Just over a year ago, a friend of mine asked if I’d enjoy a trip to China. I thought he was just asking to make conversation. Little did I know this was a serious question, until I was given the details of an “information session”.

I agreed and said yes. China is a place I’ve always wanted to see and explore, but it is going to take a lot to convince me to go there.

Therefore, I went to the session. I was very skeptic about it, until I learned the cost, the length of the trip AND that it is a TOUR.

After the information session, I agreed to put down a deposit in order to reserve my spot. I had until the summer of 2013 to decide if I wanted to go or not. Either way, my spot was reserved.

With all the reports of nuclear issues in Korea earlier this year, and the fear of war, I debated whether going would still be wise. Eventually the Korean issue became a joke, and I realised that the fear of war is the new norm. So, I put it aside and said this opportunity may never happen again. I’M DOING IT NO MATTER WHAT. I put my final payment in July and have not looked back.

As I write this, moments away from hopping on the bus that will take me to Pearson, I can’t believe it has been a year since I decided to do this. It feels like I’ve gotten so used to the idea of just “going” to China, that the fact that is happening today is still just a fantasy.

I wanted to make sure I capture my thoughts before leaving. I wish Angie was coming with me. I planned to go to China long before I ever met her. However, I have traveled and gone on so many weekend trips with her in the past few months that it feels wrong to be leaving her behind. I also want to make sure I capture every moment of this trip. As much as possible. Therefore, I will blog. I haven’t had an ever more reason to use my blog in months, but now I do.

I plan to take around a 1000 pictures. Not sure how I’ll be sharing them yet, but I’ll make sure I have the link available here.

Stay tuned for more…

Great_Wall_of_China_July_2006

Category: China 2013  Tags:  1,458 Comments

Yes, I have been on hiatus, and yes I have been AWOL…

I realized back last December that I needed to disappear for a while to find myself some new friends and new hobbies… And did I ever! I even traveled more than I have in the past 6 years in such a short time span.

What have I been up to? I’ve seen quite a few concerts and large venue shows such as Whoopi Goldberg, Gladys Knight, and Roxette this past August at the Molson Amphitheatre. Seeing Roxette live had been a childhood dream, and was it ever worth the trip. One of the best shows I’ve seen since Duran Duran last year. And this coming November, I’m going to see Annie Lennox. Finally taking care of that bucket list of concerts. 2012 is the time!!

I also finally quit MMO gaming. I don’t know how or what it was, but right before White Christmas last year, I just quit cold turkey. A huge disagreement had erupted within my guild and it drew me away, and soon enough I just kept losing more and more interest. Also, the regular folks who had become friends like family had quit playing too. I soon noticed, I was spending time playing WoW more for the friendships I had made than the game itself, and when they all left, it was just natural for me to go too. And since I have made a bunch of new closer real life friends, I have not felt the need to go back. I tried a few other MMOs since like Star Wars and Secret World, but neither of them kept my interest longer than a month. That is not to say I have quit gaming entirely… It actually has led me to the announcement I am about to make.

Back in May, I had discovered this game called “Mass Effect 3″, or ME3 as the fans like to call it. It piqued my interest cause it dealst with one of my favorite subjects – the end of the world. I guess that isn’t the best thing to call a favorite subject, but the end of the world has always fascinated me, and I like to try and learn, research, etc… how it could happen .So, I saw the game trailer, and I thought that this would be a game I can relate to. I especially was interested because the lead player could be female OR male. Most of these types of shooter/RPG games usually reserve the lead for a male. Therefore, I hopped along to Best Buy on the March 6th release date, and figured this was going to be my gaming experiment. Until then, the only other RPG games I had played are Silent Hill and Skyrim. I enjoyed those 2 games, but once I played it, I had no interest to play it again.

It took me a few days to learn the ropes, but once I did, I was lost. I had finally found a game that is NOT an MMO that I enjoyed playing for hours on end. And not only that, I actually had looked forward to replaying it several times. Yes, I fell into that foray of depression on how the game ended. However, that only prompted me to play the first 2 games – Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2. Once I realized how much more fun they were, I was even more further gone. Unitl now, I have replayed ME1 and ME2 at least 4 times, and I can see myself doing it again a fifth time in the future. When I started getting a bit tired of the game, another friend suggested I should try Dragon Age if I enjoy Mass Effect this much. It is the same style of game, from the same company, but it takes place in a medieval period.

