Curiouser & Curiouser

Life’s short. Get curious.

Reefer MADNESS! February 23, 2009

Filed under: happiness,music,thoughts — curiouserx2 @ 9:53 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

reefOh yes… I’ve been running around telling everyone and nearly forgot to bring it up here. Got a call last night from the director of Center Stage Players’ “Reefer Madness” offering me the part of Miss Poppy. I said yes before he could really finish what he was saying.

My last brush with the stage (well, the theater variety anyway) was in college. My freshman year. I began at Indiana University as a theater major, having spent my formative years either in a play or musical or waiting (impatiently) for the next. I finished college at University of Cincinnati, graduated with a major in journalism, working as the frontwoman of a cover band. From there, original music become my passion, and the theater (along with audiences of any substantial size) was left in the dust of my teens.

In taking a hiatus from Marchioness, I’ve discovered time I never had before and interests I’d been neglecting. J and I are working on a children’s book, I’m working on developing an old idea I had for a graphic novel and finally, FINALLY found the opportunity to get back to the stage. The “Reefer Madness” thing came out of nowhere and was too good to pass up. Before I knew it, I’d auditioned and been called back. And then, in the midst of dinner, I got the call asking me to join the cast.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the musical, my character (played by Neve Campbell in the movie) owns the 5 and Dime, sings, dances and secretly helps lure teens to the reefer den. So good times 🙂

When I decided to set my music aside a few months ago, I felt all kinds of guilty, worried and even a little sad about doing so. But writing music and getting it heard is nearly a full-time job; the hours not spent at work were consumed by it. I knew that I could trade it in for a slew of other opportunities, and it turns out I was right. If I were sitting at home each night after work in front of the t.v. and spending my weekends drinking the nights away and sleeping late, then, okay, maybe all that worry and guilt would’ve been well founded. But I did it. Or I’m DOING it.

And it feels just as amazing as sitting behind the piano, so I must be doing it right. 🙂

~a

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The Incredible Disappearing Girl January 8, 2009

pong

But I can explain! I can.  There was this insane, almost two-week vacation (see preview above) I was granted during the holidays (from which I am still recovering but the busy week at work is preventing such things). But I will materialize in full force, New and Improved Girl, before you know it, and in the following mediums:

1) I have what may be my final show this weekend. At least for a while. It’s difficult to pound the pavement and sing frequently gut-wrenching songs that you wrote when you were a completely miserable, pessimistic Debby Downer once you’ve found serenity, hope and barf-worthy happiness in love. That, and I’ve been putting all these other projects on the back burner that I now think deserve their moment in the sun. Which brings me to….

2) A new blog. Never fear, Curiouser will remain as my personal blog. But, as I become increasingly enamored with my hometown, I wanted to find a way to express Columbus’ understated magic. While I don’t have the means to launch a publication (and besides there are too many of them – done poorly I might add, and the print format is losing steam in the current economy), I do have the ability to take what I’ve learned here and apply it to a new blog with a tighter focus. So… introducing “Keen on Columbus.” You can find it in its preliminary stages at http://www.keencolumbus.com, but content won’t really roll out for the next couple of weeks. And finally,

3) Curiouser will get its just deserts! The great Holiday 2009 post is on its way and can be expected this weekend. It is a bit of a massive undertaking, and is taking longer than normal due to the many breaks I have to take to avoid headaches as my mind strains to recall what the hell I was up to two weeks ago. It’s not the drugs, I swear 😉

So, now I leave you with an xkcd that has only served to validate my paranoia and give it a new outlet.

All the best,

~a

picture-1

 

It’s Called Black for a Reason December 1, 2008

Filed under: music,thoughts,work — curiouserx2 @ 5:01 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

picture-1Courtesy of Exploding Dog

Oh, Mondays. How brilliantly you find ways to rub in my face the beginning of the work week. How early you startle me from my sleep with blaring classic rock. (This choice of genre is not masochism, it is assurance that the music will NOT lull me back to sleep, nor will I be able to let it play for more than 5 seconds before getting up to turn it off. Have you ever tried listening to 5 seconds of Magic Carpet Ride?? It hurts.) How brutally your  chill attacks my pajamas as I wait for Gabe to wrap up his morning business. And then there’s the uncooperative hair, the trudge from the parking lot down what is essentially a massive wind tunnel, an office kitchen dishwasher that needs unloaded as evidenced by the dishes in the sink including a mug that is growing something akin to those multi-colored aquarium crystal kits, and an e-mail box stuffed with online shopping ads and Things That Need Done Before Nine O’ Clock. It is 8:45.

