It’s the last day of May!?
Date: May 31, 2015
Days Spent on Project: 831
Location: NW Portland, OR
Person I would have sent it to: I will categorize this under “Cranes for Los Angeles” since this person lived in LA, but I met her randomly in New York City.
When Brad called me in January 2014 about doing “wardrobe” for a dance production in Hell’s Kitchen, I needed the work and the money. He asked me to email him a copy of his resume, which I sent, and then he put me in touch with his associate- Nikole V.
She, in turn, called me and explained the situation: She had 10 dancers (5 men and 5 women) who needed help dressing before a show during the weekend. I’d have to unpack the clothes, steam or iron them, hang things up, and pack them up at the end. She asked me to buy a portable steamer, which she reimbursed me for, and also bring a wardrobe kit in case alterations or repairs needed to be made.
When I showed up that Saturday to unpack the clothes, I discovered that they were sent from Los Angeles UNFINISHED and UNFIT. Thankfully, I had brought my sewing machine, because I spent hours re-hemming things, quick rigging clothes that needed to be changed backstage, and re-making some design choices that the director didn’t like. Once we had things under control on my end, they ran a tech rehearsal for the next day’s THREE performances. I learned that everyone changed clothes three times, as fast as they could.
To say the experience was a little unplanned and unprepared for is a small understatement. It surprised me, because the people I was dressing all had experience in televsion and theater and dance concerts. They certainly had a following and very vocal fans.
In the end, though, Nikole and Brad held it together. We did the performances. We lived through it. The response from the audience was good. They sold lots of merchandise. The production- Shaping Sound- is still gaining or earning momentum elsewhere. Maybe it’s touring right now?
And, in the end, I have to give a huge thank you to Nikole. My fee- strangely and/or fortunately we hadn’t agreed on anything beforehand- was in flux the entire experience. At the end, after we struck and packed the clothes back, Nikole offered to pay me anything I wanted for going above and beyond. It was a tempting offer and I thought about it seriously.
And they paid me well for the work. And we all went away smiling.
Music I listened to while sewing: I decided to switch it up today, and not listen to the “Dance All Day” Playlist on Spotify. Instead, I chose “Summer Chill.”
That wasn’t a right choice. Felt more like Muzak, so I switched to Florrie’s remixes of “Too Young to Remember.”
Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I don’t know what it is- maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s that work REALLY is going to be super slow for the next two months, maybe it’s that I’ve been through the gauntlet and know what to expect, maybe I’m just acclimating to Portland and work and so on- but I just feel so much more comfortable these days.
I have a lot to look forward to this summer, and I’m relishing this. It will be my first summer… maybe in my adult life… where I’ve not had to be incredibly (paranoid and) fiscal about work and where the money was coming from. I know I have this job. I have paychecks coming every two weeks. I’m not laid off or in between jobs or working on something for “exposure.” I could be comfortable.
My parents are planning a visit in June. Some friends from LA will be in Oregon in July; we’ll get the chance to hang out and plan ahead for The California Project (and figure out if we can make it happen here). I’ll have at least three dental appointments in the next two months to fix problems that I haven’t been able to fix (but needed to) for a few years. I’m determined to get furniture now that I’ve been here for over 10 months and it looks like I’ll be here for a few years.
Summers freelancing in New York were all about finding jobs OUTSIDE of the city (the theater season ends with the Tonys in early June, and most everyone gets attached to theaters in the regions for the break, if you’re not working in NYC on the next season’s BIG shows). It’s gross and humid and crowded (tourists!) over the next 2-3 months. If you didn’t manage to find summer work elsewhere or something big in town, you were most likely going to be desperate for money and things to design.
Summer 2014 doesn’t/didn’t count for me. I was in LA working on The California Project for 16 days, not making any money but figuring out what I was trying to do with it. I was in Arkansas, working on my production of Pippin, which wasn’t pleasant or terrible. Then, in a unexpected whirlwind, I would up moving to Portland quickly.
Summer 2013 was about being fired from one job, working with an abusive group of actors, and working with another company that “forgot” to ever pay me (They closed soon after that show opened.).
Summer 2012 was about coasting on the Newsies experience, working on that ill-fated workshop downtown, and then commuting to Connecticut for a small show.
And so on, and so on.
Summers usually aren’t smooth for me. I never get a vacation or pleasant downtime. This summer, Summer 2015, could prove to be a wildly new experience and a welcome one.
I’m looking forward to it. Some of my co-workers are even heading to brunch on a Tuesday, in case you need to know how different the attitude in that building is right now.
Okay, off to go outside and enjoy this very sunny day…