Friday, December 19, 2014

Paris je flipping t'aime, quand je suis tres malade aussi.

So I managed to catch the flu, presumably just before I came to Paris, such that it hit me hard on the second afternoon of my three day stay.

No matter! The Peter and I took a picnic to the edge of the Canal and we had a breakfast of fourteen-year-old-reserve oolong (good god, when tea is good it's good), warm croissants, salami and an assortment of fruit, after which Bernbaum escorted me to Centre Pompidou (Marcel Duchamp is a badass, btw) and we had street crepes for lunch, then I changed into a dress and met Peter, Jeanine and Catherine for Blues Dancing at the L'horloge, went home with Peter where Poznanter had made THREE giant pans of quiche and was painting masks for show he and Peter are currently developing. Which turned into lounging about a watching some masterful mask improvisation. I can't wait to see their show, guys. It's going to be amazing.

Woke up today actually really sick, but couldn't bear to spend my last day in Paris in bed, so I decide to make a pilgrimage to Les Enfants Perdus. I walk through the Gare de l'est Christmas faire and the Jardin mersomething, and arrive at the restaurant for brunch, where they look baffled that I think I can get in without a reservation, but I hold up my pointer finger and with my pitiful French and best puppy eyes I say "pour une personne?". They roll their eyes and smile and tell me (in English) to come back in ten minutes. I am now writing this post from a tiny table curled next to an old timey French radiator, in a beautiful Parisienne restaurant, drinking cafe au lait and fresh orange juice, eating a tiny croissant and a fresh salmon salad. This is the only way to be sick, guys. Perhaps the most French way to suffer possible.

Things I love about the waiters here:

They are constantly cracking jokes, yelling at each other good naturedly and then taking breaks out front in the rain with a glass of red wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Their hair is either a giant tousled mess, in a tiny ponytail on the very top of their head, unless they are the maitre de, who is wearing a hat that for all the world looks like a calmed down version of Crocodile Dundee. They all wear tiny tight polo shirts or button downs that are open at least halfway down the front with a tiny vest. Oh yeah, no lady waiters here for some reason. Just smokey Paris-boys.

Okay, and now the ponytailed bartender (who looks like Miyaka Cochranes long lost brother) has sent me two shots of sipping tequila, and invited me out dancing tonight. Hilarious. If I were not deliriously flu-ridden I would so go. 

Next time, Paris. Next time.

Friday, December 05, 2014

I followed the circus boys to Paris yesterday...

And oh Lordy its already the best.

For those who don't know, three circus boys closest to my heart (David, David, and Peter) are in Paris for a month studying at Centre Wutao. They are advanced (circus boys all are, I think, at least physically)but in this case they've all been studying the discipline for some time as well, and the month long intensive course they are doing is meant to be a teacher training situation. I've been intrigued by Wutao for some time, and was crossing my fingers I could pick up a pamphlet and watch some masters. After breakfast this morning I walked Peter to class and in doing so met several resident Wutao-ers. Including the co-founder Pol Charoy who immediately, nonchalantly, benevolently (in a manner that can only be discribed as utterly French) invited me to participate for the day at no charge.


Basically it was freaking amazing. Wutao has been called many things, most of the Internet describes it as a sort of dance meditation practice. Like so many movement disciplines, trying to translate it into spoken language can be very frustrating and leave the most central and unique principles unexpressed.

Peter describing Wutao says "take Chen's Tai Chi, unfold it every direction, and add bio-energetic breath techniques" which still only really makes sense if you were there. But bottom line is it is cool stuff, that has many practical applications as a theatre performer.

I had three hours of it today (short day) and I am plotting ways to get more training in it.

To be continued...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Fire at will

You may remember me saying that I have decided to do all of the things. In the case of the past three weeks doing "all the things" has meant not writing blog posts.

Sorry about that.

So let me try, as quickly as possible, to catch you up on all the things.

For starters, of course, I have been taking many classes, from many really cool cats: Niamh Dowling (Movement, Alexander Technique), Bea Pemberton (Neutral Mask, Mime, Physical Games), Rebecca Pollack & Luis Campos (Theatrical Research & Writing), Irina Brown (Narrative Structures & Script Analysis), Gabriel Gawin (I dunno, cool ensemble theatre movement shit. Probably my fave, if I'm honest).

