Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Booty

Santa was very good to Mallorie this year. She's opening up the digital camera he left her. On the couch behind Mallorie is another coveted present - Guitar Hero III with a wireless guitar. Rock on!

Cade is excited to have received a remote control PT Cruiser from Grandma and Grandpa. He couldn't wait to open it up and race it around the yard.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Cast of Just Kidding

Auditions for Kernersville Little Theatre's first production of 2008, Just Kidding, were held last Tuesday and Friday. Since the Just Kidding cast includes two roles for kids, I mentioned auditions, on several occasions, to the cast of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

The promotion apparently paid off. There were 17 kids vying for the two roles, and there was quite a turn out for the adult roles.

Congratulations to the cast of Just Kidding:
Stephen Swoap - Calvin Rogers
Kaye Ward - Sandra Rogers
Scott Spencer - Wayne Maybrie
Luke VanHine - Todd Maybrie
Jean Burr - Monique
Macon Shirley - Jeff
Karen Price-Crowder - Jessica Finch
Morgan Robbins - Jenny Finch
Chuck Powers - Chris Gentry

Show dates are February 22-24 and February 29-March 2. Go ahead and mark these dates on your 2008 calendar. You won't want to miss this show!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

(Second) Friday Performance, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

The kids were in rare form last night before the show. Hyper-energized. We had to corral them in the music room where, thankfully, Michael and Mallorie entertained them by telling jokes. At 7:45pm I had a rather harsh chat with the kids about several things.

During tech week we made announcements that costumes were to go back on hangers and placed on the costume rack each night. They were told that costumes left lying around would be confiscated. Thursday night one of our shepherds left his costume on various chairs in the dressing room. His costume was taken, and I had to have a chat with him and his mother. Of course he claimed he did hang his costume. So, the kids were (re)warned again last night.

Last week some incidents involving touching and spitting were brought to my attention. Both issues were addressed last Saturday, but apparently there was still some parental concerns. I reiterated last week's conversation, and advised that if problems continued offending cast members would be replaced.

The threat of being dropped from the show apparently helped some to focus their energy. Last night's performance was even better than Thursday night's show. Ken blogged about it, live.

We've two shows remaining. If you haven't yet attended a show, please purchase a ticket and come early.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Cast of The Foreigner

Pat Shumate is Betty
Mikey Wiseman is Froggie
Chad Edward is Charlie
Cheryl Ann Roberts is Catherine
Mark March is Ellard
Don Gunther is Rev. David Lee
Ken Ashford is Owen

While I'm not surprised that Ken got cast, I'm so glad he decided to do the role. And since Kelly Wallace will be doing costumes, the entire cast of Bug will be involved with this show. The cast of Grace and Glorie is also reunited.

I am absolutely beyond myself. I am so uttely excited over this cast. And the fact that I (finally!) get to work with Stan. Mission, indeed missions, accomplished.

A Book Report

While I haven't actually read Candace Bushnell's book, I'm a fan of Sex And The City. So, when I saw 4 Blondes on the shelf at Edward McKay's, I didn't think I could go wrong. Based on my recent track record with books, I should have known better. Of course, I was wrong.

The book is actually 4 novellas about 4 different blond women living in New York: Janey is a model who uses her "charms" so she can vacation every summer at the Hamptons. Winnie is a political/style columnist with a major news magazine who hates her husband. Princess Cecelia is in such a state of utter depression that even with an handful of Xanaxs she can't cope with life. A writer (perhaps Candace herself?) travels to London to write about sex with Englishmen. While they dress in Prada and carry Louis Vitton luggage, each woman and her respective life is less glamorous than the previous. These women are shallow and, dare I say, pathetic. There was very little substance, and no real ending, to any of the four stories. Not that I really cared.

Don't waste your valuable time reading this drek. Instead, tune to TBS for entertaining reruns of two blonds, a red head and a brunette.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Callbacks, The Foreigner

After Ken and I finally worked out who would run The Best Christmas Pageant Ever brush-up, I headed over to the ACT trailers for callbacks. This time I arrived early. Mark and Don were there, as was Chad. As we were ushered into the other room, I was pleasantly surprised to see Michael and Pat come in. Looking around, I quickly sized up my competition. There were two other girls that I didn't know.

Pat and another lady were up for Betty. While the other lady read well, Pat was very attuned to the comedy. Since Ken decided not to come to callbacks, and he mentioned he really didn't want to do Owen, David will probably get that part. Michael and Don were vying for the role of Rev. David Lee. Michael auditioned better, but Don is a very good tood. Kevin and Chad were up for the role of Charlie. Either one would be great. There was one young man there for the role of Ellard. And Mark read for a variety of roles.

I don't like to read first at callbacks. I'd much rather study the competition, and make changes/choices accordingly. Thankfully Stan had the other two girls read first. Neither of them were bad; they were just a bit bland. Clearly they weren't as familiar with the script as I was. As good as I felt about my audition, I felt even better about my callback reading.

Callbacks were over by 8:10pm, and once again I chatted with Michael in the parking lot. My phone rang and I almost had a heart attack trying to locate it in my purse. It was Ken on his way back from brush-up. I told him I'd call him later and continued casting the show with Michael. My phone rang again and I recognized the number as that of The Little Theatre. I held my breath.


Dusty's European Vacation

After 6 months of quickly traveling through Europe, Dusty finally decided he'd had enough. He's back home on American soil.

I use the term "home" loosely. Dusty has no real home, as he sold his house back in June. Right now he's staying with friends in DC. He's planning on coming down to NC on the 17th and will stay with Mom through Christmas. I know he's planning on meeting next week with his former employer. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he can get a job quickly.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Auditions, The Foreigner

Today has been circled on my calendar since September. Actually, the 10th was circled on my calendar since that was the original date of auditions. But once I found out they were a week earlier, I made the calendar adjustments. There was no way I was going to miss this audition.

You see, I've wanted to play the role of Catherine ever since Kernersville Little Theatre produced the show, back in 1990. I ran sound (and pyrotechnics) for the production. Each night I sat mesmerized by the actress who brought Catherine to life. The other actors, April (as Betty) and Jeff (as Ellard) in particular, were outstanding. I fell in love with the show. I've seen it at least a half dozen times.

Stan is directing The Little Theatre's production, and you know of my challenge with Stan. I had also heard that Stan wanted to cast Catherine close to the script age. (She's supposed to be 25.) Still, I planned to audition. I had everything to gain and nothing, really to loose.

Auditions were held in the ACT trailers, and a last minute audition outfit change caused me to be a bit late. Ken was already there, as were Ally, Don, Mark, Chad, Jere, and Jean. Ken and Jere read early and left right after. I sat and chatted with Ally, Don and Mark for a bit. Then they read and left. I talked with Chad a bit and then reviewed the side with my scene partner. Finally it was our turn.

