Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday night

I overslept today, so now I'm rarin' to go on a Sunday night...I passed up bacon tonight to have a BLT with fake turkey, it was pretty good. I think I just wanted an excuse to eat tomatoes, lettuce and mayo. Maybe this vegetarian thing is easier than I thought it was.

I am very happy!!! Because I finally got my library card!!! And the woman behind the counter laughed at me when I told her I'd been looking forward to this day like it was my birthday. I checked out the David McCullough biography of John Adams and read it on the eL, which made me feel smart.

This is what I'm listening to right now: This lady is one the actresses in the show--she's phenomenally talented. Please check out her songs, they are a mixture of Leonard Cohen, Michael Cerveris, and Alanis Morisette, unplugged. Woo!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Today I am missing London, the way I missed my heart the last time it was broken.

I just want to come home.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Can you hear the people sing?

Um, no. I am a considerate iPodder--considering the earbuds are a half inch away from my cochlea, there's no reason to blast my music--but apparently not everyone feels the same. Like the jerk who sat next to me and who had his music up so loud that I could hear the lyrics, while the second act of "Les Miz" passed me by. Jerk.

Question: What do theatre people do on their days off?
Answer: Laundry.

That's a joke. Really. Yesterday the cosmic forces of the universe aligned and I wasn't needed at the temp job, so I slept in until noon, then did laundry, went grocery shopping, made black bean salad, worked on a play and listened to the first act of Les Miz. And then went to rehearsal. I was really tired most of the day, but at least I started chipping away at the huge sleep deficit that I've been racking up. Today I'm back temping, but I'm up on the 23rd "executive" floor, which is a solo receptionst desk...and very, very quiet. I haven't had a phone call or a visitor in the hour that I've been here. There's no one up here but me and all the magazines the company represents. I'm looking over a stack of them right now, and apparently American has moved on into the trembly-lip, brave face "hero" segment of the mourning cycle, with respects to what happened in Virginia next week. I can't handle these publications trying to co-opt other people's pain right now. They're just leeches.

I have been meditating a lot on these lyrics from "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" lately:

"...there's nothing here to thrill or bring you down."

and also

"The fates are vicious and they're cruel,
You learn too late you've used two wishes like a fool.
And then you're someone you are not,
And Junction City ain't the spot.
Remember Mrs. Lot and where she turned around."

You sort of have to listen to the song to get the wistful nature of these lyrics, otherwise they're kind of brutal. This sort of sums up how I feel about Chicago right now: I'm just ambivalent. There's nothing really exciting here, there's nothing really getting me down here. I just sort of washed up in this city and I'm making the best of it.

This morning as I was walking to the eL, a beagle came up and said hello to me, which was good. Her owner was worried I'd be mad that she put her paws on my legs, but I don't mind at all. Dog fix. Ah. I had a sort-of-fight with one of the guys in the cast yesterday as well, before rehearsal. He was insisting he couldn't be a feminist because he wasn't a woman and I was insisting he could be. I asked him, "Do you believe in equal pay for equal work?" and when he said yes, I said, "then you're a feminist." At which point he protested that that wasn't really a good mark of feminism, but I told him it was one of the basic tenents. Part of me was celebrating that feminism has come so far that people take it for granted women should get equal pay for equal work, and part of me was despairing by how far we have to go. (you have to be a woman to be a feminist? arg.)

I have tonight off, so I'm planning on tripping down to the library again and getting a card and then, hopefully, checking out the biography of John Adams again so I can FINALLY find out how it ends--I'm not entirely certain these "Articles of Confederation" are going to work out, but I'm hoping. Also my roommate graciously netflixed the new "Pride and Prej" so I'm going to do some needlepoint and have tea and watch whatshisface fall badly short of Mr. Firth's Mr. Darcy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Meeting the famous

Yesterday I mentioned in passing that I saw a tiny little blurb saying Suzan-Lori Parks was going to be speaking at a bookstore near Hyde Park. My first reaction was "I must go!" then I thought "Oh, this is my only night off, it's going to be a late night," then I got stern with myself: "YOU HAVE TO DO THIS, HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN CAROLINE, OR CHANGE?!" So I went. I was a little apprehensive because the store was the furthest south I'd ever been, but it turned out to be a really nice neighborhood sandwiched between the Field Museum and a university. The 57th Street Bookstore was in the basement of a building, and the books went all the way up to the low ceilings. It was very warm and cozy and you had to look out or you'd trip over people crashed out in the aisles reading.

