Saturday, March 28, 2009

Cuz I'm a pro...

At least it looks as such on my college website.

I have no idea who submitted this...perhaps a student who's job it is to search for alumni stories on the web...or someone who took the alumni email about submitting "Your Alumni Story!" seriously. Nonetheless, it kinda blew my mind when my friend Michael texted me yesterday afternoon about how he had heard my "alumni story" on my college radio station (WERS - it really is the coolest college station, and just overall radio station broadcasting these days). And I was like "I beg your pardon?!" He calls me, tells me about it, then tells me to hit the website. I do, and this is what I found:

Alumna produces featured composer series

Broadway World reports Alexandra de Suze '93 recently served as associate producer of the featured composers series Big Night Out, with singer Jennifer Wren at New York City's Reprise Room at Dillon's. "Billed as a delicious gathering for the musical community, Big Night Out is a unique and supportive environment for performers and composers of all backgrounds to come together and perform the music that they love." Participants, with the help of resident musical director and co-host William "Bill" Zeffiro, are encouraged to try out new material, sing the roles that they aspire to play, sing the roles they will never play, or just show off for the joy of it. De Suze's many artistic forays have taken her all over New England and New York and her extensive acting career includes turns at the Prospect Theatre, the York Theatre, Passajj Productions, Speakeasy Stage, and the Public Theatre. She has sung in numerous productions at Don't Tell Mama, The Encores, New York City Center Encores!, The Bronx Opera Co., and the New York Choral Society. In addition, she has directed at the Riant Theatre and the Manhattan Theatre Source, and written a multitude of works including sketch comedy, "Single What? Female," "Following My Voice," "Stories At The Creek," and "Louder Than Words."

As I did not write this, I will let the errors of grandeur stand for the time being...

By the way...Big Night Out is happening again Thursday April 2nd and it is ALL OPEN MIC. Get out your book, your songs, your audition material that you want to test out and those songs you can't sing at auditions because they're not your "brand" or "type", but you dig them anyway (like when I heard Raul Esparza singing "Defying Gravity" from Wicked once). Big Night Out really is a fab and comfortable cabaret experience, so come on down!

Another reason I'm a pro? There is nothing like playing injured professional athlete last night icing and heating my neck and shoulders trying to relieve tension. It actually worked hence I might do it of these days, it will go perhaps when I get a job? Or perhaps it is just time to put on some funky music and dance it out...

In the meantime, thanks to whoever wrote my glowing bio :)

Peace --Alex

Thursday, March 26, 2009

La Soiree Rouge TONIGHT!

Yes, I will testing out new Single What? Female material at Gordon Farrell's La Soiree Rouge tonight. It will be a fab evening with swing music, slam poetry, opera arias and ME! It'll be a late night but come on, it's Thursday and nearly the weekend anyway!!! So if you're in town, come on down!

Peace --alex

Monday, March 23, 2009

diagnosis? or are we returning to the soft core?

Interview last week - check

Visit to unemployment/Work Force 1 orientation today (missed it LAST year) - check

Visit to vocal therapist this afternoon - check...

Two reasons for this episode of "vocal therapy porn"

1) It is time to look at the chords, ladies and gentleman. See the progress for real. Problem is, to do this, a nearly foot long metal rod has to be put down my throat. The procedure includes my sitting facing her, chest forward, her holding my tongue with gauzed fingers and then the insertion of a long metal rod down my throat as I try to breathe through my nose. (somebody just fainted with terror and glee, I know.) Sadly, this is not procedure I do well with. I have relaxation issues as it is (we'll get to that), but to have my tongue held out of my mouth and then having to bite down on a metal probe saying "eeeeeee" and breathing through my nose, does not quite do it for me. She saw some redness, but "nothing else". This may be a good sign as, while she could not see much due to my strong gag reflex, she didn't see nodes. I see another doctor next week who will probe my throat by going in through my nose...mmmmm....nose probe...

