Monday, January 31, 2011
There was a guy named Peter Petersen. I didn't know him, but allegedly he was/is a real person.
I did work with a Tony Mahoney, though. I don't know why he didn't insist on being called Anthony. Maybe because it was fun to say: "Tony Mahoney!"
I met Tony while working on cruise ships. He was a fellow crew member. Duff was also a coworker at sea, although that wasn't his real name. His real name was Donald McDonald.
I heard about a girl named Krysty Lear. Her classmates were discussing middle names one day, and she told them that hers was Shandel. "That's pretty," a friend commented. "Wait a minute," another girl interrupted. "Is 'Krysty' short for Krystal?"
Krysty rolled her eyes and sighed. "Yes, my parents named me Krystal Shandel Lear."
I don't know if that one is true or not. But I did go to elementary school with a Virginia Mann. Her father wanted her middle name to be 'Bread' so that she could be called 'Ginger Bread Mann.' Fortunately, Virginia's mother interfered.
In 8th grade, my P.E. teacher had the first name 'Arvel.' I had thought about giving my son the same first name when I got older. Like Tony's first and last names, it would be fun to say together: "Arvel Varvel."
Maybe there's a reason I turned out the way I did, childless.
What are some of the more memorable names that you've heard?
P.S. Internet searches will show actual people with all of the same names, above. But not for 'Arvel Varvel.'
Monday, January 17, 2011
I don't make New Year's resolutions anymore. I focus on my goals and redefine them, and each January I will recommit to them as needed. I was all set to refigure my realistic and balanced moderation of working out, performing in musical theater, and jumping into a Masters of Fine Arts program, all while keeping my full time job (and blogging!). And my relationship. That was three weeks ago.
Nuthin' like an unexpected bout of food poisoning to knock you off your butt and out of your current plans. It's as if I had dry-heaved my resolve along with whatever else my body was trying to rid itself of.
What if I didn't exercise? What if I didn't work on my writing goals? What if I put my performing desires on hold once again . . . indefinitely?
My fear, during these past two weeks, has been that I'll become complacent and content with merely going to work and then going home to eat a meal and watch some TV before going to sleep.
Day in and day out.
There is nothing wrong with that (and I excel in the Art of Doing Nothing), but I wouldn't want my life to be defined simply by my job, currently or in the future. There is a self-imposed pressure to do something with my life, to make my mark, and I am happy to succumb to that pressure.
What would be the alternative? What would be wrong with simply working for a paycheck only, for the rest of my life? What if my Singular Focus was to work merely for the sake of paying off debt and then saving for retirement - and nothing else?
I know myself well enough to realize that I would not be content with that. It would feel too much like giving up, in general. But for now, I need to pick and choose.
I am supposed to be working on a musical theater workshop assignment right now, instead of blogging. In preparation for our next live cabaret performance (and I will alert you about the upcoming show - this time!) we are rewriting lyrics for songs from actual musicals. Our lyric adaptations are to reflect our current lives. Like many recording artists, the rewritten song words are to tell the stories of what we are experiencing and going through.
My life is not hard, not right now, so there is nothing too dramatic to tell in musical verse. It was an obvious song choice for me, though, to rewrite the lyrics for "I Want it All" from the musical "Baby" (no, not the one from "High School Musical," . . . Prince). Here is the current draft, so far:
I WANT IT ALL! I WANT IT ALL!
I WANT TO FIND A WAY TO STAY IN SHAPE AND DANCE – STAY ON THE BALL!
I’M PAST MY PRIME BUT I AM STILL IN DENIAL
BECOMING OLDER ISN’T ALWAYS SO VILE
I WANT TO KNOW THAT I CAN FIND INSIDE ME SOMEONE WHO STILL CAN
I WANNA BE LIKE JOHNNY DEPP AND LIKE JET LI AND JACKIE CHAN
I AM NOT YOUR AVERAGE ORDINARY AGE-DEFYING MAN
I WANT IT ALL! I WANT TO DO IT ALL!
