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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The next step...

I sent the letter to my landlord via certified mail on Monday, saying that we wanted out of our lease. The ball is rolling and I'm feeling pretty good about it all.  And about a lot of other things too.  Let's forget for a moment that I just hurt my leg jumping the stairs in the subway trying to catch a train, right before I'm about to go out of town to go backpacking.  Let's also forget for a moment that I'm a little scared that I can't really afford this move right now.  I've proven to myself over the last few years that I'm remarkably resilient and though I may not be entirely solvent, I am incredibly resourceful and intelligent enough to always find a solution.  So, go me and all that.

I actually sort of had an epiphany, or rather, have been having an epiphany, slowly over the last few days in a sort of it's gradually dawning on me kind of way, that things may be going pretty well even though I'm nowhere near my goals.  The thought occurred to me that I could be on the right track and still be pretty far from the destination, or in this case what I want to achieve.  And maybe I'm not going to be able to see the destination over the horizon for some time. And strangely, as the Universe tends to do to me on occasion, right after the epiphany becomes solid, I get some kind of sign that I've interpreted the signs correctly.

This all kind of started earlier in the week when I got thinking about the informational interview I had with that composer a few weeks ago.  How he was pretty much saying that it sounded like I was on the right track and to just keep doing what I'm doing, writing new music and trying to meet people and network.  It's funny.  It still didn't set in fully, even though I had said, at the time, that it was great to hear that from someone in the business who is actually out there doing it right now and has probably been where I am now and knows exactly how I feel.  The first chance I got to start doubting myself I was right back in the pits thinking I had so far to go and about how frustrating it is to work so hard and not seem to be getting anywhere, how things seem to be blocking me at every turn.  But then at the beginning of this week, I entertained the thought again that yes, I was on the right track, probably for no other reason than I was sick of hearing myself think negative thoughts. 

On a practical note, I realized that, in voice over and in music, I've been far too eager to jump ahead, often deciding where I want to be and trying to just go there directly, i.e. applying for jobs I have no business applying for and wondering why I don't get them.  Sure, I should have the confidence to apply and maybe applying doesn't hurt, but ultimately, I was expecting far too much.  What I really should be doing is, yes, applying for whatever the hell I want, but also taking the time to consider what level I'm at and having some realistic expectations.  Maybe figure out what kind of jobs I can get right now and how I can find them.

With voice over, for example, I tried for a few weeks to apply to jobs on Voice123.com but then I started to really get a feel for the culture up there and what it's really good for.  People who get jobs on Voice123.com, first of all, only supplement their income with those jobs and are typically the kinds of people who can apply right away, (i.e. those doing voice over full time and therefore people that are really good already), and be among the first submissions, and therefore be the first heard and probably most likely to get the job.  I have a day job and cannot apply to every job that comes to my inbox and even if I could, I don't have the chops yet to stand up next to people who have been doing it for years and years.  The same thing came clear when I was looking into Guru.com again, a site where I can find freelance jobs in both fields, music and voice over.  They have something called a Customer Acquisition Rate that affects your ranking on the site, and your likeliness of being awarded projects.  It's the age old catch 22 that you need experience to get work but in order to get experience you need to work.  Suffice it to say, these sites probably take a long time to benefit the people using them.  Sort of like a microcosm of our entire careers.  It takes a long time to be solvent in any field.  A lot of dues paying and waiting for that break. 

So, what I'm realizing is that these sites are not for me right now.  I was at Learning Ally today just finishing up my regular weekly 2 hours of recording and I decided that I wanted to try and chat to my voice coach Sylvia, a former regular at Edge Studio where I did the demo, and get some advice.  It really only occurred to me this morning, er, afternoon, when I woke up, that all of these questions I've been having, the what to do next's and the am I doing this right's could easily be addressed to Sylvia, who was ever helpful, though I only had one or two real sessions with her at Edge.  I was thrilled, back then, to discover that she volunteered at Learning Ally too.  Anyway, when I cornered her after my session, she was saying exactly what I was thinking, that these sites are good for practice but that even the people who work on them successfully only do them as a supplement to the jobs that actually earn them the bulk of their wages.

