Monday, June 27, 2016

Orlando Vigil

As a clergywoman, I was honored to help with the Vigil for Orlando victims organized by Creede Rep which finished out Creede's Gay Pride Day (although word on the street is that they're at Tommyknocker's now finishing the evening). My brief words were accompanied a testimony by Chris (an Orlando native), a poem read by Mehry Eslaminia, songs by Ryan Prince, and impromptu words by others in attendance.

After much celebration (and inevitable libations), we gather as a community to honor the victims of Orlando’s hate crime two weeks ago, and also to celebrate those 49 lives.

As we begin the vigil, here is a poem that appeared in my inbox today titled "For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid" by William Stafford. 

There is a country to cross you will
find in the corner of your eye, in
the quick slip of your foot—air far
down, a snap that might have caught.
And maybe for you, for me, a high, passing
voice that finds its way by being
afraid. That country is there, for us,
carried as it is crossed. What you fear
will not go away: it will take you into
yourself and bless you and keep you.
That’s the world, and we all live there.

Please pray with me.

God, it’s a really scary world out there. I would like to use a lot of words to describe how I feel about the exclusivity and bigotry that seems to infiltrate every dark corner in America right now. But those words will have to be set aside, scribbled only in my journal, or cried only to my husband before brushing my teeth or while I’m slicing tomato. Those words are not for public consumption. But neither is the hatred that permeates our culture. And so tonight God, we gather in love. We gather in peace. We gather in hope. Tonight come to honor the souls who danced until their last moment. We gaze at the stars - at the great cloud of witnesses above us, and we call out the names of those who have gone before us. And we say thanks be to God.

Friday, February 19, 2016

While Listening to Hamilton: my questions for today's politicians

“Death does not discriminate between the sinners and the saints; it takes and it takes and it takes.” Hamilton, the musical.

Dear Politicians, 

I get it, your hideous hair makes for excellent meme and any media exposure is still exposure. Fighting over who speaks better Spanish to get the Latino vote makes for good sound bites. And no one’s going to hold you accountable for lying when the masses don’t do the hard work of fact checking. And for those of us who do, it’s a matter of discerning whose pants are up in flames and whose are just sort of smoldering.

But I’m tired of all that. Here’s what I want to hear from the presidential wanna-be’s. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

POC Christmas in Austin

People of Color Christmas: the White Elephant In the Room.

The title alone is amazing.

And it's amazing that this was accomplished through the vision of what I can only imagine is one woman (Christine Hoang) inspired by a lot of other people (of color).

So this Christmas if you're just a little tired of the same old trail of lights, carol singers at the Domain, and Christmas shows performing  on repeat at theatres this time of year... buy a (cheap) ticket to POC Christmas at Ground Floor theatre.

This is local theatre at its purest.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Parading the Party Line

There's a Parade at Ground Floor Theatre and you need to buy your ticket before it passes you by.

Sarah Danko is a gorgeous actor and paired well with Scott Ferguson who we found annoying as Frank the Jew, creepy as Frank THE JEW (emphasis Mrs. Phagan) and eventually lovable as Frank, Lucille's Jewish husband. Travis Gaudin's voice is like a glass of whiskey you hold in your hand swishing and sniffing over and over. We hung on his every word and saw every scene he sang. Vincent Hooper is an all around dream performer from his mannerisms to his vocal belt on the chain gang. Lovely, dedicated voices rang out from the ensemble - especially Chelsea Manasseri and Kristin Hall's solo performances. Kyle Coughlin was delightful (can one use that word when describing Parade?) to watch as Craig. And who are Matrex Kilgore and Dale Sandish?!... um welcome to Austin and bravo.

When Lisa Schepps wants to make a point. She does it with an exclamation. And  mazel tov to her. She directed a great show despite the apparent challenges with sound in the space. (Why couldn't we hear the voices in this brand new venue?)

