Thursday, May 20, 2010
It's hitting me again, that old and familiar urge to perform, the drive to find some musical theater show or project in which I can sing and dance. And no small surprise, either, with the weekly indulgence of "Glee" episodes, and the daily playing of the "Glee" CD's.
But it's not just the young people on TV (I'm old enough to be their father, some of them). I'm also wonderfully influenced by seeing so much live entertainment lately - shows featuring friends my age. I'm both happy for my friends, enjoying their performances, and jealous of them, too, wanting to be up on stage with them in "Miss Saigon" and in "Chicago."
It's hard for me to relegate musical theater to just being a spectator sport.
Last weekend, I went to see a show choir called "Live it Up!" perform in Palm Springs. It was my third time being in their audience. It was also the third chance I had passed up to be part of the performance. The director/choreographer is a friend and former coworker. Since starting this group, he had been asking me to join rehearsals and performances. He is usually short a male performer or two and is often on stage himself.
My director friend had tried to give up performing completely, as well, becoming a bona fide adult and successful realtor. But he could only abstain for so long (he is insanely talented and I was a little disappointed when I heard he had stopped). He is forty, now, and he looked great under the lights (sans makeup, even)!
So, what's stopping me?
It is difficult for Domestic Partner to become the Performer's Widower when I get busy at night with rehearsals and performances. Now and then, I can find the right show that is short term and close to home. It doesn't happen often.
But enough is enough. I told Domestic Partner that I will be looking for a show to get into, especially if it's a paid gig. I argued that the extra money will help me to reach my short term financial goals more efficiently, which would get me closer to reaching our long term financial goals for retirement.
He wasn't happy about it, but he said he wouldn't stop me. It's not as if I'm going out of town again, to sing on a cruise ship or dance in Japan (I keep trying to justify - if only to myself).
I'd like to say that the urge to continue performing means that I am called to sing and dance. But, honestly, I don't think it's that profound. It's just something that I truly enjoy doing, and I miss it. Performing live on stage is definitely among the times when I am happiest.
Maybe this latest desire to dance and sing again is not so much a calling as it is just another midlife crisis, my eighth one, I think, at the rate I've been going.
Did'ja see "Glee" this week? Did'ja catch that old balding guy dancing to "Safety Dance" among all the young performers inside the mall? What little hair he had was gray, and he was fat.
And he could move. That could be me!
Thursday, May 13, 2010
We are dog sitting Otis the pug again. He is young, especially compared to our two granny pugs. His fur is soft and always freshly washed whenever he comes to visit. He is both energetic and well behaved.
We love him.
I took him for the first walk of his week long visit this morning. I packed an extra paper towel in my jacket pocket, just in case he needed picking up after more than once. I use brown paper lunch bags for temporary storage until we get back to our own garbage can (I stopped using plastic grocery bags for doggy cleanup when I learned that dolphins sometimes eat them since they look like jellyfish underwater).
When I got home from work today, I realized that the brown paper bag filled with Otis's offerings was still in my jacket - the same jacket that had been in my office all day.
Why didn't my coworkers say anything?!
I should think about renaming this blog "Peter's Poo World"
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
To celebrate Mother's Day early, I took my mom to a matinee of Miss Saigon, which was performed at the San Gabriel Valley Music Theatre. I am familiar with the show's music, having bought the Original Cast recording in the early 90's (on not one but two cassette tapes!).
I can't believe it's taken me almost two decades to actually see it performed live on stage.
Although I am not Vietnamese, the story line is close enough to feel personal, focusing on the brief love affair between a young Vietnamese girl and an American soldier - and their young mixed-race boy. There is even a song titled Bui-Doi, pleading to Americans not to forget the plight of illegitimate half-breeds who were fathered by soldiers and left orphaned overseas.
Why didn't I remember to bring extra tissue? I cried almost from the beginning of the first act to the end of the show. The theme of abandoned war babies is heart tugging enough, privileged American-born though I may be. The fact that my upbringing in the U.S. is light years away from what happened in Vietnam only seems to emphasize the fact that everything is a matter of chance and determined by the luck of geography.
But the young mother's songs to and about her son are the ones that had me bawling the most, the lyrics of love and devotion, and of her willingness to literally sacrifice her life in order to ensure a better future for him.
I lost it when the small boy first ran out on stage, into his mother's waiting arms. Had I not been in the midst of an audience, sitting next to strangers, I would have been sobbing in uncontrollable falsetto tones.
I know what my crying is like. It's not pretty, both visually and audibly (I am ugly when I cry). But I am not ashamed of it.
My mom cried silent tears as well, sitting next to me. I almost forgot how appropriate it was to bring my mom to this particular show, my mother who had met a young American when he was in the navy and stationed in Japan. My mother who, after knowing this young sailor for only a few months, married him and moved to California where I was born.
I am not famous, and I am not rich. But I am the American dream. Many of the lyrics from Miss Saigon help me to realize this, including what Kim, the young mother, sings to her son:
I'll give you a million things I'll never own
I'll give you a world to conquer when you're grown
You will be who you want to be
You can choose whatever Heaven grants
I still believe that about myself, that it is still not too late (even at my age) to be - and become! - who I want to be.
And for that I thank my mother, for leaving the only life she knew to go to a strange country, where I was able to have a typical American childhood.
Happy Mother's Day to you, especially if you are one, and also to the the one that raised and loved you.