Monday, July 12, 2010

Leaving Santa Fe

My last week in Santa Fe was quite a blur. Monday started our full run-throughs, which we did Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I came in early those days to work with Teal and help with the finishing touches on the stage. Wednesday had me rushing off after a long night of rehearsal and notes to the last of my 80s movie night adventures. I got there for the last 20 minutes or so of the movie, but got to hang out with my buddies and chat for a while afterward.

Thursday morning I got up relatively early to pack up all my stuff and head down to Albuquerque to pick up my mom from the airport. I got her with minimal issue and we proceeded back to Santa Fe to get some lunch. After lunch, we walked around the Plaza for a while and checked out the art. She agreed that the Plaza is reminiscent of Disneyland. We ended up buying some jewelry and felt very pretty. I got a lovely sterling silver feather necklace with Kingman (!!) turquoise. The woman told me that feathers are a symbol of peace and healing. Then my mom and I went to the hostel to check in. The room wasn't the nicest of rooms, but it worked just fine and the kitchen full of food made it totally worth it.

Since I didn't have rehearsal Thursday, we decided to head North toward Taos to do some wine tasting. Unfortunately, by the time we got up there, all of the wineries were closed... Who stops drinking at 6pm?!?! We decided to make the most of our Northwardness and dip our feet in the Rio Grande. Then we decided to just stay out of town and have dinner in Taos and see the stars without lots of city lights. On the way up to Taos we stopped at a river rafting company and crazily enough made plans to go river rafting on the Rio Grande Sunday morning (the day after I performed 4 shows in 2 days). In Taos we stopped at a little place called the Old Blinking Lantern that does New Mexican food. It was quite tasty and there was a band that was pretty good. The dessert was phenomenal. On the drive home, it was a little over cast so we didn't see quite as many stars as we'd hoped for, but we did pull off at one point to see them and it was marvelous.

Friday morning started massive amounts of shows. We had a run through at 11am and then a short break, then our first real show started at 7pm, but we had to be back at 5pm to get ready. It was awesome! Surprisingly less nerve-racking than anticipated. It went pretty well, though everyone seemed to be a little shakey. That night there was a huge rainstorm that started just as the show was finishing so we had to bring everything inside. When we got done, my dad and my uncle (who had flown in earlier that day) followed my mom and I back to the hostel for a few beers. The driving was a bit treacherous.

Saturday, we didn't start until 12pm, so I went out for breakfast with my family and then to the Farmer's Market where I bought some delicious Santa Fe honey. The Saturday afternoon show was the only one not entirely packed to the walls. There were lots of little kids and parents though that were easily impressed, which was good because we were all a bit lethargic in the heat. We only had an hour and a half between the first show and call time for the second, so I just got a bunch of snacky food, including some ice cream. The last show was awesome and my 80s movie night buddies came to watch. We all stepped it up and had a blast. One of my acro routines had a little fumble - my double cartwheel partner and I ran into another performer who didn't realize she was in our path - but it worked quite well with our clumsy, frenetic energy in the piece as a whole and it looked good. My dad and my uncle only came for the second half, which had 3 of my 4 acts, because the benches were so uncomfortable. The second act was phenomenal. We all did really well and really had fun together. After the show we had to clean up, but that actually didn't take too long. Then, some people went for food, some went home, and a handful of crazy people went to a karaoke bar. I was one of those crazy people. We had a blast dancing. It was the best karaoke I've ever been to. None of the awkward, "when is this person gonna stop, it's like nails on a chalkboard" stuff, just awesome people sharing passion and fun. At around 1am I headed back to the hostel and slept for a few hours before getting up just after 6am to meet Teal and head up to river rafting.

Rafting was also amazing. The rapids weren't the biggest I'd seen, but it was beautiful and fun. We saw a coyote near the water and lots of fish and ducks. Teal and I kicked butt in the front. On a mellow part we decided we could totally do partner acro in the boat, so we tried a move, found it to be quite stable and promptly decided to do it through the last and biggest rapid. The guide couldn't believe it and totally thought we were going to fall in... or at least I was since I was doing a shoulder stand on Teal's thighs in the front of the boat. Well, neither of us fell out and we made it through the whole rapid without issue except that we were too freakin' phenomenal. After that, we spent the rest of the time in the boat trying other moves on the flat water. Everyone was thoroughly impressed.

When we got done, we headed up to Taos again to meet my dad and uncle for lunch and beers. Food was so necessary. On the way back to Santa Fe we stopped at the Vivac winery and sampled every wine on the menu - a bit too much, they all started to run together - and bought a few bottles and some specially crafted chocolates that were amazing (dark chocolate lavender... mmmmmmm!!!). We finally got back to Santa Fe around 3:30pm. I got a few things together and headed out for the Cast and Crew Party, while my family went to have dinner.

