Thursday, March 30, 2006


I'm in the last four. You can tell which one I am by looking for the dancer doing something different from the others. Sigh.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

kristy from colorado solves anna k's problem

I love the book reviews on sites like Amazon. Here's one from Barnes and Noble:
This is a decent book, though very long, and could be shortened a bit. Some pieces seemed to really have no purpose. You have to be a fan of the classics to get thru this book, but all in all it is a good read. Trying to imagine this as it was written, over a hundred years ago, and experience life as it really was back then is thrilling. My only comment is that Anna Karenina was a spoiled brat as were the other women in that high society. Had they had jobs, or had they done something to occupy themselves, I think they all would have been happier.

Thanks everyone for checking in on me, post-Undulation. It went well enough, but raised a lot of issues for me. Still processing. And sleeping!

Friday, March 24, 2006

the model strikes back

I love drawing the artists when they're not drawing me.

Now I have to go paint those toenails black, and do a couple more backbends. At this time tomorrow... I should be coming off stage. Who's buying my first drink?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

t-minus forty-nine hours and counting

I really appreciate that nobody has called me on the fact that a couple of months ago, I was whining about leaving the company, and yet I'm still locked in pretty tight.

I am consistent in my inconsistency, I suppose; it is hard for me to leave things even when I've said that I'm going to. But more accurately in this case, I missed the point where it would have been graceful to leave, and decided to stay on to see this show through. Still ambivalent about what happens after the show's over, but really don't have the bandwidth (as we've been saying, all of us) to think that far ahead (ie, next week). It's a big deal that I managed to get a load of laundry done before I had to resort to wearing my prom dress (which would have been a problem, since I haven't got one, my school didn't do prom, much as a certain reader and I fantasized about dating boys from other schools and doing their homework in return for going to their proms. But I digress)

Anyway. How to put this delicately? We're behind. Unlike last year's set, which was one new piece and four older ones, this year the whole set is new, and several of the pieces include movements new to our vocabulary, Modern and Turkish Gypsy and Kalibeliya (Rom from Rajasthan). There are a lot of us to coordinate; there have been very few rehearsals with every dancer present. We're dancing choreographed pieces to live music, which we do rarely, and the whole band has yet to play together. We haven't been able to take a whole day to rehearse, instead eking out two hours here and two hours there at studios all over the area.

But it's beautiful. Last night we were at Shawl-Anderson over in Rockridge, with six of the seven musicians, and while I was waiting for my entrance cue, I kept seeing students from the regular classes peeking in the window from the hall, hanging over the banister of the stairs that lead to the second floor, clumping up in the space between our studio and the women's changing room. So I started going out to press flyers into sweaty hands. The whole thing, with costumes, Friday night, I kept saying. And dj's so you can dance too! S-A mostly offers ballet and modern, so I can't imagine what these folks were thinking as they watched us stir our masala, but they sure looked hungry.

At one point Earring and I are back to back, and do deep kneeling backbends at the same time. It's the one time I'll really be visible, truthfully. A) I'm still one of the taller dancers, so I'm in the back mostly and b) I'm still an apprentice, so I'm in the back mostly and c) the stage is narrow and deep, so I'm, well, you get it. Anyway, Earring's been concerned that I'm not ready for this backbend. So last night, somewhere between the third and eighth run-through, she said, the music's a lot slower live than the CD we've been practicing to. Our heads need to touch the ground on the four, shoulders on the five, and then come up. I've been saving it, I said, feeling a little uneasy that maybe I couldn't really do it. And I'm afraid we'll bonk heads again (this has happened a couple of times.) Well, don't save it this time, she responded. I can see you (and here she demonstrated the thing you're supposed to do with your head that I didn't previously understand) so I can go on the other side.

Okay then!

So on the next pass, I did the right thing with my head, so I could see her. And stuck my tongue out and made rude noises. Which I enjoyed much more than she did; she's pretty stressed out about, well, everything. But the move made more sense, I feel like I've got it, and now all I have to do is not fuck up my back between now and Friday night.

