thursday 17 january 2008
2008! It's going to be a year of many changes and I am glad it's here. I can't stop watching all of the election coverage on the news. I've had the TV programmed to automatically turn on to CNN but that was bloody depressing and so repetitive. I was going out of my mind. Luckily the Australian Open started so now it's ESPN. Equally addictive, I guess, (for me) but at least it gets me away from all the campaign coverage and Bad News. I even had to change my homepage on the Mac to Goodnewsnetwork.org to get a better start to the day!
Christmas was very calm this year. We had a couple of days off from Cyrano and I was on my own in the city so I was really looking forward to just staying in the house and watching a bunch of movies. I was having microwaved Turkey. Unfortunately, late Christmas eve I lost my glasses! In order to watch TV, I had to sit really close to it. I need a better pastime than blind couch potato. The lost glasses eventually made their way back to me, for which I am grateful, but this is a good reminder to get myself some new contacts.
So here it is. 2008. I'm excited about it. More than other years. Don't you have a sense of joy? Maybe that joy will have worn off as the climate warms and it reaches 110 in New York through the summer but till then, it looks really good!
New Year's Eve celebrations were preceeded by a gig in Birmingham, Alabama. Many of you have heard me go on about how much I enjoy this city and now I finally got to perform there. We had a nice party afterwards. I've had some rather sedate new years for the past few years so this was a good change. I think I made it to bed at about 5 am, and then started the first day of 2008 with a vigorous hike.
Oh. Cyrano is over-- we closed last week. We did film the show for PBS though, which means if the strike messed up your chances to see it then you can watch it on the telly. It was nice to be back on stage with a company of actors again, but I am really eager for my next project which I will be talking about in the next few weeks.
The band and I are rehearsing for our run at the Oak Room in The Algonquin Hotel. We start on March 4th and run until March 29th. We have 7 shows a week but if I have my math right then I have 2 days off a week too! (Sunday and Monday!) This will be the most singing I have done since Taboo so I have to get back into a routine of taking care of my voice and looking after my health in general. I don't normally get too panicky about voice stuff but as I get older I worry about taking care of “the pipes” more, certainly.
Before the gig, I am taking a little time to travel. I'm packing the dog up and we're going to check out the Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory in Vermont. It has been too long since I've gone for a drive and that is my main excuse for the trip. In late January, I am heading back to Peoria, Illinois to play some gigs there too. I never get tired of travelling this beautiful country. (Except the I-95).
So that is us all caught up then. I've got to go as I am preparing the apartment to have some people over for a Games Night. I've threatened to have a little gathering here for a while, and now I'm finally doing it. I've been hoovering dog hair all day and now its time to go put some snacks together. What do people want at these things? I've just got wine in the fridge is all. That's all. And some peanuts…
thursday 14 february 2008
So starting 2008 with a little holiday seemed like a good idea. I took myself hiking and visiting ice cream factories in Vermont with the dog. We stayed in a haunted inn called The Old Stagecoach in Waterbury. I didn't have any ghostly encounters, but I did spend a lot of time with Sophie, the parrot who lived there. She eventually chewed a hole in the shoulder of my sweater and made Cole very jealous because I spent so much time trying to get her to talk to me.
Cole… he was my favourite part of the trip, I think. The first night we were there it snowed, and Cole was so happy.
The thing he liked best was climbing Hunger Mountain. Unfortunately, I was hiking in my sneakers so we didn't last as long as the dog would have liked.
We headed up to a small town right near the Canada-Vermont-New York border to stay with a friend's family in an amazing house they designed and built themselves. It was a great night of new friends, wine, singing by the fireplace and food—there was even a black dog for Cole to play with. We stayed over and the next morning our hosts led us on a walk across a frozen Lake Champlain. This was all fine until I saw that the dog was drinking out of a water hole in the middle of the "frozen" lake. Suddenly, it didn't seem so frozen anymore!
