Things To Do*

6 Dec

*When Other People Sleep

I’ve been awake since two a.m.. It is now a quarter to five. Last time I’d looked at the clock before the short stint of sleep I actually got was 11:30. So, I’ve had 2.5 hours of sleep. You should be impressed I can do math right now.

…Either way, more is obviously not an option. The alarm goes off at 7:05, my flight leaves at 10:40.

I control none of these things. But I do get to decide how to spend my not-sleep time. And in case you are also having complete-shit sleeping patterns, may I suggest some of the following to fill all your lonely waking hours as the world Zzz’s on:

1. Make hot tea:

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Everyone does it. Cuz it’s supposed to be “calming” and “soothing.” I happen to like tea on an average day, so this always seems a good idea to me when I’m awake before dawn, and freezing my ass off. It works on a hit/miss scale though–warming you, till you’re full of it, and need to get up to pee over and over again, which makes you colder, which necessitates more tea. Sort of a vicious cycle, really…but what the hell else is there to do at two a.m.?

2. In between potty breaks, read this:

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It has pictures. Plus jokes. Plus interactive material. If you’re me, it’s also by your bed right now, so: readily available in a convenient location.

3. Consider eating this:
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A representative of the left-overs currently in my fridge. I can’t show you the real one, cuz I ate it. About an hour ago. In between suggestions 1 & 2. Midnight eating for me isn’t exclusively due to boredom, but more “I’m nauseous from lack of sleep and it’s either this or swigging a thing of Pepto, and this tastes better.”

4. Catch up on this:
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…Then realize the topics only feed your total inability to defreak in any way at all, and move directly into this:

5.
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…Which is good for about 20 minutes, by which time (because everyone you know is asleep) you are entirely caught up on every stream and cat meme.

6. Which leads next to this:
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I suggest 90’s Rom-Coms, or sitcom comedy. They require zero reasoning skills, plot analysis or stress…as you already know how they turn out, even if you never saw them the first time, because they were made in America, and there are rules.

7. Solve this:

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The ultimate pillow pile of perfection. I’m a girl. Which means I have like 47 pillows on my bed…some just decorative, sure…but a lot are main-functioning. I keep them in the hopes of one day solving the perfect combo of body-pillow, neck pillow, back pillow, fat pillow, skinny pillow nesting…which will lead to instant sleep on say nights like this one. I believe there is a key. And I will find it one day.

8. Window shopping in your underwear:
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The internet is never closed. You can always go there and look at stuff, and put it in your wish list, no matter HOW much money it costs. Who cares?! YOU aren’t buying it! But your hypothetical winning Lotto ticket, or sugar daddy, or wealthy admirer might! And they won’t know what the really good stuff is, unless you put it in there!

9. See step 5:
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…Part of you thinks, “hey, it’s almost six now. Somebody’s gotta be awake and posting.” Only, it’s Saturday. So: no. No one is.

10. Do this:
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Write a blog. It helps sometimes. Also: you’ve run out of other activities. Last time the neighbors frowned on your early-morning interior redesigning overhaul. And it’s too early to drink.

The end.
~D

When An Anxiety Attack Keeps You Awake At 3 A.M.

2 Dec

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…So you’ve never had an Anxiety Attack. Bully for you! I think it’s great that you’ve never experienced the cold chill followed by immediate burning rush of panicked adrenaline, at a volume usually reserved for legitimate life and death situations.

…When you are clearly in no physical danger whatsoever…

…And yet your brain actually legitimately thinks you are in the process of your last breathing moments on earth.

…Across minutes that stretch to hours.

Cuz I gotta say, that shit is scary.

…It’s like your whole body is on phantom fire, which no one can see, no one can put out, no one can relieve the pain of.

…And this ball called “earth” that we live on, just keeps spinning at gross speeds which you swear you can actually feel…to the point you get motion sickness and wanna vomit, but can’t, because that too will bring a whole host of new fixating anxieties with it…and what you’ve got going on right now is plenty enough, thanks.

I’ve been up and having one for the past hour, real-time.

An Anxiety Attack.