Anyway, the question that leaves me with (and sometimes narrowing it down to a question, even if you don't have an answer, can be satisfying enough) is what is the next step?  I keep envisioning where I'd like to be but that place is often several footholds up the rock I'm climbing and I need to look for footholds that are closer to where I'm hanging at the moment.  Sylvia told me I was on the right track with voice over, practicing weekly at Learning Ally.  Soon, they'll be doing voice coaching at Learning Ally as well but in the meantime, I may do some additional coaching with Sylvia.  And my new composer friend also told me I was on track.  So beyond knowing the answer to that question of what the next step is, it feels great to finally let go and just accept that I'm on the right track and, for all intents and purposes, I may just be exactly where I'm supposed to be right now.    

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dumbo Arts and Wall Street on a whim...

Good but exhausting day.  I think sometimes it's the prospect of staying up all night for work that makes me tired.  I managed to sleep for a few hours before coming in but I'm certain that I'm going to crash later.  It's just what happens on Sunday night/Monday morning.

The DUMBO Arts Festival.  We started with brunch at Superfine which was great.  I had almost forgotten that there'd be a band playing there too.  The Jack Grace Band. And my steak and eggs and coffee were damn good.  Superfine is another of these local, seasonal, changing menu kind of places, which makes it pretty cool in my book.  Mine and Katie's friend Rachel came all the way down from Washington Heights to meet with us so we had a little mini-UNCG reunion going on.

After brunch we mostly strolled, stumbling across whatever until we found one of the festival programs on a counter in one of the restaurants on Pearl Street.  Here's a pretty good digest of the thing we saw, captioned and all:


Best of DUMBO Arts Festival


Among, many outdoor exhibits and open galleries and studios, there was dancing (both inside and out), musical performances and even a guy cutting someone's hair with clippers that were hooked up to a guitar amp and several effects pedals.  This was pretty awesome but not the coolest thing I saw all afternoon.  Here's a link to a description of what I thought was the coolest.

After Rachel left us to go to a rehearsal, we walked around for about as long as we could stand and then spent some time watching the dancing and trapeze at the Galapagos Art Space.   Galapagos is a great venue and I'm really hoping that Tania and I can book it for Rhythmic Movement 2 in November.      The seating is fantastic. Floating islands in a 1600 square foot indoor lake.   And it's a LEED certified green building too.

After a little bit of time off of our feet we decided not to wait for the next set of dancers and instead go down to Wall Street to witness the spectacle of dirty hippies protesting everything and anything.  I had seen some Facebook posts from one of my coworkers who was there.  And we actually ran into the two of them who were there shooting the event, a reporter and a truck operator.  Dan, the truck operator who had posted, was telling me how some of the protestors were hassling him as they were trying to interview other people, telling him he was part of the problem.  Oh, the disillusionment.  One protestor had been sitting around topless all weekend. Not sure what that was about.

The protestors have basically been camping out in Zuccotti Park for over a week now and complaining about Wall Street bankers getting bailouts among other things.  The wikipedia article I just linked apparently mentions the protest and already has a pic up.  Here are some pics I took:


Occupy Wall Street Protest


We watched the protestors for a little bit, standing in a tight group and airing grievances.  It was a lot more peaceful than what I've been hearing about the last few days.  Idiots in the streets getting maced because they were resisting arrest or otherwise not complying with police requests.  Apparently, they're not allowed to have amplification so, to get around this and so everyone would be heard who was speaking, they would repeat everything that was said, line by line, by each individual person who stood up to speak.  This was fun to watch for a while but I still couldn't hear half of what was being said.  In addition to not being allowed to use amplification, they are not allowed to even be camping there.  The park is privately owned and flyers were handed out today instructing them to not camp there anymore.

I'm glad I got to go down and witness it all on a relatively peaceful day.  Whether or not I agree with what the protestors are going on about (some of it I do agree with), and whether or not I agree with their methods (I don't, in fact, I always think they do less to help their cause when they present it in such a way where the people whose attention they're trying to get surely won't take them seriously), it's still interesting to see how many people come out and what they're all saying, what they're signs say.  Some of it dumb, some of it compelling, some gross misuse of statistics and some kind of cool ones.  There was one in the pics I took with one of my favorite quotes from the Buddha, and probably the most sensible thing written on any of the signs, which I will leave you with now:

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.  Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.  Do not believe anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason, and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it." - Buddha

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blurb #26

We're moving out.  We decided this Friday night.  I came home with the letter drafted and planned on showing Katrina but before I could get through the finer points of what it said as far as our terms, she says, "I think we should just move out."  I was actually pretty excited having thought I would need to do some convincing.  I guess mushrooms in your ceiling are about as convincing as things can get.  I guess that's one thing that's turned out the way I had hoped this week!  That and I heard finally that the Celiac Disease study payment is on its way!