Suzan-Lori Parks is arguably the greatest American playwright alive today. And she's an amazing all-around person. Of all the famous people I've bumped up against, this was the first person I was really excited about meeting. I first discovered her at the Royal Court Theatre when I bought her play "Topdog/Underdog" and then worked my way through the rest of her back catalogue. She is a total inspiration to me because she brings a new style and voice to her writing, but she writes a lot about historical figures. Her talk last night was about her latest project, "365 Days/365 Plays" that is going on all over the country. Basically she wrote a play a day for the past year, and now theatre companies are volunteering to put on a "set" of seven every weekend, in cities everywhere, including here in Chicago.

What struck me the most about Parks is the fact that she seems so real. She's actually older than I thought she was (I realised later that she wrote most of the plays I read in the nineties), and the way she talked about writing made sense to me. She made it sound very much like a normal job: "I get up, I write, I do theatre things," she made it sound very normal to sit down for hours at a time and write, instead of gouging an hour or two out of a hectic schedule. Which was very heartening. I asked her about her research methods for when she deals with historical topics, and she laughed and said that one of her teachers told her she was writing a play, not a history book. Which made a lot of sense: I focus so much on doing research to get the real people "right" that I get preoccupied with making them historically accurate, instead of making them living breathing Characters.

So I'm feeling less stressed today. I'm going to try to become a reader for some of the local theatre companies and reconnect with my writing roots--I can't become the literary manager at Steppenwolf tomorrow, but I can send out five more application letters. Afterward, I got to embarass myself some more by telling her how much I enjoyed reading her plays and how inspirational she was to me, while she autographed a copy of her book to "Nicki" and wished me luck on my writing. It was really, just the coolest experience I've had thus far, and completely inspiring. That's what I want to aspire to--that ease and self assurance. Oh, and a Pulizter Prize. Yeah. That would be cool too.

Monday, April 23, 2007


I am feeling VERY apprehensive today!!! because I've been reading about the theatrical successes that my friends are having and feeling inadequate. I know that I'm stage managing a show in addition to working nine hours a day--but I am really anxious for a full time job. Or at least a gig that is full time so I can stop switching my focus back and forth from temping to theatre. Something where I can use all my skills, either as a stage manager, or production manager or a literary manager or a dramaturg. I chose to go and get my master's degree, so I shouldn't feel like I'm doing less than people I graduated with, just because my theatrical resume doesn't have as many lines on it--but I do!!!! I sent out a couple more resumes today for some jobs, but I'm really struggling with finding time to do proper job searches. Take today, for example: I have the night off, but then I read in the Red Eye (like the Metro, but with more sports) that Suzan Lori-Parks is doing a reading from one of her plays tonight. Parks is a hero of mine so, obviously, I must go. I can do laundry some other time.

The weather was gorgeous this weekend. I walked to rehearsal on Sunday, after partying 'til four in the morning the night before. It felt good to be outside with no coat on. I'm still missing London. When the weather got nice in that city the whole place came alive with open restaurants, people sunning themselves in front of the National Gallery and, of course, writing in the nearest park. Everything seems to be conspiring against me: Virgin airlines is flying a new route from Chicago to London, and my joy at seeing the new HP trailer was tampered when I saw Harry flying past Canary Wharf. I'm really trying. Really. But I feel like Admiral Nelson after he had his arm shot off at Tenerife: I have to learn how to do everything all over again with my left hand.

I am determined, however, to find some new hobby. I think I might take sailing lessons, if I can find a club that fits in with our play schedule. Or else I've been looking into historical re-enacting. (not lame Civil War reenacting, Revolutionary War reenacting, which is not lame) I think this would fufil several needs: to geek out about history, meet new people, men in breeches, etc. The sooner I can find a "real" job the sooner I can fill up the rest of my time with fun stuff instead of rushing around from here to there.

Friday, April 20, 2007

books rule!

