Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween and the Day of the Dead

Happy Halloween, everyone!

I recently read a great article by my friend and colleage at 12Listen, Mo Abdelbaki, about Halloween, Samhain, and the Day of the Dead: http://www.gaiamtv.com/article/samhain-and-day-dead

I may live in West Hollywood now (and for the last ten years,) home to the world famous Halloween Parade that keeps us residents locked in (hopefully, rather than locked out, although that has happened to me a few times!) to our neighborhoods... and it has given me some of my crazier Halloween moments. My favorite is when I performed as Marilyn Monroe at the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood for a fundraiser for the Humane Society... It was a combination of some of my favorite things! Marilyn Monroe! Hollywood! Halloween! Animals!

At the time, I was dating a really fun guy and after we played baseball with Jack O'Lanterns.... here I was, wearing 6" stripper stillettos and a skin tight pink Gentlemen Prefer Blondes dress, slipping around on pumpkin guts. Don't ask, it was awesome. :)

My Halloweens here in Hollywood tend to be full of zany behavior and wild parties, but honestly, I love best my Halloweens in the forests of Minnesota, where the coming winter creates a quickening, where you can heed the call of the ancients and the cry of the future infants, a whisper in the wind, "remember... remember..."

I wrote a classical art song for Mark Mallman's 7 Day Music Marathon a few years back about that exact thing:



That's my own studio demo- I'm playing piano AND singing- but with my sort of funky microphone so it doesn't capture the vocals like a professional studio with an audio engineer would- but I am still proud of this song! LOL.

Today's Halloween is a different story. It has always been my mother's birthday, but only in the past few years is it also the anniversary of the loss of a niece, and it is also the anniversary I celebrate with my life partner, Carlo. In other words, life and death have commingled for me in my own life and relationships, just as the living and dead commingle, at least in the experience of the ancients- and perhaps, if we are quiet enough, or reverent enough, for us as well.

Here are the lyrics for
"FANTASIE FOR A MARATHON MAN,"

The song (demo) above.

If you want the sheet music- well, chord charts- email me at erin.muir@gmail.com. :)
I'd love to hear some other singers perform it!!





FANTASIE FOR A MARATHON MAN


Here now we Stand 
As Autumn Takes the  land
And living is  hurried now, oh
Hush, Hush, Hush.
Hush, Hush, Hush.

Posing for pictures now, 
Leaves swirling, I am sound
Of longing and Hope, oh,
Hush, Hush, Hush.
Hush, Hush, Hush.

Little One, oh why this sorrow, 
For Cold shall flow tomorrow
The snow is coming, snow is coming
Hush, Hush, Hush.
Hush, Hush, Hush.

Let me take your hand,            
You’ve nothing left to do
Stars shall light the way to wonder 
Carrying you through

To a  Marathon, A Marathon
Of Melancholy Winter Too.
I Shall Take Your Hand,              
And we shall sing by the fire                            
Poems and stories and thoughtful hours
Happily In Your Arms 

through
The Marathon, A Marathon

The Marathon Of

MUSIC!                          
Sweet Music,               
Inspire, Inspiring
LOVE!                                     
Sweet Love,                        
Returning, returning to
Spring!
                                
Sing now for the marathon man
Dropping notes as slow as we can
Gather them
From the night sky      
Like stars
Falling to  silent ground.

Friday, October 30, 2015

FICTION FRIDAYS IS BACK! 10/30/2015: THE ONE, VERSION TWO, SCENE THREE

Hey y'all!

Its October 30th, 2015! I am BACK from an incredible journey that, in pieces, I WILL blog about and write about in time to come....

But now, it's FRIDAY! And that means FICTION FRIDAYS IS BACK!

By "Fiction Friday," I actually mean it's "WRITING" Friday.... where I release a scene of a one woman show or play, OR, a chapter of a book, until that entire piece is completely up online and at which point you can download a PDF of the whole entity (the entire script for a one woman show or play, or the whole novel) and IF you choose, donate to my Patreon.https://www.patreon.com/ErinCarere?ty=h

(Please note: I am building my patreon site now, so it isn't complete, but you can still donate NOW! Impulse donation opportunity-YOU WIN!!!)


AND NOW,

ENJOY FICTION FRIDAY'S OFFERING for October 30th, 2015:

THE ONE
Second Incarnation
Scene Three:

THE ONE WHO WAS MY FIRST LOVE.

Please remember, this is a "true-ish" account of my love life. Ha! It's a one woman, comedic cabaret of story, stand up and song. If you are a performer who wishes to use any of my work for your own self-promotion (i.e. to pitch yourself to agents, to tape for a demo reel to perform in acting class or an open mic) please go ahead; I ask only that you give me credit where credit is due.

IF you want to perform the whole one woman show, I will ask that you request my permission and email me to do so at erin.muir@gmail.com. Let me know who you are, what and where you're doing it, and we can work out a license for you to do so for cheap to free to wildly expensive, as it works for your budgetary needs. :)

AND NOW: on to the scene.

When I performed this scene live during the second performance at Honey in Minneapolis, and in all subsequent performances, I incorporated lines from the song "An English Teacher" from "Bye Bye Birdie" and I sang one of my all time FAVORITE tunes, Tom Waits' (later covered by both the Eagles and Sarah McLachlan and countless others) "Ol' 55."


 
SCENE THREE

Put the stool back at piano… mic in stand. Sings a capella:

            AN ENGLISH TEACHER, AN ENGLISH TEACHER….

            Ah. The one who was my first love.

            I fell in love for the first time when I was 17 years old with my weird English teacher. I remember that I thought he was so…. weird… and… icky…. for months.

            I was a junior in high school and I wrote these point-counterpoint articles for the school newspaper with my best friend, only we wrote really goofball articles, like, “Who was more justified in eating their dead: the Donner Party or the people from ALIVE?” And my English teacher, Mr. Allan, would pull me aside in the hallway and say things like, “I just love your point of view.”

            I thought he was so… unattractive.

            Not like Eddie Vedder. Oh, god. Not at all.

            And then came spring semester.

            He was teaching us a section called “popular songs as poetry.”

Recite like a weird spoken word artist crossed with the dorkiest teacher ever.

            “Never was a cornflake girl
            Thought that was a good solution
            Hanging with the raisin girls
            She’s gone to the other side
            Giving us a yo heave ho
            Things are getting kind of gross
            And I go at sleepy time

            This is not really hap
            This is not really hap
            This is not really hap a hap a hap a happening….”

            He looked right into my soul as he recited Tori Amos from memory.

            I was in love. Just like that. 

            And it was so beautiful and so painful. And so forbidden.

            Well, flash forward a few months full of assignments I wrote that were stories about girls falling in love with their teachers, on which he’d make comments like

            “I like how the girl tells her teacher she’s in love with him through her homework assignment. What if they met secretly at a coffee shop in St. Cloud on Friday night at 7? In this story they could meet at Java Z? You take my breath away. Call me Dean… when no one else is around!”

            Oh, if only my Dad knew what was happening. He would’ve got a gun. Or the football team. And their guns.

            Things progressed, as they do.

            I sat on his sofa and he turned on the TV. A VH1 concert performance came on and Elton John sang Tiny Dancer… so romantic… and he pulled me down onto the rust colored carpet leftover from whenever Michael McDonald was still popular and not in the hipster way he is now 'cause he sang with Grizzly Bear and he said,

            “Say something.”

            Being a romantic, in love with love, and well-prepared for this, the greatest moment of my life, I recited 19th century poet Christina Rosetti.

