Saturday, December 27, 2008

I Believe (Do You?)

I Believe...
Just because two people argue, doesn't mean they don't love each other.
And just because they don't argue, doesn't mean they do love each other.

I Believe...
We don't have to change friends if we understand friends change.

I Believe....
No matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I Believe...
True friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance.
Same goes for true love.

I Believe...
You can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I Believe...
It is taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I Believe...
You should always leave loved ones with loving words.
It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe...
You can keep going long after you think you can't.

I Believe...
We are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I Believe...
Either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I Believe...
Heroes are the people who do what has to be done, when it needs to be done, regardless of consequences.

I Believe...
Money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I Believe...
My best friend and I can do anything or nothing, and have the best time.

I Believe...
Sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down will be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe...
Sometimes when I 'm angry, I have the right to be angry.
But that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I Believe...
Maturity has more to do with the types of experiences you've had and what you've learned and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I Believe...
It isn't always enough to be forgiven by others.
Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe...
No matter how bad your heart is broken, the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I Believe...
Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I Believe...
You shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret.
It could change your life forever.

I Believe...
Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I Believe...
Your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I Believe...
Even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries you will find the strength to help.

I Believe...
Credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I Believe...
The people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

I Believe.....
The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything.
They just make the most of anything.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Morning

Once again Santa was very, very good to us. No, Mallorie isn't in pain, that's excitement caught in the Kodak moment. She loved the Guitar Hero Santa left for her. And Cade was just as thrilled with his train set.

My dad came over to spend the late morning with us. We refreshed the coffee and brought out more of the Moravian sugar cake. Grandpa brought Cade a remote control helicopter, which drives the dogs crazy. Grandpa gave Mallorie her favorite thing in the world - cash.

Later on, Mikey came over to spend some time with his dogs. He and Cade played with the Nerf guns Santa left in his and Mallorie's stockings. Later on, Mallorie, Mikey and I played Would You Rather?. We had fun with trying to choose the lesser of two evils that we would "rather" do.

We hope that everyone had as merry a Christmas as we did this year!

Monday, December 15, 2008

'50s Echoes: Quartet puts on lively show

By Mary Martin Niepold
Published: December 14, 2008
It's Christmas, it's the 1950s, and four guys with hearts as big as the world appear for a last performance. They're called the Plaids, a singing quartet who thrive on harmony -- in heart and song -- and they're the stars of the holiday musical,Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings, that opened at the Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance on Friday night.

Put it this way: If you loved to sing and Rosemary Clooney had called to ask you to sing -- or if you had a chance to sing backup for Perry Como on his hit television show from the same era -- well, if you're the Plaids, you'd jump at the chance while also offering your own version of a holiday show. And that is what we see on stage.

The Plaids make it up as they go, so theirs is a holiday show unlike any other.

Carols, a few hymns, doo-wop dancing and some hits of the times -- everything from "Sh-Boom" to "Mambo Italiano" get their own Plaid version from these lovable singers.

Hosannas get thrown into the lyrics of ballads, and the popular Harry Belafonte hit, "Day-O," somehow comes out with a Christmas message, complete with grass skirts and maracas.

Laughs, puns and pratfalls round out the fun.

Written by Stuart Ross, Forever Plaid may sound confusing, but it's not, because the storyline is this: A quartet of just average Joes wants everyone to be happy, and they'll sing and dance their hearts out to make sure it happens.

Their names are Frankie, Sparky, Jinx and Smudge, and their true mission is "to make people feel cozy."

The rigors of singing and dancing non-stop are daunting, but each of the four actors handles solos admirably, while never overshadowing his buddies.

Gray Smith appears as Frankie, Craig Faircloth as Sparky and Neil Shepherd as Jinx.

The standout is David Joy as Smudge, the Sartre-quoting intellectual in the bunch who deadpans his way into your heart.

Director Jamie Lawson goes for big laughs in his remake of television's popular The Ed Sullivan Show that trots out everything from stuffed dogs being thrown through hula hoops to Groucho Marx and the singing Chipmunks.

Music director Travis Horton demonstrates fine talent with the keyboard, and we get to see his musical trio on stage.

If you lived through the '50s, you'll wonder how you ever got through all this the first time, but you'll definitely have a good time revisiting when it's the Plaids taking you there.

Harmony, they'll tell you, is something we can all create.
Update 12/21: I was house manager for the show last night. WXII was there shooting a webspot. David and Jamie were both interviewed. Mary Barnhardt was shot handing the "patron" a ticket and I was shot handing the "patron" a program. It was kinda cool.

