Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Nap Naparoo

I'm really tired. I've been busting ass (physically) and I'm tired. I didn't sleep well last night because, like a dumbass, I skipped dinner so I couldn't fully sleep. That, and I dreamed. I hate dreaming. I need to take a handful of B-1 so I don't dream tonight. I had to get up and come to work today, and I have a theatre meeting tonight. I don't want to be rude and fall asleep during the meeting. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

At least I got my flapper dress today. I'll post a pic tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tuesday Night Thrills

I've been so busy working on my promotion for the Holiday Shake this Sunday that I haven't even started promoting my debut at Dar Maghreb next week. I'm belly dancing -- my first belly dancing venture at a restaurant. I'm only performing with my classmates. No solo for me this time. I'm so tied up with other dance stuff that I haven't had a chance to work on my own solo routine. Maybe I'll be ready when I'm older. But if you're around, come support a great place that supports belly dancing and support me!

Monday, November 27, 2006

My Kingdom for a Flapper Dress

My show is this coming Sunday. On Thanksgiving Saturday, I managed to get the remaining pieces of my costume for "Hanky Panky" - dance tights and a bra with clear straps. Last week I bought two kinds of bottoms for my belly dance piece, I borrowed a top so I wouldn't have to spend more money on clothes, and I bought black ballet slippers a couple weeks back. All I needed was my flapper outfit.

We spent a few hours skulking around Hollywood in search of a flapper dress. I found a couple large ones and I tried on a medium that swallowed me whole. We hit several places and most of them didn't carry flapper dresses. I found one store that had one small dress but it was fuschia instead of red. Groan. My teacher was searching more southern parts of Southern California for her dress and she only found one red dress that would fit her.

Last night, worn out from the searching for a dress to match my mates, I went online and found something inexpensive that actually matched the other dresses perfectly AND wouldn't cost me an arm and a leg to get delivered by Thursday's dress rehearsal. Huzzah! Now I just need shoes, but she ordered those so they should arrive any day.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Belly Dance Ethics & Guidelines

As previously promised, here is the body of the email that was forwarded to me by my teacher.

Fair Pay, Typical Rates, Ethical Practices and Professional Standards

There has been a recent resurgence of talk about standard rates for dancers, undercutting, performance venues and other important issues for professional belly dancers.

This increased awareness is vital for the continued success of performing belly dancers of all styles. It is also imperative to developing understanding and respect in the general public for our art-form and the myriad cultures from which it springs. If we hope to develop and keep respect for this dance we love- we must treat it with the utmost respect. Find a teacher with high standards, one who will keep you to those standards and one who will be honest with you about both your strengths and challenges. Study with someone who has years of genuine professional experience who can guide you in ethical professional practices.

Morocco, Artemis Mourat, Anthea and others have written wonderful articles on the subject. Sarah Skinner has also addressed the issue on her comprehensive site. Discussions have taken place on tribe.net, Bhuz as well as several yahoo groups devoted to regional belly dance.

It seems often performers who are new, or new to an area are not filled in on regional standard rates. They may inadvertently charge under the typical area rates, without meaning to undercut- but the result is the same- lower wages for everyone. Wages that won't pay for all our prep, travel and rehearsal time, let alone costumes, workshops etc (not to mention rent or mortgage). Ideally dancers who are going professional are being guided by a responsible, knowledgeable teacher. As this is not always the case, I have included a list of links with tips on professionalism and ethics for the professional dancer.

If you are not a dancer and have somehow stumbled upon this page: Please remember that included in our fee is SO much more than the 20-30 minutes you see us perform. An hour prep time, travel time (average 30 minutes to an hour each direction), waiting around at the whim of the host/musician, all occur on the day of the gig. Factor in rehearsal time, class time and the cost of costuming, props and music and you'll have a better idea of the challenges faced by a professional dancer.

We as dancers need to keep in mind that the venues where we work are also trying to make a living. The
restaurants and clubs that support us and are kind to us; the ones that treat us like family instead of the hired help truly deserve our support. There are several different ways we can do that. These venues make wonderful places to hold recitals and other events that may bring them more clients at a usually not so busy time. When these restaurants have special events with musicians it's often a wonderful opportunity to dance with live musicians. If you can, patronize these places on your night off and encourage your students to support them as well. The dance community is much more than just the dancers- the venues, musicians, party planners, DJs, vendors etc are all our partners in promoting this wonderful art form. Treat them as such.