I bought a copy of B*tch magazine yesterday after work and I've been enjoying reading it, eschewing all the free copies of Cosmo and Martha Stewart Living that are lying around. One of the "Love it" items in the back is an online comic strip called "Fart Party" ( which is a hilarious cartoon record of a young woman living in San Francisco. It's kind of naughty sometimes, but I laughed out loud when I saw this strip:
Because, let's face it, haven't we all fallen asleep face-down on a pile of books at one point? I really need some new reading material. New novels. Reeeeeellly baaaad. Like, Trainspotting bad. I went to the library about four days after I got here, but they wouldn't give me a card, so now I'm back to waiting for something to come in the mail with my name and address on it so I can prove that I live in Chicago. Nothing will say "I have arrived!" like a Chicago Public Library card tucked next to the four other ones I have in my wallet. (seriously. four.) I'm so desperate for new reading material that I might have to actually buckle down and buy a new book one of these days--the only thing preventing me is the three day shipping/waiting period. I must exercise patience!

People find it incredible that I find time to read so much. Usually, I have two or three books going at a time. This week's champions: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince(which has caused more than one look of incredulous disbelief before I explain that this is the British cover and not book 7), and Lives of the Monster Dogs which is also fabulous and everyone should read.

One of the gentlemen waiting for his appointment came over and picked up my mag with the apprehension that comes when anything has the word "feminist" printed on it. He looked a little discomfited when I told him I preferred to read it because the authors were able to look at pop culture objectively and not fall for the marketing. Oops. Since he was probably here to discuss marking something with someone I'm sure he doesn't like hearing that the receptionist doesn't fall for it. I hope I don't get in trouble, although that would be awesome. In other news I'm going to see a show tonight with the director and costumier of "The Castle." Have no idea what show it is, or where it is, or anything about it--it's one of those "friends of friends are doing a show" and, after three fourteen hour days I'd much rather go home and go to bed. But I've got to start meeting people and introducing myself, and of course the only way to do that is to get out there and promote myself. Marketing. But in a good way.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


I was feeling really frustrated about working here because the woman I'm working under is providing information on a strictly "needs-to-know" basis. Four days into this job, however, and I know all that I need to know, so I'm doing a lot better, getting familiar with people's names, the job expectations, etc. I've also discovered the hands-free headset, so now I can type and answer the phone at the same time. Mostly I'm calling people who are expecting appointments to let them know they've arrived, so I spend a lot of time trying to remember people's names and surfing the internet.

Here's a fun exchange that happened yesterday:

Suit: Hey, hello there, how are you?
Me: Fine, except my internet just crashed!
Suit: (chuckling) Ho-ho, what kind of sites were you looking at?
Me: (blinking up at him innocently) I was reading "Hamlet!"
Suit: Uhhh...

In other news, we had a photoshoot for promotional photos last night. These are the pictures that are going to go out to newspapers for advertising purposes, so they're not the finished product--but they look pretty amazing considering the director lit it with three parcans and it's only about 75% of the costumage. This picture is of the main character, K (in the bowler), surrounded by the rest of the company. It's a set up-picture, but it's really creepy and I think evokes the theme of the play well. I'll have more info on the play (including seeing-it details!) soon.

I'm really tired today, but with the help of a bag of Haribo (the gummi bears, not the Harry Potter themed ones I love so very very much, alas) and two cups of coffee I'm getting through. I was feeling achy before rehearsal on Tuesday so I did four sets of Sun Salutations, and I'm still sore--I guess this means I should do more yoga or find a job that doesn't involve me sitting for hours and hours and hours and...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I have nothing to say

Only that Thomas Jefferson once said that "the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants" which is what was on printed on the T-shirt that Timothy McVeigh wore when he blew up the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. I don't believe a government that takes handguns out of it's citizen's hands is tyrannical however.

I have got to stop it with the news.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A picture's worth a thousand words

I could write about what's going on in Virginia, but I won't. There's a TV in the lobby where I'm sitting, so I've been watching it for the past couple days and trust me, that's enough.

Last night Cathy and I went out for pizza. Cathy is one of my friends from Point and a working theatre professional in Chicago. We had a great time talking about theatre and debating the merits of Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy over Laurence Oliver's Mr. Darcy. I haven't seen the old version of Pride & Predjudice, but Cathy assures me it's suitably terrible, saved only by the fact that it's such a great book it's hard to ruin it completely. (although Chris Columbus could probably do it. If I do nothing else, I will stop that man from ever adapting another book into a film.)

Hm. I seem to have jumped in a pond and come out wet. And incredibly sexy."

For the record, Colin Firth has said that Mr. Darcy was supposed to be au naturel when he jumped into that pond--but the BBC wouldn't have it. I support the BBC's decision. Anything that gives breeches more screentime, is okay with me. But, really: would Darcy have ruined his nice silk shirt? Really?

