Friday, May 27, 2016

Juicy Shaker

I've been wanting to try Lancome's Juicy Shaker ever since they released teasers about it. I got a 20% coupon (that also included free shipping) in the mail, so last night I ordered the Mangoes Wild.

Today I got an email that it's been shipped and should arrive by the end of the week. I'm a tad bit excited and somewhat embarrassed by that. I mean, it's lip gloss fercryinoutloud!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fifteen Things for When the World is Shitty and Terrifying.

1. Open your closet. Find one warm piece of clothing that you haven’t worn in awhile. Bring it to a place that will give it away, for free, to someone who needs it.

2. Go to a public park or playground. Sit on a bench. Watch some kids running around playing. Don’t get up and try to engage with them, don’t depress yourself further, don’t go down a sadhole if you want kids but don’t have them, or if your own relationship with your kids/parents isn’t perfect. Just… sit and watch. Turn your brain off for a bit. If your brain has to work, picture the way that kid’s body works: the air filling the lungs and expelling laughter, the tiny heartbeat pulsing and racing, the immense amount of neurons firing to process the information that keeps eyes blinking and ears listening and skin tingling and lungs expanding and contracting.

If you see a parent looking stressed out, give them an encouraging smile, as if to say, “You’re doing a great job.”

3. Google a small-business florist near the site of any recent tragedy. Call and explain that you’d like to pay for flowers to be sent. When you leave a note, don’t make it about you, or your political or religious beliefs. Leave it anonymous, or simply say, “From a stranger who thought you might be sad today.”

4. Think of a song you love, preferably by a non-super-famous musician. Even if you already own it, download it again. Think about how that 99 cents is actually telling that musician that their work has value.

5. There are several Dunkin’ Donuts within the general area of a school. It’s probably a tough week for teachers and students both. Buy an e-gift card. Send the link to the faculty. Tell them a stranger bought them coffee.

6. Leave a copy of your favorite book in a public place. Trust that the right person will find it.

7. Locate your nearest animal shelter. You don’t need to adopt a pet, and you don’t need go in and volunteer, although that’s a really nice thing you can do, too. You can just look at the puppies and kittens playing for awhile, or feel what it’s like to hold a tiny, furry, purring creature in your arms for a bit.

8. Go to Amazon and buy a ten-pack of socks for $9.99. When you are asked for your shipping address, find the address of a homeless shelter in your community.

9. Think of the kindest person you personally know. Then write her/him an email, letting them know that you thought of them and hope they are doing well.

10. Buy an extra box of tampons the next time you’re out shopping. Leave them in the ladies’ room of your workplace for anyone to take.

11. Think about the people that you frequently interact with in your daily life but know very little about: the barista who works at your coffee shop, the janitor in your building, your mailperson. Introduce yourself. Call them by name whenever you see them again.

12. Go to a diner. Order a milkshake. Tip ten dollars.

13. Get a pile of index cards and a sharpie. Write down, “You are Important,” or “Breathe.” Carry them with you as you go about your day, leaving them in waiting room magazines, on car windshields, in elevators, in bathroom stalls. Keep one for yourself. We all need the reminder sometimes, too.

14. Dig up an embarrassing photo of yourself from your teenaged years. Post it online. Laugh gently at the person you were, and celebrate the human you are now. If you’re still in the process of living through your teenaged years, take lots of pictures. You’re doing great.

15. Think about the fact that the world can feel like a flaming cesspool of dog shit, over and over and over again.Think about bodies being blown up over insignificant cultural and political differences, think about blood being spilled out of human limbs for reasons that you will never fully understand. Think about everyone in your zip code who is homeless and hungry, cold, terrified, and lonely. Think about global warming, handguns and assault rifles, violence on television, rape statistics, domestic abuse. Think about terrorism, both domestic and abroad. Think about petty cruelty. Think about your childhood schoolyard bully. Think about the times that you won the argument but lost the friendship.

Think about all the times you got busy, and didn’t visit your relatives like you said you would, or didn’t give the dollar in the checkout line because times are rough and who even knows what the March of Dimes is. Think about how you don’t want to think about who grows your food or makes your clothes or pieces your iPhone together, because in the world we inhabit, it’s virtually impossible to exist without making some kind of ethical compromises. Think about how you were a turd in some small, stupid way this week alone to your partner or sibling or parent, because it was simply easier to be a turd than to be selfless or kind in that moment.