Afterwards, I went home with her to help make costumes. It wasn't like last year's trip to the Barn to build stuff. She was really quiet, we didn't have to push her gasless car out of an intersection, and mostly I stood there while she tried not to stick pins in me as she assembled skirts. Then I spent the night on her short couch, too congested to smell the puppy pee she'd warned me I'd find there, and surreptitiously sneaking candy eggs from a bag on the desk. This morning: banana pancakes and coffee with brown sugar from Cowboy, more pins narrowly avoiding the giant pincushion that is my tuchus, a spot of sewing on a beautiful old Singer I wanted to draw, and then home to the Spaceship to get ready to model in the afternoon. Which I did in the costume from last year's Undulation, yarn belt, and fishnet gauntlets, much to the delight and dismay of my artists (who had, I must mention, asked for it).

Point being. I've got one nerve left, my life is piling up around me, everyone who loves me knows not to ask anything of me right now, and there's a good chance I'll be up all night tomorrow doing one thing or another to help get us ready for this show, which is as stressful and pell-mell as anything I've seen the company do. I'll be onstage for probably a grand total of five minutes, after spending an hour getting my face on. I may spend the next two weeks in traction.

But it's beautiful. And that is what I tend to forget, when I think about leaving. There is something that happens here that isn't possible with one dancer, or even with a group of dancers with a different intent, composition, or artistic director. Whether I stay or go, I will have been part of something gorgeous; I will have helped make something instead of just commenting on whether someone else's something is worthwhile.

Which means a lot.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

i am the cheese

Friday, March 17, 2006

Thursday, March 16, 2006

waiting for the music to start

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

new sketchbook

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

pat robertson needs a pet scan

Or an MRI, or whatever it is you use to look for brain tumors. What in tarnation is he thinking? I am totally serious here. His pattern of saying bizarrely irresponsible things is starting to seem ever more suspect to me.

And don't anyone get on me about being insensitive to people with brain tumors. I have some experience in the matter.

Any time UPS feels like showing up with my package would be great. They're only two hours late now for their own deadline. And I'd be climbing the walls if they weren't so cold.
san francisco from marin, saturday march 11

The other side of the morning this happened; because the Waldo Tunnel was closed, northbound Golden Gate Transit busses had to go through Sausalito to get to Marin City. I ended up missing my connection and my client had to come pick me up in the oceanic parking lot of the Marin City mall, but some of the views from the diversion were moodily gorgeous. More so than this photo suggests.

Friday, March 10, 2006

my life

A woman in my travel writing class says that since she has no time to blog properly, she's been putting up photos with captions. Hmm. Let's see.



out drinking with Snufkina

Thursday, March 09, 2006


This is interesting. I've mentioned that in '95 I went to the NGO Forum that was an adjunct to the UN's Conference on Women as part of the Michigan delegation. It was an intense and educational week; eleven years later I'm still thinking about what I learned and saw.

When I got home, I was stunned to hear an American newscaster demeaning the conference because it "only" dealt with "women's issues" like clean water. As if getting clean water for one's family was on par, importance-wise, with making sure that their shoes and belts matched. Put a bunch of women together and they're not going to talk about the really important stuff, like wars and trade (although we did); they're going to worry about the health of their families and communities.

Well. Looks like clean water is actually important.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

boys in bikinis, girls on surfboards

My god, ain't science grand? I'm starting to wonder if some of these previously-undiscovered creatures that keep popping up haven't been seen before because they're recent evolutions of older designs. Not in this particular case, but some of the others. Too tired to speculate right now, but maybe after Undulation is over and I can think about anything besides choreography, carrots, and laundry, I'll do some research.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

yes, but i don't get sent to walter reed for my skinned knees

An alert reader points us to this story that reveals I am not alone in my inability to ride my bike one-handed. While not nearly as scary as the Cheney Buckshot Hoedown, it's yet more proof that we just shouldn't let these guys out. What's next, puking at fancy state dinners? Oh, wait, we've seen that already.

thanks to Tamburas

Saturday, March 04, 2006

charlie the lab

Has been with his person for nine years. As a puppy, he was about as big as his head is now. When he lays on the floor of the Dane's studio, Dolce and Guido come out from under their blanket mound to sniff at him, which looks a lot like any science fiction movie where there are shuttles or fighters docking on a much, much larger spaceship. Yesterday I noticed that Charlie's tail was as long as Dolce's whole body.