We went in, we read the scene, and we left the room. I felt pretty confident in the way I read. As I came out Michael was coming in, so I sat and chatted with him for a bit. Auditions were over by 8:45p and as I was talking with Michael in the parking lot, my phone rang.

I got a callback.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Opening Night, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Last night Kernersville Little Theatre's production of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" was brought to life. The Kernersville community, and then some, came out to see the show. There were so many patrons we had to open the balcony. It was wonderful seeing a full house.

The show was wonderful. I was so very proud of the kids. Not a single one of them appeared nervous. The audience loved Ruth, who is a pistol as Gladys. BJ's underwear line got a great laugh from the audience, as did RC's line about his brother. The twins, Nathan and Sean, received applause as they entered as baby angels. Every one of the kids was spot-on.

April's telephone cord disconnected from the phone during her Mrs. Armstrong scene. The malfunction didn't trip her up. Kelly jump a couple of lines, which cut two lines for one of the kids. The audience never knew.

Except for a tizzy during the pre-show concert, technically the show went well. Fred heard all my light cues and Vi and I worked on the sound cues and levels. My backstage crew was ready for the scene changes and they went quickly.

The only bad thing about our opening was how I felt by the end of the night. My head was pounding and my ears were ringing. Yep, now I've got a cold.

If you come see the show, and you definitely should, make sure to come early. The pews fill up fast.

Friday, November 30, 2007

A Book Report

Last week, as I was organizing my nightstand drawer, I ran across True Believer. I had totally forgotten I even had it. Since the premise was intriguing, I decided to go ahead and read it. I've read a few books by Nicholas Sparks and knew that I was in for a really good read. Well...I guess my expectations were a bit too high. I usually use a half box of Kleenex while reading a Sparks novel. Or perhaps the title is a bit misleading.

Jeremy Marsh is a New York City journalist who specializes in debunking myths and other supernatural phenomenon. His reputation has earned him an invitation to Boone Creek, a small town in North Carolina, to investigate a haunted cemetery. Based on the book title, I thought he would come to believe that some phenomenon simply can't be explained away. Nope. He did discover the real cause for the lights that appeared during foggy nights in the sinking cementary.

While in town, Jeremy fell in love with Lexie, the local librarian. Unfortunately their relationship ended by the end of the week as Jeremy had no desire to move to Boone Creek and Lexie didn't want to live in NYC. The only "true believer" was Doris, Lexie's grandmother, who flew to NY in the midst of a snowstorm to talk sense into Jeremy. What followed was a predictible and Kleenex-free ending.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Happy Birthday, Birddog, Redux

I was two days ahead of myself. I couldn't remember whether it was the 27th or the 29th. He turns 43 today.

Rehearsal, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Last night was the first night we had a full run-thru without stopping. The show ran pretty smoothly. The scene changes went much better. For the most part, my light cues were tighter. The sound operator got a little flustered, but even if there had been an audience I don't think anyone would have noticed.

I was really proud of the kids. They all nailed their lines. Sarah almost went up on one of her mini-monologues. As soon as she opened her mouth her eyes conveyed a look of uh-oh. Still, she managed to get a sentence out and complete her speech.

Kelly cracks me up at times (especially during a long winded phone call with Mrs. Armstrong) and other times she's this side of overacting. Still, the fact that she can ad-lib without thinking twice is a huge benefit to the show. All the other actors should feel very safe when they are onstage with Kelly. (I know I always did.)

Tonight is final dress and we will have an invited audience. I'm looking forward to this rehearsal, as I'm interested to see what happens when the kids realize there is a "real" audience watching them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Arrow, Part 2

Arrow's follow up appointment was 10am this morning. As soon as I walked in the door Arrow started whining. I guess now he associates me with visits to the vet.

During the drive to the vet, Arrow's whining increased. I kept trying to calm him but he was clearly not happy. I practically had to drag him into the office. We had to wait a few minutes, since I arrived 10 minutes early for the appointment. Arrow sat right in front of the door, waiting for a potential chance at freedom. (Although he wouldn't have gotten far. The e-collar would have inhibited a quick get-away.)

Arrow was finally taken back and less than 10 minutes later the bandages and e-collar were removed. The e-collar was returned to me with verbal instructions to put it back on Arrow if he scratched at his ear. He got a rabies shot, a couple of doggie treats and we were on our way back home.

I placed the lampshade on the floor in the kitchen. I figured the reminder would be enough of a deterrent for Arrow. I think it worked. I didn't see Arrow scratch at his ear once.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy Birthday, Birddog!


Sunday evening Ken mentioned that Arrow, one of his beloved dogs, was missing part of his ear. He wasn't sure if Bo, Arrow's bigger brother, bit it off or whether Arrow fought with a neighbor's dog or caught his ear on a fence. Worrying Ken further was the fact that Monday was the first day back to work after having 4 days off so he wasn't sure he'd be able to take Arrow to the vet before Tuesday. Since Arrow and I get along pretty well, I offered to take him to the vet. Arrow's appointment was at 3:30pm yesterday.

Once in the examination room, I was asked questions I couldn't really answer. After all, Arrow wasn't my dog. I had no clue about his ear other than it looked slightly chewed. I hadn't looked for the missing ear piece. (Ewwwwww!) And I didn't know if he had this shot or that shot. I felt like a bad pet owner, yet all I was doing was bringing in my friend's dog.

The vet took Arrow into the back to give him updated shots and bandage his ear. When she brought him back I started laughing. It wasn't a jovial laugh but more of a pity laugh. Arrow's entire head, save one ear, was bandaged. Arrow immediately sat down and started to scratch off the bandage. After a brief discussion, the vet and I decided to put Arrow in an e-collar. Arrow was none too happy.

On the drive back to Arrow's house, he sat, uncomfortably, in the front seat giving me the most pitiful eyes I've ever seen. He not only lost part of his ear, he was lamenting the loss his dignity too. Luckily it won't be for long. We go back to the vet on Wednesday to have the e-collar and bandages removed.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Love and Support

Ken, Myla, Bill and Kathy, Dick and Carolyn, Kelly and Meghan, Ally, Mimi, Dad and Kelly, Don and Sherri, Frank, Cathy, Mom, Michael, Jim and Peggy, Allan and Barbara, April and Jacob, Mike, and Craig Dixon...

Thank you all for coming to see Steel Magnolias. Since Clemmons Community Theatre is relatively new, your attendance was very important and your support meant the world to me.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Performance, Steel Magnolias

Since I do my make-up and wig at home, I've got plenty of time backstage, once I get into costume. We were chatting and I was admitting that I wasn't feeling very M'Lynnish. I mean, I knew (well, prayed) that I would give a good performance, I just didn't feel like M'Lynn. That is, until Mallorie came back to tell me that Barbara and Allan were in the audience.

Hearing that two people I knew were seeing the show (especially Barbara and Allan) caused my sleeping butterflies to awaken. I was very nervous as I step onto the stage and uttered my first few lines. I could hear Barbara laughing and from there, I was fine. And I was able to get back into character.