I was able to watch the show, and I must say that I think it's the best show I've seen WSTA do. I have to agree with Mary; David Joy was a stand out. He brought such nuance to his Smudge character and maintained the character details throughout. I've watched David grow as an actor, and I'm proud to have shared the stage with him on a couple of occasions.

If you haven't seen the show you only have one more chance. The last performance is 8p on Tuesday!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

An Evening at the Theatre

It wasn't just because we couldn't get tickets to see The Santaland Diaries. Dick Strohmeier was in Black Comedy, along with Chuck Powers. So Ken and I decided to attend opening night.

It's difficult to talk about the show without giving away the central concept, which I found unique and very entertaining. The play relies a great deal on physical comedy, of which I'm a huge fan. Physical comedy needs to look real instead of, well, staged. I think a more seasoned cast would have looked less choreographed.

I thought William Speakman, who played Brindsley Miller, did fairly well. It might have been opening night nerves, but I would have loved to have seen Alex Koceja really let loose as Harold. Amy Swaim as Miss Furnival was just plain funny. Chuck and Dick were charming in their respective roles. Lilly Nelson was a powerhouse as Clea.

Ken and I sat in the front row. Twice I had to adjust myself for fear of getting hit with a prop. For me, that's the beauty of live theatre. Things don't always go as scripted. It's a testament of a true actor to deal with unreliable props, or props that fall other than where expected. The cast did a great job in dealing with these issues, and had so much fun I wished I had been in the show.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Prop 8 - The Musical

Cast (in order of appearance)
California Gays and The People That Love Them:
Jordan Ballard, Margaret Cho, Barrett Foa, J.B. Ghuman, John Hill, Andy Richter, Maya Rudolph, Rashad Naylor, Nicole Parker
Proposition 8'ers and The People That Follow Them:
Prop 8 Leader - John C. Reilly
Prop 8 Leader's #1 Wife - Allison Janney
Prop 8 Leader's #2 Wife - Kathy Najimy
Riffing Prop 8'er - Jenifer Lewis
A Preacher - Craig Robinson
Scary Catholic School Girls From Hell - Rashida Jones, Lake Bell, Sarah Chalke
The Frightened Villagers - Katharine "Kooks" Leonard, Seth Morris, Denise "Esi!" Piane, Lucian Piane, Richard Read, Seth Redford, Quinton Strack, Tate Taylor
Jesus Christ - Jack Black
A Very Smart Fellow - Neil Patrick Harris
Piano Player - Marc "Marc" Shaiman

Friday, November 28, 2008

Beast or Boy?

Cade came to the museum with me today. Sneakers, the mascot of the "Healthier Ever After" exhibit, made an appearance. Afterwards, Cade decided he wanted to try on the costume. What do you think?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Review for Blithe Spirit

Economy, story make this play a difficult sell
By Joe Scott, Special to the News & Record
GREENSBORO - With two minutes before the start of Open Space Cafe Theatre's production of "Blithe Spirit," I realize that with the exception of my date and the 12 other audience members sitting in the room, no one else was coming.

That's when Open Space's founder and artistic director Joe Nierle took on the difficult task of greeting such a paltry audience.

"As you can see," Nierle said, "the economy has begun to affect us also."

Then the play began, and I realized that even if the economy weren't in a downswing, the low turnout would have been just as well. With no less than two intermissions, the three hours and nine minutes it took to sit through "Blithe Spirit" was a gauntlet of endurance. There were few instances where this stuffy comedy about members of the British upper class dealing with a supernatural calamity gagged with signs of life.

For the most part, it was painfully dead.

The focus of writer Noel Coward's play is married couple Charles (Fred Nash) and Ruth (Cheryl Ann Roberts). A widower and widow, they open the play discussing their former marriages.

Meanwhile, Charles, who is a writer, is planning to take part in a seance so he can do research for his upcoming mystery novel. Add Charles' discussion of his late first wife Elvira to this scenario and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess that she will soon materialize and create all kinds of chaos on the married couple's lives.

It was Nash who delivered the most well-crafted performance of the show. His refined British accent sounded real enough to fool the Queen.

By the second act, he made it clear that he was the measuring stick by which all of his castmates should be compared. Co-stars Roberts, Betsy Brown and especially Jane McLelland fared well, but the rest of the cast was woefully lacking.

As the show's other wealthy British couple, Mary Janca and especially Michael Henry Carter, changed their accents more often than they did their costumes.

