Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Behanding in Spokane by Martin McDonagh

Last Friday night I went to see Martin McDonagh's (The Cripple of Inishmaan) new play A Behanding in Spokane.

Christopher Walken stars as a man on a mission to find his hand that was cruelly taken from him in a "behanding" of sorts in, you guessed it, Spokane. He explains to his costars Sam Rockwell, Zoe Kazan, and Anthonie Mackie that there's nothing quite so painful as having someone wave goodbye to you with your own hand.

It was brilliantly dark and hilarious.

I have only ever written one fan letter in my life, and that was to Mr. McDonagh after watching his brilliant Cripple of Inishmaan in London 13 years ago. The premise of this story is completely deranged, but the premise isn't the point. The cutting word play, the psychological battle of wits, the pitting of one crazy against another--it's as though he decided to create a world where 4 idiotic characters were forced to hash it out in the same universe for a bit. And they do to the delight and entertainment of viewers.

There's a scene where con-artists Marilyn (Kazan) and Toby (Mackie) are chained to a radiator and pipe in the hotel room and left to die in an explosion by Walken's character. He leaves a candle burning on top of a gas can. When the candle burns out, they go boom. They search the room to find anything to try and knock the candle off of the gas can. They manage to open a suitcase and what do they find inside, hundreds of hands. Insanity!

Sam Rockwell plays a hotel receptionist. He is indescribably dumb and crazy, (sort of like everyone else in the play) with an affinity for monkeys. Walken asks him, "Have you ever lost someone you loved?" And Rockwell responds, "I remember seeing her lying there in the back of her cage." I just about died laughing at that point. Then Walken follows up after a perfectly timed pause. "In the back of a what?"

Apparently the man running the hotel is too crazy for the man who carries around a suitcase full of hands.

It's a hilarious and harsh view of life. Kazan is absolutely charming and adds a different hue of crazy to the cast. And Mackie has the difficult job of being the only one in the room who really sees things for how crazy they actually are. He spends most of his time swearing and freaking out. His sane foil isn't as much fun to watch, but it serves as a necessary contrast to the insanity oozing from everyone else.

If you get a chance to see the unmatched Christopher Walken and the brilliant Sam Rockwell, go!

It's playing at the Schoenfeld Theatre.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New York City

For as long as I can remember, New York City has lingered in the back of my mind as a place I really didn't want to love. It's so expensive. And it's dirty. And everyone thinks that if you do theatre there, for some reason that show is infinitely better than the theatre done in Utah or Iowa.

Well, that's ridiculous. It's just another town. Granted--a very large town--but it's just another town filled with people who breathe and eat and pay their bills, like any other town. The theatre they produce is fantastic because great people go there to do great theatre. But great people live in Utah and produce great theatre too. In fact, I find in community theatre that people bring an element of love into their work that translates on the stage. I have no delusions that just because it's in NYC, it's somehow a better show.

Having said that . . .

I've decided to give up my amazing job and move to NYC this fall to do a show.

It's a musical about a hippo named Mimi who falls in love with a mouse named Gustav. I have no idea how I'm going to make this happen, but it's the lead in a new musical at a great off broadway playhouse with a fantastic director and producer.

I went up to NYC for the second meeting yesterday. It was amazing. i am so nervous around everyone. They want me there for preproduction meetings. Not sure why. But it's been wonderful.

After the rehearsal, I went to see a show and have dinner with a friend who was in town from Utah. Then I just walked around the city for a bit. I breathed in the air, felt the energy of the people, stared up at the lights and marveled that at 11 o'clock, the city was still very much alive.

I began to fall in love a little bit.

I could tolerate this town from September to about March.

And then I'm moving to Utah. But that's a whole 'nother post.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Great Talk

I love this talk. I don't know how I missed it during the past General Conference, but if you want to be inspired, play this talk.

Julie B. Beck. "The Lord will pour out his spirit upon the hand maidens in these latter days."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Seeing Myself

In the first Harry Potter book, he comes across the Mirror of Erised. In this mirror, one can see their heart's desire. Dumbledore warns Harry of the dangers of seeing your true heart's desire. And perhaps we could judge that a person's true nature is determined by their desires.

In Doctrine and Covenants 76:94 we read about celestial souls: "They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace."

The path to God is like discovering your own Mirror of Erised. We begin to take a hard look at what we truly desire. We discover the inconsistencies between who we are, and how we want to be seen. Or rather, we see ourselves in the way that God sees us. This can be good and bad.

