Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Burgeoning Pot Habit

Perhaps my being a middle child explains my love of birthdays. In my memory, that was always the one day each year I could count on to get the most attention, a day I did not have to share with my eight siblings the way I had to share pants, bathroom, meat cakes, etc. I have carried my love of birthdays well into adulthood, and it's no secret that come another January, I use the anniversary of my arrival as an excuse to strong arm my friends and family into doing my bidding. We don't just stop with the actual birthday, either. I like to claim the whole month as my own. Which is how, weeks after the fact, I gave myself yet another birthday celebration.

This time around the party came in the form of a ceramics class with Steve Dubov down at Atelier 3D, in the Tillery Studios. My skills as a visual artist are... how to put it delicately.. totally shitty. But that doesn't stop me from trying. I love tactile thrills and getting dirty. In the old days, that got me in all sorts of trouble and yielded some powerful life lessons (Read: before getting it on in public, take my advice and make sure that grass you're about to roll in isn't poison ivy because you WILL wind up in the hospital, trust me, and the medical professionals WILL excuse themselves, go grab their colleagues and bring them in for a look, all in the name of having a good laugh at the water cooler).

Anyway, now that I'm coming up on 50 fairly quickly here, rolling around in the grass is not how I want to get my Touch Thrills. Instead, I prefer yarn, bread dough, Rebound's belly, that sort of thing. I guessed and (spoiler alert) was totally right that playing with clay was going to be super fun. Admittedly I was a little stumped at first-- so much potential in our little red slabs of clay (GUMBY!!). But then I told myself to shut up and quit with the First World Problem of Waaa, I don't know what to make!!! and then, perhaps as a tribute to the wisdom I've finally earned, I actually listened to myself and shut up and played. It rocked.

Along for this ride were my young, hot domestic partner, Warren, my amazing Man-Child HenryMowgli, and his lady friend K. They were all especially looking forward to reenacting scenes from the movie Ghost and, in fact, we did a great photo shoot of this reenactment, but a few of the six of you might recall that recently my iPhone disappeared about 140 pictures. Sadly, the Ghost shoot was among the lost. Still, some photos remain.

I'm highly recommending you take one of Steve's classes. Absolute beginners are welcome. Check out the Atelier 3D website for more details. And check out the pictures that did survive:

Yes, I do know how hot I look when I dress like this and hunch over. No, you may not date me.

My pot: beginning stages.

Because you're never too old to stick stuff up your nose and say, "Look!  A booger!"

HenryMowgli, boy genius.

This is what happens when old people expose themselves to pot(s) in the morning.

An AFTER picture of my yarn bowl and knitting need vessel.

A close up of my yarn bowl. Isn't it COOL?!

Because what would my life be without puns?
Warren's balls pre-kiln.

We had a LOT of pot action, as you can see. 

Serious artist.

Warren's pot pre-kiln. I haven't seen it finished yet, but I hear the glaze looks the color of baby poop.

Warren's balls post-glaze. Yes, they are black and spotted. No, I won't say it, I'll let you have all the fun.

Steve, quick hitting on my man!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review: Next to Normal at ZACH

copyright 2012 Kirk Tuck

Next to Normal has been playing for weeks now at ZACH and I only just had time to see it. Now time is running out for you to see it-- it plays through March 4th only. Since I am tight on time, and/but also since I don't want to delay telling you to go to the show, this might be my shortest review ever. Ready:

Go to the show!

Okay, a little more about why I really dig this show. First, it's a musical about bipoloar disorder. Uh, hello? Can you say cognitive dissonance? Not since Citizen Ruth, a comedy about abortion have I been so intrigued by such an odd mashup of theme/medium.

I admit, when the first number started, I had a split second of Oh shit, what have I gotten myself into? Because other than the title and "musical about bipolar" I had no idea what the play held in store. Wait, I did know one other thing. I knew it stars Meredith McCall, and she is such a badass (Drowsy Chaperone, Santaland Diaries, lots of other great stuff) that I figured it had to be good.  I was right, and it turns out my initial squirming, I fast realized, was me settling into accepting hat this production was not of the Guys and Dolls variety.