We figured if there was ever a Mr. Darcy-off, Colin Firth would probably win based on a certain diving-into-a-pond scene, but obviously Laurence Olivier would give him a run for the money based solely on the fact that he is Laurence Olivier. I've decided to buy every movie he's ever been in, just to get my DVD collection jumpstarted. Am I a little biased? You bet your fur I am. I'm also really missing my copy of "That Hamilton Woman." Life just isn't complete unless I've got Olivier dressed as Nelson at my fingertips.

"Wait, what period is this?"

It also occured to me today that, in this environmentally-conscious climate, it might not be such a good idea to wear a button that has a picture of someone bludgeoning a polar bear to death with the butt of a rifle. I just think it's funny that someone went out of their way to make a badge out of this. Death to all polar bears. The sooner we clear this menance from our ice floes, the sooner we can get at their oil.

I found this picture while reading the news earlier. It's such an interesting photo, because of the juxtaposition of our first president and our current president. I'm not saying George Washington was the greatest person who ever lived, but he just might have been the greatest president ever. To think about the legacy that he created being manipulated and abused by the recent administration makes me just writhe in anger and embarassment.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Breathing room!

I checked my bank account today and discovered that my final paychecks from London had been deposited, so now I am doing better financially than I thought I was. What a relief. I was going to write a blog entry that started out "Should I take sailing lessons? I have $300? No. Ah. That answers that question." But I mentioned to one of the high-flyers here who had "Boating World" on his business card that I would like to take sailing lessons and the first words out of his mouth were: "That's a great way to meet guys. Rich guys too. Guys who own yachts and who want to learn to sail them. You should do it." After I got over the shock of a middle aged business man encouraging me to take lessons so I could "meet guys" I started thinking this might be a good idea. You know. Meet some rich guy who could keep me in the lifestyle to which I am accustomed while I pursue my theatrical career and take me out for stress-free boating weekends. Mmmm, boats.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Musing on a Saturday night

I feel a little bit like Peter from "Jesus Christ Superstar" (technically not blasphemous, since this is a Rock Opera and not the Bible) :

I think you've made your point now
You've even gone a bit too far to get the message home
Before it gets too frightening
We ought to call a halt
And could we start again please?

I think it's hitting me that I'm not going back to London, not anytime soon, anyway. At work on Friday I endured several incredulous stares as I informed my coworker that I a) didn't have a car, b) commuted 45 minutes on the train and c) didn't think the eL was that crowded. Also I called it the Tube by mistake twice. Then today I went grocery shopping and kept looking for things that don't exist over here--like squash and powdered potato and leek soup. I am also terrified that I'm falling back into the American Lifestyle: I've tried to avoid Starbucks for my caffeine fix, but it's not easy. There are no alternatives, and even the free coffee they have in the offices where I'm working is the Starbucks brand. I've bought lunch the past week because it's easier than making it--but then I also have to get dinner, since there's no time to go home between work and rehearsal. I've lost forty pounds in the last year and a half, and I'm looking forward to losing that last twenty, but that's not going to happen if I don't stop eating. I suspect I'm just bored, lonely and stressed. Last night I had a pint of Ben and Jerry's--the whole thing!!--and I sat there looking at the container going "what the hell is wrong with you? Why didn't you just get the little ice-cream cone like you were planning? The whole thing?! You had a huge sandwich for lunch!!" I'd like to think I'm the same person I was when I was overseas, but I don't know why resisting temptation and ham sandwiches is so much more difficult over here. I suspect it's me and not the city of Chicago so much: Chicago has been good to me, I have no real problem with it, the problem is I keep thinking eventually I'll be back where I belong. Only that's not right.

Well, other than being a huge drama queen, everything is going well.Rehearsals are getting more and more interesting. I've been finding it challenging working with this director, as his style is totally different from mine, but we seem to get along pretty well. I will be working at the same place I was on Thursday and Friday all next week, temping as a receptionist in a very cushy place. I went on a spree tonight--after I washed my clothes I took the oh-so-fashionable granny cart up Clarke Street, past all the yuppies having dinner at the sushi places. I went grocery shopping and bought a ton of veggies, which I am going to make into a salad that will do me for dinner for next week. They were also having a special on Healthy Choice meals, so I scooped up a bunch of those. And I bought some leeks: tomorrow's project is going to be turning them into soup. Then, after a production meeting, I'm going to check out a place I found that advertises "The World's Best Scones!" Oh yeah? I'll be the judge of that...

