found out spot on the red carpet, greeted people as they arrived, then headed to the press room to cover the awards – the non-broadcast ones and the broadcast ones, as well. It was insane in the best way!

Touchwood always takes amazing care of us, but I feel like they keep outdoing themselves from year to year. This event was bigger for us than it has been in previous years, and thanks to our employer we were able to get more quality phootos and videos than we usually do, as well! We got to talk to a crazy number of people on the carpet, some of whom we already knew, and many we were meeting for the first time. Some virtual legends like Helen Shaver, Martin Short, and the cast of This Hour Has 22 Minutes! Not to mention a couple of our longtime favourites, Yannick Bisson (and his wonderful wife Shantelle) and legend in her own right Megan Follows!

Whaaat?! How is this happening?! We ask ourselves that a lot. A LOT.

Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming, but also makes us giddy as hell.

To boot, we were in the coolest corner of the carpet, right at the very end. It was literally cooler, as a door to the outside had been open up until things got going, and every single person we talked to mentioned that it was far more comfortable than the arrival area around the corner. I suspect we were also in the figuratively cooler corner of the carpet, as the media outlets to both sides of us also knew how to have a good time, and we all made our own fun together while we waited. They were also all a lot of fun to watch work, and we all commented on that with one another once the carpet wrapped.

There was a thing, a tiny moment with Helen Shaver, that reminded me of a similar thing that happened in my theatre class in University. I was in my final year, and even though I’d wanted to take theatre classes the whole time, it took me until my last year to finally work up the courage to give it a go. Got one of my best friends out of it, too, actually!

Anyway, Helen Shaver was talking about how she tries to get real and honest performances out of her actors to tell the story she wants to tell when she’s directing. She spoke, and then leaned closer to me, holding eye contact the whole time. I don’t even quite remember what she said because I think I stopped breathing, but there was a second or two that felt really intense before I eventually looked away. That moment or two reminded me of an exercise we’d done in class involving eye contact and the holding of power in a scene.

Our prof had us perform a scene over and over, but with a different character or characters holding power each time we ran through it. If someone had power, they could look at the person they were talking to. Anyone who did not have power could not meet the gaze of the power-holder(s). If they weren’t being looked at, they could look at whoever had power, but as soon as that person/people looked at them, they had to look away.

It was really interesting to see how differently a scene could play out by just using eye contact alone. None of us moved from our spots, we said the same lines over and over again, but the tone would change vastly from performance to performance, depending on who had power. Sometimes one person would have it all, sometimes more than one (so they could make eye contact and lend a sort of balance to the conversation), sometimes all but one would have power.

The one time I was the person who held all the power was…amazing. I mean, it was two minutes, but no one could look at me. Well, no one in my scene. I guess the audience could, but I don’t remember noticing them at all. I was busy “acting”. I had fun trying to psyche them out. I’d look around and then flick my gaze to one of them and watch themquickly shift their eyes to the floor or wherever suited them. Usually I am super shy, so this felt great. Even now, I have to consciously remind myself to look people in the eye when we speak to one another, and as a child I remember meeting people and only knowing what they looked like in profile or from the neck down, because I couldn’t bring myself to look at their eyes if they were looking at me.

But then came the round wherein I was stripped of all power. Like, all of it. I couldn’t look at the prof, I couldn’t look at the other members of my class, and I certainly couldn’t look at the other performers sharing the scene with me. Basically floor and ceiling. I could look down and look up, but looking “out” was not allowed. I had no power, Captain!

And it sucked, guys.

I kept trying to push through the scene, but I found myself panicking a little bit. There was nowhere I could look because it seemed everyone was staring at me and not looking away at all, so I started backing up from where I’d been standing the whole time, and felt my back bump up against the chalkboard behind me. With nowhere else to go, I slowly sank to a crouch and stared at the floor in front of me. I felt like I was about to ask if we could stop now, when our prof called a halt to it on her own. I actually felt a little shakey and off after, but at least I could breathe again.

It was such a powerful learning experience – and somewhat emotional one – that I found myself writing about it in that actor journal thingy they make you keep as part of your final grade. There are, of course, no rules within the general public that says you can’t make eye contact with certain people around you. In fact, eye contact is usually a good sign, showing that you are present in the encounter; that you are listening and/or engaged. It shows you are paying attention.

I mean, unless you’re me with, say, Helen Shaver, and just concentrating so much on making and holding eye contact that you forget to listen. For example.

But I think one of the things I learned is that, unwritten rule or not, eye contact as a tool of power actually works. If you’re listening, too, then all the better, because you can get a much better read on a person if you include their expressions, tone of voice, body language, etc. And no matter what, stronger and more real connections are made through eye contact than anything else. More than spoken words, or words on a page, more than a voice on the other end of the phone; across species and around the world.

The eyes have it.