Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween...Did you know?

Happy Halloween from Robin Hood!

Why do we dress up, ask for candy, gross each other out and enjoy acting ridiculous?

To find the answer I checked the ultimate source of course, Wikipedia!

What I found were many descriptions of and slight variations of the origins and meaning of "Halloween."

Did you know?

-Halloween is not only celebrated in the U.S. but also countries like Belgium, Scotland, Italy and Canada, to name a few.

-The carved Jack O' Lantern was originally a carved turnip

-There are many explanations of  the origin of what we call Halloween. The over riding theme is that Halloween is to celebrate and welcome the souls of the dead to return home on one night or day of the year. This seems to have ancient origins and is found in many cultures throughout the world

-Today's Halloween customs are thought to have been influenced by Christian dogma and practices derived from it. Halloween falls on the evening before the Christian holy days of All Hallows' Day on November 1 and All Soul's Day on November 2, thus giving the holiday on October 31 the full name of All Hallows' Eve.

 "Souling", the custom of baking and sharing soul cakes for all christened souls, has been suggested as the origin of trick-or-treating.The custom dates back at least as far as the 15th century and was found in parts of England, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Italy. Groups of poor people, often children, would go door-to-door during "Hallowmas", collecting soul cakes as a means of praying for souls in purgatory.

What do ghosts put on their bagels?....Scream Cheese!

 
- Dressing up in costumes and going "guising" was prevalent in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween by the late 19th century. Costuming became popular for Halloween parties in the US in the early 20th century, as often for adults as for children. The first mass-produced Halloween costumes appeared in stores in the 1930s when trick-or-treating was becoming popular in the United States.

- At one time, candy apples were commonly given to trick-or-treating children, but the practice rapidly waned in the wake of widespread rumors that some individuals were embedding items like pins and razor blades in the apples in the United States.While there is evidence of such incidents, relative to the degree of reporting of such cases, actual cases involving malicious acts are extremely rare and have never resulted in serious injury.

- A popular variant of trick-or-treating, known as trunk-or-treating (or Halloween tailgaiting), occurs when "children are offered treats from the trunks of cars parked in a church parking lot," or sometimes, a school parking lot In a trunk-or-treat event, the trunk (boot) of each automobile is decorated with a certain theme,such as those of children's literature, movies, scripture and job roles.Because the traditional style of trick-or-treating was made impossible after Hurricane Katrina, trunk-or-treating provided comfort to those whose homes were devastated.  Trunk-or-treating has grown in popularity due to its perception as being more safe than going door to door, a point that resonates well with parents.

Trunk or Treating.....Photo from Wikipedia
Personally speaking I have always been equally intrigued and a little weirded out by Halloween and so only celebrate it every other year or so. Seems to always be a few out there who take it too far with the costumes and grotesque pranks. Also, I am a total baby when it comes to anything scary. For example to my recollection I have only seen two horror movies in my e n t i r e life. "The Exorcist"  and "The Fourth Kind". Two was too many for me!


"Give them pleasure....the same pleasure they have when waking up from a nightmare." - Alfred Hitchcock


Have a great Halloween! 

Had to add this....My Grandma Mary won $$ in the costume contest today!

 



Sources: Wikipedia.org/HALLOWEEN and Yahoo.com










Sunday, October 27, 2013

That Great Day

As I sat there on Saturday night, October 26, 2013 in a darkened L.A. theater watching my favorite blues/gospel artist perform, I thought of last year on the exact same date as I watched the exact same artist, Jonny Lang, but in a much different state of mind.

October 26, 2012....I was soothed by his presence and energy and the ethereal quality of his music but a deep and foreboding sense of dread encompassed me because I knew what was going on with my mother could end in her passing.....and it did.....the next day.

It might seem strange that I would have been at a concert on that night last year but as I couldn't be back in Minnesota and would just go crazy worrying at home, my husband encouraged us to go. Seeing Jonny is like going to church it is that affecting. I wrote about it last year in a blog about how his music soothed me. That night when the song "That Great Day" filled the room it was the passion and depth in which he conveyed its message that right then I decided would be a beautiful song for a memorial service, and it was, a week later.

