Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

On creative fire..

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

It really floors me how much I accomplish in the middle of the night, when I feel so fried I wouldn’t think I could concentrate on anything. I’ve been sewing a lot the last few days. Pictures aren’t much.. but it is almost 4:30 in the morning afterall.

Thanks for the birthday present, Chrissy.

Vita arts has completed its first workshop!

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

We came. We saw. We made art. We helped other people make art. We learned stuff. We became one with humility. We both exceeded, and fell short of expectations. We thought on our feet and persevered. We were asked to return.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Things didn’t go as planned. Attendance was less than expected, and we quickly abandoned our impressively prepared structure and variety of offerings in favor of scaling back to a very simple, smaller, fluid system. Way better than being caught with our pants down, though – we were on the ball, overstaffed and over prepared. Anything that went ‘wrong’ was out of our hands. Our volunteers showed, lit the room up and had a good time leading by example. We worked with some kids, and they were great. You can ask for more than that with a first workshop, but it’s probably not a very good idea to expect it.

We did it. We are real. And we have an assload of supplies for next time.

http://vita-arts.org

Stuff I’ve made recently

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Circus of Dreams, Sept 18th

Friday, September 18th, 2009

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This will make you love again

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

First draft of my newest cover, “This will make you love again” by I am X.

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“This will make you love again”

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

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Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – Carnival
Pink Martini – Que Sera Sera
Husky Rescue – New Light of Tomorrow
IAMX – Running
A Perfect Circle – Peace Love and Understanding
IAMX – Spit it Out
Waldeck – Fallen Angel
Inbar Bakal – The Bride
Peace Orchestra – Who Am I?
T.A.T.U. – How Soon is Now?
Naomi – White
Pink Martini – Veronique
Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man – Romance
Electric President – Bright Mouths
Barcelona – Please Don’t Go
IAMX – This Will Make You Love Again

Some stuff I’ve been making lately..

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Been super into sewing lately. I’ve had a machine for quite a few years but rarely used it. In the last two weeks I’ve broken all 4 of the sewing needles I had laying around here, and spent countless hours/dollars on projects. Mostly costumes. And there’s a fair bit more to go in that department.

Here’s a picture of the long brainstormed light aerial costume, allbeit a terrible one with some really bad photoshop on the background. This is more of a perchy costume, it has little bits on it that would get mangled pretty easily. The bodice is almost completely converted, and upside down. My friend Sara Sparrow made me the shorts from a shirt I had, and the cute veil. I’m finishing up my dark version but am having issues with the bodice collapsing, so no pictures yet. If you want to see that one, come to the Pink Door when I’m performing. :)

Also got some dread action going on. One of my coworkers wants dreads, and ordered some from me just before I moved. This friday is the install. Woo!Need about 10 more dark ones and it’ll be done.

In other news – I have a real bed again! Like, with a head/foot board and everything. The last time I had more than a frame, I was 6, and I’ve only had a mattress for about 2 years now, so I could prop the bed up to set up a massage table. I’m enjoying nesting.

Hm. both of these pictures are pretty awful quality. I wonder if my lens is dirty or something..

Vita Arts fundraiser, July 25th

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

“No matter how enlightened you are, as long as there are people suffering, you still have plenty of work to do.”

7-25-09-fundraiserWho: Levity, Chimera, Dyno, Zita, and more fabulous aerial talent!

What: The first fundraising event for Vita Arts, my new non-profit arts organization

Where: Versatile Arts, 7601 Greenwood Ave, Seattle

When: Saturday, July 25, 2009 8:00pm – 10:00pm

Why?

Seems to me, many people spend a long time building their lives into something they can be proud of,  something comfortable for them, in order to be safe to accomplish another something that’s bigger than themselves.

I have done my fair share of struggling, trying different configurations, playing small and dreaming big. Over the last few years, I’ve contemplated what the bigger thing might be, for me. Sure, I sometimes make people happy with my art. I make money helping other people do cool things, I volunteer, and my financial/geographical footprint is about 15% of what it used to be when I worked for Microsoft. I even turn the water off when I brush my teeth most of the time. But what can I REALLY do to make a difference in life?

When it came time for me to serve the world somehow, I found that I wanted to create a non-profit organization to help perpetuate the transformative capabilities inherent in expressing ones self, artistically. To make a space for people to experience the healing opportunities I have had through art in a more tactile, kinesthetic way than I have with my personal offerings of performances, music, paintings and that sort of thing.

I know art saves lives, because it saved mine. I’ve seen the results, and heard the stories of others, about the power of artistic expression to heal and transform. Whether it be from seeing it, appreciating it, facilitating it, being it, creating it, failing at it, living it – I maintain that art has the power to touch absolutely everyone.

I’ve also seen how sharing myself artistically often effects and inspires people to action. How the experience of art opens people up to expressing life, to telling their once-quiet stories through a medium, helping discover courages and strengths we so often convince ourselves we don’t, or can’t, have. How art helps people face their fears, release difficult emotions, grieve, find direction and purpose.

Perhaps most importantly, I have seen how, no matter how bleak and helpless a situation may seem, one small, brave action creates a chain of them. Every time.

It’s never too late to choose to make a difference.

Vita Arts is sharing the power of art with the disadvantaged and transforming lives.

Our performances offer the public a chance to see our skills, and to be moved by the human spirit.  Our shows  also serve to fund and publicize our outreach efforts, working with individuals in small workshops, giving them a chance to experience creating art for themselves, perhaps for the very first time.