            "Um. Ahem. Mr. Allen:
Come to me in the silence of the night,
Come in the waking silence of a dream…"

            Now, before I tell you what happened next, I want you to know that before Mr. Allen, I had only ever kissed two boys. One was named Ryan. Or Paul. It was one of the Borgert brothers. I don’t know which, ‘cause they looked the same to me and one of them had pulled my car out of a snowdrift at 2 am in the morning when I was late for curfew and after he had done so, he said, “I deserve a kiss for that!” and he bent me over and he kissed me hard and he tasted of Ouzo.

            The other one was my sweetheart of an ex-boyfriend who wore so much C.K. One I can still smell it on me.

            This was different. I was with Mr. Allen, the man I loved, and I wanted him to know I was a real woman so while we were making out, I found myself sort of, kind of, suddenly, pulling his um, “Little Mr. Allen” there, out of his drawstring sweat pants. I had never seen a “Little Mr. Allen” before, and I was totally surprised that his was grey! I guess I don’t know what I expected. All of the porn I had seen was really focused on pictures of naked ladies.

            But here it was. Grey. With a helmet. It looked like a grey Storm Trooper… you know… from Star Wars. . (sings the theme to the Death Star / Star Wars a cappella)

            “Are you a virgin?” Mr. Allen asked.

            I may have been young and na├»ve, but I knew how to answer that question.

            “No,” I lied.

            Later, when I got into my car, four hours late for my 2 am curfew, I felt like a real woman.

Opening chords to Ol’ 55.

WELL MY TIME WENT SO QUICKLY, I WENT LICKETY SPLITLY
OUT TO MY OL’ 55
AS I PULLED AWAY SLOWLY, FEELIN’ SO HOLY,
GOD KNOWS I WAS FEELIN’ ALIVE

NOW THE SUN’S COMIN’ UP
I’M RIDING WITH LADY LUCK
FREEWAY, CARS, AND TRUCKS
STARS BEGINNIN’ TO FADE
AND I LEAD THE PARADE
JUST A WISHING I’D STAYED A LITTLE LONGER
OH LORD LET ME TELL YA THAT THE FEELIN’S GETTING STRONGER!

AND IT’S SIX IN THE MORNING
GAVE ME NO WARNING, I HAD TO BE ON MY WAY
WELL THERE’S TRUCKS ALL A-PASSING ME
AND THE LIGHTS ALL A-FLASHING
I’M ON MY WAY HOME FROM YOUR PLACE

AND NOW THE SUN’S COMING UP
I’M RIDING WITH LADY LUCK
FREEWAY, CARS, AND TRUCKS
STARS BEGINNING TO FADE
AND I LEAD THE PARADE
JUST A-WISHIN’ I’D STAYED A LITTLE LONGER,
OH, LORD, LET ME TELL YA THE FEELING’S GETTING STRONGER

Erin speaks over verse, chorus x2 or so

Eventually... A few years later...

He proposed.

I was young and full of life. I had just started dating the drummer of my band.

…But we spent one last night together… I had to see. And it was magical. He was in love with me. He had ALWAYS been in love with me. At least, that’s what he said. And part of me said, “Erin, do this, marry him! it’s what you’ve always wanted!” And a bigger part of me- the part that was not 17- said: “he has not been here for you for one moment except when it was good for him. And what about California?”

So I said no. I said no by scribbling a note in the middle of the night and leaving it by his bed. I kissed his cheek. Just one last time I looked at him. And I snuck out of his place and I never looked back.

Into the last verse and chorus of the song.

AND MY TIME WENT SO QUICKLY, I WENT LICKETY SPLITLY
OUT TO MY OL’ 55
AS I PULLED AWAY SLOWLY,
FEELIN’ SO HOLY,
GOD KNOWS I WAS FEELIN’ ALIVE.

AND NOW THE SUN’S COMING UP
I’M RIDING WITH LADY LUCK.
FREEWAY, CARS AND TRUCKS…
FREEWAY, CARS AND TRUCKS…
FREEWAY, CARS AND TRUCKS….

Waves goodbye.




Saturday, October 24, 2015

mystery

Contemplate the mystery that is your life.

Not the regrets, nor the endless tyranny of your own petty thoughts. ...


But the sacred hopes within your heart, 

Before money, before careers,
Before weddings, before baptisms,

Before Jesus, before law,

Before deserts, before iron, 
Before glaciers and methane and remember 
Remember back to that star that you are.

Stop your investment in struggle
And begin your love affair with wonder.

Can you, with your own searching heart, remember?

Monday, October 19, 2015

MUSIC MONDAYS

Hey y'all! Just a few quick notes.

I've been reviewing video footage from the recent shoot I did for an online segment of "StandUpera."





These pics crack me up ( by Raul Guzman, my cameraman) but that's because *I* know what's happening in these moments! If you have seen "StandUpera" then you might know as well. If not, don't worry! The online video will be coming circa early December, along with some fun announcements for 2016!

In other news, I broke the ReverbNation Top 40 again, which is kind of fun, because I am alongside some amazing singer songwriters! Of course, in reality, I'm not exactly in the singer-songwriter category. I'm more in the classical pop crossover Broadway jazz singer songwriter category. But, I AM a singer songwriter! So let me send out an acoustic soul version of one of my earlier songs, Black Butterfly.




I may not be available for Music Mondays NEXT week, but I should be back in about two weeks.

Until then, listen to some great music. Reverbnation is a really fun resource for discovering new musicians and performers!

xo

Erin

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Beasts of No Nation- a kind of review

Last night we went to see "Beasts of No Nation," the movie by Cary Fukunaga and based on the book by Uzodinma Iweala.  I am also very proud of a friend who served as Executive Producer and so went to support her- it was a screening in a movie theater (the movie has a distinction of being released on Netflix the same day it was released into movie theaters, mostly art theaters such as the Landmark, where I saw it, because the "bigger" theaters, such as AMC etc, boycotted it because it violated the usual 90 day window between a theatrical release and a digital release.) There was a Q and A after with the director, which is one of the pleasant benefits of living in Los Angeles.

So, let me just say first of all, that I am a HUGE fan of Fukunaga since Sin Nombre, and then Jane Eyre, and then the first season of True Detective. I think he's genius. He also did the cinematography on this film and it is GORGEOUS.

So, SPOILER, here is the basic plot: a boy, Agu, (Abraham Attah) lives happily and peacefully in an African village in an unnamed country when a revolution breaks out in a confusion of different warring entities- the military is different than two different rebel groups is different than UN Troops... etc. People are fleeing their villages and those who are left behind are often the victims of killing and war crimes. Agu's mother and sisters flee, leaving the boys and men behind, and when the rest of his family is killed, he is forced into becoming a child soldier trained by the Commandant (Idris Elba, who is AWESOME.) I won't give away too much more but let me just list what is awesome about this film before I list a few of my objections.

AWESOME:
writing
directing
cinematography (beyond beautiful. Seriously, seriously great.)
music (incredible and immense and awesome)
acting (Idris Elba is an international treasure and this young man Abraham Attah is incredible.)
characters (you sort of love the Commandant until you are forced to hate him, but still have compassion for him. Then there is Agu's best friend, Strika, who you just fall in love with as well.)

I mean, this movie is so gorgeous and beautiful and has so many things working for it that it pains me to say a few things that I think were a few missed opportunities:

1. Only briefly is it one of the main causes of the civil wars touched upon: western colonization (i.e. Europeans, i.e. Americans, i.e. white people) and the continued exploitation of African resources. I feel like the Commandant could have been a voice for a deeper exploration and exposition of some of the reasons why these rebels are rising up in Africa (and other places in the world.) He briefly briefly touches upon it, but there was a real opportunity to give some clearer explanations for those of us living with our heads in the sand.