Jonny Lang....ASCAP Festival 2012
Hearing it again last night from him and his band effected me in a different way than a year ago. I just sat there with my eyes closed appreciating the lessening of the grief now 365 days later of what  had consumed me in various ways this past year, rising and withdrawing in waves at unpredictable times. Most reading this know exactly what I mean. (If you are one of the minority who have not yet experienced the finality of loss of a close loved one, for that be grateful!)

For those of you who very recently have, I can speak from at least my experience that it does get better. Less profound and further away and some of the good memories start coming in and can make you smile instead of just tear up. The lesson I take from the passing of time of losing a loved one is the gift of knowing that the absence of intense grief is something to be thankful for.

One of the main reasons I starting writing about creatives artists and my own experiences is because of my passion and belief that those with the desire to share what they create should be encouraged to do so. Imagine the music, writing, and art of so many gifted people that would never have been put out there to be experienced if someone hadn't encouraged them, or they hadn't the confidence or courage to pursue it themselves.

As a wise person once said, we are spiritual beings inside human bodies. Our heart, mind, and soul need nourishment as much as our bodies. People like Jonny Lang give it. They share the gifts they were given and work very hard to grow and evolve as people and as artists.

Here is the song that touched me so much my family included it in my mother Mary's service. I'm sure it has done the same for many. I chose this YouTube version a fan recorded in 2011 because it best captures the essence.


"I wrote this song so quickly one night as I was falling asleep that I'm sure it did not come from me."  -Jonny Lang


YouTube Link posted by Ric McMiliian...


"That Great Day".....Live acoustic version.....Jonny Lang 





"Wander Jonny's World"......Hollywood Underdog 2012

Jonny Lang....originally from Fargo, ND, at 32 he is a father of four with wife Haylie. Already a 20 year veteran of the music industry since 1994 he has been showing the world that some Midwesterners got soul.

JonnyLang.com


Photo....Jonny Lang....ASCAP Music Festival courtesy of Bingimages.com

Friday, October 18, 2013

Paradise?

Paradise, which debuts in select theaters today is also a play on words about Las Vegas.....(in case you didn't catch that)!
 
The film is about a young woman, played by Julianne Hough, who grows up in a small and strict religious community. She takes us with her on her journey as she leaves home after a personal tragedy scars her for life and she travels to Las Vegas in order to experience the exact opposite of everything she has ever known. There she meets bartender (Russell Brand) and slightly jaded lounge singer (Octavia Spencer).

This is another production I worked on and received a credit for but was cut from the final edit. The scene is on Fremont Street with Julianne Hough and Octavia Spencer as they make their way through the crowd and encounter Norma and I. So, although I am officially part of the cast, (listed as "Woman in the way"), I do not actually appear in the film...it happens quite often at my level in the biz.


Me and Norma...3am on Fremont St....set of Paradise..April 2012
In this story, like so many set in Vegas and the strip, the city is depicted as the playground of the weird, freaky, fun and slightly scary where the hapless tourists are cajoled and influenced into all kinds of "sins".....Yes, that does happen here and on a daily basis, but what I find funny is that it's the tourists who are walking around drunk, spending too much, passing out in night clubs, forgetting where they are staying, and many times basically leaving their common sense back home. Us locals....mostly we are the ones working behind the bar, dealing the cards, greeting your hungover butt on the trade show floor, driving the cabs and preparing the gourmet meals. So, is it Las Vegas, or the people who come here that make it so crazy?...Of course the answer is both.

Not that us residents don't get our "wild" on sometimes but less than you'd think....a lot less. The reason for this is probably because when it's there for you 24/7 anytime you want, it's no big deal and so not a priority. When I tell people I meet I live in Las Vegas I a lot of times get an amused look and many times then the question..."How can someone live in Las Vegas?"...."Quite comfortably" I usually reply, "in the suburbs 20 minutes away from the strip!'.

Octavia Spencer and Julianne Hough

My former car, my Chrysler Sebring convertible also appears in this film....fun when that happens because we both get paid. I almost sold it to the production company because the red Sebring convertible Julianne's character drives in the film was driven from the previous shoot location in Louisiania to downtown Las Vegas but was stolen the first day it arrived! They did find the car however and so I kept mine and it just had a cameo...(so to speak).

