Sunday, March 28, 2010

CaReEr yO!

Oh man, I think it's been over a week since I posted! This is because I was actually busy all week, which has for sure not happened in probably a month and a half.

So here is the run-down!

On Monday and Wednesday, I played for a recital of about ten Pied Piper teens. Pied Piper is a youth theatre way uptown, like at 200th (near a very delicious and relatively cheap little pizza joint, as I discovered when I got there), right off the A train, in an Episcopal Church. I had emailed their music director, Rey-Rey, offering my services as an accompanist, and so he invited me to play for the recital. There was a rehearsal on Monday, during which I sightread through 15 or 20 songs, some of which were reasonable and some of which were "Shiksa Goddess" (one of Jason Robert Brown's harder songs - and the thing about JRB is that, all of his songs are difficult, but most of them have the same accompaniment, only in different keys and time signatures, so once you get the hang of the pattern, most of his stuff because relatively easy and very fun. About 15 or 20% of his songs, though, have completely different accompaniment, and are at least as difficult, if not more so. Those are the ones that are challenging for me now!).

Anyway, though, Rey-Rey felt that it was important for me to be pretty much flawless on the songs (I took this to mean note-for-note, for the most part, rather than just chording and rhythm and improv, which works really well at most auditions, for example), since the kids are not very confident and are used to singing with the same accompanist all the time time. So he gave me about half of the songs to take home and practice and play for the recital on Wednesday, and he played the other half. This seemed reasonable to me. Of course, he ended up giving me some of the hardest songs (minus "Don't Do Sadness" from Spring Awakening, which doesn't have a lot of notes but does have the rhythm guitar part in the left hand, which is suuuuuuuper awkward to play on the piano), including "Shiksa Goddess," which I subsequently went home and practiced like a madwoman (I had Alex sing it. He has excellent musicality and is accustomed to working with any pianist, but he didn't know the song very well, so I thought that was a good trade-off to get a somewhat teen-accompaniment-like experience) until I was not completely confident but was nevertheless pretty good at it.

So guess who, of course, was one of the only two kids not to show up on Wednesday?

Correct. The "Shiksa Goddess" kid. I didn't know whether to be relieved (because I was still a little nervous about playing the song) or frustrated (because I'd practiced it more than anything!). Oh well! The recital went off well; I did not make mistakes; I had fun with the students; made a little money; ended up on Rey-Rey's list of substitute accompanists, because he liked the work I did. So all-in-all quite the success, I think.

On Thursday and Friday I had rehearsal and performance with the NYU Gospel Choir. Fun stuff! I had ended up paying a guy $10 a song to transcribe the chords for the two songs I couldn't find anywhere (the third one I found the sheet music for online and bought for $6), and it was super super worth it. The choir probably can't reimburse me, because they don't have much money, but I knew that would probably be the case when I decided to go ahead and do it, and I am comfortable paying $26 (and of course noting it down in my records as a work expense!) in order to make $200.

Anyway, it was super fun. It's me and the drummer, named Alex, and the choir, who are great, and we just get to rock out on all these songs. The lyrics, of course, are frequently appalling* (my favorite so far: "The Jesus in me loves the Jesus in you. So easy!"), and they have prayer circles at the beginning and end of every meeting, which I stand it when they invite me because I don't feel like having a whole conversation about how I am not a Christian, which I think would kind of freak them out, and anyway that is kind of uncomfortable, but whatevs. Usually I am super comfortable freaking out Christians, but I am fond of all these people, and also they are paying me, and also we have a good time rocking out to their Christian songs, so I don't want to throw a kink in that.

Moving on. On Friday I found out that I got the Adirondacks job! So I will officially be music directing for 3-4 weeks (the kids are there for three weeks; I'm there for almost four) at Long Lake Camp this summer, from June 22 to July 18 or 19 (depending on when my show on the 18th is, which affects when they can get me either to a train station or, if I'm lucky, all the way back to the city).*** It was kind of a risk for them to hire me, as I have zero experience leading an orchestra, but Geoff, the guy I talked to on the phone, really liked me, and of course I think they are right to hire me! I'm scared stiff of leading an orchestra, and of learning to do it in 3 weeks, during which 3 weeks I will also be learning to play two musicals' worth of music on the piano, teaching it all to kids, figuring out which orchestra parts are essential and assigning musicians, teaching master classes, eating meals with kids, living with kids, and probably never sleeping. But I am also confident that I can do it, because it is just music, and I can do music.

