22 December 2009

The Apprehensive Holidays

I'll admit, up front, right now. I'm sort of a scrooge.

Here's the thing- I love buying and making gifts for loved ones. I love seeing loved ones. But there is just something about packing it into a handful of days, while out of town (read: in Charlotte) that makes my skin crawl. This means I sort of hate holidays. I know, that's awful to say right now, particularly only a handful of days before Christmas and only one night before I head home.

Tonight, though, my mom sent me a couple of gift songs on iTunes. And while listening to these songs (yes, brooding is genetic), I realized how despite the chaos of driving the 7 hours home (yes, I'm griping about it) and the constant social interaction, I'm actually looking forward to going home (shhhh, don't tell anyone). Moreover, I'm looking forward to seeing some really wonderful people in my life that I don't get to see that often.

And here they are....from previous home visits.

Holiday Pictures

And yes, this is probably as close to holiday spirit as I get.

So, I should say that I look forward to the parties and celebrations. I look forward to the gruesome Monopoly games. I look forward to catching up with old friends. And I would also love the chance to see my cousins too...as it was has been years.

21 December 2009

Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives

While the holiday mix of this year may still be in transit to you, I've decided to go ahead and post the song listing. Hope you enjoy.

Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives
8th Annual Mix

Lonely Teardrops: Jackie Wilson
Whole Lotta’ Losin: Monsters of Folk
My Love: The Bird and the Bee
Electrocution: Bill Fox
Brave As A Noun: Andrew Jackson Jihad
Sleepyhead: Passion Pit
The World Is Alive: Ezra Furman and the Harpoons
I’ve Got Dreams to Remember: Otis Redding
Baby: Devendra Banhart
God Help the Girl: God Help the Girl
96 Tears: ? & The Mysterians
Tonight You Belong To Me: Lightspeed Champion
Fitz and Dizzyspells: Andrew Bird
Go Green: Rattail
When We Swam: Thao
Fell Down The Stairs: Tilly & The Wall
Llegar al Sol: Anti Sociales
I’m Sorry Friends: Captain Chaos
Motion Sickness: Bright Eyes
Take Me as I Am: Au Revoir Simone

16 December 2009

Yes, once I was a party boy.

This time of the year (read: the festive holidays) always reminds me of one thing. No, not the hustle bustle of gift-giving and receiving. No, not the "reason for the season." No, not Willie Nelson's version of Blue Christmas.

But this.

As some of you may be aware, for 15 years of my life, I was a dancer. I danced in The Nutcracker for at least 5 of those years. My first year, I was a Party Boy in the opening scene. For a couple of years I was in the Waltz of the Flowers. One year I was in the Snow scene (as a snowflake).

Then there was the year I was on track to audition for Clara. I remember being so excited as the year approached. I knew the solo that Clara performs in the opening party scene- and I had aspired for years to land this role. This was the same year that our dance company, Charlotte Youth Ballet, informed us we'd be merging with the North Carolina Dance Theatre to put on our annual Nutcracker. Wait, come again?

We auditioned with the dance company- and I landed the role of a Mirliton. No, I don't expect you to understand, but it was pretty awesome. Though I was always a little sad that I didn't get the chance to be Clara. This would be my last year dancing. Because as our director, Gay Porter, predicted- this would be the year that I discovered boys, cars, and that whole high school world she warned us so vehemently about becoming part of.

Years later, I took classes again at the company. Adult classes. You know, the kind of classes where you wonder about why your body isn't capable of doing the ballet steps you use to perform with so little intention as a 16 year old. I remember in the two months this torture lasted, Mrs. Porter suggested I participate in the upcoming performance of The Nutcracker. She suggested I might enjoy a role as a Party Mother. Yep, my, how times have changed.

Though I have to say that every year around this time, I find myself nostalgic for the endless rehearsals, the excitement of opening night, the frantic ballerinas running around backstage overly anxious and make-up'ed, and the final performance when flowers would be brought out on stage to Mrs. Porter to thank her for all the months of putting up with the inconsistency of her young dancers.

I know this, I'll never forget the first time I had the opportunity to dance the role of a snowflake. I had always dreamed of dancing this role. It seemed so magical and beautiful. The Snow Queen and snowflakes would begin dancing...the increasing intensity of the music...the snow would begin to fall from the ceiling all around, as we performed grand jetes across the stage. Then lining up in those majestic V's as the Snow Queen and King returned to the stage.

In actuality, when I had the chance to perform this role, I found the whole process de-mystified. I even remember swallowing a piece of the snow (or small pieces of plastic white garbage bags they used to create the effect of snow). Yes, it looked so much more beautiful from a distance.

Perhaps what will resonate most strongly with me was my first year of dancing the role of the Party Boy. I still have a video of the performance. While I hated that I was assigned this role, my favorite part was when the Party Boy's were instructed to irritate our Party Girl sister's by ruining their pretty little dance with their new toy dolls. As you might have guessed, I loved every minute of it.