This is the second time I have worked with Julianne Hough as I stood in for her a few times on "Dancing with the Stars."...Fortunately us stand ins were not required to dance for that show....because trust me my dancing would not very closely resemble hers....she is quite a force!

Writer and Director Brooke Busey-Maurio.....(better known by her pseudonym Diablo Cody), won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for her film, Juno....She first became known as a blogger who chronicled her year as a stripper in Minneapolis in a blog title that I can't print here....and then her subsequent book of the same story, "Candy Girl"...Paradise is her directorial debut.

I watched an advance version of this film (in reverse of most movie releases it first premiered on DirecTV and Amazon) and suggest it as a cable or DVD pick....easily watchable but not intense enough for a run to the theater....and oh, they should have let Julianne sing more!









Get to know my friend pictured with me, Norma....a real Las Vegas showgirl and so much more!

"Norma In Motion"


Friday, October 11, 2013

Unleash Your Leopard!


A great scarf is one of the best fashion accessories one can have on hand!

As A Harper's Bazaar Style Ambassador I received this versatile and chic Unleash Your Leopard scarf compliments of Chico's. For every one of these limited edition $25 scarves purchased through their website a portion goes to Stand Up To Cancer.

During setup of a recent performance I asked my fellow actors with "The Shakespeare Institute of Nevada" to use the scarf in their own individual way and boy did they ever, proving that this scarf looks good on everyone!

"Unleash Your Leopard"....98 second video   


 "Unleash Your Leopard" Video....90 Seconds


Link to Facebook Photo Album...."Unleash Your Leopard!"

Chicos.com

HarpersBazaar.com

Standup2cancer.org


Special thanks to the scarf models, members of "The Shakespeare Institute of Nevada!"

Morgan Hill, Olga Virchinina, Carmen Gigar, Dan Decker, David Hart, Jenn Banda, Lisa Arellanes, JJ Gatesman, James Moniz, Peter Newman, Rachele Roach, Natalie Senecal, Kristina Shrewsbury, Jean Sulli, Michael Uribes, Big Sexy White

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ode to the Marys


"All the world's a stage and the men and 
women merely players" ....William Shakespeare

Tomorrow I am taking the stage for the first time in 13 years in a William Shakespeare production, this time as Olivia in Twelfth Night.

"Taste of Shakespeare" is an all day event with a series of vignettes from his plays among other things such as stage combat demonstrations, and "Shakesperaoke"...(yes, it is what it sounds like)!

Classical theater, but especially Shakespeare is something I loved learning and doing as part of the performing arts program at Stella Adler Academy. Embodying the roles of Ophelia in Hamlet and Regan in King Lear, I found them to be profoundly challenging and even more rewarding. Always meaning to get back to it, I had put it off as an indulgence of my creative side that I would eventually "fit" back into my life.

Tired but happy...36 hours to show time, Anna, Kristina, Peter

Well, finally, this summer I did. I brushed the dust off of my books of sonnets, plays, and my corset and long black skirt and went back to work re-learning Elizabethan prose and Iambic pentameter.

More importantly though, has been delving back into the humanity, tragedy, sensuality and comedy that make up Shakespeare's works....as well as being surrounded by the actors, writers, directors and everyone involved who love it as much as I do.

One of the main reasons for my return to the Bard, besides the fact I have wanted to join The Shakespeare Institute of Nevada for awhile now, is because of one of the last things my mother ever said to me..."You have been given certain gifts in life and if you do not use them you will never be happy"..... My mother Mary, whose birthday is today, Oct. 4, passed away last October.

Our parents teach us many things in life but the most important lesson may be in their final act here on Earth....their passing. This reminds us in a way we cannot deny that our lives here are finite, and in that knowing is a certain fearlessness and awareness that everything cannot be about logic, income and list making. Some things must be experienced simply for the love of it!

So, tomorrow is dedicated to my late mother Mary, my grandmother Mary, (who is still with us and continues to inspire me), and my Mother-In-Law Marilyn who is flying in for the festival. Ode to the Marys!...




Link:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

TEN Tips to survive and thrive at a big event!