One of the reasons I've been so busy the past few weeks is that modeling has become eerily similar to a full-time job. I modeled every day this week, and four mornings out of five I started at 9 am. One of those days I spent at a high school in Oakland, working on a stand made of four desks pushed together, and the students arrived in waves, every ninety minutes. I wore a leotard, which was a strange experience. I felt more exposed than if I had been nude. Is it riding up on my butt? How's the bikini line? Can they see down the front if I lean forward? Not that I needed to worry about that last, as I had less bustage than most of the girl students, which I tried not to think about.

The whole thing was really weird, actually; I kept thinking about that Drew Barrymore movie where she's an adult who goes back to high school undercover for her newspaper, and has to deal with all the insecurities of being a teenager again. I found myself caring entirely too much about what these kids thought of me and what I was doing. I wondered if my clothes seemed hopelessly square. I imagined that I seemed impossibly old to them, and wished that my legs weren't covered in "need to let the hair grow out long enough to wax" stubble. When two girls sitting directly in front of me didn't understand an exercise they'd been assigned and gave up three minutes into a ten-minute pose, choosing instead to giggle and whisper and write notes to each other after staring at me, I wanted to grab my dorky clothes (jeans and hoodie, mind, same as everyone else there except the teacher) and flee the room.

Excuse me ladies, please, I tried instead. That's very distracting, and makes me feel like I'm not doing my job. They looked shocked. I fervently prayed for the class to end. Somewhere to my right, a faint whiff of bass rose from someone's iPod. To my left, a dark-eyed boy in long shorts and the ubiquitous hoodie, a boy who had asked as he sat down but what if you can't draw?, softly swore.

They don't understand that it doesn't come easy, any of it. They get upset with themselves when they don't get it "right". They think they should be able to get it the first time, and lose focus when it doesn't happen that way. Which makes them no different from adults, I suppose; the big difference seems to be that as you get older, you get better at concealing your distress.

I was glad when that day was over, even if it turned over some compost for me and gave me interesting stuff to meditate on. Modeling is some of the most vulnerable work I've done. True to the writer stereotype, I've held a lot of different jobs, but I never felt like I was offering myself in quite the same way when I held down a desk. Not because of the nudity, really. That's almost secondary. But the essence of what I do: try to help other people access their own creative core, with all the feelings that can stir up.

Feelings that adult artists are much better at masking.

Friday, March 03, 2006

eight hours in a row...

I plan to sleep tonight. Man is it going to be great, especially after a long day of griping with artist clients about the latest White House hijinks and then waiting on economists at a conference sponsored in part by the Carlyle Group. Cognitive dissonance? Indeed, indeed. But nothing that a good night tangled in flannel and down won't fix.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

playing hooky

Overwhelmed by rehearsing, modeling, being ill, and generally rushing headlong from place to place, I bailed on my travel writing class tonight and stayed home. And did nothing on the Super Critical Urgent list. Instead I moved furniture, made and ate a salad, and scribbled this picture based on something I saw done in one of the classes I worked for today.

First the students did a minute-long gesture drawing using colored chalk, then they spent five or ten more minutes doing a contour drawing over the first image. The end result was charming--simple wrinkly-lined drawings with a little color and motion--so I resolved to try it myself at the first opportunity. Which was looking like April, until I decided to stay in tonight.

I think this took about ten minutes, and while it's not exactly deathless art, I felt a lot better after I'd finished it. Rested. I don't understand why I don't draw more frequently. I always enjoy it, even when the finished image disappoints--and that's ten minutes I didn't spend French-kissing the vodka bottle, hm?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

so brown did in fact take it in the neck for the president

I'm with Mayor Nagin; there's a sinking feeling in my stomach as I read about the tape everyone should see. The one the AP found that shows that Bush knew in advance how bad Katrina could be. Sickening and vital.

Also interesting that Michael Brown actually was trying to do something before the storm hit--and didn't get the support he needed.

Before the storm hit, Bush was told that the levees might not hold. Four days after Katrina made landfall, he said that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees". What, did he forget? Or did he lie? And what's with all of Homeland Security's "fog of war" bullshit? They can fold that until it's all sharp corners and shove it.

Looks like another reason to impeach to me.