We are starting local, with two public performances and a workshop being planned in 2009 alone. We look forward to expanding our efforts in the coming years by collaborating with other organizations (such as disaster relief orgs, loss support groups, and those helping reform the incarcerated) to offer transformative art experiences to the disadvantaged of all ages, around the world.

Come find out more about who we are, what we’re doing,  see a great show, and best of all, help make a difference.

Please note: If you are unable to attend this event and wish to support us, we are gratefully accepting donations. Provisional 501(c)(3) status is in the works, and will backdate once approved for tax deduction purposes. You may send donations to Vita Arts, PO box 20233, Seattle, WA 98102.

Thank you, so much, for your support.

The Aquamarine show, July 18

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Who: I will be playing an aerial siren as part of a beautiful love story
What: The aquamarine show at LRS
When: July 18, 9pm and Aug 15, 9pm
Where: Little Red Studio, 400 Dexter Ave N

Tickets can be purchased at Brown Paper Tickets or reserved

by calling (206) 328-4758

Join us as Little Red Studio explores the exotic underwater experience of The Aquamarine Show! This summer we will transform our sumptuous theater into a wet, sensual oasis, complete with mermaids, nymphs, sailors and pirates. Come dive into one of the most alluring elements on earth, Water. Lets splash around together in this world of sensory profusion, relaxation, healing, and spiritual reconnection.

Yay for fresh starts!

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Hm. Well then.

Apparently, my E:\ drive was not actually located on my external hard drive, as I have assumed. Rather, it was on the drive I partitioned and re-installed XP on last night.

My E:\ drive was the datastore which has housed all my source files for my music, images, and video projects for the last two years. A large fraction of the good pictures I’ve taken are on neevita, though the original high quality images of my self photography are now gone.

As for the music and video – I don’t know how much I care to recall at this particular moment how very little of it ever ventured from my drive. I’m sure it will come up over time as I think about things I want and discover they are gone.

Seems rather silly, that the data I’ve been worried about losing if my drives ever failed (or I wiped them out), are the 150 gigs of replacable mp3’s I have.

I suppose one of the fortunate aspects of this, aside from having a clean slate which I do rather enjoy, is how the experience has shown me what kind of relationship I’ve developed with my artwork.

Bummer. Thankfully, I will make more.

Additionally, my potential moving costs now include an external terabyte, which I’ve been putting off for a day too long it seems, to back up what I have left and hopefully prevent this from happening again any time soon. I’m offering all paintings currently for sale at a 25% discount, INCLUDING COMMISSIONS. http://blog.neevita.net/artist/art-for-sale

An Intimate Spectacle, June 5th and 6th

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Who: A sampling of the last year with Little Red Studio.

What: I will be singing, and performing my favorite aerial piece for this show. It’s not to be missed!

When: Friday & Saturday, June 5th – 6th @ 9PM

Where: 400 Dexter Ave N, Seattle

$20 Tickets can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets or reserved by calling 206-328-4758.

We invite you to come enjoy some of your favorite performances from the past year here at Little Red Studio. This will be a chance to sit back as we bring you theater, dance, music, aerials and more from a variety of past shows. A few pieces you can look forward to include “Gett Off!” from the Dance Concert, “Party of Two” from Erotic Shorts, three aerial pieces, and music from the “Red Show”!

We hope you will join us for this stunning evening of entertainment!

Taken

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Thinking it needs more bubbles. Done with it for the night.

Mothers Day

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

A very bad photo of a very lovely painting. 10×20″ Acrylic.

Playing for Change

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

I hope these videos go as viral as I think they will…


Playing For Change | Song Around The World “Stand By Me” from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.

There’s also world versions of:

“One Love” http://vimeo.com/3097281
and
“Don’t Worry” http://vimeo.com/2903195

Samorost the sequel!

Friday, April 24th, 2009

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I played a little flash game called samorost. I’d never seen something so well made in flash. I fell in love with it, and at the time, I wrote the author and asked if he wanted me to mirror his game on phuqed. He agreed, and I suspect I may be one of the few people who has the original game in its entirety besides the creators.

I ran across my copy of it recently, and thought I might want to put it back up – But thankfully, it’s not only alive and well on the web, but has a SEQUEL on top of it! Rad!!

http://amanita-design.net/samorost-1/

http://amanita-design.net/samorost-2/

Memories, anyone?

(P.S. Some may appreciate knowing that the $5 full version of the sequel has a $3.50 sircharge, making it closer to a $10 game than $5)

White Noise – New self-photographed digital art

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Modeling, styling, photography, post, and photo manip all by me. I pulled these out alone at my house in about 3 hours from start to finish Used vector flower brushes II by yasney chan, and Tree borders III brushes.

Print Available

Music I miss

Monday, September 8th, 2008

GOA, tribal trance, dark trance, dark ambient, dark wave, progressive trance…

I sense a lot of music digging to be done.

Special thanks to http://techno.org/electronic-music-guide/, and Simon, for the reminder.

Awesomeness abound

Monday, August 18th, 2008

I’m not writing much. Things are great. I’m rather busy with hair orders, paintings, directing my show, choreographing acts, training aerial, performing music, doing spa sessions, learning french (:D), wrapping up my stead at the chiro office and thoroughly enjoying doing what I love to do.

