Sunday, April 30, 2006

This post was written in haste and shall be repented at leisure.

I heard an excerpt from United 93, the new flick about the 9/11 hijackings, on NPR the other day. It really rattled me; hearing these breathless voices trying to figure out what was going on brought back all the terror of the time. I don't think I can bear to watch this movie, and that's peculiar to me; I can usually take any amount of cinematicly induced stress (enjoy it is another matter) because after all, it's a movie. But sometimes the movie is a shadow-puppet play that refers to real events. Still I've watched movies about the Holocaust and other such evil, hateful events, and been emotionally affected, but it wasn't the same. Those movies didn't trigger a memory the way this one did; they only upset me at a pretty abstract moral level. And ultimately, how useful are abstract morals?

On a seperate topic, now that I have a sense that life is finally a banquet for me to enjoy, I've become a big old hypochondriac. I live in terror of breaking, ripping, rending, poisoning, infecting or otherwise ruining my body. This is why I've decided to become a vampire. All they have to do is drink some blood. I've never been one for the mystique, exoticism or eroticism of vampires, but I am into the not-dying of vampires. Well, I suppose I could use a dash of mystique, exoticism and eroticism too.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sing! Sing! Sing!

For a while now I'm been puzzling over the phenomenon of Guys-who-aren't-conventionally-good-singers-but-who-get-to-sing-anyway-because-they're-good-songwriters-or-guitarists. You know the ones... Dylan, Hendrix, Leonard Cohen, Mark Knopfler... The thing that puzzles me is that they're all... guys. Can you think of any women who are successful singers who aren't conventionally "good" singers? Other than so-bad-they're-good novelty acts like The Shaggs and Mrs. Miller. Or like the Raincoats, a female punk band... in punk bad singing is expected; anything resembling good singing (The Clash, of course) is unusual. So where in rock, jazz or pop can you find popular female singers with limited or off-kilter styles? Well, I finally got a lead.

Since I'm in a production of Kiss Me Kate I've been on a Cole Porter kick, and so I picked up a Cole Porter tribute Revue CD recently... it's got a bunch of (mostly older) singers doing really terrific versions of Porter tunes... and some of those old gals don't quite have the pipes they must have had back in the day, but they more than make up for it. You can hear all their years' experience coming out of those cracked, straining, imperfect but wise and expressive voices.

And if you really delve into show tunes you'll hear more singers who can't hit the notes but who sell the songs wonderfully. Listen to the original recording of Send In The Clowns. And the original version of Sue Me from Guys and Dolls... the guy in that was actually tone deaf, and it shows! But the performers are selling the songs and the parts. I'm listening to these partly for the pure pleasure, but partly to solve the challenges of singing with my relative inexperience and wonky skills. I've been surprised by the diversity and idiosyncracy allowed in show tunes... I would have expected a more homogenized, pasturized vocal style would have been mandatory, but musical theatre is teeming with happy surprises for the receptive newcomer.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A Great Big Kiss

http://youtube.com/watch?v=MiqzGNPY43E

I wish I were a girl group singer.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Kiss Me Kate

I have three songs in this show where I'm not safely ensconced in the ensemble-Another Opening, Another Show, Cantiamo D'Amore, and From This Moment On. The first song starts the show; I don't have any actual solo lines, but I'll be one of only a few voices for a few measures, and a goof at the beginning of the show could really mar the production. In Cantiamo D'Amore I've gotta make like an operetta singer as part of a trio; the other two guys are the real operetta deal, and at least one of them is cuter than me by a wide margin (haven't met the other guy yet.) The last song is a duet (I almost typed "duel!") with the lovely and talented leading lady, Michelle B., who awes me yet spurs me on to do my best singing for just that very reason. Everyone's doing fine work, and I think this is gonna be a show to take great pride in, but the challenge of doing all this singing is new to me.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Quick, Fragmented Update

"Fragments are the only forms I trust." -Donald Bartleme

Kiss Me Kate is at the center of my world now; I've bought several soundtracks of the show and I listen to them all day at work, occasionally breaking for other Cole Porter albums.

Easter was a joy-got to see my family and sing the Hallelujah Chorus as an auxilary member of the church choir. I even liked the preacher's sermon, so having panned him in a previous post I gotta give him props this time.

Did I mention Kiss Me Kate? We started doing choreography today. Since I am to dancing what The Administration is to slam dunks, they aren't hinging any showstoppers on my fancy footwork.

Having recently finished and adored the novel Bastard Out of Carolina, I am now reading Trash by the same author, Dorothy Allison.

I've noticed that Presbyterians are much better at responsive readings than Unitarians. Make of that what you will.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Casting about

Although we need days off from rehearsal so we can, y'know, do laundry or whatever, I enjoy rehearsal nights way more than off nights. It's interesting to do a show with such a large cast. I usually do little chamber shows with four or five people. A large cast feels like a small town, or a church, all coming together. My usual plays feel more like a tenement or a tiny wacko cult.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Triumphant Return

I'm back online from the comfort and danger of my apartment, but I'm too sleepy for extensive posting. I'm sleepy because I'm working on the forthcoming local production of Kiss Me Kate while acting in a friend's movie. I gotta be at a comic book store at 5:30 AM tomorrow to deliver a line about Wolverine. Such is life.

This production of Kiss Me Kate is jam packed with cool people and relearning how to sing has been a joy. There's no sensation in my life like the sensation of really singing full out and knowing that it was good, or close to good.

As soon as I figure this Apple stuff out (I've only ever known PCs) I'll post a few relevant links. Kisses!