Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Best Week Ever; or, How My Life Has Purpose Again (And, Yes, That Was an Avenue Q Pun)

Friends, I cannot believe how incredible this week has been for me. Honestly, I am so freaking blessed to be in this place right now. I could not have asked for a better set of circumstances to lead me to this amazingly gorgeous city. Right now, I'm sitting in my favorite new coffeehouse (it's open until 1AM, hello!) with an great, if not overcast, view of the Space Needle, thinking to myself, "What did I do to deserve all of this?" I know I'm not the only one who feels this way post-graduation and certainly I have my bad days, but there is so much more to love about life right now.

First off, I had my Seattle stage debut for Yellow Face last night! It was such a great opening night with a wonderfully receptive and responsive audience. The theater itself seats just about 100, but you would have thought there were double that last night. All of my fellow cast members were really on their A game and even when things hit a bit of a hiccup, we covered it with fantastic artistry. I was talking to Moses, the guy who plays DHH in the play, and we were talking about how the audience pointed up some parts of the script that were humorous that we had no idea about. We found ourselves thinking, in the moment, "Oh, so that's what that means now," or "That needs that vocal inflection to really kick it up." That's the thing about live theatre that isn't like anything else. Each performance changes - the cast learns things about the script that they were unable to see before and then takes that to shape the show anew. It is one of the many things I really like about the type of art that I choose to do. After the show, there was some great conversation with people who came to see the show, which is always great too, to have an audience walk away wanting to say more than just, "Oh, the show was really great." To have a discussion about the issues and topics of the play is more fulfilling than hearing that you did well in the show, in my opinion. I have two more shows today and then four more weekends of shows! I'm so excited to keep this show going and really really hope that people will come out to see it!

In other really big news, I found out on Monday (8/1) that not only will I be the school year Drama School administrative intern, but ALSO an apprentice teacher! My co-workers all asked me by calling me into the education director's office where they had written on the carpet, in true Drama School fashion, in sidewalk chalk:


This beats any e-mail, phone call, etc. that you might get for a new job. Again, how lucky am I to work with such amazing people for the next year? BLESSED. BLESSED. BLESSED.

I spent a bit of time looking over the school year catalogue (which also came out this week to much excitement to our staff) seeing which classes I would like to assist on. I'm really excited to work on some upper level acting classes because I feel really comfortable with that group. I also have signed up to assist on some improv classes, a big step for me because I find improv to be one of the most difficult things for me 1) because I don't see myself as a funny person and 2) most of my off-the-cuff humor is inappropriate for some adult audiences, let alone children. I hope that, if I end up working on that class, I really get to explore some avenues of how to become better at improv. Of course, I signed up for some creative drama even though I'm apprehensive about it. Not because I don't like the class, that's the farthest from the truth. For those of you unfamiliar with the term "creative drama," think of it like extended/more intense make-believe. Some of the classes are based around literature (children's books) while other focus on role playing within the confines of a theme (Superhero Sleuths, for example). As the lead teacher or assistant, you play a cast of characters, both new and reoccurring, who the students interact with to solve problems. To give you some context, let me tell you about how a story is started. Yesterday, Andrea, a fellow Drama School staff member, was working on developing a story based on opposites for next week. We started with her reoccurring character (who I can't name because it is a surprise for another DS staffer) who the kids would meet every day and whose problem they would have to solve. The problem this week? Well, Andrea's character LOVES nighttime, but her friend loves the daytime and is sad that the stars don't come out in the day, so her friend stole the stars from the nighttime! As a group of students, they have to help Andrea's character figure out 1) who stole the stars (they don't know about the friend) and 2) what they can do to get the stars back and possibly find a compromise with the friend. We give a general shape to the story, but the kids supply the meat of it. So while we, the teachers, know we have to get the stars back, it is totally up to the kids about how we do it. Maybe we use a star magnet or a net or we seek out the Star Queen to help us learn a song to sing that will get the stars to come back to the night sky. The power is in the hands of the kids and that places they take these stories are truly amazing.

My biggest reservation about creative drama is that I'm unfamiliar with the age group. Creative drama goes from about age 3 1/2 to about 7ish. The bulk of my education training was for 9th - 12th graders, so I have a toolkit of ways to engage those students. The little creative drama tater tots are a whole new ball game. I'm excited to work on the classes, but more excited to expand my horizons and learn how to work with, get focused, and fully engage such young artists. I also am really excited to possibly help create some curriculum for our story drama classes because I really enjoyed doing that, in my own way, in Peoria.

This weekend, Avenue Q School Edition opened up at SCT! I got to see the dress rehearsal run on Thursday afternoon. Holy crap, those kids are so so so talented! I was blown away by how committed they all were to bringing those puppets to life. The tough thing about Avenue Q, in my opinion, is making the puppets more of a character than yourself. Really, the actors are just the vessels/voices of the puppets. Understanding and accepting that as a teenager can be really tough, but they were all so wonderful about stepping back and giving their puppets the energy that turned the mass of foam and felt into a living, breathing person. That being said, because of that, I couldn't help but watch the actors controlling the puppets at times. To think just a few short weeks ago these puppets were brand new to the actors, and now, just weeks later, they were like an extension of their arms. Talent is abundant at the SCT Drama School and I am so very impressed with everyone involved in the production - especially Lisa Glomb, the director and a wonderful Seattle mentor for me, as well as Caitie Auld and Laurel Turnquist, two fellow DS interns this summer!

What else is new in the world of Jeremy? Let me see... Oh! I had a great meeting with the director of my next show, The Mormon Bird Play, Roger Benington. This dude is one cool cat, let me tell you. I don't know if I talked about his callback at all, but the way in which he treated those of us auditioning as if we were the cast, working the callback like a real-true rehearsal was great. It had me that much more invested in the callback. When Roger and I met (because I couldn't attend last week's workshop with the rest of the cast), we talked a lot about the Mormon faith (something I know little of and am having quite the time researching - very interesting stuff) and the writing process for him on this show since he wrote the script. To say I'm excited about this process would be a huge understatement. All of my Chicago BU friends know about The House Theatre and how much we love that company just because of how great of mentors so many of the ensemble members have been to us. Well, I look at this the same way - Roger and his "New York birds" (the guys who helped him develop the script/staged reading) are going to be wonderful resources for us throughout the process. I have only met with Roger a few times, and the cast even fewer, but I feel like we are already all so invested in the show that we are going to have a really great process.