Before Lisa's curtain speech, a video from the 100th anniversary of the anti-defamation league was played. It took our collective breath away and was a brilliant way to start the show and remind the audience that it was this real life event that brought the league into existance. 

Because this is important. I want to stand up and scream and say all the bad curse words and pull my hair out and even lay naked in the street for a year (the Jews and maybe a few Christians will get that reference), but my fiancee won't let me. 

If you think we live in a world or a county that isn't racist, sexist, and classist, you're wrong. And Parade is a beautiful, if sad, reminder of that truth. Let me put it in perspecive for you.

Look at the difference in the way this Euro-American (caucasian) mother is treated in the comments versus how the African-American mother is treated. 


And if you're about to throw that "meme's are hard to fact check," crap at me, here's a strain that I personally responded to when a "Facebook Friend" of mine posted "Comply, don't die!" after Michael Brown's death.

Or how about this? 

Here's a gun store that won't allow Muslims to purchase their merchandise. Even though WHITE PEOPLE are the numbers one terrorists against Americans a poll released in June reported.

White, right wing Americans have killed way more people than Muslim radicals here in America since 9/11. But you know, white people have mental health issues and black people are thugs. It's true because our culture tells us its true.

And that's the party line Parade exposes. Vilifying a person because you hate a people group (in Parade it's the Jews) makes you a racist bigot. Not a hero. Not ever a hero. Not for hating a race or people group. 

Or hating women...

Or gay people...

Or anyone who isn't like you. Or who you don't understand.

AMERICA, wake up. The beautiful search for diversity which gave birth to you is dwindling away as we allow the right wing fundamentalists spew their white supremacy and male chauvinism on us. We're drowning in it. America has lost her melting pot and is drowning in witch's brew.

So to organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and Ground Floor, I say thanks. This little white girl says thanks. And hopes more people will go catch the Parade playing two more times on Nov 5 at Ground Floor Theatre in East Austin.   

Saturday, November 21, 2015

My Favorite Line

Laying on a twin mattress covered in black theatre drapes behind the stage left risers after my death, I figured it out.

"What's your favorite line from the play?" my dad had asked me when he was here three weeks prior to see Into the Woods produced cooperatively with the Jewish Repertory Theatre and Trinity Street Players. I didn't have an answer. There's so many good ones:
  • Slotted spoons don't hold much soup.
  • I'll see you soon again, I hope that when I do it won't be on a plate.
  • That's another story, never mind.
  • And whichever you pick, do it quick cause you're starting to stick to the steps of the palace.
  • I was raised to be charming, not sincere.
  • I'm in the wrong story.
  • Princes wait there in the world, it's true. Princes, yes, but wolves and humans too.
  • You can talk to birds?
  • Careful the tale you tell, that is the spell.
  • It was a full day of eating for both.
  • No one cared when there was a dead giant in my back yard!
But none satisfied the question.

Additionally, at a bar one evening after the show, several actors and I were talking about, well, crap actors talk about: favorite musicals, upcoming auditions, the genius of Sondheim, our top fives, etc.

And one colleague made the comment that he isn't a huge fan of Into the Woods. I was aghast, shocked, defensive, and would have fired him on the spot, but we still had a week of performances left. Not to mention that in the wake of our Cinderella losing her voice voice (which gave rise to #Cinderunzel as Rapunzel has taken over singing the Cinderella role as the real Cinderella plays it physicality)... well, in the words of Cinderella, I couldn't fire the actor in my  beer-buzzed state because "I could not bear to lose another."

We bantered half-heartedly: he prefers slapstick and bawdy, and I prefer genius and genuine (my words, not his). But when he asked me why I liked Into the Woods so much... again, I didn't have an answer.

Fast forward to about 9:35pm in the middle of Act Two on Thursday night, and I begin my final ascent up the stairs to the stage left platform to finish The Last Midnight. "All right, mother, when? Lost the beans again! Punish me the way you did then - give me claws and a hunch, just away from this bunch and the gloom and the doom and the boom..." And then I project "Crunch!" as a high G, sustained, until the lights go to blackout and I can jump from the platform onto the mattress offstage and "die."