I spent a weekend in Bristol, with my classmate Charlotte, in order to see a Kneehigh show, and you know, be a tourist in Bristol, cause it's cool. 

I stayed with my classmate Lowenna's mum, awesome lady.
Here we have Minxy, her awesome-but-dubious-of-visitors cat.

Had dinner next to an actual Banksy. No biggie.

Hello, Bristol Cathedral...

As always, Cathedrals contain some interesting things.
May I direct your attention to the inscription here?
Okay, I'll give you a closer look:

Yeesh. I'm exhausted just reading about it.

Yeah, and this is just a hinge on the fracking DOOR. Overacheivers.
St. Nicholas Market!

Awesome Market food. Awesome owl glare included at no charge.
Successful haggling for new bear hat = Sweet!

Obligatory Bristol Parrot Pic. Hi Mom.

Cagigal, this one's for you, obvi. Out front of random candy store. WTF?

And all that was just Bristol.

I've also seen buckets of Brit theatre, including Sheridan's The Rivals at The Arcola (I was two feet from Gemma Jones. I die.), The Dog, The Night, and The Knife at the Arcola (Snoozefest. Oh well.), Kneehigh's Dead Dog in a Suitcase at the Bristol Old Vic (Post apocalyptic electric violin puppet finale! Yes!), Belvoir's touring production of Wild Duck at the Barbican (Badass. Wow.), My Beautiful Black Dog and Am I Dead Yet in Bush Theatre's RADAR Fest (Am I Dead Yet was incredible), Our Town at the Almeida (with the ever-glorious Paul Cello, who also basically coerced me into seeing the last two hours of Interstellar at Screen on the Green. So swanky. Very fun.), Hunter and Johnny at Camden People's Theatre, Class Act by Harry Giles at Ovalhouse, Are You Lonesome Tonight? at Ovalhouse, and Engineer Theatre Collective's RUN at New Diorama Theatre. 

So yeah, I've seen some shows. Many of them were really awfully good, too.

I've also attended (so far) four full-day theatre conferences.

That's James Wheale on the left, explaining a dining-meets-installation-art-meets video-game experience in which you eat rare chocolates to gain magical powers.
Yes, James, I am listening...

Swankiest conference schwag thus far. It comes with fruit!

I've also (selflessly) explored several amazing weekly London Markets, but Broadway Market is one of the best I've seen so far, food-wise. I humbly submit for your consideration:

Scotch-Egg-apalooza. Nuff said.
Toffee Apple Kouign Amann. Chocolate croissant loaves. Shut UP.

Wait, what? Duck confit burger with blue cheese, truffle honey, homemade chutney and arugula on a brioche bun? 
Holy mother of Claude.
What? I had to.

Rockin' flowers at the Columbia Road Market, but the accents rock even harder.
Yet another side benefit of doing all the things? Seeing still more great street art. 

What else has happened that you should know? Well…

After weeks of pounding the pavement and the online housing ads, I finally found a place to live in Bethnal Green that I liked. Then I lived there for a month, and discovered I liked it less than I thought, so did some more searching and just moved to Lower Clapton. So, since the last time I posted on the blog I have moved twice. Pics and info on new place will come later. But so far its a keeper :-)

A few more tidbits for ya:

Guys. GUYS. This place is DANGEROUS. Believe me.

English cold is no joke. I mostly sleep in an actual fleece onesie these days. 
    Sunday Roast, y'all. That's a proper yorkshire pudding on my beef there.

    I also highly approve of how seriously many London cafes take their baked goods.

    That's all I've got for now. More soon though, I promise. Really.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Goodbye Bologna, belatedly...

Yes, yes, I realize I left Bologna over a week ago. Sue me. Here are my final highlights and I will move on, I promise. I may even catch up to the present day, who knows?

Needs no caption. Obvi.

Favorite quotations in other languages. Happymaking. 
My people! 