2. "Beasts" is in the title. I'm sorry, I know the movie is based on the book written by an African person, but... an American movie about people in Africa with the word "Beast" in the title. I think on the part of the novelist that might be THE POINT, that many people still consider these folks "Beasts." Oh, it's them, OVER THERE, in that other country, that other place, that uncivilized land where they don't even have running water, etc. No, seriously, just because it's 2015, don't kid yourself into thinking there are no longer rampant prejudices such as these... the proof is in the fact that not all children have enough food and education worldwide, that children are sold into slavery for sex, drug trafficking, military use, and organ harvesting. So in a way, so many of the film's "points" are sort of uncomfortable for me, as I am not sure we as a species have evolved enough to really understand the systemic problem inherent to that language and memetic value system.

3. SPOILER ALERT: It was fascinating to watch the audience respond viscerally, audibly, and loudly in protest when Agu is sexually molested by the Commandant. But no one made a peep at all the intense killing, mass killings, blood shed, or even rapes of other women. Is this because we are so used to that level of violence in films and it doesn't phase us, but we are not used to watching children being molested? It was just fascinating. I mean, it is all atrocious. But it's interesting what we are inured to in entertainment and news media.

GO SEE THIS MOVIE IN THE THEATER IF YOU CAN,
AND SEE IT ON NETFLIX.

But then think of how we can actually care. As we left the theater, Carlo said, "just think of all those kids in Africa, the child soldiers, the kids affected by war. And here we are at a movie theater where there are so many snacks and free water and they would be so happy if they could have access to just a little of it." I was thinking of this boy I sponsor through PlanUSA and wondering if I'm really helping- I mean, am I just an asshole, sending money and then thinking I've done my part? The question is, for those of us who can, how do we really help? We make movies, like this one, to stop turning a blind eye. But also, perhaps it is time to also start looking at the ways we are a part of the problem as well, so we can create shifts in the consciousness of humanity so that there are no longer the haves and the have nots in the first place. I'm not saying we can change the past per se, but maybe it is time to consider: what are we really wiling to live with and live without in order to help all the little Agus out there in the world. There is no difference between Agu and the Commandant in the eyes of God who sees them both as little children. There is no difference between Agu in an unnamed country in Africa and Joey in Wisconsin save for a few details in culture and money. We are all Beasts, and we only think we are "of" "some" nation, but I tell you, in a different set of circumstances, all of us become child soldiers. All of us could be Sin Nombre... and Beasts of No Nation, indeed.

Friday, October 16, 2015

FICTION FRIDAYS: THEATER: THE ONE (ONE WOMAN SHOW) SERIES: VERSION TWO: THE ONE WHO GAVE ME MY FIRST "O"

Hey, everybody! Happy October the 16th!

For those of you who have been following along, I have been releasing scenes from my One Woman Show from 2011, "The One." At the end of posting each scene, I will post the entire script, versions one (Los Angeles) and two (Minneapolis, NYC and later Los Angeles) in a PDF. I will include performance links and songs when available!

The show is a one woman, comedic cabaret that incorporates story, jokes, and songs... it's based in truth.... but what art isn't?? Anyway, if you're a cabaret performer or an actor who wants to do a monologue from the show, go for it! I only ask you give me some kind of credit as author. Actually, if you ever do film anything I've written, I'd love to see a link of it!

Anyway, like I said, in a few weeks, when I have posted the entirety of Versions 1 and 2, I will post a PDF for the whole dang ol' show which you can then download as you like, and donate through patreon or paypal if you like. I'm still trying to get my pateron set up but if you want to donate to my cause, far be it from me to keep you from this PayPal link:

paypal.me/ErinMuir

If you like what you read, donate a buck! If you don't like what you read, donate five bucks! Send me to writing school. If you want a copy of an album, or an mp3 of a song, or an advanced copy of a script or a novel, write me at erin.muir@gmail.com and request it and if you donate $10, it's yours. :)

MOVING ON TO TODAY'S SCENE:






SCENE TWO

Erin takes the mix off the stand, moves the stand to HOME BASE at SL (MARKED.) MOVES STOOL to CS. Be sure to give space in front of the stool!!

            The One Who gave me my First Orgasm.

(to guy in crowd) I bet you didn’t know this was a singles mixer, did you?

            No, no, no. I am going to tell you all about the One Who Gave Me My First ORGASM. Well. I won’t keep you in suspense anymore. It was me.

            I was pretty young. Maybe 6? Really. I’m not sure exactly… but I remember the moment very well!

            I grew up on the edge of a small Minnesota town next to a huge forest. Now there were a lot of big boys in my life- my older brother, two older cousins, and my Dad, well, he was the football coach in town and the boys on his team were ALWAYS around. They had this amazing tree house fort in the woods and I liked to go back there when they were away and sneak a peak at all their stuff:

Picks up each one from the prop table (or mimes) as she says:

            Schlitz Beer. Peach Schnapps. And the holy bottle of  JAGGERMEISTER. (pronounced JAGGER-MY-EASTER.) stand up to look at:

            A pipe. Some… spices… Oooh! Look! Brownies.

MULTIMEDIA INTERACTIVE:
GOOFY 80S HAIR CENTERFOLDS WITH THE IMPORTANT PARTS BLACKED OUT

            Penthouse (mimics opening a centerfold, show to a guy in the front row)

            Always an interesting use of lace…

            Hustler (Checks to compare... ahem.)

            Of course, after I saw what those cheerleaders did with flour and eggs I wanted nothing to do with Home Ec….

           And….

            PLAYBOY (Really getting into mimicking a pin-up.)

            So, my mother was obsessed with “An Officer and a Gentleman.” The movie with Debra Winger and Richard Gere… and she had sort of permanently borrowed a VHS tape from the video store… and when she watched it, which was daily, she called it “mommy and Richard’s time,”  she sent me off to play in the woods…

On the day in question… I wandered toward the tree house, thinking of Richard Gere, and I was thinking about the girl in Playboy, and those boobs, and what it would be like to be that girl, and have those boobs, and… I guess I’m still wondering… and as I climbed up the tree to get to the fort, I was thinking about this Prince, in my mind, in my fantasy, and he had dark hair and green eyes and dimples, and he rode a white horse and he picked me up and he brought me here through these woods to THIS CASTLE (indicating this tree house is now, fantastically, her castle) .

POTENTIAL INTERACTIVE MEDIA SLIDE, A PICTURE OF MY DEMENTED CASTLE, WITH PINUP GIRLS, AND RICHARD GERE….

            Erin sits back down on the stool. As she speaks the next part, she turns around on the stool so her back is to the audience, turning her head last.
           
            I don’t know why, but I started (turning so the audience cannot see but can only guess) moving my legs around, kind of rubbing them together, while I was thinking about

INTERACTIVE MEDIA: PICTURES MOVING IN FASTER AND FASTER SUCCESSION

Richard Gere and the Prince and Playboy and Richard Gere and Playboy and Richard Gere and Unicorns and Boobs and the Prince (Prince musician pic) No not THAT Prince Prince Charming and LOVE lifting us Up Where We Belong  (pic of Richard Gere carrying Debra Winger out of the factory/ film) and

            huuuuuuuh aaaaaaaah

Turn around to face audience, a look of surprise and bliss on face.

            This amazing sensation had come over me, over all my body… a sort of….
            tingling.

INTERACTIVE MEDIA: PICTURE OF PRINCE (musician)

Spin back around each time

Chords to HABANERA from CARMEN

            Well, I had to do it again

            Spin

            And again

            Spin

            And again

            Every day for the rest of my liiiiiiiiiiife!!!!


