I’m a Racist

I used to shoplift. For fun. And to get a thrill and pretend I was a bad girl. I stole A LOT. I grew out of it. I never would have had the chance to grow out of it if I’d been shot 12 times. But that wasn’t my experience. I was a young, pretty white girl. My experience is that after I was arrested, they called my dad and inappropriately flirted with me for 3 hours (I was 14) until he got there. I was released without so much as a slap on the wrist. And I think I was grounded for two weeks. There is no record of it, except for this testimony, which I wouldn’t be able to give you if I’d been shot 12 times.

I have 5 black nephews growing up in Alabama. Would they get the same treatment as I for a similar crime? No. They wouldn’t. I’m scared for them. I’m scared for my beautiful friends who have and will again be racially profiled. I pray that when they do, because it is inevitable in this society that it will occur again, that everyone has cool heads and no one is hurt.

A young black man followed me home tonight, asked to be let into my gate, and when I refused, he stayed out there for 20 more minutes before he left. I was afraid. He has been there before. And of course I would’ve been afraid if a white man had done this too. But, I saw a black man walking towards me at 1:30am and I was afraid of that black man. Part of it was his color. A big part. I thought about the Ferguson outcome, and that maybe it wasn’t safe for me to be outside right now.

This is coming from a girl who was Vice President of her Minority Club in college, the Silhouettes. This is coming from a girl who sang in a black gospel choir, who wanted to join AKA, who has black relatives, who has just as many black friends as white. Some of them best friends. This came from a girl who sobbed when President Obama became President because of what that meant for equality. This came from a girl who believes and champions art that celebrates minorities and prefers it.

I am a racist. I don’t want to be, but I am. I fight it viciously every day, but I still am. I have been raised by America to fear black men. And I do. And if I’m a racist, just think about all the people that aren’t fighting it. Think of all the people that are embracing it.

I often stay silent about racial issues and just give my love and support because I don’t know what to do to make it better. I don’t want to ruffle feathers or see anyone’s true ugliness come out. I want to send money. I want something tangible that I can do to help. The problem is that there is no charity that is going to fix racism. WE have to do that within ourselves and I don’t know how to do it in others.

I am saddened beyond belief at the outcome of Ferguson. I wasn’t there, I don’t know what really happened and never will. I don’t think police are evil. I do believe that the majority of them are good. I believe in them. I do know this though, it does not take 12 bullets to take somebody down. It does not. Especially, with a trained shooter. That shows aggressiveness, fear, and possibly psychosis. This is a travesty.

My friends, I don’t know what to do. I am saddened beyond belief. I am sad for Ferguson and I am sad for our country. She’s better than this.

Sorry for the break from theater and adventures on the road, but I needed to say this.

Painted-heartHarmony

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Alone Vs. Lonely

On a tour like this, you get very little alone time, if any. You are always surrounded by people. The same 40 people. Sometimes it’s really great and sometimes it’s not. Add to that the fact that there is a large range of ages. I am 15 years older than some of the cast/crew¬†and 15 years younger than some of the other cast/crew. We’re all from completely different backgrounds. Some of us have a lot in common and some of us don’t. Our personalities range from lone wolf to social butterfly. So how do we stay sane?

I can’t speak for others, but what I’m learning is that I need to get as much alone time as possible. I still socialize, but I need both. About half the time, when people are going out, I decide to stay in because I know I’ll have the hotel room to myself and I know I need to recharge. When I was younger I wanted to be around people constantly, but as I get older, and dare I say get more comfortable in my own skin, I treasure time where I am alone with my thoughts.

You can have too much of any good thing though and I certainly don’t want to isolate myself from the group. Alone can quickly turn into lonely. It’s a careful balance. I choose my social outings wisely, just like my food or shopping splurges (another post coming soon). I plan them and look forward to them. They become special. One of the most special outings we have had yet, and I have a feeling it will stick out as a highlight for the rest of the tour, was dinner and drinks with the Talbots in Baton Rouge.