But the show's biggest sore thumb was actress Shelly Segal. For starters, Segal didn't seem too convinced with what was happening on stge. As the titular spirit, Elvira, she seldom made eye contact with her co-stars and continued to wave her nightgown back and forth like a small child in a Christmas pageant.

Was this a case of misdirection? I couldn't say, but Segal also was cheating towars the audience so much during the play that it encroached the fourth wall.

As I suffered through one of the more difficult scenes, I started to think that perhaps this was simply a case of a company doing the wrong play at the wrong time.

After all, with unemployment on the rise, it's truly difficult to sympathize with a character who says, "Servants are awful aren't they? Not a shred of gratitude."

Indeed, if local theatre is to survive an impending recession, arts groups would do well to seek out stories that will engage the rising number of groundlings hard-pressed to afford tickets.


Thursday, November 20, 2008


Four years ago today a dream became a reality as the Children's Museum of Winston-Salem opened its doors.

Now, nearly 85,000 guests visit the Museum each year for story times, birthday parties, facility rentals, field trips, group tours, outreach programs, and summer camps...that's something to celebrate!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Special Comment by Keith Olbermann on Prop 8

As tears stream down my face, I applaud Olbermann's Special Comments from last night's "Countdown" broadcast, the top-rated show on MSNBC.

It's six minutes and thirty seconds of poetic, emotional television. Hundreds of thousands of people saw this last night. Now's your chance. Please press play.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'd Love To See This...

Bell, Book and Candle by John Van Druten. Triad Stage at the Pyrle Theater, October 19-November 9. 7:30pm Tuesday - Thursday and Sunday; 8pm Friday, Saturday; 2pm Sunday. 232 South Elm Street, Greensboro. 336-272-0160.

Back in the early 90's I read the script while serving on the playreading committee for Kernersville Little Theatre. I remember thinking it was a very cute story. KLT didn't want to produce it because one of the "characters", Pyewacket, is a cat.


I'm thinking of taking Cade...
October 31, 6pm. At Downtown Winston-Salem Arts District, Trade Street 5th-7th Trade Street, Winston-Salem. Dress up the kids, pets and yourself for a night of trick-or-treating, costume contests, prizes, art activities, spookatacular entertainment, and lots and lots of candy. Cost is free.

Monday, October 27, 2008

We Got Dogs!

Okay, so they aren't really our dogs. We are dogsitting Jazmin (the blonde) and Cosi (the black) for a couple of months while Gigaboo plays Santa in Here's Love.

Cade is beyond excited. He's been following them around as they explore their new home. Mallorie has responded in true teenage fashion - a shoulder shrug and a grunt. (I think that means she's excited.)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Just Finished

And I have to say that I am hooked! Thank goodness I have the next book. I can dive into that one immediately!

After reading the book I was very curious as to what others (of all ages) thought about the book. So, I read some of the reviews on (I especially loved the review by gaimangirl.)

True, Twilight is no literary masterpiece, but it is wonderful fluff entertainment. If you're over the age of 20, and as long as you remember that the book was written for young adults (with the emphasis on young) I think you'll enjoy it.

Now, on to the next saga.....

Monday, October 06, 2008

The last time I used one of these was 1988 for a college term paper. I don't believe I've used one since. Well, I had to use one at work today.

As I sat before the relic, I vividly remembered taking Typing 101, taught by Mrs. Barney in high school. Ah, the memories...

Typing 17 labels caused me quite a bit of frustration. The poor little machine just could not keep up with me! When typing double letters I actually had to wait for it to reset the key in order to type the letter again. This I figured out when Tennessee came out looking like Tenese.

Causing me to express more of my frustration verbally, was the fact that, while this typewriter had built in correction tape, it would not completely clear the incorrect letter. After some choice words, I searched the office for some White Out. We didn't have any.

An hour later, I finally finished my 17 labels. My computer now knows how much I appreciate it.

Monday Funny

A Michigan woman and her family were vacationing in a small New England town where Paul Newman and his family often visited.

One Sunday morning, the woman got up early to take a long walk. After a brisk five-mile hike, she decided to treat herself to a double-dip chocolate ice cream cone. She hopped in the car, drove to the center of the village and went straight to the combination bakery/ice cream parlor.

There was only one other patron in the store, Paul Newman, sitting at the counter having a doughnut and coffee. The woman's heart skipped a beat as her eyes made contact with those famous baby-blue eyes. The actor nodded graciously and the star struck woman smiled demurely. "Pull yourself together!", she chided herself. "You're a happily married woman with three children, you're forty-five years old, not a teenager!"

