A Different Kind of Holiday

7:07 PM, Wednesday, November 26, 2008 / Posted by Christy / comments (0)

It's the day before Thanksgiving, which means the holiday season is fully upon us. Come Friday, we can no longer deny the signs of Christmas popping up all around us. I'm very excited to enter this holiday season, but it is definitely going to be different from any other year.

First of all, I'm going to be spending Thanksgiving with friends this year, not family. Ever since I moved to New York, I've spent Thanksgiving in New Jersey with my aunt and cousins there. But this year, most of my cousins have made alternative plans (in-laws, etc), so I had to make other plans too! I'm going to be traveling over the OTHER river to my friends Anu and Abel's home in Astoria, Queens. I'm bringing along my favorite sweet potato recipe. Eduardo is going to make it too, which is great because until yesterday we thought he had to work. This will also be my first ever paid holiday. I'm getting paid to eat Turkey! Rock on.

The major change in my holiday plans, though, is that I will NOT be leaving New York for Christmas. In case you missed the giant font on my blog a few weeks ago, I got a job I just started last week at the Westside Theatre (hence, the paid holiday). Shortly after I was hired, I received my schedule though the end of January. Thus, I found out I have to work Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas. I had a moment of disappointment about this, but I was prepared for this kind of news. I was very desperate for a job by the time I interviewed for this position, and I told them I didn't have any upcoming conflicts or plans for the holidays. And I'm so happy to actually have a job, I won't complain about having to work so close to Christmas. Everyone at my job has to work holidays sometimes, so it's not that I'm being subjected to anything overly cruel as the new employee.

Anyway, since I found this out so early on, I was able to convince my family to come visit ME this year. I'm really looking forward to it. I will miss seeing my home decorated for Christmas, my friends, and my extended family in Illinois. However, I mentioned to my mom last year that I hoped she could come to New York around the holidays sometime. I think it is the most amazing place in the world at this time of year. I gushed about it last year, and I'll do it again. New York is at its most fabulous for Christmas!

This is the time of year I usually provide a link to my wish list. Peruse at will :-)

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Crazy Guys and Nice Guys

12:11 AM, Wednesday, November 19, 2008 / Posted by Christy / comments (0)

This past Sunday I finally made it to see Equus, a play currently running on Broadway about a teenage boy who is sent to a mental institution because of a very disturbing act of violence he committed. No, not a cheery subject, but it was beautifully acted and designed and very much worth the trip to the theatre. It's a little bit funny that I have seen most of the stars of this play in person before. I saw Richard Griffiths (of Harry Potter fame) in History Boys on Broadway a couple years ago. Kate Mulgrew (of Star Trek: Voyager) came to my college and spoke about her favorite actress, Kate Mulgrew. And another supporting actor, T. Ryder Smith, was in the play Lebensraum that I worked on two years ago (and which won a Drama Desk Award).

But I wasn't really there to see them. I was there to see Harry Potter himself, Dan Radcliffe. He was excellent. There was, of course, quite a bit of expectation on him as there is on any big "movie star" who tries to transition to the stage. Not all have been successful. Claire Danes got luke-warm reviews for her stint in Pygmalion. Julia Roberts got pretty much panned for her stage debut two years ago in Three Days of Rain. But Dan was a natural on stage. He's gotten great reviews both in London, where the play originated, and here on Broadway. I'm pretty sure he's very strategically planning to become the Harrison Ford of the Harry Potter franchise, not the Mark Hamill. What I mean by that is he's working hard to be able to leave Harry Potter behind when it's finished and transition into diverse roles that will continue to carry him as a super star. He's doing a great job so far.

After the show, I got to the stage door as quickly as I could to wait for an autograph. Dan came out very quickly after the show and graciously signed for as many people as he could, including me!

I was happy to find out that what I've heard about him is true. He was extremely nice to everyone, didn't act like he was bothered by having to stand outside signing until his hand cramped, and actually made friendly conversation with people in a way that seemed like he was totally unaware that he was famous or intimidating in any way. He even turned to one girl and said incredulously, "Have you been here before? I know I've seen you here!" He seemed very puzzled that anyone would wait for his autograph twice. The girl only giggled. Dan looked at her as if he wasn't sure why she couldn't give him a straight answer. All I can say is, his parents have done a good job.

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Feel the Burn

11:47 PM, Wednesday, November 12, 2008 / Posted by Christy / comments (1)

I went to the gym today for the first time in my life! Well, pretty much. I've been in a couple workout rooms in my life, and I definitely ran on a treadmill at least once during college, but I have never really been excited about working out. But within the last year or so I have started considering that it might be a good idea to get on a regular workout program. I've done pilates in my apartment pretty regularly, and while that's better than nothing, I'd like to add a little more variety to my workout.

So, I had this lovely wish to join a gym in New York. The problem with that is most gyms in New York are freakin' expensive. Most monthly rates are between $100-200 not including the start-up fee which can be close to $1,000 in some cases if you don't catch a special. I did some research on cheap gyms in the city a while back and found that there are some parks and recs buildings that have workout rooms and you can pay just $50 a year! It sounded quite promising. But Eduardo and I went to check out the closest location and it was pretty much a dump with only a few machines. I guess you get what you pay for. We couldn't motivate ourselves to join.

