Power Monday: Here Are Some Quotes For Y’All (Part 2)

Standard

instagram michael bearden

More from Michael Bearden and Power Quote Monday. After coming across his Instagram, I found some really nice posts I wanted to share with you. Last Monday was epic (check it out here) and today will be, too. And look, the sun is shining and it’s actually almost as hot as during an early summer day! Finally, spring has caught up. [Although it appears that it will be colder throughout the week (thanks to New York's mood swings).]

Here we go:

sometimes its not the people who change

the greatest prison to live in

They wanna see you do good

to live is the rarest thing

try to nothing negative about anybody

worrying wont stop the bad stuff from

The Performance Project @ University Settlement: Suitcase Stories

Standard

Another play I went to quite recently was Suitcase Stories by the Performance Project (The Forum Project). Located at University Settlement on the verge of Chinatown and the Lower East Side, so pretty much in the heart of bars, lounges, and the drunk Bridge-and-Tunnel-crowd during this Saturday eve. Since I hadn’t been there in a while, it was quite pleasant to just stroll the area before the performance. I am always baffled at how New York changes but the LES has sort of stayed the same to when I first moved here, 4 years ago (I also happened to have my very first job there, which makes the neighborhood extra-special to me).

Well the play was one of a kind. If I hadn’t known the person to take me here, I probably wouldn’t have heard about it. The Performance Project has a driven mission to “create theater about oppression and liberation” (For more information check out their Facebook Site).

This particular show called the Suitcase Stories was divided into two pieces: First, four short plays were performed and then the audience was animated to take part in improving the play. Overall, a very unique and fun experience. The performance was its last one – a closing night to cherish at the end of March.

In the first part, the actors were basically all over the place, digging numbers out of a suitcase (as the name of the play implies). The audience then got to vote on a number. Whichever one was picked symbolized a play that was performed during the first hour. It started off with:

The Store, The Diner, The Office Party, The Job Search

Actors jumping around the suitcase

Actors jumping around the suitcase

All were scenarios, typical to real life encounters. For example, in The Store, a Latin-looking man was trying to buy a nice suit jacket for his first job interview. The store associate first completely ignored him, then pushed him off into a corner, and lastly accused him of trying to steal the suit jacket.

The Diner
had to do with conflict of identity and a server clashing with the strict religious views of a patron. The patron couldn’t accept that the waiter didn’t belong to either the male or female gender and the scene escalated in the waiter being fired from his/her job.

The Office Party showed how an attractive employee was drugged and raped by an important client of the company during an office party. While trying to stand up for her rights and going to HR, the client was of higher importance and the employee was let down.

The Job Search posed an interesting scenario as it was random accusations thrown at a job-seeking fellow. Re-enacted by “knocking on everyone’s door” the poor job seeker had to face one rejection after another – ranging from being out of work for too long over not having much of a social network (do you blog?) to not being able to speak 5 different languages fluently in today’s job market. I believe the job search is something not only young, struggling artists can relate to in today’s society, but pretty much everyone – even well-educated, polished, and promising candidates. Which makes the fact that New York’s economy is total shit even more depressing.

All four plays were perhaps something a broad audience could identify with over the long run. From facing ostracism for being different over being too “flirty” at a company party to dealing with unfair rejection during challenging times. Overall, a good mix of themes for an open-minded audience.

The Joker making sure everyone is animated

The Joker making sure everyone is animated

During the second half, the audience was animated to jump off their seats, pair up with a person they didn’t know, and make up silly symbols of greetings. This escapade was meant to loosen up the spirit and then encourage everyone to contribute to the plays. The Diner and The Jobsearch were selected for improvement by vote. A few spectators came up and acted out a suggested reaction of how the waiter could have dealt with the patron in a different way.

The show was unique as it was not meant to just sit there and listen but to actively improve and participate in the scenarios. I had a lot of fun because it took me out of my comfort zone, was highly interactive, and very inspiring for future performances.