The idea of spending an eternity staring harshly into the reality of who I am at my core . . . admittedly, this is scary. And so I know where my journey has to begin. I have to imagine an eternity of seeing myself for exactly who I am. If I look hard into my own mirror of Erised, am I comfortable with what I see?

Not entirely. As most adults, I've managed to juggle my strengths and my flaws pretty well.

So I'm going to take a hard look in my mirror and see what I can change so that I can be comfortable seeing myself as I am seen.

It's gonna be a good journey. I'm kind of excited for it. And I'm incredibly grateful that I have a little bit of time to get myself together.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The National live on Letterman

Sufjan Stevens arranged the vocals on this amazing performance. I love this band!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Connecting the Dots


This is the graduation speech that Steve Jobs gave at Stanford University 3 years ago.

I love it. He identifies 3 beautiful stories that lead to his success.

It makes me so grateful for random moments of "failure".

Watch the speech. You'll enjoy it.
"You can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something. . . because believing that the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference."

My Backyard

This is the view from my back yard.

I know! It's gorgeous!

My little brother Nick is graduating from high school in two weeks.

And I get to see it!

Happy day! I'm going home in two weeks!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Guiding myself through the wilderness of doubt

My thoughts are jumbled up right now.

There's a fine line between being satisfied with mediocrity and loving yourself for who you are.

I feel like I'm walking this line with myself right now. I want to love myself for who I am, but as a result, I become complacent and I stop trying to better myself.

In order to try and better myself, I have to carefully find the motivation so that I can use my inherent strength to inspire myself to greater heights. If I am not careful, I can overwhelm myself if I look too closely at all the things I need to overcome.

In an effort to look carefully and honestly at myself and my relationship with God, I have overwhelmed my brain to the point of sheer exhaustion.

I slept through my alarm clock this morning.

I woke up at 8:06am. This is fine, except I have to leave my house by 8:10 in order to get to work on time.

Needless to say, I am not looking great right now.

I have got to focus my thoughts and my efforts on one point. I feel like I'm trying to hard to understand everything. I want to understand my future, my present and my past. I want to comprehend the whats and the whys. I want to be the best for everyone in the world, but I'm not entirely sure what is best for me.

I'm used to doing things that I'm good at. I'm used to being in situations that are comfortable for me. Work, friendship, art. These are familiar places for me. Being in a relationship is not familiar. I'm not great at it. I feel very inadequate. Don't get me wrong, I am happy. But I allow myself to doubt my capacity because I just don't know if I'm really any good at this. Whereas in my career, in my friendships, and in my art--I am quite confident in my strengths and weaknesses.

So I find myself over analyzing and feeling and just generally scrutinizing things ad nauseum.

This is exhausting to me.

I believe that one of the greatest blessings of the gospel is being able to place your burdens on the Lord.

My solution is to humble myself and say, "I suck at this. And that's okay."

I need to read my scriptures and pray. I need to trust that who I am is enough.

If I read my scriptures and I just relax, then I will be able to confidently just go about being my cool self.

So--no more self-doubt. Just faith, courage, relaxation.

I don't need to second guess happiness. I just need to chill and have faith.

Well, I feel better now. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Shepherd by The New Pornographers

My Shepherd by The New Pornographers
from their album Together

Glass-work shards decorate this house
We're tossing lust darts out windows
The splash and jangle of the secret signs
Defined, you claimed, some golden ages
A promise
You always love short story form
The signs behind it, the hidden bars
You live for flaming, the attractions new
The leather's pulled from a secret room
Closed eyes stare into morning sun
When the darts formed into connections
If I'm honest you come to mind, but baby I'm not
If I'm honest you come to mind, but baby I'm not
The ink draft's polished into working script
We stare in wonder at the steps we skipped
Tripping wires we have so carefully crossed
The science behind it at a perfect loss
You're my lord, you're my shepherd
Careful kid, no one gets hurt
You made me
You're my lord, you're my shepherd
Careful kid, no one gets hurt
You made me
Used up all of the French we took
The signs behind it was a dirty look
Songe pas de Rock n Roll
Songe pas de Rock n Roll au revoir
You're my lord, you're my shepherd
Careful kid, no one gets hurt
You made me
You're my lord, you're my shepherd
Careful kid, no one gets hurt
You made me
You're my lord, you're my shepherd
Careful kid, no one gets hurt
You made me
You're my lord, you're my shepherd
Careful kid, no one gets hurt
You made me this way
Try to fail
Try to fail
Try to fail
Try to fail
Try to fail
Try to fail

Monday, May 10, 2010

Do Babies Know Right From Wrong

Interesting article on the moral life of babies


Read it here:

The Moral Life of Babies

I got this article from a friend who posted it on facebook. Another friend commented on the article.