So, I tried Dragon Age in May, and since then I’ve been hooked. Even until now, I am still playing. Since I had done some traveling, and fringing in the summer, I have taken more sabbaticals from gaming, therefore there is still more to be seen that I have not. The aspect of these games that I have not encountered before is the “Love Interest” part.  Skyrim had this, but compared to BioWare’s (development company of Dragon Age and Mass Effect) method, it is very basic. This romance option that the games offer can make one’s engagement of the game so much deeper, and to the point where it has spurred fan fiction, fan art and fandoms online. The biggest fandoms I’ve seen so far are on DeviantArt and Tumblr.

For those who do not know what Tumblr is, let me give you a brief summary. It is a system that can be compared to a blog and Twitter, but the platform combines them together. So you can reblog (re -retweet) someone else’s post. That, or you can post your own (Tweet). Anything from text, pictures, audio, quotes, links, etc…. Having seen a lot of fandom art on DeviantArt, I decided to join myself and get back into graphic design again. I used to design for a living, but after having started my current job it soon got forgotten. However, with new inspiration, I joined and have so far made 2 pictures of my fave Dragon Age character and I am hoping to make some fancier pieces in the next few weeks.

With that being said, please click on my picture below to visit Artsy Techy Daily, my revamped tumblr blog. Those who have stuck with me may recall I used to blog about theatre there too. I still do blog about my theatre ventures, but now I also blog about other subjects that interest me such as games, politics, music, etc. Check it out, I promise you may even learn things about me you didn’t know before.

 

Category: News  Comments off

The Evil Dead story is finally able to rest. And rest is definitely what I will need for the next week or two since I will soon be working on White Christmas doing what I love to do the most – microphone control. I have not done much of this since Nine, and I must admit I have started missing it, so how could I resist the opportunity.

Before I close the curtain on Evil Dead though, I must say I learned SO MUCH from this show. Being an interim stage manager taught me a lot of things that I intend to bring to all my future production. I particularly enjoyed organizing the calendar, writing communiques and managing a schedule. Fun and endless spontaneity was Evil Dead: The Musical. I was so into it that I even got a customized key chain made for my cast and crew from Zazzle.com. I never knew such a cheap and amazing place like Zazzle.com existed.

Such a perfect customized keychainEvil Key Chain.

Today is Halloween, and the yearly work tradition is to have a costume contest. I think I may have outdid myself this time, and I am hoping for an opportunity to win…

head off

What do you think? Will I win? Thanks BuyCostumes.com for making my imagination come true :-D

Stay tuned for White Christmas details.

Category: News, Shows, Theatre Related  Comments off

Chess: The Musical – September 24, 2011 – 2pm Performance

Princess of Wales Theatre
(Sept 24 to Oct 30)

***  / 5

I first learned about Chess: The Musical in high school and since then, the music has always been the element that has fascinated me. I never even knew what the story was about until college. That familiar “Bangkok” music, in my opinion, is what is creating the buzz and appeal for the current Chess: The Musical tour, which started in the U.K., and is on its last leg in Toronto’s Princess of Wales theatre from September 24th to October 30th.

I had the opportunity to be at the very first performance in Toronto this past weekend at the 24th matinee performance. I have never been to an opening of a touring musical before, so I was not sure what to expect. I sensed that the performers were perhaps tired and uneasy. Remember, many of them have been on this tour for almost 2 years now. I also noticed something that I do not see often, people “leaving the theatre”. There could be many reasons for this, but after skimming the reviews on the theatre’s website, it seems a lot were not impressed with the choreography and/or did not quite understand the story.

Chess: The Musical is a story that you will enjoy if some homework is done before attending.  The story itself is based on the legendary Bobbie Fischer and Anatoly Karpov rivalry during the 70s. Elements from their true story were used liberally in the musical. There is also much swearing that takes place. Yet, what can you expect when you go back to a time when the Cold War is still going strong, and that the two Chess contenders are American and Russian? You have a very harsh and vulgar atmosphere no matter how you look at it. As for the choreography, the producer/choreographer did something very unique that can also be somewhat risqué. Each of the performers who play chess pieces is also part of the orchestra. Only the keyboardist and drummer are in the pit. This is cute and can be smart, however because there are so many of them on the stage at all times, many of the actual singers/performers are not always seen. I was seated off center, and struggled to see them about more than half the time.

