Thursday, April 30, 2009

Culture Cat--BalletMet's "The Great Gatsby"

I've been a member-subscriber to BalletMet for four years, since I got my first job at the Statehouse. In that time frame, I have seen some truly remarkable works: Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and JulietBalanchine's "Stars and Stripes" and, my favorite, Dracula

Well, I should say, my former favorite. Because BalletMet's new work, choreographed by company dancer Jimmy Orrante, is my new favorite. 

The Great Gatsby, based on the novel of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald, tells the story of love, betrayal and desire among the wealthy of Long Island in the 1920s. In the era of jazz and prohibition, Nick Carraway watches his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, rediscover her former lover and risk the demise of her marriage to Tom, a former polo player. It's a seminal novel in American literature, and when I saw this ballet on the schedule for this season, my interest was immediately piqued. First, it's a world premiere, a brand new ballet (how often do you get to see one of those?If you're a BalletMet fan, you get to see them often. You're lucky). Second, I was interested in the theatricality of it--how would this novel fare as a ballet? 

I am thrilled to report that the translation is flawless. In this superb ballet, all the elements of dance--brilliant choreography, innovative staging, sumptuous costumes, skilled lighting and superb dancing--come together for an evening you will not soon forget.

This cast (casts alternate) featured many of the company's first-year members, a decision I found intriguing but ultimately pitch-perfect. Gabriel Smith danced superbly as Gatsby, especially in his Act II pas des deux with Daisy (danced gloriously by Christine Mangia, who is from my hometown). Their love, so tender and passionate, is thwarted by Tom Buchanan's(Jeffrey Diehl) indictment of Gatsby in the murder of Tom's lover, Mrytle (Olivia Clark).

Both Diehl and Smith dance wonderfully, and their character work is flawless. Both create multi-dimensional characters who are vastly different but also, surprisingly, similar, as seen in Act I, Scene II, which shows both men (with their butlers) getting ready for the day. The choreography for both is almost identical. Adam Hundt (one of my favorite company dancers) performs beautifully as our narrator and West/East Egg outsider, Nick Carraway. Orrante often has him standing just outside a scrim, watching the dancers, and, in one brilliant scene, has him standing over Gatsby's corpse, looking down at his friend. He slowly walks to his side, picks up the handkerchief that Gatsby had given Daisy so long ago, folds it, and places it on Gatsby's chest. It's beautifully done.  Nick's love interest is Jordan Baker (danced with great exuberance by Adrienne Benz), a professional golfer and Daisy's friend. As the ballet progresses, the two of them watch as Tom, Daisy, and Gatsby's affairs reach a boiling point in Act II, Scene IV. In a New York hotel room, Daisy tells Tom that she has never been in love with him, and flees. Gatsby is calm and collected, whereas Tom's dancing is erratic, his barrel turns demonstrating the rage he feels against the upstart Gatsby. 

Another pair of key players in the drama are the Wilsons, Myrtle (Olivia Clark) and George (danced by Bryan Jenkins). George is clearly smitten with his pretty wife, but she is less than satisfied with the kind of life he can provide as a mechanic. Tom sweeps her off her feet with her own apartment and other gifts (including an adorable dog). Myrtle can't hide the giddy love she feels for Tom, even after he slaps her at a party. Clark played that particular scene beautifully, her hand cupping her nose and her fury evident as she flees the room. As George, Jenkins creates an arc ranging from puppy love for his wife to incoherent sorrow and rage at her death. When he arrives outside Gatsby's mansion with a revolver, we have no doubt he will use it. 

It's not only the dancing that keeps you entranced; it's also the production itself. The scenery, borrowed from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, is pitch-perfect, and the lighting, designed by Dennis Dugan, is amazing. In Act II, Scene II, Dugan uses individual spotlights to highlight the dancers, who dance in and out of them as their increasingly complex relationships are explained. Rebecca Baygents Turks' costumes, executed by the BalletMet costume shop, are evocative of the era without being too constricting to the dancers (how the men danced, full out, in white tie and tails is beyond me. In the theater, the men are hot after one show in those. I can't imagine dancing in them). In particular, Daisy's costumes are lovely. 

The corps, as usual for BalletMet, was technically and artistically wonderful. Their biggest roles were in the party scenes, where Orrante had them do a combination of jazz, charleston, and swing, all while keeping huge smiles on their faces. That cannot be easy, and they all did a wonderful job. 

The run ends on Sunday. If you haven't seen it, get to the theater! It is an experience you won't soon forget. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Aw, shucks

Jane has awarded me the: 

Go check out her blog here

Oh wait, ha, I have to give it to 15 people now (well, supposedly. I probably don't have that many.)
So here we go: 

So go paste the above picture onto your blog! 
(I only got 7 too. Well it's one of my favorite numbers anyway) 

Dash for Donation '09!