Anyway, I redrafted the letter and Katrina and I spent the rest of the evening on our laptops scouring padmapper.com and our other resources just to get started with the apartment hunt and discussion about our preferences this time around...which include no slumlords.  Anyway, more chronicles of the third New York City move will certainly be forthcoming.  For now, I'm off to the DUMBO Arts Festival with my friend who's visiting from Chicago.  We're headed to brunch at Superfine in DUMBO first.  See ya!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mushrooms, still, and other non fungal topics...

There are still mushrooms in my cousin's ceiling and the work outside on the bricks has stopped because of the threat of rain.  This is not good.  I've been stressing mildly about it all week even though I'm not the one sleeping not in my bed.  My poor cousin has had to endure sleeping in the living room and getting woken up by me coming in late every night this week.  The next course of action for us is to withhold rent until the repairs are done and to only pay what we feel we owe for the month of essentially living in a one bedroom apartment.  But good luck getting in touch with my landlord.  This is the guy for whom I only have one phone number and no email address.  I'm going to start putting all my correspondences in snail mail if I have to...registered snail mail.

I met with Tania last night after work and ended up chatting about our upcoming endeavors at a little place called The Tea Set just off Greenwich Avenue until just about midnight when they kicked us out.  It's getting exciting now that she's back from Europe, talking about what's coming up next.  We're going to be doing Rhythmic Movement, the concert she did back in July, again sometime in November and she already has a spot booked on a program of new music at the Harlem National Black Theater in February 2012, at which she's going to premier my new piece for piano and electronics.  As it stands now, I'm taking a sketch that never got premiered but deserves to see some daylight in my opinion, fleshing it out and adding an electronic element.  Back when I was in grad school I saw a classmate of mine put a saxophone through a computer, sample it, and, using a program called Max/MSP, do all kinds of random shit with the sound.  I intend to do this same thing with this piano piece but the shit is not going to be random.  Like I did with Moon, Tides, Cycles, I plan on running the piano through Mainstage but instead of just adding effects to it and fading it in and out, I plan on sampling it, twisting the recording around a little and running it through some effects and mapping the sample chunks to my keyboard so I can play them during the second half of the piece.  We're going to get together again in November when she's less busy so I can record her playing what I've written of the piece and do some test runs with the sampling.  Meanwhile, I flesh out!

That sounded funny.  Idioms used in weird contexts. Heh.

In other exciting news, if I haven't mentioned, the premier screening of Sides of the Track is happening on October 7th and here's the trailer on Facebook.  Yes, that's my music!

This weekend, I have a friend coming into town for some art related conference and we plan on going to the DUMBO Arts Festival on Sunday.   I'll post about that and hopefully, I'll at least have the sense to bring my good camera.  More to come!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Time management...

A lesson in time management today, I think.  Wanna know how much I got done today and I've only been up since 2pm?  A lot.  And it's not just how much but the manner in which everything timed out so I was able to several things at the same time and was able to leave the apartment a little early and, once again, get some time to work in my "office."  You wouldn't believe how quiet it is back here.  Well, I mean, I'm playing music on the laptop as I work.  What I'm really talking about when I say quiet is lack of outside distractions.  No one is likely to come back here at this hour of the night.  Not even sure anyone has any idea I'm back here.

I digress.  I woke up at 2pm as I said, and managed to get in an episode or two of whatever was on my DVR while eating my breakfast.  Made some tea to go, had time for a stroll to 4th Avenue/9th Street to take the F directly to yoga, instead of connecting from the R train.  Managed to scope out a restaurant that I'm planning on having brunch at in DUMBO on Sunday with a friend who's visiting and even wandered over to the waterfront to check out Jane's Carousel, which is now open and operational.  All this before even laying out my yoga mat at Abhaya.

After yoga, I scampered back to the apartment, put in two loads of laundry and got right to work recording some scripts for Edge Studio's weekly contest.  Finished that in just the right amount of time that my laundry was ready to be moved.  Plus, since I made enough dinner yesterday (planning ahead here), I was able to heat up leftovers and do a little job hunting/resume updating while simultaneously watching an episode of Good Eats (the Alton Crown affair where he shows how to make a crown roast with a rack of lamb).  Then, I put together a lunch while simultaneously washing dishes and finished in time to make it down to the laundromat slightly before my load was done in the dryer.  Folded laundry and managed to input the main melodic idea for the choral piece into Sibelius on my laptop so I could work on it tonight, all with enough time to swing by the food co-op to pick up some things that my lunch was lacking.