So that is that.

Also on Friday I got a call from Kids Creative, an after school and summer program that wants me to be an assistant teacher in an after school music class once a week for nine weeks, but of course it conflicts with my only other weekly commitment, playing for Leigh's voice lessons down at NYU, so I will have to tell them no when I call them back. But the woman I talked to also mentioned that if it doesn't work with my schedule, they still may have some summer positions opening up that they could talk to me about, and when I looked it up, I found that one of their summer sessions conflicts with Long Lake, but two of them do not, so maybe something will work out there.

And then yesterday I attended auditions for Music Theatre of Wichita, which is a big deal company even though they are in Kansas, at the invitation of Michael Lavine, who is a hotshot accompanist/vocal coach/owner-of-one-of-the-largest-private-sheet-music-collections-in-the-world, and who is also a very nice guy who is helping me out. He was accompanying the auditions; I got to sit at the table and hang out with the people running the thing, including Roger Castellano, who is Dennis' brother (for those of you not intimately familiar with my time at UCI, Dennis Castellano is the champion musical theatre teacher there, who is super great, who taught me how to actually be good at songs, and who was also my thesis adviser!). It was super fun, and also Michael bought me breakfast: an everything bagel with cream cheese and lox, which of course is the most delicious thing ever. Also, someone (maybe Carol?) bought everyone lunch, meaning I ended up with a full meal's worth of leftover pesto linguine with onion and chicken, because I have a very small stomach. Also, I gave everyone my card, which was exciting.

Also, Dennis is in town! He is playing for some of the classes of the UCI New York Satellite Program, which is also in town! Also for the UCI Musical Theatre Major Undergrad Showcase (they invented the MT major basically the year I left), which Alex and I will be attending on Monday (tomorrow!). So that will be fun. Also, we went and hung out with some of the UCI peeps (Kelly and Kaitlin and Kat) on Thursday in their tiny apartment on the east side over a psychic's office, which was fun. They were supposed to come over for a late dinner on Friday, so Tom cooked salt-and-pepper steak with homemade mayonnaise sauce and delicate cheese garlic mashed potatoes and mushrooms and turnips and bacon a la the best way and green onions on top, and also chocolate zourgas (which is the exciting name Alex invented for the exciting flourless-brownie-cupcake things Tom adapted from a cake recipe, and which turned out to be one of the most delicious desserts I've ever eaten. None of us are ever buying chocolate souffle from a restaurant again, because restaurants never make souffle right and it always comes out kind of like these, except not at all as good) with chocolate butter sauce. Then they were too tired to come over, so Tom and Alex and I ate it all and it was incredibly delicious. But then they came over last night, and when Tom got home from class (where they learned to make all kinds of seafood), he made them the other steak, and they thought it was so great but it didn't have all the extras and so actually they missed out, but too bad!

But we all had a really great time last night. Kat brought over her webcam/mic, and we talked to Andy B. on Skype for like an hour, which was super fun, and we all just hung out and talked about everything! I love having a social life!

And Leigh is back from spring break this week, so I'm playing for her on Monday and Tuesday!

Also, at some point last week, I made the most delicious pesto cream sauce from the last tablespoon of butter, a leftover hunk of parmesan, a tablespoon of flour, a splash of milk, a tablespoon of Tom's pesto, and a generous amount of black pepper, and it was the best meal I'd eaten in a while!

And that is all for now! Good-bye!

