Archive for the ‘Unfinished Symphonies’ Category

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Rockin’ and Reelin’

August 26, 2008

My new favorite song, Northern Line by Opal:

I’m dreaming on a night train
It’s only been a light rain, and a darkened sky and a starry night
I’m humming on a cold train
I’m singing about the wreck of the Old 97

And I’m walking through this city
I’ll tell my story to the rain
And I won’t come back no matter what you say

I’m feeling no pain
I don’t care if I ever see your face again
I’m riding on a Northern Line
I got no money – but I got a lot of time to spend

And I’m walking through this city
Yeah I’ll tell my story to the rain
And I won’t come back no matter what you say
No I won’t come back no matter what you say

After a recent crash-n-burn with a friend I never dreamed I could have a falling out with, Mr. Twittles suddenly reappeared. An email after months of nothing. Rather than starting another firestorm, I decided to answer with a graceful if non-commital reply. Non-commital seems to be what people want, or at the very least, what they can handle. So that’s what they’ll get until I get a clear signal otherwise. Which I don’t think I’m going to get.

This leaves me with my music and singing, which means more to me than anything. A and I are back on regular rehearsal schedule again, in spite of his job and apartment hopping. I forgive him because he is adrift in the fast-moving stream of life and I’ve been there. I’m pretty sure he’ll settle soon, and as long as he makes rehearsals, I don’t care what he does with his own life, as long as he’s clean and not hitting me up for money.

We will record in mid September. And then up goes the web site. I plan to shoot a lot of video footage, and have music vids on our site.

I have an audition next week for a backup/lead singer position with a cover band. I am making huge strides with the new coach I’ve been working with. He gets pop music, and I am learning how to transform all the training I’ve had into something that works for these genres.

I persist, although my heart is broken.

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The Return of Mr. Twittles

May 10, 2008

Once on a sunny afternoon in a Big City, I found myself with a friend who listened to me with all of his heart. I’ve not had a lot of moments like that — and I sometimes think not many of us have — and it was an afternoon I never forgot.

I told him all my hopes and dreams, I told him what I feared most (mediocrity), and what I didn’t want to become. I told what I wanted to become, and he believed in me.

I’m not exactly sure why him believing in me mattered so much, but it did. Last night, I finally had the chance to thank him, after 13 years.

Mr. Twittles (not his real name, of course) was a colleague of sorts in the big fat famous company where I’d managed to land a job in my starving, wannabe days. I say of sorts because he represented everything I wanted to be and wasn’t. And he was my friend. And I can’t tell you how good that made me feel. How good it still makes me feel.

I found Mr. Twittles on a social networking site which shall remain unnamed a few weeks ago. I thought he’d moved far away, but as it turns out, he’s been within driving distance all this time. I highly suspect that I could only allow myself to ‘find’ him when I finally felt worthy enough to do so.

Seeing him was as wonderful as it was strange. He is hilariously funny, does one of the best Jerky Boys imitations I’ve ever heard and can go on for hours as if he was one of them. Fortunately, he refrained or I think would have had an incontinent moment. We spent 4 hours over dinner talking non-stop and today I feel like I could have another dinner.

He’s no threat to my marriage, but I’m puzzled as to whether we can really be friends, as much I would like to be. Back in the sunny park days, we had more than one outing together. I’m usually not clueless as to whether a man is interested, but I could never figure his intentions out. He never made a single move, other than an occasional, ambiguous remark. And there was a point when I would have accepted it, had he dared. But he never did. And I didn’t dare either. I knew there was a woman of some sorts back then, but I never had the impression they were really together. Last night he confirmed that they had been which was all the more puzzling. What were those outings all about? Was he simply being a friend? Was he looking for a little on the side? Did he know that what he had wasn’t it? They broke up eventually, and he was devastated. Didn’t date for seven years after that. That doesn’t sound like someone who wasn’t sure about what they had, does it?

Last night again there was another ambiguous remark, something about timing and finding love. I let that serve fly right past me, as I respect him too much to suggest that he was once interested in me.

He’s a question mark in my life, Mr. Twittles. But I’m glad he’s back. I think he’s back, I should say. He said ‘we’ll keep in touch’ as we left, and I hope he meant it but I’m not sure if he did, or even what that means for him.

