Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wirk deux Soleil ~ My 2nd trip to TSNY in DC

OK, so I went to my second class at Trapeze School New York (TSNY) in DC, and I continued to work on my knee-hangs.  It was tough to learn another trick, since so much time elapsed between classes, but I continued to work on my timing for a catch.

I'm not "there" yet, but I did attempt being caught twice.  I didn't reach my goal yet, but I'm definitely getting closer!

If you're curious about going and taking a class, maybe this will ease your fears.  In this particular class, there was a family of 4 (i.e. mom, dad, and a young boy and young girl), a father and his daughter (i.e. the father was in town visiting and took his first class), two guys who bought a Groupon or Living Social deal, a girl who used to go more regularly (i.e. but has subsequently been working overseas), and me.  We were a motley crew, but it was a great time! 

Enjoy the pictures.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

D'Angelo is back, let's hope he stays ~ Liberation Tour

In 2009, I saw Maxwell at the O2 Academy in Brixton, while overseas for work.  I sat next to a man named,Sam, and when he and I were talking (i.e. before Maxwell took the stage) the subject of D'Angelo came up.  Sam asked, "Where was D'Angelo?  What has/had he been doing?"  Well, numerous articles have been written on the subject of D'Angelo, and last night it was time to stop reading and listening to stories...  It was time to watch the man perform, so I ventured to Philadelphia.

With his new solo material, since 2000, D'Angelo entered The Mann amphitheater from the seats and walked to the stage to rock it.  At times, his sound was very "James Brown-ish".  D'Angelo looked as though he was enjoying his time in the spotlight during what I believe to be the first stop of the Liberation Tour with Mary J. Blige. 

From what I could tell, from talking to the people around me, I was in the minority.  I was there to see D'Angelo.  They were there to see Mary.  Don't get me wrong.  I like Mary, but I've seen her a bunch of times, so I wasn't as excited about seeing he as I was more curious as to what D'Angelo looked and sounded like.

He was smiling and looked fitter than the previous bloated pictures, I'd seen published years ago.  Ladies, I'll be honest with you.  I didn't see a "How Does it Feel" D'Angelo on stage, but I suspect that if he keeps on track and focused, he'll get there.

As I was watching the man perform, I couldn't help but think that I wanted the old D'Angelo.  I would've been more than happy to hear the "Brown Sugar" album, or at least "Alright" in the set list.  He sang, "Cruisin" and it was smoooooooth.  Yes, I threw in some extra "o's".  It was that good. 

I admit, I think I'm getting old.  I'm not a huge fan of previous material being rearranged or maybe a little over-produced.  At times, his hour on stage reminded me of Prince at 3121.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you better ask somebody (i.e. or at least Google it).  D'Angelo's set was funky, but I wanted smooth. 

During one of his numbers, the woman behind me said, "D'Angelo's one of those guys where you have to have to close your eyes to hear him."  Wow.  That's a statement.  D'Angelo's voice would've been sufficient but let's here it for job creation...  He had his background singers in tow, and at times I think they detracted from his "shine".  

As for me, I wish I could've been brave enough to close my eyes and groove ~ but I'll admit that I was too afraid that if I blinked, he'd be gone, and I'd have to wait more than a decade for the chance to see him again.

D'Angelo is back.  As a music lover and a fan of his talent, I hope he stays. 

My original post about the Maxwell show can be found here.  Originally, I thought this piece would be the "brother" (i.e. not sister, since these are men) blog to the piece I wrote in 2009.  The more I think about it, the comparison isn't fair at this time.  With as much time "off' as D'Angelo has taken, I think I'll save the in-depth analysis until I see and hear more.  As for hearing more, I'll do it again next weekend at Jay-Z's "Made in America" festival.

Stay tuned.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Nats defeat the Braves, 5-4, after 13 innings

I caught the Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals game on Monday August 20th.  I'd flown back from Singapore, thrown my bags in my apartment, and walked out the door to meet Kathy (aka the world's biggest Chipper Jones' fan) so we could head to the ballpark.

Comfortably seated about 4 rows behind the Braves' dugout, we noticed that they were postponing the start of the game for rain, so off to Ben's Chili Bowl we went.

As we waited by a condiments station for the rain to stop, we witnessed a man reach into the onions to put some on his hotdog.  COME ON, PEOPLE!  If you can't get the onions or any of the condiments to dispense, you DO NOT reach your hand into the ingredient(s).  So gross.

