Sunday, January 20, 2013

Watching The Golden Globes...

Will I EVER amount to anyhting? Will I ever do anything that anyone cares about? Will I ever be interested in car commercials, or will I be pathetic and have no belief that I can even look at them? I am so much older than my lack of success should be. I am not as young as my lack of success usually is.

I really gotta stop watching these awards shows...

For the Parents I know...

I watched my friend crying at the end of Les Miz, and thought to myself:
How fascinating it is to imagine...
A piece of me has left, and now it turns around, looks back at me, and calls me Daddy.
-And I love it.
But that’s not all. It’s also the realization that what I created wasn’t just my own, but my wife’s too. And her own mommy and daddy, and my own mommy and daddy.
Am I just them, looking back at themselves? Do they love it as much? More?
But even more fascinating to me is that- We are all just parts of ourselves and eachother, looking back, marvelling and quarrelling about, kissing and missing... ourselves.
And the Trees, the Oceans, and the Mountains that we came out of watch us look back at them;
and the Planet looks at the trees, oceans and mountains and says “That is me, and now they are looking back at me- and I love them”.
And the stars look at the planets, and the galaxies at the stars.
And they cry with joy, knowing that love is never-ending, because we are just us, looking at ourselves, from the stars, wanting our happiness, and willing to give everything of ourselves to give it to...

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Perfect Breakfast

The Perfect BreakfastWhat is the Perfect Breakfast?

Ok, so I know that many people are on the go, and they just want something to eat before they have to be wherever they're going, and if it does the job then great.

But I also know that many people have coffee because they want an energy boost to start the day, so they can start making money at whatever they're doing.

 Well what if you could eat something that were quick, easy, and gave you that boost that also prevents you from being hungry for hours, was easy to digest, and was actually HEALTHY for you?

Wouldn't that be the perfect breakfast?

The video gives you my recipe for the Perfect Breakfast, and it has everything you need in a meal to get you going- AND provides you with the servings of Fruits and Vegetables you need in the day!

Perfect Breakfast Recipe:

1-2 Cups of Orange Juice 1 Banana (frozen or unfrozen)
1-2 scoops of BIOTRUST Low-Carb Protein Powder
1 Serving of SCOOP OF SEXY Green Drink Powder.

 Optional: 3 Frozen Strawberries, small handful of Frozen Blueberries, or any other frozen fruit you'd like to add for taste or variety. Blend together and drink it down!

Play with your own recipes, but know that the Banana, the BIOTRUST PROTEIN and the SCOOP OF SEXY make the Perfect Breakfast ingredients so that you can go and be Half-Assed Healthy!

Here's why- The energy you get from the sugars in the fruits are longer-lasting than the carbs you'll get from a bagel, and the bagel will eventually put a ring around your belly. Not good naked. The Scoop Of Sexy powder will help to detox and rid your body of the build-up of other foods and non-digestibles because of all of the super-greens in it. The protein is high-quality, and will burn longer, staving off hunger.

The Perfect Breakfast
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Looking Good Naked is EASY if you do it Half-Assed!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

In The Heights- Usnavi, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Bones Rodriguez

This post is going to sound very self-serving, but stick with me here...

I love the musical IN THE HEIGHTS by Lin-Manuel Miranda, about a group of neighbors in Washington Heights, and what happens when one of them wins the lotto. The main character and narrator USNAVI is a complicated part, and when performed well, can really bring the audience an understanding of the theme of home and family. Lately, I have noticed that less and less people understand this, and many directors are making a terrible mistake in their casting...

I recently finished performing as USNAVI in the musical IN THE HEIGHTS by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and I loved doing it. I found that the part is perfectly in my skill range, and feel connected to the character in many ways.

One of them is that although he is part of his Latino community, there's definitely a part of him that feels outside of it. The main theme of the play is finding the definition of "Home", and for Usnavi, his journey and discovery is what the play is about.

He is a Latino who doesn't dance particularly well, his singing in the show is minimal, and he raps most of the show, almost as an outside narrator, which furthers the theme of finding home.

Which is where I see people in casting messing this up over and over again.

Having seen a number of performances live and online now, I notice that very often a director will cast a "Musical Theatre" baby as Usnavi, and audition his beautiful voice, and see how good of a dancer he is, and then throw on the costume and BOOM- Usnavi!

But they never see if the person can ACT like an OUTSIDER in a musical, and then they also forget to see if the person can convey STORYLINES in RAP form.

I keep seeing these "Musical Theatre babies" do Usnavi songs with wide arm sweeps, as if they were performing in THE SOUND OF MUSIC, or rapping like they see people in music videos- completely forgetting to CONVEY THE WORDS that Lin-Manuel created for the part.

I also see these same performers do obviously graceful movements as they glide across the stage instead of TELLING THE STORY of an outsider, walking in New York, who feels a little disconnected even though he's in the middle of everything.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the originator and creator of In The Heights is NOT one of these "Musical Theatre babies", as he's demonstrated to his critics. His vocals are not particularly melodic, but he CONVEYS HIS STORY through his words. He grew up listening to KRS-ONE, BIG PUN, and several other NY rappers who were known for their clever rhymes and word pictures. Not many people get that-

But I do.

And here's the self-serving part of this post.

When I was performing Usnavi, from rehearsal through to final bow, I knew that there was a STORY to be told that came WAAAAYYY before knowing the Choreography, and way before perfecting vocal notes.

It was more important to me that the theatre-going audience know what the HELL I was talking about, because most of them weren't used to listening to rap lyrics. Even the rap fans of today are more used to hearing highly produced hip-hop tracks with catchy choruses more than intricate rhyming, so even they need the rapping to be COMMUNICATED instead of "theatrical".

When I performed Usnavi, who grew up rapping in the streets with his buddies, I performed him like he was a REAL PERSON, not a "musical theatre protagonist". I grew up on the upper west side of Manhattan, way before it was filled with strollers and Whole Foods customers. We went to school and RAPPED to each other, making up bad rhymes, and listening to the Ol' Skool rappers. USNAVI is a REAL PERSON to many of us, and I think that's why so many of us take so much pride in the show Lin-Manuel created.

I'm not saying all of this to toot my own horn, but to ask that directors take CARE of this fantastic show, because to some of us- IT'S PERSONAL.

IT'S PERSONAL to have someone tell our story.
IT'S PERSONAL that other people who wouldn't normally sit through a rap/latin music set for 2 hours come out singing and feeling like they were PART of something.
IT'S PERSONAL to me that a director SEE THE POINT before they choose to mount their "show"

For the usual melodic musical theatre hero, you have Benny.
For the usual belting female songs, you have Nina, Abuela and Daniella.
For the clown, you have Sonny and Carla.

The usual templates are there- just like in Fiddler on The Roof- but this is a show that's ABOUT something too.

So for USNAVI, you need someone who can play an outsider version of all of them- and that's when people will believe that he's lonely in the middle of a crowd of friends, that's when people will believe that he feels lost without Abuela, and that's when people will CHEER when he finally gets that kiss from Vanessa.

Instead of having these oh-so-passionate and over-the-top vegas acts twist and emote through the part, why not look for someone who understands what "Fo!" means to begin with, and can tell someone else?

Please stop auditioning Musical Theatre Singer/Dancers and look for ACTORS who can RAP- then you'll have that USNAVI that actually conveys what happens in those couple of days in the life of what it's like-

In Washington Heights.

and here's my ad:

I also wrote two other blog posts about In The Heights:

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