But…. I am alive. Which is more than at least two Black Friday victims can say. Can I get a “What the F@#k?” What has the world come to when one man, just doing his job at a big box discount store, gets TRAMPLED TO DEATH by his fellow human beings. Why? Because they needed things. NOW. And, by god, they were going to get them by any means necessary. And when they announced, at this particular Wal-Mart, that the store would be closing due to the death of this employee and the crowd needed to exit the building, how do you suppose said crowd responded?

With horror and sadness at what had occurred?

With shock and guilt for a death that some of them had directly caused?

Why no. They were mad as hell and not going anywhere. They had WAITED IN LINE, damnit! For hours and hours. Camped out for the opportunity to stampede into a tacky, low-end warehouse for the chance to be the first to get their hands on tacky, low-end goods. They didn’t care who had died, they weren’t going anywhere!

People. Are we savages? (Clearly some of us are)

In another story, a man was shot to death in a dispute over a toy in the parking lot of a Toys-R-Us.

It’s enough to make a girl want to collectively grab the population of the United States and give them a good, solid smack across the face.

Since that’s not necessarily possible, I’d like to call for the death of Black Friday. This product of idiot mob mentality is the perfect symbol of all that is wrong with our country right now. Our priorities are out of wack. Our greed and self-absorption are out of control. I’ve boycotted this silly little event every year, and now I will most certainly lobby for others to do the same. (A link to the Wal-Mart story for anyone who hasn’t seen this yet: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/29/business/29walmart.html )

Ok. Stepping down from the soap box.

In other news, the band had a show the Saturday after Thanksgiving at a local theater. The theater is a converted garage downtown, a clever use of space, and a much different type of venue than I’m accustomed to. For one thing, there was an audience. And they sat. And listened. And didn’t talk.

Strange, it’s what we always want, but when we finally have it, it’s so bizarre it becomes a little unnerving. But they were gracious and supportive, even when my stupid shoes (did I used to love shoes? Because I hate them now) and their ridiculous tall heals and slippery soles caused me to lose the pedal during the most epic of songs (can we say train wreck?). As soon as the song was over (we actually did get through it),  I stopped, unlaced my shoe, through it to the side, and continued the show with one foot bare. Problem solved.

Sadly, though, I fear an oncoming burnout. And unless I want it to be swift and complete, I feel the need for a break. The pressure needs to come off, the stress taken out of the music, before these are so intertwined that I hate the latter. (Not that I think I could, but you never know). I need to be able to give my keyboard a more permanent home in my living room, rather than slogging it around from bar to bar with little quality time in between. Playing out has become a duty. I need to need it again.

And I need time to pursue the many other things on my Want To Do list.

I think this decision took so long to arrive at, because I was worried about letting people down. But when the reality of it hit me, that the only person I would really let down was myself, I felt relief. Because I don’t feel let down at all. I accomplished more than I set out to do, even if I didn’t achieve All That Was Possible. I’ve got other possibilities to pursue to that end. So I’m good with this.

For now 🙂

~a

 

In Which We Make Beds and Indulge Alter Egos November 24, 2008

Filed under: humor,life,music — curiouserx2 @ 5:30 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

picture-212

Why do I feel like I must be working for the weekend (and a bit of loss for this)? I swear I live during the week, too, just more hurriedly and frequently without time to write about it. Anyway, this weekend was eventful in its uneventfullness. We decided to designate Saturday for pure unadulterated winter-time relaxation. With the exception of some living room furniture rearrangement and the laying down of a new rug in said room, the rest of the day was spent doing only things I love (and if I’m to be completely honest, I kind of love rearranging furniture, too, so there you have it). Breakfast (er… lunch) at the corner cafe, purchasing logs for the fire, rolling out the fold-out couch, piling a bunch of blankets on it, setting up the laptop to play movies and, finally (the product of all our efforts) – watching movies in front of a roaring fire with hot chocolate and Gabe.

We made our bed and basked in it. I recommend this highly.

Amidst all this lying-around-doing-nothingness, there was much talk. Plans have been laid. Details are being worked out. (Muah-ah-ah). Great things are to come, and it makes it so much easier to face a Monday when you have a plan. Plans… I recommend them as well. And think BIG. It’s more fun that way.  I promise to divulge when mine are a little more solid. (This entry is so disjointed – my apologies. I’m afraid it’s just the state I’m in this morning).