Some new dancers don't have access to dance mentors who are generous with their years of knowledge. Other dancers have teachers who are not themselves practicing or teaching within these professional standards. For these groups of dancers, I hope this list helps.

I just added another page with links on all sorts of aspects of performing and professionalism. I also highly recommend working with a mentor or taking a workshop from a respected professional who has been in the business a long time. Coming soon is Artemis Mourat's So You Wanna Be a Star workshop. It's FANTASTIC! November 19th and 20th. Silver Spring, MD.

This information is kindly provided to me by dancers from ALL OVER. Thank you to all those who have contributed. Please email me with examples of your region's rates or more up-to date information. Please feel
free to share this page with other dancers. This page last updated October 11th, 2005 samira@samirashuruk.com

Other ideas for positive action:
**Support establishments that pay fairly and treat dancers with respect. Bring your friends, go watch a show, etc.
**Help guide and support each other in typical rate practices. Remember that these rates are merely a guideline - advanced dancers can earn more than newbies as a result of their experience etc.
**A few restaurant owners do not always tell the truth about what they are paying other dancers. They will often try to get the lowest price possible - as does any business. Be fair, but also do not undervalue yourself.
**If a venue doesn't pay you, or gives you the run around- Remember you are a professional and deserve to be treated as such. Also let other dancers know this is happening. Communication with others is key in developing a support network.
**Clearly communicate and negotiate with a venue and/or band about both pay and tips. Is there body tipping allowed? How are floor tips distributed? How are you paid if there are few clients in the establishment? Remember to do this BEFORE you work- so tip and pay methods are understood clearly by all parties.
**If you are a teacher and want to create an opportunity for your students to perform, it's unethical
to take away a gig opportunity from another professional dancer. Create something OTHER than a "Student Night" at a restaurant or club on a busy night. If you organize a student night at a restaurant or club on non-busy night or in the afternoon- you are allowing your students the excitement of performing at a real venue, insuring there is plenty of room for their friends, family and supporters AND supporting the restaurants that hire professional dancers for their busier nights. Haflas/student performances can also be held at community centers, retirement homes, daytime/non-busy nights at shisha lounges, coffee houses, after workshops etc. They can be fund raisers for a cause, or for scholarships for your school. There are SO many positive opportunities you can create for your students, that also demonstrate support of the professionals in the area.
**If you or your students can't get and/or keep a gig at the local rate, chances are you are not yet ready to perform for the general public as a professional. Do yourself and the art form a favor and PLEASE find a teacher or mentor to help guide you. There are lots of venues appropriate for a developing professional or hobbyist.
**Having students perform in environments where the general public may think they are professional is
doing a disservice to the dance. Our art form will never be seen as professional if we do not uphold professional standards
**Support other teachers and event promoters. Also do your best to not schedule your events over someone else's.
**Remember the difference between a Diva and a Professional. Be a professional.
**Follow a strong Code of Conduct, such as the one by Anthea
**Speak positively about other dancers, speak positively about the dance. Educate yourself to the best of your abilities, so you can present the dance in its best possible light and help to dispel myths.

Below is a list of typical rates in different regions in the US and Canada. See below right for international rates. This list has been created for the express purpose of being a pro-active tool for dancers to gain
awareness of the fair rates in their region. Remember its about being fair, not forcing higher rates than a region can support, or creating a hostile environment with anyone. Most of these rates are examples of minimum or starting rates for newer dancers. Variation is expected.
Holiday rates (New Years, Valentines Day etc) are generally either 1 and 1/2 or double, depending
upon region.

