Thursday, May 2, 2013

I love the smell of flop sweat in the morning

Listen To Your Mother is only days away.  So close that as I write this my hands are trembling just a little because of the adrenaline that is flying through my veins.   It is so close.  I want to slow down time so I can savor the anticipation and keep it slow so I can feel every moment on Saturday.

It has been a long time since I have been back on stage. Actually, wait – My daughter’s elementary school does a take on American Idol for their annual big fundraiser. It takes place at our city’s high school auditorium.    It has become a tradition and a big community event.    Last year, I was one of the judges.  I was J Lo.  THAT was the first time back on stage.  As J Lo. 

As silly as it may sound, it was a watershed moment for me.  Backstage, before the show began, there was a buzz of energy and flop sweat.  When I walked across the stage, and became J Lo for the next ninety minutes, I knew there was no turning back.  I was home again.  I know this is dramatic – but I felt one with the theater universe, a connection. 

The stage has magic – whether that stage is on Broadway or a community theater in Ohio or a high school stage in New Hampshire.   It all felt right – making people laugh, staying in character, that specific sweat that only occurs in nervous anticipation.  I felt like it was back where I should be.  I made peace – with my absence from performing – and with honoring the power of ANY size stage.  High School stage.  The Majestic Theater in Boston.  All of the same talents are required.  All of them matter.  All of these performers and stages make the world go ‘round.

As I have prepared for LTYM, I have been giddy with the entire process.  Submitting my piece.  An audition!  It was so happy to just be auditioning – even if I didn’t make it, I was so damn thankful to have that experience – to have this affirmation that I am on the right path.  (I think I have spent a great deal of energy going the wrong way with my writing…)I have never been so excited to audition for anything in my life.  Because I believed in my piece with ferocious strength.  Because I wanted this so damn much.  Because it felt right.

I have known for a long time that I am better when I am collaborating.  My strengths come out when I am with a group.  I experience this when my girlfriends and I are creating songs or my husband and I team up on our parenting and collaborate on our life together.  I feel it when I am teaching with someone – I am always better when I share it with a partner.  When I lived in New York and I meet my friend Kirsty and we collaborated and created our show, Stephie in the Sky with Kirsty – it was pure performance magic.   I am still looking for a partner to write and create magic.  I know he or she is out there.  But I now know I cannot put my ideas on hold until I find this creative soul mate.  I have important stories to tell.

 I have found a new place with my cast members in Listen To Your Mother.  It has been a dream.  Supportive and honest and saturated with talent.   It has given my story a platform and a home and a microphone and a stage.

I am on my knees with gratitude.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

You'll be swell! You'll be great! Gonna have the whole world on a plate!

Holyshit you guys,  I auditioned for this amazing stage show, Listen To Your Mother and I had one of the greatest auditions I have ever had, and that alone was the best feeling, knowing that I just killed it, because I was prepared and rehearsed and my piece was fucking hilarious and I felt confident and READY. 

Ready to be on stage again.  Ready to perform my writing.  Ready.

So I fretted and bit my nails for days and prepared myself for rejection – because that’s part of the business, right  - rejection.  I gotta have a thick skin, and be ready for people to say “NO”.  But it still hurts and I feel like I’ve been getting too many “No’s” lately, when really, my favorite word is “YES!”

 I left that audition soaring. 

Last week I received the exhilarating news that I had been chosen to be a cast member of the show – Listen To Your Mother. 

 Yes is a bright and shining atom bomb of joy obliterating the black hole of “No.” It is the ego boost that I wanted and needed.  I got all squishy and Sally Field, jumping around my house saying, “They like me!  They really, really like me!”  And then I turned into some character from a Quentin Tarantino movie proclaiming, “Damn strait those mutha fuckah’s wanted me!  That shit I wrote was goddamn HILARIOUS!  I pity the fool who wouldn’t take me.”  (I guess I turned into Mr. T as well.)

Yes pointed me back into the direction of stage. Yes confirmed where my passion and talent shine and where (oh, help me, I’m about to get all  Oprah-y) my soul does a Bob Fosse hip swivel, high kick to the beat of the word, “Yes, yes, yes yes, yes!”