Having said this, I will say that the producer of the show knew that the true fans who’d be attending the show came to see music and lights. And this production has no lack of music and lights. I especially want to give kudos to the actor who plays The Arbiter – David Erik. That gaze, that chest, and the flowing coat. A truly visual performance he gave along with all the strobe lights for his big number. I hated that I could never really see him whenever he went back to his position behind the chess table.  You definitely do want to be closest to the center to see this show or you may miss something.

I also need to give a hand to Tam Mutu who embodies Anatoly Sergievsky (the Russian) and Rebecca Lock who plays Svetlana Sergievsky. Tam’s voice and the beautiful mane of hair made his presence felt from no matter where he was on stage. Tam’s rendition of Anthem made you hear a pin drop during the long pause when the band stops. I think I even saw a few people stand to applaud after Anthem.  Rebecca’s Heaven Help My Heart was another song that made the theatre silent. It is a shame those who left after intermission missed her song.

It pains me to say it, but I was somewhat disappointed with the performances of James Fox (The American) and Shona White (Florence). During the entire production, I felt like James was distracted and not giving his all. During One Night In Bangkok, he even missed the start of a chorus. I know, I know, first show pains in a new venue, but they have done this song so many times, or at least you would think they have. During Pity the Child, I have no basis to compare or if this is how the song is performed, but he seemed to have his eyes closed during the majority of the song even while playing his guitar solo. Maybe he forgot some parts, and closing his eyes helped? I really can’t say, but very distracted he seemed.

Florence sings the majority of my favorite songs in this show, so I was very excited to hear the performer who plays her. However, it seemed like she was using her voice to emote more than her body. There was a lot of belting that seemed rather unnecessary. Her voice is amazing, do not get me wrong, but she did not have to yell as much as she did. I don’t know if she is a natural blonde, but the hair color and voice put together made me think of Cyndi Lauper for some reason.

I am sure that as the run progresses, the gaffs will go away, but if you are a true Chess: The Musical fan like me, you do not want to miss this production. It combines elements from both the original and other versions of the production in one, and adds a few new arrangements and ideas to keep it fresh. If I had the money and the time, I would definitely try and see it one more time.

Category: Reviews, Shows  Comments off

After writing my last post, I immediately heard a song I have kept dear to my heart since I first heard it in 2009′s Eurovision Song Contest. Since I have talked about a song that bothers me, I will talk about a song that still truly inspires me, and hoping it inspires you too.

The song is La Voix by a fine Swedish mezzo soprano – Malena Ernman. For those who may not know, the Eurovision Song Contest occurs every year at the end of May, and is grounded by so much tradition. This tradition, in my opinion, is why it is still a big event in Europe and most French speaking places (i.e. Quebec – Celine Dion competed and won in 1988 with Ne partez pas sans moi). Several other music artists from Quebec have competed on behalf of France, and since I used to host a French radio show, I would some times highlight these songs. That is also why, I follow it every year. And in 2009, when I heard this song, I really felt like it could win.  Although she made it as a semi-finalist, she still ended in 21st place.

Either way, the song is a true example of how beautiful the French language is and how well it sounds sung in operatic style. Although the chorus is operatic and sung completely in French, the verses are in English and have a rhythm that screams pop music. Here is what Malena is singing in the chorus…

Je t’aime amour quand j’entend la voix
Je t’aime ma vie c’est jamais sans toi
Je vis ma vie pour toi
C’est l’univers pour moi
Je t’aime amour quand j’entend la voix

In English it would be…

I love you darling/sweetheart when I hear the (your) voice
I love my life it is never without you
I live my life for you
It is the universe to me
I love you darling/sweetheart when I hear the (your) voice

Now try to sing the way she does in French with the English translation… Does not work as well. The song was composed by Fredrik Kempe, with lyrics by both Kempe and Ernman. Mr. Fredrik is a genius, and more people need to know this song. More people need to know Malena as well. Try to sing this one Mariah…

Hope you enjoyed today’s entertainment, and have a great weekend! Oh! And let’s do something like this again for 2012′s EuroVision.

 

Category: Reviews  Comments off

For those of you who have been following the Artsy Techy Life for the past year, you may recall a post I did about Mylene Farmer‘s new album Bleu Noir released earlier this year in Canada. Well, I am probably one of her most devoted fans south west of the Quebec border, or maybe even France for that matter. With this in mind, I am just totally baffled by an article I read today that refers to Mylene and Lady GaGa.