It wasn't going to last forever, unfortunately, and I've actually been back in town for a couple of weeks now. I'm getting ready for a month long residency at The Algonquin. New songs that I want to perform occur to me every day. I wander down the street… singing bits of songs to myself but I've really noticed recently how many other people do too so I feel like it helps me to fit in. The next few weeks will be about figuring out a set list, adding the songs that pop into my head on these walks and getting some early rehearsals in. There have been a lot of other behind-the-scenes preparations going on as well. I needed some new pictures so we had a photo shoot—but in order to get the shot I wanted, we had to sneak onto the roof of my building which is not technically allowed. It's a shame because, as you can see from the test shots, there is a lovely view! The next task was to make posters and flyers—which meant I needed to come up with a title. I decided on Here and Now but as soon as the poster got printed and the press release went out, I learned that Betty Buckley's current show at Feinstein's is called Then and Now. If only the writers strike had ended before this debacle then there would have been much less of a title drought!
I'm really looking forward to performing in this New York landmark, and I'm actually gonna be spending some time staying at the hotel too. Need to avoid those long treks from 96th Street ! I put the Algonquin flyer on the gigs page here at OEM so take a look if you feel like coming down in March. The shows are later in the evenings so we can capture that after theatre crowd who just can't get enough of late nights in NYC.
And Finally… If you need to see more holiday pics than the ones embedded here then check out my updated gallery!
With a bushel and a peck
PS I hope you all rushed out to vote at the recent primary? I engaged in much street debate that day!
live at the algonquin
wednesday 19 march 2008
Despite being here at the famous Algonquin hotel I've still been seeing lots of great shows around town. I'll mention 3 really good ones I took myself out to see recently. Hunters and Gatherers, which is a great 4-person play about finding an apartment in New York. Well, it's actually about a lot of other things—but the apartment search is one of the themes that really resonated with me as I have spent more than my fair share of time sofa surfing! Closed now due to its limited run but I enjoyed it none the less.
Then, I attended the opening night of Sunday In the Park With George. Can you believe I had never seen this Sondheim musical before? I would see anything that the marvellous actress Mary Beth Peil appears in, so this was not a disappointment. The set was remarkable—I'm not even going to try to explain—and the two leads have both come over here from the UK. (This production was a big hit in London). It seems that New York is being as welcoming to them as it was to me… That's probably because we're not coming over to murder the indigenous population this time!!
A few years ago I appeared in a workshop of a musical called Passing Strange, that has finally opened on Broadway. I'm not a theatre critic (and I'm a little lazy), so I won't attempt to write a review here. I will simply urge you to GO SEE THIS SHOW. It is innovative and exciting and I am so happy that it has found its way to Broadway. Just go. Trust me. The music is excellent, as are the cast. They are on my Tony time betting list. (Christine Ebersole in Grey Gardens was only my second cash win so I'm due a big boost)!
Now… to the real focus of the last few weeks (and for two more to come). Things have been going really well in The Oak Room. It has been an interesting time bringing my style and humour to this beautiful, historic room and I was very nervous that my friends and family just wouldn't fork out the cash to come see me… but… you haven't let me down, so for that I am grateful! In fact, even my parents came over again for this gig and they paid for their own flights! (Mum, if you are reading this, that was a joke and I know I still owe you $200,000)! They saw the show a few times actually, which was great for me cos it meant I could avoid being too touristy in mid town right near St Patrick's Day. Did still manage to fit in FAO Schwartz toys and a few chunks of the Berlin wall however…
Talk to the hand
I have not been back to Scotland for 3 years, so how good it was to hear their accents and wallow in their foreign idiosyncrasies. Haggis and Burn's all week. Lovely. Did miss having my sister and niece there but I think I convinced them to come over in the summer bearing large birthday presents for me… They have given me a room here in the hotel. It's great to be living right in the heart of Times Square but bloody hell, do they ever stop construction in NYC? The noise right outside my window is hellishly loud. I'm woken every morning at 8am by jack hammers and dumper trucks. It's so loud sometimes that I feel like someone is building a high rise in my brain. I'll miss the The Algonquin and her amazing staff but I won't miss seeing the Bovis construction folks! And on that note… yes it is 3pm, but that's a coffee break for the men and women building our latest sky slicer so I go back to bed for 20 mins. The whole routine works like clock work. If I haven't seen you here yet. Squeeze the pennies from your jar and come! I'm really trying this time!
Happy Spring to everyone
friday 25 april 2008
"When it's spring again, I'll sing again, Tulips from Amsterdam".