Obsidian opens Nov 15th at LRS and is going to be un-fucking-real. Not only is the show, cast, and the energy around the planning of it amazing, I have the freedom to swap roles between the two main female characters throughout the run.

One is a sparkling starlet who loses her dearest love and commits suicide – the one I identified with while I was brainstorming the show last year. The other is an obsessive murderess who loses what she built on falsehood, as well as her mind. Both of them are dramatized fragments of my personal story. It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to play both. You’ll have to see it twice!

It’s looking solid that I’ll be performing solo silks at a party Halloween night – as the witch Paculla Annia. Umm.. score. Wine and buttsex or death!

Everywhere I go, I see art. My art. It’s in my head and on the walls and in the air. It’s under tables and in my food, gritty under my nails and between my newly fixed teeth. It’s on my tongue and at the tips of my fingers. Its vibrating up my legs when I walk, sweeping across my face as my hair grows.

Mmmm god I love my life. Didja miss me?

Nailed

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

So many years ago it pains me to say, because it means just that much life has passed my way already, I was a guitar player. I came into the world of original music through synth, and my first instrument was piano taught by my mother as a child, but I started out expressing my personality on guitar.

It was a frustrating time. I could pick up other peoples songs in minutes, but my original works always found me with a scowl on my face and a knot in my gut and were quickly thrown away. I hated how shrill and girly I sounded, how sad and painfully child like my voice was. I wanted to be a rock star, with driving Marshall stacks behind me, screaming to the world the rage that I held in my guts day, after day, after day. But my voice was “angelic”, and well, I hated it.

I stuck mainly with covers in guitar work, though there was a guitar song on Altercations. My method of covering on synth is to deconstruct, essentially distill what I internalized from the music I honor in others, and for that part I really enjoyed covering songs on guitar. But the lack of originals caused excessive feelings of failure and hackery. I didn’t feel I was remotely a ‘musician’ until I started producing original work. And well, even then… even now, I have my doubts that I really consider myself that.

Then came the performances of that work. It pained me to be present when someone listened to my music. Though I pushed myself otherwise on rare occasion, I hid behind the protection of the Internet so I never had to see any ones reactions in the flesh to it. I knew it was haunting and striking and that it had a tendency to peel down into the center of peoples melancholy. I liked that, I like invoking depth in people in most everything I express in my life. But I couldn’t handle the praise, and I felt embarrassed to the point of physical discomfort when I heard my own voice. Slowly, starting with that first show for my friends and coworkers in my living room 6 years ago, I have worked toward overcoming my stage fright, my self deprecation, and learning to be comfortable with my unique powers as an artist and musician.

It has been an extremely painful, fulfilling, almost mystic practice in my life.

I’ve since learned why it was, that I struggled so much with owning my music to other people. It always conflicted me, to know that my music was good, that I had something special, but to assume that it had to be bad because sharing it caused me feel so awful. It was the child in me crying out. Unsupported, alone, afraid, unsure. She needed me, cried out for me, and I wasn’t really there. Listening to my own music was like being in a locked cell, listening to the frantic and desperate cries of the greatest love in your life as they’re tortured down the hall. I had abandoned her, just like long ago, when I had needed someone who wasn’t there for me. And when I showed myself like that to people, it was shame and regret I felt. I didn’t understand how to help her. I was hoping they could.

I understand now. And it shows.

Last night, I covered three of the most influential guitar songs of my youth with the grace, poise, and dignity. I faced my audience with appreciation, warmth, and a genuine truth and strength that I have never shown any audience, ever. I gazed around the room at people while I sang and strummed and bore my very soul, cradling her and holding her aloft proudly. She was no longer cold, shivering, hidden, alone, being displayed like a fearful caged animal, with my eyes squinted shut to drown out the magnitude of her cries. God, I wish I had pictures.

Symbolically to this, and not by accident, I was not alone, either. I had a special guest, a new and dear friend, an amazing guitarist and vocalist, Andrew Cardillo, with me – cradling me, holding me aloft proudly, supporting my vision for these songs and trusting me as an artist to do him proud in our first collaboration together. I’ve so often sought that, so often wanted a connection with another musician that I could hold, someone geographically close enough to perform with, someone trustworthy.

For now, I seem to have found that person, that spark to ignite this deep well of potential I’ve flirted with for years in my online collaborations. Someone with similar sensibility to explore new frontiers with, to exercise my musical limits with, to add dimension to what I’ve already been doing, to have fun with, to support in his endeavors as well.

Thank you so much. To my friends who have supported my music, to my fans who have brought me so much warmth and jaw-slacking praises over the years, even when I had no idea what to do with them but argue. To my audience who never fails to share with me the deep stirring movement I invoke in them when I perform. To my supporters at Little Red Studio for believing in my abilities, their unyielding support and guidance, to the wonderful artists of all vocations and styles who have welcomed me into their worlds over the years, to the people behind the scenes that make it all happen.

Thank you to the universe for its infinite possibility and clever, cunning manner in teaching and keeping me on my feet. To teh int0rnetz, to mp3.com, to all the other musicians out there who inspire and continue to inspire people like me to have tried my hand at being as brave as they are. To my Dad for buying me my first guitar, to my ex husband and lifetime confidant for his everpresent support. To Scott, Stu, and Dan, for their particularly focused efforts in helping me lay the groundwork all those years ago. To my Mother. I know you did your best.