Before I explain, I must say that I have been a Lady GaGa fan ever since her first album, and have appreciate that she is a true musician. However, whoever helped her produce her last album should be fired. It is a well known fact, though not publicly admitted by GaGa, that Born This Way sounds like Express Yourself by Madonna. I read an article on BuzzFeed from about 6 months ago that reveals another excerpt from Born This Way sounds EXACTLY like Mylene Farmer’s Libertine. Now, Madonna I could not care less. No offense to her, but she has had a full career and you can say she is semi retired, but Mylene is still fresh, working, touring her latest album, and is generally MORE popular than Madonna in the sense that she has had more albums and international success. And also, a longer and more vibrant career. Really, Mylene did stuff Madonna only did later in her career. Madonna eventually admitted that her song Express Yourself had elements of Libertine in it. Libertine was released in 1986, Express Yourself in 1989.   However, Mylene is the pioneer, and the fact that GaGa did this in a more evident way on this song just burns and irritates me.

I know, a lot of people will say it is a coincidence, but that just makes me laugh. This is no coincidence, it is a total “mindf*ck”. I will continue liking the 3 songs I enjoy from GaGa’s last album – The Edge of Glory, Electric Chapel and Government Hooker because they do not sound like anything I have heard before. However, GaGa is gonna have to prove to me she can still compose in the next album she releases. Did you know that the guitarist in GaGa’s band once worked with another group who recorded a song similar to Judas?? Yup, and he has writing credits to the song too. There has been talk of a suit about that song floating around the Internet. Google it up and see for yourself.

This is just so mind boggling to me. So much, I had to blog how I feel about it. Why would an artist who is successful and on their 3rd album have to copy others?!?! I remember when the Born This Way album was released. It took a while to get to the top position… I am starting to understand why now.

And a special note for all you true Madonna and Mylene fans. Madonna is in the studio working on a new album, and if the rumors are true, it seems like Madonna and Mylene are collaborating! Whatever the song is, I hope it will have a very special message for GaGa

Category: Current Affairs, News, Reviews  Tags:  Comments off

As promised, here we go. This took a bit longer to put together than planned, but it has all the intrigue, suspense and adventure of a novel. Therefore, I thought it would be cool to share or at least memorialize it in a post….

Last weekend, I went to Ottawa for a day to see a musical called “Les Filles de Caleb: L’Opera Folk“. It is based on a true story, and since I learned about the book in high school, I have been obsessed about the story. Back in 2004, I even went all the way to Quebec for a 2-day tour of all the places mentioned in the book, the television series, the real story, etc… For those who want to read the book, it is translated in many languages. The English version is called “Emilie: A Novel by Arlette Cousture“. You can visit an image gallery of that trip here. This story mentions my thoughts about the show, but the point is about everything I went through just to be able to get to Ottawa last Friday to see it. Have a great weekend and happy reading…

Okay let us start the morning of Friday July 8th…

As usual I did not hear my alarm, and decided to stay up a bit later because I knew I could sleep on the train.

I never checked my insulin pump (diabetic, have had one since 2003) cause I vaguely remember refilling my insulin earlier in the week, and it usually lasts about 3 days (the insulin). So all goes according to plan, we get on our first train to Toronto at 7am, get there around 10-ish. Neither of us have had breakfast yet cause we left early. We find a Tim Horton’s near the station, and I get some oatmeal. Give my insulin, and realize O-M-G, I only have 2 units left and wonder how the hell that could have gotten by me.

So, I am weighing my pros and cons. Do I tell my mother and have to live with her wrath for the next 24 hours with how dumb I am, or do I find a pharmacy and get some the old fashioned way. After thinking about it, I realize I have gone a day without my machine working before, and I know how it feels. It did not kill me, but it was just somewhat uncomfortable. All I did was not eat as much, and maybe drink and go to do #1 a bit more. I can handle it. I might even lose a few pounds. The hard part would be making sure my mother does not figure it out.

To cover this, I ensure to always bring my pump out and make it look like I am giving myself some insulin although I really am not. It works really well, until Saturday morning in our bus back to London when my machine rings like mad because I have not given myself insulin for over 10 hours. I tell her it is the battery, and I realize as I say that, that she interrupts and tells me she BROUGHT my supplies. I feel like my father and God are laughing at me, and just move on because at this point if I tell her I need to refill my pump, she will know I was lying and/or realize I had been empty for a while. I guess I get this pride from my surgeon father. It all works out, I get home 11am Saturday, give my insulin and all is back to normal and I am no longer thirsty as dead grass anymore.