*Of course, maybe one in eight of the songs they pick actually has really cool lyrics. My favorite song from last concert was "Days of Elijah," which was a blast to play, because it's relatively straightforward and is anthemic in a great way rather than an obnoxious way, and here are the lyrics:
These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the word of the lord
And these are the days of your servant, Moses,
Righteousness being restored.
And though these are the days of great trials
Of famine and darkness and sword,
Still we are the voice in the desert, crying
Prepare ye the way of the Lord!
Behold he comes, riding on the clouds,
Shining like the sun, at the trumpet call -
So lift your voice; it's the year of jubilee,
And out of Zion's hill salvation comes!

So, of course, still creepy and religious, but also full of poetic fervor and intelligent rhyming and a really comfortable, progressive lilt and rhythm. I suspect substantial portions of it were taken from Psalms** or something, which I could verify with a little Googling, except that I don't really care.

**Weirdly enough, I actually have a favorite psalm, or anyway piece of a psalm. It's from number 50, of David:

Oh, that I had wings like a dove,
For then I would fly away and be at rest.
Lo, then would I wander far off
And remain in the wilderness.

It was sometimes very comforting to me when I got super antsy in Irvine. Although I do try not to make a habit of deriving comfort from the Tanakh. This is not particularly difficult, given that it's a frequently very uncomfortable work of fiction.

***Actually, I would really love to take the train. And I would especially love to take a detour on the train, like up even farther north to the Great Lakes and Canada, and then back down. It would be the most beautiful thing. But it would also probably cost money, and as they are paying me only $800 for 4 weeks (which, given the hours I will be working, works out to about $3/hour, but they are also housing and feeding me and doing my laundry, and also, summer camps just don't ever pay well, it is part of the deal, unless you are Amy H. and have been working for eTc for nine years and they love you dearly, the end) and I will probably still be paying partial rent, because Jamie and I will both be gone and the boys can't afford to pay the whole thing themselves, I will probably want to be saving everything else. Unless I manage to land some more serious work between now and then! Which would be super great!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cookie Time!

The day before yesterday, I made leaf-shaped chocolate sandwich cookies with buttercream icing in the middle, from the Mrs. Fields Cookie Book my Aunt Carolyn gave me last year! They are delicious. One of the leaves melted flat and turned to lace in the oven, leaving me with an odd number. This problem was easily fixed:

Double-decker cookie time!

Then, yesterday, I made peanut butter cookies, also from the Cookie Book! There are so many exciting recipes in there that I haven't even begun to tap into - it is quite the adventure. I put chocolate chips in the second half of the dough. Mmmmmmmm.

Yesterday for dinner, Tom made steak with soy sauce and mushrooms and onions a la something French. I can't keep track of all the names of the ways he cooks things, but let me assure you, they are all exciting.


I appear to be beginning to again practice a habit I picked up my last year in Irvine: Sitting in the sun. I'm gonna take a guess and say that for five or six days out of every seven, for at least three months running, last spring, I sat out in my patio chair and red sunglasses and read distractedly in the sun on the wide sidewalk in front of the Rabbit Hole for at least an hour, usually more. It was my favorite thing to do during that time.

Yesterday and today I have gone out to Lance Corporal Thomas P. Noonan Playground (the little blacktop park three blocks from the HC ["the HC," for "Hotel California" of course, is what I'm tentatively trying out as the convenient nickname for my apartment, as of now]), wearing my red sunglasses and flip-flops, and sat out in a bench in the sun and read distractedly (well, yesterday I was pretty focused; today I was eavesdropping on the couple next to me, who had something mean to say about everyone but at least seemed to have good politics). It's supposed to be warm again tomorrow, and then rain Monday and Tuesday, but as the spring and summer pick up (happy spring, by the way!), I expect I'll spend a lot of time out there. It is my favorite thing to do, after all (and fortunately it is free).

I'd better go buy some more sunscreen.

The other thing I want to do, now that it is spring, is fill the apartment with flowers. I want to live in a flower home. The walls are earth tones, and calming - but it is time for them to bloom.

The rainbow in Noonan Playground.
(I don't know why it is so small, when the other pictures taken on my phone aren't.)
(Oh, wait, I bet it has something to do with zooming in, which I did.)

I read novels and write postcards in the sun.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Wear My Sunglasses At Night*

So now to continue about my life.