Got here at around 10pm and was able to apply to a job on Mandy.com, join voiceregistry.voicebank.net (which I was reading about earlier this afternoon in one of my emails from Edge Studio this afternoon) and do even more job hunting.  And now I have about 15 minutes left to mess around on the internet and type this blog.

Sigh.  Notice that I even worked in leisure time during the day. Time for walks and yoga.  Keeps me sane.

Caffeinated...

Yerba Mate can be my salvation when doing these overnight shifts.  It has just enough caffeine so that I can push my way through the last 8 hours of a 24 hour period of wakefulness that is often only broken up, as in the case of today, by a meager 40 minute nap.  A nap that was interrupted by my precious and wonderful cat scratching around in the litter box.  She seriously has some kind of compulsion where, after she uses the litter box, she repeatedly wacks her front paws against the side of the box, probably in attempt to dislodge little disgusting granules of cat litter with no regard to the fact that I'm sleeping like a BABY!  Or that I was sleeping like a baby, that is.

I'm in a little early tonight and working on the laptop in my "office" overlooking 9th Avenue.  Okay, so it's just a conference room that I have no claim on that happens to reach Google's guest wifi.  Anyway, I spent a lot of time last night looking up alternatives to a plugin that comes with Mainstage that's used for looping.  I have it all set up as such (see blog on main webpage here), and yet I'm having issues with record latency so I've downloaded two open source plugins, one called Sooper Looper and the other Mobius.  Tonight I'm going to be devouring all I can about the two.

This week, Mohammad and I will try and do a test screening Sides of the Track on the big screen.  If not, this week, then next.  It's still not solid yet when we will do it, but expect impressions on that once it happens.  I'm excited to see and hear it in a big theater.

And, with any luck, I'll have some updates on the state of the apartment that will not include rants about interrupted sleep.   I anticipate work being done during the day tomorrow and Tuesday, outside and I'm hoping that my super and his guys will be working demolishing the walls and ceiling in my cousin's room.  I implored him not to come on Monday or Tuesday but to definitely come at some point and, even if they aren't yet finished on the outside, to at least start cleaning up the mold and disgusting-ness inside.  Hopefully, that will pan out in the best possible way.  I have a guest coming to stay with me this coming Saturday.  Let's just say the apartment is going to be a little bit crowded if Katrina can't sleep in her own room.

All this has gotten me thinking about my luck lately. I've got so much floating up in the air right now, from little things like the payment for the Celiac disease study to much bigger things like the resolution of the apartment debacle, that I can't wait for it all to just resolve itself and have found myself hoping that at least something will work out for the better.  Because I've had a handful of other things come to rather disappointing resolutions lately, not all of which I will talk about here.  Have you ever gotten that feeling like several things are about to happen and any number of them could go any way?  Yeah, I have that now.  And it's the anticipation that drives me nuts.  You almost stop caring about the outcome out of a sheer desire for something to just happen already!  But then, I feel like sooner or later, my luck just has to change and maybe something will turn out the way I had hoped.  With the apartment situation, I just wish I could be comfortable again soon whatever the outcome is.  With my music, I just want new jobs and to pick up some momentum on my own projects.  With voice over, I just wish I had the time to devote to it and could finish my new demo on my own.

The good news is, and I hesitate to say too much about this but, I came up with a musical idea today that may actually turn into something.  I was sitting in church this morning and our new interim minister was reciting a Rumi poem that really hit me, so I googled it on my phone, copied it and pasted it into an email to myself.  While I was sitting with Jennie after brunch, enjoying the weather, and waiting on our friend Dawn to meet us, I read it out loud and it still resonated.  So, this evening, while I was laying in bed trying to drift back off to sleep after my at woke me up, a melody and accompaniment started to swim around in my head.   Ultimately, this is what made me finally give up on the tossing and turning and catapult myself out of bed and toward the piano.  I plunked out the idea I had and luckily it fit the first few lines quite well.  I played through a few things and scrawled out my ideas on some staff paper that I keep on the piano.  Tomorrow I plan to drop it into Sibelius and flesh it out a little (or a lot) and we'll just see where it goes.  The rest should fall into place as long as I still like it when I sit down with it tomorrow evening.