New York City
** Parties $175+
** Restaurants $75-200.
Washington DC
** Parties $150+
** Restaurants $60-$65+ per set. (some are starting to regularly pay $75)
Northern Virginia
** Parties $150 (+ when over 1/2 hr travel time)
San Francisco, CA
** Parties $200+
** Restaurants $50-75. (these rates recently went up due to online discussions and community support)
Los Angeles, CA
**Private Parties $150 - $250 depending on length, number of sets
**Group Classes $10 - $20
**Private Lessons $30 - $75
**Restaurant work: $30 - $75* Some restaurants pay hourly wages and generally, the dancer gets to keep all her tips
In the boonies, 2 hours outside of LA, CA
**Private Parties: $75 - $250
**Group classes: $20-40 for 4
**Restaurant work: $30 for all night to $25 per set for multi sets
San Jose, California
**Restaurants: $50 for 1 set, $75 for 2
**Private parties: $150-$300
Chicago
**Parties: $150-200
** Restaurants with CD: $70-85 plus all tips for one set $140-150 plus all tips for two
** Restaurants with band: $100 and up for one set (no tips), two sets: $150-175
Philadelphia
** Parties$75-150
** Restaurants: 50-75 for 2 or 3 shows, except Marrekesh: 100-150/show
New Jersey rates:
**restaurant: $50+ 1 set $75+ 2 sets
** Private party rate: $150-200 for 15 minute set
**Weddings etc start at $300
**Restaurant rates in southern Jersey might be different-most bistros have no liquor license
North Florida:
**Restaurants 2-3 15 minute sets, $25 per set
Miami, Florida:
** $175 to $250 for private parties for 15-30 minute show
** $100-$125 plus tips for restaurant gigs, 2 or 3 sets (plus a meal at some restaurants!)
** $40-$60 Private lesson
** $10-$15 regular group classes
Tampa, FL:
**Restaurants: minimum $75 per set, usually 2 set minimum
**Private Parties: $125
**Classes: $12 per 90 minutes
**Private classes: $45-50 per hour plus any studio fees
Melbourne, FL:
** $125 - private party, 15-20 min. show
** $75-$100 restaurant 2-3 15 minutes sets
** $10-$15 One hour group, classes
** $25-50 Private classes, 1 hour
Atlanta GA rates:
**Large, popular restaurants: $75-$100
**small, rural restaurants: $35
**Private Parties: $150/15min - $300/30min
**classes: $12
**private classes: $40/hour
There is a guild in Minneapolis. Their wage guidelines are:
**Min. club rates
$60 for 1 show
$75 for 2 shows
$90 for 3 shows
$25 charge if performance is cancelled after the dancer has arrived
**Min. Private party $100 for 1 show
Dallas:
**Restaurants: $20-60 per show
**Parties: $150+
**Classes: $12 drop in, $10 ea with multi class card
**Private class: $40
Seattle, WA:
**clubs/restaurants: $40 one show, $60 for two
**parties: $125+
**classes: $10-12
**privates: $35+
Louisville, KY:
**Parties (belly grams): $100+
**Other events: $25/set to $50/set
**Classes: $7 - $12
**Private Lessons: $20 - $30/hr.
**Restaurants: $25/ set.
Iowa City, Iowa:
** $50 for one 15-20 minute restaurant show, $75 for two sets of that length in the same night
** $50 for a one-hour private lesson
** Group classes: if someone pays for a series of multiple classes (say, 6-8 week session) classes are $8-$10 per one-hour class, but drop-in onesy-twosy rate lies in the $12.50-$15.00 range.
Columbus, OH:
**Private parties: $125 and up
**Restaurant rates: ranging from $50-75 per set
**Group lessons: $10-15/hr/student
**Private lessons: $35-45

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Chicken & Waffles

Wednesday night I spent an hour in pilates and two and a half hours rehearsing "Hanky Panky" for my recital. After continuous work on my other muscles, it was time to work on my stomach. I hadn't eaten dinner and I was starving. A few of us decided to get to know each other over chicken and waffles.

Yes, I said chicken and waffles. There's this wonderful staple of Los Angeles known as Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles. It's been mentioned in numerous television shows and films. I know for a fact that Snoop Dogg likes their grub. I'd never been before. I was delightfully surprised by this little hole in the wall. It's tiny, but they get you in and out pretty quick. We went to the one in Hollywood. When I've driven past before I've noticed that there's usually a line out front.

I ordered the #13 - one succulent breast and one golden waffle. No, people don't eat the chicken on the waffle. They're served on the same plate, but you eat each thing individually. The waffle reminded me of Waffle House. Yummy. The chicken was so good that I even ate some of the skin (gasp). I brought home some mac & cheese for Andrew and it was incredible. The prices are good considering it is Los Angeles and this place is famous. I paid just under $8 for the #13. I loved this place. I would go back today if I had more moolah.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A New Thanksgiving Adventure

Last year we went to Medieval Times and we loved it. The great thing about being a grown-up is that you can finally do all the cool stuff your parents wouldn't let you do, couldn't afford to do, or just plain didn't want to do. Instead of sitting around a stuffy table and trying to have polite conversation so no one gets offended, we sat around a stage that was made to look like a pirate ship and shouted for carnage.