To my lovers, and to my enemies, and especially my lovers turned enemies, for giving me so, so much to write about. To Jamie, my brooklyn born drummer and incredible friend. To Chrissy and her unending pool of tranquil, loving support, and her beautiful voice, for finally pouring past my barriers and giving me a cause to open my music to others. To Andrew, my Scorpio kindred with so much left to show me. To Kimba, for letting me straight into his beautiful heart. To Jeff – You are so very dear to me.

And to Clayton. Nothing I could say here would be sufficient. You know how I feel about you.

Thank you for all of it. And so much more. I hadn’t meant to make this a long stream of thank you’s – but, there you go. I know I’m missing people.

I accomplished a dream last night, one that had always felt just out of reach. I hold this in my hands now, in awe, and I’m moved to a silent flush of tears. It’s one of the the most beautiful things I’ve ever felt. Thank you for sharing it with me. I’m brimming. Magnetic. Glowing. Thank you Thank you Thank you. And thank fucking god for yoga! I am so pleased to have discovered it again.

There is so much more to say, but I will leave this now.

Take care of each other,
-nee

Art-a-Thon 2008

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Man. I am beat. And sore. And super happy. Or something like it.

The art-a-thon was largely transformative (or, transportive?) for me, in many ways. It was an intense weekend. More happened than I am willing to document, both for the sake of my poor body and because I want to hold some of it just for me. But let’s see what comes out.

The aerial piece I wasn’t going to do, and then decided to do, was a storytelling piece which in and of itself is a new thing for me. Incorporating acting and a storyline that’s clear enough for people to understand without alternate explanation is my latest progression in aerials, as well as slowing things down and expressing myself in less of the “look how strong and fast I am”. Expressing vulnerability in the air. I started by switching from rope to silks and doing “The Art of Self Love” act, in which the story is illustrated in the song lyrics.

This time, the story was illustrated by my actions, my face, and visual imagery. It was largely improv, a piece I’d only ever done in my head, which had come to me mid last week. Highly personal. Highly exposed. To those of you who may understand what it means to have finally done it – it was performed to music from the Batman Begins soundtrack (finally!!!). It was incredible, I got the most heart warming and appreciative feedback to date for my aerial work after presenting it. I will be doing the piece again at the Gold Show, on Saturday May 17th.

I painted some, sang some, spent time with friends, cultivating, supporting others works. I slept and took care of myself, spent a lot of time with Clayton that was beneficial and fueling for me, connected with new and old, past and present. I “acted” in a hilarious, incredibly fun dream theater play about superheroes and ninjas and girls who kick ass. I came to some heavy, wonderful realizations this weekend, which were fulfilling, nourishing, and highly meaningful for me.

After an intense and highly emotional conversation of the crack-my-heart-wide-open variety, I went to into the closing ceremony raw, feeling unprotected, impressionable, mailable, and a little afraid.

I’ve been feeling the presence of something, seeing it in my peripheral vision, something big, something I’ve worked hard for, as I’ve gone through the process of my blood paintings. The revisitation of needles, that process, which I have familiarity with in destructive senses, the spiral I see completing, the orbit I’m in, passing those experiences, washing them clean a little, redistributing new memories and associations to old hurts and self loathing.

I thought about that internal spiral while we walked a spiral maze that had been created on the floor during the weekend, in small groups. I thought about that sense of my life illustrated in physical reality, as I bumped shoulders with my chosen family, as I passed them while circling. Remembering that the last time I was using needles on myself, I was trying to die. Trying to run. Trying to lose my mind. I wasn’t safe about it. I overdosed. I used dirty needles, took risks. I wanted to hurt me. And now, I was surrounded by people I’ve cultivated in my life, to help me through that darkness. And they have.

To be drawing my own blood, safely (in perspective), sanitary, for the purpose of life, to express life, has been so grounding, confirming, strengthening for me. The bruises from it, while catering to my dark side, a part of me that recognizes the comfort I’ve taken in hurting myself, wanting to extract my pigment rather than wait for it to come naturally in my cycle (there are other reasons I don’t want to use menstrual blood, too) show me again and again that everything is a process, with polarizations, how much I adore soaking in all of it. All the aspects of it. How miraculous and intelligent our bodies are to heal themselves. And that we do heal. That damage is part of being alive, a part I don’t tend to hide from. That it doesn’t overtake my life. Not anymore.

Holding hands in a circle, a dear friend of the troupe and of mine personally gifted the studio with a giant dream catcher. She then offered us all feathers, which she had been collecting for the last 10 years, to attach to it to this new symbol of unity that will hang at the studio, and to offer something, or wish for something, or give thanks for something, in honor of ourselves while doing so.

I started crying. I couldn’t stop. I was holding something in view that I’ve rarely known how to hold where I could see it. It was glowing and morphing and brilliant. My gratitude for the space, for the people, for the experiences I had this weekend, for the love, for the gifts, the creativity, everywhere I’ve been, everywhere I am going – it was all wrapped up in this thing I was looking at. It was so beautiful to have, while I watched these people I share so much with participate in their rituals.

When it was my turn, as I tied my feather to the dreamcatcher, I cried harder, while what I had in my hands came into focus, in words, in my head.

I am so grateful, for my life. I am so grateful for my life. (I’m crying again writing this). I am so grateful for my life.