I've noticed in the last few days that I have been using the word "process" a lot more when referring to working on a show. Now, I know that this is not an uncommon word to use in regards to rehearsals, but the more I work with the Drama School the more I realize how process oriented I am in regards to my teaching theory of theatre. I suppose I have always been like this, and looking back on my past directing experiences with middle and high schoolers, I have some validation of this. Working on my production of Once On This Island Jr., I was all about the process. To me, it was not about making a show that was going to be perfection (although I pushed and pushed for that); rather, it was about using the time we spent together in rehearsal to get kids to understand that being an actor is more than just owning a spotlight. It is not about the number of lines or stage time your character has, but how you commit to your role and how deep you are willing to go. I'm so lucky to work in at a theatre whose teaching theory is very much process oriented. While many parents want to see a "final production" with a performance class, I think there are greater lessons learned and more achieved through a rich process than with a brief showing that validates a person's feelings for only a short time - long term understanding rather than short-term gratification. I know this because I once was focused on the short term. I'm not afraid to admit that in high school I was all about knowing how many lines I had, how often I was onstage, etc. To me, that was the "glory" of the art. However, now, after working with so many talented artists, especially in this "career" capacity, it is not about that anymore. We are all talented individuals, it is why we are where we are. Now, it is about how we work together to create and collaborate, not just show. I think that is the most important lesson I have learned so far in my short "teaching artist" career. To know that I have such a rich future to look forward to is exhilarating.

Well, I should probably end this long winded post. I want to take a little me time this afternoon to get some reading done. I'm reading The Help right now, taking a break from a book called A Discovery of Witches. The girls in the office are all/have read The Help and they are meeting on August 16th to discuss the book and see the film, so I thought I would read too and join them. I love surrounding myself with people who are not only artistic in their careers, but take the time to appreciate and discuss other forms of art around them. It makes living here so so so amazing.

Just a few weeks until my friends Haley, Nick, Brannan, and Anna come to visit me - I can't wait! And my 23rd birthday is next Wednesday! Yahoo!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Way Too Busy To Blog; or, How The First Two Months In Seattle Have Been A Whirlwind

It's been a while since I wrote, I know. Get off my back. Lots of things have gone down since I last wrote so I will try to catch you up on the things that have happened. As you may remember, Pride was the last weekend that I wrote about so we have the WHOLE month of July to cover. Let's do this.

For starters, Yellow Face going great. We open August 5th and I am very excited for the product that I have helped to create. It has definitely been a project/learning experience for me, having just come out of te educational theatre world of college. My cast is phenomenal - truly talented performers whose love for their work shines through in the quality of performance they each put out. I have learned a lot about being a working theatre artist from watching them work. The director, David Hsieh, has been a wonderful "first" director for Seattle. I may have said this before, but he reminds me a lot of my college director, Steve Snyder. David does a fantastic job at getting us to try new things, fail, try again, and finally get it without just saying, "Do this. THIS is what I want." As someone who really likes to just play, morph, and create, I really respect David's patience and faith that his actors will eventually get to where we need to get. Tech begins tonight for the show and I think we are in a really fantastic place. For those of you in Seattle during the month of August, be sure to check out the show and get your tickets here: Yellow Face ticket information

In other theatre news, I just got cast in my next production called The Mormon Bird Play, a show curated by the Washington Ensemble Theatre (I'm not sure what that means, but I'll find out soon enough I guess). The audition happened last weekend and it was great to meet such a fun group of people. There were actually two auditions that I went to last week, but I ended up only getting the one gig (which by all means is not a bad thing - I'm happy to have ONE). The play is a new one, and we are actually spending 7 weeks workshopping the script before we start rehearsals on September 14th. I'm excited to go through this process with a great group of guys (the whole cast is male, as is the director). I'm looking forward to learning a lot about the Mormon culture, absurdist plays, and how a show goes through a workshopping process. More on that to to come...

Oh, I'm living IN Seattle now too! While I loved living with my aunt and uncle, the commute was a killer and just did not work with my schedule so I decided to move a little earlier than planned. I'm living on Capitol Hill now, a neighborhood in east Seattle that is just minutes from downtown (I can walk there in 10 minutes top). I live just off of Pike Street about 10 blocks from the Pike Place Market (I'm not taking nearly enough advantage just yet, but life is a bit hectic so there is still time). It's a beautifully big house and I have a great little room on the front with a big bay window that looks out over the city (minus the building that somewhat blocks the view a bit). There is a big backyard that is taken care of by the house manager, Michael. Funny story about the place - I actually met the guy in Chicago when I was at the airport waiting to come to Seattle. We both got stuck in Chicago over the night and never swapped numbers. Then I move here, email about this place I saw on Craigslist, and what do you know? It was the same guy! Crazy, I know. Anyway, here are some pictures of the place!
The front of the house! My room is the one on the second
floor in the middle!

One of two living rooms

Part of the kitchen - Lots of cupboard space!

The backyard - this picture doesn't even do justice to this
oasis in the middle of the city. Honestly, be jealous.
It's really nice living right downtown because I can go out with friends, stay at rehearsal late, grab a bite to eat after work and before rehearsal without the hassle of busing up north and back. While I certainly miss Taco Thursday at my aunt and uncle's house, I'm digging having a place of "my own" where I can rest my head.

Three weeks ago, we opened our Summer Season of student productions at the Seattle Children's Theatre. So far, I have seen Wind in the Willows, The Hobbit, As You Like It, Mulan Jr., and Jungalbook. Let me tell you what, the kids putting on these shows are WICKED talented too. It is so cool to see a group of kids create something that is so powerful. Jungalbook, especially, had me a little misty eyed. Seeing these students work so diligently at such a young age is an awesome thing - makes me wish I had had something like the SCT Drama School when I was younger. I will say, what is even more fulfilling is knowing that I get to work for an organization that is able to empower these young artists. It's crazy awesome and I am super blessed.

