It was winter 1996/1997 when this song by the Counting Crows off of their release Recovering The Satellites was a huge hit. I was working on my CD Amanda's Floor, living in Somerville, Mass. and preparing to move to LA. It was an odd time in my life feeling as though my number in Boston was 'up' and I was ready to move on. On to what I wasn't sure. All I knew is I had a burning desire to move to a city I swore I'd never live in, but yet found myself oddly attracted to. With the promise of a couple of friends who said they would help me get on my feet and get me some work (neither did, by the way - my first taste of LA flakiness) and the lyrics from this song "...it's one more day up in the canyon and one more night in Hollywood if you think you might come to California, I think you should..." running through my head - the lure of this city had me by the coat tails and had me packing up my old Saab - leaving a life of Theatre, friends, and the comfort of being near my family. I thought it would be a few years, maybe 5 at the most. It's been 9 1/2 years and I'm still not much better off now than when I moved out here. But I have cheap rent and a few people I can count on. Maybe thats all that matters.
This song in so many ways sums up life in LA. It captures a side of it that is real, romantic, enticing, and difficult all at once. "The smell of hospitals in winter and the feeling that it's all a lot of oysters but no pearls, all at once you look across a crowded room to see the way that light attaches to a girl..." The complexity that is expressed in those lines has always struck me, more so after living here. This place is more of a mixed bag than anywhere else I've ever lived. While you never know what will be around the corner, you also don't know who can trust to lead you there. It's freaky and enticing all at once - filling me up with conflicting emotions about here and what 'could be' if I stay. Especially now that it is my favourite time of year; chilly, crisp, great running weather and the air is clean.
"...Drove up to Hillside Manor sometime after 2 a.m., and talked a little while about the year, I guess the Winter makes you laugh a little slower, makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her..." and it's been a truly long December; 46 shows of "Annie", of which I worked 35+ (I'm afraid to count the exact number), pulling that heavy set far too many times to even think - though I'm certain my tired muscles would know that answer, and wrangling over 200 chitlins (kids) - getting them dressed, wired for sound, teaching them proper back stage etiquette, and sometimes proper English. We wrapped yesterday and I'm so happy to be done with it, and sad at the same time. It was one hell of an experience. Not only were the shows fun they were rewarding as well. My favourite, most magical moment that typified what Theatre is about, was when we did a dress rehearsal during a blackout, used candles and flash lights while the kids put on a show that knocked everyone's socks off proving that 'the show must go on' in the best way imaginable. They really came together and pulled it off!
In addition, I saw a side to this town I'd never seen - Mothers and their Children en masse. I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favourite actresses, worked with her amazing kids and took comfort in knowing that if my Mom had met them, she too would have liked them as much as I did (for obvious reasons of privacy and protection I cannot say who it was). It showed me that you can be that high up on the ladder, be as normal a Mom as a mom can be, be as sweet as the day is long and have children who are the same. Clearly not everyone who is on this Industry has an ego problem or is wrapped up in the glamour. It was very refreshing to see, and very different from the soccer Moms I grew up with in Connecticut. Many of the Moms were at every performance for each of their kids (6 plus shows) and were so appreciative of the work us adults did that it made a huge difference and sometimes gave me the extra energy I needed to get through the next show (thank you all for your kind words). I have to say most of them were pretty cool as were their children....though I do have my favourites and would like to dedicate this entry to the kids who made it more worthwhile than I ever expected...Gary, Martha, Sophia, Clara, Blake, Izzy - thanks for your help! and last but not least, Ella, you little rascal!!! You will all be in my heart forever and I will never forget you - I hope we meet again! Thanks also to the adults, Kim and Lani, Ally, Heather, Careena and Lindsie - you were all very cool to work with and made a huge difference in your own ways.
There is reason to believe that this year will be better than the last. I never expected to be laid off and go so long without work. I thought the connections I had made would see me through to another job or at least lead me in the direction of one. I never thought I would struggle again so much as I have. A lot happened this past year that I didn't expect. Not all of it was bad - though I would like to see a better year coming. The good things: I never thought I'd go to Alaska, or Vegas, or The Grand Canyon (twice) or even Portland, Oregon. I never thought I'd work on as cool a project as Slipstream, to say nothing of working with Sir Anthony Hopkins. I never thought I'd start a blog. I never thought I'd spend my last few dollars to make a new demo/Ep. I never thought I would again do children's theatre. But I did. It's definitely been a mixed bag.
So what do I see for the coming year? I'm not really sure. I have no idea what is around the corner, or where I will be in coming months. I do know that I cherish those I have met in this past year, those that are still here and my loyal readers for tuning in each week. I'm signing off until the New Year. I'll be on the road and with my dear friends and family for the holidays and also awaiting the return of Boo. When next we meet here it will the first monday in 2007.
Thanks for tuning in and giving me a reason to write this each week.....Until the next Monday.....Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Cheers!!! Or as my family says: NASDROVIA!!!