Archive for March, 2011

Seattle Celebrity News!

March 17, 2011
Local Celebrities are Teaming Together to “Buy Rita a Beer!”

Local Relief Effort Launched 

Editor of the Seattle Celebrity News!, Carl Nelson, said today that the tabloid was “wholely behind his star artist correspondent, Rita Andreeva’s, attempts to stay in her apartment”, and further, that he would “bring all the resources of the Seattle Celebrity News! to bear on the problem in efforts to assist her”.  In fact, he has apparently already canvassed the Seattle Celebrities! large network of local artists to this end.  After heated discussions – and lots of photo-ops of local stars tramping in and out with dogs and kids, new lovers and personal trainers –  he admitted finally, late this afternoon outside of the Cafe Vita on Capital Hill, that “whereas we may not be able to save Rita financially – at least we can get her inebriated.”  And to this end he announced the launch of the “Buy Rita a Beer!” Project.  “We’re hoping that all of her fans will join together to make this a great success,” he said.  He also noted that getting drunk when you are broke is a time-honored artistic tradition.  “And with our readers help we can keep this tradition – and maybe even Rita – alive,” he added, on a more upbeat note.

To make your contribution, go to PayPal and use Rita’s email address:  

Photo by Carl Nelson

Work, work, work… with Rita Andreeva

March 17, 2011

Editor’s Note:  What would the Artist’s Life be without the ‘Wolf at the Door’?  Will Rita ever find out?  Right now, it doesn’t look so good.

Circumstances Continue to Close In on our Heroine

“The dreaded day came last month – the day when my unemployment finally completely ran out. It seemed so far away, and sometimes it seemed like it would never happen, that there would be another and another emergency unemployment fund, but from all the correspondence I received last fall it was becoming clearly inevitable.
I frantically started saving money last fall by not buying any groceries and not spending any money on transportation (I gave up on clothes two years ago). You might wonder how to not spend any money on food and transportation, well, I’ll happily tell you: There are a couple of food banks in the area that provide enough food to sustain you. In case you’re broke, and too embarrassed to ask, their times of business and addresses are:
NW Harvest, 711 Cherry St.: Mon, Wed, Fri: 9am to 5pm
St. Mary’s: 611 20th Ave.: Tues & Thur: 10am to 1pm
and you can find many more in your immediate area on Google.
Unfortunately it’s mostly bagels, bread and potatoes. So I put on a couple of pounds as a result. Bummer. Oh, well.
As far as bus fair goes: I have been saving bus transfers for almost two years and by now have almost all possible combinations of colors and letters, so I’m praying that Metro doesn’t start adding new letters and colors. I tried scanning the transfers and printing them, but the printer does not do those exact colors, and Kinkos doesn’t sell that sort of paper or anything close, so if Metro decides to add new combinations I’m in deep doo-doo. But for now it works great: I have a small pale-green plastic file in my bag where I have bus transfers by colors and alphabetic order. At the beginning of each day I have a choice – I can either take a bus going the wrong way, since it is pay-as-you-leave going from downtown, and then find the right transfer and get off and go where I need to go, or I can walk to downtown, which takes me about 20-25 min and from there I can board any bus and look at the transfers, so I know which it is that day.
I started doing Freelance Medical Interpreting for Universal Language Service, and I get anywhere 2 to 5 interpreting appointments a week. I did $400 worth of interpreting last month, but the agency takes about 60 to 90 days to pay. I also do contract web design for  They don’t have much work for me, and it is very sporadic. I earned $300 in February from WeSprout, which I haven’t got either, yet. And $35 for doing online surveys and what-not. Overall, I made $735 last month, which I don’t’ have yet, plus $220 on the first for renting the nearroom adding up to $935. My rent is $660, phone, internet and electric add up to $160 and Basic Health plan is $60, which all totals $880, leaving me whole $55 for coffee and miscellaneous, at some point. You might say, “Why do I want to know this?” You’re right, you don’t. I’m just saying, you know, just saying… In case you happen to enjoy facts and details.” – Rita

Photo by Carl Nelson

Plays and Such with Jorj Savage

March 16, 2011

“You’ve heard versions and different scenes of the play at least a dozen times.  Man, 73, meets woman in her 20’s outside the Key Arena, where she has just been bounced from a concert for disorderly behavior—and without her coat!  Well, folks, that “man” turns 75 this week!  That’s right.  Jorj Savage, who created this story loosely based on his brief encounter with a young woman at the Seattle Center, will be three-quarters of a century old, in a little over a week.  Time to celebrate!” – Donna Van Norman

Rita Andreeva Painted This Portrait of Jorj (as the Tragedy Mask) for His Birthday Present From Her
Editor’s Note:  It was quite a Tuesday at WARP evening, full of limericks, testimonial  (Donna Van Norman), hip-hop (courtesy of Dan Green – a big crowd pleaser), musical numbers (courtesy of Scot Bastain), artwork, and finally a nice speech by Jorj himself.  Jorj’s life has collected people into the theater like a fine garment which seems to attract lint like crazy.  And all the lint showed up last night to honor him, (yours truely, included). 