I felt liberated, and so substantial. Dense, and lofty. Dark, and light. Attached, and free. Flexible and sturdy. Vulnerable and strong. Overwhelmed, and grounded. I watched a great love of my life chose a place next to mine to tie his feather, mirroring its angle, silently holding his thoughts and wants dear to himself. I watched my sweet friend Cher give call to the universe to bring her sister back home. I watched one of my Heroes break apart a broken painting of his muse, and give a piece to each one of us. I watched my friend Gio honor his friends who have died of AIDS, a disease I’ve become intimately familiar with in the process of my education at school.

I watched so many wonderful people being present, being alive, being HERE, being them.

So much happened. So much I’m not mentioning. So many stories, paintings, pictures, songs, proses, dedications. So much space I’m holding for the world in this sore, tired frame, while I go about my dailys, integrating what I’ve experienced. Things that are happening for me, projects on the horizon that came about from this weekend and beyond, things to see, to do, to be, life to live. This was a fraction. Namaste. I bow to the light in all of you.

I am, arguably, on paper, in the worst financial situation of my adult life, right now. Rarely can I say I’ve felt so wealthy.

“I feel like a pearl of potential that’s finally been set in motion, snowballing down the favored slope of possibility I’ve only imagined the brilliant people must have randomly stumbled upon while slowly backing away from freaks like me.” Jan 28, 2007

Inspiration and hope; In the words of another

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Frequently, I have difficulty articulating what it is that we do at LRS and what I feel my place is in it all in a fashion that someone outside the troupe can readily assimilate. Often I find challenges in helping my friends and loved ones understand what they’re in for, and how different we are, when they come to see me perform, or share the experience of being a guest at the studio with me.

Recently, I became privy to a poetic, well-written and obviously heartfelt summation of a friends first experience at LRS. I feel very excited and privileged to share it with you, with permission by the author and our creative director.

REVIEW OF The Black Show at THE LITTLE RED STUDIO

The Little Red Studio is immersion theatre. I had no idea about this going in, and in fact, had thought, as I walked up to their seemingly unassuming red door just north of downtown, that I’d be seeing just what I’d been invited by theater coordinator Kerry Christensen to see: a show. You know, a show…a play. The kind where the same thing happens as has happened a hundred times before. You buy a ticket. You get program. You find your seat. The lights go out and something begins to happen on a stage. You watch whatever it is that happens. You leave. I had no idea how different this particular show was going to be.

When I walked up, the man at the door informed me that there was a reception around the corner and that I would be led back to the theatre once the space and the cast was ready. I remember one of my eyebrows going up as I looked at him, sort if in this quizzical Spock sort of way, as I thought “You mean I can’t just walk in and sit in the dark and prepare to watch something happen onstage?” Already this night was turning interesting.

I walked to the space around the corner and upon walking into what seemed to be the theater’s office space, I was asked by the first of many people that night who greeted me with a smile, to check in, which I did with two women who handed me a carnation, and offered me a glass of wine. They asked me to enjoy the string player who was filling the room with music, or to look at the art on the walls while I waited to be led to the space for the show.

The art, which I later realized were accurately painted images from the show I was about to see, were huge canvases, most definitely intriguing: nude bodies of various sizes and shapes in body paint, all with texture and feeling. This show was not going to be a tired rendition of Chekhov or Ibsen. I was getting really interested.

People milled around chatting, each carrying a flower like I was. The room felt somewhat like a cabaret, but with an edge. I could sense that I might end up being a participant in the evening…

We were here to see The Black Show, the Little Red Theatre’s second of three “color” shows, and this one in particular had caught my attention. It had been described to me as erotic, death-infused, and rich. These are themes which strike home with me, and having felt recently a need to connect with more passion in my life, and to explore my heart and mind in new adventurous ways, this sounded like a great show to go see.

Turns, out, it was a great show in which to particpate as well. What actually happens in the show? That is difficult to say. Every night is a little different. It all depends on what the participants bring to the the event in terms of their willingness and energy.

On this particular night, we were led from the reception to the theatre space in groups of three or four. My guide, in costume as emcee for the evening with face paint, a thick chain around his neck, and a billowing shirt, was Jeff, owner of the theatre and painter of the images I’d seen in the reception as it turned out. He explained with enthusiasm and sincerity, that he wanted to welcome us to the evening and then once inside, he divided our little group up, sending each of us off with a cast member to get a tour of the space.

Jeff was my guide and he started to show me around. And once inside of the Little Red Studio, a tour is appreciated, as we had entered a different world. This was no normal theatre space. The Little Red Studio did not contain rows of seats facing a stage. It felt more like a loft space designed for personal exploration and artistic experimentation.

There were rich colors, plush seats and cushions arranged all over in various configurations, as well as light and dark areas around the room and its various corners and nooks in which different elements of the performance itself laid in waiting for the night to begin. Jeff showed me the main staging area with its shadowy lighting and huge blank canvas against the back wall, a pedastal in the middle of another part ofthe room on which a perfect bodied girl in a tight latex jumpsuit wearing a gas mask stood observing people come in… you know…the usual fare for a night at the theatre.

All around the room, cast members toured other guest/participants through the space, explaining different things to them. A girl with red palm prints over her breasts walked by silently. Different other cast members, (or were they just visions of some kind….or more unsettling and exciting, other visitors to the Studio, just more engaged than I was?), made their way through the space as well, welcoming and preparing us all for the night.

It was difficult to tell who was cast member and who was spectator, but as I quickly realized, the most difficult thing for me to determine that night was whether or not I myself was a cast member or a spectator.