I also got to spend the last two weekends experiencing 14/48: the world's quickest theatre festival. For my BU friends, it is like 24 Hour Theatre... on crack. 14 original plays in 48 hours for two weekends. Thursday night around 9PM, a topic is chosen. Seven writers scamper off and write seven 10 minute plays until 8AM when the directors choose a script at random and the actors choose their parts at random. Rehearsals and teching happens all the way up until the first show at 8PM Friday. During that show, at intermission, the theme of the next night's seven plays is chosen and the process repeats itself again. This happens for TWO WEEKENDS. The twist this year was that the first weekend was all female writers, directors, and actors; the second weekend was all male writers, directors, and actors. It was crazy awesome to see the kind of thing that comes out of under pressure writing. I got to see three of the four nights and the themes were: "Patience is a virtue," "How will I survive?" and "Fenced in." Thanks to a coworker at SCT, over the past two weekends, I have gotten to see nearly $100 worth of theatre for free (minus the cost of beverages at the event of course!) Honestly, super. Fucking. Blessed.

Other than that, things are going well. No complaints out here, except maybe a bit more sunshine, but I've had quite a bit this last week so I am not going to complain one little bit! Managed to lay out for a bit the other day and get a little color. The nice thing is that Seattle, what with all the weather here, is a relatively pasty town. Until I got to Capitol Hill and the gays are ALL tan. Mess. Oh well, I'll work on it. Anyway, I hope you are all having a great time with your summers! Stay in touch and I look forward to talking with you all soon!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Agent Glitterbomb Reporting For Duty; or How I Took More Than My Fair Share Of Intern (Pride) Virginity This Last Weekend

It is not as skanky as it sounds. Honestly, I wish I had more to report on that front. Sadly, I have close to nothing to report on that (minus the story of the WORST date of my life which you will hear about later), so if you are looking to read about my sexploits, this post isn't gonna thrill you, kids.

That being said, this weekend was almost too much for me to explain. As you might remember from the last post (or not because you have short-term memory and that was so seven days ago), I was gearing up for the biggest, gayest weekend of them all, Pride. For those of you who have never been, or God forbid, don't even know what Pride is, it is seriously like a unicorn bled glitter all over a rainbow (I was going for the stereotypes, bear with me). This year, being my first legal Pride since I was stuck being gay up in the mountains last summer, had to be epic. Hence my plotting Operation Big Fat Gay Weekend. Here's how it went down:

Supplies necessary to any Big Fat Gay Weekend: beads,
glitter, and body jewels. Ke$ha and I should be besties.
Friday at precisely 5pm, Veling and I departed SCT in search of two very important things when gearing up for a weekend like Pride: booze and glitter. After stopping at the local costume place and getting some amazing glitter body/hair spray, as well as some sticky jewels to just bedazzle shit, we headed uptown to get the fruitiest drink we could think of, raspberry vodka and Fresca (yeah, it tasted like what Cher might taste like if you juiced her like a Florida orange). Along the way, I sent out the mass intern gaygent text to all my fellow SCT cronies which went something like this:

Top secret gaygents: This is Agent Glitterbomb letting you know a plan for the night is being hatched. Please confirm or deny involvement in tonight's mission to receive further instructions.


After checking in with me, the gaygents were told to text me their code name. Appropriately, I was Agent Glitterbomb and Veling was Agent Sparkle Sex Kitten (she did that all by herself too, can you tell?). The names began pouring in so fast, we knew we had to make a roster. What better way to do this than with an SCT class check-in sheet?


After a lovely dinner prepared by yours truly as Veling Sparkle Sex Kitten got ready, we headed off to Captiol Hill to begin the night's shenanigans. Now, the thing is, it can't just be a night out with me and my friends. It has to be an event. What a better way to make an event than to have matching outfits? Well, okay, that's a bit much, but I did buy everyone purple bead necklaces which they were required to wear. In SCT Drama School tradition, they all had to show me they were ready to receive their necklaces by putting one finger in the air like a gun and the other hand out ready to accept their present. Even when we aren't teaching, we are teaching.

"I'll know you're ready when..."
We stopped in for drinks at Broadway Grill where my friend Brendan was go-go dancing (and was quite the eye candy for all my female cohorts). This was like the check in point for all my gaygents for the night. Everything was going so well, including getting our one underager a shot for being such a champ (shout out to the baller waiter who was all over that). Being Pride, it was then necessary that we go dancing - uh DUH! But the gaygents were facing a problem: how the hell do we get the underager into the club? She looks like a baby and who could we possibly... OH WAIT! Agent Sparkle Sex Kitten is a baby too! And legal! It was done - Operation Pride ID Passback was a go.

We headed down to Neighbor's, a club which I was told we would be able to get our youngin' into easy as pie. I was the point person on the first group who would enter and then leave with the ID. Zoey was the point person for the next group. Seriously folks, Zoey and I had a good 10 minute conversation on figuring out the logistics of this thing. There was no way it was going to fail.

Before we get to that though, let me talk about getting into the bar myself. I understand this isn't Peoria and cover is going to be a lot more expensive. Well, this joint was charging $10 a head, which really isn't that bad. The hunky pink underwear clad cover guy, however, informed me that cover was up because of the three Randy Blue porn stars being there. "Oh yeah, and American Idol Kimberly Caldwell is singing at midnight!" I think the look of confusion on my face showed him I had no clue what he was talking about with American Idol and my brain had stopped at porn stars. Oh Seattle, you cease to amaze me. I may have even dared the straight boy in the group to put money one of their underwear. Like a champ, he obliged. I was gonna be damned if he got to have all the fun though.

Craig won the award for Coolest Straight
Guy Friday night
Clearly I thought shoving money in his pants was a lot
funnier then than it really was. Blame it on the a-a-a-alcohol.
I'm sure you are dying to know if we got the youngin' into the bar. We did. Yeah, it was about that uneventful too, although you would have never guessed that from Veling's hyperventilating into my shoulder. Homegirl was sweating like a whore in church from the moment she parted with her ID until she got it back. What. A. Mess. Thank God I love her.

The night just got messier. More booze, more dancing, and Kimberly Caldwell (American Idol reject I soon learned) singing mostly 80s hairband music because she knew that no one in the audience would know the lyrics to her songs (wait, does she have any?) led to a two mile walk home because the bus stopped running to Queen Anne at 1:15. Oops. Our bad. Whatever, it was a good way to, as Veling put it, "walk off the drunk." We got back to her place and promptly passed the fuck out.
Four dollar margarita night. What's it to you?
These boys danced all night. Bless their
little hearts (and bigger dicks). But really...
Wait, who are you? You're worth the $10 cover?