The band had a surprisingly productive practice yesterday. We’re loving this new space, despite the cost. No distractions, no equipment f@#k-ups, great sound…  I love practice space. I LOVE PRACTICE SPACE!! We have a show coming up this weekend, playing a set at the conclusion of a new, two-act play being presented at one of our downtown theaters. Actors are theatrical. We’re theatrical. This could work.

So, moving backwards through last week…. my roommate (also a musician), another female musician friend of mine and I will be performing for a Christmas party benefiting local homeless families. The three of us have performed in the past under the alter-ego name Girls!Girls!Girls! These shows are typically holiday-themed (we did the most kicka## USO-style show last Fourth of July) and ripped right out of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. So it’s totally throw-back and kitschy and entirely different from what each of us do with our respective musical projects. So we’ve got this holiday show to get together, and last week we had a shoot for the promotional photos. It was completely ridiculous and fun, and we definitely threw a little, plaid scarf around Gabe’s neck because he was walking into every shot and posing with us. The little dude loves the camera (and the camera loves him). Anyway… below you’ll find some final shots and production shots from that evening.

Everyone have a safe Thanksgiving!!

See you on the flip 🙂

~a

girls1gabe1girls4girls3

 

2-4-6-0-1!!!!! October 24, 2008

Filed under: music — curiouserx2 @ 2:42 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

THINGS I LEARNED AT LAST NIGHT’S SHOW:

1) I am HIGHLY distractable.

Not only was I unable to ignore the bizarre presence of not one, but several flash photographers (as much as I’d love to lead you to believe the paparazzi make a point of showing up where we do, this is not, in fact, remotely true), but I think I was actively sabotaging any great shots they may have had. I reflexively look away, down, close my eyes, make pained expressions. Anything to avoid the possibility of a good photo.

And, in the meantime, I am botching piano parts left and right, forgetting what phrase, verse, song we are playing. I see J’s roommate and am singing the “Berg slept in a hot dog” song in my head. I am contemplating possibilities that have arisen in my life just that morning. I am watching people walking in the door, balking at the cover charge. And I am f$%#ing up royally! (Fortunately, no one appears to notice, or at least they are too kind to acknowledge that they do).

This will not do. How can I give a genuine performance if I’m not even hearing (I mean REALLY hearing) the songs? This must be what it’s like to perform on Broadway, singing the same damn songs (even good ones, no matter) night after night, trying to remember that you ARE Jean Valjean or whatever and not thinking about whether or not you left the iron plugged in as you beg God via falsetto to bring your son-in-law back alive from the battlefield. Such is the struggle.

2) People in this town do NOT go out to see live music. And definitely not on a work night.

So maybe no more non-weekend shows. It’s disheartening to have three really great acts together in a swell, little club and to not be able to fill the room (or at least make it cozy). The crowd that did gather was generous and focused and generally having a great time (and thankyouthankyouthankyou A, H and P – our biggest fans – for coming out again and again. It means the world). But with all the hard work the bands put in to prepare for these shows, and all that undiscovered talent waiting to be unveiled to the masses, it just kills me that the citizens of this town seem generally uninterested in such things. In the future, we’ll be attempting some nontraditional gigs in hopes of reaching new audience.

In the meantime, I challenge you all to get out of the house one, two (by GOD maybe even 3 times!!) this month and catch a local band or two. Get some recommendations, browse through Myspace music (you can search your area by genre and listen to samples to pick out a band you might like), and explore your local music scene. Be prepared to listen like you would at a larger concert for a national act; these kids aren’t cover bands playing background music. They’re artists who really want you to hear not just what they’re playing, but what they’re saying as well. (That said, organizing a cornhole tournament in front of the stage, cheering overzealously for the football game on the bar t.v., and shamelessly making out at a front-row table are all strictly prohibited.)

Merry concert-going,

~a

(And now… Two HIGHLY RELEVANT 😉 episodes of Dinosaur Comics just for you….)

 

With the Band October 20, 2008

Filed under: bands,life,music,polls — curiouserx2 @ 2:03 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Good. Morning.

One helluva a weekend, and I promise to fill everyone in shortly. I’m waiting on some images from the first annual Bobtoberfest (which went off without a hitch, and was, I even think, a more polished-looking event ((granted – as polished as something called Bobtoberfest would want to be)) than I’d expected), and then I’ll be sure to describe this bizarre pastoral phenomenon to you in full. Somewhere in these two days we also fit in J’s college homecoming (which deserves an entire entry unto itself) and a pumpkin carving party at my house to round it all out. So, you can take this as a preview of this week’s writings-to-come.