Friday, April 13, 2007

9:30 and very tired

I'd feel bad about reading my email at work...if the full time receptionist next to me wasn't doing the same thing. I got called yesterday to come in and reception, so here I am.

Right. Non-serious business first. Here's the first picture I've seen of Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd:

hmmmm...hmmmmmmm... I've been scrutinising this photo for awhile. Glad to see Johnny Depp's cheekbones will feature prominently in this film. I love the pinstripes. Not sure how I feel about the "holster" he apparently has for his razor. It looks like they're going for a stylised 1830s period. And, obviously, this is makeup and hair for a movie so it looks positively gothic...presumably it will mix in better with the rest of the set and other characters. So. I'm still worried, still hopeful.

I also wanted to write about the bombing that happened yesterday in the Iraqi parliament. I'm sure you've all heard about this: a suicide bomber walked into the cafeteria and detonated a bomb, killing eight people. This event, more than anything that's happened recently, is showing how badly the war in Iraq is going. Who knows the best way to end it? Iraqi politicians, working in their equivalent of Independence Hall, are attacked. American soldiers, soon to be supplemented by a "surge," are being attacked. Al-Qaida is rearming. This region is tearing itself apart. It's depressing, it really is. Even though I don't believe all the hype about how the war is getting better every day, it's disheartening to see such a blantant example of the political spin falling apart. I hate being right! I'm also frustrated that this is all over the news but I seem to be the only one worried about this. Everyone is so distracted by their jobs and their lives and rehearsals and I'm getting stomach ulcers, thinking about the kind of situation we're creating over there. What's to stop al-Quaida from walking into the Capitol building and detonating a bomb? It's no longer possible to say "that's impossible," as this organisation has shown itself extremely capable of doing things that no one thought was possible. And they're only attracting more recruits. Five years ago I had hoped that we wouldn't hear about al-Quaida anymore, but now they're all over the news. So one minute I'm minutely examining Johnny Depp in People magazine, the next second I'm watching CNN in horror. Welcome to the new world.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Is there anyone else who has slightly mysterious bruises?

~Or, how to make $200 and not be a prostitute~

~Or, Nicki Satisfies her Taco Craving~

Couldn't pick a header, so you get to vote, gentle reader.

I've been temping for the last three days. By "temping" I mean doing all the bitchwork (sorry, I know) that secretaries don't have the time to do. For the past two days I've been stuffing envelopes with tickets and name badges for a conference in Vegas. "Did that really taken you two days to do?" I hear you ask. No, it took TWO of us two days to do. Luckily I had a fellow temp, a very intelligent, well-travelled, liberal (huh, sounds like me) young man to work with, so we filled our time with discussing the state of the world and why Barack Obama will save the nation and feed our children. So it was boring work, but it passed quickly. The only bad thing is that my arms and shoulders are killing me! and I have these little papercuts all over my hands. I think if I get called to go to work tomorrow I am going to say "erm, um, no thanks" and send out some more resumes. I've also had rehearsal for the past two nights, so I've been getting home late. It's fine. Tonight I waited for a half hour for a bus that didn't come and got completely soaked. Luckily I had Andy Claude to talk to or I would have gotten really down. As it stands, when I came out of the skyscraper where I was working today I felt really sad. Homesick, like. Only I don't know where home would be. So I got some tacos on the way to rehearsal, because I've been dying for some Mexican food. They were really good.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Sermon

Today is Easter Sunday. This is the big holiday for Christians around the world: not Christmas, as so many merchants would have us believe, but TODAY, the day that we celebrate Jesus' return from the dead. Jesus features in other religious traditions, such as Judaism and Islam, but he is not hailed as the Messiah because they don't believe in his Resurrection. Bear with me. Up until this point, there are many things in the Bible that are explainable, such as Jesus being able to heal people. After all, Pharoah's magicians could replicate most of Moses's tricks. Depending on what denomination you belong to, you may be asked to believe in other miracles as well--I'm thinking of Catholics here. The commonest theme across Christianity is Easter: this is the big one. Do you really believe that a man came back from the dead and then rose up into heaven? Well? Do you? Do you believe in miracles?