So Saturday started early with me heading home to throw in a load of laundry before I headed BACK to Capitol Hill for the Pride Block Party with some of the fellow interns. It was good day of food and drinks and shopping to get ready for the parade the next day. Fellow intern Caitie had the most fun that day for sure - "I feel like tomorrow is Halloween! I'm so excited! Look at this rainbow hat! I want it! So much eye candy that I can't have! Gah!" I wish you all could have experienced her first Pride experience because it was something quite amazing. Did I mention that I bought new underwear at the Underwear U store up there on the Hill? Because I did. I know you all needed to know that, but they're awesomely amazing. I also got my face painted and the girls got sno-cones so it was a pretty eventful day if I do say so myself. I headed home early to rest up for the events of the next day. Folks, it was gonna be a doozy.
These two were all about the shaved ice.
I have a shirt on, I promise. I don't start losing clothes
til Sunday. It's true.
Sunday had finally arrived and I woke up super early to head downtown so I could get ready with Veling. I was taking many interns to their first ever Pride parade and could not have been more excited to go with a better group. After getting all dressed up (or down considering I wore close to nothing that day), Veling and I headed to our parade watching vantage point of 4th and Pine. Why was this a vantage point you ask? Because, the huge ass Starbucks is right there for all your drinking needs throughout the day. The parade itself was a long one, but we had our own fair share of fun throughout:

We're too much fun. Honestly. 
Here's a motley crew.
Glittering the hair, a Pride staple. Duh.
She was so proud of her oufit. Emily Veling
will always be my little ragtag Fruit Fly...
dressed in old dance outfits.
Isn't he a gem? :)
After the parade and a quick stop to get some tasty mexican food, we headed to the Seattle Center for PrideFest, the largest free Pride event in the country. With three stages, a shit ton of food vendors, and shirtless, underwear clad men as far as the eye can see, PrideFest is for sure a highlight of Pride Week. While there, I met up with my friend Brendan, who I've talked about way too much to not show a picture of, so here he is. This child had less clothes on that, like, anyone. Lucky for him, he wears nothing quite nicely. We sat around and listened to some great bands, some decent vocalists, and some incredible drag numbers. I mentioned in one of my earlier posts LeFaux, the drag show up on Capitol Hill at Julia's. Well, Sunday, Mama Tits was there in all her glory to emcee the day's events on the main stage. A highlight of the Fest was the debut of two new Gaga numbers performed by Robbie Turner, who in my opinion is the be all end all when it comes to Gaga. We all know I don't like Gaga all that much, but I actually like Gaga when done by Robbie. Seriously, j'amazing. I wish I could upload the video from my camera, but sadly, I didn't take video on my iPhone, only the camera which I don't have the cord from. Trust me, there are videos out there. In the meantime, enjoy this fierce picture of her.

Quite possibly the only way I'll ever be able
to enjoy a Lady Gaga song is this right here.
Did I mention I was also caught in the middle of a flash mob? Holy shit, I was horrified. It's different when you are part of it and know that something is going down, but there was not one indication of anything like this happening in my eyes. It was crazy how it just blew up. Apparently, Seattle has thrown some pretty epic flash mobs around town (I saw a video of one where Robbie even guest starred as Gaga - crazy). I need to find a way to be a part of this. It was just too much fun, even if frightening at first. Again, I have video, just no cord. I'm working on it.

Also, I'm going to just attach a link here for a duet I heard Sunday which I am so sad to say was the last performance the two of them will ever be doing together. This duo, called Team Gina, are two lesbians who sing about... being lesbians. While I can't entirely relate (lesbihonest, ogay?), they had a song about "wife swapping" and how it seems like there are only 12 lesbians in the world and they've all dated. Raise your hand if you have ever lived and dated in Central Illinois as a gay man... point proven. I'm going to throw up a few links to their Youtube videos, but seriously, get on iTunes and download this group. I don't care if you are straight, it's a fucking riot.


At the end of the day, I headed home, exhausted, extremely burnt, and ready to just fall into bed. However, I couldn't head home before I snapped this picture of what I think might have been the coolest thing about Seattle Pride:

Yeah, that's the Rainbow Pride Flag flying on top of the freaking Space Needle! How freaking sick is that?! Says a lot about the city I now (proudly) call "home."

Monday rolled in and it was back to work, followed by the first rehearsal of Yellow Face. It was great meeting the cast and the production team who I am going to be working with the next two months. The read through was great, and I'm really excited to see a piece like this staged here in Seattle.

Hey look, it's me reading lines!
David Hsieh (left) is the director of Yellow Face, and the
other two guys, Lee (back left) and Moses (middle) are the
play's main characters. This was our publicity shoot night!
So I know that was a long post. Congratulations for finishing it. I know that you wish you could have experienced my weekend along with me, but I hope you had a fantastic Pride weekend (even if you didn't know it was going on). This weekend is a long weekend as it is the Fourth of July on Monday! I'm excited for the intern antics this Saturday at the party at Craig's house and for the family/friend get together at Rick and Kim Grunstad's on Monday! All in all, would give this weekend a 1, 2, 3...

HUH!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Week One Of Drama School; Or How Being An Intern 2.0 Is Just As Fun As Intern 1.0

This building makes my heart drip glitter (AKA I'm so
fucking happy to be working here)
In case I haven't been obnoxiously upfront about it, my job at SCT is seriously the best job in the world. Here, "intern" is not just a fancy word for "copy boy" or "coffee bitch" (I go get coffee freely and of my own will, thank you very much). What I like most about my intern job at SCT is that we are treated as much like staff as possible, and they do everything they can to give us as much responsibility as we are willing to take on. For an intern, I think that is pretty fucking baller.

As most of you know, I did the teaching assistant internship two years ago, and this go around I'm doing the administrative end of the education department, or Drama School (which sounds much cooler than "education department." It's how they roll here). Yesterday was the first day it hit me that I wasn't going to be teaching as much this summer. I say "as much" because the wonderful Ellie McKay put me on a week of Story Drama (with Karen Sharp, the SCT education director - woo woo!), an outreach program (still a mystery to me), and a week of Splash (which actually might be pulled away from me, but it's okay because I had my fill of Splash two years ago). Now, I wasn't sad when I realized I wasn't going to be teaching as much; it was more feeling like a part of my summer wasn't there. However, it wasn't soon after that that I took a walk with Ellie over to the Center House for our morning coffee that I realized how amazing my admin job this summer is. Part of the great thing about teaching is the one-on-one time you get with students and teaching artists - they work is incredible and tells you so much about where you want to take your passion for education and theatre. On the flip side, working in the office, I am getting to know a group of people who I only sort of knew two years ago. Sure, two years ago we talked all the time, had our little conversations here and there, but the last month of my working in the office at SCT has proved to me that I want to be more than just a teaching artist somewhere. I want to be a cog in the great machine, a piece of the solution, just like the six super awesome people running the Drama School who I get to work with every day.

