Friend Greg over at The Midnight Garden did me the honor of awarding me the coveted Brillante Weblog (okay, no, I'd never heard of it before either, but I'm still thrilled); he compounded the honor by putting me in some fine company, naming me along with six other excellent blogs. Counting the guy who gave him the prize, there are eight blogs mentioned (not counting mine); I'm already a big fan of four of them, so the remaining four are gifts I'm excited to open. But that's still not the best part of this award; now I get to name some of my favorites, and play a small part in expanding the delightful interweb of creativity, goofiness, insight, art and humor I've come to enjoy.
The rules of the award are as follows:
1) Put the logo on my blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded me.
3) Nominate at least seven other blogs.
4) Include links to those blogs here.
5) Finally, I must then leave messages on the blogs of those nominated.
Like I said, Greg already gave the award to three bloggers I too would have named; they, like Greg himself, are connections I made by way of Nicky Cooper. A couple I'm nominating are also Nicky links one way or the other. Just thought I'd acknowledge that. If you're not already, go read Tornwordo, Strelitzia, Java and Greg (clearly Greg and I need to work harder at coming up with cool blogger handles. UPDATE: I'd forgotten that Greg is, in fact, the Midnight Gardener. I proffer my apologies to Greg, and full acknowledgement that I stand alone in the lame-ass blogger handle section).
Without further ado, I'm proud to present the Brillante Award to the following Weblogs:
1. Sweet/Salty. This may seem a bit premature, given that I only started reading this blog in the past week, but I think the award is deserved, and not just for her grace during the recent trainwreck. I initially approached the blog with a lot of trepidation, fearing I would discover that the voice I'd come to love over the Corridor and Niche was stolen in its entirety. In short order I did discover three examples of plagiarism, but more importantly, I discovered a wonderful new (to me) voice, a gifted storyteller able to recount events of emotional devastation with the same light touch she brings to the humorous stories. I've accepted that leafing back through her archives may be painful for me at times, but I think reading her future entries will be an unmitigated pleasure.
2. A Choreographer's Blog. Melissa is one of the shining stars in my New York firmament. The two of us make up half of a very casual arts support group that calls itself The Exploding Yurts (any explanation you come up with for the name will undoubtedly be more interesting than the truth). I've danced in one of her shows; she choreographed for my one-act, we have collaborated at least two other times, and we have been sounding boards for each other's work since meeting in Spring of 2001. Artistic friendships always expand to include all of life, of course, and ours is no exception; she is one of my rocks.
Her blog is very much a seedbed for her work; some entries will find her exploring images, others will discuss rehearsals, some may examine techniques or questions she wants to tackle, still others may recount life events, but always there is a thread of awareness that this may shape her work someday; movement is how she makes sense of the world. The subtitle to the blog is "a place for ideas, some that move, some that don't." Her choreography often involves both movement and text, including her own poetry, so sometimes an entry will be a poem that hasn't yet found its dance. Even people who aren't lucky enough to be woven as extensively into her life as I am will still appreciate seeing her follow her muse, I think.
3. Odin's Aviary Buddy Jeff is another member of The Exploding Yurts (seriously, don't ask), the only one of the four who is right-handed, actually. Probably nobody finds that noteworthy but me. I've written about his engagement to Megan in an earlier entry as well. Megan is also a lefty, by the way. No, I don't know why I find that so fascinating. I think Jeff has some lefty envy, though.
When people ask me what kind of work I do, I used to say "I'm a physical actor." This was usually met with blank stares, even from other people in the biz, who would then ask, "um...what does that mean?" Then I'd say something like "well... it's a broad term covering everything from Circus du Soleil to Blue Man Group to Ann Bogard/Suzuki to Julie Taymor and no, I've never worked with any of those folks, but I've done stuff LIKE that, especially the maskwork and Suzuki and physical storytelling, and sometimes I'll do straight up modern dance concerts, and I create my own work sometimes, and I still love doing Shakespeare and other well-made traditional plays, it just hasn't happened in a while and... " usually I trail off by that point because the listener's eyes have understandably glazed over.