In my parallel career as a professional in the convention and marketing industry I have participated in over 200 trade shows and events. I wrote this blog article today for a marketing client and realized that whether you are working on a trade show floor, on the set of a production, attending a large music festival or amusement park weekend, these tips can help you get through and enjoy yourself while at it!

TEN TIPS to survive and thrive at any day long or multiple day event...

1. Hydrate! One of the leading causes of exhaustion is dehydration. Drink a lot of water, but not just that. Gatorade and juice are also excellent choices. SMOOTHIES are another great energy boost, as is fruit such as pineapple, watermelon, and cantaloupe.

2. Wear comfortable (but always stylish) shoes in a HALF SIZE larger than you usually wear. As your feet swell they won't also be constricted by the shoes. 

3. Have a personal emergency kit in your bag or briefcase, safety pins, breath mints, small tissue pak, a piece of fruit or snack and whatever else you may need to keep you going.

4. Sit down once in awhile BEFORE your feet start throbbing or your back starts hurting.

5. EAT enough calories, especially at breakfast!!....Not just coffee. I have seen people literally faint from not eating enough while working a trade show. This is NOT the time for calorie restriction.

6. Don't order alcohol after 11pm or drink much during the day, make every other drink a non alcoholic one. I have seen people pass out at events they waited months to go to, or even at family amusement parks...not the memory you are looking for, or the professional image you want to convey if this is a work event. People may laugh about it with you but most will secretly disrespect you for not being able to manage yourself.

7. Humidify your hotel room. Sometimes while traveling many experience dry nose and mouth. Here is an EASY way to humidify your hotel room. Fill your bathtub about 1/4 full and leave the bathroom door open. The water will evaporate into your room increasing the humidity. It really works!

8. Don't carry too heavy of a shoulder bag and be sure to change sides every hour or so to prevent all of the weight from stressing one side of your body.

9. Stretch your back once in awhile by bending over and reaching gently towards your toes...then VERY slowly lift up. An energizing stretch!

10. PACE yourself! Don't try to do it all at full speed the first half of the first day. This is a multiple day event and requires consistent energy spread out over time. Give yourself a break once in awhile and you'll have a great event!

CES 2012...Ten hours on our feet, three days in a row...but still smiling!

As a 17 year veteran of the convention/marketing industry I have participated in over 200 trade shows....(and gone through many pairs of shoes in the meantime).
TEN TIPS to survive and thrive on the trade show floor!
1. Hydrate! One of the leading causes of exhaustion is dehydration. Drink a lot of water, but not just that. Gatorade and juice are also excellent choices. SMOOTHIES are another great energy boost, as is fruit such as pineapple, watermelon, and canteloupe.
2. Wear comfortable but stylish shoes in a HALF SIZE larger than you usually wear. As your feet swell they won't also be constricted by the shoes.  (They don't have to be ugly). I have several pairs of comfortable convention shoes that also look great!
3. Have a small trade show emergency kit in your bag or briefcase, safety pins, breath mints, small tissue pak, a piece of fruit or snack and whatever else you may need to keep you going.
4. Sit down once in awhile BEFORE your feet start throbbing or your back starts hurting.
5. EAT enough calories, especially at breakfast!!....not just coffee. I have seen people literally faint from not eating enough while working a trade show. This is NOT the time for calorie restriction.
6. Don't drink alchohol after 11pm, switch to a non alchoholic drink. Yes, I know it's Vegas, but trust me this system  has worked for me for almost 2 decades.
7. Humidify your hotel room. While in our lovely desert many experience dry nose and mouth. (I am used to it living here, but most aren't). Here is an EASY way to humidify your hotel room. Fill your bathtub about 1/4 full and leave the bathroom door open. The water will evaporate into your room increasing the humidity. It really works!
8. Don't carry too heavy of a shoulder bag and be sure to change sides every hour or so to prevent all of the weight from stressing one side of your body.
9. Stretch your back once in awhile by bending over and reaching towards your toes...then VERY slowly lift up. An energizing stretch!
10. PACE yourself! Don't try to do it all at full speed the first half of the first day. This is a multiple day event and requires consistent energy spread out over time. Give yourself a break once in awhile and you'll have a great show!