A Poet’s Lives with Lyn Coffin

March 14, 2011

Editor’s Note:  Lyn comments:  “I find it very difficult to write travel pieces. The strangeness is all in the details- the oven  burners turn on by turning them up; where you expect to push, you need to pull; when you thank someone, you are mildly rebuked- friends don’t thank friends, etc. And detailing the details does not make for fascinating reading. Still, I am thrilled to be almost exactly (12 hours) halfway around the world from my native town of Seattle. I am posting this here to see if there will be interest. Perhaps another someone out there is planning a trip to Tbilisi, or or or…. A mantra gleaned from my from one of my Buddhist teachers (Norman Fischer)- “Let’s see what happens.”


What Happens in Georgia, Stays in Georgia



“I went to a birthday party here in Tbilisi, Georgia, last night. a great way to mark the end of my first week here.
Picture: a kind of chalet tucked off the beaten path- One room with fifty or sixty people and a little band- two long tables in an L shape.
The tables were absolutely covered with plates of food- let’s see- chicken, bread, potato salad, some kind of “mice” (maize) dish, fish, caviar, fruit of every variety, mushrooms, cottage cheese, butter cut in circles with some kind of red pepper strips wrapping it, many more dishes I can’t remember- every place had two glasses, a big one for mineral water and a little one for wine- pitchers and pitchers of wine- iced tea-colored. The little juice (wine) glasses were kept constantly filled, many people smoked.
There was a toastmaster with a mike who toasted the birthday guy and then- our ancestors, our siblings, all those we know who’ve died, a special toast extending heartfelt sympathy to those suffering in Japan as a result of the tsunami– to our friends, Georgia, music, and early on, there was a big special toast to Me! My friends translated- We are so fortunate to have this wonderful poet and translator and Gia’s friend and we want to welcome her and then everybody cheered and saluted me by throwing back a few glasses of wine- and then it was time for me to make a little speech and my friend translated and everybody cheered and gave me thumbs up and clinked glasses with me and asked why I ate and drank so little and like that and then there was dancing and I don’t know what all.
And everybody knew the songs and some of them inspired people (the men) to stand or shout call out Hey!
At one point, someone cut the silhouette of a man on a very large orange, so that the figure could be raised up out of the fruit (still attached at the feet)- And when they sang one song that had all the men jumping to their feet in the chorus, I so wanted to stand up (all the women stayed seated) that I took the orange, and when they stood up, I made the man on the orange stand up! Everybody thought that was hysterical so I kept doing it.
And after it was all over, a man took the orange from me and showed me that when you turned the man around and looked at his front, he appeared to have a male appendage and when he stood up, it stood up too. That really and clearly embarrassed me and everybody got a big kick out of the fact that I had done this without knowing. And even the embarrassment was pleasant. And everybody was friendly.
I loved the whole thing- except for the smoke. My host, who has become a dear friend now in the non-e world, smokes like a fiend. Worse, he smokes Camels- which I think are the worst cigarettes for causing long disease. And he tries to be careful but I can feel my lungs suffering and I’m going to have to say I can’t be around him at all if he smokes or around the cigarettes. The concept of second hand smoke has not arrived here in Georgia.
Oh, and another thing that impressed me about the birthday party- sitting across from me was an attractive young man in black (the Georgian national color seems to be black when it comes to dress- most of the women at the party were in black slacks and black jackets or vests- I think I was the only woman in a skirt– a first in my life, who has often been the only woman in slacks- and it was a wildly colored one, at that.)
Anyway- the man across from me was addressed as “mommy” or “momiko”- (Georgian is the only language I know of where “mama” means father and “dada” means mother.) He was a priest, and he toasted and laughed and drank and danced with the best of them. (Priests here are allowed to marry.)
What maybe surprised me the most was that the whole context of the evening was “macro”- religous, patriotic, existential. There were sometimes religious references in the toasts and Virgin mother, and so on. And many people were fasting for Lent, meaning they didn’t eat meat.
And there was a toast to King David the builder (a kind of Georgian George Washington) and Tamar, the number one historical woman in Georgian history, great granddaughter of David, a kind of Queen Elizabeth, except twice-married. She didn’t like the first guy and patched him off to somewhere. Then she chose her own husband and they seemed to have hit it off.)
Anyway- what struck me was the sheer rough-housing joy of the occasion. I left way before the end (my friend said they’d probably stop around 1 or 2). When there were songs, everyone sang- People were talking all the time and commenting- The food and wine kept coming and coming.
A couple of times there were what seemed to be jousting matches in language- i.e., the man next to me teased a man across the table by asking if he was a Muslim; the man said no, his questioner was a Muslim, and other people put in their two cents’ worth and there was a certain amount of I don’t know confrontation- but it was punctuated by all these remarks from others that made everyone, including the two main players, laugh, and it ended with the two skoling each other. Neither of the two ever seemed angry or ashamed. And I don’t think there was anti-Muslim sentiment in this- Georgia seems to have a history of being one of the most remarkably religously tolerant countries in the world. He could as easily have called him an atheist or a Buddhist.
For me, a poet, one of the greatest things is that Georgians seem to love poetry as much as they love wine and song and there are statues everywhere to poets- a general or politician or two, here and there, but mostly poets.
And they love the fact that I am translating (with my friend/host, Gia) some of Rustaveli’s “The Man in the Panther Skin,” their national epic. One last note- there are underway passages for crossing the main avenues, and one I walked through yesterday was lined with stone panels in Georgian and English featuring whole stanzas of this 12th century epic.
This would be something like finding huge plaques with engraved quotations from Beowulf in the subway.
Wow. I’ve really got to get going. I have to polish off a Rustaveli excerpt today.” – Lyn

