Saturday, September 30, 2006
I woke up at 5:30 a.m.-ish this morning and ran a good six miles with my running group. It felt great - cool and clear. We are signing up for The Over-the-River run, a 5-miler that will be held in Vicksburg on Oct. 14 at 8 a.m. I know the PR person at Ameristar (the casino is sponsoring the run), and she says that they are going ALL OUT with the eats and entertainment afterward. (YUM.) If you are interested, you can download an entry form from the MS Track club website.
Lastly, we just got back from seeing the Fondren Theatre Workshop's production of Sordid Lives. What a hoot! I really enjoyed it, and it was for a GREAT cause. They had some great performers, and the script is hilarious.
On tap for next week: The Millsaps Players production of Equus. The Peter Shaffer play, which will be directed by Sam Sparks, runs Oct. 5-7 at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Oct. 8. In the production, Martin Dysart, a psychiatrist, is confronted with Alan Strang, a boy who has blinded six horses. To the owner of the horses the horror is simple: Alan is mentally unstable. To the boy's parents it is a hideous mystery; Alan has always adored horses and, although Dora Strang may be a slightly overindulgent mother and Frank Strang a slightly tetchy father, both parents love their son. To Dysart it is a psychological puzzle or, given his profession, that is what it ought to be. As it turns out, it is something far more complex and disturbing: a confrontation with himself as well as with Alan in which he comes to an inescapable view of man's need to worship and the distortions forced on that need by society. The play will be held in the Christian Center Auditorium, and tix are $10; $8 for seniors and students. We're planning on going on Oct. 5th. Hope to see you there!
Friday, September 29, 2006
Next up: WellsFest! WellsFest is a benefit hosted annually by Wells United Methodist Church, and they select a different charity to showcase each year. I first became aware of WellsFest when I interviewed their minister, Keith Tonkel, for a story I was writing. Later, the admission-free festival benefitted Magnolia Speech School, where two of my friends worked. Anyway, I have plans to go this year with my sister and sweet, precious nephew. (The event is great for families; they usually have fun activities set up for the kids.) Here's the skinny: Saturday, September 30; Jamie Fowler Boyll Park; no admission; 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. There's arts and crafts booths, live music, and food available for purchase. See you there!
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I know, I know. Boring, right? But after rehearsing or performing each evening for five straight weeks, it's wondrous to me.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
After that? Well, I spent some quality time with my sweet hubby, actually watched a little television, and started on the mountain of laundry that has accumulated over the past two weeks. (Where do all these towels come from?) It's actually very satisfying, though, to start attacking projects that have been nagging at me while I've been busy at the theatre. I've already got a few things lined up for tonight, and this weekend is booked solid.
Gail Pittman spoke to our Public Relations Association of Mississippi group today, and she was wonderful - warm, bright, entertaining, and also a great Mississippi success story. I didn't realize how big her company actually was until she explained it to us. She's done so many corporate projects for hotels and resorts, in addition to marketing her merchandise online and in specialty shops. She's created pieces for celebrities such as Gene Hackman, and she once helped Katie Couric design her kitchen. It's very impressive. Her advice to us? She talked alot about positioning yourself to say "yes" to opportunity when it knocks, and also about being flexible in business. She also does alot of charity work, which I really admire.
Based loosely on Puccini's La Bohème, Rent is a rock opera that focuses on the year in the life of a group of friends in New York's East Village who live lives full of art, music, sex, and drugs. The show particularly spotlights the AIDS crisis and how it affects the characters. For the most part, the show made the stage to screen transition well. There were a few awkward moments with characters basically looking at each other and singing - moments that didn't seem to be supported by any subtextual motivations. And the film did allow for flashbacks and other backstory devices that aren't possible on stage. I'm aware that most of the cast members were plucked from the Broadway cast, and they were all really strong. Rosario Dawson, who was new to the effort, did a wonderful job as well.
For the most part, I thought this film was a good treatment of the stage show. The director clearly has a great love for the material, and I also got the feeling that the performers really understood the thematic message of the show. The movie (and the stage play) does contain some sensitive material, but nothing that couldn't inspire productive discussion. You'll get a little weepy at the end, so have some tissues handy!