2) (go ahead - cue wah wah pedal music...cuz you're gonna go there...) "You're very tight today," the vocal therapist tells me. "Is there anything bothering you?" (end wah wah music)

Um, lost two weeks of unemployment because I had to reapply, am getting less than I was before, got a check TODAY that I was waiting for to give the man for bill money, am hoping I will have enough to pay rent when I get unemployment Wednesday, will not get paid by The Network until next week, had job interview - did well - WILL get job, BUT I won't hear about the second interview until NEXT week, have a performance of new SW?F material this Thursday, my mother comes into town tomorrow for her birthday and she will see the apartment for the first time Wednesday, I am signed up with 5 temp agencies and had to turn down a gig because my interview interfered with the days of the gig and I could not come in late, etc., would like to renew a website I am on but can't do it until after I pay rent, I can't audition for anything until the nodes are gone, but the nodes won't go away until I relax. BOTHERING ME? WHAT COULD BE BOTHERING ME?!?!?

(back to wah wah music) "Go get a massage," the doc says. "A rub down, even a fifteen minute rub at the nail place, something..." What I think I'll do is pop open some [favorite alcoholic beverage here] and get the man [who actually did train] to give me a rub down. Uh huh...Ooooh yeah...

All right, time to get stuff together before I head to The Network.

Peace --Alex

Friday, March 13, 2009

Uncommon Economic Indicators

On the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC here in New York, they have a segment called "Uncommon Economic Indicators" where people call or email in about the little things they've noticed that are signs of today's economy; things like, there's more food in the office fridge, and how the subways are more crowded. I've personally taken note of the ladies in full length fur coats taking Greyhound and how the washers in my building cost $.25 more.

And then there was the Daily Show Smackdown of Jim Cramer.

If you have been living under a rock and missed this, John Stewart of the Daily Show has had some issues with CNBC and a "war of words" began between Stewart and Cramer. Well, Jim Cramer came on to the Daily Show last night and basically was beaten the hell up by John Stewart. I got the feeling that neither of them planned to have it go the way it did, but Stewart, like many of us, is angry about the economy, had some valid points about how CNBC handled-rather mishandled-the predicting of the various banking debacles and went all out on Cramer. Cramer, in response was, in the word of CNN, was "contrite". He may be wrong - and his show is ridiculously annoying - but he could have put up more of a fight. My husband, the high school debate champion and spirited conversationalist was dreadfully disappointed with Cramer...and basically recounted to me various arguments Cramer could have used...and then I had to come back with what I believed Stewart would have come back with. (It was hot.) Stewart, on the other hand, I think went off more than he planned as referenced perhaps from his final statement of the night "I hope that wasn't as uncomfortable for you to watch, as it was for me to do..."

But who can blame him for being angry and wondering who is cahoots with who after listening to Madoff describe what he did with the money he took, leaving various victims and pundits asking "How could the SEC and the IRS MISS THIS?!?!?" One can't help but believe that folks had to have been paid off - there had to be corruption at the SEC*, the IRS and Chase Manhattan for this to have gone on as long as it did. Could there have even been corruption or at least soft reporting at CNBC? Could CNBC also been part of the problem rather than helping folks find a solution? No one can - or will - say for sure right now.
*Jim Cramer himself said that the SEC wouldn't know certain scams anyway (see 2006 video used by Stewart)

What we do know, is that the head guy at Cramer's website "The Street", just resigned. And John Stewart is probably stillpissed.

Peace --Alex

P.S. The Network had a staff meeting this morning. A STAFF meeting. It was early for all of us, not just the nightstaff people, but I have to say, that after being out of work for so long, it was surprisingly pleasant to actually be part of a meeting.

Another pleasant surprise? An email from my fiscal sponsor Fractured Atlas. They have a position open and I have an interview next Wednesday. (yay!) Time to buy some new shoes and make sure I don't talk too much.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"I am ashamed for these criminal acts..."

Yes, Bernard Madoff said that in court today while pleading guilty to 11 counts of fraud. He kept the money in "a" - yes, apparently one - Chase Manhattan account. He never invested the money and thus put out heaps of false statements to folks about what they were investing in and thus must have had heaps of people helping him...but who, we don't know...yet. He has made a plea, but not a plea bargain hence he is not cooperating with the court/the feds/investigators and will not get credit for cooperating when it comes to sentencing. We can only hope that this monster gets a tough judge.