After our curtain call, I yanked off my mic and went into the house to see Barbara and Allan. They weren't there. I asked Mallorie if they had already left, and she said she wasn't sure they were there for the second act. I was afraid they were offended at one of my lines and left during intermission. You see, Barbara is Italian. During the opening scene I explain that we were served "Dago Pie" for dessert during the wedding rehearsal dinner. I must admit that knowing Barbara was in the audience I seriously thought about changing that reference. But, as an actress, I have to remain true to the playwright's script. I quickly decided to downplay it.

The rest of the show went well. We are really rocking, having found a very nice pace. If you haven't seen the show, we have a 2pm matinee and an 8pm performance tomorrow.

Performance, Steel Magnolias

Last night we began our second weekend run of Steel Magnolias. Because I was in Charlotte, we did not have a brush-up rehearsal. Still, I did spend some time yesterday going back over my script.

While I didn't feel like I was completely channeling M'Lynn, I felt my performance was much better than a typical Thursday night show. The show flowed very well and there were only minor line concerns.

I heard that Stan, a director I'm dying to work with, came to see Charis and me. He left during intermission, which was a shame. Charis and I have much better character scenes during the final scene. Still, I think Stan will be pleased with what he saw. I was pleased with the show.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

An Evening at the Theatre

Ken, Emily S. and I travelled to Charlotte to see the touring of The Drowsy Chaperone at Belk Theater. It was a cute show.

The story centers around Man in Chair (Jonathan Crombie, who was wonderful!) who is feeling a bit "blue". To combat his depression he plays musical soundtracks. On this particular day, he chooses the soundtrack to the 1928 musical The Drowsy Chaperone. As the record plays, the musical comes to life in his apartment. I loved this concept, but wasn't very impressed with the actual musical within a musical. The costumes were the best thing about it. There weren't really any big dance numbers and the songs weren't very memorable. In truth, outside of the Man in Chair and the twin gangsters (Paul and Peter Riopelle) I wasn't impressed with the cast. The guy who played Feldzieg looked exactly like Dick Butkus!

Ken thought the show would have made a better comedy than a musical. I totally agreed. Still, we all had an enjoyable evening watching a very entertaining show.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Book Report

I love it when my show finally opens, because this usually means I can read something other than my script. I've had The Night Before by Lisa Jackson since March when I went on a book buying spree at Costco as an early birthday present. I've been wanting to read this book ever since it appeared as a monthly selection for Literary Guild, 4 years ago. I finally finished it today. I wish I could tell you that it was worth the wait. It wasn't.

The prologue was promising. The murder of Josh Bandeaux was cold-blooded and chilling. I read on to Chapter One and became aggravated. I absolutely hate dumb heroines. And the central character, Caitlyn, was as dumb as a brick. Caitlyn wakes up in her bedroom covered in blood. Large amounts of blood are all over her bedroom - on the carpet, on the walls, bloody handprint trails to the bathroom, etc. She, of course, doesn't remember a thing about the previous night and has no idea how the blood got in her bedroom. Since she is not wounded, she simply chalks it up to, wait for it, a bloody nose. Yep. The funny thing is, she even admits that there's more blood all over her room than a bloody nose could possibly produce. Fiddle de de, no matter, she decides to clean up all the blood.

Within the next few chapters, Caitlyn goes on and on about lost time, not being able to recall events and/or experiencing bits of memory of Josh's murder. I'm no psychologist, but it's obvious Caitlyn suffers multiple personality disorder. Well, not plural personalities, just one, and it didn't take long to figure it out. Thirty more chapters to go.

There was a "twist" to the story, but by that time I didn't care. I almost threw the book out, but my personal policy is to finish whatever book I start. I accomplished the task, and what a task it was. Four hundred friggin' pages. It was awful.

Don't waste you time with this one. Or, visit Edwin McKay's in a few weeks. I'll have been the one to have traded it in.

Monday, November 12, 2007

No Rest for the Weary

Since we don't have Steel Magnolias performances until Thursday, tonight I will begin my "official" duties as stage manager for Kernersville Little Theatre's production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I'm not overly excited about doing this. There are almost 50 people in the cast. Ten or so of them are adults. The rest are kids, and most of the kids are in elementary school.

If you've got any Valium, please share.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Performance, Steel Magnolias

I usually don't get nervous unless I know someone in the audience. Ken and I have actually discussed this. He seems to get a little nervous before every show. I just don't. I can't totally chalk up a lack of nerves to being confident with my lines and in the character I've created, although that is part of it. Ken suggested I had a slight case of apathy when it comes to an audience of strangers. In a sense I agree with him. Because I don't know them I probably won't be seeing them again. So it's more about entertaining them than impressing them. People I know usually have an expectation to be impressed, or maybe it's more of my desire to want to knock their socks off. I don't know.

I knew my dad and his new girlfriend and Ken were coming to the show last night. So I was a bit nervous before the show. At about 15 til curtain, Mallorie, God love her, comes back to tell me that a bunch of people from KLT were there. I stopped her after she started giving me names. My butterflies increased. I made my first entrance and immediately saw Kelly and her daughter Meghan sitting in the front row. Thankfully I didn't have time to dwell on my butterflies.

Our costume change between 1.1 and 1.2 had been getting better. I taught Lee Ann to underdress her sweater and Kay and Jodi helped her with the baby's breath and bobby pins. She and I were ready as soon as the crew exited. Carole went up on her lines and Lee Ann was the one who got the scene back on track. I was so proud of Lee Ann and I think she finally felt that she had redeemed herself. In the midst of my tender monologue, I happened to look into the audience and I saw Meghan wiping at her eyes. My brain sent up a silent YES!!

After the show, I came out to greet the audience. The KLTers were first in line. Kelly gave me a huge hug and told me how proud of me she was. I could tell she had being doing some good crying. Bill and Kathy were also there, and Kathy had red rimmed eyes. She said she was also impressed with my performance. That was a huge compliment as she stepped in to play M'Lynn when KLT produced the show a couple of years ago. My dad was very proud and his new girlfriend was equally impressed.

Mallorie and I met Ally, Mimi and Ken over at Big Shotz Tavern. (The service was a bit better, but not by much.) We chatted about the show and lots of other things. As I drove home I really felt good about my performance. I know that I have done my job as an actress when I can take words from a script and convey the emotion that affects the audience. For this show, it's not the applause that lets me know I'm hitting my mark. It's the red eyes and all the sniffling.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Performance, Steel Magnolias

Last night was our second performance of Steel Magnolias. Overall it went very well. I think Lee Ann let yesterday's page jump affect her. She exits during 1.2 to get some "clothes" from her "car" and a few lines later, she re-enters. She had totally forgotten she was supposed to come back on and was standing backstage with her wig off! She quickly pulled it on and made her entrance, so again, the audience was none the wiser. In the second act, Lee Ann zoned out on her lines and it took all of us covering to try to get her back on track. She did and the rest of the show went well.