At some point during my job search I filled out an application at Equinox, a popular gym chain here. It wasn't exactly what I wanted to do with my life, but I figured the free membership perk would be nice. But I never heard anything and eventually got a different job (at Westside Theatre! I start Monday!) But a couple weeks ago I got a call from a woman named Lillian at Equinox wondering if I was still interested in a job. At first I told her no because I had found a job already (inside I was still thinking about that nice free membership, but figured health insurance is also important, so I'd stick with what I got). But Lillian pressed on saying this job would only be four hours a week. All I'd have to do is pass out flyers promoting the gym. And if I did it, I could get a FREE MEMBERSHIP! Yeah, I was in. And I got Eduardo in too.

So, today, we tried out that free membership for the first time, and let me tell you, it is a NICE gym. I think I might actually look forward to working out if I can go there all the time! There's two entire floors of cardio and weight equipment, personal TVs mounted on the equipment, locker rooms so clean you can eat off the floor, free stuff like shampoo, razors, hair dryers, etc, a huge class schedule, a healthy food and juice bar, an in house spa...yeah, I actually said to Eduardo, "We could live at the gym!" I'd be happy to just go there to drink juice and shower, but I guess I really should work out too. Yeah, I'm gonna do it.

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I Must Have a Deathwish

6:50 PM, Monday, November 10, 2008 / Posted by Christy / comments (1)

Recently, Eduardo and I made it to Six Flags one last time this season, and in the flurry that was the last several weeks, I haven't mentioned it on the blog yet. It was a great day, the highlight being when I was able to drag him onto Kingda Ka, the scariest roller coaster I've ever experienced. Even though I went on it last summer, I was still scared out of my mind as I sat strapped into my seat, starring at the 456 foot coaster (the tallest in the world) looming before me. The wait was made even more scary by the fact that I was anticipating the "launch" in which I would be rocketed to a speed of 128 mph in 3.5 seconds (the fastest in the world).

I can't adequately describe the experience, but perhaps this video will help:

And if you still don't understand how incredible this ride is, I think this picture says it all:
In case you can't tell by looking, those are 100% genuine reactions on our faces!

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Fall Events

10:48 PM, Thursday, November 6, 2008 / Posted by Christy / comments (3)

As promised, here's a couple pictures from the Starving Artists Halloween Ball that took place on October 30:

View of the party from the VIP area

Ariel acrobatics performance by New York Circus Arts

Eduardo in his Zorro costume along with my friend Anu

Sorry I don't have any pictures of myself, but I didn't take any! I was a bit too busy to pose for many photos, but I may be getting a couple from friends. Anyway, the night was a huge success! But it was SO much work. Oh, well. Everyone had fun and the party was off the hook.

Something major has happened that I MUST comment on. Barack Obama is the next president of the United States! I had to take a picture of the TV to mark the historic moment:

This election night was completely different than the one I experienced four years ago. Four years ago I was watching the results alone in my Beavercreek, OH apartment and feeling very tense and nervous...and not in a good way. This year I watched with friends in an East Village apartment full of hopeful anticipation. Every blue state was a touchdown. The Ohio and Pennsylvania announcements brought some close to tears. And by the end of the night, nearly everyone was crying from joy, relief, pride in our country, and hope for the future. I haven't been this happy about politics...ever. And as we left the gathering that night, we found ourselves on a street full of roudy supporters. Chants of "OBAMA!" and "Yes we can!" filled the streets of New York. I later found out that 88% of Manhattan voted for Obama. That would explain the island-wide celebration.

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I've Been Banging On A Drum All Day Long Enough

9:58 PM, Saturday, November 1, 2008 / Posted by Christy / comments (1)

I have not had time to eat, sleep, or think for the past week because of the Starving Artists Halloween Ball that I've been planning since June and took place on Thursday. But I'll get back to the Ball. Right now I want to tell you my very exciting and relieving news:

I GOT A JOB!!!!!!!!!

Let me back up a moment and give you a little background so you can fully appreciate this news. I worked at Ticket Central box office for all of 2007. It was good job. Really easy. Decent pay. Excellent perks (I could see hundreds of shows for free!) I made my own schedule. The only down side was that I sometimes couldn't get enough hours in the week. But the flexibility was worth it for me. Anyway, in December '07, if you'll remember, I left New York on a children's theatre tour, and thus, had to leave Ticket Central in hopes that I could return when the tour concluded in June. Well, the tour ended and, try as I might, I was not able to return to Ticket Central. I delayed looking for a job for the summer because I took 2 theatre jobs: one as stage manager for a summer show and one as company manager for Studio 42 (the Halloween Ball throwers). Neither of these jobs paid anything, but I was holding out hope that I would get to return to Ticket Central at some point, and in the meantime I was busy. Well, fall rolled around, and I still had no job and the door to Ticket Central was pretty much closed.

I started looking for jobs more seriously, but it was harder than I thought. Dr. Phil always says that if you don't have a job, looking for a job is your job. You should spend every day trying your best to get one. And I took that to heart. But every day I didn't get an email or a call back...every interview I went on and heard nothing...I felt more and more discouraged. At this point I've been unemployed for 5 months, and I've been starting to wonder if I would ever find a job! I thought I might have to give up my New York dream and move back to Ohio if nothing came up soon. BUT here's the good news. My perseverence has paid off. I finally have a job that I think will be perfect.

I'm going to be working at Westside Theatre in the box office. Westside is a commercial Off-Broadway Theatre that currently has two shows running. The position is full time with benefits, which is what I wanted, but I was starting to think I would have to settle for less. I'm very excited because this position means I will have freedom to be involved with Studio 42 without the worry for money and health insurance. I start on November 17! Can't wait to get that paycheck!