Yesterday I went down to NYU to pick up chords for two of the gospel songs, which an NYU student agreed to transcribe for me for $10 each, which is a great deal. I'm hoping that the choir will reimburse me those expenses - I emailed them asking them to, but haven't heard back yet (of course, I haven't received the check for the first job with them either... that's going to be the initial topic of discussion at the rehearsal next week....) - but even if they don't, that's a $20 expense for what will probably be a $200 job, so I'm ok with it (assuming they ever pay me at all...). (It is not their fault. It is the fault of the NYU Budget Office. But I need the choir to be hassling the budget office about it for me, because I want my money.)

But the surprise exciting part of the journey was this: I wore a t-shirt and no sweater! Heck, I was even prepared to buy ice cream from the ice cream truck I saw once before at the Astor Place 6 stop! Unfortunately, it was not there, but I was eating ice cream in spirit! It was beautiful out yesterday! So beautiful! Wow! It was like a summer day.

And then yesterday evening, Tom, who had learned to make duck confi (is that how you spell it?) and also the Five Mother Sauces in his recent classes (have I talked about him starting culinary school? He started culinary school. It is an excellent development), and who was allowed to bring three duck legs and over a quart of duck fat home with him, made us all duck confi sandwiches with mushrooms a la something-French-I-don't-remember and Bernaise (sp?) sauce, and they were so delicious I practically passed out on the spot. I love having a chef as a roommate.

In other news, the music director of Pied Piper Players, after I emailed him the other day reminding him that I'm around and looking for work, invited me to play the piano for a rehearsal and recital for eight teens next week. So that will be fun. I also emailed the director at Theatre Resources Unlimited again, reminding them of the same thing, and he emailed me back apologizing for forgetting about me when hiring pianists for their upcoming auditions and offering me a free slot in their accompanist listings, which was very kind of him. I also have a few more transcriptions to do for the journalism student from Columbia, and I'm waiting on the next big batch of interviews from the professor at CCNY. If those start coming in, I'll be good with income for a while; if they don't, I won't. So we'll see how that goes.

It is supposed to be 70 degrees out today, Friday, and Saturday! Maybe I'll go to the beach! I have been missing the beach. Although it might not feel the same without Mexican food. I realized that the three things I miss most about the West Coast are all food: Mexican food, sourdough bread, and In 'n' Out. I didn't go to In 'n' Out that often, and Petey's is a reasonable substitute, but I was hitting up Mexican food at least once a week for the last couple years (Lissa! I miss our Arriba dates!), and good sourdough bread is just heaven. I fully intend to make sourdough starter and then make some sourdough myself, but it will have to wait until June, as the starter has to stay quite warm for about a week.

But the beach will still be great. When I went to Brighton Beach when I was here on the program, I ate the hot dogs and ice cream they sold there. Are hot dogs and ice cream what New Yorkers eat on the beach instead of burritos?

And then on Sunday (it's supposed to cool back down and rain on Sunday, which I am also comfortable with :)) I'm going to a seder! I'm very excited; Ruthy's friend Marie invited me, and it should be secular and fun. Also, I'm planning to make a seder for my roommates, which I did last year too (no, wait, the year before last; last year I went home for Passover). When I made it before, I made smoked salmon with dill sauce and deviled eggs and sauteed veggies and flourless chocolate torte, plus the whole seder plate. So much fun! I can't wait!

Soon I will start wearing my sunglasses outside, as it will be spring (actually, it might be spring now, in spirit). I look hot in my sunglasses.

I look hot in my sunglasses... do we all.

These are not my sunglasses, but I wish they were.

*Well, it is night in one of these pictures, anyway.

A Post With a Surprise Twist

It has been sooooooooo beautiful out this week! I have never seen weather so beautiful!

