Remember that time I moved to Chicago?
That was awhile ago, and quite a bit has happened since; however, because I learned in Acting 101 that storytelling does not a good audition make, I choose to not update you in long form. But this text message society likes a good status update, so here goes:
Ashlee Edgemon is msging from her 2nd Chi-town apt.
I am no longer funny; I wear my bangs almost exclusively to the side; I have Type 1 Diabetes; and he liked it, so he put a ring on it. And while all of these are integral parts to who I am today as Little Lady making her way in the Big City, I think the best thing to happen to me over the last eight-ish months is Netflix on demand via Wii.
Okay, let’s be honest, it rocks. And now I have absolutely no reason to leave my apartment, which is what I have been searching for since I graduated. Sure, it’s slightly tricky to get that little gloved pointer finger to hover over “Play episode 5” instead of “Add to instant Queue”, but where else could I acquire and watch Babies the documentary without public shame, ridicule, or parents hinting at grandchildren? And sooner or later my real-world hand-eye coordination will be reprogrammed to match the digital sensor’s. This adjustment is mere pocket change as payment for Babies on demand. And if you saw that little Nairobian baby slurping water from that puddle or that charming Mongolian babe
swaddled bound and tied in blankets and left lying on that bed for hours while mom milks the goats, you, too, would deal with the carpal tunnel. So precious!
What I learned from Babies:
1.) American parents are lame, like wannabe hippies with access to plastics.
2.) Japanese babies stand first. Triumph!
3.) My kid will play naked in the mud.
4.) I can watch a whole documentary without words.
Literally the only downside to Netflix on Demand is that my fiancé knows I watched Babies…
damn email log.
Opening 'The Sweet Stuff' today. -
Link to an article in the Grand Forks Herald about ‘The Sweet Stuff’ and Chased by an Elephant Theatre Co. Did you know I am an actor and choreographer based out of Chicago? I sure didn’t. Not yet, at least.
We had our read-through yesterday evening for The Sweet Stuff. The read went quite well, and I’m very excited to get going on the project.
Yeah, whatever. Better report: Cherry (our director) made us delicious enchiladas and her famous “fancy” sangria. And then I ate tortilla chips with alternating queso and guacamole dips until my “Mexican food baby” was visibly in its third trimester. Suck it, Weight Watchers. I consumed more Points at that dinner than North Dakota’s population – which I learned during my tour of the city earlier in the day is approximately 600,000, and I think that includes bison.
And while the enchiladas made me a very happy woman, the whole ordeal was unfortunately overshadowed by some rough news. As I was driving into Grand Forks, North Dakota for the first time on Sunday evening, I received a phone call from my momma. I’m always nervous to answer the phone when my mom calls if I haven’t talked to her in a couple/few days because I usually feel really guilty. For instance, “Well, I haven’t heard from you in a while. I was worried something had happened to ya.” So, when she called me, I thought it was because she smelled me traveling to a new city and wanted the address of where I was staying “in case something happened”. This has always boggled my mind since the invention of the cell phone and internet. What, are you going to scribe me a wax-sealed letter or hire a telegraph service to contact me if…
Ya know, damnit, I can’t even think of a smart-ass hypothetical for this one. Probably because my mom loves me intensely, and I know that she means nothing but well. And I clearly love her, too.
Back to the topic at hand: So I received a phone call from my momma. “I just wanted to let you know that we took Chief to the pet ER last night around 11:00.”
My baby. The light of my life. Chief. My handsome little king slipped a disc in his back and had to stay the night in the doggy emergency room for blood and urinary tests. Without me! Chief is not allowed to be distressed or in pain without my expressed permission and definitely not without my presence. I felt like the world’s worst parent. And I’m sure he’s going to hold a grudge when I get back from North Dakota and pick him up from his mini vacay at his grandparents’ house. When he is angry with me, he has a perfected look that slashes my heart in twain. We’re not talking about watered-down, amateur Mother Phone Guilt. Chief Guilt has destroyed nations. I’m fairly certain he was responsible for Dakota’s civil war when they split into North and South for good and South kicked North while it was down by carving four faces into a giant rock, which, as we’ve seen, has become extremely successful tourist propaganda, leaving North only 600,000 people and bison strong. Confederate Dakota plays dirty.