We were invited to take seats around the main performing area, and then the show began. It began without fanfare. It just began. Three butoh figures, came forth from the dark. If you’ve never seen butoh before, it is sort of like your worst nightmare come to life, mixed with delicate grace. The three cast members, looking like aged corposes, and painted head to toe with what looked like pale mud, staggered into the play space. They each were turned by other cast members to face the audience, where they then froze in place.

Each of three cast members who had turned them, proceeded to take a small container of black paint, and proceeded to pour that thick paint over the head of each still figure. As the paint dripped slowly down bodies to the floor, each of the cast members reached back for a martini glass, also filled with paint, and a paint brush. They proceeded to look for people in the audience to whom to hand the glass and brush combo.

This wasnt an empty gesture, or a trite way of suggesting that we might at some point break the “fourth wall”. This was an invitation, which I accepted and which we all did, and within minutes, we were all particpant performers, painting these three ghostly figures ourselves. At the Little Red Studio, there is no fourth wall, or third, second, or first for that matter.

After the body painting, we were asked by our emcee to make our way to another part of the Studio space to see two women writhing and flowing and intertwining in the middle of the floor to music. These women, erotic and sensual and not pornographic, were described by our emcee as goddesses interacting as they want to be seen.

As soon as they were done with their display, we were brought to another area of the space to hear poetry, read slam style, by the very cast members who we’d bodypainted just an bit before.

The cast then invited people to taste chocolate in the center of the space, a richness that made the sensory offerings of earlier in the night very tactile and real. The night then relaxed into an open party for a bit, with dancing, music, and wine flowing as people made their way around and through the space as if it was a nightclub. Performers and spectators interacted as one. This is the Little Red Studio’s idea of an intermission: it was a continuation of the theme.

The Little Red Studio never breaks character because there are no characters to break. Its performers are living their art and they invite you to live yours as well. Like I said, its immersion theatre.

There’s an apprehension with any theatre like this…and for the record, I want to say that there isnt much theatre out there in the world like this, and probably for that very reason: it makes you nervous, albeit in the best possible way. At the Little Red Theatre, you find yourself with that same worry that you might have when an entertainer is looking for a volunteer for his or her show looks in your direction and starts to motion towards you. Its a sense of “do I really want to be here right now?”.

But you do. Because to say no to the experience is to limit life. When it all comes down, I realize again and again that there is so much truth to whoever it was who said “I will never regret the things I have done, just the things I haven’t done.” The Little Red Studio offers you the chance to try things you haven’t done, if you have the courage to say yes to the experience. I found myself excited and intruigued, nervous and at the same time ready for anything.

We reconvened in the main performing space to watch an arial bondage piece that made me want to study knots in which a woman, tied by her partner, is swung around the space from a rig connected to a point in the center of the ceiling. It was seductive, enticing, and unsettling at the same time. He was too good with the knots he tied, and she was too easily tied. I liked it. It made me reflect on power and control, in a passionate context.

We watched the girl who was wearing the gas mask and latex earlier, be body painted on an altar of sorts, now wearing neither latex or mask. She was a vision, perfect, and captivating. All of this screamed of the themes of the night: of sensuousness, richness, life, and avoiding death by delving more into life itself.

Throughout these seemingly disjointed experiences, there is spoken text of course…but not in a traditional sense. Narrators guide us through the expeirence with thoughts death and life and the pursuit of passion. There is a tactile sense to everything, from the words themselves, to the rich red fabric which covers a naked form writhing on the floor, to the ending of the piece, which was the most tactile of all.

The cast assembles in the center of the stage and performers invite by extended hand each member of the audience to approach the cast and stand in front of them…there, the cast showers attention on the audience member, with smiles, with feathers that brush against your face, with laughter, with hands on your arms and eye contact…and you just take it in and say yes to it. It is a ritual of passage from the show back out into the world, and that touch and connection is a feeling more than anything else that you can bring into your day to day lives and continue to long for as you go through the sameness of your day.

And long for it you will, long after the lights in the theatre space come up.

The Little Red Studio offers not just this show but many others. Having had a chance to see their recent two man show on manhood and gender, I can assure you that this is a space that is being well used to challenge, inform, and to forge new theatrical ground in Seattle.

The space deserves your patronage, and even more than that, you, passionate reader, deserve to create space in your life to be there in order to experience it all. Its worth it, and so are you.

In the last few weeks, as I have struggled with my bodies sophisticated, yet debilitating compensation patterns, and face another MRI of my impinged spine, I have been tumbling with the possible reality that it may be time to leave my aerial career behind for good. I am fascinated by my body, its ability to rotate, guard, pinch, splint, and shape around whatever is causing all this purposeful chaos.

And of course, I am scared. However it’s been fun and challenging to re-think my role at the studio, were my being grounded to be the case, and how excited I am to continue branching into other outlets and energy exchanges there.

Gregs words have fueled my passion for the company, the troupe, and what we are collectively sharing with the world. I’ve replenished inspiration and drive regarding my contributions to this entity that has shaped my life so much, enriched my human experience boundlessly, and shown me what it is, for me, to hope and be free. I feel invigorated, released into broader possibilities, and hold an even higher regard for what it is we invoke, and what we are becoming, at LRS. Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Greg.

Greg can be reached with comments and questions through the Little Red Studio.

