Posts Tagged ‘theater’

DTM (Doing Too Much)

Man, I haven’t blogged in a minute! Been super busy doing hella shit, aka DTMing it. So much is going on so this blog is going to be all over the place, I bet. I know I’m really late on the train but I’m so happy to hear that Will Friedle got engaged!! I think he got engaged the week before his birthday. You know, for the longest time, I had wondered how I would feel if that ever happened. Would I be sad? Would I be heartbroken? Would I be happy? I was honestly unsure of how I would feel but after I heard, I discovered I was extremely excited for him!! All I want is for him to be happy and that’s all that matters.

The whole month of August, I’ve been trying to get a new job. Something in the filmmaking field would be great since I love it so much. I want to wake up every day wanting to go to work, yknow? I do have a lead for a job but it won’t be available until next year so for now, I’ll have to just grin and bear it.

I’ve also been venturing into vegetarianism. I watched this film called “Unity” which showed across the nation all at the same time on one night. That film was quite effective. It really opened my eyes as to what kind of person I truly want to be. I want to be the most compassionate version of myself that I can be. I still eat eggs and dairy but I think I’m inching my way towards a vegan lifestyle. I really want to watch the documentary “Earthlings” but I’m terrified of seeing any images that will make me sick. Here is a trailer in case anyone is interested. It’s narrated by Joaquin Phoenix.

Thankfully, I have a shit ton of supportive friends, some of which as also vegetarian/vegan so it’s a lot easier when you have support. I’ve been vegetarian for about 3 weeks now. Haven’t lost any weight though. As a matter of fact, I think I might have gained! I’ll need to re-examine my diet one of these days.

What’s also cool that happened today is that my favorite band, Finish Ticket, released their first major label EP!! This is the same band that wrote me a song specifically for my short film, Accident. You can check out the songs on their new EP here on Soundcloud. As a matter of fact, you should totally buy it since it is now available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and Google Play. I am currently downloading it from iTunes as we speak. :0) They are going to do great things someday. They will be as popular as The Killers or Weezer someday. I promise you. Catch them now while you still can. They’re on tour with Twenty One Pilots right now as their opening act. People are being blown away by their music everywhere they go. I know I was.

Oh yes, and the best news this month, I received an email this week with this message:
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YEEEEEE!! This is the festival I had been wanting to get “Accident” into and I’m so glad it did! APAture is a multidisciplinary arts festival that includes film, music, comics, art, literature, etc. I had submitted it last year but it didn’t get in. Then a friend of mine encouraged me to resubmit and it made the cut this year! I’m so excited! I’m currently uploading the ProRes version of it online. It’s been going at it for almost 40 hours so far as it is 15.5 GB!! I can’t wait to see it on the big screen. I did have to fight a little bit because they had asked me to cut it down to 10 min (my short is 11 min 11 sec) but I had to kindly resist because while I did try, I ended up cutting out scenes that I was told were pertinent to the story. Thankfully, my protest got through and I was able to keep my extra 71 seconds of footage. Yesssssssss!!!!! It’s going to play on 10/10/15 at the SF Main Library’s Koret Auditorium. I can’t believe this is happening. If I don’t get into any other festivals, I’d be completely fine with that actually. This was the first festival I had submitted it to last year so that fact that it got rejected back then and now accepted a year later means the world to me.

I’m also excited to participate in the remount of Pilipino Counter Cultural Night (PCCN) next month. I helped produce this show a year ago and it was so popular that a lot of people requested we do it again so that those who couldn’t see it can see it this time. I actually heard that we already have an audience waiting for tickets to go on sale. Perfect! Oh crap, I need to be off book by Tuesday. Better get crackin!

