had a very art filled weekend these past few days and it was filled
with art from both ends of the spectrum. It ranged from an evening of
poetry readings and live music at The Poets Perch in Downtown LA followed by live music at the One Eyed Gypsy
and a private screening of a friend’s art film, to a fundraiser for an
independent film at the multi-purpose gallery space in Chinatown, Human Resources, to a USC Film School sponsored screening
of an alum’s feature film. Needless to say, it felt good. And
some of it I hated. But all of it filled my heart and soul.
I realized something important this weekend– that I need and belong
in the world of art. Taking in all the films and music and poetry
reinvigorated me, as I gear up for a very busy –and different– life come
this fall. (I’m working more hours at the high school where I teach and
direct theater and I’ll be starting grad school). It reminded me what
my true passions are. What really makes me happy. In the day-to-day
struggle to get rent paid, this is easy to forget. And it is absolutely
essential that I find a way to make this world more my own, especially now
that my life will be steering towards a slightly different
direction, and attend more screenings, galleries, shows, etc.
Even taking in the bad art (of course it is all relative and I
speak solely from my own opinion) was inspirational. Because
no matter what my opinion, the fact of the matter is these artists did
it. They made their work and found an audience and put it out there.
That is much more than a lot of people can say. I learned, it doesn’t
matter. We all have our point of view, our thoughts and feelings, our
take on the world, and it is all valid. It is all worth putting on a
canvas, a stage, a film screen.
All of this is to say, I feel like I’m on the right path with making my movie.
Step one has taken a lot longer than I thought, but that is okay. The
trailer will get finished and I can move on. But in the mean time I can
be making more art– finish all of those half-written scripts just
sitting in my computer. Complete all of my painting ideas, which fill
sketchbooks in lists and lists of concepts but very few realized ones.
See to life my theater pieces that I talk about in vague terms but have
yet to sit down, and make happen. I need to stop being afraid. Something
I’ve said many times and I’m sure will say many more times to come, but
it is true. I know it fulfills me, so why do talk and think about it
more than I make it happen? I believe, the more art I experience- good,
bad, just any art– the more I will chip away at my fears and make my
I think there’s more to an actor’s training than just acting classes. During my short stint at Tisch,
our three days a week in the Studio consisted of classes like Movement,
Voice and Speech in addition to Performance Technique and Script
Analysis. Today I took a lyrical jazz class and it made me think about
how important other classes and practices are to being a successfully,
well-rounded actor. Not just in building other skills that could be good
selling points to an agency or casting director or producer, but in
building your self-esteem, your character, your body.
During the warm up portion of this unconventional dance class, we
gathered in a circle and micked the person in the center who would do
some wacky dance move then pass the baton to someone else. I turned to
my friend and said, “This reminds me of theater class!” It was so fun
watching the diverse group of women (and one fearless man) let go of
inhibitions and not care or worry about the moves they were making.
Then, the second half of the class we learned and performed a few
measures of choreography. At first I was in my head about counts and was
it my left foot first or my right foot… but after a few times, and the
teacher saying “just feel the music” I learned to let go. The teacher
dimmed the lights, turned up the volume and let us all move to the music
with the way we interpreted her choreography and it felt great.
This may sound really cheesy and maybe you don’t agree, but freeing my body and really feeling the
music opened me up emotionally. Physically engaging every fiber in my
body unleashed the non-physical parts that make up who I am. It reminded
me of a particularly challenging moment of a scene in a scene study
class I took at ACT
in San Francisco. The teacher pointed out to me that I kept holding on
to my breath at this one part. I didn’t notice, as often we don’t notice
the various habits and crutches we develop as an actor (some are great
unique traits to embrace, and others are inhibiting and worth checking
out). I then took a deep breath, shook it off and started over. As I
worked my way through the scene ,so much more began bubbling inside of
me. Literally. I could feel it, like you feel your tummy rumble when
you’re hungry. That performance was so much more grounded than my
previous rehearsals all due to breathing!
I’ve also taken dance classes, like jazz, hip hop, belly dance, and
even yoga classes, which have all (whether they were more focused on
professionalism and technique or just having fun and using your body)
been beneficial to my acting in some way.
Dance & Yoga Resources in LA:
The EDGE Performing Arts Center
Millenium Dance Center
will be saying a lot over the course of this blog some variation of:
Make Your Own Work, Be Proactive, Fake It ’til You Make It, Just Do
It….. and so on.
Point being, to pursue a creative profession you must actually create.
A great example is my very own sister
who’s had music in her blood ever since she was born. She’s still in
college, but that hasn’t stopped her from making music and being heard.
No, she doesn’t have an agent, a manager or a record deal but that
doesn’t mean she can’t continue creating songs and performing whenever
and wherever she can. She’s gone from playing for an audience of one in
her room, to performing private shows in her co-op style house, to
getting air time on college radio stations like UC Berkeley’s KALX and
UC Santa Cruz’s KZSC.
Tonight she is taking another step forward, as she plays with her band Harlequin Baby at Adobe Books Backroom Gallery
in San Francisco. If you happen to be in Nor Cal, please check out the
show tonight from 7-9pm @ 3166 16th St. bw Guerrero & Valencia.