The clerk filled her order and she took the double-dip chocolate ice cream cone in one hand and her change in the other. Then she went out the door, avoiding even a glance in Paul Newman's direction.

When she reached her car, she realized that she had a handful of change but her other hand was empty. Back into the shop she went, expecting to see the cone still in the clerk's hand or in a holder on the counter or something! No ice cream cone was in sight. With that, she happened to look over at Paul Newman.

His face broke into his familiar, warm, friendly grin and he said to the woman,
"You put it in your purse."

Friday, October 03, 2008

KLT on the Air!

If you were tuning in to Murphy in the Morning this morning at 8:20am, I hope you heard Myla O'Brien talking about The Queen of Bingo.

Myla is the VP of Marketing for Kernersville Little Theatre and she used this morning's WKZL remote broadcast to promote our current production. Tiffany Joyner and Jean Wentz were on hand for a live teaser performance.

I've know Myla for many years, and I cannot tell you how proud of her I am. To have arranged for an interview during the live broadcast was extraordinary. But to hear Myla talk about KLT - amazing! She was very articulate and very professional. I was smiling and clapping as I listened to my radio.

Outstanding job, Myla!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Saw You Can't Take It With You Thursday. Loved it!
~Becky Mo
Cheryl Ann...Essie is fabulous. You're so great in this show. You are so funny!
We had a fun time watching your “acting” (but was it really acting, or just acting naturally?) in You Can’t Take It With You on Friday night!!! Bravo!
~B & KC
Enjoyed the show Sunday. You lit up the stage.
Thanks so much for all that you did to make “You Can’t Take It with You” a success! You and your fellow cast members were great! Your energy and dedication is vital to the success of the Little Theatre and we appreciate everything you do.
~Carrie Collins
The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem Board of Directors

Monday, September 29, 2008

Love and Support

Becky, Mom, Liz, Rodney and Marie, Bill and Kathy, Mallorie and Cade, Dick and Carolyn, and Myla...

I am once again so very honored for your love and support. Thank you so much for seeing You Can't Take It With You. I hope you had as much fun watching as I did dancing.

A Society Column

by Leigh McMillian

I've been writing this column for 10 years now, and I must say, I've never attended a gala quite like the one last week. I was invited to join Paul and Penny Sycamore as they celebrated the engagement of their daughter Alice to Mr. Anthony Kirby, Jr..

Things definitely started off on the wrong foot when Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Kirby, Sr. arrived a day early, interrupting Essie Carmichael's ballet lesson with renowned Russian ballet instructor Boris Kolenkhov.

I've got to hand it to Penny Sycamore. She did her best to piece together a last-minute dinner, sending the family's devoted maid Reba out to the store for frankfurters, Campbell's soup and canned corn. The menu changed dramatically when Reba came back with pickled pigs feet instead. I've heard that, since the party, the family has made the acquaintance of Duchess Olga Katrina. Too bad she wasn't on hand to make her famous blintzes.

Would-be actress Gay Wellington, invited to audition for one of Mrs. Sycamore's latest plays, added a little impromptu entertainment with her drunken rendition of "There was a young lady from Wheeling."

The evening wound down early when things got a little tense during a game of Forget-Me-Not. The Kirby's were on their way out the door when three officers from the Department of Justice arrived to arrest Ed Carmichael for distributing anti-government propaganda. Further investigation in the basement revealed a very entertaining but highly illegal fireworks operation run by Paul Sycamore and his partner, Mr. De Pinna.

Martin Vanderhof, Mrs. Sycamore's father, attempted to smooth things over but when I left to file this column, the whole group was being loaded into a paddy wagon, leaving several shipments of Love Dreams, an unfinished portrait and a jar of uneaten pickled pigs feet.

Which just goes to show, sometimes you can't take it with you.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Journal Review......

What Fun: A lot to take away with this
By Ken Keuffel
Published: September 20, 2008

The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem's current production of You Can't Take It With You is very funny.

But it manages to get a serious message across about values and priorities -- and one worth pondering as the show's many cast members astonish us with their eccentricities on the Reynolds Auditorium stage.

You Can't Take It With You was written by the famed team of George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.

It conquered Broadway in the middle 1930s, running there for more than 800 performances before being made into an Academy Award-winning film. It's of another time but remains remarkably relevant to ours.