Info here.

For those who don't know: The Dash is a walk/run/half-marathon event held in Downtown Columbus' arena district every summer. It raises awareness for organ and tissue donation. All you have to do is register and show up! There's no fundraising or meetings to attend. But there are trophies! 
The various races are:
--1 mile
--5 K walk/run
--half marathon and half-marathon relay

If you're interested in joining my team, leave a comment or shoot me an email at 

Can't wait to see you there!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Open Mic Night

So tonight I did something brand new.
I sang at Open Mic Night.
Columbus, as I am discovering, is a hotbed of musical theater/theater talent. Really. There are just tons of us out there. We're like this little community within a community. One of the gathering points is at "Sing Out, Louise", a cabaret-style open night mic where people can come and sing songs they've polished, or songs they're working on.
I had never been, but tonight, I went out.
It's at Club Diversity in the Brewery District, in a renovated old house. This was my kind of bar--the bar TV was showing the 1990s remake of Sabrina on AMC. A baby grand sat near the windows. Some of the organizers had brought music, but I brought my repertoire binder (songs I can sing at the drop of a hat), as well as "The Gentleman Is A Dope" from Allegro, which I'd like to get ready for audition season.
We began around nine, and the organizer, Stewart, sang some pieces, then drew names from the list of attendees. Most of us got to sing twice. For my first number I sang "Maybe This Time" from Cabaret, and for the second, the piece from Allegro. I took it a bit fast--it was the first time I'd done it with an accompanist, so I gave her a pretty quick tempo--but the audience seemed to like that one better. It's a bit more fun to sing, and I think I'm really making progress on it. The bridge could use a bit of work for tempo, but that's about it.
A lot of friends were there--Dave from J&H with his wife, Katherine; Jay and Amy; Aaron H. from Parade, and Kristen and her husband David (Kristen was Parade's music director extraordinaire). Jay and Amy are in the middle of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown at the Little Theater Off Broadway; Kristen is the music director for Club Diversity's upcoming production of Cabaret. Jay and Amy did duets. Kristen often plays for the group and I can't wait to have her behind the keys.
There were a few people there just to hear us sing, which was cool. It was neat singing for them. any stage of development. It was great just to SING a piece, and not be judged on it. There was absolutely no pressure, because everyone there is there for fun. You took the mic, you picked your music, and you sang. Fantastic.
Now I just have to think about what to sing next month....

The Simple Woman's Daybook--April 27, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook
For MONDAY, April 27, 2009

Outside my window...
Beautifully sunny--high in the 80s. Amazing.

I am thinking...
that I need to figure out what I'm singing tonight!

I am thankful for...
my job.

From the kitchen...
Yes, it is 80, but I'm making soup tonight. Can't sing on a full stomach!

To live the liturgy...
Bible, rosary, Magnificat,

I am wearing...
One of my summer staples--my black, brown, cream and blue zigzag pattern wrap dress

I am creating...

I am going to breathe deeply ...
and have fun tonight with my friends.

Bringing beauty to my home ...
Vacuuming, dusting

I am going...
to go to Sing Out, Louise!, a local open mike night in downtown Columbus, where we get to try out our musical theater pieces in a non-audition setting.

I am reading...
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh; David Copperfield

I am hoping...
for a grace-filled Easter season.

I am hearing...
the "Avenue Q" soundtrack

Around the house...
Balancing checkbook, cleaning

One of my favorite things...

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Wednesday: buying a new mac!
Thursday: The Great Gastby with Richelle
Sat.-Sun: Pittsburgh for Paige's first communion

A Picture Thought I am Sharing:
Paige, the first communion girl (on the left), at our annual family reunion, Christmas '08

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Walk in the Woods

It is beautiful here today, in the low 80s, but with a good stiff breeze that keeps us all cool. In honor of this great weather, I headed for Blacklick Woods, the closest park, to walk on their nature trails.
I haven't done this in years, and I've never done it alone, but none of the paths is longer than a mile, and the one I took ran near the adjacent golf course, so I wasn't fearing for my safety.
It was a good exercise call. The path was nearly deserted, except for a few other walkers and two families with their little girls, and beautiful. Lots of violets blooming, and I saw a cardinal looking for food at one point.
I didn't put in my iPod or anything, I just walked and listened. The trees haven't bloomed yet, so there wasn't a lot of shade, but it didn't get very hot. The nice thing about walking on a trail is you're working harder than on a treadmill but you don't notice. There were some small inclines, and the trail gradually winds uphill, but you don't really notice until the brain says, "hey, this feels hard". Then I would look back and see, geez, yup, I was going uphill.
Tons of kids and families playing on the playground equipment and on the swings. It was nice to see so many people out enjoying the day.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Um...I was behind

Books I should have read before I graduated from high school...
(bold--ones I did read; italics, ones I've read, but post-high school;
"Shakespeare's plays, especially "Macbeth" and "Hamlet," were the only works listed by a majority of the participants - 71 percent.

