Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hot Link Wednesday

Some links for ya on this fine fine specimen of a day:

LA Guerrilla Gardening: I participated in their "Rock and Crawl" event this past Saturday, and had oh so much fun. Great people, great organization, I love the concept of creating beauty in abandoned spaces.

Hollywood Fringe: I'll be writing for this festival, our entry is ASAP Fables. Tons of theater going on all around LA for this event. I'm really looking forward to being involved.

Hyperbole and a Half: I could not stop laughing at this site. So wonderful.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Theater of the Bizarro

The reading of the first act of my first play is fast approaching, and is becoming more surreal by the day.

While the play is not strictly autobiographical by any stretch of the term (none of these things actually happened), the characters are more than loosely based on my own family. But of course, the more dysfunctional the characters, the more interesting the play, so I had to ratchet up everyone's personality "quirks" just a bit. So yes, the mom seems like my mom in many respects (one of those being the obsessive application of lip gloss) but it's a negative portrayal. As in, if my mother were a bad mother, she would be like this.

But it will still be strange to watch the reading with my mother there, and even more so with my dad if he attends the reading...let's just say the portrayal of him is a little closer to the truth than that of my mom. But it's still an exaggeration. So real life Mom and Dad will be watching the play about Bizarro Mom and Dad and Bizarro Jackie, written by real life Jackie.

To add to the Bizarro-ness of it all, my mom's friend Ryan will be playing the role of Jack (Bizarro Sibling). Ryan is actually a real-life bizarro sibling - when I was with my sister in New York for Christmas, he went to the big Christmas family celebration with my mom and dad. They've sort of adopted him...and now, more than they know.

I'm trying not to think about the play on the level of "what are my parents going to think?", because I could drive myself insane (ha!) and it's not going to change the outcome. They'll like it or they won't, they'll see themselves in it or they won't, they'll be pleased or they'll be pissed - and I'll cross that bridge (or jump off it) when I come to it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Getting in my Own Way

I want to start a non-profit.

It would look something like this: free after school programs and summer programs in the creative arts for kids in lower-income areas. Basically, a place where kids can enjoy the dance classes, art classes, and theater (and more) that I got to do as a kid - without having to pay the prohibitively expensive tuition that keeps most kids in those areas from being able to take such classes. It would utilize already existing LAUSD facilities as classrooms, and work with local artists and theater and dance companies who would serve as teachers/mentors.


For some reason I keep stopping myself from moving forward. Most recently, I told myself that most theater companies can't even sell enough tickets to have a profitable production, so how would a bunch of kids doing theater manage to sell tickets? But if that were a reason to not produce anything, then very few things would actually get produced.

This project is something that I'm passionate about, and something I think I have the skills to organize and run. I'm putting it into this blog so that I have some accountability and a record that I am still thinking about this idea (ten years after I came up with it), I still want to do it, and I am committing to making some sort of forward movement.

It's time to get out of my own way.

So the next step - this week I commit to researching non-profits in the area that are running similar programs, and research the steps to forming a non-profit.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, but first I have to stop tripping over my own feet.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hot Link Wednesday

Some fun stuff I've found on the internets:

Hipster Puppies - I'm going to try to get Bear in the Hipster Puppies book. We will do a photo shoot this weekend. I did a test shoot and he kept trying to eat my sunglasses.

Vote for the Worst - Their recaps make American Idol somewhat entertaining. What, I said somewhat. I still fast forward through most of the show.

Unnecessary Quotes - Plays on one of my pet peeves. Now if only there were a blog decrying people who capitalize Things that are not Proper Nouns...

Cake or Death...and Legos - One of my favorite Eddie Izzard bits of all time, with Lego animation. Brilliant!

And for anyone who thinks I should have more links after a 4 month hiatus - clearly I have been working very very hard, way too hard to spend all day surfing the interweb.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stuff You Might Like: Produce

I blogged last year about CSA California, where I got a mixed bag of farm-fresh produce. I've actually stopped getting bags from them in favor of going to the local farmer's markets and picking out my own fruits and vegetables (the CSA bag was great, but I didn't get to pick what I wanted). I've been going to the Sunday market on Ventura Place at Laurel Canyon, and the Tuesday market on Woodman at Riverside (in the mall parking lot).