Lee Ann was beating herself up quite a bit. I was telling her stories of my jumps, drops, late entrances, etc. I also reminded her that I was the only one to go up on my lines during our live TV spot. It happens to everyone. And, for me, that's the beauty of live theatre. Dealing with things as they happen.

Our cast party was at Big Shotz Tavern. Once again they were a bit slow on the service. They were warned well in advance that we would be coming at 10:30p so there should not have been any excuse for the slow service. I ordered the nachos, and later wished I hadn't. Still, it was nice to sit and chat.

We've 5 more performances to go. Our Saturday matinee is pretty full; about 150 reservations on the books. You still have plenty of time to get some tickets.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Opening Night, Steel Magnolias

Last night we opened Steel Magnolias, the third production for Clemmons Community Theatre. We had about 50 or so for our first audience. And for an opening Thursday audience they were very responsive.

Our first scene went very well. I was able to remember all my lines, and even added a few extra words to some of my dialogue. (i.e. "Jackson's a good ole Southern boy from a good ole Southern family with good ole Southern values....")

The scene change from 1.1 to 1.2 took forever. I'm dealing with a complete costume change, while Lee Ann is changing and digging baby's breath and bobby pins out of her hair. We nailed our "I'm pregnant" scene, which is one of my favorite scenes. Further on into the scene I'm on the couch reading a magazine when Lee Ann delivers a line and I suddenly realize I'm not usually on the couch at that point. As I moved to the chair, I was trying to figure where I got off on my blocking. Lee Ann had actually jumped about a page and a half. As she made her exit, we realized that she hadn't announced her pregnancy to the group and our remaining dialogue centered around that theme. I could feel all of us thinking of how to cover. Finally Carole said her next line and I covered by asking "Truvy" if she'd overheard our earlier conversation. It worked fine; the audience never realized the jump.

Act Two went off without any major blunders. Charis and I had the audience crying with both of our monologues. At the height of my tender monologue, just as I was taking a breath, one of the ladies sitting in the front row dropped her program. It made a loud noise and almost broke the moment. Still I heard a few sniffles and was pleased that I had accomplished my task as an actress.

I was extremely proud of Mallorie. She was so very nervous at the top of the show, since this show marks her debut as stage manager. She gave time warnings and called places. The light and sound cues were on time. She did an outstanding job. I think this is the beginning of a long career for her.

We've 6 more performances so you've plenty of time to get your tickets!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Something Worth Bragging About

For the last two years "Report Card Day" was not an especially good day for me or Mallorie. I've always tried to instill the importance of the effort, and not necessarily the sole importance of the grade. I mean, I've worked my tush off before just to earn a D. I'm okay if Mallorie "earned" a D. I'm not okay with "getting" a D because you haven't turned in homework or studied for tests.

Mallorie's high school principal had called to remind all parents that Tuesday, November 6 was "Report Card Day". From the moment Mallorie left in the morning, I was dreading her return.

She got in and immediately came down to see me. I looked at her poker face and as my stomach flipped I held out my hand. She gave me her report card. Two A's (PE and Theatre Arts), four B's (Algebra, Civics, Honors English and French) and one C (Chemistry). I was elated! No D's or F's! "Look at the second page," she instructed. I turned the page and almost fell on the floor! She made the Honor Roll.

Mallorie stood before me just beaming. Honor Roll had been a complete shock to her as well. I congratulated her and gave her a big hug. I told her I was absolutely proud of her. And for the first time in too long a time, I also saw pride on her own face.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Radio Interview, Steel Magnolias

We continued our press tour this morning. All six of us showed up for a radio interview with WBFJ 89.3. I've seen pictures of radio stations, even watched WKRP in Cincinnati regularly, but this was the first time I'd actually been in one. I was absolutely fascinated!

Norm was supposed to be there and at the last minute wasn't able to make it. Our castmates nominated Carole and me to be the spokespersons. So she and I stood directly in front of the mics in the on-air room. Carole and I both decided not to wear the headsets. (I might have gone a bit crazy - my inner radio personality was threatening to come out. I was worried I'd start affecting my voice like some radio announcers.) I took the question about the movie - was the play or movie first? How does the movie/play differ. Carole discussed Clemmons Community Theatre and solicited actors and volunteers.

It was only a 2 minute interview, but I had a good time. I hated our TV spot. Perhaps radio is where I need to be. People can't see me, but they do have to listen!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Monday Funny - "Puppy Size"

This is sure to make you smile.

”Danielle keeps repeating it over and over again. We’ve been back to this animal shelter at least five times. It has been weeks now since we started all of this,” the mother told the volunteer.

“What is it she keeps asking for?” the volunteer asked.

“Puppy size!” replied the mother.

“Well, we have plenty of puppies, if that’s what she’s looking for.”

“I know...we have seen most of them,” the mom said in frustration. Just then Danielle came walking into the office. “Well, did you find one?”

“No, not this time,” Danielle said with sadness in her voice. “Can we come back on the weekend?” The two women looked at each other, shook their heads and laughed.

“You never know when we will get more dogs. Unfortunately, there’s always a supply,” the volunteer said. Danielle took her mother by the hand and headed to the door. “Don’t
worry, I’ll find one this weekend,” she said.

Over the next few days both mom and dad had long conversations with her. They both felt she was being too particular. “It’s this weekend or we’re not looking any more,” Dad finally said in frustration.

“We don’t want to hear anything more about puppy size either,” Mom added.

Sure enough, they were the first ones in the shelter on Saturday morning. By now Danielle knew her way around, so she ran right for the section that housed the smaller dogs. Danielle walked slowly from cage to cage, kneeling periodically to take a closer look. One by one, the dogs were brought out and she held each one. One by one she said, “Sorry, you’re not the one.”

It was the last cage on this last day in search of the perfect pup. The volunteer opened the cage door and the child carefully picked up the dog and held it closely. This time she took a little longer.

“Mom, that’s it! I found the right puppy! He’s the one! I know it!” she screamed with joy. “It’s the puppy size!”

“But it’s the same size as all the other puppies you held over the last few weeks,” Mom said.

“No, not size... the sighs. When I held him in my arms, he sighed,” she said. “Don’t you remember? When I asked you one day what love is, you told me love depends on the sighs of your heart. The more you love, the bigger the sigh!”

The two women looked at each other for a moment. Mom didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. As she stooped down to hug her daughter, she did a little of both.

“Mom, every time you hold me, I sigh. When you and Daddy come home from work and hug each other, you both sigh. I knew I would find the right puppy if it sighed when I held it in my arms,” she said. Then holding the puppy up close to her face she said, “Mom, he loves me. I heard the sighs of his heart!”