Monday, September 25, 2006
As we walked off stage on Sunday, the director was there in the wings, crying. Which certainly didn't help my emotional stability. Then, when I walked into the women's dressing room, my fellow castmate was crying. Which almost pushed me over the edge. I guess we were all a little upset because the show was a really good experience, because we'd really enjoyed one another during the rehearsal and performance process, and because we actually like one another. It is sad that we won't see each other as much in the coming weeks. Everyone has their own projects, their own lives.
Anyway, I plan to keep in touch. Onward and upward.
Friday, September 22, 2006
I do feel acutely aware of being alive lately. I don't know if it's all the change swirling around in my life (I start a new job in a couple of weeks, and the show is about to wrap.), or if I feel my place in the universe more now than I have before, or what. But I do feel a sense of ripe possibility. It's a little scary but also thrilling.
Oh, on another note, I have to take a drug test for my new job. I have to wonder whether my new employers realize the futility of such an endeavor. What a waste of time and effort. They clearly have no idea who they are dealing with. Anyway, come Monday morning, I will be giving blood samples and what not so they can confirm that I'm not on crack or . . . whatever.
Oooh, one other thing - Brian and I found some great patio furniture! Woo-hoo! I can be a bit picky about stuff like that, so I was really glad to find something I loved that was reasonbly priced. Check out the pic at left. NICE, huh? It will be delivered to the house today. YAY!
And, after the show closes on Sunday, I can PLANT! I have a $200 gift card to Home Depot that is absolutely burning a hole in my pocket. My plan is to plant the two beds I've already prepared in the front yard and then maybe add a few things to the foundation beds that are already existing. I have so missed my garden since we've been in the new house, but it's been murder to try and find the time to put a garden in while finishing up grad school, putting together big work projects, and now performing in a show. But, my time IS coming!
I love fall.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Then, in the middle of the meeting, two of my crazy PR folks come to the door. No appointment, but that's usually no big deal. Oddly, they have a gift for me that they want to present. I thank them. They ask me to open the gift now. I look to my boss and the designer, not wanting to waste their time. PR friends insist. I open the gift, which is a huge martini glass with little palm trees on it. I comment that I will have to drink alot to use this glass. Smiling devilishly, they tell me that there's more in the gift bag. I reach in and pull out . . . a pink thong. In front of my boss. And an independent contractor that barely knows me.
Perhaps I should take this opportunity to address why two crazy PR people would show up at my office unannounced to give me unsolicited underwear. There is a drink at a bar that we have frequented called the "Pink Panty Pull Down." Now, I know that the name is ribald, but the drink is actually quite good. And I usually order it. Which provides my crazy PR friends with no small amount of enjoyment.
So, I stand there, holding the underwear, flustered. I'm sure that one of two things were happening. Either 1.) every bit of color was draining from my face or 2.) My cheeks were turning as rosy as the panties in my outstretched hand. I honestly did try to recover the situation. I tried to play it off. But, what on earth can you say in front of professional colleagues when friends drop by to give you intimate apparel in mixed company?
Needless to say, I am now searching my memory for everything remotely embarassing that I know about these two friends. I have plenty of ammunition; now, I only need to wait for the proper setting in which to exact my sweet revenge! Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I knew a little bit about Kinsey beforehand. I took a course on human love and sexuality in college (which gave my college friends no end of hilarity. Apparently, my chaste reputation preceded me. But, hey, it fit in my schedule AND fulfilled a core requirement. What's a girl to do?!), and we talked quite a bit about his work as part of that curriculum. I thought a dramatization of this life and work would be fascinating.
Kinsey was a biologist who broke from studying gall wasps in the 1940s to focus on human sexuality. He'd noticed that there was no actual scientific research on the subject, and he was appalled at the misinformation (and moral stranglehold) on the subject in society. He conducted thousands of face-to-face interviews with subjects about their sex histories, and he published two volumes about sexual behavior (male and female). The Kinsey Institute (which studies sex, gender, and reproduction) still operates today at Indiana University.