Photo by Rod Machen
I laid there calming my breathing and listening as the next scene began. I always stay there through the next song, and once the audience has forgotten about me over there, I exit.

That evening had been particularly powerful for me. I'm not sure why. Maybe I was tired from a week of broken computers, ailing actors, funerals, job changes, horrible terrorist attacks, racism cloaked in religion, or the bullshit Republican political agenda... so it felt normal to confess (admonish?) "the world is dark and wild."
But as I lay there, breathing quietly, and listening to the next scene, I heard it.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Our Town Letters

“I never told you about that letter Jane Crofut got from her minister when she was sick. He wrote Jane a letter and on the envelope the address was like this: It said: Jane Crofut; The Crofut Farm; Grover's Corners; Sutton County; New Hampshire; United States of America. Continent of North America; Western Hemisphere; the Earth; the Solar System; the Universe; the Mind of God...that's what it said on the envelope. And the postman brought it just the same.”

Our Town, produced by Trinity Street Players running May 13-24 upstairs in First Austin’s Black Box Theatre is an American classic written by Thornton Wilder. But it’s more than that. 

It’s a story about people in Grover’s Corners. And it’s a story that could easily be about people in Austin, Texas. But it’s more than that too.

Our Town is a a prayer.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Cried the Children of the Night

Now my soul is troubled: "Save me, save me..."
Before the lungs with water fill
The barrel, temple points
Chests heave, breaks squeal
Droughts deaden
And war our neighbor kills

Save me before
The lightning flashes,
The thunder roars,
And a cliche is written for the very worst offenses.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Suggestive, Sassy, and the Silent Observer

First Austin's #JourneyLent
Week One: February 21, 2015

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ 46Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ 47When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ 48Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ 49Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ 50Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ 51And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you,* you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’ John 1:43-51

Philip is great. I see some of myself in Philip. From this text we ascertain that he's read his history books and knows his faith story. I like it when people have read their testaments. Both of them. All of them. Not just the parts that suit an obscure political agenda (#homosexualityisonlyin6bibleverses #abortionisn'tinany). Philip's belief in his faith story is so integrated into his personal narrative that when Jesus calls him, not only does Philip follow him, but he recruits his friends. Philip knows a good thing when he sees it, and invites others to check it out. He is the best kind of friend. "I found this great new restaurant on East 7th - you gotta try it." Or, "I found the Messiah we've been waiting for, you have to meet him!"

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Grasshoppers, Gravity, and a Really Great Story

Listen here!

Isaiah 40:21-31 (NRSV)
Mark 1:29-39  (NRSV)

Welcome to the fifth Sunday of Epiphany, the second to last Sunday before Lent. In the tradition of epiphany, we have read yet another story from Mark about the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.

It’s a whopper of a text. Chock full of demon possession and deadly diseases and even a Christ who goes AWOL. The Old Testament text from Isaiah is a little easier to swallow except that the God who once called us the cream of the crop, humanity: the pinnacle of creation (in Genesis 1) is now reminding us that it is God who takes down the rulers of the earth and we, God’s creation, are like little grasshoppers in comparison. :)

Literature is the best. So many ways of communicating how we feel or how we feel God feels, or whatever.

I wonder if it was this passage from Isaiah that inspired Mary Oliver to pen “The Summer Day.”

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Hard to make much of your life when you’re lying in bed dying from a fever though. This, of course, was the predicament of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law in the Mark passage.

Aside from the dying part, this is a great story. We learn that Simon Peter has a family - he’s one of the few disciples who was married. And he brings his new friends and new messiah to his house, to stay with his family. As such, it is in Simon Peter’s home that Jesus performs his first healing miracle. It’s the second miracle and the first healing the disciples witness after having left everything - jobs, girls, family, their favorite spot to watch the sun set - to follow Jesus on this crazy vagabond adventure.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The. Gift.