I expected Pirates Dinner Adventure to be just like Medieval Times but with pirates and swordfights instead of horses and jousting. While the show had a similar model, it was very different. The story was hard to follow at times, and they had these audience participation games with rules to complex to understand when you're busy stuffing your face with meat and potatoes. The allegence of the audience was unclear. We were prisoners when we were taken to the dining hall. We were supposed to cheer for the pirate that represented our seating section. Wait, I thought we were prisoners? Then they swore us all in as pirates, so it seemed like we should root for the pirates. But then our pirate and two others had a mutiny because they now believed in truth and justice (?) and wanted to save the princess. So who are we supposed to cheer for? Then some random pirate hunter from the pre-show shows up and we're cheering for the pirates to beat him, and the mutinous pirates board the ship and save the day. Are we supposed to be happy about that since we were sworn in as pirates, or are we supposed to be sad? What?

I loved the swordplay, the acrobatics and the stunts. The aerialist gypsy was amazing. I also liked the abundance of food. When you arrive, they feed you appetizers. I had ham, sausage, cheese, egg rolls, mini quiches, shrimp, fruit salad and ravioli. You have to buy drinks if you want them to go with your appetizers. When they usher you into the house, you have a nice salad ready for you. The entree we had was beef in a creamy wine sauce, roasted chicken (dark meat), roasted potatoes and mixed vegetables. That was really good. Then we had ice cream with chocolate sauce and apple cobbler with cherry sauce for dessert. There was complimentary beer, wine and soda during the meal. After the show they had chocolate cake and coffee available in the lobby as a nightcap. They really had lots of food. I was five pounds heavier at the end of the day than I was when I woke up.

So would I recommend it? Go there before Medieval Times. We liked Medieval Times better, but we're glad we saw this show.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Magical Serum

When I was in high school, I didn't have breakouts. When I was in college, I rarely had breakouts. When I entered the real world of working under fluorescent lighting, I started having regular breakouts. I've taken all sorts of vitamins, gotten more sun, consumed more water and less sugar. I've significantly increased my vegetable intake and become more active. So I'm still surprised when I break out since I'm doing all these great things to help my body.

My waxer recommended I try the special acne facial cleanser and moisturizer from Epicurean. She's been touting this stuff during my past few visits, so this time I bought some. Why not? I've been washing my face with the cleanser morning and night and alternating the moisturizer with some other organic moisturizer. The result: less breakouts and breakouts that heal faster. Wow. This stuff really works. Look for it on Ebay or ask your aesthetician if you have strange breakouts like I did.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Choreography Cognition

My weekend was dance-filled. I had belly dance class Saturday where we worked on technique for several of the moves in the routine. Some of the moves still don't feel natural, but I look better dancing this routine than some of the dancers looked at the swap meet. My classmates look even better at the belly dance routine than I do. At least I have a pretty smile and a charming personality to glow past all those mistakes.

Saturday night was spent helping Gabrielle with another pole party. That was fun. Then Sunday afternoon I learned the new routine I'll be performing with another class at the Holiday Shake. It didn't take me nearly as long to learn this new routine as it took me to learn the first pole routine I ever learned. I figured out the secret to learning choreography on my way to rehearsal. First you have to have the technique down and know the moves. If I know how the basic parts of a performance piece are done, it's easier for me to string them together. If I know the names of steps and can execute them, it's easier for me to place them in a sequence with other steps. When I don't know the basics, it's just a bunch of movements strung together in an odd sequence. This is why it's so important to learn technique.

This was the secret I was hoping the universe would reveal to me. Finally!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Fast Times

So I almost have my little move I talked about last week down. I just have to work on the timing. At least I know how to do it right. And I can do it without hurting my shoulder. My teacher is incredible. I can't imagine how many injuries I would have without her guidance.

I haven't worked on my belly dance routine all week. Shame! I'll work on it tonight so I know a little more of what I'm doing in class tomorrow when we rehearse. I think for the four- or eight-count solo bit in the middle that I'll just do belly rolls. We have two more classes before the big show. Aaahh!

My last two tricks in "Hanky Panky" will be jumping on the pole then landing on the ground in the splits and a spin where one leg rests on my arm and the other leg below that arm. It looks really cool. We'll have to see where they fit since it's a choreographed free-for-all at the end of the song.

I may be doing a flapper pole number. I'm excited about that. Of course, I'll have to learn the whole routine within two weeks. Aaahh! This is exciting!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Me? Nervous?

This is a rare look deep into my soul. Not really.

