Warning: this is a very random post!

So I’ve been doing quite a bit of traveling over the past few months. While traveling in dry airplanes and long roads, it is very important for me to stay hydrated as a singer. What this leads to is a necessity to find a restroom rather often – especially because I’m a chic, and for some reason, we chics have smaller bladders than our male counterparts.  And because I’m traveling so much, I come into contact with mega-sized bathrooms at airports, train stations and rest stops with well over 10 stalls.

Now this may not seem very interesting to any of you men out there, but ladies,  you know you are going to feel my pain as I share.  You walk into the bathroom and see 20 doors to choose from.  Behind each of those doors awaits a toilet, hopefully some toilet paper, and hopefully a little hook to hang your purse.  However, behind which one of those doors will await you all three of those things in both working order and clean?  Hoping that your woman’s intuition will not let you down, you begin the walk along all those doors.  Finally, at some point your gut tells you, “Stop! Pick this one! This one! This one!” So you do.  And what do you find? Well, I’ll tell you that my woman’s intuition is always wrong! I almost always find absolute nastiness behind that door.  I normally stagger out backwards and look in the stalls around to find that they are much cleaner than the one I picked. Why is that? Why, out of 20 billion stalls, do I always pick the nasty one? You’d think that I’d learn from my 20-odd years of stall picking experience.  When my gut says “This one this one this one!” I should just stop one stall or short or walk one stall further. But alas no. I continue to give my woman’s intuition another chance in the bathroom. Maybe one of these days it will be right.

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Operatic Olympics

March 19, 2008

The summer Olympics are quickly approaching and people are getting into the spirit.  But athletes aren’t the only people out there that have to train for the Olympics.  Though I may not train to run the 100 meter dash, I do have to get ready for the Olympics of Opera – Rossini.

For those of you unfamiliar with opera, let me give you a little lesson.  If you have any familiarity at all, you’ve probably heard of Carmen and Butterfly. These are staples in our field and a tour de force in their own right. I have much respect for those singers.  But I have recently discovered another tour de force, that for me, at least, is harder than any other type of singing I’ve had to do – Rossini’s music.

Rossini was an Italian composer who lived in the late 1700’s early 180o’s.  His hey day was just after Mozart’s (a guy you’ve probably heard of).  Rossini thought it would be fun to write music that made singers sing a lot of notes back to back really really really really fast. You may have heard recordings of singers doing things that resemble a dying cat – the voice goes from low to high really quickly making brief stops on all the notes the whole way.  It’s called coloratura. Instead of writing just a plain little melody, Rossini writes the plain melody and adds about 20,000 notes in between each of the other existing notes, and it’s the singers job to sing all of them.  I liken the sound to blowing my vocal cords out of my throat and shaking them really hard with my hands. That’s about the only way I can get all those notes out so quickly.  When you look at a page of Rossini’s music, there’s much more black than white on the page.  At times, I wonder if he had an overabundance of ink in his ink well and felt it necessary to use it on all the singers – usually the female singers.   Maybe his way of revenge on all the women who had wronged him.

With coloratura, it is often common practice to add to the gillions of notes already on the page.  This I find ludicrous.   There are only so many notes ot choose from, and if they’re already written down, how can I add more?  But alas, I am resigned to do such a thing, because if I don’t, then my ego is crushed.   You know how dudes will drive their muscle cars really fast and fix them up with really big, loud mufflers to announce to the entire northern hemisphere that they are cool?  Well, coloratura is opera’s equivalent.  The more, the louder and the longer, the better.

So now I am learning Rossini’s Cenerentola,  which goes on in May, just a few short weeks before the Summer Olympics. People ooh and ahh over the guys who run the 100 meter dash in under 10 seconds. Don’t get me wrong, that’s great and all.  But I have to do this coloratura stuff for 2 hours straight.

Now who’s cooler?

Bumper stickers

March 13, 2008

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m in Nashville for the next few weeks. Upon my arrival at the airport and the ensuing drive home, I realized how much Southerners like their bumper stickers. Granted, I’m driving quite a bit here, so perhaps I notice it more, but even in NYC, I don’t see many bumper stickers on cars passing me by. BUT, when I do see bumper stickers in NYC, they are very different than the ones I see here. So here are some of my favorites. (Disclaimer: Listed bumper stickers are not meant to indicate any political affiliation on my part. That is not the purpose of my blog. I am simply listing observations).

Stickers seen in Nashville:

“My Smith & Wesson has killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy’s car.”

“I’d rather hunt with Dick Cheney than ride with Ted Kennedy.”

“Run Hilary Run” – put on the front of the car

“Bush Cheney ’04”

“When it absolutely, positively must be destroyed overnight (Marine Corps crest)”

“Keep honking. I’m reloading.”

“Keep Working. Millions on welfare depend on you.”

Bumper stickers in NYC:

“Hillary ’08”

“Obama ’08”

“Kerry Edwards ’04”

“After the rapture, can I have your car?”