Okay, now that I've got that off my chest, let's move along. When we last left our hero, he had just stuffed his face at a Father's Day BBQ all in preparation for <dun, dun, dun> WEEK ONE OF DRAMA SCHOOL!

Monday, June 20th was the first day of classes at SCT and the building was back to the one I remember - kids everywhere, constant noise of some physical comedy class jumping around, pick up drop off on the patios, sack lunches being taken by seagulls (always the best), and Keni Cohen is back in my life. This day is unlike any other. It's like the first day of school, only the kids WANT to be there. I'm working extended morning care this week, which basically means I get to the theatre at 7:45 in the morning and watch kids who need to be dropped off early for about an hour before classes begin around 9AM. I have played (and won, might I add) more than my fair share of Monopoly Jr. games. That game, just so you know, still sucks ass even dumbed down for toddlers. MESS. Either way, I'm a champ. Go me... party of one? Oh well.

Because I'm not in the classroom, I don't have many funny kid stories (I have heard things about kids wanting to eat a teachers pants, small children crying because one of the interns was eating the drama-true vegetables from the drama-true garden, and even a kid who was bribed with McDonald's to stay in class for the morning - all in a day's work, I suppose), but I have more than my fair share of fun stories to share about the office. I'm just gonna give a quick recap of some quotables from the GEMS with which I work:

  • "Oh yeah, and, uh, I licked that." - Ellie
  • "I've got a hot latte with your crotch all over it." - Ellie "Well I have a crotch with... I can't even say it." - Andy
  • "Hey friends! Let's look at the Danger Zone board!" - Karen "Speaking of syphilis..." - Andrea
  • "Annette, I've got a package here that you are gonna wanna see..." - Pat
The days feel incredibly short thanks to my co-workers. I love everything about them. If I could record them... I probably wouldn't because I'm incredibly inappropriate (which, let's be honest, isn't a real big shock, but I have some dignity in tact).

I have fun projects. Sure, I do a lot of work on a computer which is even too hard for me to actually explain to people not familiar with the system. Just know I'm VERY proud of how quickly I picked it up. BOOM. Go me. Again. This week, though, I had part one of a very special project - decorating a bulletin board! Here's the thing with me and bulletin boards - we go way back to freshman year of high school. When Haley and I were dating way back when (I think that speaks volumes to how long ago that was), her mom took us to Fox Valley to go shopping one day. Now Kay, her mom, is a librarian at our old grade school, so she decided to pop in at the classroom store to get things for the library. I was throwing out ideas left and right! Kay, however, kept deflecting them. I'm not bitter, but I think one day she's gonna realize the gold she passed up. I still love you Kay! Anyway, fast forward to this week. Intern bulletin board - basically a call board for interns. It is a focal point of the education office, mostly because it is like BOOM, right there in your face when you walk in the door. The honor of redecorating the board was bestowed on me. I was so excited to get my creative juices flowing.

As you may remember from the last post, the theme of the summer is the Summer of the Great Team. My intern group has completely embraced this phrase, and we now affectionately call ourselves Team Great Team. Now, the challenge: how do I incorporate that into my bulletin board debut? The stress levels were high and I spent a good 3 hours working on it. Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the final product:

I know what you are thinking: why hasn't HGTV given me my own show?! I'm not sure, but I'm on the horn about it. And yes, that logo in the middle? It is all construction paper cutouts. Like I said, I was VERY proud of my bulletin board. I still am. It shimmers (only not really because I couldn't think of a feasible way to incorporate glitter... dammit).

This week also saw my first attempt into musical theatre since last fall. Veling, my adorable Seattle wife, and her super duper fun friend, Rhya, have decided to host a weekly SCT Fit Broadway musical theatre dance workout hour where they will choreograph a new musical number each week (week 1 was "You Can't Stop The Beat" from Hairspray). Musical theatre, for those who don't know, is the bane of my existence. That being said, it seems I am only ever cast in musicals. Enigma, I KNOW. I felt obligated to attend because, well, 1) Veling is having my babies and 2) Gay Pride weekend starts tomorrow and my fat ass needs to make it look like I'm trying to be somewhat in shape (the empty box of family sized Cheez-Its back home totally gives it away). My ass was grass from the get go. I'm not bendy, I never pretended to be (okay, I did for a hot second on Colorado when I tried yoga, but we're done with that), and Veling had my body in positions I thought I would only be able to contort myself into if the right person hopped into bed (Efron, I'm talking to you). Including the 2 lovely instructors, there were seven of us (I was the only guy, go figure) rocking out to some Broadway jams. The worst part was the warm up - I need to stretch more. That being said, I'm going back because I'm gonna shanay, padebure, and kick, ball change into a size 30 jeans (at least).

Awesome view of the fountain from the patio near SCT
Also, I opened my Seattle bank account this week! To many, this sounds like a huge chore, but those of you who know my dealings with PNC Bank in Illinois know that I couldn't wait to get the hell out of Dodge with that bank. So on the advice from Veling, I stepped on over to Wells Fargo to set up my own checking account. I hate banks. They suck. Hardcore. Wells Fargo may have changed my mind. Keion, the kindly gent who helped set up my account, was incredibly interested in my job at SCT. Being myself, I graciously accepted his wanting to talk about me. If there is one thing I can talk about to pass the time at a bank, "me" is the perfect subject. I'm the leading expert after all. When all was said and done, I had money in the bank and debit card in the mail (my first one in almost a year! I know, stepping up! Fuck you PNC...)
I haven't spent as much time as I would have liked with my Yellow Face script as I would like this week, but I plan on laying into it a bit this weekend. Of course, I say that, but deep down inside I know this weekend is Pride Weekend and the only work I'm going to be doing is getting the glitter off my body come Sunday night so I can be semi-presentable at work on Monday morning. Speaking of all things glitter, I'm going out with Veling tomorrow night for "Our Big Fat Gay Weekend," and I couldn't be more excited. I made a playlist tonight for getting ready to go out at her apartment - her neighbors won't know what hit them! I need to buy more glitter and booze like the Little Me$$ that I am (Mama Me$$ would be so proud). Tasks for tomorrow's lunch break for sure. 