I find it frustrating that today we are asked to take on faith so many things that we can't see or that aren't adequately explained to us. I'm thinking mitochondrial DNA and imaginary numbers. Does anyone else remember imaginary numbers?! Negative one to the e power or something like that?! Come on!! When I put my foot down about imaginary numbers in ninth grade, I flunked math for the first time. But we're asked to do the same thing about Jesus's life. It's hard to be a Christian today, with so many historians trying to dig up His life, or decide what parts of the Bible are "true." What exactly did He say? This is where faith comes in. What is Easter? Easter is faith. It is faith in someone who said "Follow me" two thousand years ago and is still waiting patiently on the other side of the mountain to see if we will or not.

Faith is not easy. I've taken an interest in history lately (in case you haven't noticed) and one thing I'm struck with over and over is how history books tend to condense things. Even books dedicated to a sole topic will rush events so that you are reading about battles that took place over the span of several days in a few minutes. The same thing happens with the Bible. Jesus is in the garden of Gesthemane, two minutes later He is being crucified, and then He is resurrected later on the page. But think about it: Jesus had to live each of those minutes, and throughout each of them, he had faith. Of course he had moments of doubt--He may have been divine, but he was also Human--but He never stopped believing, He never stopped trusting.

This is the truth I'm meditating on today. I didn't go to church this morning, and for once Easter didn't inspire the normal rush of joy and emotion it normally does. Instead I felt sad that Jesus was gone: Jesus has gone up to Heaven, and left us mere mortals here behind. Prayers seem very thin when what I need is someone I can go out for pizza with. Then I realised that I wasn't thinking about Jesus, I was throwing myself a pity party for being alone in a big city. Why settle for pizza when there's a banquet in heaven? Ooo--was that a little too TV evangelist? Faith, that's what gets me through: belief that next week I'll get that job or meet some new friends. Faith that our leaders are going to come to their senses and that people will start to disarm their weapons. Faith in myself and faith in Jesus. I used to kick myself for making Him too human, but now I'm reassured when I read about Him doubting. Don't we all? The point is, He had faith, and so I should have faith in Him. It's not easy, but if I start to doubt too much, there is always--always!--that little voice at the back of my head that says "trust me." Faith in something you cannot see is not the trait of a backward religious fanatic, it is a act of strength in an increasingly fragmented world. No matter what I learn or what I read, I will Believe.

He is not here. He is Risen.


Friday, April 06, 2007

three cats is three cats too many

So there's another cat in the house now. Her name is Maisie, although I've nicknamed her "Gollum" since she has a hairball problem. And she's not so much a cat as a cat puddle. My roommate thinks she was abandonded because she is extremely overweight. When she lays down, her front legs completely disappear. Cat puddle. She actually got into my room this morning, causing me to throw her out in a panic because I was on my way to a job interview and wearing black trousers. I accidentally threw her right in front of one of the other cats, so then they had a hissing match--only Maisie wasn't all the way out of my room, so I had to prod her out with my boot, prompting her to take a swipe at me. I felt bad, so when I came home I apologised by scratching her butt. So now we're friends, except I have a weird rash on my hand.

Oh, God. I'm becoming one of those people who tell CAT STORIES. Somebody, please, buy me a dog.

The whole reason I was up and running around in a panic this morning is because I had an appointment at a temp agency downtown. I think I really, REALLY impressed the agent, because she asked if I'd like to work a couple days next week--without having to take any of their computer aptitude tests or a typing assessment--90 words per minute and climbing! woot! Next week I'll be working for a company that organises events for non-profits. MUCH better than selling it all for a multinational corporation. And I got a response to one of my emails yesterday about stage managing a musical this summer--luckily it's a remounting of a show they've already done, so most of the hard part's done. Right? Right.

Then, on my way back home, I stopped at the Cultural Center to get some brochures about things to do in Chicago. Thought briefly about staying for the lecture "What is Plato's Relationship to the Divine?" Figured that was already covered in "Hedwig." Grabbed some leaflets about boat trips on the river and a magazine about the Lincoln Library. There is a free tour of Chicago tomorrow at 1:15, so I think I might go back and have a walking tour. Although I think I might have to break down and buy some gloves. Stupid cold weather.

So life is good. Not bad for only being here five days.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Never have so many been so interested in my continuing employment

I'm feeling very cheered, despite some bus issues yesterday. Both the director and the TD were asking me for resumes last night to pass along to their friends ("it's an Equity theatre! you'll get paid!") for future jobs, and when I got home, my roommate thrust a card into my hand for a production manager at another company, which is also Equity. So I feel like I've made the right choice by moving to Chicago. I cannot believe how much theatre there is here. Not only that--PAID work. What a concept. I'm a little leery jumping into an Equity company straight off because I don't know anything about the union, but I would probably have to ASM for awhile anyway so I could get my card. My only worry now is how to feed myself while I'm looking for paid work. Also, at some point I need to finish my new play. I wish that I'd paid more attention to East London, but, eh, that's what books are for.