SONG: 
The Habanera from Carmen
(Made infamous by an orange on Sesame Street)



And also lots of famous opera singers
And also recorded by Erin HERE
But sing along with these lyrics as Erin did in her show:


 
L’AMOUR EST UN OISEAU REBELLE
QUE NUL NE PEUT APPRIVOISER
ET C’EST BIEN EN VAIN QU’ON L’APPELLE
S’IL LUI CONVIENT DE REFUSER

RIEN N’Y FAIT, MENACE OU PRIERE
L’UN PARLE BIEN, L’AUTRE SE TAIT
ET C’EST L’AUTRE QUE JE PREFERE
IL N’A RIEN DIT MAIS IL ME PLAIT

L’AMOUR! L’AMOUR! L’AMOUR! L’AMOUR!

L’AMOUR EST ENFANT DE BOHEME
IL N’A JAMAIS JAMAIS CONNU DE LOI
SI TU NE M’AIMES PAS JE T’AIME,
ET SI JE T’AIME PRENDS GARDE A TOI!

SI TU NE M’AIMES PAS, SI TU NE M’AIMES PAS, JE T’AIME!
MAIS SE JE T’AIME, SE JE T’AIME PRENDS GARDE A TOI

Piano underscores the joke...

You know what’s so weird about using your legs to orgasm like that? You get these really muscular legs. All my life people ask me if I’m a gymnast.

SI TU NE M’AIMES PAS, SI TU NE M’AIMES PAS, JE T’AIME!
MAIS SE JE T’AIME, SE JE T’AIME PRENDS GARDE A TOI

L’OUISEAU QUE TU CROYAIS SURPRENDRE
BATTIT DE L’AILE ET S’ENVOLA
L’AMOUR EST LOIN TU PEUX L’ATTENDRE
TU NE L’ATTENDS PLUS, IL EST LA
TOUT AUTOUR DE TOI VITE, VITE
IL VIENT, S’EN VA, PUIS IL REVIENT
TU CROIS LE TENIRE, IL TEVITE
TU CROIS L’EVITER IL TE TIENT

Piano underscores the following:

            The thing is, that link between “love and romance” and “sex” was formed at a very early age.

            So I started my search for “the One” and so “he” was forever linked to this FANTASY of Prince Charming, and all the romantic movies my mom watched and all the pornos I snuck a peak at when no one was looking… and you know, it scary when you start using fantasy to get off so young… Soon you have to get really freaky.

Fantasy Sequence to guy:

            Babe, tonight I am gonna drive you WILD. I  am gonna ROCK YOUR WORLD with this new position:

            MISSIONARY.

            I’m gonna titillate you ALL NIGHT LONG with

            Intimacy!!

L’AMOUR! L’AMOUR! L’AMOUR! L’AMOUR!

L’AMOUR EST ENFANT DE BOHEME, IL N’A JAMAIS, JAMAIS CONNU DE LOI
SI TU NE M’AIMES PAS JE T’AIME, SI JE T’AIME PRENDS GARDE A TOI!
SI TU NE M’AIMES PAS, SI TU NE M’AIMES PAS JE T’AIME
MAIS SI JE T’AIME, JE T’AIME PRENDS GARD A TOI!

Another thing I learned, looking back now, which has come in VERY handy… when it comes to intimacy, a little fantasy can go a loooooong way….


SI TU NE M’AIMES PAS, SI TU NE M’AIMES PAS JE T’AIME
MAIS SI JE T’AIME, JE T’AIME PRENDS GARD A TOI!



Special thanks to Bizet, who wrote Carmen.
Special thanks to Richard Gere,  Debra Winger, Joe Cocker, Jennifer Warnes, and the people at the Rental place in Sauk Rapids, MN, which is long gone, but I think I know where your copy of "An Officer and a Gentleman might be..." So, let's just let LOVE LIFT US UP WHERE BELONG!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Real Top Ten- it's actually 20- After Ten Years In LA-

Okay, this morning I posted my esoteric, mystical, magical, transcendental list of the TOP TEN THINGS I HAVE LEARNED IN TEN YEARS OF LIVING IN LA.

Now, here's my OMG that's freaking wild, weird or awesome top ten list:

THE TOP TWENTY AWESOME FREAKING THINGS 
THAT HAPPENED IN LOS ANGELES 
OR BECAUSE OF LIVING HERE

20. Getting my SAG card on the set of "Because I Said So." Also, getting to work on That 70s Show the second day I was here. #stilltookmeyearstogetanagent

19. Serendipity... the first night I was in LA, I went to a party of a friend of a new roommate. Months later, when I moved in with a woman I ended up staying with for 5 years, I learned she was at the same party! Or how about the time that I met, at another party, a boy who lived a few blocks from me in Minneapolis but I never met until LA? Or how about when I moved here, the first day, the only person I KNEW was a music producer that I called who happened to be driving by my house at that exact moment? #serendipity 

18. Recording and releasing poet's lovely daughter (2009). #musicmatters

17. I love acting class. Truly, madly, deeply, I love scene study. #actorslife

16. That time I got 86'ed from a dive bar whose name I cannot remember- something like Grey Fog- because I stage dived from the top of the juke box during karaoke into the crowd with the intention of crowd surfing. There were only ten people. #NoHablaIngles? Also, I swear #8 is really true. I was just unruly.

15. Meeting Jane Russell at the Playboy Mansion's New Year's Eve Party. One of my FAVES! #GentlemenDon'tAlwaysPreferBlondes

14. That half a second I was an "It" girl and hung out with my then- manager who thought he was my boyfriend but really wasn't at all the hot LA places that were impossible to get into. #SomethingAboutBeingBigInJapan #YesPlease

13. Meeting, mostly through work, and therefore massaging, a lot of celebs. Honestly, I don't care about most celebs I've met as I am too busy working on my own career, but it was kinda cool to offer healing to some of my heroes. #IAmTheWindBeneathTheirWings

12. Getting to perform at iconic Hollywood locales including the House of Blues, the Comedy Store, the Viper Room. #SunsetStrip

11. That time a famous model tried to teach me how to marry for money. #Can'tNameNames

10. Touring out to SXSW in Austin TX and experiencing Santa Fe and Tucson as well! Having family and friends and relatives come on purpose or on accident to hear me sing! #DesertRose

9. Meeting Prophecy Rock with my friend Debbie and my sister in the Hopi Village of Oraibi. That whole trip was magical. Thank you, indigenous peoples... #WeAreOne

8. When I joined AA because of a boy. Turns out I'm not an alcoholic, but was willing to pretend to be to get a boy to like me. #MayISuggestAlAnon?

7. All the guys I dated had handles. Okay, fellahs, you may not have known this but... you all had handles so my friends knew who you were... of course, some of them may not even have realized I considered it dating.... okay.... hung out with? Is that better? So there was So and So from San Francisco, So and So The Writer, So and So the Bass Player. #UntilIMetTheOne

6. Meeting amazing friends. A lot of my friends come into my life for a show, a project, or a class, and then disappear for a few months or a few years, but every time we come around again, we are bonded and connected through our passion for storytelling and art! #FriendsForever

5. One of my sweetest friends is the world's premiere Charlie Chaplin impersonator and he took me on a personal tour of Charlie Chaplin's Hollywood, including a bar around the corner from my old house. #HollywoodHistoryRocks

4. Devotion, and re-devotion, to vocal study. I have been so lucky to go to Manhattan School of Music, to study with amazing teachers like Seth Riggs and Calvin Remsberg, and meet my current amazing teacher who has changed the way I sing for the better, Gary Busby. Also, I have been able to meet and work with and become friends with great musicians and songwriters like Bernie Larsen, Jeremy Weinglass, Russ Foreman, Pam Yan, Andres Uribe Lopez... and I have been continually inspired by the works of my fellow singers and songwriters as well, especially Anzu Lawson. #DisciplineLeadsToMastery

3. My sister moved here! #ThereWereNeverSuchDevotedSisters

2. I became mom to a fur baby! #ILoveHenry #puppies4ever

1. Meeting the love of my life #whoknew

Ten Years in Los Angeles

October 15th, 2015

Today is the 10 year anniversary of my arrival in Los Angeles!

