I Was An Accomplice

We had been told to meet in front of the fish market, a notorious mob location, where we'd be given our assignment and a "package" to deliver. A mob boss needed help, and wanted us to do it. After all, we would never be suspected by the feds, so we could get this done with a minimum of trouble. We collected the goods and our first clue from our contact and set out on a long walking tour of lower Manhattan. This was Accomplice: New York, a live interactive theatrical event that we were participants in.

Last week Roommate K asked me if I'd like to join him and several of his friends from work for this little excursion. It sounded like a lot of fun, so bought my ticket and joined in the adventure.

For three hours we tracked over Chinatown, Little Italy, and the area surrounding City Hall solving clues, performing missions and interacting with actors and the owners and workers of various stores and bars who would then send us on our way towards a new adventure.

It was a fun time, a few overly easy clues, a few that took a little prompting from the actors in order to get us headed in the right direction. Certainly an activity or two that I wouldn't have done otherwise, (purchasing a live animal in Chinatown? Not something I'd have considered doing before!). You definitely have to get yourself into the mindset of a slightly campy fun romp through a series of increasingly ridiculous situations. Along the way we were also treated to some uniquely New York moments, the homeless man who asked one of the actors for money, the diminutive Chinese woman who forced her way through crowded streets by yelling "Beep, Beep, Beep" over and over, the owner of the doll shop who was a bit too into her part, some of which were parts of the adventure, some of which were random occurrences that we only THOUGHT were part of everything. In the end it was a unique New York day that I was happy to have been a part of. I'd recommend it to anyone who wanted a cool new look at the city, and maybe a little touch of adventure.

Subway Sketches Part LX

A Momentary Breakdown

Walking down the street today I caught myself crying. I'm not sure why, I wasn't particularly depressed, or sad. I wasn't particularly in any mood that I could pin down. It didn't last long, basically once I realized that it was happening it stopped, and afterwards I felt at once relieved and slightly ridiculous for walking down the streets of Manhattan with tears on my face. It's one of the vagaries of human emotion that we often don't know what causes certain reactions. This was certainly one of those times. It's not difficult to make me cry really. I routinely cry at movies, and have been known to catch a lump in my throat from the odd commercial, or even a game show if the winner seems endearing enough. I decided to see if a bit of catharsis was in order, so I went to see "Shopgirl." The book had been one of my favorite reads of that year, and had made me cry quite a bit as I recalled. The movie, while good, and featuring some stunning performances, didn't carry the same emotional impact for me. I left the theater dry eyed. Maybe I had just cried it all out earlier.

Thinking of Leaving, Again

My desperation earlier this week to get out of the country and do something continues to plague my thoughts, but I'm feeling much more settled about things now that I've decided to make it happen.

The unfortunate news is that I accepted a show for the week that I was originally planning, so I'll have to be in NYC for Christmas day, and the following week, regardless of how I feel about it. The good news is that when I told BFE Michelle that I was considering going to Peru and hiking from Cuzco to Machu Picchu her curiousity was piqued. Seems that she's been craving this sort of a trip as well. For years we've discussed doing something similar to this in the Yucattan, as well as the possibility of the Appalachian trail. I sent her all the information that I had on the trip earlier this week so that she could peruse it for herself and see what she thought. If she decides to go I would reschedule the trip for mid-January, if she doesn't then I think I will still go alone and leave NYC on the 30th of December. This is the kind of thing that I have wanted to do for a few years now, not only visiting the ruins of another civilization, but hiking for 4 days to get there. I need the adventure of that right now I think. Reckon the tour guide will mind me stopping to sketch occassionally?

Subway Sketches Part LIX

Subway Sketches Part LVIII

I'm Rich!!

This morning Gothamist featured a link to a Dutch site geared towards raising money towards international poverty. It's a pretty ingenious site. By entering your own yearly income you can see where you sit in the global scheme of richest and poorest people in the world. The hope of the site is that by seeing where you fall you will realize that you have more money than you think, and that you will donate to their cause.

My income, as a freelancer in the arts, is barely above what the US Government defines as poverty, but by international standards I am in the top 10% of richest people in the world! There are 5,398,344,113 people in the world who make less money than me. If a global list was made I would be the 601,655,887th richest person in the world.