Think about seven billion people out there in the world. Think about the statistical three hundred and eighteen thousand births today, or the one hundred and thirty-three thousand deaths.

Think about how enormously complicated all of this is.

Think about how Mother Theresa accepted funds from corrupt embezzlers, how George Bush is an oil painter, a husband, a father, and a war criminal. Think about Princess Diana’s life’s work of charity and goodwill; remember also that she was depressed, lived through bulimia, self-harmed. Name five celebrities, and then imagine them in the morning, with horse breath and red-rimmed eyes, stumbling to splash water on their face, wiping their ass with toilet paper, just like you and me.

Acknowledge that you’re probably going to just close this browser tab without actually doing any of those things. You’re probably not going to drop your clothes off at a homeless shelter, or donate to a struggling artist, or buy coffee for teachers. I get it. I probably won’t, either. You’ve got limited funds and bills to pay and a life to live. I know. I do, too.

Accept that there are tons of incredibly easy ways to make the world a slightly less shitty place for everyone, and that you probably won’t do any of them, or at least not very many of them, and that while it’s not ideal, it doesn’t make you a terrible person. It just makes you a human.

Take a deep breath of gratitude for the people out there who actually do make the world a better place. Challenge yourself to be that person, in whatever small way you can manage right now.

Close your browser window. Shut down your laptop, silence your cell phone. Just for a minute, before you go back to Netflix, before you text someone, before you answer more emails or meet friends for drinks or order a pizza or whatever it is that you’re doing tonight: just for a second, take a moment to remember that the world is also pretty fucking magical, and you’re really lucky to be alive in it.

Do what you can.

Oh, and: return the shopping carts in the parking lot that others have abandoned, or mop up the spilled creamer at the Starbucks. It takes like ten extra seconds and it’s not that big of a deal.

Katherine Fritz

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Winston-Salem Music Festival

One of Chad's favorite bands is Drivin N Cryin so when he found out they were going to open the Gears and Guitars Music Festival with a free concert he asked me to go. I wasn't at all familiar with their music, but I figured it'd be fun.

We started out the day with Kevn Kinney performing an acoustic set at Underdog Records. Chad thoroughly enjoyed the performance, me not so much.

After that we headed to Fourth Street Filling Station for dinner. We both got the crab cake dinner special and it was delish.

We took our time and then headed over to Trade Street where the concert was. He brought a chair and we set it up fairly close to the stage. It had rained earlier and threatened to rain again so we also brought our umbrellas. It was a bit chilly, so I decided to walk to the Mast General Store to kill some time and warm up. (By the way, they have some very cute clothing. I vowed to return later in the week to try on more outfits!)

By the time I walked back to the stage the opening act was just beginning. Chad was annoyed since there was no mention of an opening act and he didn't really care for them. (I didn't really either.)

At about 8:30p Drivin N Cryin finally hit the stage. While I wasn't familiar with them, I did find myself toe tappin along to their songs. Chad was very excited and sang along to several of the songs.

It did rain on us for about 20 minutes, but the rain didn't dampen anyone's spirits. Drivin N Cryin gave a good show and Chad and I had a good time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Braces Buddies

Cade and I both got braces today. It's hard to tell from the pictures. If you look closely, you can see a few of Cade's blue bands around his metal brackets. It's even harder to tell with me, which is exactly what I wanted. I have the clear brackets.

Right now we've both only got them on the top teeth. Other than feeling like the world's oldest teenager, I'm good. Cade is being a trooper as well.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Prop Card

Here's the birthday card Britt made for the show. My line indicated I'd purchased a card that showed "a pony with a pipe." Britt added the inside sentiment.

Monday, May 09, 2016

An Evening At The Theatre, "Heathers"

Ken had purchased several tickets to Queen City Theatre Company's production of "Heathers." We had seen it off Broadway several years ago, but he wanted Jamie and  Gray to see it for the possibility of Theatre Alliance to produce it. Since it was Mother's Day, Jamie and Gray couldn't go, so I tagged along.