Ok, so I'm in Virginia so maybe the tulips didn't come all they way from Holland but how pretty this month is becoming. I've been hiking nearly every day. There are some stunning hikes down here : River Bend Park (check out my video of the bluebells – filmed on my cell phone so excuse the quality but you'll get the idea), Arlington Park, the “Billy Goat Trail” on the Maryland side of Great Falls Park.
Click on the thumbnail to see video
Now I have been to the Virginia side of Great Falls Park many times—I have even posted pictures of it here, but the Maryland side? What a difference. This side is even more beautiful. I never quite made it to the Billy Goat part of the Trail, but that's only because I was distracted by so many amazing things. I took a long walk all along the C & O canal—the funniest part was watching Cole attempt to cross a rickety old bridge. He never seems very afraid of anything, but apparently, crossing bridges is his weak point. He made it across, unhappily, but safely. We both did.
At the beginning of the day I happened upon a group of people participating in a Civil War reenactment. This is a big thing down here in Civil War country, and I find it fascinating. The people who get involved come from all walks of life. They were friendly and welcoming, and offered me the chance to join their Union Regiment—so… I did! In return, I got an invitation to dinner for the evening, and was even asked to spend the night in one of their tents pitched by the banks of the Potomac. Thankfully I had the forethought to say no since it rained and the sky roared with thunder all night and all of the next day! I thought of those lovely folks out on the banks of the river as I stayed safely tucked up in bed.
It was lucky that I had made such kind friends because when I returned from the afternoon peregrination, I learned that the park exit was shut because a power line was down! All the other hikers were stuck in their cars, waiting for a chance to exit the parking lot—but I was sitting by a fireside, with my Union brothers and sisters, enjoying beef stew and chicken salad sandwiches. The best thing is that our regiment has several musicians so we sang through the night, accompanied by fiddle, flute and guitar. We did some Civil War era music, but also some more contemporary songs. (My fault, I fear)! As I sang by the fireside, it all seemed so random. Here I was, having traveled so far away from Scotland, in the woods of Maryland, surrounded by virtual strangers all wearing period attire. I felt completely joyful to have such an opportunity. Sometimes it really is the simple and unexpected things...
All of this exercise (and the drive to want to improve myself) has been helped immensely by the fact that I have finally quit smoking! I vowed I would get onto it before a 'certain age' and after a few failed attempts in the past I really feel like I am succeeding this time. I'm not doing it with just will power though. That would be a miracle. No, I have the help of this new drug called Chantix. I get the headaches and weird, vivid dreams people talk of but it's all worth it. I can breath again and climb stairs without the help of the railing. I've even taken up jogging! I wasn't going to announce it publicly, you know, in case it went wrong but I am so confident now I think I'm gonna make it. I finish my twelve-week course on the pills in two more weeks, then it's all up to me. I occasionally still crave a cigarette, but even that is getting better. It feels good to be free from the clutches of the evil tobacco industry and I am no longer treated like a social pariah in certain parts of the world either. Lucky me…
My body is now a temple and all that…
Well, it's more like the pokey entrance to a lovely temple but we all gotta start somewhere.
It's not all about helping myself either. Earth Day just ended last week. I'm so pleased that the world seems to be catching up with all of the warnings the environmental experts have been issuing for decades, but Earth Day?! It's like Valentine's Day… you know, the day where you tell someone you love them? I think you should say that every day and I think we need to pay a lot more attention to our planet than one special day we set aside to 'feel better about ourselves'. I know, I know, it's a start. And I am sometimes as guilty as the rest when it comes to my lack of environmental awareness. I learn more and more each day. I'm really paying attention to what I'm putting in my body and what I'm dumping in the trashcan. It's so hard to be a good recycler when we don't always get the outside help to make it more accessible. When I was visiting Toronto I noticed every street corner had a trash bin and recycling bins. It's certainly not that easy in NYC. I mean my building has recycling programs but they never supply the right bags they claim are needed and when I am at work… rehearsals, workshops, concerts, many buildings still don't recycle scripts and sheet music. They just chuck it on the trash pile. There is still much to do if we want our children to be living on more than a giant dumping ground and swimming in a plastic and waste filled toilet.