Totally love my summer life. Mmm, grilling...
Super huge news! Just found yesterday that seven, count 'em SEVEN, of my high school friends who I'm still close with might be coming out to visit in August. Ecstatic doesn't even begin to explain how I feel. "Getting Serious In Seattle" is going to happen. Can't wait to introduce my second family to my new hometown!
Well, I must head off to bed. It's late and 5:45AM (yes, you read that right) comes early if I'm to catch my bus into Seattle.

Really quick: I love mail. I love sending letters. Send me a letter, and I promise I will mail you back! Here's my summer address:

Jeremy Behrens
17006 37th Ave NE
Lake Forest Park, WA 98155

Love you, mean it!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Clothing Optional; Or How I Came To Know My Intern Friends That Much More Intimately

DISCLAMER: This entry is going to be long as hell. I have two days to cover and a lot of shit to air out. You may want to grab a snack and/or beverage to enjoy while reading. Shit is about to get real.

So on Friday, we had our last day of intern training. I could sit here and write about how great we did at PUDO practice, or how we had a great last day playing fun games and getting to know more about SCT. However, the key element of that day was GRADUATION! We were bestowed our sacred yellow Drama School shirts AND nametags! Summer just got real - we're in it for the long haul!

But Friday would not have been Friday if it weren't for the Intern Party at Andrea's house. This is like a staple of the summer intern training. I had a past intern text me saying, "It's Friday of orientation week! Have fun at Andrea's!" The best part of this party (okay so there are lots of "best parts," but I'm building up the interest here) is the food and booze! It's really the first time all of us are able to hang out outside of the SCT building during orientation week, both interns and staff. Throw some good food and even better brews into the mix, and you can't NOT have a good time. The SCT Education staff may be the most fun and energetic group of people I have ever worked with and this party just proves it. It may have been the shots of Don Julio with a select group a daredevils, the champagne toast to a fantastic summer, or the conversation about the most memorable J-Lo/Disney Channel movies, but the fact is: we know how to party.

Of course, it's not an SCT intern party without the classic staple, Celebrity! For those of you out of the loop, Celebrity is basically charades, but a lot more complicated. Round 1: get your team to guess the name of a random celebrity pulled from a bowl using all the words you like (except the ones in their name). Round 2: using only two words, get your team to guess the name of celebrities (from Round 1). Round 3: using only body language/hand gestures, get your team to guess the names of celebrities (from Round 1 and 2). Team with the most points in the end wins. This year, however, thanks in part to the lovely Zoey Belyea, a super secret round 4 was added: Blanket Round. Take Round 3 rules, throw a blanket over your head and BOOM! Ghost charades. It is incredibly difficult (my team won this round, in case we were counting!) Since you can't truly appreciate the Round 4 craziness without being there, please take a look at the crazy:

Katie with a K doing her thing
Karen...under a sheet! 
Team Final Countdown. With Molly being creepy. 
I'm guessing this is Karen once again. I had
to make sure there was photo documentation.
I'm just saying, there is nothing like seeing your boss under a sheet trying to act out Barbara Walters for a group of people who have already drank enough alcohol to constitute a small liquor store. That being said, there is nothing I think is a better way to end a week of orientating than a soiree like this one. Perhaps my favorite two word clues of the night were:

"Jesus Whore!" (Mary Magdalene)

"Actress...Large?" (Pamela Anderson)

"Bad Actor!" (Nicholas Cage - surprisingly, this was almost a group consensus)

I completely understand this is one of those, "you had to be there things," but you weren't invited, so just run with it and use your imagination to the fullest. After catching the bus home with my beautiful Mary Davies, I headed to bed to prepare for the day that was to come: DAY OF PLAYS <insert ominous music here>

Okay, so it really wasn't as bad as it sounds. Yes, many of us could not wait for the whiskey and wine later (oh, just wait, this story get so much better), but the day wasn't as stressful as it could have been. The Drama School helped to put on two short productions of "Junie B. Jones" and "Pippi Longstocking" for kids grades 1-6. I was assigned to "Junie" to help gather the kids and play Mr. Scary in the play. We had 6 kids in our show, ages 7-11, and for the most part, they were great to work with that day! The kids arrived at 10AM and we worked until 5PM that night. Their parents came to get them and then returned them at 6:30PM to do a performance for parents at 7PM. I'm going to use Emily Veling's photography skills to tell this story of how we were around 5:30PM:

Post-Pho, our day was so close to coming to a close!
Mary and Molly getting ready to Pippi it up!
Like I said, the day in and of itself was extremely successful and just exhausting enough that a few of us interns decided to head to a local apartment to end the night right - or at least that's what we thought was all that was going to happen.

Almost immediately upon arriving at Mary and Emily's, the whiskey bottle decided to make an appearance thanks to being invited along by Craig. At the same time, Emily and Zoey were busting out the class with some wine. The conversation which followed was light, fun, and a great way to blow off some steam from the day. Again, photo creds to Veling:

I asked her to pour my wine sexily. I don't
know about you, but I think she succeeded.
These two right here were king and queen of the whiskey
bottle tonight. Craig would later (maybe) regret this.
At some point, the prospect of swimming was brought up. Now, for those of us who didn't grow up in the Pacific Northwest, it was relatively brisk for a swim. Zoey, Craig, and Chelsea, however, begged to differ. I'm always down for an adventure, so after working out my sleeping arrangements for the night (by the time we got back it was going to be too late to catch a bus home), I told them I was game to go swimming.

Wait, I didn't have clothes to change into. This was a problem.

"Clothes for what? Swimming? Uh, I wasn't planning on wearing any." Remember how I mentioned that Zoey and I were going to be comrades in adventures this summer? That statement right there is just proof to that claim. To add icing to the cake, we were going to go swimming in a lake. Yes folks, last night was my first Washington state midnight naked swim. The things I'm ticking off my list in the first four weeks...