Photo, taken WAY out of context, by Carl Nelson

Seattle Celebrity News!

March 12, 2011
Editor’s Note:  One of the rehearsals mentioned below was for Freehold’s Studio Series.  A 10 minute play Machelle wrote, “Walking Away” goes up this weekend.  She’s also acting in it.  Here’s a link:
Machelle Allman Lets Off a Little Steam for Our Photographer

The Theater Ate My Weekend!

Machelle knew that Sunday was going to be busy. She had 3 (count ’em) rehearsals scheduled for that day, when on Saturday morning she got the call. And email. And another call. Her agent had the good news that she had been booked for a commercial on Tuesday.
According to Machelle, “That’s awesome! Except I said that I had availability on MONDAY.”
Reports indicate that her Saturday was spent on the phone with her day job getting her work schedule rearranged. She managed a trip to the grocery to get some food in the hope that there would be time for consuming it on Sunday.  The Seattle Celebrity News! checked in with Machelle during a break in her second rehearsal for the day when she stated, “So far so good! I’ve had coffee!” Regarding her family, she responded, “Oh yeah, them. I did get a text earlier this morning…”
At the end of her 12 hours of rehearsal, we contacted her to see how it all went.  (see photo above)  We are still trying to piece together the garbled language to determine what she actually meant to say.

Photo by Carl Nelson

A Poet’s Lives with Lyn Coffin

March 9, 2011

 Editor’s Note:  You can get out of breath keeping up with a modern day Poet.

