Archive for February, 2011

Adventures of a 6B Pencil

I’m really enjoying my Freehand Drawing class. I’m amazed at what I’m learning as a first time sketching student. My teacher is in a wheelchair and he is so passionate about drawing. He’s got so many stories to tell & he’s such a comedian. He’s taught me a lot about drawing, things I never knew. A lot of tips & tricks that I’ve never heard of before. For example, a regular person is usually seven heads long while a fashion model is about 9 heads long. My cousin disagrees and says that superheroes are 9 heads long while fashion models are 7.5 heads long. Either way, it’s more than 7 heads. I guess when I decide to venture into drawing lots of fashion models and superheroes, I’ll climb that mountain then and make a solid decision.

Here’s a sample of some of the things I’ve been doodling. It’s not the best but gimme a break, I’ve never done this before! I think I’ll give my artwork dramatic names like real artists do, just for fun.

Hydrantation

Quivering Hug

She’s Not Playing

Sleeping in Class

Furniture Testing at IKEA

The Future In My Hand

Manicure

And lastly, my favorite:

Childhood


From top left(clockwise): Sissy, Duncan, Terry McGinnis, Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Snoopy, Ron Stoppable, Honey, Keebler Elf, Cartman.

Just a note on Childhood, I drew that one during my Boy Meets World marathon. That should explain why Ron Stoppable & Terry McGinnis are there. ;0)

Productive Weekend

The Stories High Reading was a success! I did my best and hopefully, I satisfied the writer with my performance. Although, I did create a pause at one point because I got lost in the long narrative but hopefully, it wasn’t so long of a pause that I killed it. It was held at Passion Cafe. I like that place, they have cool antiques as their decor and the food was delicious. They made a $3 Bindlestiff sangria especially for us and it was sooooo gooood!! That was classy of them.

Looking back on it, my weekend was very productive. Finally had my meeting with my website designer friend and he basically guided me towards the right direction in terms of what I need to do for my website. I am so lucky to know the people I know who can give me the resources I need to complete this project. At the same time, the roadblocks I hit have become challenges that I need to work on getting through and they are slowly defining a side of me I never knew I had. It’s going to be a lot of hard work but I’m prepared to do this. One thing that struck a chord in me was when he said, “Ava, you’re starting an e-business here.” I never really quite thought of it that way. I’m hardly a business woman so I hope I don’t run myself into the ground here. Out of all the projects I’ve ever taken on, this one is the biggest; this one is personal. Hopefully, my vision is clear enough and there are enough people out there who will love my idea as much as I do. The important thing here is that I don’t want to create it so that people will use it. I want to create it so that I can use it.

I also was able to meet up with some beautiful women to work on our PMSTA show. We laughed, we cried, we shared, we reminisced, and most importantly, we love. It’s going to be a great show.

PMSTA

Reading, Breathing, Being

I spent the greater part of my evening last night practicing a Pilipino accent. It was in preparation for the Stories High Stage Reading I have to do tonight. It’s just a few lines but the lines I do have, they make me feel awkward. I know as an actress, you have to be professional about everything but I can’t help but feel almost as if I’m making fun of Filipinos. If I were Filipino, I might feel more comfortable but since I’m not, it just makes me feel like I’m derogatorizing the entire people. I know that’s not a word but it makes sense to me right now so I have to use it.

Why is it that I can’t get over this feeling? I mean, isn’t that what actors do? They pretend to be someone they’re not? That’s all I’m doing here, right? Unfortunately, my mind begins to think too deeply about how 95% of the audience will be Filipino and my job is to convince them into thinking I am Filipino. Hmm, I don’t know if I can do that without making it seem like I’m a poser. And even if they don’t think it, I still feel it. In order to pull this off, my rehearsing involves channeling all the mothers of my BFFs and become them, just for a few minutes. I’m not a gossip girl but I have to be a tsismosa for this part, which is so not me. A tsismosa is a Filipino word for someone who loves gossip. On top of that, the director wants me to be “OA.” OverActed. Oh gawd, my area of weakness & yet, my favorite form of comedy. I’ll be channeling Will Friedle for inspiration on that part. He’s always OA.  

There’s a saying that goes, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” – Charles Caleb Colton. I plan on blowing the audience right out of the water. My character’s name is Verita, which means “truth.” Like George Burns once said, “Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” I just need to get up there, commit to my truth and just breathe. Perhaps this will be the beginning of my return to the stage. Wish me luck!