I personally picture this happening when he gets to prison:

He's sitting in the "yard" trying to read The Wall Street Journal (an old copy from the prison library). A rather harsh looking musclebound gentleman comes up to him, "Hey, F***off. Yeah, I'm talking to you, Bernie F***off" Bernie looks up over his glasses (he was allowed to keep those). He looks at the guy like he's some loud guy from the subway and goes back to his paper. The paper is lowered and snatched away from him. The large gentleman squats down in front of Madoff and says, "You grandmother invested with you. Florence Shapiro of Long Island? You know her? She invested her life savings with you. She's had to move in with my sister. She's selling the house my grandfather built, you fat f***. And just so you know, Jerry here-" Jerry has appeared out of smaller but wiry and definitely angry. "Jerry's pop was invested with you, too. Lost everything, right Jerry?" Jerry spits on Madoff. "Oh and that guy over there?" he gestures toward a VERY large gentleman lifting a HUGE dumbells. "Yeah, his moms lost her pension as the company she worked for invested their 401K's with you and poof, all gone..." Bernie is beginning to look uncomfortable. "She's not sure she can afford to come up here to visit as much as she used to...and he gets nasty when he can't see his moms..." Bernie looks up and suddenly sees a sizeable group of men surrounding him. "Bernie, do you remember a Christmas Carol? And how that guy Scrooge had ghosts visiting him every night to bug his ass until he accepted Christmas? Meet the ghosts of Christmas future, motherf***er. Scrooge got nothing compared to the visits you're going to get." Madoff is not happy. "Catch ya later, Bernard F***off," and the unnamed gentleman and those around him slowly disperse. Madoff realizes too late that he has wet himself.

That's what I picture right now, no matter what, though, I figure it will not be pretty.

Peace --Alex

Vocal Exercise...or is it phone sex?

One of the many exercises I have been given by my vocal therapist is a list of sentences I am supposed to read out loud in a "high and light voice". "Kristin Chenoweth range" the doc says to me. Of course, this is difficult for me. After a few sentences the doc says "You don't have to sound like a ditzy whore..."

But then again when you get sentences like these, how can you not go there? (just so you know, this is NOT the whole list...just the most fun to play with...though you can definitely play with the rest of the list as well...)

"I need you."

"He gave it to me."

"Please give it to me."

"I want some more."

"I know what I am doing."

"Are you coming?"

Making vocal therapy fun...

Peace --Alex

'Cause it only took a year...

When one becomes "underemployed" and then has been as long as I have, one loses track of time and space a bit. You also may beat yourself up swearing that you are not going to do anything fun until you get a job, gosh darnit. I am going to stay holed up in my apartment in front of my computer, endlessly searching job listing after job listing. You email the temp agencies you are signed up with making sure that they know that you are available; perhaps you hone your computer skills, contact your friends about jobs at their companies, keep track of the economy and other news, yet you still also somehow find time to watch far too much of the [enter cable channel you have watched far too much of here].

Well, particularly after hearing a story on NPR about a "camp" for the unemployed where folks are networking, learning new skills, and also finding other people who are free to "go to a museum on a Wednesday", I decided to follow up on an idea I've had for months, but not acted upon over not wanting to take time away from all my job searching.


I can job search a few hours a day and then GO DO SOMETHING!

I know. Some of you are goin' "DUH!"

Yes, it took me longer than most to finally take advantage of the time and do something productive, but I did it, and of course will do it again.

The place I volunteered at was the Actor's Theatre Workshop where they have a fabulous program called Builders of The New World. It is an afterschool arts program for homeless children and last night was their "graduation" ceremony. I could not stay for the ceremony which included performances and displays of the children's work, but I did get to fill their schwag bags and pick up some of their dinner at a crazily busy Fairway. If you are interested in more info on them and how to volunteer for or donate to them yourself, click HERE.

Next opportunity will most likely be Friday at The Actor's Fund. I went there for a couple of job events and they do so much good work for actors and other entertainment professionals from the Shoe Fund to the Actors Home in Jersey, how I can I not volunteer there?

If you are underemployed like me, and perhaps are stuck in a rut and are not already a regular volunteer, the opportunities are all around you, and heck, could even lead to a new job!

Peace --Alex