Is it possible for men and women to be friends? I’d be lying if I said he wasn’t attractive or that I couldn’t imagine us together. I don’t want that, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility, at least for me. But I guess that’s why I don’t dare ever tell him that. I think I’m afraid that he would say, ‘ah, gee no, I… uh… yeah, no’. Part of me would be relieved to hear that so we could just get on with it and be pals. But a part of me would be disappointed.

Are we two ships that passed in the night? I’m not sure.

* * *

I missed my Week 3 deadline for my screenwriting class (dangit!), but finally had a chance today to get caught up. My story is flowing out and I have 9 — count ’em — 9 whole pages of my screenplay written. And at least right now, I feel like the remaining 80 to a 100 will not be as painful to write as I once feared they would be. I completely enjoyed writing those 4 new pages today, and I could have gone on much longer. Tomorrow I will, as we’re now on Week 4.

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On The Other Side

May 2, 2008

It’s been 4 months of a lot of darkness, but I’m doing better now. I’m enrolled in a UCLA online screenwriting class that is going pretty well so far. Thanks to David for the referral. What a relief to have a teacher who has his ego in the right place, and is simply interested in teaching us the basics of screenwriting. I am impressed with the quality of the writers in the class. No one sucks, and one guy is downright excellent. I’m not sure why he’s in the class because he’s clearly not new to the game, but who cares, I am learning from every assignment he submits.

So far, I fear that the story I’m working on is going to be a little too serious and dark to be enjoyable to read or watch. This is where Excellent Guy in the class excels. I have yet to see how his story will unfold but so far, he introduced a situation and characters that are rich and compelling without getting heavy. He saves us from heavy with humor, and that kind of agility is impressive, not to mention fun to read. I am terrified that I’ll never be able to achieve that. I say that like I’m going to actually get somewhere with this.

***

On the singing front, I haven’t found a new teacher, but I haven’t been looking for one much. I’m still having a hard time deciding what kind of music I want to sing, and where my voice fits in best. Classical is still an option: becoming a local soloist is not beyond my reach, I’m pretty sure of that. I think I need to stop thinking about it so much, and go with my heart. And I’m not sure the classical thing is what I really want.

I answered a local ad for a singer and have hooked up with a rather interesting Scotsman who has written a rather nice body of work. He came over 2 weeks ago, I sang for him and he said in his fantastic lilting accent: “I think you’ve got some potential, yeah, let’s give this a go.” He’s recorded/produced one album in Scotland and is here now because he thinks his music has a better chance. Its needs orchestration, but I think the guy has an interesting style. Kinda’ Sujan Stevens meets The Pet Shop Boys meets Rufus Wainwright, with a dose of slightly Celtic melodies that don’t cross over into the Enya realm (thank goodness). Interesting stuff. We’re rehearsing this weekend and we’ll see what we sound like. He wants to be out there performing, and I don’t think we’re ready for that. But if we could get a bunch of other musicians together and work out our music… it just might be something kind of cool.

***

My biggest hurdle is self-sabotaging thoughts of mediocrity and dilettante-ery that haunt me incessantly. Why am I doing this? Where do I think this is going and what is it going to get me? Who the fuck would want to read anything I write or listen to me sing? The answer is always to turn off my brain and simply get into it. Last weekend, as I sat down to write the first assignment for my screenwriting class, it was pure joy to delve in and not care about anything but the process. And when I’m signing with Angus, it all feels so right.

Oh, for the off switch in my brain. Maybe with practice, I learn to shut that off before stagnation sets in.

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Not Forgotten, Ever

September 22, 2007

I’ve been too sick to make a mention of the passing of Pavarotti. I was in Italy when it happened, and if we hadn’t already been completely exhausted and sick of trains, I would have hopped down to Modena to stand I-don’t-care-how-many hours in line to pay hommage.

I’ve always hated how people made fun of the fat man. What, because he has food issues he can’t sing? They loved him when he was younger, etc., but as he aged and got involved in other things and okay, maybe even got a bit sloppy and never really worked on his acting skills and was stubborn about learning new roles…. well, okay, I can understand the criticism. But a lot of people seemed to want to attach that to his ability as a singer.