I like to keep my skills brushed up. If I know I have an audition and I need to take my guitar, I do a "cramming session" to practice what I'm going to play and to try to not look stupid. I don't get nervous about auditioning with my guitar, I just worry about looking stupid and embrace looking stupid when I must. I would feel perfectly comfortable auditioning to do pole dancing in a film or television show right now. My muscles are toned, I have the strength and the skill to deliver a great performance. My muscle memory is there.

Some skills I don't intentionally practice all the time. If I were called in to audition and had to demonstrate some kung fu moves, I'd have to spend at least a week working on my stances every day so I could just look like I knew what I was doing enough to attend the audition. I haven't done musical theatre in years. I'm sure I can still belt, but I haven't practiced musical theatre technique in a good long time. I can sing a jolly little rock tune, but it's been a while since I've even tried singing lounge music. My theatre company is holding auditions for a vaudeville show. I'll fumble my way through the dance auditions no problem. It's just the singing for the audition that makes me a little nervous. (I can't believe I actually confessed that.)

What the hell do I sing? What the hell do they want? What the hell am I doing? Why the hell am I nervous about it?

Ugh.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Snap Crackle Pop

I've been to pilates class once in the past month since I've been so busy. Last night I decided to do pilates in my living room since my back was sore from dancing Saturday night. So I started doing the hundred and most of the vertebra in my back popped. That felt really good. I think that may send me to pilates class tonight. Apparently my body is dependent on working out.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My First Serious Hand at Bingo

My theatre company had a fundraiser last night at Akbar in Silverlake. The game was Lucky Balls bingo. I guess they called it "Lucky Balls" because it was hosted by a rowdy guy from Jersey and a homosexual who also calls bingo in West Hollywood. The theatre company had bingo at Hamburger Mary's in WeHo last month, and they got on the ticket for this bingo night since they had a break in at the theatre and someone snatched the box office take.

I had never played bingo like this. They didn't just play for diagonal or straight across bingos. They had games like "rim job," "B.O." and "frank & beans." They gave away nice prizes and it was very interactive. There was call and response (like in some churches) and we got to pelt the winner with our wadded up bingo cards. It was rowdy and fun. I had a great time.

If you're in L.A. and you have any opportunity to hit bingo at Akbar or Hamburger Mary's, I highly recommend it. We didn't win anything, but we had a great time and helped support our theatre.

Monday, November 13, 2006

You Get What You Pay For

I got a great email from my belly dance teacher about pricing for private parties and dancing in restaurants. I'll post that soon. It's nice to know that there's a code of ethics amongst professional belly dancers. I was talking with my pole teacher Saturday and she said she hadn't seen anything like that for pole dance instructors. She does private parties all the time, and she teaches private lessons in addition to her group classes. She met another pole dancer who does privates at cut rates, which actually has a negative effect for all pole teachers.

Let me detail a little bit of what goes into a private lesson or party. The teacher has to pay for the studio and/or pay for the fuel to reach the location. There's time involved in travel and set-up. With parties, there's set-up and clean-up afterwards. There's the cost of the outfits, poles and other materials that are used by the party guests. Then we have the cost of all the training that goes into giving that teacher the necessary skills and training to hold classes, lessons and parties. There's promotional expense, the cost of additional help that may be needed for a large group. Sometimes the teacher or performer has to wait around for the guests or students to arrive or be ready to go.

It got me to thinking about the value I receive for the money I spend on everything. I feel that I can better evaluate what I'm getting and knowing its worth. Is this something I could do myself? How much expertise does someone need to do this? What am I really getting for what I pay? How much time am I costing someone? By evaluating with these questions, I can be a better shopper, student, and artist. Next time you pay for a lesson, a class, or even a thing, try taking this new perspective.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I'm Long and I'm Strong

Last night we started doing the pole tricks for our "Hanky Panky" routine for the Body Shake next month. Since we are the master class, we have the longest list of tricks to pull from. One of the gals in class invented a new trick, so that's now the first trick of the show.

We're doing pole tricks between chunks of the chair dance. We also have the unusual problem of seven girls and six poles. This means we had to break things up so everyone gets to do tricks the same number of times. There's a group of four who does a trick then a group of three. I'm in the group of three. The other group does the new trick first. Then my group does a trick.