Mr. and Mrs. Talbot are one of our cast member’s friend’s parents. They opened their home to our entire cast/crew and fed us a delicious and much needed home-cooked meal comprised of gumbo and quinoa and salad and fresh fruit and vegetables and liquored us up a bit. Some of us more than a bit. ūüėČ And to top it off, they had beignets for desert which just so happens to be my favorite desert in the world.

We sat outside by their beautiful pool, in candlelight, and listened to jazz standards float through the air. You could smell in the air the flora combination that only exists in Louisiana. It’s sweet and musky, with a bit of spice. When my castmates started talking about work, I just drifted away and sat down by the outdoor fireplace and looked at the pool. I let my body and mind relax and recoup. I could feel the energy and light and life of my friends just a few steps away, but also had a kind of perfect solitude. It was the perfect night and the perfect balance of being social and alone.

On this tour I have been overwhelmingly happy, overwhelmingly sad, and everything in-between. That night, I was simply and calmly content and it was glorious. So much thanks to Nicole and to the wonderful Talbot family for taking care of us and giving us all a moment of peace.

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I wish I had taken more pictures, but I was busy enjoying myself! Next up: Georgia and Back to NY!

Painted-heartHarmony

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Walking in Memphis

I had ONE day during my two weeks of plagues that I was feeling better before I was hit with my new sickness. BUT lucky me! It was in Memphis. I love love LOVED Memphis.

We walked from our hotel (walking in Memphis-hah!) to the historic Lorraine Hotel. The Lorraine Hotel is where Martin Luther King was assassinated. It is now the National Civil Rights Museum. The Lorraine Hotel part of it looks untouched. It is eery. I found myself getting incredibly emotional. You can tell that you’re on sacred ground. There was¬†a crackle of electricity in the air and a heavy breeze. It is one of the most impactful places I’ve ever been and I feel so incredibly lucky that I was able to go there.

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After taking in the Lorraine Hotel, my cast headed to Central B Barbecue for some authentic Tennessee barbecue. It was absolutely delicious. Barbecue is probably my favorite thing on earth and this was good barbecue.

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central-bbq

After barbecue we went to this game.¬†The Memphis Grizzlies were playing SOMEone…I can’t remember who. I just remember that it was a team with a bird name. And I hate birds. So of course I cheered for the Grizzlies. Also, my cast won free t-shirts because we were the loudest people in the arena, because of course we were.

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After the game it was time to hit Beale Street. We ended up at B. B. King’s and had a blast. And somehow I was still in bed by midnight. A really great day all in all.

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Up next: A lovely adventure in Baton Rouge!

Painted-heartHarmony

Another Suitcase in Another Hall

I feel like the mistress in Evita right now.

So what happens now? (What day is it? Month? Where are we?)
Another suitcase in another hall
So what happens now? (Huh? I have no idea. )
Take your picture off another wall
Where am I going to? (I THINK I’m in Texas?)
You’ll get by, you always have before
Where am I going to? (Or is it Louisiana?)

One-nighters hit me¬†like a ton of bricks. I had tried to prepare myself for it, but it was exhausting. Top that with the fact that I was hit with the 10 plagues (Fire Ants, Gastroenteritis, Bed Bugs, Insomnia, Dehydration, Bus-sickness, Fever, Laryngitis, Sinus Infection, and Plantar Fasciitis). Fun, right? It was one thing after another for two weeks, so I was pretty miserable. I didn’t get to do much exploring at all. Any time that I had that wasn’t doing the show or on the bus, I was in bed. I was so thankful during that time for health insurance, our physical therapist, and an understanding roommate.

Week 3, 4: Lincoln, NE; Kalamazoo, MO; Texarkana, TX; College Station, TX; Tyler, TX; Orange, TX; Baton Rouge, LA

Lied Center in Lincoln, NE.
Lied Center in Lincoln, NE.
Miller Auditorium in Kalamazoo, MI.
Miller Auditorium in Kalamazoo, MI.
Perot Theatre in Texarkana, TX.
Perot Theatre in Texarkana, TX.
Rudder Auditorium in College Station, TX.
Rudder Auditorium in College Station, TX.
Cowan Center in Tyler, TX.
Cowan Center in Tyler, TX.
Lutcher Theater in Orange Texas.
Lutcher Theater in Orange Texas.
River Center in Baton Rouge, LA.
River Center in Baton Rouge, LA.