Lyn De-friends Paramour, Flies to the Republic of Georgia

Lyn Coffin Arrives in the Republic of Georgia

“Well, the romance with the Indian Cowboy poet is over, killed or mortally wounded by a casual “chat” reference to a Facebook friend, following which I de-friended most of my non-real Facebook friends.
What do poets do over here at night with a few Lari in their pockets? Reflect on their travels- I have some photos I’ll send you.
I guess what I’d like to say to your readers is this: first of all, it always surprises me how tiring travel is. You go somewhere (an airport) by car, go somewhere (Georgia) by airplane, go somewhere (your new apartment) by car, and you’re suddenly exhausted. I think your body feels the impact of travel through air and time viscerally. The geo-rhythms are out of whack. And there are all the little incidents/struggles to make oneself understood along the way.
Also- My flat here is much like an American apartment, and not like it at all. One thing that is very different is the apartment layout. The key is an old-fashioned “skeleton” key, and you lock/unlock the door four times- With every turn the small bolt inside advances or retracts a little more. When you step inside, you are in a little lobby, a small atelier. The other rooms (bathroom, kitchen, bedroom/living/dining room) open off of this “atelier.” Each room has its own door, and each door can be locked. The kitchen and b/l/d door are made of glass. The bathroom has a very deep, very old bathtub.
When I arrived here, I found my refrigerator stocked with all manner of food- two big hunks of some kind of sausage- I’m a vegetarian except for falling off the wagon occasionally for chicken. Then there was a box of small cakes, a box of candy, a box of cheese- two Huge half wheels of hand-made cheese, a bottle of homemade wine, a slab of butter, a jar of quince/pear preserves (delicious), a jar of small very sweet cherries (which I found out tonight can be eaten to accompany tea), eggs. And outside the refrigerator- a large flat cheese bread whose Georgian name I forget at the moment.
There is plenty of hot water but never enough to fill the tub. The old stove has gas burners, and the knobs must be turned from horizontal to vertical when you want to start the burner, just the opposite of what I’m used to.
I have had some very interesting conversations here. The most interesting was with a 16 year old son of my host, who wants to become a politician specializing in international relations. He told me he thinks all politicians are evil and the only way to fight them is to become evil yourself.
My host’s other son, 11, is a great teller of jokes in English- he told me one where a man was walking across the street against the light, forcing a motorist to slow down in order not to hit him. The driver calls out the window to the pedestrian telling him to raise his hands. The pedestrian asks why. “When I hit and kill you, they’ll be able to get your clothes off easier.”
It seemed very funny at the time.
I love the wit and wisdom one falls into when trying to speak a few words of a new language. My host tonight was complimenting me and said I was “full of light.” Thank you, I said, but- gesturing toward my plate- I think it’s truer to say I’m full of cheese.
I’ve got to get some sleep.
Thanks for writing. Just nudge me from time to time.’If you want to see the newest addition to Tbilisi, you can look up the Tbilisi Peace Bridge, commissioned by the President from Michael da Lucci. It’s quite a sight.”  – Lyn

Photo by Carl Nelson

A Poet’s Lives with Lyn Coffin

March 8, 2011

Editor:  After our Poet’s Love Flame-Out of a few weeks previous, (read about this in an upcoming post), this Poetic Cat has landed on her feet, again.

Poet Re-Locates to Republic of Georgia

Lyn Prepares to Use the Local Produce

“I’m in Georgia, the country, sitting in my wonderful two-balconied flat, using my new Macbook to work on translating a 12 century Georgian epic from 16 syllable line quatrains rhymed a a a a into English. I’m loving the challenge. Tomorrow I discover what I’m going to be teaching, when, and where. The US seems far away. Wait- it is far away. A 12 hour time difference, I think.”  – Lyn (snatched from Facebook)

Photo by Carl Nelson

Work, work, work… with Rita Andreeva

March 7, 2011

Editor:  There are all sorts of venues out there where an impoverished artist can employee their abilities, possibly to a little acclaim… possibly for a little money!  Our Rita has been sniffing these out… currently in the World of Advertising.

Our Woman in the Grey Flannel Suit


Artists Encountering the Business World Often Need Corrective Lenses.

“I just finished making animated commercial (I’m learning animation now, the hell with people and their baggage), please vote on it tonight and tomorrow before 4pm PST: 

(Editor:  go Vote!  Help Rita win!)

“When I first read the Brief I had more questions than answers, so I went to the client’s website and read everything there. I had no idea as of this morning how I would begin to make this commercial. I wrote down the main points and then walked away, made some coffee, baked a pie, then came back, determined to convey a message.
The main thing that frustrated me in the whole campaign was that there were too many technical terms and I couldn’t figure out why I would care. So I read everything again and decided that I was going to do something to address the issue of not being sure of what mattered to me as as a business person.
My video, hopefully, addresses that issue.

Ok, now, the challenge of making a commercial for me is first understanding, and second is thinking about how to reach people. So my take on this is why some people wouldn’t be reached. What is it? I am talking about people who have a business, but don’t want to bother with things too complex. My idea is: explain things in simple English. Most business people are afraid to try something new because they are worried about their jobs, so the first thing I did was to make a positive impression, never allowing negative thinking, such as an image that shows reducing the number of people in no way shape or form.
A smart businessman knows that nothing in a commercial should ever show downsizing, because it scares people.
That’s why I have the first intro showing growth.
I hope it is subtle and to a point.

Yes, I can see little problems in my animation:
Timing here and there, a bit of left over shading or frame a bit past where it should be.
I tell you: when I learn stuff I am a perfectionist, and turning in this video is a bit painful, because it’s due today, and I was hanging out with Eva and Cam, and didn’t get to work on it until about 2pm. So this cartoon took me from about 2pm to 11pm from start to finish, including the search for the perfect free background music and figuring out how to incorporate it into a Flash cartoon, as well as recording the voice (my voice) and changing it to 2 different voices so I had a conversation going.