…I’ve paced, and made my tea, and tried my bag o’ tricks to oust it from my brain…but nothing seems to be working. And so: I blog. (Which was this thing’s first purpose on inception, years and years ago.)

…Thought I’d take you with me, on this one…talk it out, and try to regain my center of calm.

YOU’RE calm. Just lookit you! Sitting there, reading this, at whatever normal time it is to be awake and reading things…

…Bet you aren’t shaking in a cold sweat, fixating on possible fatalisms too numerous to count…until actual physical pains begin to ghost your body as if to say, ” See! I told you I am a total legitimate possibility…!”

Bet you don’t have to pace the floor like Rainman, chanting positive reinforcements to your clearly failing mental state, like you’re in the final moments of coaching it to the performance level of winning an Olympic Gold Medal…and if you fail right now, we’re talking like DECADES of your life’s work will have totally been wasted.

…Down the toilet.

So don’t fuck this up, asshole!

…All meanwhile you physically happen to be in a perfectly warm and serene enviornment, with zero “tangible” worries befalling you, no great stresses you can put your finger on…in essence: freaking out for absolutely no reason at all.

Just: awake!

…Suddenly! And in total mind-coked-out panic! Here! Now! In an awful living-and-fully-conscious nightmare that you can’t shake off.

It must be nice, to be you…

…And not have any of that.

…But I wouldn’t know.

I’m “me.” And I have Anxiety Attacks. And though the world says, “S’all cool here, no need to freak,” my brain is heavily debating that right now.

…It’s a pretty good fighter. So good, that when these happen, no matter how logically I try and work my “process” through it, I’m always secretly terrified that this time: it’s totally gonna win.

The “it” that is my disturbed little brain.

…The same brain, which fixates so easily, that “study” and “learning” become like crack cocaine.

…The same brain that can get lost in a book-world so deeply, I could stay inside while on a bus full of screaming children, in the middle of an earthquake, while Godzilla makes his slow, giant, monster-steps towards us and our inevitable doom.

…The same brain that can multitask like a mutherfucker, retain two and a half hours of non-stop line dialogue, and put in a 40-hour day-job, and still puke out exhausting repetitions of emotional diatribes to paying audiences five or more times per week.

The. Same. Brain.

…Which is my blessing, as well as my curse.

…Like a really shitty Superhero.

…Who doesn’t actually “save” anybody or anything. But could totally tell you the plot in that one story, in great detail. Also: (at the moment anyway) virtually anything in the world about ten or eleven current topics of intense obsession.

Rescue you from a flaming building? Sorry, not my bag. Tell you about mid nineteenth century social, medical and economic condions among the immigrant Irish: hold onto your damn hat!

Anyway…now you’re all caught up. Well, not “all.” “All” would insinuate you’ve been riding this joyeous wave of terror with me for the past…oh, look at that…hour-and-half now. Actually inside my brain parts, trying to duke it out…shot for shot…instead of just reading my “things to try when stuffs 1 through 45 don’t work” play-by-play.

…And you should be thankful for that, really.

You’re welcome.

~D

Mark Twain Said It First

28 Nov

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In 1909, Mark Twain inscribed one of his photographs to a 43 year-old woman. 

…She was a celebrity in her own right, due to the fact that years previously…half blind, and with only six years of education under her belt, she’d graduated valedictorian of her class. The following summer, answering a posting as a teacher and governess, she began her journey, eventually arriving at a small southern town over 1200 miles away from any place she had ever called ” home.”

All by the age of 20.  

Nevermind the fact that before age 14, she was blind, deserted with her brother in the poorhouse,  slept on a cot beside the alter in the dead-house for 4 years, had never owned a comb, or been given a single day of education.

…Despite it all, by the time Mark Twain inscribed his photograph, she had already managed to begin a life-long friendship with Alexander Graham Bell, met President Grover Cleveland by special appointment in Washington DC, was on several National Education Committees, and helped her only student across the past 22 years, gain a Bachelor of Arts degree from Radcliff College, cum laude.  

That student, was Helen Keller.