I had it all planned. Weeks prior, I had written Brownie & Christy (friends from CRT) explaining that during our seven months living in Creede, Colorado, it was Brownie's paintings that Person* was most enchanted by. Did they have a small one I could purchase to surprise him with at Christmas? For the person (indeed, my Person) who has everything, this was one thing I reckoned I could get him that would really surprise and delight him.

So Brownie took off to get one of his paintings from a gallery in a neighboring town to store at his house in Lawrence until I arrived on the 20th - en route to St. Jo Mo. Meanwhile, I started saving. Not having had steady employment since August, I knew Person wouldn't expect a gift from me, which made this extra special - sacrifice and beauty. Nothing beats it.  

We arrived in Lawrence to hugs and a lovely fish dinner in an historic home. Christy and Brownie are lovers of history and their house is filled with it. Built in the 1800s it's gorgeous - tall ceilings, wood everything. It's amazing. And every inch is filled with something from an antique or thrift store. Wanna see what a POW built out of toothpicks while stuck in a cell during WWII? They've got it. Ever fancied a Celtic cross? - They've got a drawer full. It's like staying the night in a museum. 

But Brown, Christy, and I had a game plan. So I slipped out to the barn-turn-gallery to "see Brownie's studio." He hurried to a brown box and pulled out the painting. 

"I love it. He'll love it." 

"It's based on a memory I have during my time in France," he explained. Even more perfect. It was The. Gift. 

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


It's #GivingTuesday and this is a not so subtle attempt to market some of my favorite non-profits and tell you where to put your money (spoiler alert, it's not necessarily where your mouth is).

So, here they are, Ann's Top Nine (I don't know why I chose nine) Places to Give this Giving Tuesday...


Because, to be frank, art changes people. It may be our best ally.

1. Trinity Street Players. I admit it. I may be biased because I founded this theatre and now I'm helping them out again. But still. It's a theatre. In a church. Where thespians are allowed to be themselves, and make art, and not feel proselytized. It's a nice change from the unfortunate norm. (Note: go to the Trinity Street Players line item to donate).

2. Creede Repertory Theatre. Also a biased choice. This is where I worked over the summer and it's a dream. And an anomaly... considering there's only 400 people living in Creede, Colorado right now.

3.  The Rude Mechs. I love this internationally acclaimed theatre company whose home is ATX. However, they're trying to make the hard decision about staying or going. So, get your money and go vote. (Their marketing team is brilliant).


What do you care about the most? They alway ask this on those dang surveys that I get in the mail. Check one of the following.... Healthcare, Corruption on Walstreet, Gun Control. Well, needless to say, my X goes next to the environment box, cuz, y'all. Facts are facts. And it's going fast.

4. World Wildlife Fund - "WWF’s work has evolved from saving species and landscapes to addressing the larger global threats and forces that impact them." And, pandas.

5. The Conservation Fund - "From Alaska’s North Slope to Maryland’s Eastern shore, we’re working with groups to protect lands that that will allow vulnerable species to move and adapt." This is smart work.

6. PETA - Because people who are cruel to animals suck. And don't get me started on what it says about our culture that we have puppy farms and factory farms.


Because, cancer.

7. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Enough said.

Oh and ALS. Because our healthcare system is pretty corrupt, and trying to get resources to survive is pretty difficult.

8. The ALS Association.


9. NPR. Because, news and art. It's a lifesaver on those long drives. And its refreshing to know that thoughtful people still exist and are telling theirs and other's stories. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Big Burn

One of the interesting tidbits about the tiny town of Creede, CO is the plethora of artists who reside here. Whether its a TV throwing Cannon Ball Man or the distinct paintings of Mr. Quiller, or Mandy Patinkin himself, there are a lot of creative folks in these mountains.