Now back to the trains… We got Business class for our trip from Toronto to Ottawa – old Via 1. In Toronto, we go to the panoramic lounge for about an hour or so. Just in time to see the final space mission launch. And there is all this free juice, food and coffee I cannot get cause my insulin is out. I take a tomato juice anyways, just cause I like them and seldom have a chance to drink them. Finally we board our train, and we are near the front of the train. My fave place. We sit next to this group of older people who seem related. As you may know, in Via 1, there is alcohol and it is FREE. For some reason dude in the group of older people would NOT stop drinking wine and kept asking our hostess for some. Our hostess is dark and looks like she could be from the Caribbean. Because of how drunk he is, he thought at one point that my mother (who is from the Philippines) was the hostess and asked her if he could get another glass of wine. Anyways, he drank all the way to Ottawa, a good 4-5 hours. No clue how many glasses that is, but you can do the math. He would not shut up either. Thank goodness for free wifi and a/c power which helped me ignore him.

In Via 1, meals are complimentary, so when I got our tickets, I thought I would try their diabetic meal. BIG MISTAKE!! It tasted like paper. The fruit plate and salad were nice, but the chicken rice pilaf or whatever, it was just ick… My mother got salmon cakes, and it was so much better so she gave me some. Never making that mistake again. There was also this dessert that regular meals had called Hello Dolly Cakes filled with coconut and fudge. I kept saying no I did not want any (cause of insulin), but my mother kept insisting, finally I had some to hush her. Damn it was good, but damn was I ever thirsty after.

We get to Ottawa around 4:30pm, and the show is not until 8pm, so what to do for the next few hours and how to manage myself because of my lack of insulin. We take the bus to Rideau Centre which is about a block away from the National Arts Center (NAC). I have not been to Rideau in over 10 years, so it was cool to see it again. I was a good girl and did not buy anything, but it sure was tempting. My mother is going nuts as usual because she has no idea where we are, and I keep telling her we are close to NAC, but she does not believe me. So, I say to make her think of something else, let us look for something to eat. We try a few places, but we either realize it is too far or they are booked. We finally find this place inside the Rideau Centre (after walking by the Rideau Canal and finding NAC) called The Exchange. Very nice bar and grill style restaurant.. I get a nice light Caesar Salad (the less carbs the better especially after that Dolly cake). I eat, but my stomach is starting to hurt cause I can feel that my food is not digesting, so I let my mother eat the rest of the salad. Luckily, she does not question.

Finally, food all taken care of, we slowly walk towards NAC again. We get there at about 6:50pm. It is an amazing theatre, and very modern. We wait in the lobby for the doors to open. At first, A LOT of older people seem to arrive and even a “Golden Age Bus”, or so someone else in the lobby called it. Luckily, a few other people younger than me arrive later, and I do not feel so isolated. We were seated at a table, and these 2 ladies ask if they can join us cause seats are starting to run scarce. The older lady asks me if I am there to see Les Filles too, and I say yes. She seems surprised I guess because of my age that I would know about it. I tell her that I studied the book, and came all the way from London. She is impressed and so we get to talking about it. They are surprised I know so much, but I tell them I just love the story and they understand. It was fun to talk about it with strangers for a change.

Doors are finally open and we can go sit in the theatre. Amazing big space, and red seats with 3 levels of balcony. Never seen such a theatre that big… until now. We realize we are RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE. I could not believe how good our seats were. I did not think we would have such a good view from where we were, but we did. There were no programs. I thought that was strange. I still do not know why, but no programs. I knew who some of the performers would be, but a few I had forgotten and was so in awe when I recognized who they were. I would just start crying cause I could not believe I was seeing them live – especially the COMPOSER of all the music in the show. He was performing the music live with a band on the stage, and I was never expecting such a thing. Usually with these modern musicals, they have a track and the performers sing to it, or the band is hidden. Well this composer is a veteran Quebec singer/songwriter and to see him was like seeing Michael Jackson if he were still alive. He even played a bit part in the show as a priest and got applause for it. The name is Michel Rivard if you are curious. The music in the show is all because of him. They told the story in the 3rd person, so the older character would tell what is happening then would perform it and sing their song. Very well done, and I am still so impressed with how they did it. As a hardcore fan of the TV series (Hey! I own the DVD set), I did not think the musical would sway like it did. For a good 2-3 hours, I completely forgot my insulin problem. They sold no merchandise at this show either which is surprising. I figure this is their first tour, and they may have been testing the waters in Ontario with it so did not expect so much.  Or they may have just ran out. Remember, this musical was just released in October/November 2010. Still a very fresh production.