Two days ago Alex and I went to the Performing Arts Library up on 65th in Lincoln Center to copy music. (Alex finally went to the DMV and got his NY driver's license, so he was able to get a library card! Library cards are pretty much the best things ever, so I am entirely thrilled on his behalf.) We brought along our change purses, as we both have lots and lots of change and have been trying to get rid of it (so far, the only thing it gets used for is doughnuts every few weeks, which are delicious but which do not use up the change, which continues to accumulate! [this change does not include quarters, by the way; we can never have enough quarters, as the laundromat takes only quarters and 12 of them per wash/dry load]). We used only change at the copy machines, so that we did not actually spend any money (I, for one, always round up my expenses to the dollar, so any leftover change is pretty much free money! I think Alex does the same thing). This made the copies 20 cents (why is there no cents sign on the keyboard? what a sad lack) instead of 15¢ (isn't that exciting? I copy-pasted it from the wikipedia article on cents!), and we did not make a tremendous many, but that is ok. It was really just an initial, investigative foray. We browsed the sheet music shelves, and Alex found three new songs he thinks will work for him and copied them; I found "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by the Proclaimers and copied that, which pretty much made my day. Next time, instead of browsing shelves filled with musical theatre, pop, rock, classical, and everything else and hoping to find something good, we'll do more research at home first on the internet and then go request songs at the Song Index, which is where they bring it out to you and you get it for an hour or so and bring it back after you copy it.

So anyway, we had fun with all that, and then it was so beautiful out that we bought some $2 hot dogs (sometimes Alex is not willing to pay $2, and says to the hot dog guy, "I want a hot dog, but I'll only pay you $1 for it," and then sometimes he gets a $1 hot dog. I could never do that. I am too shy and nervous and it would show. Alternatively, though, the other day a hot dog guy told him it was $2 and then after handing him the hot dog insisted that it was $3, which is ridiculous, and eventually Alex paid the $3, which I would not have done. I would have given him the hot dog back and not paid at all, or I would have given him $2 and left. Nobody should pay $3 for a hot dog) and went out to Central Park, which was just a long block and a half away to the east, and found a not-too-crowded spot on a rock in the sun and read Howl's Moving Castle out loud to each other! This is happening because both Andy B. and I have told Alex to read it, because it is a great book, but he tried once before and thought it was dull, so the other day I just picked it up and started reading it out loud, and it is working! He no longer thinks it is dull. Which is good, because it is not. Everybody should read Howl's Moving Castle.

I think that might be the way of Diana Wynne Jones, though. Some of her books seem dull at the beginning, and the plot seems uninteresting, even though it's not. And that happens with different of her books for different people. It took me forever to even start reading Dark Lord of Derkholm, because even though many people fervently recommended it to me, it just seemed too boring for words. And then of course it was clever and funny and entirely entertaining! I had the same experience with Castle in the Air, the sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, even though I had already loved HMC! And I know people who couldn't get into the Chrestomanci books at all, even though I adored them and even though they liked her other books.

The other thing about Diana Wynne Jones, of course, is how the plot is full of mysteries full of mysteries full of mysteries until the-last-three-pages-when-everything-is-revealed-in-an-incredibly-confusing-flurry-of-complicated-revelation-slash-resolution, which is exciting but can be perplexing. HMC took me two tries before I understood what was going on at the end.

But they are all worth it! I guess the moral of this post, which started out as a post about my life this week, is this: Read Diana Wynne Jones!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

When I Am Rich

I will eat an egg bagel* with cream cheese, onions, capers, and lox every day for brunch.

*Cinnamon raisin bagels and everything bagels will be acceptable substitutes.

I'm on a Roll!

Yesterday evening I made French bread and cream of broccoli soup!

The bread is delicious. I used this recipe. It was easier and quicker than any of the other breads I've made recently - it only rises once, and requires no kneading - but it might be my favorite so far. (Of course, I remembered halfway through the rising that I in fact already have a loaf of French bread I bought from Foodtown two days ago... but hey, whatevs, you can always use more French bread, right? I foresee French toast in my future....)