The plot revolves around the Sycamores and the Kirbys, two radically different families that are brought together because Alice Sycamore (Ashley Davis) and Tony Kirby (Ben Palombo) have fallen in love.

The Kirbys are strait-laced, normal and consumed by the Wall Street culture of building wealth.

The Sycamores are just the opposite. Each real or adopted member of that clan zealously pursues his or her own interests.

Some of their hobbies are mundane, but many others are truly bizarre and include evading the taxman for years, making fireworks in a basement, writing plays about war and sex and circulating candies wrapped in paper on which incendiary messages are printed.

The contrasts between the happy Sycamores and the (initially) unhappy Kirbys are vividly drawn in director Stan Bernstein's attractive staging. We get a palpable sense of the wacky disharmony into which the two families fall.

There are a number of fine individual performances. I found that of Mikey Wiseman particularly memorable; he plays Kolenkhov, the ballet instructor who wears his Russianness on his sleeve in exaggerated-but-endearing fashion.

And David Westfall plays Grandpa Vanderhof quite convincingly, teaching us why it's sometimes important to quit the rat race, relax and live a little.

■ The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem will present You Can't Take It With You through Sept. 28 in Reynolds Auditorium. Evening shows will be at 8 p.m. tonight, Thursday, Friday and next Saturday, with a 2 p.m. matinee Sept. 28. Tickets are $18, $16 for seniors and $14 for students. Call 725-4001.
Aside from the physical toll the role of Essie took (constantly dancing around on tippy-toes is exhausting!) I had a great time!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

40 Tips for A Better Life

  1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.
  2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.
  4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to __________ today.'
  5. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
  6. Play more games and read more books than you did last year.
  7. Make time to practice meditation, and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.
  8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
  9. Dream more while you are awake.
  10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
  11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.
  12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.
  14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, OR issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a life time.
  16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
  17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the NEGATIVE BLUES away.
  18. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
  19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
  20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
  22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
  23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'
  26. Forgive everyone for everything.
  27. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  28. Remember, time heals everything.
  29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  30. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
  31. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
  32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  33. The best is yet to come.
  34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  35. Do the right thing!
  36. Call your family often. (Or email them to death!!!)
  37. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.
  38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
  39. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass.
  40. You only have the one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Girl!

Creating Hollywood in North Carolina
News & Record of Greensboro
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Rebecca Clark knows just how a dirty a job film making can be.

The director of the Piedmont Triad Film Commission was showing Anthony Minghella a property near Belews Lake in 2003 when he was scouting locations for re-shoots on his movie "Cold Mountain." She came to a puddle of mud in the road and thought her Honda Civic could make it across if she drove through it really fast. Instead she got stuck, and the Oscar-winning director of "The English Patient," along with his producing partner, got out to push.

"It was the most embarrassing thing ever," Clark said. "His feet were dirty and mud was flying. I was like, 'You don't have to do this; we can call a tow truck.' I was mortified. But, being the gentleman that he is, he said in his beautiful English accent, "Rebecca, this has made it a complete adventure."' That's why he'll always be my hero."

Most of Clark's adventures aren't quite that exciting. But she has played host to many of Hollywood's elite as she has helped facilitate productions such as 2002's "Cabin Fever," 2005's "Junebug," and "Leatherheads," which was filmed here last year.

The News & Record of Greensboro reported that Clark has worked at the commission for about 15 years and has headed it for eight, recruiting film, television and commercial shoots to the area. It is an industry that generated about $33 million worth of revenue in the Triad last year. The commission recently drew up a five-year strategic plan to increase film production revenues, host more networking events and put on the commission's Web site a PDF version of its production directory. As Clark sees it, her job is part economic development, part boosterism.

"We're a film-friendly community. We have fabulous locations, all kinds of different looks," she said. "We have some swampy areas in the region. We have mountains and flatlands and cities. We have big city looks. We have beautiful and quaint small towns. And we have crew here. They don't have to bring everybody in from L.A."

A winning personality

On the wall behind her L-shaped desk in the film commission office, Clark has a poster for "Junebug," the Phil Morrison picture about family dysfunction and outsider art. In some ways, Clark is like Amy Adams' chatty mother-to-be in the movie but without the naiveté (or the bun in the oven). The 42-year-old is outgoing, eager to please and, acquaintances say, quick to make friends.

"There isn't a door she can knock on and not expect to see a smile on someone's face in 60 seconds," said director Aaron Schneider, who came to the area in 2001 to shoot his Academy Award-winning short film "Two Soldiers."

