I've finally gotten around to ripping some videos of recent performances for friends and family outside of MA to see. I hope posting these doesn't come off as terribly egotistical, but getting back into doing musical theater has been a a big, big deal for me personally and, I admit, I'm rather proud of these performances. I've been fortunate enough recently to get to play two roles that I've wanted to play for years, have gotten back into vocal training... and there's only more on the horizon, I hope. :)

First up, "Good Old Reliable Jake" from Evil Dead: The Musical. If you've been following my lj, then you know how obsessed I've been with this show since I first saw it in NYC, so I'll spare you the personal background.

I think the only thing I need to preface this with is that the stage direction on "double bypass surgery" was NOT my idea. *blush*

Since the show, people have actually recognized me around town as "Jake", and even once wanted a photo with me. It's a(n ego) trip. :)

After Evil Dead, I didn't have any immediate plans to do more shows, but then I found out that the next show the MIT Musical Theater Guild was putting on was Jesus Christ Superstar, which I've been in love with since college. "Trial Before Pilate" is, IMO, the climax of the show, and one of my favorite scenes. Pilate is an unusual and challenging character because he's only in three scenes in the entire show, and yet if the actor playing him doesn't completely own those three scenes, and make people leave seeing Pilate as one of the major roles, then he's failed at the character, I think. This scene also has what I consider to be the most inspired bit of direction in the whole production, which was only added during the final dress rehearsal. The ensemble had their hands covered in blood from the flogging part of the scene, but had to run off for a quick change immediately afterward, so the question of how they could get the blood off of their hands quickly was raised. I think the way the director answered this was a brilliant mix of stage practicality and effective symbolism, but I won't spoil it for you. See for yourself. :)

I think maybe I could make a career out of playing The Intimidating Guy. There are certainly enough of them in musical theater. Anybody need a Javert? :)

I'm starting to worry about the number of embeds in this post, so I'll switch to links, but there is also video of Stranger Ways, the band with which I've been singing and drumming, performing at the big party I mentioned previously. Here are two of my favorites:

If you've ever been curious what a middle-eastern doumbek drum sounds like accompanying a Ghaelic traditional (hey, I use the drums I have), here is Fhear a Bhata

If you've ever wanted proof that "English folk tune" does not mean a song doesn't have extremely creepy lyrics, check out Boys of Bedlam.
(originally posted at about 4:30am last night, but had it filtered so no one could see it. post-dating it to now)

Today I...

* Went to my first rehearsal for the mini-opera that is being staged at the Ig Nobel prizes, in which I am in the ensemble, playing a singing bacterium (no, really!).

* ...where the lead soprano, a professional whose next gig is going to Florida to play Madame Butterfly, complimented me on my voice and offered to get together with me to work on my opera repertoire.

* Went to the Somerville Fluffer Festival (like a smaller ArtBeat with more candy) where I ran into more friends and zomgsomanyawesomedoggiesIpettedthemall!!!

* Went to the release party for my friend Stever's new book! I'd never seen him speak before, and the guy is good! I can't wait for his one-man musical version of the book (I'm totally not kidding).

* Went to a magical-as-always Jason Webley show

* ...where at one point he picked me as a volunteer to play drums for one of his songs! It was just a schticky audience participation thing, playing a simple beat while two other people played one note repeatedly on the piano and he sang and played accordion, but when it was done he was convinced enough that I actually knew what I was doing that he asked me to stay on stage and accompany him and the Violist from The Army of Broken Toys (another favorite live band of mine) on 11 Saints! This was huge for me on so many levels. I've been saying to myself more and more lately that I reeeally want to get some equipment and start playing kit again, and that I would dearly love to play drums on stage again... and then not only do I do all that (well, I didn't get to keep the kit), but I got to do it with one of my favorite musicians! Also, I am told that I did not suck! Woo!