Now Chief is on two medications and is ordered to rest for 6-8 weeks. This is not a problem; Chief is a hoe-fessional rester. So you also know he won’t be lifting a finger to pay off the $500 ER bill he accrued in less than one night. I’m sure, in some twisted way, he thinks he’s teaching me a lesson.
Chief: “Yeah…uh…I am in very much pain. And I think what would help is…uh…meatloaf. You wouldn’t want me to have to get up and maybe make it worse, would you? I mean…uh…it would really not be good if I had to get the surgery they talked about, would it?”
Chief also knows that the surgery – should he get worse – could cost between two and four thousand dollars. This is called puppy manipulation.
It typically works.
Vacation is officially over. Good thing! I was getting tired of eating and shopping on my parents’ dime. But cut that umbilical chord, momma! I’m ready to get back to poor, independent, and unemployed!
I suppose that’s not fair. I am, as explained previously, employed through August 1. And I’m currently in Minnesota working on lines for The Sweet Stuff and terrified of this:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKL5krEsiVI&feature=related
That video clip is what I am using as some of my main visual research whilst developing the physical characterization for Dr. Sirsi, a young blood specialist from the Mayo Clinic with advanced stages of Muscular Dystrophy. The video is only a starting point, as Dr. Sirsi’s condition is a bit more deteriorated, to the point of being dependent upon forearm crutches.
Currently, this is my biggest task for pre-rehearsal work. I have never really been on any sort of crutches; I was once given those horrible armpit crutches for a foot injury but tossed them out the minute I left the doctor’s office because it was much more comfortable to limp on a cracked foot bone sans shoes in December than to hobble along with rubber rods jammed into my pits. And, if you know me at all, you understand how I feel about being dependent upon anyone/thing but myself, a busy schedule, and Chief the Christmas Miracle Dog.
As an actor, I tend to get hung up on one aspect of a role – or in this case, roles - I am playing, and I will hone in on perfecting it. In the case of The Sweet Stuff, it is Dr. Sirsi’s physical condition. It’s a tendency (and probably, in some Freudian nomenclature, deeply-seeded need) to over-analyze and make a situation more complicated than necessary – in acting and life, my father would argue. In graduate school, I fortunately became aware of this tendency and started to realize that…well, I really just need to chill the fuck out. A lovely and delightfully sassy Panamanian woman, who is the head of graduate directing at WIU, brought this obsessive behavior and way of working to my attention. She probably actually used some phrasing similar to “Baby, you really just need to chill the fuck out.” Bless her.
But the forearm crutches just keep staring me down with their aluminum rods and no-slip, rubber-tipped legs, skillfully taunting the perfectionist in me. Beasts.
Speaking of “beasts”, I was walking downtown Chicago at one point last year, and there was a group of right wing extremists who had formed a makeshift protest at one end of the State Street canal bridge. One sign out of the politico-religious plethora, which still makes me giggle, read “The homos are beasts. They will eat your babies.”
Umm….Really? (said at highest frequency possible to demonstrate my apprehension, eyebrows scrunched, head cocked slightly to one side like Chief does when you say “Where’s your chewy?”)
They will literally eat my babies? What if I don’t have babies and don’t necessarily intend on having me some babies? Am I safe from “the homos” for good? I mean, because that would be great – ending overpopulation AND the violent crimes committed by “the homos”. This seems to me like a
two girls/one cup two birds/one stone situation.
Dear Right Wing Extremists,
Love and Rainbows,
Dear Gay Friends,
Would you like to come over for a dinner party?
Love and Rainbows,
I know this was a long, unannounced detour initiated from a pair of forearm crutch bullies, but every opportunity is a good one for a plug…
For other stories on Gay Rights issues in our country and around the globe, check out Change.org. This is one of the current stories on the site:
In final news, I bought a pair of tennis shoes today. Yes. sigh. I got some sneaks. As some of you realize, this is completely out of character for me. I needed them because the only other pair of tennis shoes I own were accidently left in Indianapolis with my beautiful twice-dented Honda, and I can’t work out in heels, as much as I would like to work out in heels. And just let me clarify, that I would most certainly prefer to work out in cute shoes; however, it isn’t safe. Or permissible in gyms or rec centers.