One such person is Bev Chapman. Some of you Missouri and Kansas folk may remember her from KMBC. Now, however, she's specializing in film, and I saw Bev's work earlier this summer at the premier for her short film, Big Burn.

This documentary tells the story of what I have come to know as "the fire." Frequently referenced around town, whether discussing finances or tourism or residual injuries, the topic at hand often turns to "the fire."

What is "the fire?" Well, that's what I wanted to know. So I went to the completely packed movie premier where I met the sunny and lovely Bev Chapman, who shared the San Luis Valley's Fire story with me.

Check out the trailer.

From boy scouts to business owners, few went untouched. And the ones who did, tell the story here. If you'd like to check out the full movie, it will be available after it's premiered in a few film festivals. Until then, stay tuned, and maybe drop a few coins in the Creede Community Relief Fund which was started to help those who lost so much in "the fire."

And kudos to Bev and all the other artists who continue to tell the story of this amazing little town.

P.S. Quiller has an amazing Beauty in the Burn painting series. Check it out too!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Story of the Three Thousand Dollar Pendant

At Creede Repertory Theatre's Illuminated Gala on Sunday, July 27, Manuel and I entered the South Fork Country Club in anticipation of a great evening. I was wearing an amazing dress, and would be singing. 
In addition, trapeze, dancing, testimonials, and an auction were scheduled to be scattered throughout the night. Dinner would be served, and there was to be an open bar which Manuel would typically not take advantage of. 

Manuel and I began the evening at the Gala having earlier made an agreement. With so many fun things to do this summer, and with big plans for the fall, I had made a pitch for fiscal conservatism (please don’t tell my fellow democrats), and asked him to limit his generosity to the $250 admission price. He complied, and agreed not to bid on any of the auction items. 

Truth be told, I didn’t trust him. The man grew up poor, and now that he has money, he loves to give it away. Frequently, I peered over the balcony of the club and observed the tables below. Had his been one of the hands that raised during the live auction? 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

And Then I Moved to Colorado

I spent my birthday with strangers this year and it was one of the most exciting days of my life.

Not because anyone knew it was my birthday (or because anyone even knew me). Not because I moved into the triangle shaped upstairs of a house chock full of Harry Potter holes (small doors that monsters and bad guys could easily crawl out of - terrifying!). Not because I ate a delicious, gluten-filled brownie my roommate made because she likes to bake. Not because my other roommate had a long haired chiguagua with whom I knew I would become best friends. Not because I watched my first full Game of Thrones (which I hate) episode in an attempt to make human friends. 

Not even because of all those reasons.

Rather, it was one of the more momentous days of my life because I moved to Creede, Colorado to take a new job with a repertory theatre.   

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Turns 100... and a blind eye.

I don't want to come across as a hater. And Lord knows I love my mother (and am the spittin' image of her). But I do not like Mother's Day.

And I'm not the only one.

In 1923, nine years after Anna Jarvis talked President Woodrow Wilson into establishing a national "Mother's Day," Ms. Jarvis turned around and began protesting it.

On facebook today, fourteen months after the death of his mother, Jason Nethercut describes Mother's Day as "prominent, glaring and threatening."

And for five years when I served at First Baptist Church in Austin, TX, I could be counted on to cry (hopefully non-conspicuously) at one service every year: Mother's Day.

Why don't we like it?

Well, Anna Jarvis hated how commercial it became in just nine years (oh Lord, she'd HATE it now). You see, she didn't start the movement to create a national holiday for "we the people" to give our moms flowers, and candy and cheesy greeting cards. She petitioned for this national holiday because her own mother organized "Mother's Work Days" to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality, to tend to soldiers who had been injured in the Civil War.  Anna's mother's contemporary, Julia Ward Howe (who composed "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"), issued a widely read "Mother's Day Proclamation" in 1870, calling for women to take an active political role in promoting peace.

Mother's Day, for Anna, was to recognize extraordinary women, and specifically the one she was the closest to: her mother.