Saturday, November 03, 2007

TV Interview, Steel Magnolias

This morning the cast of Steel Magnolias began our promo tour. We had a TV interview scheduled for 7:30a with WXII.

I headed over to the studio with plenty of time before our 7:15am call time. I pulled in and pressed the buzzer, as we had been instructed to do. All I needed to do was identify myself as a cast member and I'd be permitted through the automatic gate. Well, I pressed the buzzer and waited. I pressed again and waited. And waited. Lee Ann pulled in behind me. I kept pressing the buzzer and we kept having to wait. I know we were out there for ten minutes! A group of ladies exited the studio and were headed to their cars. They informed Lee Ann that WXII was short staffed this morning and no one was manning the gate. So as the gate opened to let them out, Lee Ann and I snuck in. We were the last ones to arrive and Norm and the cast had been worried.

The morning producer came to advise that Norm would do most of the talking, and they wanted a 30 second scene from the show. We decided to use the closing dialogue of Act 1, scene 1 since all 6 of us are on stage and have lines. The scene starts with Shelby's line and Lee Ann was a bit nervous to be starting. We practiced and it went fine.

At about 7:40a the anchor came in to the room and quickly said hello. The camera person set up and the boom mic was lowered. We could see Norm on the TV in the corner. The anchor asked a couple of questions which Norm answered beautifully. Then came our scene.

The scene went fine. I went up on my last line but covered it pretty well. Well, at least the viewing audience won't know I flubbed. I walked up to Lee Ann and laughed as I told her that even seasoned actresses screw up. I hope knowing that helps her feel less pressured.

Next stop on the promo tour - WFBJ radio station on Tuesday.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Guilty Pleasure - Boy Bands

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Last year Cade was Batman and Mallorie wore her bathrobe and pjs. This year they both went trick-or-treating as something different. Cade went as a Marine and Mallorie was a Pirate. I wore my bathrobe and pjs and carried one of Cade's teddy bears. (There were some other parents dressed up so I wasn't the only one, as Mallorie had feared.)

We decided to trick-or-treat through a new development this year. Houses in this development run $350,000 to $450,000, so the kids were guaranteed to get the good candy. After every house Cade would run back to me and open his bag so I could see the candy he got. I was very impressed; very little crap candy was handed out. We walked around for more than an hour. Even though his treat bag was scrapping the ground, Cade wanted to get more candy. Unfortunately he wore out before his bag was "full".

Back at home, the kids dumped out their bags and sorted their candy. Even though Cade and Mallorie when to the same houses (at the same time!) they each had unique candy. After all was sorted they reviewed each other's booty and the bargaining began. "I'll give you a Take 5 for all your Nerds." I was very proud of Mallorie. She could have shortchanged her little brother (like I did when I was younger!) but she kept her trades very fair.

While we will probably be eating Halloween candy until next Easter, it's now time to focus on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Oy.

Monday, October 29, 2007

An Afternoon at the Theatre

Mallorie and I were treated to Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance's production of Little Shop of Horrors. We saw the closing show yesterday afternoon.

I've seen the movie but have never seen the stage show. WSTA's production was outstanding. Gray Smith nailed the character of Seymour. I love watching Gray in action. He is a wonderful actor. I was equally impressed with Cheri Van Loon. With the help of vocalization, blonde wig and floozy costumes, she was spot-on as Audrey. Zack Brown was hysterical as Orin, the dentist. He has grown so much as a actor since Daddy's Dying. Cary Newberry, Emily Snow, Vanessa Martinez and Nichelle Wright were great as the Doo Wap girls. Dennis Raley and Winston Sims as the voice and operator, respectively, of Audrey II were fabulous.

Even though Ken Ashford is a close friend of mine, I can give an unbiased opinion of his performance. I was absolutely impressed with his Mr. Mushnik. I have seen Ken in many shows, but I have never seen him so energetic! This was his best role, by far. He gave a showstopping performance in "Mushnik & Son" and his tango with Seymour was priceless. I only wish Mr. Mushnik hadn't been the first to end up as plant food.

The only thing I didn't like about the show was the curtain call. Having seen many of Jamie's shows, and having been in a few myself, the curtain call is usually a performance in and of itself. Not so with this show.

Mallorie and I thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon with Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance. She even has the t-shirt to prove it!

October 28, 1946

My dad's birthday was yesterday. I won't embarrass him by telling you how old he is. (You can do the math!)

I called him last night and the kids and I sang to him. He was very gracious. I talked to him for a while and we caught each other up. He is still flying around the country doing telephone installs for Pepsi. He's hitting the southern states now. He's dating Kelly, a nurse. She took him to a Robert Cray concert and he really enjoyed that. He promised to come see Steel Magnolias, and he's bringing Kelly. He sounded happy.

Before we hung up (so he could watch the Red Sox win the World Series) Cade sang him a personalized rendition of "Happy Birthday". It might have been a bad connection, but I thought I heard a catch in Dad's voice as he told Cade that was the best birthday present ever.

Word Warrior

I just took an online IQ test. The test was advertised as a "quick" test. It wasn't quick. It was 12 pages!

My IQ score is 124. The number is based on a scientific formula that compares how many questions I answered correctly relative to others.

My "intellectual type" is Word Warrior. This means I have exceptional verbal skills. I can easily make sense of complex issues (except those involving men and quantum physics) and I take an unusually creative approach to solving problems. (Hey, whatever gets you through, right?) My strengths also make me a visionary. Even without trying I'm able to come up with lots of new and creative ideas.

Yep. Sounds exactly like me.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Annual Olsen Martini Party and Kiln Opening

THE event of the year was held last night, and I was there. I'm talking about Carole Olsen's annual Martini Party and Kiln Opening.

I've known Carole for many years through Kernersville Little Theatre. We are also in Steel Magnolias together. (She's playing Truvy.) I knew that Carole "did" pottery. I just didn't realize how talented she really is!

THE event was held at her house/studio in Kernersville. Each party goer received a martini glass to decorate. Numerous martinis were shaken, poured and consumed. Then everyone went downstairs and Carole gave a raku demonstration. Her pottery was on display and available for purchase. (Pretty smart of her to serve martinis before a pottery show - loosens the inhibitions to buy!)

I absolutely adore pottery and Carole's pieces are wonderful. I bought several and plan to use them when I host a cast party and for our Christmas Eve party. I'm very excited to show them off!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dusty's European Tour - Greetings from Egypt

From: David "Dusty" Roberts
Sent: Fri, 26 Oct 2007 12:12 pm

We made it to Egypt safe and sound, but I must confess this sure is one CRAZY country! Soooo many people around and yes, so many friendly people trying to help you out only for the benefit of themselves. Today we saw the Pyramids at Giza.