…The first blind-deaf graduate to ever earn a BA…never mind in Ivy League…whose tireless work for equality, education and rights for minorities and specifically the deaf and blind, would send her (and her Teacher) to speak and advocate in nearly every country on the planet… inspiring Eleanor Roosevelt to deem Keller, “Good Will Ambassador to the world.”

…None of which would have been possible, had not someone broken through the black silence, giving her the key of communication. Just 26 gestures in a cupped hand. Letters, which spelled out words. Words that had a meaning.

The inscription, the enamored Samuel Clemens had written on his photograph, summed an entire world-wide view, from every country with a newspaper and a finger to the pulse of current events, science, and education at the time:

“To Mrs. John Sullivan Macy with warm regard and with limitless admiration of the wonders she has performed as a miracle-worker.”
~ Mark Twain

So the story begins. 

A child of illiterate Irish immigrants, with the tenaciously stubborn spirit to survive her ruined childhood of desertion, hunger, disease, and abuse…who fought her way though poor house, blindness, massive medical undertakings, and loss of every family member by age ten; to become the only hope to a blind-deaf child from a privileged southern family, seemingly an entire world away from all she had ever known, and become the first woman in history to be interred at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., solely on her own merit.

…This, but the tip of the iceberg in beginning research for another bucket list role, coming up this February:

Miss Annie Sullivan.

…An astonishingly large pair of button-up boots to fill.

I adore biographical plays. They are my absolute favorite…bringing out the amazing communion of history in completely living form. The hours and hours of research like a detective-archeologist…chipping away across page after page, quote after quote…to piece together notes, facts, letters, theories…to dig in archives, build timelines, and fill notebooks with endless findings in scribbles. To get the absolute closest you can to the bone of the person. To, in the end, commune with them in hopes you bring out the fullest version possible…honoring them with the portraying of informed “truth,” as best as you can grasp it.

Since the moment I first sat shocked and thoroughly awed by Annie Bancroft and Patty Duke’s performances on film…I’ve wanted to know what it would be like, to be IN that stubborn Irish skin, myself.

…To see what I could do, if I studied very hard, learned all I could, and let her come out as she needed to, with me as her vessel.

And now, I get to.

And WHAT an honor.

…Little did I know before the research began…just how much she had to offer, and from how far she had come to achieve it all.

A miracle worker, indeed.

Now, to meet my OWN hellishly brilliant little Helen.

…And begin as Annie once did: to earn the trust and find a singular way to communicate and bond with this new little person, entrusted in my care.

It’s you n’ me kid, with a stellar team to guide n’ support us. Let’s do ‘em proud.

~D

 
 

Studification

24 Nov

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I’m studying a lot.

…Like over 100 pages into a notebook absolutely crammed, notated and highlighted within an inch of its life.

And I’m having a total wigging-out blast.

…Cuz “learning” is the all-the-time “sexy.” Just ask Einstein. Dude was a stone cold theory-flinging fox.

…Graham Bell gave some good brain too…

…But the best part about learning stuff is when you realize that the active process of doing it, is like the original version of the internet. In your head.

…Cuz “learning” is such a fucking black-hole process. You start out with a book on Picasso, and come up with a Google history, end-of-night, including everything from “cows of Peru,” “stained glass windows,” “famous nun affairs,” “African art influences,” “french prositution laws,” “Einstein theories,” “plastic arts,” “Francisco Franco,” “French Rivera,” “communist vs socialist,” “famous maquettes,” and “neo-expressionism” to…”Harlequin rose period,” and “Spanish civil war.”

The brain, when fed a suggestion of curiosity, goes on a total drunken bender for insta-knowledge as addendum to this other thing you’re actually trying to retain and process… until your Chrome has like 68 tabs open for cross referencing, your hand is getting writers cramp, you’ve reloaded the printer paper twice, and have totally run out of tape.

…It’s a good problem to have. When you like learning. Which I do. Only when you do it at this level of focus, it’s pretty fucking exhausting…making the eyes burn from bouncing back and forth, paper to screen…and forgetting to eat and drink things, cuz you were busy for like ten hours trying to find this one thing.