I didn't much enjoy the show when we saw it in NYC. I think it was mostly because we were sitting in the front row, center, so I saw the wig netting, etc. I wasn't able to concentrate on the show because I kept being reminded that it was theatre.

In any case, I loved QCTC's production. KC Roberge was a fantastic Veronica Sawyer and Matt Carlson was wonderful as JD.

The set was very simple, the choregraphy was outstanding and it was directed beautifully by Glenn T. Griffin.

On the way home from Charlotte, I was surprised at how many songs I was quietly humming. "Candy Store" and "Our Love Is God" were two standout numbers.

Overall the production was stellar and I enjoyed the show quite a bit more than I had anticipated.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

A Very High Compliment

The Review Is In!

Nothing is as it seems in this office

Posted: Friday, May 6, 2016 11:04 pm
By BILL CISSNA Special Correspondent

In the world of Adam Bock’s play “The Receptionist,” everything in the Northeast Office seems normal, business-like, maybe even mundane. Or at least it does for a while.

Spirit Gum Theatre Company opened its production of the play Friday night at The Actor’s Group on Reynolda Road. In the compact space (it seats 30 patrons), a cast of four held the audience spellbound for 80 minutes.

At first, attention is drawn with recognizable characters and humor focused primarily on the receptionist (Cheryl Ann Roberts) and her co-worker Lorraine (Britt Cannino). The later action, which enters into a different universe, more directly involves the office’s boss Mr. Raymond (Gregg Vogelsmeier) and the Central Office’s representative Mr. Dart (Latimer Alexander V).

The hyper-organized Beverly rules over her front desk roost with opinions for the romantically-challenged, narcissist-inflicted Lorraine. Part guidance counselor, part mother, Beverly rolls out advice despite her own marriage and child-raising issues.

Beverly, at the center of this story in more ways than one, is the kind of woman who collects expensive tea cups with her husband, but reacts with “ewww” at the thought of collecting coffee mugs.

Into the midst of the phone ringing and phone call avoidance strolls the initially-pleasant Mr. Dart, who wants to see Mr. Raymond whenever he returns. He plays friendly with Beverly but, when Beverly goes out for a bit, his approach to Lorraine sheds a darker light.

At last, Mr. Raymond does return, and something of the true nature of both the Northeast and the Central offices begins to surface.

We’re given a clue when Beverly talks about her transition two years earlier to her current location. For some unknown reason, she was the only one to be transferred from the office in which she earlier worked.

Spirit Gum is a small company that has gained a well-deserved reputation of doing more with less. In the limited space, the basic set represents a standard type of office that disguises a very special kind of business. First-time director Sarah Jenkin has done a fine job of casting and lent her actor’s knowledge to making the cast’s solo moments and interactions believable even as things change drastically.

Vogelsmeier, Cannino and Alexander all bring strong support, especially as they transition from people with the normal concerns of office workers to fear or ominous threat.

As the heart and soul of the office, however, Cheryl Ann Roberts — a stage veteran of many a show in and around the Triad — presents a very natural, warm, concerned individual who nevertheless has a great “cold eye” to share with Dart. Her transition from relatively innocent front desk person to finding herself in shocking and uncertain circumstances is a joy to behold.

If you decide to catch this shape-shifting play, reservations are recommended. Seating is definitely limited — but the price is right to see a fine cast in an intriguing show.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Rehearsal Notes

To: Britt, Latimer, Cheryl Ann, Greg
Sent: Tue, May 3, 2016 12:41 am
Subject: rehearsal things

Hi guys,

Thank you again for all your hard work on the show. Tonight started out pretty frustrating (what with the malfunctioning Bluetooth, no sound cues and a late start due to same), but I was really happy with how things were going during the second run. The pacing was good, and I got caught up in the story, not in taking notes.

That being said, please please continue to not just study but DRILL your problem scenes. From Tuesday night on, no calling for line. Michael has told me he will be at home and available tomorrow before rehearsal from 6 p.m. on, if anyone wants to meet and run lines. I am happy to be there and do the same. Text and let us know if you're interested. As I mentioned, there was quite a bit of paraphrasing and adding/subtracting from lines, so please review.