Flying into Cairo is scary. Obviously it is like flying into Iraq (from what I've seen from TV on what Iraq looks like), but imagine if NYC was covered in dirt, that's how it would look when you come in. Red dirt and tall buildings. No green. It really is like being in another world. We have been totally fine, and tell people we are from California, though now I realize that there are terrible fires going on in San Diego. Luckily we say we're from Los Angeles or something. Many people have opinions about Bush here, of course (it went all through our travels), but all we've met are all about who you are and not about politics. I did hear about the Political things about Turkey when we first got there. A restaurant owner was telling us the US was blaming the Turks for killing the Armenians or something like that, but like here, he said that it's the sadness of the political side that makes people afraid of seeing the true people/culture.

Here's a pic of me on a camel with the 'guides' little son that cost me 1 Egyptian pound (not much- 50 cents maybe?) all because I took a picture of him on the camel to begin with, then it became a 'fun' ordeal for him to get me on the camel and later... money. haha. I just told him that's all I had and walked on. But everyone kept asking us if we wanted to ride camels or to take pictures with them, etc. It is sad that it is like that, but what can you do?

Traffic here is all over the place and I don't think they have stop lights. It is all at will and crossing the street is like the video game Frogger. hahahahaha. Mind you it looks more dangerous and sounds more dangerous than it is. You just pick a good time to walk across the street along with the breaks in traffic. One gentleman told us never to run across the road as it encourages the drivers to drive faster. haha. It does work to just walk steady, but not slow or run.

I'm sad to miss Halloween. Alan and I joked that we'd wrap up in toilet paper as mummy's and walk around Egypt for Halloween. hahaha. Wouldn't that be funny?

Love ya and miss ya!
(Walk like an Egyptian!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

David's European Tour - More From Turkey

From: David "Dusty" Roberts
Sent: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 7:34 am

Still in Turkey - got to Istanbul yesterday on the overnight express train from Ankara.

Turkey is a great place. Yesterday we walked through the GRAND BAZAAR!! It was impressive, but not so overwhelming as I thought it would be. I mean, it is just stall after stall of junk kind of. haha. I was in search of a lamp, like the ones I used to get at World Market, but these were bigger, round, and had colorful mosaic tiles in them. Of course shipping here is the biggest issue as it is about $100 USD to send a lamp home via FedEx (and using regular mail was apparently cumbersome with extra charges for customs, etc). So, getting a good deal isn't really a thing here if you have to ship it home. :-(

Love ya- Miss ya!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dusty's European Tour

To: David "Dusty" Roberts
From: Cheryl Ann
Subject: Is it cold there?

I'd love to see Egypt! I can't wait to see the picture you take of the pyramids! What do you mean that "I'll finish it up" And what do you mean by coming "home" in December? Does that mean Maryland, DC or Mom's house?

Even though the trees are turning color, the weather is still in the upper 70's and 80's during the day. We've had a couple of crisp days but few and far between. It hasn't rained since June.

Hope you enjoy Egypt, Bangkok and Phuket. (Do you really pronounce the last city the way it's spelled?)

From: David "Dusty" Roberts
Sent: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 7:44 am

The city name is pronounced Pu-ket, but you know we all want to say it like it looks. haha. It is funny- there are always something funny in names around in the places we've been. Like Furkan Market. LOL and this bus service here in Turkey called Kamil Coc (there are puncuations in there that I can't type which would make the Coc as Coach, but still...) And Pecker Jewelers.

Yes, finish up-coming home- to Maryland/DC. Things have been great with travel, but it is just wearing on me with constantly moving on and planning for the next country or city or monument to see. I am TOTALLY glad I did this and I have no regrets, but am ready to come back from my long vacation.

Miss ya and can't wait to see you soon!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dusty's European Tour - Greetings from Turkey

From: David "Dusty" Roberts
Sent: Fri, 19 Oct 2007 6:58 am
Subject: Is it cold there?
We're just finishing up a jaunt around Turkey before heading out next Thursday to Egypt for 2 weeks. I'll finish it up with about a month in Thailand (Bangkok and Phuket), then I'll come home probably around the 8th of Dec.

Has it gotten cold there? Turkey for some reason is a bit colder than what we've had from Greece on down. Brrrr. Today we are in Goreme Turkey which is like being on a Star Wars set. Lots of dirt and these crazy rock caves. We are actually staying in a rock cave! Pretty interesting. The people here are funny as they ALL want to help with tours, directions, hotels, etc. And EVERYONE has SOMEONE that owns one of the above. haha! You need a hotel? Nooo problem... my brother-in-law's brother's sister's mother's father owns one down the street. I take you. haha. In a way it is sad because you feel you can't trust them because in about 9 out of 10 times if you DO find a nice person who seems genuine and is helping bring you to a hotel, he will get a phone call from his friend, who you know he is happy to tell them where you are going and who knows- his friend might have another hotel to offer. haha. But it's not been all that bad. I just tell Alan to stop talking to them and just say that we're not interested and to just keep going. But he likes to talk and then it's like a 15 min charade and it ends up with us saying that we're not interested. haha. Too funny.

Well, hopefully all is well. I'm sure I'll see you all in a few months!

Love ya,

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"Drive-Through" Mastectomies

In January 2007, U.S. Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Representative Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT) reintroduced the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007 (S.459/H.R.758). The bill would allow a woman and her doctor to decide whether she should recuperate for at least 48 hours in the hospital after a mastectomy or whether she has enough support to get quality care at home following this emotionally and physically difficult surgery.

Last fall, as part of Lifetime's "Stop Breast Cancer for Life" campaign, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Jewel, joined by Lifetime executives, delivered more than 12 million signatures to Congress calling for an end to the cruel practice of sending women home without a sufficient recovery period, sometimes just hours after their mastectomy.

This month the petition just reached the 20 million mark!

Urge Congress to stop "drive-through" mastectomies. Please sign the petition.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm Doll 52492.

Customize your virtual self and add to the chain of supporters who want to Stop Breast Cancer for Life!

Update: Myla is doll 54118.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ohmigod, You Guys!

Of course I watched it. I also DVR'd it so I can watch it again (and again, and again, and again), though MTV will be showing an encore presentation tomorrow night.

I did not like the three girls who were "hosting" the event. Two were blonde and one wore pink. (Didn't the other two get the pink memo?) All three were stiff and dull. It's almost as if they had no clue that Broadway even exists! Go back to The Hills and stay there!

The opening number was fabulous. You could hear the audience clapping and cheering. It almost felt like you were in the theatre with them, but with much better seats! I applauded after the opening number and from upstairs Mallorie yelled, "You know they can't hear you!" She was just jealous. For several months she's pooh poohed the musical and turned up her nose. I didn't ask her if she wanted to watch since she was grounded. But she must have been listening at the top of the stairs. Even though I was recording it, I lifted the TV ban and Mallorie watched the show with me.

I wasn't really impressed with Laura Bell Bundy's performance, though I'm not sure I can put my finger on why. Jamie Lawson saw the show in New York a week ago and he wasn't impressed either. He thought she phoned in her performance. During the "Serious" number I felt like she was, well, acting.

