in love with film

I just got back a roll of black and white film that I shot on my Yashica FX-2 in Seattle, LA and on my cross-country road trip. I’m so in love with some of the shots, I had to share. I may never shoot digital again.

Restaurant, Santa Fe.

Snowy benches, Santa Fe.

Bar, Seattle.

Rest stop, Arizona.

Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles.

Wig shop, Seattle.

Snowy trees, Texas.

Seats, Paramount Theater, Seattle.

Rest Stop, New Mexico.

Ferry, Seattle.

I-40, Mojave Desert.

Still life, New Mexico.

That's a Wrap, L.A.!

Ryan flew into town for my second to last week in LA. It was great to see him – I wish he could have stayed longer. We had a really nice visit though – we did a lot, but we also relaxed at home a lot – it was the perfect mix of productivity and chillaxin’.

We spent our first day together gorging on the mammoth pancakes at The Griddle – so good, but SO huge! It took us three days, literally to finish our portions. We hung out at the Grove and explored the Farmer’s Market there and spent the evening barbecuing at the apartment.

Pumpkin pancakes at The Griddle

Pumpkin pancakes at The Griddle

On Tuesday we drove out to Santa Monica which was an adventure it and of itself. The traffic in LA is legendary, and it took us FOREVER to get out to the coast. We finally did, though and had a nice afternoon walking around the promenade and along the cliff side park.  We ate another ridiculous meal on Wednesday at the famous Pink’s hot dog stand – it was more for the experience than for the food.  I can cross it off my list and don’t need to ever go back 🙂

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On Thursday we drove to Pasadena to visit the Gamble House, a beautiful craftsman home built in 1908. They just don’t make homes like that anymore – gorgeous! And it was built in only 10 months!

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On Friday we met up with a group of people from “Spamalot” and went on the “V.I.P.” tour at Warner Bros. Studios. It was really interesting to see behind the scenes at all the different sound stages and to visit the back lots, and the scene shop and prop shop. It seemed so removed from what we see on TV – to me it just looked like a summer stock theater company – especially with everyone riding their bikes all over the place from stage to stage. It was a really neat experience.

Warner Brothers Studios

Warner Brothers Studios

Over the weekend Ryan and I spent quite a bit of time taking photos of the fires in the hills near Glendale. The smoke clouds were clearly visible from downtown and Hollywood, and the smoke was very thick in the air, especially in the mornings. I had Sunday night off work, and after dinner in Los Feliz, Ryan and I drove up to the Griffith Observatory to take some photos. They are finally getting the fires under control, but I think at this point over 140,000 have burned in Angeles National Forest.

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On my final Monday off in LA (!) we had lunch at the Alcove Cafe in Los Feliz to celebrate Ryan’s birthday (which was on Wednesday) then Ryan spent a couple of hours at Amoeba Records while I ran some errands. We had dinner that night with Christopher and Sean at Cafe Stella (which was so yum!) and then we all went to the Vermont to see my friend Natalie (who was in town with the “Legally Blonde” tour) perform her solo cabaret show. I did “Bare” with Natalie five years ago and we became fast friends. I’ve seen her solo show a few times now and she gets better every time I see her. She rocks. Even Ryan enjoyed the show and he’s not really  a fan of cabarets! 🙂

Natalie performing her solo show at the Vermont

Natalie performing her solo show at the Vermont

Ryan left on Tuesday 😦 I spent the rest of the week pretty much packing up the apartment in preparation for moving on to San Diego. I met up with Natalie on Friday for lunch and then caught “Legally Blonde” on Sunday night.

I had a great time in LA this summer. It was a totally different LA than I had ever experienced before, being able to just relax and hike and hang out rather than doing uber-touristy things like going to amusement parks and things. I loved my little rental apartment (and so did Tallulah – she is already missing her yard). Hopefully I’ll get a chance to be back again sometime for an extended period of time- maybe on another tour?