I am very proud to be your director and excited about this weekend! See you tomorrow night, and try not to eat any paste in the meantime.


Monday, May 02, 2016

Prop Picture

Here's a prop picture. It's for the bulletin board behind Beverly's desk. 

This is me and "Bob" on one of our teacup hunting vacations.

This picture makes me smile so much!

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Journal Preview Article

The Receptionist ranges from humor to provocative questions
Posted: Saturday, April 30, 2016 10:30 pm
By Bill Cissna Special Correspondent

Since its founding in 2013, the tiny Spirit Gum Theatre Company has quickly built a reputation for excellent play selection. Often, the picks haven’t been produced often or they are little-known gems that are hard to find in the Triad.

The company’s latest production, Adam Bock’s “The Receptionist,” is no exception.

Bock’s play, which will be presented at The Actor’s Group in West End, starts with an average morning in a company’s “Northeast Office.”

In that office, Beverly Wilkins (Cheryl Ann Roberts) holds court at the receptionist’s desk. As Spirit Gum’s website says, “She’s the first in, the last out, makes the coffee, manages the office supplies and, of course, answers the phone.”

She also, as on any other day, finds time to gossip with her co-workers — including Lorraine (Britt Cannino) — about their lives and her own.

The routine takes a significant shift when a charming representative appears from the Central Office. Mr. Dart (Latimer Alexander V) has dropped in for a talk with Beverly’s boss, Mr. Raymond (Gregg Vogelsmeier).

Sarah Jenkins, Spirit Gum’s newest company member, is also directing her first full-length play with an adult cast. She studied directing in college, though, and worked with children on two different productions of “The Little Mermaid” last summer.

“I definitely learned a lot about thinking creatively on my feet with 6 to 13-year-olds last July,” she said.

Jenkins said that the show takes a turn partway through the script.

“Without giving too much away, it starts out like the TV show ‘The Office,’ then takes an abrupt turn into ‘1984’ territory. It’s really funny, but with a creepy edge.”

Jenkins was introduced to the script soon after joining Spirit Gum.

“I really love the natural flow of the language and the humor,” she said. “And I find the darker second half of the play to be really, distressingly pertinent, considering some of the current social and political goings-on in the country of late.”

She also decided that the characters were equally interesting. “I found them all to be compelling.”

Roberts, portraying the title character, had read the script, which in turn compelled her to audition. “It’s very much an ensemble piece that challenges the actors,” she said. “It’s not what we say; it’s also what we don’t say that adds a level of intrigue.”

Roberts has acted with a number of the live theater companies around the Triad. Her favorite roles have been Willa Dean in “The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife” at Theatre Alliance, Maureen in “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” at Open Space Café Theatre, and originating the role of Ellie in “Conversations in a Café.”

She also sat in the director’s chair for a Greensboro production of “All About Faith.”

“I’m finding that the script made it easy to bring Beverly to life,” she said. “She’s a very open character, in the sense that she’ll tell you what’s going on in her life and provide her opinions and advice about everyone else’s lives, too.”

“Sarah’s an actor’s director,” Roberts said. “She allows that freedom of character discovery in rehearsal, and her notes are spot on.”

Roberts worked with Alexander on “Beauty Queen of Leenane,” and she sees some similarities. “Our scenes for ‘The Receptionist’ have a ‘Beauty Queen’ quality.”

Though it’s her first time acting with Cannino and Vogelsmeier, she thinks the ensemble works well together. “I’m really excited to be working with Britt and Gregg. She cracks me up at every rehearsal, and I’ve seen him on stage several times in the area.”

Jenkins is bringing her extensive experience as an actor to her new role as a director.

“It has been very weird to switch my brain from ‘actor’ to ‘director,’” she said. “I keep trying to remember exactly how I’ve been directed in the past in ways that were helpful to me. I do think that being an actor helps me. I know what little things drive me crazy in rehearsal and try to avoid them.”

Having each ensemble character hold an important position in the story helps, too. “I want to tell the overall story, the big picture, not take on an individual role,” she said.

“The Receptionist” opens on Friday for two weekends. If past Spirit Gum shows are any indication, reservations for the small space are recommended.