Plus, my comedy troupe Granny Cart Gangstas has decided to do another show next year! We had a very productive meeting last weekend and I can’t wait to start on our material for the show. This time, we are urging some of the other girls to produce the show so that they may learn how to become a producer. This is one of my main goals for my troupe. I want everyone to have produced at least one project whether it be a film, a show, a photoshoot, anything really. Having this amazing sisterhood of women should somehow benefit us one way or another. I’ll post more updates on that another time. I need to go to sleep. Good night! Here’s a pic from our meeting:
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2015 So Far

Happy new year, world! I know, a little late but hey, I normally celebrate Chinese New Year which hasn’t happened yet so there. Anyway, my year started off pretty terribly actually. I woke up one morning at 4 am and couldn’t go back to sleep without oversleeping for work so I decided to browse for flights to London. My friends and I are planning on visiting London, Paris and Prague in June. The prices had been hovering around $600 – $900 so I thought I would see if they went down as prices sometimes do on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Lo and behold, a $300 non-refundable flight to London! I couldn’t believe my luck. I bought a ticket for me and my friend so now, all I needed were tickets for the other countries. I went to work and when I checked my email, I had received my confirmation for the flight. However, it was then that I realized that the flight was actually going to London, Canada! Crap. All over my face. There’s a London in Canada?!! Oh my god… Thankfully, I was able to get them to cancel it but not before I was charged a $250 fee for canceling so ultimately, I’m out $250, which is a LOT of money for a not rich person like me. So now, I’ve decided to hand off flight searching to my friend in case of any further mishaps.

Anyway, I’m excited for next weekend as I will be walking the runway again for Kearny Street Workshop‘s “Celebrate Your Body” Fashion Show at SOMArts Center. I had my fitting yesterday with Natasha of Halmoni Vintage. She is such a wonderful person, so kind and beautiful inside and out. I’m very proud to model for her first runway show. Other designs will be from Patria Native Land, Madeira, Thuy Custom Clothier, and also Kini Zamora Clothing who was a finalist on Project Runway. Check out what Celebrate Your Body is all about. They will be honoring Thick Dumpling Skin at the show, which is a body positive website run by Lisa Lee and Lynn Chen.

Other things under way are our next Granny Cart Gangstas sketch comedy show in March! We had a meeting Friday night and compiled our content together. Here is a glimpse of the titles:

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Oh, did you catch that? Yes, it is true. I wrote a short sketch about Will Friedle. Couldn’t help it. I can’t wait to start rehearsing for it. I let one of my friends read an unfinished outline of it and she was already laughing less than half way down the page. It involves cake, a dog, and a ninja. My goal is that by the end of the show, everyone who came to the show is going to google Will Friedle when they get home. Sigh…it’s just wonderful when you can merge your artist life with your fan girl life.

Another show I’m working on is called “There’s The Moon And Then There’s You” written by Christina Ying. This is the first feature length play I’ve ever helped produce. I am in charge of the Indiegogo campaign for it. Pretty ironic since I don’t know the first thing about raising money, but there is a first time for everything. I did do one for myself for “Accident” but it’s different when you’re doing it for a project you didn’t write.

Anyway, I’m going to enjoy the rest of my lazy Sunday. Hope you do too!

Lessons From Sketchy People

Last night, Granny Cart Gangstas(GCG) did a show, “Sketchy People,” together with another comedy troupe, Taste Better Wit. Initially, we were supposed to work together on something collaboratively but time did not allow that. Our first GCG rehearsal was only two weeks before showtime and we only rehearsed about twice a week. It also didn’t help that our rehearsal locations were so far and traveling took up about the same amount of rehearsal time if not more. So here are three lessons I’ve learned from this show.

1. Learn to improv
During the time crunch, there were many times where we had to make do, sometimes make stuff up on the spot. One of our troupe members was only able to make one rehearsal, the last full rehearsal before our show date. Since she wasn’t there at the previous rehearsals, a lot of us ended up in multiple roles and we had quick changes in between sketches. Our solution was to have her entertain the audience during transitions long enough to allow us to change our outfits. We needed her to do a 2 minute improv piece and she had 2 days to come up with something. After that rehearsal, doing the line up, and adding a piece last minute on day of show, there were more quick changes than we anticipated so she had to come up with 4 transition pieces which she did while we are brainstormed together. Making fun of the internal aspects of improv such as Contact Improv, playing Props and Interpretive Dancing seemed to be the way to go and she got plenty of laughs! Mission accomplished.