I am a delicate flower

Monday, September 10th, 2007

I have decided on my next tattoo, to embellish the one I have on my lower back. It will be a cherry blossom branch, stylized and colored. I’ve decided to put the piece on my credit card so I can get it done right away, once I find the artist. It’s going to be fucking gorgeous.

Simply put, the cherry blossom represents “Spiritual Beauty”. The symbolism in both Chinese and Japanese culture is lovely, and well suited for me;

For the Chinese the cherry blossom is a very significant symbol of feminine power, beauty and sexuality and often holds an idea of feminine dominance. Herbal lore describes the cherry blossom as often being the symbol of love.

For the Japanese it represents the transience of life, as the cherry blossom is a very delicate flower that blooms for a short time. An example of great beauty and sadness, the samurai saw the cherry blossom as a melancholy reminder of death amidst life. Coming to terms with their mortality allowed them to live their lives fully, with little use for pettiness, argument, callousness or cruelty.

The cherry blossom is a reminder that our life will not last, a representation of beauty in feminine form, and it captures the sense of dignity and strength contained within something so fragile and fleeting.

It’s perfect. I am so ready. It’s time to own that I am a delicate flower, to come to real peace with it and treasure how I am in my soul and honor that – always. I can still joke about being a “delicate fucking flower, you shitlicking fuckhole!”, but all the progress and work I’ve put into myself over the last few years has been to come to terms with my vulnterability and delicacy, see it as a strength than a weakness. I want a reminder of how far I’ve come, that I have everything I need inside myself, and that often it resides in the last place I think to look for it. At this point, what holds me back the most is forgetting

I want something beautiful and feminine and complex and sexual and blood fucking red that wraps around me and embraces my body like I visualize myself comforting my inner child. I am so excited. Just telling people about what the thing means to me will remind me that I know how to be a better person.

I am so impressionable

Saturday, May 6th, 2006

For the last few years, ever since the days of Hole/Nirvana/AiC/etc, I’ve been kinda starved for new energetic music.

Sure, Massive attack is great and all, but I’ve been listening to Mezzanine for like 10 years now or something.. and there is just something to be said for a decent rock trio type sound that can really kick my ass and make me wail in the car like a banshee on crack. More raw sounding stuff that.. I dunno… Uses real instruments. I haven’t felt that since Hole decided to start sucking and then died a drawn out death.

And aside from Hole, where are my Flaming Lips? My Folk Implosion? Where did it all go? And why the hell is Green Day still popular?

I mean, even KEXP, who claims to be all alternative and non-biased, generally plays the same 20 fucking songs unless you’re listening to some specialty show. Especially John in the morning. I mean that guy seriously needs to get over himself. Listen man, you’re cool and all, but you play the fucking Death Cab for Cutie singles like 5 times a day, and they’re not even that damn good; you can stop touting yourself as the worlds independent music messiah now.

Well, it’s more like.. where did I stop looking? Cause it seems after half a day of searching around for the bands mentioned in the Questionable Content (.net) forums, I’m finding all sorts of fun summer music that I am liking. Interpol, Apples in Stereo, Of Montreal (Whom I’d heard of but never heard), Slint..

I feel kinda dumb about it. I only started looking around for this stuff because I am enamored with the lives of the characters in a fucking web comic (I’ve spent the last few days reading all the archives).

But you know, I’m always searching for better things anyway, and who cares where the answer came from. I’m feeling energized and inspired by music again, and it feels like it’s been a long, long time. I even dusted off my copy of Live Through This and totally belted out a spot on rendition of “Violet” just now. Yeah, there’s a reason they called me “Courtnee, Love!”. Hah.

Anyway, all of that was mostly just leading up to a new site I found that looks really friggen neat: http://www.last.fm/

I wish they had a plug in for Music Match. Not because I like Music Match really, though their library system is unrivaled as far as I’m concerned, but because that’s the client I have to use for my Wireless Media system upstairs to connect to.

I am thinking about getting Winamp again and using that for most of my listening so I can start using http://www.last.fm/ to track and find new music I will like. I think it will really beat the crap out of http://pandora.com, which, while it is cool and all, is just not all that great at suggesting new music.

Anyway. If you’re into music, I suggested checking out http://questionablecontent.net. It’s like Penny Arcade for the indy music scene, but it also has an actual storyline and characters you can get invested in – people who are not unlike the ones you probably know. I’ve enjoyed it.

Now to go back to sitting around avoiding life by searching for music that I can imagine living life to. Ironic.

Go take a drive with the windows down.

10 albums that changed my life

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

It’s the day and age where, not only is music so putridly awful that it’s rare to see an album that’s listenable all the way through, the advances of mp3, iTunes, Pandora and the Internet mean you no longer have to drop $17 for one good song on an album full of total crap. But there were some albums that were worth every penny. These are the “top” 10 that changed my life, or just helped me get through it. There are tons more, but I think these are the most influential, cause they came to mind first.

Hole – Live through this

I liked Pretty on the Inside, but Live through this was the most empowering ass slapping chick rock album I had ever heard or really heard since actually. It was still raw and gritty but not quite so ‘shock jock’ as Pretty on the Inside had been, very listenable, and very inspiring to me. I was gonna form my own band and scream and play guitar because of this album, though I later realized that I’m more suited to soft cooing than screaming any day. I could play the entire album on my fat acoustic pawn shop guitar that was way too big for me front to back and have many excellent memories of doing so. Lollapalooza 95 was all about Hole, my first crowd surfing experience and being groped. It was fucking awesome. God damnit Courtney what the fuck happened to you, girl.