All in an afternoon's work.  That having been given away, I hope soon to have something basic I can show to my choir director and maybe we can get another piece of mine premiered before the end of the year.  I think the choral music might become a staple for me since I have a definite outlet for it.  It's hard to write my chamber pieces without any idea of when or how I could get them performed.  The piano works of mine are probably going to become another important area for me, especially piano with electronics, now that Tania and I are working together so closely.  She wants to premier something new at a concert in Feburary and we are planning on doing the Rhythmic Movement concert again at some point later in the year.

Anyway, I'd better go for now.  Hope this rambling blog made some sense.  Cohesion is not my forte in the wee small hours.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fun things and not so fun things...

Tassles and G-Strings.  Tuesday night, I found myself at a Burlesque show that was done "in the round" at a small club on Chrystie Street (see, fun things happen on Chrystie street, see my blog from last week).  Mystique Ultra Lounge was holding this event which was planned by an ex-coworker of mine who just recently started her own event planning company.  The show was part of a launch party for a deck of playing cards with a selection of the city's most well-known burlesque dancers photographed for the backs of each card.  The "Play Me Burlesque" playing cards.

I arrived a little early and had to wait a bit to get in but I had a friend with me so it was good.  Prime people watching anyway.  Once inside, and after an hour of waiting and drinking scotch, there were three back to back sets of burlesque dancers, with names like Miss Tickle, The Asian Sex-sation, Heidi Honeysuckle and others I can't immediately recall.  My favorite was Miss Tickle, if only for the elaborate costume she wore that incorporated feathers which she wore as a dress and then reassembled, at the end of her dance, into a pair of 6 foot tall wings.  They get pretty fancy with the costumes and the routines.

Jennie and I left after the second set. I was running on 4 hours of sleep, like I do, and she had work in the morning.  And it was a tad crowded.  Since I lost my seat between sets I had to sit on the floor for the second set.  Mildly uncomfortable but overall I had a good time.  This was my first burlesque show and I wonder why I never went to one before now.  It was, for lack of a more descriptive impression, pretty cool. 

And speaking of pretty cool, Lacy and I continued to explore the open mic circuit, adding Paddy Reilly's and Arctica Bar up in Murray Hill to our list.  Both of them were mediocre to fair.  Paddy Reilly's having great sound and good performers but poor attendance (and generally weak audience response...it was dead in there!).  By the time we got to Arctica Bar, several people had already signed up for the opening slots, so as the night progressed we made a decision to leave before we went on because Lacy had to drive back to Philly and it was getting late.  So after sizing up the crowd and the scene and chowing down on some spinach and artichoke dip, we bolted.  It was a great sound system but the space was odd...it was essentially a classy sports bar...which as you should know is not classy at all but merely has the appearance of class.   Either way, I think we'll try to attend both again next week before we pass any judgement on them.  Next week, we'll even try to get over to Arctica sooner and maybe get the first slot.    

On the apartment front, I don't know if I've mentioned the scene here lately.  Remember the leaky windows and walls from the nor'easter about a year and a half ago?  While, back then, we did complain to the landlord and the superintendent, nothing ever got done and, as the leak only reoccurred when the rains were accompanied by heavy winds, we never followed up all that well.  Until Hurricane Irene came through. The damage was getting worse.

Apparently, we weren't the only ones who complained either because all of a sudden there was a lot of talk about them actually doing something about it.  So what they did was they started renovating the upstairs apartments before they fixed the leak.  While I was trying to sleep after an overnight last week I heard the banging on the walls upstairs.  I found out later that they had to wait until the bricks were dry outside before they reset them.  At first this did not make sense to me, why they would fix the inside first...it was even raining the day they started renovations!  At one point, my super told us that he'd be working in our apartment sometime last week, but with one night's notice!

Of course, this didn't happen and good thing, too.  I saw Frances' apartment (the one right above me) because she beckoned me to come look at the state the workers had left it in; all the furniture moved out of the room and covered in plastic, walls and ceiling totally stripped down to the bricks.  The next morning after they started renovating upstairs, I get a panicked text from my roommate that there were now mushrooms growing out of her ceiling.  I didn't believe it until I saw it.

Ceiling Mushrooms

They must have kicked something up upstairs when they were renovating Frances' apartment.  The musty, fungal smell in the other bedroom was to the point where my roommate couldn't sleep in there let alone go in there for five seconds to get her allergy medication.