2. Just Go With It
More than once, I’ve been in brainstorm sessions where I am the “logical” one in the group and I’m always playing devil’s advocate. I asked questions like “How are you going to get permission?” or “It’s safer to do that in a soundstage, not in the actual woods.” or “This is impossible, we don’t have an elevator to film in!” These statements come in contrast with opposing statements such as “Let’s all go film it at Bally’s Gym!” or “Let’s film car scenes while we go camping!” or “Let’s do a parody video of the Solange/Jay-Z fight tonight!” I’ve come to the conclusion that while I am always preaching that I can do anything, I, in fact, tell others what they cannot do. In their words, I “bring them back to reality.”

Being an aspiring comedian is a bit of an oxymoron. If you’re making the effort to make people laugh, you’re a comedian, whether you label it or not. Other examples of unintentional comedians would be the “Class Clown” of your grade in high school. This person makes you laugh and you called him/her “You’re such a comedian.” Oftentimes, I find that comedy comes from real life but my troupe members sometimes find their comedy in fantasy and who am I to tell them not to live in a fantasy world if it helps hone their craft? I don’t mean to be a killjoy, just asking the right questions that need to be asked, I thought. However, I often wonder what would happen if those logical questions never get asked? What would the end product result in? Just go with it and find out.

3. Chill out, it’s comedy – missed cues
People who go to comedy shows are there to have a good time through laughter and so should the actors! This show didn’t get to really have a cue to cue session until the day of so naturally, some cues were amiss. And when a cue is missed, nothing you can do really, just hope that the tech person realizes their mistake. So while I could get upset and crazy over what happened, there was really nothing you could do. We are all human. Plus, it’s live theater. Shit happens. Thankfully, the audience was made up of all our forgiving friends who have been onstage as well, for the most part, and understand what it’s like to have a cue amiss. I didn’t get upset at the tech crew, just brushed it off my shoulder and I never dwelled on it surprisingly. i figured, what’s the point of being bitter about something you cannot change? We can only learn from it. Next time, have more cue to cue sessions.

Granny Cart Gangstas

Curtain Call

The Love Edition Film Shoot

So, I’m one of the producers for an upcoming show called “The Love Edition: Love Bytes.” It’s a show at Bindlestiff Studio that mounted its first run back in 2006 during February, produced by Chuck Lacson and Raf Lim, along with Associate Producers Nina De Torres Ignacio and John Raposas. And since it was in February, it became about love. First year, its theme was radio. The show was set up like a radio talk show where you could hear people call into a radio talk show and talk about their love problems. Then the stories onstage would play out from what you heard. The second time it mounted in 2007, the theme was TV and the show was set up like a talk show where a tv talk show host would discuss people’s love problems as if they were at a live recording of the show. Some audience members actually that it was a really show being recorded because there were monitors put up in the theater to make it feel like a live taping. Ultimately, the Love Edition went on hiatus because the producers were unable to commit to mounting another run and no one else attempted to take over.

It wasn’t until now that the original producers were able to commit to mounting a third installment of The Love Edition and this year, the theme is about love online, hence the title, “Love Bytes.” I have always wanted to be a part of the show in some way. I participated as an Assistant Director to one of the pieces in the 2nd Love Edition back in 2007 but I wasn’t sure how I would be able to participate this year. When they did the call out for written pieces, I wanted to submit but couldn’t find the time to write out a script by the deadline. I was sad about that so I thought maybe I could audition when the time came, but I never feel like I would fit the roles that are usually out there so I wasn’t too hopeful about that. 

One day, while at the theater, I was approached by one of the producers to become one of the Associate Producers for the next Love Edition. I can’t tell you how surprised I was to be asked to do something like that as I was not even really sure what a producer does. Apparently, projects I’ve done where I had to make something happen from beginning to end was considered “producing.” I was elated and excited to be a part of such a beloved show. Love has always been my area of weakness as I know NOTHING so I thought maybe I could learn a thing or two. 