…But I digress.

…Not as much as the “alternate use for pickle juice” search (you’re welcome), or “scary Steven hawking quotes” (hey’ if I have to freak out, you have to freak out)…but still…

…It’s a thing.

And it’s been super fun.

…But I’m really tired now. and my contacts feel like sandpaper.

…So I guess that leaves this other stack of clippings for tomorrow.

…Except now I sorta wanna go Google Picasso. As he was totally not my actual topic of study at all…

~D

Texting: A Holiday Prep Guide

23 Nov

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Am leaving on a jetplane soon to visit The BFF in NOLA.

…I am by turn, excited and nervous about it. Cuz I never go anywhere certainly not alone across the U.S.. Certainly not ’round the holidays. Certainly not with almost no bucks after travel costs are all said n’ done. And I’ve no idea what to really expect…so I just make it up in a myriad of scenarios. Cuz I’m me and can’t just let a thing “be.”

…Which is how texting mini conversations like this happen:

Me: …We can do stuff suuuuuper on the cheap, right?

The BFF: Oh yes. Im basically broke but we can still manage to drink fine wines and eat fancy cheese.

Me: Your version of “broke” and mine are very different.

The BFF: We will go grocery shopping for the week and just cook all the time.

Me: …I love the cooking idea. Just NO jambalaya-gumbo fish food!!

The BFF: …Jambalaya is just rice, chicken and sausage. And gumbo doesnt have fish in it either.

Me: I think you’re lying and will cut em up all sneaky like and slip them in when I’m not looking. But I will know. I always know.

The BFF: You will get a fine sampling of cajun and creole food w/o having to eat any fish.

Me: Well fine. I guess. But I know you…

The BFF: …And there will be begniets. Just think about that!

Me: I don’t even know what begniets are…but as long as it’s hidden with no antenna or crustacean skeleton sticking out…I’ll try it. But I won’t promise to swallow.

The BFF: Subject: Beignet – Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beignet

Me: Kay…now I want like twelve.

***
Email exchange #4 of prob’ly 400:

The BFF: Here is a completely preliminary and not at all definitive guide to some of the many New Orleans activities we may take part in on your visit. Just to whet your whistle, so to speak. ;)

Go to this Tiki bar: 

https://www.facebook.com/TikiTolteca 

Eat Beignets 
(You already know about those) 

Get a Po Boy at Verti Marte or Parkway Bakery 

http://www.yelp.com/biz/verti-marte-new-orleans-2 

Drink at Tonique 

http://bartonique.com 

Drink at Bacchanal (weather permitting)  

http://www.bacchanalwine.com  

Day Drink/Window Shop in the French Quarter 
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Quarter   

Get Pho on the Westbank

http://dpbanhmi.com/DP_Bakery/Welcome.html 

Go to City Park and just hang out/go to Celebration in the Oaks 

http://neworleanscitypark.com/celebration-in-the-oaks 

Go see some graveyards! 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Louis_Cemetery 

Go see a Christmas Carol (we have comps obviously)

http://www.southernrep.com

Eat some croissants at the Maple St. Patisserie 

http://cargocollective.com/maplestreetpatisserie 

Ride Bikes! 

Walk in Crescent Park! 

http://www.reinventingthecrescent.org 

Take a walking tour? 

 
Go see this amazing cellist play in the St. louis Cathedral for free! 

https://holiday.neworleansonline.com/events/cathedral-christmas-concerts-4-3/

Go to the Frenchmen Night Market  

http://frenchmenartmarket.com 

More to come! 

Me: I LOVE Cathedral-playing cellists, numerous drinking establishments, plays, food, and doing stuff when normal people are sleeping!!! This is gonna be too FREAKING COOL.  And also like, super secret-back-door-non-normal-touristy.  I get my own guides who LIVE THERE! And also: Graveyards are like my favorite thing outside of book stores and THOSE ones have got to be amazeballs.

I CANNOT WAIT!!!!

***
The BFF: …So, on your last night in nola, we will be hosting a holiday cocktail party to introduce you to all of our friends. Cocktail attire is manditory.