"Fifty percent cited such documents of United States history as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Next came "Huckleberry Finn," the Bibleand these works of literature, philosophy and politics:

- Homer's "Odyssey" and "Iliad."

- Dickens's "Great Expectations" and "Tale of Two Cities." (on my own)

- Plato's "Republic." (some in class, more on my own)

- John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath."

- Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter."

- Sophocles' "Oedipus."

- Melville's "Moby Dick." (YUCK)

- Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four."

- Thoreau's "Walden."

- The poems of Robert Frost.

- Whitman's "Leaves of Grass."

- F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Great Gatsby."

- Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales." (read more of them in college)

- Marx's "Communist Manifesto."

- Aristotle's "Politics."

- The poems of Emily Dickinson.

- Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment." (still need to finish it)

- The novels of William Faulkner.

- J. D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye."

- De Tocqueville's "Democracy in America."

- Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice."

- The essays and poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

- Machiavelli's "Prince."

- Milton's "Paradise Lost."

- Tolstoy's "War and Peace." (It's on my shelf. It wants to be read again. But I don't think so).

- Virgil's "Aeneid.""'s you do?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bookshelf: The Sun Also Rises

I just finished my first Hemingway novel, The Sun Also Rises. Yes, OK, I should have read Hemimgway eons ago but I didn't get around to it, and it didn't sound very promising. I mean, come on, The Old Man and the Sea? It just sounded like....not so much.
So, with some birthday money I accrued, I went to B&N and picked up a few books, including this one. It was time to actually read it.
Jake's Catholicism was an interesting thread to the story. At first blush you wouldn't think any of these characters are religious. But Jake, we discover, is, and it's an interesting flavor in the novel. Brett is interested in his religion, but in a voyeuristic way (for example, when she says she wants to hear him go to confession). It's fascinating. I didn't know anything about this before I picked it up (the only thing I knew was bullfighting was involved), so I was really interested in this (obviously). When I go back through it I will have to read these parts more closely, and see if there is anything I may have missed in my first go-round.
My favorite character was Bill, Jake's friend from America, who provides the light-heartedness in the novel. Some of my favorite quotes from him:
"Have it your way. Road to hell paved with unbought stuffed dogs. Not my fault."
"Direct beats legislation."
(Jake speaking) " I wonder what day God created the chicken."
"Oh," said Bill, sucking the drumstick, " how should we know? We should not question. Our stay on Earth is not for long. Let us rejoice and give thanks."

The bullfighting scenes are also wonderful. The only thing I remembered about bullfighting was from second grade Spanish class, so this was a good reminder of the logistics of bullfighting.
Anyway, if you're going to start with Hemingway, I would start with this.

Something lighter...

Stacy London gives fashion advice at the WaPo.

What does volunteering have to do with college?

Um....I don't think a lot. But apparently our fearless leaders do. (warning: Sailor-like language)
Now before I get all sorts of angry comments, I'm not against volunteering. Volunteers do great things. I volunteer at church, for Lifeline of Ohio, etc. The world needs volunteers.
That said--the genesis of volunteering is that you are doing it freely. You do not expect tangible reward. You're doing it because it's important to you. Forcing kids to volunteer takes that entire angle away.
Second--why should volunteering have anything to do with college? College scholarships should be tied to one thing--grades. From the bill summary:
Puts young people onto a path of national service by establishing a Summer of Service program to provide $500 education awards for rising 6th-12th graders, a Semester of Service program for high school students to engage in service-learning, and Youth Empowerment Zones for secondary students and out-of-school youth. (um, what does THAT mean?)

From the link:
First, public or national service is profoundly un-American as a historical concept and comes always and everywhere slathered in the stink of trench warfare and rhetorical horses***. This is especially true when it is paid service even as those participating and spending your tax dollars luxuriate in the silky-smooth language of altruism. Which, last time I checked, was supposed to be free. Jesus rendered unto Caesar; he didn't ask for a block grant from Pontius Pilate in return. That Obama pushes national service and voluntarism even as he works to limit tax breaks for charitable giving that drives all sorts of philanthropy is a classic screw-you, my-way-or-the-highway move.

I'm not a bad person! Really! I just don't want my tax money going to pay volunteers. And I mean myself. I don't volunteer because I want money or recognition. I do it because I care about organ donation, I care about my church and the activities/events we provide. Things don't get done unless people step up. And really, I want people in my group that want to be there, not because they'll get paid if they show up, or will get high school credit, or whatever.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I love this

OK, sure, it was April 12, but it's still a great idea!

