I’m back!

Hey there adoring fans (Allison Hammer)!

Bumps in the road.  The reason that I haven’t written a post in 3 months is due to a very bumpy road.  It involves standing up to douche-bags, quitting a terrible job, losing all of my money, gaining 10 lbs, finding a new job, sucking at said job, borrowing money from my brother, taking a trip to see my best friend’s wedding dress, going to another friend’s baby shower, wondering why it is that I’m nowhere near being a grown-up and whether or not I’m ok with it, gaining another 5 lbs, choreographing a children’s production of Tarzan (loved), death of my Grandma (not loved), given money from another friend (which I’ll totally pay back), co-producing a workshop to help women, being reminded of the good things in life, sucking less at my new job, feeling better about myself, doing some improv shows, and having an afternoon off to come back to what I love.  Writing this silly little blog about making my life better.  I’m back.

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A few days ago my friend Holly was introducing me to someone and said, “Oh Sarah’s hilarious.  And a really good writer.  You should read her blog.  Sarah, tell them about your blog.”  And what did I do?  “Oh, I haven’t written in a while, don’t read it.  I need to update it but I haven’t written in months and I feel like I need to make my comeback post amazing and I can’t think of what to write about.”  This person who I didn’t even know (or maybe it was someone I knew…I was a little foggy that night….from the 10 beers I drank…ok fine…it was 11) said, “Why does it have to be big.  It’s just a blog.  Just write about anything.”   They had a point.  There’s like 15 of you out there that read this thing (including my parents…and they go to church so they have to love me), and there’s millions of blogs out there.  And then I started thinking about the whole Men in Black sequence at the end of the movie when there’s a Universe living inside some cat’s collar, and then they zoom out to planet Earth, and then zoom out more to some galaxies and then zoom out even farther and it ends up being 2 aliens playing marbles with all of the galaxies which showed how insignificant we all are in the grand scheme of things which made me think that if I wrote a really boring and shitty post after not writing a post in months then who the Hell cares?….and then I youtubed that clip so I could post it because I don’t really have any pictures besides the one above that was taken at an improv show in the middle of winter to share and you’re supposed to have media in your blog so that the 15 of you will read it instead of clicking the x at the top of your screen and moving onto porn…except for my parents who don’t watch porn because they go to church and love me…

So, instead of writing something new for this post.  I’ve just copied and pasted my blurb from the Improvolution newsletter I wrote yesterday.  I’ve been writing the newsletter for a few months now, and I got some lovely feedback from this one and I really like it.  So here it is….

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Funeral…

Hilda Hicks lived a wonderful almost 87 years.  She was my grandmother, and she passed away last Sunday.  It was a very sad day for my family, but for my brother it was a step in a new direction.  You see, my brother has social anxiety that has crippled him since he was a teenager.  He does not speak to new people, he often paces the room in social settings out of nervousness, and for a very long time he had trouble even making phone calls to order pizza.  He’s seen a therapist, and has tried different medications that have helped a little, but still he is very uncomfortable when around more than one person.  Until last week.  After my grandma died, I met my brother in Baltimore and we drove down to Virginia together to be with my family and attend the funeral.  During the wake the day before, we all met with the Pastor to discuss what was going to be said at her funeral and was asked if a member of the family would like to speak.  Of course everyone turned to me, as the actor/dancer/improvisor, and I volunteered to say something as all of them played the “I don’t do public speaking” card.  Then the Pastor asked if there were any special prayers or poems that my Grandma had been fond of.  We all thought of the same prayer that Hilda had hanging cross-stiched in her home for 60 or so years and my mother half jokingly to lighten the mood said my brother could read it.  We thought nothing of the comment until we heard the words “OK” from the side of the room where my brother had been pacing.  We froze.  My father asked him if he was serious, and my brother replied, “Yeah, I can do it.”  This is the part where I should mention that a month before any of this happened, I signed my brother up for an Improv 101 class in Baltimore.  He had mentioned in the car ride down how much he enjoyed the class and even went out for a beer with his classmates once (which never happens) and I could tell that my plan of using improv to help his social skills was working.  The next day at the funeral, I gave my prepared speech about how lovely my grandma was, how much I was going to miss her, threw in a couple old people jokes for good measure, and then introduced my brother to the congregation for his prayer.  My whole family wiped the tears from their eyes as my brother stood at the podium and read aloud to 50 or so people, the prayer that my grandmother had loved for all of those years.  I’m not saying improv was 100% responsible for my brother’s courage that day, but I am betting that it was 99.9%  I know my grandma was proud looking down on my brother and how far he had come, and I know my brother was even more proud of himself.  I hope you all enjoy your day today, and if you still have a Grandma, give her a call.  I’m sure she’d love to hear from you 🙂

,

You’re newsletter supervisor,

Sarah
                                                      

So there it is.  My first day back in the saddle.  Not too painful.  Now, off to continue to make life a little more awesome!

 

Day 44: Lights….camera…IMPROV!


Hey there adoring fans (that’s you Allison)!

So, here’s the thing.  About a year ago.  I decided I wanted to try something new.  It was right around New Years and my 29th birthday was approaching (I’ve got the big 3-0 coming up…you know, if the world doesn’t explode.  Feel free to message me for the mailing address to send my gifts.  The top contenders are a new computer and glow in the dark slinky).  You see,  I was pretty successful with Musical Theatre but I was getting a little tired of tap dancing in the background.  My favorite times on stage were not necessarily the moments when I was grinning while charleston-ing, but the times when I’d make a cast member break on stage by mooning her with a face drawn on my butt.

 

buttface

Yep.  That happened.