Good Food, Good Times

A drive for 2.5 hours in the pouring rain to get to a 1.5 hour dinner at a French restaurant has got to be worth it to make the trip. La Gare was cozy, the service was friendly, and the food was delicious. Although I went to get the $29 prix-fixe menu that was available for Sonoma County Restaurant week, I actually ended up ordering from their regular menu and have no regrets.

I got the Beef Wellington! I’ve always wanted to try this dish ever since I first heard Julia Child mouth these words and it made me curious. I don’t know, I have this weird fascination with wanting to eat foods I see on TV shows/movies. Not really on cooking shows but actual sitcoms or movies on TV or theaters. Because of this fascination, I’ve tried countless items including Peanut Butter with Marshmallow sandwiches (Who’s the Boss?), Bananas in Milk (Sesame Street), Boeuf Bourguignon (Julie & Julia), and Braciole (Everybody Loves Raymond).

I have a love/hate relationship with food. However, I love it more than I hate it, which is why I had a blast last night even though A) the torrential rain I drove through tried to kill me, B) the food is everything that is against my diet, and C) I was wearing heels that were bound to cause a fall in the soaking wet environment I was wallowing in. No mother nature bitch fit was going to stop me from having a good meal. There is just something about food that brings people together at any gathering. It can act as a matchmaker, an educational tool, a definition of oneself, a form of entertainment, or even a form of torture depending on how you look at it.

One equation I’ve always gone by: Good food + good company = a great time. Here are some pics of our meals:

Pea soup – perfect size, won’t fill you up

Butter Lettuce Salad – my favorite lettuce of all time, like velvet on your tongue

Beef Wellington – with pate & ham, carrots, green beans, & country potatoes

Fettuccine Alfredo – made with the most pungent of french cheeses. The French are famous for cheese, you know. ;0)

Coq Au Vin – Chicken in red wine with mushrooms, rice & veggies. Very tender meat.

Chocolate Caramel Dome – This was delicious. Chocolate sponge cake with caramel & chocolate mousse, creme brulee, coated in chocolate ganache, sitting in a pool of raspberry sauce & creme anglaise. Oooh, did you get goosebumps?

Sonoma County Restaurant Week

It’s Sonoma County Restaurant Week! They have 3 different prix fixe menus at $19, $29 or $39, with each restaurant offering their choice of price & menu and it ends on Monday 2/28 so you’d better hurry! I never knew there existed something like this outside of San Francisco; very similar to Dine About Town.

Every year, San Francisco restaurants participate in Dine About Town to get people to come try their food at a low cost, just to get patrons in the door. I believe it began as an upscale restaurant response to the recession 10 years ago. It is organized by the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau. For Dine About Town, lunch is a 2 course meal at $17.95 or you can do a 3 course dinner at $34.95. The link for Dine About Town won’t work right now since it has passed but not to worry, Dine About Town should return in June as it used to be a month long event once a year but they have since divided it to be twice a year at a length of 2 weeks each time in January and June. I enjoyed Ruth’s Chris Steak House last month and it was delicious! I did not end up ordering from the Dine About Town menu because they had their own prix fixe menus to choose from that were sounded just as tempting.

It’s nice to know other counties are doing the same. Through Dine About Town, I’ve been given the chance to try places like Mecca (closed), House, Ana Mandara, Chouquet’s, Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion, Waterfront, Lark Creek Steak, and countless others I can’t remember off the top of my head right now. Ana Mandara is by far, my favorite. It’s so gorgeous inside, absolutely breathtaking. I’ll be fine dining at La Gare tonight. I don’t know what it is about fine dining that makes you feel a little more joyful, giving you an extra pep to your step. Doesn’t really matter what I’m even eating, just serve the betch! Hopefully, I won’t come crashing down on my heels.

Necessitol Spoof

I find the most random Will Friedle things. Check out this Necessitol Spoof he did with Matt Boyd. I love that he took part in writing it. It’s so his style. I’m not sure what this video was made for but if it were me, I would have done it either because A) it was funny, B) there was a competition, or C) I was inspired, which I definitely am. Makes me want to do one too!
Will’s got this Jesus look going on and it makes me giggle. I don’t know if he was in a relationship at the time but I would imagine her getting rugburn. Haha!