I freely acknowledge that the film, at times, can be difficult to watch. Kinsey definitely contains nudity and sensitive subject matter. However, the grounding force of it all became Liam Neeson, in an inspired turn as the troubled scientist. He becomes the mouthpiece for many of Kinsey's actual complaints - how the subject of sex was closeted in American society, how difficult it was to find funding for sex research because of moral overtones, how we as a society could not begin to discuss sex with any certainty because we hadn't studied it, etc. Neeson played Kinsey with such sensitivity, such professionalism; he was the heart of the film.
I also appreciated how the film dealt with the personal issues/problems of the various characters, including Kinsey, his wife, and the members of his research staff. It illustrated how difficult it probably was for all of them to study sex, think about sex, talk about sex all the time without it affecting them in adverse ways. It showed how difficult it was for them to separate the sex act from the idea/feeling of love. (There was a wonderful premise introduced early in the film about how Kinsey decided that love couldn't be studied because it was impossible to measure. So Kinsey studied sex, the closest thing to love that he could study. I like that sentiment, for some reason.)
Anyway, if you are interested in Kinsey, his life, and his work, I think this film is a fairly accurate treatment of the man. Be prepared for nudity and adult issues, but most of all, be prepared to ask yourself questions and re-examine what you think about sex, love, and society.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Fondren Theatre Workshop is Joining Mississippi HeARTS Against AIDS to present a benefit performance of "Sordid Lives." MS HeArts Against Aids, a non-profit organization, will present the full-length comedy by Del Shores as its next fund-raising event, September 21, 22, 23 and September 28, 29, 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Hal & Mal's in Jackson, MS.
The basic action of the play revolves around the funeral of the 65-year-old family matriarch, Peggy Ingram, who has died under less than seemly circumstances at a local motel. As three generations of her family gather in their small Texas town, we learn the hilarious, sad, trashy truth of each of their “sordid lives.” By turns both poignant and hilarious, the play reveals the family at both its worst and its best as they come to grips with their grief and with each other.
All but three of the 13 actors are FTW veterans, including Chris Roebuck, who plays G.W. Nethercott, a cheatin’ husband with two wooden legs; Bettye Edwards, playing the long-suffering aunt Sissy, who picked the wrong day to quit smoking; Jane Sanders and Karen Longo as Latrelle and Lavonda, two polar-opposite sisters who are feuding over their dead mother’s mink stole; Joanne Prichard Morris as Juanita, the perennial bar-fly; Alyssa Silberman as the barely-stable-herself psychiatrist Dr. Eve Bolinger; Ron Mills as Earl “Brother Boy” Ingram, the cross-dressing Tammy Wynette fanatic who’s spent 23 years at the state hospital for “dehomosexualization” therapy; J.C. Patterson and Richard Lawrence as bar-owning brothers Wardell and Odell Owens; and James Anderson, who’s playing preacher Barnes and providing musical direction. Making their acting debuts in the production are Neola Young as Noleta Nethercott, G.W.’s spurned wife who goes on her own “Thelma & Louise” rampage; Christine Liberto as local saloon singer Bitsy Mae Harling; and Josh Hailey as Ty Williamson, the grandson who moved as far away as possible to be an actor and who’s now struggling with whether to return home to face his family and his own demons.
The play contains some profanity and mature subject matter, and therefore is not recommended for those under the age of 17. Tickets will be $20.00 per person for this cabaret-style performance and are now on sale. Reservations are strongly encouraged (You know what I say about FTW; walk-in at your own peril.), and may be made by calling 601-856-7743.
Monday, September 18, 2006
It must be rather trying at times to collect dead bodies for a living. Although I would never want to earn my living that way, I imagine it could be fascinating at times. Seeing people as they were in their final moments. Seeing life reduced to a heap of loosely collected cells. It must make for rather unique ruminations.
“You see,” he begins, “80 percent of people die naked and 70 percent die in the toilet. That means most people die naked in the toilet. I can’t explain it. It’s like Elvis. But as far as the afterlife goes, I believe through what I seen that those who commit horror and sin are doomed to repeat life, which is hell.”