But this is my lot in life and the cross I bear. Tennis shoes it is. I just look silly wearing them. Don’t believe me?
Now you do. I think 6th grade was the last photographic evidence (save for cheerleading photos) of me wearing tennis shoes. I’d like to keep it that way. This photo is also evidence of what would become the nerdy white girl from high school discussed in another earlier post.
Can’t top that! Over and out.
One of my favorite people in the world started his own blog today.
This is bad news.
Why? The boy’s got the cancer.
Now, I’m a little hesitant to promote this particular blog, as it will most definitely decrease the readership of my own (as if I had any) because, let’s be honest, when given the choice between reading about “a working girl’s struggle to make a good impression and some thoughts from or about her dog” and a really charming, funny guy’s blog about his struggle with cancer, whose are you going to read? No question; cancer log. Get it hot off the press at: http://thisistheyear33.tumblr.com/.
I, of course, use all of this cynicism in jest. Chad has become quite the inspiration to me since I have observed him experience the grieving and coping process of being diagnosed and beginning treatment. The strength and courage he is demonstrating while tackling cancer make my task of tackling Chicago theatre seem as easy as getting a little girl to take a puppy or Amy Winehouse to ‘take a hit’.
Because of this, I told Chad that I dedicate the rest of my 2010 Chicago quest to him. I stress that this is not meant pretentiously, as I am fully aware that I may not really accomplish anything, but it won’t be for lack of trying in the name of Chad’s Tallons. I really have two reasons for doing this:
1. I love Chad, and I want him to know that his bravery and positivity are inspiring and compelling. If someone can face cancer with as much grace as he is, then I can certainly face my own (much less scary) unknowns with comparable bravery, positivity, and grace. I don’t pretend that I’m dealing with anything that matches the magnitude of his challenges, but if Chad can annihilate cancer and still be so damn charming, than I can certainly find the kahones to pursue my professional acting career and find some success.
2. If a director, potential employer, etc. sees this post, they just may observe the complete selflessness of this dedication (tongue in cheek) and be more inclined to cast/hire me out of sympathy. I believe this is called “pulling the cancer card”. I mean - and I think Chad would agree - Cancer is so much of an asshole, that more than one person should be able use it to gain sympathy for trivial pursuits. Example: If I were Chad’s mom, I would take Chad to the nearest amusement park (probably Six Flags Great America), slap a t-shirt on him that says “I have cancer, and I don’t know if I have enough time to wait in line for this rollercoaster”, adorn myself with one that says “I’m Chad’s mom”, cut in front of the guy with the mullet, and roll up VIP style to ride the Raging Bull. Just sayin’.
All joking aside, the former is obviously my true reason for keeping Chad at the forefront of my mind as I head to the big, scary, windy city. He is a remarkable guy that is teaching me a lot. And I can’t wait until he gets through his treatment, gives Cancer a big ol’ Indian burn and teste-punch, and can get back to what he wants to do. But, in the meantime, we’re just gonna share some bravery and some grace.
Incongruous and Insignificant Items of Discussion:
· I met Tommy Wiseau’s real-life doppleganger tonight. He was the groom at the wedding I attended. Why were none of you there that know who I’m talking about?! I demand answers.
· I found a vintage sterling silver Tiffany & Co. bracelet for $25 at Midland Antique Market in downtown Indianapolis yesterday. I can’t stop showing you my wrist! The lady at the counter kept saying, “I can’t believe this is only $25!” Until I finally said, “I know. Hurry and put it in the bag.”
· Indiana Repertory Theatre still has not offered me an audition slot for their upcoming season yet, and I don’t think they will. This is disappointing news. This would be a personal milestone for me. Sigh. One day…
13-year-old climbs Mt. Everest. Lame. -
Yeah, Jordan Romero? Well, I’m going to lunch with Danny Pancratz today, and then I’m wearing my new headband to a wedding. Looks like someone just stole your thunder. #kidding #clearlybetterthanme (Click on the title to follow link.)