We take a bus to go back because there are no trains that leave to Toronto during the night, and I have to be back home for the next day. So, our bus leaves at 1am, and the show finishes just after 11pm. We take a taxi to Greyhound. I have not been inside a bus station in ages, but I can tell you the bus station smell is very familiar in this one… Grrrosss. And we have to wait a good 1.5 hours here for our bus. Luckily, they have WiFi too, so I get to adding some pics and facebooking some stuff about my show since I am still in in a fangirl daze from it. I had cried a few times during the show as I previously mentioned, so I still feel a bit weird when we get there.

Finally in the bus, and I do not even wait or hesitate… I GO TO SLEEP. With a high blood sugar, and an aching stomach, what better is there to do than sleep? At around 3:30am, all of a sudden my mother taps and says my name somewhat loud and says, “I think our driver is falling asleep, he was so close to the other lane.” Well thank you for sharing this mother, now I will never be able to go back to sleep. Soon after, I realize the bus stops at a service station for a 15-min break. I guess he was tired. Well, now the lights are on, and I want none of it. I put my sweater over my head, and go back to sleep.

We arrive in Toronto at 6am Saturday, and our bus to London does not leave until 7am. My mother insists she is hungry, but I am still with no insulin, so I say I will have my breakfast in London at 11am. Luckily, she does not question. However, I see her disappear then return with a HOT DOG. At the smell of it and seeing her eat it, I almost throw up. I pretend I am nodding off just to close my eyes and not see this.

We decide to go and line up for our bus, and we notice there is a pigeon nest above us and the pigeon almost craps on our heads. Mother decides to feed them her left over peanuts. I am too tired to care to tell her that is not a wise idea, but I digress… We board, and I get the sense that our driver is distracted by something. We have a female driver who seems rather younger than the usual driver. Groovy reddish hair with spikes. Full of gel of course. I wonder how a girl like that ever ends up driving a bus. She seems like someone I may get along with, but she seems upset and lacking a lot of confidence. When she was arriving and parking our bus in Toronto, she almost hit the railing. And when we would arrive at a bus stop, she would ask if anyone needed to get off the bus, and say it in a foregoing kind of sad way… Like, don’t want to bother you, but you know we’re here…. etc. Our driver even managed to prevent a few bad accidents, yet it was interpreted by her being a bad driver. Even one passenger commented on it, and she still managed to keep calm. When we got to London, I thanked her and touched her hand cause I felt she needed it. Was the first time I saw her smile.

So finally in London. Insulin problem fixed, and we decide to go to Red Lobster for lunch. First amazing meal I remember eating in a while. I even ate steak. I needed PROTEIN! All those veggies and lack of carbs just made me want protein. I come home and sleep for the rest of the day cause I have our first Evil Dead rehearsal – that is why I had to be back. Rehearsal is in the late afternoon, so I decide to take a nap then relax with my pets Beckham (skinny pig) and Georgia (cat) before leaving.

Finally rehearsal time. I leave, but feel rushed cause I also want some coffee from Tim’s. Realize I brought the wrong folder with me, so I go back and get it. Get there in good time, and the rehearsal goes so well, we finish early. Now I am totally adrenalized and ready for some World of Warcraft time. Played until 2am, and felt good cause my weekend was a success even with all the hiccups. But… it is not over yet…

My mother usually leaves early Sunday when she visits for the weekend. So around 4am Sunday, I hear her yell my name saying, “Georgia has not eaten or used her litter since we got back from Ottawa!” Mother said this earlier, but I made fun of it saying it is because she is hiding from you. Georgia usually comes out at night, and the fact she still has not is making the alarm go on in me now.

Whenever Georgia hears her name spoken by my mother, she growls or hisses, and this was not happening. So the first thing I think of is she must be dead and we cannot find her because she is in some tight spot. My cat interprets pain as fear, and hides. I know this because, once she had a urinary infection and would hide when she bled.