Support Columbus Catholic radio!

Find out more here.

Hard Day's Night

since the last time I wrote, things have gotten....weird.
The cold that I have had since March re-asserted itself on Thursday, as we know. So I missed work on Thursday and Friday.
The weekend was OK. I had my birthday dinner at Scali's, and folks over afterwards for cake.
Sunday--not so great. Major increase in coughing and lots of sleeping.
So my parents came over (to make sure I was still alive, in part) and that's when I brought up a piece of sputum that was sort of...pinkish in color. Anything even remotely close to red is cause of concern (or, as I did, a freak-out).
So I called the tx pulmonologist on call, who happened to be Dr. K, one of my favorites. He said I could either come in to the ER or wait until tomorrow morning and go to clinic.
I chose the ER.
Long story short--After being there for 5 hours, apparently I was "normal".
EKG, CXR, all that-normal.
Blood work--we had no idea. It hadn't come back yet.
So...I was to call clinic in the AM and then go from there.
Monday: Called clinic. Came in. PFTS, etc. couldn't really be done because I would cough and screw up the result. Oxygen sat was 96%, which is low(er) for me.
The verdict: I either have a virus or....(wait for it).....allergies.

Gotta tell you, not really feeling that diagnosis. I mean, allergies? I didn't think allergies made you feel like poking your eyes out with a red-hot metal object. You get night sweats with allergies? Huh?

So Dr. A was quick to tell me it could be a virus. So far, that hasn't turned up in the cultures.
Anyway, I'm feeling somewhat more human so I'll be back to work tomorrow.
This is all just further proof that my body is some very weird collection of organs that doesn't listen to anyone. Oh well.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bub in Beantown

My brother ran the Boston Marathon today!
He finished at 2 h, 54 minutes, finishing 720th (out of like 15,000, so yeah!)
(his bib number was 3877, which you'll have to enter if you want to see his official times throughout the race in the above link)

Sunday, April 19, 2009


No wonder kids don't learn anything!

(not to sound way old, but....)

When I was in elementary school, we turned off the lights to reduce the heat during the late-spring, late-summer months. And I will tell you, we didn't learn a whole lot doing that. Instead, I believe we had nap time. Heads on the desk--in sixth grade. Yup.

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's a big tent

Except for (h/t Corner...I bolded all that apply to me)

Celebrate Diversity . . .   [Peter Kirsanow]

except veterans, small-business owners, practicing Catholics, gun owners, talk-radio listeners, tea-party attendees, Texans, smokers, limited-government proponents, pro-lifers, taxpayers, NASCAR fans, Boy Scouts, oil-company employees, secure-border advocates, capitalists, global-warming agnostics, Cuban refugees, school-choicers . . .

My nanny-state note: I do NOT feel bad for smokers. At all. Actually, when I see one I sort of want to go vomit on my shoes, because really, they are killing themselves and making their lungs (and other organs) unusable for others. I know many smokers, and I love them (I mean, come on, I'm in the theater, lots of smokers), but come on! 

UPDATE: Upon re-reading that I realized it didn't make a lot of sense. So let's just say this--hate the smoke, lover the smokers. But the habit still really makes me want to shake people and whack them upside the head. 

Seven Quick Takes Friday

Home for day two of plague, or whatever this is. Lungs are fine, probably just a virus or something. I think after a good, sunny weekend here (and Scali's food) I'll be fine.

One of my bestest friends, Liz, sent me this book for my birthday. I received it yesterday via UPS, and I am addicted. The trilogy is set in Sweden, in the Middle Ages, and follows Kristin, the title character, from her birth to death. It's absolutely enthralling. Liz wrote on the card that it's one of her favorite books, and I can see why. It took a lot of will power to get away from it and come write this. Trust me. Sure, Kristin can be a bit of an idiot at times (especially in book one, "The Wreath") but it's just absorbing. If you're taking a long flight or a trip this summer, bring this book. I guarantee you, you will be absorbed and entertained. These characters LIVE with you, they get into your soul. It's awesome. (And there's a MOVIE! Of course it's about $100 on Amazon. But I love the fact that it exists.)

Watched Slumdog Millionaire yesterday. I also got this for my birthday but I was slow in watching all my movies, so I finally got around to it. Very good. Not sure if I liked it as much as "The Reader". They are so vastly different. I did love Dev Patel's work. The captioning of the Hindi drove me nuts--it wasn't on the bottom of the screen, it was all over the place, and it was in color, which made it really hard to read against the screen. So not so much there. If you don't know how it ends, then it's thrilling. Even if you do know how it ends, the last few scenes between Jamal and Latita are so well done, it's very uplifting.
Bonus: This movie made me want to read The Three Musketeers.

