Archive for April, 2011

From the Editor’s Perch

April 21, 2011

Everyone Here at the Office is Headed for Thailand

We’re All Going South

One of the things your Editor is currently “gaga” about is visiting Thailand.  Where he will be for the next month or so…  (Unless he wanders away on top an elephant, never to be seen again.)  It’s supposed to be hot! (I’ll let you know) and beautiful, with superb food and very pleasant people.  I’ve usually thought of travel as for people who haven’t anything better to do… and now I find, I can’t think of anything better to do!

See you all on the flip-flop, and the rebop – and on the B-side, when I’m back from the beachside.  – Ur Editor

Photo by Carl Nelson

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Seattle Celebrity News!

April 10, 2011

Esme DeCoster Interview

 

Backstage

Esme DeCoster has been working in theater, film and modelling since the age of five.  She carries around a calendar notebook which would rival an executive’s.  At ten she’s the ultimate professional.  Currently she’s appearing in “The Digital Divide” in Eight Plays Over Easy at TPS4.  She’s also currently appearing in Don Giovanni at the Bellevue Opera.  And Esme is slated to reprise her role for one performance of JILL in “The Digital Divide” at the Seattle Playwrights Studio Showcase at ArtsWest the end of May.  We caught up with her backstage in the dressing room for  TPS Theater 4 to file this 5 minute interview.

Photos by Carl Nelson

Seattle Celebrity News!

April 6, 2011

Sneak Preview of Upcoming 8 Plays Over Easy !

Editor:  Our photographer was able to sneak in, steal a few shots in the confusion of a busy Tech Rehearsal, and steal away to report this:

 

 

Photos by Carl Nelson

Seattle Celebrity News!

April 5, 2011

Editor’s Note:  Theater is about Everybody.  And no theater group in this town is as open to ‘everybody’ as WARP.  You walk in the door, and you’re a member.  You bring something in to read, and it’s read.  You want to act – or may not intend to act – and you very well may end up on stage anyway because WARP probably hosts more productions of original work that any other theater group in Seattle. You can present anything you want and say anything you want.  And it’s all accomplished without any officers, board, special member classifications, budget, fundraisers, or government grants.  They’re just a collection of any odd person who likes the idea of doing theater. 

Here’s an Upcoming Show, Now!

 

Personal Testimonial for WARP Experience

“I was very impressed by the tale of a 1000 and one nights, and, feeling rather insecure about my appearance, I decided subconsciously at some point that I liked Sheherezade, and I chose her path. I figured, it didn’t matter what I looked like, it didn’t matter if I had money, if I could tell a story after story until those stories became wanted, important, indispensable, until people or a person wanted to hear what I have to say, then I was home free.
I choose writing as a primary art, with visual art, painting, drawing, as a back up. Writing has more power, I think. I have spent many nights curled in bed with a book, I couldn’t have gotten the same enjoyment if I had Mona Lisa on my bedroom wall. The comfort of words goes way beyond an image. Perhaps that was why worshiping the idols was a no-no. When you read a story you subconsciously embellish it with your own personal visions, and a picture – so desired by a 4 y. o. is not at all when you are over 13.
Of course, my big problem with that choice was that I couldn’t write worth a damn.
So, about the year 2000 I started writing a completely made up and a fictional book called The Asylum Of The Gods. I went about it by getting a bottle of Burgundy wine and writing whatever, and then talked about it to my current boyfriend. Worked great for him: by the time we broke up he wrote two books (never occurred to him before).
All I know is I kept getting better. I got a job at a hotel in Kent and became friends with Vira there. She wanted a boyfriend, so I suggested Craigslist. Guess what happened – she met Eric. Since he was a member of DAMN he invited her there, and she invited me. And we stuck with it.
Having one’s plays read is an awesome experience. Being able to see something I wrote on the stage broke some sort of a wall of resistance I had nurtured for a very long time. I started writing like possessed. I had my first short play performed in the fall of 2005. And I was in it too! It was such a rush! I fell in love with the theater. Everything about it: the adrenaline rush when being up on the stage, the writing, working a piece, hearing real feedback. All of it. I calmed down a bit with time, but I still can think of nothing better than making my dream come true. And that is what DAMN/WARP was/is for me. Just because there were people who would get up on a stage and read my play made me believe in myself and made me realize that I could write. Something I wasn’t so sure about. DAMN/WARP made it happen. Even though I finished my first novel by the time I got there, I needed an audience. All artists do. Having a place to go to have something read is an answer to my prayer. No matter what the world does, no matter what stupid things I have to do to pay rent, nothing compares to what WARP does, graciously allowing people from all walks of life to come in and present their labors of love.”  – Rita Andreeva

 

A Poet’s Lives with Lyn Coffin

April 2, 2011

Editor’s Note:  Latest update on our Poet’s Adventures in Georgia… one month in.  This update arrived with a photo which wouldn’t show… possibly of our Embassy?

Our Poet Tries to Penetrate the American Embassy

Ever since I arrived in Tbilisi, now almost four weeks ago, I have been trying to penetrate, to get inside, the American Embassy here. This edifice/social and architectural construct sits out in the boonies of Tbilisi- extraneous (unlike other embassies) to life in Tbilisi. I have no doubt the positioning is strategic. Never can tell where those terrorists are coming from.
About two weeks ago, when the beautiful invitations for my first reading at Art East Gallery in Tbilisi were printed, I decided to take one to the embassy. Invitations to various embassy personnel had already been sent out electronically and by messenger, but I’m a do it yourself kind of person. I wanted to go personally to “my” embassy, to meet up with Americans serving here, offer my services as an editor and writer, see what I could see. My view was (and is) that the American Embassy is a little piece of America in a foreign country. I am an American, I have papers, I will go and make myself known to “my fellow Americans.”
My friend “lends me” his car and driver- Nobody seemed to know how to get to the Embassy by bus, if it was even possible.           And away we drive.