I am still half asleep, but making myself believe that she may have died is reasonable because the cat she is going on to 13 years. And ol’ unlucky 13, yeah okay. How in the world am I going to find her though? All of a sudden, I hear something. She is meowing but very faint. I think she is caught behind couch, but we checked that. SHE WAS IN THE FRIGGIN’ HALLWAY!!!! I cannot figure out when she could have gone there, but I guess it must have been when I came back to get what I forgot before my rehearsal. Why I did not see her when I came back home though? I guess I shall never know. She must have really been afraid or was busy exploring. I have no clue how far she may have gotten, but the fact that she knew where to go, which door, etc…  to get back home really impressed me. For the rest of the night, she kept meowing in my room. I guess that was her way of giving me hell.

It was a weekend to remember…

Category: News  Comments off

It has been almost a month since I last blogged, maybe even more, I can’t tell anymore…

The last time I was here I stated I would blog about the Fringe, but hence that could not be done because of unforeseen circumstances – like surgery… :p

I had planned to have the surgery to remove a tooth during the week of Fringe, but it took most of the week to recover from the beautiful Novocaine, and I was on these VERY strong antibiotics which I think made me even lazier than the Novocaine would have by itself. I had not even have a chance to see all the shows I wanted to see because I missed about 2 or 3 days just staying home.

I did manage to see the shows everyone raved about such as Rocky Horror, Crabcakes, Assassins and a few others. Also, I volunteered this year, and it was so worth it. I found it really eye opening on how technical the organization of such an event can be. There are so many little tricks and methods used by the organizers that seem silly, but soon became pure genius when I would learn the reasoning behind it. The quality of our Fringe here in London has been increasing every year and I can only see it getting better and better too. I look forward to Fringe 2011 and must congratulate the London Fringe (www.londonfringe.ca) for the amazing work and outcome this year.

Right after Fringe, rehearsals for Evil Dead: The Musical soon began. We just finished our second rehearsal last night, and so far, all I can say is that this cast and crew have made my job so easy… I may be speaking too soon, but either way, I do not feel like I may regret doing this project anymore. As a matter of fact, I continue to look forward to each rehearsal and they seem to go by SO FAST. I will admit that there are times I feel like I am not doing my job right because stage managing is still very fresh, but as previously stated, the rest of the cast and crew are so tight and professional that there seems to be no learning curve… yet. Perhaps there may not even be one at all. If you visit the Evil Dead link, you can find out more about where we are in the rehearsal process along with photos and some blurbs about the cast and crew.

Just this past week, I took a little side trip to Ottawa to see a show I have been waiting for since last November (2010) called Les Filles de Caleb – l’Opera folk. This adventure was so amazing and at times even a bit stressful, it needs its own post.  Stay tuned for Live Dangerously Like Me to be posted a bit later today.

 

Category: Fringe 2011, News  Comments off

After a little break from the theatre scene, I think I may have gotten restless enough because I am just about to start it up again. First one up is the 2011 London Fringe Festival

Last year I was a part of it as crew for a show, and it was so much fun, that this year I am going to go one step further and work box office and at the Fringe HQ. I may also be involved with Nuit blanche, but that still is pending. I was lucky enough to get that week off as well. And as busy as I have been, I am way overdue for a holiday.

Nuit blanche is part of the Fringe festival, and I highly recommend making some time to go. It will be from 9pm to 3am on the night of June 18th. See London as you never have seen it before in the very early morning hours. I would also like to highlight the shows taking place during Fringe that you should especially make time to see…

  • Earshot (Spriet)
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Rum Runners)
  • Souled Out (Fanshawe Theatre)
  • Manor Park (The Arts Project)
  • archy & mehtabel (Spriet)
  • Bursting Into Flames (Spriet)

Yes, way too many good ones at Spriet. I recommend staying at that theatre one evening, and just watching all of them lol. I know I will, just not sure which night yet.

Seeing as I will be off, I will do my best to enter reviews on my blog of each one I see. Mini reviews, with links to the shows on the Fringe site because there will be even more public reviews there as well.

My bigger news is what happens after the Fringe Festival.

A friend of mine somehow, have no clue how he managed, but somehow got the rights to Evil Dead: The Musical. And somehow still, decided to ask “me” to stage manage. True, I have stage managed 2 one-act plays before, but a 2-Act Broadway musical??!?! Me?!?!?!? I would be a fool to say no, so I said yes because I trust in my friend and I know he will do the show justice (and help me in this new position). I would be lying if I said I did not consider saying no because of how busy I was last summer working on a show. However, this has the music all composed and would only require recording some composed music and taking a lot of notes, and THAT is something I miss and truly enjoy.