I loved the "What You Want" number, though I was not overly impressed with the choreography. (I mean, have you seen a Jamie Lawson curtain call?) And while Laura Bell Bundy kept up with the dance moves, she isn't a dancer. Still, the number was energizing. I applauded, Mallorie beamed.

Next was a commercial and that kinda threw me. I guess I was expecting it to be uninterrupted, like real Broadway shows. There were some backstage pans of the cast warming up. Fun facts were mentioned (Paulette and the UPS man are married in real life) and secrets were explained (Elle underdresses her proposal outfit).

I was highly impressed with Michael Rupert. He commanded the stage from the moment his Callahan began singing "Blood In The Water". I usually skip through that song, but not anymore!

Christian Borle was Emmett. I mean, really, he became that character. I love his "Chip On My Shoulder". I had a hard time with Richard H. Blake, who plays Warner. He was good, but every time he was on stage I keep thinking he looked like the son of actor Gary Cole. Kate Shindle was wonderful as Vivienne. And I'd let Nikki Snelson whip me into shape any day. The jump rope choreography for "Whipped Into Shape" was incredible.

Overall, Mallorie and I absolutely loved it. (Although, if you ask Mallorie she'll probably deny it. She's a reputation to protect apparently.)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Trip to Baa Moo Farm

It's Official!

Get rid of those dark outfits that you've been saving for the fall season, it's all about pink as MTV premieres "Legally Blonde The Musical", based on MGM's hit film "Legally Blonde," on Saturday, October 13th at 1pm ET/PT.

Reinventing the Broadway experience for television, MTV offers viewers who normally would not have the opportunity to see one of the hottest shows the best seats in the house. Complete with a Pink Carpet extravaganza hosted by Lauren Conrad, Audrina Patridge and Whitney Port of The Hills, "Legally Blonde The Musical" was filmed on September 18th from The Palace Theatre in New York City where is continues its open-ended run.

So, I guess you know where I'll be tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

"Uncle" Phil Fontaine, IV

Thank you for always greeting me with your kind smiles and warm hugs. Thank you for allowing me to feel adored. Thank you for making me, and Mallorie, feel welcome. Thank you for allowing me to share the stage with you. Thank you for letting me make fun of your curtain speeches. And above all, thank you for bringing me home.

You will be missed.

Rehearsal, Ready for Love

Last night was my first rehearsal with the Golden Triad Chorus. No, I've not joined a singing group. (They wouldn't have me anyway! You have to really sing to be a part of the group.) Next week Golden Triad Chorus will be performing their annual stage show. They've put together a little program called Ready for Love. They wanted an actress to be in the show instead of using a chorus member. Robin called me and I agreed. I will be playing the Wife, and Stan will be playing the Husband.

While we were waiting to rehearse the show, the ladies warmed up. I was blown away. My goodness, these ladies are wonderful! One of the songs, One Voice, almost made me cry. Then 4 local high school students sang individual songs. They are competing for a chance at a scholarship. Sasha from RHS was fantastic. Staci (who was an orphan in Annie)was also very impressive. I hope one of them wins.

Stan and I went through the show with the chorus. It's a cute little program. Wife is getting ready for an anniversary celebration, which Husband has forgotten all about. In between our dialogue the chorus sings appropriate songs. I had so much fun with my role. I can't wait until next week's rehearsal!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Monday Funny

A Night at the Theatre

If you didn't get to see All My Sons this weekend, you missed an excellent production.

The play centers around the Kellers, a seemingly average American family. Joe Keller, the father, has lived with tremendous guilt. During WW II, he knowingly sold the Army defective airplane parts in order to meet a deadline. This act, among others, proves to be fatal to those around him. While Joe was able to provide a good life for his family, he discovers that the price of wealth may not be one that he can afford.

The production was staged by The High Point University Theatre Department and the cast included faculty, students and alumni. April J’Callahan Marshall, who I am honored to call one of my best friends, portrayed Kate Keller. She was outstanding. Her son, Jacob, helped with scene changes but it was too dark to really see him. Everything seemed in place for the scenes so he must have done a great job. The set, which was apparently finished at 7:10p on opening night (the performance began at 7:30!) was beautiful.

It was a very poignant show. Every decision we make has a cost. We need to always be aware of whether or not we can afford the eventual payments.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Rehearsals, Steel Magnolias

Our director, Norm Birdsall was in LTWS' production of Smoke on the Mountain. The show closed on Sunday, so we began Steel Magnolias rehearsals on Monday.

I've had a little over a month off from any type of rehearsal, and I was getting pretty used to having my nights free. That said, I was not really looking forward to Monday's rehearsal. The change in my schedule made me a bit grumpy. We blocked the first 20 pages and ran the scene a couple of times. By the end of rehearsal I was excited about the show. My attitude was much better at last night's rehearsal.

We've blocked all of Act 1 and by the end of the week the entire show will be blocked. At times Norm will give us specific blocking and other times he will allow us the freedom to "block" ourselves. I love this style of directing. You've got a general idea of placement, yet you can still let the emotions move you. And the emotions are going to move M'Lynn all over the stage!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

An Evening at the Theatre

Courtesy of our new mountain FRENDS (yes, it's misspelled intentionally), Ken and I saw Ashe County Little Theatre's production of The Last Meeting of the Knights of the White Magnolias last night. It was an interesting show, to say the least.

The show follows a fraternity of "good ole boys," which meets in a local hotel. The Knights of the White Magnolia, a sheetless KKK group, has long since lost sight of concerns with patriotism and racial purity, and has become an excuse for these "good ole boys" to share a game of dominoes and liquor refreshments. Having dwindled in membership, the lodge has found a new recruit from a neighboring town, and his appearance allows a resurrection of their ancient "mystic" initiation rite, an event which, for all its intentional seriousness, becomes one of the funniest scenes.

The set was wonderful and the actors appeared to be very talented - except for one thing. I couldn't understand a word they spoke! This had nothing to do with mountain/country accents or being inaudible. Enunciation was the culprit. There seemed to be a poignant ending - unfortunately I missed the entire dialogue!I am surprised that Ashe County Little Theatre produced this piece. I am not personally offended by cursing or using the Lord's name in vain, unless it's gratuitous. And I did feel as though some of the language was written for shock value only. Others also had some concerns with the language. Two letters were written to the editor of the Jefferson Post.

Still, I do have to hand it to Ashe County for finding the 9 men required for the show. KLT has trouble getting 4 men to show up for auditions!

Ohmigod MTV, WTF?!

I posted a couple of weeks ago about MTV taping Legally Blonde: The Musical. According to news reports, MTV was supposed to broadcast the show, in it's entirety yesterday at 1p. Since I was going to be in West Jefferson for the weekend, and not near a TV, I set up my DVR. The cable guide did indicate there would be an MTV Special beginning at 1p, but regular programing started up at 2pm. Still, I set my DVR from 1p - 4p figuring the guide was incorrect.