She said, "Babies are immoral, constantly exposing their naked flesh and defecating willy-nilly."

I had to share. It made me giggle.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Today I want to honor my friend Robin.

She is a wonderful mother.

She is amazing and she doesn't say stupid things like, "I wish I had your life."

She recognizes the joy of her kids.

Visiting her this winter was amazing. This family enjoys every moment together. They recognize how incredibly lucky they are to be together and to have this opportunity to serve and love one another.

I get to go to concerts and movies by myself. Yippee skippy.

I make the most of the joy I can uncover in my life.

And I love Robin because she loves the grass on her side of the fence. She is grateful and joyful and she wishes that I could live on her side of the fence too.

I love that my friend's kids get to have amazing mothers. I am grateful for the blessings of my life, but let's not pretend that my life is even as remotely as rich and fulfilling as your life is.

It isn't. And Robin gets that.

Broken Social Scene: NYC

Best concert of my life.

Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw of Metric played.

Kevin Drew emanated love for the crowd and all the musicians.

Brendan Canning was hilarious and joyous.

All the musicians, all 12 of them (though I lost track of the grand total) were all having a beautiful time. The whole show was filled with this indescribable joy.

I thought my heart would burst in my chest.

There was so much sound! Trumpets, trombones, at least 3 guitars, 2 basses, 2 drummers, and at least 5 keyboards/electronic instruments.

The sound exploded with deft precision and literally altered my mind and my heart.

It was awesome.

Best concert experience of my life.

Silver Lining

The other day, I watched the sun sail through gray clouds. The clouds were still there.

The sun just shined through.

Some of the clouds were gray, some were white. The grayest clouds looked silver.

I saw a literal silver lining in the sky.

I can't tell you how many times I have wanted to die.

Right now, I'm happy. I don't quite know what to do with myself.

I almost feel guilty for being so happy.

It might be because I'm in love, but quite honestly, I think love came along because I decided that being happy was the only option.
I want to figure out a way to explain the change that came over me, but I can't.
When you stop caring about whether you live or die, you kind of cross a line into a world beyond cares.

I embrace the sun and the clouds. I love my dark side. I love my light.
I embrace my anger as justified--and I embrace my right to be unjustified in my misery.
I don't need to explain my feelings to anyone.
If I feel it, it is valid.
The word justification isn't even necessary.

Every part of me shapes my horizon.
And I embrace the joy of shining through.

Joy is complicated. It requires both pathos and solutions.
Joy is hope and misery.
Joy is sorrow and laughter.
Joy is a silver lining.

I don't escape my misery. I embrace it as an integral part of a joyful horizon.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Broken Social Scene

In just 27 hours, I'm going to see Broken Social Scene live at one of only 7 stops that they're making in the USA.

Their new album, Forgiveness Rock Record, is genius.

These are a few of the folks who make up Broken Social Scene:

Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning, Justin Peroff, Andrew Whiteman, Charles Spearin, Sam Goldberg, Lisa Lobsinger, Leslie Feist, Evan Cranley, Jason Collet, Amy Millan, Emily Haines, etc.

I might die a little bit.

Tomorrow is going to a life changing day. I can feel it.

There are moments where you force yourself to get up off of your comfortable couch, drive to NYC and have a great day. Tomorrow is that day.

I am also meeting with a producer to discuss performing in a live version of a children's book.

It should be an eventful day. My general philosophy is to say yes to everything and everything will say yes to you. So far, this has provided some good times for me.

Tomorrow will be (as Smashie Smasherton once said) a Watershed Day. I look forward to seeing what crazy adventures will come as a result of tomorrow's adventures.

I should probably take a nap now. I'm a little nervous now.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Miracle

Last week, I had a very bad pain. It hurt. I cried. I was a pathetic crying loser. I couldn't sleep from the pain.

I finally prayed.

And the pain continued.

But I floated away into a much needed sleep.

Before I prayed, I was pacing and shaking and crying and punching my pillow and hyperventilating in pain.

After I prayed, I felt my body calm down. I was no longer shivering with the pain. My body calmed down, and though the pain persisted, my body no longer reacted to it.

And I slept peacefully from about 4 am until 11am.

And that's my miracle.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Conversations about Choices

If something makes you happy--it's good.

If you have a desire to take one path over another, perhaps it's an inspired desire.

If you pray about a choice, and God tells you to make one choice over another, that's probably the one you oughta go with.

It seems simple, doesn't it?

