Block 442: May 23, 2014


Couldn’t sleep last night. Not sure why, but my mind was racing.

Date: May 23, 2014

Crane: 442

Days Spent on Project: 460

Location: Conway, Arkansas

Person I would have sent it to: I just thanked two people that I met while guest designing a production of Life Is A Dream at Colby College in Maine. I feel like I met more people while working there, but I cannot remember any more names or stories about that experience. I just remember being incredibly tired and by the night the show opened.

So, that was my fall of 2007. I did that “small” musical for the New York Musical Theatre Festival first, while simultaneously designing a show for Colby College, on top of assisting a former classmate from the Yale School of Drama on a world premiere of an Opera called Elmer Gantry for the Nashville Opera Association. I’ve already dedicated a Crane to that designer. I can’t remember any names of the people I met in Nashville… but I was only there for four or five days.

But I will dedicate this Crane to one of the many production managers on that project. Her name was Jill D. And she worked in the Montclair State University Theatre Department. (The show had two “producers” behind it: the Nashville Opera Association and Montclair State. After a brief run in Nashville, we would transfer it to Montclair a few months later).

Again, it was a big learning experience for me, and not always the most positive. I think this is the first time where I had to hound someone to get paid. Big learning experience; freelancers can’t assume someone will pay them on time or in a “timely” manner. Most times there won’t be a contract, so you exist in a kind of limbo. Freelancers are expected to work and deliver a product on time, but the people who need the work done don’t always reciprocate; there are too many of us freelancers for the people hiring to need to play well.

Remember, sometimes.

Music I listened to while sewing: There’s a new album by Yann Tiersen on Spotify! If it’s anything like the work he did for Amelie, I’ll  love it!

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Last night, I was able to GO OUT in Conway, Arkansas. The scenic designer and another costume designer got in a car with the expressed mission of having a drink with dinner. Conway is in a “dry” county, which seems incredibly quaint for this being 2014. But, of course, with a ridiculous law, there are loopholes all over the place. Yes, there are no liquor stores in the county and therefore you can’t buy it here, but you can drive across the county line and there’s a series of liquor stores RIGHT THERE. And, sure, there are no liquor stores in the county and therefore you can’t buy it here, but you can go to any number of restaurants or bars that have classified themselves as a ‘private club” and buy a beer or a drink.

It makes no sense at all. Why make buying alcohol illegal with this stipulations?

Anyway, the three of us jumped into a car and drove to a place where we could sit outside (which is strangely hard to find here) and have a drink. And we did; two rounds of margaritas were had while we ate at a SANDWICH SHOP. (They were technically a “private club,” though.)

The three hours of conversation were much needed. I learned I’m not alone in my thoughts and experiences.

It’s a reminder that we do this job NOT for the paycheck or the glory, but because there are really interesting and passionate and creative and fun people around you (at times). And, in the absence of a steady check or a fair wage, you really have to grasp onto the human element as much as you can. Theater People can be cool.

And Theater People are everywhere.  Some are awesome. Some are brilliant. Some are skilled. Some are funny. Some are demanding. Some are inspiring.

Some are frustrating. Some are a bit slow. Some are a little green. Some are boring. Some are relaxed. Some are mundane.

They’re like all people, sure.

But everywhere, there are Theater People. It’s not just a New York phenomenon. The trick, for me especially, is to find a group of them that I want to be around and that want me around. I think that’s part of my frustration with New York City currently: I feel like I’m in a co-dependent relationship with this city. I’ve become attached the belief that this city is better than me and I’m lucky to be there and that I’ve had amazing experiences because it’s decided to let me in. But I also feel like New York City is cheating on me with every aspiring, driven, star-eyed 22 year old who’s just slightly more desperate than I to “make it there.”

“It’s up to you… New York…. New York…”

Why is it up to you exactly?