“My theory?” Mr. Thomas offered. “White people kill themselves. Black people kill each other. Chinese people don’t die.”
Mississippi’s at-risk children and youth will benefit from this year’s Bottom Line for Kids dinner Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Country Club of Jackson. The annual fundraiser supports the programs of Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth, Inc. (SCSCY). Dollars raised at the event will support the programs of the agency - which include adoption of children with special needs, therapeutic foster care, residential care, prevention services, transitional living and independent living preparation programs - to abused and neglected youth statewide. Services are offered free of charge. Headquartered in Jackson, SCSCY is a faith-based, non-profit organization whose mission is to serve and equip Mississippi’s vulnerable children and youth, assisting them in the process of becoming self-sufficient and contributing members of society. Tickets for the Bottom Line for Kids dinner are $100 per person and may be purchased by calling Kathie Haynes at SCSCY at 601-354-0983.
Friday, September 15, 2006
The National Endowment for the Arts recently made an announcement quite pertinent to my tour. Apparently, staffers at the Endowment had run across some 5 hours of color film of Miss Welty, shot in 1975. Footage shows Welty reading from and talking about her works, and the film is in near-pristine condition. The endowment has decided to donate the footage to the Eudora Welty House, and they are accompanying the gift with a fat check to aid in the preservation of the delicate film. You can learn more about it here.
Lastly, I had to write about a new eatery in the Jackson area that I have absolutely fallen in love with. Newk's Express Cafe (I know, I know - an unfortunate name, but stay with me here) offers crisp, fresh salads; toasted sandwiches; yummy pizzas; and rich desserts. I am a huge fan of their Ceasar salads and veggie clubs. YUM! It's quick, it's fairly inexpensive, and it is so good. The Clarion Ledger wrote an article when the business opened; check it out here. Pop in sometime!
The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra has released its season! Their first concert is this Saturday, Sept. 16, at 7:30 p.m., and it's titled Bravo I: Roman Escape. Many of you may also know that locally-owned Bravo! restaurant partners with the symphony to offer discounts to symphony patrons. Each season, they provide symphony ticket holders with a 25% discount on their pre-performance meal. Just show up at BRAVO!, bring your tickets, show them to the waiter, and get 25% off your entire bill! The discount offer is good for dinner only, before the concert, the night of the concert; patrons will not receive the discount for lunch or for after-performance late seating. It is a pre-performance, evening-of-the-event only offer.
To buy tickets for the performance, which takes place at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson, just call the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra at (601) 960-1565. Tickets range from $25 to $40, depending on seating section.
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Last night, I didn't feel ready to go home right after the performance, so a couple of friends and I went out. We started off with Ice Picks at Elixir. (You can either get an Ice Pick or the Mississippi Martini; they're basically the same. The Ice Pick, though, is served in a tall rocks glass, which I prefer.) The sweet bartender there had come to the show the night before, and he came by our table to tell us that he'd really loved it. (I so wanted a nice, thick steak, but, alas, the kitchen was already closed. Note to Elixir owner - have small plates that can be ordered after the kitchen is closed. At least a few slices of cheese, some bread, and a couple of grapes, for God's sake! Would it KILL you?)
After we'd hung out there a while (and gotten talked up by a man WAY too old to be hitting on us - ahem, he was bald. and the hair that he did have was gray. WHAT was he thinking?), we headed over to Fenian's. I hadn't been there in AGES. When I was a student at Millsaps, I spent alot of time there, but I've hardly stepped inside in about 5 years! It was a bit of a comfort to know that it hadn't changed much. I hung out there for a while before moseying home around one-ish to my sweet husband. (Who always waits up! What a doll!)
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Tonight is officially opening night, so we should have even more folks out there. (If the weather doesn't turn too nasty.) It's begun! Whoopee!