Our trick involves going upside down on the pole, repositioning to do a stripper push-up while inverted, repositioning our hands again, opening our legs out into a V, then sliding down the pole to land on our backs using only our hands. This means I'm supporting my entire body weight with my abs and arms while sliding upside down. Cool, right? It looks cool. I have to tighten it up this week since we have each move choreographed to the music and we're all supposed to do the stuff at the same time. I don't have the timing yet, so it looks a little sloppy right now. Oh, and the poles spin so I have to keep from spinning when I mount the pole so I land in the right spot at the end.

Wow.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

You Know It's Autumn When . . .

. . . the Valley has a high in the eighties and downtown Los Angeles reaches 75 degrees. That's fall in Los Angeles.

That's not completely true. It's usually about like this until mid-October. It tends to cool down for a week, then the Santa Ana winds bring extreme warmth through Southern California a couple times before Christmas. Of course, when those warm winds are gone we get into sweater weather. I feel like I need long johns when it gets down to the 50s and 60s. Brrr.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

I did my civic duty this morning, despite all odds. I never got my ballot by mail to study the issues and take to the polling place. My name and address were wiped from the local records (for my voting area). [I don't know if this was a glitch or because of my party affiliation, but I have to keep believing in the system since it's the only one we have.] I overcame the horrible fish smell at the ink-punching voting booth. I didn't yell at the big, mean lady by the door when she told me I could go home for my non-existant mailed ballot or cast a provisional vote. I didn't snarl back at the snarly woman who looked for me in the books even though it was already established I wasn't there. I got my voting sticker and Felicity took it away from me.

I do have a complaint about the lack of options for some of the offices. Every election I write in Andrew Moore for whatever office I feel he would best fill. I don't know that I'll ever permit him to run for office because he's the kind of guy who would be so wholesome he'd get shot, but I write him in so he doesn't have to campaign. I encourage everyone to write in Andrew Moore whenever they are dissatisfied with the voting options.

Vote for Andrew Moore!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Gnash Gnash Gnashing of Teeth

I love it when the people around me succeed. It's a lot better than being angry with them for making progress and angry with myself for not. Actors have to stick by other actors. We all have to pay to send out headshots, we all get crappy scripts from time to time, we all feel like we didn't quite nail that one audition.

Here's where I'm frustrated. I have a friend who booked a national commercial. I just saw the commercial last night for the first time. Very cool for her. I have another friend who just finished a national commercial and it will air soon. Very cool for her. Right now I'm just trying to get a new agent since mine retired during Tragic Trifecta week in February. I'd like to join their ranks of national commercial principal (and make the big bucks), but I don't get as many commercial auditions by myself as I got when I had an agent. Another thing that sucks is that it costs money to do plenty of submissions through the mail. I don't have a surplus of cash lying around right now.

I guess I ought to get busy with submissions to agents, maybe hit up my friends for referrals again.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Big Smile

Last night we worked on our pole and chair routine for the Holiday Shake. It's shaping up quite nicely. I'm glad I'm as active as I am because I have better flexibility for some of the moves than I would have.

I noticed last night as we rehearsed in a studio with mirrors on three sides that I perform the song every time. It's not just going through the choreography. There's a joy to the whole thing for me. I may be tired, my muscles may be sore from other activities, but I enjoy the routine every time we practice it. I'm so happy to be there, and I love performing even when we have no audience. I think I'm almost a dancer and not just an actor who's playing a dancer.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

How I Spent Halloween Night

I think every year they play The Nightmare Before Christmas at the El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Every year that we've known about it, we've been either too busy or too broke to see it. This year we were both, so we went to see it anyway. And this year was special because it was in 3-D.

The El Capitan is a little expensive at $13 a ticket for general admission, $20 a ticket for VIP seating. Of course, they have a pre-show. For this engagement, they had a pipe organ player. That was really cool. The theatre was decorated for the film, which made it even more special.

Since it was a digital projection, the picture was clearer than the first time I saw the film years ago. I was able to take more in, and I saw more subtle nuances than I had ever noticed before.

They also have a display of puppets from the film downstairs. Andrew will probably post the photos from that since he's the puppeteer and I'm the actor.

If you find yourself in Hollywood and there's a film you wouldn't mind spending $13 a pop to see, I highly recommend you visit the El Capitan. The kids seemed to love it, and it's upscale enough for the grown ups.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It's Craptastic!

Here's the link for those of you who want to read my novel about a zombie prostitute. Note Felicity is on the cover. We had to have some kind of graphic on the cover to upload it. Andrew spent the night uploading the text and graphic.

Remember this is the first draft. I had no time to go back and tinker with anything when I finished Monday night. Enjoy!