So, the intern gang (plus Emily, of course) headed off to Greenlake for a midnight dip. Only four of us participated in the naked part, but there were seven swimmers total. I'm not even kidding when I say the water may as well have been ice. Yes, your body warmed up to it, but I think it was more because I was so numb I couldn't feel it anymore than that I just genuinely enjoyed the water. Regardless, fun was had by all, and despite a few minor injuries of some members of our party (coughCraig&Emilycough), we all lived to tell the story. I promise, see? (Photo creds to Veling)

Yeah, get ready Green Lake. Team Great Team is coming.
None of us were icicles by the end of the night. On the other
hand, some of us left with a little less dignity. Team Great Team!
When all was said and done, Veling and I had a great night cuddling and playing husband and wife. Even though her knee was bleeding (it really wasn't as bad as it could have been), I still enjoyed every moment of it.

This morning, I woke up and headed back home to have a great family BBQ for Father's Day with my family! It was a great cookout and I got to play with the new puppy! Tomorrow begins the first week of Drama School classes! I couldn't be more excited to get back in the office and get all caught up with my office duties! Here's to a great Summer 2011! TEAM GREAT TEAM!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'm Not A Doctor, I Just Play One On TV; or How CPR Training Is The Best Day Of Any Job Training

Sometimes I wish I were intelligent enough to be a doctor. I don't mean I'm unintelligent by any means. I think I'm actually a pretty smart guy, but after seeing my science scores from junior high to college, let's just say it's best I chose a career in the arts. That being said, I spent my four years in high school as an athletic trainer. Basically, I was the guy who, before the game, would tape ankles; during the game, I worked sidelines, taking care of cuts and injuries on the field, manning the body board, and radioing in the EMTs if need be. It was one of the best parts of my high school life.

My student training team senior year! Damn, we were young...
There is something about being able to handle yourself around blood and broken bones that always got my adrenaline running. Basically, I wanted to be a doctor because I always felt "on" around the medical stuff. Don't get me wrong, I would never actually BE a doctor - that's not for me, but it was fun to act like one. That's why days like today make me super excited. Today, we had CPR/first aid training today with the HILARIOUS Sharon, a veteran firefighter and EMT with a sense of humor to boot. Always a good combination when you are talking about the touchy subject of injury, choking, and death.

As a student trainer, I had to get recertified every year of high school for CPR, so I'm pretty well versed in all the changes that have happened since 2002 in the CPR line of work. Ever since, I have had to be certified for some job or other, so I've been up on it. However, I just learned this year about the 30/2 method and was blown away. Compressions always freaked me out the most (I mean, c'mon, with my Hulk-like upper body strength, you'd be afraid of cracking a sternum too... *cricket cricket*), so this whole 30 compressions to 2 breaths thing had me highly interested.

The best part about people like Sharon coming in to teach though are her "war stories," those stories from the field which are clearly worst case scenarios that CPR trainers throw out there as if to say, "Look what I did and know that you shouldn't freak out about a kid choking." Comforting, isn't it? But like I said, Sharon has some great one liners throughout her teaching. Here are a few memorable ones:
  • "If it's wet and isn't yours, don't touch it."
  • "I only had 2 people wake up on me [while giving CPR]. I was doing this bimbo and I lean down to give two breaths and she says, 'What are you doing?' I responded with, 'I don't know. Questioning everything right now.'"
  • "Which reminds me: amputations..."
  • "If you see someone laying under a ladder, chances are they aren't taking a nap."
  • "Hand under the armpit and across the chest, that's where you compress. I don't care if its a 46 double D, push down in the valley!"
There were so many more good ones, but I can't for the life of me remember. Which is too bad because we were laughing the entire time. Nothing like health and wellness to get a room going.

Besides that, we had our awesome physical comedy workshop with the wonderful Keni Cohen today. Picture, if you will, a cooler version of Richard Simmons with a less hairy version of Robin Williams and the hair of Carrot Top (only brown). Keni is like a big 7 year old and that's what makes him so much fun to work with. We got to shove a whole bunch of cake in his face today leaving the rest of the education staff staring at what may be the worst mess the east rehearsal hall at SCT has ever seen all over the floor. Luckily, I work with some pretty baller people and the mess wasn't even a problem for them.

Swanky SCT Drama School shirts. You know
you want one! They're only $15!
Tomorrow is the last day of intern training before the summer officially begins! As sad as I am to have to step out of the assistant role this summer (I get to help some though!), I'm stoked to be seeing the other side of the Drama School I didn't get to see last time. Moving through college, I become as interested in the administrative side of theatre as in the performance side, a valuable thing to have latched on to because it makes my interests so much more diverse and puts me ahead of others who want to do theatre, but look at admin work as less than theatre. To that I say, "You aren't working with the right people." Case in point: today we got trained on selling merch for the SCT Drama School. Andrea, a lovely member of the education staff, walked us through the process of filling out forms, pulling shirts, yada yada. At the end of the merch sesh, she looks around real sneaky-like and says, "Ok, guys, here's the deal. We have just about 20 minutes. In that time, we are gonna go to the staff lounge and eat ice cream. Go!" Do you get to have random ice cream parties in your staff lounge? Yeah, I didn't think so.

I might have to take a night off from blogging tomorrow, as it is the famous SCT Intern Party at Andrea's house after training, complete with Celebrity. The claws come out here folks - Ellie, the SCT Program Manager, told us that she apologizes in advance for screaming expletives in our face while playing the game. We're totally PC around your children, but we can roll with the craziest of them.

As my Asian used to say, "We teach kids theatre." Hells yes we do!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

An Apple A Day; Or How The Northwest Has Turned Me On To Fruits

I was raised on a cattle farm. We had meat with almost every meal of the day, including breakfast where we had sausage or bacon from our family's pigs. To me, it wasn't a meal without some meat component. My mom is a mean cook. In fact, I can promise you she can probably cook better than your mom. She learned it all from my grandma who may just be one of the best homemade mac and cheese makers EVER. Hands down. You can't beat it.

Anyway, back to my point. Living so far from home, I don't have access to the many meat products available to me that I normally have at home. In fact, if it weren't for my amazing aunt and uncle, I probably wouldn't be eating as well as I have. When I get home at night, there are full on meals waiting for me. Pretty much stellar. But being away from home so much (I leave my house at 7:30AM and don't tend to get home until about 6:30/7:00 at night) means I don't get to cook as much. I eat my lunch out of a paper bag (yes, it is as adorable as it sounds) and tend to eat things that fit well into said paper bag. That means I pack a lot of snacky vegetables and fruits. My aunt and uncle work out... a lot. I'm pretty sure that, despite the age gap, they have better bodies than I do. Good for them - I couldn't wake up as early as they do. Not. Happening. Like I said a few posts ago, I like food too much. Because they work out so much, the refrigerator is always stocked with healthy foods. Win for me! So when I'm packing, an apple or some carrots or some snap peas will make it into my lunch sack. They're good to just grab on the go.