Another important day just passed too. April 23rd was Shakespeare's birthday (and death day). In his honour, I cooked dinner for Cleopatra. Well, for my actress friend Suzanne who is playing the famous Queen here in the DC area! Those of you who saw Measure for Pleasure will remember her as the beautifully gross Lady Vanity. We recited poems and some of his most famous lines all with mouths full of whole wheat pasta and organic veggies, which we then composted in the backyard. Ooooo Saint Euan.
Though all of the above sounds marvellously lazy, all good things must come to an end. “What is a man if the chief good and market of his time be but to sleep and feed?”
And so my sleeping and feeding days are over. Yes that's right. It's time to return to NYC. Where feeding is a rare occasion (I mean, it's pricey) and sleep is near impossible with all that noise going on. I wouldn't change it for all the tea in China!!
Keep your peckers up. Summer is fast approaching, and with the President's days numbered and America moving faster and faster into this new state of ‘Green', things can only get better…
I wish I could put you all in my pocket and take you home with me but I can't so let's just say au revoir for now.
All my love
PS. When I was a kid all I ever wanted was a snake. My Mother, rightly I now believe, said no. I was heartbroken and forced her to drive me to the pet shop almost every weekend so I could handle and wear these beautiful creatures like slithery bracelets and baubles. Never before have I seen one in the wild though. Never seen one swimming through its own territory. Well that all changed yesterday when I spied a little grass snake outside the Arlington Post Office. I snapped this quick video (on my cell phone again) and then left him to his own devices.
Click on the thumbnail to see video
I love America. Snakes and all. xx
Check out the journal archives for previous entries.
rugs for sale!
sunday 22 june 2008
During New York's recent heat wave I have been shedding 5 pounds of perspiration a day. This has left me with no other recourse than to eat loads of Dunkin' Donuts and Nathan's Philly cheesesteaks. Since I am beset by these recent problems this won't be a long diary entry as I am dripping animal grease all over the keys.
No energy for hiking, no gas money for road trips, not enough morality to leave the air conditioner off. I would ask what you have all been doing but as I don't want to feel like the only lazy summer snail, I shan't bother.
The one good thing about leaving the house when I do are the vendors selling italian ice on the street corners. Mmmmmmmmmmmh.
Just to catch up quickly: I have been back in New York for a while now. Workshops, song-writing and auditions are what I have been up to (see, I have left the house, really!) It was actually a bit of a quiet spring and I was in the process of making plans to head home. Lots of family news going on and I wanted to be there to take part in all the good stuff -- and then of course, one of the auditions paid off. Why is it that every time I promise my Mum I will really do it this time, I really will make it home, the downswing turns to an up one again?! I can't go into any details now, but I will say I am excited to be working on a Shakespeare script. I promise when I wash my hands and wipe the little bits of doughnut from my chest that I will have the space and time to explain further. But I do hope you will find the time to join me in Connecticut -- I hear it's nice in the autumn.
So after all my hard work and undying suport for Hillary Clinton, its Barak Obama-- and I'm thrilled. I believe he can and will win, and the real change can begin happening-- not just in America but across the world. I am never an optimist but he makes me optimistic. Well done and thank you to Hillary. I really hope she continues to be a leader in calling for universal health care in this country. We need her voice.
That's about it. From my living room window I can see a street fair on Columbus Avenue. And coincidentally they have a Nathan's Hot Dog Stand on the corner. There have been two guys laying out carpets to sell for hours now. They've finally got the last few carpets laid out flat and hung over some awnings-- and then a huge peal of thunder cracked through the sky and it has started raining. So now I'm watching them roll the rugs back up again.
Wait! I just remembered! I'm going to the theatre tonight! I can't just sit here watching rugs-- I have to go have a shower!
Are You Sitting Comfortably?
monday 28 july 2008
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin. Actually, I'm not even sure where to begin telling you about these past few weeks. I mentioned in my last journal entry that I had picked up a job. I was looking forward to confirming here that I would be playing Puck in the Hartford Stage production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I was particularly excited to be working with the director, Lisa Peterson, who I met a few summers ago on Sundance Mountain and it had been so long since I had a cause to read Shakespeare, and Puck is a dream role for any actor. Unfortunately... it isn't a dream destined to come true for me at this time. As Robert Burns said "The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft a'glee".