I knew with a skill set of hilarity and butt-art I could do more than just be the 3rd girl from the right in a musical.  I needed a change but had no idea what that change was.  Then a very wise woman, Broadway’s Jennifer Smith (pictured above in the pink dress and scowl) suggested that I take an improv class.  “Hmmm.  I’ve always wanted to try one of those classes,” is what I said.   A few days later,  while walking my dog in the park, I ran into a gal who I’d seen a dozen times and we started to chat about life.  I asked her if she had ever done any improv and she said “Funny you ask…I’m an impovisor myself.”  She then went on to tell me that her favorite improv teacher of all time was starting a level 1 class at the end of the month.  It was fate (plus I didn’t have to do any actual research that day and could sit on my couch and re-watch the finale of Lost which I re-hated).  I signed up that very day and it changed my life forever.

Ok, here’s comes some sappy stuff (if you don’t want to read it….don’t….just keep looking at the picture of my butt)…

The gal that suggested the class is Rebecca who has become one of my best friends (and has been featured several times in my blog, most notably the day we took our dogs to a bar).  She has definitely made me look at my life and discover the gifts that I have to offer (besides drawing faces on my butt).  If it wasn’t for her, I would never have met Holly who is indeed the best improv teacher in the world!  If I hadn’t met Holly I  would still be the girl at auditions telling fart jokes (I mean, I still do that,  but I feel that with my new training there are many more layers involved when it comes to a well crafted fart joke), and not have reached my potential both as an actor and as a stripper (just kidding…although one may be considered a stripper after posting a picture of their butt on the internet…there does seem to be someone waving a dollar bill at me).  Improv has inspired me to step out of dancing in the background and to step into being leader in the foreground.  It also lit a fire under my ass to start writing again, which lead me to this blog which is now read by tens of twenties of people (including my mom and dad…sorry about the butt picutre) from all over the United States (and Tanzania…still don’t know how I got 2 readers there?)

So here it is folks a (tad blurry…that’s what happens with bright lights and blonde hair) video of one of my monologues from last night.  If you don’t think it’s funny then whatever…you totally had to be there… performances don’t translate well on camera…shut up it was my first monologue ever…I don’t care what you think.

 

 

PS: Big shout out to Holly Mandel (best improv teacher in the world) and Rebecca Stuard (BFF who is also a kick ass improv teacher, friend, and dog walking companion) and everyone at Improvolution….www.improvolution.org

Day 43: Monologues vs. Man hunting…

 

Hey there adoring fans (Fred Macri and Jason Di Tullio)!

So, as I have a crazy busy work week ahead of me (’tis the season for test tube shots), I have to get some End of the World items checked off in the the most efficient way possible so that I can blog and still make money to blow on December 20th…

Front runners of what I’m going to blow all of my money on on December 20th:

1.  A miniature horse.  I’d name him Leon.

2.  One of those ice cream sundaes topped with gold leaf shavings.

2. A stretch limo to tour my home town so that I can pop out of the sunroof and wave at people like I’ve made it to the “Final 3” on American Idol.

3.  Pay Tina Fey to eat a sandwich with me.

The world is your oyster when you’re talking about throwing away your entire life savings($87)!  I mean the world could explode…or not.

Now back to getting sh*t done (as I am sitting in a cafe down the street from my apartment because our stupid modem is down…and all the electric outlets are being used by nerdy college students…and my sad iBook G4 goes from 99% battery to 0% in a matter of 16 minutes…so I probably shouldn’t have spent 5 of those minutes thinking of witty ways to blow my life savings…and then digressing more…as I tend to do).  Anywho, as a chorus girl in the Musical Theatre industry for past 10 years, I’ve performed in front of thousands of people.  Even some famous ones like Harry Potter (D-rad), John Travolta, and Meryl Streep.  Wait, one of the hipsters sitting by the outlets just left…hold on…YES!  Weve got power!  Now I can digress forever!  So, what was I saying.  Oh yes, I was bragging about Meryl Streep…

I’m the second closest to her on the left.

(shout out to my Gypsy peeps!)

streep

See!  And here’s Johnny T (pre-male-masseuse scandal) he really was the nicest man ever!  I think he was filming that weird movie where he steals a train.

I’m the one with the mutton chops.
john travolta

Sorry, no pic of Harry Potter…he’s always in his invisibility cloak…get it?

In every performance I’ve done, I’ve always been the member of an ensemble of 10-15 people.  I have played some small roles before but they usually only consist of 1 or 2 lines which tend to be like “Hey Peggy Sawyer, which way to the clam bake?”  but I’ve never performed solo.  Well, this Thursday that’s all about to change!  You see, I’ve been studying Improv for about a year now (best decision I ever made!  Besides switching from diet coke to coke zero…life changing).  On Thursday (as in tomorrow) I will be performing 2 character monologues which I wrote myself.  They’re about 3 1/2 minutes a piece, and they’re freaking the spit out of me.  Since I haven’t had much time to bucket list, last night I combined studying my monologues with man hunting.

 

imageIt didn’t work out very well.  See, when you stare at a beer glass and talk to it for an hour as if you’re a 57 year old Italian woman (Character #1) the fellas don’t seem to come a runnin’.  Weird right?  Who knew?

imageBut it’s all good, because tomorrow night I’m going to do a great job! …I’m going to do a good job!…I’m going to do a mediocre job!…I’m going to NOT crap my pants on stage!…I’m going to TRY not to crap my pants on stage!  I’m going to clean up after I crap my pants on stage…I’m not cleaning it up.

Wish me luck!

 

Ps: If anyone living in NYC is interested in taking an Improv class check out http://www.improvolution.org

They’re seriously life changers.

 

PPS:  I’m leaning towards Leon…

leon