But basically, you can’t touch that. The man was GOLD, pure. And he just seemed like such a sweetheart, always a twinkle in his eye. Luciano, I loved you, a little. Okay, a lot. My heart swells when I hear you sing and while you are gone from this world, you will always be in my heart.

I watched his master classes on YouTube and I was impressed not only with his sensitivity but his accuracy and the subtilty of his comments. He took very nice but not outstanding students and with just a few words, took them up a notch, several in the case of one video I watched.

Anyway, I knew his time was coming. We heard when we were there that he’d been admitted to the hospital and that is was serious. I felt a sense of doom when they announced that.

Strangely enough, before we left, I had a premonition about him dying while we were there. Not sure what to say about that, but in some ways, his death was not a surprise.

I wore black that day in Rome and later learned that he hated black and told everyone around him that he didn’t want black worn when he died. So Luciano, so lovely.

Ciao, Maestro. I miss you but then again, you’re never really gone. And that is a blessing for all of us.

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Le Bien et Le Mal

July 19, 2007

Lesson #2 with the new teacher tomorrow. I’m not sure, but I think I like her. I might even really love her. She has fabulous energy, sparky and light and warm all at once. And I feel all good vibes from her. I listen to her every day as I go over our taped lesson once again, trying to perfect every detail she threw at me. And she threw a lot. And that is a-fuckin-okay with me, ‘specially if it gets me out of the chorus and onto the stage. Hoo-wha!

I can hardly believe this going down the way it is. I’m going to ask her to repeat what she said to me about getting small roles and whatnot. I’m beginning to think I dreamed it. I listen to myself on the tape of our lesson and I hate what I hear. And then, by the time I’m done working on what she was trying to get me to to, I’m starting to love what I hear. There are some phrases of the music that I believe… I think… it’s hard to say, it’s so hard to know what you really sound like… but I think they’re good. I think someone would like to hear them, I think they would speak to someone’s heart.

This is what I want so much, although I can’t explain why: I want someone to feel what I’m trying to say when I sing. I want them to feel what I feel in the music. And if they do, then I’ve done what I need to do. And I need to do that. I am realizing that I’ve needed to do this so very badly, for so very long, and I’ve held off. And I will not wait waste one more second with the ‘shit, why did I wait so long…‘, I will just plunge forth with the time I have left and that’s all that matters.

Some people, many people, I would wager, really shouldn’t be singing. Blackbeard, in one of his moments of sincerity — when he wasn’t preening himself or getting off on his effect on me, or whatever else he was doing when he wasn’t concentrating on teaching me — pointed this out. The reason why so many people don’t like opera [or classical music, for that matter], is that so many, many people are singing it all wrong.

Opera is about some of the biggest, darkest, deepest feelings people can ever have. That is why people want to see these same damn shows over and over and over again. Because the sweet little love story played by the pretty people in their lovely costumes that they saw when they’re grandmother dragged them to the Met at 15 has become something that speaks to them, shatters them, rips them apart inside as they struggle to hide embarassing tears that stream down their cheeks when the notes of the final aria begin. The aria they’ve listened to in that lonely little apartment, over and over again.

Except lots of people aren’t crying at the opera any more. Or else, they’re crying for the wrong reason.

Opera singers are funny because some of them are lying. They are singing dishonestly and it’s comical, pathetic and awful all at once.

Blackbeard’s theory is that it’s because the bel canto technique has virtually disappeared from the conservatories. I’m not sure. I was 100% sold on what he was teaching me… and now I like what I’m hearing with the new teacher.

At the very least, he was definitely speaking truth at that moment. I will make sure that I am always singing honestly, if nothing else.

– – –

What to do about Blackbeard? I have turned this over and over in my mind. I was ready to completely blow him off, not even respond to his email, should I get one. It should come in sometime on Friday afternoon, if I’ve calculated correctly. I think it’s very possible I will *not* get one. Like I said about men and how the equation of ‘talking’ vs. ‘pussy’ normally weight out. And pussy is definitely not an option for him at this point, and something tells me he knows it. So… bets, anyone?

There’s more about him that I don’t have time to write about now. Further googling last night revealed more information. Information is always good, when it comes to people, don’t you think?

I’ll fill you in later, peeps.

Manana for now…