Monday, February 21, 2011

New Toy

My show sold out all three nights running. We had to turn people away. Easy to do when you've only got about fifty seats in the house. But still, now I've acted to sold out crowds in New York City. My life is full of nothing if not bragging rights. Even if some of them-- really a lot of them-- make me feel like I'm cheating.

In the meantime though, I've got myself a new toy. I started piano lessons when I was 12. After a year I quit. Something about having improvised and written my own jazz licks on my own time, and then being told by my piano teacher to keep practicing a version of something called "The Little Red Jar." Trust me, it was just as inane as it sounds. After another year or so, I started plunking away on my own again. I've never been a gifted pianist, but I've certainly enjoyed it, especially composing my own music. But ever since I moved to New York, I haven't had access to any keys. Until now.

Thanks to a great little app that alerts me when something shows up on Craigslist with the right keywords and price, I acquired an 88-key piano keyboard this week. It came with pedal, stand, piano seat, and MIDI-USB cables-- all for not much more than the stand probably coast by itself when new. Best part? The keys are weighted; it actually feels like a piano.

Once again, I'm not a great pianist. But man, does it feel good to be playing again! I don't know why exactly, but it makes my apartment feel more like home. Not how it looks, just that it's there. It's something for me to use to relax and take my mind off of things for a bit. If and when I have time.

I've got big plans for this thing. I've had some tunes knocking around my head for a long time. If I can get some halfway decent lyrics on paper, I may be able to get some recordings out there. Nothing fancy, just what you can do with a microphone, a piano, and Kaossilator beat synth.

Now if only I needed, oh, two or three hours of sleep a night, I could get that done, edit my query and submit it to more literary agents, submit my headshots etc for more auditions, and practice for my next voiceover lesson, and... and...


Friday, February 11, 2011

What Is Work, Anyway?

There's a kind of odd saying that's been playing a lot through my head lately: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Probably because my schedule for the past week has been full enough to put me to 5-6 hours of sleep a night. Just like high school, right?

Yesterday would be a pretty good example, I think:

1:30 am: finally arrive home, check on sleeping couch surfer, brush teeth, pass out.
7:30 am: Wake up to alarm
7:45 am: actually haul myself out of my warm bed and into the cold air of my bathroom.
7:45:03 am: stop shivering now that I've shot into the hot shower.
8:10 am: convince myself to get out of shower, throw together breakfast while improvising a packed lunch.
8:25 am: leave home for Edge Studio, already running late.
9:00am: arrive at Edge to do my office work (which I am paid for in voiceover training)
10:00 am: break down and eat my "lunch" a little early.
12:30 pm: go buy two 99 cent slices of pizza for real lunch.
4:00 pm: leave Edge for Riverdale, pick up Falafel on the way from nearby food cart.
5:00 pm: tutor student number one, get message from student number two, cancelling session, meaning I'll be half an hour late instead of two and a half hours late to...
7:00 pm: Rehearsal. I arrive back from Riverdale to midtown where we are rehearsing in the theater for the first (and only) time for our show.
10:00 pm: leave rehearsal for Couchsurfing meetup
10:30 pm: get to Couchsurfing meetup, check on Surfer, say hi to friends, sure I'll leave home in about half an hour.
12:00 am: leave for home.

It's not all work and no play. I do a little office work, yes, but the rest of my time is spent either teaching students stuff, making sure whichever couchsurfer is crashing at my place is okay, and rehearsing for a play I'm in. What's work and what's play?

What feels like about a month ago (probably about five days) my girlfriend and I were hanging around my place, and I mentioned something about thinking about getting a TV. This is something I've been mentioning for a couple months, without any real inclination to do anything about it. She said "well, yeah, you need something mindless and entertaining sometimes." You know, to relax.

What a concept.

Well, my show opens Monday, and I've already got my next auditions lined up. After logging about 35 hours in at Edge, I don't need to be doing 9-4 there anymore, and I've got as many as three new students (all brothers) I might be tutoring. Which will be really nice if I'd like to pay rent without dipping into my savings. Plus private voiceover training starts Tuesday. And probably a few other things I've now forgotten. Yes.

But first, another student tomorrow morning, then rehearsal. Then I plan on sleeping from about 4pm to noon the next day, thank you very much.