Prayer request: Please pray for one of my friends, whom I've known since high school, who was just diagnosed with MS. He was received into the church on Easter Sunday, too. He's a great guy, and prayers would be most welcome.
Yesterday, when I first heard about this, I was thinking that we are on opposite sides of the illness spectrum. He is learning that his body can, at any time, betray him. Symtoms, quirks, all that has to be monitored and watched. I, after years of this, am trying to learn to disable that alarm, so that I can realize that, yes, I can get 'just a cold' and the world will not end.
Both of these are hard lessons to learn. Both go against the inherent thinking of your mind.

Spring has arrived (again?) in Ohio. The daffodils and tulips are blooming, and some of the trees even have all their leaves. It's beautiful.

Music: Been listening to lots of random things lately. Verdi's "Requiem" (nothing like that last movement, nothing); the "Set Your Life to Music" reading CDs of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms (the Brahms just ended a few minutes ago); mix CDs in my car. Spring brings out the music in me.

Making plans for my annual summer vacay--this time to Houston, to visit Diane, her husband Matt, and their new baby girl Susan. But I am also going to try to get to NYC in October. The Met is doing "Aida" and Renee Fleming is performing in Strauss' "Der Rosenklavier", one of her big roles. I might spend a whole weekend in NYC seeing opera. The met actually sells tickets that way--you can buy a "three opera package", where basically that's all you do for five days. You see opera. I would love that. Especially Renee. And I've never been to NYC in the fall. I bet Central Park is just gorgeous in October.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The sun is shining

For the first time all week, and where am I?
at home.
So the cold I got at the beginning of March is still here, and back for Round Two--throat is killing me, nose running like a fire hydrant, and sleep very high atop my list.
But I feel like I have to exercise my brain somehow, so here we are. A few randoms for your Thursday AM.

1) Books: Read A Little Bit Wicked--Kristin Chenoweth's autobiography--twice since I got it on Tuesday. What a wonderful actress and funny as all get out. If you haven't seen Pushing Daisies (such a wonderful show--boooo on ABC for cancelling it!), go out and get the first season on DVD post haste. Also read The Loved One, by Evelyn Waugh, a very funny novella about a man who works in a pet cemetery in LA and falls in love with a cosmetician at the fancy human burial ground nearby, where everyone is called The Loved One. Very, very funny, if a bit on the dark humor side. I got this for my birthday, along with Scoop, which I am reading now.

2) Market Days are back! I made my first trip of the year to the North Market, where I bought a pound of ground lamb and a pint of Jeni's Salty Caramel ice cream (my throat--and the rest of me--really likes that). The meat counter I found is run by a wonderful family who seems to have everything at their counter, and they were even butchering while I was there! I will be using the ground lamb in Nigella's Rapid Ragu recipe from Nigella Express. I love ground lamb, and now I have a place where I can get not only that, but every other kind of lamb incarnation. Yay!

3) Movies: Watched The Reader, and really liked it. Ralph Fiennes is extraordinary. I don't know if it's Kate Winslet's best performance, but she had to win the Oscar sometime so here we are. Personally, I loved her in Little Children, Finding Neverland, etc. Perhaps on further viewing I'll like this one the best. Also watched Doubt (whew what a movie! with a few theological errors) and Quantum of Solace. Bond movies are really confusing without the captioning, so I'm always excited when it comes out on DVD and I can watch them and understand, as opposed to watching it in the theater and thinking, hmmm. Why is Fields covered in oil and spread out on the bed?

So that about sums up life lately. Thrilling, eh?
Back to bed. Willing the body to cooperate. I guess it knows I have no shows right now so it can misbehave. I say NO to that!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook--April 13,2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook
For MONDAY, April 13, 2009

Outside my window...
Raining and a bit chilly!

I am thinking...
that dinner was good.

I am thankful for...
my faith.

From the kitchen...
TJ's steak tips with Stonewall kitchen steak sauce.

To live the liturgy...
Bible, rosary, Magnificat,

I am wearing...
jeans, blue Boden sweater with green edging around the collar.

I am creating...
writing daily in my journal

I am going to breathe deeply ...
and enjoy spring.

Bringing beauty to my home ...
The usual--vacuuming, cleaning off the kitchen table, putting more water in my rose vase.

I am going...
to watch movies and read , since it's raining here.

I am reading...
God's Fool (about St. Francis of Assisi); Habits of Being (Flannery O'Connor's letters); The Loved One and Scoop by Evelyn Waugh.

I am hoping...
for a grace-filled Easter season.

I am hearing...
one of my iPod mix CDs

Around the house...
Balancing checkbook, organizing Parish Council minutes.