Anyway, the point of my post. Just finished the film shoot portion of The Love Edition. It will be a web promo for the show and I have to say, this particular film shoot was by far, the funniest project I have ever had the pleasure of participating in. I’m so glad I was there to witness all the comedic moments of the shoot. There were people whom I asked if they could help out on the shoot and I actually feel sorry for them that they said no and weren’t there to enjoy these good times. GREAT times. I wish I could relive all those moments of laughter. It was too fun. This film shoot really made me think twice about what I want to do with my career. They said that when you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. It is very true. While the whole weekend involved a lot of hard work, I have to say I had the greatest time. It was a good way to start off 2014 and I can’t wait to see the final results after the editor gets a hold of the footage.

Here are a few screen captures. Find us at http://www.youtube.com/theloveedition

Enjoy!

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UPDATE: Here are the final results! Watch on a laptop or desktop and turn on your annotations to get the full interactive experience!

Keeping Busy

So many events and projects have caused me to neglect my blog! But I found some time today to dedicate to documenting some of the things that have been happening. Last week, we finished our run of A Pinoy Midsummer at Bindlestiff Studio and it was a completely sold out run! We even had to add 2 more shows due to high demand! I guess I can cross “Be in a sold out show” off my bucket list. I was really excited to be a part of this show because I love working with it’s director, Lorna Velasco. She was the director I started Bindlestiff with so it’s nice to be able to reconnect. I was initially supposed to play Snug the Joiner but I opted to play kulintang instead. I just really missed playing the instrument and it gave me a chance to relearn some of the songs I had lost.

Another project I had done was that we finally got to shoot our intro for Granny Cart Gangstas! This is an all-female comedy troupe I’m trying to start through YouTube. We attempted to film our intro video last year in December but we got shut down by security. Apparently, you can’t take pictures or film in a private park, even though there are no signs stating it was a private park. We recasted the parts and my friend directed the short piece and watching the raw clips had me crackin up. I can’t wait to see them edited and completed.

I also started an internship with a movie called “Saltwater,” written by Lise Swenson. I’m really enjoying it because I’m a part of the casting team and I was excited when I was assigned to do a dossier on Rider Strong. Of course it was also me who suggested him but I truly envisioned him for the character in the movie. I don’t have any expectations on whether the director will agree but at least I threw it out there. It would have been nice to see him audition for the part.

Alas, my time is up and I have to move onto other activities for now. I have an afternoon to nighttime meeting today so I need to buy some Hennessy. Ciao!

Death of “Death Of A Player”

“Death of a Player” is a success!! I’m so proud to have participated in this production. We just finished our last show on Saturday and our show got to the top #1 spot at Bindlestiff Studio for ticket sales on Brown Paper Tickets! So ecstatic about that! This was one of the best productions I had ever participated in. We received some great writeups & reviews and I had a blast working with all the people involved. We all collectively had one goal: to make it great. We all wanted the show to succeed and that we did!

It hasn’t really hit me yet that I won’t be seeing these beautiful faces all together again this week. It hasn’t really hit me yet that this production has concluded. It hasn’t really hit me yet that the show has run its course and will not be reprising itself, at least not in the near future. I think the reason is because while the project was indeed new, the faces were not. The friendships were not. The creative juices were not. I know I will be seeing some of these faces again soon. I know our friendships were real and the production only added to the solidarity of its foundation. And I know the way we flow together will resurface again in another time & another project. The BEST part about working on this project was that it was just like we were playing with our friends, like you do during your childhood.

The producer, Maggie Suarez-Calixton, told us that someone from the SF Examiner came to see the show last Friday and his opinion was that he wanted to nominate us for best theater production! Regardless of whether or not it happens, that was truly an amazing compliment to hear. We went through so much mud to get to clean & dry lands and it was worth it in the end. I got to return to Bindlestiff Studio in a big way, wearing two hats as a writer & an actress.

Now that the show is finally over, I can finally release my monologue. Sigh…what a relief to have had the opportunity to release my angst. Thank you PMSTA!

Breathe

I love PMSTA. I really do. The show has been going great and I am honored to be working with each & every one of them. We just got past the 1st weekend and have already done 5 shows. I can’t believe it! Usually, the 1st weekend only has 3 shows. I guess we’re just that much more ambitious. I’m getting some good feedback about my monologue, “Strength.” I ended up having to do the mom voiceover when initially, it was supposed to be a recording from my friend’s mother. Each time I do it, I have to find the prebeat and revisit those dark days. It’s hard because I find myself remembering all the emotions I went through. I had to stop watching the comedic monologue that precedes Strength in order to get my prebeat, which sucks because I really like watching that monologue.