It also says that the voiceover is Will’s. To be honest, I didn’t even recognize the voice as his and if it really is his voice, I am thoroughly impressed!! His range amazes me. I still can’t believe it’s him even though the credits blatantly say it’s him. Was there a machine that changes his voice? I don’t know. Please, someone needs to hire this guy for a Pixar movie. He’s too damn talented to let it go to waste.

B-day Marathon

For my birthday this year, I wanted to do two things: see Michael Ian Black perform live, and have a Boy Meets World marathon with my BFFs. I did get to see Michael Ian Black perform a Viva Variety reunion at SF SKetchfest on 1/29/11 and it was fabulous. I also got to see Kerri Kenney, Ben Garant, and Thomas Lennon in person, what an absolute dream. I had such a great time!

Since we had President’s Day, I decided to do the Boy Meets World marathon this weekend and my BFF was completely down for it even though I was sick. We didn’t start it until late Sunday evening and began with Season 4. I didn’t know if we would make it to Season 7 but we tried our best. In the end, we only got through Season 4 & just 2 episodes short of Season 5. I laughed, I cried, I gasped, I screamed-well, I didn’t REALLY scream. Eric Matthews screamed but I’m just going through the motions with him. :0)

To be honest, I don’t know why I ever stopped watching the show. I guess it was because I was growing up at the time along with Cory Matthews and Shawn Hunter and while I did indeed love Will Friedle with all my heart, I just did not want to stay home Friday nights watching television. Subsequently, I missed so many episodes that I now realize I wish I didn’t. So many valuable lessons, heartbreaks, good times, good television-no, it was GREAT television. Today, I don’t even watch TV anymore because all I see are drunk people causing fights, catty women throwing things at each other, boyfriends & girlfriends getting caught cheating, ridiculous competitions, etc. Boy Meets World didn’t need all the stupid fights, drama, and competitions to get kids to watch their show. Kids watched it on their own and they learned oh so much. The show dealt with so many issues that could prepare a kid for an adult life and it was so beautiful watching Cory Matthews, Shawn Hunter and Topanga Lawrence grow up before our eyes on TV. The best feeling was when Cory & Topanga got back together, when Eric stood up for Cory, when Shawn realized he wanted to be with Angela, and when Eric got accepted to Pennbrook.

It was a great weekend. It was like I was having my own version of a slumber party with Will Friedle. Sigh…a girl can dream, can’t she? Anyway, here are some of my favorite screencaps.

Cory losing a bet to Shawn

Eric looking smart in front of a laptop

Shawn & Cory bromance

Shawn looking hot as a woman for the sake of good journalism

Eric and his pantene hair

And lastly, my favorite: Angry Eric, sooooo hot.

Happy Birthday to me!

Dream Working

Lots to do when creating a website!! I have so many things going on in my mind that I barely know where to start! One thing I know is that I want it to exist. I was reading a magazine about entrepreneurs and they told me I had to create a vision, then rewrite it over and over again until it makes sense. The 1st draft would be crazy definitions of what I want and eventually, I am supposed to mold it into something close to the outline of a mission statement.

I’ve finally chosen a name, bought the domain, and am seeking a web developer/partner to help me build this empire. I still need to figure out a way to get the information I need though. If I can’t find out, then I’ll have to make it myself. I have searched high & low for a job that I would love and want to stay in forever but truthfully, it just does not exist. The more research I do, the more I am told that if the job I want doesn’t exist, create it. Simple as that? Err…not that simple…but doable perhaps.

All I can say about my site is that it is food-related & people-related. I have a dream to discuss my up & running site on TV someday, maybe with Rachael Ray or somebody like that. Everyone that I have approached about this idea has given me positive feedback and it was the initial push that I needed to continue to pursue my dream. Of all the dreams I have ever had, this is the only one that I truly & honestly fell in love with. The idea has pushed my drive, balls to the wall style. I refuse to let anything stop me from building this dream and I’m counting on people to believe in me.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep writing stories as a Plan B. Writing scripts is another dream of mine that I would love to fulfill. Everyone has stories to tell and if I don’t record them on paper, they could be lost forever. I would love to see my work on the big screen someday and find a place for myself in the world of Hollywood but that takes second place to my first dream of building my website.