But, the first issue of business this morning – the results of last week’s poll (the nature of which I promise never to post here again because I felt stupid posting it, so I KNOW you felt stupid answering it. Forgive me?). It ended in a tie between Music (the band) and New Artwork (and I use that term loosely).  So – to satisfy everyone who was gracious enough to play along, I present you all with an illustrated bit on the band.

I never intended to divulge many of the details about the band here. It is a major part of my life, so its presence was inevitable. Talking in specifics about it was not. But, people keep asking, so here’s just a sentence or two (or 20) of context for you….

Marchioness was not always Marchioness. We had our first show just before New Year’s 2008, in a tiny little indie club. We played in a low-ceilinged room with no discernible stage, but with an oak tree most definitely growing its center. Since that night, we’ve lost a bassist, added a viola player and named ourselves.

Because of the infamously fine nature of the line between clever and stupid, the band-naming process tends to be an uncomfortable one. A member brings to the table names they deem to be the former, and the other two members try not to laugh too hard when these prove to be more the latter. (There is only one guy I know who can spit out profound and timeless band names on call. These names, sadly, are better suited to a different kind of rock band, but are genius nonetheless, and appear to require no great thought at all on his part. I mean, Leaky Donkey?? Think about it…. now just try to NOT say it. And then try to forget it. Good luck).

Eventually, it came to the point where it was clear we’d have to leap:  Pick one name. Stick with it. I mean, how many bands can we think of that took (let’s be honest) pretty questionable names and made them household names, creative word combinations we typically don’t think twice about. Smashing Pumpkins is an obvious one. Presidents of the United States? The Toadies?

Granted, I can think of a few bands undone by their names (Toad the Wet Sprocket? Butthole Surfers? They didn’t stand a chance). And others who’s names are far more innovative than the band itself (I won’t go there so’s not to offend, but you know who you are….)

Anyway, at the moment we came to this point-of-return, I happened to be reading The Annotated Alice. I came along a passage where they discuss that The Queen of Hearts holds another position of royalty: Marchioness of Mock Turtles. The word Marchioness rolled off the tongue and stayed with me long enough that I thought I’d throw in into the hat (I’m a fan of the simple, one-word moniker). The response was if-y at best, but we looked it up on Wikipedia, and it turns out The Marchioness was also a leisure boat that hosted a birthday party for a wealthy, young heir in the late 80’s. Brimful with privileged, artsy types, it was plowed over by a much larger vessel, killing a good third of the revelers. Tragedy ensued. The incident became known as The Marchioness Disaster, and while that seemed like a mouthful, it would’ve made a great name. We decided, with it’s newly found intrigue, to stick with the shortened Marchioness.

So, there you have it.

Much to divulge about my experiences this weekend, but that will have to wait.

Until then,

~a

 

Sushi for Breakfast October 15, 2008

Filed under: adulthood,life,thoughts — curiouserx2 @ 8:03 pm
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Anyone else having a little trouble grasping the whole concept of adulthood?

I mean, yes, there’s the job (the “REAL” job I have for the first time in my life). And bills and insurance of varying natures and a home (granted, a rental) and bars and running errands on your lunch breaks and traffic tickets and dining out at places with black napkins and change-of-address forms and student loans and credit cards and bank accounts and stock options and oil changes and dating and so on and so on.

But….

There’s also ice cream for dinner and sushi for breakfast and playing hooky from work instead of school and road trips and house parties where no one will be busted and funding your band with your “REAL” job and staying out too late on a work night to walk the neighborhood under the influence of a bottle of wine seeking out Halloween decorations (and gladly paying for it the next day) and decorating your house (granted, a rental) in aforementioned decorations and taking your lunch breaks on the rooftops and so on and so on.

I suppose it’s something like landing on Mars, or arriving at the gates of the afterlife : the concept of adult-ness we form as kids, and then as teenagers, is, in a sense, blown away the minute we realize we’ve done it: we’ve made it to adulthood ourselves, and it looks so different from anything we could’ve perceived.

To that end – a gift to you: one of my favorites from one of my favorites…..

~a

(Do comment. Don’t be a stranger. I love hearing from you…)

Courtesy of xkcd

Courtesy of xkcd