The Tempest Ladies – The Taming of the Shrew

Standard

I’ve been hanging out a lot with my actress friend lately. Despite living here for the past 4 years, she has been one of the first (and so far only) friends I’ve had who is currently engaged in the eye-opening industry of fulfilling one’s dream on the hard-earned and gruesome stages of New York. Be it off-Broadway or coming up with one’s own play – the world of acting and screenwriting still remains a mysterious universum to me at times.

In February my friend acted in a play that was based on the Shakespearean “The Taming of the Shrew.” Presented by The Tempest Ladies with no less than seven talented ladies, who have performed in similar, self-produced shows in the years before this one. This play was shown at the American Theatre of Actors – which is in a great location in Hell’s Kitchen, surprisingly close to Times Square. Oh, what goes all into a play? Stage managers, writers, producers, performers – you name it!

This improvised piece of Shakespearean amusement was up the right alley for me and my friend, when we visited the show on opening night during one cold February evening. What a surprise it was to find that the entire crew consisted of women, re-enacting all male roles in the “Taming of the Shrew.” Be it Petruchio, Hortensio, Gremio, Lucentio – you name it. And of course acting out female parts at the same time. All performed by seven (!) actresses only, who seamlessly changed their characters on a continuous basis. Luckily, it appeared that there were seldom more than five people in one scene, which made the entire ensemble possible.

The only (crappy) pic I have of the show

The only (crappy) pic I have of the show

My friend started out portraying the actual “shrew” but then ended up with a male role. What a joy it was to watch the transformations up front – which were quickly done with as little make-up as possible, simply by putting on a different toga or a man’s jacket.

For almost 2 and a half hours the audience was quite entertained. I look forward to seeing another production by these extremely talented ladies, which will hopefully be next year again.

[Find more of Tempest Ladies on their web site, their Facebook page and their blog.]

Power Monday: Here Are Some Quotes For Y’All (Part 1)

Standard

Lately, I’ve been wasting spending some of my precious time on Instagram. Especially after deleting my Facebook account once again. Instagram is actually a cool business, as you can check out whoever without really leaving a trace (unlike Facebook, where you are suggested as “a person of interest” once you scroll through someone else’s profile). Instagram also links a huge community to each other and connects people you would have never thought to come across. In this way it’s similar to blogging, except for that Facebook now owns it and it might therefore be on the verge of corruption ( or at least that is what some people assume).

Michael Bearden on Instagram

Michael Bearden on Instagram

Well, one of the many things Instagram has to offer is this guy: Michael Bearden. He describes himself as a “celebrity music director” and obviously has tons of positive thoughts to give away. I’ve come across his page the other day and some of his quotes have really stuck in my head. That’s a good sign, as I see them as a really great approach to changing my day. So I want to take this dreary, bleary, rainy Monday (another one of those) and turn it into the most powerful quote day of the week (at least for this week and next, that is).

Are you ready for this? Here we go:

dont worry about those who talk behind your back

drama does not just walk into

everyone you meet is fighting a battle

everybody is your friend when you say yes

the difference between ordinary and extraordinary

This one is my absolute favorite. My co-worker got really upset when I broke Hustle down for her according to this picture. She said to never use it when talking to real New York hustlers, but to just pretend to appreciate them for the tough way they want to be are. Well, a sense of humor is always good, right? Yes!

hustle defintion

If some of these quotes have made a difference in your day or got you thinking – great. If they’ve been entertaining – even better. Mondays are usually tough, especially after a rocking weekend. So to me it was important to simply look at something that kept me motivated throughout the end of the day.

Here is to an insightful Tuesday, everyone!