This is due to my other big news. I have never been seriously ill, and I have especially been looking after my health lately. Recently, however, I came down with what felt like a terrible stomach virus. I ended up in the hospital emergency room and they did all sorts of tests. I had scans and x-rays and lots of things I have never needed before. I didn't appear to be gravely ill, which was good news, but the odd news is that the technician came back into the room as I was awaiting test results and said, "Mr Morton, are you aware that you only have one kidney!?" No! I have lived my entire life thinking I had two! This made me want to have a full inventory to make sure I have all of the other vital organs I always presumed were there! You never know how much you miss something until it's gone, and now I am really missing my left kidney. I guess it isn't gone since it was never there to begin with-- but you know what I mean. I called my mother immediately upon leaving hospital to blame her, but apparently in this case, you didn't always know, did you, Mother?
I started to feel better-- and spent the rest of the week taking it easy and improving, but still feeling some pain.
I was relaxing, watching TV and actually working on a journal update for this site when I suddenly felt the most intense pain I have ever felt in my life. I was crippled with the pain. It got so bad that an ambulance was called to take me to the hospital emergency room, again. (NB I was only wearing a towel at the time so it was all very embarrassing trying to maintain some dignity). This time, they did a scan and discovered that something was very wrong inside me, though they didn't know what it was. They called emergency surgeons in and cut me open to explore. Then, without even asking, they removed my appendix, which had ruptured! So, in case you are keeping track, I am now down an appendix and a kidney and in exchange, I have a long scar all the way down my stomach to the nether regions.
Seriously, it was a very painful and frightening experience. I have never been one to go to the doctor regularly (in fact hospitals are kind of a phobia of mine) and have always enjoyed good health. In this case though, if I hadn't gone to the ER exactly when I did, the story could have been very different. I have been told by many people that I came close to dying. I'm most disappointed that there was no white light... I was expecting Zelda Rubenstein to encourage me to 'go to the light, Euan M. Go to the light...'
So, I've been in the hospital for two weeks, and am now on the mend, but this will take a while. I have tubes coming out of every part of me, tubes delivering oxygen, tubes delivering medicines, and several others doing things we really shouldn't discuss here! They have just put me back on solid foods, which is a good thing as I was getting tired of eating only ice chips. I can't wait to get out though. It's so annoying that they wake you up every three hours (even thru the night) to ask if I'm all right and to pump more drugs in me.
There have been some ups and downs throughout this early part of my recovery. One of the downs is that I had to reluctantly call the people in Hartford to tell them that I would be unable to play Puck. If you know me, you know how much I enjoy my work and how devastating it was to have to give up this job. However, life and health must come first. It really has been bugging me ever since though. I love my job and no actor wants to ever give up something they enjoy so much... At least this way I'll have a future to hopefully fill with other jobs!
It has been an unexpected and difficult time, but fortunately I had the support and love of friends and family, who have really looked after me. I can't even begin to thank them for everything they have done-- from taking me on short walks from my hospital bed, to decorating my room, to sending flowers and calling on the phone, to advocating for my care when things weren't running smoothly in the hospital. All the love and support cheered and encouraged me, even in the middle of some very dark moments. My incapacitation also gave my parents another excuse to leave life in Scotland behind for a while so they could sit by my hospital bed! God Bless them.
It's not all doom and gloom though. While laying in my sickbed, I managed to book another gig at the Metropolitan Room. (I'm not letting a little appendix stop me). I had fun at the Algonquin, and met lots of new people, but wanted to find a place that was a bit less pricey! Plus everyone has told me that they really enjoyed the last gigs at the Met Room, and I did too. More information will be coming on this but in the meantime, please check the gigs and events page for details. If you want to go ahead and get your tickets now, go for it-- but I wanted to let you know that I am working with the venue to put together a coupon deal that is exclusive to this website ($5 off the ticket price for my readers). Keep watching the website for this deal and maybe that will help to encourage you to see the new gigs in these troubled economic times!
So that's all my news-- the good and the bad. I will be laying low for a time, bored and trying real hard not to let the dark clouds envelope me. Maybe after this tough year and now this painful surgery I'll start on the climb back to some kind of normalcy?!
Anyhoo, please plan to join me in October at the Metropolitan Room. I look forward to seeing you all and to performing again - I might even let you see my gross scar!!!!! Bet that's got you going?!
Stay safe, and the moral of the story is don't shy away from the doctor even if they do scare the hell out of you!