At this point, I started calling the landlord.  I left two messages before he got back to me.  And he told me that they'd be fixing the bricks outside this morning and Alex would need 2-3 days in my apartment after he finished with the apartments upstairs.  Luckily, this morning, I actually saw people outside in the alley surveying the walls and later up on the fire escape.  So hopefully, this will all be over soon. 

So there's a pretty good summary of New York life these days: live music, burlesque dancers and some pretty classic New York apartment living anecdotes.  Today, I was back to work after three nights of excitement and so tonight I've decided to stay in for my health...which is why I'm only drinking one glass of wine before bed.  Not much else to report, except that I still love this city and the weather has turned cooler all of a sudden.  It's always exhilarating to me when I take that first breath of 50 degree air in the fall.  I love the change in the air.  I was taking huge draughts of it on the walk home which I extended by getting off the train early at 4th Avenue/9th Street and walking the extra 13 blocks.  I know some people may think I'm weird for actually liking the cold but I know I'm not the only one who likes the days of sweater weather.  Bring it on, New York!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gluten Free Meetup #1...

Went into the city early before work today to, first, pick up the payment from Mohammad for the film score and, second, go to my first gluten free celiac disease meetup.  I've been putting that last one off for too long.  We were to meet at a Vietnamese restaurant in the Union Square area called L'Annam.   10 people RSVP'ed to the event and 9 showed up.  We were only short the organizer who was sick and couldn't make it. 

Overall, it was a great experience.  The menu itself was a designated gluten free menu that even had instructions on how to order certain dishes gluten free (i.e. "request no soy sauce," or "request Nouc Cham sauce"). One of the people in our group, I learned, was responsible for getting this establishment to write up the gluten free menu. On the table, as well, were bottles of gluten free tamari soy sauce.The food was great and came out piping hot in most cases, and I was able to enjoy a hot sake with my meal along with some pretty classic Asian menu typos (which always set me laughing).  In fact, one such typo motivated the decision for my entree...the red chile sauce on my beef was sold to me as "red child sauce."  Love it!  It was down to that and the "Steamed Grandma recipe."

What was more memorable than good food and even better typos, was actually, for once, getting to meet real Celiacs.  Ever since I've been diagnosed I have yet to meet someone with my disease, save for my new doctor at Columbia University.  Only people who I wind up talking to about it seem to have a wheat allergy or a wheat intolerance to some degree.  The implications of such things are similar but some of these people can still have spelt or slip up and not have to worry necessarily about destroying their body's ability to absorb nutrients.  I can't even describe the feeling I'm getting now, knowing that I have friends now who know exactly what I'm going through.  Conversations throughout the evening, while not always about the disease and its effects, often centered on how we were diagnosed, how we adjusted and how we were doing now.  And of course, where to find good gluten free food and imbibement. 

After the meetup, I took one of my new friends to Risotteria for a gluten free Bard's beer.  It feels good to be able to share something like that with someone who can appreciate it on the level that I do. 

So, feeling pretty stoked about life in general, I'm sitting here at work, having just finished my first "final" mix for Mohammad of the trailer music.  I think we're both pretty satisfied with it and if he approves it should be up on imdb.com by the end of this week.  Look for it!  I'll most likely inform via the blog when this actually happens.  For now, I'm going to go and take care of some work. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

September 11th

Today felt like a day off…and that was my intention.  Karishma and I decided semi-last minute to go to Governor's Island.  Lately, I haven't done enough of that kind of thing.  We both sort of lamented the passing of summer and how we didn't manage to do half of the fun things we wanted to.  One of my big things was sailing.  Seeing the sailboats all over the harbor as we sat on the south end of Governor's Island kept reminding me of that.  Oh well.  There's always next summer.

I'd just like to say that Governor's Island is fun.  Not for the events or the art installations or the biking or all the other things you hear about that are meant to attract you to the island.  No, what I'm talking about is the sense of history in the old buildings and the fact that, for the most part, you can just wander at will wondering what all these places were for.  Of course, I've been meaning to actually read up on the history of the island more but it's much more fun to just stumble on it all not knowing anything about it.