"I remember when we were shooting, we'd see a location we wanted to use, and we'd have her knock on the door while we hid behind a tree. And you could tell just by the body language that they'd be talking about some recipe or a relative. Or she'd be petting their dog. She was very helpful in interacting with the community."

Clark, who lives in Winston-Salem with her husband of two years, Jeff Mills, is a native of Kernersville and was a movie buff growing up. Films such as "The Sound of Music" and "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" were among her favorites. After graduating from High Point's Wesleyan Christian Academy in 1984, she postponed college for several years because, she said, she was uncertain what she wanted to do and wanted to make sure she was truly ready before spending the tuition.

She eventually went to UNCG, majoring in psychology (but also taking many classes in cinema, theater and broadcasting) and graduating in 1992.

"Once I got out of school, I really didn't know what I wanted to make a living at," she said. "I enjoyed psychology and sociology and thought maybe I could be a guidance counselor and work with kids, but you pretty much needed a master's degree if you wanted to pursue something like that."

While working as an office manager at a music store in 1993, Clark was contacted by Steve Montal, then assistant dean of the film making school at the N.C. School of the Arts. He told her the film commission needed some freelance help, and she was soon taking pictures and scouting locations for the organization. In 1996, she was hired full time. Four years later, she became director and is now the commission's only paid employee.

Though she has worked with a few overly demanding personalities (she won't name names), she said many people from Hollywood can be surprisingly easy to work with.

"You can't have a thin skin or be easily offended to be in this job, that's for sure," she said. "But generally speaking, people are very nice. You have to be. You have to be outgoing and cordial, or otherwise you're not going to get very much done."

She acknowledges she has been a little star-struck from time to time (she said she was a bit intimidated by "Leatherheads" star George Clooney at first, though he turned out to be very easygoing), but those who have worked with Clark say she handles herself around stars as she would with any other business acquaintance.

"She has magnificent interpersonal skills, and she's able to promote the region to folks who most people would be tongue-tied around or would swoon over," said Jerry McGuire, chairman of the board for the film commission. "Rebecca has the ability to articulate in a professional way and interact with those folks in a very, very effective way."

A developing business

Clark spends a good deal of time explaining what the film commission doesn't do: It doesn't produce films, it doesn't showcase films, and it doesn't take money from filmmakers. It's not an arts organization in the traditional sense of funding local artists or venues.

"What we are doing is recruiting businesses," she said. "But instead of trying to recruit a manufacturing plant here, what I'm doing is recruiting production companies who might hire a pool of 200 people - people that live here that rely on freelance opportunities working in feature films and in commercials for their livelihoods. And those production companies are spending money here. On 'Leatherheads' they spent about $7 million here in the Piedmont Triad alone. They didn't even film the whole movie here. They only filmed here a couple of weeks."

The Piedmont Triad Film Commission was founded in 1993, conceived as a way to keep film school graduates from leaving the area. In its early years, it focused mainly on Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. In 1996, however, the state's Department of Commerce announced its desire for each of North Carolina's seven economic development regions to be represented by a film commission, and shortly thereafter Clark's organization expanded its reach throughout the rest of the Triad.

The commission closed its offices for a short time in late 2002 and early 2003 because of a lack of funding but reopened after UNCG provided money to pay Clark's salary. A fundraising campaign the following year secured the organization's future. She also has drawn the support of a number of community leaders.

"What Rebecca and her team are doing - and in all fairness, what people across the state are doing - is exactly where we should be headed to transition from what has been traditionally a manufacturing economy," said Keith Holliday, former Greensboro mayor and current CEO of the Carolina Theatre, where Clark was scouting recently. "You have crews here, they're spending money, they're staying in hotels, they're eating. The other perspective is our citizenry should be able to appreciate the creative side of making films. It sets off a little spark inside to see a place like War Memorial Stadium in a movie like 'Leatherheads.' "

The organization now has an annual budget of $134,000, provided by various private foundations and city and county governments. Its operations are located alongside the Piedmont Triad Partnership in an office complex off Gallimore Dairy Road.

Last year, 11 films were shot in the area, in addition to commercials and catalog photo shoots, with which the commission also helps. No feature films have shot in the Triad so far this year, but Clark did mention the possibility of a reality series, centered on Bowman Gray racers, coming to the area (though it's still in the early stages).