It does help to put things in perspective a bit.

Check out your own wealth!

All The News That's Fit To Print

For the first time ever a show that I was a part of has been reviewed in the New York Times.

Granted, I'm not mentioned at all, and it's reviewed as part of an article about events for children this weekend, rather than having a stand alone review, but still! The Times!! How fucking cool is THAT!?

Subway Sketches Part LVIII

When I was sketching this image the baby was initially asleep, but a big lurch of the train woke him and he started to cry. A woman to my left that I hadn't noticed was watching me started whispering across the aisle to the mother, telling her that I was doing a "nice drawing" of her child and that she should try to calm him so that I could finish. I guess my benefactor figured that I couldn't hear her because I had my iPod playing. The mother ignored her, as well as the crying baby. I shifted the focus of my sketch to details of the stroller, and other things, waiting for the child to settle down again. In a few seconds he miraculously calmed, but was turned in a different direction, staring intently at my benefactor. I looked up from my sketch to see what she had done to capture the baby's imagination so intensely. There, in the middle of the D train, this woman had reached into her purse and pulled out a parakeet. She sat there with this small green bird on her finger, stroking it's wings, and holding it out for the baby to watch. After a few minutes she gently ushered the bird back into her bag, and the now pacified baby settled back into a fairly close approximation of his original position. I finished the sketch, but would have loved to have sketched the woman with her bird.

Subway Sketches Part LVII

Feeling My Roots

Lunch today: Fried egg and scrapple sandwich, on white bread with mayo (Duke's of course) and sweet tea.


I'm Thinking of Leaving

My sister called me today to update me on the holiday plans for the family. We have started a semi-tradition of traveling as a family for the holidays. This year my mom and sister and brother in=law have decided to visit me in the city rather than all of us going elsewhere as we did last year. The problem is that they are coming early in the month because they both have classes and finals to deal with later.

BFE Michelle has decided that she is traveling to her home state of Alabama for the holidays.

That leaves me... well... nowhere.

Today I decided that I wasn't happy about that. I of course have a standing offer to go to Alabama or home to my mom's. I could probably find somewhere to be in Savannah. Roommate K invited me to go with him to Philly today. But while having lunch with Alison today my mind latched onto an idea that I can't let go of: going Somewhere.

Somewhere, with a capital 'S.' Paris, or Rome, or Prague, or Cairo, or Istanbul, or Athens. I've checked prices to all of those places and flying out of JFK on Christmas day, and returning on New Year's day, two very light travel days traditionally, I can get to most of them for less than $500. Now I just have to determine if there will be anything to do in any of these places at that time of year. I've been looking for a book on Christmas travel, but it doesn't seem to exist. I've found a few articles at places like Lonely Planet, but nothing substantially informative. This is going to take some further research, but I think... I pretty much know at this point, that my passport is getting a new stamp soon.

Not Dead Yet, But Maybe Soon

Everyone has off weeks, you know? For me this hasn't so much been an off week as an "on" one. Wednesday Thursday and Friday of last week I spent working in the mornings at a theatre that I work for frequently here in Manhattan. Every day at 2 the actors would take the stage and I'd pack my bags and head to the hinterlands of Queens to attend the technical rehearsals for show I did out there. (This being the show that I accepted as a favor to a friend who needed to get to his family in NoLa). This was an hour and a half train ride going out and about two hours, fifteen minutes coming back because the trains had gone local by the time. I was getting in at an average time of 1 am, then getting up to be at work in Manhattan by 9.

That show opened on Friday, by was replaced in my schedule by a show that I had agreed to costume. It seemed like a much simpler assignment at first but hard to please actors and wishy-washy directors plagued my progress. Please, Baby Jesus save me from actors with ideas, and directors with none!

Saturday, Sunday and Monday were spent frantically building the set that I had gotten behind on last week. Yesterday I was here from 10am until 3am, painting and building, sometimes with actors onstage. I returned this morning at 9am for the first tech. That ended at 6, but I had to hustle to my costuming job which also began tech today! Then back here to finish things. I expect to leave at roughly 2.