My brothers were able to make it to the show on Sunday. Unfortunately, I found out on Saturday that the actress who normally performs Strength was unable to perform it on Sunday, the only day that my brothers were able to go. So, on a whim, I made the difficult decision to do a stage reading of Strength. I hadn’t revisited my monologue since I gave it to the director so I decided to just read it raw, without any prebeat, preparation, or anything. Just me & a mic. I had my friend record it so that I could preserve it. I’ll probably post it after the show is done.

The reading went well, I think. I was barely able to see through my tears. I squished all 5 pages into 2 and it was difficult to see the small font I had used. I didn’t tell my brother that I had written about the incident but he told me it was well written. I don’t think I really truly felt like it was until my friends Judith & Christina told me that some people stood up after my monologue. I rushed offstage right after because I just couldn’t bare to sit there any longer. I ran into the green room and cried. I just need to re-release all the dormant emotions I had sealed away in a box, tucked inside my heart, never to be opened again. That Sunday, I opened it and the memories of it all came rushing back. I became numb & lifeless, tears just streaming endlessly down my face. I tilted my head back & just wanted to die until I felt two arms wrap around me. It was my friend, Tonilyn. She said that she was proud of me for my courage and that I did good. I grabbed hold of her and she let me cry into her soul. At that moment, I realized it was what I needed; it was something I hadn’t done to heal. I never let anyone comfort me about it. I always cried alone, in my room, listening to Adele’s “Someone Like You” and wondering if my mother was ok. Then another friend, Andrea, came in and told me I did really well and hugged me too. I really appreciated this gesture and it helped me tremendously.

The human hug is so insignificant and yet so powerful. Toni let me do the “ugly cry” into her. I think I did it for just a minute or two but it felt like an hour. Thank God for my friends. If not for them, I would be in a very different place, mentally, physically & emotionally. Now that I have finally found a voice & a place to tell my story, I can truly begin the healing process that I stopped so abruptly due to circumstances beyond my control. I feel so blessed to have these healing souls surrounding me, bathing me in their love, nurturing me with their laughter, and soothing me with their touch. I am finally able to breathe.

PMSTA Presents…

Rehearsals & moving have been kicking my ass. Trying to pack, move stuff, unpack, make props & rehearsing has been my week lately. I haven’t even been able to really write at all, nor eat for that matter. As the show is coming up this week, it is really starting to sink in. I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure lately to improve on my craft but all the pressure is affecting my performance. I’m starting to get panic attacks when I’ve never really had any before. I really don’t like being the center of attention. Just writing this out and thinking about it is giving me a heart palpitations.

The best part of this project is the people I’m working with. We started back in 2007 and I’m honored to be with them again. PMSTA has been a great group of folks to work with. When I’m having a bad day at work, it’s their energy that feeds me to return to a more balanced demeanor and I’m ok again. I wonder if this type of development occurs in other theater groups. I’m sure it does, it has to. How can you work with so many people for so long and not develop a sense of kinship with them?

I don’t even know why I’m writing this post. I should be working on my character development. Well, by now, I should already have it down. I do have it, but outside issues are affecting my deep within and it shows onstage. I need to buckle up and get focused!! FOCUS!! FUCK!! You don’t know how many times I have released a random scream. It feels good. I just need to focus focus focus.

At this point, my issues are minimal. I’ve lost my moustache about 4 – 6 times, I am spending my breaks getting props & stuff, I’m trying too hard to establish my blocking, and deep down, I know I got this & I’m nervous for nothing. “Relax, relate, release” as Whitley Gilbert would say. :0)

It’s showtime.

Death of A Player presented by PMSTA.

Death of a Player Kickstarter

The Kickstarter page for our show is finally up! We’re in full force now. We need to raise $5000 so please feel free to donate or share the link! Support independent theater and come to our show!!

PMSTA Death of a Player – Kickstarter

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!