At the party, we set off a butt-ton of fireworks, with the help of my dad. Everyone also filled out notes for the other members of the cast and crew that I had brought. It was really great to see the love pouring out. At the end of the night there was the obligatory dance party, which rocked. I finally told my crush that I had a crush on them, and they very gently rejected me romantically, but expressed a strong desire to work together in the future and a deep appreciation for what we had created both on stage and as friends. I agreed. When it finally became time to leave, I hugged Teal one last time and of course started to cry. How could it be over already? When would I see these people again? Santa Fe had become home for me and there were so many people I would miss terribly.

Monday morning, I got up with my mom and met my dad and uncle for breakfast. We rushed a little so they could get to ABQ and make their flight, but it was a great breakfast. Mom and I then headed back to the hostel to clean it out and check out. We left Santa Fe around 11:30am under a cloudless New Mexican sky. Near Albuquerque we decided to stop at the Petroglyph National Monument. It was pretty cool to see. When we got back in the car I promptly passed out. We ended up driving the entire way back to SoCal that day. We stopped a couple places along the way to check out art and to eat and get caffeine and to look at the stars, which were out in spades in the middle of the desert. We saw the milky way (which makes that the first of two times I got to see it in only 5 days). My mother, crazy woman that she is, drove the whole way. I slept for a good portion of it and we got to my dad's house around 2am.

The next day my mom and uncle and I went out for a late breakfast and then I took my mom to the airport, after which I headed up to Venice to see a friend. His mom insisted I stay until after rush hour, so he and I finally got back to my house around 9pm. That night he and I and my uncle enjoyed some hot tub time and relaxation that I sorely needed.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Load-In, Lock-In and an Ashram

Wednesday night was another 80s movie night at Tim’s house. Monica was good enough to pick me up and we got there just in time to drink the beers that Tim had before the other guests arrived, who thankfully brought their own beer. We drank and snacked on popcorn and gummies while watching Fast Times at Ridgemont High. We marveled at at the ridiculousness of teenage sexuality and spent most of the time talking to each other rather than paying too much attention to the movie. The bottle of wine I brought is waiting for next week… which will sadly be my last 80s movie night.

Thursday was a big day for circus camp. It was “load-in” where the aerial apparatuses got rigged in the places that they’ll be in for the show and we put up a lot of the set materials. It was supposed to be a day when a bunch of people came in to help out. Mostly it was Teal and me and the directors. Teal and I got there on time and waited around for about half an hour before anyone else go there. Then Teal and I picked out and set-up the “blacks” that will be blocking off certain parts of the studio and creating the stage. We put up sheets to look like clouds and all of the cloud cut-outs that people painted. Eventually Cecil and Cara showed up to help too. Nikesha was fabulous and went out and got us snacks… including CHAI! I LOVE chai. It’s the best! Teal and I each had about three glasses, which pretty much ruined our plans to go get ice cream because we were so hyped up and full of sweet, creamy chai.

Friday was a big day for the circus folks. Early in the day Teal and I trained at Wise Fool and then we went out to Ross to find some costume stuff. We were fortunate to find the last two pairs of purple leggings, one of which I will be wearing for our duet. That night was our cast “lock-in”, where we were supposed to get to the studio by 10pm so that we could work for a few hours before sleeping and then get up and be ready to work early in the morning. Well, things didn’t really get organized until about 11pm and then we pretty much just learned a song. In the mean time though, we had lots of tasty food that people had made/brought. I made and brought my first ever batch of gluten free chocolate chip cookies that I had made at Teal’s place the night before. The dough was thoroughly unimpressive… one (I) might even say repulsive. But, the finished product was actually pretty tasty and they didn’t last long at the studio.

Around 1am we all started to head to bed. We pulled out the mats and our sleeping bags and blankets and snuggled up together. Indi snuggled with Rosie, Avery with Zhenya, I slept between Danica and Teal with Zhenya and Avery near our feet and Cara’s feet near Danica. Before bed, I took a few minutes to snuggle up with Zhenya and Avery, basking in their wonderous love. A few people were still running lines in the next room until around 2am, so earplugs were necessary.