We came upon Fort Jay, on the north side of the island, and with no one around on such a dreary day, it was a little spooky.  On the south end of the fort, beyond a dry moat was a large black door in the wall.  Sneaking up to it, we pushed on it only to find it was chained on the inside.  But as I pushed further the chain slid completely out of the latch and the door opened enough for us to slide in.  Feeling a little mischievous and a little unsure of ourselves we wandered up a short tunnel that led into a courtyard surrounded by what looked like houses.  We were most certainly okay to be up there but the chained door and the lack of other people sure made us feel like we were up to no good.  So for good measure, I actually jumped up on the highest part of the defensive wall behind the houses to get a good look around.  It was at this point that I saw the trapese down in the field below.  Yes, the New York Trapese School has some of its classes here in the summer time.  Later on when we walked down in the field and approached their setup, I started to get some ideas in my head.  This might be my next thing.  :)

Continuing on, with Karishma getting nervous about my adventurousness, we walked along the wall for a bit until we came upon some vines wrapped around a fence which blocked us from getting anywhere near the canons up on the highest part of the wall.  Closer inspection revealed them to be grape vines...which were in fruit.  So you can bet I tried some.  The Lower Manhattan skyline loomed over the embankment reminding us that even despite being so isolated, we were still in the city. 

Today was September 11th and I manged to miss the barrage of coverage I would have taken part in had I worked during the day.  Instead, I got to be out and about on this day.  Some of my friends back home would say things like "be extra careful this weekend!"  But I shall be no more careful than I usually am.  If we live in fear the terrorists have won exactly what they were after.   Besides, no terrorist would plot something when everyone's expecting them to do something.  As Karishma and I lazed around on the south end of the island (hammocks are so nice!) we noticed a red helicopter and a military plane of some type circling the Statue of Liberty.  The harbor was full of police boats too strangely, all with their lights flashing.  Cops were set up at the entrances to the subway station at South Ferry.  So, I wasn't worried one bit.  Just another day in the city. 

I came into the city a little early before work and walked from Rector St. up to Chambers, taking a meandering course so I could glimpse the tribute in light up close.  Hauntingly beautiful and moving.  There were so many more people coursing through Lower Manhattan than usual.  I stumbled into a candlelight vigil or two and stopped for a bit to get a view of the new towers under construction.  You needed to have tickets to get into the memorial museum and I think they were only letting in family members of victims today.  I will go some time this week when it's open to the public. 

Tonight, though, I plan on pushing forward on the music for the trailer to Sides of the Track.  There's not much left to do.  Tomorrow, I'll meet Mohammad for the payment right before I head to Union Square for a Gluten Free Meetup I signed up for.  I'm pretty excited about that.  For now, I should get going.  Maybe some pics in the post eventually.   

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dixon Place Dance off...

I just love the street names on the LES. Names like Rivington, Orchard, Essex, Delancey and Ludlow float through my mind as I stroll to the subway stop at Delancey Street. That and the coolest spelling of the name Chrystie. I was just leaving a dance performance at Dixon Place on Chrystie Street. My friend Julia had a piece showcased in a program of pretty spectacular works. All of them modern dance, with great music and great great choreography. A fair mix of break dance, hip hop, ballet and other styles that just blew my mind. Julia's work was amazing and I had, in fact, seen the piece before, a fragment of which was presented back in October of 2010, the same night that my music premiered with Jahna's piece at Triskelion Arts in Williamsburg.

At the end of the evening, the works, which were performed back to back in quick succession, were punctuated by an impromptu dance off. The dancers all seemed to have a gaggle of dancer friends in the crowd that they suddenly began dragging on stage to dance with them. It was the most exciting part of the evening. Then it was a bit of a downer because, a side effect of going solo to an event where most of the audience knows the dancers personally and has most likely come with friends or met friends at the event and where your friend who did the choreography is more than likely not going to hang around because she teaches pilates crazy early in the morning, is that you're sitting alone at the bar sipping your second $5 glass of wine you had to purchase to make the credit card minimum because you never carry cash anymore. But still, did I mention that Dixon Place has $5 glasses of wine...and it's in Manhattan?!

So there's that.

In other news, currently, I'm in the throes of working on music for the trailer to Sides of the Track. I've seen the first two ideas he has for a teaser and there's likely to be a longer form trailer coming along soon. I'm psyched because I get to play around with the ideas from the movie and do sort of an alternate version of everything. It's always a bit bittersweet when you think you've locked in the music and the process is over but then, when you get to evolve it just a little more, it can be really rewarding. Like when I was younger, in high school and college, I became obsessed with writing reprise versions of songs. I remember hearing the Tonight, Tonight reprise from the Smashing Pumpkins and I had to do the same with my band Buggstar's "Teenage Love Song." Never did record it but I still love to play it on my guitar.