One of my favorite things...
writing, the sweater I'm wearing.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Thursday: Ballet class
Friday: Lunch w/ dad
Saturday: Birthday dinner w/ friends at Scali's

A Picture Thought I am Sharing:

My new hair cut. :) With Bryan at Buca Di Beppo after Easter Mass yesterday.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Happy birthday to...ME!

It's my birthday!
I am 27 years old.
I am so happy to be 27. I love getting older, and being healthy!
If I hadn't gotten my transplant, I wouldn't have seen 24.
Thank you, Suzanne, for giving me this wonderful birthday.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Audition for Peter Pan

So, another day...another audition. This time for Columbus Children's Theater's Peter Pan.

I like this show--I used to watch the old TV special on tape, and, surprisingly, remember a number of songs. But with there being 3, more likely 2, roles that I fit (physically, that is), I did it as sort of a lark, or audition practice.

Got there early, of course (first one!). Filled out the normal info sheet, attached my resume and headshot and went to sit in the theater. This show is being performed at the Southern Theater downtown and not at the CCT's Park Street theater, where we had auditions.

I was singing "Storybook" (again). I am almost ready to premier "The Gentleman Is A Dope" from Allegro, but I'll probably save that for the summer. I have never not gotten cast when I've done this song.

So the place starts to fill--there were probably about 70 auditioners, from ages 5 to 60. (Probably). So you basically had three sets of people--kids (under 18), adult men and adult women. I really only had to worry about the adult women, because CCT divides the roles into adults and kids, and then into gender (although some of the roles in Peter Pan are non gender specific, like nana, pirates, indians, etc. ).

Lots of Parade folk--LaRon, both Aarons (And Aaron L. didn't even tell me!), Amber, and Michelle (Lizzie). Michelle actually sang part of "The Picture Show." Aaron L. did a song from Oliver! and Amber did "Before I Gaze At You Again" from Camelot. And, very fun, Bethany from J&H was there with her daughter, Rachel. Rachel sang "You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile" and Bethany did "A Cockeyed Optimist" from South Pacific.

The director, choreographer and stage manager were all very nice, very professional. We had an excellent accompanist, although you got 12-16 bars and then he stopped! So I marked my music accordingly and didn't have an abrupt cut-off, like some people did.

I thought it went well. The theater has some interesting sound dynamics. A little girl told me that she liked my song. It is definitely more fun auditioning with kids, because they don't get so competitive and uptight, even with each other.

After we all sang, we had dance auditions. I was in the first group and we learned a simple combination. After learning it en masse, we performed it for the choreographer and director twice in small groups (Of about 6). I didn't stop or fall down, so that's successful for me. Really, though, I think I did OK.

The director shocked us by saying he would call by 11 TONIGHT and let us know who is going to be called back. Call backs are tomorrow. Cast up Thursday, first rehearsal Friday night. Whew.

So we'll see. It was a fun time and I enjoyed it.


Jaime is coach of the year!!!!

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook--April 6, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook
For MONDAY, April 6, 2009

Outside my window...
Raining. But that's OK. Not too cold.

I am thinking...
that it's going to be an excellent week.

I am thankful for...
my faith.

From the kitchen...
Soup for dinner; Wahoo Chili dip from tastefully simple.

To live the liturgy...
Bible, rosary, Magnificat, and Lent and Easter with JPII

I am wearing...
blue cashmere sweather; ivory lace camisole under it; black and brown checked pants; my Miraculous medal

I am creating...
a new short story, we'll see how it goes. I will put part of it up at Clusters.

I am going to breathe deeply ...
and enjoy this week.

Bringing beauty to my home ...
Total closet purge yesterday. Yes!

I am going...
to prepare for the triduum and Easter.

I am reading...
God's Fool (about St. Francis of Assisi); Habits of Being (Flannery O'Connor's letters); and just finished The English Patient yesterday. Also read A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson last week.

I am hoping...
for a great birthday! (on Thursday)

I am hearing...
the 1997 Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack

Around the house...
Catching up on mail.

One of my favorite things...
writing, the sweater I'm wearing.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Tonight: Parish council
Tuesday: Peter Pan audition at Columbus Children's Theater
Wednesday: Tenebrae service
Thursday: MY BIRTHDAY!; Holy Thursday Mass
Friday: Good Friday
Saturday: hair cut
Sunday: Easter!!

A Picture Thought I am Sharing:

These are the dogs I just finished watching over the weekend with their "mommy", Karen. Not sure in this photo which dog is which...

Sunday, April 05, 2009

CF folks in Ireland, part II

More on the wonders of Universal Health Care!
A salient point: (emphases mine)

Cystic fibrosis sufferers again left in the queue
Sunday, April 05, 2009 By Aileen O’Meara
Last week began with another row in the health services which had a familiar theme: should the private sector provide public health services?