In other words, "Mother's Day was born in the aftermath of the Civil War, as a rallying cry for women worldwide to oppose war and fight for social justice." It wasn't actually about mothers being good moms, it was about women being good people.

Mother's Day was a cry to action. It was a call from the feminist and Christian communities for women to live to their fullest potential as God's children... and to protect God's other children.

Happy 100th Birthday, Mother's Day. You have forgotten who you are.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Transition: Something Just Broke

The movement into Holy Week starts off strong and exciting - like any good religious festival. From Sunday's palm branch waving and animal joyriding to tomorrow night's dinner with friends, things seem to be going well for Jesus and the Disciples.

But today, Holy Wednesday is traditionally the day that Judas is said to have gone to the High Priests... "What will you give me if I betray him?" Thirty pieces of silver later, and our story takes a swift turn for the worse. Way beyond foreshadowing, the climax builds as things fall apart.

At the passover dinner, Jesus hints that one will deny him, another betray him, and a party guest leaves in a huff.

Bread is broken and eaten, wine is poured and drunk, but the symbolism isn't traditional, and the disciples wonder what these mixed up metaphors might mean.

After dinner, Jesus excuses himself up to the garden to pray, taking with him his three closest friends. He asks them to wait and keep watch, while he begs God: let there be another way.

But God says no, and when Jesus returns, more disappointment awaits him. He finds his comrades snoozing, the passover hangover already upon them.

Heading back down the hill, things go from bad to worse as the one who ran away comes running back with guards in tow, a kiss of death upon his lips.

Peter draws his sword and the fight escalates when he cuts off a slave's ear. But Jesus, usually the peacemaker, knows that violence must wait a day and it certainly won't come from an army of angry revolutionaries.

But as Jesus returns the ear to the poor servant's head, his friends begin to panic. Everyone takes flight now, one fleeing so fast that when a guard grabs his cloak the disciple wriggles free and runs naked all the way home.

Jesus, on the other hand, is restrained, imprisoned, and left to await trial and potential capital punishment.

And we move from Holy Wednesday to Maundy Thursday.

Sleepy stewards, double-crossing kisses, and then... something just broke.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Assassins... the Musical

"You know the FBI has a file on you now," a young man with a record informed me after I performed in Soubrette Production's Assassins last weekend.

"Oh honey, they've had a file on me for a long time," I replied. "You've read my blog, right?"

Seriously though, aside from the fact that I've actively and articulately criticized American politicians - conservatives and liberals (Though lets be honest, fundamentalists of the former persuasion are much more offensive and ridiculous than fundies of the latter - what would a fundamentalist liberal be anyway? a hippie? I digress.) - and aside from the fact that I am very opinionated about politics, race, sexism, issues of social justice and separation of church and state, I also dated someone who worked for the Department of Defense. Remember when I quit posting crazy boyfriend stories in the latter part of 2011? There was a reason for that. But it wasn't because I stopped dating men, it was because my man didn't have security clearance. Yep, that happened.

And now I've gone and performed in Assassins, the musical about successful and wanna-be assassins of American Presidents. So, add that to the file, Monsieur FBI.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Backhanded Sermon

Yesterday at First Austin, Rev. Dr. Roger Paynter preached on Leviticus 19 and Matthew 5... the turn the other cheek story. He said that while being told to turn the other cheek is often used by Christians to "baptize our masochism," it can also be a chance for us to allow for a "courageous assertion of ourselves."

I preached on this very text eleven years ago. It's a sermon on one of the best things I learned in seminary (I think). And since apparently University Baptist Waco has been on my mind lately (I threw on an old UBC shirt to run errands in on Saturday and then low and behold, Kyle Lake, visited me in a dream that night right before I headed to church to hear a text I once preached. So I got out the old scrapbooks, and I got out my old book of sermons (those files don't exist electronically anymore). And on my little iPad last night, I smiled and cringed and smiled some more and typed out that sermon to share with y'all. 