On Monday I drove to San Diego, and had a smile on my face as I drove through UCSD’s campus, then down La Jolla Shores to La Jolla and then P.B. and finally to Mission Beach where I have really cute cottage right by the beach for the week. I was so happy to see Fin’s Tacos is still there (which I of course had for lunch yesterday) and also Zanzibar, Tokyo House and World Curry! I’m looking forward to revisiting all my favorite places this week 🙂

On Mission Bay

On Mission Bay

The tour is most definitely winding down – only a few more weeks now! I have my sublet in NYC all lined up for November and am beginning my planning for my cross-country trip back after we close in Costa Mesa – which includes a stop in Houston to see Fran and Tanya, and then Wisconsin to see Ryan. I’ll be back in NYC before I know it!

Celebrating the Spam!

I’ve got some catching up to do here of my time with Ryan during his visit in LA, but unfortunately I have to pack, so it will have to wait! We leave LA tomorrow, and it really feels like the end of the tour is near, now. We’ve had a couple of long-time beloved cast members leave in the last couple of weeks and everyone is starting to pack up boxes and send things home. The end is clearly in sight.

I wanted to do something for the company before the show closed, and so I have been working on a book of my tour photos, which I put together on Blurb.com. The finished book “Travels on the Bright Side” turned out beautifully and it is now on sale at the Blurb bookstore. You can go there to check out a preview of the book. I’m so happy to see all the photos in one place – these past three years have been quite a ride!

Click on the book image to the right of this entry to be taken to the Blurb bookstore.

One of our cast members, Nigel, who has been one of our swings for almost as long as I’ve been on the tour, is leaving us after our LA engagement. Nigel is a really funny, talented guy, and he is going to stay in LA and give the business here a shot. To celebrate his time in “Spamalot”, he put together a video called “Spamarap” which he premiered last night at shot night. Check it out – it is HI-larious and really well done (be warned, there are some dirty parts – so not for the faint of heart).

More soon from San Diego!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Sewing, Photography, Hanging out, Working.

That’s pretty much what the last few weeks has consisted of. It’s been great.

Santa Monica beach

Santa Monica beach

Suzanne at the Cooper/Bowen pool party

Suzanne at the Cooper/Bowen pool party

Hiking at Verdugo Mountain

Hiking at Verdugo Mountain

Photographing Lyn as the Lady of the Lake

Photographing Lyn as the Lady of the Lake

My latest finished sewing project - the Mendocino Sundress

My latest finished sewing project - the Mendocino Sundress

Ryan comes tomorrow for a week! Can’t wait to see him!

Happy Days

I drove up to the Bay Area last week to be there for my brother Nick’s kidney transplant. Nick was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease over ten years ago and his kidney function has been slowly declining since then. My sister, Becky, who is the bravest person I know, offered one of her kidneys to Nick. I will be forever in awe of her selflessness.

The surgeries were on Wednesday and both went so smoothly – the doctors raved about how beautiful Becky’s donated kidney was, and it started working in Nick immediately. Both Becky and Nick were home by the weekend, and although they are still sore and recuperating, their respective kidney functions are doing amazingly well. We couldn’t have asked for a more seamless and smooth transplant. Please remember them in your prayers for their ongoing road to health.

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I got back to LA on Friday night, exhausted, and just in time for a five show weekend 🙂 The only thing I did of note over the weekend, was to go over to the Grand Central Market in downtown LA between shows on Sunday. The market is primarily Mexican food vendors – there is lots of ready-to-eat stuff as well as booths filled with spices and produce. It was fun to walk around and I picked up some goodies for dinner.

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On Sunday night we bid goodbye to Sarah Lin Johnson, one of our swings, who is leaving to join the “Young Frankenstein” tour, and also Rick Holmes, who was playing a limited engagement with our company as “Lancelot”. We had drinks for them the night before at Kendall’s, a nice bar at the Music Center.

On Monday I ran some errands, and then spent the evening at Chris and Sean’s. Chris made up some of his delicious fish tacos and invited a group of friends over to partake. One of the attendees was our friend Mark, who Chris and I both went to college with. I hadn’t seen Mark in years and it was great to catch up with him and to meet his wife Brooke and their new puppy.