I'd like to thank the Academy for welcoming me with open arms, I'd like to thank the stars aligning for my standard "famous in six month" Hollywood contract and...

Oh! Wait, that was fantasy.

The reality looks, well, a hella whole lot different!

And today I want to reflect just a little bit about me having spent more of my adult life in Los Angeles than any other city...

From as far back as *I* can remember, I begged my mother to bring me to Los Angeles. I wanted to be a child star. (Never mind they didn't really allow chubby child stars with coke-bottle glasses and funky hair back then. I thought, somehow, magically I would transform.) Of course she never indulged that dream.

I ALWAYS wanted to live here, though. When I graduated high school, I was offered a full ride scholarship at USC, but I didn't take it! No, I went to the fear school instead. You know what the fear school is, right? The fear school- or the fear choice, the fear job, the fear relationship? It's the thing you do when you are being "sensible." "Realistic." "Pragmatic." These are all very midwestern words (no offense, but we all know it's true, and it's a wonderful thing in many instances.) I am none of these words!

So I went to a fear school and shortly thereafter, in my attempt to get out of the messy hellhole I had made of my life (for this woman was made for freedom, or the earnest search thereof, NOT for pragmatism.) I ended up in rehab, then massage school, then a rock band. Definitely NONE of which was expected from the valedictorian blah blah blah.

I am laughing out loud. I love my crazy life.

So after my weird band full of talented people with mismatched musical ideas broke up because I left the drummer, I wandered a little bit through Europe with some equally insane cavalier corporate poet, (see my One Woman Show, THE ONE, for further details.) THEN

I caravaned out to that city of my dreams, the city of Angels.

And in ten years I have had, honestly, probably more failures than successes (which is supposedly the way it goes, right? I mean the best baseball players only hit the ball 3 times out of 10) BUT within that, I have had, and created, and learned to create,

AN AMAZING LIFE.

When I was a kid I saw this movie, "With Honors." In it, Brendan Fraser learns to forgo his need to be the best in exchange for becoming a better human being. Kinder, gentler, considerate; stronger, angrier, and more willing to stand up for people in need.

When I saw it, part of me scoffed. I was a b****y, competitive girl in the guise of a sweet midwesterner.

But another part of me was touched. I wanted to be a real human according to MY terms, not some idea of success formulated by adults that, I realize now, didn't know what the hell they were talking about either.

And there was that deeper part of me that KNEW I had tons of talent and strength and magic, but that I ALSO wanted a real reason for my existence. Not something out of an ancient book or a cultural meme that didn't apply to me. I had already read voraciously by the time I was in high school, and was taking college classes and writing theses and knew that basically, a lot of what people tell you about life is just their own fear masquerading as wisdom. (I hope this blog is NOT that but then again, wisdom is often borne out of confronting and therefore transcending fear... )

It took my years of sorrow, my complete bottoming out, my journey through Europe and then Los Angeles, which led me to India and to the Hopi lands in Arizona and beyond to come to a better understanding of my existence.

The thing is, I was born. And I was born and grew the way a flower is planted and blooms. And so, if all we expect of a rose is to rise up to the sun and bloom, and then die- and maybe share some of its beauty and some of its essence- maybe cut you if you grab it in the wrong way, but not because it willed it but because you impinged on the rose itself- maybe stay planted and maybe be uprooted- but by and large- just bloom-

Why was I any different?

I was, and I am not.

So I saw love, and I saw that all that was required of me was to be what I was, a rose planted and then uprooted, but who blooms in her own special way, merely because that was the way she sprouted from the dark soil of existence.

Existentialism alert! I should have given you one! haha.

So on today, my tenth anniversary since moving to LA, I could talk about what I have learned about acting, about music, about touring, about marketing, about the soul, about writing, about love, about relationships, about friendship, about fitness, about food, about drinking, about reconcilliation, about family, about forgiveness, about transformation. I could talk about casting workshops and web series. I could talk about SAG and AFTRA and AEA and ASCAP. I could talk about getting on the radio, and hosting radio shows, and playing South by Southwest (kind of.) I could talk about going back to school, and singing opera after singing rock and roll, about discovering I love Broadway after all. I could talk about all the ways my intellect got in the way of my joy, and all the ways my joy has utilized my intellect.

I want to list, for these TEN YEARS I have spent in this city, Los Angeles, the TOP TEN THINGS I have learned here.

10. Humans are very wrong very often and make a lot of mistakes. And this is how we learn and grow! I know we all "know" that. We read a million blogs about it all the time. But it doesn't mean you are wrong or bad or a failure. It means that you are trying. And IN that struggle, IN that search, that's where your glory lies.

   Story from the last 10 years: I had been so focused on touring and success when my album came out six years ago, I pushed myself so hard and toured even with pneumonia, and wrecked my voice. And then, in attempt to rebuild my voice, I met a voice teacher who helped me remember something basic: I don't sing because I'm famous. I don't sing because I am someone WANTING to be famous. I sing because I love it. Suddenly, singing became fun and joyful again. And the world was reborn for me!

9. Almost everyone in the entertainment industry is a real person. The person may be a drunk person, a high person, a misguided person, a psychopath, a sociopath, a liar. But most likely, each person is probably a talented and or pretty person with a dream who wants to be a part of show biz. Most of the folks I know just love show biz. And they, like me, like a lot of people, really just want to do amazing work and fall in love and live their dream.

    Story from the last 10 years: I got to meet Dan Akroyd on the set of a commercial once. By now, I had met many celebrities and "powerful"directors and producers and blah blah blah. Watching Dan work was a master class in comedy. He just looked to the left and the crew would crack up. He was incredible. But even more than that, he was a great person. He introduced himself to everyone on set and gave everyone a parting gift. When I was working with him, he asked about my life, my partner in Italy, singing opera, and even laughed when I told him the title of my one woman show (StandUpera!).

   Same thing happened when I worked on a music video for One Direction. Harry, the lead singer, introduced himself to literally every person on set, be they background (extra), caterer or security person. He thanked everyone for helping with the shoot and even offered his services to make people more comfortable if they needed everything.

    They weren't faking. They were kind, and grateful, and talented, and wonderful.

    Yes, I have met and worked with some people who were not easy. But you know what, once I worked with a woman who was a NIGHTMARE in regards to being high maintenance. It wasn't fun for me, but it was the job. (I was massaging her at the time.) She called me again and I didn't want to go but then I thought, okay, and you know what? The second time I worked with her she was studying her craft and told me that every day she works as many hours as she can to improve and get better. This woman was already very famous. Then she offered me some wine if I wanted (I didn't) and was really nice. She was under a lot of pressure as she was taking a leap with her career and I understood during that second visit that she couldn't entirely help being high maintenance. She had so much going on that was out of her control and it wasn't personal. It was just life.


8. Life is transient. In Los Angeles, friends and foes will wander in and out of your life with rapidity. You will probably become flakier yourself if you live here, and if you just moved here within the last year and you hate "LA People flaking on you," give yourself another few months of last minute meetings across town and you'll see that it isn't always the person, but the way of life. It has its drawbacks, sure. But relax. There's no reason to give yourself an early heart attack because someone can't make it to Intelligentsia Coffee on time.