Have I even explained what the show is about?  It's a national series of original work on stage, about motherhood - and it takes place on or around Mothers Day.  This year it be performed in twenty-four cities.  Wow.

There has to be a yiddish word for how I feel - a word that puts together pride and confidence and happiness from deep inside.  If you know it, please tell me.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I heart Taylor Swift

This letter to Taylor Swift first appeared over at my friends, femamom

Dear Taylor Swift-

Let me introduce myself – I’m Stephanie and I have two daughters.  We are huge admirers and fans.  I know you must be very busy right now, getting ready for your tour – My daughters and I cannot wait to see you perform this summer.  Did you know that you are going to be their first concert?  Seriously – a big deal.  For the rest of their lives, when they play the getting to know you game of, “What was your first concert?”  They will forever say, “Taylor Swift!”  (My first concert was Duran Duran – I will never forget my friend Alison crying during “Save a Prayer” and I was convinced that Simon LeBon was singing only to me.)

I want to tell you a story.  When I was in college I was at a party, hanging out and talking with the bravado that only happens at that age.  The conversation turned to music and what instruments people played.  When I was asked, “Hey Stephanie, what do you play?”  I answered, “ I play the skin flute.”  It’s crass, got a laugh and we all moved on.  But for years after, every single time I saw this one guy who was at the party he would always say to me, “Hey, still playing the skin flute?”  I always cringed.  I just meant it as a quick one liner to get a laugh – not for this shmuck to keep haunting me about it.  I got off lucky – I just had this troll pop up for years reminding me that I was such an expert at the skin flute.  Taylor, you have to have every single, impulsive sentence that comes out of your mouth blasted out on every online source possible.  And that can’t be easy.  I am grateful that every stupid thing that I said at 20 or 22 isn’t out there in the ethers.  Most of it is in my journals, which come to think of it, it may be time to burn them…

I’m afraid that you are having your skin flute moment. 

You dared to criticize our Patron Saints of Comedy – Amy Poehler and Tina Fey and you invoked the myth of unilateral female solidarity by stating, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women”. 

Because of your youth you didn't fully grasp that it was just a joke- yes at your expense, and that hurts –to tell you on worldwide television to stay away from Michael J. Fox’s son because you need a little ‘me-time’.  Your inexperience hasn't burned you enough yet with the sad realization that just because we are girls, doesn't equate that we are all going to get along. (And if you really think that there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women, maybe you should swap out Tina and Amy for Camille Paglia Calm down Camille! We can’t all be Rhianna and get the shit beaten out of us by our boyfriends and turn it into creative gold or turn our asses to the camera like Jennifer Lopez and have it be groundbreaking just because she is Latino.)

Because you write publicly and successfully about boys and breakups, desire and dreams -all real and worthy subjects – your music is up for criticism.  It’s the way the world works.  Ask any artist– there’s always someone who is going to find some angle and flaw in your work and then tell you about it.   And since you haven’t given the public a Britney Spears-style melt down and crotch-shot, then they really have to dig to find something wrong with you.   

For what it’s worth –I am grateful that you are a strong role-model for my young daughters.   You write and create your own music – which they can listen to.   You follow your dreams and your passion and you seem true to yourself – and the women you are trying to become. 

And as I am still learning– you can’t please everyone.

With love and respect and jumpy claps because I think you are awesome,

Maybe you want to give Amy and Tina another chance…

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What's new pussycat...

The  last two months of 2012 kicked my ass and ground me into the dirt.  I was so happy to welcome in 2013.

It's a new year.   I am feeling super hopeful right now - and not just because Obama was re-elected.  There is nothing but change and action swirling around our home and lives right now - and I love it.

I have a bunch of exciting shit going on right now - and something needs to give.  Writing my blog has been where it has to give.   It was either the blog or exercise, going out with my girlfriends and getting booty.

We can have it all - just not at once.

My latest - I am proud and giddy to be a contributor for a fantastic and provocative site - femamom

Here's my  latest about how I don't feel sexy with grey hair

Along with a couple more...

About that asshole Elf on a Shelf
And trying to keep things Merry and Bright while grieving over the massacre at Sandy Point.