* After the show a bunch of us went out to dinner, which involved me giving Webley a ride there, and afterward to the party he was going to next. In addition to it being nice to chat with him and a bunch of the other swell folks who were at the show, when we got to the party he invited [livejournal.com profile] fontia and I along. The thing looked pretty classy-- lots of older people dressed very nicely, so it was a bit intimidating, but we decided "heck, it's an adventure" and dove in anyway. Turns out it was indeed a full on artsy "society" sort of deal, the kind of thing we thought only existed in movies. It was a birthday for a local software entrepreneur turned hotshot photographer, held at his "studio", which is actually a giant converted mill full of funky little sculptures, big, artsy photos he's done of The Dresden Dolls and the like (apparently we'd just missed AFP and her entourage), and lots of Very Impressive Looking People.

* ...and yet, the highlight of the whole thing for me was a drum I found. The host had a bunch of hand drums in one of the main rooms, and I found a reeeeally nifty mid-sized goblet drum kind that, instead of having a skin or synthetic head, had a head was made of solid wood. This made for a gorgeous mellow sound and a broad range of sounds, because you have all the normal drum sounds you can make by striking it hard enough to resonate, plus many different sounds you can make by tapping more lightly. Really fun! The host even invited me to join them the next time they have a drumming event.

So yeah, a pretty darn good day. Years ago now I decided that I was going to make "why not?" my new motto. I've had varying degrees of success at living that motto, or even remembering it at times, but lately I've been having pretty good luck with it, finding little adventures like that party and saying yes to them.

Here's to more little adventures! Now if I can only figure out how to fit sleep in with all this awesome, I'm set. *yaaaawn*

Edit: after some research, I found out that the drum I found is called a "djembe cajon" (beware auto-playing music), which is basically the djembe version of a south american drum called a cajon, which means "crate". It's a fascinating instrument, as it is the evolution of slaves literally banging on old crates to make music, but it's been cleverly modified to have rattles along the top edge to provide distinct bass and snare sounds. Apparently the cajon is a staple in a lot of south american music, but I'd never heard of it. So now I find myself wanting, in addition to a kit, both the djembe cajon and a regular cajon. Am I developing a drum problem? Right now, the only thing keeping me from buying one, other than not wanting to spend all my money and/or drown in Stuff, is the fact that just watching dudes like this makes my fingers hurt (from what I've seen this guy's technique seems unusual, but still-- damn impressive).

Man, this has been one of those weeks that's so full of stuff I've wanted to journal about, but I just haven't found the time. It was oddly satisfying to look at my schedule and realize that I had something planned for just about every evening this week.

The first event of note was the first meeting of the Second Shift creative team in a while. I can't say much, but there are some very cool things in the works. We hope to be expanding our audience a great deal this next season and, content-wise, I think there is a real chance of season 2 blowing season 1 out of the water. In short, I'm very excited about this.

On a related note, Second Shift celebrates the one-year anniversary of our first episode's release on 6/26. No promises, but wouldn't it be swell if we could start releasing season 2 around then? =:)

Had an awesome time at karaoke on Wednesday. I wish Do Re Mi wasn't so darn expensive, but it's so nice to just have a room full of friends with the songs all to ourselves. [livejournal.com profile] kamianya did a great job of getting a big group together. It was pretty much all people from the local larp/gaming scene and several people remarked that a lot of us rarely get to interact out-of-character. It's a weird place to be, but it's true. I've known some of these people for over a year now and yet in some cases I've only recently learned (or at least been able to consistently remember) their real names. There's the classic larper exchange:

Person 1: Oh, do you know Joe?
Person 2: Hmm.. I'm not sure.
Person 1: Well, he was the knight in such-and-such game.
Person 2: I don't think I was in that one.
Person 1: He was also that one crazy guy in some-other-game.
Person 2: Oh, him! Yeah, he was also the lemur in that jungle game, right?
Person 1: Yeah.
Person 2: Oh, ok. Yeah, I totally know Joe.

So, yeah, it was really fun to get to interact with people outside of a game context. Despite the weather (not that there is anything to complain about right now-- friggin gorgeous) and despite missing my friends from CA, I am totally digging it in here in MA, and keep finding new and interesting people in my community.