This newer version for the trailer, takes a chunk or two of an oud performance that was unused in the film and mixes it with a stripped back beat with a solo piano line. I may do more yet though. We'll see.

Now, I have to clear my head from all this excitement and get to bed. More on the trailer soon.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I did it!

I actually slept past 2pm after an overnight shift!  Even despite hammering outside my apartment that woke me up at around 1045am, I still managed to finally sleep it off like a rock star.  It takes a rainy day, with the lack of direct sunlight to make the conditions just right for uninterrupted sleep.  Simple fact of the matter though is that I'm not sure how much longer I can do this.  Although an odd schedule like mine can be conducive to creating sometimes, having the apartment to myself when I'm off work at odd times, it sort of drains you.  And being drained is not conducive to creating.  I can't keep my focus and I start to get a little bedraggled.

This has all kind of gotten me thinking about success and how you measure it.  I harp on a theme on this blog a lot, that I often forget, or that often moves to the back of my mind.  I have already accomplished a lot just by moving up here and sometimes it can help me when I'm feeling overwhelmed to remember this fact.  But I can't stop at that obviously.  Sure moving up here was an accomplishment but there's still more to be done.  I'm semi-comfortable in my routine and am happy with the individual things I've done so far but I'm always trying to get to the next step.  And sometimes, figuring out what that next step is can be a step itself.  So, I find myself at a bit of a crossroads.  Or maybe it's more like a river crossing.  I can see the other side.  I just can't quite find a way to cross over yet.

Specifically, I'm trying to get from a place where I know confidently that I can do the kinds of jobs that I'm after to a place where I'm able to prove that to the people who might hire me to do those jobs.  I've met people who are doing what I want to be doing and I'm getting the impression that I'm not far off.  The thing I keep hearing is that I just need to keep working.  Writing every day.  Networking.  Working on my web presence.  Etc.

I guess I just need to keep my head up and accept that it's not the kind of thing that happens overnight.  It's good to check every once in a while to see if I am, in fact, on track.   I've done a lot this year.  But next year I want to do way more.  I mean way more.  I've already got designs on performing my electronic music and I'm getting closer to logistically being able to do that (learning how to make Mainstage do what I want it to do and buying that one last piece of MIDI equipment that I need).  One place I'm wanting to increase my activity even more, though, is my contemporary music.  Tania is sure to be performing more of my pieces next year and we may even be doing Moon, Tides, Cycles again in the fall.  My goal is to write more not just for her but to get one of my new chamber pieces finished and performed.  Specifically, the one with electronics.  This will be an undertaking of mass proportions however.

On top of all that, the most important goal of mine is to score more films.  And I realize that that one requires more networking than anything else.  I could apply to scoring jobs online until my face falls off but when it comes down to it I haven't done all that much and I'm up against so many other candidates who either have or at least look like they have done way more.  So I have to work on making the kind of connections that I've made with George and Mohammad and bank on the recommendations from the work I have done.  Once I build up work like that, then I'll have a more bloated and impressive portfolio that I can use to apply to jobs with directors that I don't know yet.  That's the idea anyway.  I think I've spoken before on here about breaking things down into manageable steps.  Step 1 in this case would be network.

Funny enough, I'm going to a Celiac Disease meetup next Monday and while I was trolling around meetup.com, it occurred to me to look for filmmaker groups.  Found a few and joined but not all of them have meetups scheduled, nor does it look like they've even been active recently.  I'm already a member of the IFP filmmakers group on Facebook but I've yet to make use of that membership.  Either way, over the course of the next few weeks, and once the music for the trailer for Sides of the Track is finished, I intend to be networking like gangbusters.

If I can get some sleep. Speaking of Facebook, they've been doing this thing lately where your status updates from this day in whatever year appear on the sidebar.  The one from this day in 2010 said something about sleeping in until 5pm and that I guessed my body needed it.  Sort of puts in perspective how long I've been enduring such a crazy schedule.  It'll be two years this January.

Update to the first paragraph of this blog.  The hammering was coming from the apartment above.  They're finally working on fixing all the water damage.  The woman who lives above me wanted to show me all the work they were doing because her apartment was in shambles, all her furniture moved out into the main room while in the bedroom the walls were completely stripped of plaster.  She was complaining in broken English about what an upheaval it was.  Let's just hope that I don't have to endure the same thing in a week.  Why?  Because I'll be sleeping all day again.