One thought on “Block 442: May 23, 2014

  1. wow! that last paragraph of your post pretty much sums up how i feel often times in life right now. that i struggle to find people that no only do i want to be around, but that also want to have me around them! i had a great group of friends on Long Island that had a core of about 5-6 of us, and then, of course, the obligatory acceptance of bf’s as they float in and out of the picture. for the most part, they all have coupled off now, and with something substantial and not just the bf flavor of the month (except me, as i seem to be the hopelessly romantic single guy, given i’ve only had 1 relationship really, and that was 9 years ago). because of this we have partially all drifted apart and gone our own ways. but even prior to that, i feel like i was removed from having a social life at all due to a situation with work that literally consumed ALL of my time and left me barely enough time to myself for sleep. that was on-going for over a year and i guess “out of sight, out of mind” sort of applies, because eventually, after having to say “i can’t” to the bbq invites, road trips, city outings, and fire island weekends due to my insane situation with work, the phone calls and texts and invites stopped. so i was basically removed from that equation of 5-6 good friends. but then when my situation improved i made a couple attempts at rekindling those relationships, as a group and each individual one, but it had appeared that everyone had already kind of gone off in different directions themselves. we all still live on Long Island, but drifted apart apparently. why? was is that everyone (but me) had finally coupled off, even the token slut of the group? was it because we all ventured into our 30’s? or maybe was i the glue that held us all together, strangely, even though my insecurities always had me feeling like a spare wheel, especially when everyone but me became coupled and found “their better half”? it wasn’t use them that i lost during my year plus tragedy drama situation with work, but virtually all of my friends. once again, i felt like i was sitting here on Long Island all alone, knowing nobody, having no life, and not knowing where to even begin or look to try and start one. the same feeling i had 9 years ago when i first moved out here to NY. i eventually gave up trying to make plans and reimburse myself into that circle of friends and rekindle those friendships, feeling that if they wanted to do something, they knew where to find me. we still do things, usually only once or twice a year. its always “gosh its been forever since we’ve seen each other….we need to change that!” but nothing ever changes and times passes quickly, and then rinse and repeat. so i ventured into the city and quickly found myself befriending many wonderful people, talented beyond belief in singing, acting, dancing, etc etc etc. none of which are talents i possess, except maybe in the privacy of my own home while nobody is watching. haha. certainly nothing near the level of making a living from it. mostly these friendships developed in various gay bars where these people sing on the various nights of the week and have a “show”, or a weekly gig, just to try and make it in this city. occasionally they’ll find other things, some actual shows, some big paying gigs, a broadway show/role, or television of movie deal here or there…but mostly, just these weekly gigs in a bar struggling to get by. so in a strange way…even though i’m not an actor, or designer, or stage hand, or director, or anything in the broadway world, i am a part of the broadway world now. i’m often asked if i’m a part of the broadway world and what i do…sing, dance, act?! and i always say no, i’m not a part of that world except as an audience member and friends with many people filled with uber amounts of talent that are a part of that world. and more often than not, the response i get is, “well, then you are definitely a part of the broadway world! you may not be up on the stage or in productions, but you are one of us.” the first few ties that happened it very much surprised me. a random stranger told me that i was a part of something even though i really wasn’t. that i belonged, simply by being there and knowing people that are a part and that if they kept my company i must be an alright person, and therefor belonged. it made me happy. and even though i’ve been told that a few times, i still struggle with insecurities and feel as if to be a spare wheel and that feeling of not belonging. sometimes, often times, i wonder what exactly i am doing here?! i have no family out here, and there really is nothing that ties me to NY but i do love it here. i’ve always wanted to live in NY since a young age. i love that i live on Long Island and Manhattan is a short distance away and that its the city that never sleeps and you can literally do ANYTHING there. which is bizarre, because i often times find myself wandering around the city bored and trying to think of something to do. haha. i guess it really depends on how much you’re willing to spend to do some of those things too though. i’ve said for years that i need to expand my social circles in the city so i don’t get bored and run in there to do something and then have no one to do it with. well, i’ve done that. and i still often don’t have anyone to do those things with. no matter what, that’s the curse of NYC, everyone is constantly busy. to line up schedules is nearly impossible. most of them catch 20-30 minutes in the park on the fly and it just sort of happens. but i live too far away for the spontaneous ventures. they can’t text me and say hey, come chill in like 15 minutes, we have some free time. and every time i text my city friends and say i’m in the city cuz i got bored and ran in…they’re all busy. maybe i need to move into the city?! but i’m not entirely sure how i’d do living in the city? it is something i’ve always wanted to do, but in the last 9 years have never done it. i work out on LI, but the commute would usually always be the reverse commute and traffic probably wouldn’t be that bad.

    well anyways, i guess i made my own little blog entry on your blog. lol sorry, i hope you don’t mind. but i guess what you said really resonated in my mind and struck the nail on the head with many feelings that i also experience and needed to get it off my chest. i feel better now. i still feel my insecurities and i still feel somewhat alone and isolated amongst millions of people, and i still feel this strange attachment to NY that won’t let me go every time i think about packing up and leaving (as if i need to prove i can make it here and not just for 9 years but forever), but i do feel better. so thank you.

    and now back to your regularly scheduled (a thousand quilted cranes) programming….

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