Me: Shut up I’ll be so socially awkward…we better drink alot! Remind me in like a week. CUZ ILL BE PACKING IN LIKE ONE FUCKING WEEK!

The BFF: You’ll be fine!! And yes, yes I will.

Me: I’m sick excited. And scared. Cuz I’m me.

The BFF: Dont be scared. Its us. We will take care of you.

Me: I know. I’m a nerd. Did you forget? I’ll remind you often in that week…

The BFF: You are a nerd. But dont stress. Its going to be great!

Me: I know that too :) Am having pre shocks of awesome. Like was at World Market yesterday and thought of you (as always) and I was all: “OH! HEY! We gotta stock a bunch of wine for late at night….oh wait they just drink in the streets there! Oh hey, we should bake this thing! Oh hey, what about that?! Xmas cookies!!!! Oh hey, do I need gloves and stuff just in case or will it really be like 60 degrees there….?”

…Things like that. Then I get all excited and happy!

The BFF: :D also, yes bring your pea coat. It gets a bit chilly.

***

Me: Um. Do I need bug repellent for monster blood-eating plague passers?

The BFF: Naw they’ll all be dead by then.

Me: …So all I have to worry about is stepping on their decaying carcasses. So: boots.

…also, what’s the swamp death probability ratio in winter, tween alligators and sink-pits?

…luckily I’m on my period now, so won’t have to worry about that part…like when my bff in high school went to the Congo and was warned all the animals off the trail would smell it and go psycho so she’d have to “watch out.” Whatever the hell THAT means in darkest Africa…

(P.S. I’m only partially joking.)

The BFF: No swamp death! Thats not a thing.

Me: I think it maybe is. They just Dont tell the tourists. Also: voodoo. So you’re not supposed to piss off the natives or accidentally desecrate something by say peeing or puking on it.

The BFF: Exactly.

Me: …Which is prob’ly a lot harder than you’d think, what with all that wandering around and drinking freely thing they all do. But I’ll try my best. Gosh. So many things to remember…

***

…Which is why I rarely actually go anywhere. Frankly, even the anticipation prep is exhausting.

But it’ll be so freakin worth it once I’m there, with two of the best humans on the planet to be m’guide :D

~D

Little Games We Play

18 Nov

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It’s been a slow day.

…You can tell cuz this morning, WHS Pimp and I took to emailing “did-you-know-this-exists?” to each other…under guise of actual “work.”

…Like that super important Memo Change #33757.

Keep in mind, our offices are exactly three steps apart.

Also: We ran outta Keurig cups early  this morning.

…So the WHS Pimp had to find and plug in the old Mr. Coffee machine…dig up some leftover filters, and this bag of grounds which have been ossifying in the supply closet for about six or eight months.

…It mostly tastes of burnt twigs mixed in used engine oil, with a soupçon of battery acid to finish.  Yet we are forcing it down with a grimace, because: Caffeine.

…Also: It’s really flipping cold right now.

Both The Pimp and WHS Chick are bundled up like Randy from “A Christmas Story,” wobbling around the yard with the dexterity of The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man as they load and unload product from the trucks.  Watching them try to maneuver the fork lift is bonus fun…as it requires a two-man team to do anything at all.  One to sit there, in a fused-bundle, without any movement radius at all…like an overstuffed pillow in traction…the other to stand behind or in front as the actual “eyes” of the driver, to tell them what to do.  They are just super uncomfortable-looking, with puffs of white smoke, constantly-blowing out of their mouths as they scream at one another over the motor.

…I can’t hear them, cuz I’m inside, where it’s warm-ish.  

(Apparently, they can’t hear one another either…)

…But I can imagine their conversation.  Cuz frankly, there’s nothing else to do:

WHS Pimp:  …To the left!

WHS Chick: …Mine or yours?!

WHS Pimp: (not hearing her) No!  Left! Left!

WHS Chick: I think the gear is frozen!

WHS Pimp: (still not hearing her) I said left! Left!

WHS Chick: …It’s won’t jam in! 

(Giant grinding sound.)