¬†These two weeks are all a blur unfortunately. I did have adventures in Memphis and Baton Rouge though. I’ll blog about them soon! Cheers!

HarmonyPainted-heart

On the Open Road!

After Wilmington, our bus tour officially began. Our first stop was Paducah, Kentucky: the quilting capital of the world. Who knew? I went to the National Quilt Museum and was truly blown away. There were traditional quilts there, but what I was drawn to could’ve been mistaken for impressionist paintings. They were abstract and rich and made me miss my mother because they reminded me of her paintings.

PADUCAH, KY

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The Carson Center in Paducah, KY. Stunning.
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Kentucky Moonshine!
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They are SERIOUS about quilting in Paducah.
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The National Quilt Museum. The quilting capital of the WORLD.
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Even the lobby of the Carson Center looks quilted!
Actors Arriving!
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I stood on this shore and waved to Illinois. My home. My heart.

Our next stop was Conway, Arkansas. We weren’t in town long enough to explore thoroughly, but there was one curious thing. There was a Sesame Street! And muppet signs all over the place. I did some research and they have a PBS studio near the theater. It was so random. One of the coolest things about this tour has been finding out what thing each of these towns is known for.

CONWAY, AR

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Reynolds Performance Hall in Conway, Arkansas.
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Signing posters for donors.
Happy Nun.
Happy Nun.
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Mr. Rogers on Sesame Street!
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How cute is this!?

We next moved into Galveston, TX which is a super cool town. It reminded me a bit of New Orleans. I wish I had been able to enjoy it more. Galveston is the town I started feeling sick in. This sickness would continue in one form or another for 2 more weeks. In fact, I am just now starting to feel normal again. I seriously think I’m allergic to Texas. Luckily, before my sickness hit me I was able to do a little exploring, including boarding the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa. Very cool!

GALVESTON, TX

The Beautiful Grand Opera House in Galveston, TX.
The Beautiful Grand Opera House in Galveston, TX.
Grand Opera House.
Grand Opera House.
Grand Opera House
Grand Opera House
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It really reminded me of New Orleans.
When in Texas?
When in Texas?
Galveston, TX.
Galveston, TX.
Tall Ship Elissa!
Tall Ship Elissa!
Captain's Wheel.
Captain’s Wheel.

Alright, that’s all you get this round! Next up: One-nighters begin and I am struck with the ten¬†plagues: Fire Ants, Gastroenteritis, Bed Bugs, Insomnia, Dehydration, Bus-sickness, Fever, Laryngitis, Sinus Infection, and Plantar Fasciitis. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Painted-heartHarmony

Another Openin’ of Another Show!

The day after my Chicago adventure was our opening night in Wilmington, DE at the historic Dupont Theatre. It was everything you would want an opening night to be. Have you ever been in an audience of a musical that has a wall of sound that engulfs you? There is something physiological about it. Whenever I witness a wall of sound I get emotional. The same applies to being part of making that wall of sound. There is a number in Sister Act where the nuns are learning to sing called “Raise Your Voice.” It’s a passage of time piece where the nuns go from barely being able to sing to becoming an impressive choir. It’s an emotional song for obvious reasons. I think it reminds all of us performers about learning to sing and how much we love it and the joy found in it.

 

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On Opening Night the energy was so strong that the nun chorus all burst into tears after that number and the audience ROARED. I’ve never been part of a show that has a crowd reaction like that. It’s addictive. The entire show was like a thrill ride, and we were SO happy to have the damn thing open. So much hard work went into it and LITERAL blood, sweat, and tears. We were also happy to go to the Opening Night party that signified the end of tech and the beginning of our grand adventure.

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See you soon on the open road!

Painted-heartHarmony