I'm better when you're drunk
friday 5 september 2008
Before writing anything else, I need to say Thank You to each of you who sent me your prayers and good thoughts while I was recovering from my emergency surgery. Your positive thoughts truly helped. It felt like I was going to have home nurse and doctor visits forever and ever but I have at last been set free from the aftercare programmes and am, as I write this, back in New York City. (And how glorious it is. The Skyline in the distance made me cry). The only physical reminder of the whole ordeal is this massive open wound down the middle of my stomach which is working its way to becoming a nice scar. It will be a lovely scar I am told, (I have even heard 'sexy' banded around - yes, sexy)! At this point though, I believe, it is still a little red and crusty. Not gross, just... obvious. I still change the wound dressing daily but that is just there to keep things clean and infection free. Shan't be doing that for much longer either.
As with most things in life, this felt like a very tough (and sometimes unfair) experience. Get some distance from it though and one begins to realize that the terrible thing may actually have been a gift. I didn't enjoy the physical pain, and I was so disappointed to miss out on playing Puck, but many wonderful things came out of this break that fate forced me to take. Renewed and stronger friendships, a fresh perspective on life and career, and many interesting professional possibilities are just a few of the benefits of the formerly called set back. Ultimately, the whole thing has left me feeling stronger than ever, and I can't believe I am saying this, but I feel like a better person as a result. Oh. And the doctor told me that by being a non-smoker, I cut about a month off of my recovery time-so I think my single kidney and I will stick with our healthy lifestyle. Or we will brave the attempt anyway...
I didn't cut my hair or shave my beard the entire time I was under the doctor's care. When he finally released me, I treated myself to a good grooming. To see the before and after pics, please click here. You can use your mouse to roll over the picture and see me magically transformed! Hairy Caveman to Shaven Beauty...
Shaven Beauty - I think that was the name of a makeup artist I worked with once. You meet all sorts in life.
So, yes, I feel (and look) like a different and better person but I am also still the same old me, full of opinions and observations. If you want to avoid listening to me rant, do not bring up problems with the health care system. I made it through my medical crisis just fine, but I did get a good chance to witness-and be angered by-the state of the health system. Do you know, had I not had healthcare it could have cost me roughly $113,000 to pay for what I went through??
NO. How can it be so expensive? In the darker moments I kept reminding myself that this is an election year, and perhaps some radical changes will be made if we make the right choices. Overworked nurses, understaffed hospitals, fears about insurance coverage-all of these things add to the stress of an illness. It is looking more and more likely I will lose my health insurance for part of next year, all because I haven't worked enough to get the coverage. Some stupid 'weeks worked' system where the union counts how consistently you've worked before they decide to cover you. It is cheap, I'll grant them that but I was TOO ILL TO WORK. Bye bye work weeks, bye bye health insurance? There are so many important issues at stake right now, but surely the time has come to really fix and improve health care. It's either fix healthcare or extend the use of the death penalty to get rid of all of us moochers who deserve to die of the illnesses we can't afford to pay for? Why should the top 10% of the population (who hold 90% of the country's wealth by the way) pay for the plebs? F**k them if they can't get better jobs or better or subsidized plans (like members of Congress and the Senate get) right? Aren't you tired of being mugged by the government? They teach abstinence and take strong hardline stances against abortion, then make even the simple act of giving birth unaffordable to the poorly insured or the uninsured. And aftercare?? Aftercare?! I was covered, I'm ok. but I'd still be on my death bed today if I or my family had to come up with the cash to pay for my surgery and the aftercare. Save Americans and their extended family first and start paying back the trillions of dollars (and rising) of deficit before we start spreading this bastardized version of democracy to the rest of the world. Don't let the poorest of Americans float, face down, dead in their own back yards and in the streets of New Orleans days and days after a major national disaster. Spend money at home on infrastructure and the education system and invest in alternative energy resources and then America can truly call herself "The Leader of the Free World". In the meantime we seem to be getting poorer, working harder and have bits of our physical beings even harder to pay for the upkeep of.
I was really chilled out in Georgia (where my recovery took place) but, I’m back in New York and getting miffed about it ALL again!