Plus, I got to sing. Just as larping finally gave me an outlet for acting, karaoke gives me a chance to sing again, and man have I missed it. Do Re Mi even has a decent collection of broadway stuff, including a bunch of songs from relatively obscure shows like Chess and Jeckyll and Hyde (which it turns out [livejournal.com profile] phoenix_rinna and others are actually also into! woo!). If they had Title of Show and Evil Dead as well, I'd probably never leave. I spent this morning looking into software I can use to make and play my own karaoke files and it looks do-able. In fact, Jonathan Coulton recently released most of his songs as karaoke files anyway. Woot! That geek-oriented karaoke collection I keep talking about the awesomeness of? Maybe it'll actually happen. Then we can have karaoke parties at our place for free! Yay!

Anyway, it was really nice to get to sing for people again, and people seem to remain appreciative of my sound, which is very encouraging. I got to do some of my standards, like Anthem from Chess, and found that I was able to do the Big Notes At The End with relative ease. Sequoia and I had only just started training again when we left San Diego, but our teacher was able to show me a few techniques that have worked really, really well. Man, I need to find another teacher.

I also got to perform Confrontation from Jeckyll and Hyde again, which is one of my favorite pieces to do nowadays. I've started doing that song every time I go to Do Re Mi because it would be a great performance piece if I can master it. I haven't quite figured out how to do a good Hyde voice without wrecking Jeckyl's voice in the process, but nonetheless people's reactions were quite, quite flattering. Someday I will have to contrive an opportunity to do that song "for real". [livejournal.com profile] rigel has suggested that I see about doing it as a skit at Arisia's Masquerade some year. Maaaaybe.

Aside from the fun of performing, there was a ton of great social energy and I had great fun just sitting back and listening to everyone else sing or participating in big 'ol sing-alongs with 15 people on Bohemian Rhapsody and It's The End of the World as We Know It. Awesome. Plus I got to do a bunch of duets, talk broadway, skritch heads and then, when they closed the place at 1:30, most of us headed out to IHOP because, dammit, we were all still enjoying ourselves too much to call it a night. A great time all-around.

And then tonight is [livejournal.com profile] rigel's party. Woo! More people!

In other news, I hope to start a couple of campaign-style games soon. I've been doing my first Requiem character for the last several months, which was my first time creating a non-tabletop character that was persistent across multiple games, and I'm really enjoying him. Given some of the less-nice things about this character, that's actually a little scary, but as someone whose concience tends to be a bit hyperactive at times, it's nice playing someone who is friendly, outgoing and, depending on how I decide to play him, borderline sociopathic. =:)

I'm also working on a concept for Void Stalkers, which I'm getting excited about, though it seems to be indicative of a trend wherein if left to my own devices I seem to invariably come up with semi-seriously damaged characters to play. I'm sure that's deeply meaningful, but what the hell, it's still fun for now.

Edit: Hmm... my Doctor Who mood icons seem to be broken. This is most unfortunate and I'll have to look into that. It's time I added some David Tennant into the mix anyway.
Ok, so I know [livejournal.com profile] fiatlouis (probably) did it first, but apparently buffy sing-along parties are a Real Thingtm now and they started out here at the Coolidge theater, where it will be happening again along with a bunch of other Buffy Stufftm this saturday, 4/14. Rock.

Tix are $12. Anyone up for it?

EDIT: Blargh. I just realized that this is the same weekend as Festival of the LARPs and that I will be there while this happens. Then I realized that [livejournal.com profile] rigel told me about the sing-along and the fact that it would conflict yesterday. Sadness. Oh well, still looking forward to FOTL!

EDIT, part deux: Someone posted to the cam mailing list asking about needing crash space and a ride to the sing-along. He seems to be involved with the show because he needs to get there around 9pm and is offering free tix in exchange for these things. Send me an email (my username @gmail) if you're willing and able to help the fellow out.



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