“Renewable energy is homeland security”

“Turn left at the next election”

“‘W‘rong again.”

“Well behaved women rarely make history”

“Be nice to America or we’ll bring democracy to your country.”

So this is a sampling. What are some of your favorites?

The Little Apple

March 10, 2008

I am back in Nashville for a few weeks as I have some “time off”. Really what this means is that I’m not singing in New York until mid-April, but I am still practicing, learning a role and auditioning for anyone who will hear me.

Considering I began this blog to share my musings about New York, I wondered what could I ever write about while I’m not there! Well, after about 5 minutes back I realized that there is plenty to share about my little town.

Nashvillians are a very proud people, and like to compare it to other great cities. Many refer to it as Nashvegas (though gambling is outlawed and it rains here) and the Athens of the South, because there are several universities and we built some buildings that look rather Athenian (though we don’t speak Greek. Heck, Nashvillians barely speak English).

But my favorite is is “The Little Apple”. Somewhere in the history of this city, someone decided that Nashville was just as exciting as New York, just smaller, and decided to call it “The Little Apple”. Apparently, this said person never went to New York. Because, you see, if they had, they would realize that New York and Nashville are nothing alike. Yes, they are both cities with streets, people, cars and buildings, but that’s about where the similarities stop. Here are a few things they would know, had they ever been to the Big Apple.

They would know that New York has all these great neighborhoods and Nashville has suburbia. Though Nashville is trying to “create” these neighborhoods – we now have “The Gulch”, “12 South”, “Nashboro Village”, “Hillsboro Village” (often referred to as just “The Village”), SoBro (are you kidding me?) and “Germantown”-it’s really just where the yuppies live to feel cool. They would also notice that in New York you can find a place to eat after 10pm. In Nashville, your choice is Waffle House or Steak ‘n Shake. New York also has this thing called public transportation, which is seriously lacking in Nashville. And though Nashville does have a street named Broadway, you won’t find any theatres, just a bunch of honky tonks. People in Nashville can appear sweet but really hate you, while New Yorkers can appear to be rather rude but think you’re the greatest person they’ve ever met. To curse someone, Nashvillians like to say, “God bless her/his heart”. New Yorkers just tell you where you can go.

This person may also notice that New York is very loud with millions of people doing things at all hours of the day – the old saying, “The City that Never Sleeps”. People go to bed in Nashville. Most lights are out by midnight. What could also be observed is that the mansions on 5 acres of land located just south of Nashville cost the same or less than a 400 square foot studio in Manhattan.

I could go on, but point being, Nashville really isn’t “The Little Apple” – it’s just Nashville – a great, fun, southern city. Why do they want to be like those damn Yankees anyway?

Remember my crazy neighbor upstairs who stole my other neighbors shoes?  Well, I think the pretty blue Nike’s have inspired him to work out.  One morning, while eating breakfast, it suddenly sounded as if the ceiling was going to cave in.  Now, mind you, my one upstairs neighbor has this uncanny ability to sound like a herd of elephants, so hearing noise upstairs is not unusual. However,  there was an incessant, rhythmic pounding.  Curious as to what was going on, I turned off all noise in my apartment to listen through the floor. And what did I hear?  A work out tape and his feet falling to the rhythm of the tape.

Apparently, he’s not in very good shape because every 5 or 10 minutes, it gets quiet – no tape, no pounding.  The peace lasts for about 2-3 minutes and then he’s back at it again.  This goes on for about an hour everyday.

Does anyone else find it odd that I know my neighbor’s schedule simply by listening to his noise, or is it just me?  That’s kind of creepy.

One morning, as I sat at my computer typing away, I did my usual peek out the window to distract myself before returning to the inevitable. Since I look out onto a park, there’s usually some scurrying squirrel (say that 10x fast) or a lone leaf left over from November that is just getting around to falling that keeps my interest for a period of time.  But one bright morning, I found myself entertained my another phenomenon.  Instead of a scurrying squirrel, I saw scurrying people.  “Where were they going?” I mused.  I watched with amazement as they scurried to their cars, turned them on and sat in them. Yes. Sat in them.  Some of them even went so far as to bring their dogs with them or coffee and a newspaper.  Baffled by this course of events, I craned my neck to find that the culprit of said activity was a little street cleaning sign that stated that every Monday and Thursday between 9:30 and 11:00am cars had to be moved to allow for the street cleaner to come through.  Well, up here, since a parking spot is so hard to come by, people will apparently go, sit in their cars, move them when the street sweeper comes by and will then pull back into the place they just came from.   Mind you, they do this in all weather.  This particular morning happen to be right around freezing, and these people were sitting bundled up, breath fogging up the windows with their dog and coffee for an hour and a half!  Every once in awhile I would peer out to see how things were progressing.  Right at 11, as if punching a clock, everyone turned their cars off, got their dogs and coffees and scurried back to the life they lead.

And the crazy part? The street sweeper never came.