This row centred on the issue of long-awaited and necessary facilities for people with cystic fibrosis (CF). The cash-strapped Health Service Executive (HSE) confirmed that it would not have the resources until 2011 ‘‘at the earliest’’ to build the promised special unit for CF sufferers at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.

This is a year later than promised after an intense media campaign in January last year, when CF sufferers - led by Orla Tinsley - highlighted the scandalous conditions for cystic fibrosis sufferers in hospitals which lack isolated single rooms to prevent suffers picking up infections. (you must, must, must have single rooms for CF suffers. Without it, you are just compounding the problem. CF patients can spread a bacteria called b.cepacia, that is highly dangerous and only dangerous to the CF population. That's why CF kids can't play together anymore, or have camps, without wearing masks and being in a large space. The fact that they do not have this most basic resource is absolutely appalling.) That campaign led to the promise of a 30-bed unit in a new 120-bed hospital in the grounds of St Vincent’s. (Here at Children's, we have entire CF floors. And not only that, the new hospital will have only private rooms.)

Replying to complaints, health minister Mary Harney told journalists last week that the state would have to look at the possibility of private sector investment to build the unit.

Her pragmatic response was criticised from the Labour Party and Sinn Féin, in particular, on the funding issue. ‘‘The public health service is not the responsibility of the private sector. If minister Harney insists on peddling this defunct PD ideology at the expense of people’s lives, then she should go,” said Jan O’Sullivan of Labour. Wait, EXCUSE ME? You are the ones who are pushing ideology at the expense of lives! Sheesh! CF patients need private rooms. it's not a vanity thing. It's necessary.

Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghín O’ Caoláin said the minister’s suggestion ‘‘added insult to injury’’, adding that this was ‘‘a recipe for further delay’’, and was the minister’s knee-jerk response to every problem in the health service.

The row about the CF unit in St Vincent’s encapsulates many of the elements of the dilemma facing the government, the Department of Health and the HSE, with the abrupt end to the economic boom.

OK so here's the deal--Children's can expand to meet its needs, like, oh, setting up a lung transplant program-- because the private sector can donate funding. It's now called "Nationwide Children's Hospital" because the insurance giant donated millions of dollars to the hospital. Every year, Children's has a telethon to raise money for the hospital (I was a part of it in 2006). They take donations of money, toys, books, etc. for patients and their families. Local companies donate hundreds of thousands--sometimes even millions of dollars--to the hospital. This enable them to provide top-notch care and save thousands of lives.

In the hallway linking the outpatient care unit and the education building, there are many plaques listing the names of donors, in amounts ranging from $500,000+ to $1,000. Some of these are families, individuals, small businesses, and huge corporations.

Yes, the hospital also gets money from the state, and just received federal stimulus money. But the hospital would, in no way, shape or form, be able to provide the care it does WITHOUT private donors.


Masters of Dark Arts cast a bitter spell

We can fix this country if we insist on fairness, logic and an equality of opportunity for all, writes Gene Kerrigan

By Gene Kerrigan

Sunday April 05 2009

The market is back for what used to be called "white mince". It was a staple food for a lot of people in the bad old days of the 1980s.

It's not really white, more like pale pink. The mince on the top shelf of my local supermarket is the "healthy option", guaranteed not more than five per cent fat. On the bottom shelf, the low-priced "white mince" is guaranteed not more than 28 per cent fat.

For those who can't afford even that, there are the food queues. All across the country, people struggle desperately to hang onto their jobs, their homes, their lives. Next Tuesday, having already decided to deprive Cystic Fibrosis patients of life-prolonging treatment units, the Government will announce new ways to help us "share the pain".

Meanwhile, one banker turned down a top job because it pays a mere €360,000. He knows he won't go short -- there are lots of high-paying positions at certain levels. And RTE announces that bank bosses want to "renegotiate" the cap on salaries -- they're upset that the top money is €690,000, the poor darlings.

There's a pretence that certain people are worth big money, because they alone are Masters of the Dark Arts of Finance -- they include bankers, brokers, consultants and economists. It doesn't matter that bankers and their wealthy clients and their favourite politicians engineered the meltdown of the economy. Despite their record, they remain Masters of the Dark Arts. In devising strategies for fixing the economy, the Government listens to them.

How good are they? The Master we've picked is not a banker, but one of those celebrity economists who never stops publicly demanding this or that measure. Jim Power, Chief Economist with Friends First. Let's look at his record.

Jim was once worried by the credit bubble. In 2004, he described bank practices as "nutty". He warned, "When things go wrong they go very wrong". In March 2006, he warned that "a significant correction to house prices would . . . undermine the overall economy". Which is what happened.