Oh, on Monday night, Brian and I began The New Blind Project. Here's the thing: every window in our house has cheap little venetian mini-blinds on it. The kind that you can get at Home Depot for like $5. So naturally, I had a desire to upgrade at least some of the blinds. Well, easier said than done. Our windows in the great room are not exactly standard-sized, so it took me a good long while to even find pre-made blinds that would fit them. (NO WAY was I paying literal hundreds of dollars to have blinds custom-made. Geez! It's even more of a racket than having things custom-framed!) So, I finally found some pre-made blinds that I liked at Linens N Things. Only one problem: there were only two of them left, and they looked as though they had both been opened and returned. With a little trepidation, I took them to the front. As I was checking out, I asked the LNT employee about the containers. I told her that it looked as though they'd been returned, and I wanted to make sure that all the pieces were still inside. I was assured that the tops sometimes pop off these containers, but that all merchandise is checked to make sure it's complete before it's shelved.
Ha ha. I toted the blinds home, only to find that not a single scrap of hardware was in either box. Back to the store it went. I was informed upon returning the merchandise that, since these blinds were being discontinued, they did not have any more of them on the premises. Sooo, I momentarily resigned myself to the cheap mini-blinds once again.
But last week, I realized (duh.) that Linens N Things has a website, where I found the blinds! (Ta da!!) So, I ordered them, and they were shipped to the house. Hubby and I had to do a ltitle wrestling (not that kind) to get them into place, but now they look WONDERFUL!! And the Bradshaws, working together, triumph once again!!!
Now, onto the bedroom windows. Sigh.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
On my must list:
October 28, 2006 @ 7:30 pm;October 29, 2006 @ 3:00 pm
Mainstage Artists presents “Camelot,” a fabulous and thrilling comedy based on the everlastingly lovable and legend of King Arthur and his knights. This musicalization follows Arthur’s reign as king of Camelot and the challenges he must face as his leading knight, Sir Lancelot falls in love with his wife, Guenevere. “Camelot” is a story of love, friendship, and betrayal beautifully reflected through memorable songs and lavish scenery.
Man of la Mancha
January 21, 2006 @ 2:00 pm;January 21, 2006 @ 7:30 pm;January 22, 2006 @ 7:30 pm
A powerful blend of tragedy, romance, comedy, and adventure, Man of La Mancha is an inspiring musical tribute to Don Quixote’s romantic idealism. This five-time Tony Award winner is the epic story of knight-errant Don Quixote, his servant Sancho, and the woman of his dreams, the lovely Dulcinea. The tale is set during the Spanish Inquisition and tells the romantic and noble journey of a man who sets out to right all wrongs and win the heart of a good woman as he duels windmills along the way.
March 1, 2007 @ 7:30 pm
KODO is one of the elite taiko drumming groups today. Based in Sado Island, Japan, KODO drummers perform with taiko drumming and other traditional Japanese musical instruments such as fue and shamisen. Showcasing traditional dance and vocal arrangements based on the traditional rhythms of regional Japan, their energetic renditions will have you leaving the theater in awe and amazement.
March 27, 2007 @ 7:30 pm
The Kennedy Center presents, “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka,” an unforgettable story of triumph and discovery. Come join Willy Wonka and his band of Oompa Loompas as they lead Charlie, the spoiled-rotten Veruca Salt, gluttonous Augustus Gloop, gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde, and television junkie Mike Teavee through a labyrinth of lemon drops, life lessons, and giggles galore. Featuring live actors, puppets, plenty of surprises.
Monday, September 11, 2006
This is the cast from "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change." AREN'T WE CUTE? (Left to right: Danny Dauphin, yours truly, Harlan Zackery Jr., Ray McFarland, and Annalise Jensen.)
Our show was written up in the Clarion Ledger this week! YAY! To check out the article (which includes art), just visit http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060911/FEAT05/609110316. (There's another cast picture here that ran with the article. Note: That is NOT my real hair. That is my "Jewish Mom" wig. Art can sometimes be embarrassing, can't it?)
We open tomorrow!! Woo-hoo!
Friday, September 08, 2006
So we chat and eat our way through the lunch hour. As I'm spearing my last cottage fry on my fork, he gestures towards me and says, "Don't eat that tater." After a double-take, I ask why. He says, "You'll hate yourself." Not quite sure how to respond, I reply, "I like living on the edge." And then I stuff the fry in my mouth. He goes back to his beer.