The cream of broccoli soup was really for Alex, because we were talking recently about how passionately he adores it. I used this recipe (except I sauteed the veggies in oil instead of butter), and while it was really fun to make (I am super enamored with Tom's little immersion blender), I have to say it was kind of bland (even though I added three cloves of chopped garlic to the onions and celery at the beginning, and plenty of salt and pepper at the end). Alex loved it, though, and Tom and Jamie liked it too, and it was good with a little grated cheddar and a slice of fresh bread. I think if I make it again, though, I might double the onions and garlic. I don't know what else to do to make it more flavorful. A splash of balsamic vinegar really improved the lentil soup I made the other day, but I'm nervous about putting vinegar or soy sauce or anything like that in a milk based soup. Hm...

Later, Tom made snickerdoodles. Tom rocks at snickerdoodles. Normally I don't really get what the whole snickerdoodle fuss is about, but Tom's snickerdoodles are outstanding. I wish I'd had room in my stomach for more than one!

In other news, it's raining (yay); I fell down the stairs a little bit yesterday and now my left ankle is sore (no real pain - don't freak out - it's really ok); I've been emailing casting agencies to offer accompaniment services but haven't heard back yet from any of them (trying to decide if the next step is to drop by with a resume/cover letter or to mail it in; I'm leaning toward the latter, as casting directors are apparently notoriously testy about being called or visited without warning, at least by actors); I was going to go to the post office today to mail in my federal taxes and to send Lord Sunday back to Ilan, but I will probably postpone that until Monday; I went to Foodtown and bought a broom (finally! We were making do with the tiniest of hand brooms and a swiffer); and I am learning Esperanto.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Always Forget to Title Posts Until Later

Today I made lentil soup and cornbread! Yum yum yum! It is so neat how you puree part of the lentil soup and then mix it back in to make the whole thing thicker and more delicious. And the cornbread was the perfect complement! Plus, of course, a slice of coconut creme pie for dessert. I like cooking - and I love having cooked!

Livin' It Up At The-

Our apartment has a name!

Jamie and Alex were commenting on how many friends from California have come/are coming to crash here, so of course there was only one logical choice for an apartment name....

NB: We do, however, let you leave. :P

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Full Course Meal, All Told

So a few days ago - whichever day the Oscars were - I made Nana's Parker House Rolls (i.e. my father's grandmother's rolls, recipe given me by my Aunt Carolyn). I was nervous, because they are basically the most delicious thing on the planet when Aunt Carolyn makes them, and I wanted them to be delicious when I made them too. Fortunately, they were! They were entirely delicious!

I ate four of them hot out of the oven, with lots of butter, as did Alex; then we brought them over to Jamie's friend Amanda's apartment, where Jamie and Amanda and Amanda's friend Courtney (who, it turns out, did the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe tour with Jeff P., who was a grad student at UCI until last year. Talk about the small world of theatre...) each had one. We left one at home for Tom. Everybody loved them - a smashing success!

Amanda had made Indian chicken curry, which was delicious, and we ate that and watched the Oscars, which are mostly boring but entertaining in the right company, which this was. Highlights: Mo'Nique's speech; Kathryn Bigelow winning best director/picture; when that lady Kanye'd that dude (she did it, and all of us pretty much at the same time went, "wtf? she totally just kanye'd that guy!" and then everybody else on the internet called it that too, which was funny).

Then today after doing a little job searching on the internet, getting a haircut (yay! actually, she cut it shorter than I asked and didn't do the layers how I asked, but it looks pretty good anyway, and it does the trick), and doing the laundry, I made coconut cream (creme?) pie, as per Jamie's request! I used the pie crust that had been sitting in the freezer for two weeks, which involved some hilarious rejuvenating endeavors, but I think it worked out ok, although the pie won't be chilled enough to try for another hour and a half. In the meantime, I have potatoes-layered-with-other-things (namely onions, flour, salt, pepper, cheddar, parmesan, a smattering of feta, two egg whites leftover from the pie, and a cup or so of milk) cobbled together from three recipes involving potatoes-layered-with-other-things-and-then-baked. I can't imagine that they won't come out scrumptious (I've used "delicious" too many times in this post - I need me some synonyms, yo!), but we will see!

New haircut! Blurry pic taken courtesy of my phone camera!

