29 May 2013

please enjoy this video while your party is being reached...

Good afternoon!
I got a little caught up with web updates so I don't have a full post for you today. However, you might enjoy this interview with Gudrun Herold, it's about Devotion et al.


I'll be back tomorrow with more tales of production...dah, dah, DAH.

28 May 2013

as promised

Good morning!

As promised, I am at the keyboard again, bright and shiny. So now, let me tell you about producing Devotion...

The first few years of Devotion were a quickly thrown together show, nothing stupendous. Chaotic at the last minute as all shows are, but it worked. I was lucky enough to meet Patrick Coffield on a trip in New Mexico and he has been my sound and light tech from the first show. We just click. He is a Buddhist Cowboy and he keeps me sane by various means of humor and seriousness.
2008: The first theater, Climate, was a tiny flophouse of a venue. It was raw, but it had an underground feel so it made sense. When Colleena and I initially conceived of the idea of Devotion we thought we'd create a buzz for San Francisco by having the show in a small (50 seat) blackbox theater on multiple weekends; a Friday night show, Sat matinee and evening show and a Sun matinee, repeated on two weekends. The arts community in San Francisco is notorious for turning it's nose up at anything mainstream, so you have to make your event look like a struggle. That wasn't hard to do.

2009: Unfortunately, the very aspect of making the show available for multiple viewings put it in the category of "I'll catch it next time" and it was not well attended. We shortened the run on the following year, but this time the venue itself was the problem (the Climate organization was starting to fall apart) and we really did have to struggle to mount the production due to issues with wiring and structure. I employed a great publicist, Amy Kweskin, to brainstorm some audience building which involved a pre-show meet and greet at a nearby restaurant. Note to self-bad idea to pull the entire company out of pre-show preparations an hour before opening night.

2010: Suffice to say that we tried exhausted the Climate and had to move on. The next year we found ourselves at Shotwell Studios. A great location, just around the corner from the FCBD® Studio on 19th St at South Van Ness. We could park our cars once and just walk to the venue! If you live in SF or have visited, you know what a joy that is (parking protocol in SF is to find a spot and take the ticket so you can stay for more than two hours, as long as they don't tow it's worth the sixty bucks.) Shotwell was just 50 seats as well, but the layout had more "air" and it didn't feel as cramped. Really, if the owner hadn't been insane we could have stayed there. Sadly, said owner managed to personally offend every member of the company just moments before the start of the show. I was amazed at the professionalism of each and every artist; at first they registered confusion at the personalized insult, then a flash of anger and then each and every one of us pulled an invisible dome of calm over ourselves and walked onto the stage as if nothing had happened. At the end of the run, I think it was just one weekend this time; Fri-Sat, we all just walked away without looking back.

That's all for now. I have lots more to tell. See you in a day of two...as promised!

27 May 2013

Start to Finish

Whew! That was weird. I just came back from an orbit. I was lost in space, couldn't find my bearings. I knew what had to get done, but had no pathway to get where I needed to start.

In hindsight, 4 trips in March/April/May (5 days at Cues and Tattoos in Seattle, 10 days at GS/TT in Michigan and 8 days in Pura in Barcelona, 5 days at Tribal Fest in Sebastopol) wasn't such a good idea, especially when I'm trying to produce Devotion in June and keep you all posted on the progress after such a phenomenal KickStarter response.

So what happened was...I was talking to my Mom yesterday. We meet every Sunday afternoon when I'm in town. We have tea. I do whatever tasks she has lined up (yesterday was setting up a wireless connection - oh, the ethernet cable goes in the slot marked with a circle, not with an arrow - got it.) And we talk. We talk about all sorts of things. My Mother, Bess, is a retired librarian. She is really smart and interested in everything. She is able to carry on a conversation about almost anything if you give her a little info. She is 88 years old, an avid birdwatcher, walks every day and can take the SamTrans bus anywhere on the planet. Mom is full of enthusiasm and positivity, but can also lob a mean reality check (watch our Warren Buffet, she is not happy with your decision to mine coal in Montana.) But sometimes she just sits and listens.

Since we haven't seen each other much in the past months, there was a lot to catch up on. I found myself on a rant, trying to make sense of the fact that I was orbiting and couldn't land on the path of logic that is the balm for Capricorns. After practically going hoarse from monopolizing the conversation I finally paused long enough for her to say, "What are you going to learn about iMovie when you go to the Apple Store tomorrow?" I replied, "I want them to show me how to take some lecture footage that I've loaded into the program and walk me through the creation of a simple project from start to finish." BING!

After a few more minutes I told her that I had projects waiting at home and had to go. I drove home along Skyline Blvd, a strange semi-rural ridge that separates Daly City from South San Francisco which is shrouded in fog 90% of the time, it's also a great place to think. The phrase start to finish kept running through my mind. When I got home the house was empty because Loretta is house-sitting for a few weeks. As much as I love to come home to her company, the cat, dinner preparations and more chatting, I really needed an evening of total solitude. I sat down at the computer and completed the projects from start to finish. It was as if I had been released from the orbit and had landed back in the land of logic. I woke this morning to a renewed sense of Capricorn. I drank tea, knit for a bit while I watched a knitting video (check out Craftsy.com if the mention of knitting video makes your heart race.) I felt my brain start to focus, reached for my notebook, made a plan for the day and am here with you right now.

So that's it. You are now deputized, in the reading of this blog post, to say to me Start to Finish anytime I fail to post or complain about being too busy. I also added a Follow By Email gadget so you cane be notified when I post, which should be frequently. Please sign up and let me know, via comments, that you are out there. Tomorrow's post will be the journey of the Devotion project that I promised you back in February.

15 May 2013

Setting up the Nakarali Booth

at Tribal Fest! Lots of new loot. Everything's 20% off here and on www.nakarali.com.

03 May 2013

At the opening ceremonies

San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival with the Chitresh Das Ensemble.

I'm seated right behind my dance hero, Chitresh Das.