So, I’m trying to secure a bill-paying job in Chicago, and I’m capable of doing and qualified to do a lot. Really. But I can’t actually apply for anything yet because I can’t begin work until late July, towards the end of the tour.
This. Drives. Me. In. Sane. This drives anyone insane whose nightly activities include typing out an itinerary in 30-minute increments for the following day. (Who’s with me on that?) The second I open my eyes each morning, I’m mentally going through my “To Do” list. This is the type of person I am. I’m not neurotic, but I prepare, prioritize, organize, and list my existence, which allows me to be “laid back” to the naked eye. However, I cannot lie back if I have rent to pay and zero employment after August 1. I want to apply and interview for jobs now – notin July, which is apparently “too early”. Yessica and I also experienced much criticism during our apartment search for the same reason, as we began looking in March for May 1 leases (both of us planners); some leasing agents actually laughed in our faces for our sense of responsibility. Just to put things into perspective, it takes me up to a month to get Chief into his groomer in Indianapolis. So, basically, that means I have to plan further in advance to get my dog a grooming appointment than I do to find a residence to keep the dog or to find the job that pays for grooming the dog. I’m trying to reconcile this in my brain, but I can’t. And it would be most appreciated if people did not find it funny that I like to and need to do things “too early”. Whatever happened to that damn “early bird” saying? Well, I WANT THE FUCKING WORM!
(Taking it down a notch, yet maintaining intensity and intimidating eye-contact. Probably uncomfortably close to your face with my index finger threatening the tip of your nose.) And so does Chief.
Which is arguably why he’s sleeping right now. My dog will beat your dog to the worm. He’ll be there early! That’s my new bumper sticker for the Honda Civic LX I’m getting rid of this week. And that’s why I get things done. And that’s why I’m a good employee.
(Please understand that that was all false anger. But it also might be the first draft of a new monologue. Or my cover letter.)
However, this job search was not entirely futile. For instance, I learned that my bangs can actually make me quite the hot commodity, which might bode well for future employment opportunities.
Like: “For white people, the haircut-with-bangs is an important symbol that a female has completed her transformation from a nerdy girl to a cool woman. In fact, if you went to high school with a nerdy white girl who moved to a big city, there is a good chance she will show up to your high school reunion with this haircut.” Watch out, GHS! That is, if I ever go to a high school reunion. Which I most likely will not.
I have seen the book that was borne out of this blog several times on featured displays in all ‘white people’ bookstores, including Borders and Barnes&Noble, but I have never actually picked it up. I came across the blog post whilst Google-ing whether or not my bangs would help me secure employment in the big city or not. Apparently, they will.
Nerdy white girl from high school: One.
This next link (which I revisited after previously being introduced to it by a friend of mine in December) was also quite informative during today’s stroll down I-need-a-damn-job lane. Bangs, once again, confirms my decision to keep my hairstyle, despite it youthify-ing me about 5 years when I already look 15 without them.
Sudan is so hot. Yes. You can absolutely take me to the movies.
In my next post, I’ll get back to that stupid acting stuff. Also in next issue: Chief will share his thoughts on having to go to proper obedience classes upon arrival in Chicago and what it was like to roll in another dog’s mess today and subsequently get a bath. Ewgross.
P.S. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ot3a_rH7c-o&feature=related. No. Absolutely not.
Within the last five days, I accomplished two long-standing goals of mine: getting my MFA in Acting and moving to Chicago.
Well, I guess, technically, I haven’t moved yet because I’ll be touring a show for the first part of the summer until it lands in Chicago (publicity plug forthcoming). But I signed my lease and gave Landlord Paul nearly half of my savings from grad school, so I’m calling it. Speaking of Landlord Paul, I really want to have a house party at some point after I’m officially in the city for the sole purpose of having everyone else I know meet the myth that is Landlord Paul. I imagine LP will be a reoccurring character, so take mental notes. LP is a leasing agent/realtor by day but moonlights as a comedy-writing virtuoso. (In fact, you can catch his “show” at Second City each Friday for the remaining two Fridays in May.) However, I’m slightly confused that he writes comedy because he has difficulty catching – much less reciprocating - the witty repartee my roommate, Jessica (that’s a soft ‘j’), and I hurl at him. In LP’s defense, we can be slightly overwhelming to the unprepared and self-conscious, but a Second City writing graduate should be able to follow suit, yes? I can’t imagine how he’s going to handle it when we start spittin’ our white girl raps in his presence.