Awkward alarmed cow pic also taken courtesy of my phone camera! Thanks, phone camera!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Newsy News News!

So here is the news!

Jamie, who came back maybe two or three weeks ago from 10 months working on Disney Cruise Lines, just got hired to the Sesame Street tour! This is very exciting and great for her. They tour the east coast for three months, then go to Hawaii, then get a break for a month during which she can come back here (although it is likely to be the month I am likely to be in the Adirondacks, which would be sad...), then to Asia!! It is pretty neat that she got hired so soon after getting back. She is having a successful career as a performing artist! Wow!

It is sad for the rest of us, of course. I was so pleased to have her back - it is nice to have companionship during the day, when Tom is asleep and Alex is at work, and Jamie is super fun and great. Also, all our rents went down this month because she was here, which was especially great for me. So my life will be a little lonelier again and my finances a little tighter again (although my budget is somewhat arbitrary, since it is based on how much money I want/need to be spending, rather than how much I make, since what I make is so erratic!). Oh well! It is warming up here, so I can spend more time outside, and I have been trying this last week to really buckle down and look for work. It's tricky, because looking for work involves spending a LOT of time online on the computer, which gets tedious and old, and sometimes it involves going to talk to people, which is about the most unfun, terrifying, difficult thing I can think of. But that is ok! Maybe something will come of it, eventually!

I did have a little meeting with Michael Lavine, who is a prominent accompanist/MD/vocal coach (known for having one of the largest private sheet music collections in the world), on Saturday, and he gave me some new ideas and kinda bucked me up. He suggested emailing casting directors; visiting stage doors and asking to talk to the pianist, resume and cover letter in hand; emailing some specific people I hadn't really thought about; getting into coaching; and... I remembered something else he told me, but then I took a break from typing this and forgot! Oh well. I've got it written down somewhere :)

So about this Adirondacks job I keep mentioning: Long Lake Camp for the Arts, which is a sleep away theatre-dance-music-circus-and I think some other stuff-camp up in the Adirondacks upstate, needs a music director for one of their three three-week sessions (the other sessions are taken care of already) - and I happened to email them just as they were looking! So Geoff, the guy I've been talking to on the phone, is enthusiastic about hiring me, but doesn't know enough about music directing to pronounce his confidence in my ability just from talking to me on the phone. So their long-time music director is going to call me when he gets back to the states around the middle of the month, and if he pronounces me good-to-go, I'm hired! I know that I can music direct camp kids - certainly I have the experience! - so I think he will probably recognize that too; as a result, I'm fairly confident about getting hired.

Now I just have to find work before and after those three weeks this summer! 'Tis but a minor task....


As for the gig last night - Performathon! a variety show to raise money for Haiti, which was to pay me $25 to play for a few singers - I showed up at seven. I met Lee, the guy putting it all together. Met the two singers, rehearsed their stuff. And then it was 7:45 (the show was supposed to start at 7:30), and none of the other performers had shown up and zero audience members, so Lee cancelled. I got paid my $25, though, and Lee is prepared to call me again, and one of the singers (who is French! from France!) has my card and is also prepared to call me when she needs a pianist. So I think it was a productive evening!

Well, I think that's all for now! Alex is headed to the DMV to finally get his New York ID card, so he can get a library card, so he can copy sheet music at the NYPL. I might meet him at the library later, if it does not conflict with playing for Leigh's voice lesson down at NYU. Then laundry, then watching the end of Passing Strange, then bed, I expect! And before all that, I need to keep looking for work....

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Background Music

If the whole universe were winding away, at the end of all things, and a new universe quietly being born, I think the second movement of the Pathetique Sonata would be playing through it all, through the last spark of a dying ember and through the vastness of emptiness, through all that quietness, and through a new flame's first spark.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I Got a Little Job!