So I took my first bus ride in the city yesterday, by myself. I put my shiny new CTA Gold pass into my Oyster card holder for good luck and jumped on the Clark Street bus. I've ridden on buses in several major cities, and Chicago is easier than most since it's on a grid, but I managed to get lost twice. Firstly because I got off too soon, and then secondly because I got off too late and turned down the wrong street. I finally managed to find the rehearsal space, but only after the director and sound guy had given up on me and gone to Dunkin' Doughnuts for coffee. (I came too and got tea. It was nasty.) It was extremely frustrating and kind of embarassing, especially when I asked a woman where the wesbound Addison Street bus picked up: "Um, on the other side of the street? Right there? See the sign?" In my defence, the bus stop signs are confusing: they show the whole route, not just the stops in the direction you're going. Also, the same thing happened the first time I tried to ride a bus in London: I ended up going twenty minutes AWAY from Lewisham before I realised my mistake. Of course, that time I didn't have people waiting for me out the in freezing cold. (welcome back to the Midwest! Sucker! haha!)

I also have this cat thing figured out: they're like furry goldfish, right? They're fun to look at, they eat a lot of food and they don't come when they're called. Like goldfish.

PS: Does anyone else have the musical "1776" stuck in their head? Like, proper stuck? No? Just me then.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"Like a different way of living now."

I completely forgot to thank my incomparable parents yesterday for hauling me and my stuff down to Chicago. They rock! I know they were grumbling about the three flights of stairs and the fact that I insisted on bringing a ton of books, but they were, once again, amazing. I'm so glad to have my babies around me again. How could I quote from "Twelfth Night" in last night's journal if I hadn't had "The Complete Works" by my side? I really believe all theatre people have Shakespeare's Complete Works with them, even if they aren't into Shakespeare, or they're modern dramatists or they flat out hate Shakespeare: every theatre person will have his brick of a book somewhere, maybe just propping up a table. The quote I was looking for was Sebastian's aside to the audience after he's mistaken for his sister (not as weird as it sounds, Viola was dressed as a man at this point...okay, it is as weird as it sounds.). He has a speech which concludes "If this be a dream, still let me sleep." London seems like a dream now. I have these memories and knowledge of the city, but it's as if I was dreaming an incredibly detailed dream and I've woken up now. Parts of it are still memorable, but parts of it are starting to break up and drift away. Am I being over dramatic? Of course. I like Chicago, but I don't feel connected to it like I did with London. Give it a few days, I hear you say? Pfft. I loved London before I ever set foot in it. But now I'm living here, and stage managing and meeting theatre people, and I seem to have slotted in to this life so easily it's as if nothing happened before it. As if I've looped myself and there's a part squeezed off. Everyone keeps reassuring me I'll go back: I don't WANT to go back unless I can do theatre, unless I can pick up where I've left off. Or maybe it was just a dream. Maybe the city doesn't really exist, except as some kind of Otherworld, like Tir na n'Og. Maybe it's the speed with which I've been assimilated into Chicago that's causing disorientation. Or maybe it was a dream. Who knows?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

My kinda town...

Chicago, that is. Hello from the Windy City! I found a place to live in Andersonville, which is north of the heart of the city, with two other roommates and a pair of cats. Yes, cats. One of whom (the shyer one) has decided she loves me and wants to be with me all the time. Apparently my reputation hasn't preceeded me. I'm feeling very welcomed to this city. My roommates are both very nice and helpful--one of whom is actually an actor in the show--and I finally met the director of the Castle. Finally. So, even though I'm in a huge city, a million miles away from anything that's familiar, I'm already feeling welcomed. Today's goal is to get a CTA travelcard (which is like an Oyster card, but not as cool) and catch up on rehearsals. The show is very movement-based, so I need to go decipher some blocking notes. The ASM has been very organised up to this point, which is great. Now I just need to step up and make sure that the transition goes smoothly. One thing I've discovered since being back from London is I am definitely more assertive, whether it's dealing with store clerks or telephone call center employees. Rrrarr.

Right. Nothing much else to say. I've been hearing from a lot of Point people--so if you're in the Chi-town way, come along and see me.