Just before 8am, music got put on and the early birds started their day with some yoga, the deep sleepers continued to sleep, and I grumbled. That morning we still had lots of yummy food. We finally got started around 9:30am and were ready for our first full run-through of the show at noon. We didn’t have any stage hands to help raise and lower the apparatuses and we still had some hiccups with lines and blocking, but we got it all done in 2hours and 45minutes. Hopefully we’ll be cutting that down by at least 45 minutes. Everything went pretty well. Cara might have injured herself badly enough to not be able to do her acts though. We got through most of the actual circus parts without too much trouble. Teal and I did however run into an issue with rigging. The straps for the aerial stilts, even when pulled up, hang in the way of the fabric. Teal got caught while doing a cross-back straddle and in our duet was unable to do our big drop because they were hanging too near her feat. Since there was so much yummy food around, I spent too much of the afternoon eating trail mix and bagels and drinking tea, so I didn’t feel 100% in my routines, but now I know not to eat so much during the show. Afterward, Teal and I stayed again to help with some more set up stuff and decided that it was definitely a good time for icecream. The little shop we wanted to go to we found out had been closed for over a year, so we had to settle for chain icecream at Baskin Robins. After that we headed to Teal’s to watch a movie and stretch and make dinner. We didn’t get around to the movie or stretching because Teal’s hosts were there with friends and their daughter who really wanted to paint all of our nails. I managed to escape before she got to mine.

I headed home from Teal’s to shower and change and then went out to the Rouge Cat, a local gay bar/club, where a bunch of circus folks were going to celebrate and dance for Pride, which we all missed while in studio. I got there at 9:30pm ,which meant I didn’t have to wait in line, but I did have to wait for people I knew to get there. No matter, I danced anyway. When my peeps did get there, we had a blast dancing in the basement… it was HOT, more than hot, moist. Condensed sweat dripped from the ceiling and we slid around the dancefloor on other people’s moisture. Other circus folks got there around midnight and I stayed to dance with them for a bit, but left soon after because I needed to get home and stretch down and get to sleep because I was planning on getting up early and going to an ashram in Toas.

I got up with what I believed to be enough time to eat and figure out where I was going and get there on time. Well, Nikesha had forgotten to give me directions, but I actually planned enough time for that possibility, so I got out my computer, but was unable to access the internet to find directions. No worries. I went to Wise Fool to use their computer to get directions, but the internet wasn’t working there either. So I called Teal to look up directions and it seemed like the place was another hour farther North of Toas and by this point I wasn’t going to make it there by the start anyway. I went back to Nikesha’s to be upset and see if she had returned and left me directions. She hadn’t. I was upset, but then I realized that I was only upset because I was wanting to be upset. I could still go. I could still have my experience. What was I hoping to get anyway? A book? A t-shirt? Or an experience? If it really was the experience I was after, there would undoubtedly be one as long as I just looked for the place. It was then that Nikesha called, apologizing, to give me directions.

The drive was beautiful and I took note of places to stop on my way back, but that I didn’t feel I had time for then because I was trying to make it to the ashram while songs were still happening. The ashram itself is very near downtown Toas. It was beautiful, not quite what I expected, but that made it so much better. I walked around for a while in the garden not sure what I should do, how to act, what was expected, what was sacred, etc. I ended up dancing for a bit out back to the sounds of other people chanting and singing and playing music… it was my song, my worship, my meditation. I came back inside and had lots of yummy, free chai. I played on the playground and admired the plants. I was too shy to go into the room where all the singing and chanting was taking place because I didn’t know the words or the customs or what to do. I felt too voyeuristic to intrude on their liminality. So I admired from a small distance and when the time came, got in line with everyone else to have lunch, which was spectacular and vegan and filled with more chai. It had started raining earlier and while I enjoyed dancing in the rain, I was not thrilled about eating in it, so I found a spot under a tree to eat. Afterward, I checked out the “gift shop” and bought each myself and someone I love a wall hanging. Mine is of Gamesh who represents wisdom and overcoming obstacles… or at least that’s what I understood him to be about. Before leaving I checked out their library and sat reading some of one of Ram Das’ books for a while, writing down things to think about and meditate on.

On the drive back, I was sure to stop at a really great turn off on the Rio Grande. I pulled off the road and walked down to the bank and waded in. It’s a strange thing to so simply interact with something that has previously only existed to you in the form of legend and story. I famed Rio Grande! And I was standing in it like it was nothing! Only I wasn’t making it nothing; I was taking pictures like a silly tourist. I eventually got back in my car and debated stopping at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, but didn’t. Farther down the road I did end up stopping at a fireworks shop at the request of my father so that he and I and my mom and my uncle can set off fireworks in the desert when they come to see me. I may have spent a ridiculous amount…

Once home I called up Teal and we planned to actually watch our movie. I brought over some food and with our foods combined we made a stellar dinner. We watched Blades of Glory and ate pudding with whipped cream… we may have forgotten to stretch again. Teal, however, was productive and worked on her costumes. Nearing the end of the movie her hosts and their 3-year-old terror got back. The terror had quite a time refusing to take a time-out. I left.