- See more at: http://i-meet.com/pages/blog/ShowBlogPost.aspx?BlogPostID=2671#sthash.gMdU8c6O.dpuf
As a 17 year veteran of the convention/marketing industry I have participated in over 200 trade shows....(and gone through many pairs of shoes in the meantime).
TEN TIPS to survive and thrive on the trade show floor!
1. Hydrate! One of the leading causes of exhaustion is dehydration. Drink a lot of water, but not just that. Gatorade and juice are also excellent choices. SMOOTHIES are another great energy boost, as is fruit such as pineapple, watermelon, and canteloupe.
2. Wear comfortable but stylish shoes in a HALF SIZE larger than you usually wear. As your feet swell they won't also be constricted by the shoes.  (They don't have to be ugly). I have several pairs of comfortable convention shoes that also look great!
3. Have a small trade show emergency kit in your bag or briefcase, safety pins, breath mints, small tissue pak, a piece of fruit or snack and whatever else you may need to keep you going.
4. Sit down once in awhile BEFORE your feet start throbbing or your back starts hurting.
5. EAT enough calories, especially at breakfast!!....not just coffee. I have seen people literally faint from not eating enough while working a trade show. This is NOT the time for calorie restriction.
6. Don't drink any alchohol after 10pm. Yeah, I know it's Vegas, but trust me this system  has worked for me for almost 2 decades.
7. Humidify your hotel room. While in our lovely desert many experience dry nose and mouth. (I am used to it living here, but most aren't). Here is an EASY way to humidify your hotel room. Fill your bathtub about 1/4 full and leave the bathroom door open. The water will evaporate into your room increasing the humidity. It really works!
8. Don't carry too heavy of a shoulder bag and be sure to change sides every hour or so to prevent all of the weight from stressing one side of your body.
9. Stretch your back once in awhile by bending over and reaching towards your toes...then VERY slowly lift up. An energizing stretch!
10. PACE yourself! Don't try to do it all at full speed the first half of the first day. This is a multiple day event and requires consistent energy spread out over time. Give yourself a break once in awhile and you'll have a great show!
- See more at: http://i-meet.com/pages/blog/ShowBlogPost.aspx?BlogPostID=2671#sthash.4F6QSAHA.dpuf
As a 17 year veteran of the convention/marketing industry I have participated in over 200 trade shows....(and gone through many pairs of shoes in the meantime).
TEN TIPS to survive and thrive on the trade show floor!
1. Hydrate! One of the leading causes of exhaustion is dehydration. Drink a lot of water, but not just that. Gatorade and juice are also excellent choices. SMOOTHIES are another great energy boost, as is fruit such as pineapple, watermelon, and canteloupe.
2. Wear comfortable but stylish shoes in a HALF SIZE larger than you usually wear. As your feet swell they won't also be constricted by the shoes.  (They don't have to be ugly). I have several pairs of comfortable convention shoes that also look great!
3. Have a small trade show emergency kit in your bag or briefcase, safety pins, breath mints, small tissue pak, a piece of fruit or snack and whatever else you may need to keep you going.
4. Sit down once in awhile BEFORE your feet start throbbing or your back starts hurting.
5. EAT enough calories, especially at breakfast!!....not just coffee. I have seen people literally faint from not eating enough while working a trade show. This is NOT the time for calorie restriction.
6. Don't drink any alchohol after 10pm. Yeah, I know it's Vegas, but trust me this system  has worked for me for almost 2 decades.
7. Humidify your hotel room. While in our lovely desert many experience dry nose and mouth. (I am used to it living here, but most aren't). Here is an EASY way to humidify your hotel room. Fill your bathtub about 1/4 full and leave the bathroom door open. The water will evaporate into your room increasing the humidity. It really works!
8. Don't carry too heavy of a shoulder bag and be sure to change sides every hour or so to prevent all of the weight from stressing one side of your body.
9. Stretch your back once in awhile by bending over and reaching towards your toes...then VERY slowly lift up. An energizing stretch!
10. PACE yourself! Don't try to do it all at full speed the first half of the first day. This is a multiple day event and requires consistent energy spread out over time. Give yourself a break once in awhile and you'll have a great show!
- See more at: http://i-meet.com/pages/blog/ShowBlogPost.aspx?BlogPostID=2671#sthash.4F6QSAHA.dpuf