WHS Chick: Fuck-cock-a-shit!…Hear that grind?! It won’t ease in!

WHS Pimp: — Holy Hell! What are you…?!  Stop!

WHS Chick: …There it goes!  It’s in now!  Where do I go?!

WHS Pimp: Fig Newtons!

WHS Chick: What?! It sounded like you said “fig newtons”!

WHS Pimp: Eclaires! Eclaires!

WHS Chick: Why are you talking in food code?!

(I notice my tummy is grumbling. Guess I’m hungry. Back to the window:)

WHS Pimp: –What the hell are you…??! What’s happening?!

WHS Chick: (standing up from the seat and cupping her hands over her mouth.) WHERE DO I GO…?!

(She tries to look behind her, but the hoodie blocks all peripheral vision, and she can’t turn at the waist as she’s too bulked up.)

WHS Pimp: (still not hearing her.) What?! You want me to do it?!

WHS Chick: What?!

WHS Pimp: You getting down?! You wanna guide instead?!

WHS Chick: I can’t…I can’t hear you!!  My earmuffs are…Where do I go?!

WHS Pimp: Okay! I’m coming!

(He jumps over to her in a feined slow motion run, like Neil Armstrong on the moon. They yell at one another face-to-face over the motor.  Warring puffs of  breath-smoke colliding in the freezing air.  Lots of gestures are attempted as a mapping out, but with little elbow movement, it’s hard to make out what the gestures mean. Some agreement must have been made as they return to their posts.  WHS Chick revs the engine and takes off the brake.)

WHS Pimp: Alright! Now, go left!

WHS Chick: …What?!…

(I take a drink of the death-coffee and grimace, like a dog-yawn. the end.)

~D
 
 

Don’t Forget: It’s An Honor Just To Be Nominated

17 Nov

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It’s regional BroadwayWorld.com voting time again!  The Seattle nominees have just started the web-rounds and are being picked up, voted on, and passed on by like half of my FB contingent. 

(Theatre Peeps, Unite!)

…Our Seattle division is made up of roughly 150  companies/groups/entities…and those are just the ones registered at our main theatre-hub on Theatre Puget Sound’s listing page. No doubt dozens of other companies exist as well…(for a fact I’ve worked with one not on their pages, which made in into the nominee rosters in several categories this year.)

…So I’m not a math person…but even at 150 companies doing 5 shows in a mainstage season (allowing for those with second-stages also running, to make up for the companies with less productions/special events/command performances, in a single season), that comes to 750 theatrical events…from the touring show big boy Paramount, and the Broadway Musical launcher 5th Ave…to tiny black box Stone Soup, and community theatres like 4th Wall Players.

…And the bulk of those shows include like…well…”actors” in a multiple number, usually…sure some starting with one, but a lot reaching to casts in the 10’s, 20’s, 30’s and sometimes above.

…So when you put it like that…even an average number of 750 productions with only two actors per show (say like doing “Educating Rita” for instance *wink, wink*) …is 1500 artists…and it usually takes a hell of lot more than just two people to do a show.  

…Which isn’t even getting into the Tech Design teams and Directors.

So keep this in mind for a second:

For this season, if you’ve been nominated as an Actor in a play or musical, up against thousands and thousands of other performers…you got enough cold vote write-ins to place you in one (or more) of only 13 categories (50% each sex + one unisex “Person to Watch” slot.)

…If you’re a Director, you’ve made it into 1 or more of only 2 categories.

…In Costume, Choreography, Lighting, and Scenic Design…you get 1 category each.

…In Music/Sound…3.

…In Writing and Best Production…2.

…In Best Event and Theatre…1.

…So, I mean…whatever the tallys end up being…I just wanna say:

“Congra-tu-fucking-lations to all my friends and theatre compatriots in crime for making the lists this year! It IS a big deal…it IS an honor to be nominated.  With the talent-goods we’ve got in this region, every vote of confidence which put you on that list to begin with, is really something!”

…Thanks for sharing your scenes and stages with me, O talented ones :)

Happy voting, all!
~D
 
 

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