Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Why do a One Woman Show?

The truth about me as a performer is that I rarely doubt myself.

 I think I should have my own damn TV show already and, in fact, when I was home visiting my parents last summer, I found a page in a diary where I had put a picture of myself and the title, "Make Your Own Damn Show."

That was circa 11th grade, when I was in the High School Speech Competitions, making people laugh with my first one-woman show (albeit 8 minutes), entitled "Angles on Angels." My show lacked a Hallmark-style moral that wrapped everything up with a bow, and a lot of the judges at the various speech competitions, mostly well-meaning women in oversized pink sweaters with hair leftover from the 1980s (read: poofy bangs,) commented that I needed one.

I was more of a contrarian then than now and so, of course, I rewrote the speech to have even fewer moral values. Oh, it had moral values, in fact. But those that I had chosen myself. And while the audience roared with laughter, I didn't necessarily advance very far in a world of competition where grown adults were pretending that an after school special has actual meaning in the life of a teenager watching race riots in LA and who cares about the environment and who is experimenting with pot while listening to mind blowing music and wearing flannel and Chuck Taylor All Stars....

That could have been the 60s or it could have been today, but it was the mid 90s, and ever since then,

I have wanted my own damn show!

Since my days in high school speech competition, I have performed in bands, plays, musicals, operas, TV shows, stand up clubs, and even did my FIRST one woman show, "THE ONE," all about the follies of my love life (which I have since turned into a self-help book, "The One," to rival "The Rules") and I have learned how to shrug off a bad performance, love the stage whether I'm doing great or bombing out, and even how to turn an audience from hating you to loving you.

How?

I let them judge me. I offer myself up vulnerably. I don't need them to love me, and I don't hate them no matter what. I mess up on purpose as well as on accident and I give my most honest experience of life. Laugh, cry, point derisively, I don't care- well, I mean, I prefer for you to enjoy it, sure but- the point is-

I love performing.

And I almost never doubt myself...

Except for that moment right before I step up to the mic... that moment when I can't remember the first word I'm supposed to say, or the first word of the song I'm about to sing, even if it's a song I've sung a million times before. Then I think to myself, "when am I gonna be done with this? this is FREAKING TERRIFYING!"

Then I take a deep breath, and I relax into my feet, my ankles, my legs, my bones. I look out at the audience and let them look at me.

And then we begin.

This summer, June 2015, I'll be performing a one woman show again. This time it's about my life as a singer. The premiere is going to be at the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival, #hff15, and honestly...

I'm nervous!

I'm not doubtful.

But I am G--D----- Mother F----- Nervous! So nervous I am sort of doing that thing with swear words where you write out the dashes for the Mother F------ letters because you are do G-- D--- Nervous you can't F------ stand it but your mom might read this and she's offended by unnecessary swearing. Oh, it's necessary, mom, I promise!

I'm nervous this time because I'm in the throes of it. When you do a one person show about your life, or any show about your life, that LIFE is gonna show up.

This show is about being a singer, and it's about being bullied. It's about being smart and keeping your light small to make other people happy, but the making yourself sick because you are lying to yourself and everybody else to achieve that perfect people pleaser place. Ugh. It's about throwing everything away and becoming an uber-rebelle without a cause and messing EVERYTHING up. It's about almost dying and almost living and not knowing which is which. It's about finding yourself in the very thing you thought you hated- and letting it transform you. It's real. It's honest. It's... opera. and. Stand up. It's StandUpera.

And so, why do a one woman show?

When I did my first show, "The One," I started out innocently. Whenever I told people about my love life, they'd laugh and laugh and laugh. And so anecdotes became stories became a cabaret show with a throughline and a collection of songs.

I love singing but I feel like sometimes there is no place for me. I'm this weird hybrid of classical, pop, crossover, singer-songwriter, Broadway, jazz... but if I can tell you all how I got here.... well, THAT'S a story that spans the globe- nay- the cosmos! And my life. And I shall share it with you all....

Watch this space for details. I love you

Erin

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

join me in the sky tonight

Longform, those poems we love,
Where we say, "Oh!" and "Ah!" and, "I remember," and
"once, in Brooklyn,"
"once, in Tangiers,"
"once, once, once..."

and once is today.

I lay upon a sheetless mattress,
window open to the city below,
cars and doves and the smell of the dryer exhaust
 tired Tuesday afternoon

 imperfect rhyme and labored breathing

the odd sensuality of dust

thoughts of my masters, oh, sure,
we name them Whitman, Shaw, Millay,
but we whisper mother, father, God,

and remembrance, and thoughts, and smiles
lips, brushing
legs entwined and
skin,
always the skin,
always the fingers lingering on the skin,
always the soft fingers and the pleasure of it

bright eyes, and dimples,
and a dream,
or was it real?
in which we walzed.

Why does poetry appeal to a broken heart?

Oh, I am happy, yes of course, I am happy.

A woman, grown, with curves and muscles and wisdom but not yet wrinkles,
this is the best I have ever had it, life, and I-
I have given this to myself-

and in a way I was never appealing to men my own age
when I was but a slip of a girl,
now I find I don't care,
and the less I care, the more they call,
and write, and froth, and wonder
at the thing they
think they must have lost

death, and dying, and youth, and sex, and possibility,
and wonderment,
and apps and countdowns and technology
and algorithms to your demise
ridiculous distraction

the wine is still red and my lips are still wet
and that is all that matters, is it not?

and since you have forgotten
what it was you lost

let me show you only this:

I shall forever run

Me, the wild haired woman in the sky,
beckoning to you when the stars come out to dance
whispering into your hidden hearing

"Join me, lover,
lay down your complacency
and your rules
and your death
and your imminent demise

join me in the sky tonight
and
howl"



---



erin