7. Since life is transient, it's a good idea to make tremendous value of what life you DO have, each and every moment. I live a few miles from the beach but only make it there once or twice a year. That's a problem! But I try to really experience all of life, value my friends and family, visit the world class museums and go hiking and see the opera. I try to eat food that I wouldn't maybe otherwise get to try and talk to strangers.


6. Life is always possible. You might think you are too this or that (young, old, fat, skinny, black, white) but really, if you just focus on loving what is in front of you, you will find your way as well as your joy. Trust me. I am formerly the most competitive person in the universe. And now I use that energy to engross myself more deeply in what I am doing at any given moment, be it writing, kissing my man, going for a walk, or petting my dog. Who knows what the future brings? None of us, really, but we can be sure we will love it when it arrives by practicing loving right now.


5. Slow down. Stop over-scheduling yourself. Let go of that "I gotta book a role on TV in six months" theory and just focus on who you are right now and what's best for your life. Let yourself get off the devices and meet people at the coffee shop as well as online.

   A few years ago, my family had a tragedy and lost someone very special. I grew very sorrowful but realized something about my life was missing, something about the way I was living was not bringing me happiness.

   As hard as it was, I started taking things off my to do list. I had previously thought I couldn't possibly workout one hour a day instead of two! I would gain weight. Actually, I ended up sleeping better and eating less. I started really paying attention to each moment and while I was not so busy, I found that I don't like multitasking. I don't like being on my phone all day.

   And IN THAT RELAXATION, by letting go, I found myself a little more available for last minute opportunities, because I wasn't already booked with a million appointments. And I ended up getting a few more high paying massage clients (I was still massaging then) and dropped my lesser paying corporate job.

 

4. Let your adventure be YOUR adventure. So many self help blogs and books say things like,
"write down your goals and then tell everyone you know those goals and then find people who have achieved those goals and then model after them and then have success yay!" Well, sure. Go for it. OR. Be yourself and go to a casting director workshop because you love the show that person works on and meanwhile do what YOU love. Almost everyone I know is doing some sort of self help seminar or goal workshop, and meanwhile, other people are creating a web series. Neither is right or wrong. Just do it because it's you.

   You know, I met my partner because I had gone back to school to study opera and met a manager who said I needed to learn conversant Italian and I came back to Los Angeles and started studying with a tutor who, three months later, I started dating. I don't want to be an opera singer per se, I want to be more like Andrea Bocelli meets Sarah Brightman meets Barbra, because I think that's where my voice and style blooms... but had I not pursued MY life, MY possibilities... had I said, "I can't go to New York for school because that's when I might get that audition that might happen and might not and hasn't yet but this might be the lucky year..." I might never had met my guy.



3. Don't let your intellect get in the way of your joy.

   We don't know everything. We don't know how things are going to happen and we don't necessarily know the path we need to take. If we did, we'd be where we wanna be already. So don't use that against yourself. Let your dream inspire you, don't let your idea of the path limit you.



2. You can rise to the occasion!
 
   I am a risk taker. I know that. We all know that! And I'm a big encourager of people taking the next risk. Throw your hat over the wall and go get it! That looks like different things to different people.

   I wanted to take a trip to India with my former life teacher and didn't have the money. But I knew I was ingenious, and I knew something would happen. A check showed up for exactly the amount of the plane ticket, but not the rest of the trip. Well, I took that money and bought a plane ticket. I don't have a pragmatic bone in my body that responds to fear- I lost that when I learned what I learned by going to the wrong college and being miserable. Instead, I used that pragmatism to come up with the rest of the money. I offered packages to clients, I sold stuff, I went without dinners out. And I went to India, not once but twice, not for two weeks but six. And I came home and the bills were still there and they were still the same amount, and the car was still dirty and the dishes still needed to be washed and acting class was waiting for me... but I was different. I had transformed... and so, very quickly, did everything else.



1. Be love.

   Before the late, great Wayne Dyer passed on to the next adventure, I got a chance to speak with him. I told him I was afraid of singing, and my album, because I was becoming better and better at my craft(s) and was afraid of getting caught up in my attachment to the idea of success. I was afraid that my career was meaningless, that no one cared, as greatly as I was afraid of getting caught up in all the earthly attachments that had hurt me and messed up my life in the first place.

   He said,

   "Erin, just be love. Just be love. When you sing, don't sing for applause, or for money, or for success. You know those things may or may not come. Sing for love. Be love. Everything you do, let it be for love."

   And this is my practice. I am writing for love. I sing for love. I give readings for love. I heal for love. And everything else- the good stuff, the bad stuff- the success, the failure- the gravy, the salad- it's all-

                 love.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

We Love Romantic Comedies Part Two- Post 9/11 Love: The Oughts...

Hello, all! I hope this lovely October day is finding you full of pumpkin spice! (Groans from the audience.) I know, I'm over pumpkin spice myself (ducking the pumpkin spice items being thrown at me by the yoga moms.) But we're not really here to discuss something as trivial as what flavor latte we prefer. (I like Cafe Au Lait instead of a latte myself.)

We are here to continue the discussion of

ROMANTIC COMEDIES

and why we love them and what they tell us about ourselves!

In this edition, I wanted to focus on the three movies that I think of as the best post 9/11 rom coms. The "ought" years were fraught with fears. And although "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" was written and probably filmed pre-9/11, it filled an important purpose for those old enough to have digested high quality romantic comedies pre 9/11. I'll write a little bit more about that when I write about each movie individually, but basically, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" (heretofore known as MBFGW) aroused feelings of family and nostalgia during a time when innocence was thought to be lost. After 9/11, a lot of people needed to be taken away to places where there was still the idea of SAFETY (MBFGW) OR, of course, utter and total distraction (reality TV.)

I'm also going to talk about "Monsoon Wedding," which is similar to "MBFGW" and is also beyond beautiful. I have more to say about it as well, and although it is a more international film than MBFGW and offers different qualities (as well as some of the most gorgeous cinematography!) I actually love Monsoon Wedding more, in a way, than MBFGW, although that's like saying, "do you prefer Anne of Green Gables or Little House on the Prairie?" That's like saying, "Do you like Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights better?" They are so similar and yet so different and both are beloved to me.... I know it's now a musical and wonder how that plays out on stage- as for the film and the way you meet the characters, it's not formulaic at all- one of its great strengths, in my book!

The other film I will talk about is the beginning of a new generation. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" ushered in the new kind of romantic comedy for millennials. The world had changed by then and what we expected of love was different, too. It offered a narrative in which the guy doesn't get the girl, he gets a different girl, and people don't get what they want, mostly, but they do get an awful lot of beauty if they just look at what's in front of them and find the joy despite it all.

It was hopeful, but real-ish... ushering in a new possibility that it was the truth of the individual that could create the romance ("In Time," "Bridesmaids") with an appropriate person (as opposed to a complete fantasy/ impossibility.) I don't think too many movies post 9/11 offer a narrative about realism and truth AND hope at once. They seem to offer boring and hopeless fantasies, and often aren't romantic at all. It's as if so many romantic comedies either haven't caught up with the times and are trying to be relics of days gone by, OR, finally, they are coming around to the hybrid of dramedy that seems more important in the late 2000s and teens.

By the way, I could offer up a little bit of some applause for the takeover of the bromance movies that came outta the 2000s and teens, but this is about romance, so...

Back to love and romance post 9/11, post sexting, etc. I am not going to deconstruct something that has evolved {sic} in a cyclical and systemic fashion, layer upon layer. That's like trying to get to the end of a mobius strip. I just want t say that I think the 2000s were largely about waking up from the great slumber and choosing to stay awake or go back to sleep.