She hopes to hire a full-time assistant in the near future. In addition to scouting locations and courting production companies, Clark keeps busy updating the commission's production directory, which has listings for local prop houses, construction companies and other technical services that filmmakers might need. Her job requires her to act as a liaison between production companies and the community, helping secure cooperation on matters such as closing roads and crowd control, as well as getting permission to shoot at the locations themselves. Sometimes that can be a bit difficult. Clark recalled one woman who let a film crew shoot in her house and then insisted afterward that they clean her bathroom.

But that was a unique situation, and Clark finds that many others are just excited about the exposure the cameras afford the area.

"'Two Soldiers' is a good example of that," she said. "The film wins an Academy Award, and he (Schneider) thanks us in his acceptance speech, and he thanks the School of the Arts, which gave him interns. So, right away, bam, we've got worldwide recognition and acknowledgment."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Funny


NUMBER 5: "They told me at the Blood Bank this might happen."

NUMBER 4: "This is just a 15-minute power nap they raved about in the time-management course you sent me to."

NUMBER 3: "Whew! Guess I left the top off the White-out. You probably got here just in time!"

NUMBER 2: "Did you ever notice sound coming out of these keyboards when you put your ear down real close?"

Number 1, The best thing to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk: (Raising your head slowly) "... in Jesus' name, Amen."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

First Day of a New School Year

The kids (finally!) went back to school today. Mallorie's been grumbling for a week at having to go back to a realistic sleep schedule. (No more television surfing at 3am.) As much as she hated getting up to an alarm this morning, I'm sure she was excited to see all her friends again.

Cade also has been grumbling all week. He doesn't want to be a first grader. He said he'd much rather stay in kindergarten.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday Funny

She was in the kitchen preparing to boil eggs for breakfast.

He walked in. She turned and said, "You've got to make love to me this very moment."

His eyes lit up and he thought, "This is my lucky day."

Not wanting to lose the moment, he embraced her and then gave it his all, right there on the kitchen table.

Afterwards she curtly said, "Thanks", and returned to the stove. More than a little puzzled, he asked, "What was that all about?"

She explained, "The egg timer is broken."

Monday, August 04, 2008

You'll Be Able To Hear Me Now

Today I headed to the WXII TV studio to do another voice commercial for Paragon Advertising.

Triad Appliance Center is now selling the new Maytag Epic Z washers and dryers. After the national commercial airs, you'll hear me telling you where to buy these fabulous new appliances.

Bob, Ken and I reviewed the national Maytag commercials for the new washers and dryers. Neither one of us liked the new Maytag tagline.

I then stepped into the booth and recorded three 7-second tags for Triad Appliance Center. Bob only had to remind me once that I was selling washers and/or dryers and not breathy sex!

All in all, it took less than 30 minutes. Not bad at all for a week's worth of pay!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

It was circled in pink ink, this specific June date. Pink to signify a celebration-an indication of life given-though no reminder was really necessary. She was aware of the date, as she had been the previous year, and the year before that, and the 17 years before that.

Over the years, she had developed a ritual. As soon as the monthly calendar was turned, she began increasing her time spent in the greeting card aisles of a myriad of local merchants. She scoured Hallmark cards, American Greeting cards, even Shoebox cards, in a futile search for the one containing the perfect sentiment. It had been so much easier for her when the girl was 3, and 8, and then 13.

She picked up many cards that caught her eye, especially those with the impressively colored embellishments. The poems were always thoughtful, though rather generic, and thus the pretty cards were replaced. She tried to stay away from the relationship specific cards, but she was always drawn to that section. It was the love that threatened to overwhelm, more than biology, that allowed her to consider the special cards. And while the sentiments were more accurate, ultimately she did not feel she was deserving of the defined relationship. Years before she had willingly, and legally, relinquished that right.

She always departed the stores feeling increasingly saddened. She desperately wanted the girl, now a young lady, to know she was thought of on this pink-inked day. Once again, the perfect card was not discovered. And, for yet another year, the mailbox remained empty. For many nights following the circled date, she would escape to a quiet corner and allow the tears their freedom. She felt an absolute failure; she abhorred being the cause of possible disappointment.

Recognizing the importance of shattering the defeating routine, she recently visited the stationery aisle of a well-known department store. She felt a smile playing at her lips with the self-scanning of the items she selected. Hope was blooming.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

KLT Award Nominees and My Predictions

Kernersville Little Theatre just announced their nominations for the 2007-2008 Season Awards. Nominations are voted on by season ticket members. Results will be announced during the Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on Saturday, August 2. My predictions are in pink.