I just got home and I'm slightly ticked. No Legally Blonde. I got 3 hours of True Life episodes instead. I know taping happened because Heather and Jeff Maggs were lucky enough to get the free tickets. The MTV website simply tells me to "check my local listings". WTF? There's nothing about Legally Blonde: The Musical on my local listing. So that means either a) MTV or MTI reneged on the deal or b) it's not going to be broadcast in the South. Dammit!

I lifted the below pictures from the MTV website. While it's not the actual production of Legally Blonde: The Musical, I'm hoping it will tide me over until I can figure out if/when MTV will air it.

Update, Oct 1 - After Googling, I've finally found out that MTV has indeed rescheduled the airing of Legally Blonde: The Musical. The new date is Saturday, October 13 at 1p.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tricked...For the Better

Ken came over last night to babysit a sleeping Cade while I trekked to K'Vegas to pick-up Mallorie. I asked him to come over early, and he brought a stack of movies. Among them was Life Is Beautiful.

I had never seen the movie and vaguely remember hearing people talk about it. I understood that those that had seen the movie really loved it; the majority counting it among their top favorite movies of all time. Ken nodded and told me that I would like it as well. "It's a chick flick," he reassured.

Well, I'm not sure what Ken's definition of chick flick is, but mine is "romantic comedy". Yes, the first half of the movie was, in essence, a chick flick. The last half of the movie was not. I sat paralyzed, with dread eating away at my stomach. By the end of the movie I was openly weeping. No other movie has made me cry to that extent.

After using several Kleenex, I chided Ken for not better preparing me. Still, I admit he made the right choice in not telling me more about the movie. If I had known half the movie was akin to Schindler's List I wouldn't have wanted to watch. I'm glad I did. And I, too, will count Life Is Beautiful among my most favorite movies of all times.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Rock The Block

This downtown Winston-Salem (nighttime) party started 5 years ago. Since I'd never been, I decided that I should support this downtown revitalization spotlight event. I went last night, and to be honest, I was disappointed.

You see, I grew up going to Winston-Salem's annual Street Scene, which was an all day downtown party. There were several musical mainstages, all varities of food vendors, tons of folks selling all sorts of stuff, and thousands of people. (If you've been to Greensboro's Fun Fourth then you've an idea of what Street Scene was like.)

Rock The Block had some musical mainstages, and I certainly can't fault the event promoters if I didn't like the bands/DJs that were performing. Although I was starving, I did not want to purchase my dinner from any of the food vendors. Seven bucks for a small plate of fries? Come on. (I did have dinner at Foothills Brewery. While service was a bit slow - didn't they consider the increase in traffic due to Rock The Block? - the food was delicious.) There were hardly any "stuff" vendors. So few were there that it would have been best to place them all in one area, instead of sporatically down 4th Street. (I was pleasantly surprised about a "booth" for Pure Romance and I spent 30 minutes chatting it up with the party consultants.)

I'm going to show my age here, but the thing that disappointed me the most was the lack of age ranges of the attendees. The majority were teenagers and early 20 somethings dressed for hooking up. While I wasn't the oldest person there, at times I certainly felt like it.

I did run into some folks that I hadn't seen in while - Ashley and I worked together at US Airways, and I hadn't seen her since our office closed. She's now married and 4 months pregnant! Cade's favorite daycare teacher, Ms. Charity, stopped and chatted about Cade's adjustment to kindergarten and staff changes at the daycare. ANd Zack, soon to be seen in Little Shop of Horrors was enjoying a night off from rehearsal.

All in all, I am glad that I attended, though I hardly "rocked the block". I think next year I'll sit this one out.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Book Report

While at the Bookmarks Festival a few weeks ago, I browsed a tent full of used books. Paperback books were 2/$1.00 and hardcover books were $1.00. (That's better pricing than Edward McKays!) I purchased Les Miserables for Mallorie, as well as the Les Mis cliff notes. (She'll be reading the Victor Hugo novel in English this year.) I also bought her an English/French pocket dictionary, since she's taking French. I still needed to get one more paperback book...

I saw Steve Martin's Shopgirl and, never having read anything by Steve Martin, I decided to get it. I finished it Tuesday, and I must say it was well worth the 50 cents I technically paid for it. Any more than that and I would have been disappointed.

The book itself is nice. The cover is the same as the above picture. The front and back have flaps which give it a dust jacket feel. And the pages have a nice texture. Unfortunately, the story doesn't fit the "elegantness" of the package.

I was impressed by the first chapter. His choice of words to create very interesting and visual sentences was unique. However, the more I read, the more I had to re-read these sentences to fully understand his point. There was also almost no dialogue, which made for an incredibly wordy book. I was glad it was only 130 pages long.

And the story itself was not very rewarding. From the inside flap:
Mirabelle is the "shopgirl" of the title, a young woman, beautiful in a wallflowerish kind of way, who works behind the glove counter at Neiman Marcus "selling things that nobody buys anymore..."

Mirabelle capture the attention of Ray Porter, a wealthy businessman almost twice her age. As they tentatively embark on a relationship, they struggle to decipher the language of love-with consequences that are both comic and heartbreaking.
For me, there was nothing redeemable about Ray Porter's character or his interest in Mirabelle. At 50 years old, Ray should well know better. I kept fighting the desire to reach inside the book to slap Mirabelle upside the head and shout, "Wake up, Sister!"

If you want to read it, I'll be trading it in at Edward McKays. Be forewarned, it'll probably cost you more than the half dollar it cost me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I've been hired by Paragon Advertising to do a radio spot. That's all I knew as I drove over to the recording studio, which is in Gene Johnson's house. When I arrived Gene was chatting with Jim McKeny, who was also doing the radio spot. Bob Morphis from Paragon arrived last.

I was given a quick tour of the studio and then Jim stepped into the recording booth, which was a small bedroom closet. Jim recorded a short voiceover for Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, and then I was asked to step inside the booth.

I was told that I was "playing" a woman who had just learned she was pregnant. My part of the commercial was asking the Doctor questions about the safety of flying while pregnant. Since I had a script to read from I thought it'd be a piece of cake.

I first had to deal with headphones that were huge and blocked out all sound, except that of my own voice. And since I don't particularly like the sound of my own voice it took some getting use to. Next, each of my 5 lines had a very specific time limit. You'd think saying "I'm pregnant" in less than 3 seconds would be easy, but don't forget you have to count the breath that's taken right before uttering the words. You can't deliver too fast either. Once I got the speed down I then had to "act". Bob kept telling me to sound like I was happy about being pregnant. With Jim's dirty little jokes between takes, it wasn't hard to put that smile in my voice.

All in all it took less than half hour from the time I arrived until I left, and for the 60-second radio commercial spot I earned $110.00!