On Tuesday Suzanne and I did a hike in the San Gabriel mountains near Altadena. It was a nice easy trail, mostly covered by shady trees. It followed a creek to a waterfall – the water levels were so low though, that there were a lot of annoying bugs in the air. If we go back, we will definitely take bug spray next time! It was a really beautiful hike, though, and a different terrain than most of other other hikes, which have been more desert-like.

On the trail with Suzanne

On the trail with Suzanne

On Thursday night I went out for drinks after the show with Suzanne, Tom and Vicki Perrin, and Tim. We went to the Dresden Room, an old school lounge in Los Feliz. It was a fun night – an early goodbye to Tim, who leaves at the end of next week to start grad school.

Tim

Tim

Tom and Vicki

Tom and Vicki

And of course, there has been sewing! We are working on sundresses in class now, but in the meantime I have finished two tops – both Amy Butler patterns.

Lotus Cami

Lotus Cami

Anna Tunic

Anna Tunic

I love them both, although I’m thinking of shortening the second top so that is a little less like a tunic, and more cami-length.

I can’t believe I only have about two months left on the road!  I’ve finished all my housing and car reservations for the rest of the tour, and have almost finished my planning for the one-week lay-off we have in October. My car reservation is made for my cross-country trip back to New York, and I have a sublet reserved in Harlem for the month of November while I look for my own place. Its been an amazing three years, and it is interesting to be doing these long sit-downs at the end of the tour. It is totally easing me back into apartment life, and into life in one place. I am actually really looking forward to finally getting back to the east coast, and getting my own apartment, and seeing my things again. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t tour again, because in actuality, I would love to (and soon!), but I am definitely in need of some re-grouping and re-organizing and some centering. I think getting back to having my own “home” again will be great for that. I’m sure Tallulah will be glad for the rest, too!

But in the meantime, I have four more weeks in LA before I have to pack up the suitcases again, and I am going to enjoy them to the fullest!

Life in Los Angeles

The days have been lazily running together here, which has been so, so nice. I’ve been up early every day and filling my free time with lots of things that I love – sewing, knitting, watching movies, hiking and seeing friends. Not so much sightseeing – and that’s okay by me. I’ve just been living a normal life for once!

I’ve also been doing lots of planning for the next couple of months. I have all my housing booked through the end of the tour. After getting used to apartment living again I’ve decided that I really can’t bear to go back to a hotel, so I’ve managed to book vacation rentals for the rest of our engagements, except for San Jose. That’s okay – I can deal with one more hotel. In reality, there will be more than just one more hotel. We have a week off after our stay in Tucson, which I am in the process of planning what to do during that time – I’m thinking maybe a day or two in Sedona, then a few days at the Grand Canyon, and then maybe the weekend in Vegas. There’s also a cross-country trip to plan. That’s right! I’m driving across the country after we close in Costa Mesa, taking two weeks to get back to New York City, with stops along the way to visit friends. Really, all this travel planning has been the most exhausting part of the last three weeks in LA, which have otherwise been really relaxing. Oh, and I think I may have a sublet lined up for November in New York City, which, when it is all officially settled, will be a big load off my mind.

So back to things I’ve been doing here. I’ve been hiking a lot with Suzanne, one of our hair supervisors. We’ve been going out twice a week to check out the trails around town. We’ve hiked Runyon Canyon, Mount Hollywood and Verdugo Mountain (which almost killed us!). Its been a really great way to get some exercise, and to get a totally different perspective on Los Angeles.

Hiking Mount Hollywood

Hiking Mount Hollywood

Atop Verdugo Mountain

Atop Verdugo Mountain

Above the Hollywood sign

Above the Hollywood sign

I’ve spent some time with a couple of great friends. I’ve met up with Chris a few times – we went to Venice Beach on my first Monday off and then made dinner back at Chris’s house with his boyfriend, Sean. Chris and I also went fabric shopping in the Garment District at the palatial Michael Levine’s, and he took me to the Renegade Craft Fair (which was SO awesome!). I also met up with my friend Kathryn, who is in town working for the summer. Kathryn and I worked together at ACT and both moved to NYC around the same time. She left town for a few years to go to grad school, but now is back and I’m looking forward to hanging out with her lots when I am back in New York in the fall. Her job brought her to Santa Monica this summer until August. We met up for lunch at the Alcove Cafe in Los Feliz (which was so cute, and super delicious), and then we drove up to the Griffith Observatory and walked around for a bit.