Best Leading Actor
West Stowman (Oscar Madison, Oscar and Felix)
Landon Stamper (Charlie Bradley, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever)
Stephen Swoap (Calvin Rogers, Just Kidding)
Jimmie "JJ" Jeter (Ugly, Honk!)

Best Major Actor
Randall Morris (Felix Unger, Oscar and Felix)
Tyler Canada (Ralph Herdman, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever)
Scott Spencer (Wayne Maybrie, Just Kidding)
Joe Boles (Cat, Honk!)

Best Supporting Actor
Jim Lehman (Murray, Oscar and Felix)
Scott Spencer (Vinnie, Oscar and Felix)
Danny Scruggs (Bob Bradley, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever)
Macon Shirley (Jeff Jones, Just Kidding)
Eric Dowdy (Drake, Honk!)

Best Character Actor
Luke Van Hine (Todd Maybrie, Just Kidding)
Chuck Powers (Chris Gentry, Just Kidding)
Mike Lopp (Bullfrog, Honk!)

Best Leading Actress
Sarah King (Beth Bradley, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever)
Karen Price-Crowder (Jessica Finch, Just Kidding)
Christina Rodriguez (Ida, Honk!)

While Christina is deserving, I'd love to see Sarah win. To be so young, she has extraordinary natural talent.

Best Major Actress
Faith Jeffers (Imogene Herdman, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever)
Kaye Ward (Sandra Rogers, Just Kidding)

Best Supporting Actress
Kelly Wallace (Grace Bradley, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever)
Jean Burr (Monique Smith, Just Kidding)
Marilyn Bledsoe (Maureen, Honk!)
Liz Townley (Queenie, Honk!)

Both Marilyn and Liz were outstanding in their respective roles. I am going with Marilyn because she took on the role of Dot during Tech Week, and created two very different characters.

Best Character Actress
Tana Albright (Ynez, Oscar and Felix)
Rebecca Clark (Hooyla, Oscar and Felix)
Ruth Jeffers (Gladys Herdman, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever)
Morgan Robbing (Jenny Finch, Just Kidding)
Amanda Seibert (Lowbutt, Honk!)
Jean Wentz (Grace, Honk!)

This was the most competitive category, I thought. Ruth was absolutely adorable as Gladys and Jean really impressed me with her characterization of Grace. I'm going with Amanda because her singing was impressive and her comic timing was hysterical.

Best Costume Design
Robin Raines (Oscar and Felix)
Sherri Thornton (The Best Christmas Pageant Ever)
Cast (Just Kidding)
Chris Hughes (Honk!)

While Chris did a wonderful job outfitting ducks, frogs and a cat, I've got to give props to Sherri for the angel costumes that included wings and halos.

Best Set Design/Dressing
Jim Lehman (Oscar and Felix)
Mark King and Cathy Marion (Just Kidding)
Jan Burwick and Cathy Marion (Honk!)

Best Sound Design
Raymond Ruttle (Oscar and Felix)
Ben Wagner (Just Kidding)
Fred Kreig (Honk!)

Best Light Design
Ben Wagner (Oscar and Felix)
Ben Wagner (The Best Christmas Pageant Ever)
Ben Wagner (Just Kidding)
Ben Wagner (Honk!)

Best Production
Oscar and Felix (Juan Fernandez, director)
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Ken Ashford, director)
Just Kidding (Katie Jo Icenhower, director)
Honk! (Robin T. Rich-McGhie, director; Mignon Dobbins, music, Mindy Hudson, choreography)

While I think that Honk! will, most likely, win this category, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever packed in the community.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Random Posting

Inscribed inside the Nicholas Sparks novel I picked up at Edward McKays.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mallorie!

Here's the birthday cake I would make you, if I was a baker. It's too cool to even eat, isn't it?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

An Evening at the Circus

Thanks to Gigaboo's generosity, Cade and I attended Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey's Boom a Ring at the LJVM Coliseum tonight. Cade and I watched the circus from the stadium seats. Mallorie watched from the spotlight operators stand - 100 feet in the air!

While certainly the circus is entertaining, there are some boring moments as well. I'm not as big on the performing animals. If you've seen tigers, elephants, dogs, etc. well, you've seen all the tricks before. Cade apparently agreed with me; he got a bit restless. There were some death defying acts, and the performers held mine and Cade's attentions.

The best performer, and one who tickled Cade to no end, was Justin Case. Cade was captivated watching Mr. Case ride various sided bicycles.

Mallorie enjoyed the experience as well. She wasn't as much into the circus as she was listening to the stage manager calling spotlight cues over the headset.