And of course I've included pictures. Because this text is tricky, and it required a full on demonstration from the stage that morning. Pre-blog apologies to Big Phil and Lance. And Kyle, it was nice to see you the other night. Thanks for visiting...

And now, we welcome to the blog 25-year-old Ann Pittman 
from UBC Waco 2003...

Monday, January 20, 2014

I'm Working on MLK (and what it means to me)

It's MLK Day.

I've written about this day before. And over the years, I've spent it in a variety of ways: playing in the snow since I didn't have to go to school in Missouri, raking leaves when I didn't have to go to work in Texas. And one year I even attended an MLK Day breakfast at Huston-Tillotson University with Austin icon, Volma Overton.

This year though, I will go to work (ah, corporate America); and I admit MLK Jr. is on my mind.

I can't pinpoint why. Maybe it's because I listened to this weird "I'm over MLK" discussion on NPR. I mean, I can't even...

Or maybe I'm paranoid about the gentrification of my neighborhood. Though admittedly, on my block, its affected the poorer Latino families more than it's affected the African Americans.

Or maybe I'm dreading all the MLK meme that will undoubtedly be posted on FB tomorrow - by conservatives trying to show they're not racist and by liberals trying to tell people to stop being racist. (None of it really matters as history suggests that few change their mind because of Facebook posts). (Furthermore, I will post some lovely meme on this blog to break up the text and appeal to visual readers).

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Top Ten Twenty-Thirteen Theatre

Everyone has their favorites. And everyone's weighing in (Chronicle critics: AdamRoberts, Robert Faires ... a cat).

Of course, I have my own opinions :)

So here's my credential-free pick for Austin's Top Ten 2013 Theatre Experiences (p.s. I don't include national tours or shows I was in on this list... tours obvs. aren't Austin, and despite my first girl-on-girl kiss this year, its probably biased to nominate performances I was a part of). Of the over twenty shows I saw this year, here's some moments, people and experiences that I loved (in no particular order)...

1.    Barbara Chisholm in Fixing King John. This was a fun, smart show by the Rude Mechs, and pulling her hair out in the middle of it was a brilliant Barbara Chisholm.

2.    The amazing set of Nursery Crimes (the DAC has never been better utilized) and the supporting characters trio of Travis Bedard, Bobby DiPasquale, and Heath Thompson. Kudos to Last Act's Will Snider for some great choices.

3.    Ryan Crowder's big fat crocodile tears (in addition to the rest of his performance) in Penfold Theatre's Red.

4.    Martin Burke's final monologue in Harvey. Lovely.

5.    Kristi Brawner in general. From Sally in Reefer Madness to Lucy in Charlie Brown, she is quickly becoming Austin's most versatile 20 Something (sorry guys, she's taken).

6.    HPT's Ken Webster as Thom Pain. Again.

7.    Mad Beat Hip & Gone. I cannot understand why this didn't get more critical attention.  Whatev. You guys, it was great. And those lightbulbs...

8.    The Drawbridge/Gangplank lowering and raising set piece thing in Austin Playhouse's Man of La Mancha. Awesome and daunting. Broke up the play and the mood perfectly appropriately.

9.    Little Shop of Horrors' colorful costumes at Zilker Park.

10.  ZACH's A Christmas Story set. You'll shoot your eye out.

AND what I really, really wanted to see (which might have influenced the above list), but, alas, life had other exciting adventures...

1.    Mical Trejo in Teatro Vivo's Confessions of a Mexpatriot

2.    And Then There Were None by Austin Playhouse

3.    Tongues (in the swimming pool!) by Theatre at the J

4.    Fat Pig by Theatre En Bloc

So there you have it! Of the Austin theatre events I saw, these were the most super-duper. Maybe next year I'll be brave enough to give you The Worst Of... who knows! In the meantime, here's looking forward to more great, funny, meaningful, important, silly theatre in the heart of Texas in 2014!