The Nats rookie, Bryce Harper, and the Braves veteran, Chipper Jones

Once the rain stopped and before the start of the game, we settled back into the seats.  Quickly the Nats took a 4-1 lead at the end of the 1st.  Kathy didn't seem worried.  After the amazing comeback from a 0-9 deficit (i.e. at least I think that's what it was) in the last game we attended, I'm sure Braves' fans everywhere weren't scared.

Yes, the Braves rallied and the game was tied at 4 after 5 innings.

In what seemed like a marathon game that ended after midnight (i.e. on a night when I had just flown 24 hours) it seems like everyone was exhausted.  The Nats' bullpen was exhausted, and I was exhausted.  I would've closed my eyes a bit, if I could've, but the thought of getting pegged by a foul ball was enough to keep me up and aware.  ****  Incidentally, the man on my left, picked up a foul ball that was hit our way, after the people in the rows behind us couldn't snag it! 

Nats celebrate Espinosa scoring and the win by a score of 5-4
Chipper Jones heading to the bullpen at the end of the game
It took 13 innings, but Chad Tracy hit a single and Danny Espinosa scored to put the Nats up 5-4.  The Nats earned the victory, and I snagged some great pictures!


Monday, August 6, 2012

My day on the set of House of Cards ~ Hooray for HollyWirk

What do Gwyneth Paltrow, Annette Bening, and I all have in common?  We all worked with Kevin Spacey!  Yeah, yeah, yeah...  I know what you're thinking, and you're right.  They're big stars!  Well, there's plenty of room in this universe for everyone to shine, and I got my "sparkle on" on Friday in Baltimore.

Last Sunday I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be in a TV show or movie.  In 2009 I was chosen to be an extra for the movie, "Just Wright".  I couldn't work the three days though since work sent me to London.  For some reason, last weekend, I decided I wanted to try again.

On Sunday, I searched for casting agencies that were looking for background actors and submitted three former Facebook profile pictures, along with my age, weight, and sizes to them via E-mail.  I noted that I was non-union, and waited for a reply.

Sure enough on Monday, I got the call from Central Casting that I could work on Friday.  The show, "House of Cards" will star Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright.  It's being shot in DC and Maryland from what I can tell...

When the casting people called, originally I had a call time of 8PM, and I was "background with car".  Then I received another call asking if I could play a pedestrian.  Ultimately, I got a call around 9AM, saying that someone dropped out, and I was asked to report at 2PM and to drive my own car in the scene(s).  By the way, it pays extra if you're asked to use you car.  I'm not sure how the editing will eventually work out, but who knows...  You may see me and/or my car in the episode!

By 2PM, I had parked my car (i.e. per my instructions) in the garage and hopped in a white shuttle van to holding.  When I arrived at holding, I was told to repark my car on the set.  No problem.  I hopped back in the van and moved my car to the set.  Then I walked a couple of blocks back to holding, where I received my paperwork.  I met the other folks who were driving, and then we went to craft services to get some food before heading to the set.  I presume it's because of the long hours, but they call it breakfast.  There were hotdogs, hamburgers, fries, union rings, salad, fruit, etc.  We grabbed our food and we were off to the set.  

Eventually, I saw Kevin Spacey and other background workers on the set.  We, drivers, received walkie talkies so we could hear our cues to drive.  For about 3 hours, I drove a route and made u-turns.  I got to sit in my car, in a cool 66 degrees, while the background actors sweated it out in 90+ degree weather.  The crew passed out water bottles and that was a welcome treat!

I was in a prime position to watch Kevin Spacey get his make up touched up in between takes.  He had a fan to keep him cool while they were touching up his make-up, otherwise he would've melted like the other people who were outside!  

If you're an extra, you're not supposed to take pictures on the set or of the actors, so don't do it.  Trust me, it's not cool and other people were scolded for doing so.  You don't want that embarrassment.

At around 8, we wrapped and they brought out the pizza for us.  Some extras got upset when they tried to eat the sushi that was for the crew, and were told that it wasn't for them.  That's life people.  The crew needs to eat too, and they're probably union.  Some people just need to be happy that they're picked to be a part of the experience!

If you have the show biz bug and want to go "Hollywood" for a day, my best advice is GO FOR IT!!!