On Boredom and Pain: Two Crucial Aspects of Success

Standard
Img courtesy of http://imboredatwork.org

Img courtesy of http://imboredatwork.org

Can you have success without routine? I found a short video on Facebook and wanted to share my thoughts on it with you (and I really wish I could find it but it’s been a while and I can’t seem to dig it up from my timeline. Booo me, I know). The theme of success has been an important part of my life in the past 6 months or so (well, let’s say my entire life, but the following ideas have awakened my philosophical interest lately). It’s about being persistent with your trade in order to achieve success. According to this insight, the most successful people are not the ones who are the most talented or who have the most diverse skill set (even though both characteristics help) but the ones who commit to the “boring” task.

Repeating a task over and over again until you finally succeed – the key to fulfilling one’s dream? It’s not as farfetched as it might seem. Indeed, when we remember our childhood or younger years, then repetition was always a crucial part of our lives. For example, when learning to speak another language in middle and high school. In order to gain a full understanding of French and Latin, I always had to repeat the vocabulary – every single day. To achieve success in dancing and gymnastics, I had to practice until the sun dropped, otherwise I would have failed miserably (which eventually happened, but because I lost my interest not because of my skill set).

Repeating, persisting, enduringthese three aspects were always part of my student life. Even when graduating high school and then going on to college, I wouldn’t have known how to get an advanced degree without the repetitive tasks of studying and repeating. How I envied people who could just read and memorize a page instantaneously, whereas I had to sit and study for long hours. Alas, I was happy that the tedious “student” years were over (just a little over 4 years ago), but then I found out that we are always a student of life and that if we don’t repeat certain tasks every day, we are bound to fail. Be it picking up a new hobby, a new vocation, or just going on to grad school – repetition is part of learning the new ins and outs of everything.

I’ve also come across an insightful article written by Mark Manson. In this article “The Most Important Question of your life” he illustrates why some people succeed and why others don’t. Similar to the “boring task” theory, he illustrates how we describe the pain we have to go through in order to achieve success. Is your goal of becoming a skillful writer/ photographer/ whatever your heart desires enough to make you work for free for years to come without an end in sight? “Only” to reap the rewards of a bigger network or a better portfolio? Do you want to work 12 hours a day for an endless amount of time until you finally have achieved a manager position? Or would you rather spend your energy on working 8 hours a day and then going on to pursue a hobby for the remaining 4 hours a day? Or perhaps just working and then do nothing but become dissatisfied with what life has to offer?

Pain will always be a part of our lives – no matter what. It’s not about living without any pain (because that life does not exist). It’s about this question: What is the pain that you want to sustain? And once you have come clean with your fear of failure and priorities, you will be able to give a more heart-felt answer.

Both thought processes symbolize the same to me: Boredom and pain – sometimes it can be the very same thing. Repetition can become mind-numbing but sometimes most of the time it’s a crucial part in order to become skilled at and recognized with something. How do deal with the mind-numbing part of achieving success? My guess is with attitude and justification – in making the means meet the ends.

One thing does not go well with these ideas – procrastinating. Which is why, once again, procrastination stands for the fear of failure. You cannot believe how much I have procrastinated lately. Pretty much in every aspect of my life! All of those half-written articles lining up in the WordPress queue – needing that one final touch before hitting that publication button. Then, not going out there and shooting the crap out of my camera because of the bitter cold weather, the rainy days, and other excuses (it’s true, we’ve had a tough winter). And of course not finding a Spanish language or salsa course yet, as was my goal for pretty much the past 3 years. True, sometimes it’s just not the right time – the funds are missing or priorities shift. But if not at the moment when will be the right time?

Boredom and pain – it’s a concept I had to digest at first but the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. It explains why we start things and then drop them a few days/ weeks/ months later without gaining any further insight into them. Does this mean failure? Not necessarily, it just means we didn’t want to endure the pain to the end. Are we not capable of enduring the pain? I believe everyone is capable of anything, if we truly believe in ourselves and our advancement in this world. But first we need to awaken our interest and then we need to gauge whether or not this will really be the right path to pursue.

What is your experience with boredom and pain in order to achieve your goals or even your success?