Will someone please explain this to a friend of mine?

I tried today. I really tried.

If we make a choice, we are responsible for the consequences of that choice. Everyday, we make choices. We can't blame those choices on anyone but ourselves. But everyday we have the chance to set ourselves on a brand new path that will lead us to joy. Everyday.

Happiness comes when our desires and our reality are in harmony. If there is a discrepancy between our desire and our reality--we have to eliminate that discrepancy. We can do this by choosing to change our desire (attitude) OR, we can work to change our reality.

God will help us in both instances. He will give us hope and inspiration to change our reality, OR He will bless us with the miracle of a new desire and renewed attitude.

He doesn't take away our choices. But He can bless us with the power to endure our reality, or the ingenuity to know how to change it.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Favorite Songs (for today)

This is not exhaustive. This is not indicative of everyday.

But today. On May 1st, 2010. . . . these are the songs I skip to hear on my ipod.

And there is no way I'm going to bind myself to any particular order here!

1. "Further the Sky" by The Gabe Dixon Band (featuring Mindy Smith)

When you don't where you're going and you don't know why
It feels like another day's beaten into the night
Lay your head on my chest while my beating heart pounds out the secret of this life
The Higher you reach, the Further the Sky
The more miles you walk, the longer the road,
The steeper the climb, the harder you stand to fall
The stronger you get, the heavier the load.

2. "Basic Space" by The XX

I love the self-control this band utilizes in their production. It's brilliant. It's simple and brilliant.

3. "Heaven is Ten Zillion Light Years Away" by Stevie Wonder

This is the most joyous song of praise. I listened to it for the first time in an airport in Detroit, and I felt like skipping through the concourse as it played in my ears. I dare you to listen to it and not find yourself filled with bliss and pure testimony.

As you listen to the fun little synthesized music, remember that Stevie produced this gem back in 1974. The man is a genius.

If you open your heart, you can feel it! Feel His Spirit!

4. "One on One" by The Bird and the Bee

This delicious cover of Hall and Oats classic, is almost as sexy as the original.

I love singing along. It makes me happy. And by happy I mean, happy.

For more info on this brilliant album, visit this link.

To be honest, I can hardly pick one song from this album.

5. "Lullaby Hush" by Mates of State

The sound of the piano melts my heart. The song starts with a low bass note on the piano, then the drums enter. The pianist bangs out chords--building rhythm and melody in the way that only the piano can deliver. It's a masterpiece.

I blast the song in my car and the most indescribable feelings of mature regret, resolution, power, strength, sorrow, joy--it all washes over me. And sometimes nothing is there. Sometimes it's just the music. I don't really understand the words. I just understand that they have this crazy affect on me.

6. "Acid Tongue" by Jenny Lewis

And by the rolling river is exactly where I was
There was no snake oil cure for unlucky in love
to be lonely is a habit like smoking or taking drugs
And I've quit them both, but man was it rough.

7. "Precious Things" by Tori Amos

It might be the piano thing again. I'm a sucker for the piano.

It might be the raw anger.

It might be that she unabashedly explodes with both power and vulnerability in a way that's taken me 32 years to unearth in myself.

But really, it's not so much about the "therapy" the song offers. It's really about the rocking piano bridge. Criminy!!

8. "Carry This Picture for Luck" by Dashboard Confessionals

And color the coast with your smile,
it's the most genuine thing
that i've ever seen.
I was so lost,
but now I believe.

What can I say? It's a cute song! It makes me happy.

9. "Lady in Spain" by Ingrid Michaelson

I was on a walk the other day and this song came on my ipod. I immediately began waltzing with myself, (in a very subtle way--since I was walking outside.)

And then I looked around, realized no one was there, and I started singing out loud.

I couldn't help it.

I can do anything I want to. And I can do . . .Anything I want, Anything my heart tells me to do.

10. "Undertow" by Stars

I've listened to this song so many times over the last few weeks. I can't explain it. It gets me.

Living for only one (When will it stop?)
Caught in the undertow (When will it stop?)
Trying to fight the call (When will it stop?)
Why does the night when we always

All the wind's at your eyes, at your eyes
All the wind's at your eyes, at your eyes, at your eyes, at your eyes
All the wind's at your eyes, at your eyes, at your eyes, at your eyes
All the wind's at your eyes, at your eyes, at your eyes, at your eyes

You pick the storm or you pick the shore
Both take you to the floor, to the floor,
to the floor, (When will it stop?) to the floor (When will it stop?)
(When will it stop?) (When will it stop?) (When will it stop?)