The set and make up for the show are being done as close to form of the original as possible, and will be documented all on this site – Iglesia Productions Online. Just recently John (Iglesias), my friend, documented how he made the Necronomicon for the show. Pretty amazing if I say so myself, and the guy is a genius. Genius attracts genius lol. I cannot wait to get started in July, but first thing’s first – Fringe Festival.

I will document as much as I can and let y’all know where we are as we go. I said I wanted a challenge, and it looks like I got one. One that would make me stay in London longer… Come get some!

Category: Fringe 2011, News, Shows, Theatre Related  Comments off

This is an article I put together last October (2010) for the Palace Theatre’s Newsletter.  Enjoy.

——–

After working on over 20 shows in the past 4 years, I have managed to accumulate a list of tricks and suggestions that I would like to share about sound design and operation. A few times I have heard from those who have ended up doing sound design either because they did not manage to find someone to do it or they waited until the last minute and ended up doing it themselves. This list is for anyone out there who would like to pursue it further or who may just want a better understanding of what the sound person does.

N.B. These are things I have discovered while working on my past productions. There are no rules set in stone for theatre sound. These are only guidelines, and each designer will surely have other guidelines than the ones I have listed below.

  • If possible, carry a recorder with you at all times. There are many times when I hear a sound, and I think – that is what I need for that show!! There are many cheap digital audio recorders out there now, and in the end, this can save a lot of money because you can have your own sound collection that you made yourself from scratch.
    As well as sound effects, a recorder can be handy if you are a composer. Often I will think of a tune, but will forget it later because I never had a way to record the tune. Now that I have my recorder, I can save the tune on it, and then work on it later. This helped a lot for composing on The Three Musketeers.
  • Directors will often help you with this, but if they don’t, this can get you a lot of brownie points. When reading the script, try to look for sounds that are not dictated by the script. For example, the script says that the doorbell rings, but then in parentheses it says play doorbell sound. There are times in the script where the character is talking about the sound, but the script does not say to play the sound out loud. At times, it can help the actor or the story to have it playing in the background anyways. Many times, the director will just come to you and ask for the sound when they are starting to run the play after all the blocking. Have the sound prepared already and then your director will be very impressed.
  • When operating a show, it helps to think like an actor. This is especially true when there are many sound effects or music cues bunched together. The sound can often take a life of its own, and that is why you often will have to anticipate the audience reaction the way the actors do.  If you know the audience is going to react to something the actor says before the sound effect or music starts, give the audience a chance to react and then start the cue. Your stage manager will help you with this, but sometimes it can help to anticipate because it will never be the same reaction.  The last thing you want is the audience to miss that amazing sound or music that you worked so hard to perfect… and yes, it has happened to me many times.
  • This tip is common sense, but I still manage to often forget to do this myself. If you are working on a show that has a lot of physical movement on stage like dancing or fighting, ALWAYS check your speakers before the show. Often, the cables may get disconnected or the speakers moved from all the jumping. This happened to me during The Three Musketeers run, but luckily I remembered to check my speakers and was able to prevent what could have been a big embarrassment of no pistols going off.
  • If you buy your sound effects, it may help you down the road to buy from a retailer, rather than rip the sounds. I have purchased almost all my sound effects from Sound Dogs for the longest time. Since I got my digital recorder last year, I have been recording most of my own effects, but since 2007 I have gotten the majority of my sound effects from them. It is wise to stick with one and only one because you never know when disaster may strike. Last spring, I lost all the best sound files I had obtained from Sound Dogs. However, since I was such a good customer and purchased all my sounds “legally”, they were able to restore all my past purchases, and I was able to download all my sounds in a matter of a few hours.
  • Lastly, this tip may be funny in retrospect, but I think I would require close to 2 hands to count how many times this has happened to me. Just because a sound cue is coming up and/or your stage manager has given you a standby DO NOT put your finger on the play button. Yes, keep it next to it, or lean it on a flat surface but never ever put it on the button until the precise moment to press it. This is how premature sounds play and how human error always succumbs to most sound operators. It is always better to be late than too early for a sound cue. The actors are trained and will always cover if you are a second or two late, but they won’t always be able to cover a sound that comes in too early.

Maybe you have some you can add? Do not be afraid to comment and let me know. We can always learn from each other.

Category: Memory Lane, Sound Design, Theatre Related  Comments off