Alice in Chains – Dirt

Want to know what my life was like as a teen? Put this album on repeat, spend a couple of years on speed, stop showering, cut yourself a lot, overdose on anything you can get your hands on, and decide to commit suicide a few times a year – you’ll pretty much have it. Dirt was one of those ‘I’m not alone’ albums that I still cherish to this day, and the melodic excellence of the band has given it the staying power that other staple bands of the time, like Garbage, just didn’t have. I still listen to this one sometimes, though for reasons I suppose are rather obvious I don’t choose to go there very often. I like the other AiC albums as well, but none were as hard hitting to me as Dirt, which for all intents and purposes put a soundtrack to my miserable drugged existence for the first time. It’s still incredibly potent to me, and I’m still a riddle so strong you can’t break me.

Nirvana – Unplugged in New York

Let me be fair. ALL of the Nirvana albums and the various bootlegs that floated around for most of the mid-late 90’s were the center of my universe for quite some time. But Unplugged was different. It was more my style of music as I grew older, and it represented a “Look what could have been” aspect that I feel is at least partially responsible for my surviving my teens. It really made me think about the price of burning out so early while still connecting with my depressive roots that continued to hold me firmly below the ground that everyone else seemed to be walking on, but it showed a promise that somehow kept my head above water, too. I would not make the same mistakes.

Tool – Aenema

Man, this one is just so amazing I don’t know that words will cut it. Finding this Album was like finding the God in myself. It was the first time someone elses music spoke directly to my soul, carried me away and fucked me like a passion-gorged lover returning from an extensive leave. It was sexy, fairly simple, cerebral music that I still turn to again and again for the warm tingling sensations it brings. By far the best concert I’ve ever experienced. Sober, too!

Soul Coughing – El Oso

Holy shit! Music that is upbeat makes you feel good?! WOW!

Dead Can Dance – The Serpents Egg

Who can REALLY describe their first introduction to Dead can Dance? I’ll just say that learning there was interesting, vocal, landscaping, gibberish music out there that wasn’t fucking Enya changed my life. Lisa specifically inspired me to use my voice more, and allowed me to stop being embarrassed that it frequently sounded sad and forlorn.

Fiona Apple – Tidal

This album got me the fuck out of Baltimore, and got me the fuck out of the most difficult relationship I’d ever been in. By far the most intelligent lyrics I’d ever heard, and to top it off, she was crazy. One of the greatest compliments I received during this time in my life was from a friend who saw Fiona in an interview and swore to god she was me incarnate. She was also the mirror image that caused me to realize, I didn’t want to be quite as fucked up as I was, and in turn really changed my life for the better. I still cry every time I hear certain songs on the album, “Never is a Promise”, “The child is gone”, “Sullen girl”.

Paul Oakenfold – Transport

This album was a major step for me. I went from music that helped me wallow to music that made me feel alive. It’s also the album that got me through many lonely, dehydrated late nights at Microsoft as a Software Test Engineer. This entry comes with a neat little story. A couple years after I’d pretty much taken the album out of rotation, I got an email though mp3.com (RIP) from some guy with the return address dreamtraveler@, asking if I’d be interested in doing some vocals for him. It turned out to be the same person who did the first, and my favorite, track on this album. We made a few tracks together that can be found on http://notapplicable.info to this day, and I’m sure we would have made more if I didn’t hate all of humanity back then, particularly the ones in the music industry.

Moby – Play

New meets old in the most endearing and entertaining way. This album was my companion for some time, the concept still amazes me, and I really liked that I was listening to Church music without wanting to barf in my own fist and throw it at someone. Play opened my mind to new things, particularly arts, and cemented my desire to spend more time in New York. I met Moby and his band during the height of my infatuation with Play, which was pretty much the coolest thing that could have happened to me like EVER, and they remembered me later too. :) Real fun times. Play reminds me of summer driving with the windows down and just.. feeling almost free, finally.

Massive Attack – Mezzanine

Once tired of trancy-clubby electronica, Massive Attack was the perfect step up, and represents my current musical tastes well. It is sensual, universal, applicable music that can be the center of attention, or the background noise, depending on your mood. “Angel” is my anthem, and was to be my wedding march had we had an actual wedding. It is currently stuck in my car stereo, as that’s what was in it when some fucktard stole my car and ripped up the dash.

I grew up listening to the classical station, and Adult contemporary 80’s music. There was nothing specific album-wise from that time period and mostly what I listened to was the radio anyway. My first CD? UB40 – Promises and lies, when I was in 8th grade. Other influential albums include Portishead – Dummy and Cowboys, tons of Movie Soundtracks (Memento, Donnie Darko, Batman Begins, etc), The Gorillaz albums, anything Pink Floyd, anything Radiohead, most of Bjorks stuff, and a bunch of other stuff that I just can’t think of at the moment. And of course, the release of my own albums on mp3.com were pretty significant for me as well.

Albums that I liked for a while but don’t really connect with anymore would be like, Green Day – Dookie, The older NIN stuff, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Marilyn Masons albums, classics like Zeppelin and old Aerosmith, mostly popular albums that didn’t have as much staying power in my tastes. I can still listen, but I don’t seek the stuff out, and when I do it’s one or two songs, not the whole album.

Amazingly enough, it took me til this year to really discover Depeche Mode. I am so behind. And so not goth anymore.