About 10 minutes later, he rises to leave the restaurant. He stops next to me, saying, "Do you really like living on the edge? I got a pink slip today from a job I been working for 13 years. Now, I'm going to go find the meanest bar in Jackson and kick some ass. Do you want to come with me?"
Now, I cannot overemphasize how taken aback I was at this moment. An odd queasy-ness mixed with tinges of pity in my stomach. Holding out his hand to me, he says, "You said you liked living on the edge. Do you want to come with me?" I look at my dining companions, smile self-consciously, duck my head and say, "Not today."
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Five hugely magnified robotic insects will allow visitors to more clearly observe some of the behaviors and adaptations that have enabled these creatures to thrive. Each insect has between five and 20 moving parts, with movement achieved by hydraulics or electric motors. A 19-foot-long praying mantis shows threatening behavior, causing its prey to freeze, to avoid being eaten. A 13-foot-long locust spreads its wings. Two 11-foot-long rhinoceros beetles fight, each the size of a Volkswagen... um... beetle. A giant walking stick, over 21 feet long, displays its protective camouflage. And at 15 feet, a swallowtail butterfly caterpillar is the biggest wiggler you'll ever see. Also on display are three giant insect heads with mouthpieces the visitor can operate by pushing a button. See how a dragonfly magnified 80 times chews, and how a bee, 200 times life size, sucks nectar. Marvel at how a mosquito, 600 times its real size, draws its meals through its piercing mouthpieces.Yikes! The exhibit wraps on September 10, so hurry over to the museum if you haven't seen it yet!
Also, I did finish watching When the Levees Broke: a Requiem in Four Acts. It was powerful, haunting, and meaningful. I urge you to see it as soon as possible.
Monday, September 04, 2006
One of the programs that I TiVo'ed that I'm now finally getting to is Spike Lee's documentary on New Orleans' experience of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath - When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts. So far, I've only watched Acts I and II. I'm hoping to get to the rest sometime later. The first half has been riveting. I love the way that Spike Lee is letting the people involved in the event speak for themselves, instead of employing cheesy voice-overs. He has captured some really powerful statements from many of the major players, as well as heartbreaking stories from several survivors that he chose to focus on. (One, about a man whose aging mother died at the Superdome, almost made me lose it. I can't believe he held it together.) In the first half, there is also some footage of New Orleans after the hurricane that is very difficult to watch, but it helps you remember and understand the magnitude of what went on down there last year. On the film's website, there's also an interesting interview with Lee, where he discusses why he wanted to make the film and what his own experiences were, recording these stories.
Oh, the Millsaps Arts and Lecture Series recently released its season. They've got an interesting lineup of Southern songwriters, authors, scientists, and more scheduled for this year. You can check out the complete program in their online brochure (PDF). Millsaps has also announced its roster for the Southern Circuit Film Series. These are great events; the audience screens an independent film and then usually has a question/answer session with the filmmaker. They have what looks like a gripping schedule of films, including State of Fear by Pamela Yates and Interkosmos by Jim Finn. Check out the full season here.
Rehearsals are clipping along. Yesterday, we ran through the show, and I felt reasonably good about how it went. We have a week of rehearsals left, and then we'll open! It's getting exciting!
Friday, September 01, 2006
The Museum’s capital campaign is well underway, with major contributions already secured from Trustmark, Bancorp South, BankPlus, BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi, The Gertrude C. Ford Foundation, the Phil Hardin Foundation, the State of Mississippi and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Construction of the new Museum has already begun! In recent weeks, interior demolition on the facility has been completed. Work now begins on the northwest corner of the building—what will be the Museum’s main entrance, with an elevated ceiling, front-facing glass walls, and a canopy that extends onto the green space of the Museum’s gardens. Once this exterior renovation is complete, construction will move back inside to create a café, galleries, interactive spaces, classrooms, and back-of-house operations.
You can check out more of what the museum has planned and look at the architectual renderings of the new space at their MMA Is Moving website.