Having missed most of the summer here and having no idea where I was to end up instead of Hartford, I can safely say it is good to be home. I've just spent the last 9 days unpacking, seeing friends and preparing for the Metropolitan Room gigs.
Actually, I am lying. I have spent the past few days watching the US Open on TV. However, mentioning the gigs was smart. You are coming? You can't tell me that you are coming because it 'looked like I was dying' and then back out just because I improve. That's like saying you want me to die...it's really like saying that...really...
I have, however, added a discount code for the visitors of this website which can be found HERE.
It makes your evening with me even less pricey. There is a two-drink minimum but I think I'm better when I'm drunk... I mean, I'm better when you’re drunk. I have given up alcohol. I refuse to ever have to go back to hospital again so kiss goodbye to the vices... some of them...
What am I doing still writing this?! The US Open is still on and I have got to get back to watching my ladies play. This is one of the main reasons that I love September in New York! And It's ladies final day... postponed till Sunday cos of Tropical Storm Hanna. Go Jankovic!!
Vote Obama (and it's cool that's it's not Clinton so stop going on about it)!
All my Scars
monday 13 october 2008
I know, I’m a bit early.
Halloween is one of my favourite times of year though, so I like to drag it out a bit... I’ve been in my costume for nearly two weeks now! Halloween and Hogmanay, the best holidays the year can offer...
So... my near death seems to have inspired everyone to show up at the gig. If I'd known that was all it would take…
We had a great time and more to come. I was a little uncertain about unveiling the songs that Bryan and I have been writing, but everyone seemed really receptive. Even after all these years in the theatre, it is difficult to have your work judged, but it always feels great when the feedback is so positive! I was inspired after.
It was great to be back on stage again. There were low points this summer where it seemed like a faraway dream, or even an impossibility.
I said I would ‘flash my scar’ at the gig and I did so. So many people wanted to give it a touching. I felt like one of those Buddha statues having it’s belly rubbed. Too much of it though can be a bad thing I’ve discovered! Not as healed as I’d like to be.
Just before I went on at the Metropolitan Room, I was hanging out backstage and watching a friend from Virginia filling out an absentee voting ballot. The whole system was very complicated. It involved getting witnesses, and all these different envelopes. Very easy to get wrong and lots of annoying little things to do. They sure as hell don’t make it easy. The most unusual part, though, was the fact that the forms required that a #2 pencil be used. There didn't happen to be a #2 pencil hanging around, so that was a chore-- but I think there is a possible scandal afoot. Apparently they use a #2 pencil so it can be read by the computer, but ummmm-- can't #2 pencil lead also be ERASED and a vote changed? And how come the Lottery machines can read my number picks in pen???
It seems to me that this is a terrible system to use in such an important swing stage-- with possibly more complications than those terrible hanging chads from Florida. Pencil?! It just seems a little temporary and easy to tamper with. All I am saying is that if things with this election are close, and it comes down to the count of the absentee ballots in Virginia-- be wary! I know it’s completely unthinkable that an election could ever be STOLEN, you must think I’m crazy? That would never happen in America right?
I’m all worked up again now I've got absentee voting to worry about.
Just to confirm my stupidity. I’m choosing the worst financial time to consider moving apartments again. I'm looking to move uptown, with more room and some outdoor space for Cole. I considered Brooklyn, but I like the island Manhattan-- Smoke on your pipe and put that in! I know they say it is a buyers market but I am a seller too and I have to sell to move.
Who thinks there will be a bank willing to offer me a mortgage? It won’t be my trusted WAMU I can tell you that. Chase got their claws into it. Soon there will just be one big bank with vast maintenance fees and charges and there will be no shopping around for a better deal…
I would sell a kidney to aid my financial troubles but there aren’t enough of them in me to spare one…
Ok, I’m off-- time to go look at more apartments. I hope Cole appreciates all I do for him. See you on Sunday, I hope.
I love you, scars and all,
I saw Mummy kissing Santa Claus (and it was gross!)
tuesday 9 december 2008
Well, you're probably wondering where I've been, leaving it so long since the last entry here on OEM?!
I'm doing fine, no ruptures or explosions. It just turned into a couple of busy, domestic months. Staving off the arrival of my slice of the recession!
I know it's been a few weeks since the election, but I'm still excited about it. I certainly wouldn't want the job but I am thrilled (along with what seems like the rest of America) that Obama landed the Presidency.