We were, and many are, still, "the walking dead." Many of us go in and out of that slumber. So often we are being lied to and we know it and we might even prefer the perceived safety of the lie (fantasy and hyper-cynicism, in my book, both fall into the lie category) to the danger of being open to the winds of change and chance. Despite our desire for it to be different, our own personal will can only change a minutiae of our lives. All the proof you need is to look around you and see that your own life, while probably more brilliant than most of us ever give credit, is not what you dreamed. Back to our preferred lies (be they fantasy or cynicism.)

Furthermore, we neither live, nor communicate in a vacuum. We live in a culture with context and meaning, and romantic comedies offer an important reflection of our humanity. We are not separate from romance, we are a part of it and it is a part of us, even if we are cynics. We are just seeing it through our own cultural context and our own individual histories...

And so many of our desires turned away from romantic comedies, away from vulnerability and intimacy, and toward "reality" TV. High drama and falsity. Reality, indeed.


But there were wonderful fantasies to be had, and mingling within those fantasies, there were hopes and dreams just waiting to be renewed...

And we learned, through each of these movies, that beauty comes in MANY shapes and sizes, for both men AND women.

I like that a lot!


On to the films:

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 
2002
Written by and starring Nia Vardalos (one of my heroes!)
Directed by Joel Zwick

Here's a clip of the Best Bits: It's 11 minutes, so watch or no as you like:



Caveat: I love Nia Vardalos. She is my hero. She is an amazing writer and person! I love her. I want to be the next Nia Vardalos, in fact, with "StandUpera." But moving on...

I love this film. It's hilarious!

Okay, now, really, why I think this film is so special... and not just me! It became the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time and grossed $241.4 million in North America, despite never reaching number one at the box office during its release (the highest-grossing film to accomplish this feat). In fact, it's STILL 60M ahead of #2... http://www.boxofficemojo.com/genres/chart/?id=romanticcomedy.htm

I am SO EXCITED FOR THE SEQUEL!

I could write a blog post all about this film, and Ms. Vardalos' other work in general, but I want to write about why I think THIS movie offers one of the few bright romantic comedy lights in that time between 9/11 and, well, to date...

One of the reasons I think this film is so important, even though we didn't know it at the time, maybe, is because it's SO much about accepting and even finding a way to love what is DIFFERENT, culturally DIFFERENT, about people. The WASPy Ian and the Greek Toula.... their families MUST find a way to love each other, despite the fact that there are a few fundamental differences in their world views and ways of life... and that is a story that has been lived and relived in any and every immigrant family throughout the world since the dawn of time, at least, when the families are loving and try to find a way to accept the new-to-them person...

The world is smaller now in 2015 than it was in 2002. I myself am with an Italian born Italian and there are still some of those cultural differences present whenever I go visit his wonderful family (who happen to be from Naples, aka Napoli.) Carlo's siblings are all post-Internet and therefore while not Americanized at all, they are still part of the global/ western understanding... but I LOVE that his mother really does make me eat twice my weight in pasta and dotes on all her children. She's incredible and delightful and definitely WAY more hands on than my Scandinavian/ Scottish/ Welsh Minnesotan family.... example... When I met Carlo's mom for the first time, she literally hugged me for 20 minutes. She would zip my coat up for me. When Carlo met my parents, they told him they were very happy to meet him and hugged him- MY DAD HUGGED HIM! Are you kidding me? My Dad barely hugs me! And when Carlo asked, later, "Did they like me?" I was like, "Oh my god. Did you see them hug you? They hugged you!!!! They love you!" Then I realized he doesn't have the translator... If a Minnesota Dad hugs his daughter's boyfriend, that's code for "Get married and have lots of babies right away." Whereas, if he says that the daughter's boyfriend is "different?" That's Minnesotan for "that guy better never touch my daughter and I can't wait til she finds someone else!" Maybe I should write a romantic comedy about Italians and Minnesotans.... in fact I think I will, after I finish the next slate of projects.

ANYWAY I know I just talked a lot about myself and the parallels between my story and my life and MBFGW, but I think that's one of the reasons it's so wonderful, at least from the point of view of the USA- ultimately, except for a very teeny tiny small percentage, we are all immigrants.

I also love that this is a movie about real people. Nia Vardalos is gorgeous, but she also is willing to look frumpy and then pull herself together. Ian is a high school teacher. I know we all loved "Pretty Woman," and the value there IS the fairy tale, but this is a fairy tale that can actually happen. Real people can actually meet and fall in love. And 30 isn't old! Haha! At least, it better not be. ;-p




Monsoon Wedding 
2001 (2002 release in the US)
Mira Nair

This is, yes, another movie about families blending and the idiosyncrasies of family and big feasts at weddings...

And it is so beautifully summed up by this:






What I love about Monsoon Wedding is that even though these people are across the globe, it is so beautifully written, acted, directed- we KNOW these people. Not only do we know these people, we (mostly) love them, and through them, we believe in the possibility of leaving behind what no longer serves us and moving forward with new love.

But what I also love is that this movie goes far deeper than the usual comedy foil of "oh my God, my parents are conservative, too!" "My aunts pressure me to get married, too!" (Not that I don't love that stuff. I DO! (see my raves for MBFGW.) THIS movie delves into some of the tougher stuff of families (for example, incest) that weddings and funerals can bring up. When do we speak up? When do we believe? When do we not believe? When do we avoid and when do we confront? There is no "right" time for any of that stuff, there is just the time when it finally happens.

"Monsoon Wedding" actually paves the way for the newer era of possibility (by which I mean the rest of the aughts.)





Forgetting Sarah Marshall
2008
Nicholas Stoller, fir. Jason Segal, writer. Judd Apatow, producer.

For the record, I don't mind a bromance, but I'm still not the biggest fan of TOO much raunchy comedy. Oh, yes, I loved Bridesmaids, but not because of the pooping in the street scene. No. I loved it because of the female friendships. The Fem-mance? The Sis-mance? I don't know. Rah, rah, Sis Boom Bah, it was great. And in general I feel that Judd Apatow has brought forth a fun, raunchy set of comedies that really spare us from too much squirming.

My favorite alum of the world of "Freaks and Geeks" is Jason Segal. In fact, I recently heard him on Marc Maron's show and thought, "that's a surprisingly enlightened dude." I wasn't really surprised, though. He's great. And I feel Sarah Marshall has enough of the raunch and the right amount of tenderness and hilarity to work for everyone. It's like it has taken the rom-com and the bromance (shades of that with Russel Brand's character) and raunch and melded it all together in an amalgamation of Hawaiian wonder and puppet musicals. Say what? Exactly.

It's a new world, and one that doesn't forget the old world.

People have sex! People have affairs! People are conceited and narcissistic but lovable anyway but not necessarily worthy of the right relationship! Everyone is pretty much just being themselves and deserving of the love they ask for and believe they can receive!

To me, the magic is that Segal is so fresh in this film.

And, it has-

A Puppet Musical...

About Dracula.

Incredible.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Music Mondays: My Secret

Happy Music Mondays, everyone!

Lots of fun music news for Erin Carere (my musical self.)

First of all, my single from last fall is FINALLY streaming on Spotify. ha! If you haven't heard it, it's called "Come Alive," and here it is:



Second, as I am preparing for 2016's big music project and sourcing songs, I found this little jem, "My Secret." I relistened for the first time in a long time to the live performance with a little combo and I thought, sweet! So I am sharing it with you here. You can also download it off of my reverbnation page: www.reverbnation.com/erincarere.