As you probably know, shopping at farmer's markets is much better for the environment than shopping at grocery stores because of the reduction in energy used to transport the produce. (I feel like the "The More You Know" star should fly across the screen at this point.) And it may be a little bit more expensive, but the food is so much better. I did a taste test - I bought some strawberries at the grocery store (because they were 88 cents and I love strawberries) and then I bought strawberries at the farmer's market. The difference was amazing - it was like comparing strawberries to iceberg lettuce shaped like strawberries...the grocery store berries comparatively had no flavor. My friend Donna says it's because grocery store produce ripens on the truck while farmer's market produce ripens on the vine (or in the ground, or whatever). Donna also says that once I start eating fruits and veggies from my yard garden it's going to be even more of a taste difference, so yay!

Both markets have their strengths and are my reviews (titles link to official websites):

Sunday Farmer's Market in Studio City

A great selection of everything, but go early if you want yellow beets. My favorite goat cheese is there (the vendor is called Mom's and it's the herb goat feta), as well as the Japanese cucumber vendor and the guy with the amazing baguettes. There's also a vendor that seems to specialize in root vegetables - I got sunchokes there a couple of weeks ago and they were awesome. This is the market to go to if you want a big selection and would like to try some new things.

Parking can be a nightmare - I almost got into an altercation with an angry driver last time I went. It's pretty crowded and the crowd is unfortunately slightly oblivious to their spatial relationships...the type of people that come to a dead stop in front of you or walk slowly and diagonally in your path. But whatever, it's Sunday and it's early and they're probably hung over. No dogs allowed, but my friend Bethany who has a dog walking/sitting business goes there with a crate and dogsits while people shop.

Tuesday Farmer's Market at Woodman/Riverside

This one's a bit smaller but has some great vendors, and I love that they're there until 8 pm. My favorite vendor there by far, and the best deal, is the flower guy. Where else can you get five stems of tuberoses (my favorite flower) for $3? He'll tell you how long the bouquet will last (usually a week to 10 days) and he's not been wrong so far.

Dogs seem to be allowed - I've seen a couple there and I think I might take Bear today since I'm just grabbing a couple of things. The only drawback to this market is size and selection, but you can find pretty much any basic fruit or vegetable in season. No sunchokes though.

There's a woman who specializes in goat cheese, and I got a tub of cucumber/jalapeno goat cheese once that was spectacular. The fruit guy towards the end has some amazing apples, and the lettuce woman had the best pack of strawberries I've gotten this season.

And speaking of lettuce - both markets have a lettuce vendor with a blend called the "Special Mix." It has flowers, herbs (including amazing purple basil) and an assortment of baby lettuces. I've pretty much become addicted to this lettuce and sometimes go to both markets in one week to stock up.

If you want to read more reviews, here are the yelp pages for both:

Studio City Sunday Market

Woodman Avenue Tuesday Market

Happy shopping!

Monday, April 12, 2010

if you're happy and you know it clap your hands (clap, clap)

I was out for a drink with a friend last night, and we were discussing how he's happier than he's ever been -- even though he's unemployed and not sure what his next step will be. And I realized that I'm pretty happy too.

If you had told me a year ago (or any number of years ago, really) that at 29, I'd be working for my dad and be content, I would have laughed in your face. But. I get to bring my dog to work, I'm not in constant fear of losing my job, I'm learning how to run a small business...and I've been writing more than ever. I'm currently working on more sketches, a full-length play, and will be writing for a theater event in the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

I've been chanting a lot, and half the time I am simply chanting my gratitude - for my health, my house, friends, family, animals...the list goes on. When you stop to reflect on the positive things in your life, they seem to multiply.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Well, hi. Fancy meeting you here.

It's been a while. But it's a new month (April Fools' Day no less) and another attempt to update this here blog on a semi-regular basis.

The nice thing is, though I have not been writing here, I have been writing. I'm almost done with Act I of my first full-length play (tentatively titled "DSM-V") and also just had two sketches produced as part of my improv group's March show.

I've been in my little house for almost two years now, and have definitely been growing in NoHo. Previously black-thumbed Jax actually has a vegetable garden going - my lettuce is thriving, peas are shooting up, carrots are carroting and beets are beeting.

And, the biggest change in my life in the past year or so - I got a dog. A mutt puppy from the pound, named Bear. He gets to come to work with me, which is awesome. I've never had a dog before, not even as a kid, so it's a new sort of commitment but one that I'm really enjoying.

Overall, life is good. Which doesn't make for a very exciting blog post but does make me quite happy.