Tomorrow will be much the same, except that the show here will be open, and I will have just the costume job to concentrate on for a day or two, until I have to convert the set I am building now for the next show, which is sharing this design. Are you confused yet? I am, I'll admit. Suffice to say that accepting the show from my friend put a serious crook in the way that my planning usually runs.

I ache for Thursday to get here, because I know I can sleep in, at least for a little while. Of course sleeping in right now would be 6 hours, instead of 3.

I hope to be back to my normal form by next week. I have a few good sketches from al those long train rides that I hope to start posting soon. Thanks for your patience.

Subway Sketches Part LVI

Subway Sketches Part LV

Blog Milestone

At 10:40:05 p.m. this evening someone from Nashua, New Hampshire became the 5000th visitor to this blog. I can see from the visit logs that this wasn't your first visit, so if you are checking in again, please say hi and tell me who you are!

Thank you all for visiting, and I look forward to 5000 more!

Subway Sketches Part LIV

October Eyes

"Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves. We have had our summer evenings, now for October eyes!" -Humbert Wolfe.

I've always loved that quote. I never have been able to find the rest of the poem, everyone simply quotes that portion, (unless, and this just occurred to me, that IS the poem... Aha!) but I've had a clipping from a magazine with that quote that has been pinned to a couple dozen bulletin boards over the years, wherever I've worked or lived. There's something about Autumn that makes gets me into a romantic mood.

Now, everyone knows that when you are actively looking for someone romantically you'll never find who you're looking for... So let it be known that I am certainly NOT looking for anyone who even vaguely fits the following descriptions:

An astronomer who will spend the afternoon explaining his latest research to me while I pretend to listen, really just watching the way his lips move and contemplating what they would feel like to kiss.

A theoretical mathematician with thick blonde hair on his forearms that shimmers like gold when he plays his guitar in the sunshine.

An ex-college baseball player turned novelist who spends his days in diners and the park transcribing conversations that he's eavesdropped on. He'd read me the good parts over cheap red wine and cheese.

A redheaded painter who creates giant canvases based on myths from his Celtic heritage.

A comic book geek who would go to the shop with me on Wednesday afternoons and then spend the evening swapping books while we shared sushi and argued over the best Avengers line-up.

A former boy scout who will take me hiking and won't mind setting up the tent because I want to finish one more watercolor before the light goes.

So PLEASE, if any of this sounds like you... drop me a line so that we can... NOT... uhm... start an email conversation, and then later NOT move into an apartment in the East Village with a dachshund. 'Cause I certainly DO NOT want that to happen.

Nope. Not at all.

To Be Sketched

Last night I had a quite new experience... I was sketched on the subway.

At about 1:30 a.m., after a frustrating commute from Kew Gardens that involved a car, a bus, 3 different train lines and an out of system transfer that had me walking in the rain for 5 blocks, I was comfortably ensconced on the 1 train, having a conversation with the director that I'm working with on this project. An older man got on the train carrying a clipboard and a handful of sharpened pencils. He sat across the aisle from us and began sketching.

I was secretly elated, but I wasn't sure what to do. The 1 train is much smaller than my preferred A line, and it was impossible to mistake what he was doing. I'd have probably been doing it myself if I was alone on the train. I felt bad for him, knowing that I was going to be leaving the train in a few more stops. He had picked a poor subject to sketch. I tried to stay as still as I could, focusing on the conversation, to give him as much chance as I could, but the ride came to end quickly.

As I got up to exit the train I glanced at his clipboard, but I guess he was frustrated by my early exit, as he was busy scribbling out his efforts. The last thing I saw was him balling up the page. I can sympathize with his frustration, I have many sketchbook pages that are only partially finished because my subject left the train quickly.

Sorry Mr. Clipboard, I'd have loved to have seen your sketch, finished or not. Maybe next time.