I WANT TO KEEP MY FULL TIME DAY JOB AND DANCE AT NIGHT – I WANT IT ALL!
DON’T TRY TO TELL ME THAT I’M TOO OLD TO DANCE NOW
IT WILL BE YEARS BEFORE I’M TAKING MY LAST BOW
I WANNA KNOW THAT THERE IS TIME FOR ME TO STILL REACH ALL MY GOALS
I WANNA BE AN ACTOR-SINGER-DANCER CAST IN LEADING ROLES
AND I’LL WORK MY ASS OFF IN THE GYM SO I LOOK GOOD ON STAGE
I DON’T CARE ABOUT APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR FOR MY AGE - I’LL DO IT ALL!
I WANT IT ALL!
Like I said, my life is not difficult. It's pretty worry-free and even drama-free, for the most part. I'm just glad that Domestic Partner and I are not overwhelmed with the desire to adopt kids and raise a family. I can only imagine what that would be like, sheesh!
Sunday, January 2, 2011
I had been meaning to buy a new bowler hat for months, now, even before the movie "Burlesque" was released. I-swear-to-Buddha. I didn't need a bowler hat for any specific reason, not even for a show, but I've been wanting one around for personal inspiration.
And also, just in case the right dress-up opportunity comes along.
I love everything that a bowler hat symbolizes: Bob Fosse and his distinctive choreography, intertwined with the roots of twentieth century jazz music and jazz dance, and with his own youth spent dancing in burlesque shows. I love how a bowler hat is a visual reference for performing on stage, for the mere love of performing itself, even if it is in seedy nightclubs for little or no pay.
A bowler hat is a symbol for the underground, the underbelly of society. It represents a place for those who don't fit in with what is normal, particularly during the daytime, a place for rules to be broken, bended, and relaxed.
I've worn a bowler hat as part of my costume on stage more than once, in a couple of revues. Thanks to the seductive Fosse-esque choreography we performed, the music and even the dance steps are among favorite stand-out memories. But I rather regret that I was so young, emotionally, and sexually repressed, at the time. It seems important to be sexually expressive, sexually liberated, or at least sexually experienced in order to truly understand and fully perform any type of burlesque.
I understand that better, now, especially since I'm older (and more experienced).
Lately, the bowler hat has been a marker of motivation: to keep working on having a "burlesque body" - strong, lean, and flexible("sexible"), even at my age. One of my first impressions of the musical "Chicago" was that it seemed to have been created as, or at least serve as, a vehicle for aging dancers. Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera were probably considered past their prime in the 70's and they repeated their career success by making Broadway history again.
I love the strength that the bowler hat inspires, even in just my mind's fantasy. With the classic black chapeau tilted ever so slightly over one eye I can easily access the alter ego of performing on stage. Renee Zellweger's "Roxie" was wistful about being "aloof" as her onstage persona in the film version of "Chicago." As trite and overdone as that showbiz goal may be, it summarizes perfectly the power that burlesque and a bowler hat can provide.
Aloof. Apathetic. Not giving a damn about what others think. Even in a seedy night club, where the stage dancers are viewed as barely a notch or two above street walkers, all that matters is the performance, and synergizing a physically fit and flexible body with the fluid sound of jazz, and rhythm and blues.
That's what I miss, even the old clean-cut, Disney-fied versions that I was part of. That's what I want now, still. That's why I enjoyed the movie "Burlesque," as much as I did, and why I went to a local costume shop the next day to finally purchase the hat I've been pining for.
And that's why, no matter how old and tired I feel (or look!) in my forties, I still exercise and pay money for voice lessons and dance class. Middle-age be damned, I want to be the exception for as long as I can, whether or not it is realistic to be so.
A bowler hat, a body-conscious waistcoat, and some sensual choreography, and I'm ready to go.