Once I got that out of the way, I very fast got swept away by the show. Our main character, Diana, has some pretty serious mental shit going on. I, myself, have suffered horrible bouts of deep depression over the years, so it was pretty easy to connect to her distress as written by playwright Brian Yorkey. It was even easier to connect since McCall's palpable anxiety and gloom sucked us all right in.

My anti-spoiler stance is on super-duper high for this show. I'm not giving away another bit of the plot, except to say that what gets explored is how one person's mental illness hardly is isolated to that one person's life and mind. Diana's family-- husband Dan (Jamie Goodwin), son Gabe (Andrew Cannata), daughter Natalie (Kelli Shultz)-- are all crippled by it. The cast is rounded out by Natalie's boyfriend, Henry (Johnny Newcomb) and Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden (Joshua Denning), who treats Diana with mixed results.

Every performer here pulls his/her weight magnificently. This is a show with a lot of echoes in it, as history threatens to repeat. A device used the great effect is a two-level set that allows us a horizontal split screen view of two scenes at once. The music and lyrics are really great, too.

Before the show, the stranger sitting next to me and my companion told us that the show would leave us sobbing. It's true, my companion gently wept. But I never did. Instead I found myself actually grinning during several scenes where that might not have seemed an appropriate response. But as someone who has wrestled with so many demons, I have to say it really feels GREAT when such issues are trotted out and explored, destigmatized as a result. Maybe it's misery loves company, maybe it's strength in numbers. Whatever it is, Next to Normal, directed by Dave Steakley, really works.

For more info and tickets, go to the ZACH site.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valen-Mime's Day, Warren!

my funny valentine
sweet jewish stripey mime
you make me smile
with your fart(s)

your puns are laughable 
sometimes ungraspable 
still you must surely be
my bashert

is your attitude so geek?
does your wee tukhus seem so meek?
til you open it to "speak"--
then people da-aaart!

don't change the sheets for me
oh please just leave them be
let all the dog hairs stay--aaaaay
each day is trumpet butt day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Let's Visit the Backyard, Shall We?!

So, okay, the whole Global Warming thing is really leaving me with mixed feelings. I really selfishly love all the 70 degree days but damn, WE'RE GONNA DIE, PEOPLE! Still, as the ship is sinking, I am using these warm days to be in the backyard. And today I'm here to tell you about all the big changes. 

Pictured above is my new Chicken Coop! Yay! I have been dreaming of a new flock ever since the dogs made short work of the last flock back in 2007. Night of the Living Chicken Dead was one we'll never forget. Tatum took out one chicken, scared two half to death, and mortally wounded a fourth. This last one Warren had to dispatch, which he did using the business end of a shovel. He discovered, in process, that beating a chicken in the head is not optimal slaughter method. We won't soon try that again. And besides, I keep chickens for eggs and LIVE entertainment so the idea is that they won't die, except of old age. Thus I waited until I could afford a dog proof tractor.

This beautiful coop you see was made by Josh at Mobile Chicken Coops. I wrote about Josh a long time ago for Edible Austin. I love his coops and was going to buy one last year but then, thank you drought, massive tree limbs kept crashing down upon my house and yard. Do you have any idea how much it costs to remove massive tree limbs? I'll give you a hint-- I could've taken a European vacation. So everything, including the coop, got put on hold. Then my birthday came, and I got a very nice green gift, which allowed me to live out my Coop Dreams. Josh helped with this by cutting me a huge break-- I promised him I would create an online Flockumentary to track the birds and the chicken tractor so that all you people would come to understand the beauty and importance of keeping your own backyard flock. So you can look forward to those installments soon-- I hope to have birds by next week.