This has been a fascinating time to be in America. To most of us, it was more than just another election. This is history. One of the things that drew me to this country was the promise of possibility here-- and sadly, I hadn't felt a sense of possibility in quite a while. You have heard me rant about health care on this site, about war in my concerts... These aren't just things that I like to talk about-- they are issues that keep me up at night. Leading up to the election, I heard a lot of people saying that they would leave if America didn't decide to take a different direction. For me, this was a serious consideration. I chose to come to America, for all sorts of wonderful reasons-- but I didn't think I could stay in this country under another republican administration. Particularly one starring that brainless wingnut Palin! Lord, how awful that would have been.
Of course the outcome was good news and we don't have to go anywhere! More great news, since the dollar has sucked for a while against the European currencies!
Now, it will be even more remarkable when it isn't remarkable at all to have an election like the one we have just had. But what a wonderful step in the right direction...
It hasn't all been laying around washing clothes and floors since then, now that I think about it. Soon after election night, I left New York to head out to Lafayette, Pennsylvania to work on Caligula (the musical) with the students of Lafayette College. This is a programme that Actor's Equity has recently approved where professional actors work on developing new pieces with university students. It's a concept that I admire and I really enjoyed the process. The input from the students and faculty was invaluable and we got some really strong work done on the script and characters in our time there. Caligula is a piece I care very much about and after four years I am thrilled that it has come back into my life again. There is still more work to do but it has kept the heart of the show it was back at NYMF.
Did I mention that my little sister is pregnant again?! A little baby boy this time. The news came at the perfect time as my friends in Peoria had just sent me some Irn-Bru, so I had something to toast with! (My lovely friends actually sent a whole pile of British foods to remind me of home - thank you).
I guess that means I will actually be returning to Scotland after all this time. Baby is due in February and in lieu of me, I sent a huge gift box. Hopefully that will tide them over till I get there!
Well, hope you had marvellous Thanksgivings and are enjoying this festive season? Just one last item of interest before I wrap this up.
I am happy to tell you that I am about to start working on another play! As you may know, I was meant to spend my fall playing Puck in Midsummer up in Hartford, but then that Dream went horribly wrong because of my midsummer medical misfortunes. Well, now I've been cast in another play- a 4-person family drama called Leaves of Glass by Philip Ridley. We are doing a short run in New York and I begin rehearsals next week. It will be the perfect way to end 2008 and welcome in 2009. I hope you'll all come! I will post some more information about it soon.
Let's not leave it sooo long next time eh?
May all your scars continue to heal,
sunday 28 december 2008
So, the holiday season (and 2008) are ticking to a close... and I couldn't be happier! I love the New Year. Maybe it even beats Halloween as my favourite holiday! I am particularly happy to see this year come to a close. What a year '08 was. Not all bad, but I have a good feeling about next year. It's gonna be a good one folks...
A new President, a new attitude and a new wardrobe should just about help start the coming twelve months nicely!
I have certainly been enjoying this festive season because I've spent it doing what I love to do-- working! As I mentioned in my last update, I have been cast in this Philip Ridley play, Leaves of Glass. Reviews of the play have said that it is "a shattering family drama... like a shard of glass plunged straight into the heart." Not exactly a Cratchit Family Christmas, but it's great stuff and I'm enjoying the whole process, even if it is a bit depressing at times!
It's an emotionally charged play, which leaves me crying on my sofa as I'm learning my lines...oh the joy of it all!
Another major reason I'm excited about this new year is that I am spending it with my good friend Becky, who is coming over from London. I haven't seen her since she was last here about three years ago. Closing out 2008 and starting 2009 with my best mate from home is exactly what I want to do. It's been far too long since I've seen her and I am so happy this is finally going to happen! She better bring me some Irn Bru since the future of our relationship depends on it. No Irn Bru for me, no toilet paper for her!! (evil laugh)
I have every faith in her though, so off I go to stock up on household items she will need for 'survival NYC'.
I truly wish you all the very best for the New Year. May it be filled with peace and joy and may we take it upon ourselves to finally be the change we hope to see happen in this country and, indeed, the world.
I have been blessed with your support and honesty and I pray we will be friends for a long time to come.
With all my love,
And Many Thanks
x x x