Soul crushing = missing Chekhov in Italian by ONE WEEK. The humanity.
When in doubt, cured meats to the rescue. The guy who runs this place is the real deal.
But really, there's just simply no shortage of awesomeness in Bologna, ever. Just about everything I stumbled upon was endlessly entertaining. In some cases I am not sure the Bolognians realize how funny they are. In other cases they must. In all cases, my quality of life went up. Go Bologna.

Exhibit A: Charles Darwin, pictured in his rare flower-afro phase. Wait, what?
Exhibit B: The Bologna Phonebooth. The perfect pretend-you-are-in-a-70's-spy-movie opportunity.
Yeah, there's Mike again. Typical Mike. For those wishing to know more about my new good friend Mike: he is an Engineer/Comedian of Canadian origin. It is possible that he is a funny guy, but if you have fifteen minutes you can decide for yourself. But I digress…
Exhibit C: The actual awning of a restaurant. I can't.

Exhibit D: Moose hat!

Exhibit forget-about-it: I ALWAYS wear a sexy spoon-hawk with demitasse-earrings when swimming in a coffee-lake. Anyone else?

Baby Armani. That's a shearling lined aviator sleep sack on the right. Just sayin'.

In the hotel elevator. 

But for the ultimate combination of beautiful, awe-inspiring, historical, mildly creepy, and undeniably weird, I give you the Anatomical Theatre!

No, really. Absurdly intense woodwork inside, and smokin'-hot marble and paintwork outside. 1636, motherf%$!ers. Check it out:

So yeah, that's my best attempt to show a bit of the awesome that is Bologna.

Other bits of awesome that went unphotographed included: becoming a member of the CovoClub (hilarious), seeing Death from Above live for the first time (so rad), and staying at the Hotel Cavour (surprisingly swanky). 

The last morning before heading back to London I had fluffy-Italian-custard-pastry-of-win with a perfect cappuccino. Hell to the yes. 

So I guess it's goodbye for now, Bologna, but I will definitely be back.

Coming soon: Life in London town...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Takin' it to the streets!

So yet another thing that I was not at all prepared for was the ridiculous amount of street art and graffiti all over Bologna. Some boldly on the main roads, some delicately inked on a busy corner where you might miss it, and some in the tiny alleys where you'll only find it if you're on a street art treasure hunt. 

Classic Bologna juxtaposition.

Oh yeah, a bit of background: the city of Bologna is a center of learning, a university town, and a real life hotbed of Communism. We saw an actual full-on block-the-streets Communist protest while we were there. Not gonna lie, it was pretty adorable. But yeah, the politics show up in the art, like ya do.

This bunny was all over everywhere: the Where's Waldo? of Bologna, if you will.

There he is again!

I still can't get over how many styles and influences are represented. 


Just when you thought you had a handle on the style? Nope!

Still Mike, with Owl-o-rama.

Pretty birds

I mean, come on. 
Then there is the roll-up and security door art. I get that it's not unique to Bologna, but its super concentrated, and when shops are open you can't even see it, so most of it is hidden for most of the day. So if you walk around in the early morning, for example, you get a wildly-colorful alternate-universe Bologna. Check it out:

This is in front of a bar called Sherlock Holmes. Obvi.

Political roll-up door art, anyone?
Really though. This stuff blows my mind. Like, I want posters of 75% of these.


I mean, wtf, Bologna. Leave some cool for the rest of us.

But my all time amongst the covert-Bologna-art movement has to be this mural:

Yeah, it does not wish to fit in a frame. It is detailed and huge.
It's on an alley, very small, nothing on it to do, significantly obscured by trees, and flipping stunning. My lame iPhotography cannot do justice to it. Get thee to Bologna and check it out in person. Super cool.

I die. It has killed me. 
Oh, and a side note: Anandamayi and Aimée, have you been here yet? Some of this stuff begs to be referenced in a chalk art entry or summat. Just sayin'.

That be the art post, folks. Coming soon is Bologna wrap up, and adventures in Bristol!

And, on that note, an overdue postscript of sorts:

Some folks have mentioned that I can't possibly still be in Bologna. They are not wrong. I'm a little behind on the blogging, guys. But wait, you ask, isn't the whole point of blogging to enable folks to follow you in roughly real time? Yes, yes, right, I know, you're very smart. 

I'm on it, I swear. Back soon, y'all.