I answered a craigslist ad asking for an accompanist for a variety show; it's at a lounge on Houston on Monday. They're only paying me $25 for the evening, but it should be fun, and apparently they'll be having a bunch of these shows, so if we get along on Monday, rate negotiation will ensue! I'm excited.


came in the mail!!! My life is so great!!!! My family is so great!!!! I am trying to decide whether to start right now even though I know I'm going to be interrupted and I do have a good book I'm in the middle of to tide me over, or whether I should wait until this evening so I can sit down undisturbed!!!! But actually, in this apartment, being undisturbed when other people are home in the evening is something of a fantasy (fortunately - it's not as if I don't get enough time alone on a regular basis), so maybe I should just start RIGHT NOW.

ETA: Lord Sunday is a book, the seventh in the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. And I started it :)

Why Am I Doing This Again?

Does anybody have or know where to get the chords or sheet music to the following gospel songs?:
"Wonderful is Your Name" by Juanita Bynum;
"Forever" by CeCe Winans;
"He Reigns" by Youthful Praise

I'm playing for the NYU Gospel Choir again. The first time, they were singing eight songs: They had sheet music for four; I found chords for two; I found an effective YouTube tutorial for one; and I kind of pieced together the last one (the choir director wrote down the notes the choir was singing, and my friend Jeremy noted down the chords I. ii. III.-style, whatever you call that) in an awkward way. The prep work I did for it was super frustrating and stressful, but then the concert was really fun, so I told them I would do it again.

This time, they're singing eight songs again: They have the sheet music for four; I found sheet music online for one; and I can find nothing nothing nothing for the other three, except super unhelpful, incomplete, lyric and rhythm-less YouTube tutorials. Aaaaaaaaghhhh. FML.

ETA: Also helpful would be a really really cheap transcription service. I don't need all the notes. I don't even need the melody. Just chords and lyrics. Somebody help!

Friday, March 5, 2010

When I Am Rich

I will always have ice cream in my freezer, and it will never be lower quality than Ben and Jerry's (it will possibly be higher quality than Ben and Jerry's, but I do not yet know what that might be, aside from home made, which I will also have).

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Updates :)

Jamie's friend Suzi just came and stayed with us for a week. It was pretty fun. Suzi is British and has the best accent and has been living in Paris working at Paris Disney for the last four years and worked with Jamie on her cruise ship. Suzi is great. She left just yesterday.

Last night, Alex and Tom and Jamie and I were coming home from Petey's Burgers, which is a delicious little burger place in Astoria that is reputed to be the In 'n' Out of the East Coast (verdict: Petey's is more expensive than In 'n' Out - burgers run about $6-$7; the first time we went there, the patties were kind of dry, but since then they have been moist and delicious; In 'n' Out has better sauce; Petey's provides more substantial burgers), and we saw, taped up to be thrown away, three big boards, maybe 3'x5', with ads on them for maybe Target or maybe H&M or somewhere similar. One of them is red with silver print and says "sugar and spice you sure look nice gifts back here at your favorite price"; the other two picture screaming female profiles. Now we have a decorated apartment!

Also up on the walls are the two maps my mother sent me, and a nice arrangement of pictures of Jamie dressed up as Mickey Mouse. I am pleased with the decorating progress, although I am also highly cautious about putting anything up, for reason of not wanting it to turn into the Rabbit Hole, which was great for a year and a half but made me super claustrophobic by the end.

We are sort of haphazardly trying to come up with a name for this place btdubs! Any suggestions?

Anyway, other than those fun times, I have mostly just been sitting at home rereading Keys to the Kingdom, in preparation for the last one coming out, and emailing and calling ten billion theatre-related people trying to get a job. So far, the mostly likely is a 3-week music directing gig this summer in the Adirondacks. More on that later!


I made it on Friday for Shabbes! It was delicious. I made the white kind, not the whole wheat kind, because challah should be as delicious as possible. I put sesame seeds and poppy seeds on top. It was a very large loaf, but Jamie and Suzi and Tom and Alex and I ate almost all of it, and then I made the rest into French toast the next morning!

I Bought Two Boxes

Last week, Alex and I went and tapped at Ripley-Grier again, in this enormous room they rented to us for $20 because it was in an awkward time slot, and that was great enough, but guess what they sell at Ripley-Grier???


Oh yeah.