If any of you have a dream you truly believe in, I say reach for the stars. The more you want it, the more you’ll try. Some people sit around and talk about it, I say get out there and just do it! Be prepared to do some very hard work but if it’s truly a dream worth chasing, then it’s work worth doing.

I ♥ the Stiff

Looks like I’ll be participating in Bindlestiff Studio’s Stories High Stage Readings this year! It’s a small part but I’m happy to do it. Stories High is a program that Bindlestiff Studio has every year where they hold writing workshops, acting workshops and directing workshops for new or seasoned students. After the workshops are over, the writers’ stories are handed to the directors, the directors get the actors, and they culminate into a show for all to see. This reading is a bit of a preview for people to hear the stories that might be produced for the show. It gives the writers a chance to hear their plays and to do any rewrites they wish if needed. Bindlestiff Studio (affectionately called The ‘Stiff) is the only permanent, community-based Filipino-American theater in the nation. The history of this theater is such a great story of love for theater.

Just to give you the gist of it, the theater was originally a space within a run-down hotel that the SF Redevelopment Agency (SFRA) decided to tear down and rebuild. That meant the theater had to go but there was no promise that they would get the space back after rebuilding. Protests in front of city hall began and the pro-Bindlestiff Studio heads fought to get the space back after the new building goes up. The SFRA said that Bindlestiff would have to raise around $100,000(?) to prove there was a need for the theater to exist. Really, how is a theater that charges people $10 – $15 to see a show going to raise that kind of money? Consequently, Bindlestiff got displaced and moved into a temporary space across the street in Natoma Alley, which was really the basement of an apartment building. That space was horrible; small, inconvenient, and the tenants always complained about our sound. After much dispute, public outcry, protests, negotitations and whatnot, Bindlestiff finally proved itself worthy and they got their home back. I can still remember circling the steps of City Hall, chanting & fighting for the theater. You can read about Bindlestiff here. There is a Groundbreaking Ceremony happening tomorrow night and I’m excited to go! I’ll be working as a volunteer at the pledge table.

I’ve been volunteering for this theater since 2005 and through them, I’ve been given the chance to act, direct, stage manage, do stand-up comedy, shadow puppetry, film, write, and music. Being a part of this world has changed my life for the better and I’m grateful to be able to give back.

Currently, there is an urgency campaign called the Adopt-A-Theater Capital Campaign and the goal is to raise $100,000 to cover the costs of lighting, sound equipment, seats, office equipment, etc. To get updates on Bindlestiff Studio you can find them on Facebook or Twitter.

See ya at the Stiff!

Influential Figures

I met Lise Swenson yesterday. She was the substitute teacher for my screenwriting class. She gave us some background about herself and told us about her dreams & aspirations. She is the director of a documentary film that was made back in 2002 called “Mission Movie.” She talked a lot about how to create a movie that fits the audience you want your film to appeal to and I agreed with her 100%.

She said that if you want to write a movie and get a broad audience, your characters need to appeal to them as well. Having a bunch of older, unknown actors in the movie as opposed to having a bunch of beautiful, young actors in the movie is going to make a big difference in terms of your marketability. I really never thought of it that way at all even though it is probably your most basic of basics in choosing what kind of film you want to write.

We also watched a documentary called A Screenwriter’s Journey. It was about Waldo Salt, one of the world’s the greatest screenwriters. It talked about how Waldo Salt was a Communist and was blacklisted for refusing to testify before the House Committee of Un-American Activities. He eventually realized that Communism was a betrayal but still, he could not write for Hollywood, causing his spirit to plummet to zero. Salt struggled to write during the blacklisting under a pseudonym but even after the blacklist was over, he tried to write again and wrote 3 of his worst movies: Tara Bulbas, Wild & Wonderful, and Flight from Ashiya.

It wasn’t until 1969 when he did the screen adaptation for Midnight Cowboy starring Jon Voight & Dustin Hoffman and won himself an Oscar for it in 1970!! What a great comeback! I was truly inspired by this story. His ups & downs proved to make quite a roller coaster of a life but he kept on going until his passing in 1987. Just 6 months before his death, he won the Laurel Award for Screen Achievement, which is the highest award you can receive from the Writer’s Guild of America.

I hope one day, I will be able to pump out something beautiful on paper in a language that can move even the most callous of souls.

“To search for truth you must first have lost it” – Waldo Salt

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