Subway Sketches Part LIII

Subway Sketches Part LII

Subway Sketches Part LI

12 Weeks of Christmas, Week One: If You Have A Million Dollars

For this first group of potential gifts I decided to dream big! So if any you are multi-millionaires, and feel like picking up... well... just a little something for me... here are a few ideas:

A Private Island

I've had my eye on this island for quite a while now, and I've watched the price drop by several hundred thousand dollars, to the point where now they don't even list a price. The description has been re-written a few times and the images of the houses on the island have changed, as the realtors try to find a buyer for it. A hundred and sixty acres and an in-place infrastructure off the coast of Ireland sounds like the perfect place for me to retire from the entire world and paint. Don't you think? What I'd be getting for your money... 9 houses of varying sizes and types, a 9-hole golf course, a private generator and water system for the island, and a beach house in the shape of a mock ship-wreck. Hell... I'd probably open up the whole place as a gay resort.

A New York City Apartment

Another piece of prime real estate, the layout and visuals of this apartment seem like they would make for an amazing living experience. I love towering windows like this, and converted industrial spaces always seem like they would make incredible apartments. Plus the monthly maintenance fees are less than what I'm paying for my share of rent at my current place... there's just that pesky 1.7 Million fee to move in that I really need help with.

A Savannah Townhouse

If New York city real estate seems pricey then maybe a more modest investment in my hometown of Savannah would make a better gift? My very first apartment was just a few blocks from this house, which is on Whitfield Square, one of my favorite places in Savannah. Whitfield Square has a great little gazebo in the middle where I used to spend a lot of time. (It's one of the most popular wedding spots in the city.) The house has a garden! And it's already on the Registry of Historic Homes. Three bedrooms, so I could easily convert one to a studio and still have a place for my mom stay when she visits. I think this one's one heck of a deal!

Or Maybe a Treehouse?

Not sure where I'd put this one, but the idea of it intrigues me immensely. Treehouses have always had a particular appeal to me and this one certainly has class. Maybe my mom would let me put it between the pines on the edge of her property? It would give me a place to stay when I went home for visits. Plus it appeals to the geek within because it not only reminds me of the Ewok Village, but of Tayledras Ekeles.

12 Weeks of Christmas: The Beginning

I've been told that I am a hard person to holiday shop for. Personally I don't really see the problem, (nor, for the record, does Michelle, Best Friend Extraordinaire) but to help make things easier for the upcoming holiday season I have decided to post a twelve part holiday buying guide... for me. So, if you have any plans to buy me a gift, I hope this helps!

As there are twelve weeks left until Christmas, I have decided to break this into twelve categories of gift and publish one each week, so check back if you don't see anything immediately that is of interest to you! Please realize that I know that this is entirely an exercise in vanity, but it's fun to fantasize (please not the first week's category) and also share some of the cool stuff that I've found around the web lately.

Subway Sketches Part L

Subway Sketches Part XLIX

Am I A Mutant?

I've spoken here before about the way that coincidences frequently occur in my life, to the point that I often wonder if physics and I actually agree on anything.

Today, for the first time I have evidence of my own thoughts affecting the world around me.

Leaving the theatre this afternoon I was thinking to myself about having met one of the actors from this summer on the street Saturday. In point of fact I've run into several of them over the weeks since returning to New York. Ahead of me was a man who superficially looked like the choreographer from the summer, who is also here in the city. I smiled to myself at the possibility of seeing him, just as I was thinking of seeing any of them. I stopped at a crosswalk and turned from west to north. And there he was.

In the crowd on the other side of the street, waiting to cross, was the choreographer who I had just been thinking of. We had a brief hug and reunion in the middle of the street, both hurrying on to our own busy lives.

But there it was, the observer altering the quantum reality, except this time with his thoughts.

Political Sidebar

I haven't posted a lot here about my personal political views but I am so enraged this morning that I can't stop myself.

Our esteemed President gave a speech this morning (actually is STILL giving at this point) regarding his new choice for the Supreme Court, New Orleans, and the Patriot Act.

Three things that he has been DEAD WRONG about.

The place where his true colors shone through the clearest though was the section of his speech dealing with the gas shortages, and high prices following Katrina. His solution to keep gas prices lower in the future and to aid us in any future crisis? MORE REFINERIES. We need to build more refineries so that if a handful of them are affected by something catastrophic in the future it won't impact the country so directly.

More refineries. Not a mandate to pursue hydrogen fuels, not tax rebates for people who buy hybrids, not even a simple call for further research into alternatives, but more refineries.

Is it clear to everyone yet?