Christopher at Venice Beach

Christopher at Venice Beach

Shopping in the Garment District

Shopping in the Garment District

Kathryn at the Observatory

Kathryn at the Observatory

Me at the Observatory

Me at the Observatory

There has also been lots of sewing happening! I have been continuing to meet up with Roy and Suzanne on Thursday afternoons at work to do some sewing in the wardrobe room under Roy’s tutelage. But there’s been lots of sewing at home, too. I’ve finished a set of placemats and napkins for Ryan, and two skirts from kits for myself. In “class” I finished an Amy Butler top – photos of that to come.  I’m so pleased that I actually made good on my word, and finally learned how to sew! I have been saying forever that I wanted to get one of the many talented wardrobe folks that I have worked with to teach me, and I finally did!

Placemat and napkin (part of a set of 8)

Placemat and napkin (part of a set of 8)

Clothkits skirt

Clothkits skirt

I’ve been enjoying the lifestyle here in LA so much – I know I probably wouldn’t like it in the winter (I do love the seasons on the east coast), but as far as summers go, LA is a pretty perfect place to spend one. I’ve been going to the farmer’s market in Hollywood every Sunday to stock up on fruits and veggies for the week, and have been spending a lot of time out on my sunny patio (as has Tallulah – she loves lying on the brick, or in the shade behind the plants).

At the Hollywood Farmer's Market

At the Hollywood Farmer's Market

Berries at the Farmer's Market

Berries at the Farmer's Market

Tallulah lounging on the patio

Tallulah lounging on the patio

Two outings that I have done that border on “sightseeing” were visiting The Grove, and also the Annenberg Space for Photography. The Grove is a beautiful outdoor mall – its smaller than I expected, but very pretty, with fountains and brick streets – I spent an afternoon walking around, partaking in some retail therapy 🙂 And the Annenberg Space for Photography is an awesome museum in Century City. Currently the exhibit is “Pictures of the Year International” – the winning photographs of the top photojournalism competition in the world. The photographs in that exhibit are astounding – the images are so full of emotion and story and power. Some of the images I don’t know how the photographer captured them without getting themselves killed. I spent a lot of time wandering through and then spent a good hour watching a couple of slideshows in their digital gallery. I so recommend going and seeing this exhibit if you are in LA – these photographers really do make good on their promise “to give the voiceless a voice.”

And that’s how life is going here. Oh yes, and there’s the show as well! It’s doing really well here – the audiences aren’t quite as rambunctious as San Francisco, but the houses have been full and appreciative.

I go back to the Bay Area for a few days this week for my brother’s kidney transplant (please keep he and my sister in your prayers for a smooth and quick recovery!) and then I’ll be back in LA for another five glorious weeks!

Last Days in San Francisco

When Ryan and I got back to the city after the weekend in Tahoe, we realized we had very little time left in San Francisco before it would be time for me to go to Los Angeles, and for Ryan to head home – so we made a game plan to try and fit in as much as we could in the time left.

One thing I really wanted to make sure we did was head over to my old neighborhood in the Richmond district. We took the bus over there one day and walked through the streets of Seacliff, by all the big houses, to the entrance to Baker Beach. From there we had a good view of the Golden Gate Bridge – there was a bit of fog, like always, but we managed to get some decent photos. Then we walked over to Land’s End, and hiked the coastal trail along the cliffs, past the Legion of Honor, ending up at the ruins of the Sutro Baths. It is so pretty over at that end of San Francisco, you hardly know you are in the city.

At Baker Beach

At Baker Beach

At the Sutro Baths

At the Sutro Baths

Our next to last weekend in San Francisco was Pride Weekend. It was pretty crazy in our neighborhood, being so close to Castro Street – we were definitely in the thick of things. We tried to take a cab home on Saturday night after having drinks downtown with Neil, Laura, Chris and Lorin, who had come to see “Spamalot” that night, but the streets were all closed off around the Castro, so we had to walk through crowds and crowds of people (at 1am!) for about five blocks to get home. I had Sunday afternoon off at work. As the parade went directly past the theater, it was literally impossible for patrons to get there, so we had no matinee, but a Sunday evening show instead. To escape the crowds, Ryan and I went over to North Beach for the afternoon to shop at City Lights and get lunch at Mario’s. We sat in Washington Square Park and enjoyed the sunshine.