Now, here's the thing. I have so much respect for vegetarians/vegans, especially vegetarians/vegans who make the choice to do so after years of being an omnivore. Cheeseburgers are my crack. Period. I love burgers. It is the perfect combination of basically every food group (Chew on that one Michelle Obama) and can be made virtually anywhere. I could never choose to give up meat. Nope, not happening. Those who do it, I tip my hat to you. You are stronger and better people than I. I don't have any pictures of me with burgers (lesbihonest ogay? By the time someone pulls out a camera to snap a pic of me with a burger, it's most likely gone re: fatass), so just take my word for it when I say: I love meat. *cue the jokes in 3...2...1...*

However, I have, in the last year, come to expand my veggie horizons. I was always a fan of the ones you'd find in any home garden, since we had one on our farm and all. Green beans, corn on the cob, potatoes, peas, asparagus, carrots... the "staples," if you will. Over the course of the year though, my palette has become less averse to other greenery not found in my own family's garden. Things like: spinach (my favorite salad mixture), broccoli (raw, steamed, or covered in cheese, this shit is the bomb), tomatoes (these are still growing on me - no pun intended, honestly), peppers (I like the colors and I feel dumb not having them in my fajitas), and yes, even cucumbers (I've never liked pickles, and cucumbers are less wrinkly pickles, therefore me no likey cucumbers). Forcing myself to like some of these has been a challenge. Tomatoes, in my opinion, are incredibly watery for my taste and have to be sliced just right for me to like them. It's why I like the little cherry ones better. With all this new love of veggies though, my dining options have opened up immensely. I'm cooking with things I never knew made such flavors in my life! It's like a glitterbomb just went off in my mouth and I can't contain myself (I really love Ke$ha. Let's take a moment to deal with it, accept it, and move on).

It's no surprise then that Pike Place Market is like a training ground for me. Folks, for those of you who have never been, let me tell you, that place may as well have an angelic chorus of heavenly bodies singing around it with constant light from above shining down. Minus the fact it is a huge tourist trap (that place needs a "resident" lane and a "tourist" lane - it would totally make things less congested and easier for those of us using the market as a grocery store), the Market has these amazing fresh produce stands with some of the nicest people working them I have ever met. Anywho, this morning my body woke me up super freaking early. I'm not quite sure why, but I think it might have something to do with I never got more than 5 or 6 hours a night in college. With all this extra time, I couldn't just sit around my house, so I thought, "Hey, why not head downtown and see what the market is like before all the people get there to shop?" So I hopped on the bus and headed down to Pike Place.

It's just as busy at 7:30AM as it is at noon! So many people bustling around getting their stands ready. I saw that I wasn't the only one who wanted to see the magic unfold and some people were grabbing some things before they headed off to work, a light lunch option picked up fresh that morning. I started poking around the fruit, something quick for breakfast which I wasn't hungry for when I woke up. The Rainier cherries are freaking baller (am I right, Veling?), but I wanted to try something I hadn't had recently. I'm figured a peach would be good, but I'm not a huge fan of them. Maybe a pear? They are the underplayed grab-and-go fruit of our generation (according to a national Gallup poll. Look it up, it's there, I'm sure). So I reached for a yellowish-brown pear.

"You aren't gonna like those. These will be so much better."

Like Adam and God in the painting of the Sistine Chapel, my fingers barely grazed the strong callused fingertips of James over the pear basket. Who was this man with this wealth of knowledge on fruits (and no, I'm not talking about Tim Gunn)?

"Huh?" I said to him, thoroughly confused. That pear looked delicious. Other than the fact he works for the produce stand, who is he to tell me what fruit I'm going to like better?

"Those are on the end of their season. These are just picking up. So much more juicy. But hey, do what you want." He threw his hands up, feigning a "you didn't hear it from me" look, and walked away. It was a drive by fruiting (I'll give credit where credit is due: Thank you for that one-liner Ms. Doubtfire), and I didn't know how to handle it. That's when it hit me: I don't know what the hell I'm doing. I knew the meat from back home like the back of my hand. It was my family's cattle, and we knew what went into them. But out here, surrounded by fresh produce, I didn't know what to look for. There I was, a boy just finding his love of produce, and he was eating whatever it was that was put in front of him normally! I had to learn more. I picked up the pear (James' suggestion, of course - who am I to ignore advice from an expert?) and went to pay for it. When I handed him the pear, he laughed and said, "You sure this is the one you want?"

"I'm gonna take your word for it that it's better than my pear. I won't know, but if I'm not satisfied, I'm coming back."

I know what this sounds like: shameless flirting. It wasn't, I promise. Don't get me wrong, I'm not above something like that, but at 8AM, I am far from my A game. That being said, I found James' knowledge to be extremely attractive. The pear was fucking amazing, by the way. I wish I had taken a picture of it (or him) so that you could enjoy it (or him) as much as I did. Chicago is a generally friendly place, I won't deny that. However, I doubt anyone would have told me my choice in fruit was not that great and offer me a better (and cheaper) suggestion. That's just Seattle for you, kids. Changing the life of a country boy so far from knowing his fruit one early morning at a time. James, you're never going to read this, but thanks.

From there, my day just went uphill. We had our movement workshop with Eric Johnson during intern training, a highlight of training week in my eyes. "Fantastic shapes," something you just can't understand unless you experience it, changed my life two years ago. I know it sounds like a crock of shit coming from my sarcastic mouth, but I'm not kidding. I probably think of "fantastic shapes" at least three times a week, that is how much of an impact this two hour movement workshop has on me. Plus, the dude who teaches the class is cool as ice. He loves teaching more than almost anyone I have ever met, and I so hope that one day I can teach as well as he does. I also had a great day getting to know my fellow interns even more today. Each day, we do activities that bring us closer together - I can't wait for the rest of this summer's activities which will find us out of SCT and functioning as real people.

Well, it is incredibly late (for grown up Jeremy anyway. College Jeremy would be like, "11PM? The night is young! Huzzah!") and Veling wants me to go watch some crazy ass video she made today. Hope you all have a fantastic day tomorrow, and continue reading about my city adventures (which will hopefully include a healthy smattering of veggies AND cheeseburgers!)