And third, last week I got the footage back from a video shoot I did for "StandUpera." I am going to review the footage this week before going into the editing process, but here's a fun screenshot.....


Now you may be thinking- what???? Greenscreen??!?!??!


Oh, yes, my dear ones, yes! Some FUN THINGS ARE HAPPENING ONLINE with STANDUPERA! Very soon.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

What if Love Were All?

   (...I awoke from sleep, and in that sleep were the constant dreams I fear I have lost, the hopes I once held that may never come true, that niggle at the heart, injecting the seeping poisons of regret and sorrow in place of passion and strength, an acid that erodes the strength of the organ to pump the very life force that gave rise to those hopes and dreams in the first place...

   ...and in the middling place twixt dreams and life, my conscious mind swooped forward like a warrior, crying out these words.)

   


What If Love Were All?
What if it was only love? What if I loved all of life? What if I loved the dreams deferred and the deferment itself as much as I loved the dreams that I had won? What if I cherished all that I had lost, not in a wallowing way, but simply as a matter of fact? What if love were all? I could love my fears as greatly as I could love my possibilities. I could love my flaws and all the ways I get in the way of my dreams as much as I love those places where I have transformed, broken through, succeeded, achieved. I could love my body in pieces as well as a whole. I could love those people who drive me crazy as much as the people who give me no trouble at all. I could love the broken hearts and the wonder. I could love the trash and the plastic and the muck and the smog and I could love the stars and the aurora borealis and the gardens and the wide, broad landscape before me, be it city or sea, land forever or sky.What if it was all love, misnamed, misunderstood? What if it wasn't love that killed but I found a way to love anyway, not the kind of love of the sickness of a mind, but the kind of love that loved through the pain to a deeper wisdom, the kind of wisdom that existed before we messed it up, before there was anything to mess up? 

What on earth would the world look like then?

I cannot conceive of such a wonder.

But since I have spent a lifetime pushing forward out of my groveling fear, I am willing to shoot my arrow into that new aspiration, that which surpasses all other dreams, and, in so doing, consumes them and renders true what is and renders forgotten what never was in the first place.

What if- love- were all?









Erin Muir
October 11th, 2015

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Love and Text Messages

Last year, over Christmas, Carlo and I were at a flea market in Rome and we found a copy of "The Rules" by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, Volumes I and II. In English! We decided to read the book together on the train to Milan and boy, was it an eye opening experience!

Now, in my day job, I do a LOT of love and relationship coaching. In fact, I have written/ am rewriting/ working on a new draft of a self-help book about love and relationships. When you do a one woman show about your love life for a few years, you start deconstructing the stories and seeing the common denominator- yourself!

That, alongside all the life coaching training, psychic work, shaman work, ashrams in India, and working with some amazing spiritual teachers and guides myself.... have led me to a place where I feel I am really good at helping people out of their love life messes and into relationship land.

IF, that is, you want an adult partnership.

If you want a chemical attraction hormonal/ pain body attraction that leads to a whirlwind romance of literary proportions... that's a different kind of guru and I ain't your girl!

All of that is to tell you all that I had never actually read "The Rules" but *thought* I was a big proponent of their basic message- and in fact I am a proponent of the basic message- DON'T BE NEEDY. DON'T HAVE ATTACHMENTS TO AN OUTCOME. GET TO KNOW A PERSON WITHOUT NEEDING TO KNOW THEY ARE GOING TO BE THE ONE RIGHT OFF THE BAT BECAUSE YOU PROBABLY WON'T KNOW UNTIL A LOT OF TIME HAS PASSED ANYWAY. THERE ARE DIFFERENT KINDS OF RELATIONSHIPS FOR DIFFERENT REASONS BUT IF YOU WANT TO GET MARRIED AND LIVE IN THIS (WESTERN) CULTURE, THEN DON'T THINK LIFE IS GOING TO BE LIKE A ROMANCE NOVEL OR SOME UNREQUITED LOVE ODE BY LORD BYRON. (The last few sentences are really my advocacy, but I thought I was in alignment with the basic premise of what I, through hearsay, understood "The Rules" to be about.)

And, like all things, it turns out, after reading those books with my long term partner and love of MY life, it is a case of do as I say, not as I do! LOL.

Carlo and I began reading the book and he kept pointing out all the ways in which I had broken "The Rules."

Now to be fair, he also said, that for "99% of all the men [he knows personally,] the Rules would really work and that's what women should do if they want to hook a man for marriage." But according to my guy, he's not a normal guy.

This is true. Carlo is a very beautiful man, inside and out, and he told me he has never made a move on a woman. She always has to come to him. "Never?" I said? I didn't believe it the first few years we were together. "Never," he said. I now believe it, because I know him so well, and he just doesn't lie or tell stories or make up that kind of stuff.

So if I hadn't broken the rules, we wouldn't be together, according to C.

That said.

We had a grand time laughing at all my mistakes if I was trying to follow the Rules!

So we are on the anniversary of the first time I broke the Rules. See, Carlo and I had a professional relationship for many months before I realized that he "liked" me. Not only did he "like" me, but I had a crush on him! At first I was thinking, "oh, this can never happen. He's too handsome! Why would he like a woman like me?" (I'm not gonna lie. I wasn't feeling the most beautiful back then. I feel more beautiful now than ever, and I'm not ashamed to say so, because too many of us really sell ourselves short of what is truly a part of this wonderful world.) Then I realized, no, he really did "like" me, but he didn't make any moves!  What kind of Italian was this? Weren't they supposed to be these over the top lovers? Playboys? Don Juans de Marco (okay, that was Johnny Depp, but still...)

So, one October morning, walking my dog, I texted him. I texted him- blatantly (but at the time, unknowingly) breaking one of The Rules: you don't contact the man. The man contacts you.

I didn't say, "oh, let's go out." I didn't text a sexy picture of me.

See, I used to live in a different part of Los Angeles where there were these beautiful walking paths hidden just behind the main streets so you could walk without dealing with cars and traffic. And I would walk Henry, my dog, and that particular morning, we passed a middle-aged couple in the midst of an argument in a different language. The man was wearing a sweatshirt that read, "Italia." In truth, they were probably Armenian, because it was a largely ethnically Armenian neighborhood. But I was only half paying attention to what they were SAYING, what language they were speaking. I just saw the "Italia" sweatshirt and thought, "hm! I'll text Carlo."

And so I texted him around 7:45 am that there were Italians taking over the valley. Then I realized it was way too early to be texting someone that I didn't really know- and maybe in general- and I sent a second message apologizing for texting so early and he wrote back, "no, no, it is a pleasure to be awakened by you in the morning."

And that was the beginning of our friendly, and sometimes slightly innuendoed, text messaging relationship.... we texted back and forth for weeks before we went on anything resembling a date. It was like a sort of early courtship of love letters, only instead of letters, they were text messages...

At the time, I was being very conscious about following my own set of rules for dating. I was dating several people casually, sleeping with NO ONE, not trying to get into a relationship, just seeing who was out there and what their deal was and what was possible.

Who knew I would meet the man of my dreams?

And when I met him, I didn't know he was the man of my dreams. Oh, sure. He's tall, dark and handsome. He is brilliant and creative and kind. He has been a soldier, a police officer, an actor, a novelist and a screenwriter. He likes slow dancing and meditation. But I knew NONE of this until WELL into our courtship. And it all started with a few simple, nice, not needy text messages. And I never pushed anything or actually even asked him out. We just sort of let it happen.

Like I said... do as I say... not as I do....

But come on over to my Facebook page and tell me how you have broken, or bent the Rules- and how and why it worked or didn't!