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Castro Street at 1am on Pride Weekend

Castro Street at 1am on Pride Weekend

On Monday, I rented a car and we drove down to Sunnyvale, where (after lunch at In-and-Out Burger!) I bought a sewing machine! I got the Janome 2010, and so far I love it! Everyone at Eddie’s Quilting Bee (where I bought the machine) was very helpful, and I definitely feel like I got the right machine for me.

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In the afternoon, Ryan and I went to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. I hadn’t been there for years, since I was a little kid, and Ryan really wanted to go. It’s a fun place to see – such a crazy house with doors and stairways leading to nowhere. The woman who owned the house, Sarah Winchester, believed that she had to keep building on the house in order to ward off evil spirits. Its definitely a fun place to check out if you are ever in the area.

After that, we met up with a couple of old friends of mine for dinner. I’ve known Gina and Dawn almost my whole life – they grew up around the corner from me, and we were inseparable when we were younger. It was really nice to see them and to catch up.

Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House

With Gina and Dawn

With Gina and Dawn

The next day, back in San Francisco, Ryan and I toured Alcatraz. The first time I went to Alcatraz wasn’t until my twenties, and I couldn’t believe I had never gone before. It is a really interesting tour, and the audio recording that accompanies it is really well done. It was fun to take the ferry there with Ryan and to see the place again with him. We made it back to North Beach in time to have dinner at The Stinking Rose before I had to go downtown for work. Such a nice day!

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Sadly, on Wednesday, it was time for Ryan to begin his long trek back to Wisconsin. He had planned a longer route back, stopping in Denver for a few days around the fourth of July. It was sad to say goodbye to him again, especially after getting back into a routine together, but he is hoping to come out to Los Angeles for a visit in August, so it won’t be too long before we get to see each other again.

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I spent Thursday and Friday tying up loose ends and packing. I had lunch with a couple of friends – Regina on Thursday and Andrea on Friday. We finished up the weekend of shows and then on Monday, I drove down highway 5 to Los Angeles.

We are playing LA for nine weeks, even longer than we were in San Francisco, so I was very, very happy to find that the apartment I had rented was so perfect. It is cute and comfortable, and has a really nice outdoor space, which is enclosed, so Tallulah can spend time outside without me worrying that she will get out. The area is nice, too – I am living in Beachwood Canyon, which is adjacent to the Hollywood Hills and very close to Griffith Park. The commute to work hasn’t been too bad either.

My dear friend Christopher, who I went to college with and who I was roommates with in New York (but who lives here now) met me at the apartment and helped me unpack. We had dinner that night with his boyfriend Sean, and I got to see their cute new house.

The living room at my LA rental

The living room at my LA rental

My patio in LA

My patio in LA

Load-in Tuesday was sort of run-of-the-mill at work, overshadowed by the fact that Michael Jackson’s funeral was taking place just down the street at the Staples Center. I wasn’t a huge MJ fan growing up, but there is no denying his cultural impact on my generation. It is a strange thing, his passing. I still haven’t quite grasped it. It’s the end of something big.

Our official “opening” was Wednesday night and we had a big party afterwards on the roof at The Standard Hotel. Christopher and Sean came with me as my dates, and we had a really nice time. There were some celebrities there, which was kind of fun – including our own Richard Chamberlain. It was funny to see the likes of Richard Chamberlain relaxing on a waterbed pod next to the pool! How LA!

So now “Spamalot” is up and running, and I have some time to relax and unwind, which I really needed after the hectic seven weeks in San Francisco. I loved being there and seeing all my family and friends, but I am glad to have some time now to get my head together and to prepare for what happens next, after the tour ends in October. I expect I will be doing some sightseeing here in LA and some catching up with friends, but in more low-key fashion, for sure!

More on LA to come!