Ooops, I guess I messed up a little bit – the screen doesn’t exactly fit. Well, I’m very new at this, this is like my second animation I did with Flash. Don’t hold it against me – I can fix the size. I just wasn’t sure about the proportions. I’m still not sure. It’s like I’m a bit too wide, like maybe 30 pixels or so. I can fix that if needed. I used the standard Micromedia Flash size 550 × 400. Anyway, you if you happen to be someone seriously interested in what I’m doing, then I can change stuff pretty easily, like in a couple of minutes.
I chose animation for 2 reasons: 1 – couldn’t get real people fast enough, and 2 – my camera is not HD, so it looks like crap. Oh, and the 3rd reason – I am considering making a full-length animation for the script I wrote because I can do it all by my lonesome self. Now that I learned a lot about how to take my drawing skills to the computer and how to make lots of layers to make things move I am still in love with the actual acting, but, not having the resources, I decided I was going to lean toward interpretation of emotion by drawing. It is still acting, because when I draw a face, I take my time to feel the emotion and sometimes I even resort to looking in the mirror to see how I would feel if I were that character. So when I draw, I try to convey the emotion that I see in the mirror.”

– Rita

Photo by Carl Nelson

Work, work, work… with Rita Andreeva

March 5, 2011

Editor’s Note:  We caught Rita on the upswing this time around.  Check out her all-new, money-making website.

Latest Adventure…


Happy Rita


“Hey did you put the link to that website I’m making for everyone to make money:    ?

I think I finally got a perfect roommate for my nearroom. He only needs it Monday through Thursday. He works 4 days 12-hour shifts. He comes in at 6:30am when I’m still asleep and goes to bed right away. He gets up sometimes in the afternoon and goes to work at 5:30pm, and if I go out for a coffee or to the library and hang out for a couple of hours before 5:30 I don’t have to run into him at all! Isn’t that awesome! Because that way he won’t go on my nerves too much. Since my nerves are quite frayed. One time he woke up early, like at about noon, and commenced watching a movie. I was out at Harbor View interpreting and came in just for 15 minutes to take a quick shower, because I overslept that morning and didn’t wash my hair. The roommate was up, watching a movie, and I felt very annoyed, just hearing the tv. Luckily I didn’t have to stay, I took my shower and left.
      His name is Dane, it suits him. He is tall and muscular, and has a sweet dog smile, so he looks like a Great Dane. And he has a good job that benefits the world: he works at a bio-diesel plant where they gather used oil from local restaurants and make diesel out of it.
     I made a spreadsheet on Excel with the foods he can eat listed in the left column. The heading at the top says: “Rita’s Kitchen. A serving of anything is just a $1. Instructions: draw a line for a serving of food you take, when you have four lines, draw one across.”
Don’t know if it works yet – there’s nothing on it so far. But I told him I make soup and keep it on the stove every day.
     He only has one bad habit I need to break him out of: he throws a perfectly good towel in the laundry basket after just one shower! What does he think it is – a fucking 5-star hotel!

     I need some inspiration for a book I’m writing. I’m going to attach the first couple of pages so people can read the beginning and give me feedback. Or not.  (Editor:  Watch for it in an upcoming post!)

     I have a depressing bit of news as well: some assholes broke Eva’s car window in her High School parking lot and stole her macbook, her digital camera, her textbooks, and her fluffy slippers!
     The world is so full of evil people!
     I was full of hatred for humans as I browsed through the photographs of abused animals on some vegan advocates’ website to help me calm down and get everything in perspective. The horrors of the suffering of cows and chickens made me feel slightly less sorry for ourselves and, as a side benefit, slightly less hungry. Unfortunately, the compassion generated by the photos wasn’t enough to stop me from devouring a bowl of frozen yogurt. I was able to reason my worries away by saying to myself: not all the dairy farms are that bad; this yogurt box has a picture of a happy smiling cow on it, so this particular company is probably nice to their animals. I wondered if it were made into a law – a full disclosure of how animals are treated on all the meat and dairy packages – would that stop people from buying the products from the companies that treat animals badly, or would it raise their sales, since most people are basically assholes and seem to enjoy others’ suffering?


“P. S. Here is a commercial I made inspired by the vegan website: ”  (15 seconds)

Photo by Carl Nelson

Seattle Celebrity News!

March 3, 2011

Flash Update!

(Editor’s Note:  Machelle Allman’s (see VenetianBlond) lack of sleep – as previously noted in a preceding Celebrity News! post – is beginning to catch up with her.) 



This man watching obviously didn't know which way was safe.


 “You’re going to miss the turn, again, Machelle.”

Machelle Allman’s carpool buddy, Wednesday night, had to (frantically!) point out that she was going to drive right by the turn to get to rehearsal.  (Because she had already done that once before.) 

Photo opportunity captured by Carl Nelson

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