I’ve been rather busy. I started my new job as a testing proctor at the local community college. It’s a LOT to learn but everyone thinks I’m doing ok so far. I can at least get a student set up with their test, which is the main part of my job ya know. It’s a better environment for me mentally. I’m not emotionally invested as I was with the pets. Midterms are next week and we should be busy, busy, busy. But I have the first 2 days off to go to quilt retreat with my friends. So I can ease on in to it.
This past weekend I was lucky to get out of the house quite a bit. Thursday the 29th Bob the Drag Queen came to The Back Door here in Bloomington for a show. The local talent was amazing and worth going just for that. We had the hostest with the mostest Argenta Peron, Richard Cranium (who was spectacular and the costumes were on POINT, I’m usually not crazy about the female to male performers, Drag Kings I guess, and I don’t know why but this performance was wonderful and fun), Bunny van Doren and Pepper Mills providing burlesque realness. I realized that I need the confidence of a burlesque performer. They just go out there and DO IT and love it. So that was a great night of local talent and I was really happy to see the local crowd upping their tipping game. When I first started going to these shows three years ago now no one but ME would tip. I got a lot of attention from the performers that way but this shit ain’t CHEAP yo. So Argenta started giving a heads up before shows that YES it is ok to tip and has came up with ways to make it easier and less awkward to tip performers, which was nice. For some people it’s hard enough to leave the house to come to the show, actually interacting with a performer to hand them a tip night be to much. BUT they want to show their appreciation so folk take bags or boxes of buckets around the crowd to collect. Let’t the performer perform and lessens any anxiety for folk that need it.
Then Bob came out to do her thing. It started as a bit of a stand up act where she joked with the audience and told a few Drag Race stories. She did a great mash up lip sync that was spot on. You could tell that time and effort to perfect to musical cues was taken. This is her full time JOB now and you could tell. Not knocking the locals, it’s just the truth. She enjoyed the performance and crowd so much that she did another number unplanned. She taught us all how to Vogue, duck walked and death dropped all over the place. I just loved it. He’s about a billion feet tall WITHOUT the giant heels. So while I wasn’t super crazy about him on the show the first few episodes, in real life she’s a darling and a great representative of the drag community.
So as I was driving home and trying to think thoughts I was just really happy I made the effort on a work night to go. The Bloomington drag community is so warm and welcoming to performers and the audience. I’m proud to be a tiny part of it through Oriana Peron in some way and hope to even do some sponsorships of local queens in 2017 with my new job money coming in. The community gives me so much to smile about and I’m always happy after I leave a performance I really want to give something back to those performers other than $1 and $5 tips.
Friday after work my mother and I attended the Indiana University Fall Ballet. The first was a Balanchine choreographed number that was lovely. The corp wore Wedgwood blue tutus with (I think) yellow trim. From our seats and with the lights the trim looks white, adding to the Wedgwood effect. The principle dancers were wearing yellow with blue trim, making me think it was yellow but white. Either way it looked like a Wedgwood plate (not a bad thing!) or an iced sugar cookie, with the white tutu poking out. The second performance was modern ballet, which I’m going to admit isn’t my thing. It was a premier performance with wonderful music. I actually really enjoyed myself. The costumes were lovely and the lighting was really nice. Warm golden tones that really highlighted the various skin tones of the dancers and invited you in to the performance in a warm setting. The final number was Twila Tharp choreography and you could tell. I realized half way through why I wasn’t crazy about “modern” ballet but LOVED traditional.
Traditional ballet they all line up in lines and repeat movements in a wave or together. It’s nice and orderly and lovely. Modern ballet, some choreographers have them all doing different things, going different ways and not all the time in beat with the music. My poor OCD tendencies were going NUTS. Not that there is anything WRONG with this style, it just isn’t my thing.
Saturday I had received a free ticket through work to go to the final IU theater performance of Dancing and Lughnasa by Irish playwright Brian Friel. I had read this play during a continuing studies course through IU a few year ago and was eager to see it performed. If you know anything of Friel, or Irish plays in general it seems, they are more interested in the family and home life and those interactions, rather than some sweeping epic with lots of sets and characters and various plot lines. This could not have been more of a model for that. A small acting corp, 5 sisters, an older brother, a love interest and a male narrator who is the grown up son of one of the sisters. That’s it. It’s a one set deal, the house they all share in Donegal. A few of the actors and the behind the scenes folk were making this their Master’s project, which made me happy. Any attention paid to Irish things is ok with me.
The actors did all attempt an accent, with the help of a dialect coach that did an OUTSTANDING job with them. No one dropped the accents or tripped over Irish pronunciations that can be a bit off. I wasn’t sure about the love interest, he was supposed to be Welsh and I’m not familiar with that accent myself so I couldn’t tell you if it was good or not. The older uncle ended up with a British accent but that was to be expected. He’d spent many years prior with the British Army in Africa in a leper colony. When not speaking Swahili he would be exposed to the British accent so it made sense if you paid enough attention to the back story. You could tell a lot of work and thought went into just that bit of the performance, which made me very happy. The acting was spectacular, as always with an IU production. The costumes, while simple, fit the actors well, allowed movement (they do dance quite wildly after all) and were period perfect to that time in Ireland.
A lot of the issues I had with the performance were just the play itself. The brother, when returned from the British Army because he has malaria and is dying, is shunned by the local church, despite being a Pastor (I think) himself. I think this has to do with the play’s setting within history (1938). He was working with the hated British as an Irishman. Or maybe it was a jealousy thing. Either way, the man, because of his interaction for so many years with the African tribes thanks to his job, has a more fluid outlook on religion and worship than when he left, which could also be a reason for shunning. But either way it’s never made clear WHY he is getting the cold shoulder from the townsfolk, and that annoyed me. I love detail and intricacies like that. At the end of the play the reason had no bearing on what happened. It’s just a detail I enjoy in stories.
Would I have recommended a viewing? Maybe. I would have said, go for the work the actors and the crew have put in to the play. It was fantastic from top to bottom. Just don’t expect much out of the material. You are left to your own devices as to smaller details of what is going on in the play. It’s just a Friel play through and through. I’m glad I went. It was in the larger theater of the “new” theater wing at IU. I somehow sat in the front row (don’t recommend again, my poor neck) which was a treat. All for free thanks to my job and the Bloomington Fire Dept bringing us some tickets.
So it was a busy weekend. On top of my arts dates I’ve been cat sitting for a friend. She was her regular pet cats that are darling and 2 sets of mommy and baby cats. One set will be 2 week old Thursday and 1 set is ready for the spay/neuter surgeries this week so they’re 8 weeks. There isn’t any better therapy for me than to sit in a room of playful kittens and watch them go. So that’s been fun. And of course snuggles from the mommy kitties.
Next week, Sunday afternoon through Tuesday evening, I’ll be at Spring Mill State Park for a quilt retreat! I already have my packing list together and a vague idea of what I’m going to take with me to work on. I’m excited to go but don’t have much as prepared as I usually go. Usually my fabric is cut and ready to sew together. The largest project I’m taking is from a jelly roll that is precut. I sew those together in a random order then subcut those. So I don’t want to do that until I get to retreat. I find with “random” stuff it’s best for me to sit and do it in all one go otherwise the “random” always looks different. Which… is the point maybe?
Anyway it will be a nice relaxing weekend with friends to kick off fall. I hope to get a lot done and enjoy myself.
Sorry this was soooo long. I just wanted to get some ideas out about the things I did and saw these past few days. This Thursday one of my favorite drag queens, Willam, is coming to town. I am SO EXCITED about that. So things keep coming up, my depression keeps letting me go and things keep looking up. Finally.