I can’t remember who said this, but I love the quote, “When a man is tired of London, he’s tired of life.” I feel the same is true of New York City. I was there for a week, and it was the longest I’d stayed in the city at a time. This was my third visit, but the first was for only a few hours, and the second was just for a weekend. So it was great to be in the city for more than a few days at a time. I started to get the hang of things, of which neighborhoods are where, of how to negotiate the Subway, etc. I wasn’t exactly apartment hunting, seeing as I’ll be moving to NYC this fall, I was certainly keeping my ear to the ground about which areas I might want to live.
I stayed with my good friend Garrett Zuercher, the actor who played my brother in the production of Tribes in Portland, ME. He lives in an amazing house in Astoria, which is super accessible and quite vibrant. I definitely have my eye on this neighborhood when I eventually make the move . . . Garrett was a gracious host, and not only let me stay on his couch, but showed me around the city. We walked the High Line – an awesome park in Lower Manhatten, and saw the beautiful Manhattan skyline from Gantry Plaza State Park.
I also got to reunite with other Tribes castmates Mike McGuiness and Kate Finch, but unfortunately, not at the same time. It was great to see them again, and even better was the feeling that we are now old friends, reuniting after years apart, when in reality, we’ve only known each other for four months.
I was fortunate enough to escape the big city vibes for a few days and take the train up to Cold Spring to visit my lovely lady Ella. She works as the assistant company manager for Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival during the summer, which is great for me, because I got to see The Liar by David Ives and Othello for free! And even BETTER, David Ives came to see one of the performances of The Liar, and I got to meet him after the show! I’ve acted in a fair few of his one-acts, and it was such a privilege to meet the man behind the hilarious words I got to bring to life.
Ella took a few days off and spent some time with me, which was awfully nice of her. We hiked Mt. Beacon, which is more of a hill, but still a flippin’ good hike! We also met up with Ella’s cousin who lives nearby, and made time to watch How to Train Your Dragon 2, which was a perfect way to fulfill both our needs of animated movies. (I swear, whenever we get together, Ella and I watch more animated movies than your average 8-year-old.)
I flew out of NYC two weeks ago, and now I’m in South Africa. I’ll fill you in on my first few weeks in this gorgeous country next Blupdate!
Visiting NYC before heading out to South Africa!
Jumping back across Washington state for an audition at ACT Theatre in Seattle.
What do you do when you're back in Spokane for a week or two and are about to be kicked off your parents' health insurance? Why, see every medical professional in the greater Spokane area, of course!
Oh, and record some songs with your friend from high school!
What does one do when one returns to one’s hometown a week before one is booted off one’s parents’ health insurance plan? Why, see all the medical professionals in the Greater Spokane Area, of course! I’m almost POSITIVE that’s what Adele was thinking when she wrote the song “Hometown Glory.” I mean, what is more glorifying than going to five medical appointments in 4 days? Especially when you are given a clean bill of health after all them appointments? NOTHING! Except maybe winning the Stanley Cup. But that’s it.
Keeping the Spokane healthcare field in business singlehandedly wasn’t my only purpose of returning to the Inland Northwest. I was there – of course – to hang out with the rentals (aka parents) and enjoy their company. Unfortunately, my mom was out of town for most of the two weeks I was in town: she was in D.C. for the first week and San Diego for the second. And for the three days in between (i.e. Memorial Day Weekend) I was attending the Krista Foundation Annual Leadership Conference, my other reason for visiting Spokane.
Every year the Krista Foundation holds a conference for its colleagues and “Friends of the Foundation.” For those of you who don’t know, the Krista Foundation is a nonprofit organization created to provide moral, financial, and spiritual support to young Christian adults who want to enter a time of service. I became a Krista Colleague in 2010 in anticipation of my trip to South Africa in 2011 (where I was volunteering full-time doing education and outreach through drama), and I have returned for three conferences since then. Each conference has a theme, and this year’s was “Going Public: Complex Faith within a Complex World.” Our keynote speaker was Rev. Joan Harrell, a pastor at Trinity UCC in Chicago (of Rev. Wright/Obama fame), and we had several workshops throughout the weekend around the “Going Public” theme. It’s also a great weekend to connect with like-minded individuals from all fields and walks of life, who are all united in their desire to live a life of service.
And in my last week in Spokane, I hopped across the state for one night to audition with ACT theatre. They had gotten ahold of me the day before the KF conference and asked me to audition for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike – a play by Christopher Durang. Unfortunately, I did not get cast (I didn’t even get called back), but I do not regret auditioning, because this was my first Equity audition (my audition for Tribes was just a video, and there were no callbacks involved), and it’s good to get one under my belt. As Elizabeth, my mom in Tribes, told me, “When you move to New York, just audition. Audition for plays you don’t even want to be in, just for practice. You can always turn down a role, but you just have to get out there.” So I’m grateful for the experience, and I hope to be a little more skilled and a little less nervous the next time I audition.
What’s next? New York City! I’ll keep you posted.
After I left Seattle, I went down to visit my sister in Portland. I got to lead a few theatre workshops at the preschool where she teaches, and here's some proof!
Hittin' the town with Jessica! Doin' some Karaoke! Don't miss the Johnny Cash guy and
The last time I saw Barenaked Ladies in concert (the band, the BAND. Ugh, perv.) they were performing at the White River Amphitheatre on a hot summer’s evening, in full view of Mt. Rainier. And they asked the simple question: “Does the Pacific Northwest have its own immigration policy? Because we don’t understand why EVERYONE doesn’t live here.” And it’s so true. When I was back in Seattle for two weeks, I couldn’t for the life of me understand why I left. Seattle on a summer day is perfection.
I was back in Seattle to perform my standup comedy show Halfrican! that I’ll take it to South Africa this summer. At least, that was my excuse. In the two weeks I was in the Emerald City, I was seeing friends and old co-workers and enjoying the summer weather. Diva Espresso – my old employer – was AWESOME and let me come back and pick up some shifts while I was in town. As an actor in between jobs, I pounced on that opportunity. And I was pleased to find out that being a barista is like riding a bike: the skills come back quickly, but you might be a little sore the next day. It was great to see the familiar faces of all the folks I used to serve coffee to, and it was nice to briefly catch up as I made them a drink or two.
The excuse for my trip to Seattle went pretty well. The first night of Halfrican! was sold out, which is AWESOME, but unfortunately, the sold-out audience saw my weaker performance. It was the first time I’d ever done the show as a whole in front of an audience, and it was . . . well, shaky, to say the least. It was really helpful to see what worked and what CLEARLY didn’t, and I was able to make a few adjustments for the Saturday show. I’m still working on the show as a whole for when I take it to the National Arts Festival in South Africa next month (WHAT? THAT’S NEXT MONTH?!), making adjustments here and there. So a huge thank you to that awesome audience who stuck through the jokes that didn’t work and laughed anyway . . .
I’m super excited to head off to South Africa, but I’m not gonna lie – I’m so sad to leave Seattle. This is one of the most beautiful cities on EARTH. I would say that Cape Town and Seattle are tied for the two most beautiful cities in the world. To be fair, I’ve only seen a fraction of the world’s cities, but out of those that I’ve seen, CT and SEA are tied for the top prize. (And please, if you have contenders, post them below . . .)
Please be in touch – especially as I’m so itinerant right now, the chances that I’m in your neck’o’the’woods is particularly high. So please say hi! Cheers!
Spoiler: this is mostly just me marveling at how wonderful Seattle is when there's good weather.