Nowadays I'm likely to say "go read my friend Jeff's blog." Jeff is constantly working, and often doing the kind of stuff I do, or did, when I was doing stuff, which hasn't happened in a while, which is a whole OTHER story we don't need to get into now. He writes about auditions, rehearsals, developmental projects, workshops and his personal process with self-deprecating wit and lucidity. He's also one of the more regular writers, updating his blog almost daily a lot of the time. That obviously can change if he's neck deep in a project or three, or if he happens to be in Italy, which happens more than might seem fair, until you realize how hard he's worked to get to Italy. While learning more about the life of an itinerant actor in New York, you also come to see the sweet, sharp, silly man at the center of this one. He's also an unashamed comic books fan, with special mention for Batman.
4. Hooky Beach. Somewhere Joe is another gift from the Corridor, another person living his life with quiet insight, awareness and kind discernment. He once described me as someone who had improvised a 'life as art', but I think he is the true master of the form, and his blog is an eloquent record of the process. Whether it's a story or a photo montage, a trip to the beach often conjurs the experience of a good conversation with a friend over drinks, the comfortable silences punctuated by the sound of the surf. Of all the bloggers I've mentioned, he's probably the most likely to decline this award, either because he's already received it, or because he doesn't want the paparazzi showing up and messing up the beach. I will respect that, but wanted to make sure he knew how much I appreciated him.
5. Indigo Blue Blue is another gift from the Corridor, though Somewhere Joe gets some credit for introducing me to her as well. She too is an artistic soul, exploring many different forms of expression, whether it be painting, writing, running a spa, raising children, or creating celebrations. The life she is building for herself inspires me, with work, art, family and travel all being woven together in a way I'd like to emulate. I don't mean to discount any struggles she may experience in juggling all those things, but her blog always expands my horizons.
6. Eyduck. Kate is one of the army of Kates/Cathys/Katherines that has enriched my life (do you have certain names you just seem to click with?). She too is an actor, writer, comedian, though unlike the other performers mentioned here, she is now based in LA. I got to know her through Brian (#7), though sadly she had already left New York before he became a part of my life, so mostly I only got to see her when she came for visits. This means in a funny way she is both old friend and blogger friend, someone whose life I've been following only through the blog for at least two years now. She struggles with many of the same questions I do about how to live a good, fulfilling life pursuing (and defining) the vocation we love. It's been wonderful to see both her career and her community blossoming. Improv classes and shows have contributed heavily to her new circle of friends, but so has her blog. Many of the people who fell in love with her writing (and vice versa) are now important presences in her daily life. Seeing that happen has been exciting and inspiring. Read just a few of her posts, and you'll understand.
7. Peace of Cake. Brian is a close friend who works as a director here in town. He, like Kate, Greg, and Jeff, is also a huge comic book fan; theatre and comic books make up the two strongest threads of his blog writing. He and a colleague recently started a theatre company devoted to gay theatre called Orange Hanky Productions, then immediately had two projects (both of them excellent) back-to-back. This has meant Brian hasn't had the time to blog as much as he used to. Maybe I'm giving him this award as a not so subtle goad to blog more frequently, but I'm hardly one to point fingers. Anyway, Brian will often observe important holidays, such as National Coming Out Day, with an appropriate superhero or frame. His close readings of past comics are not to be missed. Lately most of his theatre entries have been plugs for his shows; it's really great to see him working.
So there you have my list of seven. Like Greg, I found it hard enough to limit it to this many; there are some good blogs out there. What a funny little world this has opened up for me. Also like Greg, I hasten to add that no one I pass this award onto should feel any pressure to participate. All of you are busy people with rich interesting lives, I know; that is part of what makes your blogs such a pleasure. I just want you to know how much I have appreciated your thoughts and images these past two to three years.