Meanwhile, in other news, my YardFarm Garden continues to grow delightfully out of control. Who'd have guessed a winter garden would be so much more abundant than a summer garden? Well, I guess it's that global warming thing. At least as I am dying of heatstroke, I can go to my grave knowing my body is full of rich nutrients courtesy of plants like this amazing chard:

And how about this dinosaur kale? That's just its nickname but who cares. I'm terrible at keeping track of plant names. I just like to go out and pick it and eat it. I decided to give green smoothies a try, even though the thought sort of gagged me. I figured at best I would learn how to tolerate one or two per year. Imagine my surprise when I found out I LOVE GREEN SMOOTHIES. Granted, I pack mine with orange juice, bananas, peaches and berries so it's not like I'm doing full on raw greens. But still, I am getting all that raw green goodness. Oh, and I put in yogurt, too, which I love to eat all the time anyway, but especially so since I got food poisoning AGAIN (I am done with restaurant eating) so my gut bacteria is all screwed up. Eat your yogurt, people!

Dinosaur Kale

Green Smoothie. This is the same color as my favorite yarn.
I also dig making Kale Chips, which my smart food friend Sue turned me onto. SUPER easy. A bunch of kale, a spritz of olive oil, a dash of coarse salt and, voila, a good alternative to potato chips. In the example below, please note I piled up my kale too much. You should spread yours out.

How many of you know that great song by Jon Dee Graham that goes, "I'm as happy as a dog in the yard"? I love that song. Dante lives that song:

In beautiful but very sad news, my peach tree is blossoming. Uh, hello? Peach tree? It's FEBRUARY! You need to go back to sleep now. It's still nap time!

And finally... have you been wondering what Neil Armstrong has been up to? Well wonder no more! He's been turning my backyard into the Giant Leap for Mankind Theme Park with this massive piece of Lunar Landing equipment. (Okay, okay, in truth the city was putting in new phone poles and they used my yard to park this, this... THING. I love when the city sends someone out and they say, "We won't get in your way," and then they put a three story piece of equipment in the yard for a month. A few months ago a guy called to say he was going to "trim a couple of trees out back" to get ready for the phone pole guys. I was not home but said, "Sure, trim away." I came home and two trees had been completely cut down, not even stumps left. Well, at least now I can get solar panels since there is not shade left. And it wouldn't have mattered if I'd protested anyway. See "easement rights" for $500-- hint: "easement rights" means you bend over and take it.)

This concludes our backyard tour for today. Thanks for visiting. Please stay tuned for updates on the chickens.

Monday, February 6, 2012

So Much Going On-- An Update

It's Time to Self-Promote!

Today we throw away all we've learned about event marketing and the importance of staying uber-focused on one thing at a time. Because I, Spike Gillespie, am a One Woman Band with multiple fingers in many pots. So here's a list of the latest offerings. See what suits you and email me to sign up/reserve your spot or spots in my upcoming everything!

Dick Monologues Presents: Sisters! Show is March 7, 2012 at Hyde Park Theatre. Tix are $10. All proceeds go to HPT. This time around we'll explore the theme of siblings. Should be good/funny/harrowing/etc.

Six-Week Writing Workshop: If you go to this link you'll find out more about the next writing workshop. These are lots of fun and they culminate in a public reading (non-mandatory). Spaces are very limited.

Fashion Camp for Kids: I am offering two sessions only this summer and they will sell out. Go here for more information.

Writing Camp for Kids: I am also offering only two sessions for this camp. Please go here for more information.

Writing Coaching: I have a couple of openings coming up, beginning in March, to take on one-on-one coaching clients. Information including rates can be found here. This is for the super self-motivated writer with a specific book idea. I can take you from idea to formal proposal (traditional publishing route) or from idea to ebook (including have the manuscript turned into an ebook).

Weddings! And let's not forget-- I love performing weddings. My wedding website has just been updated (thanks Michael C!) and really, even if you aren't getting married, you should check it out!