Chief on ‘Moving’…
(remember to read in ‘the Chief voice’ as described in second ever post on May 18)
Excuse me, do you have any meatloaf?
Today’s Conquer Chicago Power Play…
Working from afar on the script for The Sweet Stuff to ensure my first performance in Chicago is a successful one. It sounds lame, but it’s highly calculated stategery (yeah, I said it). I’ll fly under the radar until July 15; then I plan to swoop in unexpectedly and destroy it. But now it is expected, isn’t it?…so…forget I said that.
Coup de main is my current plan for Windy City domination. Traditionally, ambuscade seems to work best for me. For instance, in first grade, I was not cast in Mrs. Ashcroft’s class’s production of ‘The Three Little Pigs’. Then, the day of performance, The Third Little Pig was absent (rookie mistake). Showtime. I sacrificed my lunch time AND recess in order to memorize my lines and wait for my father to bring the pink Bo Peep dress I requested for costume. How was my Bo Peep piglet portrayal? Let’s just say I’m fairly certain that if Mrs. Ashcroft were to remount ‘The Three Little Pigs’, I would get a phone call. Ambuscade at its finest.
Also, I will NEVER pad my program bio or my resume. In fact, I’ll attempt to make it less impressive. That way, an audience doesn’t expect much, and, even if my performance is mediocre at best, it’ll still be a pleasant surprise. At least that’s the hope. I think it’s brilliant; most don’t. But even if it doesn’t work in practice this time ‘round, ambuscade remains a sexy word. I think we can all agree on that.
As aforementioned, I’ll be touring with Chased by an Elephant Co.’s production of The Sweet Stuff (a world premiere of an original play by Jayme McGhan) in Grand Forks, ND and Minneapolis before the show lands for two weekends at Gorilla Tango Theatre in Chicago. Check out related links below. Rehearsals start June 1; so does blogging on the subject, including my progress on learning to walk with forearm crutches and advanced stages of muscular dystrophy for one of the three characters I play.
Chased by an Elephant Theatre Co. website: www.chasedbyanelephant.com
Buy Minneapolis Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/112180
Facebook FanPage: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chased-By-An-Elephant-Theatre-Co/116459031721072?ref=ts
Shopping Side Notes…
Chicago: At The Brown Elephant charity shop on Clark, there is a 100% silk, vintage Oscar de la Renta drop waist dress in a size 8 for $53. Not my size, but someone should rescue it. Also, check out the barely worn Stella McCartney ballet flats, size 37 for $110 in the jewelry display case. Currently out of my price range, but I can promote their adoption to a good home. There is one more treasure on site; however, I refuse to release that information, as I plan on saving up for it. Feel free to donate to my cause.
Indianapolis: Check out Eye Candy on Mass Ave. I always make it to this guy’s shop when I’m in town. Today’s visit was nothing short of absolutely lovely. He recently teamed up with Emily Clark, owner/creator of EMilliner Modern Couture Hats, which is based in Indianapolis. This woman’s hair accessory artistry is out of this world. She studied in the UK – the mecca of millinery – and now creates her own pieces. She was also recently a featured designer for head accoutrements at this year’s Kentucky Derby. I am currently weeping over the two headbands I brought home with me. And the best part is that these headpieces don’t fuck up my bangs! Check out her website: http://www.emilliner.com/html_ver/index.php. You’re welcome.
Above is my dog, Chief. Chief is snarky and sleeps on his left side under the covers. His dislikes: being woken up and everything. Since I frequently personify him for personal entertainment, he will also be posting. (Please read his posts with a stereotypical Spanish dialect, similar yet higher-pitched than that of a lazy Zorro.)