"An economy cannot grow on the basis of the public sector and the housing market indefinitely," Jim said.

He called on policy makers to "focus on nurturing an indigenous and sustainable economic base".

This was sensible. Jim is a smart guy.

By February 2007 he was more optimistic. "Nothing in the overall data" suggested a hard landing. At a round-table discussion he suggested that the Regulator might take "a more flexible approach to stress testing" for loans. Odd advice, given that the regulator was not so much flexible as limp as a wet noodle.

The following month Jim was sure there was no bubble. "The market looks set to remain solidly based. Beyond 2007, house price inflation should settle down to levels broadly consistent with general inflation out to the end of the decade."

A "soft landing" was in sight. "The fundamental demand in the marketplace is still strong and is not about to disappear,'' he said in April 2007, as the fundamental demand was about to disappear.

It was about the time of Richard Curran's TV programme warning of economic dangers. "There is currently an inordinate amount of negativity permeating Irish economic debate," Master Jim told the Heineken Ireland Open Forum, in Cork.

A report said he warned against the "merchants of doom" who were risking the country's future prospects. Merchants of doom, huh? Remember that phrase.

In January 2008, "After more than a decade of uninterrupted growth, the Irish housing market finally came a cropper in 2007". Another four months and Jim mused that, "2008 is certainly turning out to be a challenging year".

Back in June 2007 he knew that a slowdown "should not be of sufficient scale to seriously undermine the overall economy". By November 2008: "I reckon the majority of first-time buyers who bought into the market over the last three years are in negative equity". (These, of course, would be the people who ignored the "merchants of doom".)

By January 2009 Master Jim was denouncing those who demanded we all "talk up the economy". He complained: "One is now fearful about saying anything negative in case one gets vilified or accused of being a . . ."

And here the average Soapbox reader surely knows what's coming. ". . . merchant of doom". Master Jim, in short, was worried about being denounced by . . . well, presumably by Master Jim.

The government, Jim complained, "only took advice from people who told them what they wanted to hear and they never listened to anyone who was criticising them".

To which we can only say, Duh.

We must emphasise that there's nothing spectacularly unique about Master Jim. He is representative of that whole class of Masters of the Dark Arts who spent most of the past decade talking through their arses.

In fact, Master Jim at least spotted the dangers, around 2004 -- which many of them never did.

Today, it's the Masters of the Dark Arts who are directing the debate on the emergency Budget, on the solution to the banking crisis, and on how we should "share the pain".

Like the rest, Master Jim is all for "wage restraint, major cuts in public spending . . . a proper financial regulatory framework". (One, perhaps, that's not so "flexible".)

Last week the Irish Times reported that he wants the Government to consider a cut in the minimum wage, because it's a "major source of lack of competitiveness".

This is the same Master of the Dark Arts who last July rejected a cut in the minimum wage, as scraping the bottom of the barrel.

This country is broken. If and when and how it gets fixed will determine how we live and how many are forced to leave the country. It will determine how many of us will die prematurely on hospital waiting lists.

The hills are alive with media airheads insisting that we not "point the finger" or "play the blame game", that we must listen to the Masters of the Dark Arts as they prescribe the amount of pain we all must bear.

The vast majority of us didn't gamble and didn't party or borrow more than we could afford. The vast majority of us worked and paid our taxes conscientiously.

Now, the Government has drawn up measures that will shred our lives -- this in a country where there are Masters of the Dark Arts who turn down jobs because €360,000 isn't enough, where €700,000 is deprivation.

The Government is struggling. They see their job not as looking at the broken pieces and putting them together in the most logical way. For instance, nationalise the major banks, throw out the clowns who run them, let outfits like Anglo die.

Instead, they seek to restore things exactly as they were -- to maintain the old relationships, the status of the Great Ones. And, above all, to maintain the ratio of earnings between the Great Ones and the rest of us. To do otherwise is to breach a sacred tenet of the Dark Arts.

We can fix this country, if we insist on equality of opportunity, equality of democracy, if we insist on fairness and logic. If we stop genuflecting to the semi-religious economic prescriptions put out by people whose record doesn't -- to say the least -- inspire confidence.

And, the next media airhead who tells me that we must all "share the pain", that some must go jobless and hungry while others continue their obscene spending, is going to get their face rubbed in a plate of white mince.

- Gene Kerrigan

So, yeah, all our health care problems will be solved if--when!--we go to government health care.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Living it up

In German Village, one of the more posh sections of central Ohio.
Karen (my t/x nurse) is out of town with her husband and adorable child--they went to Baltimore for a wedding. So I am watching the dogs and staying in their house.
It is great--built in the 1900s, and only 1/2 mile from the Book Loft, one of my favorite independent bookstores.
The dogs are also very cute and low-maitenance. Whew.