Staged Using a Professional Actor: Don't Try This at Home

I identify the American Embassy at once. It is extremely big and extremely ugly and has the appearance of a medieval fortress- long thin pencil-like (“we can shoot arrows out of ’em and you won’t even see us”) windows. There is some kind of high wire fencing, and no people in the surrounding area except police.
My driver is waved into a parking lot and questioned about the visit. Before we even enter the parking lot, at least three people (Georgians) have regarded us with intense suspicion.  I am leaving the car and approaching the guard shack when I realize what this complex reminds me of- Purdy, the Washington prison for women, where I used to teach meditation. No wonder the locals call the embassy the Little Pentagon.
I try to enter the guard shack, but it is locked- There are two doors at either end of this kind of Quonset hut apparatus, and I (suspiciously) have just tried to enter by the near door- which is only for exiting. I must go in the far door, which is for entering, and which is watched by its own police woman and bank of security cameras.
I enter the room through a narrow turnstile and, surprise again, there are five people in the room, all of them Georgians. All five regard me with suspicion, which melts partly when I begin my fumbling, I’m sure horribly-sounding, attempt to communicate with them in their language. (I have been studying Georgian for all of two weeks at this point.) I say that I am a pretty well-known poet and writer living in Tbilisi until June. I am having a reading in a few nights at the Art East gallery. I have brought an invitation and a little packet of biographical information (my Wikipedia entry, for one). I would like to enter the embassy and see the Ambassador, if possible. (My dad always told me to start at the top.)
Amusement is now filtering through the levels of skepticism and suspicion. The very small room is beginning to warm with something like friendship. I am told I can leave my packet and they will refer it to the proper department which some say is Public Affairs and some say Cultural Activities. I am told that to actually enter the Embassy is an unusual event. You must know someone inside and you must apply 48 hours in advance for security clearance. Sometimes, apparently in emergencies, 24 hours is sufficient. Perhaps five or ten minutes of intense negotiation follows. I attempt to get across my idea that the American Embassy is a piece of America in Georgia, that I am an American citizen, that I have documents and wish to be admitted to my country, that I come with no ill will (not strictly true, but true enough) toward the Embassy, and have as my purpose only the wish to extend an invitation to what promises to be a fascinating cross-cultural event.
I have abandoned Georgian long before this, of course: all communication is now taking place in English and I do not know whether the nods and smiles indicate understanding or the absence of it. At any rate, I am insistent and eventually the head watchdog calls someone who calls someone and eventually I am told someone will see me. I wait for another ten or fifteen minutes and eventually a woman comes out and speaks to me and she is wonderful- she is a Georgian woman who sympathizes with my attempts to penetrate the Embassy- she says if I send her an email asking to see her at the Embassy, and submit to the security clearance, she will see to it that I get in.
After a few days of emailing, this wonderful Georgian woman comes to my reading and a few days after that we meet for coffee. We are on our way to becoming friends. She doubts, however, that I shall be able to enter The Little Pentagon after all. She has been informed by her superiors that she was incorrect in her “optimistic” assessment of the situation. She alludes vaguely to terrorists and crackpots and people who are at best a waste of the Embassy’s time.
Later that day, I lecture at Ilia University. All the students, without exception, say they want to go to America. I ask why. They tell me what is clearly, to them, the obvious: Because in America, one is free.
I think to myself- “Once upon a time….” – Lyn Coffin

Photo, taken completely out of context once again, by Carl Nelson

Work, work, work… with Rita Andreeva

April 1, 2011

Rita Lands Appointment with Mini Mart Bigwig

People Who Can Make Things Happen Are Usually Busy

“I got a first REAL appointment with a guy who runs the mini marts in CD on Monday 5 to 7 pm!
I talked to him about it a bit every time I came into his store, and today he told me he will bring a list of all the stuff he wants to sell online at 5pm on Monday and discuss business. Yahoo! Wow! It wasn’t like a student whiny thing; I told him that I’m working real hard at learning how to market stuff online, and I just suffered 6 miserable hours of like picking rice grains from a pile of sand, because they spent 3 out of 6 hours trying to sell their e-store at exorbitant prices and almost kicked me out for being a web designer. I promised the asshole that wanted to kick me out that I was just a student and had no money and wanted to learn the best way to go about building an e-store, and he had no right to kick me out because I paid for the class. So he left me alone, and I got my net book and I picked a few grains of wisdom out of a lot of BS.
So I went down to the neighborhood store to get a pack of cigarettes and the manager of all the local stores was there, and we talked for a few minutes, and he agreed to meet with me on Monday.
I told him to write a list of all the stuff he wants to sell, and then to imagine himself a customer, and write down all the possible ways he could think of what they’d search for. Shit, if he actually sits down and puts in the effort, he’s mine for keeps. Because a busy man like that would value his time in doing homework. Once I got his list, he wouldn’t want to do it again.
So I will sit down with him and go over his list and give him an estimate of how much it would cost him to do all that, and it will be only a half of what anyone else would charge. So I think I got the deal.
Feels damn good just to be able to work with someone for real, not just a bunch of people that want something for nothing, getting referrals from college for free interns who will be their slaves for the next few months.”  – Rita

Caveat:  Photo of Mini Mart Big Wig by Carl Nelson taken using a professional model.  (Repy to this blog for contact information.)


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